Monday, December 31, 2007

The Puzzle is Complete!

They finished the puzzle in only a few hours! I am so thankful we had the extra help of all those analytical minds.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Paul Revere's birth, so of course we'll read Longfellow's poem (illustrated by Ted Rand). I'm planning a little scavenger hunt for the kids. They'll have to ride a stick horse around the Linguistics Center to find the clues and the prize of a new book.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


As part of the post-holiday activites, our family has begun a new puzzle. Thankfully, we have extended family here to help us tackle the 750 piece puzzle of George Washington returning to Mt. Vernon in 1783. I had to sneak a little history in during the Christmas break!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

And the winner is...

He thoroughly trounced us all, although it was a close game and a photo finish.
I walked into Olivia's room yesterday and found her two favorite things - babies and books. I love having our own baby in the house again because the kids play with their dolls in a much more realistic manner. Yesterday, Olivia was sitting on her bed with a pillow propped on her lap "feeding" her baby. She told me that her baby was almost finished eating, and then she lifted her baby up on her shoulder and "burped" it! Olivia loves to read to her babies, as you can see!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cards and laughter

We've been playing a mean game of Phase 10 around here lately. Yesterday, Mama won several hands, today Benjamin leads the winning streak. We hope to finish the game by tonight, and we'll let you know the final results (Olivia will probably come from behind to win!).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We've been waiting so long for you to come this season, Jesus. How exciting to light the Jesus candle on our advent wreath. Thank you for robbing our sin and making us holy.
Welcome to Our World
by Michael W. Smith
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome holy child
Welcome holy child
Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited holy stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home
Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking heavens silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around you
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect son of god
Perfect son of god
Welcome to our world

We have enjoyed a day of peace: playing games, reading, eating, snuggling, worshipping.

One of our crafts this Christmas season was making orange pomanders. Olivia makes them more easily if we pre-poke the holes with toothpicks before she inserts the cloves.

The dining room smells so good!
Now we're looking forward to travelling alongside the wise men as they search for baby Jesus.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Christ's Nativity
by Henry Vaughan
Awake, glad heart! Get up and sing,
It is the birthday of thy King,
Awake! Awake!
The sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and all they way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day....
I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for Thee! Or that my heart
Were so clean as
Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene,
Yet if Thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Welcome Winter!

As if on cue, the weather turned colder and windier today! Our children began the day in shorts and t-shirts, and as the day has progressed they have

added jackets and come indoors. We pulled out some winter books (see side bar), made solstice (AKA lemon) cupcakes for teatime, and utilized an orange to show us why the seasons change. I think for teatime we will read the poem "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost.
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
I think we will finish up our celebration of the winter solstice (we need all the help we can get here in Dallas) by trying a new recipe, Lemon Snowballs.,1610,135178-248195,00.html

The funniest thing to me is the delight my kids get every time the seasons change...because they know they will get new toothbrushes! They were trying to cheat last night and open their new toothbrushes before Winter officially arrived!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy 7th birthday, Benjamin!

Benjamin's birthday was yesterday. As I came to bed after feeding Katherine about 4:30 a.m. , I couldn't help but think about the first time we met our sweet boy. He had such a scary beginning. An ice storm raged outside the hospital, while Benjamin fought to breathe inside NICU. Not holding our new baby made us miserable. After a week, Benjamin came home, and he hasn't stopped bringing us joy. Sometimes I feel like he is trying to make up for that first week of no touches by constantly hugging, snuggling, wrestling...(you get the picture). We enjoyed celebrating the incredible way that God created my Benjamin yesterday, and I was reminded that I need to take the time to celebrate my children more often - not just on birthdays. I am so grateful for my precious children.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Learning the minuet

We found a great book to enhance our study of Colonial History: "George Washington for Kids: His Life and Times" by Brandon Marie Miller. So today, after our studies, Daddy helped us learn how to dance the minuet. He and Olivia and bowing and curtsying (I thought she looked like the Karate Kid about to deliver the final blow). Sarah and Benjamin are practicing 1-2-3, tap, tap, tap with their left feet. The school room was filled with music and giggles.

Katherine passed a milestone last night. I woke up around 4 a.m. to hear her fussing more than usual and found her rolled over on her back and totally a jaybird! She had wiggled so much to roll over that she had squirmed out of her nightgown. So, now my girl can roll over all by herself. Hard to believe she's almost three months old. She is such a joy!

Monday, December 17, 2007

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy

When I was in kindergarten, I made a star ornament out of a sweet gum ball. So, with the help of Uncle Daniel, we collected some sweet gum balls...

and began inserting toothpicks into them...

to make beautiful stars! This has been a great reminder of one of our family's favorite verses.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like STARS in the universe as you hold out the word of life..." Philippians 2:14-16a

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Look Mom, No Bifocals!

After almost four years of bifocals, Benjamin received a great progress report at the eye doctor this week! His farsighted crossing has improved enough for him to wear "normal" glasses now. He still wears the patch (as you can see) for four hours each day, but his eyes are beginning to work together to create depth perception. Thank you for your prayers! We know that Benjamin's progress is nothing short of God's healing hand on our boy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Birthday Party for Boys

We celebrated Benjamin's 7th birthday today by sending a bunch of men and boys through the woods searching for clues. They culminated their hike with hot dogs roasted over the fire, hot chocolate, and caramel brownies, and they even let the sisters and moms join them! We made some great memories with friends and enjoyed the winter weather (reminding me of the ice storm raging when he was born seven years ago!).

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Workout Routine

Sarah is discovering how hard it is to roll gingerbread dough! She is becoming quite the chef and wanted to make gingerbread men for Christmas.
We also discovered that in Colonial days, "when children learned the alphabet, their families celebrated by making gingerbread letters". Since we're studying the Colonial period in history right now, we thought we'd follow their example, so Olivia is working on gingerbread letters.
Benjamin is fighting an ear infection today, so when I take Sarah to piano lessons, I'll swing by and pick up a prescription for his ears.

In the beginning...

The Choates are trying to move into the 21st century! We are hoping that by creating a blog, our friends and family will feel like they are a part of our everyday lives - little things like ear infections; school for Daddy, Mama, and all the kids; first teeth; and our preparation to serve as Bible translators in the Solomon Islands. Thanks for sharing life with us!