Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our week in pictures

Thought I'd show you some of what our week has looked like. Throw in 2 baseball practices and 4 games and you get a wild and fun week. We've spent quite a bit of time outside in BLR. The boys have been swimming a good bit lately and jumping on the trampoline. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Makes her daddy proud...
Shaoey fashioned this gun all by herself--stock, barrel, trigger, and sights...

Our newest pet addition--a red earred slider...
(Don't know if you can see, but Flash our other turtle
is in the lower right quadrant buried under the rocks.)
Another "treasure"

Can you guess which princess this is?
It's getting harder and harder for me to tell from the back!

Shaoey and Shuangshuang got into stickers today and decided to
decorate Shaoey and the walls and the furniture....

My princesses were Boppin' with the Biggles!
This is Shaoey's favorite video right now, especially the song "Locomotion."Oops, I got busted!
Yes, this is Miss Attitude... amazing how early they try to start!

Relaxation time!
The boys favorite things out there are the camp fires!

Jacob, Lord of the Woodpile

The supervisors

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life is precious

We had a scary reminder of this last week. One I hope I NEVER have to experience again.

We almost lost Shuangshuang last Tuesday night. We were at the ballpark watching practice. Troy had just gotten there, the girls and I were getting ready to come home. He kissed the girls when he got there, then we briefly talked about dinner, literally under 2 minutes. Shaoey said something about SS being on her. I walked around to see. Shuangshuang was laying across Shaoey's lap not moving. Her eyes were open, fixed into space and empty, and she wasn't breathing. She was completely blue. I grabbed her up and handed her to Troy who dislodged some of her snack using his finger in her mouth and then by hitting her back with her hanging upside down and doing abdominal thrusts. I could barely see around his shoulder, but what I could see was terrifying. He had layed her down on the grass and even though she was now breathing she still wasn't moving or making a sound--just staring off into space. By this time 911 had been called and we had quite a crowd. She was alive but was VERY lethargic. By the time the ambulance got there, she was able to name us and say a couple of boo yows (no in Chinese), but she was very sleepy. Her O2 was fine so we brought her home and watched her all evening. I let the girls take an hour + bath because she was staying awake for it (and that made me feel better!). We put her down to bed and I was terrified. I wanted to hold her all night and never let her go.

Our God is an awesome God. He brought her back from death. It truly was a miracle. How many times do our kids fuss and we say work it out? If I had said that to Shaoey....I can't go there. All the what ifs--what if Troy had been 5 minutes later, what if he hadn't decided to relieve me, what if Shaoey hadn't complained... I cannot tell you the image I have burned into my mind right now. My baby laying there, gone.

But with God there are no what ifs. He knew. I pray that I have given Him the glory that He deserves. It was kind of cool to be able to share the story at the baseball park the next night (yes, we were back there the next night!) of how thankful we are to God and that He is an AWESOME God who cares about us and is in control. It has even opened interesting avenues of conversation with aquaintances, one who really suprised me by saying he couldn't imagine God bringing her all the way from China just to let her die. Not sure about that, but it was an interesting conversation on his faith! Praise God for opening doors!

I have to say it has changed my attitude. He got my attention! All those little frustrating things seem to be so petty now. When I go to fuss about her whining, I am stopped by the realization that she almost wasn't here to whine. Talk about stopping you in your tracks. Children are such a blessing and a joy. Have you hugged your blessings today?

And wouldn't you know it? In God's amazing sense of timing, I woke up Wednesday morning to a Proverbs31 devotion titled "In God's Hands."

To God be the all the glory!

Princess Shuangshuang

Princess Shuangshuang and Princess Shaoey

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Planning for 2009-2010 (Part 1)

We have been on break for the last 2 weeks. I'm planning on us restarting school around mid-May, as soon as I get Charlotte moved into her new apartment. This is the first year I have really sat down and scheduled. I have often just flew by the seat of our pants, but I realize that if I want to "do" Charlotte Mason that I need to do some planning. I am really excited to be moving even more toward her style. It just feels right... I wanted to share with you what our year is going to look like. I added links to where to purchase the items I'm using. I am always open to suggestions or comments. More topics will be added to Science as I see what the boys are interested in. If you have any good CM websites or blogs, please pass them on, I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate it into our life.


Copywork: From History or Science (both)
Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 5 (Connor) Wordly Wise 3 & 4 (Jacob)
Language: Simply Grammar (both)
Math: Saxon 8/7 (Connor) Singapore 4A & 4B (Jacob)
History: SOTW 2 (both)
Science: Unit Studies (both)
Latin: Latina Christiana (both)
Art: 1 artist/6 weeks (both)
Music: 1 composer/6 weeks (both)
Poetry: Poems each day/1 poet per semester (both)
Nature Study: 1 x week (Handbook of Nature Study) (both)


Insects unit study

ART (mainly using Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artist series)
Ansel Adams

Gilbert & Sullivan

Robert Frost (Poetry for Young People)
Emily Dickinson (Poetry for Young People)

The Middle Ages (Story of the World Vol. 2)
Colonies study for possible DC trip (2 studies--HOAC and GraceBoundBooks)


Lunch at the Park w/Simply Grammar
Music (composers--may listen in the car on the way to and from therapy)

Therapy at home
Girls' time
Listening Lunch
Outside time after lunch

Nature Study
Listening Lunch

MEMORIZATION (One per month)
Matthew 5:3-16
Matthew 6:5-15 The Lord's Prayer
Psalm 1
Psalm 23
Exodus 20:1-7 Ten Commandments
Psalm 100
Preamble to Dec. of Ind.
Gettysburg Address

A Comedy of Errors

I am really excited about the girls' "schooling" this year! We are going to buckle down and do Little Hands to Heaven which they are both loving! Shaoey can now find the A, B, and C sounds! Even Shuangshuang is learning the sounds! It is so cute to see my 2 year old yelling "/a/ /a/ /a/ mama!!!" everytime she sees A.

In addition I downloaded a unit study bundle on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, and The Very Busy Spider. They've got some really cute activities! I thought since the boys were working on insects, the girls could too!

I am so EXCITED! I can't remember the last time I've been this excited about teaching my children. I'm glad that I sat down and planned it out. Now I have 2 or 3 weeks to put it before the Lord and ask Him to show me areas that I need to work on or iron out any glitches. I also have 2 or 3 weeks for all my books to come in! Buying books was definitely FUN!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family Art Notebook

I don't know about you, but I always struggle with teaching art. I want to teach it--both the hows and the appreciation, but I don't know the hows and I slept through art appreciation in college. Connor and Jacob went to an art class last summer. We bought Connor a dvd of the presenter teaching art (Feed My Sheep by Barry Stebbing) and Connor occasionally does it in his free time. But I know there's more.

I just got an email from Yes You Can Publishing about making a Family Art Notebook. She only gave a teaser, but for some reason, I feel that this is something I'm going to want to do. She said she'll be sending out more emails in the next couple of days with more details. I'll let you know what I hear. You can also check out her art freebie How Am I Suppose To Teach Art When Noone Taught Me? .

Update on Kathy

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, a family just sent in their LOI (Letter of Intent) for her! Please continue to pray that they are accepted and can move forward in the process of bringing her home.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Home School freebies!

Don't you just love freebies?! There's a great site that offers free Ebooks and audios. Monday through Friday they offer a different freebie. It's only available that day. Today's freebies are about Paul Revere--2 audio stories, a listening guide, AND an art guide focusing on painting and scultures Paul Revere and the Minutemen. Multiple freebies today!

This one came at a perfect time for us! We recently finished Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson. The boys really liked this book. It's told from the perspective of Paul Revere's horse! (They also liked Ben and Me by Robert Lawson. The story's told by a mouse named Amos.)

Check it out at

I love freebies, too. If you know of any cool sites, please pass them on!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tyrannosaurus Debt

We checked out a CD from the library. It's called The Best of Schoolhouse Rock. The boys love the Schoolhouse Rock videos and I thought this was a great way to squeeze in some science (The Body Machine, Interplanet Janet, Telegraph Line), languange (Unpack Your Adjectives, Conjunction Junction, and the boys favorite--Interjections), history (No More Kings, The Preamble, I'm Just a Bill), and math (Three is a Magic Number; My Hero, Zero; Figure Eight). I remembered most of those. I didn't remember the ones teaching finance--Walkin' on Wall Street, This for That, The Checks in the Mail, and my newest favorite...Tyrannosaurus Debt! How true, how true!

I couldn't resist sharing it with you:

TOUR GUIDE: To your left, folks, is the Washington Monument, to your right, the White House. And over there, just beyond the Capitol, is the National Debt!
TOURISTS: Oooo! Wow!

There's something hugeRed, white, and blue
That's grazing in D.C.
It's gobbling up the taxes
That are paid by you and meIt doesn't seem to notice
We really can't afford
The billions that it's costing us
To pay its room and board
It doesn't roam
But seems content
To dwell on Capitol Hill
As long as trucks keep pulling up
With tons of green-back bills
We've got to feed the big guy
We really can't forgetIt has an awesome appetite
Tyrannosaurus Debt

TOUR GUIDE: The debt was born in 1790 when our new government took over 75 million the colonies spent in the Revolutionary War.

We've got to feed the monster
So it doesn't get upset
It's got an awesome appetite
Tyrannosaurus Debt

TOUR GUIDE: Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury (he's on the 10, you know), wanted a federal debt to provide a reason to establish taxes to support our new nation.

The debt was young, they kept it small
They didn't know back then
In 1812 another war would make it grow again
By '66 the Civil War had cost the nation millions
The government in Washington now had a debt of billions

TOUR GUIDE: The Civil War ran up a debt of almost three billion dollars that still wasn't paid off by World War One.

We're spending money we don't have
Or so it would appear
The deficit is that amount we overspend each year
Though congressmen and senators
Make vows to cut its size
Despite their honest efforts
The debt just seems to rise

TOUR GUIDE: Now the debt's over 4 trillion dollars and still growing...

A balanced budget would be great
To spend within our means
To stop the monster in its tracks
Before we bust our seams
It feeds on just the interest
Its appetite is whet
It never, ever stops to rest
Tyrannosaurus Debt

TOUR GUIDE: And this is the U.S. Treasury. It sells Treasury Bonds, bills, and notes, and savings bonds to finance the debt. The U.S. government promises to pay the owner interest plus the value of each bond at a future date.

We've got to try to tame the debt
And bring it down to size
To let it grow unchecked like this
Is certainly unwise
The debt's a monster problem
That we really can't ignore
I guess we should be grateful
That it's not a carnivore
We've got to keep on servicing
Our trillion dollar pet
It's got a monster appetite
Tyrannosaurus Debt

A fiscal misadventure
With trillion dollar dentures
Tyrannosaurus Debt

TOUR GUIDE: Feeding time is ALL the time.

Hope you got as big a kick out of it as I did! AMEN!