Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Help me

Help me. How adorable are sleeping babies? Especially sleeping babies at the beach? Aahhh. Precious.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Beach

Our family loves the beach.  I mean, we LOVE the beach!  It’s not just me.  Everyone has something they enjoy about being there (although the twins took a couple years to warm up to the gritty sand).  We like other places too, but there’s something so refreshing about the ocean.

Since I haven’t posted in a long, long time, I haven’t shared pictures from our last three beach trips.  (We LOVE it!) 

DSC_0255On the first trip El Cap tried out his new skim board.  It was a Father’s Day present.  This weekend trip was his first chance to use it.  He had the feel for it after a couple tries.  I thought it looked like easy and fun, so I gave it a try.  Woa!  It’s NOT easy, and I had bruises to prove it.

DSC_0023Little Sammy was so precious snorkeling in the water.  He snorkeled for a long time, and there was nothing to see!  He just had fun using the mask and snorkel.  He made it look like so exciting that Peter and James joined him.  I could have watched him snorkel all day.  It was adorable.

God treated us to this sunset one of the evenings.  Gorgeous.



Our second beach trip was to the Outer Banks with my family.  The boys said it was the best hotel they’ve ever seen.  They crack me up.  It wasn’t a hotel, but a house.  I think they liked the hot tub, but who knows?  I’m not really sure what made it so wonderful to them.  Kids’ perspectives are fascinating (and sometimes frustrating) to me.

There was a lot of wave riding going on.



We also enjoyed just being together as a family – eating ice cream, taking walks on the beach, getting lost and then rescued (my mom knows what I’m talking about), searching for ghost crabs by flashlight, and posing for pictures.


The third trip was a fall beach trip.  The weather was cloudy and windy, but we still had a lot of fun.  Actually, I was very impressed with how long the boys wanted to stay at the beach.  The adults were all ready to go back to the condo long before the boys were ready.  The sea foam kept them entertained most of the time.  The ocean was unusually frothy.  (I don’t really know other word to use.  Let me know if you think of a better one.)DSC_0015

We had a nice time with Nanny and Pappy, and we were treated to another fabulous sunset from the balcony.  For some reason, I don’t have a picture of it.  I don’t know why.  It was amazing.  Watching the sunset is one of my favorite beach activities.


In conclusion, I miss summer.  I’m already making plans to maximize the sun and beach next year.  I just can’t get enough.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

“Independence is happiness.”
- Susan B. Anthony

We love this holiday at the knocker boys' house.  The boys are already exhausted (I know they are completely worn out because Jack and Peter never sleep this late), and we have another fun-filled day planned celebrating our independence at Valley Forge National Park.  We're going to hear Thomas Jefferson read the Declaration of Independence.  El Capitan and I are very excited.

The following is an excerpt from a letter that El Capitan wrote last week.  

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.” 
–Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America

Our forefathers fought for, protected and handed these freedoms to the next generation of Americans and to the whole world.  The sacrifice was great.  Each signer of the Declaration of Independence knew that they were also signing their death warrant.  They could have cowered from the power of the British Crown and likely continued to live a quiet and prosperous life.  Instead they chose to risk everything and their families’ well-beings to create a new nation, unlike any other in the world at the time.  They created a nation of free individuals.

These freedoms birthed a new culture for a new nation, a culture centered on moral truth, free enterprise and self-reliance that fostered prosperity and industry in its citizens.  America became a melting pot of individuals and families intent on pursuing the fundamental freedoms endowed by our Creator.  Freedom is the common bond that unites us all.

After the Revolutionary War the founding father cemented these principles and freedom in a charter of liberty, our Constitution.  At the time this governing document was considered a miracle.  “[The adoption of the Constitution] will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in human affairs can ever designate it.” – George Washington, 1st President of the United States of America and General of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War

The rest of the world watched and waited to see the result of the ‘grand experiment’.  The result was a political achievement unprecedented in human history.  “The happy union of these states is a wonder; their Constitution is a miracle; their example the hope of liberty throughout the world.  Woe to the ambition that would meditate the destruction of either!” – James Madison, 4th President of the United States of America, author of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution)  Our Constitution is the oldest of its kind in existence.

Independence Day is our celebration and commemoration that we are blessed to live in a free and sovereign nation.  Enjoy the day and rights and opportunities that this great nation affords.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
–Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States of America

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A few pictures for you.

The months of May and June have been busy for us.  (Isn’t May always a busy month?)  I decided to choose some of my favorite pictures from May and share them with you.  June will be coming soon.

1. I caught the kids and a neighbor playing on our swing.  They were having a blast!  I love it when they amuse themselves so easily. 


2. Our classical homeschool co-op had an end of year celebration.  The twins and Peter recited science facts, and Jack skip counted the 5's and 10's.  I thoroughly enjoy our co-op.  Last night for fun we practiced naming all of the U.S. presidents.  It's awesome to see how much they want to learn.

3. El Capitan and I took a quick trip out to western PA.  We toured Falling Water, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright .  It was our second time through the house (we went about 8 years ago to Falling Water and Kentuck Knob with El Cap’s parents), and it was just as impressive the second time.

4. On our trip we stayed at an amazing hotel in Bedford Springs.  I would highly recommend it for couples looking for a getaway.  By the way, I want you to know that I have a wonderful husband.  We cherish our date nights and getaways without the kids.

5. Bedford Springs has some nice trails of varying length and difficulty.  On a hike we saw this little guy.  God's creativity amazes me.

6. Back at home we had another turkey sighting.  (The picture is blurry.  Sorry about that… I’m still learning.)

5. We hit the road again.  This time we took the boys for an educational vacation.  We visited Montpelier, James Madison's house.  The boys were cute playing around the statue in the garden.  Aren't they sweet?


6. They didn’t stay sweet for long.  This picture is much typical of the boys I know (and adore).  Jack is throwing punches at President Madison.  James is admiring Dolley.  Peter is comparing his hand to James Madison’s hand.  Sam is getting ready to show us how far he can jump.


7. Virginia is full of history.  Eight U.S. presidents were born there!  The day after we visited Montpelier, we went to Monticello.  The boys caught tadpoles in Thomas Jefferson’s pond, raced on his lawn, explored the hands-on museum, and ate strawberries and nasturtium from his garden (the gardener gave them samples).


8.  On our 3rd day in Virginia, we toured Polyface farm.  If you’ve seen Food Inc., then you saw Joel Salatin processing chickens on his farm.  The farm was in an ideal setting with the Shenandoah mountains in the background.  We took the self-guided tour and saw their chickens, turkeys, and pigs.  The boys had a blast at Polyface and became quick friends with the Salatin grandchildren.  They helped  pick Mulberries.  Later, they found a snake sunning himself by the pond. 


After Polyface, we drove home.  3 days in Virginia is certainly not enough.  El Cap and I are anxious to get back for another visit.

9. We celebrated Memorial Day with our families.


10.  We also celebrated by picking 65 pounds of strawberries.  Strawberry picking has become a Memorial Day tradition.  It was a humid morning, but the berries taste great.  The jam has been made and is lining the shelves. 


So, there you have it.  Our top ten for May.  More Knocker Boys news coming soon – apparently we have a pet cat.  I just found out about him (or her?) while I was writing this post.  It will be interesting to see how that turns out. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

The twins are 5

James and Sam celebrated their 5th birthday last week.  It's really hard to believe that our cute, little twins are five years old.  They didn't ask for many presents for their birthday.  In fact, I can only think of one thing that they wanted - remote control dragons.  Where do you find remote control dragons?  I'm not sure, but Nanny found some for them.  They also were very specific about their birthday cakes.  James wanted a dragon cake, and Sam wanted a drago cake.  Dragon and drago are sooo completely different.  You had no idea.  Here are their cakes.
Obviously, the cake on the left is Drago and the cake on the right is a dragon.  

$50 later, they got the cakes they wanted.  They were very pleased.  We could have used Aunt Corinne's expertise for this one (she has a cake decorating business).  Sometimes it's very inconvenient when family lives half way around the world.  :)  (I'm just teasing, we'd love to have them home because we enjoy their company very much.)

I had no idea what to get them for their birthdays.  I'm sure you can relate if you have multiple kids of the same gender with very similar interests.  Our boys all basically enjoy the same things with slight variations (ie. Drago and dragon cakes).  So, coming up with something thrilling for the twins is not easy.  It works out well that they are easy to please.  

They got coonskin caps.  The twins were content.  The older boys were slightly envious.  El Capitan thought it was a pretty random idea.  And it was, but they liked it.  Now we need to read a book about Davy Crockett.  

They're still cute, and they're still little compared to other five year olds.  It's just such a long way from their preemie days.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rainy Day Games

The Knocker Boys really enjoy playing games.  El Cap and I like to play games with the knocker boys, but our patience (especially mine) can be tested when we play certain games as a family.  We have a found a few games that are a hit with the boys and the adults.  The twins and I recently learned about a new game at Classical Conversations during presentations (which is a lot like show and tell for the little ones).  It's called Hiss.  James got it for Easter.  It's a fun game of matching and making interesting snakes.  A perfect game for their age and attention spans.  Peter and Jack also join in the game - somehow they manage to make the game much more competitive when they play.

Sum Swamp is a fun math game that is knocker boy recommended.  It's a board game played with dice.  Two cubes have the numbers one through six on them and a third has plus and minus signs on them.  The boys roll the dice and either add or subtract to find out how many spaces they can move their cute little animal game pieces.  The twins use their math blocks to help them figure out the answers they don't have memorized yet.  It's a great game for practicing math or just playing for fun.

Another game that's a winner in our house is Qwirkle.  We love it - certainly fun for the whole family.  El Cap and I play this game even when the kids aren't around.  I'm the reigning queen of Qwirkle, and I'll be quite disappointed when my reign ends.  Qwirkle is fun because everyone can play on their level.  It can simply be a matching game, or it can be played as a strategy game.  This morning the boys got the game out and started keeping score.  I was so pleased to see them choose Qwirkle over Wii, and I was even more happy to see that they were keeping score correctly.  Jack said, "Whew! This is a lot of math."

I would love to know what games your kids like to play (and more importantly what games you like to play along with them).  We're always looking for new games to add to our collection.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Saturator

I wasn't able to get all 4 boys in a picture of their cute (a.k.a. handsome) Easter outfits.  I should have done it before we went to church, but we were running late (big surprise).  It turns out that we had a flat tire on my car, so I'm glad that I didn't take the time to make the boys pose for a hundred pictures.  I thought that I would get a picture of our family once we got to Nanny and Pappy's house, but they wanted to change into swimsuits as soon as we arrived.  The boys got water guns for Easter.
Even El Capitan got one.  It's called Saturator.  I love how the box says, "Time for combat!"  

We had the perfect weather for some serious Easter combat.  

James' face cracks me up.

El Cap let them have it.

Great-grandma tried to stay out of the line of fire.  I think she was mostly successful.

They boys had a fun time posing for pictures.  I discovered the key to getting them to stay still for pictures - give them a gun.  Well, first they had to run around playing with them.  Then, they stood still for a few minutes.

Happy Easter!  The Saturator is Knocker Boy recommended.  :)

After the water gun battle, Sam wanted to "get handsome" again.  He likes to look good.  It's so adorable.