Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The View From Here



Lessons From The Classroom - The Dance

We are far from perfecting our daily school schedule,
but week one ended with success.

I've tweaked a few things,
cut out several others,
and am anxious to see how week two goes.

Our school routine feels kind of like a dance
as I shift between subjects and children.
It's not very graceful, but it works for us.

Instead of our usual wake-up time being 9am
we have begun to get the kids up between 8 and 8:30(ish)

The goal is to start the school day by 9:30.

As soon as we are all dressed and had our fill of breakfast,
which takes longer some mornings than others,
I set the timer (more for me than the kids),
and get everything in order.
As soon as the timer goes off the kids know it's time to go see "Mrs. T",
that me;)

I mentioned that I write out a week at a glance for Areyna.
That way she can get started on her own 
and get as much done as she can without my help.

This frees me up to get started on Preschool with Alethia and Cai.

They really do love school.
Cai's attention span is about 2 minutes right now:)
but I have confidence that it will only get better as we go.


Lots of times Areyna just wants to be where all the action is,
so we'll find her floating between her desk and the preschool room:)

Like I mentioned before, Zeke acts as my Teacher Assistant for the preschool.
Allowing him to review all that he has already learned.

This also allows me to have some one-on-one time after Alethia and Cai are done,
and while Zeke is still fresh:)
~I think Cai actually ate more of the "A" craft than glued it,
oh well!~

I felt like it was a bit chaotic at first.
So I began writing a "cheat card" with an abbreviation of all I need to teach for the day.
It helps me stay on track.
 I was continually getting distracted by telling Cai to get off his desk
and trying to save Alethia's triangles from being cut into smithereens, ha!


Next is Zeke's turn.
We usually do about 3 pages in his book,
which I try to include at least one page of math and one of letters.

Then we move on to his manipulatives.
He gets to choose two cards out of the activity stack.

Alethia and Cai usually stick around to watch Zeke hard at work,
which is really going to help them in the long run as well.


Usually Alethia and Cai want to join in Zeke's activity,
so after he has completed his activities I let him "teach" it to Alethia and Cai.
It really is good for ALL of them.

After Zeke is done I waltz on over to Rainy and sit with her until she is finished.
I begin checking her work and doing her one-on-one activities.

We've been finishing up around lunchtime,
although Areyna has been working hard into the night on those Science books:)

I think the highlight of the week is going to be Friday's
when Principal, Mr. F (for Fro), comes to help out.

Since Fridays are Josh's day off he is going to rotate between the 3 classrooms.
  Last week he helped out in the preschool room.

Here he is capturing the attention of the entire class
while teaching the color "red" with the clean laundry pile:)

So, this is our version of homeschooling.
And as long as it works, we're sticking with it, ha!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not Me Monday

Sunday mornings are no big deal to me.

Nope, not to me.

I just show up, play through the set a few times, and pack up my gear.

Yup, it's that easy.

And since it's just that easy I would NEVER wake up in a sweat after a nightmare about all that could possibly go wrong on a Sunday morning.

A nightmare about a HUGE worship night that Josh and I were scheduled to lead.

Like, coliseum-huge.

I think I've got it all together...

...and then the countdown begins on the big screens and I realize that I have 5 children to find classes for...

...in a place I've never been before.

Nobody is offering to help as Zeke freaks out as we run up and down the hallways trying to find his class...or as Cai and Alethia are both crying out to go potty...and Areyna, who even knows where she is?!

Then I hear Josh begin to sing over the speakers as he starts in on the first song, the song with the most predominant violin part in the set...

...but there's still a problem...

...it's not the fact that Josh is wearing a sparkling white suit with a pastel shirt, although that could be considered a problem to some;)...

...no, the problem is that as I run up the front steps of the stage (instead of the back wing), which is an entirely different problem of its own, I keep hearing a screaming child.

And that's when I realize that the said screaming child is MY child that I have been carrying around in his car seat and is now up on stage with me.

A VERY HUNGRY baby who I haven't fed or prepared a meal for.

Again, no takers for any help.

I am forced to prop him in a chair beside my pedal board and rock him with one knee while I bend over to pick up my violin.

But that is when I realize that my quarter inch isn't long enough for me to stand up completely straight!

Sweating...

Turning BRIGHT RED...

...then I go to play the first note and try to find the right key before realizing I don't even have a mute pedal and everyone can hear me!

Franticly trying to prepare my heart before the Lord in the moment...

It's a good thing I don't have to worry about any of those kinds of things on a Sunday morning, because that would be a TERRIBLE nightmare!

Sunday mornings are just no big deal for me.

Nope, not me!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Confessions Of An Off-Duty Mom

One day there was a husband who decided he wanted to bless his wife with a night off.

He packed up the 5 small colony members and headed to rehearsal.

The mommy of five was left sitting in a quiet house...all alone.

She wasn't quite sure what to do with all this...silence...and time...

So she just gave in to her every desire,
embracing the silence (and abundance of toys),
and smiled with sheer joy as she indulged, 
without even a thought of what kind of example she was setting.
Because, she was in fact, all alone.

She found the most prized scooter and hopped on!
Around and around she went.
Hair blowing in the breeze.
 Oh the thrill!
The RUSH!

"Life couldn't get much better than this," she thought to herself.

But then she remembered the sacred batman Lego's inside,
that she had ALWAYS wanted to play with.
She ran sauntered inside.
She got to work creating her OWN versions of Bat Mobiles and bad guy jets.
There were no other little fingers grabbing her pieces
or screaming voices battling for parts.
It was just her and the Lego's.

The next adventure that came to mind was the Polly Pocket house.
The oldest 4 colony members always had their own way of "organizing" this house.
But now it was the mommy's turn.
Ahahahaha....
Her magic fingers got to work as her creative mind exploded with ideas.

She had been so busy playing that she hardly realized that she had to go potty.
And then the thought occurred to her.
This may be her ONLY chance to EVER try on Cai's
"Mickey Mouse"-really-"Minnie-Mouse" undies.
They were a bit snug, but she didn't care.
She felt FREE!

It was time for dinner.
A dinner that she didn't have to cook.
Or clean up.
OR SHARE!

Then she got to watch TV.


Then it occurred to her...
What if the husband got home and asked what she had done with her night
She needed an alibi.
But she decided that she could at least feel and look elegant.
She snuck into the girls' room and found her favorite princess dress...
 ...and got to work on the mountain of laundry,
as "Princess Sparkles", 
pretending that the mountain of laundry was really a sea of lilacs 
needing to be picked for the prince who was soon to arrive.

What a lovely night she had while the children were out.

I wonder what adventures will come on her next night off-duty;)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The View From Here

Cai and I had a date today.
These are the "Mickey Mouse" undies he chose.
I promised him.
I mean, what kind of mommy would I be if he didn't get the ones he wanted.
Can you believe they don't have any other selection than this?
He was adamant and just too cute to say no to:)
Josh will warm up to his Cai-bo in pink girl undies...right?!
You should see how proud of them he is!

Lessons From The Classroom - Curriculum

I have some friends who are super creative with their homeschooling.  I tried so hard to be that kind of teacher...and that just isn't me.  And I'm okay with that. (It did take some time for me to embrace who I am as a teacher, but I'm getting the hang of it now:)

I'm learning my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and I know my limits.  I can try as I may to create my own curriculum and activities, but quite frankly it makes me totally overwhelmed, and maybe even a little grumpy;)

So, I chose curriculums that are good for me AND the kids!  Something that is all-inclusive, biblically based and easy to wrap my brain around.

Areyna:
We are continuing to use Horizons Math and Explode The Code for reading and spelling.  We have added Science and Social Studies this year using PACEs.  I really like these because they are reading based and Areyna needs some extra work and motivation in that area.  I allotted 3 weeks for her first lessons in science and social studies and she has worked so hard on it, even begging to bring it to bed with a flashlight or the gym while I work out, that she will be finished with the tests for them by the end of this week!  I'd say she likes them:)

Zeke:
Zeke is my tricky one.  With his dyslexia and other processing and learning issues I am being forced to get more creative with him.  We are s.l.o.w.l.y finishing his 2nd Horizons Preschool book from last year.  To help reinforce what he has already learned over the past 2 years, I have deemed him "Teacher Assistant Zeke" for Alethia and Cai's class.  He helps me write Alethia and Cai's names on their papers, helps them with the letter, shape, color and number of the week and joins in their crafts.  It is an excellent way to review while giving him a feeling of independence and importance.  He LOVES his new role.  I also ordered the activity cards that go with the My Father's World manipulatives that I already had on hand.  He is going to get these letters and shapes!  In fact, we reviewed A-F (where we ended last year) and he could tell me every single letter and what it said.  This is huge, my friends!

Alethia and Micaiah:
I really like the Horizons method.  It builds a foundation and slowly adds to it, while continuing to use it.  It includes Bible, Shapes, Colors, Letters, Numbers and several small and large motor skill activities.  I WAY over-planned for our first week because there are just so many activities you can do.  My kids don't have near the attention span to do it all:)

I love our set-up, I love our curriculums...now I just have to figure out how to duplicate myself to get it all done with them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The View From Here

Peas

Lessons From The Classroom - The Set-up

This year is going to be a bit more difficult than last because our class population has doubled in size:)

I now have a 2nd grader, a 6-year-old Pre-schooler and 2 newbie Pre-schoolers.

I've spread out our homeschool area from just the foyer, to part of one of our living rooms as well.  I love the set-up we have now and feel like we are making good use of our space.

Here is our preschool room looking into Rainy and Zeke's room.

The train table is perfect for craft and manipulative activities for multiple kids.

Cai and Alethia's area:

Ways To Keep It All Straight:

Lots of manipulatives to help Zeke process and retain information

Helping Areyna to feel independent.
A week at a glance allows her to set her own pace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The View From Here


Mmmm...Apple Cinnamon Ham


This one is from my mama's kitchen!

What You Need:
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Apple Juice
Enough ham to feed your colony

Preparation:
Place your ham into the crockpot.
Fill 2/3 of the pot with apple juice.
Place a couple of cinnamon sticks in the juice.
Turn the crockpot on low to cook all day.

Yummy, cheap, quick and goes with tons of sides that you can find around the house:)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Not Me Monday

Before I had kids I said that my kids would NEVER sit and watch TV (or movies, or play on the computer) all day.

Then I had kids.

Yup, 5 to be exact.

And sometimes a little movie or some computer games are what help me keep my sanity.

But we try not to have the tube turned on all the time.  You may even hear the kids talk about how they don't want their brain to turn to mush from sitting on their booties all day and watching TV.

So, after laying down the law about our new computer/tv/misc. technology privileges for the upcoming school year, our kids would be totally fine with the new boundaries.

Yup.

They wouldn't come whining about not being able to watch their Batman movies for "a long time".

Oh no.
They always accept new rules and boundaries with joyous hearts.

Because, if some resistance with this new rule occurred, the dad might have to do a "head examination" on that young lad, by gently squeezing around the top of the cranium where EVERYBODY knows the brain gets the mushiest from watching too much TV.

And that wouldn't happen in this house.

Nope.
We are always serious.

So serious, in fact, that the most sensitive child, after getting a positive brain-mushiness diagnosis from watching too much TV, would be brought to tears in fear that his mushy brain might never go back to its normal density.

And that might cause a slight freak-out.

And that would NEVER happen in this house.

Nope!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Free-For-All

I don't think I've EVER gone this long between posts before.

Even after having babies and traveling overseas...you'd think I had like 5 kids and a husband traveling the world or something, ha!

It really has been a...week.

Josh had a great trip to Haiti and he came back with a fresh eternal perspective and urgency to live a life of urgency for Christ.  The colony sure did miss him though.

I am in the final stages of school prep for the oldest 4.  I feel 90% ready, but I'm not really sure how it's all going to play out.  There's only 1 of me and only 1 of them who can read so far...should be interesting, but I really am excited!

Micaiah is pretty much potty-trained!  I couldn't be more thrilled.  He even stays dry most of the time while he's sleeping.  Nonnie and G-daddy took him out to Target with big boy undies on with NO ACCIDENTS.  I see a mommy/Cai date in the near future.  A do foresee a problem though.  He wants Mickey Mouse undies, but by "Mickey" he really means "Minnie" and I've just never seen "Minnie Mouse" BOY undies before.  We may have to get creative, ha!
 Jude got a surprise in the mail this week.  My friend, Rita Polk, makes the CUTEST MONSTERS EVER!  I saw her posting pictures of the progress of one she was making a month or so ago and asked how I could get one.  She sent me a link, let me pick out the size/pattern and yarn.  She custom made Monster just for Jude and we LOVE him!  You should go support her and get your own:)  It is excellently (not sure if that is actually a word) made.

The big Raleigh Kid's Exchange was this week.  It took me over an hour to set out all the stuff I was selling.  It took me over two hours to find all the things on my list to pick up and just over one hour waiting in line to check out.  It's a lot of work, but I came out with the best stuff ever this time around.  It's usually pretty overwhelming to me, but this year I didn't feel rushed and had no expectations (I was mainly going to get some fairy wings for Cai, don't ask, and costumes for the colony) or pressured to come back with tons of stuff.  That, plus the fact that I got a break from 5 little mommy shadows made the experience pretty enjoyable actually:)
I got out with Cai's birthday presents, some Christmas presents, Areyna's entire wardrobe and shirts and jammies for the boys.  They should all be set for the next season or 2!  I also found a $1 costume for Zeke, some beautiful pink feathery fairy wings for Cai for $2, some puzzles for the school room which were between $1 - $2, and Super Woman and Wonder Woman costumes for the girls which were between $3 -$4!  There were a few other little finds as well.  I was pretty stoked after it was all said and done.

Well, I think that catches you up on my past week...shew!

Happy Friday ya'll:)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In The Still Of The Night

I usually don't have a problem sleeping when Josh is out of town.

I can try to sound super-spiritual and say that it's because I am completely at peace knowing that Josh is in God's hands...

...but it's really because I get to sprawl out over the ENTIRE bed, and burrow in all the pillows, ha!

That being said, I've really had a hard time sleeping this week and I'm not sure why.

Last night around 2:30 in the morning I heard Jude stirring, because, yes, he is still in our closet:)

The first signs were his little fingernails scratching the sides of the pack-n-play.

Then he started rocking back and forth.

Before I knew it he had rolled over onto his back and was playfully kicking his feet on the bottom of his bed.

Then he began to talk to himself.

It was honestly one of the cutest things to listen to.

But then, because he STILL has not figured out how to roll back onto his stomach to fall back asleep, his little coos turn into little whimpers, and then the little whimpers became a firm call out to mommy for help.

As I leaned my head over his bed and quietly talked about not playing in bed at night (that's a joke ya'll) I smothered him with a few kisses and rolled him back over and we both went back to sleep.

It just reminded me of how Jesus is always listening to us.  He's always there.  He will always come to our rescue.

Parenting always has a way of tenderly reminding me of how much our great God truly loves us!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday Free-For-All

It's been a good week here at the Via Colony abode.

Josh has been working his tail off getting the new Journey Worship album done.  He spent the majority of his waking hours like this...

Let's just say that I am SO glad that the album is complete, for oh-so-many reasons:)
The release is August 12, 2012.

We had a WONDERFUL family day yesterday!

Just in time to get some of my weeks-worth of words out before Josh heads to Haiti in a few hours.  I told him to be prepared for verbal overstimulation when he gets back the end of next week, ha:)

In other news...Cai is potty training!

So far we have had 2 dry days with undies this week!  He has been wearing a diaper for sleep times.  I've promised him a special date to go get Micky Mouse undies when he can meet our goal!

We got Zeke's finalized report from the Psychologist this week.  He has been diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and some learning disorders, mainly dyslexia, which effects his shape and letter recognition, which totally makes sense.  It was good to see it all written out and we are relieved that these are all things that we can work on together.

We turned in our final paperwork for Alethia's re-adoption here in the states.  Our social worker came for her last post-placement visit and told us it's just a matter of time before she is officially ours!  I can't tell you what a relief it is going to be to close that chapter.

Josh just walked out the door to head to Haiti and the colony (minus the one sleeping) is falling apart:(  I must go tend to their tender hearts and administer tickles until the tears are gone.

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Boy Who Couldn't Lie


There once was a little boy, endearingly called "Cai-bo".

Before he was born his mother and father spent many sleepless (maybe not really sleepless) nights trying to decide exactly what to name this little boy who was growing so quickly within his mommy's tummy.  They both firmly believed that their children's names would prayerfully shape their character.

The parents finally decided that he would be called Micaiah, after the obscure prophet in the Bible. When Micaiah was called upon by the King in the old testament he was expected to prophecy only the good things that would "tickle the ears" of the King.  But Micaiah was commanded by the Lord to speak truth, even when it wasn't the easy thing to hear.  That is exactly what Micaiah did!

That has been the prayer of little Cai-bo's parents since before he entered the world.  A prayer for this sweet little boy to always tell the truth, even when the truth hurts.  Even when the truth produces consequences.  Even when the truth is hard.

Little did the parents know that this prayer was being answered by their Heavenly Father, even while He carefully knit that little boy together in his mother's womb.

Finally sweet Micaiah was born.

As time went by his chubby cheeks and cuddly personality were automatically noticed by all.

But there was something else about that boy.  He couldn't tell a lie.  Well, maybe he could, but he simply wouldn't...even when he knew it would be tough.

It became almost comical to his parents, since Cai-bo's eldest sister had quite the knack for telling a fib.
And it wasn't really until right before Cai-bo's 3rd birthday that his mother realized what had happened!

After little Cai-bo told on himself (yet again), this time for almost smearing his body lotion on his dresser, the Lord opened her eyes.  She quickly rushed to her husband to tell him about her revelation.

She said, "What is it that we always pray over Micaiah's life?  That he would be a mighty man of God.  That he would be used by God and that he would stand boldly for the truth.  Speaking only truth.  That, my dear husband, is what God has instilled in his character.  The desire to tell the truth.  God has heard our prayers for his life!"

They smiled at each other and praised the Lord for answering their prayer, and asked for continued direction and focus for their sweet son.

******************************************************************

This story was inspired by actual events.
Micaiah Joel Via ranks #4 in the Via Colony.
He is the one who looks his mommy in the face and matter-of-factly always tells the truth.

~Parents: Don't take lightly the prayers you lift up on behalf of your children.
The Lord will always hear the desires of your heart.~

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You Can't Always Put It In A Box

Six months ago, today, I was trying desperately to go about my day as usual.  But there was a little airplane on my computer monitor that continued to beckon my attention as I tracked Josh and Alethia's airplane across the ocean.

This was actually happening.

Alethia was really coming home!

Not to our hut we called home for nearly 3 months in Uganda, but to America.

HOME home...

Six months ago today.

Wow!

So much has happened in the past 6 months.

I feel as though we have all adjusted well to all the transitions our family has encountered over this short span of time, though.

It's been a lot to take in, quite honestly.

We made it through the initial shock of her arrival.

And then we added another little bundle to our colony just 3 1/2 weeks later.

About a month after that the calm honeymoon season was over as Alethia began to realize that we weren't going anywhere.  That SHE wasn't going anywhere.  She needed to find her permanent "place" within our family.

We are far from "there", but we are getting closer.  It is a continual process that I'm not sure will ever be complete.  But then again, is our relationship with ANYONE ever complete?  It will just keep growing and getting stronger.

We'll keep messing up, sometimes pulling away and often times having to take a few steps back, but we are committed!

The past month or so, maybe brought on through the adoption process of her best friend who is still waiting on her VISA in Uganda, has brought a lot of questions to the surface.

Alethia is very aware of the fact that Jude used to be in my tummy.  I think one day it clicked that Jude, you know, baby Jude, the one that we play with on the floor as we stuff his toes in his mouth and give kisses between his neck rolls, was THE baby Jude in her mommies tummy.  That growing round tummy that was the only tummy she'd ever seen her new mommy have.

One day as she rubbed my flat belly telling me, as she so often did during this season, that "baby Jude not in your tummy anymore?", she looked up at me and asked "Was me in daddy's tummy?"

I smiled as I tried to explain that she wasn't in my tummy OR daddy's tummy.  She was in her birth mommy's tummy until God brought her to us.  That answer seemed to be sufficient for the time, but I know harder questions are going to come...

...and they have already begun.

Her memories of her final months in Uganda continue to come to the surface, little by little.  Something triggers an emotion or a memory every few days or so and she'll want to talk about it.  Never in a sad way, just in a "remember when" kind of way.

I think the hardest thing, by far, was the day that she saw a row of boxes in the closet.  After realizing that they were the kids' baby boxes she was determined to see what was inside of them.  The other kids were so excited to show her their baby blankets, some of my favorite outfits they wore as an infant, pregnancy calendars, NB knitted hats and cards people wrote while I was pregnant with them, that I could hardly say no!

As I carefully brought the treasured boxes down she had this look of anticipation on her face, just wondering what she would find in those boxes.

I left the kids in the girls room to go through their boxes until they were satisfied, knowing that the contents weren't all that exciting to them...yet.

When they were done I went in to put the boxes back up on the shelf.  Alethia watched me very intently.  As I placed the last box on the shelf Areyna looked at me and said, "Alethia wants to know where HER box is."

Oh.My.

.tears welling in my eyes.

Mind blank.

Nothing is coming.

Stammering.

I pull Alethia close.

I pull her box down.

I open it up.

There it is.

Her one thing.

Her little pillow from the orphanage.

That's it.

I try to tell her that we are working hard on hers.  We are making new memories as a new family and that the box will be so full soon that we'll have to get another one soon!

Her gaze dropped to the floor.

More tears.

I know it gets easier.  I KNOW it gets easier.  I've seen it get easier.

It's been six months since our sweet Alethia entered into our forever, for good.

We don't have to go to sleep with a picture of her anymore, wondering if she will ever be part of our family.

She's here!

She is growing like a weed.  Her clothes can prove it.  I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

She is letting her self-protecting walls down.  I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

Her hair has grown from a shiny bald little head to almost 6 inches now.  I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

She is learning to work out her frustrations with words instead of with screaming, shoulder nudges and ugly faces.  I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

She is giddy-excited to start school in a few weeks!  I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

She is sharing food instead of melting down if I give her unwanted bites to Cai.  I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

I am beginning to see her as my own.  MY own.  I can feel it in my own heart.

And these kinds of things you can't put in a box.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Body Parts

"Own your calling-it is a gift from the Lord.  
Don't be insecure or timid-that is not true humility."
~Aliene Thompson
Radically Obedient

After reading this in my time with God this morning I can think of nothing else.  It's nothing new.  It's nothing profound.  Actually, it is something I have thought a lot about over the years.

The realization that God has instilled in each of His children different passions, giftings and character traits is so beautiful.  He has allowed different blessings and experiences in each of us as He orchestrates our lives, forcing us to work together as the body of Christ.

I know I've caught myself wondering why God hasn't blessed me in a particular way, the way He may have blessed someone else, but then I look around me and see what He has given me!  I see how He can use me, through what I have gone through or been given.

Everyone knows I'm a cryer.  It used to drive me crazy!  Literally C.R.A.Z.Y.  But then Josh reminded me that God has created me with these emotions and maybe that is why people feel safe to come to me when they are hurting.  I can choose to let my emotions run rampant in my life, or ask the Lord to give me self-discipline to control them and use them to show compassion and love for others in a tough time.  'Cause Lord knows I'll cry along with the best of 'em!!!

Embrace the life the Lord has blessed you with.  Grab the passions in your heart that were placed there by God Himself and run with them!

I'm choosing this today.

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, 
which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, 
but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:6-7

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jude Warren - 5 Months


Jude Warren - 15.6 lb

This month was a big month for this little guy.

He is finally awake for more than 45 minutes at a time.


He is eating like a champ.
It's actually quite comical to see how I prepare his food.
A baked sweet potato (or banana, or avacado) comes out of the skin,
goes directly into a ziploc baggie,
gets mashed a few times by my fist,
and voila, yummy baby food:)
No blender needed, ha!


He watches everything his colony siblings do.


But my FAVORITE thing is the fact that he has found his feet and toes!
This is by far my favorite baby stage.
It's amazing to see how long they can keep entertained by those little fingers and toes.


And when his toes aren't occupying his mouth his finger(s) are.


Oh so cute!


He still isn't so big in the mobility department
but he sure likes to tell us all about his day
with grunts, groans, blowing bubbles (not recommended during meal times!) and cooing.

We're also pretty sure he is trying to give kisses and respond to his name:)

And I HAVE to mention the drool...

Oh the drool...

But drool, or no drool,
we couldn't be more in love with this little fella!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Free-For-All

So, I should really be in the kitchen preparing the kid's breakfast, but Areyna beat me to it!  She has already set the table and is preparing cinnamon toast for herself and siblings.  She has been planning this meal since yesterday afternoon to fix all by herself.  And what kind of mother would I be to stand in her way:)

We had the get-together of all get-togethers for the 4th of July.  There were about 20 children, 7 and under, and about 20 adults.  It was quite the shindig and we had the aftermath to prove it!  I have realized that I love having an open-door policy and family/friend togetherness WAY MORE than a clean house.

One of the highlights of the cookout was being reunited with one of my best friends from highschool Jason (Oak) Ritchie.  He and his daughter made an appearance.  It was AWESOME to see Alethia and Taina playing together:)

Not only is the 4th of July the 4th of July, but it is Cousin Hannah (1) and Cousin Karis' (3) birthday.  We also go ahead and celebrate Zeke's birthday with theirs because his is TODAY and he is 6!  Plus, he feels all special and what-not having the town of Rolesville celebrate his big day and give him fireworks.  This is the extent of our birthday decorations, but with an ice cream cake and cool things to go on the top, what more do you need, right?!

These are all pretty terrible pictures, but it's all I got!

Zeke was so funny with his presents.  We got him a bunch of art supplies (tape, markers, paper, glue, glitter, envelopes) and wrapped them all separate so he could open tons of presents.  He would just randomly go grab one at a time throughout the day until they were gone.  We didn't even see him open half of them, lol!  He is STILL thanking us for his gifts:)  I LOVE THAT BOY!

I spent the day yesterday, putting our school calendar together for the next year and ordering the missing pieces of curriculum for the colony.  I will be teaching 4 littles...oh my...

Well, Areyna has reached her breakfast helping max so I'm going in for reinforcements.  Maybe she'll realize how demanding this little colony can be and try to help out more, ha!

Happy Friday ya'll!