Sunday, August 31, 2008

Changing the Pledge of Allegiance???

Hannah just started AWANA last Sunday as a proud Spark! Apparently there is more memory work in Sparks than there was in Cubbies, so tonight at the dinner table we were helping her go over her lesson.

When we got to the pledge of allegiance, Hannah said, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

Greg and I died laughing. Think they'd have fun with that version of the pledge on Capitol Hill???

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Just after breakfast this morning, I took this picture of Hannah being silly:

Not 10 seconds later, I heard Millie's little voice saying, "Cheeeeeeeese!" And this, of course, is what I saw when I turned around:

If you ask Hannah what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll tell you a ballerina. If you ask Millie, I'm pretty sure she'll tell you, "I want to be Hannah!"

I think she got it!

For part of Hannah's school last week, we compared people who love Jesus to the moon because Jesus' light shines on us and makes us become a light so others can find Him, much like the sun shines on the moon and gives it light. I think she really "got it" because at breakfast this morning she said, "Mama, you know Jesus and you read His Word, so you're like a light for me and Millie right here in our home."

Well, melt my heart, why don't ya? And yes, that more than makes up for the ruler comment from the other day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mm Moon

Wow! The past week has been ridiculously busy, mostly due to a Bible Mystery Party lock-in we did with the youth over the weekend. I wasn't sure I would survive the planning phase, not to mention the lock-in itself, but then to get school done on top of it?!! God, you are so good!

Here are the highlights from our unit study of the moon:

On Wednesday, Hannah used a white crayon to draw the different phases of the moon on black construction paper. We cut them apart and played a little game where I'd say the name of the phase and she'd hold up the correct picture. Of course, with Hannah being—well—Hannah, that wasn't quite good enough, so she soon devised a set of rules of her own. I am proud to say that I was able to deviate from the written instructions and just go with the flow, and everything turned out okay! Just wanted to document that so I can go back and remind myself of it as needed.

Thursday's activity was so much fun! It was designed for Hannah to see both the size and the distance of the sun, moon, and earth in relation to each other. First, we cut out a sun, moon, and earth to scale. (Warning: Moment of self-pity coming up in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1) Imagine with me for a moment how difficult it is to teach a 5-year-old what "scale" means. I ended up using her dollhouse as an example. We talked about how it looks like a real house that someone just shrunk down, and everything in it was also shrunk down to the correct size so the kitchen table and chairs fit correctly in that house and the bed fits correctly in that house, etc. Then I showed her the table and chairs she and Millie sit at when they play in the playroom and said, "Would it make much sense for someone to give us this toy dollhouse and say, 'These are the chairs and table that go with it?'" Her face did that "ah-ha" thing and she said "no," so I think she got it.

Anyway, after cutting out our moon, sun, and earth, we were ready to go outside and measure away. But first, of course, we took a picture. Can you believe how HUGE the sun is? That's six—count 'em, SIX—pieces of posterboard! The moon was 1/8" (a holepunch), the earth was 1/2", and the sun was a whopping 4'4"! Keep this picture in mind when you get to the end of today's project! And can you believe how far away from Earth the moon is? We read that it took the Apollo spacecraft three days to get to the moon. I can see why when I look at this picture!

We decided to hang our sun on the mailbox because, honestly, where else are you going to hang a 4'4" sun? The sun had to be 461 feet away from the earth, so the measuring began. This was one day I was VERY happy to be a coach's wife! We used one of the measuring tapes they use for football, which is a 100' tape. Very handy for a project like this! Here's Hannah measuring our first 100 feet.

And here she is after all 461 feet. Notice the sun in the background? If you squint really hard you can see it hanging on the mailbox. (You may have to click the picture to enlarge it.) Can you believe how small it looks? Not much bigger than the moon! This helped Hannah understand that the sun and the moon aren't the same size even though they appear to be. The sun is just so far away that it looks a lot smaller than it really is. She was also able to see that the moon is MUCH closer to us than the sun is, even though they look like they're about the same distance away when we see them in the sky.

Thursday was also the day Hannah got her new badge. We talked about how the moon reflects the sun's light, and how when we know Jesus, His light shines on us and we become like a light to help other people find Him. Her special words to remember this week are "I am the light of the world."

Friday's project was postponed until Saturday because of the lock-in, so on Saturday evening, Greg and Hannah built a spaceship. Greg did most of the major assembly, and Hannah added what can only be described as spaceship heiroglyphics to the inside. She drew a panel of buttons, one of which she told us was the power button; astronauts; a special bed to strap herself into so she could sleep (from an astronaut movie we checked out from the library); and footprints like the ones Neil Armstrong left on the moon. Then she and Greg added a paper plate steering wheel (hey, it could happen) and a chair for her to sit it while she "drove."

The best part was watching her pack. She took a Wal-Mart bag into her kitchen and emptied all of her food into it. Then she got her backpack because astronauts have to have a special backpack with air in it so they can breathe on the moon. On the movie we watched, she learned that a monkey named HAM went into space. She didn't have a monkey to take in her spaceship, so she grabbed her lamb instead. Then she went into the bathroom and grabbed all of her soap and shampoo. (Apparently girls will be girls, whether on Earth or on the moon!) Next, she grabbed her experiment (the grapes that are trying oh-so-hard to become raisins) because every astronaut has to have an experiment on her spaceship, and finally she added a moon rock.

Greg had just mowed earlier in the day, and Hannah made a huge pile from the grass cuttings and pretended they were the moon. We put her spaceship on it, and she went about her astronaut business until we made her go inside because the mosquitoes were out of control.

And last night, Hannah had some friends over for dinner. We read a very sweet book called The Moon Might Be Milk with her friends, and then the kids used the recipe in the back of the book to make cookies. They were a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat!

When I asked Hannah to tell me everything she knew about the moon on Day 1 of this unit, this is what she told me:

"The moon keeps light for us in the night. The stars are in the night just like the moon. The stars are gas balls. The moon is shaped like a crescent. The moon is bright like the stars. The moon is kind of big like the sun. It is night when the moon is out. Moon starts with 'm.' That's all."

And here's what she had to say on Day 6:

"The moon is made of rock and dust. The moon is very cold when it's night. It has a footprint on it. The moon is very close to us. Astronauts go to it. There is no rain on the moon. There are no stores or plants or any people or any houses or any bugs or any wind or any mosquitoes. There's nothing to eat on the moon. Especially you can't eat the moon. That would taste yucky. The moon spins around the earth, and the earth spins around the sun. It gives us light in the night. The moon reflects the light of the sun. Astronauts have to wear spacesuits because it's too cold and too hot on the moon, and they have to wear backpacks so they can breathe. Sometimes the moon is a circle when it's a whole moon, and sometimes it's a crescent, and sometimes there's no moon when it's a new moon, and sometime it's a half moon. That's all."

What a great study! I am thankful for everything Hannah is learning and amazed at how much I am learning, too!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My baby's growing up!

Today is one of those milestone days that has me quite emotional and Greg quite confused as to what the big deal is.

Today Camille is one week shy of 2 years 7 months. Not exactly a noteworthy age, I agree, but this is the exact age Hannah was when Camille was born. I remember coming home from the hospital and thinking, "Oh, my gosh! You're not a baby anymore!" It wasn't too traumatic, though, because I was holding a newborn baby in my arms at the time.

But now there's not a newborn baby to hold in my arms. There are no more sweet baby smiles or soft coos, no more warm skin to kiss or soft hair to nuzzle. But somehow, even though I know in my head that Camille is no longer a baby, in my heart she still is. I suppose in some ways she'll always be my baby. And that's really not such a bad thing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stating the obvious

This afternoon the kids were watching a movie, and I was trying to take advantage of the time to do a little picking up. One of the things that needed to be put away was an 18-inch ruler that was out from a school project we did earlier in the day. As I walked through the living room, I noticed that Hannah was lying on her stomach. I couldn't resist putting the ruler on her behind and saying, "Your hiney is 9 inches wide!" She smiled at me and said, "Measure Millie's!" I measured Millie's and said, "Oooh, Millie's is 8 inches wide!" Than Hannah looked at me and said, "Yours is even bigger." (Keep in mind, this is the same child who told me as we were swinging on her new swingset last spring, "Mom, when you sit on the swing, it gets really wide.")

So at this point I don't know whether I should feel insulted that my daughter has noticed I'm not a swimsuit model or proud that she's mastered comparing width!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

To the lady at the mall

Some stranger whose face I never saw and whose name I will never know may have just possibly changed my life last weekend. I was at the mall with both kids, trying to take advantage of the tax-free weekend and end-of-season sales to find some clothes to put up for Hannah so she won't have to go naked next summer. As I was looking through a clearance rack, I heard a child start to throw a tantrum in the aisle right next to me. Then I heard a spank, followed by, "Do it again." More tantrum, another spank, another "Do it again." Still another tantrum, still another spank, and still another "Do it again." Then . . . silence. That was it. "Are you finished?" she asked. That was it. End of tantrum.

Overall, I consider myself a pretty confident person. But for whatever reason, when it comes to parenting, I doubt myself every time. I ask myself if I'm over-reacting. I wonder if this is what people mean when they say, "Don't break her spirit." Sometimes I even think maybe the reason she throws fits is because she's full of anger because we spank her. Yep, sad as it might be, it's all true. But I heard something loud and clear in the quiet voice of the lady at the mall: confidence. And that, I realized, is where most of my problems come from. I doubt myself as a parent, and I have one smart little 5-year-old who has figured it out and knows how to play it for all it's worth.

So to the lady at the mall, whoever you are—thank you for your example. Thank you for being a responsible parent who wants her child to learn what is and is not acceptable. Thank you for being calm and confident as you put and end to your child's behavior. Thank you for disciplining your child in public, even though that is such a hard thing to do these days. May you be blessed for the way our 10 seconds together has quite possibly changed my life!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I've created a monster!

I meant to post this story the other day and just didn't have time!

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's children with dirty hands. I don't like dirty hands on furniture. I don't like dirty hands on clean walls. I don't like dirty hands on MY clothes, although apparently God gave me Camille to try to help me overcome this. And I really, REALLY don't like dirty hands on the kids' toys! I don't know why I'm like this; it's just one of my quirks! So, needless to say, my kids have been wiped down immediately after eating since Day 1.

Well, the other day we had a playdate at Chick-Fil-A. When we got home, the septic guys were at our house pumping out the tanks. (Apparently we're quite the "producers" because we have that thing pumped more often than anyone else I know! But that's another story.) Anyway, Hannah is curious as to what's going on, so she goes over there to take a look in the tank. Greg says, "You know what that is?" Hannah says, "No." Greg says, "That's poop!" Hannah says, "Oh," then proceeds to open her purse, which is full of small packets of sanitizing hand wipes with the Chick-Fil-A logo on them. Apparently, she loaded her purse full of them before we left! She carefully removes two sanitizing hand wipes from her purse, gives them to the guys, and says, "You can use this to wipe your hands when you're done." The guys were trying so hard to mask their laughter as they said, "That sure is nice! Thanks for sharing with us! We've never had service like this!" And would you believe that after they finished pumping the tanks, they ever-so-delicately opened their little packets of Chick-Fil-A hand wipes, wiped their hands, and then ate some pieces of candy that Hannah had waiting for them?!

Now if only I can get her to share with Millie like that . . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ss Sun

Today we officially finished our first unit!

I already recorded the first day a couple of posts ago, so here are some of the activities we did on the other days:

Tuesday we put grapes in a glass bowl in the window to see how long it will take them to turn into raisins. Every day Hannah drew a picture of what they looked like so she would have a record of the changes. (This was a really cool "double whammy" science lesson because (1) it showed her that the sun causes things to dehydrate, and (2) it gave her some practice with observating an experiment and recording the results.) They're somewhere in between grapes and raisins right now, so we'll post her chart when she's all finished with it.

On Wednesday she got her badge. This is something that will change from unit to unit. It has a picture of what we're studying during that unit, along with her special words to remember. She wears it wherever we go so maybe somebody who doesn't know Jesus can meet Him for the first time or at least learn a little something new about Him! Her badge for this unit has a picture of a sun, and her special words to remember are "Jesus is the light of the world."

On Thursday we had a great time making a sundial and recording where the shadow was every hour on the hour. We started at 9:00 in the morning (a miracle in and of itself) and kept it up until 6:00 in the evening, when it began to rain. (But at least we had 9 hours of really great shadows and dry project board! Thanks for that, God!) Hannah noticed that the shadow lines were moving around kind of like a clock and that they were getting shorter. She guessed that they would just disappear, but was surprised to see that they moved to the other side and started getting longer again. We talked about how the sun moved across the sky from east to west, which makes the shadow move across the board on the opposite side (from west to east). She was curious as to why the shadow got shorter and then longer again, so we went inside and played with a flashlight and craft stick so I could explain it to her.

Friday was the best day!!! We put Millie to bed and let Hannah stay up a little late so the house would be nice and dark. Then we got out the globe and flashlight and showed Hannah how the sun causes day and night on the earth. We have some friends who are in the process of adopting a daughter from China, so we taped a picture of Hannah to the United States of America and a picture of Sadie to China. Hannah was able to see that the earth spins around, so only half of it has sunlight shining on it at a time. (She previously thought that the sun moved across the sky, then went under the grass so it would be back in the east to be ready for the next day.) She was able to see that when the sunlight was shining on the United States of America, it was nighttime on the other side of world in China. While I was making breakfast the next morning, I overheard Hannah trying to teach this to Camille. She had the flashlight pointed toward the globe and she was telling Millie, "When our Mommy is saying, 'Hannah, it's time to get up,' someone is reading a story to Sadie and saying, 'Time to close your eyes and go to bed.'"

We also took advantage of this time to show her how the sun makes seasons. We explained that right now, even though it's so hot here, it's actually winter where Aunt Rossana is from. We put a picture of Hannah on the United States of America and a picture of Aunt Rossana on Argentina and walked the globe around a light so Hannah could see how the earth was tilted in a certain direction, either toward the sun or away from it. She was able to see that when Aunt Rossana's family was close to the sun and having summer, we were farther away from the sun and having winter, and vice versa. I know she understood that the earth isn't straight up and down and that when we have summer, Argentina has winter, but I don't think she understood that the two were related. A couple of days later she asked me, "Mom, did God hang the earth crooked on purpose?"

And finally, today was our relaxed day. (Day 6 of each unit will be that way.) It is designed to promote a love for literature, so we read a couple of fiction books about shadows and space and did fun projects to go with them. Hannah's favorite project was acting out Bear Shadow by Frank Asch. It was fun watching her be creative with her actions while I read the book to her. She asked what our next fun project was, and I told her we would illustrate two of the ways Bear tried to get rid of his shadow. She asked if she could play outside for a little while first, and I told her yes. A few minutes later, she disappeared. When Millie and I went in to check on her, she was at the kitchen table drawing. She drew one picture of Bear burying his shadow and another picture of Bear hiding from his shadow behind a tree.

On the very first day of our unit, I had Hannah tell me everything she knew about the sun while I recorded it. Here's what she said:

"Sun starts with 's.' The moon reflects the sun. The sun shines to keep us warm. God made the sun. He thought everything was made beautifully. He thought the sun was made beautifully. That's everything I know about the sun. The end."

I had her do the same thing today, and here was her response:

"The sun can't get through our bodies. Jesus is the light of the world. The moon reflects the sun. God made the sun. He thought everything was good, especially the sun. The sun makes a shadow on the ground. The sun shines very bright. The sun is very big. The world turns around, and the sun shines on one side and the other is dark. The sun helps your flowers grow. You can watch the sun when it goes down. It comes up in the east and sets in the west. When the sun goes down, it's called a sunset. The sun shines over us to keep us warm. When the top of the world has summer, then it's winter down below."

<ridiculous proud mommy smile!!!>

As for Millie, she finally learned that the name of the letter is "S" and not "A," and she still remembers that it says /s/. However, she has learned far more important things this week. Life skills, I guess you could call it??? I was changing a poopie diaper one day and she said, "That's poop." I said, "That's right." She said, "We don't eat it." WOW! What would have ever made her consider it?! So I realized that it's fine if my 2-year-old knows the names and sounds of the letters, but it's definitely far more important that she learn about the basics of life!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pardon me, does my butt look big?

Tonight we were reading a book about the sun, and there was a picture of the solar system at the end. We showed Hannah which planet was Earth, and she noticed how small it is compared to the other planets.

The conversation went something like this:
Hannah: Earth isn't very big, is it?
Jen: Well, it looks pretty small compared to some of the other planets. Look at all of them. Jupiter is big. Saturn is big. Uranus is big.
Greg: (Uncontrollable laughter.)
Jen: (Finally realize what I said.)
Greg & Jen: (Uncontrollable laughter.)
Hannah: What's so funny?
Greg & Jen: (Uncontrollable laughter.)
Hannah: What's so funny?
And so on.

Think maybe we've been around junior highers too much lately?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun with the sun!

No, not fun in the sun (although we have plenty of that these days, too), but fun with the sun! I know I said I wouldn't post again until the end of the sun unit, but we had so much fun today that I wanted to record it so this mommy brain of mine won't forget!

Today we had our introductory lesson for the sun unit. First I had Hannah go into her closet with the lights off and door closed and try to find her boots, a Dr. Seuss book, and her Brer Rabbit record and book. (Yes, you read that correctly. We actually have a record player at our house. Actually, it's the one my cousins and I used to play with at my MawMaw & PawPaw's house when I was growing up.) Anyway, she found the boots, then I heard her clunking around for a while, and finally she came out and said, "I give up." Then I took several items outside, including the previously mentioned ones, and she was able to bring them to me right away. We talked about how the sun gives us light so we're able to see. Then we talked about how Jesus is the light of the world, and He helps us see where to go with our words and actions.

After this we looked through a couple of library books about the sun and talked about the way it gives us light and heat because it's a big ball of fire. There were a couple of easy experiments that Hannah wanted to try, so we did them. The first one was to put one ice cube on a plate in the direct sunlight and another on a plate in the shade to see which one melted faster. She had fun running outside to check her ice cubes every few minutes and was able to determine that the one in the direct sunlight melted faster because it's hotter there.

The second experiment was a shadow experiment, so we went back into the closet with a flashlight and made shadows with our hands. We talked about how the shadow was formed because our hands were getting in the way of the light, and the light couldn't shine through our hands or bend around our hands. She discovered that moving her had closer to the light source made the shadow bigger, and moving it farther away made it smaller.

Millie also got a lesson today—something more substantial than a coloring page! I wish I could say it's because I'm a great mom and want to set my two-year-old on the path to academic success, but it's actually because I'm tired of picking up Spanish moss from the floor and stuffing it back into the ficus tree where it belongs! (I guess Millie has noticed all the time I have been spending with Hannah, so that's her way of saying, "You WON'T forget about me!") Anyway, since Hannah's letter for the sun unit is "S," I made an "S" with glue on construction paper and had Millie glue lima beans to it. I guess it went okay for Day 1. If you ask her what sound "S" makes, she'll tell you /s/. However, if you ask her, "What letter is this?" she'll tell you, "A." It'll be fine, though—we still have five days left in this unit, and the Fridge Phonics are out and ready to be played with!

I think the highlight of my day came later in the morning. We were sitting outside and Hannah said, "You know, when I was in my closet, I was trying to find my Dr. Seuss book, and I pulled out my When I Grow Up book (I have no idea what that is, by the way), and then I found another book and I said, 'That can't be Dr. Seuss because it's too small.'" Immediately my mind screamed, "HUGE TEACHABLE MOMENT!" So I took advantage of the opportunity to tell her how for some people, that's how their life is. Just like Hannah didn't have light so she went from book to book trying to find the right one, when people don't have Jesus they might go from one thing to another, trying to find the right thing to do or say. For example, someone who doesn't know Jesus might try saying mean things to people who have mistreated them, they might try to control things instead of letting God be in control, they might worry about things instead of praying, etc. But when we have Jesus, we can read in the Bible the things that He tells us to do. We know to love people even when they're our enemies. We know not to try to be controlling but to trust God's plan. We know not to worry about things but to pray about them and trust God.

What a wonderful day. What a wonderful curriculum. What a wonderful God.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It was not good for man to be alone

It wasn't good for Adam to be alone, and it's not good for us either! So last night Hannah had a friend spend the night, and they did school together today. Hannah had already completed her math lesson for the day, so she read her story to Rachel and then we did the My Father's World activities together.

Hannah and Rachel used Hannah's creation poster to take turns telling what happened on each day of creation. (The creation poster is a nifty little project Hannah has been working on for the past couple of weeks. I learned two things from this project: (1) Hannah passionately hates to color; and (2) she is apparently quite talented with a pair of scissors and should be in charge of trimming all of my laminating from now on.) Anyway, they had to not only tell what happened on each day but also make sure they were using ordinal numbers in their description so they understand that "1" means "first," "2" means "second," and so on.

Next they pointed to the letter flashcards while they sang the alphabet song, first with letter names, then again with letter sounds.

After this they played a game of "Go Fish" with Hannah's alphabet cards to practice matching uppercase and lowercase letters. Usually we just ask for a letter by name, such as, "Do you have a 'B'?" But today they asked for a letter by sound, such as, "Do you have a card that says /b/?" It was fun to watch their minds at work!

Finally, we went for a walk and took pictures of things God created and things man created. (The plan is for us to print these pictures out and make a chart. I'll post pictures when we finish it.) By the time we finished walking in the midday August heat, we were all ready for a good swim.

Today was the last day of VBS, and we are all ready (even Hannah!) to get back to our routine! We have been getting home somewhere between 9:30 and 10:00 every night, and I think it has caught up to us all!

We begin our unit study on the sun next week, which we are both very excited about! We also start using our 100 chart, counting cup, calendar, and handwriting pages (an area that definitely needs work!), among other things. This creation unit has been wonderful first and foremost because it has hopefully laid a foundation for Hannah so she understands that everything we'll study throughout the rest of the year was, in fact, made by God. But it has also been perfect as a gentle introduction to kindergarten. Next week starts the real deal! I probably won't post again until the sun unit is completed on the following Monday. (But don't worry; I'll take pictures throughout the week and include them in the post!)

Much love,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

One more day of rest, Father! Pleeeeeease!

How many times in the past month have I heard Millie ask something so similar to this? "More chips, Mommy. Pleeeeeease!!!!" "Ten more minutes, Mommy. Pleeeeeease!!!" "I do it myself, Mommy. Pleeeeeease!!!"

This will be short and sweet. Just to let you know what's going on, when the tropical storm came through yesterday, our computer was struck by lightning. Fortunately, it only made it to the power supply, so I only had to change one $20 part to fix the computer. But after losing my hard drive in October and thinking I might have lost another one yesterday, I wasn't taking any more chances! I stayed up until 4:30 this morning backing up all of our files and uploading all of our pictures "just in case." As I drug myself to bed early this morning, I found myself talking to God much like Millie talks to us. "God, we just studied your day of rest. Can't we have one more? Pleeeeease!!!" I knew, of course, that it wasn't possible, so imagine my surprise as my day unfolded the way it did.

When the kids woke up, they went straight to the kitchen to color and draw, so I was able to sleep until around 9:00. My friend Rachel called and we were able to talk for 45 minutes without a single interruption. We read a wonderful book called Six Busy Days: The Wonderful Story of Creation by Mary E. Erickson that both children loved. Greg came home unexpectedly in the middle of the day and offered to take the kids so I could take a nap. I love the way God took a prayer that I offered with a question mark and answered it with an exclamation point. He knows our needs and meets them in ways beyond what we can ask or imagine.

School was very relaxed today. We did our reading and math lesson and reviewed creation, which is basically what we will doing for the rest of this week. Since there are no special projects to show or write about, I'll probably wait until Friday to post again.

Rejoicing in answered prayer,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God rested—now I can too!

We started our day today with another "encouraging" event similar to the one we had yesterday. I was cooking eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning, assisted, of course, by my two gourmet sidekicks. (Hannah even cracked the eggs all by herself—big stuff in her world!) I guess all the excitement from that must have tired her out because she decided to stop helping after the eggs were in the pan cooking. Millie, however, decided to stay and help with the bacon. Or maybe I should say help herself to the bacon! She sampled raw bacon!!! Needless to say, I freaked out a little. I remember scrubbing her tongue with a washcloth while yelling something about trichonella. The rest is all a blur. Anyway, I felt this was reason enough for both children to be banned from the kitchen until everything was cooked to a nice safe temperature.

Hannah, who has once before
Hannah, who every now and then
Hannah, who often
Hannah, who always thinks the rules apply to everyone except her, proceeded to march right over to where the bacon was so she could continue to play sous chef. I told her that they both needed to leave the kitchen so I could finish breakfast. She said, "Mommy, I won't do what Millie did." Meanwhile, eggs are burning on the stove because I spent valuable minutes scrubbing bacteria out of Camille's mouth that I hadn't planned on. So I told Hannah, "Not today. Mommy's stressed." She ran straight back to her room, devastated that she couldn't lay the bacon on a plate and stick it in the microwave.

So what's impressive about that? Well, it was the way she handled herself when she came back into the kitchen. She came up to me and said, "Mom, I'm sorry." I hugged her and asked, "For what?" She said, "For throwing a tantrum." Then she pulled up a chair right next to me and asked, "Is it okay if I sit here next to you while we eat?" WOW! Two days in a row of calmly righting a wrong—and self-initiated to boot! Could it be that (I'm almost afraid to let the words flow from my fingertips) Hannah might be learning self-control and repentance?

Once breakfast was consumed and chores were done, we got around to doing school. We studied Day 7 of creation, when God rested. I got a good chuckle out of Hannah when it was time to make the last page of her creation book. She said, "Hey! God didn't make anything today, so I don't have to either!" She started off with a plain sheet of white paper with only her sentence on it, but I guess it was too much white space for her little eyes to take in, so she ended up drawing a picture of God in bed. The square around His body is His blanket, and the oval behind His head is His pillow.

We talked about how God rested for a day and how Sunday is our day of rest, so for our special snack today we went to DQ and had—what else?—sundaes!

I've always wondered why God needed His day of rest. I mean, He is God, after all! Omnipotent and all that. But after creating a simple snack every day for the past week, I can see why He needed it! I did sometimes feel like it was "one more thing to do," but in hindsight I'm glad we did the snacks because, number one, the kids really enjoyed it; and number two, it really is amazing how much it has helped Hannah recall the events of creation. And it makes me wonder if God might have thought about the sun, the moon, the leaves—so many things in His creation—as "one more thing to do," but He did it anyway because He knew we would delight in it and it would reveal something to us about Him.

That being said, since God rested after all His creating, I think I will too!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I saw it as a good thing!

Today was a really encouraging day for me. No, we didn't have a day with no sister fights or perfectly obedient children or anything like that. In fact, we started off the day with a two-year-old who could have easily been named Queen of the Cranks and a five-year-old who could have won "Most Desperately in Need of an Attitude Adjustment." Wondering how that could possibly be encouraging? Good! I'd love to share!

I finally conceded and put a movie in for Millie so Hannah and I could do school. But every time I would try to do something with Hannah, she would sigh the dramatic I'd-rather-put-my-hand-on-a-hot-stove-all-morning-than-do-this sigh. A mom can only take that for so long. Eventually, I closed my book and talked to her about some attitude problems I had noticed throughout the morning. She looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, Mom. I'm really tired, though." Did you catch that? No screaming and running back to her room. No "You mean you don't love me anymore?" No trying to blame it on me or Camille. Just an apology followed by an honest, straight-forward explanation. WOW! I was dumbfounded. I excused her from the table to go rest in bed for a while, then we did school when she decided she could participate with a joyful heart.

When she did come back, we had a wonderful time. We studied Day 6 of creation today, when God created land animals and people. For the sixth page of her creation book, Hannah glued foam animals stickers and a picture of Adam and Eve onto her paper.

Greg made her special snack while we were at VBS tonight and had it waiting for her when we came home. It was animal crackers and a stick man made out of cookies.

We still have three more days in our creation unit, then we move on to a "sun" unit and a "moon" unit. I couldn't help but giggle on the way home from VBS tonight when Hannah looked out her window at the crescent moon and asked, "Mom, makes part of the moon fall off like that sometimes?" We talked a little bit about the moon reflecting the light of the sun and part of the moon being in a shadow, which led to a conversation about where the sun is now, which led to a conversation about the earth constantly moving. Hannah said, "You mean like Texas will someday be in North Carolina?" Hmmm...ya think she might be a visual learner? Thank God I have my globe and flashlight ready for that lesson when it comes around! Regardless of whether or not she understood my explanation, I still saw God's goodness in giving her a curiosity for the heavenly bodies just as her study of it is about to begin.

Please pray for us this week as we are getting to bed late because of VBS and getting up early because of Greg's two-a-days. We could all benefit from a couple of nights with really good sleep!

Much love,

Friday, August 1, 2008

We survived our first week!

Well, we made it through our first week! Hannah doesn't understand why we have to take a break for the next two days, which I find both very cute and very unlikely to last for the rest of the year.

Today we studied Day 5 of creation, when God made the sea creatures and birds. Hannah had a whale of a time (sorry, couldn't resist) making the next page in her creation book. She used two entire sheets of sea creature stickers, and drew a perfectly straight line of birds across the top.

For lunch we ate sandwich "birds" (an idea from Family Fun, mom) and goldfish. The goldfish were a hit, of course, but they defeathered the birds before eating the sandwiches. And I thought I could sneak some bell pepper in there and get away with it!

Oh, please pray for Bailey if you think about it. (I know, I know. I always thought it was weird when people asked for prayer for their animals, and here I am doing it.) He was sitting on the glider yesterday (the iron one with all the small holes in it), and when he jumped off, his claw got stuck and pulled out. All the way out. It looks like a tooth that was extracted. He let out a good yelp and bled a good bit, then limped the rest of the evening. Anyway, please pray.