Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where's Winter?

61 degrees on January 31st...  sounds like a perfect day at the park to me :-)  After Rachel's speech therapy appointment, the kiddos and I headed off to play.  2 p.m. on a Tuesday - we had the place to ourselves.  It was cloudy and a bit breezy, but for January, we'll take it.  I'm beginning to wonder if we will be having winter.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Counting it ALL Joy

60.  my bed
61.  pain medication when needed
62.  the hugs of my sweet children after a night away
63.  God's promises
64.  the comfort of sweatpants (not an every day fashion statement - I promise!)
65.  prayers of friends and family
66.  technology allowing me to stay connected with so many
67.  the care, protection, and understanding of my dear hubby
68.  beautiful flowers from my parents
69.  sunshine
70.  an acquaintance becoming one I can call a friend
71.  Rachel's growing confidence
72.  the stirring in my heart to pray for a stranger
73.  SCC weekend services that never fail to move, touch, and encourage me
74.  The resonating "Do for one what you desire to do for all!"
75.  TGIF frozen potato skins
76.  A beautiful necklace - a gift from my BOY

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - Homebody

In my life this week…
  • I was a homebody.  I had an outpatient surgery on Monday and took some time to recover this week.
In our homeschool this week…
  • Rachel had speech as usual on Tuesday, but Mommy overdid it by getting the kiddos ready to go, driving, and sitting in the waiting room.  Therefore, Wednesday, Mommy camped out in bed, so that's where we had school.  Thankfully, Mommy was feeling better and we were able to go back to our DRASTIC co-op on Thursday.  Friday, we got together with our Galloping the Globe friends, and I led our culminating lesson on France.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
  • Sometimes you just feel lousy.  Modify plans, have a PJ day, and have school in Mommy's bed.
I am inspired by…
  • God's Promises!
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • Tuesday, I'm enjoying dinner with two lovely ladies and sweet friends.  Looking forward to it girls!
  • Wednesday, I'm hitting Panera with my Light Will Rise gals to do some planning for upcoming events.  That night, it's back to Bible Study - I hate that we missed it this past week. 
  • Thursday, DRASTIC classes again and our Adoption Care Group at Southland Christian Church.  I so love these dear friends.  Looking forward to some news that will be shared, and I'm going to do a little speaking on Transracial Adoption. 
My favorite thing this week was…
  • My comfort of my wondeful hubby!  He takes such good care of me.  His hugs, kisses, and understanding were such precious gifts to me this week.
What’s working/not working for us…
  • I'm considering switching up the phonics program I'm using with Rachel. 
  • I'm reviewing Reading Eggs as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, and I'm excited to see how well my kiddos are doing with it.  Hope it continues to be effective!
Things I’m working on…
  • Implementing some new programs and changing the routine of our homeschool day
I’m reading…
  • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
I’m grateful for…
  • I have many prayers warriors that I can call upon, and they are so very faithful!
I’m praying for…
  • God to be glorified by my words and actions.  May I live for Him this week!
  • A friend headed to Mozambique on a Mission Trip.
  • A friend who must make a job decision tomorrow.

FREE Adoption Seminar - Feb. 18th!

Ever considered international adoption?  Have questions?  Want answers?

If so, I encourage you to attend this FREE Adopted By Design seminar!
KY Associates will have lots of information to share in this multi-media presentation.
Register HERE!

America World has programs in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Russia, and Ukraine.  There are Waiting Children Programs also available in China, Eastern Europe, Ethiopia, and Haiti.

We hope to see you there!

Not close to KY?  Check HERE to see when an AWAA seminar will be in your area!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Questions Raised

Giving birth to an amazing baby boy...
A few years later, adopting two precious Ethiopian cuties...
Most recently, a miscarriage...

Huh?  I don't get it.  Well, I do, but apparently many others don't.  It's interesting how many questions have been raised since others have learned of our miscarriage.  Since I'm kind of in a "sharing, lay it all on the table" kind of mood, I decided to address some publicly. 

Know that we are doing well, and this isn't written in an ill spirit.  We've been open and honest throughout our adoption journey and repeatedly tell people that no question is off limits.  Why?  We have done nothing ourselves... it is only what God has done within, through and for us.  Miscarriage did not lead us to adoption, but I know for many others that is exactly what draws them to consider it.  If our personal experience can be a tool for someone or resonates with another, then I'd hate to keep it silent. 

1.  You adopted after having "your own" kid?  Was that because you were told you shouldn't or couldn't have anymore children? 

Hopefully, this is the only somewhat harsh thing I'll say, but first, I detest the phrase "your own"!  Unfortunately, I've had such things written in a bio (obviously that someone else wrote) before speaking, and I've heard it said by others (including extended family members).  I assure you that Jeremiah and Rachel are as much "my own" as Caleb.  These three beautiful little ones are God's babies, and I'm just blessed He has entrusted them to Jon and I.  I'm humbled to be their Momma and wholeheartedly love them each. 

Medically, we were never told that we couldn't or shouldn't have biological children.  Our choice to adopt was made well before Caleb was ever conceived.  In fact, on our very first date, Jon and I each shared our individual, God-given desires to adopt.  It was our belief that God would grow our family solely through adoption, but God had other plans.  His perfect will for our lives included Caleb Scott, and we couldn't be happier.  As Caleb grew and it appeared to be time for him to have siblings, adoption was our inevitable choice.

Our decision to adopt was an act of obedience to the calling God so clearly gave to us.  Because of this great desire within, Jon and I truly believe we could have loved ANY child, but it was GOD who chose Jeremiah and Rachel to be adopted into our family.  We are forever grateful!  While the circumstances that led to their need to be adopted is heartbreaking, God's redemptive and restorative power prevails!  The Father to the fatherless is Sovereign.

2.  Aren't you planning to adopt again?

Yes, we do believe God is calling us to adopt again.  Because we had such a positive experience adopting children at 3 and 5 years of age, we do not desire to adopt an infant.  While we don't know any specifics of our future adoption (country, exact age, etc.), we most definitely feel God moving us in the direction of an even older child this next time around. 

In fact, due to several different situations we have encountered, God has really stirred our hearts to pray about adopting a child who is available due to an adoption disruption or dissolution.  Our hearts have been broken and tears have been cried for children in such situations, and we've been doing our research.  Whether we are simply called to pray and advocate for such children or eventually bring one into our home, one thing is presently clear.  Due to the current ages of our children - 5, 6, and 7, now does not appear to be the right time to pursue an adoption from disruption - or any older child adoption.  Still know that we are praying and open to God's timing and leading!

3.  Were you trying to get pregnant?

Knowing we'd like to adopt an older child and the timing is not right at this point, I really wanted to experience an "itty, bitty" one more time.  Our children desperately want younger siblings... NOW!  Months ago actually.  They each comment on "our baby" all the time and have put in their requests.  Jeremiah wants a WHITE baby because Rachel sucks her thumb and that's nasty.  (Apparently, he thinks a white baby won't do that???)  Caleb wants a BROWN baby - maybe from Haiti this time.  Rachel wants a MERMAID baby with a pink tail and sparkles.  I've convinced her that won't happen, so she'll concede just so long as there is a baby "SOON Momma, please!"

Without going into details, once Jon and I made the decision to try, basically, we VERY quickly were!

4.  Why didn't I know you were pregnant?

Please don't take this personal.  You were in good company... hahaha - with most everyone we know!  Not our style to spill the beans to early... shocking I know since in other arenas we are extremely transparent and open.  (aka Blabbermouths!)  With Caleb, I don't think we shared with our families until 12 weeks.  With children in our home, we definitely wanted to keep things quiet until we knew the pregnancy was viable and all was well.  In this case, it wasn't, so instead of learning I was prego, you learned I was having a D&C and terrified of going under anesthesia for the first time ever.

5.  Why didn't you tell your kids what was going on?

Our kids never knew and won't know (at least not until they are older) about the pregnancy.  Thus, explaining the need for a D&C would be lost on them.  No need to do that!

My Jeremiah and Rachel have experienced such loss.  When you have one Momma in heaven, you are pretty protective of the one you got now and fear more loss.  Rachel, especially, panics if I have a headache or runny nose.  It was not my desire to escalate any fears.  Actually, another way I knew that I was doing ok with the disappointing news of my miscarriage was my almost immediate need to protect my kiddos.  My prayer requests were that they would not fear knowing Mommy was going to be at the hospital.

With Jon working at the hospital as a surgical nurse, it was not a lie at all to tell the kiddos that Mommy was going to see a Dr. and nurses at Daddy's work.  They knew that I'd sleep there a little bit and because Jeremiah asked about an IV we confirmed that Mommy would get a "drink in her hand" like Rachel did.  The kiddos got to enjoy a night at Grandma & Grandpa's and Mommy was awake (just a little drugged and groggy) when they came home and greeted me with sweet hugs and kisses.

6.  Are you going to try and get pregnant again?
As with all things, Jon and I will need to seek God's guidance and wait upon Him. 

The Club I DIDN'T Want to Join

Clubs...  groups of individuals joined together... belonging based on commonalities. 

I've been a card carrying member of many in my day.  Some because I truly desired to be and others because I was determined to give my pre-college, paper pedigree a boost.  Beta Club, National Honor Society, Drama, Chorus, FCA, etc.  The list truly does go on, but I've found that it is in adulthood that the clubs become more universal.

Due to the fact that adoption has always been the God-given desire of my heart, I honestly assumed that I may be infertile.  Honestly, I did not necessarily have the desire to carry a child, so what else could be the reason?  I was 100% content and thrilled to have God grow our family through adoption.  However, God had other plans, and we were blessed beyond imagination.  Three years into our marriage as we began to think of expanding our family, we conceived with great ease.

It was when I was prego with Caleb that I was on the verge of being inducted into quite the club... MOMMYDOM!  In some semblance of a "rush" or "initiation", my swelling belly invited others to break personal space rules, touch me, and offer unsolicited advice.  Oh and don't forget the labor stories!!!  Ladies LOVE to tell them, and they seem to reside in one of two camps - "Woe is me... I labored for hours or even days on end.  The pain... the agony!" OR "What pain?  I pushed once, or did I hiccup?"

Well, after four hours in the hospital, four less than impressive pushes, and a lot of extra assistance from the doctor, Caleb was born and I achieved MOMMY CLUB membership.  Wow... it is and continues to be incredible!  I get stuck with some less than desirable duties, but the amazing bond and love shared is worth all the ickiness that escapes all the little orifices!  Becoming a "Mommy Club" member, I gained some credibility in all the other Mommy eyes...  possibly even my own mother's eyes.  Furthermore, I became more than aptly equipped to small talk with any woman who ever has had a child.  Whether recalling labor, discussing milestones achieved by my offspring, or sharing his latest antics, I'm "in" and this club membership is lifelong.

Then, there is the ADOPTION CLUB.  I expressed my desire to join this group at an early age.  Quite honestly, when we began the paperwork process, I think others were stunned at first simply because it was no longer just talk but there was real action.  Outsiders looking in on the adoption club assume it is either for the elite - "It takes special people to adopt.  I could never do that!" or the insane - "Why would you want someone else's kid? Another race?  Another country?  You are nuts!"

Thankfully, adoption club members stick together and can usually remain unscathed from those who don't get it.  Community is invaluable, and we surround ourselves with others.  We have to - no one else understands our language (dossier, USCIS, I-600A, I-797C, Referral, Meetcha Day, Gotcha Day, Embassy, etc.).  In process families especially crave connection.  I know we blog stalked, chatted in YahooGroups, lived vicariously through others "Gotcha Day" videos, and attended support groups until it was our turn.  Finally, February 15, 2010, I felt like my Adoption Club membership status became gold sealed and irrevocable.  I held me precious Ethiopian cuties in my arms for the very first time.  Because God has so richly blessed my family and grown our faith, I'm probably one of the biggest membership recruiters for this club that I know!  Got questions - I'd LOVE to chat with you!!!

Yes, I'm quite the fan of these clubs I've found in my 20's & 30's, but there is one club that I never inquired, asked, or wanted to join.  Thursday, January 19th, I learned that I would become a part of the MISCARRIAGE CLUB.  After three positive pregnancy tests in December, a month of nausea and exhaustion, some cramping and spotting, instead of seeing 10 weeks worth of new life in my womb, an ultrasound confirmed that I had a blighted ovum, an anembryonic pregnancy.  Basically, while an egg was fertilized and implanted, an embryo never developed.  Instead, I had a growing, empty gestational sac.  Then, on Monday, January 23rd, I had a D&C and have been recovering this week.

Because of the fear that we were losing the pregnancy a couple weekends prior to my initial appointment, Jon and I were both less than confident and a bit anxious yet we remained hopeful.  I remember thinking to myself as I rounded the corner to enter the building, "God, whatever the outcome, I will praise you, the Giver of Life!"  Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse and as I often do I speak and pray it's truth over my life!  I know God is in control and He has plans for my future!" 

Without a doubt, the news of my MISCARRIAGE CLUB status brought on the waterworks.  To say that Jon and I were sad and disappointed would be an understatement, but I assure you that we were neither devastated nor defeated.  I had some good cries that Thursday and was even a little weepy on Friday morning, but I was absolutely ok.  This seemed to set others a little off kilter.  Several expected me to be a basket case, others offered trite platitudes and cliches, and some spouted bad theology.  While I did not want others pity, I did understand that everyone was truly saying what they genuinely believed to be helpful, meaningful, and encouraging.  Likewise, I appreciated those who revealed secret losses of their own, and most of all, the prayers of so many.

How did I put this heartbreaking news in perspective? I think multiple reasons.   
  1.  I'm not one to ask "Why me, God?" because really the question would be "Why not me?" We live in a fallen world, and things like this just remind me that this world is not my home.
  2. I am richly blessed.  I have three absolutely beautiful children.  If that is all this life holds I've been given gifts in abundance - more that I could ask for or imagine!
  3. I'm at a different stage in my life.  Pregnant at 26 with Caleb, I never even thought about the risks involved with pregnancy and assumed all would be fine.  At 32, I've witnessed too many friends suffer loss - including my best friend burying two sweet baby girls.  Loss and life are intertwined.  I only have to look at my precious Jeremiah and Rachel to be reminded of this.  In their short lives, they have lost more that anyone should ever have to, yet God is still Redeemer and sitting on his throne.  
  4. Adoption is in our future plans.  At this time, our thoughts are to bring an older child into our home... possibly from a disruption/dissolution situation.  While we don't know the specifics or the when, we do believe that God has used several situations to open and prepare our hearts for this next adoption journey.  However, we do know that in order to pursue an older child... the timing will be later for this adoption since we currently have a 5, 6, and 7 year old in our house.
  5. Finally, if God so leads us to seek to become pregnant again, from a medical standpoint, we have never struggled to get pregnant.  Both times happened quickly.  I have carried full term before, and statistically, most women only ever experience a blighted ovum once.  While this information is no guarantee, it offers great hope.
What does the future hold?  I will wait on the Lord, act in obedience, and trust His ways - even when they are not my own.  Through God's miracles of birth and adoption, I'm a proud MOMMA CLUB member.  I'm thankful.  Now, I'm a MISCARRIAGE CLUB member...  I didn't want to join, but as the lyrics of one of my favorite worship song's say, even so, "God Forever Reigns!"

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough

Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Monday of Many Thanks

45. a compassionate son
46. a giddy 7 year old birthday boy
47. my girl's captivating, big doe eyes
48. family meals
49. tears cried not alone but in my hubby's loving arms
50. a God-given peace
51. an understanding of how richly blessed I am
52. attentive and caring medical professionals
53. those who publicly and unashamedly live their faith
54. prayer warriors who rally at the mention of a word
55. encouraging texts, emails, and messages
56. God's protection
57. Isaiah 41:10
58. Jeremiah 29:11
59. faithfulness

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Birthday Celebration: Part 2

This is the face of a happy 7 year old boy!!! His belly is full, his family all here, and he's ready to open presents.  My apologies to the fam... I got lots of opening pics and very few pics of the presents themselves.  Of course, he loved his new clothes and toys!  Thanks for loving my special lil' guy so much and making his birthday memorable.

Cars & Transformer Shirts
Uncle Adam & Auntie Val found the silliest birthday card - a hamster with googly eyes brought on the giggles for sure!
Nerf - need I say more?!
Announcing to Caleb the new Power Ranger toy he got :)
Since he had already had a CARS cake, we went with Spiderman cupcakes this time around.

Happy Birthday Jeremiah!!!

We Choose Virtues (TOS Review)


  • Attentive
  • Content
  • Diligent
  • Forgiving
  • Gentle
  • Helpful
  • Honest
  • Kind
  • Obedient
  • Patient
  • Perseverant
  • Self-Controlled

  • I just described your children, right?  What??? You mean your kids don't have all of those lovely character traits in the bag?  Shew... thank goodness!  I'm not the only one with little ones for which some of these are struggles.  Really... who am I kidding?  For me, several on the list are challenges. 

    We Choose Virtues understands that we are human.  We have flaws, struggles, and are tempted daily.  Absolutely, character education is a life long process, but there is no reason that we shouldn't begin to teach our children when they are young.  We Choose Virtues has a myriad of helpful, high quality, child-friendly tools and is dedicated to "Simply Inspiring Character that Lasts."

    I was able to review the We Choose Virtue Clue Cards with my little ones.  Currently on sale for $5.99, the velcro closure pouch contains 13 durable cards that can be taken here, there, and everywhere.  The colors are vibrant, the Virtue Kids characters are darling, and their names, catchphrases, and antonyms are all included.  That seems like quite a bit for one little 2 x 3.5 inch card to hold, but that isn't all.  Flip over the card and find the "You Can Do It" Challenge.  It is designed to give kids exact words to say when faced with temptations.  It was a joy to this Momma to hear my little ones quote these cards even in their play time. 

    While the cards were handy and great teaching tools, my "artsy" children really enjoyed the accompanying downloadable PDF color book.  I printed copies of each of the characters as we studies the card.  The kids were able to color the picture, hang it up, and use it as a reference throughout the week.  Because it is a PDF, I can print these pages again and again as we find the need for a refresher in a particular virtue.  Character education is continuous, and this is a tool always at my fingertips.

    PhotobucketAnother product, Mom's will find of interest is the Teacher's Handbook.  Whether utilizing the We Choose Virtues products in your homeschool, home day care, church, private, or public school, this full color, 48 page handbook outlines the simple steps and inspiring tools that are needed to teach the this character education system.



    I am impressed not only with the We Choose Virtues products we had to review, but the basis and premise of the whole company.  I definitely stand by the initiative of character education... especially when we are modeling our lives after Jesus Christ.  I do hope to instill all of these virtues in my children.

    Be sure and spend some time on the We Choose Virtues website to learn about all of the fantastic products available.  The January/February Deal: You get the 100 Days of Virtue Chart  FREE in your Homeschool Kit purchase!  In addition, what great homeschooling Momma doesn't love a sale? A clearance sale at that!  Definitely be sure to note these super deals only while supplies last!
    • 2011 Kids Virtue Poster $9.75 (35% savings)
    • 2011 100 Days of Virtue Chart and Butterfly Stickers $11.99 (20% savings)  
    • 2011 3 Rules Poster $7.75 (35% savings)
    Check out the TOS Blog and read others experiences with We Choose Virtues.

    Disclaimer:  I was provided complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.

    Look Who's 7!!!


    Really?  How did he get to be 7 already?

    Happy Birthday, Jeremiah!!!!

    Due to events the day prior, Jon's mom offered for us to relocate the party to her house.  While we were doing well, this allowed us to rest and process on Friday rather than frantically clean our house.  Much appreciated!  So, we gathered all of our party supplies, picked up some pizza on the way, and headed to Lexington to par-tay!

    As always, the kiddos enjoyed being at Grandma & Grandpa's house and having cousins there to play is always a bonus.  However, the birthday boy couldn't be deterred.  After eating, he was READY for presents.  He was thrilled to get jeans, CARS 2 toys, Power Rangers, and Transformers.  All of a 7 year old boy's dreams come true.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Grandfather"s Journey - FIAR Co-op

    With our favorite book buddy families, we "rowed" Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say.  I love that this book shares a character having very strong ties and great love for two different countries.  It allows for the real feelings and longings to be in both places at the same time.  I understand this duplicity as do two of my kiddos.  I love that this book affirms that as a natural feeling.

    In our FIAR co-op, the kids got to learn more about the geography and landmarks of Japan.  They even tried their hands at some origami.  It proved to be a little tough, so Mommy had to step in.  I must admit that I struggled a bit myself. 

    Enjoying a snack with their pals!

    The kids favorite part of class was our special guest.  Ms. GiGi came to share with us about the birds she raises, and she brought Rosie to visit.  Caleb especially loved this - he was full of questions!  He studied the packet of information that she gave out and gave Daddy a briefing on polly birds when he got home from work. 

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    My Kind of Crayons

    Long before I knew that I would be the mother of two African children, probably before I was truly aware of the racism in our world, before demolishing stereotypes and prejudices were social justice issues on my radar, I heard the song Carefully Taught.  I'm a huge fan of musicals, and this song happens to be from one entitled South Pacific.  The words and melody struck an immediate cord within, and I often quote the song in conversation, when I'm sharing "our story," or in presenting Transracial Family seminars. 

    I love watching small children play.  I won't say that they are color blind, nor would I want them to be.  However, young ones have not yet learned the world's harsh stereotypes attributed to and opinions held thereof in regards to people of various shades of skin.  Therefore, they are eager and open to embracing all playmates.  It's a beautiful thing... a glimpse of heaven, I believe.  As the song says, it seems at 6, 7, or 8 - children do begin to receive an education.  Unfortunately, an oftentimes skewed, incorrect, outrageous series of lessons.  I pray that we will all be mindful and carefully teach God's love for all His children to the precious little ones in our circles of influence.  

    Carefully Taught
    You've got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You've got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It's got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You've got to be carefully taught!

    Multitude on Mondays

    As you may recall, in November, I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  I decided that I'd join in and keep a gratitude journal or log of what I'm thankful for.  Of course, in my blogging hiatus, I failed to do this.  I am picking up where I left off in November, so that explains why I started with #31. 

    31. warm PJ's straight from the dryer
    32. snuggling under fuzzy, soft blankets
    33. the prayers of my best friend
    34. finding comfort for my fear from God's Word
    35. two new families set to join our Life Group this month
    36. the thrill of snow... even the small dusting we got
    37. serving on the AWAA KY Board of Directors
    38. our new AWAA KY - Children's Fund
    39. visiting with our TN family
    40. laughter
    41. my flat iron
    42. flavored water
    43. Kindle freebies
    44. Having a Children's Ministry volunteer take the time to seek me out to compliment my son (insert proud Momma smile!)

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 1st in 2012

    In my life this week...
    I feel like things are somewhat back to normal even though for us Christmas just concluded.  For the past several years, Jon's Mamaw, Uncle Darwin, and Aunt Linda have brought TN orange to the land of KY blue on MLK weekend to celebrate Christmas.  (Thankfully, once again, the CATS were victorious over the VOLS.)  Not only did we enjoy visiting with them, but the kiddos got to play with their cousins as well.  We enjoyed stories, laughs, and yummy food.  The boys came home with Legos, Ben 10 aliens, and CARS 2 cars.  Rachel was thrilled with her Belle & Beast Barbies and Disney princess paper dolls.

    In our homeschool this week...
    I'm so pleased with all that the kids accomplished!  After two weeks break, we had a horrible time getting back in the swing of things after Christmas.  However, I finally think we've rediscovered our stride.  We actually stuck to our schedule and easily accomplished all that I had planned for us to do. Other than our usual daily activities, we had our Galloping-the-Globe co-op on Friday.  The kids enjoyed their study of Great Britain and had some interesting responses to the question asked, "What would be the best and worst thing about being queen/king?"

    Also big news on the homeschooling front, Jeremiah finished the Kindergarten Math Curriculum and will officially start 1st Grade Math on Monday.  Knowing how my ET cutie has struggled with this, I'm equally excited for him.  He has really started to catch on, and I foresee him moving quickly.

    I am inspired by...
    A friend who is faced so many obstacles and challenges yet continues to hold tightly to her faith and live her life as an example to others.  Even amidst her own struggles, she is thinking of and praying for others!  She's the best!

    Places we are going & people we are seeing...
    As always, Rachel has speech on Tuesday.  Wednesday will be FIAR co-op in the morning, and our second "Not a Fan" Bible Study class that evening.  Thursday, the kids are super excited to have a "Grandma Day" since Mommy has some appointments to go to.  Then, it's party time!  Friday, Jeremiah turns 7, so we're partying with the Wells that night.  The Spaulding fam will party on Saturday.

    My favorite thing this week...
    Getting involved in a Wednesday night Bible Study at church was really good for us.  We've been in adjustment period the past few months, but we are truly settling in and becoming involved in our (not so new anymore) church.  We're studying Kyle Idleman's Not a Fan.  The DVD curriculum is unique in the fact that it is teaching and story intertwined.  I'm looking forward to the second installment this Wednesday.

    Things I'm working on...
    I was very excited Saturday night to open the All About Reading box.  I'm looking forward to starting this new reading curriculum with my boys next week.  It looks great!!!  I'm also pulling from many online resources to pull together alphabet activities for Miss Rachel.
    I'm grateful for...
    a friend who cares!

    I'm praying for...
    I've so enjoyed seeing pics from Ethiopia of a sweet Momma & Daddy loving on their little one for the first time. Those moments are so special and treasured always. Now, I'm praying for them as they return home for hopefully only a short while before they are able to travel again to bring lil' man to his forever home.

    A video to share...
    This is an absolutely beautiful picture of REDEMPTION!  I love, love, love this video and bawl like a baby every time I see it.  I can't believe I haven't already shared it before.  Enjoy!  Another adoption = another God story!

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    John 3:16 & Football

    No, I'm not a football fan.  However, from living with my hubby all these years, I've managed to view a few minutes here and there.  One thing I've come to understand, undoubtedly, there is always a shirtless dude with John 3:16 painted on his chest or someone holding up an enormous sign probably completely annoying those who happen to have seats behind him. 

    Well, tonight, Focus on the Family did one better.  Rather than holding up a sign for millions to see, they shared a 30 second commercial.  I love, love, love all the beautiful children - all so very precious in HIS sight - sharing God's message to us all.  He sacrificed His one and only son.  Why?  Because He soooo  LOVED each and every one of us.  In fact, LOVED us enough to give us everlasting life. 

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    The Story of Swan Lake - TOS Review

    Many of you know that prior to homeschooling, I was an elementary music teacher.  I'm always on the lookout for great, high quality music products to share with my kids, and Maestro Classics is nothing less.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review The Story of Swan Lake featuring the London Philharmonic Symphony, and the timing couldn't have been better! 

    With our Galloping-The-Globe co-op, we were studying Russia.  In my opinion, that can't take place without some time devoted to Tchaikovsky.  While we talked about the ballet in general and The Nutcracker, The Story of Swan Lake was our focus.  The activity book included with the CD was a wealth of information.  The 24 pages contained Tchaikovsky's biography, information on acoustic and electric guitars, sheet music and words for a sing-along song, explanation of major and minor keys, puzzles and more.  Also on the website, there is a More Fun With Music section that links to sites that are both entertaining and educational for children.

    My kiddos thoughts on the CD:

    Rachel is ALL girl!  She just loved the story of the Prince falling in love with the Swan Princess and breaking the magician's evil spell.  She put her tutu on and whirled and twirled to the music.  The boys were most impressed by the Speed Metal Swan - there may have even been some head banging.  Oh my... this Momma isn't sure she can handle metal-heads in the house!  (Seriously - it's not that bad.)

    Mom's thoughts:

    I love storytelling paired with music, and I believe Maestro Classics married the two beautifully.  The music was high caliber yet great efforts were made to make it especially appealing and inviting to children who otherwise would not be interested in the ballet.  I enjoyed all the historical/biographical information that was provided, and I LOVED the inclusion of a sing-along song.  I could definitely foresee incorporating this in the music classes I teach at our homeschool co-op.  I'm excited to try some of the other titles.  Peter and the Wolf  is on my to-buy list for sure, as I love the story and have used it to teach children about orchestral instruments for many years.

    Contact Info:
    P.O. Box 688
    Falmouth, MA 02541
    toll free: 888-540-2811
    fax: 508-548-2833

    Available Products:
    Nine CD's are available for purchase including:  Peter and the Wolf, The Story of Swan Lake, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, My Name is Handel, Casey at the Bat, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Tortoise and the Hare, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, and The Soldier's Tale.  Visit the product page to listen to samples from each recording.

    Each of the available selections from Maestro Classics are offered on CD ($16.98) or as downloadable MP3s ($9.98). There is also a 4 CD Story Pack or a 4 CD Classic Pack each offered for $65.  Finally, the entire 9 CD collection is available for $128.
    Click HERE to read what other TOS Crewmates are saying about Maestro Classics.

    Disclaimer:  I was provided a CD at no charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Oh.So.Neglected Blog

    No, I didn't fall off a cliff.
    Yes, I'm still breathing.
    Obviously, I've been a total slacker and lousy blogger.

    With all that out of the way, for any of the readers who actually are still around after my lengthy absence from the blogosphere, I'm ready to get back in the swing of things.

    By the way, HAPPY 2012 :-)

    My blogging hiatus is attributed to a number of factors...
    • Celebrating our Savior's birth through various activities & family get-togethers
    • A break from homeschooling & the terrible readjustment of school again  (Yes, there were tears, gnashing of teeth, etc. - not pretty!  Thankful to have that behind us.)
    • I've not felt 100% - exhausted and run down, but I think I feel a burst of energy coming on :-)
    So... what's in store for the New Year on the blog?
    • Playing catch-up... I've got tons of Dec. pics & posts to write-up (field trips, service projects, Christmas fun, reading recaps, book reviews, etc.)  Slowly but surely, they will find their way here, and because I'm a total nerd they will be backdated.  I have issues I know, but I insist things are chronological. 
    • I'll be participating in a few memes/linkys for the shear purpose of holding myself accountable in several areas:  goal setting/completion, read-alouds with the kids, and personal reading.  I plan to return to weekly Homeschool Mother's Journal posts & Multitude Mondays as well.
    • Since I've become a foreigner to scrapbooking, it's really important to me to preserve memories for the kiddos through the blog.  I need to take more pics of them and document all their cuteness!
    • TOS Homeschool Crew Reviews will continue.  I've got a couple in the next two months that I'm really excited about.
    • I'll be blogging a lot more about adoption/orphan care ministry....  including ways to get involved, local & national events, books, resources, etc.  This is such a passion of mine, and while I've shared off and on intermittently, I really feel the need to get more information out to the masses.  (Haha - delusions of grandeur - like this little blog reaches the masses, but a few!) 
    Finally, for several years, I've listened on the radio, read, and heard of people choosing a single word to be their focus for the year.  I've never really given much thought to it, but this year, very clearly, God gave me a word.  For 2012, I am to be....


    I'm not sure exactly what that means or entails, but I believe that God is asking me to be OPEN to all HE has in store... the good, the bad, the ugly, the extraordinary.  Possibly, I'm to be open to what God has to teach me, new ideas, new relationships, new challenges, new opportunities...  only the days of 2012 will tell!