Recently, Jed has shown in a lot of interest in sewing. We started with hand sewing, he made some super cute handmade pillows but his stitches are rather loose. Not surprising, Jed is always frustrated because his motor skills can't keep up with his brain.
Then I decided he probably was up to using the sewing machine. So last week I got out some fabric and we practiced sewing along the lines. He is really amazingly good. He is very precise, just like his daddy. Ever since then, he has been sewing self-designed Christmas gifts like a mad man. They are turning out really darling, he is so proud of himself. It is fun to see him develop a new talent. He is going to be a sewing boy, just like his Uncle Eric and his daddy.
Zane takes after his big brother. When ever it's quiet for a little while, I find him hidden away in a quiet spot, perusing a book.
He looks at books like this for hours and it is intensely charming. So different from Zoe, who only recently has been able to hold still long enough to listen to a book, let alone lay around looking at one herself! My boys are my readers, for sure.
Yesterday after some wrestling to try and get the darn kids to write something, I finished up with sufficient success and helped them do a crossword puzzle to finish up our morning. Then I went in the bathroom for a few minutes. Jed came running up crowing loudly “MOM! LOOK AT ME GO!” and there, written across the top of his crossword page. It was like all these years of talking and phonics finally clicked and he was literally screaming and jumping up and down with excitement. “I CAN WRITE A SENTENCE!!!!!” After came a veritable flood of writing, sheets and sheets and sheets of everything he’s been wanting to communicate for years. His little face lit up. I can’t even express how miraculous and exciting it was to see his mind make that connection and rejoice in it!
After that came a veritable flood of writing. He is so proud! "Today is a day that Jed wants to play!"
I thought perhaps some drawing lessons would improve Jed's penmanship. He loves all things artistic. We found some cartooning videos for kids on YouTube. Everybody loved it, even mom! The kids were begging for more, but have to wait till tomorrow. Here are some of Jed's creations.
Fish, rabbit, butterfly
Here is Zoe's "scary bear". She says she wants to pin it to her Halloween costume and make people scream.
But you'd never guess because he's such a happy little man!
Just over a week ago, the kids were up on the bunk bed watching a video when somehow Zane fell off the ladder and onto the floor. He landed on a rug, and we have an unusually short bunk bed, so initially I thought he would be ok. But he cried and cried that night, and kept pointing to his neck, which was concerning. He had a big ol' black bruise on his ear, so we thought maybe that was it. Not sure but decided to give him some painkiller and a good night's sleep and reassess in the morning.
The next morning he woke up sad. I felt his shoulder and there was a familiar feeling bump. Yes, we had another little boy with a bump like that just about four years ago! Jed fell down the stairs and broke his collarbone at approximately the same age, vividly remembered because he managed to break it about 12 hours before his baby sister was born, and the poor kid didn't get diagnosed for days in the flurry of a new house-mate. Anyway, we knew the drill and that most likely nothing could be done, but we got it checked anyway just to make sure the bone wasn't displaced. It wasn't, he came home loaded up on Daddy-love and M&Ms and woke up the next day right as rain. Supposedly in two weeks he should be pretty much self-repaired, and over the next few years as he grows his body will naturally correct the angled bone. (Isn't that amazing!? He's an amazing kid.)
I’ve been taking the kids garage sale-ing nearly every week this fall. I figure what better way is there for kids to learn money, math, and financial management than to earn their money and then go out and buy stuff every week. Jed in particular has been a huge proponent of this plan, and I will say the kids have bought some pretty sweet new toys with their weekly coinage.
Last Friday Zoe had 25c in small change clutched in her sweaty, mashed up ziploc bag. She came over to me, thrilled with a small kaleidescope she’d found rummaging around in a box of miscellania. She wanted to know how much it cost, and I told her to go ask the lady running the sale. Before, this would have been a tremendously scary proposition, but the drive for money and toys will overcome all fears.
Zoe walked up to her. “How many dollars is this?”
She looked back up at me. “Is that all my money?”
She frowned at the little bagged sack of coins in her palm. Then she looked at the kaleidescope. Then back at the coins. She turned to the woman.
“Hmmmm....Can I pay you....”
“Can I pay you... one...?”
Muffling a laugh as I realized my daughter was bargaining to buy this toy for one cent, but couldn’t remember the name of her coins, I gently suggested she offer one dime, rather than one penny.
“One dime!” she offered generously and slid it across the table.
The lady, grinning widely, laughed at said “Little girl, you can just have it.”
“OK, here’s my dime.”
“No, little girl, you keep the dime and you keep the kaleidescope!”
Triumphantly, Zoe returned with bag of coins and kaleidescope in hand.
Perhaps to you these photos seem dull or pointless. But to me they are an explosion of parental success. These are my children!!! Playing with dogs!!!! You have no idea how many hundred thousand hours of effort have gone into these photos.
First the kids had to prepare "Shorty" the mustang for riding. He needed a good brushing.
After getting the blanket on, our friend Maxine asked who wanted to go first! Nobody of course. Stanfill childen have a strict "no volunteering" policy. Then Jed said "Well I guess it is going to have to be me..." Way to take one for the team, big guy. I could tell that secretly he was really excited to get up on that little horse. After he got the hang of it, Zoe hopped on behind him and they took a walk around the field. Jed loves being the big strong brother.
Later Zoe hopped off and joined the cheerleaders.
Jed rode again and again. Gramps did a lot of walking around that field.
Jed absolutely loved it. (Note the awesome matching hats.)
Finally Jed helped take off shorty's gear and brush him down.
Granny and Poppa's dirt pile is a long standing summer tradition. Zane is in on the action this year, even though he can't get off the pile himself and will stand shrieking atthetop for someone to come hold his filthy, sweaty little boy paw so he can get down and do some more running. Even though we are in the middle of a heat wave, that hasn't stopped the kids at all.
Nearby, Jed has built a new fort against the woodpile. Building the fort is another annual Granny and Poppa event.
This year, Jed is particularly pleased with the furniture and wood flooring that he has installed.
Meanwhile, Zoe is cooking up a storm on the dirt pile. "Who wants dirt for breakfast?!"
Zane and I are hiding out in the fort, keeping cool in the shade while the others play on the pile. Hot fun in Montana.
(Let's be honest, hot fun in a Montana heatwave is still cooler than regular summer fun in Indiana. But we shall seewhen it gets up to 104 this afternoon!)
Granny and Papa started beehives and we got to look inside and find the queen! So exciting! Jed and Zoe weren't afraid at all, they loved it. They kept complaining that they couldn't get close enough to see the cool stuff!
We had our first real harvest from the garden today. After a very rocky start thanks to chilly temps, a million slugs, and a gazillion rabbits, our poor little garden is finally hitting its stride. The lettuce, chard, spinach and beet greens are abundant but in our family the favorite crop is GREEN BEANS!! My kids love to "harvest " lunch in the garden. Even little Zane munched like mad. I think we harvested about half a gallon, and I am pretty sure the bucket will be empty before we head inside this afternoon!
Jed started first grade a few weeks ago. He still isn't too hot on the reading idea, so I am not pushing him. He loves books and loves read alouds. He still especially loves poetry. Right now we are reading the Henry Huggins books and giggling up a storm.
Jed has always loved math. Last year we did some workbook pages and he liked it for maybe a week, and then it was just too boring frustrating for him so we stopped. I noticed he is a lot more focused so far this year though, so I pulled them out today with a bag of manipulatives that I used when I was a child. So far we've been down here for an hour adding and subtracting our little hearts out!
As I was reading up on the Indiana standards for kindergarten, I pleasantly noted that although we did practically zero book work in the past year, Jed has mastered nearly all of the skills required. The only one I saw that we haven't done is counting by fives and twos. So today I pulled up three or four YouTube videos with songs about counting by fives. Within 20 minutes he could easily count to 100 and beyond by fives.
Yay for homeschooling! Yay for letting kids learn when they are ready!