Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nature's Beauty

 Inexpensive date, priceless beauty.  I love exploring Colorado's nature trails with Daniel.  With the kids it's fun and interesting, but with Daniel is just beautiful and peaceful.  It was one of those rare Fall days where the weather is perfect and even the sky looks like it was painted to provide a perfect back drop for photos.  What I find even more amazing, though, is that nature and time are leaving their mark on my Sweetie, Daniel, and yet I find him more beautiful every year. 
 I love each one of his smile lines and those little worry lines he gets on his forehead.  I think his hair color suits him more now that it has darkened as he's gotten older.  And on a day like this, his blue eyes are more lovely than the sky.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hair Affair

 "Mommy, flat iron my hair," she said.  I'd never tried that.  We were going to a hair care training event for African American hair down in Aurora.  It was to help foster and adoptive moms learn how to better care for their children of color's hair.  I've already spent a long time learning as much as possible about hair, but I still have questions.  Each kid was supposed to get some time with a hair expert who works regularly with non-Caucasian hair.  We ended up consulting with some women from a salon that works exclusively with curly haired people.  They weren't impressed by my attempt to flat iron Jordan's hair.  That's okay.  I prefer her hair curly or braided.  We learned some tricks for managing it when she keeps it in a fro.  We also got talked into getting her a $100 haircut and style.  I've never paid that much money for hair in my life.  It looked great for about 3 days.  We won't be doing that again.

Michael really liked the man he met, Chris, who taught him how to take care of his hair even when it's cut short.  He gave him a special brush to train it to grow in a wave pattern.  But, being a kid, he still doesn't like to spend time brushing his hair.  He wants me to let him grow it long so we can corn row it, but since he will not take the time to keep it detangled, I just keep giving him a buzz cut.  Maybe when he's older and more responsible we can try it longer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Science Run Amok

 Every so often we get the itch to do science experiments in our house.  I like ones that aren't very messy.  Most of them work out okay, but for some reason, the making crystals on a string thing never works for us.  I think I need someone to teach me the secret to getting crystals to grow before I try it again with the kids, because the disappointment is killing them.  On the plus side, I'm able to explain that failed experiments is a huge part of being a scientist.  Like Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monet Day!

 We are studying the works of famous artists as part of a small unit study in our home school.  Today was Monet day.  The kids read a book about Monet and learned about French Impressionism.  Then we went outside to draw our own empressions of our neighborhood in chalk and water color paints.  I think the chalk drawings came out really cute.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Readin' Writin' and 'Rithmatic

 All my friends are talking about getting back into the school routine and "back to school" events, etc.  Since we home school year round, there is not real change for us in September.  The main change is starting Options again in the Fall.  My friends talk about the difficulty of getting their kids to do homework... and I actually understand that.  My kids think school work is a negotiation.  They want me to believe that having their math and reading done should mean they don't have to do other subjects or that doing History means they don't need to do Science.

 Obviously, I disagree.  Then I inform them that this is not a democracy in our home.  It is a "Momtatorship".  I decide how much is enough and which subjects we'll be covering that day.  Maybe we had to do a light day on Thursday because of a doctor's appointment, so Friday will require more work.  Maybe I'm going easy on them on Monday because we are trying to cram in all the Options homework they didn't get done earlier.  What I really hate is when they bring me something they need typed at the last moment on Monday night for an Options class on Tuesday morning.  That's when I whip out my 7th grade art teacher's favorite quote: "Lack of planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on mine."

Saturday, September 22, 2012


 We always say that Katie and Karyie are "twinkies" when they wear matching clothes.  But this time they got to be "THRINKIES" with their new friend, Michaela.  When Michaela showed up at our house wearing her princess shirt, Katie and Karyie had to run and put theirs on, too.  Michaela's mom, Susie, is our exchange student Polly's liaison for the exchange program.  She checks up on her monthly to make sure she's doing okay and helps facilitate trips and activities Polly is involved in through the organization.  We really like Susie and always have fun when she brings Michaela along on visits to our home.

AWANA Girls' Nature Walk

 Brianna and her friends from the 3rd and 4th Grade Girls AWANA group went on a nature walk on a beautiful Saturday morning in September.  She pretty much giggled non-stop.  They got to explore the walking trails behind the church which are very pretty.  Although, I think they were having more fun being silly with their friends.

Friday, September 21, 2012

TNT Boys' Camp Out

 Michael is in the TNT Boys group at AWANA this year.  It stands for "Truth and Training" and, of course, is cool because it looks like it means dynamite.  They had their annual camp out on the church lawn this year.  Michael was very excited to sleep in a tent with his best friends, Joel and Jonah.  Jonah's dad, Uriah, is one of the leaders of the group.  I really like that the whole group is lead by godly Christian men who are training the boys in how to become strong men of God, rooted firmly in His Word.  You won't find this kind of environment in the Boy Scouts.

"Mommy, Take a picture!"

 I love this digital age because I can take photos of the cute things the kids make.  However, I get a little tired of hearing, "Mommy, take a picture of what we made!" all day long.  Now, I let them take their own pictures.  The angles are always interesting at least!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Color Night at AWANA

 The kids like Color Night at AWANA because they get to skip the t-shirts and wear their team colors instead.  This year we added colored yarn and ribbon to their hair.  I'd originally only intended to do it for Jodie (Jordan's nickname), but the other girls wanted me to try it in their hair, too.  I'm not sure it really showed up much in Glo's hair, but she liked it.  Katie doesn't have a team color, since she's only a Cubbie this year, but she wanted a bow in her hair.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Katie Karyie Daddy Mommy Day!

 Katie and Karyie LOVE Tuesdays.  That's the day when all the older kids go off to school at Options.  The girls call it "Katie Karyie Daddy Mommy Day" which is a really long way of saying "anything Katie and Karyie want to do day".  We play games, go to parks, eat at restaurants, and generally spoil the girls rotten.  Being the youngest in a family as big as ours often means getting left out of fun stuff and not getting as much of your parents' attention as they'd like.  So we really try to let them feel special on Tuesdays.  The other kids can't really complain because we don't do anything hugely expensive like amusement parks or anything and because they know that they get many more privileges than the youngest two girls.  I really like the time to bond, especially with Karyie who hasn't had me as her Mommy for her whole life like Katie has.


 We've been sending the kids to the OPTIONS program since 2007.  Danya tried a different one the year before she turned 7, but we've been doing Options ever since.  The kids really like the opportunity to enjoy a school like environment and meet other homeschooled kids each week.  They also like choosing their own classes and knowing that the homework is usually minimal, at least for the younger grades.

 This year Shane and Kevin are taking the first grade classes again.  Last year, we let Kevin skip over the Kindergarten stuff for the most part because he would have been bored stiff.  Shane, on the other hand, really needs this extra year to strengthen his grasp on reading.  With a late birthday (July 30th) I don't think it will hurt him any to redo this year, but it will help a lot since his auditory processing disorder makes grasping words, both written and spoken, very difficult for him.  They like their new classroom (the school moved to a new location) and love their teacher who is the same one from last year.  Mrs. Hall is very good with both of them.  Kevin is already much more mature this year and handling the school environment better.  I think it's really good for them to experience listening to and learning from teachers other than me.  I'm helping out a bit in the classroom now and then, too.

The "lock down drill" was interesting.  We all had to hide in one large bathroom.  Apparently, it wasn't really a drill, either.  The police were up on the hill doing some sort of training exercise, which frightened a teacher and sent everyone into lock down mode.
Danya and Gloria are very excited about their drama class this year.  They are both trying out for parts in Beauty and the Beast.  They had to perform a monologue and a song from any musical or Disney movie.  Gloria chose the scene from Tangled when Rapunzel first leaves the tower and then she sang Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid.  Danya did a Hilary Duff monologue from A Cinderella Story and sang a song from Aladdin.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dad Time

 Daniel likes to give me a break now and then by taking the kids to local parks to play.  I appreciate it even more when he remembers to hand the camera to one of the older girls to take photos.  I really like Jordan's hair in this longer style when we add extensions.  Katie likes her French braids, too!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church and Friendship

 When I was a kid I didn't understand the importance or purpose of church.  In elementary school we sometimes went to a Baptist church.  My mom liked it because the church would send a bus to pick us up and it got us out of the house for half the day.  What I remember is the kids' church area where we had girls on one side and boys on the other and everything was a competition to see who could sing and yell louder.  In the adult side, which I only glimpsed in passing, I remember the preacher yelling very loudly about hell.

In middle school, my mom took us to a catholic church... where we mainly worked in the nursery taking care of preschoolers and infants.  They had National Geographic magazines in all the bookshelves with pictures of half dressed Africans.  My main memories there are of being told that "We don't use the bible in Catholic catechism classes, so put it away" and the time I set the priest's robe on fire while he was trying to baptize me with oil on my forehead.  Why DID they give an 11 year old a lit candle to hold while doing this?

Now that I'm an adult and a Christian, I understand better that we don't go to church so we can study the bible... we could do that at home, although at my church we REALLY study the bible and I always learn a lot.  We don't go to church to sing songs... we could do that at home, although I really enjoy playing in the band and the worship music is wonderful at our church.  We go to church to have fellowship with other believers and to welcome others who are seeking answers about God and life (and no, the answer isn't 42).  I particularly enjoy my wonderful friends in my Sunday school class who lift me up (and knock me down a peg when I need it) and support me no matter what I share with them.  I also get a kick out of bringing our former foster children to church and spending time with our friends sharing lunch after church.  All the people I rely on most on a regular basis are part of my church family and part of the extended family of God.  And that's why we go to church.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Indiana Jones Marathon

 Danya has been asking when she would be old enough to watch the Indiana Jones movies for years now.  Mainly because Daniel and I quote them a lot.  We already own the LEGO Indiana Jones video games, so the kids are familiar with the general story line.

Well, Danya had been stepping up and doing incredibly well with behavior, leadership, and positive attitude lately, so we wanted to reward her.  And then the opportunity to attend the AMC Theaters Indian Jones marathon came up.  So we made it an all day Mom and Danya event.  It was awesome.  It was long, but fun.  Trying to order snacks went badly because the theater employees got overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowd and number of orders, but the rest of the event went smoothly.  It's always fun being surrounded by a huge number of people who all share your fan craze for something.  The number of fedoras in that theater was staggering.  And now Danya understands all the lines we quote from the movie.  My favorite?  "Hold onto your potatoes, Dr. Jones!" (shouted as we make a hard turn while holding french fries in the van)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cool Hair, Cool Car

 Katie and Karyie are all about style these days.  Katie likes getting her hair done to match Karyie's.  They both like cruising in their convertible around the cul de sac.  Karyie especially loves her new sleep cap.  Wait, that's not a sleep cap.  Although it does protect her hair style while she sleeps.  It's actually a barbie book cover.  You know, the covers kids put over their school books to protect them from damage and to look cute.  Works pefectly on toddler heads.  And looks pretty cool, too.