Monday, October 24, 2016

Liesl starts writing

Liesl has been learning so much in kindergarten - most noticeably, she's getting closer and closer to reading on her own, and writing. It's still a struggle and can make her really frustrated, but it's all coming together and it's delightful to see. Her teacher's birthday was this past week and so Liesl decided to write her a card. She got about halfway through the note sounding out the words on her own, but then just was too upset about her mistakes to finish, and we helped out. I was really proud.
"Dear Mrs. Latocha. I'm so happy to see you again and I'm so happy that it is your birthday. From Liesl."
"Mrs. Latocha. You're the best. Hooray you're my teacher!"

Of course, as one might expect, Liesl is also using her newfound writing skills to communicate her profound displeasure at various things. (I will note, for the record, that the only one screaming or yelling in our house this evening was Liesl herself.)
 "I will not come down unless you promise that you will not scream at me."
And, the apology/recognition that the previous effort was inaccurate and not terribly nice.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

gorgeous fall forest walk

It was sunny today, the perfect October day. We spent the morning in Forest Park, enjoying the leaves and trails and sunshine. We played our favorite game of catch-the-leaves-as-they-fall, picked up branches to use as walking sticks and tunnels, climbed stumps and logs, made leaf piles and dirt tracks, investigated mushrooms and slugs.
mushrooms everywhere!
Sad puppy with tired legs, muddy gloves, and lost stick. We walked about 3.5 miles and were all hungry for lunch by the end.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Liesl videos

dominoes! from B. Avery on Vimeo.

Classic domino fun.

storytelling from B. Avery on Vimeo.

Storytelling using Rory's story cubes. So fun.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

a soggy trip to Lakeview pumpkin patch

Despite the heavy rain and wind of the weekend, and the forecast for rain showers all day, we (Liesl and Sebastian) were bound and determined to visit a pumpkin patch today. They wanted to ride the train and pick out our annual supply of very large gourds. I hemmed and hawed and delayed all morning, trying to suggest other, drier pursuits, but Liesl in particular could not be swayed. (Sebastian was swayed by the idea of going to watch a Steelers game with Steve, except that he didn't want to be left out if we went today, and didn't actually want to set for 3+ hours to watch the game.)

So we went. And we got wet and cold and muddy. But we rode the train and the boat, drove our wheelbarrows around, Liesl got her face painted, and we picked out five or six beautiful pumpkins. Annual tradition accomplished!! (We opted out of the corn maze - it was so muddy, and the wind had actually blown down half the corn stalks, and we were cold. Although in fact, it only rained for the 40 or so minutes we were actually in the pumpkin field, so we mistimed it perfectly.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

a fall storm

A typhoon developed somewhere in the Pacific, and we are feeling its effects in the form of heavy rain and gusting wind. Sebastian's soccer practices and games were all cancelled; my plan to go pumpkin patching has been delayed; we stayed fairly close to home.

I baked a pumpkin bread with a craggy cinnamon sugar crust - it was delicious and made the house smell amazing.
The children set up a whole lot of stuffed animals in the living room and pretended to be various characters and animals engaging in adventurous scenarios.
We went over to the school field and they created a path/obstacle course through the playground's bark chips. It looped and curled its way all around, crawling under obstacles and going over steps and bridges - I especially liked how they piled bark chips into little piles to mark the paths along the metal playstructure.

playground obstacle course from B. Avery on Vimeo.

After lunch we drove to the NW branch of the library and restocked our home reading shelves. Liesl is having a love affair with the Berenstain Bears, to my chagrin - I can't bear reading the pedantic, just-so stories. But I do it, because she loves them, and grit my teeth. Or I outsource to Sebastian!

Next up was the Children's Museum - it surprised me that they both agreed that was where they wanted to go - I had proposed going climbing, or to the Child Art Studio, or pottery painting, or to OMSI - but they were united and so we went. They had a good time in the theatre and the grocery store and the outdoor play area and I was happy to see them cooperating and pretending together. I know that we are nearing the end of this phase of childhood - Sebastian will soon be too old or too cool to play along in these games - and I will miss it. There's a sweetness to their collaboration and story-making that really demonstrates, for me, the joys of having a close sibling.