Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Beach - Retropost

We went to the beach the second week in September.  We debated about going as this was the time that several hurricanes were forming and we didn't want to be on the coast in the midst of any of that weather.  We did however want to go and spend time with our friends that have moved to VA.  We did this last year and looked forward to doing it again.

We were blessed to have beautiful weather all week!  It was overcast on some days, but that can be a nice thing at the beach.

We arrived shortly after a storm and found that many things had washed up on the beach.  We saw quite a few sea urchins.  

We also saw sunglasses and even a live starfish.  Surprisingly, no  jellyfish though.  Isaiah found a really large crab which we tried to get a photo of - but it was blurry due to being partly in the water.  The children spent a lot of time hunting for shells and found some beautiful ones.  Daniel loves to find shells and has learned the names of the ones that he finds most often - auger and olive.  Rebecca even found a shark's tooth, lightning whelk and a dried urchin shell.

We spent one day down at our friend's pool.  There was a large slide, and fountains in the pool.  It was a fun day.

This is Joshua coming down the slide.

Mostly, we just hung out on the beach.  We like to build sandcastles, play in the water, play football and hunt for shells.  Oh, and walk down the beach.  One of our favorite spots in where the ocean comes in to form a river.  It's a mild spot in terms of the tide and a great place for the younger ones to play.  It's also been a great spot for finding shells. 

Doesn't she just look pleased with herself?

Rebecca is buried up to her knees if you are wondering about her height compared to Christopher.  lol

This is taken in the "river" - Isaiah giving Eliana a ride. 

I love pictures from the back - there is just something so sweet about them.  This is Daniel, my little shell collector.

Love his beautiful smile!

Eliana loved it all - the sand, the water, the freedom.  We had a wonderful week!  I'm thankful we had this time to spend together as a family.  We are truly blessed in so many ways.



Monday, September 29, 2008

Plans for Keepers of the Faith

I've tried starting a blog about our Keepers Group.  We'll see how that goes.  I thought it might be helpful for those just wanting that information.  I'm not sure if I'll still post about it here or not?  Any thoughts?  Here's a link to the other blog and the post I just put up there as well. 

Keepers Blog

We've made our plans for the upcoming year.  For our group we just meet once per month as our busy (and conflicting) schedules just don't permit meeting more often.  Here's what we have planned.

Sept - Herbs.  We'll be planting and learning about herbs.

Oct - Card making.  I'll be teaching this one and am looking forward to it.  Since it isn't one of the activities in the manual, I'll be coming up with my own requirements.  I'm hoping that the timing will be good in allowing the girls to make cards to send or to give for Christmas.

Nov - Pie-baking.  Yum!  Just in time for the holidays!  We're hoping too that this will be something the girls want to practice on and bring to future meetings to share.

Dec - Part 2 of herbs.  Taking the herbs we've grown and learning how to use them - in cooking, sachets and more.

Jan - Storytelling.  Learning more about the art of storytelling and how to put it into practice by telling a variety of stories to both family and friends.  We'll so some sharing/ storytelling at future meetings.

Feb -  Dollmaking,  Learning how to paint and embroider a face.  Learning how to make jointed legs/arms.  Learning how to make different types of hair.

Mar - Part 2 of dollmaking.  The girls will have chosen the specifics of their doll and will start making it.

Apr & May - We are holding open for a couple of options.  Either adding another class or recreational activity (I'm lobbying for badmitton) or finishing up projects we've already started.

We are looking forward to a fun year!



Happy Birthday Joshua!

I'm late in posting - no surprise there - but wanted to share a little bit about one of my favorite people.  My sweet son Joshua.  He recently turned 9 - halfway to manhood.  How can that be?

I remember well longing for a third child - and praying for a long, long time.  God waited to answer - and His gift was a sweet one.  Our precious son Joshua.  He was born on his grandmother's birthday.  He was also born right on his due date.  He was my biggest baby at almost 9 and a half pounds.  He was also my easiest and best birth.  My mom was there with us at his birth.  We had music playing and it was a very sweet time.  (It went thankfully quickly after getting to the hospital.  I thought our timing was perfect, though my mom thought we cut it a little too close!  lol )

Joshua arrived with blond hair, blue eyes and very pale skin.  Not what I expected since both Roger and I have dark hair.  The eyes come from both sets of grandads.  ;-)

Joshua has always been sweet and sensitive (not that he is perfect by any stretch!).  He remembers things and asks questions that have been surprising to me given his age. 

He loves to read - and frequently has his nose in a book!  He loves the Redwall series and Jules Verne is one of his favorite authors.  He also loves to play outside - to hike, run, play games and use his imagination!  Joshua enjoys baseball, kickball and cops and robbers.  He really just likes to have fun!

Joshua is creative and enjoys drawing.  He likes a wide variety of foods and especially likes condiments like Texas Pete and mustard.  He likes being silly and playing with his siblings.

He recently told us that he wants to get baptized.  He asked Jesus into his heart several years ago and continues to grow in his faith.  I'm excited that he wants to make this profession of faith. 

I thank God for giving us this precious boy to love and to raise 9 years ago.  He has blessed our life with laughter, joy, happiness and more.  I pray for him to continue to grow in his love for God.  I pray that He would walk the path that God has for him. 

Thank you God for Joshua!

I love you sweetie!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Baby Signing Time

I know I've mentioned it before - but wanted to share again - we love Baby Signing Times DVDs!!!  Here's why:

1.  It's helped all of us to learn a lot of signs.  (Yes, all of us.  *grin*)

2.  It's so cute to see Eliana signing along with the DVDs.

3.  The music is catchy and fun - and helps you to remember the signs.

4.  There are young children in the movies demonstrating the signs which is helpful to see the variety of ways that there can be in signing.  The important thing is really that you understand your child!

We have both of the Baby DVDs and a few of the older ones too.  The Baby ones are really just perfect for Eliana.  Well, I was thrilled to find out recently that 2 more are coming out!!!  Yippee!  Here is more info for those that might be interested.

Baby Signing Time 3

Baby Signing Times 4

We are also very excited to have Rachel, Alex and Leah from Signing Times at our Buddy Walk this year.  It's Oct 12 for anyone that might be interested.  I'll post more details later, but would love to send info to anyone interested in coming.  It is a lot of fun for the whole family!




Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Transportation Museum on Sept 5th

This is another "retropost" until I get caught up.  lol  This was another great field trip to go with our Mailing May/trains study.  We visited the North Carolina Transportatin Museum for their homeschool days.  This is one of our state historic sites - which we love!!!  (And we've visited all of them with our "NC History Group"!)  We were joined by 3 families for a beautiful, fun and full day! 

We began in the morning by being split into 6 groups.  We rotated through various stations learning about cars, riding on a turntable, learning the difference between diesel, electric and steam engines, hearing about rail transportation, air transportation and also about dug-out canoes.  Each station had a different interpreter to share information with us.  We also had worksheets which the children could complete as they learned things at the various stations.

This is our group riding on the turntable.  You can see the roundhouse behind us.


Listening to an interpreter inside the roundhouse - which was huge!  This roundhouse was part of the "Spencer Shops" which was the site for many train repairs during the early 1900s. 

Learning about how dug-out canoes were made (fire) and then getting inside of it.  (Isaiah even brought some of the soot home with him - on his white shirt of course.  lol) 

My two beautiful girls.  Eliana likes to walk around as much as she can - and explore wherever she can.  Rebecca is great about helping to keep up with our little curious one. 

We then had an hour for a picnic lunch before boarding the train for a ride around the site.  Daniel and I sat in the very back - in a row that was all by itself and at least 15 feet from the rest of the rows.  Not sure why those 2 seats were there and at first he was not buying it.  They were the last seats though and it was fun.  He even took some pictures from the window of the train.  Here's a photo we took of ourselves. 

After our ride, we explored the very large museum.  It's all part of an old roundhouse that was used to repair trains in the early 1900s.  It's an amazing building! 

There was even a mail car like the one in our story, Mailing May.

We didn't get any rain until our ride home for which we were very thankful. 

As I reflect on this day, I'm reminded of how much for which I have to give thanks.  I'm also reminded that it isn't just in the times of blessing that I am called to be thankful. 

I'm thankful that I'm able to go on fun trips like this with my family - and also for friends that can go with us!  I'm thankful that God has blessed us with good health and a flexible schedule.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn in a fun and hands-on way and to make great memories.

Thank you God!



Friday, September 19, 2008

Praise and a few short notes

We've had a busy couple of weeks and more that I want to share.

Our computer is fixed - yeah Roger!!!  I'm so glad he knows so much about computers and can fix things when they aren't working!  :-)

We had a wonderful time at the beach last week.  The weather was perfect and we were able to spend some time with friends.  We also met some other homeschoolers while we were there which was fun.  I have pictures to post - hopefully soon.

I still want to post about a couple of field trips - one to the Transportation Museum and another to a local nature center.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to go on field trips.  I think it's a great way to have a hands-on learning experience.

We celebrated a birthday this week.  Joshua is 9 years old.  Halfway to manhood.  How can that be?!  My sweet baby boy.  I remember the day he joined us so very well.  I'll write more about him and what a precious gift he is and has been to our family.  I'll share some pictures too!

I thought I'd share one story though about Eliana on Joshua's birthday - this is the praise.  One of our birthday traditions has been to allow the birthday child to pick where we'll eat.  Joshua picked Golden Corral - great pick for everyone!  As we were leaving, Roger was packing some food for Eliana.  I told him I thought she would do well there, but he brought some baby food just in case.  She had feeding therapy earlier in the day and did great there!  She ate a graham cracker by herself.  Self-feeding is NOT a skill she has learned or is even remotely good at doing.  Both her OT and I were thrilled!

Anyway, back to dinner.  I walked around and selected a few things I thought she could/would eat.  Not a great variety - but we're still learning, here.  This is what I put on her plate. 

*Mac 'n cheese


*Spaghetti (this is a new favorite and one of her first "real" meals)

*Green beans

*Pears (not to keen on these)

*Banana pudding

*Ice cream

She ate her whole dinner from the buffet line!!!  In fact, she did MUCH better than Daniel did in terms of variety (not that this is a huge accomplishment, lol).  Way to go Eliana!  I think we may be turning the corner soon in her eating and I'm very excited.  Just a year ago, we were feeding her through a tube and just trying to get her to learn to take a bottle orally. 

Thank you God for teaching me patience, for teaching me to go slowly, for showing me that a different path can also be a good one filled with blessings.

We have a busy week-end planned with sports (soccer - twice & football) and a birthday party.  Will write more when I'm able to.  I hope you each have a blessed week-end!



Thursday, September 18, 2008


So many things are reminders - but maybe it's really that I just haven't forgotten.  This "should" be an exciting time - when I'd be counting down the days.  It's less than a month until my "due" date that isn't any more.  I think about it every day.  It's one of those things though that feels so alone. 

It's not really "proper" to talk about it, is it?  It is certainly a subject that makes many people uncomfortable.  I remember one of my children being told not to mention it after my first miscarriage.  Yet, so many have experienced it.  Why does it feel so lonely?

I received something in the mail this week.  A note from a company congratulating me on my upcoming birth.  A guide to labor and the hospital.  The promise of a gift when I got there.  It made me cry.

Sometimes I feel like such a drag even mentioning that its still hard.  I feel like I should have gotten over it by now.  It can make me feel like I have no faith, that I'm weak or untrusting.  (I know I am weak and I'm continually trying to trust.)  I know that in the grand scheme of life that this is small compared to so many other things.  I also know that God cares about all of the details of our life .   

I've been talking about it with God.  Just yesterday at our field trip, one sweet friend came up to me and asked me about the approaching date.  I was honestly surprised and touched that she remembered.  I shared with her that it was hard and that it often felt really lonely.  She gave me a small gift to show me that she was thinking of me.  What a gift of God's love this sweet friend's remembrance was to me.  I had cried out to Him and He heard me. 

I'm not sure why I'm posting this.  I'd love your prayers.  Sometimes, my heart just hurts.  I keep telling myself to be happy with the children that I do have.  It's not that though.   I'm very happy with the children that I have.  I just feel like I could love more.  I know that I'm blessed - beyond what I ever could have expected.   

I'm still grieving this loss, this child.  I so want to hold and love this little one.  I know that the approach of the due date will just bring sad feelings.  It is something else to learn from, to lean on God and to hope in Him.

Reminders.  I know that God is good.  I know that He loves me.  I know that our little one is safe in His arms.  I know that no matter what happens, God has a plan for my life.  I remind myself of these truths often - maybe someone reading needs a reminder too.  It is easy to listen to the lies and whispers from the enemy.  I am seeking to hear God.  God is a voice of truth - of hope - of love.  He loves you - cares about you and every detail of your life.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Post Office Field Trip - Sept 4th

I'm dating this a few days early to try to squeeze in a couple of posts before writing about what we are currently up to.  On Sept 4th, we went on a field trip with our FIAR (Five in a Row) group.  It was a great tie-in with our study of Mailing May.  (The story is about a little girl that is mailed to visit her grandmother.  It is a true story too!)

The childen wrote letters and were able to hand cancel them before they were posted.  We toured the back and learned about the postal system, how things are handled and delivered, looked at the inside of a mail truck and talked with a postman.  It was a fun morning all the way around.  Here are a few photos of our day.

Afterwards, we visited a nearby park to picnic and play.  It was a beautiful day and a fun way to spend time with friends.  :-)



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mailing May & Trains

We've been vacationing and I thought I'd be able to post some things while we were gone.  We didn't have internet though - so I'm playing catch up again.  :-)  More on our vacation once the pics are uploaded. 

We are doing a two week study of Mailing May and trains .  So far, it is a lot of fun!  As the mom, it's wonderful for me as I have 4 students studying similar or overlapping subjects.  That doesn't happen often and I'm enjoying it!

We started the week last Monday.  I made a small display  - books on trains and related topics, a train whistle, train videos, train drawing lesson, conductor's cap and toy trains.  I did this to excite them and also to gather resources.  They loved it.  (This is not something that I typically do - it was just easier to pull off since I was more focused on one direction this week instead of many). 

Here are some of the things we've enjoyed so far.  Mailing May is based on a true story set in the early 1900s so we've learned some about that time period as well as Daniel Boone (mentioned in the story).  Rebecca has been doing some research and writing above and beyond what the boys are doing.

Daniel liked painting shapes and then making them into a train.  He has also loved watching Thomas the Tank Engine. 

We learned about quilts and patterns, the post office, Idaho, Daniel Boone and more.

Another highlight was making a train out of boxes and furniture and then just pretending.  Sometimes it really is the simple things that bring great  pleasure.

We've been using the lapbook templates at Homeschoolshare to add a visual dimension to our lessons.  At the end of study we had 2 field trips planned!  I love field trips!

The first field trip was to the Post Office with our FIAR group.  We learned some of the history of the post office and the younger children wrote and then hand cancelled their letter.  Afterwards, we went to a local park to play.  It was fun to see friends - both new ones and old ones as well as learning more about the Post Office.

Our second field trip was to the North Carolina Transportation Museum.  This is one of our state's Historic Sites.  These are wonderful!  We visited ALL of them with our NC history group.  I was excited to be returning.  We did hands-on activities in addition to riding a train and a turntable and seeing an actual mail car (like in the story). 

This was the part I was hoping to do before our vacation - upload pics from the field trips.  Well, we are having computer problems (I'm on a laptop and can't get to our photos).  I'm also having cell phone problems and am wondering what is going on with me and electronics!  lol  I'll post pics when Roger is home and able to fix the computer - he is great with them and I know very little beyond just using it. 

In the midst of all of this, Eliana has learned to "sign" train.  It's not the official sign - but the pulling of the whistle that most of us recognize.  Can you see it in the last picture?  Isn't she a cutie?!

That's all for now.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Driver's Ed

So, how do you feel when you see a car like this?

Probably a variety of emotions if you are like me.

But, how do you feel when it is your child in that car?!

In North Carolina a student is required to take Driver's Ed before getting a learner's permit.   Parents aren't allowed to teach the course so we elected to go with a private driving school for this class.  The actual class was a 30 hour class (5 hours per day for 6 days) in addition to 6 hours of driving time.

Christopher took this class along with a couple of friends and seemed to enjoy it.  He wasn't able to do the driving part early on due to failing the "vision test".  He had just gotten a new prescription for his contacts and once we got those filled he did pass the eye test.  This was his first experience with the DMV - not too bad either.

On his last day of driving as we were headed to the school it started to sprinkle, then pour.  I knew what Christopher was thinking - "Oh, no".  I was thinking it too.  I also thought that this was probably a good opportunity for him to practice under less than ideal conditions - though maybe not for 2 hours when you are just learning.

In any event, he did just fine!  I think  he'll be a good driver.  He has a lot of common sense and is pretty level-headed.  He has commented that he isn't worried so much about driving as he is about the other drivers out there.  That is the difficulty, isn't it?

We are waiting now for some paperwork from the state (because we homeschool) and then we can go to the DMV to get his learner's permit.  Wow!  Driving.  My baby is growing up.