Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Isaiah is in one of those stages. I haven't dealt with this in a long time. He is into everything and very hard to keep up with. He tries to escape and explore out in public. If he is not literally strapped to something, there is no keeping up with him. He is also into "discovering his world"(that is the nice way we say he is into everything and driving us crazy). He has covered his dresser this week with Desitin (I am so glad it was just a sample size). He has decided to begin a bubble bath for himself. He also decided it would be fun to pour a whole bottle of water on himself in the truck (who gave him a bottle of water?).
This all leads to the pancakes. You see, the new phrase I am hearing around here is, "mom, you gotta come see this." Whenever I hear that, I tighten up inside and say, "no, tell me." I don't want to just "see" without warning. As we were preparing to put the kids to bed tonight, I heard Rick say from upstairs, "Laura, come tell me what this smell is in Isaiah and Laila's room." Oh, no, here we go again. I was sure that it was some foul smell produced by one of their bodily functions. Not so. When I arrived in their room, I was greeted by a sweet aroma, much like pancake syrup. I have no idea where it was coming from. I smelled everything in that room and could not find the source of the smell. So, Rick and I decided that Isaiah and Laila must be hosting a pancake fundraiser in their room when we are not aware. When I asked Laila if she had been making pancakes, she just smiled and gave me a kiss. So, if you want to support a good cause and are hungry for pancakes, you should come over to Isaiah and Laila's pancake house for a nice little meal. Maybe we could donate the money to Swaziland.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Today was no exception. I decided to take the kids to the pool. We invited the Fowlers to go with us because it was a "free guest" day. We were so excited to try the new indoor Splash area. We got to the pool and got everyone ready to go. I picked Laila up out of the wagon so that I could follow Isaiah around. As I am walking, I smell poop. I think, "Man, somebody really needs to change their kid's diaper." Then, I see someone from across the pool trying to get my attention. She is pointing to her shirt and then at me. I look down and I have poop all over me. All over my swimsuit, up my arms, and on my hands. I am thinking, "no way." Then I go over to the wagon and see a big pile of poop right where Laila was sitting. I have 9 children with me and a huge mess that I don't even know how to clean up or where to begin.
I grabbed the tiny container of wet wipes in my bag and began working. To clean up the mess in the wagon, I ended up with a beach towel that is covered in poo. Every time I tried to clean up some of the mess, Laila made it bigger. She was putting her hands in it. She put her foot into the open diaper before I could get it away. It was so disgusting. I got most of the visible mess cleaned up. Then, I called the other children out of the pool. I took Isaiah and Laila with me and told the 7 others to sit out of the pool and wait for me to return.
I went to the bathroom and had to completely wash mine and Laila's swimsuits in the sink with soap and water. Then we had to put soaking wet, cold swimsuits back on. No matter how many times I washed my hands, I could not get the poop smell out. Nasty.
So, we went back to the pool and resumed our time. We ended up staying for almost 3 hours and other than many episodes of craziness with Isaiah, which I have become accustomed to, the rest of our time went smoothly.
I am determined, people. I will prevail. I will accomplish the last fun days of summer before school starts!!!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sam the man
Mischief in those eyes
Wait until you see the girls...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
On Saturday, August 29, Beyond Survival is hosting the 3rd Annual Swazi Walk Fundraising Event. This event provides an opportunity for the people of Vanguard to tangibly help the people of Swaziland, Africa. Last year, we were able through the generosity and commitment of Vanguard Church to raise enough money to purchase a truck for Pastor Walter. This vehicle has made the work of his ministry so much more efficient and effective. Participants will walk from Vanguard church to Children‘s HopeChest (approx. 8.5 miles). This year funds raised will go to help create new jobs and income through a Rose Geranium Farm in Swaziland, Africa. This is a new and exciting opportunity to help those with no family income. An indigenous crop to Swaziland, Rose Geranium provides a simple sustainable business for the people of Swaziland. Simpler than growing a garden, children from this agrarian culture, are able to participate in the growing of Geranium as their project for income. Every six weeks the leaves are cut and distilled for 20 minutes producing oil that will bring them life. The oil is sold in foreign exchange providing a handsome return for families as well as sustaining Care Points. Rose Geranium oil is used to produce much of the world‘s perfumes and colognes and grows best in the climate of Southern Africa. The first farm will create 4 full-time and 16 part-time jobs.
There are 3 ways to be involved. First, come by the table in the lobby of Theater 7 to get a sponsor sheet. Then commit to get sponsors and walk with us!! If you can‘t walk on that day, you can walk on another day yourself or if the walk is too far, you can walk a portion of it from one carepoint to the next. Second, we need help with this event. We could use help with publicity, setting up and manning the carepoints, and donations of water and snacks to serve at the carepoints along the route. Third, you can donate to this cause. You may believe in what we are doing and want to be a part, but cannot participate in the actual walk. Any donations received that are designated for the Swazi Walk will go towards the Rose Geranium project.
For more details on the Rose Geranium project, check out beyondsurvivalonline.org
1. Isaiah is extremely verbal. When we took custody of him, he knew about 5 English words, but he talked non stop in his language. I knew he would pick up English quickly but had no idea that in less than 3 months he would be completely fluent. He speaks better than many 2 year olds who have lived here their whole lives. The one downside is that he talks nonstop. Some days he exhausts me with his nonstop chatter. I have told the kids we should count how many times he says, "Mama" in one day. It has to be well over 100!!
2. Favorite things - Isaiah absolutely loves pizza and bananas. For a while after we brought him home, he would ask for those two things at every meal. He also loves Baby Einstein videos. I think that watching these videos have been a huge factor in him learning English so quickly. He is an extrovert so he loves going places, especially church. Every time he goes to his class at church, he comes home so happy and energized. He also likes music. He wants to listen to music every minute that we are in the truck. He sings along with the songs. He is a good singer and dancer. I can't wait to take him back to Africa and have him hear the people singing at church. It is one of the most beautiful sounds on the earth.
3. Funny things he says and does - When he is finished doing any task, he will wipe his hands together like he is wiping them off. He did this from the day we met him. He loves to work. The best way to keep him happy and out of trouble is to give him a job to do. He says some really cute things. His latest are "goodness," "you want a piece of me?," "you want a piece of the title?(both of these things most often to Rick)," "mommy, I hold you," "whoa, cool!," and the latest when he is told not to do something, "ok, Mom."
4. Some of the habits we have had to overcome - Whenever he is finished eating, he just throws everything on the floor, food, bowls, cups, plates, silverware, you name it. We are working on this one. It is getting better. He is also learning to share. I suspect that in the environment he was in, it was every man for himself. He is learning that he doesn't have to protect his food and things anymore. When he first came home, he did a lot of hitting, biting, and pinching. He has really improved in this area and we are all thankful for that. His behavior has changed so much over the last 5 months. He is still a strong willed 2 year old, but he has grown so much in the area of behavior. (It is so funny, because after typing this, he has been really out of control this afternoon. That is just the way it goes.)
5. Isaiah is a little prayer warrior. I have no idea if he was ever taught to pray before he joined our family, but he absolutely knows how to pray now. He wants to pray at his meals and before bed when we take turns. He has gone from only repeating what we tell him to say to now saying his prayers like this, "Jesus, amen for our food, amen for our family, etc." It is adorable. It is also very important to him that everyone is participating in prayer time. He looks around and calls anyone out who doesn't have their hands folded and eyes closed. I had one really hard discipline day with him. After a 2 hour battle over nap time, I finally decided to pray over him. While I did out loud, he closed his eyes, folded his hands and said, "Yes, Jesus!" It was all I could do not to laugh at that point.
6. Isaiah loves his little sister, Laila. He shares with her, protects her, comforts her, loves on her. He is very aware of her and wants the best for her. He is actually that way with all his brothers and sisters. If he gets something, he wants to make sure that everyone else does, too. When Rick is leaving for work, he makes sure everyone gets a hug and kiss, not just himself. If he gets a snack, he asks for a snack for all the kids.
7. He is extremely loving and affectionate. He puckers up those cute little lips and it is adorable. He says, "I love you" a lot. He loves to give hugs regularly.
8. Isaiah is animated. If you have been around him for even a couple of minutes you will grasp this. He has a million dollar smile that will melt any heart and he knows how to use it. It is always obvious when he is around. He has the cutest little face where he points his finger and rolls his eyes. It makes everyone who sees it laugh.
There are a million more things I could write about my son. The biggest one of all is that he is a gift from God and I am thankful for him. My life is forever changed by this little guy whose name means, "My God is Salvation, we have enough, we are satisfied."
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
I don't know what exposure Isaiah and Laila have had to prayer or even God before they joined our family. I love to see them already impacted by God in their lives. We have quite the story to tell them of how God brought them to our family. Isaiah is our prayer policemen. He makes sure that everyone is putting their hands together and closing their eyes during prayer time. If they are not, he is quick to remind them that it is time to pray. He enjoys praying and will repeat as Rick leads him to pray. Laila has begun "praying" too. At meals and before bed when she hears us say it is time to pray, she will put her hands together. Tonight, she put her hands together and said, "Je Je". She was praying to Jesus. It was so sweet and special, a moment I will never forget. I pray that both Isaiah and Laila will come to know the Lord and be encouraged by His hand in their lives from before they even knew about Him.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
1. The day we took custody of Laila she had 2 teeth. Within the first week of having her, she had 5 more teeth come in. Now, only a few short months later, she has a total of 12 teeth, 4 of which are the first set of molars!!! She can eat with the best of them.
2. Speaking of eating, she has been a little chunker from the start. I will never forget what Cody said in Africa shortly after we got her, "Man, she has a lot of layovers!" I have never heard of the rolls on a baby referred to as layovers. It was hilarious. At one year old she wears 18-24 mos. clothes and weighs 24 lbs.!!
3. Laila was 9 months old when I first met her. I have no idea what she was doing before she joined our family, but from all appearances, she was not very interactive at the orphanage. In those first 3 weeks while we were still in Africa, she began clapping, pat-a-cake with roll 'em up, waving, scrunchy face, clicking her tongue, giving kisses, and "all done" in sign language.
4. She began crawling on May 2 and has been pulling up and cruising the furniture since then. She has yet to take those first steps, but we are expecting them any day.
5. She can now do "all done," "more," "please," and "thank you" in sign language. She blows kisses and does sweet baby(tilts her head and smiles). She says "uh-oh" when something drops. She says, "momma" and "daggy"(daddy) and she says all of the kids names. She loves doggys, and calls every animal by that name. When she is going to touch you, she says,"soft" and rubs her hand on you softly. She will try to say anything we ask her to. She is extremely verbal.
6. We call her Laila Bear because she likes to growl a lot. It is so cute. Rick will say her name in a growling voice and she repeats, "daggy" in that same voice.
7. She began climbing the stairs last week and goes all the way. Our concern is that she doesn't know how to go down yet. So far no falls (fingers crossed).
8. One of her favorite things to do is give high fives, kisses, and hugs. Throughout the day she randomly comes up to me and gives me kisses with a smack sound like a real kiss.
9. One of her least favorite things to do is get her hair fixed. She hates for me to comb or brush it. I expect this is going to complicate my life when she actually has enough hair for me to do something with.
10. One of my favorite things is to see her face light up with excitement when she sees Rick or me. When she has been away from either one of us, she will bounce, wave, her arms, and squeal when we come around. She then proceeds to show us all of her little tricks and abilities. It is so cute. She is the same way with her brothers and sisters. She is in love with all of them.
Those are the top 10 things about Laila right now. Next I will write about Isaiah and his over-the-top personality.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I needed some perspective today. Many of my days feel very long and hard. I go nonstop taking care of little people and often feel unappreciated. This morning was no exception. I got everyone fed, dressed, broke up a few battles, wiped noses, changed two poopy diapers, dished out a few time outs, gave some hugs and kisses, got the dishwasher running, got laundry started, gave fashion advice, got myself dressed, cleaned a mess, changed my clothes because they got dirty from the mess, and headed out the door by 9:10 AM. I had a dentist appt. so a friend of mine had agreed to keep the kids for me. We drove across town to drop them off, and as I was getting out of the truck, realized that my shoes don't match my outfit. You see, when I changed my shirt, from the mess, I forgot to get different shoes out. Not really a big deal, just icing on the cake. So, I dropped everyone off and raced to the dentist's office. When I arrived, I received and apology from them saying, "We called your house at 9:30 to tell you that our hygenist would not be in today. We need to reschedule your appt." I just stood there thinking, "are you serious?" So, we did and I felt that all my efforts for the morning were wasted. I called my friend and she said since she already has the kids (which was an amazing sacrifice on her part to begin with in my opinion) that I could just have some time to myself for the morning.
Now, what to do with that time? Do I run errands that would be much easier alone than with 6 kids? Do I go home and clean something uninterrupted? Do I take some time to read a book and just relax? Or, do I spend some time with God? I decided to run a quick errand, then go home and spend some time with God. As I was preparing for that time, I came across this video. It brought me to tears and reminded me of the calling God has placed on my life. The calling to mother my children, the calling to adoption that He brought us through this last year, and the calling to help the children of Swaziland. My inconveniences and frustrations would be a blessing to many around the world. The video brought back the perspective I needed in my life. I hope it does the same for you.
Lord, don't ever let me get so caught up in my little world that I forget about the big world of people in need that you have created. Help me to be a part of the solution not the problem.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I woke up on Thursday morning to a huge mess!! This picture doesn't really give it justice. Imagine the whole kitchen and much of my carpet around the kitchen looking like this. In addition, we all ended up with orange feet despite how many times we washed them. I was not pleased and later had to apologize to my kids for my horrible reaction to this mess.
We are so glad to have Rick home. He got back on Friday afternoon. He is NEVER allowed to leave me again. :)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I love you, Lolly!!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Prying it open
The big reveal, not as gross as I expected. Now, here is the big BUT: I did not count on the fact that it would take him a few days to be able to walk again. It is now Wed. and he still isn't walking on it. We are actually back to square one when he first broke the leg because he was very mobile and skilled with his cast. Now he is hesitant and unable to move around like before. The dr. said it could take up to a week to get the strength and courage to use it. Pray for us. I am ready for this saga to end and for our little guy to be able to be his normal running around little self.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Rick in working mode doing miracles with our money.
When God placed Africa on my heart 3 years ago, he didn't tell me that I was crazy. He didn't tell me to forget about it. He began praying, he went on a trip, he opened his heart, and he received the calling as well. Not many men would even allow themselves the emotions that are necessary to carry this burden for Swaziland that we feel.
Then, one year ago, when I told him at 5:00 Am one morning, that I thought God might be calling us to adopt, he said, "Well, then let's pray about that." He believes in me and constantly tells me what I am doing right. I love that man. God has truly blessed me beyond measure.
The title of this post says it all "Load it, Unload it, Repeat over and over again." That about sums it up. What else is there really to say. I must go load my dishwasher.
Very soon I will post how I have divided up jobs and privileges for the kids. Some of you have asked how I do it.