Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Madeline Speaks!

Madeline has been making progress in the speech department! And frankly, if you think this one is good, just wait until you see the one coming up later this week! (This was posted on Facebook last week, so to those of you who don't "do" Facebook...you're welcome!)

Untitled from Pam Asbury on Vimeo.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Riding the bus

One of the hardest decisions I had to make regarding Madeline's schooling had to do with transportation. Bona Vista is about 10 minutes away, if that. I was encouraged by other friends (and really good mamas) to try it. Their experience was that their special needs kids really seemed to like it.

I'm very glad for the peace I felt after praying (and worrying, of course, since I am human after all) about this, and a few weeks down the road, I'm so grateful we decided to try it. Madeline did not do well at all the first few times, and I think it was the noise of the bus, since the poor little girl hates loud, unfamiliar noises (and some familiar ones too). It could have been separation, but since she wheeled right into her first day of preschool and hardly glanced my way when I left, I'm not so sure that was it. She was sobbing when I got her off the bus, but after another day or two, the tears subsided and now she smiles when she sees the bus, rides the lift, and sees the few little tykes on the bus.

Her bus driver has made the experience easier as well. He's a pastor who has a very kind heart. He checks on the kids in between stops and often tells me what Madeline is doing before I get back to her car seat. Madeline has a very short bus ride, but I often find her sound asleep and she smiles broadly at me when I wake her up.

The other benefit to sending Madeline on the bus is that it is so much less a disruption to our school day. It takes about an hour to get her bathed, diapered, dressed, fed, in her wheelchair, bookbag packed, and on the bus. I would take another whole hour or more out of our day to load her with her sisters into the van, drive to school, get everybody out and into school, check in with the teachers and other beautiful children and/or mamas, load back up and come back home, and then do it all again in such a short time.

Ok, all that rambling and finally the pics! (Remember, this is before she got her new chair!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten and Third Grade (September 1)

I simply couldn't decide which pics to post, so you get them all! :)

Had to point out that small pile on the sidewalk behind Olivia. Guesses anyone? Okay, I'll tell you. That's a mushroom Livy found, unbeknownst to me. She got a knife, unbeknownst to me, and cut up the mushroom on the sidewalk...unbeknownst to me. :)

*Signs from HowSheDoes

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{this moment} First day of school

Joining SouleMama for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All about Dex

Two weeks ago tomorrow, I received a text from Dex inviting us to his annual cookout at his clinic (Step 'N Stone Physical Therapy Solutions). OF COURSE! Filipino food? Yes, please. Seeing Dex after too long? Never mind the fact that Madeline had to be in school very shortly after the party started, we were going!

Dex was Madeline's physical therapist from the time she was just a few months old until he stopped doing First Steps to focus on his booming clinic, about a year an a half ago(??). Madeline adored him (the rest of us did too; did I mention he brought us an entire Filipino meal once?), and we were all very sorry to see him go.

Funny story: On his last visit, Dex told Olivia and Carli the reason he could no longer come to see Madeline is because "your mommy fired me." Doesn't matter how much Dex and I have told them otherwise, they never remember the real reason. As we walked across the lawn to the picnic, Olivia said, "Mommy, why did you fire Dex?"

So all that to say, here are the pics of Dex and Madeline. I just had to put all three up here to show you Madeline's antics.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Madeline's First Day of School**

**And no, I didn't cry. Madeline did a great job on her first day of school. She wheeled in there like she owned the place, and didn't fuss at all when I left.

For those who may have missed it, for now, preschool is how she is getting her needed therapies, since she has aged out of First Steps. She's growing up!

By the way, you can see a bit of Annie, Maddy's little friend who also has spina bifida and a plethora of lots of other serious issues. She's a precious little girl and I'm thrilled she's in Madeline's class. Besides Annie and Maddy, there are three other little ones in the class, and I had met or knew of two of the others. It made me happy. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

{this moment} Olivia, First Thing in the Morning

Joining SouleMama in {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Walter de la Mare's "Some One"

Ambleside Online's poet pick for Year 2, Term 1, is Walter de la Mare. I have selected "Some One" as a starting point for recitation, since it is simple enough that Olivia will enjoy learning it with us during circle time.

I have made up a simple printable of "Some One." You are welcome to use/change it however you wish. Enjoy...

Or copy and past this into your browser: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0YDQ0DNEZODMTBlYjBkODMtNzlmMC00ZDI0LWEyYzItZTVlZDEyYmM3YzM0&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

14 Years and Counting!

Yesterday, Glen and I celebrated 14 years of marriage. I know this may shock you, because I look like I couldn't possibly be a day over 25. (Ha!) I was married at the tender age of 18 (and a half, but who's counting?). I'm ever so grateful God chose Glen to be my partner in this journey called life. I find it amazing to see God at work in our family, through the joyous and the stressful days, knowing we can depend on Him for His wisdom and leadership through the next 14 years and beyond.

Last evening, my lovely friend Diana Metz kept the girls (even Madeline for a few hours!) while Glen and I went to Outback for supper (forgot to use our gift card, if you can believe that!), relaxed and enjoyed our evening (mostly) kid-free. This morning Carli and Olivia were so excited to share their "project"...a wedding anniversary cake, complete with hand-drawn cake toppers. They were also eager for us to open generously decorated cards and bookmarks. I already have dates and names on the back so that I will always remember. They made our day for sure, and chocolate cake for lunch was a special treat! Mmmm...

Thank you, Diana, and thank you, Carli and Olivia. You made our day extra-special! Thanks for helping us celebrate!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

WonderMaps--Chance to WIN!

Having spent this week pulling all the pieces together for our upcoming homeschool year, I know how valuable WonderMaps would be for me. I spent a lot of time looking up medieval maps, partly so I know what I'm talking about, and partly because Carli loves mapwork.

Here is an awesome giveaway... http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/2011/07/giveaway-wondermaps/#comment-6763

I'd say I hope you win, but really, I just hope I do! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can't Get Much Better than FREE

One of my favorite aspects of Ambleside Online is that it uses many texts that are now public domain and can be found as online texts for free. Yes, I still love the feel of a book in my hand (and sometimes even the smell. I'm strange, but at least I know Kirsten is there with me!). But we still have way too many books to chose from both here and at the library if we need a feel-a-real-book fix, and we do...often.

There were a few books I found cheaply on Amazon, AbeBooks, or Half, and I bought them since they were ones I thought we would enjoy having in our hot little hands. But Glen bought me a Kindle for my graduation a couple years ago, and I really enjoy the feel of it in my hot little hands too. I love how easy it is to throw in my purse and have whatever book I'm in the mood for at my disposal.

All that being said, there are some incredible sites out there that have FREE eBooks, many of which I can transfer to my Kindle. The ones I can't transfer can be read from my laptop and often can be printed and put in a notebook.

Here are my favorite eBook sites:
:: Google Books
:: Project Gutenberg
:: Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project (There are a lot of free ones here, but some to pay for too, so make sure you know what you're clicking on!)
:: ManyBooks.net
:: Amazon Kindle Store You can get a free Kindle ap for your PC (or practically any other electronic device) too!

I've recently discovered a couple sites for free audio books as well! I love to have my (ok, Glen's) MP3 on while I'm cleaning. I load audio books from our library site, podcasts, whatever, and clean/cook/fold laundry and feel like I'm not doing anything quite so mundane. Carli may use audio books from these sites to "read" from Ambleside Online's Free Reading list, though I'm still enjoying the stage where I read most of her literature to her since I enjoy it so much.

Anyway, the sites:

:: Librivox
:: Books Should Be Free (Amen!)

What are your favorite sites for free resources?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big-Girl Bed

(I have no idea why this picture turned out pink, but take a look at that smile, would you?)

We finally have a bed set up for Madeline in the girls' room! Carli and Olivia were both in their own rooms at four months, but with Madeline, it's obviously been a bit different. For one thing, SPACE! Our third bedroom is our school/play room without a lot of extra room for a crib/pack-n-play or a bed. The girls' room is already wall-to-wall furniture. And too, even when we did try out the pack-n-play in another room, she always ended up back on a pallet on our floor when she was sick...and she just sort-of stayed! :)
The first night was not the proverbial walk in the park. She was so excited (?) and kept sitting up and laughing and being all-around silly. Then she cried when we left and turned the lights out (even though she always slept with them off before). Carli and Olivia were very frustrated with her laughing/crying because they wanted to go to sleep. I finally laid her on my bed and she was out like a light....so we moved her back to her bed when we were ready to hit the hay ourselves. In the middle of the night, the girls woke us up because Madeline was crying again, so it was back to the pallet.

The next night was ever so much better. I put Madeline to bed earlier than the other girls, sang to her, kissed her, talked sweet nothings to her, and then I laid her down, turned on KLOVE (Christian radio station), turned out the light and walked out. She protested for a few minutes and I ignored her (*sniff*), but she quieted down quickly and for the next 20 minutes or so, every time I'd peek through the door, there she was, sitting up and staring back at me. I didn't say anything to her, just smiled and went about with whatever I was doing. Sure enough, it wasn't long before she was sound asleep...and she slept for 15 hours. (She had a little cold, and was probably worn out from the night before!)

Ready for bedtime prayers with Mommy and Daddy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flipping Through and Laughing Out Loud

My lovely boss Ginger (with Digital Sermon Transcription, if you're interested) frequently Facebooks links to Jonathan Acuff's blog, and I have laughed out loud so many times reading it because he knows! Take, for instance, his latest "Stuff Christians Like" post: Saying Goodbye to Vacation Bible School. We've all been there. Yep, it's fun while it lasts, but seriously, could you do that every night of your life? (This year the week of VBS turned out to be my first week of work filling in for Matt here at IWU-Kokomo's front desk, so I missed all the "fun," but I certainly remember how utterly drained and exhausted I was at the end of those two hours!)

Anyway, I requested Acuff's Stuff Christians Like from Interlibrary Loan, and I picked it up today on the way to work. Flipping through it and reading only the headings made me laugh out loud and cause the laughing-tears start to slide down my face! If you've grown up in any kind of church culture at all (and I do mean any, clear across religious spectrum), you will find your church (you?) in a few of these! It's fun to laugh at yourself a bit, I think.

Here are some of my favorite headings under the banner Stuff Christians Like:

:: Trying not to complain around missionaries

:: The sound-guy neck crane

:: Pressing on your eyes during prayer

:: Saying "You're in my thoughts and prayers."

:: Name-dropping God to get out of a speeding ticket

:: Refusing to tithe until you have the proper amount of cheerfulness in your heart

:: Telling testimonies that are exciting right up until the moment you became a Christian

:: Losing the will to clap during songs

:: Finding typos in the worship music

:: Making sure everyone knows your fiance isn't living with you

:: Telling other people maybe God gave them the gift of singleness

:: Fake laughing at unfunny jokes out of Christian love

:: Judging people who use the Table of Contents in their Bible

:: Coming to church sick

...and my all-time favorite:

:: Dominating the "Please turn to..." Bible race during church

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homeschool Planning Pages--Carli

I love to visit blogs and look at schedules and planning pages to get ideas for my own. I combined several ideas from Ambleside Online's yahoo group to make pages that work for me. Someday, I may figure out a schedule that combines both children, but for now this was the easiest. You can see and print the schedule here. You are more than welcome to change it up and use it however you wish! Happy planning!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Birthday celebrations

A week ago Sunday we celebrated Madeline Kate's third (!) birthday with cake and a few presents. First, though, I wanted desperately to get a picture of Madeline in her new dress from Granny, and wouldn't you know it, Gramma took Maddy's little jacket off before I can snap it. So imagine a cut little pink and black jacket. It was sweet! As you can see Madeline is signing cup...Sunday dinner wasn't quite ready, but she definitely was.
This year Madeline was very into opening her presents. Carli was the only one she'd let help her, but even then she was a bit territorial!

She sees her magnetic doll set and lunges with a smile!

Couldn't resist, but she's away and won't see this for a while, probably! :)

This picture of Glen and Madeline will tell you just about everything you need to know about how Daddy feels about his girls.
She must have liked the cake...she has her hands ready to "thank Jesus for the food!"
Love this sweet dress I found on major clearance at TJ Maxx. I figured out at Easter that I could save myself a lot of money if I would buy flower stems 50% off at a Hobby Lobby sale, add ribbon to an alligator clip and hot glue it to the back of the destemmed flower! So this one cost me $1.50 rather than $6! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kindergarten and the Formidable List of Attainments

Olivia will be starting Kindergarten at home this year. Can it be I will homeschooling two children??

Thankfully, the adjustment will come slowly and gently, as Olivia's "school" won't take nearly as long. As many of you know, I'm knee-deep (neck-deep?) in Charlotte Mason research, and I was so happy to learn that she recommended no formal schooling before age six. That doesn't mean no learning, however. In fact, here is her "Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six":

A reprint of a curriculum outline from a CM school in the 1890's. from Summer 93 Parents Review pub by Karen Andreola

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundries of their own home
8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach
9. to tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (my note here, we may want to substitute early American for early English!)
10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.
12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape
14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
15. to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
16. to name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences
17. to sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song
18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.

And NO, I'm not sure we'll get to some of that (um, French? Good idea, but this mama is not fluent in French). I'm not that good. The point is that instead of pouring over worksheets, the child should be outside as much as possible, exploring, observing, discovering nature up close and personal.

Since Olivia will be six in January, and since she is begging me to teach her to read, we will be using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, using letter tiles, etc. For math, I am not purchasing a curriculum, but we will be doing lots of domino/dice/counter math, reading living math books (great lists found here, even for little ones), etc. We will begin handwriting (manuscript) with some very short lessons.

We also will be following along with Ambleside Online's year 0 reading list, maybe doing some lapbooks for ones we want to spend more time with:

::Winnie the Pooh series by AA Milne and Ernest H. Shepard (Winnie-The-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six).
::Beatrix Potter series (Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, etc,)
::The Little House by Virginia Burton
::The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
::The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
::Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
::Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
::One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
::Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
::Ox-Cart Man by Barbara Cooney
::Stone Soup and other folk tale retellings by Marcia Brown
::Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
::The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman
::Brer Rabbit books by Joel Chandler Harris
::Poems and Prayers for the Very Young by Martha Alexander
::A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated by Eulalie, Jessie Wilcox Smith, or Alice and Martin Provenson)
::A good collection including classic stories and folktales such as "The Little Red Hen," "The Gingerbread Man," "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "The Three Billy Goats Gruff."
::A good collection of Aesop's Fables, such as the one illustrated by Milo Winter
::A nice Mother Goose collection
::Illustrated classic poetry such as Poems for Young Children compiled by Caroline Royds
::A good collection of classic children's poetry such as A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa; The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry selected by Louis Untermeyer; The Oxford Book of Children's Verseedited by Peter Opie

As part of training in the habit of attention, I'll include Olivia in a sort of "circle time" with Carli, where we'll study the Bible, memorize Scripture and poetry, learn hymns and folk songs, and study artists and composers.

As far as foreign language, I'm still not sure if we'll be sticking with sign language or delving into something a little more, uh...foreign. I must admit, since I didn't study languages as a young one, I'm a bit intimidated by the thought. Carli will be doing Latin in a year or two, but somehow that is more exciting, and it will be more to learn the roots of the English language. I just really need to research options for a good curriculum that would be fun and effective. I've messed around with Rosetta Stone samples and LOVE it, but we just don't have the cash for that now. Ah well, I'll figure it out. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

With the Aunties

With Glen's sisters (Emeline on the left, Lorraine on the right) on Sunday, July 3.

Ah, the Aunties. Emeline and Lorraine are becoming such lovely young ladies whom I truly enjoy spending time with. Can't believe they are going into eleventh grade this year! Whenever Glen's family is in town on Sunday, they spend the afternoon with us. We share a meal and visit, clean up and then most of the adults take our Sunday afternoon naps! :) The aunties are such a big help with the girls, watching them through the afternoon and getting them ready for Sunday night church.

Lorraine has a special place in my heart because of her love of reading and her knack with my children. Emeline shines in the kitchen and with her art work, and over the last couple years has learned the ins and outs of caring for Madeline's special needs. They are both hard workers...every once in a while I even find a changing table or drawer in the kids room put back to rights and neatly organized after the little ones rummaged through one too many times!

Love you bunches, girls!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rookie Camp Preview

This was Carli's second and last year at Rookie Camp. Next year it's on to pre-teen girls camp, if you can believe that. She turned 8 at camp and she came home happy and exhausted after four days/three nights of lots of physical activity, crafts, service projects, and Bible teaching. Here is a sneak peek, thanks to Connie, who went with her daughter Hallie (first picture) and as a counselor.