Saturday, August 27, 2011

anyone who has to spend a day like i did today deserves some kind of award or something....

dragging 5 little kids around town trying to find a pair of shoes for shaeya to wear to school on monday.
not just any shoes.
sandals- cause her feet get so hot in tennis shoes.
with a strap over the back per the school's request.
no heel- because they have to be comfortable.
durable- because i had actually found a pair before school started and they broke 3 days in.
and less than $10 because i'm cheap and i won't spend anymore than that on shoes that might not fit her next summer.

we did accomplish our task and i am still standing.

and here are some positives from the day-

only 1 child peed their pants
only 1 child left a store sobbing over something beautiful i would not buy them
only 1 child got lost and only 2 times, and that child was found again both times before i had to be paged to the front of the store
there was 1 store in which we only had to visit the restroom once instead of twice
only 1 other mom pulled me aside to tell me that "all those kids couldn't possibly be mine..."
i only had to give 1 very discreet spanking
only 1 time did a dad have to jump in and save one of my children from a falling display.....and i'm sure you don't have to strain your imagination to think what could've possibly caused a falling display.....

the theme of the last few days has been, "it won't always be like this....."
my days won't always be filled with crying, fighting, peeing, puking, spilling, etc....

but then....

i won't always be the hero
i won't always tell the best stories
i won't always know every thought that goes through their little heads
i won't always be able to fix every problem with a simple kiss and hug
i won't always have all 5 of my kids tucked safely in their beds all together in my house
so for now i'm doing my best to be thankful, loving, and patient,
and to love them with Jesus' sacrificial love.
it is His love that tells me it is worth it to give all of myself. that it is okay to NOT take care of ME first like the world would tell me i should. that it is a blessing to be able to give, give, give and not receive.
that i can even reach out to others outside of my family and give, give, give and my children won't suffer as some might think, but they will benefit.

it is okay to be used up for Jesus.
it is the only way i wan't to be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

the last post on katie's blog- inspired me to write about some of the thoughts that have been churning in my head the last few weeks.

here i go.....
i want to start with neiko.
the older he gets and the more he becomes a part of our family the more frustration i feel over not having been there for ALL of his life.
that i never got to kiss his sweet soft newborn skin or gaze into big chocolate brown eyes as he nursed. that i wasn't there to hold, comfort, and bond with baby nikau.
i'm sad for what he missed and for the stability that he didn't have. i'm sad that he wasn't rocked to sleep in secure, loving arms because EVERY baby deserves nothing less. and i'm sad that i wasn't there to teach him with much laughter and encouragement how to sit or pull up or crawl.

i'm sure that EVERY adoptive parent goes through these same emotions, and i'm sure i would've been more prepared for them had i taken classes or studied up more on adoption. and i'm sure some of you who have adopted older children laugh at my missing a mere 8 1/2 months....

but 8 1/2 months is long enough. long enough to forever mold and shape a tiny baby trying to make all the right connections out of life and love.

there are things about his personality that drive me crazy but i NEVER blame HIM for them. these are the things that stem from being born into a broken world and into a broken family. these things are the result of his being without unconditional love for a good part of his babyhood.

it hurts me to see how long it takes him to learn to trust me. to trust that i will always be there for him. and to learn that it is WORTH IT to listen to me and to obey me. that his little life just goes so much better for him when he does. that the benefits of obedience faaaar outweigh his desire to be independent. that when i speak it MATTERS, and when i say "no" it is for a good reason.

and then.....
i realize why God has a heart for adoption. that we ALL spend part of our lives living without Him and that we are all affected by that time. that it takes us YEARS and YEARS to learn to trust Him and His plan for us. and then we have to learn all over again to trust Him when our spouses and our children and our grandchildren come along, and in and through every circumstance.
and it has taken me a ridiculously long time to learn that it is just better to obey. that my whole life goes better when i do.
obedience comes at a huge cost sometimes but the benefits faaaar outweigh my desire for independence.

"In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God."
Galations 4:3-7

adoption means family
family means love
love means acceptance
acceptance means freedom

and freedom is what God has been teaching me about. the freedom that is in Christ.
this word freedom would maybe sound a little scary if taken out of context, so the key is freedom in Christ.
and for me, "freedom in Christ" means freedom to enjoy the dynamics of being a part of His family. no more striving to be what or who i am not, but to be me through Him.
freedom means no more reason for anxiousness, because He is in control. and it means less turning inward and criticizing and more turning outward and loving and serving.

i grew up believing that Christianity was about following a list of rules. that it was all about ME and how well i was able to follow those rules. i struggled. i tried very hard to do everything right- and the few times i was able to get a few things right, well, then i could actually look my Savior in the face. but most of the time there was no relationship with Him because i couldn't even see Him through the cloud of shame hanging over me.
and slowly over the years God has shown me that my relationship with Him is waaaay more about who HE is than it is about who I am.
it is so much more about HIS work than it is about mine.
and that when He speaks it MATTERS. it matters above ALL ELSE.
and that our relationship is enriched when i follow those rules but it is not defined by it.
which strangely enough has me wanting to do MORE and MORE for Him.
more of Him and less of me.
He has removed that self-imposed cloud of shame and has left me better able to see Him and hear His voice and follow where He leads me.

and that is the freedom.

and my inability to obey perfectly keeps me dependent on Him. it shows me over and over my great need for a Savior.
and since i can't do much good apart from Him, and my desire is for only Him, then i'm doubly dependent.

dependent and thankful.
oh, so thankful for the grace, adoption, family, love, acceptance, and freedom that my Father freely gives.

and thankful that He continues to teach a very slow learner, and that He continues to love and use His very imperfect children.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

time for some literary therapy :)

where to begin....
lets start from the little one up-

neiko had 3 rough weeks followed by 3 angelic days. he is SO SWEET when he chooses to be and SO WILD all the rest of the time. he is still working on those molars.
i had a nice text chat with his birth mom a few days ago. i felt really good about our conversation. i thought it was really cute when she asked me if neiko plays well with his "brother and sisters." makes me smile.
we had one minor incident with him on sunday. we were out of milk (where was the angel at the front door with a gallon of milk in her hands THIS time??) and so i gave neiko a bottle of soy milk before we left for church. apparently soy milk doesn't sit well with him cause we got to church and he started puking. he puked 4 times with dave taking the brunt of it on his suit coat as he was holding him while i was up front during the singing. poor neiko.....and dave.....i am not chuckling to myself at the thought of it.....not at all ;)

wren is STILL having accidents. in fact, they are getting worse. it makes for a whole new level of chaos around here.
for example-
yesterday morning she pooped at the table while eating breakfast. so gross. i was on the phone with the pediatrician about health records for the adoption while i was trying to clean that mess up. her clothes were so bad that i decided to take them outside and just hose them off.
i was not dressed yet. it was very early and i was still in my pajamas. actually "pajamas" is too generous a word for what i had on. but i live in the country with 3 whole neighbors so i figured it was fine to slip outside and hose off the clothes.
so i'm on the phone wearing next to nothing hosing off poopy clothes getting really wet when a man comes walking through the yard and straight to me.
he was there to take pictures of the outside of the house.
i was beyond embarrassed.
i stood there wet and stumbling over my words as he said things like "move your van, move some toys, glad i caught you outside....."
all i could think about was the clothes i was not wearing.....sigh.

then this morning i woke up to wren all snuggled up beside me. so sweet.
i turned to her and she looked up at me with her big sleepy eyes and whispered, "i pooped."
and yes, she had. in her bed. and that's why she came to my bed to finish sleeping.
i jumped up and started in on damage control. i put her in the big tub in our bathroom with the water running and without the plug in the drain so i could clean up without worrying about her.
while i was gathering up the sheets from both beds neiko started crying. i went to his crib and he smiled at me with a face covered in snot.
so i took his clothes off and put him in the tub too. then i gathered up the sheets once again and ran them downstairs to put them in the washer.
before you judge me too harshly keep in mind that i did not plug the drain so there was no water pooling in the tub.
i do this every now and then when i have to clean up messes while the kids are in the tub.
what i totally bombed on was that i forgot that i had put a little decorative bowl beside the tub the night before for a showing. i had just made it to the bottom of the steps when i heard the crash.
neiko had pulled the bowl off the ledge and into the tub.
i ran back up to find the 2 kids standing in a tub full of rocks and broken glass. SO SCARY.
i pulled them out and awkwardly carried the 2 crying, wet babies to another tub to wash them.
and then when i was done i started in on cleaning up all the glass and rocks from the other tub.
we were very blessed to come away from that disaster with only a few small cuts on neiko's hand. thank you, Father for watching out for them! could've been much much worse.....
and one more thing about that morning- while i was running around trying to clean up everything i glanced at myself in the bathroom mirror and had a good laugh.
i had done it again.
i sometimes dress myself while i'm sleeping. it's the weirdest thing. i go to bed without clothes and wake up fully dressed.
and i'm terrible at coordinating while i'm asleep- i always get a good laugh over what i'm wearing the next morning.....

sooo moving on to tekoa. i had a sudden realization last week of how much she argues with everything i tell her to do. time for some extreme parenting with that one. she's been getting a spanking each time she tells me "no."
which makes for a lot of spankings.
but she is slowly getting it. she catches herself now right after she says it and quickly apologizes and rephrases :)
and as i was tucking her in bed the other night she said, "sorry i told you 'no' today. i shouldn't do that. and it's okay that you spanked me."
so glad i have her approval :)

and then shaeya. she is the glue that holds the rest of the kids together. she is the imagination, the opinion, the helper, and the comforter of all of them. she leads and they follow. they are lost when she is gone. the little ones look to her for help and she gladly gives it.
and she is everything to tyden. she corrects him when he is wrong (which is most of the time), and she tells him what to think and then he thinks it.
when he gets scared at night she lets him climb into her bed and she keeps him safe.
the main battle i fight with her is over clothes.
her opinion is comfort above all else, so the girl refuses to wear jeans of any kind. jeans are cold and uncomfortable (i hold my tongue, but i want to inform her that she should try having 4 kids and then tell me about what it's like to wear jeans.) the quickest way to bring shaeya to tears is to tell her she can't wear her sweatpants to any given event.
oh, and we have a very predictable sunday morning battle every week over a certain pair of shoes that are NOT church shoes. i have never given in but she has never given up....

and finally tyden. he had a big event this week. really big. he was invited by my mom to spend the weekend at the lake and help her with some jobs. he was counting down the days til he could go, but a couple of days before the big day i realized that we were going to have a slight problem. my mom needed to pick him up at noon but i had to leave the house by 11.
i talked it over with him and said he could still go if he wanted to stay home alone for that hour and wait for grandma to come and get him.
okay, he will be 10 in 3 weeks and we live in the country. TOTALLY SAFE. but he and my mom were appalled by the idea.
i decided that it would actually be good for him and told them both that we were going through with it.
he was super nervous but he knew it was the only way to get to the lake.
and my mom kept moving her arrival time up.
i kept telling them both to relax. it would be FINE.
well, the big day came and i settled tyden in with my ipad and told him grandma would be here before he knew it. i kissed him good-bye and walked out the door- only to remember that neiko was still inside sleeping. so i had to go back in and grab the baby and then said good-bye again. he was trying to be brave :)
i finally hopped in the van and drove down the long lane.........only to see my mom's van parked at the neighbors kind of behind some trees.......
still makes me laugh......
she promised she would let him be "home alone" for a little while before she actually went up there to get him. :)
........i guess that's what grandma's do, right??
and i'm pretty sure i'll be the "hide behind the trees at the neighbor's" kind of grandma too :)

all right......time to quit.......i'm off to go help hang some cabinets!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

for our last day with the kids from the mission we had a celebration at lisa's house.
we all had a blast-
facepainting, nail painting, snow cones, basketball, football, waterslide, trampolines, swings, kittens, pizza, and singing.
all put on by 4 moms, some teenagers, and Jesus :)

needless to say after the 5 hour long celebration i was exhausted :)
i went home and got to spend the rest of the day packing boxes and cleaning the house.

and i decided that it's hard to pack and move while keeping the house looking perfect for possible showings....

here is my new neice! it was waaaaay past time for another baby in the family!
miss emma noelle-
so cute!!

this morning we had our last homestudy visit to go over the report.
looks like we passed :)
just a few more loose ends to tie up to be completely done but there is no hurry- we have to wait for the court date in LA before it can be finished.

my brain is totally maxxed out right now with thoughts of adoption, moving, a praise singing i'm in charge of leading in the barn on saturday night, school supplies, cleaning, picking out tile for the shower in the master bath, and the well-being of 5little ones.

please be gracious if i forget something i was supposed to do, or say something that doesn't make sense, or have eye makeup smeared on my cheek while i'm talking to you.....

i tell my Father every day that i cannot do any of this without Him. it is all for Him and by Him and through Him and because of Him. and He is more than enough.