Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

So wonderful to have so many to celebrate this year!  My Mom is here, Randy spent the night and day with us, and my Mom's cousin Roland and his family came for Christmas Eve dinner!

We are so blessed to have our health, our family and friends, and our Savior's love!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Homeschooling during the summer

Since we had so many things go on this year, like welcoming our baby twins Hudson & Beckham!  We ran behind on school stuff, which is basically what has happened every year.  So I just stick to a similar school day routine even during the summer, kind of.

It is different because during the regular school year I just have Katy and Ava Marie home with me.  During the summer I also have Madyson & Mackenzie.  So we include them and just have them do things appropriate to their level of work.

Madyson works in a reading book I purchased at Costco from Sylvan Learning.  It is broken into 3 section, Spelling, Vocabulary and Comprehension.  We try to do one page from each of 2 sections every morning.  Last year she went to summer school at the public school.  She had 2 hours of reading help, 1 hour of art and 1 hour of swimming.  It was great but she really didn't want to go this year because she missed a lot of the stuff we did together as a family.

Ava Marie is also working on a workbook I got at Costco.  Since she is basically going into Kindergarten, I looked first at the Kindergarten books, but she already knows the stuff they had in there.  Letters, numbers, colors, etc.  She knows all of her letter both lowercase and capitals, and the sounds of the letters and some sight words.

So I just give her things to keep her busy for now, she loves to color.  And then when they are done we read together because that is where she really is, pre-reading.  I have a feeling she will be reading basic Level 1 books by the time school starts!

This was taken before Madyson Claire got her hair done!!

Ava marie kept looking at the pages and saying, "I already know this!"

Katy spends a lot of time in the kitchen.  She loves to bake and even though she doesn't actually like chocolate (I know, how can anybody NOT like chocolate?!).  She still makes a lot of chocolate goodies for the rest of us!! Yea!

Katy does 2 math lessons per day and then reads for at least an hour.  She is trying to keep up with Mackenzie who spends all of her extra time reading.

Mackenzie, you may remember, has been busy with a lot of rehearsals for her show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  She is right in the center with the white headband on.  She really had a great time with this show and did a lot of reading backstage.  By the end of June she has read 12 books since school let out.  I am proud of her focus!  She loves mysteries!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July 2013!

Happy 4th of July!!

This is our annual 4th of July on the Porch picture!  

Usually the girls all have matching shirts or dresses on.  But now that Katy and Mackenzie have grown out of the little girl sizes it is getting harder and harder to find matching clothes.

So thankful to God for my beautiful children!  So thankful for our brave soldiers who fought for our Freedom and are STILL fighting!  Praying for a peaceful 4th of July!  Except for tonight during the fireworks!

Here are some 4th of July on the Porch pictures from the past!



 I can't find the folder that has 2011 or 2012, but I will update this post later with more photos.

Now we are off to Black Bob Bay!  It is a local public pool that is also kind of a water park!  Our friend Karla is going to come and watch the babies while I take the girlies over there for some water fun!  

Then later we are going over to Michaels craft store so the girls can pick out some craft supplies for the newly cleaned up basement/art room!!  I will post pictures of that soon after we have organized all of the new supplies.

On The Menu for Tonight:  Lemon Chicken with Red, White & Blue Ravioli Stars and Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots sauteed with onions in olive oil.  For dessert we will be having fresh Blueberries and Strawberries over Vanilla Ice Cream!

For Nighttime Entertainment:  We will be driving over to the Great Mall of the Great Plains for Fireworks!!

I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July too!!  Go USA!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

In regards to the Paula Deen issue...

Read the article at this link first:The Paula Deen Incident: You should know all that is being alleged before defending her.

I have wondered about this whole situation since it started coming up in the news.  I am not one to get too political on my FB or even on my website.  

I am not a huge PD fan, I have watched her show on Food Network a couple of times, but I don't love the Southern Drawl that sounds a little put on to me.  But I didn't NOT like her.  I basically tuned out on most of the press...until I read the attached article.  

It isn't just what this gentleman says in his article that hits home for me.  It is the memory it brings back to me.  About 6 years ago I was involved in a Womens Sorority that was not affiliated with any colleges.  It was basically a way for women to get together and support each other, do service work and have some fun.  

I belonged to my group for about 5 years right up until I began my adoption journey.  I remember when I adopted my first 2 little girls, Katy and Madyson Claire, just after that I attended a day out shopping and lunch with my Sorority Sisters.  One lady was new, she had just moved into the area and was a longtime friend of our Chapter President.  She was from Oklahoma and was talking to the other ladies about growing up in the south.  

She told a story about the town she grew up in and mentioned an area of the town that had "Porch Monkeys".  I remember asking her to repeat herself.  In fact I think I asked her to repeat herself a few times and she finally said, "Yes, I said porch monkeys!  What do you call them?"

I remember I didn't answer her right away, I looked up and down the table we were sitting at to see if anyone else was really listening to this conversation besides me.  I remember several of the ladies looking away as I tried to catch their eye.  Did they not hear her?  Did I misunderstand what she was talking about?

"What is a Porch Monkey?"  I asked her.  Even though I was sure I already knew.  

"You know, black people!"  She spat back at me!

I know my face was flushed and my neck was hot.  I could hardly breathe, let alone get the next words out.  "Why would you say that?"  I shouted!  "Are you crazy?  My daughters are black!  I can't believe you would say that in front of me!"  I know I was standing up at this point, and one of the other ladies put her hand on my arm and told me to sit down and stop yelling.  I was flustered because I had expected the others to be as upset as I was...but they weren't.

I sat there, steaming mad, listening to them pick their conversations back up.  Not one of them looking in my direction or saying anything else to me again.  A little while later the woman who said those things left with her friend, our Chapter President.  Then the rest of us left to drive home.  I had ridden in a car with a few others, we got into the car and started driving.  No one said one word to me.

I, of course had no intention of being a part of their group anymore.  I was just so shocked at the raw form of racism that I had just witnessed.  I was, of course, very naive as that was not the last time I would witness racism. 

That woman reminds me very much of Paula Deen.  She felt that her upbringing, her Southern roots so to speak, entitled her to use that shocking insult.  So at this point I have to say, I don't care where you were brought up or how people spoke when you were a kid, in the dark ages!

Unless you just crawled out from under a rock and want to crawl back in there, you should NOT be using derrogatory names for ANYBODY!  

And if you do...then you will and should suffer the consequences!

Ignorance is not an EXCUSE!!

Madyson Claire's 9th Birthday

Saturday was Madyson Claire's 9th Birthday!  She was such a rolly polly baby!

This was her 1st Birthday Party.  We had it at my Mom's home in San Diego!  
She really enjoyed her smash cake!

This was her 4th Birthday Party.  We had a Princess Tea Party and it was very well attended
with 20 little Princess friends and all of her sisters!

This year Madyson choose to get her hair braided like her sister Katy.  
10 hours sitting in a chair folks!  That is dedication!

  We knew the Saturday of her birthday would be really busy because Mackenzie was appearing in the Gardner Community Theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Mackenzie had 2 shows that day and I just couldn't fit in a birthday party also!  So we planned one for the weekend before.

  Madyson choose a Pool Party theme.  And she invited just a few close friends.

  We took the girls up to our subdivision pool and they played for 2 hours, then we went back to our house for cake!  Everyone had a really great time and the party was just the perfect amount of time!  Katy did not get to come to the pool, because she volunteered to watch the babies so we had enough room in the van for all of the kids!

My niece Kinley with her bestie cousin Madyson!

The Cake!!  I copied it from a picture on Pinterest!  
It is supposed to be the beach!  But we could not find the paper umbrellas :(

The most important thing was that Madyson really enjoyed her party.  On her actual birthday she got to choose the breakfast :Blueberry Pancakes served with Apple Blueberry Juice.  And we went out for dinner to Pizza Hut because she likes their salad bar.  We were joined by my cousin Roland and his wife Saundra and my cousin Claire and her son Keenan.  Then we all went over to the theater at Gardner Edgerton High School to see Mackenzie in her musical!  It was a really fun night!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful 9 year old Madyson Claire!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Twins 9 month photo shoot

   Hudson & Beckham are sitting up now, sometimes with the help of a Boppy and sometimes without.  They are moving all over by rolling and crawling and they always seem to be headed in opposite directions!

   Hudson is quick to smile.  He laughs and giggles very easily, has a lot of quick movements and screams for joy at the top of his lungs...a lot!  He eats everything I offer him, and banks his sippy cup to make loud noises.  He has a sense of humor, he will catch your eye and then cover his eyes and laugh like he is playing peek-a-boo!  At night he wants to snuggle and then will change his mind and want to get down again and crawl around, only to reach up to me to be snuggled again.  I think there is just so much he wants to do he can not decide.  I love you Huddy Buddy!

   Beckham is very intense.  He watches and takes in everything.  He has learned the sign language that I have been showing them, all of a sudden he started copying me and I didn't even think he had been paying attention!  He is quieter than his brother, but when he has something to say he sounds closer to words.  He does everything slowly, but deliberately.  When I put cheerios on his tray he picks them up one at a time, with his thumb and pointer finger, and puts them perfectly into his mouth.  Then he'll look at me and smile.  He loves to cuddle and stroke my arm, he is very loving.  He kisses us on the cheek, it is very deliberate and he holds you back, which I have never seen in a baby before.  I love you Becky Buddy!



   As twins I see how easy you are together.  If one of you kicks the other one, there is no shock or crying.  If one of you takes a toy from the other, then another toy is just reached for or the original toy is taken back and forth for a little while.  When you are in your high chairs, often Beckham will reach his hand across to Hudson and then Hudson will put his hand in Beck's and they will sit like that for a while.  It is such a beautiful thing to watch, I tear up a lot when you do that because I want it to last forever.  I am so excited for your future and the wonderful relationship of this brotherhood that I see in front of my eyes.  

  I remember so well a year ago when we still didn't know if the birthmother was carrying girls, boys or boy/girl twins.  I always said I didn't care, but deep down inside I was really routing for 2 boys!  I love my girls and love being a part of the sisterhood with them, but I was excited to have boys also, knowing they could be rough and tumble with each other and that their little personalities would add a dimension in our household that we did not have. 

   What I never expected was the sweetness that they would show for each other.  The pats on the back and the cheek.  The soft brushing of a brothers hair or handing a cheerio over.  There is such a tenderness between the two of them, I am in awe of their closeness even now.  I thank God for these two beautiful boys and the opportunity I have to be witness to their love for each other.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Twin Cribs

The boys are finally ready to come out of their Pack-N-Plays and sleep in cribs!  I bought 2 matching cribs in Espresso from Walmart Online.  I just love the dark color!

The cute zoo animal bumper pads and bedding also came from Walmart which is really odd because I looked everywhere for something cute and this was the only thing I liked!

  The boys had been sleeping in separate pack-n-plays, one in this room and one in my room.  Beckham is a great sleeper and slept in until 7am, but Hudson wakes up a lot and was usually ready to get up in the morning around 5am!  You can see why I kept them separated.

Hudson is smiling now, but at 5am he is usually just screaming!  But he absolutely loves his crib!  Now he wakes up and lays there talking to his little stuffed puppy or jabbering with Beckham.

Beckham also loves his crib.  He seems to talk to the animals on the bumper, it is so sweet!

The boys still like to be together, and sometimes we let them nap together.  They are just too stinkin' cute!!

It is already time to lower the crib!  Did I mention the boys are crawling already?!  Hudson is faster and he only uses his arms!  But Beckham is up on his knees, he is not as fast, he is just careful!

Sweet Dreams, Sweet Boys!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

April and May...

Okay, now I can throw a bunch of photos from April to get caught up!  April is always a busy month for me with tax season ending and musical productions for the girls, etc.

Mackenzie and Katy were cast in Pudge Ate a Prophet, about the whale that ate Jonah.  It was a really fun show and the girls were Ninevites.  Pretty but evil Ninevites I might add!

Madyson performed in her 3rd Grade Musical "Saturdays".  She had a fun time and everyone spent the week singing all the fun songs from that!
Below she is posing with her Music Teacher Ms. Selby and her BFF Gracie.

Beckham loves his morning Bananas and Rice cereal.  I don't have a picture of Hudson eating this because he eats it so fast!!  

We got the new Curriculum Box from Sonlight.  I spent a night checking it all in and then labeling the books with the correct color for Core G - the Eastern Hemisphere.  Then I asked Katy to take down her books from this past year and organize the new books.  While she was up there, on the step stool she pulled out one of the books to look at, and...she stood there on that stool for over an hour reading the book!  I will say that Sonlight has the most fantastic books!  We just love reading them, even my Public School kids read them!

Here are two very happy boys eating their lunch and drinking from their first sippy cups!  They seem to be happiest when you let them to it themselves!  Mr. Independents!

My Mom flew back into town at the beginning of May because I personally had a big milestone that she wanted to be here for...I graduated from college!  I originally went to college right after high school in 1979, but I really did not know what I wanted to study and it just didn't feel right, so I left to go to work, then I married and had Randy and thought off and on that I would return.  

  After I divorced Randy's Dad, I went back to college full-time, I worked very hard and spent the first 2 years at the Community College in San Diego and the transferred to the University of San Diego.  I spent almost 2 years there, but ended up leaving school my Senior year with just 6 classes left to finish.  It is a long story, but the main thing is that I was very tired of going to school, living with my parents and being a struggling single mother.  I wanted a good job, an apartment of my own and time to spend with my growing son!

  Fast forward to 2010 and my fast approaching 50th Birthday.  Yes, I said 50, even though I only feel like I am in my 30's!!  I was thinking about the whole age thing and how I had thought about going back to school when I was turning 40 and now here I was, 10 years later and I still had not finished.  I knew I didn't have to finish.  I mean I have a great career, I have never let that little piece of paper stop me.  But I don't really like to leave things unfinished...just not my style.  So I played a bit on the internet, found out that Baker University had a special program to finish in just under 2 years and called them.

   Just 2 weeks before my 50th Birthday I was sitting in class with 22 other people and we were on our way!  There are a lot of things that have happened to me in that 2 years, but nothing ever stopped me from going to class, doing my homework and knowing that I would not quit this time.  I do not regret putting it off, because the people I met in this class were so awesome.  We all stayed together the entire program and on May 11, 2013 at 1pm in the afternoon, we all walked together across that stage and accepted our diplomas!  It was one of the most exciting times in my life!  I couldn't believe that I had made it all the way through!  Big time proud!!
Here is my Team!  All wearing the Baker Orange & Blue!
(Which were also my high school colors, isn't that weird?)

Here I am in the middle of it all!  I just kept smiling!  And thinking, "I am really short!"

I am so glad my whole family could be with me that day!  Such a great celebration 30 years in the making!!

The first 3 rows are all my family & friends who came out to cheer me on!  I was definitely the graduate with the most children!

It's never too late to finish what you have started!

And I wasn't the only one in the family who graduated...Ava Marie is ready for Kindergarten now!!  She will miss her teachers Miss Christy and Miss Vickie very much.  They were so sweet and encouraging to her.

And she will also miss all of her friends from class.  Two of the children will go to the same school as Ava Marie, but most are going to be spread all over Olathe.  I am so glad we called this school in September to see if they had any openings, it has really made a big impact on her life!

The formal celebration was followed by lunch in the park and playing with sweet friends one last time!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Faster than a speeding bullet...

  That is how fast this year is whirling by!  I closed my eyes for a moment and it is almost July!  How does that happen?

  I remember as a little girl it would take FOREVER to get to summer, and then summer would stretch on and on until my birthday would finally arrive in August, and then the last weeks of summer would crawl across our yard until we could finally go back to school to see our friends!

  Now it seems like you oversleep a few hours and you'll miss another year!

I have NOT been a good blogger this year...again...sorry.  But I take A LOT of pictures, so here is another one of my synopsis posts just to bring you up to speed.

March - The boys are rolling and playing and spending a lot more time awake.  Hudson is on the left and Beckham is on the right.

I am making my own baby food.  I wanted to write a whole post or even a series on this, but then I probably wouldn't have time to actually do it, so here are some pictures.  I made applesauce first, then pureed peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Since my Mom lives in California, we Skype with her in the afternoons.  Here is Hudson having his one on one time with Grandma!  He has such a fun time and giggles for her when she makes funny faces.

And here is Hudson, Beckham and even Ava Marie lined up on the kitchen table so Grandma can see them and read them a story.  I think we are so lucky to live in a time when you can stay close to someone, even if they live 2,000 miles away!

MORE snow!

Brothers learning to love one another!  I really hope this is how they will always be!

Sisters making time for little brothers.  Every sister loves to spend time with the twins doing special things with them.

 And Big Brother too!
We celebrated my Mom's 72nd Birthday when she came out to visit.

And we celebrated Easter with 2 special little bunnies!  You know I will save this picture for their high school yearbooks! 

And that was March!