Groundhog Day 2016

Since February 2nd was Groundhog Day, we spent the week talking all about groundhogs, Pennsylvania, and predictions. It was a fun-filled week with the boys.

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We are finally finding our groove with our homeschool routine. Timmy is currently 29 months old and very, very interested in school time. There is no telling him to go play with blocks anymore. He wants worksheets and projects just like brother. He even tries to trace the letters on everything I give him because that’s what Bubba does. Keeping him busy is the key to a stress-free school day.

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Sam is five years old now and it’s amazing the change that’s happened in him the last six weeks. His attention span has really expanded. There are days when he reminds me that he is still really little by something he does, and on those days, we pull back and do less. But mostly, we’re able to keep a really nice, steady rhythm to our days. We’re able to do more subjects in a day instead of JUST doing a reading lesson or JUST doing a craft or JUST doing a math lesson. So, this is really exciting for both of us and we’re having a little more fun!

Now, what we did for Groundhog Day!

I found this amazing Groundhog Day Activity Pack at A Spoonful of Learning. I absolutely love her site. She’s a public school teacher, but I have benefited SO MUCH this year from her resources. When I’m stuck in a planning rut, or we just need something fun and engaging, I go to her site. I literally have it bookmarked I frequent it for ideas so often.

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On Monday (the day before Groundhog Day), we talked about what Groundhog Day is all about.

We started out by reading her Groundhog Day Class Book together. I liked it better than any other book I found on the subject because Sam was able to read it with me, and it covered all the basic facts easily. Both boys really enjoyed reading the “homemade” book.

Then, we did the Groundhog Day Student Book to review the facts that we just read about Groundhog Day.

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Timmy’s was already filled out, so he colored his. He absolutely loved seeing that he was doing the same work as Sam. This is another reason why I love A Spoonful of Learning’s stuff. She gives various levels for each of her activity packs.

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Sam had to fill in the blanks all the correct answers. He opted to color as well. This was a day that he was pretty tired, so he was not a fan of having to write his answers in. I ended up helping him finish his book, which was just fine.

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I set our bulletin boards up with fun visuals from the activity pack. The boys LOVED this! It’s truly the little things. They were so excited to get started on school this day because they wanted to know what all these words and pictures meant!groundhog day 2016-1

Before heading outside to play, we called the grandparents and I let Sam explain that he was working on a school project. Don’t worry – Timmy was there too repeating everything Sam said. This meant I had to repeat everything too in order for the grandparents to understand a word we were saying. We’re working on phone etiquette. What can I say?

Anyway, I had Sam tell them that Groundhog Day was the next day, February 2nd, and we were making predictions. We wanted to know if they thought the groundhog would see his shadow or not. After they made their predictions, we colored a groundhog with their corresponding answers. Then, we pinned it on our board so we could see all the answers.

Finally, Sam graphed the results, but I didn’t get a picture. We were in too much of a hurry to get outside!

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This is the other bulletin board that I made our word wall for the week. We reviewed the words each day.

On Groundhog Day (Tuesday), we made some adorable Groundhog Hats from the activity pack. I wasn’t sure the boys would enjoy this, but they did.

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They were very, very proud of their creations!

While wearing their hats we did the Groundhog Day Flipbook. Again, I was totally surprised by their level of excitement. Sam declared that school was just so fun! Well, okay then!

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I love the details of Sam’s groundhog. He was really into making him look like the illustration on our bulletin board. He caught details that I had missed. groundhog day 2016-12

Timmy participated the entire time today. He may not have understood what we were doing completely, but he did get some practice with gluing each answer into the little boxes. Great fine motor practice, right? And a complete sense of accomplishment when he was done!

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He would glue his piece on and then wait patiently for Bubba to turn to the next page. Sam had a little writing to do on each page and he had to cut his own pieces out which took him a little bit longer.

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I think he looks so handsome and sweet in this picture. Plus when it was time to our afternoon school work (Timmy was napping) he said, “Mom, I want to wear my hat while I work because I think it makes you happy.” Such a sweetheart!groundhog day 2016-13

We have been incorporating listening activities two to three times a week into our afternoon time to work on following directions. Sam is very independent and assertive, but following directions goes against his stubbornness from time-to-time. These listening activities have made submitting to authority a little less threatening. I’ve already seen a big change in him, and believe it or not? He REQUESTS these activities. He loves them! I got this one from here.

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The last thing we did on this day was matching groundhog parts. I got this from this download pack.

The rest of the week, we had a few things here and there.

One morning we read Groundhog Gets a Say which is a really cute story that gives a lot of information about groundhogs in a fun storybook way. It is probably one of our favorite books.

We talked a lot about burrows, hibernation, and various other things that are unique to groundhogs. I just let the book do my teaching for me and we didn’t do any go-alongs because the boys seemed to really grasp everything just by reading the story.

Plus it was 70 degrees outside with a promise of snow the next day. We didn’t want to stay inside!

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On another day, we worked on AB, BA, ACC, and ACB patterns using a worksheet from this Groundhog Day Pack.

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Finally, we talked a lot about Pennsylvania this week. We worked on identifying it on the map along with reviewing the states we’re already familiar with. We also talked more about the Atlantic Ocean and just had fun working different puzzles.

I had plans for a few more things groundhog related planned for this week, but pregnancy exhaustion set in one day and I just had to rest. Thankfully the weather was warm and the boys could go outside with Daddy.

We were able to catch up on our reading lessons, complete an entire math unit, and start a new read-aloud book. I’d say it was a full, exciting week in the Dutton’s Homeschool Room. 🙂

 

Before Five in a Row: The Snowy Day

After such a fun time rowing Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, we decided to pull out The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

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Since we’ve been getting a lot of snow the last couple of days, it seemed only fitting, and we had so much fun with it!

The Snowy Day Activities

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The first full day of being snowed in, the boys were already getting a little crazy. 😉 So, I set about finding a fun project for us to do together as a family. Daddy has been studying hard all week for school and we all needed something fun to do.

Scholastic shared a fun go-along craft for The Snowy Day on their site. It had a video to walk us through the steps.

We all watched it several times and then set about making our own Snow Day Collages. I love that we all started with the exact same raw materials, and every one of us made something totally different.

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Timmy and I worked together on his. I didn’t even attempt to make my own because I knew he would need a little more help. However, he placed all his buildings. Directed where the snow drifts should be glued. Shredded all of his cotton balls and glued them down. He requested trees and a snowman with hat. It was so fun working with him!

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Sam is a creative kid. There is a lot running through his little mind at one time, and he has big visions of what he wants to create.

Some notables:

  • He has a fence behind the snow drifts, and he told me that we’ll see them when the snow melts.
  • Someone also threw snowballs really high up in the sky (they almost look like two moons in the sky).
  • He absolutely insisted to get stars out to add to his.
  • And he drew Peter onto a black sheet of construction paper because it was his town and he needed to be there.
  • Oh, and he asked me what city this reminds me of from our big road trip. When I said, “Chicago!” He said, “YES! You are right, Mommy!”

He rattled off some other things, but I was also helping Timmy so I simply didn’t catch it all.

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Nonnie got in on the fun making her own collage. I loved her tree creation!

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Daddy took a break from reading and joined us. I loved his fence!

Then of course we had to take advantage of the beautiful snow day!

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It is likely the best snow day that I recall since I was in high school. My 10 year reunion has come and gone … so that will give you a frame of reference.

It was so fun! We all (the boys, Daddy, Nonnie, and I) got outside one day and just had a blast. snow day 2016-5 snow day 2016-6 snow day 2016-7

Snowball fights were a big hit!snow day 2016-8

Oh, and sledding! This kid was fierce and over the moon excited about sledding. Sam had a blast too! I was taking part in the sledding adventures as well (pregnant belly and all) so I didn’t get any shots of the kids.snow day 2016-10

But we did make sure to make some tracks in the snow just like Peter from the story.

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On another day, Daddy took them outside (my pregnant self was too worn out from the day before). They had more snowball fights and did a little baseball practice which was a lot of fun!

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Sam got pretty serious about getting Daddy!

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These whimsical snowmen were easy to make. Mine is the one in the middle and it looks more like a scarecrow according to the boys. Oh well.

We free painted our paper first and while it dried we cut out our snowmen circles. Timmy and I pulled some of the snow drift scrap paper out that was leftover from our Snowy Day Collages (top of the post) to add to ours. Sam insisted on a soccer ball in his picture for some reason. We just used various scrap paper, stickers, and sequins to decorate our snowmen.

I wish I could say this was a fun activity, but mostly it was stressful. Timmy was tired and made the entire project difficult for everyone (he even spilled paint … everywhere). I do think Sam would have enjoyed it if I had opted to give Timmy a nap instead of letting him paint too. Timmy put his snowman smile upside down making it a frown and I left it because it just seemed so fitting.

Most of the time these sort of projects are a lot of fun, but sometimes, they just aren’t. 🙂

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On another day, we experimented with ice melting. I set up four plates with four pieces of ice. Well, actually the boys did. They got out the plates and set the plates up with ice.

We left one piece of ice alone as our control. Then, we put salt on one, wrapped aluminum foil around another, and newspaper around the last piece of ice. We all predicted which one would melt first and last. I used our white board to record our answers.

We all thought the ice with the salt on it would melt first. Sam and Timmy predicted the ice that had nothing on it would melt last. The adults all predicted the aluminum foil would melt last.

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Then, we observed. And observed. And observed. Timmy kept licking the salt and making funny faces.

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While we waited we read about water from a book my mom gave me a few years ago leftover from her teaching days. I couldn’t find it on Amazon to link to it. We talked about the water cycle and at what point water freezes. The boys were totally intrigued!

Then, it was time for our results. We were all surprised by the results because the newspaper melted the slowest!

It wasn’t until the experiment was over and we had time to think about it that we realized newspaper is an insulator and aluminum foil pulls in heat which makes the ice melt really fast! I had to have Daddy come in to explain it all to us. I’m really thankful we’re a work at home family and Daddy is right here to help me when I get stuck. Plus he loved being our science superhero. 🙂

I highly recommend this experiment! We all learned a lot!

And that was our week with The Snowy Day. It was a lot of fun and totally worth spending a little time each day on!

Other posts you might like:

What is Mommy Like, Sam?

I saw this short question and answer on Facebook and knew I had to do it with Sam. It’s always so insightful hearing from your child’s mouth what they think of you and what you do. It doesn’t always mean it is accurate, but it can really be enlightening.

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Sam is currently five years old.

1. What is something I always say to you?

Shut the door!

2. What makes me happy?

When I do what you tell me to do.

3. What makes me sad?

When I don’t obey you.

4. How do I make you laugh?

By making silly faces and telling jokes.

5. What was I like as a child?

Hmm … I don’t know. I wasn’t there, Mom.

6. How old am I?

13

7. How tall am I?

Four and a half feet

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

Play games.

9. What do I do when you’re not around?

Cook.

10. What am I really good at?

Games.

11. What is something I’m not good at?

Zingo.

12. What do I do for a job?

Work at home.

13. What is my favorite food?

French fries.

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?

Play games.

Before Five in a Row: Jesse Bear What Will You Wear?

I have been experimenting with including Timothy in our school time. He’s so eager and since wintertime just lends itself to books, I thought picking up the Before Five in a Row Curriculum for a bit would be fun. Sam loved it when we went through it, and Timothy adores books as much as Sam does.

So far it’s going pretty well. Of course, I can’t take as many pictures when I’m teaching two of them, but I thought it would be fun to share what I did snag this week.

I decided to row Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? first. We sort of rowed Corduroy a few weeks back, but it was more just reading the book everyday so it’s “not worth blogging about.” You can, however, see what we’ve done in the past with Corduroy here.

Both boys thoroughly enjoyed this book. Jesse Bear is becoming a beloved favorite of Sam’s, a nice and familiar book and as though Jesse Bear is a friend he hasn’t seen in a while. It was fun listening to him recall much of the story before we ever even read the first page. You can see all the activities we did with Jesse Bear when Sam was younger here.

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I have recently discovered Bullet Journaling and it is my new favorite way to plan lessons for the kids. I’m so in love. thumb_DSC_0844_1024

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Both boys colored some bear worksheets and then sorted their gummy bears into the correct boxes one day.

I had Sam (age 5) count each category of bears, write the number, and then tell me which one had the least and most.

Timmy (age 2) just sorted his bears and worked on self-control. I told the boys not to eat any bears until they had sorted them all. They both did really well.

I talked about the colors and counted each category with Timmy.

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I printed off a mini-reader for Sam. He had to read each sentence to know what color he was supposed to color each of Jesse Bear’s shirts. He loved this!

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By this point Timmy had totally lost interest and I let him just practice his scissors skills cutting random pieces of scrap paper. thumb_DSC_0849_1024

Sam and I used our gummy bears to predict how tall each vegetable was and then recorded the results. He really enjoyed this and it was a great introduction to measuring with him. I’ve been wanting to do this sort of exercise for a while, so it was fun to finally be able to do it!

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I pulled out our counting bears set and Timmy enjoyed these thoroughly every single day this week. While Sam did his everyday calendar work, Timmy would pull out the bears and play with them. On this particular day, he set the bowls up by himself and sorted the bears by color.

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These worksheets have been Sam’s favorite part of school. They are perfect for reviewing what he already knows. I need to do an update on his calendar notebook because I have been SO PLEASED with it. So pleased! You can read the original post though here. thumb_DSC_0865_1024

One day Nonnie joined the fun and worked with Timmy on colors and counting while I finished up with Sam. He loved this and really enjoyed counting by 5’s. Love his sweet little smile in this picture.

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On another day, we talked about the healthy foods that Jesse Bear ate at noon. I was surprised by how interested Timmy was and Sam was very meticulous and precise with his scissor work. thumb_IMG_0144_1024

This is just one of those pictures I just had to snag. They said, “Mommy, can you please get us a blanket so we can cuddle?” I let them watch a movie because it was just too sweet to make them stop. They stayed like this for over an hour just resting and cuddling. thumb_IMG_0148_1024

These little bear shape matching set has gotten a lot of love from this little boy. I’ve pulled them out before, but he wasn’t really ready for them. This time he breezed through the entire set!

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Again, more counting bears. He would match up the bear sizes and then say, “Dump now?”thumb_IMG_0156_1024

Sam also enjoyed the counting bears. I just let them choose some of the cards from the set at random. It was fun for them to get to choose!thumb_IMG_0163_1024

Nonnie helped them make some flowers one day. There are a lot of flowers in the book, so it was a fun little go along and it let them get a little messy with paints. thumb_IMG_0164_1024

This guy was in total heaven! He loved painting and was very, very diligent about it. thumb_IMG_0173_1024

Again, more review worksheets. Using different writing mediums has been the key to making this time even more fun for him. thumb_IMG_0177_1024

We love the Tot Packs from 1+1+1=1 blog. I pulled out the umbrellas simply because it was what was on top of my stack. We used our markers to color each umbrella. Then we matched the marker lids to the color on the paper. We cleaned up by matching the lids to correct marker. We do this every single week, and every single week it’s his absolute favorite thing. Markers are his favorite! It’s also great for reviewing the colors over and over again in one sitting. He loves it!thumb_IMG_0182_1024

Bear Family Dress-Up has been another favorite of Timmy’s lately. This little toy was what started the Corduroy readings and now Jesse Bear. Between this and the counting bears he was totally occupied when I needed to do focused work with Sam.

All in all it was a really fun week. We didn’t do everything I hoped to do, but do we ever?

You can find more ideas for Jesse Bear here as well as links to all the printables I used.

This post contains my affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.

Snow Themed Picture Books for Read Aloud Time

Winter just lends itself to reading for us. I wanted to capture some of our new favorite snow themed picture books (and some old favorites) to refer back to later.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

I will be sure to update this post with new finds as the days roll on.

2016 Chapter Book Read-Alouds

I’m hoping to keep track of our chapter book read-alouds for this year. This list starts with January 2016 and will go through December 2016.

~Read Alouds~

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #2)

Charlotte’s Web

Little House in the Big Woods

How to Eat Fried Worms (audiobook)

My Father’s Dragon

The Indian in the Cupboard (audiobook)

~Currently Reading~

Clementine, Friend of the Week

 

This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure policy here.

Nature Journal: Observing Birds at the Bird Feeder

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This morning we had an uncanny amount of birds at our bird feeder. So, we took out our guide and identified as many as we could.

We made a list together on the dry erase board, and then I asked the boys to draw one bird in their nature journals. Of course, Timmy just scribbled in his, but Sam chose to draw a cardinal.

It was totally improv but that’s just the way I like it! They loved this and we learned SO MUCH about all the different birds that keep coming to our feeder.

Both boys can now identify cardinals, chickadees, and downy woodpeckers just through frequent conversations about our backyard birds. This was a fun way for them to see just how many different types of birds we see on a daily basis.

I really should do stuff like this more often.

Bullet Journals & Five Year Old Thoughts on Jesus

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These are my notes from church yesterday. Toward the end of the sermon, my almost five year old asked (read: begged) me to let him write too (note to self: make him a bullet journal).

He copied the next to last bullet and whispered in my ear the question, “What did I just write, Mommy?”

I told him even more softly and his eyes lit up as he went back to work drawing a picture to illustrate.

He whispered his explanation as he went, “The man with a black heart is a NO. He has no power. The superhero is a NO because he’s not Jesus. The white heart is a CHECK. He has power because his heart has Jesus.”

It is as simple as that my friends. He ended his doodle by writing, “I luv you.”

Amen.

I love you, too, Buddy!

Praise Jesus for the beautiful, simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus lived the perfect life. He died the all sufficient death. He rose again three days later – conquering sin and defeating death. Why? So that we might be born again into a renewed spiritual life with Him. Our greatest need has been met and through faith in Jesus we receive power through the Holy Spirit to live for Him all the rest of our days. Oh, hallelujah!

Samuel: 5 Years Old {LEGO Party and an Interview}

It’s hard to believe that Sam is five years old. It seems like just yesterday we were finding out we were pregnant for the very first time.

We had a LEGO Party to ring in a new year for him. After spending some time at my family’s house and discovering just how much he loved them, we thought it would be a great way to get a little help building his stash.

thumb_IMG_0079_1024I made a LEGO cake that took way longer than I expected it to, but I had so much fun making it. Sam helped me design it on a LEGO board first, and then I just made two sheet cakes, cut them into pieces and iced them. The buttons are simply iced Oreos. Simple dimple!

thumb_DSC_0764_1024I didn’t know so many people didn’t eat birthday cake. Even though we had over 30 people at the party, I could have stuck with just one sheet cake. Now I know! thumb_DSC_0775_1024We started the party with coloring sheets I downloaded for free off the internet. One of Sam’s all time favorite activities is coloring, so this was a no brainer.thumb_DSC_0784_1024Grammy made an adorable banner that we hung over the mantle with some baby pictures of Sam. Baby pictures only because this was the last time I remembered to print pictures off … bad mom award. 😉thumb_DSC_0798_1024We served pizza, veggies and fruit for everyone to eat! And afterward, we played a couple of games – pin the head on the LEGO man and a bean bag toss. My pictures were too blurry to post. thumb_DSC_0814_1024Katie is one of Sam’s sweet friends, and he wanted her to sit with him to open his presents. He’s had this planned for days. thumb_DSC_0816_1024Love how sweet their friendship is.thumb_DSC_0823_1024The birthday boy kicked back waiting for us to light his candles. thumb_DSC_0824_1024Blurry but too cute not to post.

thumb_DSC_0825_1024One very, very, very happy little boy!

thumb_IMG_0100_1024On his actual birthday, we started the day off with celebration donuts. He chose a chocolate covered one with sprinkles, but in true form, he only ate the bottom of the donut.

This picture makes me happy and sad all at the same time. Happy because he is thrilled to be a five years old. Happy that I’ve known him for five whole years and there is still so much to learn about him. Happy because he’s mine. Yet sad because this is the first picture that I don’t see baby anymore. Sad because I can see the man he’s becoming emerging in the curve of his chin and the look in his eye. But mostly I’m just thankful. To Sam, the best oldest son I have. A teacher, a leader, our courageous one. We love you Buddy!

thumb_IMG_0099_1024In the afternoon, we went bowling as a family, and these two really got into it. I love how very dear they are to one another. The best of friends. I’m also thankful that we’re all home together during the days so we had the flexibility to go during the day since there was going to be league bowling after dinner.

When we got home, I conducted an interview with Sam.

What was the best part of being four years old?

My smartness went out. I can’t think of anything. Okay, okay … eating ice cream. It was a long time ago.

{I don’t think he understood the question.}

What do you think five years old will be like?

Ohh, having my birthday tonight – I’m eating mac-n-cheese for my birthday. And ribs.

{Again, not sure he understood the question, but we did have ribs, mac-n-cheese, green beans, cole slaw, and rolls for dinner with Grammy, Big Papa, Nannie, and Pop. 🙂 }

What is your favorite thing to learn in school?

I like my worksheets. Reading. Math. Science. And coloring.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A Dad.

How many kids are you going to have?

I think I want to choose 14. I’m going to have a lot of them!

What is your favorite book to read?

The Three Little Pigs. The one with the wolf. That’s what I’m going to read to my kids.

What is your favorite thing to do?

Hmm…play games.

What’s your favorite game?

Memory.

Now, will you ask me about Woody Woodpecker?

What is your favorite cartoon?

Woody the Woodpecker.

Who is your best friend?

Timmy! And Jackson and Emmy.

What is your favorite color?

Red.

What is your favorite thing to eat?

Fried eggs.

What is your favorite thing God made?

Toys.

What about outside?

Flowers. And playing!

What is your favorite Bible verse?

John the Baptist.

No, not person. Verse like when we do the scripture memory box together.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is GOOOOOOOD! ~Psalm 34:8a

What is your favorite thing about Daddy?

Playing baseball with him and going bowling with him.

What is your favorite thing about Mommy?

Reading books with you and sitting in your lap.

What is your favorite thing about Timmy?

Playing with him.

What’s your favorite thing to play with Timmy?

Um. Hmmm…let me think. While scratching his temple. Superheroes!

Are you looking forward to having another brother?

Probably. He could be my catcher and Timmy could be my thrower.

So, you’re the batter?

Yea.

What else would you like to say?

Um, no.

And with that, this little boy is off to play the Wii and wait for his ribs and mac-n-cheese!

It was a fun-filled 5th birthday! I look forward to another year with this little dude.

Christmas Morning 2015

This was our first Christmas in Virginia. We had a sweet time at home as a family on Christmas morning and spent the evening with family.

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These two waited very, very patiently for Mommy and Daddy to make their coffee before going in to see what Christmas presents showed up over night.

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And they were thrilled!

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Playdough is his favorite!

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Slim Jim’s were also a favorite.

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The mess of the morning fun.

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He begged me to let him take pictures. I love that he even knows how to properly hold a camera.

 

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These two curled up on their new bean bag and watched Peter Pan to wrap up their morning. And then they continued to do this over and over again every single day for the next week.