Thursday, May 31, 2012

Don't Air Your Dirty Laundry For All To See

But DO air your clean laundry

along with the stuffed animals that Cai thought wanted to go swimming:)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grace Or Consistency

"It hurts me more than it hurts you."

I have only recently begun to grasp what the true meaning behind this so-often quoted saying is.

It has never really "hurt" me to give consequences before, especially when it was in times of utter frustration and exhaustion.  Sure, I have had my moments when it has really been sad, but not to the point where it actually "hurt" me.

But last week it did.

I think I've realized a pattern in the "hurt".  The "hurt" comes when you want so desperately to give grace just one more time but the best thing for the child is your consistency, even if it hurts.

Areyna was really dragging her feet during school.  I kept telling her that she was going to be working a lot longer than Zeke and that all the other kids would be playing outside while she sat doing her school work.  By the time she finally got motivated it was lunch time...and then all the other kids wanted to go outside.  Areyna sat back down to finish up her work until she realized that she was the only one left inside.  She came running to ask if she could finish her work later so she could play outside with her siblings.  It would have been so easy to just let it go this time and let her go play, but I KNEW that if she stopped now the reality of her actually finishing her work was pretty much non-existent.  I also knew that I've threatened before and not followed through, which is probably why she hadn't learned her lesson yet.  So, now it was my turn to stick to my guns and stay consistent.  It really hurt to have to tell her that she had to finish her work before going outside to play as she said, "but I feel left out" through sobs and tears.  My heart actually hurt.

The balance between giving grace and being consistent in parenting is hard.

Especially when your child is the one who tells you, "but God ALWAYS gives us grace!", ha!

Ultimately it is God's grace in our own lives that illuminates that fine line.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Free-For-All

I've decided to change my Friday ramblings from "Fun Facts For Friday" to "Friday Free-For-All".  I feel like that better suits the uncategorized none-sense that I spew from my keyboard by the end of a long week:)

This week has been pretty normal around here...except for me and Josh's date night on Monday.  Mrs. Sweetie and her 2 littles (can you call middle and high schoolers littles?) came over here and played with our kids for Josh and I to get away.  The theme for our date was "Firsts".

Our first first was a trip to Blue Flame Tattoo Parlor, downtown Raleigh.  Don't worry, mom, it was oober sterile and the guys were super nice (even though you wouldn't want to meet them in a dark alley or anything!).  I mean really, nothing says "romantic" like getting inked up together, haha.

Our second first was across the street to a hole-in-the-wall burger joint.  It was the best calorie-filled fatty food I've eaten in weeks!  Plus, I had my first taste of chilly fries EVER! Yummm.

Then we found a fun Starbucks.  This wasn't exactly a first, as we always find ourselves sipping on coffee at the end of a date...but it was the FIRST time to sip on coffee with our new tattoos, ha!

In other news...

I was going through pictures on my computer the other night and came across these beauties from Jude's arrival.  I like how I went from a picture like this...

to the very next picture that looked like this...
Oh the joys of laboring a child:)

And just in case you thought YOUR husband was the coolest dad, check out what mine can do with a banana (this is family friendly BTW, get your minds out of the gutter!;)

Mr. Banana Man made his appearance at lunch the other day!  Pretty clever I'd say.

Now it's time for me to go ice myself...I took a class at the gym on Wed. night and my whole body hurts...

Oh the joys of losing the weight from laboring a child:)

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Not Arrogance

I've got 5 littles in this colony of mine.

I know you've heard it a million times from me.

I know you are probably sick of me telling you every time I actually accomplish something with all five of them in tow.

I know you probably think to yourself, "Gosh, she sure does brag about herself a lot".

Or, "Get over it! I HAVE 6 7 8 kids and I take ALL of them to the grocery store EVERY WEEK."

But it's not about the number at all.

It's not even about me finally figuring out how to live a some-what "normal" life with so many littles.

It's about how overwhelmingly humbling it is to see where God has me for this season.

It's about the sense of humor God has in giving this anxiety-riden mama 5 children to coral.

Because if I were to try to do this by myself something would be out of focus and I'd never be able to see each of my children individually.

And the truth is, there is NO WAY I could do this on my own!

It's about Jesus and his graciousness to help me through each day.

It's about Jesus.

It's about Jesus.

It's always about Jesus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

With One Voice

You all walked with us on our journey overseas to get Alethia home and now we are walking alongside Josh's younger brother and his wife as they work on bringing Alethia's best friend home from the orphanage.

 Alethia and Chloe are going to be cousins!

I CANNOT wait to see their reunion at the airport...

Anyway, we are at the final stages with Jonathan and Kelly as they wait for their Embassy appointment on Monday.  This is (hopefully) the last hurdle they must jump through before boarding that airplane home with their new daughter.

We've been praying as a family for Chloe to come home soon so it's not at all surprising that Alethia prayed for her safe arrival tonight before dinner, but the words were just so sweet:

"Dear God,
Please help my Laiti ah come home with Aunt Kelly and to come home my Laiti!
In your Name ah pray, Amen"

I love that she gets to be on this end of the adoption process as well.  One day she will understand all the sweet prayers, just like this one, that went up on her behalf, from little voices all over the world!

Join us as we pray for favor through the completion of this adoption.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Fussy Box

In an attempt to cut down on the fussing that occurs when having 5 young children...wait who am I kidding, if you have 1 young child you have fussing, ha!  

Anyway, we have staggered fussing here in this house sometimes.  It's kind of like when you have a group of musicians and you don't want the bow change or breathing between notes to be heard you stager it between the masses.  That's exactly what I mean by staggered fussing.

One child will fuss or whine and by the time they finally "work it out" another one is ramping up.

It can be a little overwhelming and draining if it isn't dealt with right away.

So one morning, as we were all happily playing outside Cai seemed to be the never-ending fussy culprit.  I realized that something needed to be done to nip this little attitude of his!

Now mind you, this is after getting eye level with the little guy and trying to get to the root of the fussing and whining.  We always try to let our kids know we're on their side and are here to help them work through their emotional issues.  But if the whining and fussing continue and you simply can't send them to bed without dinner because it's only 10:30am this is what we do:)

I got the chalk out and made a fussy box.

Here are the rules for the fussy box:
If you whine or fuss and will not change your heart when you are asked you must go sit in the fussy box.  
I set the timer for 3 minutes on the kitchen oven. 
Every time you try to venture out of the fussy box the time starts over.
In order to get out of the fussy box you must wait for the timer to go off.
The fussing must come to an end in order to hear the soft timer go off in the kitchen signaling that you may come out and resume your fun activities...FUSSY FREE!

There are several reasons why this works so well for us, I think.

It allows mom to oversea the "discipline" while still being available to the other kids who are still playing outside.
The fussy child can see the others having fun and playing with "happy hearts" as they sit alone in their fussiness.
The fussy child is separated enough from the colony to realize that his/her audience is no longer present to fuss to.
It gives mom a break from the fussing to calm her nerves.
It demands quietly sitting in order to hear the timer, making the fussy child relax and reboot.

Now if I just MENTION the words, "fussy box" the fussing ceasing almost instantaneously:)  Well, in a perfect world it might, but at least you can hear the breathe between the fussies:)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Getting To Know You

Josh and I aren't normally big gift givers.

Let me rephrase that.

When Josh and I get gifts for each other, they normally aren't BIG gifts.

"Thoughtful" or "practical" are words that would more likely describe our gifts for one another.

But this Mother's Day Josh found the deal of all deals and simply couldn't pass it up!

We've been eyeing this really nice camera for some time.  I don't claim to know much about photos or to even go as far as to say I "have an eye" for great pictures, but I would say that photos are the way we capture memories and I would also say that I've wanted to learn more about taking good quality pictures.

So, when he saw the sale he KNEW it would be "thoughtful", "practical", "special" and a HUGE "surprise" all rolled up in one!

The kids were so excited to give it to me.

I've got a lot to learn and I'm excited to delve into this new world:)

I spent a couple of hours doing a little light reading so I could figure out what the heck all these buttons are for.  I'm only beginning so no judging, k?:)

So, while the kids busied themselves with mud and water I got to know my camera just a little bit.

Here are a few of my favorite first pictures...

So there you have it.

I've got a LOT to learn, but oh man am I excited:)

Happy Wednesday Thursday Friday, ya'll!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things That Make My Life Easier

I was just wiping up the 5th spill off the kitchen floor yesterday when I thought to myself, "Self, I'm sure glad I have all these cleaning wipes, 'cause I use them EVERY DAY!"

Then I got to thinking about all the things that I use on a regular basis that I just couldn't live without...or at least would rather NOT live without:)

Disinfectant Wipes - I use these bad boys in almost every room of the house!

Baby Carrier - Jude is just about out of the stage where I can carry him around in his infant seat.  That thing weights over 8 lb. and then add a chubb"ing" fingers start to tingle and my arm falls asleep almost instantaneously now!  We've definitely gotten our money's worth out of our Baby Bjorn...actually it was a gift, but I promise we would have if we would have bought it ourselves.

Granite Falls -  This is our gym.  It has childcare. Sanity for me on oh-so-many levels:)

Box Fan - I was never a fan girl until I got married.  Now I'm addicted and the kids are too.  It's nice to be able to drown out the sounds of the colony and relax to its gentle hum.

Charts - We use charts for so many things; happy hearts, trips in the car, going pee-pee in the potty (although we haven't had one of those in a while;), and our newest one - a chart to help the boys stay in their room at night (more on that one later).

Breast Pump - Sorry fellas...but it's true!  It makes trips in the car, outings with friends and Sunday mornings easy-peasy (who says that anymore anyway?)

Timer - We set the timer for computer time, for school time, for clean up time, for time-out time, for time-to-go time.  You name it, we time it!  That's just how we roll.

iPhone - I know, it's so trivial, but it sure does make life easier.  Plus it gives me something to do when Jude is going through his growth spurts, ha!

Lists - If you know me at all you KNOW I'm a list girl.  I make lists for lists.  They make me happy:)

Sunshine - I don't have a choice in this one at all, but this girl needs plenty of sunshine.  Besides I couldn't just list 9 things that I couldn't live without.  It MUST be 10 things!

What about you?  What couldn't you live without?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In The Dark

I'm sitting in the office.

It's already 10pm.

Is it really ONLY 10pm?

All the lights are off.

I've got Bon Iver playing in the background.

Josh is giving the final kisses goodnight to our Colony down the hall.

It's been a day.

Not a bad day.

Not necessarily a GREAT day.

Just a day.

You know...a day filled with normal, everyday mom stuff...

We got back from Memphis L.A.T.E. last night.

After: following a huge storm all the way from Marion, NC to Rolesville, two bathroom stops, a few tempter tantrums, an "accident" in a Batman car seat, a Jude who doesn't like his carseat or riding in a car .period. finally fell asleep, adding 2 more stickers to our tripometer because of the aformentioned events, and then finally hearing 5 different snoring rhythms from the backseat(s) just 10 minutes before we roll up in the driveway.

When Josh got home tonight he finally looked at me and said, "You used all your words up today, huh?"

Yes, yes I did.

They are all gone.

And now I must go to bed.

Goodnight sweet friends.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jude - 3 Months

Jude Warren - 14 lb

Jude turned 3 months old yesterday.  
That means that Alethia has been home 4 months tomorrow!  

Boy, does time fly!

Here is what Jude is up to now:

This boy is the happiest little boy I've ever seen!

When he really gets going his laugh resembles a smokers cough
and he starts kicking his legs like crazy:)

He's a bit camera shy.  
He won't give me the time of day when I get the camera out,
but his smirk and smile are to DIE for, I PROMISE!

Areyna can get Jude to laugh at ANYTHING she does, ha!

He doesn't like to lay down but for a few minutes.  
He would rather be up watching the small colony all around him.

He is eating every 4 hours or so and is sleeping from about 10:30pm to at least 8:30am!
Have I mentioned that he is an AWESOME baby!

He is super ticklish:)

He loves to help me with laundry...
I mean, who can complain about folding clothes
when you have these big blue eyes staring at you?!

He still smiles when people stare right into his eyes!
I LOVE that about him...

He has a new toy.
He loves his exersaucer!

He found his hands this month.
He'll grab at toys!
It's so cute the way he can't control them yet 
and he continually hits himself in the face while he tries to find them...sigh:)

He's a full-fledged tummy sleeper.

He's also a full-fledged thumb sucker:)
I really thought it might just be a phase, but he LOVES him some thumb!
Although he almost always ends up with his hands straight down by his sides.

You might remember that he was rolling over when he was just a few weeks old.
Well, he took a month or so off, but he's at it again.
I've found him rolled over on his back twice in the past 3 days!

We all sure love "baby Jude" and can't imagine life without him!