Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Sweet

"I love you so much, you are the greatest mom. You are the best and sweetest mom I ever had."


"Today is a giving day, so today I give my love to you. I love you and want to spend all my time with you.


The boys have been making cards lately, and a few weeks ago they dictated these to Aaron for me. Our days are definitely not all sweetness and love, but we do have moments that are. And these I want to remember. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Glory, glory hallelujah we have a court date!!! The boys and I went to the library yesterday morning, and I left my phone in the car. Of course that would be when our caseworker called! I checked it when we got back in the van, and saw the red blinking light and the 817 area code, and listened to the message that we had a court date! For some reason I couldn't call her back with the same number, so we hightailed it home. I hurried the boys inside, put on the Pippi Longstocking book on CD for them and called Gladney. Our caseworker was on the phone when I called back, but we finally connected a few minutes later.
Our court date is February 4, which is a Friday, and we need to be there January 30. Our first scheduled visit with Hope B will be on Monday morning, and we will have 1 or 2 more visits with her throughout the week. I just feel like I sighed a huge sigh of relief with that date. What an amazing blessing to have this piece of the puzzle in place and be able to really move forward.
So, the research about plane tickets and accommodations has officially begun! Aaron has been looking here and there at ticket prices for a couple of months, but he is in full on research mode now, trying to find the best deal/time.
We also received another update and picture, which seriously almost made me fall off my chair it was so cute. They had done her hair in little hair ties! So can not handle it!! And just today I got more pictures and a sweet note from another family who had gone to Ethiopia, and offered to visit Hope. They held her and took the above picture of her little feet, which I had never seen before and think are to die for. :) So much to be thankful for, THANK YOU LORD!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

*He brought in this entire pile!

This little guy stole my heart yesterday. Well, he has had it for a while, but every so often I am struck by just how sweet he is. Eli and Isaac were still sleeping, and Micah decided we needed to stock up on some firewood. So, he pulled on his shoes and marched out the door and made probably about 10 trips, his arms full of wood. He was so cute, running down the sidewalk to our wood pile, and then staggering back inside with rosy cheeks and a huge smile. I could hardly handle how he looked, and love him so very much! ( I have posts on Eli and Isaac coming up too! :) )

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the waiting continues

We have still not heard about a court date, and this week will mark the 3rd month (average wait for a court date is 2-3 months). I have had some pretty rough days feeling so down about things, and Friday I finally wrote our caseworker and just asked if she was getting concerned that we hadn't heard anything yet. She was awesome and so encouraging and said there is nothing to be worried about, that some people hear before 3 months and some after.

Saturday morning for my quiet time I read Isaiah 25 (not planned, I am doing BSF and that was one of the passages for this week), and the first verse I read was, "O Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you and praise your name for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." God knew we would be on this journey before it ever even crossed our mind, He knew B would need a family, and He has been there through every decision and moment that has brought us to this point. I was blown away by how this verse spoke so completely to just how I have been struggling. Perfect faithfulness, marvelous things, things planned long ago...

And then this morning I read Isaiah 26 3-4, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. I also read Philippians 4:6-7 (both passages again through BSF) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. "

I realized over the weekend as I thought over these last almost 3 months of waiting, that I have not been praying as fervently or expectantly for a court date as I think I should be. I have prayed, most definitely, but more in a vague-if this is not the day that's okay- sort of way. Sort of like I am trying to protect myself from getting my hopes up and then being super disappointed when it doesn't happen. What I realized is, I can lay out my hopes and trust and expectations fully for God every day, because who better to leave them with?! Certainly not myself. In trying to protect my heart from disappointment, I have missed a closer relationship with my Savior. If things don't go as I hope, than it will be Him who will be my comfort and strength and give me what I need to do it all again the next day. And He knows exactly what that is, as I think He was maybe trying to show me through those verses. I don't have to hold back with God, I don't have to measure my words, or check my emotions, He can handle it.
I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I feel like I have overcome something in my heart. At least for today. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas time!

As seems to happen every year, suddenly it's December and Christmas is just a few weeks away. I absolutely love this time of year, really from October until about March when the weather starts to warm up again. I love the cold, I love winter clothes, I love cozy houses and fires in the fireplace, and hot chocolate and snow.
We put up our tree and decorations Tuesday and it was by far the best time doing that since we have had kids. Really not stressful, and only 1 ornament casualty. We listened to Christmas music (Sufjan Stevens Holiday and Sara Groves Holiday on Pandora are awesome) and had popcorn and hot chocolate. Eli and Micah especially were so excited to decorate, and super excited for their "activity." All morning as I was bringing up Christmas bins to decorate that night, they kept talking about this "activity." I could not figure out what activity I had promised to do with them, until finally I realized they meant their nativity. My mom gave them the Little People nativity when they were just babies and it is the most loved Christmas decoration we have. It stays packed away until we decorate for Christmas, and it is just so special to them.
They also love their stockings and this year I hung up Hope's stocking. She obviously won't be with us physically this year, but she is constantly on our minds, and it is such a blessing to know her little face.
On another note, suddenly the boys act like they believe in Santa Claus. We made the decision not to make a big deal out of Santa, neither one of us grew up believing in him, so last year we told them he wasn't real. Either they forgot, or never heard us or something, because they have already drawn him like 20 pictures and have plans for letters and cookies for him. And now I don't have the heart to remind them he isn't real! This is exactly what I was trying to avoid. Whatever, I tried, they just better not blame me when their little hearts are broken after they really hear the truth. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Update 4

These are a couple of things from Hope's nursery. :)

Last week was sort of like an early Christmas as far as pictures go of our baby girl. We received 3
pictures and a video (!) Monday morning from a sweet family who had traveled to Ethiopia to pick up their son. They were able to go to the home B is in and take pictures for us. It was so great to get more than one picture at a time, I felt like I could get a better idea of what she really looks like now, and the video was beyond words. To see her moving and in "real life" was just so wonderful. And then on Tuesday we got another update from our agency. This was the development and height/weight update, and she is doing great. Growing and reaching little milestones. It is always bittersweet when we get new info about her. So, so thankful she is doing so well and in such good hands, but just bummed they aren't our hands yet. We still have not received word about our court date but are definitely still within the estimated time frame. Can I just say though that these two plus months since we received our referral have seemed longer than the previous 7?!

I think her nursery is just about done. We painted the room and dresser and replaced hardware, got a new light, and hung up some pictures. My aunt is also going to make the bedskirt. I love the room, it is soft and sweet, and just waiting patiently for the baby girl it was made for. I found the little doll online and thought it was so sweet, and the picture is one I had in my room growing up.

I also wanted to write down a question Eli asked me a couple of days ago. We have talked a lot about the adoption pretty much right from the beginning, sometimes they ask questions, but usually they just listen. We had told them baby Hope was in a home with a lot of other babies and that she had people there who were taking care of her. He asked why we needed to adopt her if she had people already taking care of her. I thought that was a good question, and just explained that those people were very kind but they weren't like her family.

I just love walking through this journey with my entire family and seeing how we are all processing and learning about it as we go.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Micah's view

Micah has shown a recent interest in taking pictures lately. And while most of the ones he takes are blurry, unrecognizable, or unflattering (double chin and rear end shots anyone?), these are some he has taken that I think turned out pretty good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I realized I have been writing only about adoption stuff lately, meanwhile life with my boys is marching right on. Tonight we celebrated the first snowfall of the season (it actually snowed Friday night but this was the first night we were home since then) with our first fire in the fireplace and smores! Although for everyone except Aaron and I, it was marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate all separate. Not a one of them likes real smores, too much of a mess they tell me. This coming from three boys who can be covered with dirt, sand, and mud up to their ears and not mind at all. Anyway, I am always on the lookout for new traditions, and I hope this one will stick.

I have also been doing preschool at home with them this year. I never actually thought I would homeschool, but just sensed the Lord leading us this way as we started the process of thinking about school. I am just taking it one year at a time, but do plan on doing school at home with them for kindergarten as well. I started out with grand plans and ideas of all of us starting promptly at 9:00 every morning gathered around our table listening attentively and participating actively in each day's lesson. I'm not sure that even made it one day. I do remember Isaac screaming and launching himself across the table to grab a crayon our first day and things going downhill pretty rapidly after that. I have really tried to relax in my approach and make it more about having fun than meeting my expectations. I try to have some one on one time with each of them a couple times each week to work on reading, and we are doing a letter of the week, lots of me reading to them, and other little easy projects. When it clicks it is really fun, and I love seeing them learn new things and get excited. But it is also hard. It's hard to engage them all at once and feel like I am teaching them anything that is helpful or that matters. I also struggle with feeling they are missing out on experiences or activities in a classroom. I do feel good overall about it though, I just realized that even if you do what you feel like the Lord is leading you to do, it can still be hard frustrating. I sure do love hanging out with them though, and consider it such a gift.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Update 3

Well, my titles are ridiculously uninspired! I guess I am feeling a little uninspired lately. Some days I feel fine and strong, and then other days are filled with this anxiety about waiting. I have so been trying to meditate and think about TRUTH, but those doubts and questions are always right around he corner, threatening to pull me in. I do love that we get updates regularly and we received this one last Tuesday. This is what they said about our sweet girl,
B is a very alert and sweet baby! I found her sunbathing this morning at her foster care home with the most content look on her face. She seemed to be taking in all the noises and sights of the other babies and caregivers close by. She had lots of waving arms and active hands as she continually grasped for things around her. When the sun hit her face just right, she would let out the cutest sneezes and then a huge smile would light up her face. Such a doll!" Her picture was also my favorite one yet, and I was again blown away by how much she had changed.

Yesterday I told Aaron that I thought I would just have this little bit of depression hanging over my head until we heard about our court date. He looked at me and said, "Well, that would sure be a waste." Not in a snotty or rude way, but just honestly. And you know what, he is so right. Why would I choose depression instead of joy? Why focus on the negative instead of being thankful? There is a reason we have not been given a court date, and if we do not hear today, it is good. Because God knows when we need to be in Ethiopia, and we will not be there until that time. And that is good. And I trust Him.

Isaiah 26:3
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Update #2

Last Friday, the 15th, we received our 2nd update about B. And another picture! And it was cute! I was beyond excited to see her again, I didn't think we would for another month. She is growing and has changed so much. I started crying when I saw her because she just looked so adorable and it is so hard to not be with her. I noticed right away that her hair was so much curlier, and her cheeks had filled out. She doesn't have that "newborn" look anymore, just cute babyness. :) She is 2.5 months now, 9 pounds and 20 inches, and her developmental chart looks good.
I have been thinking a lot lately about waiting and "waiting well." A friend recently posted several verses about waiting and faith that were so encouraging. (I am posting one of them!) So often I operate in my own strength and depend on my own abilities which ends up being empty and discouraging. But, filling my mind and heart with truth and choosing to believe what I KNOW instead of dwelling on the myriad of things I don't, brings peace. I don't know when we we travel and bring her home, but I do know that her Creator loves her more than I could ever imagine, and will continue to take care of her and watch over her until and after we bring her home with us. I am choosing to dwell on that, day by day.

"I am waiting for the Lord, my soul is waiting for Him, and my hope is in His Word." Psalms 130:5

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We are potty-training Isaac this weekend, and as much as I was dreading it, he is doing really well. Potty-training Eli and Micah was so hard. I didn't really know what I was doing and there were two of them which unfortunately equaled A LOT of frustration on my part. I just remember it as being awful. So, I was definitely not looking forward to conquering this little milestone with Isaac. We started Friday, and I have just tried to be extra patient, somewhat matter-of-fact, and excited for him when he has success. I think he has more juice in the last two days than in his whole life! :) He has started going on his own with me here, but I left last night to go out with a couple friends, and again this morning to go to the grocery store, and he did have an accident each time with Aaron. So, we are not there yet, but getting closer! We set aside this weekend to be home and really give him the attention he needs. He actually gets upset when he has an accident, which I don't remember with Eli and Micah, and seems to get how it all works. Here's hoping anyway!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Our family, not yet complete. :)

I am terrible at waiting. It doesn't seem to matter what I am waiting for when I have an idea about something, I want to do it right away. Waiting up to this point for our baby has not been an issue. The paperwork was overwhelming and hard and seemed never-ending at times, but the end result was still fuzzy. I knew what we were working toward, but in a much less concrete way.
Now I have seen my baby. I have read and re-read everything there is to know about her. I have pored over every picture and studied her face so closely. And I want her home. I want to hold her and kiss her cheeks. Suddenly the wait is DRAGGING on, and it hasn't even been two months since we received her referral. The logical side of me knows we could easily have another 3 months before we even have a court date, which we may not even pass. If we dont' pass then we could wait another couple of months for a new court date, and another couple of weeks before we would travel after that. That is definitely a worst case scenario, but it could happen. All the while she is growing and changing.
We do have things to do to get ready for her, and I do have three other little balls of energy that need me, but I do think about her all day long. Wondering, praying, hoping that we will be with her soon.
Tonight we have our homestudy update (it's been a year already!), which I am not really concerned about at all. I need to do some cleaning, but our caseworker is super sweet, and does a great job at making you feel comfortable.
I am just in this funk about waiting, trying to prepare myself for the worst, but at the same time hoping so much for the best.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Lately I have been thinking about how much I say the word "no." It is almost automatic. It's my first reaction and instinct. Even my boys often will ask me something beginning with, "I think you will probably say no to this, but..." Yikes! I do not want that to be how they think of me, as the mom who always said no. So, I have been putting forth a real effort lately to catch myself saying no, and instead say yes. Because, really most of the time when I say no, it's not because what they are asking is something dangerous or harmful, it's more because it will require a little more of me and I just don't "feel" like it.

I have realized that now we are moving past the physically demanding aspect of parenting, (the things you do because you really have no choice, babies simply cannot feed, change, carry themselves, etc.), that my choices still need to be unselfish ones. Parenting is still not about me, and I still need to be unselfish 99% of the time to be the best mom I can be for them.

So, I am choosing to say yes. Choosing to say yes to, "Mom, can I switch around all the silverware?, Mom, can I help you make supper? Mom, can I put paper balls all over my room?, Mom, can we watch something?, Mom, can we have pancakes
for lunch? Mom, can I do it by myself?"

It's so hard for me to be unselfish and let go of how I think things should be, but I think about my Father, and His grace, patience, abundant blessing, and love toward me, and that is the kind of relationship I want to offer my boys.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Well, I am seriously doubting I will ever go back and finish the posts I started several weeks ago, so here's to starting fresh right where we are! :) The boys and I just returned from a GREAT week in Oklahoma to visit my family. Going to Nana and Papa's house is always such a highlight, and the boys were so excited to go. Aaron had to stay home which was the only bummer about the trip, but I appreciate so much his willingness to be lonely for a week so we could have fun.

The boys immediately dived into the world of nerf guns, gi joes, knights, and disney channel, and I blissfully sank into the world of no dinner making or cleaning. :) Really, my parents do so much to make us feel welcome and loved, and their home is one of the only places I can truly relax.

Some of the highlights:

My mom teaches Kindermusik, and is amazing, so we were able to go to several classes with her. Eli and Micah have done it with her since they were babies when she would come up here to visit us, and Isaac hasn't done it quite as much, but loves it too.

My brothers were around a lot too, which was so fun. My boys adore their uncles, and basically stay as close to them as possible wherever they are. One night my brother Andy had a movie night with them. He took them to rent a movie (Kung Foo Panda) and let them pick out any snack they wanted. They all three came marching through the door when they got home with HUGE bags of jelly bellies and equally huge smiles on their faces.

My mom also took me shopping and out to lunch for my birthday, which hasn't happened in years, and I was reminded as I always am when we are together how much I love her and our relationship. We ate lunch at a great restaurant that we both love, and one we used to go to every once in awhile on our shopping trips.

One night my dad and I took the boys to see my brother Ben coach his junior high football team. We lasted until half time, and then went to Orange Leaf, an awesome frozen yogurt place where you pick your flavor and toppings. Another big hit with my guys! :)

We also went to this great farm, pumpkin patch, corn maze. We were the only ones there and had such a blast! We saw tons of animals, the boys got to ride ponies, and we all went on a hayrack ride and through a corn maze.

It was just a great trip, and such a refreshment for me. Thanks Dad and Mom!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


We received our first update about B! We were told we would receive updates once a month, and I have been eagerly checking my e-mail for the last week hoping to learn more about our baby girl. It is so good to know she is doing well, and hearing and seeing anything about her is a million times better than nothing, even if it is short! Here is what they said about her:
"B—What a beautiful, delicate little doll! B is calm and seems to enjoy a good cuddle. She stares at every thing in wide-eyed wonder. Today, when I visited with her, she was wide awake while her buddies were sleeping. She just lay there, quietly, seemingly listening to all that was going on around her: caregivers talking, doors shutting, babies crying in other rooms. Before long, though, she had nodded off into a peaceful sleep. She had enough of being awake and needed to get back to her favorite activity at this point in her little life." So sweet!

We will hear about her weight and length and developmental milestones around the 15th of each month, and around the 1st of the month we receive pictures and personality descriptions. I sometimes just ache thinking about her, holding her, kissing her cheeks, and introducing her to her three big brothers. Praying our dossier will move quickly through the court!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


So, I have been terrible at blogging lately, and have three other posts that I have started but never finished. Including two monthly updates about our referral wait for months 6 and 7. And then yesterday at about 2:45 or so we got THE CALL!!!

Let me begin by saying I was not expecting it to come until at least October, maybe even November. The average wait time has been 8ish months which would have put us in October. I just didn't want to get my hopes up too much. Anyway, Aaron thought it would be sooner, but it just wasn't really on my radar yet. I was trying to keep my phone closer to me and actually have it on ringer instead of vibrate though, just in case. So, I was folding clothes and my phone rang and it was a Texas number which made my heart jump just a little, and then when I answered it was our case worker, which made it jump a little more, but she was totally calm and didn't give me any reason to think anything until she said, "Well, this is it!" And then I freaked out! I couldn't breathe, I started crying, couldn't talk, but we somehow managed to figure out that I would call Aaron, have him come home, and then call her back.

Waiting for Aaron to come home (all 15 minutes of it) was excruciating! But finally he was here, and we sat down and called our caseworker and she sent us 9 pictures and all the info on our sweet baby girl. She is tiny, just 6 weeks old and not quite 6 pounds. She has huge dark eyes, lots of soft dark hair, and cute little lips. We can't post any pictures or her name on blogs or public sites until we pass court, but she is precious. My heart is aching to be with her, and I think the hardest part of this journey for us has just started. I am so thankful though, that she is safe and being cared for until we can be with her.

The courts are still closed, until September 28th, and then our agency will submit our files and we will wait for our court date, probably another 3 months or so after they open. Then we will travel for our courtdate, and then again for our embassy appointment. So, we still have several months yet to go, but lots to prepare and 3 other little guys here to keep us moving and busy.

Yesterday was a great day, thank you Lord for the gift of seeing her face.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


There are some super cute things that Isaac says that I want to get down before I forget them, because I know I will! He is talking so much, and almost always in sentences. I love hearing what he has to say, and how he says it. I should maybe start correcting him about some of them, so he actually learns how to say them at some point, but they are just too cute!

Some of my favorites:
Clip Clops- Flip Flops
Cecil- Cereal
Hippos- pillows

"That's grossy!" (says this mostly about food at dinnertime, kid is NOT into eating dinner)
"Meany Peany" (his go-to insult)

He is SUCH an easy kid one-on-one, so sweet and so cute. The trouble starts when the big brothers are around, and all too often, three is just a crowd. He competes for attention, and toys and tries to let us all know LOUD and clear that he is not a baby and will NOT be pushed around.

He also pushes limits more than the other two did. Literally tonight Aaron said jokingly, "Isaac, don't push it." And he replied, "I want to; push, push, push." He definitely challenges me on new levels, but also melts my heart in new ways, and I cherish my moments with him.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


*this picture has nothing to do with our adoption, but I was looking
for something with the number 5 in it, and there are five kiddos! Our
boys plus their cousins. :)

Friday marked month 5 of being on the waiting list. I did it again to myself, started anticipating it a couple of weeks before, so on the actual day it seemed like it should have actually been month 6. But, I feel pretty confident that we are over the half-way point with waiting for the referral. The longest anyone has waited for a child in our age range, is 8 1/2 months, so we are getting closer!

I go through different times of being incredibly excited and positive, to other times when I feel worried and overwhelmed about the responsibility we are taking on. Raising a child from another culture we know nothing about, bonding/attaching, the changes our family will experience, etc. I feel more strongly about adoption than ever, and can NOT WAIT to meet our daughter, but sometimes I just feel really freaked out.

I have started praying with the boys individually in their beds, and every night Micah wants to pray for "baby Hope." They have started talking more about her too. Even Isaac. Last Sunday I went to get him from the nursery and he saw a car seat sitting on the floor. He asked, "Baby Hope in there?" And his teacher overheard and said he had been talking about her! Too cute!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Daddy's trip

This summer is suddenly flying by. To me it seemed like May dragged on a bit, but then I blinked and June was over!
Aaron left this morning for a trip to Zambia. This is his fourth time to go, first time leading the trip. I already miss him like crazy, but I also just feel so proud of him. He has had a heart for missions since I think high school, and pictured himself being a full-time missionary overseas. That obviously hasn't happened yet, but I am so thankful for the opportunities he has had to share this love with others. And I feel like finally I am at a point where I understand more of this love he has, and can fully support him in it. And for the first time, I wish I could have gone too.

It is definitely a lot of work for everyone involved. I don't think Aaron has gone to bed before midnight for about the last two weeks, just trying to prepare not only for the trip, but also work stuff while he is gone. But he handles it with such grace and strength. And he still takes care of us too. Checking in with me consistently to see if I need him to do anything, and playing and being with the boys, making sure they are in bed before holing up in his office! :)
There were some tears this morning from Micah, and Eli was really sad on the way home. Isaac saw Aaron's truck when we got back home from the airport, and announced, "Daddy's home!", so I don't think he quite knows what is going on. :)

I started this a few days ago, so here is a little update on what we have been up to while Daddy is gone.
1. My mom came! Woo Hoo! Having her here is always such a joy, and it has been a tremendous help especially with Aaron gone.
2. Fish! Eli and Micah convinced their Nana they needed pets, and so she bought them betas, which they named Jack (Micah) and Bolt (Eli). Eli changed the name of his fish, I think 4 times. First it was Harry, then Angelfire, then Fireangel, and now Bolt.
3. Toy Story! I took Eli and Micah to see Toy Story 3 while Isaac finished his nap with Nana. They loved it, although Micah got a little scared.
4. Pizza, hamburgers, and donuts! Just tradition when Nana comes.
5. Project! The boys made t-shirts with Nana and I today. Micah wanted a race track, and Eli wanted a rainbow, snakes, and water with a boat and fish. Isaac's has different sports balls on it.
6. Picnics and the park! We are trying to wear the boys out each day, so going to the park and having a picnic is a great way to do that. Especially when the park is on the other side of a 1/2 mile pedestrian bridge!

So, all in all we are having fun and staying busy. Eli did say last night that he, "didn't feel good, he didn't feel right, he missed daddy." He seems the most affected at this point, but I know Micah and Isaac miss him too, they just don't verbalize it the same way.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I have had a great week with the boys and just wanted to document that! :) We all had to go grocery shopping together Monday, which I normally avoid at all costs, but had no other good options this week. It definitely had the potential to be horrible, being we had to go to two stores, and one of them was Wal-Mart, but the boys did great. The little bag of snacks I brought for them was a major contributing factor in that I think.
The next day we went to the library, which also has the potential of being horrible. Mostly because of Isaac. He gets this desire to run and scream when I bring him back, which always sounds amplified in a hushed library. But he did not do that this time, he stayed right with me! And for once we were not the noisiest family there! Woo Hoo! I have so much compassion for moms with little ones who are just being little ones and all that that entails, but I also have to say I felt so relieved to have boys that behaved for once, and that I did not vow to never return there again on our way out! :)
Today has also gone well. We all made summer journals together, which I saw on several other blogs, and practiced writing in them today. My goal for the boys is to have them be able to write their names by the end of the summer, so today we practiced their first letters, E and M. Isaac has one too, but his will be filled whatever his little heart desires. Currently, lots and lots of scribbles. :) I have also been seriously considering trying homeschooling, at least for preschool and kindergarten, so I think it will be a good introduction to that too. After that we read on the porch swing for almost an hour, those boys will read FOREVER, ate an early lunch and headed to the pool! I have never taken the three of them by myself, but we have this great little leisure pool right down the street. It is only 2 feet deep and zero entry, so it's perfect for them right now. Eli and Micah loved it and Isaac did too, so I am thinking that may become a new fun thing for us to do.
Anyway, I know that things sort of swing like a pendulum around here from great to not so great, and I wanted to make sure and get down a week that is going great!

Monday, June 21, 2010

There is No Me Without You

I just finished this book, There is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Green. I have been thinking about it nonstop since I started it, and really do not have the words to describe what is has done to my heart. Broken it, stirred it, compelled it, motivated it, all would apply. There is no way I can adequately describe or explain what is going on in Ethiopia, and really all over the world concerning orphans, but if you want a picture of it, read this book. And we all should be aware of these needs.
It is about an Ethiopian woman who found herself taking in orphans, many of them orphaned by AIDS, and the stories behind the statistics. You can really get lost in statistics, they becomes just numbers and not people, they don't seem real, there is no connection. But, when you get to know who those statistics are, when you see a face, hear a name, or hear a story, it changes everything. I read about a 3 year old girl and her 1 year old brother who watched both parents suffer a painful death from AIDS, and then go through more heart wrenching trauma when their remaining family members left them in an orphanage so they would not die of starvation. I was overwhelmed thinking about all of these children who need help, who are suffering in every way imaginable. And literally millions more, just in Ethiopia alone whose stories were not written down, but are in the same situation or even worse.
I have begun to realize how much of my life is about my comfort. I spend my days trying to make things easier for myself, looking forward to the next fun thing we have coming up, or my next opportunity to have a break and spend some time by myself. Meanwhile, children are suffering and dying, many of them alone. Is there a worse thought than that? A child in pain, with no one to hold and comfort them?
A couple of days ago Isaac was having some tummy trouble, and had a blowout diaper in his bed, requiring a bath, clean sheets and fresh pajamas. The thought that kept coming into my mind was, what about all the kids who don't have anyone to clean them up when they are sick? No one to gently wash them up, change them and rock them back to sleep?
I also have been thinking a lot about why I was chosen to grow up in America, with more than enough of everything. Could a big part of that reason be, so I could help others? So I could be an answer to someone's prayers? I remember from another book, The Hole in Our Gospel, that the author, Richard Stearns had traveled to another country and helped a woman in poverty. I think he helped her medically, but am not totally sure. Anyway, he wrote that she had been praying for years that God would provide for her. And God did provide, through this man. I just can't help but feel that there is so much more than working your whole life for a nice house, fashionable clothes, and fun vacations. Maybe part of that "more" is being an answer to someone else's prayers.
I know that nothing I am writing is new or things that we have never heard before, I have heard these things my whole life. But something is changing in my heart, and I am completely convinced that what I am currently doing to help orphans is no where near enough, and probably never will be.

My parents came and spent about a week with us in the beginning of June. We absolutely LOVE spending time with them, and were counting down both the days before they came, and also how many days we had left with them once they were here. We have definitely developed some traditions when they come and stay with us including, pizza, doughnuts, hamburgers, reading books, and on this visit, swinging on the front porch swing.
I have always been close with my parents, and so very thankful for them, but living far away really heightens those feelings. I treasure the time we get to spend together, look forward to it so much and do not take if for granted.
This visit my dad wanted to be available to help my aunts and grandma with things around their house since my grandpa passed away, but he still found time to mow, paint our van, and help my mom wash all of our downstairs windows. I also think I only cooked dinner twice, they either took us out, or my mom even made dinner one evening. Seriously, they are such a tremendous blessing to us, and I am SO thankful my boys have them as their Papa and Nana.

swimming lessons

Eli and Micah finished up their first ever 2 weeks of swimming lessons! They loved them, and were super cute. I wasn't sure what class they should take, so I called to talk with someone about what they would recommend. I said they had never had a lesson before, but were not afraid of the water and would jump in and go completely under. The person I talked to recommended the class I signed them up for, and we showed up ready to go. Isaac was pretty sad at first that he wasn't going to swim too. He tried to find his swimming suit as we were getting ready, and wore his goggles in the van. :)

The boys were by far, the smallest and youngest in the class, the oldest boy was probably 9 or 10 and the biggest boy had at least 50 pounds on them. So, I could immediately see that this was probably not the right class for them, but their teacher encouraged them to stay anyway. They actually did great, they have no fear and tried their very hardest on each new skill they tried. By the end, they mastered floating and are really close to being able to swim underwater on their own. I loved watching them, especially when they would come up out of the water, eyes wide open and huge smiles on their faces.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

These three have been playing so well together the last couple of days. Yesterday they played all morning, with just a couple of interventions.

I almost didn't know what to do with myself. Almost. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010


* the boys being Indians (?)

The other day Eli and Micah wanted to make "lists." They brought us a piece of paper and pen, and wanted to hold the pen with us as we wrote down what they told us. I think they are supposed to be a list of things they like, but a couple of times they sort of diverged from that a little bit. :) We just wrote exactly what they told us, if it made sense or not. After we made them, they wanted me to read them out loud over and over, and they would just dissolve in giggles!

Eli's List
1. Sally (his stuffed monkey he sleeps with)
2. Sarah (both my cousin who babysits, and another stuffed monkey, Sally's mother, that he sleeps with)
3. Polar bear (the bear he got from my brother and sister-in-law for being their ring bearer)
4. Batman shirt
5. Batman underwear
6. Lightning McQueen pajamas
7. Mountain Lions
8. I want mom to stay home (apparently I had gone out for the evening)
9. I love mom
10. I think you're special
11. Daddy's thumb is super big
12. I like eating popcorn during movies
13. Summer shirts (sleeveless shirts)
14. Shorts
15. Going on a trip
16. Granola
17. Mom
18. Dad
19. Workers
20. Our house is so pretty
21. Diego legos are my best
22. Frogs
23. Saw a frog at the pond
24. Caught 3 fish
25. Saw a waterfall and so many dead fish
26. Making a mask
27. I'm glad I went to Wal-Mart with mom really early
28. Going to the Jungle at the zoo
29. Honey
30. Tag baba (his little blanket he sleeps with that he has had since he was a baby)
31. Super heroes
32. Chocolate milk
33. Coloring
34. Eating cereal
35. Fishing

Micah's list
1. Lion (stuffed animal he sleeps with)
2. Playing games
3. Super heroes
4. Chuckie Cheese
5. Toys at the store
6. Bounce U, because we got a pen
7. Hiking
8. Camping
9. Fishing
10. Bringing lunch when we go fishing
11. My mom and dad are the best
12. Eli is my best brother
13. Seeing animals
14. Going to the museum
15. Riding on trains
16. Going to the zoo
17. Making crafts
18. Going to preschool
19. Eating snacks and watching a movie
20. Predators
21. Eating dessert and watching a movie
22. Climbing trees
23. Wish I could be someone who saves people by swinging through the jungle
24. Painting, coloring, and writing pictures
25. Going to the farm
26. Nana and Papa's house
27. Getting magazines in the mail, and reading books
28. Playing
29. Running races
30. Bugs
31. Eating candy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Isaac turns 2

Today is Isaac's 2nd birthday! I seriously feel like this kid was a baby for like an hour. He has grown up SO fast! He is such a sweet boy, makes us laugh all the time, lets us know LOUD and clear when he is not happy about something, and reminds me constantly of the joys of being a mom.

Aaron and I put up our now expected birthday decorations, which received HUGE smiles when we came downstairs, I made chocolate chip teddy bear pancakes for breakfast, and then we headed to church. Tonight Aaron's mom, sister and family, and my grandma and aunts are coming over for dinner to help us celebrate this sweet boy.

His labor and delivery were so different from Eli and Micah's. He was 5 days late, and I had not experienced the 9th month of pregnancy before, so I was in for a VERY rude awakening! I went to the hospital so my mid-wife could break my water, and I sort of thought maybe I could do the whole natural childbirth thing. However, when I realized that was NOT something I wanted to do, he came so quickly the epidural did not have a chance to work. It was fast though, so that was very good! He was also so much bigger than the twins, 8.8lbs to their 5.8.

What I remember most about Isaac as an infant, is how much I feel like I enjoyed him. Having twins right off the bat was a very frantic experience for me. I never felt like I could just relax and enjoy them, it was always feeding, changing, and sleeping But with Isaac, I could take my time nursing, hold him a little longer, rock him a little more without having another baby waiting for me to finish.

Isaac is really talking up a storm these days. He is a little parrot and will repeat anything and everything you say. He is also great at climbing, jumping, and running. He basically runs everywhere he goes. I love when I get him dressed in the morning and as soon as his little toes hit the floor, he takes off! He is really loving being able to walk/run by himself when we go out, and often has this huge smile on his face. In fact when we left church today he was walking out the door on his own and someone said, "He looks so happy!"

Some of my favorite things he says and does are,
-"I did it!" (after doing just about everything)
-making a little gun with his fingers and shooting things (which does not sound all that cute, but his gun sound is like a little grunt)
-when he rides on your back or anything rides on anyone's back he calls it their backpack. So if he rides on Daddy's back, he is "Daddy's backpack"
-when Eli or Micah are bugging him he says in a very urgent voice to anyone around, "Wook, wook!"
-he loves to "rock rock" before nap or bed. He is still a cuddler! And at this point in time he still prefers me to rock him, and has asked for me instead of Dad. :) Which I just love! Being a mom with 3 boys, I have nothing over their dad, so when someone actually wants me instead of Dad, I eat that up!
-when he gives you a hug, he basically just leans into you
-he thinks he is four, that is how old he says he is when you ask him

Isaac, I love you so much! You are such a precious blessing to our family, you make us laugh, and amaze us with how much you are learning and how fast you are growing. Thank you for being such a light in our family!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

daddy day

Last Saturday Aaron took all three boys on a "Daddy Day," for the entire day. It was part of my Mother's Day present, and it was awesome. He was so sweet about it, and really wanted to be out of the house the whole day, so he made all these plans. They left about 9:15 and got home at 5:30.They went to a park, Bounce U, McDonald's, fishing, and hiking. Just thinking about that is exhausting and super stressful to me! He said it was great, all except for some meltdowns about naptime when they were fishing. :)

It was such a gift to have that time to myself. Time to leisurely take a shower and get ready, casually browse through stores I never go to anymore, read on our porch swing, and visit a friend who had just had a baby. I fully appreciated it, and the sacrifice of my husband, giving up any downtime for himself so I could have a whole day.

It was also such a great reminder of how much I love my boys, and miss them and all their crazy noise when they are gone. All four of them crashed HARD that night, such great memories!