Sunday, June 28, 2015

Four x Three = The Crazy Month of June

Each year for the month of June I have three kids that are the same age.  When Louise has her birthday at the beginning of June and we wait for JoJo's birthday to come in July, we have our month of CRAZY! As of this moment Louise, JoJo and Manny are all 4 years old!

Louise's birthday was a pretty low key affair.  All she wanted for her birthday was a cake and a new dress.  I'm sure her demands will get much bigger as time goes on.

I'm not suggesting that Louise is not demanding!  Holy smokes, does this girl have a mind of her own!!!

Louise is intense.  She laughs hard, cries hard, plays hard, fights hard.  

She also loves with all her heart.  She is the first in the house to share food or a toy, or come running with a band aid or a big hug when someone is hurt.

She LOVES clothes and many mornings she arrives at the breakfast table all decked out like she is headed to prom.  But she is not prissy or delicate.  She is just as likely to wear that fancy dress out in the backyard to jump on the trampoline as she is to dance around like a princess in front of a mirror.

She also LOVES to have her picture taken.  Below are some shots of an impromptu photo shoot after a long day in the pool.  Please don't judge the hair.  Just concentrate on those eyes.  Jeez Louise, she has got some eyes!

Happy birthday to my stunning little beauty.  Sometimes you make me crazy, but you always fill my heart!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

For the Love of a Boy...and a Bird

Yesterday something weird happened at our house.  Weirder than normal.

As we were all out playing in the pool a bright green tropical bird landed in our backyard.  It perched right on the edge of our roof.  Then it took off and flew around the yard. Then it nearly landed on my lap.  Then it flew inside our house.

Clearly this was someone's pet.  A pet lovebird.

Once inside our house Brian managed to catch it and put it in our guest bathroom.  I put out a Facebook message to our neighborhood group and Brian went door to door looking for the owners.

Our kids started asking immediately, "Can we keep it? Can we keep it?" JoJo was especially excited about the bird.  He kept trying to sneak in the house and take peaks into the bathroom.

No, this wasn't our bird.  It obviously belonged to someone else.  And we didn't need a bird. Really, we didn't need a bird.

But as the day dragged on, no owners came forward.  We couldn't just keep the bird locked in our bathroom.  We found a few people who said they would take the bird, but none that could come straight over and pick it up.

So Brian headed over to the local Pet-a-rama and picked up a cage and some food.  It was starting to look like we were going to keep the bird.

Brian got home and we tucked the bird into its new cage and we all sat around staring at it.

Then one of those magical parenting moments happened. Sweet little JoJo, who hadn't taken his eyes off the bird for a second started to sing it a lullaby.  OMGoodness.  The tenderness in his little voice got me all misty-eyed.  And then.....he asked if he could say a prayer for the birdie.  Ahhhhh.  It was almost as if a little halo was lighting up over his head.  He sang in his froggy little JoJo voice:

"God our father, God our father, we thank you, we thank you, for our many blessings, for our many blessings, Amen, Amen."

Too too precious.

And then 2 hours later the bird was dead.

Oh yes, dead as a door nail (whatever the heck a door nail is). Apparently the stress of living in the wild, or encountering my family, or who knows what were just too much for this little birdie. Luckily, by then all the kids except for Grace, were asleep.  Grace was disappointed, but she's a little scientist.  Brian disposed of dead bird and then we started to panic. What would we tell the rest of the kids???  What would we tell JoJo?  He would be crushed.

At about 7:30am JoJo arrived in my bedroom.  "Where's the bird?  Where's the bird?"  Brian was out exercising.  I told JoJo the bird got very sick and had to go home to his Mama and Daddy.  JoJo seemed completely good with that explanation.  But right away he asked, "When is another birdie coming?"  Oh, boy!

Brian got home and of course the bird issue had been weighing heavily on him while he walked. JoJo and Brian have a very special bond.  Something about JoJo really pulls at Daddy's heartstrings.  And JoJo had responded to this bird in a way that we hadn't seen him respond to much else in the world.

I mean people, he was praying for the bird.

So Brian decided to forgo his special Father's Day festivities.  He didn't go out for a fancy meal.  He didn't spend the day laying around on the couch.  He didn't splurge on anything for himself.

He went out and found his baby boy a new bird. We named him Mango Bolingo.

Mango, a strange fruit name that Grace just picked for no apparent reason, and Bolingo, the Lingala word for love.

That is the love of a really special father for his son.

Oh, my heart. I love these guys.

**Luckily, as it turns out, lovebirds are pretty inexpensive.  I was sort of freaking out about the cost of cage and bird, but Brian said it was about the same as a trip or two to Chik-fil-a.  So it's all relative.  A 20 pack of chicken nuggets or a bird to keep.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 12, 2015

The End of Year Wood Academy Awards

Summer is well underway, but when you are a homeschooling family school doesn't really end, it just gets squeezed in between trips out to the pool.  Sometimes school is done in our jammies, sometimes in our bathing suits.

But I didn't want my kids to miss out on that all important public school ritual: the end of year awards!  So, without further ado, here are the winners of the

Wood Academy Awards!!!!!!!

Best Dressed--Louise Wood
Nobody puts a look together like Louise.  And probably,nobody should!  But seriously, this girl changes clothes at least three times a day and we are always surprised by her latest combinations!

Super Helper--Haven Wood
Our sweet Haven is such a hard worker.  He and Grace both have daily chores that they are responsible for.  Haven is in charge of unloading and loading the dishwasher.  Grace has laundry duty. They also both have to put away the boys and girls clothes. Haven did such a good job on his chores and saving up his allowance during the spring that he was able to buy himself a tablet.

Most Creative--JoJo Wood
JoJo is never bored because he is always coming up with very destructive creative ways to keep himself occupied.  He is BUSY with a capital B!  His current loves are lawn equipment, hand tools, and cooking!  He has mastered the microwave and he could probably make us all dinner if he was tall enough to use the gas stove!

Fantastic Fish Award--Katriel Wood
Our sweet Kit Kat finally took the dive and is a swimmer!  She was hesitant to let go of her water wings, but she threw them aside last week and she is taking to the water like a fish!  An adorably well dressed fish!


Mr. Muscles--Manny Wood
This kid is tough.  And rough.  And so crazy strong it sort of shocks you sometimes.  All my kids are tough, but my little Boo Bear is on track to be one big, strong dude! Right now he is all about superheros. Watch out Captain America, here comes Manny!

Mine Craft Master--Grace Wood
Grace is totally, completely, irrevocably addicted to Mine Craft. And she's really good at it.  She's even got all her siblings hooked. So rather than fight it, we have joined the cause.  Part of her school day is learning to code (Java for kids) by creating "mods" for Mine Craft. And if you don't know what that means, there is no way I can explain it to you.  But I think it's pretty cool!

So congratulations to all the Wood Academy award winners.  Tune in again next year for more surprises and ridiculous categories!  Happy summer vacation!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Camping Party of 29--Fort Parker State Park

This past weekend we coordinated a crazy 5 family camping trip. This time we stayed at Fort Parker State Park.  We camped for 3 days with friends from church, friends from the neighborhood, the Solbergs (of course), and a super special surprise family, the Apgars.  The Solbergs and the Apgars are the two families that we traveled with to China when we brought home our girls : Sydney, Jenna and Grace.  At best we are all together once a year, so this was a special treat for all of us.  Those of you who have adopted know that the bonds you make on an adoption trip can be unique and long lasting.

First major injury of the trip!

Fort Parker State park is a tiny campground on a big muddy fishing lake.  We had the greatest location in the campground.  A cul du sac with 5 campsites, right next to the lake, under a huge canopy of trees.  The nights were cool, the days were shady.  The weekend was amazing!

Altogether, we had 29 campers on our trip.  Nineteen of them were kids!

We hiked, rode bikes, kayaked, and toasted marshmallows.  Camping heaven!

We held hands with old friends.

We gave hugs to new ones!

We laughed and picked flowers and walked quietly in the woods!

What a great big beautiful family photo!!!

What's that?  It's time to roast more marshmallows???

Super Haven was ready for action!

Manny and JoJo did some bird watching.

Louise stared at the wall instead.

We explored all kinds of nature.

And we took a few naps!

There's nothing like sleeping in a nice cool tent!

My very favorite piece of camping equipment.

As we were driving away JoJo was already asking "Can we go camping again? Can we get a trailer?" I wish I could figure out how to get JoJo a trailer for his birthday in July.  He'd be the happiest boy on the planet!!!  

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