Monday, February 13, 2012

Just a regular Friday

Did you see the comments on my last post? I have been reading Lynnette's blog, Dancing Again , for several years now. I asked her to check out my last post and give me some feedback and she did! Not only that, but she posted a link to it on her facebook page as well. I was so honored that she took the time to read my post and share it with her readers as well. Follow the link above and check out her blog. She has an amazing story! Did you know she also has a new book getting ready to come out? I can't wait to read it!

This year, we have been schooling only 4 days a week because Daniel's days off have been Thursday and Friday. We typically have school as usual on Thursday and then take Friday off for "Fun Day Friday." Daniel's schedule is changing though, so this week our family day was Thursday. Friday we were back to school. Here's a peek at some of what we were up to on Friday.

I put off getting Dakota's new science book until after Christmas. I had been looking for an inexpensive used copy online, but wasn't ever able to find one for much less than the cost of just buying it new. So, when we went to Tulsa for my birthday in January, I picked up a copy of Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science at Mardel. Dakota is really enjoying it. The only problem we've had with it is that I can't seem to read the supply lists for the experiments very well. I try to read ahead and pick up all the week's supplies when I do my grocery shopping, but somehow I always overlook something. I'm working on it, though. On Friday, Dakota worked on catching up on a couple of her experiments since I (finally) had all the supplies on hand.

Doesn't she look very studious in this picture? (Note to self-have Dakota clean off the counter before taking blog pictures of her doing science experiments)

See the battery with the two wires leading into that bowl of water (and some other stuff)? Made me just a tiny bit nervous. But it was fine.

If you look closely, you can see tiny bubbles coming from the ends of the wire in the bowl.

After a few minutes, this is what the water looked like. Pretty cool! And look at the ends of the wires. They were the same color when she started. I love fun science experiments like this!

I found the idea for this game on Pinterest (where else?). It came from Shari Sloane at . For some reason, I couldn't figure out how to print her game board, so I made my own version. You can make one pretty easily on Microsoft Word.

Once you print your board, you need some beans (or something to cover the spaces on the board) and two dice. The players take turns rolling the dice, adding the numbers, and removing a bean until all the beans are removed (or until each player has gone 20 times, etc). Another option is to have a board for each player and they take turns rolling and removing a bean from their own board. Whoever clears their board first is the winner.
Something we learned from this first time to play is that it takes a loooooong time to clear the board if you cover all the spaces. We played again today and only covered 25 of the spaces. MUCH faster. This game was great for older kids too. Cheyenne didn't play, but she watched us and it gave us a chance to talk about probability and why it was easier to clear the numbers in the middle than the ones on the ends.

If you have a child (surely I'm not the only one) who tends to throw the dice so hard they end up all the way across the table or on the floor, here is my solution to the problem. We have all sorts of plastic lids around and they are perfect for giving kids a target for their dice. It's also great for reducing the noise!
While I was working on math with Landon, the girls were doing independent work. Here's Sierra working on an addition facts page.
(Yes, those are her pajamas. Homeschool's fun like that! Dakota was leaving for a youth conference Friday afternoon. Sierra decided to do her schoolwork first and get it out of the way and then get dressed)

One way that I have the kids practice their memory verse for the week is to cut it apart and then glue the words in order on another piece of paper. For Landon and Sierra, I print them off on the computer.
The older girls write theirs themselves, then cut them apart and glue them on construction paper.
Another thing I do for Sierra and Landon is to make a puzzle for each verse. I write the verse on a sentence strip (from the Dollar store-yea!) and cut it apart. The puzzle stays in their work basket and they put it together several times during the week. This has been great not only for helping them memorize the verse, but also for learning sight words. The first few words Landon learned (the, God, is) came from his memory verses.
After lunch, it was science time. We've been learning about the sun in our Exploring Creation with Astronomy book (also by Apologia). Our final project for the sun chapter was to make a pinhole viewing box for looking at the sun. We all took turns and helped put it together.
We went outside to try it out, but the sun decided to hide behind some clouds. So, instead, we tested it on the lightbulb in the kitchen. Not quite as impressive, but we got the idea. We have our box in a safe place waiting for a nice, sunny day to take it outside.
This week, we are beginning the chapter on Mercury in Science and learning about Noah and the flood, the ice age, and dinosaurs in history. We also have a Valentine's Day party with our homeschool group on Tuesday. It's gonna be a fun week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What I learned at church last Sunday

I'm thinking that I'd like to make this a regular feature on my blog. It really helps me go a little deeper into the message and think about ways it applies to my life. Maybe we could make it a little blog hop...something for me to think about. Let me know if you'd be interested.

This Sunday, our lead pastor was away at our new campus and our associate pastor filled in for him. I'll admit, that when the pastor is away, I sometimes feel myself "check out" a little during the message, but not this week. Pastor K's message was so good! It was an amazing service!

The main scripture for the message on Sunday was Matthew 13:16-17

"But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

Pastor K talked about how we, as believers, are blessed because of the things we have seen God do and things we have heard that God has done. Things like God healing the sick, God stepping into someone's life and turning it around, God blessing our finances when we choose to give, or God restoring a marriage that had been broken.

As I listened to the message, I thought about the ways I have been blessed by what I have seen God do. I thought of some times when we have had a financial need and God has met it in an unexpected way. I thought about jobs that have come our way because God has supplied them.
But the main thing that I thought about is how I have been blessed when I personally experienced God's peace in my life in situations that we anything but peaceful.

I've heard the Philippians 4:7 quoted many times,

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
There have been several times in my life that I have felt the powerful peace of God-a good friend died in a car accident when I was 19, when we lost my dad, and when we decided to move here with no job and no home, not knowing what the future would hold-I have felt God's peace.

During the service, my mind kept going back to a time when I had felt that peace that I haven't really shared about before. It happened on the day that I was taken by helicopter to the heart hospital with "bilateral pulmonary embolism", or multiple blood clots in both lungs.

I had been to the ER the night before with a racing pulse and difficulty breathing. My blood pressure and blood sugar were also through the roof. The doctor at the ER said the my high blood sugar was causing the other symptoms and didn't look into it any further. He gave me an insulin shot and sent me on my way with orders to make an appointment with my doctor at home on Monday (this was a Saturday night).

Sunday morning, I continued to get worse so back we went to the ER. After a chest X-ray, blood work, and a CAT scan we were left to wait for an answer. The doctor had come in once and said that she felt I had pneumonia but was waiting for test results to confirm it.

Finally, after a long time, the doctor came in and asked a question I wasn't expecting.
She said, "How do you feel about helicopters?"

I don't remember a lot about the time between being told I was going to be "life flighted" to the heart hospital and when the crew came to pick me up. I know it was quite a while and that they were delayed from the original time we thought they were coming. I remember that the wind was blowing and hearing that there was only one crew flying that day. I remember that I got a new IV and the male nurse that was putting in my IV was arguing that I didn't really need it, which made me a little nervous. There's something a bit scary about an angry nurse starting an IV on you (although I must say that he was the most knowledgeable nurse taking care of me that day and I was blessed he was there to talk me through what was going to happen.).

When the crew arrived, they came in and started asking me a bunch of questions. They actually asked me the exact same set of questions twice. One guy was standing next to me asking me questions and writing things down. Another guy was hooking up equipment, talking with nurses, etc and would ask me the same question about 10 seconds later.

Once they got me all hooked up to their machines and loaded onto the gurney (that's a weird word, but that's what it was) for the helicopter, they wheeled me out of the room and into the hall to make our way out to the waiting helicopter. It was the weirdest thing-every few feet all the way out, there were security guards along the hall and once we were outside, there were several more lining the sidewalk to the helicopter. It was a strange feeling having all those people watching me being wheeled away.

The helicopter crew (are they paramedics or is there another name for them? I don't know.) got me loaded up and then climbed in. They put a helmet on me that had a speaker so they could talk to me and a microphone in case I needed to talk to them. The pilot started the motor and off we went.

If you've never ridden in a helicopter, the best way I can describe the feeling is that it's like being on a really tall ferris wheel. It kind of rocks side to side as you lift off the ground. I thought I might be scared, but it was actually a pretty cool experience (not that I want to do it again). The only thing I didn't really care for was that I was right in the very front of the helicopter, which was made of glass. The only option I had if I didn't want to see what was happening outside was to close my eyes, so I did.

I rode with my eyes closed for a while trying not to think about what was going on. I knew if I let myself think too much that I would lose it. But trying not to think about something is a sure way to make yourself do just that, so I started to get a little lot nervous.

Before we left the ER, I had been told there was a med they could give me if I got panicky. I hadn't felt I needed it then but still had the option if I needed it after we got in the air. After about 20 minutes in the air, I was starting to think I needed it. I was feeling overwhelmed and afraid. My husband was out of town and I was worried about  him driving back. I was worried about my kids being taken care of, and I was afraid of what was going to happen to me. The reality was setting in of just how sick I was to warrant a helicopter flight to another hospital. I opened my eyes, ready to ask for something to calm my nerves.

When I looked out, we were just approaching a river (I think it was the North Canadian). I wish I had words to describe the view. It was breathtakingly beautiful! The way the river and it's banks snaked through the trees and the sun reflected off the water was so pretty. On the other side of the river, the blue sky touched the tops of the trees. It was view of creation that I hadn't seen before. As I took it in, this song immediately came to my mind.

I could hear the music in my mind almost as clearly as if someone had turned on the radio and as I "listened" to the song, I felt a peace fill that helicopter that was so strong you could almost touch it. It was an amazing feeling!

That peace stayed with me through the rest of the ride, being transported by ambulance from the helicopter to the ER of the heart hospital (nearly a whole block-ha!), and being admitted to the ER alone because my family hadn't made it there yet.

I was truly blessed that day by what I saw and by the song that I had heard! Even today, when I hear that song I close my eyes, see that beautiful view in my memory, and feel that sense of peace fill my heart. God is so good!

How has God blessed you by what you've seen and what you've heard?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our December #4-Church Christmas program

This year I had three kiddos in the Church Christmas program. Cheyenne had a speaking part and Sierra and Landon were in the choir. They started practicing in November and it paid off. This was one of the best kids' Christmas programs I have ever seen!

The night of the program, they were pretty excited, as you can tell.

Cheyenne got to wear a headset mic and thought she was pretty cool.
The play was about a group of kids who were going to throw birthday party for Jesus and wanted to invite their whole town. They went to see a TV news reporter who thought it was silly. In the end, he comes to report on their party and ends up accepting Jesus. It was so sweet!

Cheyenne played the part of the little girl who kept track of how many "RSVP's" they got for their party.

Landon and Sierra did a great job in the choir! We practiced those songs until I could hear them in my sleep, but it was worth it because they knew every word.
To be honest, I didn't think Landon would last through the whole program. I expected him to come down off the stage or to get upset after a few songs. I completely underestimated him. He did such a great job! I was very proud of him!

Sierra is a lot like her mom in that she does not like the spotlight. She was so nervous. A few minutes into the program, I noticed she was holding this little girl's hand. She kept holding on almost the whole time. The little girl let go for a minute and Sierra grabbed the bottom of the little girl's dress. Toward the end of the program, I saw her whisper to herself, "I'm okay." I'm so proud that she stuck it out, though.
Cheyenne got to sing her first "solo" too. She sounded great!

Cheyenne also had the part of Mary near the end of the program. She took the part very seriously.
During this part of the program one of the little girls Sierra's age sang "Happy Birthday, Jesus." She did a beautiful job! I had already heard her sing it in practice but hearing it during the program was so powerful! It brought tears to my eyes! I know her mom was so proud of her!

The last song was the kids' favorite because it had actions. Can you tell Landon's enjoying it?
All the kids did such a great job. After the program, they had ice cream sundaes. The perfect way to celebrate their hard work.

I can't wait to see their program next year!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A girl, a guitar, and another lost tooth (or two)

Within the last 6 months or so, our kids have started receiving allowance. It's been interesting to see their different personalities when it comes to money. The older two are asked to tithe on what they receive because they get more. We don't check to make sure they do it because it's ultimately between them and God, but so far they have been pretty responsible for getting their 10% to church and have done so willingly.

The rest of their money is theirs to pretty much spend how they want. So, when they see something on TV or in the store they think they must have, I just say, "If that's what you want to spend your money on..."It's amazing that suddenly those things don't seem quite so cool anymore when it's their money being spent.

Dakota is the biggest saver. She hardly spends any of her money at all. She has a goal of buying herself a new laptop and she's pretty focused on it. But, she is also very generous with her money. Dakota gave money to Cheyenne and Sierra for their birthdays. She also bought her own ticket to see the David Crowder band in concert with the youth group.

Sierra is a window shopper. She gets this from me. Sierra loves to look at things in the store and ooh and aah over them, but doesn't actually buy anything. She'll be looking at something at the store and I'll say, "well, you have money if you want to buy it" She'll say, "I know," and put it back on the shelf.

Landon is like Dakota in that he is generous with his money. He's always trying to give it to someone. Last week, he went to bed and forgot to put his tooth under his pillow, so I did it for him. The next morning, he brought his tooth fairy money to me and said I should keep it since I'm the one that put the tooth under his pillow. He will spend it on something he wants, though.

Cheyenne is a spender. She can hardly stand to have money and not spend it on something. She's always asking if we can take her money and go to Wal-Mart. My answer is always, "When you know what you want, we'll take your money and go get it." Mostly, this is because I HATE walking up and down the toys aisles for hours waiting for them to pick something and because I can't stand to see them buy something they don't really want just because they want to spend their money. But also, I want her to learn to save.

Cheyenne got a pretty good lesson in the value of saving your money this week. She decided a couple of weeks ago that she wanted a guitar. She and Daniel have been researching them on the computer and looking for used ones on Craig's List. They had found one she liked that was in Tulsa, so Daniel sent an e-mail to the seller hoping we could check it out while we were there on Thursday. So, after we left Chuck E Cheese, we went guitar shopping.

The seller from Craig's list never called us back that day, but it worked out because she found a pretty good deal on a brand new one at the music store. It came with everything she needs to get started-guitar, strap, amp, bag, stand, and a DVD with some basic instruction. She was pretty excited!

When we stopped at McDonald's for dinner, she said she couldn't wait to get home to play her guitar. I told her that she didn't get a guitar and she had just dreamed it. She said, "No, I didn't, because I've already pinched myself to make sure." It was so cute!

As soon as we got home, she had it out of the box and ready to go. She played it for a little while, then Daniel showed her a thing or two.
She let everyone have a turn, but Landon and Sierra could only play it if they were sitting down on the couch. It's her baby!
After we finished Sierra's birthday cake, everyone else went off to do their own thing while she played her guitar some more. I was sitting at the computer and noticed that it got very quiet in the living room. I looked over and Cheyenne was sitting on the couch with the guitar on its stand and she was just staring at it. I could tell by the look on her face that she was dreaming of being in a band someday. Our church is just starting up a 5th and 6th grade band, so maybe after a little practice, her dream will come true!

Now for an update on Mr. Gappy...
Just a few days after he lost his top front tooth, he was eating a piece of cheese for lunch when he jumped up and started yelling, "Somebody get some salt water ready! Somebody get some salt water ready!" Apparently, his tooth on the bottom next to his front tooth was looser than I realized. That made two teeth in a week. I was pretty impressed!

On the way home from Tulsa on Thursday, he had a package of sweet tarts. He said, "Look, I'm a video game and this is my token," then he pushed the sweet tart through the gap in his teeth. He cracks me up!

Then yesterday, I was sitting at the computer (shocking, I know) and the kids were "cleaning" their rooms. He came running out of his room carrying a toy truck and telling me to "get the salt water ready" (it's what we use to rinse their mouths with they lose a tooth.) and handed me his other front tooth. He said it just "jumped out and landed in his truck."

If you're counting, that's three teeth in 11 days! Too many more and he'll have to drink his meals through a straw!

He has one more loose tooth that I know of, the bottom one on the other side of his front teeth. I wonder, how long before that one "jumps out" too?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My baby girl is 8! How'd that happen?

It's hard to believe it was 8 years ago that this sweet little baby came into the world.
She was a happy, content baby from day one.
Nearly everyone who meets her ends up calling her "smiley", especially Pops. Can you imagine why?

First thing this morning when Sierra woke up, Cheyenne made sure the birthday princess had her tiara on.
We had a special birthday breakfast of chocolate chip muffins and sausage. This girl loves chocolate (as you'll see in a little while)!
We stopped doing birthday parties with friends a couple of years ago. Instead, we all go out and do something fun together as a family. Sierra's choice this year, again, was Chuck E Cheese. The kids love it there!
Here's a little secret if you're going to take your kids to Chuck E Cheese. When they open, there are tickets and tokens spread throughout the game area that the kids can pick up, so it pays to be there early. We got there around 11 and were the first ones there. The kids had over 300 tickets and at least 10 tokens before we even started.

I really think we need to get one of these at home. It's a giant hamster wheel! Dakota set the high score on this today!
The best part of Chuck E Cheese is the games, of course.

After we left Chuck E Cheese, we went guitar shopping. Cheyenne has been wanting a guitar for a while and finally saved enough money to get one. More on that in another post.
Then, it was time to head home. On the way, we stopped at McDonald's for dinner. They had these fun Ronald McDonald smiles and I couldn't resist getting the kids' pictures with them.

And this is my most favorite picture I took all day. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. In fact, I printed it off and have it on the fridge!
When we got home, it was birthday cake time! Sierra's requested cake was a quadruple chocolate ice cream cake. It was a two-layer chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream between the layers. We covered it with cool-whip mixed with Nesquik and then added chocolate chips to the top. I told you the girl likes chocolate!

I love shopping for gifts for Sierra because she truly loves everything she gets. She was so excited about this hair stuff! She always makes you feel like you got her just what she wanted.
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All of the kids are going to be getting these Tae Kwon Do hoodies for their birthdays (Cheyenne was the first to get hers last month). Grandma P puts their TKD nicknames on the back. I love them!

As a surprise, Dakota slipped some cash in the pocket for her. It was so sweet and Sierra was really excited to find it.
Today was a really fun day!
Happy birthday Sierra!