For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Interesting Conversation

Kind of weird... but yes, another comversation...
We were given a terrific gift of a Sam's Club membership by some dear friends. What a blessing for our large family. So, yesterday evening Brad, the kids, and I went to get the membership cards and do some shopping. Our kiddos went a little hyper on us when they saw all the cool things there...must admit I was pretty excited myself. We did our shopping and then went to checkout. Our checker was a young man of Asian ethnicity. The conversation went something like this:
Young Man,"Hello, How is your evening?"
Young Man."How was Christmas?"
Us,"Very nice"
Young Man,"How many kiddos do you have? Are they adopted?"
Us, "We have six children,3 are adopted and 3 bio".
Young Man,"I am adopted as well".
Me,"Where were you born?"
Young Man,"Seoul South Korea".
Brad and I, "Cool"
Young Man,"Where are your kiddos from?"
Young Man, " I so hope that I can adopt one day. Is it getting any easier to adopt?"
Us,"No not really and the cost seem to be rising; however, we learned that God will always provide a way."
Young Man,"You are so right","I think it is terrific that you guys have adopted"
Us,"We are the ones blessed"
Young Man,"Are these two brother and sister?"(refering to Mia and Levi)... UGH!!!
Brad,"They are Now!" to which the young man grins sheepishly and then says
"Well yes, I meant were they biologically related."
Brad,"No, they are from the same region in China though."
We are finished checking out and the young man says"I hope to see you guys when you come shopping again."
The young man had a completely different attitude from the other adoptee(the young waiter from the previous conversation). Although, he didn't elaborate, he seemed secure and happy about his being adopted... I could have "picked his brain" for several hours,but there was a little thing called "his job".
To show how "aware" Mandy is... she then started the conversation with her daddy(I didn't hear it, but Brad told me later)about why people always ask if they are adopted.
Oh, Mandy girl...!! Brad does such a super job of talking things through with her... I can tell we will have to continue to be prepared...
Really, How strange is it that within a 4 day period.... we would have two almost opposite conversations with two older adoptees?!... and even they aren't "informed" on the proper "adoption speak"... The way I see it, maybe we should pay the most attention to showing our kiddos that God has planned their lives and that HE loves them and He set them in their families.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day

Nate's Star Wars Lego set ...from Santa A White Christmas... the first that I can remember

The cutest Train Engineer ever... Our Beautiful Princess... Snowball fights...
Fun in the snow...

Christmas Eve

Waiting, not so patiently to open presents...
Even the dogs got in on the act...
Look at all the loot...
Excitement all around...
Nolan got a pair of Justin Ropers... Nate is thrilled with his Star Wars Outfits for his Build A Bear Animals... Mia loves her dress up clothes...
Mandy can't wait to play with her Barbie Makeup ...
Our darling baby niece... we met her for the first time...such a precious doll..

Sunday, December 27, 2009

An Interesting Conversation...

We took Nolan out to eat for his birthday yesterday. Our waiter started an interesting conversation...wait for it, here it comes....."Are They All Yours?"..."Yes, They are all Ours!"(didn't feel like elaborating or that it was any of his business). He leaves to fill our drink order and returns... wait, gets so much better, "Do you foster or something?" "NO,They are all Ours"..."Oh, so you adopted or something like that".."Yes, 3 of our children are adopted" getting past the fact that they look different from us and our 3 bio children. But wait... the conversation takes an even more interesting turn....
Waiter: "I'm Adopted....great when I was a little kid, when I got older,Not so much!" "I found my birth mom about 4 yrs ago, and we moved here together."
Brad and I just nod our head... and the whole time I'm thinking...He is saying this out loud in front of my chidren...Mandy is very aware and questions about her birth mother all the time. My kiddos will likely never know their birth parents... still all I do is nod my head. He is telling us this ...Why?...still all I do is nod my head. He obviously has issues about his adoption. I want to ask more questions, but not my business and my kiddos are present....still all I do is nod my head. The conversation doesn't end there...
We are about at the end of our meal and our waiter returns to clear dishes. He looks at Mia and Levi and says,"Are these two brother and sister?".... "What?!!!!"
I reply, "Of course they are brother and sister; however, they aren't biologically related"
"What?! What?! What?!"
....still all I did was leave the restaurant shaking my head!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Official....We are parents of a teenager!

Nolan, age 6, ALMOST A TEENAGER... Nolan, A TEENAGER!!...13 years old
Where did 13 yrs go?? I distinctly remember the birth of our firstborn. We were so excited...after two miscarriages, we were blessed with our beautiful baby boy. We had our dream come true... truly a miracle!
I distinctly remember his 6th birthday(not that I don't remember special things about all his birthdays)...He had anticipated that particular birthday for several months, and on that day, he exclaimed"Yeah, I am now a teeneager!" which we laughed and replied,"You have a long,long time until you are a teenager."....Where did those 7 yrs go?
So, it is official, we are parenting a teenager as of today! Believe it or not, we are looking forward to this phase of his life and our lives. Nolan is a terrifc kid. We are enjoying his wonderful personality, his amazingly joyful sense of humor, his sensitive,caring heart, his respectful,loving manner, and his incredible love of and commitment to Jesus,his Lord and Savior. We are blessed to call him our son and treasure the gift that God entrusted to us 13 yrs ago.
We love you Nolan! We pray that you continue to trust the Lord with your whole life and that you experience the joys of living your life for Him! Happy Birthday son!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Milk and Cookies....

The kids and I rolled and cut out the cookies the night before... Do I want to cut an angel or a stocking?...the last tray of cookies was baked by 11pm. The gang's all here...this is the older kiddos table...6 different colors of icing, sprinkles, sugars, candys,etc....
The younger kiddos table... getting ready...It takes lots of concentration to frost those cookies just right...
I like the "emeM's" the best... Let's put lots on my cookie momma!Not sure just how many cookies the boys actually got to take home...They ate them almost as quickly as they decorated them. We finally had to put a stop to that ...boys on sugar overload,"Oh my!!"
Almost done...
Look at our beautiful Christmas cookies!! Another yearly tradition...
Every year we roll, cut, bake and decorate Christmas cookies. My mother started this tradition when my siblings and I were young, and it lasted until we had families of our own(we still like to do this when we are all home for Christmas). Some of my fondest memories come from baking and cooking with my mom and grandma, and so this tradition holds a special place in my heart. I started this tradition with my kiddos almost from the time they could sit in a highchair and "lick the spoon". We find pleasure in sharing the cookies almost as much as we like decorating them. It just warms your heart to see the smile it brings when a filled cookie tin is placed in someone's hands. I love making these memories with my children! Several years ago, we broadened our cookie decorating and started inviting friends to join in on the decorating fun. This year we had quite a crowd helping. After a quick lunch, we crowded around two tables and began decorating lots of cookies. The children each had a special way of decorating, and their creations were their own to take home. Our house was full of lots of kiddos, lots of noise and much chaos. It made this momma's heart sing... nothing better than a houseful of happy children and the blessing of sharing good times with friends.

Rudolph? Prancer?, a Dancer

At the end of Mandy's dance class, all of the parents were invited to attend a special presentation(for parents only) of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. The girls have been working on various tap routines and "put together" a performance for us. Our Mandy girl is definitely a gifted dancer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Traditions Continued...

The Boot...
This tradition began back 15 years ago. When Brad and I were first married, we were "country/western" fans. We are both Native Texans, and had dreams of owning a "small spread" one day(my how dreams evolve and change). So, it was natural for our Christmas tree to be a Texas tree(or at least that's how we saw it). When we had completed the decorating, we found that we were lacking a star or any kind of tree topper for that matter. Brad disappeared for a minute and came back with one of my red ropers. We put it on top and it has remained there every year since. This year the kiddos have really been into family history...and one of them asked me,"was that your boot,momma?" ,"yes, I used to wear it dancing with your daddy.", "Were you wearing it the first time you met him?"...I had to think a minute...but you know what, "why yes, it was one of the set of boots I was wearing when I met your dad!"... I hadn't even added that to the "special" meaning of our Christmas boot...Decorating the Texas Tree...reds, blues, silver, cowboy boots, hats, horses...and you can't forget the Chili Peppers....

Watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (a favorite from my childhood)...nothing better than snuggling under a blanket(which the kids had on the couch until done with the snacks), eating popcorn, drinking hot chocolate, and watching a movie...

A New Tradition(at least for us).... A Christmas Play... every year our church puts on a Christmas Dinner Theater... this play shares a special message about the Christmas season. This years theme..."Jesus Loves Fruitcakes" (sharing His love with everyone including your enemies). Two years ago,our family helped with stage decorating and design.Last year, Garrett made his acting debut, and this year Nolan joined in on the fun and started his acting career! We saw their first performance last night, and they were terrific! The play runs through a Sunday afternoon performance.

Nolan is "Daryl with his other brother Daryl" and they are a"down home" kind of family.I am so proud... Garrett is "Willie" and is part of the children's group that puts on a Christmas performance for the people at the retirement home.

Christmas Traditions

1)the handing down of statements,beliefs,legends,customs,information,etc.,from generation to generation
2) something handed down
3) a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting

I was thinking about our family "holiday traditions". Do we really have set traditions? What are the things that we enjoy handing down to our children?
I don't know about you , but there are some years that the holidays seem to sneek up on me a lot faster than others. Thus, I find myself trying to "keep up", to get it all done, to make it "the best ever" Christmas, and you know what?... it sometimes just doesn't get done! Over the last few years, I have been trying to focus more on what Christmas means and less on getting things done. I have to tell has made life a lot simpler and my children more focused on the true meaning of Christmas.
So, once again I ask myself about our traditions and about what it is I want to pass down to my children. The most important tradition, in our home, is to remember the birth,life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Other traditions just seem to fall into place around that...
We have several very simple decorating the house inside and out, watching the well loved Christmas movies and shows, cookie making/decorating, etc...
There are several new traditions that I wish to begin...gotta just do it... like serving at a food pantry/kitchen to help feed the hungry, spending more time with friends(just enjoying friendship... no party planning needed), and many more.
I would love to here about traditions that you all might have in place at your home. Would you share some of your favorites? ...and maybe a tradition that you would like to start?