Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving celebration homeschool style

This morning after a very quick session of reading and math, we made cranberry orange scones and got ready to go to the Urbans. My kids were so excited, except Caleb was a bit whiney, even after a nap! We started out the time together making hand and feet turkeys. Originally, you were supposed to trace around your feet and hands, cut them out, the feet were the body and the hands were the feathers. Charissa and I thought they'd enjoy it more with painting their hands and feet then putting them on paper and cutting that out.
It was a little chaotic as we had 6 kids and 2 adults to help everyone get done and then remembering which hands/feet belongs to whom. I did write names or initials, but some disappeared anyway only to show up after we were all done! We even did Caleb and Ava's, which was NOT fun for Caleb. He balled up his fists and pulled so hard on me to make me stop. Alas, only 3 hands for him and his foot went missing! The kids did well, though. After they were dry, we cut them out and glued them into turkey shapes and they wrote on them what they were thankful for. It's very sweet to read them.

We played the JINGO game and the kids did really well remembering the things we'd learned about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. Homeschooled kids are so smart!

We were going to make hats, but it turned out the moms made the hats, Leisel and Catherine modeled them for about the time it took to take the picture and then were done.
After we made the hats and put the turkeys together, we gather for our Thanksgiving feast. The Urbans had made the Cranberry (bear berry) jelly, bannock cakes and Indian pudding. We brought succotash stew and scones. We didn't feel right about having the kids drink beer, but the Pilgrims hated water and that's what they drank! Just teasing, we had hot tea.
One more round of crafts before it was all over. They painted welcome signs and it was amazing how quiet they got! Really, it was the quietest they'd been all day! Pure silence that was soothing to our ears.
Samuel's say "Not WELCOME unles your a boy!" we did try to hot glue some center pieces together, too, but they'd had enough and it was time to go. Amazing how fast 3 1/2 hours go! We were very thankful to have friends to celebrate with and look forward to our Christmas party! Maybe we'll go lighter on the crafts next time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This weekend we took 2 shoeboxes filled with goodies for children around the world to the drop off location. If you missed it this year, make a point to look into it next year. It's an awesome organization and cause. After we dropped them off, we decided to make more. However, today was the last day to drop off, so we had to do it amid many errands, but got it done. This way, we gave for all 4 of our kids! Samuel told me it would be so cool if Hannah got a shoe box. I agree!

I thought one of my fillings was coming out and called the dentist today and actually got in today, too! Turns out it's a chip, but I need 2 little cavities filled that I've needed to do for some time. When I get them fixed I'll get the amalgom's on that side removed and replaced. I remember the feeling of the needle and the taste, so I'm not excited. I got a babysitter for the kids so was able to go shopping for school things, craft things, a quick Sam's trip, and finally bought something for me with birthday money. It was so nice to be able to browse by myself! I found some really cool yarn for $1.99 that had been $8.49! What a steal that was.
I also found some more things for our Thanksgiving party with the Urbans tomorrow. I believe we've got the craft stuff done and I found a game called "J-I-N-G-O" which is like BINGO with questions about Thanksgiving. We've got our recipes ready and are going to eat like Pilgrims, or so we think. Wouldn't it be funny to find out what we thought was history was totally off? (Actually I think that's true more and more as history is being re-written. Hmmm.)

I finished the 2nd scarf last night and the kids were very impressed. Now, to keep the motivation and make some more... I'll take some pictures and post them so you can see how very crafty we are. I'm thinking about what we could make and send to Hannah.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love my kids!

Today marks 7 days of Caleb going to be with just his paci and "B" or afghan my mom made for him. It's been ok, not horrible, not great. It's also the week that he's really showing he's getting some molars :0( He still likes to snuggle in bed in the am for a bit, but gets busy playing, climbing around, entertaining us while he explores. For his birthday my parents got him a Tonka you can push around or walk behind. He's had no interest in it until Tuesday and now he sooo enjoys it! He hears it coming and off he scoots to meet it. He's starting to kind of let go while he transitions from one piece of furniture to another. He's just plain cute in too many ways to tell.
Catherine is getting so much better with her reading and picking up math. I was totally shocked when we was able to add dimes and pennies together with very little instruction from me.
She and Samuel got really excited about the idea of learning how to knit! OK, I admit, I bought some knitting needles when I was 6 months pregnant with Caleb! The yarn I bought about a year ago. Part of the reason is because I want us to start doing something that is much more giving to others minded for Christmas. Years of buying things that get used just a short time have left me realizing that we need to do something different and give as a family significantly to others in need. Well, tonight while we were watching The Truth 16 Big Bucks (hunting videos) they both helped me knit a scarf! It's not done yet, but should be tonight. I am using the most enormous needles- about the size of a quarter, so it should be done fast! Samuel did both working the needles and adding yarn to the stitches while I did the opposite. Catherine helped one row, but asked about 10 times, no exaggeration, if I was done yet. The 1st will be hers while I learn what I'm doing!
We were cleaning up the kitchen and out came these silly kids...

We were talking about Hannah while we were getting ready to go to sleep and they started talking about what we can do for her, what we want her to have, etc. They are still so excited about her and are so sure it's going to be soon. They are convinced she'll be here for Christmas.
I'm all for it and am excited for her arrival.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. If you listen closely, you'll hear my needles...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Playtime and school fun

Yesterday, since we were studying Ben Franklin, I decided to do an experiment with electricity. At least 1 Christmas ago we bought an electricity kit for S and used it very little. It seemed the perfect time to pull it out. We couldn't get any of the things to work- fan, buzzer, light, etc. By the time we were part way through it, Caleb was up and nothing was working, so we called it a day. We did learn how atoms rub against each other and change their charges. They had fun learning that. We rubbed balloons on our hair to make static electricity and tried to get them attract or repel. I think they got something out of it. It was a good diversion none-the-less. Today we got to act out the Boston Tea Party, which they thought was pretty fun, and marched around protesting "no taxation without representation!"

Last night we got a call for a play date with S that he's been wanting for sometime. Of course, we had to find something for C. However, when we were just starting school, we got a call that "W" had misbehaved and lost the privilege of a play date. Oh my, did that ever bring sadness to S! This was a shining example of why we need to behave when we have special things happening. However, we got a raincheck for tomorrow and "I's" mom called today and he got to go there for several hours.

C and her friend had a great time, in and out of the high 30's windy weather! Here they are, dressed their Chinese clothes, after they were writing in Chinese on the dry erase board. (Boy, has that thing been fun!)
Looking forward to Buddy being home tomorrow most of the day. It'll be good to have some daddy time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank you!!!

I was brought to tears yesterday when I got our mail. You see, there is a young lady named Mary who happened upon our blog, is very interested in Hannah's birth country, has some music from there, and was willing to share it with us. After a few emails, she promised to get them in the mail. I forgot about it and didn't expect anything for a week or so. When I opened the package, it wasn't one cd, it was 4! There was a sweet note explaining some of the history, which we all thought was very cool and also brought lots of questions from Catherine. For many years their singing was in secret to keep their culture alive during occupation. She wanted to know if the occupying country could hear the clapping we heard on the cd, if they would find these singers, what would happen, where Hannah was during all this, etc. We've basically listened to nothing since then whenever we're in the car. I was so moved by that and then I saw this sweet lady had enclosed a check. Here she is, a college student and she was moved enough to give to us to help bring Hannah home. It still gets me now to know that total strangers care! We are ever so grateful and look forward to sharing this with Hannah as she grows up and has a link to her history.

Great fun

Well, after saying we were going to have a quiet weekend, we didn't really follow through with it. Saturday, we did stay home in the am, but then went together to drop off something with Buddy and out for dinner. We had a great time at dinner and all behaved nicely, even though Caleb was a bit sleepy. Then another trip to Sam's. I'm telling you, that place had even more things we hadn't seen just the day before!
Sunday we went to Kid's World, which was an expo of about 30 countries showing their culture and history. At the Israel booth, the kids got to write a prayer that will be put in the Western Wall. They thought it was pretty cool. You'll have to click on Catherine's picture to see what she wrote. Very cool. Oh look, there they are themselves!
The kids got to write calligraphy at Taiwan's table. The did leaf rubbings, painted a fish, got a tree to plant, had their names written in Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese (?), and Cyrillic. After we got home, they practiced writing them on the white board with the new markers that actually work! We got to try on wooden shoes, have a Japanese head band that says success, or as Samuel spelled it "sexess." I was a little disconcerted when I first saw it, but then he explained and I casually mentioned how it's really spelled. SOOO not ready for any talks!
We got a tree to plant, which will be very neat. We did that growing up and when I've been back to MN to see our old house, it's amazing how it's grown! I know we will not be in this house much longer, so I'm hopeful it'll provide the next family with many years of enjoyment.
I got some really neat info and ideas for field trips that I hope we can do soon.
Last night, The Urbans and we went on a double date. That's a first in a very long time for us! We were going to go to a dinner and a basketball game where Charissa and I went to college. However, I had to take C to dance, pick up the babysitter, line up dinner for the kids, drive to their house so we could ride together. Buddy came home right before we left for dance and it was a blessing because while we were gone, Caleb had some major activity in his diaper that required a bath. He was all cleaned up by the time I got home, but Buddy hadn't even had a chance to shower yet! Sweet guy, that was the second time he'd bathed C for the same reason! So, change of plans and the Urbans came to our house. By the time we got there, got our tickets, waited for the escort up to the dinner, they had run out of food. We're starving and had the options of eating concession food, leaving to have dinner somewhere else and be late for the game, or eat everything else that was left besides the roast beef, which was the only thing missing from the menu. It turned out to be good food, a really good game, and fabulous fun being with our friends. Sadly, neither of us brought our cameras! Great news is that we get to go again since we missed out on dinner, really just the meat, and have another Monday night date night. I did get a picture of the picture Catherine drew while we were gone. The babysitter had to ask who Hannah was and the kids told her all about her.

Today we went to a very nice Bread co. that makes their bread from scratch, complete with grinding the grain. We were a little foolish in our dress because we thought we'd take the tour inside and instead spend a chunk of it out in the low 40's weather. I felt bad for Caleb. Fortunately, I had him in a carrier and he had some padding and shelter. The bread was delicious! The kids got to knead some dough, see the ovens

Friday, November 14, 2008

What a day!

Today was a busy one. I think we were home about 4 hours between 7:30 am to 6 pm. Buddy got to be home in the morning for breakfast with us, then met up with us for an appointment and lunch. The kids and I spent some time shopping at Sam's. Boy, it's been a while and did we ever find some great things! A white board for school and 12 lovely colors of dry erase markers! Alas, the purple didn't work, so we'll have to take them back. This brought a few quick tears, but we got past it! We also found cool trash cans that someday we'll go back to get. The beautiful Christmas gift sets are out, along with lots of toys! Dad was in town and visited with us while we were shopping, so that was fun. Back for a nap for Caleb and finishing up school work for S&C, then off to do some errands and quick shop for a birthday present for one of Samuel's friends.
We had a little moment after we got the gift. See, Samuel likes to trade things with his friends. He was blessed with a game boy micro about 1.5 years ago and traded it for a regular game boy a few weeks ago. He traded one game for another, then traded that game for the Things hands. Some how he ended up with no games and he was quite distressed that he was giving games to "I" and he had none of his own. We had to talk about why we should maybe share or think long and hard about things before we trade. And also, when you give it opens up the doors for blessing for you. I think part of the issue was that I had him use some of his money to pay for part of the gift. I think he'll be ok. He doesn't hardly ever play game boy anyway!
When we got home, "I" and his mom were in our driveway, ready to take S to laser tag and pizza. The funny thing was, I's mom kept having to ask the boys to get into her car! They just kept playing and were heading outside to play at one point. They're still out at 8 pm, just now eating pizza and will be back ready to play some more. As soon as they left, C&C and I went to the Dollar Tree. C has gotten 5 100's on spelling tests and got to pick anything out she wanted. Can you guess what she wanted?
We had to go get pizza for us since the boys were having some, so a quick shopping trip at WalMart and back home by 6. Samuel has also had 5 100's on spelling and we got him some football cards.
Caleb really likes to play with the drawers in the dishwasher, pulling them out so he can take out the utensils and throw them all over the floor. Well, tonight I turned around to see...
I quickly grabbed the camera, took the picture and then said, "No, no! Don't climb into the dishwasher!" He looks like he couldn't care less.
Catherine and I ate our pizza, put Caleb to bed, C read to me, we made some yummy cake and ate it. Now it's time for bed and we're thankful tomorrow will be much slower paced!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Caleb is 14 months today! I found out this morning why he's been Mr. Grumpy Pants the past few days- he sprouted 2 new teeth over night! Finally, he has 8 teeth!
We spent a splendid morning at an art museum with a total of 22 children and 6 adults. Unfortunately, I was the first to be told "DON'T TOUCH!" when I accidentally touched the glass on a painting. Thank God it was the glass and not the actual painting! There were some other hands that touched and a somewhat nervous lady followed us around to make sure we didn't do anything we shouldn't. It was a very interesting tour and the kids came home with an art kit they can add to each month if we'll go back to see more. Sounds like a plan.
I had to share Catherine's prayer from last night, which should be less controversial than the last one! "Dear God, please, please, please help Hannah come home soon. I've been waiting for days and days and days and days for her to be here!" We're closer every day.
Samuel is going to play laser tag tomorrow with a friend, so I arranged a play date with one of Catherine's friends today. We all ended up staying and having a very good time together. Thanks Jennifer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pilgrim activities and more

Thanks for all the kind comments and for some of you coming out of hiding to share your thoughts. Makes me feel a bit better. I feel bad for the person who is, obviously so sad about something that it comes out in this fashion.

On to happier thoughts...
Here is Samuel's self portrait while he's hiding from me.

In History, we should have moved on to Ben Franklin, but have stuck with the Pilgrims. I think I mentioned that earlier. A few days ago we made Bannock Cakes that were an even bigger hit with Caleb and Samuel today while Catherine wouldn't touch them! We tried making Indian pudding that was a Pilgrim favorite. Evidently, it takes a very long time to make. We use Rice milk and I think that may have been a key factor in the results we got. After 2 hours in the oven it should have been done. However, ours is a soupy mess that I'm wondering about it ever thickening up! Samuel did think we should make all the recipes and bring them to mom's for Thanksgiving. I'm not too sure how that would go over, but it's a great thought!

We decided to make models of the Pilgrims oven and spits. Imagine with me, if you will, the friendly warmth of the fire, the crackle of the logs (which we later added with confetti) and the meat roasting, the smell of bread in the oven, pea soup in the pot, and the cold backsides from no warmth apart from the fire in the oven! Catherine made a table later, that was loaded with crusty loaves of bread. Of course, Catherine has pink for her oven. Samuel wanted to make furniture and people and .... but settled for what what you see. Notice the detail on his turkey! I'm thankful for all the crafty things mom's shared and the big table to accommodate all the needed embellishments C wanted to put on hers!

Catherine really likes to play piano. She's currently playing "Walking from the ocean to the forest" on her keyboard. It's lovely. She was singing "It's Just Like Jesus" the other day and playing it on the piano. I've sung that Hymn since I was little and it was so funny to hear her singing the right words to a completely new tune. Caleb has discovered the piano, too, so both S & C put him on the bench with them and sing together. He has a blast!
We switched today to A Beka math from Saxon. Both were very pleased with the new books. They have color and seem to be more fun, even though they are required much more at this level. I'm excited to see how they catch up and excel.
That's all for now. I'll let you know how the pudding turns out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Wanted

OK, I haven't addressed this before since this is a new phenomena to this blog. I've had a few ugly-grams from "anonymous." Is it surprising that people who are hateful can't put their name with their comments? I don't want to make this blog private, I don't want to cut out the ability to comment. I'm asking for some respect and consideration from those of you who don't agree with me. There are some things that are just my thoughts. There are other things I believe because it's very clear how God thinks about things. I've not said anything hateful in my blog about anyone, nor have I been misleading about anything happening in our family. As I read on another blog recently, I'm not asking you to agree with me. I see things one way and others another. You don't see me posting nasty things when I don't like what I read. I just quit reading. So, if this is you, your ugly-grams are not wanted. Please don't waste the time commenting because they won't be seen and you'll not change how I feel or think.

End of an era

Well, today I packed up the bottles and yesterday I sent back the pump I'd borrowed. My baby is beyond these things and it is time to let the reality show in my cabinets. A little sigh, but it's ok. This is the way it's supposed to be, so off to the next stage!

Day to day notes

Not a whole lot going on around here, but I do have some stories to share.

I'm not sure if you remember the day we announced homeschooling and the crying that followed. We realized it was a shock, but the most important thing was to be obedient to God so His blessings could follow. I guess it was over a week ago now, but we were driving somewhere and Samuel asked if we could homeschool forever. Of course, my first internal reaction was "yes, we'll do it. I'm thrilled you can see the great in it in spite of the issues we have some days." But my response was, "We'll pray about it and if God says to do it, we will." Samuel's response,"And if He says no, can we still do it?" We're getting there!

I've noticed that the hardest days we have are after Catherine has been up past her bedtime. If she has something special happening that day, she will try to hold it together. However, if there is nothing special for me to "take away," her behavior can deteriorate quickly into tears and whining, which I don't tolerate. I've seen her turn it on and off too many times to think she can't control her behavior. After we have a little talk or I send her to her bed, she amazingly comes back with a better attitude, which I praise her for. Samuel's hardest thing has been not talking back and arguing with me about things. I have to remind him that he would NEVER talk to his teachers at his old school that way. Usually after a talk, he is much more respectful and thankful, showing the real Samuel that everyone loves and speaks so highly of.

Of course, I love my children regardless of their behavior, but there are things that I will not put up with. And then I also have to apologize if I behave poorly and use myself as an example if I've had a bad attitude and reacted in a way that is less than lovely. Thankfully, we are all still growing and learning and becoming more like Jesus.

One of the neat things that have happened because the kids are home is that they've been able to see Caleb growing and learning new things. The so enjoy playing with him and cheering him on when he's trying to stand or do something new. Yesterday, we got out his MegaBlocks to build something together that he could play with, too. I so appreciated Samuel's attitude when Caleb kept taking apart Mr. Ping's noodle shop (from Kung Fu Pando). We were able to laugh about it instead of getting ticked.

Caleb has been learning to stand up and works on it frequently during the day. This morning, S & he were playing in the living room and S came running into me saying "Caleb just stood up all by himself for about 60 seconds!" He was so excited to witness what C is doing. C is getting used to us clapping for him and claps for himself when we cheer. He's taken a half step twice as he's getting ready to crash, so it's coming soon! It's so sweet to see him with his buns up in the air as high as they can go!

Samuel's $519 worth of popcorn is here and he is ready to deliver it NOW! However, it's been rainy and not so nice out, so we need a good day. Unfortunately for him, he's ready in the middle of the day when people are working and it's so hard to wait!

Today was Veterans Day, so we went to school, invited the Urbans to join us for their V. Day presentation. The 4th grade puts it on and it was very moving. One cool thing was that a man from WWII was there and stood with his cane to tell when he served. He looked rather frail and couldn't remember the years, but we were all so moved by him and the sacrifices of all the Veterans there. Makes me very thankful to be an American.

The older Urbans came over for several hours to play this afternoon and fun was had by all. Again, good to have a fun family to play with. A funny thing was that Samuel wanted to play Game Cube and watch a movie and Simeon wanted to play Legos! Rarely see that one. We've got some fun things planned the next few weeks with them, which is pretty exciting. They lent us a book about Pilgrims' manners and eating habits. At the end of the book are several recipes. We've already made Bannock Cakes, which Samuel couldn't decide if he liked or not and kept coming back for more just to see if he liked them better the next times! Catherine liked them, especially drenched in syrup. Caleb even enjoyed them and ate and ate. I'm looking forward to the next recipe.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

For your viewing pleasure

We got new pictures last night of Hannah! It had been over 2 months since the last and we really needed something to encourage our faith that things are moving. Someone Buddy just met gave us some money toward the adoption and shared the story of Mephibosheth again with him. David sought out "M" through the whole land so he could show kindness to him, providing the very best for this orphan, treating him like one of his sons. God cares for orphans and we KNOW He's bringing our little girl home quickly!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A glimpse into our home school

This morning, we were really close to being done with work and were going to head to the library. Both S & C were very excited to finish. They like to read to me on our couch so were have some snuggle time together. Samuel wanted to do oral math facts with me at the same time Catherine wanted to do her reading. Caleb was awake and wanted to be with us while he played with his sword. So, picture the 4 of us on about 1.5 couch cushions, Catherine doing reading, Samuel saying his math facts, Caleb waving the foam sword all over, and me trying to pay attention and help each as needed! Kind of a circus, but a very enjoyable one!
I took the plunge and finally bought a car seat for Hannah! In July I bought her some clothes in a reluctant effort. Things were not moving along, we hadn't had progress in months and had no clue on a court date. So glad I didn't buy much, because she may never fit in them. I felt ready now to buy something that says we're really ready for her and are acting like it's coming true. Everyone was excited about it. Caleb had a great time in the box! Now, we just need a big enough vehicle to fit all 6 of us in...

amazing kids

Last night, we were praying with the kids before bed. Much to my surprise, it went like this...
Samuel- "Thank you Lord for this day. Protect us, watch over us, and keep us safe. And God, help Mr. Obama come to know you and change his heart. Amen"
Catherine- "Thank you Lord for this day. Help us have a wonderful day tomorrow. Protect Mr. Obana and keep him safe so he can know you. Amen"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God news

Last night we watched a bit of the returns before the kids went to bed. The kids went with me to vote yesterday and were very patient for the hour we were at the polling place. They were well aware that one candidate "wants to change the world and wants to kill babies," as Catherine says. We were really clear on what our beliefs are and why we were voting as we did. However, I kept reminding them that God is still God, He'll always care for us, protect us and bring blessing to us no matter who is president. We also talked about how God can move on the President's heart to favor the righteous even if he isn't.
So this morning we woke up to find... God is STILL good! He is still going to bless us! We still have Someone greater to take care of us. We're so thankful that this is true and we can rest in that as we go through this term in office. We'll just be reminded more than ever to lift up the government in prayer each day.