Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just Good Business

A few weeks ago, Elena owed Isaac $5. She got two $5 Target gift cards from the Orthodontist for being such a stellar patient. She gave one of them to Isaac. Debt settled.
Today, Maya earned $2 for cleaning the master suite. Isaac, ever the business man, saw his chance at wealth and prosperity. He traded Maya the $5 gift card for the $2 cash.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ask & You Shall Receive

I feel full almost all the time now. After eating like a horse the first several months of my pregnancy (was waking in the middle of the night starving-- that was annoying!), I'm now eating like a bird. Last night, I took 3 bites of my dinner and then felt full. Crazy!

Peanut moves all the time now, which I love (unless my bladder is full). He/she is supposedly 14.5" long and 2-3 lbs. I was excitedly telling a pregnant friend that baby isn't going to grow but a few more inches. She ruined my enthusiasm when she reminded me that the baby is going to get a lot fatter. Oh yeah. Bummer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One More Scrapblog

I'm telling ya, this new schedule is awesome! It's amazing how quickly I can put these scrapbooks together with an hour a day. This is my Spring 2009 album. Enjoy:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Great Movie!

We just got this movie from Netflix and it was fantastic! It's the story of Ben Carson, world renown black Christian neurosurgeon. I highly recommend it. Watch it yourself first; I'm not sure we're going to let the kids see it yet. Although it's all appropriate, some of the material is too heavy for them right now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I've Been Scrapping Again!

After listening to the audio teaching of Teri Maxwell on "Managers of their Homes", I was encouraged to create a schedule for myself. In the past, I've only had an order of doing things. (A friend gave me the Managers of their Homes book when I first started homeschooling. I was completely overwhelmed and vowed to stray as far from that kind of schedule as possible. I was wrong.)
After hearing Teri say that she scheduled half an hour of sewing into her daily plan, I thought: Hey, I could do that for scrapbooking!
So I did! I now have time every afternoon that I spend scrapbooking while the kids have playtime. I've gotten so much done!! (And you know how I love being productive.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maya's Big Sister

Well, not really, but that's what Maya calls her. Tanya goes to our church and has taken a real liking to Maya once she got to know her. She came running up to me one Sunday as we were about to leave and said: Maya's a talker! (This was exciting news to this kindred loquacious spirit.)
Last Sunday afternoon, she came over to "help" me to Maya's hair. I part Maya's hair into quarters and do one section at a time. I was halfway through the first quarter when Tanya came. She chatted with me while I worked, then it was her turn. She kept right on chatting with me as she did all the rest. I kept saying: I can do it now. Why don't you take a break?
Apparently there was something therapeutic to doing this mindless work. Regardless, it was a real blessing.
Tanya is a sweet big sister to Maya. I'm so grateful for her influence.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Weakness

Phonics is my absolute least favorite subject to teach. I just never seem to trust that it will work. Once a child can read, I’m home free. I enjoy all the rest. Reading did not come easy for my firstborn. I was ready to pull my hair out after the first year. Everybody had told me how their child completed half their phonics workbook and then they just took off reading. Elena didn’t.
She was my preparation for teaching my Africans how to read. It has proven a much harder task. Because of their small vocabularies (people weren’t constantly talking to or reading to them as they grew up), they have a hard time knowing when they’ve sounded out the right word. For instance, Maya sounded out “suddenly” 3 times correctly, when I finally said: Yes, that’s right- suddenly. You don’t need to keep reading it.
Maya looked at me perplexed and said: That’s a real word?
This has happened so many times that I finally realized that although she’s reading fairly well for someone who’s only been reading for 2 years, she still can’t read alone.
The other main problem (never mind malnutrition beginning in utero) is vowels. In Liberia, the vowels aren’t distinct the way they are here. I frequently close my eyes to discern whether Maya is saying the correct vowel sound. For instance, today she was supposed to read the word “bite”. She read what sounded like “bat”. I said: No, a bat is a small creature that flies at night.
She was insulted. She said: No, I meant “bat” like you play baseball with.
Most days I console myself with the knowledge that Maya will eventually learn to read fluently. But some days, I whine to Kyle: Why is the progress so slow??? What if she never reads?!
Despite the fact that I thought Elena and Chloe would never learn to read, they are both fluent readers. Why do I have to relearn this lesson with each child?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Adoption & Extended Family

Got this email:

We're in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and aren't looking forward to sharing this news with our families, as we aren't sure how they'll respond. How did you handle telling your extended families?

We received every possible reaction, so I know exactly how you feel.
My mom and stepdad were very excited. They had a very enthusiastic response and the day after we told them, my mom called me to tell me all about the history of Liberia. She had clearly been doing quite a bit of research. We were so blessed by her response. Her enthusiasm carried us through all the ups and downs of the adoption wait.
My sister and her family responded in the exact same way. (Minus some of the research. ;) ) She asked lots of questions during the process, which of course we loved since we loved talking about it.
My dad and stepmom said something like: "Huh." And that's about it. That was quite a let down. We weren't expecting that. (Or maybe we were, but that didn't make it any easier.)
Kyle's parents gave a full inquisition. They were not at all thrilled about our decision and made it very clear. Not only were we adopting, but we were adopting from Africa. It couldn't get worse in their opinion. His siblings took the "we're not going to talk about this and maybe it will go away" approach. They never asked anything about the children or the process.
Obviously, we were hurt by the negative and/or non-reactions, but we had so much support from friends that it all balanced out. A couple of our friends had adopted and we also connected with other families who were adopting from Liberia, via a Yahoo group, and we all shared our experiences together. Talking to other families who were adopting from the same country (and many times, the same orphanage) was very therapeutic.
I was expecting to have a lot of negative reactions to our family post-adoption, but that hasn't been the case at all. What we figured out was: it's easy to reject children who are an ocean away. But once they are in your family, attitudes change. Our parents all love them just like they do our biological kids, or at least they act like it, which is good enough for me. And we almost never hear negative comments from strangers, because everyone assumes we run a daycare. lol

If your family has a negative reaction to your adoption plans, find friends (or other family members) who support it and spend more time with them. :D Give others grace and time to change their heart.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Up & Coming Big Family Issue

Now that it's fall, you know what's coming up? Christmas! At least my kids are sure it's right around the corner. The concept of time is totally lost on my short people. But I digress.

A common problem among big families as you all know is: stuff! Grandparents want to buy a bunch of toys that your kids will have discarded before Valentine's Day decorations are up in the stores and you're wondering if your life will always consist of constant decluttering. (Although your kids love to help declutter too as they can't stand cleaning up all those toys!) The other issue, of course, is the gifts that you just don't want in your house. The crop-top Barbie with the leather mini-skirt or the video games that will train your handsome boy to be a couch potato.

So, tell me, how do you handle it?