Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beach Therapy

On Sunday we woke up and decided to go to the beach. The previous week and weekend leading up to that point was very tense and stressful. Saturday in particular was a day where no one was very happy with each other. So instead of pushing through it and heading to church like we normally would, we packed up and went to the beach. 

The beach always brings us perspective and family bonding, and this day was no exception. We had a great day. We actually tried to go to Big Sur, a spot we've been wanting to hit for a while. But we were partway there when we realized that Google Maps tricked us into thinking it was much closer than it actually is. So we did an about face and headed to Monterey instead. We strolled spent a lot of time at the beach, strolled around downtown, Monterey and ate crepes. 

It was everything we needed. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tommy's 8th Birthday

Here's what you did on your 8th birthday! 

You had birthday waffles for breakfast. We've always done birthday cereal, but since you can't have milk, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors, that pretty much nixes the whole birthday cereal thing. Instead you requested pumpkin spice waffles with sunflower seed "sprinkles". 

Your presents from Dad and I were few, but very thoughtfully selected, and you loved everything. You spent the morning putting together your Lego Technic hotrod with Dad. 

We went to your favorite restaurant for lunch, Sweet Tomatoes, then to go-kart racing with your cousins.

In the evening we had your family party with cake and presents. It was a whirlwind, really fun day! You did the things you love most with the people most. It was a great day. :)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday Tommy!

You are 8 years old now!

You matured so much this past year. Dad and I tried to give you as much freedom as you could handle, and you really thrived. You took on new responsibilities and [usually] proved that you were able to make good decisions. 

Who you are now: 
You like waking up early in the morning and working on projects in the quiet of the house. 
You like playing piano. 
You love reading about trivia: all about the fastest, tallest, smallest, most expensive, biggest. 
You don't like going to bed late. We've been letting you and Ben stay up late on weekends, but you usually opt to go to bed way before your brother. 
You're particular about eating healthy food. 
You are crazy curious. You love learning about everything. Everything about everything.
Cars are you biggest passion. You dream about the day that you can buy your own car. You've already planned that it'll be a junker that you will fix up and customize.  

So it was fitting that for your birthday you wanted to go to K-1 Speed, to race go-karts. You had been talking about this for several months. You went with your cousins and had a blast

Here is an excerpt from your birthday interview, which perfectly illustrates your personality right now:
Q: If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? 
A: A cheetah or a leopard. 
[When I asked Tommy why he’d like to be these animals, he just about had a breakdown and said “I don’t know! What in the world does it matter? It’s not like I”m going to magically turn into one of them, so who cares?”]

Q: What is your favorite thing to do?
A: Wake up early in the morning 

Q: What is your favorite thing about yourself?
A: That I have long hair. 

Look how much you've grown in 8 years! 

Monday, October 27, 2014


One evening after dinner we spotted a gorgeous sunset. Instead of cleaning up the kitchen  and finishing our chores, we decided to climb on the roof and watch the sun go down. It was such a sweet moment with my boys. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

One of the boys' favorite fall activities is carving pumpkins. This year the pumpkin carving involved power tools! We didn't get any pictures of the process, but suffice it to say it was pretty messy. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Day of Fall

Our tradition is to bake something yummy on the first day of fall. This year we made an apple tart. It was so good!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Legoland 2014

Mark and the boys took a trip to LegoLand in early September while I stayed home with the girls. 

Their purpose was to go to southern California to attend a family wedding. Afterwards Mark surprised the boys by simply driving to LegoLand without any explanation. Just outside the gate Mark told them where they were headed. They were so excited and happy that they started hitting each other in the backseat of the car!

They had a great time, and had some great father-son bonding moments. 

First Day of (Un)School 2014

School started for us this past week, on September 1st.

Yes, I know we're unschoolers, and we should be learning year round, not be beholden to any schedule, and all that goodness. But I crave structure, so for my mental well-being, we are still going by a loose interpretation of the school calendar. I plan to use the same school schedule we've been using thus far, which is to school from Sept through November, take off the month of December, and then school January through May. 

This past summer we had a lot of fun. But for me, the fun is more fun when I know there is some structure just round the corner. Actually, not much is changing- I'm just adding in a bit of math and handwriting and the boys are continuing with piano and taekwondo. The difference between this year and the past years is that now I'm prepared to throw out even that little bit of schoolwork if I see it's interfering with the boys' free time or with our relationship. I don't see that happening though.

In their back-to-school gift boxes they each received a Mad Libs Junior book. It has been the best thing ever! They spent the rest of the day filling in all the spaces and reading their stories out loud to each other. In just a few days they filled up the books, so we got some more in time for a long road-trip they'll be taking soon.

We only "do school" three days a week, and this is their checklist. They practice piano and taekwondo every day, but three days a week they have a single sheet of math, handwriting, and cursive to do. They are free to do their work whenever they want, as long as it's done before dinnertime (around 5:30). Tommy is the first to wake up and he generally chooses to do it during breakfast. He's done with his work by 8am! Ben wakes up much later, usually after Tommy has already finished his schoolwork, his breakfast, and his chores. But when he finally does sit down to do his work, he likes to work several days ahead so he can get more days off later. 

For history we listen to Story of the World audio CD when we're in the car and sometimes during meals at home. These books below is what I'll be reading aloud for US history. The books are from the Beautiful Feet Early American History Read-Aloud list, with some extra biographies added in based on what I know the boys will be interested in.

Check out their previous first days:

(2nd grade + K)

(1st grade + Pre-K)