Friday, June 25, 2010

Slowly, slowly getting back on track!

Well, we're starting to settle in. Everything is unpacked... except the school books. I've started that, and I'm hoping it will be done by next week. Then maybe I can make a plan. In the mean time, we're keeping busy, and Crumpet is definitely learning.

In an effort to cut down on t.v. watching, I set up a shelf in the living room with all of our kid friendly games. (There are more somewhere - hopefully the school boxes??) I don't know if it's the location of the games, or if Crumpet has just come to an age where he loves games, but we play them a LOT now.
I found a game called Traffic Jam by Discovery Toys at a consignment sale in the spring. It's a strategy game in which the goal is to lay out vehicle cards and make a road system, with everyone trying to block the other players with roadblocks like fallen trees or floods. Crumpet doesn't really understand the strategy yet, but he loves building the roads and working with the cars.
We love Hullabaloo by Cranium, even when it's just the 2 of us playing. You lay out all of the different mats, which are different colors and shapes. Each has a different picture. The machine calls out instructions and you move to different mats until the machine announces which mat is a winner, if you're standing on it. It gets pretty silly, and we giggle a lot. It's great with more kids.
We have been baking a lot. I am so excited to have a kitchen and my dishes - I just can't stop! (I am definitely struggling to get back on track with my healthy eating and exercising, after a month of eating out and living in a hotel...)
We have been discovering lots of interesting "wildlife" around our home. Here's a gecko... in my living room.
There are really big snails around here.
The bigger boys across the street from us showed us some good spots to find huge snails, slugs, lizards, crabs and itty bitty frogs. Aren't boys great? We've also found some really odd, huge bees. I thought one was a hummingbird at first!
We have gone on some neat nature hikes through rainforests. Amazing plants, lots of coconuts!
Crumpet has also been doing lots of bike riding. He is doing a lot better here, than at our old house. The roads are flat and there are plenty of sidewalks in our neighborhood.
We are enjoying the fact that there are some really huge ships that pull in around the little island that we live on. There is a huge international Navy exercise going on right now, so there are even more than usual.
We're reading the book Candy Counting by Lisa McCourt from the library. It's a book of word problems about candy. Crumpet doesn't really understand a lot of it, but he loves counting the candy, and I'm happy to expose him to word problems in a fun way.

Social: We went to our library story hour this week, and other than the fact that I locked my keys in the car, it was great. It was farm week, and we were greeted at the door by a librarian dressed as a cow. There were songs and finger plays, fun stories, and a craft at the end. Oops, forgot to take a picture of it for the blog. It was a chicken picture made up of a variety of shapes - really cute. Anyway, I was thrilled because the Georgia story hours were always pretty disappointing.
Crumpet has always been shy and it tends to make him so nervous around kids that he gets mean. We were finally making progress on this in Georgia, but when we got here the anger returned. We've had a couple of tough weeks, but this week, he started actively seeking out other kids and asking for our help with initiating play. So he is starting to make a few friends, and things are looking up. Phew.
I've been reading other blogs but having trouble commenting due to a new computer system that we're using. But I'll get up to speed with that soon too. It's been fun to get caught up with everyone - I missed having access to the bloggy mama world!

Friday, June 18, 2010

We Made It!

Phew, we remembered to pack him!
Hi Everyone! We made it to Hawaii! And we LOVE it! The trip ended up going incredibly well. Crumpet and I enjoyed our many visits with friends and family, and we got to see and do lots of fun things in the Northeast. Then we picked up Daddy and drove cross country. Everyone did great - even the cats. We stopped at a few good spots along the way, and added lots of new states to the list of places we've been. I need to sit down and count how many we've visited!

It was very exciting to watch Crumpet's knowledge and understanding of the world around him explode on this trip. He was able to remember and use what he has learned at other times and places to explain all of the new things he was seeing. I couldn't believe the facts he was pulling out of his memory... He was great to have along too, because he notices everything and I would have missed so much without having Crumpet point it out. Also, Crumpet has started using what he knows to formulate plans to solve problems. Any time we had a dilemma, Crumpet would yell from the back seat, "It's okay, I have a plan!" And usually, they were quite reasonable, helpful plans! (Right now, my favorite plans are his solutions to the problem "How do we get the large, see-through geckos out of our house?" I have to say, I prefer Hawaii geckos in my house to Georgia scorpions though, so the fact that none of our plans have worked doesn't bother me too much...)

We arrived in Hawaii a few weeks ago, and we are in love with our new home. We spent a week in a hotel, and then accepted military housing. It was quite difficult to find affordable, nice housing out in town, and they offered us a great house on base, so we took it. We live on Ford Island, which is an island inside Pearl Harbor. We drive over a bridge to get home everyday, and we drive right past all of the World War II memorials. It's really cool. It's too bad Crumpet isn't older and ready to learn all of the history here... Our neighbors are nice and there are lots of kids around. Not that we've spent a lot of time at home - we have spent almost every spare minute exploring the island. There is so much to see and do here, and the weather is phenomenal - it feels like we are on a 3 year vacation. Already, we've done lots of incredible things - hiked a volcano, ridden a submarine to the bottom of the ocean, snorkelled with hundreds of beautiful fish... I'm in the process of starting another blog for my family to read. It will chronicle our trip cross country and then our travels around Hawaii. I will link this blog to it on Field Trip Fridays so all of you can see what we've been up to.

I have not even begun to unpack the school room here, but I hope to get to that soon. I'm not too worried about it after seeing how much Crumpet has learned over the last few years, while just living life. It has really put my mind at ease to know that he seems to pick up everything he needs to know, whether I'm officially "teaching", or not. Lots of things seem to have clicked while we're on hiatus too, like numbers and telling time. I think the break gave the ideas time to gel in his mind.
We have already been to the military library here (I think we lasted 2 days on the island before we HAD to have new books). It's much better than the library on base in Georgia, and it sounds like their story hour will be great. They also have an online link to a thing called 'culture grams' which I'm excited about too. There are bits of information about various countries and cultures, including reading suggestions and recipes, etc. We were planning to start our virtual tour around the world this year, and it will be great to have so much information in one place.
Another neat thing is that the State of Hawaii has a public charter school which is actually a free homeschooling program. They give you all of the curriculum materials and access to online info and teachers, and you teach your child at home! I haven't looked into it much, and I'm guessing that I'll end up going with the mish mash of teaching materials I've already chosen, but still, what an amazing resource to have access too!
We're already signed up for swimming lessons in July. But other than that, we're planning to stay relaxed and unscheduled so we can explore and do lots of this: