Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heart for Orphans Guest series

I'm super excited that today a post I wrote is being featured over at Christian Alliance for Orphans' blog, Heart for Orphans Guest series.  I love the work that the Christian Alliance for Orphans does and someday hope to be able to attend one of their Summit conferences (for information about attending this year's conference, Summit VIII, and what it's all about you can go here).

It is an honor to have something I wrote associated with this ministry that mirrors my heart for the least of these, I hope you will click on over there and check it out, and while you're there check out some of the previous blog posts featured over there, I'm sure they will encourage and inspire you as much as they did me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dead animals and Live ones!

Spring breaks should always go out in a bang, something to get you through those last two months of school until the summer gets here and life is just one big spring break.

So for our last day of spring break, we headed over to Waco and was pleasantly surprised at just how much there is to do there, we had a hard time choosing.  But in the end the animals won out, and to be fair to all animals we visited the dead one and the live ones (we are very equal opportunity around here).

this lady agreed to take our picture and then snapped it before saying anything to warn us, so here we are...
We stopped at the Mammoth exhibit that opened a few years ago, first and found it fascinating!  It is the only place in the world where you can see a herd of mammoth bones (or something like that).  They found the bones with the mommy mammoths surrounding their children to try and protect them for the flood/mud slide that killed them.  This made me happy to know that although extinct mammoths were really good mommies.

Jack was a little troubled by the whole mammoth experience though, it seemed to connect the dots in his head that things die, we will die someday, that seems scary.  We talked about how we will go to heaven when we die and it's ok to find the whole thing scary.  He's still got death and giant animals on the mind though.  A couple of days ago he asked me what used to be where our house was before there was a house and then if a giant dinosaur would knock our house down with his tail someday(??).

We really enjoyed the exhibit though and definitely recommend it should you find yourself over that way.  I will warn you it is small, it's just the dig site, but I suspect someday when they're able to raise the money they will add a museum.  Kylynn totally digged it (hah!) and asked the tour guide all kinds of questions.

We then ate lunch at the Health Shack, which I think is supposed to be quasi famous, and been in Waco for over 60 years, but we all gave it a 2 out of 5 stars, it was ok but really not good enough to be worth the calories.

Next it was time for the zoo.  The zoo on spring break, you say, have you lost your ever loving mind, indeed we have.  We parked at some industrial site a few miles away and hiked on over there (this made me feel better about the whole lunch thing).  Even crowded I do love Cameron Park zoo.  It is just big enough and has ever animal you could want to see.

I was a little troubled this visit by this lion who seemed very sad that no matter how loud he roared at that little girl she never did get scared.  Later we saw a leopard in a very small "cage" that had anxiety problems and couldn't stop pacing even for a moment.  I won't get into an animal rights debate but it did make me sad to see how obvious it is that these animals were never meant to be caged and it made me think about what our responsibility is for the way we care for animals (big thoughts I know!) :).

All that aside, we had a wonderful day, God went before us and prepared the way, we got done with the zoo exactly at closing time and every child was happy as pie.  We headed over to Jason's deli for dinner and I declared it the best salad place ever.  I'm sorry Souper Salad, but you are never going to make it if you cannot do better, you should have the best salad bars, it's in your name!

The kids crashed as we drove home and I got to have an hour and half un-interupted conversation with my love, are you kidding me!!  Talk about going out with a bang!  It was a spring break to remember for sure.

*no we did not have spring break again this week, yes I am a week late with this post

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much lately but....

You would think after four years of blogging, I would be good at this, I would have crossed over the threshold into blogs that will stand the test of time.  Well maybe you wouldn't, but I think those things.  But as of late I have been a horrible blog slacker and it scares me, because this blog is pretty much the only outlet I have.  Writing is the one activity (that I do!) that I enjoy and is purely for me, it's one of the few (non-mommy) things that I feel like I am *somewhat* good at.

But all hope is not lost, we are allowed seasons in our lives, right?  And we can learn from our mistakes and make better choices next time, so they tell us at least.  I have a lot of good reasons and some pitiful ones to blame for my lack of blogging lately.  In no particular order I give you my "I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much lately but..."

I have three kids, ok the lady who just gave birth to her 7th over at Vitafamiliae still manages to blog everyday, but I have yet to figure out her secret.  As it is my children fill up my day to overflowing and often fill up parts of the night.

They invited Pinterest.  At the end of a long day (are the days ever short?) if I want to veg I am no longer limited to checking on the blogs I love, I can click over to Pinterest and see what they're pinning.   After getting sucked in I leave feeling like my eyeballs are going to fall out from staring at a screen that long.  When I'm done the last thing I want to do is do something else on the computer.

I am questioning how much I should be sharing about our life, our struggles with our children, and what we do on a regular basis with the whole world (because you know the whole world is reading :).  But as they get older I sometimes want to tell you this crazy/horrible/hilarious thing they did and think but would they want that up on the internet for all to know, probably not.  So that leaves me just confused enough to throw my hands up in the air and click over to Pinterest instead.

I joined facebook.  It has not been the time suck that people warned me about, but still it's one more thing that I put before checking in over here in blogland.  In addition sometimes when I'm really excited about something, like getting our IRS refund after 10 months of fighting I share it there instead of here and once out of my head I forget all about it and am left thinking I have nothing to blog about.

I am tired in a way I've never been before.  We are all still adjusting around here to being a family of five, to the challenges and stresses adoption can bring to a family.  This past year I have learned so very much about my inadequacies, about my need for a community to help me on this road, about what it means to rejoice in suffering.  I have found some great books, some great friends, some great support and I know that God will provide everything we need for this journey but that doesn't change how much it takes out of me each day.

So those are my excuses, both the good and bad, and some others have been kept quiet, lest you get sick of my complaining (I'm working on it :).  But one of my goals for 2012 (it's something I plan on blogging about soonish...) is to return to blogging two times a week, because this blog is important to me for many reasons.  Top of the list is you, the people who come here a read my attempts at writing and most especially those of you who have reached out to me and become real life friends who were my first support group and to this day some of my favorite people.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring has sprung

I credit Pinterest (and yes it is impossible for me to have a single post without talking about them) for it, this spring break has been amazing!  I am way more laid back and unorganized than I ever like to admit so most spring breaks we pretty much just take a break from, well, everything :).

We had our pajama/fort building/movie day on Friday and it was enough to fuel me for some get out the house time the rest of the week.  Monday we put on our rain boots and headed out for a nature hike.  The kids had so much fun and I hurt my cheeks smiling at their joy in splashing and their sheer excitement in finding a worm!! a rolly polly!! look mom a giant stick!!

We also had lunch with Daddy on Monday, which was Jack's only request for what fun thing he would like to do over spring break, now that will make a Daddy feel special.  Tuesday we headed to Target (which is a highly requested destination from the kiddos, though you know I happily oblige).  They love Target because they know they get to have popcorn and they wanted to spend some of their money that they had saved up or gotten as a gift.  Mommy got two new spring Essie nail polish colors with her money, so it was a win win.
image credit
That afternoon we made cookies, well ok most people would not call them cookies, they were healthy peanut butter cookies from Dr. Oz (one guess where I found the recipe), they contained no butter or sugar and very little flour.  Anyways I've been trying to change our eating habits around here and so I was excited about these cookies and I had ever thing on hand.  Only after finishing the dough did I start to read the reviews and realize uh-oh everyone says they're horrible.  So I went back and added some baking powder, some salt to help bring out some of the sweetness, and some chocolate chips because let's face it my children will eat anything if it has chocolate chips in it.  They were still just barely pasable, but Kylynn loves them (I love that girl) Jack has managed to get down one (score, snuck fruit into him!) and Chloe loves to break them into a million pieces and feed them to the dog.

Wednesday was a bit non-spring break of a day for us, Jack had speech in the morning and then we ran errands.  But we got to have lunch with our adoption group and it was one of the highlights of the week for me.  The park was swarming with adoptive/interracial families, and I got to meet several new families.  It was so comforting to see something that I have been asking God for since we began this process become a reality, families like ours to walk along side of on this journey, God's goodness is always overwhelming to me when I stop and pay attention.

Today I kind of lost my mind and decided that I should do a craft with the kids, after all crafting is Kylynn's love language and it's something I never do with her.  I found this shaving cream painting project for Easter and thought I can do this...maybe (that's the best it gets when it comes to me and crafts).  First I gathered all my supplies and could not find the construction paper anywhere so we spent the next 20 minutes searching and gave up and headed out to the dollar store.  Perhaps it should be noted that I look like I have the flu with my sweats/old t-shirt/frizzy hair/no make-ups self, but we only need one thing, and I have no time for dignity when I just want to get this crappy fun craft done.  We came home with three things but still they were only a dollar and began our project.  Kylynn had fun and they even turned out like they did in the pictures on-line (mostly).   But the thing about crafts is there is always cleaning involved so I spent about 30 minutes returning our garage/children/cookie sheets back into their normal color.  So if you get an egg card from us for Easter know that it was 3 hours of my life I will never have back again, and that is how much I love you.

I will now go and recover by sleeping and then only if there's time taking a shower.  Tomorrow Daddy is taking off of work (can I get an Amen!) and we're off for an adventure and I do mean adventure because we have no idea what we're doing, but by golly we are going somewhere and doing something!

How's the break going friends?  What is the most fun things you've done?  Did it involve crafting :)?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let the break begin

Spring break started a little early around here, the kids don't have school on Fridays, it's rainy and cold, so I declared it pajama day.

One of Jack's friends gave him the coolest birthday gift ever, a fort kit (apparently you can find this on pinterest, of course :)  We got the fort up, which is difficult for moms, but I got it figured and and we let the fun begin.

The kids are watching Milo and Otis, eating popcorn and drinking lemonade, and it's only 11 in the morning.  I'm trying my best to slow down this week, to not yell, to be with my kids, to let some of the chores go.

Chloe perhaps has different goals in mind, as she can't seem to stop hitting/pinching/poking the big kids.  She also threw her popcorn all over the floor.  But I'm trying to remember she's only one and perhaps some attention from me might help with these behaviors.

I'm going to get on pinterest later today and plan out some fun things we can do this week.  How about you, what are you doing for spring break?  And if you have any ideas for me, I would love to hear them, creative I am not :).

Monday, March 5, 2012

This Birthday party was brought to you in part by Pinterest

blowing out the candles
Jack turned four at the end of February.  I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that, four, four is a big kind, officially no longer a toddler.  And everyone knows a big kid deserves a friend birthday party, something I try and avoid when they're too young to know or care who attends their birthday party.  So I spent some time on pinterest and planned out a Fireman birthday party, at the request of the four year old.

we had a pinata, Chloe figured it out without instruction :)
First I did the ol' evite of course, but for the kids in his class I needed a physical invitation so I copied Rage Against the Minivan's idea and printed out the evite as a photo, to pass out to all the kids in his class.  They turned out great and cost me 10 cents a pop.

For the cake I knew that no amount of pinning would help me turn out anything other than a hot pink cake with chicken scrawl that said "Happy fireman Birthday party Jack." So I turned to a professional who also happens to be a dear friend (I'm telling you folks if you cannot craft to save your life surround yourself with those who can and you will never be disappointed).  When I saw what she had made Jack I cried, yes I'm for real, all I had told her was it's a fireman birthday party and ps- can you use lots of frosting because I love your frosting so much I want to eat it with a spoon.  And she came up with this amazing firetruck cake, with all these details like "ladder 4" and "JCFD" (Jack C fire department) on it.  I really couldn't believe that she expected us to cut it up and feed it to everyone like it wasn't a piece of art, until I remembered the frosting and I decided it was worth it.

I tried to keep the food simple considering the party was not going to overlap a meal time and it's enough to make anyone lose their mind trying to clean a house with three children still in it!  So I just did chips and candied jalapeno dip (it was ridiculously good), fruit, pigs in a blanket, and these amazing ham and cheese crescent rolls (have I told you how much I love that blog).  I'm known for overdoing it in the food department, but actually most of it was eaten up and it wasn't even me who ate it :).

All the decorating came straight from pinterest.  I thread balloons using a thread and needle and hung them up all over the house, we cut up plastic table cloths and hung them above the food table and the gift table, and at the last minute I rolled out some wrapping paper as a table runner on the snack table.  It was the most decorating I have ever done for a party but it was all easy and looked great.  I was up till the wee hours in the morning threading 50 balloons and hanging them though out the house, easy but time consuming.

The party really felt like a success and I think Jack felt loved and celebrated the way I hoped he would.  Besides his friends and their families we had a lot of our family come down, which was like icing on the cake (hah!).  I'm still finding a balloon here and there over a week later, and I've made a mental note: come July when the kids are making you feel like you might run away from home, head to the dollar store and buy them some balloons, fill them up and let them play, hours of fun!