Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simplicity Parenting

Currently reading: Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extaordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, by Kim John Payne

Payne’s book is not written for adoptive parents, but the author’s ideas are especially important for giving adopted children the calm, predictable family environment they will thrive in. Payne stresses the importance of simplicity and rhythm—less is often more. He speaks from a Waldorf perspective, but his ideas can be universally adapted by any family. I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

No Hurry!

In my greatest efforts at time management, I am often skidding out the door at the very last second to . . . well, almost everywhere.   Along with the rush comes a blurr of escalating words, usually along the lines of, "Hurry!  Hurry!  Hurry!"

You see, my goal is to arrive perfectly on time.  Which means I am regularly late.

My time management tactics would work better if I didn't have kids.  Kids who at the last minute can't find a shoe, or a backpack they insist was left by the front door, or, horrors of horrors, they have to go to the bathroom! 

And I don't just mean go,  I mean GO, as in GO NUMBER TWO!

THAT definitely puts a damper on my squeeky tight schedule!

Enter a new child.  A child who does not like to hurry.  A child who probably hasn't had to rush around too very much in her whole entire life.  Who joins a brother with the same aversion to moving quickly. 

Last week, as I was trying to do one last thing and began to feel tardiness approaching, I got the sirens running with a shout out of "Hurry!  Hurry! Hurry!"

Rose looked at me with a frown, crossed her arms, and emphatically relied, "NO hurry!!!"

At first, I was taken aback.  But then, in the very next moment, it was like someone had put a mirror up to my face and I had to ask myself why?  Why did I really need to rush so often?  Was the few extra minutes of "time management" really worth the hurry-up factor?

Honestly?  Yes.  And no. I hate arriving at appointments early, sitting there twiddling my thumbs when I actually would have had time to be throwing in that last load of laundry.

And yet, I don't want to be in such a rush--and I definitely don't like being late.

I've decided to try a little experiment.  I am going to attempt to arrive at all destinations ten minutes early.  Which means I will often arrive on time (like when someone needs to GO just as we are walking out the door.) 

In order to avoid the twiddle factor, I have put a little project bag in my car to use when I do arrive early.  I have included an inspirational book, some notecards, a fingernail file and polish, a children's book, stickers, and a little notepad.  I also hope to add an easy knitting project (I only know how to knit very long scarves, so guess what this project will be?).

I'm actually excited to arrive early to delve into my twiddle bag!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy B-Day DIL

Happy Birthday to our wonderful daughter-in-love! 

Somehow you put up with our crazy family!  Have a wonderful day!  You are very special and loved by all.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Following God's Heart

Want to help bring home a very sick little boy?

Want to read a really great blog?  Sonia will make you laugh your socks off. 

His Hands His Feet is one of my favorite blogs and they are currently in the midst of bringing home their seventh son from China.  That is not a misprint--seventh son.  Maybe that's why I love Sonia's blog so much--another mother who can understand the humor in smelly socks, farts, and pee-pee-talk.

Anyhoo, they only recently arrived home with two new sons from China, and yet their hearts have led them to return for JJ--a little boy dying of heart failure.

As we all know, adoption isn't cheap, so Sonia is doing a fundraiser.  Pop on over and join the fun! 

In the meantime, here is a video of Sonia and her husband (who is an Air Force pilot--which makes me love this family all the more since Hubby and Will are also military guys, and we spent many years living at Luke Air Force Base).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Discipline Tactics

Week two of summer vacation.

Do you know what week two means?

Lots of bickering and fighting as my kids adjust to being home together 24/7.

This phase usually lasts through week three--then everyone decides it would be much more fun to get along.

Kim came up with a solution today.  She said we need to get a pair of handcuffs from the dollar store and cuff the culprits together until they can decide to get along.

I laughed.  And then I realized she might be onto something! 

I love this girl!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Want to Adopt? Can't Afford it?

Want to adopt?  Can't afford it? 

As one who struggles with living in "Babylonia" and not being pulled into the American dream, I offer this video humbly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Points For Homemaker Of The Year!

I am not happy to report that I have received more points for Homemaker of the Year. 

In our family quest to consume more noodles than I thought humanly possible (which always happens after adopting an older child), my kids have started using the microwave.

So they can eat more--faster.

Microwaves are generally safe--right?

Paul and Vu were making a bowl of noodles, which is like a Cup of Noodles, only . . . well, a bowl of noodles.  This just means it is a slightly bigger Cup of Noodles, with a significantly bigger cost than a Cup of Noodles, but it comes in a fancy bowl instead of a lame cup, which apparently makes a kid think it is going to be awesomely better, which makes a kid beg for it in the store and the kid who is begging is the new adopted kid so the parent feels that after taking the kid from all the noodles in China the least she can do is buy her a BOWL of noodles!  (Which is a really lame excuse for buying a bowl of noodles, except that the parent needs an excuse for buying an entire fifteen dollar case of BOWLS of noodles so that she wouldn't have all her other kids clamouring for that one bowl of noodles).    

Anyhoo, I digress.  Back to Paul telling Vu to put in the Bowl of Noodles for three minutes.

Three minutes pass.  The microwave beeps.  I notice the entire house filling up with smoke.

Small problem.  Vu didn't know he was supposed to put water in the noodles.

And why do I get Homemaker of the Year points for this?

Lizzy walks in from work and says, "Mom, what are you burning? Bread???"

Kim walks in from soccer practice and says, "Mom, did you make bread???"

Hubby walks in from work and says, "Honey, did you burn the bread again???"

Yup.  I'm that lame at making bread.  But apparently I have great skill at burning it.

I may never make Bowl of Noodles again.  Or bread.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my hubby who is an awesome dad!  You are very loved!

Happy Father's Day to both my dad's.  Thanks for all the love and for loving my kids!

Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there and for all of the men who make a difference in the lives of children!

Friday, June 17, 2011

We Heart Our Piano

Paul has discovered free piano lessons on You Tube!  He is also learning several of the piano renditions of popular songs--he is inspired to learn them all!  Currently, we hear Black and Yellow played multiple times per day.

Even more fun--he is teaching his younger siblings to play. 

I have a feeling we are going to hear a lot of piano this summer.  I love it. 

Sidenote--our piano was a very special gift from a Godly older woman in our church, who wanted to see her piano go to a home where it would be loved.  We had been looking for an affordable piano for a couple of years, and she insisted on giving it to us for free.  It has survived years of children, piano lessons, toddlers, and a move.  It is especially meaningful because it was made in Korea, just like Kim and Paul!  What a lesson for us all in love and generosity.  Sweet Arlene is now in Heaven, but I believe she is smiling down, watching the piano continue to receive so much love.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Great Stayve-Cation

This summer will be our year of the Great Stayve-Cation.

And what, you may ask, is that?

It is the summer we stay home and save money (get it--stayve) . . . yet still make it feel like a Great vacation. 

Which is why it is called "Great Stayve-Cation" and not  "Lame Stayve-Cation."

Or maybe it's just that I like to make up words and make myself feel so smart that I can make up words.  Which any two-year-old can do, but let's pretend I don't know that.

Either way, bottom line is finding lots of fun things to do at home, near home . . . for free/cheap!

Because, as you can imagine, any and all vacation funds have been emptied.  For some time.  From our NON-stayve-cation to China.  (Did I just make up another word?)

Anyhoo, besides a couple pre-planned road trips to visit relatives, we will be enjoying our Great Stayve-Cation and I will report back from time to time.  Because, if nothing else, I love using my new word.

DAY ONE:  Spent 49 cents on a pack of Willy Wonka Everlasting Gobstoppers, then watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which we already owned). 

The Great Stayve-Cation.  Stay tuned.  And please feel free to add ideas.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Shy

Our initial reports on Rose stated she was shy and insecure.  We often laugh and wonder where that girl is?  The really funny part is that we were concerned about how a shy, quiet child would fit into our loud, large family. 

Turns out she fits in perfectly!  She was indeed insecure when we first picked her up, but having a family seems to have changed all that!

When we returned from China our other children gave presentations of the trip to their classes.  When Rose saw this, she wanted to present too!  Again, where was that shy, insecure child? 

There she was, the one clamoring to get up in front of a new class of 25 children and give a speech on China in the tiny vocabulary of English she had acquired!

This girl is brave, outgoing, and certainly not shy! 

Look for her in the future!  Possibly as an announcer on CNN.  Or Forbes International Manager of the Year.

Or maybe President of the United States.  (And if you think that immigrants can't be President then she will make sure that is no longer a law by the time she runs). 

I can't wait to see the plans God has for her! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

She Wants A Family

Edited to protect the privacy of this child, who is now HOME with her family in America!!!  Praise God!

We are advocating for Lan Lan's friend who is from the same orphanage in China.  She has been waiting for a long time and she keeps asking if a family has yet been found.

Maybe that family is yours?

From the WC update:

"This vivacious young lady's favorite class is English. When asked about adoption she states that she would be nervous about coming to the U.S. but wants parents who will love her and try to get to know her without criticizing her. She enjoys playing on the computer, jumping rope, and badminton with the other girls at school. She also enjoys drawing and is learning how to knit. She is starting to learn English."

There are so many older children waiting for adoption.  And also many younger children. 

Is God calling your name?

"Whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me"
Matthew 18:5

Saturday, June 11, 2011

End of the Year Activities

The end of the school year is FULL of activities!

Patrick had poetry recitation--I love that his teacher values having kids memorize poetry as it seems to be a forgotten art:

Patrick as the Big Bad Wolf in his class play:

Vu in his class play of Tikki-Tikki-Tembo:

Paul at his 6th-grade completion celebration:

He looks way too at ease with the girl in the pic--don't ya think?

Lizzy at her grad party--thanks to all the family and friends who joined in the fun--including Will who joined us through Skype:

Lizzy with her track coach at the banquet:

Senior Project night:

Rose's dance recital:

Kim's 8th-grade completion:

Don't you love that beautiful picture of Kim?  Actually, that is her rose which I gave her after the ceremony.  To make up for the fact that I forgot the camera. 

Hey, I was doing great until that last celebration, eh?  My brain cells are disintegrated!

I am now officially tired.  I am now officially ready for summer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Always Close To Our Hearts

There were a couple of times I fought back tears during Lizzy's graduation ceremony. 

But afterwards, when she showed us the picture she had placed inside her cap, I could hold them back no longer.


The loss of our sweet son affects every moment, of every day, especially the really big ones.

Joe was so full of life, we want to live our lives more fully--for him.

Always close to our hearts, never to be forgotten.  We miss you bud.     

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Iridescent Wings

My sweet Lizzy graduated! 

My baby girl--attached at the hip for so many years--forever melded into my heart.

I love you.  I love your sense of joy, humor, determination, and compassion.

I am proud of your accomplishments, including Valedictorian.

But mostly, I am so proud of the woman you are. 

Not only are you my daughter, you are my inspiration. 

Off to new beginnings,

Voted by your class, Most Likely To Change The World . . .

Your future awaits . . . .

(All professional photos Riann Schell Photography--thank you Riann!)

I celebrate with a special poem, written just for you . . .

Iridescent Wings

Lavender fairy dust, lullabies,
dancing dimples, and

Primrose whispers, paisley pinafores,
golden laughter, lilies, love, light, and
heaven sent moonbeams.

Magenta blessings, fireflies,
wispy tendrils, and

May God bless you and keep you.  I love you forever and always!  Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Books On Tap

Summer has officially started for me!  I finished my last class and internship--so I am free at last!

While some might celebrate by going to the local bar to find out what beer is on tap, I celebrate by going to the local library to find what books are on tap. 

Here are some I'm look forwarding to reading:

This will be the first summer in a long time that I am not in school or working, so I am REALLY excited! 

I'm open to more suggestions . . . let the summer begin!