Saturday, April 30, 2011

starting in on some changes.....
wren is taking her nap in a "big girl" bed today. her first time out of the crib.
she kept saying, "i don't like this bed" as i was tucking her in, but then she fell right to sleep....we will see how tonight goes.

i moved tyden and shaeya's beds into the toy room, and tekoa's bed into ty and shaeya's old room.
i am going to try to transition neiko out of our bedroom and into the crib in wren's room after wren gets used to the new bed.

i called catholic services today about starting in on the home study process,
and tomorrow we have our first appointment with the adoption lawyer.
here we go....

neiko LOVES catchable bubbles :)
they leave a nice, sticky residue everywhere they land, but some things are just worth it, right?

wren's zhu zhu pet nightmare....
"hang on, honey, mommy will get it out.... just have to take a quick picture first, ok?"

house pictures!
i spent the day on saturday cleaning this garage out. wren and neiko played in a sandbox that i set up in the house, and the rest of the kids played outside with the neighbors. went pretty smoothly- apart from neiko's hair being coated with bright purple sand.
(i really don't reccommend the colored sand for anyone who might be tempted to try it....)
and i was able to find places for naps for tekoa, wren, and neiko :)

water lines. looks really complicated.


wren was "working" too :)

the girls LOVE the secret hideout their daddy made for them in their room.

It does wonders for me to finally be able to see the progress.
thanks, dave, for all your hard work during a really loooooong, cold winter. you are amazing.

my new normal-

and just so you know.....
i am aware of the fact that my "hands are full" and that i am a "busy mother."
i really don't need to be reminded of that on a daily basis.
feel free to tell me that my kids are cute or funny or sweet- or that they are a PRECIOUS GIFT from my Heavenly Father.
but don't tell me that i "have my work cut out for me" or that i'm "lucky i haven't lost my mind yet."

yes, some days are HARD.
but i am doing what God has called me to do, and i'm trying really hard to let go of some of the things in my life that won't matter for eternity.
i am praying that He will continue to chastise me, refine me, use me, teach me. that He will continue to push me out of my comfort zone for His glory.

"and He said to all, 'if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. for whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.'"
luke 9:23 & 24

please pray for our meeting with the lawyer at 10am tomorrow!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the face that gets imprinted in my heart a little more each day....

i never knew it would be like this.
i expected hard. i expected chaos. i expected doubts and fears.
and trust me i have ALL of these, but i also have LOVE.
and perfect love, the love that is given only by my Father, casts out fears. it covers all things. it hopes and endures all things. it seeks not it's own.
it looks into those beautiful brown eyes and tells me this is right. this is what was planned from the beginning.
it overflows in me as my little boy learns to trust. learns that when i leave the room i WILL ALWAYS COME BACK.
it overflows as he learns to let me kiss him and to finally kiss me back.
and as he grins and reaches for the arms of his new daddy.

you will never know, little guy, what it is to feel rejected and abandoned by the one who was supposed to love you. Jesus took care of that for you.
Jesus LOVES YOU SO MUCH. glory in the highest....

here are some pictures of my first shopping adventure with 3 little ones...

my soon-to-be neighbor told me that morning of a sale on kid's clothes going on at the mall, so i loaded up the kids, grabbed my double stroller from the garage, and met her there.

i parked the car, then went out in the rain and opened up the stroller. imagine my surprise when i found it to be already in use.
a family of mice had made their home in my stroller. chewed up everything and left LOTS of proof that they had been residing there.
so gross.....but i really wanted to go into the i did what i had to do.
i pulled out the nest and the chewed up liner, covered the area with a towel, and put my babies in it.
i prayed that no one would notice the terrible smell coming from my stroller while i shopped.

after i finished my shopping i went back to the car, took the kids out of the stroller, and then left it by a dumpster outside of the mall.
now i'm just praying that none of those mice are in my VAN.
and i'm on the hunt for a new double stroller.....

last night we initiated neiko into my dad's family with a dinner in celebration of him and also of my grandpa's 76th birthday.

neiko and livie checking each other out :)

neiko got to spend some time with aunt sally- the one who found him his new family.
we can't thank her enough. she is a beautiful witness of God's love and compassion. she is a DOER and not just a hearer, she is out there going where He sends and serving those in need on a daily basis. we love you, great aunt sally!

i took some videos the other day and here are my favorites-

this one is tekoa telling me what her "problem with wren is." so funny.

and oh yea, the new house is being insulated today. praise the Lord we are moving on to the next step.
it is hard sometimes not to get frustrated that our "move in date" is going to come and go pretty soon here and we have not even dry-walled yet.
there have been so many unexpected delays.
but i keep reminding myself that God is sovereign. even over the building of our house.
i repeat my verse-
"Surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand."
Isaiah 14:24

as you can see, my former saying, "i can only do the best i can do" has been replaced. He is changing me. so much for the better...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

the hair cut :)
hard to cut off those curls but it needed to be done- he had long hair and some really large bald spots in the back....



after :)

chilling with aunt amy...

he doesn't like to hold his own bottle, so when i'm busy he gets this...

i am so shocked at how easily my kids accept nikau as their brother- he fits right in.
if he fusses in the car wren is quick to say, "don't CRY, nikau!" or "baby's hungry, mom!"

we are changing the spelling of nikau's name. we want him to keep his name because he already knows it, but the spelling is a bit confusing. we are thinking 'neiko' 'nieko' or 'niko'. leaning towards neiko, but not 100% sure yet. and we are looking for a new middle name- his current one is armani.

we definitely have our moments where we feel overwhelmed with all we have going on right now, but we keep going back to God's word and all of His promises. and we are keeping in mind that a little craziness is worth changing nikau's life forever and for the opportunity to teach and emulate Gods love for him. i am praying everyday that He will give us the grace to do this.

God is working hugely in our lives and in those around us and we are EXCITED.
to Him be all the glory!!!
one of the verses i have had hanging on the pantry door in my kitchen for quite some time has blessed me over and over since we brought nikau home.

"surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand."
isaiah 14:24

He reminds me everyday that this is His doing. this is what He intended from the beginning.
and we could not do this without Him.

the kids and i had a nice spring break together. i hate to see it end. the kids were helpful and fun. ty is quick to do anything i ask him. shaeya has a running dialog going on at all times- horses, school, friends...tekoa is my entertainer. there is no end to the things she wants me to watch her do- and she ALWAYS makes me laugh. and wren tries to do anything the older kids are doing, usually with disastrous results- but it sure is cute.

the 3 older ones have been sleeping in a tent together all week (every night i go to bed PRAYING that tekoa won't pee in it- so far, so good :)
and it is killing wren that she can't sleep with them.
i always rock her to sleep after i tuck the older kids in, and this week she's been interrupting my songs every 30 seconds to say, "tent, mama" "ty, shaeya, foa (koa is foa) in tent" "i want tent."
maybe i should have let her try it, but i don't think she would ever go to sleep.... maybe i should just move her in there while she's asleep tonight...she would LOVE to wake up in the tent :)

we have a really full day tomorrow with church, lunch with my family, and dinner with dave's family. but i'm hoping we can carve out some time in the morning to talk with our kids about easter and to worship our Father together.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you..."
1 peter 1:3&4

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

before i finish out the adoption story i have something else to share-

we had our house inspection on monday. dave was really nervous. he told me ahead of time that NO houses ever pass on the first try. the inspector always finds something that needs to be changed.
so we were both shocked when our house PASSED. on the first try. the inspector said it was the best he's seen yet.
praise God!! just another reminder that He is in control :)

i wanted to briefly hit on nikau's first day and night with me-
i think i left off with my mom and i heading back to the airport on friday.

we had spent a good amount on tickets that enabled us to fly to new orleans and back in the same day. so we didn't pack anything.
of COURSE one of our flights got cancelled. we had been up since 3:30 that morning, had been through a VERY emotional day, and had a new baby with us. we were EXHAUSTED and just really wanting to get back, but we ended up having to stay over in memphis.

poor nikau didn't have many clothes with him, just a few shorts and t-shirts. it was freezing outside and he had no pants, jacket, socks....nothing.
it was really late, and we had to wait outside for an HOUR in the cold for a shuttle to take us to the hotel.

once we finally got there we discovered they had no food (we hadn't had much to eat all day and i was starving) and no cribs.
and i was feeling pretty discouraged that i had to leave my other kids overnight, and for a most of the next day since our flight wasn't rescheduled to leave until 2:40pm on saturday.

after a night of no sleep due to a lack of curtains, a bright light outside my window, and people outside talking loudly and fighting loudly all hours, i was even more ready to get home.

we convinced someone at the front desk to get us a shuttle to walmart so we could get nikau some warmer clothes, and then we checked out of the hotel and headed back to the airport. we got there about 1pm and found our gate only to discover our flight had been delayed. and it continued to get pushed back farther and farther.
i was SO AFRAID they were going to cancel again, and we kept trying to think of different ways to get back to branson, but there was nothing we could do but keep waiting. most of our problem was that we had left my sister's van at the airport in springfield and we had the keys with us.
but, finally around 6:30pm after many complaints from all of the people who were waiting and had been waiting since the day before like us, a supervisor finally came and rounded up a new pilot to fly us back.

we made it back to branson by 8:30 that night. i got to introduce nikau to his new brother and sisters, then we went to bed and got up at 4 the next morning to drive the 6 hours back home.

nikau finally got to meet his new daddy, and LOTS of new family members and friends :)

since then we are settling in. i am trying to learn nikau's routine and likes/dislikes. he is a very sweet boy who LOVES to be held. he is serious about food and sleep.
he loves to watch the other kids and he is getting more and more attached to dave.

God is continuing to mold us and make us fit for this task. it is all HIM and HIS WORK.
we are really looking forward to celebrating His resurrection with both of our families this weekend.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Adoption Story

"trust Me, and don't be afraid. many things feel out of control. your routines are not running smoothly. you tend to feel more secure when your life is predictable. let Me lead you to the rock that is higher than you and your circumstances. take refuge in the shelter of My wings, where you are absolutely secure.
when you are shaken out of your comfortable routines, grip My hand tightly and look for growth opportunities. instead of bemoaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new. i lead you on from glory to glory, making you fit for my kingdom. say yes to the ways i work in your life. trust Me, and do not be afraid."

Jesus Calling
April 15, 2011

a prayer, a phone call, and these words...and my life is now changed forever.

here's our adoption story-

dave and i have always talked about adoption, and always prayed that if God ever wanted us to adopt that He would show us how and when.
and we were getting serious about pursuing it until we found our lot and put our house up for sale. we decided then to put the adoption thoughts on hold until we were settled in a new house.
and then once we started building the house, every time adoption came up dave would say, "i'm just praying that you and God will let me get the house done first."

and then saturday, april 9th, dave and i were invited to a seminar at cornerstone church on orphan care and adoption.
i felt really strongly that we were supposed to go, and dave surprised me by saying without any hesitation that he would take the night off and come with me.

during the seminar our hearts were moved by the stories of waiting children, children without homes, and scripture verses about caring for orphans and adoption. and at the end of the night we were each given a candle to light as we stood in a huge circle in the dark. someone there prayed for each person that God would move hearts and show us how we could make a difference in the lives of children.
the question was asked, "if you can't change the world, will you change the world for ONE?"

our hearts said YES.
as i blew out my candle i prayed that God would use us for His glory and in His timing show us how we can make a difference. and if there was a child out there waiting for us that He would show us how and when to bring him home.

we talked about adoption all weekend. we talked to our parents and some of our friends about how we would like to adopt someday. we talked about how great it would be to adopt a baby boy from within the US. and we made neat, tidy plans to pursue this further once our house was done and maybe when our children were a little older.

then on tuesday night, april 12th, (4 days after the seminar) i had just put my kids to bed and was rocking wren to sleep when my phone rang. it was my aunt sally who lives in arizona.
she began to tell me about an 8 month old baby boy in louisiana who needed a home.
she said that when she heard of this she immediately thought of dave and i.

my heart was RACING. i could not even believe that this was happening.
and i KNEW.
i knew this was the work of my Father, i knew he was ours, i knew our lives were about to change forever.
i called dave and started by saying, "Dave, we have a CRAZY God......"
and before i knew it i was holding the phone number of this baby's birth mother in my hand and my phone in the other. and my heart was in my throat.

she didn't answer so i left a voicemail and fell to my knees on the kitchen floor and prayed. i prayed that God would lead her to call me back if that is what He had ordained. i prayed for wisdom, and the right words, and for love.
and while i was still on my knees my phone rang again.
it was her.
a thousand thoughts were racing through me and one of them was how do i even start this conversation with this mother?

somehow God led me through it and she ended up telling me that i could come get the baby anytime.

and i have been in a whirlwind ever since.
just 2 days later, on april 15th, my mom and i were on a plane headed for new orleans.

i met my beautiful new son named nikau (neeko) and his mother that day.
we spent a little time with her before we met with a lawyer and signed the papers that made him (temporarily) ours.
his mom and i both cried as she kissed him for the last time and placed him in my arms. my mom and i then loaded him and his car seat and his other few belongings into a taxi to head back to the airport.

and that's when i lost it.
i was sobbing and asking WHY.
WHY is this mother giving away this beautiful baby boy??
and WHY is God giving him to me??
i am so unworthy and so human and so selfish and so imperfect as a mother.
and i have 4 other children...what about those that try and wait and long for a baby? what about the people in my life that are also willing and wanting to adopt?
why me? why now? why this family?

but i cannot deny that this is from God. He has made that so abundantly clear. i know it will not be easy and that i am going to have to depend on my Savior for every day. i know He will give me grace and that His grace is enough.
He is forever changing the life of this little boy, He is working in the lives of my kids, and i know that He is working in dave's heart and mine.

He is making us all fit for His kingdom.

more to follow....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

the potty training has been a BREEZE.
wren was the easiest of my kids to train by FAR :)
she has only had 1 accident this week, and that time she told me she had to go, but i was too busy to take her. so it was kind of my fault.

she is growing up so fast! for some reason taking away the diapers seemed to take away some of her babyness. which is a bit sad for me....

my house is a wreck today.
i really should be cleaning, but i am ALWAYS cleaning. cleaning and cleaning and never getting anywhere.
and my VAN. i took it in today to have some work done on it and i was SO EMBARRASSED at the state it was in.
i'm secretly hoping that it'll come back a little cleaner than i left it....

all right, before i get too far into my complaining, i am going to stop and make a list of the positive things i have going on.
here goes...

1. i turned in 2 excellently done science fair projects today. i did a really good job on them and i (i mean ty and shaeya, of course) should get really good grades for them.

2. thankfully, i kept a few of my jeans that were 1 size bigger. i am SO GLAD i did that. very positive thinking here.

3. my neighbor, ken, has been driving tyden and shaeya to school for me on thursdays. i am so happy for my kids that there is one day every week that they are guaranteed to be at school ON TIME.
.....i wonder if they ask him (like they do me) "are we late today??" everytime he pulls up to the school.....

4. tekoa wants so badly to be big enough to sleep without a pull up at night. i've been letting her try. the positive here is that at least one of my kids goes to bed on clean, freshly washed sheets every night...
and the other positive is that i won't be finding drawers full of old wet pull ups anymore, right?

5. we are so close to being ready for inspection at the house. i mean really close. waaaaay closer than the last time i said we were close. this is like super-duper close. like any closer and it'd be done. seriously.
and it's great to have that anticipation, you know? i mean, we should just enjoy the closeness for awhile....

6. 600 million events written in on my calendar means i am loved, right?? and needed. okay maybe i need to learn how to say, "no", but how BORING would that be??
i mean if i didn't have all that extra stuff to do, and i only had 4 kids, 2 houses, a husband, a dirty van and myself to take care would i ever fill my time?

7. dave and i both eat lunch most days of the week. and some of those days we get to eat lunch together.
i am so thankful for those days- that is when we do our catching up. we talk around our 2 littlest children and his constant phone calls from work, but at least we get that....

8. we are kicking off spring break a little early next week with a short trip to branson with some of my family. should be a nice break from the routine. we leave on wednesday and get back on sunday and then spring break starts on that next monday.
looking forward to some adult interaction and then a break from the school schedule....

and i really shouldn't even bother to clean the house at least until after spring break, right??