Lots of big changes coming up soon:
1. We have a contractor, and he's getting permits to remodel our basement. We'll be gaining a bathroom, moving the laundry into the garage, and making a few changes to the remaining portion of the basement to make it a decent bedroom. In preparation for work starting, I have been getting rid of a bunch of our stuff via Craigslist, and there's now quite a bit of space freed up.
2. There's going to be a new baby in approximately 6 weeks. He's head down now - yay! I've never had this close spacing between children before, and Wendell is still more of a baby than a toddler, so I'm feeling a bit nervous about having a big baby and a little baby at the same time. We moved Wendell into the kids' room, and he's been sleeping through the night more often than not lately.
3. We decided, for a variety of reasons, to take Neil and Zinnia out of preschool for next year and to homeschool Iris through a charter school program. Iris has made really great progress doing just 1-2 hours per day of reading, writing, and math at home this summer (plus I spend another hour or so reading aloud). I'm going to have to figure out what's required as far as science and social studies and how to incorporate those into our day, but I'm feeling good about what we've been doing so far. Zinnia has been especially interested in keeping a journal this summer (just a daily drawing and then telling me a little bit to write down about her picture). Her drawings have gotten much more detailed and recognizable over the course of the summer, and she's just started wanting to write her name on everything this past week. Neil has next to no interest in drawing, and he's been busy building pterosaurs, microraptors, and sauropod dinosaurs out of Legos. Neil and Zinnia both are doing well with recognizing numbers and letters, making sounds for the different letters, and counting objects. Zinnia was asking me if she could read me a book, so I decided they might be ready to try the Bob books and pulled out the first couple of those. Neil completely blew me away by sounding out the words and even reading a whole sentence, "Sam sat on Mat". I'm not sure why, but putting the letter sounds together into words seems easy for Neil and difficult for Zinnia (difficult for Iris too, but in a different way - Iris says the sounds but often won't put them in the right order or will add or skip a sound, especially if it's not a c-v-c word. Zinnia just hasn't made the connection that Ssss-aaa-Mmm can be put together to make "Sam" - she'll often just guess a word that begins with the same first sound.)