Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time to Go!!!

Well, this is it! We are actually leaving for our trip to Europe! I can not believe the day is already here. Everyone is so excited and anxious, not only to get to go on this fantastic trip abroad, but to see my parents again. They are away each summer and the kids (and grown-ups!) really miss them a lot. So, I don't know how much blogging I will be doing while away, but for now- Goodbye!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Keepers at Home

Today at our Keepers at Home meeting, we were quite busy! We started our meeting with our club song, Stepping in the Light. Then, 3 of the girls played the piano as part of their Musical Instrument Skill Award. Award pins were given out today for all the different skills they worked on throughout the month. We had quite a variety of earned pins today including Hygiene, Butterflies, Patience, Home Decorating, and many more!

Next, we had some yummy ice cream sundaes, to celebrate the start of the new homeschool year for everyone! This was also our last meeting until October, since we will be away on our trip for a month.

While the girls ate their sundaes and talked, they worked on their Miniatures Skill Award, and created some delightful little miniature homes for their ladybug friends! It was so cute watching them all work and seeing the great variety and creativity that went into each little home.  Here is a finished product. This one particular little Keeper decided to make a tent for her ladybug and she added some tiny accessories as well to complete the project.
This was a very productive and fun meeting for all of us, and I look forward to what the fall has in store for us! Some upcoming skills the girls will be working on include making casseroles and soups, potpourri making, a continuation of cross stitch, and much more.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thoughts For This Week

Out my window... I see our two younger children chasing each other through the back yard and squirting each other with their squirt guns! So much fun...

In our homeschool this week... we did absolutely nothing! The kids like to read a lot during the day, but we did not do any structured or planned activities.

Places we've been... My husband and I made the decision at the beginning of the week to "quarantine" the children until we leave for our trip overseas. There is a lot of sickness going around, and our kids frequent what I like to call those "cootie breeding" places. So, I was the only one allowed to venture out to do errands which included going to Michael's Arts & Crafts, Walmart, Target, Ross, Old Navy, Home Depot, the veterinarian's office, the dog groomer's salon, and probably other places that I just can't remember. The kids have been real troopers, entertaining themselves all week with dress-up fun, games, playing outside, etc...

My favorite thing this week... talking to my parents on the phone! We are really counting the days now until we see them again. It has been way too long- 2 months! But in just a few short days, we will be with them.

Things I'm working on...Packing around here is in full swing now. Since we will be gone for a month, we are trying to fit as much into our suitcases as we can, without going over the weight limit!

I'm reading... My Fundamentalist Education. I have read this book several times already, and it is such a funny reminder of my childhood days.

I'm cooking...spaghetti and meatballs with salad and garlic bread- YUMMY!!!

I'm grateful for... the opportunity for our family to travel to Europe for a month. It is such a blessing and I am so grateful to my parents for this gift! I know our children will see such wonderful, historical places and learn so much from our trip.

I'm praying for... a safe, and easy experience at the airports this next week, and for all of us to stay healthy! I'm also praying for our dog Buddy. He is like our baby and I think it is going to be a little sad for him while we are away! I know he will be in good hands, but we sure are going to miss him!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Let's Get Packing!

Well, it has officially started- the packing for our trip to Europe. Those of you who have gone on a trip abroad know exactly what that involves, and you also understand why we are packing now, and not the day prior to our departure.
Planning for a trip overseas, especially with children,  begins months before it is even time to go. There are the passports to either get, renew, or in the very least make sure you even have! Thank goodness I checked ours early enough in the game because it was brought to my attention that two out of the five of us would need to have them renewed before we left. To make things even more exciting, our little guy's passport would only have a few months left before expiration, and according to the "passport laws and regulations" you may not travel with a passport that has less than 6 months left. So, now we were up to three out of the five of us. We ventured out early one morning, the five of us and our giant folder full of anything and everything that would prove our childrens' identities, and that indeed they really are our children. My naive brain again was under the impression that if your children already were issued passports, you could just bring those and it would be a "walk in the park". But who said anything would be easy??? Like I mentioned though, I was prepared with the giant folder and I could almost hear the sigh of disappointment come from the clerk at the passport office, as I was able to produce each and every item she requested.
Nine days and counting- that's it. It seems like we had so much time to prepare and get ready, and now I find myself in this mad sort of dash to get everything done that I would like to,  before we leave! I wake up during the night with more and more to add to my ever-growing list of things to do.  I have so much to still do to prepare for our new school year, which won't officially begin until October. I actually contemplated bringing my laminating machine with me on our trip! Our oldest daughter didn't think that was such a good idea. Yea, I guess that would be a little much- the homeschool mom who just can't leave the laminator behind. Did I mention how much I LOVE my laminating machine??? Oh well, it will just have to sit and wait until I get back.

 In the mean time, I have lots of bags to pack!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts For This Week

Out my window... I see some really dark storm clouds heading right towards us! Rain storms are a daily occurrence in the summer here, and I never tire of watching them.

Places we've been... My little girl had an emergency dentist visit to remove a tooth that had cracked in half and was bothering her. Thankfully, it was a baby tooth and so we had the tooth fairy come by for a visit. Dentalina- that's our tooth fairy's name- has been quite busy at our house. This was her 3rd visit in a week! Our little boy and girl sure are raking in the money! Other places we went to this week are shopping at the mall with some homeschool friends, church, and to Border's Book Store to grab some great deals before they go out of business. Last of all, we went to Steinmart to see our daughter's book Tampa Bay From A to Z on display and for sale there. So exciting!

In our homeschool this week... my little guy finished reading his first chapter book- The Tortoise and the Hare. I am so proud of him! Lots of reading going on these days. We also have been working on math, and we've been re-organizing the school room for the new year. More on that to come in a future post.

My favorite thing this week... My uncle who was 98 years old died this year. No, that's not my favorite thing this week. But something my son said is! Our children were pretty close to him and enjoyed seeing him weekly. Well out of no where, my son asks "Hey where is Uncle Larry! I haven't seen him in a while." So, I again explained to him that he is in Heaven and doesn't live here anymore. My little boy looked at me for a second and said "Well, that explains it then." Too cute...

Things I'm working on... Yes folks, I am STILL laminating and cutting apart all those word cards. I see the end coming soon though! And the packing has officially begun for our trip.

I'm reading...The Story of the World Volume 1

I'm grateful for... my parents, who we soon will be seeing again after 2 long months apart.

I'm praying for...The next 10 days to go smoothly, and enough time to get everything accomplished that I need to before we go away on our trip.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Much to Think and Pray About

Our oldest child has been blessed with really good health. With the exception of a hospital stay for Rota virus when she was 5, she rarely even gets a cold! Everyone else around her could be sick as a dog, but not our Bean- she has the immune system that's like some sort of impenetrable force field or something!  We always joke that the Rota virus eliminated all chances of any kind of sickness growing in her. So, you could imagine how shocked and confused we were when we found out she has Severe Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis. Now, I know Scoliosis is not considered a "sickness". However, it is absolutely heart-wrenching when your pediatrician informs you that not only does your daughter have a curve in her spine, but she needs to see an orthopaedic specialist immediately. I am no stranger to Scoliosis- my own brother suffered from Kyphosis, which is also a type of spine curvature. He endured years of uncomfortable braces which attempted to stop his back from hunching over and re-shape his spine.

So began our journey this year of x-rays, orthopaedic visits, and consultations. Of course, being the naive mom that I am, I figured "how bad could it be?" I actually convinced myself they would just give her some exercises to do (as if that were an option!) or in the worst case scenario, put a brace on her.  Were we in for a surprise...

After her first set of x-rays were done and read, we immediately went to the Pediatric Orthopaedic Specialist's office and were told that not only is the curve considered severe, she has a 90 percent chance of her spine continuing to progress to the point where she would become physically deformed and possibly begin having issues with her rib cage pressing into her lungs, thus not allowing her enough oxygen.

Wow- just like that. No warning, nothing. I was angry. Angry at her previous pediatrician who somehow never took the time to check her for this awful condition during those crucial years of development. And I was angry at myself for never noticing her little body starting to curve, and her walk becoming limp-like. I should have seen it. I should have known. After all, I am her mom. Aren't we supposed to notice those things? But I didn't... Now of course, it is so obvious and I can't help but notice every time she walks in front of me. How much more will her body continue to bend?

So, I pray for peace as we begin this journey of unknowns. I pray that God will tell us not to worry and to trust Him. I pray for the doctors, that they have enough wisdom to correct this. Most of all, I just need to hear it from Him that everything will be ok...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thoughts For This Week

Out my window... I see my daughter mowing the grass. It seems to take on a life of its  own during the summer months and she really has to be diligent about mowing it. She actually has her own little lawn service business and does 3 different yards per week. Some nice spending money!

Places we've been... This was another wild and crazy week with lots of running around. My oldest and I went to a baseball game together, which was great fun! Other places we went include Target (still looking for luggage), the grocery store, the book launch party for our daughter's new book, the Orthopaedic Doctor, the park to celebrate our Back To Homeschool Bash with our HEART Homeschool Group, church, the mall to do clothes shopping for the kids, and out to dinner. It makes me tired just remembering all of that...

People we saw... We saw our Keepers at Home friends, some family members, the doctor, and we got to finally meet the publisher of our daughter's book. Such a wonderful, sweet woman!

My favorite thing this week... That is a no-brainer. My all time favorite thing this week was going to the book launch party and just watching our daughter present herself with such confidence and maturity. I wanted to cry as I watched her sign the book for everyone.

In our homeschool this week...We were able to get some more math completed, and my little guy did his reading and a bit of math as well. He loves playing any kind of games, so I took advantage of that and we played Math Dominoes.

Things I am working on...Yes, I am still cutting all those vocabulary cards up, sigh... The pile just never ends. I am also starting to make my list for our trip overseas, which is in 17 days!

I'm reading... This week, I spent a lot of time reading the teacher manuals for my childrens' writing programs. I also read several articles on line regarding Scoliosis. More on that, coming very soon.

I'm grateful for...Being part of such a nice homeschool support group. It really is a blessing to have friends you can turn to for not only homeschool advice, but support and friendship.

I'm praying for...God to put my mind at ease regarding some serious issues involving our daughter's health.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Launch Party

This week, we attended the book launch party for our oldest daughter's book Tampa Bay From A to Z. The event was held at the Florida Blue Store and it was such a great night!
There were approximately 100 people there, including several of the children whose art work was used as illustrations for the book. The illustrations were created by current and former patients of two local children's hospitals.

This was such a dream come true for our daughter because for as long as we can remember, she has always enjoyed writing and she has a true talent for it.
I imagine it was hard for her to believe too that something so special has happened to her at such a young age. In the next several months, she will be doing book readings at various schools and libraries and I know that out there is another young writer just waiting to be inspired to follow their dream and never give up...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Barbie's New Friend

Yesterday, my daughter's Barbie met a new friend. Let me introduce you to Paul -
Actually, it's Paul D. Coughlin. This is what his identification card states. Paul is a member of the Navy. When I saw Paul, I ever so excitedly told my son how cool it was for him to have a man barbie. Unfortunately, that term "man barbie" did not go over so well. I was quickly informed that Paul is NOT a man barbie- he is a True Hero Action Figure.
Ok, so what ever you wish to call him, Barbie has a new and brave husband named Paul who serves in the military. Great job, Paul! So much better than that other guy Ken...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Keepers At Home

Today, our Keepers at Home club worked on the swimming skill award pin. We met at one of the member's homes to complete this skill. Prior to today's meeting, the girls learned about water safety, and we discussed all the different requirements of this award.
First, the girls demonstrated how to tread water. Depending on their age, they either had to tread water for 2 minutes, or five minutes.
Next, they had to float on their backs for several minutes.
After that, they each had to take turns showing their ability to do free style swimming, the back stroke or breast stroke, and demonstrate how to rescue someone who is drowning.
After we were all done with our skills, the girls had a nice snack of cupcakes and juice.
After their snack, the girls were able to just have fun and swim! They had a fun time with each other and it was a great day for us all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thoughts For This Week

Out my window...  I see our mango tree getting taller and taller! Our neighbor was so kind as to give us a little mango tree last year, but it died in the winter. Recently, he showed up with another mango tree, and I think this one is going to make it!

In our homeschool this week... we have not done much in the way of any math this week, sigh... Our kids read a lot each day though and our oldest has spent quite a bit of time writing stories. She so desires to be a "famous" author one day.

Places we've been... My goodness we've been to a lot of places this week! Let me start with the least favorite- the ER so my husband could get stitched up after losing a battle with a 2 x 4 board, Grocery shopping, Target (looking for luggage that doesn't weigh too much), the pool,  the dentist (as you can see from the photos), bowling, church, gymnastics, the girls had a sleepover at Mamaw's house, Applebee's, etc... Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about all the running around...

People we saw... we saw family members, friends at our Keepers at Home meeting, the lovely ER staff (they really are very sweet there!), and the dentist!

My favorite thing this week...Taking our son bowling one night. He just absolutely loves to bowl and it is so cute to watch. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Things I'm working on... I am quite busy laminating dozens upon dozens of vocabulary word cards for this next school year. I'm also enjoying looking through all our new books and school materials.

I'm reading... The Story of the World 

I'm cooking... breakfast for dinner! Pancakes, potatoes, scrambled eggs, fried hot dogs- yummy!

I'm grateful for... my husband not being more injured than he is.

I'm praying for...our daughter's doctor appointment next week to go well, and for my husband to not be in too much pain from his injury.

Wow, things are really picking up speed now. We are starting to think about packing for our big trip overseas, and I am really getting excited! 23 days and counting!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Keepers At Home

"Follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Today at our Keepers at Home club meeting, the girls started working on a new character quality: charity. We read and copied Luke 12:33 into our notebooks. We also discussed what it means to be a charitable person, and ways that we could show the love of Jesus by helping others.
Then, we discussed swimming safety, as we will be working on our swimming skill award next week. Since we will all be like little swimming fish,  the girls decorated some cardboard fish with all sorts of sequins and jewels, and on the back they glued the scripture mentioned at the beginning of this post. Aren't they just beautiful???