Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birthday Boy

My big boy turned 14 today.

Did you hear that???? FOURTEEN!!!

Where in the world did the years go????

I have a constant family video playing through my head today, but it seems to be stuc on fast forward.

I am so grateful for the call to stay home when he was small, and the fact that God provided for that.

I am so grateful for the call to homeschool, and the fact that God provided for THAT.

I have no regrets about the time that we have gotten to spend together, and would not trade ONE minute of it to have been somewhere else, to have made more money, or to have a cleaner house.

And as the day quickly approaches when he will be off on his own, I am very grateful for what I feel is a very close relationship with my teenage son. I know not many moms can say that. And I know it might not always be that way.

I am grateful for the man I see God shaping right before my eyes. Trust me, God is doing the shaping, and not me. The wisdom, maturity, and love for others that this child displays are way beyond his years. And yet he is not missing out on being a kid: he loves to have fun, be goofy, lose himself in his video games, and pick on his sisters.

I actually have to remind myself sometimes that he is still a kid, as the temptation to treat him as the more mature person he acts like is always there. He never complains about being asked to babysit his siblings (even if it involves the occasional diaper change), or do an extra chore, or, I don't know, accompany his highly emotional mother all the way to China to bring home yet another sister.

This year I have seen him step beyond his comfort zone and join the high school's cross country team. A brand new sport for him, at a school he's not really a part of, in a brand new country!!! Things I would've never dared to do at his age if I were in his shoes.

Just last week I was having a panic attack after dropping him off at midnight to go off on a bus full of rowdy teenages to a cross country meet THIRTEEN hours away. He survived. I survived.

What I don't think I'll survive is what he told me tonight. And he'd kill me if he knew I was blogging about this, so NOT A WORD!

He has been asked to Homecoming.

Didn't see that one coming. I am NOT ready to be the mom of a fourteen year old.

Let alone one who's being asked out on dates.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like..........

I know, I know. It's not even October yet.

But I can't help it.

It's Christmas in the stores already.

And, usually, I find that a bit irritating.

But not today.

Today we walked into our trusty on-base "T*yland", all decked out for Christmas.

And Abby absolutely flipped out when she saw the Christmas trees.

I mean, I really don't think I've ever seen a bigger smile on anyone. Ever.

And she said (or at least I think she said, b/c it was all slurred together and said in ONE breath, the way she does when she's excited): "Mom, mom, I think maybe you will put a tree like that in our house for Christmas"

To which I replied " Oh, no, sweetie, we will put up a REAL tree in our house"

And she just looked at me very strangely, because she probably never heard of a "fake" tree, and thought those were real trees she was seeing in the store.

But anyhow, she kept on scrambling all over her words, talking about how she was going to make a heart to put on the tree, and on, and on, and on..........

I absolutely can NOT wait to help her celebrate EVERYTHING Christmas this year!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010


The girls have a friend over tonight for a little sleepover. They're camping out in the living room, and when I came downstairs to check on them, this is what I found. Lanie and E are reading this book to Abby and explaining what she doesn't understand.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye-Bye Diapers Day 5

Cy has been ready to potty train for a long time now.

He's known what to do, and talked about it, for a while.

We have even gotten started down that road a time or two, but then life has happened.

School started and I got too busy to constantly take him potty.

I went to spend two weeks in China.

Then we were a bit busy getting his new sister settled in

We moved overseas.

So finally, I decided we just need to get this done. Life will never stop. And as long as I keep slapping a diaper on him, he'll be more than happy to use it.

This week, I told him: "No more". We officially said "bye bye" to diapers. Yeah, cold turkey. It's been quite the ride.

He has done a lot better than even I expected.

Yesterday, he stayed dry (and clean) ALL day until 6 pm. And I guess at that point he was getting a little tired to care. 'Cause he just quit for the ENTIRE rest of the day.

I'm hoping we can make it through the WHOLE day today.

And I feel a party comin' on soon.

'Cause unless I see a burning bush, I think we're about done with diapers around here. At least 'til grandkids start comin' over.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forever Brothers

A while back, I mentioned my bloggy friend and fellow AF wife Sonia was in the process of trying to bring home two GORGEOUS little guys from China (check them out on my sidebar). To add to her four boys already at home, mind you. Because apparently she doesn't have enough sweaty boy laundry to fill her days yet. I only have three boys, and the dirty socks that pile up on my kitchen floor (yes, I said KITCHEN floor) are enough to keep my washer running all day. But I digress....
Through amazing, miraculous circumstances that could only have been orchestrated by our AWESOME Father, these two little guys Sonia's family is adding to their home are the very best of friends, and are currently in the same foster home in China. You can read the rest of their incredible story HERE.

While you are there, you can find out how to participate in their upcoming drawing for some pretty cool prizes, and help this beautiful story be completed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Made It

CanAlign Center't believe a whole week has gone by since I last posted. It didn't hit me until the time rolled around again today for ballet class. Yes, we survived a week of waiting and finally made it to class, which I think met everyone's expectations. Better yet, we found out that the ballet teacher also teaches piano, and Lanie was wanting piano lessons. She teaches at the student's house, which I guess is great because I don't have to drive to yet one more lesson.

But does this mean that I have to clean my house in preparation for the lesson????? 'Cause if that's the case, the lessons will be short lived.

We spent the last few days in Tokyo, celebrating Lanie's 9th birthday. Pics have been shared on FB, so I won't put them all up here, except for a few of my favorites.

I think my three "middlers" look very sweet in this one:
This one is one of my favorites because it shows that wonderful big brother - little sister thing they've got going (more details below):
The Tokyo tower (model after the Eiffel Tower) was Abby's absolute favorite thing in the whole trip. And I think her expression in this next picture says it all. It's interesting because the rest of us have traveled so extensively that it's quite hard to impress us - we've seen it all by now. It is neat to see things through Abby's eyes - everything seems so exciting when it's the first time you've done it.
OK, this last one is not from the Tokyo trip, it's from the birthday party after we got back. But it's just so cute, I couldn't resist!!

We had a fantastic time in Tokyo, but it hit me how much squabbling is going out lately. TWO girls to pick on is way too much temptation for a teenage brother - and he is relentless. Abby is definitely getting a taste of what it is to be a younger sister. And I am having many fond (really) memories of my big brother. And James would much rather tease Abby than Lanie, because Lanie actually enjoys it and just begs for more, while Abby responds with that high pitch WHINE that mothers everywhere LOVE. It is very true to her lil' princess personality.

So to top off the stress level around here, we got back and I decided that it is time to say bye-bye to diapers. We did so ceremoniously this morning, and had one succesful errand running outing with NO accidents. At home, however, it was a different story. Although he did stay dry through an entire Barney video, and then flipped out the second it was over and said "I have to go potty RIGHT now!!!" Think we'll do a pull-up for KinderMusic tomorrow.

Monday, September 13, 2010


There was lots of disappointment for the girls today....

After counting down the days all week long, the big day was finally here.

They were due to start ballet class.


I had heard about nothing else all week.

We finally got there tonight, to a very surprised instructor.

She said she didn't know she had any girls signed up at all for the 9 and up class, and had somewhere else she had to be in half an hour.

I saw tears well up in Abby's eyes, but the savvy instructor pulled out a tub full of lollipops and let them each pick one, plus bowed and apologized about 50 times. She even gave them a big bear hug.

So we forgave her.

The good news???

Apparently they'll be getting private lessons.

We'll be back next Monday, and that woman better be ready to teach those lil' girls some moves!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Neighborhood Posse

There are now about 20 kids on the block and they all spend countless hours playing together. But these 5 are inseparable.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cy and His Buddy

Isn't the resemblance uncanny????
The other young kids in the neighborhood are always mixing these two up!!
We live right next door to each other, and I think these two have already found the start of a longtime friendship!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Great First Week

We had a GREAT first week of school. Everything went better than planned, and everyone seems to be enjoying what they're learning about this year. And the last few months have been a time of growing and maturing for our little man - and the school day is a world of difference with him around now. He actually entertains HIMSELF for most of the morning, happy to be near us and color, or play with his bucket loads of toys - but not interrupting or demanding my attention. Last year we all took a "shift" to play with him so that the rest of us could continue to work uninterrupted, but I don't think that will be called for this year!!!!! HOORAY!

Most of what Abby is doing this year is on the computer (which she REALLY enjoys), but she's also tagging along with us when we do some of our geography, science, and read alouds, and I'm blown away by how much she's getting out of it. She actually begs to do mapping first thing in the morning.

And speaking of Abby...... This whole older child adoption thing has been quite a roller coaster for all involved, from the DECISION to accept an older child referral to the daily issues we're still facing now, more than 7 months down the road. But there are moments when I am clearly reminded of the real purpose in this journey - and we had one of those this afternoon. Abby was humming some songs, and then started singing "Jesus Loves Me". She turned to me and said: "Mom, that is my VERY FAVORITE song!!!!!!". That coupled with the many times she's turned to me and said "In China, they never talk about Jesus. They don't know about Jesus in China" make me want to hop on a plane and adopt about 100 more kids.

Not to be left behind, the lil' man has to melt my heart with his charm on a daily basis. This morning, he came into by bed and crawled on top of me, gave me a HUGE kiss, and said "You know what?? I missed you!!!" What a perfect way to start my day!