Sunday, July 31, 2011

What does a cricket taste like?

You will need to ask Cohen this question....he now knows.

This past week, Cohen and I invited Nan (Jace's Mom aka: Mrs. Jan Raney) to go with us to the Audubon Insectarium. When Katie Safley told me that kids get in free on Tuesdays (with paying adult), I decided I couldn't put off this trip any longer. And, I could wrap it into an educational field trip because we were going to learn about Ants that day as well. Also, I hate bugs, so it was necessary that Nan join us just in case there were some bugs loose in the building...she would be responsible for making sure Cohen and I made it out of that place safely!

Below are a few pictures from our experiences at the Insectarium.

Driving the LOVE BUG!

Each week we have a animal alphabet buddy that goes along with our preschool curriculum. Our alphabet buddy this week is Alexander Alligator. Prior to actually making it to the Insectarium, Nan told Cohen there would be an alligator as soon as we walked through the doors, he was asking for the alligator. We couldn't get him to actually look at any bugs until he got to see the alligator.

They had some small aligators in a fish tank, but this was Cohen's favorite.

Next, we headed to the bug eating area. Cohen was the only one brave enough to actually eat a bug. He had a cricket baked in a cookie. I tried my best to tell him what he was about to eat in hopes he would change his luck. He LOVED it and asked for more!

I think that is just absolutely discusting!

 Another fun place is the Butterfly room. We did not realize we were not supposed to touch the butterflies.

It was a lot of fun, but I think this particular museum is geared for older children. We went on a day that every children's camp in the area decided to go as well, so it was packed! We stayed only about an hour and if you ask Cohen what his favorite part of the museum was, he will gladly say "the stinky bug." If you go, please stay for the movie and you will understand why Cohen loved that particular part so much!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What starts with the letter A?

Cohen and I are finally at the part of our homeschooling curriculum that we are learning letters. This week, the letter was "A." We started our week with some fun with apples. We ate apples and applesauce, we drew pictures of apples, we sang songs about apples, and we read Blueberries for Sal  (which has nothing to do with apples, except they are both fruit). We also learned about Adam and how he choose to disobey God by eating the wrong fruit (I realize it was Eve that ate it first, but we are working through a devotional book for boys, and they really focus on the male characters of the stories and I'm ok with that). And we did all of this on Monday!

I'm trying to devote 45 minutes to an hour each day to homeschooling. Monday we went about an hour and a half, because apples are just so much fun!

I'm not going to share pictures of EVERYTHING we did on Monday (because I didn't take pictures of everything), but we did a really neat craft and I wanted to share this.

We painted with apples. Did you know that if you cut an apple in half horizontally there is a star in the center? I didn't know this until we did this craft. I cut up two apples, one vertically and one horizontally, and let Cohen use them as stamps.

I was willing to go overboard with the paint to make sure we got the full shape of the apple, but Cohen chose to be you can't really see the star, but it's there.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Did you earn your Hit the Road Badge?

Cohen and I are working our way through the Family Fun Badges of Fun. We painted rocks to earn our first badge and we had so much fun with that we decided to keep this thing going.

This month the theme is "Hit the Road." The magazine offered some fun ways to plan for a long trip in the car. They gave us three differnt ways to earn the badge: Organize your Car, Games for the Car, or Snacks for the Car. If you have ever met my son, you know this is an easy choice for him...SNACKS!

We decided to make their Cookie and Milk Bars (or Hang Bars as Cohen kept calling them). I went to our local store to pick up the ingredients, and couldn't find half of them. Then I went to another store and had the same we improvised. Instead of chocolate graham crackers, we used chocolate covered graham crackers. Instead of plain granola, we used almond flavored granola. I do not love nuts in my food, so we omitted the walnuts/pecans.

They were not too beautiful, but they were yummy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are you hungry?

Last weekend Jace's family celebrated his grandmother's 85th birthday. She's an amazing lady! We had a party and I was in charge of bringing the watermelon to the party.

See, the problem with that is that Cohen and I do not love watermelon, so I got crafty.

My sister-in-law introduced me to this new site called Pinterest. This is a great place for organizing ideas and checking out to see what ideas your friends love.

Anyway, I saw this idea for a fruit tray on the site and decided to give it a try.

Check out the fruit tray...

I included watermelon, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries and grapes. For the clouds, I just put some marshmallows at the top. I think it turned out kind of cute. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How do you tell someone "I miss you very much"?

Jace left on Saturday for Youth Camp. Prior to leaving, Cohen and I had some fun putting together some little packages for Jace. I packed 5 envelopes (one for each day) with a note, some drawings from Cohen, and some yummy snacks.

Below is the write up and picture from each day.

Day 1

Prior to you leaving, Cohen and I had some fun with some of your stuff! I explained that you were leaving for Youth Camp, and you would be gone for a few days. I told him that he was in charge of doing all the things Daddy normally does, while Daddy is gone. I asked Cohen “What does Daddy do for us?” Over the next few days, you will see what Cohen thinks you do. I helped come up with the first one...but the rest were all his ideas!

We love you!

Day 2

After I explained that you take out the trash for us, Cohen said, “Daddy cooks.” He’s are a great cook and we appreciate the yummy meals you fix for us! Next time you cook a meal for us, please do the cooking with your tongue stuck out, just like Cohen!

We love you!

Day 3

So, after slaving over a yummy meal, I asked again, “what is something else Daddy does for us?” Just then a fun song came on Pandora, and he began to do his air guitar. I told him he was right...Daddy does play the guitar. He was super excited to get to hold your guitar, but don’t worry, I stayed close by.

We love you!

Day 4

After a lovely tune on the guitar, I asked again “what else does Daddy do for us?” Cohen walked around our room and saw your uniform laying on the floor (not in the dirty clothes basket...another discussion for another day). Anyway, he said “Daddy goes to work.” And he’s right! You work very hard so Cohen and I can spend our days playing together and we are very grateful for that!

We love you!

Day 5
Once again, I said “Cohen what else does Daddy do?” He had just finished his chicken nuggets and yogurt and he knew it was time for HIS nap, but he said “Daddy takes naps.” We both know you don't normally take naps, but you do sleep here! I put Cohen in your spot in our bed and said “how does Daddy sleep?” Just like this.
We love you!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What were Mrs. Wesley's rules regarding raising children?

In my Sonlight curriculum book, there are some really good tips on how to raise children from some really famous mothers. On the first page of the first section they list the 16 rules Susannah Wesley had in her home. I admire Mrs. Wesley, because she raised 19 children, including the famous John Wesley and Charles Wesley. In anything I've ever read about this lady, it is very apparent how she was very God Fearing and she intended to raise her children with that same fear and respect.

I love to read rules and guidelines that women used "back in the day" to see how much things have changed when it comes to raising children. Today we are told to allow our children to express themselves through free will, refuse to disciple because that will break their spirits and not to push our beliefs on our children.

I admire Mrs. Wesley for the example she showed her children. John and Charles Wesley made a big difference in this world and I attribute part of their success to the rules from their Mother. I'd like to set a good example for Cohen, but sometimes I feel like I'm moving backwards. I love having some guidelines to work toward.

So here they are...Mrs. Wesley's 16 House Rules...

1. Eating between meals not allowed.

2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.

3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.

4. Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child's soul.

5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.

6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.

7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.

11. Comment and reward good behavior.

12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.

14. Strictly observe all promises.

15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.

Tell me, what do you think of these rules? Do you have a favorite?

From her rules it is apparent that her children did not run her home, God did. I hope that in years to come Cohen can look back on his upbringing and say that God was most important in his home and through our teaching, I pray that God will always be most important in his home.

I also like the idea that kids should be in bed by 8pm. I wish that worked everynight for us! Sometimes we are eating dinner at 8pm. Oh well, these guidelines give me something to work towards, right?

Friday, July 22, 2011

How was your first Adventure Race?

Great. My first adventure race went really well. I had a lot of fun and I got to spend the day with two really fun people.

About two days prior to the race, Scarlett called me to see if I would be interested in joining her and her husband Damon at the Baton Rouge Adventure Race. I agreed.

I've never really done a race quite like this, so I had no idea what to expect. Damon and I had a long phone conversation prior to the race to go over all the details and to decide what jobs everyone would have. I was in charge of the passport and getting it punched, Damon would navigate and Scarlett was our pack mule...sort of...she was in charge of carrying water and other supplies.

Adventure racing is different from any other race I've ever seen. You are given maps, a punch card, and directions about 10 minutes prior to the start of the race. You sit down and try your best to map out the course quickly. This particular race was held in Baton Rouge. It started on LSU's campus, where you did a short run (about 2 miles) then you grab your bike and get on the levee. From there we went downtown and just left our bikes on the side of the levee. We had to get a few punches on our card at the Old Governors Mansion, then on to the YMCA where we had our first challenge. We had to get on a exercise ball and go from one side of the room to the other, using only our hands. I have no upper body strength, so this was tough. Then once you got to the other side of the room, you had to do 10 push ups. This was pure torture!

The next challenge took place at the fountains in front of the Shaw Building. We had to fill a tube with water, but you could not use water bottles, shoes, camel backs, etc. Damon and Scarlett are very fit, so they were comfortable taking off their shirts and using that to catch the water. I do not take off my shirt in public, so I just used my hands. I was pretty useless on this challenge, but we finished it and were on our way.

We made a few navigation mistakes and ended up running about 3 miles that we didn't need to run, but needed to bike instead. Once we got on our bikes, we were doing good. We went to Memorial Cemetery, Raising Canes Dog park (where we had to unscramble some clues to get our passport punched), Varsity Sports (where there was a rope wall to climb), and then to the lakes at LSU (where we would canoe).

After the canoe, we biked back to the transition area on the LSU campus. We had a short run after that, and we were done!! It took us almost exactly 4 hours to finish the entire thing.

I think the race was supposed to be about a 15 mile bike, 5 mile run, and 2 mile canoe. I would guess we biked about 18 miles, ran about 8 miles and canoed the 2 that was required (Damon and Scarlett...please feel free to correct my numbers here....I'm not good at estimating). for some pictures.

Getting ready for the race. Scarlett is ready, the rest of us are not so sure.

Mapping out our course. I'm no help! Not sure what I'm doing even looking at the map.

I think our team name was "Bite Me." We were filling in for a team that couldn't make it (which is why there was a last minute request to do the race). GO TEAM BITE ME! HA!

I love this picture. Scarlett is looking good, I'm giving the thumbs up, poor Damon is just hanging in there! We just finished our first 2 miles at this point.

We are looking good here! Jace (the photographer for the day) met us at the dog park. This is about 2 hours into the race.

Unscrambling the was "your race has just begun." Um. We've been going for 2 hours, no way we are just getting started! UGH.

Climbing the rope wall. I did not do the Warrior Dash in the Spring, so this is the first time for me to do one of these things. It's a lot harder than it looks! And that lady next to me kept kicking me in the face.

This is a good shot of what the checkpoints look like. I had to get our passport punched 18 times during the race...and most of the checkpoints were just orange flags in a tree.

The team in the canoe. While I've been in a canoe before, Jace never would let me paddle. Damon and Scarlett didn't have a problem with me paddling this day. Thanks guys!

After the race was over....Go TEAM! I had a great time! Hopefully we can do it again sometime.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can Cohen ride a big boy bike?

A few months ago, the Millets gave us a small boy bike with training wheels that their big boys no longer need. We put it in the garage, and every now and then we would pull it out, along with the tiny tricycle, and Cohen would always choose the tiny tricycle.

About three days ago, Jace and I decided it was time to graduate from the tricycle and on to the big boy bike. Three days ago, Cohen wouldn't even sit on the bike without someone holding on to him. Three days ago, he didn't want anything to do with the big boy bike. THREE DAYS AGO...I was helping him. Two days ago, I had some things I needed to do in town, so Jace took half a day off of work to play with Cohen. TWO DAYS AGO Cohen decided he loves the big boy bike!

So yesterday I grabbed my video camera and took a few videos of my big boy on his big boy bike. Halfway through the video, Cohen sees and airplane. Listen close to where he's going and what he wants to do. Too funny.

And, as if learning to ride the bike yesterday wasn't enough, the Raney's need to toss in a little adventure. Jace turned on the sprinkler and had him ride through that. Fun fun!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why are you keeping the beanbag chair?

Today I'd like to shed the spotlight on the most loyal, fun-loving, lazy, and caring living creature in the Raney home....our black lab, Lucy.

Lucy will be 8 years old in October, but if you take out a flash light, laser pointer or just the reflection of your iPhone on the ceiling, she will act just like a puppy...trying to chase the light.

Today, I'm not really showing that side of her. I'm showing the lazy side. Jace and I actually refer to her as Lazy Lucy, and any time you get kisses from her, they are referred to as Lazy Lucy Licks, because she's so slow with her kisses, but I feel like that makes her kisses so much more precious. Like she's putting more thought into it.

For years I've tried to convince myself (and Jace) that we do not need a huge black beanbag chair from Jace's college days. It leaks out tiny beans and a fine white powder everytime someone sits on it, but for some reason, we've held onto it all these years. I think I realized today just why I can't get rid of it....because it is Lucy's favorite spot in the entire house.

That dog loves that as long as she wants it, I'll keep it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How well do you obey?

This week, in our Character Development portion of our curriculum, Cohen is learning what it means to be obedient. We are studying who we should obey and why we need to obey them.

We are also learning that it's important to obey the first time. If only we could all get this concept! I can't tell you how many times God has asked me to do something and I've put it off, and put it off, and then he uses his loving and Godly discipline to make me do what's right. I'm hoping that through some of our exercises this week, Cohen will learn a little more about how to obey his Heavenly Father too.

I setup a chart system. As mentioned earlier, I'm pretty sure my child is a visual learner (maybe all preschoolers are...I don't know...I'm only studying one right now). So I put this chart up in the kitchen and I attached his favorite candy to it.

The idea is to have him put a sticker in a box each time he does what I asked, the first time, with no backtalking, huffing, puffing, griping, whining or complaining. I printed a trophy in the last box to show that's when he gets his prize. Once the boxes are all full of stickers, he gets to eat his ring pop.

I can't even begin to tell you what a difference this little chart has made in our house. I'm not going to lie and tell you that he's obeyed everything I've said, but there is definetly a difference.

If you are interested in doing this in your own home, I've saved a copy of the Publisher 2010 version of this chart online here. You will probably just want to change the name (unless, of course, your child is named Cohen).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Could you give me a hand, please?

I'm a little late with this post, but better late than never.

I decided to do some homemade gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day this year.

Here are a few shots of Cohen making Mother's Day Cards for Meme and Nan.

I actually wrote "Happy Mothers Day" on the card later, but forgot to snap a picture of that prior to mailing it. Oh well.

Now for the Father's Day Cards for Big Al and Pops.

 For Jace, I chose not to do a handprint craft. I gave Cohen a 12x12 sheet of paper and some crayons, paint and markers and let him get creative. It turned out really cute! It is now framed and hanging in Jace's office at work.

It takes a lot of deep thought to be creative!

Cohen, Jace and I also made a cute photo frame for Pops. I took some scrapbooking paper, cut it into small strips and modge podged it to a wooden frame. Turned out really cute!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How has God changed your life?

A couple of months ago, our Pastor asked us to share a testimony on how God has provided for us through our obedience in tithing. He actually e-mailed both me and my wonderful husband, and before I could ever speak to Jace, he had already agreed to do it. I was totally against it at first. I mean, I do not really love to get up in front of people and talk about myself (now...I could get up and act a fool in front of hundreds of kids for VBS...but in "Big Church" that's a totally different story). Anyway, since Jace agreed wholeheartedly and really felt led to share, I gave in and decided I'd do it too.

I decided to post this testimony to the blog for all my blog readers in hopes that it will encourage you to trust God in EVERYTHING, including your finances.

We shared our testimony at our church on June 26. I did the introductions and read the scripture, Jace did the rest of the talking. This is was the plan from the beginning, because I knew I'd be crying by the end. Well, for me, it took reading the second verse to break out in to tears, up on stage, in front of the entire church.

The Pastor took a quick photo of us, prior to the blubbering and tears.

Jace took the time to actually type out what we were going to say, so that we wouldn't forget anything. I read the first part, then the scriptures. Jace covered everything else.
Emily and I were both raised in the church, and both of us were fortunate enough to have been raised by parents that instilled christian values and beliefs. One of the foundations of these values is the tithe to the church. I can never really remember a time when I didn't tithe. My parents made sure that I knew that of anything I earned, God had required 10%. It was never a question of will I have enough leftover, but more like after I give God the 10% he asked for, what will I do with the rest. As a part of our marriage, this has never been questioned.

1 John 3:17

If anyone has this world's goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need, how can God's love reside in him?

Isaiah 1:17
“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
Plead the case of the widow.”

We were fortunate enough recently to have been able to witness firsthand how God will provide what we need to accomplish His will, if we will simply trust in Him. When we began to look into adoption, we gathered all the data and Emily set out a figure that it would cost. We had been told that the process would take about 2 years to get a referral, so based on our calculations and a 2 year timeline we submitted the paperwork. The “plan” now was to build money for 2 years and we would have enough. Imagine our shock when we got a referral letter within a couple of months, and it was before all of our paperwork had even been submitted. We did not have the money on hand, but we knew that God has put us in this situation and picked out a child for us. So, we stepped out and accepted the referral.
There were many times throughout the process it would have been easy to divert our tithe into the adoption fund because God was asking us to adopt after all, but that was not what God has asked. The 10% is separate, and to blend the two would not be following God’s plan. We continued to tithe and somehow at the end of everything, we had enough to cover a process that cost well more than we originally expected.

Having faith is usually the most difficult part of following God’s plan, but we were faithful in our giving and God was even more faithful in His giving. If we were trusting in human terms, Cohen would not be our son today. We would have passed on the referral and waited until we had the money.

Hopefully this will encourage you. God has asked so little of us, and yet He gives us so much! Now that's love!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How much did you cut?

About 12 inches....of my hair! I'm so happy that it's gone. I don't know that I will ever do that again.

When we started our adoption process a couple of years ago, I got so wrapped up in the paperwork and the traveling, and then the raising of the child, that I never took time for myself to get a haircut. Then it became a long can I go. I decided I should go at least 10 inches so that I could donate it to Locks of Love.

I went almost 2 years without a haircut (from September 2009 - July 2011). Well, this week I finally did it.

Scarlett took a couple of before shots. That is way too much hair!! I wore it up all the time, so you probably would have never guessed it was quite that long.

I went to a local salon and had random people in the salon take these pictures during the haircut process.

Now, I forgot to have Scarlett take an "after" shot, so I had to do it myself when I got home.