Monday, August 29, 2011

Dumped By My Own Son!

Cody had some "man" stuff planned with Rick over the weekend for his upcoming 13th bday. So, I decided to take the opportunity to have a date with Sam. Leading up to our time, I kept prepping him saying, "You know on dates, you are supposed to bring your date a gift, cash will be fine." "Holding my hand would be a great idea, when you go on a date with me." I love joking with Sam, because he gets the humor. We have fun joking around with each other.

I knew he wanted to go to McDonalds. I am not a huge fan, but since it is his date, he gets to choose. So, off to McDonalds we went.

This kids is so much fun. He talked non-stop the whole time. Being the middle boy, he often fades into the shadows. That has been hard for him since he was the youngest for 5 years. I did not even have to try for a second to come up with something for us to talk about. He carried the conversation.
The reason he likes McDonalds: The toy!
After dinner, we went out tennis shoe shopping. He also doesn't get a ton of new clothes or shoes because of hand-me-downs. Tennis shoes are no longer available as hand-me-downs because Cody wears them out. It was fun for him to be able to pick out some new shoes for himself. We went to 4 different stores looking for just the right pair. We finally found them!!

Then, we went to YoYogurt at his request. It was his first time to go there. He loved it.
As we were heading home in the truck, I said, "Sam, I like going on dates with you. You are fun!! We need to do this more often." His response, "Sorry, mom, I have decided to dump you." What goes around comes around. I guess if I am going to use my humor with him, I need to be ready to receive it. I loved his quick comeback!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A week in the life...

This week, I became "one of THOSE moms." I took my kids to the store in the jammies. I said I would NEVER do that. I have done a lot of things in the last five years that I said I would NEVER do.
Laila's cool chick look
Abby had a visit with the opthalmologist.
We are still trying to figure out this whole migraine thing with her!
Her eyes are dilated ALL. THE. TIME.
The dr. thought they had dilated them when he looked at them.
Nope, that is how they always look.
They dilated them "for real" and then she got these cool glasses.
Lauren got contacts this week.
I should say, contact, because she only needs correction in one eye.
Trying them out.
On Friday, I decided to mop my floor. Yeah, can't remember the last time I did that. I don't know what got into me. I think it was the threat that over 20 people were going to be at my house today.
Isaiah and Laila had a blast making a tent out of the kitchen table in the family room
This was their car.
I gave them each socks, told them to dip them in the soapy water,
and sent them around the kitchen to clean up the tough, dirty spots.
I really should let them "play" like this more often!
I went over the whole floor once they did their spot cleaning. When Sam got home, he said, "Wow, this looks like a new house!" I really should clean the kitchen floor more often.

Last night was failed attempt #2 at family pictures. We had another photo shoot scheduled, and the weather just scooped right in and messed up those plans. We are working on scheduling attempt #3.

There is some really big stuff going on around here over the next few days. Our Cody is turning 13 on the 31st and we have some big events to mark that. Can't wait to share.

I have to share a few of the funny things Isaiah and Laila are doing:
1. Laila will ask me regularly, "Mommy, you like to hold babies?" For some reason, I just think that is so cute. She knows me and my love for babies.
2. Instead of coloring or drawing, Isaiah will say, "drawlering." When he is hungry, he says he is "starveling."
3. Isaiah had a great first week at school. He has already composed a song for his class called, "Goodbye" that he performed for them on Wed. It is strangely similar to his song, "I Love You So Much."
4. A friend's daughter saw Isaiah at church and told him she had seen his video of "I Love You So Much." His response, "You know, the life of a superstar is hard." Piece. of. work.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting on my weekend away was really fun! It was something I would not have signed up for on my own. I was a bit nervous, but really wanted to do it.

We woke up that morning to cool temps and cloudy skies. So much for needing that sunscreen we bought. The temperature during our ride was in the upper 50s and the water was a chilly 48 degrees.

The thing I was most afraid of, falling in the water. We were blessed to have a great crew of guys along with us. We all pulled our own weight which made for an easier trip. We also got to do some fun tricks along the way!!

I sat in the back 2/3 of the time.
I moved up front for the last 1/3 of the trip
Playing a little "oar guitar"
I was determined that my ankle would break before I would fall in that water.
Rear view
We kept reminding our crew that there were 17 children at home waiting for us!!
So glad I did it! I would totally do it again!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I arrived at Isaiah's school to pick him up, I could hear him all the way out in the hallway. I peeked in the window at his teacher and her eyes looked really tired. She looked kind of like me at the end of the day. Good thing she has 2 helpers!!

Isaiah ran out screaming, "I had so much fun. I obeyed my teacher. Do I get a Blizzard?" You see, we have this deal, if he can do well all week at school and then at church obeying his teachers, he will get a Blizzard on Sunday on the way home from church. His faced dropped immediately when I told him not yet. I guess we need to make a chart so he can see his progress.

We talked about how he had circle time and sang songs and played on the playground. He really was excited about all he had done.

The funniest part was once we got him. He immediately came in, changed out of his clothes into his jammies and put on his robe. Rick and I were laughing. He was like an old man.
He didn't even argue with me at bedtime last night. I think this school thing is going to work out well for both of us!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Isaiah's First Day of Preschool

Today was our 3rd First Day of School in the last week. Today is a really big first for our family. Isaiah is the first one in our family to attend preschool. He was very excited to get ready for the afternoon time. All the way to school, he kept asking(in a very excited voice), "You are going to drop me off and leave me?" He loved the idea that I was leaving him at school just like I do with the big kids. He got dressed and ready to go with his Spiderman backpack. We packed a snack of pretzels and fruit snacks, grabbed his school supplies, and headed out the door.
He was so excited all the way there and kept asking me the same questions over and over and over again. He wanted to listen to the songs "Magic" and "Dynamite" to get himself all psyched up for school. As we pulled into the parking lot, he said, "I think I am going to like this place."
These are his tasks to complete when he arrives each day
His cubby for his coat and backpack
Washing his hands
"Writing" his name
Saying goodbye to Laila
Playing play-doh
As I was leaving, he said to me, "Mom, I love this place so much." I should have taken before and after pics of his teachers. I think he is going to wear them out.
As Laila and I were leaving we saw this in the crosswalk.
Can you see Africa?
Chick was pretty excited about being with me. I am pretty excited about some one-on-one time with her. Cody needs brownies for his Scouts meeting tonight so Laila helped me make them.
She kept saying, "I help you make brownies, Mommy."
Big Stuff going on around here!!

Feed My Starving Children

On Saturday, the 4 big kids and I had the privilege to work at a Feed My Starving Children Event at a local church. I was so excited for my kids to have a chance to make a difference in the lives of other children just like them.

We arrived and got our hair nets on
Before beginning the packing, we learned that about 20,000 children die every day from starvation. We also learned that this organization plans to provide 127 million meals this year around the world. The meals we were packaging would be going to Haiti.

We were putting together meals that contained chicken flavor with vitamins and nutrients, vegetables, soy protein, and rice.
The finished product
The goal for the whole weekend was 100,000 meals. It only costs 24 cents per meal. That is something that anyone can do!! When it was all complete, the total number of meals packaged were 101,088 meals!!!! It was so exciting to work together with other believers to make this happen.
Sam putting labels on the bags
Cody(left) and Lauren(middle) putting food into bags
Abby(middle) packing food
I am so proud of my kids for their hard work and really hope this day will be something they think about often.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Days of School 2011

After coming back from my weekend away, I jumped back into life full force. The four big kids started school this week. On Tuesday afternoon, we had the Meet and Greet for Lauren, Abby, and Sam.
Isaiah and Laila hanging out in Abby's classroom
Sam at his desk
Abby at her desk
Lauren at her desk
On Wed. morning, Isaiah went to his preschool open house. This is the first time I have sent one of our kids to preschool. I think the structure and authority of a classroom will be really good for him. The extrovert in him will be in heaven. I think sending him to preschool will set him up for better success in Kindergarten next year.
He had a scavenger hunt in his classroom
Afterwards, we went to buy his supplies and get an Icee treat.
Cody started Middle School this year.
He started a day earlier than everyone else.
He is at a different campus than the others. Most days, his dad will be taking him to school.
That night we went out for a beginning of school treat at TCBY.
$1 Waffle Cones on Wednesday!!
We almost filled the whole place with our family!
Thursday morning was the first day of school for Lauren, Abby, and Sam.
We had smoothies for breakfast.
This boy still melts my heart
This chick is becoming a young lady
This chick is growing up faster than I can handle
Sam - 2nd grade, Abby - 3rd grade, Lauren - 5th grade
Isaiah will start school on Monday. We are off to a good start. After next week, I hope to have my schedule for the new year figured out. It always amazes me how much there is to do. Even though they are in school, I find my days full of work and activity.

I am thankful for each one of them and how they are growing and maturing. I am thankful that we have schools to go to and free education in this country. Our work in Swaziland continues to remind me what a blessing that is!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hiking in Flip Flops and Skirts and Other New Adventures

My time away last weekend was AMAZING!!! Really, it came at just the right time for me. The stress and transition of the past year has taken a toll on me and being away with these women was so life giving.

Before last weekend, all three of us had never met each other in person. Carrie(on the left) and Melanie(on the right) had spent time completing their adoptions together in Africa, but I had only spoken to them through the phone and emails.
That can be a bit tricky. I wasn't sure how the weekend would go. What if we didn't connect "in real life?" What if we didn't really like each other. I can safely say that was not the case!! I never imagined I could feel such a connection to 2 women that I have never met. We have so much in common. We are all moms of large families. 17 children to be exact(Carrie-5,? Melanie-6, and me-6). That was the joke all weekend. We have all adopted sibling groups from Swaziland. We all love the Lord. All of that accompanied with our other likes and dislikes were a great fit for friendship.
The girls flew into Denver from Oklahoma and Hawaii
and we headed to Crested Butte, CO.
We discovered along the way that Melanie is the only one with a sense of direction and the ability to deal with technical equipment out of our group(by technical equipment, I mean anything that plugs in). Carrie and I were each strongly encouraged to stay away from all of those items throughout the weekend. I couldn't even figure out the alarm clock in our hotel on the last night!!
What girls' weekend would be complete without caramel apples?
One of the things I loved about these women and this weekend is that they challenged me to try new things, things that I would normally avoid. Before kids, I was much more adventurous. Now, I am just tired and stick with what I know. My first adventure was on our very first night. We ate at a "hole in the wall" restaurant that served Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian Food. I would NEVER have eaten there on my own. We knew it was going to be authentic when we walked in to the 4-table restaurant and saw real Tibetan monks eating there(honestly, I thought they worked there!). Here is our meal:
This was a MEGA bowl of soup. It ended up being enough for 3 people!!
On Saturday, we slept in, and headed into town. The power was out throughout the whole town. Thankfully, that didn't last long. We sat down to eat at a Greek restaurant(once again, something I would not have done). It was yummy, too!!

Melanie really wanted to find some water to sit and read by. That sounded fabulous to me. We found a map of hikes and thought the one that we were taking would be a nice 1/2 mile stroll to a waterfall.
We knew we might be getting into more than we were prepared for when we pulled up and saw all these people wearing all kinds of hiking gear and we had on flip flops and skirts. I am convinced they were laughing at us as we headed up the hill.
It was not an easy stroll. It was a mile mostly going up on pretty rocky terrain.
We were a bit encouraged when we saw this guy coming down the mountain.
He had all the hiking gear, but was wearing flip flops, too!!

Finally, we made it to the waterfall.
It was kind of far away and not really what we had envisioned for our "relaxing reading." There were several people coming and going and wanting to talk. We did get a group pic. If you look to the right of us, you can see a small part of the waterfall.
Nonetheless, Melanie was determined to get some reading in.
I can't say I blame her. She earned that reading time.
They were both not used to elevation and were real troopers about it. We did have quite the sense of accomplishment when the 2 miles was complete. We also learned a lot about each other's stories during that time. That was the best part.

We got really adventurous on Sunday and went whitewater rafting. I have never done that. I was very nervous about falling in the water. It was also a chilly day. We made it through, and I will share a whole post about that when I get the pics to share.

After all of that hard work, we had to try a restaurant that has only one menu for the night. That menu included fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and homemade biscuits. They bring it out "family style."
This was our platter of fried chicken!!
Really? There is no way we could eat this much!
Monday morning, we had a great breakfast before heading out back to Denver. We ate at this place that served Breakfast Latkes and homemade bagels. It was delicious.
I texted this pic to Rick of my breakfast.
Breakfast Latke with pepper jack cheese and eggs over easy
He replied, "No offense. Doesn't look tasty to me." After looking at the pic, I agree with him. It tasted way better than it looked.

After our yummy breakfast, we headed to Denver. We had to make a Chick-fil-a run on the way. Carrie does not have them in Hawaii. That is one thing about Hawaii I would not like.
We got pedicures in Denver
I laughed so hard during this time. A Celine Dion concert was on the TV. I am convinced that the lady doing my toes was not happy with the mess that my feet were. This all led to some funny texts between the 3 of us throughout the time.
We got to stay at the Brown Palace for the night!!
Fancy Schmancy!! I am not used to that.
They both laughed at me when we walked in the room and I exclaimed,
"They have real beds with headboards that aren't attached to the wall!!"
Let's just say that I don't stay at fancy hotels very often, especially not with children!!

All of these activities made for such a fun weekend, but I have to say, the best part for me was the connection and deep conversations that I had with these women. I just felt known, and that felt really good. We swapped recipes, shared how we run our households, talked about the struggles we face with our kids, listened to some awesome sermons together, challenged each other spiritually, and laughed out loud over and over.

They both flew out early Tuesday morning, and I headed home to dive back into the craziness of school starting this week.

While I was gone, this is what was going on back at home:
Cody got a new bike
Which means Sam and Isaiah got the hand-me-down bikes.
Exciting stuff!!
Laila spent her weekend being cute!
We are already talking about our next girls' weekend. We have another adoptive mom in Rwanda right now getting her girls. We prayed for her and talked about her throughout the weekend and hope that she can be a part of our next time together.

Melanie and Carrie, Thank you so much for everything. Your friendship means so much to me.