Monday, May 21, 2012

A new adventure!!!

I am posting in the middle of the day!  What miracle has occurred that has allowed me to do that?  Well, let me share!!!

Number one child, Alex, got his driver's license today!!!  He passed his road test bright and early this morning, no real shock to us.  He has been driving for about a year now, and we are real sticklers about safety and he has been driving a ton with me.  He really is a good driver and I would have been shocked if he had not passed.  And he did!  He was very happy, you cannot wipe the smile off of his face today.

Well, Mondays are our very crazy day, but he offered to take siblings to their various music lessons and voice lessons so I could get the babies down for a nap in their own beds rather than their carseats.  And I got to get some more things done at home.  In fact the babies are just waking up right now!!!!  The kitchen is almost totally reorganized, the bathroom is cleaned and organized, the diabetes drawer inventoried and reorganized.  And I am just stunned at how relaxed I feel right now!!!!  Oh, my goodness!

I have to admit, I was NOT excited for this day to come, until I realized that I could have some help in moving this multitude around!  I was in no hurry to have a kiddo achieve this milestone.  I have mixed feelings.  I don't always want to face the thought of my kids growing up, but I also love, love love seeing them stretch their wings and fly!!!  It is a milestone.  A good one.  I cried over the weekend knowing this was coming (and yet another child had a birthday that made them what seems like a much bigger age).  And this morning to see the joy and look of accomplishment on my eldest son's face - priceless (as the commercial would say).  And then to have him offer to take the afternoon shift of getting everyone where they need to go on our busiest day of the week, so I could be with littles and at my favorite place - home, well, again - priceless.

It is always a balancing act, letting the safety strings out, letting them try out their wings with support and knowing when to be, well, more in there.  It is a monitoring act to make sure that all is well and as it seems, but at the same time allow them to fly as much as they are able, and to only be the guidance system when needed.  I am finding that parenting teens is wonderful, totally wonderful, but very complicated.  I knew it would be.  But it isn't terrible.  Yes, it has terrible moments, but they are only moments.  And the joy of seeing them start to successfully fly!  Wow.

So, today, I am writing, because I can.  As I am writing this, the littlest one just got up from nap and has climbed onto my lap for her wake up snuggles.

Yep, I remember totally why we have ten kids.  Because we love it with a passion.  We love them with a passion.  We love parenting with a passion.  We love God with a passion.  I can only imagine what it must be like for Him to watch us try to walk in His ways.  I compare it to parenting a lot.  I am sure He has wanted to (and HAS) turned me over His knee for disobedience or not following His directives.  But I hope I bring Him joy at times as I struggle to fly!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can you tell we have toddlers and teens????

I know I am behind in updates, as you know, life is a whole new thing with our additions to the family.

Any time you add another person the mix of a family, everyone adjusts.  Well, with the addition of two toddlers, we are in full adjustment mode.  Not that this is a bad thing, but we are reworking our life into who we are now.  That is just what adoption is.  We are no longer the family we were before I left for Ethiopia to bring our daughters home.  That is good.  It is fine, it is just different.

I am trying to find our new normal, and we really are.  I am no longer working outside the home, even on weekends.  As it is, whenever I leave the house now without the littles, we have all sorts of separation anxiety.  Tonight I took Alex to a meeting at his work, and even though I had the littles prepared with snacks of popcorn (which is quite entertaining - food is still a big deal) so they would have an easier transition, but still, there was all sorts of weeping when Mom was gone.  I got home and the two were plastered to me until they crashed out for the night.  Hey, at least they are attaching!!!  So, life is good!

It was an amazing Mother's Day - we got up, Steve and most of the boys had left for church already (they have to be there for sound check early) and we were preparing to leave.  Kahsu was snuggly and felt a little warm, but then she had just gotten up.  Well, while we were snuggling, she threw up a little on my shoulder.  Yikes, that is weird.  Not like her, maybe she somehow triggered her gag reflex a little.  Hmm.  Gave hubby the text heads up that Kahsu had thrown up and we would see how things were going, but we were leaving soon. 

And then, well, she threw up, not only all over her, me, but also Azeb (I was standing up holding her and Azeb was below us, next to us on the floor).  Oh yeah, bullseye on all of us! 

Church was not going to happen.  So we snuggled and played quietly and Kahsu took a sweet little nap.

Happy Mother's Day - you have been vomited on yet again.  Yep, you are a mom!!!!  LOL!

It turned out to be a great blessing overall.  Time at home, all five girls, then the rest of the family joined us.  We had a delightful day. 

And I didn't get thrown up on again. 

Twice in one Mother's Day was certainly enough.

But hey, while the littles napped, we got some more ground turned in the garden and some more carrot seeds in!  My bean plants are coming up, spring is here!!!

I love being the mom to many, but I am tired many days.  I can keep going, but as it gets later, well, I head to bed earlier at night than I used to.

My teens are in the full swing of jobs, internships, volunteering and all sorts of other things.  We are still Mom and Dad by a long shot, but they are starting to branch out, which is good.

(I have to admit that I love the toddler hugs after a time of negotiating with teens!!!)  I can still pick them up and put them in time out!!!!  But honestly, while a child being a teenager can be challenging, it is well worth it and we have great relationships.

This all said from the mom who can no longer even see straight and needs to finish this post.

Did I tell you were are rehabilitating thirty some baby rabbits from our Wildlife Sanctuary?  Yep, let's just add that to the plate - but Kiley and Faith are very involved so some days (like today) I don't have to do much - they know what to do.  We have never had so many at one time - a new record for us!!!

Have a blessed night and days to come!  God bless!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The healing in Blind Hope

I was blessed to read Blind Hope by Kim Meeder just last week and really enjoyed it.  As you know, if you read this blog even once, we are huge animal lovers here and have several rescued animals that call our property home.  Or maybe we are simply suckers - we could accept that.  BUT, the joy and lessons these animals bring with them are priceless and they demonstrate over and over that every life is precious. 

Blind Hope is a great read for dog lovers especially, as well as those that love redemptive stories.  I don't want to spoil the story at all, but a rescued dog transforms a life, maybe more than one.  To see the healing a human and an animal can bring to each other is just amazing.

I have to admit, I read this book in just two days, I was insatiably drawn into it and just had to see the journey these two were on.  I highly recommend this book!!!!

I greatly enjoy being a part of Blogging for Books and am always amazed at the lovely choices that are offered that I might not be aware of otherwise.

A quick update on the family too!

Everyone is good!  We are loud, active and good!  Loving spring, working on the garden in fits and spurts (in between the rain in the last week or so), have eggs in the incubator and one has hatched already.  That lonely little chick is waiting for everyone else to hatch out so he has someone to play with!  Most of the other eggs are duck eggs, which hatch out five days later than chicken eggs, so they should be hatching in the next couple days.  We were thrilled that it actually worked!!!!  Unfortunately, the incubator stays in Mom and Dad's room, in order to keep it away from little hands, so we hear the peeping throughout.  I never knew that the chick could audibly peep before it hatched - in fact, that was how we knew it was going to hatch, I went to turn the eggs, and heard peeping!!!  Sure enough, next morning there was a wet, tired little chick!

We are in a big birthday season right now - Tsion has hers in April, then Kiley and Zeri in May and then Solomon in June.  So, if you ask me how old our kids are and I screw up my face a little and seem to ponder it carefully as I tell you, that is why!  It is great fun and keeps us on our toes to say the least.  The littles are not really sure what to make of birthdays, including the birthday candles - that kind of freaked them out a little.  But all is good when you get to eat.

Life is good, life is busy, kids are growing, babies are being born on the farm, it is spring.  Each year there is a new project on the farm.  Last year it was the goat barn.  This year it will be the horse shelters.  Each year, taken in small bites, we can make it better out here.  The renovations in the house are nearly completed, at least until we decide to refinish all the floors, but that is about it.  Thankfully.  Next we tackle the basement and really declutter.  It is so easy to safe things because you "might need them" and then you just don't.  After a while you look at it and really don't know why it is still there.  Well, we are working on changing that.  If we cannot use it in the next year or so, then someone else would be blessed to use it RIGHT NOW.  God has taken care of us, we don't need to hoard for the future.  We keep what is very useful, and pass on what others could use.  Besides it maximizes our space in our home - and with twelve of us, we can use every inch!!!!

I will post more photos soon.   This one is of Kiley and her horse JT as they were doing a demonstration of half arabian halter horse for Horse A Rama last weekend.  We had one sunny, nice day, and then second one rained throughout.  But Kiley and JT did really well and all their hard work is paying off!

Next week is graduation (if they pass) for all three obedience class dogs (kennel club classes), so I hope to have photos of them too! 

Have a great rest of the week!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, May 5, 2012

You know you are....

You Know You're An Adoptive Parent When . . .

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.

2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.

3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.

4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you....

5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.

6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.

7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth. (2 years!)

8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.

9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.

10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.

11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.

12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!

13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.

14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
I haven't posted much lately, well, basically because life is really busy with our new additions and life in general!   I will try to get better about it, but you know, life needs to be focused on our family. 
Today was Kiley's first day at Horse A Rama and she did her demo with her beloved horse JT.  He is so good and they have worked so hard!  It is the start of show season! 
 I was thinking about it, that for ALL of our kids, there are beloved people in their lives, people that touch them and take them places that we (as their parents) can't quite get them.  Today, I realized, and I actually have known for some time, that Kiley's special person is her trainer, Gail Rentmeester.  Gail first took Kiley as a working student, basically so Kiley could get more advanced lessons.  Well, it has been a year and a half, and those two are just really important to each other.  Gail has stretched Kiley beyond what I could as her parent, and helps to pave the way for more.  I can keep things moving, but not in the way that Gail can.  Together, they are dreaming great dreams.  And actively working towards them.  What more can a parent ask for than a person who loves your child, teaches your child, pours into your child, that which is beyond your reach?  I am so grateful for all that Kiley has had the opportunity for.  I will do my best to move it forward as much as I can.  But it is now in their hands!   Doesn't it look amazing?  She has done all the work, learned all that is needed (though there is always TONS and TONS more to learn), and has earned where she is.  I am so grateful for the lovely people that pour into our kiddos, that speak into their lives with their experience and interests and truly care about our kids.  It is amazing to see Gail and Kiley together, to see how they feed into each other, learn from each other, and their relationship as it has grown.  I can never thank Gail enough.

So, in other news, the band Alex is in, Sanctify, has made it into the talent contest at Lifest in Oshkosh, WI!!!  The middle of July they will be competing.  It was very, very exciting all the voting that went on that got them this opportunity.  They deserve it and have worked so hard also!!!!  You can find Sanctify on Facebook and hopefully they will be up and coming!  They have a few videos on YouTube too!  I have no idea how to link them or I would.  I guess that will be my task in the next few days - to learn how to do that!
Soccer season is about to start - a couple more weeks!  That will up our busyness!  But this year only four boys are signed up for it.  Alex is too busy between work and band, and the girls were simply not interested at all.  
Homeschool continues throughout the summer so that doesn't change for us at all.  We are having quite a good time with active learning.  Though that is harder to document!  LOL!  
And the Littles - Azeb and Kahsu.  They are doing lovely.  We have several new phrases that we use a lot and one is "no yelling" in Amharic.  They understand that really well.  Not that it is helpful all the time, but the yelling meter has showed some reduction in the dB meter.  When I look back, we can see how far they have come based simply on the reduction in tantrums!  I was once again realizing today how many words they have learned.  We certainly don't have a ton of unprompted English (less that fifteen words), but we do have lots that they do use and they understand a ton.  I am surprised day after day.  And they are growing!  Not just in stature and weight but in play skills and social skills.  And attachment - wonderful lovely attachment.  It is coming.  Some days the process of that is exhausting, but it is wonderful!  Kahsu is nearly 18 pounds now - from the 15.8 she was when she got home eight weeks ago.  Azeb also, but she was never underweight and is even heavier now, though obviously growing taller!!!  It is hard to put into words all the changes in their lives.  We are firmly in the land of diapers, naps and toddlerhood.  It is challenging and wonderful and amazing.  I cannot believe they have only been here for eight weeks, and then it seems like just yesterday I was aching to hold their little bodies in my arms and snuggle them!
 Well, and on that note, I have to get them changed and up to bed.  We are out of our routine due to the horse events, but in such a lovely day, who can complain???
 


"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11