Friday, November 27, 2009

Luke's Birthday in Pictures

For Luke's birthday, we went to a Children's Museum where it was all decorated for Christmas. Most of the activities consisted of making ornaments and Christmas decorations. Here is Luke making a paper chain decoration for the tree.
These three all love to do crafts, so they had lots of fun.
Luke got a digital camera for his birthday. He loves to take pictures, so he should have a lot of fun with it.

He loves his pocket knife, and is using it here to cut open some plastic on one of his gifts.

Posing with his new bow.

All of the boys have wanted a Darth Vader cake, but I could never bring myself to make a black cake. My mom brought the pan with her and I compromised with a chocolate version of Darth Vader. Luke was so surprised!

Trying to get a good picture of all six is nearly impossible, but here is the best one.

The kids always want to take a silly picture, so here they are, their true selves!

We had sick people the two days before Luke's birthday, and I didn't feel so swell on his birthday, but God was good and Luke enjoyed his day, went to bed, and right before midnight, woke up sick. At least he got to enjoy his day. The day after his birthday, we had four more sick. We were all praying that no one would be sick on Thanksgiving, and that we could eat something beside turkey soup.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy 11th Birthday, Luke Skywalker!

Our sixth, and final kid birthday of the year has finally arrived. Luke is the only child who doesn't have a summer birthday. He was born on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which is how his birthday fell this year as well. Luke is very social and loves to be around people. He loves to play games and do crafts.

I still haven't figured out how to scan pictures, so here are a few pictures of him starting when he was five.

Six years old

Seven years oldEight years old

Nine years old

Ten years old

Eleven years old today!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Favorite Advent Books

Eight years ago I came across the book Jotham's Journey, while browsing the CBD catalog. I ordered the book and we read it for Advent. It was an instant hit with the entire family. We read Bartholomew's Passage the next year, and Tabitha's Travels the following year. Each book stands alone, but the characters in the books overlap. The title characters are children around 10 years old who live in the time of Jesus' birth. Each child ends up getting separated from his/her family and sets out on an adventure to be reunited with them. Along the way the children meet Shepherds, wise men, innkeepers, Zachariah and Elizabeth, and end up at the manger when Jesus is born on Christmas morning. The books are Advent readings so are broken into sections to be read each day. Many times the story for the day ends as a cliffhanger and my kids always beg to read another part. There is a very bad villain that keeps the stories interesting, especially for boys.

These books give a flavor of the world that Jesus was born into. How some people longed for him and felt his birth would be soon, and others thought it was a far off event. It makes it all much more real for children, and the excitement for each evening's reading is priceless.

After we read the trilogy the first time, I thought we would try something else for Advent. That is known as the year without Jotham, and no one enjoyed it. So, we just read one of them every year. This will be our third year reading Bartholomew's Passage. As the children get older, they remember more of the story, but still look forward to reading it every night during Advent. The younger children don't remember it, so they are waiting with excitement to see what happens next.

Several yeas ago I mentioned these books at a Christmas party for home school moms. When the ladies looked for the books the next year, they were out of print. Well, last year they re-released Jotham, Bartholomew has been re-released this year, and Tabitha will be next year.

My almost 11 year old is anxiously awaiting the start of Advent this year. We have a new advent wreath with candles to try out, and our book is waiting. I can't wait either!

This is linking to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Come for a walk with me down Memory Lane! And if you have a "Memory Lane" post, head on over to Scottsville to join in on the fun!

Grateful for Grace posted on her blog about Ma Ingalls recently, and it got me to thinking about our trip to De Smet, South Dakota to the Ingalls Homestead the summer of 2007. The two oldest boys' birthdays are a day apart, so I got the idea that we should read the entire Little House on the Prairie book set and then go to De Smet for their birthdays. So, when school was finished the end of May, we started Little House in the Big Woods, and we read straight through until we finished These Happy Golden Years, right before we left for our trip. It was so much fun to read the books and then go and see where they actually lived. Here are a few of the highlights of our trip.

At the Homestead, there is a recreation of Ma and and Pa's house. If you remember from the books, it was only one room to start, and then he added on. It was amazing to see how small their house was and how they all lived in such tiny place.

Here are the girls in their bonnets we purchased there. The wagon was surprisingly small. I guess I imagined a much bigger one, thinking they had more room to haul all of their worldly possessions.

They have many hands-on activities for people to try from life during Laura's childhood. Here is Leia trying out the water pump. It was pretty hard for her to work!

There was a wash board and a ringer to show how they did laundry. It made us very thankful for our washer and dryer!

Luke is twisting twine to make a length of rope.

Luke was grinding wheat. Also a lot of work!

They also had pony rides and cart rides. The kids really liked these.

We took a wagon ride to an authentic school house a short way away. Here you can see two wagons returning to the homestead. You can see how flat and open it is. They had fields of corn and wheat growing to show how big Pa's crop was.

This is the only picture I got showing the outside of school house. It wasn't the one that Laura taught at, but one from that time they had moved onto the homestead. It was really neat to see it. Here are Hubby, Padme and Luke on the wagon arriving at the school house.

In the school house, there was a teacher who gave a short lesson and told what school would have been like for Laura. They had straw hats for the boys to wear and bonnets for the girls. Here is Obi sitting at one of the desks.

Here are all of the kids, at the time, in front of the stove at the front of the school.

Here is Padme in a stagecoach.

One of the girls favorite things at the Homestead were the kittens in the barn.

After spending time at the Homestead, we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant where the play was These Happy Golden Years. Here hubby is with a sleeping Padme waiting for the Pageant to start. We got there a bit early to get good seats.

And after the pageant, a group shot. It was a great vacation. I hope we can go again when the younger kids are older so they can remember it better.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Snow Fun

Last year, we waited and waited for snow to fall in our new city. It didn't. Finally in December there was a small storm which left a little snow, but it quickly melted. The kids didn't get a good snow day until March. Well, this year, we got snow in October! And the children rejoiced! Here are a few pictures of the fun.

Obi being a "nice" big brother and throwing snow on Leia's head.

She is after him for payback!

Snow tastes wonderful!!!

Poor Yoda, watching from the window! He wanted to go play, too, but I didn't have any boots for him. I will have to get him some, so next time, he can play, too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happenings around our House

We have had a couple more sick kids around here lately. I am thinking this is going to be a long winter. Sigh... Anyways, that is the nature of life with many kids, I guess.

In more positive news, Han got his learners permit last week, so he is officially behind the wheel. I thought this would make me very worried, but I am actually looking forward to him being able to drive and help out with the chauffeur duties around here!

And Luke, who has been a poky and reluctant reader, has finally taken off and is reading like crazy! He has read a book a day the past three days, reminding me of Han. How I have prayed for this! And God is good. And I am so happy for him. He sticks his nose in a book and doesn't come up until he is done. In the past we would read his mandatory reading and be done. No matter how exciting the book was at the moment. He has the bug now, and I will gladly put up with another bookworm in our family.

Awana had a fictional character night recently, and both of the girls dressed up as Laura Ingalls. Now, we know she isn't a fictional character, but that is who they both wanted to be. Their bonnets were bought in DeSmet, SD, when we visited Ingalls Homestead and attended the DeSmet Pagent two years ago. That trip was a lot of fun!

And the best news lately is that Yoda has turned a corner in the sleep department. He has been a terrible sleeper since birth, 15 months ago. But lately, he has started sleeping deeper and longer and it is wonderful. I have no idea, other than prayers, what has made the difference. I have tried everything, and nothing really made a difference. In the past, he would wake up at the slightest noises, and our house is never quiet. So, this new change is quite wonderful and long overdue.
Yoda was snuggling with Obi while Obi was doing his math. Yoda likes to listen to the MP3 player with Obi.

He snuggled in, listened a bit, and fell to sleep. So sweet.

My mom is coming to visit for Thanksgiving. She will be here for one week, and in that week she will get to go to the girls Worship Dance recital, attend our church's Celebration Service, celebrate Luke's birthday with us, and Thanksgiving. Our Celebration Service will be our first service in the brand new sanctuary. The older two boys will be in a Mime presentation during the service, and Leia's dance class is dancing for it. The kids are planning all kinds of crafts to do with her, also. My mom is very crafty, and I am not. Before we moved, she came over before Christmas and make Christmas ornaments with the kids one day and mints another day. So, we will try to get as much done as possible while she is here. She will probably go home exhausted, but we are so excited that she is coming!