Isaac is very, very funny. He is always singing, laughing, and telling jokes and laughing again. He really likes to imitate the nannies during prayer time. He will start to sing one of the songs we normally sing at the top of his lungs with his eyes closed and his arms raised and than he starts praying. It is really cute and funny. He can get quite creative with the songs as well. He will take a tune that he knows and change the words to fit the current context and he has us all in stitches.. He also is really good at telling you about his day. If you ask him what he saw on a walk, for example, he will tell you in great detail and with lots of facial expressions and hand gestures. Once, on a walk he saw a group of people sitting on the side of the road and he raised his arms, closed his eyes and started praying for them. Otherwise, he just walks down the road yelling gibberish, making everybody around him laugh. During prayer time with the nannies in the mornings, they are always amazed at how smart Isaac is, as soon as one of the nannies says the number of the next song they will sing Isaac starts singing it, he always remembers which song is which! Isaac loves to paint as well. He is actually quite a perfectionist. He meticulously paints circles and squares all over the paper. We recently got a new art easel and he thoroughly enjoyed helping break that in. We just started a children’s church that we do on Saturday afternoons. Isaac absolutely thrives in it. He prays, sings, listens, and participates in the lesson with every fiber of his being. This month Isaac weighs 27 pounds.
I loved this months update. Thank you for writing it. :)
Unfortunately- still no news. I am feeling slightly numb today I must admit.
We will keep on praying son. Saying "I miss you" has became a drastic understatment.
This was last weekend. I can't wait to show you more pictures. Bear is hot. We all are. We are having an unusual heat wave here in the pacific NW. Its 91, humid and no one has air conditioning- because frankly-it just doesn't get that hot here.
(we know we are such babies southerners) (and we know its hotter in Haiti)
We are thankful to have clean water. Clean coolish water. A blessing.
I have many things to write updates about and many new pictures to share. However I felt led to put those things on hold and write about my spirit filled weekend. I bought the book Crazy Love on Friday and spent time throughout the weekend reading it. I am going to go back now and re-read the book and read it out loud with my husband. It was a lot to digest. It came in to my heart like this hard smack across the face and I am still trying to "recover" from it. It's a strange feeling to believe that your on the right path, that your connection to God is moving towards all it can be, and that your anything BUT a lukewarm Christian- then to read a book and realize that you spent far too much time trying to figure and plan out life here on earth and not even near enough time just falling harder in love with our Creator and following the path he lays out for you. Ultimately I am not sure what all this means but today at church I found a good starting point to begin figuring it all out.
Today church was about confession and dirty little secrets. They talked about the Post Secret art project and how we confess our sins. They talked about how we live our lives hoping for people to see us one way or believe we are one way. We know that God is all knowing and of course HE knows our dirty little secrets- but its time for us to all get real with our Maker and be honest with ourselves. There have been many moments during worship at my church that I am moved to tears and made weak at the knees. Today though I was actually brought to my knees, full of tears and submerged in my relationship with God. I want more of my life to be this way.
And another awesome thing- in my total submersion of LOVE was this awesome connection to my husband who was right along side me- also on his knees. We held hands tightly and felt what intimate really means. It was perhaps the most in love moment of my entire life thus far.
A bit of my confession: Life has been really hard lately. Its been beyond difficult to wait so long for Isaac. I don't expect anyone who hasn't been in this place to understand- but just try for a moment ... let's pretend you lose one of your children for 2 1/2 years. Feel it- all of the sudden your child is gone from you- away from you and you know that they are alive you just can't have them in your arms. You fight and pray and question God and faith and the "plan" and your desire and longing determines things like your mood and how you internally become on any one given day. While I know my son wasn't kidnapped and that he isn't in a "dangerous" situation- the loss feels real to us. As a family we have hard times yes but often we have some of the most awesome, fun, loving, brilliant, wickedly comical, magical love moments- that he is missing. Each day goes by and I lay in bed and pray and wonder if the news will come soon. I wonder how many more moments or vacations or outings or moving sermons at church or birthdays or holidays or just fleeting moments he won't get to be a part of.
I take all of these feelings and I slather on top of them REAL LIFE of pre-teen angst, RAD, bipolar disorder, fighting for your children who have disabilities, woes of medical issues, missing family that is far away, daily disagreements between my children, not feeling good enough as a Mom, not loving enough as a wife, not smart enough as a teacher- not believing in me as much as HE does, and I slowly lose my balance and might even drowned sometimes. Appointment, obligation, appointment, planning, no time to just BE me and BE in love with my children, in love with my husband and HE who want me to just BE still. But don't forget to pile on the future fears and anxieties you have for all your children and adult children who could each on their very own send someone over the edge!
Then I find it near impossible to keep a strong hold on my footing in my faith. And with that comes the guilt of lost time with God. HE who loves me no matter what-HE starts to get the shortest end of my stick. My leftovers which are looking pretty lean these days. Pretty rotten and sucky.
"Have mercy on me, O God." Psalm 51:1a
Change must be coming. We are preparing for it- and we are feeling ready!
"RESTORE TO ME THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION."
It can be difficult for me to share my spirituality at times. Sometimes I worry I might offend someone with my beliefs. It is so personal my relationship with God- but I feel more and more grounded in the fact that I am called to share. I believe we all are.
I have so many things to update you all on! First and foremost- does anyone play the Wii Active? I finally started the 30 day challenge on there and my legs having been killing me all week. I never realized that a video game could truly be that intense. I had a little issue with getting the Wii remote to work right so that didn't help doing all those extra squats and lunges. OUCH.
Bear is back getting his serial casts. Sometimes they say he is going to need surgery and other times they say that he isn't going to need surgery. We are praying of course that he doesn't need it. His feet are looking fairly good. We determined that putting the ointment on in a light layer under the cast works really well. We only keep them on for a week at a time so it means a lot of trips down to Seattle to get new casts.
This weekend is the SpinaBifida picnic for our area. We are excited to see old families and meet some new ones as well. We hear that over 100 families have RSVP'ed!
No news on Isaac. Praying like a madwoman.
School stuff: We met with the superintendent last week regarding the childrens return to public school this fall. We still are not sure that they are going to have room at the school that we want them all in together. (Where Angeline attends. Its the only elementary out of FIVE in our district that is ADA accesible.) We know that they are trying and hope it all works out for the best in the end whatever the decision is- even if that means some of the children are home.
I can't believe that Summer is on the 2nd half already. Where does the time go? We have a couple fun trips coming up that everyone is busy helping to plan.
In other news: Our dear friends son Matthew from Liberia passed away in his sleep yesterday. Please keep Heather and her family in your prayers. They have really been through a lot trying to get Matthew the help that he needs. He became a It was heartbreaking to hear my friend feeling such defeat. Matthews life was far too short but the amount of lives that he touched was truly awesome. We need to pray that his life will cause positive change for the orphans in Liberia who are in limbo at this moment. To read more about Matthew visit: Matthews Story
In watching and hearing my children pray I become inspired to pray more. They teach me where to leave my woes and who to turn for answers. And so I pray...
I pray for my son Isaac to get out of MOI this week. For him to receive his passport and visa without further delay and for him to come home. I pray for Bean and Bear to heal and thrive and for their strength. For Sophie to keep the peace in her mind. For Kim to lose weight and keep motivating me. For Lei, Danny, Tyler and Jeremy to be all that they can be but most of all to be nice people and to be happy. For my friends working in Haiti to know how amazing I think that they are and for them to know how much they move me. For them to be safe, to feel accomplished in doing Gods work, to feel in their hearts that they are making a difference. For Bears parents for their health and safety and well being. For all my children and their school situation- may we find answers soon.
For my dear friend Heather and her sweet baby Sabrina- that they may be together again soon and for baby to stay strong and live love on earth for awhile. For Laurel and her family and their situation. May they find guidance and steadfast peace and closure and a positive outcome. For Anita- may her daughter come home soon with less delay than expected. For Ericka and her search for her daughter to come to fruition in perfect timing. (soon :) For Kathy and her family- for her Haiti adoption to just have no more darn delays. For Liciaand her adoption and immigration headaches- may there be resolution soon. For Jamie and family- for their adoption- and Amos to get out of MOI THIS WEEK with Isaac. For the perfect host family in Portland to come forward for a sweet child and her Mom. And for Matthew and his situation of course.
Can we add you to our prayer list this week?
PLEASE NOTE: I wrote this blog post last night just before hearing of a deadly car wreck that occurred yesterday. Danny and Tyler have a friend from high school who had been making poor choices. During their senior year of high school I forbid them from hanging out with this young man. I had seem him sometime later after the older boys moved out on their own and I had a few minutes to speak with him about the feelings I had for him and the choices he was making. There were many occasions that I wanted to call his parents but was assured they were aware of some of his poor choices. (The ones I knew about.) Danny and Tyler once they moved out had started to see their friend again much to my dismay. Not all the time- but enough that they said they felt he was making better choices. There was even a day that Jeremy came over to tell me how much he disliked this "kid" and that he was around his brothers. (You are the company you keep we do believe.) This guy had also told me he was making better choices etc. when I had a short chat with him. A few weeks ago his dad called here looking for him and asked for the cell phone numbers of Danny and Tyler to see if they had seen him. (He hadn't come home the night before etc.) I tried to start up a conversation with his dad and had this huge "pull" to tell him some things I knew about his son. But then I felt awkward and out of place. His family is really a nice family from all I know of them and who wants to be the bearer of bad news? Well yesterday this young man was driving a car- speeding and drunk. He wrecked his car not too far from his house. The car flipped and hit a tree stump. This 19 year old young man is still in the hospital. Rumor had it that he had some serious injuries and had surgery today. Another young man- friend of his- was in the back seat. He was ejected from the car and amazingly enough is doing OK. In the front seat was the girlfriend- who was wearing her seat belt but unfortunately died at the hospital yesterday. I talked with my older children today because I know how much this is going to impact their lives. I encouraged them to reach out to his family. To understand what the future looks like for their friend. To pray for them all. Vehicular homicide charges are likely going to be filed. (Its rumored in the local newspaper.) Life is short. Life is precious. We are not invincible. Even when we are 19 and we think nothing bad is ever going to happen. I shouldn't be afraid sometimes to just lay my thoughts and feelings out there. Even when they offend people and piss people off. I need to learn to follow my instinct more often. Would it have made a difference? Maybe not. But I hope that if someone saw or heard- or knew one of my children was making those kind of choices they would tell me. I regret not saying something and won't allow that to happen again. Please keep this situation, these children and families in your prayers. Thanks.
The other night Lulu and I were having a snuggle and watching the Duggar's show. (18 and counting I think its called?) Lulu said that when she has children she is going to name them all either "A" or "L" names. (Just like her names Alyssa or Lulu.) She said that if she were a Duggar- she would be confused by having so many "J" names. She wondered how Jim Bob and Michelle can remember all those names. She thought Michelle was really cool when she did speed skating in her skirt and she wished that I would let her wear a dress to horse back ride in. We enjoy watching this TLC show because they are a big family like us but very different from our family. We like to watch them pray and play together. They are good people. Lulu enjoyed hearing how the parents are going to be grandparents soon. She thought that was cool but wondered if Michelle would have anymore children. I explained to Lulu if Michelle had another baby- her baby would be the Aunt to the niece but younger. It confused her- and me too.
When the show was almost over Lulu reached up and looked at me and said: "They are a nice family Mom. But why did they have the oldest son marry his little sister?"
I laughed and explained that isn't his sister- she just looks like his sisters! I am glad that Lulu said something to me so that we could have this special educational moment of why you can't marry your brothers or sisters. :) (Oh the possible thoughts that might have been going around in her head!)
We are home today- bored and hot- and trying to keep busy doing everything that is fun and nothing that is useful. I came up with this. Cute huh? We are home because the big van is having work done on it. (Transmission work and A/C work= $950 later...)
So last weekend we headed out early Friday morning for a weekend adventure. We hadn't decided for certain that we were taking this adventure until Thursday so we raced around most of the day Thursday to pack and get things together that we would need. We went Friday morning to the hospital for Bear to get new casts for his club feet. (They are trying again to see if his skin has healed enough to not have a bad reaction to the casting material.) Then we left from Seattle to head to the Olympic National Park.
We camped at the KOA. It was just enough camping for our family. The National Park only allows reservations at one of the camp grounds. That camp ground was full for the weekend. We had considered just showing up and seeing what we could find but after hearing all that they had were pit toilets- we decided that the KOA was the best bet. We had never stayed at a KOA before. It was kind of like camping for people who don't really like camping. This KOA was like a hotel without the building. They had a swimming pool, hot tub, go cart rentals, mini golf, laundry, showers, bathrooms, running water, activities, camp store, etc. I had been very worried about camping with Angeline and Bear and all the medical stuff we attend to daily with them- but truly they did so great and the KOA was definitely the way to go for us.
Friday afternoon we arrived and set up camp. We have four tents so we needed two camp sites. It was nice for everyone to have their own space and the kids were very helpful and had practiced ahead of time setting up and taking down their tents.
Saturday morning after whole wheat honey pancakes with fresh berries.... we headed to the Olympic Park welcome center. We grabbed some maps and information and planned out the day. First we headed up to Hurricane Ridge- where the above pictures were taken. We did some exploring and then had a picnic lunch.
From there I missed taking pictures but we headed down the 101 past two lakes, down very windy roads and rain forests to Sol Duc hot springs. We spent the better part of the afternoon in the hot springs then headed out to...
Now if there are any Twilight fans reading this- you will know just what we are talking about. We followed around a tour bus and we were able to see Bella's house, the Cullen's house, the high school, downtown Forks... the police station, hospital...
and even Bella's truck :)
We had planned to eat dinner in Forks- but upon arrival quickly realized it was really a small town with no where to eat for so many of us. So we had some snacks and took the road out to La Push. La Push is another location from the Twilight books. It is actually part of the Quileute Nation and on tribal land. (Just like the books say!)
We passed Jacobs house and saw his dog. (They had it all set up to appear to be Jacobs house and you could get out and walk around. Fun times!)
We saw this really nice art work right on the beach at La Push. It was very foggy and very "Twilight" type weather. It dropped about 20 degrees over the 15 mile drive out to the pacific ocean from Forks.
The kids ran around on the beach despite the freezing weather. Lulu even managed to find a nice dog that followed her around the whole time we were there. She almost had me convinced to take it home with us but I do believe it belonged to one of the surfers. Might just be a relative of Jacobs. :)
Have you seen David's new hair cut? Nice huh?
We kept Bear bundled tight so he would stay warm. He was such a trooper and loved the whole experience. He just loves being outside so much.
This sign hangs just on the line where you enter tribal land.
Saturday night our adventures ended back at camp really late.
We ate take out around the camp fire at 10pm. The kids were so well behaved all day despite the exhaustion we all felt. One of the highlights was seeing a Mommy deer with her two young fawns next to Crescent Lake. Breathtaking sights and awesome family bonding memories that is for sure.
The rain started sprinkling and we saw some lightning in the distance so we all headed into our tents. Lauren slept in with DH and I (and Bean and Bear) that night. Lauren and I were the only two awake and chatting when we heard the loud thunder and lightening roll on in. It seemed to last forever. Not a drop of water made it inside our tent and we couldn't believe that everyone else slept through the storm. OK so we were also surprised that we didn't bolt for the van with the babies in tow! (Who also snoozed soundly through it all.)
Sunday morning we headed out to Port Townsend and got in line to take the ferry across the water and save us several hours of drive time. Since it was a busy day and a small ferry- we had to pay, park and wait on the dock several hours. We were able to leave the van and walk around the cute town. We spent several hours exploring and Bean found shells with Lauren that she tucked inside her treasure box. (A shoe box she so happened to mak and decorate at the play room in the hospital on Friday. It served as a nice place to tuck away her little things she found.)
We talked about where to eat lunch on Sunday and we were glad that we chose a fantastic pizza place. This is Brian- he even came out to let the kids take turns throwing Pizza dough and the food was fantastic!
It was great to have the together time without any outside distractions. We are definitely making it more of a habit instead of an exception to our schedule. The goals of the weekend were to:
1. Be together and have fun
2. Experience new things
3. Stay safe
4. Stay on budget
5. Refocus our energy
All and all it was a successful weekend had by all. Yeah!
My niece Libby and my Mom- or "Nana"- have been visting for the past two weeks. Yesterday we had the end of a very nice visit and took them to the airport to travel back east. We miss them so much and the house seems empty. (I didn't realize that was even possible.) My Mom and sister basically fixed my living room. It looks a ton better and will likely not get moved or changed until the next time that my Mom comes back. She gave me a ton of great decorating tips and some motivation to do it too. (dream big)
Of all the children Baby Bear misses Nana the most. She held him and spoiled him the whole time she was here. He may never sleep again without being held.
I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst. Then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best. Marilyn Monroe