when i grow up

Jax and Josiah have birthdays this month! So we threw a little party yesterday.

They have been talking alot about what they want to be when the grow up lately. Josiah wants to be a police officer. And Jax an astronaut farmer. He wants “to grow food on the planets and sell it to the countries.” Ha!

Our friends dressed up as what they want to be too! And we had lots of water fun outside.

I did a horrible job taking my camera out for photos.. because I just came off of a long wedding yesterday and wanted to just be in the moment more than capture it. But I did grab a few!

Thanks to everyone who came and participated! Was such a great afternoon for my boys.

 

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heavy

May is filled with so many amazing things. My son Jax graduated preschool and turns 5, my other son Josiah turned 4, and we just had Mother’s Day last weekend. And… summer starts!

And while these events bring so many smiles, there is also a sense of sadness.

It is hard to explain, but today I decided to try.

Adoption is beautiful. It truly is. Everyday I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God stepped in and changed the path for them. Jax and Josiah bring so much joy to our lives. I am very blessed to be their mom.

But, the reality is there is no adoption without loss and pain . . . and grief.

We became a foster family to these boys through hard circumstances. We became their forever family because attempts to reunify them with their biological family failed.

I grieve the loss of my boy’s birth parents (all four of them). I am sad they are missing these big moments. I am sad for my boys that something so precious as a bond between a parent and child had to be broken. I know ultimately this is what was best for everyone involved. But, it’s still loss.

So, the past few weeks I kept wondering why I felt so all over the place with my emotions.  I think it is just this journey we are on. And I know they are still so young, but I think there will be a day when it becomes bittersweet for my boys as well.  Luke and I pray all of the time that we will have the wisdom to listen, guide, and love them through it.

It’s easy for any of us to sit in our circumstances in life and judge others who are in a different place. 

This week Luke and I brought a young woman we found on the street to the hospital. I spent hours with her and the more of her story I learned and put together, the more I understood she was in a very desperate, dark place. So young. So beautiful. So Broken.

I couldn’t help but cry my eyes out on the drove home. Her story was so similar to many of the parents that have children removed by child services. Honestly, her story was freakishly similar to my own boy’s moms. 

I couldn’t help but think, what if I had been born into different circumstances? It could have been me. And I know what people say (I agree) that your past and current circumstances don’t have to define you. But, the reality is when its been generation after generation, it is not easy to break the cycle. I am just incredibly grateful that my boys were given the gift of life despite the hardships their parents were facing. 

So I will pray for my children’s birth parents. I will think about them often. I will grieve their loss, even in the moments I am celebrating.  

thanks for nerding out with us

Ellie loves science! So for this year’s big 1-0.. we decided to an entire party full of experiments. It was so fun!

A big thanks to our friends and family who helped make it such a great time.

 

homemade bird feeders

So I can’t take credit for these little creations. This was all my oldest daughter Ellie’s idea.

But, it was super easy and fun! Maybe you can use it for a little afternoon entertainment?

Supplies needed:

Bird Seed

Elmers School Glue (non toxic)

Twine or String

Pinecones (we also had an adventure and searched for our own)

Step 1: Place glue on each of the layers.

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Step 2: Place bird seed on the glue.

Step 3: Let them dry

Step 4: Tie a string and hang them up

Step 5: Enjoy watching all different kinds of birds come to visit!

 

back to school

They are growing way too fast!

School may be a hard transition for some of our kiddos (so prayers appreciated for that).. but this morning they all seem pretty excited!

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summer fun

We had so many great adventures this summer! From trips to Chicago, Miami, Legoland, and Haiti to just getting to live at the lake in between, truly priceless memories! I am so grateful we can have our summers all together.

Summer…. do you have to come to an end???

haiti june 2017

We just got home from an amazing trip to Haiti with our girls!

The majority of our trip was spent with our family at Wholehearted Home. We love them so much and it was extra special to see our children playing together. Luke was able to do driving lessons with the older boys and also work on the new donated bus a little. I did some organizing. Ellie and Kira played hard and helped with odds and ends as well. We even had a night where we made a little fire and ate s’mores. We spent a lot of time laughing, playing, praying, singing, dancing… so fun!

We also distributed the shoes the girls collected in a few different areas (630 of them). One of the villages we went to had some disabled and elderly residents, so the girls went and hand delivered shoes to them. We even met a woman who was 102 years old! I have never met someone that old! And we were also able to give shoes to start up businesses for three women. They can keep a portion from the shoes they sell and be able to buy more inventory. This will be a way for them to make an income for their families! Thank you again to everyone who donated shoes and a special thanks to Rachel Shoes for their continued support.

I loved that we could stop and visit our friends in the mountains and their orphanage, Grace so Amazing.  And we were also able to visit a church planted by our friends at HCM and Luke and the girls visited HCM’s new surgicenter. 

While there is still so much pain and hardship in Haiti (honestly, it is overwhelming and discouraging at times), it was a blessing for us to witness so many amazing things God is doing there. I encourage you to partner with these organizations who are literally changing so many lives. If you have any questions on how you can get involved, let me know!

I am very proud of my daughters. They served those around them and loved on them freely. They slept and lived with no AC in the summer heat. And they worked hard to make sure shoes went to those in need.

Here are a few images from our time.

We are thinking about planning another trip in the next year. If you are interested in coming along, let us know!

minnow traps 

Today I thought I’d share a little activity we like to do up here at the lake. Reusing water bottles to make minnow traps. 

This is fun way to collect some minnows. The clear bottle is like a little fish tank and fun to watch them swim around or my kids even like making little habitats in tupperwares or buckets and transferring them. Then they have little pets for a couple hours (and yes they name them 😉).

Ok, first step… 

Take an old water bottle and cut it just above the label.



Then, add a couple pieces of bread or crackers. We just used an old bagel. And remove the label. Flip the top part of the bottle and put it inside the bottom like this…


You have your trap made! Just place it under water by the shore. Grassier areas work well, as long as the minnows can still swim around. 

Wait and the minnows will come! 

(Ignore my kids noisy breathing.. they were a little excited.. haha)


And there you go! Enjoy! 


What fun little things do you like to do outside to explore nature a little more? My kids love anything having to do with that. I’d love to hear your ideas! 

cuties in costume

update

Yikes. It has been awhile.

I am sorry! Life got busy.. and blogging became harder. But, I am hoping to be back more and more in the next coming months!

A quick catch-up on life for us…

We still have this cutie.

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He has been with us for 6 months now. Time surely flies. We are still uncertain of his future.. but we are trusting God has a wonderful plan for his life. God has used this little man to teach our family so much. Going to four children was a super hard transition for us, but I believe those hard times have brought us closer to God and to each other.

We have been sneaking away to the lake house as much as we can. It has become such a retreat for our family. The time we spend there is so precious.

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And we just got back from an amazing trip to Haiti. Ellie did her annual shoe drive and we were able to bring over 500 pairs of shoes! This was her first trip with us. It was so special. I will be posting more images and details from this trip soon. Here’s a little peek.

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