Sunday, October 31, 2010

What do a Fighter Pilot, a 50s girl, and Iron Man have in common?

A fighter pilot, a 50s girl, and Iron, what do they have in common?

They're all mine!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's nearly Friday, please don't ask for a title.

I'm fighting a battle around here.

A battle against The Sand and The Mulch.

My 3 year old attends preschool 2 morning per week where they have a really fabulous playground that includes 2 huge sandboxes, 1 sandbox even has a full-size playhouse inside where the kids can pretend cook with sand! His class has playground time last thing before they go home, so I pick up my son and he is covered in sand. There is sand in his hair, sand caked onto his sweaty little cheeks, and gallons of sand in his shoes. I do my best to brush him off, dump out his shoes outside but still, it makes it's way in! And to be dealing with this much sand in my house I really ought to at least be able to see the ocean from my window, but, sigh, it's 45 minutes away by car!

Then there is The Mulch.

My older 2 kids attend elementary school where they play on a mulch playground. And especially my son comes home every day with tons of mulch in his shoes! And if he forgets to take his shoes off outside, my kitchen is like a big mulched flowerbed, only without the flowers.

And yes, I make him sweep it up, but his sweeping abilities? Are far from stellar!

Seriously, the floor grit was so bad the other day that even my oldest son decided he needed to put his shoes back on to walk around the house!!


And don't even get me started on the Hunger Strike of 2010.

Which involves our dog suddenly refusing to eat the prescription dog food she needs to stay healthy, unless you mix it in with something yummy.

In any sane person's house she'd just starve, but not here in the land of chaos. Here, my husband heats up chicken broth on the stove to pour over the dog's food every morning at 8AM and again at 9PM!


But, on a positive note, Big Duke (my 3 year old's security object) has a new playhouse!

I was desperate to occupy my littlest while I looked through school papers/discussed their day with my 2 older ones one day this week and I had a big box around from all the jeans I ordered for my 7 year old to try on (by the way 8 slim seems to be his magic size) and so I brought the box into the kitchen, got out the crayons and said, "Here, you can color this box and then we'll turn it into a house for Big Duke."

It may not be the most beautiful house on the block, but Big Duke seems happy with it! And the red pipe-cleaner door handle really highlights the modern architecture of the house, don't you think?

My toddler really had fun filling the house with all kinds of toys for Big Duke.

It makes for a snug fit, but he managed!
It was really funny, at one point my daughter suggested that Big Duke needed a bed in there and my 3 year old said, "No! Big Duke sleeps in my bed, this is just his playhouse!"


I'm gonna get really controversial here, but for some reason I feel the need to share that, yes, we participate in a bit of the Halloween festivities. We don't engage in any witchcraft or call forth spirits of the dead (Deut 18:10-12), but we decorate with pumpkins, eat candy corn, and let the kids dress up as friendly superheros, or real-life heros, like astronauts. We go trick-or-treating just to our neighbors, and we go along with some neighbors who have kids, and we pass out candy (and sometimes invitations to our church's really cool kids Christmas show) to kids that come to our door.

If we did not do these things, we'd miss out on a great opportunity to interact with and meet neighbors. It is sad that the neighbor interaction doesn't come much more often than every Halloween, but it means that in this day and age, it's extra important to take every chance you get.

I heard a Christian friend recently describe that they don't celebrate Halloween or pass out candy and try to not even be home that night, and I did not judge her for her decision, but I couldn't help wondering if she was missing out on an opportunity to welcome others to her home and potentially be a light to the dark parts of her neighborhood. What other night do you have the chance to interact with tons of families who come straight up to your door? And if Halloween is really evil, my God's in the business of turning something meant for evil into something meant for good (Gen. 50:20).


This post from Ann at A Holy Experience
has me really wanting to do better about memorizing scripture. I've memorized verses here and there over the years, but I've never attempted a whole book of the Bible! It sounds so hard, but how cool would that be to write God's words on your heart in that way. And God's pretty good at helping with hard things, right? I'm really thinking of tackling the challenge. Now, which book to start with?

And nobody suggest Jude or Psalms! Seriously, don't do it! I'm not going for shortest or longest, just manageable and really meaningful.


Have a wonderful weekend!

Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Before We Get Our Referral

We've been on the wait list about 6.5 months for a girl somewhere between the ages of 0 and 30 months from Ethiopia. If things go as expected we should get a referral (where we are matched with the specific child we'll adopt) some time in the next couple of months. But before that happens, there are some things I'd like to say, both for my own benefit (to get it on paper, so to speak,) but also for everyone reading who has so faithfully supported our journey.

Over the last few years, but more intensely in the last few months, we have immersed ourselves in the adoption community. We have attended an adoption group at a church, and have created an adoption support group at our own church because there wasn't one and we felt there should be. We've read books that reflect a variety of points of view -- adoptive parents, specialists in child psychology/therapy, adult adoptees, and orphan advocates. We've attended conferences and done hours and hours of video training. And we've been blessed to get to know other parents who have adopted, to watch their kids play alongside ours, and to visit with them over coffee asking the hard questions and getting real answers. I have volunteered as a court appointed Child Advocate for kids in my city's CPS system for the past 8 years, learning their stories, visiting them at their foster or relative homes, meeting their parents, following up on every aspect of their case, and testifying in court on their behalf, until they are guided into a safe, loving home either back with reformed biological parents or with adoptive parents.

But still, there is so much more for us to learn about adoption. It is a world filled with great joy. I know I've shared about how much I love an adoption story -- a family's journey to a child, the new life for that child when they are adopted into a loving family, and God's obvious hand in it all. But it is also a world of great sadness, grief, and loss.

I can tell you during my work as a Child Advocate most of my cases have been reunification, where the kids have gone back home (after we've done a lot of hard work to get the parents ready to have them back), but there have been nights on nearly every case, where I wasn't sure what the outcome was going to be for the kids and I grieved for them over the potential loss of their biological parents. It is a very sad thing when that happens, and the loss is something that child will live with for the rest of their life.

So every happy adoption story has another side, the child's loss of their first family and whatever reasons caused that to happen.

That story is very personal, and I think people outside the world of adoption sometimes don't get that. I've heard adoptive parents tell of being casually asked by both friends and strangers, "So, what happened to his real parents?"

I am so thankful I happened upon this blog post from My Fascinating Life; she adopted twins from Ethiopia a year ago and shares why she made her decision to keep her children's information private. This post is a must read for all perspective adoptive parents and for anyone who has a friend or loved one that is adopting/has adopted!

And, so I want to say before we get our referral, that my husband and I have talked about it and right now we're saying we don't plan to share specifics about how/why our child came to be available for adoption. And that includes close family members, even the 3 children we already have! We will share age-appropriate information with the child we adopt as she grows up and then we will allow her to share with others what she is comfortable telling.

This is tough, because we want to be open to talking about our adoption, we covet support, and don't want to disappoint people who are not trying to pry but just interested. But as mentioned in that blog post, if you tell anyone then you are putting pressure on them to keep your secret when people ask them. And yes, I can imagine scenarios where one of our older children is asked by a child at school what happened to their sister's first parents. And she may someday be at the same school as them and even though by then she will know the answer to that question, it could be very painful for her to hear other kids at school talking about it or teasing her about it. Being a transracially adopted child is hard enough without adding that element.

So before she is even officially our child, when we get the referral paperwork, as her future parents, we are going to choose to protect information about her history.

I'm thankful to be able to get this out there now, before we know her story, just because it ends all speculation that we decided to keeps things private because of some aspect of her specific situation.

But, in all seriousness, feel free to ask us questions, there are so many aspects of this adoption story we'd love to share, just don't be offended if we don't answer every question!

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

She really needs a little sister.

I caught this picture yesterday of my daughter putting Tinkerbell lip gloss on her little brother:

Teaching him to rub his lips together after getting the lip gloss:

And after the lip gloss, my daughter said, "I know! Now I can do your hair!" and her little brother eagerly took her hand and let her lead him to her room.

And he returned looking like this:

He didn't keep the clips in for long, but he was a very willing participant. Anything for attention from an older sibling! But, I'd imagine he'd willingly give up the little sister role when the real sister gets here!

Find more Wordful Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday here, here and here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sheep Feeding

My daughter sees him, that really hungry one with his head through the fence, and I read it in her eyes, hear it in her voice, she is determined to feed that lamb!

She takes the feed I pour into her cupped little hand, listens carefully as I explain how to do it, opening her hand all the way so she feeds the sheep with a flat hand. She executes it well.

She feeds that sheep.

But, she's not satisfied with the one.


Now, she must feed them all.

And she's not going to quit until each one has gotten some of the food from her hand.

It's getting hot, the animals are kinda stinky, we've already been through the rabbits, the horses, the donkey, the chickens.

And all the poop and the dust and what exactly are those random puddles? Starts to get to me.

I want to be done feeding the sheep. I want to usher my children out of the animal pen and properly douse them with hand sanitizer and move on to a shady, more comfortable activity.

But, wait, she must leave some food in the dish. . .
for later, in case they are hungry later.

"Come on, come on, we're moving on!"

Two days later I download the pictures from the camera to the computer and I see the pictures of my girl feeding the lambs, tending the sheep.

And all I can think of is the conversation between Jesus and Peter after Peter had denied Jesus three times, Jesus had been crucified, and rose from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs." He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep."
John 21:15-17

And I wonder, how many times have I missed it? How many times have I failed to feed His sheep because I was too hot, tired, uncomfortable, grossed out, or just didn't feel like it.

If/Because I love Jesus I
must feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep.

All it takes is a willing heart, a little food, and an outstretched hand.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Make It Yourself Monster Shirt

I saw this shirt in the Mini Boden catalog with the monster applique and thought it was cute and something my boys would be excited to wear, but I didn't want to pay $28 per shirt, so I decided to try to make my own.

Here's how I did it and I've said it a million times, but believe me, if I could do it, you can, too!

1. You need a plain t-shirt (between $2 & $5 at Old Navy, Target, or Michaels).

2. Create a monster shape template (Click here to get to a pdf version of the monster template I made: Monster Template).

3. Cut out the monster shape from some fabric and use Heat n' Bond or something similar to iron the fabric onto your shirt.

4. Sew around the edge of the monster shape with just a basic straight stitch, go slow so you can follow close to the edge (the raw fabric edge will fray a bit when washed but that adds to the character of the monster).

5. Use felt or fabric scraps to embellish the monster with eyes and a mouth. Sew these on with the sewing machine or hand stitching for small pieces.

Then you're done!!

I really like how they turned out and best of all, my boys did too!

The Girl CreativeBWS tips buttonMaking Keeping It Simple

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bits and Pieces on a Friday

The Christmas gift catalogs have started arriving in the mail and I couldn't help noticing this on the on the cover of one of them. Seriously? A motion-activated candy dispenser? It claims to "give you the perfect-size treat" when you put you hand under the motion sensor. But, does it account for the child who just puts their hand under the sensor over and over again, dispensing hundreds of "perfect-size treats" into their greedy little hand? Because that's what my kids would do!


You'll be glad to know my son and my husband got a 100 on their school project. I had to give my husband a hard time the day the grade came home; when he walked in from work I said, "Oh, and you got a 100 on your project." Of course he had to reply, "I didn't help him that much!"

We are still in shorts weather in our part of the country, but the pants season (all 2 months of it) will be here in a few weeks, so in preparation, I had my 7 year old son try on all his jeans and pants from last year. Of course, not a single pair still fit him, so I did what seems to have become an annual tradition. I took to the Internet, cashed in some 20% off coupons my email box was overrun with, along with free shipping, and ordered pants and jeans in every style and size with the hopes that at least a few pairs would actually fit my tall, slender son, and then I'd just return the rest to the store(s) to save on the return shipping.

The big box arrived and last weekend I told my son he had some trying on to do. He moaned. And my husband said, "Hey, when I was your age I had to go to the actual store to try on clothes! My mom would drag me back into the dressing room and make me try stuff on." My 7 year old looked at him incredulously, "Really?!!"

Kids these days! They don't realize how easy they've got it!


I just finished baking a cake for the elementary school carnival cake walk. I knew nobody would associate the cake with me, you just turn them all into the cafeteria the day before. Does it make me a bad person if I Googled "Easy cake recipes" and made the quickest, simplest one I could find without much concern for what it tastes like?


I went on a field trip with my daughter's kindergarten class last Friday, and a little girl in her class asked me where I got all my daughter's "pretty clothes". I couldn't believe I was hearing that question from a 5 year old, but I took the opportunity to gloat just a little, "Well, I sewed a lot of her things, like that skirt she's wearing now." Her eyes got huge, "You can sew?!!!" and then, "I want you to teach me how to sew!" So, I've not even taught my own daughter how to sew yet, but I've agreed to teach one of the Claires from her class (remember this story about the two Claires?).

Happy Friday!

Mommy's Idea

That ought to buy me 7 or 8 years on that issue, right??
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Everything

I've shared a few different times about how I love the blogging community. I have been so inspired, challenged, taught, entertained, and encouraged through blog reading and blogging these past couple years. I pretty much never watch TV anymore; when I need to fill my need for relaxation "vegging out" time, I read blogs.

One lady I've been blessed to get to know in this space is Debbie from The Way We Are. She is so sweet, displaying beautiful joy and an obvious faith. She raised four children and I love hearing her perspective and treasure her encouragement over things I post about my life. She recently asked an interesting question on her blog, "What Does Being A Christian Mean To You?"

I thought it was such a great topic that I'm sharing my answer in an entire post!

A big reason I write my blog is to capture my thoughts, my life, my beliefs right now in this stage of life for my children to maybe read later when they are old enough to understand. I know as years go on I will forget what this stage was really like and this blog shows my kids aspects of real life from their early childhoods. Also, I had a cancer scare once and although I'm completely healthy, I no longer just assume I'll be there to when my kids graduate high school and when they are raising their own babies. So, when I think of blogging on what being a Christian means to me, I'm really thinking what I'd want my kids to hear when they are a bit older.

I'm a little scared to write this post for fear I'll leave out something key and because I don't have hours to pour into it, but I'd rather write it incompletely than never write it at all. So here goes. . .

First of all, I give you an honest view of my Bible. It usually sports a black leather zippered cover for obvious reasons, but underneath, here it is:
I've had this Bible since I was a child and I kept it under my nightstand in college. I had one of those rockin' $4 round tables covered with a table cloth as my nightstand, so the area underneath was perfect for storing my Bible close to my bed. Only problem was that it was also easy access for the puppy I got my junior year in college and became a very holy chew toy. Thankfully the actual Bible text pages were unharmed!

I keep this Bible because to me it illustrates so much of the truth contained in it, as a Christian life many not always be pretty and life in the earthly world may threaten to chew us up, but if at our core is Jesus, that is all that matters and our life will be preserved.

Here are some key things that being a Christian means to me:

1. I am adopted into God's family

Ephesians 1:5, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..."

I came from a pretty dysfunctional biological family. There was a time in my teenage years when I realized how hopeless my situation was if I was destined to follow the path of my earthly, biological parents. But, by His grace, God showed me that I could be set free from my earthly legacy and adopted into His family. My status as God's child is huge in my life and I don't even want to imagine where I'd be without that. And the facts that He is with me (Psalm 23:4) and will not leave me (Gen. 28:15) and will not ever abandon me (Psalm 94:14) are ever present comforts to me.

2. As a Christian I have a new life

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

My sins have been forgiven for all time through Jesus's death on the cross. This does not mean that I continue to sin, because I am a new creation, I desire to please God and walk in His ways. And when I fail, I can confess, repent, and start anew. With this new life I strive to follow Jesus and be more like Him each day, living my life with Him as my example.

3. Eternal Life

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

This earthly life is not all there is. I have the hope of eternity in heaven with Jesus where the Bible says, "He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain" Rev. 21:4. And the streets are, "pure gold, like clear glass" Rev. 21:21. This gives me hope when things here on earth are not as they should be. When I hear stories of children in terrible situations, when I experience personal loss or hurt. Also, this knowledge of eternal life frees me from feeling like I need to be entirely fulfilled here on earth. I do not need every success, comfort, happiness, material thing here and now, because those things all pale in comparison to what God has waiting in heaven.

4. It's not all about me

Luke 9:23, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

I really am so thankful that there is more to this life than me. And really it's not about me at all. It's about God, and the tiny piece of His story, the bit of His work, that He's doing with my life. My purpose is to build His kingdom and not mine. And if you've ever done any kingdom building work, you know it is way more exciting and fulfilling than any personal acclaim, raise, promotion, or material thing you could get! And the plans God has for me are so much better than anything I'd come up with on my own, "'For I know the plans that I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" Jer. 29:11.

5. Privilege of prayer

1 John 5:14, "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

What a privilege and blessing it is to be able to talk to God whenever I want! To ask for help and He often provides it (although not always in the form I had in mind!). Also, I find the privilege of prayer gives me hope when I would otherwise feel helpless. Recently while at the local children's hospital for travel shots, a little girl, 7 or 8 years old I'd guess, got on the elevator with a nurse and her dad. She was bald and attached to an IV, yet had a joy about her. My heart ached for what I assumed she was going through, what her family was going through, yet in the 45 seconds our paths crossed in the elevator I could not help her. But, I can pray for her, and my children and I now often do! I am thankful to be able to petition God, the great healer and comforter on her behalf and so many others.

6. Abundant Life

John 10:10, "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly."

I think some people mistakenly believe that being a Christian is a boring way to live. But, really when you are following Jesus it is the best ride ever! Every day is an adventure! You never know who He will bring into your life or what circumstances, and you are always challenged to be His light to the dark places of this world. And it's pretty awesome to have the God who created the entire universe on your side!

I'll end with a prayer I say for my children but I pray it as well for all of you reading, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe." Eph 1:18-19

Thanks Debbie for challenging me to get this down on electronic paper!

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All for One and One for All

A Corn Maze

My 3 kids ready to tackle it, together.

May they always be there to help each other through the mazes of this life.

Find more Wordful Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday here, here and here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

There is no longer a 5 year plan.

Some time very early in our marriage (or perhaps even before we got married, I can't remember now, it's been over 11 years) we had a long-term plan.

Very long-term, stretching a good part of 25 years or so.

It was detailed, too, with things like exactly when we'd buy our first house, have our first child, have our second child. . .

There was no third child in that plan!

And certainly no fourth child!

There was probably a trip to Paris and Hawaii in there, but definitely not to Ethiopia.

And adopting a child from Ethiopia? Would have been unfathomable to us eleven years ago!

My husband had in the plan one of the two of our hypothetical children getting a full scholarship to college (wishful thinking!), which helped the finances look a little prettier.

Then as life happened, which it always does, I think the plan evolved into more of a 5 year plan.

And as we more and more let go of our plans and began to earnestly seek God's plans for our lives, even the 5 year plan melted away!

And now?

I don't think there is even a 1 year plan!

We pretty much have no idea!

When we went to get our travel shots a few weeks ago the doctor talked about a certain vaccine we wouldn't need just for the 2 one week long trips that were on the agenda, but we'd need if we planned to spend any large amounts of time in Ethiopia in the next 10 years. I looked to my husband questioningly and he nodded that absolutely we should get the extra shot, so that when it's time for us to go be missionaries in Africa we'll be all ready to go!

So now instead of intricately planning our our lives, we are praying to "live a life worthy of the calling we have received." Eph. 4:1

But, the amazing thing to me is that as God has changed our plans, He also changed our desires. Things we wanted for our life eleven years ago not only don't matter anymore, but are actually things we don't want now!

God changes hearts and replaces earthly desires with heavenly ones. That helps to explain lines like this one from the Steve Camp song, "Run to the Battle": "Some people want to live within the sounds of chapel bells, but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of Hell."

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Daughter Drama

We hosted the mascot from my daughter's kindergarten class for the weekend, a Curious George monkey. My daughter carried him everywhere, dressed him up, even pushed him on the swing. And then about mid-day on Saturday (right about the time my boys would have tired of George and forgotten him outside in the swing or lost him under their bed) she got sad, hugged the monkey and cried, "I don't want to take George back to school on Monday! I want to keep him!"

My lecture: "But then your friends at school would be sad they didn't get to have George come stay at their houses. Besides, you have tons of stuffed animals that you never play with. Why don't you adopt one of those animals who sits all lonely in the bin in your room and wants so much for someone to love them. They would be so happy if you carried them around and played with them as much as you have George. And George will be well loved by the other children in your class!"

So didn't work!

Her answer: "But I want him!"

Fortunately there was some Mom wisdom that did work this weekend!

My daughter and I were headed for our haircuts and we arrived a few minutes early so I thought we could just browse in the Claire's accessories store nearby.

My daughter was delighted with the store!

In fact, I think they ought to change the expression "like a kid in a candy store" to "like a 5 year old girl in a Claire's Boutique"!

Oh, the glitter! The sparkly! Every kind of accessory your heart could desire!

And right after she exclaimed, "Look at these cute puppy dog earrings!"

It happened.

The dreaded question.

"When am I going to be old enough to wear earrings?"

But, I was quick thinking that morning and replied, "Well, to wear those kind of earrings you have to get a hole in your ear like I have."

"How do they make that hole in your ear, Mommy?"

I mentioned something about a gun and a needle and about how mine got infected a few weeks after I got them pierced (true story).

And do you know what?

The subject was dropped; she said not another word about it!

That ought to buy me 7 or 8 years on that issue, right??
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Don't Know What it All Means!

My boys have a few times recently uttered the phrase "pee lightsabers" as they headed towards the bathroom when they both needed to go at the same time. While I find the phrase disturbing, I haven't asked them about it, because I'm convinced I really just don't want to know!!

My 7 year old turned in his first real school project yesterday. You know the type -- read this book; create a cereal box about the book; come up with a unique name for your cereal; illustrate the front; on the sides provide a summary of the book, list of main characters & setting; and on the back do some sort of game that relates to the subjects in the book (crossword, maze, etc.). Oh, and don't forget to include a prize inside the box and a picture of the prize on the front.

Really, I should just be thankful that we made it all the way to 2nd grade before first experiencing the joy of the school project, I've heard from parents at some other schools that for them it started in kindergarten -- crazy! But, I must say I'm not a fan of the school project, especially when my kid is too young to really do the whole thing on his own. And my husband and I seem to disagree on just how much to help. My husband leans toward the heavy assistance/doing parts of the project for the kid side while I lean towards the side of setting the child up to work at the dining room table, going into the kitchen to bake bread and every once in a while yelling out, "You can do it, Sweetheart! I know you can! You always have great ideas!"

And at one point towards the end of the project when I realized we have years and years and years of school projects times 4 kids ahead of us, I nearly hyperventilated!


I meant to mop my kitchen floor today.


Speaking of to-do items, why is it that every day I check about 6 items off my to-do list and add about 10 more?


Where do you fall on the to-do list? Do you write down every single activity you need to do that day or just the big, unique ones? For example, I never write down "pack kid lunches" on my to-do list because I do it every day, but I had a friend in college who would even write "shower" on her to-do list. I'm kinda beginning to wonder if I ought to be putting more of the things I know will get done on my to-do list just so I have more to cross-off. Actually, I don't cross-off, I'm a check-off-the-things-that-get-done kind of person.


I have not gone electronic with my to-do list, yet. My husband has. Yep, remember the iPad that wakes him up to the sound of a rooster crowing every morning? Well, I mean it when I say that iPad runs his life. He has a to-do list set up on it with end dates and boy does he scramble to get things done before they're late! I'm not sure what he's afraid the iPad will do to him if he doesn't get a task done by the designated time, but I am thinking of sneaking into his system and changing the due date of the "clean out the garage" item from
Dec. 31,2010 to Oct. 18,2010!


Happy Friday, y'all!

Mommy's Idea

Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way

This post was originally written October 12, 2009, but I have to say this learn-it-the-hard way lesson had to happen again this year.

This picture was taken around 8:35PM last Thursday night.

Do you see that orange folder there on the chair?

It's my 6 year old's homework folder filled with his homework packet that is due back at school the next morning. A packet of 8 worksheets that came home on Monday, to be returned on Friday. He worked on it a little each day all through the week, very diligently without my nagging him.

After finishing the last worksheet, he put the homework packet into his folder, but didn't put the folder in his backpack.

Now he is in bed and I am staring at the folder.

My son and I have talked several times about setting up his backpack with everything he needs for the next day, the night before.

I know the folder is in danger of being overlooked there on the chair in the hustle and bustle of the morning.

I want so much to swoop in and fix the situation.

It would be so easy, only taking about 2 seconds of my time, to put the folder into his backpack for him.

It might even feel good, like I was taking care of my baby, protecting him from a potentially bad and uncomfortable situation at school without his homework.

But I don't do it.

Because I don't want to have to do it for the next 11 years.

Because someday he'll go off to college and I won't be there to do it for him.

Because the consequence for forgetting 1st grade homework is so much more bearable than the consequences for forgetting a high school term paper, or important notes for a key client at his grown-up job.

Because I remember the one time I didn't have my homework at school. I was mortified and it never happened again.

Because sometimes the consequences life can deliver teach the lesson so much better than a mom can.

Because I believe sometimes being a mom is about the things you
don't do for your kids.

Will he be grateful someday?

Probably not, but this mothering job is not about thanks!

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your child may be a math person if . . .

You don't have to interact with people for very long in this life to realize there are people that are math people and people that are not.

For math people, math comes easy, they enjoy manipulating numbers, and they see life as a series of mathematical equations.

I believe my 7 year old may be a math person.

Actually I'm absolutely convinced my 7 year old son is a math person!

I've had several clues throughout these past 7 years to lead me to that conclusion.

Clues like him insisting that I tell him exactly
how many toys to clean up, rather than just telling him to clean his room.

Clues like, him asking me, "What is the percentage between zero and one hundred chance that someone would throw up if they went swimming after drinking Sprite?"

Yeah, you try answering that question!

But, my most powerful clue that my oldest child is a math person came just recently as I watched him practicing some of the spelling words he'd had trouble with when I was quizzing him. This is what he wrote:

To my son "watch" is not spelled watch, it is "catch - c + w = watch"

and chalk?

Of course! "ch + all - l + k = chalk"

That's perfectly normal logic,

For a math person!!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

6 Months Waiting for Her

It's been 6 months since we got on the wait list to be matched with the little girl we will adopt from Ethiopia.

The waiting is actually easier right now than it was a few weeks ago. We seem to go through cycles where it is kinda driving us crazy to not know the timing of it all and we try to guess based on other people getting their referrals, and then there are times that we're just at peace that it will happen when it happens -- God's timing!

We still are not waiting by the phone, so that's good; I hope we get "the call" before we get to that point!

A large part of what makes the inability to pinpoint the timing, by even plus or minus 2 months, hard, is that it is such a big life change. Bringing home an adopted child is a much bigger change than bringing home a newborn biological child. First, there is the age factor. A newborn sleeps a lot, but not so much a 9 month old or a 2 year old! Then there is all the work that must be done to begin to catch up on all that the child may have missed and help them heal from their past. And many experts recommend staying home as much as possible during the first few months your newly adopted child is home. So, it's all a huge life change that must be planned for, yet you must do that with very uncertain timing and ever with the knowledge that your planning may be for something that never happens, because adoptions are uncertain often until the very final minute before the papers are signed.

We've spent a lot of time the past few months learning about how to parent the child we will adopt and I have to say it is much different that parenting a biological child so we are basically starting at ground zero.

But, I'm thankful there are some great resources out there, like the training by Dr. Karyn Purvis (you can find some of her resources here and some here).

It's been amazing to me to learn all that goes on in the first few weeks and months of life that sets the ground work for the rest of that child's life.

Some of the basics we've learned are that holding and rocking are very important parts of healing children from "hard places', so I plan to hold and carry this child as much as possible, even if we get a 2 year old, I've heard the Ergo carrier works for toddlers. Also, sucking is very soothing to a child and stimulates the Vagus nerve which helps the body calm itself. And holding your child while bottle feeding is an excellent way to promote bonding. So, even if we get a toddler, we may try to revert her back to bottle-feeding for a while. This is very different thinking for me. All 3 of my biological kids were off bottles by 1 year old.

But, the goal will be "heal this baby" -- whatever it takes!

Recently we went to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. Steven and his wife Mary Beth had 3 biological children and then adopted 3 girls, 1 at a time, from China. At the concert Mary Beth Chapman shared about the moment in a Chinese hotel hallway when she first met Shaohannah (their first daughter from China). She said as she held the baby for the first time and realized that little girl had done nothing to earn her love, yet in that moment she knew she would give her life for that baby girl. At the same time as she had that thought, she felt as if God was tapping her on the shoulder saying, "Now you get it, that's what I did for you."

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall is time for. . .

My 3 year old to try lifting the biggest pumpkin he can find at the pumpkin patch.

Make your own fall snack mix -- pretzles, dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, and candy corn!

Pretending you are a scarecrow

And shooting corn cobs out of a cannon.

You think I'm kidding, I'm not! It's Texas, and nothin' says fall like watching my pink-and-purple-loving 5 year old girl get so excited about shooting corn out of the corn cannon!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Kids on Theology

My kids were asking some questions recently and we got on the subject of people dying and at some point in the conversation there was this exchange:

My 3 year old: "When a bad guy dies he goes to bad guy heaven."

My 5 year old: "There’s no bad guy heaven!" (I breathed a sigh of relief that she understood and was going to set him straight, but then she said . . .) "In heaven the bad guys turn good!"

Before I could interject at all my oldest piped up loudly. I let him speak hoping he would be the voice of wisdom to his younger siblings.

My 7 year old: "No! No! No! The bad guys go to HAIL!”

(And yes he did say it like the rock stuff that occasionally falls from the sky during a storm.)

I questioned to make sure he didn't just misspeak and he repeated it again "Hail!"

While we do live in Texas and may have very slight accents, please tell me that it is not so bad that my son has actually made it to 7 years of age thinking hell is called "hail"!

Clearly, we have a need for Theology 101 and perhaps some linguistic training around here!

Happy Friday, y'all!

Find more Finer Things Friday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Led into the storm?

One of my Bible study leaders made a comment recently that in Mark chapter 4 the disciples were led out onto the lake right before the storm.

And I can't stop reflecting on that idea.

The water was probably calm when Jesus said to them, "Let's go over to the other side." They were all, "Sure" and then right as they get to the middle of the lake suddenly there are waves crashing over them and their boat's filling up with water.

I imagine they must have wondered why in the world Jesus would have led them out to the middle of the lake right before the storm.

Maybe they even said, "We obeyed, we did what he said, and look where it got us!"

"We are doing what He wanted us to, why is it so hard?"

"Why the storm?"

I've asked the same questions.

"God, we feel like you led us to start up this ministry, why then are we getting push-back from some leadership?"

"God, we know you led us to adopt a child from Ethiopia, why then has the wait time and number of trips required to do it doubled since we began the process?"

"God, I felt you leading me to take on this case with my volunteer job, why did you have to add the latest drama where to serve the children in the way I see best I had to put my own personal safety at risk? And why if that were to be the situation, did you feel the need to publish the danger of the place I'd been going on the front page of the newspaper?"

But when the disciples questioned Jesus, "do You not care that we are perishing?" He calmed the storm and replied, "Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?"

And so He says the same to me.

I must trust Him.

And yes, He does occasionally lead us right into the storm, so we can see him calm it,

or maybe so we learn to trust Him more.

One thing I know, next time my boat starts taking on water I'm following the example of Jesus -- I'm gonna take a nap!

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Welcome to my World

When you have kids around the house there is just no end to the strange things one might see in any given day!

Short people need to eat and drink, too!

My 3 year old made that spot on his nose with one of those fat dot markers, just right in the center of his nose at about 8:15 am, so I just went with it, he spent the day like that and it didn't get washed off until evening bath! Errands are more fun with a clown around anyway!

Speaking of clown!

Man, you round a corner in your house and see that guy and I guarantee it will make you jump!

2 of the kids were playing basketball. That 3rd youngest child with the bucket and the cone? No idea!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Childhood Phobias and Fears

There was a period of time from about 18 months old to 4 years old that my daughter had some pretty extreme fears.

And then there were things I thought she should be afraid of, but she wasn't at all.

We'd go to a birthday party and she'd cry and shriek in terror of the balloons tied to the chairs, but let them bring out a snake for all the kids to pet and she'd be first in line to pet it!

Or we'd go to Sea World and she would be deathly afraid of the person in the Shamu costume at the park entrance, but eagerly ride every roller coaster she was tall enough for and point to the really big ones and say, "I can't wait until I'm big enough to ride that!"

And those contrasts just confirmed my suspicions that she was nuts!

I Googled "childhood fears" more times than I can count and sometimes really worried that maybe I needed to take her to a child psychiatrist.

Here's a list of the top 10 things she was afraid of:

1. Characters - people dressed in costumes with their entire head covered, like the Chick-Fil-A cow (princesses didn't bother her); you have no idea how glad we were that she outgrew this fear just a couple months before we went to Disney last November!

2. Loud noises

3. Power tools - see #2 for explanation

4. Construction Vehicles - see #2 for explanation

5. Bees & Wasps

6. Moths - because she thinks they are bees

7. Common House Flies - because she thinks they are bees

8. Balloons - something about the way they'd fly towards you freaked her out

9. Things floating in the water near her while she was swimming - she broke down one day at swim lessons and it took her poor teacher a while to figure out the pool noodle floating nearby was causing his usually enthusiastic swimmer to hang on the side and cry!

10. The Wind - Oh yes she was afraid of the wind for a while! As a 2 year old she'd literally cry and cling to me when we were outside on a windy day saying, "I'm scared of the wind!" Good thing we didn't live in Oklahoma!

But, my message to anyone who may be facing something similar with their child is that the fears passed! We spent a lot of time explaining to her why she didn't need to be afraid, but I think what finally helped was just age. The crazy just had to run its course. Sorry to not be able to share a magic solution; if you're in this situation with your child, I know you want one. Just hang on and it will pass!

She's 5 now, but really by 4 most of the crazy fears were over.

Okay, she still freaks out a little with the flying bee-like creatures, but you have no idea the progress the photo below illustrates!

She's high-fiving the Chick-Fil-A cow!
That cow used to elicit a lot of crying, the refusal to walk near it, and extreme clinging to Mommy!

And I have to say, you have no idea how many times you encounter characters in everyday life until you have a child with a character phobia! I'm so grateful we're through with that drama!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Boys Vs. Girls - Proud to be on the Pink & Purple Team

Last week my oldest son requested a Saturday breakfast date out with dad, then somewhere along the way he decided it would be a "Boys Breakfast" and so his little brother could come, too. That was fine with my daughter and me. We decided we'd just eat cereal at home and go on a date later to a cupcake place.

So, we sent the boys off, ate our cereal in peace, painted our toe nails. She chose a 3 different color combination/pattern of pink, light purple, and sparkly purple.

Then we baked some bread.

When the boys got home my husband was ready to take all of the kids to the Home Depot Kids Clinic which they offer on the 1st Saturday of every month. Usually all the kids go and I get an hour to tackle a household task.

But, my daughter didn't want to go, said she'd rather stay home and do chores with Mommy.
So we cleaned out the pantry.

I stood on a chair and handed things down to her to clear the top shelf.

And without any prompting or suggesting from me, look what she did with the things I handed her:

I have no idea where she got those organizational skills!!

I would not have lined them up in neat rows, but just scooted everything off to the side.

At one point I picked up a canister to wipe off the top of it and she fussed at me that I didn't put it back in the right spot!

By lunchtime the boys were back and after the entire morning with them my husband was begging me to trade and let him take our daughter to the cupcake place and then I'd take the boys for their haircuts.

No way!

At least my husband did make it home to watch his favorite football team (with the boys having a pretend gun battle around, under, over, and on top of him on the couch)!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters