Saturday, April 23, 2016

Our Awesome Yard

When we bought this house last August, the reason we bought it was because of its location (at the end of a cul-du-sac), and the yard. The yard is HUGE! It was sorely neglected for many many years and needs a lot of work (as does the house). But it is a wonderful space nonetheless.

The back yard is very bumpy and full of ditches and dents. So last week Vince borrowed Grandpa's tractor and roller and started the process of wetting the yard and rolling it over and over in order to make it more smooth. He also aerated it and fertilized it to try to get it moving in the right direction.

Asher really enjoys driving the tractor and helped Vince quite a bit (man, I love that kid!).
We have also been enjoying our fire pit in the back yard. It provides lots of sweet family time to just sit and be together (as well as play with fire).
In spite of all the work it needs, we are so very thankful for the yard God provided for us!

Solomon Selfie

Solomon loves to take pictures on my phone. Almost daily, he will ask if he can take a picture of something he built, whether it be a train track or a lego design or a picture he colored. My phone is often loaded with pictures of his latest project. He also loves to take pictures of himself and with me or others.
 Solomon saying, "will you take a picture of me and daddy on our way to bed?"
"Daddy, can you take a picture of me and mommy?"


"Mommy, let's take a picture of us making silly faces."

Man, I love that kid.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Uzziah is Still Cute

Uzziah makes us laugh a lot. He doesn't mean to. But he just does. Partially because he's just so stinking cute. And partially because he's just a funny kid. He is very easily embarrassed and will cry if he thinks you are laughing at him - even if you are laughing at him because he's so cute and funny. When asked if he's cute, he will say, "no, I'm not cute. I'm a boy." 

He has a funny little way of saying many words. I do not remember our other boys having this particular word pattern. But it makes us laugh (at its cuteness of course) and we hesitate to correct him because well, we love it. Maybe if he's 14 and still saying the same things, we will fix it. For now, when he calls the police the ma-plice, dessert is ma-ssert, gorilla is magrella (daddy, do baby monkeys grow up to be magrellas?), the computer is the ma-puter, garage is ma-grage, a giraffe is a ma-jraffe and a guitar is the mictargue. 

We also took him to see the latest Star Wars movie (the Force Awakens). Don't judge us that we took our 4 year old to a PG-13 movie. It's so hard to know what to do as a family and what to do separately. So he went with us and watched the movie and said his favorite part was Garth Maul (yes, "Garth," not Darth. And no, Darth Maul was not in the Force Awakens).

His eyelashes are crazy long and he has beautiful, dark brown eyes.
One night his brothers were gone and he wanted to sleep near Kevin (since currently Uzziah sleeps on the top bunk). So he pulled up a blanket and his pillow and slept on the floor near the dog.
We love you, Uzziah! You bring our family so much joy.
Uzziah -hidden camera (March 2016) from Family of Blacks on Vimeo.

You'll just have to ignore the fact that I took the first half of this video the wrong direction (I switch it half way through). It's just too cute not to post.
Untitled from Family of Blacks on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Science Club

As I mentioned, we have been studying creatures of the sea this year for science. We get together about every 3 weeks with another family and do our science experiments. This past science club, we dissected 2 crawfish. I will say my kids are not big fans of dissection, but we persevere nonetheless.

We learned all about the different parts of the exoskeleton of the crawfish, as well as the internal organs. We were even lucky enough to receive both a male and a female crawfish for our dissection, so we were able to look at the differences between those two.
And, as an added bonus, we were able to make realistic finger puppets. A win as far as I'm concerned!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Solomon's EEG

Once again, Solomon's neurologist is perplexed as to how to treat him and what to do. So once again, she has done a very slow wean for him off his medication. Two years ago, after Solomon's last EEG, she upped his dosing. But that was his last medication change. Since then, she has been letting his body grow and his weight increase, without increasing his dosing, allowing for a really slow, natural wean to occur. So Solomon had another EEG to check how his brain is handling the reduced medication.

Usually the night before an EEG, Solomon gets a buzz cut. It makes it much easier for the EEG technician to place the electrodes on his head and makes the whole process go more quickly.

The night before his EEG, Solomon is only supposed to have 4 hours of sleep. I usually take the night shift, keeping him up until midnight. And then Vince takes the early morning shift, getting him up at 4:00 AM. We started the evening watching the Minion movie. Then we went grocery shopping at 9:30 at night. Then Solomon and I spent a good chunk of our time at Wal-Mart, the only place open that late with a toy aisle.  (I always feel like "that parent" who has her kid at the store super late - the ones I judge and think, "get your kid home to bed!!"). Then we headed home and watched some Rescue Bots and played a few games.
Vince got Solomon up at 4:00, and Asher joined them for the trip to Children's Hospital, to help keep Solomon awake in the car. The first stop of the morning was for donuts.
Then some hot cocoa for the boys and coffee for daddy.
 Solomon has had so many EEGs in his short life, he's a pro about it now. It doesn't even phase him.
 He got all wrapped up in his "urban turban" and fell right to sleep.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Trip to the Aquarium

We have been studying sea animals this year for science and thought a trip to the aquarium would be a perfect outing to see some of the things we've studied up close. We do science with another family, so they joined in, as well as one other family that we know through church. Plus, an added bonus was that since we were a "homeschool group" the kids could go for $6 a piece and the parents were free. So $30 for our family rather than the $79 it would have cost otherwise. 
 Solomon as a deep sea diver.
 Obed, Solomon and Uzziah, along with some of their friends, enjoying the sea otters.


 Ezra knocking at a shark.
Uzziah was pretty uncertain at first of all the sea creatures. He was not sure he liked the aquarium. But he did his best to be brave and reached out a few times to touch the glass.


It's hard to see, but just beyond Uzziah's head is a GIANT fish. I don't recall what type it was, but it was significantly larger than even Solomon.





 Manta rays always look like they are smiling (even though that's not even their mouth).




 We watched the mermaid show. The boys were wowed by it (okay, not at all. It was really cheesy).
 An amazing fish.


 Obed and his buddy, Benjamin, inside the tanks.

Asher helped Uzziah be brave and go inside the tanks. You can tell in this picture that Uzziah is trying not to smile, but pretty pleased with himself that he braved the scary bubble.
Uzziah pointing at a fish, up close and personal.
 Asher and his buddy Cole, along with Ezra and PJ hiding in the background.
Asher and his buddy Eli watching the robotic orangutan (not sure why they have an orangutan at the aquarium).
 Obed, face to face with a barracuda.
A shark!!

 Obed's favorite, the sea turtle.

These little blue fish go into the gills of the barracuda and clean it out. It's always amazing how God made symbiotic relationships between animals.
 Watching all the sea life.
 Near the end, the kids got to pet the rays.





We had a picnic lunch outside with our friends and I tried and tried to get a good group photo. I did get a group photo. None of them are good. But hey, trying to get 13 kids to look at the camera at once? Impossible!