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Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Few More Adventures and One BIG Week in the Fisher Home

 One of Riley's biggest requests this summer was to go camping with Dad. So on Saturday (a few weeks ago, Aug. 16th), Chris made his little boy dream come true! He set up the tent in our backyard, complete with air mattresses and sleeping bags for a bed, a really cool lantern, some stuffed animals, books, and even a fan. Riley stayed up late listening to every creature that made a sound and would have to grab his flashlight, "go check it out", and stick his head through one of the side windows. He eventually fell asleep and woke up excited the next day that he even considered eating his breakfast (still a cereal bar and a banana) outside, but the lure of watching a TV show inside got the best of him! :)

 I'm so thankful for a father who takes the time to spend with his boy and snuggle with his girl! Maggie and I stayed inside in the cool house and slept soundly in our own beds that night. We'll plan a mother-daughter adventure soon.

 Another item on our summer list was to make a cereal and candy bracelet. The kids loved stringing the Fruit Loops, Lifesaver Gummies, Cheerios, and mints through the pipe cleaners and of course, their favorite part came at the end when they got to devour them!
 On Thursday, August 28th, Woodland PEP (Preschool Enrichment Program) had their Open House and Riley and Maggie got to meet their teachers for the year. It happened to be the first USC game of the season, so the kids were sporting some Carolina colors for Dad's sake.

 Maggie was right at home with her teachers! Mrs. Mary (in white) is the assistant in the Transitional Two's class and Mrs. Dar is the lead teacher. Maggie went right in and colored her sheet and started playing with the kitchen set while we chatted with these two sweet ladies.
 Riley was equally excited to meet his teachers (Mrs. Michelle on the left, and her assistant, Mrs. Kristina). He colored his backpack picture, found his name at the table where he'll be sitting, and met a few of his classmates. One of these days, we'll start getting pictures with Riley's eyes open but the flash gets him every time! :) The kids loved meeting the new mascot, a bear, and voting on their favorite name for him. I think Riley voted for Theodore and Maggie voted for Woodrow.

 We got a quick family picture when we got home, taken by Uncle Joel, who had come for a visit before he moves to Orlando for his new job with Code School.
 The following day, Uncle Joel, the kids, and I went to Lazy 5 Ranch up in Mooresville, NC. It took over a hour to get there, but we had a great time on the wagon ride seeing all the exotic animals! Maggie and I were able to feed most of them. Joel and Riley preferred to sit back and watch the action and the crazy feeding frenzy. The ostriches were by far the most aggressive eaters. My personal favorite was dumping feed into the mouths of the bison and water buffalo and watching their tongues curl up and then guzzle down the food. Riley loved watching the giraffes eat and I think Maggie got a kick out of the cute little baby pigs that we saw along the way. We had a picnic lunch in the car before heading to another area that contained a petting zoo with goats, donkeys, peacocks, and other birds. The kids checked out the playground before climbing back in the car for the trip home. Overall, it was a great way to end the summer!

The kids got to taste and discover the joy of their very first Root Bear Float recently and as you can see, they loved every drop! 
 On Labor Day, we went to the YMCA pool together as a family for the last time this summer before the water park closed. And the very next day (Tuesday, September 2, 2014) the kids both started "school". Here are a few memorable moments from that day:

 As I thought about how to approach our 2nd year at home together, I decided to incorporate an idea that I read about in an ebook called Steady Days about having a family learning board that highlights different topics, verses, and areas of study that we can reflect on together. This chalkboard in our kitchen came in handy for this particular project. I've since started eating lunch together with Riley and Maggie at this table, so that we can talk about their days and make mention of some of the items that I've planned for us to highlight for that particular week/month. I want them to know that learning is a family affair and doesn't just happen when they are in their seats at school. I want to add in some character training and Scripture memory work and also build on their own personal interests (for Riley--he's been all about wanting to learn about the moon and the stars more). Pictured below are our prayer boxes that we made this week. They contain Christmas greeting cards with different pictures of close friends and family that we can randomly select and pray for, as well as pictures and facts about amazing animals that we can thank God for creating, simple prayers in a prayer book, some little cards that give other suggestions for things that we can pray about (forgiveness, our church, etc.). So these are my attempts to be a little more intentional with how I approach some different goals for our family, but mostly to try and make faith a tangible part of our lives. The kids LOVE playing with their prayer boxes and I figure we'll add some fresh items to them every so often to keep them interested and engaged, but that this could be the beginning of precious understanding that God values their prayers and hears every one!

 Here are my sweet little angels asleep! Riley is in his "fort tent" that he insisted on sleeping in for 2 nights (and naptimes) straight and Maggie is cuddled up with her blankie, monkey, and paci! Love these darlings!

 Now, here's a not-so-angelic Maggie face that we call her scary face. It can actually be worse when she decides to cross her eyes while she looks up into the corner of her eyes. She loves giving us this silly face at supper and then laughing hysterically about it!
 This is Riley's version of his "scary face" which I don't think was quite captured by the camera. :)

 To finish off our big week together, Riley got to attend his first ever soccer practice and game with Coach John (Taylor and Bryant's Daddy and my friend Pam's husband) and Assistant Coach Daddy! He did awesome with his dribbling practice and got a thrill out of pretending to be a shark and get the ball away from other players. He had a few moments where he got upset and sad about someone getting a goal or the kids being faster than him sometimes. We think he'll gradually snap out of it and build his confidence in the game and camaraderie with his peers. He sure was super excited to be wearing his new shin guards, cleats, and reversible jersey and I'm pretty sure getting to eat a sweet snack at the end of the hour was a perfect ending!

And now for the funny anecdotes section of the blog:

  • Maggie loves to smell things now and she usually has two phrases to describe just about everything--"Mmm, smells like cinnamon" or "Mmmm, smells like coffee." However, the other day she surprised us and said, "Mmmm, smells like chicken in my nose!" 
  • Riley is pretty good about eating our Asian dishes every so often and I can count on him to ask every single time for us to give him some "su-ey sauce" (soy sauce)! 
  • When reading a book, Maggie thinks we are programmed little robots so when she's reading for us to start or go to the next page to read, she commands us, "TALK!" 
  • Maggie has a few more phrases that aren't quite as endearing. Words like, "Huh?" that she says even when she knows EXACTLY what you just said about cleaning up her toys and "I not" when you ask her to stop doing something and she immediately denies doing it. Another one that isn't really my favorite right now but shows how much she picks up from me is the phrase "I told you...." and she often turns it around on us in a somewhat sassy little tone. 
  • One way we encourage Riley to eat a variety of different foods is to tell him about all the good vitamins and minerals that are inside. The other night, he recited the lesson to us, "Mom, I better eat these vegetables because they have lots of vitamins and what's that word, 'rolls' in them?"
  • Maggie loves to walk around and talk about "Five days to my 'dirt-day' party" which means Five days to her birthday party, even though it's really not. Her birthday was in June!
  • At church last week, Maggie blew Chris and I away. I went to get her a puzzle to play with and it happened to be a number puzzle. She grabbed it and immediately said, "Hey, where's that 8?" It did happen to be the only piece missing from the puzzle. I figured it was a coincidence until I started quizzing her on the other numbers. She knew just about every single one (minus the 9 and 0). I couldn't believe it since we haven't spent any time learning them together. She does however have a little pink phone that she got as a gift and carries it around as her favorite toy and it has a screen that teaches her about numbers. What a little sponge to soak it all in! 
  • Our little girl is growing more sophisticated in her speech as well. Alas, no more are the days when she calls her brother "Ra-Ra". For the last week or so, she has been calling him "Ry-glee" with a subtle "g" sound right in the middle. We think it could be because her name has a "g" sound, but we aren't 100% sure. It's cute for sure, but there are days I miss "Ra-Ra"! 
  • Last night, driving home from John and Ashley's house that hosted a baby shower for some friends of ours, Riley related the story of how God sent a star to show the shepherds the way to find Jesus and if I didn't know the way home then God could send a star to show us the way too. I love his childlike faith! And I don't doubt for a second that God could do that if and when needed. He is after all, the author of the ultimate GPS (God-Positioned-Star) that hung over Bethlehem! 

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