Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just Call Me Aunt Ang... again!

Thrilled to announce that I am an AUNT again!  My little brother is now a DADDY.  While that is so very strange to say, I am so very excited for Matthew and Megan.  They are definitely troopers because   my nephew was liking his cozy home and in no hurry to get out.  Well past his due date, Megan was induced Friday morning.  She ended up choosing to have a C-section Saturday evening. 

Saturday eveing around 10 p.m., Malachi Thomas made his appearance.  He arrived weighing 9 lbs. 2 ozs. and measured 21 inches long.  Congrats Matthew & Megan - He is beautiful!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

They all SHOT up!

Marathon appointments at the doctor's office today!  That's right, I scheduled three appointments back-to-back, but I brought reinforcements.  Hooray for Daddy!!!!  When the nurse called Wells, all 5 of us followed.  After weighing the three little ones and checking their height, we camped out in the examination room.  Tonya gave them all a good check-up and 2 of the 3 actually ended up needing antibiotics....  those blasted ears!

The crazy thing is how tall my babies are getting.  My 5 year old is 48 1/2 inches tall!  REALLY???  Combine that number with his size 1 shoe, and no wonder people look at me strange when I assure him that he is only 5 and actually not the oldest child.  Not to worry though, since August, Jeremiah has grown another 2 inches.  He's catching up, but it is Miss Rachel that has really shot up.  She has also grown a couple inches since August and is now in the 77% for height.  Growing, growing, growing!

Unfortunately, Jeremiah and Rachel did have to get 4 shots each, but the good news is that now they are officially caught up on all of their immunizations.  In fact, no one in the Wells household is slated for shots again until 2017.  We all say, "HOORAY!" to tidbit of information!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"They’re Grrrrreat!" Terrific Tigers DNG

Serving on the Download N Go review team, I was provided with the Terrific Tigers DNG at no cost in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. My three little animals truly enjoyed this week long unit study and have walked away with a wealth of information.  In the words of advertising icon, Tony the Tiger, Amanda Bennett's Download N Go's, we think...
 "They’re Grrrrreat!"   

Designed specifically with students in K-4th grade in mind, the Terrific Tigers Download N Go is content rich, yet extremely user-friendly.  While step by step instructions are provided for the week long unit study, you are still afforded the opportunity to tailor fit the activities to the varied learning styles and needs of your children.  Within the download, multiple learning activities are offered including: interactive weblinks, embedded video clips, lapbook components, notebooking pages, puzzles, coloring pages, suggested activities, and a recommended reading list.  See the daily themes listed below, and take a sneak peek at some of the Terrific Tigers DNG activity pages below.
Day 1: What is a Tiger?                                       

Day 2: Getting to Know Tigers
Day 3: Where Are the Tigers?
Day 4: The Science of Tigers
Day 5: Cool Things About Tigers

As I've mentioned in previous DNG reviews, one of my favorite things to do is to take the booklist to the public library and acquire as many supplemental resources as possible.  I was thrilled to find that our local library actually shelved a number of the Terrific Tigers DNG recommendations.  I loved seeing my children soaking in factual information from the non-fiction titles as well as being entertained by the fictional stories hosting tigers as primary characters.  Additionally, with Terrific Tigers, I found titles in several different cultural literary genres.  We read:
  1. Tiger Soup by Frances Temple (An Anansi Story from Jamaica)
  2. The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon retold by Janie Jaehyun Park (a Korean folktale)
  3. How Tiger Got His Stripes as told by Rob Cleveland (a Vietnamese folktale)
  4. Nine-In-One GRR! GRR! told by Blia Xiong (a Laotian folktale) 
Caleb used a couple of his favorite Leapfrog electronics to do some exploring and discovering on his own.  His favorite Leapster game is Animal Genius (which he is well on the road to becoming), and he used his TAG reader pen to learn more about tigers from his National Geographic cards.

Finally, always up for an animal adventure, a zoo membership is something that our family has had since Caleb was 6 months old.  It is one of our all time favorite family outings.... especially now that we can enjoy it with 3 little wild ones.  Our zoo has a great tiger exhibit with tiger training sessions twice a day.  It is a great up-close, yet thankfully, not too personal, encounter with this amazing creature. 
Terrific Tigers DNG was a fantastic unit study.  Not only did my family enjoy it, but several others have blogged about their positive experiences.  Click HERE to read the reviews of others.  You would believe that such wonderful educational materials would be costly, but I assure you that Amanda Bennett's Download N Go's are budget friendly.  In fact, for only $7.95, you could purchase the Terrific Tigers DNG, download it immediately, and be ready to begin the unit.  Just click HERE!

As a special bonus for my readers, Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse have provided me with ONE FREE TERRIFIC TIGERS DNG to GIVEAWAY!!!!  You definitely want to enter!  Please note:  TOS/DNG affiliates including the DNG Review Team and TOS Crew are not eligible to participate.

MANDATORY ENTRY:  Visit the Download N Go website.  Choose another DNG you would be interested in using.  Leave a comment and be sure to include an email address to contact you.

Additional Entries...  be sure to leave a separate comment and an email address for each entry.
1)  Follow my blog through Google Friends. 
2)  Follow my blog through Networked Blogs.
3)  Post about this giveaway on your personal Blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

The giveaway ends Sunday, October 31st.  A winner will be drawn at random and notified by email.   

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FIAR: Owl Moon

As I have mentioned before, we are participating in a Five In a Row literacy co-op this year.  We are working our way through the books in Volume 1.  However, we deviated to Volume 2 for this weeks book.  We opted to read Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.  Owls - October - Halloween... I don't know, I guess that was our line of thinking.

Last week, I snagged an awesome deal.  I found a copy of the book for $1.98 at my new favorite place HALF PRICE BOOKS!!!  (It is a bibliophile's dream!!!!)  I got other deals and steals for the kiddos including another FIAR book in the clearance section for 50 cents, but I grabbed some books to add to my growing TO BE READ pile as well.  Yahoo!!!

In reading Owl Moon, we had the opportunity to study several different subjects including: owls, the moon, measures of time, New Jersey, and similes.  Although, admittedly, the majority of our study focused on the animal itself.  My babies love critters.  We talked about different types of owls, where owls live, what owls eat, the sounds owls make, and characteristics of the owl's body.  Caleb has added the word nocturnal to his vocabulary and has been using it a lot. 

Today, our FIAR co-op met at a different site.  Instead of being cooped up in an extension office meeting room, we met at the Salato Wildlife Center...  aka the game farm to our Frankfort friends.  The kids had a chance to color pictures of nocturnal animals, create a nature journal, and listen to a presentation on owls.  A gentleman was kind enough to bring a Barred Owl for the kids to see as well as a gadget that made owl calls, a skeleton, wings, etc.  The kids really enjoyed it, and Mr. Caleb fired off many questions for the man to answer.  His first was "Why is the owl awake? He's nocturnal."  He also wanted to talk about carnivores and then compared the owl to a Pteranodon and Pterodactyl.  Hmmm... does the dinosaur obsession ever end?

Once we completed the inside activities, we headed outside for a nature walk and some tracking.  We took lots of time to stop, listen, and look.  We followed the path to the outdoor classroom for a snack, and then concluded.  The kids are enjoying our FIAR co-op, and we look forward to meeting together again in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Positively Positive!!!

Monday, my hubby worked a long day and had a meeting to attend in the evening.  We decided to "cash in" two of the CHILI'S free kids meal coupons we scored Friday night at the zoo.  While there we got the royal treatment.  Our waitress was extremely on top of things...  attentive would be an understatement.  At first, Jon and I said, "Wow, she's laying it on thick!  Really working hard for the tip!"  She went above and beyond our expectations, was extremely thoughtful, and showed many kindnesses toward our children.  Then, it registered.... she was totally enamored with our cuties and a wee bit curious.  Finally, she came out and asked what was on her mind.  We were able to again share the beauty of adoption, and as she put it, she got "Chills!"  One of my all time favorite things to do is talk adoption...  it is not something that WE HAVE done.  It is what GOD has done, and we thank him for it everyday.  Look at these beauties....  brotherly and sisterly love! 

Without a shadow of a doubt, our transition home has been a positive one.  Over the past almost 8 months, our trans-racial family has been received well and embraced by our families, church, and community.  A few possibly "inappropriate" comments might have been made.  However, I truly believe they were not said maliciously but rather just out of ignorance.  I was not offended nor upset.  I considered the source, answered in an appropriate manner, and moved on. 

Thankfully, we have been protected and sheltered from some of the hardships other adoptive families have faced.  Their hearts have been pricked and even pierced by words spoken from others.  For us, any racism, stereotypes, and prejudices within our circles of influence, while I'm sure in some cases still exist, have been replaced with two precious Ethiopian faces.  While I know we won't always be shielded, I don't neglect to thank God for the kindness, affirmation, and outpouring of love our family and precious children have received to date.  I continue to pray as I have been for some time that in a negative situation that God gives me His words, so that I may respond in a manner pleasing to HIM.  I pray that in all cases I may protect my children, educate others, celebrate the beauty in diversity, and most of all point others to the Father to the fatherless who has lovingly and graciously adopted each of us as HIS own!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trick-or-Treat @ the Zoo

We LOVE our ZOO Membership.  Since Caleb was 6 months old, the zoo has been one of our favorite family outings.  We go as much as possible.  While on this one particular date we don't see many animals, one of Caleb's favorite times to go has always been in October.  1) We go in the evening!  2) He wears a costume! and 3) He scores some candy!  This year, he got to share this experience with brother and sis, and it proved to be even more fun.  The weather was perfect, Buzz Lightyear, Superman, and Miss Princess had a wonderful time.

It seems that the candy gets skimpier each year, but to Jeremiah - whoa!!!! Everytime we came to a candy booth, he asked excitedly, "Another one?!?!"  It didn't take him long to catch on to Trick-or-Treat!  All 3 kiddos sported good manners and did well with all of our maneuvering in and out among the crowd.  Aside from the great candy heist, we also rode the carousel and posed for many a pic with costumed characters.  Recognize any of these??? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

When LOST in a CORN MAZE....

With one of the homeschool groups we participate in, the kids and I visited Devine's Corn Maze.  Due to cancellations of others, we were able to invite our friends Melissa and McKenzie to join us.  We all loaded up the van and headed towards Harrodsburg.  Aside from the trip coordinator, we were the first eager beavers to arrive.  The kids played tag and ring-around-the-rosies to pass the time while we waited for everyone else.

Our first stop, the playground!  The playground offered a small slide, itty bitty maze, rubber duck races, tires, and the tunnel swings.  By far, the kids favorite was the tunnel swings. We had messed around on the playground for some time, so we ventured over to the kiddie corn maze on our own.  It was virtually just a loop, so Melissa and I let the kids run through on their own several times.  Next, we visited a few of the animals before rejoining the group.

The group decided to go through the Kiddie Maze and First Timer Maze while waiting for our hayride out to the pumpkin patch.  Since our kids had gone through the Kiddie Maze sufficiently, we were sure we'd have time to get through the First Timer Maze before the wagon's departure, and that is where the ERROR in our thinking began.  Obviously, we are all extremely directionally challenged!!!  We let the kids take the lead but insisted we all stayed together.  It seemed as if this First Timer Maze was taking a really long time, but as long as I heard the voices of the group, I knew we were doing ok.  When I heard a tractor start, I began to get concerned.  I pushed my way up to the front to take the lead only to catch a glimpse through the cornstalks of our group on the wagon driving by.  (Hmmmm....  thanks for sending that search party after the 6 group members missing!) 

New plan of action... make our own paths!  I started pushing cornstalks to the side and blazing my own trail and the kids followed behind.  We actually did this repeatedly and followed trails only when they presented themselves.  After creating several paths of our own, we emerged from the corn maze....  no longer at the end of the first timer maze, but on the very far side of the GIGANTIC maze.  The look on the kids faces as they came out only to see the entire group on the wagon across the field.  They were disappointed, but I assured them we'd ride the wagon on the way back.  We set off on foot and traipsed through the dusty fields to meet the others in the pumpkin patch. 

Look carefully... we should have exited the First Timer maze just right of the yellow sign.  We exited as far to left as you can see.... the side of the GIGANTIC, HUGE MAZE!!!
 Exiting the maze a little dazed and confused!

Caleb is distraught and Melissa has the giggles!

It didn't take us too long to catch up.  The tractor in the distance kept us motivated!

The kids chose their pumpkins and we loaded the wagon to head back with the others.  Unfortunately, the ride back was considerably shorter than the ride out.  Hopefully, the kids didn't catch on to that.  At this point, several of the group decided to break for lunch.  Since we had really done all there was to do, we made the decision to go back to the nearest town for a fast-food lunch.  Looking back, we should have piled into the van along with our pumpkins, but instead, we played a bit on the tunnel swing again. 

Then, I get the bright idea to try the First Timer Maze again.  I was confident that if we entered the EXIT, surely, we would come out the ENTRANCE.  We couldn't possilby mess it up... again.  Melissa took the lead since my past track record wasn't speaking so highly.  However, it seemed as if we were walking circles again and having difficulty.  The kids started chanting... "Let's make our own path!"  Oh my...  our kids will never want to do a maze properly again.  Melissa and I vetoed the kids suggestion and decided we'd retrace our steps.  I suppose we at least did that with some success because not only did we go in the EXIT we came out the EXIT.  Yes, two 30-somethings and our 4 little ones were defeated by the FIRST TIMER MAZE.  Oh well...  we had more fun than the others while we made our own adventure.  We cut our losses and headed to McDonald's.  After our trying morning, I even caved and let the kids get Mighty Kids Meals (aka: the coveted toy!).

Monday, October 11, 2010

10/10/10 = 5 :) Celebrating the Pumpkin Way!

10/10/10 = 5 - atleast for Caleb!!!!  Sunday marked Caleb's official 5th birthday.  After celebrating the evening before with the family, Caleb felt really special celebrating (in his mind) again.  Our church planned an outing for the Pre-K - 5th graders to Evan's Orchard, and the kiddos had a great time!!!!

With weather in the upper 80's and the kids sporting shorts, it didn't quite "feel" like fall.  Despite our sweating, we enjoyed the orchard atmosphere.  Of course, this was another first for Jeremiah and Rachel.  We played on the gigantic slide, climbed on hay bales and tractor tires, ran the rat race, took a wagon ride, played on the swings, rode miniature tractors, walked through the small corn maze, and purchased some small pumpkins to bring home.  It was a lot of fun.


 Mommy had to slide with Rachel the 1st time, and then she was good to go.

  Jeremiah working hard in the Rat Race.

Caleb and Tori had a hard time staying upright while racing.
Rachel had a little help from "Uncle Mark" to make her tractor go!
We let the kids lead the way through the corn maze...

and everyone made it out!

Happy 5th Birthday Caleb - WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Caleb's Birthday Party

Birthday party time again at the Wells house :-)  This time the center of attention is none other than my precious Caleb Scott!  All of the family gathered together Saturday evening for the sports themed party, hamburgers, hotdogs, and brats, and good times.

Caleb was thrilled to get all of his wonderful gifts.  A monkey pillow pet; Star Wars figures; Toy Story playsets, books, color wonder, and remote control spaceship; Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 cars and characters; legos; jeans; t-shirts; dress clothes; pj's; and shoes!  The kid always makes out like a bandit!  I'm very proud of him for willingly sharing with Jeremiah and Rachel... that is a huge sign of maturity on his behalf.  Let's see how long it lasts :) 

We finished our party with a very messy DQ Icecream Cake....  I don't know if it was the blue/red airbrushed icing or the icecream itself, but all the adults agreed that it tasted a little funky.  Kids didn't seem to notice though :)

Happy Birthday Sweet Caleb!!! We LOVE you so very much!