Sunday, September 30, 2012


We like to play games around here! I asked Absa what kinds of games they play in Senegal and she said a favorite is Ludo. I thought it would be fun to get it so she could teach us how to play. I looked around and found that I could buy it for around $20. But then I got looking at the simple shapes that make up the game board and thought, "Hmm, I wonder if I could make that...?"

I used the back of our (rather rough looking) Chutes and Ladders board and cut the shapes with my vinyl cutter. Don't look too close - I didn't do the best job lining everything up, but it works and we've had fun playing it this weekend. Can you tell what I used for the game pieces? Nickels! :) I thought about buying something, but it only cost me $0.80 in nickels and they were the perfect size. Yay!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I wish I'd taken pictures of the process.

It was fun to watch Savannah help Absa get ready for homecoming this afternoon. From the hairdo, with the braid sweeping from front to back to the beaded headband (none of which I thought to capture on film!), to the makeup, painted nails and fancy clothes, Absa was all dolled up and ready to go. She wore a beautiful dress that her aunt made and that made the long trip from Senegal tucked safely away in Absa's relatively small suitcase. (You wouldn't believe the amazing clothes she keeps pulling from that little thing!)

Absa was going to dinner and the dance with a big group of friends tonight. I hope she's having a great time!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Before and After: The Music Desk

Way back here, I posted about Sterling's new desk and the chair I recovered to go with it. Several weeks ago, Jeff painted the desk a beautiful glossy black to match the piano on the opposite wall. I love how it turned out! Here are some before and after pics:

I didn't think to take these 'before' pictures until it was disassembled for the paint job, but you get the idea:

And after:
Jeff sanded the drawer pulls to reveal this brushed silver. Love it!
The extension on the right is a drop down panel. It's a great little desk!

Now I'm trying to come up with the perfect musical quote to go on the wall. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Absa Rides

It's been fun for us to teach Absa new things. We've introduced her to the wii (she loves the bowling!), many new foods, and several of our favorite games.

We asked if she'd like to go bike riding with us and were surprised to learn that she doesn't know how to ride a bike! Here is her first experience -- we thought "Maggie," Jeff's 2-seater bike, would be a perfect place to start.

Absa loved it! Since then, she's had 2 lessons on a regular bike. She's getting there! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


A funny conversation with Savannah this morning:

Savannah: I hope I'm normal when I'm older.
Me: Like me?
Savannah: No.
Me: How am I not normal?
Savannah: You put notes in your kids lunchboxes!

Guilty as charged. (Normal is so overrated!)
One of the dreaded lunchbox notes. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'll Do Anything For a Fun Dip

I love this picture. For one, Sam is asleep. That rarely happens. He's been my worst sleeper since the day he was born.

Sadie, on the other hand, is on a mission. Sam had one Fun Dip he was willing to give to anyone who would scratch his back...for an hour! Determined to win the prize, Sadie parked herself on that couch and scratched and scratched. She never complained. She never asked for a shorter sentence. She knew what she wanted.

And she got it. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Golden Birthday

Make a wish! (You can see we went all out on the cake. Ha!)
After much anticipation, Savannah's big day finally arrived. She is 15 at last! Fifteen on the fifteenth makes this her golden birthday. While some plans fell through, many friends came through with posts to her facebook and e-mails and texts galore! Thank you to those who remembered and sent birthday wishes her way. 

Happy Birthday, Savannah! You've been looking forward to this day for a very long time. 

I hope this is your best year so far!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Star Spangled Banner

From the time Savannah was little, whenever she heard someone singing the national anthem before a sporting event, she wished she was the one singing it. Today she got her wish! She was the best part of the varsity soccer game. (Our team lost....) Enjoy!

The Ticket Window

On Labor Day we went to a festival in a small town. Jeff went to purchase tickets so the kids could go on one of the rides. He changed his mind when he saw how much they cost:
Sorry, but that is just asking too much!  Ha! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Field Trip to 1845

I met Sterling's class on a field trip back to the year 1845 yesterday. The girls were given a skirt to wear and then stayed inside a small cabin to make Johnnycake. The boys, however, donned their pioneer shirts and spent the morning mending fences. In the pouring rain. The sheep on this working farm were a little confused when they realized their escape route had been patched.

The boys were good sports, even when cold and soaking wet. I'm glad I tagged along. Here are a few grainy iPod pictures.

You can't really tell how wet these kids are, but in this picture they getting a break from the rain in a dry area between two barns. The volunteer, dressed in 1845 period clothing, is telling them about U.S. history during that era.

Sterling, before getting soaked by the rain!

Sadie Says

Sadie was telling me recently that her 2nd grade teacher never asks her to read her journal responses to the class. Some of her friends have been able to share a couple of times now and Sadie doesn't know how to get a turn. On top of that, apparently her teacher doesn't call on her to answer questions when they have circle time on the floor. I can tell she's frustrated by this because she really wants to participate, but I couldn't help but laugh at her attempt to get noticed. It went something like this...

"My teacher said that she's going to call on kids who are just looking around the room or who aren't paying attention. I keep looking all around the room when she is talking but she still doesn't call on me!" 

Hmmm, it seems to me that her teacher's good intentions may have backfired. :) When getting called on is a reward (to Sadie), she'll even misbehave to get it. 

This girl cracks me up!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rain Clouds

We've had some pretty amazing clouds around the past several days, but the ones I saw today were the stop-the-car-I-have-to-take-a-picture kind of amazing! So cool! Of course the best I could do at the time was my iPod so the pictures are grainy, but use your imagination and hopefully you'll get the idea. The last one is my favorite!

Helen, these are for you! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spontaneous Sadie

Sadie was dancing her little heart out while watching a Piano Guys video the other day. This girl has got the moves!

Click here to watch. (Sorry, YouTube won't let me embed it because The Piano Guys music is copyrighted.)

Ah, to be so carefree!

(The video Sadie is dancing to can be seen here.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Welcome, Absa!

Our world and our family just got bigger! The kids are so excited to welcome their new sister into our home.

Meet Absa.

Absa is an exchange student from Senegal (West Africa) and she will be staying with us while she attends our local high school. Absa is so patient and sweet. After just one day she's doing really well, especially considering how tired she is and how different our cultures are. I'm sure she's overwhelmed and there's a lot to learn, but we're looking forward to many adventures ahead as we share our little corner of the world and learn all about hers.

Sam and Savannah invited a group of friends over tonight so Absa could meet them. They wanted to make sure she'd see some familiar faces when she starts school on Tuesday. The boy and girl on the far right are also exchange students - Kalin is from Bulgaria and Lara is from Turkey. This is an awesome bunch of kids.

Welcome, Absa! We are so happy you are here. :)