Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Johnny Appleseed

September has flown by! Eli is a full fledged walker now, and its so cute...even if means my baby is growing up. He holds his hands up in the air to balance himself, unless he has a sippy cup in his hand, which he won't put down even when he falls. He also loves to give kisses with big lip smacks. His personality is really coming out, and I think after 6 months home I can say we are all 100% adjusted.

Cora has taken up two professions: cowgirl and dancer. She LOVES to dress up, especially shoes. Last night she said a long prayer before bed, and we couldn't understand a word of it as she mumbled, but we heard Jesus a couple times. I had to smile thinking God knew exactly what she was saying to him.

Sam is enjoying school most of the time. I have to be excited and creative to keep him interested. Many nights after they go to bed I am up making plans for the next day...I really feel like I have a new job! Last week we had our first group study with the homeschool group. We are doing a study about Indiana, with each mom taking turns teaching different topics each week. At the end we are taking a field trip to Corydon, the first state capital.
Nana and Papaw are at Yellowstone right now, so we've been looking at US maps and learning about the animals they are seeing. Its neat how topics come up, such as this, and we can use it for many subjects. It really helps him learn if he's actually interested in the topic. Today we are going to measure length and weight of moose antlers and try to walk with something similar on our head, paint moose using our hand prints as antlers, discuss Indian names (which the word moose comes from), pollute a bucket of water to see how it hurts animal habitats, and read a fiction and non-fiction moose book. Now maybe next time Nana and Papaw will take us along:)
Here is Sam as Johnny Appleseed. After our visit to the apple orchard we did many activities with apples, and Sam really liked the Johnny Appleseed books so he dressed up and took the seeds from the apples we ate and planted them around our yard!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam's theology

Sam has started asking deeper questions about many of the Bible stories he already knows. He has also recently moved up a class in Sunday School, and they are learning more Biblical truths. The other night, as he was procrastinating going to bed, we were talking about his Sunday School lesson. He talked about Adam and Eve eating the fruit. I told him that the snake was really Satan, which he also recently learned about. I said that satan doesn't like God and didn't want Adam and Eve to listen to God, and he doesn't want us to listen to God either so he tricks us. He asked if Satan was here, in our house. I didn't know what to say, so I said I hope not and we can pray that He stays away. Sam said very flatly, "Well, I'll get my pistol."

Maybe he's heard Pastor Jim's saying about being excited enough to charge Hell with a water pistol....

Later in the conversation we talked about heaven, and how every time in the Bible someone saw God in heaven they bowed down because God is so great. Sam said, "Mom, I might forget to bow down because I'm just a little kid. If me and you die at the same time, you have to remind me to bow down okay?"

It is amazing how much better I understand God's Word when I explain it to the kids, but also see it through their eyes. And what an awesome and humbling experience to get to teach my children about the Lord.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Field Trips!

Sam has decided that the best thing about home school is field trips...and I almost agree. What better way to learn something than to see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, and feel it?

We are blessed in southern Indiana with lots of interesting places to visit. Last week we packed up the van, picked up Nana and cousin Callaway, and headed to the White River Valley Antique Tractor Show. Fortunately for Eli there were lots of tractors, and for the rest of us there was so much more. We saw horses harvesting crops, steam engines, log cabins, people making apple butter and cider. We also saw donkeys, pot-bellied pigs, miniature horses, and rabbits. We tasted pork rinds, kettle corn, homemade root beer, homemade ice cream, and sorghum. We even saw a cowboy show with a stage coach robbery. Sam's favorite part was seeing "George Washington", who looked more like the president than the picture on the money I had before buying all that good food. And BTW, home school families got in FREE:)

This week our trip was to Apple Acres, an apple orchard and store. We picked our own apples, plus got some apple cider and apple butter. Sam had a cider slushy too. Tonight we made an apple crisp and read about Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Ethiopian New Year

We've been learning about ET all week, and Sam has really enjoyed it. He fingerpainted an ET flag, cut out an Africa shape, and colored an Ethiopia map. On the map we glued salt in the north where there are salt plains and coffee in the south where coffee trees grow wild. Did you know many believe coffee originated in ET from the region previous known as Kafa? We also put a star on Addis Ababa, the capital city and birthcity of our Eli. This week we also looked at all our souvenirs, pictures, Birr (ET money), and practiced writing Amharic.

September 11 on our calendar is Ethiopia's New Year's Day. It marks the end of the rainy season there, so they have much to celebrate. We celebrated last night with a "traditional" ET meal. Actually, it was a loose Ausbrooks version, but pretty good for Martin County! We used soft taco shells instead of injera, the traditional ET bread, to pick up our food, which included steak pieces, BBQ chicken, hard boiled eggs, and cheese. We spread the food on our ET basket and all shared. The best part dishes to wash! Sam and Cora wore their ET outfits, and ate quite a bit. We all had coffee to drink. Cora would not drink hers, which was in a sippy cup, but Eli LOVED it. He is always begging for coffee from Josh. Surprisingly, I was the one up all night and Eli slept like, well, a baby!

Prior to our adoption we committed to teach our child about his birth country. I was a little uncertain how we would be able to do that, but I'm learning that its not just for him, its for our whole family. And its FUN! Becoming an international family has made us aware of just how big God's world is. It has also given us compassion for a group of people we don't even know. How wonderful it is to hear Sam praying that people in ET have enough food.

Happy Enkutatash and God bless Ethiopia in their new year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sweet Reunion

We were very blessed this past weekend to be able to fellowship with three other families who have adopted from AGCI in recent months. We met two sweet baby boys (both named Silas!) who were at HH when we got Eli. We also met two beautiful twin girls who now make Indianapolis their home. The miracle of adoption is never more evident than when you see how each child seems hand picked by God for their forever family.

Here is the group of Ethiopians, and what a cute group it is! To see more pictures, hop on over to Troy or Tisha's blogs, and Angie's family was there too.

Sam was quite surprised, as was I, to hear Hanna and Chloe speaking Amharic. He exclaimed, "What are they saying?!"

Ethiopia uses a different calendar than we do, and they celebrate their New Year on September 11. So this week we are studying ET and decorating for the holiday. We hope to have a special meal on Thursday, as we have another activity planned Friday. Hopefully pictures will come later this week:)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Photo shoot

Yesterday we had great local photographer come and take pics of the kids. Leah does this as a side job, and I think she is very talented. Our kids did great for her, and she did even better capturing their personalities. We put of doing pictures of Eli for waaaay too long, but I'm so glad we chose to have Leah come to the farm.

Here are some of our photos on her blog.

Aren't they too cute!

Alphabet wall

Last spring Sam started making letters to put up on his wall, and we have finally finished it! We tried to do something unique with each letter, such as the purple P with popcorn glued on, the E with a picture of Eli on it, and the O finger painted orange. We had fun, and now he has a great visual aid.

Here a picture of part of it.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Exploring Nature

This week Sam made nature letters. We walked around the yard collecting various nature items, then he sat on the front porch and made each letter of the alphabet with the items. It was fun, and definitely too beautiful to stay inside. Above is an "N" of flower stems and chicken feather. (Speaking of chickens, our young hens started laying this week, and their little eggs are so cute! Maybe I'll post a pic.)

Last night Sam and Josh went squirrel hunting. The last time Sam went along, he talked the whole time and they didn't get anything. So next time Josh went without him and got two. We explained to Sam that he HAD to be quiet, and Josh said he did great this time. They didn't see anything for a while so they prayed and less than five minutes later they got one. They also thanked God right away. Josh's actions and words have a huge impact on Sam, so I'm so glad he lives out his faith in all areas.
We can also add squirrel anatomy to our science curriculum. I knew we were in trouble when Sam yelled to Cora (who loved to pet the squirrel), "Hurry Cora, he's about to cut the tail off!" Now we have squirrel in the frindge, and don't ask me who is going to cook that. I also hope our readers know that we are PETA members...People Eating Tasty Animals.

Go Boilers!

We are having beautiful fall weather this week, and Eli looks so grown up in a sweatshirt. He even wore shoe last night, which he does not like. Cora got so tickled when she saw Eli in shoes. He has quit walking solo, deciding its quicker to crawl I guess. In shoes, he hardly even stands up. I guess its time to start using them more so he can get used to it...better start getting ready to go 5 minutes sooner with another pair of shoes to put on. Eli curls his toes tight when I put them on him, so I have to unlace all the way, set his foot in, hold it flat tightly while lacing, and wrestle to keep him still. Better make it 10 minutes earlier!