Thursday, June 30, 2011

Did you learn anything new at the botanical gardens?

Cohen and I took a field trip to the New Orleans City Park Botanical Gardens. We are learning about colors this week, and I thought flowers would be a great way to show Cohen all the beautiful colors God created.

For this trip, I allowed him to take his own camera (or just our really old digital camera). The assignment was to take pictures of the different colored flowers and then when we got home we could look over them, maybe print them out and make a book or something. The book has not happened yet, but we did get some good pictures.

This is one picture that I took of him. Who knows, maybe he will grow up to be a photographer. He did a really good job with the camera!

And here are a few of the flower pictures Cohen took.

And sometimes taking picture of flowers gets kind of boring, so he took some creative pictures of other things too.

My knees...

His shoe...

A picture of me taking a picture of him.

This is the picture I got of him about that same time...

He loved this huge pink swing, so he took my picture on it...

Later on, the Saunders joined the fun at the botanical gardens, so Cohen took some pictures of them too!

I got a couple of cute pics of them too. These girls are so cute!!

And if that's not enough pictures...I have a few more of my Cohen I wish to share.

And most favorite picture of the day....taken by Cohen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What do the boys do while Mommy is away?

Cohen got a little bug last week. Friday he was running a low fever, so on Saturday he was not able to attend Cille's birthday party or the Father/Child Wacky Tacky Dinner at the church. Since Jace is off work on Saturdays and the best Father on the planet, he offered to stay home with Cohen while I attended Cille's party and the Wacky Tacky Dinner. (I should mention that the dinner was hosted by the FBC LaPlace Children's Ministry Team and I am a team member. I'm not just some strange girl who showed up at this father/child dinner. I served salad, and it was yummy!)

While at the Wacky Tacky dinner, I got a few strange text messages from Jace. I always wonder about those boys when they are left alone.

Jace: Would you pick up some milk and seltzer water on your way home?
Jace: Oh and do we have any string?
Jace: What time is wacky tacky over?
Emily: Seltzer water? String?
Emily: 7:30pm
Jace: Don't worry about the string but please get the seltzer and milk.
Jace: Do you want me to feed the boy?
Emily: Yes. Please feed our son. I'll be home shortly.
Emily: What is seltzer?
Emily: Club soda? Tonic Water?
Emily: Carbonated Water?
Jace: Carbonated Water.

So of course, at the end of this text message conversation, I was asking myself, "What in the world are those boys doing at home?" By this point they have been home alone for most of the day. What would you possibly need string, milk, and seltzer water for?

The answer to the string issue...Jace had planned to make soup can phones, but since they didn't have strings, they made this instead...

As for the other things, Jace got his hands on my latest issue of the Family Fun magazine. I'm not the only one in this family that loves that magazine. The boys decided to make Egg Creams, a soda shop classic. You take 1/3 c. cold milk, 3 T chocolate syrup (or a couple spoonfuls of the powder), and cold seltzer.

Cohen really wanted to like this drink. He tried his best, but he does not love carbonated drinks, so the carbonated water in this drink was too much for him.

When I got home, Cohen couldn't wait to show me the "noculars" he made. Then, because I was taking so many pictures of him and his egg cream, he decided he needed to take a picture of me.

Stay tuned, more of Cohen's photography coming soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How was your first day of school?

Busy. Very Busy.

See, when I had scheduled Monday, June 27, 2011 as our first day of school, I had not factored in swim lessons. And then on top of swim lessons, I decided to schedule an eye appointment the same day.

I'm hoping after swim lessons are over our schedule will become more defined, but for now, we do what we can. For those interested, I'm planning to do another post on our curriculum. Today we did not technically start the planned curriculum, instead we just did a fun craft to mark our first day of school.

Doesn't he look super excited about his first day of school?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Are you really considering homeschooling?

If you read my earlier post where I mentioned homeschooling my child and asked the question “Are you really considering homeschooling?” then this post is for you.

When we brought Cohen home last March, I wanted nothing but to spend every waking moment with him. I had waited for what felt like an eternity for a child of my own and I wanted to spend all my time with him. He's a ton of fun and I love being around him. For financial reasons, Jace and I decided that I would keep my job, only at a part-time basis.

In September 2010, I quit my job for good. It was taking too much time from Cohen and I really felt like God was calling me to be with him more during his transition into the Raney family.

We also enrolled Cohen in a 3 day a week preschool program in September 2010. I wanted Cohen to have the opportunity to socialize with other kids his age. I have mixed feelings now about my decision to do that. I love Cohen's teachers dearly and I think they have done a wonderful job with my son. My regret is that I didn't get to spend more time with him. I guess I was jealous that they got him three days a week, when I wanted him all seven.

In November I took a job as a long-term substitute teacher at the preschool where Cohen went. I thought this would be a great chance to make a little extra money, and to see Cohen at his school. At first I was only supposed to be there a couple of months...and well, I stayed on until May. I loved the kids in my class and I loved getting to spend time with them and teaching them fun things, but I'm sad that I was spending all my time with them and not Cohen. Who knows, maybe one day when Cohen is at big kid school, I may see about going back to teach preschool. I really did love it a lot more than I thought I would.

So to make this long story short, Jace and I have decided to keep Cohen home next year. Our current plan is to have him go one day a week to play and learn, and then spend the other days at home with me. I’ve purchased some homeschool books (I will give more info on those later), so Cohen and I will do school together over the next year.

At this point, I’m sort of considering myself an accidental homeschooling mom. It was never my intention to teach my children at home, but after a lot of prayer and some serious thought, Jace and I feel this is best for Cohen for now. To answer your next question, I have no idea how long we will do this. My plan is to do this for a year, and see how that goes. I have lots of great plans, and I find at times that God laughs at my plans. His plans are so much better anyways!

My goal for the next year is to teach Cohen letters and numbers, and to have a lot of fun along the way. Those things are good, but if he gets nothing else from me this year, I would like for him to have a much better understanding of the love that Christ has for him and the sacrifice that He made just for him. At the end of the day, my most important job as mom and teacher is to make sure Cohen knows Christ.

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” –Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Our first day of official school is today, Monday, June 27, 2011. Say a prayer for us!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Did you see any animals while you were at the zoo?

I love going to the zoo with people who are members of the zoo. When you have to pay each time you go into the zoo, you feel pressured to see as many animals as possible. If you are a member, you just go an enjoy the experience, even if you don't see many animals.

Just like Cohen and Cille, all of the sea lions at the New Orleans zoo were born in the month of June. We celebrated their birthday month by visiting the sea lion exhibit.

We had the priviledge of joining the Guillory girls and the Pouricau girls for this trip. Poor Cohen, I'm afraid most of the things we do during the summer months will be with lots of girls. As you can see, it was super humid that day, and my camera was still cold from the car ride, so all of my pictures with the sea lions came out super fuzzy.

Sadie and Cille...these girls are just so stinking cute!!

After watching the sea lions eat all those fish, we felt like we needed lunch too.

Next we headed to "the beach" as Cohen refers to it. It's actually a place to dig up ancient artifacts. The kids loved playing in the sand. For those planning a trip in the future...remember go to the sand first, then monkey hill. It's a great way to wash off all that sand. If you go to monkey hill first, then you just end up with really muddy kids.

I showed the kids how to make mud pies. Cohen wanted to swim in the sand.

Next on the agenda...Monkey Hill!! This was by far Cohen's favorite part of the zoo experience. Stella was a real pro on these rocks.

While Cohen allowed me to go with him to the top of Monkey Hill a couple of times, he really preferred going with Mrs. Scarlett.

I was ok with that, because while Cohen and Mrs. Scarlett went up the hill, I got to play at the bottom with some of the girls!

It was lots of fun! Can't wait to do it again. Maybe next time we will see more than just the sea lions. If not, oh was fun anyway! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Do you know how to make homemade ice cream?

This is yet another Family Fun idea. You need to just go ahead and order this magazine!

The other day, Cohen and I made our own homemade ice cream using this recipe.

It was super easy! The only problem we had was the bag got super cold. We put towels around the bags to shake them so our hands didn't get so cold.

The ice cream was very tasty! Cohen chose to add some sprinkles to his.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Do you know how to swim?

This past week, Cohen started swim lessons. He's taking lessons with Miss Kaylee at Elmwood Fitness. She's wonderful!

Cohen had a really rough first day. I tried my best to explain what was going to happen, and how Miss Kaylee was going to swim and play with him for a few minutes, but he was not happy. I ended up having to leave (but that was only after Miss Kaylee had to peel a screaming, clawing Cohen from my arms). He continued to cry for about 10 minutes. I know this because I hid near the pool and could hear him.

And just to show you that there is a God...just when I was about to call it quits and go get him and take him home, and older lady came to me and asked what I was doing (I'm sure I looked awful suspicious hiding near the pool area and looking like total creep while trying to check out the kids in the pool). Anyway, I explained that my son was the child screaming in the pool. She took a look at him, then proceed to tell me all about her children and grandchildren's experiences with swim lessons, and then she went into the importance of teaching your children to swim. She was such a blessing! Our conversation lasted all of about 2 minutes, and when I returned my focus to Cohen, he was laughing and playing with Miss Kaylee.

The next day was much better. He only cried for a couple of minutes, then I was able to stay and watch him swim. By Wednesday, there were no tears, only polite pleas to not go under the water. Miss Kaylee was just as polite when she said "How can you blow bubbles if you don't go under the water?"

On Wednesday, I brought my camera to catch a few shots of Cohen and his teacher.

I also got a video of him during swim lessons.

I also got a video of him later, at the splash pool. You will notice he's putting his hands above his head like he's going to dive. He overheard some of the other teachers teaching their kids how to dive, so he decided he would try. Fear not, Miss Kaylee is not teaching diving lessons just yet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How would you create some "fizzle fun?"

When I mented to my Mother-in-Law, Mrs. Jan, that I was planning on keeping Cohen home next year and homeschooling, she immediately went through closets and drawers to find anything that she used for her boys when they were home together.

She gave me this really neat little box called "Sweet Pickles." It was published by Weekly Reader in 1981, so it's pretty old (hehe). They don't make it anymore, so if you want one, you will have to hope someone is selling one on e-bay. I'm not selling mine copy, so don't even ask.

Anyway, this "Sweet Pickles" is basically a box full of little cards. The cards contain games, crafts, stories, and experiments for preschoolers. I decided to do one of the experiments last week with Cohen. We created "Fizzle Fun" and learned how gas is created.

Materials Needed:
Soda or other clear bottle
Baking Soda

Cohen was a huge help. I had him hold the funnel, and I added all the vinegar first (about 1 inch). Then a few seconds later, I added the baking soda (about a tablespoon). Then I told Cohen to move the funnel, real fast, and I put the balloon on top.

In this picture, you can actually see my "Sweet Pickles" card sitting on the table. They gave us a really cute story to read with this experiment and some suggestions on how to explain the experiment with preschoolers.

We did the experiment several times. A few times, I broke the balloon while trying to put it on the bottle.

It was lots of fun! Can't wait for our next "Sweet Pickles" experiment.