Thursday, July 13, 2006

Summer Brain Drain

No new photos, for two reasons. One, the new camera lens is going to take me a while to learn. Two, we haven't been anywhere new to take photos and I can only fill so many pages of the yard and the kids swimming. I should take some photos of how lovely the kids' rooms look now that we've spent time each day this week deep cleaning. Even the closets are organized. It feels good. Each day I had the kids toss 10 items. Each. It didn't matter of the items were small or large, went into the trash or the donation bin. All that mattered was the items are gone.

But if you want to hear what else we have been doing, read on.

OK, let's go kid by kid.
Nicholas: He's on the third level books of the Now I'm Reading series. It's a great set with 10 mini books in each level. Each book comes with four stickers to encourage kids to practice through repetition and earn the stickers (we add our own stickers too for additional readings). He also periodically reads a story at bedtime. Tonight's choice was _Pickle Things_ by Marc Brown. He's reviewing his addition and subtraction with double digits, practicing telling time to the 5-minute, place value and money. He also loves to play board games and enjoys our newest family fun, Settlers of Catan.
I weighed Nicholas the other day and he's all of 48 pounds. I haven't figured that out. I'm certain he was over 50 pounds when we arrived and he's certainly grown since then. He must be growing, he has a loose tooth! He's quite excited. My kids all know about the Tooth Fairy. So much so that over lunch Rebecca announced she would be the tooth fairy for Nicholas when it finally falls out. He's also determined to learn how to ride a two-wheeler. We'll be leaving all the bikes here as the dog has literally eaten the seat off Rebeccca's, but they are good enough to tear around the yard.
Jonathon: He's completed the first level series of Now I'm Reading. We attempted to move into the second level, but he has some reading basics missing so we've switched to the 100 Easy Lessons book. He's enjoying it so far. He's adding and subtracting single digits, telling time on the hour and half hour, and also loves playing Settlers of Catan.
How is it possible that Jonathon is still hovering around 40 pounds? The booster seat we brought because he was on the cusp of growing out of his current seat is still sitting in the closet. I know he's growing though, some of his pants are too short, and he still has a belly. How is he so itty bitty at nearly 5 years old? He's not too itty bitty for his trike though. When we purchase new bikes, he'll get a 16-inch with training wheels, just like the big kids.
Rebecca: She's finally a reader. Not an avid reader, but one who picks up a book for the fun of it sometimes. Her current choice is _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_. I think we'll purchase the movie as a reward when she finishes. We read the book aloud last summer, so this is excellent practice for her. She is also rereading the first American Girl Felicity book, and has it in her head she wants to read _Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire_. I think she's fully immersed in Narnia at the moment though. She's reviewing her adding and subtracting with carrying and borrowing. Next week we'll get into practicing multiplication which she was just starting at the end of the school year. She loves to play Settlers.
Becca is great at riding her two-wheeler. It took a long time for her to be comfortable on it, but now the issue is the lack of a cushioned seat (thanks Sable) and her knees bumping the handle bars. She's asked that a new bike come with a basket.
Katherine: She's finishing _Inkspell_. I haven't been as insistent with her on her other studies, that'll change next week. She loves to play Settlers as well. OK, obviously we all do. Today she won the game. She didn't know she won until after it was all over and Ian claimed the title, but next time she'll hopefully realize sooner.
Katherine doesn't have a bike. She lost hers at a park in Manila and we haven't replaced it. She'll get a new one with the rest of the kids and she's requested one that holds a water bottle. That's an easy enough request to fill.
While Ian is at work, we busy ourselves with the usual here in Togo. Swimming, playing, some cleaning and a touch of learning. On the weekends, we do much of the same though we toss in yard picnics, evening soccer matches, a trip to the grocery store, letter writing and baking. I carve out time to scrapook as well (usually while the kids watch a movie) and have nearly completed last summer's travels and adventures.
Next week, we should have some actual news, so check in later.

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