Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Formal

Caleb and Taylar went to their winter formal this past weekend.
What a lovely couple!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Arts

Jonny's 4th grade class put on the play Alice in Wonderland.   He was Tweedle Dum.
The kids did a fantastic job.
I made three packs of jello for dessert one night.  I wanted it to be ready in two hours so I followed the quick set directions.  I misunderstood how much ice and water to add, and we ended up with lumpy Jello soup.   Whipped topping couldn't even save it. 
However, Galina and Anna found a delicious recipe for cookie dough bars.

They were rich, but very good.
Anastasia drew this eye by watching youtube videos.
Paul loves to draw too.
So does Dennis.
Here is Anna wearing Jonny's hat from the play.
Waffles for breakfast. 
Andrew's newest thing is making solar ovens. 
It's a treat when our home is filled with music from the kids playing.
P.S.  Paula is the kids' friend.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Birthday!

The kids are growing up. We have another sixteen year old in the family.   She is our beautiful daughter Annalyn.  Happy birthday sweetheart!
To celebrate Annalyn's birthday we let all seven girls go out with Paula and Taylar for the day-- no parents.  Taylar drove one of our cars.  They went out to lunch, shopped, and played hide and go seek in Target. They had a blast and it was neat hearing all about it when they got home.

John barbecued burgers for dinner, and then we played Balderdash!  It was so much fun.  We enjoyed it so much that we played the next night too.  Though Annalyn had a slow start as did many of us, she was rocking it by the end!  She had me voting for her before long.

Even though Grandpa and Grandma could not be there, Annalyn got their present in the mail.
Annalyn loves reading Chicken Soup books.

Annalyn requested apple crisp for her birthday cake.  We made graham smores as a bonus.

Watching Annalyn blow out her sixteen candles is such a blessing.  I cannot imagine what life would be like if she was not a part of our family.  She makes us laugh.  She is tenderhearted.  Thoughtful.  Crazy.  Artistic. Fun.  Groovy. 
Happy birthday to a special girl!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Not a Fan

I read the book Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman a year ago.  I began reading it to the kids recently for our family devotion time.   I was very excited to find that there are a few videos on the book.  I wanted to share them with you. 

Hope your week is going well.  For the first time ever, I watched the first episode of Downton Abbey.  I'm not sorry that I did.
As a family we finally finished the last Little House on the Prairie episode where Walnut Grove gets blown up.  Strange, but it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after all of these months.  Anna however could watch the episodes with Albert over and over again.  And Julia, Galina, Annalyn, and Anna are thinking of starting from season 1 all over again.
I might join them here and there but other than that, I watched LHOP all the way through once and I don't need to do it again. 
As for me, I think John and I are going to savor Downton Abbey for the next year.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's Quiet

I can't believe it.   It is a little past 8 o'clock and the house is completely quiet.  Granted, John is at BSF with thirteen of the kids, but still, all the littles are bathed and asleep and I finally have some time to myself.
I would be cleaning out my closet if I could find the vacuum cleaner, but no, one of the kids decided to put it somewhere and after searching high and low I give up. 
Earlier when I was giving Dennis a haircut, I heard a thud.  Oliver climbed out of his crib again and landed on his bottom... thankfully.  Yeah, I'm sure you are thinking that you heard this a while back, but honestly, I have had no luck finding an alternative for him.  His crib is next to our bed still, so he usually falls asleep when I go to bed, so he has no reason to want to climb out unless I am in another room.  Well, I was, so he of course wanted to get out.
I've tried having sleep with his brothers, but he just plays.  I've tried having him sleep with us, but he practically kicks us off the bed, and I end up putting him back in the crib anyway.
Well after the thud tonight, I figured I had to be more diligent in teaching him to sleep in a regular bed.  So I laid him down on the extra bed in the corner of our room.  He tried to sit up at least a dozen times, and played around for an hour, but he listened each time I told him to lay back down, and now he is asleep.  Touchdown!  At least that is how I feel right now.
Jonny is in a play at school.  He is Tweedle Dum in Alice of Wonderland.
Dennis is growing up incredibly fast.  He is so mature for his age.  His brother gave him an old MPG player to have, and now Dennis wants one that really works for his birthday.  And he is only seven!
The other day, I was at a children's clothing consignment shop.  I came across these two things.  Feeling so blessed that we will get to see them worn. 
Thank you to those who have supported our fundraising efforts.
We appreciate it very much.
Thank you Caroline!  You look beautiful.
"I couldn't be happier with my new oven mitts! For years I would replace my store bought ones trying to find a pair that would work. Sometimes I would resort to grabbing the closest hand towel. The mitts that Julia made for me are amazing! I got them in the mail just in time to take out a pan of lasagna for dinner. They were perfect! I didn't feel even a tiny bit of heat.  I had a hard time choosing a color so I did each one a different color. That makes them even more uniquely mine. I am hoping to buy more pairs as gifts to my daughters to put in their hope chests. I'm so pleased to help with this adoption, but at the same time receive such a wonderful, useful item. Thanks, Julia!"
Thank you Kim!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Alphabet Song

When my first kids were younger they grew up watching Sesame Street's Alphabet Treasure Hunt.  It was an awesome VHS tape that they watched over and over.  We memorized Kermit's Alphabet Song.  We loved it.... literally.  Recently we rediscovered it again.  I encourage you to watch it.  If you are anything like us, soon the lyrics will be stuck in your head.

Then today after church, Julia and John left the living room for awhile.  I was curious as to what they were doing.  Come to find out, they were writing new lyrics to the song.
Here is Julia and Adam singing a new version.
It made me smile... big.

The Reed Alphabet Song
A is for adoption
B Beaumont
C is for craziness
D is for Dad
E is for everyone like
F Father
G Galina
H Home to us
I Invest
J Jonathan
K King of
L Love
 M is the Mom
N Naptime
O is for Oliver
P, the "Pooter" will be sleeping soon
Q is for Queen of Honey (That's Dad's cell number for Mom)
R Reeds
S Sisters
T talk at our devotions
U is for unicycle that's
V Vehicle of
W William
X is for X-games where he'd love to ride
Y is for yelling that will never cease
which brings us back to
Z's for when the family's asleep
in Beaumont

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Plates

We finally got our new plates. I had hoped to get them in time for Christmas, but I didn't mail them off until a few days before.  In the end it was actually kind of nice to  have them arrive later... kind of a bonus after Christmas.  The kids are so happy with them!
I dislike playdoh.  Just ask the kids.  So when we were given two cans of it, I set them on the counter out of reach of Nolan and Dennis and Alex.  My intent was to donate them to the local thrift store.  But they didn't make it.  The kids did get ahold of them after all.  Oh well.
Last night we had ice-cream waffles for dessert.  The kids really enjoy these.  So simple, yet so special.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Past 18 Months

It's been 18 months. 18 months since I first laid eyes on Oliver and Nolan.  A year and a half since Oliver was placed in my arms and Nolan came walking into the room.   Since, it has been an absolute joy in being a part of their lives.
The first thought that went through my mind when I held Oliver was how soft and floppy he was.  At nearly a year old, he could not sit up without falling over.  His muscle tone was low, his reflux was severe, and I didn't even know what his cry sounded like the whole time he was in the orphanage.
What reason was there for him to cry if his cries went unattended to his whole life?
From the second we met him, Nolan was this outgoing, happy, and mischievous little boy who was content as long as we did what he wanted to do.  Though we already loved him, we were strangers to him and it would take a while for us to earn his trust.  Despite any physical challenges there was nothing that he did not do and he didn't want us or anyone else keeping him from enjoying life to the fullest.   In simple words-- He was a little turkey from the getgo!  
When we first brought the boys home, all the siblings wanting to hold and love on them was a bit overwhelming.  Yes, there was such a thing as too much attention for two little boys who were not used to being held, hugged, and interacted with constantly.
If we just looked at Oliver a certain way, he would cry.
Oliver's muscle tone was so low that he could do the splits.
When he finally began to bear weight on his feet, I worried that there was something wrong with his ankles the way they turned out.
Thankfully a visit to the orthopedist cleared up any worries I had about his ability to walk and by the time he turned two, he was walking!
For many months after the boys got home, Oliver had issues with food.  He would look at his bowl the whole time I was feeding him and would get really sad and cry come time I scraped the last bite onto the spoon.  Things got worse before they got better.  He would actually have little tantrums when the food was gone.  And then there was the choking on food.  And putting everything that wasn't food in his mouth like the little white stopper off the springy little door stop attached to the wall.   Oh my, was that scary.  But we were patient.  We slowed down his eating, and made his bites smaller.  We had a swallow study done and saw a feeding therapist.  We bought some chewy tubes and followed the exercises at home to encourage chewing. We taught him to feed himself.
Over time he began to show signs of disliking certain foods.  And before we knew it, he was convinced that another meal was coming, and the tantrums stopped. 
And so did the choking.  Unless it's bread.
And Nolan.
He keeps growing like a weed.  He was in size 18 months pants and now he is wearing 3T.  And he doesn't fit in this high chair anymore.

Nolan and Oliver have sure changed since they joined our family.  Nolan went from barely knowing one or two of his siblings' names to being able to write almost all of them on paper from memory.

Oliver went from being content to just sit in your lap to initiating play like Peek-a-boo, chase, and hiding under the covers in my bed. 

Looking at the boys today, they are so well adjusted, that it is hard to imagine their life before family.

I am so thankful that we said yes to these two little boys!
I can't wait to see how much more they will blossom in the next 18 months!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Project Week and Headbands

The kids are back to school.   But for home school, we are doing something new.  The school is calling this first week back "Project Week".
This is the science project description for Paul, Anastasia, and Sveta.
Opening Up Science
For Learning Period 5 you will be working on a very exciting home-study research project. For this project  you will be researching what something is like on the inside and how something works. 
Have you ever wondered what the inside of an anthill looks like or how a television works? Maybe you have wanted to research what the inside of the earth looks like or how a camera works. You will have an opportunity to research anything that you want!  Be prepared to share all the components of your project with your facilitator or academy teacher.
Our project week will be January 6-10, 2014. During this week, you will not have any other assignments, but will work on this project each day for the whole day.  Please take your time and pay attention to details when completing your work.

Components of this project:
  • Engage:  Brainstorm potential projects to work on and choose an item that will be manageable to research and build.
  • Explore:  Research your topic and decide which materials to use for your 3D report.
  • Explain: Complete your research paper with appropriate citations
  • Elaborate: Build a cross section of your project and a poster that you can use to help present it.
  • Evaluate: Look over the rubric and make sure you have everything.  If not, go back and add it in!
The tabs on the left side will help you through each step.  You will also see two levels, one for younger students and one for older students.  Please use the grade level as a general guideline to ensure you (or your student) are working at an appropriate level. 

The high school girls chose individual science projects.
Anna, William, and Andrew are doing one big group project.
In this project, you will be a nature detective and select a local ecosystem to study. After exploring your local environment, you will create a field guide to introduce the ecosystem to others.

In some ways these last two days have been a nice easy transition back into school.  In other ways, the expectations of the kids nowadays because of common core is really stressful.  I hope, I hope, I hope I can find a balance.
Today's lunch.  Homemade French Bread Pizzas.
Julia is still crocheting away.  Her servant's heart to help fundraise is very special.  As we are watching an episode from season 9 of LHOP she is crocheting.
Thank you to all who have kept her busy!
Here is her newest item-- baby bibs size 12X9.  They are made with 100% cotton yarn.
$20 each-- going for a very good cause.

Julia is also making these soft, baby head bands for $9 each.  They make a wonderful baby gift.
Please email me at thereed8 at yahoo.com if you would like to order. 
I will throw in a window decal. ;)
Here are some of Julia's most recent orders just in case any of them catches your eye.

We finally have an adoption update.  Our social worker has finished our home study and it is being reviewed right now.  Hopefully it should be in our hands next week!