Tuesday, March 24, 2009


We finished our China study today. I went a little outside the box and found a few extra fun things to do.... We painted our names in Chinese....
We made Chinese lanterns and ate sweet and sour chicken and fried rice with chopsticks...

which was interesting....

I think China has been one of the most interesting countries that we have studied. I wish I could come up with more creative ideas on a regular basis since that sure made it more memorable and less "school". Now on to Japan.....!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Day the Zoo Hit Record Numbers

Yes, we were crazy enough to go into the zoo when we had to park so far away you could call it hiking and the lines to get in stretched into the parking lot! These are all the pictures I got between all the people and before my camera died. This guy was in the Asian forest and since we are studying Asia, figured we needed his picture!
Beautiful, isn't he?
I'm not sure if it was the crowds or what but this guy was quite active and continuously was showing us his teeth..or throat! Little kids were throwing things into his mouth!

He would sit like that for a minute or more at a time!

Maybe he was threatening us!

We were wearing our green for St Patricks Day! So was everyone else at the zoo!!

We were only there for two hours before we had enough! We will wait until everyone is back in school and go again with our membership!

School projects

We made stamps out of erasers to show how the people in China used them to show a scroll was officially from that person. We each dug our initials in the eraser, painted a picture and then dipped the eraser in paint to show who the artist was.

We made fortune cookies also for our tour of China. Zachary is writing down fortunes that he is making up.

The cookies don't look exactly like they do from the restaurants but they were so good! We all made up different things to put in them.

I put verses from Proverbs in them and Hannah typed hers up to look more authentic!

China has been fun! We are going to get some chopsticks and try to eat a whole meal with them. Not sure you would want to see those pictures!

Spring has sprung!

The seeds we planted...
Hopefully will become food for my family...

My amazing husband created cinder block gardens for me with a covering against the frost

Evaluating our hard work...

We got the whole family in on the work! Here's Hannah smoothing out the dirt...

and Jacob shoveling dirt to go into the cinder block gardens..

Dad and Zachary rototilling the garden

Hannah and Dad rototilling

Dad was left to do most of it alone...

Admiring the blooms in the backyard....

I love spring!

The roses that need trimmed badly are turning green again!

I love when in the midst of the gray, the green just pops up with promises of new life

The trees are budding

I wanted to share my excitement that spring has finally arrived! It is my favorite time of the year and I'm always hopeful that the garden will produce and everything will be beautiful again! Of course this is before all the weeds begin to populate the garden and the temperatures soar to 100...! To everything there is a season...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Romeow and Drooliet

The kids have been practicing to be in a play that was put together by several homeschooled 13 years old girls. It was a different take on Romeo and Juliet that changed the story to be about cats and dogs. The play went pretty well! All the kids had a really good time and learned alot about the work that goes into producing a play. Enjoy the show!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pictures of Jacob now and then

The Miracle of My Son

Today is my son's 7th birthday. Seems unremarkable doesn't it? Just another birthday for another child.
I view all my children as miracles. We went many years thinking we would not be able to have any more after we had our first miracle. Then God answered our many desperate prayers and gave us two more kids-a girl and then a boy. We thought God was finished but God smiled and blessed us one more time with this sweet baby boy. I have to admit that when I found out I was pregnant with Jacob, I was already quite overwhelmed with the 3 kids that we had. I know I wasn't as appreciative of the gift that God had given us as I should have been. God had a plan though, as he always does.
When Jacob was born, the nurse thought she heard a heart murmur. She told us not to panic and reassured us with the information that lots of babies are born with murmurs and grow out of them in time. They are generally harmless. She did recommend that we keep on top of it though and even had a doctor come in to check out what she thought she heard. He was very irratated at having a nurse tell him about this since he had already checked Jacob out and gave him a clean bill of health. He assured us that he heard nothing and Jacob could go home.
We were not totally convinced though and when we took Jacob to his pediatrician, we told her about our concerns. After listening to his heart, she ordered an x-ray, just to be on the safe side.
When she returned, I saw the concern on her face. She had already made an appointment for the next day with a pediatric cardiologist. I panicked...I knew you didn't get in with that specialized of a doctor that quickly unless there was reason to panic.

This began our journey into doctors, hospitals, surgeries and constant fear of losing our baby.

We spent hours at the cardiologist while she did an echocardiogram. She literally didn't speak to us for most of that time as she concentrated on the images in front of her. What she saw was undiagnosable to her. She saw a shadow behind his heart that she just couldn't figure out. She also diagnosed him with Coarctation of the Aorta.
Jacob was life flighted to Children's Mercy Hospital that day from the cardiologist. I rode with him and prayed the whole time. I couldn't believe this was happening to us. Jacob had more tests and the doctors told us that they thought the shadow was a cyst that was growing behind his heart. They needed to remove it but first they did the surgery on the aorta to open up the blood flow to the rest of his body. He was a month old.

Kevin and I stayed in Kansas City at the hospital with him. We missed the other 3 kids at home terribly but more than anything, we wanted Jacob to be healthy. I remember looking at him hooked up to the machine that was breathing for him and saying, "I can't wait until he is a normal, healthy 5 year old and all of this is behind us." In my mind it was still unsure if he would make it to 5. That was the first surgery. It took him quite awhile for him to become strong enough for the cyst to be removed. When the doctors finally felt he was ready, they performed the surgery. They hoped they had removed it all and scheduled Jacob to come back and have another CAT scan to make sure it had not grown back.
Well unfortunately, a cyst had reformed in his chest. This time it was pressing on his trachea and was in a very delicate triangle of his vital arteries. They scheduled his third surgery and this time they used a laser to burn that area.
Through all of this, God has been so good. I bonded with this once unappreciated blessing more than I ever thought possible.
We also feel like God used this situation for His purposes as He always does. If the nurse had not heard the murmur, if Jacob had not had a Coarctation of his Aorta, the cyst would have gone undiagnosed and could have cut off his air supply.
We still go back to Children's Mercy every other year for tests. So far there has been no more cysts. The aorta has continued to function well as he has grown. The doctors tell us there is always that chance that the aorta will need to be repaired again as he grows. There is also the chance of another cyst. Right now though, we are so thankful for each day with this child. We are thankful for every doctor that has saved his life and every kind person that prayed with us.

Now this rambunctious child is turning seven today. We are so appreciative of his life. God has given us 4 amazing blessings but sometimes he uses a tragedy to open our eyes to the fact that they are truly blessings. Yes, Jacob can be wild and crazy. Sometimes he doesn't listen and he disobeys. And every day I thank God for it.