29 March 2014

Spring Break - Montessori Style

The kids had spring break this week, but, I did not.  I was able to take one kid per day with me to school, so they could help out and meet the kids I spend my day with.  I have pictures of every one except Rachel, who was literally drug around ALL day by one of the girls in the four year old class - she thought Rachel was the best toy she ever had.

The kids all stayed with me in my three year old class, except for JMichael, who went with the five year olds.  He had a great time and fell asleep on the way home - the sign of a great day playing at school.

Usually we do lots of lessons and reading, but, during spring break, we mostly let the kids play.  They get a break, too.

Josephine posing outside with her new little buddies.

Josephine pouring milk for lunch.

Charlotte at lunch, too.

Charlotte demonstrating a Montessori lesson.

Samantha reading to the kids.

JMichael eating with the class.

It was fun to see my kids interacting with these kids.  All the Montessori kids area younger than mine and are used to being with kids all day.  Mine were happy to play with them and see what kids of working parents do in a daycare all day.  My kids have been blessed to never go to a daycare - always home with a parent until school.  Montessori is a great alternative if you have to have childcare for your children.  A stimulating and positive environment.  I enjoy these kids.  I love mine, though!  Happy Spring Break, everyone!
Samantha in the tunnel with her new friends.

Rachel is [brace yourself...] SIXTEEN.

Rachel was 16 on Friday, March 14, 2014.  On that particular day, she had a forensics tournament in Jonesboro, Arkansas, which is about 2.5 hours north of our little town.  She was convinced that her birthday would not be any great event, and off to her tournament she went, with only a happy birthday, Rachel from her family that morning.  She traveled by bus to the tournament (not her favorite way to spend the day) and then watched her teamates participate in various events that afternoon and evening.  Her events were not scheduled til Saturday.  When she arrived back at the hotel, after a long day of sitting and watching and wishing her 16th birthday were working out better, she was greeted with a surprise.  From hours away, and with the assistance of a man I've never met, I had pie and balloons delivered to her hotel room.  She had enough pie to share with her roommates and more, plus, the confirmation that her family still loves her even though she spent her birthday busy with her team.
A few weeks later it was spring break, so it was time for the party.  We gathered with a bunch of her friends for donuts with candles and lots of "Minute to Win It" games.  The wind did not really cooperate for most of them, but, it was fun.

We sorted m&m's from the table to cups in less than a minute.  Well, we tried.
Samantha wrapped Laura up in masking tape (this was not really a game, but, hey...)  And we completed 16 piece kids puzzles in less than a minute, all the while the teams were chanting, edge, edge, edge...
We unrolled crepe paper rolls - the kids were supposed to swing their arms to do this, but, I didn't give many directions and they just grabbed the ends and took off running.  We had crepe papers trails all in the wind.  Samantha is posing here with her streamers in the wind.
The party guests posing for pictures and Rachel with 16 fingers....She's amazing.
In this game Samantha and Spencer are using uncooked spaghetti to pick up an empty can and stack them.We were supposed to do a pyramid, but, there was too much wind.

 In this game, Rachel and Lindsey are moving the cookies down their faces without using their hands.  First one in the mouth wins.
This is not a game - Spencer stuffing JMichael in the trash can!
And this is the gang - From left to right:
JMichael, Charlotte, Hailey, Hailey, Lindsey, Rachel, Spencer, Josephine, Megan, Hunter, Amber, Laura, Samantha, Ashley, Natalie, Clarrisa and Marcella.
At sixteen, Rachel is in the tenth grade.  She doesn't love school.  She works hard for her grades and is very responsible with school work.  She's applying for jobs and wants to have a car of her own.  She loves to bake, loves her friends and is diligent about seminary attendance.  She is very attentive to her little sisters and brother and sets a good example for them to follow.  She plans to go to college - right now she wants to go to BYU-Idaho - and study elementary education.  She's beautiful, articulate, responsible and goofy.  We love her.  I just can't believe she's 16....

20 March 2014

Dance Team 2014-2015

Samantha will be in the tenth grade next year, and in our town, that's high school.  She has been on the dance team for her junior high for both the 8th and 9th grades (7th graders are not allowed to participate) and has loved it.  She was worried that she wouldn't make the high school team; lots of the girls have been taking dance classes for years and dance competitively.  After a two week tryout - she made the final cut.  High school dance team!  Samantha was also thrilled that her best friend, Ashley, made the team with her, as did Rachel's best friend, Hunter.  Way to go ladies!

In the picture, Samantha is pointing to her name on the announcement poster.

The First Day of Spring??

Our weather has been all over the map lately, literally.  One day it's 65 degrees and breezy.  The next day you wake up to a light snowfall.  We had about three days in a row of almost 70 degree weather - windows open, light jackets - beautiful.  The week after that the kids had two days home from school on account of snow and ice.  Crazy.  But, on the upside, Charlotte found an amazing icicle, huh?

13 March 2014

Beauty and the Beast

Rachel, second from left (angry villager costume)
Rachel just closed another theater show - Beauty and the Beast, the spring show for her high school.  It was excellent.  I know these kids work so hard and they are so talented.  They sing, they dance, they act, and they do it all with grace and style.  The 11th grader who played Lumiere was so funny.  He really played his part well.  The junior that played Belle was beautiful and sang with a strong soprano that really stopped the show.  Mrs. Potts (the part Rachel wanted) was played by a senior who belted out her songs and stole the spotlight.  Amazing. The show- three hours long - was great from beginning to end.

Cogsworth and Lumiere

Rachel, in the opening song, Bonjour.  She is a villager.  Next, Charlotte and Josephine posing after the show with the Prince and Belle.  The Prince and Belle are both juniors.  Charlotte collected autographs after the show and Josephine took in the playbill for show and tell.  That was a hit, too!
Rachel played a villager, then a costume change for Be Our Guest as a singing silverware.  Next, another costume change to be an angry villager in Kill The Beast.  She was supposed to have more lines, but, her quartet was cut for time.  They had lines for her quartet in Bonjour and Be Our Guest.  She was disappointed, because it was a last minute cut and they had been practicing since December! 
Theater has been good for Rachel.  She shines on stage.  Off stage, she will complain about the long rehearsals and the stress of auditions (especially since our high school is only 10-12 grades and that puts her on the bottom of the totem pole this year as a sophomore.)  She already looking forward to next year's fall show - the rumor is that it will be Hairspray.  She wants to audition for Penny.  Break a leg, Rachel.

12 March 2014

Cute Kid Quote: Samantha

Samantha (14 years old) is not a morning person.  She and I were talking on the way to school yesterday and she decided something - she would be a morning person on one condition:  if she could have a talking refrigerator.  How does that work, I asked.  She said, in the morning I would walk up to it and it would say to me: "Good morning, Beautiful.  Let me pour you some orange juice."

That device would make a morning person out of me, too.

JMichael's First Fish

 JMichael (6 years old) went fishing with James last week.  James can't do much with the kids.  His pain keeps him in bed most days.  But, there are passions still that allow him to push through his pain and get out there in life.  Two of these passions are JMichael and fishing.  That combination, on an unseasonably warm March day meant one thing - fish for supper!  And please, look at that handsome face.  (JMichael's, not the obviously uncomfortable fish/victim)  Who could say no to that curly headed boy saying, Daddy, let's go fishin'!

04 March 2014

Chicken Nugget Challenge

So Samantha found this idea on YouTube - people eat 50 McDonald's chicken nuggets in twenty minutes.  Sounds easy, right?  Rachel and Samantha tried it - Rachel ate 30 nuggets and Samantha ate 34 nuggets.  We got the leftovers!  If you are interested, the rules are to eat 50 nuggets in 20 minutes, sauces are acceptable - we had two of each sauce, and the least spicy ones were the most palatable after the weight of the nuggets set in.  Try it - you'll swear off of fast food for a while after, at least.