Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Learning, Summer Fun

It's been a busy few weeks of summer, but they have been wonderful days too.  Amber has been working on her math regularly and making good progress.  We've had great fun studying the Philippines and learning more of the Tagalog language.  We are not even remotely proficient at Tagalog, but we are learning to mangle important words.   Amber finds it fascinating that there are only two seasons in the Philippines, Wet and Dry.  Seriously.

This week we have let up on the studies since it is VBS week at our church. This is the first year that Amber is old enough to be a helper and not an attendee.  She absolutely loves it! Amber volunteered to help with the pre-school age kids and she adores those little ones.  She is a group assistant with an adult leader, but the little kids still call her "teacher" or "teacher Amber".  Amber adores this and is eating it all up.  She doesn't even mind too much having to wipe noses and help with potty trips.    However she has been seriously exhausted every afternoon. Because of this we've had pretty calm days this week.

We did meet my mom for lunch and a little shopping in a historic district on Tuesday.  Amber survived it and enjoyed lunch, but had a huge disappointment and sad period later in the day.  We used to get ice cream at the family owned ice cream parlor in that historic district. Amber has so many happy memories of eating there.  They used to have homemade ice cream, which we hoped would have ingredients Amber could tolerate.  Unfortunately, they now purchase their ice cream and it contains high fructose corn syrup, and everything else Amber cannot eat. 

(LEFT) At VBS. Her first year as a group leader.  She LOVES it.
(RIGHT-TOP) Just finished lunch at Lewis & Clark's in historic St. Charles.  They had food Amber can eat!!
(RIGHT-BOTTOM) Homemade ice cream - she couldn't get enough of this recipe.

Amber and I stopped at the grocery store on our way home from the fun yet disappointing shopping trip to look for ice cream she can eat, that mommy didn't make. Unfortunately, none was to be found.  We did purchase some heavy whipping cream that I used to make ice cream that evening.  It turned out to be a huge hit.  It was the best ice cream I have had in years.  Honestly.  Amber was in awe and it totally made up for the sad afternoon (ok.. maybe only mostly).  We also made some chocolate chip cookies (Amber safe) to go with the vanilla ice cream.  It was dessert heaven for Amber.

Fred has been out of the country on a business trip to South Africa all week and last weekend.  This has been weighing on Amber too.  She misses having Daddy at home in the evenings, but she has been so busy with VBS in the morning and exhausted in the afternoons that it has not been too rough on her.

We are now in the report waiting portion of the adoption.  All of our appointments are complete; the physicals have been completed, reports received, and turned in to the social worker.   We had the last psychologist visit last Friday and now are waiting on his report. All the while our social worker is writing up the home study for its multistep approval process. Once it is complete we will submit it to US immigration for approval.  While we wait for that approval is when we will begin looking through the waiting child list to find our new daughter! Hopefully, we will be looking for her by mid-late July.

I wrote a long, three part blog post on how we are changing school this coming year to adapt for Amber's issues.  It took me a long time to come to terms that she actually has what is considered a chronic illness and we must treat it as such.   I was so enamored with the Classical education model, but it hasn't been working for Amber - at least not all facets of it work for her.  Our school was pretty disjointed and difficult this last year.  After a great deal of thought we now have a plan to make school fit with Amber's needs and not with our ideals.  We call it Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Education.  Amber is excited to try out this new style... well as excited as a child who is still on summer break can be.

(LEFT) Amber helped out in the kitchen a lot this past week. She might even learn to cook someday.
(RIGHT) When Daddy is away, we do have some girly fun.  BTW, this nail polish is so annoying. The flecks catch on EVERYTHING, even with a top coat.

We've been trying out a lot of new recipes for Amber the past couple of weeks too.  In the next day or so I will write a post on those foods, but let me tell you I absolutely love my new deep fryer and I swore off of all types of frying years ago.  Amber is over-the-moon that I am broadening our cooking options.

I'm off for the end of VBS lunch with Amber (after I retrieve a lunch she can actually eat).  I expect Amber will sleep for the next few days, as well as Fred.

Happy Weekend!

Linking with:

Weekly Wrap-Up  photo FF_zpsc6f74f35.jpg


  1. We love homemade ice cream too. Trying to avoid corn is so hard for our Tom Sawyer.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Home made ice cream is the best! Bethany can't tolerate corn syrup either. You must be so excited with getting so close to choosing your new daughter! I saw that you had posted about homeschooling with chronic illness. I am very interested in seeing your perspective on that! I'lll get to it next!

  3. It sounds to me like you have created a wonderful balance allowing Amber to live life to its fullest potential at the same time as taking into account her limitations and ensuring she has adequate rest and restorative periods as well. Parenting at its best!
    Thank you for the mention in your last post, it was a lovely surprise!

  4. My son had his first helper year in VBS as well. He also had a wonderful time with the little ones. I will be watching your adoption story. Blessings to you! Visiting from weekly wrap-up.

  5. Philip and Margaret are both taking part in a program at the Y called junior volunteers. They do a lot of fun things but they are also helping with the smaller ones as well, which include Ian. I love homemade ice cream but I haven't had it in years. On my wish list is an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid.

    We now have all our marks back and they got straight A's. It is different having a teacher oversee us but there are advantage. It gives us official transcripts that are the same as if we were in a private school.

    1. The official transcripts are a bonus and a good trade off for the work.

      I opted for the Cuisinart ice cream maker rather than the kitchenaid attachment. It works better, I think. Costs less and doesn't let me overwork my poor kitchenaid. It gets a workout without being used for more than baking :-)

  6. I did not know you were pursuing an adoption. Congratulations! This is wonderful news... I will be praying about this.

    Also, I love how you have coined a style of homeschooling just for Amber -- you're such a good mom.

    I hope you all are having a great summer!