Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome, welcome back!!!

Greetings Everyone!!!    (WARNING - This is a very photo heavy post!!!  I strongly suggest grabbing a warm cup of something before settling in to read!! :)A stretch and a yawn and we're back IN after an AMAZING 3 week vacation!!  The first of the 3 weeks found all 3 kids and myself sick with a terrible head cold.  What a bummer!!  But we snuggled, ate homemade chicken soup and rested.  It was relatively unproductive but quiet and calm.  I couldn't ask for more during a "sick" week.  We were also happily celebrating the Hanukkah holiday.  I am Jewish and my husband is not.  We have always celebrated both holidays and educated our children sharing our family traditions.  We realized VERY early on that we could not and did not want to give toys for both holidays for our children.  That lead to, to put it simply, INSANITY.  We decided that giving books and art supplies was the way to go for Hanukkah and then let Christmas handle the rest!  Every night of Hanukkah we collectively lit the candles and opened many, many amazing books.  The kids never complain or fuss that it's all educational.  They LOVE new books!

Week two was just awesomely gangbusters!  Everyone was on the mend and it was Daddy's birthday!!  We really don't get into the holiday spirit until AFTER Ian's birthday which is just days before Christmas.  We had a wonderful celebration with our families and it was a great way to kick off Christmas week.  Ian was off fully for two weeks which was WONDERFUL!!!  Having him home, knowing he's stress free (mostly) from work was the biggest gift I could have asked for.  We all wrapped, shopped, hung out, cooked, organized, celebrated, snuggled, played (lots!), ate good food, watched fun movies, read amazing books, went on a couple of day trips (one was to the Eric Carle Museum!!), did projects around the house and generally and truly enjoyed ourselves.  What a treat...really...and what an amazing way to kick off the new year!

Rather than drone on about everything we did I'm going to post pictures and put little blurbs under them in the event that you are interested.  If not, that's ok, too!!
Reading under the tree!  One school-like thing I kept going while we were on vacation was their DEAR time.  They love to read but left to their own devices they will simply forget!  Here Kendall snuggled up under the tree to enjoy the beautiful light!
Tee-pee reading!
All prepped for Hanukkah!!
snuggled playing a new Lego Batman game
playing with Oobleck - it NEVER gets old!
Happy first night of Hanukkah!
Opening a BEAUTIFUL new fairy pop-up book!
same book only Dragons!
 a so sniffly baby
everyone's got it...snuggled down for the day
LOVES to draw!
#winterrunning - it's really the only thing that works
more Oobleck!
We have a crazy light show just down the street from our house - we HAD to go as it was the last year and I wanted to be able to tell Ari that he indeed saw it
I promise that we are literally driving 1 mph!  I'd never let my children be unrestrained in any other situation!  
there are about 20 of these larger than life display boxes with all different themed scenes
he was insistent on sitting with me until we were done!  
Hanukkah time!!
Fairy book wonderland!
robots and dragons, oh my!
and who can escape the allure of fake teeth!?
my #1 elf!
robot sticker mania

why yes, that IS a spaghetti and meatball sub!!  
Ty's drawing keeps getting better and better!
my new and healthy lip balm addiction
more fairies!!!
We totally LOVE Usborne!
Family day out and about!!  Our absolutely FAVORITE boutique!!!
heart shaped potato latkes?  yes please!
starting her young!
120 latkes - you're welcome!  ;)
lentils - fun sensory play! 
night #7
Happy Birthday to Daddy!!!
Night #8
more #winterrunning (I think hash tagging is funny)
roasted veggies for Christmas Day dinner
getting fun and funky with kid lunches
gluten free Yorkshire Pudding
Our Annual Night Before Christmas reading
It looks this beautiful only once a year!
It's awesome and beautiful - and kind of looks like the tree threw-up presents!  ha!
This was on my pillow when I got into bed on Christmas Eve...swoon...
Quite a haul!!
Ho! Ho! Ho!  Santa put all of her gifts in the tee-pee!!  ;)
donut earmuffs!!
cheeseburger earmuffs!
Can ANYONE tell me why these toys - even on the "lowest" setting are so darn loud!?  He loves it though!!
Yes...Santa hooked Ty up BIG TIME!!  
Awwwwwwwwww Uncle Beefy
Auntie and Mimi!
Love this kid...SO much!
there are no words... lol
Awwwwwwww Auntie!
Dressed for Christmas Day dinner!  She has on a red, satin dress with a poofy underskirt, an Iviva (Lululemon for kids) sweatshirt, fleece lined leggings and new sparkly cowgirl boots from Santa!  She is STYLIN!!  I wish I could harness a tiny bit of her fashionista style!!  LOVE!!
If I look awkward it's because I foolishly thought I could rock stupid 4"!!  They looked back was literally in spasms the entire next day!  Damn is stinks getting old!  ;)
Ty is rockin' the new Under Armour for xmas!
He's at that stage where he's IMPOSSIBLE to capture because he's constantly in motion.  Anyway his shawl collar is ridiculously adorable!
After icing my back for hours the day after Christmas we decided to get out of the house and take a walk at our local Audubon society - it was gorgeous!
this picture makes me teary - just so beautiful
as does this one...she looks SO grown up!
and then there's THIS guy!  
my love....
a pencil in hand all.the.time cranking out amazing drawings...
so creative - and can you tell that we watched How to Train Your Dragon 2?  ;)
Her illustrations are so sweet and light compared to his!  It fascinates me that as similar as they are they are so different in so many ways!
Post Christmas creating!!
my amazing brood!
soooooo sweet...

that smile...
who doesn't love a cake pop?!
one is more amazing than the other!
a noodle-less veggie lasagna! beets, zucchini, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, broccolini, eggplant, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel...marinara sauce, Romano sauce and straight up cottage cheese - it was DIVINE!
a visit to the mall - POST-Christmas - well post Christmas!!  
totally empty!  yay!!!
hahaha...the kids think the "Push It" commercial with Salt n Pepa is hysterical as do we!!  The funny thing about that commercial is that I had literally not a week before introduced them to Salt N Pepa and Spinderella explaining how influential they were and how cutting edge they were for women who rap in their day!  
he literally JUST learned to eat oranges from the rind! 
very proud of himself!
LOVES this music puzzle that Auntie gave him!
This sums up Kendall and Tyler - they are 10 and 8 and they play bakery with their stuffed animals for HOURS...I ADORE this quality in both of them.  Their imaginative play boggles the mind...and warms my heart to no end. annoying as the photos may be they keep me motivated!
Eric Carle Museum!!  
their art studio was INSANE!!  so fun and appropriate for all ages.  It was brilliantly thought out.
Having dinner at a place that we used to go all the time when I was at UMASS!  Our favorite - Fitzwilly's!!
Hmmmmmmmm shall I have the steak or chicken?
Hello up there!
Ahhhhhh...the Hotel Northampton - my FAVORITE!!
Snuggled down for some good drawing time - yes - he's wearing my sweater...always...
his attention to detail amazes me
and his style changes so quickly - he's so versatile
Amazing gluten free goodies from our local GF bakery!
learning how to make hummus for NYE!
smash the garlic
into the Cuisinart
get those seeds out!
fresh lemon juice only!
My first attempt at Tadig - a Persian rice.  It wasn't an epic fail but it didn't totally work either.  It tasted great tho!
Stayin' up late after everyone left!
We made it until midnight!!  We did crafts until 10:30 and then watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium!
instead of my feet - the sky was so beautiful I figured I'd capture it =)
Visiting cousin Anne and Patrick in the city!
another bedtime present on my pillow =)
We brought down the art table from when the older kids were babeis.  Ari LOVES to draw and he's been sitting here pretty much ever since!!
Until he got the stomach flu!?!!  WTF?!!?  lol!  It only lasted 24 hours thankfully!  But man - can this kid throw up!?!  
YAY!!!  Success at Tadig!!  It's a little burned but it tasted AMAZING!! 
playing a storytelling game
more gaming...and NOT the electronic kind!
my sweet baby girl...
and my darling first boy!!
so fun!
The Palace of Versailles - yes - you heard me...good lord I love these kids...
Snowman soup thanks to our friend Ella!!
Ty made these two drawings for Ian for his birthday
This totally reminds me of the scene in Forrest Gump where he sits with his little boy - swoon...I get teary...she is the best big sister EVER
homemade potato chips!  yum!
my favorite gift from my MIL!  It's an amazing sign that's now in my kitchen!

Today we started a somewhat new-ish organizing style to our days.  I have bundled their individual weekly core work together (grammar and math) into one packet.  I am going to use these packets to pull from each week and let them work through them at their own pace.  I assisted them today as this is new but in time I'm hoping it'll foster more independence and allow them to complete their work a little faster so we have more time for fun topics!

Our theme this week is ancient civilization focusing specifically on Mesopotamia.  The children did their spelling, handwriting, grammar, DEAR time, math, theme specific exercises and then we had art!!  This week's art is focusing on the style of Eric Carle.  He is one of the children's favorite picture book authors and we had a visit out to the Eric Carle museum in Amherst over the break.  It's simply breathtaking!  We ended the day by painting tissue papers in his style - such a fun and messy way to end the day!
ready to start the day!
back in action!
hahahah...his new mug kills me ;)

Ty's art journaling

so proud of himself as he worked through advanced alphabetical order


doing math on the art table as I got ready for art
very basic but challenging enough to get the math cobwebs out of her brain from break!
same with Ty!
now THAT'S a pretty picture!
making Eric Carle proud!
I even joined in!!  
as did Tyler's lizard!
Eat your heart out Jackson Pollock!
See you tomorrow!!!