Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday - and a great story!

There are a couple of football fans here - one BIG football fan!  So, we planned on watching the game.  Friends came over to join us and we had a yummy meal of BBQ, asian slaw, chips, various dips, fruit, and cookies. 

Some of us that were less interested in the games, played games of our own - Scrambled States of America, Spoons and Rack-O.  Fun all the way around.  I didn't think to take any pictures though.

In light of football, I wanted to share an incredible story.  I loved it and think you will too.

One you just have to read here.

And then for the rest of the story, click here. 

Ackland Art Museum & More

This is a catch up post from last week.  We had another fun field trip with our Five in a Row group!  We visited Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill.  We had tours set up for the children that were 5 and older.  There was a children's museum just around the corner which was an option for those with younger children.

We first went the museum and the younger children had a tour (ages 5 to 9).  The older kids went to Starbucks with some of the moms to play games and have a cup of hot chocolate.  I took my two youngest plus a friend's 1yo with me to Kidzu Children's Museum.

What a fun museum!  It wasn't big - which was a great option with 3 small children (one of whom is a wanderer!). 

Doesn't she just look sassy?!  lol

Fun construction area.

Loved this kitchen area and would love to have our play kitchen area organized like this.  Doesn't this look like a fun place to play?  To the left was a large table and farther to the right a refrigerator. 

Can you guess the game that Eliana liked playing?!  Yes, taking off her shoes and socks.  She doesn't wear them a lot at home and I guess she was just making herself comfortable.  lol

For the second hour, the older kids were in the museum and the middle kids joined us at the museum.  I don't have any pics in the museum.  The reports that I heard was that it was very well done.  The docents were great with the children - and complimentary of our group.  One of the activities that Rebecca enjoyed was writing a dossier on one of the figures in a painting. 

Since our group was so split up, we didn't get a chance to see everyone.  We grabbed a few folks and got a picture outside of the museum.

Afterwards, we walked down Franklin Street (the main street in Chapel Hill) for lunch.  We ate with 4 other families at Subway.  It was a fun lunch.  I was excited that for the first time I ordered Daniel a sandwich!  We've been working hard on his food/sensory issues and he is making great progress.  One of the foods he really likes is pepperoni.  So, he got a pepperoni sandwhich - plain.  The sides were applesauce and chips.  A perfect lunch for him!  I was just excited to order from the menu.  Typically, I have brought food for him for our lunches.  I didn't do that today and figured we would do the best we could.  This was a great step!  Way to go Daniel!

Another fun outing with our FIAR group.  We are thankful to be a part of this group!



Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Day with the Boys

Well, I thought I might try just writing about today.  I have other things I still want to add, but maybe it would just be easier to do a little bit more often.  We'll see.  I really need to learn how to upload/download pictures from my camera myself which would make this much easier.

Today, Rebecca went to work with her Daddy.  She was scheduled to go a couple of places with her bracelets to sell.  (For anyone new to my blog, you can read more by clicking on Wholehearted Bracelets in my sidebar.  In a nutshell, Rebecca has been making and selling bracelets to raise money for babies needing heart repair.  She started this shortly after Eliana was born.  She has donated all of the money to Duke Children's Hospital.)  She will be making another donation soon to Duke during their big radiothon.  We'll be doing a short interview similar to last year on Feb 12th.  If anyone is interested in purchasing a bracelet before this date - please email me or just post on here.  We'd love to send one to you. 

With my morning helper gone, I wasn't sure how the day would go.  She helps soooo much and often lets me get a little more sleep.  I went to sleep early which was a good thing.  Eliana had a rough night last night.  Her little bottom is red and obviously hurting - though I'm not sure why.  She woke a couple of times crying (and I think this was the cause). 

My first glimpse of morning was when Daniel came in EARLY to tell me that the playroom door was locked.  I knew that - I locked it after they'd gone to sleep.  I had been trying to clean/organize the room and having it open just invited help that ... wasn't all that helpful, if you know what I mean.  Thankfully, he left quietly and I slept a bit more with Eliana beside me.  She woke up soon after and played in my room for awhile. 

When I got up, I decided we needed to make the most of the day.  (Actually this was probably decided the night before from reading some posts on the FIAR board.)  We all got up and had breakfast, did a little cleaning and then started with our schoolwork.  I wanted to see if we tried to stay on task (all of us - including me) if we could make good progress.  We did!!!

The 3 younger boys got almost all of their schoolwork done before lunch time.  It's amazing what having a free morning will do for you!  (We've had morning therapies for each of the last three days.)  I think this was our most productive day of the week so far!  :-)  I was very encouraged.

What made a difference?  Well, me staying off the computer except for short times while giving Eliana a morning bottle.  If I can stay focused, it really helps everyone else to do the same.  When I wander off (to read the computer), they do as well.  I knew that with one of my helpers gone, that I couldn't afford to be a slacker today.  I also think it helped to have a couple of extra hours in today that we haven't had on M, T or W.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful for our therapies.  I think that they are incredibly helpful and am very glad to have this benefit.  They do make schooling a little more challenging though!

So, what did our day look like?  We started with morning devotions.  Nothing calm and quiet - we did have 4 boys and one very active little girl in the room.  I do like starting our day though focusing on and talking about God. 

Next, Daniel did his listening therapy, Joshua and Isaiah did seatwork (math, handwriting, research) and Christopher and Eliana played.  Then we would switch off with each person having some time to play with Eliana alternated with working.  For our unit studies, J and I are doing Cowboy  Charlie, a true story about Charles Russell.  Joshua read an extra book on the Wild West today to go along with our lesson and they watched a movie this evening too.  Daniel is "rowing" the Snowy Day.  Christopher is working on various things - Uncle Eric studies on government, Movies as Literature (writing a paper), geometry, etc.

Eliana took a long nap after lunch (which was nice since her night was a short one).  While she napped, I worked on puzzles with Daniel (as part of his Little Contenders work), started supper, did various other work with the boys, did some laundry and cleaning too.

Tonight a friend came over and helped me start tackling the playroom (again!).  We visited a fabulous children's museum last week and seeing the centers there really made me want to do something similar in our  playroom.  It was so much fun to play in these areas - and so easy to clean it up to since everything had a neat and labelled place to go.  I've bought some things to help organize.  A girl can dream right?

Well, that's it for our day.  Tomorrow should be another slower day.  We have no place to go and no therapies.  Hopefully it will be another fun and productive day.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

We had a good snow last week - finally!!!  It was so much fun to wake up to snow!  Roger and the children played in it for a little while before he headed to work. 

Because this was the day of the Inauguration, we stayed inside for a good bit of the afternoon to watch things on tv.  By afternoon, everyone was ready to head back out into the snow.

Eliana had her first experience in the snow - and she LOVED it!  She didn't mind falling.  She wanted to taste it when Rebecca handed her a glove full.  She was just thrilled with it all.  In fact, when she was soaked (and stinky) and needing to go in, she just cried and cried.  I'm glad she enjoyed it.

Daniel noticed that the snow went "plop" on his head just like in the book The Snowy Day that we are reading this week.  He didn't mind it either.  When the snow got down into his gloves, he calmly asked me to help him.  This is great progress for him!

The rest of the kids had fun throwing snowballs with each other and friends.   Everyone (but Eliana) had fun sledding down a hill in our back yard.  I should mention that this hill is *in* the woods.  It's not a clearing really and not all that smooth.  But they had a blast and you work with what you have, right?  Here are some pictures.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Field Trips for January

Our first outing of the year was to go bowling.  This has been a hit in the past and it's always fun to go with friends.  It was a bit of a challenge keeping up with Eliana as she kept bolting for the door.  Thankfully she could not get out by herself. 

My children bowled in 3 different lanes.  They had fun.  A couple had the highest scores -and it was 2 of my children that really didn't care about scores.  How does that happen?! 

My pics were OK - not so great.  I have a group shot, some blurry ones of some my boys and f friend's boys doing jumping jacks and push-ups.  Yes, at the bowling alley.  LOL  And most of the pics are from the back, like the one above.  The one above is my favorite.

Afterwards we grabbed lunch at Subway and then went to a park to play.  It was a chilly day, but pretty and the children spent several hours running around.  I got some great shots (I think) of some of our children, but not all of them unfortunately.

Rebecca put Eliana's hair up in rag rollers the night before which is why she has curls.  None of my children have natural curls despite my head full of them.  It's clearly a recessive gene!  lol

Eliana loves playing with the big kids and climing on the play structures.  At one point she was holding her hands to her mouth and yelling something.  It sounded like she was trying to call someone.  Cracked me up!  I tried to get a photo, but missed it.

Once Eliana was ready for a nap and falling asleep, we headed for home.  Just after we got to the car, it started to POUR!  What great timing.  It was a fun day.

Our next field trip was two weeks later.  (We plan outings for every other week.)  This time we went to the Ackland Art Museum.  I'll post more when the pics are uploaded.  Snow pics coming soon (well, hopefully this week) too.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Visits with family and friends

This is a catch up post from a few things I wanted to share.

My parents came to visit us just after Christmas.  We loved having time to spend with them!  We played games, talked and just had fun.  They gave us a Wii for Christmas which has been a fun experience for everyone.   Here are a few pictures.

Playing charades

Playing the American Girl game.

Playing on the Wii.

We started off the year by heading to VA on Jan1 to spend a few days with our friends.  It was chilly so we spent most of our time just playing inside and hanging around.  There was time for some football and swinging outside though.

She's barely big enough for the plasma car, but that doesn't stop her from getting on and going!

The little boys loved swinging.

Stop in the action of the football game.

Just hanging out.

We surely miss having our friends next door and love the time to just hang around.  I'm glad that they are close enough to drive to see, but still wish they were here.

I came home a little early with Eliana to meet up with another friend, Barb, that I've known for years from the FIAR boards.  She had not yet met Eliana and I was thrilled to introduce them.  It was wonderful having lunch with Barb, her dh and oldest daughter. 

Barb has been an encouragment to me many times and I loved having some face to face time with her - though it was way too short.  I guess that is always the way it is with good friends, huh?

I've been blessed abundantly by God with wonderful family and special friends.  I'm thankful for each one.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009


We woke up this morning to a world of white ... SNOW!!!  It isbeautiful and amazing to see it here!  It's still falling as I type.  Roger went in late this morning so he could take the children out to play.  Isn't that sweet?!  We are planning to do a little schooling and then maybe back outside to play.  I don't want to lose what may be this *one* day to play in it.  lol

Today is a historic day.  We have been studying on the inauguration over the last week and a half and plan to watch it on tv today.  We have been using Amanda Bennett's Inauguration unit study and it's been interesting to look back over the past events and today we look ahead to the future.

I've been talking with friends about this event and it has come up on the FIAR message board.  Some are really struggling with this new leader.  My wise and beautiful friend Barb had this to share and I thought it was wonderful and wanted to share it with you.

We ALL have every reason to hope and pray that Obama is successful in his presidency! Given that, I feel this verse ~

2 Chron. 7:14 (MsgB)
and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I'll be there ready for you: I'll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

~ is a very important one for this time!

God is still sovereign and in control whether our choice won or not!


Please join me in praying for our new leaders - that God's hand would be upon them.



Friday, January 16, 2009

One more ... Praise God!

I'm going to post-date this so that it shows up on the day that it happened - Saturday the 17th.

On Friday while the children and I were doing devotions, we were talking about how Jesus prays for us.  We got into a discussion about Jesus and the fact that He lives in our hearts when we believe.  Well, Isaiah asked if he was in my heart and I replied "yes".  He then asked about others in the family including himself.  I told him that Jesus was ready to come into his heart anytime that he wanted to invite him.  Well, he wanted to do it then!

I asked him why he wanted to invite Jesus.  He said that he wanted Jesus in his heart and not Satan.  He also said that he figured it was the best way to go to heaven and he wanted to go to heaven.  I assured him that this was the only way to get to heaven.

I asked if he would wait until Daddy could be with us.  Unfortunately, Daddy had a busy and long work day already scheduled and wasn't able to be home until late.  So on Saturday morning, we asked if he was ready.  He was.

Isaiah prayed a prayer, nervously inviting Jesus in.  He wasn't really sure what to say and we told him to say what he knew about who Jesus was and why he wanted to invite Him in.  Then as a family we prayed for Isaiah.  What a sweet moment.

Thank you God for helping my son see his need for you.  Please guide him and teach him and draw him close.  I pray that as Isaiah grows that he would desire to know you, to be with you and to serve you.  I pray that he would use his gifts and talents to bring glory and honor to your name.  Help us to know how best to teach and parent him.  Protect him, challenge him and hold him close. 

We rejoice with the angels in knowing that another soul is safely His!

Praising Him,


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Roger - and a cute little story!

Happy Birthday sweetie!  I wish we could have seen more of you today (worked a long day/night), but we look forward to celebrating with you tomorrow!  I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful year - filled with God's grace, challenge, growth, peace and joy!

I wanted to share a funny little story about Daniel (4yo).  He made a card for me yesterday and came to give it to me while I was cooking dinner.  Since my hands were dirty, I asked him to set it on the counter and I would look at it in just a minute.  He wandered off and in a few minutes I looked at the card.

It was a small card made of paper that had been cut and glued on both sides.  He had decorated the outside with drawing and on the inside were scribbled lines.  I chuckled when I saw this because it looked like a note.  I found him and thanked him for the card.  Then I asked him what it said on the inside.  He kind of chuckled and said "i can't read, you read it". 

That just made me laugh.  Guess if it looks like writing it must be and since he can't read, surely I could.  Funny boy!



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FIAR Ornaments

Our FIAR group (our local one, not the on-line one) did an ornament swap again this year.  This is our 3rd year doing this and our biggest swap thus far (13).  Each ornament represents one of the book titles in the FIAR curriculum.  We had ornaments from Before FIAR (2), FIAR (10) and Beyond (1).  They are so creative and beautiful!  I just love them.  It'is hard to see how beautiful they are since they are 3D and you just miss something in a photo.  Here are some pictures.

 Big Green Pocketbook and Blueberries for Sal

Sorry this one is fuzzy.  I've already packed up the ornaments and don't want to get them back down now.   This is The Story About Ping and Pumpkin Runner.

Truman's Aunt Farm, Duchess Bakes a Cake and Boxcar Children

Wee Gillis and Cowboy Charlie.

Clown of God and Another Celebrated Dancing Bear


 Arabella and Roxaboxen



Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year's Eve

We did activity bags like last year (see earlier post for link to last year's if interested).  This was a huge hit last year and our children were excited to do it again this year.  We changed things up a little bit - but not too much.  We were blessed to share the evening with good friends.  What a sweet way to bring in the new year!

Here are the bags at the beginning of the evening.

This year, I stapled the clues to the outside of the bag.  We had a theme idea of spies so they had to figure out the clue and then could peek in the bag.  Here's our evening.

Clue 1: WHERE


Questions, lots of questions will find you this night.

Answer then correctly and you’ll have fun alright.

Put on your spy hats and ready your mind.

It’s time to go hunting in order to find.

Where are you going? Where is the clue?

Where is the place that you leave your shoe?

Go together slowly and don’t race ahead.

Where you end up depends on where you are led.

*5:30 – In the bag: Noisemaker: 10 paper plates, beans, markers, crayons, craft stick, tape, glue, stapler. 

They went on a scavenger hunt.  I used one from a Klutz treasure hunt book.  These are FaBuLoUs!!!  All of the clues are figured out and it even tells you where to hide them.  For this scavenger hunt, they had to act out the location of the next clue.  When they had finished the hunt, they got the bag and made noisemakers.

Clue 2: WHAT

What is the question that is asked each day?

What is the one Moms don’t want you to say?

What are you wondering and want to ask?

Figure it out to do the next task.

*6:00 - In the bag: pizza crusts, olives, mushrooms

The question that they figured out was "What's for dinner?".  They then made their own pizzas for supper.  Yum!  We had a variety of toppings (pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms) that they used to decorate the pizzas.

Clue 3: HOW

How would you describe your year?

With laughter, sadness, joy or a tear?

How did you spend your days?

How do you want to change your ways?

7:00 – In the bag: cardstock with questions

We took our time answering questions and then read the answers out loud.  We tried to guess who wrote each one and most were pretty easy to figure out.  I think this could be a fun keepsake from year to year.

Clue 4: WHY

Why are there sprinkles and frosting and more?

Why is there sugar? What fun is in store?

Why are there things that need decoration?

One that needs to pull into the station.

*8:00 – In the Bag: Makings for cookies – cutters, sprinkles

We decorated gingerbread cookies.  They had their choice of a gingerbread train and people.  This was a fun and simple activity - much easier than making our own sugar cookies like last year.

Ready to open the bag.

Clue 5: WHO

Who is the star?

Who will make you giggle?

Who still wants a snack?

Do you promise not to wiggle?

*9:00 – In the Bag: Movie – Horton Hears a Who, popcorn

Clue 6: WHEN

When is it my turn?

When will we learn?

When do we pick teams?

Is it as easy as it seems

*11:00 – In the Bag: Chalk for Pictionary, club soda for a fun drink


It's time to say good-bye to '08,

Watching the ball drop will be great!

A hug, a prayer, a sweet drink for the toast,

Happy New Year, it's 2009

*11:45 – In the bag: A scripture for each person to read. shake noise makers, take pictures, cups for bubbly drinks


We enjoyed the beginning of the year and look forward to see all that God has in store for us this year.




The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23