Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Festival

Yesterday was the fall festival at church. I have nothing against trick or treating other than it's very crowded and the kids don't really need that much candy. So we've started doing the church fall festival in place of it. The mall has trick or treating tonight which we'd thought about, but Jasmine just has too much homework. One of our neighbors pastors a small local church, so we may run over there for a little bit. Here we are ready to go.


Sister trio

Hula hoop contest

They have hot dogs (unfortunately usually very cold), chili from the chili cook off contest, cookies and bottled water each year.

Limbo contest

Rick and Tyler were in Orlando for the sci fi convention. There was change in plans and they came here last night, and then Rick took Tyler back to college today. Ty is really struggling academically. Pray for coping, study skills and endurance. I know he can do it but sometimes asperger's issues get in the way. Nonetheless, love my first born!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soccer and Cross Country Action

Adam at the county meet. He had his best time 18:55.

Jasmine plays two on two with other members of the arsenal. It's a competition training league so they divide up and play among themselves to work on skills.

She does best with 2 on 2, 3 on 3 or 4 on 4. More than that and she backs off and lets the others control the ball.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lunch Date

Jessica and I have decided to eat with the littles the last Friday of the month. For some reason Adam just wasn't wild about the idea of us sitting with him and his friends at lunch 
: )

Last month we took Chinese to Jasmine's school. The twins eat so early that most places still have breakfast, and the Chinese place isn't even open yet. So we took Subway. That opens at 6 a.m.!

We had a lot of fun with the twins, but unfortunately less than a half hour later, Kaleb acted out aggressively against two students, ran from the teacher and had to be caught and restrained : ( I was sad such an ugly incident took place right after we had such a good time at lunch. His activities will be limited this weekend since this is not his first offense this month. He is going to be mommy's buddy during the festivals rather than getting to pair off with a sibling.

Jasmine was really concentrating while carving this pumpkin last night. It's not quite done.

Wednesday evening Caspian and Jessica had a party at church. A friend lent Jessica this Egyptian Princess costume. She wanted to be Dorothy from Wizard of Oz so Caspian could be Toto, but the adult Dorothy costumes were not exactly appropriate!!!!

Adam is running cross country at the county meet later this afternoon. It's less than an hour away and we wanted to go but Jessica has to work and we only have one car. Rick and Tyler are in Orlando at a Sci Fi convention this weekend. So we're thinking of Adam even if we're not there.

Lots of thing going on this weekend but we'll have to work around everyone's schedule with only one car, so not sure how much of it we'll get done.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not the Same at All

Four oldest Duggar girls

Our twins with their two sets of twins.

I wasn't going to say more about Hana Williams but I'm seeing some disturbing online posts comparing the Duggars to the Williams and that is just ridiculous.

Seriously people, this is part of the report about the Williams:

Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

Hana also was forced to sleep in the barn on some nights or kept outside for hours in the cold without adequate clothing or shoes, court documents say - but she was allowed to wear shoes if there was snow on the ground.

The Williams also confirmed that they used a flexible plumbing tool as a switch to punish Hana and some of the other children in their household. The children told investigators that Hana sometimes was beaten with a switch for standing more than 12 inches away from where she was told to stand or for speaking without permission. The Williams' older biological children were sometimes encouraged to join in administering the punishment by their parents.

Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

How in the world can you compare this abuse to how the Duggars are raising their children? We've all seen them on television. They travel all over doing ministry projects. They are a good family. Sure, they have some strong convictions about things, but those kids are very much loved.

Of course the Williams did not abuse their birth children the same way as they did their adopted children. Some adopted children are difficult (and so are some birth children) but there is nothing to show that Hana was a difficult child at all. Sometimes when you get them at an older age, they come with emotional and sometimes physical baggage. But that's no excuse to beat and starve them.

Here is a question and answer I found on the Duggar website. It's kind of long but definitely worth reading:

Joan, a viewer, asks: I'm 77 years old and love your show. I wish I would have seen it when my children were young. I would have done things a lot different. You are doing such a beautiful job of raising your children. Do or have you ever had to spank your children?

Michelle: We have people ask us that all the time. We’ve really chosen to focus on praising our kids for good character, for Godly character. And as we do that, we find that we have a lot less trouble with correction when we are constantly looking for ways to praise them.

When we see them do a kind deed we praise them publicly. We always say, “You deserve praise.” You praise someone publicly, but if you’re going to have to correct someone, you correct them privately. You take them aside and talk to them privately so that you don’t humiliate them in front of people.

And by doing that I think it really sets a tone in your home of peace and harmony and a joyful place to live – it really is a happy place to be. The kids don’t dread coming home because they know this is the place they’re going to get strengthened and encouraged, and they’re going to have the energy to go out and do great things from here. To be able to stand alone when tough things come their way and know in their heart, “You know, that’s not right. I don’t want to partake in that because I can see the destruction that’ll come.” So when the home is the center of their worth as far as them being strengthened and edified and encouraged, they know they can go out and do anything set in front of them and do great things for God. That’s our goal.

So in training the little guys, day in and day out, if I see the little ones not being kind to each other, I will take them aside and I will deal with them and talk to them and have them work this out amongst themselves and learn to communicate and be kind to each other. And then when I see them being sweet and doing what’s right, I make a big deal! “Oh, Jennifer, you were such a sweet big sister! You got Jordyn a cup. You are so sweet! What a kind thing to do!!”

We’ve learned all the character qualities — we’re working on that for these little guys now. But the bigger ones, when they were little, we [talked about the] the definition of kindness: Seeing needs in the lives of others as opportunities to demonstrate love for Christ. “So when you got your sissy that cup of water, you were showing her love and kindness by doing that. You didn’t have to that; it wasn’t your job. But you saw that she was thirsty and you did that just because of your love for your sissy and because you love Jesus and Jesus tells you to be kind to others.” I always point them back to the reason why they want to do what’s right. And when you praise that character of kindness, they want to be more kind. Every time they get an opportunity, they’re going to look for a way to be kind.

And it doesn’t just have be our kids. Our spouses, the people we work with every day, people at school, all of us need to be encouraged. That’s why God gives us that scripture that says, “Encourage one another and build each other up, for this is right.” So often the natural inclination of us would be to look at all the negative, “They didn’t empty that trash. They know that’s their job. I can’t believe they didn’t do that …” We usually will spot the negative things – those tend to be the first things we see.

I think biting your tongue as a parent and saying, wait a minute, hold on. Let me look for something good. Surely there’s one thing good that they did! (Laughs) I’m going to find that one thing and then I’m going to find the character quality and praise them for it. Even the tiniest little effort they made, you’re building character. When you focus on the Godly character, it makes a much happier place to live. Learning to bite your tongue when you want to be negative and praising each other – it’s contagious. Then our children learn to praise by example. And so there’s a lot less correction going on.

I notice she didn't really answer the spanking question--and being in the public eye, she probably shouldn't because if she did say she spanked, she could find social services at her door saying they need to investigate. So I imagine she does, but that it's not her first choice. She praises the good behavior so that it will be repeated. Something we can all do.

I know the Duggars have encouraged many families through their example and their show, but I don't think the Williams have encouraged much of anyone. The mom constantly berated the two adopted children. I think all of us have complained about our children at one time or another, but that's usually when we're over tired or have been battling the same issue for too long. We are dealing with some behavior issues with one right now, and I've been careful to make sure I say at least three positive things to her each day--"Look at the nice way you hung up your coat and put your backpack on your shelf-way to go!" And like Michelle said, sometimes you have to bite your tongue and not say what you're thinking because it'll do more damage than good.

All this to say, there are no similarities between these families other than they both home schooled and kept their children close to them. For the Duggars, that means the children have lots of cool opportunities to try new things, travel and help others. For Hana it meant death.

I haven't heard any updates on the case but I hope that the right thing is done because a beautiful young lady lived for several years in a cold and unloving home and slowly died in front of them.

HERE's a video I found online about two of the Duggar boys. I've only met them once, but they all seem to be good kids who are making a positive difference in the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baking and More Baking

Talked with the kids about showing kindness and thankfulness to others who do things for them each day. So we made treats and cards for cafeteria workers, bus drivers and teachers.

Kaleb dunking the snickerdoodles in cinnamon.

Everyone (except Kaleb) had to wear a hair covering while in the kitchen.

It was a lot of work to cut leaves out of craft foam!

Jessica didn't have a hair hat on this day because her hair was pulled back from an Explorer's event. They worked at Cops & Kids.

Some of the things that went into the treat bowls.

The first batch ready to go.

Making more.

The cards.

Had to include the furry family members. Well, the dogs. The cats were out and about.

"You do what with this?"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Teen Missions International

We have been involved with Teen Missions since 2000. Before that we lived in England so there was just no way to get kids to FL to camp and back. In 2000 Tyler and Jessica went as Peanuts. Those are 6-9 year old children.

That was Tyler's only time to go as he didn't care for it. Jessica continued to go off and on, and once Jeff and Adam were old enough to be Peanuts, they went too. They went as preteens and then Adam went twice as a teen.

This is Jeff in preteens. He doesn't look too thrilled. It's a tough program. No frills. You train hard and you go to your mission field. It's not church camp where there are games and such. There is training, nightly rallies, occasional swimming and classes in carpentry, painting, and cement mixing and pouring. There are also Bible classes and classes about organization and other life skills.

Putting the books of the Bible blocks in order is part of the obstacle course.

They added a Mustard Seed program which is for ages 4, 5 and 6 along with a parent. This was Jasmine's first year. She was four.

This was my only year. I only slept about an hour a night the four nights because it's hot and loud. So Rick went the next two years with Jasmine. He can sleep anywhere through anything. It's also like VBS 24/7 and I can't do that. Well, I can but it's not my favorite. But we no longer have anyone Mustard Seed age. Look how little and cute Jasmine was.

There were two teams. This is only one of them. The program has really grown since then and there are a lot more Mustard Seeds now. Jasmine looks so small next to the others.

This was her 2nd or 3rd year. She was an old pro by then.

The tents and surrounding areas are checked for neatness.

Obstacle course.

Adam's first year as a teen.
They built covered wagons to be used at the camp.

I don't have pictures from all the years the kids went. Jessica went to NM as a preteen in 2004. I remember that because we had Jasmine 3 1/2 years before we could adopt her and then it happened while Jessica was in New Mexico! We held up her prayer card in the adoption pictures.

Then of course Jasmine and Jessica went last year. Jasmine was a preteen (she skipped Peanuts so went at ages 4, 5, 6 and then not again until 10), and Jessica was leader. It was a tough summer for Jasmine. She has a lot of anxiety and separation issues. She's not going this year, and we'll decide year by year. One problem I see is that if she remains in band, she'll have to attend band camp each summer so won't be able to go.
Jessica cooked.

At the project site in AZ.

All this to say, three are going to TMI summer 2012. Adam is going to Peru. In the past he chose Haiti and Belize but never raised his money so ended up staying in FL one year and on the Indiana choir team the next. This will be his first year overseas and his last year at TMI. The following summer he'll be working full time to save for college.

The twins are going for the first time. It did not work out to take them to Mustard Seeds the two summers they were home. One of them is pouring a sidewalk to the Covered Wagons Adam built a few years ago. The other will be building trusses to go over the sidewalk.

The twins only need $279 each. Adam needs $3,199. I will be helping him, but he also has to raise two-thirds of it himself. If anyone wants to help, there will be a donation button on the right side. Just indicate who the donation is for.

Jessica is not able to lead a team this summer due to problems it caused with her boss last year : ( She also needs to work during the summer to have college money. She might be a Peanut leader--it's only a week long--but hasn't decided yet. The Explorer camp she goes to is also that week and this is the last summer she can go. Then she turns 21 and ages out of the program.