Saturday, January 24, 2015

Connor’s 11th Birthday Celebration

It is hard to believe how quickly our boys are growing up. Last evening we celebrated Connor’s 11th birthday. Are you kidding me!? Involving Minecraft, PlayStation, Wii, and Nerf Guns is was sure to be an awesome party. So it was. Now for the loot, the kid racked up $190.00 in cash to put to a new PlayStation he has been saving up for. He also got mega blocks and Nerf bullets. The kids had a great time playing well into the night. Although it was a sleepover, Eric and Noah arrived home at 3:30 a.m. to be in their own beds. I know Connor had a great day and we were glad to share it with him.

connors 11th bday

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



Just a Little Science Guys

I am really enjoying teaching science at Noah’s Classical Conversations campus. In the top photo we are working with surface tension of water and rubbing alcohol. To the immediate right is an isopropyl and water molecule made from gumdrops. Looking at the bottom photo you see us testing the miscibility of different liquids. Our  layering efforts can be seen in the glass on the right. Two

really cool experiments with some really cool kids.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Just Because I Can: Dentist Remix

Awesome Dr Thomas

News of Daniel!

Our dear Reaghan went back to Romania again this past Christmas, to the Bread of Life orphanage. It is here that we sponsor a young man named Daniel. Reaghan brought with her some gifts that we purchased for Daniel. Kindly, she also took pictures of Daniel reading our letters and opening our gifts. When our letters were translated for Daniel, he spread out all our pictures. As each of our names were mentioned he would point to the corresponding picture. He knew exactly who we all were! Reaghan was able to get a picture of Daniel with his younger sister Madalina (above).We also found out through Reaghan that Daniel and Madalina went home for Christmas. Reaghan got to accompany them there and was saddened to say they are some of the poorest of the poor. I pray for their brave parents who made the hard choice to send their children to the Bread of Life orphanage. There they get food, clothing, shelter, medical, education, and most importantly the Word of God. May God bless them and comfort them.We are still praying for Daniel’s salvation and the he may come to know Jesus as his Savior. I’m so thankful for Bread of Life and the ministry that they do for Jesus. I’m humbled to be a part of it.

Daniel Dec 14 pg 1Daniel Dec 14 pg 2 copy

Sunday, January 18, 2015

6 Month Post-Op Yaya

Here we are at Yaya’s six month check-up for her December 2014, palate surgery. We got bored waiting and the camera came out and below is some of what happened. Thankfully, our visit was very positive. Dr. Grant said that her palate looked great and was healing nicely. In his opinion, if all things stay the course, she should have perfect speech by June. Excuse me? I’m sorry, I missed that...perfect speech by June? Seriously?! I can’t even imagine how that will be for our sweet girl. He said some other things about other surgeries if it isn’t perfect, and then talked some about passing her off to the oral surgeon in June. Currently, her sphincter in the back of her palate is not functioning, it is still healing. When it begins working, her speech should really take off. It seems so surreal that clear speech for Yaya could happen in just six months. So now we just work hard in speech therapy and pray that she “gets it.” This I’m not worrying about too much  as Yaya is so smart, I know she’ll figure it out. Oh and how gorgeous is she right over there to the left?

Yayas 6mo palate check copy

Pediatric & Adolescent Dentistry

I. Love. This. Man.

doctor thomas

And who is this man you ask? This is Dr. Clark Thomas, he and Dr. Lauten Johnson have a wonderful dental practice in Hoover,  Pediatric & Adolescent Dentistry. For almost three years now we have been taking our children to Dr. Thomas for their dental care. Having a fun atmosphere that is kid friendly is just one of the things I like about this office. The pedal cars that the kids can sit in to watch Disney movies in a drive-in style waiting room are a big hit with Yaya and Eden. Colorful hand prints of children decorate the ceilings and walls. Noah’s hand print is up there somewhere. The open area with bench like “chairs” where several children can have their teeth cleaned at the same time is pretty cool. As are the flat screen tv’s on the celling that only play children’s movies. But those things are the fluff and stuff, what is really impressive, is the staff. They are  AMAZING! Every hygienist we have encountered is friendly and kind. They understand children and their fears about the dentist. But the best of the bestest is the man above. Dr. Thomas. But I’ll get to the “why” about that later in this post.

Let me set the stage for Thursday, January 15, 2015. It’s 8:50 a.m. and I’m pulling into the parking lot of Pediatric & Adolescent Dentistry. I have all three of my children in the car. Noah is awake. Yaya is bubbly. Eden is nervous. Let’s address Eden first.  Upon informing her about the  upcoming dental appointment, she dropped to her knees, hid her face on the floor and fake screamed and cried. Nice. During the last dental appointment we had to hold her down to clean her teeth and x-rays were out of the question. Sooooo, I began talking to Yaya about getting pictures of her teeth taken and how cool it is. We all pile into the waiting room and the kids all head for the theater area with the kettle cars and begin watching Aladdin. I check us in. Shortly, we all get called back. I’m carrying Eden, who is clinging to me like a small monkey, and I’m steering Yaya around with the top of her head. Noah has long since found his way to x-ray and is done before we even arrive. Placing Yaya on the little stool, I wonder if she is going to have a freak out. When I stepped back to pick Eden up again, Yaya looked apprehensive, however, she complied with the x-rays and did beautifully. Hopping down off the stool she walks to Eden and says, “It didn’t even hurt.” Now I jump up on the stool with Eden in my lap and the ladies just roll with it. Shockingly, Eden complies, she is s a little hesitant to open her mouth but she does and they get shots of all four molars! Success! Off to the cleaning portion of our visit.

We are escorted to a private room for two that is off of the main room. It has a door. You can shut it. Well played friendly hygienist. They must make notes, as I am quite sure we are in this room because we a have a “screamer.” Yaya, of course, lays down perfectly on her bench, picks her animal character spinning brush and flavor of toothpaste then opens her mouth.


Eden, clinging onto me for dear life, allows me to lie her back on the bench but then bursts into tears and hysterics. Here is where the magic begins. Speaking firmly but kindly, the hygienist offers a compromise to Eden, “Eden, if you will promise to stop crying, I will let you sit up for your cleaning.” Hubba-whaaa? You can do that?! Who knew?! “Eden, did you hear me? You can sit up next to Mommy while I clean your teeth if you promise to stop crying.” The child bolts upright and ceases making noise.  Now sitting quietly by my side, she picks a pink cheetah spinning brush and sparkle toothpaste. Thankfully, Eden gave us no more trouble, in fact she did beautifully. So much so, that when the hygienist was finished she asked Eden, “Would you mind lying down so I can better see your teeth? I want to make sure I did a good job before Dr. Thomas comes in to check my work.” Surprisingly, Eden complied. Yep, she lied right down and opened her mouth. Of course it helped that she was fairly engaged in watching Aladdin. With both cleanings completed, we waited on Dr. Thomas. By this time, Noah had meandered in playing with a pink bouncy ball. He informs me that if a light green ball comes out of the machine they give you a Target or Wal-Mart gift card. Seriously? Can I go try for a green bouncy ball? While I was speaking with the ladies about future appointments I look over and see this.


In case you missed it…here is a close up…


Do you see the glazed over look in their eyes…totally sucked in to the screen. I’m not quite sure who instigated this sharing of the chair, but I feel like it was Noah because he was tired of squatting down and looking up. Meanwhile Yaya is happy as a clam and we only occasionally had to make sure she didn’t roll of the bench. She’s a bit squirmy. Then Dr. Thomas shows up. He addresses Yaya first. Things are going beautifully, he is talking constantly, directly to Yaya. He praises her for her beautiful teeth and beauty in general and for how proud he was of her being so brave on this visit. Twenty teeth all accounted for, no cavities, but one “sticky” tooth we have to watch, rock on. Next is Eden. As Dr. Thomas starts to roll over to Eden, I quietly say, “Noah, you’re gonna have to hop off.” My comment doesn’t register immediately, so Dr. Thomas has already arrived at Eden’s side. Finally, Noah starts to move to get off the table and Eden realizes what is about to happen and a look of fear ripples across her face. Immediately, Dr. Thomas says, “Noah, stay right where you are. Eden can I count your teeth?” This is what happened next…


And THIS is why I love this man so much!

I mean really, what dentist have you ever seen that does this? He knew how scared Eden was and saw how safe she felt on her brother. The hygienist behind me even remarked, “Now that is something I haven’t seen before.” I grabbed my camera and said aloud, “And THIS is why we come here.” Do you see Noah peaking out through Dr. Thomas’s arms so he can keep watching Aladdin. I think it’s my favorite part. Here’s and action shot if you just didn’t get enough…


Did I mention they do medical missions too…what is NOT to love here. After our cleanings, each girl got to pick out a big bouncy ball of their own and then wanted to make their own hand prints to hang on the wall of the office. They use ceiling tiles to put hand prints on and when a tile is full they hang it like art. It’s pretty cool. Eden picked pink paint, Yaya blue, big shock there. Next ,we went over to a guessing game activity where you guess how many blue rocks are in a Frozen decorated container. If you guess right you win something. We never win. Total time at the dentist for 3 children, one hour.  All of you in the Birmingham/Hoover area need to take your kids here. Enough said.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Weekend with Buster

So this was a huge therapeutic thing for our sweet Yaya. She got to be “Star Student,” for a week.  Making this poster, thrilled Yaya. It was hung up on a wall in her classroom the entire week. I would like to point out that she picked what she wanted on her poster. Choosing the pictures herself she came up with:

1. In the kids area of the Birmingham Museum of Art

2. A sassy picture of her that I love

3. Her new Avengers comforter she got for Christmas

4. Her brother

5. Coming down a slide with her mouth open and arms up (my favorite)

6. Eric & I

7. The whole family dressed as characters from Frozen, she was Sven, the reindeer…

8. All three siblings

9. Her sister

10. All of her Imanginext Batman, Avengers, Justice League stuff

11. All of her lovies

12. Her new book display

13. Her 3 favorite shirts: Girl superheros, Tranformers Bumblee vs. Stinger, Her Hulk Yaya shirt from her 4th birthday.

I feel like I could write volumes just on her picture choices but I’m just gonna let it all hang out there.


Also, she was the line leader and teacher’s helper all week long. However, the pinnacle of the week was taking home “Buster.” Buster was a bear that Ms. Sheri, her teacher, purchased some eleven years ago in the floral department of a Winn Dixie that no longer exists. Since that time Buster has been going home with 12 children each year for 11 years. They sleep with Buster, eat with Buster, do everything with Buster. I am not ashamed to say that the thought of Buster and how dirty and germ ridden he must be really grosses me out. But Yaya doesn’t consider such things and she was pumped about Buster’s visit. In addition to the bear you also get two books to read with him and a black and white school journal to write about Busters “adventures” with you. As I perused the pages I saw Buster with Santa, Buster at Ikea in Atlanta, Buster doing several other cool things. Our “cool thing” was speech with Ms. Laura. Apparently, in 11 years Buster has never gone to speech so it was a first for Buster. He even played a game and won! For the majority of our weekend Buster just did life with us. He woke up and went to the potty. He snuggled with Daddy and he played a lot of Legos. Lastly, he went to church with us. I made a picture collage (see below) and put it in the book and wrote a snippet about our weekend together.  

What was fascinating and actually helped me get over the grossness of Buster, was how Yaya took care of him. She took this job very seriously and she tended to him all day. I would see her randomly throughout the day just sitting with Buster cuddling him. When we rode in the car he had to be in his own seatbelt. And at night he slept right by her side. She has never done caretaking like this before, it was so age appropriate for her! It was wonderful to see her behaving relaxed and enjoying taking care of Buster. Needless to say, she was pretty bummed about having to take him back.  However, her Buster picture collage was a huge hit with her classmates and that was fun for her. I was able to tell Ms. Sheri how important this was to Yaya and for Yaya. I was informed she will get Buster one more time… meaning the bear goes home with 12 children each year twice! Ewwww! Awesome! I’m not telling Yaya about it because she will ask me everyday for the next three and a half months, (she gets him end of April), when she will be able to bring him home next. I also swore Ms. Sheri to secrecy too. Until the next Buster post I will be sanitizing our home.

Weekend with Buster 8x8