Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pizza Challenge & GREAT News

Okay, folks. Our fundraising has hit a dry spell. I'm asking you to take our pizza challenge. What you do is buy one pizza card (Papa John's, remember?). Then you show this to a few friends, neighbors, colleagues, relatives, enemies, whatever. Try to get at least 4 other people to buy one. You can email me how many you need, call me, or even order from the "store" section of our website. I will mail the cards to you at no extra cost.

On another note, last week was most exciting. Colton accepted Christ as his Savior. He has been asking questions for a little over two years. Recently, I wrote a little booklet that was based strictly on the Roman Road but in words that I knew he could read himself if he wanted. We read through that a week or two ago, and it did prompt a very good discussion. I know some people may question the conversion of a 6 year-old, but they weren't here to witness what I did. He was very serious and sincere as he prayed asking God to take charge of his life, and he was on "cloud 9" for at least the next 24 hours. He has now taken to discussing God with his little brother.

We've added a new twist to our homeschooling. Tim's sister is the children's ministry director at her church. She just purchased a new curriculum for all of the children's Sunday school classes called DiscipleLand. In a nutshell, their goal is to disciple kids...not just entertain them or rehash the same 10 Bible stories from 2-12 year-olds. It looked so good, I ordered the curriculum to use at home with Colton. Then, so Eli wouldn't feel left out, I ordered a couple of the pre-school books as well.

Something NEW on my blog... Did you notice the Blogarithim box is missing above this message? I was having some issues with it. The link above will allow you to subscribe to my blog. This way, instead of checking here every day, my updates will be emailed to you. It's really cool. I have about 4 blogs that I have emailed to me whenever they are updated. It makes it super easy to stay connected. I encourage you to sign up. I'm hoping I won't have to change it again, but if no one signs up, I won't know how well it works. Please give me feedback.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another One Back to School

Tim is now officially back in school...another stressful week in the world of teaching. Let me start this update with a prayer request: Tim's school needs probably less than 10 more 6th graders. Right now, while Tim is still teaching science, he (and every 6th grade teacher) has to teach one section of reading. With about 10 more students, the county would have to hire one more teacher so that the classes would not be overcrowded. That teacher would take all of the reading classes leaving Tim teaching only science---stress level goes down about 6 notches.

Colton is amazing me with what he is learning in 1st grade. So far, I love all of the books I chose for us to study. Every once in a while, I think it is going to pile up on him, but he is the proverbial sponge that generally describes this age. He just soaks it all up. Now don't get me wrong. We are not the Homeschoolers Poster Family. He does really well academically, but we're still working on staying on task and not being so easily distracted. I'm working on not getting so frustrated that I think I'm going to burst a vein or something. He is enjoying his first spelling book, and he has already memorized a poem in grammar. He wasn't supposed to even try to recite if for about another week, but we've read it several times, and he wanted to try today. He didn't miss a word. We have a scavenger hunt tomorrow in science that he is really looking forward to doing. If we can't find all of the items here, we will have another excuse to go to Memaw's for the afternoon.

Eli has been working on a project of his own this week...potty training. When he turned 3 (back in February), we put him in Pull-ups. In a couple of days, he had the hang of No. 1. He would come and tell us whenever he needed to go. No. 2 was a whole 'nother issue. Then he was sick with a cold for a few days and quit. A few weeks went by, he caught on again, and then he quit again. We tried rewards, stars, lectures, guilt trips, and punishments of various kinds. He didn't care about any of it. The only information we could get from him was that using the potty was "boring". I wasn't about to entertain him with a song and dance routine every time he had to go. I even tried just putting him in underwear so that he would find accidents unpleasant. Not unpleasant enough. Maybe it was because I put those vinyl covers over the underwear because I didn't want to be cleaning up the carpet. At one point, I declared I was through trying to train him--He could just stay in pull-ups and let his future wife deal with him! It's not like I have to get him ready for public school! Well, Monday I decided to try one more tactic. When I took his pajamas off, I put him in a shirt and underwear (no cover). I took the bath mat out of the bathroom, gave him a towel to sit on, gave him a couple of coloring books and toys, and told him that he was not to leave the bathroom. He had on real big-boy underwear, and if he needed to go he could either let it run down his leg, get on the potty, or call me to help him get on the potty. I then moved Colton's little school table to just outside the bathroom, and we had school there. Eli was very agreeable about staying in there. He did perfectly all day, but had no No. 2. The second day we conquered that and began leaving the bathroom more. (He was also promised a trip to Memaw's if he ever did No. 2.) Today I let him wear shorts over his underwear and kept asking him every few minutes if he needed to go. Every so often I would just take him if he hadn't been in a while. So, 3 days in underwear with no accidents...and he even went to church tonight without switching back to pull-ups. I hope I haven't jinxed myself by telling this, but he has done so well. The funniest thing was when Memaw called Granny Clayton so he could tell her how big he is now. When he got off the phone, he came to me and asked, "Am I 4 now or 5." I told him no, and he said sadly, "I'm still 3?" I said yes but that it was now a BIG boy 3. That made it all better. We then thought to tell him he was now 3 and a half. (He will be this week.)

Nothing new on the adoption. I started working on paperwork today, and it really does begin to overwhelm quickly. I'm going to have to make little bite-sized piles for Tim. If I pace him, maybe it won't be too stressing to do in addition to all of his school work.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Getting Ready for School

I didn't realize it has been over a week since I last updated. I know you've just been on pins and needles wondering what has happened in the latest episode of our lives. Not a lot to report on the adoption front. We have raised a little bit more money, so I hope to update the pie chart soon...after I double check my numbers.

I've been busy trying to clean up from the yard sales. We donated a ton of stuff to the Salvation Army, and I've been putting some of the items on Craigslist. Tim has been working out at his school trying to get ready for the new year. I've been rounding up materials and books and laying out my lesson plans for Colton. It looks like 1st grade is going to be a lot more involved than kindergarten was, but I'm excited and he seems to be excited, too. Subjects include New Testament, spelling, writing, grammar, math, science, health/safety/manners, and piano. See what I mean? When I list it out, it seems like an overwhelming amount. But when you look at an individual lesson, most of them are quite short. I'm so glad we finished his reading book this week so I wouldn't have to schedule that in as well. I'm planning to hit core subjects hard Monday through Thursday. Then on Friday, he'll finish the week's spelling with a test, and we'll do another science lesson. But unlike the other days, this is the day we will also cover the health/safety/manners lesson, have a piano lesson, read library books, and have a time of singing songs. I'm also going to read a longer book to them on Fridays. For our first book, Colton chose the children's classic version of "The Swiss Family Robinson." I read this one to him last year, but apparently he liked it. If you are interested in what curricula I use, check out our website under Homeschooling. I don't have it posted right now, but I will be updating my curriculm list very soon.

Stay tuned for more exciting episodes from our family.