Sunday, July 31, 2005

Rick's Grandson, Rowan!

Rick and I (Daniel) have been working together for over 3 years and during that time we've become good friends. We work the night shift at MCI which consists of a total of 16 people on the busiest night. He is a proud father and now a new Grandpa as well (or "Papa" to Rowan). We decided to have lunch at Golden Corral so that Rick could show off his grandson, Rowan. He's a cute little boy and was very good during lunch. Rick and Amy are wonderful grandparents and enjoy having a baby in the house. Hopefully we can continue our friendship outside of work.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Lying Defined by Preschoolers

Definition of lying from my 4 yr old: It's when you say something that didn't really happen. Or you're not telling the truth cuz you didn't want to get in trouble so you want to tell something else that isn't true and that's lying. And when you know the answer, but you don't want to tell, cuz it's bad. So you tell the wrong thing, even though you know it's not that answer.

Definition of lying from my 3 yr old: When you be bad. You don't know the truth. And when we don't be nice to the babies.

This was an exact quote from February of this year copied and pasted from a message board I frequent. Just thought I'd share!

Jarod and Logan's Birthday Party!

Danya's friend from Sunday school, Jarod, turned 5 last weekend! Since his little brother, Logan was turning 2 at about the same time, they had a joint birthday party. Their parents are in my and Daniel's adult Sunday school class, too! Jarod is such a sweet little boy. He's in the 4 year old class (Danya's class) that we teach. He's always ready to help in class and will sometimes be the only boy who's willing to sit at a table full of girls. I think it's cute since he doesn't have any sisters. The party went really well. All the parents there were from our church, so we enjoyed the opportunity to socialize. The kids were all very good and played well together. Jarod's house is a kid paradise! He has all kinds of fun toys and a humongous backyard! His swingset was enormous, too! I think there were about 6 different toys on it! The men in the group got bored and started a kickball game, but that was short lived. The kids were all a bit young to fully grasp the concept of running the bases. We gave the boys glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs and some other things. The girls' gave them homemade cards, but, being boys, I don't think they noticed, lol. Jarod's mom has a couple more months before her fourth child comes along, but she looks ready to pop at any minute. She showed me a pic of her last pregnancy and it was amazing how far out her belly extended on such a tiny framed woman! I think Jarod is going to really enjoy having a little sister finally!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Girlfriends Road Trip!

Just one more week until I leave on a road trip to Florida with my girl friends! One whole week without kids or husbands! We've been planning this for months and it is finally almost here. We'll be heading out on Sunday August 7th (except Claire who is flying down the day before). We'll be back the following Saturday night. We are all going to visit my sister-in-law, Jennie, who lives in Florida. These are my oldest friends. We've known each other since high school.
Here is us NOW:


I met all but one of them in a church youth group where they took me in and overlooked my wildness. We've stayed in touch over the years, seeing each other on holidays and planning vacations to include visits with each other. Glenda is my best friend who I talk to at least once a week by phone. I don't know anyone else that I can talk about nothing with for hours on a regular basis. Jennie is the unique one, the fashion plate, the one who can still look adorable in pig-tails at the age of 27. She's also the one who remembers everyone's birthdays and anniversaries. I wish I had that talent. Claire is the career woman, the outdoor adventure enthusiast, and the one of us who will probably retain her petite figure even after she has kids. She has a sense of style that I envy. She is just naturally cool. Christina, I think, could easily step into any management roll. She is this amazing homemaker who manages to handle finances, constant family road trips, diabetes, and keeping a "tight ship" in her home despite the fact that she is frequently on her own due to her husband's job in the Navy. On top of all that she decorates her home beautifully, frequently entertains guests, and raises her two active small children. She is also godmother to my children. These are the amazing women that I am proud to be able to claim as friends! I can't WAIT for this trip to start! We are going to have a blast!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Harry Potter - Okay for Christians?

The Harry Potter issue seems to be in debate everywhere I look lately, so I thought I'd comment on it. First and foremost whether to read, or allow your children to read, any book should be a personal decision made by each person and/or parent. So, no matter what you personally decide, you don't have the right or the obligation to tell someone else what is right for them. If you're not sure, search your conscience, pray about it, and then make a decision and stand by it. Just don't expect others to abide by the dictates of YOUR conscience.

I've read the first Harry Potter book and watched the first two movies. They weren't bad, but they also didn't make me desperate to read/see the rest. I think that they are not appropriate for my young children because they are very scary. However, if my girls want to read or watch them when they are a little older I'll decide whether to allow them based on my assessment of their emotional maturity. As for my opinion on the "witchcraft" in these stories I will refer you to this link: The author, Brad Williams, sums it up very well and I completely agree with his opinion.

Advice to a Mom about to homeschool

You're going to like teaching a preschooler. I know I do. I'm homeschooling my girls for pre-K and Kindergarten this year. We're new to it too. Don't hold your child back from trying anything just because someone tells you that 3 yr olds "can't do that". My 3 yr old is surprising me every day. I thought she disliked workbooks. I had bought a workbook for my 5 yr old and she let me know that it was full of "baby work" so we got her a 1st/2nd grade workbook. My 3 yr old decided that the Kindergarten work book is hers now. So each day she has been tracing letters and numbers, and doing all the work in it just fine. I have to tell her "enough worksheets for today!" or she'd never stop.Then, I decided to teach my 5 yr old dd from a 3rd grade history book, since she is very intelligent and was interested in history. So I spent a week teaching her about Christopher Columbus. We were all in the van the following weekend with their grandparents. I had my 5 yr old tell her Grandma everything she remembered about Chris. Columbus, and she'd really learned alot. Then my dh told me that our 3 yr old had been telling the same info to her Grandpa in the back of the van! She had learned just as much from listening to a story that I thought she wasn't old enough to understand! So, I guess my point is, that your child is unique. Offer all kinds of info, anything that he seems interested in, and let him show you what he's ready for. And don't withold info for fear of making him "too smart". Several people have acted like I was doing something wrong by teaching my young children from books that were "too advanced" for them. I want to know who made the rules about what information you can teach at each age? My kid didn't come off an assembly line!Some activities we've done: Drawing shapes, letters, and numbers with chalk in our driveway, then playing "who can find?". For example, Who can find the triangle? Then the kids run and jump on it. Also, hopscotch is good, having them count each number as they land on it. We also draw chalk arrows on the sidewalks and streets leaving a trail for the kids to follow. This teaches directions.We play "slug bug" in the car to learn colors, Reader Rabbit computer games, most board games help them with counting skills (moving the game pieces), "Simon Says" touch your __body part___ to learn all the parts of the body including unusual ones like instep, arm pit, eyelash, earlobe, we tape paper shapes/numbers/letters we are learning all over the house and let the kids race to find them all yelling out the name of the thing each time they find one, the kids have a dry erase board that they practice letters/numbers/shapes on. My 3 yr old has really good handwriting, better than some 9 yr olds I know, so I know that she has fine motor control, it's just a matter of practice. She also colors in the lines well. For cutting, we let the girls cut the pictures of children out of the weekly flyers we get in the mail. Those clothing ads are great. My girls cut out the clothes and put them on the kids like paper dolls.We got our workbooks from Wal-Mart. They are called the "Ultimate Skill Builder" workbooks from Learning Horizons. I also really really like the "What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know" series. There is one for each grade. It's more of a textbook, but written like it's speaking to the kids. The info is short and includes easy activities. We usually spend 2 hours or less on specifically homeschool activities each day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Movie Review: War of the Worlds

Daniel and I dropped the kids off at the local drop-in childcare center and went out for a spur of the moment date. We haven't been on a real date for over a month and it was TIME. We saw War of the World's last night. It was amazing! Beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat, absolutely absorbed in the story. Luckily we had the theatre to ourselves because I actually yelled at the screen "Get her! Get Rachel!" before I remembered to just breathe deep and calm down. Several times I had to get control of myself so that I wouldn't burst into tears. I think it was because this little girl could very easily have been MY little girl, Danya. This movie was scary and overwhelming, not a kids' movie, but I was happy to see that it didn't get gory and overly graphic. I'd even consider buying this when it comes out on DVD! Another happy surprise was that the kids' mom was played by Miranda Otto ( I loved her as Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings! She is just beautiful and is a very good actress, even in a small role like this one. I would recommend this movie completely, but not for young children.

Special Time with Daddy

Each of our girls get one "special day" a week. Right now Danya has Wednesdays. They have to be good all week to earn it. So when they are pushing their limits all we have to do is remind them that they are risking their special day and they straighten up. On their day they get to stay up about an hour after bedtime and do anything they choose (within reason). This is our chance to have one on one time with the girls. Their usual bedtime is 8pm. So tonight Danya chose to go for a bike ride with Daddy, play Barbies, and play on the computer. She asked to play Buster Bunny's U.S. geography game with Daddy tonight. Here's a link to the game: Danya did really well with it, but it is a bit advanced for her. We also learned tonight that our neighbor's house had been robbed last Monday! Our neighbor is moving out tonight. When she learned that Danya is saving up for a bigger bike she gave Danya a dollar to add to her savings! Danya was excited, to say the least. She now has about $28 towards her goal. A large chunk of that came from birthday money, but she is also doing chores to earn money. She gets 50 cents for helping with the laundry and for cleaning her room. She also makes her bed, clears and washes the table, and picks up any toys in the living room.

P.E. or Pool Entertainment!

I LOVE the fact that I can have a fun day with my kids at the pool and call it homeschooling! We went to a local Recreation Center today. We played on the basketball courts for about 20 minutes, teaching the girls to bounce pass and dribble. Gloria has quite a jump shot! She jumps high, throwing the ball into the air towards Daddy, and then lands in a crouch, slapping the floor with both hands. She invented this move. She calls it "the frog throw". Then we spent about an hour in the pool. Danya loves "swimming" on her own since she is fearless in her life jacket. Gloria still wants to be held, but is getting braver. They love playing motorboat, pretending to flee from sharks, and splashing Daniel and me. Gloria had fun trying to cover up the sprinkler spouts. Danya tried to imitate the ladies who were doing laps using the butterfly stroke. She also figured out how to spin in circles. When it was time to leave we learned that Gloria had taken her clothes out of the bag I'd packed. So the girls had no "undies" and Gloria had no shirt. So she got to wear Daddy's instead. She looked so cute I had to take a picture! It was his Big Brothers Big Sisters t-shirt. Gloria decided on her own to be adorable and put her arm around her big sis. I absolutely love this photo!! Danya, with her hands held like a little lady, is wearing her shirt that she picked out to match her jeans because they both had sparkly sequins. Glory is wearing the flip flops that she laid claim to this summer when Danya decided 5 minutes after I bought them for her that she doesn't like flip flops after all. Glory would wear them non-stop if we let her! This was such a great day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kennedy and Ridley come to visit

We got an unexpected surprise today when Kennedy and Ridley's mom called and asked if Kennedy could come play for a while! Gloria was ecstatic! She is finally old enough to have play dates, but it can be hard to find time to schedule them. Kennedy and her family go to our church. The girls raced around the house on plastic cars and had a great time playing together. When Kennedy's mom returned we all got to play with baby Ridley. He is so cute! The girls all took turns holding him, playing peek-a-boo, and 'this little piggie' with him. He is just 4 months old! Holding him made me want a baby boy of my own sooo much. We tried hard to make him smile, but the best I could get out of him was some sweet cooing. Gloria and Danya will be such good big sisters some day! They just loved tickling him and talking to him.

Shopping Shopping Shopping!

We went shopping at Target today for the first time in a long time! The girls got these new dresses and they each got their first belt. They are at that inbetween stage on pants sizes, so they really needed them. Daniel also bought me two new nightgowns, since I don't have any that fit anymore, and a xyron refill. When we got there we had lunch in their little cafe. I'm a sucker for soft pretzels. We had pretzels and popcorn dipped in cheese. They have the good kind of cheese, not that super spicey nacho cheese. I'm sure it wasn't the healthiest meal ever, but it sure tasted good! We were in Tulsa because he had to fill out paperwork for the new job he's hoping to start in mid August. We all got to go up to the top of this beautiful all-glass building. We got to walk around the outer walls on the 14th floor. The view of Tulsa was just gorgeous! Daniel is excited and nervous, I think. This will be his first new job (other than delivering pizzas for a few months) in over 10 years!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Go, Danya, Go!

Danya read the entire book "Go, Dog, Go" today all by herself! Then she read it to Gloria! We are so proud of her! She is reading better every day. Today we worked again on some vowel clusters. We talked about the letters "ou" saying OW! Gloria will "read" by saying the story as she remembers it and pointing at the words. Danya gets mad and says that's just "copying" what she heard Danya read to her and not really reading. I keep telling her that she used to do the same thing when she was learning to read. It's all about understanding that the words have meaning, learning that we read left to right, and getting excited about the story.
Danya has also learned about different kinds of punctuation. So when she read this book she would excitedly say the lines that ended in an exclamation point. I also taught her today that if the words are in quotations that usually means that someone in the story is saying the words. So she's started looking to see whose mouth is open in the picture. I'm so excited that Danya is reading better. That means that soon she'll be able to take a book and go off and read it on her own. There is a special joy in reading alone, curled up in some quiet out of the way place. I hope she shares my passion for reading. I look forward to discussing books we've read the way I did with my mom when I was a kid.

Digital vs. Traditional

Two layouts I recently completed. The one on the left was made digitally on my computer. The one on the right was made by hand at my scrapbooking table. I still don't know which style I prefer. Honestly, digital is easier and cheaper. The paper, embellishments, and even photos are free. I can even have it printed at Office Depot for a buck if I want to have something to put in a real album. I can change the size and color of every component until it's just the way I want. If I mess it up, I can delete it and try again with no real loss. But there is just something about looking at beautiful patterned paper and little embellishments like the sheer pink ribbon on the page on the right that makes me happy. There is something soothing about cutting and pasting(taping, in my case) all the pieces just like we all used to do in grade school. You can feel the textures and see the little imperfections that cry "hand made!" to the viewer. So, to my friends that fear I will go all digital, don't worry. There is room for both in my scrapbooks!

A Gift from the Heart

Daniel is such a sweetie! In fact, that is my nickname for him! He knew that I was feeling really down about the miscarriage and in a lot of pain from the process. So he brought me little gifts. He bought me 3 new books by my current favorite author Sharon Shinn (here's a link to her "unofficial" website . He also surprised me with this cute little balloon. He knows I like Care Bears, I even sleep with a giant TenderHeart every night, and thought it would cheer me up. It sure did! Daniel is so thoughtful in little ways. I don't know what I'd do without him. He even took the time to homeschool the girls this week! He has a 6th sense that tells him just when I need a hug and when I need time alone. I don't think I could have dealt with all this if it weren't for him. Our girls' future husbands sure are going to have alot to live up to! I hope they both find someone as wonderful as their Daddy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Our brother, the Missionary

Ben and Diana are going to be missionaries to the interior of Mexico. They'll be in Zacatecas within the next year. Above is a map of Mexico with a red box marking the state of Zacatecas. They plan to start a Christian church there, teach English, and create a destination for churches who feel led to missions work in Mexico. They'll bring in groups for evangelism, medical clinics, construction projects, pastoral conferences, and marriage conferences. Ben and Diana's ministry needs are:
1. Monthly support
2. Digital camera to document work
3. Computer and printer
4. Bunk beds for visiting mission groups
5. Sound system and instruments
6. Van to transport groups through Mexico
7. Prayer

    Here's a link to learn more about Zacatecas.

      Here's a picture of Zacatecas on the right. Ben is currently serving in Acuna, Mexico just over the border from Del Rio, TX where he and his family live. Ben has been traveling as a preacher and translator to churches around the U.S. and his wife Diana is from Mexico. They are in their mid 20's and both feel called to help the people and especially children of Mexico.

      Tuesday, July 19, 2005

      Mi Sobrina!

      We have a new "sobrina"! That means "niece" in Spanish. Monday we went to Daniel's parents' house to see her. Her name is Darla Shalom, but they call her Shalom, pronounced 'shu-lome' with the long 'o' sound. She is absolutely beautiful! We also got to visit with her daddy, Daniel's younger brother, Ben and his wife Diana. Diana is from Mexico so I got to practice my Spanish, which I found out is sorely lacking. This is their first child and they are already wonderful parents. I really loved holding Shalom, even though it made me ache to hold a baby of my own. She was so good, never crying and letting us all pass her around, not minding all the kids touching her and crowding around. Daniel's mom is watching 5 of her Maxwell grandkids while their parents and their new twin brothers are on a trip to Europe! I hope we can get all the cousins together to take one giant group photo when Shalom and the twins are a little bit bigger. Ben and Diana have decided to become full time missionaries to the interior of Mexico in Zacatecas!! I'll post a link when they get their web site up and running. We are proud of them and will be praying for their family.

      Birthday Party

      Danya's best friend, Emma, turned 5 last Sunday! Danya and Gloria went to the birthday pool party. They had a pinata and a trampoline too. Here's a pic of Emma, Gloria (background), and Danya (sitting) on the trampoline. Danya got to try out her new goggles in the pool. Her friend, Emma, swims like a fish and taught Danya to go underwater. Daniel took the girls since I wasn't feeling well. The pinata was unique. Instead of hitting it, everyone grabs a string and pulls until it breaks. The kids loved it! Both of our girls came home with a TON of candy. Emma is in our Sunday school class that we teach. She is simply amazing. She runs like a speeding bullet, has no fear, and can climb across the monkey bars in the blink of an eye. AND she'll do it all with a skirt and sandles on! She is also polite, gentle mannered, and well behaved. I couldn't ask for a better "best friend" for Danya.

      Guys Night Out

      Who: Five guys
      What: Video games and pizza, we hoped there would be a bigger turnout, but it was fun and a very fast four hours!
      When: last Saturday night
      Where: In the "media room" at our church, First Baptist Church Owasso
      We played Gauntlet (shown in photo above) and a boxing game on the N64. We played Tony Hawk and Crazy Taxi on Playstation 2. We played a few others, the boxing game being the most popular as we had different "champions" for a while. It was nice to be able to include our "little", Kenny, from Big Brothers and Sisters. Video games are one thing we really have in common! We hope to plan another video game night in the future!

      Monday, July 18, 2005

      Going Home

      This Saturday I had a miscarriage. I'm still dealing with this so it's very difficult to write this. Today I heard a song written by my brother in law, Matt Maxwell. He wrote it for some friends of his who recently lost their 16 year old son to cancer. It was from the child's point of view. He was saying that if you knew what he knew now you wouldn't cry for him. He's standing at the throne of God and there is "no crying here." Also, he will be there to welcome his parents some day. There was more to it, but that, most of all, touched me. It made me cry, but it also reminded me that my babies are not gone, but rather in the arms of their Father in a place that is pure joy. I'm grieving because I will not get to hold them here and now, but rejoicing because I will get to hold them some day.

      Thursday, July 14, 2005

      Drive-In Movie Night

      On the spur of the moment we decided to go to the Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa on Tuesday night! The movies showing were all PG-13 so the girls couldn't watch them. Instead we removed the third seat in the van and put their blow up Disney princess beds back there. Then we hooked up the DVD player so they could watch "The Incredibles" with headphones on. We let them bring some of their own money they've earned from doing work around the house. They bought drinks and candy. We walked around as a family and explored the drive-in movie. We used to go here when they were babies in their car seats. This Tuesday, just like when they were little, they fell asleep as the first movie started. Daniel and I reclined the front seats back and watched "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "Batman Begins". I felt like the first movie could have used a different scene to show Angelina Jolie as an assassin in the beginning and it would have made the movie okay for teens. As it was, I think the movie should have gotten an R rating just for that scene. "Batman Begins" was surprisingly good. I'm not a big Batman fan in general, but I figured Daniel would enjoy it. Those icky masks seemed like a rehash of the old "Halloween" movies to me. I was glad that the movie didn't really have anything too "racey" in it. It's nice to see an action movie that doesn't need the hero to sleep around. Mostly, though, it's just nice to go on a date with Daniel...even if we did have to bring the kids!

      Tuesday, July 12, 2005

      Library Story Time

      Today was library day. On Tuesdays our local library has story hour for kids age 5 and under. I put a 'D' and a 'G' on Danya and Gloria in the first photo. The girls get totally absorbed in this. The lady who reads the stories is very good at it. She does voices, makes them really dramatic and exciting, and keeps the kids' attention. She also uses a felt board to play games like shape recognition and for visual aids for songs. Today they sang "If your happy and you know it" and "Five Little Monkeys". Danya liked the story "Lisa the Pig Goes to the Circus" about a little girl who had to take over the whole circus because everyone who worked there had an ear infection.

      These story times are a good group classroom experience for the girls and a good reminder for me why I homeschool. My girls pay attention, listen well, and participate. Some of those other kids are just wild. They were banging their little carpet squares on the floor, rolling around, talking while the lady was trying to read, and generally being disruptive. I think if parents can't get their kids to calm down they should just take them out so the others can hear the stories. That goes for mothers of talkative or crying babies too. But then I think that's common courtesy for any event including movie theaters, performances on stage, and at church.

      A Series of Unfortunate Events

      Last Friday our ceiling fan caught fire! Gloria was standing underneath it in the middle of the living room. I heard a bunch of pops, looked up, and saw sparks and then blue flame shooting out of the glass around one of the lights on the fan. Quickly switching into Homeschooling Mom mode, I used this ideal "teachable moment" to explain to Gloria my thoughts on electrical fires. I screamed like a little girl and yelled, "Run! Get in the kitchen, NOW!!" ...Seriously, though, I and the girls panicked a bit. Daniel calmly switched off the power to the light. Gloria was in the kitchen by that point, understandably hysterical. Daniel got her calmed down. The next day we went ceiling fan shopping. Dan borrowed a ladder and took down the ruined fan. There was a hole burned right through the metal casing of the fan! He attempted to install the new fan, but in the end we hired a repairman.

      Daniel and Gloria have been working together now to repair our vacuum cleaner. They were having vacuum cleaner races (Gloria has a play one) when they discovered that our vacuum has lost its ability to suck. They disassembled it, removed a ton of old hair and dirt that was clogging it up, and it worked a bit better. Today they tried to use the hose attachment and found even MORE hair and gook in the hose. So they are working on it again. Daniel thinks that the actual problem is that the motor is going out. I hope not. We've had this vacuum for less than a year and don't have the funds to replace it. Gloria is definitely learning a lot at least!

      Friday, July 08, 2005

      Young Reader Books

      We got a few "new" books to add to our growing collection today while we were out hunting through yard sales! Today we picked up "Pioneer Children of America", "My City", and "Frontiers Old and New". Two of them are full of stories about American history. The books we've collected so far range in age from 1956 to 1966. The older ones are great because they were written before Christianity became outlawed in schools. I can't help thinking how much safer public schools today would be if kids today were still reading from textbooks that teach basic human decency and morals. Some of the stories I looked at tonight were about generosity, being thankful for what you have whether it's little or plenty, courage, determination, compassion. I could go on and on. I also like knowing that these books are not going to have topics I find objectionable in them like so much of what is classified nowadays as appropriate "children's literature". I think that part of being a parent is not just keeping my kids physically safe, but also guarding their hearts and minds. The bible says that we "speak from the overflow of the heart" so I want to make sure that what is filling my kids hearts is worthwhile.


      Today we went out to the big new park in our city. Fox 23 News was broadcasting live there this evening. Our church set up a booth and gave away hotdogs, chips, and water bottles. We got to see the Owasso Highschool cheerleaders perform and Danya got autographs from the newscasters and took a picture with the weatherman, Jon Slater!! I don't know if the girls got on t.v. or not, but the camera was pointed at them a few times. The folks from Fox 23 News were really nice. They asked Danya a few questions, but she was being shy. We also bought icecream from a very smart lady who parked her ice cream truck at the park during the event. Gloria got a Kim Possible icecream on a stick and the sun promptly turned it into mush. She was head to toe orange!! Her face, shirt, hands, arms, and even legs were covered with sticky goo. Danya did better with hers. I think that watching a live broadcast and seeing how they film the news can be considered a fun little homeschool field trip, so that's what I'm calling today. They had a t.v. hooked up so that we could watch it while they filmed, which was neat. Our church had a pretty good turn out. I saw a couple of boys from the Sunday school class I teach. This event is going to make one fun scrapbook page, that's for sure!

      Thursday, July 07, 2005

      Homeschool Struggles

      This has been a crazy week in our homeschool! I think taking a holiday from school on the 4th of July threw us off. I didn't get the lesson plan made until Tuesday afternoon. So we took their workbooks with us to a restaurant for dinner and they did their math and reading at the table while we waited for our food to arrive. I had planned a little bit more stuff, but we ran out of time. Math and reading are my requirements to complete every day, but I really like doing the extras. Wednesday we got everything done except for reading a story about Pocahontas. I tried to teach Danya to count by 2's, but she wasn't really getting it. I've been feeling so nauseous and tired lately from being newly pregnant that it's making things a little more difficult to accomplish.

      I'm going to call today Thursday because the clock just ticked over to Friday. Today I worked on counting "pairs" with Danya and writing the letter "i" with Gloria. I gave Danya a pile of pencils to use as a visual aide to understanding the word problems about pairs. That seemed to really help. Gloria did really well with hearing the short "i" sound like in "igloo".

      We also read the story of Pocahontas and how even though she was only 10 yrs old she bravely saved Captain John Smith's life. We colored pictures about community heroes. Danya chose a veterinarian and Gloria picked a nurse again. Then we made and colored Indian headbands with feathers in them. The girls invented Indian names for themselves. Danya was "Morning Rainbow" and Gloria was "Dancing Flower". I let the girls wear their headbands to the zoo.

      Today was the MIT mom's group zoo day. We looked for animal "tracks" in the concrete (a neat thing the zoo has) and compared the girls feet and hands to the pawprints we found. I explained to them that the Siberian Tiger is very heavy, that's why their paw prints are deeper, and the Cheetah barely touches the ground at all when it runs, so it's tracks are not as deep.

      When we got home Gloria took a nap and Danya read to herself from an easy reader book! After naps Danya read one of the stories to me. She is doing so good! This has been such an up and down week. But I still have to say I am loving homeschool!

      Monday, July 04, 2005

      4th of July Cook Out!

      This is my family. Left to right is my little sis, Toni, big brother, Shane, ME, and my little brother, Richard who will always be "Ricky" to me. They all live about 2 hours away from me, so getting to spend the 4th of July with them was really nice. Toni will be 23 in September. She is a part time college student and full time hard workin' woman! She is the center of her little universe at work where she keeps customers returning with her light hearted personality, energy, and humor. Shane is what you'd call an extroverted introvert. He's actually very private and introspective, but you might not expect it if you only saw him at a social event. He likes to draw a crowd with his quick wit and entertaining stories. He likes to race motorcycles, or "crotch rockets" as he calls them. He gave me a ride on one once. Let's just say it's not an experience I want to EVER repeat! Ricky is my "long lost brother" of a sort. A couple of years ago he contacted me out of the blue and told me that he was living in my state. I hadn't seen him since he was 5 years old! From the moment we met I felt like we'd been close forever. He's taller than me, so I think he treats me like a little sister sometimes, but that's okay. He is married and has a little girl the same age as Danya with another one on the way. He is my only sibling that can relate with the whole "parenting" experience with me. I was so excited when he told me not long ago that he had excepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I've prayed for all of my family for about 10 years now, and I literally wanted to shout for joy when he told me the good news! God has blessed Ricky tremendously recently with the startup of his own power washing business. I am so proud of him and happy for him. Not shown in the picture is my youngest brother, Patrick, who couldn't be there that day. He re-entered my life around the same time as Ricky did. He works really hard and we hardly get to see each other. I really wish that he'd come visit for a weekend so that we could spend some time getting to know each other. I still tend to picture him as my 3 yr old baby brother and barely know him as an adult. It's hard to imagine that 20 years has passed since then! I hope my family plans more events like this. If they do, I'll be sure to add more pictures of them to this website! (See, Toni, I added this right after you called!)

      RV at the Lake

      We joined Daniel's parents on a trip to Lake McMurtry in their RV. We went swimming, cooked out, went for a small hike...all the typical things you do on a camping trip. This was our first ever family camping trip!!
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      It was perfect! The sun was so warm our suits dried within minutes of getting out of the water! Then we got to enjoy the air conditioning in the RV. This is the life! The water was typical muddy Oklahoma lake water and it was a steep drop off to get into the swimming area. Daniel slipped and fell in face first! The girls excitedly gathered sticks to throw on the fire for toasting marshmallows. Daniel's mom, Nancy, was talking and sitting at the table holding a wire hanger with marshmallows on the end of it. Suddenly Daniel yelled, "Mom! They're still on fire!" They had been burning the whole time since she pulled them out of the fire when she thought she blew them out.

      We got to enjoy working on homeschool work with the girls outside at a picnic table. Danya learned how to count by 5's that day! The girls also went on a nature walk with us and discovered empty Cicada shells (which gross me out) and spider webs. When we woke up the second morning we discovered perfect little muddy raccoon paw prints on my folding chair outside!! We learned alot and fell in love with the lake on this trip.

      Fireworks and Family

      We celebrated our nation's independance on June 26th at Daniel's parents' home. His folks were going out of town for a few weeks so we celebrated early. Here are some pics!
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      Daniel and his dad launched roman candles together (picture A). I think they look like light sabers! His dad even used one for target practice! He shot flaming balls across the road at the burned out fountains and things that we'd already used. The girls played with sparklers and all the girls, grandma and I included, made silly shadows on the wall of the house as Daniel lit the strobe light fireworks.

      My favorite has always been the smoke bombs. At one point, I threw a green smoke bomb. Daniel's dad, Wayne, jumped into the green cloud it created and started to fake choking on the smoke. I just laughed and told him to exuse himself next time! All in all, we had a BLAST!