Friday, December 18, 2009

christmas activities

December has been very busy around our house! I took Jason and Cameron to see The Nutcracker and the kids both loved it. For the next few days there was a lot of ballet from Miss Cameroo (and of course many Madagascar moves too).

We also got our tree. We treked deep into the forest of the Walmart parking lot to get just the right one. The kids love to help with the bungee cords and sawing the stump but the enthusiasm fades as the afternoon goes on. I usually find myself decorating alone toward the end of the process :)

hayden's 1st birthday

It's hard to believe it, but one year ago today this little girl entered the world. She came at three o'clock in the morning and has been a night owl ever since. It's a good thing that she's so sweet, it makes all the long nights worthwhile. We had a little party for her tonight with all the grandparents.

Hayden had a lot of help opening her presents from big brother and sister. She got right to work, playing with everything (except for the toy I bought her, I forgot to get batteries, so it's a dud until we get four Ds in the busy ball popper).
I made red velvet cupcakes for the little birthday girl. At first she didn't know what to do with her cupcake, so she smeared the frosting all over her tray. After a few tastes of frosting off my finger she got busy eating the cupcake.

Of course, it wouldn't be much of a party with out a swordfight between the grandparents. Here, Nanny and Pops battle it out on the Wii (Nanny won... don't mess with Nanny!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the most patient dad in the world

I don't think that's an exaggeration. Check out these pictures and see if you could handle putting up Christmas lights with two little helpers at your feet. Sorry, I forgot how to rotate my pictures!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I just thought I'd put up a cute picture of the kiddos in their Thanksgiving clothes... Hayden's dress was so cute and nearly impossible for her to crawl in!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

we're back!

Wow, I missed the whole month of November. If anyone's still checking in here, I offer you my deepest apologies! I blame Facebook for my absence. I got sidetracked for awhile but be assured that I'm reinvigorated and ready to blog. I give a few updates of what has happened in the Rusco House.

Halloween: For months Jason has been saying that he wants to be a Lego guy for Halloween and for months I just kept saying "uh-huh" and hoping that he would drop that idea. I guess he's too old for that sort of short-term memory now so I found myself on Halloween morning constructing a Lego head. I made it up on the fly with poster board, fabric, felt, duct tape and lots of glue. The miracle was that the head made it through the Harvest party with no problems (of course, it's the kind of thing that a kid wears for the pictures then rips it off to play games and jump in the bounce house.

Fall projects: We finally have some decent fall weather. The kids are playing outside all afternoon, every day and they've met some really great kids across the street. We went for a nature walk one afternoon, collected leaves and then brought them home for leaf prints.

I promise I'll be back with more updates, including a look at some Jedi moves and a nice Thanksgiving picture.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

wish list

Today Jason is constructing his Lego wish list. Not only does he write down what set he wants but he also includes the price, number of pieces and set number. He then cuts out each item and then tapes the list back together to make a cool design. I don't know what goes through his mind when he does this but every once in a while he constructs a list in the hope that someone out there will read it and buy something on it for him. It inspired me.

Because we home school we are at home ALL THE TIME! That's not a complaint, it's a statement of fact. So in the spirit of the great wish list master Jason, I too have constructed a wish list of things that would make our home schooling adventure a smoother ride.

Art and craft supplies:
  • paper: there's never enough paper, construction, computer printer, tissue, etc.
  • glue: sticks, white, crazy, rubber cement
  • paint: watercolors, acrylic
  • markers: they always dry out no matter how vigilant I am
  • tape: that's our battlecry, "WHERE'S THE TAPE!???"

Sports equipment:

  • balls: our neighbor has a steady stream of whiffle balls coming his way. We also would love soccer balls, basketballs, red rubber balls (like for dodgeball), plastic golfballs (because they sail over the fence nicely also...)
  • jump ropes
  • tennis shoes (because honestly, they wear out or grow out faster than you can imagine)


  • decks of cards: because a certain little baby loves to suck on them and then we always know who has the 9 of spades
  • Risk: ugh, I know, but the boy loves it!

Science kits:

  • stuff to grow: plants, ants, butterflies, whatever
  • rockets
  • chemistry sets
  • anything to do with building: I guess you could insert Legos here...
  • kid's cookbooks

So there's my wish list for now. It's kind of long but with Christmas coming maybe our school will get a big boost for the second semester. I'm just putting it out there, just like Jason, hoping and wishing!

(And for those of you who need a picture, here's Cameron dressed up in her own special way just to get the mail...)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Yesterday we had a great opportunity to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with our whole family and our friends for a home school day. We took off at 8:30 in the morning because Darren and I absolutely love a certain cinnamon roll shop on Cannery Row and we were determined to have a yummy snack before the aquarium. With treats in hand we found a bench and started to eat but looked up just in time to see a family from our group. Sheepishly we gobbled up our cinnamon rolls and spent some time talking with them. We were able to check in and enter without waiting for the rest of our group so we got the kids busy at the touch pools and bat ray tank right away. After such a long car ride they really needed to DO something!

After a while we were able to meet up with the rest of the gang. We ate our lunch outside and headed back in for more sights. I really liked the jellyfish and shark exhibits but the darkness was very uncomfortable for Cameron so we didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked. The kids really enjoyed the seahorses, otters and penguins. After about three hours fish fatigue set in and we were done.
No day in Monterey would be complete without a stop at Dennis the Menace park so we took the kids over there to completely exhaust them before the long ride home. The kids loved climbing on the train engine and Jason took bravery to a new level as he explored the very top of the train. They also loved the suspension bridge, crazy slides and tunnels. When we were convinced that they were worn out we piled into the car for the ride home. Have you ever driven for two hours with three children in the back seat and experienced total silence? We have, and it is a beautiful thing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cameron's Riding Video

Hi everyone, this is Cameron. Since Jason got a biking video, I want to show one too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jason's Bike Movie

Hi everyone, this is Jason. I have a very cool movie to show you. And make sure you see my cool trick at the end.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

birthday bonanza!

October is a huge birthday month for our family. I could list all the birthdays of all our relatives but honestly, I'd probably leave someone out and then I'd lose a blog reader. And with my inconsistent blogging I need all the committed readers I can get!

Monday was Darren's 35th birthday. As he puts it, "halfway done". He's a little sarcastic.... The kids and I made a cake for him and wrapped all our fabulous gifts. I think he was pretty excited about the sticky spiders that he got from the kids and the ridiculous amount of sprinkles they poured on his cake. He said, "hey we could eat this cake at the beach!" and yeah, it was that crunchy!
Wednesday was Cameron's 4th birthday. Because she doesn't like big crowds and lots of attention we just invited two of her friends to come over and play for the afternoon. Cameron requested a mermaid theme party so I did my best to make that happen. I bought the girls unfinished wood boxes at Michael's and had them paint them. Then I pulled out a large bucket of assorted beads and let the girls fill their treasure chests (because you find treasure at the bottom of the sea, obviously). We enjoyed some delicious cake and opened a few presents. I think it was a success because Cameron did not cry or run and hide from her guests ( and yes, those were two very real possibilities!).
And just because.... Miss Hayden, crawling baby on the loose! She likes to use things like this Mater toy to climb up to a standing position. She's in that funny stage where she can stand up but then cries because she doesn't know what to do next. Just stay cute Hayden!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

we're back!

Greetings blog fans! We're back from an unfortunate blogging hiatus. Shortly after my last post on the fabulous viking sword and shield our power cord for Big Mac suffered an injury. We did our best to ration our battery power and get charges from relatives but it just wasn't enough. Yesterday while on our field trip to the big city (to go to a farm.... more on that later) we stopped by the Mac store for a free tune-up and purchased a new power cord. I'm a little miffed that I can buy an ipod shuffle for $49 but a power cord goes for $69. It hurts. The nerd at the desk told me everything was good during the systems check and they just had to deal with a few permissions issues..... what? Anyway, the most important part of the visit to the Mac doctor was that the nice fella glued my g key back on so I'm back to my speedy pecking.

So what happened around here during the power outage? Viking helmets of course! We used paper mache to create our fabulous helmets. And what color does a girl viking paint her helmet? Pink!
The other big news is that Fall has arrived. The kids wore sweatshirts for their morning recess and told me it was FREEZING outside!
And finally, our trip to the big city. Yesterday we went to San Luis to run errands and go to Avila Valley Barn with our home school friends. We had a great time on the hayride, in the pumpkin patch and in the hay maze. The kids love to run through the maze over and over again. Cameron has already painted her pumpkins and they are beautiful!
Cameron was completely accessorized.

I guess Jason was practicing his future prom pose....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

we're vikings!

I don't know why more people don't just drop everything and homeschool! Ok, I do know why but still, look at how fun it is to play with your kids!

Today is day two of our total Viking immersion program. Yesterday we went to the library and checked out a ton of books on Vikings and the countries of Scandinavia. Today we started on our costume, which of course must begin with a sword and shield. There's nothing that duct tape can't do! Tomorrow we will create a helmet and I'm still trying to think it through... perhaps a little papier mache is in order.

And by the way, did you celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th? We did! ARRRGH!

Monday, September 14, 2009

the flu or un-flu, but definitely NOT swine flu

We're a house of little sickies these days. Jason came down with a nasty cold/cough/fever/dry heave thing on Thursday and on Friday we took him in to make sure it wasn't the BIG one. With a negative test result Jason and I headed home to share the good news and prepare for the imminent probability of the whole family's illness. So far just Cameron has caught the bug from her generous brother.

I've been spending my time wiping every surface with anti-bacterial wipes, drinking ridiculous amounts of water and refusing to get sick myself. The nights are full of interruptions, mostly from sweaty, feverish Cameron and Hayden who wakes up when her plug falls out of her mouth. Jason is a constant cougher but he still manages to sleep through it all. We've watched a lot of movies, played Uno, Sorry, Life, Monopoly and eaten a lot of crackers.

Today the weather has been great so we went outside for a little fresh air. We harvested our carrot crop ( sigh...) and untangled the table and chairs from the enormous pumpkin vine. I think the lack of bees has affected this plant as there's lots of flowers but maybe only one pumpkin forming.

And now, I'm off to play another game with Jason.

i told you i'd crawl soon

I mostly do it when you're not looking. I'm very good at making my way around the living room. I really like finding strange things to put in my mouth. My big brother and sister have a lot of cool toys and I'm on my way to eat them.... bye!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We're back at it and the blog suffers once again! Here are a few pictures from school. In the shot above Cameron is glueing cereal to the letter a. She is doing a basic letter of the week program, Bible readings and nursery rhymes. We're studying the letter b this week. So, that means reading some Brown Bear, Brown Bear or as Jason used to call it, "Bobber, Bobber". today was our 09-09-09 party. The kids made cupcake toppers while the cupcakes cooled. We frosted, sprinkled and topped the cupcakes then enjoyed some Sprite in our fancy glasses while we played Sudoku (get it?). Happy 09-09-09 everyone!

Monday, August 31, 2009

it wasn't pretty but it's done

Today was the first day of school. All summer long I dreamed about this glorious day and how the kids and I would come together in this beautiful symphony of learning and love. I poured over my notes, created a week of lessons for Cameron, made copies and gathered supplies. I went to bed last night in eager anticipation.

And then, Hayden woke up at 4:30am. No problem, a quick little bottle and back to bed, then a couple more hours of sleep.

And then, Cameron woke up, panicked about something, calling for me. No problem, I just climbed into bed with her and tried to fall back asleep, because honestly, at this point I just wanted to sleep. This was not as easy as I thought it would be. For the next two hours she would lean over me and peek behind the blinds to see if the sun was up. For Cameron, if the sun is up, she must be up. Finally after 2 hours of this interrupted sleep and the constant smell of urine from her very full Pull-up we went out to the living room to watch Little Einsteins. I groggily got breakfast for the kids and coffee for myself and then dutifully ran on the dreadmill. Our goal was to start school at 9am and I was determined to meet that goal!

I shooed the kids out of the house to ride bikes at 8:30 so I could finish cleaning up breakfast and set out our schoolwork. It was at this moment that Hayden decided to let loose and fill up her diaper. Being the overachiever that she is she also sent poop up her back. We hustled off to her room to clean her up, change her, clean up the changing table, start a load of laundry and then clean my hands. Nine o'clock was approaching quickly!

Finally, we were ready. I took a picture of the kids and we sat down for prayer and Bible. Cameron was psyched about preschool. She was so attentive that I ran out of activities for her. This has got to be a fluke. I'm sure tomorrow she'll be taking off as soon as I give her the green light. Both kids had forgotten how much time and attention goes into a school morning. We have school from 9 until 12 with a snack and break at 10:15. Highlights of the morning include listening to geography songs and coloring their maps and learning about chimps in science.

After lunch (fishsticks.... my kids are crazy about fishsticks right now, ugh!) I sent them off to play and got back to the business of keeping house. There were floors to clean and the load of girl laundry to finish. And then of course, computer time, a wonderful reward for such a long morning!

So there it is, our first day. Only 179 more to go... they won't be pretty but they'll get done. Along the way there will be laughs, tears, discoveries, and fun, and I'll try to keep you updated about it all... now please excuse me while I get another cup of coffee.

Monday, August 24, 2009

3 year olds are weird

I remember when Jason was 3 years old and he would do really strange things. We have pictures of him wearing only underwear , climbing up a staircase, with a stuffed animal sticking out of the back of his undies. Jason was an orderly, neat little 3 year old, he played with imagination based in reason. Cameron is a completely different kid. She plays with imagination based in craziness. Tonight she was marching around the driveway in her "fishing soldier" costume.

She was re-enacting a scene from Tom & Jerry, by yelling out "Bu-shay bushika!" (the line is supposed to be "Touche, pussycat!"). This came from an episode where Jerry was trying to become a mouseketeer (like Musketeer, not a Disney kid). She would pull off her hat and take a deep bow every time she passed by me.

I'm sure this makes very little sense as you read it, but to me it is hilarious. She has adopted quirks from other movies also. Tonight Jason was explaining to me why Cameron has started closing the door after she leaves a room, apparently that habit was picked up from Charlie & Lola.

The other day when Darren was fixing the sprinklers she insisted on wearing her bathing suit and running through the water. And then she needed goggles. There's nothing funnier than a kid wearing goggles.
These funny times really get me through the rough spots with her. I ought to document the meltdowns as well as the good times, but somehow pulling out the camera is not my first thought when we're in the middle of a Hurricane Cameron!