Monday, September 30, 2013


Before we left Grandpa and Grandma's they gave each of the kids a Woofi. Woofi is a special puppy, he is a missionary puppy. Woofi is able to go places where others might not be able to go. He brings a message of comfort but even more a message of God's love and what God has done for us. The collar has the colors of the wordless book.

There is a book that tells a bit of the Woofi story. Grandma read the book telling about Woofi's journey to become a missionary puppy. Woofi became the puppy for a little girl that was going overseas with her family. I think that is something that my kids can relate to.

Miss K is enjoying her Woofi. I was impressed with the quality of the dog. These are nice and soft and perfect for cuddling. Each Woofi purchased gives a Woofi to a hurting person (it is not just limited to children). There is a post card that you can write a message on for the person that is receiving the Woofi you donated.

J is checking out the ears. One ear reminds you, "Jesus loves you." and the other says, "Precious are the feet who bring Good News."

Woofi has traveled with us to the West Coast and will continue his journey.

Thank you, Grandpa and Grandpa for the puppies.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Am I doing enough?

A friend and I were chatting the other week and this question came up. I don't remember if we were talking about diet and exercise or maybe it was homeschooling but the question came up, "Am I doing enough?"

I have pondered that since then. I thought about the times that I have thought that. Some times that creeps into my thinking by the enemy to distract me from what I should be doing causing me to think, "oh, I should be doing this instead." Some times it is sent as a discouragement, causing me to just want to give up because I can't do it all, I can't do enough.

So when the question, "Am I doing enough?" comes,  I need to pause and think about what the is causing me to do. That question could be a time to pause and consider my priorities and make sure I am focusing on what God is asking me to do at this time. My focus can change at times and so I do need to evaluate and change. This summer as we were traveling my focus could not be the same as when we are home day in and day out. Honestly, I can't do enough and really should not try.

Now when that question comes up I try to pause and ask what God wants me to be focusing on and even how much does he want me to do. If I am doing that, then I know that I am doing enough. I need to trust God knowing that he is at work and has a plan.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lead on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 ESV

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Five Years Ago

(This was supposed to be posted on the 26th but didn't get finished)

Five years ago we met a quiet little boy. He really didn't say much that afternoon. Maybe because he didn't know what was going on and maybe because he didn't speak English.

He has said that was the happiest day of his life. Five years ago we met J. He gained a new name, new family, new language, new culture, new way of living and new hope. He didn't know what all he was getting into but he still wanted to experience that. The same is true for us when we trust Christ for our salvation.

He once told me how he wanted to play soccer with the big kids at the orphanage but they told him he was too small. Now he is able to play soccer and love it.

In the past five years I have learned a number of things.

Our plans and dreams are not always God's plans for our life. There is quite a bit more that happened that I don't share here publicly but I will say that God's plans are good and sometimes they hurt but we need to keep trusting and obeying and allowing him to use us.

In many cases you cannot parent an adopted child the same as a biological child.

I have learned that I need to keep praying and trusting God.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Ten years ago today we were married. It was a nice fall day with just a few leaves on the ground. The day was beautiful outside so we could take outside photos.

We had about 12 weeks to plan the wedding from when he proposed to when we got married. We were trying to fit it in between me finishing grad school and also making sure that S did not exceed 180 days in the US. We had originally planned to get married on a Saturday but the banquet facility had an opening on Friday so we changed it to a Friday evening wedding. We had chosen the Cloisters for the wedding and we could not interfere with visitor hours so we had to be married after 5:00 when it was closed for the day. We were married in the meeting house that was built in 1741. We did photos before and enjoyed the beauty of the grounds there.

So in the past ten years we have done quite a bit

Lived in three different countries and are waiting for our visa to move to a fourth country.
Changed mission organizations once.
Added two children to the fun of our lives.
Finished one degree, way to go Dr. B.
Flown around the world two different times.
Driven across the USA three times.
Drank hundred of cups of coffee together.

Prayed together and dreamed together about what God is asking us and calling us to do.

So as we celebrate today I am thankful for you and look forward to all the God has for us in the coming years.

Happy Anniversary.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

I said, "Yes."

No, this is not a post about when my husband proposed. He did propose, finally and I did say, "yes." But this is about a more recent yes I said.

I am one of those moms who like things done right and the proper way. I follow the rules and I expect my kids to follow the rules.

The other day I said, "Yes." to Miss K. She didn't have her swimsuit and wanted to go in the lake. I said, "Yes." She loved it. Normally, she just gets wet up to her ankles and thinks it is grand. We did roll up the pants a bit up but she was in so the water was up to her knees.

She was loving it. I have to say that it was warm and the water wasn't that cold at least that is what JP told me. I didn't go in the water. I decided how many times is she going to have a chance to do this. Why not allow her to go in. I said, "Yes." I gave her a memory of doing something fun. Of course, she did ask if she could go again which tells me she had fun.

Have you said yes recently to something that you normally would say, no? Are you making memories with your children?

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ahoy Mateys

So yesterday was talk like a pirate and that meant we had to dress up like a pirate and go get some treasure. We are staying with friends and dug around to find what the kids could wear to dress like a pirate.

We put the bandana on Miss k and then found the bird. We were all out of parrots and she really wanted a bird so she took that one. I decided she needed a bit more to look like a pirate so I grabbed my white t-shirt and then my scarf which I tied around her waist. As we were walking to the car, she was handed some beads.

JP was not much of a pirate. He did draw a treasure map on a McDonald's napkin on the way. He had a stick as his peg leg.

Krispy Kreme had a deal yesterday that if you went in and talked like a pirate you would get a free donut and if you dressed like a pirate you would get a free dozen.

We then took our treasure and raced off to a secret location aka a park to eat our treasure. We went with friends we are staying with and ended up with 7 dozens or 84 donuts. That is a lot of donuts.

Here are the pirates digging in for treasure.

I think she was one cute pirate. She went in saying, "arrrr".

Did you dress up for Talk like a pirate day?

My friend and I decided that we made a memory. The kids will remember the time we went to Krispy Kreme and got seven dozen donuts.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up - The week when we slowly got started

Monday was an early morning. Our flight was at 6:00. We spent the night at a hotel near the airport. We were not the only ones leaving the hotel at 4:00. The shuttle was full. We had five bags to check and for some reason for which we are thankful our baggage fees were waved. We flew south to fly west. That happens when you get cheap tickets. We did fly Southwest for the 2nd flight and the longer flight. I have to say that Southwest was great with service. We were offered drinks about 4 times and were given quite a bit of snacks. We made it back to the Northwest. We did it finished our trip around the world.

Tuesday we slowly began doing school. We had unpacked and found some of our books.

Wednesday was the first day of co-op. That was one of the reasons that we came back when we did. J is in a art history class, Great battles, which is just for boys; and a speech class. The speech class was one that mom put him in but he came out of the class saying that it was his second favorite class. Miss K is doing an art class, a math class and ballet which is her favorite. I am helping in Beginning Chinese. I thought that would give me a chance to brush up on my Chinese.

Thursday was more school. We began Mystery of History Volume II. I am excited that we are study this time period. I am praying that we will be in England for some of this as I think there would be lots of field trips that would match our learning.

Friday was swim team and then a bit more school. We do best if we get up in the morning and do school first thing in the morning. It also goes best if I get up early and am ready by the time the kids get up. Swim team is at 10:15 which breaks up our morning but we did come home and do school.

This weekend is soccer for J and just organizing and sorting through things.

I didn't even have my camera out at all this week. I will have to take some photos next week.

We got started. I think that is my accomplishment for the week.

My children function best when they have a routine and structure. That was hard to maintain this summer with all the traveling. Now that we are back here and getting back into school, we are getting back into our routine. Hopefully next week will be better.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wolves - Summer Sandwich

When we were at Grandma's, she told us she was going to make wolves for lunch. It is one of the things that he mother used to make and I remember her making them. I knew what she was making but I am not sure the children or my husband knew.

So what are wolves? Are they made from some exotic meat? No, it is just a fancy fun name for a tomato, bacon, cheese open-faced sandwich.  Wolves are much easier to say. "Do you want wolves for lunch?" Compared to "do you want a tomato, bacon, cheese open-face sandwich for lunch?"

These are best in the late summer when the home grown tomatoes are available. Home grown tomatoes have so much more flavor compared to the uniform size, shape, and color that you buy in the supermarket. So we are happy to be visiting in August.

First you put bread on a cookie sheet. My mom had some large industrial cookie sheets. I think one of my brothers is hoping to inherit them.

Then you slice the tomatoes. Home grown work the best because they have such good flavor.

Here they are sliced. I used my favorite knife. It is a Kyocera ceramic knife. They easily slice through tomato skin. These are sharp knifes but yet dull enough that I will allow Miss K to use it and cut cucumbers. I have one that I have had for about 15 years and it is still sharp. The one thing that you need to remember is that these knifes will not bend and flex so don't try to pry an avocado seed with one. You might break the tip and then have to buy your mom a new knife. Yes, my mom now has a new knife and an old one with the tip missing.

Place the tomatoes on the bread. We like to make sure that the bread is covered as much as possible. I know tomatoes are round and the bread is rectangle so it is a bit like putting a round peg in a square hole but you do the best you can.

Then you add some cheese to the top. My mom uses American cheese. I don't normally buy that so we have cheddar.

Then you put the bacon on top. Just cut a strip of bacon in half and put it on the bread. Now they are ready to go in the oven.

Broil them until the bacon is finished. It might take 5 minutes or so. Just check them to see if they are done and they do get a bit burnt on the edges.

Then you are ready to serve them and eat them.

J ate one and said, "maybe they got their name because you wolve them down." He liked it and ate another one and another one.

It is an easy fun lunch and gives you something different to say, "we had wolves for lunch."

What fun names do you have for foods?

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Back to School

Normally we do some educational time during the summer. This summer it just was not possible with the travel schedule that we had. So we took a break. There was some learning along the way and that counts as part of our school. Traveling can teach so many things. My kids ate new foods, like dragonfruit, HP Sauce; they learned how big the world is, flying around the world gave them the opportunity to visit some new countries. Some learning just happens.

Some learning is a bit more intentional, like the Bird Park fits great with science, a morning at King Henry VIII’s palace, Hampton CourtPalace helped to visualize history.

Now we are back to the books and structured learning. I had to make some last minute adjustments to my plans for this year. I have a master plan that has rough books and/or subjects for the next few years.  I had everything we needed but it is boxes waiting to be shipped and as we can’t move yet. I needed to make some adjustments.

I have put together my objectives for each child. My objectives are general in some areas like continue to work on math skills and specific like work on letter sizing for Miss K. I also have written some expectations. The objectives give me the direction that we are heading and the expectations help me to know what I am looking for along the way. Some of the expectations I will tell them and some I don’t.

I have also looked at what we are doing this year and determined how many days each week we need to do that subject. I have also tried to put together what is an assignment amount so math for J is a lesson a day. Using that chart my expectation is that he will be able to plan a large portion of his learning.

So it is time to unpack the books that arrived and find our math books in the boxes that we stored at a friend’s house while we traveled this summer. Now we are back to school.

Some years I have done fun things on the first day of school like take photos of the kids and all their books or fill out a page about me but this year we are just jumping in and getting started.  Grandma has an old school desk and some decorations which was perfect for some photos. 

This is my 5th year homeschooling J. 

I have told Miss K that 2nd graders do lots of school. She only wants to do a tiny bit. We usually begin with math and then do handwriting and reading/phonics. Last spring she decided she wanted to do school backwards. This morning when we began she asked to do school backwards. Her memory amazes me at times.

 So we are back to school. What fun things did you do for back to school?

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Not Yet Back to School

We have not yet begun our school year. I think we are ready to begin except for the fact that we are still traveling and don't have our books yet. So this week we are celebrating "Not Yet Back to School". We have been enjoying a week with Grandma and doing fun things with her.

I think everyone is back to school here. Even the children in the one room schoolhouse.

On Tuesday we went to the Science Center. It is was empty and so we were able to enjoy things there.

Wednesday we stayed home except J was able to spend some time with one of his friends. We did play some games. Notice the double blockade there in Parcheesi. I think our Parcheesi game might be one of the originals. My mom read the instructions and if you mailed a 3 cent envelope you could get a copy of the rules. I think the copyright was 1938 or so.

Thursday we went to a cheese farm. It used to be that you actually went to the farm but now they have a shop. You could see a bit of how they make cheese.

We enjoyed all the samples. I think the roasted garlic cheese curds were my favorite or maybe it was the garlic and dill.

It was a scenic drive to the cheese farm. Even though I grew up in this area, I still enjoy the sights.

Friday was just getting some things done here before we head west. We also spent some time visiting some friends. Miss K had a friend that she talks about and someone she wanted to visit and today worked for that visit.

I think next week we will be back to school. It is beginning to feel like fall. I walked in the yard yesterday and crunched a number of leaves that area already on the ground.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Science Center

Yesterday was the first day of school for a number of schools in the area. Since we are still visiting family, we have not begun school with books through there is still quite a bit of learning going on around here. We decided to go to a Science Center. Our membership from the Museum of Flight allowed us to get in free.

Miss K loved this. She would just stand and swing the last ball and then watch the balls. She did have to remember to move or else she would get hit in the face when the ball bounced back.

We have gone to a number of science centers and it is always fun to see what things are new. This was a new one -- showing how the pendulum moves. You filled the funnel with sand, swept off the surface and then started the pendulum moving.

The designs were so interesting.

They changed depending how we swung the pendulum. It is a great visualization of how the pendulum swings.

Grandma showed Miss K how to stuff the parachute in the tube. It went out the top so fast I couldn't get a photo of that. Miss K stood there and it is over and over again.

I asked J what was one of his favorite things. He said, "building the dam". He has some of his father's engineering genes. There were some blocks there and you could build a dam. He was able to feel the water pressure build up.

To keep the whole things from overflowing and make a mess at the science center there were some drains at the bottom. J did have fun building and trying various configurations to see what is the best dam he could create.

J and Grandma worked together to build a trestle bridge. We are planning to do a bridge study this fall just for fun.

One of the interesting things was the catenary arch, just like the St. Louis Arch. The blocks were numbered and you build the arch on the board. You do need to make sure that the wooden base is in place and you are building it with that there. When you have all the pieces in place. Then you take the board and stand it up.

You just flip the board up with some care and then place it down and you arch is standing.

The science center was small but it had a number of exhibits that were new and different. Since for most schools it was the first day of school it was empty. I think I counted three other children in their and by the time we left around 1:30 it was just us. (They did say they are closing next week for cleaning and renovation.) This particular center says that they are for grades 3-8.  It was a fun morning.

We then went to Math-U-See to get some more blocks and stopped at Sonic for Happy Hour and a bite of lunch. Sonic is a treat for us as we don't have one on the West Coast.

What is your favorite thing at a science center?

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