Things are looking up

  Luckily I was right and our day improved dramatically yesterday.  It took Ian until lunchtime before he stopped begging and crying off and on about trying to head out to the field trip later.  But by lunch everyone was getting along and the boys all asked me to read them the first chapter in the Prisoner of Azkaban.  When lunch was done they asked if they could go swimming.  It wasn't sunny but the thermometer said 70 so they were raring to go. 
    I sat outside with them while they all swam.  We talked about the importance of sunscreen and using multiple applications in a day since they all had a slight burn from Sunday.  We observed butterflies flying nearby noting the colors on their wings as well as the flight pattern.  Alec found a rather large tick on him and we talked about what ticks look like, what sizes they can be, when to worry about Lyme disease, how to kill ticks, and where they come from.  Alec was quite concerned about where he had gotten his tick since he had only been on he patio and in the water.  The boys dove, jumped, and zombie walked off the end of the dock, they tried speaking to one another under water to see if they could decode what the other was saying, and they took turns passing their toy torpedo to one another. 
     Since it was a bit chilly with the breeze coming off the water and no sun, Alec and Evan took frequent (long) breaks from swimming and they tried out a new website called Switch Zoo that I had learned about through Pinterest.  The boys took turns playing various games about animals including: build an on-line habitat, switch zoo (where they can piece together parts of animals to make new animals), please feed the animals, and sound match.  It was s fun, educational and engaging sight that they're going to want to play a lot, I can tell just from the way they've been talking about it. 

    We spent some time on-line refreshing our memory on some Harry Potter facts; the boys asked me to look up Hippogriffs and see which animals were combined to make Buckbeak, they asked me the names of the four wizards that the houses are named after (though they remembered all but Rowena, even remembering it was Ravenclaw).  With the whole Harry Potter craze going through the house we have finally decided on our family vacation; we're headed to Universal Studios in Orlando this fall.  The boys are already talking about which souvenirs they're going to buy.  We were going to make butterbeer at home with some of the on-line recipes I have found but decided to wait to try it when we get there.   
    We read another chapter in the Prisoner of Azkaban at dinner since the boys ate early in order to head to karate.  On the way we listened to some more of our Heroes of Olympus CD and I'm starting to worry that this book might be a cliffhanger.  I really hope not since the next book in the series doesn't even come out until October and we can't wait that long to find out what is going to happen to our heroes! 
   On the way home from karate Ian and Alec read some of the books we had picked up at the library.  Evan has a later class than his brothers and my husband and I switch off with the kids and their classes.  Since we won't listen to a book on CD when someone is missing from the car the older boys decided to pass the time in the car reading. Ian read two picture books on construction trucks and I was struck by how much I DON'T give him credit for.  First of all he read, read quickly and must have read accurately since trucks (and construction trucks in particular) are his number one passion and he would not have turned the page unless he understood completely what was happening in the story.  He often points out inaccuracies in stories, especially if the author happens to call a back hoe a loader or something like that; he's a stickler for truck names.  But what amazed me the most was that he spent a good portion of his time trying to determine which brand of truck the illustrator based her drawings on.  He has an uncanny ability to recognize the make of trucks-- we can be on the highway and he'll point out to me a truck towing some sort of heavy equipment and while it usually just looks like a speck to me he can often identify what it is and what brand it is.  Those times that we're able to get close enough to find out; he's usually right.  Over the weekend he was talking about motors, jet skis and boats; another passion of his and frankly he was talking over my head.  I have no idea at all about anything having to do with engines, cars, trucks, boats, etc. but I was struck anew tonight by how little I credit him for knowing all that.  I'm constantly in awe of Alec and all the facts he knows but tend to give him more credit for them because Alec's facts are about things I am at least somewhat interested in like animals and history and they are subject that are taught in our schools.  I grew up thinking these were important things to know (or else why would them teach them to me, right?).  But Ian has this whole other field of expertise that I just don't marvel at enough.  He can tell you the pros and cons of different brands, identify them by color, size, and function and spot any type of equipment from very, very far away.  I swear he has some sort of truck radar and my husband and I joke that it's in his veins.   I also realized tonight that I found a great way to get him excited about math--- I need to talk in terms of yards, buckets, and other "truck" terms.  After all capitalizing on his passion sure has helped with his reading and comprehension.  He tells me constantly he wants to own his own business one day and I think we're going to be talking a lot about price per yard, price per bucket, payroll, budget, sales percentages and more this upcoming year.  I know they make a great math program where kids can set up their own pet shop (and I had thought of buying that for Alec) but I really wish someone had designed a curriculum where Ian could set up his own quarry; talk about motivating him to do math! Guess I'll just have to get creative and make up my own! 


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