Football Season is Upon Us~

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rosie made the varsity cheer leading squad and our family couldn't be happier for her.
Evie wore her cheerleading uniform all day and I was able to get a shot of her with Rosie before heading to the game~
 And her sweet friends: Emily, Chandler, and Tayler!

This was our first Hart Co game with 5 littles and our goal was to make it until halftime~
We made it!
Rosie and her squad did a great job cheering on the team~
 They won 39-14!
Looking forward to a great Football Season!!!

Happy birthday Scotty~

Friday, August 30, 2013

Today was Scott's birthday and he celebrated at 211 with his sweet sisters~
Love this photo Jennifer took!
He worked all day and we ended the day watching Rosie cheer at the first Hart Co football game~
I'll blog about that tomorrow!!!! 
Happy birthday honey... We'll celebrate tomorrow night for sure!!!

We were able to sneak away for a fun date night...
 a little birthday shopping and dinner~
I LOVE you honey! 
Thankful we get to do life together!!! 

Fun Friday: Mouse Paint Day~

Because the main character for lots of Kevin Henkes books is a mouse, 
I decided to continue the mouse theme using a different book.
I actually did a couple of these activities with them last year 
but they didn't remember so it was awesome.
I started by READing the book Mouse Paint 
and allowing them to interact with the story using their mouse puppets~
 Already in our paint shirts we moved to the table to begin our own ART mouse painting.
First for the little kids we played find the colors and began doing a little color mixing... 
oh the magic!
After mixing the colors we used them to paint a sunset 
(one of God's most beautiful masterpieces) 
and then WROTE about color mixing in our journals~
 Giving everything time to dry, we moved to MATH using a color die and graph, 
they played roll-a-color. 
It was so fun to watch the little littles find the one that 'won' 
and the big girls did some adding of colors on the back...
perfect for all levels~
Next was our COOKING for the day... Rainbow toast and milk.
We mixed colors using milk and food coloring then painted right onto a piece of bread.
They picked their favorite color to make their milk so fun, toasted the bread, 
and enjoyed a fun rainbow snack~ 
 Back to the school room to finish up our Mouse Paint masterpieces, 
we added three little white mice and called it perfect~
 A perfect Fun Friday: Mouse Paint Day!

Mouse Puppets~

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lots of the main characters in Kevin Henkes' books are mice so we made mouse puppets today~
 We can't wait to try them out tomorrow for Fun Friday!!!

Forever ShayleeJoy~

Three years ago today was one of the BEST days of my life and one of the saddest for SJ.
I always think Evie's forever day was excruciating... SO WAS SJ's!
When we walked in, she was sitting in a black chair just looking around.
Our guide, Isabell picked her up and handed her to me thus began a deep, wailing cry of terror.
Nothing was going to change her mind until we made it back up to our room and pull out the toys/bubbles~
 It is excruciating for me to look back on this precious baby and see the blankness in her eyes.
NO idea what was in store for her... a WHOLE lot of loving...
And how we would rush her to Egleston 3 days after landing home
to go into open heart surgery for TOF repair.
What an awesome plan God had for our family and sweet Joy!

One year Forever~

Two years Forever~

AND Three years Forever~
She specifically asked to have her photo taken with us~
We couldn NOT imagine life without our Sweet Joy~
You are one of the best things that ever happened to our family!!!
Happy Forever Family Day ShayleeJoy JingJing Ankerich!!!

Celebrated tonight by eating ribs, going for blizzards @ DQ, and watching every! single! video! we shot in China when we got her.
I have to admit I had a big breakdown watching her gotcha and they handed me some tissues.
Thank You Jesus for this amazing JOY filled girl!!!

Sick Day~

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Still squeezed in the main subjects even though we have sickies~
 Reading, writing, math, and some technology.
I'd say that just about covers it!

Tending the Sick~

Beauty of schooling @ home~
 I can tend the sick and still squeeze the 3Rs in pretty easily.
Did a little reading, writing, and math with some technology thrown in for good measure: 
Audible of Kindle, Ed games on IPad, and Reading Eggs on the Mac.
I'd say that makes for a counted day of school and hoping my sick are well when we wake in the am!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A VERY precious friend Lori Borah reached out to a friend this afternoon 
and asked if our two videos might be translated 
so we would know what they were saying.
She called me to say she was sending them in tears.
I can't wait to share~
Man:don't video it too long. It won't go
       Through the mail.
Lady taking video:ok,come!
                            Good!very good!
                            Give her something to
                            Can she talk?
                            Make her talk. Tell her to
                              Say grandma.
                            Ok. Turn it off
Old lady:say grandma.
Old lady:say grandpa.
Old lady:uncle.
Old lady:one two three.
And then old lady:no,no,no.
                            How old are you?
Man:good!very good!
       He is very smart!
Man and old lady:taste good?
Man:eat one more.
The lady taking video:backlight!
Old lady keep telling the child:say grandma
Man:his mouth is full of food. Can't talk.
Lady taking video:ok!that's good!
There are no words Lori!
I'm pretty sure I will watch them 1000 times again and NOW I know what they are saying.
Of course I will continue to wipe the tears flowing.

Sheila Ray the Brave~

Since we are throwing FIAR into the wind right now and doing a Kevin Henkes author study, 
I thought it necessary for the kids to meet him... online of course~
We all sat and watched a great video of him sharing his life as an author and illustrator.
We read Sheila Ray the Brave {did a little predicting and retelling} then discussed the things that do and don't make us afraid.
With those thoughts circling in our heads, we pulled our journals and illustrated just like Kevin... added the words... and used watercolors to finish off our masterpieces.
I think this awesome idea of SJ's is going fabulously!

At one point this morning everyone enjoyed hanging their name on the clothesline~
Naming the letters in their name and everyone else's too. LOVE the connection the little littles make when they notice same letters in various names. 
Letter learning when they don't even realize it.

HollyMei's Video~

Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm pretty sure I have watched the two videos we have about a thousand times~
Can you understand why?
She is the sweetest thing ever and I just know she will be the perfect addition to our family.
God bless her and her foster grandparents!

Name Loving~

Today I walked into the school room to find all the Kevin Henkes books we own lined up on the piano.
SJ had found them all and informed us we would be reading them all this week... I guess we are having an author study!
Fine with me so we took one more day to read Chrysanthemum one more time... kids just can't get enough of it~
 I just happened to find this name activity last night and decided to put my own spin on it.
I wrote each letter of their name on a paper plate and they dot painted them all.
I also gave them a baggie with just enough clothespins to hang their name on the clothesline. 
Definitely a very fun activity and one they will love doing all week long!

Simple Sunday~

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Simply said... Church is still a challenge for us.
I am not ready to leave Evie and she is NOT ready to be left~
 We're stuck together like glue... Payne is comfortable staying because of WP and all is well with the world.

We loved hanging out today with Josh and Savannah~
and these cool kids~
Missed Mill who was hanging with her Phi Mu sisters this weekend~
 Can't imagine anyone I would rather her hanging out with~
Simple Sunday... LOVE!

Super Saturday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

This first photo is from yesterday but just couldn't leave it out.
We came in from the pool and P&E went to put on their clothes...
Payne put WP's clothes on Evie~
A classic rehearsal dinner photo!

Tonight we were invited to Max's 5th birthday party~
The kids loved the homemade sidewalk paint and water balloons!
I think this photo pretty sums up the party~
Sweetest faces ever!!!!!

AND just to make the day a little sweeter...
I checked IG to see Josh and his friends won the CHOA golf tournament today~
 I'd say that pretty much makes for a Super Saturday!!!

The Paperchase~

Friday, August 23, 2013

There is SO much paperwork involved with an adoption and I have been on top of it for 3 weeks now.
Today we were able to start our home study face to faces with Bekah.
We met her at Scott's office and the kids hung out with whomever was not being interviewed~
 Afterwards we met Mill and Lew for lunch~
 And came home to a very sweet package from LeighAnn~
 Made for a great end to a Paperchasing Day!

Language Arts, Reading, Spelling~

Thursday, August 22, 2013

As I move down our schedule, I move down the rainbow work drawers~
Red: Bible and Calendar Notebooks
Orange: Writing, Grammar
Green: Language Arts, Reading, Spelling

Today I want to share my thoughts so far with our LA curriculum.
With EK I am using Beautiful Feet: Early American History and we have been reading Leif the Lucky and honestly, we are having a hard time getting into it. Just a smidge over her head and I am struggling to paraphrase so she will understand. SO I may either skip the Lief book or move onto the next book, Columbus.

I also like to read something fun with her so she is reading Pony Mysteries highlighting vocabulary and retelling with details.
While I am working with EK, SJ works on Reading Eggs and when I work with SJ, EK does RE too.
I didn't take photos but SJ is working through Bob Books Set 2 and I have some printables for her to work on from Walking by the Way.
 This is my second year to use BFIAR and FIAR and the kids LOVE it.
For Spelling I really haven't found anything that EK loves. I am continuing Spelling Workout and instead of writing in the book, EK is doing all her work on a dry erase board. Smart. :)

Our Chrysanthemum activity today~ the GREATEST name is Jesus~
And He is the only One that can mend a wrinkled heart.

I also had a thought this morning as we were beginning our Prayer Pail time that I should print photos of kids we were praying for. Clearly it was a happy idea~
 Later in the morning I looked over to see Evie holding the Bible and praying... was just mumbling but definitely knows the connection with prayer and the Word.
God is so good!!!

Thankful Thursday... {HollyMei}~

Lots of families come home from China worn out and emotionally drained. 
Unless you have adopted, there is no way to understand the feelings, emotions, physical strain, and stress... 
more times than not I have come home saying we are done... 
and Scott always says 'nothing surprises me' or 'never say never'.

I have to be honest.
I tried to stop reading adoption blogs.
I tried to stay off advocacy websites.
I tried to not look at waiting kids on every agency list.
I tried to tell God I was done.

Truth is... He was not done with me.
He knew I still had room in my heart, my home, and my arms.

On July 19 I saw a face I had seen before but was too soon to know. This time it was different... I knew.

I sent an email to ask if she had a family... no.
May I see the file... yes.

Wow, our precious new 3 year old daughter.
She is 3 months younger than Evie so they will virtual twin babies.
Her special need was nothing we had ever considered but not one single doctor or specialist said no.
Scott and I talked and prayed for days about her.
The update Lifeline was able to get was probably the deciding factor.
She looked to be hitting her developmental milestones.
I think someone had asked for an update with photos without her clothes on so there was one of her in just some shorts 
and her face was just so angelic~
 There were also two videos of her and I screenshot lots of photos from them~

Want to know why I loved The Scavenger's Daughters SO MUCH?
Our baby is in foster care with a Ye Ye and Nai Nai...
 she is dancing with her Ye Ye in these photos. 
Hope to have the videos soon!

 I felt like as I read the book I was visiting my baby's life for a little while. 
Such a blessing she is living with a family right now...
In the long run will be huge for her attachment and bonding. 

I'm sure this comes as a surprise to some and so NOT a surprise to others.
We have shared this amazing news with most of our family, 
especially with our own immediate family and everyone is happy and excited.
The bigs are not surprised (always ready to love another)
 and the littles are excited to have another play/school mate.

I have reached out to people that might be able to shed light on her special need or maybe ones that know about her orphanage/city.
Yay! Lori Borah... our babies are bro/sis!
Everyone has been so helpful and supportive.
I am amazed each day at the many red threads God weaves through His children's stories.

There were two precious friends that meant so much to me as we prayed for direction from God...
LeighAnn (Abbie) and Kelli (MeiLi) shared their girls' stories with us and we are so thankful for their willingness.

We are naming our baby~~
HollyMei (Mei Mei is Chinese for little sister).
So join us for Thankful Thursday as we introduce our baby and announce PA (pre approval) for
HollyMei Qiuhan Ankerich~
Look at the twin babies...
Aren't they gonna be the cutest pair in the world?
I am still wrapping my heart and mind around this amazing blessing! Scott too. LOL

Finally a Sunny Day~

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's amazing what a difference a sunny day makes.
Everyone worked extra hard during school hours and rested extra well so we could head to the pool this afternoon~
 The video gives a little evidence that we've been cooped up just a little too long~

We were excited to invite sweet Max and his family down today for a little swim time so we could celebrate his 5th birthday~
Happy birthday Max! We LOVE you!!!

Most Important Word and Writing~

The most important word to a young child is his/her name.
Today I read Chrysanthemum and discussed the reason for their name and how special it was.
I had the letters in their name written all over a paper and we counted each name comparing length to Chrysanthemum.
I think it made my kids feel super special since they all have pretty long names too~
Next they had a strip with name either printed to match or for the big girls just blank cards and they had to put in order from memory.
PC, WP, and EC matched just their first name.
EK had to put her first, middle, and last name in order.
SJ did her first and last.
ALL were very proud of their finished product.

A very powerful tool for teaching reading is making connections with letters and sounds to a child's name.
Ex. ShayleeJoy starts like shark so what would shark begin with?
When sounded out words for writing, it is helpful to give kids clues like ddd dog starts like ddd dad.
Most Important Word... a name!

Speaking of writing~
I am trying to highlight a portion of our day as I have time. 
So far I have shared our Bible time and today we decided to do that together  in the family room while we waited for our breakfast to bake.
Loved using that time more wisely and helped to shorten the time we spent in the school room. :)

Back to Writing~
 I am using First Language Lessons Level 2 and Writing with Ease Level 2 with EK and she is doing so well. It is a perfect way to introduce great writing without the pressure to think of something to write and is short to the point. Copy work and dictation being the main components right now~
While I am working with EK, I have been sending SJ off to draw anything her heart desires anywhere her heart desires and she has loved writing more this year than last. 
About the time I finish with EK, she comes back to tell me all about her drawing and we decided on words. I have taken the pressure off of her of sounding out every single word.  We are taking a copywork approach right now (I write whatever she tells me) and occasionally leave out a word for her to sound. Definitely makes it less intimidating. 
A good day for writing!!!

In case you wonder what I do with the three little littles with writing... they each have a journal that I have out for them each day with their name written in pencil and they trace then write if they can~
{Taken a couple of weeks ago}
Sometimes they ask if they can draw a picture in the journal and of course I let them then take dictation of what they say. Teaching that whatever they can say I can write for them. One day they will be doing all the writing themselves!

Prayer Pail~

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thanks to LeighAnn for the Prayer Pail idea... the kids LOVE it~
I found a bucket (pail) in the garage and gathered some decorating supplies. We wrote 1 Thess 5:16-18 on it plus the people in our immediate family. I had them think of people they thought we needed to pray for and wrote them on popsicle sticks. 
Each morning they will all pull a stick and pray for that request.

I also changed up what we are using for Bible. The other book just wasn't keeping their attention. I am going to reread The Jesus Storybook Bible and adding Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing and today they loved it!!

Please let us know if we can pray for you!!!
Blessings to all!