Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tristan Turns 4 and Other Fun Happenings

My little boy is growing up! I know that is the natural flow of things but I sure wish I could freeze him at this age for a while. He has the cutest way about him. Except for his tendency to scream when someone has offended him and his obsessive cleanliness while eating. He now eats with a dishrag next to his plate to clean up every little minuscule drop of food, water or milk. It has lessened the screaming at meal time but hasn't seemed to lessen his anxiety completely. In typical birthday fashion at our house the morning started with opening of presents. First though, Tristan had made his way over to our bed early in the morning and wanted to snuggle. He climbed in bed, snuggled up close and fell back to sleep. Shortly after Tristan fell back to sleep Eden also arrived. Which meant Mark was pushed out of the bed! Tristan slept nice and late even though Judah and Shane hovered at the bedroom door willing him to wake up!
There is a story here. Tristan thinks black is really neat although yellow remains his favorite color. Or so he says. He has nothing yellow and doesn't show preference to yellow. But black! Oh my, my, my! He thinks black is really neat. Maybe it has something to do with the fact he thinks God has a black race car. Anyway, he requested black icing on his cake. So...black icing it was! He and Eden licked the beaters and this was the result. Turns out black icing makes your teeth, tongue and lips...um....black! Kind of gross but extra fun for kids!

We lit his candles, almost started singing and he had already blown them out. We lit them the second time and instructed him to wait until we had finished singing before blowing them out.
Sweet boy! We love you so, so much!!

The kids on their wagon train!
Fun evenings on the patio being drug around by their big brother!
Staying cool in the warmth of the sun!

The older boys like having battles complete with shields! Who knew a hose could be so fun?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Exaggerating the Truth

So, there is a certain boy who dwells in our house who tends to exaggerate things in order to get his siblings excited. He may want them to play something, be impressed by something, etc. I just had this little discussion with him....

Judah: Shane, Shane!!! There are like hundreds of bats outside!! Come on!!

Me: Hundreds???

Judah: Well...I saw one so there must be a few more!

Oh my! How does a boy confuse one bat with hundreds?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Many Faces of Heidi

Heidi really is developing such a fun little personality. She even gave me the wonderful gift of sleeping through the night this week!! I know, I know. Most people are bragging about that when their child is 8 weeks old but I don't usually get to brag about that until they are well over a year. And for the record, she was up 3 times last night. But she likes to snuggle during the night and that is the only time I get to hold her for any length of time so I try to remind myself to be grateful for the sleep disturbances. My attempt at finding something to be thankful for when I really just wish I were sleeping. This is the typical face I get when I aim the camera in her direction. I guess she thinks she is smiling.
She thinks she is the big cheese because she has my phone!

My personal favorite!
I am eternally grateful that God disrupted my carefully laid plans and blessed us with this little one! She makes us laugh every day!
Every summer our friend Ellen picks Judah and Shane up for a fun-filled day! An adventure of some sort! Today is the day for the annual adventure. I am not sure what they are up to but I know they will have fun. So it is just me and the three little ones. Seems very quiet around here. But I am enjoying the small break!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Few Pictures

I am posting a couple pictures of the fort (for you my dear Val). It doesn't have any windows yet and the ladder to enter the trap door in the floor of the fort hasn't been constructed either. For now they use a step ladder to get in through the floor. Here is a slight side shot so you could see Shane's fire ring in the background. It is highly important for Shane to make sure he has a place to have a fire.
Here is the fort from a little further away. If you look closely you will see the wooden step ladder in the middle of the picture. And in the fore-front of the picture is a little fort they had made last year shortly after we moved to this place. It is roughly put together with small fallen trees and branches. They wanted the new fort under the same big hemlock so they are right next to each other. Judah wanted it to be completely hidden from view. A true hidden fort. This hemlock tree acts as a great camouflage agent although it isn't completely invisible from the patio.
Heidi being silly! I have a whole series of pictures of her with silly faces. So much of my family has never seen the fun side of this little girl since she is so clingy when we are around them. I cannot even put her down for a second without loud screaming. I will post them so you can enjoy her silliness from a distance.
And here is Shane holding his newest cousin Annalise! He still really likes babies and asked to hold her. I find it very endearing to have a rough and tumbly little boy take time out and snuggle a baby. And she is beautiful to boot!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


We have had lots of fun happenings at our house since I posted last. A fort was built by some boys and their dad, we had our first round of stitches, we have added a cat to our home.....and I believe that is the extent of the excitement...for now.

Mark and the boys built the first part of their fort over the weekend. Judah has very grand, elaborate drawn out plans of what this tree house/fort should be. We had to explain to him there is great worth in dreaming and planning and there is also reality. We told him that we can possibly add to it over time but for now just a regular old fort would have to suffice. He and Shane helped Mark construct, hold boards and get the fort to a place of habitation. Judah was hoping to install some sort of wooden sink in this part of the fort so they could wash off rocks and fossils they find on their treks up the mountain. That was a definite non-reality moment!

Saturday evening Eden and Tristan were riding their trikes down one of the ramps on Mark's landscaping trailers. They had been doing it for a long period of time with much gusto and having a great time. Shane decided to catch a ride on the back of Eden's trike but as they reached the bottom of the ramp they toppled over. Dear Shane landed on top of Eden on the gravel driveway! She jumped up screaming so I walked over. As I got closer I realized there was already blood dripping off of her chin. Hmmm......we got inside, cleaned her up and realized she had bitten through her bottom lip. Ouch!! She cried for two minutes and was ready to play again. Unfortunately for her she needed to have some stitches. Mark took her to the ER, they had some wonderful bonding time, she was super brave, had the gravel cleaned out of the wound, received her 4 stitches, came home and hasn't complained once! I really cannot believe how well she handled it all! She goes back to the doctor tomorrow to get the stitches out and she isn't even worried! I am so proud of her!

On to the cat. Mark and I almost got Eden a kitten for her birthday and I decided that I didn't want to sink any money into an animal. That may sound selfish to some of you but we have had two different cats disappear after we spent the money to have them fixed, shots, declawed, etc. I wasn't in the mood to do that again. Today Mark called me to say one of his clients was asking him if he knew anyone who may want a cat. This cat showed up at their house last week and it isn't meshing well with their dogs. They had the cat to the vet, found out it is around 6 years old, is spayed, had it tested for everything possible, spent over $170 dollars on this cat and offered to give us everything for free! It is a win-win situation. If it runs away we haven't lost anything. If the cat doesn't mesh with us for some reason the people said they would take it back and find a new home. The kids were thrilled!! Except for Heidi. She was not impressed at all. But this cat has a very sweet disposition and has been doing well so far. We will keep it in the house for a week or so and then try to transition it outside.

And that is a wrap. Nothing too exciting - just everyday life!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cabin Pictures

I have given myself a mandatory 30 minute time-out on the couch to rest my back. It is not comfortable to sit so I either have to lay or be up-right. So, my children are watching 30 minutes of TV while Heidi is sleeping so I can lay down. They didn't even complain! :) Actually, I am seeing some small improvements in my back so I am hopeful I may be through the worst of it. For a period of 2-3 weeks I couldn't even lay down without excruciating pain. Now, that is one of the ways I find the most relief. Getting better perhaps? I do have an appointment in a little over a week with a specialist but I am still really, really hoping I can cancel that appointment.

I am here to give you a glimpse into the fun we have at the cabin. We were there a total of 4 days and it was almost too long. The three youngest were falling apart in a big way by Monday morning. Overall though they did great! The first night was a little crazy! Shane fell out of the top bunk, Tristan lost his pillow, Heidi was sick and vomiting and I couldn't sleep because of my back. I laughed more than once at the absurdity of it all!! And I was extremely glad we had rented the little cabin when Heidi was sick because that would have been even less fun in a tent!

So, what does one do for 4 days in the mountains without cell phone reception, internet connection, etc. Nothing!! It is wonderful! I love that everything is silenced and you can connect with people in a much deeper way because you aren't pulled in so many different directions. Unless you are chasing after one of the kids! Here is one of my favorite pictures of Heidi from the weekend. Climbing the big slate steps to the cabin porch.
And this is how you grill chicken for 150 people! My brother-in-law Mike makes some of the best chicken. Hands downs!!

I love this picture. It has two of my nieces, 3 of my cousins and one of my cousins daughters! How is that for multiple generations!
Really though......what do the kids do all weekend?
They load up on the back of pick-ups to be dropped off up-stream so they can tube back to the cabin.
They slide on a make-shift slip-n-slide for what seems like hours all the while shrieking with delight! Occasionally an aunt gets pulled onto the slide by her grown son! :)
You take daily trips to the candy store to get your sugar fix!
You hang-out half naked with your cousins in the early afternoon sun!
You wait while uncle Mike cooks all the cray-fish you caught with your cousins......
so that you can eat them!!

You sit for hours and tend the fire so you can have even more heat on the 90 degree day.
You spend hours playing in the creek.
You eat massive lollipops that Uncle Steve buys you at the candy store. (she is still working on that lollipop 6 days later)
You spend cool mornings around campfires just for fun.
And you ride bikes! You ride bikes to the candy store, to see the big bear at the feeder and just for sheer enjoyment!
The most important thing is that you build memories with your cousins that last a life-time! This is my favorite picture from the weekend. I have a very similar one with my cousin Michael sitting on the porch railing at the cabin.
My children are still talking about the cabin! What kid wouldn't after all that fun?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Get Involved

I am having trouble moving pictures where I want them. So...this is Sasha! Continue reading to find about this dear little boy and them scroll back tot he top and try not to fall in love!

We are back in full swing from our extended weekend in the mountains. I will do a post a little later today or tomorrow with pictures. It was wonderful to connect with family!

In the meantime I want to draw a few things to your attention. They both pertain to orphans who are in need of a home. The first is something local here to central Pennsylvania. Some folks we know from a few years ago just arrived home with their daughter from the Ukraine. In the process of spending time in the orphanage there they met and fell in love with a bunch of kids who are longing for a family. They are doing a hosting program in August. Please, please head over to http://www.walkfamilyadoption.blogspot.com/ and look at the children and consider sponsoring, hosting and adopting one of these children. If you desire more information just leave a comment and she will send you additional information on the children. These are talented, well-adjusted children who will be aging out of the system within a few years. Most of the children are 10-14 years of age with a few younger. Take a risk! Step out! Give them a family! God's promise to them is this: "God sets the lonely in families" - Psalm 68:6 This is His promise to them but He needs us to respond in order for them to have a family!

Secondly, a little boy names Sasha on Reece's Rainbow is in need of a family. He was months away from joining his forever family but his adoptive mom has just been diagnosed with cancer. Due to the treatments she will be enduring they are having to back out of the adoption with broken hearts! This little boy is an angelic little boy. Go over to my side-bar with my blog links and click on Saving Sofia! She has a letter from his adoptive mother and there are a few pictures of him. This has gripped me. First, as an adoptive mother who falls in love with their child the moment they lay eyes on them to only have to watch them slip away. Secondly, for this dear little boy who is nearing his 3rd birthday to be so close to being rescued only to have to wait in his crib longer. And if we need to be reminded of how much love makes a difference in the lives of these children just look at before and after pictures of Hailee on No Greater Joy Mom who is also on my side-bar.

While we were gone this weekend I was able to think, pray and talk with one of my aunts about the joys, the difficulties, the unknowns of adoption. I am more and more convinced that laying down our lives is much more of a daily, tangible walking out of our faith than we care to recognize! That being stretched, letting go of the American dream for the sake of saving a life, that looking crazy in the eyes of friends and sometimes family is worth more eternal value than we can begin to imagine. If I really can grasp that I take Nothing with me when I leave this earth I would live very differently!!

So....I am almost pleading with you who live in Pennsylvania to consider one of these children coming in a few short weeks from the Ukraine. Pray protection over them for the enemy of their souls does not want them finding healing in the arms of a family! Pray that the Ukrainian government will release and allow them to come! Pray too for Sasha, his first adoptive family and that a new family would step forward soon!!