Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jj Jewel

Today we finished our Jj Jewel unit. (I just thought I was done with rocks last week!)

Hannah learned that jewels are formed inside the earth, but they look very different when they come out of the ground than they do when we see them in the store. We watched a documentary about diamonds so she could see how they're mined. She was hooked! In fact, it mentioned a diamond mine in Arkansas that you can visit; and if you find a diamond while you're there, you get to keep it. She is currently campaigning very diligently to make this our next vacation. I guess Marilyn was right: Diamonds really are a girl's best friend! I told Hannah that jewels are very valuable—especially diamonds—and the bigger they are, the more valuable they are. She was shocked to know that people would spend thousands of dollars on one single diamond.

When we did our grocery shopping this week, we ventured over to the jewelry counter at Wal-Mart so Hannah could see the different stones in person. I asked her which one was her favorite, and she chose the emerald. She had no idea that it was Grandma's birthstone, but she was pretty impressed when I told her. I also pointed out a ruby (mine and Hannah's birthstone), an amethyst (Millie's birthstone), and an aquamarine (Daddy's birthstone).

This week we read A Cache of Jewels, a book about collective nouns. After we read it, Hannah wrote and illustrated her own version of it. She chose A Name for Everything for the title.

(I had to help out drawing the swans. They were a little tough!)

We also added a few items to our dress-up bin this week. The girls each made a crown with "jewels" on it (rhinestones) and a necklace with "jewels" (beads). Here they are, wearing their treasures while eating Ring Pops!

We also made rock candy. Here's Hannah, pouring some sugar into our boiling water . . .

. . . and here's the finished product!

I didn't let the girls eat it because it had been setting out for about a week by the time it was fully crystallized, and I didn't know if it was safe.

Our special words to remember this week were "Jesus is more valuable than anything else."

We talked pretty extensively about Philippians 3:8 ("What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider then rubbish, that I may gain Christ.") and Jeremiah 9:23-24 ("This is what the LORD says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD."). Then we spent some time singing "More Precious Than Silver."

Definitely a treasure of unit!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Farewell, Faithful Friend

Today was a very sad day in our home. Clark's family is in town for a couple of weeks, so we were getting ready to head to MeeMaw & Kimpaw's house to spend the day with them. When Greg walked outside, he found Bailey laying right outside the door, perfectly still. He came home sometime during the night, curled up by the door, and died. He had been showing lots of signs of aging, so we knew this was going to happen soon. But all the knowing doesn't prepare you for how you feel when it actually happens.

Right now my heart is heavy and my mind is flooded with memories of my very first "baby." Here are just a few of them.

Welcome Home! Bailey was born on November 5, 1999. We brought him home on December 26.

He used to tear up everything! This time it happened to be a roll of paper towels.

We finally got him a toy to chew on instead.

Pre-kid days when our dogs were allowed in the house—and even on the furniture!

With Sheba, his first "sister." This picture used to set on my desk at work.

First Christmas at our house.

We even took them to see Santa!

Playing in last winter's surprise snow.

Here he is with Hannah. She absolutely adored this dog, and the feeling was mutual!

And here he is with Millie. This picture was taken about two and a half weeks ago; you can see how tired he looks.

He was truly a great companion and will be missed by all of us.

I thought a little bit today about whether or not to change my signature, but I think I'm going to leave it just like it is. I don't have a beagle in my arms tonight, but I still have one in my heart. And I'm pretty sure I always will.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen, indeed!

Today the girls woke to find their Easter baskets waiting for them on the kitchen table.

After church, Hannah colored Easter eggs while Millie took a nap.

Ready to hunt eggs!

And they're off!

Regrets for today: Easter got just about as overlooked as Christmas did! I'm glad we read the books the girls got in their Easter baskets because we didn't get out the Resurrection Eggs this year! Also, I didn't get a picture of the girls together in their Easter dresses. Maybe next year . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

All filled up with a good kind of pride!

I'm from Joe Rives,
Couldn't be prouder!
If you can't hear me,
I'll shout a little louder!


(Wow...there's a blast from high school past!)

So why am I so proud of my dad? Because tonight he stepped out of his comfort zone (actually, waaaaay out of his comfort zone) and participated in his church's Easter play.

The play consisted of each disciple's response to Jesus' claim that one of them would betray Him. They each had a turn remembering events with Him, professing their love for Him, and asking the question, "Is it I, Lord? Is it I?"

Here's Dad as John the Beloved:

This is the first time I've ever seen my dad with a beard! I loved it!!! However, he and my mom both hate it, so his plan is to shave it off after tomorrow night's performance. And just so you know, my dad does not usually wear eyeliner! This was for performance night only! (Don't worry, Dad! I got your back!)

The opening and closing pose was Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting The Last Supper.

At the end of the play, the audience learned the way each disciple died. Greg and I had just covered this in one of our Sunday School lessons with the youth, but it still gave me chills to think of the way these men suffered for the Lord they had come to know and love, and the way they died for the Truth they were trying to share with the world.

Thank you for doing this, Dad! I know you don't enjoy speaking in front of an audience, but we were so blessed by this performance. Words can't express how thankful I am to see how God is working in your life! I was 32 years old the first time I heard you pray, and now I hear it every time I go to your house. And trust me, my ears never tire of it! I am so proud of the way you and Mom have ministered to our troops through Operation Stronghold. You have both chosen to make God the center of your life, and many others are being blessed because of it!

Honored to call you my parents,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Egg-citement!

Today was the Easter Egg Hunt at Millie's Mother's Day Out. Hannah and I dropped Millie off at school, went and had breakfast, then came back to watch Millie's class hunt eggs. I didn't get as many pictures as I had hoped to, but here a few anyway. Enjoy!

Hannah helping Millie fill her basket with eggs.

Millie and her classmates with Mrs. Carol.

Isn't 3 too young for fake smiles to begin?!

A sucker on one end and a bunny mouth on the other! CUTE!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rr Rock

Today we finished our Rr Rock unit, and I've never been so relieved to be done with anything in my entire life! This was, by far, the hardest unit we've done yet.

If you're familiar with My Father's World, you know that people who use it rely very heavily on their public libraries for books. You also know that public libraries typically aren't known for having creation-based science books. See where this is going? Sometimes I don't mind having a little evolutionary content thrown in there to teach the girls the need to evaluate their resources against God's Word (e.g., "Oops, did you hear how that author said 'millions of years?' I don't think that's what God's Word teaches.") But when every paragraph of every page mentions it, it kinda makes a girl feel defeated!

As a result of this dilemma, I spent a lot of time on the internet checking out science curricula this week. I emailed Jeannie Fulbright (Apologia Young Explorers author) and asked her if she had plans to write a geology textbook anytime soon, but she said no. Then I went back and forth between the CBD web site and the Answers in Genesis website checking out the God's Design for Science series. Finally, after some very encouraging comments from the ladies on the MFW message board, I decided just to stick with what we're doing. This is the first unit that has left me feeling so insecure, and maybe geology will be addressed in future years.

So what did we end up doing this week? Well, for starters, we talked very briefly about how some people believe that the earth is really, really, REALLY old, even though the Bible makes it pretty clear that that's not true. (Hannah has no concept of "thousands" or "millions" yet, so there was really no use in going there. Anything beyond 100 gets classified as "a lot" in her mind!) I told her that some people believe the rocks in the earth couldn't look like they do if the earth wasn't so old, but God tells us something different. God tells us about an event that could have easily caused what we see today: Noah's flood. We talked very briefly about the impact that the great flood could have had on the earth, focusing primarily on the layers we see in rocks and how the sediment that was stirred up in the flood could have made those layers as it settled. We also talked about the three different types of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary) and spent a good bit of our week learning about volcanoes.

We had lots of activities in our rock unit. The first one was to go around our neighborhood and collect rocks. We tried to find a good variety: different colors, some that sparkled, some that were smooth, some that were coarse, etc. When we came back home, we cleaned our rocks so we could get a better look at them. Millie volunteered to do that job; anything that has to do with water has her immediate interest!

We also made a volcano from Play-Doh. This was the first time the girls have ever done this, and they loved it! Here's a picture of Hannah forming the volcano...

...and here's a video of it "erupting":

For our final activity, I had Hannah fill a container with water, then place two rocks—one huge rock and one pumice stone—in the water to see if they would float. Her hypothesis (or "hypopesis," as she calls it) was that they would not float because they were rocks. She was surprised to see that the pumice stone floated.

I asked her why she thought that happened, and she said it was because it was the smaller of the two rocks. Not exactly the answer I was looking for! So I grabbed another rock—this time a tiny one—and asked her to put it in the water with the pumice stone. Her hypothesis was that the little rock would float since it was the smaller of the two and the pumice stone would sink because it was the larger of the two. (Yes, she had just seen it float two seconds earlier.) She was shocked when the larger rock—the pumice stone—floated and the tiny rock sank!

I asked her to look once again at the pumice stone, very closely this time, and see if she could tell me why it floated. Finally, she noticed the little holes in it. I told her that this type of rock comes from a volcano; and those little holes are actually air bubbles that got trapped in it as it cooled and hardened, making the rock very light so it can float. This, to me, was the highlight of the whole unit!

Our special words for the unit were, "I listen and obey; I build my life on the Rock."

We looked in Matthew and read the story of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand, and we sang "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock" and "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand." This unit did have some good moments, but I'm still so glad to be done with it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally Bunked!

We finally finished the construction in the back of the house and got new carpet in the bedrooms! So for the first time ever, the girls slept with their bunk beds bunked!

Millie didn't understand why she couldn't have the top bunk, but when we showed her that her bed had pink curtains like a princess castle, she was suddenly very accepting. Hannah, on the other hand, decided she wanted to sleep in the princess castle! We told her she got to sleep on the top of the world's tallest mountain, and finally both of them were satisfied.

Hannah got a good laugh out of me earlier today. She was perched on her top bunk, and she said, "Mom, this carpet doesn't look as white as our other carpet."

I said, "Well, Daddy and I thought we would get something a little darker so it wouldn't show as much dirt as the other carpet did."

"Yeah," she said. "This one looks like they already sprinkled the dirt all over it!"