Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clothes + Choir, Wagons + Weather, Girls + Geese

I really have no time to write, but I'll make some.

James got all dressed up like a smart looking dude this morning. He's starting to take notice of the difference between clean and dirty clothes.  I bought him some new jeans since fall has arrived and shorts are now out of vogue. Please don't tell him about cowboy boots.

Speaking of fall. Summer went out with a bang. Saturday was a gorgeous day perfect for hiking. That night we went to bed and the air was still very warm. A couple hours later a tremendous clap of thunder literally rocked our bed. There were a few flashes of lightning and that was it. That was our second thunderstorm of the season and it was fall. The next morning was cold and rainy.

There once was a little girl, with a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very, very good. Can't say enough about how hard Missy is trying! She's pleasant and enjoyable, speaking the truth, playing nicely and very affectionate. She talks a lot about going to school and going to choir and playing with the neighbor kids.  All these things have been out of her reach with that attitude she was sporting before. James joined choir. He likes it alot.

Choir is going well. I lost a half dozen kids this year because they are no longer homeschooling and find their schedule too busy. These were kids we had all trained... But the Lord is good. He replaced them with a very exuberant happy bunch, very eager to learn. It's tough going right now because there is so much to teach them, but we'll get there. Yesterday, we brought our neighbor girl. She loves it. Another of our neighbors brought 4 of her children, so looking at 5 new possible singers which could bring our numbers up to almost 35, give or take a couple. I've always been excited to include children not from our church or faith. I'm praying this works out for our neighbor kids.

I found a little red wagon at Goodwill. The twins were with me and were completely smitten so I bought it, and my oh my, it was worth every penny.

Had to make a change on the rabbit chores. With the sun rising later and later it's not dark before James has to leave for school, but the sun isn't quite shining in the middle of the heavens, yet and it freaks him out to have to do chores then. He had a good streak of well done days and so I announced that Missy could do the rabbits on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the other days would be his. You should have seen the grins - on both of them.

Christina had to do a reverse garden project for her biology class and the geese kept pulling up all her labels as she was working. She finally got the job done when they weren't looking, but soon as she turned her back they went and pulled up every one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's College Life { and Kindergarten}

Vanessa isn't so alone this year at the college. This year it's an awesome foursome of close friends who have been in the same homeschool groups forever. The same four that went to Youth for Jesus in California this past summer.

Natalie  &

They survived their first day.

If you know Brianna, this will make you really laugh. She's a no-nonsense, black and white, matter-of-fact person. She comes home saying, "English class was so weird."

The teacher was trying to get the students in the room to relax and interact....

"Tell us about your rebellious acts (and don't say you haven't done any, because I won't accept that.)"

The other students were saying stuff like, "Oh, I call my mom and tell her I am at a certain place, but I'm not really." Or "I was asked to do the dishes and I just walked away and left them."

Poor Bri broke out in a sweat, tried to convince the teacher on the sly that she had nothing to say. She was thinking, "Seriously?? There isn't a single person like me here." Finally she stood up and said,

"I rebel against LOW EXPECTATIONS!"

lol. Way to go, Brianna Grace!

I teased her that she could have told how she always stands up in the canoe when she's paddling instead of sitting like you are suppose to... That's rebellion, isn't it?

You may have heard of the Rebelution and recognize her line.

Her next class was algebra. She took an immediate liking to the gruff old teacher and felt completely at home. "In her words, I don't think the teacher is as mean as she wants us to think. She's just black and white and gave us all the rules and I feel completely comfortable with that."

The foursome met together after classes to debrief.

Garhett had missed breakfast for nothing. The 8 o'clock class wasn't his. Natalie was stressing out over her soils class (soils class?? see told you this was a very special sort of set of kids). I guess the professor expects her to have her whole life career in agriculture planned and set in stone by Friday, and in her words, "I just want to know how to grow my tomatoes and pumpkins!!!!" Vanessa is back with the same Spanish teacher as last year... and chemistry isn't too hard yet.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the year goes. Many prayers go with them.


I have to tell you, after my little sob story about Missy not making any progress in anything recently, that this kiddo is really, really trying this week. She recognizes now that everybody is in school. Everyone has expectations and it's dawned on her that she's being left in the dust.

The past few days with her have been very good (you might not thinks so when by the time you finish the story, but believe me... very good!!) . She asks to do pages in her workbooks. She is actually enjoying them. Now you have to understand that she still wants my full, undivided attention and wants me to practically do the work for her, but she's starting to get the picture.

We had a showdown on Sunday. Actually it started with James. His phonics workbook asked him to write 4 "W"'s. Because of his lack of fine motor skills, sensory stuff, etc.. his dexterity is nill.... I have not been hard on him about writing at all. I just wanted him to try, that's all. Whatever came out on the page would have been fine with me. Just try to make a W.

NOPE. He nearly tore a hole in the page scratching hard marks and erasing them and his frustration was building. The whole "go get the eraser" bit was a tantrum in itself. He wanted to use the end of his pencil where the eraser was worn away leaving the metal to scratch holes in his paper. He looked for 30 minutes and I tried to find it, too. Finally I let him use Missy's.... and then I walked in his room and it was in full view. I brought it to him called him on his lie... I asked him if he knew where I had found it and he told me exactly where I had picked it up. So, anyway, we have some serious character issues....

I tried helping James with his "W"s and he would not cooperate and I figured out finally that this was not about ability. This was attitude. FINE! You want it the hard way, we'll do it the hard way!!

I brought out his wide lined notebook and told him I expected a WHOLE page of "W"s and they had to be nice or I would erase them. When he was done he could have lunch. I did erase a few lines. Suddenly, magic of all magic he produced an entire page of fine looking "W"s and he wasn't much late for lunch.
Enough baloney about not being able to write. LOL. Now I know the truth.

So, anyway, Missy was doing a page... but of course, James was taking up my time... and did I mention we were in the middle of canning 4 boxes of pears? Yeah.... "Would you just go outside and play?" Nope, they didn't want to at all.

Missy started trying to control my time and was doing what she does best.... PLAGUING me over her little number exercise. I knew she knew what to do. It was simple. Really simple. We went over the instructions and then I finally said, "No words until you are done that section!"


So I put her in a room at a desk all by herself. Told her to call me when the little section of the page was done. She called me every few seconds anyway. 

I then shut the door. 

She pooped her pants. 


She was made to shower, wash her clothes out, and was put back at the desk.
Lunch time came and went and she was not budging.

Remember, I never asked her to do this page. She wanted to do it. I wanted her to go outside to play.
You just can never win in these situations. It's either laugh or go crazy!!

And then, DING! She did it. The swat on the behind might have helped? Who knows.

She ate her lunch, and did pages and pages more. Yesterday pages and pages more. Every once in awhile she tries her little trick. I ask if she wants to sit at the desk in the other room. End of trial. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Bloom Where You are Planted - Part 2

I thrive on peace and quiet.
I like lots of alone time.
I like peaceful mornings and
I hate rushing around.
Chaos drives me crazy.


We have seven people in our house going 5 different directions! Make that 10.... just when I think I know which direction someone is going, they are off in the opposite.

Schedules, appointments, other people's expectations, our own expectations, schoolwork, music practice, gardening, canning, cooking, laundry, dishes, dishes, dishes....

My life with the twins is anything but peaceful, quiet, and calm.
Mornings are when they test me the hardest.

I think they hate to be rushed too, because why else would they balk at a forward motion?

I have friends going back for their next adoption, others are in the thinking stage... Hee Haw! Go for it! And God bless you, only leave us out of the picture. Life is way too chaotic at our house. . .

 I love, love, love having teenagers. It's the best years of our lives. Really. All that they warned us of, rebellion, disrespect, know-it-all attitudes, shattered relationships,.... so far as my experience goes, it's all hogwash. When it comes to them taking the necessary leap into planning their own days and agenda, and schedules.... and they start telling you where you need to be at what time... now that's when things get a little CRAZY!!!

Drop me off on a Deserted Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.


You, say, "This is LIFE. Get over it already."

I have this little nagging feeling somewhere deep inside me though, that God wants more of me and has a higher expectation. In my response to the stresses of living He wants me to be different than I am. That through Him I can carry a calm, patient, quiet peace about me even when some little kid is screaming in my face when I need to be going somewhere, and said child won't get with the picture.

In other words, don't just survive it while trying not to lose self-control (as I'm teaching ballistic child to have self-control... the irony of our reactions sometimes does not escape me),

but bloom!

Blossoms found in the high meadow.

Even under pressure, blossom in the secret quiet of my heart ... the fragrance of that flower of peace should eventually be a scent filtering gently towards the turbulence on the outside perhaps effecting others.

If I can just grasp the full ramification of this precious quote and live it!!

"The Father's presence encircled Christ, 
and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love 
permitted for the blessing of the world. 
Here was His source of comfort, 
and it is for us. 
He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. 
The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Savior, 
who surrounds him with His presence.  
Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. 
He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense.  
Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission, 
and 'all things" that are permitted 
"work together for good to them that love God.' 
Romans 8:28. "
MB 71 
May the Holy Spirit dwell within and give us the peace that passes all understanding.

Today, Brianna and Vanessa are off to the college for their first day of the year. James is at "school". Christina is studying algebra, Missy was given an hour of play time in her room. Steve is at work. And I have had a few minutes of uninterrupted time to think. How about that! Now on to the breakfast dishes.....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not Just Content {Bloom Where Planted}

The job of a lily is to bloom. 
Every year it is called to bloom.
Whatever the weather or overwhelming trial - 
(in this case, a late winter avalanche covering it's bulb by hundreds of feet of snow 
that took all summer to melt down enough to force it's way through)
it's sole task is to bloom.
And it did.
We found this beautiful object lesson in a high meadow yesterday.

Whatever our lot,
the appointment the Lord has laid out for us,
our calling is not just be content,
but to bloom.
Our lives are not meant just to  
going through the motions, 
content, but not producing.
Our lives are meant to
flourish and,
sending our flowers up in praise,
thanksgiving and
to soak in the light of God's love
to in turn share.


We were working with a nameless lad on our hike.
He does great hiking so long as he's first - ahead of everybody else.
Unfortunately, yesterday, he didn't seem to have much zip.
He couldn't set a desirable pace.
He was sweating and feeling hot and lazy
as opposed to his twin who ran nearly all 8 miles.
But if anyone dared pass him he screamed bloody murder. 
His discontent was apt to destroy the peace and tranquility we sought in the quiet of nature.
His pride was getting the better of him and he chose to lose all self-control.
It took some strong measures...
in fact he was relegated to the back of the line
directly behind dad for the remainder of the trip.
He fussed,
he fumed,
he used every control tactic within reach...
he was also required to keep his lips shut.

And a funny thing,
he not only learned to be content with his lot,
(though this took a long time and many miles)
he also decided to
where he was planted.
He actually had a smile on his face while he hiked by the end.

Friday, September 23, 2011

{Eating Like a Rabbit} Following Through with Expectations


I've been firm.

I've been dedicated.

I've been single-minded

in my quest to teach James responsibility and trustworthiness in caring for the rabbits.

He is not trustworthy.

This is a character trait that must be built from the ground up. I expect this to take a LOT of time and a LOT of testing and experimenting on his part. He's testing and experimenting to see if We are trustworthy and if it is even necessary to be so.

Day in and Day out I've been consistent... and he has been towing the line pretty much.

However, last week one day Steve sent him out to do the chores and he didn't do them. He didn't feed or water or anything. It came as a shock to him then that I was the one who checked up on his work. He expected dad to let him slide by. It was not a good day for him.

Of course, I was in Portland yesterday when it was rabbit chore time so obviously, Steve was the one who sent him out. If the little stinker didn't test him again!! He fed Chip. He may or may not have given them fresh water. Steve wasn't sure. In Betty's bowl Steve found a whole two alfalfa pellets.

Steve: "Hey, James, why didn't you feed Betty this morning?"

James: "Oh, I decided to feed her alfalfa (a fresh twig picked in the field) instead."

Steve: "Oh, I see".... and he said nothing more.

5 minutes later it was breakfast time. Steve outdid himself (indeed, cooking is outdoing himself. Poor guy!) there was oatmeal and raisins, nuts, fruit, etc... and he served James one teaspoon of oatmeal. Nothing more.

James, of course, did not appreciate that and complained rather loudly. Steve handed him a letter.

Steve: "James, you have a letter from Betty."

Across the envelope was written: BETTY IS HUNGRY.

James read it and then dug in his heels. I DON"T WANT TO FEED HER!

It took a long time, much prayer together, and everything before James was willing to go out and feed the rabbit correctly. But eventually he did. Only after his work was checked and satisfactory did he get a regular bowl of food.

It's mind-boggling mind-games. I pray for patience to endure to the end. This is not stuff I ever dealt with raising the girls. It's intense. It's like running a course set up with a thousand hidden booby-traps along the way. As I see it, he will neither learn to trust, nor be trustworthy if he is able to trip us up in these little things. The same goes for her. She's begging to feed the rabbits - that's not her issue. She doesn't want to make her bed. So crazy.

I talked to James about being sly. How this is a character trait he needs to overcome. I also wanted him to understand that we are aware that he is trying to trip us up. He grinned a great big fat grin.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thank You

for lifting us up in prayer as we traveled. The angels flew with us and we are safe home once again.

We listened to the audio version of Pilgrim's Progress along the way.  What food for thought!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It Matters WHO the Co-pilot is

Natalie is very good! Excellent is more like it. She gets us around the city like a pro.... Vanessa, on the other hand.... just like her mother. We took a few wrong exits.... Need I say more?

I am amazed at how much noise 5 teenagers can make in a swimming pool. The pool is outside my motel window a little ways. I'm thinking no one will be able to sleep until they are done playing.

The vocal workout is going very, very well. Lots of hard work, but a lot of laughs.

Blaylock thinks Brianna is very funny. She really doesn't mean to be funny at all... but somehow her naivety  comes across as humor. She's become very confident in who she is and if she doesn't get something she isn't afraid to let it be known... Anyway, he didn't make the connection that she was a part of this family and when that was settled he wanted to know how many years younger she was than Christina. Poor Bri - the bane of her youth.

Took the girls out to Sweet Tomatoes. They had a GRAND time.

I switch from feeling like a very old chaperon to being a teenager. Taking wrong exits is a bit distressing to Ellie... I told her hey, your mom is in Africa and you are with me... it's all an adventure!!!! She thinks she'll write a book about this trip.

Prayers Needed

Anxiety is at an all time high as of 2 am.... haven't slept a wink since. I'm more and more like my mother and that scares me... lol!

Tantruming girl child last night.

Way too much too many appointments and too much to do yesterday - including canning the pears which is NOT my favorite.

Big trip today to Portland and I hate driving in unfamiliar territory let alone big city traffic.

Anybody who called me yesterday with yet another job for us I just said NO to. Sorry. Had to say it three times in one day.

Okay, I'm off.

Pray if you will for us and Steve at home with the twins.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

For the Love of Algebra

She did it.

She passed the algebra test that she was so determined to pass.

She plugged away at it all summer.

Nothing deterred her.

Nothing discouraged her.

She doggedly plugged away at it and thereby saved her Dad five hundred dollars and herself a whole quarter of algebra.

Thank you Lord for a strong stick-to-it character and perseverance.

Go Brianna!

Heard at Our House [ & Missy Update]

* James:  
"Mom, I learned about verps today!  
Running is a verp. 
Verps are action words!"

"Mom, these yellow flowers are called goldenrod."

Etc... all day long. 
He's soaking it all up.

His favorite thing is maps and globes.
Like father, like son. :-)

* The twins were coloring at the table out of the same coloring book. 
A dispute arose over a certain crayon.

Hearing the commotion and not knowing the cause of the ruckus I asked,  

"Are you guys fighting?"

True to his desire to avoid trouble,
James replied. "No." and backed off on the discussion.

always ready for confrontation and action retorts, 

"Yes, we ARE fighting!!!!!!!!

* The kids loved the time spent outdoors and in nature in Idaho. They are game for any kind of hike or adventure. However restful the time was for us big people, it somehow shortchanged the twins on their sleep. It was too exciting to sleep in a loft of a cabin, or something, I guess. By the time we left on Sunday afternoon I was pretty sure we had exchanged Missy for a real live growling bear. Finally I propped her head with two life jackets and told her to close her eyes. In 5 minutes she was snoring.

Since coming home she has not had a tantrum or any kind of serious clash with anyone.

She just simply is. 

She's not taking initiative.

She's not moving forward. 

She's just riding along and seeing what she can get away with.

This morning is a prime example. The twins got up this morning and one went on to his little routine matter-of-factly, fed his rabbits cheerfully, cleaned his room and was ready for breakfast,

the other child avoided each and every little chore, made sure I knew she was not doing what she was suppose to, and wandered around hoping someone would say something so she could engage them in her little game, and when breakfast was called she suddenly decided to get with the program. She showed up for breakfast after everything was cleared away.

The gap between the twins is widening every day. 

I have a big boy and a three year old girl. 

Three years old in her thinking and emotions and behavior, 
but far beyond her 7 years in the art of manipulation. 

I talk to her and explain things on a three year old level. 

We discipline on a three year old level. 

Sometimes it takes some real concentration to react and treat her on her emotional level.... 

she is such a big 7 year old. 

She looks like a big girl.

It's been a long several months of no progress of any kind in anything for her, 
except that she is willing to do some 
pre-school activities now and a again without a major fight. 

Each and every milestone reached with this child has not come 
without blood, sweat and tears. 

She fights change with everything she's got. 

Not sure if there is something I need to tackle next, 
or if we should just ride the waves for awhile and 
let her be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rest and Rejuvenation {Highlighting Tranquil Moments}

Brianna not quite making it in the picture...

We canoed by day, by moonlight and in the pre-dawn! 
{Moose safaris}

Nutty sisters.
They have yet to capsize
{tippy river canoe or no}

Choppy lake water making the trek back from the island a little more exciting than we like,
so a tow was in order.
Perfect kids quarters...
Did our share of hiking!
We finally learned how to tie two canoes so that they won't vibrate quite so loud on the highway.

Picnic time

A pair of pileated woodpeckers that gave the photographer a run for her money....
they don't care for the paparazzi and played a very fast game of hide and seek.
Moose that showed up when the camera was not handy,
a beaver that decided to guide the boats away from his home,
squirrels begging for treats...

A veritable heaven on earth.
Many thanks to our friends who shared their place with us this weekend!

Worth Dying For?

A thought I contemplated on while in Idaho.

Are the things you are living for
worth Christ dying for?

We are home but not anywhere close to being caught up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Incredible Blessings

* Vanessa was given an amazing gift!! It's not every day someone gives you a full sized concert harp. She's had it many years as a loan, but it is now hers. A blessing straight from heaven!

* Missy made a connection. The word pig starts with P.  And yoyo starts with Y.  She picked the correct letter out of three for each picture in James' activity book. Ah!! Wonders never cease. There's hope yet!

* Choir started today. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of kiddos that showed up. There were nearly two little girls for every boy and I had 8 boys with the promise of one or two more. Those kids are so fun to work with!

* I read last September's blog posts and I realized that this September's postings have similar topics, but this September's stories lack the intensity and stress of last year's. Sometimes you have to look back to see that you have moved forward. Don't get me wrong. I'm still stressed with the nonsense... in fact I think I'm actually losing my grip on sanity, but in comparison...

*We enjoyed a wonderful season of united prayer at the church. For all our efforts to attract more people to prayer meeting we gained two... but it was a sweet time of fellowship and supper and prayer.

*It's finally worked out. I'm taking Echoes of Heaven to Portland for a very special, {and very expensive} vocal workout with Dr. Blaylock next week. This is the boost the girl's vocal group has been needing. But oh, my! I hate driving in cities and I'll have all this precious cargo!!!

*We're going to a cabin near a lake for a few days. I'm sooooo looking forward to the break.

I won't mention the all out rage session Missy had today, or the fact that after 2 weeks of getting it right James did not feed or water the rabbits this morning and lied a blue streak about it, and that we've had one messy pants "accident" after another this week.... no, I won't even mention it. I'll just think about the blessings and ask you to pray that I have patience left enough to deal with the rest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things That Start with S

Sunny Sunflowers
Brianna and I are having a lot of fun with photos.
There's nothing quite like red barns and bright sunflowers for inspiration.
Next year we'll grow bigger ones!
These were volunteers from previous year's seed.


If you couldn't tell you wouldn't know, but the little miss is sick. She won't admit it, but she can hardly talk she's so stuffed up. We'll give her a little room to be less than perfectly charming this morning. She's come a long ways in that she will come to me when she gets hurt, especially if there is blood, or if it's someone else's fault and her pride has been wounded, but it's still a guessing game so far as internal things such as colds, ear-aches, belly-aches, etc... 

James on the other hand can have a bloody nose all over the bed and bathroom floor and won't ask for assistance. He'll tell me he has a headache, or that his tummy hurts, though. I consider it a good sign of trust when they will come to me with their troubles.

As for me, I'll tell you ALL I had a terrible, no-good, rotten night with a migraine and nothing my husband or I did seemed to ease the waves of nausea or the left face pain. I greatly dislike change of season!

It was so hot yesterday that gardening was out of the question. As soon as things cooled down we went down and cleared out half the greenhouse to make room for fall salad plantings. We came out of the garden with buckets and buckets of food.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2nd Week, First Day

It was like first day of school all over again.

Missy was mad as anything her brother was going to school without her. While I drove James to his "school" she flipped the naughty-baby-manipulator switch and gave the girls a rough time.

James got all anxious when we arrived at the lady's house and even shed a tear.

CRAZY. He loves it.

When I picked him up it was as if he had gone to the carnival! Everything is so happy and exciting, so I have no clue what the anxiety was all about.

I came home and saw the situation with "little master-manipulator" and was about to do a time out when Vanessa spoke up and said, "She needs WORK."

She was right.

Forget school.

We had dusting and vacuuming 101.

Yay! The house doesn't look too bad.

After the initial couple of battles she pretty much returned to calm, though she throws a manipulative game our way every now and again. We're right on top of it. It's really a waste of her time.

And yes, I said it out loud, "You know, I'm not as stupid as you think I am".

She blinked. put her head down. and started seriously vacuuming.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Day in Review

Christina did well sharing her testimony and her Africa experience yesterday at Valley View. She was well prepared and clear in her presentation. Her stories were interesting, her pictures well organized and she tied it all up with an excellent appeal.

People were very interested and asked a lot of questions  in the evening when we went to the corn roast. One listener (Paul, for those who know him) voiced concern that our girls won't get through nursing school before they take the leap into full time mission work. Not to worry. God is in charge - and their dad is pretty determined the girls get an education to FIT them for SERVICE.

She has another appointment for Abundant Life next month. I was really wanting to get her into a speech class of some sort this fall for school, but I haven't been able to find one, however, she is being presented with opportunities to work on her public speaking skills!

Ellie, too, shared her testimony during the Sabbath School of her experience at YD and how God has been working in her life. I have witnessed this young girl (also 13 yrs.) blossom and grow more beautiful ever since her family adopted. Adopting has its special challenges for the baby-of-the-family - it isn't easy to give up that special place, however Ellie has done it with grace and in turn it has made her more lovely. She shared how God reached down and spoke to her at YD and she's determined to be 100% His.

I praise the Lord that He is leading and guiding our children and putting out a hedge of protection. Believe me the darts of the enemy fly!! They have gone through some pretty painful experiences with friends and the complaining and nit-picking of grumpy ones never cease, ("you sing too slow, you sing too fast, there's not enough music,  there's too much music, that's too different, you don't do it right...." lol! And gets this Mama Bear on the defenses!)  but thankfully God is helping the more mature ones to see that these are indeed darts of the devil intent on discouraging and that these are but opportunities to practice humility. These then are able to encourage the younger ones. Vanessa makes it her mission to seek out as many youth as she can to encourage and remind them of their calling.

We are seeing the need to PRAY in united prayer more. Christ is coming soon. What would heaven be without our children and families?

We enjoyed a lovely meal and fellowship at the Morgan's yesterday. Later we followed them to their church social. Poor Nathan was bitten by a dog right on the mouth at the corn roast and it required 10 stitches. The family took him to the Tourist Town ER and since Steve works there and knows there are usually only a skeleton staff he rushed off after them to assist if need be. Turns out they had two nurses on and so he gave the rest of the family the grand tour of the new hospital.

The geese will be glad to come home today! They ate all their blue ribbons at the fair and apparently have been very entertaining. We have to round up the ducklings today. They all have new homes to go to.... I'm wondering how we are going to do that. Thankfully they have not learned to fly yet, but today may be the day they learn!

The twins are doing well. Missy is calm and happy and that is saying a lot!

Friday, September 9, 2011

WOW! September!!!!

I always forget how crazy September is.

* I've been decluttering.

Homeschool materials are being sorted out. What we won't use will be posted on freecycle.

Picture books and story books were sorted yesterday. I had two boxes to give away. Posted them at 12:07 on freecycle and by 12:57 I had to post that they were already gone!

Sorted things in the storage closet. I have three boxes for Goodwill and two for the garbage can!


* The girls have been busy helping other people.

Yesterday they painted a barn. Today they get to finish it. When they get done they take their turn at the fair in our churches prayer booth. Christina gets to label a bunch of water bottles to give out first thing this morning. When their turn is up at the fair they will head to help a friend who has had some major trials with her health and they will clean her house for her.

*Christina has the sermon time to share her Africa experience with Valley View. She's been working on it all week, but today is all she has left to refine her presentation.

*We officially started homeschooling this week.

Christina started algebra 1 with a tutor she shares with Ellie. She's actually excited about math - wonders never cease! Brianna also spent 2 hours with the algebra tutor. She has high hopes to pass the algebra section of the Compass at the college. She LOVES algebra. Her statement after her tutoring session: If this is what college algebra will be like, I CAN'T WAIT. Strange kid!

Missy is actually asking to do busy work pages in her workbooks. She isn't bucking me. James is really doing well with his reading. We've been going slow with the Rod and Staff reading program and we really like it that way. He loves going to do school with Peyton at Peyton's neighbor's house 3 hours a day, for three days a week. It's the best thing that has happened since the twins came to live with us. The twins did services at the public school last year for speech and stuff and they were on-on-one, but they were not there long enough on a given day and the teachers changed every 30 minutes.... This is so much, much better!! Though, they will do speech at the public school and possibly the hospital again this year.

*I was able to fill all orders, but do not have enough tomatoes to do farmers market today. It's still nearly a hundred degrees every day, but there just aren't as many tomatoes as there were. We've picked them!! Got to save some for us, too.

*I found homes for a few of the ducklets on freecycle. Still have several to go!!

*It's pear season. So far I have two boxes of red Bartletts to take care.... We will be seeing many more, I'm sure. 

*We finally got the air-conditioning fixed in the house yesterday!! Whew! What a summer.

*The geese aren't liking the fair. They want to be foot-loose and fancy free visiting who they want to visit. What's this being behind bars bit? They think they are in jail. By the way, they have learned to fly, now they have to learn how to land!! NO JOKE. Have you ever had a goose with a 6 foot wing span  fly straight at you looking like they wanted to drop down on your head? Kind of freaky!

*Hooray!! We are going to take a little vacation before Vanessa and Brianna start college. Can't wait.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day, Second Day...

James is loving it.

He's coming home bubbling over with all that he is learning at the "Academy" with his friend Peyton.

It is a perfect fit.

The first day I didn't even try to do anything with Missy. She was not happy and regressing to baby behaviors including messing her pants... Funny how when you make it clear that she is tied pretty close to mom because of immature antics, she at first regresses further towards babyhood. This was her shell of protection in the past. Being a baby incapable of doing for herself was her way of seeking out attention and her protective covering to hide her insecurities in. I pretty much ignored her "stuff" and kept her out of the lime light yesterday.

This morning was a whole new idea!

She was up and at 'er early, bed made, dressed, showered, animals fed, etc... before ever I  greeted her. Christina was encouraging her along and braided her hair before breakfast. She and I had a nice time doing several different kindergarten activities and she was as pleasant and as cooperative as any could ever wish. She even learned!! Ha! Imagine....

I'm completely at peace that this is what the twins each needed. He needed some direct teaching in an environment away from his chaotic and competitive twin, and she needed the one-on-one devoid of the temptation to make attention getting  a competition and the whole point of existence . I'm so excited at the possibilities.

So, all my hard work this summer of trying to get everybody to breakfast at 8 am has paid off - in a way. Breakfast now has to be at 7! If Missy had not finally learned to show up at 8 we could never have even begun to work towards a 7 am breakfast. Eleven AM suites her fine, though Nine works for her.... but of course that doesn't work for anyone else, so she  had to be stretched, prodded, pulled and her attitude reworked.

So far, so good.

Can You Pass the Spoon?

With a tra la la...
Can you pass the spoon without one mistake?

Playing the spoons as an ice-breaker while they waited for some of the other guests to arrive for the tea party. I learned this game in Lesotho from a bunch of college kids from South Africa.
It can be a lot of fun,
but a little tricky
if Missy's spoon is flinging a little out of sync.
Everybody was too nice.
I had to arbitrarily tell her she was out because she'd made a wrong move
{or let's say one too many wrong moves.}

Monday, September 5, 2011

Neighborhood Tea

Look up and smile.
A natural beauty...

Miss Happy Chatter

Love the toothless look :-)

The girl with the corn silk hair!
Yes, my lovely girly girl... show off the dead snake you just found in the grass!