Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christopher is a Saint!

I know that caught the attention of some of you.

My oldest has many wonderful qualities.

I'm thankful for the ways that I see him learning and growing.

Im excited about the changes I've seen in him over the last 4-5 months as he is seeking to know more about God and to get involved in a variety of ways at our church.

Well, this really isn't about church though.

If you have peeked at the pictures below, then you know what I'm talking about.  If not, ... they are coming.

I couldn't resist this post. 

When evaluating his time commitments for this year, Christopher decided that he wasn't going to be able to play football.  We asked him on numerous occassions if he was sure.  He was. 

Just recently, one of his former coaches (and his family) were over for dinner.  He talked with Christopher about playing.  He said they could use someone tall and fast.  They needed a receiver.   This is a big change for my son who is used to playing defense.  I think he likes being the hunter rather than the prey.  I do think he'll do a good job in this role though. 

It is nice to be recruited!  It was a blessing to receive a partial scholarship too.  I'm looking forward to the season!

So, once again ... Christopher is a Saint!

I love the values this league displays.  They pray together before the games (and during it if someone is hurt).

They have a devotion after the game and close in prayer.  Where else are you going to see opposing teams sitting down together?  And not just in the same space, but mixed together AFTER the game!

The game was interesting.  Our team was down 13-0 in the third quarter.  It was then that I learned that not only had they not yet won a game ... they hadn't even scored a touchdown yet.  I was wondering if this was going to be a long season.  Things really turned around in the 4th quarter though!  They scored!!!  Not once, but twice and went on to win the game!  It was exciting. 

So our Saturdays will be spent watching football.  If you are local and want game times, let me know as it's always fun to have more fans!  If you want to offer prayers for safety for these guys too - that is always appreciated!



Beyond FIAR Co-op Betsy Ross #3

Playing catch-up and wanted to post this one before we meet again with our group!  We are meeting for the third time in our study of Betsy Ross.  We have covering chapters 8-12 during this co-op.  It was a delightful morning with lots of neat things to do and learn!  I love co-op days!

We started with a needle/sewing project.  They each had a plastic canvas cut into the shape of the Liberty Bell.  They learned how to do the stitches and then were given some time to work on their bell.  Some did not want to stop!  I was pleasantly surprised at how much my boys enjoyed this project.  I don't think it is something I would have ever thought of doing with them.  It was a perfect project - something that was managable and not to lengthy (not like commiting to making a sampler as Betsy Ross did in one of these chapters). 

One of the blessings to *me* in co-op is the privilege of my children being able to do things that they wouldn't get at home - either something I don't know about, can't do or don't think they would like.  It is a privilege to see them learning fun things!  It opens my eyes to new possibilities too.  It is a sweet example to me of the body of Christ working together and being much greater together than any of us would have been alone. 

Here is what the completed project looks like.

Next the children watched a Magic School Bus on the human body.  This lead to a discussion about blood and the 4 main parts of blood.  In order to really grasp this, the children each made a blood cell! 

Here are the four parts:

1.  Plasma - represented by corn syrup

2.  White blood cells - represented by white jellybeans

3.  Red blood cells - represented by red disc shaped gummy candy

4.  Platelets - represented by the purple candy

They had a blast making these (and sampling the goodies before they went into the "blood".  Again, this is not a project I would have chosen to do at home and I'm so glad they had this experience!  It was fun!  We also had a snack time (but no pics). 

Next was a fun game in which some of the children were white blood cells (white headbands) trying to capture the others.  The white had to band together (3 children ) in a circle around a blue headband (bacteria) in order to stop it.  The blue could be released by three of their teammates circling around them.

Always fun to run and chase!

There is so much that I love about homeschooling.  When I started, I never realized how much God would use it to shape me, humble me and teach me.  I really thought it was all about the children.  God is so much bigger than anything I can imagine though and he uses homeschooling to instruct me and refine me.  It is a blessing and one for which I'm thankful (well, most of the time!). 



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Club #2 - A Lantern in Her Hand

We met this month for the second time to discuss another book.  We read A Lantern in Her Hand which is set in the 1800s and goes through a woman's life.  It starts when she is a child and ends with her death.  (You learn this at the beginning of the book so I don't think this is a spoiler.)

This book was challenging.  There were times that I felt downright sad reading it.  I think that all of the moms in the room could relate to the main character  at some point in her life.  Abbie Deal.  A woman that loved being a mother.  She gave up her hopes and dreams to follow love and to give all that she could to her children.  It was hard at times seeing the hardships she faced and the twists in her life that just didn't seem fair.  Life is like that though.

I think that the book offered a lot of insights though.  I loved reading about a part when the character is in the later years of her life and she says that she doesn't feel like an old person - she is just Abbie.  I can relate to that even now and it is was something I shared with the group (and mainly the girls).  Inside, you are *you* and though your body ages, your spirit doesn't.  I know I don't feel "old" though I'm sure to some I seem old.  (Doesn't every adult seem old when you are a child?  Or even a teen?)  Even though she aged, she still had hopes and dreams. This didn't change because she got older, but sometimes her children seemed to treat her that way.  Also, they didn't always appreciate the breadth of experience and understanding that she did have.  I felt like they often didn't give her enough credit.

One of my friends commented that she thought this helped her to understand her mom a little better.  I am praying that it helps all of us to understand others a little better - especially those further down the path of life than we are.  We are all people with hopes and dreams no matter our stage in life or circumstances. 

I think the girls are getting a little more comfortable with the sharing and discussing of ideas.  I pray that this time will be a blessing and encouragement to each person there.  Friendship is a sweet gift - one in which you have to take risks sometimes. 

We had delicious treats after our discussion that tied in with the story.  Chips (corn) and salsa, grasshopper pie (they were awful in the story), popcorn balls (she made them for Christmas), corn muffins, dried apples and apple juice. 

I am enjoying this time with our girls and time for reading too.  If anyone has suggestions for a good book for this age group, I would love to hear them!  We'll be meeting again next month with a new book!

Thank you God for this sweet time of friendship, fellowship and fun!



Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Science Birthday Party!

We held a joint birthday party for Joshua and Isaiah and a few of their friends.  We did something different this year.  Or maybe I should say that *I* did something different this year.  To back up a bit for those that don't know me IRL.  I love making a big deal out of birthdays and birthday parties.  We tend to go all out in terms of a theme and decorations (all homemade but still fun). 

This year while at a local homeschool fair, I won a prize.  It was a free birthday party from a gal who does science experiments.  Sounded like fun.  I have to confess though that I wrestled with whether or not to do this for their birthday.  I even felt guilt about doing it.  I considered just having her come for a fun day and for their birthday.  Joshua wasn't all that excited about the theme (adding to my guilt).  He was content though with playing airsoft on his birthday.  Isaiah however was very excited about the theme.  So in the end (and yes, I kind of waited until the last minute to plan it all out), we had a science birthday.  And it was a lot of fun!

We set up in the garage so we'd have space for messes and to get out of the heat a bit.  (It is has been a really hot month!)  Lynn was a scientist working with Nasa and gave the kids a lot of space information. 

She asked for volunteers for a variety of questions.

Here are some of the experiments.  We saw George Washington "shiver".  When you place a quarter into dry ice (don't touch the dry ice if you want to do this at home unless you have on good gloves!), the quarter will rock quickly back and forth until it reaches the same temperature as the ice.  At that point, the quarter is still.  Interestingly enough, she said it happened (the coin freezing) much quicker in the heat. 

She made astronaut shampoo.  I think this was the hit of the party.  I think it was dry ice, soap, water and some food coloring.  Remember this picture too! 

They each scooped up some of the shampoo (several times).

And, yes, in case you were wondering, they did put it in their hair.

She made a portable  "air conditioner" with more dry ice (and water).

When you dipped this into bubble solution, you got "bouncing bubbles".  They didn't bounce so well on the garage floor.  She said it worked better on carpet. 

Making clouds.

Levitating a ping pong ball.

Using an "air zooka" to blow out a candle. 

Remember the astronaut shampoo?  Well I didn't know about it ahead of time.  I wanted to make a "science cake" and Rebecca found a picture and directions for me on the internet.  Check out the birthday cakes!  (One is vanilla and the other angel food - lower carbs.)

They each had their own cake so that they could blow out candles (and so that we had a lower carb option).  We had some teens drop by too and were able to get rid of all of both cakes too! 

When the cakes were eaten, Isaiah took the top of the "test tube" part of the cake.  It was a paper towel roll covered with tin foil and then icing.  And well, he got Christopher with it.  Christopher was a good sport about it all - fortunately for Isaiah.    (Not e the icing on his shirt and arm.)

The boys received some nice gifts.  I had to show you this one though.

All in all, it was a really fun party.  The verdict for me?  Much less stressful way to have a party.  My friend Catherine and I had talked about having a party planning business years ago when our oldest kids were young - as a something to do someday.  I can certainly understand the beauty of having someone else responsible for the main part of the event.  It probably won't happy around here though due to cost and it is just fun to plan sometimes.  We'll see.

If anyone local wants a referall, I'm happy to provide it!





Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Isaiah!

Two birthdays so close together.  These two are closest in age and also share the closest birthdays - just 6 days apart. 

My sweet Isaiah.  Can you guess what I was studying when I was pregnant with him?  Yes, I was in the Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Isaiah.  So much strength in that man who loved God and spoke to share Him with others.  I see in my Isaiah a boldness that I pray will be used to point others to God.  While young, that trait can seem impulsive (and often is) and without censor.  I pray that his heart will be filled with God so that what spills out will be a reflection of the One who made him.

Isaiah is cuddly and often tells me how much he loves me.  Yes, this can sometimes follow a blessings, but I love that his joy flows out from his heart to his lips.  He is such a great hugger and can never seem to get enough of them.  I hope he never outgrows this trait!

Isaiah is smart and inquisitive.  He also faces challenges in learning.  I pray that God will guide me as I seek ways to encourage him and teach him so that he has the tools he needs to be the man he is designed to become. 

Isaiah has a wonderful sense of humor.  He makes us laugh so often.  Of course, I'm going to blank now on a good story to tell you.  He is a storyteller too.  I remember the Christmas that Eliana was born, he called out in his loud, strong and deep voice for us to all gather around because he had something to say.  He was just 5 and I wondered what in the world he was going to share.  Had we known, we would have grabbed the video camera.  He retold the Christmas story as if it were a news event.  It was such a sweet and beautiful moment.  It blessed my heart greatly at a time when I was struggling with all that was going on with  Eliana's health.  I also remember one of his comments that year as it too was a sweet blessing.  "This is the best Christmas ever!"  I needed his perspective.  He was  right.

Isaiah is generous (and will often give away his things to bless others), creative and a delight.  He enjoys playing outside and also inside on the computer or Wii.  He likes reading comic book style books.  Some of his favorites are Calvin and Hobbes (I hope he doesn't get any ideas!) and Garfield. 

Thank you God for blessing our family with Isaiah 9 years ago.  Happy Birthday precious Isaiah!  I love you!!!  Mommy

On his birthday, he started the day with pancakes (made by Dad) and chocolate milk.  (Roger takes the day off for our children's birthdays and we spend the day as a family doing things that they enjoy.)  We headed out for a field trip.  (More on that in another post.)  After the field trip, we went to a nearby campus and had a picnic lunch under the shade trees.  (It was in the mid-90s here that day!)  We brought cupcakes to share with his friends.

They sang Happy Birthday to him and enjoyed sweets with him.  (No pics of the cupcakes as I was passing them out instead of taking pictures.)

We hung out at home in the afternoon.  Played inside and out.  Isaiah opened some cards and gifts.

We had pizza for dinner.

Then watched a movie with some friends.  It was a fun day celebrating our Isaiah!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Health/Medical Updates

Thanks to all who were praying for Eliana. She was much better today! I'm not sure what caused her fever and lethargy yesterday.  Today she woke up and stayed up until her nap - with lots of her usual energy.  So nice to have her moving around again.  She was so pitiful yesterday!  I'm hoping and praying this is the end of it - whatever it was.  All things considered, it was not a bad sickness to have.

We also have had some medical appointments recently.  I took Daniel and Christopher to the eye doctor.  While we were there, I asked the doctor how likely it was that Daniel would lose his vision.  He has optic nerve drusen which is a condition that can cause the loss of sight.  I was told by a different doctor, a specialist, that this likely wouldn't happen until he was at least a young adult.  As you can imagine, this is a lot for a mama's heart to carry.  It isn't something that I've shared with him as there is no need for him to carry that weight as well.  His regular eye doctor believes that it is not likely at all that he will lose his sight.  Oh, I hope she is right!  Continuing to pray that Daniel will keep his sight.

We also had Diabetes Clinic.  It was a mixed set of information, but all in all a good visit.  His numbers still aren't where they should be - on average and also his A1C had gone up a little bit.  It is really discouraging to see that number when you are doing all you can to keep it low.   It feels like a test and I just can't get that good grade no matter how hard I try.  Then I wonder if I could be trying harder or doing more.  I know some of you understand these feelings - even if it isn't the same issue.

 He is higher on average than is optimal.  They believe that he isn't getting enough insulin.  This is most likely having an effect on his ability to gain weight.  I knew this was true before diagnosis, but didn't even think about it happening now.  :-(  He is very low on the charts for his weight (though none of mine are high on it!).  We've adjusted his base rate of  insulin and thus far he does seem to be having better numbers.  The goal in the past was to really keep him from having lows.  Hopefully we can tweak this now and get him in a better spot. 

We need to do some testing of this new rate by fasting through various meals/snacks and more frequent testing.  I am planning on starting that *after* we get through birthdays!  Should be next week. 

As we finished the appointment and were checking out, we could hear loud noises.  We went to see what was happening.  As we approached the lobby, a woman eagerly invited us to join in.  There were two young men there from Africa who were drumming beautiful rhythms.  There were many additional drums and the children were encouraged to play with them.  Joshua told me that it was much harder than he thought it would be to make different sounds based on where you hit the drum and with which part of your hard. 

It is a sweet think to see people working to encourage children who are dealing with more than they should be in life.  I'm thankful for these men and women who find ways to brighten their days!

As always, we have much to be thankful for!  Tomorrow is a busy birthday day!  Will post more on our sweet boy tomorrow.



His A1C was

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where is Eliana?

Eliana has just not been herself today.  She woke up very early - and in tears.  Had a hard time being consoled too.  She fell asleep watching myth busters with her brother.  I thought it was because she was up so early.  She woke up when I tried to move her.  She was still tired though and fell asleep many more times during the day - and in many places.

In Rebecca's room

On Joshua's bed

On Daniel's bed

On the sofa.

On the chair.

At one point in the afternoon, I couldn't find her when I thought she had been with Rebecca.  We did a quick look and couldn't find her.  Oh, there is nothing like the panicky feeling when you can't find one of your children!  Well, after some more looking we did locate her.  It was her position that made her tough to find.

Apparently she woke up and needed a diaper change.  She climbed onto the changing table and then fell asleep.

Is that pitiful or what?  And yes, she had her foot crossed like that too.  LOL 

She was running a low grade fever earlier today.  Isaiah even came up to me at one point and told me that he thought she felt warm.  Poor sweet baby.  Please join us in praying that whatever it is will pass quickly and with no additional symptoms.  I'd love for it not to be shared too.  We have another birthday this week and I'd love all healthy family members.



PS  I've posted twice today - so scroll down for another new post.

Walnut Creek Wetland Center - Field Trip

We had a great field trip a couple of weeks ago to the Walnut Creek Wetland Center.   It is a really neat place.  I'm always amazed each year that we are able to find so many neat places that we have never visited before.  I've been planning field trips since 1995.  (I love field trips!)  Finding new places is a treat!

We split into groups when we arrived - a younger group and an older group.  I stayed with the 3 younger boys and Eliana hung out with Rebecca during the first half of the program.  Each group did similar activities and then switched.

The younger students started in the classroom and learned wetlands and the types of animals that live in them.  They were given cards to identify and then take up to the table.  I loved seeing this sweet moment of brotherly love.  Gotta love the fedoras too!

Next they talked about soil and erosion.  They learned that grass helps to hold the soil when it rains (or floods).  It was a fun experiment. 

Next we went on a short nature hike. 

We walked beside a stream.  I loved the picture because Daniel reminded me of a "runt" trying to squeeze in and see.

We walked beside a stream.  It's pretty low as we are in the midst of a pretty severe drought.

We learned about different insects and animals that live in this wetland.

They talked about hearing and how you can hear better with your hands cupped around your ears. 

 I don't remember why they talked about this as I wasn't really paying attention very well.  *blush*  They also looked for animal tracks in the dirt and sand. 

For the second half of the program we met on the porch (what a nice shady spot!) to talk about   The instructor was very engaging.  The children collected various things in a little baggie to represent things found in a wetland.

There was also a small visitor's center area which had books, toys, puppets and more.  I highly recomment a visit if you are local.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the porch area before heading home.  It was a delightful morning!

If you want to see some pictures of  the older kids, you can visit my friend Angela's blog post about this same field trip.