Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Offensive Questions And Adoption

I've read a lot of adoption blogs throughout our process.  One common theme I've seen among many of them is the fact that they consider on-lookers and questions "offensive".

Maybe it's because I'm not home with my little one yet and I've not started getting "those questions and comments" yet.  Now, granted, there are some people who just should not open their know, the ones who feel the need to always have a comment for the pregnant lady...but I'm speaking about the innocent questions.  People truly curious about the process and where your adoptive child come from.

Let me just try to explain myself here.

Let's just say that you pass by someone with earrings gaged so big that you could poke your whole head through it and/or a tattoo plastered across their left cheek.

Here I go again, feeling the need to explain myself.  I don't mind tattoos at all!  In fact, I love Josh's and I'd get one myself, but my obsession to rearrange and change things just does not make a tattoo very practical for me:)  Oh, and have I ever mentioned the fact that I've always wanted a nose ring?


But I digress...

Let me get back on track.

There are two things going on here.

First, the person with the piercings or the tattoos got the piercings or tattoo to either make a statement, because they simply have a love for "body art" or were just too drunk to remember what they were doing.  Now, they can respond in a couple of ways, but a lot of the time the ones who are trying to make the statement or "be different" tend to get offended by the innocent onlookers or questions.  They don't feel as if people should look at them any differently.  They get offended by the "rude people".  Heaven forbid you ask a question about their "art".

The second thing happening is the reaction from other people.  Some people truly are just rude, but others may be wondering if it hurt, how long it took, where you got it done...whatever.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you are going to do something that stands out like this you can't get offended if people stare.  It's something different and unique.  People want to see the details.  If you get a tattoo and get "offended" every time you catch someone staring at it, then that's your problem.  You should be prepared for the on-looking and questions.

Here is where it applies to adoption for me.

When you get adoption questions and remarks (remember I do believe there is such thing as a stupid question and ignorant remarks) but for those truly and innocently intrigued by it, especially if it is a trans racial adoption, how can you get offended if people ask "Is he/she adopted?", or "where are they from?"  I know that those exact questions have come out of my very own mouth as I want to hear their story.  The thing is that adoptive families are ultra sensitive to this, I get that, but we must be prepared for it, because it IS going to happen!

To me, I'm excited to have a little color in our family.  I'm excited for the open door these questions will lead to to share our story, our reason for adopting in the first place, the love our Lord has shown us, and to talk about how this child is just as much our child as our other children.

I'm just saying this because I am an adoptive mom, in process, and how are we supposed to learn what to expect, or know what the hardest thing was for a family when they adopted if we don't share our stories.

I do realize that our adopted children are no longer orphans and that our biological children are no less important, and that may fuel this offensive thinking.  But adoption is now part of our story and I refuse to act as if nothing ever happened.  This will be an Ebenezer moment for our whole family that we will not soon forget!

I'm not saying I won't ever feel like "Here we go again" or get tired of the questions and looks, and I certainly don't mean that I will share all the details about our little girls birth parents and history but...

Basically, if you are willing to make the stand and adopt, people are going to want to hear about it.  People are going to stare.  It's different and unique.  There is no way around it, that is just the way it is.  It is part of the journey.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The View From Here

You Can Learn A Lot From A 1-year-old's Vocabulary

It's funny to hear the words that Cai has picked up on.  While other children are spouting off their ABC's and 123's this sweet boy of mine has his own priorities!

Here are just a few of his favorite words:


"Paw-Taw" = Pop-Tart

Fly = fly, butterfly, grasshopper, or any other little critter of Areyna's that he sees

"Gucky" = Yucky


"Ah-Duh" = All Done


"Kackoh" = Cracker



"Ah-oon" = Balloon

"Gicko" = Sticker


You can learn a lot about yourself as a parent from your 1-year-old's vocabulary too, ha!  I mean, really, what other 1-year-old knows how to say Pop-Tart?!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Not Me Monday

I always have a plan.


So there is absolutely no way that I woke up this morning without an ounce of motivation to accomplish anything today.


I am self-motivated and driven 100% of the time.

So, after giving the kids some breakfast and getting a shower (you know this never happens before dinner time), I did not instruct them to go grab their shoes because we were headed out of the house.

No, that wasn't in the plan.

But, even if we were to veer from the plan I would at least have a destination in mind.

Yup, always a plan, I tell ya!

Because then the kids would just stare at me in shock, wondering why we were getting ready to go to...somewhere.

And because I love crowds so much, especially when I am on my own with the kids, during lunch time, and since the smell of pee is so inviting, we would never decide to head to the mall to eat whatever the kids requested (sans coupons!) and play on the playground to their hearts content.

Nope, not me!
And I most definitely would not allow Areyna to bring her Ariel costume to change into so she could pretend like the toys in the play area were rocks in the water for Ariel to swim around on.

Nope, not me!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just Love Coffee - Fair Trade Coffee

We just got our first bag of Just Love Coffee in the mail today.  We are very anxious to try it to tell you how much we love it!

You know what's even better than an awesome cup of Fair Trade coffee?  Knowing that you are helping bring our little one home from Uganda with every bag you buy!  You see, with every bag you purchase this company will donate $5 toward our adoption.
So, go ahead.  We know all you coffee lovin' fools out there need another bag pretty soon.  So go ahead and make your next bag of joe count for something.

I ordered this about 4 days ago so we know it's a great turnaround.  We'll let you know how it tastes very soon:)

Big Blues

Friday, June 24, 2011

The View From Here

Fun Facts For Friday

Our usual day off is Monday.  But, because of a project that Josh has taken on that must occur on Mondays, we've moved our fun day to Friday.  We just spent the whole day at Uncle Heelz and Aunt Dee's pool with little Emma Grace.  I think this is the first real pool the kids have been to all summer!  They were SO excited...well, almost all of them.  While Areyna and Zeke perfected their mermaid and merman skills Micaiah was just as content to hang around the perimeter of the pool pouring water on everyone.  I did get him to come in with me for about 2.5 seconds before he began repeating "ah-duh, ah-duh, ah-duh":)

You know when you've had several very "eventful" and emotional weeks back to back and you just want a "normal" week where regular life just happens?  Well, we finally got our normal week this week.  When we were sharing in our small group prayer time before rehearsal last night, I couldn't think of anything we needed to pray about for us.  You know, normal life stuff and adoption stuff, but no major catastrophies to speak of.  It was nice.  *sigh*

On the other hand, one of my bestest buds and her family haven't had that luxury this week.  They have been preparing their son for cranial surgery.  I can't get them off my mind.  We did just get word that their 3-year-old finally made it out of surgery and they get to go back and see him!  I'm sure they are so thankful that it is over now.  You can pray that his recovery is speedy.

The last three days I have finally felt like myself again.  After weening myself off my anxiety medication about three weeks ago, I had been suffering from terrible side effects.  I feel like my body is finally stabilizing without them, even though I may still have a "few" outbursts of anxiousness here and there:)  OK, Josh may say that "few" is an understatement, but at least I don't feel like I'm going to pass out from dizziness and I have full feeling of my tongue now, ha!

No big plans this weekend, and I'm totally fine with that!

Hope you all have a Great weekend.

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The View From Here

Linen Underwear

I've been reading through the Books Of Prophet in the Old Testament.  Jeremiah was a pretty notable prophet in the Old Testament.

Have you ever watched a movie, or a terrible audition on American Idol, where you feel downright embarrassed and uncomfortable for the guy on center stage?  That is pretty much how I've felt through the majority of this book for Jeremiah.  He was so obedient, even though the Lord made him do some crazy things.

Here is one example:

This comes from Jeremiah 13

"This is what the Lord said to me: 'Go and buy yourself linen underwear and put it on, but don't get it wet.' So I bought underwear as the Lord instructed me and put it on.
Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: 'Take the underwear that you bought and are wearing, and go at once to the Euphrates River and hide it in a rocky crevice.' So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.
A long time later the Lord said to me, 'Go at once to the Euphrates and get the underwear that I commanded you to hide there.' So I went to the Euphrates and dug up the underwear and got it from the place where I had hidden it, but it was ruined - of no use whatsoever.
Then the word of the Lord came to me; 'This is what the Lord says: Just like this I will ruin the great pride of both Judah and Jerusalem. These evil people, who refuse to listen to Me, who walk in the stubbornness of their own hearts, and who have followed other gods to serve and worship - they will be like this underwear, of no use whatsoever.  Just as underwear clings to one's waist, so I fastened the whole house of Israel and of Judah to Me' - this is the Lord's declaration - 'so that they might be My people for My fame, praise, and glory, but they would not obey."

Really?!  A story about linen underwear in the Bible?  I think God maybe could have got the point across using a different method on this one, ha!

While reading through all the crazy things that these prophets had to do I get that "embarrassed feeling" for them.  They were ridiculed, called liars, told they were crazy, ordered to only tell the "good stuff"...

But they were obedient.  Very rarely do you ever see a prophet complaining to God about having to go and buy linen underwear and hide it by the river or run in fear of telling God's people that they've blown it again and they've made God angry.

I want to be like that!

No, not going out and buying linen underwear to hide by the river, but obedient, no matter what the cost.  No matter how crazy I look, or sound, or feel!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The View From Here

An Update Of The Adoption Variety

By the way, I have NO IDEA who these people are, so don't ask;)
Wow, I believe that Adoption is by far the most emotionally up and down process I have ever been a part of.  I know, so worth it, but man...

The last I heard is that, as of yesterday the last of our documents are being finalized in Uganda with our Attorney.  It should be submitted to court very soon!

Along these same lines, we are asking people to pray specifically for the judge that gets assigned to our case.  We know of some processes going extremely fast after getting assigned to a judge, as well as other cases who have come to an abrupt halt at this exact same point.  So this is our prayer, that the Lord will soften the heart of all the judges doing these adoption cases, but more specifically, the one whose hands our dossier gets assigned to.  This could be a difference between a few weeks until we travel to a few months (or more).  This is huge, and we don't take prayer lightly.

Our Little Girl:
My sister-in-law, Joy, is on a mission trip and actually got to spend a few days with our little girl.  It has been so awesome to get day-to-day updates on her personality and character!  We even got to talk to our little girl on the phone yesterday!  Joy called yesterday morning and asked if I'd like her to put our baby on the phone.  I told her not to worry about it...JUST KIDDING!  I said, "Heck Yes!" as all my kids here at home crowded around the phone and we each took turns telling her we loved her and couldn't wait to see her and bring her home:)  What a special moment that was for all of us!

Joy says that she is full of character, very prissy, healthy and LOVES attention.


Our estimated goal for this adoption is $33,000.  We have already paid $13,600 into that.  We've raised a few thousand more than that to start saving for our travel (and attorney fees) which will be coming up quicker than we can imagine, I'm sure.

as of 6/21/11 - $11,100 : That may seem like a lot to you, but if you've been riding this journey with us from the beginning you may feel the same as us...that's nothin'!  God has been showing off this entire process and we are anxious to see how He plays this out.

We've been denied 3 of the 6 Grants that we applied for and haven't heard back from the rest.  So, we wait.

Current Fundraisers:
You can still download Josh's Resurrection Songs.
We are still collecting change.
Donate on PayPal.
Buy Coffee.  Yup, if you buy coffee from our store set up with JustLove Coffee, we get $5 for every bag you purchase. 

You can help us raise awareness by helping the Uganda Adoption Blogs site stay in the TOP 25 on Circle of Moms.  You have until 8pm tonight to vote.  You don't have to sign up for anything, you just have to click "voted".  It's that Simple!  Thanks for helping us out:)

We are very close.  We are over half-way there in the process as well as financially.  Thank you to everyone who is walking this journey with us!  It feels weird to put it all out there for the world to see, but so many of you have been asking, and I know that I would want to know. I'm just nosy like that:)

Remember - You can keep up with our funding and timeline on the  Adoption tab at the top of the page.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The View From Here

Not Me Monday

Mornings always run smoothly at this household.

Especially Sunday mornings.

Zeke would never run out of his room screaming from abdominal pain at 6am.

Nope, that's not in the plan.

He would not whine and complain about his tummy for the next 2 hours while I try to prepare my heart to help lead worship at a new church and get ready for the day.  All while encouraging him to "go sit on the potty and try to poopie because you'll feel MUCH better."

Nope, not me!

But, knowing that Zeke is NOT a drama KING I would certainly take his fussiness seriously as pain, and not constipation.

I mean, really, who ever mixes those two up?!

Not me!

I'm so glad these kinds of mornings never happen in my house because my lack of medicine would probably make me very irritable, cranky and irrational.  And I'm just NOT like that.

Nope, not me!  Especially on Sunday mornings.

Since we decided that nothing was progressing in any shape or form with our dear little Zeke, we decided we could all still make our appearance at church.  So, we hop in the Yukin and make our exit.

Everything was totally normal after we left.  Yup.  Zeke would never get so worked up in the back seat that he would throw up all over himself and the car, just 20 minutes down the road.

Oh no.  I would never put "throwing up on the way to church" on MY to-do list.

But I'm sure if this were to ever happen to my sweet son, after arriving at church, he would gracefully sit calmly in the front row while Josh and I get set up to play. 


After all, he had just gotten sick.

He would never just turn a switch on inside and start bouncing off the walls, getting into things that he shouldn't get into, hopping off the stage and running around the sanctuary with the VBS decorations strung around his neck.

Nope, not my son!  Not my morning!  Not me!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


To Areyna this is a beautiful fairy field made for dancing in the flowers.
To Josh it's a yard full of weeds that needs to be mowed.

It's all about perspective:)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Not Me Monday (On Friday?)

When my alarm goes off at 6:30am I always get 6:30am.

I would never just turn it off, only to roll over in bed and realize that it was now 9:58am!

Nope, not me!

But, if that happened I'm sure that I'd thank the good Lord for giving me a husband who could work from home that day to allow me the extra sleep I needed.


While fixing lunch, the exact same day, I would never have to give my 6-year old daughter the ultimatum of getting a lunch fixed by mommy or a you-fix-it-yourself-lunch-because-you've-begged-me-to-come-outside-and-watch-you-catch-the-non-existent-bunny-in-the-grapevine bush-"bunny-bush" a zillion times today.

Nope, not this mom!

My kids are ALWAYS to play and imagine on their own...every day!


And since my kids always play nicely by themselves, never needing a mommy-intervention,

I always have ample time to cook the five-course meals that I always have brewing in my head!


I'd never be so proud of myself for thinking of the perfect side only to burn the first batch, having to run it outside and dump it in the field, and then try again, only to realize that once I divided out a ration for each member of our growing family that I'd only made enough for like 1 1/2 bites each, ha!

Nope, not me!


At least those 1 1/2 bites of carrots would taste nice and sweet!


I would never wait until the day is almost over to get a shower.


I always look presentable and sexy for my hubby, showering as soon as I hop out of bed!  (side note: every good mother/wife should HOP out of bed you know!)

Because if I wait too long to get my shower in for the day, I may just jump in the shower, remembering to take everything off, because my brain isn't functioning on all four cylinders anymore.

And if that happened, by that time, on a day like this, I may just laugh so hard that I pee in my non-existent pants in the shower!

But that would NEVER HAPPEN TO ME!

Nope, not me!

Happy Friday Ya'll!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The View From Here

Humble Pie

I completely lost it yesterday.

It began as "one of those days" and very quickly became one of THOSE days.

I don't know what happened...wait, yes I do!

I got an email early afternoon and my mind immediately started spinning.  Wondering what this information meant for us as a family, for starters, and then all the other areas this information could potentially effect.

I felt the need to control certain situations that were totally out of my control...and it simply wasn't happening.  But you don't know anything about that, do you:)

The next wrong turn I made was allowing my pride to get in the way.  Things were changing in an area that i had worked really hard in.  I felt an unwarranted sense of ownership and was unwilling to accept that things were changing that I had no idea about.

Then I began dwelling on the "what-if's" of the situation.  I began to worry about things that could happen, before they have even occurred.  This made my stomach churn and my head start to hurt.  I don't think that this is on the list of "pure" things God tells us to dwell on!

I let it effect my whole day, totally stealing any joy that I had in my heart.  This quickly effected my mood, my emotions, my attitude with my children and my anxiety.

Oh, and did I mention that I took myself off of my meds last week.  I couldn't have picked a better time, huh?!

So, I prayed to God, and he immediately took all sense of anxiety away and made everything right.

No, that's not exactly what happened.

I did spend the rest of the day asking the Lord to calm my heart, knowing that I was totally incapable of calming myself down, and asking Him to forgive me of for my pride.  I sought council from godly people in my life, I closed my computer, stopped answering my phone turned on some of my favorite music, put my bathing suit on and took an ice cold coke outside to lay on a blanket while the kids ran around catching critters.

I realized that the emails and phone conversations were triggering more anxiety than not and that I just needed to cut myself off from the situation for a while, even though I KNEW that it wouldn't automatically make my anxiety go away.
When I woke up this morning I was reminded of how fragile our lives really are.  God created our bodies to need rest.  It is a daily reminder that we need Him and that in that rest we can wake up fresh with His glorious mercy that is new every morning...and boy did I need a fresh anointing of his grace and love and mercy this morning!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The View From Here

Toys Worth Keeping Around

It will come as no surprise when I say that I purge on a monthly, if not weekly, basis.  I purge blankets, towels, medicine in the closet, toys...just about anything that can be purged, is.  But, while I was looking around the house the other night I realized that I had actually hung on to a handful of toys through all of my kids!

LeapFrog Learning Friends™ Phonics Bus® Vehicle - Nope, I can't take credit for Areyna picking up her ABC's before she was three.  This school bus just happened to be one of her fav's in room time.  I'd find her cuddled up with it on her bead as she pushed buttons...over and over...

LEGOS-We have all the legos that we have ever gotten.  Our kids absolutely LOVE legos.  We have three different sizes.  I love that they can all sit down with their own sets and play "together" for hours.  Literally.Hours.  And besides the fact that these tiny, little pieces can get lost in any nook and cranny around the house and that they hurt like hates when you step on one in the middle of the night, I really have no other complaints:)

American Plastic Toy Homestyle Kitchen - Colors May Vary - This play kitchen may have been assembled with a couple curses and bad attitudes, but oh the hours of fun each of our kids has had with it!  It currently resides in Areyna's play closet where she can cook her Barbies and butterflies a 4-course meal!  Cai just loves putting things in and out...and in and out...

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Corn Popper Push Toy - We got this from Debbie Burgess for Areyna who found it at Goodwill.  ALL of our kids have enjoyed vacuuming around the house with me with this simple toy!  You better believe I will hang onto any toy that promotes help with cleaning and organizing:)

Good Night, Sweet Butterflies: A Color Dreamland - Our copy of this sweet book has seen it's better days.  We got it before Areyna was born and it has been a favorite of all three kiddos.  It may help that we sing it to the tune of "Hush Little Baby":)

These are just a few of their favorite things.

How about your kids?  What are the toys that they actually DO play with on a regular basis?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The View From Here

Not Me Monday

I pride myself in my self-control.  This self-control shows itself in so many areas of my life...eating butterfingers, time on my computer, ice cream at 10pm, family size bags of get the picture.

So, when Josh gets home with his new iPhone and shows me the free app for the Angry Birds game, I have absolutely NO problem keeping my grubby little hands off of his phone and letting him use it... whenever he needs it.

Nope, not me.

I would never be so addicted to such a silly little game, that eats away at your life and time.

No way!

It would never get to a point to where my kids are telling me to "get off of Angry Birds and give daddy back his phone" because I have been playing it the entire six hour trip to MD.   And heaven forbid he continue to get texts and phone calls because he is a working man and this ongoing communication is interrupting this very important game!

I would NOT look at him, roll my eyes and say "Really?! REALLY?!" every time he'd politely ask for his phone to make another call or message someone.  And I definately wouldn't curse those guys, under my breathe, who kept trying to get a hold of my man while I am trying to free these innocent birds!

Absolutely not me!

That would just be unbelievably immature.  And I exemplify self-control at all times to my children who seem to watch my every move.

But if I were to ever get addicted to such a game as that, it would only be because I was trying to make those angry little birds happy.  Nobody wants birds that stay angry all the time.  Someone needs to free those sweet little creatures while killing those ugly little pigs with hard hats.  And the monkeys, oh the monkeys, that laugh at you with those big huge teeth...they MUST die...they must pay...

I mean, uh,

Nope, not me!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

Thursday is cleaning day for us.  Most of the time I get a head start on Wednesday evening.  I just can't help myself.  If I can get a few more hours of no crumbs on the bottom of my feet in the kitchen I must indulge, ha!  But, lately I've been intentionally trying to involve my kids in the things I do on a daily basis.  So yesterday, I did most of the house on my own except I gave Areyna and Zeke their own assignments.  Areyna thrives when asked to "help", especially when organizing and cleaning are involved.  I don't know where she gets that from:)  Zeke, well...bless his little heart...if we can get him to remember his one assigned task until it gets completed we are doing pretty good:)

Areyna cleans the toilets and sinks/counters in both of the bathrooms.  Then she was in charge of going around her room and putting anything away that did not belong.  The last task, she vacuumed her bedroom all by herself.

While she diligently worked on her tasks at hand, Zeke and I worked on his task (notice this is singular).  I asked him to pull out all the crap toys, clothes, hardened pizza crusts and stuffed animals out from under the boys bunk beds.  After he FINALLY finished we vacuumed his room together.  It was fun.  I think I'll make this a regular routine.

When I posted the update about our garden this week, little did I know that little pumpkins were on the verge of appearing.  When I went out to water the bales yesterday evening Rainy and I were pleasantly surprised to find 3 little pumpkins beginning to take shape!  It will only be a matter of time before a handful more will be seen!  I think I like the whole transformation stage of this gardening thing more than the thought of actually being able to eat the stuff!  How amazing is it to think that just one little seed can turn into plants like these?!

I have been determined to keep on top of my couponing!  I had slacked off so much and our grocery budget (which had become no budget at all!) was really being affected.  It has really paid off!  I've stuck to Harris Teeter deals, Aldi and CVS.  If I venture out any more than that I end up spending way to much money, no matter how good the deals seem to be.  Just to put it in perspective, we still have 5 days left for this pay period and I currently have $12 remaining in our grocery budget to go and get fresh produce on sale!  This is huge ya'll...I usually run our of grocery money during the first week of our two-week period.

And just to put a fire under you coupon slackers like me, check out what I only paid $3 at CVS!
*DISCLAIMER-I DO still cloth diaper, but I hate making total strangers, who don't cloth diaper, change a poopy CD as they curse me under their breathe, even though sometimes I totally forget...sorry:)  So, I still get diaper deals, on occasion.  Actually this is only the 3rd time I've bought diapers since we started cloth diapering (it's been a year-and-a-half ya'll!)

We are off to play a college retreat in Maryland this weekend!  My kids are eagerly waiting as we pack up the car so they can go see their cousins:)

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Words Of Wisdom

Zeke: "Why do we only put a "b" under some of the pictures?"
Me: "Because that is what the directions say to do and we are working on listening to the directions."
Zeke: "Well, some people don't like to obey the directions.  They are bad.  But we want to obey the directions."

A few minutes later...

Zeke: "Now what should I do.  I am done with school and I don't know what to do."
Me: "Well buddy, you can do whatever you want now!"
Zeke: "I can do anything GOD wants me to do, you mean..."

Out of the mouths of babes:)

Lessons From The Classroom

We have really picked up speed in the education department over the last couple of weeks.

I know, I's June.  Most schools are gearing down for the summer.  But I've decided that we are going to stick pretty close to the year-round schedule that goes along with our kid's base school.  Why, you ask?  Well, I actually do have a couple of reasons for doing what I do, believe it or not.

1 - If, for any reason we decide to transfer them into public school they will already be on that schedule. 
2 - We have great momentum right now and I'm not going to slow down (even though our own schedule says that the June 10th is break time).  We'll take breaks here and there but want to keep going through the hot, hot summer until the schedule picks back up.  Then we will officially start.
3 - I like the idea of just taking a few weeks here and there for breaks instead of one big chunk in the summer.  It will fit better with our traveling schedule.  Besides, who wants to sit at a school desk instead of being able to enjoy the best seasons of all? - Fall and Spring!

As far as the curriculum I've chosen to do this year...
I talked to several different friends who homeschool did a lot of research and decided on two separate curriculums.  Josh and I ventured into The Homeschool Gathering Place to look around and then priced the books online.  You can't beat thumbing through all your options which you just can't do online.  Amazon and CBD had the best prices, FYI.
For Phonics, reading and spelling I chose Complete Explode the Code Primer Set A, B and C for Zeke and Explode the Code 1 and Explode the Code/Book 1 1/2 for Areyna.  I chose to go ahead and use the first 3 books as a review for Areyna so she can get used to this curriculum.  She is flying through the lessons!  But, I am most excited about this for Zeke's sake.  Here's why.  Book A starts with "f".  I love that it doesn't start at "a" because I feel like we've started at "a" so many times and failed.  But "f"...oh "f"...Zeke remembers that his first sound is /f/ and he remembers that the current sound is /b/.  Before, he couldn't remember what letter we were working on from 1 minute to the next.  I wish I could express how excited I am that these books are working!

For Math I chose Horizons Math K SET of 2 Student Workbooks K-1 and K-2.  Again, I started Areyna in the Kindergarten books because there are a lot of things in these books that we didn't cover, plus I want to get her used to this curriculum.  Like I've said so many times before, my main goal this year was to get her to read, so math wasn't top priority.  Through these new books I have realized that Areyna LOVES math!  And she is SO good at it too!  I have been using this to work on her reading as well.  I help her read through the directions and this allows her to work on her comprehension and listening.  She is flying through these lessons as well.  This first book is VERY basic.  I think that Zeke could do many of the activities, but she insists on going through each page instead of skipping ahead.  Who can argue with that:)
I've also found a fun way to help Areyna learn days of the week and new words.  Every morning I write her a "secret message" on the chalk board that she has to figure out.

So, I'm excited about this summer.  I'm motivated for next year.  And the kids... well, the kids just love having their own "office" to do their work in, ha!:)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The View From Here

Apparently Zeke thinks he really IS Spiderman

Straw Bale Gardening Update

I am happy to report that we are having HUGE success with our little straw bale garden!
Nothing else has far, ha!  
In fact, one of my original seedlings decided to take off after I planted the more mature ones in its place.  Now I have no idea what it is, but am excited to see what it produces:)

My original pumpkin seedling has totally taken over my garden!
Apparently the stink bugs like flowering plants and they have taken over too:(
I am working on killing all the little eggs they continue to hatch
under the huge pumpkin leaves.
These Marigolds were a surprise too!
They were part of my original seedling batch as well.
My tomato plant is my pride and joy!
It was an original seedling as well, just look at it...
We have over a dozen little green tomatoes that have begun to grow.
I'm guessing I found the perfect place to grow tomatoes.
Strawberries, not so much.
All but 2 of my strawberry plants have died in this same area.
Oh well, you can't have everything I suppose:)

But enough about the raised garden tomato area...
let's go back to the straw bale garden.
Just this week Rainy and I spotted a handful of our first batch of cucumbers!
How exciting it is to see how just one little seed can grow into such beautiful plants
and produce things that we can actually eat!