OUR PLANS MULTIPLIED
Thursday, April 29, 2010
JD built our first raised garden bed. We used left-over supplies from our house-building adventure. We are building two beds this year, then have plans for five more over the next few years. Eventually we may fence in the garden area as well.
We filled the beds with top soil, ash from bon-fires, some used chicken bedding and five bags of soil conditioner. I hope this all works out, we are far from garden experts!
Little Julia worked so hard cutting the bags open with her little red safety scissors. I love to have the little guys working along side us outside. When my Mom gardened, I was never involved (nor did I want to be) but I want my kids to enjoy our time together and gain some knowledge from all our projects outside.
Yesterday was Alei's 16th birthday, but I can't post pictures of our little celebration until they are Alei-approved. We are 48 hours from big party and I have so much to do! First, I need some strong anti-biotics!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
When we got home, I made bread, cinnamon rolls and cookies. I gave Julia a bit of flour and she and Tori played happily for at least a half an hour.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
We are still in limbo with Gabriel's immediate-future plans. An opportunity has presented itself that he may delay his entry into the military a year for. Other than that, I have only a week to decide if our family is going to do summer swim team this summer; we generally swim every summer, but feel we may wish to focus on other things this summer.
Looming this next two weeks are two big events that I also need to focus on. Alei turns 16 on Thursday and we are hosting a big 18/16 combo birthday party for her and Gabriel on Sunday. Whenever you have loads of youth, you need loads of food! So, we are preparing a bon-fire, volley-ball court, the game-room and lots of food. I'm so hoping it doesn't rain as it so often seems to whenever I'm brave enough to plan a large number out-side event.
Once we pull off Sunday's party, we are heading on a big trip the next Friday. My niece is getting married and Alei is in the wedding. We decided to combine the wedding with a long, long over-due family vacation, so we rented a house near the beach in Charleston, S.C. for the week.
I really need to get organized, because while writing this I realized that Alei's dress is in and we need to go pick it up.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I have been overly birthday blessed this year; I guess 40 isn't so bad!
Here's my completely unrelated Elijah pictures from swing-set painting day; I purposely chose a shirt the same color as the paint we were using so it wouldn't show.
Happy weekend everyone!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I am only about a quarter of the way into Sacred Parenting. It is very good and concentrates only on what parents are called to "receive" by parenting. There's no "fix the kid" theories, only "change the perspective of the parents" ideas.
Finally, here are four of the five books recommended to me to aid with my current Julia issues. I have only begun Parenting the Hurt Child and Beyond Logic.
Parenting the Hurt Child is beginning so basic that I don't feel I've read far enough to really gain any insight yet, but I'm encouraged that it's coming. I really like it's summary on why therapy doesn't work unless the therapist is attachment-trained.
Beyond Logic is interesting; I feel it's going to be more practical with older children, so I'm kind of reading it more from a James and Ben view than a Julia view. I am not sure what to think about his theory that children are only driven by love and fear; where does one mesh emotions like jealousy? It seems too simplistic, but I'm keeping an open mind.
Anyone read any of these books that would like to comment?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
James and Ben put several "globs" (scientific word) of tad-pole eggs into last years baby duck pool; they are now nice, big tad-poles.
Lastly, we are taking vroom-vroom (Elijah word) rides every day. The excitement never diminishes!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
There was even a fully-staffed non-alcoholic margarita bar.
Thankfully, my one daughter captured pictures of the crowd waiting to yell, "Surprise!" Elijah fell asleep in his car seat, so I ran up to the door to make sure it wasn't locked while JD lugged in Elijah's whole car seat.
When I pulled the door open, it honestly took a few minutes for it all to register. I was so shocked! People said I looked scared to death. I just remember thinking, "oh, no, Elijah is going to wake up." Then I saw Julia and thought, "how did she get here?" Then, it registered that people were yelling, "surprise and happy birthday." I felt like crying when I saw my friend that we met in Liberia's face. They have 10 children and drove two hours to be there. That was the best!
JD gave a brief speech on the history of why he chose the Mexican theme; it was because we met when he "crashed" my 20th birthday party at a Mexican restaurant. He came accompanying another guest, but we didn't get into all that!
We had yummy, yummy Mexican food, catered from our favorite Mexican restaurant and home-made by friends.
Gabriel had two friends that worked hard all night making margaritas for everyone.
It was so fun to eat and visit with everyone. Its amazing how much fun the kids had also playing and beating each other with baloons.
Elijah slept for about an hour in the party noise leaned against the wall in his car seat! What a good present for his Mommy.
Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture of my "over the hill" cake. The second cake was a happy sun and flowers.
My kids remembered that I said a few years ago that I wanted my own pinata. So, we had a Mommy pinata. Only about three Mommas hit it until Debra knocked the donkey's head completely off. Too bad JD spent the money stocking it with good Mommy chocolates, because the kids dove in and I'm quite sure that very few Mommys even got a piece.
After hours of party fun, we had a bit of clean up work. Many hands make light work however.
Even the kids chipped in. Here's Tori and Elijah vacuuming their little hearts out, even though it was hours past bed-time.
This really was my best birthday ever. I've never had a surprise party before, in fact, I haven't had a party since that one at the Mexican restaurant 20 years ago. I felt very loved that my family and friends would put that much work into making me feel special!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Gabriel is a senior this year and has spent the year agonizing over what he wants to do with his life. Let me just say that I'd be happy to set his course for him, but it isn't what he is interested in. I just want him to do their college on-line or down the road at the local community college, but Gabriel has never been very academically motivated. He intends on completing college, but doesn't want to be a full-time student. Gabriel has also always wanted to be a police-man or in the military, so he has been actively looking into combining those passions. It seems in spite of Gabriel being 50% my DNA, he is 100% like his father and his quest for adventure is much higher than his quest for knowledge.
The short story is that Gabriel has been talking to every military recruiter. They all have different programs, different strengths and different educational opportunities. He is about 99.9% sure that he is going to join one of them, so it's just a matter of what route he feels called to go.
In my defense, I grew up as a military daughter. I married JD at his seven year mark in the Navy, and finished the 20 years as a Navy wife. It's a hard life in a lot of ways; it's not the first pick that I would probably choose for any of my children. I've pretty much always told Gabriel that he can only consider joining the military AFTER college. Well, that's not going any better than all those years I said, "I certainly won't marry anyone in the military!"
So, I'm praying for peace. I've prayed for signs. I'm praying for wisdom for Gabriel.
We did ask him to delay any final decisions until after the men's retreat that he and JD went on last weekend. Now it's come and gone and the final decision is getting closer. I'll keep you posted.
Here's a few unauthorized photos of Gabriel from last weekends retreat. Here he is doing something "fun" that I would consider torture!
Here he is in a friendly game of flag-football.
I know everyone must think this, but I keep thinking........... where has the last 18 years gone? How can I be old enough to have a child that may actually leave the nest? (sigh)
Monday, April 12, 2010
It will be interesting to coordinate everything, but I really want to solve these issues we are having and move on to a healthier Julia.
Here's Julia on the phone telling my cousin about her hair getting done and the two fruit-snacks she received as a reward.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
On Saturday, I hauled the kids to a farm where they played and the Moms had a Pampered Chef party. I finally ordered the pizza stones, courtesy of my Mom, that I've been coveting for years. I also gutted the boy's room and took Alei for a job interview. Boy, oh boy, I wish I had pictures of the treasures waiting for me in the boy's room. If I had even one picture of the garbage pile, it would have given you an indication. It turns out that James is the ultimate junk collector (and hider); the bulk of his toys are now residing in the locked storage room! He knows I won't approve, so he hides his garbage in places one would never look. He has also taken many short-cuts in the cleaning department by stuffing. I now know where the 40 missing socks have been the last few months!
Today we went to church as a party of 9 and returned as a party of 12; nothing like a few extra kids to liven up a Sunday afternoon. After picking up pizza, I'm making cookies - that should hold them all off until this evening. JD and Gabriel are rushing home as Gabriel has a mandatory Y life-guard meeting this evening. It will be nice to have everyone back where they belong, including my camera!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I refuse to believe that any mom spends the time and money investment into adopting an international child because she wants to fail. I believe this lady thought she was providing a home for a boy who would not otherwise to able to have one. I am sure that she suffered more in the few months that she had him than she ever dreamed a cute little blond boy could dish out. The sad really only begins there. Did she bring in professionals? Did she have a battery of attachment tests run on him? Did she give up life as she knew it to provide what this little boy needed to succeed in her home? Once she decided to not parent him; did she search for a loving family that would? I'm amazed at the gifting some have to raise the children that the masses are unable to handle - did she search for another family for him?
Those would all seem to be based on what was in the best interest of the boy; returning him with a note seems to be the worst option for a little seven year old boy. My heart breaks for him. A re-homing situation would hurt, but it would still have provided a family and a future for this little boy. It's so sad; and his face reflects that sadness.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Our tenants are actually coming for dinner tonight, so I have plenty to do! But I have made time for my favorite picture from the park a few days ago.
I love the contrast of how brown James' eyes are and how blue Elijah's are.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Today, Julia woke up happy and healthy. She has not barked orders at her siblings and she hasn't hung on me whining at all! One of the sweetest things about Julia is the fact she apologizes about all kinds of things on her own. She has told me that she's sorry about spilling nailing polish last week, sorry that she pulled all her clothes out of her closet and sorry she screamed so much yesterday!
After analyzing her so much yesterday, I have concluded that she CAN NOT be over-tired or have junk food. Those definitely set us up for a lose-lose environment.
Monday, April 5, 2010
James has no fear! He has also been passed the torch of dead-animal retriever since Gabriel isn't home much of the time. If the cat brings a mouse, mole or dead bird, we get James. If a chicken dies, we call James. He's a tough little cookie, just handles it like a man.
So, James was first snake charmer -
Ben wants to be brave, especially if someone comments on how brave James is. Ben has come a long ways from running across the yard screaming, but it still was a challenge to touch it at first.
Look how proud of himself he is!
Lastly, Deb's friend, Channy, held the snake - you'd have to spend a little time around her, but she is hilarious! Deb was counseling her to hold it over the mulch so it wouldn't get hurt if she freaked out and dropped it. Channy replied that she didn't want it hurt, she wanted it dead!
and my little girls in polka-dots. I will be so sad the day they announce that they don't want to coordinate anymore!
After church we had some friends over, I was so thankful that it was such a beautiful day! It allowed some more tractor time, lucky Aunt Deb.
Here's my girls with Aunt Deb's friend that has turned our friend as well.
For the first time in years, we had an outside Easter egg hunt. Moriah took this picture of Julia obviously snacking on something blue.
Then she was off to find more eggs............
I'm saving the snake pictures for tomorrow. That's right, we had an Easter snake visit. It wasn't as exciting as the egg hunt, but maybe a close second!