Well Worth the Wait

A little bit ago I officially became a grandmother!

There are SO many things I could write on this subject. So many directions this post could take but I will keep it simple. Or at least try.

Our eldest daughter and her husband tried for almost a year to get pregnant. She had two sisters-in-law get pregnant before her. Then as they all watched their growing bellies together, each of the sisters-in-law gave birth. Each having relatively fast labor and deliveries. After 3 days of being in labor and two hours of pushing…completely natural and drug-free, our Miss Bailey came a day late! Our daughter was so calm and strong through the whole labor and delivery everyone in the room were surprised and one nurse said she should do a video!

IMG_3271Being there and going through this experience, to me, brought my daughter and me even closer. Being on the other side of the birthing experience made me see birth in a deeper way. Women are awesome. We forget so much much of what actually happened during our children’s’ births. I peppered my hubby with questions after seeing what our daughter went through.

IMG_3286Dad did so good and helped our daughter stay calm and strong. So glad to have him by our daughter’s side. His love for his girls is one many pray for.

IMG_3400Our miracles this past Mother’s Day. To truly appreciate a miracle you sometimes have to go through loss and heartache. Without those hard places, none of our kids or granddaughter would be here today.

IMG_3401Grandma and our sweet grandbaby matching on Mother’s Day!

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The General

When we set out on our adoption journey I honestly didn’t want a toddler. To start over. I hated potty training and had ZERO desire to do it again. The car seats, the messes, the sippy cups…the time and energy toddlers take. I am an “older” mom. There are 40 years between me and the General. But God had other plans. And we are thankful He knows better.

Our youngest man cub literally longs to be in charge, to be the boss in almost every situation. Hence the nickname, The General. While it has been challenging, we are leaning on God to teach us how to equip The General for the obvious call to leadership God put in him.

IMG_2814Here he is trying to negotiate bedtime with Dad (a former Marine, mind you). While we got a few good laughs, the General’s strategies didn’t work.

IMG_2957  This pose comes naturally to him, as he is ever ready to defend and protect. (Yes, those are flip flops on his shoulders.)

IMG_2974His independent nature overrides any fear or hesitation most of the time. Sometimes his sense of adventure + independent nature + lack of proper fear can = a nervous momma.

IMG_2812He LOVES Jesus and wants to preach one day. He has it all planned out. The general will stand in the back at church with the “Big Guys” who too feel called to preach and make plans to preach in each other’s churches. “I am just a kid” is not in his DNA. Here when we set up our first nativity scene he kept staring at Jesus and Mary. He had questions but most of all he wanted to make sure Mary and Jesus would be alright out there all night. I am telling you the urge to protect is very strong in him. It is so precious and enduring too. He has stood up to people in defense of others. He is also convicting quick to forgive.

IMG_2972Raising a leader is an honor while at the same time, challenging. Teaching when to lead, when to follow. When to be on top and when to support can be tough for a kindergartner, heck, to be honest, for some adults too.

IMG_2711No one wants to raise a dictatorial tyrant. (Seriously, he came out like this. Not even sure if he has ever seen Hilter, but by golly…) Thankfully, God put a sweet tenderness in the General to balance out his need to be the boss. He is ever ready to give hugs, compliment and encourage. He knows no stranger and EVERYWHERE we go people LOVE him. Out of all six of our kids, he is the most social. If you were to look up social butterfly you’d see his sweet face. Cannot wait to see what God has in store for him.

IMG_2712What are your tips on raising independent leaders?

 

Double Digits

Mr. Bubblewrap turned ten at the end of last year. We kept is simple, no party. Overwhelment is something we try to keep out of his life. So he chose to go out for coffee with Dad and Mom. Coffee and ice cream, coffee ice cream to be exact.IMG_2827

Each year for his birthday dessert, he wants cinnamon rolls. This year I was inspired by Mandy at Biblical Homemaking blog and laid the rolls our in the number 10. He thought it was the coolest.IMG_2828

We liked the idea of the birthday dates with Dad and Mom so much that we are going to do it much more often. Parties for the big birthdays…5, 10 (though not for Mr. Bubblewrap), 13 and maybe 16.

These Two

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When it comes to our man cubs (thank you for the phrase, Ruth from Gracelaced), these two are close. Our oldest and youngest man cubs. Though they are very different in personality they connect so well. Their imagination goes way beyond the others. They push each other and yet are each other’s safe place. Each is a leader, yet both are willing to follow the other. 14 years age difference may seem like a big now but I am excited to see this relationship grow. To see what God has in store for these brothers.

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My Absence

Yikes!

It has been WAY too long since I last wrote and I really wish I had a meaningful excuse.

When it comes down to it, it is really a combination of a bunch of things that have kept me from the computer and from writing, kept the inspiration low or non-existent.

  • The holidays. Between, extra school and church activities, out-of-state family visiting, the kids being home, there wasn’t much time for blogging.
  • Appointments!! I ended the year by logging in 167 appointments! That is just doctors and behavioral appointments. I was so hoping for a decrease this year, but I already have 12 this month. Now some of these have been nice appointments like going to see our grandbaby in the ultrasounds.
  • Cleaning. Before and after the holidays always includes extra cleaning, doesn’t it?
  • My mother-in-love. We have my hubby’s 85-year-old mom living in town for part of the year. While for most of her life she has been very healthy and needed practically no care, things have changed. Anyone who has cared for an elderly parent knows what I mean. Life just turns it’s focus a bit. Knowing that our time with her may be shorter than we’d like, I want to cherish her and that time more. Not rush through it all.
  • Refocus. Speaking of focusing. I have really been spiritually refocusing on God and my relationship with Him more. Getting back to the basics, my foundation, my first love.
  • The media fast. Okay, I believe this really led to the shift in my blogging. The time away from the computer and media did shift the way I view my time. I have always tried to be me, to be real on my blogs, yet fell into the trap of getting just the right photo or just the right event to write about. True life is not just right and while I have been open about those areas as well, I really want to enjoy life and my time with my kids and not think “Oh, this would make a great blog post.” I want to and want my family to think, “This is a good time, a good memory.” It has been too easy for me to start structuring my life around my blog and not my blog around my life.

So, for now, I may write less often. But I will try to keep it worth your while to continue to visit my section of the blogosphere. Please excuse post that are more photos than word content. Please, say hi and leave a comment to let me know you are still there reading. Have a wonderful day!

Sticks and Stones

The other night I was reminded of the glaring differences between our family and families not affected by trauma.

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You can buy this adorable print here.

There are many things “regular” (what is regular anymore anyway?) folks joke about and/or just throw out in conversation that no one thinks twice about. Unless you are my family. Maybe I am hypersensitive to certain topics. Maybe I can overreact. But this is where we are for now.

Take the game of cops and robbers. The old-school game of pretend where the “good” kids-the cops protect citizens from the “bad” kids-the robbers. Now imagine it on steroids. Where gang members are involved, along with the robbers. Your kids found chains somewhere and have their sibling’s hands bound in those said chains. No more cops and robbers. Then we have hide and seek. Again a simple innocent child’s game. When things look a bit suspicious you start checking things out and see signs that are more fitting for a horror story than a child’s game posted all over your yard. No more hide and seek. Lots of teaching going on here. You get pulled over for going a bit too fast and the child with you has a look of complete fear on his face. The police officer has to calm your child and let him know he is not taking you to jail. Simply, Mom was driving a bit too fast. Raise kids whose birth parents were in and out of jail so many times that it’s just a way of life. Going to jail is such a huge topic of discussion to our younger kids. It’s like it’s no big deal. You get caught, go to jail and get out. No biggie. Let’s rethink this okay?

Joking about race…really SO many of us do it. Let’s be honest. Yet, when one of your children is drawn to parts of their culture that aren’t the greatest, one tries to steer that child down a safer road. Not everything about each of our cultures needs to be embraced.

Make a joking comment to two of my kids about food and eating and they simply cannot brush it off and enjoy a laugh with you. Going without food and eating rotten food for so long make certain things much less funny. Comedians-need not apply.

Now I am not one of those people who is offended by every little thing everyone says or does but when you have a child with special needs certain words become hurtful. When your child is a different race than you, you become more aware of your own probable racism and of those around you. When your child has been through certain types of trauma and you are living out the effects of that you become more protective of what your child hears and sees.

For the most part, when those around us are made aware that certain words or topics affect us and our children differently they are more than willing to change and are apologetic about it. For that, I am grateful and have been fortunate. Sometimes it just takes a few moments to explain why those things are not appropriate to help someone see things differently and make our world better. Sticks and stones do break bones, but contrary to the old child’s saying, words do hurt, sometimes pretty bad.

Media Fast

Our pastor recently challenged our church to a two-week media fast. He had been preaching on the dangers of media and video addiction. Until we got our younger kids we lived pretty old school, no TV, rarely a movie, very limited time on the computer for our kids and for us. Other than the occasional show on the internet and watching the Red Sox via MLB.TV our screen time was limited. I plan to write a future post about our families reality with video game and technology addiction. For now, I want to focus on the media fast results.

Our pastor introduced us to the Glow Kids book. Let me tell you it is a MUST read, kids or no kids. I simply cannot recommend it enough. We have been reading it as a family with the older kids and individually as well. It will open your eyes in more than one way.IMG_2654

So, the results of those two weeks without media. Well, for the kids there wasn’t much of a negative change. (Again more on this in a future post.)

But here are some of the things we did instead of watching, playing, and/or listening.

 

IMG_2612After dinner wiffle ball.

IMG_2616Sorting through LEGOs from eldest son’s work. This was seriously relaxing and addictive.

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Chalk drawing.

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IMG_2611Just beginning outside. Can’t beat this sky.

IMG_2638Photobombing the tree climbers.

IMG_2639Trust falling from the tree.

We baked cookies. Hung out as a family. Played LOTS of board games. Had friends and family over. Went hiking. Just did more stuff together.

Did we get bored, of course? But boredom can lead to great imagination. Did the kids cheat on the fast? No, they are freed from those addictions. Me? Yes, I checked Instagram here and there. I checked the Red Sox scores. My blog posts were prewritten so all I had to do was push publish. BUT, I wasn’t chained to my phone. Even though I did start cutting back before the fast, I know I could SO easily go back to listening to podcasts, checking this and checking that all of the time. So, for me, I need to keep my phone off of my person and in an out of the way place. I have enjoyed the quiet, though too much quiet made me uneasy. I have enjoyed not being as distracted. I have enjoyed a clearer mind. For Hubby, it was a positive experience as well.

If I could encourage you at all to do a media fast yourself and as a family. It will be WELL worth it. Look around you when you are out. How many kids have devices keeping them entertained? How many people are walking around looking down at their phones? How many people have earbuds in, intentionally disengaging from society? How many times do you look at your phone, computer for non-essential things? How many times do you use the electronic babysitter? You may be surprised at what you see and observe. Also, read the Glow Kids book. I am seriously thinking of buying a bunch and handing them to our kids’ school principals, teachers, to family members, etc. It is just that good, that important, and that convicting.

IMG_2641Saw this shirt while thrifting. Thought it was so fitting during our media fast. If you do this fast, I’d LOVE to hear how it went for you and your family.