Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sparks and Cubbies Begins

Danya and Gloria have begun a new year in the Awanas club at our church. Danya is thrilled to finally be a Spark and Gloria is overjoyed to be a big girl Cubbie. We even broke down and bought Gloria a brand new vest for Cubbies instead of just taking the patches off of Danya's old one. They both memorized their verses for this week and proudly said them at church tonight. Danya excitedly told me that she didn't say all of John 3:16 correctly, even though she had it down pat before she left for church tonight, but that it didn't matter. She said, "My teacher says that all you have to do is TRY to say the verse. It doesn't matter if you can't say it all!" I'm afraid that I'll have to nip that in the bud. 13 years of public school will teach most kids that excellence doesn't matter as long as you make a half hearted attempt. But that's one of the very reasons we're homeschooling. I'm sure not going to encourage that mentality. I know that she is not only capable of saying the entire verse correctly, but that she is actually good at it and enjoys practicing at home. So I'm going to let her know that her dad and I expect her to always do her best and not do a shoddy job at something just because you can get away with it and not much is expected of you. The bible tells us to do all things not as if we are doing them for man but as if we are doing them for God. I may not always do so well at that myself, but I'm working on it and I want my kids to do the same. I'm glad the girls are in this program because it encourages our whole family to memorize scripture together. Also, it's a good "classroom experience" for the girls and of course provides that "socialization" that the anti-homeschooling group is always going on about. Then again, I'm not too worried about socialization. I mean, we're Americans. We're supposed to be a Republic. It's that other country that's supposed to be the Socialist Republic, not ours, right? Anyway, we've decided that at this age our girls don't need to be in 5 different activities each so this is the one that they'll be in. With our finances what they are and Daniel's shift changing so often we have really truly come to value our family time. We're not willing to hand it over to some weekly athletic team or whatever. And at this age the girls don't really understand most sports anyways. Well, it's after midnight, so I'm off to catch a few hours of sleep before our next busy day of homeschooling begins. I'm really looking forward to next week when my homeschooling friend Betsy is going to teach us all how to bake bread!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Miscarriage Again

This is the third one this year. It started last night. I don't understand this. I wonder if I should just go back to preventing pregnancy for a few months to give my body time to get back to normal? Going through this every month is just tearing me up. I don't know what to do. There doesn't seem to be anything I CAN do. On this last one I didn't even feel hopeful anymore really. I don't even know how to pray anymore except to keep trusting God because I know that He has a plan and a purpose in this. I'm starting to wonder if maybe He's preparing me to accept that I may never have another baby. Daniel and I both want to adopt an older child someday, and that would get pushed off farther if I had another baby. In the meantime, we'll just keep praying and waiting for God's answer.

File Folder Game: Camp

I made this using some Karen Foster scrapbooking cutouts, a pine tree thumb punch, and some paper. I got the idea online. You can use almost any theme to make these file folder games. I called mine "Camp Learn-a-Lot". When I finished it I took it to Office Depot. They laminated it for just $2. You can use this for any subject your kids are learning. We used phonics cards yesterday and coins as place markers. If Gloria could name the letter, or if Danya could tell me what sounds they made, then they would get to move forward one space. If they land on a tree space they get to go one extra space. You could change the rules to roll a dice to see how far you can move. Or change them any way that works for you. You can make your own question cards or just use store bought flashcards like I did. My girls really liked this and so did I so I'm going to make a few more versions. Some advice: The Office Depot clerk said that using more porous paper would make it laminate better. The scrapbook paper I used was too thick, non-porous, and bulky. So the lamination didn't work completely on the thickest side. Next time I won't put so many layers of paper on it.

Ceiling Fan Collapse

Another ceiling fan disaster. The last one caught fire, this one fell out of the ceiling. The girls saw it start to fall. So I came into their room, saw it hanging half out of the hole in the ceiling, and turned it off. When Daniel came home he took a look at it. He said the screws were stripped and couldn't hold it any more. So he took it the rest of the way down. He doesn't think it will support another fan, so he wants to mount just a light instead. I'm okay with that. Since we took down Danya's tent off her bunkbed I'm constantly worried that one of them is going to stick their hand into the fan. They've really enjoyed having the tent off, though. Gloria hung a blanket up in the corner next to the window and brought books and dolls up there. Danya likes to open the blinds and wave at people passing by on the street.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

McDonald's Birthday Party!

Danya's friend, Ben, turned 5 this week. Watching him open his presents was the best part of his party at McDonald's today. He would get so excited jumping up and down and squealing "Awesome! Awesome!...What is it?" when he'd open a new present. He was just as ecstatic over markers as he was over his all time favorite "Thomas the Tank Engine". He even received a train named "Ben" that you can see at this link: We got to see several friends from our previous church that we've missed alot. The girls had a great time playing with all the kids. Our friend, Trish, even blessed us with some blue jeans and a jacket for our girls! She has girls just a little older than each of our girls. We also got to see her beautiful new baby girl, Carly. Danya gave Ben some mini monster trucks and Gloria gave him a nerf football. He seemed pretty happy throughout his party. It was good to see his Mom, Michelle, again. I really enjoy having her as a friend. The girls and I ran into Michelle and Ben at McAlister's Deli a few days ago. We got to sit and talk together over lunch. Michelle is a lot of fun and really level headed. She always has good advice and makes the neatest craft projects. She's a scrapbooker, too! Ben is lucky to have her for a mom. Happy Birthday, Ben!

Anniversary Gone Awry

Our nine year wedding anniversary was yesterday. Everything should have been great. Both of our girls were staying the night at their friends' houses. Daniel was coming home early from work. We dropped off Danya, and were almost to Gloria's friend's house, when the radio in our van quit working. Then the speedometer quit. Then the entire electrical system went nuts and our car died a block from our destination. We walked to their house, got a jump for the van, and made it half way to Auto Zone before the van died again. So we took a break and had dinner at McAlister's. Then we got another jump and made it the rest of the way. I stood around in Auto Zone for 3 and half hours while Daniel replaced the alternator in our van. I was impressed that he actually knew how to replace an alternator. I always thought an alternator was something in the steering column. I am sooo not mechanically inclined! lol. Finally we got to go to a 10 o'clock movie. We saw The Brothers Grimm which I'd probably give a B- to because I liked the special effects and the actors, but the plot line was terrible. This morning the van died again right after we picked up Gloria from her friend's house. Daniel had overlooked a connection when he was working in the dark last night. He fixed it and it's working fine now. So that's the story of our 9th anniversary. I'm pretty disappointed and I kind of hope Daniel will give us a re-do and take me out next weekend. Actually, we both discussed how blessed we were overall. We could have broken down far from help. It could have been a problem that Daniel couldn't fix. We could have still had the kids in the car bored and upset that they couldn't go to their friends' houses. It could have happened earlier this week and made Daniel miss a day during his first week at his new job. We could have had to buy a new car if the problem was expensive enough. Really, we feel like God took care of us the whole way and even allowed us time together despite the problems.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Meridian Turns 9!

My absolutely stunningly beautiful niece, Meridian, turned 9 years old yesterday. She is literally a beauty queen and has a trophy to prove it, but what makes her truly beautiful is her gentle heart. She is so loving and quick to help everyone including her younger sisters and brothers. Danya and Gloria love their older cousin. She is like a big sister to them. I love how intelligent and curious she is. It's a joy to talk and play with her whenever we visit her family. This picture doesn't do her justice. She has long gorgeous straight blonde hair, baby blue eyes, and a smile that shines from ear to ear. She was born the day before I married her uncle nine years ago. She was one of the first babies I ever got to hold! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MERIDIAN! We love you!

Playing Games: WaterWorks

We've taught the girls to play "Waterworks" a game about plumbing. There are alot of games that work well for home schooling and this is one of them. They have to work together to create the pipe system. They also have to help each other out to fix the leaky pipes. We altered the rules to make it more of a cooperative game instead of competitive. The girls use problem solving skills and strategy. They talk to each other about what cards they have so that, for instance, Gloria will be able to fix a leaky pipe that Danya puts down. Gloria absolutely LOVES being the one to "fix" the pipes. But then, she loves fixing everything around our house. Frequently you'll hear Danya complain that she broke a toy and Gloria will say, "That's okay. I'll fix it!" and she really will too! This is a great game. This week the girls both asked to play it during their "special time". They each get one night a week that is their special time when they get to stay up an extra hour and play one-on-one with Daniel and/or me. You can find this game here:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Every BODY's Beautiful!

For science this week the girls learned about their insides. The girls laid down outside on some paper and we traced their outlines. Then they colored and cut out the different parts of their bodies. They were especially fascinated with learning where poop comes from. Gloria even helpfully drew arrows on her picture. She had a little trouble following instructions on what colors to use because she wants to make it "beautiful". I figured in the long run it won't really matter if she colored her stomach blue or purple. The only problem we had was that the body parts were designed for a slightly older child, so they didn't fit quite right in her body. They were a little crowded, but we made it work. Danya felt that it should have included a ribcage. I had originally planned to spread out this project over the course of the week. The girls were enjoying it so much, though, I just let them do the whole thing in two days! This new science workbook I found at a garage sale is really great. I can't wait to do more projects from it!

Bye Bye MCI!

Daniel has left his job of 10 years to move to another company. This picture of him at his desk was taken in January of 2004. He's in telecommunications and, if I do say so, is an excellent technician! I am so proud of him! He works incredibly hard. He won't take a sick day unless he's on death's door...except if his family needs him for something important. (He has been known to fly home for a moment to kill an evil wasp for me once or twice, lol) He even drove in during a blizzard when no one else showed up one night! Daniel has a servant's heart and likes to help everybody solve work related issues. He respects others who show up on time and do their job well. He holds himself to the same standards, too. He's excited about his new job because he'll be learning new systems and really be challenged again in his work. Also, he'll be working with several people he knows who used to work at his old company. A few guys from our Sunday school class work in the same company too, just different departments. Today is Daniel's third day at his new job. Congrats, Sweetie!

Danya's Reading List

Our little book worm has made a book worm of her own. Or maybe it's a "read-apillar", we're not sure. Every time she finishes reading a book, all by herself, we write the name on a green circle and add it to the end of her book worm. We're hanging it on a bedroom door. When it's long enough to reach the bottom of the door we'll take her to Chuck E. Cheese! She's been reading like there's no tomorrow! She especially loves the "I Can Read" books for beginning readers. She even reads them when she finds them at department stores. I haven't written every book she's read on a green circle, just the ones she's read recently. There are a couple she keeps re-reading because she loves them. Her all time favorite book is a Sesame Street book called "I Can Do It Myself". At a bookstore the other day she found a series about a dog named Biscuit by Alyssa Capucilli. So we went to the library and checked out a whole stack of them. She's been reading one or two a day for the last week. Gloria wants to make a book worm, too, but she can't read yet and it wouldn't be fair if all she had to do was listen to us read them. So we are having her listen to Danya read. Then they will both get to go to Chuck E. Cheese.

Science Experiment: Air Pressure

Daniel is the man in charge when it comes to science experiments in our homeschool! Mostly because I don't like getting messy, but really he volunteered. This particular "science experience" as Danya calls it, was about air pressure. You fill the cup partially with water, put a piece of paper on top and flip it over. The pressure inside sucks the paper to the lid and keeps the water inside. Gloria's favorite part was getting to pull the paper off and watch the water fall out. The girls and Daniel have tried quite a few "experiences" this year already. They tried to make crystals out of sugar...but they left it outside and it got rained on. The tried to make a rainbow with the sun and a water hose...but just then Danya noticed that the bathroom toilet was flooding. But hey, at least they got to watch Daddy repair a toilet! Another time they filled a jar with water, flipped it over in a pan, and inserted a straw into the jar. Then Gloria blew into it to see how much air was in her lungs...but the water gushed out, the pan overflowed, and we had to clean up a huge mess. Danya also grew her own tomatoes to learn about plants...but a storm broke it in half and it died. I keep reminding myself that succesful experiments aren't the point. The point is enjoying learning as a family and all the great memories we are making together!

Car Wreck!

Daniel was hit at an intersection last Sunday by a speeding pickup truck that turned too wide! The driver smashed the side of our van and then took off! So Daniel (not about to let him get away with that!) chased him down and blocked his vehicle in. Then he jumped out and started yelling. The driver was a 19 yr old guy who was late for his job at a fast food place. His license was expired and he was driving his girlfriend's car. He wants to just pay for damages and asked Daniel not to make a claim on his girlfriend's insurance. We got an estimate yesterday. It will cost $1,200 to repair and take 80 hours of labor. So that probably means we will also have to have a rental car for a week or two. I don't see how this kid can possibly pay for this. I'm hoping Daniel will decide to just make a claim through the insurance. But he's feeling sort of fatherly, I guess, because he's talking about letting the kid make a payment plan. That kid made a whole series of bad choices and I don't think letting him off easy will teach him anything. If you're reading this feel free to comment and give your opinion!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Fort at St. Augustine

The fort was interesting but would have been more enjoyable if it weren't so incredibly shockingly mind-numbingly HOT. We pretty much all entered the fort together then immediately split up and fanned out. I love fantasy novels about castles and guys weilding swords, so this was pretty close to heaven for me! I loved the texture of the walls, the ruggedness of the living quarters. The barracks rooms were so great! It was something straight out of a movie or book! I could practically "see" the soldiers and people fresh off the boats moving through the various rooms. I crawled through a tiny tunnel into what had once been a storage room and later became a prison. I tried to imagine the fear, filth, and sheer claustrophobia of being crammed into this room overflowing with other prisoners. I didn't stay more than a minute. They frequently had to hold out against enemy attack in this fort, so they'd made one room into a bathroom. The back wall had a long bench with holes in it. I imagine that several people would use it at once. On the roof, looking down, I didn't feel very safe or protected. It must have been awful to stand up there manning the cannons and trying to return fire while being shot at from below. You can see in the above picture that the walls along the roof aren't very high. I sat on one to have my picture taken. In the gift shop I found some playing cards with pictures and facts about Famous Women of the Civil War. I like the idea of reading to my daughters about women who made a difference in the world. I want them to know that women can be obedient to God and their husbands while still being brave and strong. Women of the past seemed to understand that better than alot of women of today. Also, a lot of history talks about the courage and strength of men, while not seeming to notice that women faced the same hardships..while also dealing with having their periods and raising children. I want my daughters to be confident in themselves.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Do you like Pina Coladas?

I don't like them, but then, I hate all things made with coconut. Actually, I dislike the taste of almost all alcohol. On my trip to Florida, however, I got the chance to sample some different drinks and decided that I definitely like strawberry margaritas and I don't really care for strawberry daiquiries as much. The top left pic is of me at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre in Jacksonville where I ordered a daiquiri under peer pressure...but I must have liked it by the bottom of the glass because I finished off my friend Christina's drink, too. Oh, and Jennie, I still owe you 6 bucks! On the trip home Glenda, Christina, and I stopped at an Applebee's restaurant for dinner and to give us some time out of the van. We had been driving for about 12 hours by that point. I ordered a margarita, they served me a daiquiri. So then they made the right one and gave me the daiquiri free! How could I refuse?! Yes, I definitely enjoyed this time without kids and knowing I had a designated driver along for the ride. And for the record, I learned that only 2 drinks CAN make me feel pretty woozy. I didn't even finish the second one because my stomach revolted and I decided to play it safe instead of risking damage to my best friend's van. I got the opportunity to have a drink with my meal 3 times on this trip! Of course, it will probably be the only time all year since I don't usually drink at all. Interesting tidbit: My step-grandmother's name is Margarita!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Amelia Island, Florida

This picture is showing up kind of pixilated on my blog, but is one of the few group shots we took while on our girl road trip. It's missing our friend Claire, though. I think the only group shot with her in it is a bathing suit pic, and my friends would disown me if I posted that! LoL! We had a fantastic time and were already discussing a mini version of this trip in the future by the time we were headed home. We went on a float trip down a river next to Ginni Springs, did some boogie boarding in the Atlantic ocean (amazing waves!), shopped til we dropped, and went to a dinner theatre to see a swing music review. I really stretched outside of my comfort zone for this trip! I let everyone else make the plans, had a few drinks and even ate Calamari...which is breaded, fried Octopus! It wasn't bad! I don't think I truly realized how peaceful, overall, this trip was without kids or husbands, until I came home and was bombarded with the sounds and clamor for attention that are just part of having small children. I think a yearly trip like this would be cheap therapy for moms everywhere!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Off to Florida!

We are driving to Daniel's parents' house tonight. Then bright and early tomorrow morning my girlfriends and I are heading off to Florida! I'm frantically trying to decide what to pack! The cost of this trip keeps escalating. We are going to a musical dinner theatre performing some sort of swing dance music review. So I had to go buy something to wear because there is a dress code. Of course, none of my dresses or skirts fit any more. Also, I'm officially that weird size right between the "Misses" clothes dept. and the Plus size. So I searched 5 clothing stores before finding an outfit that fit, looked good, and I could afford. $50 later... uh, I guess "afford" is a relative term. I've never spent that much on one outfit before! Anyway, wish me luck! I'm super excited and nervous. I'm going to miss my family terribly, but I'm really looking forward to spending alot of time with my friends that I so rarely get to see for more than an hour at a time a few times a year.Well, my dh is about to start honking the horn if I don't go.
See ya in about a week!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lobster Tales

They had live lobsters going into the holding tank at Wal-Mart the other day! We got to watch the lady take them out of a cardboard box, rinse them off in a bucket of water, and then let them loose into the tank full of lobsters. It was a little bit scary. Um..for the kids..yeah. So we studied them through the clear sides of the tank and watched them wake up as the lady put them in the water. I had no idea that they shipped lobsters, alive, in a cardboard box. She said they come via priority air mail. Apparently they sleep in the box until they get put back into water. The box had white plastic trays stacked up in it. There were about 40 lobsters in that one box! All the lobsters just walked right over each other in the tank. Their little eye stalks were waving but they couldn't open their claws because of the bands on them. It's funny how once you start homeschooling everything becomes a learning experience. The girls were asking us questions about the lobsters and we were all in awe of how interesting their faces were up close. Danya couldn't believe that people actually eat them! Here is a link to some fun facts if you want to teach your kids about lobsters or just learn a little something yourself: At the top of the page are two links to find answers to the questions on the page. One of them is where I got the lobster photo for my blog.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Date Night at Applebees

See my new highlights and perm? I've been having a bit of hair work done by Azure in preparation for my upcoming road trip to Florida. We got the highlights done Monday morning and went out to Applebees that night. Daniel and I spent about an hour at a bookstore that sells discount books. The clerk gave me the 15% off teacher's discount because I'm a homeschool teacher! He said his mom homeschools his sisters! We had a great time talking and enjoying each other's company at Applebees. I'm really going to miss my Sweetie next week. We've never been apart for a whole week before in the entire almost 9 years we've been married! Daniel is so great! He's going to follow my lesson plan while I'm gone and homeschool the girls. He's taking a week vacation just so that I can go on this trip. He says he plans to do alot of outdoor activities like going to the sprinkler park near the zoo. Our girls are so lucky to have him for a dad!

Azure & the Missing Post!

Where did my post go? I had a very nice little post thanking my good friend, Azure, for letting my kids stay the night at her house on Monday, August 1st. It has DISAPPEARED! I reloaded my blog after changing the settings to allow all my posts (up to 999) to appear on the main page at once. When I rechecked my blog, the most recent post was gone! I can't remember exactly what I had written, so I will try to post the main points here.

1. Azure is my hairdresser and friend.

2. She has two cuties, Zack and Adyson.

3. She's from Odessa, TX like in the football movie "Friday Night Lights".

4. She is in my Sunday school class and her daughter is the same age as Danya.

5. She has the gift of hospitality and is always there for me and my family.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Betsy's Birthday!

For Betsy's birthday she and I went out to Chili's restaurant for dinner. We had a blast! Our waiter was very good considering he said it was only his 7th day on the job. Betsy and I became friends when she and her husband, Mike, visited our Sunday school class. We found out that we are close to the same age, both have 2 daughters close to the same ages, and both will be homeschooling a Kindergartner this year! Betsy is so much fun to know! She has a great sense of humor. I love hearing her tell stories because, like me, she gets really animated. She's also got a lot of skills I envy! She's a wonderful gardener, home decorator, and chef. These are all skills I seriously lack, lol! We are alot alike in other ways. We both will attack a new subject by researching it until we fully understand it. We both like routines and schedules. We both, although in different ways, enjoy scrapbooking, too. I'm so glad that I have a friend to talk about homeschooling with who is starting out just like me. I think "this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"