Monday, November 30, 2009

These Boots Are Made For Walking...

...and that's just what they'll do.

Laila wore her sassy boots that I found for her on clearance for the first time yesterday. She was so cute. She kept looking at them as she walked because the little balls would bounce around. Sister Baby(as Isaiah and I like to call her) is one cute little thing.
Work it, girl!

Family Thanksgiving Dinner

Whenever we spend Thanksgiving Day at someone else's house, the following Saturday, we have our own Clapp Family Thanksgiving Meal. So, on Friday, the girls and I began preparing the foods. It has been so much fun this year having their help. They were very helpful putting up the Christmas decorations. This weekend, they were a HUGE help preparing the food. In the past when they have asked to help me cook, I kind of cringed inside because it seemed like more work than help. Not anymore.
Making Deviled Eggs(Abby can peel the eggs faster than me.)
Abby and Me making dressing(Lauren was helpful, but got tired of cooking rather quickly.) Abby was the little trooper. She kept asking for more work. I call her my little worker bee.
As you can see, we get really fancy for this meal. ;) All of the kids were in their pajamas. That is the fun part of having a Thanksgiving meal at your own house!!
We kick off the Christmas season with a gift for the family. This year it was the movie Elf. It has become our funny family Christmas movie to watch each year.

Thanksgiving Day

We had a very special Thanksgiving this year and a lot to be thankful for . Isaiah and Laila celebrated with us for the first time. We really enjoyed getting together with the Fowlers, Goads, Clines, and Fowler Grandparents!! We put together quite the feast as everyone brought their favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
Laila was a happy girl!
Little kids table
A few of the big boys
There was lots of eating...
...lots of talking...
...more talking...
...some video game playing...
...a little bit of wrestling...
...and lots of football watching(Yay! Cowboys!).
Thanksgiving 2009 will go down in the books as a very special day!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day at the Park

Okay, I am not a really big fan of the park, especially big ones that are crowded. I can't keep up with all the kids. I really am not a big outdoor person period unless there is a palm tree and beach involved. So, whenever Rick mentions the park, I groan. Friday was a really nice day, and the kids did need to get out and run. I just wasn't looking forward to it. It is amazing the variety of emotions that can be experienced in one little park outing. You will know what I mean when you see the pictures.
Exhibit A: Happy Isaiah
Exhibit B: Grumpy Isaiah
Exhibit C: Happy Laila
Exhibit D: Sleepy Laila
Just a few more pics from our time:

Laila's cheesy grin every time she sees the camera.
Just a swingin'
Lolly skating
Abby doing a scooter trick
Cody skating
Sam on the scooter(I have no idea who that little girl is).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blessed Beyond Measure

God began doing a work in my heart for Africa 3 1/2 years ago. About 4 months later, Rick had the opportunity to visit Swaziland, Africa. He came back from that trip just as much a mess as I already was. His desire after seeing what he saw was to take these amazing people beyond just survival in their lives. We can give them food that will feed them today. We can provide clothes that will last for a period of time, but that didn't feel like enough. It became our desire to help them get the education they need and provide jobs so that they could experience some lasting change and move beyond survival in their lives and mentalities. Lately as we have dealt with some specific issues in this ministry, we have been reminded even more the importance of sustainability projects versus just doing the temporary things. As a result of the burden God laid on our heart, we started Beyond Survival, an organization that would be a conduit of making this happen in the lives of the Swazi people.

As we began the adoption process, something that we never really imagined we would be doing, I had a dream one night. God really spoke to me a lot during our adoption at night. Some times through dreams, but most often by waking me up and revealing things to me through His Word and other circumstances. It was a very vague dream, but I remember during the dream thinking that I needed to remember the phrase, "beyond survival, blessed beyond measure." When I woke up, I didn't really know what it meant. Did it mean that the Swazi people would be blessed beyond measure by beyond survival. Did it mean that we would be blessed beyond measure? What does blessed beyond measure really mean? So, I had those questions that I thought about a lot, but decided God would just have to reveal what it all meant in his timing.

Fast forward to this week. Thanksgiving has always been an enjoyable time for me, but not really a season of thankfulness. I don't think I have been ungrateful, just not truly aware of how many blessings I really have in my life. That is another thing Africa has done for me. Shown me how blessed I really am. I think as a whole Christianity in America has a distorted view of being "blessed." There are a lot of people preaching that blessings are in the form of material things, wealth, and success. If we give, we will get in return, that is what being blessed is. There are things in my life that are really hard. We have had a difficult year. The adoption process is REALLY hard. The adoption process is REALLY expensive. We still have debt that we have incurred as a result. I have had health issues over the last 5 months. Isaiah has had health issues to deal with since we brought him home including a broken leg in July. Going from 4-6 children is challenging. It seems like every time we turn around, there is something else that is broken and needs to be replaced. I don't say all of this to be complaining. ALL of us have lives like this, but I can honestly say I don't feel the negative effects of this year right now. On another day, I probably will, but not today, and not really this week.

God reminded me this week of that dream. It felt like a full circle moment on Thanksgiving Day when we took the family picture above. I have felt "blessed beyond measure" this week. I am so blessed. I have a beautiful family that is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I have all of my needs met, a home, food, clothes, a vehicle. My children have the opportunity to go to an amazing school. We have an awesome church and community of people that God has placed in our lives. I have even been able to let go of some of the "stuff" in our house that I have been holding on to because we might need it again some day. I have less fear in my life than I did a year ago. I have seen God work in ways I never imagined that He could, and through that process He has changed me. I am not the same person I was a year ago. For that I am extremely grateful.

I don't feel like this is the culmination of that dream last year. It really feels like only the beginning of what God wants to show me and what He wants to do in our lives and the lives of the Swazi people. All I know is that I am waiting expectantly to see what this next year holds. Only God knows, but guess what, I trust Him.

Christmas Decorating

We were very excited to put up the trees this year. Isaiah and Laila have been getting glimpses of Christmas in stores and at people's houses already. We couldn't wait to see what they thought of our trees.

They enjoyed "fluffing" the branches and giving them to Daddy to put on the tree. It was very cute.
The sun made me look really "bright" in this picture. That is Laila's "cheesy" grin that she does every time she sees the camera. She is also saying, "cheese." Can you hear the Christmas music playing in the background?
The tree in our living room and the little worker elves putting it together. (We are fake tree people. I am allergic to the real ones, and they are too much work.)
First tree put up.
We took a hot chocolate break while Daddy and Cody put the lights on the tree.
Sanele Christmas Tree
The day would not have been complete without a Rudolph Sandwich.
The Kids' Tree. They get an ornament from us and from their Grammy every year. They have collected quite a few over the years. Angel on top because that is what I grew up with.

Our tree(Rick and me). We have all of our special ornaments on it. Nothing fancy, just things that mean something to us. Star on top because that is what Rick grew up with. (See the cat, dog, cow decoration on the coffee table? That is Rick's "favorite." So much so that when it plays music we have created a song about Daddy being grumpy. He LOVES musical Christmas decorations) - can you feel the sarcasm in my words? We had to retire one of our favorite musical decorations this year, the Baby Christmas Tree. May he rest in peace.
I love how cozy my house feels at Christmas time!! I also love that Rick plays a big part in getting these decorations up. I could not do it without him!!

Thanksgiving Week

Rick and the kids have been off this week. It has been a much needed time for our family. The next several posts will highlight some of the events of the week. We had a mixture of work and play with a lot of sleeping in(at least for Rick and me). I don't think Cody and Isaiah could sleep past 6:30 AM if their lives depended on it.

On Monday, we cleaned out our dining room. It became a makeshift office during the adoption process. There was so much paperwork to keep up with, I needed a place to lay it out and keep it handy. Rick has also used it as his place to work on the computer at home and pay bills. We have decided that we really need an office so we are going to create a makeshift office in our unfinished basement for now. It feels really good to have that room cleaned out. We are going to give it a test run tonight with one of our Thanksgiving traditions. More on that later.

On Tuesday, we put up the Christmas decorations. Pictures to follow.

On Wednesday, we spent the morning working on the basement. We are reworking how we use it. Adding two more people to our family has created some challenges in this house, and we are having to be creative with our space. So, for now, we are moving things around. Hopefully, at some point, we can move into a house that has a better use of square footage for the size family that we have.

On Thursday, we started a new Thanksgiving morning tradition. Lauren and Abby made omelets for everyone. We also had chocolate milk. Rick went to get a newspaper so we could look at ads for Black Friday and picked up our traditional Thanksgiving drinks at Starbucks. The kids and I watched the parade while I prepared the food items we were bringing to lunch. We spent the rest of the day with great friends and great food. It was really a good day. Pictures to follow.

On Friday, Rick insisted that we take advantage of the amazing weather so we headed to Cottonwood Creek Park for a while. After lunch, the girls and I worked on food for our big night tonight. Rick worked on the basement more. It is really shaping up!! Last night we ordered pizza and watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Today, we celebrate our Family Thanksgiving Tradition. You will have to wait to hear more about that. I have much work to do to get ready!!!

If you are still reading this, I am really impressed. I did this post more for memory sake than for enjoyable reading.

David Livingstone, I Presume?

Cody's class did a unit on explorers. Each student picked an explorer to research. They drew a map of their explorations and gathered facts on that person. On Explorers' Day, they each dressed as their explorer and did a presentation. They also did an exploration as a class, and the teachers were pirates trying to sabotage the exploration. I thought that was pretty creative of his school to come up with.

Cody did David Livingstone. He put together his own costume. Once again, I was really thankful for that. The cool thing about David Livingstone is that he was also a missionary(little piece of trivia for those of you who did not know). This summer Discovery Channel did a reality show called Expedition Africa where a group of people retraced Livingstone's route. It was cool after having watched that show for him to do more research on this particular explorer.

P.S. He did wear shoes to school.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Love this picture

I just love Laila in this picture. The others not so much, but she looks like she is up to something and is giggling. What a cutie pie. I love her more than words can say.

Native American Day

Lauren's class had Native American Day on Friday. She made her costume all by herself. I was very proud of her. (You know how skilled I am at costumes.) They rotated classrooms and learned some games, read stories, ate food, and made rain sticks and moccasins. She had a great time. She and Abby have been making moccasins for everyone in the family. They are quite stylish.

A Big Day For Sam

Sam had his first party at school. Not only did they have a party, but they did a little Thanksgiving program for us as well. Sam was totally in his element doing the performance. He had a smile on his face the whole time and performed every word and motion with expression and joy!! They each got to choose if they wanted to be a pilgrim or Native American. You can see Sam's choice from the picture. Of course he was the cutest one there!! The time ended with a selection of pies to choose from. Sam chose cherry pie. This was a special day that I am really glad I got to be a part of.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This Time Last Year

This time last year, the ache was deep. This time last year, the calling was strong. This time last year, the burden was almost unbearable. This time last year, we had just learned of Isaiah and Laila. On November 13, 2008, I spoke with our agency about our desires for adoption and about the two little people that were missing from our family. At the time of the conversation, there were no children that stood in the mind of the director that fit the description in our hearts, a brother and sister 2 and under. We weren't tied to that description. It was a starting point. We were even open to twins. God knew exactly what children he was bringing to our family and began the work in our hearts to welcome them with open arms. The night of the 13th was a difficult one for me. I was up most of the night doubting this journey we were embarking on. I was battling against lies all night long in my head. "What am I thinking? This is the craziest idea ever!! I am going to destroy my family and regret it for the rest of my life." It was excruciating. I went the next day, November 14, to be a part of the morning worship at a Missional Conference at our church. God spoke truth to my heart so clearly during that time. I heard Him in the worship time. I heard Him from my friends as I shared the struggles of the night before. I heard Him as my husband shared a passage of Scripture that resonated with the work that God was doing in my heart. It was amazing.

Then, I came home to a static-filled voicemail that changed my life forever. It said something like this, "Laura, someone is listening to you. I just heard of a brother and sister who have been brought in. A family is being requested for them. This is unusual, but this is the first time we have had a situation where a family was requested. He is two and she is 3 months old(we later learned that she was actually 5 months old at the time and he had not turned 2 yet). I couldn't help but think of you guys as I heard about these two. Call me when you have a chance." I stood there and listened to that message over and over again. I tried to call Rick immediately, but could not get in touch with him. Then I tried to call the agency. When I spoke to the director, I didn't learn any more information. It just felt really good to talk about them. I was a mess. But this time it was a good mess, not a confused, questioning, listening to lies kind of mess. It was a moment of seeing God confirm all the crazy thoughts that I had been pursuing for the last 4 months. He really was leading me. He really was changing our family. I had no control and only Him to cling to. That was right where He needed me to be.

Now, I sit here at my computer, and I am a bit of a mess once again. I was just heading to bed when I heard a noise from Isaiah and Laila's room. I went in to check on them, and Isaiah was sitting up in his bed, his pillow and covers thrown on the floor. I think he was a little disoriented. He talked about playing or eating food, and then he wanted to know what each member of our family was doing. After I explained to him that they were asleep and it was time for him to go to sleep, he said, "Ok, Mama, Good night." I covered him up and asked him if he wanted me to pray for him. He said, "yes." After praying I checked on Laila. The commotion had stirred her. She laid down, I covered her up and said a quick prayer over her. I left that room and felt so overwhelmed. I remembered all that I just shared from last year and felt amazed at God and His work. These two little people that were only a description this time last year, are now my son and daughter. They are mine as much as my birth children. I can't explain that, I just know it in my heart.

When I got back to my room, I immediately began to feel burdened for those families who are still "in process." I know of 3 families that are on the verge of bringing their children home. I know of many others who are still frantically filling out paperwork and raising money to fulfill this calling on their lives. They haven't even seen a picture of their kids yet. They are just a gender and age range to them right now. I don't understand why God allows the process to be what it is. What I do know is that I am a different person because of this process, and I have to trust His purpose in that. If you are reading this and you are "in process" please know that I am praying for you and that God sees you. Don't believe the lies that are being thrown at you. Ask God to reveal His truth in those desperate times. If you are reading this and you know of someone who is "in process", encourage them. Be that person that confirms what God is doing in their hearts. It is lonely and painful and feels neverending. They should not have to bear it alone.

I had no intentions of writing a post at 11:00 PM tonight. I guess God had other plans. I just can't believe my life right now. I can't imagine it any other way, but I would have never imagined I would be where I am. That is the thing I love about God. He takes our dream of having 6 children 15 years ago and weaves it into something more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Music to my Ears

Laila has been calling me "mom." Not my favorite thing to be called from my little ones. I expect it when they are older, but not my babies. Yesterday, she started calling me "mommy" out of the blue. I think it is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. It melts my heart every time when I hear that word in her cute little baby voice. I am soaking it all in because I know it won't last forever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Emotions like no other

The adoption process is an emotional rollercoaster. There is just no other way to explain it. I have been mulling this post around in my mind for quite a while. I don't know if I can express what I want to in a cohesive way, but I am going to try because I think the emotions and feelings need to be shared. I think it is important for those who are adopting to not feel alone. I think it is important for those who have adopted to know that others are still struggling despite the fact that their children are home. I also think it is important for those who are journeying with adoptive families. Without experiencing it firsthand, you really cannot grasp the intensity and the variation of emotions that these families are dealing with daily. So, here it goes. I may have to clarify later or add to as I continue to process, but this will be my first shot at expressing my emotions.

First of all, as you know, I have birthed four babies. My first 3 pregnancies were great. They were easy and really low on the scale of complications. The fourth one, not so much. We almost lost Sam a couple of times and experienced quite a bit of emotions through his birth and early days. Adoption is different, very different. I was talking with some friends this week, two of which are going through adoption processes(0ne domestic and the other foster/adopt), and we agreed that in pregnancy you feel like you have some control(even though you really don't). There is the illusion of control because the baby is with you. You can eat well, get good medical care, and "protect" that baby. With adoption you are stripped of ALL control. You are at the mercy of complete strangers, the government(s), the process, and sometimes birth parents/families. It is so hard. You can be at the top of the mountain and in the depths of despair all in one day for many days during the process. It is excruciating. I think I also had the illusion during the process that, "if I just get these babies home, it will be all better. I can deal with anything as long as I have them in my home." Well, now that I am on the other side, it is not that easy.

I have never dealt with so much fear in my parenting as I do with Isaiah and Laila. I know that they have suffered a great loss in losing their mother. That is enough, but who knows what else they experienced those first years for Isaiah and first months for Laila of life. I don't know, and it scares me. It scares me as I try to teach them boundaries. It scares me as I try to train them in the way that they should go. Reading adoption materials often confuses me even more. It seems that in an effort to not scar the children any further, we are told to avoid any discipline. It is hard to discern between what is normal 2 1/2 year old behavior and 17 month old behavior and what is the result of some horrible memory or circumstance in their past. It seems that we are doing them a disservice by allowing their behaviors because of our fear. I don't want my children to grow up as victims thinking for the rest of their lives that they are exempt from boundaries. I want to show them how God so purposefully brought them to our family and how He desires to use them greatly despite or even as a result of their past.

What I am sharing is very controversial for those of you not in the adoption loop. It is one of those things we don't talk about because there is a lot of disagreement and judgement. I think we should talk about it more. Everything I have read says that if my child throws a fit or acts out in some way that it is from a scar in his/her past. (Let me just say, I am not totally discounting this idea. I do believe that horrible things have happened to many children and those horrible things affect them GREATLY. So, don't think I dismiss the idea of counseling and programs that work with the issues that come with adoption.) Can we not admit, though, that some of the behaviors are just normal for their age and they need to be lovingly guided and disciplined?

I don't have the answers. I am just throwing out the issues I am wrestling with. I guess just like with my other children, I need to seek God daily to know how to parent each child well. Two of my kids have sensory integrative dysfunction. This has brought a whole new element to my parenting as I consider this alongside dealing with their behaviors. The same is true for Isaiah and Laila. I have to look at their behavior and ask the question, "why is he/she acting like this right now? How do I walk through this with them?" We are finding that they feel safe and secure and loved when we take the time to enforce boundaries with them. It is always followed with restoration, hugs, and kisses, and words of affirmation. They see us doing the same thing with our bio kids. All 6 of these kids are our children. We love them the same and we love them ALL enough to discipline them. So, there you have it. I don't know if it makes any sense, but I felt like I needed to write it. And, I feel like I need to say that the emotions of adoption don't end the day you bring your kids into your home.

My life would not be the same without him.
She has captured my heart in ways I never could have imagined.


I do believe the crumbs on my kitchen floor right now could probably feed a small country.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reflecting and Looking Forward

I can't believe it has been over a week since I returned from my trip to Dallas. The trip was good for me in so many ways. Of course, it was a much needed break. I love Dallas. I loved having a few days with no responsibilities. I could sleep in. I didn't have to cook or even think about sustaining the lives of 6 other people. What a treat! I didn't have to do any housework: no dishes, no laundry, no sweeping, no vacuuming. There were no school responsibilities: no checking homework, no 3 trips a day to drop off and pick up, no reviewing phonograms, no checking in on projects, no reading to children. It was great...

...for a weekend. But one thing I discovered while I was gone is that I wouldn't trade my life. I was with single women, I was with married women with less children than me, and I was with married women whose children are grown. Even in the midst of a "break" I found myself thinking about Rick and the kids a lot. So many things would remind me of them. I would think of the cute things they do. I would experience something that I wanted them to experience, too. In my mind, I compared the stresses of my life to the stresses of those around me. I have come to terms with the fact that my whole house will not be clean again all at once for a long time(that doesn't mean I don't get irritated). I have come to terms with the fact that my husband and I can't have a date night every week(at least not at this stage). I have come to terms with the idea that inviting a family of 8 over for dinner is very overwhelming to most people(our dinner invitations have decreased over the years as we add to our family). I am trying to come to terms with the fact that as my kids get older I am probably going to have to drive one of those big conversion vans that will seat 11(I am not quite there on this one yet. I really love my truck).

Anyway, I could ramble on and on. The point is this: My life is good. My life is my calling. I love doing what God has called me to do, and I don't want to trade with anyone. I love the family He has created that is called "The Clapp Family." We aren't perfect. We don't fit into a mold. We are seeking to be who God has called us to be and invite others to join us in that journey.

I am thankful for the opportunity to evaluate my life. I will still need many more breaks, but I can approach each day with the confidence that no matter how hard that day is, I am doing what God has called me to. It is not glamorous, and it is often mundane, but it is me living each day the best that I can in the calling that I have.

Walmart-enough said

I don't really even have to say anything in this post. I could just leave the title and most of you would understand completely. I am only writing because I think it will be therapeutic for me.

I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. I love the deals, but I hate going there, especially with my children. Today I HAD to go. I only had Isaiah and Laila with me, but 1 1/2 hrs. later I was a mess. Between Isaiah throwing things out of the cart, trying to open things, thinking I shouldn't purchase certain things, getting hungry and throwing a fit and Laila constantly throwing her binky on the floor and then screaming I just didn't know if I would survive. I had a break from this last year when it was only Sam and me. He was 5 years old and a helper when shopping. I am back to the old days and I am remembering how hard it was. It is only Monday, and I think it might take me all week to recover.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who knew...

...that this little sock...
...could become this lion puppet?
I am not crafty. I never have been, and I have come to terms with the fact that after 37 years, I never will be. When I had any artsy projects for school whether it was drawing something, creating a model of something, or doing a craft project like this one, I would basically watch my mom while she did it. I hated it, I procrastinated, and I cried and whined through the whole process. Now, our kids go to a school where costumes and puppets and models of things are deeply ingrained in their education. What was I thinking? So, Lauren and I got out the glue gun and the supplies we had purchased and ended up with what I think is a pretty amazing puppet.
Here is some of the process
These are the legs that we decided not to use. (All that work and creativity expended for nothing!!) The lion does have a pretty awesome looking tail on his back side that you cannot see in the picture. We decided that these little arms and legs could be bookmarks. Some purpose for my pain.
I am exhausted from this little project. I feel like I should get some kind of award today for this one. How long before Lauren has to dress like a Native American? Oh, yeah, that is on Friday. I better go start working on that one.

Play date

We had a play date this week with Journey Grace. The whole drive there, Isaiah would say, "I play with Journey Grace(and let me tell you, the way he says her name is so cute). " Then immediately following that statement he would say, "Saiah, Saiah, Saiah,(for some reason he is referring to himself this way these days) 'fraid of dogs." He was very excited to play, but very concerned about their 2 huge dogs. It was cute.
Don't they look cute? Journey Grace in her cute glasses and Isaiah posing with arms folded.
Laila just had to be in so she threw herself backwards into the picture. You gotta love that belly!!
The Christmas decorations were all up, and Isaiah got his first taste of Christmas. He was fascinated by the lights and ornaments. I cannot wait to see the wonder and excitement in his eyes this Christmas as he gets to experience new traditions and celebrations that he has never experienced before!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Buying Water

I bought me some water today. It only cost me $10. But it just may change the world. Click on my link at the left to change the world with me!!!!

A Bump in the Laundry Road

All in all this kids doing their laundry thing has been a huge help. It really has lightened my load and even the burden that I feel. We have hit a bump and today I am hosting a refresher course for the children. Attendance is required.

I just spent the last hour extensively cleaning my laundry room. It was a mess. Detergent and Fabric softener everywhere, just gunky. So, I cleaned it and when the kids get home we are going to talk about how to use those products without a huge mess and a huge amount of wastefulness.

The second thing is putting away our laundry. We are getting it clean, but then it is sitting in piles in the bedrooms. That is really not okay with me. So, today I am going to remind them how we bring a warm load fresh from the dryer and immediately begin to fold, sort, and lay out neatly to hang up. The way things are going now, they always have clothes all over their rooms sometimes clean and sometimes dirty.

I really thought having the kids do their own laundry would cause them to use less clothes. That has not been the case so far. It seems that before they have completed their weekly laundry, their clothes hamper is approaching full again. So, another thing I need to think about.

With the kids in school, laundry gets backlogged quite a bit and I find I can't get mine done(Isaiah and Laila's clothes, Rick's and my clothes, towels, and sheets). I don't know how to solve this problem. I will find that it can take days to get theirs done because they are only changing it out in the evenings. That locks up the machines all day while I am at home and could do some. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

All in all, I am glad I made the switch. My biggest concern, stain removal, has not been an issue at all. They love treating those stains and are doing a good job at it. I think they are doing pretty good considering they have only been doing this about a month. I will let you know how the mandatory meeting goes.

Water for Christmas

Today is the BIG DAY!! Please join me in donating to this life changing cause. You can click on the Water for Christmas tab at the right. Donate your $10 to First Gift. If you are clueless to what I am saying, look at some of my previous posts. I would love to see thousands of dollars raised for this cause today!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Baby is growing up

Laila is maturing so fast. She is doing so many new things. Yesterday, she went down the stairs by herself for the first time. (Now if you are cringing, I was with her, watching her the whole time.) She has gone up the stairs many times alone, but we have guarded her carefully from getting near then when she is up there. She knew how to do it without my help. She just turned that little booty around and went down on her tummy, feet first, step by step. It was quite impressive to me that she figured that out all on her own. You go, girl!

Apparently, she has also decided that she is too old to call me "mommy" or "mama" which are my preferences. She is now referring to me as "mom." It is really cute, but makes me a little sad. I just love hearing a baby voice call me "mommy."

In addition, she can name and point to all the body parts on her head(nose, ears, mouth, etc.). She is very proud of this skill and does it multiple times throughout the day.

Finally, sister has developed an attitude. This is the age when it happens. I remember Lauren's first fit at 15 mos. like it was yesterday. Out of the blue, she just threw herself down and started screaming and shouting. I just stood there looking at her in disbelief. Laila is now testing her temper and boundaries. I don't mean this ugly at all, but she looks most like Isaiah when she is giving me a little attitude. They have the same defiant looks on their faces. I love seeing their similarities, it reminds me of the special bond they have as brother and sister.

Thankfully, despite the quest for independence, she is still very loving. She gives me so many cuddles and kisses throughout the day. She will come up and wrap her arms around my leg and just plant a big kiss on me. I call her my "little piece of love."

As I am finishing this post, I have to share this little thing she just did. I could smell the stinky diaper that she just created. I said, "Somebody is a stinker." She walked past me, patted herself on the butt with her hands and said, "Yep." It was very cute. Now, I must go change that nasty diaper.

I know she has a crusty nose, but she is still so stinkin' cute!


I have some things I want to share. I have thought about them all week since my weekend away. I haven't quite pulled all the thoughts into a cohesive unit, but it is about my life and where I am and what my time away has shown me. Stay tuned!!

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Don't forget to donate tomorrow to Water For Christmas. Below you will read a message that reminds us of the importance of this cause. You can join Water For Christmas on Facebook to see the pictures.

It's time again.
We just uploaded pictures to this page of some the faces who received the gift of clean water this year due to the efforts of those who bought Water For Christmas in 2008.

Thousands have been helped, their lives changed. But we're not done...

Last year, we encouraged people to give $10 on Friday's.
This year, we are only doing it only once. One day. 24 hours.
So this Friday, November 13, we are raising our voice and buying Water. Encouraging everyone to let their first gift of the season be life.

We would love for you all to join us. $10 will give one person clean water for 10 years. Collectively, the impact could be huge.

As always, all donations go directly to charity: water, are tax-deductible, and 100% goes directly to water solutions.

Use this link to donate on Friday.;

First Gift. $10 viral campaign. NOVEMBER 13. Consider yourself invited...

Thanks much--

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Now Hiring

Okay, so this African hair thing is kicking my butt. I have been so ready for Laila's hair to grow out(they shaved it before we got her). Now, it is growing, and I am finding it to be a lot of work. First of all, she has this weird "old man" receding hair line on each side with hair coming forward in the middle. This makes the cute little puff on each side really hard to do. She is still a baby so I don't want to do the braided hair extensions. I want her to still look like a baby. Then, there are the hair care products. I have been trying to find inexpensive ones that work, but her hair is really dry so I have taken the leap and purchased the more expensive stuff. It seems to make a difference. It is just painful to spend so much on hair. Even when I do fix her hair, by midmorning, it looks matted in the back from her nap or carseat. If I go the route of cornrows, they can be at least $50 every 4-6 weeks. Listen, people, I do good to get my own hair fixed. This is really complicating my mornings. Oh, and did you know that you are only supposed to wash their hair once a week. Otherwise, it dries out too much. Living in CO doesn't help that.
So, I guess I say all of this to say if you have suggestions I am open. I want her to have nice hair. I don't want my ignorance as a white woman to ruin her hair. I have always said if I had a lot of money, I would pay for someone to fix my hair each day. Now, if I had a lot of money, I would pay someone to fix mine and Laila's hair each day. Any takers? Those without experience need not apply. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Little Cowboys' Fans

In our family, it is a rule if you travel for more than one night, that you must come home bearing gifts. Well, I couldn't go to Dallas without bringing back some Cowboys' gear. Now, everyone is outfitted with hats. The kids were really excited, and everyone wore them last night during the game. It was a treat to see the Cowboys win!!!

Cody has really started loving football. He and Rick watch together and they really get into the game. They cheer and yell as the game progresses. Doesn't he look cool in his hat?

Lauren's hat is light blue, but it is hard to tell in this picture.

Abby has a visor. It fits her personality.

Sam has wanted a Cowboy's hat for a long time. It is hard to find his size here. He said today, "I don't know if I will ever take this off." He even coordinated his outfit this afternoon to look cool with his hat.

Isaiah was very excited to have a hat, too. He is very proud of it.

Laila got a Frog Princess coloring book because they didn't have hats her size, and we already have 2 that will fit her from our Dallas days. It was so cute to see her coloring. It was the first time she ever really took an interest.
I got Rick and me Cowboys' winter hats. The really cool part was that all the hats were on clearance!!! I love a good deal. We have to keep the Cowboys alive when we live in Bronco country.