Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Should I be worried?

This is what I saw when I walked into the playroom a couple days ago. Should I be worried that my little girls keep their zhu zhu pets in the microwave?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We have a roof!

Just barely two months after breaking ground, we have a roof! Hopefully progress will continue pretty well through the winter since the house will be closed in. We spent the entire day today working on clean-up. The girls are about to pass out from exhaustion. They gathered nails and filled Pa's trailer with scrap wood to make money. Ruby is asleep on the couch already. They are so excited about the new house!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Thankful

Thanksgiving had special meaning to me this year. I'm so grateful for everyone and everything God has placed in my life. I sometimes lament growing older, but I shouldn't. My life has never been as right as it is at this very time. I have made more good decisions in the past seven years than at any other time in my life. I'm blessed with an incredible husband, the most special children imaginable (and grown children and grandchildren), loving and supportive family far and near, good health, plenty of food on my table every day, life in a free country, and the promise that God is in full control of my future. It took a while for me to realize that I'm not in control, and when I let God guide me I'm much happier. There are so many things to be thankful for, and I never want to forget that every single one of them is a gift!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back...After Six Months!

It's been six months since I've blogged, and I think it's time to get back to it! I was reading my post What is reality? And how much is enough? and thinking about how much has changed during the past six months. When I posted in May I wasn't sure if we would ever get to build our house. We had more than a few setbacks, but we finally broke ground on September 25th. What a day that was! This week the exterior walls started going up, and it's really looking like a house. I'm thanking God every day that we are able to build, but I'm also thanking Him for the tiny house we live in now and the many, many blessings He gives us every day.

I'm especially thankful that God placed Tony in my life. My life with him is more than I ever imagined. He's my rock when I hit rough spells and my best friend every single day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It was a beautiful day Wednesday, so we took advantage of the weather and went to the Aroboretum. The girls love walking and skipping around the trails looking at all of the flowers. I'm so happy that this place is close to us and free!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What is reality? And how much is enough?

Tonight I had....I don't know...a moment of clarity...or a dose of reality.

We live in a small farm house with three little girls. It's a tight squeeze sometimes, but it's a choice we made in order to be financially responsible while adopting our daughters. We always intended to build a house, and we're finally in the process of doing just that. I said process -- it's a long and drawn out process. Right now we're working with an architect to design the house. Sometimes I get discouraged and feel like actually building the house is just a dream.

Tonight I had a few moments to myself while Tony took care of our girls. I spent some of that time sitting in the grass in the exact spot that is staked out to be our future family room -- a spot where I might someday sit in a comfy chair in front of a crackling fire. But...I sat there feeling gloomy and wondering when or if we will actually see a foundation being poured and walls going up. I felt discouraged and maybe a little sorry for myself that we are still cramped in our little house with one bathroom and a dishwasher on wheels. I sat there listening to my iPod filling my head with the sounds of Chris Tomlin singing Amazing Grace -- and then it hit me.

I was sitting there on land we own. Acres and acres of land we own. I was surrounded by the stakes that designated where our new house will someday be -- whether that someday is next month or next year. I was listening to an iPod. I was looking out at the sun setting in the west and watching the trees billow in the wind. Tony was inside taking care of our daughters. I have a bathroom and a dishwasher, even if it is on wheels. I go to the grocery store and it takes five trips to bring all the food in from the van.

It's so easy to be in China or Ethiopia and see how other people live -- and die -- and to fall down on your knees and give thanks for every single thing you have. Once you get home and go to a few play dates at fancy houses the mind seems to put a lot of distance between that reality and our reality. But reality is what hit me while I sat there in the grass tonight.

Halfway around the world in Ethiopia there is a mother who couldn't provide her daughters with basic things like shoes, food, a bed, or even a bathroom. Her daughters never slept in a real bed when they lived with her. Indoor plumbing was not a possibility for her and a dishwasher on wheels simply would have been an unimaginable fantasy. That mother had to make a decision we could not even fathom. Halfway around the world in China there is a mother who didn't have the freedom to keep her daughter. Can we even imagine putting our infant daughter down on a sidewalk and walking away because our government and our family left us without a choice? And what about things that happen right here in our own country or city? My sister-in-law lost her husband a year ago, and their son lost his dad. Our friend has lost his wife and his daughter in the past two years. His sons have lost their mother and their sister. How do you live through that?

And what do I have? I have three beautiful, funny, smart, and amazing daughters who love me and call me mommy, because another mommy had to give that up. I get to tuck them into bed every night and feed them breakfast every morning (and lunch and dinner and a snack in between). I live in a house with bedrooms and a bathroom and lots and lots of food every single day. I have sons who are grown up and independent. Our children have a mommy and daddy who love them and love each other. When one of us gets sick, we just get in the car and go to the doctor.

I'm not saying I won't ever revert back to feeling sorry for myself because I want something I don't have. That seems to be human nature, even if it is wrong. I think the main reason I'm writing this is so that when I do start to feel like that I can re-read this and give myself a reality check. How much is enough? I have more than enough. I have everything I need. I have a family and a home and a God who I know watches over us all every day. I think I will be a better person if I can keep that perspective.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Things They Say

I know many of my posts revolve around the funny things my girls say, but here goes again...

Heard today from the back seats of my van:

Elizabeth: "Mommy, lions are faster than anything."
Nora: "No, God and Jesus are faster than anything in the whole world."
Ruby: "I don't think God and Jesus really like to run that much."
Elizabeth: "Yeah, they're probably too busy working."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Angel Now

It's hard to understand why some people have to endure so much. Our friend, Brent, lost his wife two years ago and his daughter yesterday. Brent and Lisa traveled to China with us two and a half years ago to bring home our daughters. Just five short months later, Lisa died suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving behind her husband, newly adopted daughter, and three sons. Yesterday, Brent and his sons suffered another tragic loss. Their beautiful Vivian died suddenly and with no warning. She was 4 1/2 years old. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel an emotional road most of us can't even imagine enduring. In memory of a beautiful angel, here's a picture of Nora and Vivian (on the right). She's resting at peace now and with her mommy in heaven.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yard Spelling

There are so many great things about homeschooling. Spelling in the front yard on a beautiful, sunny day is just one of many! I'm so grateful that my kids have the opportunity to learn this way.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh, Nora...

At dinner tonight the girls were talking about us having another kid (yeah, right). Ruby said we could buy another kid. I explained that we absolutely never, EVER buy kids because we are human beings and God's children. Then Nora says, "I know why we never buy a kid. You know why? Because kids can't breath in a box." I went on to elaborate on human beings and God's children. Then she said, "Yeah, Mommy, you know why we're human beings? Becuase we can TALK if we're in a box." Oh Nora, where do you get this stuff?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's Spring!

I've been terrible lately about updating the blog. It just seems like we get busier all the time. This past winter was exceptionally cold for Missouri, and we had a lot of snow. Now, it's finally spring, and we're SO glad to be outside again! Here are a few pictures to celebrate the season!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It's hard for me to remember the time when we had to seriously consider whether it would be better for Nora to have sisters or not. Seriously, how could I have ever wondered? All three of them are sisters in every sense of the word!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Keeping It Simple

Tony and I are such a great parenting team. We have the same values and ideals when it comes to raising our daughters. That's not to say that we are making the same decisions that we made when we raised our older kids. We have a different perspective now. I think it comes with a combination of factors: age, our life experiences, our daughters' life experiences, and the lifestyle we choose to live now.

Financially, we are much better off than when our sons were young, but we manage to keep our life -- and our kids' -- much simpler. We don't lavish the girls with big and expensive gifts or indulge them with every little thing they desire, although it's tempting to do so. Instead, we give them more of ourselves and our time. I think this makes them appreciate the things we give them so much more.

What I hadn't thought about until recently is how it allows others, especially family members, to do special things for them. For example, we don't go to McDonald's very often, and when we do go we order the girls threee cheesburgers and a large fry to share. We drink water because it's healthier -- soda or chocolate milk are special treats. My dad wanted to do something special for the girls last weekend, so he gave them money to get a Happy Meal and asked me if I would take them to McDonalds this week (he would have but he's working). They were so excited today when we went and got Happy Meals. They were mostly excited about the chocolate milk and toy. It's not that we can't afford to buy them Happy Meals, obviously, but it made it so special that Pa gave them this special treat. It made me glad that we keep things simple enough that people like my dad can do something special for them that is simple and yet still a special treat. So many kids today have so much that it's hard to think of anything to give them that they don't already have, and I think that sets up some unrealistic expectations.

So tonight when the girls were saying their prayers, Ruby's prayer included "And dear God, thank you for the soldiers who protect our country. And also thank you for Pa who loves us and does nice things for us and craps us up." Ummm...I think she meant "cracks us up." But you get the idea. :-)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Busy February

I can't believe I haven't posted on this blog for a month! We've had a busy February! Here's a little of what we've been up to:

Spending time with family.

Going to church.

Spending time with Mason (we get to babysit every Saturday while my son and daughter-in-law work).

Bowling with friends.

Elizabeth has lost two teeth and became friends with the tooth fairy.

Everyone got roses from Daddy for Valentine's day.

And...income taxes, but I won't post a picture of that. :-) And now on to March! Hopefully I will be a better blogger next month.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Only six years?

Usually you hear people make jokes like, "Wow, we've only been married for six years? It feels like ten." Well, joking aside, it really does feel like it has been a lot longer than six years since we got married. Six short years ago today we were going to sleep knowing we would wake up tomorrow and get married. That was the very best decision I've ever made. Our lives have been filled with about twenty years worth of experiences and adventures since that day! Tony knows what I mean.

When we got married on January 31, 2004, I had no idea how our marriage would lead us to make decisi0ns that would change the course of our lives forever. I had no idea of the paths we would travel and the memories we would make with our sons. I had no idea that we would become grandparents -- twice -- during the first six years of our marriage. Or that we would twice live apart for a few months for the sake of our family and future. And I had no idea that we would become the parents of three very special daughters. It's really hard to imagine what the next years hold for us. I've learned not to guess. Life is a journey, and it's a journey with so many winding roads. I wouldn't have it any other way. I am thankful every day that God brought Tony and I together. I only wish it would have been 20 years ago, but then I guess we wouldn't have been the same people we were when we met.

Happy sixth anniversary Honey. You are so very, very loved.