Archive for the ‘7 Quick Takes Friday’ Category

It’s round 2 of  “7 Quick Takes Friday” for me. Well, technically it should be round 3, but I missed last week, as I am crazy busy right now with pre-travel errands (which accounts for my abysmal blogging habits!).

But just think of all the long, rambling thoughts I can corral into blog posts while being cooped up on a plane for 20 hours! Won’t next month be FUUUUUN??!?!

Ahem…moving on…

So what are 7 random things happening in my world this week?

— 1 —

Vaccine frustration. A word of warning to other people preparing for international travel: do not schedule two live vaccines within thirty days of each other. Apparently, they cancel each other out. (Who knew? Not me, obviously!)

Last week, I learned this lesson the hard way when the travel clinic refused to give me the Yellow Fever vaccine because I’d had an MMR booster three weeks ago. So much for spacing out my shots! I did it all the wrong way. Now, I have to go back next week for the Yellow Fever shot, and I’ll barely have time to take it before our trip (because you need proof of having taken the Yellow Fever vaccine at least 12 days before you arrive in Ethiopia).

So learn from my mistakes, everyone! Start your shots well in advance of your trip (several months in advance for some of them!), and save yourself the gas money for repeated clinic visits.

— 2 —

I just read a really cool article on “Creating a Culture of Adoption in Your Church.” Rather than reading my editorializing about it, why not check it out?  =)

— 3 —

Can I just take a moment to re-plug the book, Playful Parenting? Last week, I visited my high-spirited, four-year-old niece who is currently in a phase of refusing to hug me for no discernible reason. As it turns out, this book discusses that very same scenario (when the author’s niece continually refuses to hug him). Obviously, hug refusal is no big deal (after all, four-year-olds get all kinds of strange whims!), but I thought I might engage in my own little social experiment, trying out some of the book’s techniques to see if they worked.

So I played with my niece on and off that night, using various techniques described in the book. And lo and behold, as she’s getting ready to leave (and mind you, I hadn’t said a thing to her about hugging or not hugging), she turns to me and says, “I want to hug my family!” and runs straight over to give me a hug.

My sister (the mother of my niece) bought this book that very night.  =)  Good stuff here, people!

— 4 —

I just spent a ridiculous amount of money at Wal-Mart. Like a feed-several-hungry-families-for-a-month level of ridiculousness. Why, you ask? What could possibly justify this expenditure?

Because I am a lousy traveler. A terrible traveler, in fact. The type of person who gets hopelessly internally jacked up if I so much as venture outside of city limits.

Soon (so very, very soon!), I will be traveling to Africa. For a month. (Proof yet again of God’s marvelous sense of humor!)

Hence, I bought at least two of every item in the Wal-Mart pharmacy. I felt a little like a modern-day Noah…but with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Charming.

— 5 —

Any sage advice for how to entertain two children on a 20-hour airline flight? Suggestions are welcome. As are donations of baby Benadryl. As are prayers. Thanks.

— 6 —

I think I’ve finally figured out our homeschool curriculum. (For now, anyway.)

This was a tough call because of the unique ELL (English Language Learner) aspect of our homeschooling, as well as the complete dearth of information we have about our daughter’s educational background. My guess is she’s had no formal education. However, I know (based on what others who have interacted with her have told me) that she’s very smart and a quick learner. Therefore, I’ve decided to start with preschool level activities and move up from there. I think we’ll actually move them through pretty quickly.

For workbooks, I went with Rod and Staff. They’re extremely reasonably priced and contain all the same kinds of activities as the other preschool workbooks I looked at but for less than half the cost. I also ordered Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which I’ve read many rave reviews of, and Before Five In A Row, whose literature-based approach appeals to the former English major in me. Plus, since internationally adopted children tend to acquire language much the same way as babies do (and not like bilingual learners), exposing our kids to classic children’s literature (as we would do with any child) seems a logical way to pursue language development.

And I’m glad I saved on the language curricula because I splurged on the kindergarten Saxon Math set. Not cheap, but I really like the visual and kinesthetic aspects of Saxon Math, especially with all the manipulatives, and feel like this would be particularly well suited for a non-English speaker. Plus, they’re the kinds of activities (counters, clocks, etc.) that we can use over and over again with both children.

From what I’ve heard, DD is also quite musical, so I hunted down a great ebay deal on a Music for Little Mozarts kit. Since this kit is aimed at pre-readers, I’m hoping that will help us skirt around the language difference, too.

Finally, even though our son is still a little guy (way younger than preschool age), I got the book, Slow And Steady, Get Me Ready, for activity ideas to use with him. It outlines 260 weekly, age-appropriate developmental activities to use with children from birth to age 5 (and is also helpful for older children with special needs and developmental delays). I’d never heard of this book before I stumbled across it, but it seems like it would also make a great shower gift for first-time moms.

Of course, the reality is that upon returning from Africa, I will probably be lucky to shower regularly and sleep a few hours a night, much less create a beautiful, productive home-learning environment! But hey–a girl can dream, right?! And in the meantime, showering and sleeping are necessary life skills that I will somehow work into the curricula!

— 7 —

My bedroom is now painted (tah-dah!). This is due to my Herculean painting effort my husband’s hard work. Way to go, husband! You’re the best! Now I just have to change out the bed linen and see how it looks all put together.

Because, you know, it’s not like I have anything other than decorating to be working on…  😉


Read Full Post »

I like Jen‘s idea of “7 Quick Takes Friday”–essentially, a casual post about those random things (say, 7 random things!) that have been floating around in your head but that are not the stuff of a full post. I decided to kick off Friday on my new blog by trying it out!

— 1 —

Why you should not catastrophize (not a real word, I know, but it should be!) whatever unpleasant situation you’re going through: this week, I was thinking to myself, “Man, I am so stressed out! There are so many crazy things going on right now, and I have so little time to deal with all of them! The only thing that could make my life crazier right now is some out-of-the-blue crazy incident, like getting jury duty.”

Guess what showed up in the mail yesterday? Yes, in a heinous example of self-fulfilling prophecy, I was summoned for federal jury duty.


Of course, I will be out of the country the entire time of the proposed jury duty. So, now, my existing TOVUP (Tower Of Very Unpleasant Paperwork) has a new addition: writing letters and gathering evidence to excuse myself from jury duty.

Note to self: do not, I repeat do not, start thinking, “You know, the only other crazy thing that could happen right now is a car accident!”

— 2 —

I’m trying to select homeschool curriculum for our children. While this decision is not particularly pressing because of their young ages, I’d love to hear suggestions from those who have been there, done that. So do any homeschoolers of internationally adopted children out there have curriculum advice? Anything particularly helpful (or not helpful) for you? Curriculum need not be Christian in nature.

— 3 —

Has anyone successfully used Skype in Ethiopia? Thoughts? Suggestions?

— 4 —

My husband and I just had a conversation about the proper way to use this. Seriously.

(Open and close your mouth awkwardly like a gasping fish? Or nod your head vigorously like a bobble-head doll?)

Not that we own one. In fact, I can’t believe that anyone even buys these! How on earth could these work?! I’d rather spend my money on a ShamWow (although I won’t, thanks), but at least that probably does something!

Note to the Neckline Slimmer: I am not convinced by your before and after pictures.

— 5 —

I’m over halfway through the book, Playful Parenting, and I really like it. Excellent tips for how to deal with rowdy children, children overly interested in violent play, standoffish children, etc. Love the fact that there are actual, concrete ideas in here that people can immediately use.

I would encourage any parent, adoptive or otherwise, to check it out–especially if you’re the type of parent who wants to get down on the floor and play with your kids but is sometimes befuddled by exactly what you’re supposed to be doing down there on the floor!

— 6 —

My mastery of the Amharic language (the main language of Ethiopia) has now expanded from a handful of words to two handfuls. Gobez! Progress continues slowly but surely.

— 7 —

I am about to start painting my bedroom. In a strange coincidence, I noticed that both of the paint colors I’ve picked out (ceiling and floor) have sky-related names. Still weirder: both sky-related names are not happy-sunshiny sky-related. More like ambiguously-negative-and-possibly-threatening sky-related.

My ceiling will be “Pensive Sky.” That one’s not so bad. “Pensive” suggests a certain kind of melancholy but nothing too dreadful. Maybe a lazy, oversleeping kind of melancholy.

But the wall color name?  “Dark Storm Cloud.” Yikes. I will be sleeping in the middle of a dark storm cloud for the next few years. I feel like I am tempting fate (jury summons style!) with this paint color name, but I just have to hope that the paint name is not some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy!

(On a related note, who selects these paint names, anyway?! “Dark storm cloud” reminds me of a Biblical plague! What’s next? “Rapacious Locust Green”? “Unhealed Boils Pink”?! Ewww…)

Read Full Post »