Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who's that beautiful lady with MY husband?

... It's our daughter... that's who! How did she get so beautiful and better yet, SO old? This was last Friday evening as they were headed out the door on their date. I must say, that's one pretty good-looking date she had. This is one guy that I KNOW will respect her, and treat her like a lady should be treated. That's one reason for daddy and Lexie date nights.... to train her up to accept nothing but utmost respect from a guy. Let me tell you, this daddy is making it pretty tough for just any old guy to be able to get and keep this young lady. She said it best herself recently when she and I sat in the car late one evening with tears rolling down both our faces as we talked about "boys". She said, "Mom, Dad has the standard set so high, I don't know how I'll ever find a guy that measures up to him, but I won't settle for less". She went on to tell me that she watches how her daddy treats me like a princess, and how she knows that the way he loves me must be what God means, when He says husbands should love their wives like Christ loved the church. She talked about how her daddy loves her unconditionally and he treats her the way she wants to be treated by her husband some day. This made my heart so happy to know that she's watching... she notices... and more than anything she loves her daddy. However, what makes my heart happier is the fact that she loves her Heavenly Father more than her earthly father..... and let me tell ya... that's a lot. She's been daddy's girl since day one and I have a feeling that's never gonna change.

I pray for Lexie's future husband everyday and one things for sure.... he needs lots of prayers to compete with this sweet daddy! :)

As for how we roll.... well, this is how we spend time with our children individually. We make time for IT!!! There's a very sad myth about large families... that the children don't get time with parents one on one. It doesn't happen every day, but we are intentional about making time for each of our children, individually. Sometimes it's things like, one child gets to go to the grocery store with mom, or one of the boys go to work with dad. The girls and I have occasional nights when we go to dinner and shopping alone. Often, I ask one child to help with dinner or help fold a load of towels. This is time that we can have uninterrupted conversation. If I have an errand to run, I always let someone go with me. It cracks me up to think that I used to pay good money for mothers day out.... when I only had a couple of kids!!!! Now my goal is not, how can I get "by myself time" but how can I get "one on one time" with one of these precious babies the LORD is allowing me to mother.

So, all this to say, as a parent, we can spend as much time with our kids as we WANT to spend.... we just have to make it a priority. Sometimes it's a trip to Publix for 4 gallons of milk.....but sometimes they hit the jackpot and get a DATE with Daddy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

This is just how we roll.....

Occasionally, someone who is considering homeschooling will ask me if they could come over one day and just observe how I do it. Bahaha..... if only you knew how funny that is. That question does not flatter me at all, actually it frightens me. Frightens me for two reasons; one, I'm afraid they are serious (and persistent) and will call me like a million times until I run out of excuses why they can't come again today. Second, it frightens me to think that somehow I look like some kind of June Cleaver who runs her house by a tight schedule keeping it all together. I will admit a schedule is great and I have lots of advice for raising a large family but if I could figure out how to implement a lot of my advice, I'd be much better off. We try but it just doesn't always happen.

I so often hear moms say to me, "I would love to homeschool but I just couldn't do it". Now granted some of those mommas have absolutely no desire to homeschool, they just don't want to make me look like some sort of fruit loop so they act like they totally relate to me. Other times, they are just being honest. There is a lot of concerns that go along with making the decision to homeschool. It is a scary decision but when you know it's the Lord's direction.... there is nothing to fear.

So, here's my plan. Over the next few weeks (or months) I plan to share some pictures and tidbits of how we "roll" around this house with 2 adults, 7 kids, 2 outside dogs and 1 prissy house dog. My reason for this is to encourage! To encourage those of you who are on the fence about one of two things. One being, could I handle homeschooling? The other being, could I handle having a bunch of kids? Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought 20 years ago I would be raising 7 biological children and adopting more NOR did I ever dream I'd be homeschooling any of them. However, this is the most amazing life that I could ever imagine. I thank God for this privilege every day. My other reason for doing this is so you mommas don't ask to come over here.... for goodness sake.... I would either have to act like I had it together OR get it together; and neither of those sound fun. at. all.

I think way too often, parents think they can't handle large families because they underestimate themselves and their schedules. I also think most moms who are terrified at the thought of homeschooling, think they aren't nearly organized or disciplined enough to do it. I hope to sabotage both of those theories. Trust me, it won't be hard!

Now, don't get me wrong..... it's no easy task. Like being parents period.... it's a full time job and it requires every ounce of energy that I have and then some. For me it also requires one amazing hubby that goes way beyond the call of duty. However, I think he kind of expected that when he married me. ; ) But more than anything, it requires giving my full existence to God. Depending on HIM for strength and mercy every day. He never ceases to amaze me with HIS goodness. HE's the only reason this ship stays afloat!

Today I will start with how we do kindergarten. The twins are 5 and we try to do "school" 4-5 days a week. It's best if we do it first thing in the morning while the older kids are reading and doing what teachers call "seat work".... (I call it, the work you can do "on your own"). It only takes about 1 hour to do all of the twin's work and then they have time to read or do art. We do not use a classroom. I think that is great if you can make that work for you but here, it just don't. The twins usually do their work at the kitchen counter while other kids work in the dining room. Somethings do require structure and we make that priority but we are also very flexible. At least a day or two a week, this is how 5K looks at our house.

Yes, that is my 4th and 7th graders teaching 5K. They do an amazing job with the twins and it's a win win situation. This sometimes becomes the alternate method for one of many reasons. Either, I'm needed by one or two little boys, or a teenage daughter. Or, I can't walk through the den from the piles of clothes that I must fold. Or, I just simply need more time with Jesus at the moment. Whatever the reason, this works great. The twins love being taught by two of their heros, "Boo" and "Bubba". And guess what, Boo and Bubba are always excited at the offer because it temporarily gets them out of doing their school work. (BTW, if you are wondering, Boo is short for Maggie Boo)

As for housework. It's a nonstop job and EVERYONE must participate. I will talk more about that in a later post but I will leave you with this. When I say everyone..... don't think I'm kidding.

Ok, so I'm sorta kidding. This was Lexie's helper this morning as she unloaded the dishwasher. Looks like the cutest clean up boy I've ever seen..... and I'm sure this is great for my dishwasher door but he was just too cute to move.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Ethiopia?

We get asked this question a lot lately. Why Ethiopia? Well, the short answer is real simple.... because that's where God asked us to go? Or sometimes when this question is tainted with racism, I want to say, because that's where OUR child is. But our adoption was God's idea from the beginning so we figured we should let HIM tell us where to go.

If you've followed along for a while now, you remember that this journey began as a result of our family asking God to break our hearts for the things of this world that breaks His heart. I think God's heart is broken for orphaned children in every state, country and continent. I'm so thankful that He sends us all over this world to bring justice to HIS children living without a family. I'm thankful that our friends, Mark and Heather are being obedient in following God's call for them to adopt HIS child from right here in the United States. I'm thankful that our friends, Jeff and Brittnie are following God across the world to India to bring justice to HIS child there. We are thrilled that our brother and sister in law, Sonia and Brandon are going to South Korea to bring home HIS little girl living without a forever family. Another blessing of HIS is waiting in Korea for our sweet friends, Jason and Liz to come and bring her home. And, we are also thankful that our friends, David and Jennifer were obedient when God asked them to bring HIS son home from Guatemala.

You see.... God's heart breaks for all of these children. Why? Because they are HIS! Please turn off my music and watch this video. It makes it easy to understand WHY His heart is broken for Ethiopia. I'm so honored that He would find me worthy of the privilege of being a mother to ONE of the least of these. Or who knows, hopefully, two or three or four... (mom, if you are reading you can get up off the floor now : )

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well, I told y'all we were getting ready for a snow storm. Not sure it was officially that, but it qualified as fun in our opinion. We had hoped for a few inches of soft, fluffy snow good for making snowmen and snowballs. Instead we got a dusting of snow with a nice layer of ice on top that was good for slipping, sliding and sledding. However, our kids were as happy as if they were in winter wonderland. We made the best of it!
If it has wheels, our boys are on it! Levi could have cared less about a snowman, he couldn't wait to get his dirt bike on the ice.
Cross goes for a ride in his jeep....
then..... the big boys get their wheels out. Us and our friends, the Russells, load up on big boy toys and head out into the neighborhood looking for somewhere to have some fun.

For those of you up north.... yeah we know, this is a joke : ) but for us it meant no school, daddy stayed home from work.... and momma had a blast with her favorite peeps. Now it's time to start the clean up.... laundry room, here I come.

Thanks for letting me share a few days of family fun from our house, but it's time to hit a serious note. I feel a post brewing in my heart and hope to share it in the next day or two.

I'll leave you with a few pics of Sugar doing his thang......

He's got it!!! We call it the Fred Sanford.... if only we could teach him the famous line...."Elizabeth, I'm coming to join you honey".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our trash is Cash's...... lunch!

You know you have a bunch of kids when...... you catch one of them eating out of the garbage can; and instead of racing to snatch him up and disinfect his mouth, you run get your camera to capture a picture.No worries, it was just somebody's pb&j scraps : ) Actually, this is not "sugar's"first feast from the trash. We've caught him here before. He only weighs two pounds less than his big bro that's 18 months older....... Can you tell? Cash man likes to eat and he's not picky!

We're getting ready for snow in Alabama. Hopefully, we'll be building snowmen tomorrow. Truth be told.... I prefer sunshine and 80 degrees year around but these kids are so excited.... I'm pretending to be fired up about a snowstorm. ; ) A mommas gotta do what a momma's gotta do! Check for pics in day or so.

'til there's no more!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is the Bible About You?

We saw this video by Tim Keller last night at church.... WOW!
(turn off my music at the bottom of this page before playing)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Back!!!!!!!!

Hello my blogger friends! I have missed you all so much. Let me explain real quick what I mean. A few weeks ago I just had a strong feeling that I needed to spend the remainder of 2010 taking in some "extra time" with my sweet Savior. I knew that in order to have extra time alone in the Word and in prayer, I would need to let go of something that occupies my time. Well, the kids have to eat, I must do laundry, and after the house work backs up for several days, I about go crazy. You guys know I don't watch T.V. so that was not an option. (I mean who needs the Hiltons and the Kardashians when I've got all you crazy blog world families... y'all are way cooler.) So I decided to call it quits on the computer for a while. I missed "blogging" and "stalking" but the reward of the time spent with our Father was oh so worth it. I have so much to share over the next few months and I pray that I can get it all together in my head and heart and make it make sense. Our lives have been like a bunch of puzzle pieces on a table this past year and we are so excited as we are seeing God begin putting those pieces together. More to come on that soon... I promise.

All I really want to do is catch up on all of your journeys that I stalk, but I will give you a quick update on a few things that have been going on around our house the past month. And, I 'll share a few pictures!

No picture for this YET but....... Cash is walking!!!!! He has to be the cutest thing we have ever seen. He is still known as "Sugar" and you can probably tell why : )

Christmas was very merry and left a big mess to clean up. I think everybody got something they liked, but as you can see, we ALL had just one thing on our list this year.Christmas was over and we were on to the next big event..... my brother's wedding! Our family could not be happier to have a new aunt/sis in-law. It was a beautiful and sweet wedding ceremony at a small historic church and then a reception at our house. Sorry, I don't have bride and groom pics yet but trust me, they both looked amazing.
Do you have any idea how long it took to make everybody look this nice????? Three of Lexie's BFFs spent the night and helped by doing the girls hair and helping with the little boys. There are perks to having a teenager..... especially when they have amazing friends. Thank you Lydia, Ashley and Kayla!
The little boys looked so handsome.... this momma could seriously eat them both.
This is us with my parents. They are such a blessing to our family.
My dad made the cross you see in the back ground. How beautiful is that?!
Next on the agenda, my sis in-law, Sonia turned 40! So of course we threw a little party!

We love to celebrate anything, so we're always having a party for some reason! Happy Birthday Sonia!
I'm almost done..... the biggest surprise of the past few weeks was THIS!!!!I'm so excited to announce that my precious sister (we just have different parents :) Kelsie is getting married..... that wasn't the surprise.... she asked me to be matron of honor along with her "real" sister... THAT was the surprise! I was so shocked!!! I had selfishly hoped she would ask me to be a brides maid but didn't get my hopes up b/c she has tons of BFFs that she's had since childhood... and they are young and cute. I'm sure she wish I would have had on make up and not been wearing P.J.s when we took this pic... but can you tell that I am tickled pink? BTW, Cross is going to be the ring bearer..... that should be interesting ; )
This is truly an honor and I will be posting more about Kelsie and Taylor very soon! In the meantime, check out Kelsie's blog and you'll see why I am so crazy about this sweet girl.

Last but not least!!!! Some Esther news.... we are "un-officially" #36 on the waitlist to get to our little girl. Our agency is saying it should be about six months before we get a referral on her. Families that just traveled to our agency's transition home to see their children, reported that there are tons of tiny little babies in the home right now. We can't help but wonder if one of those sweet babies is ours. We'll see very soon! We thank you for joining us in praying for her health and contentment until we can get to her.

Sorry for the long post. I've missed you friends and I'm hopeful that we will all journey together through an amazing 2011. God bless you all!

'til there's no more!!!