"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT"...Proverbs 24:12

Monday, February 25, 2013


So, there was a lot of hype for these poor girls about swimming.

It started out w/ our photo albums- they were mesmerized w/ the "big water"  aka. the ocean...which they have never seen before. 


Then in a bag of donated clothes for the twins we found a few 1 piece swimsuits with matching water shorts.  I begged them to try them on but did I mention to you that these girls are Modest with a capital M!  Which of course if a good thing but when you want to take them swimming- that became a bit of an issue.

They could not believe that I own a bathing suit for myself- even when I told them that I swim with my water shorts on!


This weekend we pretended to drive to home depot (because you know- doesn't every family go there a few times a week?) and after a while Jacob noticed that the GPS stated that we were 5 hours away from our destination.  We surprised them to a weekend get-away in New Hampshire at a hotel w/ a pool.

Helen was screaming enthusiastically along w/ the other kids at the idea but quickly informed us that she will NOT be swimming.  Jules did not like the idea of being surprised, "Why you no tell us?  Crazy."  She seemed a bit nervous and the 1st thing she asked me was if I packed her Tigrinya Bible.  In the secretive packing rush of things I missed that and she was crushed-  (she got the Bible in her own language for Christmas and since then she has not missed a day!  I know- what a bad mom!)


Helen's 1st question was if I brought her doll...check.


So before hand, I scoured many a stores for boy style trunk shorts for girls- to no avail!  When we got to the pool on the 1st night- Helen stood firm and sat in a chair- with her winter coat zipped up- and watched us all swim- trying to take it all in.

Jerusalem wanted to swim but had to be convinced that wearing her sweats and sweatshirt in the water would not work out too well.  She reluctantly put on a suit w/ the shorts that in her opinion was way too short- and kept her t-shirt on too.  I walked out of the hotel room wearing a black cover-up..like a sun dress- and they could not believe that I was stepping foot in public showing so much of my legs!  (I might add here that they were also enthralled w/ the fact that they can see my blue veins through my pasty white legs..nothing like being laughed at for not only your choice of clothes but also your veins...sweet huh ;)

Once we made it to the pool
Oh boy- did Jerusalem LOVE it!!!  At 1st she was very nervous and scared of going too deep.  Before long she was jumping in the shallow end and dunking her head up and down.  Whenever we tried holding her belly and having her kick her arms and legs to teach her how to swim she would scream- she was so scared of being dropped.  She preferred to bounce around splashing and  flailing her limbs and screaming at the top of her lungs.  To be honest- there were times when I'd want to whistle and  turn my head-  like that, "who's child is this?" time that mother's sometimes have. 


Those times included were when  poor bikini clad women entered the pool area and Jules mouth would drop and she would say to me, "Oh my goodness mommy- america crazy!  Underwear!!!!!???"  Even after I explain to them that those are bathing suits for swimming they would argue - "No- underwear- ewww!" 

See the crazy eyes! 
So the 1st night Jerusalem would not get out of the pool- Mike took all the kids back to the room while I stayed in the pool w/ her until after 9:30!  I dragged the girl out because I've never seen eye's so blood shot before in my life!

The next day Helen did not have to be asked twice...she was in- yes fully clothed :)

She too liked it but was a bit less dramatic about it.  She wanted me to spend alot of time teaching her how to swim and started to get frustrated when she couldn't.  Even after explaining that it takes some time to learn- they both thought they should learn right now!  Jerusalem's conclusion, "see, mommy- I eat too much food- tummy to big- I fall down!" 


So final conclusion- they loved the pool, they are mad that they cant swim, they think american swim wear is crazy, and I promised to find some cute surf suits for them- in pink and yellow accordingly. 



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Who knew?

I'd say it started when Jerusalem saw me throw a pair of Jacob's sweatpants straight into the garbage.

She did not like that.  She took them out and asked why I just threw away his pants.

I showed her the stains that would NOT ever come out and the Large rips that were not even worth mending.  She has seen me donate bags of clothes in those bins around town so I explained that these were just no good- even to give away.

She shrugged and said that in Ethiopia she mended her rips ;)
  I asked her if she and Helen knew how to sew by hand and they said yes.  I was a bit impressed but forgot about it.

A few weeks later Sova brought out her sewing basket to make a pillow for her doll.
As I sat with Sova helping her get started the girls eyes lit up at the thought of actually sewing items for their dolls!  All I had to give them was some felt scraps and some lace trimmings. 

They sat down to work and when I finished with Sova and walked over to them to help them 'get started' this is what I found:

Jerusalem made the most beautiful pillow!

Helen made an impressive assortment of doll clothes including a doll apron and nana helped her sew a matching skirt for herself!

Caleb soon realized that his "Lamby" was naked and wanted to make him clothes too!

Here's Sova's doll skirt

Helen made Jacob a case for his Kindle and then Jacob made her a case for her mp3:

The sewing took on a life of it's own and so did my living room:

The next day I let the kids each pick out some cloth at the fabric store for their own creations....
WOW!  Not sure what I was thinking- next time I will definatly go ALONE :)

Besides that fact...they were all pretty excited to get to work!

Jacob made a Patriots pillow:

Caleb made a monkey pillow and a sleeping bag for his Lamby :)

Helen got a little ambitious and started cutting out patterns to make her own clothes!

While the blizzard was entering the state we drove to nana's house to use her sewing machine- beacuse this stuff is just that important ;)
We had one tired nana and 3 very happy girls!  :)
So who knew...I have kids that can sew...
I'm not crafty but I always wanted my kids to have some type of hobby like this.
That evening I was choping venecin that Mike hunted earier this year, the kids were all sitting by the woodstove sewing and listening to the book on CD,  'Little House on the Prarie."
For  just a moment I felt like a true hometeader :)
 Jacob wants to open up a business called:  "A.I. E"
"American. Indian.  Ethiopian."   :)


Friday, February 1, 2013

My friend over at Simple Homeschool
http://simplehomeschool.net/rachels-homeschool-day/ is doing a series Called: 

Day in the Life of  Your Homeschool...well here it is!

I should note here that I have a: 

 6 year old son
 8 year old daughter
  9 year old son
  and twin 11 year old daughter's that we adopted from Ethiopia only 4 months ago- they are just learning English

All 5 kids and I wake up between 7:30- 8:00

 The kids are allowed to wake up in front of PBS kids while I get ready (funny how getting ready has changed...can you call black yoga pants and a pony tail getting ready?)
I get breakfast on the table with my 'daily kitchen helper.'  Each day of the week a child is assigned to help me in the kitchen w/ each meal- not only is it a real help but it gets in some extra 1 on 1 time.

call the kids in- while they eat their breakfast I get a lot of reading in.

I do Bible/ missionary stories, poetry, read a portion of their science book, a portion of their history book, and then a read- aloud- chapter book...

I use Sonlight Curriculum- but w/out the curriculum- I just read the books...

Some kids sit still...some kids don't.  I let the fidgety one's walk around the room, sit on the floor, lay on the couch, draw, fiddle w/ something...as long as they are listening in and not noisy.

This is really my favorite part of the day.  Without fail the kids ask, 'what we are doing today' (basically I think they just want to know if they can stay in their jammy's or do they have to get dressed)

It still seems peaceful- there is usually a child on my lap and we just linger before the 'rush of getting it all done starts.'

I know- that term must make many cringe. I try not to be jealous of other 'day in the lifes' I read about- especially the 'unschoolers.'  In a way I think that is my favorite philosophy and I scatter this into our homeschool but for me- going from 3 to 5 kids- I have to plan and carve out learning time to make sure that it actually gets done!

 When our 'Extended breakfast' is over we get down to business!

 I don't have a set schedule- I do what works best for that moment and I often give the kids a choice between 2 options of what they want to work on 1st.
 I also give 2 directions to keep them moving- for instance... If Sova (8) is dabbling on the piano I tell her to start practicing-  and then give her a choice of starting math or copywork.

If some kids are playing nicely together or really into something that they are playing- whether it is a game, making a comic, or an intense lego creation...I take advantage and start cleaning up.

Some of the kids like to get school done with right away- they want a pile on the table and they want to be done first.

While other's- after doing 1 thing will flee to the legos and stay there until I drag them back.

Jacob (9) knows to go straight to the computer to do his math program- Teaching Textbooks.  When he is done he knows that he has a choice of practicing piano or reading his book.

While he does that, I will sit down w/ my coffee and usually rotate 2 kids at a time at the table.

 They each do handwriting/ copywork from whatever book they are interested in, spelling from Spelling Power, Explode the Code, and math-u-see. 

The twins and the younger 2 love the computer program called,  'Reading Eggs', they think its fun but it is a Huge help in all of their reading/ language skills.  So they all know that once their table work is done they can each have a turn on the computer doing 'the eggy game.' 

That's our morning- along w/ too many requests for snacks, multiple requests to 'take a bath,' a family search party for the little grey piece that  is missing from the Lego guys ship, the occasional chase of a squirrel, along with breaks to jump on the trampoline in the  cold with or without socks on, the breaking up of squabbles, and the chasing of a child who is playing with my phone... By now it's time to 'figure out lunch.'

Here I read again to them- another History portion and more of a chapter-read-aloud.

After lunch Jacob and Sova may take turns on a typing program and I will sit at the table to help Jacob with spelling and instruct him in his 'Learning language arts through Literature' book. 

I then plunk myself down on the couch with the phonics book, Dick and Jane, and a stack of early readers...I proceed to call in 4 of the kids individually- to come and read to me.  Because my 1st grader is a bit fast and my 2nd grader is a struggling reader and the 11 year old twins are just leaning English...I find myself reading the same.. pages.. over.. and.. over...and...over... again... all... day...long.  Or so it feels ;)

All of the above is usually accomplished by 2:30- 3:00ish.

Amazingly we are only home all day on 2 of the days of the week! 
 The above work gets carted to Homeschoolers ski club on Mondays and the piano teacher's kitchen table on Wednesday.  Every Friday we take part in a homeschool group so that is a shortened school day for us anyways...anything that get's done Friday morning is a bonus :)

Yes, sometimes I feel stressed out.

 Often I feel guilty that a particular child did not do his or her math or reading for that day.

And yes, sometimes I take a shower at 4:00 in the afternoon just to be alone and because I am tired of talking. 

But I confess...I love homeschooling. 

I love that learning takes place at home- because it's always there...it carries over from one thing to the next.

Most of all I love the memories that we are making...supposedly, for so I've been told- these children will one day be grown in a wink of the eye...