Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NO Pencils Week

NO Pencils Week is off to a solid start.  It's an easy win for this homeschooling momma - outlaw pencils, and it's hard for the students to find fault with your plans :)

We are focusing on a deep clean and purge of the school porch.  And it feels so good to my low-clutter loving self! It's one of those "things must get worse before they get better scenarios", so don't be fooled by the photos!

NO Pencils week is headed for a big interruption - my birthday is tomorrow!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

figuring out those teeth

So yesterday we made a last minute decision to visit the dentist.  It's just been in recent years that we have had reliable, western-standard medical care in our city, and one of the perks is that this country is a lot more laid back about making appointments :)  Call in the morning, teeth cleaned that afternoon.

Only the little two boys, Matt and I needed cleanings.  But that can still make for a long wait.  Plan ahead for the win.

Also, that precious little smiling face right there in the red shirt... well, on this dental visit we confirmed that his mouth is a wreck.  sigh.

He is starting to loose baby teeth, so we did x-rays and he is indeed missing several adult teeth (of course he is... that section of his gum line never formed in utero so there was nowhere for the teeth buds to develop).  And now that he is loosing teeth he is needing a bone graft surgery, and after the surgery he will need some sort of dental bracing device to provide front teeth while he grows to maturity, and then some permanent false teeth.  In other words, that's a complicated grin you've been admiring in the photo above.

Good news is this boy has a Momma and a Daddy that are going to fight hard to get him what he needs when he needs it!

Also, he finally got his hands on the Bible we ordered as his reward for finishing reading the Beginners Bible.

This Bible had a complicated journey through Eastern Europe and several different hand-offs and just arrived in our city this weekend.  Now it's secure in his hot little hands, and he's feeling pretty good about that!

Friday, May 19, 2017

five days, five pictures

Another week in the record books.

This was a biggie!  Our last "real" week of homeschool for the year!  The girls finished 5th grade and Isaac finished 2nd!  Next week is No Pencils Week and we will clean out our school porch and gather all our important things-to-keep and put them in files and create mini portfolios of our work to take to their teachers for next fall and throw a few books out the window because it's just soooo very satisfying!

Isaac finished much of his school work last week and this week was very light for my little man.  He spent hours working on this lego creation.  and I mean H-O-U-R-S!

Kicking off the spring sports days at local school (I got these two photos from class chat groups).

I'm thinking there was a color-coded pom pom thing?!?

There is always lots to talk about on the playground (for the mamas, and the kiddos)

Home school happens in the ..... HOME!  The boys working on perler bead creations, Lydia with her head in her spelling book.  All three homeschooled kids have desks on the school porch, and they do the majority of their work there, but there is definitely a bit of migrating around the house too.  A change of scenery helps, if you can resist the distractions!

And now it's Friday night and Matt is on a late night flight home and we have NOTHING planned for tomorrow except for enjoying having our Daddy back at home!  yay!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mothers Day weekend

A little forced family fun on Saturday morning.... bike riding is better with friends!

Wow it was hot.

a traffic-stopping line of bikes crossing the intersection!

Sunday morning I was treated to breakfast in bed, hundreds of kisses (mostly from the little two who are in an exceptionally affectionate stage!) and then off to church.  We picked up sandwiches and enjoyed a sweet afternoon at the park before Matt left for the airport at 4.

Surrounded by my kiddos - and plenty of smiles!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

in a picture

A few glimpses of our last few days.

There's no way around it.  We are raising city kids.  sigh.  perks and drawbacks.  pros and cons.

Many hours listening to Daddy read The Fellowship of the Ring, and it's finished!  For history we're reading By the Great Horn Spoon and it is hilarious!  A great read-aloud to finish up our year.

Find My Butterfly.  He's got room to grow in spelling, but I'm feeling good about putting John Paul in 1st grade this fall!

It was a challenging morning for Luke, but there's nothing quite like a little audio book listening to help smooth things over.  (He's deep into many hours of Magic Tree House audio, and I'm hopeful this will be one great way to pass the hours on the airplane!)

And for the afternoon, boys and their dogs, ready to read.  I managed to squeeze in there and we got in some great stories.  The boys recent favorites are Junk Day on Juniper Street and A Sick Day for Amos McGee (both recent library selections).

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


You just never know what the 5-6pm hour is going to bring ;)

Yesterday four of the kids were pretending to be dogs, with Julianna as the owner.  They did all kinds of tricks (roll over, fetch, play dead).  And then, apparently, everyone got thirsty.

What?!?!  I was busy cooking and not paying much attention but this little scene did grab my attention.

These guys can be pretty ridiculous, but they are having fun together, so I'm just going to roll with it!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Matt's triathlon (proud wife alert!)

So this spring Matt started training for a triathlon.  And while there were days that I thought training plus a bit of crazy work pace might be a bit too much, his big grins when he returned home after work outs and most everything about his demeanor while he was training convinced me that this was a perfect fit for him, and for our family.

In February he swam in Thailand, in March he ran in Africa, in April he changed too many bike flats (and finally discovered the problem just a few weeks ago) and then yesterday afternoon, he competed!

1.5 km in the lake.

We couldn't see anything but lots of splashing - ha!  And because of the way barriers were erected to protect the athletes and keep spectators out (the race was super well run - way beyond my expectations!) We opted to miss his swim-to-bike transition and catch him entering the first lap of the bike.

There he is!  Our daddy!  We camped here for a while and watched competitors fly past.  We were with a few other foreign families and it was a fun picnic/cheering/kids run and play on the grass kind of set up where the time flew by (at least for those of us not biking - ha!)

Matt passed this spot several times, and they had cameras set up on the back side of the bike loop, and I managed to figure out when Matt would be on the big screen....

He passed people on that hill :)

After 40 km on the bike it was straight to transition.  We were so close to his spot we could holler at him the entire time!  It was so cool!

The transition area was always busy, and we knew Matt had a long 10km run ahead of him, so we just watched and watched.

Then we managed to scoot over right next to the finish line and (white kid privileges) even cross a barrier that other people (including white moms!) were not allowed to cross so the kids could get right up close to the finishers!

He was in the sixth wave of starters so his official time was 2:45:55.  Better than he hoped!  and top 1/3 of his age group :)

With his fan club minis

Still standing on two feet!

Team K.  We are trying to talk the big kids into trying a "starter" length tri next year.  maybe.... maybe....

Friday, May 5, 2017

little brother duty

Wednesday May 3rd.  

Isaac has a late afternoon soccer game at school, the girls have an evening finale for GEMS (their Bible club).  

Little brothers?  They will be tagging along, cheering and clapping and (mostly) waiting for the cookies on the rear table at GEMS.  ha!

Isaac is not a huge fan of local school.  But he does love to play soccer, and he gets to do a lot of it at school.  Whew.  otherwise I think we'd get a lot of going-to-school resistance from this guy.  

The game was a disappointing loss, but those blue skies didn't disappoint anyone!  

then home for a quick dinner and we re-connected with Matt and off to GEMS.

Lydia's class.

Julianna's class. 

I'm really thankful for GEMS and the teachers and the girls classmates.  Next fall we will be in AWANA in the States!  But the girls plan to re-join GEMS as soon as we return to Asia. 

and two more pictures from today: 

Even though our writing class is over we three mamas are still committed to spending late Friday morning and lunch together.  I love having "light" Fridays and I am so thankful for the fellowship and companionship (for me, and my kids!)

These sweethearts are my two favorite 2 year olds!  We love big smile selfies :)

And then late afternoon I ditched my previously planned dinner and decided to "just do pancakes" because I wasn't sure when Matt would be home and I had 6 kids to feed and isn't pancakes supposed to be quick and easy?!?  But why oh why is it such a mess-making activity?  Hmmmm.  I might have to take pancakes off my Easy list.  But we ate til our bellies were full and Matt was earlier than expected (!!) and now it's game night.

Julianna and Kayleigh unintentionally striking the same pose! ha! 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

so long April

Late afternoon on the last day of April and we were playing basketball.  This hoop hasn't gotten any shorter, but we sure have grown many many inches since we moved into this complex almost 4 years ago.  

Luke laughed so hard he could barely keep a solid grip on the ball.  Also, check out his shoes.  This is his preferred arrangement and he wears them on wrong feet almost all the time.  sigh

exactly.  tough stuff right there!

April was a bit of a doozy in some ways - with some long days and weeks, especially for Matt.  But it is also our best month weather wise and the sun shone and shone and shone (except for the days that it rained - but still! - mostly sunny!). There is nothing like some good solid sunshine to put a smile on a face and spring in a step, and it sure did that for me!

And now we turn to May.  We'll finish up school, get hot and sweaty and good and ready for the pool to open, and start to turn a bit of our attention towards our big transition back to the States for the fall semester.    

Friday, April 28, 2017

our WRITING celebration

This year was my first small group teaching gig, Isaac and two of his buddies in a little writing class.  I taught a curriculum I used a few years ago with the girls.  Mostly, I really enjoyed it.  But there were a few classes that left me thinking "at least we only do this once a week!"

These boys made SO MUCH progress!  I think that was probably my favorite part .... seeing their confidence and enthusiasm for writing grow.  I'm a firm believer in the "people like to do what they are good at, they even like to do what they *think* they are good at" kind of motivation.  So my biggest goal for the year was to convince these guys that not only could they write, but they were good at it!

Anyone who wants to be a good writer is going to have to practice a lot.  Hopefully, we will be back at this again with these same boys.  And I'm glad to have my feet wet in the 'teaching other people's children' category :).

For our final class we invited the dads and each read a story aloud for the group.  Older siblings (including my girls) read too because, Why Not?

And then we ate cupcakes.

Later that evening - it was date night!  We explored a gorgeous new park and walked for miles.  so restful

Not too bad for a Friday!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

oh these days

Three days after John Paul's stitches were removed I was back again, this time with Luke....

 for a foot x-ray.  He was climbing off the bar stool and it toppled, and his foot swelled and after three hours he was still in a lot of pain and the swelling was not going down.

But good news: no fracture! whew!  And I hope I'm done with little boy medical emergencies for a good long while!

Even with no fracture, he was not putting any pressure on his foot or walking at all, and the next day school was not an option.

I took this photo Tuesday morning at 10 am.  By this time I had...

1. listened to Julianna declare "I've never seen anything like this before in my life" - referring to a review page in her math book.  seriously?

2. worked alongside the little guys (minus immobile Luke) to clean up play doh (why is this such a mess-making activity??)

3. cleaned up a large tadpole spill (yes, much to my chagrin we are again raising tadpoles and yes, the entire bucket dumped, and yes, Isaac was crawling around on the pond-water-soaked floor picking up live tadpoles..... sigh)

4. coached Lydia through the tadpole crisis (it was her critters that dumped, and for a child who really detests pets of all shapes and sizes, she is remarkably attached to those tadpoles)

When these boys wanted to paint it took more than one deep breathe for me to squeeze out a YES.  ha!

Of course, every crazy hour is worth it.  But the calmer hours are a bit easier on this momma!

We finished early American History (Leif Ericsson through the Civil War) but I'm tacking a few more books on to the end.  I will miss this next fall, and I'm tentatively planning to jump back in to American History in the spring.

Home school is definitely on the down hill slope!  I can't believe we have another year under our belts!  We are days/weeks away from finishing several pieces of the curriculum .... it feels good to be wrapping up another school year.

Friday, April 21, 2017

stinky feet

These girls could write a book about life with little brothers!  We were *attempting* to sit together on the living room carpet and do our memory work.... Julianna commented on how one particular little brother's feet were stinky

and the next thing she knew, the other brothers jumped in on the action.

Who knew that "stinky feet" could be received as a compliment?!?!?

These five (not so) little people keep me laughing too.  So so grateful for stinky feet and morning verses and lots of laughs.