Sunday, July 29, 2012

Project 365, Week 30

It was a very good, "quiet" week, just overshadowed by the fact that we are on week ? of Shaun not being around.  It starts to wear on us all, but other than an occasional "i miss you" or my weekly complaint here, I think I'm holding it together...there is really no benefit that I can see to acting otherwise.  It is what it is and, despite it all, you gotta love residual income!  :)

July 22
I guess I deleted the picture for today...Nathanael slept over and the boys went to a very unofficial football "get together" and worked on some plays.

July 23
First day of half-marathon training.  I'm working hard with the weight training and stretching to try to get my knee through to the end.  I do all kinds of exercise, but running tops it all.
 July 24
When I went to get Z from football camp, there was a couple playing tennis together.  I was insanely jealous that they were out, alone, having fun and just being together.  People do that??

But then I turned the corner and saw this and was better again.

July 25
Apartment 2 of 3 is wrapping up, thank the Lord!  As always, Shaun has done an incredible job.

Lots of electrical, plumbing, foundational stuff you can't see, but it should be good for a while now.

Kiki took the kids on an adventure to Newport on a gorgeous day and I was able to pound out a bunch of work.  I just love this picture!!  The little stinker gets up super early when he is staying with them.  He and Pop are having their morning coffee together....only at grandparents house!  :)
Speaking of the Lil' Stinker, Kiki said he was quite the lady's man at the park...sharing his chips and flirting like crazy.  Oh my...I fear I may make a terrible mother-in-law.  :)
 July 26
I'm not big into gimmicks, but this ball thrower is one of the best things ever.  It throws the ball really far and it picks it up without me having to touch a slimy ball.  Just can't believe I spent 13 years of dog ownership without one!

I ran on the track at the highschool and Trot gave up before me.
 July 27
Fridays is Fun Friday around here...I might explain in another post, because its actually working quite well.  Pretty comical outing of mini-golf and slushies with these three.
On the final evening of football camp, the boys played in a scrimmage.  Of all the sports to watch, football is among my favorites...I'm just not used to cringing and holding my breath during games.  (He's the one with the ball)

 July 28
Speaking of comical, I just could not love this bunch any more.  This scene on the way to the apartments just kills me.
 We got Aiden a lawnmower for his birthday and he's been asking Shaun everyday since when he is going to mow the lawn.  The big day finally arrived!!

Hope your week is a great one!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Football Camp

This week we entered a new phase in this crazy new journey we are!  The very first time we met Z, before it was even decided that he would come live with us, he asked if he could play football.

That was before we knew which end was up with all of this (still figuring that out) so we gave a "we'll see".  After some research and several talks, its been decided he is going to play football this season....practice starts next week.

A neighboring town held a football camp that I thought would be beneficial to him, having never played any organized football, or sport for that matter, other than baseball this past spring.  Turns out it was beneficial for both of us.

We checked in the first evening and were handed our equipment...helmet, chin strap, shoulder pads, undergarments, pants, thigh pads, hip pads, knee pads....then we were sent on our way.  I felt like a fish out of water trying to figure out which pad went in which pocket, wondering for the millionth time with my did I get here??

 The kids just love Z and everything he does.

 Just yesterday I was one of the girlfriends watching my man play ball.  Now I'm a mom of four fumbling with football gear and taking little boys potty behind trees.

 He worked really hard and gained some skills and confidence.  Some comments from the coaches:

Your son is one tough kid.  He likes to tackle and be tackled...we need guys like him on the field.  Yeah...he's tough.

That kid's quite the athlete!  I know you are signed up for the league in your town, but we'd love to have him....maybe next year.  He really is a great athlete.

Really nice running today (to Z from an older player).

During his game on the last night, I heard him being called by last name often.  Way to go ---!  Nice ---! ---, great tackle!

I love to watch him out on the field, the great equalizer.  There on the turf, the boys are judged by their abilities, commitment and hard work, not by their family situations.  There he can be a kid and leave the weight of the real world on the sidelines.

I make sure he knows that his talent is God-given and we are both excited to see what plans He has for Z....I will keep this in mind during my endless trips back and forth to the field this summer/fall.  :)

That's him in the white socks and shiny new cleats.

I move on toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.
Philippians 3:14

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Other Woman

I enter the room and our eyes meet.  Our smiles are friendly, but mostly tentative....nervous and unsure. We have much in common and nothing at all.  Both mothers, yet living two separate lives.

I wonder what she thinks of me, I wonder what to make of her.  Should I keep my distance and be respectful of the uncomfortableness or should I reach out and show the love, concern and broken-heartedness I feel for her.

I want to pretend that I don't know the things I know about her...I want to treat her like someone I've recently met, and get to know her by asking questions and listening as she tells me the things she wants me to hear, the way normal people do when making a new acquaintance.

The football helmet weighs heavy and awkward in my hands.  He wanted me to bring it so he could show her, but now it feels like I am taunting with it.

Desperately, I want to take her hands, look her in the eye and beg her to understand that I am no better than her....that really the only difference is the Grace that has been poured out on my life.  That, just like her, I am so undeserving.

I want to tell her these things just as badly as I want to flee from the room as fast as I can.

This son who she bore, who carries around a piece of her heart, is the one who I now tuck into bed every night.

He puts on his helmet, proud to show her.  She looks at him and I recognize the flicker in her eyes.

He looks so old, doesn't he?

Yes, she replies wistfully.  And in the baseball picture, too.  And in all these moments that are happening while we are apart.

After a moment of silence, I gently urge Z to hurry because we are already late for practice.

As we turn to leave, I give her a last parting smile.  I hope it communicates that I will take good care of her son while he is entrusted to us.  That, while we are treating him as our own, I will not try to take the place of his first love.  That I pray for her, pray for him, pray for us.  And that I know Someone who loves her and can heal her.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him
Romans 12:3

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Endless Hope

When you know your Father’s loving — what can you fear losing?
He’s as calm as a man walking on water.
He hears us. He loves us. He has us. So whatever happens, He’s good and we’re good.
I look at him — He’s like a man completely resting on water. Isn’t that it? We pray to the Lord knowing His answer is Love.
And God is no genie and we don’t pray to God to pry something from God. We pray to God to be prepared by God for a purpose of God.
We don’t pray to get more from God — we pray to become more in Christ.
We pray because entering His presence is the answer to all our prayers.
Somedays just laying our head in His hands is the way we lay the burdens down.
The scars on His hands were made to be the perfect ditches for our tears.
The Farmer pulls me into him and wraps me in more faith and we stand together watching the sky, how the rain goes north.
How it comes down right here like a certain promise:
When your prayers look right into the face of Christ — every hopeless end turns into an endless hope.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Project 365, Week 29

We had our fifth heat wave of the year this week and I couldn't be more happy about it....I'm a huge fan of global warming.  :)  Our week in part, in pictures...

July 15
What do you do with 5 kids and a dog who all need exercise on a hot day?  Bring them to the river, of course!
 Later we went to help Daddy at the apartment, which incidentally, has some great places for hide-n-seek.
 We dropped A off with her foster mom.  Earlier that day, Amanda had confided to me, Mom when A leaves, I'm going to say 'phew' (as she swept a hand across her brow in dramatic fashion).  After we left her, Amanda said This is a sad day.  I was feeling the "phew" myself.  :)

The two grandmothers watched the kids while I did an engagement session in between raindrops.

July 16
After VBS we went for lunch and a dip.
 Avery declared this to be her favorite meal ever, so I thought I better take a picture.  :)
 July 17
UCONN Dairy Bar with Pop and Kiki...I love warm summer nights...and this face!
 July 18
The kids made themselves at home in the lounge area of the car dealership.  The salesman got the TV turned on and later reported that he tried three different shows before finding one the kids said they were allowed to watch.

We still haven't bought a car, but its becoming more apparent we'll need the extra seating sooner than later.
 July 19
The kids and I walked down to the Third Thursday Street Fest.

 July 20
Shaun and I were called in to the principal's office at school to discuss Amanda's test scores from her recent three days of testing.  She scored very low and Sister Mark was questioning whether she is ready for 1st grade or should enter K.

We assured her Amanda was very bright, she just has some focus and attitude problems.  Later Shaun and I sat her down and had a very serious conversation with her.  Eventually, we pulled out the test booklet to ask her about the specific test she took.

Shaun opened to this page where she was to read the sentence and mark the picture that the sentence best describes.  Without hesitation she read, I see the sun.

Shaun: Which picture goes with that sentence?
Amanda: (points to the sun in the far right)
Shaun: Well then, why did you pick the rainbow during the test?
Amanda: Because it was the prettiest one.

She IS going into first grade, primarily on her sister's reputation, but we have some work to do, specifically, following directions and test-taking skills.  I'm thinking September might be a bit of a challenging month for all involved.  :)
 Last day of VBS.  Since we missed our church's program due to vacation, we chose a local church that had a convenient week.  It was 9-12:15 daily and the kids had a blast!  I was very impressed with how well the program was run.  Thankful for all the seeds that were planted in my kids (and, let's be honest, my free mornings! :).

Aiden was happy to see it end though.  On the last morning that I woke him up at 8:30, he was clawing and pulling on his blankets in an attempt to stay in bed.  He said, Mom...I didn't get so much sleep!
 July 21
It was an incredible weather day here and I got to shoot a wedding.  The bride's two brothers were making a live Oreo here.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...the kids taking a dinner break after working hard helping Daddy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fun is Good

My dad's house has a hill that is perfect for lots of good fun.  In the winter its sledding, in the summer its wagon rides and slip-n-slide.  We are brainstorming what we can do on the hill with a bale of hay for our fall fun, rounding out the four seasons.  Pop is the biggest instigator and kid in it all. Good times!

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
― Dr. Seuss