Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tax Time Already?

It's not, but I start working tomorrow so it certainly does feel like it. :/ Hopefully it won't be too bad...just preparing for the upcoming tax season and getting things ready around the office before it gets busy. As much as I want to whine, I'm not and will instead be grateful for the extra money! :)

The week went well last week. Bailey submitted his first draft of his 4H portfolio for DPA, so it's good to have that out of the way. This is his second DPA, but his first as a 4H senior (9th-12th grades). He's so excited, and I love that.

I don't have anything really planned for school this week, but I think it will work out fine since we have the back half of the week off for Thanksgiving. I'm hoping Bailey will work on some analogy activities (struggling with that at the moment, but I think he just needs a little reinforcement a la game play, lol), and Braeden will work on his reading comprehension. He's actually doing really well with that! It's taking him a little longer to read than it did his brother, but he can tell you EVERYthing he read. :D

That's about it for this week. I know. Short and sweet. We spent the weekend with the fam and now I'm exhausted. I'm going to grab dinner and curl up with a new TV show, Almost Human, before bed.

I want to leave you with this - I saw today that the word "selfie" was just added to the Oxford English Dictionary. I hate that word, but my sweet nephew took an adorable selfie today while he was playing with my phone:

Couldn't you just eat him up? ;)

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monticello and Montpelier...

I don't know how well this is going to go, because we took a TON of photos...and I can't narrow anything down. But I will try.

While we loved both places, Monticello was, hands down, our favorite. So much history, but so much neat history! Thomas Jefferson had so many stories to tell. We learned about his family and his friends, about his work in government, we learned about how much he enjoyed being on the cutting edge of what's new in the world, and we learned about the Jeffersons and slavery.

Ok, remember what I said about not being able to narrow down photos? Yeah. Well. I made it through a teeny tiny portion of what we have and this is what I have for now. :/


In touring Jefferson's home, the guide made a point several times to tell us how close Thomas and his family were to the Madisons. Apparently, Monticello had a room that the grandchildren called "Mr Madison's room." After learning that, we thought a trip to Montpelier was in order.


This was a neat place too, but they are still working on recovering furnishings and artifacts from when James and Dolley lived there. Major restoration was finished around 2008, but there were no records kept when Dolley had to sell everything, so getting period pieces back has proven difficult. Regardless, it was very cool.

Sorry for the limited pics. Maybe I will be able to go through them again in a couple days and pick out some more. Right now though, my internet is rebelling and my eyes are crossing.

We spent two days at these historic places, but they will meet our homeschool requirements for history for quite some time! We are still googling things as we remember them. We go back through photos and talk about what we learned, and we even took information that we learned (either from googling, or by going back through brochures/pamphlets) and made lists on SpellingCity so they could practice spelling and vocabulary words from our trip.

I know I've said it before, but seriously...I am shocked by how much fun we had learning about these two men and their families!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankful for Vacation, Thankful to Come Home.

We had an amazing vacation! We had so much fun together, and really learned a lot while we were gone. Felt like we did a good bit of roadschooling, lol.

There are lots of photos, but I haven't even had a chance to dump them from the cameras yet. When we got home, we hit the ground running with our normal activities. I do have some pics in my iCloud stream, so I can share some of those...

Shenandoah National Park:

Beautiful view!

Love this one of my guys. :)

While we didn't see any bears or exotic wildlife, lol, we saw LOTS of these cute little guys/gals. They were veeeeery comfortable with all of the traffic and sight seeing going on...

A couple of the places we went to play tourist, were Monticello and Montpelier. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello was absolutely incredible. We expected to have fun, but we ended up spending about seven hours there. Not only did we enjoy it, we learned a lot about him and his family (the guides there definitely gave us some homeschool help, lol).

James Madison's Montpelier was really neat too, but I don't have any phone pictures from there. Honestly though, those two homes need their own post. I hope to get to that this week.

Here are some additional pictures of the yurt we stayed in:

And this is just a random photo of a double rainbow we saw while we were out driving after a little rain shower. Boys thought it was so cool! :)

The drive home was fun. You'd think we would have been all sad and stuff, about leaving Virginia. But, we spent several hours reflecting about the trip and how glad that we were that we got to take it together. In between our talks about the vacay, and the bathroom breaks (so many! the 4 of us could never seem to all have to go at the same time, lol!), we played some games together. Road trip bingo was one. Another is a word game we like to play. One of us says a word, then the next person says a word that starts with the last letter of the previous person's word. It's something we started doing a few years ago, and we all love it. The boys build their vocabulary, but it also helps with other things like spelling and practicing putting words in ABC order.

We got in late Monday evening. Tuesday we had to pick the doggies up from the vet and grocery shop a little. Wednesday we had our nature program at Elachee. Thursday was Master's and Friday was park day. Whew. Like the energizer bunny, just keeps going and going and going... :D

Getting back into the swing of school was a little slow going. We really didn't have a solid block of time any day this week, so they just did what they could, when they could. Some days we had mornings, some days we only had evenings. I am soooo thankful that we can be that flexible when we need to!

Until next time. Hope you all have a great week, and remember to honor our military men and women tomorrow. Always, always thank a veteran when you can...any day, not just Veteran's Day. :)