not much to say

Not much to report but I thought I'd pop up and say hi.  
Life is busy, and Spring has made it's mushy, muddy appearance.   I've begun my new full time babysitting gig which means 2 extra little ones in the house everyday.  They are really quit refreshingly quiet, calm children.  Very obviously from a different gene pool than my little rascals.  Although I must admit that all 6 of them mashed together keeps me about 3 seconds  from utter chaos at any given moment.  Cece has had the hardest time adjusting to having another 2 year old on her turf.  She is quite a little bully in fact.  After two weeks she is finally now starting to warm up and "play nice" with the intruder.  She is so comfortable around big kids, and so sweet and gentle with babies....but other toddlers she's not at all sweet around.   I'm hoping as she develops verbal skills she will feel less inclined to get her point across with brute strength.  I'm hoping she develops verbal skills at some point this year. 

Play dough has been worth it's weight in gold this past couple weeks.   We've had quite a few blustery, snowy, wet days lately so anything that keeps the crew from complete mutiny is a win in my book. 

In our neck of the woods snow that sticks together is a rare novelty.  That few days of joy between bitter cold and mushy mud.  

Silas spent an afternoon building his own snow man.   Like I said....whatever keeps them busy, keeps me happy!
Once this diligent little boy had constructed his master piece he came and asked for a carrot.  I brought out my camera to capture this classic childhood moment of a snow man receiving it's carrot nose.

I was unaware, while snapping pictures, that the nose landed a little lower than what is traditionally acceptable.  

I guess the slightly odd Picasso snowman is fitting, since it's creator is a little bit odd too.   Odd, exhausting, and endearing all at the same time.

So, like I said, not much to say.  My biggest news to report is a happy snow man....that melted a few days ago.


My baby girl is 2!

 {Miss Cece adding a finishing touch to her ice cream cake}

A 2 year letter for Miss Cece.

Happy Birthday my sweet little girlie.  I think you already know you are treasured, adored, and loved.  You are so secure in that love.  Although I don't know if you will ever comprehend the depth of our love for you.  

 I watch the way you swoon over your Daddy.  Snuggling up on his lap isn't enough.  You  place a chubby hand on each of his whiskered cheeks, and with eyes fixed squarely on his you demand his full attention.  Full of stories you jabber your jibberish, while he listens intently.  Content that you have been fully heard, you press your cheek against his and gently pat the his back. 

I love the way you interact with each one of your siblings.  If any of them are upset, crying or hurt you are the first to run over to them with your arms wide open for a hug.   If Silas is grumpily sitting on a "time-out" you go and sit next to him in quiet support.  Your natural empathy makes me smile.  At only 2 years old you take care of, and nurture those you love.  I notice the way you try to fix my hair, and wash dirt off your brothers face.  

To any one else it looks like a typical little girl kissing and rocking her baby dolls, or serving up "tea" to her Daddy, but to me it looks like cycles being broken.   It makes me wonder if your birth mom ever had tea parties with her Daddy, or was cradled and rocked by her mommy.  How many years did she wait to be treasured, adored, and loved before she concluded it could only be a fairy tale.  

Your silly, joyful personality enthralls us all.  You radiate beauty through your sparkly black eyes, and your generous smile.   Each one of us covets your sweet puckered up kisses,  and your enthusiastic hugs.   Your giggles are like candy to me, and I have a shameless sweet tooth. 

You passionately adore animals and are absolutely fearless of them all.  You love to "read" to yourself as you flip through your story books.  

You go through your days singing and dancing.  I often here you loudly singing "Jesus loves me" as you play.   Yes he does.  He loves you even more than I do, even more than Daddy....and that's a LOT.

You are still a girl of few words but where you lack in verbal skills you make up for with animated expression and gestures.  You make me laugh with your antics.   I love hearing "mummy".  It makes my heart melt with gratitude.

I get to be your mummy and I am so thankful.  We are so very blessed to have you in our family.  We all adore you.  Somehow you bring out the best in each one of us.  

I love you more than words on a blog post could ever express.  Happy 2nd Birthday Sunshine girl!   


Destination China

I mentioned in my last post that we are in the beginning stages of another adoption.  At this point I'm not sure how much I should say and how much I should just store up in my heart for a while.

We have begun the process of adopting a child from China.

My husband and I both knew that someday we'd probably adopt again but neither of us expected to do it internationally.  Although I have always loved to read about families who have adopted this way, and have a few close friends and relatives who have done so, it always seemed too big.  Too hard.  Too expensive.  Too scary....the list goes on.  We also didn't expect to seek out a child with special needs that will force us to adapt and to be stretched in all areas of our life.

It turns out that God has been preparing our hearts and lives for this next step for a long time now, just as he has been preparing, protecting, and choosing a child for us.

The Spirit has been at work in both my husband (who was not at all eager, or even willing to adopt internationally a couple months ago) and in my fear filled heart to give us the boldness to make this commitment to let God grow our family.  As scary as that "Let's do this" decision was, there have been few times in our lives that we've both been this sure of what we've been told.   That quiet whisper that steals our sleep, that greets us as we wake, and that forces us to our knees several times a day.   That calling that can only be answered by "Here I am Lord".

This morning I read through 1 Kings 17-19.  These chapters talk about the life of the prophet Elijah. It comforted me, broke me a little, and even convicted my doubtful heart as I read.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The same God that challenged the widow to give away her last handful of flour and last drops of oil, is challenging me to let go of my last bit of control, the last few dollars in our savings account, and trust him completely.   Can I trust that my jar won't run dry?  Am I willing to surrender regardless of whether it runs dry or not?

I am choosing to trust the same God who healed the widow's son, for no other purpose but to showcase his glory,  the same God that fed Elijah by commanding the ravens to bring him his daily bread, the same God that rained down fire so all who witnessed it would exclaim.  "The Lord - he is God!".

So here I am, praying as I pile stone upon stone.  I'm digging a trench around this alter, arranging the pieces of wood,  preparing the offering, and then soaking it all in water just to make it more impossible.  I know that there are spectators who will shake their heads, mock our foolishness, or just plain assume we're crazy.

We are working, trusting, and gathering, knowing ultimately it will be only his power that accomplishes this.

It is impossible, for us, but the fire will fall.   It will consume the water, the stones and every thing else that stands in it's way.

I am praying the words of Elijah this morning.
"'Oh God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will now that you, Oh Lord are God, and that your are turning their hearts back again."   
"Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench."   

We will cry out "The Lord- he is God!".  Only he could do this impossible thing.   Only he will bring a child home to us.

And so we offer up our last bit of flour, and few drops of oil.   We make our hearts  vulnerable, laying them out bare on the altar. We are handing over our few little loaves and fishes, trusting that God will take what  we have to offer and showcase his provision and glory with it.  He will accomplish his purposes in this child.

What we have is not even close to enough for the task, but we know what we have in him is abundantly more than we need or deserve.

We set our sights on this mysterious and beautiful Country, and a little child who waits there.


A Whining, "Paper Work " Pregnant, Nurse Mom.

or maybe a janitor.   Although I'm not feeling all that "super".

We have never in our lives been so chronically sick for so many weeks, which have now turned into months. 
We went from 3 weeks of horrific stomach bug, to a wheezing and coughing flu, and now back to having a toddler with raging diarrhea.   

I have a mom and a sister who are both nurses...but the job never appealed to me.   I don't like sick people. 
I think they're gross.  I would make a terrible nurse.   I have more compassion for my own children while they are spewing and squirting body fluids but after a couple days I'm pretty much done.   After 6 weeks I'm WAY past done.  

I just know you want to hear the poop story of the day, so I would hate to disappoint you.   If not, feel free to avert you eyes now and find something more pleasant to read.

We left for church this morning thrilled to be able to integrate back into society, after being sickly outcasts for the past month.   We had planned on meeting up with a couple of my younger sisters and their famlies for  a BBQ.  I really miss them and don't see them nearly often enough.  I spent time yesterday baking up some dessert, fixing a vegi tray, and generally getting really excited to sit around having girl talk with them.   One lives 5 hours away and the other one 2 hours....with all our busy lives we just don't meet up that often.   Our day didn't quite go as planned.

Once we arrived at church (which meets at a movie theatre)  I noticed that Cece was stinky.  I went and changed her noticing that she seemed a bit diarrhea-ish.   Just a little squirt though...quite likely even a shart.  I maintained my denial.   A few minutes later I noticed she stunk again so I scooped her up and walked to the bathroom not realizing that she was oozing out EVERYWHERE.  By the time I noticed that Hoover Damn had been breached it was too late.   It was all over me and her.   Nasty.    I stripped her n*ked in the theatre bathroom, mopped her up best I could with baby wipes and then just stuck her bottom in the sink.   Picture me at one of those irritating public bathroom sinks, barely big enough to squeeze a baby behind into.    The water ran for about 2 seconds with each button push.  Fortunately I always carry a spare outfit in the diaper bag.,...for her, not for me.   I threw my jacket and her clothes in a plastic bag and scrubbed my hands.   I cried just a little bit.  

I joined my husband, with sickly toddler in tow, inside the church service determined that this episode was NOT going to ruin my day.  After a few songs of her fussing and squirming (and not wanting to put her in children's church to infect everyone else)  we decided to pack it up and drive home.  That is a total of 3 hours of driving...for two songs at church....and the experience of destroying a public bathroom.  

We called my sister and told her we had to cancel.  I was worried that Cece would explode again before we got her home.  

I cried a little more.

I'm so done with this.  

I am supposed to start my new full time "job" Monday morning.   I have agreed to babysit a 2 and 4 year old all day , five days/ week starting tomorrow....which already makes me want to hyperventilate just a little bit.  We need the money for our newest adventure though.   It seemed like good timing when the mother of the children asked me if I 'd be willing to babysit in our home.   

 I don't think it's coincidence that the same month we  decided to step out in  faith, and move forward in drastic obedience toward a new adoption...we've faced an onslaught of problems, discouragement, drama,  relentless illness, and a huge portion of doubt.    If we can allow the thoughts of "What in the world are we thinking? We can barely survive the life we have now?  We are weak,  pathetic, and inadequate" to stop us.... we'll become distracted, paralyzed,  and derailed. 

I know God has a purpose for us, as well as for Burlando kid #5.   The enemy knows it too.    To quote Russell Moore and one of my favorite books "Adopted for Life"....adoption isn't charity it's spiritual warfare.  I suspect this is just the beginning.   It's going to take some tenacity, a lot of faith, and some strong armor.  

I know that it will have to be ALL God that pulls this one off.   Maybe we just needed a good dose of humility before we started the process to remind us of how small we actually are in this task.   

I guess this is kind of a strange way to announce that we are "paper work" pregnant but we could sure use you're prayers as we navigate this new world of International Adoption. 

 So much is still unknown, uncertain, and just in the beginning stages.   I promise I'll take you along on the ride with us...I'm sure it will be a wild one.  


Just what we needed

After a month of being cooped up at home.  After THREE WEEKS of nasty gastroenteritis aka "the plague"  our family was in need of some fun.   Patience was short.   Tempers were quick.  Sibling bickering was getting out of hand.  My kids were driving me crazy.
We've discovered the best remedy for situations like this is to take a "day off" and just go have some fun together.  After a morning of swimming and some Fuddruckers burgers I rediscovered how much I love these kids.  I rediscovered how much we can actually enjoy each other!

Cece LOVES water!  She is such a little daredevil!  This girl was either giggling or smiling ear to ear the whole time. 

Roman was in  heaven.   He couldn't get enough of these water jets.

This was his other favorite place to play.

I hope this will be our "reset" button and refresh us for another few weeks.  


Faith in the unseen

 By this time of year winter is starting to loose it's luster, if it ever was lusterous for me at all.  It  has been a very mild winter and I did miss an entire 6 weeks of it while we were in Mexico but still I long for spring.

The sun is starting to have more melting strength, the days are getting longer and we are anticipating a new season.   Even though I can't see it right now, I trust that under all that white snow will once again be green grass.  

I trust that in a couple months I will be tilling up  black soil and planting seeds right here.
Our trailer will emerge from it's hibernation and host many fun filled summer days and nights. 

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"  Hebrews 11:1

This verse has been my meditation lately as we plunge headlong into a completely new season in our family life.  We wait in eager anticipation for what God has in store for us.  We are stepping out on a limb like we never have before.  With each nervous step we are trusting that it won't be crushed under us.  I know that the view of God's faithfulness from here is going to be spectacular!  
Beneath the surface of what I can see,  God is doing something big.   

...and it's a good thing that Spring is also right around the corner because some of us handle being cooped up better than others. 

I won't name any names but someone has a bad case of "Cabin Fever" which will only be cured by days filled with bike riding, tree climbing and fort building.