Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Balancing Books

I often wonder if Paul being in public school is the best thing for him.  For the first few days of school he was bringing home homework that was totally inappropriate for his level.  His assignment was to learn about and recognize different genres.  He still struggles with reading at the kindergarten level and should be working on phonics.  After the second day I wrote a letter asking for different homework.  I figured that I could slowly bridge the gap by working with him at home at his own level.  The teacher sent home a 2nd grade math book for him to work on at home.  It's perfect.  In addition to that he is learning division.  I am pleased with the progress he makes in our one hour after school but I do wonder what he is learning during school. My plan is to homeschool him next year as a sixth grader but I think about starting him sooner.
John and the kids like to play chess.   Now all of the homeschoolers know the rules.
Not sure what prompted this goofy exercise but I thought it was worth a picture.
After dinner Anastasia, Julia, and Galina walked round and round our kitchen table this way.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Dennis Update and Blog Posts Worth Noting

Praise the Lord that Dennis is home and doing so well! I mean-- so well that it hardly seems like he had surgery. The doctors and nurses who cared for him today were so awesome that he was sweetly staring at me when I came into see him after his surgery. He has paper tape instead of plastic tape so he is not even trying to itch his face. I think this alone has already made his experience so much better. Yay! Today is also Caleb's birthday! Dennis thought it would be cool to get pictures of them looking like super heroes.

Since I don't have alot of time to blog today, I thought I would share a few posts that I read recently.

Reasons to Homeschool According to a School Teacher

One Need

Newborn Domestic Available Adoption-- Only 4k in fees

Feel free to share any posts that you found worth noting.  Thanks!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caleb's Birthday Bash!

Happy Birthday Caleb!  Can't believe you are already 15!
Sorry your party fell on the hottest day of the year.

John barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs.
Daddy ate up in the play place with Alex and Dennis.
After swimming and eating, the kids played volleyball. 
It was wonderful getting to know Caleb's friends.
Everyone sang so loud I bet the neighbors heard!
Alex and Dennis were very popular at the party!
It was fun to hear Caleb read all of his cards.  The ones that played music of course ended up in Dennis' hands.
The evening winded down with Julia playing piano and people singing.  It was great!

Caleb you are quite a young man!  We are very proud of you!  Can't wait to see what you do this next year!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seeds and Smoothies

The kids have been begging to make smoothies. So for our homeschool snack a few days ago, we made them with strawberries, orange juice, bananas, yogurt, and milk.
This is one of Dennis' first drawings in kindergarten.  Isn't it cute?  He has been hesitant to go to school a few times, but now that he carries a picture of our family in his backpack, he is becoming happier each day about going.  He always comes home excited to share about his day in kindergarten and the tears are less and less and so I am pretty sure he is just getting used to the new routine.
This is a great book full of math puzzles.  The kids work on it when they finish with school early.
I am so excited to have these seeds!  I just planted them.  Can you guess what plant they are?
Dolly got a much needed haircut.  Then the girls gave her a bath.  She looks so cute now!
My 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls are learning about nutrition this year.  I love teaching it... especially when I see the girls applying what they have learned.  I am very proud of Annalyn who is keeping track of her increased water intake.
The kids enjoy playing on the bars that we put up.  All of them practice pull-ups now, but they mostly just climb the bars.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sudak on the Black Sea

The day before we left, David asked us if we wanted to go to the sea.  Up until then we had not went  sightseeing, but then again I am not much of a sightseeing person.  Julia was excited to go... Sasha had never been to the sea... so we went.
The bus ride over was interesting.  We took one bus out to the main highway hoping that we could flag down another bus that happened to be going to the sea.  You never know how long till the next bus or you might get lucky and someone might stop and offer you a ride.  After waiting in the hot sun, we flagged down a bus that we thought was going to Feodosiya only to find that it was going to Sudak.  So Sudak it was!
From the bus station we caught a taxi that took us straight to the Black Sea.
Everyone was in skimpy little bathing suits.  First thing we saw was a little boy wearing a thong speedo.
Trust me when I say that Julia was overdressed in her one piece.
The water was luke warm and there were no waves.  But Sasha was like a little kid in the candy store with excitement so I can only imagine what it will be like when he sees the Pacific Ocean for the first time! 
There were lots of activities on the beach.  From para sailing to massages-- there was something for everyone!
Here is what looks like a castle that sits on the cliff at Sudak.
Sasha wanted to make sure that he got lots of pictures!
It was very hot on the beach.  The only place we could find that had shade was this biker restaurant.
The decor was quite interesting.
After trying to order five different things on the menu only to be told that they can't make it, we were told that their fryer was not working.
David ordered a couple of sandwiches.
Julia said, "Watch.  I bet they are going to come back and tell us that they don't have bread."
Sure enough, the waitress came back to tell us that they didn't have the right kind of  bread that the sandwich is normally served on.  It was hilarious.
Next, David asked for an iced coffee.
"We don't have that."
David said, "Please bring me a cup of coffee and a glass of ice then."
As we finished up our meal the place began to fill up with young adults who were ordering alcoholic beverages.  Before we left, I had to use the toilet and of course it was the kind you had to stand and aim into.  Let's just say that I had to rinse my foot.  I wondered how the drunk women who wore heels managed such a toilet... or better yet.  What if they had to hug the toilet? Yuck!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On The Bright Side

Do you notice something different?  Come on take a closer look.  No... I am not talking about his prosthetic eye being back in.  Look closer. 

Dennis lost his first tooth.
Actually he had it knocked out-- poor guy.  It happened at church when one of the little girls in his class tried to be a big help by getting Alex his crutches and knocked Dennis' tooth with them.  On the bright side, this was the tooth that needed a baby root canal and the same tooth he broke off when he fell last week.
The tooth fairy made an extra special visit and came during nap time!
Dennis was so excited about his presents!
He is too cool!
Last week I took Dennis for a kindergarten "Meet the Teacher Night" along with Alex.  A few of the kids recognized Dennis from the sensitivity awareness letter that went out a week earlier.  They came up and introduced themselves-- which I thought was beyond cool.  A special speaker shared about the importance of parents talking with their children at home about how people may look different but that they are people just like anyone else.  He encouraged kids to ask questions rather than stare-- and to look past a person's disability because if we are honest with ourselves none of us are perfect.

Even after all this, I am still nervous about Dennis going off to school.  Isn't that silly?  My baby... I just can't bear the thought of some classmate (there are over 120 kindergartners alone) making fun of him.  
School starts in two days.  The last of the haircuts were given today, school shopping is done, and new bedtimes were enforced.  Can't say that the kids are actually asleep yet, but hey, I've got to try.

I went grocery shopping this afternoon.  Two of the kids asked if bagels were for breakfast.  Sure-- why not?
Now if I could only figure out what to cook for dinner tomorrow night.

Next week is Paul's birthday!  He is counting down the days!  Next is Caleb's, then Dennis', and then Anna's.  All within four weeks!  Hopefully one of them will want pie or donuts or something. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Showing You Around

The ROJ property consists of half a dozen buildings or so-- one of the biggest being this old farmhouse.  Right now it serves mostly as a place for storage but it also serves as a meeting place during camp... and sometimes a place to sleep when visitors are there.
Much of the stuff you see are things that came out of humanitarian aid containers.  Learning about the process and all that is involved in receiving humanitarian aid made me realize that even donations do not come easy.
The building needs lots of work but hopefully one day it will serve as a meeting room and cafeteria. 
The red building is actually an outdoor shower with boy and girl sinks on either side.  The water is heated by the sun in a shallow holding tank.
Here is the path that you walk from the old farmhouse over to the cabin, David's house, and another home. 
This is a good size shell of a house that also sits on the ROJ property.  Currently it is inhabitable but someday it will be a home for a foster family.
Here is David working on the chin bars.
Julia and Sasha brought over the cement to pour into the holes.
Lots of birds reside at ROJ too.  The geese are my favorite along with the baby ducks.
Here is an empty pasture for the ROJ ministry to expand.
Would you please pray with me that this ministry will continue to grow?  As new and old relationships are strengthened and God continues to open doors for ministry opportunities I pray that people will get involved and partner with ROJ so that it can be a place for healing and redemption for children and orphans year round.
The white little cabin to the right is where we stayed.  It is a nice little room for guests.  Builders are working on a small water feature so that guests can sit next to it and feel and hear the relaxing effects of the water.
Here I am with David, the founder of ROJ.