Wednesday, September 24, 2014

first day of school 2014/2015

This is will technically be our 9th year homeschooling. We count from the very beginning:  Noah's birth. We have had to teach him everything since then after all! But more officially, we've been doing this since he was three for preschool in 2008. Crazy looking at this old post from that time.  

After that, there was formal Sonlight preschool when Noah was four. Here's all of our books, which was crazy because it was JUST preschool and he did not need all of that stuff! It was definitely more like kindergarten or even first grade! I was so worried though.

Then we had so much curriculum left over and I didn't want Noah to be the youngest boy in his class (April 19 birthday) that we decided to hold him back for kindergarten. So when Noah was five, we did preschool again, using up the other half of our Sonlight preschool curriculum. 

Finally then there was Kindergarten when Noah was six.

For First Grade in Rapid City, Noah was 7 years old and Evie did preschool at four. 

For Second and Third grade Noah was 8 years old and Evie did Kindergarten at five.

And this year, for third/fourth grade Noah is 9 years old and Evie is doing 1st grade. I've decided that Noah is too old to be doing 3rd grade and he's ahead already so we're pretty much doing 4th grade work this year.

That was a fun trip down memory lane for me! Wow, we've come so far already.

In South Dakota, in order to homeschool, all you have to do is fill out a little form and get it on file with your school district. Evie and I took care of that on the last possible day - the Friday, August 22nd, before school started in Rapid City (and our home) on the 25th. She wanted her photo taken in front of the School Administration's funny blue fountain. 

So Monday, August 25th, dawned clear and bright and we started school. I had good intentions of getting Noah ahead in some subjects over the summer to get him closer to 4th grade work, but that did not happen. So we started cold turkey. This is what I found when I went down to the nearly remodeled school room:  The kids are also learning piano this year. Not Samuel though. Just Evie and Noah.

One last relaxing rest on the couch before we buckled down. 

Okay, so maybe I took some photos real quick first. Here's 1 year old Ezra who is learning to...walk better. Yeah. 

Next is three and a half year old Samuel who is continuing to improve his caveman speech through some speech therapy and the school district's communication preschool. 

Goofy six year old Evie is doing first grade. 

Firstborn (in every sense of the word) Noah, who is nine, is essentially doing 4th grade. 

I had to get a group shot before we sat down at the table together and realized how difficult it was to begin after a long summer break. Here we are blissfully unaware.

Everyone knows home schooled kids are "weird" so here you go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

another bike path ride

I have realized lately, or rather remembered, that I really enjoy being outside. In high school my email address was outdoorsy5221. Ha! Terry and I joke that I should be called "indoorsy" now. 

So anyway, I feel better about life the more I'm outside. However, since we homeschool, I'm home all day every day with all four of my kids! Sometimes the walls start to close in and I feel I must escape. I would like to get out into the Hills more - it's just lovely living here! But nap times always throw a wrench in hiking some place "far" away. It seems easier to go for a bike ride through town on the bike path. On Friday we went on our third time down the bike path in the last month or so. 

The leaves are just starting to turn here and it was so picturesque that I got out my cell phone and took some photos while I was riding. This is back behind the disc golf course

You can see Mr. Dinosaur on the hill :)

Next to the creek by Sioux Park.

Rapid Creek is quite high these days - I think perhaps they are letting out extra water from Canyon Lake since they're going to drain it to re-do the dam. Under this bridge by McDonalds, the water wasn't as deep as it appears and was fun riding through.

This is coming up on Omaha Street with M Hill rising up. The School of Mines students were actually all at the park for the annual white washing of the M so we got to ride right through them and see them washing all the white paint off themselves in the creek. 

Once we made it to Memorial Park, we parked our bikes on the bridge and enjoyed the view for a while.

Ezra was especially glad to get out of his seat.

Me and my baby.

Noah and Evie were "so bored" so they got on their bikes and rode around the flowers pots. 

I love the creek and would be in heaven if I could ever live by one. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

first snowman...and apples

On September 11th, it snowed. Even though it was still summer. The snow and clouds and furnace heat and jeans and socks were totally depressing and unwelcome to me, but my kids were excited. Probably because the boys got to break out their new winter coats and there's more to do in the back yard when there's snow - Evie went out in the morning and made a snowman (she especially likes to do this). At least we didn't get an Atlas for our first snow like last year - shudder.

The following day, Friday, was Terry's day off. He's taken the lead as far as our apples go. He got out the ladder and apple picker and got to work gathering some together. I should really be making a pie, applesauce and apple butter right now. But I don't want to. I might go eat one though...

Dropping apples.

Thankfully the snow melted very fast. The snowman held on through the day :) 

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 in 1 ranch birthday

Terry turned 36 on September 3rd. His birthday always slides under the radar because it's before Youth Group has started and it's not listed on facebook. He gets this day off from work so we were able to go shopping for a gift all together. He chose to get his mountain bike tuned up. Kind of boring but that's what he wanted! It needed to happen. The seat had even fallen off. 

That evening I made spiral sandwiches without the cheese soup since it was so hot out. Terry made a break from his usual favorite angel food cake for chocolate cake and frosting. I was all too happy to oblige. We celebrated just the six of us since we were planning to go to the ranch to celebrate Alice's birthday from August 26th, Terry's on September 3rd and mine coming up on September 17th.

So that Saturday, the 6th, we headed out the ranch for an afternoon of fun outside, dinner, cake and games. 

While Terry and his dad were trying to get the motorcycle to work (for some mysterious reason, it quit after we had only driven it a couple weeks before), Samuel was impatiently asking to go on the four wheeler. He used to be terrified of the thing just a few months ago. I'm glad he's wised up.

They got it started by pulling it, however that works. 

Terry just looks so big on it. Ha!

But get it started they did, and then Noah took a few turns up and down the drive way in first gear. He doesn't want to learn to switch to second gear yet but he'll get there. 

Jerry has some renters in the house we lived in before we went to Gburg and they have kids Noah and Evie's age. So Carson came by for a bit. 

While Shari and I were comfortably watching the fun from the shade, I took a creepy photo of myself with baby Sarah. She's just so darn cute! 

I don't know why but the bike died. They had to tow it back. Nice tow truck right? Hehehe. 

Terry wanted to go for a ride on his bike and we thought Samuel should go. He did not want to. This used to be his reaction to the four wheeler.  

He calmed down pretty quick though. 

While Terry and Samuel were off, Carson learned how to drive the golf cart. Noah didn't want to for some reason. 

I went to find Terry and then we went out together with Noah and Samuel. 

Samuel had to ride with me on the four wheeler. He tries to drive the thing and turns the handle bars when he wants us to turn. Little punk.

Terry wanted to go over some little hills overlooking the creek and field next to the road. 

Noah was freaking out at this point because it was a little steep. But really he had fun. 

"Are you coming or what?" 

It was just so pretty out there that I had to take some photos. I wanted to keep going forever! 

Here we are close to where Terry proposed to me.  

We made our way back to the one corner of land that has some pine trees on it. Having a cabin back there would be amazing. 

I just wanted to sit there and enjoy the view but we kept riding. It was so beautiful and the weather was perfect. 

One more shot. I had so many pretty pictures that maybe I should have posted them to facebook, but I settled for a long blog post :) 

all drains lead to the ocean

Terry's sister asked us to feed their fish a couple weeks ago while they went to Sioux Falls for a wedding reception. Terry went that night and found their fat goldfish stuck, swimming upwards in the little shelter thing.

He couldn't get him out no matter what he tried so he finally grabbed Shari's tweezers and gently pulled him out. Then he started swimming upside down...  Not a good sign. 

I think that the fish was in it's death throws the night before and that's why it was swimming in the tower. The following morning, before church, we went over to feed the fish and found fat goldfish dead, floating in the water. 

I must have a dark sense of humor. Terry felt bad that their fish was dead, especially on our watch, but I thought it was really funny. We recorded this video of Terry's eulogy to the fish to send to Shari. Didn't think she'd want us to keep the fish around for them to flush themselves. After all, as Shari reminded us, all drains lead to the ocean.

I accidentally took a photo of Terry washing his hands afterwards and thought it was rather appropriate.  And humorous. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

flume hike

The day after we biked the bike path, we went for a hike. I don't think I've been on a legit hike since we returned to Rapid. When we were in Nebraska, I always missed the hills, but for some reason, I now we never get out into them! Probably has something to do with having a baby. And three other kids. The punks!

My friend Frannie had told me about this Flume hike and gave me directions. I also checked online so we wouldn't get lost. It was only about 20 minutes from home right off Sheridan Lake Road so that was nice. Before we started we visited my parents who were picnicking right up the road at Dakota Point where I used to cliff jump. Then we started our hike with all four kids. And Snap.

Here we are just starting.

Evie especially loved the bridges but Samuel was a bit scared. 

Here we are at the other end of the longer tunnel. There was a hiker who had come up from the opposite side of the trail and met us here so we had her take our photo. We had been planning on turning around at this point to go back since the kids (Samuel) were whining, but she informed us that we were nearly to the end if we took a left from the trail not far ahead of us. All we had to do was follow the way she had come, veering off the trail to the left and down the hill back to the parking lot. I didn't realize the hike was a loop. Turns out we took the long way to the tunnels but got to hike next to the Spring Creek, which was beautiful and fun for Snap to swim and drink from. But we were so thankful to have met this woman who helped us out.

Ezra needed a turn to walk his slow baby legs not far from when we took the shortcut down the hill. 

When we came out of the trees and saw the parking lot across the creek, we were like Hallelujah! We had only been gone about two hours, but the littles were so done. I think we'll have to do this hike again now that we know how to do it properly. says I burned over 1000 calories! Haha, I kind of doubt it.