A New Man in my Life

Yesterday, I headed into Portland (only a couple of miles) to meet my new Rheumatologist. If you've read my blog, you know my woes on good Rheumies. My last one I've had for 10 years and have a great relationship with. He knows me. He knows when I tell him something is hurting that it is REALLY hurting and thus, affecting my daily life. He takes me seriously. 
So finding a new guy is tough. His office magazines was the first test which he passed. He had a little of everything....People, Good Housekeeping, In Touch..... you know, hard literature. I did see one History magazine, but, I'll admit,  it was pretty interesting. 
I had my three dears with me with books in tow to keep them occupied. The woman at the check in desk suggested I take them to the children's waiting room. I thought she wanted us to wait there as I was early. Then, I discovered it was actually a free sitting service so moms could actually make their appointments and was paid for by the doctors! So cool! They had a suggested donation of $5 per family. I used their service for almost 4 hours since first appointments always take long. The girls in there were great and my kids loved it! In my twenty years of Rheumatology visits, I've never come across this. Definitely a great idea!
Oh, and my Rhuemy? Well, he's old, established, probably going to retire as soon as I really get to know him....but he's good, he's thorough, and he seems to be taking my past, difficult lung infection seriously. At this point, that's enough for me. 

Now, why do I feel like I'm cheating on my last one? Breaking off relationships is so hard to do! LOL


Thinking About Jake

 Some of you all may remember that Jake has pictures of himself with his Chinese family. I usually keep them with our other pictures and keep one in a frame sitting out. I hadn't seen them or thought about them since the move (I'm still trying to find things!). But the other day, out of the blue, Jake asked for his "Chinese pictures".  I told him that I would get them out later as I was trying to finish up schoolwork with the other two. But Jake pressed a bit and said something like, "I hope you still have them, Mom." 

This got me in gear. I stopped what I was doing and started scouting them out telling Jake that they were "just around here somewhere". I certainly would not lose something so important. I looked and looked. Couldn't find them. I had a slight sinking feeling in my stomach. I knew they were here, but where?

Jake gave me this look. This is the one I used to get from the back seat of the car when he first came home and was learning English. The worried, "I-hope-your-not-insane" look. The "I can't believe this woman is my mother" look. 

(It took him several weeks before he would go anywhere without his backpack!)

As he kept repeating, "Mom, I hoped you didn't losed them", I kept searching. I finally took a break because he kept following me around making me feel worse. After taking a break from the scavenger hunt, I found them in a pile of unsorted photos- not where they belonged. Oh, the relief we both felt! I know how important they are to him. Every once in a while, he will take them out and slowly go through each of them over and over again. It's been over a year since he left their family to join ours, and he still holds them very dearly. The big fish tales and the experiences he remembers come far fewer than before, but he still loves his first family. What a painful past to revisit. What an amazing kid.

I thought back to this picture when he first came home. It had been taken late one night on one of his first night's home. I put everyone to bed and thought they were all asleep only to find Jake completely dressed with his brothers belt and jeans on ready to leave. Where? I don't know where he thought he was going to go. Home? He wasn't crying or upset, just so forlorn looking that night. 

And look how far he's come. Taller, healthier, heavier, and happier. He is a survivor. And it is amazing to take a step back and look at what he has been through and how far he's come. It is amazing to see how God carried him through life to join us. We are so blessed! The pictures of his Chinese family and his first days home are only a reminder. 

(I only took this picture to show my mom his pooch! He's such a tiny guy despite how much he eats and the last couple of nights I've noticed this little bump of a tummy!)

Jake fell asleep while coloring in his Bible notebook today. I think he was done with school today, don't you? 

Jake, you are one amazing kid. I love you so much!


Gonna Be Sore Tomorrow!

 After Grant's soccer game today, we found a new Thai restaurant and then headed down the road for a hike.  The park ranger volunteer showed us a route that would have been a 10 mile hike. Nope. Nada. Not happenin'. At least not today, or maybe ever. My titanium knees are great, but my bones in my feet are not. So we drove down the way and hopped on the trail farther down along the Williamette River. 

Grant was pretty tired from his game and kept falling behind.....till we told him we were walking to get ice cream!  By the way, that kid played Awe-to-the-some today! He plays so hard and is getting better and better at combining his thinking skills with his athletic skills. 

We finally arrived at our destination. The Historic Butteville General Store. Historic because it's the oldest one in Oregon (1869). It was darn cute inside. It's pronounced "Beaut-ville" but my kids thought "Butt-ville" was just really funny. As was the no parking on shoulder road which really said no "P" on shoulder. Get it? Oh, had to be there. Kid humor! 

I think the ice cream cone should have been bigger. I walked FAR! 

Cute, right?

And on our hike back...... (Can you see the hearts in the picture?)

Eric is trying to convince me to camp in a yurt. Ya know, for our Kazakh son. Nice try. Check the vows, buddy. Check the vows.....


Another Masterpiece


It Actually IS Rocket Science! (picture heavy)

 I now have three rocket scientists! My kiddos took a rocketry class today at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. They had such a great time. The boys were in the same class and Allyson was in the 7th through 12th grade class. We learned about the history of rockets (Jake piped up with "I'm Chinese!" when the instructor was talking about how the Chinese were the first to use gunpowder to fire their arrows), and the boys built their paper rockets to launch. 

We also had a great tour of part of the museum and sat in on a rocket launch in the control room which was brought in from Texas. 

Love this pic of Grant's crooked glasses and Jake's hand on Grant's ears. They do this all the time and walked around the museum together with their arms around each other's shoulders. These two are so close to each other. Love seeing it! 

They did have some pained expressions waiting for their turn. There were well over 100 homeschoolers there!

But they enjoyed their launch of the paper rockets. Okay, so they were quite disappointed to find out they weren't working with gunpowder! 

The boys launched both paper rockets twice. I tried my best to get it on video for them, but it didn't turn on great. I couldn't follow their rockets to well. 

These were the older kids rockets they built during the day. I forget what Allyson's is called. But she can tell you and can tell you all about it!

She was on team 2 which meant that she was supposed to be helping to measure the altitude of team 1's rockets. Ummm.......

There was a lot more socializing than gauging altitude!




Great job, Allygirl! Perfect deployment!


"Sorting Out Life One Load at a Time"

I really need to use these puppies more frequently! Then, maybe I won't be so overwhelmed by.... 

 this! Laundry always gets put on the backburner. Ally usually throws a load or two in during the week which helps, but this week I let our laundry room get WAY backed up! This is only part of it. There is another rack with clothes and towels on the other side!


Portland Timbers with Dad!


Sotheby's, Christie's??? We have a new artist!

Introducing the newest artist! Ally took a painting class Friday and painted a masterpiece! Maybe I'll call Sotheby's to see if they would like to sell it for us for a few million. Seriously, though, I was impressed with her abilities. She's amazing, that girl!

The kids and I had gym down at the park and stopped to feed the ducks. They are so funny. They see you and come flying in. The kids loved watching them land in the water. 

Then there's Jake doing his geography.  It has been very fun for me to spend one-on-one with Jake. I knew he was smart, but it's fun just seeing how quickly he picks things up. He gets frustrated easily if he thinks he isn't doing well. The silent tears come. He is so much harder on himself than I am on him. He does very well and gets lots of encouragement from his siblings. 

Grant and Eric are at a Timbers game tonight for some Man-time. I'll try to post pics later. Grant was pretty excited to be going with Eric to the soccer game. 


Good news/bad news

Bad news: My raspberry bushes cannot be deterred. They continue to overtake my "garden" (i.e. Weeded fenced-in area)

Good news: We are still enjoying raspberries!


Thing 2 is Reading Too!!

Jake is working so hard and doing well at this kindergarten thing.  He has some progress to be made to be able to read his starter books, but he is progressing quickly! What a smarty pants  if I do say so myself!


Our Week in Review

Busy weekend! Our play date lasted all day on Friday. We had a great time together and ended up going to their house for ice cream later that night. We were up bright and early Saturday morning for soccer pictures and games all in different places. Allyson's games are much faster paced and she is playing on a more competitive team than she has in the past. Think of her as a "freshman" coming onto this team. She still had a lot of playing time and is doing well although a bit timid. We'll see if we can break her out of being timid a bit more. We need to find her aggressive bone! 

We watched some of Eric's softball game on Sunday morning for his company picnic and then the kids and I headed out for a little hike at a nearby park. I thought I'd throw in some pics of our week for our family to see! 

Don't mess with Bobofit or whoever this guy is! He kind of looks like a bobble head!

This is Jake thinking. I told him to try to say his blends by sounding it out in his head.

Grant's science project involved M&M's which, of course, was a benefit for all. He had A LOT of help completing this one!!

Ally wanted to mow the lawn and asked Eric if she could as he was walking out the door to work. Eric doesn't really remember saying yes. However, his new lawnmower now needs some oil and a little work. 

We met up for lunch after games and enjoyed some yummy Mexican food. 


Laundry, Geography, and......nannies?

We've just about made it through our first week of school with a full schedule. We've survived....really meaning, I've survived. We've accomplished a lot as Grant can tell you about Polycarp, John Oglethorpe, and Ignatius to name a few. Both Ally and Grant can tell you what year the burning of Rome happened and when the Pentecost occurred.  Science experiments and history projects are already scattered about. We're filled with declarative and interrogative sentences, multiplication tables and equations. Jake is counting by ones and tens, and he can identify the seven continents with little help. Yes, folks, we've accomplished a lot. I'm tired and I still have two loads of laundry and my lonely sock pile is multiplying out if it's basket!  

But tomorrow, we have a light load of work to do, and I've invited a stranger over. Ha! Guess that's how desperate I am for a friend that's nearby. There is a greeter at church that has emailed me several times and kind of connected me with another woman at church who has three children and lives in my neighborhood.  So, even though I haven't met her, I invited her over for a play date. I'm guessing since she took me up on my pleading - I mean- my offer, she can't think I'm too nuts! Right? I mean, my parents always said to be friendly and I'd have friends.  I've done this gig before. But it's difficult starting fresh in this friend department. I'm old. People my age are already settled neatly into their lives and mine just got turned every which way but up! Here's to friendship!

The kids have their first soccer games this weekend. Grant is so excited about playing goalie the first half of his game. He tried out for the spot (they really do that at 8?).  Allyson's game is midmorning, but the girls were told today that some of their games would be "under the lights" in the evening. They were pretty excited about that! I kind of am too! By the way, I'm discovering that more and more of these "soccer moms" have nannies. So maybe that's my problem. Maybe I should be friends with their nannies! I'd probably have a lot more in common! LOL


Jake's first day thoughts on paper


School Days, School Days

First Day of School accomplished!


Kids Do the Darndest Things!

It's Sunday morning, and we are dressed a ready for church. There's Grant, singing karaoke into the microphone giving our neighbors a lovely wake up call while Jake dances and flips around enjoying the set. The entertainment went on for a while, and when I came back out into the hallway, I heard Grant say, "Thanks, folks. Give me five!". Now that's funny!

The other day, I was sitting with Allyson and looking through her pictures on her phone. She has some crazy ones she took of herself with peace signs, and normal twelve year old goofiness. We were laughing as we went through them and then I saw pictures of our front yard taken from the couch in the living room. Just randomness. Now, here's where you'd have to really know Allyson. She's nosy.  She can tell you where every minuscule  thing it in my mom and dad's house. Give her ten minutes in your house and she can tell you where everything is. I guess that should be a warning to all of you out there! 

Anyway, the rest of the pictures (about 5) were of my neighbor sitting in his minivan as he drove home from work! As if that wasn't bad enough, she said, "Mom, he just kept sitting in his car looking at me!". 
Oh my!!!!!!! Of course he did! It isn't everyday you get stalked, I mean photographed, as you come home from work!  My neighbor probably thinks he has a stalker! How embarrassing!!!! Oh Allyson, you do have a way of making your mom laugh!


All About Homeschooling

Okay, so the post title may be a bit all-encompassing. I'd thought I'd share a little of what homeschooling is looking like here. We don't officially start until the day after Labor Day with the rest of Oregon. I intended to start earlier, but I just wasn't prepared enough yet due to, well, life. So this past week we broke in our homeschooling room working on history, literature, and science, a little geography, mapping skills, and making blends (Jake). Grant added in math as he just simply enjoys it. We needed to ease into school. Okay, I needed to ease in to school. The thought of teaching all three had me panic stricken for a few days. I texted, emailed, and talked to my mom, homeschooling friends and mentors. 

I decided I was so stressed because I felt like I had to find the perfect co-op with the perfect classes, and had to find art and music classes, and other "electives" right away. All those things are great, but they really squeeze your schedule putting pressure on me to be a thousand different places and do a thousand different things. My kids don't really need all that immediately, but they do need me. They need me to be patient, level-headed, calm, and in some sort of sound mind. So, for the time being, I'm not worried about any of those extras. We'll stick to basics and do some field trips with the co-op groups. Whew! I feel less anxious. Don't you? 

Here is our history timeline board (the psychedelic-looking board), our World map, and white board. Jake's work table will be going there as well. We've been using it as a temporary kitchen table while we wait for ours to be delivered.  

This is Allyson's workspace. Both Grant and Allyson have desks in their room so they can work independently if I'm working with another kiddo.  

This is Grant's workspace. My space is scattered around as I help them. 

Today, Grant, Ally, and I played an analogy game out on my master bedroom deck. This isn't the best pic of it, but you get my drift. Jake sat and traced his letters too. They really enjoyed using this space. It's covered so hopefully we'll be able to continue to use it despite the rainy season.  

Our curriculum is filled with ABeka, Apologia (love that), real Literature (no Captain Underpants for us), Bright Ideas Press, Lamplighters Series, Saxon, among a few other publishers. It's a bit eclectic, but I think from what I've been able to see, it is the best mix for the time being. So there's a peek into our homeschooling! 


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