Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Backpack (and so the time has come!)

We are finally going to get our boys. 
There are really no words to say how excited we are.
Our God is an awesome God!
Since I really have no words for the feelings, I'll share something practical:
the backpacks for the plane

The oldest is nearly done with the fifth Harry Potter book (and that's as far as I let her go...she can read the last two in a few years), so I got her a new book for the flight.
This was a book that came with our Books by the Foot box.

empty water bottle to fill up at a fountain before we get on the plane or ask for a stewardess to fill as soon as we get on a plane.

This is the boy's set of books--though he is reading Harry Potter too, so he'll have that for his main reading material.

The youngest has a few books in her bag that are really for her sister or brother to read to her. 
And a coloring/activity book
And each kiddo has their favorite songs on their own little iPod (thanks Grandma).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Praise Him in the Hallway (and visiting a fall farm)

I feel a bit like a racer, all squared up on my block and waiting for the gun to sound.
Wait for it...
Wait for it..
Wait for it...
I'm talking about a court date here, in case you're new to the loop. Any day now we should find out when we are expected in Uganda to pick up our two boys. Bags are partially packed, all paper work is in order, shots are scheduled for day after tomorrow. When that date comes, we will just need to buy tickets and go. At this point, we will probably receive the date three weeks or less before we leave. (Another family received theirs 8 days before they were supposed to be there!)

But still, the racer image is just not a good one for me to have in my head. 
No one gets ready for a race and then says, "Oh, well, since we're waiting, let me go finish some of those pre-race chores I didn't quite get to." 
I saw a  quote a few days, that is a much better image for me to keep in mind.
Until God opens a door,
I will praise Him in the hallway.
Those are such simple words, but the image is really a great one. In many ways, our family is in a hallway right now. We could feel stifled and beat on doors. We could be bored to tears.
Or we could use our time to praise Him.
Praise Him with all our might.
So, when the opportunity came to drive a couple of hours south to make my dad's birthday a little happier, I took it. 
And praise the Lord! It was a great!
Our hallway is a really, really nice hallway.
fishing from Grandad's dock

Visiting a farm

hay bail maze

the petting zoo at the farm had this beautiful pheasant

that's the creek that the hay ride took us through
You should have seen the boy's face light up when he figured out that we were going to pass right through the water. : )
Praise our wonderful, awesome God!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Nina and the Pinta

We "unschooled" at the Nina and the Pinta on Thursday. This was a light week for us, and having my kids be able to walk through history like that was completely priceless!  They probably learned more in the hour we spent touring Columbus's ships than they did when we studied Columbus and his era for an entire semester last year!

The Nina is an exact replica of the original. This replica was made in the exact same way as the original as well--the boards were finished with steaming and pine tar, there were no power tools made in its creation, and it was made by original descendants of the original ship builders. 

Can you imagine being on this tiny ship with 120 other passengers? On one of Columbus's journeys, when the Nina was the only ship to survive a huge storm, he picked up 120 survivors and headed back to Spain!

The Pinta

The Nina

If you're interested in seeing these ships yourself, check out their cruise schedule HERE.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Packing List for Adopting in Uganda

Ok, get ready for crazy overkill. But folks, I'm responsible for packing to get five people to Uganda, pick up two more, stay for five weeks in a guest house (please read: not a hotel) and then get seven people home again.
I am assuming that we will each be able to check a 50 lb. bag, so when we begin packing, some of this may, unfortunately have to go to make our 250 lb. limit. We'll just have to see.
So this list is only what's going into our checked baggage. Carry-on lists will come later.
Here goes...

clothes: 7-10 outfits, pjs, undies, socks for each seven family members
The girls and I will all bring our longer skirts. We'll be sure to pack a dressier outfit for everyone for court and church.

shoes: rain boots for each member of the family, including these new beauties for me (my old ones have a leak! It's no fun to step through a puddle in your rain boots only to find that your socks are soaked!)
sandals, closed-toed shoes and flip flops for each member of the family
(I've heard flip flops are a good idea for the shower)

other accessories: 5 or 6 sets of earrings for me, an extra set of earrings for each of the girls,  a couple of necklaces for me (these can double as dressups for the the youngest), 3 or 4 bows for the youngest and a pack of hair bands, sunglasses all around

medical kit (I'll do a separate post on this soon): all the basics, plus tape and bandaging, nausea medicine, anti-itch cream and malarone pills--1/2 for each kid per day and 1 for each adult per day, sunscreen and bug spray, both these travel kinds and a larger bottle

electronics: We'll bring our iPad, our kindle, headphones, our phones and the kids' three little ipod shuffles and the hubby's computer on the plane. In the luggage we'll have:

This little device (2 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches) holds enough power to fully charge a dead iPad or fully charge several iPhones. This will be perfect to keep ready for those times when the power goes out in Uganda and we need to charge our devices.

bathroom items: It's a little bit nuts how much a family of five and then seven is going to need to survive live normally in a foreign country. Here's a list of what I've gathered and will take with us for bathroom stuff:

3in1 shampoo-conditioner-body soap for the boys (the boy uses Suave Men's so that it doesn't smell girly)
Separate shampoo, conditioner and body wash for the girls. (Believe me, you do NOT want to brush their hair after they try to use the 3in1 stuff!)
Separate shampoo, conditioner and body wash for me.
Shampoo-conditioner for the hubby, body wash for the hubby
Shaving gel and razor for the hubby
Shaving gel and razor for me
fingernail clippers, emery boards, tweezers
Castor oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar for my face wash, toner, and moisturizer (guess I should do a post on those odd bathroom items sometime soon too.) FYI I'm planning on putting those in 16 oz. bottles like these:

pantiliners, a few pads and softcups for monthly needs. Softcups are a 12-hour alternative to tampons. They are cheaper, more comfortable and easier to pack. Win!

toothpaste (3 mostly full large tubes in checked baggage, a couple of small tubes in carry-on)
toothbrushes all around 
makeup for me--I bought new everything so that I can pack it ahead of time and continue using my current makeup right up until the morning we leave (base, powder, eye shadow, liner, mascara,) lip gloss and a compact will go in my carry-on
lotion--besides the coconut oil, I bought a medium sized bottle of Eucerin (my favorite) for the checked baggage and a smaller tube for the carry on
my favorite lip balm, Blistex Lip Medex (can also double as a breathing help for stuffy noses)
large bottle of contact solution--small bottle of contact solution and contacts case and glasses for hubby will go in carry-on
several brushes
small international hair dryer
hair gel and curling spray for me---I had considered just going natural and not bringing any hair care products, but we're going to be there for a long time and I think the added weight will be worth feeling put together once in a while.
foaming hand soap
the oldest's face soap and moisturizer
10 wash rags
3 hand towels

toys and games: besides the leftovers from the little bits of fun stuff in the carry-ons (clay, memory card game, wikki stix, magnetic pattern blocks, crayons, colored pencils, etc) here is the list:
Matchbox cars (about 10)
Container of legos
Container of polly pockets
large thin sheets of paper
foam stickers
scissors and glue
painter's tape (the possibilities are nearly endless!)
white paper bags--These can be made into puppets, presents, houses, trees, hats, purses, stuffed animals...
(Shh! Don't tell the kids!) A sweet friend donated several playmobil sets for our travels. My kids have never played with these, but with the way they are obsessing over lego figures right now, I know they're going to love them!
All of these toys will be left either at the orphanage or at the guest house when we come home.

for the orphanage: coloring books and crayons for each of the kids
pillow case dresses (thanks mom!) for each girl
shorts and tees for each boy
toothbrushes for each kid
bars of soap

trash bags
tiny broom and dust pan
hand sanitizer
hand sanitizer wipes

clorox sanitizing spray
{you might be able to tell that friends have warned us that the smell is sometimes disconcerting--not just of the place, but of yourself!}
small gifts for our lawyer, social worker, director of orphanage and wife, nannies, cook and wife, driver, etc.

For snacking items, we are bringing 
individually packed nuts
crunchy granola bars
popcorn, Kellog's fruit snacks
fruit leather
travel packs of peanut butter
All of these snacks (besides the almonds, craisins and popcorn) are packed in 5 weekly bags so that we don't go through our snacks too quickly. Each person in the family can have at least one of each thing per week. 

I know there's more, but this is the list so far and for now. 
Happy packing!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Update to Bird Brained

We're still feeding the birds around here! And so far, the squirrels aren't able to touch this feeder. (Hooray) But boy, do they love to pick up what the birds drop!
Like the way I even left the label on the almond container? I wasn't sure if the whole thing would work and wanted to try it before I spent the time cleaning the container! 
Oh, and yes, I do have to fill that little tiny feeder every day in order to satisfy our greedy (probably hoarding) and beautiful birds.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Best Kid Movies Ever

(i.e. movies we're packing)
We are a family who loves story...we love to read them and we love to watch them. This is not all of our favorites, but if we had to choose just a few to take with us to the other side of the world for five weeks or so, these would be the ones.
(And I have to say that Thomas is in there because
this boy has never seen the cartoon!
Can't wait to watch even that one with them!)

What are your favorite kid movies? Should we change out a few?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bird Brained

Since the big kids started their science this year, we've had birds on the brain nearly every day! It started the day after we read chapter 2 in our Science text (see below) which has pictures of different kinds of vireos for you to compare field marks. Well, the day after we read about it, who should come flying into our window and stun himself, but a Yellow-throated Vireo! He was so stunned by his accidental flight into our window that we had several minutes to photograph and study him before he flew away. 
That was definitely a boost toward our interest in birds! And then there's the fact that we school right next to the window that shows our patio. We had a bird feeder that we kept moving around on the tree that grows on our patio to try to keep it away from the squirrels. They are pretty aggressive here and there were lots of times where math was interrupted so that we could go out and yell at the squirrels.
Here is spot #2 for the feeder. This lasted 24 hours until the squirrels broke the branch it was hanging on. After this, I strung the feeder up on a higher branch hanging way down and far away from the trunk. The squirrels figured out they only had to take a harrowing jump from trunk to feeder and hang on the feeder swinging dizzyingly around and then kind of do a belly flop to drop off. This was difficult enough that they still left some seed for the birds. It worked well for the squirrels until I greased the bird feeder with coconut oil. : ) Then we had a few good laughs as the squirrels jumped over and scrambled to hang on as they slid right off the feeder. That hanging spot for the feeder lasted a total of one week until the squirrels managed to knock the feeder down and break it all to pieces. : ( We still haven't put up another feeder. We'll probably make some home made feeders for a while. 
Oh, and see the hummingbird feeder? The squirrels drink the hummingbird nectar as well. They knock off the protective caps on the little places for the hummingbirds to suck and just drink it right out until it's gone. So far we just keep refilling that and hummingbirds and squirrels are able to share.
But despite of the mean old squirrels, we have really enjoyed watching the birds. The kids have started their Life List of birds they have seen and have enjoyed putting down the birds we count as regulars on our patio:
These pics were all taken by the oldest. She's great with her own camera and loves to catch birds around the yard. Three of the pics are of her prize: a Cedar Waxwing. She was attentive enough to notice when a group of them were migrating through our yard.
Happy bird watching!