Thursday, September 27, 2012

Katherine is FIVE!

Wow, it's hard to believe that she is five already!  Her birthday weekend was a full one.  The cake was a surprise for her (bunnies...also known as tu her favorite animal) and we let her pick all the meals for the weekend.  She was apparently wanting some Italian food because we ate pizza, alfredo, and spaghetti over the weekend.  Whew!  That is a lot of pasta so close together :) but she was one happy girl.  Ayi ate 2 of the meals with us.  I have to say, it is the first time that I have seen garlic bread eaten with chopsticks!
She was so excited to get a new bunny in the mail.  She even took it to school with her one day.  That's a BIG thing because usually it's just "the original" tutu that she has had since she was a baby that goes in her backpack.  Oh, and she came home from school and said that now she is five, she is not going to suck her fingers at night anymore.  That's great with me! :)
Here she is digging into a birthday package! 
On her birthday, Benjamin woke up at 6am and drew this picture for her on his little chalk board.  He had it sitting on the table waiting for her when she woke up.  What a sweet boy.
Katherine, too, was very excited that her birthday had finally arrived.  She also got up early and got dressed and got some of her favorite animals out for the party.
Katherine had a little trouble blowing out the candles this year.  She just couldn't get her aim right.  It was quite funny.  I really like the look on Lauren's face here.  I think she is just wondering if she will ever get to eat the cake :)
 As soon as we were done eating the cake, Katherine and her little friend that came to the party, went to deliver cake to all of our security guards.  I'm not sure any of them actually wanted any, but how can you turn cake down from two adorable little girls.
We got Katherine a new bike for her birthday.  She has grown so much since we moved here, she just couldn't ride her "baby bike" anymore.  Now, she is having to learn how to ride with no training wheels!
She was very excited to go out with everyone.  She did decent on her bike with no training wheels (unless you count Jonathan hanging on to the back of her bike running with her)  Once she builds her confidence a little, she will be gone.
 Checking out her new backpack and some goodies hidden inside!  I loved that she had on Dora pj's when she opened up the birthday package.  Too Cute!
She also got a baby doll from the States.  She was working so hard to get it out of the box all by herself. 
Besides Katherine turning five, Regan and Benjamin started at a local school this week.  It's the first time they have gone to a school that is ALL in the local language.  The first day was a little overwhelming.  As we entered the school, we were mobbed by little kids yelling "Foreigner!" and "Hello!"  They were not trying to overwhelm the kids, but genuinely excited that they were there.  This school has 2,000 elementary students.

 When we arrived, we quickly noticed that the kids were not wearing the same uniform that we had bought at the uniform store.  We have now learned that the school as a MONDAY uniform that is ONLY worn on Mondays.  So, I have now bought the Monday uniform as well.  I was so proud of both Regan and Benjamin on how well they did going into the school.  I was able to get a quick snapshot of Benjamin being introduced to his classmates.
The campus is pretty big and is nothing like the ones you would see in the States.  It has a great track and field/P.E. area, and there are several buildings of classrooms each 4 stories tall.  I'm so glad they seem to be adjusting well (although Benjamin did throw up in class on his second day...poor guy.  We think he may have gotten car sick because they had gone from a different location to school that day).
 In case you are wondering, yes, we are still homeschooling as well.  We homeschool in the morning and then take them to the local school after lunch.  (schools here go from 7ish to 5:30)  This is a picture of the kids doing their first science experiment.  It involved making pudding.  They got to take of few bites out of one bowl before putting it in the refrigerator and left it overnight.  When they took the pudding out the next day, they could see how everywhere their spoons had touched, the saliva from their mouth had started breaking down the food already.  A fun little experiment.
 Here they are displaying their art from this week's art class.
And finally, I had to put this one on here.  Katherine completely surprised me this week when she drew a picture and then wrote her name in characters beside it.  So cool!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thanks Guys!

 This week we got a care package from our small group in Tennessee.  The kids were so excited to see what things from America were in the box!  A big Thanks to everyone!!
 They were each surprised with a present from each of their friends.
And Jonathan got a new cookbook!  He loves new ideas! :)  It's funny because he actually has a recipe in this book.
 I had one little one thrilled over some hair clips, and Benjamin licking his lips in the corner over a box of raisinettes. He was a good boy and shared, although he did try to make a profit first.  He tried to sell them off by the piece....haha :)  He's all the time trying to come up with way s to earn/make money.
This is one little character that we don't see around here.  I have actually seen it on tv a couple time, but it is just a little strange because it is dubbed over in the local language, but the songs remain in English/Spanish so it's a little strange.  Katherine was so excited about this....if you cannot tell by this huge grin.
Regan got a new shirt...
 ...and Lauren a little apron to help cook.
It was a little difficult to eat that night because I could not get them out of the books that they received.  We were literally eating at the table when I took this picture. I think Benjamin's favorite was this shark book.
 Even Lauren got in on the book reading action :)  She was so excited that she got her very own "Jack and Annie" book.  Regan had started reading some last year at her international school and got all the kids hooked.  Ayi fed Lauren while she "read".
 The next best thing that has happened this week is that the weather has finally broken.  It has felt WONDERFUL the past couple of days.  The low has gotten as low as 75 and the highs have been 88-90.  I know that may sound hot still, but it feels great!  The humidity is so low and we have been enjoying our mountain view.
Lauren got hold of the whiteboard markers that I use in homeschool.  She drew a family picture.  Daddy and Benjamin are the blue ones on the left. Mommy is the big red one. Lauren is the small red one.  The other two small ones are Regan and Katherine.  (Notice how we all have curly hair)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guess Who?

Guess who decided to come live near us?  Our Ayi from our other city!  Lauren is one happy camper to have "MY Ayi" with us again.  We talked on the phone nearly every week after we moved (which is a lot for me...I'm not much of a phone talker ESPECIALLY in another language).  She always talked about how much she missed us and Lauren...and we missed her, too!  Long story short.  She moved here this weekend and now we see her every day. 
Her family drove her here and helped her get moved.  It was good to see them all.  The little girl is already one.  Many of Lauren's hand me downs have gone to her.  She took to Regan right away and wanted Regan to hold her.  She would not go to anyone else...I was a little jealous :)
Benjamin enjoyed playing with her through the restaurant window.
One more...I just couldn't help myself...she had the cutes little grin and adorable little personality....I had to take pictures.
We made it through our first week ever of homeschool.  Everything went really well and the kids worked really hard.  I was very proud of both of them and they each earned all of their "cougar cards" to be able to get a prize out of the surprise chest (it's actually a grocery bag, but it works) .
Morning exercises...Lauren is paying attention.  She doesn't want to miss a thing :)

This was a breakfast request from Katherine.  She REALLY wanted some Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast one day.  I think it's the best breakfast she's ever eaten!

Monday, September 3, 2012

School Starts!

 Wow, it's hard to believe all my babies start school today!  Lauren started local kindergarten for the first time, Katherine is in the same kindergarten but a different grade, Benjamin is in 2nd grade, and Regan is 3rd grade/4th grade.
 First day of school...what cute classmates!
 My deal was put up with Mommy and all of my pictures and you can make silly pictures when we are finished.  They are just too funny!
 These two are classmates this year.  It is our first year of homeschooling.  It was a great day and they had fun.
 And of course, they wanted a silly photo as well.
Here we are going down the elevator.  She has been waiting ALL summer for this day!
 Jonathan carried their school bedding and pillows and they ran to school.  Well, I should say, Katherine ran and Lauren tried to keep up. 
Big sister, Katherine, was in her element.  She is my shy one, but when it comes to school, she is full of confidence.  Lauren was looking back at home....probably thinking "What am I doing?"  :)  I picked them up from school and both sets of teachers said that they did great!  Lauren's teacher said that at nap time she sang at the top of her lungs.  They finally had to tell her that she had to sing in a whisper.  :)  haha!
 When we dropped them off, each class had a station to play at.  It made for a very easy drop off time.  No tears. Not even a good bye!  They just ran and started playing. 
I guess we'll find out tomorrow if they rotate through all of the play areas.  Katherine is so excited because her class goes swimming tomorrow!  How fun!
 Here is our school logo!  Sheddan Academy is now open.  Go Cougars!  :)
 Sometimes they work together at this table in our living room and other times they are at their desk in their bedroom.
 This week in geography we are reviewing the continents and the oceans of the world.  Our hand-drawn continents didn't quite fit on the map, but it's close enough.  They are also studying history, Bible, science, geography, reading/literature, spelling/vocabulary, handwriting, math, computer, and P.E.  Wow, looks like a lot when I see it written down, but it is fun.
 Now for the "school uniform fashion show" that the little girls gave when we picked up their uniforms 2 weeks ago!  This is obviously the current uniform....for summer and spring.
school winter coats
And then this one just to end on.