Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The View From Here

Blaze orange and frenzied excitement! Coupled with disappointment at the non-sighting of any buck to place within the cross hairs.

Game playing!

And more game playing! Probably one of my favorite things about the shorter days! We are forced to slow down and play games.

Just some leisurely stretching before sitting up to eat dinner! Not really sure how she is so flexible!

The countdown to Christmas paper chain. Let the fighting begin over whose turn it is to take a link off of the chain in the morning.

Discarded game piles in the rush to get to the next fun thing! If only I lived my daily life with that level of enthusiasm. Laundry would be zinging through the house!
A certain little girl has been thrilled with all the extra Shane time she has gotten over the last week. Christmas vacation will not come soon enough for her!

Our gargantuan stockings made with love by Mark's grandmother! Trying filling these suckers without breaking the bank. They will be getting more practical things in their stockings this year. Socks, underwear.....you know, all the exciting stuff!! Don't worry. I will make sure there is sugar to be consumed and a few fun things. Getting ready to share how we do Christmas around here. I would love to hear what you do as well!!

Monday, November 28, 2011


My thoughts have been so scattered lately. Much like my productivity! Last week I had an amazing drive to get things cleaned up and purged once again. It helped that we spent last Sunday at my sisters house and after being in someone else's house that looks a little more tidy it gives you a certain kick in the pants! So the scrubbing and cleaning commenced first thing Monday morning. Although a week later it doesn't really look like that deep cleaning took place. Except for the fact that my bathroom ceilings are still clean! Yes, I scrubbed the ceilings in the bathroom. It was that type of a cleaning binge. So this morning I sat in the bathroom, looked at the clean ceiling and gave a contented sigh. No fingerprints, piles of games or stickers to be found on the ceiling. I have learned that in the future if I want to continue to see the results of all my hard work I will focus on the ceilings! And now I am in the midst of painting my kitchen. We had a wall removed last month and the kitchen has a smattering of different colors and drywall mud! It looks even more ridiculous since I started painting on Friday and haven't gotten any further. Introducing my sporadic productivity! Although we did have people over both Thursday and Friday last week and then went to Mark's side of the family on Saturday for Thanksgiving! So, I kind of have a reason for not getting back to it until today. I told myself I would not decorate for Christmas until it is finished so that is my driving force to complete things. We cheated a little bit and put up the stockings!

Speaking of Thanksgiving: I had these grandiose ideas to blog everyday the month of November even if it was just a sentence or two to keep a running tally of all the things I am grateful for in my life! That worked well! We did have some friends over for the first time on Thanksgiving who were unable to travel home to be with family! We had a great day! At least Mark and I and our kids did. I won't speak for other people. And then Friday brought more friends and a sleepover for Shane! We really like his buddy and weren't sure we should return him but decided it was best for everyone to take him home.

So maybe I will blog a little more during the month of December and incorporate some of the lessons I have been learning yet again. Sneak peak: more on contentment and laying up treasure where it cannot be destroyed.

How is that for scattered?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Small Catch-Up Post

I am sure I am one of the millions caught up into the vortex of the unfolding scandal at Penn State. It has pulled me in, occupied my mind, broken my heart, blanketed me with heaviness and overall has just shocked me at the depravity of man once again. I am not going to even attempt to convey anything wise here in regards to this situation. Instead, I am going to show you what the kids have been doing over the past week. I am just a tad more comfortable talking about my children than corruption. I had literally just put the camera up to snap her picture when she started doing the "poop walk". Which obviously is just a fancy way to say she pooped in her pants. Always lovely!

Catching some sunshine in the leaves!

Eden seems to gather her very own leaf pile in her hair! At times it is almost enough to have an indoor leaf pile to jump into.

I love the soul deep in her eyes! She is the gift I didn't know I needed!

Eating slushies at the roller skating rink! We are cool like that!

Talk about beautiful eyes!!!

An afternoon with friends at a local fall festival! Eden loves Ea.

Fabulous face painting with friends!

Kids eat free day!! Works well for our crew.

Pretty fancy face painting! I wish I could tell you all the fabulous things Judah and Shane's teachers had to say about them at their parent teacher conferences but then I would be one of those obnoxious gloating parents. Suffice it to say they are splendid students (or so I am told). Nice to hear encouraging things about your children since sometimes it is hard to keep things in perspective on the home front.

Nice nostrils Mr. T!

Sunny days spent outside before the cold winds of winter blow through!

Feeling a kinship with the squirrels as she checks out a stash of nuts!

Relaxing on the trampoline with pillows, blankets and "fluffies". I have officially given up trying to have half decent pillows on my couches. They get drug outside and all over the house.

Walking to meet the boys as they get home from school. Oh, how they love this part of the day!! And so do I!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

After you have walked the journey of adoption things like "National Adoption Awareness Month" and "Orphan Sunday" pack a much deeper and harder punch than before. Suddenly, it all hits home. And you have a deep longing for that connection to happen in the hearts of more people! The beauty and blessing that comes with adoption. The growth in our hearts, the brokenness in the challenges, the days of relentless love that begin to soak in the wounded areas to bring a bit more healing and the joy of your child (or children) leaning into your love! It all comes with a price. But anything worth doing or giving your life for is worth the price! And I trust you all know I am not talking the literal cost. One of the most striking differences in the pictures of Eden before we came and the pictures after we came are her eyes. Every picture, and we didn't have many, of Eden in the orphanage have blank eyes. Void of emotion and life.

Her eyes sparkle!!! And sometimes they shoot flames!! Either way they have life in them now!

Parenting a child with unseen wounds has challenges for sure. But isn't that kind of the deal when we sign up as parents? There are so many unknowns as parents. But one things I am sure of: a safe haven of love is a great place to start in overcoming the hurdles that present as our children grow and learn!

So today I say: Go for it!!! If you have felt a nudge, a whisper, a tug on your heart there just might possibly be a child who is praying for you tonight!! Seriously! Think about that for a moment. What if there is a child that is asking God tonight to please, please bring them a mom and a dad. And what if the answer to that prayer is you? Is it possible? Absolutely!! And I am not off the hook either. I am very aware that there are children praying for families and unless we take some steps to answer His call then they will keep waiting. We are wrestling with how this looks for our family and I can say we are closer than ever to starting the process again. Praying and seeking what direction we should go but it seems to be getting a bit clearer. And for that I am grateful!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Older Boys

So it is glaringly obvious to me that my older boys do not get as much "airtime" as the munchkins. They aren't around as much (sigh) plus as they grow they tend to mellow out a bit. But every now and then conversations occur that bring a smile to my face for days on end. Before we get to the fun conversations we first need to visit a paper Shane brought home from school this week. He was learning about fact and opinions and he had to fill in the blanks with the first word that came to his mind. Here is his list:

Teachers are............Kind.
Mothers are.............Awesome (woohoo)
Kittens are...............Cute
Babies are................Nice
Old people are.........Smart
My neighbors are....Cool
Girl Scouts are.........Weird
Football players are......Sweet

My favorite was that girl scouts are weird. So typical for a boy that age.

Last week I took Judah out on his date night. We rotate a different child every week until Mark has taken them all on a date and then we begin the rotation again with myself. And then it goes back to Mark. You get the idea. Anyhow, my last date with Judah he wanted to go crayfish hunting which we did and I must admit was extremely fun!! This time we got ice cream. On the way to Dairy Queen we somehow got on the subject of heaven. Cannot remember how our conversation went in that direction. In my opinion the most important part of the whole conversation was his dismay at realizing that hunting may not be a priority in heaven. In fact, he feels like if there is no hunting in heaven that, that will be a huge drawback for people even wanting to go there. I assured him that if hunting continues to be extremely important in heaven that I am sure God will make sure he gets to hunt. What else do you say to his dismay?

On another day Judah, Shane and I sat at the table and they brought up baptism. Both expressing a desire to be baptized but not wanting it to happen in front of a lot of people. They said just family and cousins. They would prefer to be baptized in the creek at the cabin which I think is awesome!!! Anyway, as we talked I realized Judah was getting more and more quiet. Shane was asking questions and talking but Judah wasn't. After a few minutes he said kind of hesitantly, "Um....if I get baptized.....(long pause).....can I still have a fist fight?" I am sure my eyes about popped out of my head as I felt a desperate need to laugh but I also knew he was dead serious! I said to him, "Are you planning on having a fist fight?" He assured me he isn't planning on it. What Mark and I were able to gather from him was that he thought if you are baptized you can never do anything wrong again. And what if sometime he found himself in a fight? What would happen? Of course we talked for a while about the symbolism of baptism and how it does not magically make you faultless. It seems as though he understood the weight of publicly professing his heart for Jesus and he doesn't want to do something in haste. For which I quietly applauded him!! Who knows? Maybe the next time we converge on Slate Run the boys will be baptized in the creek!