Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cousins Weekend/Serkkuviikonloppu


One weekend in January we had our Maine cousins come over to our camp.


The timing was perfect: we had just said goodbyes to Mr. T, and were coming back from taking him to the airport.


It was just what this mama needed.


Instead of *only* four children moping around in our house, we had seven.


There was a lot of laughter.


A lot of fun.


And a snowman named "Mr. T".

(Yes, Mr. T - you were missed. And still are..)


Sinä viikonloppuna, kun palasimme takaisin Mr. T:n lentokenttäreissulta, mukanamme tuli Mainen serkut pohjoiseen. Ajoitus oli loistava: sen sijaan, että ikävä olisi täysin meitä kaikkia vaivannut, talo olikin täynnä naurua ja hauskuutta seitsemän lapsen kanssa. Toki Mr. T:tä oli ikävä, ja edelleen on. Meillä oli oikein kiva serkkuviikonloppu!

Homeschool Funny

Joys of homeschooling - grading schoolwork. One of our students was asked this on a language arts problem yesterday:

"How many different verbs can you think of that can fit in the sentence: "John hit the ball."? Replace the verb hit with other verbs that would make sense. Type some here."

The answer given:
John ate the ball.
John tried to eat the ball, yet choked on it.
John managed to eat the ball, and it came out a day later.
John has an eating disorder.

Wouldn't you want to grade homeschool schoolwork, also? ;-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finnish Lessons/Suomitunnit


I am happy to report Mr. T continues to thrive in Finland (you can read our previous posts here and here, in case you don't know why one of ours sons is so far away). Tomorrow marks three weeks since he left, and he has jumped into his new routines and activities, barely (he tells us) missing us and home. We are so thrilled for him, but continue to miss him so much!!


One of his main reasons for going is to study Finnish. He is taking Finnish lessons at a local community collage, and from his reports, I have to say I am impressed.


He has grown up hearing Finnish, understanding some, and speaking little, and he is also very bright, so all that is helping him learn the language.


But I think he also has a great teacher, and now that he is immersed in the language, I expect he will do great in learning the language. I couldn't be happier about it! Way to go, Mr. T!!

What do YOU think - does Finnish look like an easy language to learn?

Pictures were sent from Finland by my mom and Mr. T himself - thank you!!


Mr. T opettelee suomen kieltä kansalaisopistolla, ja täytyy sanoa, että opetus on ollut loistavaa. Toki auttaa se, että hän on aina kuullut suomen kieltä, ymmärtänyt jonkin verran ja pikkasen puhunutkin. Ja nyt tietty Suomessa asuminen auttaa paljon, ja onhan minulla älykäs poika:) Olen todella onnellinen tästä mahdollisuudesta, ja miltei kolme viikkoa Suomessa on mennyt hyvin pojalla.

1st Snowmobiling of the Season/Vuoden eka moottorikelkkareissu


We finally got our snowmobiles out, for the first time this year, and had some amazing riding!!




Want to join us???


Okay, okay, just kidding. That wasn't us snowmobiling.


But we did go, for the first time this year (well, the Captain did some riding last weekend).


We stayed on the ground trails.


Which were very, very nice. Plenty of snow, trails had just been groomed, and no one else on the trails on a week night. Even the wooded trails were wide and smooth (except for one short trail).


We had a great time! Well, four of us did, anyway. Mr. A wasn't feeling well, and Missy volunteered to stay back with him. And Mr. T is still in Finland (insert a very sad face here).

Can't wait to go again!


Kävimme eilen vuoden ekalla moottorikelkkareissulla (Kapteeni tosin moottorikelkkaili jo viikonloppuna), mutta ekat kolme kuvaa ei ole meistä, heh heh. Mr. A jäi sairaana kotiin, Missy jäi hoitajaksi, Mr. T edelleen Suomessa, mutta meillä muilla neljällä oli oikein kivaa. Uudestaan, pian!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wicked Cold Wintah


It has been so cold here in Maine! I took these pictures yesterday, but forgot what the temp was then. The wind was brutal, as you can see from the flying snow on lake. At the moment it is 5F/-15C, and
tomorrow's low is forecasted to be -18F/-28C. And that is without wind chill factor. Brrrr....!!!!!!


Snow flying on lake.


Beautiful. Freezing cold.


Can't feel my fingers anymore.


Time to head inside!!! Maine sure is wicked cold in the wintah.


Kylymä on talvi täälläkin - Mainen osavaltio on Usan itäisin Kanadan rajalla pohjoisessa, eikä meiltä itse asiassa olekaan pitkä rajalle. Niin on kovat talvipakkaset täällä - aivan kotoisaa, kun Suomeen vertaa, heh. Tuuli puhalsi eilen lunta järven jään päällä. Lapset viihtyivät ulkona yllättävän kauan, minä vain sen verran, että sain valokuvat napsittua. Brrr.....!!!!! Olisikin sauna!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mr. T Travels to Finland/Mr. T matkustaa Suomeen


Sounds like a children's book title, doesn't it? Mr. T travels to Finland. Hmmm... Maybe he and I should work on one together??

The first photo has a story. Mr. T and I facetimed Mr. D from the airport gate (I was given a gate pass to get him that far), to make sure facetime was working fine. After we talked about how much we were going to miss Mr. T I suggested let's all make a sad face and I'll snap a screenshot. So we all agreed, and made our sad faces. Except Mr. T changed his face at the last second. As you can see, he was just crushed to leave us all. Hehee...

I had some really sweet photos of his last day in USA (in addition to these five), but they do not want to make their way to flickr, so maybe they are not meant for the blog.. I might add them here later, if they do show up at some point.


This photo Mr. T snapped in the airplane. Even though our family travels a lot, and Mr. T has been to Finland many times, this was the first time he flew alone. He has flown domestically with his sibling, but always as unaccompanied minor, getting assistance from the airline. He is now 14 years old, and while we could have gotten him assistance for the connection, we decided he didn't need it for an additional $150 (r/t). Instead, we explored the airport website, watched the videos there, and tried to think of different scenarios that could happen. He did just fine. This momma didn't sleep well at all.

We were so glad we had given Mr. T an iPad mini for Christmas. At that point we weren't thinking of Finland yet, so this was another God-thing, preparing us for his time in Finland. He had worked so hard on school, and had been getting into stop motion animation movie making, and needed a video camera. He also reads a lot, so the iPad mini seemed like a logical choice.

Since he didn't have a cell phone to take with him, it gave us all peace of mind to know he could use the iPad mini also for sending us messages, facetime us and take pictures with. I downloaded his favorite Bible and a few books to the iPad, so he had plenty of reading material for the trip. The iPad holds about ten hours of charge time, which should have been enough. Mr. T did have a converter with him, in case he needed to charge the iPad during in London.


Here waiting at London Heathrow airport for his connection. At Logan airport there was free wifi to use, but in London you had to have a Boingo account and pay to go online. I really wanted him to have a way to connect with us, so we created the account, and purchased iTunes Boingo wifi credits for him to go online with the iPad mini.

And it worked!! About 5 am our time we were all able to facetime with him, and hear all had gone well on the flight and in London. He had about four hours to wait at the Heathrow airport, which made the trip long, but we wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to go through security, find his gate (fortunately it was in the same terminal), and get himself a meal.

At Heathrow airport all major currencies are accepted, but we picked up a VISA gift card from TD Bank before he left. (You can get VISA gift cards at other places, too, like RiteAid, but there is a fee to buy/activate them.) We added enough money to it for him to use during travel for food, drink and any emergencies he might encounter. (You can register the card online in case it is lost or stolen.) Mr. T reported it worked great for him, and thankfully there were no emergencies.

The Captain and I can both be quite impractical at times. The Captain One of us more so than the other. No wonder Mr. T can be Mr. Absentminded Professor, too. (It was very scary to let this kiddo fly alone across the world - we are just so glad his head is attached, otherwise he could misplace that, also!!) Mr T wore a travel pouch around his neck to keep his passport, boarding passes, money and visa card safe. He didn't lose anything! (We also had many people praying for his trip!!)


This picture is blurry, but I love it! Mr. T arriving in Helsinki all exhausted, but excited. He made it!!! Woohoo!!! Thank you, God:)


Mexican Train with grandparents, choo-choo:)

The report from Finland is good - while Mr. T is still struggling with jetlag (could be also the teenage-part, keeping him staying up late and sleeping in every morning), he is starting to get settled. Once he gets his routine in a groove, we'll do another blog post.

Meanwhile the rest of us are trying to get used to being a six person family, remember not to set him a table setting, stop calling him to come to car/table/wherever. We miss him so!!!! Fortunately the other kids are trying to fill in: yesterday I saw Little Miss had drawn mustaches and glasses on the children of the Critical Thinking catalog I had laying around. Just little Mr. T likes to do. And a few times Mr. D has impersonated Mr. T, making us all chuckle a bit. And miss him again!!! Waaaaaaah!!!!!!


Mr. T pääsi turvallisesti Suomeen, ja vaikka jet lag vaivaa, niin muuten kaikki on hyvin. Kunhan saa asetettua uusien rutiinien kanssa, laitan uuden postauksen. Tässä yllä matkakertomusta englanniksi, ja kuinka matka onnistui 14-vuotiaalta yksin. Ikävä on kova!!!!!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mr. T's Next Adventure/Mr. T:n seuraava seikkailu


Homeschooling rocks!! Have I ever mentioned that before? If not, here it is. Because it truly is so.

Even though we have four 8th graders, they can each have totally individualized school plans, pursue their own interests, have their own daily schedule, and advance at their own pace. Especially with our online homeschool curriculum AOP Monarch.

Mr. T has been working very hard this school year. So hard, that by Christmas he was probably 90 % done with 8th grade, and that included two electives as well. It was time to start thinking about what he should do this spring semester.

We had three thoughts we were throwing around:
- start 9th grade
- pursue other interests like movie making
- go overseas for a few months

As we started looking into various options, and prayed for wisdom, things started to fall into place. Fast. Mr. T would fly to Finland, live with his grandparents, finish 8th grade homeschool, start 9th grade schoolwork, and take Finnish language classes, for three months. His Finnish class would qualify as half of his high school foreign language requirements! Pretty rad.

We only had a week or so to get everything ready. What a whirlwind!! As hard as it was, every step of the way God met us, confirming my heart this was His plan, helping me leave my fears in His hands. As Mr. T was super excited, momma kept going between excited for his fantastic opportunity, to grieving his absence... It all was happening so fast!!! But in all, there was a quiet reassurance we were within God's will for Mr. T's life.

Next, a post on how Mr. T made it to Finland.


Kotikoulu on ollut meidän perheelle mahtava kokemus. Olemme pystyneet matkustamaan koko perheen voimin, ja nyt Mr. T on Suomessa! Hän sai jouluun mennessä tehtyä melkein kaikki 8. luokan kotikoululuokat, joten aloimme miettimään mitä kevätlukukaudelle. Palaset loksahtivat paikoilleen, ja niin poika lensi Suomeen isovanhemmille seuraaviksi kolmeksi kuukaudeksi. Hän tekee kotikouluna 8. luokan loppuun, aloittaa 9. luokan, ja käy suomenkielen tunneilla myös. Ja nämä suomenkielen tunnit täyttävät puolet Usan lukion (joka siis alkaa jo 9. luokalla) vieraan kielen vaatimuksista!! Mahtava kokemus pojalle, tosin äidille ollut aika vaikeaa... Seuraavassa postauksessa matkakertomusta.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Like Adoption

Please watch this six minute video on one family. It is well worth your time!
Also, please pray for Ivy Joy. She is having another heart surgery.

My next post will have some big news (sadly not adoption related), so stay tuned:)


Kaunis kuuden minuutin video yhdestä perheestä ja heidän adoptioistaan. Kannattaa katsoa!! Ja rukouspyyntö Ivy Joyn puolesta.

Seuraavassa postauksessa on iso uutisia (ei tosin adoptio-sellaisia)!