Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sat 9/23 Goodbye Speedy

I had the sweetest, funniest, saddest time with Samuel this morning.  You have to understand my sweet boy to get this, so if you haven't met him, some of the humor & sweetest may be lost to you....but anyway..................

In the past, Samuel has had a fly light on his arm (in the house) & he called it "Speedy".  Speedy would always end up flying away, but he was determined that everytime one was near him, it was always the same fly---Speedy.  I'm sure that "Speedy" was killed or flew back out the door repeatedly, but to Samuel, it was always Speedy coming back to visit when he'd see a new fly.

Last night, a fly got in the house & ended up being 'injured'.  One wing was missing, so he couldn't fly anymore, and Samuel picked him up & carried him around all evening.  "Speedy" walked on his hand/arms all evening & even went to bed with Samuel.  I reminded Samuel at bedtime that putting Speedy in bed with him might be dangerous b/c he might roll over on him.  He cleared out a big space of his stuffed animals (he sleeps with dozens of them!) and put Speedy there to insure his safety.

About 15 minutes ago, Samuel came running to my bedroom, nearly in tears that Speedy had died during the night...and was now missing both wings.  I assured Samuel that Speedy's family would have comfort in knowing that he provided Speedy with a safe, soft place to lay in his final hours and that I'm sure Speedy died of natural causes during the night.  He was determined to bury the fly, but being that it's 7am & we're both in PJ's & the sun is barely up, I didn't want to go stand in the backyard to watch him bury his beloved we opted for a kitchen windowsill flowerpot instead.  :)

Ok, so it was just a fly....but to my sweet boy, it was his friend.  He told me that Speedy was "1/2 fly, 1/2 brother, 1/2 friend."  <grin>  (someone needs a little work on fractions doesn't he?)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thurs Sept 21 Revival (& pets!)

There are times in my Walk w/ the Lord that I experience a revival of sorts.  Sometimes that's a revival following some great service I was able to be a part of, or during/after an incredible Bible study.  Sometimes God reveals things to us along the way & just by the nature of our whole life & focus being driven to Him, we experience a refreshing & a renewal of our passion for Him.  That has happened for me lately.

In my marriage, I've always felt like (& Larry has always touted me to be) "the strong one" as far as faith is concerned.  I don't mean faith as in "being religious" or the 'faith' that the media refers to.... but faith in the true sense of the word---being able to trust God without concern for the 'earthy', 'visible' stuff.  Faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen".   In many regards, I am that person.  I would LOVE to jump into foreign mission work headfirst without considering where we'd get money to survive on every month (b/c I'd just be trusting God to provide it!).  Larry, on the other hand, is the one who is going to think things out & panic about the idea of living on support only.  I'm the one who's looked at him during (our many) financial struggles & said "Ya know what?  Let's just pray about it.  God's always provided before, I'm sure He will again."  In some ways, that's a good thing, but in other ways, it can look "foolish" or "crazy" to anyone who is not sitting inside my brain in those moments....including my very analytically-thinking husband who thinks I've had just a bit too much of the Living Water sometimes-- after all, that's the only kind of drunk I will ever be.  :)  And ya know what?  After hearing people say things like that about you repeatedly, you begin to get a little puffed up & believe it about yourself.  But ya know, being prideful is a nasty thing.  While it's ok to recognize your strengths, it's not OK to feel like you're "above" others who have less faith....and unfortunately I've found myself doing that before.  (Forgive me?)

Just about seven months ago, God decided to rock my world in so many ways.  He removed one of the most precious gems that He ever placed on the earth from my life.  One of my dearest friends, Lisa Hardel, died suddenly after a several years-long struggle with Leukemia.  Lisa was 30 & left behind a husband and three young children (& leagues of friends!!).  I was devastated.  The following day, my sister in law died in a tragic car accident which left my brother in law in jail and their two children as the newest two members of my family.  While I was completely shocked by the whole thing & especially with the fact that it happened all at once, I felt like God would figure out all the details---and He has.  It took me several months to relax & come down off my adrenaline-induced-high and realize how crazy my life had become.  I mean, I knew it all along, but I was handling it from the outside in....trying to peer into the hearts & lives of my kids (all 5 of them) and figure out what needed to be done, who needed extra love & snuggles from day to day, who wanted which thing for breakfast.  You know, I was just being the mom & trying to figure out everyone's quirks & how we'd fit them all into one family unit together.   While that sort of perspective was certainly necessary to make the family 'work', God used several things to shuffle my foundations & make my ground a little unsteady in the past couple months.  All the sudden, this strong warrior of faith was scared, shaken, nervous & unsteady.  I think we all have times where we KNOW the "church answers", but need time to grieve or mourn or just work through things until we're ready to rest in God's arms again.  Usually I don't experience too many of those times b/c I am able to rest on my blessed assurance & just trust God for the outcome ........but for some reason, God did allow me to have my faith shaken in these past couple months.  And while I've had days of being an emotional wreck here & there, I'm grateful that He did it.

When we realize that our strengths are not always our strengths, and that we still must lean on God every second of every minute of every hour of every day just to get by, we cross a threshold.  When we seek not salvation or promises or favors but the Savior Himself, we step over a line.  Reaching that line, crossing that threshold is good for us.  We receive a fresh filling of the Spirit, our prayers become more powerful & annointed, our focus on the Lord is renewed.  Worship takes on a different level of beauty & awe.  When my life is changed, touched & renewed, it's a revival!  Thank you, Lord, for the revival in my heart these past couple of months!  You are GOOD!


And about the "pets" part of the title:

When we started building the bathroom, the kids were begging for a kitten.  We told them that we needed to finish the bathroom first & then we'd get a cat.  Well, the closer the bathroom got to being complete, the more I dreaded the idea of bringing a cat into the house.  After all, they shed, the litterbox stinks & needs daily scooping, and let's just be house's floor will NEVER be completely clear, so the cat would always be clawing something & destroying it.  There were several things that made me cringe & hope the kids forgot that we'd told them about getting a cat.  Well, I hoped they would anyway.  We no sooner had layed the last plank of flooring before they were asking where we'd put the litter box.  Oy!  We told them we needed to hold off a little while so that we could pay off this bill or that & then we'd talk about it again.  After all, part of the "deal" was that they kept their rooms clean & they sure hadn't done that consistently.  As time as gone on, the more I thought about it, the more I disliked the idea of having a cat in the house at all!  Larry & I started talking & decided on a dog instead!  We have a fenced in backyard, but there are several places in the fence that need a little work before we can reasonably take on the responsibility of putting a dog out there.  Soooo.....our plan is to get the fence fixed between now & Christmas & let a puppy be the "big gift" at Christmastime!  We do NOT want a hyper, bouncy, yippy dog.  We would most prefer a BIG dog....think Great Dane/St. Bernard/etc.  But if there were a calm, gentle dog of another size, we'd consider that, too.  We want to get a PUPPY specifically b/c Samuel has been terrified of dogs for years & is just now finally outgrowing that.  We think that he'd do well with a tiny little sweet puppy who he watches grow.  If the dog is not suddenly a big menacing thing, but slowly grows into a big protective sweetie, that would be perfect!  If you hear of anyone breeding a large, sweet dog who will have puppies at Christmastime, let me know!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wed Sept 20

Gosh it's been a busy week & I can't even tell ya what I've done!  Don't you just love those times?  Honestly, we just stay so busy 24 hours a day that it's hard to get a lot of journalling done these days.  Here's an example of 1 day in our life....this was yesterday.

6:15am--alarm goes off
6:30--I actually get up.  :)
by 7:35--out the door to take kids to school
8:40--I left for work
3:30-- day care buses deliver kids to me & we leave to head home
3:45--home, start homework with Andrew & Kourtney
4:00--Kourtney finishes, send her to clean her room & start homework w/ Sarah
4:15--Sarah finishes, Andrew is still working away.  With a reminder every few minutes, he stays on task & keeps working.  Check Savannah's backpack & find that she only has a paper for me to sign, no homework.
4:30-- finish up the last of supper's prep work & start dishing Pizza Soup into bowls (it was a crockpot meal that I had going all day---love the crockpot!!!)
5:00-- Larry gets home, dinner is served (Andrew eats supper around his homework, then continues & works on finishing it)
5:30-- I leave Larry in charge & go to Brookshire's for milk.  We're out! (big surprise) Andrew finishes his homework while I'm gone.
6:00-- back home, start homework w/ Samuel while Larry oversees room cleaning, which is not going well.
6:20-- Larry takes over reading w/ Samuel (part of his homework is to read for 10 minutes each day to a parent)
6:35-- laundry, dishes
7:00-- dig my Avon collection envelope out of the stack on the kitchen counter & call a couple customers that I need to deliver orders to.
7:30-- panic because it's 30 min to bedtime & no one has had a bath yet!  Yikes!!  Savannah goes first, Andrew takes our bathroom to shower & Samuel follows.  The little girls are clean enough to survive one night without a bath!!  LOL!  Time to get ready for bed.  Larry gets into bed at 7:30 b/c he is leaving at 4am to go be with a friend from church who is having surgery in Temple.
7:45-- print out bank statement for a friend who is coming by to pick it up & get her Avon order.
8:00-- kids into bed, friend stops by for about 15 minutes.  :::big sigh of's end is near!:::
8:15-- flip through the channels--I never have control of the remote at this time of the evening nor am I usually in front of the TV at 8pm...what in the world is on at that time?  I discover Steve Irwin's memorial service being filmed LIVE as I watch it in Australia.  It was a beautiful service!!  Watched that til a little past 9:00 when it went off.
9:10-- prep 2 lunchboxes for today, put them in fridge
9:20-- check emails, read myspace messages & comments, read more emails, make a paypal payment.....yada yada yada
10:45-- realize how late it's getting & that my goal is to be in bed by about 11:00, decide to wind things up....and 15 minutes later I signed off computer!  :)
11:30-- lay down & pass out!
This is pretty much how every day goes.  It's just steady & constant.  I love it...but it's very busy around here.  :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thurs Sept 14

First & foremost, I want to thank you all.  Thank you for all the prayers, emails, phone calls, e-cards & hugs at church last night.  So many supportive friends & all the prayers sent up are what got me through a very emotional morning yesterday.  Between the journal entry & a prayer request I emailed to a few friends, I was on a bit of a hormonally-induced rollercoaster yesterday AM.  Sometimes head knowledge doesn't equate application to our lives...ya know?  And while I *knew* the good Christian pastor's wife answer to everything I was mulling over, I hadn't really applied it because I needed some time to wallow in it & really work it through my brain first.

Anyway, I love you all & want to thank you for your support & love yesterday.  I do believe my love cup is full this morning!  :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Blankets, Comfort Level, Benae's Love Cup and Homework

Just a few random things that are on my mind this morning....
Last night when I tucked in Andrew (our resident Eskimo---he's so cold natured!), he asked me to give him his baby blanket.  It's a worn out, faded, tattered Elmo blanket that (if it were mine) would've gone to Goodwill long ago.  But he loves it.  He said it's a "lucky" blanket for him.  When Samuel heard him mentioning his baby blanket, he decided he wanted his, too.  Samuel has 2 blankets/quilts that family members made for him, which he loves.  One was made by his Aunt Cindy (my sister) & one by Grandma (my mom).  They're about the same weight & size, so he'll often snuggle them both at one time.  When Andrew saw that Samuel had those, he asked "Why don't I have one of those?" (a handmade blanket).  I explained that these were made by relatives when Samuel was a toddler & that he had not lived with us then.  When he expressed that he wanted one, too, I had to put in a quick call to Grandma.  She's our usual blanket/quilt maker, so she's now on the hunt for flames and/or motorcycles fabric (like Harley Davidson).  If you know of some, let us know!  I can't wait to see him open a present with his very own blanket or quilt at Christmas.  I know he'll love it.  {Note:  I know that he had some kind of personalized blanket as an infant, because I've seen pictures of it, but I don't have any idea where it is now & he doesn't remember it.}
This morning when we pulled up to the school, God gave us a very special oppurtunity to be in the car line behind a sweet little boy.  He taught us several things just by watching him.  I love those teachable moments...but they're even more profound when *I* am taught right along w/ the kids.  As we drive through the line, we are usually trying to hurry up & get the kids delivered & get on the way, not only because we're usually running late, but because there are a thousand people in line behind us waiting for us to MOVE.  There are 3 spots along the sidewalk where you can put the car in park & have your child unloaded by school staff.  When we were in the #4 position (just about to pull up....) the car in front of us put on the brakes, put the car in park & the driver got out.  I was astounded.  I mean come don't have time to get out & re-tie little Johnny's shoe or dig in the trunk for the CD you're wanting to listen to!  Get out of the way!!  But then it happened.  All at once I was slapped by conviction & the kids were watching in amazement as the mom pulled a teeny, tiny little walker out of the trunk, sat it up on the curb & reached into the car for the little boy who would use it.  This little man was so cute.  He had blonde spikey hair & a camo backpack (Samuel's favorite part).  She propped him into the walker & with a quick kiss, ran back around to get in the car & "get out of my way".  This sweet boy began to walk off & we realized that he walks not on the bottoms of his feet, but the tops!  He could barely budge the walker at all, but he was giggling & excited to be at school! humbling!  I had to ask God to forgive me & thank Him for such a precious lesson as I drove away.  And what was more precious was seeing the kids get out of the car & go walk next to him inside the school!  :::wiping eyes....I'm so proud of them!:::  How often do we get comfortable in life & start complaining about what we have or don't have?
Since Andrew & Kourtney moved in, each of them have found special people at church or school who they really connect with & feel loved by.  While they have us at home, they've both really "clicked" with several other people as well.  After watching that little boy this morning, I was reminded of one of those special people in particular.  Benae H. is a tenderhearted sweetie from church who loves Miss Kourtney.  Every time I pick K up from any sort of class or event, Mrs. Benae is hugging on her & telling her how much she loves her.  She tells Kourtney that her hugs fill her love cup.  Benae's "love cup" illustration sure came into play this morning.  My love cup was certainly overflowing as I watched this sweet baby boy walking on broken legs with my 3 youngest children at his side.  Thank you, Benae, for being a sweet part of Kourtney's life.  She often looks for you when we pull up at school, trying to see if she can spot you in line with Sarah.  She really adoresyou!
My heart is heavy as I watch Andrew struggle with homework every day.  He's having to work twice as hard as he was before to stay on top of things homework-wise.  The dyslexia lab is doing great things for him, but it's also a lot of work.  Every day we spend at least an hour or two sitting by his side, walking him through one step at a time on his homework & even with that assistance, I haven't seen him go through a day's work without crying in a couple of weeks.  He gets frustrated & overwhelmed so easily and wants to just quit & give up.  He says that he's behind because he's gone to 4 different schools.  (For some reason, he thinks that if they had stayed at one school the whole time, he would be in 5th grade by now.  LOL  Not sure why he thinks that, but I keep telling him that he's indeed in the right grade.)  He says that he's not used to doing work "this hard".  I try to remind him that every grade is a little harder than the one before & that's why this feels like it's so hard to him.  He says he doesn't care about his grades & just wants to give up & quit.  I ache when I hear that.  How does a child reach that point so early in life?  I've explained that quitting is not the answer & have reminded him of circumstances where he kept trying until he figured something out & got it perfect.  I know he's a strong little guy & he CAN do this.......but it is so hard to watch him struggle & feel so helpless to fix it.  I want to climb inside his brain & rewire whatever is mis-firing in there & watch him glow when it all clicks.  I know that he will get there & his potential is different from the other kids', but it's hard to see him have such a tough time.  Please keep him in your prayers as we continue with school struggles.  I am reminded of Isaiah 40:31: "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run & not get tired, they will walk & not become weary."    Also, the one about pressing onward to the prize....can't think of the exact wording or reference at the moment though.  Can anyone think of any other verses I could use to encourage him??
Thank you for your continued prayers!  We love each one of you & the support & love you keep giving us.  Thank you for being a part of our lives.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday, Sept 11th, 2006

I was trying to decide how to best word a prayer for the victims' families of 9/11 when I came across this in my emails this morning.  I think he says it very well, so I would like to share with you the words of Max Lucado, written for today.


Do It Again, Lord
A Prayer for Troubled Times
by Max Lucado


We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a horrible dream.

But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream, and, dear Father, we are sad.

There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest; a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor, and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)

We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn’t.

And so we come to you. We don’t ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don’t request; we implore. We know what you can do. We’ve read the accounts. We’ve pondered the stories, and now we plead, “Do it again, Lord. Do it again.”

Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.

Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children too, Lord. Do it again.

And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.

Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced.

And by dusk, heaven’s sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.

But you did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After your Son lay three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.

We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what discussions could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.

And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.

Let your mercy be upon our president, vice president, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.

And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world.

Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

Through Christ, amen

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sun Sept 10

This week I've been thinking a lot about the families left behind after the tragedies of Sept. 11th.  I may live 1/2 way across the country from them & might've never met any of them, but I still mourn the losses of so many innocent lives that day.  In honor of the many men & women who died that day, I've lined the front curb with little flags.  It's not much, but I hope that the families who were hurt that day know people around the country are praying for them tomorrow.

I wonder about the children left behind after that sad day.  I wonder about the spouses, the mothers & fathers, the sisters & brothers left behind to continue through life alone.  I wonder about the pets who were in the homes of single people that didn't come home that night.  I wonder what it must be like to lose someone in such a shocking tragedy.  I realize we've all lost loved ones in our lifetimes, but I think most of us are blessed in that we don't lose them in that sort of manner.

It's been 5 years, and yet I can remember it like it was yesterday.  And ironicly, tomorrow morning I will spend doing the exact same thing I did on that day 5 years ago.  See, five years ago we didn't live in this neighborhood.  We lived a few miles away & a friend of mine lived in our neighborhood.  She had given me permission to park in her driveway while I walked in the neighborhood.  I needed a place to walk for exercise & knew her area was safe.  Little did I know that just a couple years later we'd buy a house 3 blocks from where she lived.  That morning, I came & parked the car, took out the double stroller & went for a walk with my (then) 7mo old daughter & 17mo old son.  After walking for a short time, one of the kids started crying & wouldn't calm down, so I headed home.  When I turned on the radio, I heard the news on KVNE that the first tower had been hit.  I thought it was so strange & wondered how some crazy pilot messed up those flight plans bad enough to actually hit a tower so close to the ground.  Of course, I learned shortly later how it was a terrorist act!  Larry called me about 30 minutes later & asked if I was watching TV (no).  He said that while arresting a fugitive, he was in their living room & they were watching it all unfold on TV as the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower.  I was stunned.  Like most of the rest of America, I sat glued to the TV much of the rest of the day, watching as the United States as we knew it changed forever.

In those coming days & weeks, I learned of Lisa Beamer's brave husband, Todd.  I would later read her autobiography about that day & the months that followed.  What a precious saint he was & what a beautiful story of faith.  I applaud you, Mrs. Beamer!  And thank you, Todd, for the sacrifice you made.

So many stories have been played on TV, the internet, in many lives lost for such a sad cause.  It's still hard to believe that this occured at all.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Sat., Sept 9th

We've had a good week.  Last weekend, we had 2 nights in a row of "Family Movie Night".  The kids love doing this.  We watched Chicken Little & Shaggy Dog.  We all pile up in the living room with blankets & pillows & sleeping bags & watch a movie together---thus, family movie night.  The kids really enjoyed Shaggy Dog.  It was pretty cute for Larry & I, too.

Monday was a school holiday, so we spent it hanging around the house.  Larry drove to The Woodlands to visit his aunt.  Sandy is a precious lady who is going through cancer treatments & ended up breaking her hip & being put in a rehab hospital.  She's already up & walking, though, so she's gone back home.  Wow!  Superwoman I tell ya!  Monday night we went to my parents' house for a hot dog cookout & homemade icecream.  YUM!

The kids had a good week at school.

Thursday night was Sarah's first gymnastics class, but she has decided not to continue with it.  She was expecting more of your traditional gymnastics routine--bars, balance beam, etc....but this is more of a pre-cheer class, so they spent the entire hour working on various arm positions.  When a college-aged boy came in, she panicked & just quit.  She's pretty shy, especially around MALE strangers, so that did her in.  That's ok, though.  We wouldn't know unless she gave it a try!  We'll try something else again later.  For now, she's going to be my buddy on the sidelines.  :)

The boys & Larry went to the Scouting program's first meeting Thursday night as well.  I think Larry's more excited about it than the boys.  :)  He was an Eagle Scout (ahem..pardon me, he IS an Eagle Scout) so he lovessssss the Boy Scout program.  I never did Girl Scouts as a kid....I thought they were I missed out on all that.  The boys are over the moon about it though!  They can't wait to go camping & learn to tie knots & all the "cool stuff".  Daddy's pretty gung ho, too.  He's already signed up to be a Den Leader & has bought their uniform shirts (his, too).  I'll have to get pictures of the three boys in their uniforms.

On two separate nights this week, Sarah woke up crying & holding her ear in pain.  Yesterday morning I took her to the doc & found out that she has a double ear infection.  Ouchie!  She's on medicine now, though & seems to be doing fine.

No other major news to report this week....just the usual stuff.

Anyone who has raised a large family...feel free to email me & let me know your tricks on getting the kids to KEEP their room clean.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Sat Sept. 2

I'm sorry that I haven't done too well at writing lately.  I guess as things progress & life settles into a more comfortable pace, it's easy to get busy & forget to update everyone.  Forgive me if I begin to go longer between posts, but feel free to email me any time for updates.

The kids are all doing very well in school.  We found out this week that Andrew is Dyslexic, which explains a lot about his personality & why things work the way they do with him.  This website was an eye-opener for me.  Of the 37 "symptoms" they list, he's got about 20 or so of them!  Check it out:  He has begun attending a daily 45 minute learning lab at school that he will be in for 4 years!  The teachers are awesome.  They go back to pre-reading & try to work forward, filling in whatever gaps the kids have.  Andrew has already come home describing assignments that he's excited about.  It's nice to see him smile when talking about something from school instead of moan & groan & talk about it like it's torture.  He may still struggle with school, but at least he's getting into something that he can look forward to each day...something that will give him a sense of pride & accomplishment.  That's good for his self confidence!

All in all, we're doing really great.  People ask me often "How are the kids adjusting?".  I really must say they're doing VERY WELL.  A&K have lived in so many places, in & out of relatives' homes and those of friends, from one place to another...that I am sure our home is just one more place to them.  Larry & I are hoping that with major holidays, more stability will come...and then with the 1 year mark, things will become significant to them where they begin to understand that we're not going to move every few months.  Building some stability & structure into their lives is sooo important to us.  I think that, having boundaries & rules and regular routines in their lives is doing them a lot of good.  They know what to expect from us...they understand that we love them & want the best for them.  There are still some walls up, but they've got bigger holes in them every day.  The big bricks they once stacked between us are falling, one at a time, and I am dancing & singing with each brick that hits the ground.  Last week, one night while snuggling at bedtime, Andrew was just laying there hugging me when he backed up, looked me in the eyes & said "Aunt Liz, I like living here!".  That was discussion, no further info... he just wanted me to know that he likes living under my roof.  :::sniff, sniff:::

Today we went to the circus.  The Shriners have an annual circus here & we went a few years ago when Savannah was in Kindergarten or 1st grade.  We really enjoyed it, but it was outdoors & it was sooo hot.  This time it was inside the Oil Palace, so it was nice!  We had a ball.  A&K said they had not been to a circus before, so it was fun to watch their looks of amazement as the performers did their tricks.  I took lots of pictures.  Email me if ya want to see.

As more time passes, I feel more & more like I've had my kiddos (all 5 of them) since birth.  I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to not have all 5 of them here now.  I loved being a mom to 3, but mama-hood to 5 is just as awesome.  It's hard to describe how your heart grows & you wrap yourself around however many God gives you.  Seeing the friendship & love grow between the kids is such a sweet thing for me.  God has really done a big work in them (all).  I'm continually amazed by His goodness!