Tag Archives: teaching

Pj and Pancake Day

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Have I mentioned how much I love our co-op’s PJ and Pancake days. These days mean sleeping in an extra 30 minutes. There are no lunches to pack. There are no “time to get dressed” morning battles. There are no last minute “clean pants scramble.” Everyone enjoys a little extra sleep and rolls out of bed already “dressed” for co-op. It is lovely and just what I needed today.

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We arrived at co-op to find most of the co-op kids had embraced the PJ memo. Everyone looked so snuggly on this cold March day.

For lunch the moms all brought ingredients and parts to create our pancake lunch. The kids love having pancakes for lunch and the moms love only having to pack a single item rather than having to pack lunches for each family member.

For my second grade science class we were learning about light and the boys had fun with the experiments we did.

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Then for art we had messy fun with paint!

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Today was also bookmobile day. Once a month the local library’s bookmobile makes a stop at our co-op. It is so nice to be able to let all the kids pick out some new reading material… even when life’s too crazy to find time for a library visit.

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It is so convenient. At the conclusion of co-op the bookmobile pulls up to the door and the kids pile in to pick out books and movies to check out for the month. We love the bookmobile!

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Following co-op we stopped at Bright Beginnings for Ozzie’s weekly occupational therapy session and then it was back home for a bit before church activities and scouts in the evening.

For Tyler’s one on one time we worked on emotions. In therapy we are still working on building Tyler’s ability to recognize and name his emotions. We are doing this by introducing him to a more extensive emotion vocabulary and by helping him learn to “read” emotions in the faces and in physical cues of others. We are doing this by building an emotions book. Daily we pick an emotion, read the definition of that emotion, identify the face and body cues of that emotion, and then discuss times when he feels that emotion.

My plan was to build his emotion dictionary with pictures of him demonstrating those emotions using pictures of HIS face, but Tyler resisted this idea. Instead he asked Molly to be our “emotions model” and she sweetly agreed. Here are the Molly faces for four emotions we worked on today.

It was a good day.

In other news: Guess who is turning 18 in one week?!

Yes, Miss Grace will 18 next week and I will be the mother to an adult child! I have no idea how that is even possible…

Olivia, Gracie’s best buddy, has something special in store for this monumental birthday. She is doing a gift a day for Grace up till the day of her birthday. She has aleady given Grace two gifts with this explanation of how the next week will play out:

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Needless to say Gracie is thrilled and touched by Olivia’s thoughtful gift and the opportunity to walk down memory lane with her BFF.

Olivia sent home gifts for the days she won’t see Grace so that there is a gift to open each day. I promised to document the opening of each gift with photos.

Let the countdown begin!

The Heart of Effective Teaching

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woman_pulling_out_hairI recently took part in a discussion regarding the keys to effective teaching. This was a discussion that took part in a church environment with youth and adults participating together. The premise was good. The discussion revolved around how we can be better teachers but also how we be better students. The responses were abundant as both spiritual and practical suggestions were offered by those who are “in the trenches.” I found some suggestions on point and others left me cringing, because in their words I heard myself a few years ago. As comments were made about teens eating during the lesson, kids not walking reverently through the halls, teens not being present and ready to learn, and off topic discussions among students resulting in teachers not being able to get through their lessons, I heard my own frustrations being voiced from callings past.

It is hard. I sympathize with the struggles of teaching kids and teens (and even adults) in church classes, in public school, in our own homes. I get it. It is exhausting and often thankless.

I get it. I live it.

But in listening to some of the comments about the unruly and irreverent behavior problems I found myself biting my tongue, feeling the need to offer a dose of reality but struggling to put a voice to my thoughts.

I cringe when I heard some of these comments because they hit so close to home. I was that teacher that simply didn’t get it. I was blessed with three easy kids that are a teacher’s dream. They sit still, they come prepared, that don’t disrupt. I had little patience for those troublesome kids that made my time teaching a lesson more challenging than it needed to be. I felt disrespected and felt my time wasn’t valued. I felt that their parents had obviously failed in some manner to have created such “disrespectful heathens,” and found myself pridefully whispering under my breath, “My child would never…”

Then I discovered the hard truth:

The ease of my first three were not a reflection on my parenting, but rather a reflection on a life that wasn’t as challenging as some of the other students’ lives in my class.

When we adopted two boys whose lives were filled with early childhood challenges I realized that parenting these two, teaching these two, was a much more accurate reality for most children than the childhood of my first three.

But this was a lesson I only learned through this journey. So I understand when comments are made about expectations for the children in a class, because I was there not too long ago, but I found myself wanting to offer a dose of reality to the discussion:

Behind every behavior is an internal struggle trying to be voiced.

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You see a child being disruptive in class. I see a child who can’t read and is fearful of being put on the spot.

You see a child rudely leaving your class and wandering the halls. I see a child who is physically unable to sit still for 3 hours.

You see back row chatting happening when they should be sitting quiet. I see a child who needs to be heard.

You see a child who disrespectfully shows up to church in wrinkled and dirty clothes. I see a child who has nothing else to wear.

You see a child sneaking food or lying. I see a child who fears another meal might not be there.

You see a child who isn’t trying… who isn’t following through on assignments. I see a child who has MUCH BIGGER issues. Who is just trying to survive.

You see a child who always shows up late. I see a family working hard to be there at all.

You see noise and chaos. I see a child comfortable with their environment who has finally learned to trust.

You see wiggles and disobedience. I see a child who is over-stimulated.

You see a sullen, uninterested, defiant child. I see a child who doesn’t believe you love them.

I am still learning. It is still a daily challenge. As a “rule minder” by nature…as someone who find comfort in the black and white judgements in life,  I am still learning to accept that the world is a messy medley of grey.

I agree that as teachers we are working toward a certain standard of achievement, respect, learning, and reverence, but we must loving embrace the reality that what those things look like on one child are not how they appear on another. These standards are moving targets, always evolving. The goal should be improvement not perfection, because what reverence looks like on one child in this season of their life isn’t what it looks like on another child. That is the reality.

We are all on a journey, with the same destination as our goal, but we are all on very different stretches of the same road, so to expect a group of children to walk together side by side isn’t reality.

So what is the answer? Do we as teachers simply throw up our hands, give up, drop all goals or standards of behavior?

No, of course not.

We pray. We pray for each child by name, petitioning help from our Heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance, inspiration and patience beyond our own.

We listen for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Lord knows of each child’s circumstances, hidden struggles, and challenges and He will inspire us to know these things if we humbly set aside our own agenda and preconceived notions and devote ourselves to doing HIS work…praying, “Lord, I am merely Thy servant. Use me as Thou would. Thy will be done.”

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And then we love. We follow the example of Jesus Christ and we love.

We love people right where they are at

rather than work to make them more loveable.

You want to change the dynamic of your classroom? You want better behavior and more respect? You want children who are engaged and interested in the message you have to share? The answer is simple, as one seasoned mom and teacher shared, “Love them. Just love them. Once they know you truly love them then the rest falls into place.”

Because the reality is:

Your students won’t care how much you know,

until they know how much you care.

I will now step off my soapbox and exit stage left…

Please forgive my rant.  🙂

A Week at Home

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There is nothing more wonderful than a day at home with no place to go!

I treasure these sort of “stay at home” days,

probably because they are such a rare occurrence. 🙂

Swimming lessons wrapped up last week, and we are done with summer camps. so after a busy two months of traveling and shuffling kids to and fro we finally had a week at home with minimal outside obligations.

It was just what I needed.

As I tackled the Mt. Everest sized mountain of laundry in my laundry room, and the 2 inch layer of protective dust on all my vertical surfaces, I felt the weight lifting. As my home became more organized  I felt the weight of anxiety lighten.

“Ok, I can do this,” I thought to myself as I began systematically crossing items off the “to do” list.

This was what I needed.

Just a few uninterrupted days ( uninterrupted except for football practices and therapy) to tackle those tasks that were weighing most heavily…

It was heavenly!

As I focused on addressing all those little worries and frustrations I found the big worries didn’t seem quite so daunting.

Here is a peek into our life this week…

granted most of our activities really didn’t justify pulling out the camera

 unless you wanted a shot of my Mt. Everest laundry pile. 😉

Monday was Gracie’s “one on one” time with me, that one hour of uninterrupted time with Mom to do whatever that child wishes. This week Grace told me that she wanted to use her time to work on her National Honor Society project.

For one of her requirements to maintain her membership in the National Honor Society she has to plan a 10 hour service project each year. This year she decided to do a literary day for the 4-10 year old children at church. She is working with some of the other teenage girls at church to plan a day of crafts, activities and lunch all based on their favorite children’s books. She has been preparing for weeks and is very excited.

For her time I helped her do advertising and sign-up sheets for the event.

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Another requirement for her membership in the National Honor Society is a set number of tutoring hours each year. She has been fulfilling some of that requirement this summer by working with Tyler on his reading and spelling skills. On Monday she came up with the creative idea of taping the alphabet letters to the piano keys and letting him spell words. Tyler loved hearing the “songs” different words made.

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I thought it was a clever way to engage her ADHD brother in a task he is not too fond of. She is going to make an awesome teacher one day!

On Monday night the big kids decided to try one of our bucket list items. They decided they wanted to spend the night sleeping on the trampoline. It was a perfect night for it with cool temperatures and a clear sky. Molly was a bit nervous that the coyote would come prowling around so they zipped up the trampoline safety net and kept Winnie, our bulldog, outside with them for the night. They came in the next morning at 7:30 am, declaring it a wonderful night’s sleep.

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Tuesday was Molly’s “one on one” time and she chose to use her time to make a craft she had seen online. The craft was making stained glass light catchers to hang in a window. It was so simple but they turned out very pretty.

Step 1: Decorate clear plastic cups with sharpies.

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Step 2: Place them rim side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.

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Step 3: Bake them in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Step 4:Pull them out and let them cool.

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When they are cool punch a hole, string them, and enjoy.

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They turned out so well Grace decided to use them as one of her crafts for her story book camp.

One of the items on my “to do” list this week was to make more allowance envelopes. Kids’ allowances have always been a struggle for me. They are supposed  to receive their allowances on Fridays each week but it  never fails that Friday would roll around and I wouldn’t have the cash on hand. Then I would have to try to remember who I owed what to

when we were at the store and they were wanting to purchase something with their allowance money.

A few years ago I got smart and realized that if I would just plan 6 months at a time the allowance headache that creeped up on me every Friday would be solved. Now twice a year I go to the bank and take out $300.00 in one dollar bills and $100.00 in dimes and make allowance envelopes for each child for 6 months. I use dimes for part of their money to make it easier to pull out their tithing and separate their saving money from spending money. It is a laborious process, taking a couple of hours to count out, package, and label 26 envelopes for each of the five kids BUT it saves me from having to deal with the allowance headache for 6 more months. It is well worth an afternoon of counting out dimes. 🙂

Counting:

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All done!

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On Wednesday the girls had an activity with their youth group at church. The young women were going to the wave pool to enjoy an afternoon of playing in the waves. This was the first year I wasn’t needed as a driver so I stayed home with the boys while Grace drove Molly and herself to the church to carpool with the rest of the group.

They picked a perfect day for it…at least in terms of the temperature. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, making it perfect for playing the pool. Unfortunately all of Pittsburgh had the same thought, making for a very crowded day at the wave pool. Luckily the girls didn’t mind and had a blast despite the crowds.

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While the girls were off playing in the waves I took advantage of a day trapped at home. Toby had to take my car to work so there was no temptation to leave the house. I was able to tackle the monumental task of registering Molly for high school. This year she will be attending the same school as Grace and Rusty. I am excited for this change and know she will love 21st Century Cyber Charter School as much as her siblings do.

But it never ceases to amaze me the amount of paperwork required to register a child for school. Getting the paperwork completed was my goal for the day and felt another burden lift off my shoulders when all the papers were placed in the envelope and put by the front door to be mailed.

Today was spent on the phone dealing with a delicate situation involving one of Tyler’s biological siblings. Brandon, his older brother who recently lost his newly adoptive momma to cancer has found himself in limbo.

We have arranged to have Brandon spend the weekend with us. We are taking him camping. The whole situation is horrible and heartbreaking and we are hoping to give him a weekend of healing…

a vacation from a heartbreaking reality.

We approach this weekend with caution and hope…

Hope that we can be a blessing, but also that we can meet manage the behaviors and meet the emotional needs of a wounded little boy.

We ask for prayers,

continued prayers,

for Brandon and this weekend ahead of us.

th

 

 

Mural Club Outing- Part 1

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The last three days have been special ones. As a result of a school club commitment I had the opportunity to make some great memories with my sweet first-born and our “bestest buddies.

Gracie is involved in the mural club through her cyber school. At the beginning of the year the club started meeting regularly, “via computer,” for painting classes and planning time. As a class they were planning a school mural for the cyber school’s office. As a club they brainstormed ideas and came up with a design concept. They knew they wanted the mural outline to be the shape of Pennsylvania. The knew they wanted a computer at the center (since it is a cyber school.) They decided they would like the school mascot, an eagle, to be incorporated into the design, as well as highlight the different subjects taught at the school. Knowing these guidelines, the students then all submitted their mural design sketches to be voted on by the teachers and students of the mural club.

A few months back Gracie received news that her design had been chosen as the winning sketch. The next step was for her to re-draw her design is proportion to the wall of the school. Toby worked with her on this since this momma lacks any spatial reasoning ability! She used his expertise to tweak her original design to make it proportional.

Her sketch would then be placed on an overhead projector where it would be projected onto the wall to be traced.

The mural club was then invited to drive out to the school and paint it the first week of June. Gracie was eager to participate, especially since it was her design, so we make plans for a road trip with her best friend and fellow mural club member, Olivia (and her mom, Lana.)

We planned to leave Tuesday at noon for the five hour drive to the school.

The girls were SO excited. (The moms were too!)

Three days with no cooking, no school, no dishes, and no responsibility!

We were eager to create some special “one on one” memories with our oldest daughters.

As we began our journey Miss Lana surprised the girls with a fitting treat for our mural club outing: chocolate artist palettes. 🙂

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The car ride was fun with a lot of visiting and giggling, and a stop or two along the way.

We arrived at our Hampton Hotel around 6:00pm. We checked in, got settled, and then began our vacation.

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Our first stop was a Michael’s craft store. The girls had a project planned and needed to pick up some supplies. They had fun “playing bride” while the moms looked for the needed items. 🙂

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Next stop was dinner.

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Gracie’s teachers had told us about the King of Prussia mall. It is one of the largest malls in America and they thought the girls would like seeing it. While malls aren’t really our thing, we heard there was a Cheesecake Factory there. We decided that would be our dinner spurge. I was the only one who had been there before so everyone was shocked when they sat down, were given a menu, and saw the 17 pages of choices. There were 37 choices with the cheesecake flavors alone!

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Dinner was delicious! I had a chicken vegetable dish that was divine! By the time dinner was done everyone was too full for cheesecake, so cheesecakes were ordered “to go” to enjoy as a midnight snack later.

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After dinner we headed back to the hotel where the girls had a project planned…

A few weeks ago was National Teachers’ Appreciation Week. We debated whether to send something to the teachers at 21st Century Cyber Charter School then or to wait until our visit and give them something in person. We decided to wait. The girls decided they would plan an appreciation gift to give together. They decided to do a candy bouquet for all the staff at their cyber school, and then hand write notes for their favorite teachers.

When we got back to our room they began the process of attaching 60 pieces of candy to sticks and filling a flower pot with the “bouquet.”

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They had a lot of fun and the finished project was adorable!

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The night ended with late night talking and cheesecake eating.  🙂

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The next morning we woke up and walked downstairs to enjoy the complimentary breakfast that the hotel offered. It was an impressive spread and everything was tasty. Gracie especially enjoyed the waffle bar that had an abundance of toppings including: mango syrup, key lime syrup, butter, cool whip, mini M & Ms, and sprinkles…YUM!

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After breakfast we were ready to begin our day. We had a lot of fun planned for the following 12 hours and there was no time to waste!

First stop: 21st Century Cyber Charter School!

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Even though the girls weren’t scheduled to paint until the following day, they decided to take their candy bouquet over to the school on Wednesday, before sightseeing, so they could tour the school and say “hi” to their teachers without the other mural students there.

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Needless to say, the staff was thrilled with their gift.

Grace and Olivia were able to tour the building and see where it was that their teachers were sitting when they conversed over the computer. They were able to hand out their thank you notes to the teachers and see the start of the mural that they would be working on the next day.

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It was a perfect start to what we would later declare:

“The best day ever!”

(Stay tuned for part 2.)

Last day of Co-op

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Yesterday was the last day of our home school co-op for the year. After 30 weeks of meeting, teaching, sharing and learning the co-op school year has officially wrapped up. In a few weeks we will meet together for our end of the year picnic and then we will be on break until we resume the first week of September.

The last day of co-op is always met with mixed emotions. There is an air of excitement because summer break  is coming, as well as a sadness that another year has come to a close. The moms tend to feel a bit of relief. As wonderful as our co-op days are…and they are…they are also a whole lot of work. As moms, we put a lot of time and energy into preparing to come each Wednesday. There are lunches to pack, book bags to stock, lessons to prepare, and supplies to purchase…and that is on a typical week. 🙂 Throw in a “theme day” or a holiday party and the workload doubles.

But we do it because we love it and because it is such a blessing to our children. What we get from this co-op group far exceeds what we put into it. We have families that drive from  an hour away to attend. The sacrifices that are made for the benefit of the group as a whole are enormous. The group of ladies that participate are amazing women that share a passion for this method of teaching and raising our children.

Through this co-op we have developed some of our deepest friendships and made special memories.

The end of another year always brings a bit of reflection as we say good-bye to the families that are moving on and remember the families who have left us over the last 10 years. We have had such amazing families call this co-op “home.”

This final co-op was more relaxed than a “typical” co-op day. Many of the grades were done with their art, history, science and music curriculum…or very close to being done. The sun was out and so by the end of the day the kids had worked their way outside to enjoy the last bit of time with their co-op friends before we break for summer. Here is a look at our final day:

A few days ago Molly came to me asking if she could plan a surprise for the moms who do so much for our co-op. I asked what she had in mind and she told me her thoughts. I asked her to put together a shopping list of what she needed and we would make it happen. We arrived early so the girls could set up.

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They planned a little brunch buffet for the moms to enjoy while they were on break from teaching.

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The day began, as all our co-op days do, with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

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And then it was off to class. Ozzie had his Science PSSA test in the morning but then he joined the second graders for art when he was done.

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While on break between classes I took the second graders outside to go butterfly hunting. They didn’t have much luck finding butterflies but they saw many bees.

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By the end of the day everyone was outside enjoying the beautiful spring weather. The moms visited while the kids enjoyed a game of kick ball on the baseball field behind the church,

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Dandelion picking and flower crown making,

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and a little tree climbing fun.

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Ozzie was tickled to receive this end of the year gift from his music teacher, Miss Wendy.

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It was a good year. It was a year of change as we added Ozzie to the mix halfway through the school year. Next year will be an even bigger change as we transition our large 8th grade class, who has been together since second grade, into high school. We are losing some wonderful families and our study hall group of high school students will double in size. Change is always hard, and with each passing year our co-op changes and evolves to meet the needs of our families…

but what doesn’t change is who we are at the root of it all:

A group of dedicated home school mothers teaching, sharing, and growing together on this journey called motherhood. How blessed I feel to have found this co-op and how blessed I feel to call this group, my friends!

We are very blessed.

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“Don’t tinkle in your neighbor’s yard”

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I sat down this morning to write and realized it has been almost a week since I posted anything. I’m not sure where the days have gone. There we were celebrating Rusty’s birthday and *poof* here we are a week later. 🙂

So…here is what you’ve missed..

Saturday was spent running in different directions. Tyler had football, Rusty had his hunter safety class, and Toby spent the day with his foot propped up after having some work done on it the day before. Toby has been having pain on the top of his foot for months. He finally decided to have it addressed after realizing that his line of work (he is in the construction business) necessitates the need to stand. He went in thinking they were going to drain a Ganglion cyst. After numbing the site with multiple shots of Novocaine the doctor proceeded to try to drain what they later described as a tumor-like mass. Unfortunately they weren’t able to “fix” it like Toby was hoping and instead sent him home in a lot more pain than he came in with. Next step is a MRI to figure out what the mass is and then possibly surgery. Needless to say Toby was frustrated by the news.

So while Toby was recovering on Saturday we faced the dilemma of having to be two places at once with the boys’ separate commitments. Luckily a dear friend came to the rescue and volunteered to take Rusty to the hunter safety class since her son was also attending. Rusty was thrilled to have a friend to go with. They were dropped off at 9:00 am and picked up at 5:00 pm. Rusty came home complaining of his head hurting from all that information but seemed to get a lot out of it. He was eager to show us the certificate, proof that he had passed the course. Now he can go hunting with Dad. 🙂

Tyler had his final game this past Saturday. It was extra exciting due to the fact that the two teams were so evenly matched. Tyler had a great game and many great tackles. The game kept us on the edge of our seat down to the last few minutes. Okay, here is where I admit my horrible, selfish, mothering flaws….As Tyler’s team began an amazing comeback in the second half, quickly gaining on the other team’s scoreboard points, I was secretly hoping they wouldn’t win. I know that is horrible but winning means another week of practice and games and NO LIFE! I’m so ready to have a life again outside of football. 🙂 The conclusion of the game couldn’t have been more perfect. The team did wonderfully, Tyler had his best game of the season, but they didn’t win so….football season is over! Woo Hoo…(This is me doing my happy dance.) It was a wonderful experience for Tyler and we saw a lot of growth in him over the last few months as a result, but I’m still relieved we are done. 🙂

Tyler's final walk off the field.

Tyler’s final walk off the field.

On Monday night we had family night. I had planned a lesson and game on “Keeping God’s Commandments.” As the lesson began we went around the room saying what we thought the most important commandment of all was and why. It was interesting to hear the kids’ opinions. We ended with Tyler and he, with great sincerity said, “Don’t tinkle in other people’s yards.” He was puzzled by our laughter and responded indignantly, “Well it isn’t nice..especially if you accidentally tinkle on their dog.”

Adopting, as I have said before, is so often a game of detective. These kids come to you, especially if they are a bit older, with experiences, triggers, and memories that you aren’t part of. Over the past year my bonding experience with Tyler could be likened to an excavation site. It is a slow process of stripping down the layers and as you do so you come across these jewels of information and experiences that have made your child who he is today. I would love to know the story behind Tyler’s insistence that God’s greatest commandment is “Never tinkle in your neighbor’s yard” because knowing Tyler I bet it is a really good story!

Roses from my love

Roses from my love

On Tuesday night Toby surprised me with roses..just because. Not only did he surprise me but he brought home a single red rose for Grace and Molly as well. “For my favorite girls,” he said. It was such an unexpected treat and such a sweet expression of his love. Not too long ago Molly said to me, “I think Heavenly Father must be a lot like Daddy.” She went on to explain that Toby always has time to listen to her, and is always doing kind things for her, and always makes her feel so special. “Heavenly Father just reminds me a lot of Daddy.” I thought here appraisal was insightful. How blessed she is..we all are..to have a man in our lives who is such a reflection of heavenly love. I am grateful to be married to a godly man who helps our children better understand God’s love for them by the love he shows them. I am so blessed.

A rose from Daddy.

A rose from Daddy.

Wednesday was our co-op day. The kids woke with an extra bounce in their step. Wednesday is everyone’s favorite day of the week. They love getting to spend the day with their friends. I teach Tyler’s science class and this week Rusty came in and joined us as we learned about molecules. Rusty was a great teacher’s helper as we learned about how molecules move in solids, liquids and gasses. Rusty had them stand up with him and we had a molecule dance party as they went from slow dancing “solid” music to fast paced, crazy “gas” music. We even pulled out the “molecule mittens” so the boys could better visualize the movement of molecules in the different states of matter. It was a fun lesson made extra fun by Rusty’s help. Thanks Russ!

Doing the molecule dance..

Doing the molecule dance..

Molecule mittens!

Molecule mittens!

Gracie also had an extra fun science class yesterday. She had an online class to attend in which they were learning about cells. In preparation for this interactive class Gracie received a box in the mail from her teacher. When she opened the box she discovered it was full of yummy treats..crackers, rice cakes, frosting, candy, etc. On Wednesday they took all of these yummy teats and learned the parts of cells by making eatable models out of the treats in the box. What a fun idea!

Gracie in her online Biology class.

Gracie in her online Biology class with her friend, Olivia.

The finished project!

The finished project!

Last night was Tyler’s night to make dinner. It was also Rusty’s date night/ shopping night. Before I left I was going to help Tyler get dinner going but when I asked him what he had planned he told me it was a secret. Wednesday’s are always Tyler’s night to cook and rather than make a crock pot meal like the kids do he usually chooses a “kid friendly” recipe that he can make with a little assistance. His usual choices include pancakes, eggs, chicken nuggets and fries, etc. When Toby arrived home I told him dinner hadn’t been started because Tyler didn’t tell me what he was making… “It’s a secret.” After I left Toby asked Tyler what he was making and Tyler leaned in close so the other children wouldn’t hear him and whispered, “hotdogs.” “OK, where are the hot dogs?” Toby asked, expecting Tyler to say that they were in the fridge downstairs. “At the store,” Tyler replied. Toby then had to explain that he had to pick something that was already in the house. They ended up eating Raman Noodles (Tyler’s pick.) 🙂 Meanwhile Rusty and I had dinner at Wendy’s. With the $10.00  Rusty had to buy dinner for the two of us he decided that he wanted to buy dinner off the dollar menu thus leaving just enough to get an icecream cone at Handle’s when we were done shopping. On our way home we stopped and bought an icecream for Rusty and a pumpkin milkshake for me. ( I brought one home for Toby as well.)

Date night

Date night

When we arrived home I put our shakes in the freezer for us to enjoys after unpacking groceries, evening devotionals, and tuck-ins. Just when I thought my day was done and I was off the clock Tyler came running in to tell me “one last thing”, hitting the milkshake cup and sending it flying. Orange icecream splattered in every direction. It was like the world was moving in slow motion as I watched icecream hit the wall, and the floor, and the furniture. Tyler’s hands went up to his mouth as he watched wide-eyed. After re-tucking in Tyler and scrubbing orange goop off of EVERYTHING with Toby’s help, it was time for bed…

“Goodnight pillow, goodnight wall, tomorrow morning I’ll scrub you all..”