Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beautiful Baby Girl

I finally took Laila to get her 1 year pictures yesterday. I was not sure how she would do. Although she is a beautiful, expressive baby, she is stingy with her personality when it comes to the camera. I was very pleased with the outcome!!

Trials and Glimpses

When I decided to start a blog, I was determined to be honest about my life. Nobody has a perfect life. It is so refreshing for me to read a blog that is honest and open and real. This is my first attempt at living that out. Let me preface this with the statement that I love my children, I love my life, and am very thankful for all that God has given me. I just need an opportunity to vent and I think it is healthy for moms to speak out about their struggles. Hopefully this will encourage some of you who are having a bad day.

I have come to terms with the fact that with 6 children basically someone is upset or disobedient at all times. The odds are stacked against me to have peace. I am trying to live with that expectation so that I am not so devastated when life is chaotic. I find that I often walk around throughout my day either on the verge of tears or ready to scream. Today has been a perfect example of that. My patience has been tested and God has also given me a glimpse that He sees and He cares.

My day started off with kids fighting. I had not been up for 5 minutes before 3 of them were going at it. This has become a theme in their lives and I am tired of it. So, I determined that they needed a lesson in getting along. They were given the task of cleaning the basement together without fighting.

After that drama, my oldest decided that he needed to vent about my parenting. I am too hard on them. I ask too much of them, etc. Some of it is probably valid, but his method of venting was disrespectful and dramatic. Then, while at Abby's dance class, Isaiah decides to throw the mother of all fits. He is very strong willed. He was mad and nothing would stop him. So, I am stuck because I can't leave Abby. I still also have Laila to take care of while this little man was screaming, flailing, and defying me in every way possible. Finally, my children needed haircuts. There was really no getting around it. So, I braced myself, and we made the trek to Kiddie Kutters. While there, Sam got mad over a toy. He proceeded to give me a fit that was way above and beyond the offense done to him. I was so absolutely exhausted at that point. You see, if each of these events were all that I had to deal with, I might handle it better. But, I still have 5 other children to parent, two of which can't even walk right now, while each child chooses to express his anger.

Those are the trials. Now I am anxious to share the glimpse of God. We got 5 haircuts. Laila is the only one who didn't need one. The ladies at the salon had been asking a little about Isaiah and Laila's story. When I went to pay for the haircuts, the lady said, "Do you remember the guy who's hair I was cutting when you came in?" I said that I did. She said, "Before he left, he gave me a $20 bill and asked me to put this toward your haircuts!" What a shock, what a blessing, what a glimpse of God. Through the simple act of a stranger paying for 2 of my kids' haircuts, God showed me that He sees me and He cares. Thank you, Lord. I know you have called me to this role, I just some days wonder if I can fulfill that calling.

I don't know what some of you are experiencing in your calling today, but I am praying that God will give you a glimpse of Himself in your life!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Forever Changed

One year ago today, God woke me up in the wee hours of the morning and placed the calling of adoption on my heart. One year ago today, I couldn't even imagine that in less than a year, I would be the mother to 2 children from Africa. Now, I can't even imagine my life or our family without Isaiah and Laila. It has been a year of miracles, blessings, and challenges. I have seen God work in ways I never thought He could. He has broken me and strengthened me and I am a different person than I was. I am grateful, thankful, and don't ever want to be complacent in this journey. It seems only appropriate to share a quote that has resonated with my heart for the last 3 years in relation to Swaziland, Africa. Many of you already know it, but it is worth repeating.

The place where God calls you is the place where
your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.
Frederick Buechner
God's calling has brought deep gladness to my heart!!!

Love/Hate Relationship

Today I realized that I obviously haven't cooked enough since we brought Isaiah and Laila home. While I was cooking our dinner, Isaiah kept asking, "Mommy, what are you doing?" He actually seemed baffled by my activities in the kitchen.

I have this love/hate relationship with cooking. In a perfect world, I love to cook. I love to watch cooking shows, try new recipes, and bless people with my cooking. I haven't really cooked regularly since we returned from Africa. It has just been too hard. We had meals brought to us for almost a month which was such a blessing. After that, it was vacation time. My days are so packed with maintaining this household and keeping 6 little people alive, I just don't feel like cooking when the time comes. I realized recently that I am missing one of my passions, cooking. The fact that Cody has Celiac disease has also complicated things. I have converted many of my recipes to gluten free, but trying new ones throws a wrench into things. So, anyway, my African child has now seen me cook a whole meal and hopefully in the near future will understand what Mommy is doing in the kitchen. And, hopefully, I will figure out how to balance my joy of cooking with my hate of cooking. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

A New Discovery!!!

If you know me, you know I LOVE Chocolate. If I am going to have dessert, it needs to have chocolate in order to make it worth the calories for me. I especially love brownies and chocolate chip cookies. I have made a new discovery that I have lived for 37 years without. It is the cookie brownie bar. Now maybe some of you are reading this and thinking, "Where has this person been living and not known about the cookie brownie bar?" Well, evidently I have been under a rock. So, this is how you do it if you are unaware and deprived like I was. You take a brownie mix and make it according to the instructions and put it in the pan. Then you either make your favorite recipe of chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies, any kind of cookie you like. You could even use a mix for those. By spoonfuls, you drop the cookies evenly onto the brownie mix and bake. Bake time may take longer than with an individual batter, but it is oh, soo worth it. Let me know if you try them and what you think. By the way, that was the "brownie" I had for breakfast last week.

The Earrings

The Beautiful EarsWe also purchased some monkey earrings for after her 6-8 weeks of cleaning and caring for her ears. She is counting down the days until she can wear them!!

Abby's 7th Birthday

Friday, July 24th was Abby's 7th Bday. It doesn't seem real that it has been 7 years since this little girl entered our family. Much to my surprise she was a girl. While pregnant I was convinced that I was having a boy. You see, this is a big deal for me to get this one wrong because I pride myself on being able to guess what people are having. I have only been wrong 2 or 3 times and one of those was with my own child. While pregnant, I had a dream that I was having a girl, but didn't believe it. So, once she was born, it was only appropriate that her special bedtime song would be a lullaby I had found called "Dream Come True." Here is the chorus:

I don't know what you're dreaming,
but your my dream come true,
I can't believe I'm standing here looking down at you,
I see your peaceful slumber smile and wonder if I'm dreaming, too.
I don't know what you're dreaming,
but your my dream, your my dream, your my dream, come true
Abby, I love you!

Abby's bday started with french toast and coffee. Yes, my children like coffee. Then, we went swimming at the pool. On the way home our truck started messing up. Fortunately, we made it home and got the truck in to get it fixed. It delayed the big event for Abby's bday, but all turned out fine in the end. For dinner we had Papa John's pizza and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. Abby is really into monkeys so her plates and napkins were Curious George. They didn't have a monkey cake so she said, "I like penguins, too." So the cake had penguins on it. She had a great monkey/penguin party. Whatever floats her boat.

The tradition in our house. The Birthday Chair

Abby has been asking for months to get her ears pierced. I wasn't sure at first. I guess I had in my mind that she should be older. But, as she persisted, I started to ask myself, "why am I not letting her?" I had no good reason other than I have seen other moms make their daughters wait until a certain age. Since I couldn't think of a reason not to, I decided to let her do it. This is before the big event.

Piercing 2 ears at once. The best way to go!!

At first when it happened, she said, "Ouch!" and then opened her eyes and looked at me as if, "is that it?" She was so brave through the whole process. You can't really see, but she chose pink flowers. I had a great closeup picture of her ear but because I am new to this blogging thing, I can't figure out how to add another picture. So, I will put it in the next post.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brownie for Breakfast

Okay, so Isaiah woke me up at 4:00 AM. It took me a while to convince him that he needed to go back to sleep. At first he was mad, then he softened and finally relented. The problem for me is once I wake up, I can't go back to sleep so I was awake from 4:00-6:00 AM. So, this morning when I did get up, I had a brownie for breakfast. Some people drink coffee for their caffeine. I prefer chocolate. Enough said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 3 B's of the last month

Some big events have occurred in our house over the last month.

1. Laila's First Bday

Yes, you read it right. Our baby girl is now 1 year old. Boy, did that first year fly by. It makes me a little sad because I realize there is so much that I have missed out on. I wasn't there the day she was born. I missed 9 months of her little life. On the other hand, I feel blessed to have gotten her as young as we did. It is very different for her brother. We missed over 2 years of his life. We have no idea what he was like as a baby. The thing I love the most is that Laila responds to me as her mother as if we have always been together. That blesses my heart. When I enter the room she lights up. When I have been away from her for a period of time, she can't wait to see me and wants to show me all of her little tricks right away. She is a very loving, smart little girl. She has amazed us already with her language skills. She will try to say almost everything we ask her to and uses her sign language like a pro. Of course, my favorite is "my mama." She also has quite a few little talents, pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, itsy bitsy spider, and sweet baby(head tilted with a smile).
Her bday was a special day. That morning we went to the toddler room at Whit's End. That evening we had a party with friends. Below you can see some pictures from Whit's End.

Exploring the play area

Happy 1 yr. old

2. Baby Dedication

At the end of June, we celebrated the addition of Isaiah and Laila and dedicated them to God. 100 people were there to celebrate with us. It was so amazing to think back to 1 year ago and realize at that point we had no idea that in 1 year we would have these two gifts in our family. It was a day to praise God for all of the miracles He has done and to commit to Him our desire to raise these children in a way that is pleasing to Him. I shared the letters that I wrote to each of them the day I saw their pictures for the first time. Rick shared the many prayers that God has answered through this process. Sam shared how he felt "like a new man" as a big brother. We were surrounded by a room full of people and with much chaos going on in the center of that circle, we were prayed over. It was a huge blessing. Isaiah was his usual extroverted little self. He welcomed everyone with the microphone and basically talked through the whole service. The time ended with a video of many of the photos that we have taken so far in this journey. I will never forget that day. I will have to post pictures on this one later.

3. Broken Leg

On the last night of our KY trip to visit family, Isaiah broke his leg on the trampoline!! He completely broke his tibia right below his knee. He just broke it jumping. So, now he is sporting a "Cowboy blue" full leg cast. This is not a memory we want him to have. He was in quite a bit of pain for the first week. Now he is just frustrated that he can't do all that he wants to. As you can see below, he was a sad little guy.

Getting the cast on

This is going to make summer interesting!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to my World!!!

This blog thing is a big step for me. I have both wanted to do it and refused to do it all at the same time. You see, I have a desire to share what God is doing and keep everybody updated on our lives, but I also fear adding one more thing to my plate right now. My life has changed quite drastically over the last 4 months. Our family grew from 4 to 6 children through the adoption of Isaiah and Laila from Southern Africa. Reading blogs was a big part of the adoption process for me. It was actually through a blog of someone I have never met in person that God spoke to me for the first time about our calling to adopt. (Thanks, Jody for inspiring me and thanks, Mandy for connecting me to her blog!!!) My hope is to share what God is doing in our lives and have a sort of journal/scrapbook for our whole family to look back on.

I chose the title, "Welcome to my World" because this is a phrase I often use in our house. When someone in our house, mostly my husband, but also the kids, experiences the frustrations that I deal with relating to the running of our home, my response is always, "Welcome to my world." In that context it is mostly sarcastic, but I hope in this context it will also be positive. We often joke that the experiences of our life over the last year would have made a great reality show. Many days after some frustrating yet comical experience, I have wished for a venue like this to record what has happened. You just can't make up the stuff that happens to us. We have had so many people follow us and support us in the adoption process. We sent out regular updates through the process and now we continue those on this blog. So, hold on tight, I know I have to, and join the ride.