Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Photo Card

Snowflake Wish Holiday
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Dreaming in Pink

I doubt that the Author of THIS article had any idia that I would read it last night, burst into ugly cry and, completely unable to form words, throw my phone at my husband. The article, if you did not read it, is about a city in India that hosted a name changing event for over 200 girls. Why? because their given names mean "unwanted." My stomach drops and a lump forms in my throat as I type this.Anger and a deep sorrow grab me. I spent so much time in prayer over my babies names. I wanted their names to mean something. To have value. Ayden: literally means Fire- i wanted him to have strength where I did not,  Balin: the name of a knight Silas: a strong worshiper.  I have a list of "extra" names that did not make the cut. None of which are "unwanted". I know that I live in a different culture. I understand that in America to have children is so much cheaper and easier than in other countries. I get that. I get that they are lost. But my soul aches knowing that there are so many girls being named unwanted. And I wont even go into, in this bog post, the number of girls murdered before they even have the chance to be named. Why did this article hit me so hard? Because They are all wanted. Our King wants them all, and I specifically want a daughter. I know that to many, especially my dear treasured friends wh struggle with infertility, my desire for a fourth child might seem selfish. crude. insensitive. But I can't deny it. A pair of ballet slippers at academy and a picture in a Hannah Andersson magazine have also sent me into tears. I dream, literally, of baby girls being handed to me. This is not a new desire. And, just as it was so long ago, adoption still feels so far away. But I'm putting it out there. I WANT YOU baby girl. Wherever you are and whoever begets you. I'm praying for you today. I'm praying for your birth mother. I am praying that Jesus comes before I meet you, but if he doesn't I will be there. I will want you. And I will give you a name you can be proud of. But greater than any name I can give- Our Jesus values names as well. In revelation 2:17 we are told "To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." He will give you a name sweet one. To all these girls in India I pray that you meet Him. I pray that you will know His perfect name for you. A name so far away from "unwanted."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good news

I interupt this blog sabatical to bring you some GOOD NEWS. Mark and Becky will be bringing their baby boy  home from Africa in 9 days! Can I hear a WAHOO?? So excited for the entire family! Congrats Y'all!..and good luck with travelin!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Balin is recovering. He has nests in several rooms here at my moms house. He has the movie nest in the media room where we slept last night. He has a nest on the couch in another room where he can "be where the talking is."( Don't we all crave community? ) He lies in his nests and every once in a while I move him to the next one, or carry him to the bathroom.  He has two incisions from surgery. Although smaller than his last surgery, they both ache, and to see them, for him, is worse. He panics that he will see something ugly. Something bloody.  I think about this book I am reading and the soul holes. I think about sin and recovery. How sometimes, it is the very sight of our sin that is so painful. We don't want to be reminded. We don't want to risk what might be there. What if the bandages we have covering the ugly actually come off and reveal what they hide?  He clings to me and begs me not to let him see. I promise he won't. I promise him that its not like his last surgery, but fear has a way of blinding us. How many times do I beg God not to let me see. Usually its disguised in prayers for something else. Bandages. Cheaper rent. A bandage over debt we have sinfully acquired. Quiet children. A bandage over my impatience. Weight loss. Covering the void I fill with food. But as afraid as he is, I know he is healing. I know his sutures will hold. I know his scars will fade. I know the medicine works. Just like our Father, who holds us in his arms, and gives us a place of rest. He covers us with mercy so we don't have to see until he's ready for us to. Mercy. Recovery.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Being a mom feels like...

the deep end of a wave pool. Its been one of those weeks. Ayden leaves for a long trip to see his Colorado family on Saturday. He loves it. Gets to go camping, fishing, hiking. Gets to breathe cool fresh Colorado air under blue rocky mountain skies. Gets to eat Big City Burrito. Or not. I'll miss him and if I think too much about missing him and my friends and the air and the food and the friends and the friends and the friends it starts to feel like the waves are going too high. I can't touch bottom. But then Silas takes steps and the waves stop and I rest. Or my husband comes home after 36 hours away and hugs me. rest. Then the phone rings and the hospital asks for too much money before Balins surgery on Monday. Half a paycheck actually in just a matter of days. Not possible. Waves. I start crying on the phone with admissions when she says that all she can offer, waves , but she will leave a message with financial services. Financial services accepts my offer of 200$ and I rest then she calls back and tells me I have four months to pay the rest. Waves. He is having surgery. Waves. But its with the chief of pediatric urology at a hoity toity amazing hospital rest.  I read the first book of Harry Potter to Ayden and read great articles that show Grace and give reason for Christians not only enjoy the books but to love them, rest. One more chapter mommy! Rest. But then Balin wakes up with a stomach virus Tuesday night. Waves. And Ayden wakes up last night with the same. Waves. And the baby has really sad diapers. Waves. Waves Waves. My toes are getting rubbed raw from the bottom of the pool. But rest is near. I just have to reach for it. Balin's surgery is scheduled in the afternoon. Another Wave, but he can eat clear liquids and jello- meaning breakfast! until 9:00 am Monday. Rest. My husband will be home all weekend. rest. My mom is helping with the baby, rest. My dad will be home from Africa a day early, rest.  My savior lives. rest. rest. rest. All is to His glory. rest. rest. rest.

My 1000 gifts this week ( a sampling)
friends so good you still miss them after 9 years
burritos so good you still miss them after 9 years
healthy children
talented doctors
novels that inspire imagination
eternity written our hearts
husbands who want to be home, even when they cant
husbands waking in the middle of the night to prepare bottles
soft boy child hair
chocolate eyes framed in licorice lashes
mothers who baby sit
awkward, tipsy first baby steps
confidence I did not teach
children who forgive
bed piled high with pillows

Simply Party::{Balin's 4th part 2}

A well planned party will A {Celebrate celebration} B {Organize Celebration}and C {Inspire Celebration}. All of this to bring Joy. Joy and thakfulness for what is being celebrated and Who gave us celebration in th first place. Our precious Balin, who is a gift from a good and knowing God, requested crabs and pirates for his 4th birthday celebration. I obliged. I went a little crazy at the dollar store, but they had a huge selection of tiki and pirate themed items. I wanted every child to feel fully outfitted as a pirate so I got hats, compasses, maps, hooks and of course eye masks. I then planned activities based around the idea of being pirates. Lets try this in a list...

Pirate Party Activities are in red

Commissioning : have a treasure chest set up with all the pirate fare- hats, eye patches, maps, hooks ect. as your guests arrive. This takes the place of loot bags at the end of the party, as your pirates gather their loot along the way. For an additional activity your pirates can make their own hooks by poking holes in the bottom of a black plastic or paper party cup and then inserting a gold or silver pipe cleaner through with the inside end balled up so it stays put.

Ayden's pirate party 2006-wasn't he so cute?
The dollar store had hooks this time so we went with that. I made some brown burlap loot bags to carry their stuff in and finished off their look- for those willing- with hypoallergenic brown eyeliner "mustaches."

Kate- the pirate Princess

Balin and his friend Jacob

Pin the Treasure on the Map: Found at the dollar store, a stick on the wall version of pin the tail on the donkey. All of the kids had fun with this one,even the big ones! We used a scarf to blindfold the big kids rather than the paper mask it came with.
Treasure in the sand: Again, a repeat from Ayden's party, we buried treasure in the sandbox and the kids had to use shovels and sifters to find it. tip: keep a list of what you buried :-).

Rescue the Ducks: I consider this game a FAIL. We filled a splash pool with water and originally planned to float rubber duckies.  The set up was that a crab shaped beach ball was keeping the duckies prisoner and the kids had to use scoops to get the duckies to float to them and be rescued. Some duckies would have gold coins attached under them. Hot glue doesnt stick to rubber duckies and oriental trading company duckies dont float upright. We also had the uncomfortable moment when the birthday pirate stripped down to his skivvy's and jumped into the pool. oops.

Pinata. Easy time taker because it can go as long as you let it.. just make sure little guests and birthday boys get to go before big kids. you know.. to avoid tantrums. And chocolate on a hot day is a bad idea. but I knew that and didnt send toddlers to gather melted chocolate bits out of my grass. right.

We tied our games together with a bigger story. The crew of pirates would earn a clue with each game that would ultimately direct them to the treasure (the birthday presents in a treasure chest). I printed pictures from the Graphics Fairy and wrote the clues out.. they were something like this:

The treasure you seek grows warm in the sun...
Beyond Grassy plains your treasure remains...
What you seek lies under the great Oak...
To find the treasre of our tale, look behind the wishing well!

The clues were intended to be easy for my 4 year old and younger pirates. We have one giant oak tree in the backyard and an ugly wishing well thing (joys of renting). After the fourth game they came in and were fed provisions. While they ate my husband snuck the treasure chest out back and put it where they could find it. After they had their snack they found it and then came in for cake. While they ate cake he opened gifts.
There was a little time for playing after that, but most guests were ready to leave by then. All in all it was a fun party! It lasted right at 2 hours which I feel is perfectly appropriate for a four year old's backyard party.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Simply Party:: {Balin's 4th part 1}

Four years and 1 day ago I was pregnant with my second baby. I went in for a Dr visit and got the best birthday present of my life. She sent me into the hospital! We stopped and had icecream with Ayden to celebrate first, and then took him to a friends house where he spent the night. The next afternoon I was holding my sweet babe.   This weekend was a BLAST. We celebrated Balin with a so- much -fun pirate party. (Ahoy!) Here are a few details in case you want to throw your own!

There is nothing I enjoy more than a planned party. Kids tend not to get  bored. Your house stays clean (at least the parts you want to keep clean) and everyone has a better chance of going home happy :-). Pirate themes are super easy for summer birthdays, and we had good fortune by finding tons of favors and props at the dollar store!
 For today I'll give you just the food.

First:the cake. The cake is always the center of parties I throw. I'm learning new methods all the time, and really think any one of you could actually make a better cake than me.... I'm just crazy enough to do it! This was a three day cake. The first day I baked the cake and dirty iced it. I used chocolate cake mix (duncan hines) nd then made my own banana cake mix for the "lid".. recipe will come in another post. The icing was banana butter cream, which I tinted yellow for my four year olds sake. The second day I made marshmallow fondant and then layered four sheets of cake for the base. The top sheet got a square in the middle cut out to make a place to store all the treasure. The treasure is, of course, the best part! We used Hershey's pot of gold chocolates and chocolate coins my husband bought while in the big city at a World Market store. I threw in some unwrapped ring pops and clear jewel toned jelly belly's for fun. Balin wanted crabs, so while I was making the red fondant for the "leather" strap I gave Ayden a ball and he made crabs. Request completed. As far as snacks go I had the party starting at 10:00 am. I knew parents might want kiddos to have something on their tummys before cake so we made fish shaped pb&js ham and cheese triangles and lots of fruit. I served chicken salad premade at the H.E.B (the rotisserie one, so good) on croissant "shells" for the grownups. Pinterest showed me a pirate watermelon fruit bowl. Goldfish finished us off!

For my basic table settings I used mostly items I already had. Under the cake I used a tan sheet and layered it with brown (non sparkly) tulle. I tore some holes in the tulle to look like netting. I had the conch shell laying around and then surrounded the cake with ground up Graham cracker to look like sand. On the snack table I just threw down a strip of burlap, used serving trays from the dollar store, set out the pinata when we were done and called it complete!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Silas Walks


Yesterday was a difficult day. A day of surprising grief. Nine years ago we lost Erika. Or, I should say they lost her. They being her family. Her friends. I had lost her a month before, when my relationship with her brother ended. Or should have ended. Started to end? When a relationship ends, so do the day dreams. I had to accept after the breakup that she would never be my sister after all. We would never plan weddings or raise babies or travel the world. And then she was gone and those things would not happen with anyone. It was an awkward time. My grief was real, but misplaced. I sat for hours on end trying to hide in corners the week before her funeral at her parents house. I tried to be helpful, but really I just wanted to be close. Looking back, I probably should have stayed away, but no one around me was grieving her so it was hard. It was a summer of grieving. For me and my husband who had only a few weeks before lost his niece and almost lost his sister in a horrible car accident. We, my husband and I, met moments before the grieving began in Italy on a summer tour with our choir. We met in the most romantic country on earth, but the grief was what began to knit us together. Our darkest days. My dark summer of fear and loss and betrayal and insanity. I started making choices. Desperate choices. Choices that nearly lost me many friends and choices that eventually led to a pregnancy. Isn't God just like that? He uses our darkest days to bring about His greatest light. Ayden. His name means fire. He was a spark of life, of joy, of light. Necessary to my survival. Nine years ago. Her nephew. I long to see her delight in him. For him to know her smile, hear her laugh. Loss. Yesterday was hard.   We got up and went to the library. The boys are gathering prizes each week for reading, or being read to. They love the silly prizes. I wanted to grab myself a couple of books, but the baby knows when I need him to be quiet and cries. Loudly. I had a plan. We would go to the kids area, Ayden would select his books and I would grab some for Balin. Then on the way to the checkout I would grab a couple books off the "New books" display for growups. It caught me off guard to see there in a very prominent position a book that several friends have been recommending. One Thousand Gifts. by Ann Voskamp. They said I should read it. People like Heather and Melissa, wife of the pastor of our favorite church ever. So I grabbed it, not expecting much. I usually can read faith based non fiction books for about 20 minutes max. They normally drive me nuts. Just sayin. You can be literate and love Jesus people. I'm learning how to find those books slowly. This my friends is a book true to the quotes on the back. " This book will mess with you.."  Two hours later as I begrudgingly put it down I realized I had been messed with... in the most Holy of ways. The entire first chapter deals with loss, and the resulting "soul holes" that remain. As redeemed as my relationship with Aydens father is. As beautifully as God has given both of us spouses who love their step child as their own. As lovely as it is that we are much more than civil to one another and have, if not a friendship, a peacefull co-parenting existence.. as much as all of that. There are still holes. I was 21. I never again had friendships like before. I never again was my own person. My music, my art was set aside so I could focus on this little person. Figure out how God would have me feed him. clothe him. As much as my husband was a true friend there are gaps. Spaces where I don't see myself anymore. To grieve Erika is to me, to grieve my twenty year old self as well. To grieve life before that summer. I am more than those losses. I am more than the failures that plague me. This amazing little book is already teaching me so much. Gods blessings abound. This is my story. The Story He has given me, and as the author of perfection. I wouldn't have it any other way. So bring it Mexico South Texas. God brought me here and he will see us through. One Gift at a time. I'm a a few days late, but I'm starting here...
 A multitude of gifts....
1. One Thousand gifts by Ann Voscamp
2. Grief that surprises
3. day dream sisters
4.Sons given as interventions

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Adoptions/ fundraising missionairies

I am super excited to share that there are babies/children headed into the arms of three of my adoption link families right now!  They could all possibly have their families together about the same time this year. I am so happy for every one of them. Go see their blogs sidebar) (listed in my to read more about their stories. Congratulations to all of you!

Also I encourage you to visit the links to my missionary family links. There are BIG things happening in their work. They are both on sabbatical right now and would love for you for you to visit their blogs and learn more about their work and ways you can help out  the people of Haiti and Niger. Bother families have amazing hearts for mamas and children. I am learning so much from them.. hope you will go learn something too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Squinchy Face

Silas makes a face that cracks us up. We think it stems from his impression of the face that we have made at him his entire life when he reaches up to grab our glasses or stick his fingers up our nose. So without further adiu.. I present to you.... the Squinchy Face

The Squinchy Face is always accompanied by giggled and a bounce. Often he bounces several times with his arms in the air and then pushes off into our arms. I love the Squinchy Face... and the happy baby it is attached to.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I believe in Miracles

Yesterday we had an amazing spontaneous family near-cation day. As in we drove two hours and spent the night in a hotel and then all day Saturday playing tourist in a town NEAR by. I have lots to share about that, but first our miracle. Sometimes I doubt stories that people share about miracles. I'm a keep my feet firmly planted on the ground kinda gal and tend to think (wrongly) that God is busy doing his heavy duty work elsewhere. Yesterday he saved my baby. I need to share.

We spent all day doing fun tourist vacationy things. A morning at the aquarium followed by a movie and then of course a visit to the mall to do some tourist shopping. The boys were exhausted. Beyond exhausted actually but determined to play on the sea themed toddler playground. This is one of those squishy playgrounds where all the structures are made of that hard foam stuff that you find in malls.  Everything was great. Silas was loving it. He crawled all over the place and was so. happy. We played for about 20 minutes and then decided it was time to go get dinner and head home. Lucas and I had been sitting in the floor the entire time staying close to Silas and watching for big kids or danger. In the center of the playground was a sand castle themed slide with a tunnel underneath. Silas LOVED the tunnel. Especially with Mommy on one side and Daddy on the other. As we were getting ready to leave we decided to let him go through one last time. Lucas went to one side while I stayed on the other with my sweet baby.  He crawled through and came out on the other side. Just as he cleared the tunnel I noticed quick movement above me at the top of the slide and then -in what felt like slow motion- saw a pair of feet come down right on my baby. right down on him.  I got to him fast. So fast Lucas had not even had time to pick him up. I scooped him up before he could even catch his breath to cry. Lucas pointed out that the next time one of my children have a giant being or object dropped on their back I might not want to rush to pick them up. When he did cry it was his big cry. At about this time I register the giant child standing in front of me asking if Silas is ok. The kid had to be as tall as my 8 year old, but was was wider.  Probably weighed 80-90 pounds. At least. We went into crisis mode, stepping out of the playground to get a better grasp on what was happening. He was breathing. His eyes were okay. He wasn't bleeding. He was moving his legs. There were no external markings except for a big red area. We had him stand, he stood, went into crawling position... and took off giggling.   No kidding. He was absolutely fine. Lucas saw this happen too. I didn't imagine it. There was a group sized gasp when it happened from every other adult in the playground. The giant child jumped off a 5 foot play structure. Landed on my baby's back... and Silas was just fine. Granted~ the playground has that squishy flooring and Silas was on his knees so his knees probably took the brunt of the force into the squishy floor, but still. I know God had his hand on that one. The kid who jumped by the way was impressive. He was genuinely concerned about Silas. Not because he was afraid he would get in trouble, but because he knew as well that the baby should have been injured. He wanted to make sure Silas was ok. We had a little chat. I made sure he knew Silas was okay, but gently reminded him that this was why there are rules that big kids can not play on the playground. I pointed out the rules at the door and asked him to wait patiently like my own big kid had to. I then made sure that he was ok. I didn't want the kid going home with nightmares about squashing babies.
 I've had moments of panic as a mother, but strangely this was not one of them. Not after the initial check of his sweet little being. He was okay. By God's sweet grace he was ok. He's got the itty bitty baby in his hands, he's got the itty bitty baby in his hands, he's got the itty bitty baby in his hands, he's got the whole world in his hands...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Simply Reads :: {Summer books}

I stole some time this past week and read a couple books my Mama gave me. I loved them both for very different reasons.

                                  The first one is Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Secret Daughter: A Novel
A book for mothers and daughters. A book for adoption lovers. I was in tears in several places. This is a work of fiction, but Gowda does an excellent job working through the emotions from all sides of international adoption. It made my heart long for that daughter I have dreamt of. The one I won't grow inside me. The one who will be waiting. I recommend not starting this novel unless you know you have no plans the next day. I guarantee you will not be sleeping until you finish it!

My second recommended  read  is Mothers and other Liars by Amy Bourett
Mothers and Other Liars
Again, this novel centers around a non conventional mother daughter relationship and examines just how far a mothers love for her daughter would take her. With a little legal drama, suspense, and arts and crafts lit thrown in this is a perfect summer read that goes beyond gossip and bikinis at the pool. I loved it and will be sending it on to my mother in law soon!