Its a special day for us today. Celebrating one turning 10 and a gotcha day! A day to reflect on what God has done for our family. Honestly, I do not have the time to blog much these days. 4 kids keep me busy! Here is an updated pic of our family.
6 years ago today one of the sweet little boys came into our lives! He weighed 8lbs 8oz and was the cutest little thing I had ever seen! He was our first born and is SO special. He has the biggest and sweetest heart that I have ever seen on a boy.
I have to share one story that sticks in my head that shows his big heart. One day Anslee was riding her 4-Wheeler at my mom's house and we told her to go park it. We park them in the garage and to get back to the house you have to cross the gravel drive. Bowen ran up to the garage and put his tennis shoes on Anslee so she didn't have to cross the gravel in bare feet. Such a sweet heart.
Bowen is very quiet around new people but warms up quickly. Every Sunday school teacher he has ever had just falls in love with him b/c he is so well behaved and sweet. Not your typical boy. (Until he gets home!) He sits back and quietly observes everyone. He is very perceptive and is one smart little boy!
September 15th is also special to our family because it is our "Gotcha Day" for Nile. He was 3.5 months old and also weighed 8lbs and 8oz. How ironic is that? That day forever changed my life. I instantly fell in love with him-the moment they placed him in my arms I knew he was mine! Nile is different than our other two. He is loud, a chatter box and doesn't meet a stranger. Nile is rough and tumble and often beats up on Bowen. Bowen is just too gentle and sweet to fight back.
One thing that I am learning is that teaching my kids is so natural. Before this year I never intentionally sat down and had a formal lesson to teach my kids all that they now know. They can speak in full sentences, know their alphabet, their colors, shapes, etc without me sitting down and teaching them. I have to remind myself of this daily! I try to teach them naturally through reading good books, cooking together, playing games or just talking to them. I now understand that homeschooling is more of a lifestyle than a isolated activity. I know what I want my children to learn and I have about 13 hours a day to teach them. We may sit down for 20 minutes and do what they call "school" but they are learning all day and night whether they know it or not. They LOVE to read, but don't know that the hours we sit and read together is our "school" or when we go outside and draw with chalk or hang out at the creek that is "school" or when we bake a chocolate cake together that is "school" or when we go to the grocery that is "school" or when we are playing Alphabet GO FISH that is "school".
Here is a glimpse of the excitement of the week.
A raccoon that came to visit.
The kids loved this!
Can you say arranged marriage? You know they do that in Ethiopia!
School on the back deck
Yes, he is Clay's child.
The constant battle....
Cute conversations I overheard this week: Nile: "Lets play football, Bowen." Bowen: "No, you said earlier you didn't want to play." Nile: "I change my mind, Bowen."
HOW STINKIN' SMART IS THIS CHILD! Cannot believe some of the things he says.
Later, Nile picks up a marker in the office and looks at me and says, "I know better than that Momma." LOL.
Love, love, love that kid! How could this face not brighten your day! Can't imagine our family without him!
This week was our first week of homeschooling. The kids learned lots and I was so excited that they had a blast. We are just starting out and I am figuring a lot out as we go. I am starting this year with a pre-planned curriculum called "My Father's World". I chose it because our over all philosophies of education lined up. I lean more towards a literature based/relaxed approach but was a little nervous to do my own thing this first year. I am not into a high pressure, my kids will win the next spelling bee kind of approach. If my children leave my house able to read their bibles and are sold out for Jesus, I will be one happy momma!
We started our week off at the library collecting as many "living" books as possible. We spent lots of time reading books on the couch. My voice was gone by the end of the day. Here were some of our favorites:
This is a must read chapter book that Bowen has loved this week. Bowen asked to read it so much that Nile has been walking around saying, "Mom, I want to read my chapter book." Love it!
One lady that I have admired and loved her philosophies on parenting, media, education and nutrition is Carol Joy Seid.
If you can make it to one of her seminars I would HIGHLY recommend it. She is coming to our area soon to do her second session mainly focusing on teaching older children. She will probably be back next year to teach the one dealing with younger children, which I attended a year ago. I learned so much and made many changes to the way I parent. You can now order her sessions on CD here. This week I found an interview online of Carol. Its is wonderful. Click here and click on the right "listen to Carol". It is a great use of 25 minutes!! It will bless you as a mom and if you can get your husband to listen, she talks also to dads.
Here are some things we have been working on this week:
Yep, how to do dishes! Give me another 6 months and this mommy will be chore free ;)
Next week we will be focusing on: How to give a good massage 101.
"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands."
Well, my blogging time has been cut a ton and this momma is very busy! 6 months ago we stopped letting our kids watch any TV. We cut off our cable and we are so glad that we did. Although, it was hard. I felt like I lost a babysitter. TV time did allow me to get much more done during the day. Although, I stay at home to nurture my children. I do not stay home to have a perfectly clean house or to have time to blog daily.
I do want to update you on some excitement around our home. After picking up Nile in Ethiopia my return to the US was difficult. My heart was still in Ethiopia. I soon began to plan our next trip back which the Lord closed doors to. I was torn between having my children here to look after and being there ministering to those precious people I loved so much. I began to pray that God would somehow allow the two to merge. I didn't know if this would mean us moving to Ethiopia or adopting more children from there but I knew that God had a plan.
My wonderful mother watches my children once a week for me. I usually run errands, grocery shop, clean house and occasionally shower. :) Well, I just kept feeling like that was not going to be just my day anymore it was going to be the Lord's. So I prayed for months about what to do. God kept bringing "World Relief" and their ministry to my attention. I was fearful at first to work with refugees but I kept feeling like God was leading me that way. I was feeling led to step out of my comfort zone, being convicted by God's word. I finally went to a meeting and found out that they often had families from an Ethiopian refugee camp. I had no idea! I began to get very excited about the thought of being connected with that community here. Several weeks later I was matched with a family.
We met the first time with a translator but every other time it is just us and our new friends. It has truly been one of the more rewarding experience in my life. I have only a few details about their history but I know that it is a story of heartache and loss. Our government brings them into the U.S. and supports them for a few months. Can you imagine being dropped off in a country where you didn't know anyone or their language? Life continues to be hard for them here. Keep them in your prayers, along with all of the other refugees in the world. If you are interested in volunteering contact your local World Relief.
On another note Nile has almost been home a year and a half! I cannot believe it has been that long. He is now 20 months old and is a absolute doll! He has started to talk a lot lately. He has been our most active and strongest willed child yet. I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel though. Within the past couple of weeks our consistency with disciple has finally started to show some promising signs. I knew it worked well with the other 2 just much quicker :) He is Mr Personality and is always so happy. He is a momma's boy for sure and I eat it up!
Here is Nile and his newest friend Jonah. Aren't they just precious. Jonah and Nile were both born June 2009 in Ethiopia.