Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy 9th Birthday, Little Man!!

I can hardly believe our Little Man is NINE!  His day started with being awoken on his birthday MINUTE (5:30 a.m.) and having "Happy Birthday" sung to him. :)  (parents and birthday boy all went back to sleep after that)  It was his first time to be awake on his birthday minute, and he was pretty excited about that.

We let him open one present in the morning, and he picked.......

...... a remote control helicopter!

For everything else he had to wait until evening, when Grandma and Grandpa were here.  Minecraft sword from his siblings.... stuff from mom and dad...

...diorama kit, maze books, a subscription to Highlights magazine, money..... all his loot!

With one set of grandparents.

And with his mama.  The quality of this picture isn't good, but I love it anyway.  Look at the expression on that little man's face!  Ah, I love him.

You have always been such a joy and a blessing to me, Little Man.  May you have a wonderful year being 9, and may you grow to love Jesus more and more this year.  I love you as far as the east is from the west, and I will always love you no matter what!

Friday, December 20, 2013

December Photo Dump ~ sorry it's not a catchier title!

So much to say.... so hard to know how.  This fall has been so challenging for us.  But God has helped and is helping, day by day.  As we prepare to celebrate His coming I am filled with awe at who God is and how much He loves me.  Tomorrow is Little Man's birthday.  He will be 9.  NINE!!!  Wow.  Just sounds so old.  I know I will be taking a bunch of pics of his birthday, so in preparation for that, here is a photo dump from my camera of random pics from December...

What the end of a long day looks like...

December 1st tradition ~ beginning to count down to Christmas with our candy ribbons!  (I forgot to take the pic on December 1st, so about 9 hershey kisses were already off the ribbons.  Oh well!)

First time for daughter H to help us pick out our tree!  It was quite the decision, let me tell you.

Daughter G's gingerbread house decorating event, 2013 edition!

Little Man, leading us in family devotions.  Each of the children are taking turns during December.  He read to us what he had recently read in his own quiet time, about Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, but God using that for good when Joseph shepherded Egypt through a severe famine (Genesis).  He is reading better and better all the time!  So sweet.

Army/Navy football game!  For the first time, this year both my hubby and I had our faces painted for this important football watching event.  The girls had a LOT of fun painting us.  Not sure you can tell, but half my hubby's beard is blue, and the other half is yellow.

And it must have helped, because once again, Navy won!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

10 things I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving Day.......

1.  The ability to sleep 12 people all in BEDS!  (our 4 boys had to share one room all week...can you say "party"?)

2.  Cooperative children who helped clean!  Fingerprints on walls finally gone...

3.  The joy of seeing my children have FUN with their cousins.

4.  Helpers in the kitchen, and so much good food to eat.

 5.  Games.

 6.  Music!

7.  That my husband's parents are still with us, and healthy enough to share Thanksgiving with us.

8.  For our official potato masher!

9.  For each person around our table(s).

10.  For my husband.

5 things I'm thankful for (Wednesday)....

1.  For my sister-in-law and niece and nephews who were able to come from out of state to be with us for Thanksgiving, and to attend the funeral of our aunt.  Such a treat to have them here!

2.  For cooperative children who helped clean the house today.

3.  For the means to purchase and cook good food.  We are so, so, so blessed.  So much of the world went hungry this week.  I often wonder who are we, that we should be born in America and have the opportunities and privileges that we have?

4.  For the Schwan's truck..... and pre-made pies!

5. I mentioned this before, but I am thankful that our two youngest boys have found something they love and are experiencing success at (with their tae kwon do tournament trophies!).

Saturday, November 30, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for (Tuesday)....

1.  Again, for the life and death of my aunt.  She passed away today, peacefully.  Now she is completely well in every way, face to face with her Savior.  I can hardly imagine what the entrance to heaven must be like, and though I do not wish to be gone from this earth yet, I find myself longing for that great reunion in heaven.  None of us can know what that is like until we experience it for ourselves.

2.  For the very real hope of heaven.  It is a real place, and we can really know for sure that we are going there if we have trusted in Jesus for salvation.  Amen!

3.  For the grace and wisdom God is giving as we shepherd our children through this loss.

4.  For our vehicle.  Thankful it is so faithful!

5.  For daughter G.  Watching her interact with others with grace and maturity blesses my heart.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for (Monday)....

1.  for the life of my aunt, who is now near death.  She is really my husband's aunt, but I claim her too. :)  When I married into the family she was immediately warm and welcoming, and I have always appreciated that.  She doted on my kids as if they were her own grandchildren.  She will be deeply missed.

2.  for extended family who comes alongside and rallies through a family trial.

3.  for my husband.  He is a rock.

4.  for my friend, S.  She makes the best dinners, and has given us such variety!  There is nothing she has made that hasn't been loved by the whole family.  This act of love and service to us makes my Mondays go so much more smoothly.

5.  for the truth of God's Word and the hope of heaven!

5 things I'm thankful for (Sunday).....

1.  Worship through music!

2.  My friend, Jodi.  She makes me laugh.

3.  My friend, Emma.  She has grown as a leader so much.  I just love seeing what God is doing in and through her.

4.  My friend, Sally.  She is in a desert place, but she is clinging and trusting.

5.  My friend, Marsha.  She is in a desert place too, and a painful back place, but she also is clinging and trusting.  I love how God is glorified through our hard times.

5 things I'm thankful for (Saturday)....

I'm going to have to skip a few days because I let time get away from me and I just can't remember the details anymore!  But here's what I'm thankful for from this past Saturday:

1.  that son C and Little Man were able to go to their first tae kwon do forms tournament!

2.  that they each WON their age division and got big huge trophies!  (wow!!  unexpected by all of us since they only do it once a week at our co-op)

3.  for the kids belting out minecraft parodies in the car all the way home from the tournament.  My husband and I were laughing so much!

4.  for my kids.  Each one!  They are challenging to parent at various times, but they are amazing young people and I am so privileged to be their mom.

5.  for a warm, dry house.  When so many have lost their homes in typhoons and storms, I am truly grateful that my family is not suffering in the elements now that it has turned cold.  Why them?  Why not us?  I don't know, but I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Sister Movie Night!

5 things I'm thankful for (Tuesday)....

1.  My English class at our co-op.  I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating.  I love teaching, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to do it with such an amazing group of students!  I have all four high school grades in my class, but the juniors and seniors, especially, are just thoughtful, amazing thinkers.  They have the potential to make such a great impact in their spheres of influence.  I am grateful that our lives are intersecting.

2.  Strength to do the afore-mentioned teaching on very. little. sleep.  (teaching these kids kindof energizes me though!)

3.  Leftover pizza for dinner.  No cooking!

4.  The 20 minute nap I got after returning home from co-op.

5.  Children that are fun to hang out with!

5 things I'm thankful for (Monday)....

1.  The de-lish-ous (yes, I know that's misspelled) dinner brought to us by my friend S!  The fruit salad, gone in one sitting.  The fresh peppers, gone by the next day.  Everyone had seconds.  A few had thirds!  Enough leftover spaghetti noodles to add to our meal tonight.  My husband especially loved the beans (brand please?).  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

2.  That daughter H and I made it to counseling, when at first she refused to go.

3.  For the grace God gave to get through the day.  It was a hard day, but we made it.  So, so thankful for grace.

4.  For the roaring fire we had all evening.  I so love having a fireplace!

5.  For the good book I'm reading.  I so love good books!

Monday, November 18, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for (Sunday)....

1.  The amazing praise and worship I participated in at church.  Fills me up every time.

2.  Leftovers for lunch. :)

3.  A calm and peaceful afternoon.

4.  That another mom in our virtual (online) co-op volunteered to teach my class for me on Monday morning, thereby preventing an extremely late night for me, prepping!  What a blessing.  Thank you, my friend!!

5.  That my husband had gone grocery shopping and had dinner waiting when we got home from choir practice.  I didn't ask him to, he just did it.  LOVE HIM.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for (Saturday)....

1.  So very, very grateful for the early, more carefree years of our marriage.  Pre-mortgage, and pre-kids.  Today I had occasion to drive by the apartment complex my husband and I lived in when we first got married.  Our first home.  I located the actual apartment, and looked at it for a long time just remembering and being thankful.  Setting up our first Christmas tree there.... putting lights on our balcony, buying our first furniture with wedding gift money, me cooking gourmet meals for my new hubs and loving it (haha!), staying in bed almost all day on Saturdays, being intimate whenever we wanted, and wherever in the apartment we wanted, with no fear of discovery.  I have no desire to live in the past, but I sure do appreciate the strong foundation God allowed us to build for the future.  We are living that future now, and the memories of "just us" help give me strength and hope for the now.

2.  I was able to spend 2 hours at a restaurant by myself this morning, correcting high school English papers.  Yay for alone time, and yay for more papers corrected!

3.  All the remaining leaves got bagged today.  8 bags full.

4.  I did none of the bagging. :)  (a perk of having boys!)

5.  I love that son C sits down to play the piano several times a day.  He can hardly walk by the piano without sitting down and playing at least a few songs.  He is learning chording now too, and sings praise songs while playing the chords.  Sometimes I spontaneously join in, and the look of joy on his face when we make music together makes my heart sing.

6.  And a bonus #6 today....finally having a nice long chat with my mom on the phone!

Friday, November 15, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for (Friday)....

1.  Friday!!!!!!!!!

2.  Pizza and movie night.

3.  That my mother in law came through an unexpected and more complicated-than-anticipated surgery, well.

4.  Fall.  I have decided it is tied for first place (with spring) as my favorite season.

5.  Little Man.  He reaches out to hold my hand whenever we walk anywhere side by side.  At almost 9 years old.  Love him!

5 things I'm thankful for (Thursday).....

1.  Our counselor.  Daughter H and I have such a deep trust relationship with her, and she is an important part of our adoption journey.

2.  Supreme pizza burgers.  They were laborious to make, but the contented sighs of the entire family made it all worthwhile!

3.  A warm fire in the fireplace.

4.  My husband who is such a team player.

5.  The opportunity daughter G had to go on her visit college campus visit!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for (yesterday, Wednesday).....

1.  God's sustaining grace when I don't think I can last another minute.

2.  Youth group for our 5 olders, and Awana for our youngest.  What a blessing these ministries are to our family and our children's spiritual growth!

3.  Our wonderful piano and guitar teachers.

4.  My husband's job.

5.  Our vehicle ~ it takes a licking and keeps on ticking!

5 things I'm thankful for (last Tuesday)....

1.  My high school English class.  Have I mentioned how much I love teaching this class, and how wonderful my 19 students are????  love this

2.  Fresh strawberries to complement our lunch.

3.  My friends Sarah and Colleen.  They are fun to talk with during our "off" hours!

4.  That my kids all have good friends at co-op.

5.  For the tv show Agents of Shield ~ a nice way to relax after a long day at co-op, and it is almost always appropriate for the entire family.

5 things I'm thankful for (last Monday)....

1.  That self-control, meekness, and goodness are fruit of the Spirit.  Man do I need those!

2.  That daughter H and son L both got their science papers finished for co-op.  It was laborious, but we did it.

3.  That God gave me strength to prep for my English class very late at night.

4.  For the fire in the fireplace that kept me warm while I was prepping.

5.  For the prayers of my wonderful husband, which helped keep me going.

6.  And a bonus #6.... the delicious dinner prepared by my good friends S and E!  What a gift not to have to cook!

5 things I'm thankful for (last Sunday)....

1.  The amazing praise and worship at church.

2.  Unexpectedly having lunch out with some of my favorite people!

3.  Daughter H having a good visit with her bio mom and sisters.

4.  My favorite football team winning their game! :)

5.  The Sunday night football song.  Some of you will think that is lame, but I seriously love it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

5 things I'm thankful for today....

In these weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I challenged myself to think of five things each day that I am thankful for.  I meant to start this last week, but got busy and forgot.  So these are my 5 thankful things for last Saturday:

1.  I'm thankful for our Costco membership!

2.  I'm thankful for 2 hours alone with daughter G (at Costco!).

3.  I'm thankful for the reasonably nice weather we had, allowing for one last mow of the yard.

4.  I'm thankful for the pure joy son C felt at a friend's birthday party.

5.  I'm thankful for the brilliant red tree around the corner.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday's Thankful Things

I am unspeakably thankful that after 11 months of pretty intense relationship building, trust building, truth affirming, and conflict resolving,

this beautiful girl.....

... now calls me "mom."


Monday, October 28, 2013

Trunk 'n Treat

We had a very successful trunk 'n treat at our church yesterday!  So thankful for the mild temps, no rain, and very little wind.  Each of our older children's small groups hosted a trunk, and daughter G was tasked with making the decorations for her trunk's theme ~ Candyland!

She and daughter H also agreed to be princesses so that little girls could have their picture taken with a princess (there was a whole organized set up for this!).  They both looked so lovely and handled themselves just wonderfully with the children.

Here are all the princesses together.

Little Man as "lego man."  He and I got to just walk around and trunk and treat!

Son L with his small group guys doing a tailgater theme for their trunk.

Son C (green face) and his small group did a toy story theme.  He was a toy soldier in case you can't tell. ;)

Some of the trunks were pretty funny!

One of my dear friends.  A single lady, doing what she can to bless others!

Daughter G's small group ended up spreading Candyland over four different trunks.  She has such a great group of girl friends in this group!

We had lots and lots of people from the community come through.  What a great time we had, introducing our community to our church and having fun at the same time!