Friday, March 29, 2013

Sunday is Coming

The drama started early at our house this morning. Vivi woke up at 5:45 acting like she was starving. And while I was feeding her, I could hear Jonah talking and playing in his room. Seriously, little people? Five a.m. doesn't really work for me.

Once I got Vivienne settled back to sleep and I made sure Jonah wasn't going to jump out of bed and attempt a daring escape, I headed back to my room to get ready for the day. I thought I should probably fix my hair and put on a little makeup since I was planning to meet Peter and some of his coworkers for lunch later. On a normal day, I do neither of those things, but a lunch date with the hubby is a rare occasion and therefore requires a little extra effort.

After I was sufficiently presentable, I went to the kitchen to fix breakfast. And by "fix breakfast" I mean throw a few frozen waffles in the toaster oven. No judgments, please. And on a side note, I totally fought against the purchase of that toaster oven but I have to say that it might be one of my favorite appliances in the kitchen. I use it every day for a variety of things, but the best thing that comes out of it is dry toast which gets slathered with Nutella. Yum! Ok, I'm officially sidetracked now...

Back to breakfast. I fixed the waffles and went in to wake my precious firstborn. "Good morning, Brie. Your waffles are on the table," I said sweetly. Can't you just hear the sugar in my voice? But lo and behold, you would've thought I had cooked pigs feet or cow brain for breakfast. The fit she threw over those waffles! However, I remained semi-calm (meaning I didn't yell at her), and I strongly recommended that she eat the stupid things. Aye aye aye. So much drama and it wasn't even 7:00 a.m.

Once the breakfast drama died down and Peter left to take Brie to school, I attempted the impossible - grocery shopping at three different stores with two kids under the age of three. Call me crazy, I know. But I was really hoping to catch all the sales. Somehow we survived the shopping experience and were even able to meet Peter for a relatively peaceful lunch. Hallelujah. The rest of the day was relatively painless - a fun afternoon outside, combined with constant chattering by the nine year old, followed by a tantrum courtesy of the two year old because he didn't want to take a bath, complete with the sobs of a teething baby. Just a typical day. A Good Friday.

I know I like to joke around about our family drama but the truth is that every other family goes through pretty much the exact same thing as our family.  However, two thousand years ago, the real drama took place. My Savior chose the death of a criminal so that He could save me and anyone else who chooses to believe in Him. He loves us so much. More than even I, as a mom, can comprehend. His incomparable love caused Him to walk purposefully to the cross, knowing exactly what would happen. He allowed the nails to pierce His hands, the crown of thorns to be placed on His head. He could have stopped it. But He didn't. He died for me. For you.

It was the worst Friday in history. But we don't have to mourn or be fearful because Jesus is risen. My King is alive. Today may be Friday, but Sunday is coming.

Happy Easter, my friends.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Wanna Be An Orange Rhino

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to the Orange Rhino Challenge. Basically, this challenge was started by a mom who wanted to yell less at her kids so she decided to challenge herself, and other moms, to 365 days of no yelling. She picked a "rhino" because a rhino is generally a laid back animal. Unless it is provoked. Then it gets all vicious on you. And she picked the color orange because it is a warm color and she wanted to be a more warm and caring mother to her kids.

I'm thinking about taking up this challenge. Well, actually I've been "thinking" about it since my friend posted it a few weeks ago. But obviously, if you've been a fly on my wall the past few weeks, you will know that I haven't fully accepted the challenge of no more yelling. I'm wondering how difficult this is going to be. And if the no yelling applies to how I relate to the hubs too. It probably does. Dang it.

I'm thinking the challenge will be super easy with Vivienne. I haven't yelled at her once in 9 whole months. Wow, I'm such a great mom. Jonah might be a little more challenging. I tend to raise my voice at him because he's so good at tuning me out. And Brienne, well, I get frustrated and yell at her more than I care to admit. Sometimes I think she should be more mature and helpful than she actually is. Then I remember she is only nine years old. Still a mere child...

I probably should have started this challenge a couple days ago. This past weekend was full of all amounts of craziness, tantrums, illnesses, etc... First, it rained the entire weekend. Actually, "stormed" would be a better word. So the kids couldn't go outside and run all of their energy out. To make matters worse, my sweet husband, who I love dearly, is training for an ironman (yes, he's pretty amazing). But by training, I mean he holes himself up in the garage on his trainer and cycles for hours. Yes, I said hours. Like four or more hours. I'm sure it's no stroll in the park for him but its also no fun for the mama stuck inside with three whiny, bored kids.

Last night was sort of the last straw. Peter worked on our taxes all morning. Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful he did that. But then he went for a run for a couple hours. Then he went to Life Group for a couple hours. I stayed home with the kids because Brie had some sort of weird rash and I didn't know if it was contagious. So anyway, by about 6:15, I felt like I was living in a zoo. Vivienne was screaming because she was tired and wanted to be held. Jonah was crying because he had been bouncing on the bed and decided to jump off. Apparently it hurts when you dive head first off of a twin bed. Who knew? And then Brie picked that very moment to bring her iPod to me, with music blaring, so I could listen to a song. Seriously? In what reality would I be able to concentrate on the words of a song when I have two babies screaming their little heads off? I might have raised my voice a little. And then I promptly got Jonah ready for bed because this mama was ready for bedtime. Some days, 7:00 can't come soon enough.

Today is a new day and full of its own challenges. But doesn't every day contain at least one thing that makes us a little crazy? I'm choosing to embrace the insanity and to do it with less yelling. I know there will be days that I fail, and that's okay. I'll just pick myself back up, apologize, and try again.

I wanna be an orange rhino. I dare you to be an orange rhino too.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lessons from a Chatterbox

Brienne likes to talk. And she talks a lot. I mean, a lot! Oftentimes, Peter and I can't even get a word in. And poor Jonah. He just waits patiently till she stops talking. Which is almost never. I'm not exaggerating.

And it's not just that Brienne likes to talk. I think all of us like to talk a little bit. I like to talk to my friends and to Peter. But Brie likes to talk about NOTHING. Things that are ridiculously inconsequential. Maybe they're important to her, but I'm pretty sure that the color of someone's shirt on a commercial she saw last week doesn't warrant a fifteen minute conversation. The problem with Brie's talkativeness is that she starts off with an actual point to the conversation but ends up going so far around the topic that whoever is listening has completely lost focus and interest. I've tried explaining to her the importance of being succinct, but that goes in one ear and out the other. And I know that one day in the near future she'll stop wanting to tell me everything, so I've got to soak in as much as I can now. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.)

Lately, though, every time I've started getting frustrated with the incessant talking, I feel the Lord convict me of my own nonstop, inconsequential ramblings. I've become more aware of my self-talk: those things I say to myself and about myself. I fixate on one "problem" and then bombard myself with negativity. "You're too old. You're not as talented as that person. You'll never be good enough." Blah blah blah... We were not created to demean ourselves in that way. 

I also hear the Lord say to me, "Child, you talk to me the same way Brienne talks to you." So I've started paying attention to the way I talk to Him. I've noticed that when I pray, I talk constantly. Which is okay. God really does want us to talk to Him and tell Him what's on our minds (even though He already knows). But communication goes both ways. How often do I shut up long enough for Him to respond to me? Or for Him to speak to me about something completely off subject? Do I spend as much time listening as I do talking? Sometimes. But not nearly enough.

Recently I read a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, a pastor in Washington D.C. In the book, he writes about the importance of praying bold prayers. He even suggests making a list of life goals (more on that in another post) and using those goals as jumping off points for big prayers. Like many of you, I have a prayer list that I pray through each morning. I pray over them but many times it feels so monotonous. Boring. "Please be with so-and-so as they do such-and-such." Is that what prayer is supposed to be like? I don't think so! And I'm not saying that all my prayers are this redundant, but I have to admit that a lot of them are. My prayers, for the most part, certainly aren't big and bold. I could definitely use some improvement in the way I communicate with my Heavenly Father.

So, the next time I get bombarded by the ramblings of a nine-year old, I'll first cherish the fact that she still likes me enough to pour out her thoughts to me. And then I'll remember that God gives me grace when become a chatterbox; therefore, I also need to extend grace to Brienne. Thankfully, God's love is unconditional, even if we won't shut our mouths long enough to hear Him say, "I love you, precious daughter." At least Brie will stop talking long enough for me to tell her that I love her. And I do love that precious child. Chatterbox and all...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Little Things

It's Mustache March. For those of you who've never heard of Mustache March, it's a month of macho madness where grown men in the United States Air Force (I'm not sure if they do this in the other military branches) compete to see who can grow the best mustache. It's super fun. I love my husband but I definitely do not love Mustache March. I believe Brie even once called Peter's mustache a hairy caterpillar on his top lip.

But the interesting thing about this whole mustache fiasco (because that's really what it is - a fiasco) is the way the guys carry themselves when they're growing mustaches. Normal, intelligent, successful men become adolescents, competing to see who can grow the fullest mustache, thus indicating who is the manliest among the group. And they give each other weird compliments. For instance, one day Peter came home from work, and he was so proud because one of his coworkers had called his mustache "Zorro-esque." Really? First of all, it's creepy that a man would compliment another man in that way. And secondly, it's not Zorro-esque. Trust me. It's more like Hitler-esque. (Although my dear sweet husband is sure he looks more like Tom Selleck than Hitler.) (Um, by the way, no one wears a mustache like Tom Selleck.)

There is one thing I like about Mustache March, though - it makes Peter ridiculously happy. He loves growing a mustache, probably because he knows how much it irritates me. It makes him feel macho, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. (wink wink) In the grand scheme of things, I think I can live with Peter's mustache for one measly month a year. It's such a little thing and it makes him happy.

There are lots of little things that make us happy. For Brienne, it's curling up with a good book, or watching a movie while chowing down on popcorn. For Jonah, it's driving down the road and seeing a fire truck or "kink pows" (that means "pink flowers" for those of you who don't speak Jonah-ese). One day he and I were standing at the deli counter of Winn Dixie and he noticed the rotisserie chicken cooking. He was in awe! I think we stood there and watched those chickens rotate for a good five minutes and we probably could've stayed longer. I was fascinated that he was fascinated! See? It's the little things that make us happy and keep us entertained.

I know in the busyness of life, I'm guilty of not taking time for the little things.( I'm pretty sure in my 37 years on this earth, I've never stopped to watch chicken cooking in a grocery store.) I'm usually in such a hurry that I barely see the people around me (much less a roasting, rotating bird). We have been blessed in so many ways, and I want to be more aware of those blessings. I don't want to miss anything that the Lord has given me. I want to take the time to enjoy the creamy goodness of a milkshake with Brienne or watch the birds fly from tree to tree with Jonah. I want to watch the wonder in Vivienne's eyes as she sees bubbles for the first time.

And I want to see the faces of the people around me, even if they're wearing a mustache.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Diary of a Wimpy... 37 Year Old??

I posted on Facebook that I finally reached my goal weight today. And that Vivienne will be nine months old tomorrow. My friends are so sweet and supportive, congratulating me and making me feel so good about myself. It was mostly other mommies who know we all need a little encouragement every now and then. 

You know, I've always heard "Nine months on, nine months off," and to be honest, I've always thought that saying was ridiculous. I mean, seriously? It's going to take nine whole months to lose a litte baby weight? It took me 10 days to lose the weight with our first child, so needless to say, I was a little bit overconfident this time around. Just a little. I think God likes to humble us in our pride sometimes lest we get too crazy. 

And, alas, the saying holds true. At least for me, in this season of my life. It did take nine months to lose the weight. And I would love to tell you that all my pre-pregnancy clothes fit me again but at the moment I can only find two pair of jeans in my closet. And almost none of my shirts. I have no idea where all my clothes disappeared to. I'm pretty sure I went on a hormonal rampage while I was huge and pregnant and gave everything to Goodwill, thinking there was no way on God's green earth that I would ever be able to stuff myself back into those "tiny" things. And "tiny" is a relative term, mind you. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that's what happened. But I digress. 

I reached my goal weight. Yay! I did it by counting calories (super fun) and by running. So, mostly cardio with very little strength training. I just wanted to hit my goal weight, you know? And I figured I was in pretty good shape, right? Uh. That's a Big. Fat. No. 

Today I decided to take a class that a friend teaches at my gym. The only way to describe this class is 45 minutes of supervised torture. I say that in a loving way. I would imagine that it is similar to crossfit (although I've never done crossfit), but basically it's high intensity and you use your own body weight. It's a lot of squats, lunges, push-ups, abs, burpees, plyometrics, etc... I actually enjoyed the "torture," and I will go back, but I was stunned at how sore I was immediately following the class. Y'all, I could hardly lift my kids into their carseats. I was struggling to pick Jonah up to put him in the car and I seriously considered flagging down the lady next to me for help. Now that's desperation! And then, after I showered, I was trying to dry my hair and could hardly lift the hair dryer. I'm serious! I'm sad to say that I ended up putting the hair dryer away and going about my day with semi-wet, frizzy hair. I'm so ashamed. (wink, wink) I'm dreading what I will feel like tomorrow. I'm just hoping I'll be able to crawl out of bed. 

I could go all religious on you and say that just like we need to keep our bodies in shape, we also need to stay in shape by reading the Word and being in constant communication with the Lord. But I'm not going there today. I'm just going to sit here with my feet propped up, and maybe ice some muscle that I didn't even know I had...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Blessed Beyond Exhaustion

Today I am exhausted. Like squinty-eyed, grumpy, can't finish a sentence, lose my train of thought exhausted. If you're a mom, you've been there. And until you become a mom, whatever exhaustion you thought you've felt in the past does not compare. Moms have so much to worry about and think about - feeding schedules; nap schedules; piano practice; sports schedules; illnesses; did the homework get finished; did the kids study enough for their tests; where to come up with money to buy new clothes for quickly growing kids; what to serve for dinner; the never-ending laundry. Not to mention discipline; giving each child enough attention; teaching them to love Jesus; teaching them to be kind, helpful, good citizens. Whew! I'm more exhausted now just thinking about all that.

I remember being in college, carrying a full load of classes, working part-time, staying up late to study, and feeling exhausted. Even being close to a breakdown. If I could go back to that nineteen-year-old me, I'm not sure what I would tell her. Would I explain to her that one day she would long for the carefree days of college? No, I'd probably just let that girl live in oblivion. I mean, when you have nothing else to worry about, college can be a little stressful,  so I would just let her think life gets easier. And it does. Get easier, that is. But the "easier" sort of comes in spurts.

Now don't get me wrong - I love my life. I have a wonderful husband and three beautiful children. I couldn't be more blessed.  But today I'm feeling exhausted. Tired. Old. Grumpy. I haven't slept longer than 4 hours at a time in about a year. I'm not really complaining, I'm just stating facts. Vivienne is almost 9 months old and still wakes up 2-3 times a night. (Obviously we've got to suck it up and let her cry it out soon.) And for 3-4 months before she was born, I barely slept at all. I was huge and uncomfortable so sleep eluded me. If you've ever been pregnant, you understand.

Ok, where was I going with this post anyway? See, I've already lost my train of thought. Ggrrrr...

I guess my point is that, yes, I'm tired beyond belief. But I also know that this is just a season. And one day I will miss those middle of the night feedings where I have Vivienne all to myself and can pray over her. I have loved being able to pray the fruit of the Spirit over her - that the Lord will give her love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I've loved praying for her future husband and imagining their life together. I can't wait to see how the Lord brings these prayers to fruition in her life.

I know that the Lord will use this season of exhaustion. He knows my heart and He knows my struggles. He hears my prayers and somehow He always gives me the exact amount of energy I need for each new day. All I have to do is ask. Isn't it wonderful to have a God who loves us and cares about the details of our lives? Even our exhaustion.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Our journey to Jonah

We have had tons of people who are continuing to ask about our adoption so I thought I would share our journey from the beginning. It actually all started nine years ago while Peter and I were trying to get pregnant with Brienne. We had been trying to have a baby for a couple years with no luck and one night I was reading “Jesus the One and Only” by Beth Moore.  In the first or second chapter she discussed the role of Joseph and how the Lord has such a heart for adoption that He even allowed His only Son to be adopted by an earthly father. When I read that, I just felt in my soul that the Lord was speaking to me and telling me that one day we would adopt a baby.  When I mentioned it to Peter, though, he was less than enthusiastic. Then a couple months later, after completing another fertility treatment, we became pregnant with Brienne. But I didn’t forget the tugging in my heart towards adoption that I had felt that night alone in my bedroom.

Fast-forward three years – Brienne was almost 3 and Peter and I decided it would be a good time to have another baby. We went through several rounds of fertility treatments, spending all of our savings, but we just couldn’t get pregnant. After about 4 rounds of treatment, I just really began to feel that the Lord was calling us to adopt. Everywhere I looked, everything I read, even our Christmas program at church that year was centered on adoption. It was bombarding me and I felt that the Lord was really trying to speak to me through certain people, books and magazines that I was reading, and even things I was hearing on the radio. Peter and I began to pray about the possibility of adoption even though Peter was not thoroughly convinced that this was something we should do. We decided to pray about it while we continued to pursue fertility treatments. After 7 rounds of treatment, we decided that we would go ahead and pursue adoption. I had been given a verse (Psalm 113:9) by a friend to claim as my own. The verse says, “And the Lord will make the barren woman a happy mother of children.” I began praying that verse for myself and believing it to be true because I knew that the Lord had spoken to me and that He would do what He said He would do.

We chose to pursue an international adoption and were on a waiting list to receive a little girl from Guatemala.  When we began the process in March 2007, we were #47 on the waiting list, and after about 6 months, we had moved up to #13. However, in December 2007 we received a call that Guatemala and the United States had decided to halt adoptions due to some international laws that the countries basically couldn’t agree on. So we were left with a decision to make – we could wait it out to see if Guatemala would reopen, we could change countries, or we could choose to stop the adoption process altogether and lose all of our money. We felt like we couldn’t just let all that money go to waste so we first decided to switch countries and go to Vietnam; however, we soon found out that Vietnam was closed due to some political strife. Next we decided to try the China special needs program but we began to encounter one problem after another with our paperwork. We realized that we weren’t feeling called to adopt a child from one of these countries so we just continued to pray and tried to follow God’s will for our family. A few months later, in August 2008 we received a phone call from our local social worker in Louisiana saying that she had received a referral of a little boy in the Ukraine and she asked if we wanted him.  Of course we did! We felt like this little boy was the answer to our prayers, and all three of us, Peter (who was deployed again), Brienne, and I, immediately fell in love with this little blond-headed blue-eyed angel. We began the paperwork process for Ukraine and completed everything in record time. We truly felt like this was the Lord’s doing because everything was falling into place so easily. But that turned out to be the furthest thing from the truth. In December 2008, as we were basically just waiting on the phone call to travel to Ukraine to bring the little boy that we were calling Cooper home to us, we got a different, devastating phone call. Due to several unrelated circumstances beyond our control, including civil unrest caused by Russia, we weren’t going to be able to adopt this precious child. I was absolutely devastated and couldn’t understand why the Lord would put us through two years of heartbreak.

In the meantime, we received orders to move to Clarksville, TN. When we moved there, I begged Peter to complete a TN home study so that we would be prepared if we ever found a baby in the surrounding area who needed a home. His response was, “No. If God wants us to have a baby, He will drop one in our lap.” We had no idea how prophetic that statement would turn out to be. 

Every day, I would get up and pray for a baby for our family. I didn’t know how the Lord was going to do it, but I just felt so strongly that He had promised me another baby all those years ago so I kept praying persistently. But one morning in April 2010, as I was reading the Bible and praying, I felt the Lord tell me to stop praying for a baby. I couldn’t understand why He would ask that of me, but I knew that He was requiring me to stop praying for this thing that I had become obsessed with, and I knew that He would help me by taking away my desire for another child. So that morning, I stopped praying for a baby. I called Peter who was out of town, and he said, “Well, it’s about time.” He had stopped praying for a baby months before when he saw how much it was hurting me as we went through heartbreak after heartbreak.

Our little family got into a routine and we were satisfied and happy with the one precious daughter the Lord had given us. Everything was going smoothly and then on the morning of September 24, 2010, I was studying the Bible and reading the book Radical when I felt the Lord ask me, “Adrienne, how can I ever be glorified in your life if you are always the one planning everything?” Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks and I just sat there and wept. I told the Lord that morning that I wanted Him to be glorified in my life and I wanted Him to show up big so that everyone would know it was Him and not me. I had no idea just how much He was going to show out!

THAT VERY EVENING I received a phone call from our social worker in Louisiana. Keep in mind we had not spoken to her in over a year. She called to tell me that she had a birth mom who had chosen us to be the family for her baby! What?? I had no idea that our social worker was even showing our profile information to anyone. Well, of course, I was ecstatic but I knew we had so many hurdles to overcome. Peter was deployed again for an entire year, we didn’t have a TN home study, and we had no money to fund this adoption. When I told our social worker these things, she responded, “Well, if this is the child the Lord has chosen for your family, then He will make a way.”

I contacted Peter in Afghanistan and he agreed that we should pursue this adoption and see what would become of it. He really felt that God was answering our heart’s desire for another child, particularly because we had just given this to the Lord not too many months before. As we talked about names for this precious baby, Peter suggested the name Jonah. He felt that this name signified our journey of how we sometimes stray from God’s plan only to realize that it is impossible to elude God. Peter felt that the name Jonah signified obedience and we were being obedient to the Lord’s will for our family.

I began to get all of our paperwork together and had a home study update completed.  The baby wasn’t due until November 22, so in my mind, I had about 2 months to get ready for this new addition to our family. I was still wary about buying anything or telling anyone although I did tell a few friends who I knew would be praying for the situation. Then on October 25 I received an email letting me know that the birth mom had gone into early labor. I was panicked but I had enough sense to pack a bag for me and Brienne and hit the road to Louisiana. Our precious little Jonah was born on October 26, as we were driving somewhere in Alabama. As I arrived at the hospital the following morning to meet my son, I was nervous and excited and anxious all at the same time. But when the birth mom’s mother placed him in my arms, I knew he was the answer to our prayers. I knew I was holding my son, and he was the reason all of our other adoption plans had fallen through. The Lord had been preparing our hearts for this very moment.

As I left the hospital that evening with my son in the back seat, I couldn’t help but reflect on this incredible journey. And it dawned on me that back in April, when the Lord had asked me to stop praying for a baby, the birth mom was actually finding out that she was pregnant with our child. It was as if God was saying, “I have this under control. Stop obsessing and worrying about it. Give it over to me. I have a plan for you.” I was amazed to realize the timing of those events. And what I love the most is that God is in the details - for instance, both birth parents are musically gifted. So many things happened which indicated that the Lord cares about the details of our lives; not just the major problems but the little things. I love that! And I know that our family feels so blessed and loved by our amazing God.


Quoting the late Paul Harvey, “and now, the rest of the story...”

Nearly 1 year after Jonah’s birth, God showed up big in our lives once again.  Through our years of fertility, I developed a habit of taking a pregnancy test prior to receiving the FLU vaccination.  In October 2011, I took another pregnancy test, not with anticipation, but solely out of habit, and I nearly fainted. The result was positive!  This was impossible!  For years, doctors had told me that I would never be able to get pregnant on my own. But “humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26 NLT).  I was speechless!  I took a picture of the pregnancy test and texted Peter who immediately called me, dumbfounded.  Because of our history of ectopic pregnancies during fertility treatments, Peter was adamant about getting an ultrasound accomplished as soon as possible.  The very next day, we walked into the ultrasound room with too many feelings to capture in words.  Those feelings quickly turned to tears of joy when we heard the heartbeat and the nurse say, “you’re pregnant.”

Peter wanted to tell everyone immediately, but I had some reservations.  He said, “this was a gift from God and regardless of what may happen tomorrow, we are celebrating the life of our first naturally conceived child.”  How could I argue with that?  Although we were tempted throughout the pregnancy, due to my age and higher risk of abnormalities, we refused to allow fear and doubt to enter our thoughts.  So, on June 12, 2012 we welcomed Vivienne Elise into the world and our growing family.  God is good, all the time, and He has a sense of humor.  June 12 is not only Vivienne’s birthday, but also our wedding anniversary.  Peter says Vivienne was an anniversary gift from God following our obedience of adoption.

As we reflect back on our journey, we keep discovering more and more details that can only be of God’s doing.  One of those moments hit Peter and me hard.  We were preparing the house in TN for yet another move, this time to GA, when we discovered a photo from 2008.  It was a photo of Cooper, the Ukrainian blond-headed blue-eyed angel.  As soon as we looked at the photo, we turned and looked at each other—JONAH!  The resemblance is amazing and with further study of the picture, we noticed what was embroidered on Cooper’s outfit—a big fish.
We are both so humbled by God’s grace and love that has and continues to be poured into our lives.  Will this be the end of our journey…only God knows?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chapel, Hairbows, and Favorite Stores

I had been looking forward to yesterday all week. First of all, it was Friday. And to top it off, it was payday. When you're a stay-at-home mom, Fridays don't really hold the same appeal as they do when you're working outside the home. Mostly because all 7 days of the week look pretty much the same. But yesterday was supposed to be different. I had big plans.

Friday morning was Parent Chapel Day at Brienne's school. Peter had graciously volunteered to stay home with the two younger kids that morning so I could go to chapel. Then, since he was going to attend a men's dinner at church that evening, Brienne and I had planned to go check out a cute little hairbow and children's clothing store after school, followed by a shopping spree to Target. Now hear this: Target is one of my favorite stores. I love it! But I don't get over there very often because it's on the complete opposite side of town, 25 minutes away. That doesn't seem so far, but when you have two small children and one of them is still nursing, a 25 minute jaunt across town isn't always in the cards.

I started sensing a chink in my plans Thursday night when Jonah started running fever and complaining of ear pain and Vivienne was so snotty and congested that she could hardly breathe. I went to Parent Chapel Day but ended up leaving the reception a bit early so that I could get home, load the babies in the car, and take them to the doctor. It was just as I figured: Jonah had an ear infection. But not just one ear, mind you; both ears were infected. That kid is a trooper! He should've been in a lot more pain than he was letting on. Vivienne just had snot.

Both kids were fading fast once we left the doctor's office, so I put Jonah in the bed, nursed Vivienne, and put her down for a nap too. That's when I realized I hadn't fed Jonah any lunch. Oh well, I figured I had stuffed him with enough goldfish and juice at the doctor's office that he probably wasn't hungry anyway. As I was eating lunch (I'm not much for skipping meals myself) Vivienne woke up, and I could hear Jonah playing and jumping in his bed. Apparently he wasn't as sleepy as I thought, so I grabbed both of them, threw them back in the car, and headed out early for our Target excursion.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, traffic was HORRENDOUS for a Friday afternoon at 1:45. What should have been a 25 minute drive turned into a 50 minute stop-and-go torture track. The good news is - Jonah got that nap in. The bad news is - Jonah got that nap in. I had to wake him up when we got to Target and he was a bear. My dreams of a blissful shopping experience quickly disappeared. I did find a precious little dress for Vivienne, though, but that's about it.

                                                                  Isn't this adorable?

After that disappointment, we picked up Brienne and headed to the bow shop. Oh.My.Goodness. That place was filled with all sorts of hair accessories, some of which I'd never seen before. And the boutique clothing. Whoa! I knew we had to make a quick escape before Peter and my pocketbook both had a conniption. We did buy a couple sweet flower clips and this handy dandy little twisty contraption.

We had planned to pick up Subway for dinner since Friday is my one day off from cooking, but after picking up medication at the pharmacy, I was honestly too tired to get all three kids back out of the car just for some cheap sandwiches. So we picked up fast food. It tasted yummy but my hips and thighs will be none too happy with me... (Why doesn't Subway have a drive-thru anyway?) The day actually ended quite peacefully, however, with both little ones going to bed easily so Brienne and I could have our weekly movie night.

You know, I had planned all week for what I thought would be a great Friday but little things kept interfering. Sick babies, toddlers who didn't want to nap, traffic jams, etc... These little things messed up my plans. It wasn't a huge deal, but I did feel a small amount of disappointment. But it got me thinking about God's plans for our lives. He has these AMAZING adventures that He wants to take us on - MUCH better than a Target run or Subway sandwiches for dinner. How does it make Him feel when we get "sick" in our sin or we get caught in traffic jams and detours? Is He disappointed that His plans weren't fulfilled? My prayer is that I will heed the still small voice of the Lord so that I am better able to follow His plan for my life. I want to know the plans He has for me; plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Let's all be more mindful of His calling this week.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Always a Party

Yep. I'm starting a blog. At the age of 37. But, hey, it's never too late to start, right? I decided to write a blog because I rarely have time to sit down with pen and paper and write about all the craziness that happens each day but I figured I would usually have time to jump online and quickly post something. I really wanted a record of all the things that go on around here in our happy little world so I figured this would be the easiest way.

I named our blog "Party of FIVE" because it's definitely always a party at the Terrebonne house. Some days it's a fun, cake-filled adventure where everyone genuinely loves each other and is getting along. Other days, it's more like a surprise party - and you never know who's going to show up: Grumpy Daddy, Wild Toddler Man, Tween Attitude, or Princess Crybaby. Or Mean Mama. :) But in the end, no matter what kind of day it's been, I'm grateful that the Lord decided to bless me with these precious little people.

I hope that, as you read this blog, you will see yourself in our adventure and that you will be encouraged in yours!