Thursday, October 11, 2012

Enjoying My Kiddos

It takes effort to just sit and enjoy my kids. I am much more of a Martha than a Mary. I've recently had some success in my efforts though :)...praise be to our gracious God!
We have begun to enforce chores and the kids have a chart to put a star by their work. It's hit or miss if they remember to put up the star, but they aren't forgetting the work! I've been amazed at their willingness. While working in the kitchen with mom isn't a chore, they sure are enjoying it....and me too! Last week we worked hard at making two salads for dinner (pictures below). 
My sweet Darton is a work horse! I've written about his work habits in the past, but he has taken it to a whole new level these last two weeks. You can't give the boy enough to do! His number one talent, hands down, is sweeping. He is so meticulous and you don't have to ask him to do it! He just shows up with a broom and does it! I know this is a lot of exclamations marks, but I just am continually amazed. While I've struggled with knowing how to raise (and even enjoy) my second child, God is showing me just how fun and lovable he really is. 

 Darton had a play date with his buds. We were only able to go to the date because we live in the DR. Let me explain. At the same hour D had a date, Adeline had dance class on the other side of town. Problem number two was that Matthias had a 24hr virus that was working its way through the family. I had two employees working that day, so I sent one in a taxi with Adeline to dance and she sat there and then brought her home and then the other employee stayed with Matthias here at home.
People say, "Wow, how can you live in a foreign country raising small children!" And to it I reply, "How could I live in the U.S. and do it?! While the Lord's grace is sufficient in all circumstances, I say that if I was currently living in the States (aka without house help and a nanny) then either CPS or the Loony Bin would have come and picked me up by now."
Darton has been sick with what dominicans call "gripe." It translates into the flu or just sinus problems. He hasn't been able to consistently kick the fever, so here he is drinking his fever/wellness tea and doing a life cycle of a butterfly activity.
 Sometimes I will come upon something a house employee is doing and think "what are they thinking!!" And then this past week I was so pleasantly surprised by Ana when she used a bunt pan to make fresh orange juice...ingenious!
 We are plugging away at homeschooling and have added a science curriculum this year to our workload. If you have not checked out Apologia Science, YOU MUST! It's a creation based program that arms the student with facts to fight the mainstream science teachings. For example, when we learned about  thermonuclear fusion, we learned not only is it God's design to give the sun power, but also it makes the sun brighter each year. Which when you work backwards seeing that the sun gets dimmer and dimmer each year, you can prove that our sun can't be billions of year old!
When we learned about sunspots on the sun, we learned that they are cooler than the rest of the sun and help regulate the sun's temperature as well as the earth's temperature. Then the curriculum makes sure to give God the credit for his absolutely perfect design.
Apologia Science is truly what we want out of a curriculum....God being the life support of it. He's the veins of what we are teaching; the blood that gives the knowledge life.
The curriculum is FULL of activities to do. We've melted chocolate and burned a leaf with a magnifying glass. The picture below the kids are making Mercury out of a dough that hardens and then we painted it today.
And we are reading!! Whoohoo! The process really flowed so naturally with our phonics program that there haven't been any tears shed or hair pulled out. I've been asked if I feel successful because I've taught someone how to read....not really. Again, I give Barbara Beers all the credit for creating a curriculum that made reading so natural.
 Matthias will no longer sit idly by and watch :)
Macklin is just short of 7 months and we started veggies today. He loved carrots :)  For the last month and a half I've made rice, oatmeal, and quinoa cereal. This was my first time to make cereal and it was SO easy! For the rice and quinoa, you toast it on the stove until it begins to pop then grind it to a fine powder (I use my coffee bean grinder). To cook it, you do one part cereal to 4-6parts water depending on your babies stage.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pictures from August

Here are a few memories of August.

Directly before this "dogpile" on daddy the kids put on a their first stage performance of King Nebecenezzer and God to reinforce the idea that God is the Most High (God's Names by Sally Michael). I of course expected a Broadway performance for the first go around...Scott had a lot more grace :)
 Matthias wishing he was Macklin :)
 Adeline turned 6!
 What a smile!
 Nonnie came to visit for Adeline's birthday and then helped me fly to TX with the kids late August. Nonnie quilted this number book that has pages with chalkboard paper to write on with chalk! Super cool!
 I tried my hand at a Minnie Mouse cake for Adeline's party.
 We've been discussing "storing up treasures in heaven" and how grand heaven will be. Adeline imagines that she will have glittery Minnie Mouse ears :)
 I took my big boy on a date. We were asked by a young boy working on the streets as we entered and left Krispy Kremes for money and/or food. We gave him our water...the VERY least we could have done. Whey didn't we treat him with a donut? Maybe other's have, maybe other's haven't. Lots of life for me recently has come to seem like Solomon observed....vanity. I think the poverty in my face each day is one of the reasons for this conviction.

 Darton decided to do schoolwork with us! I was so super excited!

A girlfriend from high school treated us to a Frisco, TX Rough Rider's game. My proudest moment was when the kids sang along the entire song of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!" Thank you Grandmommie and Nonna for teaching all the "extras" in life :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Las Matas de Aguacate

We have four producing avocado trees this year! There are three different types of avocados although all the trees look very similar. These are just about the size of Macklin's head!
The picture below gives you an idea of their size in comparison to the basketball goal.
 This tree produces smaller avocados and I think they have the best flavor.
 This third type is quite spectacular in appearance when we walk out our terrace door. They definitely remind us that we aren't in "Kansas, Toto."
 Matthias listening to some tunes with Theo.
 The kids wanted to sell avocados yesterday so Theo pulled some down for us. Here I caught him in action dodging a falling avocado. Matthias actually got a black eye from one!
 Adeline proudly says, "The kids sell lemonade in Texas and we sell avocados here. " :) Fruit and vegetables sold on the street here are ripe and ready to eat. So since these aren't ripe yet, we sold them for only $10pesos each (RD$40 =US$1). Unripe fruit is sold in the supermarkets.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

8th Anniversary

We celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this last Tuesday and instead of going out on the town, we enjoyed a "fancy" dinner with the kids. I set the table with china and name tags, and they even got to sip sangria for the festivity :). I wouldn't have even thought to celebrate in this way if I hadn't just recently read about "theme dinners" in Jean Flemming's A Mother's Heart

 The kids and I got dressed up to surprise Daddy.
 Adeline and her jewels.

 Matthias enjoyed blowing out the candles over and over.
The evening was a great opportunity to teach table manners as well...minus the 20 month old wearing no diaper and sitting on the table to blow out the candles ;)

I don't know which I am more in awe of...that I've been married for 8 years and have known Scott for a decade or that we have four children...yes, I am still in shock with that one. Just glad God knew was was going to happen ;)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Matthias swimming

Matthias is 20mths old and loves the water. He obviously has no fear. He continues to be so different from Adeline and Darton. He's curious about everything. Since 8mths old we noticed that he is very observant. Therefore it doesn't take him long to know how to do something....especially the things he's not suppose to do ;). He's also our first to challenge our authority so soon. We are having to stay on top of it, although with an infant in my arms, he knows he can get away with too much! He's now taken to screaming at us in order to get our attention or to tell us that he doesn't want to do something. When he sets his mind on something the boy is SUPER determined that it's going to happen. We are reinforcing that he must obey the first time and have him show us number one with his index finger.
He loves to play with A & D and give kisses to Macklin. Although he's one to kiss the baby when you are looking and hit him when you are not! He is continuing to thrive with his sign language and the Baby Signing DVDs keep his attention long enough that he learns from them more than me. He daily signs "baby" to tell us he wants to watch the videos.
His daily phrases are "Where is it?" and "What is it?"  He also now says "I want some." It's all so very cute!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 2012

When the kids got out of school the second week in June, I assumed the summer was going to be a long one. Yet June has come and gone and one day just keeps rolling into the next. 
The end of May begins mango season...yummmmm!
 We had a small playdate and the kids played with water and flour.
 It takes time and experience before the kids to realize the flour/water ratio they need to make a creation. Adeline's creation was the only one that wasn't a soupy mess. I gave them sprinkles to add to their creations.
 Adeline only feels pretty these days in a blue jean skirt, a tucked-in shirt, and a belt. Unfortunately blue jean skirts don't come in long sizes for little girls and most of her shirts are to be worn outside of her skirt. Nonetheless she tucks them in and puts on a belt. Having a skirt made here shouldn't be too expensive, so I'm going to buy some blue jean fabric to have a seamstress make a skirt that goes to her knees.
 Matthias now insists he is part of the big kids now. Here he is participating in storytime before bed. He always wants to look at his own book during their time together.
 Matthias insisting on being a part of arts and crafts.
 My two babies.
 Adeline working hard on her spelling.
 Darton working hard making a dinosaur.
June 8 my grandfather passed away and Macklin and I made a trip to TX for 5 days. It was a wonderful time with the family. I got to be an aunt more than a mommy for the first time and met my new niece Ellie. Flying with only one child was like I might as well have been flying by myself (although Macklin didn't prove to be a good flyer)! I got to buy all the candy or special drinks I wanted without having to share or buy something for the kids ;).
I returned June 12 and on the 13 we had friends come in to stay with us for two nights before we headed up to Cabarete to stay for a week.
We made U.S. flags for flag day before heading up to Cab.
Macklin turned 3 months. He's wearing clothes that the other two boys couldn't fit into until closer to 6 months. He continues to be a happy and talkative baby.
Pool time in Cab. They were jumping like frogs into the pool backwards.
Ana went with us to Cab since Scott couldn't come home every night given the drive is 2 1/2 hrs from the mine. I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT HER. We are in the process of getting her a visa to travel with us to the States in August. We are full dominican now!
 Beach time.
 Macklin can now sit in his Bumbo.
I cut off my hair while in Cab and this past Thursday night Scott and I got away for a drink. This is a watermelon mohito...delicious!
Other happenings this month - 
Sarah ran away and a man in the neighborhood who hangs out on the corner found her after two days. I had to pay him $1000RD ($30US) for finding her. Every one is trying to make a buck. It was quite the nerve racking process. He showed up to my house saying that he found Sarah at someone's house and then after mumbling some Spanish words that I didn't understand he showed me his large knife he keeps tucked into his pants!! Thankfully Theo was here to help me through the process. 
Scottt got his Dominican driver's license. This was his second time to take the test and he barely passed. The questions are quite tricky. Example: A cow walks out into the middle of the road and the car honks his horn. Was this correct? Answer: No. Honking your horn could scare the cow and cause him to run into your car. REALLY??? 
He then took the physical driving test in which you drive in an oval with two stop lights. No parking, no changing lanes, no driving around other cars. Just an oval with two stoplights. REALLY??
Both tests explained A LOT about driving here. :)