A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Our VBS Week

Hard to believe I'm down to only 2 kids young enough for VBS.  I remember when Zach was a helper, and everybody from Annaliese to Jack was attending.

The girls had a great time, but I wasn't crazy about the pins put into their dresses.

So I put their name tags on ribbons, instead.

Josiah got Paul a new knife for Father's Day.

It has a fire department logo on it.

Teens are so much fun!  For Christmas, Annaliese gave us a gift certificate to a game room.  We finally used it last week, and we solved the puzzle with 11 minutes to spare!

At the risk of repeating myself, we went bowling again, courtesy of Kids Bowl Free.  We are getting out and having fun this summer, and it makes me happy.

I attended volunteer orientation at BloodSource HQ.  I've volunteered at our local office a couple of times, so it was neat to get some company history and see the behind the scenes.  There are some more volunteer opportunities that piqued my interest, so it will be neat to get to do different things, instead of "just" snack lady.

Friday of VBS, they ask all the parents to come for a closing program, of course.  After 20+ years of graduations, Christmas programs, and things like this, I don't even feel guilty about admitting how much I hate these events.

But Miss Hannah got an award ribbon (along with, like 39 other kids, of course, all called up one kid at a time...) so I guess that makes it all worth while?  I'm not convinced.

Bri dyed her hair blue.  It looks adorable on her.

The girls are in that awkward, between sizes thing with Hanna Anderssen clothes.  110 and 120 that they've worn for a year or two already have shrunk up enough that they're too short.  120 and 130 that are nice and new are really long on them.  Ah well.  They'll grow, right?

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Our Week with a Visit from Grammy

Whoosh!  The weeks are zooming by faster than I can blog them!

Brianna is keeping busy with PT and future soldier events with the Army.  She's also going to be one of the water girls for the football team again this year, and practices have started up, so I see this view of her often these days.

Monday, I took advantage of Kids Bowl Free, and took the children bowling.

Hannah and Katie had never been bowling before.  Hannah, with one typical hand, does just fine.

Katie, however, who is missing bits on both hands, had to come up with a creative way to get that ball rolling.  I think as she gets older and her bits grow, she may be able to do a more traditional bowling approach.

We had a handful of tokens left from a prior visit, so Jack and I played air hockey, and Eli did The Claw.  (You have to say that in the Toy Story squeaky guys voice.)

The $1 movie on Tuesday was Kung Fu Panda 3, which I cried my way through.  Kleenex warning for adoptive mamas!  We decided Panda Express was the most appropriate lunch for the day.  Good conversations were had in the car after the movie.

We've been going through lots of books this summer!  Hannah and Katie earned a free book from the Summer Reading Program.

Jack just earned his free book this morning, so he'll pick one out next week.

 And going to the library means playtime at the park, too, of course.

Grammy came for a quick visit.  We took the kids to see Cars 3.  They don't look happy, because they're waiting for me to get through the snack line, but everyone enjoyed the movie.

We decided to take Grammy bowling, too.

I don't imagine we'll go twice a week every week, but it's nice to have an indoor option for fun when it's 100* all week long.

Josiah went with us this time, too.

And Brianna, who had never been.

Brianna's boyfriend joined us for dinner after bowling.  Despite the goofy face, he's a decent kid.

Saturday morning, we went to Farmer's Market.  I love seeing all the different fruits and vegetables, of course, but I also like that there are eggs and breads and honey and nuts and flowers available.  I taught the kids what some of the veggies are that they don't get exposed to at our dinner table.

When we went to Farmer's Market, we noticed a piano sitting out at the curb.  I told Bri if it was still there when we came home, we could check it out.

It was still there.

It works.

It was free.

She wanted it.

So she's trying to figure out how to get it 4 blocks to our house, when these nice guys from Vivint Smart Home stop and ask if she needs help.

They try to stuff it into my van, but the piano was too tall.  So I drive over to the house and swap my van for Paul's 1988 pickup truck.  Which I haven't driven in a decade.  The kids didn't know I could drive a stick shift, lol.

The nice guys got it loaded into the pickup, came to our house, unloaded it, and carried it in for us.  My mom tried to tip them, but they gave the money to Jack and told him to give it back to her after they left.  Nicest boys ever.  Grammy said it must be a Christian company, but when I looked it up online, I realized they're based in Utah, so I'm guessing they were nice Mormon boys.

Brianna has been cleaning it up (it was in a garage for a long time), and we've all been playing on it.  I taught Jack how to pick out Happy Birthday, and I've plunked my way through a couple songs out of Brianna's Disney music book (affiliate link).

Grammy had a quick tea party with the girls before she headed back home.  Eli discovered that Good Earth tea is really yummy!  I think it tastes like cinnamon bears.

All in all, it was a fun summer week, and we're just going to try to survive the 100*+ temps all this week.  Poor Wheelie in his fur coat.  At least the breeze can move under him on the mesh patio chairs.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shriners Walk For Love

In September of 2010, I contacted Shriners about setting an appointment for the little girl we would be adopting soon.  Hannah received excellent care there, and part of the reason we felt comfortable pursuing Katie's adoption a couple years later was because we knew that Shriners would work with us to help her get up and walking.  Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to "give back" (a tiny fraction) by participating in Shriners' Walk For Love.

Paul and I took Jack, Hannah, and Katie to the walk.  There were lots of fun things to do before and after the main event.

There were oodles of Shriners present from all over the state.  It was neat to see the different groups represented.

Jack and Katie spent a lot of time on the inflatable obstacle course.

Hannah and I walked around a bit and met one of the therapy animals that visits patients at the hospital.

It was a gorgeous day, not too hot, but plenty warm enough to be comfortable.

I don't have any pictures from during the actual walk, because we were all walking, but it was a great experience.  For part of the walk, we walked next to a homeschool family with a high school aged girl with a prosthetic leg.  I loved being at this event because it helped normalize differences for my girls.  There were lots of prosthetic legs, AFOs, and wheelchairs.

Katie gets a hug from Fezzy, the Shriners mascot.

After the walk, we had a BBQ lunch.  We found a shady spot across the street to enjoy our burgers and chips.

Before heading home, we got in the bear care line.  All the kids present were given a stuffed animal.

Then you took your new friend through a series of stations to get them a check up.

This was a fun way to be exposed to medical paraphernalia without it being scary.

Hannah's penguin about to slide in for an MRI.

The Shriners Walk For Love was a good experience, and I hope we can participate next year!  Our family team raised $250 this year, and I would love to see us double that next year.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our First Week of Summer

Ah, summer!  School is out, schedules are relaxed, fun is happening... blogging, not so much.

We started off our first Monday of summer break with a picnic at the park.

Zach and Heather gave Hannah and Katie scooters for Christmas, and Hannah brought hers to the park that day.

The weather was gorgeous.  Warm, but not too toasty to be out.

We walked along the path for a while, and I pointed out some of the flora and fauna, including California poppies, our state flower.  We also saw cat tails and dragonflies along the creek.

I think Brianna (out in front) is on the scooter in this picture.

Brianna took this picture of me.  I had to laugh.  I was wearing a palm print t-shirt dress, and when Katie saw me she said, "You look like a forest!"

Josiah looks more like a tree than I did, in my opinion.  He's going to be invincible at night time hide and seek on our Nevada trip this year.

Our favorite local library has a park next door.  Which I happen to think is a brilliant strategy.

We get a bunch of books, play for a while, and then, when we hop back into the van, they're all tired out and they read quietly on the way home.

This particular day, the park was crazy packed.  I think a school was having their end of year party, or a summer program was having a field trip.  There were a bazillion kids there.

I love the look on Brianna's face.  Katie made it all the way up onto the play structure, of course.

My girls picked me flowers.

And this kept us busy for about a week.  Actually, a lot of these are Brianna's, and she still has some of them in her room.  We signed up for the summer reading program, which should be fun.

And, huzzah!  Miss Katie is done with spelling!  That means we're officially finished, done, complete!  I have loved homeschooling.  I have enjoying spending so much time with my kids.  But I'm starting to look forward to this next chapter of being a school mom.

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