Friday, December 19, 2008

Tag, I'm it.......7 Random facts about me!

My friend Jen tagged me, so here are some random facts that you may or may not know about me!

1. By the time I graduated higschool, I had been to 13 different schools.
2. I had stints of playing volleyball, basketball, ballet, tap & jazz as a youngster.  (Tim is the only person currently in my life, outside of my family, that has seen some of the wonderful photos of me in those horrible dance recital outfits and some great pics of me playing basketball where he likes to refer to my arms and legs as tooth picks!)
3. I used to love to go swing dancing!
4.  I have done non tandem skydiving, whitewater rafting, and other crazy rope related activities like rock repelling and high ropes courses.
5.  I started out as a Home Economics major at Master's and then 1 year later switched to Biblical Counseling.
6. My hair was blonde up until I was about 4.
7. I have worked at 2 different Animal hospital/veterinary clinics.  One when I was like 13 and 14 in Oklahoma and one during college in Studio City, Ca.

I tag Amberlee, Cristina M. (if she hasn't done it already) and Lexi again b/c last I checked, she hadn't done it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Joey turned 3!

Joey turned 3 earlier this month and like Mia, it was the first birthday he has ever really celebrated.  He was very excited to have cupcakes, blow out candles and open his gifts!  He has changed the most since being home: he has grown 4 inches, gained about 10 pounds, his hair has grown, he looks older, he has become much more articulate, his personality has really come out and he is learning all kinds of things.  For the most part he has a very easy going personality, he is very happy and is the easiest one of all 4 to take places.  He loves to be held, he loves attention from ladies, he loves to flirt, he likes to squeal, he likes chicken nuggets, he loves to turn the lights on the christmas tree in the morning, he is very detailed, he is great at playing with Piper, he is very gentle, he is very agile and he likes to be silly!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adoption Day

A little over 2 1/2 years ago, Tim and I began the process to hopefully adopt 2 children from Uganda.  At that time, Kaden was about 9 months old and we thought the whole process would only take about 9 months to a year.  After a year of waiting we were matched with Melody.  One week before we were matched with Melody we found out we were pregnant with Piper.  About a week and half before Piper was born we found out one of us needed to make a trip to Uganda to sign paperwork.  Thankfully Piper was born 2 1/2 weeks early and the day before Piper's due date, Tim left for Uganda.  Tim met Joey while on that trip and we were matched with him shortly after.  After two more trips to Uganda, the kids came home marking two years of waiting coming to an end.  Wednesday, December 10th Tim and I were granted full and final adoption making us officially mom and dad!  We are very thankful to have this process come to an end, the Lord has been very gracious to our family and the transition for all of us was not as overwhelming as we thought it could be.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Biggest Fan!

The kids were eating lunch at the table today and we were listening to some music on the new ipod docking station that I had purchased in the wee hours of the morning for black Friday and I put on "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper and I was dancing 80's style and singing for the kids and Melody was soooo cute...... everytime I did a new move she would say with a very sincere and admiring voice "mommy, that was REALLY good!"  Yes, thats right folks, someone thinks I am a great dancer!  She is always super sweet!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thoughts approaching Christmas time!

Tim and I occasionally talk about how we want to do things with our family at Christmas.....traditions, gifts, etc.  We have come to the conclusion that our kids have a lot and are very privileged and so we get them one gift each....ultimately they get more with family giving them gifts but the basic idea is that we don't want to go crazy with all the gifts and make christmas all about getting presents.  I am not saying that if other people buy their kids more than one gift they are making christmas all about gifts, I am just commenting that this is a way we have chosen to go about making christmas a little less about getting presents.  We of course want to take lots of opportunities to talk to our kids about the true biblical meaning of christmas in every way we can.  Tim's mom makes a "Jesus Tree" for kids where all of the ornaments have a specific meaning or example of the story of Jesus birth and the gospel.....this year she is making the kids their own little tree and each day of December they get to open an ornament to put onto the tree and we get to talk about the symbolism.....its kinda like an advent calendar!  I also try to think of ways to teach the kids to think of others and I am not sure what that will look like for our family as our kids grow but I want to set some traditions now that we do each year.  One of the thoughts I have that was inspired by another friends blog is by giving to organizations that provide water to 3rd world countries.  "Solving this water problem once and for all will cost about $10 billion.  Not bad considering Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas last year".  -    Poor water conditions is the leading cause of death around the world and specifically in remote areas of the world.  Thousands of children die each day because of water related illnesses and it is not that hard to do something about.  My own children come from a country that suffers its own share of deaths related to poor water conditions and giving towards doing something about water conditions is one way we can help and in the process teach my family to think of others and have compassion for others!  I would love to hear ideas from others!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cooking more and eating healthier!

This is a bit of an out of character post for me but I just thought I would share something I have enjoyed lately! I have always liked the idea of cooking and baking everything from scratch because its more cost efficient, better for you, etc. but I am generally paralyzed by my lack of knowledge and experience and my lack of ideas.  I tend to tell myself I need a lot of time and practice to do all those things so I end up not doing it.  For the last few weeks I have been taking a little cooking class that is about taking the things my family already likes and eats and making them better for us by adding whole grains, fresh produce, etc.  I have really enjoyed the class and the process of learning about new things that are not as hard as they sound.  I have been adding Quinoa to a lot of things we is like a grain and when cooked is similar in texture to brown rice with very mild flavor but it is a complete protein and incorporated very easily into so many things that I already make.  I have learned about grinding my own wheat, which is something I never ever thought I would have any interest in.  Learning about the differences in wheat and how different they are in baking has been so has given me hope that Tim will actually like whole bread b/c there are sooooo many other options than the wheat bread that is in the store. I made my own bread......again something I never thought I would ever do and it was surprisingly easy and everyone has been eating it and likes it!  I have found that I enjoy doing these things and its nice to know that I can provide things for my family that don't contain all of the synthetic junk that is in most processed foods w/o spending an arm and a leg!  Hopefully I will keep moving forward in my progression of cooking and baking more!  I have a few kitchen electrics that will be on my list of things I would like to get down the road that would make this process easier and more enjoyable and maybe I will start trying to make my own fruit lether!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That doesn't look very good!

Kaden looked at this picture sitting on our shelf today and said "Mommy, what do you have on?"  To which I, of course responded, "a wedding dress" and he replied "that doesn't look very good!"  Not sure what he didn't like about it but apparently its not impressive to my 3 year old.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Piper turned 1!

Piper turned 1 and she was so cute when she got her gifts.......these are the first toys that are just for her and she really liked them, especially her little pink ride on horse!  When we sang happy birthday to her, she had the sweetest little bashful smile!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here comes trouble!

My busy, mobil, go getter little girl is getting into everything and trying to keep up with the bigger kids!  She turns 1 this weekend and is not walking yet but that does not deter her from going everywhere!  As you can see in the picture above, she loves to climb onto the bus and stand up and then scream as if to announce she is up there!  The other picture was not staged, all 4 kids were playing on a tipped over tool bench!  I think Mia and Kaden were pretending it was a car and Piper and Joey were just there to play along!

Mia's 5th Birthday!

Mia celebrated her 5th birthday.....she had been looking forward to it for months!  We had a birthday party with a bunch of her friends and their families and a big bounce house!  She was excited to blow out the candles on her cake!  The other picture above is her birthday present.....a dollhouse!  It was a hit with all of the kids!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

For the aunties . . .

Below are some really cute videos of the kids we filmed recently.  We want everyone that knew them at Amani to see how much they have grown here.  It really is incredible how fast they are growing up.  Our household is busy but fun.

This is a video of Kaden changing the imaginary bag on his lawn mower.  He loves our landscapers, often tells me that he wants to be a landscaper, and plays imaginary landscaper all the time.

This is a video of Joey playing that he is on a cell phone talking with people.

This is a video of me tickling Joey before getting ready for bed.  Joey loves being tickled and laughing.

Finally, this was just a really cute picture of Joey.

Friday, October 31, 2008

One more halloween pic!

This is the full effect of the costumes.  Kaden and Mia ended up ditching their respective wands and Kaden did not like to keep the mask was cute while it lasted.


This is about how we walked around for the evening. We have two little ballerina fairies, one little lion and superhero Kaden.

What a cute little Fairy!

Even from behind they are super cute!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Network problems

Our house has been plagued for some time with wireless network problems.  I have tried to understand why the wireless can work fine for 6 months and then all of a sudden stop working for an entire week and the only explanation I get from the "experts" is, "wireless is funny that way."

This weekend, I think I finally found the problem with the wireless.  It doesn't take an expert to conclude that a cat in your router is not a good thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christmas card picture!

Somewhere around 8 pictures later, this is what Tim's mom and dad wound up with for a christmas card picture!  This was as good as it was going to get!

Picture Post

Kaden fell asleep in daddy's arms but he still managed to get work done!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bring our garbage back!

Kaden was up in his room during his quiet play time and he heard the garbage truck and asked me what it was, I took him to his window so he could see the truck picking up the garbage cans and dumping the garbage.  He asked me if the truck took our garbage and I said yes to which he replied "mommy I want our garbage back, he needs to bring us our garbage back!"  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This one's for Grandma "Rosie"

Piper is pulling up onto everything now and starting to take little steps, so this one is for my mom and dad who do not live here.......your grandbaby is getting big!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Aren't they just too cute!

Of course I think they all look adorable.....Mia with her sweet smile, Piper is adorable as always, Kaden with his silly grin and Joey who is just being Joey.  Joey's legs look sooo long here which just goes to show how much he has grown......almost 4 inches.  He legs were not nearly that long when he first came home!

They all love their guitars!

The funny thing with this picture is that I did not stage it, apart from telling them to smile.  They all got the guitars and they were all sitting by each other, pretending to play.  Kaden's is the real guitar but of course he doesn't really know how to play.

Trying on costumes

The kids love to try on costumes and since we have been talking about hawloween, they have been trying them on more often.  They are also using their imaginations a lot now by pretending they are all kinds of different things like a landscaper, Dora & Diego, superhero, ballerina, etc.  I got Kaden a super cute superhero cape, mask, arm cuffs, etc. and he seems to like last years kangaroo costume the best, go figure!  Melody and Piper are actually going to be fairy princess's but I will save a picture of those adorable outfits for later.  Joey is thrilled to wear the lion costume, I think he would wear it around all the time if I let him!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When the children pray

I often read on my friends blogs, some of the really sweet things their kids pray about and its great to see how their little hearts are softened to various things.  We pray with the kids every night before bed and Mia prays for her friends from the orphanage, our family and then she will often say how thankful she is for something we did that day or something she is looking forward to.  Joey will pray for everyone in the family by name and then "Mommy and daddy" an additional 2 to 4 times.  Kaden will pray for our family, our church, and sometimes "the other Kaden".  He met another little boy named Kaden one time and now he prays for him often.  I am very thankful for these little times during the day that we have with the kids to get a little glimpse at where their hearts are at.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Questions about skin color

First off, this is Mia next to her new best friend, Kira that cat.  Melody was initially very scared of the cats but over time she has gotten used to them and now she loves Kira.  Kira is a very lazy, very laid back cat that lets the kids pet her, tug at her, sit next to her, and squish her and she generally doesn't care.  Mia really likes to pet her and talk to her.  This is a pic of Mia laying next to her, watching a cartoon.

Mia has recently started asking me "Mom, what color is my skin?"  "What color is your skin, is it white?"  I kinda assumed that she probably noticed the difference before she said anything because of being in Uganda where the contrast between the Ugandans and the mzungu seems pretty pronounced.  I tell her that her skin is dark brown and mine is a very light color and that there are all kinds of people with all different shades.  She asked me why and I said thats the way the Lord made people.  I am sure this is the beginning of many conversations over the years.  I kinda look forward to it though b/c its a demonstration of the unique and beautiful way the Lord has constructed our family!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Life with 4 kids under 5

A constant issue that we work on in our home, is sharing and being kind to one I took this picture because it is a wonderful example of the kids sharing and playing nicely together!  Even Piper is in her own little world on the side of the bus.  This was first thing in the morning, the kids are still in their jammies and they were pretending to go somewhere!  

People will often ask me how it is having 4 kids under the age of 5.  This picture is an example of one facet of what life is like!  We have a lot of conversations about being kind, sharing, using kind words, having a happy heart, being obedient, listening attentively and having self control.  We constantly answer a ton of questions......a typical conversation might go something like this:
Mommy, did you get your hair cut?
Why did you get a haircut?
Who cut your hair?
Where did you go?
Why did you cut your hair?
Can I get my hair cut?
Did daddy get his haircut?
Did Kaden get his haircut?
Mommy, when I get big am I going to get my haircut?
Am I going to be big like you?
Am I going to be big tomorrow?
When I get big, I am going to help you make pancakes.
When I get big, am I going to cook just like you? etc., etc, etc.

On any given day there will be a lot of laughing and giggling, some pouting and crying, some really sweet moments of sharing, a lot of hugs and sitting on my lap, a lot of eating and filling up cups, a lot of cleaning up, laundry, a lot of saying "Kaden, Joey & Mia come please", and of course, lots of questions!  At first it was overwhelming but like most things, you get used to it.  it is a lot of work to meet the needs of 4 small kids but once you get used to it, its normal.  There are moments of frustration and some moments where I have to take a step back but there are a lot of moments of smiles, and funny comments, and sweet gestures and fun!  It is a great opportunity to raise 4 children and I am constantly seeking to keep that in perspective!

Piper's Two Teeth!

Piper is showing off her two new teeth!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mia loves Ethan!

Going back to a post a couple of months ago, Mia really likes a young 20 something guy at our church named Ethan! Almost from the first day she came to our church, Mia has liked Ethan. Ethan usually plays guitar or drums in our church band and has now become somewhat of a celebrity in our home. Kaden also idealizes Ethan because Ethan plays instruments! The kids often tell me that they would like Ethan to come over and I am lame and I haven't orchestrated that yet. Mia will often tell me she would like to color a picture for Ethan and sometimes will sing her "Ethan is my friend" song, but the other day she said "I love Ethan!" I asked her what she loved about Ethan and she said his drums and that he had nice hair! She asked if she could meet Ethan's family. When they are at church, they can't wait to see Ethan and give him the "Rock and roll" sign....... so, hear is a shoutout to Ethan.......My kids love you! I hope this makes it to Ethan because I don't have his email address!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Coffee & special time

I try to spend a little one on one time with each of the kids every once in a while so Friday morning I took Kaden with me while the other 3 stayed with our babysitter, Kim.  Kaden and I went and ran a few errands, and then had lunch!  Kaden was so funny while shopping with me, he walked around by himself like a big boy and had all kinds of things to say.  He wanted to buy me some lip gloss at a store, which was really sweet, but he didn't have any money.

On Saturday morning, I took Mia to Starbucks to have "special coffee" which means I gave her decaff.  When Mia was at the orphanage, she had a worker their that she was really close to and she and Holly used to have coffee together.  Mia asked to try it one time and she liked it ever since.  It was a special little thing they did together.  Holly even got Mia a tiny little coffee cup.  It kinda became a little tradition for Mia so on occasion she would have coffee with a few of the workers from the orphanage and it was their special time.  When Mia was getting ready to leave the orphanage, a few of the ladies had their last special coffee time with Mia.  Mia really likes black coffee so to carry on the tradition, every once in a while I am going to take her to Starbucks and have our own little coffee time!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rain boots aren't for wearing in the rain!

So, continuing with the theme of my kids enjoying wearing its not just shoes, its rain boots.  Each day they put on their rain boots and then they go pretend they are landscapers or builders or that they are going somewhere!  They love to wear their boots!

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Day of Preschool!

Last Tuesday was Kaden and Mia's first day of preschool. They are going to an in home preschool that is only 2 hours a day 2 times a week and there are only 5 kids.  I think it will be a good experience for both of them to learn that when I drop them off somewhere, I come back to pick them up. 

They were really excited about their little backpacks even though they really didn't need them.  They felt really big but the only downfall was that they both kept telling Joey he wasn't big enough to go to preschool yet.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Silly Boys

Kaden and Joey love to wear shoes around the house, this time they got into my newly washed and folded laundry, found a couple pairs of Tim's trouser socks and decided to put them on with their shoes.  They thought they were pretty hot stuff.  Joey really liked his pulled up to his knees and Kaden kept telling Joey to push them down like his were.  When I look at this picture I am reminded at the size difference between the two boys......they are almost 6 months apart in age and worlds about in size!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Melody saying goodbye to Arnold

This is another picture of Melody saying goodbye right before we came back to the states. This, like the other "goodbye" picture, was taken by Ian. This little boy is Arnold. Melody still prays for he and many of the other children by name at night. It is really sweet the relationships she had there and that she still cares about those little ones over there.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Piper makes her daddy proud!

Tim is originally from Wisconsin and since that is the case, we have a couple of cheese heads floating around the house.  Kaden brought out this child sized one for Piper to try on the other with most things, except having the nasal aspirator used on her nose, she is all smiles!  

Fun with dress up!

The kids have recently been reminded and discovered dress up clothes, so each day they (the 3 older ones) have been putting on Kaden's old kangaroo costume, a dinosaur costume, a fairy princess costume and a tutu.  They all take turns putting on the different costumes!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Piper is crawling and getting teeth!

Piper is my chunky little girl!  She barely started crawling like 2 weeks ago and each day she gets faster and faster!  Now this week she has 2 bottom teeth that are starting to break through!  She is always smiley, loves the other 3 kids and her daddy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cute picture of Mia and Francis.

I found this on Karianne's facebook page and hope she doesn't mind me stealing it. This was when Mia was saying goodbye to the kids at Amani. She hugged Francis and he kissed her. I thought it was adorable.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Kaden

Kaden turned 3 this weekend, we had a small party for him which he had a ton of fun at but the pinnacle of his weekend was getting a drum set!  He has been making up his own drumset with different things at home for weeks now so when he got a drumset that was just his size, he was ecstatic!  Most of the time someone said happy birthday to Kaden, he said happy birthday back.....we are still working on that one!  Tim and I really enjoyed this weekend celebrating Kaden's birthday because its the first birthday that he has really been excited about so we enjoyed watching him have a great time!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yet more pictures of California . . .

The family at Randy's donuts.  Or as the kids call it, 
the big donut.  Kade said he was going to try
to eat the donut on the roof.

The kids on one of the many niche fountains
at Greystone mansion.

Leala in a stone archway at Greystone mansion.

Tim and the kids by the fountain
in the driveway courtyard at
Greystone mansion

Contemplative Mia.

Leala and Pipes.

More pictures from California

These pictures are from the beach in Malibu, it was a grey day but the temperature was very pleasant.  This was Mia, Joey and Piper's first time to the beach!  Piper was in a pea pod which was great so that she could play and sleep in there without getting sand all over her.

The other pictures are from Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills!