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Pumpkin Fun October 31, 2008

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family.
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Though we are pretty conservative people with strong spiritual beliefs, we have no problem with taking part in some of the fall festivities we grew up with way back when.  We look forward to pumpkin carving, roasting the seeds, and putting on costumes from our collection of dress-up clothes.  We go up to church and play games and get candy and fellowship with our friends.  It’s always so much fun and there isn’t so much as a hint of the possible darker side of Halloween’s history.  We feel that what really matters is how WE celebrate and our intentions and the traditions we pass on to our children.

Darth Vader, a sweet ladybug, and a princess pose with their respective pumpkins.

A close-up of their designs.  (Okay, I helped Lydia a little).

The little 9-day old Pea-in-a-Pod slept through most of the activities.

In addition to the blow up bouncy things and games you always win to get candy, free snowcones & hot dogs, these Human Hamster Balls were set up in a Sunday School room .  Two children play by trying to roll the other into a corner or otherwise chase each other around the room.  Benjamin and his friend Zack had a great time.

High Wire Adventure October 30, 2008

Posted by Laura in 4-H, Family, Homeschooling.
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For the city folk out there, “4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills” (quote from the website).   All the groups I’ve known of have been in rural areas, but they may exist in urban areas too.  We joined last year as Clover Buds, but Benjamin has now moved up to the higher level.  It has been a great experience for us.

Our homeschool 4-H group had a super field trip on Thursday.  We all met out at a rock climbing wall/ high ropes course/ zip line built and maintained on a university experimental agriculture farm.  Joe was able to go with us and I think he had as much fun as the children.

Rachel preparing to climb the rock wall.

Off to a good start.

“Let me rest just a second…”

Benjamin scales the rock wall while another kid tackles the high ropes.

Joe nears the top.

Don’t worry grandparents, that sad look is because we didn’t let Lydia harness up.

Benjamin has made it to the top of the pole.

Now for the really scary part.

And there goes Joe…

All the way across and down the zipline.

What a great adventure!

HomesCOOL Day October 29, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family, Homeschooling.
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Several times a year, the Adventure Science Center in Nashville (formerly the Cumberland Science Museum, but I am dating myself) offers special science learning programs for homeschoolers.  Wednesday we went for the first time.

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, Benjamin spied the new zero-gravity and Space area through the huge windows.  That had to be our first stop.

Waiting for weightlessness.

Boing!

Boing!

There were also some workstations that gave you a taste of what working in space would be like.  You had to keep your feet on the wheeled chair and try to operate the controls.  You quickly found out that without gravity’s pull (and the resistance your feet gave against the floor) you were the one moved, not the levers and things.

And of course, if big brother and sister could do it, Lydia had to also.

The first scheduled activity of the day was a visit to the new planetarium.  We took our reclined seats, but not for long.  The loud music and foreboding voice alarmed Lydia and Benjamin and I both became motion sick, so we tried (unsuccessfully) to exit quietly and go back out to the exhibits.

Lydia got in a little exercise climbing stairs

… and she put some miles on this ambulance racing to rescue scenes.

Benjamin had courses in Dinosaur Detectives and Pond Creatures.  Rachel got to assist in a Senses course, holding and displaying a snake skin and then she also had a Pond Creatures class.  In that one, the students learned to use microscopes and make their own wet-mount and well slides to observe tiny organisms in lake water.  They both had a good time.  I wish I could have gotten pictures of them doing those but we weren’t always in the same place and I was alternately chasing a napless toddler and nursing a newborn, occasionally both at the same time.

Before we left, we had to revisit an old favorite.  In this area, the children can use real wheelchairs on ramps, a small basketball court, concession stand, etc to see how challenging it could be to get around if you are handicapped.  It helps drive home the need for wheelchair-friendly public places and compassion for the disabled.

Just prior to a pick-up game of B-ball.

One happy mommy! October 27, 2008

Posted by Joe in Family.
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Just a quick post to share another picture of Laura and Timothy. This picture was taken by Grams the day Timothy was born. They both look happy, don’t they?

Laura and Timothy

Laura and Timothy

It’s a boy! October 22, 2008

Posted by Joe in Family.
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Timothy Holt Webb was born this afternoon at 2:11pm. He is 9 and 1/2 pounds and 20 and 1/2 inches long. Both mother and son are doing amazingly well. Laura is a tough, tough, woman! She did an all natural child-birth.

As I mentioned on Twitter, if it were up to men to have children Cain would have been an only child and that would have been the last generation.

Here are a few pictures. I’m sure we’ll post more later so stay tuned.

Our new family photo

Our new family photo

One happy momma and her youngest son.

One happy momma and her youngest son.

...and the little guy we've been waiting for - Timothy Holt Webb.

...and the little guy we've been waiting for - Timothy Holt Webb.

Thanks to everyone who’s wished us well and has offered their prayers for us. We feel incredibly blessed.

Lord willing, today is the day October 22, 2008

Posted by Joe in Family, Uncategorized.
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Laura just checked into Vanderbilt Hospital. If the Good Lord is willing, we will welcome Timothy Holt Webb into this world later today.

I plan to post updates to my Twitter account. If you are interested you can follow our joy at http://www.twitter.com/joewebb

Girls’ Afternoon Out October 18, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family.
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Benjamin is camping this weekend, working on his Arrow of Light projects in scouting.  Recent storms have brought trees down close by and our friends were glad to have Joe come cut them up for firewood today.  Benjamin and I got to have a final date night before Timothy comes (induction date is Wednesday) last night, so today seemed a good day to have some girl time.  Rachel, Lydia, and I decided to go to a ballet together.

The Nashville Ballet really wants to encourage young children to get involved in the arts, so they have been performing in various places that will allow children of all backgrounds and income levels to see them.  Today they performed for free at the downtown Nashville library.  We got to see the Carnival of the Animals.

There was a bit too much narration at the beginning for Lydia’s taste, but once the ballerinas took the stage, she and Rachel both really enjoyed it.  Members of the audience were invited to come up on stage and participate in the scene with the prancing horses.  After the show, all the children were allowed to go up and learn some ballet steps.  Both girls were eager to go.  Here are a couple of pictures of them performing.

I don’t remember the real name of this position, but it was described to the children as “beach ball arms.”  Lydia had ping-pong hands.

There was some leaping involved (and almost some toppling over).

And finally, take a bow  (or squat).

Tennessee History Festival October 17, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family, Homeschooling.
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Being about 45 minutes from a large city, the state capitol no less, offers us many opportunities for educational field trips.  Last weekend at the Bicentennial Mall in downtown Nashville, there was a Tennessee History Festival.  We got there right after it started and took a walk through history.

Along one side of the mall area, there are markers that tell what was happening in the state during each era.  Here are some of our favorites.

This fellow was truly half Cherokee from the mountains of East Tennessee.  He told us many interesting things that we hadn’t learned in our other studies of Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears.

The blacksmiths gave the children lessons in shaping metal, how to know if the fire is hot enough, and how a bellows works.

We don’t have the faintest idea what this was about since the actors had gone to lunch (that’s a mannequin on a stuffed horse), but it sure looked cool.

Lydia kept running off and grinning over her shoulder while we were trying to listen to this man.  As a result, I didn’t catch much.  He was talking about the British and why the taxation wasn’t sitting well with the colonists, but I’m not sure exactly who he was supposed to be or how involved Tennessee was.  We all thought is was pretty neat that he had a cup made of a horn that he kept around his neck on a string.

This scene fascinated Benjamin.  Periodically, these British soldiers would fire those huge guns and boy, did they get attention!  They were loud!

The Confederate Army was resting beneath a tree just prior to their battle with the Union soldiers.

The Union Army met them on the battlefield.

There was plentiful gunfire as soldiers fell.  The middle-schoolers who were there on a field trip cheered every time one went down.  Joe asked us later who won this time.

I doubt there were any strollers on the sidelines in the original battles.

Of all the great things we saw that day, this one was still Benjamin’s favorite-  the park rangers were using these to patrol the area.  I guess the Segway falls into “Tennessee Present.”  🙂

Date night with Rachel October 12, 2008

Posted by Joe in Family.
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Last night, Rachel and I went on a date. We had a great time together.

Date nights have become a wonderful tradition in our family. It’s a time when I can take Rachel (or Benjamin can take Laura) out for a special evening of one-on-one time together. It’s a time when we can talk and invest in our kids. I look forward to when Lydia is old enough to go on a date with me.

On our date, Rachel and I played miniature golf, ate pizza, and drank milk shakes. She also wanted to go to a store and look at possibilities for her upcoming birthday and Christmas presents.

You should have seen her face when I bought her flowers. She said “This night just keep getting better and better.” Later she said “I remember when you brought me flowers when I got five shots at the doctor’s office.”  I was surprised she remembered that, but she replied “I always remember special things like that.”

The kids love date night because it fun and they feel special. But there’s another reason Laura and I think date nights are important. They are teaching moments. Date nights are times when we can demonstrate to them what to expect from and how to treat other people.

For example, Rachel was eager to start playing miniature golf and opened the door of the building before I had a chance to open it for her. After I got in, I leaned over and explained that polite boys will open a door for her and that if she gets to a door before them she should wait so they’ll have an opportunity to do it. She didn’t forget for the rest of the night.

And I’m glad. I want to be the one that sets the standard from which she’ll create her expectations.

Who Are You Calling “HUGE”? October 9, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family.
6 comments

Really, I don’t know what these people mean.  Look- I don’t even cast a shadow.

(For a change, the camera MAY actually be a bit kind to me.  A two-dimensional image just can’t quite capture my full glory).

Okay, so I have about 3 things left in the closet that will go around me, I can only wear slip-on shoes because there is no way to reach my feet, and I can only fill the tub to the half-way mark without making it overflow when I get in to soak my aching back.  What’s their point?