Thursday, April 30, 2009

She's Just THAT Cute

Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy having a little girl? It's all I thought it would be and so much more! I've really enjoyed dolling her up each morning for school. This morning I couldn't resist a little photo shoot. Can you see how happy she is? Happy happy little girl.
Yesterday we had a really fantastic time at a birthday party for a sweet friend with Down Syndrome. There were a total of 6 children at the party with DS and every single one of them were so cheery and enjoyable. There is so much we could learn from them.
Tomorrow night we plan to take the kids to a Home school Spring Dance. It will be the first ever dance party for all our kids and they are super excited!

Curses and Blessings

"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing; but in our culture, we apply for a curse and reject blessings. [Doug Phillips]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thing 3

Could someone please alert Dr. Suess that we have found and captured Thing 3. We will keep her here until he can come around to collect her.

Boys Night/Girls Night Out

Fierce Pirate Jude
Friday was dress like a pirate day at Jude's school followed by a boys night out pirate party. Since I'm still among the "girls" I was uninvited. ;) Jim rounded up our four boys and they headed out for their first boys only outing. They had such a great time at the party!
Lovenie and I couldn't just sit around at home while the boys were out having their fun so the two of us headed out for our own special girls night. We went out to eat and then shopping. Lovenie was just so darling and enjoyable.
Sometimes in the craziness of life it is so easy to lose sight of what a joy our children are. Last night I was helping Jude with his homework when it spiralled into some sort of silly conversation which then spiralled into serious and heartfelt talks. He made me laugh, he made me nearly cry, you name it! What was sweet was just listening to him and marveling at how amazing he is. It's nice to shove aside the busyness and just "SEE" these great kids. Hopefully this will lead to many more boys/girls nights out and remind me to slow down and enjoy these little treasures in our home.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More Changes Then A Newborn Baby

At least that is what things seem like around here. Yesterday we learned that Stephanie's host family is having a very big change in their family too and can no longer keep Stephanie with them. We have been given one months notice to find alternative plans. Today I sent a bio and photo of her to an organization that helps connect families with a child for adoption and families looking to adopt. With Stephanie's age and issues she certainly is not an easy placement but we continue to hold out hope that there has to be a family somewhere out there that will give Stephanie the chance that she needs.

Today I went to pick up Lovenie from preschool and our car would not start. Problem is... I let some of our children stay home while I went to pick her up. It was the first time I let them stay while I went to get her so wouldn't ya know this would happen? It seems that our car key and our ignition are no longer friendly. It is now 6 hours later and we are still working on it. Poor Jim had to come rescue me and Lovenie so we could get back to the boys and now will be at work until late making up for lost time.

Please continue praying for Stephanie, passing on the info about adopting her, and sending me any ideas you might have!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lovenie Goes To School

Today was a big day for our baby girl! Today she had her first day of speech therapy preschool. It was my first experience of letting my "baby" go to school. Now I get what all the talk is about. I sat her down at the table and said goodbye and she looked sad and wouldn't talk to me~ break my heart! Of course by the time I picked her up she was all cheery and can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Yesterday we had an IEP meeting for her. This is when I learned the results of all the testing they had done for her. I'm thrilled to share that she tested at a 24 month level. This is great considering how far she's come in such a short time.

When did our baby get so grown up???

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pizza Parlor Hoppin'

Have you ever just really craved something specific and nothing else will do? This happened on Saturday night when I just had my heart, and stomach, set on a gooey pizza from a new favorite pizza place. We tried to call and have delivery but no one would answer the phone. Whew, they are usually very busy but not so much that they don't answer the phone. We were not to be detoured so we jumped in the car to head to the pizza parlor. When we got there we found that the electricity was out. BUMMED we drove away and found another pizza joint we had not tried before. Reluctantly we went ahead and ordered. The pizza was sad, oh so very sad. While at that pizza place we called the other place and learned that they were open again so we placed our order and finished up our very sad pizza and off we went to the parlor we really wanted. Going from one pizza place to another was a first for us but BOY was it worth it!

It has been H~O~T here. Saturday we had our first swim day of the season. Our new pool is heated just right and was wonderful. Sunday we returned for round two of splashy fun. Also on Sunday Jim's brother came over and helped us build some storage crates in our back yard. Our kids just LOVE their Uncle Matt. The boys and I helped a little and then left Jim and Matt to the hard, hot labor while we ran off to the pool. Three cheers for our heroes Jim and Matt!!!

Lovenie goes through phases at the pool~
Phase 1~ Sassy, silly, and on the move

Phase 2~ Fading fast

Phase 3~ ZZZZZZZ

Tomorrow is a very BIG day for a certain little darling girl. Details tomorrow!

Monday, April 13, 2009

First Easter In America

We couldn't ask for a more beautiful first Easter with our children!

Below is a photo of the baskets and gifts we put together for our kids and nephews. Instead of Easter Eggs we made resurrection gifts with tissue paper and ribbons. Not because we are so very creative and clever, but because we are the definition of procrastination and all plastic Easter eggs had been sold out of the stores by the time we went looking for them. The eggs would certainly be easier but the resurrection gifts (as we named them) are just beautiful. Maybe it will be a new tradition?

Bring on the kids!
The gifts were met with much glee.

Lovenie receives her first ever bible

After gifts it was time to scramble around and get everyone ready for church. Our service was held outdoors in a park. Jim and I sat in lawn chairs while our children laid out in the sun in front of us. It was a sweet time.

Followed by a picnic and egg hunt`

Jude enjoyed his first Easter egg hunt. He excitedly showed me his huge full bag. I reminded him to make sure that the littler kids found them too. He went back and gave away nearly every single one of his eggs to little kids. So sweet! Then later when Luke's bag tore open Jude offered him his.

Searching for reserrection gifts at home~

After church we returned home for a super great celebration with Jim's sister and family. It is so great living near them now and it was fun to be spend the evening with them. It made it all the more special for our family.

Our handsome and sweet nephews are so fun to be with. One of them even collected the resurrection gifts for Lovenie while she napped.

Lovenie ends out the night with some sass.
I had a long phone chat with Stephanie on Saturday night. Her foster parents had taken her to a dramatic Easter play. She loved it so much that they found friends to take her back to it a second time in the same day. I had gone by the group home to see her and leave her a gift but she was away at the play. Knowing the family that she spent her first American Easter with, I am certain she had a very special one! It was strange to not be able to include her on our family celebration but this is just the kind of thing we will have to get used to.
Overall, a really memorable and fantastic day!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Many Changes

So it has been a little over a week since Stephanie has been out of our home and I think maybe I might be ready to share an update. Whew... things have been so heartbreaking around here. We find ourselves in that place of having to totally rely on God to get us through it.

Stephanie is currently at a Christian Therapeutic Group Home. She is safe and is with a couple (without children in the home) that is very kind to her but strict as well. This couple is such an answer to prayers. She is very homesick and wants to come back home to us but we can not and will not let that happen any time soon (if ever). Please continue to pray for her and pray for our hearts as we struggle with our relationship with her. This group home is likely a very temporary situation as it is costing us thousands a month. Not something, short of a miracle, that we can do for long. Ideally we would still like to find her a family that would be willing to adopt her through adoption disruption. We think she would thrive best in a home where there would not be young or mentally disabled children. If we cannot find her a home we may be left with little option and have to allow CPS to take over. :(

Now that she is out of the home Lovenie seems to have let the floodgates of pain open. She does not speak much (because of the stroke) but communicates by words as much as she can and the rest she communicates with dolls and pointing. Please please pray for Lovenie as she is for the first time grieving what has been happening to her.

The whole thing is just really sad! It is so hard to comfort Lovenie by day and then in the evenings talk with Stephanie and comfort and encourage her too. We know what has happened has been a result of so much pain in her life too. Some days it is easy to extend her grace and other days I struggle with anger and not wanting to be in a situation where I have to talk with her. I had a very honest talk with her about this recently and told her that some days we can talk but there will be other days she'll just have to give me some space to work through this all too.

It's still a very dark time with a lot of unknowns. I keep trying to cling to the fact that God made it clear that He already has it figured out but it is so easy to slip back into fear or trying to "solve" it all myself.

Now some positives~ While I was away at the retreat Jim went into Lovenie and Stephanie's room and removed all of Stephanie's things. Jim had Lovenie give him input and was so sensitive about making sure she was okay with what he was doing. He then set the room up to surround her with things that are only for HER. Stressing that this is only her room now. She smiled and clapped her hands and has been spending so much time in there. The way he did it and the sensitivity he used makes me so very proud of my husband.

I keep watching and waiting for Jude to start acting out over all that is happening. He has not. He has been a real joy and does not seem to be taking it all too hard. He says he understands why his sister had to go somewhere else and he is protective over Lovenie. Honestly, there has been a real peace in our home when we are not in the thick moments of dealing with the issues. I had not realized how much stress we had been under for the last 8 months until Stephanie was gone. It makes me sad to realize how much tension our family had been living with each day, and worse, how much fear our children were living with. The overall reaction from all the kids seems to be one of great relief.

We have never been in a situation like this and are constantly asking ourselves if we are handling it well and making good decisions. It's so tough. No one can tell us what to do~ it is for us to work through while trusting in God to lead us through it. I know there are times that we probably say or do the wrong things but we can only pray that God will smooth it over and help us continue on.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Ah the joys of living with a son with mild autism. No, seriously... he's such a joy! He says the most off the wall things and does it with the funniest faces. He really cracks us up. Unfortunately autism has a repetitive and sometimes annoying side. Johnny goes through phases that he says the same thing over and over again. One of my favorites was his phase that to everything we asked him he would answer with an exaggerated tone and say "I have COMPLETE no idea!" This one has given us many laughs and although he has moved on from it Jim and I still jokingly say it about things. Now he has moved onto asking us "Really?" to EVERYTHING we say.

Us~ "It's time to eat."
Johnny~ "Really?"
Me~ "Johnny you forgot to put away your dishes."
Johnny "Really?".

On and on this goes. It totally amuses me. I laugh in my head right now at it as I think of how much his response echo's exactly how I feel. I feel like saying to God "Really?" to everything happening in our lives. Some of the things we are experiencing seems so surreal because you never really think you will find yourself in this place. I've found myself asking Jim "Is this really happening?" "Is this really our life right now?"

A little ode today to the word REALLY!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It Rains Harder On Me

After enjoying a gorgeous sunny day yesterday it is now cold and pouring down rain today~ hailing even. The kids and I stood at the window in awe watching it pour down. It was all fun and games until I realized "OH NO" I left one of the windows in the car open. I grab a jacket and throw it over my head without even bothering to put it on. Out in the storm I went yelling "BRRRRRR" the whole time. I got the window closed and ran back to the house. Just as soon as I was indoors the rain let up and became a drizzle. Me and the kids laughed about it. I asked them if they thought I make it rain harder and when they all said yes we decided to test it. So I threw the jacket back overhead and out again I ran. Sure enough, once I was outdoors again it started raining harder. I'm indoors again now and there is nearly no rain. Weird right? If anyone has any big outdoor events you need it to not rain for just give me a call and I'll make sure to stay in that day.

This morning I was doing our start of the school day prayer with the boys. Afterwards Johnny looked out the window at the rain and said very matter of factly "A 100% chance of rain today". He's a genius alright!

Monday, April 06, 2009

I've Been A Silly Silly Girl

I have returned home from one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen~ Lake Tahoe. I was able to rest, read, and worship. I spent precious alone time with God and was able to just be still and really HEAR Him and feel his presence. So Great!

The last few days leading up to the retreat were not so great. Now that Stephanie is out of the home Lovenie has felt safe to tell us what has been happening. Have you ever thought it might be possible that your heart could actually shatter from aching? I held her while she chattered and cried. I listened when she talked without asking more then she wanted to tell or trying to distract her. It occurred to me that this precious little girl has never had anyone to protect her, hear her, and hold her while she cries. I'm determined to do all I can to end that here and now. Once she would go back happily about her play I would be free to go to my room and sob and sob. Then I had to deal with some feelings of anger about it all. It wasn't pretty. On top of all of that the heavy stress about what to do about the situation we are now in has been nearly unbearable. The thoughts of what we should do now and how to help everyone had consumed my every waking thought.

This weekend I got alone with God and He gently told me that I am being a silly silly girl. What do I think I can accomplish with all my efforts? I could never heal the hurt in our children. I could never personally figure out an answer an how to handle this all. Then He hit me with the whopper~~~ It is not my problem to solve! What? It sure feels like our problem to solve, but it is not and has never been. This has been God's show all along. He already has the answer and will reveal it to us when it is time. All He asks of us is to have a willing heart to do whatever part of it He calls us to. God brought my attention to this verse: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," Says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher then the earth, So are my ways higher then your ways, And my thoughts then your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Knowing this is the truth WHY would I even try to come up with my own plan? I need to step back and remember that I was never intended to control the situation. Whew, What a huge relief that is!

He also brought my attention to: The chastisement for our Peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are HEALED. Isaiah 53:5 This is a verse I've heard many times before but it took on new meaning to me. Not just healed from our sins but healed from ALL things that sin creates. It was a sweet promise to cling to that God is at work in Stephanie and I believe with all my heart He will heal the many hurts that has been done to her. She will come out of this stronger, more compassionate, and more loving. All that was intended to harm her will be healed and what was intended for bad will be used for good. Our little ones at home will heal as well. How do I know? All the sin that created the pain has already been paid for and defeated. Cool thing right???

For my children God has shared with me;
Great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13

And for myself;
For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace

Joy and peace while being led. That works for me!!

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Because I managed to snag the world's greatest husband~ Jim will be taking the day off of work tomorrow and sending me away for a 3 day women's retreat with our new church. I won't really know anyone yet but that doesn't bother me much as I love to meet new people. The timing is so perfect and a retreat is just what the Dr. (as in the Great Physician) ordered.

Things continue to be sad around here and probably will be for quite a while. We just keep praying for a miracle. We try very hard not to let it take our lives over and leave us unable to enjoy anything. We are determined to laugh and love too.

I'll be back soon and hopefully come home refreshed and recharged!

Got Me

Some of you that are my friends every day of the year EXCEPT on
April 1st will be very happy to know that I was pranked good yesterday. Jim made a good attempt but it didn't work. Then at night I went upstairs to brush my teeth and when I turned on the water it went every which way except down! I looked at it and found cling wrap had been strategically wrapped around the nozzle and tied down. I went down stairs and told Jim good job for finally getting me. He said he didn't do it, I insisted he must of and asked if he was April fooling me by denying it. He then asked me if I was April fooling him by saying it was done and he did it. Around and around like this we went (we trust each other every day but this day). It wasn't until morning when we learned it was JUDE!!! Way to go Jude. I'm awfully proud of him and look forward to seeing what he will come up with next year.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Eggs And Beans In My Purse

Aw, it is one of my favorite days of the year. I LOVE April fools day. A day for totally silliness. This morning I woke up early and while everyone slept I took everything out of Jude's backpack and wrapped each item in tinfoil. Then I put them all together in a bundle and wrapped it all with cling wrap, along with a note that said Happy April Fools Day. Then I moved on to Jim's Laptop case where everything (including his wallet) got the tinfoil treatment. I put cling wrap under the toilet seats to catch peep on unsuspecting morning peepers and did all sorts of other little pranks. When Jim was awake I took him into the boys room with me to watch while I very carefully used red lip liner to draw on mustaches and beards. ;) I couldn't believe I managed to get them all without them figuring out what I was doing!

I'm not all pranks and mean, I'm silly too. On April Fools day we eat our meals backwards. This morning we had dinner for breakfast~ spaghetti and fresh out of the oven brownies. The kids LOVE doing this but nervously checked all their food and drinks because they were so sure I did something to them. Jim discovered his tin wrapped laptop case before leaving and the kids all had a good laugh that I got their Dad. When Jim was leaving I smiled sweetly at Jim and told him to have a nice drive to work. Everyone looked at each other and then ran outside to see what I did to the car. Jim got in very cautiously and his parting words were "You didn't cut the brakes did you?". After he left the kids all asked me what I did and I told them the truth. I did NOTHING. But it's fun to imagine Jim cautiously driving all the way to work. ;)

The kids keep trying to get me back and have pulled over some little tricks on me. This morning I opened my purse and found all sorts of strange things. Toys, a tinfoil wrapped camera, and A CAN OF BEANS!! I thought this was all funny until I found that everything in my purse was STICKY. That's when I learned that one of the kids thought it would be funny to place an egg in my purse too. Only problem is that they accidentally broke the egg while putting it in there! We had a nice little chat about the rules about pranks~ no hurting or angering anyone, and no damaging things (like say, egg on my checks, cards, pictures, etc!!!). It's been a fun morning and the fun is sure to continue. I'll be thinking up new pranks as the day goes on. Tonight we will be having breakfast for dinner.

On a not as funny update~ As of yesterday Stephanie is not in the home with us. We have her in a temporary situation that we think is an answer to our prayers. I'll update more later but today we just need rest, prayer time, and then we will move on to making some serious decisions.