Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Which We Post for Caitie

Hi Caitie!!

Caitie said I needed to have a list of acronyms since I'm throwing them around like they're going out of style.

Here's what I'm talking about

IEW- Institute for Excellence in Writing. We're using this. It's K-2. (Smart!) and included All About Spelling (Smarter!)

CC- Classical Conversations.  We build out our curriculum around this. We also meet once a week with our local CC community. 

Singapore- Singapore Math.  Whooo Asians! We love this even though it's confusing to Riley when people have names like Wu-Tang.  Logan is doing Earlybird Kindergarten A and Riley is doing 1B (because PWCS don't teach multiplication, division, or fractions in first grade).  Riley will finish 1B by the 2nd week of October, though, and will move to 2A.  Logan will finish Kindergarten A by December and move to Kindergarten B by January.  We love the easy readers that go along with the Kindergarten lessons!

Timeline Cards.   So your child, too, can do this.

I think that's it- if I forgot anything let me know :) 

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Week 6

Oh my gosh! We've made it 6 weeks! I was worried about my sanity, but I am really enjoying homeschooling and feel like God is really working on my heart and my patience for the process.  We're settling into a routine with our school that has allowed me to add in extra activities for each of the kids.  This was a process, and kind of an explosive one, since Austin's chief concern is the kids getting "socialized" enough and my chief concern is me not having a nervous breakdown.  He's been working pretty much non-stop for the last month and a half, including long nights (well past midnight) and weekends, so it's been all-mama-all-the-time.  I know my military friends do this for months on end, but I didn't sign up for single parenting because I know my limits :)

Anyhow, as I'm becoming more confident with our schedule we've added in Football and Art and Scouts (for Riley), Ice Hockey (for Logan, who will start a kid's science class this week and is asking for art lessons also), and Gymnastics and Preschool (for Savannah Lynn).  The picture below is one of Riley's pictures from art class.  I've included the "before" the lesson picture, too.  His art teacher is an awesome Christian lady and she does fantastic work.  I know it's hard setting up a business in this economy, but I hope she succeeds because we love her!

This week we really enjoyed our lessons- I think we've finally got the hang of the memory work.  Leigh Bortins says you have to "train to retain" and I think it's finally taking for everyone.  One change that I made this week that finally made Latin click was that I added in the (real) sign language for the Bible Memory verses (John 1:1-7). 

You wouldn't think that making something MORE complicated would make it easier- but this really did.  Since our Latin words are all being learned with the intention of translating John 1:1-7 into Latin from English, learning the sign for each word has helped with cuing the kids, and for some reason, helped them realize the connection, even though I'd told it to them 100 times. 

For our history this week, we've been working on the Louisiana Purchase.  In addition to reading from our What Your Child Needs to Know books, we also used several websites, including this one which has an interactive trail map with excerpts of journals from Lewis and Clark and this one which has a kind of "follow the adventure" game.  We also got to go meet up with some of our Classical Conversations friends for a history craft day.  We made trail journals by coloring a picture of Lewis and Clark (actually Sacagewea and Charbonneau with Lewis and Clark in the background) and then bound several pieces of paper inside with string.  Most of the kids were much younger than Riley, but he loves to draw and we added some difficulty to the activity together by having him copy pictures of actual discoveries Lewis and Clark made along their trek rather than just drawing random objects like the younger kids were doing.  We found a great list on Wikipedia here.

Math is still skip counting for CC, we're on 11 and 12 and Riley is kicking butt at it, finally! In our Singapore math, Riley blew through intro fractions and intro time (he's done them before with me) and did a review chapter today, which he was great at.  His approach to some word problems cracks me up because he sets them up like algebra problems __ +9 = 15 and then fills in the blank.  Logan is still struggling with ordering numbers in sequences that don't start with 1.  Counting should start with 1.  It's just that he needs the natural order of things to be followed.  We're getting there. 

For English we're trucking along with our Insitute for Writing Excellence, Teach Your Child to Read, and All About Spelling.  Riley has finally hit a point in his reading where he's excited to do it.  Yesterday we ended a chapter of his current Magic Treehouse book in a particularly exciting place and he looked ahead at how many pages the next chapter was- it was 8- and trucked ahead anyway.  Usually 8 pages would elicit a groan, but he was finally hitting a good stride and was too excited to see what happened to care about the length of the page.  He also read a book to me about the growth of apples since we're going to pick apples on Friday after preschool.  I couldn't let fall go by without some of my favorites. Also, Logan has some great, meticulous handwriting going.  It's very exciting since Riley writes like a doctor.

Science this week was the digestive system.  We enjoyed a Bill Nye as well as using this website.  Logan drew a most excellent picture of the digestive system, including a butt.  I am so scared to leave him alone in his class tomorrow for fear he'll end his memory work "small intestine, large intestine AND THEN YOU POOP!!!!!!!"

Sigh.  He can't be the only one with a mastery of that component of digestion, right?

Geography was more states and capitals.  We're to the middle of the US now, which is exciting! 

I think that's it...oh, we finally got our history timeline cards.  For next week I'm going to get some banner paper and make a giant timeline on our wall for us to add events to as we've memorized them in order.  They've got the first 16 down cold, and the 8 we're on this week.  The middle, well, it's a little fuzzy- they can do it with the pictures on the cards, but not just from memory. I blame that on my inability to get the flashcards in until now.

I also splurged and purchased the rest of History of the World on CD.  We still love it and the kids love finding the week's history (and then the timeline history) on the CDs during lunch.  They're retaining the information and I get to STOP TALKING for half an hour....well worth every penny.

Whew.  I think that's it. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Week 5

Oh look, I have a plan.  And I'm writing again, good for me!

So, here's an overview of the last two days:

Monday (History!)
Memory work, Reading, Math (Logan- order of numbers and generating written numbers from memory, Riley- finishing multiplication), History (listen to Story of the World, Coloring projects on the great seal and the flag), Writing (Katie Marie joined us!), Football

Tuesday (Science!)
Memory work, Reading, Math (Logan- popsicle stick number line, copying numbers, Riley, intro to division), Science (Smell/Taste experiment- which foods can we smell and identify, which can we taste (hold your nose!) and identify when we're blindfolded), Impromptu science because I taught them about the glass armonica.....every wine glass in my house is full of varying levels of water.  Riley's recording water levels he's tried on a stick.  It's cute.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In Which We Wonder If We Care...

Logan and Riley have been doing a little bit of complaining lately.  Riley feels like the work we do at home is grossly unfair because "I know it's more work than my friends are doing at school".  I know it is, too, but that's why we're doing this.  We believe that they're capable of more.

Today, driving Savannah Lynn to preschool, Logan bellowed that he wanted to go to preschool, too, and he wanted to go to Kindergarten at Riley's old school because he doesn't like being home.

I was totally crushed.

But then I got it together and asked him why.  Apparently he's been taking in a few mentoring lessons from his brother.  "School is easier and all you have to do is sit with your friends and then you go to recess and sometimes you do math.  It's just easy.  I like easy things."

Well.....I've thought about it, and your complaints have been registered.  But, I don't care.  Hopefully your future therapists will understand.

I really am working to make sure I include provisions for (especially Riley) the kids.  When Riley wanted to be in a cub scout den with 2 of his former classmates, for example, I moved him.  I'm trying to make sure we have adequate social interaction and that the kids get time away from me.  I really am.  But sometimes, I guess I need to know what's best for them, and let them vent without absorbing it :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

In Which We Have A Decent Week

Adjusting to homeschooling has been tough.  Especially for the part of me that wants to "do" school at home.  But I'm getting better.  We're on Week 4 of Classical Conversations, and it's going well.  The kids are struggling a little with the English grammar (because it's all basically the same) and the end of a few of the skip counting songs (4, 7, and 8). They rock out at history, science, and Latin.

This week, we learned:
History- In 1776 the Continental Congress published the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia, announcing the colonists' intent to form a new nation.
We read about the Declaration of Independence in our "What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know Book" and also read the declaration itself.  I found a great children's version with pictures that help convey the meaning of some of the rather long and outdated words.  We wrote with quill pens (straws cut on an angle and some found feathers by my little outdoorsmen) and kool-aid ink, copying the first few lines of the declaration as copywork.  We took a field trip to Philadelphia with our friend Katie Marie and her mom Jennifer and actually saw where this all happened.  We learned about the Articles of Confederation (fail) and the Constitution (win!).  Our CC group had a "Birthday for America" celebration. We got a great workbook from the park service and did a few activities each day.
Math- Skip counting the 7's and the 8's.
Riley is finishing up Singapore Chapter 4 on multiplication.  He's done great at it and I have to say the skip counting works, he naturally made the connection that "If I skip count the 4s 3 times it's like 4x3".  Win! Logan is really struggling with his chapter 4 and will continue it next week with some additional resources.  It's the written numbers 1-10.  Logan hates to write, and while he can match the numbers and identify them on flash cards, generating the numbers from memory into a written number on the page isn't really going his way.  He's great at 1, 0, 3, 5, and 8.  The others, not so consistent.  I have a few fun games and handwriting activities in mind to help him get done.  We've been doing a chapter a week, not because I want to over-push the kids, but because that's been the pace at which they are working.  If they don't get it, I obviously slow them down.  If it's easy and they understand it, then we keep going! We test on Fridays to ensure we have it down.
Science- The 3 parts of the nervous system are the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
Our science project at CC was about lung capacity.  Not surprisingly, my children are full of hot air.  At home, we've also been doing some crystal work (because Logan wanted to) and made halite by dissolving equal parts of salt in water and then pouring it into a glass dish until the water evaporated out.  Additionally, our chicken bones we made in August were ready (place clean bones in vinegar in a mason jar.  let sit covered for 4-6 weeks. enjoy tying in nots and bending!).  Riley would like to extend that experiment by re-mineralizing the bones.  I don't think it'll work, but he wants to try some mineral-infused water, milk, and a control.  I love that he knows the parts of the process, so we'll start that this weekend! We did a bunch of fun library reading on crystals.
Latin- Latin Verbs from John 1:1-6
English Grammar- The principal parts of a verb are, infinitive, present, past, present participle, past participle.
We're also using the Institute for Writing Excellence series for primary ages K-2.  Logan does the K work and Riley started with the 2nd half of 1st grade since he didn't get any of it last year.  Logan is doing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and is on lesson 58.  He's started sight-word readers and flash cards for sight words (to improve his speed, not because I want him to memorize words as a method to learn to read) and is doing well.  He learns handwriting from the IWE as well as does copywork and story summaries and a daily journal.  Riley is reading the Magic Treehouse books and will finish the pirate one tonight and start on the Revolutionary War one we bought in Philly.  His reading has improved greatly, I'm very proud of him.  He's also doing spelling from IWE and is doing very well on it.  I liked this program because it teaches a lot of the reading and phonics rules that he never got.  He likes it because it's very hands on with lots of manipulatives.
Geography- More states and capitals

We also do daily Bible and devotion, calendar, etc.  I think we're doing pretty well now and I'm happy with the progress we're making.  Riley commented to me that we "do less work but learn more" and went on to explain that at school he learned less but did lots more coloring and "dot the dot" worksheets.  I bought him a dot to dot workbook and he feels much better now ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Which We're Not Quite Facing the Giants

But we're still enjoying football :)

Is what this looks like when it's a baby.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In Which We Plan...

Desiring Virtue

Menu Planning Monday

It's been something like the seven plagues here this week.  Mice, flooding, ants, dog tearing into a purse (in his defense, his loving young owners neglected to give him his morning OR evening food.  I haven't had to remind them in months so I didn't even think about it.  My purse always has a granola bar or two for the kids, and he was hungry!) and, of course, there's the overtime my husband's been working, which is throwing me off, too.

Hopefully being prepared will help!

Greek Yogurt Parfaits with Bananas and Granola
Muffins (we're baking for the freezer this week as part of our lesson on fractions.  We'll be making pumpkin spice with cream cheese filling, blueberry crumb, cranberry orange, and lemon poppyseed)
Scrambled Eggs
English Muffins with Jelly and Butter

Leftover chicken sandwiches
Macaroni and Cheese and Green Beans
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Dinner Leftovers
Grammy Salad (allowed to soak in vinegar and olive oil for 15 minutes the way my grandma did) for momma

Vegetable stir fry with brown rice
Mushroom, Barley, and Kale Soup (similar to this one)
Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Oven Fries and Horseradish Creme dipping sauce
BBQ Chicken sandwiches from the crock pot (Football/Scout night)
Homemade Bagel Pizzas

Friday, September 9, 2011

In Which We Cook Chicken Scampi

I want to cook more.  I've gotten lazy, especially with couponing since it's so tempting to buy prepared items.  They're not good, they're not good for you (ahem, the recipe I'm going to share has 3/4 of a stick of butter, hem), and I love to cook.

To that end, Logan wanted to make "Olive-ah Garden" for his dinner night this week.  Enter, Chicken Scampi.

Olive-ah Garden Salad (Logan is specific about amounts): american mix bagged salad, 5 pepperoncini peppers, 2 thin slices red onion, 10 black olives, 1/2 cup garlic croutons, 2 roma tomatoes sliced, Kraft Zesty Italian (I hear the OG sells their dressing now- must look into this!)

Chicken Scampi- complicated, but delicious, and only 40 minutes WITH 5 year old "helper"!
1 box Angel Hair pasta, cooked

1 package chicken tenderloins
2T flour
Olive oil

2T flour
3/4 stick butter
3/4 cup milk

1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced

5 T butter
3 T crushed garlic
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
3 t italian seasoning
pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/4 cups water

10 cloves of garlic

1. Wrap the unpeeled garlic cloves in tin foil or place in a small ceramic baking dish.  Place in oven at 375.
2. Lightly flour and sautĂ© the chicken in a small amount of olive oil (or olive oil and butter...why waste that last teaspoon?) 
3. In the meantime, in another pan melt the butter and add the flour.  Cook for 1 minute to remove pasty flavor, and then slowly whisk in the milk.  Continue whisking until thick.
4. In another pan, melt the 5T butter with the garlic, pepper flakes, italian seasoning and pepper.
5. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan.  Add the 1 and 1/4 cups water to the hot pan to deglaze, scraping up the bottom of the pan as you go.  Add this to the butter/garlic/pepper flake mixture.
6.  In the former chicken pan, add the peppers and onions and cook to desired doneness using a small amount of water or oil to prevent sticking.
7.  Add the wine to the butter/garlic mixture.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the raw alcohol flavor has cooked off.  Add a heaping 1/4 cup of the bĂ©chamel (flour,butter,milk) mixture from earlier and whisk to combine.  Cook until slightly thickened.
8. Remove the garlic from the oven (should be soft and roasted in 35-40 minutes).  Remove skins and mash slightly into the sauce.  Combine chicken, veggies, and sauce.  Serve over angel hair pasta.  Parmesean optional.

Cute pfaltzgraff dishes optional, but encouraged :) We love this as is, but I read a few recipes that suggest adding cream.  I don't think that would be bad, either!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reading list

My friend Jamie had this up- it seems appropriate for a classical leaning momma to fill out! 

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes that most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this.
• Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
• BLUE the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 

4. Harry Potter Series- JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible 

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell 

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding 

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel 

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (in French, no less!)

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Take that, BBC! 

I would include more classics on my "must read" 100, but that list is, to be fair, aimed at my kids.  Books like Trumpet of the Swan and Island of the Blue Dolphins and Treasure Island.  

How about you?

Monday, September 5, 2011

In Which We Tell You How to Get To Sesame Street

Backdating.  I love it.


August 20-23rd we had a big trip scheduled for a combination of things.  When Austin's grandmother died, she, being the good Atheist and non-conformist that she was, donated her body to science and forbade a funeral.  That didn't leave anyone in the family a real reason to get together and mourn/remember her, so somehow we ended up doing it August 20th for dinner.  I have no clue, I would have probably picked planting trees or serving dinner at a shelter or something, but we did dinner at a super nice restaurant in New York (also not sure why, Emily lived in New York, but 4 of our party live in NH, 1 in California, and 5 in Virginia, so I feel like we could have met anywhere for dinner and at least skipped some hotel costs, but I think we were supposed to have had more of Emily's friends join us).  We got to see Gail, though, so that was fun!

We started our trip SUPER early on Saturday morning and drove to New York to the hotel.  When we got there, we met up with Kagen and Eliza and their daughter Zianna.  Anne (Austin's mom) and Nate (Kagen's dad) lived together for many years and Anne remains very close with Kagen and Eliza and considers Zianna to be her granddaughter.  The 8 of us decided that we would go check out a walking trail while we waited for Anne and Jordana (Austin's sister).  The kids were super cute playing together, and Zianna is the closest thing to a cousin their age they'll probably ever have, so we enjoyed watching! :)

Once Jordana and Anne arrived we talked about going to a playground near Emily's house, but ended up going to a place the concierge recommended which had a very interesting combination of amusement park and pay beach.  We skipped the amusement park but had a lot of fun humming at periwinkle snails and coating Aunt Jordana in muck.
She was a wicked good sport. However, the sand scrub my kids gave her did remove her sunscreen, which left her a festive shade of sunburn the rest of the trip :( Her hair feathers made it through okay, though!

Anne had made really early dinner reservations, so we left to get everyone scrubbed and dressed.  We ate at an amazing place that was part of a wine bar, and I didn't take pictures but should have.  My little gourmand, Logan, had an especially great time and loved how the food was presented.  I had lemon ricotta ravioli with sunflower shoots and a trio of creme brulees that I shared with our only New York guest, Anne's half-sister Barbara, who was very fun to be around.  The kids kept going and singing with her and had a fun time.  Riley had root beer braised spare ribs which included the large marrow bone au gratin, which he ate with great gusto.  Emily would have been proud.  We didn't really do any reminiscing or anything at dinner, but I ordered my water softly with very little ice and think she would have been proud ;)

When we got back, Austin fell asleep but Anne took some time to go through wedding pictures from Emily and Elkan's wedding, which I had asked for, and she also very graciously gifted Savannah and I each a strand of Emily's pearls.

Sunday morning we went to mass at St. John the Divine, which is probably melting from having me celebrate mass there, (I love me some Anglicans, but I'm way to conservative for the Episcopalians) but either way, I've always wanted to see the cathedral.  We had to go to the first reading of mass, which didn't have a choir and was only about 20 people.  It was strange to be in such a large space with so few people! There were ROWS of them filling up for the next mass before ours even ended, even though ours ended at 10 and the next one didn't start until 11!! Sitting in the nave, you can see 3 different types of architecture, it's really cool.

Our super-contemporary seeker-friendly church-I-don't-love but go to for my unchurched husband doesn't do communion but once a year, so even though I don't consider myself in communion with the Episcopal church, and it probably makes me a heretic, we went up for communion.  When we walked back I almost cried because Logan saved half the host and handed it to Austin saying "here Daddy, I want you to do this with us".  Austin palmed it back to me, of course.  Sigh.

Anyway, then we met up with Gail (Austin's Aunt who is one of my favorite people) at the Bronx Zoo.  It was a bit of a mess getting around since we all ended up at different gates and some of our party are more walkers (or runners!) than others, but we managed with minimal frustration.  Anne needed to get off her feet at one point and so we took a monorail ride, which prompted both Austin and Savannah to fall asleep:
"Oooh, we iz interesteds"

It worked out well that the Bronx Zoo is OVERRUN with peafowl since I had hoped to have time to see the two that reside at St. John the Divine's courtyard, but we were running behind.  The kids loved seeing these beautiful animals, and they were everywhere just walking around in the open!
Peacock says: You shall not pass.
I don't know how I didn't end up with a picture of Riley and Gail, but they were best buddies this trip! Riley held Gail's hand and escorted her around and was just adorably loving with her.  I did, however, score a picture of Logan with a butterfly from Jordana!
In all honesty, he's the only one gentle and still enough to have this happen.

After the zoo we had dinner in Chinatown.  In the pouring rain.  Not my favorite, but the kids enjoyed it and scored a new blanket from it since they were shaking half to death in the air conditioning while we waited for Jordana and Anne to arrive and the junk shop next to the restaurant had cheap ones.  We then drove to Langhorne, PA, where Jordana later met us, to go to Sesame Place.

I can't think of tons cute to say- Savannah had a great time, Riley was a good sport about the whole "baby" thing, and Logan was super fun to watch running around with Riley.  It was fun that Jordana got to join us, too! (FYI, when I found out about the earthquake, I was in line for a AbbyCadabby's Treasure Hunt show and then freaked because my mom texted me and the phone lines instantly shut down and I couldn't get ANYONE on the phone.  Thank God everyone was fine!) So, in lieu of me typing more in this insanely long post, pictures!
 Aunt Jordana and Savannah in the lazy river before Auntie left.  FYI- this water was FREEZING cold.
 In the hotel- the kids have commandeered Auntie's things.
 Good shot of the hair feathers ;) and Logan with Auntie.
 Riley being not-so-lazy in the river and getting ahead of everyone.
Savannah Lynn with Zoe at the Character Breakfast- she was at such a perfect age for this and very cute to watch!
Momma and the munchkins on the walk back to our hotel.