Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memory...

I have started and stopped this post in my head so many times and I still can't get it right. Every time Memorial Day comes around it takes me back a few years. We always go to the Memorial Day parade and that year was no different. While we were there I had the passing thought that I should call my Grandpa afterwards and thank him for his service during WW2.

But I didn't.

I got busy and forgot.

A few days later, my phone rang. It was my mom telling me that my Grandpa had gone to be with Jesus. His funeral was a few days later and he was given a beautiful tribute from the military, complete with a flag given to one of his sons. My cousin, Jim, was there that day. He had done a stint in the military but had just signed up again to go to Iraq. It was the last time I would see him.

A few months later, he left for Iraq. Once he was there, his sister sent us his address and I began making plans for the Christmas box I would send. But I never got the opportunity.

Thanksgiving dinner had ended and all had gone home when my phone rang again. My cousin had been killed that day in Iraq and had gone home to be with Jesus. He left a young wife and two beautiful children, 11 and 9.

I was standing next to his father when the plane carrying Jim's flag-draped casket arrived. It was bitterly cold that day and the sun was setting as the tiny plane taxied across the tarmac. The airport was extremely small. It was an intimate gathering of our family and friends that day, standing beside the small building that housed the entire airport operations area.

I put my arm around my uncle as the door of the plane opened. As the casket of his son became visible, I felt him sag against me. I briefly wondered if I would be strong enough to hold him if he totally collapsed, but he continued to stand, somewhat supported by my arm. I could hear stifled sobs all around me and my own tears fell as well.

My sister and I had gone to the airport earlier in the day and decorated as best we could. There was a fence surrounding the runway and we used red and blue cups to spell out, "Welcome Home, Jim." We rigged up some American flags but they looked pitifully small and inadequate to be announcing the arrival of a hero.

I could continue here and tell you all about the amazing and touching outpouring of support that Jim's hometown showed. It was truly comforting. But I want to leave you with a plea to remember those who have fallen. Remember the sacrifice of their spouses, parents, and children. My cousin's young family has thankfully, done well. God has taken care of them and they are moving on with their lives. But that does not remove the loss of their son, husband, and father. He will be forever missed.

There are others--maybe you know a family who has lost a hero. Maybe you do not. There are also those who come home but suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or have lost limbs. Please pray today for those who fight to keep us free and for families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Field Day for 1st grade

Yesterday was Chloe's field day and the little kids all wanted to go hang out to watch. Thankfully it was only in the 70's.


This is all quite fascinating but are we going to get some kind of treat when it's over?

Mmmmmm....snow cones (which sent the little kids into a flurry of whining because they didn't get one)

It's kind of hard to run a relay with a snow cone in one hand

After field day was complete, the little kids wanted to play on the playground. The look on Jake's face should strike terror into the hearts of any of his future teachers.

This sweet little guy, not so much.

After school the three big girls and I headed to our weekly errand duty at Target. It's a duty we take seriously. TJ M*xx is next door and we decided to make a quick run in there to check on something I needed. But gasp...there were clearance items. Nice ones. We snagged an adorable little coat for Kate for a pittance. Woooo!

When we got home, Jillian tried it on Kate. Swoon! She was so cute! Must take photos. Must take photos.

Hmmm...need to brighten this photo a bit but don't have time right now
This one, too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Two-Coka-Cola Day

Yep--a slightly bedraggled but two-fisted, Coka-Cola lovin' Mama survived the day yesterday

Ya didn't end with the dog eating the kids' lunch.

After watching them try to make a 'trampoline' with the couch cushions, I thought it might be fun to go to lake. After all, it was 93 degrees.

So I loaded them up and took them out of our comfortably air conditioned house (which I was sooo grateful for).

This was my first mistake.

My second mistake was deciding to check out the beach portion of 'da dake.' We normally use the boat launch because it's accessible but maybe...just maybe the beach would be open. The gate was open and there was some yellow tape across it but it just said 'wet paint.'

So...obeying the letter of the law (it didn't actually SAY we couldn't use the beach--it just warned us about the paint, which was already dry), we headed down to the sandy area.

And the kids loved it!

For five minutes.

And then the you-can't-have-any-fun-because-I-take-my-job-so-seriously park ranger drove up and yelled at us to leave. Yes. He yelled. "I can't have you down there with no lifeguard, especially with all those kids!" Yep...the kids were up to their ankles which must be seriously dangerous.

The kids were all disappointed so I told them I would take them over to the boat launch. They had fun but it is rocky which hurts their little piggie toes. It was certainly not like the lovely sand which we could see only about 200 tantalizing yards from us. Oh...and we could also see the family who came AFTER us who went swimming. Barney Fife never made an appearance to kick them out, however.

Finally, the inevitable happened...Zoey and Kate slipped on the rocks and sat down in the water, much to their dismay. They had to ride home soaking wet and stinking like fish. But...I saved the day with a stop at McDon*ald's for some ice cream. ahhhhh....
"My wailing has become somewhat fake, but I'm not quite ready to give it up."

So, I had two Cokes and a hot fudge sundae yesterday. A bit of a sugar overload, wouldn't you say?

And then, my sweet Ryan sent me a text saying that he failed his PT run again. He is bummed. He is having trouble breathing and there is some suspicion that he has developed asthma from his bout of pneumonia a few months ago. He is supposed to get it checked out tomorrow. If he has asthma, it is an automatic medical discharge. If he doesn't have asthma, he gets one more chance next week to pass the run.

It is comforting to leave his future in God's hands--knowing that God will direct his steps and lead him where He needs Ryan to be.
Since it was so hot, we went back home to enjoy our A/C.

meant I was able to do a lot of this...

And then I finished out the day by noticing this...
Can you guess what it is?

Hint #1: the photo is of a window in our kitchen.
Hint#2: the window is low to the ground
Hint#3: it's near Jake's chair

And the answered revealed???

SOMEONE licked the window and that is a tongue print.
Today we are off to Chloe's field day and I'm thankful that it is NOT going to be 93 degrees!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Mommy Rant

Just skip this post if you want to labor under the incorrect assumption that I have it all together and never lose it. hahahahahaha

For starters, Jeff left for Italy on Sunday afternoon and will not be back until Friday night. 'Nuf said.

And of course there have been a bazillion school activities to attend.

And we're still trying to move.

Today, the carpet cleaner guy was coming at noon. SaraGrace is being tested for learning disabilities and school staff requested that she stay after school for the test. She goes to morning kindergarten, so we needed to make her a lunch and then I would pick her up around 1:30PM.

The carpet guy called and said he was running late and would be there about 12:30. biggie.

I sat the kids down for their yummy chicken nugget lunch when the phone rang. It was the school. Something had come up and they were not going to be able to test SaraGrace today. Could I please come and pick her up immediately?

It was 12:05.

The kindergarten bus leaves the school at 12:00. I guess the emergency had come up between 12:00 and 12:05 (she says sarcastically....)

So...could I make it back in time to let the carpet guy in? It would be cutting it close. I told the kids to leave their lunches on the table and get into the car. Jake couldn't find his shoes. I told him to just GO get in the car. (OK...I kind of yelled. Kind of in a stressed-out, I don't have time for this nonsense kind of way. I'm not proud of it.)

It is 90 degrees here today with high humidity. Since the school parking lot is inconveniently located too far from the front door to leave the kids in the car, I had to get all of them out of their carseats to go into the school to get SaraGrace. Urgh. Since Jake had no shoes, I had to carry him. As we exited the car, I noticed Jordan was wearing these...
And here I must deviate from my sad tale of woe to say that there is NO WAY I am letting my kid--especially a boy--go anywhere in socks and sandals. I do have some pride. If it is hot enough to wear flip-flops or sandals, for goodness sakes, do NOT wear socks. It looks absurd. We stopped long enough for him to remove the offending socks.

Needless to say, we were all sweaty by the time we got into the school. I love to sweat. Not.

I herded everyone back out to the car. There was lots of complaining about being hungry and hot. The kids complained a little, too. hee. was 12:20. I could probably make it home before the carpet guy.

Alas, as I pulled up, he was standing in the driveway looking sweaty and annoyed. Sigh... who could blame him? I'm sure he couldn't figure out why I didn't mention that I had to be gone at 12:25 when he called at 11:45 to tell me he was on his way.

SaraGrace helped the kids out of their car seats as I dashed inside to let the carpet guy in the front door.

And then I heard it. It was a wail not unlike the Who's down in Whoville.

"Mooooommmmmmm....Ginger ate our lunch!! Ginger aaaaatttttteeeee our luuuuunnnnch. Our chicken nuggets are gone."

And it was true. To borrow a line from "A Christmas Story..." The heavenly aroma still hung in the house. But it was gone, all gone!

No chicken lunch.

I seriously considered dropping that dog off at the pound. This is not her first petty crime of the week. Grrrr....

So...I got the kids a new lunch and then went for my elixir of happiness....

Ahhhhh....Coke. In a glass bottle. There is just nothing better (except fountain Coke from McDon*lds). I might need two today.

Is it nap time yet?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

End of the School Year Activities

It has been a whirlwind around here with end-of-the-school-year activities. Concerts, field trips and field days have converged to make my weeks rather full.

Last week, I was able to go with Jillian on a very cool field trip to Boston. Good thing it was a great place because apparently, 5th graders still want their mothers to accompany them, but it is totally uncool to have any interaction with them whatsoever. What's that about? I sat alone on the bus. I sat alone at lunch. Hmmmm.... So did the other mom's...each of us glancing awkwardly at our children, wondering if we should impose ourselves on them or give them space. Finally we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were relegated to the fringe of the group and began talking to each other. One other mom and I were the camera fiends in the group and kept lagging behind trying to get our perfect shots. ha. We had a great guide who took us on the Freedom Trail. He was a descendant of Paul Revere, so had a passion for the stories of Boston during the Revolutionary War. I highly recommend bringing your children to Boston if you can ever make the trip. It's so full of history, which our kids need to know. So many brave men and women risked, or gave, their lives to make this country free. We need to remember what they were willing to die for...what they were trying to escape in Europe.

The Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common

Qaint outdoor market

I am embarrassed to admit that I have forgotten which building this was--but I think it was the Old South Meeting House.

"It all started here." The Original Boston Tea Party in 1773

Some British soldiers happened by during our lunch at Quincy Market.

Jillian was chosen to wear this circa 1773 bonnet.

Statue of Paul Revere with the Old North Church spire in the background, where the lanterns were hung as a warning of the British plan to come by sea.

Also last week was an adorable concert put on by the 1st grade. Miss Chloe was a very cute ladybug.

She had a short speaking part.

Miss Katie-bug couldn't find her other flip-flop, so made do with one that was completely different. Nice.

This week, Molly had a recorder concert. She loves playing it and has done a lot of practicing.

Molly catches sight of her family

She and two other friends played a special song.

Jake, following in his sister's footsteps, dashed out to the car before I had a chance to notice a two things about him. One: he was wearing unmatched flip-flops.

Two: his shorts were on backwards.

I'm pretty sure it ruins my chances for that elusive mother-of-the-year award.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Jakester Strikes Again

The other day Jake started bugging me about something he wanted.

I said no.

He pleaded. He whined. And pleaded some more.

I said no.

And then he said, "Well, then can you go askth Deff?" (Jeff)

Jeff is my husband and I have no clue why Jake thought that using the word 'Jeff' would command more respect and possibly grant him the success he was hoping for.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

Jeff came down with the girls on Saturday morning and told me to come check them out. They were dressed. Hmmm...odd... They normally come down in their pajamas.

It would seem that Jake has a new self-appointed duty.

Choosing the clothing that his sisters should wear for the day.

Because when Jeff asked them why they were dressed, they chorused 'Dakey got us dwessed!' Taking orders from their younger brother does not seem to be an issue for them. I was pretty impressed that they were matching.
Lookin' good--except for the bed head.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Posters, etc.

OK, guys, your comments have forced me to ask this question....

Well, forced may be a bit strong. hee.

I have been talking to another adoptive mom who also loves photography, and we have a dream. I need to ask ya'll if you think it is something that could work.

The dream is to create photos with Bible verses--or inspirational phrases-- (and possibly a calendar) and offer them for sale to do some fundraising for orphans. We would maybe choose one charity per month to send the proceeds to.

Another thought we had is to offer several photos to families who are trying to fund raise for an adoption. They could sell the photos to whomever they wanted and the proceeds would be sent to their adoption agency to pay expenses.

We would offer the photos in a variety of sizes--from small 5x7 to posters, depending on where people planned to use them in their homes. We could also do custom photos if families had a favorite verse they wanted on a photo.

I am just wondering if this would even work? Would it raise enough to even put a dent in anyone's financial burden? There are logistics to consider about printing and mailing, but the first step is trying to ascertain if there is enough interest in the project.

Opinions? Don't be afraid to be the voice of reason if you think it's not do-able. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Boss Your Heart

I hope some (or all) of you have had a chance to read about the short, but amazing life of Chrissie Patterson at All Our Precious in His Sight. She was adopted from Serbia seven months ago and went home to be with Jesus yesterday after complications from open-heart surgery.

There was a day during her stay in the hospital when they were trying to get her off the heart/lung machine. It was urgent because there were complications. Her mom was standing by her side praying, when God gave her the words to tell Chrissie to boss her heart to start beating properly. You see, Chrissie loved any opportunity to be the boss. Well, Chrissie responded! Her heart started to beat in the correct rhythm. Every time the doctors needed her body to do something, Chrissie's mom would tell her to boss it into happening. And Chrissie did. It was amazing!

On Tuesday night, just hours before Chrissie died, her mom posted a fundraiser that another mom was doing. It is a beautiful handmade necklace that says, "Boss Your Heart."
Boss Your Heart Hand Stamped Necklace for Chrissie Fundraiser

The mom who made it talked about how God had impressed on her that we ALL need to boss our hearts. Satan wants to tell us that we are worthless, failures, and unlovable but we know the truth of God's word. We are of precious worth, treasured, and can do all things through Him who gives us the strength. We need to boss our hearts into BELIEVING the truth.

We also sometimes allow ourselves to fall into bad habits and we need to boss our hearts against them.

This morning, my devotional was along the same lines (don't you love when that happens?)
"We fail because we are ignorant of the way we are made. We say the devil made us do it instead of our own undisciplined natures.... One example is moods. Moods never go away by praying. Moods go by kicking. We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves...The curse with most of us is that we won't."

So how about it? Do you want to "Boss Your Heart?" The necklace will not only be a visual reminder of 'taking every thought captive' but it will also help Chrissie's family pay the medical bills that they incurred during the month that their princess Chrissie was in PICU. I believe that part of Chrissie's legacy will be to help people truly live out God's truth and find healing in their lives by learning how to boss their hearts. And each time we boss our hearts, we can smile at the memory of a four year old princess from Serbia...whose parents nicknamed her the Serbian Sensation. Can't you just picture her with her hands on her hips, shaking a finger and telling you to boss your heart?

Here is the link if you would like to order one. The mom has written a moving story about how God led her to make the necklace for Chrissie.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sweet Chrissie

Please pray for the family of sweet Chrissie, whose story is told here on her mom's blog. After open-heart surgery one month ago, she fought hard but went home to be with Jesus last night. She was adopted from Serbia six months ago and her life, though short, has made a huge impact on many who have been following her story.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"The Faster I Go...

...the behinder I get." Amish proverb

That pretty much sums life up for me right now. We are living in our rental home and trying to move things over to the new house. There is no grass yet at the new house, so the kids inevitably end up in the dirt (ie: filthy from head to toe). I try to keep them outside so they don't track in. You can imagine how well that goes.

Last night we got an email saying that the owners of our rental had changed their plans. They are no longer planning to move back into the house, but decided to put it on the market. They listed it yesterday. Nice. They were 'thoughtful' enough to say that showings wouldn't start until the end of this week.

Just shoot me now!

There are boxes everywhere. I have taken most of the pictures off the walls. Let's just say it doesn't exactly look like the cover of Better Homes and G*rdens in here.

Between running to the house and running to the doctor with kids who are STILL coming down with strep, I am meeting myself coming and going!

After a stressful weekend, I decided that the kids needed a break from my grumpiness, so I took them to the lake. We had fun, although the water was too frigid to play in. They love to throw rocks and sticks, make leaf boats and accidentally splash the girls.

I had hopes of getting all the photos edited but yeah....that isn't going to happen. I know it's totally uncool for photographers to share unedited photos but alas, I do not have time to edit all of these.

Ohhh rock made a big splash!
Katie...look at mommy for a minute so I can capture your cuteness.
Let's walk to the other side of the lake. (Jillian was home from school with strep, which is why she went with us.)
"Ohhh, mom...wook at dat cool twee!"
"I donna beat you, Zoey!"
"But I have a bigger wock, Dakie."
Jake and Zoey spent nearly the whole time running back and forth with rocks to chuck into the water. They weren't satisfied with pebbles. They had to be ROCKS.
These two have a special bond of being from the same orphanage and sometimes are the best of buds.
Miss Kate, ever serious, contemplates her next move.
Now this is an example of hugging someone's neck.
Kate always brings up the rear and I asked Jordan to help her. The two of them were SO cute. Jordan carefully helped her over every log and patiently waited for her whenever necessary.
"Be careful, Katie."