Reading Material

Just in case you were looking for something to read.

A New Normal from Wendy at Practical Theology for Women

Our need for God is better highlighted in hard circumstances. When life is good, I inevitably gloss over my need for Him. But His unchanging character is the only anchor for my soul when life gets messy.

How many times do I need to link to this blog to encourage you to add it to your reader?

Hope from Heather at The Chaseys….

I’ve learned that this is a reality for a lot of women. But as someone who hasn’t had to go through the pain myself, it’s been hard to relate to and grieve alongside women who I care deeply about. A friend referred me to this post written by Molly Piper and I decided that it was a great place to start–I needed to educate myself. After some research, I purchased Hannah’s Hope. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I do know that my heart has been changed by this book and I hope my actions and words are more sensitive to those who are hurting.

A whole series on this project: Modern Wood Fence from My Mid-Century Modern Life

I am just in love with this outdoor room and my friend and her husband created. I’ve showed it to D and we have a hard time imagining how this might work in our yard but I can dream, right?

For the Orphan: Life Upside Down from the For the City blog…

“You know what? The biggest thing is to not be afraid to pray big prayers,” Cara says, glancing at the baby in her arms and nodding her head toward his brother. “These boys are worth it. Their mom is worth it. And God is completely able.”

(That one made me cry a little).

Correcting Other People’s Kids

In the last few weeks I’ve been at public locations and witnessed other kids behaving really, really badly. (In the past few weeks, I’ve seen my kids behave badly too but I usually know how to do deal with that).

  • At a coffee-house/play-scape place a few weeks ago, a little boy around the age of 4 or 5 was taking the bouncy balls from the “basketball court” and throwing them at the faces of other children (including my two). I asked him to stop and he did initially but then picked up again with the same behavior. This time I went “Supernanny” on him, got down to his eye-level and firmly told him to stop throwing balls. He stopped but called me some names (you know, “poopy-head” or something of that vein). When he started up again, I simply walked over and took the ball from him. He was shocked but his parent was nowhere to be seen so I was not sure what else to do. Eventually, I told DIB & AIB to go play somewhere else because it did not seem like this kid was going to stop.
  • Today we were at the library and two little boys (probably around 4) were having the time of their life trashing the puppet stage area. They were taking some cards intended for a matching game and throwing them up in the air and then, eventually, in people’s faces (other adults). Their moms were in another little section of the library chatting away. The woman they threw cards at was sort of timid but then they started throwing books at her and her daughter. I walked up to the little boy who threw the book and told him to stop. The woman asked him where his mother was and both little boys replied, “We don’t have mommies.” The woman walked away while another woman kept observing the yelling and general chaos. Their moms were not far enough away not to hear them but they simply were engrossed in conversation. They eventually came over and saw the mess and cleaned it up. DIB & AIB were observing this and had these shocked looks on their faces. I know it is not because they are above this kind of behavior (they are not); I just think they could not believe the kids were getting away with it.
What I wanted to do at the library today was walk over to the two moms and tell them, “You kids are being a little rowdy.” But I have no idea how people would take that. I want to believe that if I was them that I would not react defensively and would go deal with my kid. I hope I would. I hope that my friends and family know that if they see my kids acting crazy they should definitely say something to me or them. I totally get that kids have bad days (my four-year old had one this Wednesday which meant I ended my night with a Mini-Heath Blizzard from DQ). I hope other parents would understand that if I mention something that your kid was doing that it does not mean I think he/she is a bad kid altogether; just misbehaving in that moment. But these circumstances are really awkward and I wonder how others deal with them. Do you just find the parent right away or try to correct the kid on your own?

Sunday Seven

1. Not too long ago I got a new pair of glasses. I just need a little help seeing long-distance, especially at night. I was able to get them from a trendy place around here because of a great Groupon deal they had but I wish I had known about Warby Parker first. They are like the TOMS of glasses and the price is unbelievable – $95 for lenses and frames.

2. Last weekend, S came to church with on Sunday and had lunch with us afterward. On Monday, we went to visit M & T. They are doing so well. It was fun to catch up with their mom and hear M’s developing vocabulary. I got some great pictures of all the kids playing together. It was too cute.

3. I tweeted last night that every day I am tempted to spoil my kids. They are so cute and wonderful and I just want to give them everything that want. But I cannot do that for many budgetary reasons and won’t do that because I know it is bad for them. However, we did give them a pretty good Saturday this weekend which ended with a trip to a carnival, their first “roller coaster” ride, cotton candy, elephant ears, staying up an hour and a half later than normal and being allowed to sleep together on the top bunk (because they are still small enough to pull that off). It was nice to be able to give in a little.

4. I have not updated much on the adoption finalization because nothing had really changed. We are waiting on a signature and a court date. The goal is early July.  You could pray for that to happen if you like.

5. DIB is officially obsessed with Fireman Sam. In fact, he thinks that he is Fireman Sam.

On these hot days both boys definitely need a down time but I’m actually trying to break them of their nap in the afternoon (I know, that seems kind of crazy). DIB is going to full-day kindergarten in the fall and AIB has been having a hard time falling asleep at night. Fireman Sam has been serving as a great down time distraction.

6. I loved this story about a father who waved to his teenage son every morning this past school year as the bus drove by their house. In costume!

His son says he is embarrassed. I think he will appreciate it later.

7. Lastly, DIB randomly said this to in the car today:

I am really, really happy that I live with you guys now.

Totally out of nowhere. Sometimes we get a little glimpse of what is on their hearts. We are really, really happy they are with us too.

Busy, Busy

Somehow I’ve become a once-per-week poster. We’ve been busy!

A little housekeeping: I’m going to be referring to the kid’s by their initial’s now. It was getting a little confusing. So, from now on DIB (for 5 year old son) and AIB (for 4 year old son). We are still K (mom/wife) and D (dad/husband).

Thursday we were able to take family pictures with the fabulous Jenn Anibal. I cannot wait to see them. I told her I wanted a different setting (not a park) and we came up with the Dequindre Cut. And, although I’ve been pinning ideas on our outfits for this photo shoot for the past three months, we ended up scrambling at the last minute (in typical fashion) and picking out clothes a couple hours before. I think what we came up with coordinated pretty well without being so matchy-matchy. We spent most of the hour begging our non-napped four year old to smile. I trust Jenn got some good ones.

Friday morning we had Kindergarten Round-Up. Very strange to be a parent of a soon-to-be kindergartener. DIB has been expressing a bit of anxiety about this change next year. He won’t be at the same school where he attends preschool and will have to say good-bye to some friends. Fortunately, the blow was softened when he realized our neighbor, C, would also be there. We walked to school that morning and when he saw C’s family’s car go by, he said, “Oh, C will be there? Well, nevermind my other friends!” We are going to work on loyalty.

I’ve had a little anxiety over school next year for DIB and my fears where calmed during kindergarten round-up. Lots of people have given me the advice that as DIB’s mom, I know him best and know if he is ready or not for kindergarten. My gut instinct was that he was ready but there was this voice in the back of my head saying, “You just met him six months ago. You don’t know him that well.” After they went through the curriculum I was able to say, “Yes, he can do this.” It is going to be a long day for him and an adjustment but I think deciding to start him in kindergarten in the fall is the right choice. We have not totally narrowed down which school yet but I’ve decided that will be D’s decision.

After the big event that was Kindergarten Round-Up, we met up with my mom and AIB to introduce the boys to the wonderful past-time that is garage sale-ing. It is a family tradition and they needed a proper introduction from the master herself, Grandma. We taught them how to look for signs and after we picked up some games and toys at a bargain price, I’m pretty sure the boys were sold.

Saturday night we celebrated our four year old (whose birthday fell on Mother’s Day this year). He was eagerly anticipating the party and lit up every time someone new walked in. It was just family but you would have thought we had invited 50 guests. He was pumped. After everyone left he said, “Mommy, I’m so glad everyone came to my party.”  The big brother struggled a little bit with the lack of attention and asked a few times during gifts, “That one is a sharing toy, right?”

On Sunday, we did something that I think testifies that we truly, truly love our kids. Along with D’s parents, sister & brother-in-law and their kids, we headed out to see the real Thomas the Train. In 40 degree weather. In the rain. For three hours.

None of the five children under the age of five seemed to notice the rain. They were so enthusiastic. Three of the kids got temporary Thomas-themed tattoos. DIB is holding strong to his claim that he will “never, ever get a tattoo.” Big thanks to my in-laws for getting us the tickets to this event! The kids had a great time and the parents and grandparents enjoyed seeing the kids have a good time. We came home and crashed on the couch for most the rest of the evening. I justified the excessive TV-watching with the fact that we spent the afternoon in the rain, making life-long memories.

Motherhood

Wendy Hoger Alsup is just full of wisdom…

Motherhood is not the greatest good for the Christian woman. Whether you are a mom or not, don’t get caught up in sentimentalism that sets it up as some saintly role. The greatest good is being conformed to the image of Christ.

Please read the rest of her post. Sometimes in Christianity, we have failed and have set up motherhood and family as idols. They are good things but they are not the ultimate things.

There are women – with and without children – in my life who model compassion, mercy, patience, grace, kindness and selflessness. All characteristics that a mother is supposed to have and all ones at which I fail at all the time. Today, I am thankful for my mother and my mother-in-law and they great example they are to me. Today is a reminder for me as well that my children are a blessing which is something I need to remember on a daily basis when I lose my patience with them or want to complain about their behavior.

This morning I woke up thinking of our boys’ first mom and how horrible today must be for her. Not only is it  Mother’s Day but it is her youngest son’s fourth birthday today. I know very little about her but I know for sure that she has lived a hard life. I prayed for her today, asking that God would put someone in her path to encourage her and that she may feel His peace.

God has certainly given me an interesting path to motherhood and I’m daily asking that He helps me not take these blessings for granted. (And, right now, I need to go hang up a birthday banner).

Our Weekend with Cubby

This is the kind of mom I am…

On Friday, I picked up D2 from school and noticed in his bin that he was chosen to bring home Cubby, the class’ toy bear, this weekend. The whole point is to spend the weekend doing fun things with Cubby. D2 proudly carried Cubby out of school along with the little journal in which we would later write all our adventures.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when I opened the trunk of the van and, oh crap, I left the stupid bear there all weekend. Poor Cubby spent his weekend with our family in the minivan.

The boys went to sleep and I finally sat down to write down about what Cubby did with us this weekend. All the other entries are full of pictures and colored drawings. Our entry is a little like this…

Cubby had a very exciting weekend with us. After school, he drove with us to speech therapy and then ate pretzels with us in the car. Then we went to Grandma’s and he watched (from the car) as we rode our scooters on her driveway. The next day he drove with us to my first soccer game. It was so muddy so we made sure to keep him clean (in the car). Later, he drove with us to pick up pizza.

No pictures or drawings from us. Regardless, I hope Cubby enjoyed watching all of this from our van.

Those little shin guards just kill me.

Names

For the sake of this post, lets say our last name is Baracus since we don’t use our full names on the blog or podcast.

The boys have been learning their new last name for the past few months. D2 picked up on it a little bit quicker since he is referred to as Mr. Baracus sometimes at school. We have also talked about nick names since occasionally we just call D2 “D” for short. He told my dad not too long ago that he would like to be called “Baracus” which was pretty cute. He has also started calling me “Mom” which, of course, is the nickname for my real name, “Mommy.”

We have spent some time talking about what we would like their middle names to be. They both had no idea that people even have middle names. After talking about several ideas, we finally picked two that had some meaning to us and went well with their first names. We have talked more about adoption and we told them their new middle names. Which are…

I figured middle names would be pretty safe to share on here. We chose Isaiah because of its meaning, “God is Salvation”. Also, I have several favorite verses from that book of the Bible. Isaac means “laughter” and well, that just fits our little guy. They have had fun sharing their new middle names with people.

In our last bit of naming news, D2 also made the decision to spell his first name a different way. This was something we had discussed because his first name was long and it looks a little funny with our last name. I was pretty sure he would choose the original spelling but he surprised me.

I sat down with him yesterday and told him he had to make a big decision. I wrote out both spellings on a piece of paper, spelled each one out loud for him and counted the number of letters in each name. He was adamant that he preferred the new spelling.  I explained to him that we would spell his name this way for the rest of his life and he still chose the new spelling. When I asked him why, he said, “Because it is shorter.” He is pretty excited about this change and has asked me to spell it the new way with him several times. It was actually really awesome to see him be so confident in making this decision.

Where We’ve Been

Watching construction workers…

Eating chocolate bunnies…

Being a cowboy and a pirate…

Finding toys in the laundry…

Standing on an airplane at the playground and loudly singing a made up song…

And, last but not least, throwing sticks in a creek…

These little guys are so much happier with the ability to go outside in the nice weather. And we are happier too because it makes behavior so much better. I told them about 87 times yesterday, “You guys are the best.” The last time I said it we were driving home late in the evening and they were both tired.  D2 said, “Okay, okay!”

I really just could not be more proud of them.

From the Blog World

I love the internet. I could be embarrassed about the number of blogs I read but I’m not.  Here is what has jumped out to me through my blog reader and/or social networking in the past week.

Kristen talked about the relationships formed through the blogging and social networking world. It is 2011, people, this happens. In fact, it was the catalyst for us becoming foster parents. Which leads me to my next link.

An exciting post from my newest online friend…

Did you know you could miss someone you’ve never met? I long for them to fill this lovely room with their energy and joy. I, just like my Father, look forward to revealing this beautiful room to my future children. I long to see the delight on their faces when they discover what has already been created specifically for them, a place that no one can take from them, a place that’s safe and bright, a mix of past and present, a place to grow.

Jodi shares about the joys and struggles of being married to someone in ministry…

Every pastor’s wife I’ve ever met (and I’ve met a lot) has struggled with the dual nature of the pastor’s wife role. It’s simultaneously exciting and fulfilling and really, really hard.

Yesterday, I lost my patience with my kids more time than I really want to admit. Sometimes, I think, “Where is that nurturing gene I was so sure I had before kids?” I apologized to both of them before bed time and we prayed and asked God to help each of us be kinder and more patient with each other. I appreciated these simple tips from Elizabeth Esther on being a nurturing mother.

One that I would add to her list that I find is an issue for me is making sure to eat well. It is easy for me to feed my kids and make sure they get protein,  fruits and veggies (specifically, using this method). However, I notice that I rarely feed myself as well as I feed them. There are too many days when noon rolls around and all I’ve had is several cups of coffee. Hunger gives me a headache and also makes me way less patient than I’m capable of being.  I’ll feed them lunch, get them to rest/nap time and then eat something that is quick and easy and probably without any protein or good nutritional value. Even five years into being gluten-free, I’m still figuring out what is quick and easy and healthy. What I really  need to do is plan ahead to make sure I have options in the house for me. Anyone else have this problem or something similar?

Mental Snapshots

Remember Jim & Pam’s wedding episode where they take mental snapshots throughout the day? Well, I find myself doing that a lot lately.

Friday night about seventy people from our church gathered to assemble HOPE gift bags that we are distributing to 7,000 houses this month. Kids were welcome to join the “packing party” and it was a great opportunity to teach our boys about sharing our faith. After talking to them a bit, D2 said, “So, we want everyone to know about Jesus.” Exactly, buddy.

The boys’ behavior that day had not been awesome, especially A. I was a bit nervous about bringing them especially since it was right before bedtime and A is prone to evening meltdowns. Fortunately, we have some wonderful friends who let the boys “work” with them as they assembled bags.

Our friend’s Mike & Kelly have two boys (ages 11 & 10) and D2 & A LOVE them. Ryan and Josh are their heroes. Ryan was nice enough to let D2 tag along with him throughout the night. They did some jobs together, got water for volunteers and even assembled some bags.

At one point, I asked D2 if he wanted a new job and he said, “I just want to be with Ryan.” We see a whole new side of him when he is with older kids. So often he is the “boss” since he is the oldest child. It is nice to see him looking up to someone else. (We made sure to slip Ryan a $5 for being such a good sport).

Because I’m “that mom” I was checking on them every few minutes and I called out to D2, “You doing okay?” He looked at me with this huge smile on his face and gave me a thumbs up. He seemed so proud of himself for being able to work alongside the big kid. In my mind, I was thinking, “God, help me keep that in my memory forever.”  They are just growing up so quickly and it is so easy to forget these sweet  moments.