Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day Six: Homemade Ornaments

We actually made these with cousins at Thanksgiving.  They were super easy and turned out super cute!  
We just hung them on the tree today!

Just after this picture was snapped, one of these glass balls broke.

You'll never guess which one . . . 

Unbelievably, the paint was still wet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day Five: Ella Grace's BBall Practice

See my girl right in the middle of the picture?  
Super proud that even though she's the smallest she gives her all!

But . . . 
Seriously -- what are they feeding these girls?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day Four: Katie @ BBall Practice

Can I just say there is nothing funnier than a bunch of four and five-year-olds playing basketball?
Love it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting (re) Organized!

As I mentioned a few post ago, my goal for the Summer was to chill with my peeps and forget the day to day schedule that we are so accustomed to!

Completely accomplished what I wanted.

Completely paid for it in the past few weeks!

So, I've been on a mission to (re) organize our home and thought I'd share a few things that have been super-helpful:

1.  Charts!  They are hanging all over my house in highly visible areas.  Lots of printables can be found here! I'm using this for mornings and this for after school!  From a different site, we are using this for bedtime.  Does my house look like a preschool?  Sort of!  Tacky?  Probably!  Not my best decorating style, but it's cut down on my nagging so, so much!

2.  Lunchtime prep is a nightly activity.  I try to make all 5 lunches for the next day (this helps when the preschoolers get home - they can just pull their lunch out of the fridge - it makes getting down for a nap a little quicker)!  We bought these for the big girls' lunches (significantly cheaper at TJ Maxx!) and they are great!  From the same company, we got these for the littles' (again, at TJ Maxx)!  They have made packing healthy lunches much more manageable!

3.  We have a schedule dependent little boy!  I mean, really, really schedule dependent!  Any change can set off a series of days with significant behavior issues.  In an effort to avoid these kinds of days, we've worked hard to prep him for anything different that may happen during a given day.  Since he's in school only three days a week (and he's too young to really understand the concept of the different days of the week -- weekends really confuse him!), we made this for his room:
Each day has pictures of who will be home when he wakes up and the places he'll go that day.  Before bed each night, we move a star to the next day and talk with him about what tomorrow will look like.  It's helped so much!  For those interested in such things, the process to make this was easy:

Started with a blank bulletin board, a measuring tape and some painter's tape.

Painted.  Painted again and again (cork board is obviously porous!).

Used stencils to add the days of the week.

Pulled the tape (so gratifying!)!


One more small project in the works . . . 

. . . involving this plank of wood!     

Will post pics of the finished project when it's . . . well, finished!

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Days

Ella Grace -- 3rd Grade -- Dr. Parris & Mrs. Field's class

Annabelle -- 1st Grade -- Mrs. Black & Mrs. Hunter's class

K-man -- K3 -- Mrs. Bagley's class

Katie -- K4 -- Mrs. Hall's Class

Li'l Peanut -- Baby Class -- MMO

With their countdown to school charts!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Goal: Met!

My goal for our Summer was to chill.
To relax our very scheduled existence.
To enjoy my children without worrying about every little detail of every little thing.

Goal:  met!

We had an incredible Summer filled with too many adventures to cover here!

A few highlights:

Our trip to Michigan to visit the Williams' side of the family.

Our trip with the Powell side to the cabin.

Our family trip to Atlanta and Stone Mountain.
I have hundreds of blog worthy pictures, but, the reality is that they'll never be posted or blogged about.  That was part of my plan!  Not to blog.  I really wanted to journal -- you know -- the old fashioned pen and paper way.  That didn't happen, but I'm not too worried about it!  See how good I was at meeting my goal?

Alas, Labor Day has passed, school has been in session for a few weeks and Summer is officially over!  I will say that I'm paying dearly now for the summer-adapted, laid back attitude.  My kiddos (and myself) are having a hard time getting back into the routine!  No regrets -- just, maybe, we should've started back into the routine a little sooner than, well, the first day of school.

Oh well!  I have several things in the works to get us (re)organized and back on schedule!  I'm planning to share many here in case you are facing some of the same difficulties we are!  Also will update soon on our family dynamic and the process of adoption!!

Until then . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A New Look

For her birthday, Annabelle wanted her ears pierced, so, after school today her Nana took her to have it done!  

She did it!

They even had to do them one at a time instead of all at once.

She was super-brave & never shed a tear!

She looks pretty grown up, huh?

Proud Momma!

It was awards day for the 2-3 Multi-age Class today!  

Ella Grace got the A Honor Roll for the entire year,
the "Writing Award" (oh, this former-English-teaching Momma is so proud!),
for the most AR points in 2nd grade . . . 
with 224 points!!
A medal for reading!

Proud of all your hard work, girl!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Yesterday was fun.

I love how my man and my kiddos work so hard to make my day special.

I love being able to honor our mothers.

Momma, thanks for all you are.  All you were when we were growing up.  All you mean to my kids.  I love you.

Mom, thanks for nurturing a little boy's heart and giving me a gracious man!  Thanks for loving our kids!  I love you.

To the birth mom of my kids:  I don't know what went through your mind on Mother's Day, but you were heavy on mine.  You are being prayed for.  I love your kids.

To the friends I get to mother alongside of:  I couldn't do this without you all!  I love you.

To the man who made me a mother:  Thanks for making each day special and for loving our kids like Christ loves us!  You are every dream I never dared to dream come true!  I love you.

To my five little ones:  You guys make each day a new adventure!  Being your mom is second only to being a wife to your daddy in my list of favorites!

I love you, Ella Grace!

I love you, Annabelle!

I love you, Katie!

I love you, K-man!

I love you, Peanut!

Monday, May 7, 2012

some things i'm learning

lest this post led you to believe that things were just floating along hunky-dory at our house, i wanted to post a few things that we have been learning over the past few weeks!

to catch you up to speed:  on february 9th, little peanut's brother joined our brood.  here, he'll be known as k-man.  adjusting to a "new kid" is always a process.  adjusting to a boy -- a three year old boy -- a three year old boy with some issues no  baggage  not really sure of the right word here -- adds a whole new dimension to the process of adjustment.

first, a few things we realized early on:

  • he'd always only been an only child.  when he was with his birth mother, it was just the two of them.  once he was removed, he was in a foster home with no siblings.  coming into a home with 4 sisters (three older, meaning, they sometimes think they're mommas) was a big change for him.
  • he'd never been a part of a "functional" family.  when we said things like: "we work together in this family." or "we love our sisters because they are part of our family." he really had no idea what we were talking about.
  • he's a he.  some behaviors stem from just "being a boy."  and, while they may not always be appropriate for the time and place, they weren't always "rebellious" behaviors.
second, a few things that took us longer to realize:
  • he's a different kid.  while we have disciplined our girls in much the same way (and seen fairly positive results), this is a different kid.  a kid who doesn't respond to the same type of discipline we've used effectively in the past.  we had to figure out a different way of doing things.
  • the way he makes me look doesn't matter.  in the past several months, i've become "that mom!"  you know the one -- the one with the tantrum throwing kid -- i've walked away from him lying in the aisle at stores; i've dragged him out of stores kicking and screaming; i've pushed him around in a cart yelling and spitting.  it's humiliating.  i'll never, ever look at another mom in that situation the same way again.  ever.
  • abandonment is a legitimate fear.  our girls don't fear being left alone.  they are secure enough in our love that they understand that we are always coming back, no matter what.  he has to learn that kind of trust.
a few ways he's helping to reveal the condition of my heart:
  • alluded to my pride above.  eric and i are both guilty of feeling pride in the way our girls behave.  what we are realizing is that we've raised a couple of pharisees who also take pride in their good works.  by God's grace, He is helping us see our prideful hearts and helping us guide the girls into seeing their's.
  • He doesn't need a Rescuer any more than i do or any more than any of the girls do.  our girls have yet to make a "profession of faith" (side note -- this is something eric and i are very okay with -- we are praying for the Holy Spirit's conviction in their lives -- not our conviction in their lives).  he needs Christ just as much as they do.  no more, no less.
  • what he does to me on a daily basis, i do to Christ on a moment to moment basis.  i resist what God knows is good for me.  i spit at him.  i kick, scream, scratch, and hit.  i see my heart toward Christ in his behavior toward eric and i.
  • i am growing thankful for this "failure."  i'm beginning to see how this is revealing my sin.  that's grace.  God is revealing sin in my life through this little boy and that is His grace toward me.  i'm seeing my need for dependence as i fail over and over on my own.
  • my kids need to understand that i am the biggest sinner in the house.  i'm learning to apologize, ask forgiveness, and join them in begging the God who loves sinners to change our hearts.
a few truths i am constantly repeating to myself:
  • God loves me.  no matter my failure.  no matter my "good deeds."  I am loved.
  • God loves K-man.  no matter his failure.  no matter his "good deeds."  He is loved.
  • God has prepared and equipped us for this specific boy during this specific time.
  • we have an amazing support system.  friends and family who are supporting us, daily praying for us and living the day to day with us.  i can ask them for help.
  • i am adopted.  not because of who i am.  not because of what i look like.  not because i deserve to be adopted.  i am adopted because of who Christ is, because of how the Father sees Him (and in turn sees me).
so, here we are again.  

learning so much about ourselves. 
our marriage.
each other. 
our kids. 
our God . . . 
. . .  and this little guy that He's trusting us with.  

Grace, such grace!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Soccer Sisters

Ella Grace, age 7

Annabelle, age 5

Katie, age 4

Our "don't mess with us" look!

Our "sweet" look!

Our "we really do love each other" look!

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's a Hard Life . . .

It's hard being the only boy in a house full of sisters!

A few things I've been known to shout say in the past few weeks:

"Don't forget you're a boy!"

(This is in reference to using the bathroom.  I'm telling you, it's hard when NO one else has to take the extra second to put the seat up -- and back down -- SOFTLY!  Hard!)

"He's not hitting you!  He's touching you!  He's a boy.  Boys touch differently than girls touch!"

(This is in reference to the hundreds of times a day I'm told by one of the girls that they've been hit by their brother.)

Things are certainly different with a boy around.



More chaotic.

But, we are all learning to live and love in spite of (and often because of) our differences!

I also must say, I'm enjoying that mysterious connection between a momma and her boy.  Not saying that I was missing something before . . . just saying that I'm enjoying it now!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Saturday in Spring

Soccer . . . playing keeper, making a move, getting a few pointers and being a good sport!

Planting our garden . . . working together, watching your step, digging for worms and waiting for veggies!

Trying out the new sprinkler . . . giggling, running, jumping and making music to Mom's ears!

Grilling dinner . . . oohing and aahing, eating outside, drinking chocolate milk and desserting on ice cream!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Repeat

I know I've posted about this before, but I tried it again this morning with my preschool crowd and it was, yet again, a huge hit!

I poured blobs of paint onto a sheet of paper and they spread the paint by "driving" their cars through it.  They loved looking at the different tracks that different types of wheels made.

After we finished painting, I filled the water table with soapy water and gave them each a sponge and they made a car wash!  If you ask them, this was their favorite part!

Monday, April 16, 2012

It Takes a Village

I've mentioned several times before what a gift it is to our family to live in community with an amazing group from our church.  This weekend, I was reminded again how much I love these families, their unique children and the fact that we are raising them together!

Several months ago, after the passing of Eric's Grandmother, the girls were excited to get some of her costume jewelry.  I love that they treasure it because of who it belonged to and not because of its monetary value.  Well, Great Grandma didn't have pierced ears, so each girl got a pair of clip on earrings.  On Saturday, Katie sported hers at her sister's soccer game.  On the way home, she clipped them to her nose.  Then, she looked at her Daddy and said:

"Look, Daddy, now I'm beautiful -- just like Ms. Jessica!"

Eric and I were delighted!!  You see, Jessica is one of the most selfless wives I know.  She's also one of the most patient and loving moms I know.  If one of our daughters grows up to be like her, we'd be beyond thrilled!

We were also delighted to hear about Jack's question to his mom and dad after seeing the ultrasound picture of his new little sister (who will be here one week from today!!)!!  Jack's, who is in kindergarten, asked if his new sister was going to have brown skin!

That is a LOL moment!  Not one where you just say LOL because it's sort of cute -- it's hilarious!

But beautiful to me too.

It's beautiful because our baby girl has brown skin; and that is normal to Jack!

It's beautiful because the newest baby in our group, Jeremiah, has brown skin. (Please click on this link and read the story of his adoption -- it's worth your time)!

And to Jack, that's normal.  Why wouldn't his new sister have brown skin too?


Though there isn't much I agree(d) with Hillary Clinton on, perhaps she was on to something when she said it takes a village to raise a child.  I doubt we were talking about the same type of "village," but I am thankful for the community God has placed around Eric and I as we play out our part in His story -- particularly the part we play as parents.

Ben and Tracy, Mark and Cindy, Matt and Jessica, Rick and Melissa, Mark and Susan, Mark and Sudeana & Britt and Brittany -- we love you guys!

Here's to long, long time of doing this together . . .

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

Sudeana, it was so fun!  Thanks for every detail!!

Afterward . . . Momma time!

So blessed to do life with these girls!!  

Forgot my camera today, so my phone had to suffice.  
However, the battery is low, so I can't access the pictures I took.

Will post them later this week!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Today we celebrated our Little Peanut's first birthday.  It hardly seems possible that almost a year has passed since we first laid eyes on her.  It was love at first sight for all five of us, but our love has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year.  It is hard to remember our family without her being a part of us.

Sweet girl, I count myself so blessed that you call me "Momma!"  Your laid back approach to life is refreshing and your impulse to dance whenever you hear a note of music is energizing!  You add to our family things we didn't even know were missing before . . .

Happy birthday, Baby.  I hope we see many, many more!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oh my word!

i totally forgot to blog yesterday.




hardly even started and . . .


it's not like i don't have pictures to post -- we're on vacation!

that's my excuse for forgetting!  vacation.

spring break 2012 -- ocean isle beach, nc.



extended family.

so many memories being made.

i'll let a few pictures do the talking: