Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy (Belated) Birthday Joshua!!!

We were travelling when Joshua had his birthday (in Williamsburg) and I haven't gotten to posting about him.  I wanted to get this done before his birthday month ended!

Where do I start with this amazing little boy?  I prayed for him for several years before God answered my prayers.  What a sweet blessing it was to have him join our family.  He has always been a laid-back and easy-going little man.  He began as a very pudgy (with great thighs!) baby and now is a slim young man.

Joshua has a sensitive heart - in a very good way.  He listens and ponders and remembers.  I sometimes have to be careful in what I share so as not to burden his heart.  I pray that we would encourage his sensitivity toward the things of God.  I've noticed this about him even from the time he was a very small boy.  I remember God using Joshua's words to encourage me when he was just 3 in ways that were beyond his years.  I had lost a baby in the summer and in the winter on that baby's due date, I was sad about missing this baby we had never met.  Joshua commented to me that day about this baby being in Heaven with God.  It was a sweet reminder to me that my baby was in a better place, and also of how very much God loves me!

Even now I see his sweet heart in our day to day activities.  (Not that he is sweet and perfect all of the time mind you!)  Just today as part of his journalling, he was asked what he would do if someone gave him a million dollars.  Here is his answer.

"Buy him a candy bar.  Pay off the price of as many orphans as I could." 

He kept nothing for himself.  I love that answer. 

Joshua is brave and strong in ways I never knew he could be.  He has faced diabetes head on and with great courage.  That doesn't mean it is easy or that he never gets frustrated and upset about it.  He does.  So do I.  It is a hard thing to live with.  Just tonight he asked me if he would have diabetes in heaven.  I loved being able to tell him that "No, there would be no diabetes in heaven!". 

Joshua is creative - loves to draw, pretend, play games and more.  He is athletic and has played a variety of sports - basketball, soccer, baseball and now football.  Joshua loves to read and is particularly interested in history.  He has similar interests to his older brother in reading which is nice.

Joshua is helpful, interesting, affectionate and sweet.  I feel so very fortunate to be his mom.  We are blessed to have him in our family and I thank God for this precious gift!

I love you Joshua!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Field Trip - Durant Nature Center

Last week we went on a field trip to Durant Nature Center.  They planned a couple of classes for our kids.  One on "Insects" for the K-5 group (actually 2 classes full) and one on "Amazing Avians" for the 6th and up. 

We had a beautiful sunny day for our trip.  It was hot actually.  The instructor started out talking about insects.  She had some of their homes for the kids to look at.  Then she talked about the body of an insect in a really fun way.  She asked questions and let the children share what they knew and then dressed up volunteers like an insect. 

Then the children went to an area with tall grasses to see what they could find. 

They were trying to catch insects using jars with lids

or large nets. 

 They found a great variety of things!  (Even a couple of snakes that we tried to stay away from since we were learning about insects.)  Daniel's favorite was a snail - slow moving and easy to catch (and yes, I know it isn't an insect.  lol)

I have no pictures of the older kids as I wasn't with that group.  I hate missing out on all their outings, but am thankful we have a large group and are able to tailor things to a wide variety of ages.  Here is a link to my friend Lynn's blog with some photos of the older kids.

Afterwards, we had a picnic lunch and time to play in the park.  It was a lovely day spent with friends.  I'm thankful to have a great group of friends to do these things with!


Monday, September 28, 2009


Praise! So nice to type that.

Joshua needs no surgery. None.

He had an appt with the urologist who examined him. Since he is not having specific problems, he saw no need to do the surgery. He said that in the past that this was often routinely done, but he didn't see the need to. (I know this is vague, but it is somewhat personal in nature.)

Also, the doctor said that he had looked over his testing from Friday and thought his kidney function looked well too!!! I asked if we still needed to follow up with the nephrologist on Thursday. He didn't think we would need to meet, but just to call about it. He said that he would have been the one to do the surgery if it had been needed and so nobody would argue with his call on it.

It was a short appointment - and sweet! I'm so thankful to have this behind us and so relieved that Joshua does not need one more thing done!

Thank you for praying with us - and rejoicing now with us too.



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beyond FIAR - Hitty

This is something that we did weeks ago, lest anyone think we are so busy this week.  lol  Just trying to catch up on what we've been up to - and getting close!

Rebecca is doing the Beyond FIAR unit study on Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.  It's the story of a doll's life spanning 100 years.  The unit include a research project and a service project in addition to the lessons on a wide variety of topics from whaling to flowers, from Native Americans to Greek Mythology, Antiques and more!

In order to learn more about antiques, (after all, the doll Hitty is 100 years old),  we decided to visit a nearby antique shop.  We went during nap time and some of the boys weren't interested in going.  We had friends join us for a quiet adventure.

It was so much fun poking about the stores and seeing what treasures were there.  Some of the things weren't antiques at all!  Why I saw things I remembered having in my home growing up!  LOL  The girls looked for dolls - and found them.

The children found a lot of things of interest. 

Joshua was particularly interested in the military uniforms.

And he found a book of interest too.

I love outings like this.  It just makes our studies come alive.  I'm thankful we are able to do things like this - and thankful for friends who want to join us!



Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear

I'm going to try to catch up on the Aug/Sept posts I've been wanting to make regarding some of our school work.  So, just know that you are reading things that have happened over the last month when I post a string of them in a row.  LOL 

We had fun with this FIAR unit. 

Some of the things we added to the lesson, was food!  We made these bear paws and served them to friends.  It went nicely with the lesson on hospitality.

These were  yummy and super easy to make - though not all that healthy.  We used refrigerated biscuit dough.  One biscuit was flattened for the paw.  A second cut into fourths for the toes.  We rolled them in butter and cinnamon sugar and baked them. 

We also made these cute bear treats with graham cracker crusts, chocolate ice cream, choc chips and a cherry.  We were supposed to use cookies for the ears, but those didn't make it onto the grocery list so we broke apart ice cream cones and used those instead.

 Hope you are having a great week!


More on testing today

Thank you for praying for Joshua.  I'm so thankful that others are willing to do that.  Prayer is an amazing thing - for both the person praying and the one being prayed for. 

As we were driving into the hospital I was starting to feel emotional.  It was unexpected as I was really not thinking or worrying about this test.  All the thoughts that a hospital brings up ... the memories, the experiences, the possibilities.  As we were driving though, a song that really ministered to me during all of Eliana's struggles came on the radio.  It is one that still brings tears to my eyes.  I love the little ways that God can show He is right there with me.  Reminding me that He is enough.  He loves me.  Praising Him is a blessing to me.

Here is a link to the song if you want to listen to it yourself.  Every Time I Breathe

Here are some of the lyrics of the song if for some reason you can't listen.

I am sure all of heaven's heard me cry
As I tell You all the reasons why
This life is just too hard

But day by day
Without fail
I'm finding everything I need
And everything that You are
To me

Every time I breathe You seem a little bit closer
I never want to leave
I want to stay in Your warm embrace
Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face
And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart
I realize it's true
That You are so marvelous God
And I am so in love with You

We went in and began talking.  I asked a question about the sedation and the tech was surprised and told me that she had not planned to sedate him.  We talked a bit more and agreed that it would be fine as Joshua could be still for 40 minutes. 

He got a catheter in his arm and then started the testing shortly afterwards.  I finished our read aloud - Treasure Island - while he was being tested.  We prayed when he was anxious.  We waited.  He did a great job.

The nurse and tech both told me that we should know something next week.  The tech did tell me that she didn't really see anything wrong.  "Unimpressive" was her exact word.  She said that something could still show up as they reviewed the test, but she left me feeling hopeful that all is well. 

I'm still hoping for the best and praising God for caring for our sweet son.  Thank you too for caring for our family.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prayers for Joshua please

Tomorrow (Fri) morning, we will be going to the hospital for more testing on his kidney.  He will be sedated.  (He is very nervous about this and I made the mistake of mentioning this early in the week!)  I'm not sure how long the testing will take.

He won't be able to eat or drink before the test and I'm unsure how this will affect his blood glucose numbers.  (Just hoping he isn't low!) 

I'm not thinking we are getting any results tomorrow either.  We have an appointment with his nephrologist next Thur (she only does clinic appts on this day).  I would love to hear tomorrow that all is fine, but I'm not expecting to hear anything at all. 

They are looking to see if there is an abnormality that will need to be surgically corrected.  We would obviously love to skip that. 

Next Monday, Joshua has another appt with a different specialist.  We have been told to expect this to end in needing surgical correction.  Then the Thur appt to find out more about the testing being done tomorrow (Fri). 

I'd love prayers for all to go smoothly.  For good results.  For his slightly congested nose not to be a problem with the sedation.  For peaceful hearts. 

I'm thankful that we have access to wonderful medical care in our backyard.  I'm thankful that Joshua is going in healthy and not as an emergency.  I'm thankful that even if there is a problem, that it is something that can be fixed.  I'm thankful that God is with us.  I'm thankful for friends and family who are praying for us. 

with love,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Isaiah!!!

I can't believe you are 8 already!  Where is my chubby, wide-eyed baby?  It's so true what they say that the days can be long, but the years go so quickly.  I'm so very thankful for you Isaiah!

I am thankful for your sweet and generous heart.  Just today you received a gift from Rebecca of chocolate.  It was wrapped so that it looked like it was a $100 bill.  You opened the candy bar and then began to break it into pieces making sure that everyone was given a piece.  Given our family size, that really didn't leave much for Isaiah.  I declined my piece saying that he could have it.  He was fine though with sharing his gift. 

I love your energy and enthusiasm.  I love your dramatic nature and your ability to act in a variety of circumstances.  I love your zest for things in which you are really interested.  Right now, it's the game "Civilization", playmobil, pirates, legos and a variety of time periods past (I think some of this is from the Civilizations game).  I remember the Christmas that Eliana was born.  I was struggling and you declared it the best Christmas ever!  You then wanted everyone to gather around to hear what you had to say.  I wish I had thought to record it, though I didn't know what was coming.  You dramatically told the Christmas story.  It touched my heart so very much.

I love that you are smart, curious and interesting.  I love that you are affectionate and considerate.  I love that you are matter-of-fact and straight to the point - I never have to wonder what you are thinking.  I'm so very thankful that you are a part of our family Isaiah!  I love you!!!

We had a fun day celebrating today.  Roger took the day off from work as is the custom for birthdays.  This was nice since he has had a lot of time off already this month.  Isaiah requested waffles, bacon and Captain Crunch cereal and Orange Julius for breakfast.  I'm not even sure how he knows about that cereal as I haven't ever bought it! 

He opened presents.  Here is one of them.

We had  pizza for lunch (his choice).  Afterwards, it was out to the store to buy a new game of Civilization.  Since the closest store carrying it was in Raleigh, a detour to another store was made too.

What a fun place to play.  I'm sure we'll go back.  I was home with Eliana who was napping and not feeling great with a bit of a stuffy nose.  I'm hoping it passes quickly!

While they were out, the van broke down.  It was not able to be jumped and so Triple A came to help.  Thankfully, they were able to get it going enough to get to the store and buy a new battery for it.  I'm glad it was an easy fix!

Home to play the  new game and then have dinner.  Isaiah had asked yesterday about the Colonial meal to go with our last FIAR book.  I told him what it was and he decided it would make a good birthday meal.  We had roast beef, yorkshire pudding and creamed potatoes and peas.  It was all really yummy.

For dessert we had an angel food cake.  Isaiah wanted the same cake Joshua had for his birthday which is really nice because it is one that Joshua can easily have as it doesn't have too many carbs in it.

We watched a movie and then had another dessert.  Hey, you only do birthdays once a year.  This time it was ice cream. 

It was a fun and relatively low-key day.  Not our typical for celebrating birthdays.  It was nice though.  Isaiah, I love you so very much and am so thankful to be able to celebrate your birthday with you!

Tomorrow we have a field trip and I'll post about it as soon as I'm able.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our Little Miss Sunshine

Still playing catch-up, though we had a productive day.  Everyone has finished their boxes, I've refilled 3 sets and have to grade a few more things.  All in all a pretty good day.  Most of it is probably because we were at home with no distractions.  Our therapist had to cancel and so our day was free. 

Tomorrow we have 2 ped appts - 2 different peds in 2 different locations (same office, but different branches).  Eliana will see our beloved Dr. L for a check-up.  I'm not expecting any new news!  Should be routine.  She is a wonderful ped and I enjoy seeing her (though not always the reasons I need to go see her).  Isaiah also has an appt.  I'm hoping all goes well.  I need to make a list of things to be covered for him. 

On to other things.  I thought I'd update a little bit on Eliana.  She continues to be a delight!  She laughs (and giggles) often and just finds the best in every situation. 

Even things that don't look good to me seem like fun to her.

My little girl that struggled so much to learn to eat - now loves it.  And she is motivated by food!  Who would have though?!  We are using food to get her to talk more.  She says/signs "more, please" when she wants something.  She is loving to snack too!  She also loves to help herself to whatever she can reach in the pantry.

Eliana also likes to help clean up.  She is very good about helping to put things away.  She also loves the vaccuum!  She has always liked the vibration, but now she is also enjoying using it too. 

Eliana is a good sport and will play dress up often.  She seems to like doing this more and more now which is a good thing as it is a popular activity around here.

She can still be a girly girl too.  I wish I had a better shot of her hair.  Rebecca fixes it in such pretty ways.  If only Eliana would leave the bows in her hair!

Eliana continues to talk and sign more and more.  She is a smart girl and I love watching her learn and grow and develop.  Each milestone is sweet as they are spaced out a little more than is typical - and that's fine.  We are enjoying the journey!

Thank you God for blessing us with an amazing family!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pirate Fun

Still playing catch-up with emails, comments and everything else.  I'm making progress though.  Still need to download new pictures.  I'm going to continue doing some posts from activities from last month until I get a bit caught up.

We started this unit in June - the day Joshua was diagnosed with Diabetes.  We spent most of that week in the hospital and the next 3 weeks dealing with a nasty virus, so this unit got put on hold.  Reading my friend Dawn's blog inspired me to pick it up again.

 Here are some of the boxes I packed the first day.  We also read some books and watched Veggie Tales movie Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.

This was a cute little chapter book.  There is at least one more in the series. 

Some dot paints just for fun.

I thought we'd also study some of the ocean since we'd just been there and obviously it is where many pirate adventures take place.  I included some shells, magnifying glass and identification book in one of the boxes.

They picked some of their favorite shells to draw in their nature journals.

Some drawings of two shells we find frequently when we are at the beach.

 We have a lot of fun and interesting books on pirates that have been collected over the years.  I've had a couple of boys interested in pirates, plus it has been a popular item for several years it seems. 

This was the start to a pirate treasure hunt.  I hid clues/rhymes around the house.  With each clue, they found a piece of the puzzle.  They solved the riddles and ran around the house looking for the next clue.

They picked up pirate hats with one set of clues.

I love seeing the boys laughing, working together and having fun!

The treasure at the end was candy and a new game.

Rebecca also made up a treasure hunt for the boys on a different day.  She put so much work into it!  I love seeing her creativity and energy put forth in such a thoughtful way.  She came up with the idea on her own and asked if she could do it.  It is a sweet joy to see her bless her brothers by doing this for them!

 This picture I just thought was fun!

In this hunt, they had a piece of the map with footsteps and directions marked out.  The trick was that they had to be footsteps using Daddy's shoes.  This was harder for the boys than it looked.


They gathered more of the map as they went around the yard.

When they had found all the pieces of the map, it was time to find the treasure.  This time the treasure was money (quarters) which they loved. 

Eliana found the "X" that marked the spot.  LOL  It didn't mess up the hunt though as this wasn't the X that was finally used. 

All in all, we had a fun time learning a little more about pirates, but mostly just having some fun together.