slide show

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The artist

Girlfriend definitely has an artistic streak.  I love using homeschool to foster that creativity.  We try to do fun projects with each history and science lesson (it's not perfect, but we do get many of the ideas in!).  She made an Aztec sun to go along with our studies of Mesoamerica using air-dry clay, and then painted it up with acrylics.  I love how "Angel" it is with the bright colors and glittery paint :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Exploding volcanoes

Yes, if you can't tell from their faces, they loved it.  We actually did this a few weeks ago but I haven't been able to catch up until now.  We made a salt dough "volcano" that we named Mt. Vesuvius, and shaped it around an empty water bottle sitting in a disposable baking dish.  HERE are the directions if you are interested ... it uses around-the-house materials and would be a great project for a rainy day.  Ok a rainy couple of days, considering how long it took for the dough to dry.  It never did dry fully, but still worked for our volcano just the same.  We didn't make it with the intention of keeping it, so Angel had a blast tearing it apart afterward.  Her hands were red for days because of the red food coloring :-)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Prayer. Adoration. Meditation.

DH and I just came home from a blessed weekend of being with 60 other adoptive couples at Together Called, a Christian adoptive parents' retreat planned and put together by my dear friends Mark & Kelly Raudenbush.  We were in good company with many friends, and we had the pleasure of getting to meet many more new parents that have walked the same road as us, whom we also now can call friends.

After coming off a crazy busy couple of weeks with homeschool and 3 newborn sessions (actually four newborns with one set of twins mixed in), it was a perfect time to slow down, relax a bit, and be restored by my Savior.  It was an incredibly pampered weekend between Mark & Kelly's impeccable planning and the beautiful Inn that we stayed at.  We chatted with old friends, got to meet new ones, ate yummy food, listened to fantastic speakers, and spent a lot of time praising our Heavenly Father.

Of the many ideas DH and I took away from this restorative weekend, there were a few that really resonated with us.  First, God loves us.  So loves us.  He loves us when we're the most broken and He thinks we're beautiful in that brokenness.  God specializes in broken people.  We don't need to be perfect to win His love.  Nothing that we do can push Him away.  His unconditional love is pretty amazing and exciting, isn't it?  We both know this logically but truly knowing it in our hearts?  I think I honestly may still be wrapping my brain around that.  Knowing it and truly knowing it are different.  Ya know?

Second, more prayer.  Yes of course, we do it, but not nearly enough.  Not enough with the kids, nor as a family, and certainly not nearly enough as a couple.  In our late night chats this weekend, we promised to talk to Jesus more, especially together.  In doing that, we also want to spend more time adoring and beholding our precious Heavenly Father, individually and together as a family.  Spending more time sharing with Him and praying for others.  We want to teach our kids even more how to sit with God, talk to Him, and adore Him.  Based on the suggestion of one of the speakers at the retreat, I just ordered Adoration: Prayer Book, to help our whole family adore Him more.

And third, along those same lines, we want to spend more time in the Word.  Because in order to adore Him and behold Him, we have to know Him first.  Spending more time reading and meditating in the Word is the way to do that.  For us and for our kids.  This goes along perfectly with our small group study right now.  Meditating on God's precious Word.  This weekend also gave me a renewed energy to put forth even more effort with our Bible study during school days.  One of the most important jobs I have as a mama is to teach our children about their Heavenly Father.  I knew that already, seriously I did.  But the late night God-inspired talks in our big, luxurious room just made that even more obvious to both of us.

So some really great things came out of this retreat.  God definitely spoke and we tried our best to listen.  Thank you Mark and Kelly, from the bottom of our hearts.  God is using you both in big ways, and it's pretty cool to witness it in person.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What bronchitis?

I took Sunshine to the doctor yesterday for bronchitis.  I was pretty sure she had it and I was right.  A simple cough always seems to turn into bronchitis for this precious girl.  Fortunately you wouldn't know she has it by the way she acts ... she is such a champ!  I know a couple other kiddos who wouldn't take it so easily :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kings & Queens

This is my new "kill it" song ... it's been on repeat all morning.  I just adore its beautiful message.  Yes indeed, these could be our daughters and our sons.  Love the purple royalty imagery in this video too, please take a few minutes to watch it!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Our big trip to Great Wolf Lodge

We surprised the kids with a trip to visit with their cousins at Great Wolf Lodge this past week.  Well ok - the trip to Great Wolf was part of their Christmas gift and they did know about it ... but they didn't know about their cousins meeting us there.  We met halfway at the Sandusky location and despite a bit of winter weather, the travel was uneventful.  The kids were so shocked to see their cousins that they were literally speechless.  Like Angel stood there dumbfounded.  It was hysterical.  But after that, they got to business having FUN together.  Oh it was an amazing three days!  These kiddos adore each other and it just shines through them.

When we had to say goodbye yesterday, I think I almost saw some tears.  It will most likely (most definitely) be the last time we see them before they head to Singapore with mom & dad to start a new church.  And because of that, I'm even more glad we were able to make this mini-vacation successful ... the kids just love each other and always have so much stinkin' fun together.  I am so excited for them to be starting this new journey, but selfishly a little sad that the kids won't be getting together for several years.  I'm thrilled we have some pictures to frame around the house ... they will serve as tangible reminders of the gift of family!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Chinese Acrobats

Were amazing, spectacular, absolutely jaw-dropping!  Wow, what a show!  Easily the best performance I have seen in ... years?  Seriously if you have the opportunity (Chinese children adopted or not), please go see them!  All of the kids adored the performance and I pretty much had a smile from ear to ear the whole time.  Made me appreciate the rich Chinese culture and traditions even more.  I wasn't allowed to take any pictures of the performance (silly copyright laws), but I did snap a couple quick ones of the kids after it was over.  My mom and our sweet friends joined us for the performance and then had lunch with us back at our house.  Watching Sunshine play with her beautiful friend was so, so precious!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Purple Pride

What a great day to be a Ravens fan!  We watched an incredible man take the field for the last time today and we watched our team play their passionate hearts out!  Oh it was an amazing event to witness, especially with sweet friends that our kiddos adore.  We put the kids to bed at the half and then stayed up to watch the nail biting finish.  I even had to get up and walk away when I thought it was over for us.  Man what a game!  So, so proud of our team!  After 12 years, the Ravens are officially the best football team again!  Wahoo!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A love affair

This child has a love affair with her new friend Giddy.  I think it may be a little one-sided at this point, but what a riot she is!  She asks for her "Giddy" every day, multiple times during the day.  And when his mama sent a picture of him this morning, she hijacked my iPhone to stare.  Oh my word.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Little Pianist

I love having my grandmother's piano in our house.  She passed away when I was just 11, and left her piano to me way back then.  It took 20 years, but the piano finally made its way into my home.  I'm not sure if she could have envisioned my children's little fingers playing the piano, but what a joy it is for me to see it. Sunshine grabbed her new book (which is wonderful, I highly recommend it for transracial adoptees!) all by herself, propped it up on the piano, and started playing away.  It was such a sweet moment, I'm so glad I captured it.