Saturday, November 26, 2016

It's All Crazy

Dear Reader,

You know it is time to sweep when you kiddos use dirt from the kitchen floor to make "salsa" in their play kitchen.

We have invented a new phrase in our home.  A fluffy pink pajama'd princess flounces downstairs and announces that there is some "cat eww" upstairs on the carpet.  Most people would call this a hairball, but in our home it is now "cat eww".

We have defined "integrity" as "doing the right thing, even if no one is watching" and we have been really focusing on that this week.  There have been many instances to emphasize this character quality with both positive and negative situations that arise....  mostly the latter.

Afore mentioned princess woefully declares that she misses two things: the beach and the zoo.  I guess we should make plans to fix that problem soon.

It is also one of those weeks where, when I call my husband at work, he automatically assumes "someone did something" instead of thinking I just called to say "I love you".  Indeed, I was calling to get advice on a semi-severe discipline situation.  It's one of those weeks.

When your son has had a rough week (or two) and has essentially run out of grace, but then asks to snuggle during nap time, and falls asleep with his fingers curled around your hand...  Now, what was I upset at him for?  I don't remember.

When your daughter has been angelic this past week, and begins to feel her oats and think she can do no wrong.  Sigh.

When your vintage, proper grandmother says the brussel sprouts on a stalk look like warts-- you never see then the same way again.

When you look at the world map on the wall of your kitchen, see the countries and the cultures represented, and know that in each country there are children waiting to be loved by a mama and a daddy, and your heart breaks a little bit more inside.

When you read the story of a family that traveled to meet their daughter, only to find out after months of delays in-country that she has a loving birth family that is willing to parent her of they had some financial help for school expenses.  It is a heart wrenching story of a family walking by faith and choosing to do the right thing, even it is the most painful thing imaginable.  It's humbling, to see a family live out their commitment to do God's will even in the face of broken dreams and a crushed agenda.  Again, I am reminded of integrity.

Equally as heartbreaking, a friend miscarries.  We grieve for them, and hold our kiddos just a little tighter.

So, it's been a bit of a roller coaster around here.  Philip and I were able to get away for two days just to spend time together, quietly.  It was super nice.

We are entering a tough season with all the holiday festivities, and are each of us being challenged and molded in new ways.

I'm grateful for an amazing husband, my beautiful children, and a patient God that loves me despite me being a hot mess.

That's all for now.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

One Of Those "Ask Your Kids" Surveys

Anya at the county fair

An opossum got hit right outside our
house, so we had a lesson about
animals and death and roadkill
I should try to blog more often, but I really don't have anything to say! I mean, unless you want to hear about how I let the laundry pile up. Well, I suppose a few things have happened. Jayce turned 4 in September, and we moved to a new house. I guess that's significant. Both kiddos are doing fantastic, and love their new home. I love it too, especially since it's bigger and has a fireplace. It's a stately old home (1904) and we are loving the smaller town and quiet-ish neighborhood.

This morning, sitting in front of the fireplace, my kiddos and I watched YouTube videos about otters, and then somehow they were asking about eyeballs. Science was not my forte, so my explanation was fairly sketchy. To transition to a safer topic, I began one of those surveys where you ask your kiddos random questions and inwardly chuckle or grimace to yourself at their answers. Some their answers were spot-on, and some were a little humorous. I'll share.

1. What is something I always say to you?

Son: Flat my bed (Make the bed)

Daughter: Tigers (Tae Kwon Do Tiger program)

2. What makes me happy?
Son: When I snuggle with you

Daughter: Obeying and do the right thing

3. What makes me sad?

Son: If you’re super cold

Daughter: Not obeying

4. How do I make you laugh?

Son: Tickle me

Daughter: Tickle

5. What was I like as a child?

Son: You like turtles

Daughter: A baby

6. How old am I?

Son: I don’t know

Daughter: 3

7. How tall am I?

Son: “This big.” (holds his fingers about 5 inches apart)

Daughter: A little bit short

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

Son: Go on a walk

Daughter: Wash dishes

9. What do I do when you’re not around?

Son: You take care of your own self

Daughter: Stay by yourself

10. What am I really good at?

Son: Washing dishes

Daughter: Washing dishes

11. What is something I’m not good at?

Son: Building houses

Daughter: Playing pianos and guitars

12. What do I do for a job?

Son: Pay money

Daughter: Get some wood

13. What is my favorite food?

Son: Cake

Daughter: Tacos

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?

Son: Help you cook

Daughter: Go to the park

Jayce really does enjoy working in the kitchen, and he's getting pretty good at washing dishes himself.  He made a muffin mix almost all by himself, and did a pretty god job! Anya is a little nurturing mama, and I love seeing the compassionate side God gave her. 

Coloring with my baby girl

Making muffins and feeling very proud of it
We visited an alpaca farm
Little man all ready for family pictures

Waiting for the muffins to be done

Friday, July 8, 2016

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - DONE

Yay!  The husband came home day before yesterday, and I am SO GLAD this thing is done with.  Ugh.  I feel like all the energy, life and motivation has completely drained out of me, and all I want to do is lie on the floor in a puddle of mush and be taken care of for a while.  Ha, if only life were so simple.

Waiting for Daddy at the airport

In the 48 hours surrounding Philip and Stasia's homecoming, I made 2 loves of banana bread, a batch of chili in the crockpot, an asparagus crab bisque, cinnamon rolls, and strawberry shortcake-- all from scratch.  All of which is now consumed, but I'm too tired to be in the kitchen and make anything else. Maybe we'll do omelets again for dinner.  That's easy enough.

The happy mamas
The exhausted mamas
There were three mamas whose husbands were in Brazil. We just about did a victory dance at the airport that we (and our kiddos) all survived this experience.

The kiddos had about a day of adjustment to having Philip home again.  There was that weird time where I was their primary go-to person, even when Philip was right there.  I have heard it's normal, so we are taking it in stride.  I have been more stressed than I anticipated, and am struggling with over-dramatic emotions, stresses over little things, and I've been praying that God will change me. I think we will survive.

Wearing their soccer jerseys Daddy brought them

When I picked the kiddos up from Joni's house (They spend 2 nights there so I could clean house and they wouldn't be bothered by the fireworks) she told me that Juli's dog was pregnant.  Jayce had asked how the puppies got in the mama's tummy-- did she eat them?  Why would she eat puppies?  How were they going to come out?  Through her mouth?  Would Juli have to cut the mama open?  After Joni said they came out trough her bottom, Jayce stopped asking questions.  Phew.

Sissy with her Brazil headband from Auntie Stasia
Yesterday, Philip and I went to pick up cabinets for the kitchen.  Philip borrowed the trailer from his dad, and the cabinets all barely fit.  But, hey, I'm gonna get a real kitchen in the Tall House!  Yay!  This is a major step towards being able to move in! Tuesday they are doing the template for the countertop, and then it'll be installed 2 weeks from then.  I also finished planting the trees around the house, so I'm glad that's done.  So far all my green-leafy things have survived, and I'm excited to have so many varieties!

Gonna be a kitchen!!!

Planting my forest
Today, I took Gram shopping. I love spending time with her and hearing about the past (WWII, her life growing up, etc). Her wisdom and sense of humor are awesome, and I appreciate her outlook on life. She enjoys spending time with the kiddos, and I'm glad they can have memories with her. She told me today that during the war, the song "You are my Sunshine" was popular. The Pacific Islanders heard it so much from the American troops that they thought it was our national anthem.

Helping Grandma Rose

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 12

Hey hey!  Guess what?!?!?! 12 hours, 11 minutes, and 15 seconds until Philip's plane lands!!!  Not that I'm counting down at all.

"Look! Pigs!" -Anya

With Mom's neighbor girl, watching the tow truck

I'm so excited!  It has been an incredible 2 weeks, and I am very ready for my husband to be HOME.  But really, the kiddos have been fantastic.  There was a process of realizing that all the rules still apply even when Daddy isn't here, but otherwise, they have had great attitudes.  I think "unplanning" (to use a friend's terminology) everything and taking each day slowly made this experience so much better.  There were very few commitments I held, and we lived life slowly at the pace of a 3-year-old.  I rather wonder if that's not what God intended all along?  Or, at least, what is best.  The relational, flexible, fluid days that enhance life, not stress it out. Hmm.

Jayce at his friend's birthday party 

I know that people have been consistently praying for me.  It's so wonderful how God answers prayer, gives His strength, and gently takes care of us.  I expected this time to be miserable, and it really wasn't.  Sure, I miss my husband like a crazy woman.  However, His grace is sufficient and this turned out to be a much needed time for me and the kiddos to connect, enjoy each other, and just be together without distractions and a more demanding schedule.

That being said...  What have we been up to the last week?  Well, a friend graciously invited us over for dinner on Friday.  My kids got to run and play on their extensive property, and I got to sit in the shade and chill out and not make dinner.  It was fabulous.  Saturday, we went to the rodeo with my sister Juli, and another friend.

Hanging out at the rodeo

This guy melts my heart!

Sunday began the crazies.  After church, I let Anya nap at Mom's house while I took Jayce to a friend's birthday party.  He came back tired, and got a short nap before we all joined Uncle Daniel at another rodeo in town.  We had a great time, and this time we took the stroller so the kids wouldn't have to walk so far.

Our favorite uncle and a very happy nephew

A pleased Sissy, all giggly and wiggly

We spent the night at Mom's house because Monday morning was a parade in town!  The kiddos didn't remember what a parade was from last year, and after we sat for a while waiting, a cop rolled by, lights flashing.  They asked if the parade was over?  Once the parade actually started, they loved seeing the horses (Anya's favorite) and the motorcycles (Jayce's favorite).

Mama's favorite thing at the parade

Returning to the house, my car refused to start so we could go home and take naps.  Two jumps later (God bless the person that invented AAA) I got a tow into our mechanic while the kiddos napped at Mom's house.  I'm glad she was able to help so much and be flexible!  My first ride in a tow truck.  I guess that's cool.

In a tow truck.  Happy 4th of July to me.

Juggling a few things, I picked up the kiddos after nap in Stasia's car, and took them to Philip's parents house to eat leftovers from their 4th of July BBQ.  By then, I was completely done with all things adventurous and celebratory, and was ready to just go home.  Joni agreed to let the kiddos stay the night so they wouldn't be bothered by the fireworks here in town. I'm glad she did, because fireworks (huge, miserable, noisy, obnoxious things...) kept going until after midnight. Bleh. I sat in the back of the pickup in our yard and just watched all the fireworks around me, alone, and quite content.
We found a little frog, which was very
cute until it peed on me.  Anya was
very adamant, pronouncing to the reptile,
"We are PEOPLE, not POTTIES!"

This morning, the mechanic called and they had my car done!  I was so surprised they got it done so soon, and so thankful.  The rest of today I cleaned and baked and cooked and did some laundry.  I can't wait for Philip and Stasia to be home tomorrow.  11 hours, 53 minutes, and 26 seconds.  But who's counting??

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 7

Hey!  I made it over the half way mark!!  7 days in, and 6 days to go.  Woot woot!  Both kids are still alive, and I feel quite accomplished.

To date, I have managed to be gluten-free for 7 days, and only had one cup of coffee (today) in the last 7 days.  My gluten experiment is only that: experimental.  I don't really expect anything to change, but my husband would appreciate me not subjecting him to my GF curiosity.  So, I'm experimenting while he's away.

At the hat store in Seaside

We just got home from a few wonderful days at the beach.  My mom and I took the kiddos to Seaside on Monday, and we just got home in time for nap this afternoon.  It was a great distraction, and fun for mom and I together.

I planned for everything, I thought.  The weather here was 81 degrees....  forgot to check the weather at the coast.  Low 60s? Yeah, My poor daughter didn't have any long pants, but the sweet thing didn't complain.  It wasn't cold specifically, but certainly not the bathing-suit and tank top weather I planned for.  Oops.  Lesson learned.

Learning about roasting marshmallows

Today, on the way home, we stayed awake the entire time and talked.  I learned that when Sissy gets big, she wants a horsey named "Stick Tree" which she will ride with a pink cowboy hat on the beach. This horse will be trained to lay down so she can get on it's back.  Jayce's horsey will be named "Ward".  Jayce doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. This was said very thoughtfully and with all seriousness.  He is still figuring it out.  Oh, but they will both have cows named "Sailor Dog".

Jayce will buy sissy a house because hers is broken.  He seemed to think that his daddy would live too far away to help him come fix his own house, but I assured him that no matter where he lived, Daddy and I would be able to travel to his home.

Happily coating ourselves in sand

The kids also learned the word "emergency" and asked me to keep naming emergencies...  for their own amusement.  I ran out of emergencies, trying to keep the concept still 3-year-old appropriate.  We did define it, however, as something that needs help right away and won't get better by itself.  For example, someone hurt in a car crash = emergency.  A bumped toe?  Mama can give kisses and snuggles and it will get better by itself.

On the beach, we flew kites, dug in the sand, and ran as fast as our small legs could take us.  We met some very kind people.  Our (fantastic) hotel had a breakfast each morning.  Mom took the kids down to eat, and came back up each morning telling me how many people commented on how well behaved the kiddos were.

Princess and a goof-ball <3 

This morning, as we checked out, the hotel clerk wanted to pick my brain about my parenting strategies, ask more details about what mom had told her, and legitimately try to figure out what was different about my kiddos.  It was heartwarming, overwhelming, and I felt totally out of my depth.  I appreciated her kindness to me and my family, and because of some things mom had said, I got to talk about Jesus with her.  As we were leaving, I was able to pray with her right in the hotel lobby.  It was fun to share with the kids how their good attitudes and good choices made it possible for me to share Jesus with someone.  I hope it sunk in a little the importance of doing what God says is right.

I AM gonna kiss you!!!

We are home now, and it's all warm and sunny here.  This afternoon we are going to the courthouse to watch and celebrate a friend's adoption.  This little girl is a friend of theirs from their Tiger classes, and her parents invited us to share in this moment with them.  I can't wait, and am quite positive I'm gonna cry my eyes out.  I hope it's a good, affirming experience for the kiddos also.

Ok, gotta wake them up from their nap now.

Seriously mama's favorite picture right now


Daniel came over for dinner this evening, which was nice.  He's currently playing the guitar on my chair while the kiddos are going to sleep.  Philip FaceTimed me this evening, which was amazing-- it was so great to hear his voice, even if it was brief. So even though it has been a crazy day, I'm tired, happy, and enjoying the moment.  Not thinking about tomorrow quite yet-- that is overwhelming.  'Night y'all!

She kissed me!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 3

My friend and I gave each other fist-bumps at church today, congratulating each other that we made it three whole days without our husbands.  11 more to go.  Trying not to think about that.  The kids have been fantastic.  I can really tell people are praying for me.  The extra prayers are making a difference, and God is graciously holding me through this! My mom and mother-in-law have all helped a lot with the kids.  I feel a bit bad taking advantage of their kindness, but it is a blessing.

Anyway, Philip was super amazing about texting while he was with Hadson. I can't wait to hear more, but it seemed like the time was wonderful, precious, fun and encouraging.  Our friends picked Philip up at the airport Friday evening, and they went to a concert and then out to dinner on the beach.  Philip said it was BYOF: Bring Your Own Fish.  Something about a fish market and then dinner under the stars and shrimp...  Not sure.  Hadson doesn't like fish.

Saturday, Philip, Hadson and our friend Nathan went to a soccer game.  In the evening there was a youth event where Philip was privileged to share Scripture and encourage the kids. Hadson had to return to his army base early Sunday morning.  Philip went to church with our friends, the Souzas, and has now returned to Sao Paulo where he will join the rest of the team.

Knowing that Philip had to say "goodbye" again to Hadson had me in tears.  Surely the airport security wouldn't mind if we bundled Hadson up in an extra suitcase and brought him home, would they?

Here are a few pics that Philip texted home from his time up North.

This picture says so much- the smiles
and happiness just oozes through!

Before the soccer game :)

After dinner, with our friends and their family

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 1

Baby Girl gonna miss her Daddy!
Welp, it happened today.  Philip left for 2 weeks in Brazil.  He began to help plan this trip about a year go.  It seemed like so long ago then! I said, "Sure!  Go to Brasil!  I'll be fine!"  What was I thinking?!?  This is going to be the longest 2 weeks of my life.  Not only is Philip gone, but Anastasia is also!  I haven't slept for 2 nights, and was so dizzy and woozy today that I had to lay down.  My stomach has been in a knot for days.

The day has arrived, and I've cried about 4 times already.  He is on a plane with about 14 or so others from our church to go to Sao Paulo to work with kids and youth in schools, sports ministry, and churches.  They made it to their layover in NY, and are currently headed South.

A few things I'm excited about:

  • PHILIP GETS TO SEE HADSON!!!!!  God graciously allowed a number of things to line up so that he can take a few days away from the team to travel to Fortaleza.  Our friends, Julio and Kristina, are picking him up and allowing him to stay at their house.  I am so grateful for their willingness to help and flexibility.  I can. not. wait. for Hadson and Philip to be reunited after 8 years.  Trust me, there will be a post about that, and hopefully a ton of pictures to share!
  • This is the first time either Philip or I have returned to a place we have previously been on a missions trip.  We have been blessed to travel to many places, but we have never been able to return to see friends we have met along the way.
  • Philip and the team get to work with Juca and Rosemary, friends that have blessed our church over the years as they serve God.  Juca and Rosemary have been in our home and loved on our kiddos.  I am so glad that Philip can be there to serve them in Brasil.
  • Anastasia can spend more time with the folks at our church.  It's been hard to for her to build relationships with others at church when she is primarily at school and only home for short periods of time.  I'm grateful for this time where those relationships can develop and grow.
A few things I'm grateful for:
  • Philip can text while he's in Brasil, which will be wonderful for both the kids and me.
  • Friends and family that are helping me out while Philip and Stasia are away.
  • The prayers and support of others.  I can feel God strengthening me and giving me graciousness. 

The team at the airport

A few things I'm NOT excited about:
  • Being away from my husband for 2 weeks! This is the longest we have been apart since we got married 10 years ago.
  • With the two kiddos, I'm single-parenting for a while.
  • Missing Philip.
  • The kiddos don't get to see their Daddy for 2 weeks.  We are a bit apprehensive what this will do to their connection with their dad.  Will his absence damage their relationship?  Not sure.
  • Everything without Philip

Our chart, trying to visualize when Daddy will come home

Chilling, decorating our chart

Not a fan of Daddy leaving

Stasia sent me this pic from their flight