First and foremost, they've finished their first year of dance (ballet/tap). My uncle Ron & aunt Linda came from IL to see their recital, which was a huge deal for the girls. They had a lot of praise, especially for Eden's gracefulness. This is awesome, as Eden was quite clumsy & coltish when she started. Both girls did a lot of practice during the week between classes, and, honestly, I think they did better than a lot of the older girls who'd been in it for years. They were both on the fence about whether or not they wanted to do it again next year (Eden was very much considering drum or martial arts lessons), but their recital experience won them over and they both want to try a second year, which would include jazz. It ended up being way more expensive than we anticipated, but we're really going to try to make it work if they want to stick with it.
My facebook buddies have seen these already, but I'm a proud momma and should share them here too. The first vid is their ballet number. Ivy is second from the front who stays first to the far right for the most part, and Eden is the redhead who is third from the back.
This is their tap routine, which I'm able to stay a bit better centered on both of them without having to go back and forth. Eden's mostly on the left and Ivy is the middle of the three shortest girls there on the right.
Another awesome development is that they'll get to do a summer day camp this year! There is an awesome local camp that has a sliding scale fee based on your income. This lets us give them a great camp opportunity that we'd otherwise never be able to afford. They'll be able to get horseback riding and swim lessons every day, and each week has a theme. They start Monday. They have the option to do four weeks, but we're going to try one week first and see how they do. It's an all day thing, from 8-3:30, so that's the closest 'school' experience they've ever had. Ivy's a bit nervous about being split up from sissy, but I think they'll both love it.
Calvin & Hobbes had the desired effect, and Eden is now quite a voracious little reader. Still not the best speller (she seems to have inherited her dad's mad spelling skills), but she is a fantastic reader now. Not just comics, either. She's started branching out into chapter books. Ivy has been practicing her alphabet a lot as well as having her own (smaller) spelling lists. She still does a lot of letters and numbers backwards, but she's had some remarkable improvements.
I've started teaching them some sign language, and fingerspelling has actually made a huge difference with Ivy! For some reason, even though recognizing and writing letters is difficult for her, she's picked up a lot of the fingerspelling alphabet really easily. I tried something new this week to combine the two, and while practicing their spelling words, I would fingerspell the word and see if they could tell me which word I spelled. Even with Eden's words that Ivy didn't know, she was the one who could name each of the letters while I spelled it out. This is a really great thing for her! She's able to recognize letters AND is better at it than Eden, who took to writing much easier than her. It's really boosted her confidence. I haven't even taught them the whole alphabet. I taught them everyone's names and a few of the letters, and fingerspelling the words was just a spur of the moment thing. We're working on learning all the letters now. I think it'll be a great help to Ivy.
We've also been learning about mythology lately. I've shared a few creation myths. We read some about Egypt's gods and goddesses after theafaye's son, who pen pals with Eden, told her about some of his learning - and she heard that ancient Egyptians used to worship cats. Well, she liked the sound of that! We've started looking at Norse myths, since Ivy decided she has a little crush on the Thor guy from the new movie (which we haven't seen yet). ladysmith (I think it was) suggested this book as an interesting read for both kids and adults, and times_suspended surprised us with it within like a day or two of me adding it to my amazon wishlist. It's not the most serious approach, but it's funny and the girls love it. And they're very intrigued by Loki, but I think this is mostly because they have a very good friend in lahermite's son, Loke.
Eden's been writing a lot of her own stories and comics lately, and Ivy enjoys drawing hers and telling us about it. So today we had a little English lesson, and I explained what protagonist, antagonist, and setting were. We talked about some of their books and decided who would be the protagonist or antagonist. Then they got their school books and made a page for each in their own story. The drew a picture, gave names, ages, super powers, and sidekicks, because apparently everyone needs sidekicks. They really enjoyed that little project. They came up with some pretty good stuff.
Those are our recent adventures. Everyone's really excited about this camp coming up, albeit slightly nervous about the girls being gone all day. I'm hoping this means that Josh and I can get super-productive around the farm though. I have no garden yet! The yard is only partially wrestled into submission. The house is much better than it has been in a long time, but we're still trying to declutter and prepare for the baby's arrival. Lots to do! But everyone is thriving, we're all really happy, and all is well.