Friday, August 28, 2009

Sugar's Birthday!

Today was Sugar's birthday!

She is 11 years old!

She got to bring snacks to school for the very first time in her life! It was a really good day for her.

We kept things low key this year - sort of. No party, but we did allow her to have two girlfriends spend the night. She chose McDonald's for her birthday dinner. That was nice, since Longhorn is about 4 times as expensive. ;-) Of course, you get what you pay for.

Today was crazy, and I'm exhausted.

In fact, this whole month has been crazy, and I'm really exhausted.

Thankfully, Sugar has the last birthday of the month. Now we can get back to normal again. :-)

Phew! I survived birthday month. I think I need a shirt that says that.

We're going to try to get some sleep around here. I'll try to post more pics tomorrow.

Blessings to you,

Catching Up

Oh, where does the time go?

I didn't even get a chance to upload the photos from Daddy's birthday (last Sunday) until this morning. Therefore, I'm playing catch-up today.

As I said, Sunday was Daddy's birthday. He is now WAY older than me. ;-)

I am so grateful to be married to this guy. God smiled the day he was born.

We had a fun day. Grandpa and Grandma took us out to lunch after church. We had angel food cake. We rested. Ahhh...

Last week, we found a nice little park over by one of TE's schools. It's perfect for walking the puppy and having picnics. There are two historic log cabins and a nice walking path.

We went back on Saturday for a picnic, but Little Miss cupcake was not in the mood for pictures that day.

More to come...but my time is tight right now. :-)

Blessings to you,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

I know it's Saturday. Cut me some slack. ;-)

Doesn't Sugar look so grown-up?

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Day of School

The first day of school was a SUCCESS!!!! YEAH!

Sorry there are no pics of the boys...they are camera shy.

Sugar was excited and nervous and PUMPED! I could hardly keep up with her as she hiked up the hill. She came home full of stories and plans.

She also came home drenched, thanks to the huge downpour that started approximately 5 minutes before school let out. I drove up to pick up the girls, but it was no use. Just getting from the door to the parking lot was enough to soak us to the bone. No pictures of that.

Cupcake was nervous and excited, too, but she showed it in a different way. She was VERY JEALOUS that Sugar got to go in the morning and she had to wait until after lunch. So, she INSISTED that she was not going to eat breakfast - only lunch - and at 9:30 in the morning.

She was also ornery (translated scared/stressed) all morning long -not wanting to cooperate or obey at all. It was a long, not fun morning.

But immediately after lunch, everything changed. The smiles came out. Sweetness was everywhere. She allowed me to take these pictures before we left the house.

She also hiked up the hill at a record speed, and we made it to the school about 15 minutes early. When I told her she couldn't go in yet, her face clouded over and the stormy weather came back. She wouldn't sit by me. She wouldn't let me take her picture. When we finally went in to wait to be escorted to class, my happy little girl came back. She was all smiles. She hugged me and waved good-bye as she marched down the hall to her first day of Kindergarten.

Cupcake liked her first class and told me all the rules and talked about some of the kids in her class. She was excited to go back today.

Sunshine only had Math yesterday, so his day was very light.

TE had two of his college classes ... Western Civilization and Speech. He came out of the first class and said he'd already seen about 10 kids that he knows, including three in his class. He thought he could handle the workload in both classes. YEAH!

For me, I spent the day walking and driving my kids to their various schools. Once we get the kinks worked out, I think our school week schedule will be fine.

Blessings to you,

Cupcake's Birthday

Last Thursday, August 13th, was Cupcake's 6th birthday! We tried to keep it low key this year - sort of. She was pretty excitable and a little edgy, but overall, we had a wonderful time.

She chose to go to Six Flags for her fun day. We invited one of her little friends from church to go with us. I don't have a lot of pictures. We didn't bring our camera to the park.

Daddy took off work. We opened presents as soon as the big kids woke up. We had an early lunch and headed out the door to Six Flags. We did both the regular park and Hurricane Harbor, the water park. We stopped at Burger King for dinner, rushed home, sang "Happy Birthday" with her friend, and ran out the door to the Kindergarten Open House at school. When we got back from that, we had cake and more presents with Grandma and Grandpa.


I'm exhausted just writing about it. :-)

But a good time was had by all.

Happy birthday to my precious not-so-little-anymore Cupcake!

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

These Two...

Remember these two kids?

My heart is heavy for them tonight. Tomorrow, August 13th, is their birthday. I believe this is their 5th birthday while waiting for their forever family. They are still not home. Their case is stuck again...this time by a paperwork hang-up somewhere in Guatemala. It's not fair. It's just not fair.

I believe with all my heart that God will use this for good. He will redeem the time that was lost and shower them with blessings beyond what any of us can imagine. But this waiting is hard. I can't even begin to imagine the confusion in their hearts and the anger at being lost in the system.

God has big plans for these two, and I can't wait to see what He will do with their lives.

But for now, I cry with Dawn and bow my head in prayer.

Heavenly Father, I lift up the Z family to You. Please encourage Dawn and her family. Hold them as they cry out to You. Bless them with Your presence. May they feel Your comfort. Father, hold R and J in the palm of Your hand. Protect them. Use this time to prepare their hearts for the Z family, and also to prepare them to enter Your kingdom one day. Give them hope. Show them Your love. Never leave them, Lord. And Father, if it is Your will, please move mountains to bring them home quickly. In the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love you, Dawn. Hold on to Hope.

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It's time for SCHOOL!

And I have four unique individuals for kids.

This year, after much prayer, discussion, and even some debate, we have arrived at a new plan for educating our children. This plan is for this year only. We'll see what next year brings.

I love homeschooling and I'm rather selfish with my kid's time. I like to be the one that is there for the "AH-HA!" moments. I love our deep spiritual conversations throughout the day. I like the relaxed schedule and flexibility that homeschooling brings.


Last year was pretty much a "rebuilding year" for our family. Just pouring my life into Cupcake's was a 24/7 job...and then there was homeschool...not to mention housecleaning (which almost never happened)...and the million other things that moms/wives do. We had lots of doctors visits, evaluations, therapy, etc. There was the whole broken ankle/appendicitis/gall bladder season which took quite a bit out of our school schedule.

We trudged along at a snail's pace with the big kids. Some days were productive and successful, others...not so much. I felt empty and run down, over-extended and ineffective many days. We couldn't seem to focus for more than 5 minutes on any one thing. We were always being distracted by something. We needed to make some changes.


By the time summer hit, I knew that we needed to put Cupcake into a Kindergarten program, so I could at least have a window of time with the big kids to really focus on their schooling. I think it will be good for her to have another authority figure. Rules and structure will be helpful to her. Learning to interact with all kinds of other kids will be good. Having her own "thing" will be important to her self-image.


But while we were talking about putting Cupcake in public school, the subject of putting Sugar in public school came up. I was a little less enthusiastic about that. I like to teach Sugar. She will be in 5th grade this year. Fifth grade girls can be pretty mean. She is behind on some of her subjects because of the lost year last year and because of some other obstacles she has to learning. She's tender hearted and innocent. But, after much prayer, we think it will be good for her in many ways. She has matured by leaps and bounds this past year, and we believe she can handle whatever comes her way.

So, last week, we registered the girls for public school. They will both be at the same grade school two blocks from home. Actually, I should say that Cupcake is sort-of registered --- but that's a story for a whole other post.


Sunshine will remain at home full time. I am hoping to really focus on preparing him for high school work. He will also be taking two classes at a local homeschool learning center.


TE is technically still homeschooling, but he will be taking dual enrollment classes at two local universities for most of his coursework. I am confident he can handle the load and it will cut his college requirements way down (at a fraction of the cost). :-D That's a win/win situation for everyone.

So there you have it. Our new school plan for the 2009-10 school year.

What are you doing?

Blessings to you,

Monday, August 3, 2009

You Go, Girl

Last Sunday, Sugar had an inspiration.

She thought of a really cool idea for a Sunday School Lesson. She shared her idea with the right man.

This is Mr. F.
He teaches 3rd-5th grade Sunday School at our church. Mr. F. is a wonderful, godly man who really loves the kids he works with. He is wise and gentle. (He also happens to be an awesome notary public, who signs adoption papers at all hours of the day and night, who goes above and beyond the call of duty in whatever he does --- but I digress.)

Mr. F. said to Sugar, "That's a really great idea. Do you want to teach it next Sunday?"

Did I mention that Mr. F. is wise?

Sugar came bouncing up to me after Sunday School last week so full of excitement that she could barely contain herself. She took her job seriously and worked with a friend on the lesson. All week, she considered what she wanted to teach. Saturday, we sat down and finalized the lesson plan.

Sunday morning, Sugar gathered her Bible, materials and lesson plan.

Let it be noted that we were ACTUALLY EARLY getting to church. :-)

The lesson went very smoothly. Sugar did a great job!

Here is an action shot of her actually teaching.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of this girl. My heart is just bursting with joy. She has always been willing to step out for the Truth, but this was a huge leap of faith for her.

Her lesson was on Romans 12:2 and it involved play-doh.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

I'm already seeing a transformation.

Blessings to you,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunshine's Birthday

Today is the official kick-off of "birthday month".

Sunshine turned 14 today!

It's his birthday. And also Uncle S. And also two folks at church. And also the neighbor girl.

But we just celebrated Sunshine's. :-)

The favorite restaurant of choice for special celebrations...
Longhorn Steakhouse.

The Birthday Boy...

Goofing off...

Now, before you freak out on me...

We are not some wacko, conspiracy theorist, para-military anti-government subversives.

We just have a kid who likes cool, unusual things. And he likes to play commando with the neighbor boys using nerf guns.


So what could be cooler than a fully operational, authentic gas mask from Israel?

He's had his eye on them since he was about 4 years old.

Everybody had to try it on...

Happy Birthday Sunshine!
Your smile lights up the room.
I'm so glad you're my son!
Blessings to you,

Good Day

Thank y'all for the prayers and kind words. Cupcake has had a really good day so far...and me too. And just in time, because today was crazy.

It seems like just when you can't take any more, God lifts you up and encourages your heart.

Isn't that just like Him?

Blessings to you,

Saturday, August 1, 2009


When you adopt an older child, they tell you it'll be "two steps forward, one step back".

And a lot of times, it is. Sometimes, progress is slow and hard to come by.

Once in a while, you have a giant leap forward, and that is incredibly wonderful and exhilarating to watch. God's hand moves, and it is breathtaking.

At times, older child adoption is "one step forward, two steps back". That is disheartening. The progress you made last week and last month is lost and discouragement sets in.

And then there are the times when you take a step backward and find yourself free falling off a cliff.

That's where we are now.

I don't know what Cupcake is working through or worried about, but it is affecting every moment of every day. It's almost like back at the beginning. I'm tired. I'm weary. I want the other girl back. The one that smiles and obeys. The bubbly explorer who is confident and affectionate. The one who asks permission before helping herself. The one who uses her hands to hug instead of to hit.

It probably doesn't help that I've been living with a toothache/extraction for the past 8 days. My smiles have been rare and my temper short.

We'll live through this, but if you think to pray for us, we'd appreciate it. We're heading into "birthday month" and school is just around the corner. There's a million things to do and I'm having a hard time finding enough time for everything, including focusing on my baby.