Saturday, April 30, 2011

My beautiful girl

We needed some more Chloe pictures on this here blog, don't you think?  Isn't she gorgeous?






Today has been such a nice day, it's like she turned a corner in her sleep last night, she doesn't seem scared anymore, not of the dog, not of Daddy, and not of people.  God is working, praise Him for He is good!

"Praise the LORD!  Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures forever!
2Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
   or declare all his praise?"
Psalms 106:1-2, The Holy Bible


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Linking it up

Loved this article I read in my local paper: Stand Up!  It made me shout hallelujah after reading, "scientists reported that people who had high levels of non-exercise activity but didn't exercise much burned more calories a week than those who ran 35 miles a week but had moderate levels of non-exercise activity."  Totally worth your read, find out one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health.


Two posts by Dr. Moore over at Moore to the Point I thought were so important for Christians to read.  Arousing ourselves to death, such an important topic in the church today, "This means that our churches cannot simply rely on accountability groups and blocking software to combat this scourge. We must see this as darkly spiritual and, first and foremost, reclaim a Christian vision of human sexuality."


What does Earth day to do with Good Friday, was a refreshing article about what a Christian's role is in caring for earth.  "That means that this Good Friday, and this Earth Day, we need to love what God loves: his entire creation. We need to conserve and care for the good earth that God has created. And we need to remember that, ultimately, the curse is rolled back by a bloody cross." 


Want to see what God is doing in Haiti, I was going to send you over to Sit a Spell to see how you can make a HUGE difference in the lives of new mothers and their babies in that country, but today I saw God already raised the 15,000 dollars that they needed.  It does my heart good to remember what a big God we serve, it all belongs to Him.  But do check out, If they could only stay, to see how you can pray.



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Easter weekend


We had a blessed Easter weekend celebrating the resurrection of our Savior.  We decided not to travel this year and had a relaxing weekend, that Kyle declared the best Easter ever.


Friday my new best friend came over and cleaned my house for me, okay I had to pay her but she did such a great job that I love her now, please don't tell her how much I love her or she'll be too scared to come clean my house anymore, and that would ruin my life.


Saturday, Kyle continued reading the Easter story to the kids, he decided that they would understand and remember it better if they acted it out, so I often walked into a room to find Jack as a solider or Kyle hanging on the cross.



We also cooked, a lot.  Kyle's family has a tradition of making "bunny bread" each Easter, it's a sweet bread and it is one of my favorite things on earth, I wish I could convince them to make "wreath bread" at Christmas time.  We had invited some friends over for Easter dinner so I prepped a lot of the dishes knowing that it was going to be hard to get it all ready on Sunday with three kids running around.



The kids dyed eggs, which was not really as much fun as I had hoped.  I had to try and keep Chloe from pulling over the mugs and Jack wanted to dye his hands more than the eggs, the eggs he wanted to crack.  Then he got stung by a wasp.  After that we were pretty much done.  During all the cooking it occurred to me that I had not had Mexican food since before we left for Korea, one month ago!, this became an emergency and we went out to Gina's for the best Mexican food in town, they're hard to find but totally worth it.






Sunday we attended our church and enjoyed a sermon reminding us of what God's grace means, that it is offered to us without cost, it is not mostly free, but actually, totally, free.  We headed home for an egg hunt, where the kids complained anytime they found an empty egg, and would throw it back on the ground and leave it there...kids these days.


We had a wonderful time with our friends, the food was really good, and it was nice to get to know everyone a little better.  And when it was all said in done I was left with lots of left overs and a good excuse to sit down and catch up on my shows.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beauty will Rise



"Beauty will Rise" by Steven Curtis Chapman.  All week I've been singing it in my head, thinking of my life, of my children's lifes, seeing such beauty and remembering when we thought it was ash.  There are things in my life that I feel like if I could lay it all out in front of someone, show them the proof of what it surely was, what it more surely is today, they couldn't help but believe in this God, the one true God who is all about trading us beauty for ashes.

"Out of these ashes beauty will rise."*  All day I kept hearing it, all day remembering what today is.  A day to remember the worst day, the ugliest day, a day that on the surface was nothing but ashes.  The day our Savior died, though He lived a perfect life, he was beaten and hung, and then the real pain, He took upon Himself the penalty for the sins of the world.  Darkness, pain, tears, and despair.

And yet death could not contain Him, God would take these ashes and make such beauty, it was something we could have never dreamed.  Life, in abundance for you and for me, for everyone, our sins forgiven.  We can now enter eternity to live with our Savior.  Such beauty,  those who despaired that day could never have imagined, could never have expected that in order for this beauty God needed ashes to work with.

"For we know joy is coming in the morning."*  This Easter we already know the ending, we've tasted the beauty and know soon there will be more, soon there will be nothing but beauty.  We can endure the pain of this world, our heavenly Father is working, taking the ashes to build beauty into our lives.

"This is the promise, it will take our breathe away to see the beauty that He's made out of the ashes."*  Have you seen it?  The beauty, it's for all of us.  He loves you desperately, so desperately he found a way to be able to bring you home to Him, will you let Him?

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit" Isaiah 61:1-3


*All quotes are from the song "Beauty will Rise" by Steven Curtis Chapman

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A date with Daddy


Kylynn is by far the biggest trooper around here these days.  Since Chloe came home she has been my right hand man (I wrote this post late the other night and wrote my "right arm man," I'm tired y'all), grabbing a diaper here, picking up a cup there, entertaining, calming and even once trying her hand at feeding Chloe.


She very rarely complains, even when I ask her to go up the stairs to get something I forgot, again.  She has been acting entirely more mature than her four years.  She is nothing but thrilled to be a big sister again and loves to help so much that she will come up to me and ask me how she can help (with enthusiasm!)  The other day she was sad that there was no more laundry to fold (actually that sometimes makes me sad too but that's another post).


In order for her status as the big sister around here to mean more than work we have been working really hard at spending individual time with her.  She has gotten to go on several dates with Daddy these past few weeks, one of them was to our local skating rink to an "exposition" (I just had to check with Kyle if it was right that it was an "expedition," aren't y'all glad I proof read these things :) they had one night for free.  Turns out it was basically like a skating recital open to the public, but Kylynn loved it, and decided to use all the stars from her star chart for two weeks! to go ice skating.

 
I am told that she did really well and after only two hours was able to skate alone for 50 feet before falling.  She said that she fell several times but still has decided that she wants to go ice skating everyday (that won't be happening anytime soon).  Thank the Lord for my hubby, he has been so helpful in taking out Jack and Kylynn on different activities so that they feel special too.  All day with me they are mainly told to hold on a minute, hurry up we've got to go, be quite Chloe's sleeping, and wait downstairs I'm going to go put Chloe down for a nap, so he's really our hero around here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday

*I made my first attempt at cooking in bulk last night, I made these brown bag burritos.  Cooking in bulk and freezing is something I think is such a great idea but has never really seemed great enough to actually do it.  It was about 2.5 hours of work and for that I got 20 burritos in my freezer, not bad.  I'm going to need to get off my butt in the evenings and do this more often if I'm going to survive with three kids and no more meals delivered to my door.

*In my mid-twenties I had a revelation, suddenly for the first time in my life I felt like I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, I knew what I would love to do AND actually be good at: a professional organizer.  Now nothing ever came of this realization but I filed it away in the back of my mind for a future career I could do after having kids.  As I look around my house today I'm wondering if maybe I'm like those really disillusioned kids on American Idol who truly believe that they can sing but are horrible.  I need a Simon in my life, anyone?, I used to be organized, and in my head I still am, but my children have showed me that perhaps I was quite confused to think I deserved the title of "professional."

*Jack's new favorite phrase is "that makes me cry," you've really got to hear him say it, he changes his voice to his "I'm telling a joke" voice, and draws out the word cry, apparently he has learned that this is funny, so he says it all day long.  Jack would you like a brownie, "that makes me cry...."

*Kyle recently told me that he thinks we need a clothes category in our budget.  It's true for the six or so years we've kept a budget we have not had a "clothes" category.  We've been able to get by with getting clothes for gifts and buying a few things here and there under other categories.  This means that both of us regularly wear clothes from 8 years ago and I often catch myself wondering why my "new" jeans have a holes in them only to realize I bought them 4 years ago.
*Our home church (think bible study) had an Easter event for everyone.  Our host had cascarones hid amongst the plastic eggs.  If you don't know what cascarones are they are eggshells that have been emptied out and refilled with confetti.  One of the little boys there decided to crack one on someone's head inside the house, luckily for the host, none of landed on the floor, no it all went into my purse.  I've yet to clean it out, truthfully it'll be like that till I change purses, perhaps this is more evidence that professional organizer is not my calling.



*We have stairs.  I pretty much hate that we have them except for one thing, I would weigh 20 lbs more if it wasn't for how many times I go up and down them in a day.  This basket is the one of the most important things in our house.  Everyday we fill it to overflowing with the items that need to be returned upstairs when we pick up in the evening (80% of it is stuff Kylynn brought down).  The best part is I got that basket out of someone's trash, yes I am one of those people.

EveryDaytheWonderfulHappens

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A simple man

As he approached our table in our first adventure in eating out with three children, I knew he wanted to tell us something about our kids.  A compliment, a shared experience, an overly nosey inquiry into our family, I have become used to them in the two and half years of being a mixture of blue and almond eyes, pale and brown skin.

I sized him up, the baseball cap, the starched jeans, the tattoo on his forearm, the fact that he was eating alone.  A older gentleman, a southern man, a simple man, a small part of me tensed just in case he had an insult for us, some hatred for seeing a family of different races, white faces loving brown faces.  But then I noticed his eyes, he had kind eyes and I began to relax.

He told us of his granddaughter and how she came to join their family.  He said that he hadn't understood, why would his son and daughter-in-law would want "someone else's child" after all they are already had a son, a real son.  He seemed to be admitting a secret he'd never shared, he needed to confess, he thought they were making a mistake.

"But she has made our family complete."  I bit the inside of my cheek to keep the tears in.  This man who went on and on telling us about his granddaughter, how she is smarter than everyone in her class, how fast she can climb the stairs, the way she looks up to her older brother.  She plays the guitar, she's in second grade, and she knows where everything in that house is.

"You have a blessed family."  A man, who once didn't understand adoption, who couldn't understand loving a child born from another, couldn't hide the fact that the love of his life is a little eight year old girl born in China.  His joy was too big to keep for himself.

It made me smile seeing him there, a simple man, who never would have dreamed his granddaughter would be Chinese, never would have expected that what they're family was missing they would find in opening their hearts to a plan that looked so much different from their own.  A man who wanted us to know, once he didn't understand adoption, but now he does.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday

-It turns out today is not Wednesday, who knew.

-Jack stayed home "sick" from school today.  It is all my fault and if I wasn't feeling sick myself I never would have let him get away with it, apparently I made it a little to fun to be sick when I had to pick him up on Tuesday from school.  I tried to make today entirely boring and yet on the way home from picking up Kylynn, he told her he had a lot of fun today, but he is not missing another day of school.

-Last week we had a flat tire on our way to school, don't worry I didn't make it off of my street.  Kyle came to the rescue and after getting the kids to school we took the van to be repaired and told me it would be done in an hour and he had to go back to work.  I started to cry, right there in front of like 50 people in discount tire, it was not one of my prouder moments.  In my defense, I hadn't eaten breakfast, Chloe's breakfast had been cut short, she had on no shoes or socks, and I had been a mommy to three for only 1.5 weeks at the time.  My poor husband, felt bad, calmly reminded me I could walk over to the kolache place next door, and went back to work.

-That hour turned out to be one of the best times I've had with her, no distractions, no other children, just a whole hour to look at her and talk to her and make her giggle.  Plus I got to eat kolaches for breakfast, do they have these in other areas of the country?

-Is it just me or is there a big trend out there for women (of all sizes) dressing like strippers as they go about their regular days.  I was at Kroger the other night and I was just dumbfounded, I came home and told Kyle, I was the only woman in that store that didn't look like she was on her way to the strip club, and I'm not exaggerating y'all, it was not pretty.

-Kylynn's name was supposed to be Lila.  That is my grandmother's name and she is one of my favorite women on the planet, plus the name is old and classic and really beautiful.  Kyle would not have it, he said it sounded like "an old lady name."  Since my grandmother is an old lady I guess that makes sense, but every old lady was once a baby, this logic did not change his mind.

-I would pay large amounts of money, give away treasured items, sail the farthest seas if that would make my youngest sleep more than 30 minutes at a time.

-The only parenting book that I would recommend to new mommies and I read plenty before having Kylynn (not a one since) is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, it is a great book and is very helpful regardless of whether you are comfortable with allowing your children to cry.

EveryDaytheWonderfulHappens

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How does your garden grow


I have a garden.  And by "I" I mean Kyle, he builds it each season, he waters it, cares for it, and does anything that involves work when it comes to the garden.  I am blessed to be the one who picks, cooks, and eats from the garden. 


Running on the side of our wall we have our blackberry bushes, we planted four 18 months ago, three of them made it and this is their first season to produce.  They have thorns like you wouldn't believe, so brutal.  Kyle has since learned that their are other varieties that don't have thorns and one that produces both in the fall and spring, live and learn.  Also if you're patient we've discovered that they spread, so you could start with just one and have more as time goes by.


In the first bed we have our onions we planted this winter, these are in all three beds and when they mature we will have onions to last us half the year, you have to hang them up to dry in panty hose (really you do) but that way they'll last until you're ready to use them.  In the front of the onions are some left overs from the other beds and one of my favorite things on the planet, basil.


The next bed has our tomatoes, yummy, you cannot plant enough tomatoes in my opinion, if you have too many at once give some away and make salsa with the rest.  From our fall garden we got a ton of huge tomatoes, then we had an early freeze so Kyle picked them all green (around 100 tomatoes...I really think that's right but I am horrible at estimating things like that) and placed them in a box, put newspaper on top, and stacked more, over and over until we had them all in there, that way we could eat on layer at a time, slowly over the next two months, it worked great.


The last bed has our green beans in it, which we've discovered you have to find the right variety, we've had some that were really tough and stringy, but this variety* is really good.  We also have our eggplant in this bed, which we've never done before, so far it's looking great, and I'm really excited because I love eggplant and it tends to be pricey.


Our general rule of thumb for planting is to plant the fruits and veggies we love and are expensive.  So for example, we don't plant carrots because they run about 75 cents for a bag of 8, even though we love them, we only have so much space.  So what's in your garden this spring?

*if you want any info on the varieties we plant email me and I'll ask my handyman hubby, he knows but I just don't.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April in Texas


If you live further north I'm not sure if the following post will make you envious or disgusted but for us Texans, April means it's time to bust out the swimsuits.


After a morning that made me want to look into permanent ear plugs, I decided that we were getting out of here.  I did the "non-planned only a two hour window between naps hurry up" and grabbed a bunch of stuff threw it in a bag and we were out.

 
For some reason it's always the case that it is windy and 10 degrees cooler at the splash pad then it was in our front yard, but by golly we were there to splash and so they splashed.


We picked up some chickfila on the way home which made everyone so happy, they went from crying and whining to telling me just how very much they love me, the world's best mommy, chicken nuggets does that to my children, well to me too to be honest.


In the end I was rewarded with all three children napping at the exact same time, I'll give you a few minutes to reflect on the goodness of God.....It was lovely and I had almost two hours to try and go back to being a slightly groomed mommy with a half way presentable kitchen, I'll take it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No housework day, I promise

I keep having "one of those days" which makes them more like, "just another day" which is scary y'all, not to mention it's not even noon yet.

But on the way home from the tire place, when my one year old fell asleep in the car and woke up as soon as we got home, I heard this beautiful piece of news: Today is No Housework day!

I'm not sure who says so, but I googled it and it's legit, so please take the day off from housework, tell your hubby that it's all my fault, and take a nap (if you don't have a crying one year old), watch some HGTV (if you've got cable), read a book, go for a walk, RELAX.  Whatever you do don't do housework, unless you are the member of the family for whom everyday is no housework day, well then today is your day to do the housework, I promise that's what the google told me, and everyone know google is the boss!

And hey at the end of the day just for grins take a picture so you can appreciate just HOW MUCH you do everyday, it's a lot, it's a whole lot.

It's off to the rocking chair I go, hi ho, hi ho :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the phenomenon sweeping the nation

I wanted to write a "Whatnot Wednesday" post today, I really did even though I hadn't taken the time to think it through, in order to have lots of randomness to say, but it's been one of those days.

You know the ones where you spend your morning at speech and your afternoon at a three hour check up for your youngest two children.

You know the ones where the doctor gives you so many papers for perscriptions and referals and follow ups, that leaves you wondering exactly how you will find the time and sanity to take your kids to all those appointments.

The ones where you get home at almost five o'clock and think that maybe moving would be easier than trying to clean up your house and counting the minutes till Chloe goes to bed so you can let the dog out (miss Chlo is not a fan of dogs) so that you can have clean floors again.  What! you don't clean your floors that way, well aren't you Martha Stewart, I'm just getting by y'all, just getting by.

So in the end I settled for this whiny lovely post, but want to tell you to go check out the new phenomenon sweeping the nation that is "Whatnot Wednesday".  Wednesday are quickly becoming my favorite day because of it and if you need a "neti pot for your brain" link up!

EveryDaytheWonderfulHappens

ps- What the hey is up with my pictures on the sidebar, it looks like I'm some weird mama who loves her girls but is not so proud of the boys, really I have no idea what I'm doing on this thing and that's just how the pictures uploaded, but I'd love for them all to be big, including my jackie and handyman, I'll ask the hubby for some help!



Monday, April 4, 2011

Jackisms

Jack was born to be the middle child, he is our clown, the one who can always make me laugh.  Here are some of his phrases that have gotten a smile or a full out laugh from me in the past week.

"maybe mommy, but probably not"

"Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highway" (his interpretation of Hosanna in the Highest)

"Mommy, I could do that all day long"

"my baby sister is gorgeous"

"Chloe your my angel"

Me: "how do you know that?", J: "I don't know, I read it somewhere"

"it's okay, mom, it's okay"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Finding the balance


I struggle to find a balance in blogging about my life, our adoptions, and my children.  On one hand there is the desire to share, to find community, to show off my cute kids.  On the other hand is the desire to protect their privacy, and for that reason there is much about my children that is kept inside our family.


When it comes to the journey of adoption I want to be able to encourage people and I want to not be a whiner, but on the other hand there is the importance of understanding that international/special needs/older children adoptions can be hard.  We've all seen the rise in recent years of failed adoptions/placements and it's really a sad trend that is caused to some degree by families choosing to adopt for the wrong reasons or without any knowledge on what they're getting into.  On the other hand it is my opinion that the (much) bigger problem in our church today is people who choose to ignore God's leading to adopt.


So I struggle to find a balance and hope that I didn't cause any great pity on my behalf after my last post, remember it had only been a few days, and everyday (so far) it's getting better and getting easier.  I have found a way to get Chloe to sleep without having to have her cry and I am so happy about that.  She really seems to enjoy me and is beginning to trust me.  The girl hates grass :) just like Jack did when he came home, but we'll work on that soon.  Someday she'll love to play outside as much as her siblings.


I have gotten me some sleep and am feeling much better.  I have definitely been convicted that I need to use my time more wisely now that I've got three kids and one that is young enough to need my constant attention.  Sleep is often an idol for me, and God is always beckoning me to come to Him first and not pass Him up for some sleep.  This next week we have somewhere to be everyday at 9, so it'll be a good week for all of us to get back into a regular schedule, and for me to begin to train myself to rise before my kids and commit my day to the Lord.


I took all three kids on our first real outing (not just school drop off) to the library and we all did good and had fun, which is good because we will spend a lot of time at the library this summer.  Let's pray by the summer she remembers that she loves the water, the foster mother said she does, but for now she is terrified during her baths.


Jack has decided that he would like to potty train now, which really just makes me smile, why not throw another ball in to juggle, and hey you can't ever be sad about a motivated potty trainer.  We had some, umm, interesting moments in the front yard yesterday, as he peed (in the FRONT yard) facing the street and our neighbors.  It made me laugh so hard, I couldn't care, it was even funnier because he can't seem to get down the part of letting everything out at once, so he peed three times in 10 minutes.

video

Life is really been quite good around here, when it's all said and done we've got our baby girl home, we have this love that seems too big sometimes, God has taken care of all our needs and our wants-he cares about those too, don't forget that.  I'm seeing the love He's lavishing around here right now and all I can do is sit back in awe.