Saturday, April 28, 2012

Accolades for Daniel

This week Daniel received a couple of honors for his swimming. He was featured in his high school's newspaper:

and he was awarded the Male athlete of the month.

Well deserved, if I do say so!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maybe his weight would reach the ever elusive 5th percentile


 He could just

eat butter
Mmmm, good!

(just kidding)

DISCLAIMER: Before someone threatens to remove me from "Mother Of the Year" contention, I need to say that the container was practically empty, and I'm not really concerned that he is small for his age.
But, hey, on second thought, go ahead and remove me. I'll blow it sooner or later anyway!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Such a good Daddy!

I'm not a camping type of gal, not now, not in the past and I don't think the chances are looking good for the future either. But, of course, as all the ones before them have done, these two youngest kids of mine think that camping is just wonderful. I love my children dearly, but there are some things that I see no sense in, and camping is one of them.  So, before you start to pity my dearly outdoor experience deprived kiddos, let me introduce you to "Super Daddy", ready to save the day and allow my little ones to experience sleeping under the stars.

You might think that this title is a bit strong, but let me explain further. This pro-daddy had celebrated a milestone at work and they offered him a gift to celebrate. He could have had many things which he could use for himself, but he chose a tent and two sleeping bags, just so Abbey and Elijah could experience camping.  They arrived several months ago and he promised when the weather got warm they would hit the grand outdoors to spend the night. When we pulled in the driveway from seeing my folks on Friday, Abbey shrieked with glee at the sight of the little tent.

So, later that night, with flashlight in hand, John and the kids kissed me goodnight and went out to "rough it".

They did make it all night and even got some sleep. The kids didn't get as much as they usually do, so we had a couple of long naps on Saturday afternoon. But, they were certainly grateful to "Super Dad" for making their faux-wilderness excursion happen.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter Celebrations

I love Easter!  Where we live the weather is usually gorgeous, the flowers and trees are blooming and there is an excitement in the air, a feeling of relief that winter is over. (Although, this winter has pretty much been a "no-show". We never really had any frigid temperatures.) There are also the traditions that go along with Easter. I love Easter Eggs hunts. When Beth and John were little, we'd go to my parents, and Dad would always hide eggs for the little ones and the big one. Most years he would do such a good job hiding a couple of them that we would never find them.

This year Abbey and Elijah got to participate in two Easter Egg hunts.  The first one was with the kids from our small group. I say small group, but with all of our kids, we are a large group. We have 13 kids under 6 and four more are on the way! We love our small group. Having been together for several years, we have made some pretty close bonds.

The small group gang
Last year Elijah didn't quite know what to do with the egg hunting business.

Not a problem this year. He jumped right in.

Abbey was a pro from last year...

To this year...

Yes, their baskets were Halloween and Sand buckets, that's all we had.
The best part of the morning was...

Being with good, good friends!

Easter morning, thanks to Nana and Grandaddy, my two were decked out in Easter finery.  I took their pictures in front of the "Isaiah bushes", as Abbey calls them.

Mr. GQ, gotta work on the smile.

My youngest pretty girl.

One day, I'm going to get a good "posed" smile from Elijah.
The older "Mr. GQ"

Then, it was back to "Egg huntin'"

Look at the loot!

This year, Abbey has really taken hold of the real reason for Easter. She has asked to read that story several nights as her bedtime story. She's fascinated by the details. We've shared many times about Jesus dying and coming back to life. It's such a privilege to help her know the Lord Jesus more and more!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The talk I dreaded...

I've been dreading this talk for as long as I've been an adoptive parent. The talk where I have to tell my daughter that she wasn't born from my body. I've been dreading it, because I've been afraid of the implication that she is any less my daughter. Every fiber of my being denies any truth to that implication. I'd give my life for her and any of my kids, in a heartbeat! She and Elijah are such a part  of me there are times when I have to remind myself that I didn't give birth to them. 

She's known for as long as she's been able to know, that she is adopted or chosen. She knows she was born in China and we went to China to bring her home to the U.S. She has had no clue what it means to be born or adopted or the difference between the two. I've been waiting anxiously for her to say something, or ask a question that would lend itself to discussing that she had not been added to our family biologically.

The opportunity finally came the other day. She was watching a show about Jesus being born. She said to me, "God gave birth to Jesus." I corrected her and told her that no, God didn't give birth, but Mary did. She then said, "Just like you gave birth to me." Here was my moment and I didn't let it pass by. Taking a deep breath, saying a little prayer,  I said, "No, I didn't give birth to you. You were born in China. I wasn't there. But, God gave you to us and we went to get you. You were adopted. Some babies are born to their Mommy and Daddy, and some are adopted." There! I said it. I then waited. No response. Nothing. So I said, "Do you understand how special you are to me and Daddy?" "Yes," she replied. And that was it! Nothing else was or has been mentioned yet. I guess she heard all she needed or wanted to, for now. I know we aren't done with this discussion, but, hopefully, I started the thought process that will lead to her being secure in our and God's love for her.

So, now I wait until she lets me know that she is ready and wanting to hear more of her story.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Lookin' Good in Teal!

 Daniel, that is! He will be attending The University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the fall and will be on the swim team.

He also has been invited to apply to the academic honors program.  We've been told that only a small percentage of freshmen are invited, and it is very competitive to get in. We're really proud of this opportunity that his hard work has earned him.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Be sure to scroll down and cut My Playlist off before playing video



Friday, April 6, 2012

His Ways

"Hey, look at my Facebook pictures."

 I read this in a text from Anna last week. I had looked at her Facebook photos and knew exactly why she was prodding me to do so, and I wasn't happy.

She had gotten another tattoo!

Ugghh! I have the typical old, mature mindset that tattoos are skeezy. She already had one tasteful (as tasteful as they can be), tattoo on her wrist. This one was huge, unmistakable, written across her upper back. Nope I wasn't happy at all. I just texted back, "I saw it and you know how I feel."  'nuff said! I wasn't going to let her goad me into a sermon that she would have known all the words to, and still would choose to ignore.

John wasn't any happier about the body defacing than I was. But, he also realized that there was nothing we could do or say to change things. She was 21 and married, so he said nothing about the tattoo.

What we failed to realize for several days, was that Anna's  tattoo was an answer to John's prayer. A prayer that he began praying for her about 9 years earlier. A Father's prayer said out of love and sadness over the way his little girl viewed herself. He had persistently asked the Lord to remind Anna how special, how lovely, how wonderfully made she was. Anna had a rough ride through teen hood. She struggled with negative self concept, which colored her whole outlook on life. We knew how beautiful she was, inside and out, yet no matter how much we told her, she didn't believe it herself. At this point in her life, John began to plead with the Lord to help Anna to see that she was indeed, "Fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14)

I'm sure as you read those words, you whispered a little, "A-ha!", at how the Lord had answered his prayer, but it took John about a week to get it. Finally during his prayer time, the Lord opened John's eyes. He shared it with me and we both praised God for his faithfulness.

He shared this with Anna at her family birthday dinner last night. She quietly smiled as tears came to her eyes, realizing both of her Fathers' love for her!

We had a special time celebrating our third baby's 21st birthday. After dinner, we had cake at home.

Anna had extra "help" blowing out the candles
As I pondered everything last night, I wondered how many other answers to prayers do I miss because I'm expecting God to work within my own framework, my own little box into which everything fits neatly the way I think it should ? Once again, the Bible's words are proven true...

 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9 NIV 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Up and coming artist

Like most 5 year old little girls, Abbey loves arts and crafts. She will spend a long time just drawing and coloring. Two of her drawings, though,  I thought were particularly interesting.

The first one is Jesus dying on the cross.
Notice Jesus' frown

 The second one is "Arthur" from the PBS cartoon.

Notice the detail of the ears.

Because I'm a Mom for whom stick figures present a challenge, I certainly appreciate a little artist-in-training.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Daniel returns from Junior Nationals

Ready to go to Orlando

My swimmer boy has returned from his culminating swim meet in Orlando, Florida. He has trained and trained and trained some more for this meet, and he certainly saw results of all his training.  He achieved best times in all of his events. He even made finals in four of the five breastroke events. His times were:

 100 yard breastroke-57.75
100 meter breastroke-1:07.17
 50 yard breastroke-27.02
 50 meter breastroke-30.77 
200 yard breastroke-2:06.18
200 IM-1:56.12

We have had some disappointments in the college area, though. Things that were promised him are not being delivered,  causing him great disappointment.  If you feel led, please pray for Daniel and his college decision. He's worked so hard in the pool and in the classroom, it's hard to see him not reap the benefits. 

Anyway, it was a great meet for Daniel, and we missed him while he was gone. This last year at home, he has really grown close to Abbey and Elijah. They both regularly vocalize their reluctance to seeing him go to college.

As he was leaving, Abbey ran up (unprompted) for one last hug!

We all feel that God is in control and  know that he has a plan for Daniel. Right now we are praying and waiting to see what that plan may be. It's not easy to think things are going one way, then the situation changes and you're looking at an entirely different scenario.  Even though he's struggling, he's trusting and seeking God in this big decision. I'm ever so grateful to be this young man's mama!