Friday, August 31, 2007
One nice thing was that the minute we walked in the door Gloria recognized a friend from her Sunday school class (2nd photo above). The girls got to walk through the smoke house, ducking low under the smoke, climbing the stairs, and then coming down the ladder to safety and running to the meeting place at the mailbox (1st photo above). Danya said that was the best part of the whole event. Daniel and I both got to use a fire extinguisher on the pan fire. We learned that the fire extinguisher is only supposed to be used to help you get your family out of the fire, not to actually put the fire out. It only lasts 30 seconds at most.
The one down part of the meeting was that we met some of the couples from our original adoption/foster parent class. We may be the only ones who haven't had kids placed with us yet. We're praying that they'll call us soon. We'll just keep checking with them every week and hoping for the best. For those of you praying with us, thank you!
I made it in 25 seconds. Danya started out at 43 seconds and worked her way down to 26 seconds! Gloria's fastest time was 31 seconds. I forget Daniel's time but he was the fastest by a long shot. He always is. That boy was built for speed. We try to encourage the kids that these sorts of games aren't about competition. The fun part is beating your own record.
We saw a little boy at Walmart today who was about a year older than Kevin. His mom was chasing him into the McDonald's there and wrestling a candy bar out of his hands. He must have weighed nearly as much as Gloria. It was sad and awful to watch. I think that ruining a child's health like that should be criminal. I've never read about a case yet of extreme child obesity that wasn't the parents' fault. Some people might read our blog and see pictures of us eating out with our kids and assume that we never feed them healthy foods. On the contrary, even when we eat out we teach the kids how to make healthy food choices. We very carefully look at the nutritional info on our groceries picking things that are low fat, lower calorie, high fiber, etc. We've had total strangers come up to us when we're out somewhere and compliment our kids on their healthy food choices. To paraphrase the bible, "All foods are acceptible, but not everything is beneficial."
Tonight we read about Theodore Roosevelt's children. He had six kids! It sounds like they all ran wild in the White House shooting spitballs at famous paintings and letting a snake loose at tea parties. The girls didn't know what spitballs were, so I taught them how to make them and how to make a "shooter" out of a pen tube. I couldn't have their education lacking, could I? lol. We threw them against the wall in Gloria's room and taped paper with our names up next to each one. That way we can watch over the next couple of days and keep a chart of which one falls down first. I get them to make charts and graphs and they think it's yucky fun. Works for us!
We've also moved into division for Danya while still reviewing the multiplication tables with both girls. It's hard to know if we should continue moving forward at such a fast rate with Danya or just repeat and drill. I want to make sure she has all the times tables down pat and be certain they're in her long term memory. It always seems like there aren't enough hours in the day for all the things we want to learn!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
They all had so much fun! They were giggling and racing to do it again. Even a boy not much bigger than Kevin, maybe 3 years old, took Gloria's hand and started slinging her into walls. She thought it was hilarious to be pulled by such a little boy.
When we got there we found out it was going to be almost $10 a piece for the adults and $7 each for the kids, yikes! We almost left, but Daniel decided that the girls and I should go watch it by ourselves while he returned some items to a few different stores with Kevin.
He missed out on a great movie! I really really liked it. I would even recommend it for kids if you cover their eyes during the kissing part like we did. The girls eyes lit up when the pillow fight started and that was just some of the fun. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I may actually buy this movie when it comes out.
Daniel and I shared a chocolate dipped cone with peanut butter and banana icecream. Not good for my diet plan, but very delicious. Kevin wasn't cooperating when I decided it would be a cute place for a photo shoot. This one of him on the chair is one of the only two half-way decent photos I got.
The overalls and jumper that the girls are wearing in the right hand photo are new. Kmart is having a really great sale right now. Half off of all their clearance items. We got Kevin about 30 new clothes for under $30. I got a couple of shirts and the girls got a few things, too. Everything we got was less than $3 and most of it was under $2!
My second day of praise band practice was tonight also. I didn't do as well as last week because the music was faster and almost all in keys I'm not familiar with. I'm going to keep trying though. I've been practicing every day, so hopefully I'll be ready in a couple of weeks. The other trombone player has been playing 3 times a week since 1991, so at least I've got a good teacher to help me over the rough spots.
I don't know who's more excited about it, Daniel or the girls. There will be pizza served and free childcare for Kevin. We're all looking forward to it. Meanwhile we're anxiously waiting to hear if they've matched us yet with a group of kids.
Instead, Monday night we had a campout (or is it, camp-in?) in the basement. We watched a movie and ate pretzels and banana bread. The girls wanted to sleep out there, but when the movie was over they changed their minds and we moved all the pillows and blankets back to their rooms. Despite that, it was a fun evening with the kids.
We've started setting the entire box next to him so that he can just bend down and grab another without having to climb down. He'll happily continue rolling cars down the slide until the entire box of about 400 cars is empty. I like to think that this kind of focus and determination will serve him well later in life. lol.
Danya and Gloria are growing up and learning to help with more and more household tasks. They also are interested in doing extra jobs to earn money. This week we created the "Elliott Bank" so that they could start a savings account. They designed the logo and helped me create a bank statement. They each deposited some of the money they'd saved from their allowances. They'll earn 5% interest each week on any money that they keep in the bank for a whole week. They also learned about compound interest which has them very excited.
Monday, August 27, 2007
So after driving around for a while near the mall we finally called and found someone who could tell us exactly which fountains we were supposed to be meeting at, lol. There were three other homeschool families there and plenty of kids to play with. The girls and Kevin had so much fun! Actually, I had a great time too, getting to know the other homeschool moms better. Daniel, unfortunately, was the only dad who works nights, so he played with Kevin most of the time. Our next event will be a Sunday picnic, so all the other dads will hopefully be there.
Kevin finally got brave enough to play in the water and took a break from crawling over everyone's food and knocking drinks down. When it was time to go Gloria got stung by a bee beneath her upper left arm. One mom, "D" was thinking fast. She ran to a nearby restaurant and got a ziplock bag full of ice. We left just as Glory was starting to calm down. She's doing much better now. On the bright side, she and Danya made instant friends with "P's" two daughters and they have a playdate with "D's" sons tomorrow afternoon. I'm so glad they are making more friends. It's definitely an answer to prayer.
In the afternoon we went to hand out food with the bikers in downtown Denver. Shannon came, too. One of the things they were giving away was fruit snacks, Kevin's most favorite food. He was smiling and crawling up to the people and they were offering him their fruit snacks. The little charmer got offered 3 bags that I saw and Daniel says he gave Kevin a bag also.
Last night Sarah and Shannon babysat for us for a little while so that Daniel and I could go to a movie. We couldn't find the theatre and ended up exploring downtown Denver. While Daniel drove I took photos of the architecture and the sun behind the clouds. It was really beautiful. We ate dinner at CiCi's pizza since we had a coupon. Then we hung out at a bookstore with a Starbuck's coffee shop in it. Daniel, not usually a coffee drinker, got a "Java Chip" drink because he had been awake for more than 24 hours. I drove home.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
We like bringing home made cookies since most of what they get is prepackaged food. Last time we had alot of requests for peanut butter cookies since all we had brought was chocolate chip. The girls love handing them out and the adults love the kids' contagious cheerfulness. Danya and Gloria practically skip around the parking lot handing out cookies and crosses. Tomorrow is my and Daniel's 11th wedding anniversary. What better way to celebrate love?
On the way to the park about a mile and a half from our home a strange dog came running out of a house barking at us. It was loose and had lost its I.D. tag off of its collar. This dog was about 3/4's of Gloria's size, black, with a white chest. It looked like some sort of boxer. It followed us all the way to the park barking and running at us full speed before veering away at the last second. Gloria kept talking to herself under her breath repeating, "I don't like that dog. Go away, dog." I thought she and Danya both handled it well since they are so nervous around dogs. Thankfully, the dog decided to stay at the park when we left.
We call Kevin "Dr. Destructo" because wherever he goes he leaves a wake of destruction in his path. His favorite, by far, is pulling books out of the bookshelf. He also loves to prove me wrong. When he was once again pulling out all my big boring not-for-Kevin books about parenting and homeschooling, I showed him the inside of a book and said, "See! No pictures! This book is not for you." A minute later he pulled out my Usborne Easy Spanish book which, essentially, is a comic book designed to help you learn Spanish. It's chock full of bright colorful pictures. He showed it to me with a look as if to say, "See! Pictures! This book must be for me!"
His new trick is to steal a book and use one hand to slide it down the hallway as he crawls away. We've been finding books in every corner of the house. I think the truth must be that he can secretly read already. He's devouring novels and nonfiction in out of the way corners so that we won't get suspicious when we see our one year old moving his lips while he looks at those books. But I'm on to him!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Four jobs I have had in my life:
2. Phone Book Typist (Data Entry)
3. Software Instructor for a Petroleum Company
4. Software Tester
Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Lord of the Rings trilogy
2. Anne of Green Gables series
3. I. Q. (or really anything with Meg Ryan)
4. Sense and Sensibility (I really like Jane Austen books/movies)
Four places I have lived:
3. New Jersey
Four T.V. shows I loved to watch:
(we don't currently watch t.v., so I'll put old favorites)
1. The Dukes of Hazzard
2. The Cosby Show
3. Extreme Home Makeover (Notice my son's name: Kevin Tyler)
4. Any kind of designing show
Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Florida (twice now and once when I was a baby)
2. Sacramento (for Daniel's job)
3. Texas (to visit our kids' godparents)
4. Kentucky (for our honeymoon) thanks for the reminder, Glenda!
Four websites I visit often:
1. Rush Limbaugh
2. Answers in Genesis
3. Christian Homeschool Fellowship message board
4. Adopt US Kids
Four of my favorite foods:
1. pretzels from Sam's Club
2. home made pizza
3. strawberry ice cream
4. Smart Portion Muffins
Four dreams I have for the future:
(I'm swapping this one out because there's nowhere I'd rather be!)
1. Renovating an old school, library, or church to live in
2. A house full of children, maybe 10, mostly adopted and foster
3. Finish my degree because some of our future plans may require one
4. Daniel and I someday working together full time in a home based children's ministry
It's a tricky maneuver when you first play the trombone because if you move the slide back up too fast you end up smashing the mouth piece into your lips. Both girls did well, in my opinion. By the time our kids graduate from homeschool I plan for them all to be able to play the trombone, trumpet, piano, and any other instrument they take an interest in after that. Guitar would be fun. Maybe Uncle Matt will give them lessons?
Once we figured out how to adjust it, we looked at carpet fuzz, fingernails, hair, and some prepared slides of parts of plants. They each drew a picture and wrote what they saw when looking at a piece of a fern. It was a fun day in science at our house!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A couple of years ago I sat in with our church band in Oklahoma. Usually, the worship leader will write music (for whatever instruments are needed) that goes along with what the praise team is singing. That music was so complicated and in such strange keys that I couldn't even begin to play it. Thankfully, the trombone music written by the music director at our current church (a guy named Dean) was fairly simple and easy to learn.
Apparently they've been praying for another trombone player, which seems strange to me since alot of people say that trombones are a little too noisy for a small group. I'm going to get a copy of the music on Sunday and sit in with them for a couple more Wednesday night practices. Then, hopefully, I'll start playing with them on September 9th. That's my plan anyway. Daniel says that the next time we have my high school band reunion back in Oklahoma I won't have to be nervous. Doing the math of it, if I practice every Wednesday and perform every Sunday (52 weeks in a year minus a couple of snow days) I'll get to play about 100 times per year. LoL, that's like playing every day for 3 months of the year. Hope I'm up to it!
The girls seemed to enjoy learning in a new environment. They got all their worksheets done quickly and then raced each other to see who could call out the states and their capitols the fastest. We've been focusing more on science and history just lately, and taken a break from adding new states for them to memorize. Next week we'll add five more. Right now the girls are concentrating on insects, the human body, and space.
Danya was disappointed in a video about the planets that we got from the library. It's narrated by Patrick Stewart (from Star Trek) and she says it was incredibly dull. They're also a little tired of the study of ancient Rome already because all the different books and materials we've found keep repeating the same information. I need to find something to make it more exciting. One success, though, was the Schoolhouse Rock DVD that Daniel ordered for the girls. They've been watching it over and over and singing some of the songs. We've only had it two days and already they love it.
He also says that I have hearing loss in my right ear, but not really significant in my left ear. So they're ordering a hearing aid for my right ear only. That should arrive in the next week or two. I'm just glad to know that there really is a problem, I'm not just imagining it or not paying attention well enough. I was wondering how it was possible that sometimes I could hear people and sometimes I couldn't. I'm guessing now that it just depends on whether they were talking on my left or right side.
We mail in a piece of paper today saying we agree to the safety rules for foster parents, and then we sit and wait for that phone call. There's nothing left for us to do and no more inspections or hurdles for us to jump. The upside of all our worry over what areas needed to be cleaned and decluttered, is that our house looks really good and I even cleaned all our closets out. So our house looks really good if any friends or family reading this blog want to come visit right now :) !
Monday, August 20, 2007
Wish us luck on the inspection and on my final hearing examination tomorrow! Just for fun I've added the before and after photos of the downstairs bathroom.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This morning Daniel took the kids out to play tennis when he got home. For some reason he could not serve the ball right at all. He did, however, manage to bounce it off Gloria several times. Poor Gloria! Gloria is already the "walking wounded". Her scab (from falling on the concrete the other day) is peeling off of her knee and leaking. I know, too much information. Daniel and I played tennis, just us, later on and I actually did pretty good against him!
Danya is having her own difficulties. She's having trouble eating with the gap in her teeth from losing her front tooth. That made me think about the possibility of our new kids having dental problems. But Daniel said that if they are young we can expect all their baby teeth to fall out and good healthy ones to grow in. Kevin is growing a couple of new teeth on his front lower jaw. It's making him fussy and clingy. He did good at McDonald's play land today, though. The girls took him through the tunnels and he babbled happily all the way through.
Oh, and on a side note, I've been managing to eat well even when we go out. I've also been doing really really good with my exercise. As of this morning I'm down to 158.8 lbs! You can check my weight loss journal to see pictures of me before and currently. I keep it linked on the left side of this blog, too. It's exciting to be so close to my goal. I'm getting there!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Danya and Gloria dispell the myth that homeschoolers only have one teacher throughout their whole schooling experience. Some people say that homeschoolers need to adjust to different teaching styles from many different teachers. Here is a short list of just some of the people who have taught either Danya, Gloria, or both:
5 teachers at Danya's Tuesday charter school
2 Sunday school teachers (that change often)
4 to 6 Truth Quest teachers
Awanas teachers (plus extras for story and music time)
teachers at summer programs (like their art classes)
librarians at the library story time
Choir teacher when Danya was in Kids' Choir
That doesn't include the teachers they had for pre-K before we homeschooled them.
Danya and Gloria describe a normal day of homeschooling at our house.
7:30 - wake up, make bed, get dressed
8:00 - breakfast and clean up
8:30 - morning walk with Dad
9:00 - school time
Noon - Lunch
Afternoon - whatever's left for the day, frequently reading and arts and crafts
Thursday, August 16, 2007
We were shopping for a baby gate for the bottom of our staircase. We ended up finding one at Walmart for about $20. Daniel put it in the cart, then later I added a few things to the cart, and we checked out. I think Daniel messed up when grabbing the original box. He thinks I added items to the wrong cart. Either way, we ended up with a baby walker instead of a baby gate when we got outside the store. He didn't notice when he paid for it either.
So Daniel will be returning it tomorrow. If he's right, and I actually grabbed someone else's cart who just happened to be near us with only one item in the cart that looked just like ours, then someone may be loading their vehicle right now and discovering that for some reason they just bought a baby gate.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I love School House Rock videos and songs. I'd like to have a whole collection of them someday. I think Shannon thought I was a little crazy dancing unselfconciously with my girls. I don't mind looking foolish if I'm having fun with my kids. Some of my best memories of my mom are of times when she would act silly with me. I liked to sleep with the radio on when I was younger. My mom would come into the room late at night and lip-synch to the music while dancing around my room in the dark. I've always loved my mom's playfulness. I hope my kids remember the same thing about me.
Until now I'd been using big plastic tubs with lids. The problem with those is that I hardly ever open the tubs. I forget what's in there and so it doesn't get used. I'm going to try using the tubs in the laundry room instead. When I pull clothes out of the washer I can just toss them into individual plastic tubs to be delivered to each room. I don't fold much laundry anymore anyway. What's the point when they just get shoved around and unfolded in the drawers?
I'm learning to use lots of little time savers. Recently I read a book that said I shouldn't make the kids wear P.J.'s and it made total sense to me. It's just extra money and extra laundry. They can sleep in a clean t-shirt and shorts or an outfit they plan to wear the next day if we aren't planning to dress up for a special event (like church). So once they outgrow their current ones, we don't plan to buy anymore.