Showing posts from March, 2010

Happy 4th birthday, K.!

Today was K.'s birthday and quite a day he had. We started off with a little paper mache. Having finished the Civil War, we are moving onto a unit on geography, using a resource that ties art lessons into the study of the different continents. Yesterday we talked about positive and negative space and did chalk drawings of the earth and today we started making paper mache globes. I've never thought that paper mache was rocket science, but judging from our efforts today, I guess it's trickier than I originally thought. But K. was happy because it was something he could join in on, even if it meant having to change his clothes because of the messiness of the project. I am amused that the ingredients for the paper mache paste are nearly exactly the same as for hard tack.

Following lunch, because it was such a nice day and because most of our usual weekly commitments were cancelled due to Holy Week, we headed out to the zoo. It turns out I was not the only one with this f…

Day of sewing

I've been doing a lot of sewing today...well, the last three days, actually. The first item I've finished is this skirt for A. A chose the pattern and the fabric. In case you can't tell from the picture, it's a black skirt with an embroidered design all over it. It is a faux suede, so feels very, um, suede-y. I had my doubts about it, but it was incredibly easy to work with. A. loves it and it definitely fits her personality.

The second thing I finished today (short of buttons which I still have to buy) is this dress for L. It's not really clear in the picture, but the skirt is made from 6 individual petal shapes. I have a second one in pink all cut-out for G.; I just need to make it. The dress also has a petal hat that goes with it. They are both cut-out, but I'm not sure I can get the hats made in time for Sunday.

I am also almost done with a new summer baby shoe, but that will have to wait to be finished until I get the babies' Easter dresses und…

At least I have a clean floor

"Oh no, Mommy! She's leaking!" shrieks TM as we are settling into our school work. My first thought was to wonder how on earth TM knew the baby's diaper was leaky and why it would warrant the dire yelling. It's not as though a leaky diaper is unusual around here. But then I noticed the river of liquid pouring out of the pantry where L. was sitting. My second thought was to panic that somewhere a pipe had burst and it was pouring water into the pantry. But then A. noticed that L. had grabbed the gallon of white vinegar and tipped it over. And because the lid hadn't been properly closed, it was now pouring vinegar onto the baby and all over the floor. We rescued the baby, boys ran to get supplies, and M., B., and I managed to mop up the mess while A. and P. attended to an understandably upset L. My kitchen floor is much cleaner now, though there is the definite scent of vinegar that accosts you when you enter the house. We aren't quite into the mobil-baby r…

Consider this a public service announcement

If you happen to have a room that isn't used very much because the lack of insulation makes it either very, very cold or very, very warm, and you put the leftover Christmas gingerbread cake in said room because there is no space in either refrigerator and the room is just as cold...make a note to yourself to go and retrieve the cake in a timely manner. Otherwise, one of your children will discover the cake (or what used to be a cake) several months later and then you will have the world's worst science experiment sitting on your kitchen table (under a cake cover, thankfully) while you decide how to dispose of it.

Be very glad that my camera's memory card is filled right now.

Blathering child or language issue or what?

A few days ago, a fellow adoptive mom blogged about some language issues her son was having with English. (Her son and TM are about the same age, both from Vietnam and came home within months of each other.) After reading her post, I've been thinking a lot about TM's language and wondering if things I thought were either quirkiness or a behavioral issue are more of a language issue instead. Then, today after talking with the P. family mom about something her adopted daughter does, it makes me wonder even more.

The issue is crazy questions. We discovered that both of our children ask us crazy questions...often involving the obvious. Such as, "Are you wearing that sweater today?" as the sweater is being put on, or, "What are you doing, making a sandwich?" as the sandwich is most obviously being made. These are questions that just by observing, the answer should be plain, and none of my other children do this. (Well, sometimes, but not to the same exten…

Family dinner tips

I've been asked to share what things we have done to encourage good table manners in our home. This is one area where having older children makes things so much easier. For the last several children, table manners have been learned much more by observation than anything. We still train our younger children, but so much is just picked-up by watching their older brothers and sisters. So, to really answer the question, I have to think back to when I only had small children and try to remember what we did.

We started out with just a few rules: 1. We eat sitting down. 2. We keep our food on our plates. 3. We do not complain about our food. If a child didn't follow one of these rules, we decided they must be done with dinner and cleared their plate. When I asked my olders if they remember anything specific about learning table manners, M. specifically mentioned having her plate removed. (Though with M., I'm pretty sure we only had to do it once.) The key is to do it…

We have movement!

And our lives will never be the same. At least just one baby (L.) is moving at the moment, but G. is not far behind. G. does scooch around on her bottom a bit, though, so she still needs to be watched. Here is a short video of L. doing her version of crawling. I suggest you turn the sound down because it's really loud. A. was trying to attract L.'s attention to get her to move across the floor; I'm not sure why L. didn't move quickly the other way.

In other news, K. had his appointment with the plastic surgeon of his cleft team today. We had some very good news. She confirmed that there is nothing wrong with K.'s palate and is not affecting his speech in any way, plus he has all of his teeth. Because of these things and because the cleft in his tooth ridge is small, at this moment, he is a good candidate for the growth hormone injection for repairing the tooth ridge and perhaps we will avoid having to harvest bone from his hip to do the repair. We go back in a year,…

I'll say it again

While I feel like a broken record on some topics, I'm realizing that this particular one is one I've somehow missed blogging about. So, unless you know me in real life, you may wonder at the title. And the topic? Eating dinner together as a family. To our family, it is such a commonplace occurrence that we often don't give it a second thought. Both J. and I grew up with family dinners being a 7 days a week event and that is how we're raising our family. But every so often, I am reminded of how unusual we are for eating dinner together even once a week, much less all seven. After church yesterday, B. was recounting how, when his class was polled, only he and one other young man ate dinner together as a family with any regularity. I have to admit I am baffled. I don't understand how or what people eat if they don't sit down to dinner. When do they catch-up with each other and share the events of the day? How can a family even begin to try to have family devotions…

Feeling a good way

Before I was married I worked with Jr. High age students in our church's youth ministry program. In fact, I was pretty sure that was where I was called to work and have a master's degree in religious education with an emphasis in youth ministry. But then I met J., who was working with the Sr. High youth group, and my plans changed significantly. All that to say, I had a chance to visit with one of my former Jr. High students today. She has just had her second baby, and was in need of a sitter for the morning. B., being the baby-whisperer that he is, offered to step in. (That boy likes nothing more than holding a baby.) I went to pick him up so I could stop in and say hi and to admire the baby (who is very, very cute). Seeing a former Jr. High student's child (and this has happened more than just today) always makes me feel a bit can someone I knew when they were 12 and 13 be old enough to have children? But it is also so wonderful to see what great adult…

Our trip: Heading home, plus travel tips

As you can see in the above picture, K. loved my parent's bulldog, Vicky very, very much and was sad to leave her. He wasn't sure about her at first, since she stands as tall as he does, but over the five days he discovered she was a sweetheart and fell in love. K. always loved pictures of dogs before, but having spent five days with two dogs, he loves them even more. For the record, J. and I are continuing to enjoy being dog-free, but the pressure from the dependents is mounting.

We drove home the southern route (AZ, NM, TX, OK, MO, IL) over the course of three days. Three loooong days. There really isn't anything extraordinary to report as we didn't stop to see anything. We just drove. And drove. And drove. I do want to send a thank you note to whichever hotel started the free breakfast-thing. It has since become standard and I think it's the best hotel perk ever. As I mentioned before a friend from church paid for our hotel rooms with her hotel point…

Happy 17th birthday, M!

M.'s birthday was last Thursday, the day we left to head home. Since we were spending her birthday in the car, we celebrated the day before. She had requested Vietnamese food for her birthday dinner, so my parents treated us to a great meal at a Vietnamese restaurant they found in south Tempe. Everyone enjoyed themselves and ate either huge amounts of noodles or huge bowls of pho. We then had cake back at home, though many people opted not to eat any being so full of noodles and soup.

My first baby is nearly grown up. I remember her babyhood so vividly it seems unreal that it was 17 years ago. She has turned into a charming young lady whom I love spending time with. She is smart, funny, and interesting. And quite patient with her mother when trying to explain all things technological. (She loves that kind of stuff and I only like it when it does exactly what I want it to.) I will miss her greatly this summer while she is in Samoa. Sometimes I am filled with panic that w…

Our trip: In Arizona

Here's a few of the highlights from our time in Arizona. First, we went and visited CasaGrande ruins. It was part of a larger complex built by the Hohokam Indians in the 1300's.

It was a beautiful day and the only one where the babies could wear short sleeves. This is L.

TM enjoying the chance to run around in the sun.

G. in her short sleeves and sun hat.

The whole crew, minus A. who was playing photographer. I have no idea what we are all so studiously looking at.

We also had a picnic in Papago Park. As you can tell, the weather wasn't quite as nice, but was still warm enough to be outside.

M., with a terrific view of the park behind her.


In the park is a small butte called 'Hole in the Rock'...I'm sure you can guess why. All the children had a grand time climbing up and around it. Here are the older seven in a small cave on the way up.

And here they all are again inside the hole.

A trip to the Phoenix Zoo was our last activity. We actually went twice. The fir…

Our trip, part 1: Heading West

We took the northern route to Arizona on our way west, through Iowa, Nebraska and into Colorado. Iowa has very nice rest areas, so we were able to stop and eat lunch in one of them on the first day. It was good we could since there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground.

The next day we made it to Colorado by lunch time. The welcome center near the border was staffed by many very welcoming ladies who descended on us en masse when we entered. The best question of the day was, "I'm wondering what type of group you are. You're not a family, are you?" The welcome center was not so welcoming that we were allowed to eat inside, but the sun was warm enough that we could picnic comfortably outside.


D. and B.


The second day was a bit shorter, as we were stopping in Denver to spend the rest of the day and night with my brother. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon so the adults got to relax and visit and the cousins got to play.

On my brother's deck.…

After 4000 miles, 60 hours in the car, 7 states,

4 1/2 books on CD, 2 rounds of 'Found a Peanut', and far more coffee than is good for a person, we have arrived back home from our trip to Arizona. We had a great time, even if the Phoenix weather wasn't entirely cooperative. Everyone, including the babies, travelled well. Though L.'s limit to riding in the car ended at about 6:30 every evening when she felt the need to exercise her lungs for about an hour.

We are spending the day unpacking and enjoying not having to travel anywhere before we begin with our Monday routine tomorrow. And, since all of yesterday was spent driving through the rain, we are also enjoying some sunshine. Once things feel under control here, I'll have pictures to post and another birthday to write about.

It's good to be home.

A picture's worth a thousand words, or at least a blog post

Sometimes when one is going about life, something jumps out at you that requires a picture. Such as this:

What more is there to add?

Happy Birthday, A!

A. turned 12 today. I know I say it's a surprise every time each of my children turns a year older, but it is. Really, each and every one of them was just a baby. And then one of them does something such as turning 12, and I can't imagine how it happened so quickly. A. is turning into a wonderful young lady. She is smart and funny and has really become one of the older, helpful children. (She has been struggling to be one of the older ones for years...since she was, oh, say, two years old.) A. is my best organizer and has a better grasp of what family members have what clothes than I do. She could probably earn money offering to do seasonal/outgrown clothes switches for mothers who detest the job. There are so many things I like and appreciate about this girl that it's difficult to mention them all. So I will leave it at happy birthday to my sunny and giggly A.