Sunday, August 26, 2012

How to tell you are an adoptive mom?

Today is Keith and my 5 year anniversary....it Is the wood anniversary, daisy is the traditional flower for the fifth anniversary.

I measure it in terms of what countries we are now eligible to adopt from....haha!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Such a lucky duck

That is me.....a lucky duck. I am human, so there are times when I might feel overwhelmed and feel like complaining....who me?!

I am so lucky. As of this Sunday, I will have been married to my husband for 5 years. He has changed my life. Seriously. I was happy before I met him, I loved my job, my daughter - I was in the process of adopting Zeb. I had it all....everything I wanted. I was tired, but I was happier than I had been in years. I distinctly remember driving home from work one evening...late...and thinking to myself how happy I was!

Ha...I laugh at that happiness now - I had no idea what "happy" really means.

My children totally rock.....yeah they each have their own idiosyncrasies, but I can't believe how lucky I am to have such awesome kids. I am not sure why everyone doesn't want to have 7 or 8 kids. It is so much fun watching them turn into little people. There is disappointment, heartbreak, exhaustion and joy. The things that are easy are not the things that define you and are not the things that become important to you...at least to me!

I am just so grateful that I have my husband and children. I am so lucky and many times feel like I won some sort of abundant life lottery!

Sometimes I just want to scream Thank You at the top of my lungs and acknowledge that I have been blessed and I am so grateful to God for this life....but I will pray and blog instead!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Birthdays

Yes, we had a joint Lilianna - Violet birthday party today.  Violet was still not interested in the cake...oh well.  She did eat something though....we are barely getting stage 2 food in her but she ate almost an entire little cup of bananas and mixed berries...it is a win!

Yes...there are pictures, thanks to Keith's persistence.  I am not sure why I am the worlds worst picture taking mom.  Maybe if I had some sort of smart phone that took pictures I would be a little better about it...probably not! 

We are trying to get some Gazelle like intensity and pay off some bills...but it isn't working so good.  Everytime I work a little extra....we spend a lot extra!  UG...we decided to post our 2 year plan on the fridge and called it "You're goin down calendar".  Maybe if I see out plan every time I pass by the fridge I will stick to it.  We still can't bring ourselves to have a yard sale.  We are working on it though!

Lily had a friend from girl scouts spend the night last night.  They had fun and stayed up super late.  Lily is such an imaginative girl who loves imaginative play.  She tends to gravitate towards kids who are just as crazy as she is...usually that means they are younger...and her friend from Girl scouts is no exception.  Her friend is 7 (Lily is 9).    They were hilarious together though. 

School starts tomorrow for Lilianna.  We started on some handwriting today while I was baking cakes.  oooowwiiiieeee is her handwriting atrocious.  We did handwriting without tears last year and I wouldn't say it was without tears last year and it won't be without tears this year.  Her handwriting is as bad as mine and almost as bad as Keith's - that is saying a lot! haha.

I am rambling....but I am heading to bed now.  The weather is beautiful here...we went out to the pool today for a couple of hours and it is almost too cold.  I think we are going to have to close the pool either this week or next week...so sad.  I LOVE the family time at the pool.  In 2 years we will be able to get a heater for the pool if I follow our "you're goin down calendar". 

Tomorrow is rush around the house and give everyone baths while Keith leaves early to run the lights at church day...i guess that should all be hyphenated!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

immigration

After we legally adopted Alex and Zoe, we had to wait 9 months for our immigration application to be approved by the the state department to get their immigration visa's.  They stayed in an orphanage for 9 extra months so that they could legally immigrate to live with their parents.
 
Another couple travelled 2 weeks ahead of us and have been waiting 2 1/2 years for the immigration visa's for their daughters.  They are still waiting...not because of any questionable issues with their relinquishment.
 
I think if you break the law you shouldn't get to cut in line.  I am sure there are exceptions to the rules...there are always exceptions.  Immigration is awesome...it is how our country was built.  I don't think it is fair that people who illegally came into this country get to stay and 2 year old girls living in orphanages have to wait 2 or more years to live with their parents.  Maybe if 2 year old immigrant adoptees from West Africa could vote, our president would help with their immigration paperwork.
 
Yes...like I mentioned, you can always find some sob story case that makes you question whether a law is right or wrong ... but if the word "illegal" precedes an action....any action....guess what...it is illegal.  The argument isn't should it be...it either is or isn't.  If you think the law is wrong...work to change it.  You can't just pretend it isn't the law.
 
 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Homeschool

Why can't I be THIS organized...it is beautiful!  It is not my overstuffed dining room...that is for sure!  I am a tad envious.  Keith can you make me one? hahaha!

School

Alex is well into school with her first test tomorrow on memorizing the Northeast states and their capitals....eegads.  I was worried about her being able to keep up with her homework last year....I am very worried about this year.  It is going to get ugly, fast.  We did not do a stellar job at preventing the summer back slide!  Since Lilianna has been out of town, she has been doing the chores on Lilianna's chore chart.  So on Sunday we had her add up her commission.  She came up with the craziest numbers I have ever seen.  I even wrote out what she needed to add up...you know...fed the cats for $.25  5 times...so I wrote out .25  vertically 5 time.  I know there are some super homeschoolers out there who could successfully teach her...but I am not one of them.  All we can do is stay patient, try to help her with her homework and not get bogged down in it.  I want her to be happy and I want to spend quality happy family time with her and if we focussed on getting all of her homework done and making her memorize capitals...we would spend 6 hours a day with her crying, pouting, and we would never get to spend any time with the other kids.  So, she gets 2-3 hour of homework and homework help a night and if that doesn't finish her homework...such is life.

Zeb and Zoe are hitting WCS on August 23...that is their first day.  I have slacked with Zeb too.  We bought a ton of material from the Preschool Prep Co. and it is awesome.  I haven't been really good about working through it with Zeb.  I have a big sight of sight word books for him to practic on and we are on the second book of the first of three levels...oops.  However, we have a set of videos on dipthongs, blends and sightwords and they have done a great job learning from the videos.  We also have sight word flashcards that all three of the big little kids are doing great with.  I haven't done all of the things I wanted to do with Zeb, Zoe, and Ben this summer, but I have gotten something done so I don't feel totally suck-y!

Now Ben...there is a tricky one.  We have him registered at WCS for 4K, but he is still not potty trained...the kid is 4 years old and refuses to use the toilet.  He is the most stubborn person I have ever met in my life...seriously...and have you met me or my husband?!  He has decided he doesnt' want to go to school and he is not going to use the toilet.  Keith thinks he can outstubborn him.....I know he can't, but in a surprise move...Keith is outstubborning me on this fact.  You can't control WHAT comes out and WHEN in a kid or you end up with a 5 year old with a giant stopped up colon getting an emergency   ex'lap and colostomy.    I think Keith is going to take him to school...and I will just pray that all of the worst case scenarios I can think of won't happen.
If he stays home I am totally ready with a curriculum for him though! haha...Preschool Prep workbook and a couple of workbooks from the creative thinking co.  We have a lined wipee board for practicing letters.  We are all set to get him rolling. 

I may have already posted about how excited I am about Lilianna's school this year.  It is going to rock!  We made a workbox with hanging folders for each subject for each day.  She decorated little labels which I laminated and placed velcro stickies.  The labels are on the outside of the folders, when she completes the subject, she pulls the label off of the folder and puts in on her big red hanging billboard next to the day.   I am very excited about it. 

Handwriting and Bible every day to start the day...BJU press handwriting and Bible Study for All ages for bible.  I am also copying some cool virtue worksheets from confessions of a homeschool mom that is organized by subject areas like arguing (which our first subject!).  Lily will also be reading some of the Christian Heroes series and we are going to try out the unit studies books from YWAM ....I figure this also counts as Literature too. She is already reading George Mueller for fun...she just loves to read!

Math is still K12...I like it what can I say!

Science - I am kind of winging it.  We are doing anatomy I have a rock and learn video, the Usborne Body encyclopedia and an anatomy billboard.  The first 2 weeks are planned out and we are learning about the digestion system...Lily is about to be grossed out..hahahah mwahahahah.

Grammar, composition, spelling, vocabulary, and lit is K12 for the most part.  We are also incorporation a lot of literature for history...lots of books...biographies on people in history.  We are doing Language Arts extension work on Time 4 Learning too. 

History - we are doing Sonlight this year for American History, we will be using a lot of  extra added biographies, and the Liberty Kids Videos. 

Friday is going to be SuperFun Fridays with a movie, unit study on the movie and logic games and puzzles from The Creative Thinking Co...I just love that place!  Analogies and problem solving galore. 

I think school is going to flow much better this year. 

School starts for Lily on Sunday.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chick Fil A .. a post script

I really don't know what the whole deal with Chick Fil A and their support of whatever goups some other group says is hatefull...I am not NBC with a fact checker.  When I was sitting in the car on Monday for 8 hours driving down here I had a lot of time to think about it.

The thing that struck me during that time was not about the current controversy.  It was the simple fact that there are people in this world that live their faith everyday, in every part of their lives.
They are not afraid that they might alienate perfectly good chicken eating customers.  They are not afraid that someone they barely know who follows their blog might be confrontational in the comments section about their faith. 

It is easy to talk about Jesus Christ and what a great gig it is to have the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear and heart when you are talking to other people that have met this cat, Jesus.  When 95% of your life has been spent in a liberal setting calling organized religion the "opiate for the masses" you appreciate different things.  My testimony, my moment when I jumped in with my whole self is not anywhere in this blog.  You know why?  Fear and pride.

I was afraid of being judged by the non-Christians I had become friends with and who I am related to.  I had spent so long not being a Christian that I was also a little prideful...I am not one who likes to admit I was wrong...I am sure there are lots of people who might find this hard to believe! haha.

One of the things I love about being a Christian is that we are all flawed, broken, busted up wrecks and that is OK.  I am a work in progress and I learned from the Chick Fil A scandal that I am going to be a Christian with a voice.  I love listening to contemporary Christian songs and watching sermons because they are all sharing with me some perspective on the human condition and their take on the coolest owner's manual ever written - the Bible.

So my post script is that I really can't debate all of the intricacies of what some organization has been espousing for the last 30 years.   That wasn't the crux of my post on Chick Fil A, my point was that it is easy to be judgmental, twist words, etc.  When the big picture for me was that a business owner has the nerve and conviction to take heat for his beliefs and I was too chicken to even post that I am a Christ Follower on my blog.   

How we lie to ourselves!

Keith and I were watching that show House Hunter's International at some point in the last year and there was a family looking for a house in Italy.  It was the mom, dad, and 2 kids who were maybe 18m and 3yo.  They had narrowed it down to the 3 houses and the mom kept saying...." I think the kids really want to be by the beach".  She kept saying it everytime they talked about the houses. 
It was obvious that SHE wanted to be by the beach...the 18m and 3yo could not have cared less!

Whenever Keith or I start talking crazy in order to justify something WE want...one of us inevitably says..."yeah, but the kids really want to be by the beach". 

We are selfish...I say we..as in humanity.  It is sooooo easy to trick ourselves into believing that we NEED something or that we are doing something for someone else when it is really for us. 

How about this one.  My family is going to Disneyworld in December because the kids really want to go (ohh hahahahhahhahaha)..yes the kids will have fun and they DO want to go.  The kids also like to dig big holes in the yard and eat candy bars for breakfast.  We are going to Disneyworld because Keith and I want to go!  When we go, we are going let all the girls get transformed into princesses at the Bippity Bop Boutique because THEY really want to...especially Violet...she told me she really wants to go to the bippity bop boutique and get dressed up like a princess.  She also told Keith that she wants to make sure he is there to see her...Keith told me she said that. 

I am selfish.  I listen to Dave Ramsay dvd's more than the average person...I am sure of that.  I almost always listen to him when I am traveling (8 hour drives each way) and I am intellectually dedicated to following his advice and getting out of debt.  However, I just can't really commit to it.  Have I had a garage sale?  NO.  Why?  Because I hate doing garage sales...how selfish is that.  Yeah I could make some excuse about being busy, lots of kids, on call, Keith at camp, yadda yadda yadda.  I just hate having garage sales.

I could cut a lot of fat out of my spending...literally.  I have been in a town with a Starbucks since late Monday night and I have spent probably 30 bucks on mocha's.  I did that while spending an official truckload on Jenny Craig food at the same time...that is a lot of stupid at one time.  In fact, I actually ordered my next 2 weeks of Jenny Craig food while sitting at a Starbucks eating a 490 calorie piece of lemon pound cake.  I suck...I admit it.  Tomorrow I head home and will be a good dieting fiend.

There is a super Christian Radio station down here..it is called "the Fix"  they have little worship minutes around 330 everyday...I dont know if they have them more often, I am just always in my car around 330 and they come on!  The one today was about selfishness.  About letting go of the selfish little things you want...the things you try to hide and disguise from others and yourself.  Ironically, I was also reading a blog last night...HERE about the reluctant husband.  Also addressing the topic of selfishness in the wife as the root cause of the reluctant husband.  Wow what an awesome perspective!  It is a great "Be the Change" kind of post.

So I want to be more self-less or at least less selfish.  Try saying that 3 times really fast.  Maybe at the same time I will develop a little more grattitude for the things I already have!  I quit eating chocolate in college for about 5 months and boy did I start appreciating the taste of vanilla and those delicious soft mollases cookies by Grandma's Cookies...yummm.   My first step is going to be brutally honest with myself about what I do that is selfish and there is sooooo much.  I think that identifying it and not allowing myself to disguise my selfishness by calling them NEEDS or attributing it to someone else's NEEDS or WANTS is my mission for the next week.  I need to be more aware of the ways I am lying to myself in order to spoil myself. 

I have been brainwashed by GI Joe as a young kid....come on you know what's coming next....."Knowing is half the battle". 

I get annoyed at people who tell me they NEED something when it is just a want and maybe that is because I do it myself!  Here is to a week of honestly viewing how spoiled rotten I am...maybe I better go get another Mocha to give me strenght for the week ahead..haha!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Study breaks

I have been hitting the books super hard while on my current working vacation in beautiful Decatur, Al.  After about 10 hours of mindnumbing studying I hit the internet to unwind.  Guess what...there are still people adopting children and blogging about it.  It has been so long since I could just peruse my old blog haunts and backtrack traffic to my blog...I didn't realize that there are people in the world who are completing homestudies...waiting for referrals, gathering clothes to travel with.

You know what else...there are still people blogging about mission trips, planning more trips and doing their part to help orphans.  I have been going to the same old blogs for the last 2 or 3 years without branching out and it was fun to find brand new places to visit and new peoples lives to peak into.  By the way....I LOVE the same old blogs! 

It was fun, and now I am going to collapse in bed for another day of work and studying!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being a Christian...what I learned from Chick Fil A

I have refrained from saying anything about Chick Fil a.  I have been really busy and I truly don't have time to follow a lot of the stuff in the media.  I haven't really followed the whole chick fil a thing.  The way I understand it, the 91yo owner guy - who has always unabashedly infused his Christian morals and values into his business - said to a Baptist group and publication that gay marriage is not biblically based and he thought it was ridiculous to oppose God on something that was just so plainly outlined in the bible. 

soooo yadda yadda yadda...gay and lesbian kiss in planned...yadda yadda yadda....chick fil a appreciation day...yadda yadda yadda.

I love me some chick fil a.  There have been times when I can't figure out what I want to eat so I just pull into chick fil a because I like their commitment to helping the community.  I have never been to an adoption conference that Chick fil a hasn't supplied at least one meal if not more for free.  I have been to a number of conferences too. 

I have spent the last week trying to figure out why this became such a huge deal and what do I really feel about it.  I have seen people bitch about how chick fil a hates gays because of what the founder said (totally don't see that as what he said...but maybe I am out of touch), I have seen Christians bitch about other Christians that chose to eat at Chick fil a instead of sending their 5 dollars to orphans.  I have seen liberals bitch about Christians standing in line at Chick Fil A instead of standing in line at homeless shelters to feed the homeless.  I have seen other Christians post the same picture as if they know that the Christians in line don't also give their time to helping the least of these.  Seriously, let he who is without sin cast the first stones dude...or post the first picture, as the case may be.

Ok...how bout all the people slinging harsh words take a look at themselves critically for a minute.  Did every single person who posted that picture of Christians in line at chick fil a slamming them for not standing in line at a homeless shelter...volunteer their time at a homeless shelter?  I am thinking no. 

You know what the owner of Chick fil A does that I wish I did more of....he lives his faith.  He is a business man and he is a Christian and he infuses his faith into his whole life.  I have spent the last almost 4 year of my life trying to compartmentalize my life...my work is here , my family is here, my faith is here.  Mr Chick Fil-a (dude I don't even know his name...I suck!)  is brave enough and strong enough to say...I am not going to open my restaurants on Sunday even during the Olympics in Atlanta when I could make a truck load of money.  He is brave enough to live his faith, even though politicians threaten to prevent his business from opening in their cities ( I think that was Chicago and Boston). 

So what I learned from Chick Fil A is that I want to be more like him.  I started this blog about 5 and half years ago when I was an surgery intern starting the process to adopt Zeb.  I have learned more about life, priorities and what is real in this world in the last 5 years than I could have imagined.  The biggest thing I learned is that I have been wrong in my life.  I have made lots of good choices and lots of bad choices and that is ok.  I am loved.  Part of the compartmentalizing has been to refrain from talking about the peace and joy being a Christ follower has given to my life.  Especially on my blog.  There are not a ton of people that read this blog, but many of the ones that do are not Christians and I have been afraid of not only offending them, but of being judged by them.  Mr Chick Fil A isn't afraid of being judged in a business world that is not only devoid of God, but an environment that mocks God and mocks those who follow Him.

If gays and lesbians show up at Chick Fil A for a kiss in, they are going to get the same awesome service that Christians get there.  Not because they are paying customers and Chick Fil A wants their money, but because Mr Chick Fil A gets that as Christians we are here to show the love of Jesus Christ...not to hate people.  It is their pleasure to serve.  That is not a principle based in capitalism..it is a biblical principle.

I want to be more like chick fil a...I want to live my faith and want it to be my pleasure to serve. 

So what I learned from the Chick Fil A hullabaloo is that I will no longer be a chicken about living my faith (who could resist that pun!).

Big family

Someone who has only one child asked me an interesting question today.  She and her husband are talking about trying to have a second child.  She asked me...."how is it when you have more than one kid...do you love them the same or differently? What does it feel like to have more than one child?"

That seems like a crazy question when you don't remember what it was like to have just one kid!  The image that came to my mind was the part in the Grinch...when his heart grows however many sizes it grows....I forget.  That is what happens with each addition to my family...my heart grows 10 sizes per kid!  It is exponential.  I loved Lily....man did I love that little pumpkin.  When we brought home Zeb, I loved him and I loved Lily even more than I did before.  There is no zero sum about it...it just keeps growing and it isn't only the love for your kids...it is the love for the world around you too...the world has more color and more joy in it ...everything is better with more kids! 

Sometimes I get bogged down in some pretty unimportant stuff....paying bills, keeping the house clean, getting everyone fed, bathed, and dressed..haha...unimportant stuff.  I forget how my life is soooo darn blessed.  I am living an 8 dimensional life full of so much joy and love and I owe that all to my family...my awesome (ly exhausting!) kids and my totally amazing husband.

I totally remember sitting in the office at the family practice clinic I was rotating through the day my match list was due to NRMP deciding where I was going to spend the next 4 years of my life.  I manipulated that list 100 times if I did it once.  I remember sitting there about to hit the send/finalize button.  At the last minute, I changed my number one pick to UAB and I know that that decision was going to change my life.  I said to myself and I vividly remember saying this out loud...This is going to change my life.  I took a deep breath and jumped in.  That decision is why I have all that I have now...why I have my family.

I digress, the point of this post is that my life is better with more kids.  I am so lucky I figured that out!

I wonder if it isn't just kids that increases your capacity to love. I read the stories of missionaries and blogs of people like Katie Davis and marvel at the amazing lives they lead and the amazing things they do and the amazing amount of love they have for the people around them.  The Bible is such a great handbook for life and Christ gave us such a great living role model for us to pattern our decisions after.  He loved.  Maybe the more people you love the more you are truly living and the better life is.  So what does it feel like to have and love more than one child...it feels good.  The question I have is what does it feel like to Love like Christ did...I bet God just opens up your heart and pours joy into it.  I hope I get to figure that one out in a much more real way someday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nothing really new

Well, it has certainly been a long time since I posted anything.  Lets see, what has happened in the last month?  Alex had her birthday..which went really well.  She was excited about all of her presents and I made a castle birthday cake for a beauty and the beast theme.  Lilianna went to camp.  We send her to Camp Crestridge, which is in Ashville, NC in the Lifeway complex there.  She LOVES it.  It is one of those camps I wish I could have gone to as a child.  We decided to send Alex to the one week session in August at Camp Crestridge instead of the week at 4h camp.  She is going to go next week and she is really excited about it. 
Yesterday was Lilianna's birthday, she went to her dad's on Sunday for 3 weeks.  We are going to have a swimming party when she gets back..I am going to invite all of her girl scout friends.  I met Lily's dad on Sunday in Chattanooga and Lily and I had about 2 hours to hang out at the Mall.  We have been doing a chore chart with commissions a la Dave Ramsey and she has about 50 dollars in her spend and save so I let her do some shopping and spend her money.  It was amazing how quickly she was able to do math when it involved determining what she could buy! haha.  She bought a leg indiana jones video game and a dress and futon for her stuffed hippo at build a bear workshop.  She is such an awesome little girl.  All my kids totally rock.  I really liked spend some alone time with her. 
We hired a new babysitter and i am hoping that with a new babysitter I can start spending more one on one time with each of the kids. 
Tomorrow is a trip to Cincinatti children's hospital with Benjamin for his eye.  We have been patching it everyday for 2 hours a day with some of the coolest eye patches.  Hopefully things have corrected ok.  He still looses it with eye when he is tired.  It will be a nice trip.  We have to leave at 4am...yikes.  This is where I would say...we can go to starbucks and out to lunch but I started a new diet and I am not sure I am going to cheat tomorrow...i probably shouldn't but it's starbucks!
On monday, I started jenny craig....the food isn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be!  Actually, it is pretty good.  I have been surprised.  I am kind of a picky (and unhealthy) eater, but I have enjoyed everything so far.  The hardest part is that I am used to grazing all day long - especially at home.  It is very hard to not finish off Ben's uneated cinammon toast...ugg!  Probably just cutting out the grazing would be enough to lose the 18 pounds i need to lose...but oh well.  The food is really convenient for taking to work and I have to go out of town next week for locums so that will be easy to use there too.
I really am going to post some pictures...really!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power