Sunday, December 26, 2010

A few of my favorite things...

While the best things in life are not things....
However the kids have found a few favorite things this holiday season.

Maddie tickled everyone modeling her UK cheerleading outfit. She put it on immediately and has also spent all day today in it! Thank you Doe & Georgie!
She also got a PSP, Razor scooter, Barbies and more.
Although Cam got lots of Toy Story toys...guitar, Legos, Train set and other things like a kitchen set, remote control boat and more. His favorite toy seems to be the little motorcyle in front..he has ran it out of batteries driving it continously!
Carson's favorite gift was probably his skateboard and ramps. (He also received an early gift last month of a guitar and he could practicve for his lessons).

Lincoln likes everything but this was the last gift and he was ridiculous! He rode around through the living room like royalty!

Annie's big gift was her American Girl Doll! This is Annie with Lanie!

We had two lovely days of family, food and fun! We tried to continue reminding the children of the true meaning of the holiday and that it was not about gifts but about the birth of our Savior. I am sad to say that it never seems to be the focus of the holidays for us. Which just saddens me. I am not sure as to what extent we should let the children be children and just enjoy the magic. Once you get 15+ people in a room it just all seems to fly out the window. I continue to pray for guidance on simplifying the holiday and pointing more to HIM and less on us.
All that being said we did have a few changes to our usual holiday celebrations. On Christmas Eve we woke up early and exchanged gifts at our house with the children. We then headed across the street to Pauls parents house. We enjoyed homemade chicken and beef tacos (a family favorite!) After opening gifts the snow began to fall and we loaded up and headed to my moms house. We had decided to spend Christmas Eve at her house because our new house is just too small for 5 childrens gifts! We drove through the beautiful falling snow and arrived in time to put the kiddos to bed. On Christmas morning we had a huge breakfast and then lunch and then gifts! Then we headed back home to visit with Pauls family again because his other sister had arrived!
Well it is all over now...the time to organize and find room for all of the new "stuff" that has arrived!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Fun for Preschool!

When homeschooling with preschoolers and toddlers I have found that you have to keep them BUSY!!! Other than an occasional PBS show the boys want to be in the schoolroom with us all day. This can prove to be trying...working with the older ones one on one while keeping the little guys entertained! I of course also want them to be more than entertained, I would love some learning as well!!
Our main curriculum with the younger children is all literature based. We read a story and do related activities. The main curriculum for this is Five in A Row, we also use which is basically a FIAR for other books. This site is AWESOME! I use it weekly for something. As you know once you start reading...children start listening!!
In addition to the lit. studies we do I like to add in lots of hands on activites. Some of the activites are open-ended and more montessori-ish. I try to vary the activities to include fine motor skills, cutting skills, sensory work etc. We use lots of activities from our preschool in a bag. If you have not participated in a activity bag swap, they are great! I will try to post of that another day! Lastly I have discovered the coolest, greatest lady ever...and below you will see some of her super cute preschool printables. Although she seriously has SO much great content on her blog/website that you could spend an entire week there and still not read about it all!
Below you will see some pages from her Thanksgiving Pack!
She has a spot with some fun fall activites and Thanksgiving songs too!
I also use her calender system which is genius! Okay enough about her greatness go on over and check her out yourself!
So here is Lincoln making the letter P (for Pilgrim)out of play-doh! I printed these on cardstock and placed inside a plastic page protector. This is great for the boys as they lack the ability to actually write letters at this point. (BTW the girls cry and fit to do all of the boys activites so after they finish their K & 2nd grade work they "get" to do preschool activites!!) Please disregard all the junk (including Maddies "recyclable art" projects!) in the background! Here is Cam the man working with putting his Mayflower ships in order smallest to largest. Surprisingly enough he had to really work at this skill. I debated even printing this activity out because I assumed he could do it. He got the hang of it fairly quickly but Lincoln is still working really hard on this one! (BTW I printed these on cardstock and laminated them.)
Here Lincoln is tracing the lines from the Pilgrims to the Mayflower. Look at his face he was concentrating SO hard! This one like took him about 10+ minutes!! It was so cute! Due to the number of children we have using these I decided to print these on cardstock and laminate so they can be used over and over with a dry erase marker!
This one that Annie is using is a simple math/counting sheet. Obviously quite easy for Annie but she loved it nonetheless!

Monday, November 8, 2010

...another great note from Natalie!

This is it...can't say it better so just read hers!

Counting the Cost

Here is the question. The real question of adoption. What will it cost you? Yes, it is a loaded question because "cost" in this sense is multi-faceted. Will it cost you money? Yes, whether you adopt from Shelby County, KY or Saigon. Will it cost you pride? Yes. Will your heart pay? For sure. Will it cost you friends, family, acquaintances? It may. Will it cost time? No doubt...... But more than the costs.....COUNT THE GAIN... How will you change, how will you change others, whether you adopt or support adoption, you gain....gain life. Take a look at the costs...our cost.

1) Financial: The main HANG UP. Adoption can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000. Most people who desire to adopt do not have that kind of money laying around, regardless of your yearly gross income. Looking down the barrel at $25,000, as was our case, you start to doubt your financial ability to pay for an adoption, afford a child or another child, make payments on your other responsibilties while raising money, find ideas for fundraising.....but you may doubt God...not openly but in the subconscious place you may not even be able to utter aloud. I admit that I did. JT and I fortunately were able to openly discuss our doubt and had friends who prayed over our doubt.

Gain.....we did gain money...but God showed us His love and grace... As JT now says, "God shows up when ordains something." We fundraised and God provided. He moves in the heart of those around you to support you. So when doubt starts creeping in (and I still remind myself of this), you and I have to remember that if we consume ourselves with doubt, we can not see what is trying to happen before our eyes.

"He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

2) Your Heart: While deciding to adopt, your heart will toss and turn like a third trimester pregnant woman. You will debate, get excited, get discouraged, become on fire, saddened at the state of the will wonder why children have to suffer.... Your heart will definitely Feel the cost while counting the cost. But your heart will be changed, your world will be changed. It will cost you the heartache rought by hours of inner deliberation but will free you to live a life of liberation....You will now know what is beyond your small world.... With that said, the liberation of carries its own cost.... That is where I am now. I KNOW, so now what...what ELSE can I do now that I know AND have adopted. Thus, my heart is still counting the cost, but now I stand affirmed that it is worth it... see pictures below if you don't believe me.

"Don't say, "I didn't know it!" God can read your mind. He watches each of us and knows our thoughts. And God will pay us back for what we do." Proverbs 24:12 (Contemporary English Version)

3) Who: Who will support you, be your cheerleader, wipe your tears, hold your hand, plan your shower, help fundraise, financially help, plug you in.... PRAY for you? Who will cautiously stand back unsure of their stance waiting to see 'how it goes'? Who secretly condemn your decision without asking you questions, probing your heart and theirs? Who will openly attack your decision, your heart, your future child, your finances to the point of your tears, frustation and possbily crumbling of the relationship? I have been in each of the places...simply because our adoption.... Thankfully I can say the damaged relationships are now in perpetual repair, but it can be a difficult season.....the cost. But Oh the gain. We will never know the hearts that have been changed by our adoption, NOT BY US, but by God using us to adopt. We will never know on this side of heaven if someone straddling the fence decided to move forward
with adoption because of Tedi and our adoption... we will never know if a heart filled with anger and distaste for different races and cultures has been swayed, softened and re-structured. We won't know the gain of others now...we do not need to know but we must remember such gain when we are adding up our cost.

I have struggled with each of these topics deeply and that is the only reason I feel slightly capable to write about these things.

....wise words from Natalie!

We have some friends who adopted a little boy this year. They had a quick whirl-wind adoption and it was all kinda set in motion when Paul met Natalie at a doctors office one morning in July! Her and her husband have a beautiful way with words and so I am going to quite frankly plagerize her blog for a moment (I'm gonna tell her!).

This first post is some heart-wrenching statistics on adoption.

From (pretty consistent with other research)...includes USA foster care system
~Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans
~Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)
~143,000,0002 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home
~Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
~Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system
~Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT
~Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home
~In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals. Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls
are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

Orphan Sunday
(read cautiously)

Today. One day each year that SOME churches and SOME Christians acknowledge the plight of orphans...orphans here in America, usually by circumstances their parents create, rarely death and abroad, often by death, un-education, and lack of resources. Weekly we talk about building funds and AV equipment and our potluck calendar and argue over who is on what committee and what committee should pass what by-law.... But we talk annually, once each year, if we are lucky, about "the least of these."

The question that has been floating in my head, especially of late, is "How I am any different than Tedi?" He was born in Africa in a small village on the Sudan border to a mother with five older children who had lost her husband to a preventable disease. I was born in Somerset, KY to parents, then married, and went home to lead a middle class life. The only difference....we born in different places. I did not deserve more than him....He did not deserve less. But here we were, worlds apart.

When we talk about the "least of these", we must first realize we, indeed, are the least of these. Just as orphans need a family, we need a Savior. What if Jesus had not stepped in for us and saved our lives.... What if? Usually it is difficult to digest the thought of children dying, both physical and emotional deaths, so we turn away, file it in the back of our mental junk drawer.... OR we only talk about it once per year.

As I have written before, I am in a constant state of knowing I can and should do more. Last week in church we sang "Hosana" and one line from the bridge goes... "Break my heart for what breaks yours..." My heart is broken and yet I feel paralyzed by my own inadequacies and inability to do more. I am daily challenging myself to do more.... I NEED to and I MUST.

SOOOO..... What am I doing? What can you do? First, I am mothering a child who WAS adopted. He is now my child. I am standing in the gap for him, defending him, mothering him to love others. Can you adopt.....because chances are if you have found my blog and have read this far, you have something stirring inside of you, aching in your stomach, moving you to step forward..... I am speaking and writing about adoption every time I can. Beth Moore, Russell Moore, David Platt, I am not. But I can do my part. Can you defend the least of these.... I need to do more, that is why I can challenge you. I only hope the small things that I have done and am trying to do are making small changes and examples for those around me.

I am blessed that the church we attended today focused on orphan care. They intend to move forward and pursue orphan care, here and abroad, as an important facet of their ministry. And I intend to be involved in this ministry. Will you start a ministry at your church? Will you get involved?

I can not change the WORLD, but we have changed the world for ONE. More importantly, this ONE has changed our world and our world perspective..... Will you cause change and be changed?

Okay more to come....

Orphan Awareness

I think we hear the word orphan and it doesn't truly register.
It is said so often and even times callously.
Even by those who have a heart for the orphan. We hear it daily, we talk about it daily and we read about it daily.
In the beginning of the adoption process it was quite honestly often about us here in America. What age child would be best for the biological children?
What gender of child did Paul and I feel more drawn to?
How would the sleeping arrangements work out best?
How would we do with the language barrier?
Would we love this child as much as the biological children?
What about extended family and friends?
What if the child had significant medical problems?
Could we afford to put two more children through college?

THEN.....we opened an email to this:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I think they underestimated!
This frail, sick, malnourished little package said it all!
It was not about us! It was not about college or bedroom quilts or what so and so thought about having an African in the family! It was not about who was oldest or who was going to be "twined". It was not about the cost of the adoption or which carseat to order....

It was about an ORPHAN, a little boy with no daddy. A little boy with a momma so sick and frail herself she could not even hold him. A little boy so hungry he would have died within days had the orphanage not taken him in immediately and fed him. A little boy with legs so weak he could not walk at 1 1/2 years old. A little boy so full of parasites that he was most likely in constant pain. A little boy so disconnected he would not even cry, only silent tears would roll down his little cheeks.
This was ORPHAN awareness.......

True awareness of what an orphan is and what is needed of us.
They need food....not designer clothing.
They need love....not a DisneyWorld vacation.
They need a home....not entrance to an ivy league school.

So you know the rest of our story. We took that sick frail little guy with no personality, no confidence, no charisma and with food and love and yes, even a Disney World vacation we gave that little ORPHAN all of those things and so much more! He lights up every room he enters, he has a twinkle in his eye and honestly always has a grin smeared across his face!
With God's love and mercy that ORPHAN in the above picture is now this:

So let's remember the orphan and let's remember what can be done with the grace of God when we "look after the orphans and widows" according to his scriptures.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Temporary Schoolroom

I know I have been a bit MIA lately mostly because I am having extreme difficulty uploading pictures. I am sure it is a "me" problem and not blogger...but if anyone has any advice please let me know! They get to the uploading stage and never any further.
Back to the subject. This has been our most trying year of homeschooling yet. And my schoolroom is a big source of the issue!
Reason #1-More kiddos! Carson in 4th, Maddie in 2nd, Annie in K, Cam in Pre-K, Linc in Preschool.
Reason #2-Less space. We are in temporary house while we build, so at the moment we are in a house nearly a third of the size of the old house. The laundry also goes in and out of this area. Did I mention more smaller get the idea!
Reason #3-Random weirdness. In our schoolroom we have 1 outlet (we had to move in before it was even finished). So no pencil sharpener, no computer set up...right now the CD player wins the outlet battle but pretty sure it will lose over to the heater once it gets cold!
Reason#4 -Since the move I have been extremely disorganized (some due to the above, some due to me being ME!)

So today I planned to get my schoolroom re-organized from the mess that had accumulated from the beginning of the school year. I even stopped and bought Toy Story 3 for the kiddos to watch while I worked on it. Well of course they were already in bed asleep before I was able to start!
I must add that I have a true, true friend who challenged me to post the pics tonight. That type of dare really does motivate me! So here it is at 3:16am!!
Keep in mind this is a partially finished basement with concrete floors, and un-painted drywall! So excuse some of the ugliness!
Below are my shelfs from Target (white and the stackable blue and red ones).
Hanging are my Pottery Barn mobiles (ABC's & Solar System)
The table on the left is Carson's desk with workboxes under it.
To the right is Lincolns table with his "montessori-ish" activities in the colored trays.
The door to the right is my laundry room.
The clear Show-Off totes on the top of the while shelves are my fav. containers and they hold all of my preschool in a bag, mah in a bag, and reading in a bag activities! LOVE these!!
Here you can see the desks for the middle three children. Between their desks are their workboxes. You can see Annies measurement man behind her desk! To the middle you can see solar system canvas we made!

So there it is clean ready for tomorrow,now I better get to bed so I am ready too!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Disney Day 1!

We had a second vacation planned for this fall to Disney. Traveling with our family of 7 was my mom, aunt and g-ma. Daddy is sorta "Disney-ed out" so the plan was for him to join us in the parks a few days and then spend a few days relaxing! Our original plan was to leave out first thing Saturday morning and to spend a couple days at the beach before heading to Disney. Our plans got a bit sidetracked when daddy ended up in Texas for the week prior and Maddie had a last minute softball game on Saturday! So when we were half way to the beach we decided to just go straight to Disney! We called around and got a great rate on The Swan and we were even on Disney property!! WHooHoo we had arrived!

The first thing we did was take a stroll down the Boardwalk. It is a hotel based on an old time boardwalk...complete with jugglers, magicians, arcade games and more! By mere chance we arrived just in time for the firework show!
This pic shows the children posing with the "balancing guy"!
I was able to get lots of great firework pics!
Annie with her "Hidden Mickey" that she formed !

The foyer of the Dolphin is gorgous!

an outside shot!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Preschool Trays

This year we have a new element to our school day. With Camden sitting in on our Kindergarten lessons with Annie, it leaves Lincoln all alone. When I found this great blog and her idea of preschool trays...I knew we had to try it!
I found these colored trays/tubs/bins in the value bins at Target for $2.50.
So Lincoln has four trays to play with each school day. I quickly realized that I tell him when he can go to the next one. Otherwise he would zoom through them all in 10 minutes just to see what is next!

Here are three for this day (the fourth sits on his work table).
The blue tray has an activity from Preschool Activity bags that we made in a swap with other moms this summer. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing this book and organizing a swap. For instance I made 15 identical bags with 14 other women. After the swap I went home with 15 different bags! The kids love them! (even my 2nd grader!)

The red tray was simple yet most likely the favorite! A paint dauber and piece of paper!!!Whoohoo!

The green tray was another Preschool Activity was plastic straws cut up in little pieces with pipecleaners, string, lanyard etc for stringing!

The blue tray was a grid of stickers (laminated) and then there were cards with the matching sticker. Linc played this for over 45 minutes!

The fourth tray this day was simply a collection of Trio (Lego style blocks).
I try to keep two trays an open-ended activity with no wrong or right or end result.
I could go into more detail but seriously she explains it so well...and in so much detail just go over and peruse her site!! (You will NOt be sorry!)
The only problem with the trays is that the older kids all want a turn!!! So when they finish all of their work...they get a turn!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A great ABC preschool project!

This is the new project that I am doing for the three youngest....they have been wanting/needing more from our school day!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our School Year Plans...(as of now)

This year will be a challenge for many reasons. One, we have sold our home and will be moving to a smaller home while we build a house. The house is less than half the size of the house we live in now so we are putting over half of our things in storage. So I have been in the school room for days deciding what I will need and what can be stored until Spring.

This year I will also have FOUR I am teaching daily (although I am sure Linc will also choose to hang out with us and do his preschool/montessori-ish activities.) Carson will be in fourth grade so that brings a bit of "pressure" as well! Maddie will be a 2nd grader and Annie & Cam will be doing Kindergarten work. Cam is only four and is still lacking in many fine motor skills but for the most part I believe he can keep up with Annie.

Typically I have geared everything to Carson. I Planned his curriculum and added in whatever for Madelyn. This year that is changing a bit because Madelyn is different learner than Carson and he does well with anything. We have learned that she is a "creative" learner and does not do well with lots of "fill in the blank", workbooks etc. That is the great thing about homeschooling!! I can teach each child according them their specific needs!

For Madelyn (2nd) we switched to Moving Beyond the Page. It is a comprehensive literature-based curriculum that covers all subjects other than math. It is all hands on projects and most of the activites are open ended so she will use more thought, evaluation and comprehension than worrying about a right or wrong answer. I just know she is going to do well with it!! I can't wait to start!
A few of the projects I will bring down a notch for the Kindergarteners and give Carson extra work to research on his own.
For her math we will continue to use Math-U-See.
Foreign Language: Singschool Latin
We will also continue with a bit of phonics for her, since reading is her weakest area.

Annie & Cam: (K & pre-K)
Handwriting:Handwriting without Tears
Reading: How to Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Phonics:(still not 100% decided) Explode the Code or Bob Jones University
Foreign Language: Songschool Latin (mostly listening to the CD with maddie)
Math: MUS or Saxon (still deciding)
Extras: Dolch Sight Words, bible
We will also do 1 Theme Pocket a month and 2 FIAR titles each month to complete their other subjects.

Carson-(4th Grade)
Spelling-Sequential Spelling
Grammar/Writing/Some reading/vocab: Moving Beyond the Page literature units
Foreign Language: Latin for Children
Additonal Reading: readers from WinterPromise history program & possibly Bob Jones reading

We still have several weeks of our Winter Promise American Story 1 to complete and once we are moved we will pick up with Winter Promise Story 2.

Then all of the kids will do the following (depending on age): (we will also meet up weekly with another family and work on these subjects)
50 State study
Barry Stebbing Art/Famous American artists
Apologia Flying Creatures

So the way I figure it this should get us through middle school!!!hehe

Oops forgot to add in what little Lincoln (and Annie & Cam) will be doing to keep busy. Most of the extra "keep'em busy" activities I have in mind are from this genius over and 1+1+1=1!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Horse Camp!

The culmination of this month was the craziest week yet! So both girls attended a local horse camp from 9-2 each day and Carson volunteered at autism camp each day from 9-2!! (Yes I know I had to clone myself and be two places at once twice a day!) Then we had VBS each evening ( and I taught!)!! This week was exhausting!! Add in packing, sorting and clearing out and whew!! I need a vacation!!
On to the girls....Annie has taken a sudden interest in horses. So when we told each of the children they could pick a camp to participate this summer, Annie said "HORSE CAMP!". I have never left her alone anywhere so I really encouraged Madelyn to go with her...but Madelyn wanted to attend a swimming camp. After much research I found a horse camp that offered swimming the second part of the day!!!The best part was 4 minutes from our house! The girls learned to groom the horses and of course how to ride them!
On Friday they girls had a"show" for the parents to see what they had learned. Madelyn actually was able to get her horse to trot! I was amazed that she had that much confidence in 5 days!
Annie was trained with a unique double saddle. They train the younger children with these so they can progress to a trot and learn balance, rhythm and control much sooner than if they were on the horse alone with a instructor walking alongside! She did however ride alone too! If you know Annie this is amazing because she is not my adventurous child...quite the opposite actually! On a horse she is very content little girl though!

The camp had a whole litter of kittens which the girls LOVED!! There was also a little baby goat that they bottle fed each day!

Ready for the first day!

Welcome Home Tedi!

With the huge crowd...this is the best picture I got :( but nonetheless another precious little one is home from Ethiopia in the arms of his forever family!
This was extra special situation because Paul met Natalie by chance last year in a doctors office in Somerset, Ky. Soon the talk turned to adoption and after a few emails they were attending our agencies anniversary celebration. (I am thinking that was in November)....well 7 months later and they are parents for the first time of this precious little guy!!!
They designed the shirts she is wearing and I love it...
5 million minus 1.......and they did just that they took in one of the 5 million orphans sitting in Ethiopia waiting for a family.
If you want to read about their journey...check out their blog!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Paul and I rarely get time alone to try new things. I have also become quite the chicken in my old age...actually I like to blame it all on the children (who wants to die doing something ridulous?)! Let me also state for the record,I have never really wanted to be dangled from a overgrown kite hundreds of feet above an ocean filled with man-eating sharks. Well I am not sure what happened but before I knew it we were signed up for all kinds of craziness! The trip to the parasailing boat was 10 times as much fun as the parasailing! We had to ride the big banana pulled by a jet ski and it was wet, wild and wacky!
I made Spencer (my cousin) and his girlfriend Kayla go put off the getting in the air for as long as possible!! They were cute and loved it (young people?!?!?!) and saw lots of sea turtles!
Once it was our turn I liked it for about 8 or 9 seconds...then I looked at the little bitty teeny tiny rope that was holding us to the boat. It was about the diameter of a dime! So I began to get a bit queasy! Then I realized the only thing holding me into the "seat" were 2 metal clips...SERIOUSLY... who invented this activity!?!?
I asked Paul politely if I could throw up and he said no that he was down I struggled not to. I also realized quickly not to look behind me! I began to relax a bit and then it was time for our two water dips! I was SO nervous...I was afraid they wouldn't be able to get us up again! They did and we lived....but I am still not doing it again!

Below are Spencer and Kayla!

(Below is us on the banana....I seriously thought Spenc was gonna fall off (with out cameras).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mothers Day/Arrive in America Day!

Okay so we have been rather confused as whether the boys Gotcha Day should be.Should it be the day we "got them" in Ethiopia or the day they got America, the day the 7 of us were together, the day we were a complete family, the day they "got" the extended family etc.
So this year I truthfully lost track of time or days I should say. So the day we "got them" passed full of craziness! So I planned on making Monday the Gotcha day...the day we arrived in America. Well I am a total goofball and mixed up my dates again...turns out the 9th was on Sunday NOT Monday...seriously how dumb...right?!?! So while we are at my aunts for Mothers Day...I realized it. So our Mothers Day dinner was also our Gotcha Day!

Our morning started very early. Madelyn is in the church choir and arrived at church at 8am. The choir led all three services for worship. Madelyn was so excited she had counted down the days for this (little drama queen loves the stage!). **front center row in a butterfly dress.

We left church and had planned to eat lunch with Pauls parents but after not figuring out a place we all agreed on we decided to do a raincheck. So I chose Famous Daves! I love all of their is not Pauls favorite so i figured I needed to use the "mothers day card" . It worked and it was a lovely meal!

Next we went to Aunt Doe's to eat with my entire family. Spencer decided to bake brownies and I think he had more help than he could have imagined! After they all fought to lick the bowl he just put them on the ground! I told him you could tell the only thing he is used to caring for is a dog!

My mom opens her gift, a colorful necklace and earrings! (Notice her shirt...this is the shirt they wore at the airport when we arrived home!) She had realized it was the 9th and even gave the boys a gift....a fun Play-Doh set!

So momma has to have a pic with all of her poor uncle cannot see without his cheaters which should explain the pic!!hehe

Here we are with 4 generations! My grandma, mom, aunt, me and the girls!

Hmm sorry about the pic being sideways! (it takes too long on blogspot do re-do all of these!!)
Here is Paul and his mama and of course my camera lovin girl, Madelyn!

Here is a pic of the boys with mamaw and papaw on their 1 year anniversary of being "home"!

Monday, May 3, 2010

1 year ago today!

One year ago today I boarded a plane in Rome bound for another foreign land....a land that was the birthplace and home of my two youngest sons.
One year ago today I saw Africa, for the first time in my life.
One year ago today I saw Ethiopia, the only home my sons had ever known.

One year ago today I saw the sign for KVI, my boys home for nine months of their little lives.
One year ago today I trembled as we entered the gate of the orphanage.

One year ago today I gave two little boys their first bath.

One year ago today I watched my little bitty boy drinking from a cup. A cup he shared with all the toddlers in the baby room.

One year ago today I was able to watch my little boy eat a meal.

One year ago today I watched a little boy who had lost so much sitting in his mamaw's lap.

One year ago today I watched our big boy sing and dance leading his orphanage friends.

One year ago today I was kissed by my 2nd son for the first time.
One year ago today I held two little boys that I had loved for 8 months but had only held in pictures.

One year ago today I stood on one continent with two children I had waited for, prayed for and imagined in my head for over a year.

One year ago today I watched my precious husband cry as he held our son for the first time.
One year ago today I saw the tenderness in the little boy that held on to his new daddy for dear life.
One year ago today I saw the maturity in a teeny tiny boy who asked "Is it my turn to go, my turn to go to America?"...really he knew what was happening?!?

One year ago today I was a mother of 5 and actually felt like it.
One year ago today I could verify that giving birth to a child and traveling down a gravel road and being handed a child is all the at FIRST sight.
One year ago today I examined every little piece of each boy...toenails, eyelashes, belly buttons and ears.....just like I did on my newborns.
One year ago today I realized that I waited for nine months from our referral until meeting my boys....funny that is how long I waited to meet the bio kids!!

One year ago today I could not imagine that today my Camden would be so smart, so healthy, so American, so MINE!

One year ago today I turned around and there was my new "baby".

One year ago I ached for your to dive into my arms.

One year ago today I held you as you trembled and cried silent tears.

One year ago today I thought I would hurt you, I wanted to squeeze you so tightly and you seemed so fragile.

One year ago today I saw you as scared, frightened, sad, worried and unsure. I would never imagine that in 365 days you would be bright, bubbly, brave, funny, sassy, charismatic and so, so much more!
One year ago today we arrived in Ethiopia to change the lives of two little boys. Two little boys who had lost everything. Two little boys with no family, no food, no shelter, no toys.....Well guess what? They changed our lives instead. They changed the lives of a middle class family who has family, who has food, who has a home and toys...too many toys!!! They have changed the lives of neighbors, friends, church members, family, strangers....
Their precious spirits just draw people in. Their outgoing personalities strike up conversations.
Their crazy hair makes people stop. Their little bodies but big smarts amaze.
They were "known when they were in their mothers womb"...God knew they would be Americans, God knew they would be Maynards, God knew they would change the world even if just as an adoption story.
One year ago today I became your mommy!