Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Bedtime Conversation

Me: Tristan, you are my sweet favorite 4 year old boy!
His reply: You are my sweet favorite 33 year old girl!

Do you see why he is my favorite 4 year old boy?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Real Life

Apparently I was remiss in my assumptions that when summer arrived things would feel a little more manageable and not so busy. Of course I knew we would be on the go a bit more since there are not any school schedules but I really did not prepare myself for the daily demands to feel different. It took a little bit for everyone to find a new normal since Judah is once again around all day. He is missing school which I find almost amusing since most 10 year old boys can hardly wait for the school year to end. He instead is telling me how life just doesn't seem right and that he misses school and could we please drive through the little village/town thingie that his school is in. I said to Mark just a few nights ago that sometimes I am amazed by the amount of time and energy it takes keeping a house running relatively smoothly! Some days I feel almost unprepared for the task set before me even though I have been doing this for quite a while. The dynamics, demands and needs seem to always be shifting and changing. We are in the thick of the shaping and molding of the three younger ones with not a whole lot of visible headway. You know what I mean? Discouragement daily as you trudge through the discipline, questioning yourself as you sort through squabbles, the desperate cries to the Father for wisdom and the daily realization that you fail miserably unless you release total control to Him! And even when you release control and you plead with Him for grace and wisdom it still appears as though you are failing because you cannot see the inner workings of your child's heart. You feel like things are connecting. You feel like the walls are still up in their heart. You feel like they are an impenetrable fortress. But that one fleeting whisper in their ear of how you love them, how they are your favorite 4 year old boy, how much you admire the strides they are taking in trying to serve their siblings, how you notice the touches on their little sisters heads as they walk past, the way they hold their hand and walk to check on the garden......all snippets of hope straight from your mouth to their hearts!

Life is a constant juggling act. A give and take. I am finding that in the midst of the demands around me I still need to sit and be still! To quiet my heart and mind. To soak in His presence. I am going to lay myself bare here because sometimes it is just good to be honest. I found myself a few weeks ago sitting on the couch of my counselor sorting through my exhaustion. Everything was so muddled in my head that I needed help sorting things out! Which resulted in a very long cleansing cry! Did I mention it was long? And extremely messy? Like lots and lots of tears and snot? But so healing and life giving. Things were out of whack and not prioritized correctly. People's perceptions of me had become too important and I didn't even realize my drive of perfection! Stupid, stupid perfection! Woven into me from years past and still directing my steps. I left feeling overwhelmed at what had been uncovered in the ugliness of my heart. (side note: nothing too dramatic but always disheartening when you feel like you are cruising along making strides only to find out you are still operating in your own strength too often) Our own strength makes things messy and not so pretty. It can be destructive to ourselves and our relationships. So I am trying, with His help, to slow down. To rest more. To soak in the laughter of my children. To let them run in the rain even if I have an extra load of laundry as a result. Yes, I am that shallow that I would tell my children they cannot giggle, shriek and run in the rain simply because I am thinking of the work that comes after it. I am determined to join in the play with my children and not simply be a bystander. To be a part of making the memory!

And so, my posts could possibly be a bit more random this summer. And they may not. We are spending time with friends multiple times a week because it is both good for my children and for their momma to connect with women throughout the week. Mark also appreciates my friends who take some of my verbal vomit so he doesn't get it all at the end of the day. Although he hasn't said that - I am just assuming he is happy he doesn't get the complete run down every day. And that is how our summer has started! Me crying, the kids playing, me smiling again, the kids fighting, the ebb & flow of life! Not always easy (in fact rarely easy) but always worth it! And now I must go be the tooth fairy!! I am determined to remember the first time so my son doesn't wake up to remind me the tooth fairy didn't come - AGAIN! My children should be given an award for their long suffering with their forgetful mother!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Days

It isn't officially summer yet but since school is over for the year everyone at our house thinks summer has arrived! Which means the laundry and appetites are both increasing! It also means the younger ones seem to be sleeping a little bit sounder for which I am thankful.

Friday morning I found all the kids out next to the "pond" that is in the process of being drained so the excavator can come and finish it. It is abundantly full of tadpoles that are in the process of growing legs. They had jugs full of water and they caught tadpoles, snails and a water snake to put into the jugs which then sat on my back porch. Alongside the dead chipmunk that had met its demise a bit earlier in the day. Judah and Shane are depleting the chipmunk population since they seem to be making a mess of our garden. And yesterday Judah was distraught because first thing in the morning he jammed his bb gun so he was unable to hunt all day. His sling-shot was to be thanked for the dead chipmunk!! But back to the tadpole/frogs.......

See his little tail that has yet to disappear?

It was so neat watching their amazement at these little creatures trying to hop around dragging the cumbersome tail behind them.

And yes! My girls are both still in their pj's. Judge me if you must!! We are pretty loose around this house when it comes to their clothes. Sometimes the battle of getting them dressed to go outside in the midst of the excitement to get outside just isn't worth it.

This was moments before Judah lost his footing and toppled into the water!!!

Shane was in the midst of climbing the tree to do the zip line but encountered a ginormous spider which derailed his efforts!

The three "littles" examining something. And I need to retire the endearing name "the littles" since Tristan is on the cusp of turning 5 and not so little anymore.

Sweet, sweet boy!

Sisters spearing the water with a broom handle!

Favorite quote of the week: Shane upon remembering his "pet" cockroach who didn't live too long: "I just thought having a cockroach would make me happy!" Something completely wrong with that picture!! A cockroach shouldn't bring anyone happiness except for the exterminator who profits from their existence.

Favorite treasure found: An empty cicada shell that now lives on Eden's dresser! And seems to watch me every time I enter her room. Creepy!

Something we celebrated this week: Judah making the high honor roll! His first time and he worked very hard for it. That will be the end of my bragging because I don't appreciate parents who brag.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birthday Girl

It was birthday time at our house again this week and it was finally Eden's turn! She has been anticipating it and talking about her birthday for weeks. All of our kids enjoy celebrating birthdays and I really see them making an effort to make it extra special for each other.

Could she possibly look any happier? She was thoroughly enjoying all the hoopla but can you blame her? It isn't everyday that the world revolves around you.

She only asked for two things: a treasure box and some lollipops. I still am not positive what she had in mind for a treasure box so we talked about other options. She was fine as long as lollipops were still part of the deal.

I just said to Mark today that I am still amazed by the whole concept and beauty of adoption! That a child who was born literally on the other side of the world could become our own child! That we were chosen to be her family! That she is a sister to Heidi, Tristan, Shane and Judah! That she is a cousin, a niece, a granddaughter to many!

Eden....we are forever changed by your laughter, your smile, your ornery little self, your zest for life, your running into everything in your rush to get to wherever you are going, your intensely strong will, your beauty and your capacity to love!!! We love you to the moon and back!! And are thrilled for you that you finally are 4 years old!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Signs of Summer

The garden is finally all finished, school is one week away from being done, the pool has been visited, a trip has been made to the mountains already....all signs that summer is upon us! I love the freedom that summer brings. Barefoot toes running through the grass, hose battles, multiple clothing changes due to the hose battles and overall just a headlong pursuit by my children to find excitement in every day. I have purposed this summer to join in their fun more instead of just sitting on the sidelines playing referee. Properly bruised legs are a part of our summers Eating watermelon late in the afternoon as I prepare their dinner.....

Being goofy.....

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that the mountains are a huge part of our summers. We love the peace that comes with being disconnected from everything. And if we ask the boys if they would rather go to the beach or the mountains there isn't a moment of hesitation - mountains!!

Sitting in the sun after getting soaked in the creek.

My two girls playing with my sister Beth's oldest daughter Ashleigh! Lots of years separate our kids but my children love all their cousins!

Tristan didn't seem to mind playing with the girls at all! He dutifully was their cat, baby or whatever they deemed he should be.

Cheese?! I hope she soon learns to smile in some sort of normal fashion so we don't forever get the scrunchy eyes and opened mouth "smile". For now it is cute! Notice the bruised legs and scraped up knees....she is learning how to beat herself right along with the rest of the kids.

Heidi had an appointment this week with a pediatric orthopedic doctor to assess her little legs and feet. I have noticed since she was itty-bitty that her feet and legs seem to turn inward but her doctor and myself have really hoped they would straighten out over time as she walked (which is what normally happens). She does fine walking but seems to trip up all the time when she runs. Her knees are always scraped, bleeding and never get a chance to completely heal since she seems to think she needs to run everywhere. She has what is called femoral anteversion which is a fancy name that means her little legs are rotated all the way up where her femur connects into her hip joint. Her tibia is also somewhat twisted. So both legs turn in slightly which cause her frequent stumbling episodes. Nothing to worry about, nothing to be done and the hope is she will slowly grow out of it. But if she doesn't there are no long term effects other than the scraped knees! Kind of adds to her sweet and silly little self!!