Saturday, January 28, 2012

Expanding our Circle

 When we decided to adopt African American children, we realized that our circle of friends was rather narrow.  Part of the problem is the area where we've lived and gone to church for the past five years.  It's not exactly diverse.  The only AA friends and loved ones we have were all back home in Oklahoma.  That's fine for our yearly visits, but not good for an everyday basis.  It's important that our children have strong role models that look like them, so that they'll grow up feeling proud of who they are and of their heritage.

Fortunately, our new neighborhood is much more diverse.  Even more fortunately, Daniel knows some good guys at work, like Leo (pictured here), who are willing to get to know all of us better.  We invited Leo over for dinner and he invited us to try out his church.  We'd like to give our kids the opportunity to experience the major difference between our church and an African American Methodist church, so we're hoping to do that within the next month or so.  We want them to see that even though cultural and worship styles can vary greatly, the important thing is the underlying foundational love for Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Talent Show

 Jordan (a.k.a "Hoops"), played the bells with her fourth grade class for the school talent show this year.  She did a great job and the music was fun.  I think she enjoyed being on stage.

The thing that I found the funniest, however, was before the show.  I told Jordan to pose with her friends for some photos.  She rounded them up for the shot, and they all started saying, "Where's your mom?" She kept saying, "Right there!"  I was cracking up laughing as they tried to look past me and around me to find a black woman.  Then their eyes got all big when they realized she was talking about me.  Jordan and I laughed about it later together.  I'm glad she was able to keep a sense of humor about it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Libraries are for READING

I'm a bit frustrated with our library system.  They spent a ton of money remodeling and building new locations.  They're all very pretty now.  My problem is this.  I take my kids to the library so that they'll be excited about all the books and want to spend an hour or two reading.  Instead, in these nice shiny new buildings, they walk in the door and get bombarded with giant flat screen t.v.'s and computers.

If I wanted them to watch t.v. and play on the computer, we could stay home.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Snowmen Read

The kids made snowmen reading books as a craft project to display in January.  We got the idea from the school at our church.  They have the cutest projects on the walls and I'm always taking mental notes as I walk around on Sundays and Wednesdays.  This project was a bit more complicated than I imagined it being.  Next time, I'll cut all the pieces ahead of time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Church Cleaning Crew

The church cleaning crews are often short handed.  We're fixing that problem for our particular crew that works the third Saturday of each month.  We just bring our own crew.  Our older kids are getting the opportunity to serve the Lord and our church family while also learning some new cleaning skills. 

Cleaning a huge worship center is a much different experience than cleaning our house.  They have to wipe down the arm rests of several hundred chairs, vacuum football fields worth of carpet, wash windows higher than their heads, and dust all the equipment used for the worship team.  It's actually a lot of fun and they get that good feeling on Sunday morning looking around a bright shiny clean church and knowing they helped make it that way.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

AWANA Rodeo Night

It was Rodeo Night at AWANA in honor of the National Western Stock Show in Denver.  Danya was an adorable rodeo clown.  Michael, Kevin, and Brianna were cowboys and a cowgirl.  Shane, our off beat little boy, went as chicken feed in an old pillow case.  The judges must have thought it was unique, because  he won.  What I never quite understood, was how Gloria thought a rabbit had something to do with a rodeo.  The teeth were pretty cute, though.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mashed Potato Head

She's a handful, all right.  If there is something that she can smear all over herself, she will.  If there's something she shouldn't touch, she makes a bee line for it.  If it's something I carefully put out of her reach, she will drag a chair over, climb tables or shelves, open the drawer, and dig it out.  My scrapbook supplies are no longer safe.  I'm planning to get a lock for the pantry door.  I keep my room locked at all times.  But most importantly, I keep my camera handy.

Katie's First Haircut

We took Katie to Great Clips for her first real haircut.  The before pictures are on the left and the afters are on the right.  Katie's hair was all different lengths, making it look a little crazy most of the time.  After this haircut, we bought her some curl styling mousse to make her naturally curly hair look a little more defined.  She likes to tell people that she has curly hair "like Grandma".  It's true.  She gets her gorgeous curls directly from Grandma Nancy, Daniel's mom.

Polar Bear Tennis

There's a Polar Bear Club of people who actually like to jump into freezing cold lakes and oceans in the middle of winter... just for fun.  Apparently, we are almost as crazy as they are.  We actually tried to play tennis on a bitterly cold day in January.  The wind was so sharp we almost gave up just walking from the van to the tennis courts.  The kids were nice enough to pretend to play for a minute while I got a picture of each of them.  Well, everyone but Kevin.  He hid behind a shed, turning blue and trying to block the wind.  But hey, I got these nifty pictures, so it was worth it, right?  Right?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Meeting Their Brother

"Hoops", "Lego Man" and "Happy" all got to meet their little brother in January of this year.  He was about 18 months old and put the Energizer Bunny to shame.  Although he was a little slow to warm up, after we'd been at McDonald's a while he started to relax and let "Happy" hold his hand and play with him.  He really liked Katie, too.

"Y" isn't very talkative, but he squeaks and squeals happily.  He's very curious and wants to explore everything.  He has been adopted by an African American and Hispanic family which is perfect since that is his heritage, too.  They are also a foster family, but their biological kids are all grown.  "Y" just stole their hearts.  They'd had him since he was born and couldn't imagine him being adopted by anyone else, so they decided to keep him.  Luckily, they don't live too far away.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


 Danya wanted to learn to play trombone.  I wanted her to go to a local middle school band program so she could learn the basics that I missed when I was a kid.  Since I didn't start band until the 8th grade, I always felt like I missed out on the essential foundational knowledge that has taken me years to learn.

For Danya, that translates into me requiring her to attend a one hour 6th grade band class four days a week, rain or shine, whether it's freezing cold outside or not.  She's had such a good attitude about it over all.  I know she's wanted to quit a few times now because of the interruption in her day and the tedium of class time some days.  But she has stuck with it.  I think mostly for my sake.

I'm so proud of her.  We've enjoyed seeing her performances throughout the year.  She says the next (final) one will be the best because they are playing music from Indiana Jones and Harry Potter movies.  I'm looking forward to the day when she can join me on stage in the church band.  Who knows?  A few more kids down the line I may create my own brass section!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Sweet Boy

Ah, Kev-Kev, why can't you be my sweet boy every day?  Some days Kevin can't wait to help me with every little thing.  Cooking is high up on the list.  He's excited to do his school work and begs for more.  He even plays with his little sisters nicely and keeps them entertained while I get other things done around the house.  Then he hugs me and tells me he loves me.  I wish that little boy would never leave.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sensory Chaos

2 yr old "Happy" has had an occupational therapy session every week for about a year now.  The therapist, Christine, tells me that "Happy" used to have an extreme aversion to all sorts of things.  She didn't like the feel of water, most foods, finger paints, etc.  I guess she was over all that by the time she came to us.

Christine tested "Happy" a little after Christmas to see if she could handle the finger paints.  The tree on the left is the one that "Happy" made with her therapist's help.  The one on the right is the one I let Katie make real quick with a piece of my scrapbooking paper and the left over finger painting supplies.  You can tell who knew what they were doing, lol.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Slow But Steady

We continue to see Shane make slow but steady progress in reading and math.  He enjoys the computer math program and the new easy reader books we got him (all three letter words or less), but often forgets material he learned just a month before.  I know it's frustrating for him to see his younger brother, Kevin, advancing at a much faster pace in reading.  Kevin surprised Daniel this week by reading a polar bear book that we had no idea he could read yet.

Meanwhile, Shane says he has made friends with the boy who was bullying him at the Options program.  But yesterday, when I picked the kids up, I was told that the solution seems to be to ignore the bullying and let this boy take whatever Shane has.  I told him to be nice to the boy and super friendly in the hopes that he would stop being so violent.  I also tried to get the school involved, but their solution was to have a school assembly about bullying that didn't really make much sense to the kids.  The principal brought dogs and talked about the fact that, even though the dogs are very different and have different jobs when they are hunting, they don't bully each other and treat each other badly because of their differences.  The only problem is that bullying isn't always about kids treating a "different" kid badly.  Sometimes it's just bad behavior.  I was hoping they'd spell out direct consequences and lay down the law, but instead it was handled in a "let's just all be nice" manner.

He seems happy, though, with the way things are going now.  I'm trying not to be a "helicopter mom" hovering over him and zooming in to fix everything.  At least he has his brother in class with him as support and an interpreter when trying to talk to teachers.  His teachers have told me he's doing well in class.  Here's hoping it all works out okay.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


A lot of people have gotten into the "picture a day" fad, where you take one photo every day to document a year.  I'm jumping on the bandwagon... but not on this blog.  I don't want to have to comment on every photo for the whole year.  So, I'm trying out a separate blog, just for my "Photo a day" or "PHAD".  If you want to see our family's daily photo starting with today you can find them at Scrapsofhome2012phad over on Wordpress.  I've always wanted to try a different format.  It's a lot more complicated over there.  But then again, the new changes that Blogger has been making are not for the better.  Daniel says he's going to encourage me with the photo a day challenge.  As a matter of fact, he took this first photo on his cell phone at church this morning.  Wish me luck!  I'm hoping to get a great 2012 memory book out of this.