Monday, October 26, 2009


One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the fact that I'm constantly learning new things. For the first time in my life, I actually understand why we divide and multiply fractions the way we do and not just because that's how Mrs. Goebel taught me to do it when I was in the 6th grade. Then there's the fascinating truth about how hail forms or the process of how to delete the prepositional phrases before attempting to diagram a sentence. But, I especially love the history tidbits- like the fact that John Q. Adams kept an alligator in the White House or that Thomas Jefferson was once gifted an enormous piece of cheese.

As I've mentioned many times before, we are involved with a co-op that focuses on history and the fine arts and we love it. Recently, we finished our first unit of the year and we celebrated with a South America Festival. We had been studying South America and their road to independence for several weeks. So, each class in the co-op took a country to research and share information about. The kids had a scavenger hunt to complete using the information displays. There was lots of "authentic" foods, and we had a speaker who was a former missionary to Brazil. It was a fun evening for all of us. Here are some pictures of our fun:

This is my upper grammar class of 4-6 graders I teach each week.
Lizzy and Alexa, intent on completing their scavenger hunt questions.
Yummy fruits of Bolivia.
My class's display table on Argentina. You gotta love the gaucho my boys made. I think the boots are almost as big as he is!

Hmm, it says here that they eat guinea pig in Colombia!

Abe stayed entertained with large quantities of Smarties distributed a few at a time. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
Lizzie and two of her good friends in front of their Venezuela display
Lily and Isaac with their Lower Grammar class of K-2nd graders, they learned about Ecuador.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rainy Saturday Night

The truth about what happens at our house on rainy Saturday nights. Lucky for Isaac, he had already made it into the tub before Daddy decided to catch the fun on film. FYI- Abe's microphone is really my Pampered Chef tongs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Peeps

Abraham would like to give a shout out to 2 of his favorite peeps this morning.

To Isaac: Thanks Bro, for leaving the remnants of your lemon parfait yogurt within my range of reach.

To Mom: Thanks for getting distracted by your e-mail long enough to allow me this opportunity- especially since we were only about 2 feet apart.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe!

Today is a special day at our house!  It is Abe's 2nd birthday.  This time last year he was living in a foster care facility in Ethiopia and I am pretty certain that no one was acknowledging his birthday.  That made today extra sweet as we know this is his first round of birthday cake and present opening.  I must say, they seem to "get it" much better at 2 than they do at 1, making it extra fun.  
At our house, the tradition is that you get an Elmo cake for your 2nd birthday.  I never intended for that to be the tradition.  In fact, I am extremely over the whole Elmo thing.  But, the first two had Elmo cakes because of Abby's early love for Elmo and then, since they had both had Elmo, they insisted all of the others have Elmo too.  So I spent the morning making Elmo cake number 5 and it was a hit.  Elmo is actually about the only character that Abe can identify, so it was fun to hear him squeal "ELMO!" all day long.  
I have actually laid down an Elmo mandate at our house.  The kids kept asking Abe, "Whose world is it?"  To which they have trained him to respond, "Elmo's world!"  I finally put my foot down and informed them that it is not Elmo's world and they have since tried to reprogramed him to respond to the question with the response "Jesus' world!"
Anyway, here are some photos of our little birthday celebration in honor of Mr. Abe:
Here is the birthday dinner spread.  Nana's in town so that means homemade chicken and dumplings with cornbread along with Abe's favorites- baked beans and glazed carrots.

These were cupcakes Abby fashioned from leftover cupcakes and icing with some marshmallows thrown in.
Abe with his homemade party hat.
Elmo cake- number 5 in a series

Abe eating Elmo's eye, hopefully he won't need therapy for watching us dissect Elmo.
Cake and ice cream were a hit!

Abe got the hang of opening presents pretty fast!
He also got the hang of "mine!" pretty fast too.  This little robot claw appears to be his favorite gift thus far.  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Abe,

One year ago today we saw these pictures for the first time.  I don't think I'll ever forget the events of that day.  I know I'll never forget the emotions that flooded over me when we received that referral call.  The joy at finally knowing who you were, the sorrow at learning of the loss in your little life, the delight in knowing we'd meet you soon.  I knew immediately that you were just the right little guy for our family.  
It was a very special day in my life.  By God's providence, all of your grandparents were in town and we were able to celebrate together.  We took turns looking at those 3 photos over and over and over.  I am forever grateful that out of all the mommies in the world, God chose me to be your mommy.  I love you Abraham!  


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekend in Virginia

I've confessed on here before that I am a nerd.  I used to try to hide my nerdiness, but I've come to terms with the truth.  I enjoy reading all the plaques at historic sites.  I consider it a special treat when I get to watch an episode of Jeopardy. I could get in WAY more trouble in a book store than a shoe store.  You get the picture.  I just love learning.
It was in that spirit of nerdiness that I planned our camping trip this past weekend.  Fortunately for me, I am raising my children to be mini-nerds and so they loved it.  We had a great time camping in Charlottesville VA, even though the first night the temperature got down to 41 degrees.  Let me just say friends, that makes for a cold night in a tent!  But, s'mores are yummy in any weather, and I'd much rather be too cold than miserably hot!  
We have just finished studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the War of 1812.  That meant a trip to the homes of Jefferson and Madison was definitely in order.  Here are some highlights from our trip:
Day 1: Monticello

Here we are at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
Abe, appreciating an energetic Monticello squirrel.
The gardens were gorgeous!
One of the things I found most fascinating about Mr. Jefferson was the choice of accomplishments which he wanted listed on his tomb.  Did you know that the three he chose did not include being a President of the United States?
Here is Lizzy having a little fun with our 3rd President.  I think he looks good in pink!

Day 2: Montpelier
This was Montpelier, the home of James Madison.  No, the front doors are not made of plywood, they are just painted a plywoodish color.

Montpelier had a tent where the kids could try using woodworking tools, they thoroughly enjoyed trying a planer, a draw knife, a drill and some other items.

Abby helped cook apple beignets in Dolly's outdoor kitchen.

Abe wasn't too impressed with the house tour.  At least you can't scream if you're asleep.

This is a life-sized replica of James and Dolley.  I've always heard he was a man of small stature- I think that's obvious sitting next to Ryan!
Abe enjoyed the formal gardens much more than the house tour.
The boys

Day 3: Carter Mountain Orchard
This year, I've been trying to do some normal "Kindergarten" type things with Lily.  So, we've been doing all things apple these last few weeks.  Isaac has been tagging along with our apple activities and so we decided that we would make a visit to Carter Mountain Apple Orchard, which is just down the parkway from Monticello.  We had a fun time and we picked 24 pounds of YUMMY apples.

Sweet, yummy fruit!
Lizzy and Daddy working together to get the big ones at the top of the tree.
Abe, enjoying a free sample.
Here's daddy carrying our fruit back up the mountainside.
It took all of the rest of us to navigate the stroller through the mountain orchard.  Notice Abby is putting her weight against it while I'm attempting to move it forward, rather than down the mountainside.

Here are some fun shots we took while hanging out at the campground.

I know that most people would bring folding chairs for the campfire, but we were barely able to close the trunk as it was.  We found our storage tubs make great campfire chairs!