Guess what. Yup. Apparently we don't have lots of snow in Tulsa anymore, we just get ice. Well, I can't say that is entirely true. It went ice, inch of snow, lots of ice, two days off of school. And, for some reason, when the kids are out of school they think they are on vacation and don't even pick up their dirty socks unless I burst a blood vessel in my eye hollering. I'm not a scheduled maniac about it, I just don't want to be the one going behind everyone picking up snow clothes, toys, and dirty dishes, and would it kill any of them to turn off a screen for just a bit and open a book?! I'm exaggerating just a tad, they have been pretty good pitching in when I use my sweet mommy voice. Today, Wednesday, was actually pretty nice outside with the sun shining, not bad at all. We all got bundled up and when I let Carlie out she just wandered up the street amazed at what was out there. It's nice to have a snow day, but at this rate we will be in school until June.
I know everyone was waiting to find out who's plate this was with just the green vegetables left on it from the Shepherd's Pie. And, according to the poll, no one got it right, not even my husband . . .
I am 39 (thirty-nine) today! I am telling the truth, it's not like my whole phase of "it's my 4th anniversary of my 25th birthday." I've come to terms with the fact that I am almost 40 - ! I never thought I'd be 40 and still trying to bring kids home. It's amazing the plans GOD has in store for us. Maybe I should adopt my friend "C's" motto of "don't do the math" when it comes to 'when Carlie is 12 I will be ?' (like the play on the word adopt? ha ha!) Anyway, I haven't blogged in a really long time. We've been really busy around here and I'll post pictures when I get a chance. But, we no longer have a formal dining room, it is now going to be our home office. The old office will now be Conner's room, then Carlie will move over to Ethan's room. So, the two big kids will have their own room and the two younger one's will share a room. AND, in the midst of all that E decided to rip a huge chunk of wallpaper (that was falling down and ugly anyway) off the wall in the upstairs bathroom. In case you have lost count, that is about four rooms we are redoing at the moment. But it will be so good when it is all done. Then when sweet Avery gets here she'll probably stay in our room for as long as she needs then pile in with the younger ones in that room. Oh what fun! Wallpaper is just flying everywhere!
Let me start by saying that Jeremiah 29:11 says, "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." I KNOW THAT. I know that I know that I know that that is true. His plans are far greater than any I could ever come up with and I am thrilled to be even a smidge a part of anything He has got to do with. Use me Lord. I'm a pretty patient person, I really am. I know that His timing is perfect. However ('however' is just a fancy 'but' - I think I heard Dr. Phil say that a long time ago) when it comes to bringing orphans home and uniting families with their children, why is now not the perfect time? Like I said, I know that His time is perfect. And when we finally hold Avery there will be absolutely no question in my mind as to how this all unfolded and why, I won't care to be quite honest, for a while I won't care that it took this long. And then, oh AND THEN, what a story we will tell. One of our pastors says that God can't give you a testimony without a test. I've often said that I don't have a testimony (silly me, careful what you ask for)!
A couple of days ago as I was passing by our map of China, I stopped to say a little prayer for Avery and her birth parents and it turned out to be a bit of a sob fest on my part to God. He heard me and let me let it out. I think He might've had just a tad of a smile on His face, not because I was hurting but because He sees the big picture, "Silly daughter." He sees our beautiful Avery, and the day we get to see her picture for the first time, and how we will praise Him for His faithfulness, and how we will marvel at how His beautiful plan has unfolded and how we were blessed enough to be a part of it. God is so good.
THIS time it wasn't my cooking! YAY!! Somebody in my family thinks that green vegetables are not supposed to be eaten. This person actually thinks that God made a mistake and accidentally put them on the earth, especially, the green beans. I made "Cheesy Shepherd's Pie" tonight. It was actually very good (I thought). I knew the mixed vegetables were going to raise some eyebrows, so I reduced the amount the recipe called for. One member of the family got a 'mini-lecture' on how to keep their opinions to themselves as to not influence others at the table when it came to the partaking of the nutrition. That person was the one who hand picked their greens out of the delicious "Cheesy Shepherd's Pie." So, if you think you know, vote for the one, the one who did not eat their peas or green beans. It probably won't be too difficult.
Well, we are home from a whirlwind of traveling and gifting and celebrating. A friend of ours said somewhere on a website "I want a 51" TV to celebrate the birth of our Savior." That struck me. It just struck me and made me think. So, I asked my children what they thought Christmas was about. The two older ones said that it was about Jesus' birth - YAY they got it. The 3 1/2 year old said that it was about Santa. Understandably, in his world it is, but we have some tweaking to do and we will. In the meantime, I felt the joy, and the love of a wonderful family that was all across this great state of ours. My sister, brother-in-law and her two kids came for a few days. The two little boys, now 4 and 3 1/2 get along so well, almost too good. They turned the closet completely upside down once and the bedroom upside down once (curtan rod bent significantly, legos EVERYWHERE), and did countless jumps from my boys' beds to Carson's blow-up bed (who saw that coming?). We decided this year to have one big family celebration at my house with my two sisters and their families and my parents and their significant others. It went swimmingly (ha ha - note the boys in their swimming suits, Ethan has taken Carson to the blue side)! We had a Mexican style fair while the gifts were just for the kids. Christmas morning came with Santa and all his pack of stuff and then we headed to the center of the state where we visited my Grandmother and Kenneth. The kids opened up their presents and the adults played Dirty Santa boys vs. boys and girls vs. girls. There were 39 people at my Grandma's house, EVERY member was there. I LOVE going to my Grandma's house. It is security. It is familiar. It has not changed in years. I love that woman. I need to not get so attached to a house don't I! Anyway . . . maybe more later, maybe not! Then, we trecked to Woodward Oklahoma . . .
We had a very small party this year with just a few very close friends and our cousin Reagan. These girls are so silly. At first they were very camera shy and kept darting under the table every time the camera came into view, but after a while they warmed up. The pink hat, well, that is a story in and of itself. It keeps getting passed back and forth between our family and our good friends. Their daughter's came over one day and I told them they could have it (much to their mother's chagrin), a few weeks later it ended up on our windshield at church. It just so happens that they are our optometrist and I put it in one of their offices when we were there getting our eyes examined (have you noticed how many glasses this family wears - let't count, four out of 6?!). And now, it showed up in Nicole's birthday present (along with the real gift, even though she was thrilled to have her precious pink hat back)! I have a plan on how to get it back to them, though, boy do I have a plan! Anyway, back to the 9 (nine) year old we now have! Nicole is nine (9)! She was born in 1999! She is amazingly smart, beautiful, funny, loving, caring, and so much more. I thank God every day that she is our daughter and that I get to spend all my days with her. She cracks us up. She is an amazing big sister to E and Carlie. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for this one, it is going to be good. Some of the funniest things come out of her mouth: when asked if she wanted to play basketball last season she said, "No, it's so boring, all you do is stand there." And, as we were getting out of the van one day when I was pregnant with E, I said, "Let's hurry because mommy has to use the restroom." She said, "That's good because my bottom's eating my panties." She's just a hoot and we love her!
I am a wife to a wonderful man, and a mother of five beautiful, healthy children. If I had time, I would get organized, read, research stuff, exercise (pressing on!), and take more naps. We live in the great state of Oklahoma. Life is good. God is great!
A List of Common Adoption World Abbreviations and Terms
SWI - Social Welfare Institution, the orphanage, but also sometimes an orphanage and a home for the elderly
SN - Special Need, some of the families request a child with a special need, we have chosen not to
LID - Log In Date, the date your dossier is officially logged in in China
Travel Group - All the other families who have the same DTC/LID date as we do and we will all travel together unless one of them chooses a child with a special need. Usually all the referrals in a group come from the same orphanage, which will be another thing we will have in common with our travel group.
I-171h - a PPP that we waited 6 weeks on so we could finish our dossier
USCIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Bethany - Our adoption case worker at Dillon who is very patient and has a great sense of humor
Dillon - Our adoption agency, which we love, is based in Tulsa, but serves many parts of the country, and it's Christian based
PPP - Pretty Peace of Paper, once you have received the pesky one it becomes the pretty one ;)
PPP - Pesky Piece of Paper, which is any piece of important paper you are waiting on
Referral - The first picture you see of the child you have been matched with and a brief medical history