Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thank you friends and crock pot

Many of you commented on my recent post that included food disasters.  I want to say thank you for all your help and recipes!! I am proud to say I have cooked successfully two nights in a row with my crock pot.  Last night I made spaghetti and tonight I made meatloaf.  I have always loved using the crock pot and I never realized how many things you could make in it.  I came across the this website called crock pot girls.  They have a number of recipes and other people comment and share their recipes.  It really has been useful.  One thing that I like about using the crock pot is that I can get dinner started right after breakfast and I am still in the kitchen area with N while he is working on school.  It really has made the evening much more relaxed for me - I don't feel like I am scrambling to get everything done and ready.  AND the food so far has turned out edible!  Take a look at this meatloaf..... I think they liked it.....


Nathan was so sweet - tonight he said "this is my favorite!" Even Luke ate all of his meat and he really is not a meat man he prefers chicken. So tonight I would have to say score for mommy we didn't have rocks for dinner!!

All talk.....

I cut the boys hair once they get to a certain age and can have the buzz cut.  Ethan however is not of this age yet nor would he sit still long enough for me to cut his hair and he is not a huge fan of the buzzer. So he goes to the barber shop to get his hair cut by Mr. Jerry.  When the time comes for E to get a haircut he talks about going to the barber and how he wants Mr. Jerry to cut his hair and how he gets two suckers after he is all done.  He is really excited about the whole adventure.  He even told me on the way there in the car "I'm not gonna cry."  Let me just let you look at this picture.....



This is reality... this is how he really feels about getting his hair cut. I think when it comes to haircuts - he is all talk!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 68 = It's here!!!

See this picture ... I think it might be my new favorite picture!! See what it says ... "You  have been approved to adopt two children from the following Convention country : China" Today the postmaster delivered the long anticipated and awaited I800 approval letter.  David got to be the one to get it out of the mailbox and I wish I could have seen his face when he went through the mail!! I know it must have been one of pure joy!! We have scanned and emailed it to our agency and now we begin another countdown - the countdown to DTC (dossier to China.)  One step closer!!  Praise the Lord!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Singing Bible Songs

video

We have been learning the doxology and Ethan has picked it up pretty well!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Date Night

Thank you CFA for a great date night. Dinner at Figos and red carpet premier for the movie COURAGEOUS. Go see it in your local movie theatre beginning September 30th. "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

Sweet Surprises

I have said it before but I am going to say it again - I have the BEST husband in the world!!  There will never be enough words or time for me to truly express myself.  I love him so much and I am so thankful that God graciously gave him to me.  While I know perfection is not something we can attain until eternity here on earth as far as perfect goes he is perfect for me!!!  I have a huge grin on my face right now just thinking about how he knows how to get a good rise out of me,  or the way he can make me laugh at myself.  He knows me and my response to these thoughts it so Praise God.  That really is the only response  - He created David and He knows our needs.  Thank you God for giving this sweet man to me.  

I need to note here a few things before I get on with the "sweet surprise"  - yesterday marked 64 days that we have been waiting for our I800A approval letter.  I have been to the mailbox everyday waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Postman to bring us our letter - so far he/she hasn't.  I have been really emotional this week - Luke starts preschool next week - and I have so enjoyed having all the boys home I'm just not ready to send him off - but I know I have to quit being selfish and do what is in his best interest.  And then we got new pictures of Linnea opening her package and wearing the clothes we bought her and the hairbows I made and I just want to go get her - like YESTERDAY.  Then I was worrying about her foster parents and how they were going to have to give her up and will they ever hear the gospel?  I have been reading "Give Them Grace" by Elyse Fitzpatrick  and I am actually going to quote from my friend Leah's blog because her thoughts are exactly the same ones I had ...."There is much to process and digest in this book. I am humbled and convicted and see so many areas where I do not preach the gospel to myself, let alone to my children." Here is a quote from the book ..."We are commanded [to teach our children God's law] but not to make them good. We are commanded to give them the law so that they will be crushed by it and see their need for a Savior. The law won't make them good. It will make them despair of ever being good, and in that way it will make them open to the love, sacrifice and welcome of their Savior, Jesus Christ.  Sorry to bog you down with those details but they were important.  Now to the reason for this post......

I am not a morning person generally - I actually cannot believe I used to get up at 5:15 am and go to the gym.  So I can get up early it is just not my personal favorite but when you have 3 kiddos sleeping until 7 is a luxury.  I didn't hear DP get up this morning but I heard the kids come in the bedroom and they wanted to go to the playroom so I turned off the alarm and they were heading downstairs I said I would be following shortly - but then I heard daddy ask them where they were going - I told him they were going downstairs and then he told them mommy has to go first.  What??!!  So I said hang on kids I'm coming.  I sat up and see this on my night stand....




A sweet card from my husband.  I know I am in for a treat.....So I open the card.........




I am not sure if you can read it but take note of the color - I did........


DP has noticed my disappointment over the passing of day 64 and no letter so he thought I needed a smile to start my day.  Tonight is date night we are going to eat at Figo one of our favorite authentic Italian restaurants and see the premier of the movie Courageous at the Fox.  He thinks we should go ahead and plan our next date night.  He sends me to the coffee maker for my "next clue." I know I am in for a treat and a scavenger hunt.  Here I go!!


For those of you that don't know the first time DP asked me out he asked me to just go get coffee with him - I asked for a rain check.  I finally conceded the third or fourth time he asked me.  We went to Starbucks at the time I didn't even like coffee - so I ordered a bottled water!!  So we will go to Starbucks and think about some of our favorite memories like in Italy - so now I am heading to the book of Romans for my next clue.


We actually have a few Bibles in house - one being on top of the coffee maker but that wasn't the one - so I headed to the family room to the Bible on top of the coffee table.  Where I turned to the book of Romans - seeing the map of one of my favorite cities we visited in Italy.  I found there a gift card to Figos our favorite authentic Italian restaurant and a note telling me to "head to the couch we used to take naps on..." So I make my way to the playroom.....


This couch has sentimental value.  DP and I used to take Sunday afternoon naps here pre children of course!  I found this cup that can keep your drink hot or cold filled with chocolate which I love!  This note tells me to "head to the piano bench and open it."


There I found this note "Hope this fun little morning adventure brought a smile to your face.  Looking forward to tonight as well as our next date.  I love you LeighAnn. Lots of great memories from this piano bench!! Look under the Tomlin book.


Remember when I told you the green was important to note!!!  AHHHHHH!!! I was and am so excited.  I jumped up and down and gave DP the biggest hug ever!! Tickets to see my favorite broadway musical Wicked.  You can read about my first time seeing it here.  I really didn't think we would get to go this year but that DP is very sneaky and surprising!!

This indeed was a fun little adventure and a great start to the morning.  I am so thankful for you Pruiksma and I love you more than I will ever be able to tell you!! I always tease DP that I have a list of my "top ten" favorite things he has done for me, there are way more than 10 things and he is always doing something for me so I always say I have to add that to the list and then he says what's getting bumped off.  This morning was no exception and this will have to go on the list and the list is going to have to get a new name because I have a lifetime full of things on it!  I found this (picture below) this morning when I was doing laundry - he must have hid the goods in the laundry room.


Life is a special occasion and I am thankful God has given me life here on earth and in eternity.  I will leave you with quote from one of my favorite songs from Wicked and it is just a small expression of how I feel about DP....

"Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun. Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood. Who can say if I've been changed for the better. But because I knew you I have been changed for good."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Details...

I just got caught up in my handwritten adoption journey journal.  Yes I am blogging and writing - don't want to forget - and I can't blog about everything but I can write it all down. As I was looking back and writing new entries I was struck by all the connections and how each detail is knit together.  I have had so many as Nat would call them "shut up" moments its crazy!!
Remember the "target lady"??  She does have a name it's Lois.  If you remember it was Lois that told me about Lifeline.  We still keep in touch and they are actually adopting another child from China.  A boy this time - Andrew Nathanael is his name (love the middle name!!)  I was catching up last night on their journey and found out that Andrew is from the same province I was in when I spent time in China.  Not just the same province - the same city!!! Turns out Lois has been there before because she lived there.  Can you guess what - yep - she was living there around the same time I was there.  I cannot get over this!!  Speaking of the "target lady" (Lois) - DP was at work the other day talking to a coworker who was telling him about her brother and sister-in-law who were adopting from China through Lifeline and how they had met a young lady at Target who was beginning the adoption process and she had 3 boys - DP was like um that's my wife - and those are my boys.  The connections that God shows us - are just beyond my comprehension and I feel so blessed!!!!
I was talking to Nat again tonight (side note - please remember to keep praying for both of our families - I really want to be able to travel together) telling her of these connections and I told her I am so thankful for God's kindness in letting me see how he knits all the details together in ways I would not have imagined - and how I always want to consciously be thankful even if a detail doesn't go the way I would have planned it.  After I hung up with her I finished up my journal entry and this verse was at the top of the page it could not have been more perfect - but that is just how God is so I will close my post with it :

"Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ." I Thessalonians 5:16-18

I do it

"I can do it all by myself."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teethbrushing Talk

DP and I got to be privy to a conversation between Nathan and his brothers during toothbrushing time tonight.  This is what we heard....

Nathan: "Quit wasting toothpaste. Daddy works hard for this stuff.  Thats why he only takes off Saturday and has to work all week.  What do you want to do? Live in a dirty old van?"

Then we cracked up laughing.  Out of the mouths of babes.....

Last Stop - China

The package for our sweet girl arrived in China and today we got some pictures of her opening it up and trying on some of the clothes we bought her.  I made her all the hairbows you see.  We were told she really liked her sippy cup which had tinkerbell on it, the clothes, and her little backpack.  God is so gracious to us.  We feel so privileged to see our daughter.  Words cannot describe how I was feeling as I looked through these pictures today.  The last picture you will see is Linnea with her foster parents.  This picture really evokes so much emotion in me -again not something I think I can put into words.  The mother is holding up her two fingers not indicating the peace sign but "victory."  This is very common in China especially in pictures - I remembered it as soon as I saw it.  What great memories I have from my time there.  Enjoy these pictures of our precious girl - I know we did!!




she is looking at our photos

checking out her new brothers

loving that sippy cup


she must like to color


she was eating up those raisins

This is my favorite

We are beyond grateful for this family...

Recipe for disaster....

LeighAnn = cooking nightmare.  That is a very accurate statement.  In fact it has become a little joke in my immediate family.  When I cook (with the exception of a few things) it doesn't get all the way done, it is burnt, or it just tastes awful!!  Tonight was no exception.  I used a recipe that had been handed down and seemed rather fool proof.  It was called "no peek chicken"  called for chicken, rice, cream of celery soup, water, onion soup mix, grated cheese, and crushed ritz crackers.  You throw all this into a baking dish and bake at 300 for 3 hours.  Well I followed the directions to a t and baked it for exactly how long it said on what setting it said.  Didn't turn out so well.  I can usually tell when my family doesn't like the meal by their reactions - i.e. DP won't have seconds and the kids well - they speak for themselves.  In fact tonight DP only had one helping and here is what N had to say "it feels like I am eating rocks."  Friends all I could do was laugh.  I might for a few moments have wanted to cry but at this point in my cooking career it has just gotten humorous.  I can do alot of things but cooking is NOT one of them.  And really that is a sad thing.  I love the kitchen.  I love for my family to sit down together at meal time and enjoy one another and the time we have together - because one day these times will be gone!!  I must confess though - when one is horrible in the kitchen these times are not frequent!  So friends I need your help.  I need some recipes and I might even need some cooking classes.  HELP!! Send me your thoughts and ideas or come be my teacher!! The menu for tomorrow night is spaghetti - there is hope for my family - the won't be hungry at  least not tomorrow night :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fun dinner with friends...

Fun dinner with friends!!  So glad we could spend time with the Majors.  I'm so thankful for my CFA family!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Date Nite...

Date Nite with CFA Home Office team at Canoes in ATL. Fun times!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today I am thankful for homeschooling...


Recently I have had many people ask me what made us decide to homeschool this year so I thought I would answer here in a post - so on those days when I am tearing my hair out and crying uncontrollably and thinking I am going to put N in the car and drive him right over to Crossroads - I can go back and read this post!! I want to point out that I am not against public or private education.  I have taught in both and N has attended a private school up until now and L is going to a local church school after labor day. All that to say I know homeschooling is not for every parent or for every child. What might be best for one family might not be for the next and you have to take it one year at a time!  This is just our story and what it looks like right now.  

First of all you see that adorable picture above - that priceless one - that is one of the reasons.  Not because my child thinks that I am the "best mom in the wrold" (world) or I am a "shooper (super) mom" but because of the quality time that I am getting to spend with him one on one.  Time that is fleeing!!!  He is growing so fast and I might be a super mom but I haven't figured out how to stop time - nor will I ever!!  We feel like while our kids are young - they do not need to be in school all day.  Learning doesn't just take place in a classroom - it takes place everywhere especially in the home.  And kids need time to be kids they need time to play and run around and explore - especially boys!!  This is one of the things I loved about N's school last year, Crossroads Christian School - there the students do not go all day everyday until 4th grade and even then Friday is a half day.  Schooling at home gives us the opportunity to work work work in the morning and then play til the heart is content and no homework in the evening.  And even after we are technically done with "school" work that doesn't mean they have quit learning for the day and we read at night.  Kids are sponges and they are taking in everything that is around them all times of the day and night!

Another reason we choose to homeschool this year - was because it offers great flexibility When we travel to get the girls hopefully in March we will be gone overseas for a little over two weeks.  I wanted to homeschool for the flexibility it provides.  We started toward the beginning of August and I will work through and not take some of the holidays that our local county takes that way I can bank some days while we are gone.  If we want to take a vacation in October we can.  It is just really flexible and I like.  It just so happened that one day this week E ran a fever and I was up all night and fortunately I didn't have to get up early the next morning and get ready to get out the door to school.  I was able to cuddle with E and take care of him and school was postponed a few hours - yet we still got it all done.  I also want to say though that we are pretty structured as well.  I believe you can be flexible but still have structure. We still have rules just like we had when we went to a traditional school building.

Another deciding factor was cost.  We are obviously trying to save so that played a part in our decision. Now you may say why didn't we just send him to public school?  Well we do not feel like that is where he needs to be.  He is in his most formative years right now and we are working on building character - the best place to build that is at home.   Now homeschooling can be costly but we chose to do the Georgia Cyber Academy which is an online charter school funded by the state.  Basically what that means is that I got all my curriculum and materials for free.  I have only bought a few things like pencils, crayons, colored pencils and a few notebooks - and actually my neighbor had some extra from her classroom and she donated a few items.  The curriculum they use is called K12 and so far I am very pleased.  It even uses some of the same supplements and readers that Crossroads uses.  Now I supplement some things and I added Bible - I just used what Crossroads does and made up some of my own with the help of the world wide web. (I found a kids bible reading plan!)

Homeschooling is a full time job and when I first started after a few days I thought - selfishly I will admit - my life was over.  My mornings like I used to know them no longer existed.  When was the laundry going to get done, the house cleaned, errands run, etc. etc.  I honestly felt like I was a teacher again - I just didn't have to dress up or drive to my place of work.  I was writing/organizing the lesson plans etc. doing all the same things I did when I went to work! But you know what - it has been ALL worth it!  I have gotten into a groove and my life is not over the house is not going to pot, the laundry is getting done, dinner is getting cooked and all is well.  Praise the Lord for grace - because my selfish self sure has needed it.

All that to say while all the reasons we have decided to homeschool are good (I think) - they really aren't the most important.  God gave me these children to love, protect, nurture and care for and during this season of our lives we felt led to teach Nathan at home.  So in obedience to what the Lord was calling us to do - we decided to teach Nathan at home this year.  Regardless of what method of education we use for our children  - it is our job to teach them and whether we do that at home or we partner with someone outside of the home at a school God gave them to us and we have to do whats best for them as the Lord leads us.  So thats our story for now. I don't know what the future holds but I know the One who holds the future.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dinner with old friends

Fun dinner with old friends!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mommy and the "hotcakes"

Mommy and her sweet little hotcakes cheesin it up. He loves to have his picture taken!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Correction and an update...

I need to make a correction to one of my earlier posts about Linnea (It's a MATCH.)  And I will edit that post but I thought I would tell you here as well.  I said that Linnea was moved to TCH (True Childrens Home) after she had surgery and that is incorrect.  She was moved to TCH first and then through TCH had her surgery.  I found out today that her surgery was sponsored by someone through TCH.  I am so thankful for this and will have the opportunity to write this generous donor/donors after the adoption.  Just another incredible blessing. I am so grateful for Jenny as she has been able to share with us and clarify things like this and fill in parts of her life we might not have ever known.  So THANK YOU Jenny!! Linnea Hope has quite a story already and I am looking forward to seeing how God continues to write her story. Speaking of sweet Linnea....

I got a new pictures today!!  I just want to squeeze that little cupcake!!  I want to kiss those sweet cheeks and tell her how long I have prayed for her and how much we have wanted her.  I could go on - but I will stop for now.  On top of getting a new picture today I called the USCIS - customs and immigrations.  If you remember we had to send our paperwork off to them and then we had to be fingerprinted and since we've been fingerprinted we have been waiting for our approval.  Well I decided to call on Monday to see where we were in the approval process and the gentleman on the phone said that our paperwork was there in some tub waiting to be assigned an agent to review the case.  Comforting  I know... so I asked if he could be a little more detailed.  Basically he said that our paperwork is in tub somewhere waiting for an agent and that could take up to 90 days.  This was not really what I was looking for and knowing that we had been fingerprinted almost 30 days ago I just decided I would keep calling every few days and see where it was.  I mean who was I hurting by this.  I called Wednesday and spoke with a woman this time - much more comforting she said that they had it and call back next week and check on it - it has not been taking 90 days she informed me. Well I called back today and guess what?? It has been assigned an agent.  I even received an email from our agent and he has it on his desk - it takes about two days to review and then they mail out our approval.  So here is hoping for next week!!  I was so tickled!! New info, a picture and an agent all in one day!! Woo hoo!! We have so much to be thankful for!! Praise the Lord!!

look at those sweet little hands
so glad we sent her some crayons!

And the package is making its way....


Our care package for our sweet girl is making its way around the globe.  Thanks so much to Bonnie for taking it to Myrtle Beach and thank you Jenny for taking it to China!!  Next stop .... China!!!

The hotcakes..

This hotcakes found some deodorant today and came to inform me. He says to me very seriously "mom I was just putting on some yogurt." Of course I had to take a picture of him in his mischief. And of course he wants to see the picture. I show him and with enthusiasm he says "that's a great picture!". What am I going to do with him?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Luke and Mayah

Luke and his buddy Mayah sporting a hairbow I made.

Vacations must come to an end...

I'm so glad that we got to spend a week at the beach.  I love spending quality time with my family and it especially nice for me and the boys to have daddy the whole entire week!! We made some really great memories riding the waves, snorkeling finding crabs and seashells, playing in the sand, fishing, eating great seafood, meeting up with old friends, reading, watching shark week together, playing games, putting together a puzzle, we just had tons of fun!!! Our time together is priceless.



my three sons

Crab Trap night



E loves to play on daddy's ipad
I think he knows it better than we do!

"daddy buried me mommy-
take a picture"

one of our sand castles

seashells we found

our collection of shells and little crabs

had to boil the creatures out... fun science lesson

put together a shark puzzle



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fishermen

Daddy and the boys minus E went on a little fishing adventure during our trip to the beach.  The whole week the excitement was building as the trip wasn't until Thursday.  They had their little countdown on and the night before they were in the bed by 7:30ish as they had to awake super early to get going i.e 5 am.  They left about 5:30 and didn't get home until after lunch.  I wish you could hear their stories of the trip - the size of the fish changes every time :).  Here are some pictures to enjoy.  I should note that Luke caught the biggest fish - a 24 lb King Mackeral.  Funny how the smallest guy on the boat caught the biggest fish :)



they were not quite awake yet...


fun day with daddy




fishing wore Luke out :)


that's L's big fish.. he doesn't weigh much more
than the fish!
an afternoon nap was a must!!
fish - its whats for dinner