1/29/09

kitchen dance recital


I just had a fun evening of watching my two oldest put on a show for me. I love moments like this...moments when I can just sit back and thoroughly enjoy them. I think this boy is a dancer, he's been dancing since he was a baby bopping to the music in his excersaucer. Aili is the same way...always dancing. There can't be music playing in our house without someone dancing to it. It was even fun watching him dance to the "gentle songs" that would come on. He gets so into it, he dances with such fierceness and emotion....and he's even with the rythym and the feel of the music the whole time. Dad wants to start teaching him to drum....I'm glad that the drum set is in the garage.



In case you were wondering they were dancing to Starfield and Natalie Grant.



I'm a supa star!!


Here is my ballerina. She wasn't able to take ballet or dance this year but she did it last winter and really enjoyed it. She actually surprised us with how well she learned the exact poses and techniques involved. As you can see here she is opting for more of a "free style" genre :) Oh the freedom. I think thats part of what I love about watching them. There is no insecurity involved, they feel safe enough to be goof balls, to be themselves and to explore who that is.
On the topic of dance, I was watching an episode of a show (which shall remain nameless). One of the many reality family shows. This one is a really big family, freaky big. Nothing against big families by the way I love the idea of big families. I have enormous awe and respect for any woman who can pop out 18 kids and still want more. And , no, that will not be me, we've got our hands full with the quirky ones we've already got. Anyway, I laughed myself silly when on one episode one of the little boys was dancing in a store to a musical toy...like all children do. Apparently dancing in their family is considered a big no-no. They explained that sometimes when the little boys get rambuctious and move to music they prefer to call it "jumping for joy"...because as we all know dancing is evil. Oh, wait a minute I must have missed that part of the Bible...hmmm. It was explained to the camera crew that if you listen to music and you feel like moving to the beat, or moving your body at all.....you are possessed by the music and it is taking over you. Well I guess my kids have been hopelessly taken over by worship music. And their mommy is helpless to do anything about it but sit back and smile . After all it was God ,the ultimate artist, who created and came up with the idea of music....and it was God who created my children to thoroughly enjoy it.
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1/23/09

Second Chances

It has occured to me lately how much our God is a God of second chances....and third and fourth and so many more. Ok, many of you now have the song from Vegi Tales "Jonah" in your head. I'm sorry, try to get past visions of singing cucumbers in choir robes for a few minutes and bear with me.

My favorite devotional of all time is My Utmost For His Highest and I love Oswald Chambers insight into all things spiritual. I have a little bit of a peeve for shallow decorative cheesy devotional books. Those little nuggets to read each day that neither challenge or stretch your reality of God. I like to dive into the wisdom of books and read them cover to cover...not a little tidbit a day. With that said I love reading and re reading through this collection of many of his writings and lectures as a Bible professor and army chaplan, put into a daily format. I recently re-read the one put on Dec 31 since I didn't have the book with me while we were on vacation over new years.

As I look ahead into the uncertainties of the future and all the changes that are taking place around me. I can rest in the knowledge that I don't go into the future alone. I might not know what the future holds but I intimately desire to know the one who holds it and he intimately knows me.

Here is some highlights from the New years writing in My Utmost for His Highest.

"Yesterday"

" God requires that which is past. At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of Gods grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterday's and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

For the Lord will go before you. this is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our reward. God's hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.

"As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Isreal will go before us.

Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

Leave the irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the irresisitible future with Him. "

I love that part!

If you have 'stuff' in your past that keeps you from confidently moving forward, insecurities, mess-ups, blatant sin, missed opportunities, failures, pain...you can leave it with Christ! What an amazing truth. We can drop off the baggage we like to drag around with us from year to year.
Yes, the past may have be all those things to us but we can move forward in God's amazing grace knowing He goes with us. He can redeem our pasts and use them to propel us into the future He has planned for us. We are never beyond the reach of His grace or beyond the borders of His love.
In Him I live and move and breath...in His strength I am able to face the future in confidence knowing it is He who will do the leading and He will do the equipping each step of the journey. What an adventure a life lived in faith is!


When Jesus called a fisherman out of his boat and said "follow me" Peter had enough natural fascination and devotion to step out and follow him. However he was not aware of what he was capable of, he was not aware of the limits of himself and his human nature. His natural devotion was not enough to keep him standing firm when the crises hit. He denied knowing his Lord three times , lying to three different people, after previously vowing that he would lay down his life for Jesus if it came to it. He was ignorant of his own weakness until he came face to face with it.
He had to come to the end of himself. To fall to his knees in dispair and lay aside inflated delusions of noble service. He had to come to the place where he could no longer rely on his own self sufficiency, devotion and strength. Once he had come to that place he became a true disciple. A disciple filled with the Spirit, strength and peace of God. A disciple that could count the cost and go out in faith anyway...even to death. A diciple who was fully aware of his own shortcomings and need for grace.

Jesus did not give up on Peter, even though he was fully aware of his failings and betrayal. He still used him and was able to use him more because of these things.

As I look toward the future and the many changes it might bring to my family, I can do it in full confidence knowing my God meets me where I am at ...and can use me anyway!

"God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?"

Let our attitudes be a continitual "going out" in faith this year.

" Have I any confidence in the flesh? Or have I got beyond all confidence in myself and in men and women of God; in books, in prayers, in ecstasies; and is my confidence placed now in God Himself, not His blessings?"

Where do you put your confidence as you face a new year?

"The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you;
He will be with you,
He will not fail you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed"
Deut. 31:8

1/20/09

Transition


The weather is FINALLY mild enough to be outdoors playing in the snow. It has been such a brutally cold winter here. Fortunately we missed some of the harsh weather while in WA. It has been only a couple degrees below freezing and not much for wind for the last couple days. And the sun is out...perfect. Nathanael pushed up a bunch of snow into a pile in the empty lot next to us with the front end loader (tractor). Instant playground!. Here is sweet little Kade taking it all in. He likes to observe for a good long time before plunging into something new. Unlike my other little maniacs.


A moment of sweetness.


The toddlers. Silas and Kade are 7 months apart in age...makes for a messy house! Here they are hamming it up in the snow. Entertaining them outside for a while was a great change from being cooped up indoors.


Roman conquering the mountain of snow. He spent all afternoon climbing up and sliding down this snow pile. Even Silas got in on the action and just loved acting like a goof the whole way down. He's really into acting lately...he's always putting on a show or pretending to be a kitty, a puppy or a baby. Yep, he's one of my kids...more personality than they know what to do with.
Silas is such a little boy now, as opposed to a baby. He is talking non stop and coming up with new phrases everyday. Not that most people can understand what he's saying. It is so cute, it cracks me up constantly. He is a silly little clown like the older two! Right now he has switched into two year old mode complete with passionate feelings and opinions on absolutely everything from what he will eat to what color socks he wears. It takes a lot of patience but I know this too will pass. I just enjoy the comedy show while it lasts. They grow up too fast anyway, even if sometimes it seems that this phase can't go by fast enough. There is so much that is absolutely adorable about this stage even if it is pretty high maitenance.
My perspective has changed so much from the first couple kids to number 3. I used to get so worried when my two year old refused to eat anything for days on end or would melt down over something ridiculous. I felt like an absolute failure as a mother everytime my two year old acted like a two year old. I had no way of knowing that anything I was trying to teach them would ever sink in or that they wouldn't be 10 years old and still throwing their food or screaming MINE! Now that I have older kids I know that eventually he will be a rational human being. The cave man phase will pass. That by no means absolves me of my responsibility to consistently guide , train and model those appropriate behaviors into him.....I just know that it will take a while to see the fruit of my labors. After all, if Roman (the worlds most hyper, impulsive and stubborn toddler) can turn into a thoughtful, charming little boy than there is hope for anyone.
Roman can still be a handfull at times and directing his energy can be a challenge but so rarely is he ever "bad" or defiant. He actually has a very active conscience..of all my kids he is the least likely to ever lie or disobey. He has a very active and almost inflated sense of honor, valor and justice. ( I giggled through most of the movie "Desperaux" because it reminded me so much of Roman.) Its so encouraging to see him becoming such a nice little boy...there were years where I really wondered what I would ever do with him. He can now go weeks at a time with out needing any more correction than reminding him of when and where his clown antics are appropriate. I'm hoping this coasting phase lasts for a long time...but I know eventually we will hit a funk and then have to work through it once again. Thats the way it goes.

We've had a really good couple days with our new foster child. He is such a sweetheart! I am thoroughly enjoying him. I had prepared myself for a difficult tranistion time and having to really put a lot of effort into loving him but so far he makes it so easy. He is quiet, reserved and shy but once he feels comfortable and comes out of his shell he is a non stop flirt. He gives Roman a run for his money in the snuggle department. ...Roman is still the reigning champion snuggler though. It seems like Kade is just soaking up any attention and affection like a dry sponge. Its been very rewarding so far to have him respond to me so favorably so soon. It doesn't always happen that easily. Its actually a little scarey how fast I am falling for this little guy. All I can do is fill his love tank up as much as possible while he is with us. Maybe the fact that he has absolutely nobody in his life that is the least bit interested in him...no one even applied for visitation..makes my heart open more to him. He is very sensitive and requires a gentle parenting style and very gentle words of correction. He really aims to please and is always the first to come help put toys away or empty the dishwasher and if he thinks he did something wrong he is just crushed. I dont' know how much is personality and how much is his neglected past. Probably a bit of both. Either way I appear to have just been handed the worlds easiest toddler. He does have some "issues" that I'm still trying to figure out and occasionally reacts very strangely to things. I'm sure we have some tougher days ahead as we get to know him better. It occured to me last night after I was marvelling at how amazing a day we had (after a really rotten night I didn't expect a very good day, crabby tired mommy with 2 tired todders) that I had asked you to pray for us during this transition. And I felt so very assured and appreciative that there is someone, maybe many people out there in cyber land praying for us. Thankyou! Now if you could PLEASE pray that our nights would improve. Kade wakes up frequently crying and I have no idea why or what he needs. Silas is still waking up as well. Either way its making for a grumpy Dad (Dads just don't cope with that kind of stuff well...he opted to sleep in the basement last night) and a tired mom. Now I'd better go get a few chores done while the boys sleep...or maybe I have time for a power nap myself.
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1/18/09

New kid in the house


Here is our new foster boy, Kade. I had mentioned in an earlier post that we picked him up on Friday. We have taken almost a year off from any new placements and were waiting until after our trip to WA. to take in any more kids. "Placement" dept of social services has had our phone ringing constantly. There is such an incredible need for foster families, and it seems there are a lot of the 1 and 2 year old age. I almost feel like cracking a joke about totally knowing why there are so many toddlers left in foster care but am refraining myself. Other moms of tantrum throwing fussy toddlers know what I'm talking about. Anyway, we got a call on Wed. asking if we would pick up a 1 1/2 year old girl...turns out he was a boy...yes thats how organized they are. So we are now adjusting to life with two toddlers a 1 year old and a 2 year old. My kids are happy that they have another little guy to dote on. Silas enjoys him too. He is so big for a 1 year old. I'm putting him in size 3 clothes. I'm used to wirey little monkey boys and he is a big squishy teddy bear. He's nice and snuggly but I find I really have to watch how I'm lifting him and cant carry him for long. My back is already complaining.


The adjustment period can be a little rough but so far it isn't too bad. He is really quiet and mellow so far. I am noticing some "issues" typical of foster babies and their unstable and often neglected pasts. I am working on developing a bond with this little boy living in my house. It can be hard at first. The initial affection wears off right about the time they throw their first fit or poop for the first time. Then it takes some effort and time to develop real love for the child. Which is also a little wierd not knowing how long he will be with us.
I am determined not to hold back knowing that I might become "attached" . The only way he will be in my house is if he knows the same love as my own kids...even if it is only for a season....and even if it takes some effort at first. Any less wouldn't be fair to him. I am strong enough to deal with the outcome of the subsequent bonding and inevitable separation. Not that it isn't tough. But for now I am still just trying to figure him out and he is still trying to figure out why he is here.


This is his happy tongue. He smiles with his tongue out and his mouth open...resulting in a lot of drool. He needs some dental work done (rotten teeth at 1....coke in a bottle not recommended by dentists) so I'm hoping that might improve the drool situation. I think his teeth are bothering him too. Other than that he is healthy and we are working on getting his nutrition and iron levels back to where they should be. The thought of putting something like soda in a babies bottle makes me cringe, it made him fat but malurished.

Its a busy house and I'm still just trying to get into a workable routine. We'll see how next week goes. We don't have much planned so it will be a good week to just lay low and get used to each other. Please pray that this adjustment time will go well and that this little guy will start to feel comfortable here.
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1/17/09

Silas turns two!!


As you can see I was a little lazy with the cake this year, well not so much lazy as unprepared and out of time. He didn't seem to mind that it didn't resemble any of his favorite cartoon characters. It was chocolate and it had candy on it...looked good to him!



Silas is one happy boy! Cake and icecream are both a rare treat in our house, makes them appreciate birthdays :) In fact if I ever do make a cake for no particular reason they always ask who's birthday it is. Kind of sad I know. Don't feel too sorry for them they do get homemade cookies all the time.


Our little table is all filled up with just our family.
Silas really enjoyed his party. You never know with a two year old. I think coming off of Christmas made him really eager and all practiced up for opening presents. As I was tucking him in bed he told me all about it" cake.....presents....cake...icecream...hat."
Needless to say it took a while for him to settle in to sleep.
Aili our resident party planner was hard at work all day making decorations and making balloon clusters to hang from the ceiling. The older she gets the better her party decorating skills get. Soon maybe I'll have her decorate the cakes too.
So now my baby isn't a baby anymore. sigh.
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Silas is two today...and acting every bit of it!

I was awake at 6.20 this morning trying to keep a crabby tired toddler happy downstairs while everyone else sleeps. 6.20 came awfully early this morning due to being up more than I was down last night. I knew it had the potential of being a rather sleepless night as Silas hasn't been sleeping very well this week. No clue why , just hoping this phase passes quickly. We also picked up a 1 1/2 year old foster baby yesterday. He was up quite a bit too ( about 8 times) just needing some reassurance. I had some compassion for him knowing it is a huge adjustment and the poor guy is probably terrified. I'm hoping the sleep situation improves the longer he is here.

I'll back up a day. Yesterday Aili had an appointment in the city with a ear/nose/ throat specialist. She has been snoring something fierce, she has sleep apnea, she can't breath through her nose and we found out yesterday she can't hear out of one ear at all. The reason. - Her adnoids have grown back! Who would have thought?! She had her tonsils and adnoids removed when she was three due to all the reasons listed above. She had such enormous adnoids and tonsils she could barely breath and couldn't hear much at all. After the surgery she was 100% better but over the past year or so I've noticed it getting worse and worse. Apparently when adnoids are removed incompletely they can grow back. So now we are on a surgery waiting list to get them removed ....again. The wait list is 6 months to a year or more....yes we live in Canada. In the mean time she is tired and not sleeping well, can't breath through her nose and can't hear. We also got Silas some custom fit ear plugs so he can enjoy bathtime and swimming with the rest of the kids without out so much fuss about keeping his ears above water. (He has tubes)...boy my kids sound like wrecks don't they?
Speaking of wrecks we got a phone call from the school while we were at the dr. appointment saying Roman had smooshed his finger in the hinge side of the big metal doors. ouch. We felt so bad that we couldn't go get him. A wonderful lady who works at the school took him to the hospital and it looks like he'll be fine now. He just has a big purple, pinky finger with a nasty finger nail.

After the drs. appointment we went to pick up our new toddler. Our new little chubby cheeked brown eyed boy was there waiting for us. ...looking a little shell shocked . We visited a little with him and then drove him home. We got home around 4 pm so we had a nice evening of playing and bonding. The kids are so excited about having another little guy in the house. Aili has taken over as the self proclaimed favorite. After all she was there to pick him up with us. Actually she is being very helpful watching the little ones. Kade (name altered) was really mellow and snuggly yesterday. He giggled while he played with Silas , it was good to see him smile after quite a few hours of the stone face. We'll see what the day brings today.

Onto other news. Silas turns 2 today. I'm just hoping he takes a good nap , after last night.
He won't be the first kid to be crabby and uncooperative on his second birthday. We are having a low key, family party given the circumstances. Balloons, cake and presents what more does a two year old need? I even searched for "peanut- free facility" icecream. He loves icecream but usually can't have it due to allergies. I need to get started making my eggless cake this morning :) Well I hear another baby awake so I'll post more about the party later. sorry for typos. I have no time to proof read this morning....and my brain is toast.

1/15/09

Sugar Rush


Here is another flash back to our stay in Washington State. My kids with a bakery treat only a Grandparent would buy ...and only a kid would appreciate!



Notice the totally overwhelmed look on Aili's face, a few seconds later she asked me to scrape off the icing so she could taste the cupcake. I did the same to Romans...a total mom move I know. If you've been around Roman lately you are fully aware that he is full throttle enough without a pound of sugar :) Check out the crossed eyes though, he's in sugar utopia. He's got the sweet tooth of the family.
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vacation pictures


We are home now and full fledged back into the swing of busy life. Here are a few more photos . Last time they didn't work. I have no idea why other that we are back to using dial up. I was totally spoiled using my mother-in-laws highspeed on our vacation. Its hard to go back!


Here we are at the Columbia River on the Oregon side. The kids are actually facing the Astoria tower. It was all closed for winter though, along with the lighthouses and pretty much everything else. Still great scenery though even if it was cold.


Roman aspiring to be a viking. Ships, conquest, cool hats? Count him in.
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1/14/09

Magdalena

My heart is broken once again for a family who were recently forced to say good-bye too soon. Little Magdalena Grace Roberts was born with Trisomy 18 this summer. I have been following her miraculous story, miraculous because with a Trisomy baby each day is a miracle and a blessing. My husband and I both enjoyed seeing her pictures with each blog post, watching her grow, cheering her on and celebrating each milestone from afar. She was adored by her two parents who loved and doted on their little girl knowing that someday they too would have to say good-bye. I can't imagine the pain of an empty bassinet, a closet full of clothes, and a big hole in the middle of a family . Being a parent one day and then being childless the next is a horrible thing. They are an amazing testimony and an amazing family. You can find them and see their little girl on my side bar "Oh love that will not let me go" . I can't beleive how much that little girl has worked her way into my heart. Her parents have asked that the people attending her celebration of life service tomorrow (Thurs.) would wear pink in honor of little Magdalena. Since I obviously won't be travelling to MS. tomorrow I will proudly be wearing pink anyway. I would invite you to have a glimpse of her life via her blog and then wear a little pink tomorrow in honor of a beautiful girl who has finished her work. Please keep her parents in your prayers too.

1/11/09

More vacation pictures



The best armed 5 year old around. Roman's highlight of Christmas was getting a real Swiss Army knife for Christmas from Grandpa. Daddy took it to the grinder though so its about as sharp as a letter opener. He came to the rescue of everyone opening a present with the offer of him opening it with his knife. What would we do without his resourcefulness. He went back to the mall with Grandpa to buy the holster for it so he will never be without his fancy new knife. I think he is sleeping with it under his pillow at the moment.


Exploring Long Beach Washington with the kids. It was really cold and windy but they loved it!



Dad and the kids going down for a closer look. Dad makes a great anchor.

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1/1/09

New Years Resolutions

I was sitting here at my computer thinking that the passing of another year really deserves a blog post. The problem is that I'm on vacation still and any sort of creative or poetic energy seems to have been left at home. So forgive me if this isn't in anyway deep , inspiring or funny. Now that you are thoroughly wishing you had done something better with your time I'll try to organize a few thoughts.

New years is a time of resolutions. Out with the old failed attempts and in with a new shot at getting it right this year. I'm not big on one day a year resolutions....mostly because they only last until February at best. Just ask my "bow flex" machine how lonely it is. It makes a nice clothing rack though.

I sometimes make resolutions throughout the year like "I will not yell at my kids ever again"...well just ask my kids about that one. I try but it will only last until the next time I find them in an extreme fighting match or they have pushed me to the brink of insanity. I don't yell very often and try to maintain a firm but calm approach to discipline but all moms know that sometimes kids just know how to make your blood boil and then I'm back to feeling guilty again.
Fortunately asking for and giving forgiveness is a frequent occurrence at our house....even from mom.

So as I enter 2009 I am thinking what kind of resolutions I should come up with this year. I could exercise a little more, I could watch tv less, I could be a better mom and a better wife , I could eat better, laugh more....etc. But I know in my own power I will inevitably fail in all these areas so whats the point.

Here is a list of my New resolutions:

1. I will not train everyday for that marathon that I will not be running this year.

2. I will spend more time on my computer hopefully with high speed.

3. I will eat more taco chips and salsa..oohh maybe more guacamole too.

4. I will buy a larger size of jeans as a result of #3

5. I will take more time to read

6. I will let my dishes "soak" more often and play with my kids instead.

Well thats all I've got off the top of my head. I told you I haven't really put any for thought into this New Years. Pretty deep eh?

I think I will go into 2009, with all its crazy uncertainties, just knowing I need to focus on one thing. If I focus on the one thing that matters the rest will fall into place...my priorities, my actions, my parenting and my motivations. I will go into 2009 with my focus on eternity. I will set my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith and I will run with all my heart, mind , and strength the race set before me. With my eyes and my heart focused solely on Him I will not become distracted by the things in life that just don't matter. I want to see the world through my Fathers eyes, I want to love the way He loves. I want to see the things that are so easy to overlook and feel the things that are sometimes unpleasant to feel. I want to enjoy everyday miracles and see the beauty of each moment we are given. Sounds a lot easier than a whole list of resolutions I can't keep anyway.
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