Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DIY Inducing Labor and a Jump Rope

On Monday, I ran some errands while D took the kids out to get some things for my upcoming birthday.  When we all were back together, there was the usual parental hushing of "don't give away the surprise" and "don't tell Mama what you got her for her birthday."  Zeke just couldn't quite do this.  He kept saying " 'Prise.  Jump rope."  However, that's not the funniest part.  Here's the conversation D had with Zeke at Walmart while picking out my gift:

D:  What do you think Mama woudl like?
Zeke:  Big shark.
D:  No, not a big shark.
Zeke:   Um, jump rope.
D:  Jump rope?  Are you sure?
Zeke:  Yes, Mama jump.  Baby come out.

Where on earth do they come up with this stuff?  As of right now, I do not have any plans to try out Zeke's method.  If September and I'm still pregnant, maybe I'll reevaluate.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Name Game

Since I just shared the name for our newest addition, I thought I'd share a bit about how all of our kids got their names.  I know I enjoy hearing other families share how they chose the names for their kids and I think when you add in the element of adoption, it adds another wrinkle into the conversation.

Let's start with kiddo #1.  Kenson was named by his birth aunt.  We thought to ask how he got his name during one of our meetings with his birth mom and I am so glad we did.  His aunt picked the name (which is relatively common in Haiti) because she liked it.  Mackenson is actually more common but you do occasionally see just plain Kenson.  His birth mom's last name is Jules.  The Haitian adoption decrees actually list the child's name with their given name, their Haitian last name as a middle name, and their new last name as the surname.  That is exactly how we kept it.  We liked the sound of Kenson and thought Jules fit well as a middle name.

For kiddo #2, her story is a little more interesting.  Her birth name is actually Youmie.  However, when she came into the orphanage, she was renamed Jemima by someone on the staff.  (Or possible Djemima.)  After a few months in the orphanage, she was taken into a foster home.  Her foster mom, Nancy, is American and knew that Jemima would not be culturally acceptable in the US so she renamed her Conleigh.  It was a name Nancy had loved.  So when she came into our life, she was being called Conleigh.  We liked that name as well and once we found out her Haitian last name was Dume', it was easy to decide to keep that as her middle name.  We changed the spelling on Dume' so it is more phonetic in English (Deme').

With Zeke, he was named by someone on the orphanage staff as he was a very small infant at the time he came to live in the orphanage.  The Chinese name they chose was Luo FuKang.  In Chinese, the family name is first so Luo is more like the last name.  It is possible than many of the children who were under the supervision of his orphanage share the surname Luo.  Fu Kang is actually two Chinese words.  Without having the actual characters, it can be harder to know what they mean but we were told on his referral documents that "healthy" was part of the meaning.  It is also common practice in China to give a nickname that repeats one of these names so his foster family was calling him "Kang Kang" which is pronounced more like "Kung" than "Kang".  Unfortunately, to American eyes and ears, none of those Chinese names really translate well.  They are not phonetic so they will be mispronounced.  Fu Kang is similar to a swear word.  And having a distinctly "foreign" sounding name can be something that right from the get go signals you are adopted or different.  We decided to choose a name we liked for the first name and find something that honored his Chinese heritage for a middle name.   We ended up narrowing our choices to Gideon and Ezekiel, based mostly on the sound of the names.  D ended up finding the middle name.  Jian is a Chinese word that shares the meaning of healthy, much like the original intent of the name he was given in China.

With adoption, there isn't necessarily a right way to proceed.  Sometimes, the best option is to completely rename because a child needs a new start, because the name is hard to pronounce, because all of the kids in the adoptive family have names that fit a certain pattern and the child would be left out, etc..  And sometimes, there are good reasons to keep their names.  Perhaps a birth mom thoughtfully chose the name.  Or it's an older child who just can't imagine losing that part of their identity.

The last kiddo on the list is Malachi.  Call it a blank slate if you will.  But for two teachers, starting with a blank slate can be a daunting task.  My husband sees about 650 kids a year.  He has been teaching for ten years as have I.  The sheer number of names we know and associate (both good and bad) with kids is pretty high.  We like unique but not too unique, but also don't want our child to be the 4th "Jacob" in his grade or to be constantly reminded of a certain child every time we use our child's name.  Names we liked but disregarded for one reason or another included Ezra, Elias, Burke, and Zekiah.  D of course used soccer as his inspiration and was really rooting for Breck or Beckham but those two names did nothing for me.  We ended up on Malachi, again because we liked the sound.  Kai just seemed like a great nickname and it seemed to fit with our other 3 who all have a hard c sound in their names.  We also liked how there was a more "grown up" version in Malachi should he ever get tired of being Kai.  We decided we would use a middle name that reflected cultural and family heritage, just like our other three children which is how we ended up at Stillman.  Stillman Gates is a great, great, great (maybe one more great?) grandfather on my grandmother's side of the family.  His claim to fame is that he settled in Custer County and founded a small community named Gates.

So that's the any interesting name stories you want to share?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby Bump Pics and a Surprise

My friend, Ann, asked me a few days ago what we needed for the new baby.  I knew a few things off the top of my head and mentioned those but also asked if she would take a few pictures of us as a family before the baby arrived.  I wasn't wanting a thousand pictures of my pregnant belly but I did want a few of our family from this moment in time.  Anyway, we headed over to her house the other day and let her attempt the monumental task of getting all of us looking in one direction, with smiles and open eyes.  When she originally shared the photos with me, I thought she said she took 257 pictures and found 5 good ones.  And I was pretty sure that was probably accurate.  Then I reread and it said she was attaching 5 of the better ones.  But if you've ever taken photos with more than 2 children, you know that 5 out of 257 is just about right.  Anyway, here are a few of my favorites plus one with a surprise.

And the surprise...

only 4 1/2 weeks until Malachi Stillman is set to arrive. 

 For those of you wondering, yep, I'm about ready to be done.  Kai is often on my bladder, often awake when I'd like to be sleeping, and in general, I am not sleeping well.  (And no Jozy is not a name we seriously considered.  It's the name of a Haitian American soccer player.  Jozy, along with the names of several other American soccer players, were always a part of D's contribution to the naming discussion.)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Tribe of One Among the Tribes of Many

There is still lots of talk about the Trayvon Martin verdict.  I am amazed that it is still in the news and amazed at how much racial centered dialogue has spun out from the whole incident.  I've read and heard a lot and am still amazed at how black and white people think.  I've already posted here once and have shared a few interesting things I've read but I did come across one more that I think is worthy of a read.  The essay "What I Want You to Know About Being a Black Middle Class Suburban Mom" challenges readers in a way I appreciate.  People make judgments about others based on appearance or perception.  It's natural, it's human, and it's not necessarily racist.  The author writes, "People are constantly assigning me to one tribe or another. That isn’t necessarily negative. We all do it. Human beings classify, sort and group. We do it with things and with people. It’s one of the ways we figure out how to relate to people."   

But it is selling people short, missing out on potential friendships and growth, and not how I want my heart to be.  It is lumping people into a tribe and not considering the "tribe of one."  "So while I’m in your tribe, at times I’m not. If I say my sons could one day be another Trayvon, I’m dismissed as paranoid. If I speak on privilege or systematic racism, I’m listening to too much Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson (neither of whom I listen to actually). If I express outrage, hurt, mistrust or ask for solidarity, I’m being too emotional or being influenced by liberal media. Because I’m expressing feelings and views that are outside of “our” tribe.  But this is how my tribe of one feels."

And while she writes as a black woman who has reacted to the Martin story in one way, the opposite perspective also is valid.    People who are saying the Martin case is about the facts versus emotions, about bad decision making versus racism are not necessarily trying to be dismissive or racist or insensitive.  It's how that tribe of one feels.

That should be the take away of the Trayvon Martin case, not that we focus on how racist our country is or how unjust our system is or how scary the world is for young black men.  It should be about saying "We all bring a perspective to the table, one that is unique to me and my experiences.  But Is what I have in my head accurate?  Where did that thought come from?  Why am I thinking it?  It it loved based, fear based, wisdom based, or just completely off base?"

Friday, July 26, 2013

Almost No-Sew Project

D's grandma had this couch in her basement for years.  It was just a plain stained brown with striped cushions.  I thought it would maybe be a good piece of patio furniture so we brought it home with us when she passed away.  I painted it black and distressed it and then recovered the cushions.  I took the completely lazy way out and hardly sewed a stitch on the cushions.  I found two clearance shower curtains at Target for $13 each.  (No way you could buy that much indoor outdoor fabric at a fabric store for that price.)  They were actually the right width but not the right length to cover the foam.  So I trimmed the extra length out of the middle of the curtains, keeping both hemmed ends.  I cut about 2 inches in from one hemmed in when I cut the extra out which gave me two pieces of fabric, a large piece with the buttonholes for the shower curtain and a small strip with a hem.  Those two pieces would then be joined back together with a seam and I used bias tape to make no sew ties which I inserted into the seam.  After sewing, I wrapped the rejoined fabric around the foam, tying the ties through the button holes to secure.  I then folded the ends over like a present and used safety pins to secure the folds.  That is all on the backside of the cushions and not something anyone is going to see so I was perfect happy to not sew it but instead pin it.  I think it took maybe 30 minutes.  However, my kids were around so really a 30 minute project takes more like an hour.   (And I was dreading doing it so I got one cushion covered and then stopped.  It has taken me all summer to finish the second cushion.)  It's a cute addition to our front porch and the fabric matches the new glider I put in by the glider.

Before-halfway done with the old striped cushion

All done

New glider-can't wait until the landscaping actually comes in.  There's a purple butterfly bush and iris behind the glider and an oakleaf hydrangea on the right side.

And a few shameless garden pics...because the garden actually looks pretty good right now.  Other than some funky fungus (?) issue with my zucchini and cucumbers that I'm hoping I've got fixed.

VBS Week

It's VBS week!  We're doing a cowboy theme, in case you couldn't tell.  I'm sad to say I missed Conleigh's pink and white striped socks and pink glittery shoes in this photo.  Those two items definitely made the outfit.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zeke's 3!

If you lived in my house you would not need a post to announce this. You would know simply by the change in the little boy's behavior. Can you say bring on the tantrums and the word "no!"? The magic switch has been flipped; whoever said two was terrible obviously had not yet parented a three year old. Regardless, he's still a keeper whom we hope will eventually outgrow the terrors of being three.

We actually met part of my family at the beginning of the month to celebrate both Zeke and Kenson's birthdays.

This is Kenson's response to finding batteries in the package.

My cousin, Alissa, made these super cute superhero sets for the boys.  They each got capes, masks, and wrist cuffs.  

The grandkids with Grandma 2 (my grandma)
On Zeke's birthday, we celebrated at home with just the 5 of us.

Fish cupcakes
3 candles-he even woke up telling us he was 3 so he knows but he still prefers to tell people he's 5

The big kids got him a sock monkey so he would have one that matched theirs
In case you missed his early declarations, he wants "big shark" stuff.  He has one shark shirt that he trashed because he has worn it so much so we got him two more.  Plus my mom got him one for his birthday too so he now has three big shark shirts.  He also got a bucket of ocean animals (sharks and whales) and an ocean puzzle from us.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wishful Thinking

Kenson, upon seeing a commercial for Snuggle which suggested that using Snuggle keeps your clothes smelling fresh longer, 

"Wow!  If we had that, I could just wear the same clothes for like 30 days!"

Conleigh, upon asking for the tenth time if she could have a gerbil, and being told ten times that she could not, "Well, if I can't have a gerbil then I want to have bugs!"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and Me

The verdict is in:  George Zimmerman is not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin.  It's been pretty hard to escape the media coverage of the trial and the verdict.   And maybe just as hard to sort out the racial implications of the trial and verdict, maybe harder if you are white?

Just looking at the case from a common sense standpoint, it seems to me like George Zimmerman made a pretty poor choice when he chose to follow someone who he thought was a criminal.  It seems like it's a pretty bold thing to act surprised when you follow a perfect stranger around and then have that perfect stranger act aggressively towards you, especially when that perfect stranger is a young man, when young men are not known to be particularly level headed and clear minded.  I just find myself saddened by the whole thing; if George Zimmerman had used a little common sense and thought ahead he might not have found himself in a situation where he felt threatened.  Trayvon Martin might not have reacted aggressively.  A gunshot would never have been fired.

But then there comes the question of common sense and racism.  Did George Zimmerman kill Trayvon Martin because he was black?  I'm not sure I believe that he killed him because he was black.  But I am pretty sure George Zimmerman's series of choices (the following of Trayvon, the 911 phone call, the fear he felt when he was attacked) were probably influenced by how Trayvon Martin looked.

Which is where I as the mom of a black boy find my heart skipping a beat.  The reality of life is we are human and we make judgments about others all the time based on appearances.  Often is more than just appearance, a combination of things like appearance and behavior.  But it still happens.

We look at a 30ish Hispanic couple walking down the street, talking in Spanish and assume they work in certain industries and cannot speak English when the reality is they are both pre med students who are fluent in English and Spanish.  We see a bald, white man who has tattoos up and down his arms, with a chain attached to his wallet, and an earring or two standing outside of a bar and assume he is just another tattooed guy who likes to drink when the reality is he's waiting for his wife to come out of the shop next door and he's actually a youth minister.  And we see a young black man, wearing a bit too baggy of pants and an oversized hoodie, while walking through our neighborhood, and because we don't recognize him and think he looks a little like trouble, we assume he's up to no good when he's really just walking home.

Can you see how that last scenario impacts me as a mom?

That's why the racial implications of the George Zimmerman trial matter.  Because for certain segments of the population, the racial aspects of the story take on a whole new meaning.  Most white people (especially those who are my age or younger) grew up in an era that some have tried to describe as "post racial."  In other words, we have come so far that we are now past race.  It's a well intentioned idea, one that is rooted in the fact that lots and lots of white kids who grew up in the late 70's, 80's, and 90's were taught so well that race doesn't matter.  These kids know that outright racism is wrong.  They have a long list of don'ts which revolve around racism.  Don't tell racist jokes.  Don't use racist names.  Don't discriminate in the work place.

But what is hard is that for most of the kids (who are now adults in the 20-40 age group) is that they have not had to think through the subtle side effects one's race has in life.  They have never really though about if their son might be misidentified as a criminal and shot.  They have not wondered where they will find a boy doll that looks like their son.  They have not wondered if their son will have his heart broken by a father's refusal to let their son take his daughter to prom.

I am not a proponent in making trouble where there is not.  Sometimes, situations just are what they are and it's an issue of a miscommunication or an accidental offense.  And I'm not sure I would define it as "white privilege".  To me, privilege implies something earned or a choice one makes to accept the benefits.  I don't think that's where a lot of white people live.

Instead, I think it's an issue of perception.  I once heard issues of racial sensitivity compared to having a sunburn.  Because of past experiences, many black people walk around with varying degrees of sunburns.  Start with slavery and the lack of civil rights as the first layer of the burn.  (Yep, it's over but it still stings to know that is where you came from.)  Add in any bad experiences at elementary school, things like having someone tell you they don't want to play with you because you are brown (probably not racist just a kids' way of saying "I don't want to play.")  Pile on more experiences like a store manager who follows you as a teenager, maybe because of your skin color or maybe just because you come off as a loud teen, or feeling forced to laugh at jokes that use the n word.  Maybe add in a true racist incident where someone did call you a nasty name.  And by the time you are an adult, you have burn after burn.  So then when something that has racial overtones happens, it's as if someone slaps your sunburn.

For most white people, they don't have those layers of burns so the incident doesn't carry the same weight as it does for a black person.  And that's is one of the complexities of being a transracial family.  I don't have the burns but there's a good chance my kids may find themselves at least singed.  So now my ears perk up and my thoughts go a bit deeper.  Not because I am looking to make a race issue but because I have a better understanding of how it might look through the eyes of someone else.

Can I say I hope that is one of the messages of the Trayvon Martin death?  That we as white Americans need to think and consider why our perception of an event might be different than that of someone else.  That is is okay to not share that same perception.  That is is not racist to make assumptions about someone based on appearance but it is racially insensitive to not think through those thoughts.  That there is a reason why blacks and other minorities might be more sensitive.  That loudly asserting how wrong those feelings are is not really helpful.

This week I've read quite a few things on the Martin/Zimmerman verdict.  Here's a few of the more interesting ones, ones that I don't agree 100% with but writing where some of the words resonated.

Truth in the City's Will We Ever Just Get Along?
Jen Hatmaker's Letter to Trayvon Martin's Mom
CNN's Trayvon Could Have Been My Son

Marriage Enrichment

I'm sure you've seen the quote about how a great friend is one who you may not talk to for months but when you do get back together, it's as if you've never been apart.  I think that probably sums up the way D and I spent our weekend.  The kids headed to Grandma's, and we headed to Lincoln for the FCA Coaches Marriage Enrichment Weekend.  We've been fortunate enough to have gone to the weekend for several years now and love that FCA believes in investing in coaches by encouraging them spiritually both as individuals and as couples.

Anyway, lest you think D and I haven't been talking for months, that is not true.  But in the last 10 months, as I've said before, it's just been an exhausting time, where we've both felt worn and like it was a bit easier to disengage rather than engage.  Being pregnant doesn't help that either as I'm guessing many of you women can related to the feeling of having a very large personal space bubble when pregnant.  This weekend was a chance to reconnect, to revel in some blessed quietness, both real and emotional.  We spent time in worship, time hearing the speakers remind us about basic principals for preserving your marriage, time spent in real communication with each other on simple topics that we often neglect, and time spent with other coaches and their spouses.

Sunday afternoon we meet my mom in Grand Island and drove up to the girl hanging out of the window of Mom's SUV, waving and acting like a crazy person all while Kenson was in the back having a mini melt down over a lost Matchbox car.  Um, yep...that sounds about right!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our small vintage laundry room

Our laundry room has been pretty much done since around Christmas time but I had been debating about swapping the light out for something less builder grade/modern and more vintage.  I think I've decided to leave it as is for now.  Anyway, getting pictures up on the blog is good incentive for actually cleaning up the space rather than ignoring it in favor of cleaning up the rooms that seem to matter most like the kitchen and living room.  It's not perfectly clean and you'll never see my hampers empty but I did dust the shelves so give me credit for that.

Our laundry room is actually pretty small.  Like maybe 7 x 8 or so.  So not giant laundry room with a huge folding island and room for an ironing board or small craft or office station.But it's much bigger than my old laundry room which only had a 2 x 5 foot section of floor space and where the door actually opened up into the space and took up much of that valuable floor space anyway.

 D built two stackable cubbies out of plywood which give me a sorting station for the clean clothes.  Right now, each person in our family has a basket and their clean, folded clothes go right into their basket.  The big kids are all responsible for putting that away as part of their chores each day.  To the right of that is an empty space where I keep the vacuum, mop, broom, and steamer.

I found some vintage shopping baskets on etsy and sewed some easy liners for them.  Those then hold the dirty clothes which the kids sort into lights and darks.  Ideally, I would have liked to have one more of those but I didn't have room for it so our towels all go into the green basket that sits on top of the cubbies.  Really, the towels stay in the bathrooms for the most part until I go get them to wash them so it's mostly just kitchen towels that find their way into the laundry room throughout the week.

The word "laundry" is made from chipboard letters from Hobby Lobby that I spraypainted with hammered metal paint.  The embroidered tea towels are some my great aunt gave me for our wedding.  I've used them occasionally for decoration but now I really have a much better way to see them.  I've seen several really cute things with wooden hangers so I knew I wanted to somehow use them in my laundry room.  I also knew I wanted to do something different for a curtain.  So I came up with this window valance.  The top section is a board with old glass doorknobs.  We had actually used it in Conleigh's old room but didn't have a place for it at the new house so I painted it black to use in the laundry room.  The curtain is a vintage lace tablecloth that I sectioned out evenly and clipped onto some wood hangers that I found at a thrift store.  I actually picked up a handful of wooden hangers at the thrift store so a few of the extras found homes in between the embroidered tea towels.

If I were to change anything, there are two things I would change.  1.  My washer and dryer doors open out into the laundry room instead of towards the exterior wall.  It's not a big deal but I have to step around the doors when I'm taking dry clothes out and putting them into the laundry baskets.  2.  The light fixture still sort of bugs me.  I love this light by Barn Electric but not the price tag.  I had contemplated trying to make my own from a plain school fixture by painting the base and the globe but I'm a little worried about it not putting out enough light since most schoolhouse fixtures only use one bulb.  So with that in mind, I think I'm going to leave what we have.

Anyway, so thankful for a new laundry room.  And always thankful for electricity and running water which make it all possible as I think about all the Haitian ladies who do their laundry in the river.

Monday, July 8, 2013

God and Me-Already Done

I have a friend who recently shared with me that she needed to step back from some commitments she had made because life was just too much at the moment.  She also shared that she had been needing to do so for awhile but in some ways felt guilty in doing so because it involved saying no to some other people who seemed to have a lot more going on than she did.  Like her need to step back somehow indicated that she wasn't as together as the people with whom she was comparing herself.

And one of those people she was playing the comparison game with was me.

I desperately wanted to tell her how "untogether" I was.  How hard the last 9 months have been for me, probably some of the hardest I have had which is saying a lot as we have dealt with the deaths of two parents, the care of a grandmother, multiple adoptions, just lots of stuff.  But that some how Zeke's homecoming and this surprise pregnancy have literally sent me back on my heels in ways none of the other stuff has.  From feeling sick and uncomfortable most of the time to feeling like I often can't keep up with the simple parts of life to feeling overwhelmed by my three kids and wondering how I will manage with a fourth, in a lot of ways I have just been reeling, trying to regain my footing a bit, wishing I were doing better at so many things.  I've just felt less together than I probably ever have.

I've never been someone who struggles with guilt.  In general, my personality is pretty "here I am, take it or leave it."  And while I have always been a performance based achiever, I have generally been able to perform well enough to not feel guilty.

Call me crazy, call it hormones, call it whatever you want-I have spent a lot of the last 7 months feeling like a shoddy mom.  Most of it probably centers around my own inability to maintain my emotions and parent from a calm place.  Some of it probably has to do with being exhausted every night and wanting nothing more to disconnect from life by being online or watching tv instead of engaging with my husband.  Regardless, I have just felt worn, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Much of my thoughts have been consumed by the guilt of not doing a good job now and how much worse I will probably do once the baby is here.  It is not where I should be living because God did not call me to a life filled with guilt, regret, or shame.

I picked up Lysa TerKerst's devotional that accompanies her Unglued book as freebie for Kindle a few months back and much of her words have spoken to my heart as I've contemplated my own unhinging.  A few things I thought I'd share:

"Do I really believe God will help me manage my emotions?"  Too often, I find myself caught in the cycle of bad behavior, apology, same bad behavior, same apology, feeling like I can't end the cycle and that I have no idea how God will help me end the cycle either.

"It is about imperfect progress."  Imperfect progress...I often aim big and expect perfection or at least a huge improvement.

"Conviction motivates, condemnation enslaves."  There is a difference between the Holy Spirit convicting and the Accuser condemning.  Yes, God desires certain behaviors in me but there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.  When I come to God asking for forgiveness, the act has already been done.  It is not a matter of "if" or "when" but a matter of "already."

"A good husband, good children, a good friend make a very poor God.  No education or job or house can save you."   I've spent a fair share of time feeling like the grass might be greener on the other side of the fence, wondering if maybe it's time for me to head back to work, that perhaps if I were not surrounded by my children all day, that maybe I would be a more loving mom.   I'm guessing you can probably hear that the heart of that is not a well positioned heart.  It is not a heart that is asking what God wants for me or my kids but is a heart that is feeling trapped and longing for escape.

"When you try and try, always feeling like the answer is just around the corner and then it isn't...It can make you feel frustrated and unsatisfied with everything.  Even those you love.  Maybe especially those you love."  Again a reminder that my discontent is probably not going to be resolved by a new job or better behaved kids.

From my prayer journal-"Do I really believe that?    That my behavior does not influence how You feel about me.  That Your love for me rests not in my performance but in Who You are and Who I am in You.  I find it hard to wrap my head around, hard to teach my kids that."

"I am not gentle by nature but I can be gentle by obedience.  I am not patient by nature but I can be patient by obedience.  I am not peaceful by nature but I can be peaceful by obedience."  Definitely need to remind myself of this, that it is not natural but it is possible.

"Sometimes I act as though Jesus can work miracles for other people but not for me."  Lysa shared this statement in the context of the assorted situations she is aware of where God has done miraculous life changes.  Drug addicts who are clean.  Ex convicts who mentor others.  Major life changes.  And yet, we doubt God can help us conquer our emotions.

"My reactions testify to the kind of relationship I have with Jesus and the kind of effect He has on my heart.  When my happy gets bumped, what's really going on in my heart is on display.  In those times, I will either add to the authenticity of my love for Jesus or negate it."  Ouch.

I'm about halfway through the devotional but it has definitely affirmed in me where my heart is and what God wants me to hear.  From our pastor's sermon on Sunday which was taken from the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he could do to have eternal can't do the done.  I cannot do enough right because God has already done it.  And that includes motherhood and my fears and failures.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Warm Weather Wisdom from Conleigh

"Mama, did you know that every time I get out of the pool and I have to go pee, I pee warm pee?"

Because I know none of you knew that...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Little Link Love-Teresa's Story

If you have not followed Teresa's story online, I encourage you to visit her mom's blog, A Place Called Home.    Teresa's family adopted her from China despite her need for heart surgery.  This week, Teresa's body received and rejected a heart transplant.  Teresa died July 1.  I have been inspired by her mom's words during what has to be one of the most difficult times of her life.  Words like

While we were not there when she took her first breath,God blessed us to be there when she took her last.

Teresa will be ok. ... either in Jesus arms or in mine.

If nothing else, read the story of Teresa's last week.  Perhaps it will encourage you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Conleigh and Baby Room Redo-Our Eclectic Shared Room

Conleigh's room was one project that never quite got finished after we moved in.  I had made her curtains and bed skirt before we moved and added circle decals to the walls but that was as far as I got before we headed to China to get Zeke.  Then it was a few months of adjusting to a new family.  Then our December surprise of "oh, we're having a baby!  Guess they are going in Conleigh's room."  Then a few months of waiting to see if we were having a boy or a girl which affected how we would decorate.  Finally, after months and months of being unfinished, the room is done.  I ended up not using my curtains that I made because they had a lot of pink in them.  And I probably wouldn't have used the circle decals but they were already up so I just left them.  Other than that, I think it looks like it will be a great shared space for a boy and a girl who have to share rooms.

I used most of what I already had on hand so it was pretty low cost too.  The crib, bed, and dresser got a fresh coat of paint.  The rag curtains were all from fabric I already had.  I made the embroidery hoop pictures by using fabric I already had and adding some old hymn numbers.  The butterfly picture above Conleigh's bed is one that she got for her birthday.  The ABC cross stitch was actually mine when I was little, made by my Aunt Sheree.  The mirrors and butterflies were garage sale and thrift store finds that I spray painted.  The he and she signs were made from old shutters that someone was selling on an online site.  The interiors had already been removed.  I spray painted chipboard letters to create the words.

My supply list :
1 gallon of blue paint for the bed, crib, and dresser, $25
8 knobs for the dresser, from Hobby Lobby, at 1/2 off, $16
Old hymn numbers, from Etsy, $12
Embroidery hoops and scrapbooking pins, from Joann's, $7
Wall clock, from Target, $6
Frames for pictures, from Micheal's, at 1/2 off, $40
Vintage mirrors and butterflies, thrift stores and garage sales, $6
Chipboard letters, from Hobby Lobby, $10
Old shutters, local online site, $15 for 6
Vintage lamp, local online site, $10
Crib bedding, used from Ebay, $50 for all

It might be one of my new favorite rooms in the house.