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Be JOYFUL always, PRAY without ceasing, give THANKS in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:16-18

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fourth of July

Ok... Let's back up just a bit to July 4th.  This year it was a rainy and cold 4th, so we spontaneously decided to go up to Cincinnati to the aquarium.  A lot of other people must have had our idea because it was packed, but it was a fun and memorable day for sure.

waiting under cover while daddy
waited in line in the pouring rain for tickets

petting some sting rays

admiring the fish



Rivers' favorite by Far

petting sharks

The next day was beautiful so we went out to Bryant's Blueberry Farm and picked 11 pounds of blueberries.  I think Maddie just may have eaten as many as she picked and as a result literally made herself sick.  Needless to say we've been enjoying lots of blueberries this past month.


Well it's time for another school year to start next week.  It's hard to believe that this summer has flown by as quick as it did.  Before we start a new year I wanted to recap Kindergarten.  
First Day!
I'm so, so proud of Madeline and her finishing Kindergarten so well!  I was surprised by all the material we covered in a year and how quick and eager (most days) to learn.  There were days of course that were harder than others and that she would rather be playing with Rivers and Gloria. We both grew in learning to be patient with each other, her with me especially through the first trimester and end of Jack Housley's pregnancy.  I grew in learning to show strength and grace at the same time.  It's so funny how "like"me she is.  She shares many of my strengths, but to my regret, my weaknesses as well, but we finished well and strong and we are both better for it, I believe!

Our focus this year was mainly on reading and math.  To my surprise, she enjoyed and most days wanted to do math first thing.  Over the year she learned to count and write numbers up to 200, addition through 7 and subtraction through 6.  She also learned the value of pennies, nickels, and dimes, to count by 2's, 5's and 10's.  She learned place value, to tell time, and how to 1/2 things.  We did addition and subtraction word problems and things like greater and lesser numbers, adding three numbers, and number order.  Whew!

She could blend most 3 letter word before starting Kindergarten and continued to grow in reading.  By the end of the year she could read most 4 to 5 letter words, had started learning long vowel words and was reading stories and short books by herself daily.  We also focused on handwriting and memorizing a weekly recitation of facts that came with the curriculum so that by the end of the year she could spout of things like all the continents, the oceans, months, days of the week, etc.

If you ask her though, her favorite subject in school are art and music. Each week there was a classical piece of art and music as part of our curriculum and no matter how busy we were I didn't skip it since it was something we both looked forward to each week.  There was also great literature we read every week and poetry.  I was so pleased with our curriculum that there was no second thoughts about continuing it for first grade!
Last Day of Kindergarten
I'm excited to start 1st grade on Monday.  We were going to wait after Labor Day to start but it looks like we will be making a trip to Mississippi that week.  So instead we are going to get a couple of weeks under way, and I'm looking forward to the more "regular" schedule our school year brings. I pray she continues to grow in her love for learning and for the God who has made this incredible world for her to learn about.  I pray that God continues to grow me in my love for Him, for my children, and gives me the faithfulness to mother and homeschool well!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rivers' 4th Birthday

 Our last day in Mississippi was Rivers' 4th Birthday.  He woke up that morning and got the surprise of his first big boy bike... a spider man bike!  Then he and daddy had a special day, just the two of them.  They went to what Michael likes to call "Henry Land".  It's my uncle Henry's place in Starkville, MS where he has horses, ponds to fish, mules and other fun boy things to ride.  So the two of them spent the day fishing, riding through the woods, enjoying the animals and land, and brought us home a bounty of fish for dinner.  Rivers' kept saying he didn't want a birthday cake for dinner, instead he wanted watermelon, so what the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets!

 On our way home the next day we took a detour to continue the celebration of Rivers' birthday.  Anyone who know my boy well knows he LOVES (an understatement) animals.  We thought it might be a phase a few years ago, but no, he continues his fascination with all things animals.  Michael found a drive through safari outside of Huntsville, AL so we went and toured it on our trip back.  It was really pretty cool.  We got a bucket of animal food and drove through feeding deer, llamas, emus, zebras, oxen, horses, ostriches, goats, sheep, even a buffalo!  They walked right up to the car and the kids would throw food out to them.  If we let our windows down too much they would even stick their heads in.  Rivers was in his element for sure!  Then we took some time walking around the petting zoo where we saw tortoises, alligators, lemurs, a giraffe, and some kangaroos.

I can't believe my big boy is 4.  I really don't know where the time has gone....

Happy Birthday Buddy!  We love you so!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jack Housley's First trip to Mississippi

I'm sad I didn't get more pictures of our time in Mississippi.  The two oldest went to VBS at Fairview for a week and we did lots of relaxing, swimming and letting JH meet lots of family!  Thanks for everyone who came over to see us! 

This girl loves the water and has become
a good little swimmer

I enjoyed lots of one on one time with this little darling
while the two bigs were at VBS

we loved seeing Aunt Sue Sue who came to visit for a few days

it wasn't the beach but we had sand and water!

My veggie lover had a blast helping in the first harvests
from Papa's garden

Thanks to Aunt E, Maddie and I enjoyed an afternoon
of mommy/daughter pedicures

and ice cream, of course

Jack Housley turned 1 month old while we were there

Meeting Granne for the first time. JH is her 7th great gran!

Lots of silliness with Papa
Walks in the park

 It was a fun trip and we're excited to be heading back in a few weeks hopefully!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Frantz, Party of 6!

This is how we roll now!

 I can't believe summer is almost over!  Before we start up school next week, I'm going to try to blaze through and post all the rest of our summer time memories.  Here is the first month we spent as a family of 6!

Here are some newborn pictures that I took of Jack Housley when he was one week old:

we've been smitten from the start

trying to cherish these baby days

of course I had some help

some really cute help

can you tell he is one loved baby?

pure sweetness

look at those kissable cheeks!

We loved Marmie being with us the first 2 weeks home!
The kids had so much fun with her and she was such a big help!
 One of our favorite things to do this summer is go to parks with the kids.  The weather has been pleasantly mild and we've got some great parks in Louisville!
my biggest gal

even "daddy" likes to play at the parks

easy baby!

handsome boy!

Honestly I've enjoyed a laid back summer with a newborn.  A lot of our days are spent doing just this...

Papa, Erica and Carter came for a weekend trip to take Marmie back home :(  We had fun walking the bridge across the river, going out for ice cream and just hanging out.  I love the fun times we get to spend with my family so much!

We've gotten to be pros at turning a double stroller into a triple

"Car Car" Man as Gloria affectionately calls him

Papa's really a softy at heart! 

These two love each other more like siblings than cousins... if you know what I mean

After only a week by ourselves, we headed down to Mississippi.  We stopped to spend a night at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville as a fun little treat thanks to my cousin Jenn who works there.  The kids had a blast exploring the huge hotel and swimming at the pool of course.

Always along for the ride
This was right before we had our first major "uh-oh" as a family of six.  We walked out of the store without this little cutie.  Thankfully we both realized it within a matter of minutes and Michael sprinted back to get her to find her crying in the same spot we left her.  We always do a head count now, for sure!

lunch at Johnny Rockets

waiting to watch the water and light show at the hotel

We may or may not have eaten ice cream for dinner that night
there were no complaints

more explorations

and swimming

Now on to Mississippi!