Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quick update!

WOW! It is almost Christmas. I been wanting to sit down and compose different blogs, but I just haven't been able to compose a thought. I know some of you may want to know about our vacation. I thought I would give you a list form of update -

  • Disneyworld - fun, great weather, long days, little overwhelming for the little one, and everybody hands-up!
  • Beach - relaxing, too much food, and the girls loved snorkeling
  • Hannah turned 15 - birthday party fun and wow she starts driving in 6 months.
  • Homeschool Christmas Drama and District Honors Band - Canceled due to snow - Hannah was sad.
  • My birthday - Got the FLU! Great gifts from hubby and the girls.
  • Dave Koz and Friends - SURPRISE! great concert with great friends (B&R)
  • Pictures with Santa - another fun year with kids who liked Santa and those who didn't
  • Children's Choir - Rae had a solo and she did a wonderful job.
  • Gotcha Day Today! Hard to believe it has been two years.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

15 for 15

I am not sure where the time has gone - Hannah turns 15 today. It just seems she had started school, and that she is still my little girl sitting in her little school desk learning to read.

I thought I would do a list of 15 things I love about this girl.

1. Her love for Jesus. She seeks to serve Him and do her best for Him.

2. Her love for music.  As a music teacher, I love that she loves to play the piano and flute and share her talents. It is also great how much she loves to practice and to work hard to get better.

3. Her love for her parents and sisters.

4. Her beauty - This is not beauty on the outside, but it is what radiates from the inside. She shines and radiates God's love.

5. Her drive - She works hard and always seeks to do her best. She also always seeks to improve in all that she does.

6. Organizer - She loves to organize and rearrange her room.

7. Reader - She loves to read more than anything. She also reads a variety of books.  I even think she has read almost more than me.

8. Thirst for knowledge(even math) - She loves learning new things.

9. Loves to travel - She is like her parents.  She loves seeing new places and experiencing new things.

10. Her love for peanut butter - As long as she has peanut butter, she will survive almost any where.

11. To keep her room clean and do her own laundry.  - I wish I could say I could share this with her, but we are not sure where she got this trait.

12. Her love for musicals - Wicked, Sound of Music, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, and she can't wait till I let her watch Les Mis, etc...

13.  She is my fashion consultant - She helps me make sure I go out looking good as well as her sisters.

14. Her love for her friends. - She loves her friends and would do almost anything for them.

15. Hard Worker - She works hard in all she does and seeks to do.

Happy Birthday Hannah! I love you and love the lady you are turning growing up to be.  Can you slow down just a little?

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Little Girl Alone

Five years ago this month there was a little 3 year old girl found alone. She was wearing green clothes, a pair of jeans, and a pair of red leather shoes. She also had on a backpack with 3 changes of clothing.

Today this little girl is not alone and never will be again. She has a mom, dad, and 2 sisters. She is no longer and orphan. This Sunday is set aside as Orphan Sunday. Is there something you can do to help the over 140 million orphans out there?  Feel free to contact me for more info about our adoption or how you can help.

Our Adoption Journey to Rae from Donna Dear on Vimeo.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

"I've Got to Get it in My Head"

It's that time of year where the girls are learning parts for their various Christmas productions. Hannah is playing the part of Elizabeth in the homeschool Christmas production. Rae is learning song in the children's choir at church. Emily, I think, will be reading in the adult Christmas production. So,it will be a little busy. Rae got a CD to learn her part. She loves listening to the songs, but she didn't think she could sing on stage with her friends and do a solo. Natalie really wants her to do one, and she wanted to find one she can sing and work with her on. Rae kept thinking she just couldn't do it. This week she has learned her solo part. We have to work a little more on the pronunciation, but it is so sweet to hear.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Party Time!

Last weekend we celebrated Rae's birthday. She had some of her friends over and had a Dollie and Me Tea Party. Hannah set up a blanket with a places for the girl's dolls where they played with their dolls. There was a food fight between the dolls, but thankfully it is was with fake food.

 After all the girls arrived, the girls made fascinators to wear during the party. It was a lot of fun creating their own little hats. I was thankful to have help from the older siblings. The girls looked so cute in their fascinators. Rae was excited to open all of her presents, and she got more Legos and some clothing for her AG dolls. She was very thankful for all her gifts but could not wait to eat cake and ice cream. But before that - they decorated sugar cookies.  It is one of her favorite things, and they were for the girls to take home. 

Her cake this year was strawberry with strawberry cream cheese frosting.  She also designed it.  She wanted to draw butterflies on it, but it was going to be to difficult for her, so we came up with another option.  I had her draw butterflies on paper and I melted white chocolate and traced them on wax paper.  She added them all over her cake.  It was very cute and delicious and topped off with her favorite ice cream - mint chocolate chip. 

Rae had a wonderful birthday, but I think she was a little sad it was over.  It was a great 3 days celebrating her.  I am not sure if her favorite was her party or getting to stay up late on Friday watching movies with her sisters having a "sister sleep-over"
Doll Tea Party

The lovely ladies in their fascinators

Birthday Girl!
the cake

playing on the swing set

Thank you to all the girls who helped Rae celebrate her birthday.  She had a wonderful time, and we hope you did too.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

The Love has Ended

This past week was the end of the girls 2013 tennis season. Emily was to have a game on Friday but was called on the count of rain. Both girls had 2 matches each though. Hubby and I had to split up to be able to see each girl play, so it made for a crazy week. Rae having a doctor appointment thru a little hiccup in the plans as well.

Monday, Hannah was hoping the varsity team would win to tie the school record for most wins, but they came up short in one match. Hannah had a great first year as a high school player. She got to play singles and doubles and is the top freshman on her team. She has worked hard to show her coaches she is willing to take on any challenge. She had some tough losses, but she finished with a great win against Lancaster JV 3rd singles player by winning 8-0. She was happy Pastor Troy was there to see her win. The JV team did a great job on the last match of the season with winning most of the matches. Her goal in the off-season is to learn to spin the ball, improve her serves, and make varsity next year. The past couple of spring seasons she has been able to play on the middle school boy's team, but this year she will not. We will looking at different options for her to better her game. Her ultimate goal is to beat her dad. She is not too far from it.

Emily had a great season as well. She had wins and losses as well in singles and doubles. Her game has really improved especially her serving. She will be the only 8th grader next year on the middle school team, so she is planning to work hard in the off-season to improve. She will hopefully get to play on the boy's middle school team this spring. Playing with the boys has really helped their games.

We are happy for life to have slowed for a little, and we can get ready for a little vacation coming up.  We will be able to eat more dinner at home together now. Rae is happy because she will be able to start playing tennis again.

getting ready to finish off the match

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Asian Pear Time

Having a child from another country you learn about all kinds of new things. Frequently Rae has asked for me to buy pears, but usually they have not been in season or I would forget. I was recently with a friend who works for a local orchard and she informed me about Asian pears. I actually had never heard of them, but I did find them in the store and bought a couple of them for the little one. She loves them.

 The friend that works for the orchard told me that she always gets calls to when the Asian pears are ready to pick. So, I looked up on their website to see when they are ready and marked it on the calendar. This past Friday was the day. I heard they would go fast, so we headed out early to pick. Rae was so excited for just the two of us to go pick. We arrived with our bags, and she was determined to find the biggest pears she could find and reach.  It was little funny for myself to be in the minority there.  There were many there with large bags and wagons filled with these pears.  I was relieved to have gotten there early so we did not have to wait in the long line that had formed by the time we were finished.

It was fun picking the pears with Rae, and we have already decided to pick again next year.  I really liked the pears and trying to find some fun things to make with them.

looking for the right pear

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Little One!

Today we celebrate Rae's 8th birthday. She has come a long way and has been counting down the days till her birthday. Tuesday we had our family birthday meal which included going to see the Meatball movie as she calls it.  She had trouble deciding if she wanted spicy wings or spicy noodles.  Noodles won - PF Changs.

We will celebrate with some of her friends Saturday with a Dollie and Me Tea Party.  It is exciting to see her so happy about celebrating something that she has only been doing for now her second time.  I think last year she was still figuring it all out.  This morning she asked for heart shaped waffles, and we opened one of her presents.  This will be a 3 day celebration with tomorrow night the girls will have what they call "Sister Sleepover" when they sleep downstairs and watch movies and eat popcorn and snacks.  Different presents will be opened over these 3 days as well.

It is fun seeing her so excited.


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Ok, that is just weird.

Couple of weeks ago, the little one had a several appointments with Children's - speech, neuro, and ophthalmologist. We rotate thru these doctors about every 3-6 months, so they fall usually within several days of each other. It makes for a crazy time especially when it is during tennis season. We thought her neuro visit would be routine, but it was determined the little episode she had this summer was in fact a seizure. Thankfully it was very mild and short compared to the last one, but it did mean that she did have to up her medicine. She has not had any seizures since she had been on the medicine, but it seems that the medication was keeping them from happening. This one broke thru the wall most likely because she was at the top threshold of her weight versus medication amount. This also meant the clock restarted for when she could come off the medication.

While we were dealing with this news, her platelet count had dropped earlier in the week - so we were monitoring that and hoping we were not going to have to get a treatment on top of an already crazy week.  She was to start getting her immunizations up to date, but now it was postponed again. As if this were not enough, we had the second follow-up visit with the eye doctor.  Thankfully her eyes are now almost perfectly aligned, but she is still seeing double.  We are hoping it is just her brain taking time to work around the damaged area to get to "normal". He is going to check the progress again in 3 months, but if it is not better she may have to get glasses fitted with prisms to help.  She usually doesn't complain about it, but I do find her closing one eye to block out the second image.

Here is the new wrinkle - sometime after her last eye surgery, an eyelash got into her eye and is now embedded in the eye membrane. YIKES!! It was not very comforting when the doctor said that is was only the SECOND time he had seen that. Thankfully she does not feel it. We have to watch it so it does not get infected or cause her problems.  Best case scenario is that it could dissolve, but if not he will have to surgically remove it. We do not want to have to do surgery again!

Even though all of this is going on, she is doing well in speech and is almost up to grade level.  She will see a reading specialist soon to check her progress and to see where she is.  She is excited that she has started her 3rd math book (MUS Beta) and continuing to work thru her phonics books in Explore the Code.  The big thing we work on is bringing up her vocabulary.  She knows and reads alot of words, but the meaning of those words are not always there.  It is fun seeing her unlock the code to reading words.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Add-in... Deuce... Add-out...

If you haven't guessed, we are in the full swing of tennis season. The older girls are on 2 different teams this year. Hannah is on Granville High School team and Emily on the middle school team. Thanks to the new ruling of the state legislature, Hannah did not have to take a class at the high school to be on the team. She is happy that she did know some of the girls from when they were all on the middle school team. It has been challenging for her working it into her school schedule, but she is working hard and loving playing tennis.

Practice started the beginning of August, but matches started a couple weeks ago. Hubby and I are  dividing our time between the 2 girl's matches, since most of the games are often the same time and at different locations. We switch who gets to see who and where.  One thing that does help is that Hannah has to ride the bus to the game with the team. Another thing that is new for us is when the team does not have a game, there is practice after school.  I am happy there are a couple of girls in our neighborhood that are on the team, so usually I just have to get her to the school for practice.

Both girls have had wins and loses in their matches this season.  They are both playing better than last year thanks to their tennis coach they have. The middle school team is smaller this year, so Emily is playing again in the top of the group again.  She usually gets to play 2 matches against the opponents playing singles and doubles.  Hannah is on the JV team, and they have a large team with 24 girls this year so she usually has to wait to play.  It reminds me of when she first started on the middle school team. She mostly has been playing doubles but is missing playing singles.

In the match, yesterday, the other team had 14 players so the our coaches chose a varsity line-up and a JV line-up - 7 and 7.  Hannah was wondering why her coach didn't ask her about doubles when she was going around.  When they announced the line-up for JV, Hannah was called as 3rd singles.  She was so excited! When I got the match, she ran and told me. I hated her dad was not there, but he was in Dublin with the Emily who was playing there. Hannah has been working hard to prove to the coaches she could do it, and she had finally gotten her chance. She was a little nervous, but she was up for the challenge.  The match started, and she had gotten behind.  Thanks to her conditioning, she was outlasting her opponent.  She came from behind and brought it to a tie-breaker. I was grateful for FaceTime so hubby watch the tie-breaker via phone. She was the last one on the court playing, but sadly she lost in the tie, but was happy how she played and knows what she need to fix. She was also happy the coaches gave her the chance to show them she could handle it. Hannah was the first freshman this year to get to play a singles match.

Hopefully, we will get some more good stories from the season.  We have a few more crazy weeks of matches all over the place.  So, if you need us, we will be either at the courts or in the car.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lil' Farmer Tour

Last week Rae and I went on her first little kid only field trip. One of our local fruit farms was starting a new tour and needed some guinea pigs to see how the tour was going to work and to work out any bugs. The family that runs this farm are homeschoolers, so they reached out to our group for help. The tour is designed for K-2nd graders. Students learn where their food comes from when they ‘harvest’ their goods as they travel along the path of 12 interactive stations. “Milking the cow, collecting honey, gathering eggs, and digging potatoes are just a few of the activities they will experience. Once their work is done, they ‘sell’ their goods to the ‘market’ where they will collect Lynd Bucks used to ‘purchase’ a cup of cider. Then students go to the orchard and pick a 2 lb. bag of apples to take home! All students will receive a complimentary coloring activity book complete with Lynd Fruit Farm coupons to be redeemed during a future visit!

Rae and I had a lot fun going to the different stations and learning interesting facts. Rae's favorite was "fishing" for blue gill. I think it was a favorite of all the kiddos. She was hoping we would pick some apples, but they did not open the u-pick till the weekend. 

Learning about what they will be doing.

Picking pumpkins

Picking corn, but wishing it was real.

shearing the sheep

fishing for blue gill

taking her harvest to market

getting her coin for apple cider


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Only a few tears

Week one of the 2013-14 school year is in the books. The girls worked hard and had good attitudes (most of them anyway). Some things are coming back to memory from last year and others are not. The school day is longer for the older girls, so finding things for the little one is proving a little more challenging. I am proud of Hannah who is willing to take on the challenge of doing algebra and geometry simultaneously. Thankfully, she is already half-way thru algebra, so it makes it a little easier. Emily is not thrilled school is taking longer, but she is handling it well. 

The next few weeks will be interesting with more activities being added to the schedule.  In addition to tennis for Hannah and Emily, that is in full swing, art, drama, and piano will be starting after Labor Day. We will be running hither,thither, and yonder till October.  It will be crazy, but over in October.

Hubby has started his grad classes back again too.  He is taking 2 classes this semester which is going to be killer because his professors are requiring alot of work this time.  He has all of this in addition to the church work, the occasional helping me run kids somewhere, and making it to as many tennis games as he can. Can you see why we are looking forward to our vacation? 

This weekend we are looking forward to having Noel's dad in town.  The grill will be in full force preparing all sorts of goodies.  One good thing when we have family come up, projects around the house get done that we put off. The girls are very excited for their granddaddy to come up.  They were hoping he would get to see one of their tennis matches.

Emily with her double partner Kaitlyn in their match @ CSG Tennis Day.

Hannah in her first match as a high schooler

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Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School - 2013

My summer has been hijacked. Is it really time to start back? Didn't we just finish school? Our summer was filled with 4H projects and fairs, 4 camps, swimming, tennis, and finishing projects around the house.  The girls were not excited about starting this early, but with tennis season already underway and a vacation coming in November, we started this morning.  Many discussions over dinner were held between hubby and I about what we were doing and what goals we wanted for the girls.  With a freshman, we are getting in college prep mode - YIKES!!

So, this morning we started the 2013-14 year for the Dear School for Girls today! Hannah is a freshman, Emily a 7th grader, and Rae a 2nd grader.  We are working on trying some new things in our school, but with several the same.  Hubby is being even more involved this year with subjects for Hannah.  I am so thankful that I married a math major! The girls are really ready for band, drama, and art to start so they can see their friends again. Emily is excited she is old enough to go to Teen Night.

Tennis season is going strong. Both girls have already had matches, and it plans to be an exciting and busy season. We will be running between middle school and high school matches and practices.  I am thankful for parents in our neighborhood who can carpool for tennis.

Here's to a successful school year. Ready or not here we go!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Basement Remodel

This process started over a year ago. Since we homeschool, we try to have an area dedicated to our school room stuff. When we moved in our current house, the extra bedroom was our school room. After adding Rae to our family, the schoolroom became her bedroom. Our school stuff and all my office stuff was moved to the playroom and the basement.  Emily had to do school in the dining room, and all the other stuff was a mess and disorganized. It made doing school hard and the landing in the basement was always in a state of disarray.

Last year we came up with the idea of turning the storage area in the basement into an office and new schoolroom.  This area had been our workout space, but since joining the gym, we no longer used it as that.  It became the best solution.  I needed a place where we could be organized.  I also wanted a desk that was not a 6 ft. folding table.

This summer we decided we were going to finish what we started last year.  We had been working this past year to get our home more organized, and this was the last area to conquer.  So, this past weekend it was finished (almost).  A great deal of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this project, but we are so happy with the results. I now have an awesome set up for school, crafting, sewing, and my office. We even have been able to get my photography lighting set up in part of the playroom.

Sealing the wall to get ready to add shelving for storage
The disorganized mess!

The walls are up.  The other side will be our storage or the "tunnel" as the girls call it.
My office area which also serves as the area for crafting and sewing.
School books and one kiddo's desk. The other one is on the other side of the short bookshelf.
This is the view from my desk.  The curtain hides all the house's mechanical stuff.  The table is for group projects and fabric cutting.

I am so thankful for this all to be done.  My hubby worked hard, and I am very thankful for him and his abilityto do little projects like this. There are a few little things left to do, but it is ready to go.  We just feel sorry for the trash man who has to pick up all the things we got rid of.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Has it been that long?

Two years ago today, the girls and I were working on cleaning out the basement storage. We were working hard, when my phone rang. It was a call from Virginia. I thought it was odd for our agency to call out of the blue. We had been waiting several months on those late night calls when referrals would come in, but our phone never rang on the those nights. So, I answered the phone, and it was Amy our coordinator. She said that they had just received a referral for a 6 year old girl whose special need was a maybe on our list.  Did we want to look at her file? Yes, we were interested in looking at her file.  After trying to get hubby on the phone, we looked at her file and happily sad yes to this little girl whose smile we fell in love with.  What a journey it has been, but one we would do over again.

Funny that today we are still working on the basement, but it is now being turned into our new schoolroom/craft room/office (will post pics later).

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Here Comes Summer !

School has kinda ended for us. There are a few things left to do, but our end of year testing is over. So, I called the official end, and we promise to work hard in August. We are also still working on finishing their 4H projects. It almost doesn't feel like summer since things haven't slowed down too much. The girls are still doing tennis. Hannah and Emily got home this past weekend from their respective camps and conferences. Rae and I had a good time at home without dad and her sisters. We did have to cut a few things out of our schedule, but we still had some fun. Emily went to Pioneer Camp at Sky View Ranch. She had a great time and made new friends. She stayed the week in "Conestoga wagons", camp under the stars, ride horses, visit an Amish farm/zoo, and learn more about Jesus. This was her second year to attend this camp, and she cannot wait to go again next year. Hannah along with Noel attended Student Leadership 101 in Orlando. She was able to learn more about becoming a Christian leader and set under some great teaching of top Christian leaders. I am happy she came back with some more focus on being the best she can be. This past Saturday, I was glad to have all my family back together after being a week apart. This week has started off with a bang. Rae had an IVIG treatment to get ready for her second eye surgery next week. This week at church is also VBS. It is fun working along side my girls and seeing Rae have fun in her class. She loves having Ms. Beth. It is had to believe Hannah and Emily are old enough to work in VBS now. I still remember their first time going to VBS - Polar Expedition. My how time flies. Rae is loving the singing and crafts. It is just fun seeing all the kids at church learning about Jesus. I will try to post pics later. I am having issues with my computer. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Flashback Fun

I was looking thru some photos from last year and found this one. It was a nice warm day and we were getting the "redneck" slip-n-slid ready for Memorial Day. She loved playing in the scooter, but no the slid too much. She has changed so much in a year.

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