Monday, January 30, 2012

Things That Make You Say Aww

It is a matter of fact that there are some things in life that stop you in your tracks and make you say, "Awwww." Now what that is for you depends upon your personality, I believe. For me, its cats.

I saw our kitties cuddling today and couldn't help but say, "Awwww" and then proceed to video tape it since they are so stinking adorable.



Now, say it with me, "awwwwww."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heaviness of my Heart

Today I am sad.

I am sad for so many reasons.

I am sad because every single day babies are being killed before they take their first breath.

I am sad because so many teenagers are having babies without fathers while so many couples, who are unable to conceive, mourn for the children who will never be theirs.

I am sad because I see so many children in the world whose parents don't love them. So many children who will never know the unconditional love of our Father because their parents refuse to glorify/obey the Lord with their lives.

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A 7 year old child stood in line with her classmates, waiting to enter the classroom at the end of afternoon recess. Three children (two girls and one boy) closed in around her. The leader of the pack of children, a young girl, asked the quiet, shy child to hold her tongue between her fingers and say the word, "apple".

The shy child, feeling a rise of excitement in her soul from the attention of the "popular kids", did as instructed and smiled proudly. Finally! They talked to her! Maybe her days of loneliness in the 2nd grade classroom had finally come to an end!

The group of children laughed. The shy child laughed with them. It felt good to be included. Other children in the line took notice of the commotion and inquired as to what prompted the laughter. Something was explained and more children joined in the laughter, all looking at the shy child. She began to notice that they were laughing AT her, not with her.

It didn't take long for the teacher to walk up and ask what was going on. The popular girl, leader of the pack, informed the teacher of the shy child's sin. "She said a curse word and then laughed about it."

Tears began pouring down the child's cheeks. The teacher pulled her around the corner and gently asked her about it.

"But, but...but...I didn't...say...a bad word..." the child stammered through her tears. "They told me to say...'apple' while holding my tongue...and that is all...I said. Then they started laughing."

The wise teacher opened her arms to the child and comforted her, telling her she understood.

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I will never forget the day I said my first curse word. A part of my naivete and innocence was lost that day so long ago. On that day I learned what a real curse word was. I never knew before then. Bad words to me were "shut-up" or "idiot" which no child should ever, ever say. I didn't understand how "apple" could be a bad word.

Now I know.

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Life has not changed in the past 25 years. I work with 7 and 8 year old 2nd graders now and I see the same attitudes in them that I experienced first hand as a child. I see them in "Christian" settings but without hearts for God.

I am sad.

Young girls, much too young to fully understand, gyrate their hips singing "Look at me, I'm so sexy."

Young girls, wearing too much eye makeup and strutting around in high heels, make coy/sexy eyes at the boys. They shake their hair and bat their lashes and purse their lips at these boys. They whisper talk of sex with their girlfriends. They hang on the boys arms and claim them as their boyfriends.

I stare in amazement at these children. I think to myself that my own daughter is only one year younger than these girls and boys. She is not far off from this age. Next year. Next year!

SHE'S NOT READY! She is not ready to face this bombardment of sexualization. She is only six for crying out loud!

I just want to shake some parents and scream, "What are you doing?" It's out there. IT IS OUT THERE! Whether you want to admit it or not, your children are facing this sexualization in the world every single day. They are bombarded with it on the television, through books and yes, even through the children at school or church. Your child is not immune.

And yet, I see so many parents sending their young children out into the world, telling themselves "They will be okay. We are good parents. We pray with our children before they go to bed. We take them to church. We put them in a Christian school. It will be enough."

WAKE UP!

It is a battlefield out there. A very real and dangerous battlefield. Can you look me in the eye and honestly tell me that your 5 or 6 or 7 year old has the combat skills necessary to battle this evil adversary who wishes to destroy them? Is your child ready to go to battle for their innocence? Honestly?

My childhood introduction to curse words happened at a private, Christian school. I was 7 years old. I was a pastor's kid, raised in the church. I was not immune.

It is YOUR duty to raise your children. Please, parents! I beg of you, raise your children! Don't think the school system will do it. Don't think the Sunday School teachers or Awana leaders or Scout leaders or the babysitter or your parents will do it. God has appointed this task to YOU. You ALONE are responsible for the training of your children.

So train them!

It takes time.

It takes effort.

It takes hard, arduous work.

It takes great sacrifice.

But only you can do it. Only you, with the grace and strength the Lord gives. Please, for the sake of my daughter who doesn't know what all these sexual looks and moves mean, train your children to glorify the Lord with their lives.

My heart is heavy today. I am sad. I know God is sad too. I am praying. I am praying for every single parent I know. I am praying with tears streaming from my eyes and deep sadness in my heart. Please, please, please...train your precious children.

Friday, January 27, 2012

We're In!

Our adoption application has been APPROVED! I am so excited. Giddy, really. I know this is just one small step in the long process of adoption, but it feels so incredibly good. We have our foot in the door. More like our big toe...or the edge of our toenail...something is in the door anyways. The process has officially begun!

So, the next step is an application interview. I am not sure what that entails other than we will meet the coordinator for the older child adoption program and discuss information regarding the agency and the program details. We will also meet our social worker to receive the paperwork we need to complete for the homestudy process to begin.

I just have to say something.

WHEEEEEEEEEE! (with a high-pitched squeal in my voice)

There. Now that I got that out of my system...

I can't believe this is finally happening. We've been working on this for a few years. The timing has just been wrong so often. James deployed (twice) and we thought we were moving to England and a whole myriad of other "things" popped up that prevented us from taking the first step. I feel surreal...like it isn't really happening. It sort of reminds me of the feeling I had the day before Chloe was born. You've been waiting for this thrilling moment for a long time and you don't really know everything to expect but you know your life is about to change drastically.

Woah. I need to breathe. My heart is pounding. This is really happening!

Beginning of the Birthday Dress

Every year I sew Chloe a special dress for her birthday. This year I picked a pattern from my box and asked Chloe if she would like it. Normally I allow her to pick the pattern but I wanted something different this year.

I took her to the fabric store and told her she could pick one fabric that was her absolute favorite but preferably not pink. I then picked the two coordinating fabrics to use with it. Here is what we came up with.

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Chloe picked out the blue floral fabric. I chose the blue paisley and the polka dot to coordinate. Chloe, of course, approved my final decision with whoops of satisfaction.

I sat down this morning to cut out the dress. Someone came to help me.

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Snow is Chloe's kitty and she knows it. She also somehow knows when I am working on anything that belongs to Chloe and she needs to mark it with her scent. She would not leave me in peace to cut out this dress this morning. She rubbed her face over the entire surface of the fabric. Even while I was cutting the fabric, which proved to be somewhat of a nuisance.

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After repeated instances of calling her name, "Snow. Snow! Snoooooow... SNOW!" I finally asked Chloe to entice her onto the couch for a cuddle session so I could finish cutting the dress. It is done and ready to be sewn...just as soon as I finish sewing 13 Jedi Knight Robes.

The Jedi Robe

I laid the bolt of brown, cotton fabric onto the cutting table and the clerk asked, "How much?"

"24 yards, please," I promptly replied.

"24?" came the immediate response. I am certain she was just checking to make sure she heard me correctly.

"Yes ma'am. 24 yards."

She looked at the bolt of fabric, turned it over and looked at it again, a puzzled look on her face. Before proceeding to cut the fabric she just had to ask (I knew she would feel compelled to ask the obvious question hanging in the air),

"What are you making?"

"14 Jedi Knight robes," I answered.

So, she cut 24 yards of brown fabric and I set to work this afternoon cutting out Jedi Knight robes. Sadly, 24 yards was not enough for 14. I only managed to fit 10. (I budgeted for 2 yards per child when I actually needed 3. I will be heading back to buy more if all 14 children RSVP affirmative.)

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I sewed up my sample one to try on Chloe. Wow! I can't help but chuckle at the absolute cuteness of it. Can you just picture 14 of these little padwans running through my living room? This is going to be such a fun party!

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I need to get some rope to tie around the waist. Other than that, the first robe is finished. Only 13 more to go. Wooo Hooo!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tom Tommers Restaurant

This morning I visited a fantastic little restaurant. The food was so impeccably delicious that I thought I would share this restaurant with you all so you could visit in the future. I am sure the cook/owner of this restaurant would love to share her delicious entrees with you.

This restaurant does not have a sign above the front door so I did not know the name of it before I sat down. The waitress walked up to where I was sitting on the couch (Yes, you actually sit on a couch and dine from a coffee table. Unique, right?) and introduced herself.

"Hi. My name is Chloe and I will be your servant tonight."

Servant. I held back a chuckle. She was, after all, in complete earnest.

Chloe handed me the menu after informing me the name of the restaurant. Tom Tommers. (Next time I visit I will have to ask where the owner came up with the name.)

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I choose the mac and cheese and green beans (from the grownups menu). I was told that the mac and cheese was a little spicy but I opted to go for it anyways. I waited patiently while the cook prepared my food.

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Indeed, the mac and cheese appeared red because of the amount of spices used. They were absolutely scrumptious though. As were the green beans (which were cooked to perfection).

Now, Tom Tommers does not hand you a dessert menu. After the meal, the waitress (or servant as they are called here) offers you the choice of dessert options. My choices were cake or ice cream. I chose cake. I was then offered chocolate or vanilla. I chose chocolate.

When the cake was brought to my coffee table, the waitress servant informed me that it was my birthday today and so she made me a birthday cake. Wow! I totally forgot it was my birthday today. For some reason, I thought it was in April, but apparently I was mistaken.

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After the waitress servant sang me a beautiful rendition of "Happy Birthday", I blew out my candles one by one, the flame magically disappearing after each blow as typically happens when you blow out candles.

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You might think the party ends there. But not a Tom Tommers. They go all out on your birthday. I was brought a handful of balloons of which I could choose one to take home. My options were blue, red or green. I had a hard time choosing just one but the delightful waitress servant at Tom Tommers offered me two.

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What an amazing dining experience. I highly recommend every single one of my friends visit Tom Tommers for your next meal out. It will be an experience you will not soon forget.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Star Wars Birthday Invitations

They are ready! The invitations to Chloe's birthday party are made and ready to be handed/mailed out to her friends. Yippee! We are so excited.

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I bought this nifty little white paint pen so Chloe could cover the edges of the black cardstock with galaxies of stars.

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I downloaded a Star Wars font to use and let me tell you...its PERFECT! I may use it for other things I need to type in the future.

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So the front of the invitation says...

Star Wars
Episode VII: Birthday Party
Starring: Chloe Skywalker


In a galaxy far, far away, on the morning of March 15, a baby girl was born. The Jedi Council named her Chloe. They knew she was the chosen one. In the seven years that followed her birth, young Chloe has been learning the powers of the Force. Meanwhile, the Republic has discovered a new enemy. The Jedi Knights feel a strong disturbance in the Force. Fear, pain and suffering have opened the path to the darkside. Many Jedi Knights have been lost. The very future of the Jedi Order is now in jeapordy. Young Padwan Chloe has been called by the Jedi Council, to seek out future Jedi. Master Yoda is urging the younglings to complete their training and take part in the upcoming trials.

The back of the invitation includes the party information.

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Padwan (child's name) presence is requested to complete the Jedi training and prepare for the trials on March (day of party) 2012. Transport to the Jedi Temple, on Coruscant, will be departing promptly at (time) from the Ness system, Docking Bay (address) and returning at (time). Please advise Jedi Masters James and Anna Ness ASAP at (phone number) as to whether Padwan (child's name) will accept the challenge of the trials.

May the Force be with you!


In a small note at the bottom I included...

Please note that due to new security protocols in the republic, no weapons will be allowed on transport vessels. Please forgive the inconvenience and rest assured that the Jedi Council has secured enough equipment for the padwans to complete their training.

I don't know what got into my little brain. We made 14 invitations. Yes, that's right. FOURTEEN!!! If they all accept, that will be 14 little Jedi padwans running around my tiny house. Oh goodness me.

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But how do I tell Chloe that she can't invite her friends? That is so very, very hard. We already culled the list as far down as I possibly could and still we ended up with 14 names.

Ah, but good time at the party we will have. The Force is strong in our family!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Place, My Job

I have struggled most of my life with knowing who I am and where I belong in this world. I seek love and affection from so many sources other than the only One who completely knows and understands me. I turn to the creation rather than the Creator, seeking what I need from people who fail me.

I look at what other people have and I want that. I know God has a task/job for me on this earth, but I often look at everyone else around me and desire what they have. They have talents and "cool jobs" that I feel should have been given to me. An outgoing ministry leader. A talented choir member. A mother of multiple children. Inspiring authors filled with beautiful words. Insightful and thought-provoking Bible study leaders. I spend my life attempting to create those talents in myself.

I long to be outgoing and friendly like so many I see. People swarm them. They flock to them. They are drawn to them and love them. Why? What makes them any different than me? I mimic their traits but find that I fail miserably at being them. My sense of self-worth diminishes as I realize I CAN'T BE THEM!

This morning as I was driving my dear husband to work a song flooded through the speakers of our van and into my heart, reminding me that God has given me a place in this world. My own place. My own job. My own talents. I choked back the tears.



I listened to the song for myself. God gently spoke into my heart and told me that I Have A Place in This World! The song finished and I hit the back button to listen a second time. The second time through God spoke again.

My job is to give other children a place in this world. That is my task. God, in His Great Mercy, has blessed me with the talents and desire necessary for this wonderful job. Adoption is my place in this world. Through adoption, I will shower children with the love of Jesus and teach them to glorify our Lord with their lives. Teach them about their place at the feet of the One who created them, loves them deeply and knows them like no one else.

As the understanding and knowledge of this rained down on me this morning, I could barely contain the sobs as I drove down the highway. I now know my place. I know my job!

Wholeheartedly, I accept.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pinkle Purr Video

This one is from Chloe, ya'll. Proof that Mama got the hang of this whole posting videos on the blog thing. (I still need to get them up on facebook though.)

Note: Chloe acted out the part of Pinkle Purr the cat during her recitation. (She did NOT have to use the restroom. I asked when I was done filming.)



I am amazed at how much this child can memorize. She worked on this poem before Thanksgiving and remembered most of it this morning. This is in addition to her scripture memory work (1 full chapter every 4 weeks) and her verses for Awanas (she is working through her book for the second time this year). Way to go Chloe!

Another Note: I am sorry but the voice you hear prompting Chloe is my own and I think it imperative I inform you that it is NOT the same voice I hear in my head when I talk. That voice is much softer and gentler. I do not intend to sound harsh and dicator-esque when I speak. Please forgive my confused video camera for this erroneous representation.

The Lamb and Her Shepherd

I am a lamb,
Leaping through the meadow;
Chasing butterflies in the tall grass,
Frolicking amongst the wildflowers.

Mindless and carefree,
I dance and sing for my own delight.
Wandering heedlessly, I stray from the fold;
Content to find my own amusement.

The world delights my fickle fancy,
So many frivolous things to achieve.
Darkness creeps in around me,
Drinking up my blessed light.

Dark.
Alone.
Scared.
Nowhere to turn.
Caught between giant boulders on the cliff side,
I cannot move from this snare.

Crying out, bleating for my Shepherd;
Scared He won't come.
Foolishness.
Shame.
Why?
Why did I leave my protection?

A still, small voice.
It reaches through the darkness;
Gentle hands secure me into a loving embrace.
My Shepherd never left my side,
He followed me through it all.

Home.
Where I belong.
Humbly I kneel, face to the ground,
To worship my Shepherd.
Safe.
Warm.
Loved.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Incredible Journey Begins!

We did it!

We finally DID IT!

We submitted our adoption application!!!

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am at this moment. Our lives are on the brink of changing dramatically and my heart thrills just to think of it.

This incredible journey has been thought about, prayed over, meditated on, researched, prayed over again and researched yet again many times. When a family begins to think about adoption, there are so many choices to be made. Infant? Domestic? International? State? Private Agency? It boggles the mind.

A year ago our minds were set to foster through the state. We filled out the application and attended the information meeting. All that was needed was to drop the application in the mail. Something caught in my heart. I could not move forward. I could not mail the application. It sat on our kitchen table for months. I prayed. I cried. I searched. I asked advice of friends and family. No peace came. I needed peace with our decision.

This Christmas, James and I made the decision to adopt through an agency. We chose one and filled out the application. I felt a bit of peace returning to my heart. This was a step in the right direction. We filled out the entire application and all that remained was hitting the submit button on the computer. I asked the Lord for a sign by Friday of last week. I gave him two days. Friday night the word came. This agency might not be the best choice.

But where to go? What do do? We had just finished filling out the application! God? What do you want us to do? We need your guidance.

I began talking with a lady in our church who adopted previously. She mentioned another agency. Aha! I've heard of them! I liked them but I forgot about it over the past year. And if that wasn't enough, another lady walked over and mentioned her praise of this agency.

I immediately texted James and told him, "Do NOT hit submit! Please tell me you haven't hit submit yet!" He had just finished filling in the last line. We spent this past weekend filling out the new application. I waited until they were open on Tuesday to call and talk with the coordinator. As I was speaking with her, a peace that passes my human understanding washed over me. Yes. This was right.

That afternoon I slipped the envelope containing our application into the mail.

Now we are waiting for our initial interview so we can start our adoption training classes on February 1.

The incredible journey has begun!

State Park Adventure #2

We took advantage of the holiday this past Monday and James day off work to head out to another state park. Brrrrr! What a chilly day for a hike. We bundled up warmly.

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It took some of us a little while to get in the spirit of a winter hike. I think little bodies take longer to warm up...or something like that anyways. After climbing a few trees, Chloe started to enjoy herself.

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She takes her tree climbing quite seriously. It is an important skill she feels must be mastered. And soon!

Chloe and James found many rocks to climb and jump from. Meanwhile, I photographed from the ground. I can't believe I used to jump off things that height (and higher) in my younger days. Little daredevil that I was. (hmpf)

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We saw four deer jumping through the woods. I have never, in my life, seen deer jump as high as these deer. They literally bounded through the woods. So graceful. With such agility. It was amazing to watch. After such breathtaking beauty, we needed a little rest which provided time to study the importance and usefulness of a good walking stick.

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Honestly though, I think they were poking each other. Walking sticks are useful in more ways than one might originally think.

The good Capn' says its time to get a move on...

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Walking down the opposite side of the mountain, we found ourselves in another world. Fairyland. Chloe immediately claimed the trees were "fairy trees" and we were in the midst of fairyland.

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Chloe saw moss in various shades of green alongside the trail and commented that it was "Fairy Carpet!" We began hunting for fairies, knowing we would never see any. We did, however, find many fairy homes along the way which I photographed.

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What a beautiful park! Unfortunately, time is fleeting and were unable to explore any longer that day. We decided that this park is one we definitely MUST visit again.

Do You Know How to Post Videos to Facebook?

Well...you should!



Just kidding. But for real, this is Chloe's favorite commercial on television right now. They seem to play it every single tv commercial break during the Giants football games. (Go Giants!)

I often overhear James and Chloe reciting this phrase to each other and then bursting into laughter over it. It would seem they have an inside joke between the two of them that I am not privy too. I don't understand the humor behind their uproarious laughter, but I am happy for it none-the-less.

This commercial sparked a new obsession interest for Chloe. She keeps begging me to post a video of her on my blog and on facebook. In her eyes, the question posed in this commercial is valid. Can Mama post videos to faceboook?

So, I promised her I would. She chose to recite one of her school poems so I could post it. Chloe...this one is for you...and OF you, coincidentally... (I added all those little trailing periods for her as well...Chloe loves them and now adds them to most of her writing assignments. I limit her to four dots per sentence...or else she fills the paper with them. She finds the humor of the dots increases with each one added. 10 trailing periods is infinitely more hilarious than 3. Go figure.)



A.A. Milne happens to be one of our very favorite authors. Chloe and I both love his humor. She adores his poetry so I thought it would be fun for her to memorize some of it this year. I will have to get another video of her reciting "Pinkle Purr" up for you. (hint: it's about a cat.)

Since that was so easy, I better run along and figure out how to post this video to facebook!

Book #2 Review: The Perfect Christmas

One night is all it took for me to read this "cute" book.

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My goal for the year is 52 books. That translates to a book a week. I am obviously behind. I understand that during our times off from homeschooling I will undoubtedly find more time for reading, thus making up for my losses. It's just that I hate this constant feeling of always being behind.

So, to help ease my mind, I picked this book off my shelf and read it.

My thoughts on the book? I suppose it could be considered twaddle. Easy to read. Not much substance to it. But hey! Sometimes you just feel like an easy, light read. And this fit the bill.

I enjoyed reading the book for that purpose. Like I said earlier, I found little substance to the book. No delightfully long words. No important lessons learned. It was pure romance and quite predictable romance at that. You knew upon reading the first chapter or two how the book would end. I did appreciate the fact that the book remained clean. No monkey business, if you know what I mean.

This book doesn't rank very high on my favorites list however. If it had more meat to it, I would probably rank it higher. That being said, I might just have to read another one of Debbie Maccomber books in the future when I need a break from using my brain too much. (which can happen sometimes...)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Suprise Inside

Every year we hide a pickle ornament inside our tree for Chloe to find. When she finds it, she receives a little gift. If (when) we had (have) more children, it would be the first child that finds it gets the gift. (And the gift would be something for the entire family, like a puzzle or a board game.)

Anyways, as she was hunting for the pickle she found a treasure inside our tree.

A real bird's nest!

We waited until we took the tree down to get it out. (Sadly our tree was deader than a doornail...I don't think we have ever seen a deader tree.)

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Unfortunately, the nest broke almost in half as I tried to maneuver it out from the branches. We all decided that we will put it outside in my shrub rose bush in the back garden and maybe the birds can make use of it. Who knows. Maybe they can repair it and use it. Wouldn't that be neat?

A Change of Plans...Again!

I did it again! I planned Chloe's birthday party down to the color of the icing on the cake and she went and changed the theme of the party altogether.

So, I guess I can tell you what the original plan was although we may use it in the future. (She said maybe her 8th party. I am thinking maybe the next child if we adopt or get pregnant with a girl.) The original plan was a Fairy Garden Tea Party. How sweet, right? She loved the idea when we were cleaning up from her shark party last year. In fact, she helped me come up with the idea.

But no. Christmas day her plans changed. I will give you a clue. Here is her favorite you tube video at the moment.



Yup. Chloe wants a Star Wars party! How fun!

You see, she bought me the whole saga on dvd for Christmas this year. She heard me say I would love it at some point this past year and got it into her little noggin that it would be the perfect gift for me. I almost cried as I opened it on Christmas morning. Quite an elaborately expensive gift from a 6 year old child, but it showed her love and devotion to me. What a sweet, sweet child my dear Chloe is. Unknowingly, I also purchased Star Wars memorabilia for Chloe's gifts. A Darth Vadar mask, a Storm Trooper mask and two light sabers. Needless to say, she adored them. We had quite the Star Wars Christmas, complete with a movie marathon (which lasted until New Years Eve. Do you have any idea how long all six Star Wars movies last back to back?) and now a child who believes herself to be a Jedi Knight and capable of using The Force to open/close our van door.

Is it any wonder then that she asked for a Star Wars party? And Star Wars it will be. (I just need to research how to make an R2-D2 cake. I think I found the perfect plans.

It is going to be a great party! Just you wait and see what I come up with this year! I am so excited!!!

State Park Adventure #1

Sunday afternoon, we visited a beautiful state park close to our house that we never even knew existed before. Knowing that there are many more parks we have yet to experience brought excitement to my heart. I love this state!

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Now, I must say that after making our goal of visiting every state park in our state in 2012, I then went onto the website to hunt for the names of each one so I could make a spreadsheet of all the state parks and their distance from our house. Wow! There are over 50! We have to visit over 50 parks in the next 50 weeks! YIKES! What a goal, right? But hey! I just know that by attempting this goal we will visit more parks than if we stayed home without any goal at all.

Anyways, we walked a trail around a wetland area first. For our nature study, I had Chloe look for bird nests. They are much easier to see this time of year without all the leaves and brush in the way.

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We counted over 15 nests on our walk. Some were quite large too! Ginormous might better describe them.

We found many interesting objects along our path.

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We figure someone must have tied a string or wire around this tree when it was a sapling to create this twist. Other than this twist, the tree stood straight and tall.

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These mushrooms needed to be photographed. I thought they resembled saw blades stuck into the trees. They almost looked like a center cut from a tree. I think we may need to start a mushroom study soon. There are so many unique and different kinds.

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We saw these "seed balls" hanging from this tree and couldn't help but think that perhaps God decorated his own Christmas tree.

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Oh! Look at what we found! A Turtle!

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Chloe begged to bring the turtle home. We denied the request. Multiple times. Daddy, however, placed the turtle on her shoe as recompense.

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Chloe tries her hardest to find climbable trees every park we visit to no avail. Well, this park boasted many beautiful climbing trees, just right for a small six year old. Chloe was in heaven.

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I love tying in multiple subjects in one outing. Art and nature go hand in hand for any homeschooling family. Chloe wanted to create her own art project in nature while James and I hunted around for interesting objects and skipped seashells along the bay water. (James held the record at something between 6-8 skips for one shell.)

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This tree spoke to me. I needed to photograph it.

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I found a setting on my camera that James and I fell in love with. While on the sports/motion setting, I can hold down the button and the camera will automatically click a series of pictures to get those wonderful action shots in succession. We spent some time playing with it.

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Well, that was fun!

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I cannot wait to visit some other parks to see what treasures we can find. Maybe we might even find some places that will become family favorites!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

A New Christmas Tradition

In an effort to prolong the gift opening ceremony this year, I tied strings to Chloe's gifts and hid them throughout the house. I wound the strings up and down the stairs and around the furniture until the end (or beginning) ended at the tree.

Christmas morning Chloe carefully followed each string to her gifts.

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Round and round the coffee table...

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I was unsure whether she would love this little game or absolutely hate it.

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She LOVED it! She actually asked if we could do this for her birthday party this year. I told her no because her friends might not enjoy sitting there watching her get to play the game by herself. Maybe next Christmas. (She can hardly wait.)

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Definitely a hit. Instead of opening her gifts in 3.4 minutes it lasted until 3 in the afternoon. What a lovely Christmas morning! We spent the day at home with just our family and we sure needed that this year. Just some slow, quality time to be ourselves in our pajamas.