Friday, February 27, 2009

Of Watercolor Ponies and Thomas the Train...

As a mom I have always worked to teach my children how to pick up their things. A tidy room at the end of the day is a wonderful thing, so as not to stub a toe on something on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Or, so that mom will not stub her toe as she comes in to give that one last kiss before going off to bed.

This was fine, until we had a little boy. They love to build things. Our girls have plenty of "stuff", but somehow it could always be put away or neatly placed off to the side at the end of the day. Our boy on the other hand loves cars and trains and any track that accompanies these are all the better.

Three years ago Pumpkin's Kansas Grandparents purchased a HUGE plastic, battery powered, Thomas the Tank Engine train set, for his third birthday. When I say huge, I mean that when the full set is put together it measures 4x6 feet. Obviously he loved it. At three, he was not able to put the track together on his own. The job then fell to Dad and I or his sisters. Elsie, we have found, has an amazing aptitude for building car and train tracks of many kinds and quite enjoys it as well.

All that said, I have been waiting for the time when Pumpkin would enjoy the building part as much as the playing part. Over the last year, he has made the transition.

As thrilled as I am, I did not realize the full scope of this new endeavor for my son. He will spend hours now building a train track, car track, LEGO garage, etc. When afternoon chore time comes he always asks if he has to clean up his latest track. I seem to relent on the clean carpet rule when it comes to this. Although, last week he had a plastic train track and a wooden train track out on his floor. I asked him to pick one of them up because there was no room to walk in there. The picture shows his latest creation.

I included the words from an old song called Watercolor Ponies that I really enjoyed prior to having children. Now it makes me cry. It is so true...someday all those train tracks, Hot wheel cars and LEGOs will ride away. And I will miss them.

I need to remember to cherish each of these moments while I still have them.
Sweet Momma
Watercolor Ponies
by Wayne Watson

There are watercolor ponies
On my refrigerator door
And the shape of something
I don't really recognize
Drawn by careful little fingers
And put proudly on display
A reminder to us all
Of how time flies

Seems an endless mound of laundry
And a stairway laced with toys
Gives a blow by blow
Reminder of the war
That we fight for their well-being
For their greater understanding
To impart a holy reverence
For the Lord

But, Baby, tell me what will we do
When it comes back to me and you?
They look a little less
Like little boys every day
Oh, the pleasure of watching
The children growing
Is mixed with a bitter cup
Of knowing the watercolor ponies
Will one day ride away

And the vision can get so narrow
As you view through your tiny world
And little victories can go by
With no applause
But in the greater evaluation
As they fly from your nest of love
May they mount up with wings
As eagles for His cause

Chess Club

Chess is such an amazing game. It is not a game that I have ever played. I always thought it too stuffy or hard to concentrate on. It may be those things, but it is also fun. I have been surprised as all four of my kids have taken to learning this game over the last year. I didn't know that five year olds could learn to play chess.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to sit in on her chess class at our homeschool co-op, during my free period. That day the class had a special speaker from an organization called Chess 4 Life. Elliot Neff ( created the organization to educate people about Chess and how it pertains to everyday life. He was there to speak that day, and I was amazed. In a class of about twenty students and a few moms he began to teach the importance of knowing the placement of each square on the board and how each piece moves, so as to always be thinking three or four moves ahead. If you play chess, this is no news to you, but I was pleased to see that the kids in the class followed right where he led and loved it. I started to understand how chess can teach things like critical thinking and decision making skills.

This same friend hosts a chess club in her home twice a month. My kids have really enjoyed being a part of it. I am so thankful for it, as it serves as a wonderful motivator for completing your weeks work. Our homeschooling continues to provide opportunities that I had not thought of within this wonderful community.
Sweet Momma

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Famous People

Our kids have so much fun at our homeschool co-op. Each month there is a spirit day with a different theme. This month they were asked to dress up as a famous person. This is fun for our kids. It is another way that I get to see their individual personalities shine.

Try to see if you can identify a Sarah Palin, Queen Esther and Sleeping Beauty.
Sweet Momma

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reading really is fun!

Recently our kids were given the opportunity of reading for ten hours, over the course of a month, and earning a ticket to a major waterpark/themepark.

While driving last night I was reminding them to start marking down their reading so they would not run out of time. The reading has to be for pleasure and not for school. This will not be difficult for my kids as they all love to read.

M&M asked if the time would count for Pumpkin if she read to him. I said that it did. I told them that they could read from books or comics or whatever they enjoy reading. That is when Pumpkin asked if it could be road signs. I joked, "I suppose, if you enjoy reading road signs."

Then it began, all four of them rattling off every road sign, street sign and store sign all the way home. The funny part was that they read them in a silly sing-song voice. I guess that was to show me that they were enjoying it.
Sweet Momma

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"We're not complete."

We have only been on the waiting list for two weeks and I am surprised by how I am feeling. While we were working on our dossier, that was all I could think about. I thought that when it was done I could relax and focus on the projects that we should try to complete before they come home. I knew the waiting wouldn't be easy, but I am a sensible person, I knew this is part of the process.
But now that I am here I feel differently. This is going to be hard! I only considered myself and not my kids. I wasn't prepared for my kiddos daily questions asking if other families had received referrals, thus, moving us up the list.
I miss them, I miss these two little ones that I haven't even met. We all do. At breakfast last week, Stand Up Dad said that he was getting that incomplete feeling again. When I asked what he meant, he pointed to the end of our eight person table and said, "We're not complete."

That pretty much sums it up. God opened our hearts to these little ones and that place won't be filled until they're home.
Pumpkin came to me this morning during school and asked if there had been any referrals. I said, "You're missing Little Brother aren't you?" He agreed. We took a moment to pray for Little Brother and Sister. That is all we can do for now.

Please pray with us as we wait.
Sweet Momma

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A New Look

Here are a couple of pictures that show the new looks at our house. Elsie got a new style of glasses and Pumpkin has never worn glasses. We think that he looks dapper. And I had to add a shot of Stand Up Dad in his new post neck surgery attire.

Stand Up Dad is doing well and as you can see from the picture, I already have him back to work in the kitchen.
Sweet Momma

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Pain in the Neck...

It has been a busy week.

Stand Up Dad had neck surgery yesterday to repair a herniated disc. Surgery is one of those times where we stop and focus on how little of our lives is under our control. God reminds us that He alone is the maker and creator of us all.
Our friends and family have been so AMAZING! We feel completely covered in prayer. The peace that comes with knowing God is in control is wonderful.

Yesterday morning we were at the hospital at 5:30am. It was still dark outside and I sat in the chair next to the bed Stand Up Dad was in while each person came in to ask all the pre-op questions. After the fifth person came in to ask if he had any allergies and the like, I started to stare out the window. What I saw overwhelmed me.

Barely visible at first, there was soft orange light on the horizon. It then changed to fire and light that bounced off the sparse clouds that rested just to the left of Mt. Rainier. As I marveled at this beauty I watched as flocks of birds flew through the new morning sky as if in praise to the one who created it.

God seemed to whisper to me. "I created all this for you, just for your pleasure. I am with you and will be with Stand Up Dad through this day."

God is so good. The surgery went well. We are home and Stand Up Dad is recovering. The biggest "pain" is the hard collar he has to wear for the next two weeks. You could say it is a "pain in the neck." Hee hee!
Sweet Momma

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Little Feet, Enormous Blessings!

One of my dearest friends gave birth to her sixth child this week. I got the privilege of being the one to sleep over at their house while Mom and Dad were at the hospital. And since this precious little brother was born after all the kids were in bed, I got to be the bearer of the wonderful news in the morning.

Families are such a blessing! God is smiling as He watches the work of this precious family. I feel honored to have known the parents for ten years now and have watched as they brought each of their precious bundles home. Three of their precious children came home through international adoption and the other three, the old fashioned way. I am thrilled to be a part of all of their lives and can't wait to see how God will continue to bless them in the future.
Sweet Momma

Friday, February 6, 2009

Now the WAITING begins...

Today is the day everyone at my house has been waiting for.


After all the paperwork and notaries and dossier craziness, we got the email today that told us our agency had just received our dossier from Washington DC after authentication. They have now placed us at the bottom of the list with all the families waiting for children from Ethiopia. We are #102. Wow! That is a lot of families. Our agency is hoping to bring home 200 kiddos this year. The wait for siblings is longer than adopting a single infant, so we expect that we could be waiting at least a year until referral. We are praying for a little brother and sister.

Please continue to pray with us as we wait. Pray that our little ones are safe, fed and loved until we can hold them in our arms.
Sweet Momma

Monday, February 2, 2009

Science anyone?

We are a homeschooling family that is part of a weekly co-op at our church. Each year around this time there is a science fair where your child can present their discoveries to all the other families who might be interested. All the information is taken down and then pasted to one of those tri-fold display boards. When complete, it is a wonder to behold. The process to completion is another story. Moms and Dads, you know what I mean.

This year we answered these two questions: Does weight affect gravity? Does water conduct electricity?

Fun was had by all and we learned some things too.
To find out the answers to these questions, you will have to track down my kids. I want them to use that knowledge gained and work on presentation skills in the process. Thank you for the help with their education.
Sweet Momma