Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Theology, via Jasmine and Bekah

Bekah: "God will destroy the world today."
 Jasmine: "of sin?"
 Bekah: "yup."
Jasmine: "that's too bad."
Bekah (sadly): "uh huh."
Jasmine: "but then you'll go to heaven and be with Jesus!"
Bekah: "Yay! I love Jesus! I love Jesus!"
Jasmine: "but you have to die to go to heaven."
Bekah: "oh."

(note: they have been reading Jonah and Noah stories lately, thus the "destroying the world of sin." 

Monday, September 27, 2010

New fall traditions

We're gradually adding new traditions to our lives. Yesterday was the start of a new one:
Apple picking!
But first we went to a Wildlife Festival that was going on not too far from the apple farm. We saw a Police Dog demonstration, a demonstration about monkeys, and got to get up close to a bald eagle named Liberty.

"you can make me sit next to her, but you can't make me like it!"
Then it was time for the apple farm.

I loved it because I could take pictures while Josh and the kids picked apples. I think I picked about 6. I was much more worried about capturing the moment.

Hudson was happy with his apple. He kept it pressed against his chest when it wasn't in his mouth, so he ended up with a huge wet spot on the front of his shirt. But it kept him happy...until it got dirty and had to be cleaned off again. You would have thought the world was coming to an end.

See...I did pick a couple! (obviously Josh took this picture, not me)
These weren't our apples; just pretty photo ops.

They had a little maze and mountain made of hay bales for the kids to play on/in/around. What a great way to burn off energy! Jasmine's big thing is playing 'monster,' usually making Bekah be the monster and chase her around. Bekah was a little young to tackle it on her own, though, so I helped her around the hay bales as she happily chased her squealing big sis.

And one more photo op:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ballet Class

No, I won't be writing about it with new pictures every week. But I got some that showed how much fun they were having, and how well they are doing, so I had to share. I am a proud mommy, after all!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jasmine taking pictures, take II

Jasmine has now requested "a hard camera" for her 6th birthday. I know she just means one that doesn't have more games than photo-taking capabilities, but I wonder if she really means she wants one like mommy's.

I let her take a few more pictures on Wednesday. Most were blurry...I had it on a setting that didn't agree with her...but she got a gem:

That sums up my children better than any words I could possibly write!

Ethnic Cousine #2: "Spanish" had one entry for a Spanish restaurant, so we decided to give it a try for our date this week.

But when we showed up on Wednesday, the "open" sign wasn't lit. The door was unlocked and the lights on, so we stopped in and talked to the owner. He told us that they would be open Thursday and Friday, but that they were on their way downtown to their catering place.
So we decided on wasn't the same as trying something new, but it was still good.

Last night, I was going to make dinner but realized I'd forgotten to buy noodles for the stroganoff I had planned to make. So it was either go out to eat using that gift certificate, or Josh could come home much later while I made one of the other, less-quick dinners on my menu for the week.
I managed to convince him that the restaurant was the better option. Hopefully he's forgiven me by now.
We stopped at Target for a couple things, including the noodles so I'm set tonight.
Then off to the restaurant. With three kids...Hudson had just had a good nap, Bekah was falling asleep in the car, and Jasmine was being her sweet, grown-up self.
There was only one other group there, so we picked a table and the owner said he'd bring us the menus in a minute.
I noticed a map of Puerto Rico on the wall. Hmm. Maybe this wasn't as Spanish as we thought it would be.
Got the menus...chose our! great prices!...
The kids loved the fish tank with two huge fish. They played "keep away" through the glass.
But Hudson's attention wasn't kept. He started trying to get into the kitchen. He tried to run out the front door. He wanted to do anything but look at the fish or sit in my lap.
After about a half hour, the owner brought the kids a container of play-doh. That kept them happy for a few minutes, though Hudson thought it was a "bah" that needed to be thrown.
Ten minutes later, we were all frazzled and ready to leave, but then the food got there.
And it's good that we stuck around.
The kids got pastelillos with chicken pizza fillings. Josh and I chose main dishes as well as pastelillos of our own. I got mofongo and Josh got picadillo.

And we all had way too much food.For a really good price, even before the gift certificate knocked a bunch off the price.
Conclusion: we'll go back, definitely, but without the kids.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Growing Up

Jasmine is growing up. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Today I asked her if she'd like to take my picture. Because for once I straightened my hair and put on makeup for our date tonight.
But my tripod was in the car, which makes self-portraits a lot tougher. Since I've gone back to using my 50mm f/1.8 lens while I'm not trusting my much heavier Tamron . (I wish they knew how badly I want to seriously bad-mouth them. But I'm not going to, because I am trusting that eventually they'll either replace it or refund me, once it finally bites the dust. But anyways.

I set everything up and handed the camera to Jasmine. She wasn't sure how to push the button at first, and then she focused on the curtain behind me. But finally we got it worked out:

Now she wants to use the camera on everything and everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking for advice

I'm sorry that the "books" post was the same thing I'd posted the day before. I was messing with Amazon links and forgot to give anyone a heads-up. Just deleted the old post. Which means people might have thought they were going crazy.
They weren't.


So I've been pondering a couple things on my 101list.
One of them is "write 10 more stories of my Turkey Memoires." I need to get back into them.
But I have no idea what I'm doing with them. That's part of why I sort of stopped.
What should I do? Share them here? Try to get them published? (ha) Post them as Facebook notes? Start them as viral email forwards?

Also, I've been considering trying to get some of my photos up for sale. Which pictures would you like to see in a store? (not that I'm asking if you'd buy them, unless you want to...)
Here are my strongest pictures. I have a handful of others that just didn't fit the themes for last year's contest, but this gives you a starting point.
Any suggestions of what you've seen people most likely to buy? A package of notecards, all with the same picture? or of 4 cards with different pictures? an 8x10? a poster? Something else entirely?
A friend suggested trying to get my picture(s) up in a local show. I have no idea how to make something like that happen! I know one friend who has done that locally, but I'm kinda nervous to ask her how she did it, worried that she'd look at my stuff and laugh. (yes, I am still that insecure). But maybe I just need to face my fears and talk to her.
But first I'll ask my blog audience and friends and family.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm starting up on my 5th book for my 101 in 1001 list. I'm planning to change the "read 20 books for myself" to "read 50 books for myself," because it's too easy when they're fiction!

So far, I've read:

The Yada Yada Prayer Group
The Yada Yada Bible Study Gets Down
Patrick, Son of Ireland
Bridget Jones, Edge of Reason

And so far I've read to the girls:
Charlotte's Web

We've started Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic but we can't find it (and I'm not sure I'm too disappointed). I'm ready to start in on Secret Garden!


My little ballerinas had a wonderful first class! I really enjoyed watching (through a window, so it wasn't distracting) and they had a great time.

They could hardly wait to go:
And they cooperated and followed directions perfectly.
Jasmine is the oldest one in the class by a bit (the rest are between 3 and 4) but she didn't mind in the least.

Then I went out to see my family. Mom, my sister Vivian, and I went clothes shopping. I am finally able to dress like a 30s woman instead of a 50s woman. I've never paid attention to fashions or what really looks good on me, and I'm rather fashion ignorant. But Mom got me to try a bunch of things I never would have looked at, and I'm happy with what we came out with! Pictures when I can.

And then I got to see my one-and-only nephew, Jabin! He's a month old today. Still a tiny peanut, but a STRONG peanut!!

Pretty cute, isn't he? We certainly wouldn't confuse him with our kids, but I don't look anything like most of my siblings, and certainly nothing like my cousins, so that's not a big surprise!

And today (not technically part of the weekend, I know) I was sorting through the box of clothes-for-Hudson-to-grow-into and came across the little coat from our friends in India. I realized it would actually fit him now! So I put all three kids in Indian clothes, and we're doing a unit on India this week for school. Yay for kindergarten and flexibility!
My little prince.

With my beautiful princesses.

Somehow I doubt they'll ever be mistaken for Indian children, but at least their clothes are authentic!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Tale of a Shoe

Once upon a time, a little girl named Bekah had pretty sandals from Target.

She loved her "colowful" sandals. She wore them all over the place.

One day, when her mommy was buckling her into the car, the mommy had grabbed the sandals on the way out the door.

When they got to their destination, the mommy was wondering why her daughter was still barefoot. She started looked through the car, trying to figure out where the sandals had gone. Trying to remember who had last held them.

That night it hit her. She had put them on top of the car to buckle in the kids.

The next day, the daddy found one of the sandals on the side of the road.

The other was never found again.

Bekah is just thankful it's too cold for sandals.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Jasmine is doing so well in school. She's finished the first grade readers. We're pausing before going on with the second grade readers because Mom can't find book one in her house, and the library is missing the same book. (out of 6 books in two locations, what are the chances that they'd both be missing the same ONE???) So we're doing the Eclectic Reader Book I for now. It's got good lessons...not hard for her, though there are new words ("ox" is such a foreign term to her, she keeps trying to make it "yox").

We're loving math. We decided to try a completely different system from the way schools here teach math. You should see the list of things they'll be comfortable doing by the end of this year! It's so cool! It's fun, it's hands-on, and it works. So math is a favorite part of our day.

Bekah is tagging along and keeping up, too. She's still stuck in the early 60s of the reading book we used for Jasmine. I don't push her. when she's 4 1/2 or 5 we might make it mandatory, but at this point we just do a lesson if she asks for it. She's 3 1/2. If she wants to be a little kid I'm going to let her!
But she loves doing all the other stuff. She's learning how to write her letters, all the math, drawing and coloring, cutting and pasting...all that great kindergarten stuff. And she retains almost as well as her sponge-sister!

We have them signed up for ballet classes. They start Saturday! I can't wait, and they're super excited about it, too. We got them slippers and long-sleeve leotards (they own short-sleeved ones too) and tights. They want me to put their hair up in "bear ears" like ballerinas.
So that's their gym class!

We also have a music class scheduled! Yes, I, the one who went to school to teach music, is having someone else teach my kids.
When I taught in Istanbul, the first year I had one second grader and 3 (I think) first graders. So we put the classes together. Because you can't make a circle with one child!

A group of fellow homeschoolers in the area have organized a "kindergarten" music class, which will be meeting at our house, once a month. (yay for big living rooms and not having to drive anywhere!) They'll really enjoy that, I'm very sure.

And art class is all set up, too. I found out about a DVD series made for children 6+. The girls are both enjoying it. Bekah's attention span for anything related to holding a pencil is still short, but she started out strong:
And Jasmine's:

They kept going for awhile, but I didn't get any later shots. I need to get them a notebook for it, but I loved watching them do it for the first time!

Oh, and if anyone is interested, our main curriculum for kindergarten is My Father's World. We like it, but I've heard that kindergarten is the weakest of their curriculum series. I haven't completely decided if we'll stick with it for next year and beyond, or go to another one (I'm looking at Weaver). Both are unit study style (so all subjects are on the same topic, which you study for awhile and completely saturate yourself in the topic), and both are great for families, where all the kids learn the same theme but at different levels, depending on their age/grade.

All in all, we're off to a pretty good start. It's hard on Hudson that he can't be a part of things and that I'm just too mean...he thinks the scissors should be his personal toy, or that I should be holding/nursing him the whole time we're doing school. But the girls love it, and I love being there, watching them "get it!" I wouldn't miss this for the world.

Ethnic Cousine #1: Irish

Last night Josh and I went to a local restaurant and one that was a new country's food. Sure, we've had corned beef and cabbage, but I don't count that. To me that's like saying you've had Italian food after only eating pizza. I wanted something that felt more authentic. It's the way I am.

So we went to an Irish Pub downtown.
It was very quiet, which isn't a bad thing when we're on a date!

We decided to order from the 'real' Irish food column.
Josh got the Irish stew (cooked in Guiness, so very rich):

and I got the Irish breakfast:

(two kinds of bacon??? as well as two kinds of sausage, and two eggs and baked beans...that's some serious protein there!)

And some cool bread:

It wasn't even slightly sweet, though the color and texture made me expect otherwise. It was good, though.

We really liked it, both the food and the pub itself. We'll definitely go back!

Monday, September 13, 2010


How'd this happen?

Josh says it's my fault that she looks so old; I posed her that way.

But I didn't make her get so tall. I didn't tell her she could be in kindergarten yet. I didn't tell her she should read at a second grade reading level (depending on the system, anyways).

I don't know how it happened. And I'm not sure I'm ready for it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A different world

I wasn't going to write about this. But I can't help it!

My kids are growing up in a very different world from the one I was brought up in. And it's on the anniversary of 9/11 that it really hits home.

We had all the kids wear their most patriotic clothes today. I told Jasmine briefly what today is about. She can get more details as she is older and more capable of dealing with it. I don't want her to be afraid to get on a plane, because that is not what the anniversary is about.
Josh told Bekah about it.
Hudson probably heard and understands more than we think, but he's not letting on.

But when we went to a little restaurant for lunch, and they were playing footage from 9 years ago at the same moment, it got really hard to handle.
Going through all the emotions of that day all over again, but this time knowing what was going to happen, too.

But I think it was really good. Because with those emotions comes a stronger determination to do what I can to make America be the best it can be.
It seems out of my grasp, but there's at least one thing that I know I can, and most definitely will, do: vote in Tuesday's primaries. I'm counting down the days until the November election, but for now I'll gladly vote for the people who best represent what, to me, will make this country even greater than it was before.

I will also continue to teach my children what it means to be an American. What our family did to keep it united and strong. About all the people who fought in wars, who preached God's word, who helped their neighbors in times of need, who played banjo during the Depression to bring people joy.

And to be proud of our heritage.
Because to be an American is something to be proud of.

Friday, September 10, 2010

my latest obsessions

Just in case my old ones weren't enough, I've added some new obsessions.

old ones: baby toes, finishing things, coffee, a lack of snow, and these guys:

and my new ones:

uploading pictures to various contests (Pioneer Woman and I Heart Faces, on top of my weekly challenge on Facebook and the yearly one that's making me itch in anticipation)

monitoring said challenges to see if I'm winning

finding new ways to sneak zucchini and eggplant into our diet (which totally defeats the point. I love both veggies and would be happy eating them multiple times a week. The girls would revolt and run to Grandma's house, though, so I try not to cook with them very often). I've found some amazing zucchini bread recipes, including one that tastes more like a chocolate cake than a bread.

using coupons but not making any more trips to the store than I already do. And not buying things that are different from what we already use. (I'm so proud that I saved about 15% last night! That is *huge* considering I didn't buy a single thing in the grocery aisle!)

getting SwagBucks for doing Google searches (see my little swidget on the side bar?) It's not as good as Google so I often end up doing both. But I have almost enough points to get a gift card, so I'm willing to waste a few seconds here and there!

wearing patriotic T-shirts on important "America" days. Like tomorrow. I have an Old Navy flag shirt from 2001 (which I got after July 4th for next to nothing, not realizing just how important 2001 would be in this country's history) that I'll be proudly wearing. Jasmine has an "America Rocks" t-shirt she can wear. I think Hudson's the only one without some sort of patriotic garb. I should remedy that. hmm.

weekends. oh, I guess that's an always-obsession. Nothing new there!