Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Denim Jumpers And Other Necessities

Alternate title: Stuff Homeschoolers Like.

Yesterday, I scored a four-pound pack of ground beef on sale for almost half-price. I proudly emailed Hubby with the report this morning that I had cooked it all up into various meals, such as sloppy joes, brown gravy, and tacos. Then I happily popped them into the freezer, thinking of the ease of cooking dinners this week, unlike my usual last-minute scramble to find something edible.

His reply made me laugh aloud.

"Whoa! Got to brush up your homeschool-mom street cred with some cook-ahead action!"

My reply, with tongue firmly planted in cheek: "Look out! Denim jumpers coming next!"

He wrote back, "Wooo doogies! Better hit Jo-Anne's for some Denim. Stat! Once properly clad, we'll do a marathon session of history worksheets! (Or not)"

Once the denim jumpers are sewn and the history worksheets finished, The trampoline beckons every good homeschooled kid. We actually DO have one of these, thus improving further our homeschooling credibility.

If I could just get the Bean to do this, I'd be in business!

baby with reading glasses looking at a book


Some days it seems like Abi is never going to come. I remember feeling this way with Bean, too. With no baby inside kicking you in the ribs, a "paper pregnancy" seems incredibly unreal, as if the idea is some kind of ongoing torture that will never become a reality.

Every so often, however, little things remind me that this is indeed real. Picking up clothes at a thrift store, I run across something cute in her size, and I go ahead and get it for her.

The other day, I got a bigger cast-iron pan.

I love cooking on cast iron! I had been using an antique pan my grandma gave to me years ago for camping, but it barely held a pound of ground beef with marinara sauce. Now that the older two Goombas are eating almost a full portion size, I needed a bigger pan. It also reminds me that we'll be advancing from five to six family members.

People ask me all the time how things are going. Well, right now, we're still on hold. I hope we have news soon.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Here's a little Bean sweetness for the grandparents on a Sunday morning. :)

Today, he is 20 months old!

Now, it's off to church, where we're reciting the Apostle's Creed, and having a potluck for fifth Sunday. Have a lovely day, everyone.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Parakeet Sadness

If you're looking for a happy shiny mom-blog where everything is perfect, you might want to read elsewhere. Sometimes life is not so happy and shiny.

We had two birds. Their names were Melody and Harmony.

Well, to be more accurate, Melody 2 and Harmony 2. This is Harmony 2. Melody 2 died this morning, and it was 100% my fault. I forgot to give them water. All week. I feel absolutely horrible. Granted, it was a busy, crazy week, but that's no excuse.

The really awful part is that I did this once before, five years ago. Maybe I should not keep parakeets. I must not be a very good parakeet mom.

I really am trying to forgive myself and not beat myself up over this, but the thought of causing suffering to a little creature who is dependent upon me for care makes me all broken up inside.

The kids want to go to the pet store and buy Melody 3. I'm not so sure.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You Know You're A Parent When...

...you find a plastic pterodactyl in your Sunday shoes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Playing Together

My friend took this photo, and then put it on Facebook. I was delighted to see it, because we almost never get pictures of us performing together. We did this tune at the Park Day for Homeschool Co-op at the request of another family whose daughters are just beginning violin. We did the same tune the next day at our church's talent show. We often play together at home; sometimes just me and Hubby, sometimes Curly joins in. Little Mister was upset that he could not play something too.

I have a feeling that the future might hold many such pictures, but for now this is the first, and I love it! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Unschooling Interview

Heather, over at Christian Unschooling, has been fabulous at getting families networked into a group to support one another and share stories. Lately, she posts interviews of unschooling families so we can "meet" one another and share a bit about our lives. I'm honored to be included, and you can see my interview here.

If you're interested, we also have a Facebook group called Christian Unschooling. Send Heather a request to join. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kindergarten Graduation

It was when I was a teacher in a public school that I realized just how arbitrary school schedules really are. I was a band teacher. We needed a band concert, so I picked a date, sent out flyers, and that was the date of the band concert.

Curly in red cap and gown

Now I'm a homeschooling mom. While I love unschooling and the lack of any sort of rigid schedule to stick to, I've discovered a couple of things we're missing. One very important thing is a milestone. I've written about this here before.

a plate full of ripe strawberries drizzled with chocolate

I feel like the kids need to notice their own progress. Reading the blog of an adult unschooler made me aware of this need. I might be aware that over the past year my child has made great strides in reading, but she needs to be aware of it too.

Red Velvet cake with cream cheese icing and the words Congrats Natalie on top

Along those lines, the hardest thing for my little unschoolers to do is to answer the questions of the strangers on the street who, with idle curiosity, have no idea what unschooling is all about. "What grade are you in?" they ask, and my child, who is doing third grade phonics, second grade math and a preschool handwriting worksheet, not to mention LEGO building projects, days at the park, making her own movies, dressing up as a dragon, drawing mazes, and counting to 1,000... she has no clue how to answer.

chips, salsa and m&ms

I decided we'd call ourselves the grade that their chronological age dictated, in order to have an answer.

Little Mister in an orange shirt, eating a Three Musketeers bar

Then, I decided that we needed the ceremonial advancement that the schooled kids get to participate in. I remember my kindergarten graduation fondly; in particular I remember wearing a nifty light-blue cap and gown. I also remember being the tallest kid in the class, which didn't change until high school.

Curly opening a gift in a striped bag, and taking out a pack of stickers

So, even though we won't stop learning for the summer, even though we're not at the end of any workbooks, nor will the school location or teacher change, I decided we'd celebrate our little kindergarten graduate anyway. This would give her a milestone to look back on and remember. It will allow her to tell people with assurance that she is now a first-grader. And it gives her a chance to wear a nifty cap and gown.

Mama, my mom, wearing Curly's cap and tassel

She picked out a red velvet cake, some red strawberries, a red cap and gown, red plates, cups and napkins, and red balloons. A perk, I guess, of being the only student in your class is that graduation is full of your very own favorite color.

blurred-out picture of a red glow stick

Mama came bearing gifts. Little glow sticks were voted unanimously the favorite, and the kids circled the table with them, yelling their heads off.

Curly wearing a new blue striped shirt and Mama still in the cap and tassel

We also had Curly showcase a few of her academic accomplishments, just like the kids would do at a "real" graduation. Part of this is for the grandparents; part of it is for her to look back on in years to come.

Thus is my little unschooler successfully transferred to first grade. In the grand scheme of things I don't think she particularly cares; she just likes the excuse for a party. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011


"In the great, green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon..."

One of my earliest memories is sitting snuggled on my mother's lap listening to the rhythm of her voice reading this story to me. Then, the first gift I bought for Curly Miss when I found out we were expecting was a copy of Goodnight Moon so I could read it to her.

Now, we're expecting our fourth child. I'll have to admit we've gone through several copies of Goodnight Moon; our house is not kind to books that are well-loved, as much as I have tried to instill that value.

Many families take a picture album of their family to share with their adoptive child when they first visit them. The wait between court and the homecoming can be long for families and children alike. We adoptive families want our children to begin bonding with us, an impossible task when we're separated by two continents and an ocean.

As many of you already know, Abi is blind. Not totally; she can see a wee bit, like a brightly colored book held close. But pictures of our family probably wouldn't mean much to her. I have wracked my brain for a way to bring a bit of our family to her when we go to court.

The, the other day I saw a commercial for Hallmark's new product: a book that lets you record the story being read. The commercial showed a beloved grandpa reading to his young grandson before leaving for his home far away. It struck me in that moment that a child far away, a child who cannot see the pictures of our family, could listen to her new mommy's voice reading a special book to her. A book that my mommy read to me, snuggled safely in her arms.

I've read this book hundreds of times.

I'm not sure I can get through this reading of it without tears.


Bean with a white shirt that says iPood.

When Mom brought this shirt home from a trip, Hubby rolled his eyes, but I laughed. As a long-time iPod lover, and also diaper changer, the pun just somehow tickled my funny bone.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Will we go in July or October?

Well, after three weeks of agonized waiting, we finally have some good news. It looks like Abi's paperwork will be able to be reprocessed correctly with no problems. Praise God!

It will take several weeks, however, which puts us very close to the time that the courts close for two months for the rainy season. Please pray that her paperwork is processed quickly and correctly the first time, and that we can get in for our court hearing before the courts close.

Thank you all for your prayers and support! God is good, and it is a relief to finally get some good news. We hope that it will be good news from here on out until we're able to bring our little girl home. We give all of the glory to God for leading us on this journey every step of the way, and continually reminding us that He is absolutely in control of this journey of faith. Whatever happens, or however long we have to wait, we trust that His timing will ultimately be perfect to bring this little girl into our family.

Snapshot: Monday at 12:09 PM

Friday, May 13, 2011

Preschool Graduation

Even though we plan to homeschool Little Mister next year (at his request, and mine, too) this last year at Preschool has been fantastic for him. Mostly, it was something for my middle child to have that was all his own. A chance to get away from his attention-gobbling siblings and to get to do crafts and make friends. He thrived there.

Now, tonight, it is suddenly over, and their little graduation ceremony celebrated all of the little kids.

The processional had the kids imitating Noah's Ark animals. 

Little Mister was, I believe, a flamingo.  I was disappointed in my abilities as a photographer on this occasion.  The light was terrible, and it seemed I always pushed the shutter a second too late, or another eager parent stood right in my way at the exact moment I wanted to take a picture.

For a while, Bean sat on Daddy's lap taking in the programme.

Curly remembers her preschool days fondly, so she was excited to watch the graduation.

After we endured enjoyed the kids singing their Noah's Ark songs, and others (Little Mister got bored and sat down.  Can't say I blame him) the kids put on their mortarboards and processed again to receive a diploma.

I guess it would have helped had I pushed forward to sit closer.  I don't like to do it; I'd rather just complain that I couldn't get good photographs.  But Little Mister received his diploma from his wonderful teacher (we love you, Teacher Marnie!) and that was it.

The Bean finally got so grumpy that Daddy took him outside in the sunshine, where he continued to grouch about not being allowed to race out into the parking lot.

I pulled my little graduate out for a quick photo op.

When I let him go, he made a quick beeline for the snack table.  He knows what graduations are really good for!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

International Man of Mischief

I don't mean to portray The Bean as particularly more mischievous than the other two Goombas. After all, Curly was about this age when she knocked over the Celtic harp and broke it into several pieces. It's just that The Bean is right now. For that reason, I think it feels more intense than what I remember the other two doing. Possibly it's the fact that the other two contribute to the chaos; whereas back when they were little, I only had to chase one or two of them.

Today the Bean was given a water bottle to play with in the car. He loves these because the plastic makes such a satisfying crunching sound. Today, however, this was not enough, and he bit a hole in the bottom of the full bottle. Quickly, he discovered that squeezing the bottle made water squirt all over the van, himself, and worse, our one remaining DVD screen that has not died.

Since he sits directly behind me, the first inkling I had of the mess was Little Mister saying, "Bean is spitting water on the screen. Where did he get water?" Uh oh!!!

Right now, trips to the park feel exhausting. I put his bells around his wrist, and spend my time following him as he climbs to the top of the tallest slide, flirting with danger next to the open drop where the monkey bars are. From there, he heads to the sand box, intent on stealing toys from other kids or flinging sand as high and far as he can. Next, he sees a doggy across the park and takes off at a dead run, bells jingling as the sound dies away.

Experience tells me that this will someday get better. There will be a time when he will be able to understand the word "later" and that he will no longer throw himself dramatically to the floor, flailing and kicking. There will come a time when he will be able to control his little body that seems to need to move and run and climb and grab and hit.

For now, I live life in the minute, trying not to panic as he runs full-tilt off the front steps, or trying not to smack him when he tackles his brother for the 5,013th time.

He is physical in every sense of the word, and I delight in his strength and skill. Plus, he is so darned cute!

In the book, Anne of Avonlea, Anne and Marilla adopt two dissimilar twins: Davy and Dora. Davy is constantly into everything; Dora is prim and proper. Yet Anne and Marilla secretly like Davy the best. I can kind of see where they are coming from now. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Portrait By My Son

At Preschool, Little Mister was interviewed by his teacher, and created a portrait of me for Mother's Day. His four-year-old insight made me laugh.

Did you know that I am 79 years old?
Or that my hair was long and curly?

The rest of it, he got surprisingly accurate. I do indeed like to make things on my computer; my knock-knock jokes are probably the best attempt I make at humor; and telling him to put on his jammies happens frequently.

Since Easter was the only time this past year that I dressed up, I likely did look prettier then than any other time he's seen me.

Most of all, it makes me want to give him a great big squeeze!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Life Is On Pause

Usually I can get migraines stopped. This one, though, was persistent, knocking me low through Mother's Day and into this week, where I have traded a headache for the stomach flu, presumably contracted from my son, whose bedsheets I washed last week. I did one website this weekend, but the rest of my work has been on hold while I lay on the couch and watch episode after episode of Survivorman with the Bean. He vacillates between watching Les Stroud eat squirrels, and playing with a sea shell. Possibly life will resume in a day or two.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More People Who Love Bean

Saturday, we headed north with lots of visits planned. The first was to see Miss A. We were happy to be invited to her parents' house where they lavished hospitality on us, giving us fruit, and letting the older kids color.

Of course everyone loved to see how much he has grown and how fast he has become. Pictures and videos may give a bit of an idea, but until they see him in action, it's hard to really understand how energetic an 18-month-old can be!

I'm glad he's such an outgoing kid. He warmed up right away and basked in all of the attention. For the full hour, he was the complete center of attention, and I can see him requesting a repeat performance at least once a week.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Glimpses of Spring

Bean sliding down the hill after church. I can tell that he's going to be one of those kids who creates laundry challenges. I plan to buy stock in Spray-n-Wash. ;)

Flowers in our yard.

Happy May Day!