Like Legos

only more colorful

Brothers

“like legos”
Literally.
Nothing quite as bonding as a Lego catalogue.

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  • Filed under: family
  • Cubscout Campout

    The boys and I went camping at the beach at Pt. Magu Navy Base this past weekend with our cubscout pack.

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    The boys had a great time playing lots of games. Friday night after our arrival & setup we walked to the paintball range & played capture the flag… in the dark!

    capture the flag!

    Saturday there was tug-o-war

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    Three legged races

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    gunny sack races

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    crafts

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    monkeybridge

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    water balloon wars, bike ride/hiking (not pictured)

    and …

    nap time crashed

    naps!

    It was great to get a chance to know the other families better and spend time with my boys.

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    More pictures on Flickr

    “Go See It”

    Last night we had a Cub Scout “Go See It”.

    I’ll give you 3 seconds to guess where we went?

    You’re right!

    A fire station.

    Good job.

    The best part.  (Of course.)

    I think the fireman enjoyed it too!

    Inside the truck.

    Getting his Tiger beads “on” the truck.  Cool!

    The firemen even got a real life call while we were there!

    Zoom!

    Love,
    Jenn

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  • Filed under: cub scouts
  • 2 Boys, 2 Pugs, & a Shopping Cart

    The boys like walking the dogs but when Brent said they could put them in an empty shopping cart you would of thought he offered them a trip to Disneyland!

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    Make sure you wash that produce when you get home because you never know.

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  • Filed under: adventure, family
  • Taking off the the Top Hat

    I’m always the last to know.  It’s really quite pitiful.  Years ago when someone told me Paris Hilton was put in jail I responded “Really? When?”

    “A week ago.”  Followed by that all too familiar “which rock do you live under” look.

    “Oh.”

    Such was the case with the Top Hat Burger Palace.  For the last ten years I’ve been telling myself I want to try one of those burgers.  Recently, we heard Top Hat might be closing so today while downtown I noticed that it was open.   Excited and in my best Larry the Lobster voice I said, “Hey boys.  You guys wanna try a burger from  Top Hat?”  Of course, they did.  In fact, they were shocked that I was even offering.

    I promise they were more excited than they look in this picture.

    We get up to the stand and I order a burger.  “We’re out.”

    “Oh.”

    I find out that today is Top Hat’s last day so I ended up ordering a large fry instead of burgers.  I told you I’m always the last to know.


    While we waited for the fries, the boys read free real estate magazines that they grabbed from one of those corner newspaper boxes.  Maybe they’ll find us house so I can move out from under my rock.

    xoxo
    jenn

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  • Filed under: life
  • A Year in Review


    Forgive me if you didn’t get a Christmas letter.  I had good intentions of getting them all out this year but life got hectic as we packed 3 carry on suitcases for over 3 weeks of vacation in Indiana.  I still have a stack of unsent cards in my dining room.  If one belongs to you I’m sorry.  Next year!

    2009

    Two thousand and nine turned out to be a year of change for us.  Probably our biggest change was our decision to homeschool the boys.  Yes, you heard that right.  Homeschooling.  Don’t worry I won’t be wearing jean jumpers or putting my hair in a bun anytime too soon.  After countless hours of thought, research, and prayer we decided homeschooling would be the best decision for our family this year. (We are taking it year by year.)  And so far, after four months it has!  We just love the extra time with the boys and our days are much less stressful than when we were running back and forth from school, taking care of school business, and fitting in evening homework.  It’s also been great to see their relationship grow (who knew they could get along so well!) and have more time for fun activities like the classical choir they sing in and taekwondo!  Hiyaaaaa!!!  Yep, early last year, we started studying martial arts as a family.  Currently we have worked our way up to green belt!  Next step purple with our eyes set on black in the future.

    Nathanael and Noah have been living up to our “like legos” motto but instead of “we fit together like legos” it has become “there is nothing like legos”.  They continue to build and pretend for HOURS (I’m not exaggerating) a day.  We have lego boats, cars, mansion, ships, towers, billboards, stores, planes, pyramids, basically a lego cosmos growing in our house. They also enjoy playing their Wii on the weekends (see we are not total weirdoes!) and tormenting their cat, Sunny, who btw has grown fatter and lazier this past year.  He has almost caught up with the pugs, Nico and Nigel.

    Brent’s business has remained steady.  Praise God.  And as Brent is a self-employed, freelancer, I don’t say that lightly.  This year, he was given the opportunity to do more video work, which was a fun change of pace.  In July, he shot 9 children’s music videos in 3 days with yours truly as his assistant.  In the future, he hopes to do more of that sort of work.  He also helps with homeschooling by doing Bible every morning, science, and reading aloud to them every evening.  It goes without saying, that the boys LOVE this time with daddy and I appreciate his commitment/help more than I can say!

    I bet you can pretty much guess what I’ve been up too.  Teaching, kicking, driving, and assisting when needed.  The boys and I have also continued to deliver groceries to homebound elderly through the organization Shop Ahoy.  Two of our elderly friends have ended up in the county nursing home.  One is without family so she is a big part of our lives right now.  I’ve also continued writing my health and fitness blog.  In November, I changed the look and title of my blog to Girl-Heroes: The (almost) sane girls guide to insane health.  Catchy huh? J Check it out at www.girl-heroes.com.  In August I started training with kettlebells!  Kettle…what????  Kettlebells!  Think strong man sideshow circus freak!  Cannonballs with handles that you swing, press, lift, toss and swallow.  Not really!  Lovin’ the kettlebells.  Best workout ever and oh so fun!

    Well that’s pretty much covers 2009.

    We miss all of you and wish you a wonderful 2010!!!!

    Mucho Love,

    The Nims

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  • 10 Years!

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  • Filed under: adventure
  • Two Weeks Down an Adventure to Go

    We just finished up our second week of homeschooling yesterday.  Before I started I told myself I would give myself six months to adjust because I was a little worried that it would be a hard and difficult transition.  In other words, mentally I prepared for the worst: stressed out mom, miserable kids, and a dad who wanted his family out of the house.  I had told myself if this was the case I needed to give us a full 6 months to adjust before we made the decision to go back to school.  I’m thrilled to say that these last two weeks have been wonderful.  Much more wonderful than I ever imagined.  I feel peace and purpose like I’ve never experienced as a mom.  The boys are continuing to have fun and are enjoying each other unlike when they would come home from school tired and cranky.  Brent said, “It feels natural.  Like this is how our family is supposed to be.”  I can’t tell you how grateful I am that this hasn’t been the transition I had expected and that Brent is right it does feel natural.

    Two weeks ago we went on a homeschooling camping trip and one of the wise moms there who had been doing it for a while gave me this advice: “Start slowly and add subjects in as you go.”  I had been planning to start with a full day’s worth of work because I wanted to dive right in but after some thought and consideration I decided to take her advice. Brent starts the day by doing devotions with the boys.  He has mentioned to me many times how much he is enjoying this part of his day.  As far as formal subjects, I decided that I would start with the toughest and sometimes most tedious subjects (for older brother) first which are math and grammar (phonics for little brother).  I figured if we could get through those we could get through anything.  So far so good.  Nathanael doesn’t really like math.  I’m trying to make it as pleasant as possible but I also feel like there is a certain amount of “it’s just something we got to do” and “not everything is fun”.  That said, he has shown great improvement the past two weeks in his work and in his attitude.  Noah’s math is going great.  I think he has complained once but so far first grade math is pretty simple.  While Nathanael finishes up his math Noah and I snuggle on the couch and do phonics and reading.  Then Noah takes a break whilel Nathanael and I do grammar.  After that we all cozy up together on the couch for history/literature.  Both boys LOVE this and so do I.  Next week we are adding in more literature, spelling, handwriting, and science.  After much debate and many hours of research, we are really excited about our new science book Apologia’s Exploring Creation Through Astronomy by Jeannie Fullbright.  It’s a beautiful easy to understand book celebrating the glory of God in the natural world with lots experiments.  I think we will have a lot of fun with it.   I emailed her from her website and she took the time to answer my questions which I appreciated.

    The best part so far is that the stress level in our house has gone way down.  Waaaay down.  I knew running back and forth from school and fullfilling all those responsibilites that come with school (buying supplies, signing up as parent helper, ect) was wearing us down but I didn’t realize just how much until Nathanael and I were sitting in the living room one morning.  We were the only ones up chatting in the living room when he noticed kids walking by on their way to school.  With a big smile he said, “Look they are on their way to school.  I’m not.”  I asked what time it was and he went to the kitchen to look.  It was 7:45, ten minutes before we would have had to leave.  I thought back to last year.  Brent packing the lunches.  Nathanael yelling how he hates peanut butter and jelly.  Noah reminding us that he is not allowed to bring peanut butter and jelly to his class because of other children’s allergies. Nathanael complaining that everyone else gets chips and junk food why can’t he.  Packing the backpack and finding a crumpled permission slip that I was supposed to have signed two days ago along with an request to bring in “googly eyes” for a class project.  Ahhh…I’ll have to run to Michael’s this afternoon.  Then piling into the car when little brother suddenly remembers it’s “Share Day” and he has to rush in to the house to find “that one” Lego guy.

    Instead this is how our days have been going.  I get up between 5 and 6: 30 to do devotions and write.  Brent gets up around 7:30 to make breakfast and do devotions with the boys.  Around 9 I take over and we start math.  Then onto grammar and phonics.  This week handwriting and spelling will be added to our morning routine.  Then we have our snacks and dive into history, literature, and this week science.  Lunch follows and then in the afternoon we either run errands, visit with our elderly friends, have a play date, go to the library, do a craft, practice taekwondo, or just play.  We’ve done all of those things these the last two weeks.  Three or four days a week we have taekwondo in the late afternoon.  In two weeks, choir will be starting on Mondays at 12:30.  It sounds like a lot but the nice thing about it is our schedule is for the most part totally flexible so it’s not stressful.

    On Thursday we had a particularly good grammar lesson.  Our grammar book, Building with Diligence, had sandwiched this profound little lesson between lessons on finding the simple subjects and predicates.  It was about how good writers learn to use their ears and eyes more than their mouths.  It started with this little poem:

    A wise old owl
    Lived in an oak
    The more he saw,
    The less he spoke;
    The less he spoke,
    The more he heard.
    Why can’t we all
    Be like that bird?

    We talked about how we have two ears and two eyes but only one mouth and how we should see and hear twice as much as we say.  This lesson sparked wonderful conversation between Nathanael and I.   He is interested in learning to write after reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini, a homeschooled boy who wrote the book at 15.  We talked about how observing/listening is where you find the ideas or inspiration to write.   The point of the lesson was a good writer must a good observer and listener.  The conversation also led to how good it feels to be listened to and we should try to listen to people to show respect and love.  Not always easy to do but important nonetheless.  These sort of conversations are the real reasons we’ve chosen to homeschool.  Knowing how to find a simple predicate is great but doesn’t compare to learning how to silence oneself to listen and learn from the world around them.  Not only do I love teaching my kids this sort of stuff but I need the reminder myself.

    The boys also started sparring in taekwondo.  Just as I expected Noah loves it and Nathanael doesn’t.  Just like Nathanael enjoys learning the forms (a series of choreographed kicks, blocks, and punches) and Noah doesn’t.  They look really cute in their sparring gear.  I had to get them protective cups to wear and Noah exclaimed that wearing the cup is “Horror!  Pure Horror!”  He likes sparring so much though that he said he’s put up with the horror of the cup.  Brent and I will start sparring next week.

    Here are some pictures from these last two weeks.

    Reading about the early nomad's transition to farming.  Nathanael thinks shadufs are cool!

    Reading about the early nomad's transition to farming. Nathanael thinks shadufs are cool!

    Grammar

    Grammar

    Making "cave" paintings.

    Making "cave" paintings.

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    At the nursing home with Lucille.

    At the nursing home with our friend, Lucille.

    Good friends.

    Good friends.

    Saturday morning breakfast after a late night sleepover!

    Saturday morning breakfast after a late night sleepover!

    Hanging out on the deck with nasty little Nico.

    Hanging out on the deck with nasty little Nico.

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    xoxo,
    jenn

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  • Filed under: homeschooling
  • Fun at the Fair

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    Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so cheap concerned with being a good steward of our money.  Like when we were waiting to get into the fair 5 minutes before the dollar day price ended.

    All the people trying to get into by 3:00 at 2:58.

    All the people trying to get into by 3:00 at 2:58.

    We dropped my parents off near the fair then Brent and I had gone to find free parking.  The closest spot we could find was about a mile and a half away.  By the time we reached the gates it was 2:50 and the dollar admission ended at 3 pm which would be fine if half of Ventura county wasn’t trying to get in for a buck.  Brent who is normally content to be somewhat passive managed to push us through to the ticket booth in the nick of time.  2:58.  Yay Brent.

    I love the fair.  I love the smells.  Yes, I like the smell of farm animals.  I love watching the people the fair brings out of the cracks.  (Certainly not the Trader Joe’s crowd.)  I love that they have booths devoted soley to serious animal shirts.  I love watching my kids on the rides even though I’m praying that the ride holds itself together.  I love listening to carnies try to sell their games.  But most of all I love the goats.  Even though they chew my dress and eat my hat.
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    Every time I go I talk to breeders and get emails and numbers hoping one day I will actually find myself the owner of the world’s greatest pet.  (There is a lady in Camarillo who is selling brother and sister Pygmies and a young blue-eyed Nigerian Dwarf doe.  I will happily accept late birthday presents.)

    They look like hamsters!

    They remind me of a mound of hamsters!

    This year Older Brother  and Younger Brother were getting along particularly well.  It’s interesting to note that since they quit going to school we’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in their behavior.  We are spending more time actually watching/listening to them play instead of being referees.  Hallelujah.  At the fair, Older Brother, wanted to make sure Younger Brother didn’t get lost so he held his hand most of the day.  These are my favorite pictures of the bunch.   (You may have already seen them on Flickr)

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    Big Brother hates, yes HATES, rides that spin, flip, jerk, or go faster than .5 miles per hour.  I thought I was going to lose my life after I convinced him to ride this.  It goes up and around fast…sort of.

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    Younger Brother, however, believes the faster the higher to better.  I can just see the future.  Can someone get me a Xanax please?

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    Here are a few more pictures because…well….fairs are fun.

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    Watch out Evil Knievel.

    Watch out Evil Knievel.

    Llama love.

    Llama love.

    We had our first official day homeschooling yesterday.  It was great!   I would have blogged about that but this post has been sitting in my drafts for well over two weeks.

    xoxo
    j

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  • Filed under: adventure
  • Catch Up.

    I know I said I would be blogging more (and I will) be but this past month I have had a good excuse: the tenants moved out of our rental.  Never ever buy income property unless one it actually produces income and two you can afford the maintenance.  Live and learn.  So the first two weeks of August I was down at the rental cleaning and painting, cleaning and painting, and cleaning and painting.  My mom and dad were here for a visit and helped out as well.  Thanks guys!!!!  We appreciate it SO MUCH!!!!  The new tenants moved in last weekend.  That should mean everything should be good right?  No.  Thursday afternoon we found out there was a gas leak and Brent spent the afternoon helping the plumber to dig a trench to replace it.  Friday the gas was turned back on but then we received a message that the water heater needs more ventilation.  Oh and there’s the screen door we still need to replace.  And the window.  The blinds got stuck.  The carpet still smells.  Every time my phone rings I jump thinking someone is calling to tell me a crocodile has crawled out of the toilet into the bathroom.

    At home the boys have been playing Legos NONSTOP.  Like Older Brother’s seat?  It’s an empty planter.  Yes, that’s a robe he is wearing.  “Rich guys” wear them even robes with race cars on the front.

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    They’ve made some really great creations including mansions, an rv, an airport, a toy store.  In fact, we have a Lego city spread out through our home.  Here is a close up of the restaurant in the living room.

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    “I’m rich.  I’m not poor.  I work here because I want too.  I actually work here for free.” The exact words I heard Big Brother’s Lego restaurant worker say to Little Brother’s Lego guy.  Interesting customer service.

    This same restaurant worker has a billboard size painting of himself in the town.

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    They’ve been playing Legos so much, younger brother’s new line of defense is, I won’t play Legos with you ever again.”  This always gets older brother upset.  He comes running, “Mama make him play Legos with me.”  Of course this just reinforces younger brother’s get-what-I-want-tactic works.    But they always make up.  See?  That purple thing is a massager.  I even think I heard Noah say sweetly, “I’ll always be your servant.”  Jessica, sound familiar?

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    Sunny is always nearby.  Sometimes right there watching the action or sleeping or disassociating.

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    Speaking of pet’s coping mechanisms.  Check out Nigel.   I think he’s having a mid-life crisis.  Instead of a small sports car he found a small box.  That’s a faucet box, half his size.

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    Nigel is looking old.  Brent said, “I know he looks old but when I look at him I still see the same cute pup we got 9 years ago.”  Awwww….so sweet.  I hope he feels the same way about me in 30 years.

    That’s all for now.  I’ll catch you up on the fair and our taekwondo testing later this week.

    love,
    jenn

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  • Filed under: life