Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm hooked...


A little over a year ago, a girl named Hannah was helping us out with homeschooling and just generally doing life with us here in India.  (Has it really been a year?? We miss you, Hannah!)

I was going through a very difficult season in my life with our adoption process, and it was taking a stressful toll on me.  Hannah could see this.  She very kindly offered to teach me to crochet, saying that it might help me take my mind off things. I'd always wanted to learn to make some of the cute things I'd seen on pinterest, but had never had the time, or a hook. 

Hannah gave me a few quick lessons, and a hook, and I was off.  We even managed to explore and find a yarn store here in India, that had crochet hooks too! I started pinning patterns like crazy of things I wanted to become skilled enough to make. I thought I was dreaming, especially when my first "blanket" to make came out horribly misshapen. : ) 

But, I persevered, and it has turned into a great hobby for me.  I love to make things with my hands, and to have a project going.  I also love to make things for other people.  This year, I've made three small stuffed animals for several children recently adopted into families we know and love.  It was such a joy and blessing to make and gift these to these three very special children! : )

These first two, the Frog Prince, and the Giraffe, were made for two precious little boys, now brothers, adopted from Ethiopia.

And this precious little cat, I made for the new daughter of a good friend and accountability partner.  They just adopted her from China.  





Tapestry: Year 2 Week 22

I don't even know where to start.  My attempts at blogging our whole school year have gone astray.  I always imagined that homeschooling in America would be so much easier, so much better.  The libraries!  The co-ops! Hobby Lobby!

Okay, so Hobby Lobby was pretty great.  But for Tapestry, I got way off track while in the US.  We were moving all over the place, and it was all I could do to keep up with math and grammar, let along projects, buying supplies... I did register at a library in a couple of different cities, but in order to get the books I needed for Tapestry, it was 10-14 day wait for inter-library loan.  So I ended up just buying it all, and then we got behind.... yada yada yada....

So it was not any easier, nor was it more fun or better in the states.  Now that we are back in India, we are back on track.  So I will not even attempt to blog about Unit 2 of this year, except to say, we did it. (barely)

We started back to school a few weeks ago, but we really had a fun week this week!  I'm continually learning how the kids learn, what works for them, what pushes them too far, how much they need to be challenged, and more.  Looking back at the pictures, it looks like we had a really busy week. I guess we did! : )

Little Levi, playing cars under the school table...

We spent an afternoon gathering supplies and making our tomb gardens for Easter week.  That was messy, and fun!


 Tapestry:
We continued learning about colonial America.  Kiryn colored pictures of jobs women had in colonial times. 

We made a candle, as people had to do in colonial settlements.  We cheated by pouring it into a glass, rather than dipping.  My candle making supplies were limited to crayons and string, so dipping was going to be impossible.  Maybe next time around I'll plan more ahead and can bring a candle making kit!

We spent a lot of time on geography, learning all about the first four colonies and their capitals, as well as landmarks and features. 


I got our Unit 3 lapbooks put together. I love these things!

In Elemental Science, we continued learning about the solar system.  Luke was having a competition with himself to see how small he could write.  This week we actually studied about Venus, not the sun...


This is Kiryn's first ever paragraph.  I was really proud of her, it was hard work for her! :) 


 Veritas Bible:
Veritas Bible has some fun projects strewn through the year.  This was one of them.  We colored pictures of characters, and acted out the crossing of the Red Sea...

Moses and the Israelites camped on the sea shore. 

Being chased by the Egyptians, Moses leads the way through the sea walls...

The Egyptians follow, and the sea swallows them up, and every one drowns ( a notable difference in the Biblical account from the Prince of Egypt movie, as my kids both pointed out this week).



Normally at the end of the week, the kids have an assignment to list out the stories in order that we've learned so far.  This is always a bit of a task, and now that they've learned 17 or 18, or is it 20 stories (?), it's getting to be more of a task each week.  So this week, we started a new game. Instead of writing the list out, they have to put the cards in chronological order.  Way easier, I know, because they're looking at them, but it's still review and tons more fun. :) 


So much fun this week in the Preedy Academy!  The kids are learning and growing so much, it is such a tremendous blessing to me to be with them every day and get to watch it all! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

She calls me "Mommy"...

 It still takes my breath away when I hear her say it.  Most of the time, I completely forget that she didn't come from my body like the other children in my house, it just seems so natural.  She is our daughter... but sometimes my heart is just wrenched for her first mother, the woman who gave her life, and I wonder about her first father too.  Sometimes, I wonder where she got a certain feature, like her beautiful eyes, or her incredible strong will.  She is incredibly sweet when she wants to be, and totally bull headed when she wants to be.  She loves to be played with and held.  She instantly wants to make up when she's been corrected.  She has to know that our relationship is still okay.  Even sometimes if I just simply tell her, "no", she runs to me and lays her head on my leg like, but you still love me, right?  Of course, sweet girl!  She's growing so fast, and it's been way too long since I posted any pictures of her!

This is a girl who loves food.  The happiest I ever see her is right after I say, "Are you all ready to eat?"

Attitude.

Her hair is getting thicker and longer... and I'm learning more and more!

She has a penchant for screaming, for no apparent reason. 

First attempt at pony tails.  It lasted about 24 hours before she'd pulled most of them out. :)

She LOVES to be outside...

And she loves bubbles and water...

and mangoes.  This face is saying, "Don't you dare think about taking this mango peel away from me..."


I can't believe how long her hair actually is!

Looking so grown up!

This is her "CHEESE!" face! So awesome. 



Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Week in Our House

It's insane.  It's chaotic.  It's fun.  It's messy.  It's boring.  It can feel out of control at times.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything! Love these kids, each of them are so different and unique, and it's a blessing to know them and spend my days with them...

Meryn's only got a diaper on...

Levi thinks he's the black ninja from Ninjago....

Mom's needing to say no to something...

Kiryn is pestering Meryn....

Luke's having a bad attitude...

Bimla is helping... always helping me. I couldn't survive without her. 

Kiryn thinks she's a rock star...

Mom is trying to be funny... and failing almost always...

Levi is playing...

Meryn is screaming... almost always...

Kiryn is crocheting...

The room is clean...

The room is messy...

Friends are over...

Another rock star at school...

Levi is wet and cold...

But we're all together.  And we made it through another week...

We've "Shifted"....

When we returned to our home abroad after five months in the states, we came back thinking we were ready to look for a new rental property.  When we walked into our little apartment, it was confirmed!  We both felt like we were living in a little miniature world, after having been in the land of super-sized everything!  But in all seriousness, we had really outgrown out apartment in the Iris society. It was a wonderful place to live, just too cramped for a family with four children who are homeschooling and working from home!  We could have made do if we had to, but we didn't have to.  So...

Since none of our luggage arrived on our flight (thanks to missing ever.single.connection), we got back on Friday night with nothing to do but wait.  No bags to unpack.  Nothing to play with or wash except the old stuff that was left behind.  So the next day, I figured, I don't have anything else to do, I'll call the property dealer.  I set up to meet him at 1:00 after lunch, and for him to show me whatever properties he had available.

The third place he showed me was IT.

I have looked at over 50 different properties in our city.  I know, it's crazy. But I love to house hunt. I love to look at all the crazy things people do to their homes, the weird tiling they put in the bathroom, the funky architecture.  You just never know when you're going to find a gem here in India! : )  Or the absolute weirdest thing you've ever seen.  All on the same day.

All that to say, I know when I've found a good place.  And this was a great place.  I called Paul immediately after looking at it and said, "You must com see this place today."  So we met the property dealer at 5:00 that evening for Paul and the kids to see it.  He walked through and agreed, we couldn't find anything wrong with it. I had a list of what I felt we really needed in a home, and this ticked every.single.box.  The only thing we compromised on at all is that the flat is on the top floor.  Which means potentially a lot hotter.  However, this house is open on all four sides with great cross breezes both ways, and so far, so good.  We'll have AC's in every room anyway.  The worst part of being on the top floor (3rd in American English), is carrying all the groceries up two flights of stairs.  But in the end, totally worth it.

What we gained when we moved here:

-space for school that is separate and contained
-a beautiful terrace that is big enough to ride a bike or kick a soccer ball
-about 50 different restaurants that deliver including a slew of great Indian and Chinese, KFC, Subway, and McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Dominoes
-quiet and peace, no construction around
-much easier access to shopping and daily needs
-an extra room for our house helper to stay in with her own private entrance
-more space in every room
-much bigger kitchen with tons of storage
-more opportunities for the kids like good Hindi tuitions, beautiful parks, good dance classes and karate, as well as a soccer league nearby

One thing we lost was our bed.  We had the coolest antique wooden bed.  But it is one solid piece. The headboard and foot board don't come off. It's always been the biggest hassle about moving.  When we moved to Delhi, it wouldn't fit in the stairwell, so they hoisted it up to the 2nd floor with ropes, no lie.  Same going back down.  It just wasn't going to happen here, so we decided rather than have a carpenter come and hack it up and put it back together, we just needed to sell it and get something else.  So we have a new bed being made that will be completely different. I can't wait till it's finished!

We are so happy in our new home, and hope to live here a long. long. long. time.

While the first load of stuff was arriving. 

I thought it was so funny that the kids decided to help label boxes and wrote "tape" on the tape. Haha!

At 10 p.m. on moving day after the dump of everything...


Four happy kids.  They got farmed out to two different friends houses for moving day, so were happy to be back together!

The next day, I could hardly move in the kitchen, there was stuff everywhere.  This was an all day job. 


Kitchen at the end of day 1!















Our school tables arrived and we got the school area set up.  I'm so incredibly thankful for this. So thankful!

The bedrooms are all along the back of the house: ours on the left, boys in the middle, and girls to the right (not visible in the picture). Kitchen is door to the left. 

The boys room! I love all the natural light in this house, and how open it feels!

Girls room!

Kiryn and Meryn are also having beds made. It will be an L-shaped loft bed to match the low toddler bed we already have.  Can't wait to get them back!




The living room all put together.... almost!

View from the terrace.  Aaaahhhh......