Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'm posting this old video clip for no good reason except...

(1) Memory lane seems to be my default destination for me whenever I find myself up at 12:46 am... and (2) Venesa and I were just talking about how much Jasmine has loved music (percussion in particular) since birth. We'll never forget how at 14 months, she would be in the front yard and would start dancing to whatever ghetto fabulous music would be blaring from passing cars (because, yes, we lived in a ghetto fabulous neighborhood). It was hilariously embarrassing every time. In any event, we came to the conclusion just last week that we haven't done enough to nurture her love for music (which is still evident from time to time in our deliciously vanilla household). So put that one on the to-do list.

Oh... and, also..

(3) I always talk about how I have no memory of Jasmine Olivia as a one-year-old... and for as much as I remember about Justin... that's just odd to me. Of course, it probably says more about what life was like with a 3 and 1 year old (SuRviVaL!) than it does about me... but the lack of memories still bothers me for some reason. And yes, to say that I miss Jasmine as a one-year-old when she is still... TWO ... is absurd. I get that. But hey, I've been called worse things. So without further ado, here's babygirl doing her thing. ¡Baila, Jasmine! ¡Baila!


Milestone XXXII
Here's a clip of Justin reading. The toughest part of the video was finding an age-appropriate book that he hadn't already memorized. How a child can memorize 64 pages of a book (The Cat in The Hat) is still amazing to me... We're the ones who read the book 100 times to him, and I can't tell you the first 3 lines of the second page without looking, let alone the entirety of (say) page 42... verbatim! Anyway, back to my point... I tried to find a book that we hadn't read to him yet, and that he therefore hadn't memorized yet. He's got a series of leapfrog books that have a lot of common words in 'em that he's become familiar with, and so I thought this would be a good one. We've also used a lot of the words in this book for his penmanship drills, so that helps too (you'll hear him say, "that's my sentence!"). He has already read it independently 2 or 3 times over the past couple of weeks... but I think it was still fresh enough to get the gist of where he is with reading. When I find time, I'll try to tape him with a spanking brand new sight unseen book to see how he does with that.

Side note... do people still say "tape" when they talk about video... or is that me sounding old again?

Anyhow... the video is grandparent length (i.e., too long for anyone but a grandparent to watch in it's entirety)... and includes a brief intermission as I become suddenly hysterical when Justin spots a wasp in the classroom. But here it is, nonetheless. For the record, as they say.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Naomi pt. IX

7 months (and a week or so)
Evidently, Naomi Janelle was offended by my previous entry and decided to hit the baby training circuit. About two days after I posted her previous update, she turned my entry on its head and started sitting up and crawling through the house. At this point (I guess about 3 weeks later) she's full throttle on both, and now starting to venture into pulling herself up unassisted every chance she gets. I was pretty much ready to place my bets on this one being our slow (post 12-months) walker... but at this rate, I may have to (once again) eat my words. Last week she forced me to break out the allen wrench and drop her crib down a few notches after pulling herself to the top of the railing and flashing her million dollar toothless grin ("look what I did!").

Other than that... and perhaps more than anything else... she continues to be all giggles... all the time. And she is suddenly (and most definitely) a screamer. High pitched. And frequent. It's out of control. I keep saying that I've gotta get it on video... but then I remember... she's the 3rd child. Who's got time for video? Puh-leeze. Baby girl doesn't even know what a book is, let alone a baby video. But hey, if she's happy, we're happy. And this little baby couldn't possibly be happier. What a joy.

Monday, March 19, 2012


We just got back from our first ("Teach them Diligently") homeschool convention, and in a word, it was great. We came back focused, energized, better informed, and enthusiastic about the road that we have ahead of us. Voddie Baucham and Ken Ham were great as keynotes, other speakers and workshop hosts were equally fantastic (and yes... some were also outright duds). But more than anything, I think Venesa and I were both swept away by the sheer size and level of support provided by the Christian homeschool community as a whole. There's certainly comfort in numbers, and an equal amount of reassurance in experiencing the extent to which were are not alone. We came back with purpose, in sync with each other's vision for our school, and doubly excited to continue down this path. I pray that the Lord continues to guide our every step in this and every other endeavor that involves our family. We pray that we remain in His will, and thank Him tremendously for what certainly has been an unexpected and unforeseen path to the here and now.

Homegrown Smarts

My child is so smart! I cringe every time I hear those words. In most of our circles, you'll be hard pressed to find a parent who (at some point in time) doesn't think that their child is an unadulterated genius. And so, it's with great strength and will power that I fight the urge to roll my eyes when parents use words like "incredible" and "advanced" to describe their 3 year olds. No, little Johnny is not going to be the next Tiger Woods just because he made 2 putts in a row with his Little Tykes golf kit. And yes, little Sally can spell STOP at the age of 2... great... but mind you, she's only watched that big red octagon go by her car window about 8 thousand times over the past 6 months. Get back to me when she can spell yield, no left turn, and pedestrian crossing.

It's because of (my own) cynical thoughts like these that we've been mum about Justin for so long. For me, to become that parent that I just wrote about would be to live a nightmare. I think it got to the point where Venesa and I absolutely refused to talk about Justin's aptitude to anyone else besides each other. His ability to conceptualize numbers, and read and write two years above his proper grade level somehow became our "dirty little family secret." While part of our denial was due to simple humility, I think that part of our silence has also been out of some irrational nervousness that he would regress the instant we said anything aloud about it. Also, in truth, neither one of us wants the pressure of raising a gifted kid. While raising a smarty pants may sound like a wonderful thing on the surface; when you're homeschooling your children, thinking that your child could potentially outsmart you before they hit double digits in age is cause for panic.
And if, at 4-years-old, you're already worried about challenging your child at a satisfactory pace... that's kind of scary. But after attending this past weekends homeschool conference and having his somewhat bizarre aptitude level confirmed by a number of different sources... I thought it was finally time to break the silence.

Is Justin a genius? Not even close (if you ask me, anyway). With his boatload of idiosyncrasies (hypersensitivity to loud noises and certain texture foods, just to name a couple) I'm more inclined to call him borderline autistic than the g-word. But either way, it's becoming obvious that there's something different about the way he thinks. He baffles me on most days with simple stuff like his spelling and writing abilities. But more than that, he's got a thing with numbers. And so all I can say is, let's see what happens. From what we've been told by his pediatrician and a few other sources, if we were "that parent", we could probably shut down our summer, shun our lives and other two children, get him ready to start 2nd grade in the fall, and
turn into one of those obnoxious families you'd see on CNN pushing to get their kid into college by the age of 14. But he's 4. And he has plenty of time to develop his academic inclinations. For now, we're content to let him dictate his own learning pace... doing what we can to not push him too hard, but also trying not to get in the way of progress. He's having fun, and life is way too short to disturb his tranquility with a premature entrance to the rat race that the rest of us endure. We enjoy watching (and being a part of) how interested he is in the whole process of learning. And for now, that's plenty.

So there... I said it. My child is so smart. Now excuse me while I roll my eyes at my own blog entry. Ha.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We get it. And we know. We know that our lives are already full. We know that Naomi is barely crawling and we've been a family of 5 with a new job, house, and zip code for less than 7 months. We know that this is crazy. We know we are going to struggle. We know we are going to need help. We know we are going to need A LOT of prayer. But we also know that God called us to do this... and because we are receptive to his calling - we will NOT be alone in this.

99% of that last paragraph was stolen from the blog entry of a [somewhat] stranger (thank you, Elizabeth)... but the truth is that I could not have said it better myself (trust me... I tried... for 3 months). By inviting the world to share in their own adoption journey (here's a link... check it out), Elizabeth inadvertently shared the very thoughts and sentiments that have led our family down a very similar path. And so here we are, close enough to the finish line of this process to start getting cold feet... but yet still trying to figure out exactly how we got here to begin with. God's love is amazing. And the things that He will have you do (asking you all the while to trust in Him) will most certainly blow you away sometimes. This is so beyond our comfort zone. Yet, He has given us a level of peace every step of the way that would otherwise make no sense whatsoever. So do pray for us, because we are certainly operating in "full faith mode" on this one. But I get the feeling that He would have it no other way.