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. :)