Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why Liberia???

Loving children need loving homes.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mmmmm - yum!

We love kefir smoothies! Kefir is full of probiotics, vitamins and minerals and is so yummy! I got some live kefir grains from someone locally after doing an online search, so now I make my own. Kefir is so easy to make and since it's saving me money over store-bought, you know I'm all over that!

Here's our favorite smoothie recipe:

1 generous handful of berries, any (fresh or frozen)
1-2 bananas, we prefer frozen
3 cups kefir
2 Tbs. raw honey (I don't actually measure it)
2 Tbs. coconut oil, if we have it

Blend and serve. This makes enough for all the kids to have cupful.

Isaac is such a ham, but we love him!

Friday, July 27, 2007

We've adopted another son!

Just kidding. Actually, we're keeping our friends' son, Jacob, for the weekend while they attend a homeopathy seminar. Jacob is the boy I (not so) secretly want to grow up and marry my Elena. He's such a great kid - smart, loves the Lord, and has a great sense of humor. He's also the son of one of my best friends, so I know him very well! Jacob and Elena are great friends and have been since they were babies.
In the van, Elena quietly asked me if she could marry Jake. I said, "Not now, but maybe when you're older." Jake overheard and asked, "What'd Elena say?" The girls all replied, "Nothing!" repeatedly as he kept asking. (I'm pretty sure he heard what she said the first time.) Finally I told him and he smiled and gave an embarrassed laugh.

I wish I had video of these two interacting together. Jake is such a gentleman with Elena. He holds doors open for her and is always watching out for her.
We're all having a lot of fun with Jacob this weekend:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

School Report

We've just begun a new school year and I'm so excited! (We school year-round and tend to begin our year sometime in July.) I love change, but I also love starting new books, so I love the beginning of a school year.

This year, Elena and Maya are in 2nd grade and Isaac and Chloe are in 1st grade. This is our third year using Ambleside Online curriculum and we are all thoroughly enjoying this literature-based education, especially me. I was reading an article recently about homeschool drop-outs, meaning families who quit homeschooling. Parents tend to pull their kids out of public school because the kids are unhappy, but families generally quit homeschooling because the parents (read: mom) is unhappy. I was questioning myself the other day, wondering if I'd made the right decision by choosing curriculum that I love. But the truth is, if I'm not enjoying it, that attitude will cross over to my kids. Thus the reason families stop homeschooling. "When mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." (Of course it helps that I haven't heard any complaining or grumbling over the way we're learning.)

For our first term, we're reading The Litte Duke, A Child's History of the World, Leif the Lucky, Heidi and the poetry of Walter de la Mare. We're studying Van Gogh, Renoir, and Frans Lanting. We're also learning about composers: Beethoven, and Rossini. We're finishing up Big Truths for Little Kids as our Bible study and Kyle is still doing Math U See with the kids in the evenings.

Now that VBS is over, we'll be working hard for the next 6 weeks of summer. We're all looking forward to an early fall break in September, when we'll be taking a trip to Colorado.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Birthday Boy

Last week was Kyle's birthday and the kids really wanted to make it something special for him. Pedro took Kyle out to his favorite restaurant for lunch and then hung out with him for awhile at work. (Pedro LOVES being at work with Kyle.) The littles handmade a "Happy Birthday" banner, one letter at a time, we all went to Starbucks to get him his favorite - lemon cake, and they helped me pick out balloons for him. When he came home from work we were all hiding. We all jumped out and yelled, "Happy Birthday!" It was so fun for the kids, and Kyle really enjoyed it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Politically Incorrect

Elena managed to get the whole family laughing tonight. To explain, allow me to recap:
Today at lunch, we had baked potatoes. I was putting the butter and cheese on them, then Pedro salted and peppered them. Right after he started peppering the last one, Elena came in saying, "I don't want pepper." She looked at the potato, then up at Pedro with a mad look on her face. He said, "That's not pepper. It's black salt." (confused look) "You've never had black salt?? It's from Indonesia."
Elena was retelling this story to Kyle at dinner. She was laughing as she told him about the black salt. Then, suddenly she started laughing really hard as she said, "You told a black joke! Get it??? A black joke!" Everyone at the table started laughing.
The funny thing, of course, is that none of the kids actually "got it".

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Court Trip

Kyle took off work on Friday so we could go to court and finalize the adoption stateside. (This will make their new names legal and allow us to get new SS cards for them.) We woke up at 5:30 am and woke all the kids up at 6:00 am so that we could beat traffic and arrive downtown by 8:00. The courthouse only does adoptions on Friday mornings at 9:00, but you must obtain your file and be in the courtroom by 8:30. We had 6 sleepy, bored kids on our hands for over an hour, since we arrived early.
Luckily, we were called on first. After a short greeting from the judge, we found out that we didn't have the necessary form. We were quickly sent on our way, empty-handed. Although we made multiple calls to ensure that we had everything we needed to get the adoption completed, every single one of them failed to mention that we needed two adoption petitions: one sent to the judge (which she had in hand) and a duplicate for her to sign.
Kyle was thoroughly ticked off; I just wanted to cry my eyes out. I didn't though. If my kids are going to see me cry, I want it to be because I'm either happy or sad, not horribly angry and frustrated.
However, holding in that much emotion resulted in my head turning purple and exploding upon arriving home.
In reality, I went upstairs and had a good long cry. I am thankful that we at least got a good picture out of it. (The photo was taken before we entered the courtroom.)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Big Announcement

Maya, Isaac, and Daniel (still sometimes referred to as "the triplets") have been home for 3 months now. I must take this time to announce: I really like these kids! Maya is such a special blessing to our family. She is so motherly (the meaning of her name), she loves to help, and she is really spiritually-minded. We were reading Exodus 20 this morning, when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, and I asked the kids what they think it means to bear a false witness. Maya said it means "to lie in order to make someone look bad"; I was so impressed. She prays spontaneously throughout the day as needs arise. She is so in love with her Lord.
Isaac is our comedian and athlete. He is good at most every sport he attempts, just like his Daddy, and he has personality plus. He's also very affectionate. Isaac comes up to me randomly throughout the day and wraps himself in my arms. He's really easy to love. Tonight at dinner, he was really enjoying his meal, as evident by his facial expression. He had his eyes closed and was swaying his head back and forth like Stevie Wonder, with his eyebrows raised. He opened his eyes to find Kyle and I staring at him. He just laughed. What a great sense of humor.
Daniel is my little sweetie. He is so laid-back and peaceful. He loves saying, "Mama" and "Daddy" because the words mean so much to him. He says my name all the time, not necessarily because he needs anything. So sweet! It has been an exercise in creativity forming attachment with him. I had hoped to feed him and carry him, and attach in the normal adoptive ways. I've had to learn other ways to connect to this little independent three-year-old. I sit him in my lap in the rocking chair and read to him at night. He snuggles up against me and is so secure. He sits in my lap while I'm on the computer. (Obviously that gives us plenty of bonding time. haha)
Adopting three kids at once would have never entered my mind, but I am so glad God thought of it. I can't imagine three more blessed additions for our family.
I really like these kids!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July Parade

For the third year running, we've joined my mom and my sister, Jamie's family at the Independence Day Parade. Daniel was sweating bullets, poor guy. He sweats at the drop of a hat. It was hot, but not awful. Here's all our kids:
L to R: Isaac, Maya, Lillian, Max, Elena, Ainsley, Chloe, Daniel, and Lydia

My babies (they had fun, I swear!)My littlest niece, Lillian
Sweaty Daniel
The "Big" Clark Kids:

Elena proudly displaying her blue lollipop smile:

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fun at the Lake House

This past weekend, we went to the lake with the Carels - Ed and Gretchen, Jacob, Sophie, and Vivian. We had such a great time cooking together, eating together, and playing together. I think God was smiling on us. It rained Friday night, then not again until Sunday afternoon when we were leaving. We had lots of sunshine and lots of lake time - a miracle in the uncanny flood season we appear to be having.

Best Buds - Isaac and Jacob

Daniel tricked us into putting on his life jacket, then promptly dove off the dock. He thought it was great!

Lydia and Vivian loved digging in the beach

We got in a little nature study on our mini-vacation!

The Fish Tale

Jake and Maya went fishing. (Notice Jake's tongue as he's concentrating.) Then Isaac joined them. Standing still is not Isaac's thing, so he quickly moved on to something else.

Maya came running up to the deck, squealing: "I caught a fish, I caught a fish!" She caught a fish THIS BIG!

Right after Maya's big catch, Jake caught a good-sized catfish (sorry, Maya). Ed held up the fish and made Jake kiss it. (Not that it was difficult to convince Jacob to do this.) Jake had to kiss it three times so Gretchen could get a good picture of it. (Yuck-o!)

Lydia was really concerned about Jacob repeatedly kissing the nasty fish: