Jeff and I attended the NCAA basketball games here in Houston over the weekend. We were seated at center court...about a mile up! But, really, our seats were awesome! We could see all the action on the court, and what we missed was at eye-level on the Jumbotron. Wish our Aggies could have been there, but we still had a blast!!
Well, I've always known that my daughter was brilliant, but now a lot more people are aware of that fact. Ruth competed today in the PSIA (UIL for private schools) District Meet. Our district consists of four private schools (with maybe 50-100+ total competitors each) and three home school families. For second grade, there are three possible contests: Storytelling, Creative Writing, and Spelling. Ruth competed in all three. And, she brought home two medals: first place for Creative Writing and second place for Spelling!!! Plus, she gets to advance to the State meet, which will be held in Ft. Worth (at TCU) in a few weeks. We are thrilled beyond belief and so very proud of our girl!!
I have been taking Max to the toddler story time at the library during the past month, and he absolutely LOVES it! He sings along with most of the songs and (get this) sits still during the stories, hanging on every word. He has even made some friends. I think it's awesome that he is following in the footsteps of his older siblings (while still marching to the beat of his own drum, of course), who also loved the weekly story times back in their day.
Today brought us to the end of Spring Break and to the last stop on our CityPass, which was NASA. We had so much fun learning about the space program and the astronauts and exploring all the equipment. And, the kids loved playing on one of the largest indoor playgrounds ever and eating astronaut ice cream. What a wonderful Spring Break we had right here in our own backyard!
On Tuesday morning we implemented Plan B because of the weather. We had originally planned to visit an historic ranch, but ended up going to the Health and Science Museum instead. And I don't think there is any way Plan A could have been more fun than Plan B. The kids had a blast looking at huge bugs, watching a dissection of a real sheep heart, working out mind benders, exploring the human body, and so much more.
On Tuesday afternoon, the kids and I packed up the van and headed northwest to my parents' house. We stayed the night there and then got up Wednesday morning to head further north and further west to my grandparents' house. My cousin, who is serving our country in the Marines, is deploying tomorrow for a tour of duty in Afghanistan, so we all gathered to give him some loving before he leaves and just to enjoy some quality family time.
This morning we were greeted with cold, rainy weather. But that didn't stop us from celebrating Spring with some of Ruth's closest friends. She invited five little ladies over for a tea party deluxe. The girls decorated their own hats for the party and then dined on the finest tea party cuisine: cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad and crackers, quiche, fruit tarts, scones, lemonade, and, of course, hot tea. The girls were adorable in their beautiful dresses, and everyone had a blast.
After all the girls had gone home and the boys woke up from their naps, we made our way to the Downtown Aquarium, where the children enjoyed being eye-level with some beautiful and interesting fish. Their favorite part was the petting pool, where they were able to touch some sting rays and small sharks. We then had dinner in the aquarium's restaurant, which was a real treat for the eyes and the stomach.
This year for Spring Break we decided to spend most of our time local, so we bought the City Pass for Houston. That is a deeply discounted pass that allows us to see six Houston attractions in nine days. Today was museum day. Specifically, we visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Children's Museum. And we had a blast!!! Can't wait for our next adventure tomorrow!
School is going really well for Ruth...and really fast. We cannot believe it's already March and time for Spring Break. As usual, I'll just try to hit the highlights here of what Ruth has been doing during the past month.
She finished her fourth Spelling book and started her fifth. (We're using the Spelling Workout series, in case you're wondering). And she is still practicing for her Spelling competition, which is coming up at the end of this month.
She is working on division in math and is perfecting some of her other skills.
In history, she has studied about the Russian invasion of Constantinople, Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible, the Ottoman Empire, The Plague, Joan of Arc, the War of the Roses, and King Richard III.
In science, she has studied about astronauts, comets, the Hubble Space Telescope and some other fascinating space topics.
She has been working on writing some longer descriptive papers in writing class and continues to practice for her creative writing competition later this month.
She absolutely adores her piano teacher and is gaining many new skills in her weekly lessons.
She also really enjoys her Super Friday classes and has done some really neat things so far this semester. In her Little House on the Prairie class she has learned to make butter, made a corn husk doll, made and painted a pinch pot--all while reading through the Little House in the Big Woods with her classmates. In Art, she has turned a regular Snapple bottle into a beautiful vase, done a watercolor painting of a dolphin, a bean mosaic, a drawing of her interpretation of a "secretary bird" and a silly picture in the style of Marc Chagall. And in Knitting, she has been working on a coin purse, which she hopes to finish tomorrow so she can begin another project.
Sometime last week, Max found the bag of marbles that we use with our Chinese checkers game. He managed to tear it open and proceeded to throw the marbles down the stairs one at a time so that they made a nice sound as they bounced on the tile at the bottom. It almost drove me crazy. I began gathering up marbles and having the children do the same, but I was sure there were still many lurking in unseen corners. Since that day, the insanity factor at our house has gone up exponentially. Max continues to find marbles and to bounce them on the tile. And, I am finding them stashed away in some very interesting places: Max's mouth, Weston's mouth, bowls and cups in the kitchen, under the dining room table, in the house plants, etc. And tonight, in the garbage disposal. You can bet that was a pleasant sound, and rather difficult to spot without sticking my arm down there up to the elbow, which sort of gives me the heebies. I am now on a mission to place all the marbles under lock and key, only to be released with parental authority or otherwise on penalty of death. I never knew that millions of marble were required to play Chinese checkers. And provided I haven't lost all my marbles, we may actually be able to play that game again at some point in the future--maybe when Max is grown with marble-bouncing children of his own.
My sister is currently in school to become a certified teacher. For one of her classes, she was asked to involve a few children in a Flat Stanley project. The kids read the book about Flat Stanley and then spend a week with him, journaling about their adventures and taking pictures with him. My sister (affectionately called Tia by the kids) asked Ruth to participate, and Ruth had a blast hanging out with Flat Stanley last week and writing about everything they did. Thanks, Tia, for introducing us to Flat Stanley and for letting him be a part of our family for a week.
Spring is approaching, but yesterday felt more like fall. And when the kids asked to rake Aunt Bekki's leaves, the feeling of fall became all the more real. The kids had a blast gathering up the leaves and then jumping in the pile over and over. My favorite is the one where you can just barely see Weston's face peeking out of the leaves.