Saturday, July 31, 2010

History Camp

For the past few summers my children have enjoyed attending history camp at Fort Nisqually. Fort Nisqually is a living history museum. The time period of the fort is set in 1855.

My lids love to go to camp. There are three camps for different age groups. Each camp is different. The fort includes an actual fort perimeter that can be closed off from the outside. There is a laborer's dwelling, blacksmith's shop, granary, trade store, wash house, kitchen, and the Factor's house (this house is the nicest dwelling that would have housed the man in charge of the fort.)

During their time at camp they learn all about life in 1855. They play with period toys, play period games, wear period clothing and eat period food. It is an amazing place that all of my children look forward visiting every year.

Sunshine and Pumpkin went to Kit Camp this year. They had so much fun learning about the beaver trade and how the Native Americans lived.

M&M went to Camp Ft. Nisqually which is a 5-day day camp. They had the privilege of spending one night at the fort, sleeping under the stars and waking up with the rooster. In this picture she is speaking to Captain McNeil who oversees the Hudson Bay Company and has come to the fort to recruit workers. She signed on with the Hudson Bay Company for one year as a seamstress. She agreed to be paid four pounds a month. (This is all part of the wonderful role play that happens at the fort.)

Here is M&M attempting to make fire with a flint and steel. She also worked on her hatchet throwing skills during the week. They were required to do daily chores like watering the garden with buckets of water. She also made candles by dipping a wick repeatedly, for hours.

Sweet Pea finished her camp yesterday. Her camp was called History Through the Arts. They completed a different art activity each day while learning about the history of the fort.

Some of the best time at the fort was spent playing games and singing songs. My family loves history and studied American History this past year in school. Elsie is too old to attend camp, but was able to volunteer as a helper at two of the camps. She is hoping to join a program that will teach her how to be able to explain the history of the fort. She will be an Apprentice Interpreter.
Sweet Momma

Monday, July 26, 2010

Raspberry Picking Fun!

One of my favorite summer activities is berry picking! Last year when we went to pick raspberries we had just received our referral for Sunshine and Little Buddy. At that time we began conversations that went something like, "Next year when we_____ they will be here with us."

It is so much fun to experience all of our favorite activities with them for the first time. It is often difficult to explain what we will be doing. They both admitted that picking raspberries was different than they thought it would be. They thought it would be hard work and they were thrilled when they got to eat some.

My two oldest girls were at history camp and were not able to join us. I was a little sad that my best pickers were not there to help this year. Their presence was missed, but their picking expertise was not. My four youngest were amazing at choosing the very best berries.

Sunshine is showing you her biggest raspberry.

Look what two brothers can do when they work together.

Who can resist this adorable smile.

We took home enough raspberries for four batches of jam and a raspberry pie, with more for snacking. Next we move onto blueberries, blackberries and I hope to throw in some apple picking this year.

The next morning, while enjoying fresh jam on her toast, Sunshine said, "Lots of berries in America!"
Sweet Momma

Sunday, July 25, 2010

18 Years With My Love!!!

Yesterday, Stand-Up Dad and I celebrated our 18th anniversary. We are both amazed at how the time has gone by so quickly. We went to a lovely italian dinner which is right next to Pacific Lutheran University. The weather was warm and perfect. After dinner we took a walk around campus and talked and laughed at the silly things that only he and I would understand.

God has done some amazing things in and through our marriage over the years. We feel so blessed to have the privilege of following His leading so many times in our lives. We know that God is not finished with us yet and we look forward to what He will call us to next.

As the wife of this wonderful man, I am extremely thankful that he chose me so many years ago. He is such an awesome support to me. He has sacrificed much to provide for me and our children. He has offered much needed emotional and spiritual support. He loves me constantly, even with all of my faults. He makes me laugh and is the first person I want to share my world with.

After 18 years, he is still and always will be, my best friend.
Sweet Momma

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ahhh, Summer!

I love summer! I love the long days. I love the long periods of free time for the kids. As a homeschool mom, I love that summer allows me time to get projects done.

I have spent this week deep cleaning kids rooms and cleaning carpets. With six children to help, the work can be done much more quickly than I could do it myself. Yeah, big families!!!

Summer has been good for the little ones in some ways and hard for them in others. I believe that the initial adjustment phase is over and we are now dealing with the hard work that we will work on for a long while.

The reason that summer has been hard for them is that there are so many fun things going on. They want to participate in all the fun, but have learned that disobedience quickly removes you from the fun. Major bummer! This is a hard lesson for them to learn. Some days I think they are getting it, and other days they fall back on what they are used to and the consequences follow.

We are finding that it is very important to be consistent with them. We try to be consistent with all of our children, but these new ones have not been here long enough to know what we expect all the time. There is so much to learn. They really are amazing!

Please pray for them as they battle their own will and their desire to obey! You could pray the same for me while your at it!
Sweet Momma

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vacation 2010 - Part 4

I know that I am dragging out this vacation, but we had such a great time and I have to show a few more pictures. I promise that this is it.
I took this shot on our last night, right before we ate smores.

M&M and Pumpkin jumping the waves at Indian Beach which is just north of Cannon Beach.

It was such a perfect day at the beach. The kids played for hours.

One of our favorite activities at Indian Beach was watching the squirrels eat our carrots. Their chompers can really move! So funny!

Our vacation was a huge success. God blessed us with fabulous weather and our little ones did pretty well with all the new adventures. We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to go away for a week. Little Buddy thought that Stand-Up Dad was done with work for good. He was a little disappointed when Daddy had to go to work on Monday. Now on to the rest of our fun summer.
Sweet Momma

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation 2010 - Part 3

Seaside, Oregon is a fun town. It is only two miles south of the town where we stay, so every year we take a day and head to Seaside. We stop at the biggest candy store that I have ever seen and choose our favorites. These pictures show a few of our other favorite things in Seaside.
The lovely group shot that overlooks the ocean.

The more usual group shot in front of Lewis and Clark.

M&M had a blast on the bumper cars this year.

Stand-Up Dad made sure that Little Buddy had fun.

Little Buddy absolutely loved his first ever "Horsey Ride."
Sweet Momma

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vacation 2010 - Part 2

Our first day of play at the beach was wonderful! It was my birthday and I enjoyed every minute of the fun. I love the ocean and the freedom that it gives my children. Our backyard has a fence. But the ocean brings endless opportunities for running and jumping and exploring. One of my favorite comments of the week came from Little Buddy. As he went to bed after his first day of play at the beach, he wanted to know who was putting the gate up around the ocean, so that no one would fall in at night.

Water and sand: hours of entertainment!

Here are Elsie and M&M, my two big girls. They must have walked and talked like this for an hour. It was beautiful to see. There is a line in M&M's baby book, where I wrote, "Today you met your best friend." It is true, they are. I wonder what they were talking about...

I think I have fifty pictures just like this one. Little Buddy shoveled the whole time we were at the beach. There is a shovel in his hand in every picture. I think that boys must have a strong need to move dirt.

Our newest parenting strategy: If your kids are getting out of hand or running around, bury them up to their knees and they are much easier to keep track of.
Sweet Momma

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation 2010 - Part 1

Last week we spent our vacation on the Oregon coast. This was our first big trip with the little ones (that is if you don't consider the trip to the US from Ethiopia) and their first trip to the ocean. How do you describe the ocean to someone who has never seen it? They were very excited and we couldn't wait to watch them experience it.

During our last year of homeschooling we focused on American history. We studied all about Lewis and Clark and their discoveries of the western United States just 200 years ago. On our way to Oregon we took the opportunity to visit a wonderful Lewis and Clark Museum located on Cape Disappointment in Washington. This point of land is where the Columbia river meets the Pacific Ocean. We all enjoyed reading journals from the expedition that told the timeline and adventures that they encountered on their journey. I was amazed at the bravery it took to travel west with no real knowledge of how long it might take to reach the Pacific.

After our time at Cape Disappointment we traveled on to our condo in Gearhart, Oregon. As soon as we unpacked we ran down to the beach. We were amazed at the hundreds of people on the beach. We love this little town because of the quiet atmosphere. It just happened to be the Fourth of July and everyone was there to celebrate.
It was quite cold and windy. We decided to go back to our condo and watch the fireworks from the comfort of our couch. Sunshine and Little Buddy were in awe. There were fireworks going off in every direction. It was absolutely beautiful!

The best part was putting the kids right to bed as soon as it was all over!=)
This is the incredible sunset that God gave us on the 4th! Man-made fireworks don't hold a candle to this kind of display!

Sweet Momma

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's Official!

If you ask Sunshine what happened today, she would say, "I America now!"

That's right, as of today, Little Buddy and Sunshine are American citizens. The picture above shows us with Court Commissioner Dicke who signed all the documents. This was the easiest part of our adoption journey.

The US issues American Birth Certificates, which seems strange to me. We also added the name that we have given them to their documents. They are very excited to be American right in time for America's Birthday.

Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!!!
Sweet Momma