Monday, January 28, 2008

Mixed Feelings

Tonight I went by the scrapbook store to see if my class kits were on display yet. They were, so I took some pictures. Wendy, the store owner, is working on February's newsletter that will go out soon announcing all the classes and new items in the store.

Although it was fun to see the things I made up on the wall, it was also a little intimidating. I'm very nervous about having to present this as a (hopefully) interesting class to a room full of strangers. I'm afraid they'll think it's boring because it's just a lot of assembly work, or that they'll be overwhelmed by the amount of detail work and no one will be able to get it all completed during the two hours of class time. I'm thinking about asking if I can just sit in and watch another class being presented so that I can see what's expected.

I ran into Jane again while I was in the store. She plays saxophone in the praise band and sits in front of me. This is the second time I've run into her at that store so of course her first words were, "Are you always here?" It's been surprising me how many women at my church I keep finding out are in some way involved with scrapbooking or card making. I'm thinking about handing out the store's February calendar, letting people know I'm teaching a couple of classes there, and seeing if anyone is interested. But there's always the weird situation of not wanting to solicit people at church. I still remember trying to sell stuff at church for school fund raisers when I was a teen and how awkward that was. It would be nice, though, to have at least one person I know there for "moral support".

Worn Out

This past week or so has been pretty crazy for all of us. My jury duty lasted all the way through Friday which meant that Daniel had the kids all day from about 8 am to 6 pm every day. He ended up taking PTO days from work on Tuesday and Wednesday. There just wasn't an opportunity for him to sleep before he'd have to be at work.

I think the laws need to be changed in some way for jurors who are stay at home parents. Employed jurors are required to be compensated by their jobs for the days they miss. SAHM's, on the other hand, have to rely on a spouse or possibly pay someone to care for their kids during those days which results in lost wages for that person or having to use up vacation days.

Wednesday was particularly tiring since after a full day of court (for me) and a full day of running kids to appointments (for Daniel) my family picked me up from the courthouse and we went directly to AWANA at church. I ended up having to miss band practice. Daniel brought me my costume since it was "dress up like something God created during creation week" night. I have to admit we were all pretty funny looking. Danya was a cat (although I wished she'd worn the Eve costume she first came up with) and Gloria was a tree. Daniel had a giant fish hat on his head and I was wearing Gloria's upside down hula skirt on my head. They informed me that I was supposed to be sea weed. Our AWANA director was doing paper work with Daniel when she finally told him, "I just can't take you seriously with that fish on your head."

Thursday night Daniel and I got Shannon to watch the kids while we drove about an hour and a half South of here to buy a trombone that was listed on Craig's list. I'll post a picture of it soon. Friday we took the kids to back to back doctor's visits. My court case ended before noon, so Daniel picked me up and I went with them to the dentist and eye doctor visits. It turns out that we were right. Latte needs glasses. She should have those in a few more days. Bunny has a potential ear infection forming but her teeth are in great shape.

Sunday we had an extra rehearsal after church for an upcoming "band special" performance that I really feel like I was an after thought in. I was the only person with no part written, so Ron created a bass clef version of the saxophone part. Sunday evening we spent knocking out the grocery shopping and today I managed to get a good amount of school work done, but forgot about the girls' guitar lesson. Daniel took the kids to the park this afternoon and Kevin fell out of the swing and smacked face first into the ground. He's alright, though. We've also been battling Bunny's lice problem all week and did another round of shampoo tonight since I saw her scratching again. Hopefully tomorrow will be fairly stress free.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jury Duty

I won't be taking pictures much or blogging for the next couple of days. I got selected for jury duty this morning so I'll be in court all day for the next two days. Today was long but interesting. Poor Daniel has had to take care of all 5 of the kids all by himself. Thursday he'll have to take care of the sweet little 2 1/2 month old baby boy we agreed to watch, too. I probably won't even get to see or hold the baby (waa!) Daniel will also have to deal with all the caseworker visits and appointments for the next two days. Hopefully all will go well and I won't have to go to court Friday since we have 3 doctor's visits scheduled back to back for that day. So keep Daniel in your thoughts and prayers for the next couple of days since he will have his hands very full!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Practice Class

Sara and Shannon agreed to be my test subjects as I did a trial run on teaching a class. It was good because I got not only two opinions on what I needed to do differently, but also a chance to see what sort of things I needed to explain more clearly and what extra items I'll need to bring when I teach. For instance, I needed some plain printer paper for everyone to lay their items on while the ink dried. I also learned that I need to double check the measurements I write down because I mismeasured an important piece that changed the look of their completed items. Overall it went well and I was able to get an idea of how much time it's going to take. The answer: Longer than I had planned.

Kid Sister

Gloria is really enjoying being a big sister to her two little sisters. All the younger kids love her. The other night when Kevin was throwing a fit in his room at 2 am and I was trying to wait and see if he'd fall back asleep he started crying, "Gorya!" like he was hoping she'd come rescue him from his bed.

I think they love her because she is fun and silly. She makes crazy faces with Bunny until they both crack up laughing. She tickles Kevin. She plays tag with Latte all over the house. Tonight I asked Gloria and Bunny to let me take their picture since they were both wearing matching shirts and Bunny instantly hugged Glory tight and grinned.

Bunny is really fitting in as if she's always been here. I hope they don't move her soon like they did with Curly Top and The King.
The only problems we've had so far have been somewhat minor. She doesn't eat or drink much, hates to be told to "try" to go potty, and today she bit Kevin because he wouldn't let her go down his slide. On the other hand, she always wakes up happy and she immediately started calling us "mama" and "daddy". None of the other kids call me "mama" so I'm not sure where that's coming from exactly. They all call me "mommy" except Latte who switches between that and my actual name. Latte and Bunny play together all day long and act like they've always known each other. I thought it would be harder than this to have five small kids. I'm really enjoying being a mom of five! Daniel is too, but he says that he hopes our county doesn't start thinking that we want to specialize in 3 year olds.

5 Little Monkeys

Saturday morning we went shopping for a few little things for Bunny like socks and pull ups. We also went to Sam's Club to print another batch of our "card" because we can get two wallet sized prints their for 17 cents. Our card is just a copy of the title bar of our family blog with our email and website listed on it. We get lots of opportunities to hand them out to people who want to know more about our homeschool or who want to arrange something with us via email.

When we went to Sam's all the kids wanted to ride in the oversized shopping cart together. Poor Bunny looked a little squished but she was smiling and laughing. I think she's enjoying having siblings close to her age for the first time. Her biological siblings are both teenagers and didn't live with her, just like Latte's big sister. When my 5 little monkeys aren't riding in carts, we try to keep them walking close to me. I'll say, "Come along my little ducklings" and they'll follow after me in a line while occasionally singing our duck song. Or sometimes we'll all "spaghetti up" which means that we hold hands in a wide row and wiggle our arms pretending to be one long spaghetti noodle. Every kid we've ever done that with has just loved it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

On the Air!

Tonight I was on the radio! It was so much fun! I was stopping to get a video from RedBox when I happened to turn on the Trevor Carey show on 710 am KNUS. He was playing a funny clip of Hillary Clinton trying to use a black accent to recite a poem and asked people to call in if they wanted to request a clip of any other Presidential candidate speaking. So on a whim I decided to call. I was so shocked when I got through immediately. The call screener put me right through and I was the very next person on the air!

I asked Mr. Carey if he'd play a clip of Fred Thompson laying out all the reasons why Mike Huckabee isn't a true conservative. This happened at the last GOP debate about a week ago. He asked me who I was supporting for President and I said, Fred Thompson because he's the only real conservative candidate who has been steady in his views throughout his political career. He, apparently, is a big Ron Paul supporter so we got into a whole debate about the Iraq war, overseas military bases, the founding fathers, and a slew of topics related to that. We argued all the way to his commercial break when he said we'd have to agree to disagree. After the break he talked about me a couple more times and played the clip I had requested. I was so excited that I really got to discuss important issues in such a public forum. It was awesome!

Friday, January 18, 2008

New Addition

Tonight we got called for a new foster placement. It was an emergency situation so we picked her up an hour after we first got called. She is the little cutie on the right standing next to Latte. I'm calling her Bunny for privacy reasons on this blog. I gave her the nickname Bunny because she is like the Energizer Bunny full of non stop energy squealing and shrieking her excitement as she runs from one end of our home to the other discovering each new toy, or as she likes to call them, "surprises."

Believe it or not, these two little girls are only nine days apart in age. Bunny will be four in March and Latte will turn four right after that. They seem to be excited about the idea of sharing a bunk bed tonight. We'll see how it goes. We don't know how long Bunny will get to stay with us, but it could possibly be a long time. We'll see how that goes, too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Santa Must Love Me!

This is the 2nd of three kits that I'll be having my class make when I teach in February at The Scrap & Stamp Station. The idea is to teach people how to use their old sticker sheets inexpensively to make beautiful accents for their albums.

This kit "Santa must LOVE me!" uses only parts of 3 sheets of patterned paper, parts of 3 sheets of cardstock, a button, blank ink & pen, my Sizzix machine to make the "Santa" letters, and thumb punches for "The Loot." Anything that looks like ribbon is just paper. I've got until Friday to get all three kits ready to show the scrapbook store owner, Wendy. Two down, one to go!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Class Prep

For the class I'm planning to teach at my local scrapbook store I have to have three page kits, preferably all related to the current season or holiday. They already offer classes in card making, beginning scrapbooking, and a few other little projects. I want to offer a class that teaches how to use up your sticker stash. This is the first of the three themes I'll be teaching. I made all of this using:
1 sheet of stickers
2 sheets of patterned paper
2 sheets of plain cardstock
2 colors of ribbon
black pen, ink pad, & some blue staples
For the letters and circles I used my die cut machines, Sizzix, and Quickutz.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rosie's Toesies

For years now we've sung this silly little poem to our Gloria Rose. With this cute picture I thought I'd share the lyrics:

Rosie supposes her toes-es are roses,
but Rosie supposes erroneously!

We've been doing a bit of erroneous supposing ourselves lately it turns out. Today I went to Latte's six month review. It turns out that the four months she spent being moved from one relative placement to the next don't count, so officially she's only been in the system since mid July. It sounds like potential adoption is only a backup plan now that will be considered hopefully by July. Meanwhile we are supposed to plan as if she could get sent home anytime between March and July depending on what her mom does.

It's frustrating not knowing and in a way being held in suspended animation. We can't be considered for any other potential adoptive placements until her case is decided which could be six months or more from now. I learned a lot of things today that are the direct opposite of what we were told at the time of accepting Latte into our home. I can only say that I have no idea what's going to happen to her.

Not Necessarily a Need

We are of the firm opinion that while the homeless population of Denver appreciates the warm blankets, quilted sleeping bags, hats, and of course good food that a group of Christian bikers from our church provides them twice a month, deep down what they really need is a rich delicious fresh baked helping of home made baked goods...preferably involving chocolate.

Okay, so it's not a need in the traditional sense, but sometimes you just long for a taste of home. This weekend the kids helped make several batches of Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownies. They were a hit! No one could resist the siren call of their chocolately goodness or the inherent cuteness of little girls saying, "Have some. I baked them for you myself!"

Kevin was having a little difficulty understanding the concept of making something that smelled that wonderful and then NOT eating it. So he tried to slowly sneak a taste up to his mouth just as I was taking this group picture, but he got busted! No problem, he just waited until the perfect moment when the bowl was left unattended. Success!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What We're Reading Now: Biographies

Currently we have been slowly but steadily working our way through two biographies. One is the Martha Washington book in the Childhood of Famous American's series, which coincidentally is part of the U.S. history reading in the Sonlight curriculum we are looking into buying. The other is a biography of Albert Einstein.

Of the two, the Martha Washington book is more at the appropriate age level for Danya and Gloria. We are going very very slowly through the Einstein book as we stop to discuss each of these theories and ideas he came up with. I want to make sure that they really understand it as best they can, not just read through it quickly. We had to re-discuss one of his theories that was used as a basis for current cell phone technology because when we first finished talking about that one Gloria wrote a paper that said that Albert Einstein invented the telephone. Oops! Mostly, though, I just want them to get a general idea of his life and why he was important to the development of science. Not that it's historical in any way, but we had fun watching the movie I.Q. recently since one of the main characters is Einstein.

Pre-made Schedule

This is our homeschool schedule for Danya and Gloria next week. Normally I hand write all this in a little "Teacher's Plan Book" that I bought last year. Since we are considering using Sonlight's 3rd grade curriculum in the coming school year I thought I'd try typing up our schedule using their format and see if it was easier to read, follow, and use.

I was also curious how much time it would take me to do. The actual creation of the basic document took me the longest, and I'm still thanking my vo-tech teacher for encouraging me to learn Microsoft Excel on my own. She handed me a book and pointed me toward a computer. Then she told me I had 9 weeks to learn it and pass the tests. Learning that way instead of in a regular class really cemented all the knowledge into my brain and has come in handy in several jobs throughout my life.

After the spreadsheet was made I saved it so that I don't have to redo that part again. Going through our books and workbooks to figure out how many pages to do this week and typing it into the spreadsheet was actually only about 30 minutes worth of work at most. I left a couple of subjects blank since we'll fill them in as we go during the week. I'm also giving the girls a copy so that they can work ahead if they want to. We'll see how it goes this week.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Contemplating Curriculum

Some friends of ours at church who home school their four kids gave us a Sonlight catalog about two months ago. After looking through it we realized that it is very similar to what we are already teaching the girls. Really, the main difference (besides price) would be that it's all pulled together and planned out for me.

Currently I gather all the books and materials myself. Then on Sunday evenings I spread everything out and plan out a week's worth of school work at a time. It takes me a couple of hours to go through it all, write it out, and hand make any materials for projects and crafts and photo copy things like maps. Then after our school work is done for the day I go through my book and make note of what we actually did. On weeks when I don't have that much time to devote to planning and record keeping we do less fun stuff and I go back and make notes about what we did at the end of the week.

So, we are thinking that when Daniel gets his bonus in February/March we'll order the third grade Sonlight curriculum and try it out. We'll use it for both girls and just add the advanced reading books for Danya. Third grade is the year that Sonlight starts having all the reading tie in with their history reading. I do love the fact that their program is based on a lot of reading with the kids. That's our favorite thing to do!

Musically Inclined

Danya and Gloria began taking guitar lessons this week with Anna, the daughter of our church's worship leader. This week she taught them two chords and the names of the different parts of a guitar. The brown guitar in this photo is the one we gave them for Christmas. It's a real guitar, but smaller for their size. We got it on sale at the local music store. The girls are both so excited to be taking lessons from Anna.

They've been practicing all week and love putting stickers on the practice charts that Anna made for them. I told them as long as they practice regularly and behave well during the lessons that we'll continue with them. We were fortunate that Anna was willing to give them lessons for the price per hour that we typically pay our babysitters. Danya says it's been a mark of pride at church when they told their friends that they are taking lessons with Anna. Apparently she is very well liked and who knows? Maybe Anna will get more students through word of mouth. It's a pretty nice little first business for a 10 year old.

A Duck in the Mouth...

You know what they say, "A duck in the mouth is worth more than..." I forget how that goes. Anyway, Danya decided on a whim that she wanted to be like me and give Kevin his bath the other day. They were so cute playing with cups full of water and giggling every time Kevin would eat his duck.

Danya loves being the mom. She washes his hair, picks out his clothes and gets him dressed, and even occasionally changes his diaper. Today we had a play date at McDonald's with some friends from church and she asked for permission to take him through the tunnels. She's so good with him. I know she's going to be a great babysitter and eventually a mom some day.

One Year Later

I thought it might be fun to compare our New Year's family photo from last year with the one I took of the kids this year. It's amazing how much Kevin, especially, has changed. The kid finally has some hair! Danya and Gloria are getting ready to donate their long hair to Locks of Love. We're waiting to do it until Valentine's Day. Although I'm not in the second photo, I can see a major difference in myself since last year. I'm about 15 lbs lighter with a different hair style. Danya and Gloria both seem more grown up. Gloria has gotten so much taller and leaner this year. Most of all, last year we were missing one member of our family. We won't know if Latte gets to stay with us until March, but it already feels as if she's always been here.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Although this isn't being reported in the mainstream media, my choice for President, Fred Thompson, the only real conservative running, won second place in Wyoming's primaries this week! Woo hoo! Even Rush Limbaugh is incredulous that conservative evangelical Christians would choose a fake like Huckabee over the real deal conservative, Fred Thompson.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Considering the Dog

We are considering dog-sitting my friend Dianna's two dogs. She suspects that her son's allergy probem may be caused by the dogs. The only real way to know for sure is to get the dogs out of the house for a couple of weeks, clean it thoroughl to remove all trace of dog hair, and then wait to see if his allergies clear up.

This dog in the photo is very sweet and wouldn't be much of a problem I don't think. Her other dog makes me nervous. It's a small pug that's very noisy, hostile to the brown & white dog, and jumps up on everyone. I'm currently debating the merits of whether I should do this or not.

Scrapping and Teaching

Friday night I decided to go to a crop the next morning at my local scrapbook store, the Stamp and Scrap Station. When I called to see if there were any spots left for their all day crop I found out that there was only one person signed up. So I called Sarah and asked her to come stay the night and go with me to the crop the next day.

We had a wonderful time just yakking about nothing in particular and working on scrapbook pages. Sarah made some little accents for pages, too. The only downside for her was that she didn't have many photos so I let her use some of my doubles. She likes scrapbooking pictures of my kids for her album. She babysits them at least once every two weeks, and Kevin adores her. She's going to be a good mom someday.

While we were there I got 6 12x12 pages done and 24 blog album pages done! I outscrapped the competition by a long shot. Sarah and I had the crop room to ourselves for the first two hours, and then four other people ended up coming. I met a woman who is planning to start homeschooling her oldest this Fall. We were very like-minded so we talked almost non-stop.

The best news of the evening was that I finally got my courage up to bring some of my hand made scrapbook kits and items to show the store owner. She told me that I absolutely MUST teach a class at her store! She says that her classes typically have 8 to 10 people signed up, paying $15 each and that I would get to keep all the profit after I subtract however much it costs me to make up the class kits. I have to make the kits using material from her store, but I get a discount. I'm excited and nervous all at once! I've always wanted to teach scrapbooking classes. I'll be sure to post pictures of the kits I come up with. I've already got several in mind!

Snow Girls, Snow Men

The girls loved it when the temperature started rising and all the snow began to melt this week. It made the snow perfect for making snowmen. They spent about an hour outside crafting the perfect little snow people.

I watched Danya roll a snow ball so huge that she literally couldn't budge it any further. That's how they ended up determining where to begin creating their little snow scene. When they were finished I made sure that we had a good photo of our three visitors sitting in our front yard guarding the walkway.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Internet Virus

We haven't been posting because we are fighting a virus on our computer called "Internet Speed Monitor." Also, Daniel had to have an emergency root canal this week and Kevin's ear infection has progressed to needing antibiotic injections that will be administered every day for a few days in a row. Latte has an ear infection, too. So, kind of chaotic here. Hopefully we'll get this computer virus beat soon and be able to use the internet again. We've been fighting it since Saturday.