Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Winter" in Texas

Winter in Texas can be quite a roller coaster ride of highs in the 80's and lows in the 20's. You just never know what the weather has in store and it can change in a blink. We have enjoyed some spring like weather recently which has allowed us some outside time.

We dusted off the bikes.

We took the training wheels off of Benjamin's bike. He was less than thrilled. It turned out to be quite difficult for him...and for Daddy's back.

Benjamin had enough of trying to balance on two wheels, he wanted a go on bubba's cycle.

Earlier this week we had a perfect homeschool day. The kind of day when the boys get started on their work early and we have everything done by lunch. With a whole afternoon to do as we pleased, we headed to the park.

Benjamin tackled the playground equipment. He pretended he was a contestant on America Ninja Warrior. Caleb was the announcer and did the play-by-play as Benjamin tackled different obstacles. This was the "shaky metal ladder". Benjamin also competed in the "platforms of peril" and "tube of terror". 

I think Caleb must have reached the age where playgrounds aren't interesting. He was anxious to walk the trails and look for some birds. 

Benjamin found a stick and a hole.

Benjamin always finds a stick on his adventures. Somehow they make it home with us. We have a stack of them in our garage.

On the look-out for birds.

"Hey mom, look at me on this cliff!"

This park is on an old pecan tree orchard so there are pecans all over the place. Benjamin loved cracking the shells and eating the nuts.

 We have definitely enjoyed the weather recently. It's about to get a wee bit cooler though. We won't pack up the shorts just yet (you never really pack up your summer clothes in Texas) because you never know when the weather is going to turn warm again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Zoo Field Trip: Homeschool style

Occasionally, I have moments of genius. I had one such moment around Christmas time when it occurred to me to ask for season passes to some of our favorite places. Thanks to family, we now have season passes to both zoos in our area and season passes to the local water park (perfect for this summer). Season passes are the perfect gift for families, especially for those of us that homeschool. Can you say, "field trip!"

Texas has recently blessed us with some fantastic weather. Just gorgeous. On Friday I told the boys that we had some errands to run (cue the groaning from them) but then I'm surprised them by taking them to the zoo instead. I'm so sneaky! They were so excited.

I love homeschool.

Most pictures will be the back of their heads...that's just how it goes at the zoo.

The giraffes are my personal favorite. The boys love the show Wild Kratts on PBS (I kinda love it too). We learned that giraffes are the most vulnerable to being attacked (in the wild...not at the zoo) when they are bending down to get a drink of water. They have to really spread out their legs in order to reach the water and it takes them a second to get upright again. The boys loved seeing this in person. 

Back of their heads....

Ah! The front of their cute faces!

As you can see the zoo was incredibly crowded. Seriously though, we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. I love homeschool. 

My little bird lover. 

I kept waiting for this dove to peck Caleb's fingers. It didn't.

Even Benjamin did a little bird admiring. 

This was Caleb's face pretty much every time he saw a bird. The child loves birds. His enthusiasm is contagious.

My map reader. Mark my words, this kid will be an architect or engineer. I'd bet money.

See how terribly crowded it is? 

Still reading the map.

Caleb admiring the scarlet ibis. He was in awe of these colorful birds.

He's done.

 Gorgeous weather + Zoo all to ourselves = A great time

Monday, January 12, 2015

OKC tournament

This past weekend we made another trip to Oklahoma for Caleb's basketball tournament. This time we headed to OKC instead of Tulsa. The boys were excited about our weekend road trip.

A little silliness in the car.

Caleb loves hotels. He loves cable (we don't have it at home). The first thing he wants to do is turn on the television! Not sure why he chose to watch a Shaun T. infomercial. Eventually he found a basketball game and we watched that.
Benjamin likes the king size bed.

 We haven't had much luck with the indoor pools at hotels. The water is always freezing and unbearable. This time was different.
The water was actually quite warm. The boys loved it. 

Our venue.

A little pep talk from coach before their first game.

Benjamin relaxing on the court. As always, Benjamin was such a trooper on this trip. Caleb played 3 games on Saturday so we spent several hours in the gym. Benjamin did great and I think he had as much fun as Caleb.

We got the chance to see Casey while we were in town. It's always fun to see friends.

A little brother snuggles in between games. So cute.

And now for a couple of videos.

Caleb was fouled and got to make 2 free throw shots. His very first free throws! 

He didn't make it, but he hit the net on that second shot. So close!

It turns out that Bubba isn't the only one with skills on the court. Benjamin made his very first basket, followed by about 30 more! I guess we need to find him a team to play on!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

I count my blessings

I love the idea of a "blessing" jar. A jar that you fill with all the blessings you receive throughout the year. I love the idea of being intentional about reflecting on our many blessings. I love the idea of keeping all of these blessing tucked away until the end of year when you go through them one by one. Recalling and remembering all the blessings God has passed to you and your family throughout the year.

I didn't do a jar. I decided to be different and use a shadow box (one I already had) instead.

This shadow box has a slit at the top where we can slip in our blessings.
I printed the music sheet here. It seemed appropriate. 

I've put the "blessings box" in our living room along with some paper slips and a pen. The goal being that everyone in the family takes the time to occasionally write down something that blessed them that day. It doesn't have to be an every day thing. I don't want it to be forced but I do think there is value in counting your blessings, counting them one by one. We will do this throughout the year and then on New Year's Eve 2015, we will sit down and read through the blessings from the past year. 

Anyone else do something like this?

Yesterday I randomly picked up a Max Lucado book that we have had for years and years. The book was just collecting dust. I'm so glad I picked it up and read the first couple of pages. I liked what I read so much that I had to make it into a format that I could print out, hang up, and be reminded of daily. So I made these:

 These are based on Galatians 5:22:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I printed these out, framed them, and put them where I can see them daily. I need to see these daily. I probably need to read the ones on patience, gentleness, kindness...and maybe self-control a few times a day. I just had to share because these words really spoke to me yesterday. Of course, I've read Galatians 5:22 a million times but I've never seen that verse elaborated on in this way. It really struck a a good way. Hope it blesses you too.
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