Rebbecca, the adoptive mama who designed my blog, is celebrating the grand opening of her design studio. Wait till you see it- it is so chic. She does fabulous work, and I cannot recommend her enough! In fact, she just completed the design for our children's ministry blog, and it came out PERFECT for our needs. You can check it out here for a taste of Rebecca's work (remember, this one is for kids!).
So, if you are looking for a new look for your blog, check out her design site and be sure to stop by her blog here to enter her giveaway!
Can I take it back?
So I go to pick up Sawyer and he's BEAMING. I'm thinking, "Wow! That went well!"
All he said when we got in the car and I asked him how it went was: "I wish I could ride the bus home."
So, apparently the bus ride was fine. I appears that I should have spent a little less time praying about the bus ride and more about Sawyer in the classroom.
When I picked Sawyer up, the teacher said he seemed nervous. When I asked for details (like was he crying? I wasn't sure how she knew he was nervous, because he was hiding it pretty well at the bus stop), she said he didn't pay any attention. She chalked it up to nerves and thought he'd be better in a couple of days.
Well, that didn't sound good. So, I decided to just ask Sawyer for his assessment of the day. You practically need a degree in criminal interrogation to get any information our of this kid. All he would say in the car was, "I wasn't ignoring her. I just wouldn't look at her. Well, I did a few times." I'm completely puzzled at this point.
But a little trip to eat inside Wendy's did the trick. (Yeah, that's a big deal to him, and I wanted info so I was willing to feed him really bad food to get it. Just get the "Mother of the Year" award ready now.)
I'm not sure if he was still nervous or what, but he didn't seem to be paying any attention to me either. But, after a few french fries, he started spilling the beans.
He said he made friends with "the kid with the hair like this" (and he mimes a mohawk). I'm thinking, "This is going nowhere good." And, he and Mr. Mohawk pretended they were elephants peeing everywhere. The game was, according to Sawyer, Mr. Mohawk's idea, but Sawyer thought it "was funny, so I didn't think if it was applopliate (that's "appropriate" to the rest of us) because I was only thinking that it was funny, so I forgot to think about that." At least he was honest.
I bet the teacher loved that, what do you think? A couple of elephants peeing all over the classroom. UGH.
SOOOOO....we'll see if they'll let him back tomorrow. :) I'm biting my tongue to keep from telling Sawyer to stay the HECK away form the kid with the 4 inch mohawk (yeah, I saw him in line, and he looks like trouble). This is a repeat of last year when in the first week of preK Sawyer became best buddies with the kid who ended up getting kicked out of preschool at Christmas. Thankfully, Sawyer ended up deciding that this boy didn't make very good choices ("X thinks it is funny to be mean to kids, and I don't think that is funny. So, I'm deciding that I don't want to play with him anymore." And he never did.) So he stayed away. Let's hope that happens again this year, because one more elephant peeing episode, and he's going to be getting a reputation for himself with the teacher. We discussed "elephant peeing" and good choices and appropriateness over french fries. He seemed to understand.
Here's to tomorrow being a better day.
Home schooling is sounding better and better!! :)
So I just put my sweet, innocent, and utterly oblivious 5 year old on the bus and sent him off to kindergarten. It was much harder than I thought it would be, but he did great. I don't know what happened after he got on the bus, but he was super brave even though he looked like he was scared. I can hardly wait to go get him!!! I think it was even harder because he was happily and imaginatively playing in a cardboard box for an hour before he left. It just makes you think, "What am I doing?" I almost called to tell the school that I decided to home school him, but I came to my senses (nothing against homeschool, but neither he nor I are cut out for it at this point....who knows about later....)
When Sawyer was gone, we prayed for him. Then, Chloe said her own prayer:
"Thank you God as this day ends
for my family and my friends.
And Sawyer at school. Pray for Sawyer."
The first part of that prayer she learned from Boz and she always starts every prayer that way.....very cute. Usually it is followed by "and we have a great food" -even if it is bedtime or whatever. I guess she likes food! :) Today, she switched it up just for her brother.
Now, she's just crying and whining and being generally miserable. Poor kid. She's acting like she just lost her best friend.....and she did. :( Plus, I think she's pretty ticked that she couldn't go on the bus too.
So, here are some pictures of the morning:
Sawyer and Chloe (that's hugging not choking!):
Walking to the bus stop:
Jumping over a big puddle to to get to the bus. I just love that I happened to catch him mid-jump!
I am always interested in hearing stories about the "reality" of adoption. So many times I read about how wonderful it is and how magical and all that. And, I'm sure it is all those things at times for some people.
However, there are people who who don't have that experience. Yes, it is scary to read. But it is also necessary because if we don't read some of the harsh realities, and understand that it could be that way for us, we aren't being honest about the possible realities of adoption.
I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade. I do, however, hope that for myself, and my family, we are looking straight into the eyes of the REAL face of adoption, and not looking at the retouched, rosy picture that is so often passed around as real.
I pray every day that when our daughter comes home that her transition into our lives is smooth- for her and for us. That her little soul will feel at peace and feel loved beyond measure. That she will want to be loved on 24/7 (oh, I hope that). But, I also pray that if that is not the case, that we have the courage, strength, and complete tenacity to do whatever it takes for her to find healing and to know the deep measure of love and security that every child deserves to have.
So, along these lines, here is a blog post anyone who is adopting must read, in my humble opinion. It is the most amazing, heartbreaking, hopeful, courageous story of adoption I have read in awhile. Not because it is really extraordinary in any way, but because it is so completely honest and probably more typical in many ways than not.
OK, so it isn't Hawaii, but I LOVE my new neighborhood mostly because it is like living at the park. Here is the view from our front porch:
Here is the view from the gazebo (as seen in the previous picture):
We've been taking a lot of walks since we moved in. Who can be stressed when you are surrounded by birds singing, wind blowing through trees, and such peacefulness?
So, am I stressed when I go in to the office at church? Um......this is where I "work":
And here is a picture of our "Heron-in-Residence":
So, again, it isn't Hawaii, but how blessed am I to live and work in a park-like setting? It is a built in stress-reliever. And just wait till I show you pictures of it in the FALL!!!
Well, we've survived another move. Thanks to several guys who gave up an entire evening to break their backs carrying all our earthly possessions, we are completely moved in to our new place. We're living in utter chaos at the moment, but we have the weekend to at least try to make it livable. I'm sure we'll be settled in in no time. A couple quick blessings from this move:
* It didn't rain in this part of town even though it poured buckets on the other side of town.
* All of these guys who showed up were such an encouragement to us. We've never had so much help moving, and without them, this move would have taken us days and would have been immeasurably more stressful. We are SO thankful.
Chloe is having a hard time. She keeps saying she doesn't want a new house and that she wants to go home. But, I know she'll be fine once this return to some state of normal! On that note, I'm off to put her down for a nap.
Thanks for all the prayers!!!
This story illustrates perfectly my frustrations with China at the moment: they are ALL ABOUT their image. Nothing else seems to matter including people's feelings and, in the case of my personal frustrations at the moment with the slowing down of adoptions, the lives of children!
It is hard to both love a country, as I truly do love China, and also hate it at the same time. (In this case, hate IS the right term for the injustice and oppression that many of the Chinese people experience at the hands of their government.) I both want the Olympics to go smoothly (so that it may have a favorable effect on the adoption process) and be successful in China's eyes, but sometimes, I think I want it to be a horrible failure so that a country with such horrible policies towards it's people will not gain any glory (and maybe the shame will teach them to change their ways).
I know, these thoughts aren't RIGHT. It's just how I'm honestly feeling at the moment. When I see stories like this, I just hang my head in shame, as if it were my own country. In a way, I already feel like it is our country, and when our daughter comes home, it really will be to an extent!
I just had to share my frustrations. I know I'm not alone. Sara and Rebecca have also expressed similar challenges with watching the Olympics. So, I guess that's what happens when a centuries old communist country becomes like family to you! :) You just want them to be better than they are- as GREAT as they could be, you know?
Today Scot and I celebrate 11 years of marriage and 17 years together. There were a lot of people who thought it wasn't the best decision I had ever made (they wouldn't admit it now, but there were quite a few of them at the time who thought Scot was a "punk" or "too rebellious", to quote a couple of specific conversations I remember). But, I never doubted for a second that it was, by far, the BEST decision I could have made for someone to spend my life with. 11 years later, I think all the nay-sayers would agree whole-heartedly. And, I have never been more convinced.
I am blessed to be married to my best friend, someone with whom I can completely be myself and can say anything to. He's a hard worker, a creative mind, and a deep thinker. He's always got an idea for something new (he woke up this morning saying he has a great idea for a restaurant in Grand Rapids, MI, and there's always the Saftey Tattoo idea.....his thoughts are completely random, but that's what makes them GREAT). OH- and people will tell you he's the funniest person they've ever met.....I think that too, but he's so much more than that, so I tend to forget that part of his personality.
Most of all, he's the best kind of husband a girl could ask for: helpful around the house, a great cook, a full partner as a parent and an excellent communicator. He constantly challenges me to be better than I am in every area of my life. To watch him be a dad is one of the great joys of my life, and I am always in awe of his desire to be even better at both marriage and fatherhood.
I'm so thankful to God for giving me the courage to choose wisely, even when I realized others didn't think it was wise. That's not like me (although, since then, it has become more like me). I really shudder to think of what the alternative might have been (or, you know, who the alternative might have been).
I'm looking forward to the next 30+ years........
This is the first picture ever taken of Scot and I together- summer of 1991. (You can kind of see where people got the "he's a punk" ideas):
Scot and I today (there's a Hawaii picture for you all) :)
If you haven't had the opportunity to attend Willow Creek's Leadership Summit (either AT Willow Creek or at a satellite location), you have to put it on your calendar for next year. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend through our church, and it has been amazing! Considering how much I have on my "To Do" list at the moment, I was afraid that these two days at the conference would be full of me mentally packing everything in my house and feeling a bit trapped by the fact that I couldn't attend to all of it.
Quite the contrary, I never gave packing even a passing thought. The speakers yesterday were amazing, and I cannot wait for today!
So, that's just my shameless promotion, and a bit of a teaser. I know many of my new blogging friends would be tremendously blessed by attending, so I wanted to let you know. I'll share more over the weekend of what I am learning. That's sure to be a LONG post! Ever feel like speakers were chosen just to speak to you? That's how I was feeling yesterday.
I read recently about this company, Safety Tat, that created personalized temporary tattoos that have your cell number right in the design. They are perfect for trips to amusement parks or other crowded places where losing track of your child is a concern.
Of course, this falls into the category of things Scot thought of a couple years ago and I told him it probably wouldn't sell. What do I know? This wouldn't be the first time I told him "No" on an idea that turned out to later be profitable.......for someone else! That's happened at least 3 times that I know of.
Oh well. This is still a great idea, so I thought I'd pass the info along!
Does anyone have any great recipes for a couple freezer friendly meals (besides your standard lasagnas) that I could make this week, freeze, and warm up next week in the midst of our move?
I want to pack the majority of our kitchen stuff early next week, but I don't want to eat out all week or burden my mom every day next week while she's working. I thought if I made a couple meals ahead of time, I could just reheat them and we could eat normal dinners without having to use a bunch of pans and such.
I do think one day we'll do a picnic on the floor of this house or the new one. It will be a simple dinner, but the kids will LOVE the fact that we're sitting on the floor!
I'm no expert on what freezes well and what doesn't, so any advice would be GREAT! Thanks!
Aaaaahhhhh....a big sigh of relief. With packing and moving ahead of us, all I feel is complete and utter freedom and relief. (I've never claimed to be normal.) Although there is a lot to do, packing and moving just don't seem to be THAT big of a deal after the last few weeks. I sat down last night and relished the fact that there was nothing big I had to attend to or think about for the next day. I could just sit and relax. It was wonderful.
I'm happy to report our volunteer recruitment event went very well- we had quite a few people interested in serving with children! It was a great encouragement to me and for all of our tireless children's ministry team. After it was done, I got to sit in the nursery and rock the most beautiful little 4 month old baby to sleep. I'll tell you what, that makes it ALL worth it.
So, I'm off to have a lazy, comfy day with my kids. There is nothing like having 85% of your to-do list accomplished (even if the 15% left is "packing" and "moving").
OK- I'll share the most outrageous Hawaii memory first- the SPA. We were able to chose form a menu of several activities every day, and one choice was the spa. Oh my. This was no ordinary spa. I've been to ordinary spas, and they are wonderful. This spa was beyond anything I could have concocted in my mind. This was clearly the most AMAZING spa I will EVER have the pleasure of stepping foot in. I went three different times over the week- twice for a massage, and once for a facial. The amazing part of this spa is that one hour before whatever treatment you are having, you go in for an hour of "Terme". I don't know what that word actually means, but to me it means "the absolute height of relaxation and pampering".
Let’s just say, I’ll NEVER experience a spa like this again in my life. It was truly the most indulgent thing I’ve ever done in my life- and totally relaxing. The picture above shows the aromatherapy baths. From left to right they are: Papaya Extract, Hawaiian Healing Bath, Aromatherapy Bath, Seaweed Bath, and the Moor Mud Bath. I smelled REALLY good after leaving the spa. Yeah, and that’s just one room!!! There are two other rooms with Japanese Furo Baths, a waterfall massage, Roman Jacuzzi tub, Swiss jet showers, and MORE. Crazy, and yes, a bit excessive!
OH- I almost forgeot- the personal loofa exfoliation scrub! A "Loofa Attendant" comes to get you while you are soaking away in one of the soaking tubs and leads you to a room which looked very much like a place where they would give a big dog a bath at a groomers. I actually started laughing when I saw it. You lay down on the table, and they spray you down (gentle spray from a shower-head, not a hose), scrub your entire body with a loofa scrub, and then gently spray you off again.
Actually, what seemed unbelieveable to me when I was there is that people PAY for this and some do it on a regular basis. It was really great, but there is no way I would have ever paid for one of these treatments, and it just seems the height of wasteful spending for someone to do it regularly.
But, that’s just me. I’m practical. But, beyond that, just sitting in those tubs, as wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating as they were, I couldn’t help but think that millions of people around the world have no access to clean water to DRINK never mind to lounge around in with “aromatherapy” stuff mixed in. Then, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the only person in the room praying for those millions of people while I soaked. It was a rather surreal experience that really made me so grateful to God for blessings I enjoy that I do not deserve. Even the blessing of clean water.
No, I'm not dead. :) I'm alive and well!
VBS was this week at our church. That, coupled with jet lag and a children's ministry volunteer recruitment event this coming Sunday, kept me far, far away from my computer this week (unless it was related to church). It has been a busy, busy, week. But it was great!
Tomorrow, we're off to the lake to relax, Sunday is the volunteer event, and then next week, it's time to pack the house.
So, right now, busy is the name of the game. You do what you have to do, and I know that in just a couple short weeks, we'll be relaxing in our new home.
I'm looking forward to it!!
PS- I SWEAR Hawaii pictures are coming! I'll add it to the "To Do" list! :)