Our curriculum this year is based on the American Girl books and my girlz are in an "American Girl Club" with other girls who are also doing the same curriculum. We meet once a month and do activities focused around the American Girl we are studying that month. This month, we were studying Josefina, a girl from New Mexico and we hosted the club this month, as well. The girls had so much fun making mexican paper dolls, cooking and eating mexican food and playing with their American Girl dolls, too. Here's pics from their fun day together...
Trying to decide what to do this weekend? Check out some of these ideas!
PUMPKIN PATCHES & FESTIVALS:
Amish Cheese House (Chouteau - celebrating 10 years this weekend!Come out to enjoy the Amish way of life with free buggy rides and delicious, homemade ice cream. Jupiter Jumps, giveaways, and lots of yummy samples also included! Come anytime Saturday Oct. 23rd, between 9AM & 5PM!)
Now that I've decided to go to Uganda, I have begun the necessary prep work to go. Last week, I went to the health department to get my first round of shots - including Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Polio, Yellow Fever, and MMR. I go back in a few weeks for a second round, then I am supposed to go again in six months to complete my vaccinations.
The girlz went with me and were such great support. Although I was a little concerned about the side effects of receiving the shots, actually receiving them didn't bother me, but it did the girlz. I spoke with the health department nurse for about 30 minutes about the vaccinations I needed while the girlz listened on. When she left to get the shots ready, out of nowhere, my 8 year-old, "A", took a pen out of my purse and started writing on my hand. I asked her what she was doing and she said she wanted to write me notes of encouragement so I wouldn't be worried as I got my shots. Here's my hand by the time she was done - I think she enjoyed that a little too much ;-)
A little hard to read but this one says...
I Heart U
You are Awsum
The other side says...
I Heart U
Of course, my 10 year-old, "M", had to get in on the action...
Follow your heart, gut and God
Trust in God
And the other side says...
Bring these things with you to Uganda: Courage, Hope, Faith, Skype, your phone
I love my sweet little cheerleaders! I couldn't help but smile as I saw the notes all over my hands as I was getting my shots. And so far, from what I can tell, there were no side effects ;-)
I also applied for a passport for the first time. I had to expedite it since the trip is coming up so soon and I need it to get my visa. Thankfully, it only took a little over a week to come in!
A large part of prepping for the trip is learning all I can about Uganda and the area we'll be traveling to. I began a post on my blog here where I'll add interesting information as I find it. My pastor also suggested I read a book called Girl Soldier by Faith J. H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo. The product description reads, "For several decades a brutal army of rebels has been raiding villages in northern Uganda, kidnapping children and turning them into soldiers or wives of commanders. More than 30,000 children have been abducted over the last twenty years and forced to commit unspeakable crimes. Grace Akallo was one of these. Her story, which is the story of many Ugandan children, recounts her terrifying experience. This unforgettable book--with historical background and insights from Faith McDonnell, one of the clearest voices in the church today calling for freedom and justice--will inspire readers around the world to take notice, pray, and work to end this tragedy." It's very difficult to read the horror stories in the book but necessary to understand where the orphans are coming from. I love to hear testimonies of triumph and how God is saving these children from a life of despair - showing them grace, mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love.
The most important thing I think I can do to prepare for the trip is to pray. I would like to ask you to join me in praying for the following things for our small team that is going to Uganda…
• Safe travel and that we will remain safe while in Uganda
• God’s favor, wisdom, and discernment in making business decisions pertinent to Calo Me Lare
• God will equip those He has called
• Good health
• God will provide for our families back home
Since I'll be going to Uganda soon, I thought I better read up some about the country and it's customs so I'll know a little of what to expect. Here's a few interesting facts I learned...
Uganda has tropical weather conditions which are moderated by the high altitudes. The hottest months are from December to February but it is still cooler at night. The wet seasons in the south of Uganda are from March till May and in northern Uganda from April to October. You can find current weather conditions in Lira, Uganda here.
Seasons in Uganda:
Spring: November - December
Summer: December - February
Autumn: March - April
Winter: May - October
Uganda is a little smaller than the state of Oregon.
The average flight from Oklahoma to Uganda is about 32 hours long.
50% of the population of Uganda is 15 years of age or younger.
Our homeschool co-op took a field trip a few days ago to the Shepherd's Cross Pumpkin Patch in Claremore. We have gone several years in a row now and it's by far one of our favorite patches. We had a great time playing games, listening to a story, petting the animals, shopping in the gift store, going on a hayride and playing in the hay maze.
Afterwards, we got to tour their Bible Garden. It was really neat seeing all of the plants they had planted and we even got to taste several of the plants and herbs that were growing there including some that tasted like lemon, sugar and spearmint.
So I went to Girls Rock Collinsville the other night and out of all the cute jewelry and clothes for moms and decorating stuff for your home, this is what I bought. Vintage 1930's dollhouse furniture for this poor dollhouse that Steve made and I painted years ago. Now that the girlz are too old to play with it, it now has furniture. I love it and secretly had fun setting it up ;-) Any moms want to come over for a play date?
and I decided to take the girlz to Missouri this weekend for a little much-needed family getaway.
We spent yesterday at Silver Dollar City and had such a fun time riding the rides, checking out the fall decorations, and eating their yummy food! The weather was perfect and there was no wait for most of the rides. "A" talked me into riding the "Giant Swing" - SCARY!!! We didn't realize we liked it so much until the second time we rode it ;-) "M" loved the train ride and thought getting stopped by robbers was pretty fun.
They enjoyed this a little too much...
"A's" reaction after riding the Big Swing...
Then, today, we surprised the girlz with a trip to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. They were so excited because they've been wanting to go there for a long time now. We got to see the actual house and all of it's contents where Laura, Amanzo, and Rose lived when they first moved to Missouri. Unfortunately, they didn't allow photography in the museum or the house but it was so neat to see actual artifacts that belonged to the Wilder's & Ingall's families. Here's a few pics of the grounds...
It was such a fun weekend and I loved spending time together with the fam!
As mentioned in a previous posting, the girlz have been training for the Kid's Triathlon at the Owasso YMCA for the last month or two. Well, it was held this weekend. We attended an informational meeting last night and the girlz got to pick up their runner's packets. They were so excited as this was their first race and first triathlon. Afterwards, we went to Orange Leaf to celebrate the girlz and their friends training so hard & to load up on good carbs the night before - which we all know is so important before a big race ;-)
I was really impressed by how well the tri was run. Everything was very organized, the kids were safe and knew what was expected of them, and they had a ton of volunteers that helped make the event a great success. I was especially proud of all the kids for trying so hard and not one child gave up - everyone finished the course! There were a lot of proud parents, grandparents and friends cheering the kids on. It was just such a neat experience.
And when it was over, they had an awards assembly where all the kids were given a medal for participation and a door prize. Small trophies were also given to the top 3 boys and girls within each age group. I loved how all the kids were considered winners and were given something to take home. The girlz are already talking about doing it again next year. They had such a great time and loved the experience of it all!
"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed MORE clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that let to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved." Richard E. Stearns' version of Matthew 25, The Whole in Our Gospel
Fall is here and, as usual, it has snuck up on me. So after cleaning out the girlz drawers and realizing they had grown and wouldn't fit into most of last year's clothes, we hit the stores looking for a few bargains. I can't buy for them anymore, nor do I dare, as they have their own style now and they just make strange faces at things I think are cute.
When we got home from shopping, they decided they wanted to put on a fashion show for Steve and me - complete with description of what they were wearing and everything ;-) I treasure any time they want to perform for us because sadly, those "performances" have become few and far between as they have gotten older. If only time would stand still!
Last year, I got involved with a non-profit organization called Project Hope Worldwide (PHWW) which is building an orphanage, medical clinic and school for orphans and widows in Lira, Uganda. I helped plan an auction and dinner, called “Kwero”, and we were able to raise close to $45,000 which went straight to the orphanage. You can see current updates and progress of the building of the village (a.k.a. “Calo Me Lare” or “Village of Redemption”) on the PHWW facebook page here.
The pastor of our church is on the Board for PHWW and recently asked me to be the “official” blogger for PHWW and write weekly reports on the progress that is being made. Well, a few nights ago, I was at dinner with some friends and I received a text from him that read, “Would you like to go to Uganda with us on our next trip?” Wow! What do you say to that?! Well, I spoke with him at great length the next day and he said he was planning a business trip to go to Lira, Uganda in November of this year. As the PHWW “blogger”, he asked if I wanted to go to interview and take pictures of the first orphans that will be living at Calo Me Lare. I would also be reporting on the progress that has been made on the building of the village and the work still to be done.
I’ve always thought it would be “neat” to go to Uganda but now that I have the real chance to go, the thought of it makes me a little anxious, to say the least. I’m really excited at the thought of it but at the same time I’m thinking, “Why me?!” I’m so unqualified – yes, I know God used lots of people in the Bible who were “unqualified”. But still, I just think someone else could do a much better job than me – which also makes me think God must be calling me because He could have called anyone else. But why me of all people?
And of course, as a mother and wife, I think, “What if something happens to me?” And there’s the concerns of the cost, who will watch the girls while I’m gone, side effects from getting shots and taking malaria medicine, etc. I suppose that’s when my faith must step in and I have to remind myself that God loves me, has a purpose for my life, has his hand on me, and goes before me wherever I go.
So... after MUCH prayer and talking things over with my hubby, I am actually going to Uganda! Wow! Can't believe I just wrote that! It's all happening so fast! The unknown is still a bit frightening to me but as my friend, Sandra, reminded me, "God does not give you a spirit of fear." Another friend, Kelley, who will be going with me to Uganda, said she came across this quote from a book she's reading called, Primal, "faith equals God-ordained risks in the face of fear." I am claiming John 14:37 as my verse for this season of my life. It says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." And while I feel there are so many more people out there who could do a much better job than me, I am also believing the promise that God equips those He calls. It's not about me anyway - it's about me joining God and His passions and allowing Him to use me to accomplish His will.
We told the girlz the news tonight and thankfully, they were really excited about it and even wanted to go, too! We love to do volunteer projects as a family, but this one I'll have to do alone. It will be so hard to leave them behind but I know I have their love and support. They prayed the sweetest prayers for me tonight - brought tears to my eyes. When I kissed "A" goodnight, she said, "Wow, Mom! Uganda's like on the other side of the world!" So I suppose that maybe they are learning something from Steve and me, there is life outside of our little family box - and God doesn't always call us to do what is "safe".
Looks like I just signed myself up for a new adventure! Stay tuned and keep your prayers coming for our small team going to Lira! They are MUCH appreciated!
The moms in our homeschool co-op recently had a Mom's Night Out. We first met at the New York Cheesecake Factory for dinner and dessert then we went across the street to Barnes and Noble to browse through books and magazines, drink hot, yummy drinks and gab some more with the girls. We had a great time and I enjoyed getting to know the new moms in our group! All of our Co-Op moms are such a great inspiration and encouragement to me - I'm so blessed to have them in my life!