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 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Nolan

Nolan and his baby brother

Well, I was supposed to do this post yesterday; however, our day was so full and I chose to enjoy time with the family. We had a small family picture session yesterday morning. We needed some family shots for our first post-placement visit coming up this Wednesday morning. We then took Nolan to lunch at Logan's Steakhouse. Following his birthday lunch, Nolan made the request that we go to Orange Leaf (a self serve yogurt place). All the kiddos enjoyed their yummy treat, but it did take Toby a while to warm up to the idea of eating something cold (as of now, he still likes warm water, warm milk...). This momma loved seeing all my kiddos enjoying their time together while celebrating their big brother's birthday. We returned home with a load of movies and a birthday cake. We piled on the couches and the floor to watch movies and snuggle away the afternoon. It was a very lazy, laid back day filled to the brim with family togetherness.
Happy Birthday To our oldest Son!! How is it that you are 15 years old today?! It seems as if it were just yesterday when you were born and placed in my arms. Then, I remember on your 6th birthday when you proudly announced, "Yeah! I'm a teenager now!"... "Not for several years my little man." Little did I know that those several years would go by in a flash, and now you are that teenager and growing into an amazing young man. Dad and I are so proud of you and the person you are becoming. We love your devotion to serving others and serving your Lord Jesus. We pray that God will always be the center of everything you do and that you will always show the love and compassion of Christ to all that you meet. We love you so very much!! Happy Birthday Nolan!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bell Choir

Nate, Levi and friend waiting to perform

Mandy and friends wait to perform

Mia and friend waiting to perform

2nd Annual Christmas Hand Bell Choir
Four of our kiddos participated in the hand bell choir at our church. This marked our second year of performing a Christmas program. All of the children that participated seemed to enjoy every practice, and all were very dedicated to doing their best. All of their hard work showed in the final performance. They all did a super job!

Big Brother

A Brother's Love
Levi is relishing his role as big brother. He is beyond excited that he and Toby will be sharing a room. He is already super protective of Toby and loves any opportunity that he gets to help or play with his "di di". At Levi's request, the two boys dressed alike the other day. Our house is overflowing with cuteness...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Home Again, Home Again...

We are home! We arrived home around midnight December 9th. We were scheduled to make a slightly earlier arrival; however, our plane out of Chicago was delayed. So after a long,long day of travel, we finally made it home. There was never a more wonderful sight for this momma's "teary" eyes than to see my precious group of treasures waiting for us with welcome signs. After hugs and kisses all around, we grabbed the luggage, piled it into the car, and headed out for the hour long trip home. Everyone was so excited, laughing, and talking at the same time. I just sat back and took it all in even in my "dazed" like state of being. We were thrilled to watch Toby's reaction to all his siblings and laughed a lot at his exhuberance. He grabbed his picture book up and started pointing at the pictures, and then he would look up at each sibling saying "ge ge" or "jie jie", and then he would just shake his head. I think he was just processing that the people in the pictures were real. After he had assured himeself that they were indeed real, he just kept running around grabbing their hands or alternately giving hugs to all 6 of his siblings. After handing out the few souvenirs we brought for each kiddo,we had a little catch up time. Finally, worn out, we all went to bed and slept until about 11am the next day (with a couple of wake up times in between...but, with no other options given, we convinced Toby that it was indeed time to sleep). There is no rest for the weary around this place because we had to return to work in the Children's Ministry that Sunday. We spent a good bit of time Saturday working on preparation for Sunday morning, and then when "jet-lag" got the best of us...sleeping. Sunday arrived, and we were off and running. All the kids were gathering around and welcoming Toby into the church family. They were all so good with him and just wanted to love on him all morning. He was thrilled to run around and make friends with everyone, and not so thrilled when momma drew him back in and made him ride in the carrier attached to his momma all morning.
Since we couldn't take red couch pictures at the White Swan

Smiling less than five seconds after the meltdown over having to be still long enough for a picture

Welcome Home Toby, Welcome Home! .... my 7 treasures together at last
I have to say that I tried to approach "jet-lag" in a totally different way this time back, but no matter which way you try to tackle it, it is still "BAD". It has really been knocking me off my feet. I have often wondered if I had some sort of virus or something to go along with it because I have been so tired and just felt lousy. Some days are definitely better than others. I think I am finally "getting over it" and reasdjusting to U.S. time, but then there are days like today when I am so tired I fall asleep sitting up (and that is after sleeping 7-8 hours). Brad, Garrett, and even Toby readjusted quickly in the first 2-3 days. Toby sleeps through the night even with taking a two hour nap. We are counting our blessings and feeling very blessed that Toby is adjusting so very well because we know only too well that it can be very different. Least you think everything is easy, Toby is having his share of meltdowns. He doesn't like to go to bed or take naps, and we see some major "temper-tantrums" at the mere mention of nighty-night. We are still working on attachment issues, but he is learning and starting to accept love, hugs and kisses. He is finally allowing mommy to care for his needs, to rock him and to hold him on occassion. We are seeing that he rushes through all the motions at the moment...only allowing us to cuddle, hug and feed him because he has "accepted" his fate. However, first steps first... we know that these actions will eventually lead to the "real" thing and often many "hurting" children cannot even give this much.. He loves cuddling and hugs way too much to turn them away for too is just an adjustment to know that you have a mommy and daddy who love you forever. And that he does... He has a mommy, daddy, 4 brothers, and 2 sisters that are head over heals in love with him, and he has a forever family! Praise the Lord for He is Good!!!