Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
We haven't told the kids about this because it just doesn't seem to make any sense to bother telling them now. They're comfortable here & our kids are settled into life with them here, so as far as they all know, it's official already. No point in worrying them or making any of them feel unstable or insecure.
Larry's parents (also G's parents) are coming to go with us.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Yesterday was the final day of Kourtney & Sarah's day camp at the Discovery Science Place. They had a ball & were sad to see it end. I'm sooooo glad. I sort of figured that Kourtney would end up saying it was "boring" like everything else, but she really enjoyed it. They did all sorts of neat garden & plant-related science projects & thought they were really BIG getting to go to daycamp without me. (sniff, sniff...they ARE big!)
Today we go to register them for gymnastics & jazz for this fall. Sarah is doing gymnastics & Kourtney is taking jazz. They can't wait for us to hurry up & leave the house. I keep trying to explain that registration doesn't START for 2 more hours! Our most wonderful dance teacher has offered the classes free to Kourtney. What a precious saint she is! Thank you, Mrs. Sheila!!
On Monday, Andrew & Savannah will leave for Camp His Way in Zavalla, TX. If you'd like to email them while they're there, you can do that from this website: http://camphisway.com/ Scroll down the left side to where it says "Email your camper" & click there. It also gives an address to mail letters to! I'm sure they'd LOVE to get mail there. They will leave here Monday July 31 & return home on Friday Aug 4, so don't wait too late to send mail. They are both soooo excited & giddy about leaving. I went grocery shopping last night & bought their last few things for camp. Water shoes, extra socks, sunscreen...ya know...that sort of thing. The camp produces a DVD of camp week photos & video clips, so at the end of the week, I'm going to purchase one of those, too! You can buy it online from the camp's website.
While they are gone to camp, Samuel will be our final little Discovery Science Place camper. He is going to a cooking class & thinks that will be really cool! I wish I could be a fly on the wall to watch him cooking! LOL! I'm sure he'll have a blast!
Monday is going to be a busy day for us. Two sets of campers to drop off at different places at the same time.....court at 1:30 to finalize the custody stuff for the kids.....and a date that night! Ahhh....that'll be nice. Thanks again, Angela, for offering free babysitting! We love you! :)
I guess thatabout sums up our week. Love & hugs to you all!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Could I ask you to pray for Miss Kourtney? In the past couple of days, she has expressed some sad feelings about living here for the first time. I mean, she's talked about missing her mom before & has voiced the fact that she wishes she was still alive so she could live with her...but that's about it. In the past few days, she's said one particular thing twice. That one thing is: "I wish I didn't live here." I know that she probably feels out of control in so many areas & this is one way she can voice her sadness...it just comes out in a mean-sounding way.
The first time, I blew it off & didn't really address is b/c she said it when she was mad at Sarah. I knew she was just angry & blowing off steam. It stung a little, but I didn't react. Today, she had to (gasp!) put up her clean clothes & said it again. This time, I decided I needed to say something. I can't let that become her new "catch phrase" when she's angry about something or it'll just breed contention & bitterness & anger. No need to add to stress in the house! So, today when she said it, I called her to me & the conversation went like this:
Today was the first day of Kourtney & Sarah's day camp at the Discovery Science Place in Tyler. Their camp is themed "How does my garden grow?". They made a "grasshead" today & a baggie full of slime stuff (not sure how that connects to gardening, but oh well!). They both had a good time with Miss Jenae. She is a sweet older lady -- very grandmotherly. I worried about how Sarah would do, but she walked off grinning w/ the rest of her group & never even turned back to wave goodbye! :) I was so happy to see them come out of the building this afternoon grinning! Kourtney usually groans & talks about how boring everything is, but today she was bubbly & silly and talking about having fun! They're both anxious to go back tomorrow!
Tonight, they all played Twister together. (See pictures above.) It was nice to see/hear them being sweet to each other & play something fun on their own initiative!!
Please pray for one thing for us. I know this is a simple, silly thing....but it's a big one for us! We can't find one of Andrew's library books! Larry & I both tore the house apart tonight looking for it & can't find it. I looked online, thinking we'd just buy a replacement copy for the library but the cheapest one I can find is $45!!!!! I can't believe the price of this one little book! Must be a collector's edition or something!! Anyway, please pray that we can find it!!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
There are moments when the difficultly makes me want to throw up my hands & say "forget it...this is too hard", but I know I could never actually do that! I love these kids too much & know that no one else would fight as hard to take care of them. It's costing us an arm & a leg and is emotionally very difficult, but it's sooo worth it.
This week, A has really grown into the "big brother" role. Seeing him grow in tenderness & gentleness for the little girls is so sweet. I've seen him give hugs, offer help with boo-boo's, replace dropped pieces of cake w/ his own piece to soothe the tears....what a sweetpea! He & Savannah have had some really sweet moments of cooperation & kindness, too! Maybe we're finally making some headway there!!
Friday was G's arreignment (sp?) for the criminal case. He pled not guilty. Larry said a friend of his from the D.A.'s office plans to work on a plea bargain with him this week. Hopefully this will all be over & done with soon.
Next Monday (31st) is our finalization hearing for the custody case. It'll be nice to put that behind us, too! (Not to mention the lawyer bills!!) As of July 31st, the kids will officially have new guardians. G will still be their dad---we're not terminating his parental rights--- but his rights will be restricted until he gets out of prison & fulfills some things regarding his probation/parole stipulations. July 31st is also G's birthday. He will be 35 that day.
Hugs & kisses to everyone! Drop me an email & let me know how you are, too!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Today was a good day. We went to the park this morning about 10:00. Of course, with the heat, we only stayed about 45 minutes before we were all hot & grouchy. Everyone had fun, though. I'm putting a picture here (above) of the lizard that Savannah caught & carried around while we were there. It was tiny! She & Andrew had a good time inspecting him & then putting him back onto a tree where he could climb away safely. Andrew found a group of kids playing kickball & joined in. The (little) girls thought that the baby swings looked fun, so they climbed into one of those to swing. It looked pretty funny with their bodies folded almost into a V-shape! They couldn't fit into the swing completely, so they just stuck their hiney into it & had someone push them like that! LOL! The nuts!
The rest of the day was spent lazily watching TV or playing games until time for swim class tonight. The boys take swim classes at TJC on Tues/Thurs nights. Usually Larry takes them, but tonight he was in an elder meeting at church so I took them. It's neat to see how much of a FISH Andrew is. Samuel can't swim at all yet, but is enjoying swim class anyway.
Bedtime came quickly tonight....everyone was very sleepy!!!
As for me......I'm feeling much less stressed after last night. Thank you, again, Larry, for giving me a much-needed break!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
A busy start to the week has once again kept me from posting as much as I'd hoped to. Sorry about that.
Monday was nothing special....stayed home most of the day. Savannah went over to a friend's house to play mid-afternoon & ended up spending the night with her. She liked that! :) Andrew was a little upset that he couldn't go & wondered why Savannah's friends are always calling her to do things. I reminded him that he was only here for the last couple of months of school this past year & reassured him that he'd make lots of new friends this year when school starts...and that they could get together & do things, too! He likes that plan.
Tuesday was spent at my sister's house, swimming & cooking hotdogs on the grill, eating a cake Savannah decorated special for the day...just hanging out. That evening the boys had swim lessons. They're having a lot of fun doing that. I'm so glad they have a "boy thing" to go do! Larry has been taking them & us girls stay home in the "de-boy'ed" house.
Wednesday...today....well, that's a different story. I'll copy & paste the email I sent to a couple of girlfriends here to explain the day. It was titled "I love Larry!".
Sunday, July 16, 2006
First of all, Happy Birthday Jennifer! Today is my sister's birthday. Thank you for being a listening ear throughout all this stuff the past few months. I love ya! The kids & I are anxiously looking forward to Tuesday!
The kids & I are looking forward to a relaxing, yet fun week. We spent the past week doing so many home repairs & cleaning that we all need a break! Tuesday we're going to go over to my sister's house for swimming & cooking hotdogs on the grill. Wednesday we will go to Chuck E. Cheese & play games til we run out of tokens! Thursday we'll go to the park & play a game from our summer game book. Friday is a craft day (haven't decided yet which craft we'll do....any ideas?).
Next week, Kourtney & Sarah will go to their Discovery Science Place camp & then Samuel will go to his the following week. That same week (July 31-Aug 4), Savannah & Andrew will go to church camp. They're all very excited about these coming weeks!
Crazy as it is, we looked at the calendar tonight & realized....school starts 1 month from tomorrow! August 17th is the first day. Of course, Savannah & Andrew groaned while Samuel, Sarah & Kourtney all cheered. Ahhh...the glorious innocence of the little ones! :) Untainted by homework & bad cafeteria food.....they shall learn. Ha ha! just kidding. I'm glad they're excited about it. I remember the anticipation that always preceded the start of a new school year. It's fun to look forward to all the new things.
The school supply lists are LONG (times 5 kids!!) but thanks to getting them at the end of the year last year, I've had all summer to hammer away at them. I usually get 1-2 items from each list every week when I grocery shop. My mom has taken on a few things from each list as well, so we're down to the last few things from each list now. Good thing, too. I can't imagine having gotten the lists on the "Meet the Teacher" night & trying to buy it all then! Ouch!
I'm going to hush now. This has not been a very exciting post...just filling you in on things going on here. :) Have a good week!
Friday, July 14, 2006
Today, my niece Robyn turned 3! In fact, it's 6:30pm as I type this...and I think she was born about 4:30 or 5:00, so she's OFFICIALLY 3 now! Happy Birthday, baby girl!
The carpet guys & the AC folks all arrived about the same time this morning. Within an hour & a 1/2, the carpet was down. A couple hours later & then AC unit was in! Hooray! It's much cooler now! Tonight & tomorrow we will load all the boys' furniture back into their bedroom. It'll be nice to finally be finished with house projects for a while. (Aside from decorating the new bathroom---that'll be the fun part!!)
What a full & busy week this has been! So sorry that I've not really posted much this week. I'll try to fill you in here on what's been going on.
Monday July 10-- countertop for the bathroom was delivered & installed. It looks awesome! Although we don't have a mirror yet & the bathroom isn't decorated, it's functional!!! Daddy came over & put in the faucets to the bathroom sinks. They look so pretty! Larry did a good job of picking them out!! They are really gorgeous faucets! (Did I mention that I like the faucets he picked?) tee hee...
Monday afternoon, Andrew & Savannah both began their week-long day camp at Discovery Science Place. Savannah is going to a camp called "Cool Science" where they do all sorts of fun science experiments. She is loving it! Andrew is attending "Going Batty" which is a study of bats. He hasn't enjoyed his as much as Savannah has loved hers. I guess it's not as interesting & active as Savannah's class/camp. They go from 1-4pm every day. Tomorrow (Fri) is their last day. In a couple of weeks, the younger girls will attend a day camp there titled "How does my garden grow?" & then the following week Samuel will go to a cooking themed camp. They're all jealous that it's not their turn yet!
Late this afternoon we realized the AC was not keeping up. It doesn't usually b/c the unit is too small for our house size, but it was *really* not keeping up this day. Ugh...it was warm that night.
Tuesday July 11-- I walked into the boys' room & went "squish". Yuck. I figured someone spilled a drink & got a towel to sop up what I could. A while later I went back in & realized that I'd missed some of the spill, so I got a 2nd towel & cleaned it up again. An hour or so later when I went back in it hit me that this was no spill. The 'puddle' was growing! Turns out, the AC unit (in the closet in the hallway right outside their door!) was leaking. The drip pan was not draining right & the carpet was getting all wet. Oh boy!
We called the AC guy to come fix this problem, but he couldn't get here til after 7:00pm. He used compressed air to blow out the drain line & said that should fix it. The house began to get cooler again & the drip stopped, so we assumed that was "it".
Wednesday July 12-- floor guy came over to assess the damage to the carpet. Turns out that it's worse than we thought. Carpet is getting replaced tomorrow morning (Friday). By evening, the AC is again not cooling. Left the thermostat set to 70 all day long & it never got below 85. Sigh...sweating....no fun! Larry called the AC guy back late Wed night. He agreed to come back Thurs morning & see if he could declare the unit dead ... or dead enough for the insurance to pay to replace it. We moved the boys into the girls' room onto the bottom bunk mattress (on the floor). They're loving that!
Thursday July 13-- AC guy returned & can't "condemn" the unit, but did find enough small issues to convince the insurance co to help us pay to get a new one. They're paying 1/2, so in the morning, another tech is coming to install a new, larger unit! HOORAY!
Spent the late hours of the day ripping out the carpet & pad, moving furniture & getting the room ready. Carpet & new AC will all be installed tomorrow. Oh wow!! By bedtime tomorrow I should be thoroughly wiped out....but cooler! :)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I got an email today from one friend.....saw a comment posted from another....both ladies that I didn't even realize were reading the journal. And it made me wonder.....who all is regularly keeping up with us?
It's such a blessing to see that my therapy (writing this journal!) is blessing someone else. If you are reading this, please email me & let me know. It's ok if you read a week at a time or a month at a time, or just read the entries one at a time as they're posted...whatever the case, let me know who ya are. (In case you don't have my email, it is: Lizreeves2@aol.com)
Sunday, July 9, 2006
:::sigh::: Jesus, your presence is so sweet & merciful. Thank you for your tenderness with me.
Thank You Lord
I come before You today, And there's just one thing that I want to say.
Thank You Lord! Thank you Lord! For all You've given me, for all the blessings that I cannot see. Thank you Lord, Thank you Lord.
With a grateful heart, with a song of praise. With an outstretched arm, I'll bless Your name.
Thank you Lord, I just want to Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord, I just want to Thank You Lord.
For all You've done in my life. You took my darkness and gave me Your light. Thank You Lord! Thank You Lord. You took my sin and my shame. You took my sickness and heal all my pain. Thank You Lord! Thank you Lord!
We pray for your frequently, G. The kids love you & speak of you often, but they are settling into life here. Thank you for letting me raise your babies. They are as dear to me as my own. Next month will make 6 months since they've been here. I wish I'd had them since birth (so that I'd know them even better). What a precious gift to our family. Our kids are learning lessons about life in a way that they'd have never known without A&K's presence. Not everything is easy...in fact, much of it is very hard....but we love the kids & feel honored to have them in our home. This has been the most challenging AND rewarding thing in my life, all at once.
Saturday, July 8, 2006
What a long, busy day....but a good one.
Things started out a little weird for me. When I woke up this morning, I was very dizzy. I couldn't sit up in bed without having the room spin, so I decided to lay back down! At 9:00 when my sister brought Savannah home (she had spent the night w/ them last night), I jumped up & ran to the front door to let them in...bad idea. The whole kitchen & living room were spinning then! Whew....as soon as my sis left, I went back to bed again. Not sure what happened with all of that, but it was nearly noon before I could get up & move around without feeling like I was going to fall over. I made lunch for everyone, ate it & then we all had naptime! (Yes, I know...weird...sleep off & on til noon, then take a nap! LOL! I guess I must've needed it, though. I was able to lay down & fall asleep pretty easily!)
About 11:30, Larry left & took Andrew and Kourtney to Palestine to visit their dad & our family there. They also went to see Kelly's grave. Kourtney had forgotten to take a Mother's Day picture the last time, so she took that today & left it on the grave for her mom.
Back at home, Savannah showed Samuel how to use his email address & showed him a few online games (pbskids, disneychannel, nickjr.com, etc). He thought it was really neat to send me an email. I guess I've got another little computer kid growing up here. So far, all of them love to play on the computer. Savannah's been getting online off & on since she was in the 2nd grade I think. She has a whole favorites list & everything. (Of course, she's got some pretty hefty parental controls set up too!) Andrew is beginning to get interested in some online games, too, so he's getting on now & then. The younger 3 like to play CD-Rom games, though, so they're all on the computer at least a few times per week.
When the kids got home & got ready for bed, I went to tuck everyone in. I asked Kourtney how things were with her dad today. She just giggles & grins & acts all bubbly. I guess that means "good". :) When I asked her if she went to her mama's grave, she enthusiastically said "She has her stone now!" (the headstone). Yes, she does, sweetie. What does it say on it? She didn't know, but tackled me to the ground hugging on me, so I guess she had a good day. :)
Andrew asked me (as usual) if I'd snuggle for a while before he went to bed. At first I said no (it was late), but he said "But I haven't seen you all day! I need to snuggle!". Umm...what decent mommy could turn that down? :) I climbed into bed & snuggled for a while!
Savannah had a tough morning. I guess she was tired & just needed some attention. She snuggled a lot this morning & then wanted some extra cuddling tonight, too. She is pretty jealous of the extra snuggling Andrew's been getting at bedtime, so I'm trying to make sure to balance that out with snuggling & cuddle time during the day for her.
Another big step forward today---Samuel & Sarah both took showers by themself tonight! They've both done it a time or two in the past, but both seem to be headed toward being able to do it regularly now. Yahoo! It'll be nice when I don't have to sit on the hard bathroom floor & bathe children. :) Don't get me wrong...I love 'em, but getting my shirt & hair wet, sitting on my knees in a puddle usually...it just isn't my favorite way to spend time with the kids. LOL!
This afternoon, I was listening to a CD of love songs from the 80's. Man...talk about some memories! Loved it! The kids all thought the songs were really weird. :) Nothing like a little "Eternal Flame" & REO Speedwagon to gag your children. ha ha!
I'm listening to Paul Baloche's "Your Name" right now. Awesome song! The chorus says: Your name, Is a strong & mighty tower. Your name, is a shelter like no other. Your name, let the nations sing it louder, 'cause nothing has the power to save But your name!
I adore pretty much everything Paul Baloche has ever done, though, so it's not a big surprise that I love this song. He's an awesome man of God with a great talent for worshipful music.
I guess that pretty much sums up our week. Thank you, Lord, for giving us another week together. One day closer to seeing Your face....
Friday, July 7, 2006
It's been a busy week, so I will try to quickly recap!
Monday July 3 -- Larry's mom, my mother in law, and the kids' "Mammy" came to Tyler. We had a counseling appointment, so she met us there & got to meet Ms. Lisa (the counselor). It was fun to spend that time with her. I'm excited that she's moved closer & we will get to spend more time with her now.
The counselor said that Andrew is having trouble identifying anger in himself, so we're working with a little tool she gave us to recognize it now. So far this week, there have been several moments when he was madder than a bull & when I would point it out to him & say "Andrew, are you angry?", he says no. Silly boy....he doesn't look at losing his temper, screaming & slapping as "angry". Hmm...what would you call it?
Also on Monday we had a little problem to deal with. In hanging the cabinets in the new utility area, Larry shot a nail into a water line. We didn't realize it til about 30 minutes later when we found a puddle in the floor! We had to quickly take the cabinets back down, cut a spot out of the drywall & repair the water line before we could move forward. Luckily it's all hidden by the cabinet over the washing machine, so no one will ever know!! Whew!
Tuesday July 4 -- Independance Day! :) A friend from church came over & layed our flooring for us in the new bathroom/closet/utility area. It looks really nice! We cooked burgers on the grill for him while he was here & had watermelon. Yum. It was a nice 4th of July lunch, even if we didn't have a big party going. Thank you, James, for doing the floors for us!! You did a great job!
That evening, we went to a big fireworks display that we attend every year. It was really funny to hear Andrew talk "big"...like this would be so boring because he's seen big fireworks before.....and then to watch his jaw drop open & see the fascination in his face as he watched the fireworks in awe. :) He may have seen big fireworks before, but he was clearly still amazed by them. I bet that's probably what God likes to see in all of us! He hears us talk big about all the things we know how to do....and then watches us daze out in awe of HIM when He accomplishes some big work in our lives.
Kourtney, on the other hand, in her typical "I'm so bored" style fell asleep in my lap 20 minutes into it. LOL! I tell ya...it takes a lot to impress this kiddo. She is so joyful & bubbly 95% of the time that I can't complain though. She's just not impressed with big gestures to excite her. A 200 ft. slip & slide? No thanks, I'll just go down with my arms & legs crossed, rolling my eyes. Huge fireworks that amaze everyone else? Nope...I'll take a nap instead. She's a hoot!
Wednesday July 5 -- I can't really remember anything that stands out for Wednesday....so I'll move on.
Thursday July 6 -- The bathroom is done! Aside from some touching up of paint, installation of the countertop (which should come Mon or Tues) & decorating, we're done! It's fully functional now. YAHOO!!!!
Sunday, July 2, 2006
Today was fun. We had a church-wide picnic on Lake Palestine at the Schambach Revival Headquarters. The main attraction was an enormous Slip & Slide that the children's pastor set up. It was just a giant piece of plastic, about 8ft. wide & 200 ft. long! It started at the top of a big hill & went downhill. The kids LOVED it. Some of the adults liked it, too! :) We had a big cookout with hotdogs & hamburgers and lots of desserts, but I don't think any of the kids actually got to the food because they spent the entire 3 hours on the big slide. :)
As I type this, I am listening to the Casting Crowns "Lifesong" CD. One of my 2 favorite songs from the CD is on. I love the chorus to this song. It says:
"Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him. His yoke is easy, His burden is light. You don't need the answers to all of life's questions, Just know that He loves them & stay by their side. Love them like Jesus."
Saturday, July 1, 2006
When I tuck the kids in at bedtime, Samuel often hugs me tight & says "I love you more than anything else in the world except God."...or...."You're the best mama in the world. I love you more than everyone else in our family." Of course I love hearing that! :)
Last night, Andrew caught me offguard. He grabbed me & hugged me real tight & said "I love you equal to my mom & dad!". I backed up, looked at him & said "What?". He just giggled as if he was being funny to repeat the same sort of thing that Samuel had said, but he repeated the same words.
:::thud::: (that's the sound of me fainting) wow....