Friday, July 29, 2011

More Confessions

OK, and while I'm in the mood to confess about obsessions..... I'll throw another out there.

Hubby and I have started sharing a certain addiction.

I mean, it's hard when you're the parents of five kids.

It can be difficult to really make time for each other. It's hard to find those passions that you can share and, well, just have fun with together. Because, let's face it, something else usually has your attention.

We have made an effort over the years to not completely take off on a personal hobby that would cost us even more time away from each other.

I do have my scrapbooking, and he has his motocross (which he shares with the boys), but we really do limit the time we spend on those activities.

And admittedly, since we have two kids now old enough to babysit, there's been a whole lot more date nights.

BUT we now have something to keep us entertained RIGHT HERE AT HOME. Something that doesn't involve his constantly flipping channels and me begging him to PICKSOMETHINGALREADYYOU'REDRIVINGMENUTS. Something we can do with the kids going berserk all around us.

It is a bit sad, and pathetic, and I am a bit embarrased to admit it. Because it DOES involve us each walking around the house at all times with an extra appendage - namely and ipod and ipad. So we can play "W*rds with Friends" against each other. Non.stop. I mean, we've only been doing this for a couple of days, but for those two days there hasn't been a minute when we have both been home that one of us is not staring at said device trying to find our next word.

And don't ask me why we each need our own device, and can't just hand it off to each other. Or why we can't act like normal people and sit down in front of a Scrabble board.

I guess it's just more fun to holler across the room "It's you now!!!!" And to hear the little "ding" a second later!!

I LOVE summer, b/c I would never have enough time to keep up with this little game in my "real" life.

But I have to go now, it's my turn!!! I'm pretty excited, 'cause I have a "Z".

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I have a confession to make.

I am obsessed - VERY obsessed, with G*mboree clothes!!

Luckily, I have become very savvy about when I buy from them. So I manage to satisfy my crazy need for it at pretty stellar prices.

Just this past week we got our big quarterly box of G*mboree stuff. The one from the order where I reedemed my G*mbucks. The girls always get super excited when this box arrives.

This time around, the contents were mostly summer PJs. Aren't they just so darn cute??

Monday, July 25, 2011

Just Thoughts

Preparing for a new arrival from China (if only mentally) has made me reflect a lot on the last eighteen months since Abby joined our family.

I am in awe when I think of what an amazing child she really is.

When I allow myself to think, even for a few minutes, of what her daily life was really like when she was still in the orphanage.

When I see her next to other kids in the neighborhood, kids who have been loved and nurtured by their parents since birth, who have lived, really, like royalty. Her own siblings included.

And when I realize that to her, even after eighteen months, this is all so new.

I am not going to say that the adjustment has been a piece of cake. It has probably been the hardest thing that any of us has ever done. And it's still a work in progress.

But when I think that, and I pause to watch her, I really am amazed. Completely amazed at how smoothly she transitioned. She is truly, and has been from day one, such a sweet, sweet child. We have never, not once, had an issue with temper, or anger, any of the many things I feared so much in adopting an older child.

We struggled with food for quite a bit, and in hindsight that was probably her way of assuming some type of control over her topsy-turvy life. Then came the giant struggles over schoolwork. . And again, we have made incredible progress in this area. Easy it has not been, that's for sure. But considering she spent almost 9 years with no one having a single expectation from her academically, other than keeping her quiet and busy, it really comes as no surprise that she would be resistant to learning. At this point, she's almost caught up to grade level, and is now reading chapter books completely on her own (Way to go, Abby)

Like my friend Sonia, who's no stranger to adoption, is fond of saying, "Adoption is not for wimps". She is absolutely right. And I believe that we were very blessed with Abby, and feel like a spoiled brat for even considering any of our minor struggles a struggle at all.

That being said, even in the best case scenario, bringing home a child who has experienced tremendous loss in their very short life will rock your world.

But all good things, I think, require effort, sweat, and tears. And I cannot in a million years imagine missing out on the beauty that I am seeing unfolding before my eyes. I would not give up learning the things I have learned about myself, about my husband and children, and most importantly, about our Heavenly Father, through the experience of opening up our home and hearts to Abby. I do not care how hard the hardest days have been, I would not give this up:

The sound of her voice calling me "Mommy"

Watching my TWO daughters give each other pedicures.

Hearing her read a book - in English - to her little brother.

Feeling her lay a kiss on my cheek - a completely new concept to her at the age of NINE.

Listening to her sing praise songs - or belt them out in the shower!

Watching her fall in love with a God whose name she had not heard less than two years ago.

Seeing the understanding in her eyes, the fact that she is really getting it, when I put her on my lap and tell her that she is OURS, she is SAFE, she is LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY.

People ask about adoption all the time: "Isn't it hard?" YES - it's VERY hard (so was labor, by the way. And parenting period). But, boy, look at the rewards!!!

I can hardly contain my excitement at the little surprises I have planned for this week. Obviously, because it's 1 am my time and I'm sitting here typing about it. I have:

1 - Signed Abby AND Lanie up for soccer camp next month, which Abby doesn't know about yet. She has NEVER EVER done anything like this - and I can't wait to see her face when I tell her!!

2 - I am scheduling the girls in for a photo shoot at the photography studio. All five kids recently had some "antique" portraits done, but I've really been noticing that we really need more professional pictures of Abby. Not having her here for a chunk of her life, we really do need to "catch her up". I thought it'd be fun for the girls to do that together. I might even be talked into posing once or twice (most likely not).

3 - This isn't a surprise, but I'm excited about it anyways. Next week, the girls are doing a Golf Clinic. Again, this type of thing is completely new to Abby. She loved mini-golfing on our vacation recently, so I thought she would get a kick out of that.

So, I know this was all over the place, but I just kind of had all these thoughts floating around and wanted to get them down. I know I've probably said the same things a thousand times before. I'm just feeling very blessed these days to have these FIVE incredible lil' people that call ME "Mom"!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011


So we're experiencing a "typhoon" right now.

Or the beginnings of one.

We're supposed to see most of it tomorrow.

So far today, it's been raining cats and dogs. It feels like the sky is going to fall one minute, and then it completely stops for a while. Crazy.

Meanwhile, Jake is on a summer school field trip - get this - blueberry picking. How on earth they're doing that with all this rain is beyond me. But they have a Japanese teacher, and the Japanese generally don't let a little thing like weather hold them back from anything. They're used to lots of rain, too.

The other kids are trapped in the house (well, besides James who's at work). Thank God for next door neighbors!! The girls have one friend over and Josiah has one friend over. So I'm back up to five kids in the house, which feels normal.

It's actually a lot quieter around here when they have friends in the house.

Working Man

Today my oldest son had his first taste of full time employment.

It's only for 3 weeks, but it is a REAL job, and he'll be working a full 40 hours each of those weeks.

It was really strange to drop him off this morning and watch him walk into the building, all dressed up (for him) in his polo shirt and slacks.

It was a very bittersweet moment and made me almost want to cry - he just looked so grown up!

This was a wonderful opportunity provided by the base we're stationed at. It is called "Summer Hire", and it's basically an internship for kids 14 - 18 to get a taste of, well, "real work". They pay them - peanuts - but they are getting something!!

He is working in the building right next door to his dad, so they got to have lunch together. They'll probably do that on most days for the next three weeks. What a great unplanned opportunity for some bonding time! DH went to James' office to meet him for lunch, and said it was very strange to see him sitting in his own little cubicle with a bunch of papers in front of him. We're both having flashbacks to his first steps, first lost tooth, first bike ride, all those little milestones that just seem to FLY by. And just praying that God will continue to remind us to slow down and savor the blessings we have RIGHT now. Time with our children is truly fleeting.

Meanwhile, Jake is going to a summer school program for the entire month of July. It's a Host Nation class, so he's learning about Japanes culture and getting an introduction to the language. He's really enjoying it and learning quite a bit.

Here's the thing: The class meets from 9 - 12. Which means for the entire morning, I am without a babysitter. I mean, I can't even step to the coffee shop in the next building without dragging three other people with me. I am totally spoiled by my two big boys and don't know how to live like that anymore. Spoiled.rotten. I know.