Sunday, August 30, 2015

Big Girls Only!

Last October we gave Mia a certificate to get her nails done and her ears pierced...

Mia never asked to use it, so I wondered if she was 
too scared to do it?
She has a very timid side to her but also a hugely bold side...
Life was busy, so we just let it go for awhile!

And then, this June we gave Ava the same thing.
Thinking Mia might want to do it IF Ava was doing it!
Ava asked us... over 100 times if we
"could go today" 
and get her ears pierced and nails done...

We decided to do it AFTER swim team season to give the ears 
a better chance at healing!

Sometimes it's hard to figure out this sweet girl?

BUT, I am learning and we have made huge strides 
in our relationship!
The positive progress has been made through using 
the empowered to connect strategies
and through prayer.
I will also be attending the empowered to connect seminar
 in MPLS on Sept. 18th and 19th!
So excited to learn more about this method of parenting!

For awhile, I was taking her moods and challenging behavior 
as a personal attack and insult.
(Ya'll know that teens are hard...
and older adopted teens...
are harder!)

My outlook and viewpoint is completely different now.
When she starts to act... odd, challenging, oppositional...
I bring her closer (instead of pushing her away) and reassure her 
of our love and of her capabilities.
I consider myself her cheerleader (encourager) and 
biggest fan (loving and supportive) instead of
allowing negative thought, criticism and question come into my head...

We are beyond amazed at the turn around 
(not every moment of everyday but often)!

Plus, we are getting so many more 
genuine smiles, 
and even 
"I love you's"!

I had forgotten to say 
"I love you"
for far too long...

She needed to hear that!

And once we were arrived to get their ears pierced...
this girl(Ava) was the chicken...
not her sister(Mia)!

So thankful for the beautiful smorgasbord of personalities 
we have here at our house!
God knew!
somehow it all works out!

Ellie and Sarah joined us!
We did our nails, ate lunch out and then pierced ears.
(I love the colors they choose!)

We had a wonderful time together!
Feeling thankful!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ribbons and Medals Galore AND a Servants Heart?

the swim team was definitely a positive experience!

The hardware proves it!

It was fun for us to go to the meets!

I loved how supportive they were of each other!
They would cheer their siblings on- hootin and hollarin!

Mia is ready to dive in!

I have a confession to make...
I may have missed a few of the races  ; - 0
One after the other, it was constant when you have 7 swimmers!
A couple times there were more than one of our kiddos in a race
(and I didn't know it, hee hee).

They would walk up to me and say,
"how did I do?"
(Then I would get that feeling... you may know that feeling...
ahhh, oh no, did I just miss you feeling?)
And I would do what any other good mother would do!
I'm trying not to use the L word...
as in "lie"...
Instead, I stretched the truth!
I said, "You did fabulous, honey!"
(fingers crossed because... I completely missed it)

Sarah also competed in diving!
She actually did quite well for her first time competing.
Her gymnastics really helped her with the flips and twists!

This is from the Champs meet and she came in 5th for the 15 plus age group!
She competed against other high school divers!
Sarah was also in the champs swim meet and came in second for one of the relays!

The rest of the kids did the Junior Champs Meet
(that's the fun meet!).

Sam's relay got 2nd place for the 7 and 8 yr old group.

Many of the other kids were in relays, too!
Our team dressed in a Hawaiian theme!

Half the fun was dressing up!
We won the spirit award!

The kids have their trophies, medals, plaques and ribbons decorating their room!

Getting the ribbon and medals were a lot of fun!
Some were earned and some were received 
"just because"...

The kids truly enjoy it and it was a confident booster
I recently read an article about
ribbons and medals
and children just receiving them... just because
and it spoke to my heart.
(Many of the ribbons, medals and plaques were earned and many were just given for being in the race. Tp be honest when I look at how far our children have come- I see the "just given ribbons" as earned!)

We want our children to have
a giving heart
instead of
a gathering heart.

We have done "Meals on Wheels" with the children and "Feed My Starving Children".
All of the children "pitch in" at home and they have their own personal chores (making their bed, putting their clean clothes away, etc) and family chores (prepping for dinner and cleaning the kitchen after a meal, doggy and kitty cares), etc.
The children lovingly and naturaly help us and each other-
it's a joy to see!
It has been wonderful for our big kids to see how our younger crew work together!
We go to church every Saturday or Sunday.

But I am talking about a deeper commitment to the Lord and 
a "heart to serve Him".

People like-
 Meredith Toering
The Block Family
Kisses from Kate
Emma Saunders and the Gem Foundation
(and I am sure there are many more!)
They truly amaze me!

I am hoping and planning to make a few changes in what we put our time into...
I am thinking in order to have a servants heart
they will need to be taught
to serve our Lord.
To help others.
To give from their hearts.

They need to see this is us...
and in what we put our time into...

I really don't know how to do this...
So I am praying about it and
planning with God's direction!

I am (kinda)good at loving, parenting and giving to our children
I need to learn how I can teach our children to have a servants heart.

Comments are welcome!

How have you taught your children to

What did your parents do that helped you to have 
the heart of a servant?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This and That!

Hubby has been working on his golf game this summer!
He has spent too many summers not getting a chance to do the sport he loves,
 for a variety of reasons.
So this summer he has gone golfing a few times with the big kids 
(Billy, fiancee Kelly, Johnny or cousin Jimmy) on Saturday mornings!

Sarah comes along and drives the golf cart!
Baby steps towards someday getting her drivers license!)

What a wonderful view out my kitchen window!

I love when the children play games together!
I read a great article on "protecting our children"
I like this quote for the article-
The reality, however, is that sin is not primarily something we need to be sheltered from, but delivered from.
We communicate to our kids that it’s ”us” (good) versus “them” (bad) rather than helping them see our family’s role as one of service (“us” for “them”).

Ben and Sam took golf lessons!
I think we will have more kids give it a try next summer!
Maybe Hubby will get to golf even more in the future, with so many potential golfers!

The boys also did a lego/ engineering camp that they loved!
Now the girls want to do that, too! We will put it on the list for next summer!

She has grown sooo much in the last couple years!
Anna was so tiny until it was discovered she was low on her natural growth hormone.
She was growing at the rate of one inch per year. 
Now she is growing 3 inches per year!

Hubby and I have been trying to go on a few dates this summer!
And this time we even met grown up friends at a restaurant!
That was fun!

Our Abby is starting round 1 of her braces!
In 6 months we add the bottom and then
in another 6 months they all come off...
only to be put on again at a later date!

Abby has huge teeth!
In fact, she had some grown up teeth we didn't even know about!
They were well hidden behind her baby teeth!

When the rain came we quickly cancelled the window cleaners. Then they said they would guarantee the window cleaning even with the rain, so we went ahead!
They turned out great and the rain wasn't a problem!
They are still clean!

No more neighbor issues!
Such a blessing!

Our kitties and doggies love being together!

Feeling very thankful to GOD for so many blessings and for his love throughout the challenges!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Office and Swim Team For The Kids!

I can't complain!
Beautiful summer days spent organizing our calendar and catching up on things while the children had swim team!
I always meant to read but I never quite picked up that book, just carried it to and from the pool. every. 

The pool was right in front of me and 11 kiddos were in it!
Sarah, Mia, Ava, Melissa, Abby, Anna and Sam competed on the swim team.
We were the happy to be here crowd, not the I'm going to beat you crowd!
Ben and Madeline were learning about swim team and had their opportunity to be in a swim meet at the end of the year!
 Joey and Luke... ?
Let's see? 
What were they doing?
Well, they were on the Jr Swim team and by the looks of it...
They had a lot of fun but will...
continue to be on the Jr Swim Team,
maybe forever!
(Em and El were in summer school.)

 Our first swim meet was a lot of fun and the kids learned so much!
(this is the warm ups)

And we may have been DQ'd a few times or more than a few times ; - )

But that doesn't matter because we improved some of our times on some of our strokes, 
throughout the summer!

Sometimes it's good to try new and different experiences!
Not sure what next summer will bring!

At this particular meet we were rained out at the end.
(forever sisters!)

Even that was fun!

Our future does not lie in competitive swimming,
but we sure enjoyed participating on the swim team!

And we made some wonderful memories!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gotta Get Our Baby Fix!

It ain't easy having the grandbaby live so far away...

It's hard on the grandparents heart...
We want to be with her every minute of everyday!

So... since these Grandparents are problem solvers-

we decided we needed to travel to see our lil' baby as much as possible!
So thankful we have a trusted and wonderful sitter to be with the children at home!

Papa bought Emily a new toy!

It was so nice to see where they live and their new home!

Emily loves doing the motions to itsy bitsy spider!

The pj's used to be Anna's!

Just makes me smile to think our baby Anna wore them and 
now our baby granddaughter is wearing them!

She loves to give kisses!

Emily has a wonderful playroom in her new home!
It's conveniently located near the family room and kitchen!
After living in a hotel, then with her Nana and 
then with her Omie (Andrew's Mom) for 40 days -
they are now happy to have their own space!

Cozy coupes are a thing of the past...
All of our older 5 loved them!
Only a few of our newbies were young enough to enjoy them!

I'm sorry!
I just had to post all of these pics with her walking around holding her bottle!
You Rock, Emily!

It is so beautiful in rural Virginia!
Rolling foothills and winding roads!

Nana is glowing!
(It was a bit hot outside!)

Emily is very excited to be a big sis!

And Katie is over the first trimester and feeling good!

We had so much fun...

with these guys!

I think she looks extremely smart with glasses!

That's why I wear mine!
Just Kidding!
I have an astigmatism and contacts just don't work as well for me!

So thankful for this time together!
Can't wait for the next time!