Monday, September 29, 2008

That darn dog!

Somebody asked in a comment about the dog. Yes, he is still hanging around and still won't go away. Frankly he is really getting on my nerves. He has his own little bed on the porch, but that hasn't stopped him from pulling the cushions off my porch chairs to sleep on at night, and he chews on my pillows and has pulled the fluff out of a couple of them.
I'm feeding him twice a day, but he still feels the need to chew on whatever is left laying around the shoes or this fishing tackle.
This was the little plastic box that contained the fishing tackle.
He also apparently feels the urge to knock over the trash can while we're gone (we don't have a garage in this house) and scatter the contents all over the yard. He scratches on the door and howls for someone to come play with him. He barks in the middle of the night to warn us when there is a possum or raccoon or an owl nearby.

But then again, he wags his little stump and runs down the path to greet John when he gets home from work. And he curls up next to me and lays his head on my lap when I sit on the steps. And it's kind of cute how he follows me around and waits for me to pat him on the head every time I go outside. And he's been real good with the kids. Just look at this face. How can I call the pound?And yes, our very, very, old golden retriever, Bliss, is still around too. I'm sure she is wishing she could still run like she used to, with all this room to roam. But she hobbles around, and wheezes, and avoids Jackson as much as possible. She has taken a swim or two in the pond, I was surprised she still had it in her. But you can find her most of the time in her favorite spot curled up under the kitchen table waiting for food to drop.

By the way, I forgot to mention until my dad left a comment, I did call the humane society but there is a waiting list. So Jackson is on the waiting list. We'll consider ourselves foster parents in the meantime. I'm sure he'll make a wonderful pet for someone with a garage and without pillows and tackle boxes on their front porch.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The bus

Riding the bus is cool...At least that's what Ava thinks. Here she is waiting for her bus. I think she understands us when we tell her, "Bus is coming!", because she claps her hands and kicks her legs. Then again, she tends to get excited when everyone else is excited, so who knows for sure?
Here she is ever so reluctantly waving to me after I strapped her into her seat. Then she knocks on the window and claps and squeals. She LOVES the bus!

We all stand in the driveway and wave to her as she goes....across the school. Yes, I could put everyone in the car and drive her across the street three days a week, but where is the fun in that?
I am trying not to take it personally, but when the bus arrives home and I go to get her out of her car seat, she has been taking the seat belt out of my hands and trying to buckle herself back in. How cute is that?
Here's what came home with her yesterday, a little plastic firechief hat. She loves trying to put it on her head.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Homeschooling Days

I realized recently that I haven't blogged anything about homeschooling. It's not because we aren't do it, we most certainly are. So here is a peek into a typical week...

We start out with seat work: Bible, English, Math, Handwriting. Everyone knows what is expected of them because their daily schedule is written right inside their little cubby boxes. It's working out pretty well so far. Hope wants to be right there with the rest of us so I usually draw a picture for her that she colors, and I show her the letter it starts with. Sometimes she tries to copy the letter. It's pretty cute. I think she's playing with silly putty in this picture. And I am LOVING LOVING LOVING the built-in bookshelves in the office/ homeschool room. Up until now I had books scattered throughout the house in drawers.
We are using a homeschooling method called Charlotte Mason. She was a teacher who lived in the 1800s and she was big on natural learning, lots of good literature, short lessons, and plenty of outside time, or nature walks. So we go for walks and collect or take pictures of things that are interesting with the intent of learning more about it when we get home. (key word there being "intent"). We never did get around to looking these items up, so I thought I'd share them with my dear blog readers instead.

The kids have all found their cozy reading spots. I am sure Charlotte Mason would not have approved of "Captain Underpants". We are working on that.....

Jude's daily reading assignment is to read to his sister. I think he kind of enjoys it. I know for sure she does!

We're studying composers and artists this year. After we study a historical figure, we paste their pictures on our timelines (in a notebook) and pit their names on a map to indicate what country they're from. We are studying the Vikings as well, and we all laughed when Hope pinned King Harald of Norway on the continent of Africa, then in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

We are also learning about Shakespeare. Each kid picked a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream to draw and write about. It was no surprise, the boys picked the character named "Bottom" who was turned into a donkey-head......But of course Shakespeare doesn't use the word "donkey". He uses another choice word throughout the play. HA HA, so funny. Boys.

And of course Liesel picked Queen Titania, the fairy queen of the forest, who falls in love with the donkey-head. She was really hard on herself but I think she did a really great job! :)

And then, finally there is recess....Never mind that the go-cart is missing a part and has no gas. Who needs gas when there are big brothers and yellow rope?

It is really cool to have a skate park just a couple of miles down the road. It is so fun to know everyone else is still at school while we get to enjoy it all to ourselves.
Ava is thoroughly entertained watching the kids go by fast on their bikes. I wonder why she loves it so much. I keep thinking maybe she is dreaming of doing the same thing one day.....
I put her in this position to watch the kids because it's good for her hip sockets to bear weight like this. She really doesn't like it, but again, I try to utilize good entertainment to help her endure the positions she dislikes. This picture made me laugh when I uploaded it, because it looks like Hope is skateboarding by. She is NOT on a skateboard, just so you know. She is "doing ballet" for Ava's entertainment.....wearing a bike helmet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A 4 yr. old's thoughts......

Hope is going through a phase. If you are a parent, you know this phase (At least I hope I'm not the only one). The one where your kid says whatever pops into their head, like, "Goodbye Mr. Potato Head" to the police officer.

I have been running errands like crazy lately (Lowes, electrical supply store, lumber store, etc) and these outings always give Hope multiple opportunities to say whatever is on her mind to whomever she meets.

She asked one guy if the mole on his face was a heart ("howt").
She told a man that he looked like Spiderman with a beard.
To the guy working at Lowe's she said, "You have a ring, so that means you can kiss on the lips."
She asked the lady (?) at Walmart if she (he?) was a man or a lady.
She told the man at the electrical supply store, "You are a beautiful boy."
She told our realtor, "You're a boy, so you have cooties."

I am constantly "shhh"-ing her, telling her to whisper her thoughts to me instead. But apparently she keeps forgetting.

There is a little girl, 6 years old, who goes to physical therapy with Ava, who was born with a facial deformity. I panicked when I saw Hope across the room last week, in her face, staring, asking questions. Not having any idea what to say, I ran over and apologized to her and her mother for the intrusion. The mom said, "I don't mind at all. She is just asking innocent questions. We welcome innocent questions."

So I sat down with Hope and we talked to the little girl about why one of her eyes was much smaller and lower than the other, why she didn't have a left ear and why only one of her eyes moved back and forth (she had a glass eye, which they called a "teddy bear eye"). My anxiety began to diminish as the little girl and her mother cheerfully answered all of our (Hope's) questions. Pretty soon, Hope was touching the girl's face, saying, "Your eye is so cute", and "You have beautiful hair". And pretty soon the two girls were playing together as if they had always been the best of friends.

And as I'm typing up this post, John just told me that my nephew, Sebastian, same age as Hope, said to him tonight, "Uncle John, I don't like you!!" I guess if you ever want an honest opinion.....ask a 4 yr. old!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What a great sport....

Liesel had Anna spend the night over the weekend. Hope and Ava were already asleep in bed, so Jude was a good sport by letting the girls fix his hair. Thanks girls for the reminder that it is definitely time for a haircut.

From peach fuzz to stubble

NOW can you see it???!!! It's growing! It really is!


Have I mentioned how many signs Ava does now?
- "drink"
-"all done"
-"bye bye"
and her latest.....

Remember how terrified she was of the bathtub and water? How times have changed! I found myself repeatedly saying, "Girls, calm down!", last night. (Never thought I'd be telling Ava to calm down). Take a look at this: (You might want to turn your volume down) :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Girls who Fish

Our babysitter's grandma loves to fish but her husband nor anyone else in her family ever wants to take her (so they say). So we had her out this weekend. She made a wonderful fishing companion. I don't like to fish, but I love to glean spiritual wisdom (as well as gardening tips) from women much wiser than I..... I loved this picture.

And Hope caught a couple of little ones too. She said, "Mommy, I love to fish" (she gets that from her dad I guess). She got this Barbie fishing pole for her birthday, and the boys were making fun of it, saying she wouldn't be able to catch anything with it! She proved them wrong! I wish I had gotten a photo of her and Simeon fishing together. He worms the hook and casts and she reels it in. That afternoon in the car, I told her to thank her brother for fishing with her, and she said, "Simeon, thank you for taking me fishing with you. I want to marry you someday." (AAAWWWWW).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Buddy Walk is coming....

I have never been big on fundraisers. When we HAD to raise money for the kids' soccer teams one year, I stayed in the car and hid while I sent my kids door to door.

But this one is different; The Buddy Walk happens in Tulsa (and all over the nation) every October. People with Down Sydrome large and small, young and old, and their friends and families, come from all over to walk and raise money for Down Syndrome support and awareness. It is certainly a sight to behold.

Did you know that 90% of babies who are diagnosed in utero with Down Syndrome.....are aborted????? And the number is expected to go up as new "advancements" are made to prenatally diagnose chromosomal abnormalities and other birth defects . How tragic.

Our family will be walking the Buddy Walk this October 19. I hope you will join me in getting the word out, that people with Down Syndrome have potential and have value.

I put a button on the right of my blog if you would like to donate through FirstGiving. If I can raise more than $50, I will get a drawstring "goody bag". And if I raise more than $100, I get a coffee mug. Over $250 will get me a stocking cap. I really want that stocking cap!!!!

Here we are last year, Ava was still laying in a crib in Ukraine when this photo was taken (See her picture pinned to our shirts?). This year she'll get to "walk" with us, in a stroller, that is. Maybe next year she will actually be walking it!! Wouldn't that be something?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I think I might frame this picture......

Our mailbox is at the very end of this long road. When we dropped Ava off at school one day, the kids all wanted to walk home from this point. The problem was, Hope didn't have any shoes since it was just a drop-off errand. So Liesel offered to carry her. I'm glad I happened to have my camera with me. Sometimes they really are great kids. :)


Doesn't this face have mischief written all over it? Ava has been trying to give up her naps. Knowing she really needed one, and not being able to endure her pitiful cry when I laid her in her crib, but being too busy at the moment to rock her to sleep, I asked Simeon to lay with her and sing to her. When I walked in a little bit later, this is what I found......

Ava's favorite thing.....

....about our new house is the full length mirror attached to the master bathroom wall. I decided to take advantage of the fact that she loves to stare at herself so much and I put up a support stool so she will be forced to bear weight on her legs a little bit every day. Normally she doesn't like to stand for more than a few seconds....but with a mirror in front of her, you see....she doesn't mind one bit. Pretty clever, heh?

And I included this video sure to watch to the end as she discovers she can see herself in a compact disc (as she has also discovered she can see herself in window reflections and shiny spoons).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The dog that will not go away

This dog was tangled up in barbed wire in the woods nearby a few days ago, and John freed him. He has not gone away since. Right now as I type this he is outside the porch window looking in, howling for someone to come play with him. Doesn't he look a little too cozy curled up on my porch?
Daddy told the kids not to give him food, that he will eventually go home. But he hasn't. The kids have named him "Jackson". I told them not to name him, we can't get attached. But I found myself calling him "Jackson" as I snuck him some food told him to "shoo" today. I left a message at the pound this morning, but then I ignored the phone call when they called back to get our address.

And then I caught John sneaking this dog bed out to him....Hmmm.. I think Jackson is here to stay....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cutie Pie saved the day!

Thanks to everyone who gave great suggestions for my clown predicament. I was surprised to see that even Sweet Pea herself left a comment with her reason for not being able to make the party. Thank you Anonymous, that was really funny, but who are you? My brother also offered to come dressed up as a motivational speaker in a van down by the river to give my kids a speech about how we don't always get what we want for our birthdays. Very funny indeed.

Here is how the event turned out. Here is Sweet Pea from last year....
Hope went with me to check the mail and found this jar of candy with a note attached (thanks Kelly for the idea). In the note, Sweet Pea apologized for not being able to come to the party but offered to send her little sister, "Cutie Pie" in her place.
This is my cousin's 11 yr. old daughter (AKA Cutie Pie the Clown), isn't she cute??!!!
The first thing Hope asked was, "Where is Sweet Pea?" but she soon forgot all about Sweet Pea, and had a wonderful birthday, following Cutie Pie around everywhere.
Even Ava loved Cutie Pie, but she seemed to think her face paint was frosting the way she kept licking her on the face! I hope it's non-toxic.
Happy Birthday, my sweet 4 year old girl!
Some of our guests were invited......
And others were not.......
The kids had a great time pulling each other around in the red wagon.....
And Ava made a new little friend, but she did not want to share her ball.
Uncle Jason called to wish Hope a Happy Birthday while cousin Evi was making her look beautiful...
Next it was Hope's turn to make her friend Dorothy look beautiful too. I am thinking I see a career in cosmetology in her future??