Saturday, March 31, 2012


It's birthday time around here . Within the next two weeks, three of us will celebrate our special day. Jamie's birthday is today, and since he was in Asia for 2 weeks (I'm so envious right now!), we had an easy time getting ready for it.

The two oldest boys made his cake...a mint chocolate chip icecream cake...with oreos, nuts, hot fudge, and icecream. Yummmm!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE having the kids work in the kitchen!

And they were more than willing to clean up their mess. They're so thoughtful.

So, jet lagged and all, he hung in there for his celebration.
Each of the kids picked out a $5.00 gift card to a favorite snack/restaurant place so they can go by themselves with Daddy.

As they sat with him to open the card, Jamie noticed how big they were getting.
(notice how Jamie is fighting Laura for the envelope? She thought it was great fun to keep snatching it from him).

They're getting bigger...

and bigger...

and bigger...

and bigger...

and..."hurry up and get off" bigger!
I think I resent that!

Cake time! It was delicious!
Jamie is "directing" our Happy Birthday song!

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


What's the hardest part of moving for us? Leaving those we love.
So when we get a chance to get together, we grab it!
One of my best friends and I were emailing back and forth about homeschool curriculum. I finally told her that it would be so much easier to just discuss it in person!
So we set it up and she drove with her kiddos to visit us!
not only are we great friends, but her son and Amarin are best buddies. Honestly, they could be twins, and we call them that. They are so much alike it's not even funny. How could two boys, born on opposite sides of the world, be so much alike and so close?
And Jenna is good friends with the girls, so we knew this would be a blast!

Best part...I kept it a surprise. The kids had no idea until the friends arrived. And they arrived during rest time. So I had them sneak upstairs and surprise Amarin first. After the initial shock, they all took off and played outside like no time had ever passed.

You should have heard the joyful noise when I told my kids that there was no school until Thursday! We made it to the zoo the first morning they were here. It was chilly, but we had fun.

Of course, there had to be a pizza/movie night, and a popcorn/movie night...way past bedtimes!

There were also dramatic performances by a couple talented young ladies.

French braids for Jenna.

"Rest time" with three boys in the bunk bed.

And how did we spend our last full day together?
Digging for toys that got buried by a bulldozer!
At first it was just us with one neighbor friend.

Then the kids started coming to help when they heard that a DQ Blizzard was the reward for finding the toys! Unfortunately, no one won the prize.

This may be the record for the number of kids in the yard at one time!

They just left, and us gals were in tears, and sweet Amarin was blinking back tears as he waved goodbye to his best buddy. "Mom, can you surprise us again?" he asked.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Her Eyes

Her eyes are just so pretty. They absolutely disappear when she smiles.
Well, those little eyes did not pass a vision screening a few weeks back.
And she kept telling us that "this eye no see anymore."
So, off we went this morning to the eye doctor to gain some insight.
Miss Jenna has amblyopia in the right eye...otherwise known as "lazy eye."
Basically, her right eye has become "lazy" and is making the left eye do all the work.
Her right eye sees minimally.
The treatment? Glasses for now, maybe some patching later, but the outcome is usually very good and she shouldn't need glasses long term...just long enough to strengthen that eye.

She loved going to the dr., and even the eye drops. She was actually disappointed when the dr. told her she wouldn't need drops at the next visit. "But I like drops," she said in a pitiful voice. "Well, that's a first," his tech commented.

These cool glasses were fun, too.

She was so excited to get glasses, and knew they should be pink or purple. We narrowed it down to two frames, and she picked pink Dora glasses. When she heard that she could get them this very day, she threw her arms up in the air and yelled, "Yes!"
We ordered her glasses, and within one hour, they were ready.
Aren't they just adorable?

I asked her if she could see better. She replied, ""
Alrighty, then. At least we've helped the dr. pay for his new, fancy car.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Something Unexpected

Well, we weren't expecting a lesson in home building when we moved here. The kids were actually enjoying their own soccer and baseball field. But...
flags went up last week marking the utility lines, and we knew what was coming.
At first the kids were bummed. But we decided we can either be bummed, or embrace the blessing of watching a house being built...something we've never experienced before. We all chose the latter.

They were excited when the excavator arrived this AM. We had to stop lessons and go outside to watch them unload it, and start digging the basement. Char ran back inside the house to get his "tractor" book to find the excavator.

Further down the street, we noticed a huge crane working. We took a walk to see what was going on...more home building.

By mid-afternoon, the basement was finished. This huge hole was beckoning some boys.

I compromised and let them play in their new sandbox.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Swim classes have begun, and all five kiddos swim at the same time! We found a homeschool swim class in the early afternoon which works beautifully!
Here they are, waiting for class to begin.

Jenna was a little nervous, but did just fine.
There were only 4 little girls in her class.

Laura was in class with Jenna, and she had her own aide. There is an organization here that provides one-on-one aides for children with special needs, free of charge. What a blessing that is for Laura to be able to join in the fun! We have to pull her out of school 1/2 hour early, but I don't think our little fish minds at all!

Charlie had only two other girls in his class. He loves the water and had so much fun. He thought is was pretty cool to be in a non-beginner class.

Jacob and Amarin were in the same class this week, and (yeah!) there was one other boy!
They worked hard in the lap pool.

After a 45 minute lesson, they were able to play for 45 more minutes in this play area.

Amarin couldn't resist dumping water on Jenna's head!

Nothing like...

coming home from being gone all afternoon to a pot of hot chili that has been simmering all day in the crockpot. That is, unless you forget to plug it in. Take-out, anyone?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What have we been doing?

So glad you asked! Jenna started kindergarten. She was beside herself excited to get her "elephant book" in the mail. She thinks letter sounds are funny, loves doing school, and is "reading" all by herself. (wink, wink)

Missy Laura is practicing for her first grade musical performance at school. I had to take this fast because she thought it was funny to throw her shaker on the floor as I tried to take the picture! Little sassafrass!

The kids have really been learning a lot about the Titanic. This April is the 100th anniversary of its maiden voyage...and sinking. After visiting the museum in Branson, they checked out lots of books and we watched the older movie, A Night To Remember. Much better than the newer movie, and family friendly. We found these historical fiction books, too. Great books!

Charlie is getting ready for our speech class. It's an informal meeting at a local pizza restaurant. Any student that does a report or presentation gets a free pizza buffet. My kids are all over that! So Char is doing a presentation on CAT tractors.

Amarin is getting ready for speech, too, and is presenting about the Titanic. He put this model together in less than a week...all 178 teenie, tiny pieces.

Our Backyard

Our new backyard may be a lot smaller, but it's more full of kids on a regular basis. Where we lived before, we had to call and set up playdates. It worked well, too, but there was nothing impromtu about it. And I'm still getting used to ringing the doorbell every afternoon, kids running in and out of the house, and always...always...looking for snacks.
But I'm so thankful that they choose to come here to play. I like knowing what's going on, and what's being discussed. And I'm not too proud to bribe with food! :)
PS. to Aunt Julie...the popscicle maker is a HUGE hit!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I went out on the town today with the sweetest young man. Of course, I may be biased. But he's been asking for weeks to take me out "on a date." need some time for just the two of us. I told him, as the young man, he needs to check with Daddy, and then organize the day. And he did. He scheduled us to leave the house at 10AM, and visit a variety of spots around town.

First was the used bookstore. Oh my goodness...I don't think Jacob would have been happier with a pot of gold than he was with the aisles and aisles of books. We spent two hours...yes, two hours... browsing the shelves and choosing favorite books. The owner knew immediately that we were homeschoolers because I asked him for G. A. Henty books...and apparently only homeschoolers ever ask him for those. But the best part was when we were getting ready to check out, another couple was bartering with the owner over a collection of old, old books. Jacob was beside himself excited to see these old books. He started asking questions, and the owner pulled out a Bible that was written on parchment paper. And then Jacob saw a copy of Pilgrim's Progress dated in the 1700s. He was very disappointed to know that it was WAY out of his price range.

Next stop...B@rnes and Noble. Do you detect a pattern here? We bought a coffee and headed to the display desk to try out the Nook. He's deciding between buying a Nook or a Kindle. Any suggestions out there?

T@rget was right next door, so off we went to peruse the St@r Wars selection of toys. We also found a couple odds and ends for the other kiddos, and Jacob was thrilled to come away with a double light saber. I must say, I got the biggest, jumpiest hug ever when I told him he could have it!

Already mid-afternoon, we thought we'd better grab lunch at our favorite place...Ste@k & Sh@ke. LOVE their burgers and shakes! One more stop at the sporting goods store to look at shoes, dropped Daddy's shirts off at the dry cleaners, and then headed home.

What a fun day and precious memories with my oldest...who is just growing up way too fast!