More CallaAnne~

Saturday, January 30, 2016

I got word from a friend someone was looking for me on FB to share a wealth of CallaAnne photos~
Anyone who has brought home a child through adoption knows,
old photos from the child's past will be precious treasures one day.
I am SO thankful for amazing people who have traveled to CA's orphanage to love on the least of these.
They have loved on our baby and are sponsoring her to live in a foster family!
They describe her as breath taking and so very sweet.
I can certainly see it in the photos we were given... all 90 of them plus video.
Just too precious to take it all in!
We are in awe of God's grace and mercy!

Ben Curtis in the House~

Friday, January 29, 2016

We were so excited to have Ben Curtis here for the night.
When Josh dropped him off, he wasn't too happy about leaving his daddy
but in no time at all, he was all smiles~
 By the time lunch rolled around, and the playing commenced, he was just fine~
 There is no lack of love for this sweet boy when he's with this crew~
We ADORE you BC, and can't wait for you to come back as soon as possible!!!!

Playdate with Friends~

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Playdates are another thing we don't have too many of because we have such a built in crew but
today we were so blessed to have the Lekberg's over for an afternoon~
 I've only known Kristen for a short time, but our bond has grown so big,
and we have lots of Chinese in common!
Just look at all the cute faces~
They got along so well, and we were able to visit and encourage each other!!!
Can't wait for next time K!!!!!

PS. Kristen is a gorgeous photographer and IF you need family photos made...
She's your gal!!!
Go to Fine Afternoon for inspiration, and info to schedule a session!!!

Sj's First Orthodontist Appt~

SJ has been through a lot of dental work and in the last few months,
 many teeth are growing in causing havoc on her spacers~
I took her to Dr. Robinson, and he took xrays then removed the upper spacers
with a plan to come back in a month for lower ones.
I think more ortho work will be in her future!

A New Activity~

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

With a new child home every one to two years, we have limited time spent out of our home
but this week, we chose a new activity for our family... Awana~
 The kids did very well going into new places, and I was able to stay with the little girls.
They all came home with books filled with scripture to memorize, so
we incorporated it into our morning~
 It's been a wonderful way to discuss salvation and how much God loves us~
Very excited for a new activity, new friends, and new adventures!

A Twist on Science~

We have finally come to an end of the Apologia Science book
and needed another idea without spending money on more curriculum SO~
 I pulled out our copy of The Burgess Animal Book for Children
and read the first story about a wren and rabbit.
My children LOVE any about animals so they were all in!
As we read the story, we learned new things we didn't know about the animals.
I was looking for a passage we could use for copy work as I read to them.
I found a quick YouTube video to watch then went to work~

 The bigger girls were on their own copying and illustrating their passage.
The little kids had a little drawing lesson and copied the main characters in their journals~
I think this is going to be a fun way to learn about animals and check off the science box as well!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I signed up for a webinar with Hope*Writers today and it was amazing~
I have a new writing plan and excitement for my writing project.
Check it out if you need inspiration!!!

Updated Photo of CallaAnne~

My birthday is next week and more than anything I just wanted a new photo of CallaAnne!
I contacted Ladybugs 'n' Love about sending a care package to our baby.
They needed to see if CA's orphanage accepted packages and were told she had already received one.
Angela was so kind to say there was no need to send another package...
she would just ask the orphanage for updated photos.
Honestly I had forgotten about until this morning when I opened my email to see~
Our angel baby... just look at that precious face!
I can tell you I could barely function the rest of the day!
I am more excited than ever to take this sweet one in my arms!!!
I also want to say I LOVE Kelly and Angela with Ladybugs 'n' Love!

Another Reading Idea~

I have a classroom set of magnetic letters and these little containers from IKEA
so I wrote two words on each lid then placed the letters inside to make the words~
 I hung them on the side of this awesome rolling cart from IKEA as well.
In each basket on the cart, I placed materials I would need to read aloud
as well as read with each child sometime during the day~
 I don't really stress 'word work', but I do think if you put a fun activity out for them to choose,
it is very likely they will learn while they are 'playing'~
The boys are reading their sight words everywhere, and they are so excited about it,
the little girls are becoming interested as well!!!
Win win!!!

How to Teach a Child to Read~

Monday, January 25, 2016

Being a teacher my whole adult life has given me thousands of opportunities to teach a million different skills.
One of the most rewarding and exciting is teaching a child to read.
There are as many ways to teach a child as there are books for them to read.

I am coming to realize the later I wait to begin formal reading lessons, the quicker they catch on and the hungrier they are to try.

Just this past weekend, Evie came down early one morning holding a chapter book saying she really wanted to read just like her big sisters.

I decided to empower her and this is how I did it~

 I wrote the word 'and' on a post it note with 5 little bookmark tags attached~

 I challenged her to pick a page and search for the word.
When she found it, she would mark it with a tag and look for it again.
This went on and on and on~
 The key was to meet her where she was, and go with it.
She now knows the word 'and' in other places too so she believes she is a reader!

Half the battle to reading is enthusiasm and I wasn't about to squelch it!!!

The other thing I have come to realize is, they will listen to a story anytime, anywhere and these are the books we are reading right now~
 Yes, all of them at the same time during various lessons or times of the day.
They are able to remember what we read last and predict what is coming.

All this reading spills into their play too~
{Searching for things like Pippi Longstocking: Thing Finders}
 Every child is different and allowing them to mature on their own time table
sure makes relationship building all the more sweeter.
And THAT sums up the beauty of home schooling in a nutshell!!!

Hartwell Dam~

With all the rain, our lake was beyond full so over the weekend the Corp of Engineers opened the flood gates.
It was beautiful!!!

Very Last First Time~ {FIAR}

Our FIAR row is Very Last First Time this week, and it is such a great one with the snow we just experienced.
Our first day is always a day of reading the book and a geography lesson.
Today we also watched a video about life as an Inuit in Canada~
 Then taking our new info, we moved into the kitchen to draw and watercolor beautiful masterpieces~
 I also wanted to document {Work} Evie asked to do~
AND the big girls have begun writing in cursive in most of their school work
so I wanted to document it here on the blog!!!
Good job girls~ SO awesome!

A CallaAnne Story~

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Not long after we accepted CA's referral, we found out she was being sponsored by Grace & Hope for Children.

I had several friends reach out and suggest I follow them on FB so I did in hopes of seeing our baby.

Over the month of December they collected coats and delivered to children all over China.
They took photos and began sharing online.

I was diligent in checking for CA's orphanage and this past week, I saw her~
Smiling in a little red coat.
It is hard to explain how it feels to see a glimpse of our child...
kind of like seeing an ultrasound and wanting a photo to carry around.
SO very thankful to know she is well and warm.

Such a great surprise on the same day we would hear we are Logged In (LID)
on Jan 19 which was super quick!
Now we wait for LOA (Letter of Acceptance).
We will be there soon CallaAnne!!!

A Snowy Day~

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Because we live in the south, the threat of snow is a big deal! Schools close, people rush to the store for groceries, and children stare out the window all day long wishing to see the first snowflake.

Our kids waited all day long yesterday and finally by night, the snow had started to cover the ground~
 By morning, there was enough to play in~
 We bundled up and headed out right after breakfast~
 The first order of business was making big snowballs to throw at daddy~

 The second was building a snowman~
 Both dogs loved being out~
 Don't laugh... it's the best we could do and they were proud~
 Then after lunch, our day had turned to this~
That's the kind of snowy day I like!

Fun Friday~

Friday, January 22, 2016

Today was definitely because once we read a little while, I turned them loose for a play day.
It didn't take them 5 minutes to bundle and head out to their hideout.
I looked out to check on them and found the bitty girls taking a little rest~
Dad ran by the eye dr and picked up two pairs of glasses for SJ and WP~
AND Rosie leased her first adult home for next school year~
It was definitely a very Fun Friday!!!

Just Let Them Mess~

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Evie is a master at making a mess masterpiece and for the most part, I let her.
She absolutely LOVES paint, glue, and tape.
They have a white table in the school room where they are forever creating
and over the last few weeks, it has gotten caked with all the art supplies~
 Now just as much as Evie loves to mess, she does not enjoy cleaning but she does give in.
Today I gave them the most FUN way to clean by spraying shaving cream and letting them play~
 I also opened the cabinet with the alphabet and they wrote letters, numbers, and drew pictures
all the time cleaning while they played~
 After they had cleaned played their hearts out, I scraped the table with my spatula~
And ended up with a pearly white clean table.
I took a photo because it won't last long, but that's okay!
Just let them mess!
They are only kids for a little while!!

A Call to Prayer~ {Pathology and Prayer: A Diagnosis to Share}

I have had a post churning in my heart about Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Days in the adoption life because I never want to give the impression everything is all perfect here. It is not! We have our up days and our down days.
That post never came together but I opened FB on Sunday, January 17 to read the post below sharing the diagnosis of cancer for a precious adoptive friend of mine, Rebecca.
Rebecca and I met each other in China way back in 2010 when we were adopting SJ and she Claire. There is something about being in China away from family and surviving each day with a new child that brings families close. We became instant friends and the rest is history. Even with the passing of time and certainly the miles between, we have continued our friendship and supported each other through some pretty big stuff.
But THIS is the biggest so far. There was no way I could sit quietly by praying alone. I need ALL of you on your knees praying for my friend! She has an amazing husband, Mark, and four beautiful children that need us to pray as well. God is a healer and will hear us. PRAY!
Rebecca is a strong, beautiful person who spends her time caring for her family, loving everyone around her, and advocating like crazy for orphans around the world. She is important and has much left to do. She is an amazing writer @ La Doce VitaUngrind, and No Hand But Ours.
Please read Rebecca’s post below and leave a prayer for her in a comment. I will forward them all to her for encouragement and to let her know, we are ALL fighting for her, with her, always. Blessings and love to all who do!!!

Go HERE to read the rest of my post at A Beautiful Symphony.

A Little Sick Girl~

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Evie was sick all night last night but has seemed better through the day~
The sputter of a few snowflakes lightened the spirits of everyone around here.
Didn't last long and sure didn't stick but that's how it is in the south.
We take whatever we can get!!!
(Must have been a little virus because she was better by evening)

My Parapro~

It is impossible to be with 6 children schooling at the same time
and it is those times I am so thankful when one steps in to help another~
Yesterday we had eye appts so we did our bookwork before leaving.
There are many clothes to put on and hair to fix and I need to time to get ready
so SJ stepped in to call spelling words for the boys.
As they mature and grow, some of the educating can be shared.
I am thankful for my parapros!!!

Eye Appointments~

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SJ and WP had their yearly eye appointments today and we received good and bad news~
 SJ's eyes have improved and she is able to reduce patching to one hour a day.
WP's eyes had worsened last appt and upped his patch to three hours.
Today there was no change so he goes up to wearing one for four hours a day.
The best thing about it... no one complains and just does it.
They both were eligible for new glasses and modeled them for us~
 Everyone got stylish shades to wear out in the sun~
Three new pairs of glasses and SO thankful for great eye insurance!!!