Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We're Home

The weekend was amazing.

So much to share about all the fun we had.

Lots of walking down memory lane.

Reentry is always very painful for me.

Today, I am desperately trying to reenter life well.

Breathing deeply, minute by minute.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Final Countdown!!!

~4 days and 3 nights away to one of my favorite places on earth.

~6 people to take care of my kids this weekend.

~7 pages of notes with instructions, schedules, menus, and guidelines.

~Our plans: Lots of relaxing, lots of laying by the pool, lots of Tex-Mex food.

~17 hours until we leave!!

~LONGEST 17 hours of my life!!

Activities of our Family

I have some catching up to do on the activities that have been going on around here over the last week. As you know, we celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary as a family last Sat. We grilled a steak dinner for all of us to enjoy together. Lauren and Abby decided to make us a cake for our anniversary.
They did a great job!

They also spent all day on the computer making an "anniversary video slide show" for us. It was so cute. We all laughed a lot as we watched it at dinner that night.

Speaking of getting married, this whole talk of our anniversary has brought up many questions from Isaiah and Laila. Laila will now regularly ask me, "Mommy, you got married?" My answer is always, "Yes, Laila, Mommy married Daddy 17 years ago."

Isaiah has felt an urgency to begin to figure out who he is going to marry. I keep telling him, "Buddy, you have a long time before you have to worry about that. Mommy is already praying that God will lead you to the wife He has for you." So, in the truck the other day, after many questions of concern, I said, "Isaiah, would you like to pray and ask God right now to lead you to the wife he has for you in his timing?" He then prayed the sweetest prayer. I love that boy's passion when it is directed in the right way.

Lauren had a ortho appt. last week.
Afterwards, we ran an errand and "Daddy"(I put it in quotes because he wasn't there and didn't realize he was treating us in that way!)bought us Starbucks.
We sent him this pic on my phone with the message, "Thanks, Daddy, for the Starbucks!"
Isaiah and Laila chillin' in the shopping cart.
They spend lots of time in shopping carts!
Today is Constitution Day for Sam. He will recite the Preamble to the Constitution for a grade and do some fun activities in his class to represent that time period.
You can see my mad costume skills.
It looks way better in the picture than in person!

Isaiah and Laila came down the stairs this morning in robes.
Laila is practicing her Karate
She was saying, "Come and get it" in this pic
At one point, her robe was coming untied. She frantically said to me, "Mommy, it's coming off. Tie it again, seriously!!"

In less than 24 hours, Rick and I will be headed out of town for our anniversary trip. I feel like what is left to do is manageable. I will share more about getting ready for this trip later today!! Now, I am off to get it all done!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Since 4:30 I have...

...checked 3 kids' math homework.

...fed 5 kids dinner.

...made a Colonial hat and created a Colonial costume for Sam for Constitution Day on Friday.(Believe me, this costume probably doesn't even qualify as a "real" costume, but he is happy with it. I will share pics later.)

...made a scrapbook page for Isaiah's "All About Me" unit at school.

...helped Lauren start memorizing "The Gettsyburg Address."

...helped Sam memorize "The Preamble To The Constitution."

...dropped Cody off at Life Group.

...picked Lauren up from soccer practice.

...switched out loads of laundry.

...helped Lauren print out info on her element project.

...brainstormed with Cody about ideas for his Science Fair Project. (Oh, and he doesn't like any of my ideas.)

...put together little gifts for Isaiah's teachers.

...put Isaiah and Laila to bed.

It is now 7:30 and all I want to do is collapse.

Weekend Getaway, will you ever get here?????

Monday, September 19, 2011


I left the title on this post blank, because I cannot think of a phrase that encapsulates how I feel today.

I want to run really far away where no one can find me.

I am weary and worn.

It is how it works with a family of 8.

I get it.

I expect it.

Hey, I signed up for it.

But, today, it is too much.

~Maybe it is because a break is in sight, and I am just holding on to my last bit of sanity to make it through. (I cannot wait to get away this weekend!)

~Maybe it is because I am trying to stock a pantry and fridge for 6+ people for 4 days while I am gone, and I know that even if I work on it today, half of the food I stock will be gone again by the time I leave.

~Maybe it is because things keep turning up broken, empty, and out of place around here and NO ONE knows ANYTHING about what happened.

~Maybe it is because I am doing the summer/fall clothing swap out around here. That task alone is enough to send me down an ugly path emotionally.

~Maybe it is because I found almost a whole container of Kleenex pulled out and in the trash. (one of my biggest pet peeves, wasting things!!)

~Maybe it is because I am frantically trying to arrange all of the logistics while we are gone. (It is going to take 6 people to do what I do while I am gone.

~Maybe it is because I feel the need to have my house somewhat presentable when those people who are helping me out come over this weekend.

~Maybe it is because I HAVE to make jam and zucchini bread today because I HAD to buy the ingredients while they were on sale because things keep ending up broken and empty around here and kleenexes and toilet paper keep getting wasted!! I have to save up somewhere so we can throw it away somewhere else.

~Maybe it is because I have one child who feels the need to scream at the top of her lungs and be as stubborn as all get out every day for the last 2 weeks over various issues.

~Maybe it is because I have had to discipline another one of my children at least 6 times before noon for messing with things that don't belong to him.

I am guessing some of you reading this are having a similar day.

Take comfort. You are not alone.

I know we are not supposed to rejoice in another's pain, but I am giving you permission. Go ahead, say it, "I am so glad I am not the only one who feels like this sometimes. "

Minute by minute, day by day, It's not always pretty, but it's real.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

17 on the 17th

17 years ago today, Rick and I said, "I do." It really was the perfect day. It was everything I hoped and dreamed. Every day since then has not been perfect, but there has not been even one day where I regretted saying those words to this man.

I love this pic because it represents one of my favorite things about our relationship. We. Love. To. Laugh. Together. We love to be around others that make us laugh. There are days where we just have to laugh in order to keep our sanity, otherwise we would cry.
A lot has happened in 17 years. We have lived in 4 different states, 8 different homes, gotten 2 Masters' Degrees(1 each), birthed 4 children, adopted 2 children, been to Africa a total of 8 times, had 8 different vehicles, worked in 3 different churches, and now we are starting a non-profit organization. There is a lot of life represented in all of those stats!!

Despite all of the living and daily struggles that go along with life, I can honestly say that I love you, Rick, more than ever. The depth and intimacy of our relationship continues to grow and strengthen. This picture symbolizes that for me. We have a lot going on around us. The last year, in particular, has been quite the challenge, but you are my anchor through it all. You settle me, soften me, and lead me back to Christ every time. I know that my personality often wears you out, but you hang in there with me and center me. You talk to me even when you have used all of your words. You lead me in love and have taught me what forgiveness really looks like. You challenge me to maintain my character even when things don't seem fair and I don't "feel" like it. We approach life so differently. Ultimately, we are better for it. We sharpen each other.
(we do have 6 children, a couple of kids are behind us in this pic)

Here we are, 17 years later, with the 6 children we dreamed would be ours. Our family doesn't look like we expected, but I wouldn't have it ANY OTHER WAY!! You are the father that our kids need and the husband that God picked just for me.
Tonight we will celebrate as a family with a steak dinner and time to reflect. Next weekend, Rick and I get away for some time together. 17 years is something I am proud of and want to celebrate!! I looking forward to the next 17 years with you!! Just imagine what I will be able to say in that blog post!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Embracing What is Good

I used to like Fall.

Fall used to be a beautiful time of transition between summer and winter.

It was good for me because I was always soooo sad to see summer end.

It's not like that here in CO.

We don't get all the beautiful changing leaf colors. We have yellow and brown.

It feels like we literally go from 80 degrees one day to 40 degrees the next.

In an effort to honor my mantra of this month and all that it stands for. I am going to focus on the positive things about this time of year here. So, here we go, 10 things I like about Fall in CO:
1. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks
2. Making soups. I made an amazing potato soup yesterday.
3. Baking. I love to bake and this time of year brings that joy back to me. It just isn't as much fun in summer. I have zucchini bread baking in my oven right now.
4. Hoodies. I love them. I love it when Rick wears them. It is so much more fun to cuddle in hoodies. I love when my kids wear them.
5. Cold blankets. I love to read a book under a cold blanket.
6. My anniversary. Tomorrow is our anniversary. Next weekend we have a getaway planned and I CANNOT WAIT!!
7. Apple orchards and pumpkin patches. I like to try to go to one of these every year. We'll see if it happens this year.
8. Hot, mulled apple cider
9. Lower utility bills. We aren't using the air conditioning and we stop watering the lawn. For a brief time, our utilities bill is lower.
10. All the TV shows I love start back. We have watched Survivor and Parenthood this week!!

Okay, so there you go. I am focusing on what I am thankful for, not dwelling on what irritates or frustrates me. Baby steps. Minute by minute, day by day.

A few random items:
1. When Laila thinks I am sad or upset, she will say to me, "It's okay, Mommy, God is always with you." Presh! I am loving some one-on-one time with her while Isaiah is at school.

2. Isaiah shares "words" from God with us. This is what he said to me yesterday, "Mom, do not cheat. Do not every give up. You will accomplish something, and you will get a prize and be with God forever." He is doing great in school. He needs it. I need it. I cannot meet all of his extrovert needs by myself. School is the perfect opportunity for him. Every day when I pick him up, he says, "Thank you so much for letting me go to school. I love school."

3. Lauren has started soccer. Her first game is tomorrow. She is VERY excited.

4. Abby is LOVING piano lessons and doing really well. She also wants to learn how to play guitar.

5. Cody is getting braces soon. He likes being a part of youth group, scouts, and the engineering club at school. He got a cell phone this week. BIG STUFF. He also loves riding his bike a lot.

6. Sam wants to begin doing some form of martial arts. I think he was inspired from watching Kung Fu Panda 2.

Speaking of Kung Fu Panda 2, we went to see it at the dollar theater on Labor Day. It was really good. It was about adoption, which I loved, and so funny. There was a quote in the movie that impacted me. So much so, that I wrote it down and wanted to share it. Po was struggling with learning about his adoption and trying to figure out who he was. This was said to him,
"You gotta let go of the past, because it doesn't matter.
The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now."

Wow! Good words. Words that I am embracing right now. I choose to embrace what is good!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A year ago...

A year ago yesterday, I was sitting in the ER with Rick waiting to find out if he had just had a heart attack.

As I reflect on this last year, I could never have imagined what it would be like.

I could not have predicted all of the changes and emotions I would go through.

The Lord knows better than to reveal that kind of stuff to me.

I can't handle knowing ahead of time.

I did have a sense at the beginning of the year that some big changes were coming, but had no idea what that meant.

Thankfully, Rick was okay. It was not a heart attack, but a warning sign that something needed to change.

He was not handling the stress in his life well, and it had begun to affect his body.

We are thankful that God gave us that warning and opportunity to course correct.

Just 4 days later, we we celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary.

We sat on this bench and prayed for direction from the Lord
It felt significant at the time. Not just any old prayer, but a prayer that was about to change the course of our lives.

It was. God answered quickly. It was scary, but at the same time so peaceful.

Here I sit, a year later feeling thankful.

Thankful for God's provision for us.

Thankful for God's protection of us.

Thankful for the family that I have and the messiness and chaos that is my life.
This is a sneak peek of our family pics. They turned out AMAZING!! If you are on Facebook with me, you can see some more.

I will share more soon. I just might have a blog makeover in the works. I just might love them so much that I can't stop looking at them!!

Back to the point of this post:
God has been so faithful in our lives. I feel so unworthy.

This whole minute by minute, day by day challenge that I have given myself is bringing me to my knees.

It is helping me refocus and redirect myself.

A lot can happen in a year.

I am thankful that I can look back on this year and see God's hand and continue to trust His plan for us!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


I wanted to share Laila's and Isaiah's talents with you. They both love to sing and took some time to sing for me on video tonight.

You are going to have to turn this one up. She sings softly at first, but then gets more confident.
It is so precious to hear her sing worship songs!

This boy needs to be in movies or commercials.

Speaking of rockstars, I am feeling a bit like one tonight myself. I was craving pinto beans and cornbread today and decided to make some for dinner tonight. On the way home from school, you should have heard the moans and groans in our truck when I announced what we were having for dinner. Then, I had a bright idea. I would take some of the pinto beans and make refried beans. Then I put beans, rice, and cheese into a tortilla to make burritos. They were a huge hit. Rick said I went from zero to hero. He was right. I got the meal I was craving and everyone else got to eat something they like, too! I love those moments. They don't happen very often.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adoption Reality

I have seen this blog post linked on several blogs.

I am sharing it with you because I know many of you may not see it otherwise.

This describes adoption so well. It is the reality of what most families face when they adopt.

We have experienced much of this and still do.

God has called us all to care for orphans.

For some that means adopting, for others supporting adoption and for others serving orphans around the world. Our family has been called to all 3!

The family pictures you see and the coming home videos make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but the reality is that adopti0n launches you into the spiritual battle of a lifetime.

That battle doesn't end once you get them home and they join your family.

That is when it truly begins.

2 1/2 years into it, and I see that battle changing and know that it will continue throughout our lives.

In spite of all the struggles, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Isaiah and Laila have been the most amazing blessing that I could have NEVER dreamed up on my own.

Click here. Read this link.

How can you support someone who has adopted? I dare you!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time For Healing in Me

This songs speaks exactly to where I am right now.

It is my theme song.

It is what I am seeking this month and beyond.

Minute by minute, day by day.

I suspect it may speak to some of you as well.

Soak it in

Claim it.

Live it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Great Day!!

Today has really been such a great day. It started this morning with some lazy time around the house. I made coffee and watched Pioneer Woman. Then the kids watched Monsters vs. Aliens. There was a chill in the air that reveals that summer is ending. That part makes me sad. I hate to see summer end!!

After lunch, I took the kids(minus Lauren, she was with a friend at Elitch Gardens today and Rick who is out of town) and 2 other friends out bowling.
Sister with an attitude
Isaiah getting ready to bowl
We decided after our first game of bowling, to do a round of "crazy bowling." If you don't know what that is, you should google it. Basically, you bowl a crazy way each frame. This takes the competition out of it and just makes it fun.
Abby and Laila kicking the ball down the lane
Kathleen bowling with socks on her hands
Cody, Kathleen, and Kimberly
Sam cuddling Laila
Kimberly kicking it down the lane
Sam rolling it between my legs.
Oh, how I wish you could truly see the expression on my face!!
We were bowling with our eyes closed, turning in circles 5 times and then bowling while dizzy, and bowling in slow motion. The funniest one was when we were told to ask someone from outside of our group to bowl a frame. Cody asked the man in the lane next to us. Thankfully, he was a good sport. It was also pretty funny when Isaiah bowled his ball down the wrong lane. I cannot take my eyes off that boy for even a second!!

Many times, anything we do that has any sort of competition to it ends with anger and tears. That did not happen today. It was so much more fun, and we all still liked each other when we left. We will definitely do that again!!
Good times!! Isaiah had more fun than his face shows.
Afterwards, we came home for pizza and a movie. They were so hungry. Laila actually ate 4 pieces of pizza!! Early bedtime is next on the agenda. That is my favorite way to end the day!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Minute by Minute, Day By Day or Have Your Cupcake and Eat it, too!

I woke up today with my new mantra in mind. Cody was the only one that had school today. So, after taking him, I decided to embrace this morning off with the kids. We went for a walk/scooter ride to the doughnut shop near our house with our Groupon in hand. Technically, it is a cupcake shop, but they also serve doughnuts. The fryer was broken, so the only option today was cupcakes. Embracing my new mantra, I said, "Well, then let's have cupcakes for breakfast.(Are they really that much worse than eating a doughnut? I am guessing not!)
Our choices(from left to right)
Vanilla w/ sprinkles(Abby), orange dreamsicle(Isaiah), turtle(Lauren), orange dreamsicle(Laila), rootbeer(Sam), and vanilla w/ sprinkles(me, I actually traded mine out for the black/white one before I ate!))
I think I should get some kind of "Fun Mom" award for this one. You better believe I have gotten all the mileage I can out of it today!!
Cupcake Crew
Our Groupon was for 1 dozen so here are our other choices:
Key Lime, Black and White, Mint Chocolate Chip,
Tiramisu, Turtle, and Lemon
Laila was the Cupcake Keeper on the ride home.
We even buckled them into the wagon.
After this little adventure, we went on another one. We were meeting a friend at the park so we decided to walk/bike/scooter there. We did have cupcake calories to work off!!

I have so appreciated some of the comments I received on my "mantra" post. I know I am only 2 days into it, but it feels so freeing to let go of so much. There will be setbacks, but today I am soaking in the good and being kind to myself.

Speaking of the mantra, this friend, showed up at my door with this book. God told her to get it for me. She even said, "I wanted to bring you a sweet tea, but wasn't able to get it." Really? Just the thought blessed my heart. It spoke to where I am. It spoke to what God is saying to me. It reminded me that God sees me and is using others to care for me. Thanks, Tricia. I have already started reading it. Just reading the description and the endorsements gets me excited!! My heart resonates with the point of this book. I will let you know how it is!

Teenager, In The HOOOUUSE!!

The last week has been filled with activity celebrating Cody's 13th bday. Yes, you read that right. Cody is now 13. 13 is a milestone in our house. Lots of big stuff happening to celebrate. Cody's requests: a Facebook account, join the Dairy Queen Blizzard Club, get a cell phone, and watch a PG-13 movie.

He set up his Facebook account on Wed. and is trying to get more friends than me. He also signed up for the Blizzard Club and got his free blizzard coupon. We are working on getting a cell phone. He actually has already seen a PG-13 movie, but will be deciding about others as the opportunity arises.
The festivities began last Saturday. The whole day was planned for him. He and Rick left out that morning to Woodland Park where they visited the Donut Mill.
Those were some Mega Momma Donuts!
They spent some time talking about "man" things.
At lunch time, Rick had invited several men over that have impacted his life to come and speak into Cody's life. It was "Men Only" so I didn't get to be there, but heard that it was a really meaningful time.
After sharing with Cody, the men gathered around him and prayed over him
That evening was sleepover time. Cody had 3 friends over to celebrate his bday with him. I didn't get any pictures on Sat., but made sure to get a few shots on Sunday morning.
Cody cooked pancakes for breakfast, and they ate on the porch.
They spent lots of time riding bikes.
That is Cody's new favorite thing to do.
Cody's actual bday was Wed., 31st. We let him miss school for the day. He and Rick went out to Cracker Barrel for a special breakfast. After that, I took him to his dr. check-up. He is healthy!! Then, it was lunch at Chipotle. If you not catching a theme here, food is a very important part of a teenager's life.
He downed this thing in no time flat.
TCBY Waffle Cone Wednesdays
Mint Chocolate Chip, his fave!
We celebrated his bday as a family on Tuesday night with Sloppy Joes, Fries, Watermelon and Ice Cream Cake.
The night of his bday, he went to Life Group and took dessert, Rocky Road Brownies and a Big Cookie that he decorated. It said, "Happy Epic Bday, Cody." This boy did a lot of celebrating!!

Here we go. The first 13 years have been exciting. Now we embark together on the journey of teenagerhood. I am proud of the man you are becoming. I see God's Hand on your life. I see how He has designed you for his purpose for your life. I love you and am so proud of you. I love, love, love your sense of humor and wittiness. I see how God has made you into a leader and pray that you will use that ability to glorify Him. I pray for you. I am blessed to have you as my son. What an amazing kid you are!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My September Mantra

I have been struggling with my roles, my relationships, and my life.

When I look at my life, I am completely overwhelmed by it all.

I get into this funk that I can't get out of and really become paralyzed to accomplish anything.

Then, I move into "survival mode" completing what has to be done just in time(tyranny of the urgent), ranting and raving to my kids over the condition of our house or the jobs they didn't complete, and just wanting to shut down completely.

I am committing to live differently in Sept.(I hope it will extend beyond that, but for now, Sept. is all I can wrap my mind around.)

My mantra for this month: "Minute by Minute, Day by Day"

I have broken it down for myself into 3 areas: Body, Mind, Spirit.

I have goals for myself in each of these areas.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all of the things about myself that I need to change, I am going to tackle them "minute by minute, day by day."

That is the only way I can conquer some of these areas in my life right now.

I am going to prayerfully and consciously challenge myself, my thinking, my motives, my frustrations, my actions minute by minute, day by day.

Most of the battles that I fight go on inside my head. It is an act of discipline for me to engage and conquer my thoughts rather than letting them take control of my heart.

Another theme that is surfacing in my heart that I need to take minute by minute and day by day is LOVE and FORGIVENESS.

Love myself.
Love my children.
Love my hubby.
Love my life.

Forgive in my heart even when it is not being asked for. Forgive in such a way that I move forward and leave the past behind. Stop keeping a record of wrongs. This is painfully hard for me.

Believe it or not, the pessimist in me struggles with all of these.

So, this month will come and go, but my prayer is that I can choose to live differently and look back to see that choice by choice, I made progress.

It is the first day of this journey. Having a plan and focus gives me purpose.

I know the attacks will come.

I am not naive to the transformation that can occur in me through these choices and the spiritual battle that will result.

I am writing this post to remind me.

My prayer is that I will be a better me, a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, and a better follower of Christ than I was on Aug. 31, 2011.

Minute by minute, day by day.