Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch

We were recently able to purchase a full size van to make deputation travel a bit more comfortable.  I'll write more on that later.  Ben is in Florida picking up the van, so we came to visit Grandma & Grampa Hamilton.  We've just had fun enjoying the house, the yard, the dog, the cat, and the country.
 
Grandma took us to Whitney Farms - something that is right up my kids' alley!  They have a small petting "zoo" with goats, sheep, and a miniature horse.  Liberty is so fearless when it comes to animals!  She loved feeding the horse!  Nehemiah is normally content to reside in the background and watch, but this time he decided to join in on the action.
 
When we were done with the animals we enjoyed some swing sets and then picked a couple of pumpkins from the patch.  It was a great fall evening!
 
Elaine was reading to Fezzik...
 
...so Nolan wanted to read to Fezzik!
 
Elaine gave Bart a run for his money!
 
Nehemiah was driving the Jeep until his big sister snuck up on him!
 
Every girl needs a horse...
 
Pumpkin Patch Cuties - Noley, Libs, Nehemiah, and Elaine
 
Feeding the horse grass.
 
Nehemiah got so bold!
 
Liberty did everything that her big sister did...
 
Fun with Grandma Fezzie!
 
Everyone came home with a pumpkin, for the same price as one NYC pumpkin...
 
Grampa had to be in Boston for work today, but when he got back the kids made up for lost time!  They are watching cartoons on Grampa's phone.
 
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New ABC Bible Verses for K5–Pre-Cursive Font

Last year I made some ABC Bible Verses to teach Elaine.  It’s hard to find free ones in the KJV!  But, we never made it through all 26 letters last year.

Now we are doing K5 homeschool.  We are learning approximately 2 letters each week.  I am trying to use the verses again as Elaine learns the phonics sound and how to write each letter.

But I ran into a problem…my font was a nice kid-ish crayon font.  We are using Bob Jones University curriculum, and in K5 they teach a pre-cursive font.  The letters did not match from my ABC verse cards to our workbooks!  So I have updated the cards with a matching font, and I changed a couple of verses to match the letter with a more appropriate phonics sound.

Here is an updated version for anyone who may want it…

A jpg     M jpg

T jpg

Download by clicking this link…

KJV ABC Verses for Preschool-K5 (Pre-Cursive Font)

for personal use only, please.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Van Cortlandt Park

This weekend we got a chance to stay in the City because of a meeting cancelation.  We took Saturday afternoon to do some more Bronx exploring.  This time we tackled Van Cortlandt Park.

Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park is the third largest park in New York City.  It is bigger than Central Park by 303 acres!  There are a lot of sports fields and a couple of playgrounds, but most of the park is wooded areas with foot paths. 

Van Cortlandt Park

Ben read online that there was a lot of poison ivy.  We discovered that to be an understatement! We couldn’t get off the path much at all because the poison ivy was so rampant.  The kids enjoyed collecting acorns, and Ben did some stroller 4-wheeling. 

Van Cortlandt Park

We hiked out on one rocky point behind the Van Cortlandt family burial plot to get a lovely view of the cricket fields and the City beyond.

Van Cortlandt Park
It was a perfect day to spend outdoors!

Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park
When we got to the grassy field we let the twins out to walk.  Instead of following their siblings into the grass, the chose to walk in two different directions on the concrete path.  I let Ben chase them down!

I am looking forward to calling this part of New York City home!

First Unit of School & a Field Trip

Elaine is learning about her community in Kindergarten.  Our first unit was based on the Fire Station.  We learned about fire safety, made a fire escape plan, had fire drills, and learned about emergency calls to 9-1-1.  Along with this came shapes, colors, phonics, handwriting, and her first spelling word, it.

The Letter 't'

Learning about Fire
Learning about fire and how to put it out.

We spread all of this over our first three weeks of school.  At the end of the first week of school we baked a cake.  Elaine had been wanting to make an “Amelia Bedelia” cake from the recipe in the back of the book.  We talked about numbers with our measuring spoons, we mixed red and blue food coloring to create purple frosting (just like in “science class”), and we decorated it with the shapes we had just learned.

Making a Cake for the First Week of School

Making a Cake for the First Week of School

To wrap up the unit we took a tour of our local fire station – F.D.N.Y. Engine 242.  Some of our other homeschool friends came along too!

Fire Station Tour    Fire Station Tour
Sitting in the Rig – Nolan, Ian, Elaine

Fire Station Tour
Ian and Havilah

Fire Station Tour
Elaine and Addie

Fire Station Tour
Nolan

Fire Station Tour
Firefighter Lin showed us how to crawl in a fire.  He also showed the kids what a fireman in full gear looks like so that they won’t be as scared if they are ever in a fire and a fireman comes looking for them.

Fire Station Tour
Jeni, Joanna, Judah
Andrea, Elli, Elaine, Selah, Addie, Fireman Chris, Nolan, Havilah, Matthew, and Fireman Ralph

After the station tour we all came back to our home and taught the kids about bucket brigades.  We “pumped” water from our fire hydrant and passed the buckets to put out a fire in the grass!

Bucket Brigade
“Fire fire!”

Bucket Brigade
after a few tries, they finally caught on!

Now I have to admit that homeschool scared me to death.  And I did cry several times that first week.  We are {mostly} having fun now.  A routine is forming and making things more smooth.  Just when we get it figured out we will have to pack it into the van for deputation!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday…

The-Last-Time-poem (1)

And so today I am thankful that some of these “last times” haven’t come yet, and I’m thankful for all the new “first times” we are experiencing with a new homeschooling Kindergartner, a growing too quickly preschooler, and two rambunctious toddlers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

:: Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast in Bed!

:: Deputation Cutie Pies

Grace Baptist Church of Queens

:: First Ice Cream CONES

Grace Baptist Church of Queens

Grace Baptist Church of Queens   Grace Baptist Church of Queens

:: Bad picture, but first bow that Liberty left in her hair for longer than 5 seconds!

Grace Baptist Church of Queens

:: Subway Evangelism as a family

Handing out Tracts at Atlantic Terminal

:: Date Night with Nolan

img_2325

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Place of Service

I’ve had this written in the flyleaf of my Bible since high school graduation.  I never would have guessed that 13 years later, God would have led me to serve alongside my husband in the largest city of our country, and one of the most influential cities in the world.  But here I am, and New York City has become home.  God has been so good along each step of the way.

Direct Me in Thy Service 5x7 jpg

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I took these pictures of the kids on a deputation stop in Maine a few weeks ago.  I just came across them today, but they seemed so appropriate, considering the 13th anniversary of 9/11.

img_2086

This was a war memorial and the sign says “The Price of Freedom Is Not Free”.  So true.  I am so thankful for the countless lives that have been given to allow me to grow up in a free country.  I am blessed by the freedom of America on a daily basis.  I am free to attend the church of my choice.  I am free to live where I believe the Lord has led me.  I am free to have as many children as I do.  I am free to homeschool my daughter.

img_2090
It just happened that Elaine was wearing red, white, and blue in this picture, but it fits so well!

As part of our homeschool routine, we say the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and to the Bible before we pray for school each morning.  I know Elaine doesn’t understand all of the words, but it was a good exercise for me to teach her the meaning of the words we say:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

We are studying the fire station as part of our current Kindergarten unit.  Today we talked about fire and what it needs to burn.  I sat down with the kids and we looked through my book of the World Trade Center.  We talked about the heroic firefighters on this day, fourteen years ago.  We talked about how selfless they were and how they put other people first.  And even though it was just my kids, I got choked up (I never speak in public without getting choked up, but this was at home!).  I felt proud to be an American, and a New Yorker, even if I am a transplant.  And I felt sad to think of where America is today compared to what she was many years ago.

9-11 11th Anniversary
I took these pictures on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks

9-11 11th Anniversary

I think that living in New York City has made me a little more aware of my patriotism.  A little more proud to be an American.  A little more fierce to stand against our enemies (in the spiritual realm too).  It’s kind of in the back of our minds that there could be another attack on America, and that New York is a likely target.  But I don’t live in fear or dread.  We know that the Lord has called us to minister here in New York City.

One of the campaigns of the MTA and the Department of Homeland Security is “If you see something, say something.”  Ben uses it as a sermon illustration to show our need to share the Gospel.  “If you experience something, say something.”  As Americans we live in great freedom, blessing, and prosperity daily.  As Christians let’s share our Let’s share our spiritual freedom with the world through our testimony – both verbally and how we live our lives.

This is just a bunch of random thoughts…

Twins :: 16 Months

I wrote my last twinsie update at 12 months.  So much has changed since then!  Mostly it is that the twins became mobile, and I have been busy chasing them and hardly found a moment to sit down and journal here on this blog.

I very much enjoyed the first year of twins.  I was told a lot of “horror” stories about having two babies at the same time.  There were definitely hairy moments, but overall it’s been fun!  But these last few weeks…they have given me a run for my money.  I am tired and exhausted.  My brain is mush.  I feel like this is the most difficult stage so far (but it’s also a very funny, enjoyable stage – on some days).

Miniature Horse at KD Stables near Lee, ME

Nehemiah is my total-boy baby.  He loves to jump on his siblings and just sit on them, waiting for them to wrestle.  He loves cars.  He loves dogs.  He loves electronics.  As in, my most difficult task every day is keeping Nehemiah away from the computer and my iPhone

img_2129

He also loves the bathroom.  His older siblings use the potty by themselves and leave the door open.  Mommy is easily distracted and she leaves the door open.  And, well, Nehemiah goes in.  And he has fun.  A couple of weeks ago I found him sucking on Ben’s toothbrush.  Which was wet.  And the toilet lid was open.  ‘Nuff said.  (And yes, Ben got a new toothbrush!)

Staying with the Pease family in Stratton ME
They both sleep with their booty in the air a lot!

Liberty seems to be my smarty-pants.  She understands so much that is going on around her, and she copies it all.  She loves to help put toys away (WHY doesn’t that last very long?!?!).  She loves to play baby dolls or tea party with Elaine.  She gets a delight out of putting her laundry in the basket when told, or getting to throw away her diaper in the trash can.  She picks things up.  She retrieves things.  She closes doors.

She eats with a fork and spoon.  Oh, how much easier that has made my floor-sweeping task!  Nehemiah does well at this too, but often resorts back to using his hands.  Liberty won’t start without her utensils.

Twins Eating with Utensils

Twins Eating with Utensils

Liberty is fearless.  She climbs the slide and does it by herself.  She sometimes forgets to sit before sliding.  She jumps from the coffee table to the couch.  She does whatever she sees the big kids doing.

Both of the twins are cutting molars.  Both are exhibiting their will and displeasure with Mommy’s will.  Both are climbers.  We recently started homeschooling and on the first day I was constantly removing Nehemiah from standing on top of the piano keys.  We don’t set the table until we’re ready to sit down, because there is often a twin climbing onto the table.

So life is busy.  Sometimes I think I’m spinning in circles retrieving one twin or the other (or an older sibling) from a no-no or a get-hurt situation.  Supper preparation before Ben arrives home is nearly impossible.  The other day I was cutting chicken.  I literally was interrupted every 30 seconds (or more often).  When I turned around one time, Nehemiah had found the knife.  He did recently hit a growth spurt and is quite tall!

Both kiddos say uh-oh (but Liberty especially likes it).  Libs also shakes her head – but it means both no, and yes – depending. Sometimes I think Nehemiah is saying “thanks” and last night it sounded like he said “jump.”  They both say “woof-woof”.

It’s really funny to watch twins interact.  Sometimes they are best friends.  Libs and Nehemiah sit next to each other at the table.  They trade food.  They hold hands to pray.  They sit and read together or play nicely together.  But sometimes they are arch enemies and jealous siblings.  If Nehemiah gets a second serving of food, Liberty cries for hers.  If he has a sippy cup, she begs for hers.  If Liberty has a stuffed dog, Nehemiah takes it away (and usually laughs about it!).

I think one of their favorite activities right now is brushing their teeth.  It’s hilarious to see all four kids in the bathroom together.  You just want to see it and not hear what’s going on!  Liberty and Nehemiah fight their way to the bathroom to get to their toothbrushes when I mention it!

Twins, 16 months old

Twins, 16 months old

Twins, 16 months old
giving kisses

Twins, 16 months old

Twins, 16 months old