Friday, January 30, 2009

The Night Sky- a Reminder

Last night as I was driving home from Bunco, I saw two amazing things in the night sky. One of them is hard to see well in pics... a beautiful shooting star!




The other was a beautiful orange moon.


It's so amazing to see these wonderful sights and to know our Creator gave us these beautiful things to delight us.

I needed a delight this week. Things have been discouraging for me. My old friend, anxiety, has made a return this week. Not a glaring panic-attack return, but a quiet, depressing, negative-feeling return nonetheless. I'm hoping he will leave me soon. I don't like when he visits.

I almost didn't go to Bunco last night. I wasn't in the mood, but Lance encouraged me to go and I'm glad he did. Sometimes he can push me to do things that I really NEED to do, but wouldn't if it was up to me. But, I had a wonderful time! It was good to catch up with friends and hear about their kiddos and things going on in their lives. I was uplifted. And then I saw the sky and realized God always loves me even when I'm unloveable. Which quite frankly, I have been a couple of times this week. I'm thankful for a husband that can overlook those moments and love me through them. He has definitely taken on more than his share this week.

Here's to a fabulous weekend even though it does include Football! :)

No really, I'm excited, because we are having a Super Bowl Party at our house and I know my house will be really clean. At least until the doorbell rings! :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The night, it was a long one



Don't be fooled by the sweet girl above, we've had some sleeping issues at our house this week. And by "We", I really mean L and as a result, me. The boys, not so much.

Monday night was the worst, L could not get comfortable. With the coughing and hacking and squirming and what not, it was a very.very.long.night. I went to sleep somewhere in the vicinity of 3-4am and I'll tell you, it's surprising what you hear at that hour. L's bedroom is at the front of the house and I was surprised at all the activity on our street. Apparently, the middle of the night is primetime for some folks.

But anyway...last night was shaping up to be just.like.Monday and fear, loathing and depression were hanging over my head at thoughts of the night to come. When suddenly, we realized what the source of all the squirming and thrashing was....an itching boo boo. This boo boo was itching so bad, sleep could not happen. So, I'm extremly thankful for the 24 hour drug store where Lance was able to obtain a lovely anti-itch med also known for helping to induce a sleep-coma. Within 20 minutes, the gal was sacked out and I could stop hyperventilating.

So at this point, Lance and I decided to watch our DVR recording of American Idol. I know many of you don't watch, but there was one classic part last night, I just have to share...

There was a geeky-type guy (freshman in college) who was trying out. He couldn't sing. So, Simon asks him, "where do you see yourself in 10 years? If the sky is the limit, where do you want to be?" And I kid you not, he said, "Living in a simple house with some nice floors, perhaps marble, I really like those." Insert laughter here. We really shouldn't be laughing at this. There are far worse ambitions in life, but it just sounded so funny. So, today, I asked Lance-- What is your dream in life if the sky's the limit? And the answer was not marble floors.

Sleep ---it is my goal for tonight. Otherwise, it's quite possible everything will become funny to me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bury me in the backyard

N's birth great-uncle passed away this week. Tonight we are going to the funeral home and tomorrow Lance and I will be going to the funeral.

N has lost other members of his birth-family but we haven't lost any of our family since he was 6 months old, so I thought a conversation about death would be a good one to have. A simple explanation and a reminder that some of the people he loves the most (birth grandparents) would be very sad. I let him know that we could give them a hug and tell them we were sorry and just act calm and quiet. I wanted him to know this is not an occasion for silliness. So, when we finished with that brief, conversation, he said....

"Why don't they just bury him in their backyard?" I told him that that wouldn't work because if they sold their house and moved, other people wouldn't want someone else's family member buried in the backyard. At which point, he said, "Well, they could just dig him up and put his skeleton back together, move him to the new house and bury him again." Wow, 7 y.o.s definitely have an interesting perspective.

N also wanted to know who the oldest person in our family was because he wanted to know who would die next. I explained that it's not necessarily the oldest person who dies first. He thought for a minute and said well, I think Grandpa is the oldest because Nana is only 10. What?!? I explained that actually Grandma Stone and Granny were the oldest and then Grandad, Nana, Grandpa, and Grandmommy. But I couldn't convince him that Nana is not 10. So, there you have it. A nana who is only 3 years older than her grandson!

A little later he brought up the subject again and we talked about how Mrs. Ruby (his birth-great-grandmother) would probably be very sad because her son died. And N's response....I'll just climb up in her lap and cuddle with her. He's so sweet and of course, we won't really let that happen, because HELLO, she is turning 86 years old in February!

But, I'm so glad he wants to love on her. She is always loving on us as is the rest of his birthfamily. We are truly so blessed to have them in our lives. They not only love N, they love Lance, L, and me too! They never forget a birthday or Christmas and they always include us in their family celebrations and losses. And that's what family is all about. So, today we mourn the passing of Grammy's brother. He was a father of 3 and grandfather of 6 - today his family is hurting and we will join together to love on them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The bullies strike again


We have some bullies on our street. Not cool. Not nice, and quite frankly, the parents are bullies too. The apple doesn't far from the tree. Or something like that.


The kids and I rode our bikes to the park yesterday and spent some time there playing with Max, one of N's friends from school. While Max and N played, L loved on their two puppies, and I chatted with Max's parents.

Pretty soon, another neighbor boy showed up and proceeded to march up to us and let us know that the bullies had beat him up and the momma saw everything and didn't say a word. Oh yeah, same circumstance as us. And even though this is not my child, it riled me up! I'm sooooo tired of this bully house running our neighborhood. They have now officially terrorized every child on our block and they do not discriminate based on age, gender, or nationality. Oh no, they are equal opportunity bullies. So, do you think this would be effective?






Now, I will have to say, that even though N knows these kids are bullies, he still wants to be their friend. He told me the other day that he feels sorry for them and he wants to help them be nicer. Now, this warms my heart and makes me thankful for my sweet tender-hearted boy, but I confess, I still want to beat up the bullies and their mom. He is willing to "turn the other cheek", me --not so much. I need to work on this.

So, do any of you have any advice? Ever encountered a bully personally or with your children? Did you just stay inside 24/7? Did you "call them out"? 'Cause if you don't have any advice for me, I may just have to resort to this:




Oh, who am I kidding? We wouldn't resort to that. We would just talk about it---come to think of it, maybe that's what the bullies realize. They can "smell" our weakness and they prey on us. Or maybe, they are just having a bad day. or 2 or 5,000.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Momtivities

Last night was the 2nd half of the card extravagance at Jennifer's house. Check out what we made here

It was fun to chat with the gals and make some really cute cards too!

I've enjoyed having more friend time the last year. When N was small, I never left him. I felt guilty. I felt like I needed to always be with him. When L came along, I had the same feeling and so I rarely spent time away from my children except for work.

I've found that getting out and doing things that fulfill me actually makes me a better mom. I wish I had figured this out sooner. Now, I enjoy the time away and I enjoy the time together more too!

So, right now, my "mom-tivities" are Card Club (every other month); Bunco (once a month); and a Mom parenting group at church that is once a week while my kiddos are at their activities. It's not a ton of stuff, but it gives me an outlet as well as helps my kiddos see their mom fulfilled in something besides them and gives them an opportunity for some time alone with Lance which I think is a great thing. If we are both at the house, they naturally choose me, but if I'm not there, Lance gets to do things his way and they get to bond with him in a different way. Not better, not worse, just different.

So, if you were asking my advice, this is what I would say...Don't feel guilty about being away from your children. You need that time and they need it too. Now, I'm not advocating being selfish and continuing to live life the same way you did before kids, but really, I think the problem most of us have is the opposite, feeling like a bad mom if you aren't there for every second. So, drop the guilt-feelings and enjoy life! While you're with your kids, don't dream of the things you could be doing without them and while you are away, don't feel guilty about being away!

I think I had a few run-on sentences in this post. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When pigs fly?

If you had ever told me I'd be posting something from ESPN on my blog, I think I would have laughed, and yet today, I am.

This is a story of hope and one that resonates alot with me right now.

You can read it here

As a parent, I obviously want the best for my kiddos. But I also want the best for your kiddos and others that I don't even know. This is a huge burden on my heart right now.

In the next few days, I'll have some more pics on my blog. N is now requesting to have drawings put on my blog and since he is Oh so Talented, I will definitely oblige!

Monday, January 19, 2009

This can't be

January is usually a very, slow, long, can we say, almost boring month? But, not this year. Oh no...it's more than halfway over and there have not been many quiet moments.

New Years Eve Party, Two Birthday parties, Two Weddings, Business Trip, Disciple Now, Card Club, Stamp Camp, PTA meeting, SL party, Bunco and that's in addition to regular church and dance activities. It's bizarre.

I'm wondering what February will be like. So far, it looks like it will be slower, but there is really no telling. We do start soccer back up in February. And then things really begin to speed up at our house. March thru August is generally a blur.

And of course, I will sound really old, but time seems to be going faster and faster. As a child, it seemed the days went soooo slow, but now, they fly by. I guess this is what happens when you are married to a 40 year old man. And I'm not sure how that happened either, especially when I feel like I just graduated from college---which I did 14 1/2 years ago.

Friday, January 16, 2009

5K

I hit 5,000 hits today - yippee! This is not nearly as much as some ---some get this many hits a day, but I didn't start this blog for the "hits". I started it mostly for my kids. I want to be able to have something for them to read someday of what our life was like when they were young. I also did it so I wouldn't forget our journey thru this season of life! Sometimes in the "craziness" of life, you forget the cute sayings, the struggles, the joys, etc.

A few years ago when my mom's mom passed away, she was able to get some of her dad's things. There were sermon notes (he was a pastor) and a journal and it was so interesting to read what he had written in his own voice. It makes the stories come alive so much more than just basic history of dates, etc. I want my kids and grandkids to know what their mom felt about things. I want them to know my heart and I want them to learn from my struggles. I want them to do better in life than I've done, but mostly I want them to love Jesus and love others.

And hopefully reading some of this will bring back wonderful memories of their childhood. And some of it will probably have them saying, "huh?"

So, 5000 hits - yippee, but thoughts for my kiddos - priceless.

My friend Becky wrote a beautiful tribute to her husband yesterday. It speaks volumes of their priorities and you can read it here. It brought tears to my eyes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life

Life is hard sometimes. This week is one of those times. This week, Lance and I've watched two young people make some poor decisions. One of them has very drastic consequences for his future. Both of these came from troubled homes. Homes where they weren't really wanted, homes were they were basically on their own. They've both worked hard and tried to do the right thing. Life is hard when you don't start out with a good foundation. My heart has broken over these and Lance and I were ready to welcome one of them into our home. Another place has been found, but we know we are both willing if she needs to come live with us.

It's so hard to understand how a family could not invest in their child. But, maybe, they themselves weren't invested in and so the vicious cycle begins.

It seems if you begin life poor and/or uneducated, there is alot stacked against you. Even if you try your best, there are obstacles at every corner. We've witnessed these first hand this week with these students and yet, I know there are thousands, if not millions more out there in the same situation or worse. I don't understand this. My heart aches over this. I want to fix it, but I'm one person. Lance and I still feel called to love and serve others, particularly young people, but sometimes it's just overwhelming. I know God doesn't expect us to save the world and thankfully there are many others who also feel called to serve and love. Sometimes, you just want to see the "success" stories and see someone overcome. And maybe, that's not for us to see right now. Maybe later.

So, this post is a little down, but quite frankly that's where we are today...a little down. Things will look up soon, they always do, but life is hard. And for many, it's hard most of the time. For us, we really have it pretty awesome most of the time. Some of this is because of parents who gave us a great foundation and are still supporting us when we need advice. Some is because we were able to get an education and provide for our family. But, none of it is because we are better than anyone else. We have to remember that and remember that To Whom much is given, much is Required. We have a responsibility to give back and to give without looking out for ourselves. To give as Christ gave for us.

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled lives...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today, I am Wise

Today, I am Wise...Tomorrow, who knows?

When we got home from school today, N had a friend waiting to play with him. But after about 10 minutes outside, he came in and said his friend didn't want to play anymore. Then, he started crying, telling me that his friends at school did the same thing. Hmmm...friends at school and home behaving the same way?!? What is the common link? N.

So, the wise momma that I am today, gave what I thought (hoped) would be good advice and prayed that the boys on the street would respond well to it. You never know if they will be co-conspirators or not! On his way out the door to play again and give it another shot, N said, "Thanks for the advice, Mom" Wow! That made me feel great!

And the best part? It's been over 30 minutes and he hasn't come back! I just peeked out the window and the bike-riding adventures continue. There is homework still to be done, but for today, the playing takes priority for a little boy who needed his friends. We all have days like that don't we?! I'll take friends over housework too!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mr. Mom

I had an out of town conference this week. Only 2 days, 1 night, 36 hours total. But....in that 36 hours I was gone, there were some firsts for Lance.

Wednesday night with the kids. For a youth minister with young children this is a bit of a challenge. He had to pick them both up from school, get them fed, entertain them at church until their activities began all while still engaging with the youth and doing his job. This was not easy for him, but he pulled it off! And, I think has a new appreciation for "doing it all."

Thursday morning was the dentist for both kiddos - again, a new experience for him, but by all accounts it went really well.

Those of you who are "old enough" remember the movie Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton - it was hilarious and thankfully, I think dads have come a LONG way since then. Lance truly does alot with the kids and I'm so glad.

Now, a cute video that says it all about moms! Be careful, the song has to be played quite loud to get the full effect!


The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ready, Set, Action!

Sometimes I feel like I write about N more than L. He's in school and older and doing more things, but the last few days, I've been reminded about what a magical age L is in right now. She will be 4 in a little over 2 months and is constantly saying and doing the funniest things!

Last night as I was reading stories to her (about princesses and animals - her 2 favorite loves) she asked me, "Momma, why don't me and you live on a pirate ship?" Hmmm, let's see, because Momma could never survive for months on a ship!!

Here she is swinging into a giant pile of leaves---this provided hours of entertainment and a girl that smelled like....well, a sweaty boy.



And here is my sweet girl in her dance class. This was at their Christmas dance demonstration for the parents ---her class is 3 and 4 year olds and they don't get to participate in the "big girl" Christmas recitals, but this was fun and simple. She's the one in the blue. She also has a black leotard, but refuses to wear a pink one. It makes her easy to pick out of the group since the rest love their pink ones. She is an independent gal at an early age!




L also got a princess scooter for Christmas so we've been bike riding and scooting all over our neighborhood the last couple of weeks. She is one active girl, which is great since she eats about twice what her big brother does!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Joy is Gone

Our family spent Christmas Day out of town and so we didn't go all out with our decorations this year, but when you have kids you have to put a few things up or it's not Christmas.

We spent the last few days of our holiday cleaning up. Ya' know, picking up all the boxes, mega packaging, etc of all the toys. We took down the Christmas tree, nativities, wreaths, etc. I was in the kitchen fixing lunch for us and Lance came in the kitchen. I asked him what he'd been working on and he said, "Taking the joy out of the yard." Huh? I didn't realize we had joy in the yard, pretty much just grass and weeds. And then I remembered....



We did have Joy...Lance made this beautiful piece for our yard this year. He did a really good job on it and it's something we'll be able to use for years to come.

I really love Christmas decorations and how they look. I enjoy putting them up every year, but I do.not.enjoy taking them down. It stinks. Even thinking about it makes me sweat and break out in hives. It's a stressor for me. Someday when I become independently wealthy I will have "my people" take my decorations down. That and fix my hair everyday. A girl can dream.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A new day

Well, in case you didn't notice, I took at little bloggy vacation. Blogging is something I REALLY enjoy, but I wanted to break free from technology over the holiday break and so, I did. It was nice.

Lots of fun things happened and I will write about some of those here this week.

The one I've chosen to post today was chosen because it was the most emotion-filled for me. The kids and I made a trip to Houston last week to see L's birth-half-sister. I know, it sounds complicated, but it's not. It's beautiful. And it was even more so this time. L's sister is going to be 12 later this month and she's in love with L. She has been since the day L was born. But, this time for the first time, L fell in love with Rachel. And it was glorious to see, but if I'm honest, also a little difficult. Why? Because these girls want to be together. And in a perfect world, they would be. Unfortunately, because of decisions made by their birthmom and her family, they aren't. None of us adoptive parents would change this now, because we each have beautiful girls that we love. But, we would love for them to be together. Their love is pure. Now, I know that if they did live together, they would probably fight and their age difference is large (just over 8 years), but shouldn't sisters be together? Adoption is like the rest of life. It's messy, it's hard, there are struggles, and things aren't perfect. Adoption doesn't end when you hold your precious child in your arms or when the court case is finalized. Adoption is forever. In fact, we are living adoption more in our family right now than we have since the days we were actually waiting or under supervision.




We are so fortunate to have formed a family bond with Rachel and her family. We are so fortunate they live in Houston and not across the country. We are thankful that in the years to come they will be able to help each other thru some difficult days and some joyous ones as well. I'm thankful for a sister for my daughter...I always wanted a sister!

As L cried out to stay longer and Rachel begged us to stay longer, I had tears in my eyes. L has continued to talk about Rachel each day since we've been home and I know we will need to make another trip soon. Maybe just L and I this time.

And now, some of L's favorites of the day:

Playing with the puppy!

a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_QM0xRMScpOY/SWGTYKZAwsI/AAAAAAAAALY/2Xtpzi9amBE/s1600-h/leah+and+dog.jpg">

Being treated to a ride to the park!