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Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Video For Auntie Katie...

We miss and love you auntie Katie....counting down the days to our big airplane ride to come and see you!!!!

(Don't forget to pause my music player at the bottom first.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Rough Day...

I should be in bed, or cleaning the kitchen, or folding laundry, but I just wanted to take this time for me. Today has been a rough one. Normally I don't speak much of the rough days, but I thought I would share. I haven't been feeling good for the last couple of weeks. I kept excusing it for allergies. However, finally the searing pain in my left ear could be ignored no longer. Off to the doctor's I went. Turns out I have a horrible sinus infection, ear infection and fluid in both of my ears. My eyes, sinus and head hurt. All I wanted to do was sleep...but a role as a mother must be carried out sick or not. I must admit I wasn't a good mom today. I was short tempered and had low patience. I am sorry to my kids. Although, they were grumpy and the little one is teething. Can't a girl catch a break? Apparently not today. I felt like throwing a toddler fit when I realized that we would be a making a trip to Target to buy more formula. Yippee. Great...isles and isles of "can I get this?" and "can I get that?" We survived. I came home and threw the 2 older ones out in the pool and the baby swung in her swing. I managed to make a measly dinner of hot dogs and chips. But the kiddos did get a shower and a snack. They are all sleeping now, so I must go and join them. Even on my worst day, I am thankful for the blessings that they are. How can you not look at them and be happy. Here's to hoping those antibiotics kick in quickly!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Journey from Disposables To Cloth....Diapers

Ok...I must admit, I am the last person that I ever thought in a million years that would be writing this post. I have never even entertained the idea of cloth diapers until a month ago. My images prior to a month ago of cloth diapers includes diaper pins and "dunking" diapers in the toilet. Both things I would never, ever, want to do. I don't know if it has been the change in our food choices, being more conscious about chemicals, food additives, organic meats or just searching out the truth behind "how are we living?" "what are we eating?" "where do things come from?" or just asking the really difficult questions that I have never even thought of nor cared about before. But....something sparked my interest a month ago and I have been researching the vast world of cloth diapering. I have learned so much, but some of the main interesting facts that I have taken with me include: it takes approximately 500 years for a disposable diaper to break down in a landfill, over the course of diapering Isabella (from infancy to potty training) we will easily go through 6500 to 7000 diapers, we can save thousands of dollars by using cloth diapers, it is so much better for her skin, and the most surprising one is that the world of cloth diapering has changed so dramatically that the images I have had of it don't even exist anymore.

We haven't officially switched over yet. I thought I could share my journey thus far and update as time goes by. The first steps have been the massive amounts of research I have done and deciding which cloth diapering system I want to use. Yes...they have many different types, prefolds with covers, fitted diapers with covers, pocket diapers (these have inserts), all-in-one diapers a.k.a.(AIO's)...then you have all the different accessories depending on which system you use. They have things called "Snappies" that clip onto the diapers in place of diaper pins, although most all the systems don't even require pins or "snappies". Probably the most important piece of cloth diapering is how do you launder them. It is surprisingly easier than I imagined. There are no pails of soaking water or solution....from everything I have found out you wash diapers every other day. After you change the baby, you store diapers in a "dry" pail or special bag. If they are soiled you dispose of the waste in the toilet. There are tools to help this process be a clean one. You can use flushable liners that help contain the solids or a spray tool that attaches to your toilet. Apparently even with disposable diapers you are suppose to dispose of the waste in the toilet. You set your washer to run a rinse cycle using cold (with no special detergent or anything). Then you add 1/4 of your regular use of detergent and run a hot/cold cycle sometimes with an extra rinse. Dry in the dryer or hang in the sun. Done.

My next step in the process is to locate a store in the area and go in an continue to ask my questions and physically feel and look at the diapers. Oh..I decided to go with fitted diapers with covers and some pocket diapers. It is very common to mix and match what type of diaper you want to use. So here I go...into an unfamiliar world...but it feels feels right...and I am anticipating continuing to expand my resources help better our family both financially and health wise.

Bella...Meet Bryson

Bella had the opportunity to meet her long awaited Bryson. Our good friends, Jordan and Sarah, had Bryson 2 weeks ago. Mark and Jordan have been joking, quite seriously I might add, that Bryson and Bella were going to have an arranged marriage :) It was a special moment last week when we finally put the babies side by side after so many months of praying for each other. God is so wonderful and faithful and we are all thankful for His great blessings in these babies. Oh the plans that God must have for these little ones.

Bryson 2 weeks, Bella 3 1/2 months

"Why won't he hold my hand mom?"

Sweet Bryson...look at all that hair!

Bella enjoying Uncle Jordan and Auntie Sarah. Bella thought Uncle Jordan was just so funny and was laughing at him :)

Baseball Park

We had our annual "baseball park" adventure. Both Mimi and Papa came to play. The kids were so surprised when Papa showed up. Mimi bought Subway for everyone and then we went to Sellwood Park a.ka. "baseball park" for a picnic and then baseball. Of course we also hit the playground equipment too.

(Grace up to bat!)

Grace, Bella and Luke @ Sellwood Park

Bella enjoying the "baseball park"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Train Up a Child....

(Luke at age 3...His first In and Out Burger)

I have began to discover that the longer I parent....the more difficult decisions that one has to make. Mark and I have struggled for months regarding the decision to send the kids to public, private or home school them. Finally we have reached a decision to continue to send them to private school. God provided some of the finances and we are standing in faith for the remainder. When it comes down to it my husband said to me..."in the end it won't matter how much money or stuff we had, but this school and their education will matter to my will matter in eternity." So...I agree, although it is more difficult at times for me to have the kind of faith that he does. I know that it is a personal decision for each parent and their is no right or wrong answer. It is more a kid by kid decision. For my son especially keeping him in a small class environment is essential for helping him succeed. And Grace will have the best kindergarten teacher I can think of. I am so excited for her this next year. She is going to learn so many wonderful things.

Mr. L has another evaluation coming up at the end of this month. It is for occupational therapy. We are going to try a new therapy location. We loved the old therapy place, but he graduated; however, I feel that he still needs more help. So we continue on helping him rehabilitate, continue him growing and moving forward and providing him with the skills he is going to need to be successful. At times it is exhausting. Another set of paperwork, another phone interview of endless questions, another trip down memory lane regarding his interesting past. Most times I take it in stride, but I am tired right now. I want help for him. I want answers. Nothing is ever quick. But, God knows and has everything in control and I have to trust that He will lead us in the direction we need to take regarding Mr. L and his needs.

4th of July Cuties!!!!

For the first time in our married life (11 years), I spent the 4th of July without Mark :( He had to work. The weather was cold...and I was recovering from a migraine the previous day. It just wasn't my day. I did try and put on a brave face for the kids, let them stay up late and watch fireworks, give them little trinkets (glow sticks and red, white and blue necklaces), and some fun water activities, but for the most part I felt like crying. It just wasn't the same. Luke and Grace were very brave regarding the fireworks and Bella didn't seem to worried by the loud noises. Although shooting fireworks is every mom's worst nightmare. I find myself constantly trying to find a balance between letting them experience the activities and praying under my breath that no one blows up their face, or arm or any body part for that matter. I was happy when they were all tucked in bed with their glow sticks shining under their sheets and even happier that my husband came home from work early so we could sit in the living room and enjoy the "war zone" (as we have labeled it) together.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why We Became Foster Parents....

This is a tribute I made for our 13 foster kids that we had so far....We became foster parents to adopt and grow a family...but once our eyes saw the system, the need and the children God had other plans...I hope you enjoy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Personality Plus...

Bella has taught me so much about myself. Not that my other kiddos have not taught me things. They each have provided me with life lessons that I have needed to walk through. I would never want anyone to think that Bella is better or that I feel differently for her. I look at each one as an individual story that has taken me on some of the most amazing journeys. Each one different, each one miraculous.

Luke taught me about God's wisdom and timing. He reminded me that God has a plan and that I needed to yield. After 2 miscarriages and my father passing away from cancer, I was certain that God had forgotten me. He must have hated me. I was nearly ready to give up on faith when...a sweet 8 month old boy crawled into my life. Not only did I meet my son, begin a journey to help kids, but I met an awesome family "Cunninghams" that would become another set of grandma and grandpa for my kids and a resource for me to find love, wisdom and help. Luke was a bringer of light into my dark world. "Bringer of light" is exactly what the name Luke means.
Grace taught me about God's unending favor....which, by the way, is exactly what Grace means. God purposed for me to rescue a sweet, round, blue-eyed baby girl. The first time we met she crawled into my lap and put her head on my shoulder. We took her home and began months of rehabilitation for a little girl that never smiled and was fearful of everything. We waited the amount of time we needed to adopt her and she was ours. We never had visits, or worked with the birth parents. She was just given freely to us. A gift we didn't earn or even deserve. A gift of a daughter.

And now to Bella...she has taught me about God's ability to heal and His Almighty power. How is that God can create a fully formed human being inside of a woman? I will always marvel at how miraculous it is that it works! Bella is sweet and beautiful and full of personality even at 3 months old. She makes me laugh and cry. Like her trying to sing along with me when I rock her to sleep. By the way...Gilmore our favorite show. I watched it everyday when I was pregnant with her and we watch every evening together. Who cannot love a show about a mother/daughter relationship that are friends? Bella loves the theme song to Gilmore Girls. It is the song that she tries desperately to sing with me. Did I mention the girl can eat? I can't wait to start solids with her because I think she will enjoy them. I love her more than I ever thought I could. And the sound of her makes me laugh so hard. She is the best part of me and the best part of Mark. You want to know a selfish thought? Of course you do....I absolutely love that she prefers me. With our other kiddos, Daddy was the preferred parent right of the bat. If they had a choice they would always choose daddy. I know that is normal and one day that is going to be true for Bella, but I am savory every moment that I am the preferred parent. I revel that I have the "magic touch" the "ability to calm her". It is just these things that I have missed...and these moments that I thank God for the incredible, amazing gift He has given. I certainly didn't deserve her, and did nothing to earn it. God just blessed me and I love Him for his awesome power, mercy and grace.

Isabella Mary-Ann

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dedication Day

Isabella was dedicated to the Lord on Father's Day. I knew I wanted to dedicate her on Father's Day months before we even had her. It was a wonderful dedication and Pastor Mark talked about how Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord after all those years of infertility. I have related with Hannah in the bible many times during my journey to become a mom. I had planned on sharing my story about the miracle of Isabella with the congregation, but I knew I would be too emotional, so instead I created a slide show. You can view it in the post previous to this one. Just make sure to pause the music first. I have been asked several times about the song I chose for the slide show. It is called "That's what faith can do" by Kutless.

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