Friday, October 31, 2008

Results are IN!!!

Normal!  Normal.  Normal.

What sweet words which caused instant tears of gratitude.  Thank you God!  Thank you!

Waiting has been hard.  One more opportunity to trust in God.  I am thankful for the peace He gives even when the unknown can be frightening.  God is good.

We will get the full results and reports some time next week.  Sorry this is brief, but I wanted to post for those who are waiting to hear. 

In His Love,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No News Yet

Still waiting.  I called our eye doctor yesterday.  Since she is the dr who asked for the MRI, the information will be sent back to her.  She was out of the office yesterday at a meeting.  I was told she would need to complete some paperwork today to send to Duke requesting the results.  She will hopefully receive them back today - maybe tomorrow.  I'm hoping we will hear something today, though it may be tomorrow.

All this to say, we don't know any more and are just waiting.  Thank you for your prayers.



Monday, October 27, 2008

MRI Update

Hi Friends,

Thank you for praying.  We had a good day - a really good day.  I'm going to write a lot of the details, just to share our day.

We started the day early (for us).  We had to make sure Daniel had eaten before 8am - and nothing afterwards.  I thought it might help to have some distractions, so we drove to the State Fair to pick up Rebecca's entries.  It was crowded and hectic, but we found all of her things.  Thankfully we were able to sign for the items for which we had lost the tags.  She found a note on one of her items - the Christmas ornament.  The note told her that the ornament was beautiful!  It also said she would have won money if it had not been so fragile.  (I'm glad she was told that as it is an encouragment for her.)  She did win 4th place.  (More pics of her entries when I get to our State Fair post.)

On our way out, Laura (my sister)'s driving skills were tested as trucks, trailers, etc. were trying to dodge in and out and around everything.  I'm surprised one didn't run into us!  (One almost did.)

When we arrived home it was time for therapy.  Daniel usually goes first, but since he had some time left to drink clear liquids, I thought maybe he could watch a movie and drink some sprite which he opted to do.  He watched a new movie that Christopher purchased for him.  Christopher thought it might be hard for him to have so much time when he couldn't eat and that this would be a good distraction.  Wasn't that sweet?!

Daniel took the whole eating/drinking limitations very well.  He even explained to his therapist what he was doing and why he couldn't have more to eat/drink.  He did a great job.  We left for the hospital shortly after therapy concluded. 

Roger and I drove with Daniel over to Duke.  Our appt was at 2.  We waited for a short time in the waiting room, filling out forms and playing with the toys there.  More questions when we were taken back into one of the cubbies.  Our nurse, Christy, was fabulous!  I was excited to meet her as a friend had told me she was great.  I was glad to see her stay even through the shift change at 3 - our blessing!

The dr came in to explain sedation - the types and the benefits and risks of each.  After discussing it, we then have to sign a release.  Roger did this.  A list of all the things that could go wrong - and thankfully don't usually happen. 

Next we exchanged his shirt for a hospital gown.  (He was not thrilled with this, but didn't put up a fuss.)  The sedation was done with an IV.  In order to make it easier for Daniel, they put a numbing cream (emla) on 2 places - his right hand and left elbow (to give them options).  They let this sit for about 30 minutes to take effect.  While this was going on, they let him pick out a movie to watch while we continued to discuss what would be happening.

When it came time for the IV, 3 nurses came into the room.  I was really concerned about this part.  Daniel watched them preparing his hand and then I distracted him while they inserted the needle.  He didn't move at all!  He was just perfect!  What a sweet answer to prayer.  After getting it taped to his hand, they used this to administer his meds.  He was given 2 different meds and the first went in easily, the second one burned.  I saw tears well up in his eyes as he looked up at the nurse.  She was very comforting to him and thankfully it soon passed.  He was such a trooper!

The drugs began to take effect very quickly.  Roger lifted Daniel and carried him to the MRI room after we had removed all the metal we could from our bodies.  Shortly after he was layed on the table, he began to move and even tried to get up.  They tried to settle him, gave him more meds to sedate and let me talk to him.  He settled quickly and was great for the remainder of the test.  He looked so very tiny on that table positioned to go into that tube.  I'm thankful he won't remember this part of it.

Roger elected to stay in the room and I stayed just outside of it.  The scan started about 3:45.  At about 4:10, the put contrast dye into his IV which helps them to see things with greater accuracy.  Things were complete about 4:30.  We saw a peep of an eye, but he wasn't ready to wake up.  Roger carried him back to the first cubby we were in and we waited as he slept.  We were told that it was best if he woke on his own.  We let him sleep for about an hour.  We then tried waking him - and tried and tried.  We offered a variety of things to entice him - but sleep was winning out!  Poor little guy was just out!

He did finally wake enough to take a few sips of apple juice and a few bites of graham cracker.  They were satisfied that this was good and also that this was a good sign that he was not going to react negatively to the meds.  He opened a gift from my sister - a cute book - but was really too tired to read it.  The nurse offered him a toy - cars - which he took but was still so very sleepy.

We left the hospital about 6pm.  We arrived home to friends and our children.  My sister and niece had left earlier.  We are grateful to both families for being here with our children!

Daniel continued to sleep until about 8:30.  He then ate some pretzels and drank some sprite.  He tried to get up to walk and fell.  A few more times he would try to stand and was just very wobbly and woozy.  They had told us it would be like this today - and possibly into tomorrow as well.

We are to keep an eye on him tonight for any unusual reactions and any vomitting.  So far, no signs of problems.  He is sleeping with Roger and I tonight to be on the safe side.  Tomorrow is to be a calm day for him - "no rough-housing". 

In terms of news, now we are going to have to wait.  We were told that it will take about 24 hours for a preliminary report.  Since the scan was done late in the afternoon, I'm not sure if it will be done by tomorrow afternoon.  The report will be sent to our eye dr since she is the one who requested the test.  I'm planning to call tomorrow to let them know that the test was completed and hopefully to hear something.  If not, we'll just wait.  We were told that it would take several days for a completed report. 

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Thank you for your prayers for our precious Daniel and for our family.  When we have more news, we will update.  For now, I'm headed to bed.  It's been a long day and I'm exhausted.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Daniel's MRI

Is scheduled for 2pm tomorrow (Monday October 27).

My wonderful sister and niece are here to be with the kids which is great fun!  They have had a blast playing together and I'm thankful that they were able to come! 

Here's a little of what I know - and there is still a lot that I don't know.

Anything that Daniel is going to eat must be eaten prior to 8am.  No food after that.  He can have clear liquids (apple juice, sprite - not sure what else may be included?) until noon.  Our appt is at 2pm.  He will be sedated for this.  I'm not sure what method they will use to sedate him.  He has sensory issues wihch may limit some of our choices.  I'm not sure if he'll drink something, but the other option is an IV which I don't think he'd be fond of either.  I'd love prayers for this.

The scan itself should take about 40 minutes.  We are not expecting to hear anything tomorrow.  That will be hard!!!  I'm hoping we will hear something on Tuesday and definitely by Wednesday at the latest.  We'll know more tomorrow.

Please join us in praying for clear, good results. 

Also, I don't know if this will clear up any of my questions about the shape of Daniel's head (it's shaped differently than normal and on the larger side), but I'm planning to ask.  I'm wondering (though not too much) if this may be part of the problem. 

Thank you for praying with us.



PS.  Roger took some pics with his cell phone.  We should have brought a regular camera.  If they turn out, I'll post some.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Making a Difference - 31 for 21

A friend sent me this link (thanks Sharon!) and I wanted to share it.  (Just click on the title below.)  I love the idea that everyone is important and can make a difference.  Everyone can be a blessing.  So many times in our world, someone is valued based on things that don't really matter.  I love this story about a young man with a heart to serve, bless and love others.  I think you'll like it too!

The Simple Truths



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Salamander Room ... and a field trip or two

I'm thinking that this is my last retropost for September.  Then I can focus on the month at hand - for a fwew days anyway.  lol

We have had an extended study of this fun FIAR title (The Salamander Room).  I love the story and it's been a big hit with all of my children.  We've learned about various aspects of nature and had some fun field trips that tied in beautifully with our lessons. 

We visited the Stevens Nature Center and went on a hike to learn about mammals.  The younger children first played a game.  Each child was given a picture of an animal tied onto a necklace.  The photo hung behind them and they were to ask questions to figure out what type of animal was on their card.  We then went on a lovely hike and stopped all through the hike to learn about each of the animals on their cards.  It was interesting and informative.  The only live animals we saw were not mammals - we saw a skink and a frog.

Love this picture of my girls!

I enjoyed finding a couple of neat books in the gift shop to add to our library.  Some that we read to go along with this study include A Skink's Tale, Are You a Butterfly? and Are You a Grasshopper?  All have great illustrations and were helpful in learning more about those particular animals. 

For a fun activity, the children made clay salamanders and painted them.  (Thanks Candace for the great idea!)  I enjoy watching them create and to see their strengths, talents and interests displayed in this way.

We had a second field trip with our Five in a Row group to the North Carolina Botanical Gardens.  As I'm typing this, I'm remembering that this one happened the first week in October!  (Makes me feel a little more caught up.) 

The children were split into 4 groups by age and led on a tour of plants of our state.  They specifically learned about the "Pitcher Plant" (carnivorous plant) and were able to dissect a leaf (to see what the plant had eaten!).  I don't have many pictures of this as I wasn't with these groups.  I'm thankful that others were though so I'll get some later.

The youngest children went on a scavenger hunt/tour through the herb garden with the moms and the older teens. 

It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time.  We went to a nearby park afterward to picnic and to play. 

I'm thankful for this wonderful group of families with which to go on field trips!



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Inspiring Story - 31 for 21

This isn't a new story - but I thought it was encouraging and inspiring.  Enjoy!




Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cops & Robbers Party - Retropost

One more retropost from September.  I think I'll have one more and then can move into October - maybe right before we finish the month!  lol

We celebrated 2 birthdays in September - Joshua and Isaiah.  Since their birthdays are just 6 days apart, we typically have a joint party.  This has worked well.  Only one year did they choose different themes - and it was nuts having 2 different things going on!!!  Now, I work hard to help them chose a theme that with which they are both happy.  This year, it was Cops and Robbers.

I found this cute cake pattern online.  We started with activities.  The children made police vests and hats when they arrived.  Not real comfortable to wear though, so we just took a photo with them and then moved on. 

The first activity was a scavenger hunt.  They learned that "Brooke the Crook" had stolen the birthday pinata and it was up to them to find her - and the candy.  They had a series of clues that they had to decipher and then do an activity before locating the next clue.  For example, in the photo below the activity is to build a tower taller than the birthday boys.

After a series of clues, the did find the loot.

They led the crook to jail. 

While she was in jail, they throw wet sponges at her.  She was a good sport about it!

Next, we had a series of activites including the following.

*Deciphering coded messages for a piece of candy (this one was popular)

*Making art by driving cars throw paint (see photo below)

*Playing red light, green light.

We ate cake and ice cream, opened gifts and finished off the party with a game of cops and robbers.  This one was a bit different.  There was a bank (our back deck) where the loot (water balloons) were located.  The robbers (in the tree area) were to try to steal the loot.  The game ended up being a bit difficult so we made some modifications so the loot was actually attainable.  The crooks when caught could be thrown into the jail. 

We ended with a pinata.  More candy for everyone.  lol 

It was a fun day and we enjoyed celebrating our boys!  Hope you enjoyed the photos.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Isaiah! Retropost

I am late in posting this - but we celebrated 2 birthdays in September.  Our sweet Isaiah turned 7!  What a wonderful 7 years it has been!  I know the pic is fuzzy, but I love his smile!

One of our family traditions is that we spend the day doing whatever the birthday person wants to do.  Isaiah had a full day planned for us - and we had a great time.  He wanted to start the day with a picnic breakfast in the park.  He picked a great park that is on a lake and has a fun play structure, picnic tables and hiking trails.  He wanted biscuits for breakfast - we had a variety of things to go in the biscuits including sausage, egg, cheese, jelly and ham.  It was a yummy start to the day.

We then spent some time playing on the play structure.  Since we were the only ones there, dodgeball was the game of choice.  If you were tagged you were frozen.  Once frozen three times, you were then it. 

Then we spent some time hiking.  We followed one of the nature trails and read about various animals and plants living along the trails.  The camera battery died partly through our hike, so I don't have a lot of pictures.

We then headed to Golden Corral for an early supper/late lunch.  It's a great choice because everyone is happy with what they are eating.  Even Eliana has some things there she enjoys.  The waitress even fixed a special dessert for our birthday boys (Joshua and Isaiah have birthdays just 6 days apart).

We had a fun day celebrating our Isaiah.  For those that don't know him, I'll share a little bit of what I love about him.  I love his voice - it is deep.  Really deep for a little boy - and it's always been that way too.  He sings beautifully and projects like a professional.  I often wonder what type of job he'll have and will he use his magnificent voice.  (The flip side is that we always know where Isaiah is playing b/c we can hear him!  lol )

Isaiah has a great imagination and loves to pretend a great variety of things.  He loves to dress-up, build and play with playmobil!  We have large cities and fortresses frequently in our home. 

Isaiah has a great money sense - though I'm not sure if he'll work on saving or spending.  He likes to earn money and is frequently wanting to have some type of "stand" in front of our house selling something.

Isaiah is active and full of energy.  He is constantly moving and doing.  Isaiah enjoys learning about pirates and adventure stories.  He loves doing Five in a Row - it's his favorite part of school.  Isaiah has strong opinions and is quite comfortable sharing them.  Did I mention that he is very funny?!  He often has us in stitches and I love his sense of humor!

I thank God for this sweet boy and am so glad he is a part of our family!!! 

I love you Isaiah!  Love, Mommy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

31 for 21: Contagious!?!

Thanks to my friend RK for sharing this!  (Click on her name to visit her blog and see her cute little Braska!)  It was too good not to pass on - and every bit of it so very true! 


Newsflash: DS is contagious!! Keep reading!!

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by a triplication of the genetic material on the 21st chromosome. This trisomy occurs with the first division of the developing zygote, as a result there is extra genetic material present in every cell of the individual. Recently, science has discovered that this cellular abnormality is highly contagious. As result, family members (and even friends) of individuals with Down syndrome often find themselves exhibiting dramatic changes due to this "something extra" permeating their bodies at the cellular level. These changes manifest themselves in a number of ways. Something extra in the visual cortex results in parents who view the world differently. In addition to seeing things in an entirely new light, these parents also report having an increased ability to focus on what is important. Spontaneous appearance of tears of joy have also been confirmed. The section of the brain used in logical thought undergoes dramatic changes.

Parents suddenly find themselves able to comprehend and discuss complex medical procedures. The ability to decipher long strings of acronyms appears almost immediately and it is not uncommon for affected parents of newborns to be able to differentiate between ASD, VSD and PDA. Familiarity with G-tubes, picc lines and the NICU is another side effect.

Over time, the entire nervous system is transformed, enabling parents to perform tasks previously thought impossible. These changes result in individuals finding the nerve to advocate before large crowds, speak to classrooms of medical students and educate the population at large about issues they are passionate about. These changes are closely tied in to dysfunctions in the verbal abilities, which makes it virtually impossible for parents to bite their tongue. Often, individuals who previously considered themselves reserved will find themselves outspoken and effective communicators.

The pulmonary system is altered to a dramatic extent. Parents report having their breath taken away at the slightest prompting. The cardiovascular system develops similar vulnerabilities and reports of hearts pounding loudly and swelling unexpectedly are not uncommon. One mother reported that her heart skipped a beat when her son smiled at her for the first time. The extremities are also altered. Arms reach out to strangers for support, and in turn, hands comfort and nurture those in need. Legs strengthen and balance improves, allowing parents to stand firm in their convictions and walk without faltering, even when shouldering a heavy load. Scientists are baffled by the widespread scope of these symptoms. Equally perplexing is the response of those afflicted. Parents readily acknowledge fundamental changes in their being, however, almost universally declare a preference for their new, altered level of functioning. "I wouldn't change a thing" is a common refrain. Apparently, the presence of a little "something extra" enhances the lives of individuals fortunate enough to be infected.

Wendy Holden




Prayer request for our sweet Daniel

Hi friends,

Would you join me in praying for our sweet 4yo boy. We had what I thought was going to be a routine visit to the eye doctor today. The appts with Rebecca and Joshua went smoothly. Joshua's vision has improved with the continous patching he has been doing!  The appt with Daniel took longer.

We talked and I had shared some of what had been going on with Daniel regarding sensory issues.  I wasn't sure if she knew what to make of that - but then again lots of people don't.  She even commented that my last two children were giving me a run for my money. 

As the appt continued, she just kept looking and looking into his eyes. I thought it was just because he was wiggly (he was) and maybe not cooperating as best he could. I didn't realize that she was looking for something specific and having a hard time finding it.

When she finished the exam she told me that she could not find the outline (may not be remembering the words exactly right) of his optic nerve in one eye because it was swollen. She said it had been difficult at times in the past, but that she had always found it. Well, this time she couldn't. As I sat listening to her, I really had no idea what she was talking about or what this could mean.

Her next words though sent a chill through my body. She wants Daniel to have an MRI to see if there is a mass or ??? causing him to have a swollen optical nerve. As her words sank in, I could feel tears coming to my eyes.

We talked about details - when would it be done and where (Duke). What the process entails (40 min scan of his brain inside one of those tubes) and would he be sedated (yes!). As I worked on details, it was easy to let go of the idea that something might be wrong in my little boy's brain. She tried to assure me that she didn't think that there was anything, but that we needed to do this to rule it out.

I didn't ask a lot of questions about what this could mean. A "mass"? I don't know. I wasn't sure I wanted to go there. At times, the details can just overwhelm me and I'm trying to just be reassured by her thoughts that everything is probably fine. 

Daniel also has a malformation of his skull (it has a name ... cranio ... something). His ped told me when he was a baby that we could have it repaired, but that it was purely cosmetic and wouldn't affect him in any way. I took his word then and didn't ask for any further testing. Now I'm wondering if I should have done more.

I'm trying not to think about it because when I do it's scary. One more opportunity for me to learn to trust. To be willing to put my child into God's capable and loving hands. He is there anyway - I just need to trust. I know Gods love and I'm thankful for that.

We have scheduled an MRI for the 27th at 2pm. I would love your prayers - for peace for us while we wait, for a smooth procedure and clear results. Obviously too we are praying that there is nothing wrong with Daniel.

Thank you dear friends for standing by me once again.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

A short entry for 31 for 21

Well, I was hoping to post yesterday about our fabulous Buddy Walk!  I will post soon - and with pictures.  We had a fabulous day and I'm so glad we were able to be there!

I wanted to share a blog entry with you.  It is a powerful story of the influence of a little girl on a woman's life.  There is so much to this story - deep sadness that breaks my heart.  And hope that encourages too.

Click on the link below to read Linda's story.

Gather My Children

Reading this story encourages me to pray fervently and look for ways to help children find homes with a loving family.  I'll be sharing more about this in the future - and ways you can help too if you are also led.

I'm so very thankful that our Eliana was born at a time when bringing her home was encouraged.  Our lives are so much richer for having her in it.  I'm so very glad to have her in my family.  God has blessed us abundantly!



Friday, October 10, 2008

Raffle - 31 for 21

Hi Friends,

I wanted to let you know about a raffle on my friend Stephanie's blog.  She is doing this to help raise money for Oleg, one of the children at Reece's Rainbow (the site I mentioned yesterday).  One of the biggest factors keeping these children from being adopted is the high cost of adoption.  Having a "grant" that goes toward the adoption helps so very much!

She is raffling a very cute, custom-designed handbag.  Check it out!!!

My heart is heavy for these precious children.  I'm praying that they would find homes, that they would receive the care that they need and that God would touch the hearts of those that he wants to bring them home.  Please check out Stephanie's site (just click on her name in the first paragraph - and join me in praying.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress." (James 1:27)



Thursday, October 9, 2008

31 for 21

Wondering about this title?  I just recently read about this - 31 for 21.  It's something in support of Down Syndrome Awareness Month which is October.  Many bloggers are blogging each day in the month (that's the 31) about Down syndrome (that's the 21 for the extra 21st chromosome).  I think it's a great idea.

I'm not sure what I'd write about for 31 days.  I guess that's one advantage to starting a little late - there are only 21 days left in the month now.  I'm going to borrow an idea from a friend.  If  you have a question about Down syndrome, my experience or just something you've wondered but haven't asked, please feel free to ask.  You can email me or just post a question in the comments and I'll blog an answer.  (I'm really wondering if anyone will ask a question!  LOL)

I wanted to share about an organization that I think is pretty special.  Reece's Rainbow.  It's an organization dedicated to helping people adopt children from foreign countries with Down syndrome.  You can visit the site and see many of the beautiful waiting children.  There is a lot of information there too about adoption, sponsoring a child and helping families to bring a child home.  You can click on the link above (in the name of the organization which is underlined) or go to the button on the right hand side of my blog. 

We sponsored a child last Christmas in lieu of Christmas gifts and are looking forward to doing that again this year.  We've also talked about other things we, as a family, can do to help this organization.  These children are heavy on my heart and I pray for them often.  Will you join me?



Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Thank you friends for praying for me.  Thank you also for the notes I received.  I wanted to post a small follow-up. 

Yesterday went pretty well.  I spent most of the day just being with my children.  We had one therapy appointment at home and spent most of the rest of the day doing schooling.  In the evening I took the 5 youngest children to a church program while Roger and Christopher were at football. 

I was amazed at the peace I felt throughout the day.  I truly expected less.  Why am I surprised when God blesses me?  I prayed to start the day and on and off through out the day.  I asked for one small thing - something I just didn't want to deal with - and God was so gracious to answer that  prayer.  It was a reminder to me that He does love me and cares for the details.  (Not to say that if this prayer hadn't been answered that I would have felt any differently, kwim?) 

Our devotion was on Psalm 23.  I felt like God wanted me to hear that again.  He is my shepherd.  I shall not want.  He leads me.  He restores my soul.  Thank you Father!

I am thankful for this little child.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have carried and loved this little one if only for a short time.  I do believe that this child - just like every other child - is a blessing. 

Thank you friends for loving me.

With love,


Monday, October 6, 2008

Praying today for those facing loss

Dear friends,

Would you join me in praying for those facing loss?  I know that includes so many of us - in many different situations.

This in on my heart - though I've debated posting it at all.  It seems a little selfish to ask as it isn't a huge or urgent request.  I've been praying and trying to find where God wants me in the midst of some of my own pain.  I want to learn.  I want to walk the path that He has called me to - and to do it with joy and contentment.  Sometimes its hard.

Today (Oct 7th) was the due date of our little that was born into heaven.  It's been a hard loss for me for a number of reasons.  Though I only carried this little one here for about 10 weeks, I still carry this sweet child in my heart.  I know that there are many others here who have faced this loss and other loss related to children.  Many far worse.  Tonight I was working on a quilt square for a gal that has lost her son.  It was an opportunity to pray for this precious family facing a loss that I can't even imagine.

I'm feeling more at peace, though I still miss this baby.  I've been praying.  I want to be in God's will and not get stuck in feeling sad or hopeless or envious.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me and is working things out for good.  I know that doesn't mean a life without pain and heartache. 

As I've been praying today, my heart has been turned to the many people that are hurting, grieving.  I know so many that have faced such great heartache.  I'm praying today for those who have experienced loss - that you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved so deeply by a loving Father.

A friend reminded me of the truths in Psalm 23.  Some of the things that really resonated with my heart are that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He does fully meet my needs and I'm thankful for that.  He restoreth my soul.  This is a sweet promise.  Thank you Lord!

Please pray with me.



Friday, October 3, 2008

September Catch-up Post

Just wanted to combine some of the things that have been going on around here or I'll never get caught up.  lol  Catching up seems like something I'm trying to do in so many areas of my life.  I feel like my head is flying in a million directions - and yet I do want to simplify.  It must not seem like it, though much of our business is not my choice.  I am thankful for the opportunities we have and seek to make the most of them.  Here's a look at our past month (with the exception of one more birthday that will get it's own post, along with a birthday party).

Sports.  Christopher is playing football.  Contact.  *sigh*  It's not the sport that I thought one of my children would be playing, but he really enjoys it!  It's been fun seeing his interest in the sport both on and off of the field.  I'm learning a lot too.  He has been working hard and it shows.  He is number 22.

It's been hard to get good action shots where you can tell who is who in the photos. 

Eliana getting some help from Isaiah as they explore the park.

Rebecca is playing soccer.  She has been doing this for many years now (since she was 4).  We debated joining a more competitive league, but the time commitment (and driving distances) was just too much for now.  She has remained in a city league.  She is enjoying the game and it's fun to watch her play.

Science.  We do a weekly science lab with friends.  Christopher and his friend Dillon have been doing science labs for years now - this is their 4th.  They are doing Chemistry this year.  This wasn't my strong suit in school, but Christopher likes science and thankfully hasn't needed too much of my help.  Honestly trying to figure out those formulas - yikes!  I can see why I was not a science major!

Rebecca has started a general science course with her friend Hanna.  She wasn't sure she was going to like it - in fact, she didn't want to do it.  She reluctantly went into the year, but after a couple of weeks has found that it is a lot of fun!  I credit some of that to the course and the labwork.  We are using Rainbow Science.

The hands-on lab experiments really make the learning fun - and it helps you to understand more clearly the concepts being explained.  Rebecca is learning about "force". 

Elections.  We have started a study on the elections.  We are using a combination of things - websites, books and a lapbook study.  When we decided on this topic of study months ago, there was no way to know just how interesting it was going to get!  My oldest two have read/watched the debates and many other items of interest.  We also enjoyed the game Hail to the Chief with our friends.

One of the projects suggested on a website was to hold a primary or caucus.  Christopher had planned to do this for dessert one night, but some early snacking (of the desserts!) interupted his plans.  Rebecca chose to have a primary to determine breakfast.  She set up a voting booth (in the bathroom) along with the ballots and the choices.

She helped make a grocery list and then the following morning cooked the winning choice.  (It was a surprise win as she didn't announce it until it was ready to eat.)  The following morning she cooked the second runner-up as it was a close race.  :-)  It was a treat for all of us!

Learner's Permit.  After looking for - and not finding - one of the documents needed to get the permit, we started the process of replacing it.  Waiting and waiting - and then finally success!  Yes, we have another driver at our house!  :-)  Thankfully the permit doesn't affect the insurance rates.  Yikes!

We celebrated with a plate of doughnuts - his choice.  I did put a car on top for fun. 

Little Mended Hearts Picnic - This is an annual event sponsored by the Triangle group.  We went last year and were happy to be invited back again this year.  The event is fun for all of us.  It's held at a nearby park and is attended by some of the Duke cardiology staff as well as families (like us). 

There were firefighters there as well as Sparky the firedog.  The boys enjoyed this!  Below, Joshua is with Sparky and Isaiah is in the firetruck.

There was also a face painter who does amazing work (see Rebecca's face) and a man blowing up balloons.  Check out Daniel's fun hat!

We ate a great lunch and enjoyed music throughout the event.  Eliana especially enjoyed the music.

Rebecca was able to sell more of her bracelets.  I need to update our numbers at some point.  I'm not sure where she is at this point.  I know it's over $7000 total though.

That's all for now.  More later.  Hope you've enjoyed the pictures!