Thursday, October 30, 2008

Caleb tidbits

(Enjoying Samuel's birthday cake. Where's his bib!?!)

Caleb is really blossoming lately and I just have to share. While we were in Branson 2 weeks ago, we were sitting around the cottage talking, and he let go of the coffee table and stood by himself a few seconds. He continues to cruise and have fleeting moments standing. While my MIL was here, she did yoga almost everyday. Caleb would get over where she was, play with her hair, and attempt some yoga postures! Really!
He's been signing "more" for several weeks, but today he signed "please," "all done," and "eat!" I realized he'd been doing "eat" for a while, but I hadn't recognized it until he did it after I asked him if he wanted to eat. Also, as the Urbans were leaving, I took him in his room to change his diaper and he waved and called out "ba bye" as clear as can be. (while laying on his changing pad!)
We took him out on the trampoline a few days ago and he had a blast! Unfortunately, the record button was not on. Urrr! We've been reviewing spelling words while Samuel jumps on the trampoline this week (odd, but Samuel's been spelling very well) and Caleb goes with us and really enjoys it.
We have a cd of music sung in Spanish that the kids really like. Caleb will hear it and make a bee line to their room, pull up on the table, and dance to the music. He will raise his hands and jabber. When we say, "Praise the Lord," he waves his hand and jabbers more. So sweet, because we never "taught" him that, he's just picked it up from when we've been at church.

Tonight Samuel was concerned about Caleb getting into the MANY Lego pieces, but I told him it would be my job to keep him out. Considering it was a 692 piece project, there were a lot of small parts and a big box. Well, Caleb had such a great time getting on and off the box, squealing with delight and pointing and talking to the little guys! I got it on video, but can't get it to download. (Major frowny face!) Use your imagination and I'll work on figuring it out.

Happy Birthday Samuel!

(Insert music from Fiddler on the Roof)
Amazing how 9 years has flown by. I remember this
and this
and this (with my Gpa Sams)
and this.
But now, we have this!

Yes, it's still fairly dark outside, but I'd fixed our traditional hot cereal and put a candle in it. He really wanted granola, but candles don't hold up so well in that!

They had a great morning of school and then got a phone call that Gpa was going to take us out to lunch to celebrate! We finished up most of it, then went to Panera for chicken noodle soup, by Samuel's request. Shortly after we got back, our homeschooling buddies can over so we could light the candle for the 3rd time and sing again for our sweet boy.

We found out that Buddy was working late, so I brought out his last gift after a dinner of chicken noodle soup. (really- no chicken, noodle soup, but you get the idea.) This was a staged expression, but so like him when it comes to Legos!

In slightly more time than I pushed to deliver him(seriously, it was 12 minutes more), all 692 pieces were in place. He did have some help from the girls, but 1 hour and 32 minutes later, it was complete! They have great plans to play 1st thing in the am. I tried to convince them it's a great thing to sleep in, but I'm not sure they want to.

Then it was time for bed, but right at the time he was born, I told him the abbreviated version of his birth. It was so sweet to have him sitting on my lap while I share with him what a blessing he is to us and how thankful we are to have him in our lives. I'm looking forward to watching him grow into all God has for him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

School House Rocks!

Back in the day when I was a child, I really liked School House Rock. I learned the Preamble of the Constitution, lots about Elbow Room, and about parts of speech. Since the elections are right around the corner, I knew we needed to learn about how it all works. Amanda emailed me a link to a blog that had some school house rock links. What memories that brought back! It was great to share them with the kids. They thought it was pretty fun. So, we've been looking at You Tube a bit more in the last few days and Samuel keeps asking if they can watch more. Is it to avoid doing other things? to spend more time in front of the computer? or is he actually learning something in the process? Perhaps a bit of both, but that's ok with me.
Check them out, relive a bit of your childhood with your kids, plus they can learn things at the same time!
I also saw a link to this that if you'll take some time, with a box of kleenex, you will laugh until you cry. In fact, I was watching one last night and laughed so hard the kids thought I was crying! It'll do you some good and give you a dose of the best kind of medicine. Life is short, enjoy!

Party notes

Samuel's turning 9 tomorrow. Oh, how the years have flown! For the pst few years, I've decorated his cakes. Last year, there were Hot Wheels that were on a road and one had crashed. This year, it was Legos. So, if you look closely, you'll see 8 Lego guys battling amongst the cup cakes. We had fun creating this together.
We decided to invite his whole class and our family. I told him he could invite anyone from school he wanted to. I was getting a little nervous as he added names, especially since he wanted to do it at our house. His thought was that they could create Lego ships and play with them. When all was said and done, not much Lego play happened. Instead, 18 children were all over the back yard playing tag and Swords and Shields, a game they played in Tae Kwon Do. I got everyone swords, but no shields. Realizing there would be most definitely something missing, I mad shields of construction paper. Pretty lame, but they worked initially!
Samuel was getting some strategy ideas from one of the dads.

Piper was cruising around the yard while fierce battles were waged all around her.

All but one of the kids at the party. We didn't sugar them up too much, but we did send them home tired!

Since Nana wasn't going to be here for Catherine's party and because we had some cupcakes left over, we decided to celebrate Catherine's day a few months early. You would never guess it wasn't her real day from the joy on her face. No presents, but singing, candles, cupcakes and ice cream was pretty good for her.

Nana highlights

Here is a picture from the end of Nana's vist Oct. '07

Here is a picture from Monday. Wow!

We had a fabulous 2 weeks with Nana and were all sad to see her go. It flew by so quickly that we all asked her to stay longer, but she was ready to be off to her next adventure. Funny thing was that Caleb was totally out of sorts the day she left and had a terrible time napping and didn't sleep more than 1 during the day. He's doing better now, but I'm sure the change was very odd for him.

One of the fun things we did was have an ongoing game of Cash Flow for kids, a game that teaches you about assests and liabilities and gives you options to invest in property, stocks, small businesses, but also feel the pain of credit cards and loan. Very interesting. It lasted for over a week and we looked forward to it on the nights we had time to play. In the end, Nana had the most passive income "investments that brought income" and I had the most cash. Fun for all. Nana liked to get out and walk everyday and would walk to WalMart or Lowe's to check things out. Well, last Wednesday, we all, including our neighbor friend took off for a trip to WalMart on foot. We had 2 bikes, 1 stoller, 3 walking people. It was chilly and a bit windy, but it was really fun! On the way back, Carolyn and I had to pull the stroller backward to keep the wind out of Caleb's face. That was an adventure!
Catherine's class had a field trip to the pumpkin patch that we were able to join last Friday. It was so much warmer than when Samuel's class went 2 years ago! We froze last time and were taking off gloves and hats this time. Samuel was trying to get the camel to put it's nose in the bag of feed, but it ate the whole bag! They were also on the news live and then quick spots of them saying "Happy Halloween!" That was pretty cool. My pictures wouldn't rotate, so turn your head and enjoy!
One day, Samuel decided he wanted to rock Caleb before his nap. He really does like holding his brother, which is very sweet. So here they are, snuggling away. Again, turn your head!
We're getting back into the swing of things, but are so grateful we had those 2 weeks with Nana. We love you and miss you lots!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On my soap box

I'm so shocked by all the things coming to light about the candidate I will not vote for. You've probably seen the You Tube videos and read the emails. I do believe we as a nation MUST act on our faith in Jesus and realize that someone so opposed to Godly values and character, lot alone lacking experience, would be unable to lead our nation into any kind of a future worth looking forward to.
If you haven't read or seen anything or want more info, click here and here, get on your knees and pray, then get out and vote!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our newest family member

While waiting for the most exciting addition to our family, we got a smaller addition. My friend Shawn has 2 kittens that needed homes. She called last week and we piled into the car to go look. I had had conversations with Buddy about Nicki being over 13 and probably needing to find his eternal home before things got bad. He is a wonderful cat, loving, sleeps with me every night, acts like a baby, and is very particular! He's been with me since he was 6 weeks old and is very much a part of the family. However, after a few accidents, you begin to wonder. So this seemed like an answer to prayer.

We got back from Branson and I had a message from Shawn. They were READY to get this cat into her new home. So, after naps, we went and picked up our beautiful new kitten. Samuel is thrilled to have a cat that will be his for years to come, that he can name, and that is happy to be snuggled.
Katie came over tonight and really like the kitty, too. We had no name for her, so we all gave suggestions, then voted on them. Samuel wasn't thrilled with any and came up with Shadow. Shadow is currently in our bathroom, waiting to be introduced to the other 2. See, I haven't decided what to do about Nicki- he was perfect during our 4 day absence! How long do you think we can have 6 people and 3 cats in the same house? All 3 cats are beautiful and sweet in their own way.
Samuel is in Cub Scouts, as I've mentioned before. I have to say how pleased I am that he sold over $500 in popcorn without us buying the bigest amount! We actually only bout $40 worth. Way to go, Samuel! He was telling us that the last Christmastime he was in Scouts, they sang to "some grumpy old people to make them happy. This year it'll just be old people to make them happy!" What a funny boy!


Catherine's ballet class had a time on Monday where we could come in and observe what they learned. Her teacher is fabulous and Catherine really likes her a lot. Every time they were to be in a circle, she was right by her teacher. I learned a lot in 30 minutes. I never knew what the positions were and have learned 3! I also learned we need to learn the difference between squats and plie's! Samuel was out watching some cartoon with another brother, Buddy was observing from the window, and Nana, Caleb and I were in where the action was. Caleb wanted to be a part of it, but we were happy to see how much Catherine has learned in these few weeks. It's been a really good thing for her.

Branson weekend

Buddy's mom came to be with us last Monday and will stay for 2 weeks. The kids are thrilled that Nana is here and are enjoying going on walks with her and just having her here to experience life. It has been a blessing- she's been extra hands for me, too. Every day she's helping around the house- "What can I do?" She's never minded getting down on the kids' level to help them. Caleb doesn't have sock on most of the time, but he found some and was putting them on top of his feet, so Nana helped him out.

Buddy got some help replacing the front of the dishwasher

We took off Thursday am for Branson. We stopped at a rest stop on the way that had a play ground. Caleb was entertained by the abacus and by his sister. Actually, Catherine entertained him most of the way there! We spent the weekend in the cutest little cottages that looked like they were from Cape Cod! We had 2 2-bedroom cottages and the kids (why do I always call Samuel and Catherine "the kids" as if there are no others?) stayed with my parents; Buddy, his mom, Caleb, and I were in the other and spent time at each others' places.

When we went to SDC on Friday, Caleb was finally enough to ride the bitty rides. He didn't cry, except when I took him out of the frog or butterfly. Then he was bouncing up and down and whimpering for more! People were so taken by him and kept commenting on how well he did. I had a blast listening to him jabber and giggle! This is kind of blurry, but that is sheer delight on his face!

Catherine was pretty much inseperable from her Grandma, and fortunately, Grandma loves being with her, too. Samuel wanted to go to Build-A-Bear for his birthday, so he made a bear with a BatMan outfit. Of course, Catherine thought SHE should have one for her early birthday present, too. They really enjoyed themselves!

We had a wonderful time at church, as usual and were thankful to be able to be a part even while we're away from home.

I'm thankful our parents enjoy each others' company, it sure makes for a fun time together.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We just got back from a lovely trip... Branson, MO. It was my parents, Buddy's mom, us and our 3 children. We had a fabulous time and celebrated (kind of) our 11th anniversary! Good to have a great husband who loves me and is devoted to the Lord and being all God has called him to be.
I'll post pictures and tell stories when I have more energy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Good news! We can file an extension for our I600-a and it will be grandfathered in! Now we just need our referral grandfathered as well. This may mean talks with our Congressmen's office, but I'm waiting to hear from Robin exactly what needs to be done. So, the U.S. side seems clear, now for across the ocean's...

Mayflower pics

Charissa just posted the pictures here, so check it out! We were dressed for sleeping in the camper and they were dressed for the day. Samuel was sooo hot that day, but it didn't stop him from going all out playing with Simeon and Jude.

Monday, October 13, 2008

While we were out...

...and Buddy was working on the house, we camped at the Urbans. They graciously let the kids and I spend the night in their pop up camper. It was a little chilly, but I think they had fun. In the am we went back home for breakfast and getting what we needed for the day, then headed back for school.
The Urbans have a fabulous school room, so they were in there while we were at the table. After we got through, we went down the driveway to the road (it's a dead end and very safe) to learn about the Mayflower. I drew a chalk line and they each had a different color chalk that they marked what they thought was 106.5 feet from my line. They older boys thought they were pretty smart. Buddy had a 50 foot tape that they thought was a 100 foot tape and had used to measure before we got down there. Interestingly, it was Hope, who is 4 who was within 2 feet of the final measure. We learned about why the Pilgrims left England and about their journey, then had races between either end of our Mayflower and ended with Art- drawing pictures of the ship and 100 people on it.
Charissa has the pictures from the day, so as soon as she posts, I can send you there.
Having such a great day together made it easy to decide to do this every week. (Except we'll be in Branson this weekend.) I'm thankful to have such a great family for our kids to associate with and learn together.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Home Improvement

I am sooooo excited about these changes in our house! These are things that we've been wanting/needing to do for some time, but the finances, Buddy's work schedule, and life didn't leave room for them. Buddy's mom arrived today and I'm pleased to say we got everything done inside the house that needed to be done with the house mostly put back in order before she arrived, along with doing school this am!

Here are the before and afters.-

Our bathroom before with goldish (emphasis on the 'ish)cultured marble

and after with blue pearl granite and new sinks...

Our kitchen and going into the laundry room before...

and after with new floors and a fresh coat of paint on the laundry room...

Our dining room/ school room before...

And after with no more icky carpet and with properly faux painted bead board...

Needless to say, I'm thankful for my very handy husband who is able to do so many things by himself. Now, just imagine the trim painted and the bathroom repainted. All in good time!

Pilgrim's Progress

OK, so not THE Pilgrim's Progress, but we're making progress with the Pilgrims. My mom has been really great about giving us craft supplies in the past, so we had a bunch of foam shapes and construction paper. I thought we could us those as an art project and "build" our for and homes at Plymoth. Here are the results.

We then went to Atwoods to find the things we would need to start out our colony. We found the knives quite interesting, as well as the air guns. Another fun thing was the baby chicks. "They're only $1.99, mom. I could buy it with my own money!" "Samuel, I'm not too sure about that. Where would you keep it?" "In my room." "We'll have to talk to dad about that one." We tried to find flint so we could start a fire, but they didn't have any. We did learn some interesting things about cutting down trees and the MANY things we take for granted. They were sharp enough to know they wouldn't need any extension cords!
Today we have to vacate the house so some exciting things can be done. We'll go to my parents for a while and mark out the size of the Mayflower and write letters back home from the colonists. Then we'll head out to the Urbans for a possible camp out...
I've got some work to do before Buddy's home in 2 hours. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Need your help

We have a hang up with our I-600a which is preapproval for bringing an orphan into the States. Off and on we thought things were taken care of, things were moving along. This has been a nearly 6 month standstill. I received an email today that requests we sign this petition to help USCIS and other agencies that need to "grandfather" our I-600a and let us get our children. I thought things were ok, but evidently, this is not the case. We also have to call Congress members Oct. 14-16 and send in an email to say PLEASE help us! It would be a huge increase in our costs, needing to redo our homestudy, plus a delay of months for background checks AGAIN if we had to change to the I-800a.
Would you please take time to sign this petition and get our next step coming closer for bringing Hannah home?
Thank you so much!
We had such a nice weekend together! Happily, we were able to do some fun things AND get things accomplished. Catherine's friend Courtney had a birthday party at a ranch, so Catherine got to ride a horse and helped hit the pinata that was made to endure! She sat right beside the birthday girl and shared in her excitement. We were glad to be there. Buddy was able to get most of the rest of the floor scraped- just not the laundry area. The nasty carpet is out of the dining room and I'm amazed how much better it looks with bare concrete than stained carpet. I'm also amazed how much dirt I'm now seeing showing up on the concrete!

We went to my parents' church since we were a little slow getting around Sunday am. The kids really wanted to be with Grandpa and Grandma, so I sent them off for some fun, then went home to make lunch and help Buddy. It's great to have them close and to have a good relationship with them.

This was our first full week homeschooling and it's going really well. I'm learning to incorporate more than one subject/ learning experience at a time instead of Spanish, math, science, etc. As I'm reading about it, it does make sense and will help it be much more enjoyable for all of us. We've been acting out our history and having a story time of it. They ask for it and enjoy it. They like to go off to their "cozy" spots for their reading and then Catherine gets excited about reading to me. The outside has become more enticing, but they wait until I tell them it's time. Today when our neighbor friend came over I asked if she could hear them and she could- 2 houses down! While we were at WalMart, I was trying to use the experience for learning and it didn't go over like I thought. I'm sure it'll come more naturally in time.

Caleb started waving today, which I know is normal, but I've been showing him and he hasn't been doing it. Today I showed him and about 5 minutes later he was waving away. So sweet! He was so happy tonight, crawling, laughing, and going back and forth. I need to get that on video! He's also started grabbing my hair and pulling himself up so his face rests on mine when I'm rocking him before naps/bed. He's very strong, so it hurts, but cute. Got to appreciate these times together.

Off to do lesson plans...

Edited to say: We are now remembering why we close the lid on the toilet seats- Caleb had his arm immersed this am. Oh my!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Field trip

Today was another fun day- zoo field trip! We got to see lots of fun animals, people we really like, ride the train, and have a picnic lunch. Caleb crashed on the way home and took a great nap while we did a very little handwriting and language. I'm so enjoying how the kids have spent so much more time playing outside. Samuel took off with a friend for a quick play date. Catherine will be at a birthday party tomorrow, so she's ok with that.
Our neighbor was having a garage sale and had a outdoor table for sale. It had a sign on it when we got home, so I thought it was sold. They'd just moved it! I got it for $10! Now we have a lovely table to go with our fire pit!
Samuel and friends experiencing the earth quake.
The goat trying to share Caleb's snack
Catherine enjoying being in the Children's zoo area
Riding the train with a friend

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Homeschool day 2

Another picture of our friendly blue jay.

After a lovely start yesterday, we completely strayed from the plan today. First off, we got a later start and then had to get to their old school by 9 so we could take part in class pictures. It was so sweet to see them when their classes came down. All the kids enjoyed Caleb, surrounded him, and passed him around. He actually really liked it. We had forgotten all their snacks in their rooms, so it was great to go back and find other things that we'd left.

Then we went to town for an appointment, but did do our reading on the way, took seat work into the office while we waited, and did some critical thinking as well. After lunch we got some math and language done and off we went to play with the Urbans. They have such a fun time exploring as they do their school work. I'm glad they have a place my kids can go explore and enjoy running around the great outdoors, climbing in the barn and getting up close to the cows. I had that growing up and it's sad to see them trapped in a yard! They found a cow tooth and some other treasures! One of the boys decided one of the "No Trespassing" signs was old and needed to come down!
Once we got home they went right outside and got busy and soon brought in Samuel's new pet- Jumper who proceeded to jump all over Caleb's room! I calmly suggested they get the box from Samuel's school snacks and put him in. I was busy with Caleb and could hear them pounding very hard on something. In they came with Jumper's new home. Growing up we had an actual Tupperware cupboard. Now we have a mixture of this and that and a few real Tupperware containers. This was Jumper's new home. They had worked very diligently to make sure he could breathe. He couldn't see in the shoe box, so they had to fix that.There was water, grass, rocks, and spinach for him. About 5 minutes later, Samuel felt bad that he may have taken Jumper from his family and decided to let him go. Catherine was in tears about this, so I told them they could keep him for a few days. We had a terrible time getting a picture because he lived up to his name! That's the cow's tooth falling from his hand.

When it was time to pray before bed, Samuel was concerned about Jumper being homesick and prayed about that. I knew he was still concerned, so I asked him what we do when we pray and believe God hears us. "Thank Him?" That's right. AND we don't worry because God cares about Jumper. "Because he's one of His special creations, right mom?" That's right. I love you!
Tomorrow we're off to the zoo with 3rd grade's field trip to search for mammals, vertebrates and invertebrates. Catherine wanted to have a play date instead of going to the zoo since it wasn't her class's field trip!
Looking forward to being home next week so we can really see what this homeschooling is all about!