Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Routine

I must confess that I have not been all that excited about summer...stressed would be more accurate. The summer has brought the end to all our commitments and structured activities, which is freeing, but totally overwhelming. I can remember a time (just a few years ago) when I created our entire sense of structure and we didn't really have to be anywhere. It went something like this... wake up - eat breakfast - get dressed - watch cartoons for 30 minutes - structured play time in room - structured playtime outside - free play time - eat lunch - take nap (everyone, mom included) - have snack - watch video, read a book, or play - cook dinner - eat dinner - bath - play - bed. It was really pretty simple.

Then came school and activities and places to go. Now, I have come to rely on activities to get us through the day. So the end of activities and a blank schedule felt overwhelming to me. Also, the fact that I have 3 kids with very different abilities and privilleges makes it hard. How do I fit in naps, and baby appropriate play, while still trying to play kitchen, ride bikes, and go swimming? Plus it would be nice if I could get, say 5 minutes every so often without a request being made and when I can actually get something done. On top of that Aidan has gotten to be good friends with the kids in the neighborhood which is a whole new world. I regularly have 2 extra kids at my house playing which can get a bit overwhelming at times...and in the summer with all the down time I thought this might get out of control. This is when I have to remember that I am the parent and set some boundaries, but I just couldn't get a firm grip on what our days would look like so today while the smaller ones were napping and Aidan was watching a movie I snuck off to soak in the tub and think and pray about our summer and our routine. This is what we ended up with...

This is a flexible, tentative schedule. I am NOT a schedule person, but when I just go with the flow I tend to still be in my pjs at 12:00 simply wasting the day away and trying to figure out when I am going to get everything done. I set this up with chunks of time. I have something I would like to accomplish in every time block but I did not break my day up into 30 minute time slots...I just can't exist in that kind of structure. This also allows some time for the things I really want to do with the kids this summer, like practice writing letters, drawing pictures, and working in some type of bible time.

Yes, I did hang that outside my door. It says stop, kids can't play. That way the neighborhood kids do not even have to ask. If they see red they keep going. I am so excited about this and I am praying it works!

And this is what it looks like when it would be ok to stop and ask the kids to play. It says please knock so that any other random person who comes by will knock rather than ringing the doorbell and waking the baby. I think I love this idea...again we will see if it works.
This is just a picture of what summer looks like when you are one and mommy doesn't want to sit in the pool with you.

He doesn't seem to mind does he?

I will let you know how my routine goes. This is huge for me. I am not structured by nature, but I really do enjoy the way my life goes when I can force myself to give it some type of effort. The summer is looking brighter already (talk to me in a month).

Making the Most of Rainy Day

The storm yesterday was nearly enough to make us stir crazy. The kids were wild, so when the rain slowed I announced that we were heading out to find a puddle. It brought the kid back in me. It was fun and wet!!! Here are some pictures.

Mr. Mischievous about the splash me!

I think he is wondering how to escape from this crazy family.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mexico Monday

This week I have two specific prayer requests. The first one is for our group as we cross the border. We will drive across the border and caravan to the orphanage. Please pray that we will be able to stay together in a group and that no one gets lost. Pray for safety as we drive in this chaotic environment. Second, please pray for talented translators who are able to follow the teaching that we will be doing and that they will effectively communicate the message the Lord has. Pray for unity of mind and connection with these translators. Thanks for continuing to pray!


Yesterday my husband told me about a conversation that he had with our 5 year old. It was about the Compassion child that we sponsor. We began sponsoring back in January and it has been a joy for our family. We let Aidan choose who we would sponsor. He picked a 5 year old boy who lives in India named Vikranth. He has this obsession with India and we are not quite sure where it came from, but for some strange reason this location comes up quite often in our home. For several months Aidan has been talking about going to India and the other day he told my husband he wanted to go to India to meet Vikranth. He then asked if Vikranth would speak English. My husband told him he did not know, but maybe if he goes to school they will teach him English. Aidan simply said he has to go to school because I pray that he has a school to go to. Oh, to have the faith of a child! He truly believes that since he prays, God will answer. He believes in the power of prayer and a Lord who has the power to answer those prayers. I think I have a few things to learn from my five year old.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pajama Day

The School year keeps us on the go, so I decided that perfect way to celebrate the end of the year and finishing up many commitments was to have a pajama day. I romanticized the idea of doing NOTHING, lounging in my pajamas, and cuddling with my kids while watching movies and just hanging out. Sounds great right??
Well, let me just tell you how that went. It started with a trip to the movie store on Tuesday night. I told Aidan and Rebecca they could both get one movie. This is always a very difficult decision for Aidan so we are standing in the kids section debating on which movie Aidan should get and Rebecca says "mommy, I have to go potty". Right that moment she peed on the carpet and cried. I dramatically grabbed her arm and rushed to bathroom, hoping to finish the business in the potty, but I was just to late. She had already gone in the middle of the store. At this point I am humiliated. All I can do is think about how to discreetly carry her panties wrapped in paper towels to the front, pay for the movies, and get out of the store. I swear...sometimes it is hard to be prideful and be a mom.
Then we got home, bathed, and went to bed. The kids woke up at 6:15 (what kind of lazy pajama day starts like this)! I got them all in bed with me a tried to get a few more minutes of sleep to no avail with 3 kids crawling around the bed and laughing. We got up ate breakfast and then I told the kids I needed a little time to get a few emails sent before starting the movie ( I mean it wasn't even 8:00 yet). They were much to excited about the movies to leave me alone to complete my tasks and I cannot even guess how many times they asked to start the movies. Finally we snuggled up together and started the movie. About halfway through the first movie my vision got blurry and my head started to hurt...the first signs I am getting a migraine, GREAT!!! I took some medicine, got the baby down for a nap and I slept through the second movie in entirety. It was not the wonderful relaxing day I dreamed of...but I guess it was a pajama day?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

His Way is Perfect

I have started this entry time and time again only to find it was too hard to write clearly or I got interrupted by my kiddos or any other excuse...and I must admit I am secretly hoping Andrew and Rebecca wake up soon and I am just not able to finish. I have spent the last several months saying yes to the Lord with my kids. I have had to say over and over again, yes Lord I trust you. I have dealt with anger, and loss of control, and submission so much. I have had to come to terms with areas of my life where I was not trusting God to answer my prayers and provide for every need for my kids. It has been hard for me to be confronted with this. It has hurt to say I trust myself and other things more than God, especially with my kids. This whole process has brought about a time of brokenness and a new experience of humility. I have been loved enough to see my sin, so that I can turn from and walk more closely with my Lord.

The entire process started with the decision about Aidan's school for the Fall. Aidan has gone to K4 at Grace Community School this year and we planned to send him to Kindergarten there also. We have loved this school. It has been so neat to see Aidan encouraged spiritually and directed towards the Lord. We have been truly blessed by this school. However, there was one night when my husband and I were talking and I said do you really think we are being the best stewards of our money by sending our kids to school here. Please hear me say we love Grace and I truly believe it is worth every single penny. I think that the education and the spiritual nourishment you receive are priceless, so I would encourage anyone who can afford it to enroll their kids.

But we have felt the Lord pressing on our hearts in new ways. We feel like He has asked us to get out from under our student loans and any other debt so that we are free to say yes to Him, if and when He gives us clear direction. We want to be able to go and serve and do what He asks of us and so we know we cannot live completely freely while we owe to others. This is how are conversation began, but very quickly I realized a need to pray fervently for who his teacher was going to be and who his friends would be and how he would come to understand his faith in a place where it was never talked about. I knew that I would have to be even more intentional as his mother to teach him about the bible and what it says. I was overwhelmed and fearful and I realized that I was not fully trusting the Lord but resting in Grace Community School in many ways. I remember telling Trace that I have prayed almost daily since Aidan was born that he would come to know Jesus Christ in a very real I really trust the Lord to answer that prayer or do I depend more on my self and his school to make sure this happens. I mean, He is the Lord of the Universe. Is He not capable of reaching a kid in public school? Can I not just trust in the Lord? I do believe that I have to do my part as Aidan's mother, but I also have to pray and expect the Lord to answer.

All of these things came together in a powerful way for us and we knew that if we were to walk in obedience then the right choice for our family was to send Aidan to public school. I have no doubt that this is where the Lord wants us. I truly believe that we were shown something great at Grace Community School, but we have been asked to walk away from that for something better (which is the Lord and obedience to Him). I do not doubt He has plans for us and they will be made perfectly clear over the days, months, and years to come. I know that I have already spent more time in prayer for Aidan's school next year than I did for the past year.

Today was Aidan's last day of school and I have been a little emotional. I am completely at peace with our decision but I grieve some of the great things that I will miss by not being at Grace. I will miss that he will not be memorizing scripture at school, and that he will not be prayed with by his teacher at school. I grieve that when he experiences discipline the Lords word will not be brought up as a basis for the discipline and that his character will not be focused on from a scriptural point of view. I grieve that his teacher will not be able to direct his little heart to the Lord on a daily basis, but I accept that this is my role as his parent and Trace and I will have to work hard to instill these values and to truly live this out in front of our kids.

Aidan's class handmade desert plates for their wonderful teacher. Today was her last day ever, as she plans to retire. They presented the plates to her as a gift from the class. They all had a favorite scripture on the plates and their hand prints. She cried, I cried. We talked privately about our decision and I cried. She encouraged me greatly and reminded me that the Lord was in control. She has spoken so well of my Aidan all year. Last Thursday I picked him up and she hugged my neck and told me how special he has been to her through a tearful voice. She has been a gift. Grace school has been a gift. Today she said to me that Aidan has a great foundation laid and that he will be fine and the Lord will take care of him. I trust that!! As I drove away today the scripture that Aidan chose for his plate came to me. It said As for God, His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30). What comfort I find in that. I trust that this is the journey the Lord has for our family. It is not the right journey for all families, but since it is our journey (and what we believe to be His way) I will trust that it is perfect.

The whole class and Mrs. Petty

Mrs. Petty and Aidan

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mexico Monday!!!

I am beyond excited! This weekend we set up our field goal which will be the activity at our booth for the carnival in Mexico. We kicked and kicked and had a great time playing. I know the kids are going to enjoy it. Here are some pictures of our fun.

I also met with one of the ladies who will be leading the 3-7 year olds with me in Mexico. We came up with some activities and simple crafts for our group to do that we pray will help reinforce the message we are teaching. In the midst of the planning for our group it really hit me that these kids don't speak English!!! I was thinking about building relationships with the kids and I realized that I very likely will not be able to have those sweet one on one conversations with these kids. I will have to rely heavily on non verbal communication, physical touch, and the translators...but really I will have to rely on the Lord. I am praying this week that we will all fully rely on the Lord to bridge the cultural/language barrier. That He will cross that barrier and touch hearts (I do not doubt that this will happen!), whether they are children's hearts, American hearts, or the translators hearts...and when He does this, I pray that we will worship the only living God! I pray that we are amazed by Him and His sovereignty.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I went shopping for a few last minute gift items for Andrew's birthday on Friday night. I know you are very impressed by my organizational skills since his birthday was on Saturday, but hey I had the gifts by his birthday and he didn't have a clue I was doing last minute shopping. Anyways, I was shopping for Andrew and I needed to grab a couple things that Aidan needed. I noticed some character shirts on sale in the boys department. Now, I have to admit that I am not a big fan of character clothing and shoes. I don't really have a problem with it, I just think that those items tend to be overpriced and not really all that cute so I pass by that section without paying much attention to it.

This time was different though and the Star Wars shirts jumped out at me. It is not because I found them to be adorable and could not pass them up, but rather because my Aidan had just recently asked me to get him a Star Wars shirt. He never asks for clothing so I tucked that bit of information away not knowing if I would ever actually purchase him one and I went on about my day. A week later I am standing in the store with Star Wars shirts on sale and I did it. I eagerly purchased him a shirt. Did you hear that...I said I eagerly purchased the shirt and I proudly presented him with the little surprise that I knew he wanted.

When I was buying the shirt the scripture from Matthew came to me that says:
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.
I think that my Father in heaven also loves to give good gifts to those of us who ask. We all know that all good and perfect gifts come from above, so in some way we realize that the many blessings we have received come from His hand, but when I ask and then I receive I know without any doubt that it came from His hand and I am amazed at His goodness. Do you ever think that God is excited to lavish His good gifts upon us, much the same way that I was excited to present the small gift to Aidan. God will not give me everything I ask for because He knows what I need better than I know(much the same way that I know some things are just not in the best interest of my children), but what joy I have in giving to them when I can. I think God is like that in some ways and He loves to give to us what we ask for and I know that I see Him providing for me and meeting my needs so much more clearly when I stop and take the time to ask. It was such a sweet lesson for me as I shopped for my own children.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mexico Monday

3 weeks people!!! Did you hear me...I SAID 3 WEEKS! I am so excited about this trip. I am eagerly anticipating seeing God at work and drawing near to Him. That would be my hearts main cry for our family, that I experience the Lord in new ways and I get the privilege of watching my children and husband encounter Him in new ways through the act of service. The specifics that I prayed for our family this week are for children who have obedient and compliant hearts. Nap and Sleep schedules to just work out and for them to be well rested and that even if they don't work out that I will respond in a calm and unbothered sort of way. That Andrew, who does not like to be held back physically, will respond well to being held, placed in the stroller, and will generally be laid back so that I will be able to teach and love on the other kids. Also, we are praying for health for our family and all families making the trip.

The final thing that I would love prayer for this week is the finalizing of details for all VBS people. I have a few more things I need to gather in order to better prepare and I am sure there are other people who are still forming ideas and finalizing details. Pray for clear direction and time to get things ready.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Andy-Drew

I absolutely cannot believe that one year ago, I met my sweet little Andrew for the first time. You are such a sweet and spunky little boy. You have really developed quite the personality in the past few months. You can now say mama, dada, bye bye, uh oh, and ball (which sounds more like bah). You have 7 teeth all the way in and another that has just recently broken through. All these teeth have created the cutest little toothy grin. You eat ALL the time! You love strawberries, bananas, kiwi, grapes, and peaches. You also enjoy eating bread and have just recently decided that you really enjoy grape juice (which by the way I did not give to the others when they were one, but since you have a habit of looking for Rebecca's cup and drinking whatever she has I decided it was a lost cause to fight that one). You have this sweet little game that you play with new people when you get around them. You will duck your head into my shoulder or attempt to hide it in your car seat while you smile the cutest little smile and stare at them. People always respond favorably to that game and I will never complain about it(even though you are not the least bit shy) because I get some sweet snuggles. You have played this game for months now.

You do not like to be held down, you have important places to go...right behind your big brother and sister. Getting your diaper changed and getting dressed are two of your least favorite activities and man, can you let me know it! You do enjoy playing with a bouncy ball in the kitchen. You will chase the ball and throw it over, and over, and over again. You play very rough (I guess that comes from having two older siblings who are often way to rough with you) and often pinch my face so hard that it elicits a small scream. You throw everything you get your hands on. I am a little afraid of that habit that you are developing.

You are such a smiley little guy! You smile and giggle all the time. Your brother and sister love to entertain you and they will repeat any behavior that gets a laugh from you. I have began calling you my party animal because you seem to get a burst of energy right before bedtime. You can often be found in your crib standing up and talking loudly in your bed rather than quietly going to sleep. I keep hoping this is just a stage, but it has yet to pass. I have truly treasured this past year with you. It took me having two kids to realize how fast you change and just to enjoy the place where you are at the moment. I am eager to get to know you even better in the years to come, but I am in no hurry. I love the baby that you are! You have added even more joy and many more smiles to our home. Your smile is just contagious. I love you my sweet Andrew. You have stolen my heart just like your big brother and sister who have gone before you.

We had a family cookout to celebrate your birthday earlier tonight. Here are some pictures.

Beautiful Aunt Traci and Andrew

Baseballs, Basketballs, and Soccer Balls in honor of Andrews love of anything round.

His expression during the Birthday Song...and he pretends to be shy?
Eating His cupcake like a hamburger
The Boys
Mimi, Aunt Traci, Aidan, and Uncle Greg
He is not afraid of a mess. I had to strip and bath the boy before we could open presents.

Happy Birthday My Love!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Little Visitor

We had quite a rain at our house tonight. After dinner I took Andrew outside to feel the rain for a second. He seemed to like it and then we headed in for baths, some family time, and bedtime. We were a little late getting the kids in bed, but when we did I headed in here to the computer to get a few things done. Just seconds after sitting down, Trace started calling me to come to the kitchen. When I made my way in there he pointed to this

Yes, that is a frog plastered on our glass door. My reaction was to say how disgusting it was, but that quickly changed to fascination. I ran to the other room to grab my camera. I had to open the door and take pictures of the frog from both sides (just praying it didn't jump into our house).

And then it hit me...if I think the frog is this cool then the kids would love it. I told Trace I was going to get the kids. Being the responsible parent he reminded me that Aidan had school in the morning. To which I responded "so, he's not asleep anyways" (just to prove how responsible I can be). Within minutes all the kids were up and at the door to meet our little visitor. Andrew laughed out loud when he saw the frog and began banging on the glass where the frog was over and over. He loved it. Aidan and Rebecca thought it was pretty cool too. After about 10 minutes of frog fun I walked the kids back to bed and proudly declared, "see, what a fun memory we now have" (again, more responsible parenting). They got tucked tightly in bed and by the time I got back to the door, our friend was long gone. I am not sure how much that little guy appreciated all the lights flicking on and off, doors opening, and hands banging. Oh, well...we enjoyed it while it lasted.

My Dear Aidan

My sweet Aidan! What a gift you are to me. I got to spend yesterday at your school for just a little bit for a breakfast and a sweet program. Your class sang a few songs about moms and presented us with a little gift. Your teacher asked what do your mom's do that is special and you raised your hand to say that "your mom loves you!" I hope that you never doubt that even for a second.

It is always such a joy when I get you all to myself. You are such a precious boy! You sat so nicely by my side and I was so proud to be with you!

I felt a little sentimental when I left your school and I was able to capture a few minutes alone to pray for you. This parenting thing gets pretty tricky from time to time and all to often I feel like I am messing it all up. You are such a gift, you have such a sincere heart, and you are often deep in thought. I pray sometimes that the Lord will protect you from my shortcomings, that I will be life-giving and never spirit crushing. God has created you for His mighty purposes and I am eager to see what those are. I never want to interfere with the Lord's will for you and I pray that I can be an instrument used in preparing you for what He has for you and that you will eagerly walk in His ways. I pray that you know how much you are loved and what a blessing you are to this family, but that even above that I hope you know how deeply you are loved by God. I cannot believe that you are already 5 years old...what business do I have parenting a 5 year old boy? I was just talking to someone yesterday and commenting that I feel OK in the role of mom to toddler, but I am clueless about this next stage. Lord, I thank you that you have gone before me and you will lead me. Help me to walk closely with you.

After the great morning I had with you I got to watch you and your baby brother play together. Andrew adores you. He loves it when you play with him and pay attention to him. You two were playing ring toss together and it was so sweet to watch him try to imitate what you did. He would smile so big and giggle as he watched you and then he would try to throw the rings. I cannot tell you how much I treasured that moment. I pray that we have many more moments of sibling bonding in this house.

One of my favorite things to do is to listen in on your conversations with Rebecca as we drive around town. I was listening to you the other day and you were talking about Jesus and how He died on the cross and you were assuring her that she did not have to die on a cross because Jesus did it for us. Then you did make sure and let her know that she would die one day (the realist that you are) but that was OK because then you would get to be with Jesus. How sweet were those words to my ears. I love that you want to teach her what you have learned and you are often telling her random facts or talking to her about numbers. You love to share what you are learning.

Oh, Aidan what a smart, thoughtful, genuine little boy you are. You have such a beautiful smile and my heart swells when you laugh. It has been so fun to watch you play soccer, simply because it brings so much joy to you. You look forward to your practices just as much as your games. I love the boy you are. I am so privileged to get to be your mother.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mexico Monday Returns!

It is the return of the long overdue Mexico Monday. I have actually received multiple emails this morning from the team. Evidently, we wrongly assumed that we would be able to locate a Spanish version (or at least English with Spanish subtitles) of Lord of the Rings and all of our curriculum is based off of video clips for that movie. We have located the Chronicles of Narnia so we plan to change things up and go that direction. Please pray that this will prove to be a great blessing and that the video clips will speak clearly to the hearts of the children in the Orphanage. Pray that Kelly will be able to find great clips that teach the messages that we are hoping to communicate and that the kids will "get it". I know that the Lord is Sovereign and it was His plan that we use this movie all along...He just had to get us on the same page.

Also, we will be showing video clips every day which means we will rely on audio visual equipment to do this. This is a wonderful tool, but it also allows the enemy greater opportunities to attempt to thwart our plans. Please pray that technical difficulties will not interfere with our ability to teach and that we will be able to show the movie clips. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Ahhh...Silence. This is not a noise I hear very often in my house. Aidan has not taken a nap for a while and I used to have him play in his room for rest time while Andrew slept but then Andrew reached the age where there was no way he was going to go to sleep when there was someone to play with in his room. So, Aidan had to come out and life has been different ever since. We still have 30 minutes of quiet time when Aidan can look at books and then he has independent play time, but it is not the same as quiet. At the moment, Trace is working on something outside and Aidan is outside with him. Rebecca and Andrew are both napping so I sit here inside my house and I hear silence.

God has been challenging me lately a lot with silence. He has been urging me to spend more time with Him in prayer, or just sitting still. I have been pondering how to fit this into my life. How do I make quiet a lifestyle. I have begun to realize that reading my bible is necessary and it must be incorporated but I am being pushed to find more time and to create more habits. Habits that will draw me to the Lord and give rest to my soul. I have thought a lot about how much I push God out of my life with noise and busyness. I can always fold a load of laundry, clean the house, check my email, or make a phone call. There is never a time that I really should be doing nothing, but I need the rest. My soul is longing for more connection. More time to reflect on what I am reading in the word. More time to pray for my kids, more time to pray over my marriage, more time to pray about my heart and the lack of alignment I have with God's heart. I just need more time with my Savior. He is calling me away with Him. I think I might ignore the pile of laundry on the chair for a few minutes longer and just be silent, to be still and know that He is Lord. I think for the next few minutes I will set aside the distractions that come in many forms and just be with God.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Mexico Monday has temporarily been postponed. I have been unable to blog for the past week. Our Internet was not working and although I could occasionally check an email I was quickly thrown out of cyberworld with no connection. Although I have struggled with my lack of connection, it has freed up some extra reading time and I even managed to squeeze in a nap or two which is a pretty good trade off. We are back in the land of the living now. I just wanted to check in and let you know that Mexico Monday will resume at its regularly scheduled time next Monday.