Friday, December 24, 2010

Benjamin Funnies

Matt and I have had this tradition the past couple of years of wrapping each other's gifts at the same time in our bedroom. One of us wraps on one side of the bed and the other on the other side. It's so fun and we talk and tease about what we got. This year, we wrapped the major presents separately, but decided to let Ben in on the wrapping of the stocking stuffers. Here is how it went:

Conversation #1
Ben: "Mommy there's candy in your stocking.
Matt: "Ben, it's a secret, we can't tell mommy what's in there."
Ben: (after waiting until daddy left the room for a minute and in a whisper) "mommy, there's candy" Then running to Matt's side of the bed and grabbing whatever it was he holds it up and says "wanna see mommy, it's candy!" I was a good little girl and looked the other way. ;-)

Conversation #2
Ben: "Mommy is that chocolate?"
Me: "Shhhhhh, it's a secret."
Ben: "is it chocolate??? It IS chocolate!"
Me: "Shhhh, you can't talk about it yet, it's a secret until tomorrow"
Ben: "Is daddy going to share?"
Me: "You'll have to wait and see"
Ben: "Daddy, are you going to share your chocolate?"

So much fun!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas is Almost Here!

It's four days until Christmas and my mind is already going into break mode. Matt gets 11 days off including the weekends! Makes me feel like I'm in school again and going on Christmas bread. Needless to say, I should be cleaning and cooking and folding laundry to get prepared for our time as a family and then our travels to be with extended family. Not to mention wrapping presents! But I'm blogging instead. Hehe!

I'm done with my Christmas baking for the year, other than a bit of peppermint bark I've got in the works, but I just had to share these pictures of Benjamin helping out with and then enjoying some goodies last week. He was a great helper, even if I did have to separate all the sugar cookies he decorated from the rest. There was just an awful lot of finger licking going on! But that's what makes it so much fun.

 Stacking up the chocolate to get it ready for the fudge
 Sampling the sugar cookies. Yum!

 Matt's work Christmas party has a Santa every year and the little kids get gifts. Ben wouldn't sit on his lap, but was happy to stand next to him. :-)
After dinner at the Christmas party, all the kids went up on risers and sang Jingle Bells using their parents' car keys. It was pretty cute!

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Benjamin Funnies

This morning Benjamin came to our door at 5am and asked us if we were going to get up. We of course told him no and that it was not morning and he needed to go back to bed. He does this quite often, although not usually quite that early, and many times does not go back to sleep, so I was a little nervous. He was up again at 6:30 to use the bathroom and again, I was shocked that he went back to bed. Finally at 8:30 (yes that's what I said) Matt and I both woke up for good and lay in bed wondering if it could possibly be true that Ben was still asleep. He set quite the record when he finally woke up at 9am. Yay for us! :)

But the best part was that the first words out of his mouth were "I closed my eyes and it worked! I went to sleep." Awesome!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter has Arrived!

Denial can be such a great place to be, but it always has to end. I've been in severe denial about Indiana weather. One of the reasons we picked San Antonio as a place to live way back when was because it averages 300 days of sunshine a year and we wouldn't have to drive in winter conditions. So when we moved back to Indiana at the end of March and the weather turned warm two days later, I could almost pretend it was just normal. And when we experienced way more sunshine than normal and higher than normal temperatures all the way into November, it felt like maybe this could be normal. And then winter hit. Hard! We got several inches of snow over the weekend and today's high temperature is a bitter 19 degrees. Denial is over! But I have to admit that the snow is beautiful. Benjamin came to our bedroom door Saturday morning and announced "snowtime is here!" So we bundled up and went out to enjoy the wonder of his first big snow.

 Time for a snow angel
Snowball fights!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Fall Review

I was looking back through pictures and realized that I haven't posted all that many on here recently. So now you get to be bombarded with them. Here is a review of what all we've been up to this fall:

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a bridal shower for my college roommate. I'm super excited for her and it was great to see some friends from college that I haven't seen in a super long time. 

In my effort to be more creative in my play with Benjamin, we found a fun recipe for super slime and Benjamin loved it! Purple seems to be a favorite color of his these days, so he wanted purple slime. His favorite part of this was making gloves out of the slime and clapping with them.

What is life without fun costumes? A few years ago we attended a costume party as George and Martha Washington. Since that was in our pre-child phase, I had more time to run around to different Goodwills picking things up. We didn't have nearly as much time this year, so I used super cheap cloth, iron on seam tape, and some hot glue to assemble our Fred and Wilma Flintstone costumes. And I totally enjoyed being a redhead for the night!

One of my favorite things about fall is going to a farm or pumpkin patch. This year we went with the mom's group I am a member of. You never know what the weather is going to be like in October, but this year was perfect! We took two of my sisters and had a blast! Benjamin loved the giant air-filled jumping pillow and the huge corn filled sand box. We also all enjoyed winding our way through the corn maze.
Getting covered with corn - this stuff was coming out of his clothes all the way home and even turned up in the washer and dryer. :) 
Loving the Jumping Pillow!
This was Benjamin's first time to be brave enough to feed an animal. We've attempted many petting zoo type things in the past and he has been terrified. This time he was in love with the tiny pony and kept feeding it all evening.
 Taking a ride on the corn train.
 More Jumping Pillow action.
 My sisters Abby and Bekah mid-jump.

In mid-October we took our first family vacation since Benjamin was born. It was wonderful! We rented a condo in Gatlinburg, TN and enjoyed the beauty of the mountains as well as some gorgeous hiking. Again, we were blessed by amazing weather.
Taking a ride on the luggage cart!
On our way to Gatlinburg, we stopped to vist my grandpa and his wife Vivar. Less than two weeks later, the Lord took her home, so we felt blessed to have gotten to see her one last time.
Scenic hiking in Smokey Mountain National Park
We only did one major hike while we were on vacation, but it was an eight mile one. Four miles up and four back down. Benjamin was a trooper and hiked about seven of those miles.

We took a tram from Gatlinburg up to a lookout area and enjoyed some beautiful views.
 This was the view from our condo. It was breathtaking. I could get used to waking up to this kind of view.

I was blessed this fall to get to see a friend I haven't seen in years. Both of these girls were some of my best friends from high school.

I've been on an organizing and decluttering kick lately and one day I looked at our bakers rack and just couldn't stand it. Everything in my house is pretty much dark wood, or dark metal, but this was off-white. So I was looking at it and it suddenly dawned on me that I could spray paint it. It is now a beautiful oiled rubbed bronze and I love it! Yay for only spending $10 to get a fresh new look.

And lastly, we have discovered that underwear makes a great mask. Haha!

Friday, November 19, 2010


The past couple of weeks have been rough ones. I've had so much fear about so many things. The biggest thing being foster care. I've battled insecurities in my parenting like never before and it's made me question this calling to foster care. The truth of the matter is, I just don't feel equipped. I want to run in the opposite direction. How can I have enough love for these kids when some days I struggle to extend unconditional love to the precious child I already have? How can I be a good mom to a child whose needs are so great when I can hardly figure out this parenting thing with the child I have? I know a lot of my fear is based on lies from the enemy, but I also think it's a challenge from the Lord to be at his feet all day every day. Not just for 20 or 30 minutes in the morning, but continually through the day. I'm not equipped. I can't do this. I have no idea how He's going to do it, but if He's calling me to do it, I have to be at his feet so that He can equip me.

Today I came across this post and it so encouraged me that I had to share it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Fun

It's been so much fun to be here for all the fall color again. I have to say, that was one of the things I missed most when we lived in Texas. Now that the leaves have fallen and we are predicted to have nights in the 20's this weekend, I'm ready to head back south, but we sure enjoyed the beauty while it lasted.

 Leaf Fight!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stepping Over the Edge

Two years ago, the Lord brought a sweet little boy into the world and we thought He was bringing him into our family. But He did not. We were devastated and I found myself questioning the very sovereignty of God. Less than a year later, we began the process to adopt again through the same agency we worked with for Benjamin's adoption. We hurriedly finished all our paperwork, asked our friends to write letters of reference, and went to the required orientation. I found myself believing that after what we had been through, we deserved a quick and easy placement. My prayers were often little more that telling God what would make me believe in His sovereignty again. I read my Bible regularly, went to my Bible studies, and did all the things I knew I should be doing. All the while, I was hurting and sometimes really angry that God would take us through the deep pain of infertility, and then, as if that weren't enough, take us through the pain of losing a child we thought He was giving us. We were nearly ready to schedule our home study when Matt's job started getting scary. He came home many days telling me that he didn't know if he'd have a job by the end of the month. My first thoughts were panic over the fact that we couldn't very well adopt a child with no family income. I struggled for control and grew even more frustrated with our circumstances. I had always pictured having my kids about 2 years apart and the closer we got to Ben being 2 1/2, the more anxious I got. But God was (as He always is) working on my heart, even though it was hurting. Not long after we returned from CA after that failed adoption, I came across a podcast done by a couple who had a heart for kids in need and who were in the beginning stages of foster care. I listened to every episode and began to wonder if God would someday lead us down that path. But I really wasn't willing to do it until we had gotten to adopt as least one more baby. Then I started reading the book as part of our women's Bible study at church. It's called The Forgotten God by Francis Chan and it began to change me. Part of the chapter on God's will said "...dwelling on God's plan for the future often excuses us from faithful and sacrificial living now. It tends to create a safe zone of sorts, where we can sit around and have 'spiritual' conversation about what God 'might' have planned for our lives. Thinking, questioning, and talking can take the place of letting the Spirit affect our immediate actions in radical ways." I mulled that over and wanted to act on it, but in many ways I still wasn't "over" my desire to have my way. I wanted to be more willing to go the direction God wanted us to take, but I really didn't want to do it until I had what I wanted, which was a baby.

Not long before we moved, I was part of a Bible study and was watching the video for that week's study. One of the bullet points was that we needed to move past our devastation with God. I felt like someone had just put a knife in me. I knew that was a huge part of my problem. I was devastated with God and I didn't want to get past it. I was afraid if I let go of it and trusted Him again, I would only be devastated again and then perhaps lose my faith all together. But watching that video became a turning point for me. As I completed the study later that week, I was so amazed that God was dealing this out with me and that He hadn't been faithless even though I had. I underlined so much from that week, but a couple of things stuck out to me and they are so true. "Satan has no greater agenda than to talk you and me into believing that God is not good after all." and "Accepting the challenge to work through crisis and conflict can be a tremendously important part of developing closeness in relationship...Work right through the middle of it with your God. He has never left you. Never ceased loving you. And never shut off His goodness from you."

I began to take hold of that truth and in many ways, I feel like that's when I began to believe once again that God is who He says He is. But when we moved, I still assumed that we would adopt an infant before we did anything else. I researched agencies and Matt found out about a couple of people from his work who had adopted recently. We even filled out the preliminary application for an agency and I was ready to send it in. But then I got that check in my spirit and waited. Matt and I talked about timing and whether or not to do adopt through foster care now, or later and after lots of talking and reasoning it out, I felt peace about moving forward with an infant adoption.

Then I listened to another episode of that foster parenting podcast and I was caught up short. They put out the challenge that often when we feel peace about something, it's not necessarily peace we are feeling, but comfort. Often we say we have a peace about something because we are too afraid to do anything else. I absolutely knew this was why I had "peace" about applying for another infant adoption. It felt comfortable to me. I knew how the process worked when you used an agency and I wanted a baby. But I also just kept getting this prompting toward foster care and adopting through that process. So we stalled some more. I waited, hoping God would give us the go ahead toward infant adoption and we continued to save money.

A few weeks ago, I finally made some phone calls to at least get some information about foster care. I had heard that it was best to work with an agency, but the only one I was able to get a hold of didn't work with our county. The other one never returned my calls. I also left a message for someone with the department of child services and received a quick call back, as well as a packet in the mail within a few days. Today we registered to begin the 26 hours of training we will have to complete in order to be foster parents.

My emotions are all over the place. I'm super excited, but I'm also scared to death. I still struggle with that expectation that if God is calling us to do this, He is going to make it easy for us. But He never promised that doing what He asks will be easy. I have this sense of euphoria that I imagine one would have just after stepping out of a plane to go sky diving. It's the excitement of being willing to go where God is telling us to go, even though I'm 100% out of my comfort zone.

I still don't know for sure if this is the direction we will be taking. I'm still struggling not to run the other way out of fear of the unknown. And I'm still having to let go of my desire to have another baby and trust that God knows what is best in His big picture plan. But we are walking forward and doing the next thing until He leads us through or closes the door. Pray for us!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Awana Crazy Hair Night

Benjamin started in Awana this year as a cubbie. He loves getting to go and loves the fact that he always gets to see two of his aunts and one of his uncles while he's there. I love it because it gets me working on scripture memorization with him, which I have wanted to be working on anyway. So some nights the kids get to dress funny, or wear pajamas, or as was recently the case, have crazy hair or hats. We went with the crazy hair and I'm pretty sure Matt and I had way more fun with it that Ben did.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lost in Explanation

This morning Benjamin was looking through "Horton Hatches an Egg" while I was washing dishes. He was very interested in Horton's eyes at different places in the book. When Horton was sitting on the egg in the snow, his eyes were red and Ben asked if Horton was tired. I told him I thought maybe he was cold since he was covered in snow. So at the end of the book when the egg hatches and the bird comes out looking like an elephant with wings, Benjamin wanted to know why his eyes looked the way they did. I told him that Horton was surprised and happy that the the bird came out looking like him. Then I got to thinking about it and thought it was sort of like adoption. The child has many of the same traits as his/her birth family, but also takes on traits of his/her adoptive family over time. Benjamin is just starting to try to grasp adoption, so I tried to explain my thoughts to him about the connections between the story and adoption in terms he could understand. Apparently I didn't do a very good job because he got a funny look on his face and said "when I was born I looked like an elephant?"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Benjamin Funnies

I just love being a mom! I mean, yes, it's the most difficult job ever, and quite frankly can also lead to more embarrassment than ever, but I love to laugh and Benjamin can make me laugh!

So a few weeks ago, we were out for a walk as a family. A jogger came up behind us and passed us and it just so happened that he was shirtless. Ever the curious one, Benjamin asked us why he didn't have a shirt on. Matt and I were both kind of waiting until the jogger got a little further ahead before answering, but that just made Benjamin ask again even louder. So, we quietly explained that the man was running and that sometimes guys run without shirts because it's too hot for a shirt. He thought for a second and then very loudly proclaimed "that's rude!" We hid our smiles, asked Ben to keep his voice down, and quickly drew his attention to something else. 15 minutes later, the same jogger was now running toward us on the other side of the road. We hoped that perhaps our explanation from before had sufficed and that the poor jogger could run in peace, but it was not to be. As he jogged closer, Benjamin loudly said "that man doesn't have a shirt on!" It was obvious by the face of the poor jogger than he heard us and had probably heard us before. He may never run shirtless again!

And then there was this past week. This is really Matt's story, so I got all the laughter and none of the embarrassment. We went out to eat with my family after church this past Sunday and Benjamin had to use the bathroom. Matt took him into the men's room and as it turned out, he had to do more than just pee. So, after he loudly announced this to Matt, he worked for a bit before saying "daddy, it's too hard. Something's stuck in there. It's not working." But, as if that wasn't embarrassing enough for my poor husband, when he went to wipe him, Benjamin peeked his head under the next stall which of course was occupied and said "hi, what's your name? What are you doing?" Needless to say the poor guy in the next stall did not answer. I'm not sure if Matt or the other stall occupant was the most traumatized by the event.

So there you have it. A tiny little peek into the mind of our son.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Letter Learning

As Benjamin enters into the age of preschool I feel like I am constantly asked if we plan to send him to preschool. The first time someone mentioned it, I kind of thought it was funny. I never went to preschool and honestly hadn't even considered it for Benjamin. But the more people asked me about it, the more pressure I started to feel. Someone mentioned that they planned to home school for preschool and told me what curriculum they were using. Curriculum? For preschool?  I mean, does a three year old really need to be in school? Or even to have a formal "school" time at home? I started searching the web for lists of things Benjamin needed to know before kindergarten and one list freaked me out because he isn't even close to knowing how to read or add and subtract, while another list made me feel like he could skip kindergarten and go to first grade now because he knew everything on it. So that was no help. Finally I decided that maybe some intentional training would be good, but that I wasn't ready for a full on scheduled school time. I decided that my goal for him before kindergarten is recognition of letters by sight and knowledge of the sounds they make, as well as recognition of numbers and the ability to count objects correctly. And if he happens to get more of his colors right in the middle of all that, I will feel like he's doing well. Besides that, I really want him to just be a kid during this time. I want him to learn more about using his imagination for play and I want him to continue his love for books. And more than anything, I want him to have more and more of an understanding of who Jesus is.

So last week I started in on my goal of learning a letter a week. We did "A" and came up with all sorts of things that start with A. Here are a few pictures of our learning one afternoon. SO fun!

We had an apple snack and cut the apple into A's.
His "this is delicious" face.