Thursday, January 29, 2009

There will be a rainbow

First, let me praise God that Kayden was coughing at 3 a.m. If I hadn't gotten up to tend to her, I wouldn't have found this ... until 5.

Second, I want to say that I have a new bloggy friend who very recently lost everything to an early morning house fire (praise God the family is fine!), and this is nothing compared to that. I got five steps into the hallway and knew there was a problem when I heard something like ... water! A line had burst under our kitchen sink and there was a half inch of water on the tile.
The utility room.
To the edge of the living room at 3:30 a.m. ...

...the living room at 6:30 a.m. My office. The water has spread throughout since this picture.

Hard to see, but this is soaked

This closet is at the very back of the house!

I needed to rearrange furniture anyway

So, why am I blogging in the midst of this?!? We've been mopping and vaccing water for 3 hours, the professionals have been called and now Clayton has to drive the school bus and I need to get the kids up for school and figure out how to keep them from staying in the two rooms that aren't yet affected. Would you please remember our family today as we 'wade' through this trial. One thing I know for sure, after every rain there is a rainbow - praise Him!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day (and recovery)

What a day! We watched a little (maybe a lot) of Dora and Kai Lan.
Rode the four wheeler
Spent time in the Naughty Spot (puleeeeze, it was only 2 minutes!)

Played Yahtzee - which Kayden won!

Made a double batch of sugar cookies!

Thank you, Daddy, for finishing the frosting project. Mom was shot!

And today the big kids went back to school and we recovered ;-)
We drew pictures.

Cinderella did her chores ;-)

And look who's wearing panties! Yes, snow days are good for potty training.

And Mom needed some 'help' in the office.

We had a great snow day, and today I'm doing all the extra outerwear laundry! Yesterday I also applied for an adoption grant with Shaohannah's Hope , read a little and made soup - awesome day! I've changed my strategy on potty training. I really thought Kaeleb and Kambry would train well as a team ... and then I remembered they are two! I thought they would influence each other in a positive way ... and then I remembered they are two! I thought it would go quicker and smoother ... and then I remembered they are two! I thought they'd be enticed by adorable undies and gummy bears ... and then I remembered they are two! I have to face it - as a team of two-year-olds they can whip up on this mom so I'm going to take them on one at a time. Kambry hasn't had an accident in 36 hours! Her favorite bathroom sayings are, "I turn da light," and "You hear dat?" Whatever it takes, just give me a reason to flush ... and stop buying two cases of diapers at a time ;-) And did I mention our I-800 has been at CIS for five days?!?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Shack

Okay, I promised I'd tell you about the book I've been reading, but I wanted to wait until I'd finished it. By now you've probably heard about The Shack. It's a 246-page bestseller! I had the book with me when I was taking depositions last week and two other people told me they were reading it! First let me say that I am not a book critic. I mostly read books recommended by dear friends, such as this one was. Secondly, I will say this is not the Bible and cannot be treated as God's Word. It is, however, the best fiction book I've ever read that portrays the love of our Heavenly Father. I won't give away the plot, but I will tell you that it addresses the age old question of, "If God is so loving, then why does He allow horrible things to happen?" I liken the answer to a joke told from the pulpit last Sunday. Since I'm not good at telling jokes, I'll just tell you the meaning of the punch line was that we can have as much or as little of our Heavenly Father as we choose. He loves every one of His creation. He can take our messes and make them beautiful. He can take evil and make it good. Our Creator gave us a free will, and while He would love for us to always reach to Him, He doesn't force us to do so. It's true that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, and that will be a final recognition of what we should have known all along. But what about now? What about our daily walk? Our struggles and even tragedies? Do we really believe God is with us through those? I know my answer. This book made me sob, laugh and sob some more. Probably the most poignant thing for me is something I already knew but had perhaps discounted as cliche is the fact that Jesus is present with every child in the midst of tragedy, every child in the throws of loneliness, every child who is not being tucked in by his or her parents ...
If you've read this book, I'd love to hear what you thought about it so please leave a comment.

Icy Weather

It's amazing how something that looks so beautiful, shimmering in the light, can be so dangerous. We are covered with a blanket of ice so it was no surprise to get a 5 a.m. call from Mr. Superintendent that school is out today. Shhh, the kids don't know yet ;-) I feel like making soup and playing Yahtzee!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Year of the Ox!

Happy Year of the Ox!
We had our annual Lunar New Year celebration last night. We are now up to 20 children from China, Taiwan, Viet Nam and Korea! The evening started out as every other ...
Kambry was not into taking pictures. If Mommy wants his picture she has to come down to his level ... and fast!Maybe if Kayden choke-holds her ...
Nah! Oh well, this pretty girl is always ready for the camera!

Here's part of the group.

Let's try again.

My son, the thug? His silk shirt wouldn't stay buttoned - good thing for the onesie underneath :)

You've got 2 seconds, Mom, and we're outta here!

It was a great evening. Even louder and more crowded than our kitchen at suppertime, but so much fun. We got to meet three friends for the first time, and we found out that Kaeleb, Zane and Kevin are the same age! Good thing they're a long ways from 16 ;-) Something I would love to learn this year is to make dumplings and a few other Chinese dishes we enjoy. Of course, I couldn't just settle for stir fry - it has to be the difficult stuff. But my husband would be so thrilled if I pulled this off. And since we have three Forever Family Day celebrations to plan, I need to get started! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I-800A sent to Chicago today!

This gets us one step closer to China! Now we can sit back and relax for, oh, 120 days or so ...
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Heb 12:1

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Word for Wednesday

Show me your ways, O Lord,

teach me your paths;

guide me in your truth and teach me,

for you are God my Savior,

and my hope is in you all day long.

Psa 25:4-5

Give ear to my words, O Lord,

consider my sighing.

Listen to my cry for help,

my King and my God,

for to you I pray.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;

in the morning I lay my requests before you

and wait in expectation.

Psa 5:1-3

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And the winner is ...

Congratulations, Gina! You left a message on January 13 at 6:44 p.m., and you are a winner! Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. I plan to do another one very soon - when I can decide which book I like best! Have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pray for this family

Please pray for this precious family. They are such an inspiration, even in the midst of tragedy. They just returned from Africa with their babies and soon after lost their home to fire. You can read their story on A Place Called Simplicity, but prepare to be encouraged and blessed!

Hangin' out waiting for spring

Early morning exercises.
Look at that form!
Hey, no slacking, little girl!
Serious construction under way.

A road trip to Norman to help Kuyler get settled includes Sonic, of course.

My little artists ...

And here is our Christmas (and birthday and anniversary) gift to each other. It makes me want to paint the living room! We've wanted this print for several years. It can be ordered from Half the Sky Foundation.

Sorry I haven't been blogging as much as usual. I love to read, and I've been trying to do more of it, which means something else must go. So the time I normally spend blogging has been replaced by reading, and I will share my current book with you once I'm finished. Speaking of books, don't forget the giveaway - only 2 more days! This week is yet another transition for us as Kuyler has gone back to college. We really enjoyed having him home the last month. As for Kolton and Kenzie, just two more weeks of Jr. High and Elementary basketball (we can survive this!). We also enjoyed spending time with our friends from a distant land and look forward to the next time we get to see them . I promise to blog more this week ;-) After all, there will be a giveaway recipient, news of our home study going to CIS (I hope), and our Chinese New Year celebration! Oh yeah, and that Weight Watchers thing, gotta get back to that ;-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Potty Training by Observation

Look at those angelic faces!

You would think by numbers 5 and 6 I'd know a little something about potty training, but darned if these two aren't giving me a run for my money. We've tried individual potty chairs, cute undies with favorite characters, gummy bear treats, raising the roof in celebration of 'deposits,' and nothing works. I can set the timer to put them on the chair every five minutes, but somewhere between two and three they spring a leak. They can make the best noises and expressions with nothing to show for it. Some days they are synchronized poopers and some days they are individualized. Some days I realize they just aren't ready because they don't recognize the urge to go, but every time I leave $42 at Wal-Mart for two cases of diapers I come home with a new resolve to make this happen. I've gotten on my hands and knees and told them how awesome it is when they tell mommy they need to go. They grin and say, "Yeah, poo poo in the potty" ... and they tell me after the deed is done! So I've started watching them like a hawk for signs of distress :) It gets pretty funny when they're synchronized. I'm scooping one up, pressing the back of the diaper, saying, "Wait! Let's go in the potty," sliding into the bathroom while hurriedly yanking off jeans and trying to set the angel on the toilet without scaring him or her to death. Then I notice the other one is at it, so we replay the whole thing into another bathroom, hoping and praying the other will stay seated until I can get back there. The upside: it's a great workout! And it keeps me laughing at myself (most of the time).

Don't forget to leave a comment on the Giveaway post - only 6 more days!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Random cuteness

Boy of many expressions ...

Wonder who taught him that?!?
Mom always needs help in the kitchen.
This is what happens when the 13-year-old brother gives baths. It's only a half bottle of bubbles.

Adoption update: We hope to have our signed home study in hand this week! Then we will send the I-800A, home study and supporting docs to CIS/NBC in Chicago where it will take approximately 4 months for our file to be assigned an officer who will then hopefully approve our application within 5 weeks after that. By that time (5 months from now!) our dossier will be complete and ready to send to China immediately upon receipt of the I-171H. To cut to the chase ... maybe by June or July we could be matched with our waiting child. Of course, CIS has been hoping to streamline the approval process from 120 down to 30 days. We can only hope ...

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