Friday, March 29, 2013

Fresh air and baby chicks

      Gearing up for Easter dinner this weekend I wanted to clean house today.  The boys were kind enough to help-- moaning and complaining are helping right?  I was up early and got a good portion of the upstairs cleaned while the boys slept and then I put away all the stuff for the geography fair so we would have a clean table to sit at for our Easter dinner.  Once the boys were up we ate a quick breakfast and I read a few more chapters of James and the Giant Peach.  The younger boys battled with Bakugan's for a bit while Ian helped me make a peanut butter pie.  It's a huge family favorite and it's so easy to put together! 
Decadent Peanut Butter Pie
Picture courtesy of Jif.com/recipes
       Once we were done in the kitchen, I sent all the boys upstairs to get dressed, make their beds, and clean their rooms.  Ian and Alec had some laundry to fold and put away too.  Ian went right to work, he folded all his clothes, dusted his room and then offered to take the mop from me and mop the hallway and stairs!  Alec was having a hard time folding all of his clothes and kept asking me to help.  I felt bad, but I said no.  I was busy cleaning and told him I would help him when I was done if he wasn't finished by then.  Evan spent 20 minutes complaining that he doesn't like to clean or dust, but he eventually realized I was serious about him not leaving his room until it was cleaned so he finally dusted.  I did help Alec fold a few of his clothes, mostly his socks, and then he dusted his room.  We still had a bunch of toys bins in each of the boys rooms from when we babysat for my brother's kids last week and so we spent time this morning carrying them all down and putting toys away.  While the boys worked on organizing the toys, I cleaned in another and then handed them each a dust rag and/or the vacuum and they cleaned the whole playroom too.  I was pretty proud of them that the complaining was kept to a minimum.  Those few times they did complain, I offered to let them take a break from dusting or vacuuming and let them clean a toilet or sink and then they happily decided they'd rather dust or vacuum. 
       As soon as our chores were done, we headed out for some errands.  Ian and I needed some rain boots for a homeschool field trip later next week and Ian needed some work boots.  We had to drive to four different stores but we finally found everything we needed.  Unknown to me Ian was keeping tabs in his head of all the money we spent today.  When he asked if he was right and I stopped to think about it, realising he was, he told me he was only going to have one or two kids since three seem really expensive.  I had to laugh and agree.  Kids are expensive and the more you have, the more expensive they seem to be, but it is so worth it.   Ian, at almost 9, has had his life planned out for some time.  He has always planned on one or two kids and swears they will be homeschooled too.  He will work with trucks either gold mining or building truck accessories (or both!) and will have his wife stay at home with the kids.  This scenario has had little to no changes in the last several years so it sure will be neat to see how his future turns out and changes as he gets older. 
        The boys were thrilled when we stopped at Tractor Supply to look for the rain boots and they were able to hear and see the baby chicks.  They all fell in love and, of course, asked if we could take some home.  At only 1.99 each I did think of it, but realized we'd need lots of supplies for them that we don't have.  I did tell the boys to take one of the "caring/ learning about baby chickens" papers they had hanging around and told them if they all read up on it and learned what to do that we could probably get some next year.  It must have been a moment of pure insanity as I don't really like animals.  I wish I did, I love them from afar, like when we're at the zoo.  I'd love to get the boys hamsters, fish, chickens, gecko's, and all the other little animals they ask for.  I love the thought of having pets and having the boys grow up loving and bonding with living creatures; I just don't enjoy the reality of having more things to clean up after, feed and take care of.  But I have been thinking for almost a year that I'd really like to get an incubator and have the boys see what it's like to hatch baby chicks from eggs and then we could keep them for a bit until they got big enough to need a house outside.  For the rest of the day they read that sheet and talked about getting baby chicks.  We grabbed some lunch and headed home.  While running errands we finished the Magic Treehouse book Dingoes at Dinnertime and started Civil War on Sunday.  Before we started listening I asked the boys if they knew what the Civil war was and they actually knew quite a bit!  Especially the two main points:  it was a war between the southern and northern states over slavery & the north won. 
    Ian is working with this great grandfather again today and Alec and Evan asked if they could go to work too.  While I was OK with letting Alec try his hand at raking and picking up twigs with Ian, I didn't want to ask their great grandfather to watch all 3 of them.  I also knew Evan would quickly loose interest and not be much help.  So, with their grandfather's approval Alec and Ian set off for work with tons of lectures from me about working hard, earning the money they make and not fighting.  I know all three boys really want to work so that they can have some spending money, let's face it, that's why most adults work.  How many people would continue at their jobs without a paycheck, right?  So I was more than happy that Alec, who hates the outdoors, was willing to try real hard to earn some spending money.   They both told me they'd try to come home with tired hands and blisters.  It was too funny.  I hope they don't get blisters though.  That's what work gloves are for.   I gently explained to Evan that while I realized he wanted to make money too that I think he's just to young and it would be to much work for G.G.  I told him that he could help out daddy when he goes raking and mowing and earn extra cash that way.  I love that my boys want to work!  Perhaps they all have a better work ethic than I typically give them credit for.
       While waiting for their great grandfather to pick them up the boys, once again, wanted to play baseball.  They're quickly learning the rules of the game and they each take turns batting, pitching, and being on "teams."  I use the term loosely since at any given time they are for or against one another.  Once the older boys were gone though, Evan seemed a bit lost.  I suggested taking advantage of the nice weather and going somewhere. 
     We decided to head to the park and use the swings, slides, and climber.  It's about a 15min. ride from our house but we talked the whole way and it was nice to have time, just the two of us.  I wasn't thinking of how muddy and wet we'd find the place.  I also didn't realize Evan would need to use the bathroom less than 10 minutes into our playing.  He climbed the slide and slid down a few times but then asked to leave so he could come home and go to the bathroom (the park's bathrooms were closed for the season).  I think he was a bit bored without his brothers there.  I think, as the youngest, he has the hardest time being alone and occupying himself since he rarely has to worry about it.  He's had built- in playmates since the day he was born.  Lucky for Evan, his cousins had a half- day of school and came over to see if there was anyone to play with.  Evan and his cousins spent the afternoon playing with the stomp rockets, bubbles, dirt, shovels, and swings.  They had so much fun competing to see who could make the rockets fly farther.  Evan noticed they always turned slightly and came down in an arch.  I reminded him that that was called trajectory like in the Disney Imagineering movies.  I asked him what was making them come back down and he told me force.  I asked him what kind of force?  What kind of force keeps things falling to Earth?  And he yelled out gravity and then proceeded to try and teach his cousin.  It was funny but I loved hearing him spontaneously use such scientific terms.  They played with the bubbles for a bit and the wands we bought fell off the sticks.  Evan realised the sticks were tubes and tried to put a want on each end and get them both to blow bubbles.  It's so much fun to watch their imagination at work and see what ideas they'll come up with.  His uncle asked how he was going to manage to get them both full of bubbles and blow them.  He thought for a few minutes and then arranged the wands facing the same directions, pulled the two wells of bubble solution together and dunked the wands in at the same time.  Then he tried to swing the wands around and managed to get a few bubbles out of both of them.  What great problem solving!   Then, once his brothers came home, after working hard and beaming with smiles from the money they made,  they all dragged out bikes, scooters, baseball supplies and bubbles and play outside until it was time to cook dinner.  It was a wonderful day filled with fresh air and sunshine. 
       





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