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Thursday, January 16, 2014

the perfect mom.

A friend reminded me this week that there is no perfect mom. No perfect children. No perfect family. I hope I never paint a false picture here on the blog. Believe me when I say this...I don't have my act together. I have two main purposes for this blog. One is to show my kids their lives and our family in writing and photographs. And we regularly sit together with a computer in our lap and I read them stories of the past 5 years that I've documented here. The other is to be a place that their sweet birth mothers can stop in anytime when they want to see that face that they love so much. And they can catch up on our family events. I originally created this space for those ladies. We don't use facebook or any other social media. But the blog is one that I don't want to give up. I love it for our family. But I think our birth mothers appreciate it also. That being said, I never want to use this space as a way to document the not so fun parts of family life. I mean, I think I've hinted around enough here that my job has been hard at times. I sure did document the great flushing of the rubber ducky, which was a terrible day when it happened. But I read it now and laugh my head off. And we tell Holden what a little stinker he was when he was 2 and 3 and 4. :) And the time I tried to take two babies shopping at Hobby Lobby for home decor. That catastrophic event made it here. But I just never want to focus on the discipline and correction that takes place daily. This is our space to celebrate and focus on the wonderful parts of raising our boys and being a family.

So I don't have it all together. If you've spent any time around my family, you already know this to be true. In fact, you might get in your car after seeing us and think, "Whoa. That was chaotic. And loud." I'm normally late everywhere I go. I lose my temper with my sweet boys. I forget to respond to texts and emails. I forget my purse and end up at the grocery store parking lot with no money. Jeans and a hoodie make me feel dressed up on most days. I can come up with a great discipline measure 5 hours too late when I've had more time to process. But sometimes I'm not great in the moment that I need to be. I can't seem to simultaneously be a good, listening friend and a good intentional mom in the same moment. Someone is going to lose there. And since mom is my constant role and time with friends is rare, my kids are the losers in those moments. Though they might feel like the winners because I let some things slide. Call me inconsistent. I call it picking my battles. I think that I'm okay with that. I think...but I have those insecure moments. They rise up when I see a mom that's doing it all and doing it really well. And later as I process, I think, I suck. But then a dear friend reminds me that I don't. That I'm a good mommy, despite my mistakes or not following the strategies of the latest parenting book. She reminds me that I have a very limited view of the world around me. All I can really do is be present in my family. I can love my boys well...and I'm 100% certain that is consistent in our home. I can turn off my imagination that leads me to believe that other's lives are perfect and joyous all the time...even if it appears that way from the outside looking in. And I can pray my guts out that for another day God will fill me with his fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. That has been my prayer for several years before my feet ever hit the floor. And when I screw up, because by now I know that's inevitable, His grace will wash me clean again. Again and again. In the end, those are the things that will matter. That I tried, goofed up, repented and pressed on towards Him and the great task He has given me. Far from perfect over here but walking in a whole lot of grace. I'm thankful for that.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Things lately...

-On New Years Day I sat around the table with my little family. As we ate our traditional blacked eyed peas we talked about a fresh new year and things we wanted to accomplish in 2014. It was a fun conversation to have with a four and five year old. I know many people have negative opinions about new year's resolutions. But I can't help it. I love the start of a new year and looking forward to dreams you want to see happen in the next 12 months. So for my little boys to be listing things like: learn to tie shoes (both said this), learn to swim (Pax), learn to read (Holden), learn to ride my bike without training wheels (Pax) was just fun to listen to them dream and set very attainable goals for the coming months.
-We've had a weekend that may be tricking us that spring has arrived early. As much as I love each season (including a snowy/icey winter), this spring-like weather has been refreshing. The boys have played outdoors for the past two days. And because I tend to be a fair weather runner, that means I've run the past three days. Hopefully I'm gearing up for a 10k next month. I might jinx myself just saying that. On Friday evening I headed out alone to run. Holden was still eating dinner and begged to go with me. Back in the fall (you know, when the weather was perfect again for outdoor activities) Holden ran a mile with me. Barefoot. Never stopping to walk or rest. Crazy kid. He loves to run. He really loves to sprint and rest, sprint and rest. So I promised him on Friday evening that he could join me for a Saturday morning run. He was happy with that news. And Saturday around 10am we headed out on our run. He covered 2 miles of run/walking. We had spent a week in school some time ago, talking about the Tortoise and the Hare and what it means to persevere. He is definitely the hare. And I am the slow moving, yet steady speed tortoise. I lapped him more than once, yet in the end he made it back to our house first, so he says he won. :) Whatever. I think I'm going to finally have a running buddy in my future. And probably a very small window of time when he is finally able to go longer distances with me, and then before long I probably won't be able to keep up with him.
-We have completed semester one of homeschooling Kindergarten and Pre-K. We took a break during the Christmas holidays and it was definitely a challenge to get back to it last week. But once we did day one, we all remembered how much we enjoyed our school time together. It has been a wonderful experience. I've been a little surprised at how much I've enjoyed it.
-Saturday night we went to 4 Day Weekend with some friends. Man, oh man. That place makes me laugh so much. Then I think about different lines of comedy for days after, and I catch myself laughing at them all over again.
-The boys received several games for Christmas this year. Sorry, Trouble, Twister, Tic-Tac-Toe, Tumblin' Monkeys and Connect 4. And they are finally at an age where we can play fun games as a family. Games that require a little more thought than Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. We have been HOOKED on Sorry. It's my current favorite. And Pax asks if we can play games every single day! He's so much like me it's crazy! :)
-A couple of months ago we booked a summer beach vacation. I've got four months to wait for it to arrive, but I think about it each week. And ever so often, I get on the computer and look at pictures of our destination. Pax and Abe have never been to the beach. And Holden hasn't been to one since here when he was only 15 months old. And it's been a good year and a half since Jeremy and I have been to the beach. So in a short four months, we'll be driving to Gulf Shores, AL and living like a family of beach bums for six days. We are excited for a family trip. It's been a while.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy Adoption Day, Sweet Abe!

Eight months ago today, we met our sweet baby boy. And this morning we had the privilege to stand before a judge and finalize his adoption. I've explained this before with the other boys, but it was eight months ago that he became our son and we immediately fell in love. Today it just became legal and official that we are his forever family. My dad and I were just talking tonight...we've heard two pastors explain a little detail in adoption when emphasizing the power of our adoption by our Heavenly Father. I thought I'd explain because it's just a really cool thought. A parent can disown their biological child. But a parent can not legally disown their adopted child. That is cool because of the spiritual parallel and that we can never be cut apart from God once we have accepted Christ as forgiveness for our sins, chosen to follow God and have become a child of His. But this fact is also cool from our end as an adoptive family...there is strength and commitment in our family bond and legally it can not be bent. I love this.
Last night we drove to Oklahoma City with my parents. All seven of us in our minivan. It was tight. We got to bed late at a hotel and woke early this morning (I was the first up in our room at 6am) to get ready for our Adoption Day in court. After our hearing, we had lunch as a family and then headed to a friend's house to have a little celebration. You may remember I had two sweet friends that housed Abe and I for a good portion of our stay in Oklahoma. Well, Daysha opened her home once again for our little party. She even got balloons! :) And Andrea and Abigail came and celebrated with us. Two sweet friends that have stuck close after leaving Oklahoma City over four years ago. I'm very thankful for friends that stick. So we partied it up with Abe and celebrated another miracle in our lives. Abe Malachi, you are our blessing. You are such a sweet and fun part to our family. All four of us are crazy about you for so many reasons. God has blessed us with the addition of YOU, my son. I pray that you grow up to truly comprehend the way God used you to increase our prayers, increase our faith and have our hearts spilling over with love and thankfulness. What a privilege it is to be your mommy, forever!
Excuse the massive amounts of pictures. My dad took a ton. I loved them all and I'm sharing many of them. Probably too many of them.
Killing time and having a little freedom while we were waiting our turn to go into the courtroom.
 Nana with the proud big brothers.
Family of five!
Sweet open mouthed kisses.
Lunch at one of our favorite Oklahoma chains...City Bites!
It's a tradition. He had to wear the shirt.
The cookie cake said: "Happy Adoption Day Abe!" I forgot and sliced it before taking a picture. Oops.
 Sweet little friends.
 I was SO excited to give him his sock monkey. It's our adoption gift tradition. I've been holding onto it for several weeks. Holden got the original brown one on his Adoption Day when he was 6 months old. Holden and his monkey, who is named "Monkey" are inseparable. In fact, he had to be replaced because his original was so worn out. See here. Pax has a blue one, who is named "Blueberry". But he has no great attachment to it...or any stuffed animal friends. And Abe has picked up Holden's monkey several times in the last few months, checked it out, put it in his mouth, etc...when this would happen, Holden would quickly and kindly take the monkey away and move it to higher ground where baby brother couldn't reach it. :)
I have a feeling Abe is going to love his little yellow monkey. He is sleeping with it now, with a little encouragement from me. :)
 Our little boy finally wiped out from the festivities. I'm glad Papa J got in for a picture. He was doing all the picture taking today.
Daysha and I. I didn't think to get a picture with my friends until Andrea had already left.

It was a special day of celebration for our little Abester!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Firsts for us with our 3rd

Having a 3rd little boy means nothing is a surprise, right? We already had two very different little boys, so the third wouldn't surprise us. Or would he...We've had some moments, where I've said "Hmmmm....Holden and Pax never did this." And I'm sure Abe was cracking up on the inside every time those words rolled off my tongue.
Abe is our first little guy that takes food out of his mouth when he doesn't like it. The other two might have made an awful face and refused another bite, but if Abe doesn't like it, he just removes it from his mouth and places it back on his tray. Little stinker.
Abe is the first to absolutely detest a diaper change. He has to be completely distracted during his diaper changes or he screams and cries like it's the most terrible experience in the world.
Abe is the first to whack us in the face. Yep, he has hit us. The other two have yet to ever hit us. This probably started around 10 months and fortunately, right now I can say he hasn't done it for several weeks. But it has been a somewhat common way for him to express his frustration when Jeremy or I were doing something terrible to him...such as the aforementioned diaper changes.
Abe is the first to get a bottle after his first birthday. That may be in part because we've relaxed more with the 3rd. But he still gets a bottle of milk each night before bed.
Abe is the first to chew on the crib. What in the world?! Our little baby bed had somehow remained in immaculate condition through 2 baby boys. And now the 3rd is teething on it at times. Grrrr.
Abe is the first that does not love being read to. I'm hoping this changes with time. The boy loves to be held, cuddled and carried around. But sit him in your lap with a book and he has no interest.
Abe is the first to be rocked and sung to on a regular basis...still at 13 months. Jeremy probably spends more time doing this than me. But we just rarely did this with the other boys.
But even with the third, I still get swept away by his giggle and lost in his sweet smile. I'm full of mommy-pride to show off this beautiful boy to any adoring eyes. He captures our hearts every single day, just as his older brothers do. And each of those feelings are very familiar.