Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Updates

His promises are new everyday.  I woke up greatly encouraged.  He is our hope.

Oliver's teacher came out this morning to work with him.  He is a little sponge soaking up every little thing around him.  He is learning how to push a toy car back and forth and how its wheels turn.  He likes to get up on all fours like he is about to crawl and then psychs you out by sitting back down.  He is getting more technical with his "more" sign and can blow kisses too.  He has the cutest bye bye wave of any little baby ever and he loves being the center of all of our attention.  His reflux is so much better now that he taking a slow release Prevacid pill every morning.  He is scheduled to see an opthamalogist, an orthopedist, and to have an echocardiogram.  Once he has cardio clearance he will have tubes put in his ears to hopefully improve his hearing.

Nolan is doing great.  His palate is completely healed and next he will have one tube put in his ear while the other one is explored to see what is causing it to continually drain.  I just signed his IEP so it is only a matter of time before he begins preschool where he will receive speech and occupational therapy.

Adam will be having his wisdom teeth pulled later next month.  This is the first step to treating his TMJ.  If you remember, can you please lift up a prayer for him.  He will be finding out some very important news tomorrow.

Before I head off to bed I can cross one more thing off my list.  Christmas cards are done along with a family newsletter.  Now if I can only get the envelopes addressed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

His Strength

Wow oh wow the Thanksgiving holiday is over.  We survived.  We actually thrived despite all that life and Satan threw our way.  Though I was obviously tired through most of it, I enjoyed it with all my heart.  We celebrated with friends and family, new and old.  The laughter and love that filled our home on Thanksgiving will always ring in my heart. We are blessed.  That morning while I sauteed veggies for the stuffing I remembered my Dad when a certain song came on the radio.  It was the song that played in the car on the drive to the hospital to see him 3 years ago before he passed away.  It still feels different knowing that he is not here.  I miss you Dad.

Lately, the days have been filled with organized chaos.  Mostly good, but definitely some new parenting challenges.  Though I can't really share the intimate details because I want to respect my children's privacy on these matters, I can share how fragile, naive, and easily influenced our children are.  It only takes exposure to one person, one movie, or one event to send your child down a wrong path.  Believe me, we have experienced this more than once in the past week.  

A lot of our children carry around this unseen baggage of hurt and pain from their past that they have slowly unpacked over the years.  This past week makes me think they are completely moved in.  It has been overwhelming.  Only by the grace of God do we find the words, the patience, and the perseverance to press on.   In my own strength,  I seriously can't do it.

It brings comfort to know that He is with us always.  He brings a lull in the midst of a storm and I will sing his praises.  Yes I will.  

Just as there are sure to be trials, there are always smiles.  Spending an hour teaching Paul all about heaven as he asks questions about his sins, his special room in heaven, and his future wife.  Oh, what a moment to treasure.  Praising Annalyn for using some old fabric to cover a chest and seeing her eyes light up.... priceless.  Watching Nolan play with his big brothers outside as he learns how to hang a towel over a window in the play place.... just as priceless.   Watching Adam read stories to Dennis and Alex as a favor to me while I make dinner.... little things like this that make life so incredibly wonderful despite all the trials that try to bring us down.

I am constantly reminded to take a deep breath.  Whatever seems overwhelming at the moment can be tackled later.  I promise.  And when later comes, it doesn't seem quite so big.   

Take the garage for instance.  It has been a mess for months.  It seems like the kids were adding trash to the giveaway pile everyday.  I was overwhelmed as I literally wished the mess away every time I saw it.   Well believe it or not-- my daughter confessing to sneaking sodas in the garage got me to finally tackle it today.  If she was able to take a chance and confess this along with a slew of other things, I could certainly tackle the garage and live to tell about it.

As I made my way to the trash to throw a handful of papers away I saw that this plant's leaves had been hacked with a stick by one of our kids.  This plant had sprung up unexpectedly months before and John and I both had decided to let it grow.  But it was time to pull it.  Imagine my surprise when I saw all of these little jalapenos growing on it!  It tickled me pink-- and Julia too.  We both like to imagine that we are amazing gardeners and for a split second, holding up this plant, I felt like one.  This is what I call grace.  A simple pleasure that filled me right up.  If one little jalapeno seed could fall out of the trash and make its way to the dirt and actually grow into this without any extra watering except the rain, I can only imagine how much greater our children will grow as we sow into their hearts and minds the Word of God.
After getting the boys ready for bed, I turned on an episode of Little Bear.  While my four littlest watched Little Bear, I watched them.   I am blessed.

Friday, November 23, 2012


As we prepared Thanksgiving dinner in the morning, Nolan was busy doing his own thing.
Isn't he cute?
I think we have our first left hander of the family.
We had a full house for Thanksgiving.
Sveta with our friend Amanda doing a puzzle.  By the end of the evening all 500 pieces were finished.
Our friend Chelsea with Oliver.  Please pray for our little olliepop to get his full energy back.  Despite all of his tests coming back normal, he is still lethargic off and on. 

The turkey was 24 pounds, and the ham was nearly 10 pounds.  Plenty of food for 30 people!

Later in the evening, we all played games.  Scribblish and Bubble Talk are two fun games we played!  Bubble Talk is much like Apples to Apples but funner.

Don't ask.  :)  
Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!  Family, friends, fun, and food.  We are blessed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

Nolan is such a happy little guy.  He used to be afraid to be in the trampoline and now he loves it!  His brothers jump and wrestle all around him as he is tossed here and there.
Caleb and I put up this wall quote together.  After an hour of rubbing, it was finally done.  
Anna has been growing like a weed lately.  She is finally taller than one one of her sisters-- Sveta.
Oliver loves to chew on things-- usually his socks.  Instead I dried out this bread and let him have at it.  He sure did enjoy it!
Adam and Rachel helped with dinner tonight.  While they were crushing garlic in my favorite press, the handle broke off.  After 10 years it is finally time to buy a new one but I definitely got my money's worth out of it.
Thanksgiving preparations are underway.  Julia made two pumpkin and two chocolate pudding pies.  I put the 24 pound turkey in the roaster to slow roast all night.
Julia wanted Oliver to taste pumpkin pie for the first time so she baked a separate little bowl of the filling just for him.

I'll end with this funny story.  As I got the big roaster down from the top shelf in the cupboard and Julia helped me pull it out of the box Anastasia asked if that was what we would be cooking the turkey in.
Julia responded with a half smile,
"No, not a turkey.  We will actually be cooking you tonight.  See, we used to have a brother named Michael but we cooked and ate him last Thanksgiving.  Don't you remember?"
"No.  You don't cook me, you cook the turkey,"  she tried to say matter-of-factly.  
Julia quickly apologized as we all got a quick laugh.
Happy Thanksgiving!  Many blessings to you all!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Missed a Spot

When everyone is busy doing school Nolan and Oliver play.  It is so sweet to watch them together.  Nolan is now very gentle with Oliver and Oliver learns so much from watching his big brother!
Julia's legs look awesome once again.  Poison oak is officially over for her.  Too bad some of the other girls still have a little of it.
I found a pair of scissors in the downstairs bathroom next to a pile of hair.  I assumed it was Dennis or Nolan.  It was William.  He thought I had missed a spot. 

New Family Photos

It was time for new family photos.  For weeks I was trying to set a Saturday afternoon aside but it never worked out.  Getting to a point where everyone was feeling good and healthy was no small feat.  Finally, yesterday was the day.  I asked Caleb's girlfriend Taylar and her sister Chelsea if they would take the pictures for us.  We drove to a place not too far from our house and took nearly 100 pictures.  Here are the best!

While taking these pictures a train came.  It scared Nolan and Oliver.  Thankfully we were about done.

Finally we will have an updated picture of all of us on our wall.  And Christmas cards are done too!