Friday, September 24
Our five-year-old (FIVE!) celebrated her birthday at Build-A-Bear this year. I couldn't fathom trying to get together a party at home with Zach's crazy schedule, family in town, homeschooling, and living in three hour increments divided by a baby stuck to my chest. (I wish I could hand over a few feedings to the bottle, but I'm almost positive my body will take that as a signal to quit producing altogether, and don't want to mess with the first success I've ever had at breastfeeding.)
So I figured we'd suck it up and pay for another professional party. We were all set to schedule with the equestrian center we went to over the summer, when Mia decided she wanted to go to Build-A-Bear for her party. I didn't know if that was even possible, but after a quick look on their website, I was convinced it would be a great (less expensive) idea. Basically, the party is free, and all you pay for is the bears, which are discounted!
I thought at first that we'd be coralled into a corner to quietly play some party games, and then overtake the line to stuff everyone's bears, which would have to be the $10 cheap-o ones with limited shirt options.
When we arrived, we were told we could choose any animal up to $18, and any shirt in the entire place. We had a fun party host who encouraged the kids to yell, hop, run through the store, make silly faces, sing a boisterous Cha cha Happy Birthday song, and ring a loud bell! And we had one of the stuffing machines to ourselves. It was so much fun- Mia beamed the entire time.
Mia woke up the next day and asked her sisters "Guess how old I am!" When they found out she was a number higher they figured they must be four now. Anya keeps asking me every day how old she is.
Since the party, we've spent the last couple of weeks doing school at home. It has been surprisingly fun! Mia's favorite subject is Language Arts because she gets to act out the stories with her sisters. Anya and Bree were doing her Math courses for the first few weeks, while I had Mia do the workbook we'd been working on before school started. Her teacher finally did some one-on-one time with her and gave us some more appropriate curriculum for Language Arts and Math, so we're excitedly waiting for the materials to arrive FedEx today. Meanwhile we've been doing our own thing in those subjects. I've been surprised at what passes as acceptable supplemented curriculum. They say if she watches a science program, that can count as science! There is a limit to how many supplemental hours we can do per week, but we've never come close to the minimum, the curriculum they provide is so great.
Thank goodness for this K12 program- I know I couldn't have started homeschooling from scratch our first year, especially with the baby here and Zach always gone. It's the best of both worlds- because it is considered public education, it is entirely free. We have a teacher to work with, a new up-to-date computer, tons of awesome award-winning books, art supplies, science supplies... yet Mia gets to choose what she wants to learn that day, and it is perfectly tailored to her abilities. I've been relieved at how socializing isn't as big an issue as I thought it would be. Since we started school, we've had time to go out and meet half a classroom's worth of friends in just a few weeks. She still has her best friends to play with when it isn't school time. Between the park, dance, and tumbling classes, meet-ups with our homeschooling group, and playing with her sisters at home, she's getting plenty of interaction with people other than her mom. The biggest drawback is that housework has taken the backseat, and it's a really crowded car. We just do as much as we can on the weekend. I guess that will get better the older the kids get, though. Which is happening at an astonishing rate, by the way. Two months and BAM! this kid isn't a newborn anymore.
So, anyway. There we are. :)