Boys have such wild and wonderful imaginations. Moving on from their intense Wild Kratts adventures and boisterous Angry Birds war games of late summer, the 3 Amigos are now in the midst of medieval mania.
Much of our CC memory work is about Middle Ages. Plus, Story of the World — a history audio-book we’re also enjoying — is on those dark and violent times. So, it’s not shocking that the dudes’ make-believe theatrics often involve a feudalism plot and include many brave, chivalrous characters.
Consequently, we decided to take the boys to their (and my) first Renaissance Faire. It was actually a CC-organized outing for 10/16, which just so happened to be Gabriel and Zeke’s 5th birthday! Stephen even took the day off work, so it was quite the jolly jaunt.
The kids’ favorite part of the festival was the jousting and their least favorite was the dungeon tour. Luckily, there were many other distractions from that latter frightening experience, like rides, lively performances and hardy food. Houston even attempted to eat a giant turkey leg just like Daddy!
That evening, the J-Crew and the boys’ new pal, Mason, came to the house for an impromptu birthday celebration of rich chocolate cake and banana-split ice cream. “It twas a great feast,” as is Gabriel’s wont to say about meals these days, since it sounds so medieval-like.
On Friday, I took the dudes to see The Armor of God. Another CC-organized event, this one-man show (along with his volunteer squire) uses history and all the parts of a knight’s armor as the vehicle to teach kids about Ephesians 6 and how to live for Christ.
And then that afternoon, Houston attended Miss Julie’s Halloween piano party dressed up as a knight. If you recall, the dudes had been piecing together creative make-shift warrior costumes during their pretend Middle Ages games.
So, Stephen and I decided to buy each of them a decent-quality knight set, which includes a breast plate, shield, helmet, and sword with sheath. We figured the 3 Amigos could use the gear for Halloween and for lots of imaginative play beyond holiday. No homemade costumes this year will save me some valuable time to boot.
The twins’ birthdays always kind of outweigh Stephen’s and my anniversary, which was 10/14. We commemorated our 13th year of marital bliss by devouring take-out sushi at home with the boys. It was peaceful and eventless: a perfect evening for two tired old folks like us!
We had our second family camping excursion the weekend of 10/18-10/20. We told Gabe and Zeke that the trip was a continuation of their birthday celebration, but I suppose it could’ve just as well been to observe our anniversary. Either way, it surely was an adventure!
We stayed at a campground along the Dan River. The route to Stoneville from home was all country backroads, but still only took about 35 minutes. It was a sunny, cool day and we were all ready for both excitement and relaxation in the wilderness.
The dudes made insta-friends with a couple other little boys on Friday night. They all wore headlamps and played nighttime hide-and-go-seek. The kids’ parents even treated the 3 Amigos to s’mores.
Turns out, Saturday was wet and very chilly. It never really poured, but it misted and drizzled the entire day. The precipitation started early in the morning when I awoke to the sound of raindrops, so Stephen and I immediately had to exit the comfort of our toasty sleeping bags in order to attach the rain fly to the tent.
Since we had embers from Friday night, our first course of action on Saturday was to get the fire going again to warm our chilled bones. Thus, most of the cold morning was spent searching the woods for extra fuel, since we didn’t want to use our last bought bundle until dinnertime.
This is much like the clean-up we do on Liberty Loop every so often, so the kids and I are accustomed to this kind of fun labor. Plus, burning stuff is one of our favorite things to do, so we delighted in tending to the campfire, while Daddy prepared our breakfast and lunch.
We went on a hike that afternoon. The trail snaked along the banks of the Dan River and circled back around to the pond, swing sets and campground picnic shelter, where we taught the kids how to play ping pong.
Even though we felt quite remote, turns out that “civilization” (the town of Mayodan) was just a short drive from the campground. Being that we were damp and muddy from the hike, we cranked the heat in the van and trekked to the store for ice, libation and candy.
Admittedly, we were pretty underprepared for our cold, rainy campout (damn your incorrect forecasts, weather.com!), but everybody had a really good attitude and the clan survived no worse for the wear. Now we feel like we can handle hardcore camping, especially if we’re better equipped for the next adventure.
Although we’ve had lots of field trips lately, don’t think we’re slacking on our studies. Sure, we’re a tad behind on the day-to-day stuff, but that’s one of the joys of homeschooling: we get to make our own schedule. Plus, we like to learn from doing, exploring and being, not just writing and reading.
Gabriel and Zeke are really coming into their own in their separate CC classes, which I requested for our Tuesday community meet-ups. They seem to enjoy being solo and having a respite from the other. And all the boys thrive on their memory work, which they do for both CC and Awana.
Houston’s reading is flourishing. Not sure if I ever fessed up to this, but last spring I nearly turned my former bookworm pre-reader into a kid that hated to read. I made the mistake of having him tackle books that were way too challenging, instead of giving him easy books in order to build his confidence.
Fortunately, I realized my error early on and worked at remedying the situation all summer long. Now Houston’s back to loving books! Currently, he’s gobbling up a variety of emergent-reader books from the library, and exploring the Bob Books Gabriel and Zeke got for their birthdays.
Last Wednesday, I schooled the 3 Amigos plus Asher. I was a favor to Miss Christie, but I thought of it as good practice for becoming a CC tutor some time down the road. Not only do tutors get a significant discount on their kids’ CC tuition, but it would also be a compelling challenge as a home educator.
Overall, school’s cool. Sure, we have our moments … and sometimes even our days. But when one of the boys chooses school as their “high of the day” during our highs-and-lows discussions at dinner, you know we’re doing something right!
Aunt Dina and cousins Kara and Meredith visited for a night in mid-October. It was a rainy weekend, but we made the most of it, playing Chinese checkers and cooking homemade lasagna (as per the boys’ request, since it’s Garfield’s favorite food).
Granny came to town this weekend. She took the 3 Amigos to a free fall event at our local grocery store, where they decorated pumpkins, ate cookies and drank apple cider. Thanks for the Halloween fun, Granny!
Stephen and I got a night out to attend the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center’s annual banquet on 10/7. GPCC is my favorite local non-profit and we love supporting their life-affirming efforts here in our community. Plus, Dr. Gary Chapman — author of the powerful book, The 5 Love Languages — was the featured speaker. What a treat!
Miss Jessie’s availability for babysitting is sparse these day, so we rendered the services of Callie, a kind and responsible tween we know from CC. Everything went well, so I’m sure we’ll be offering her another job in the future … always good thing to have a mature and trust-worthy babysitter on call.