Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Leala is out of control!!!!

This picture is the evidence that my wife may be losing it.  She got a label maker and has been using it . . . frequently.  It is actually really helpful because she can use it to start teaching the kids where their things go, helps me to know where my things go, and helps me to find things in our pantry.  I think she got it for free or pretty near it with all of her deal shopping right now.

Bedtime Fun

As we have said before, each night before bed, we pray with the kids.  
Leala or I will pray and then we have the kids pray.  Kade usually just says, "Thank you God for mommy and daddy.  Mommy, Daddy, I prayed for you."  Joey usually says, "(mumble) mommy, (mumble) daddy, (mumble) food, (mumble) playing, (mumble mumble mumble mumble)."  My usually prays, "Hands together, eyes closed (that was how they prayed at the orphanage), thank you for our toys, 
thank you for mommy and daddy and baby piper, thank you for (insert whatever we did that day whether it was going to the zoo or eating dinner
 or working in the garden)."

Tonight was rare.  
Kaden went on a praying rant thanking God for everything he could think of.  The following are some of the things he prayed for.  He repeated these things over and over.  Praying for making my car made me laugh, but praying the the stuffing in his blanket was really sweet.

"God, thank you for mommy and daddy.  Thank you for making daddy's car.  Thank you for making our seats.  Thank you for Jesus.  We wish Jesus didn't have to die on the cross.  Thank you for the people that made my blanket and for the soft stuff inside it.  Maybe sometime we can come to heaven and not have to die."
After we pray, we sing some songs.  Joey always has one request, Jesus loves me.  Even if we just sang it, he will say he wants to sing it again.

Melody loves to sing.  We will find her just singing randomly throughout the day.  it is really sweet.

At Sunday school this week, Kade and Joey learned about Kind David and his passing of advice to Solomon before he died.  When I went to his class, he told me he learned about King David and we are going to get old and die.  The whole ride home he had questions about death and asked if I was going to die and if he was going to die.  It was sad to hear the confusion in his little mind.  He asked me if after we go to heaven, we will be able to go home.  I had to explain to him that heaven is about God and it is a wonderful place where we can freely worship God forever and we won't want to leave.  Heaven is much better than our home.  He has continued to ask questions for the next few days.  This was also reflected in his prayer that he wants to go to heaven without dying.

Such a sweet little kid.  It reminds me of Mia shortly after we got home from Uganda when she threw a royal fit one night.  When we calmed her down she said she did not want to go to heaven because she did not want to leave her family.  Man I love that little girl.

The kids are great.  We are blessed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today marks one year from when Melody and Joseph came home from Uganda.  As Leala indicated earlier, it has flown by and the kids have really fluorished.  We are so happy to have them home and to have had the transition with them go so easy.  Kade continues to tell us how much he loves Joey and Mia and Joey and Mia play really nicely with Piper.  

Piper is their rescuer in time of need.  When the kids go to time out, Piper will run over to them and sit next to them to keep them company.  She will also get up and give them hugs when they are in time out.  Although the kids may be grumpy going to time out, Piper cheers them up and they start laughing and playing with her.  It really is sweet.

One year under our belt and many more to go.

Below is a picture of the kids very soon after they got home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Decisions, decisions....oh how quickly school is coming!

For the last year, Tim and I have been discussing school options for our children, especially since one of them is facing kindergarten next year.  I have spent a lot of time researching different options for us and have been very frustrated at times.  I was in no way a model student growing up and I went to 13 different schools by the time I graduated so I had a significantly varied education.  As I try to collect my thoughts about what to do for my children's education, I realize I must throw my own experience out the window and tread lightly in conversations about schooling b/c school options are often a "sacred cow" for many families!  Tim and I, just like other families, have many issues at play when we begin to contemplate what schooling option is the best fit for our family:  location (we do not have a lot of schooling options near by), our children's readiness for school (especially given that the first one up has only been in our home 1 year), our children's personalities, our priorities and desires for education, our own strengths and weakness in shepherding our children during their schooling experience, etc.  There have been a few times that we have come to a decision only to find that a month or two later we are struggling and wrestling with whether or not we believe that is best.  Many people have said "its only kindergarten" and I know that in some ways they are right but it is my job to take care of my kids, to shepherd them and discern what is best for them and to be an advocate for them and what we do for school is connected with that. 

It seems to have come down to a local charter school that has all day kindergarten or homeschooling!  I have resisted homeschooling because I don't want to do it, I do not think I would be particularly good at it, I don't like the stigma that homeschool kids get, I want my kids to have constant interaction with other kids, with having 4 small kids I have felt like it would be good to separate them a  little, etc.  The reasons I am even considering homeschooling is because I don't like the idea of putting my 5 or 6 year old in school all day, 5 days a week, especially when I am not sure that my child is ready, I recognize that there are so many wonderful curriculum options available to homeschool families, I recognize that there are other avenues to provide socialization opportunities for my little ones and that homeschooling extends the time that parents can have a bigger sphere of influence on their children.  A week ago I knew what we were doing and this week and I am just not sure, but as complicated as I can make all of this in my head, I know that whatever we do doesn't have to be permanent and that if we faithfully submit ourselves to the Lord, he will direct us.

If anyone else out there knows of some great schools or curriculum or other great options, I would love to hear you input!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Random thoughts!

Since the kids have been home a year this coming week, I thought it appropriate to post a baby picture of Melody that was taken in 2004.  I am not sure how old she is or who took the picture but it is the youngest picture we have of her, thanks to volunteers from ABC.  I would have loved to have known her and held her when she was so little but I am thankful for the happy and healthy little girl she is now!

Tim and I had a great weekend with our friend from Uganda that was in town.  He and his family are missionaries there and were a huge encouragement during Tim's time in Uganda.  Obviously since they live in Uganda, their life is very different than ours:  all of the food has to be prepared from scratch, water has to be pumped, no air conditioning, no peanut butter, no cheese, few luxuries, etc.  When I asked him how it has been living without all of that, his reply was something to the effect of:  the more we do not live for this world, the easier it is......each day we focus on what the Lord is calling us to do and we just don't think about all the other stuff.  I realize at this point in my life, I am not called to live the same life that they are called to live but the point echos in my mind.....contentment!  I love luxuries....I love pedicures, hot water, pre-made foods, I hate being durty, I love watching something good on TV at the end of the day, I hate public restrooms and will avoid using them to the best of my ability, I love buying new things, etc.  The question is: Could I be content without all those luxury things I have come to expect in life.....would it bring more joy to give up those things for following what the Lord has for me?  I was recently reading a John Piper book about fasting and it makes a wonderful point about the effect the things in this world can have: "The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.  It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world........The pleasures of this life and the desires for other things - these are not evil in themselves.  These are not the vices.  These are gifts from God.  They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking.  And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God."  The point with fasting that he is making is that you can fast to take deliberate time to fill yourself up with the Lord and not other things, but the point is definitely bigger.  All these wonderful things in life can fill us up so that we are not filled with the Lord......that is definitely true in my life!

I am trying to have a little devotional time with the kids in the morning and 2 weeks ago we talked about being tenderhearted and I gave the kids a definition of tenderhearted from the book I was doing the devotional out of.  One of the kids came up to me last week and said "Mom, I am strong enough to feel the joys and hurts of Piper.....thats being tenderhearted"  I was appreciative of the fact that they listened and are trying to apply it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Garden and new cabinets

So, in the last several weeks we have put in a garden and new cabinets in the kitchen.  In the garden, we are attempting to grow green beans, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chives, scallions, cilantro, basil and some peppers.  Everything is sprouting and I am excited for it to really get growing!  I will post pictures soon!

This last weekend we embarked on putting new cabinets in our kitchen.  Tim has done a large part of the work himself and is still going.  Hopefully tonight the countertops and sink will go in.....which I am really excited about b/c we did not have water in the kitchen today!  It may take a while for me to post a pic of the new kitchen b/c I think the finish work may take quite some time!  The kids have been really curious about all of the change and they have been good little helpers, or at least they try to be good little helpers!