Little Hicks in the Big City

Last weekend started off with a trip to the City for some fun at the park and a scheduled visitation for Cub.
Here are my drummer boys thoroughly enjoying an outdoor drum show. Of course Roman was mesmerized.

I have no idea what he was crying about but it didn't last long. Way too much fun to be had. It doesn't take much to give these kids a thrill.

We did not come prepared for the kiddie pool but let Silas indulge his fishiness in his shorts....while I fed and burped.

AWWW, some sibling love at the giant playground.
More pictures to come, this was just the start of a fun family weekend.
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Because kids live here.

Last week one of my blog chums Lynnette had a really funny post about the irritating things kids do and how we react to them. It was hilarious and it sounded just like my house! She challenged us to post our own pictures of things that prove that kids live here.

That very afternoon I snapped three photographs.
A common sight in my washing machine. Rocks and even a Swiss army knife. Maybe I should start checking his pockets....although that sounds a little scary.

That same little boy, about the same time I was doing laundry was busy "digging a trench" . Some good physical work outside is wonderful for an energetic little boy. However, the location was less than ideal. Every lawn needs a trench filled with water don't you think? He had the pleasure of using his dump trucks to fill the holes back in afterwards.

Any guesses?
I have no idea what the story is behind this. I found this on a blanket that had been on the couch for quite some time without me knowing it was there. Possibly days or weeks. After further investigation I discovered it was not chocolate.
Whoop whoop for potty training!....*insert eye roll here*
I think Silas had used the potty without telling me and then went and sat himself back down to watch tv.
A little love gift...its even on a heart. :)

Just a glimpse in one afternoon of the irritating, innocent things kids do that make us crazy.
The sticky finger prints or whole face prints on windows.
The bits and pieces of paper cut up on bedroom floors
The toilet paper roll, unrolled
amateur plumbers trying to figure out if toy cars sink or float
water left on
toilets unflushed
juice spilled
play-doh stuck in carpet
marker on the table.
pee on the carpet
sandy shoes dumped out in the entry way
pickle juice spilled in fridge
Lego's neatly arranged in my pantry

.......ok I'll stop there although I could go on and on.

So many things each day that I have to consciously choose to respond to rather than react to.
In fact I am taking deep breaths just writing that list :)

So many things they do are done in innocence and they just need to be reminded or have explained to them why "we don't carve messages for invading aliens in our door posts".

Some of the things make me laugh. I am consciously trying to see the beauty of childhood in the little inconveniences. (well maybe not the poo)

Occasionally something is done not so much out of innocent childishness as in disobedience and it is dealt with accordingly.
We are in the de-barbarianizing stage with Silas right now.
Its a lot of work but I know that eventually he'll figure out what is expected of him as a "big boy" in civilized society.
It seems multiple times a day he is being disciplined for poor choices or inappropriate reactions.
I remember that stage with the older two...it seemed like it would never end...but it did.
After that its more maintenance, refining....and reminding.

Someday I may even miss rocks in my washing machine, holes to China dug in my lawn, and kleenex box faerie houses strewn about my home....can't say I'll ever miss finding poop on a blanket though.

What did you find today that prove kids live in your house?

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Meet my Dad

I wanted to do another Father's Day post honoring my own father. This is my Dad. What a handsome guy.
He is a quiet man of strength , faith and perseverance.
He is an avid adventure racer, marathon runner and canoer or is that canoeist...someone who paddles in a canoe. He is always looking for the next big challenge. He has in recent years done the Yukon quest canoe race twice and has also canoed the Churchill river in Northern Saskatchewan.

He has farmed his whole life as his father and grandfather did before him. He works hard, loves the land and watches the clouds. His job is not only a job but a part of who he is. It is not the only thing that he is though.

He is the father of five grown children. Here he is at his birthday party with 4 of his 8 grandkids.
From my Dad I learned
to work hard
to not be afraid of challenges that seem to big for us
to persevere when things get tough
.... and to operate large machinery. :)

This is my second Dad. I have been blessed with two Dads one for 31 years and the other for 13. This is my husbands father.
We don't see them very often because they live 1000 miles away but
he has been a very thoughtful and caring Dad to me. He has always welcomed me and loved me like a daughter.

He's always up for a donut and a cup of coffee....he and Roman have that in common.

From him I have learned the value of
acts of kindness
overcoming difficult circumstances
....and ice cubes in water. :)

Happy Fathers Day!!
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What a guy!

I don't often brag about my husband on my blog but since it is Father's day and he is the father of my children its only fitting that he has the honor. :)
He has not only been an involved loving dad to his own 4 children, he has opened his home and his heart to other children as well.
That's a tall order for any man...and my husband has met the challenge and continues to amaze me.

Only a Dad could build a tree house like this! Or at least one this outrageously high (mom's still reeling and asking that he put up more railing ). Now that's a cool Dad.

Always up for some family time...especially if it involves hotdogs, fire and a lake.

Yes, that is my two year old on a homemade zipline. Now that's something a mom would just never think of. One more reason why Dad's are so important. (Before you report us for child endangerment...let me say that my husband is a former resident of WA state where he was a rock climber and part of a search and rescue team...he knows his ropes and knots. He even had an extra safety line).

My kids would live very dull, albeit safe lives if it weren't for their Dad being there to shake things up a bit. He's the first to encourage and cheer them on in what ever they are doing.
He tells them each day how much they are loved and then proves it to them with his actions and priorities. My kids are lucky to have a Dad like him and I'm lucky to have a teammate like him in raising these monkey's.

Happy Father's Day Nathanael.

I have mentioned in past posts how dry it is here right now. My family farms, my husband farms with them and we live in an area where agriculture runs the economy...so without rain...no crops...you can fill in the blanks. This morning it started to pour and pour. We had a great deluge of rain like I haven't seen here in ages maybe years. We have a total of an inch and a half so far (40 mm)! There were a lot of smiling Dad's in church today!
Thank you God for the perfect Father's Day gift! :)
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All wound up!

We are officially done with kids sports for the summer. Does any one else hear the angels singing? No more rushed dinners, driving to town for practices and then rushing to get everyone to bed past bedtime. The kids enjoyed their sports but mom and dad are just glad they are over now. We had both a baseball "wind up" (including a hotdog supper) and a soccer "wind up" this week.

I haven't posted any pictures of Roman playing soccer so here is a glimpse of small town recreation soccer.
Roman is taking his self appointed position of defense seriously here.

The last day they invited the parents to play against the kids. That's me being a good sport and wishing I had shin pads :)
I even let Silas (orange shirt) join in. All season he has been forced to sit on the sidelines. He ran around with the bigger kids and had a blast...even got mowed over a few times. The parents were vastly out numbered in this round of clump ball...I mean soccer...but we held our own. :)

Romans team.

Me looking like a "soccer mom" in my shorts and running shoes. All I need now is a fanny pack to complete this cool look.
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Summer is here!

Just a short post....no really it is. At least that's what I'm intending it to be :)

For 7 months out of the year we are frozen white tundra..for another couple of those we are brown and barren. So for the next few months I am basking in colour , warmth and life.

Lilacs are my favorite flower!
My bushes finally produced a whole whack of lilacs this year. I'm sad they are about done their blooming. I love that smell.
I would fill my house with them but my husband whines that they make his eyes burn and his nose run. What a baby...dumb allergies.

My garden is growing great this year despite the cool dry spring. My wonderful, non whiny, husband hauled me in a big load of composted cattle manure (about 10 years old). One of the perks of having a farmer for a husband. Free cow poop! My plants are loving it.

These are some chives getting soaked with the soaker hose.

Keep in mind I don't claim to be a photographer. I have a simple point and shoot camera....I'm easy that way. I was out one evening sitting by my garden watching it grow when I had the sudden urge to take pictures of my little baby plants. That's not weird at all is it?

Bean plants that survived many frosty nights last month. A few suffered but I was amazed at how tough they are.

Some Swiss chard and spinach getting friendly. I planted them in separate rows but somehow they found their way to each other...either that or my helper spilled the seeds.

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New Cub in the den

Yesterday I spent the morning outside with my boys enjoying the sunshine (before the heat got any more intense). That's right, we went from wearing our winter coats last week to sweltering hot this week. Something in between would be nice...but I'm not complaining. :)

We came in from our bike ride and play time at around 11 to get cleaned up, cooled off and lunch started. I had a feeling that placement might call so I went to check my answering machine and sure enough they had called with two more little boys that needed to leave the hospital. So within an hour I was showered, had a diaper bag packed, my boys dropped off with Grandma (Thanks mom!) and was on the road to the city (a 2 hour drive).

When I told Silas that I was going to get a new baby he was over the top excited. I soon realized he thought I was going to get Peanut (our last foster baby). I explained that this would be a different baby.

He crossed his arms , stuck out his lips and in his best grumpy voice shouted

"I want baby ---------" (Peanut). No want another one baby...want baby ---------".

I have to admit I had the same toddler voice inside me shouting the same thing.

I want the baby that I already fell in love with, I don't know if I have it in me to love another one. How about you take the baby I feel nothing for and give me back the one that feels like my own?

I know in my head I will probably feel the same way about this new little guy in a couple weeks.

Now that the new baby is in our home Silas is all over him and anxious to love him up too. He's even started calling him by his proper name...which is better than I can manage so far. I think every mom calls her kids by the wrong names once in a while....try foster parenting. As soon as I get used to a new name....it changes.

Each child is so unique, each child's situation is different and I'm realizing that even each picking up process is different. I went to the NICU assuming that the new baby was at the same place that the last one was but the head nurse pointed me to the maternity nursery. He's not experiencing withdrawal symptoms and is not on medication like I had originally thought. He was 6 lb 11 oz at birth and he was 4 days old (bigger than Peanut was at 3 weeks old). He's already quite a bit more alert and healthier looking.

When I arrived at the nursery I was rushed off to a waiting lounge because once again the bio- mom showed up. Unlike my peaceful and sentimental exchange with Peanuts mom. This mama wasn't leaving without a fight. Long story short...I hid....she was "escorted" out by 3 security guards...and then I was escorted to my car carrying the precious cargo. I felt like a baby snatcher. I feel bad for the mother who was forced to leave without her baby. It would have taken a few security guards to convince me to leave one of my babies at a hospital and let them go home with someone else. ....There is so much to the story that I can't share and that I don't even know. What this little guys future holds...God only knows.

I didn't make it home from the city until well past the kids bedtime. Unfortunately it was also the same evening as a board meeting at the church (which Nathanael is an elder). So I was going solo.

Pick up the three kids.
Unload a SUV full of groceries.
put the groceries away.
pass the baby to big sister to feed (one benefit of this new experience of bottle babies)
get the boys in bed. (way too late)
clean up, change baby, boil bottles, pack school lunch....

It was a late bedtime but I did it. Everyone tucked into bed and the house somewhat tidy.

"Cub" (for lack of a better alias) slept great, went down for the night great and only woke up once to feed at 2.30. (Unfortunately Silas woke up at 1.30...and I had trouble falling asleep until 3.30...I hate that!). I'm hoping for an earlier bedtime tonight and hopefully his good sleep pattern will keep up. At least for a little while.
I'm babysitting for a friend today (one of the down sides of emergency fostering never having time to actually clear a schedule and prepare for a baby). Its a bit of a crazy day with a total of 8 kids. My house looks like a hurricane hit it...but they'll all help tidy up by the end of the day. I think the five baskets of laundry that need to be folded will be hanging around for another day. At least its clean. Right now the new baby, Silas and the other two year old I'm babysitting are all sleeping and the older ones are watching a movie. SANITY BREAK!! Put on the coffee and turn on the computer!

Cub is a sweet little guy. Big jowly cheeks, rosy complexion, and a thick mop of jet black hair (that stands straight up...reminds me of Kade's hair).

I am still getting used to him, establishing a bond. Sometimes even with our own babies we look at their funny little newborn faces and wonder who this stranger is. Its even more likely with a baby that is in fact a stranger I suppose. I've learned that with my foster children the actions come first (cuddling, feeding, interacting with)....the feelings develop gradually.
As the feelings come I am constantly amazed by them. A child or a baby that initially felt like a complete stranger , I will suddenly notice I feel completely protective of. A little face that "only a mother could love" becomes a beautiful face that I can't get enough of. It always surprises me when the natural feelings I have toward my own kids start to show up with a new one.

Give me a day or two and I'll be falling hard for this little guy too. I am still trying to figure out the balance of loving with out limits...while remembering that they are not mine. Its a tough one. I may never figure that one out.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear..." 1 John 4:18

God is perfect love.

I can't fear what lies ahead for Cub or me.

In Him I can love Cub the way he needs to be loved even though my heart still feels bruised and tired. I will leave the ramifications of such recklessness to the one who commands me to love in the first place. Not only commands but shows us perfect sacrificial love. By receiving and basking in that love I am able to overflow that same love to others.

" This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10

God doesn't love us in a theoretical , out of touch ,unreachable sort of way. God the son , God in flesh and blood, set aside his glory to love us down in the dirty, dusty , messy world we live in. He loves without limits. He loved us without reservations or an escape clause. He allowed not only his heart to be bruised and broken but his flesh as well.

" We love because he first loved us. If anyone says "I love God" , yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4: 19-21

Kade, Peanut and Cub are not only "my" children but my brothers, my neighbors, my fellow human beings. They come from different ethnic backgrounds than I do, they come from troubled families....but they are my brothers. How can I not love them?

Something that has surprised me lately is how my interest and love toward the various ethnic groups in my province has been expanded. I have loved a Cree baby, a Dene (pronounced Denay) baby, and a Metis (pronounced MaitEE)baby. Its hard not to also love the moms, the dads, the grandmas and grandpas in those people groups too. Its hard not to be challenged to see them the way God sees them. He looks past the hurt, the sin ,the dysfunction of an individual person. He sees the way they were created to be...what they can be restored to through Christ. The rest is just the chains , something foreign and unnatural to that person. Something that they can be free of. Can we see people through those eyes too? Can we see the beauty of diversity?

Well my sanity break is over....the little ones are getting restless. Congratulations on making it to the end of a very long and scattered post.

Here I am back on the horse....getting back on this roller coaster. Ready or not.


Meet the Graduate

This handsome fellow just graduated from Kindergarten. Yep, they celebrate "kindergarten graduation" now. I thought that was kind of weird when we first started back into the school scene but turns out its a lot of fun. Moving from kindergarten into grade one is a big deal after all. :)
In kindergarten they are still "little" in a cute , innocent sort of way. I realized with Aili how fast they start to change and grow up once elementary school really begins. They turn into "big kids" SO fast. I kind of feel like this is the official end to his little boy years. Next come disproportionately large permanent teeth and an expanded knowledge of the world. I enjoy the big kid stage, but something of that adorable innocence is lost with the baby teeth.

Clowning his way through the award service. Shocking, I know.

Graduating Kindergarten class of '09! With nine kids this is considered a really big grade in our school. I told you it was a small school.

Each of the students received a "most likely too" award from their teacher at the ceremony. There was a teacher, paleontologist, politician, computer tech, and scientist. Roman was awarded "most likely to be a song writer". His teacher announced that Roman regularly writes her pages and pages of "music" and performs them in front of the class. I think his "music" is a squiggly lines (the words) and notes (dots with stems) written on pages of paper.
He has had an amazing teacher this year! We are so pleased that he had someone who saw the best in him and taught him in such a fun and creative way.
You never know.....maybe we do have a little composer on our hands.
Guess I'd better look into music lessons.

We wrapped up the evening with a special Roman favorite supper:

BBQ Hamburgers :
homemade whole -wheat buns, farm beef, lettuce (from our garden..yippee its ready!) and tomato

Mexican bean salad :
mixed beans (black, pinto, navy, kidney and garbanzo)
red and orange peppers
cilantro (also from the garden)
green onion (from the garden)
fresh squeezed lime (definately NOT from my garden )
pinch of salt.
a pinch of cumin.
Can you tell I'm excited that my garden is actually producing a little bit now? :)

Thats as close to a recipe as I get. I'm not a very good recipe follower or measurer (exept if I'm baking...then I at least use a recipe as a guide). This is a really yummy, colorful and very nutritious salad that goes along great with a Bar-b-q. I make variations of it all the time.

And for dessert:

Chocolate cake and icecream!!!
Now thats a real treat in this house. I wanted Roman to feel great about his acheivement and I knew having cake and icecream (normally reserved for birthdays) would do it. I was right! :)

I have a great egg free chocolate cake recipe and I bought Chapmans "made in a nut free facility" icecream for the occasion.
I don't do mixes .
If I can make it myself I won't buy it in a box.
I'm wierd that way.

Daddy even brought him home a little gift. I know we are over the top with this...but knowing what a struggle school has been for him we are ok with being over the top ! :)

A microscope!
($9 at the Bargain store)
I'm actually surprised it even works for that price!
The kids have been looking at dirty fingernails, boogers, and leftover oatmeal in the thing all morning.

Maybe I've got a budding scientist on my hands too :)

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Dorky picture challenge

Imagine my surprise this morning when I realized that I was Lynette's "featured blogger" on her "getting to know you" feature (scroll down and click on my getting to know you button to see what its about).
I am so excited. I'm in nerd heaven right now!
I had to resist bouncing upstairs to wake up my sleeping husband with "I GOT FEATURED!!"
I resisted because , for one thing it would mean absolutely nothing to him....and for another thing,
he would make fun of me mercilessly for the rest of the day!
Apparently I also inspired a new idea for her blog.
Dorky kid pictures....you know the ones that we sift through to find the cute ones.
Is that a challenge?...well I'm up for it and so are my dorky kids!

The problem is I had trouble finding any.
All I could find was pictures of my kids looking both intelligent and photogenic.
The above picture of Aili is obviously not dorky enough...the purple in her hair clearly matches her pajamas.

My scholars off to school last fall.
(p.s Roman is graduating kindergarten today!! He looks pretty smart eh?)

Besides being very intelligent and photogenic my kids are all so darned proportioned.
Its been tough to find a dorky one in the bunch.

BINGO! This is the winner of the dorky Burlando kid pictures.
It was taken a couple years ago of Roman after he had sustained a slight head injury...nothing major. His head was wrapped for a couple days just to stop the profuse bleeding from a blunt force wound.
You can now see why we are so excited Roman is graduating from Kindergarten...some things you just can't take for granted.
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Confessions of a Mediocre Mom

As I blog hopped recently, I noticed I began to feel more and more inferior as I looked into the lives of other moms. I try to soak up all the information, tips, and tidbits from women who provide encouragement to strive for better . We need that. I need that.  I need to learn and grow as a mother but sometimes it leaves me feeling more frustrated than encouraged. 

I wonder if sometimes I give off the same impression of the perfect family, the perfect kids, the perfectly balanced nutritional meals.  Some of you who know me are laughing already.  I couldn't fool you could I? As much as I'd like to appear like a "Super Mom" that just wouldn't be the truth!

I try to be as candid and real as possible when I blog but I also have the luxury of choosing what I talk about and what I don't (some things just shouldn't be shared or vented).  Honestly, some things are just not the image I want to portray.  I get to sort through all the pictures of my kids looking like mutants to find the cute ones. So, on some level there is a facade...I get to choose what it looks like.

In an attempt to give all you blog hoppers out there reassurance that there are still less than perfect moms out here in blog world I will confess some of the things that make me an utterly mediocre mom.

1. I'm currently sitting at the computer instead of scrubbing toilets or making my house and myself lovely looking before my husband arrives home.

2. I wear sweats (more like yoga style pants...I don't do elastic bottomed sweat pants..even I have standards) and a pony tail most everyday.

3. I let my 2 year old watch too much tv.

4. I have let my kids go to bed fully dressed before... secretly pleased that it will save one step in the morning.

5. I have gone to bed fully dressed before ...pleased that I can wake up and go about my day without ever having to change (hey when your day clothes closely resemble your night ones its not that big a deal)

6. My kids bath or shower twice a week max. Every evening is ridiculous and frankly I don't have the time or patience for it. (have you seen how thick my daughters hair is!!)

7. My kids know what a Happy Meal is and even enjoy one on occasion.

8. I bribe my 2 year old to use the potty with things like marshmallows, jujubes or smarties.

9. I don't sew...I take the kids clothes to my mom to mend. Thanks mom, no one can patch jeans like you.

10. I sometimes go into "ugly mom" mode when I've lost all patience....its that moment when I realize that I am closely approaching the maturity of the child I am dealing with.

11. I teach my boys to pee in the back yard so they don't have to come back in the house (I'm a farm girl....that's how it rolls out here.)

12. I mentally count down the last couple hours until the kids go to bed....my favorite part of the day. Yep , I said it . My kids are more beautiful when they are sound asleep.

13. I let my kids leave the house in mismatched socks.

14. I never make pancakes for breakfast...pancakes are an actual meal at our house. Cereal can be dinner in a pinch too.

15. My daughter knows the Hannah Montana theme song by heart....and sings it a lot..actually I probably know it now too.

16. I don't cook for my family on Sunday's. I believe that big Sunday dinners should be left behind with the last generation. Mom's deserve a day of rest too...popcorn, toast and left overs is what you'll find at our house on Sunday's.

17. I let my 8 year old do her own hair on school mornings even though she leaves the house looking like...well..an eight year old did her hair.

18. I leave baskets of unfolded clean laundry on the couch for days at a time. It really is rather convenient when it comes to getting everyone dressed in the morning...everything is right there.

19. I throw away my kids school papers they bring home (shhh don't tell them) They bring home so much stuff! I oooh and aww and then when they aren't looking into the trash it goes.

20. I have no idea what I am going to make for supper tonight but I'd better figure it out quick because its going to get squeezed in between 4-h "achievement day" and soccer practice.

Well that's a pretty long list of self deprecating confessions. Now I'm starting to feel guilty.  That's the pitfall of motherhood...mothers guilt!  Are we doing it right? Are we making the right choices? Are we being too lazy? So many people have so many opinions on everything.  How we school our kids, what we feed them, how we train them up, what entertainment to allow, how to discipline, what a daily schedule should look like...even how many kids we should have.  

Its so easy to question everything we do or decide for our kids. I think that's just a curse of motherhood...always second guessing. While sometimes its constructive, most of the time it just needs to be shut down and not allowed to take hold in our hearts. As long as we are always striving to grow in wisdom as parents, know our kids better, and know what works for our family I think that we need to move ahead in confidence with the little souls we've been entrusted with.
As long as I stay sensitive to the ebb and flow of life and the needs of my kids (needing more discipline, more encouragement, more training, more one on one time) then I think I can trust my mothers intuition. The rest doesn't matter so much....at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself. I'm sure I'm not alone in my mediocrity anyway. :)

What are your most mediocre mom (or Dad) confessions? I'd love to hear them.


Silas goes swimming.

Here are some photos of the other two kids since Roman hogged the previous post. Aili enjoyed her horse time too...It would be nice to get her actually riding on her own sometime. It won't be long before she will be old enough to at camp. Some kids around here are riding horses not long after they are walking. She's been taking 4-H horse club all winter and loves it. She loves anything that involves meetings and book work. She also got to be the "vice-president" of her club...all 5 members. That was a big deal because if something happened to the other girl she would be president!! And we all know Aili likes to be in charge (I have no idea where she gets it from).

Silas wouldn't go near the big "scary" horses but he found these less scary versions at the play ground. What a great use for old tires.
It was freezing the whole weekend. It stayed dry at least but we did at one point watch snow flakes falling...in June! I packed our trailer almost a week early with shorts and t-shirts. Last minute I grabbed the kids winter coats, extra blankets, socks, long pants and sweaters. We still felt cold the whole time...at least I did. I doubled up on my fleece jammies at night!

We started out the weekend by my vaulting myself over a wire fence to retrieve Silas from the out of use swimming pool. We had just arrived and were unloading food from our car into the big main kitchen while the kids played at the playground area in front of the building. There is a pool nearby that wasn't being used yet and has a big metal fence around it. I was keeping an eye on them from the big windows in the kitchen when I noticed Silas over by the pool. It looked like he was around at the back side of the fence since I could see fence between him and me. I squinted my eyes and watched for a second before I took off to make sure. I sprinted over, climbed the fence and found Silas sitting on the steps of the pool...fully clothed sitting in murky cold water up to his waste. He looked entirely pleased with himself and his ingenuity. He had squeezed through at the locked gate and decided to go for a dip. After I went and changed him (and wished I had brought more than one pair of shoes)and gave him a good terrified mommy lecture, we laced rope through the gap to make sure no one else would find their way in. It was a bit of a scare...one of those "Thank you God" moments. If he had jumped in the deep end or I hadn't happened to see him the moment before he got into the water I would have been wandering around for the next half hour looking for him. If he had gone in immediately there is no way I would have seen him in time. It would have been over. I think his cautious nature saved him this time. Sensible Silas squatted by the side for a couple minutes and then chose to go in by the stairs....his brother at age two would have run straight into the deep end without a second thought.

What was scary was the realization of how fast an accident can happen and how fast life could have changed in an instant. It was the end of a long day of chasing him around Aili and Romans Track and field day so by bedtime I was done. My nerves were shot.
The weekend got better from there thankfully :) And fortunately my nephew who had come with my parents had an extra pair of rubber boots for him to wear.

Aili tried out the climbing wall too. Here she is getting harnessed up. She has such a cute smile on her face I had to include this picture. She's not big into the climbing thing though...she made it about 10 seconds and decided that it wasn't fun or comfortable...all things that Aili holds dear. Cleaning out the chicken coop on the other hand was apparently a blast. She spent Saturday afternoon helping to shovel out a chicken coop at the camp. She loved it.
I was so grossed out when she came back with her feet coated in chicken poop and smelling like a chicken. I made her go to the bathroom and scrub. She likes to feel important though and being a big helper to the camp staff was really cool. It also feels "really cool when the chickens peck my feet". ....ok.
The big kids were SO good this weekend. The are such a great age to just let run and enjoy themselves. Other than some of the activities we did as a family they mostly just ran around playing and getting filthy with the other kids. They were so enjoyable , cooperative, went to bed perfectly and just plain fun to hang out with. It was worth it to go on a little camp out to leave the hectic life behind and really just hang out as a family. Silas was good at staying within viewing distance too and we had no Silas searches or scares the rest of the weekend.

It was a really good distraction from my sad week last week. I needed something to keep me busy, distracted and to have a little fun too. Its been a week since I we last saw Peanut and I still miss him. I am feeling better than last week though...the constant ache is gone for the most part and I am enjoying sleeping through the night again.
On Friday God brought across my path a wonderful woman who has been foster parenting for years. She has several grown adopted children and has 4 gorgeous little foster girls at the moment. I don't know how many children in the world have a piece of her heart but I know there are a lot. We spent a good deal of time chatting and I now have her phone number. There are so many issues and things that have come with foster parenting that need the support and mentoring of another foster mom. So many things that just wouldn't make sense to anyone else. It was such a blessing to me. She told me every child she has ever had has taken a chunk of her heart with them. She said that her heart brakes over each one that leaves her home. ...even only after a few days sometimes. It was great to talk to her about how I've felt about my last two babies. We discussed how we love "our" kids even knowing that it will tear our hearts out when they leave. It helped to feel "normal"...and encouraged despite my sadness at letting Peanut go. I realize its a good thing to love them like my own for as long as I have them. That little piece of love will always be a part of their story.
I came away from this weekend feeling so blessed and reassured that God is intimately involved in the innermost details of my life. He knows just what I need and when I need it...sometimes before I even am aware of my own need for something.
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Family Camp Weekend

Our church has an annual camp weekend to kick of summer and to just enjoy building relationships and spending time together.
This year somehow my husband and I got picked to organize the event....yep one more thing to add to the craziness of the last couple weeks. It was actually fun to put it all together this year and we had a pretty good turn out. There was mostly young families with young kids there. It think at one point we counted 36 children so it was a action packed weekend. I came prepared with a pile of sand toys, Tonka trucks and rubber balls. The kids spent most of the weekend in the beach volleyball pit playing in the sand. Since the actual lake is a bit of a hike away it was nice to just be able to let the kids run around and make them selves filthy in the sand while we visited. We were also able to use the camps horses to give the little ones "pony rides"..they were actually full sized horses but we led them around instead of them riding for themselves. They had to wear helmets and boots (most of which were several sizes too big).
This is one happy boy!

I realize that every picture is of Roman but I can only include four at a time (because of sucky dial up). I'll post more later of the other kids. Roman spent the whole ride feeling the horse. That is SO Roman! He lives in this world through touch. I don't think I've ever met such a tactile kid. He literally can't look at something with out touching it too, he can't talk to a person with out putting his hand on their shoulder or hair. Its something I love about him. We've had to work hard over the years to teach him some sort of self control in that department. There are just some things that aren't touchable (like Grandma's china)...it about kills him but he's good about it if I tell him no touching.

I can just imagine Roman as one of those boys who would love to take off into the country side on a horse, just him, his horse and his imagination.
He's so extroverted and will talk any ones ear off but he is also a bit of a loner . He will let everyone else play ball or some other game and he would rather be off by himself in a tree or on his bike. He spends hours riding around on his bike singing. He's ALWAYS ALWAYS singing...more like droning...but it does have words...and at least one note :) Funny kid.
We've discovered lately just how "auditory" he is too. He has some definite "visual" learning issues but if the information comes through his ears...particularly in the form of music...or through his fingers he'll remember it. We took him into a music store the other day and he was in heaven, gently touching each instrument and tapping on every drum in the place comparing sounds(I was very careful about the appropriateness of his actions and the reaction of the store owner.) He didn't run around banging and pulling stuff off the shelves...he just slowly walked around in awe off all the instruments and possibilities (singing most of the time of course). We were there for a long time just watching him enjoy himself. Daddy the drummer had fun looking at everything too. Nathananael has started giving him drum lessons in the garage and he loves it so far. The price is right. He's been begging for a real guitar for years now. You know that saying "marches to the beat of a different drum"....this kid marches to the beat of a whole different orchestra..one that no one else hears! :)

Roman in his monkey boy glory. His parents met for the first time as regulars at a college climbing wall...I guess we should have expected one monkey in the bunch :) Always up for a challenge he wanted to do the hardest route on the wall.

Roman went up and down about 4 times before we drug him off.

He waits for family camp all year so he can get his climbing fix. He told the guy working there that he's been practicing all year on trees so he's ready.

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A week of sports

Spring has been packed with activity. After a winter of hibernation Aili and Roman both were eager to join some spring sports. Aili chose to play base ball and Roman (who hates base-ball) really wanted to play soccer. So we have had practices three times a week and sometimes an actual game thrown in there too. I realize that most families live like this all the time, running from one event to another, but we usually don't. As much as I appreciate my kids being involve d and learning skills we've usually erred on the side of being home bodies. Having kids in every lesson, sport and activity is not only expensive but time consuming. Its a balance though..I want them to find things they are good at. Playing sports, doing ballet or music lessons are very valuable for learning discipline, commitment, team work etc. but I also hate running ragged. My kids like down time at home....I like them having down time at home too. This last couple weeks have been a bit crazy with all the activity and having an unexpected newborn thrown in the mix! Its been fun to watch the kids though. Silas has been rather upset that he is never included in the sporting activities so he just helps himself then goes and lines up to do warm ups with the team.

Romans first track and field day. This boy loves to run...I think long distance might be his niche someday though. He's like the energizer bunny! Were he lacks in natural speed he makes up for in sheer effort. He had a fun day. It was FREEZING though and I was chasing a two year old (a disgruntled angry one at that...why is this kid never included in the big kid races?) so they had a lot more fun than I did. I was grumpy and cold the whole time actually and missed most of the events because of the above stated reason. Good times.

Fly Aili fly. Nice form. If you ever want a good laugh watch elementary kids try to do highjump!

And were back to Silas trying to join Aili in outfield...ready with his batting helmet of course.
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