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Monday, November 18, 2013

Teaching, Talking, Walking


So happy to have daddy building with him.

I have forgotten to take my camera along to all kinds of happenings big and small! We have been enjoying field trips, birthday parties, hikes, and just being here, but for some reason, the camera has not been on my mind. I'm hoping this means that I am actually enjoying the moments so much that the camera's lonely instead of my not recognizing how special each moment is. Maybe it's just that I need a new camera....Christmas is a-comin'...dream big, right?

I did snap some pics of our little 10-31 celebration. We don't trick-or-treat, but we do carve a pumpkin, enjoy some (very old sticky) lollipops (I seriously think it could still be left over from Rhianwen's 5th birthday), and discuss church history (also very old and sticky) a bit .


Ah, the joys of slimy pumpkin innards. I have to say, Alden was the master of cleaning it out.


The face says it all.


This is literally all Corwin got out of the pumpkin. He really did not like the feel.




This little light of mine, I'm gonna' let it shine...


A couple of days later came Thankful Tom Turkey.


Ta da!


Corwin has found many ways to entertain himself while the rest of us are preoccupied with homeschool. If he is not participating, he is either getting in trouble (think stickers in library books), making an enormous mess (think tiddlywinks or pony beads everywhere or all of our kids games or puzzles spread across the floor...granted, he does love putting puzzles together but often needs help), or lining up things neatly in rows/filling spaces like in the picture above. Alden went through a stage like this too, where he really enjoyed organizing shoes into straight lines or lining all of his magnets in a row on the refrigerator. I wonder why they grow out of it. I'd love for my older 2 to still organize for fun!

An example conversation after I noticed how wonderfully quiet Corwin was being:

Me: Were you behaving?
Corwin: No...I not get cookies...
Me: What were you doing?
Corwin: Watching fishy. I feed him.


Our 2 students toiling to learn about Mayan culture...eating corn products, sipping hot chocolate, and coloring. Neither the football nor the matchbox car has anything to do with the Mayans; I have no idea how these things creep up onto their desks, but this is typical.

Homeschooling is going well. I always feel like I haven't covered enough or made it enjoyable enough or read enough or been patient enough etc.  Alden's reading is to the point that I feel like he ought to be able to do it on his own, but instead I keep having to remind him of the rules for long vowel sounds, which drives me bonkers. I know this is natural, and it is on the verge of clicking for him. It seems like he has a warm-up period where he has to get that side of his brain up and running...like 5 minutes of banging my head against the wall with him (figuratively), and then he's off and reading more smoothly and with less effort for the rest of reading time.

It is so interesting to see how their brains work...why oh why did I not do something like education or child psychology? I just sit there thinking, "Huh, that's an interesting take on it." For example, we were discussing in science how wind is made of moving gas particles and how they can push things like clouds in the sky. Well, Rhianwen said, "I never knew that! I thought clouds looked like they were moving because the earth spun."

As a part of history/geography/Bible, I've been reading missionary stories to the kids. Rhianwen finds them inspiring, and told me one day, "Reading all these missionary stories makes me want to be a missionary." Of course, that makes me happy and nervous at the same time. I don't want to never see her again b/c she is halfway around the world. Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 3: 5-6....breathe, breathe...(Of course, I tell her she can be and is a missionary right here, right now to all of the people we know.) Please remember to pray for us. The Lord has been opening many ways for us to serve refugees by bringing them to youth group and worship and helping them with life. We are serving more than the one family with whom we connected through World Relief. As an introvert, it all seems so overwhelming...how much should I do, what should I do, when should I do it etc. But I am so thankful for these opportunities and for our many church friends with whom we are serving.



Operation Christmas Child...Rhianwen told me it was one of her favorite things to do in the whole year. I always overestimate how much stuff will fit in the shoebox, but we usually manage to cram it all in. I often pray the box will hold at least until it gets to its recipient. I used to not be so excited about getting school supplies to put in the box, but after reading Kisses from Katie, every purchase makes me excited!


Puttin' on his mommy shoes and making me a special treat. He LOVES helping me in the real kitchen especially if I am baking. I can tell he's coming when I hear stomping feet, an old chair being dragged across the floor, and a little voice saying, "Mommy, I help you! I help you!". He's going to know more about baking than my other kids if he keeps it up!

One of Wally's contributions to the kids' education is the introduction of "Cowboy Dance". When I leave for choir rehearsal on W nights, the kids get SO excited b/c they can do "Cowboy Dance". I think it's kind of like square dancing to Gospel music, but since I typically don't like listening to Gospel music, I let Wally have all the fun ;0) I'm beginning to feel unappreciated though, because Corwin will ask for days on end if I am going to choir. But then I hear Corwin in bed talking to Jesus about when He is coming back, and I don't mind so much that we are in so many ways trying to live out Deuteronomy 11:18-19. 

"You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up." 

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Mountain Retreat


Clambering on rocks on a hike up Mt. Mitchell. I just LOVE Rhi's little confident gapped-tooth smile. Why can't they stay like that forever? 

I think the Lord knew what our family would need after a week of crazy happenins', so He scheduled our mountain retreat a year in advance just so we'd have a place to BE. We had a wonderful time enjoying His beauty and the family (my own, my parents, and my youngest brother for a short time) with which He has blessed us. 

We went back to Sky Top Orchard and had a great time picking apples. 


"But WHY can't I pick the apples on the ground?"

Corwin was very confused about why we kept having to search for apples, when there were so many right there on the ground. He was a good sport though, and helped us find some fully laden trees.


Rhianwen brought Marie-Grace everywhere again. 

Back at Orchard Lake Campground, we all had fun on the zipline. Truth be told, the kids would probably have been completely satisfied doing that all day everyday we were there. Every time there was a tiny moment of downtime, Alden would start complaining about not doing anything fun right now and could we go on the zipline.


So totally happy.


He's probably wanting one for his backyard....don't get any ideas, Wally.


They did take a break for some shuffleboard. It's really a fun game!...Does that mean I'm really old? Yeah...don't answer that question.


We can still fit our whole family in one canoe although we did have to stop them from putting their arms all the way in the water b/c it made it way too hard to navigate.


Our cottage, mouse and all. Oh, you thought we camped...way too much work. But maybe someday soon. While it was not quite a Honeymoon (see cottage name), my parents generously paid for a date night for us AND watched our kids while we went to the Purple Onion in Saluda. Thaaaank you!


Stories with Grandpa. What they really loved though was for him to just tell his own "Forgetful Jones" stories. 


Hiking with NannyKim up Mt. Mitchell. Corwin was a lazy bum and nearly always wanted to be carried to the next great thing.


Guess this was the next great thing.


Like father like son.


We made it! Visibility was amazing that day! The ranger said we could see for 100 miles.


Back at the campground, Corwin was the only one who could master this rope ladder (although I think Wally got close). The funny thing is, I think Corwin really wanted to flip, but it was challenging for him :)


More climbing at the campground. I just love Orchard Lake Campground. It is Christian, family run, everything is available without asking and free (except for the golf balls). There are hiking trails and the stars at night are amazing.


Marshmallow roasting. The closest Corwin got was to sit on an adult's lap. But he did eat his share of mallows roasted by us.


We hiked to Pearson Falls, especially b/c Corwin saw it in his old photo book and had his heart set on seeing it. As you can see, Marie-Grace and Wolfie came along.


Playing at the playground in Saluda, a sweet little town with yummy food and fun shopping. I remember when Alden was in this tunnel when he was 18 months old. 


In fact, here he is then.


Sha-la-la! Don't know where he got that from...

While in the mountains, the air was chill, so we had the kids wear warm clothes. It always takes our youngest time to adjust to that new sensation. Corwin kept wanted his "tiny one pants" so he could go "fwimming". 

Back at home, Wally had to go out of town for a couple of days, and Corwin took the opportunity to go crazy. Every time I had to correct him and tell him that Jesus had to die b/c of the bad things Corwin does, he'd cry with tears running down his cheeks, "I waaaant Jeeesuuuus!". I do reassure him that Jesus is alive and in heaven and loving and watching him every day...soooo, be a good boy, ok? Sigh, how to keep the balance of Christ's unconditional love and His expectations for holiness. It's hard enough in my own life.

Ending on a funny conversation b/t Rhianwen and Alden:

Rhi to Alden: "Your hair looks like a whirlpool. What does mine look like?"
Alden: "It looks like a weeping willow."
Rhi: "No, I mean the top of my head."
Alden: "It looks like a stream."

How poetic.



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