Monday, September 22, 2008

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

a tale of a "faithful" trip. That started when some co-op kids made plans to board a ship.

Since the children are studying the 1600s, during our Friday afternoons, our history co-op this term is acutally living history. I'll tell the story (sometimes with excerpts from the children's journals). You'll find them every other Friday afternoon decked out in colonial costume, interpreting history. Here's the skinny:

It is 1637th year of our Lord, and many are desirous to leave the mother country (England) to start afresh in the New World. Some are Puritans, fleeing persecution. Others are seeking financial opportunities. All, however, are in God's hands. Their destination in New England is the (fictitious) British Colony of Edwinstown. The ship that will transport them across the Atlantic is named the Prosperous. First, however, the various parties must gather at the Ye Old Rosemont Inn by th Sea in the port city of Weymouth to meet, form a company, and purchase supplies.

Two weeks have passed, and we find the pilgrims (for they are on a journey) in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They've had a peaceful journey and fair weather so far. However, a storm is a-brewing. The sailors are perfecting their knowledge of knots and are prepared to handle the ship in the stormy weather. The young people make the best of the voyage. Most are encouraged with readings from the Scriptures. The Goodwoman Given Chambers is due (any day) to deliver her second child. The ladies on board are kind, and assist in the birth. Though they've tried to settle their stomachs with hardtack and dried beef, as the storm approaches, most *gasp* cast. Oh, to get a glimpse of the New World!

Stay tuned for more.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Remembering the summer...

I'd be remiss if I didn't post a few pictures of the girls' summer "improvement" adventures.

In June, the Pooch wrapped up yet another year of piano lessons with the infamous annual piano recital. She delighted us with the sweet sounds of Arabesque and friends, Kitty and MJ, also played beautiful songs. Mammy and Pop came over just for the event, so it was an extra special recital. We enjoyed listening to all of the children, especially the ones we'd heard play last year. It's always so diverting to behold the improvements that just one year of careful study provides. Great job, Pooch. Keep practicing!

In July, we quietly celebrated the Elf's birthday (hard to believe she's already 14!). Though it was hot on those July Thursdays, the Elf, Ladybug and best friends Rudy, Bee, Kitty enjoyed "slaving" in a hot kitchen. More acurately, they participated in a culinary school offered by our dear friend, Rebecca. They came home each week with yummy samples: homemade plum preserves, a spicy fritatta (which soon landed a permanent place on the menu), a delicious pear pastry, and a baked french toast casserole with praline topping. Their last assignment was for each sister-team to prepare a "fancy" meal for their family, using a rather involved recipe that they'd never tried before. The girls recently (when Bebe and Poppy were here) perpared this very meal and we were all quite impressed. It was sooooo tasty!

In August, Joe enjoyed her own lessons...of the aquatic kind. She and one of her best friends, Olivia were treated to swim lessons with "Miss Tichany," who is the Founder, President and Lead Instructor of the Fancy Fishes Swim School. Tiffany patiently instructed, encouraged and reminded the two girls to swim with their "face in the water," to push the water and kick hard. It was a challenging few weeks with many smiles, and only a few tears. Labor Day weekend was the graduation celebration. Each girl passed the class by completing at least one pass across the pool. Cheers rang out, diplomas and fishy goggles were distributed and we all enjoyed fellowship with cute "fishy" themed foods. Bebe and Poppy were in town, so they got to enjoy the day, as well. What fun!

Okay. I think we're mostly caught up now. ARRRGGGHHH! The evils of procrastination!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Listen in on Joe's World

Joe, as EX is affectionately known, has been with us for 9 months - can you believe it? Back then she communicated so much with signs, and later few words. Now, however, she's as talkative as the rest of the bunch. It seems her vocabulary grows by the minute. To preserve a few of the fun way she says things, here's a sampling of her verbiage (her most popular phrases, which she recites relentlessly):

Bob! Hey Bob! (Translation: Baba....Dad....Jim)

What are doing?

Are you a peek a kum? (We answer, "No I am NOT a piece of gum. I HAVE a piece of gum.")

What time 'sit? (Why does she want to know?!)

May go to China eep? (Let's go out for Chinese)

We can go today? (pause) Tomorrow? (pause, but not so long of a pause) Maybe Lay-ler? (no pause) Yes or No?

I can't hear you. (We repeat, No)

I can't hear you! (Again, No, a little lounder)

I can't hear you! (Oh....we get it. She CAN hear us. Not the answer she was looking for.)

At mealtime:
De-ah Lawd, bless this day 'an nuh-ish it, to my body, Je name, amen. (Is she consciously thinking, "Nevermind blessing the food, Lord, just the day. And these other folks don't need nourishment for their bodies. Just mine. I was the orpan, remember?)

"Emmy Xiang, it's time to ________."

Yes-see ma'am. (And a minute later.....)

I need HAY-ELP. (Did I mention that she's southern - born and bred? Born in the South of China and bred in the glorious South of the USA)

Some of her favorite foods:

Doop (Translation : soup)

Pah-dah (pasta)

Grakes (you guessed it, grapes)

Peesh (peach)

Cookie-mouse (also her favorite book)

And a few more favorites:

Oh! Shar-ree. Please do por-goo me? (That's an apology and request for forgiveness, in case you couldn't decifer it).

Neh-mind (her answer to "What did you need, Emmy Xiang?" or if one doesn't respond as timely as one should)

Life with Joe. It's always an adventure!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Car incident

We got home from everything today and were getting out of the car. Mom had gone in and the elf had gone to the Berry's to drop of something. (Lady bug was at Cross country ) EX gets out of her seat and jumps in to the passenger seat. I get out get the mail and go in thinking EX would come in. I walk in to the living room and I suddenly hear a BLARING!!!!! I mean BLARING!! noise outside. I drop the mail on the kitchen counter and run outside. And see EX in the car with an almost crying face. The burglary alarm was going off! I try to open the door,( as stupid as I was) then run inside and yell "MOM EX LOCKED HERSELF IN THE CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" She told me to get the keys and unlock the car. So I do and the moment I open the door EX bursts in to tears!!!! I bring her in telling her " It's okay baby. It's okay."

Thought I'd shear a little laugh with ya'!


School and life in the home....what we're doing

Warning: What follows is a lengthy post about our life and our schooling, a natural result of blog author's "absense." If pressed for time, permission granted to skip post.

It's no secret the posts on this our blog have been slimmer of late. (Is "slimmer" a word? If not, I think I'll make it one. I like it).

One reason, of course is just life. Man, it's busy! We have enjoyed visits to and from our dear family from July on to now. Though our local church is not a program-driven church, we do indeed stay busy just living life together with the body, our friends. We love weekly care groups and live for Sundays, when we worship corporately and get to spend extended time eating, playing and relaxing with our friends. Having two children in our church body's parent/youth ministry has been a fun time for us. And of course, life with a 4 year old, who wasn't here for years 1, 2 and 3 is always interesting - and a blast! She keeps us all laughing.

The fall is upon us and all that it brings - except the cooler weather...this IS North Florida, after all! Ladybug is running full force in Cross Country again. True to her word, The Elf is not running! Instead, she's enjoying recreation league soccer - and we're enjoying watching her play THREE evening games each week! Pooch and Emmy Xiang, who has lovinginly been dubbed, "Joe" are enjoying really playing together....nice to see that relationship taking on such life. I must state for the record that the Pooch and a friend have been exercising three mornings each week for MANY weeks now. Even Joe has been known to run (literally) around the house. Finally, our entire family is moving....regularly! To God be the glory. It's only by His grace that we have been the least bit successful!

We've been back in school for almost 9 weeks now. What fun we've already had in our history co-op (and I'll be recounting those adventures soon). We're studying 1600-1800 this year, with our "together times" through December being a living history Colonial settlement. The moms and many of the girls spent much time late summer planning, purchasing material and sewing Colonial costumes for all of the children and even some of the adults (I really should post some of these things to share....okay I'm getting inspired!). Mid-August marked the gathering of these historically based characters in the port city of Weymouth, England (think the Berry's house), who would form a company and travel by ship (our back deck) to the New World (Jammer's backyard). In real co-op time, the company is still on the Atlantic Ocean, hopefully weathering storms. Look for future posts.....

Our science co-op times together have been focused on learning about God's amazing creation of the Human Body. We've been introduced to the basic building block of life, the cell, read a bit of the skin and studyed the bones in depth. The children must write about each system in the style of their choice. I'm sure we'll be seeing some tours through the human body, science fiction stories, children's books, multi-media presentations and more when the year is through. Each family is also building a body (life size), so I should post some pictures of that, too. Note to self.

The girls have all been better about narrating this year. And all of the girls are slated to read some great literature books. So far, Pooch devoured Children of the New Forest and Ladybug is reading (and actually likes!) Sense and Sensibility and the Elf is enjoying Emma, Gulliver's Travels and Treasure Island. Together we're enjoying Pilgrim's Progress, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, reading about and ejoying some of Rembrandt's art works and listening to Vivaldi. On differing levels, the girls are dabbling in Spanish, perservering in Latin and their repective maths and "traveling" to different places in their living books on geography...Hillyer's A Child's Geography of the World, Haliburton's Book of Marvels and How the Heather Looks (a book about England).

A few new things for the Elf are reading a book on reading (How to Read a Book), reading about and summarizing weekly current evens, and the devolopment of a commonplace book, a book in which to record and comment on favorite or impacting quotations. We've tweaked this last assignment to a 21st century mode of recording, and thus the birth of the Elf's "commonplace blog." It's been a pleasant experience for her and for us to allow her a place to put in words some of the mediations in her mind. You are invited to her world. It's an interesting place!

So that's a run down of it. Maybe boring for most, but I thought I'd share. At least it gives a glimpse into my world.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Breaking the silence

It's been a while.

And when I've not blogged in this long, it's hard to know what to write. So I'll just tell a little something about Emmy Xiang.

Yesterday, while I was watching JE's soccer game and sewing a bit on EX's quilt (yes, THAT quilt...that 100 good wishes quilt. Sheesh. More to feel guilty about! It WILL be finished soon, Lord willing!), EX asked for a "peek uh kum," which translates to piece of gum. Of course, the gum was in the truck - WAY over in parking lot - so I handed her the tin of Eclipse mints. I'm watchin' and sewin' away, and not watching EX. The next thing I know, she gets my attention and says, "mint."

"Yes, you have a mint. Now put the mints back in my purse please."

"Mint." This time pointing to her nose. Hmmm.

"Emmy Xiang! Did you put a MINT in your NOSE?"

"Mint." (Looking a little distressed). Incredulously looking around....for what or whom, I'm still not sure. What to do? Squintingly, I peer into the nostrils. There is clearly a mint in the child's (very small and flat) nose! Simultaneously, I chuckle and question.....what should I do?

"Okay, Emmy Xiang. Mommy can't get it out. Ohh!"

"Baba." She seemed to feel better after mentioning him. He can do EVERYTHING, fix ANYTHING!

"Yes, we'll call Baba. But, honey, Baba can't get it out. Baba's at work." Sigh. So I call Jim.

"She did what?" Since he was with a bunch of doctors, he asks the pros what to do. He asks if I have tweezers. At a soccer game?!? RIGHT! Still, I try. Every attempt of mine to "extract" it is futile, and when I stop to question again, "what to do?" and sigh, EX puts her finger up her nose and pushes the mint farther! What now?

We walked ALL THE WAY to the truck and found the tissues. Blow, EX. Did she sniff or blow? I can't ever tell. However, it didn't come out, and I couldn't see it any more. Maybe she swallowed it? She no longer seemed uncomfortable. And she got that "peek uh kum" after all.

"Not in nose. Only in mouth, right?"

"Right, EX. Only in mouth."