slide show


Newborn Sessions {Part 1}

I recently had the privilege of photographing a newborn baby girl.

How many ways can you say perfection?

Congratulations on your precious new little one, Lee and Fern!


Library Day

Everyone looks forward to Wednesdays around here. Wednesday is our lightest school day. Wednesday is piano lesson day for four out of five little Martins. And... Wednesday is library day!

On Wednesday morning we gather all of the items to be returned to the library. This is normally between twenty-five and thirty books, so I always fervently hope we know where all of them are and breathe a sigh of relief when they are in the book bags ready to go.

Each child is allowed to choose four books. I love to see them carefully looking and selecting their books. We are pretty careful about what we allow them to read, so I need to approve each person's books before we check them out.

Once each one finishes selecting their books they lose no time getting started reading them.

And the drive home is always perfectly, blissfully quiet on library day!


And My Baby?

Well, I guess she just isn't a baby any more. On Monday she started Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and she is doing so well with it! Today she had her first piano lesson. You just don't do these things with babies, you know?

I really wasn't sure how school would go with Eliana this year, I didn't think she was quite ready to start first grade and I want her to be able to really enjoy her school work without a lot of stress. She is just surpassing my expectations on every level! She is counting and adding (with manipulatives) like a champ. She is breezing right through the beginning Explode the Code levels. And now she is learning to read and taking piano lessons. It's so sweet to see her learning so much!

Adopting a pre-schooler gives you the unique opportunity of watching a child develop at warp speed. Two years ago she was a baby, walking unsteadily, speaking hardly any English, not yet potty-trained, and the list could go on. Today she is a confident six year old who is catching up on every level. It truly feels as if I blinked and my baby turned in to a little girl.

It is easy to forget her history as we go from day to day. But there are moments when it becomes crystal clear in my mind again. Like the other morning when she crawled in bed with me and said, "When I wake up I just think about I have a Mama." Can you imagine being six years old and knowing what it is like to NOT have a Mama? My little girl remembers life without a family. I believe this is what adds so much charm to her sweet personality. She is thankful for things that most of us take for granted. She has a zest for life and loudly celebrates every little thing.

I'm so thankful she is ours!


A Farewell Party {As Captured by my Camera}

Last night we went to a farewell party for a family from our church who is moving to Ghana for three years. Our children especially love this type of event. There were lots of games and plenty of food and good conversations all 'round.

I used a different photography method of setting my camera, putting on my widest angle lens, and snapping away without looking. It was so fun to put my camera card in my computer today and see what I had!

Without further explanation, here is our evening in photos.


Autumn Time is Here

Today we decided to take a little walk to one of our favorite spots along the near-by creek. The air has a bit of chill to it and it makes me remember that our opportunities for nice afternoon outings are limited.

Freeland immediately began looking for worms. He found quite a few and shared one of the smaller ones with Eliana who dearly loved her "cutie pie pet worm" whom she affectionately named "Hannah" after her beloved aunt. Imagine her horror when she accidentally pulled said worm in half.

So Freeland kindly offered to share some of his big worms...

And got this reaction...

We later found her another "cutie pie" worm and she carried it around the rest of the time we were there. She planned to bring it home and bathe it with nice smelling soap and let it sleep in her bed, but we convinced her that it would be happier in the nice, soft dirt where it was found.

Annika still has a bit of a cold, so she walked a little more slowly than the rest and kept me company. I treasure these moments with her. She is growing up so fast. We spoke of changing seasons and saw some fish "that look just like a fish family" swimming in the creek.

These are days to treasure for sure!


Onward and Upward

I had my six weeks post-op appointment with the neurosurgeon a couple of days ago. As he went over the various questions he had for me and I saw his response to my answers I got a fresh perspective on the whole situation. To me it seems like recovery is taking a long time, but he seemed both pleased and surprised with my progress and all I have regained. It reminded me how much I have to be thankful for!

I'm beginning to feel and function almost like a "normal" person. How exciting is that!?

And apparently along with feeling more normal, I'm also rather busy.  I started this several days ago and I'm finally getting back to it.  Right now I'm in the classroom looking out at my busy little tribe.  For the moment everyone is busy and there is nothing to grade. For the moment no one needs my computer for doing math so, for the moment, I'm free to write.

I keep looking around trying to figure out where the summer has gone. The days are cooler and cooler. The leaves are beginning to change. Autumn is definitely in the air, but it seems like it was just spring. It seems like we were just rejoicing in the longer, warmer days.

When I think about all that has happened since spring it is no wonder that I feel it has gone by in a blur.

There was the trip to China in June.

Since getting home just over two months ago, twenty-three of the children we saw have been matched with families.  Twenty-three!! Do you have any idea how many photos have been edited and uploaded, how many blog posts have been written, and how much time has been spent communicating with families for twenty-three children to be matched? Even though most of this falls on other people I am minimally involved.

Add to that having major surgery and recovery. Add having a stomach bleed and having my iron level hit low, low levels.

Add editing photos for families who were already matched and for other things such as fundraising events...

Add starting school...

I think you must be getting the picture...

I feel so blessed to be involved in these things that I love doing! How blessed am I that the things I love so dearly, family, photography, and advocacy, fit together so beautifully? How blessed am I that I can do these things in spite of the health challenges I have faced?

Today my heart is so full of gratitude.


Starting School 2014-15

Tuesday was our first day of school. I've been very undecided about a starting date with everything going on with my health, but we decided that we might as well ease on in to the school year this week.  We are not doing a full work load yet, but we are off to a good start!

Because I'm always interested in what curriculum other homeschooling families use, I'm going to give you a quick overview of our curriculum for this year.

Douglas 10th grade:
Saxon Algebra II
CTC Calculus
CLE Literature
Word Voyage English
Apologia Biology
CLE American History

Freeland 7th grade:
CTC Basic Math & Pre-Algebra
CLE Language Arts
Rod & Staff Reading
Apologia Zoology I
US History & Geography (using Drive Thru History and Little Passports)

Casper 5th grade:
CTC Math
CLE Language Arts
CLE Reading (6th grade level)
Apologia Zoology I
US History & Geography (using Drive Thru History and Little Passports)

Annika 2nd grade:
CTC Math
Explode the Code Phonics
CLE Language Arts
CLE Reading
Magic School Bus Science
US Geography (Little Passports)

Eliana Kindergarten:
CTC Math
Explode the Code Phonics
Various Workbooks for K
Magic School Bus Science
US Geography (Little Passports)

CTC is an online math curriculum that we are trying this year. We are only a few days in to the lessons, but so far I am pretty impressed with it.  We will see how it goes as the year progresses. The elementary Science, History, and Geography are all very interactive. We all loved the Apologia Science we did last year.

We have our classroom all nicely outfitted to fit our needs.  We replaced my desk with a love seat so that I can be comfortable even on days I'm not feeling great. It is very nice to have a place to sit with a child to read a story, etc.

We are off to a good start and expecting to learn a lot this year!

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