Saturday, November 21, 2009

Still Playing Catch Up: VBS

Things that happened in June and July...


We did two VBS's this summer. I guess we were trying to make up for lost time, since we hadn't attended any at all since Noah was maybe 3 or 4. One was at my parents' church. My parents came up to see Saylor's dance recital (on a Sunday) and then spontaneously decided to take the big kids back with them for the week! Yes, ma'am. That is what is called a "win win" situation. I, the overworked Mommy, desperately needed a moment to breathe, and Mimi and Da must have needed some one-on-one time with their eldest two grandchildren. So that worked out just fine.

Well, they had a blast going to VBS each morning and then fishing, swimming, playing, watching movies, etc. at with Mimi and Da every afternoon. Meanwhile back in Little Rock, the babies and I went shopping at Kroger's for THAT night's supper, and it was pleasant and quiet (remember, no talking around here for the "2 and under" crowd) I just love shopping for fresh ingredients for supper. Never do it, but love it. I even tried out a new recipe, which. was awesome. Woo hoo!!

*sigh*

I really did miss my big 'uns, though, so I headed down to see their closing ceremony Friday night of that week. Got some of it on video. Loved their cute VBS crafts! Aren't they the greatest?! And there's ALWAYS some sort of picture frame. ALWAYS.

There were a few other items, but I've no idea where they've wandered off to.

A couple of my favorites:
Saylor made a drum (out of a peanut can)
Noah made a prayer journal

Token Picture Frame #1

And #2

OUR church had a VBS this year, too. It's important to note here that our church, as of this summer, was a mere year and a half old, so the fact that there even WAS a VBS for such a young (and small) church is really saying something. (See the link for Redeemer Community Church on my sidebar? Y'all come on!!) It was also the most well-thought-out, beautifully-decorated, and interesting VBS I've ever attended/helped with, and I've been to MANY a VBS!! I just have to commend all our volunteers for how well it all came off. I wish my camera would have been functional (and not sitting here with a full card and no software for this crazy computer) so I could have shown you how truly awesome it was! Ours was an African Prayer Safari called "Kingdom of the Son," which took us through The Lord's Prayer. Mimi's kid-sized stuffed giraffe made an appearance, along with Noah's tent and various other items...The decor? Well, it was grand.

I taught the 4- and 5-year old kiddos, so Saylor was in my class. She did great with me there. No whining or neediness. She just did her thang. And I even got to use a felt board, which cracked me up! Gabriel and Atticus were the only babies in the nursery, so they really developed a special bond that week, I think.

My kids thought snack time was the best part of each day, and I couldn't have agreed more. Our ladies went all out. No packaged cookies and Kool-aid here! No sir! We're talking "Ants on a Log" (pretzel sticks dipped in peanut butter and then sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles), "Gorilla Grub" (apple slices to dip in yogurt--'cause gorillas like to dip their food. Did you know that?), "Dirt Cups" (you know...the pudding and crumbled cookie stuff), "Critter Crunch" (yummy trail mix complete with M&M's and served in an ice cream cone--how cute is that?!), and I cannot for the life of me remember what the last thing was, but I'm sure it was equally as creative and tasty. And the snack ROOM itself was truly something to behold! They had hung vines from the ceiling and turned the lights down low and there were all sorts of jungly-type animals all around. It was trés cute.

And, oh, the songs they learned! The Hamburg VBS was an Australian theme called "The Boomerang Express," and Noah knows every single word to the main song. Take it from me. We've seen him "perform" it for the family a time or two while standing on our couch. The Redeemer VBS songs were African and extremely catchy. Our favorite? "Harambe," meaning "let's get together" (a.k.a. "Namsifu mungu kwa" which is Swahili for "I praise God"). It had a fun little dance to go along with it. Even the adults couldn't help but jump in there!

All that to say that we (and this does not include Gabriel, who did NOT appreciate being dropped off in the nursery with perfect strangers) thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at VBS this summer. And, may I point out, I successfully showed up ON TIME (even a bit early) five days in a row WITH all four children (under the age of seven) clean, dressed, and fed--and with no help?! It CAN be done, people! It can. But I will admit it was nothing short of crazy, and I was absolutely beat by the time I got home each day. Thank you, Lord, we are (normally) a homeschooling family.


In other somewhat-related (and much more recent) news...

We have been very busy getting our shoe boxes packed for Operation Christmas Child. We did it last year through our church and loved every minute of it!! Something new and exciting about this year is that we are going to make our postage-cost donation online and then print out labels with bar codes. This will enable us to track where our boxes end up!!! Cool, huh? And this year, we will enclose some info. about our family in hopes that we may befriend a pen pal or two. It's not too late to get involved yourself!! Go to the official website linked above and read all about what to do. It's easy. You can find your nearest drop-off location here. The drive is through Monday, November 23. So hurry!! (We'll be dropping ours off at church tomorrow.)

There's a list of gift ideas (and some things to definitely NOT include) on the website. OH!!! And in case you don't have time to get stuff together, you can always simply go to their website and make a donation to defray shipping costs, etc. It's a worthy cause.

Here is what OURS look like. Included are MANY little toys, a plush toy, a pencil pouch full of candy, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb or brush, a little pail to keep things in, crayons, a pad of construction and tracing paper, a train whistle, nail clippers, several mechanical pencils, and a bar of soap. (By the way, if you send soap you should put it in a baggy so it won't ruin the taste of any candy you may enclose. We double bagged our soap and put our candy in the pencil pouch--just to be safe.) I still need to put in a washcloth and the little notes about ourselves, but they're mostly done. In fact, we had stuff left over that wouldn't fit, so instead of returning things, we're just going to fill another box.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snips, Snails, & Pretty Pigtails (Running Behind)

Thought I'd be a blogger again...you know...now that it's not crazy around here. (Ha! Who am I kidding?) I've been working on this post for almost a month now! I figured I'd better get it posted before it becomes December and none of this makes any sense anymore. Let the "snips" begin...

Noah was in a play at Academy. (Wait--did I forget to mention we enrolled him in LR Homeschool Academy?**) They did a little play about Christopher Columbus. Noah was a sailor. He had such dramatic flair when rehearsing his lines. Seriously cracked me up. The only problem he had was remembering WHEN to say those lines. He kept getting confused on WHICH lines to say WHEN, so he'd panic and then practically whisper until he was sure he was right and then suddenly he'd get louder. And he wouldn't pay attention to what the others were saying, so he would often say the wrong thing...even though he remembered it was his turn to speak. It was funny. Poor thing. I was honestly a little worried he'd never get it right in time for the performance, but when the moment of truth finally arrived...he did GREAT!! I've always thought he could be an actor. Just ask him sometime to tell you about something that requires some description, and boy! you'll get description alright!! Like when he wants to tell me all about so-and-so twisting his arm on the playground (yeah--gotta love that for a confidence-booster in our decision to put him in a group with peers his own age) or when he has found some amazing treasure up in the woods. Always entertaining, that boy.


Noah and His Friend Brady After the Play


And while I'm on the subject of Noah, here are some before and after pics of his hair. :) I cut it a while ago, but forgot to blog about it. Mostly, I wanted to share this website with you, just in case YOU ever have to take on this ultra-challenging task. It helped ME tremendously!!



Scandalous!




Much Improved




Such Precision!
**Homeschool Academy is a one-day-a-week classroom setting for children who are homeschooled. Kids in the upper grades get a chance to take classes like photography, chemistry lab., and ancient Roman history. Stuff like that. Second graders do geography, sign language, art and stuff like that. I know because I used to teach the second grade class. Anyway, that's Academy. It's a great idea, in theory. I actually help out in a kindergarten class, so Noah gets to go for free. (Hooray for free!)




Saylor has been enjoying her "status" as big sister lately. (Though sometimes a bit too much.) I often hear her talking to Atticus like "Yes, you ARE a cute baby, aren't you?" (and I DO hope you imagined that line with as much sing-songy baby talk as possible). And she's enjoying directing playtime with Gabriel. "Okay, Gabriel. Let's go to my room. Do you want to put the baby to bed? Okay. Come on!" We're working on not being manipulative. (Crazy how that just comes naturally.) Today she was doing such a good job, though, of helping Gabriel. He kept getting frustrated with the trains because one of the cars would flip over or something and then they wouldn't roll right. Saylor was very attentive to his needs. She kept going over and saying, "Do you need me to fix it? Okay. How about we let Thomas pull this one? Will that work? Now then. Now you can do it." Gabe would even come get her when he needed help!


Spontaneous Dress-up/Cowboy Game
(apparently with masks AND tooth-brushing)


The other day at dinner Saylor spontaneously wanted to tell things she loves about the babies. (Paul had taken Noah to a men's meeting at church, so it was just the four of us together.) Her answers?


1) She loves that Gabriel says "Eh eh" when he wants his silkie and "mm mm" (with proper inflection) for thank you. Ha!
2) She loves that Atticus has crazy hair when he wakes up and that he smiles big at her. So sweet.

She has really become very social (with kids) lately. I was shocked to find her several weekends ago at a VERY extended-relations family reunion talking and talking and talking with this seven year-old boy. I have no idea about what. But for whatever reason, they just hit if off. (Of course, after all that conversing she still didn't even know his name!)


Say Say and Her Little Friend Sydney
(Thanks for the pic, Syd's Mom!! Love you!)


And then there's Dane. Dane and Saylor have been friends since birth, so perhaps this is why he is so enamored with her. They are in class together at Academy and from what I've been told, Dane looks out for her. As in....if a boy wants to approach Saylor, he has to go through Dane first. Ha!!! Love that kid!


We may or may not have already arranged their marriage. (hee hee)

Gabriel is slowly, but surely, coming out of his language shell. We started the speech therapy process with...umm...about twelve words (and several signs and sounds). By the second week, he very eagerly let me teach him to say his therapist's name ("Ash" for Ashley). He LOVES her and is trying more and more sounds for her each week. He learned to say "yes" about couple of weeks or so ago, and he now uses it freely (without prompting). It is such a delight to hear real words come from his mouth. Some new words he can say now when looking at pictures or being prompted in some way are "bubble," "turtle," "purple," "read," "book," "open," and "bath." He's been actively USING words like "Say Say," "I don't know," "me," "stop," and "water." I've learned one thing that works for him is pairing a motion/sign with a new sound. He sometimes needs the physical thing to do while making the sound. Like when I taught him to say "Ash," I taught him to sort of hang on the short "a" sound for a bit and then clap when he was ready to say "shhhh." That's what worked for him. So weird how our brains work that way. Anyway, we are ever so thankful that he is able to receive therapy and that he seems to be doing quite well.

Extra Cheesy

Gabe is also very comfortable in his role as "Big Brother." You might think he'd rather just go on being a baby right along with Atticus, but nope. He definitely knows his job is to look after the "baby." In fact, he can often be heard telling Atticus "no no" when Atticus finds something on the floor and wants to eat it or when he looks like he might try going up the stairs. He'll run to get me and say "beh beh, beh beh!" and point to tell me that Atticus is going somewhere he shouldn't (like toward the toilet). The other day Gabriel "protected" Atticus from the strange lady/toy store-owner by running to his side, placing his hand on Atticus's head, and patting it lightly. He stayed right with him until I returned. (FYI: I was ten steps away making my purchase, while they played at a train table.)

When Atticus fusses, Gabriel makes sure to get him his Silkie.


They are fast friends, those two. They just have an understanding between them. I guess being a mere 16 months apart makes it easy to relate to one another.


video


And Atticus? Our little Atticus? Well, he's walking. Oh, yes he is. He technically took his first steps the day before his birthday (October 9th), but only a few short days later starting doing as many as five or six steps at a time. He fell on his face a few times, so he was a little tentative for the longest, which tends to slow one down. (Can ya blame him?) And while he's still going no more than say SEVEN steps before plopping down, he's willing to try more often now. And he's more stable when standing. He just hasn't figured out that he can stand himself up from sitting yet. But still...it counts. He's walking.


Most Likely the Cutest Crooked Teeth You Ever Saw
I've always said he is a very determined little guy, so this new endeavor suits him just fine. Recently he has developed the habit of making this cute little double grunt right after he says "dada"... so he goes, "Dada, uh uh." It is the keee-YOOO-test thing ever. He even heard Paul come in the front door the other day and immediately started crawling as fast as he could from the kitchen to the living room saying, "Dada, dada, dada, dada!" Awwww. That's my smart little fella!!
Atticus has also had a hair cut. I decided I would NOT allow the baby mullet to happen this time around!! Aren't you proud of me?? He's now had his first official trim.



Other snippets about Atticus I should have mentioned as they happened are:

1) He mimics "night night," "bye bye," "ball," "uh-oh," "ma ma," "Oh, no!" and Gabriel's version of "thank you."
2) He signs "hat," "dog," "bear," "duck," "car," "snake," and sometimes "more."
3) He waves "hi" and "bye."
4) He loves to play "This Little Piggy," "Peek-a-boo," and "Patty Cake."
5) He recognizes the word "Silkie" and smiles when he sees it.
6) He is the first Davidson baby ever to actually take a nap at church.
7) He is obsessed with obtaining the phone, the remote, and/or the computer.

We start 'em early around here.

These are the things I want to always remember...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wishing

Mama needs a new food dehydrator. (Check out this giveaway at Keeper of the Home.)
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