Sunday, November 30, 2008

"It BETTER be raining!!!!"

I have not yet managed to download vacation photos to share so I'll jump out of order here and share a not~so~funny~at~the~time but totally~funny~now story. The day before Thanksgiving we left Circus Circus in Reno and headed out for what usually is a 5 hour trip to Santa Cruz for the next part of our vacation. It took us over 10 hours and was so very not a fun day. Not only did we hit a ton of barely crawling traffic but we were all tired of being in the car and were quite moody (except for Jim who does not get moody, don't know how he does it!). We were all feeling a bit on the sick side too which does not make for a fun trip either.

Johnny had a bad earache and had been crying so we switched everyone around in the seats so that I was sitting in the vans middle row to comfort him. We took a dinner detour and were stuck in drive thru with a line of cars in front of us and behind us when Johnny yelled "I'm going to be blahhhhh" and hurled all over himself, the car seat, and his Mom. Here's the problem... I'm one of those people that seeing and smelling it makes my body react to it so that it is a great effort not to hurl as well. So we are stuck in drive thru with it all over the place and little we could do about it but try not to get sick also. That drama ended and was all cleaned up and we hit the road again (with everyone eating except me and Johnny who were both now sick). We got onto one of those stretches of freeway where there is nothing around when Johnny yelled out that he is going to be sick again. I grabbed a plastic grocery sack and threw it under his face to catch some of the goods and Jim swung quickly to the side of the road. I threw open the door and tossed out the sack and the still hurling boy and continued to fight the urge to join him. Gagging the whole time I helped to clean out the car. I was standing outside and had my back to the sliding door, cleaning inside, when I suddenly felt something wet falling on my head and down the back of my sweater. I had a sinking feeling I knew what happened and yelled out "It BETTER be raining!!!". I turned in time to see Jim holding the sack of Johnny's goods over my head. He had thought the sack just had dirty napkins in it we used to clean up the mess, not realizing that Johnny had used it for more. He was holding it over the top of the car (and over my head) thinking that he would toss it into the bags of luggage on the luggage rack not knowing that in doing so he was pouring out yuck on me! Gross!!! So for the next hour and a half I sat in the car with it in my hair (I had ripped the sweater off right away) smelling it all the way to the hotel and gagging the whole time. I told Jim that this was probably going to be very funny later but it's not yet! It is funny now that it is over, and yes... it sure wasn't funny at the time. Only a road trip can provide a "Remember that time you poured puke over my head?". Gotta love a road trip!

Disclaimer by Jim: "Just so you know I felt sooooo bad and didn't think it was funny at the time either."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Building A History Together

We have just returned from a very special vacation together. Some of our times were fantastic and some nearly drove me insane(er). When sharing some of our adventures with my Mom she made a comment to me that really stuck with me. She reminded me that we are building a history with our new family members. What a fantastic way to look at it. There were so many times that I would just look at the six of our kids and couldn't believe that they were really all here with us. There were also many times I would think of our sweet Jacques still in Haiti and wish that he was there with us too. The most precious time was not only our first Thanksgiving together but celebrating Jude's birthday with him. Birthdays were always the hardest days during the wait to bring them home. I told Jude that every year on his birthday I would cry because I missed him so much and NOW he is right here with me and I am soooooooo happy! Thank you God for our seven amazing children!!

I've many great photo's and stories to share soon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Munch 'N' Math

This morning William Clay Christan Academy shook things up a little bit. We did something we dubbed Munch N Math. We headed to the BK for a yummy warm breakfast....

Then got out our math work for the day...

There was something about going out and doing your math in a new environment that was very fun for the kids. They thought it was an awfully clever theme I came up with. I just laughed because I wasn't being clever... we just didn't have groceries for breakfast! It's called lazy. ;) Nevertheless, the kids were thrilled and all got perfect scores on their math work. The kids want to know what tomorrows theme is. I've raised the bar now, haven't I? Tomorrow is the last day of school before we leave for vacation and they get a week off. It will also be Stephanie's last day doing school at home.
The above picture is from when I took the kids to Applebees after their surprise shots at the doctors office. They were all smiling and being good sports about it. I was so proud of them. I'm finding it easier and easier to run errands with six kids. Does that mean it's time to add more? Hmmmm....

Another Day To Celebrate

Because I never ever want to take it for granted..... Praising God... Today I Am 20 months seizure free!!! WOO HOO!!!

Today is also the birthday of one of the greatest men ever born to this world... MY FATHER! I talked to him last week and laughed when the usual line came about from him "Hey, I've got a story for you." The story of course was hysterical, it always is. I'll attempt to share this one but not having been blessed with his gift for joke or story telling it won't be nearly as great~

A man came up to a pastor and asked him to pray for his hearing. The pastor willingly agreed and put one hand over the man's ear and used the other to apply oil to the man's forehead. After praying for him he asked the man how his hearing is now and the man said "I don't know, It's not until Monday at 9:00"

There is always, always, always a joke or funny story when you are with my Dad and I've never met a person that can deliver them as well as him either. He's always been such a sweet Dad to me. He used to take me out alone on many Father~daughter dates and I always had a blast with him and it was such an honor to have all his attention. He's just a really great man and I've never met another person that exudes as much life, love, and laughter as he does!

Last week we had to file with the state as a private school (one of the ways you can legally teach your children at home in CA). We wanted to come up with a new school name and started doing searches and making a list of the ones we liked. One website recommended you name your school after someone that is a hero to your family. After a unanimous family vote we are pleased to announce that we are now known as William Clay Christian Academy (my fathers name). He truly is a hero to us all because of the way he lives his life serving others and he is so very very loved by us! Happy Birthday Daddy!!!!

Another big happening today~ Bryn leaves the kids at HFC and will be headed back to America for a while. There are sure to be a river of tears from her and the kids. What a HUGE blessing she has been to all of us with loved ones at HFC and she will be so missed. Please pray for her travels today but even more for her heart. It is no easy thing at all to walk away from those precious teens.

Monday, November 17, 2008

right hand

today i am learning to be a little more thankful for the gift of a right hand. this morning i burned my right hand in several places and have some gnarly blisters plus some gnarly pain. it is amazing to me how difficult it is to do things without the hand you are used to using. the little things are tough like brushing teeth, fixing hair, making dinner and you can forget about trying to eat corn with a fork... it's nearly impossible!
while it has not been a picnic, i still marvel at how blessed i am. yes it hurts, and yes it's inconvenient, but today i had access to as many pain killers as i fancy and ice packs to cool the pain all day long. many people around the world bare far worse pain without such luxuries. how my heart goes out to them today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Girls Day Out

Ah, today is a day I have waited a lifetime for. School shopping for a daughter!! The above photo is an excited Mom and excited daughter ready to head out and spend the day alone together while searching out the best bargains in town. I think I have found a "sport" that Stephanie and I both love. ;) We spent the first 2 hours in a local favorite store laughing, looking at everything in the store, and both of us trying on almost everything they had. Good times. When leaving there I called to check in with Jim and found out he was in the same area with all the other kids so we decided to meet up at a McDonalds. This was when the day got a little ugly! I won't go into the details but to say that I dropped my protective guard over the kids and one of them had something happen to them that still makes me just ill. The whole thing was just beyond crummy.

When we left there Stephanie and I were headed to another store to get the rest of the things we wanted to find for her. She is almost all set for school now and is so thrilled with her new wardrobe. We really had some great moments together today!

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's worse then getting a shot?

Taking your child to get a shot when you know they don't want it. What's worse then taking your child for a shot when you know they don't want it? Taking SIX children for EIGHTEEN shots in ONE day! Ugh. I'm tired. ;) In follow up to the announcement that Stephanie is headed to public school: we went today to see her doctor and see if she needed to get caught up on any shots before starting school. She didn't need just one or two but 5! Poor girl is like her Mama and just hates needles. Then the doctor says that since we are all there he may as well order another round of shots for Jude and Lovenie too, which would put the total up to 15 shots. Not to stop there he said that all our kids needed the flu shot this year because getting a bad flu in the family could really put Stephanie at risk for some trouble with a health condition she has. So count in a shot each for Kyle, Johnny, and Luke too. Sure didn't see that all coming when I headed off to the doctors office with the kids! Have I mentioned HOW much I dislike needles? Have I mentioned how much I dislike holding down a screaming child while they get stuck with needles? I sure was proud of them all though for hanging tough and getting it done.

Afterwards we hit up Applebees for some deserts as a reward for their unexpected and unwelcomed twist to their day.

Just want to throw in a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing Mom~ The greatest woman I know. I hope you are having a fun birthday. God made this world a much more beautiful place when he created you and you are so very loved by us all!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A First For Her, A First for Me

Yesterday we had another family first that will result in more change in our home. I picked up the paper work to register Stephanie for public middle school. It was amazing to me how little I know about the details when it comes to public school.. What time does it start and end? How do I purchase her lunches? Which immunizations does she need? What is the dress code? What does she need for PE? What school supplies does she need? What is the bus schedule and how much does it cost? It costs to take a bus to school now?!! I always thought it was free, is this a new thing? Where do I take her for her English level testing? Do I do that before or after she starts? The list of questions go on and on!

I was often asked before bringing the kids home if I would continue to home school all our kids and the only answer I could give is "I'm going to try!". I still believe that if I was focused solely on what is in their best interest educationally that I would keep them home, but I've also always said that if home schooling became toxic in my relationship to any of the kids I would not hesitate to look for an alternative.

There are some positive reasons for this decision; Stephanie is very social and is used to being around many girls her age. So we think she will enjoy being gone during the day and making new friends. Also, she is hesitant to learn and speak English and I think we make it convenient to be comfortable with that since we communicate a lot with her in Creole. We think being thrown into an environment that she MUST learn and speak English will help her in the long run.

The not so positives; I would be very surprised if the remainder of this school year will actually be very educationally successful for her since she will still be learning English and she will be started in 7th or 8th grade because of her age. She has only completed through 2nd grade in Haiti and when I do 2nd-3rd grade work with her at home she really struggles to understand concepts that Johnny, Jude, and Luke (yes, Luke is doing 2nd-3rd grade math and reading and he rocks at it at only 5 years old!) catch onto quickly. So it's really going to be a challenge for her. The big pressing decision for sending her to public school though has honestly been our relationship. Adoption is difficult enough but when you throw in a teen girl in the mix, a different culture, and totally different personalities and whew! To say we have not "clicked" would be quite the understatement. I love her. I am glad that she is here. I totally believe she will be a beautiful blessing in this family. However, for now, we clash daily. This causes frustration and tension that is felt by all members of the family. I'm worn out by it and the other kids lose out when I am having to struggle with her all day and they get only a cranky and distracted Mom. So for the health of our family, and the hopes that being with other kids will bring her joy... I believe this must be done. We do pray that Stephanie will love her new school! We certainly want her to be happy. We are going on a 10 day family vacation starting next week so she will begin after we get back on Dec. 1st. She is nervous about it so please pray for her if you think of it. I gave them the option of going to public schools or staying home and they all wanted to do school at home. So she has not been exactly excited about our decision to send her. I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lost and Found Weekend

Wow, is it Monday already? Friday night was a lot of fun playing games, and eating pizza and cake. Kyle had a really nice birthday day. Saturday he received one of his gifts from us and it was a trip to San Diego Zoo with his favorite Dad and favorite friend. They had a great time together~ until the end. Kyle had realized that he left a bag that he carries around with him under a chair at one of the shows. Not only was it his favorite bag but it contained his DS game system, the new game we had just given him the night before as a birthday gift, and his wallet with his new birthday cash. When they returned to look for it it was gone. He was bummed, we were bummed. They spent a long time at the end of their day trying to find it and asking all the employees. Well after closing time they finally gave up and headed home. Not the best way to end your birthday celebration.

While Jim, Kyle, and friend were at the zoo I did something with the remaining 5 kids that I have been wanting to do for a long time~ Chuck E Cheese. It was busy, crazy, and fun for the kids. It was so great to get to watch them see it all for the first time. Even Lovenie was totally into it. I warned the kids not to set their little cups of tokens down or someone might walk away with it. It did not take long until Johnny came to me with a sad face because someone had taken his tokens while he was playing (about 60 of them). It was just moments later that I got the phone call from Jim about what had happened to Kyle's bag. Kind of an "off" day for our kids and their things.

The birthday sleepover continues and has been stretched into a 4 night slumber party! The kids are having a great time together. Sunday we all headed to church together and when we got home Jim called San Diego Zoo and to the delight of us all learned that the bag was at some point turned in. It is being mailed to us. We are so happy for Kyle and so thankful to the person that turned it in instead of taking it. Our weekend adventures will continue on today. Jim has the day off work and is at the doctors right now with Jude. Today he will have the stitches removed and, for the first time in 2 weeks, return back to regular shoes! I bet he will want to throw away those clunky blue post op shoes!!!

Today we will be working on a "project". You know how you tell your kids over and over and over not to do something or something unpleasant could happen? Well, despite repeating the warning at least a million times (seriously, I'm pretty sure it was a million), our request was not taken seriously. The result being that we will be spending the rest of Jim's day off renting a tool from Home Depot and hopefully repairing what was done. Ah, It's great being ignored in two languages now. ;)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday Dear Kyle!!!!

This is what 10 looks like (taken this morning)

He's finally done it. Finally hit the double digits in his age! I know this is the point that it seems like I should say "I can't believe he is already 10", but I don't feel that way with Kyle. He is always so mature way beyond his years that he has always seemed older then he is.

What a very precious gift this young man is to our family. He is sweet, thoughtful, smart, and so much fun! To know him is to absolutely love him. There are no words for how proud of him I am!

Today is a birthday which means at our academy SCHOOL IS CLOSED! No school, no chores, just fun all day long. Later tonight a family of some of our all time favorite people will be heading over for pizza, cake, and a wild and crazy game night. At the end of the night they have agreed to leave behind their son, and Kyle's best friend, for a TWO night sleep over. Tomorrow morning Kyle will receive his main birthday gift which is a trip to the San Diego zoo with just his Dad and best friend! Good times! Happy birthday dear son!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jacques and Vilner

Here is the most recent picture of Jacques we have received (thanks Kez!). We had not seen his face in a picture since we left Haiti 3 months ago so I was very excited to see this photo. I think Jacques is so amazing. He's smart, sweet, funny, kind... just terrific! We have been emailing each other letters a couple times a week and every time I get a letter from him I just want to hop on the next flight to Haiti! I'm happy to report that he continues to be doing very well. I know I have not posted a lot of updates on here regarding his adoption but it is only because we have had no updates. As far as we know his file continues to be in process in IBESR, so no changes yet at all. I look forward to being able to share some good news about his adoption soon!

We have no updates at all about Vilner. We are now moving along with life under the assumption that we will not be adopting him (at least not now). We have not heard anything at all since I saw him for the first time over a year ago. We've asked many times about him but our questions have always gone unanswered. It's a fine line between wanting to know what's going on and at the same time not wanting to put even the tiniest bit of pressure on their birth mom if she has changed her mind. We only know that he has not been brought into the orphanage and we can not get any information at all on him. We continue to pray for him, his Mom, and his new baby sibling.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Weez doin' Crazy

Jude just cracks me up! His english is coming along great and mixed with his accent he's just too cute. Recently he has started saying "Weez doin' crazy". Ah, it's just so funny how he says it. Tonight at dinner I told the kids they are just silly. Jude gives me a classic Jude look and says "I'ze thinkin' silly is over there" with a point in my direction. What entertainment he provides us with!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Beautiful Baby, Beautiful News

Last night I couldn't sleep and could not stop thinking about Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie's Mom. I knew that she was pregnant but could not get any news about her. I wondered if she had the baby, if it was a boy or girl (of course Stephanie and Jude wanted to know too), and if she was doing well. I decided to get up around midnight and start gathering some photos to send her while she was on my mind. I took a minute to check emails to find an email from Bryn (living in Haiti) who told me that she saw their Mom this week and had a picture of her and the baby and even had a video message for us. Isn't that like God to put her on my heart and mind and then send me news of her?

Aren't they BEAUTIFUL? Stephanie and Jude were very excited for their first peek at their little baby brother (?, not sure if it is a boy or a girl in boys clothes). Lovenie recognized her Mom right away but was convinced that it was a picture of Mama and Lovenie. Bryn promised to send the video when she can get her computer to cooperate. I'm so excited to receive it!