Monday, July 16, 2012

World Tour at TJ Maxx

I was in TJ Maxx the other day. By my SELF. :)

Perusing the home goods section of the store.

As I walked down one aisle, I saw a Chinese family speaking to another Chinese woman in Mandarin.

Ni Hao and all that.

I smiled. Thought of little boy and moved on down the aisle.

As I turned to look at throw pillows, an African woman walked by pushing her cart, talking on her phone in some kind of Africanish language.


I headed down another aisle to check out the rugs only to find an Indian couple speaking to each other in Hindi (or something like that), scouring the rugs. They didn't find one they liked.

A multi-cultural experience in the home goods section of TJ Maxx in the middle of a corn field in central Illinois.

Who knew?!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nothing like a Good Series

Finding a good Series of books is a great motivator for reading more books. This works for kids and adults.

Although, this is ONLY true if you actually LIKE the first book. If you don't like the first book, it can be more of a discourager. Obviously, this is true of stand-alone novels too.  But the point of this post is not to share novels, but rather, Series of books that either I (or my kids) have enjoyed over the years, thus encouraging you (and your kids) to read MORE.

A Series for Beginning Readers, especially boys:

The Fly Guy books.
We just discovered these and my boys LOVE them. Apparently so do a lot of other kids because their shelf at the library is consistently empty. This series is fun, creative and perfect for kids who are first learning to read.

A Series for Early Readers, ages 7 and up, Grade level: 2 and up:

 AIO Imagination Station books.
This is a great little series from the creators of Adventures in Odyssey. Two kids from  Odyssey are sent on numerous adventures to different times/places in world history. Their adventures are fun, exciting and educational. A great way for your kids to learn a little history without realizing they are learning it.

A Series for Readers, ages 8 and up, Grade level: 3 and up:

Christian Heroes: Then and Now
I LOVE these books. Maybe more than Mya. There are over 40 covering AMAZING people like George Muller, Gladys Aylward, C.S. Lewis, Mary Slessor. I could go on and on. Biographies of men and women whom God used in huge, faith-strengthening ways. A great way to broaden your perspective and inspire your faith.

There are a lot of other Series I could mention. But many of them are already well-loved by many of you:  The Ramona or Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary, The Little House on the Prairie Saga, The Box Car Children, my all-time favorites The Chronicles of Narnia...

Help me keep the list going in the comments! What are you favorite Series?

PS Thanks to all of you who have supported our adoption fundraiser so far. If you are interested in doing a little more shopping while supporting adoption, head on over to Ashlee's blog where she has compiled a whole lot of adoption fundraisers that are currently going on.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why I like to go to Target by my SELF.

I avoid going to Target with all five kids as MUCH as possible.

One or two or even three kids is fine, but all five with little ole me is asking for Trouble (which was capitalized intentionally).

Sometimes, however, I can not avoid it. Especially during summer.

So we go.

Hello, Target customers. Why yes they are ALL mine. Thank you SO much for asking.

Before we enter the building we have the same conversation. Every. Time.

Kids, What are we going to do?
Does that mean you can run ahead of me?
Answer:  NO
Does that mean you lag WAY behind?
Answer: NO
All righty then, Here We Go!

Sometimes the pep talk works, if we run in and out in record time, but A LOT of times it doesn't.

Two run ahead. One lags behind. I try to yell without yelling. Get. Over. Here. Now.

Fights break out over who gets to push Suhn in the stroller. 

A flip flop breaks leaving one kid hopping/walking barefoot/alternating between both options. 

They hide behind and in clothes racks. 
They knock things off the shelves.
They pout because I veto the orange tic tacs.
They pout because they don't WANT Sean to push them.
They lay down in the middle of the aisle because they WANT to push Suhn.

One pees his pants.


Hello, Target customers. Anyone want to buy a kid?

Hahahahahaha. I jest.

BUT, just to be safe... I think I need to try HARDER to avoid going to Target with ALL five kids.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Telling of a Story

God is an exciting author and sometimes He gives us a glimpse at how perfectly He is weaving our stories together. I imagine in Heaven when all has become clear we will be AMAZED at how the plots of our days on earth twisted and came together.

When we first got the e-mail, making us aware that little boy existed I honestly did not think life was going to change. It took me 24 hours to tell Kory about it and even that was a passing, "I got a funny e-mail yesterday" kind of conversation.

A year before I had peeked at the waiting kids on our agency's website, feeling an itch, but not knowing where to scratch. A couple months after that I felt completely at peace with our family the way it was. I thought that IF adoption was in our future, it would be years down the road once our kids were older.

That was where I was. I thought we were done expanding our family for the near future.

And then we were asked to adopt again.

We were never opposed to the idea. We just didn't know if it was right. But as the days turned into a week and then two, the thought of little boy grew in my mind and wouldn't leave. We started to talk about it. I would ask what Kory thought about little boy, if anything. We discussed the logistics, the cost, the emotional impact.

Then Suhn asked to see her baby pictures, and we found a picture of Suhn and little boy together.

Just the two of them.
A picture of our china babies together, in China, waiting for our family.

We found out they were from the same city in China. They both spent the majority of their pre-family life at Angel House in Beijing. They even lived their together for a short time. They also happen to have the same special need.

It still took us a month to actually start the adoption process. Kory is making a job change in a couple weeks and was in the midst of sharing that news (because why make one huge, life-altering decision when you can make two at the same time). But, when I saw that picture it felt pretty clear where we were heading. 

When we called our agency to see if they would even be able to find His file, it took ONE minute to do so creating one more open door for us to walk through.

Yep, this is one story that has me hooked!

I can't wait to see the plot thicken as we bring little boy home and watch his story intersect with Suhn's and ours. I am sure it will have its share of conflict, as all good stories do, but in the end I am praying for a happy ending of EPIC proportions.

Don't forget to check out our T-Shirt fundraiser with Wild Olives. You can get the details here. But the main detail you need is to remember to use our code: KAEB629 when you check out. Thanks!!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The End of Birthday Week

Birthday week is wrapping up.

Technically it was supposed to end yesterday.

Yesterday my boys became SEVEN year olds. My funny, energetic, tree-climbing boys.

Their birthday wish included an "ugly green" cake. They also wanted a slip n' slide attached to the pool with pop at the bottom waiting for them. You know kind of like bowling your booty into floating pop cans. 

Or something like that. 

I was able to deliver the cake.

We were set for the birthday celebration. Until the crying started. 

He had actually told me the day before his ear had been hurting him. Which I thought about for a minute. Something like "Oh no, Do we have time for the doctor today?" And then promptly forgot, being the good mother I am. 

When he started saying things like, "I wish I had never been born" the mommy guilt hit hard (Why didn't we go to the doctor yesterday!) and we rushed to the doctor at 4:40 on a Friday night (we made it 5 minutes before closing). 

He had swimmer's ear. 

The party was put on hold. Ear drops were obtained and he was asleep on the sofa by 6.

Some days just don't go like you plan. 

It was the worst birthday ever.

Thankfully the ear drops did their job. He is glad to be alive again and we are getting ready to redeem his birthday and eat ugly green cake.

And THEN, birthday week will come to a close.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

She's Nine

Mya is 9 years old today.


Where did those years go? 

She is a beautiful, tender-hearted, amazing girl with a zeal for life that is contagious. 

She is a gift, plain and simple.

I was getting all nostalgic last night. Thinking back to nine years ago when she first joined us. Sometimes I find myself wanting to freeze time. Stop the days from roaring by. Keep my kids just as they are today.

Really, I'm glad that is not an option, but periodically I feel the pangs of time moving too fast. 

Emma Timmons (a character from Lark Rise to Candleford) had the same desire once, to freeze time. In response, her husband shared some wise words:

You could stop it right now, but then there would be no more moments to turn into memories. 
It's true, I know, and even though time flies by too fast on some days and too slow on others, I am thankful for its passage. I am thankful for nine years with my sweet girl and looking forward to many more moments yet to come.