Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Make Math Fun...

I always hated math.
H-A-T-E-D it.
It was boring, I didn't get it, and besides, when was I ever going to use it anyway?
Now that I have decided to be a teacher, it's kinda part of the deal. But I don't want my kids to hate it, and dread doing it. I know they are young still but I want them to enjoy learning, not just do it because I say so.

Thus, my bright idea...

I found an old Candy Land game (sadly, not the original) that actually had all the pieces, for $1.69 at the thrift store the other day. Don't know why they felt the need to emphasize that price 3 times, but I digress...
This version seems to have more color spaces than the one we have, which is newer. And it has more characters.
I took a permanent marker and wrote numbers 0-10 in all the spaces, in random order.

Then on the single color block cards, I drew various numbers of circles-1-10.
On the double block cards, I wrote out addition and subtraction problems, with corresponding dots below each number. I didnt put the answers on them.
So, for each single block with the dots, they have to count them and find that number on the board.
For the double blocks, they have to either add or subtract. Then they will have to move to that numbered square.
I thought maybe they wouldnt be interested in the adding/subtracting at first, but they really had fun with it. They carefully counted out all the dots and I showed them both how to add them together or subtract by covering up the subtracted number of dots.

Oh, on the single cards, some I left blank for zero.
Charlotte won the first game, and they asked to play again, so I think it's a keeper.
This is not my original idea- I saw that someone had put tape over their game and wrote letters on the tape, then the kids would have to say the sound that letter made when they landed on it.
Since this was so cheap, I didn't mind writing on it.
Ethan likes it because it lasts longer than the normal version of the game.
Charlotte likes it because she is really into counting everything now.
Caden likes to move everybody's men around or throw them off the table.
And I like it because I know they are having fun and learning at the same time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tips on Taking Kids Fishing- Keeping it Real

My wonderful husband and resident master fisherman posted over on his blog this same subject. Naturally, as his better half, it is my job, nay, my pleasure to bring you the following photos and expound upon this very entertaining subject. From a mom's point of view...

1. Be ready to get back in the car and go home. Especially if the only things that bite after 30 minutes or so are trees, weeds, or floating trash. When this happens, try not to rub it in the fact that you won money in a fishing competition when you were 9, and it was with a real, live fish.And that you are female.
That doesn't really solve any problems.

2. Take a camera. Because later on, you will want those pictures.
For all the world to see.

3. It's a good idea to fish where other entertainment is available. That way, when dad forgets to bring enough poles for everyone, you won't die of boredom watching him untangle all the poles he did bring.

4. Yep. All of them.

5. Don't get mad at dads. The line will get tangled, or caught, and you might have to help them find their lures 15 times. Be patient and loving, remembering that you want them to have a good time so they will want to go out again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm Gonna Be a Millionaire...

I finally figured it out.-I'm gonna write a book.
Because my kids say some funny things.

Coughing with your muscles= coughing into your fist

"Back Then" is an actual time period in history.
for example,
"Hey mom, did they have corn dogs Back Then?"
If your "nose thing won't come down" you might need a tissue.

Sometimes, its hard to roll up your Leg Sleeves.

Guns and Ladders is the better name for Chutes and Ladders.
If I'm not paying close enough attention,
"Here Mom, look out your face!"
Everyone has a Heart Beep but only mommy cows have gutters.

This is the Day that the Lord Has Made...

"This is the day that the Lord has made;
I will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

Ethan has been singing that verse for days. But he sings it wrong. He says,

"This is the day that the Lord has made,
I will rejoice and be glad it is."

I should probably correct him, you know-for memorization sake. But I think I like that version better. Is that wrong?

I will rejoice and be glad it is. I will be glad it is.

My Uncle passed away this morning.

There are days I feel I can't rejoice in what has come. But I can rejoice that it is still the Lord's day, that He has made it, and He is in it. I can be glad that He knew what this day would bring, that it didn't surprise Him.
And I will be glad that the Lord is a God who saves from eternal death, and separation from Him.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A note about our shirts...

Since Ive been asked,

If you live around us, then you can just tell me and I will get you one and that way we won't get Paypal and Etsy fees taken out, and more money will be able to go into our adoption fund.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A long long post about the mess...

Apparently, there is no news today about MOWA's decision whether or not they will cut back adoptions in Ethiopia by about 90%.
Since I first read of the possibility of this happening, I have to say I've been strangely peaceful. I can honestly say I have not worried one little bit about it, not been freaking out, or letting thoughts creep in about what if...what if...
I've been catching up on my bible reading and intentionally seeking out a quiet time with the Lord each day. I haven't done that in a long time, and I haven't been reading my bible much either. I guess you could call me a bad Christian,( but really, are there any "good" Christians out there? Isn't that the whole point of it all? ) I confess, I've been putting other things before my Lord, and I started feeling His nudging me to take a look at what my priorities had become. And this started repeating in my head-

"Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you."

I tried to look it up, but the verse actually reads,

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."
James 4:8


The common theme I've come across in both the Old and New testament this week is that God was always with his people. He was always going before them, one place or another, in all kinds of crazy situations. Sometimes it was to make a way for his people, sometimes to protect them, or to provide for them what they needed at that time.
But He always went before them, the loving Father protecting His children, the Shepherd leading His flock.
I think that this is why I've been so at ease with the possibility that such a drastic change could happen just as we are getting ready to send in our Dossier. I think He has been preparing my mommy heart for these potential changes, asking me to draw near to Him and trust that He is going before us, that He has control of the situation, and that He is not surprised by any of this.
We know that Ethiopia is the place, that Zoey is there. We know that God knows who she is, and when we will get to meet her and bring her home.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the fact that the likelihood is very good that this all is happening because the demand for healthy infants is higher than the supply ( I really hate to use that word, but I can't think of an alternative). Most families request an baby girl, 0-12 months. The cause for alarm has been because some agencies were found to have been dealing unethically-placing babies that weren't truly orphans as if they were, basically trafficking children and creating black market babies.

And the thought stemming from that is -maybe God is directing our gaze to the Waiting Children.
Waiting Children are called that because they have been looked over in favor of other children. This is usually for 3 reasons-
either they are older ( about 3 years and up),
they are not labeled healthy- HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, blindness, missing limb, cleft palate, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc ,
or they are part of a sibling group- A baby could be a waiting child if he/she is part of a sibling group, otherwise you will never find a healthy infant on a Waiting Child List, because there is never a shortage of people who want a healthy infant.
Adoption is not about being comfortable. Everything about this is pulling us out of our comfort zones and forcing us to trust that an Invisible God will go before us.
The paperchasing- so much private information that normally you wouldn't share with your closest family members is being shared with complete strangers who have the power to approve or deny you.
The fundraising- who likes asking for money? who likes being in a place of need? Especially for something you "didn't have to get yourself into". Sacrifice is not easy.
The waiting- on people, on papers, on the Lord's timing. We are used to a want-it-now-get-it-now-fast-food kind of life, and that just doesn't happen in the world of adoption.
Adoption is not about being comfortable.
I think alot of times, we say,
"Ok, God, you are in control, I will do this thing you ask of me, I will sacrifice and be uncomfortable and risky for you, God"
And we put our toes in the water. We wade out and remind God that we are doing this because He said so.

"We are obeying, God!" we yell over the roar of the waves.

But we are clutching our floaties all the way out. Wearing our flippers, holding our noses.

"Here we are Lord, following you!"

We make the best of our discomfort by forming a bubble from what we think we still have a hold on, what control we fool ourselves into believing is ours to exercise.

Maybe God is drawing our attention to the hundreds of thousands of children who have been passed over as unacceptable, and asking us to break that bubble and truly trust that He is the Father of those children too.
I believe satan wants those children to remain waiting...until they age out and become unadoptable. He does not want adoption to happen because adoption of children into families reflects God's adoption of us into His family, and satan does not want one more person to come into a saving relationship with Jesus.
I believe he perpetuates around our society the ideas that birth order is absolutely crucial to biological children's identity and emotional well being, that older children are undesirable because its just too hard to teach them a new language, get used to their already developed personalities, handle discipline issues, food preferences, schooling, behavioral faults, and emotional baggage; that medical needs are just too hard and too much an investment of our time and hard earned money, and that sibling groups are too much at one time.
I think the Christian society has bought into those suggestions instead of looking at who the Almighty God is and what He is in the business of- making families, uniting the lost and broken and folding them into the flock, miracles.
But we want to be comfortable.
We don't want to risk vulnerability. We want the bare minimum of sacrifice.
And that , I believe, is why there are Waiting Children.

Only God knows what will come of this. Maybe it will end up being nothing, and things will go on as always. Maybe they really will bring things to an almost complete stop. Maybe more families will open their homes to Waiting Children. Maybe not.

It's all to the glory of God.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Because All the Cool Adopting Parents Are Doing It...

We have shirts!

We have ladies (white, semi-fitted) and mens (grey) available. These are made by me and we are asking $20 each, and shipping is free!
You can order over on the sidebar. Just click on the style and size you want.
**Please order a size up from what you normally wear as they run a little small. For instance, I usually wear a medium, but in these shirts, I need a large.**

Please allow about 2 weeks for your shirt to be shipped to you. Realistically, it probably won't take that long, but just to be on the safe side...

Thanks for supporting us and helping us bring Zoey home!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Etsy Shop

I've been adding a few new things to our Etsy Shop, and all the old aprons are on sale.

Click HERE to go over and see what's new!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trusting in His Sovereignty

"All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom."
Isaiah 28:29

A lot of things are happening in Ethiopia right now. Many families who already have their paperwork there and are waiting to be matched, or even who have met their children and are waiting for a date for their pick-up trip are being forced to redo some of their paperwork, leaving them wondering when they will be able to get their children home.Some families I know about should have already been on their second trip, but they are forced to wait on bureaucracies and red tape instead.
Here is part of an article that explains more, in better ways than I can.
Please pray for everything to clear up, not just so we can get through when it is time to send in our Dossier, but for those children who are waiting to come home, and those whose eligibility for adoption is in question.
I wonder now if the months it has taken to get things in order -the procrastinating, the waiting on people to get their things done for us, the rescheduling of appointments-has been to protect us or Zoey from something. I dont know what things are being requested for resubmission, or if we will need to do that. I don't know if this will effect our waitlist time either. A lot of things seem to be up in the air, and hopefully, since we haven't submitted our paperwork, if anything needs to be redone, we can take care of it beforehand, saving us time and money.
Also, our Family Coordinator- the woman who is organizing our dossier and who is guiding us through all this is leaving our agency. We will be assigned a new Coordinator next week, of course she/he won't just be ours, but a lot of families' also. This may or may not have some effect on the timing of our dossier submission.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has issued a directive saying it will process a maximum of five inter-country adoptions a day, effective March 10. Currently, the ministry is processing up to 50 cases a day, about half of them to the United States.
A copy of the directive provided to VOA says the reduction of up to 90 percent in cases will allow closer scrutiny of documents used to verify a child’s orphan status.
Ministry spokesman Abiy Ephrem says the action was taken in response to indications of widespread fraud in the adoption process.
"What we have seen so far has been some illegal practices. There is an abuse. There are some cases that are illegal. So these directives will pave the way to come up with [safeguards]," said Abiy Ephrem.
Investigations have turned up evidence of unscrupulous operators in some cases tricking Ethiopian parents to give up their children, then falsifying documents in order claim a part of the large fees involved in inter country adoptions.
American couples often pay more than $20,000 to adopt an Ethiopian child. Such amounts are an enormous temptation in a country where the average family earns a few hundred dollars a month.
U.S. State Department statistics show more than 2,500 Ethiopian orphans went to the United States last year. That is more than a ten fold increase over the past few years, making Ethiopia the second most popular destination for Americans seeking to adopt overseas, after China.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Skipping School

I got this dress last year after season so Charlotte could dress up.
She likes to put it on so she can dance, but today she wore it out on the town.
We decided to skip school and go exploring. We went to the Post Office to mail some things, then walked to the thrift store for some new books.

We walked over to the Depot-they have a caboose to play on. At least, I think its ok to play on. No one said anything, so I think we are good. We went inside to a little train museum that I didnt even know was there. After 7 years, you'd think I'd know this town a little better.
We found the "most awesome puddle ever".
"Charlotte's winning!"
"Yeah Ethan, Im gonna beat you up!"

Then we went on a walk downtown, played in some alleys and read the historical society signs on the buildings.Ethan found some secret holes in the walls where bricks had fallen out. In one, we saw an old license plate, probably someone put it in when the wall went up? That was pretty cool.

Me: "Isn't this fun? Its like an adventure."
Ethan: "Yeah its like...Charlotte's Baby Dora, and I'm Diego and Caden is Boots, and you''re...the cow!"
Sweeping Beauty

Me:"The cow?!"
Ethan:"Yeah there's a cow in it.But it's a smart cow."

Then we came home and had a picnic for lunch and played outside in the evening.

Dear Zoey (Letter #3)

Dear Zoey,

I've been wondering how old you will be when we get you.
I want so badly to get these papers done and sent off to your country so that we can find you. Hopefully it will be this month.My mind thinks that as long as its all finally out of our hands, maybe it will be easier to wait. For now, we wait on other people who don't have connections to you and who don't really care to get their things done so we can send it all in. We are so close.
7-11 months seems like an e-t-e-r-n-i-t-y to me. Just like it seemed so long to wait to have Ethan, or Charlotte, or Caden. For-ev-er.
Maybe it will be October and we will have you by Christmas. Maybe it will be 2012 before you come home. Oh, I wish I could scoot on into the future and see what happens!
I love you so much.
I keep thinking about you, and the longer this goes on, the less I try to guard my heart and let myself daydream. Because I know you are real, and that you will soon be here.
I think about what your skin will look like next to mine as you sleep in my arms-
what a beautiful pair we will be, mother and daughter.
I think about how I will buy matching outfits for you and Charlotte and how cute you both will look when we go shopping just us girls.
I wonder if you will be small enough to wear in a sling, and I think about tickling your little brown feet as they peek out. Or will you be walking already?
I wonder what we will have missed out on, what you will have accomplished with no one to write it down and put it in a baby book. ( we have one for you already-your Queenie gave me one for Christmas!)
These weirdos cannot wait for you to get here.They are making plans. They thank God for you already when we pray at night. You will never be bored or lonely here baby girl.
I can't wait to see you. Whether you are a tiny baby or a big girl doesn't matter at all. I just want you here.
How can it be that what I feel for you is exactly the same as how I felt for Ethan, Charlotte, and Caden before they were born? It doesn't make sense at all. That's God baby girl.
We miss you and we can't wait to meet you.
Love, mama