A lesson or two

Friday, April 29, 2011

Call me a bad mama, I didn't take any {GASP} photos of the kidlets on Easter. Yup. Very bad. However, Patrick did manage a little video (a la iPhone) during our little Easter Egg hunt Sunday morning.

If you listen in closely in the beginning, you can hear Caleb explaining the concept of camouflage. Just precious, if you ask me.  You can also see how patience is something Madeline is still working on.

Next up....I thought I heard some chatter behind me this afternoon, as I was trying to get some work done on the computer. I turned around and this is what I saw. Be sure to turn your volume WAY UP because, otherwise, it's hard to hear.

In case you're wondering, there was no real sentence on the board. Caleb was just making it up. How stinkin' cute is that?! It seems his grammar is sticking. Love this boy!

Sunday Snapshot:Finally.......all four of us

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a fellow adoptive mom on a mission. She was looking for "family photos" for a new non-profit that she and her hubby have launched, The Sparrow Fund. When she asked if I had any photos I could share to help with the launch of their website, my heart sank. For the record, we have only 2 meaningful but crummy quality photos of the four of us in China....not the plethora of choices to help with such an important task.

Well, I decided that now was as good a time as any to finally get that elusive photo of all four of us. On his way home from work,I mentioned my proposal to Patrick of setting up the tripod to help this fellow adoptive mom out; he was up for the challenge! By this time, the sun was going down and tummies were empty. I knew this would be a tall order. However, we were gonna give it our best shot.

Although the kids were looking less than interested at this point, I did manage one shot with Daddy before we decided to move everything to the backyard.

Between chasing each other and boredom, I managed to snap a few of both kidlets.

And then the BIG challenge....my remote shutter release was NOT working. Needless to say, I knew I would be getting in a few laps between our location and the tripod. I knew not having me behind the lens would be no problem for Caleb because I actually let him play with the remote shutter release a few years back when trying to get some photos of the two of us together. It was Madeline who had me worried. "Okay honey, look straight ahead at the person-less camera and try to flash a nice, pretty, natural smile. Thanks!" LOL. But believe it or not, most of the outtakes had this girlie smiling! Anyway, drum roll please...................

.....the much anticipated Family of Four photo.

Thanks, Kelly, for allowing us to be a part of your launch and for motivating me to FINALLY capture this photo. Woot!

And from our family to yours....may you have a blessed Easter. Go out and celebrate the life we have in Christ!

For more Sunday Snapshots, stop by Stefanie's blog.

Sunday Snapshot

Homeschool Update

Friday, April 22, 2011

Boy, this post is long overdue...phew. It seems like I always have so much to say but not near enough time in which to do so. *sigh* Anyway, here goes....

A few weeks back (sheesh, this is really late), Caleb started Singapore 3A (Standards Edition) in Math. I can't say enough about how much I really love this program for him. It's sequential and logical in its presentation of math concepts, and consequently, Caleb easily gets it. I truly wished I learned math this way growing up. We have actually switched from the U.S. Edition to the Standards Edition of the program because I prefer the scope and sequence. I also prefer the color in the textbook (in 3A, the U.S. Edition changes to single color) and the spiral Home Instructor Guide.

Because English is not his first language, I chose not to use the Challenging Word Problems workbook when we started Singapore last summer. But now that he easily does them, I have added it to our mix, which also includes the U.S Edition Intensive Practice books.

Caleb continues to write his own narrations from his literature passages in the McGuffey and Elson readers. He'll write between 3-5 sentences, depending on the length of the passage. It's amazing how well this is going. Occassionally, he needs help with making his sentences complete. However, he's needing less and less help as time goes on. Not only is his writing improving, but his speaking is improving also. I can't tell you how excited I am to see this transfer.

As we wrap up our first grade year this month, I decided to introduce a new content area to our curriculum: History. During the summer months, we will continue to keep our skills fresh on our "light school" schedule. But this summer, I decided to give Story of the World: Ancients a try. I figured that now was a good time to add that subject, since it should be easier to implement this time of year. We've done four chapters so far. I have been happy to see Caleb really listening. He is so much a "math and science" kid, like his mama. So hopefully this will be engaging enough for him to continue listening and learning a little bit of history.

We are continuing to work through our science curriculum, Building Foundations Through Scientific Understanding. Again I say, I wish this was how I was taught! Humph. I love it, love it, love it! I enjoyed science when I was in school (although math was my fav), but it still came hard for me. Even I am learning with his program. And I look forward to teaching it. I also love reserving additional reading material from our library.

This month we also finished our A Beka Phonics First Grade program, as well as First Language Lessons 1. Since I want to keep Caleb's language arts skills fresh during the summer months, we are continuing on in our grammar study. He has already started First Language Lessons 2 and Growing With Grammar 2. This is going really well, as they are both so easy to implement. Caleb loves to identify parts of speech and types of sentences in daily conversation. It's quite cute.

Since Caleb is a really great speller for a six year old, I have decided to continue with my own spelling scope and sequence for him. We won't do much spelling during the summer, though. Instead, I have decided Caleb will start working on vocabulary.=) On its way are English From the Roots Up flashcards, (EFtRU) Red Hot Root Words, and Vocabulary Workshop Purple Level from Sadlier-Oxford. Although the Red Hot Root Words is for Grade 3-5, I chose it to supplement the EFtRU flashcards. The plan is for Caleb to work through this workbook with me; the Vocabulary Worksop workbook is one he can do on his own. We'll do these very loosely through the summer months.

On to Madeline...

Love this girl. She desperately wants to do school like Caleb. Insert "Mommy, my boots" (aka books.) Let's see. She can count to 10, recognize some colors (her fav being orange, at the moment) and shapes, and knows most of the sounds of the alphabet. She won't call the letters by name, though. If I point to one or say its name, she'll say its sound. A dear friend told me this was okay and actually preferred by some folks. So it doesn't bother me yet that she just shouts out her letter sounds. (And when I say "shouts", I mean it. This girl does NOT know quiet. LOL. )

She LOVES to doodle and does a fantastic job making lots of counterclockwise circles all. the. time. She has even taken the liberty of practicing those circles on her duvet in her bedroom. Lovely, isn't it? I prefer those beautifully formed circles on paper, though I guess she didn't get the memo. LOL.

Anyway, I think that about covers all the latest on the homeschooling front. Somebody light a fire under my hiney next time so these homeschool updates don't get this stinkin' long. I'm whooped.

Sunday Snapshot: {Guinea Pigs}

Sunday, April 17, 2011

So the other week, I was asked by my beloved husband to take some headshots of some sweet peeps at his work. Well, since it had been umm.....forever two years since I had taken any shots with my studio lights, I thought I would harass ask my kidlets if they could help me out. They obliged.......kinda.

There's nothing like trying to wrangle two busy, wiggly kidlets and keep them in front of background paper designed for headshots. LOL. Can we say tall order?...um, yeah. I set everything up in our dining room, after moving the table out of the way. The following is what we ended up with.

I asked Caleb if he could give his sister a kiss, but she had a mind of her own.

Aw, how sweet, right? She did eventually relent, but she still had her own agenda, as demonstrated by the smooshing of her own face into her brother's face.

Caleb is quite the charmer, though, and he did manage to get a few laughs and smiles out of his sister.

But this last photo just about sums up Madeline's first experience under mommy's studio lights.

Oh well. At least we all had a little bit of fun. Love these two! And I do promise to blog about "life" this week and not just share photos. Promise. Promise.

If you want to see more Sunday Snapshots, go check out Stefanie's blog.

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday Snapshot: Just photos....mostly

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I took these about a month ago but have yet to share them. So here they are....just a few photos from a lazy day.

Who can forget the snack that saved us so many times in China last summer? Still a favorite.

Our little man getting in some scooter time

She loves to "do school" like Caleb

Bei Bei took a little tumble while riding her bike

Taking care of her boo boo

To give a quick update:

Baseball is back in full swing, and I have some happy moments to share about that....lots to say about school, too. I hope to get around to blogging about both of those this week....if time will let me have my way, for once.

Ni Hao Yall

Oh how time slips away

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gosh, I can't believe how many days have passed since I last had the chance to share some photos and a quick update. I'll do my best to satisfy both those needs.

Caleb hasn't been playing much baseball these last two weeks, as the local schools have been on Spring Break this past week. All practices are canceled and games are rescheduled for non-regular practice/game days. He did have two games since I last blogged. I must have missed the memo for the first one because I thought for sure, we were still playing tee ball. But apparently, the other team was convinced this was the World Series or something. I realize this is just the beginning of being around players/parents/coaches who don't share the same attitude about "having fun" while learning to play a sport. But sheesh. Fist pumping, leg kicking, and keeping track of runs in tee ball....where every batter gets a turn to bat every inning and no outs or runs are recorded....it seems a bit over the top. But I could be wrong.......um, NOT.

I really like Caleb's coach, Randy, because the kids are always having fun when they play. He makes every kid on the team feel special. He's wonderful with them.

Caleb enjoys playing tee ball. He loves to get out there and do his best. He swings the bat with all his might. He runs like the dickens.

He's recently decided to do a "Jim Abbott" move...throwing and catching with his right arm (although Jim used his left for both.)

I'm so proud of him for trying this out.

Last week, we had the chance to catch the Yankees at one of their Spring Training games. It's amazing what one season of tee ball has done to Caleb's fan participation in an actual game. He was following the umpire's calls of strikes and outs and watching the interaction of the players. It warmed my heart to no end to see this. Madeline enjoyed singing her own version of the "ABC song" during the game.

A fun time was had by all.

Other than that, we are keeping busy with our homeschooling. And since I have quite a bit to say on that, I'll have to leave it for another post. But before signing off, here are a few photos of Madeline having fun in my studio the front yard.....no, she's not trying to eat eat her arm, just making a silly face.

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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