Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gotcha Days

Summer is an extremely celebratory time for our family.  In case you didn’t know, two of our children were adopted (not that I can always remember which ones!). For those of you unfamiliar with the term “Gotcha Day”, it is an adoption term that refers to the anniversary of the day that we first met and received our adoptive children.  Of course in today’s culture any word or term can be offensive, and this one is no exception.  This day can also be referred to as: Family Day, Adoption Day…whatever you prefer.

Our family prefers Gotcha Day.  We celebrate this day.  Although our daughters were adopted 3 years apart, their “Gotcha Days” are only 2 weeks apart. 

love at first siteOur first glimpse of The Queen on our Gotcha Day in 2005.

Hey Baby 

Holding The Queen for the first time!

Pic049

Getting to know each other.

IMG_0987 \

The Queen today.

Arrival

Our first glimpse of The Princess in 2008.

DSCN0219

Hoping to hold her in my arms.

DSCN0233

Getting to know all of us.

IMG_1029

The Princess today.

There is much to celebrate. 

Starting with preparations for the celebration….

IMG_1100

starting with a hot pink, pink crystal, Funfetti cake…

IMG_1104

for The Princess!

IMG_1147

And an electric blue, strawberry cake…

IMG_1148

for The Queen.

The both received a special gift this year.  A special necklace.

DSCN8044

Special necklaces with their birth cities, and the character for “love.”

If you are interested in a special necklace such as these, you may find them here.

Happy Gotcha Day(s) to The Queen and The Princess!

We love you so much and know what a gift you are to us.

Two children born to two different women call me Mama. The depth of the tragedy and magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me.

(I have modified this quote by Joy Landers.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 – 2014 Curriculum Planning

Can you believe that it is July already?  Me neither.

This marks the end of my 4th year homeschooling.  And let me tell you I have learned a lot in those 4 years!  We have finally gotten into a pretty good groove this year.  I have three that I homeschool, and it takes some getting used to when you start adding addition children into the daily mix.

We pretty much homeschool year around.  I know lots of people like to take the summer off, and that is great!  But for our family, homeschooling year round seems to work best for many reasons.  First, we can take a leisurely approach to getting through our coursework. Second, it is HOT in southeastern NC in the summer!  No one wants to go outside for any length of time, unless it is to the beach or pool.  So, if you’re gonna hang around inside the house, you might as well make good use of some of that time.  And there is still plenty of time in the day for that!  Third, we don’t spend much time reviewing previously learned concepts as we are continuously moving forward. 

So, at this point I usually start planning for the coming school year.  Again, this is probably the best year we have had as I have discovered some things that help us all stay on track and keep things moving smoothly.

We pretty much use Accelerated Christian Education School of Tomorrow (or A.C.E.) exclusively. As I have stated before, it works for us and our family dynamics.  It is a proven curriculum that has been around for about 40 years.  If you want to learn more about this curriculum, visit: The Curriculum Choice for their review.

With that said, planning is fairly easy.  So the first thing I need is a planning sheet.

DSCN8036

I came up with this simple table and I fill it in as I make my decisions.  It also helps me as I can note where I may already have an item.

DSCN8037

I make one up for each child because as we all know, each child’s needs are different!

DSCN8038

I can handwrite the info or enter  the info on the computer.  The computer is better for me as I am always printing things and then losing them!  There are a few non-A.C.E. curricula that we use.  It also allows me to plan-budget for the school year.  As you know, homeschoolers do not receive any kind of Federal or State funding (thank goodness!).  I can make purchases throughout the summer or as far ahead as I need to offset the overall cost to our family budget.

This is how the 2013 – 2014 school year is looking so far:

DSCN8027The Princess 2nd Grade

Math:   A.C.E. Math PACEs 1016 – 1024* (4th)

English:  A.C.E. English PACEs 1013 – 1024

Spelling:  A.C.E. Word Building PACEs 1013 – 1024 and/or  All About Spelling Level 1

Literature:  A.C.E. Creative Writ/Lit PACEs 1013 – 1024

Handwriting:  Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power Plus Cursive 2nd Grade (The Princess wants to write in cursive so badly.  She is trying without any formal lessons, so I thought this would be a good mix).

Science:  A.C.E. Science PACEs 1013 – 1024 (4th)

Social Studies:  A.C.E. Social Studies PACEs 1013 – 1024 (4th)

Music:  Continue with violin lessons

Art:  Home Art Studio 2nd Grade

Bible:  AWANA, Ladybugs Bible Study group, just Mom and Me Having Tea Bible Study (6 weeks)

Foreign Language:  Local Chinese School

Keyboarding:  A.C. E. Readmaster Plus

 DSCN8028

The Queen 4th Grade

Math:   A.C.E. Math PACEs 1037 - 1048 (4th)

English:  A.C.E. English PACEs 1037 - 1048

Spelling:  A.C.E. Word Building PACEs 1037 - 1048 and/or  All About Spelling Level 1

Literature:  A.C.E. Creative Writ/Lit PACEs 1037 - 1048

Handwriting:  Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success 4th Grade

Science:  A.C.E. Science PACEs 1037 - 1048 (4th)

Social Studies:  A.C.E. Social Studies PACEs 1037 – 1048 (4th)

Art:  Home Art Studio 2nd Grade

Bible:  AWANA, Ladybugs Bible Study group, just Mom and Me Having Tea Bible Study (6 weeks)

Keyboarding:  A.C. E. Readmaster Plus

Sports:  Upward Soccer Spring 2014; (Horseback riding ?)

adam-guitarGodzilla 9th Grade

We are contemplating enrolling Godzilla into the school at our church.  I have not finalized any curricula for him since we are undecided. It is not that I don’t want to homeschool high school. He will continue with his guitar lessons for sure!  I love having my children home all day.  I love the relationships that they have built with each other.  I will be sad to not have Godzilla home (not to mention driving into town twice a day!).  It is just determining what is best for Godzilla. 

So, there it is.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It’s Finally Spring Y’all!

I don’t know where you live, but here in southeastern NC it has been an unusual spring.  In fact, spring really didn’t arrive until a few weeks ago.  Our temps are still below normal, but I will take it!

So what has been going on?

IMG_0959

Soccer season has come to an end.  It seems that the kids just start playing as a team the last few games, and then it is over!  The Queen loves soccer and is already anticipating next year’s soccer season.

IMG_0975 Mother’s Day came and I received some very interesting gifts this year.

IMG_0976

IMG_0978

I am honored to be their Mama.

IMG_0983

We went strawberry pickin’ with friends.

IMG_0985

And guess who got glasses!  Yes, The Princess needed eye glasses.  I think she did a great job picking out her frames.

IMG_0987

We also celebrated our “Referral” anniversary.  It is hard to believe that 8 years ago we all sat huddled around a computer screen waiting to see our first glimpse of The Queen.  By the way, I still get that look from her!

IMG_0996

We played tourists with the students of Pathways and toured the downtown area and river.

IMG_1011

IMG_1014

The girls have learned how to hula hoop!  They have been hula hooping with as many as 5 hoops at a time!

IMG_1021

Our first beach outing of the summer!  Wahoo!  See the pure joy on their faces!

IMG_1019

That’s more like it:)

IMG_1020

See, I told you the weather has been unusual.  That is a jacket under her life vest!

IMG_1023

Big Tuna trying to get a tan and not at the same time.

IMG_1025

I’m so thankful that Big Tuna still likes to hang out with us.

That is about it for now.  We are still schooling.  We probably will continue throughout the summer to a certain extent.  I am hoping there will be many family beach days ahead of us this summer!

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is such a bittersweet day for me. 

I first became a mother in June 1991 when I found out I was expecting my first born.  I don’t know the actual date, as I believe I became a mother upon conception.  On February 13, 1992 Big Tuna was born.  I was almost 33 years old at the time.  Who could have known how much love I would feel for this child?  I now understood what mothers everywhere knew. 

1Picture 006

This must be the kind of love that our Father feels for each of us because I would give my life for this child.

Picture 001

In time, we would decide to add another child to our family.  But, things did not proceed as easily as before.  I had my first miscarriage in December 1995.   And two more would follow. 

During this period of my life, I struggled with the loss of those precious children.  I felt God had abandoned me.  I was mad with God.  I questioned God.  I couldn’t understand why He would allow this to happen when we wanted another child so badly.  I looked into domestic adoption, but was so discouraged by everything.  All I wanted was another child to fit into our family.  A child that looked like our family.

I finally reached a point in May of 1998 where I told God, “WHATEVER!”  “Whatever You want, just let me know so I can have peace.  If we are to have no more children, then I will be happy/content with the one we have.  If we are to adopt, then let us know.  If we are to continue trying, just let us know because I am so done with trying to figure it out!”

Picture

On January 31, 1999, at the age of 39, I gave birth to Godzilla.  This child broke the mold and I taught me that everything I thought I knew about being a mother did not apply to him!

022_22

Now that God and I had worked through some issues..I could feel His calling.  I tried to ignore it.  I felt we were to have more children, but after all of the miscarriages and now at the age of 42, I did not want to go through it again.  But, God has a way (and I learned a sense of humor).

One day I took both the boys to the dentist.  As I was getting out of the car, another family was getting out of their vehicle.  There was a mother, 2 boys (like mine), and a little Chinese girl.  We all went in the dentist’s office at the same time.  I was sitting in the waiting room reading a book to little Godzilla, when the little Chinese girl came over an sat down next to me and handed me a book.  I looked at her mother who was busy reading a magazine.  So there I sat with a child on both sides of me, reading a story.  That is when God spoke to my heart and said, “This is what I want you to do.” “WHAT???”

I could not stop thinking about what I felt God was asking me/us to do.  To make a long story short, it wasn’t easy peasy because God’s hand was in it.  You see, I had what we refer to in the adoption community, a Reluctant Husband (or RH).  God may have spoken to me, but apparently not to Captain Daddy.  But, eventually, God did speak to Captain Daddy…

Hey Baby

…and on July 11, 2005 this precious child was placed into my arms.

And who would have thought that on June 29, 2008…

Arrival

this brave little girl would walk into my arms.

DSCN7857

These two precious girls, born to different mothers, call me “Mama.”  The depth of the tragedy and magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me. 

I cannot help but think of their birthmothers, ayis, and foster mother on this day. 

DSCN7702

These are my children.  Including CL who was grafted into our family when he was 8 years old.  I love them fiercely.

I am missing my own sweet Mama, and my sweet Mother-in-love on this day. 

Yes, this is one of the most bittersweet days of the year.

DSCN7703

Happy Mother’s Day y’all!

Monday, April 29, 2013

I Guess it is Time for an Update

I am not doing too great of a job keeping this blog updated.  So I guess I will have to bite off a big chunk to catch it up to date.

Let’s see… We are getting into the home stretch of our homeschool year.  I guess.  We pretty much school year round with some breaks.  We have continued to use the ACE curriculum, and will continue with it next year.  This curriculum has been around for 40 years, is Christian-based, no frills, tried and true.  Another positive for this curriculum is that it is NOT Common Core aligned nor will it ever be.  It gets the job done.

Some days are good…

IMG_0948

…and other’s not so good.

60817_4665812115964_606945816_n

Art days are the best!

adam-guitar

And music days….

IMG_0869

IMG_0890

And soccer days….

IMG_0930

And AWANA crazy hair days….

IMG_0904

And college days…

IMG_0859

And Ladybugs Bible Study days…

395155_4611143069272_1493997143_n

Car schooling days…

IMG_0947

The teacher even sometimes gets flowers from her students days…

IMG_0898

And at the end of school days.