Thursday, September 27, 2012

American Heritage Girls Fall Camp

As a Pioneer Unit Leader, I get the pleasure of watching the 12-14 year olds explore new activities, begin developing new friendships on a deeper level and learn about themselves.  I also get the "pleasure" of tent camping.  Ummmm...for the record, I'm not a tent camper, but my oldest daughter loves to camp so as her leader, I go as well.

We did our fall camp this past weekend.  For someone who does not consider themselves a tent camper, my biggest fear came true.  RAIN!  Yep...all night on Friday night.

We had just enough time to get tents set up before the rain really started coming down.  Needless to say, we could not build a fire to prepare our yummy snack on.....p-nut butter, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips in a tortilla, wrapped in tin foil on a fire.  The girls certainly did not like the idea of missing that.  We were able to take our small propane grills into a pavillion and still make snack and play some Bible charades.

When we returned to our site I thought I would go check out the tent that the other leader and I would share.  I am so glad I checked it before laying down for the night!  It leaked!  There was a puddle on my air mattress and my pillow was wet.  YUCK!  Thankfully one of the other adults had room in her tent for us.

It rained all night and was about 50 degrees that night.  

By morning the rain had stopped as the sun tried to peek out.  The girls got  fire going first thing and began breakfast.  We had breakfast burritos, which was very easy.  We cooked sausage and scrambled eggs while we were there and all the fixin's that were for the inside were brought to camp by the various girls already diced up.

We then headed for our horse trail ride!  The girls were anticipating this activity the most.

D-Bar-A is a local boy scout camp (about 30 minutes from us) and is beautiful.  The barns are all lovingly cared for, the fields and wooded trails are beautiful.

Here is Sissy as she mounted her horse Joker.  Notice the winter coat?  Even though it was dry and the sun was shining, it was cold!  I wore a winter hat all day and had gloves in my pockets!

Here she is again.  She was one of the first up on her horse so she was able to spend time on Joker while the rest of us were helped safely up on our horses.  There were 4 adults with us and  9 girls.

Everyone is ready to head out on the trails.

The ride was beautiful and it had me thinking about a camping event they do at D-Bar-A called the Yucca Trail.  When you arrive at camp you mount a horse with all of your necessary camping gear - including your tent and food.  Then you ride your horse out in the woods scouting for a place to stop to camp for the night.  You stop, pitch camp, make dinner and sleep.  The next morning you mount your horse again and do the same thing.  Other than the sore bottom and legs I would have, it sounds fun.  Even the tent camping part - if it weren't raining!

We went back to camp to have lunch and the girls played a short game of  Human Foosball. (Sorry, I don't have any pictures I can share of that one).  After their game it was time to head out for the Boulder Wall climb.

Boulder Wall climbing is different than rock wall climbing because rather than attempting to go high, you are learning to scale the wall horizontally.  This did not offer as much of a challenge to Sissy as she likes (she likes to go HIGH), but she still enjoyed it.

That evening we had foil dinners on the fire and an impromptu hayride through the woods.  It was pitch black and as beautiful as can be.  The girls began singing silly camp fire songs on the hayride and then added some praise and worship music as well.  It was wonderful to hear them sing..."Oh Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy and true."  This is one thing a Girl Scout leader would not be hearing on a hayride.  I am so blessed to be a part of this program.

Finally, you need to know that the rain held off, but the cool temps blew it.  It was around 35 degrees Saturday night.  Cold - but nothing that a down sleeping bag, down comforter and winter hat could not help with.

We did not really work on to many badge requirements this weekend.  Four of the girls at camp were returning girls and 5 were still needing to work on their Joining Award so we spent some time around the camp fire talking through some of them.  Despite the rain is was quite successful!  We have a unit that totals 10 Pioneers - up from 5 last year!  At camp we had 5 girls who were new to the program and that meant there were relationships to be made.  The girls meshed very well and that alone means that camp was a success, no matter how many badge requirements were done.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Love Snickers

We have a new family member.  We have added to our  3 kids, 6 chickens and one dog - a bunny.  A little mini rex. 

Peanut has wanted a kitten for as long as I can remember but I've not wanted to deal with a litter box.  So...she recently began asking about a bunny.  Her great uncle once raised dutch rabbits and was quite famous in "rabbit raising world".  We thought it through and figured, why not?

We had friends offer to give us a very nice hutch so the only other step was picking the rabbit.  Initially Peanut wanted a Holland Lop.  She wanted a rabbit that would stay relatively small, even as it grew to adulthood, so she would feel comfortable picking it up.

We contacted someone locally about Holland Lop babies, but we were going to need to wait till October and they wanted $45 per bunny!  That was just a bit more than we wanted to spend on our first rabbit.  So, we took a trip down the road (literally) to a house that has had a bunny sign in it yard for years and asked about their rabbits.  

The rabbits at the farm down the street were only $25 but after talking for awhile he said he would let this one go for  $10 since it was getting to the end of the season and he could tell she was going to a good home.  Not only that, but he took some of our honey in trade.  So, this is Snickers.  Snickers is a mini rex.  I believe she is a brown otter.  I'm not all brushed up on my rabbit verbage yet.  :)

The girls all really love Snickers and she is a delight.  We are lucky enough to have a large screened in porch on the back of the house, so we can bring her in there and let her hop around and explore while we read or just hang out.  

She's even getting musical instruction :)  Honestly, this is Peanut's rabbit, but I can hardly help myself - picking her up wanting to have her hang out with us.  She is a sweet little thing to be sure.

Peanut's First Recital

I'm not musically inclined.  My husband played the saxaphone in middle school, but other than that, no one in our immediate family has any musical talent.  My husband does have an aunt however who plays the piano beautifully.  It is a shame that she lives on the other side of the country. 

We have friends who live within 5 miles of us and whose sons have been taking piano since they were quite young.  They are a delight to listen to.  About a year ago Peanut began taking lessons with the oldest son and she has really enjoyed it.  She started using a keyboard here at home to practice on and then in February we surprised her with a real piano....a Craigslist find for just $ has been well worth it. 

Her teacher's teacher was allowed her to join his students in their recital.  It was L O N G, but much fun.  Some kids have so much talent!

Peanut chose to play Shubert's, Marche Millitaire.  Here she is after the recital sitting at the grand piano.  She looked beautiful sitting there.

A little closer shot because I was really quite a proud momma. She had been so nervous but pulled it off so well.  Not many adults would get up in front of a bunch of people they don't know and perform.

After the recital we surprised her with some flowers.

Grandpa drove 45 minutes to watch and support her. she is playing.  The church was packed..literally standing room only, so we could not see her playing, only hear her (and we were 1/2 hour early!).  So, enjoy the shot of the hymnal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hands On School

 I should be honest right?  This is after all, a blog not written for me to impress the world, but a journal for our family to visit over the coming years.  So..I'll be honest.

I "get it" that hands on school makes things more fun and more memorable.  It makes total sense.  BUT, do I do it?  Do I take the time to make our learning hands on?  Ummmmm...not like I would like to.  Ummmmmm...for the first couple weeks of school I try.  But after the first month or two, my definition of fun, hands on is cutting lapbook pieces.  Now, while lapbooking is interesting and more fun than a boring workbook page, truthfully, I know it does not fit under the category of "hands on learning".  
I have a friend who holds me accountable to the kind of learning I want my kids to do.  She pointed me toward My Father's World and has told me how great it will be.  For the most part I do like it.  I love being able to teach my girls of different ages, the same stuff.  BUT...I think I'd like it more if I would do more of the hands on stuff.

My Father's World does not do to much hands on.  Really, they don't.  My problem is that I schedule so much "other" stuff that I don't feel like we have the time.  That is bad.  Really bad.  I should trust the curriculum that I really do feel God led us to (with the help of a dear friend), but I'm unable.  
SO is my promise for the 2012 year...I can't stop adding stuff in.  I've accepted that about myself but I will try to do more hands on stuff.

This week we did our 2nd hands on activity.  Last week we made the ships in Christopher Columbus' fleet from tin foil.  This week we did an archaeological dig.  We will start talking about Jamestown next week so I thought it was a fine time to discuss how archaeologists do digs and discover clues to our past.  We have the Homeschool In The Woods Colonial pack (see, me adding stuff in) and it suggested this project.

Take a 2 liter, cut off the top, find various small items around your house (ie. buttons, safety pins, marbles, shells, beads) and begin layering them in the 2 liter.  Your children will then begin carefully digging through the layers of dirt to see what treasures they find.

I bet you  noticed the girls are in their pj's?  Yep..our school uniform.  :)

Each layer of dirt was marked along the side of the 2 liter and the girls had an Archaeological Journal in which they could sketch what they found, tell what hints to the past the item might give, etc.  They really had fun with it.

So, seeing these smiles I am reminded to keep the hands on stuff a part of our day.  It makes for happier kids and hopefully more fun learning.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Couple Days

Just a few pictures of our first couple days.  We started school on Monday.  It has been smooth in some respects, rough in others - but that is life, isn't it?  Our first day got us started with a Bible study.  This year we are doing "Boy, Have I Got Problems?", it is a study on the book of James.  It uses the inductive bible study method.  I myself have never done it, so I am interested to see how it works.  We have been talking about James 1:2-4 so far.  We should consider it pure joy when we are faced with trials.  Oh how difficult this can be to accept, but how true it really is.  We grow so much out of struggles and as parents, we teach our children so much as THEY watch US plod through our trials.

Even Sweet Baby is doing the bible study with us. Sweet Baby doesn't enjoy writing.  Her writing isn't very good either, she also hates to sit for long periods of time, but she seems to be doing fine with our bible study.  I read it aloud the first day with the girls.  Sissy has enjoyed it so much she has decided to work ahead, so she is doing it on her own at this point.

A first day of school smile from Peanut.  Gosh, she looks old here.  She is growing up so fast.  SIGH...

Here is a first day smile from Sweet Baby...her favorite time...lunch.  I let the girls pack a lunch, including special treats we do not normally buy, and eat downstairs in the school room.  They thought that was fun.

No first day shots of Sissy, she said, "You can't take my picture!  My hair is a mess!" it begins.  A 13 year old who is not into "doing" her hair, does not worry about fashion or make up yet. But, after that comment, I'm sure it is just beginning.

Our 2nd day of school we discussed Christopher Columbus and his voyage.  The younger girls made tin foil models of some of his ships.  They really enjoyed this activity.  When the ships were done, they took them to the bath tub and floated them across the sea.

 They even pulled out some Playmobile people to watch the voyage begin.  Silly girls!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Getting Started

We have just a few days left of summer.  If I could insert a great big sad face, crying buckets of tears, I would.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching the girls learn and I certainly enjoy knowing what they are learning about, but I really enjoy the freedom of summer.  We start back to school on Monday.

For me, the most difficult thing about homeschooling is how so many things around my house have to be put off till around 2 pm.  I feel like I am constantly watching the clock to see how long things are taking us.  It drives me crazy to not start household things till 2:00 and by that time I have an hour or so to do laundry, pick up, etc. till I need to start dinner.  I'm wondering if this year will be a bit different, after all, the girls are getting older.

This year Sissy will be doing much of her school work on her own.  She said that she did not like waiting around for Sweet Baby on many things (specifically waiting for her to be disciplined when we try to do group work).   So, I thought we would give her most of her work to do on her own.

Sissy is going into 8th that possible?  This will be our 5th year of homeschooling.  We have used My Father's World for history and bible for the last 3 years - it makes it very easy to teach different levels of children at one time.  However, I've always been intrigued with Sonlight, which is very similar to MFW, but I especially like the fact that Sonlight is built around great novels AND they give you discussion questions to go over with the children in case mom does not have time to read the book herself.  So, Sissy is going to be working with Sonlight Core 100 American History in Depth this year.  I hope it goes well for her.  She is not typically a big reader, but I truly believe it is because she is intimidated by chapter books and so she steers clear of them.  She has recently discovered the Mandie series and has been devouring it.  I'm hoping that she has turned a corner this summer. 

So..what are all the kids working on this year?  Here is the rundown.

Sissy       8th grade

History - Sonlight Core 100 American History in Depth
Math -  Teaching Textbooks Algebra (mind you she still has several lessons from Pre-Algebra to finish up)
Science -  Apologia Physical Science (with lab work done in co-op)
Spelling -  All About Spelling level 5  (her spelling skills are a huge struggle, so we'll keep plugging along)
Writing -  Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Intensive B (our first year using this program)
Bible - Boy You Think You've Got Problems (Study of the book of James)
Computer Essentials - co-op
Art - Watercolor - co-op
Cake Decorating - co-op

Peanut       5th grade

History - My Father's World Exploration - 1850
               American Girl Book Club - co-op
Math -  Teaching Textbooks 6
Science - Apologia Swimming Creatures (lab work/fun stuff with co-op)
Spelling  - A Reason for Spelling (first time using this curriculum)
Writing -  Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Intensive B (our first year using this program)
Bible - Boy You Think You've Got Problems (Study of the book of James)
Gym - co-op
Art - Discovering Great Artists - co-op

Sweet Baby    3rd grade

History - My Father's World Exploration - 1850
               American Girl Book Club - co-op
Math -  Saxon 3
Science - Apologia Swimming Creatures (lab work/fun stuff with co-op)
Spelling  - A Reason for Spelling (first time using this curriculum)
Writing -  Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Intensive B (our first year using this program)
Bible - Boy You Think You've Got Problems (Study of the book of James)
English - Daily Paragraph Editing workbook
Cooking- co-op
Art - Discovering Great Artists - co-op

So, that is what we are doing this year.  Switching some things like spelling up for various reasons, adding Daily Paragraph Editing in for Sweet Baby (and possibly the other two as well, I'm still working on this), I'm really excited to try IEW for writing.  I've heard so many great things about it.  I'll keep you filled in on what is working and what isn't working for us as we progress.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ridin' The Huckleberry Railroad

We have a local historic village that we like to visit.  When the girls were younger we were season pass holders for awhile and we would go on Sundays, after church, and spend a few hours looking around.  Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad is pretty small, but it makes for a relaxing day.  We all enjoy riding the train and the carousel.

The Huckleberry Railroad is a 40 minute train ride through woods and meadows around Mott Lake.  The railroad consists of 11 original and replica wooden coaches.  The train is run by a restored coal burning locomotive.

This weekend we visited Crossroads for the first time in a couple years.  We started with a train ride....we really should not have started with the train ride, I had forgotten how relaxed it makes me!  It was a time for reflection..... (pssstt...I LOVE this pic of Peanut)

It was also a time for snuggles....

After the ride, we strolled through the general store, barber shop and a couple other buildings.  We made our way to the toy barn, which the kids always enjoy.

This weekend was supposed to be Laura Ingalls Wilder Days.  Sadly we did not see any recreations about Laura or anything specific to her.  Sweet Baby donned her prairie bonnet all day though, does that count?

The girls did get to pump some water up from a well.  It never ceases to amaze me what things kids will find fun.  I'm quite sure that the children living at time that well pumps were necessary did not find drawing water fun.

In the schoolhouse we giggled as we discovered the dunce cap.  We giggled because when Sweet Baby was around 2 years old we had visited there and took her picture in the cap.  It has hung on our refrigerator ever since, so we needed to get another picture of her wearing it.

And Peanut wanted a turn....Don't you love this face!?!?!

Sissy as well, see that glaring look?  Her dad and I see that on rare occasions, her sisters see it a bit more often!

After visiting the school the kids wanted to ride the carousel.  The carousel is celebrating a birthday this year, it is 100 years old.  It was built in Kentucky in 1912 and was part of a traveling show that set up at fairs and carnivals throughout the US and Canada.  It settled in Riverside, California for more than 30 years and then was moved to Crossroads in 1983.  

The carousel has 36 different horses and is a fun treat.

The night before we went Sweet Baby randomly declared that someday she wanted to ride a ferris wheel.  Well, Crossroads has a ferris wheel, a ferris wheel built in 1910!  It takes you up just 45 feet, but for a girl who has a dream, it worked well.

Sweet Baby and daddy shared a cart.  It was funny to watch, each time they came around she was giggling from ear to ear, but at the same time, she was gripping his hand for dear life!

It was a beautiful day.  The weather was perfect and there were smiles all around.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Makin' Some Cake

 For some reason my girls are not that interested in earning extra badges for AHG this summer.  It may very well be because they earned more than $60 worth of extra ones at the last ceremony!  Sweet Baby did however want to get together with a friend and complete a badge together.  Last week we had her friend and her mother over for a couple hours so the girls could work on the cake decorating badge.  The badge requires that a Tenderheart aged girl make a batch of cupcakes, which she did the week before and took them to a family get together.  One  of the other requirements had the girls bake a cake and decorate it in a theme of their choosing using candies to decorate it.

Here Sweet Baby is flouring up the cake pan.

She chose to decorate her cake like the ocean.  She wanted to use graham crackers crushed up as the sand on the bottom of the ocean.  

The girls were required to learn about various types of food coloring and how you could achieve different colors by mixing the food coloring.  They enjoyed putting the drops of coloring into the frosting and watching how the colors changed as they mixed it up.

After the cakes had cooled they were able to begin frosting.  Sweet Baby had some trouble figuring out that longer strokes were necessary, the more frosting the better and how to hold the spreader to do the edges.  Since Sweet Baby does not like being directed or her mom "teaching" her things, it did  not go so well.  She got frustrated, mom got frustrated...sigh....

After awhile things calmed down and she began using the decorator kit to create some seaweed for her ocean.

She chose to use some Jelly Belly jelly beans for rocks and Swedish Fish as well.  She even remembered that she had a mermaid Polly Pocket that she wanted to put in the ocean.  

Sadly, because of her attitude issues, she did not get to eat the cake.  Her dad and I have been wondering if her sassy-ness may be a result of sugar so we decided to stop the intake for awhile.  Don't feel to bad for her.  The whole time she was making the cake she was sampling jelly beans, frosting, and Swedish Fish - honestly, all that sugar could very well have been the problem.  SO...we gave the cake to some friends of ours, who I am sure enjoyed it!

The girls have one more optional to do in order to earn the badge.  They had fun making cakes, but I really think they enjoyed doing it with a friend.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Really? Who Says That?

I don't get it.  I honestly don't get it.  Some people say the strangest things....

Yesterday we dropped Peanut off for a week of summer camp.  This is the first year she has gone alone as I've counseled out at the camp for the last 2 years with her group.  This year Sissy did not want to go - someone had to stay home with her, so I decided to take a year off.

I was approached by a fellow mom yesterday who asked if I would be out at camp again this year.  I told her no because Sissy really did not want to go and that although Sweet Baby is old enough, she has really been having a hard time lately if her and I are apart.

The response was "Really?  Gee Crystal, you must be doing something right for your kids to want to be around you so much.  My kids can't wait to get the chance to go to camp or get away, but that's ok with me because I don't want to be with them that much anyway."  Now, the kicker is....she said this IN FRONT OF her 15 year old daughter.  And this is not the first time she has told me, in front of at least one of her girls, that she "would never want to spend that much time with her kids".

Are you kidding me?!?!?

Please let me say that I do not love every minute of time I am with my children - and trust me, as a homeschooling mom, it is alot of time.  It isn't always easy, sometimes I want to be selfish and run away,  sometimes I wish I could all the school system for just 1 day a week, BUT.....I love my girls.  I made the choice to have them all, I'm interested in what they do, the memories they make, the young girls they have become, and I want to share that with them.   It is very hard for me to understand the mentality that you would not WANT to be with your kids.

I do understand that, sadly, society has told us that "normal" and "necessary" is that two parents work and that once your children are old enough, we put them on a bus and send them to school.  I do understand that on a surface level.  I was that mom.  Sissy was in public school until 3rd grade, Peanut was in school for kindergarten.  But, it never felt "right".  After awhile, I began examining options.  Homeschooling was laid on my heart and in all honesty, I wanted to ignore it.  I wanted God to leave me alone and go bother someone else.  I loved my girls, I had spent more than 8 years as a stay at home mom, still had a few years to go and was content with that - however, I was excited about the prospect of working again and making some money.

Now, I'm thankful that God did change my heart and open my eyes.  For me, homeschooling, which began as the best educational choice for my children, has become about so much more.  It has become about character training, direction, family time and thankfully a way to shelter my kids from a world that grows them up to fast.  My choice is not the only choice, I do get that but I have such a hard time understanding how a mother could not want to be with their children the little bit of time they are home (after they have spent 7-8 hours in school, mom and dad have spent a day at work) let alone verbalize it in front of their children.

My prayer is that my girls can SEE how happy I am to be with them each day.  That they can see how happy I am that I chose to listen to God's direction.  It is not always easy and trust me, many times I do not show them how blessed I know I am.  I let the day get the better of me - the bickering, the disobedience, the  mess, but in the end, I hope they never grow up and say, "Yeah, my mom didn't want to spend time with me.  She was excited when I had somewhere else to go, someone else to hang out with."    

Sunday, July 15, 2012

AHG Pen Pals Unite!

I know I am constantly sharing about American Heritage Girls and how much we enjoy it, but I've been waiting to share this post with you for awhile now.

Our first year of AHG each of my girls signed up for the Pen Pal program.  AHG takes pains to set up pen pals throughout the program.  Their pen pal program is not merely an exchange of names, the girls are asked a few different questions and some magical elf at AHG picks a match for them.  The girls commit to writing to their pen pal, at least once a month, for one year.  

Peanut and Sissy, although they like the program, each had issues with their pen pals.  Neither of their pen pals seemed to write often enough.  They seemed to get one letter every 5 or 6 weeks or so.

Although the older girsl were a bit disappointed, Sweet Baby's pen pal and her were a perfect match!  They have been writing for the last 2 years and the first year they wrote each other nearly every week.  What excitement for a 1st grader to have a friend to practice writing to!!   We used the opportunity to write back and forth as handwriting and english practice.  

Sweet Baby's pen pal is from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Last March I was able to meet her pen pal, mother and two siblings at a home school conference I attended in Cincinnati.  This year when we planned our trip to Tennessee, knowing we would be driving through Cincinnati, we were able to set up a time for the girls to meet!  It was the sweetest thing to see them together.  They had talked on the phone a few times over the last couple years, but being able to meet was  like a dream come true.  

After driving for much of the day we were able to make it to Sweet Baby's pen pal's home, sit and visit for a couple hours and then we were invited to enjoy dinner with her family.  What a great time!  We truly enjoyed  our visit and hope we will be able to spend time together again.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Heavy Heart

It has been a very long week. 

Friday, June 29th I received a call indicating that one of our leaders at American Heritage Girls was killed in a car accident.  Amanda Rouse was one of our Tenderheart badge trackers and one of those moms who was ready and willing to help whenever she was needed.  In addition to serving as badge tracker, she was also working as our PR person - spreading the news of AHG to whoever would listen.  We also were blessed to have Amanda working on a fall fundraiser.  SIGH...Amanda was a jewel to our program.

Amanda was a jewel to her 7 year old daughter as well.

Amanda would have been just as precious to her unborn daughter Sophie - just 4 weeks till Sophie's delivery.  However, sweet Sophie did not survive either.

Of course I know that people die.  It is the circle of life.  THIS however is not something that you expect.  A momma leaving her daughter, her husband and losing her baby at just 34 years old is not what we expect.  It makes you begin to question your own mortality - honestly, I've never done that. I've never pictured leaving my family and certainly not leaving my husband a widower.  I'm sure Amanda never did either.

A couple things I want to leave with you...

1) Don't take anyone for granted.  If someone is making an impact in your life, in the lives of your children, in the life of a ministry...tell them.  Tell them you are happy to see their smile each week at church.  There were a lot of people who were touched by Amanda.  On Thursday, the day of her visitation, 1,000 people walked through the funeral home.  She was important, but did she know that? 

2)  Take as many opportunities to have your picture taken with you children as you can.  So often the moms are the ones taking the photos and we are not in them.  Amanda left behind a 7 year old daughter.  How many memories do you have from when you were 7?  I have very few.  Her sweet daughter will probably have very few, if any, memories of her mom.  At AHG camp, just 5 weeks before the car accident, two of our Pioneer girls wanted to take pictures of all of the moms and their daughters together.  I'm so glad they recognized this need.  Since they were being so thoughtful, we have this picture of Amanda and her daughter.

To honor Ms. Amanda some of the girls from our troop were able to do a flag ceremony of sorts for her.  They posted the United States flag and the AHG flag on either end of her casket.  It was sweet that they were willing to do it for her and her daughter.  At the end of the funeral (which was so packed the could not fit everyone in the room), as we walked by her casket the last time, we saw her daughter sitting in the front row crying.  It warmed my heart when Sweet Baby walked over and hugged her. 

So, remember to tell people that they matter.  We take things for granted so easily.  Remember to tell that special person that they are important and there would be a hole in your life if they were gone. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

American Heritage Girls Camp

 A few days after Peanut's birthday the girls and I packed up for our second American Heritage Girls camp.  We camped at our favorite place, Michigan Christian Youth Camp in Attica, Michigan.  This is the same camp my girls attend for summer camp and is merely a 30 minute drive from us.  When we arrived on Friday night we got the younger girls set up in the dorms while Sissy began setting up our tent.  

The Pioneers were camping in tents to continue to work on their camping badge.  This is where I would be sleeping as well since I am a Pioneer leader.  As it turned out, I ended up in the dorm.  Now, don't be thinking, "OOOH, you are one lucky girl to have been able to get out of sleeping in the tent!"  The reality of it is that Sweet Baby has been having a hard time being away from me and she couldn't sleep.  So...I ended up IN her bed.  Trust me, sleeping outside in the tent would have been more comfortable!  Those beds are not made for comfort and they certainly were not made for 2 people!!

We started the night with unpacking and then moved to the fire for smores, popcorn, campfire songs and a devotional.

As the girls were getting ready for bed I was helping wipe the crusted marshmallow of Sweet Baby's cheek when her tooth fell out.  No worries, it was very loose so it was time for it to fall out.
The next morning the younger girls all headed to the lodge for breakfast.  The tenters began cooking their own breakfast.  We made simple egg mcmuffins and had fresh fruit.  Here Sissy is lighting the grill that we would be using.

Now, I know this isn't the best picture, and you may be thinking - hmmmm, is this really worth seeing?  But for me, it is.  This is one of the only pictures I have of Sissy at camp.  Shortly after breakfast, within about 15 minutes of eating she said she wasn't feeling well.  She skipped horseback riding (which was so hard for her because she had been looking SO forward to riding) and she sat through about 15 minutes of the outdoor skills ramblings before she ended up in a dorm in a bed.  After about 2 hours of laying down, hoping it would pass, we ended up calling dad to pick her up.  Poor girl missed all of camp!  This is especially sad because she is my girl that LOVES to camp.  She looks so forward to each outing and was very upset that she missed it all.

After Sissy left I was able to sneak away 2 times to see how my other girls were doing and try to get some pictures of them enjoying camp.  Here Sweet Baby is at the Adventure Challenge.  This course required the girls to use teamwork and problem solving skills to complete.  In this challenge the girls had to get from one platform to another using various boards that were not attached.  Don't you love those shoes??? Sweet Baby forgot her shoes and luckily one of the other girls brought a second pair - groovy!

I ran into Peanut toward the end of the day while they were working on some Outdoor Skills requirements.  They were learning how to read a compass.

At the end of camp I asked the girls what their favorite part was.  I was shocked when this horse lover did not say, "Horseback riding!"  Instead she said, "I loved learning how to use a compass."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Birthday

Peanut turned 10 a few weeks ago...TEN.  It continues to amaze me that my girls are growing up.  I have a 13 year old, 10 year old and 8 year old.  I remember the days when they were 2 and we were trying so hard to determine what they were saying, what they wanted....I remember thinking,"I can't wait for them to grow up."  What a mistake.  Although I love my girls so much, I wish I could go back and steal just one more ABC song, one more rock in the rocking chair, one more walk with the stroller.

OK...enough of the sappiness on to the fun.  We don't do ridiculous birthday gifts around here.  There is very little my girls need and we do not need more junk around the house.  I always struggle with gifts for them.  Peanut really wanted an alarm clock of her own, that is what is in this package.

My girls LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Adventures in Odyssey and when I was at our local homeschool convention in May, I scored a deal on a couple sets.  Sissy, who can listen to Adventures in Odyssey for HOURS, was really excited to be able to give her sister this gift.

The smile this child has lights up her whole face, her blue eyes have always been something that could draw me in.  Of course, all of our kids have different personalities, but this one, this girl has the most amazing spirit of joy and it is one that I envy. she is...ten candles on her cake/brownie.  SIGH..where has the time gone?