Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

It was a good day to be the Momma of this Gang.

They let me sleep in a bit.
We went to the church picnic.

Li'l Empress got super sweaty and really red-faced
with excitement at all the play time with her big sibs
and their "awdum" friends.

That is NOT a sunburn. It is truly how red
her face gets when she runs around like a loon
on even a mild temp day.
Which today was not.

We stopped by our local bank
to have a contract notarized.

THE contract notarized, I should say.

Then we came back to The Gang's House
and spent the afternoon poolside.
Some family came by to chill out and visit.
Shaggy and Dr. D's "awdum" friends stopped by
for some cool-down time.

Ice cream sandwiches were served
to fortify them for the water battles that ensued.
Later, the yummy, gooey peanut butter chocolate chip bars
refilled all the empty tummies.

The mosquitos filled up nicely on Dr. D's
sweet Italian skin.

The pool was full today.
And so was my heart.

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"It's A Speed Play, Mom"

On the way home from football practice the other day, Dr. D was telling me about a new play that the team added to its repertoire.

Well, he didn't use the word "repertoire."
I think I'm the only one in this house that uses that word.

Just like I am the only one in my house that uses
the grocery list to write down depleted items.  Ahem.
But I digress.....

Anyway. He told me about this play. Apparently he is a key player in this strategy of play. It seems that after the snap, the QB (Oh, sorry. That's football talk for quarterback. See how I dazzled you with my knowledge there?! Heh.) is supposed to hand off the ball to the WB (Wingback. Dr. D's favorite position on this sophomore team.) and the WB is supposed to run around the outside and head for the endzone, "straight at the LB."

Ummm. That's "LB" as in LINEBACKER.
As in really big, beefy dude on the opposing team. The big one.

"Oh. Yay," I said weakly. Visions of backboards and neckbraces and flat little Dr. D's flashed through my head.

Just for a second.
I know. Oh, me of little faith.

He must have seen my face change. He grinned. And said, "It's a speed play, Mom. As long as I'm fast, I'll be okay."

Ummmm. Yeah.

"You mean, as long as you are faster than the linebacker, you'll be okay."

Big grin.

He was thoroughly enjoying
my discomfort. Brat!

"Yup. That's what I mean."

Ugh. It's gonna be a long, long season.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Great Link to Share

And another great, valid, BIG reason that we cannot do this mom thing alone. This parenting thing is way too hard, way too important, and way too God-planned, God-anointed, God-ordained, to do alone.

Then print it out. Print several copies.
Put it on your fridge.
In your Bible.
On the mirror where you put on your face.

And share it on with other moms, other parents who need it.

Really. We all need it.

For other peeks into 
my heart for motherhood,
click here and here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Football Season Is ON!!!!

This Eagles-lovin' family is THRILLED to be gearing up for the start of the 2011 NFL season. This morning, a fun little cartoon celebrating the end of the lock-out went up on the official site of the Philadelphia Eagles.  You really ought to go by and check it out.

And I have decided that if I ever have the opportunity to have a cartoon made of ME? I want this cartoonist to work the same magic on my physique that he/she worked on Coach Reid.  LOL!

Take a moment and pause at 1:01 - that greatness in action?! That flying leap by #81? Cartoon'd here, yes. But completely realistic and totally possible again this year.

That, my friends, is my guy. I'm on the look-out for my very own #81 jersey.

And I'm gonna say it now - he is the man to watch this year.

Jason Avant. You heard it here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sharing a "Must Read"

I'm easing myself back into the daily routine around here. Our vacation this year was part travel and part "stay-cation." And today, it's back to the regular summer schedule of band camp, football camp, laundry, part-time taxi duties and all.

While I was "stay-cationing" I caught myself up on some reading and some resources I've been trying to get to. I'm hoping to share them with you in the coming days. But this post jumped straight to the top of the list when I read it. This is a "must read" and I'm hoping that you will not just stop there. Share it on with your friends. With your family.

Not only is it written so kindly and practically, it is also getting to a deeper truth that I believe can be applied to many, many circumstances beyond a response to the announcement of someone's adoption. To me, the most valuable piece of information in the whole post is the recurring theme of simple encouragement and intentional caution or gentleness with our word choice.

Great post, Kelly! Thanks so much for the opportunity to share it with others, too!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Praying for Mia

Please join Li'l Empress in praying for this sweet little girl.
Today is a big, big day for her and her family.

"Dear Jee ah,"

Da da da da foh today. Dank you for Mia. Please bleth her and hep the doctors make her aaallllll better.

In Jee ah Name,

Aaaaaaay MEN!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bloggity Bliss

Whew! It's been a busy week for The Gang. And this Momma is feeling the bloggy love for sure. No one can ever convince me that the friendships built here in the blogosphere aren't real. I have had some awesome friendships spring up over the years I've been reading and writing here and this week not one, but TWO!, of my bloggy buddies came to my home for some IRL (in real life) face-to-face time with me and my gang.

First, we got the honor of hosting my sweet friend Kateri and her three munchkins for several days. It was a "normal" week for the Gang, in that we still had band camp, football camp, part-time jobs, and errands that kept me hopping in and out of the car. But Kateri and her kids graciously rolled with the punches and in between all my taxi runs to and fro, we got to enjoy plenty of pool time and girl talk and even a little retail therapy. Best of all, our kids get along just beautifully and really, really love each other.

Our story is an unusual one. We "met" through my sister-in-law, when both of us were new to our adoption journeys still waiting for our daughters. I say "met" because for a very long time, after my sister-in-law gave me Kateri's email and blog address, we just read each other's blogs and commented or emailed. Our first "IRL" meet up was on a visit to my sister-in-law's home for the holidays. I remember being sooo nervous. Which totally cracks me up NOW. When we finally got to meet in person, the connection was instant. It was like we'd known each other for years and years. And in the years since our long waits and crazy paper-chases, we've had many, many opportunities to continue building our friendship. Sometimes, I forget that I haven't known her for my whole adult life! It's such a pleasure to have a family with whom we know we will have a lasting and enduring friendship. As I said to her the other day, this friendship of ours is the second best thing to come out of our trip to China and back!

Alayna was so proud to jump off the board
for the first time!

She and Li'l Empress just kept jumping and jumping
and jumping and jumping.....

I walked in from dropping Dr. D at football to find
them all embroiled in a fierce game of Sequence.
They were totally cracking each other up!

THEN! The fun didn't stop there. While Kateri and her gang were packing up and getting ready to hit the road, ANOTHER bloggy friend pulled in for a first-time, face-to-face, IN REAL LIFE meet up.  Miss Beverly, her sweet hubby Danny, and their spunky and delightful daughter, Hannah, came to visit on a little side trip from spending time with family who had recently moved to the greater Philadelphia region. You might recognize the tag line "Happy In The Moment" if you have been a regular around here.  We were trying to figure out just how it is that we found each other's blogs and began our on-line correspondence but given that it's been well over four years now, both of us gave up the search.... All I know is that sweet Miss Beverly is, in person, EXACTLY as she is on her blog. As she is in our interactions on F@cebook. As she is in our emails. She's just as sweet, just as funny, and just as wise and compassionate as her written words are. I don't know about you, but I find that rare and refreshing and beautiful.

I was a tad chagrined that I was serving "gourmet" Dominoes pizza and "I slaved over them all day long" ice cream sandwiches from a box to this classic Southern belle who likely offers that famed Southern hospitality as first nature to guests in HER home. You know, with sweet tea, home-made biscuits, mint juleps and all. But she totally took it in stride and p'shawed my attempts at apology for my slacker Yankee presentation. For crying out loud, I even served it on the patio, from a box, in my cover-up. Heh. I must have REALLY felt at ease with her. Even I was wonderin' what I was thinking!  I did put make up on though, so I guess I didn't go tooooo Yankee on her! :)  JUST kidding. I'm kidding!  Seriously, though. It was a delightful visit and I can't even believe how blessed I feel to have made yet another "real life" friend out of this crazy blogosphere of ours.

So that leads me to ask: What bloggy friends have you made that have successfully translated into "real life" friendships? How did you meet for your first "face-to-face?"  I'd love to hear your stories.  And I hope you have been as blessed by these unique and creative friendships as I have been with my two lovely bloggy friends!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Loving the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Loving the silly, cuddly, huggy fun between these two.

Loving that she thinks her muscles are as big as her brother's!

For  more Wordless Wednesday fun,
link up over at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, July 11, 2011

She's A Sly One

So. The other night, I was doing the night time routine with Li'l Empress. Jammies on. White noise on. Little stuffed animal friends all lined up. Blankie tucked in just so. Hugs and kisses and a little silly girl talk about the day. You know the drill. I'm sure you all have a similar routine going on at your place.

But then it was time to pray. And it went a little something like this...

(Keep in mind, I'm typing it as she would have said it. Bear with the phonetic chaos of it all.)

Dear Je-Ah,
Da da da da foh today. Dank you for Daddy and Mommy. Dank you for Shaggy and Dr. D. Dank you for LadyBug and Baby BlueEyes. And me.  Dank you for my wubby-dubby. And my doggie. And my bear. And my blankie. Dank you for Mommy fitzin all da holes in my puhpul hippo and madin hippo aaaaaaaallll beddah. Hep me seep wew and had gooooood rets.
In Je-Ah Name,

The only thing is?

That puhpul hippo?

I mean, that purple hippo?

Was still on the shelf in the closet, along with all the other mending I have to get to.

Was still on the shelf, un-fitzed.

I mean, unfixed.

I mean, still on the shelf with a great big hole still in his leg.


Yeah. She's a sly one all right.

Let's just say that after that particular sweet little prayer?

The puhpul hippo is now fitzed.

And is now nestled nicely each nap-time and bedtime at Li'l Empress's side.

Right where he belongs.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

The big, gaping hole in my kitchen ceiling
left behind by the leaking, spewing toilet
is finally being fixed. 

The Boss assures me it won't look like this
for very long. The green really clashes with my
red and yellow kitchen decor.

But this???
This sweet summer flower doesn't clash at all.
In fact, she only makes the other flowers around her
seem faded when compared with her beauty.

I might be a bit biased, but really?
How perfectly summery is my girl lookin' today?!

Link up for some summer
fun with Sunday Snapshot.
Leave me a comment
and I'll return the favor!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Hardest Job On The Planet

Over the last few weeks, I have had several moms ask me questions about parenting their children toward godliness. Questions like, "Will he ever GET it?" and "Why does she do the opposite of what we're training her to do?" or "Am I going to be repeating this stuff to them over and over for the next 20-something years?"  I've shared my heart about moms needing other moms before, here, and about the constant tweaking and adjusting that we do here The Gang's house, here and here and here and here.

But today, as further encouragement to keep seeking out some godly moms to join you in your journey, I want to share some excerpts of a note. It's a note I sent to a young mom who was despairing over her daughter's unwise choices. Choices that go against what Mom and Dad are teaching in the home. I share it not to say that my advice is "da bomb" or anything like that. I share it, because as I was writing it out to her, I realized that I needed to be reading it to myself. I needed the refresher and the "shot in the arm" to keep doing what I know is the right thing to do.  I hope it does the same for you!
The most important thing is to NOT GROW WEARY in doing well. Try to find a way (I'm sometimes still looking!) to be okay with the repetition and the consistency. Keep correcting her, reminding her of Jesus' way of living, speaking, relating. In these younger years, it is so important to keep on, keepin' on. To say it a million times a day if you have to. And believe me, sometimes you have to.
Another thing is to LOOK FOR the things that she is doing right, doing well. Applaud them, draw them out, seek them out. Make sure she knows that you value her wiring and her temperament - even if it's hard for you to naturally do so. If you go back to my blog and read the "Respect the Wiring" series I did about Dr. D, you'll see that I struggle sometimes to "get him." He's way different than me and I have a hard time letting him "be himself" sometimes. But it's how God made him and to try and change his foundational wiring would short-circuit our relationship AND his growth toward the Lord.
A third thing to consider is that this is a life-time process. You are in this for the long haul, adjusting and tweaking and weeding through character and spiritual growth with her for at least the next 12-14 years.... Be easy on yourself, and be easy on her with that view in mind. Don't be easy on the sin, but also don't expect that she will see it as sin, repent, put it to death forever and never struggle again. It's a process for her as much as it is for ANY BELIEVER. Help her understand that Jesus wants to rule her heart and mind but that she will sometimes throw Him off the throne JUST LIKE MOMMY DOES SOMETIMES. She needs to know that you are in process too.
Finally, hang in there. Get some support - your hubby, another Mom who is a little farther along in the mommy journey than you, your mom, whatever you can find. Someone that will pray for you, pray with you, and encourage you. ENCOURAGE YOU! Too often, we surround ourselves with folks who will pray for us, but then will also "hold us accountable" in a manner that is burdensome or condemning. Steer clear and find someone who will be your cheerleader. For example, I had "Momma T" - always telling me how great I was doing, that I was gonna make it, that I had great kids and a good foundation going. It charged me and fueled me and refreshed me. As opposed to some of my "peer mommy" friends who just joined in the despair and disappointment that I was expressing with their own tales of woe. Not that those friendships aren't important but I needed her as a counter-balance.
Hang in there. I suspect that you are doing a far better job of loving her and filling her with The Word and the Love of The Father than you think. You come from a great heritage, and so does she. It will play out and she will be a strong godly woman. The Word promises it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth Fashion

Yesterday, my Gang was decked out to celebrate the fourth... Here's some of the fashions they were sportin' for the festivities of the day.

Baby BlueEyes has lots of
red, white and blue in his dresser.
Apparently, he decided to wear it all at once.

Li'l Empress and Grandma sportin' their
flags and fireworks.

My three little patriots.

Cutie pie cousins with their matching skirts.
They kept telling us they were "twins."
How funny is that?

Come by and join the Fourth fun
at 5 Minutes for Moms.

If you want to see some other
fashion - forward cutie pies,
sportin' their red, white, and blue,
See if you can spot Li'l Empress in the mix :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

Grandpa took over the kitchen Sunday afternoon
with two adorable little sous chefs at his side.

He's taken a very long time to perfect this recipe.
Experimenting with a little of this.
Adding a dash of that.
Coming up with the perfect combinations
of peanut butter gooey goodness.

And decadent home-made fudge sauce.
Made the old-fashioned way.

Throw in a little heavy whipping cream
whipped to frothy peaks of creamy goodness.
Just like the old days.

Filling the deep dish pie plate
with graham cracker goodness.
Topping it with the old-fashioned fudge sauce.

Folding the whipped cream into the peanut butter
gooey goodness and smothering all that fudgey yum with
the light and fluffy result.
Perfecting his recipe until he was ready to share it.

The sous chefs had to go to bed
before the masterpiece was complete.
And sent to the freezer to set and chill.

Notice that little smidge missing on the side?
Grandpa had to test it and make sure it all
turned out okay before he and his team
presented it to the party.

Peanut Butter Fudge Pie
created with love by Grandpa, Baby Blue Eyes and LadyBug.

And devoured in mere minutes at our Fourth of July cook-out!
The only sound heard during the devouring
was the moans and groans of delight.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Wrecking Continues...

Thanks for the tip, Kateri! I had no idea there was a "part two" to the story from yesterday's post.

"Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Am Wrecked

This video clip was the opening to the final session of the Financial Peace University classes that The Boss and I have been taking at our home church.  Though I had seen it before, this time around, it had quite a different effect on me.

It wrecked me for the rest of the night.

Heck, it's Friday and I still feel wrecked.

There is a lot that The Boss and I feel in our hearts that God has for us and for our commitment to live debt-free.  It's been a long road and we've made some great progress.  It's been very humbling to see the freedom that our healthy choices are affording us now. But, being very honest, in the course of the 13-week classes, it's also been very discouraging at times. Thinking about the foolish things we did that landed us in this position. See, before we moved to our current community, we were almost debt-free. We had been living on a strict budget, we were choosing wisely how to spend and it was working well for us. When we moved, we lost our focus. We lost our motivation. It only took a few years of living mindlessly to create the mess.

We've been working (mostly) diligently to fix the mess and restore our finances to integrity for almost 4 years now. It's been a long four years and many times during these 13 weeks, I felt like the topics didn't connect to our current situation. Like we would never "get there." Hanging in there till the end of the series was an act of obedience for me and the last session totally framed, for both The Boss and I, just WHY we needed to take the class (even though we were already living most of the principles of the program).  It was just the shot in the arm that I needed to keep living with the strict guidelines and a plan in place.

Cuz, guys?  The last session was basically this:

It's All HIS.
I am just a manager.
When I hold it all loosely in my hand,
I am free to do with it what HE wants me to do.

Nothing terribly new or revelatory in that. Nothing we haven't known for these past four years. In fact, these past four years, we've worked hard on our finances and re-ordered our home to live according to that very principle. But again, with that video clip opening the whole summation of the series, it hit me differently when I I heard it this time.

See, that couple in the video that received the trampoline and the very large check to pay off debt?  I'm not gonna lie - in this particular stage of my life, while waiting and waiting for mei-mei and longing for the day that I can start throwing around all the acronyms and initials of adoption again? I would LOVE to be the recipient of a gift like that. Of an investment by another godly couple into my family.

But really?  Far beyond the addition of our family by the next adoption that we are waiting on God to engineer  in His timing and plan?  Far beyond the "knowing" when our family is complete and resting in that sense of being "done"?  In my heart of hearts, I want to us be that couple that gave. I want to be such an excellent manager of HIS resources in our home that I can hear His voice prompting us to come alongside another family who is waiting for their own mei-mei. I want to share the blessings from His hand with my neighbors. I want to be a giver who invests in other families freely, generously, and without thought to "how I might afford it." I want to live in such a way that His resources flow through my hands, in ways that will build His people. That will build His kingdom.

Yeah, that video wrecked me. But the wrecking has been going on for a while now. And I am praying that it keeps on wrecking me - till His work for me is done.

"Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." ~ Philippians 1:3-6 (emphasis mine)