Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Old-Fashioned Sunday

It was an old-fashioned picnic and baptism day at church. Of course, the food was wonderful (as church potlucks always are) and the weather was just perfect...sunny, a little breezy and not too hot. At the picnic we played the old-fashioned games...3-legged race, sack race, tug-of-war, bobbing for apples, as well as some favorites...soccer, football and volleyball. The boys all were climbing trees, too.
After the picnic, everyone went back inside the church, and 5 candidates were baptized in the church, and Jacob was one of them. This was Jacoab's choice to be baptized again as a believer in obedience to the Bible. Jesus was baptized right before he began his teaching, and it was told that His followers should go out and baptize in His name. I asked Jacob later how he felt...he said "Cold. The water was freezing." Well, that was a prophetic statement!
Amarin and mama...we won!


Charlie and his buddy trying the 3-legged race.

Very happy to be high up in the tree.

Trying to follow his big brother.


Trying to climb a "Charlie size" tree.


Two lefties and a hockey stick.

It looks painful, Jacob.


Our toothless wonder had a blast playing tug-of-war.

Pulling with all he's got...

Ever wonder how much spit is floating around in these buckets?


Sharing his testimony in front of the church
Buried with Jesus in baptism...

...and raised to a new life in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mancala

I'm so excited that my boys are getting more and more interested in board games. Last night, the six of us played board games for almost 2 hours. Jamie got roped into Chutes & Ladders (I've played that so many times lately that I'm frankly sick of it!) and I played mancala one-on-one with each of the boys. Sequence for Kids and Uno are other favorites right now.

But, let me tell you, after just learning how to play the game yesterday, Amarin plays one mean game of mancala. He beat us all, and as we're playing, he's advising us what move to make. Hmmmm....maybe that's why he kept beating us...

Friday, August 28, 2009

No Joke

No Joke...As we were brushing teeth this AM, Amarin showed me another really, really loose tooth in his mouth. A bloggy friend asked if he might become a dentist someday. Not in my mouth! I wanna keep the teeth I have, thank you! I'm glad we're heading to the dentist in 2 weeks so they can check this out for themselves. Check back later tonight. I know I'll be anticipating foot steps. UGH!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Deja vu

Believe it or not, it happened again. I just sat down to check in with my bloggy friends and then take a nice, warm bath...and footsteps. Honestly, this better not become a nightly thing. It would not be good for me, or our toothless wonder! I honestly think he must be really trying to pull his teeth out to get more money.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ANOTHER Tooth!

I just tucked the last three kiddos in bed and let out a sigh...alone time to check up on my bloggy friends and take a nice warm bath. Then....there were footsteps coming down the stairs. Here come Jacob and Amarin, and Amarin's holding another tooth. I'm tellin' ya...this kid loses more teeth at once than I've ever seen. All four top teeth are gone, two on the bottom are growing in, and he has loose teeth on the sides of them. Ever try eating like this?? I'm puttin' a call in to the tooth fairy now...I think she's about to go broke! By the way...as I was showing Amarin the tooth pillow, I find a shark's tooth in it. Jacob grinned and said, "Oh. I was just trying to earn some extra money." He's so sweetly naive...

Our day

Yesterday was going to be the warmest day this week, so we finished our school lessons lickity-split and headed to Papa and Grandma's house for a day of swimming and spoiling. Mission accomplished. My niece and nephew joined us, along with a neighbor and her two grandsons...what a fun, noisy afternoon! And aside from Charlie getting hit in the head with a baseball bat and Jacob's hand getting hit with a line drive...all went well.

Since we were all pretty tired from all the fun, I am thankful for a quiet, rainy, day. We spent some extra school time playing games and watched part of an animal/science video. Here are a few photos of our day so far...
History...is there another subject??
All kids love exploring with pattern blocks!
So much work emptying these blocks!
Playmobile is a favorite in our house.

Whoever came up with idea of pizza kits is a GENIUS!

I think this kid is headed for an acting career...his expressions are priceless!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School

We are officially back to homeschooling. I surely had good intentions of keeping up with at least math over the summer for Jacob, but guess what? Didn't happen. I suppose a cultural trip to Thailand will have to suffice for summer school.

We started Monday, and I decided to start slowly. We began with the Bible. Last year we worked out of a devotion book for boys, but I felt like we really skipped all over the Bible, and never got into the books very well. So we're reading through various books of the Bible this year. Proverbs is the first book we're reading. Even though Charlie can't sit still, and Laura and Amarin don't understand it yet, it's good for them to at least be exposed to the routine of reading God's Word. And Proverbs has soooo much to say about obedience! :)

Next, history. Jacob is our history buff (I think he gets that from Papa Miller) and he has the knack for remembering details. He's the child that when he tells a story, I sometimes remind him...OK...long story short, honey. When he was five, he LOVED the Titanic. He even told an artist at a local craft show that he didn't have the correct number of life boats on his replica...and the boy was right! We use Story of the World, and will be covering from the mid-1800s to present day.

Handwriting began for both Jacob and Amarin. Jacob is reviewing cursive, and Amarin is learning how to form our alphabet characters. Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons is the first step in helping Amarin learn to sound letters and put them together in English. He already knows the names of letters, so that will help!

As for Laura and Charlie, they're both off to preschool this year. Laura will go everyday, and Charlie will go twice per week. I think they'll both enjoy having something special to do.

Charlie with a letter from his preschool teacher.

We also started chore charts. Jamie and I waver on whether or not kids should get allowances. In our opinion, kids should help at home without being paid as that's just part of being in a family. However, we also want to teach them how to manage money, and if they don't earn any, how can we teach it? So, we've decided that there are certain chores for which they will earn an allowance. Then, they will tithe it, put some in the bank, and the rest is theirs to choose. I hope this works.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Whose Plan?

One month ago we arrived in Thailand to bring home our son, Amarin. It was the beginning of a beautiful trip, and the continuation of a beautiful journey. Was the journey always easy? Goodness, no! We had to wait months longer than we had anticipated and waded through extra paperwork. Sometimes, I just cried, because I was frustrated and felt like the situation was not going as it should and that I couldn't control it (no kidding). Other times I vented. Would you believe that the crying and venting did not help one bit? Why, you ask?? Well, let me share a few things...
Way back at the beginning of 2008, I began praying about another adoption. And this time, I vowed I was going to let God take the lead, and let Him work His plan...if it was indeed His plan that we adopt again. (Now, I have to say, we did go into this adoption with a little plan of our own...a little girl, about 5 years old...ya know...to even up the genders). And I had a really strong prayer group right behind me in my ladies' LIFE group. As months passed, it was really exciting watching God unravel His plan. There were so many orphans, girls and boys, that passed before our eyes and hearts, all crying out for a family, but none spoke to us like Amarin did. His eyes, and his shy disposition on the video, and the fact that he was an older boy, making him that much harder to place. We prayed more, asking God to let us know for sure that Amarin was the one...and He did.
After that, the paperwork started falling into place pretty fast. Specific prayer requests that we made were answered clearly, for we had prayed that God give us CLEAR answers...sometimes we don't get His subtlety! His answers were very clear.
As we neared what we thought would be our travel date, obstacles started appearing...possible lack of child care for the little ones, Jamie just starting a new job, questions about paperwork under the new laws, questions about whether or not Amarin would even be released. Some would say that God didn't seem present under these circumstances...after all...if He cares, couldn't He just step in and take care of things? Here's the thing...He did...in His own time, not mine. We don't live in a perfect world, and challenges and difficulties arise in everyones' lives. But God took these challenges and turned them into good! Take a look at the prayer requests I posted back in the spring...
** For safe travel to, within, and home again. Our entire family, including those caring for our little ones, traveled safely.
** For our entire family of 6 to remain healthy and strong. All 6 of us remained healthy and strong.
** That Laura will sleep well for my parents. Minus a couple nights, Laura did well, and that's definitely a praise!!
** That our luggage will not be lost or damaged. No luggage was lost or damaged, and our luggage was never too heavy.
** That I will have all necessary paperwork, and the visa process would go smoothly. I had all necessary paperwork (& then some) and Amarin's visa was issued a day early.
** That our return date will remain August 8th. We returned on August 8th.
** That Amarin will bond well with Jamie, Jacob and me in Thailand. Amarin bonded beautifully with all of us and had a blast with Jacob.
** That our whole family will transition and bond well upon our return. We couldn't ask for a better transition with our children. They are bonding well, and Amarin fits into our family perfectly. (like that wasn't planned!)
** That Amarin will be well prepared for our arrival, trusting of us and comfortable leaving his orphanage with us. Amarin knew for 2 months that we were coming. He was very shy at first, but quickly warmed to us, and left on that July morning without looking back.
** That we can be a blessing to others while we are traveling. I'm praying we were...one never knows how others have been affected.

In addition, our little ones ended up joining in on a preplanned vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC, with my parents, my brother, my SIL, and their two teens...can you say spoiled?? Think that wasn't planned, too?

I suppose sceptics could say that we were lucky, but I don't truly believe in luck...I believe that we have a God that loves us, and when we follow His plan and His Word (the Bible), we will be blessed. As for the challenges...you can either complain about them, or believe that they make us stronger, give us a chance to help others that may go through something similar later, and stretch us to be better than we were. I have to say that this adoption has made me reflect a lot on the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22,23), especially patience and peace, and I'm praying that I've truly grown in those areas...please don't consult my children quite yet. :)

So, what's next? Don't know, but it's going to be exciting to see what God has "up His sleeve."


Friday, August 21, 2009

The Babysitter

I knew the comments would start anytime, and that they did today. I have to laugh, though. I really don't take offense to them. I guess no one has ever said anything offensive about my family, in front of me, anyway. So, I just answer honestly, assuming that these people are just curious. One never knows when a spark might catch and someone may pursue adoption!
So, we're in line at Walmart, and the kids are watching this young guy scan our groceries. Amarin is helping load them into the cart, Jacob is playing with Laura, and Charlie is staring at the guy. (The guy had a lot of holes in his head and later told Charlie that it was OK to laugh because he knew he looked weird).
This guy says, "So, you're babysitting today, huh?" "No, these are my children." "Wow. Very cool," he replies. End of conversation... I shared it with Jamie when he got home tonight and he thought it was pretty funny, too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brother & Sister

How cool that these two are brother and sister. They make each other laugh and smile. I have no idea what either one is saying, but they understand one another and that's all that matters! It just goes to show, family is more than biology...it's a sense of belonging, feelings of love and safety, and sharing a home!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Laura's Wish

Two fun ladies visited us from Make-A-Wish Monday night. The purpose of this visit was to grant Laura's wish, and to bring a little fun along with them. Let me tell you...they racked up a lot of points with everyone, especially the boys. I sure wish I could know what Amarin was thinking that night, and I hope he's not expecting "strangers" to show up at our house spontaneously with gifts for everyone! The gave each of the boys a remote control 4-wheeler, with batteries, thank you! They also each got a box of M&Ms and Skittles. They have been having soooo much fun with these 4-wheelers in the driveway....racing, crashing, trading...and they're already running out of batteries.

Now for Laura. They gave her a really soft blanket, a box of little animal toys and a special wish box...which held her M&Ms and Skittles. As for her wish...you have no idea how HARD it was to make a wish for her. She could choose just about anything you could imagine, and since she doesn't communicate, how could we possibly pick just the right wish for her? Well, we've given it our best shot. Laura LOVES the water, I mean LOVES it! She doesn't care if it's a bucket of water or the ocean...she wants in. So, for Laura's wish, we are headed to Key Largo, Florida for one week of swimming with the dolphins...check it out. She will get to swim with the dolphins everyday with a therapist, attend a classroom session everyday with therapists, and according to our friends from Make-A-Wish...there will be plenty of surprises along the way.

Her "magic" wand to help grant her wish.



Laura's turn to open presents.



Charlie holds her hand to help her pull out the tissue paper.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Betty Crocker...

...I've never claimed to be, and today proves it if any of you had any doubts otherwise. I thought I'd treat everyone to some oatmeal cookies. I baked while the kids napped...the boys got up and licked the beaters while the scent drifted through my kitchen...what a "Better Homes" moment. The timer went off and I opened the oven...WHAT HAPPENED TO MY COOKIES???? I was sure I followed the recipe. I've made them before, plenty of times. Oatmeal cookies are not difficult to make...

...unless you forget to add the OATMEAL!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scene of the Crime

The driveway became a "crime scene" today. What's the crime, you ask? Covering daddy's new blacktop with chalk. Here is suspect #1...


Suspect #2...

and suspect #3. We believe they're working as a team...

Aha! Caught in the act...he sure does neat work, though, doesn't he?

The last thing we heard from daddy before he went into the house was, "Can they keep the chalk on the concrete and not the blacktop?" By the time he got back outside, this was the scene. The suspects made it all the way to the road.

So, what did he do? He took them all to Dairy Queen!!
(Laura and I claim innocence!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Volcanic Eruptions

No...not by my children, thankfully. But they did have fun putting together a volcano using cardboard, paper mache, paint, baking soda, and vinegar. OK, so I did draw lines down the side of the volcano designating their own painting areas so there would be no brawling over who was painting whose part of the volcano.
Hands-on activities are great for building vocabulary, as well as a great way for kids to interact that don't speak the same language.
First, they constructed and painted the volcano.
All projects, especially when boys are mixed with something explosive, must be supervised! Thank you, Laura.
Can you see the smile from the side as he watches the eruption?

Oh, I don't know...think he's happy with the project? Later, they took the volcano into the backyard, put rocks all around it (from daddy's landscaping), and played dinosaurs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Crew

Trying to get all four to smile for a photo...yeah, right.
Can you see their personalities in this photo??


OK...this one was pretty good...

Home

Kickin' back with my brothers, popcorn, and Mickey Mouse.

Making spaghetti sauce

Mickey Mouse made with paper and a sit-n-spin.

Charlie had to try making Mickey Mouse, too.

The first time using a vacuum...for Laura's graham cracker crumbs.

Amarin and Laura

Amarin loves the sit-n-sping...hence, all the boys like it again! We're learning to take turns.

Eating corn-on-the-cob with no front teeth!

Running through the sprinklers. Sorry, boys...no big pool like in Thailand!