Saying Good-Bye?

I think this may be the beginning of the end for the blog.  It makes me sad in a way to think about this because I have been writing this blog for over 7 years.  My life, though, is starting to burst at the seams and something has to give.  Family, work, and now homeschool…and especially work and homeschool have made me busier than ever.  I am not sure when or how my life seemed to start feeling as if it’s being sucked dry and yet drowning all at the same time but here I am, exhausted and overwhelmed at the end of the day.  Guess what’s suffering?  Anything and everything that is extra-curricular…photography, blogging, hanging out with friends (although I am going to the movies with some friends tomorrow night!).

I want to be able to write my memories down and to capture the everyday but honestly, I’m so tired by the time that I put Catherine down at the end of the day that the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer and write.  With 20+ days between my posts, I think the writing is on the wall that it might be time to let this go.

This might be a slow transition.  I will let you know though when I decide to close up shop.

Homeschooling Into Week 4

We are officially entering into week 4 of our homeschooling journey.  So far there hasn’t been any major disasters.   It’s been a lot easier than I thought and yet at the same time it is a difficult as I have thought.  It’s such a learning curve for the both of us so adjusting to the schedule and following a curriculum is a bit crazy but all in all, we are enjoying our adventure.

What I love about homeschooling is that we can pick up and move our classroom to anywhere we choose.  We were reading about clownfish and camouflage, so the next day we packed up the sketch pad and the colored pencils and headed to the aquarium.  We studied the fish and she got to see firsthand some of the things we had been studying.  We then set up camp in front of a fish tank and she picked out some fish to color and sketch.  Art and science at one time, you can’t beat it!

We also spent some time watching an I-Max about polar bears.  This week we are studying bears and she was able to recall what she learned from that movie three weeks ago.

We chose the curriculum called Animals and their Worlds by Winter Promise.  She is such an animal nut that when I happened upon this company, I knew this was what we were going to use for the year.  So far we love it although we have had to tweek it to make it more understandable for her.  She is quite a smart child so there are quite a few concepts she has gotten a grasp of.  It’s pretty fascinating what information she retains.  I love this program because it is quite hands on with lots of exploration of the world around her.  Right now we are studying the woods and animals that live in the woods.  We have picked a small square in our backyard to study the plants and animals in that area.  It has been so much fun to look for bugs and birds and leaves and then study them.  I have to say it has been overwhelmingly hot to spend too much time outdoors.  I’m really looking forward to spending some time outside once it cools down.  The curriculum even had us build an exploration backpack that consists of all kinds of fun things to observe nature.

We also spend time on craft projects to go along with animals she is learning about and the letters and numbers that are integrated into the program.  They have some super cute projects that we have enjoyed doing!  I have to say though that John has been doing quite a few of the crafts with her.

To supplement the animal program we are using Winter Promise’s language arts program to help Catherine learn to read.  Teaching her how to read scares me as much as having to potty train her.  Their program has made the process enjoyable and it’s so amazing to watch her read short words!  We are also using Horizons Math.  Math scares me more than reading because I have always been TERRIBLE at math (just ask my dad.  I gave him many of his gray hairs!).  Once kindergarten math is done, John will have to start teaching it and I’m pretty sure I will need a workbook to learn with Catherine!

Our school week is short, only 4 days and the time we spend per day is only 2-3 hours. at the most.  I couldn’t believe how quickly we were able to get through the work and most of the work is fun!

Kindergarten Adventures

 

Catherine started kindergarten today.  I have to say I feel like a farce when I say this because we are homeschooling her.  Since I didn’t fill up a backpack with back-to-school goodies and pack her a lunch and then walked her to school, it somehow doesn’t feel like the real deal.  And the first day of following a curriculum was just too easy to be ‘real’ school.  However, we did spread out all of her new back-to-school goodies across the dining room table.  We opened up all of the awesome books that we will be studying and reviewing over the next 36 weeks of her kindergarten year and we got to work.  And after only two hours of math, reading and science, we ate lunch in the kitchen, sans the brown paper bag.

Only two hours?  That can’t be right!  Aren’t kids supposed to be in school for 6 or more hours?  I have read about how a homeschooled child will pack in more education in two three hour period than a traditional school will do in 6-8.  It sounded too good to be true and then today, it felt too good to be true.  Of course our curriculum is starting off slowly this first…thank the Lord!  Today though, we learned about skeletons and exoskeletons, measuring and counting (which was way to easy of a review for Miss Catherine).  We read good books, measured the dogs and the cat, studied a snail, and worked on some work-sheets.  All of this and we were done in less than two hours.

(This grainy photo was of Catherine and I measuring the dogs.  Trust me!  They felt tortured!)


After lunch Catherine spent about an hour playing on ABC Mouse, and online classroom for preschoolers and kindergartners while I did some work.  I love this program because it’s teaching her some basic computer skills while also reinforcing some things she already knows and then teaching her some things that she doesn’t know.

The best part of our day?  At 2pm we headed down to Kemah to spend time with some close family friends (and a mentor of mine).  While the adults chatted over a late lunch, the kids got to play and watch the fish at the aquarium.  Of course Catherine asked a lot of questions about the fish and we discussed some of the things that we had learned today and how it relates to the fish that she saw.  And since she spent about two to three hours of pure play time with some other kids, I think we got some ‘socialization’ time in for as well.  I HATE the socialization question!

All in all, we had a great first day of kindergarten.  Let’s hope day two goes just as well!

A Special Day

A couple of weeks ago, Catherine and I attended the wedding of a very special person.

Five years ago, months before we even had the first inkling of who Catherine was and what she looked like, she laid in the arms of a sweet, kind lady named Emily.  Emily had gone with her church mission group to China to care for children at an orphanage.  Little did I know how divine intervention would weave her into our lives and would create a truly unique and precious relationship.

It always pains an adoptive mother’s heart to know that she has missed out on the care of her child and it’s extremely painful to miss out on any part of their life.  I hate that I missed out on the first few months of her life…being able to witness her first smile, the first time she rolled over, etc.  For me though, some of my pain was eased when I found out that these missionaries had gone to China to love on these children…on my child.   Emily wasn’t sent to just any orphanage.  She was sent to Catherine’s orphanage.  Catherine was loved on by one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met.  What an incredible blessing to me to know that she was there to feed, hold, pray over and love on (and even name her) when I couldn’t be?

We have seen Emily a couple of times since Catherine’s adoption.  I want Catherine to know her and have a relationship with her.  Now that Catherine is starting to understand a bit more of her beginnings, I know that her knowing Emily is even more important.  When I received the invitation to Emily’s wedding a couple of months ago, I knew that we had to be there.  What better time and what better way for Catherine to be a part of a special time in Emily’s life than at her wedding?  So, on the plane we went!

Catherine (and I) loved every minute that we were there.   Even though we were there for a few short days, every single minute was a wonderful experience of watching Catherine get to know Emily a little bit better. It was also so fun to watch her interact with all of Emily’s friends and family members.  It felt as if we were part of the family for years.

So much of the fun that we had was that we were included on all of the wedding events.  We attended the bridal luncheon, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and of course on the big day!  Catherine doesn’t know too much about weddings, other than what she has seen on a movie.  I think when she finally got to witness one in person, it was a bit of a shock.  I think it was a bit boring for her waiting for the ceremony to take place but once it got going, she had a great time!  Because of all of the pre-wedding events that we participated in, she got to know the women in the wedding party, so when they started walking down the aisle she was waving at them and telling them hello!  It was too cute.

I think the most fun for her was going to Emily’s rehearsal dinner.  It was set in a beautiful location with tons and tons of space for the kids to play.  You can’t beat a big tree swing overlooking a valley!  Even I was enamored!

I didn’t get pictures of the wedding itself but I tried to capture as many photos at the beginning of the wedding and at the reception.  Since I didn’t bring my big camera, most of my shots are grainy or blurry.  My favorite photo though is of this one where Catherine was watching them cut the cake.  It really captures her awe of the whole experience.  I just wish I could have gotten a shot of her face!  She couldn’t believe that Emily got a ring and her very own cake!!

Thank you Emily for letting us share this very special day with you!  I feel so incredibly blessed that God put you in our lives.  I feel even more blessed that you were there for Catherine during a time when I couldn’t be.  What a gift we have been given to have such a sweet person like you in our lives!  I pray that your marriage and your family will be blessed richly and fully in the days, months and years to come.  And I pray that the gift that you have given to us will be given back to you many times over!

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