Monday, February 29, 2016

Project 365, Week 9

Happy Leap Year Day!

February 22
A social worker came out to renew our foster care license. Hard to believe its been four years already! Only by God's daily, all-sufficient grace.

February 23
I got a text and a call from the school nurse. Aiden had taken a spill on the playground and she was asking me what I wanted to do. It really didn't seem stitches-worthy to me and I thought it was so cute that he smiled for the picture.

There is no better school nurse to be found. She is so caring and patient. Amanda goes to see her nearly everyday and she gets chapstick, lotion for her hands, a bandaid, a pat on the back, a therapy session. I don't even know what else but they are dear friends and I'm so thankful for Mrs. A.

February 24
Our town was giving away tickets to the UCONN women's basketball game, so Shaun took his daughters on a date. A couple of the cheerleaders came up and cheered with them and most of Amanda's basketball team was there.

February 25
After a couple gray days and one rainy, it was so nice to see the sun! I love walking to school with these three!!

February 26
Aiden went to cousin Trey's house for a sleepover to celebrate his birthday. It was requested that he bring his Star Wars paraphernalia. It made me giggle that he packed most of it in this princess chest.

In exchange, we got to have Lainie and Katie overnight. The girls had so much fun!

February 27
My brother sent me this picture. They visited a Lego display at their mall. Aiden was pretty impressed...some were 15 feet tall! Tim, who had a lengthy car ride with this crew said there was MUCH Star Wars talk. :)

Meanwhile, I got to hang with these lovely ladies. We took advantage of the family swim time at our community center.

February 28
Walking up the back porch, I had to laugh (and take a picture!). What season is it?? Swim suits, snow tubes and muddy rain boots. :)

I've thanked God for our beautiful spot a thousand times, now one thousand one. On this beautiful Sunday we had two people doing baseball, two doing soccer, two doing baseball, all at the same time. That's six people, which means Shaun had the day off and we got in some nice time together!

Friday, February 26, 2016

February Book Review

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis

An awesome book (duh!) and suitable for Aiden through H. I'm trying to instill some read-aloud time with the kids. Its been met with some resistance (mostly we can't all decide on a book) but I'm going to persevere. I think its important and valuable.

One thing I've found, at least for the older kids, is they do better listening when their hands are busy so I encourage them to pull out coloring projects.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

See Me By Nicholas Sparks

I'm a big Sparks fan, though I was highly disappointed that he and his wife (and mother of his five children) divorced. The "love" story was predictable and not really my style, but the mystery kept me turning pages.

Though she'd grown up in the South and knew what to expect, there were always a few glorious days, perfect days, when it seemed as though anything were possible. Cloudless blue skies would greet green lawns that had been brown all winter, and everything would suddenly explode with color.

Her Mother's Hope By Francine Rivers

Took a little to learn character names and sort out their importance, but I really enjoyed the story  once I got settled in....a story of grit and determination.

Even so, loneliness sometimes snuck up on her as it had today, catching her by the throat, making her heart flutter with an odd sense of panic. She had never been one to cling or depend solely on her husband, but he had become integral to her existence.

Crazy Love By Francis Chan

I borrowed this from the library, which is where I get many of the books I read, but after getting a quarter of the way through I knew I was going to have to purchase my own copy so I could highlight away. This book is challenging and on point. Tons of truth.

If life were stable, I'd never need God's help. Since its not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don't have control, because it makes me run to God.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

State of the House-February

Hmmm...what IS the state of things around here??

Well, basketball season has ended. Both girls had good coaches and their teams showed improvement from beginning to end. Its great to see them being active and involved in a team. Now we get a little break before Spring soccer begins for the girls. Aiden will be doing baseball (and he's really excited about it not being T-ball), H will play baseball for the town and Shaun and R will be on the softball team. We'll see how five different team schedules work out. ;)

H started high school here in town! It was a whole big mess but he's got seven days now under his belt and seems to be enjoying it. There are some challenges to work through but H is a smart kid and once he decides to settle into it, I think he'll be fine.

We are still doing the hard work of transitioning and I'm so thankful for God's grace and power! Even though its tough, H already has my heart and we see so much potential in him. Starting with a new kid allows me to look back and see how far God has grown and refined me. The dying of self is painful but I can see there is less of me and more of HIM, and that's a very, very good thing.

Speaking of transitions, R found his own apartment and is officially moved out. As a follow up to many heartfelt conversations over the last many months, it was decided it was time for him to be on his own. His school and rent are covered and he's working part-time so the financial piece is taken care of. The biggest difference is that the entire household goes to bed early and gets up more shushing the kids until noon and Shaun can lock the house up tight at night. After living here for 2.5 years, he'll always be a part of our family and we pray God's very best for him.

Shaun had his first day off on Sunday, after working a month straight at his tax preparer/financial advisor desk. For fun, in his spare time when he gets home at 8 pm, he goes to an rental building and fixes the heat, or the plumbing or the electrical. He's such a competent, faithful provider and I'm thankful for him. I also miss him like crazy!

Much of my news is medical (can't wait for the day when that's not the case!). The deplorable (one of H's vocab words ;) vacuum was taken off...a good thing to not have to deal with it anymore, a bad thing that it didn't help at all, even after a month. Last week Amy and I spent the day in the city...I did scans and met with the surgeon.

The scans were clear, no sign of trouble from my chest down. Good news!

I was ready with my speech for the surgeon but I didn't need to pull it out because she was in complete agreement. We've tried everything from A-Z...all manner of lotions and potions and vacuums in the last almost eight months since surgery...and nothing has proven effective. And so, we've reached the point where another surgery is necessary. There is not a definite date set, but it looks like it will be in the next few weeks, sometime in March. Its less than ideal timing, but is there ever a convenient time to pull a mom out of a busy household for a month?

Not a day goes by without God's unfolding grace, which I use more as a means of life support than a nice little side-benefit to following Christ. And so, we do not lose heart (well actually I do, and I did this week...that's where the daily renewal comes in)....

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

His every. single. morning.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Project 365, Week 8

I'm not even close to one picture a day here, but I'm being realistic that there's a slim chance these events will get blogged individually, so its all compressed here in one neat, efficient package. Our week, as is also our life was eclectic and full, with lots of moving parts. Its just how we roll.

February 15
The kids had two days off for winter break. We didn't make it to the Caribbean or hit the slopes (as if!), still we tried to squeeze in some fun. On Monday, my nephew had a hockey game in Rhode Island, which also happens to be where my brother lives so we all met at the rink and then went to my brother's for dinner after. It was good to be with everyone!


The ever-growing '06 Club. All three of those precious smiles are going to cost us parents dearly in orthodontist bills. :)

The ever-cool '09 Club.

February 16
Amanda's been asking to workout with me, so we pulled up a video meant to do with kids.

However, that still wasn't enough exercise to wear them out enough to not fight, so as soon as the rain lightened, I pulled them all outside for a walk/bike ride. Within five minutes it started raining pretty hard but I made them muscle through. Tough being a kid around here!

Later, Amanda made delicious cupcakes, all on her own. (Love the chocolate faces).

Aiden was dancing around, being goofy with this lego creation, when suddenly one part went crashing to the floor. Apparently I caught it on camera, right before the tears.

February 17
Amy and I spent a full day at Sloan. I had three-month scans and then met with the surgeon. The scans were clear!!

February 18
This was picture worthy because these two were in the same space, not fighting.

Amanda played a playoff game. Her team trailed most of the game and by fourth quarter, it was pretty clear they were going to lose so I took Aiden home to put him to bed. They ended up coming back to win and advance to the next round!

February 19
These faces say, its Friday. We have no homework and we've done all the chores you've asked us to do and its not especially warm outside. May we please have screen time??

February 20
More playoffs. Both teams lost.

Since it was local, Shaun cleared his schedule enough to sneak away for most of both games...such a good daddy!

We were home in time for the 60 degree, sunny afternoon. Delightful!

 February 21
I could eat this kid up in his little cap! Every time I watch him and listen to him chatting while he's outside, I think of the Kenny Rogers song The Greatest. It is Aiden exactly.

Little boy in a baseball hat stands in the field with his ball and bat
Says, "I am the greatest player of them all"
Puts his bat in his shoulder and he tosses up his ball.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around
The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.
Now the little boy doesn't say a word, picks up his ball he is undeterred.
Says, "I am the greatest that there has ever been"
And he grits his teeth and he tries again.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around
The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.
He makes no excuses he shows no fear
He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers.
Little boy he adjusts his hat, picks up his ball, stares at his bat
Says "I am the greatest when the game is on the line"
And he gives his all one last time.
And the ball goes up and the moon so bright
Swings his bat with all his might
The world's as still as still can be, the baseball falls
And that's strike three.
Now it's suppertime and his momma calls,
Little boy starts home with his bat and ball.
Says, "I am the greatest, that is a fact,
But even I didn't know I could pitch like that!"
Says, "I am the greatest, that is understood,
But even I didn't know I could pitch that good!"