Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

So far this month we had a CC party, a Sunday School class party, attended a hand bell choir concert, and listened to Christmas radio most of the day through. Tonight we went to Church on the Move's Christmas program and drove around afterward looking at lights. As we were nearing our house, the kids told us it was snowing. It was 38* out, which is too warm, I thought. When we got out at the house, behold, baby snow flakes!
We're so thankful for the truly blessed year we've had. I know it's been a sketchy year, but in and around my lack of blogging, we've had a good time.

Updates on the family-
I'll start with the biggest- Buddy. Business has been very good for him this year, which means he's away more than we wish. However, he does enjoy coming to MO on weekends he can, helping out in the parking lot at church, and relaxing with the family. Sleeping in, reading, watching football, and talking walks are his cup of tea. We did coax him into putting up a trampoline and a tire swing. Both are big hits, and we're thankful.
Yesterday gave us a little excitement. We were (big kids and I) bringing in the last of the presents to wrap for the little ones and my phone was in another room. Bad deal when your husband calls from Urgent Care saying his grinder went flying and got his toes. That morning I had been thanking God for His mercies that endure and are new every morning, not knowing how badly we would need them before many hours had passed. Thankfully, the toes are all on, and only 2 needed stitches. 9 in all. I got to help the Dr., which was actually a lot of fun. We knew the same Dr.'s from my days in the ICU. When he mentioned the need for nurses, I told Buddy I could go back to work and he could homeschool... He wasn't fond of that idea. ;) So today, he went back to work. By the time he came home and we went to the program, he was done being on his feet. Hopefully he'll use great wisdom tomorrow. The scripture that came to mind was, "It is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed." Lamentations 3:22. Just to think of what could have happened....

Delahne- happy knitting with a new set of projects. One of the ladies on Hannah's bus in going through chemo, and she inspired me to make lap blankets and wraps for those at her clinic. I'm hopeful they'll be a blessing. I'm enjoying the break from CC, but we're still so full of activity, it's hard to tell we're not doing it. Today we baked for our neighbors, and had a few goodies ourselves. I really enjoy cranberry season! I colored my hair for I think the 3rd time in my life. It was supposed to be "dark golden blonde" and turned out to be a bit auburn. I have red in my hair naturally, so I guess going for the most intense effect and my normal tendancies did a great work together. It's not so dramatic that people even comment, so I may try something else for fun later.

Samuel- still doing Boy Scouts. He's looking forward to a really neat adventure this coming summer in the Boundary Waters. Funny that I'm from that area and never went! It'll be a long trip, but I think he'll really enjoy it. He's working with his dad to earn the money for the trip. He also earned enough to go shopping Thanksgiving night and get his own laptop. He really likes it alot. He's making movies, playing games, and occassionally losing it for not quite the best behavior. He's reading "Mover of Men, Mover of Mountains" and "Left Behind" in his spare time. He's been a big help to Catherine in wrapping presents for us.

Catherine- having fun with her friends here and there (OK and MO) is the best for her. She's still very creative and likes music. She has a keyboard that had a headset. Frequently uses do not include music, but rather giving instructions. She has been on a roll making beautiful scarves for Christmas gifts for friends. I think she's made 4 in one week. While we were reading together, she'd be knitting up a storm. Just one more chapter! And away she'd go. She has been busy planning Christmas presents, going shopping, and wrapping most of the presents. Her kitty is such a joy to her, still. It's kind of funny watching her go get Fluffy. I'm sure Fluffy has resigned herself and tolerates being captured and wrapped up while we read, most days.

Recent reads we liked- "Calico Bush", "Carry on, Mr. Bowditch", "The Gate in the Wall", and started "The Red Badge of Courage." It's so exciting to finish a book and anticipate the good one that will follow. We've learned so much as we've read. It's my favorite part of school. Could we just read all day knit?

Hannah- has just learned how to fasten the bottom of her car seat harness thingy. She could do the top, but always said the bottom was too hard and wouldn't try. Just this week, she's figured it out and is so pleased with herself. She can write her name and count to 15, recognize most of her ABC's, and building with blocks. She likes to show her daddy how she can run and jump. We're still working on a wide variety of things with Hannah, but I believe she is improving in many areas. We're still working on her trying' to make people happy, but not communicating what's really going on, especially when she's away from home/family. "We can't help if you don't tell us whar it is going on. You won't lose it, we can just help you better. These things take time. We did do an MRI of her lower spine to rule out any issues there since there are no voluntary trips to the potty. Although she did tell me once a few weeks ago that she had to go. We're not sure why this is, but we'll get over this, too. She has a great time on the trampoline and will jump and jump for a long time. While she jumps, she sings and talks. I wish she'd keep it up when we come around, but she always stops.

Caleb- begs to do school with me. He really likes cutting and tracing, is learning to write his name, knows most of the letters' sounds and names, and could sit and "read" books for hours. It's amazing to have him be so still with books and then turn into a big ball of energy you'd like to bottle or release to the outside world. This is another reason why we're thankful for the trampoline! I told him a story tonight about someone special going to a family's house. "What was his name?" "Santa." "Hey, that's my daddy's name!" He's looking forward to having his daddy dress up in a few days. There's a little trouble understanding why he has to wait for opening presents and why they aren't all his. But, when I suggested we go through his toys and share them with other children, he was right on it and gave quite a few away. He's quite the boy.

Pets- we have no idea what happened to the lizzard. Nora is half self-cropped and looks a little silly. We haven't quite reached the behavior modification medications yet, but she does do nicely with calming treats! She hasn't quite made friends with the kitties, but we're hopeful. Thankfully, she still comes around when the kids go to bed for some attention from me. The kitties are growing and lots of fun. Fluffy doesn't want to be held, except when captured by C, but she sure likes to be petted when you're sitting still. Smokey is sweet and sleeps with us occassionally. She's Buddy's favorite.

We're headed to spend an Ozark Christmas this year, joined by my parents. We're really looking forward to this time celebrating our Saviour. We've been doing an Advent devotional this year, complete with ornaments for a Jesse tree. We don't have a big tree, but have a few live trees on our mantle. It's actually really nice. We also go a menorrah and we going to have one of our friends say the pray in Hebrew, but that didn't work out. All in all, we're just celebrating how good our God has been and will continue to be to us and all who seek Him.

Merry Christmas! (perhaps I'll post some pictures soon...)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Walking home after school

eating with Nana at the fall social

Happy Birthday!

View from our front deck

Fluffy and Smokey

Ready for the Fall Social

So happy to have been at the game.

Barely tolerating the new tire swing.

Lots of snuggles and reading with Nana

Typical Caleb fashion

Isn't it sad that it's been so long since I've posted that I have to type the whole website thingy in to get to my own blog? I don't even want to know how long it's been, but we have been having a reallly fun fall. First of all, fall in the Ozarks beats the ones we had in OK. Not that I don't think they were great, just that the colors and the hills and the amazing number of trees surrounding us are really fabulous to see.

So, let's see. Buddy and I celebrated in a not-so-celebratory fashion our 14th anniversary. (We didn't do anything because we were in differnt states. We do, however have plans for something lovely in the future. Oh, for a date night!) Looking back at our wedding pictures really shows the hands of time and the amazing adventure these years have been. I am truly thankful for our family, and that Buddy finally agreed with me that getting married WAS a really good idea. :)

Buddy's mom came to visit us for 2 weeks and got to spend a lot of her time here in our "little slice of heaven," as she called it. It was so nice to have an adult around during the day, some extra support when I felt like I wanted to leave the dishes for the maid, even if it took her a few months to come. Actually, I was really in the baking mood and she helped me keep up the with mess so we could eat yummy things. What a great reason to have desserts and bread products every day! The kids thoroughly enjoyed their time with Nana, and when Caleb found out Nana had gone home, he said, "That's sad!" What's really so sad is that I didn't take enough pictures of their times together. Lots of good walks and book reading. She even got to come to CC one day.
We had the best time together we've ever had and I look forward to the next visit.

Samuel turned 12 this past week. I've been seeing the dark hairs on his upper lip for some time and have been calmly ignoring them. And resisting the measurements that show he has only a few more inches until he's taller than me. He's long past my shoes but can still wear some of my hoodies. One thing I've noticed, which is sweet, is that is still likes to be near me. When I told him I was going to walk into his class at church and give him a great big birthday hug, instant panic was in his voice and on his face. Yet when we're in Walmart or doing something together, he sticks right by me. I see the push to be cool, but then he doesn't smile as much as he used to. That makes me really sad. He was blessed to go to the World Series when it was in St L, even though they lost that game. Then he was able to go to an all-night event with a friend his birthday weekend after hanging out with his old CC friends for the evening. It's great to see him growing up and being responsible enough that he's the kind of kid others want to have around. All in all, it was a wonderful way to become the big 1-2. He's a great kid, and we're really blessed to see him becoming a wonderful young man. His humor is really fun to hear, and his appetite is huge!

2 weeks ago, 2 little kittens were found behind the shop of a former non-cat person. This person brought them home, contacted a cat lady to find out how to care for them, brought them to MO so they wouldn't be alone for a weekend, took them back to the cat lady to find out further care, and asks about them when he's not with them. We decided that we needed to do something for Nora, because she was getting stressed out by all this travel and the new arrivals. So she is now the former non-cat person's companion, and the little ones are the kids' school time helpers. It's amazing how still they are when they're holding their little ones. Sometimes they come to school dressed. They're doing great. Caleb needs some gentleness training with them, but they're surviving little boy love.

Catherine is still having a great time with her neighbor friend. They really have a good relationship and enjoy many of the same things. I think she's learned how to build a fire with K's help. They can never play too long, and the time between visits is too far apart. May that help motivate for great behavior!

Hannah's having a great time in school still. I've noticed that she's gotten skinnier since she started school. I guess she's working a lot harder now that she's there with the regular class so much more. They snack morning and afternoon, but she is needing some more to chunk her back up. Some days she comes home and wants to go to bed right away, but some days she'll play for a while. After 3 days, she's pretty wiped, though. Occassionally, I'll just keep her home so she can rest.

Caleb is as lively as ever, full of energy, tough as nails, ready to race/fight/snuggle all at once. He had a blast dressing up for the Fall Social at church. Caleb figured out that kitties and dogs lick to say hi and give kisses. He decided that the way he should show his love is to lick either the cats or anyone he's around. He had a hard time understanding why that wasn't ok at first. We were glad when he finally did.

I'm back to knitting some, working on a cable knit/bobble scarf. I haven't finish my socks yet, but I plan on it this weekend when I have a few moments without distractions. Ha! I think that catches us up for now. We are looking for a new home for our dog. She's gotten so much bigger than we thought she would be, needs more care than we can give, especially when we're travelling back and forth so much, and needs more attention than she's getting here. We're hoping that she can be there soon and get the extra loving she needs. Sadly, we just aren't in that place in our lives. I did chop off a lot of hair, and now I feel like a throw back to the 80's with wavy hair and cowlicks that make my bangs have volume!

Happy week!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The writings are done! I'll happily go back to editing my kids' papers after this. That was tough! I feel S's pain of writing what he thought was a great paper, only to realize you left out one word that makes all your double spacing off and you probably have to rewrite a few sentences. Oof tah!

Funny story- Last weekend I was able to go to Kindle the Flame, a fabulous women's conference. First time in years that I could go. (Thanks Buddy for watching the kids!) I got to see a friend from the big hair ORU days, which was a lot of fun. Anyway, the last night we take communion and pray for the upcoming year. I was thinking as I got my little cup of white grape juice- oh that's right, they use white so if it spills it won't be as noticable. Just then mine slipped from my hand and spilled all over my dress. Good times!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Has it really been that long since I've posted? It's not as if there has not been any activity in our world.

We started our CC group, had some changes in our group, celebrated Labor Day with my parents in MO. I got to see a really cool way to make socks. I must admit that the mechanical side of it all really intrigued me, as well as a much faster way to make a pair of socks, a project I've yet to attempt. She said she'd be there until the end of September, so yesterday when H was in school and S went to work with Buddy, I took the C's and spent some time making my own sock. It is a lot of work! There are so many things to be looking for all at once. I really liked having to switch out the needles when we went from one pattern to another- knit, pearl, knit, pearl to knit 3 pearl 1. That was probably the easiest part. I thought the way they make a heel is really cool, but it turned out to be really stressful, especially when people were coming by asking what I was doing and commenting on my one mistake. THEN, I knocked over a little cup that had 33 needles in it into bark mulch! Maybe I was too optimistic of my abilities. However, when the time was done, I'd completed a sock with only 1 mistake that was easily corrected. Plus I learned about the Kitchner Stitch and how to do a Russian join. Today I go back and pick up the second one she's graciously agreed to finish for me. I'll have to close the toes, but that'll be a great challenge.

We also celebrated Caleb's 4th birthday. It was so much fun to watch him getting so excited and remembering past Christmas and birthday times. He's becoming such a fun boy. I must admit I've had some challenges with the baby adn all the changes go=that have gone on in our family in the last year, but he has a sweet heart. He tells me all the time how much he loves me and how pretty I am. Can't help but love a fellow like that! His little smile and happy attitude make days fun and the energy he has makes me wish I could bottle it up.

A few days later, it was my birthday. My parents came over and watched all 4 so Buddy and I could go out. We had a blast just being able to relax with no time contraints, a rare thing for either of us. Not feeling older, but I am now moving farther into this decade. Life is good, and God is amazingly faithful. I do treasure the friendships that have grown during the past few years and trust those will be with me as I head closer to the next decade.

Let's see, lots of trips back and forth to OK, which we're getting better at those. We're enjoying fall weather will lots of time outside. The changing leaves are some of our favorite things. We're headed to a football game this afternoon and some time with friends. Samuel went camping last 2 weekends ago, Catherine has made a new friend in MO that makes her time there really fun. Hannah is in a new class at school. She was in there only one day and was able to tell me the teacher's name. That is highly unusual for her. Most of the time if I ask her if she knows something she'll say, "yes" and then be unable to provide answers. Even with prompting I'm not always sure she knows the answer. The last thing I saw is what she'll repeat. If I change the order of the words I give her, she'll switch her answer. So, it was a big thing when she could tell her teacher's name. There is an aide in there to help her get from one place to another and to help with the bathroom. She rides the bus and is really tired when she gets home. We usually try to have some time to relax, eat, and then she's ready for bed. Caleb is has been interesting for me at CC. We have only older children in families who've never been in CC before, so all the parents need to be in class with their children. The first few weeks exhausted me as I tried to figure out what to do for him. last week I gave up and brought a movie for him and let him watch Charlotte's web. It worked. This week, Hannah is out of school, so I'll have 2 who will be in there to keep occupied in a good way!

Because I'm teaching Essentials for the first time this year, I have a bunch of papers to write. Oh, my! I think it's easier to write my kids' papers than to come up with my own. They are due this weekend. Speaking of which, I'd better make wise use of my time.

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back packs- check
Lunch boxes- 2/3 checked
Essentials folders- check
Clothes for the morning- check
Why did I not make a list of absolutely everything I could possibly need for our 1st day of CC? I tell you what, tutoring 2 years prepared me somewhat for directing, but honestly, I have a lot of nervous moments thinking about all I need to gather. We're quite a bit farther away from our meeting location than we've been in the past. Also, in the past I've been able to leave during opening ceremony and run home to pick things up if I forgot. Now it would be at least an hour drive time to get home and back, not to mention the digging time. I've really made efforts to prepare- making lists, printing out good ideas, having supplies in one central area, but my lists are sometimes in different places. The Lord knows and will help...

...24 hours later, and our 1st week is done. The Lord was very faithful, and in spite of Buddy taking a wrong turn to our meeting place (he stopped to get a flag for us so he wasn't following us) and missing our family presentations, we had a fairly smooth day. I really enjoyed seeing the kids, basically total strangers, having such a great time playing together at recess. Being our first day, we have some kinks to work out, but all the kids did great, and from my children's reports, they enjoyed me tutoring Essentials! That was one of biggest concerns, so that made me feel much better. Now to find someone to keep Caleb company while I'm tutoring... it's a little difficult to tutor while your 3 year old is climbing on you, in spite of the back pack full of fun things to do. Something we will be working on.

On another note, I made some really fun Mexican dishes this weekend. I had gotten a BH&G magazine that was 143 Mexican recipes. I made Enchiladas Suizas and Grilled Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas. Sadly, the recipes are not online, so I can't share with you. We really enjoyed them, even though the Enchiladas were a bit spicy, sometimes that just hits the spot. I'm looking forward to my next recipes from the magazine- pozole, something I first ate in Acapulco in 1993 and have been wanting to try to make ever since.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Working in the store they set up. They did a great job. C was just sure we would write real checks and give real money to her for the things we'd already purchased to give to her! It kept them entertained for 2 days. Samuel came up with a "yarn rewards card" that got an "X" everytime you came, and gave you 50% after your card was full. I'd come to his store a lot!Here are some pictures from our time at the Battlefield. We were a little surprised at the way the battle went, not understanding the nature of the guns and their method of fighting back then. Fortunately, we were standing right where the Confederates, who won the battle, were standing.This nice young man let Caleb hold his gun, Samuel got to see his very large knife,and everyone got to shoot his .58 caliber black powder rifle.

We enjoyed listening to these participants talk about different places they'd been and their knowledge of this particular battle. Wish we would have talked to them before...All the kids tried on hats. I think she'd make a good cowgirl!How do I look as a southern belle?Hannah had her 1st day of school today. It was nice to meet all the people who will be helping her at her new school. We actually decided to keep her in K, she had so little of it last year, and has so many skills she's sure to pick up with more exposure on a daily basis. No, her name is not Abby, but we did some switching around at the last minute, and the name didn't get changed at her table. She had fun. When I picked her up from the bus I asked her what she did. "Played." "What else did you do?" Silence. "Did you do something else?" "Go potty." Those were the highlights. :) I'm glad it was quick for her and that she now gets a few days to rest up before we start the long days of school again.

We started in earnest for the others today. Of course, we're going through the adjustments of little one needing to keep out of the way some of the time, learning to listen while mommy is teaching the others, and remembering how to play by himself. It'll come. I'm so glad we've been doing spell and reading together most of the summer. It truly would have been a shock to start cold turkey!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here's our silly family pic. Good times.

If it's raining outside, and much cooler than we're used to, out come the jackets- even for the animals!
I think one of the issues that you deal with when you adopt an older child is the "training," which is not the right word, but the essence is there, to please, to smile sweetly, and to say the expected answer so people will like you. In our case, H is great with new people. She smiles and is very charming in her demeaner. She answers "yes" to questions that are obviously "no" answers to those who know her because she has learned that mostly the questions require a yes answer to make people happy. We're still dealing with her being able to leave anything on her bowl/plate. There is always more for her later, and she is getting better about it, but it bothers her if she has to stop before the last crumb is gone. We recently went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Since she never says she doesn't like something (except her Daddy's oatmeal shortly after she first came home) and we're trying to see what she really does like, Buddyasked her if she wanted to try a salsa that was on the hotter side. I told her it would be ouchy in her mouth, but she looked at Daddy and smiled. She took a bite and I could tell when she wasn't looking at him that it did not feel good. He asked if she liked it; she smiled and said yes. I asked her if it was ouchy and she didn't smile and said yes. When we asked if she wanted more, she said no (after I asked her a few times and reminded her it is ok to say no) and yet when she had more on some rice, I told her not to eat it because it would be ouchy. We let her do what she wanted and she ate it, even though it hurt her. Just to get the last grains of rice.

We went to see a second ortho surgeon a few weeks ago, who gave us a different, more extreme idea for H, but also said we don't have to do anything and could just come back in a year. It's been challenging deciding what to do, but we're trusting God to show us. We've been working with the orthodics and prosthetics people to develop a shoe for her while we're figuring things out. She's so pleasant with them and "yes" to this, "yes" to that. She was actually able to walk faster with her new shoes, even though it is a little different for her. She has a flat surface for walking, giving her a better sense of balance. She still has work to do because her core strength is still low. They velcro on her feet and when they're open, her feet slide right on down into them. They are lightweight and full of cushion, which is a great change. We left there and went to the store to get dinner and some groceries. When we got in, she was crying because her feet were "ouchy." Why didn't she say that to the orthotist? We got home and Buddy asked her about her shoes. "Good," she says. Wait, I thought they hurt you. Do they hurt you? Finally, "yes." When I took off her shoes, there was no swelling or redness, so we'll try it again. Here she is with her new shoes. You can tell she's a little tired.

Another thing we're still working on is the whole communication issue. She's improving, but learning to express herself is a challenge. If things are challenging for her, she says "ouchy" and cries (for me and not her therapists.) Distinguishing between pain and it's hard or I don't like this feeling is something we're working on. Asking for help instead of crying or just sitting there not doing anything is coming along, too.

Yes, things are a lot better, and I enjoy looking at something we've worked or struggled with for a year and she's finally doing it. Sometimes in my busyness, it takes me a while, and it comes as a realization that I haven't had to remind her to do or not do something for a while. She is full of smiles and a willingness to please, tries to do whatever you've asked her, mostly obeys without complaining (although she has picked up "why" and "aaaah!"), is thankful for whatever she gets, and stays in bed after we say good night. She knows about 1/2 her ABC's and sings little made up songs while she's on the potty or by herself. These are the joys

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One of the benefits of having hot weather is that I can avoid looking in the backyard at all the toys, balls, and various things that need to be picked up. A side benefit is that the little red wagon gave us a wonderful show of the rain that came last night! I was awake during the night listening the the thunder and looking at the lightening. We were all so thankful for it.

This year in CC, we're studying American History. I just like history, but in particular, I like to see the hand of God as He brought our nation into being and guided it through the years. We are blessed to be living really closely to Wilson's Creek Battlefield. When we went to check out the library last month, I saw a big poster advertising the 150th anniversary of the battle that occurred there. I planned on going with the kids, but let the date slip from my mind. Sadly, Samuel was planning on a camp out, that I agreed to, the same weekend. A friend reminded me of the event last night so I could let the Scout Master and Samuel know he'd miss out on this camp out. Seriously, it was quite upsetting to him. In the 6 months he's been a Boy Scout, he's been camping 6 times, I think, so it's a bummer to break the streak. However, I'm pretty sure that while he's watching the reenactment he will forget about his camp out and the barf-in-a-bag that was to be his breakfast.

Monday, August 8, 2011

We're back to OK for a bit. We were going to leave earlier in the day, but we first did some spelling and reading, decided to try out the track at the high school (it's basically brand new and made with rubbery material, which is really nice.) I have no idea how far it is around, but I RAN twice around it. If you know me and my hate (no love at all) relationship with running- even at ORU when you were supposed to run 3 miles, I managed to get out of it with my fellow nursing students- that is a huge deal. Caleb did an amazing job. He ran around twice, too, all but the last 100 feet. He actually wasn't very far behind me. ;) Hannah made it around once, and ran for a nice portion of the way. Samuel beat us all and could've gone around again, I think. We all left with orange/red shoes, and tired, thirsty bodies.

After we had a beautiful rain during the night, we were able to continue our yard raking project. There are a lot of rocks in it that are painful to big and little feet. We decided to see how much we could get off the ground and make it more enjoyable to be outside. Of course, wearing shoes would solve a lot of that! We made some nice piles and will do more when we get back. Just looking at the piles makes my feet feel better!

Just before we left, we got a call Catherine had been waiting for. Off and on she had complained about her eyes bothering her, so I finally made the call and got her eyes checked. She needed the very slightest correction, so it was very quick to get them in. She thinks they're pretty cool, so she wants to wear them all the time instead of just when she reads. We'll see how long that lasts!

So far we've had them for 4 days and they've not been lost once! Great job, Catherine!

Yesterday we went to a big back to school bash, complete with funny family pictures, give aways, face painting, and crafts. The line was entirely too long to wait for the face painting, so I promised to do it myself this morning. Caleb wanted a tiger, so with my limited makeup, here's how he turned out.

Catherine didn't tell me what she really wanted and told me something else that made her entirely unhappy when the results were completed. Hmmm. I think there's a lesson there. Soon afterward, it was forgotten in the midst of wearing a fabulous long red dress from Grandma!

As we drove home, we hit about 45 minutes of a totally cloud filled sky and fabulous rain. The temp dropped to 72*. What a nice drive! As we got closer, the temp climbed 30*. We stopped at a friends for a little pool time and enjoyed the water. Hannah sat on the side and didn't complain once about being splashed! That's a first for her, which was so nice to see.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

After days and days in the 110's, I was so relieved to only see 102* on my car's thermometer today. Funny what 10 degrees can do for you! It was even nicer to drive northeast a bit and watch it drop even further. I was on a call this morning, getting ready for the school year and heard people talking about the 90's being so hot. It made me laugh. We probably would think it felt cool. ;)
I agree with one of my friends, who said one of the benefits of this hot dry spell, among other things, was that we no longer stick out on our block. All the yards look scorched.
And so, we pray for rain. God, Who created the universe, Who is said to bring rain to the just and the unjust, will hear our prayers and bring relief. I keep telling my kids they need to do this or that, because if it rains, we don't want it ruined. Maybe I should hold of on washing my car...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If God can use a donkey...

Yesterday, Catherine had the great idea of putting something large and fun on Buddy's key chain, since it is sometimes misplaced. Great idea. Kind of. Fast forward 3 hours and he needed to get something from his truck. Where are those keys? All the kids are in bed by now, supposedly asleep. We looked all over and couldn't find them. We decided to just trust God to help us. (That's what we're supposed to do, right away, right?) We stopped looking and went onto other things we needed to be doing, and in a little while I heard the dog whining at the back door. A minute later I heard keys jingle outside the door and drop. Low and behold, the dog had the keys for us. Isn't God good? Funny how He brings things about when we trust Him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Update on the Wright house. This has been one wild and fun summer. I don't think I've ever had one like it. We found a house to rent, have spent each week going back and forth to different homes, done a lot of therapy, been working on wheel chair and special shoes, become the Director for the Branson CC group, and gone to some trainings. Meanwhile, in my spare time, I've been getting ready for the school year. We've so enjoyed our times in Branson and am so thankful for the opportunity to start a CC group. It's been a blessing to our family, and I want to pass it on to others. So, if you know homeschoolers in our area, pass them on our way!

We'll continue going back and forth, Buddy joining us when he can, but we'll be there more than here, except when we take breaks from CC and coming back to visit if Buddy can't come our way. I'm working on streamlining our transitions to make it more enjoyable for all of us. Chore charts and tasks are really helpful.

More has happened, but it's time to head out again. Finally getting internet access, so I can feel more attached to the world!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A year ago yesterday, we came home from ROG and got to be with loved ones again. It was a fabulous, tiring ordeal. Obviously, if you've followed for any length of time, I'm not great having the camera in the same state as I'm in, nor do I put pictures on here of signifcant moments. I also don't know how to make a slide show to commemorate the journey. If you care, you can go back and look at pictures, which are fun to see.
As we were talking with a friend at gold camp yesterday, Hannah was running around the green, chasing after Caleb. Happy as can be. Amazing to think a year ago I carried her everywhere, she only got around on her knees with much encouragement. So many other things have changed in a year, sometimes it's hard to remember what it was like when she first came.
Gotta run, but thankful for the good times we've had.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I got the header picture changed! Such talent, haha! Slowly but surely, I get things done.

This past week, we took off again for the farm and decided to be really brave. Buddy worked into the weekend again, so he couldn't join us. We've figured out our way around the house and the yard and are venturing out. But we haven't been to SDC since we first went over in June. Picture 4 kids and me going to the park for the day. I forgot to move the stroller into the car before we left here, so we were strollerless. Thankfully, when I explained our situation to the parking people, they let me pull up into the disabled parking (right in front of the park entrance) and we were able to rent a double stroller. We had a blast, deciding Thursday is the day to go, especially if you can go in the morning. We made our way to the local library on Friday to check it out and use their internet. (The guys didn't quite make it or bother to call to let us know they weren't going to make it to the house.) It's quite small, but was still full of books, and they can get books from the big Springfield library if we need them. (We went to the big one a few weeks ago. Quite an experience- they had a gift shop and a cafe. Small town people getting culture shock in the big city!)
We intended to have guests on Friday, but it didn't work out, so Saturday we invited some other friends. Good times in our pool, sharing some good food, and eating cherry cobbler. MMM mmm! I'm so glad I got all those cherries on sale!
Sunday after church, we weren't quite ready to go, so while the littles were resting, the big ones and I read a book about the civil war from the perspective of a 14 year old girl and planned what to do. SDC called our name, and we set out for a few more hours of fun. The cool thing is that it's only about 20 miles (like most everything else) from the house. Zip, zip, zip and we're there. I think we got everything in we wanted. C and H rode the ship that goes up and down and actually had fun. We're going to wait on Thunderation for C until Daddy's with us. 3 seems a little young, but he's big enough.
Glad to be back here where we're altogether. This weekend will be a big camping trip for Samuel- caving in the panhandle somewhere. I'm so thankful he has these great opportunities. He'll surely have seen more of OK in the time he is here than I have in the 20+ years (that sounds terrible!) since I came.
Have a great week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A few pictures from the photo shoot.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spent the day trying to track down wiring receipts from last year for our adoption credit. This is ending up being a lot of work! In the process, I did find out more information about H's birth parents. They were pretty young when she was born. I'm not sure how I would have handled things had I been their age and lived in their country. They were brave, and we're thankful for them.
Tomorrow morning we're going to have our family picture taken! It's only taken a year to have us all together, dressed properly, and have a photographer there at the same time. Granted, it's very early and I'm not sure how chipper we'll all be, but at least we'll all be there together. I hear photo shop is a fabulous thing. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Off for a walk First picture together in a long time. We've both greyed a bit since last summer. Having fun with the sparklers

Watching the big fireworks. As we spent a lovely weekend relaxing in the Ozarks, Buddy and I reflected on "this time last year." Last year, July 3rd we were stuck on the runway, waiting to see if our flight would leave, only to be taxiing into Houston to see our connecting flight taking off. July 4th was spent in airports, and July 5th, we saw the plane the director of our adoption agency was on when we landing, never getting to meet her face to face. However, we also got to see Hannah in real life for the first time and spend some surreal time together before heading over to court. What a whirlwind that was. As I sat in air conditioning, enjoying having my family around me, I remembered the sweltering evenings in the apartment, trying to have some contact with home.

When Buddy pulled into the drive for the weekend, Hannah threw up both hands, straight up, and was so excited to see him. I've not seen her do that before. I remember how difficult it was to raise her left one even to shoulder height. She put 6 words together into a sentence. It was jumbled grammatically, but it was 6 words. She spent part of the weekend wandered around the yard carrying a big stick, so pleased with herself.

We shot off a few fireworks on the 3rd, with the little ones in bed, but waited for the big ones until the 4th. At first, the fireworks were not a joy to H. She actually asked not to do sparklers. (We had her try one, and that was too much.) The look on her face during the first big bangs was a mix of confusion, fear, and a request for direction. I told her it was pretty and fun and we liked them. After that, all was well.

The scripture that came to mind was "He puts the lonely in families." Amazing the changes in a year. Thanking God for the good work He's done in us and in her.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

For the past 2 days, we've travelled into town to attend the CC Parent Practicum. During the day, the little kids are in play camp and the big kids are in logic camp. Every day, C has cried that he is NOT going to his class; this is NOT CC and he doesn't want to go. Yesterday when I picked him up, a little girl, who was as cute as a bug's ear, walked over to him, put her hands on either side of his face, and gave him a smack him soundly on the lips. She readjusted her aim and gave him another smooch on the lips. They're 3!
On the way home, we were talking about it and discussing whether or not he had a girlfriend, which he insisted she was. "She kissed me and I love her. That means I liked it." Oh, my.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In the midst of one of their races... Everyone ready to go! Hannah actually ran, but on the grass.

We like our little shaded area. School on the deck. We really like the horses. They like the carrots and apples. The owners moved them to a different pasture, so we have to take a 1/2 mile hilly hike to see them. Great exercise, and great times together.

This weekend we had so much fun! The best part was that Buddy joined us. We spent a very leisurely day on Saturday, except for a trip to Wally World. While we were there, we saw the cutest little puppies that were being given away. The Sammy issue has been a challenge for us, especially while we're going back and forth. We didn't want to get him fixed because he's full blooded, but I can't chase him multiple times a day when he gets out. The other option wa a companion. So, we got this cute this puppy-11 weeks old. She's a blue heeler, australian shepherd, chow mix, and so far it's been great for the kids and for Sammy. He seems much more content. Of course, we just got home, so we'll see, but so far, very good.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This traveling back and forth has been really interesting. In our little slice of heaven, we have no internet, but we do have a printer. Down home, we have no printer, but we do have internet. This past week, I managed to leave the phone at home, so we had no communication until my dad played delivery boy on his way to their property Friday night. Very odd, very quiet, not practical, but kind of nice.

Saturday, we went to visit dad and help him get some projects done. I drove his little tractor and mowed for several hours. I'm sure it was pretty comical. I forgot my tennis shoes at home and had run out of clean shorts. I was wearing his straw hat, a t-shirt dress, and flip flops. I sadly missed part of my shoulders with the sun screen and am just now getting over the painful stage! Fortunately, the kids faired much better. We hlad little chairs under the awning of their 5th wheel for the 2 littles. Catherine alternated driving the 4-wheeler by herself and giving the littles rides, one at a time. It was so fun watching their faces. At one point, Caleb wanted to ride with me, so he sat on my lap and snuggled in, holding on tight and patting my back. Samuel helped Grandpa use an auger, a post hole digger, and shovel for the pole barn they're building. By the time we were ready to go, everyone was bushed, but had had a great time. Needless to say, bedtime was pretty easy.

Sitting up on that tractor made me think of my Grandpa. He was such a neat guy. I still remember him riding the tractor, with his straw hat, chewing on a weed. My Grandma was an amazing gardener, my mom is an amazing cook, but I can drive a tractor like my dad and grandpa!

Buddy wasn't able to come for the weekend, so we left earlier than planned to spend most of Father's Day with him. Right out to the tramp they went to play with Daddy!I was thankful we still had blueberries left from our picking! I made a blueberry pie that was soooo good! That finished up the berries, so we had to go out yesterday morning. I'm not sure if we were any faster, but we did get a good amount, and decided that we were going to keep them all, and not do any on shares! A lady asked about strawberries, but the guys told her it wasn't the right season. S&C had gone off to find blackberries, which they couldn't, and came back with a bucket half full of strawberries!

I wanted to take a picture of our stained fingers. However, by the time we got home, I got things into the house, and was ready to take the pictures, the little munchkins had used hand sanitizer to clean their fingers off! Mine are the only really dirty ones. But it was worth it!This I didn't realize until AFTER the picture was taken. Little stinkers! Blueberry cobbler was our dessert last night. I made some strawberry and some blueberry jam, and froze a bunch of blueberries. The cobbler was good, but Buddy wanted that pie crust again. Guess I'll just have to oblige him!

We're getting ready to head out again this afternoon. Buddy IS coming at some point, and I believe he's bringing a washer and dryer! How nice not to have to bring laundry home, or run out of clean essentials! I think we're getting better each time. Figuring out how to pack and grocery shop is getting easier. The Lord is helping us.

Off to finish up laundry and clean up the house. Have a great week!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What do you know? We left the camera in Branson. We have no internet there yet, and so I'm posting here without pictures. Our move was so smooth and easy, good help on both ends, plus the Lord doing the biggest share in giving us strength and wisdom. By Saturday, we had all but a few boxes of toys/school things for while we're there put away. It was amazing to have things all put away, the weather be beautiful for being outdoors, (we're very shaded and have an almost constant breeze since we're up on a hill) and a good book for reading. We went for walks, played in the pool we set up, fed the horses all sorts of lovely veggies someone had so kindly given us when we moved in. I'm not sure that was the intended use of organic celery and tomatoes, but the horses didn't seem to mind. (We had to have a little talk about asking me first before the horses were fed.) The kids did a great job keeping things clean and neat, so when it was time to come home, pick up was pretty fast.
I have to share a cute thing Hannah said one of the first days we were there. She is having to learn to navigate around a different environment, which is not always fun for her. Not that she can't do it, but since it's a new thing, it's challenging for her to figure out she can do it. She was crying one day while I was bringing her outside and showing her how to get down the steps. I tried to distract her, which doesn't alway work, but talking about the horses. "Hannah, look at the horses! What do they say?" "Quack, quack." "No, Hannah. Horses say neigh." We walked over to where they were eating grass. "Neigh eat ground!" "Yes, Hannah, the horses are eating grass."
The marraige meetings were great. I was so glad I got to go to 3 of the 4 nights I could have attended. Buddy came for the men's night, but had to go right back for work. It's a good thing he did, because our ac leaked and caused the ceiling above our fridge to fall in. (I had taken the only key to the car that was parked in the garage, where our attic access is, so we cut our time short by a day to bring it home.) When the repair guy got here, they found between 30 and 40 gallons of water in the piping, just waiting to fall. However, I believe God had His hand on us preventing the damage from being worse. Needless to say, coming back to that from our peaceful paradise was not as exciting as going. However, we needed to do laundry, pick up Samuel from his week at scout camp, clean up the aftermath of the the ac mess, do thereapy, and spend some time with friends.
We found a place not too far from my parents where we can pick blueberries. It sounds like so much fun, so we're going to head out tomorrow morning and fill up some buckets of goodness. I'm not sure if we're going to pick for them and us, or if we'll just take all the fruits fo our labors home with us. I'm sure looking forward to eating a bunch and freezing some, if there's any left. Oh, the possibilities!
We'll head back to Branson in a few days for a few days, which will be Samuel's first time seeing it with all our stuff in place. He was so disappointed to not be heading immediately there after he got home from camping!
Off to make lunch and finish up laundry.
P.S. Catherine is having so much fun, she stopped chewing her nails. We got some press on nails with pretty stickers. You should see them. Well, you could if I kept my stuff together!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving day is coming!

Finally, after all the trips to Branson, all the times staying in someone else's house, packing things back and forth- we found a house! It's a rent house that will suit us just fine while we go back and forth. There are so many great things about it that I could go on and on. But for less than the cost of a week in a hotel, we have a cute cottage in the woods, kind of. It's on 108 acres that include 8 horses we can spend time with. I'm so excited for the kids to be able to explore the outdoors without the concerns of traffic or them being too far out of sight. We have a 1/2 mile driveway that's paved to ride bikes and scooters. Lots of trees to climb. A rope in place for a swing. The stove is gas, which I've wanted for a long time. It has 3 bedrooms, so we'll have room for everyone. We've been packing in a leisurely fashion for about 2 months, but now it's time to start in earnest. Mom came over to help today, which was fabulous. My grandma is in assisted living, so she has no need of things at her house. Last fall when we went, we were able to get some fabulous treasures. One was the contents of her utensil drawer. Perfect for our new little house.
God has been in this all the way. It was so easy finding it, the price is fabulous, the placement is 1/2 way between Branson and Springfield. The things we need to make it homey we've either had enough to have some here and some there, we've gotten at really good price, or been blessed with. I'm so thankful for His leading in all this. The facts that we have a church family there, great friends, my parents have land not too far away, and that we've had that as a desire for several years make this a very special thing.
I tell you what, packing after living in one house for over 12 years with 4 kids, all kinds of pets, and grat memories is challenging. We will be there about 1/2 time, coming back for therapy and times with family. Buddy still has a lot of work here, so we'll be commuting both ways. With his busy schedule, we don't see him very often most of the time. It'll be nice for him to have a place to get away to all the work of getting away. I'm looking forward to sitting on the front porch, listening to the crickets chirping, looking at the stars, smelling the horse smells, and enjoying it all with my family.
Another nice thing is that we'll be back and able to spend time with friends when we're back here. Plus our Sunday School class is here! We'll figure it all out
So, if you're in the neighborhood, here or there, we'd like to get together! (Cammie, that means we won't be running in and out so fast that we won't be able to coordinate meeting!)
Better get back to packing!
If you're handy on Thursday evening, come on over for a load-the-trailer party!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

From the birthday party- C had his face so close to his plate so nothing would fall off his fork. H picked up the plate and licked it to make sure she didn't miss anything!

Lots happening around the Wright house.

Found a baby bird under the car yesterday, so did the dog. It got away and made it into the garage. Catherine made a little box for it, complete with a lamp and a towel. We asked in Petsmart how to care for a baby bird, looked it up online, and came up with sugar water. It was so cute to see it open its mouth and take those drops in! Samuel named him Pico, and he was a constant distraction from anything they (mostly C) was supposed to do. She spent a lot of her free moments out there looking at him, holding him, etc. We had to run around a lot today, and he wasn't looking so swift before we left. You guessed it, he was gone by the time we got home. C was heart broken and cried and cried. It didn't help that we're finishing up Where the Red Fern Grows. (Can you believe I'm 40 and just now reading it?) We were both mild basket cases while we read aloud to each other this morning. Not a great combination to have to deal with in one day. If only I could have eaten worms and thrown them back up to feed it... Thankfully, we have a bird feeder that we can fill to attract more birds. We just won't be holding them and caring for them like we did Pico.

The plan was to finish reading the book and watch the movie tomorrow night. Now I'm wondering....

C had her end of the year recital on Tuesday. It was really amazing to see these dancers'

progress! She came a long way this year, even since November, the last time I got to observe in class. They had some of the older dancers performing, as well. It's so beautiful to see them on pointe! Amazing to think that will be her in just a few years! Now we have a little break from dance running. Her teacher is leaving, which is really sad. She's been C's teacher for 3 years, and is really talented. We'll miss her.

For some reason, going to the Home school convention gets me excited for what more we can learn. Silly me, I think the end of the year is time to crank up and see what else we can do before we finish for the year. So, we started Botany 2 weeks ago. We've been having fun looking at leaves and seeds. We started a germination experiment today, which should be fun to watch. I'm sure we'll do some on and off over the summer, but I really am winding down.
Another end of the year gear up is an accelerated reading program. I enjoy reading so much, as does S. C has recently started not just reading because I tell her to, but for fun. I'm excited to see what is in store. It's a good way for me to be reading some classics.

As we move into summer, I'm sure we'll do some math, spelling, and reading most days. We'll stick some science in occasionally, too.

Caleb got a little Lego set with Jesse and Bullseye yesterday. He is having so much fun with it! The cutest thing is that he keeps saying "Eye ball" instead of "Bullseye."

We made a trip to the orthodics place again today. They had 4 people come in and talk about what to do. They made a gooey mix that is the same as what is used to make retainers, so it smelled minty fresh. Then they had her stand in a bucket full of the mix, one foot at a time. When it firmed up, they had an impression they poured plaster into and made a little Hannah foot. She was so tired, she willingly put her head on the back of the chair in between each thing they did. The plan is to make something that will be formed around her foot, be opened on the top with a velcro closure. Something flexible, cushioning and supportive. How they'll do it, I'm not sure, but with 4 people collaborating on it, they should be able to do amazing things. One thing the surgeon didn't think we needed to do was take x-rays of her feet. However, we're going to do that next week to get an idea of what's going on in there.

Looking forward to a nice mostly quiet weekend. Have a good one!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It was my mom's birthday on Friday, so we had the clan over to celebrate. We had a great time, with 9 kids together, what's not to like? It was the 1st time in a long time that I'd cooked for so many, but it turned out really well. I made wacky cake in mini-bundt pans, with a mini-loaf thrown in. Help was needed to blow out the candles.

We celebrated Hannah as well. She's getting the hang of the tissue paper process!Just a silly picture of C from last weekend.

Off to another great week!