"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Asking a Favor

Would you all please say a prayer for the kids and me? We could really use them right now.

Thank you!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Big Party

The big day had finally arrived, the long anticipated Halloween party!!! Schoolwork that day consisted of learning how to cook all kind of interesting treats. 

Yum! Did you know hot dogs will curl right up in boiling water?

Everyone looks absolutely fabulous! 

My dear friend, Melanie, is one of Victoria's favorite people to hang out with . 

Don't all the little ones look cute?

We started off we some ghost stories to set the mood. 

Then, we bobbed for apples. 

Isabella grabbed her apple on the first try. 

Anastasia got more than a little wet, but she didn't give up.

 The cool "hand punch".

I wish I had a little mustard to make eyes with, but they still turned out pretty good. 

The Pokemon Duo. 

Time for "stick the hat on the witch". 

It was harder than it looked, especially after being spun around a few times. 

Just call me Anakin, Anakin Skywalker.

Cookie decoration was a huge hit. Anything with icing usually is a good idea around here! (Catherine ditched her queen costume to be a rainbow princess)

How many pounds of icing can you fit on one cookie?

The cutest pumpkin ever! 

Now for the haunted house! Beware! 

Be brave and feel the eyeballs, teeth, fingers and veins! 

Then it was time for the costume parade.

The noise was rather deafening. 

Monster tag went on and on...

and then time for more snacks.....

Anastasia worked for many hours to make these. They were delicious! 

I think the party was a success! Now for the really fun part, clean up time. Sigh. 

Anybody want some extra cookies?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Things I Learned Today

Planting a tree is a lot harder than it looks.....

.......except for the supervisor! 

That Georgia clay is tough stuff, but we were determined. 

Here we have the slacker.

See the teeny tiny shovel I had to work with? No wonder we were tuckered out. I was really looking forward to a little treat, maybe some Oreos, a few bites of some Ghirardelli squares, maybe an entire box of bag of Reese's peanut butter cups. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered my stash was completely depleted. I have no idea how this happened. Surely, I couldn't have eaten all of it myself. Devastating. 

So, the last thing I learned today was, in a pinch, sprinkles can be just as satisfying as a some luscious chocolate. 

Yea, right. 

First thing in the morning, I am paying a visit to the candy store to replenish my survival kit. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Visiting Friends

Sometimes friends come from unexpected places. 

The girls and I often visit "Great" (my grandma, who is now 94!) at her assisted living place. She is now in the memory care area, which is much smaller section of the facility. We have gotten to know the residents a lot more than we could when she was in the regular area. The people all just light up when the kids come to visit. Everyone will be slumped over in their wheelchairs, eyes closed, but when the girls walk in, it is party time! 

Anastasia had the great idea that they should all wear their Halloween costumes and visit Great today. So I figured that even though it was a "school day", visiting Great certainly counted as learning to think of others, which is just as important as fractions. So off we went. 

Getting ready took half the day (can you believe I actually found a barrette to match her costume?)

This dragon costume is practically an antique by now and has been worn by several of the other kids.

Catherine made it quite clear that she was not a princess, but a queen because queens have all the power over the kingdom. She also told Francesca that she was a princess and princesses have to obey the queen.

Anastasia is Cleopatra and Isabella is a "water fairy" (her own invention)

Victoria loves to come visit and they love her. She isn't the least bit shy. She holds onto everyone's hands and they just melt. This is our friend, Jean. 

And this is Milly. She looked so sad and vacant when we first came in. She actually reminds me of the way Victoria used to be in the orphanage.  Victoria immediately brought a smile to her face. Milly started singing to Victoria. I think Milly just needed to know she was still needed and that someone cared. The irony is not lost on me that only 17 months ago, Victoria was the one who needed to know what love is and now she is spreading the love around to everyone she meets. 

This is Timmy. She just recently moved to the memory care section. She can still walk around independently and I really think she knows what she doesn't know, if that makes sense. She has been really down lately. Anastasia was telling her all about our upcoming Halloween party. 

Victoria was still cruising around the room, working her magic.

Not too long ago the doctor's said Victoria wouldn't walk and now she is helping someone else to get around. 

Francesca was a little shy at first, but once we brought out the balloons, she joined in.

A little music to pep everyone up.

Isabella figured out a craft project we could all do. Stickers! Who doesn't love stickers?

No one around here ever seems to notice that Francesca's hands. 

This is Sue. At first, she didn't want to do the sticker project, but when you have kids shoving stickers at you, you kind of have no choice but to get with the program. She was really proud of her creation. 

This is another Jean. She is one of my favorites. She calls everyone "honey bunny." She has seven children! 

Brenda really loved Anastasia. She kept holding her hand and saying, "thank you so much for coming."

Victoria got really hot in her dragon costume, so she want for the natural look. She is with Great here. 

I kind of didn't want to leave. We all felt surrounded in love. Who knew we would make such good friends with people over 90 years older than Victoria. 

I sort of felt like that song from "Cheers". 
"You wanna go where everybody knows your name.... and they're always glad you came."
(actually, no one here even knows our name, but it doesn't matter at all!)

Definitely, a very good school day!