Monday, April 30, 2012

Brighton Pool Fun

 We decided to revisit the Brighton Rec Center Pool.  We went last year during our summer staycation.  They've changed the play equipment in the little kid area.  My friend Jeanette recommended we check it out.

The older kids had a great time.  Katie and Karyie took a while to get comfortable.  They wanted to stay near a grown up at all times.  Poor little Karyie is so petite that she gets cold very easily.  She was shivering and turning blue even though it was a heated pool.  Gloria tried out her new goggles.  Daniel and I raced up and down the length of the lap pool a few times.  Next time we'll have to go during a time of day when Jordan and Michael can come, too.  This time they were at school.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


We bought some special hair clippers for the boys.  I've been buzzing the boy hair in our family for years.  Now I can shave cool designs into their hair.  Next time I want to try the trick where you hold a template over their hair and color inside it with chalk.  Then you just shave off the colored parts.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Crawdad Boil

 Our friends Jim and Brandy hosted a crawdad boil at the park near their home.  They got a surprisingly large turn out, considering that they were asking people to eat crawdads.  Bleck.  I did NOT try them.  I did, however, try the gumbo and the jambalaya.  They weren't bad.  My kids tried the crawdads.  I was impressed at their bravery.  Some of them even went back for seconds.

Friday, April 27, 2012


My daughter Gloria has many of my best and worst qualities.  Like me, she enjoys arts and crafts.  She has a creative streak a mile wide and much more than me.  I like to think I am a good imitator of other people's art.  I can look at a scrapbooking magazine and use the ideas as a jumping off point for my own pages.  I can draw a picture that looks very much like whatever I'm looking at.  But Gloria can create things just from her imagination.  She thinks of designs and makes them a reality whether it's drawing, painting, sculpting, crocheting a purse or designing useful things with duct tape.

She also has inherited my tendency to procrastinate.  If I have six weeks to complete a project, I'm likely to work on it in the final few days.  If I have six hours to clean my house, most of it will get done in the last two.  Gloria is just like me.  She'll start a job, like laundry or sweeping the kitchen... and then just wander off to do other things until she's reminded to go back.  Then she'll do a little more... and wander off again.  When I was a kid, my mom would expect me to do the dinner dishes.  Like clockwork, every night I'd sneak off to the bathroom with a book to avoid doing my job.  Gloria can usually be found in the same location immediately after dinner. 

In this photo she seems to be acting the good big sister and teaching Shane to play checkers.  The papers on the table are the research report Danya did for the science project she was doing for Options.  Gloria was also supposed to be working on one.  She put it off until it was almost two weeks over due.  Then she sat at the computer and waited for me to come walk her through it step by step.  If it doesn't involve making a craft or drawing, she isn't interested in it.  Even if it's a fun project, she quickly loses interest and motivation.  Even if she completes it, she'll neglect to turn it in.  I get so frustrated with her... because it's exactly what I do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Molly's Future

Molly let me babysit my granddaughter, Alayna, for the first time while she was taking her final tests at her high school.  I dropped Alayna off outside the school after Molly was finished.  I hate that I only get to see them once every week or two.  I wish I could just wrap them up in bubble wrap and keep them safe at all times.  It's so hard to accept the realization that Molly is basically fast forwarding her life and becoming a young adult.  It's difficult to believe that the daughter of my heart, who I first met as a hurt and scared little 12 year old with a smile for everyone, is now a mommy of her own little girl.

She's living in a group home for teen moms right now.  We've invited them to live with us if she should decide she'd like to finish out her last two years of high school.  The group home people are encouraging her to just get her G.E.D.  I hope she doesn't go that route.  She's talking about trying to finish the necessary school work on her own and complete school as a Junior.  I'm not sure what will happen to her or to my grandbaby.  All we can do is pray for her daily, which we do, and continue to offer as much love and support as possible.

Not So Cute

This was cuter when he was smaller, when he didn't fill out my shoes quite as well.  My baby boy will be turning six soon.  I can already see the teenager he will become in little glimpses every day.  I wish there was a pause button I could push or at least something to slow it down a little.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Welcoming a Stranger

 We have decided to follow God's commands and welcome a stranger among us.  We've done this in a different way before by welcoming foster kids, but now that we've completed our family through adoption, we're ready for a new challenge.  Something I've always wanted to do, at least once in my life, was open my home to a foreign exchange student.  This is the year.

We're going through a group, licensed through the government, called Pacific Intercultural Exchange, or P.I.E. for short.  The process was fairly simple.  Background check, references, home inspection.  Similar to the foster care licensing process, but less rigorous.  We had to take photos of all the main areas of our home.  It's odd wondering what someone from a different part of the world will think of our home.

The girl we're hosting is from South Korea.  I've looked at generic photos online, but still don't have a good idea of what her home looks like or the city she lives in.  I'm curious to see what she'll think of how we live and the foods we eat.  We're planning lots of fun things to do with her while she's here like hiking, visiting the Royal Gorge, and river rafting.  We told our age 10 and up kids that they will be going river rafting and most of them are a little scared of the idea, but it will be a good adventure for them.  Having a 16 year old South Korean girl live with us for the school year will be an even bigger adventure.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Timothy Award

 At the AWANA award ceremony this year we were so proud and happy to see Danya win the Timothy Award.  It's a special award that only kids who have completed every single book possible through the AWANA program can receive.  It means she completed her AWANA book every year since she was just a 4 yr old Cubby.  This was her final year.  Danya and her two best friends, Lauren and Sarah, all won the award.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Park Power

At playgrounds, now that many of my kids are getting older, the main fun seems to come from scaring mom.  They want to climb on top of or on the outside of the playground equipment.  It doesn't seem to frighten them at all that they could so easily come crashing down.  Some of them like to get into crazy positions and have me take their photo.  Others, especially Michael, like to show off their muscle strength by holding their entire body away from the sliding pole and only holding on with one arm.  I have no idea how they do it.  My poor old, going to turn 35 years old this year, muscles groan in sympathy just watching my kids do these crazy things.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Piggy Back Pony Tails


Karyie looked so cute in these piggy back pony tails.  It's just a series of pony tails that are twisted together.  I'm having so much fun trying out new styles on her hair, especially now that she's getting better at sitting still for it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Piano Lessons

Apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  Luke, the trumpet player from our church and our sometimes babysitter, is now teaching me to play the piano on Monday afternoons.  He's only charging me $25 a month, which I think is a good deal.  The idea is that I'll learn to play it and then teach the kids.  I'm picking it up surprisingly fast.  It helps that I already knew how to read trombone music.  He's also teaching me lots of bits of music theory that I never learned in school.  My education consisted of, "Here's a trombone and a book.  Be ready to join the band by next week." back when I was in 8th grade.  Anything else I've learned has been picked up along the way until now.  I'm amazed at how much musical knowledge Luke already has.  He'll be playing in college this Fall.  Thankfully, he's patient and doesn't make me feel bad that someone almost half my age is teaching me.  And he laughs at my jokes, which is what really counts.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Grandchild

 Our former foster daughter, Molly, the daughter of our heart, gave birth to our first grandbaby in April.  Her name is Alayna and her initials are ABC.  She's simply beautiful.  We're so proud of them both.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Catch a Rainbow

 I managed to catch a rainbow accidentally in one of the photos we took at the park the other day.  The sky was grey and looked like it was going to start dumping rain at any moment.  We went to the park near our friend, Jeanette's house.  Her daughter walked over to play with us while we were there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fledgling Friendship

We are just now developing friendships for Katie and Karyie.  They are starting to go to more birthday parties and for the first time, we invited a little girl over just for a play date with them.  The other kids were all at their Tuesday Options school.  A friend of mine, Rainy, from church brought her little girl over after dropping her older ones off.  It was so cute watching them play together.  In this photo they are outside coloring with chalk.   

Cereal Box Design

Danya and Gloria had to design their own cereal boxes for a lesson on advertising in their technical writing class at Options.  Danya used the Fly Lady character as a base for her tooth fairy.  I thought it was really cute.  So did her teacher who showed it to the whole class.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bubble Beards

 When Karyie first came to live with us, her former foster family told us that she was terrified of water and specifically of baths.  We thought it would help if she took baths with her new sister, Katie.  It worked beautifully.  They played and splashed.  It was almost like Katie had to teach Karyie how to have fun in a bathtub.  We bought her a shark toy with six little fishies that it could eat.

Eventually, she learned to sit still and play quietly while we pour water on her hair and condition it.  With African American hair, you only shampoo about once a month.  On a weekly basis we condition it twice and then add a leave-in conditioner.  The whole process takes about an hour.  20 minutes to remove her old hairstyle (longer if we put in lots of tiny braids), 30 minutes to condition and detangle her hair in the tub.  10 minutes to deal with clothing and diapers.

I'm enjoying it all as a bonding time between Karyie, Daniel and I. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

Science Experiment: Is Black a Color?

 Gloria did a science experiment for the science fair this year.  She was testing various black inks to see what colors they really contained inside.  Through her research she discovered that, when referring to light, black is not a color, but that in black ink there are actually many colors.  I think it was a good experience for her, but she needed a little more direction from the teacher.

She and Danya are in the same science class this year at their Tuesday Options program.  I'm a little frustrated by it.

I thought that the reason we put them in this class was so that they could do more elaborate hands on science experiments in class than we usually do at home.  Instead, the teacher devoted two months to having the kids come home, choose an experiment with me and do the work entirely at home.  She would ask us to send some of the busy work to class with them so they'd have something to do there.  Seems like a waste of a class period to me if it's really all just homework.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Sunday

 On Easter Sunday our girls and some of their friends performed a puppet show for the preschoolers.  You can see Karyie in the bottom left corner of the second photo.  I think the little ones got a kick out of being taught their Sunday school lesson by the big kids instead of their usual teachers.  Jordan didn't originally have a part in the performance, but one of the girls didn't show up, so she was handed a script and asked to fill in.