Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Blind Side

Jamie and I had a date night....woohoo! Our babysitter is home from college, so she stayed with the kids for a few hours. We saw the movie, The Blind Side, and then went out for dinner. I've wanted to see this movie since I first saw the trailer. And it was worth it...great movie.
If you haven't heard of it, I'll share a little bit. It's actually based on the true story of Michael Oher, a now professional football player. He was a homeless high school student, taken in a by a very wealthy family who lived on the "other side of the tracks." His life turned around, he graduated from high school, and has gone on to play professional football. It is only by God's grace that this young man made it out of the tough life he endured for so long.


There were a few things that I've been pondering since I saw the movie last night...


1. Sometimes, the greatest opportunities present themselves when we're not looking for them...ya know...when we're flying 90 mph to get to our next stop.

2. These opportunities can make us uncomfortable and scared...oh, getting stretched again!

3. Decisions regarding these opportunities are made in faith...believing before seeing.

4. Those decisions may make others uncomfortable, and they question the logic.

5. Logic is not part of faith.

6. Some decisions may cause relationships to be severed. One would question the basis of those relationships.

7. These opportunities make one question his own motives...selfless, or selfish?

The mom in this movie had a passion...a strong passion to help this young man reach his full potential. And because she had such a strong passion, she was able to make a huge difference in a life that many others viewed as worthless, hopeless. And this wasn't just a movie...this is a real life story, friends! So, what's your passion?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blogging Issues....UGH!

OK, bloggy friends. I need some help. I had a website from which I loved to get my templates. Can't remember which website it was...bummer! It was so easy to change the look of my blog! Now...I'm trying to find a website that's an easy cut-&-paste HTML for blogger that won't get rid of all my widgets. I've tried a very popular one that most of you seem to use, but it doesn't have templates yet, only backgrounds. And that does indeed change the background, but doesn't change the middle section where I have the nativity scene. And while I'm messing around trying different backgrounds, I'm losing info in my widgets. UGH! Anyone care to share some insight? Thanks!

Quote to Ponder

I found this quote on a blog I follow, Building The Blocks.
I think this may be my quote for 2010 to keep me motivated!
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows
poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when
He could do something about it...but I'm
afraid He might ask me the same question."
Anonymous

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day Part 2

Thank you, Uncle Jim, for emailing me some photos.
Now I can share the 2nd half of our Christmas Day!
This is the Miller side of the family...and this time next year, we'll
have a tiny baby in the photo! (NOT ME!)


Laura and I sharing some time with Aunt Audrey.

Jacob and Charlie protecting their girly cousin...do I
detect a glow, Tara??

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Really Big Number

I don't know what brought this to mind tonight, but I was thinking about the approximately 163 million children in the world who have no family. Maybe it was the recent homecomings of little Ava and Jubilee, or maybe the exciting addition to our extended family that we just found out about yesterday...woohoo!!!
Thankfully, these precious children have families. But what about the 163 million children that don't? Have you ever really thought about that number? I can't actually comprehend the vastness of it. So I thought I'd "play" with the number. So go with me for a moment, and I hope my math skills don't fail me...
I found on the website, www.jstor.org, that the perimeter of the United States is 8,878 miles. OK...now let's line up 163 million children along that perimeter, giving them each a 2 foot span to stretch out their little arms to hold hands. That 8,878 miles is equal to 46,875,840 feet, and giving 2 feet per child, that would be 23,437,920 children that would span one time around the perimeter of the United States. So, if we have 163 million children, that would mean they would span almost 7 times around the perimeter of the United States.
Does that make sense? Did I do that correctly? Can you even imagine seeing almost 7 rings of children holding hands around the perimeter of the United States? And not just children that will go back home to mom and dad, but children who have no where to go...That number blows my mind. What's going to happen to these children without families when they grow up? What will their lives be like? Who will celebrate their accomplishments? Or their birthdays? Who will be there when they need advice? Or just a reassuring hug?
I recently read where the United States has seen a 27% drop in international adoptions in the past year. That's huge. Apparently it's not because of a lack of families trying to adopt, but because of the adoption slow downs and halts in other countries. But I still can't help but wonder...what if more families stepped out in faith to bring a child home? What if our nation could go back to the numbers in 2004 when we brought home nearly 23,000 children? The number of orphans isn't dropping, my friends. Let's not let our awareness drop, or ignore the command from God to care for these orphans. And although I'm probably "preaching to the choir," I pray that some will read this that may step out in faith for the first time.

Our Christmas Celebrations

We changed things up a little bit this year. Since we head to both sets of grandparents on Christmas Day, we decided to spread out the fun and have our Christmas at home on Christmas Eve. Since Santa only fills stockings at our house anyway, it was not a logistical issue, and the kids could just hang out all day and relax with their toys.
Christmas Eve morning...quick...give mom a cheesy smile so we can
get off these stairs and open presents!

Yeah for trucks! Laura couldn't care less about girly dolls!

Some more pieces for the boys' train set .

Amarin kept his gifts close-by this morning. He played
his Diego DS game all day...literally...all day! He will soon be going
through withdrawl when we reinforce the time limit on his DS!
Jacob was thrilled with his first BB gun. He's anxious to get started...under close
supervision of Dad!
Rock band was a hit. Jacob prefers drums, Amarin's learning the guitar, and Charlie...well, no need to even plug in the microphone. He's loud enough on his own!
Chillin' before we head out for Christmas Eve service at our church.

Christmas morning at Grandma and Papa's with cousins!

Just us...we don't have many of these photos!

An airplane, aka. klungbin in Thai, for Amarin.
This was his first Christmas, but it took no time for him
to figure out what to do!
Trucks and more trucks!

A homemade candy jar for Papa from Jacob.

A homemade magnet for Grandma from Char.

Laura's favorite...her trampoline. She can hang on and bounce
to her little heart's content!

Can you believe we didn't take anymore photos Christmas Day? We'll have to wait
and get some from family...hint, hint, Uncle Jim!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
We're so blessed to have our whole family home this year,
and I know many of you are celebrating the same thing!
Praying for ALL the families waiting for their new little ones
to come home in 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Somersault Lesson

What? You've never done a somersault? NO WAY! Amarin was laughing at Jacob and Charlie doing somersaults, and when I asked him if he knew how to do one, he said, "No." So, I had the boys show him. I certainly wasn't going to do one...I'd end up in traction! Here are the oh-so-graceful poses of somesault lessons....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Memories

I've been tagged by a sweet bloggy friend, Adeye. If you've not yet visited her blog, you really should take the time. She has a wonderful knack for writing, and such a strong faith. And, her family is working so hard to bring home little Hailee through international adoption. Right there...a family after God's own heart!
So, since I was tagged, my job now is to share a Christmas memory. Hmmm...not an easy task as so many of them are very special. So, I'm going to choose the memory that is most unique.
Jamie and I have had the opportunity to live overseas twice...once in Brussels, Belgium, and the other in Stuttgart, Germany. Most of the time, we were able to make it back to the U.S. to be with our families for Christmas. But a couple times, we chose to stay in Europe. Those were very unique Christmases, for sure.
One memory was when we lived in Belgium, and it was just Jamie and me. We decided, and I don't remember why, to stay in Europe. But we didn't want to stay at our home because we knew it would seem way too quiet and lonely. So, Jamie being the family travel planner, booked a ski trip for us to Austria. Off we went to what is now one of our most favorite travel destinations (not that we go there now!).
Christmas Eve was beautiful. First, we found a little sprig of pine, hung it on the wall, and that became our Christmas tree. Then, we walked out into the cold, snowy night...and we're talkin' a TON of snow in the Alps...across the field and to a family restaurant. This place was all decorated with greenery and lights, and we ate the most delicious wienerschnitzel with berries. Mmmmmmm! And do you know that some of the places in Austria still light their trees with real candles??? Can you say fire hazard?? But so, so beautiful.
Christmas morning, we woke to a quick breakfast and then hit the slopes. Skiing is not my strong point, but this was probably one of the most fun ski days we ever had. The slopes were almost empty since most everyone was home (helpful so I don't run over anyone). The snow was fluffy (helpful so I don't go out of control on the ice). The sun was shining enough that we could sit outside and have a drink without our coats on and be plenty warm. And silent...it was just silent. Silent enough to hear the wisps of passing skiers and the wind through the pine trees. I'll never forget that Christmas in Austria.
So, now that I've shared one of my memories...it's time for me to tag some other bloggy friends...so...ya'll are it!!!! Share a favorite Christmas memory, link to my blog somewhere in your message, tag 5 more bloggy friends, and then link back into my comments section to tell us when you're blog is ready to share!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Later that same day...

I was beckoned outside to see their finished product.
Ready to defend themselves...

I'm ready to defend myself, too!

But I still feel barky, mom. Can I have some hot chocolate?


Brothers, playmates, and friends...I love that combination!
(Notice Amarin's dirty knees? Charlie's bum looks the same way. Guess I'll be doing more laundry...and here I thought I was caught up!)

History Live

My history buff (Jacob) is learning about the precursors to WWII. So, off he goes into the woods to "play history." He must have discovered that building bunkers is too much work for a lone soldier, so......he called in for some backup. You can just barely see the three boys in the woods working on their bunker. Actually, all you can really see is Charlie's yellow hood. Not sure why he's just standing there...there's work to be done. Or maybe, since he still has a croupy cough, he's "barking" orders at the others...I know...I know...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For the moms out there

Anyone having one of those days (or weeks) where you wonder what on earth you're doing with so many kids...and how crazy to contemplate more kids...and so much laundry...and so many chores...and so much school...and grocery shopping...and cooking...and chauferring...and someone needs new shoes...and someone's sick...and paying bills...and...and...and


Here's a good read for you (and me)! :)

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fish, Fashion, and Festivities

I'm a little behind with my blog....so here's a recap of our week...
Charlie...a fish in the water, and a fish-out-of-water when you try to sleep with him!
He woke with a croupy cough last night, so he asked to sleep with mommy and daddy. How
could we say no to that raspy, barky little voice? But how some of you sleep with your kids all the time, I'll never know. We get knocked in the head, kicked in the backside...sheesh!
Laura got new braces yesterday! We chose yellow bumblebees this time...maybe we're
wishing for summer?

I did not hang the beads in this array. How did it get this way, you ask?

Ha! Caught in the act! I think Laura's entered a very curious stage...that's OK. She never
gets into trouble for it!
Amarin's first snowman, with some help from his big brother.

Laura "helped" me wrap Christmas presents while the boys...

baked cookies with Daddy.

Jacob being very precise.

Amarin made a LOT of trees!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Merry Christmas

A friend shared this song/video last December as she waited to bring home her two precious girls from China. I think this song is very appropriate for many families who can now celebrate Christmas with our children who came home this year. Whether the children are from China, or Thailand, or somewhere else in this big world...welcome home, and Merry Christmas! And for those still waiting...praying your children will be home very soon!


Monday, December 7, 2009

What a week...

and it's only Monday. This is a very busy week for Jamie, so I'm doing double duty...no problem...I'm thankful he has such a great job! And double duty-ing is usually not an issue, unless it's a week like this has been, and it's only just beginning!
It started last night with Charlie. We had our gas fireplace going...ya know...the whole cozy, Christmas spirit and all. All of a sudden I heard a scream...Charlie. He came running with his hands outstretched to me. He had touched the glass which was really, really hot. Cold water and compresses were applied, screams subsided, and a couple little blisters appeared...2nd degree burns from what I've read. He didn't want to touch anything last night because his hands hurt too much. Thankfully this morning, the blisters did not look worse, and his hands didn't hurt anymore. I'm hoping this is a lesson learned, albight the really hard way, poor thing!
So, this A.M. we're off to our homeschool group. All the kids are in their classes, and Jacob is in his first class, and favorite...sports! About half way through, one of the moms come to tell me that Jacob doesn't feel well and asked for me. Hmmm...So I head down not really concerned, but wondering why Jacob wanted me. By the time I got into the classroom, he's standing in the middle of the room, horribly pale and clammy, telling me that he can't see anything...it's all white and blurry...and then he starts gasping for breath...blue around the lips, and leaning into my arms. Not sure if panic mode or survival mode kicked in, but I told someone to call 911. After what seemed forever...probably a couple minutes...he started breathing normally and his vision normalized. We sat him by a window to get fresh air, and that seemed to help. By the time the paramedics arrived, he was feeling much better, and his vitals checked out fine. Jacob was able to give the paramedics his name, address, and phone number, along with asking them what organ is on his lower left side, because he knows the liver is on the lower right side. The paramedics laughed and said he probably knew anatomy better than they did. That made me feel very comforted.
Apparently, Jacob had run into a fussball table and either got the wind knocked out of him or his body went into shock...the paramedics weren't sure. I decided he didn't need an ambulance ride. He sat with me during 2nd hour, and then returned to give a speech during 3rd hour. Now he's playing fine, eating well...like nothing happened.
Me? I think I aged 10 more years...
The kids? I think I'm going to put them all in an accident-proof bubble until I normalize.
How many more days in this week?????

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Deck the Halls

Time to trim the tree...er...well...time to
stick those fake branches into the pole and put the
tree together first. We had help from three little snowmen...
THEN we trimmed the tree, trying to keep the breakable
ornaments above little Laura's reach.

Jacob didn't want his rabbits, Cedar and Willow, to feel left
out, so their home was decorated, too.

Little elves like to read...get a load of that hat!

After dinner, the boys got into their jammies, jumped into the warm van with some hot cocoa, turned on some Christmas music, and we drove around looking at Christmas lights.

After one hour of looking at lights, they started to get a little restless, so they started dancing to Jingle Bell Rock the best they could while still buckled!

Friday, December 4, 2009

He Called Me Mom

Music to my ears today. I was upstairs, and Amarin called from downstairs, "Mom!" This was the first time he's called me "mom" directly. He has referred to me, usually with his brothers, as "mom," but never called me that directly. I know it may not sound like much, but every single tiny step is HUGE! And this, my friends, was HUGE! I'm "mom!"

In addition, we've had Amarin with us for four months now. One of my goals was to keep track of his new words for his scrapbook. I did fine for the first two months. I've now given up on this goal, and I'm quite happy about it! His language is really blossoming. Today we sat down and recapped our adventures from yesterday (we saw the Little House on the Prairie musical) and he had so much to say about it....mostly about what he snacked on during the performance and what he ate for lunch, but that's OK. He is trying so hard to speak, and is really starting to get his ideas across to us.