Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Latest and Greatest (A.K.A. Prepared to Be Bored)

  1. Jerry's show is almost done. Well, sort of. The cast has two more opportunities to perform the production at various churches in the area. So, we'll have Daddy back. Kind of. He was asked if he was going to audition for the next production and his quick response was, "Dolly said 'no'." We want daddy back for a while. He has loved doing the show though, and I predict we'll be a part of this theatre family for a long time to come.
  2. We went to our church's fall fest this past weekend, and I wish I could say it was fun and relaxing. I was singing and on my own with the kids, who were not following directions, and so it ended up being a pretty "hairy" day. I didn't take a single picture. Not of the pumpkin painting, face painting, or the bouncy house. Oh well. There's always next year!
  3. Fall has definitely arrived. We were going to go to the apple orchard yesterday, but the wind and rain kept us from venturing out. Instead, we checked out more books from the library and got some cleaning done. Which the boys completely undid in about an hour's time. To which I lamented, "WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER???"
  4. Awana started last night for the boys, and so you know what that means: Jerry and I have a weekly date night! We went to Caribou coffee, Jerry humored me by letting me stroll around Bath and Body Works, and then we went back to Caribou and sat next to the fireplace and talked. Without interruption! I just love that man.
  5. School is going great for both the boys. Caden is loving pre-school, and I am so thankful for God's leading where Cody's education is concerned. He has brought us all the right people, resources, and ideas to make this year a great one so far. Jerry told me last night that he is seeing the fruit of what we are doing and that meant the world to me. I am completely confident that God has brought us to this decision of homeschooling, but the weight of the responsibility sometimes causes me to doubt myself. I am wholly reliant upon God for each and every day!
  6. Cody is still playing violin and taking Taekwon Do. He was doing a roundhouse kick yesterday and hurt his knee, and for a moment I thought we were going to need to take a trip to the hospital. Once he calmed down and I saw he wasn't swelling, that he could walk on and bend it, I figured he was okay. His knee is still bothering him, though. I think he bruised pretty good when he fell.
  7. I am teaching 24 students a week (praise God!) and really thankful that my studio is completely full, more than it has been in the past five years. I'm so thankful for the business and for the wonderful children God has brought my way to teach. I am also leading worship on Thursday mornings for our women's bible study for the next eight weeks. We are doing "Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed" based on the life of David. It is written by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur. It has an intense amount of homework, but it is a wonderful study so far.
Thanks for reading (if you still are)! I hope you find time to enjoy these crisp fall days and take in all the wonders of the season. I got Caden's new pre-school calendar for the month of October and loved seeing things like "Harvest time!" and "Field trip to the Barn" and "Pumpkins!" This is such a wondrous time of the year. My only regret is that we can't head back to the Smoky Mountains to view fall in ALL its glory! God created the heavens and the earth. ~Genesis 1:1

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Old World Wisconsin

Today we had the opportunity to visit Old World Wisconsin, which is a historical site dedicated to preserving the life and times of the settlers of the late 19th century. The boys and I have been reading the Little House books this year, and this was a wonderful place to visit to bring the books to life. I wish I had known that they actually have Laura Ingalls Wilder days in July!
The boys got personal attention from the teacher in this one-room schoolhouse. We were the only ones in there, and she gave them a lesson on their slates. She also brought a portion of the book On the Banks of Plum Creek to life for us. Remember the part where Laura and Mary don't want to do their studies because they are so worried about Pa during the winter? Ma has them get out their slates and she tells them a story while they draw what she describes and the picture they end up with is a big, ugly bird? The book says that Carrie laughs so hard she rolls out of her chair.
Below, Caden is getting a birds-eye view of a honey bee hive. We saw the queen bee and were amazed at the process of bees making honey. Only God...
Here's Caden with a calf in the petting zoo (all animals were babies...awww!).
The grounds are beautiful. Everything is nestled in the woods with lots of wildflowers everywhere. I thought this made the perfect backdrop for a photo. Do you agree?
On our way to the restaurant.
At another homestead, Cody practices doing "wash." (Thank goodness for modern conveniences like a washer and dryer, a stove, and central air.)
The boys will tell you this was their favorite part: Visiting the blacksmith shop. We watched him make a horseshoe. Cody got to "pump" air into the fire. It really was very neat to see something made up close and personal.
We got to take an Omnibus ride with these two horses that the boys named "Pet and Patty." :-)
We had such a fun day and really enjoyed the experience. My only regret was that we didn't have more time. We weren't able to make our way through the whole place. They tell you it takes five or six hours but we could have easily spent another two or three hours exploring, to be sure.

Hope you've enjoyed your tour of the Old World. Visit for yourself if you ever get the chance. It's a very special place!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where in the World Are We Going?

One of my goals this year has been to help the boys develop a broader understanding of the world outside the U.S. We have a big world map and each week, we "visit" a new place and mark it with a pin so we can see all the places we have been. I am using a book called "From Akebu to Zapotec: A Book of Bibleless Peoples." It is an A to Z book that highlights places around the world that do not have a bible in their own language. It has been a great resource and we've already learned so much about people who are different from us. We talk about their climate, the animals you might find there, what type of home they live in, what they wear, eat, and what they do for work. Last week, we traveled to the western part of Africa and spent some time in Burkina Faso. We are very blessed to know some dear friends who lived in Africa and spent many years serving as missionaries there. I asked them if they would be willing to be our tour guides last week, and they very graciously agreed to teach the boys about this part of Africa.

When we arrived at their home, we enjoyed a meal with them while they shared with the boys how to say hello in the Jula language. Afterwards, they brought out African musical instruments and taught the boys how to play them. We had our own little concert right there in the middle of their living room. Here are a few pictures and explanations of our time there. We will not forget this special night...we had so much fun.

Here's Caden in an "Indiana Jones" hat from Africa.
Cody takes a turn...
Peter gave a devotion in Jula while his wife Judy translated in English. He spoke it beautifully, and it was really neat to hear the gospel given in a different language!
Here's Caden looking at a python snake skin. Of course, the boys thought this was amazing!
I can't remember what this is called, but it's a woven "crown" that the people wear on top of their heads to carry things, be it a bowl or basket. Caden tries it on (below you'll see another picture of Cody carrying a basket on his head using it).
Here are the boys looking at a wire bicycle. Peter and Judy explained to the boys that children in Africa do not have toys to play with like we do here. But they find very simple things to make toys with. They are a treasure to the children and they do not take them for granted.

This was Cody's favorite part...playing the african drums.
Peter and Cody playing together...
And finally, some photos from the african hunting masks the boys made. They really got into this project and proceeded to race around the yard hunting bugs and each other!

We hope you've enjoyed "visiting" Africa with us too! Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Field Trip!

We recently learned of a program at our library (and many participating libraries all across our area) that got us free admission to a beautiful "outdoor museum" called the Morton Arboretum. We went yesterday with our best friends and had a great time, despite a few issues along the way. For one, this place is absolutely gigantic and we only covered a very small area in a day. It was very hard to keep track of the kids and at one point, Caden disappeared. I panicked, but as it turned out he was right above me...I just couldn't see him where he was. They have these huge play areas, but not all of them are enclosed, so that made keeping track of all four kids a little challenging at times.

There were also several areas where the kids could take off their shoes and wade in the water, which they greatly enjoyed. It ended up feeling hotter than it was, and we all welcomed a chance to cool off!
Look at this beautiful hibiscus!
Here are Cody and Caden enjoying their time in the acorns...a great photo op!
Another beautiful plant, though we couldn't find the name of it. These little purple pods almost looked jewel-like, they were so pretty.
These were like little rainbows...yellow at the bottom, orange in the middle, and red on top. So unique and just lovely up close. Only God could be that creative with a flower!
Here's Caden posing in a leaf. So cute. He had such a fun day.
These are my kids' best friends in the world, and their mommy is my best friend.
And we're back to the opening photo, because there is a story to be told here. When we were ready to move on after cooling off in the creek, I grabbed my camera in one hand and made my way over to our shoes. I bent down to pick up the shoes with the other hand, and accidentally dropped my camera in the water. I was thankful that we were able to rescue the SD card from the camera so that I was able to retrieve these photos, but I think the camera (which was only six months old) has taken its last photo...the one you see below. Thankfully, I had just uploaded all the photos onto my new computer, so we haven't lost any. Let that be a reminder to you all: Back up, upload and save your photos frequently!
And finally....Cody is flat on his back right now with strep throat. He got to feeling badly yesterday afternoon when we were at the end of our journey. He spiked a fever and started complaining about his throat. Thankfully, we were able to see the pediatrician this morning (Saturday) before the long weekend. I'm so thankful we live in a country where we have access to good doctors and medicine. We're blessed. Hope you all have a wonderful, long weekend!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Look Who's Goin' to School!

Caden woke up this morning in the happiest mood and exclaimed, "It's time for school!" He ate up his honey nut cheerios and got himself all ready to go. 9:00 a.m. couldn't come fast enough for him. He was so excited.
It was Cody's idea to get a picture by the big tree in our front yard. We have a photo just like this of Cody on his first day. Big smiles and he's all ready to go!
Cody was so cute. He put on his new shirt, slicked down his hair and got all spiffy for the occasion. The three of us walked hand in hand to the school.
Big brother leads the way! "C'mon, Caden! Follow me!"
And he's off....
It was so cute. When we took Caden inside, Cody led him to his little cubby with his name on it and helped him hang up his backpack and coat. We watched him go bounding into the classroom and to immediately sit down and join one of his new friends. It was then, and only then (surprisingly) that my eyes got a little misty.

As Cody and I walked back home, hand-in-hand, we both said we felt like we were missing an arm or something. It was very weird to be without Caden. But we got home and dove into our school work and got a ton accomplished. It was very.....quiet! : ) I took Cody to Panera and we both had a bowl of soup before we picked up the little guy. We both just kept looking at each other saying, "This is so....weird!"

When we picked Caden up, the teacher told us the children had a great day and tons 'o' fun. But when I asked Caden how it went he said, "Good! Except I didn't want to listen to the story. I just wanted to play my own thing."

I think preschool is going to be veeeerrrrry good for the little man.

And finally, remember my previous post about Jerry laughing at the toad and the cricket? Well, it's blurry, but here's proof. It really is sitting on the toad's back! Click on the picture to enlarge it and you'll see the black thing (cricket) on it's back. And yes, we took pity on them both and released them back into the great outdoors...much to the boys' dismay the next morning.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!