Goodbye sweet boy

This week has been taken up with last minute preparations for our upcoming trip to Mexico and a lot of packing. Just when I thought my nerves and emotions were stretched just about as far as they could go....did I mention it is Winter break right now... I got a call from Kade's new Case worker. We will be forced to say goodbye tomorrow not just for the week but forever. It came as a bit of a shock to me but I know as I look at the big picture that this is in God's control, just as surely as this little boy has not escaped Gods care since he was conceived.
That old Hymn "His eye is on the sparrow" keeps running through my head. The idea is taken from Matthew 10: 29

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows."

In the eyes of the world this little boy is disposable, a problem, just another kid in the system, an outcast in a bigoted and calloused society. He's a sparrow in a world that loves showy feathers and beautiful songs.
But in reality he is precious , loved and known by the one who created him which makes him so much more. He is priceless. Every hair on his head is numbered.
I now have to trust that God will preserve this childs heart and protect his body through whatever his life will bring.
And accept the fact that I will no longer be his mommy "MA" to nurture, guide and love him..at least not in anyway he will know about.

One thing that will not be taken from me is my ability to pray for this little boy. I will pray that God would raise him up to know he is loved and has value, that he will someday know the freedom of salvation, that he will withstand the storms life has for him, that he would be the one to break the cycle.
Transition will be hard. So hard. The goodbye and walking away will be harder. Right now he is my little shadow. When I'm in the office on the computer he is playing under the desk, when I'm in the kitchen he's in there helping me, he pretty much follows me from room to room. This week he has been particularly clingy, extremely so, I don't know if its because we left him with a sitter last weekend of if he senses something is about to happen. The suitcases everywhere would be a big clue. He is an intelligent little boy I'm sure he's figured out more than I think he has. I can't help but feel a little guilty, ok a lot guilty, when he looks at me with those adoring big brown eyes and I know tomorrow I am going to abandon him...just one more person to prove life is full of uncertainties.....at least thats what it will be in his mind. I'm praying that he will find stability in his new home with biological strangers. I pray that they will care for him and love him like he needs to be. But I don't know. Its so hard to hand over being his mommy and give that responsibility to someone I've never met and know nothing about. Its all part of the job though.....the goodbyes are part of the deal. Maybe someday I'll get better at them.

Aili and Roman have been so amazingly sweet to him and love him already. Roman of course is just super affectionate with him, and Aili is a second mother. Kade even runs to her sometimes if he hurts himself and is looking for a hug and a booboo kiss. I'm so proud of them both. They have shown such adaptability, generosity and acceptance....even when it meant sharing their rooms, their toys, their parents and sometimes even sleeping on the couch. They know that our goodbye tomorrow will likely be forever and they will be ok..... they did ask if we could just get kids next time that we can keep forever. Someday maybe. But for now I know that ,although not always easy ,this experience has been good for them too. Compassion, generosity, tolerance and love for others is not something that is learned with out being taught by example....it doesn't happen by chance. That is the legacy I want for my children. We are swimming upstream in a culture that wants to teach them to step on people on their way up the ladder, fame and fortune are one reality show away, talent and beauty are everything....and my god is the person I see in the mirror in the morning.

So we are leaving in the morning. We will be dropping one kid off at a time, suitcases in hand. Knowing one of them we will not be picking up again in a week. It will be a teary day for this mama....but I know God has big things planned for the week ahead. I am so excited....at least I will be again once the sad part is over. In a couple days I will be enjoying sunshine (that actually involves heat), some good Mexican food and fellowship with my Mexican brothers and sisters. If you think of us please pray for my kidlets as they are scattered around, for me as I say goodbye to all of them, for Kade as he moves out into the unknown, and for safety and health for us as we travel south. Thankyou!
Phil. 4:13 " Todo lo puedo en Christo que me fortalece."
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

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Valentines weekend

As you can see it was a busy weekend complete with demolition and rebuilding our bathroom, Valentines day and a curling bonspiel. Here is Roman in his dream job. He keeps asking when he can smash up our other bathroom. It does need to be renovated to so I assured him he would be the first to help with the demolition. This was one of those jobs that took a lot longer than it should have. One moldy shower led to a moldy wall, insulation etc. Terrible plumbing , awful wiring. I think Nathanael felt like a Holmes on Homes episode. We now have a functioning, non rotting, shiny new bathroom though. Pictures to follow.

Aili , our resident party girl, helped me make Valentines cupcakes to surprise the boys and Daddy. That's about as festive as I get. Its a good thing I have Aili or I would completely flake out on most holidays.

Here is Silas getting a turn to "help". Much to his Daddy's frustration. Silas' idea of helping is dumping out the boxes of screws, stealing the tools and hiding them, and bending ceiling panel supports.

Last Friday was our school's annual curling bonspiel, complete with food booth (which I had the pleasure of working in with two toddlers), and a bake sale (which I kind of forgot about, fortunately I had cookies in the freezer)......and a prize for every participant. Even the ones who spent most of the time rolling around on the ice or thought it was cool to try to throw two rocks at a time. Yes Roman was a participant this year. I'm thinking curling might not be his thing...not enough body contact , speed or adrenaline. I really can't blame him,
in fact in my opinion there is not a more boring sport. There my secret is out, I might just be stoned for heresy in this curling fanatical community. I think I am the only woman in a 40 mile radius who is not a part of a curling team or has not played in the woman's bonspiel. I may be a social outcast because of it...but I just can't bring myself to stand out on that cold ice holding a broom. I spend enough time holding a broom in my own house.

Saturday my husband and I went on our big date. The one I wrote about earlier...yes I was that excited. We decided that since we were driving an hour to get to the church that was showing the movie "Fireproof" that we would leave a little earlier drive half an hour further to go eat in the City. We forgot however to factor in the reality that everyone in the world was eating out that night and every restaurant had at least an hour wait time just to be seated. We consented to eating "ee burritos" in our car (which is still much more pleasurable than eating with 4 kids so I wasn't all that disappointed) when we decided to try one last restaurant. To our surprise they got us right in and we were served an amazingly delicious meal complete with candle light, table cloths and wine. I know table cloths aren't that big a deal to the average person but keep in mind I could clean off our table with a fire hose after two toddlers are finished with it...so sitting at a table with a table cloth seemed so ..well...refined. No noses to wipe, no spills to clean up, no chasing two year olds back to the table , just peace and conversation.

Even the drive was nice, silence, adult conversation and no Vegi Tales playing over the stereo system. It was worth all the effort, money and the long drive! The movie was really good too. They even had popcorn and treats for us! I'm a sucker for movies and popcorn. It wasn't as cheesy as I kind of expected it to be, it was hard hitting and dealt with tough marriage issues. I'd recommend it to anyone, especially if your marriage is under stress or seems beyond hope. The book refered to in the movie , although hand written in the movie, is a real book called "The Love Dare". My in-laws wisely bought each of their kids one for Christmas. At the time it kind of flew under the radar but as we got home and started reading one day at a time (there are 40 days worth of readings.) I realized what an amazing resource it actually is.
So many of those types of books are super lame, or irrelevant but this one is different. Each day is a couple pages of reading (totally manageable , even late at night) incredible insights into what real love truly is and not in a pie in the sky unrealistic kind of way or in a lame, duh, kind of way (I realize that I have just stooped to a new low using the word "duh" in a post).

One of the lines in the movie( that is also in the book )that stood out the most to me was "Don't follow your heart, your heart can be deceived, but lead your heart instead."
Our hearts tell us the grass is greener on the other side, our hearts can tell us that we are no longer "in love", our hearts can grow cold, our hearts are naturally selfish, our hearts are full of hurts and resentment, our hearts lead us into so many dangers and heartaches. But instead we should intentionally LEAD our hearts , that does not mean our hearts are not involved, but rather we CHOOSE to love, we choose to be faithful, we choose to honor and treat our partners as sacred, we choose to show patience, kindness, and self control....even when sometimes those things are not reciprocated. God doesn't love us because we are so extremely lovable or deserving, but he loves us in a way that is sacrificial, pure, and unconditional. That is the kind of love that must be nurtured in a marriage if it is to last.

It is not limited to marraige though....I could be anyone that we are in contact with that seem "unlovable", difficult, inconvenient, or just irritating . They can also be the recipient of this type of love. A love that is not based on rewards, or fussy feelings but that has been intentionally cultivated and nurtured and can withstand snotty noses, temper tantrums, cold shoulders, and hurt feelings. It is a love that cannot come from ourselves unless we ourselves are recieving it from the source. That source is God.

So often, especially in marriage, actions come first and the feelings follow. Marriage is tough, it is tedious, it is amazing, it is painful, it is fun...it is so many things , often all in the same day! I can honestly say that this Valentines day was better than any Valentines day in our 12 years of marriage...at least that I remember. Not just because we went on a wonderful date, not only because my husband bought me three presents (and I gave him a card and cupcakes...will have to reevaluate next year)....but because this year we are more in love than we have ever been. We weren't just going through the motions. A few years ago I didn't even know it was possible ....and now we are living proof of a marriage restored. We aren't perfect, we still have our struggles, but we are committed ...and we are working on building the kind of marriage that God wants for us. Another line in the movie was something to the effect of ' Fireproof doesn't mean that we won't face the fire but that we are able to withstand the heat. ' That's what I want for my marriage...we will face fire, life has a way of bringing us face to face with it sometimes..but we will make it through together.

That brings me to my next adventure with my beloved hubby and best friend......3 days until we leave for Mexico!!! Can you tell I'm excited? Its hard to type while jumping up and down so I'd better stop here.

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Entertainment in Hickville

So what is there to do for "fun" in the sticks? The local skating rink is one place for non stop excitement...ahem. Kade sure took a liking to it. He was absolutely focused and determined to hit that puck with the little hockey stick. I don't know if I've ever seen him so happy. He's definately got the size to be a hockey player...and he's already missing his front teeth now so he's half way there already.

An unconventional way to skate. As you can see we are in a totally unsupervised ice rink and pretty much do what we want.

Silas figuring out that ice is in fact cold on bare hands.

I had to literally pry that hockey stick out of Kade's hands when we left.
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Classes for Men

Ok so I don't get the credit for making this one up, but I laughed really hard so I thought I would share it. I did find it in a mens magazine , or rather my husband found it and read it to me. He thought it was amusing perhaps not quite as amusing as I found it though.

Classes For Men

Topic 1. How to fill up the ice cube trays. Step by step, with slide presentation.

Topic 2. The toilet pater roll: Do they grow on the holders? Roundtable discussion.

Topci 3. How to fight cerebral atrophy:
Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, other important dates and calling when you're going to be late. Cerebral shock therapy sessions and full lobotomies offered.

Topic 4. Fundamental differences between the laundry hamper and the floor. Pictures and explanitory graphics.

Topic 5. The after-dinner dishes and silverware: Can they levitate and fly into the kitchen sink? Examples on video.

Topic 6. Loss of identity: Losing the remote to your significant other. Helpline support and support groups.

Topic 7. Health watch" Bringing her flowers is not harmful to your health. Graphics and audio tape.

Topic 9: Real men ask for directions when lost. Real life testimonials.

Topic 10: Is it genetically impossible to sit quietly as she parallel parks? Driving simulation.

Topic 11: Learning to live: Basic differences between your mother and your wife. Online class and role-playing.

Topic 12: How to be the ideal shopping companion. Relaxation exercises, meditation and breathing techniques.

I know what your thinking...where are these classes offered and how can I get my husband there? Are they available before Valentines Day?

As funny as some of those are because they hit a little too close to home , I realized after reading that my hubby would get an A on some of those classes. He is an excellent shopping companion...infact I'm the one that hates to shop, he loves shopping. Also he is the first one to suggest we stop and get directions...I am usually too embarrassed. He is also excellent at remember special days and remembering to call me if he will be late for dinner or just to say hi.

The icecube tray, laundry hamper, and the toilet paper roll....well...I think that might be a lost cause. 12 1/2 years of explaining the process and it still doesn't happen.

I was just thinking this afternoon how my husband and I REALLY need to get out on a date. I don't know when the last time we went anywhere alone together was...out in the sticks we are short on babysitters, restaurants ,entertainment and of course we are always short on $ too so it is just complicated and a lot of work to do anything other than just hang out at home. BUT I just found a church about an hour away that is showing "Fireproof" Sat. night so I am jumping at the chance and have started phoning around for a babysitter who will watch 4 kids. Looks like we'll have to get one 40km away but it will be worth the extra driving and effort to have an evening out without all the little monkeys. I've got my hopes up for an evening out now so it had better work out. No snowy blizzards allowed on Saturday.

Happy Valentines Day!!


2 weeks from today!!

I am missing Mexico and dreaming of the next time I will be there. Which is only 2 more weeks! We have been planning this trip for a year now and its finally almost here. We are taking a group of 15 people down to the FFHM orphanage in Baja Mexico the same place we lived and worked at 3 years ago. This time instead of staying 6 months we will only be there for 1 whirl wind week. We will also be childless for this trip which will also be different from last time we were there. Last time we were there Roman was only 2 and Aili was 4 . It was a challenge to be a parent to two young children and to be involved in the work I love. My kids adapted and made Mexico their home, infact for Roman he didn't remember living anywhere else. After we returned home to Canada I remember Aili asking why there were no Mexicans in our town...I just said I didn't know and that in some other towns there were probably Mexicans. Roman piped up and insisted there were too Mexicans in our town. We were Mexican and we moved here! You will have no trouble picking out my slightly pale looking Mexican kids playing with their amigos in the picture above.

Homemade 'slip and slide' fun on a Sunday afternoon.

I loved going to the surrounding labour camps with some of the other Mexican, American and Canadian staff. It was a highlight for me of our stay in Mexico. I love getting to and experiencing the nitty gritty of culture and people.

Everytime I get a newsletter in the mail ,which was today ,I miss and yearn to be part of the various amazing ministries there. To check them out go to http://www.ffhm.org/ . I read about the disabled childrens day home where kids who are often destined to a life in bed are given medical care, education and occupational type therapy...and I want to be there. I read about the team of Mexican men and woman going to Sinaloa to minister to the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers living in labour camps and working in the fields...the poorest of the poor...and I long to be there with them! I read about the ministry a retired couple have taking in abandoned and ill babies to fragile for the nursery....and I want to be there. I would love to go there long term but so far God has not opened those doors for us. We know God has something for us. He may be leading us to do something completely different in a completely different place or it just hasn't been the right time. Housing for families is in short supply. Someday maybe. Maybe when our kids are all grown up. Maybe this was just our training ground for something else God has in store for us. Either way it will be good to go back and visit the place where I left a piece of my heart.
In recent months I feel torn in so many directions, different possibilities, different places, ...choices...waiting...wondering. I know God desires to use us where ever we are though, whether that is loving on our little foster boy in Hickville Canada or living with and loving on students in a foreign country. I am only the jar made of clay. God is the one that fills me with every good thing....and He's the one who knows where I should be poured out. All I have to do is listen to the voice of my shepherd, and follow in obedience when He calls.
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Romans First Report Card

So, after many months of School the kindergartners finally got their first report card. I opened it with much trepidation and fear. It was basically what I had braced myself for, with a few surprises added in. First of all, I'm not sure I understand the whole grading system. We have been in the school system for a few years now but what ever happened to A, B, C ,D etc ? We now have random letters of numbers, which are different with every report card and require a "key" to decipher.

When reading the comments, I read a bit between the lines, keeping in mind that his teacher is so sweet she is almost positive to a fault. Comments such as "Roman is slowly adapting to a classroom climate." Could be interpreted as Roman is frequently disruptive in a classroom setting but he is starting to learn that we are here for a reason.

Or "He seems to be enjoying school more and is attempting to pay attention in class" . That is a comment I could be proud of but the "attempting" is not all that encouraging.

One of my favorites is " Roman loves stories and will listen intentively when he is interested".....bingo. That about sums it up.

He did do very well in the "Creative Arts development" which includes things like having his own ideas, using props creatively, listening and moving to music, rhythm activities, and singing. All of those are things that he loves so I'm glad that it is showing through at school. He told me " I'm the best singer in the class" I congratulated him and chuckled. I suspect he's the loudest anyway. The teacher commented "Roman enjoys music and loves to sing".

I feel a little guilty as a mother who should have been teaching him the area of basic knowledge of colors, alphabet, phone number, birthday. To say he's never been interested in any of these things is an understatement, and I guess I just didn't bother with the battle. I have tried but gave up too easily maybe. He does finally know his colors though (just details he never cared about enough to try to learn.) ...."except orange". And according to the report card he knows his alphabet up to the letter "p"......well obviously that would be the letter where he stops the song and starts cracking jokes instead. He may never learn the alphabet past "p" in fact. I really do need to work with him on these things and attempt to make them interesting and maybe even fun for him. After all there are a lot more years of learning left to do. Even just doing homework, which he doesn't get unless he misses a day, is painful for both of us. As you can see by the face above. He had to finish a simple coloring activity and it was an hour of drama just to get him to do it. He has been coloring a little more in recent months (before that he never colored) but it can't be in a coloring book. He hates anything that restricts him in anyway, he would rather invent his own pictures....so doing an assignment is tough. I was complaining to his Dad about the trouble with homework and he sympathetically said he remembers feeling the exact same way. He remembers it almost being physically impossible to engage himself and just get it done if it was something he was not interested in....even if it was easy. He is his fathers son , in so many ways. It an attempt to convince him to finish his homework I told him that it was his "quest" he got even more mad and told me "MOM, a quest is something fun like fighting a dragon to save a princess, finding lost treasure, or saving the world from an evil villain!!!....NOT doing coloring!" I stand corrected.

On a more positive note he seems to do well in math, or rather pre-math activities like sorting, patterns etc. So my fingers are still crossed for that. I just feel almost bad for him because I know the structure and bookwork of school goes against everything about his personality. It is something he has to learn and he will have to learn to function in that setting...even if it is a challenge. His teacher did comment that his attention span is improving and his fine motor skills are getting better to , so I'm holding onto that and hoping they continue to get better. Kids change so much in these first few years of school.

I have to admit the other day as he was heading to school and grumbling about it, I told him that he had to pay attention in class and learn what he needed to learn or he would be in kindergarten forever.....a tiny mommy fib. I told him that before he could set out to travel the world he needed to finish all his years of school and it would take even longer if he didn't learn the first time and had to do them over again. That got his attention.

I love this boys creativity, imagination and sense of adventure. I wouldn't change him for anything. I just have a foreboding feeling that the next 12 years might be a bit of a struggle. I'm hoping I'm wrong, and I certainly don't want to give him anything but a confident and positive impression about his schooling experience. Fortunately he can't read or use the computer and get wind of my fears for him. I know that God has great things for this boy and will use all his energy, perseverance, passion and his think outside the box outlook on everything for something special. He may not have a future as a accountant or a librarian but I'm ok with that :) He'd rather be a surfer/ musician/ world traveller anyway. I'm just hoping he's one that knows the color orange.

p.s Roman just said the funniest thing to me....somewhat over the line inappropriate for writing about, I apologize ahead of time if you are offended easily...but its from the mouth of a 5 year old who was perfectly serious at the time. I had a good laugh once I got over the shock.

Roman - (with an air of smugness and pride) " My p#*#s is pretty big for my age....I think its because I exercise a lot"

Me - " gasp, shock.......um, Roman how exactly do you exercise your -----"

well I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Needless to say I laughed so hard tears rolled down my cheeks. Then we had a bit of a talk.

side note: He's really into exercising, running and lifting heavy stuff....so it stands to reason that he wouldn't neglect that part too. Being a mom to boys is quite an adventure.
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