Thursday, May 26, 2011

things were a little rough around here for a few days this week.....
wren and tekoa weren't feeling well and neiko cut 2 teeth in 3 days.

our weekend was busy. we spent most of saturday at the new house. i tried to stain some cedar planks for our outdoor ceilings and tried to paint shutters as dave made them.
needless to say the kids and i were all covered in paint by the end of the day :)

our first 'before church worship session' went really well on sunday. we had a good turn out and the singing sounded amazing. it's kind of a big step for my church and i'm really excited to be a part of it- even though this is the craziest time in my life to take it on.......funny how i feel like i keep saying that but then keep adding to my workload and it somehow all comes out all right......most of the time.....

sunday afternoon we only had the three littlest kids so we tried to order our paint for the walls and then we tried to eat dinner at a restaurant.
neither went as we had hoped.
the evening ended with us walking out of the restaurant- dave and wren covered in puke, and neiko and I soaked with pee.
i thought it was kinda funny, but dave did not :)

monday night i stayed at the new house really late with the kids trying to shop vac some of the dust to get ready for paint. by the time we got home we were all really tired and covered in drywall dust which made for a not so fun bedtime.

yesterday was our annual music performance at the courthouse for the kid's school- which was moved to the mall because of the weather. the kids did REALLY well. they sounded great. and i was too busy leading up to yesterday to even think about being nervous which worked out well :)

neiko is 10 months old today :) he is growing and changing so quickly. he learned pat-a-cake last week and is definitely taking steps now.
last night he let go of the leg of his high chair on his own and walked to me. it was amazing :)
he is so funny.
he is a SMART boy- and he LOVES to tease. he loves getting a reaction from me and the other kids. the second he knows anyone doesn't want him to do something he gets this big grin on his face and goes at it full force- but just for a minute and then he stops on his own.
he crawls sooooo fast- it's hilarious. he's starting to use a foot and a knee instead of both knees to make himself faster and it looks so funny.
he has been letting me cuddle with him more the last few days and i LOVE it. tonight he laid his head on my shoulder and played with my hair for a long time. and every now and then he would tip his head back and close his eyes just waiting for me to kiss him.
and my heart would melt....

video

we have the date set (june 8th) for our first in-home visit for our home study. i'm a little nervous about how it will go, but i know that i don't need to be. this is God's doing and it will always be.
but i just might need to call in some reinforcements to help get this house in shape before then.....

wren turns 2 this weekend. and i have mixed emotions on that. at least she's not my last baby anymore- softens the blow a little :)
she is talking so much. she is at that really fun age where she says new things all the time and it takes me quite awhile to figure out what she is saying. but she patiently repeats herself until i get it :)
some of her latest phrases are, "wait for me!" "i'm coming in there too!" "love you have a good day!" "what doing, mom?"
she watched a movie with the older kids last night while some of my cousins were over and this morning i asked her if she like the movie and she said, "it kinda scary, mom." she only had to repeat that one 3 times before i understood her. :)

tekoa has been getting her own ice for her drinks lately.
she opens the freezer and then pulls up a chair and reaches into the ice maker to get it.
a few days ago she told me, "i love ice, mom. and sometimes when my hands are really sticky i wash them with ice."
i said, "you do? .......then what do you do with the ice when you're done?"
"oh, i just put it back into the ice maker...."
luckily I don't ever use ice. just dave and the kids. and our guests....

shaeya and tyden have 1 more week of school. they are really excited.
and i am failing miserably right now at getting them to bed on time and helping them with homework, so i am looking forward to living with a little less guilt when school is out. :)

wednesday is their end-of-school field trip and also shaeya's 7th birthday.
she makes me smile just thinking about her. so confident and helpful and talkative.
she's still asking for a real horse for her birthday like she has every year since she turned 4 :)
i wonder if she'll ever give up.....

here are the most recent house pictures- things are starting to come together!!!!





























Thursday, May 19, 2011

this is what one side of my kitchen table looks like.
we are making some progress with all the decision making....i think.



the drywall is done and it looks amazing. the taping is halfway done.
i think they start framing up for the driveway and 2 patios on friday.

i don't know if i mentioned yet that our house will be in the parade of homes which is sometime at the end of june- we are hoping to have the inside painted, the floors laid, and the landscaping done before then....we have our work cut out for us.

the girls have been amazingly good. they have been playing together so well- a miracle.



tyden is going through kind of a tough time as shaeya is pulling away from him and playing "girl stuff" with tekoa more and more.

also, his best friend at school (who happens to be a girl) is starting to want to play with shaeya during recess instead of him.
i feel bad for him, but it's definitely time for him to find some close friends who are boys.
just another reason why i'm anxious to move! there are 3 boys his age in the new neighborhood!
but in the meantime i don't think it's bad for him to learn to play alone. and to learn to use his imagination instead of always relying on shaeya to entertain him.



tekoa graduated from preschool today :)
she had been rubbing it in to tyden and shaeya that she only had "one more day" to go.



on tuesday morning as i was getting her ready for her second to last day of school she said, "mom, i have 2 more days of school, then one more day, and then i'm FREE!!!!!"
i laughed pretty hard. apparently preschool really ties ya down :)





my brother has a baby raccoon that my kids are in love with-





this is neiko trying to get to me from the grass- he doesn't like grass :)
i think he calls me mama, what do you think??

video

its been a month since we brought neiko home.
people keep asking me if he feels just like one of my own now.
and i don't really know how to answer that question....

for awhile I was feeling a little bit frustrated with him for not responding to me like one of my own babies would at certain times. I kept thinking that with time and love he would end up being just like one of my babies.
but then my husband reminded me that I can't expect that of him. i can't just pretend like the first 8 & 1/2 months of his life didn't happen.
they did happen.
and he didn't get everything he needed during that time.

so i need to be okay with not having the same exact bond with him as i did with my own babies.
it makes things much easier on us both when i accept that and love him just the way he is.

this means not trying to force him to let me rock him when he doesn't want to be rocked. or not being disappointed when he pulls away when i kiss him, or not being frustrated when he doesn't want to interact with me the same way my babies did.

we are still learning each other's moods and likes/dislikes. we are still figuring each other out- it just doesn't happen overnight. even with a baby.
the good thing, though, is that i love him. he is so very sweet and funny and CUTE.
and his smile is the most beautiful thing in this entire world.

AND i know that with time, he will be like one of my kids.

also- while i'm on the subject of neiko- his doctor appointment went really well. my pediatrician said he looks great, and he's right where he should be for a nine month old.
he is in the 80% for weight and the 83% for height.
and she is okay with the lack of medical history for now. relief.

want an example of how amazing our God is?
i had a rough day the other day. i was feeling a little down and really frustrated with how i just can't get everything done in a day that needs to be done.
i was sitting on the kitchen floor with all the kids climbing on me and/or fighting for my attention and looking around at the pile of dishes in the sink and the filth on the floor and the unfinished homework on the table and the pile of samples to sort through for the new house and all the unmade decisions that they represent and i wanted to QUIT. all of it.
and then i felt guilty for having those feelings.
so i asked God to help me. to speak to me and lift me up.
i reached up to the counter and pulled my "Jesus Calling" book down and this is what i read:

"I am a Mighty God. Nothing is too difficult for me. I have chosen to use weak ones like you to accomplish my purposes. Your weakness is designed to open you up to My Power.
Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day's demands against your strength. What i require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources.
I AM NOT A CARELESS GOD.
When i allow difficulties to come into Your life, i equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My Presence, trusting in my strength."
Luke 1:37 & 2 Cor. 12:9

i am so thankful that He is patient with me as i try to learn to depend only on Him and to live by His grace alone.
i am thankful that He can use weak people.
and i am thankful that He keeps reminding me that my #1 job in this life is to have a relationship with Him and to strive to bring Him glory.
and i'm so very thankful for the tremendous blessing and opportunity i have to serve and teach 5 of His children everyday :)

i am also thankful that over the weekend i was able to meet with a group of people from my church and as a result of that meeting i am being given the opportunity to help lead a time of worship before church every sunday.
i have been seeing a vision of this worship time for about a month now, and i can't believe that is actually coming to be.
to God be all the glory!!!!

....getting to church early every sunday means someone's gonna have to just go in their pajamas. hopefully it doesn't end up being me :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

how's this for details, aunt rachel??



neiko has finally learned to love the sling....a MUST in this family :)



hammocks are nice too....



cousins :)
they all love him......a little too much sometimes :)
tess asked amy the other day, "what's the baby brother's name again??"
so cute.



he's not so sure about grass....



only 3 school days left for tekoa. she is counting down.
she has show n tell tomorrow and she is bringing a toad. i sure hope her teachers won't mind....
i found this same toad hopping around in my bathroom last night- i'm SURE she will keep a close eye on it at school.







a few other updates:

mother's day was wonderful.
the day started with dave and i picking up tyden and shaeya from my sister and then rushing to church and then shaving off tyden's mohawk in the church parking lot before we went in :)
but after that, we skipped out on everything that was going on that day and just stayed home. we had a picnic, jumped on the trampoline, sat on the dock and put our feet in the water, went for a walk, played on the playground.....wonderful.

neiko finally has a doctor appointment set up. he goes on friday, and hopefully all is well.

also, the drywall is being hung at the new house!!!
SO exciting. it already looks so different.
should be finished by the end of next week.
and the brick and stone should be finished by the end of this week.
the kids and i went out last night to help clean but i forgot to take pictures.

dave and i were a little frustrated last night at a few dents and scratches on things from the drywallers. the front door has a big dent and some of the fascia has to be taken down and replaced, and worst of all- my baby gate play yard was broken. must have gotten stepped on or something.
as i was getting ready to head home i told dave, "you know, all of these things are just things. they are all going to be dented and broken eventually anyway. and it works out better when our kids aren't the first ones to do it....."
and dave said, "yea, i guess. and dents just add character, right?"
"right."
then i kissed him good-bye and drove off.
drove to a gas station and as i was backing out of the parking lot i backed the van right into a cement post.....
and now our van has character.
my phone call to dave went something like this,"sooo.....remember that speech i just gave about things being just things??......"

and speaking of character.....here's a video of tekoa dancing at mom's night at her school.
she makes me laugh.

video

and here's one of wren and neiko....they are getting along much better :)

video

and okay, one last video-
a sign that maybe, just maybe, i take too many pictures of my kids....

video

Friday, May 6, 2011

found this in my glove box yesterday-



i can hardly believe what God has done. i'm still a little bit in shock.
MY WHOLE WORLD has changed since i shoved that card in my glove compartment.
the girl who rode back in the van with her husband that night with a heart breaking for the fatherless had NO IDEA what was in store.
no idea that her God was at work on something HUGE. that He had been cultivating in her a heart for children in need her whole life to lead up to THIS TIME.
and that girl has CHANGED so drastically since then. just 4 incredibly short and incredibly long weeks ago.
....and still a work in progress....
when i get stressed out about the complexity of the adoption process i have to continually remind myself that this is GOD'S WORK and not mine. He will bring it all to pass in His perfect time and in His perfect way. and for His perfect glory.

wren is warming up more and more....



shaeya and tekoa are still friends....



the whole crew-



the kids are already getting in the mother's day spirit :)



and this is right outside our garage.....how fitting :)



neiko is doing great in the crib and he is feeling a little better. praise Jesus for both!





crazy hair day today at school. i cut ty's hair last night into a mohawk. he is feeling really cool. probably will have to go before church on sunday though.....



things have been going fairly smoothly the last few days apart from a few minor disasters which included wren eating a third of a very large jar of children's vitamins and an unknown amount of toothpaste in the same day, and a stray cat we took in that spent 1 whole day traveling around under the hood of dave's truck and another whole day wandering the air ducts in our house.
don't ask.



"the world's way of pursuing riches is grasping and hoarding. you attain My riches by letting go and giving. the more you give yourself to Me and My ways, the more I fill you with inexpressible, heavenly joy."
-Jesus Calling

keep teaching me, Father.
i cannot live without Your heavenly joy.....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the meeting with our lawyer went pretty well.
i am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to happen in order for us to adopt, but at least WE HAVE HIM.
and i feel that that is what God wanted.
it would be really scary and hard to wake up every morning knowing that my son was in the care of someone who neither loved nor wanted him. (his birthmother's ex-roommate)
who knows what could've happened during that time....
thank you, Jesus for being all-knowing and all-powerful.

we will start with another trip to new orleans. this time dave goes with me, and we meet with a lawyer to petition for full guardianship. and at this time neiko's birth mother will be giving up more of her rights to him.
then we come home and go through a home study and take the classes to get our foster license.
we send out a public notice to neiko's birth father, and if there is no response, we claim abandonment and have his rights terminated.
and THEN i think we will be free to adopt.

it's amazing how one mom handing over her child to another can be so complicated. and expensive.
but we are willing to do what it takes and we are trusting that God will be faithful through it all.

please pray for neiko in the next few days.
he is cranky and not eating or sleeping very well. i think maybe he has an ear infection, and he also has a rash on his face and neck.
funny how none of this would worry me if it was my own child, but since i don't know much of his history i worry just a little.

it took until today to get neiko added on to our insurance, and when i called my pediatrician's office to make him an appointment they told me their computers are down. and i can't make an appointment until friday.
hopefully everything will work itself out....

i think i'm going to try to put him in the crib in wren's room tonight.
he has been sleeping in a pack n play in our room all this time, and he's becoming very aware of the fact that mom and dad are sleeping right by him.
i keep waking up at night and seeing his big brown eyes peering at me over the side of the pack n play :)
and he is a very early riser. very early.
so early, in fact, that my kids actually get to school on time more often now than before neiko lived with us :)

hopefully wren is settled enough in her new bed to not feel like she was kicked out, hopefully they can share a room without too many issues, and hopefully neiko and i will get a little more sleep than what we have been getting....