Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's quiet in the house, I just put Sophia to nap in the "big girl bed" for the first time ever, I made a GREAT cup of coffee, and I find myself reflecting a bit on life. I think I'm overwhelmed by the Christmas season materialism and I am easily sucked into it, using the fact that we haven't been home for Christmas since 2005 as my excuse to buy gifts for everyone, nearly including the mail man!!  I know I don't need to buy gifts for everyone, but it's the fact that I CAN do it that is making me crazy.

I want my kids to not only know the meaning of Christmas for our family, but I want them to not expect a tree full of gifts.  I feel like we are all buying into the "want, want, want" instead of just appreciating what we have and how special our family is.  I want to have a humble Christmas for the kids, yet I also want them to know how much I love them and during Christmas, that translates into buying THINGS for them.  It's a juxtaposition that I haven't quite figured out how to maneuver. 

I want to have traditions, things that they will remember in the years to come when people ask, "What are some of the special traditions you used to do with your family?".  They won't remember that they got the Toy Story 3 DVD, but they might remember a special thing we did together as a family.  So next year, I'm determined to be a minimalist...very few gifts, and more traditions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My heart swells with pride...and my eyes with tears

So I've written before about the journey we are on with Jonathon.  My blond, freckled face, green-eyed son whose smile would melt your heart, and whose lack of control would make you cry. He is one of a kind, and I would not have it any other way.

We had parent/teacher conferences at the boys' school last week, and they went super well.  I could not have been more pleased with what the teachers said about our kids, and it was definitely an answer to my prayers that they would each be placed with teachers who would be their advocates this year.  Brandon's teacher told us over and over again "what a terrific kid he is, he is charming, smart, witty, and if he were going to be here longer I would have him tested for the gifted program" were her exact words.  We beamed of course and had to agree that he is a great kid.

Nathan's teacher also raved about him, commenting on what a sweet boy he is and how he always says, "please" and "thank you" and is polite to others and though he giggles quite a bit, is really doing well in math and finally catching on better to reading.  He is in a special reading group where he gets one-on-one help to learn to read...he came from a Spanish-speaking school where he learned all the letters and sounds in Spanish to starting 1st grade here where most kids already can read.  He is behind, but the reading specialists are positive that he'll be caught up in just a few months!!  His teacher also commented that he tries so hard and she is encouraged by that.

And then we got to meet with Jonathon's teacher...again. :o)  She was astounded at what a bright kid he is, she showed us some of his math scores and told us that he's reading 140 words per minute...most 2nd graders start at 50 and end the year with a 90 at best.  We talked more about his impulsiveness and lack of self-control...and we all came to the conclusion that he does have good days and he does have bad days...but that his sweetness, in the end, outweighs his lack of self control.  She said we could have him tested for ADD/ADHD, but that she wouldn't force this on us because of his only being here for one year.  It's unlikely that we would go the medication route anyhow, but we are trying to work on some positive goal setting for those lack of self control times.

We know Jonathon is a sweet kid, but what led me to post about this was because over the past month--really since all of this has been happening with Jonathon, we have had SO many people comment to us about what a great kid he is.  Here is what one mom said just yesterday, "I just want to tell you what an encouragement Jonathon has been to my daughter, she isn't very confident and he has invited her to do things and been a good friend to her.  I have seen what a sweet boy he is when he calls out 'hello' to me when I just happen to be in the school" and another mom said, "That Jonathon is about the sweetest boy ever!  He always says hello to me when I'm at school or if he sees me at church, and we would really enjoy having a playdate with him sometime!"  Now, I'm biased and know Jonathon is a great kid...but to hear others praising him, in light of his impulsive behavior, makes me so proud to be his mom. 

My kids have all encouraged me without even knowing it...if only I could capture these times in a bottle to store forever. 

And time stands still

This morning I put on Sophia's winter hat.  Yes, it's that time of the year, and we were heading out the door to take the boys to school on this very chilly November morning.  The hat I put on her head was immediately ripped off and thrown on the floor with a very loud, resounding, "NO."  Said hat is not her favorite and if I didn't realize it before, I do now. 

Our other issue of the morning was having to leave to take the boys to school when Cat in the Hat was still on PBS.  She threw a total fit, and kept saying "Hat" over and over again.  How is it that my sweet, quiet, gentle daughter is now turning into a very opinionated 20-month-old before my eyes!!??  And now that she is talking more, she has no qualms about letting me know what's on her mind!

That said, when I put her down for a nap this afternoon and she hugged me, blew me kisses, and said, "Bye Mom"...time stood still.  It's amazing to me that such love can exist, that the fierceness I feel towards my kids that would dictate me to lay down my life for them, is a love that bonds me to them forever. It's moments like those that keep me kissing those dirty faces, that keeps me smiling when I throw "clean" laundry in the washing machine simply because the boys were too lazy to put it away, or when my favorite candle stick gets broken because someone didn't obey for the 10th time when I asked them not to throw balls in the house.

I want these times to stay in my mind forever.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Journey

So we are on a new journey, it involves our sweet boy Jonathon, who is almost 8!!  He is a sweet, sensitive, yet impulsive young man.  He has a huge heart and while it has been a challenge at times as his impulses swing out of control, I wouldn't change him for anything in the world. 

I know each child is different, nothing tells me that more than when I say one thing and they all react in completely different ways.  Our journey involves learning how to help Jonathon control his impulses during school, while he is SO incredibly bright, his lack of control causes him to be a distraction in class to his classmates and his teacher.  His teacher is very patient and called me in to talk about it, he was so positive, telling me over and over again how sharp he is, and how his impulsive behavior is not affecting his academics, but affecting the way others react to him.

As a parent, it's hard to hear that your kids aren't perfect, that they aren't making good choices, yet it's my job as a parent to get to the bottom of this and be an advocate for my son and help him on this journey.  We aren't sure of the next step, we are being encouraged to possibly fill out a Connors evaluation which is a form that parents and teachers fill out when ADHD is suspected.  Now-- just those letters bring fear to my heart, probably because I don't know that much about ADHD, but also because it's a label that has so many negative connotations in our society!  It makes me think of kids who are out of control, who are overly aggressive, who are mean, who treat others with contempt....yet none of these things describes my Jonathon.  His impulses are more like making animal sounds in class when the class is expected to be quiet.  He bumps into the wall when his teacher has just asked the kids NOT to walk near the wall.  He bounces up and down on the yoga ball when the teacher has asked the kids to sit quietly on them. He has a hard time controlling his impulses and the teacher is concerned that maybe, truly, he can't control them on his own.

So where does this journey lead us?  For me, it's a huge step of faith to trust that we are taking steps in the right direction.  I want to help Jonathon make goals to help him control his impulses, I want other kids to accept Jonathon the way he is, but most of all, I want Jonathon to accept the way God has made him and be proud of who he is.  I love you Jonathon.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quite a scare

So we had quite a big scare last weekend. We were visiting with my BFF Jackie who was up here in IL to visit her sister.  We had decided to head over to Rhonda's and all of us would then go to Oaktoberfest and let the kids shine at the zucchini races. We were having a great time, racing zucchini cars that the kids made, singing a little Karaoke, and just hanging out. After awhile we headed towards the stage and food area to get some lunch, Jeff was up ahead with the kid and Jackie and I were hanging back trying to catch up on about 5 years of life.  Jeff took the kids to the bathroom and I went and sat down at a table to save enough space for all of us...I assumed all the boys were with him.  Poor assumption on my part.

Jeff came back from the bathroom and says, "Where is Jonathon?" So I explained that I thought he was with Jeff and Jeff tells me that "No", Jonathon hadn't been with him.  So all of a sudden my emotions flare up, my heart starts beating super fast and we all head out in search of my 7yo.  I was truly praying the whole time, trying not to freak out and watching for his light blue sweatshirt.  Thom was on the other side of the street looking for him as well...we headed back to where we had been racing the zucchini cars, and there is my poor, sweet little man sitting on the curb, with his hands in his pockets and tears streaming down his face.  I was heartbroken.

The short of it is that when we all decided to leave, Jonathon had been immersed in looking for spare change on the ground and didn't see us walk away.  When he got up from the ground, we were all gone.  I praised him for staying in that spot, knowing that if he tried looking for us, he would most likely never have found us.  He said that while he was lost, he found a penny and threw it into the fountain and wished "that he would see us again". 

I hugged him often throughout the remainder of the day.  I praise God that we found him, that no one stopped to talk to him, and that he stayed right where he had been.  This was one of my top scariest moments as a mom...I pray it never happens again, and while we used it as a teachable moment, it's not something that I will soon forget.

Does Fall really have to come so soon?

I know, I'm being a negative Nelly, but I really don't like Fall...because I know it will lead to Winter!  I am NOT a cold-loving person, and so that's why even though I'm enjoying the cooler weather, I know that Fall is here and Winter will be too. Sad.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Biking in Chicago


One of my favorite things about being in the States is that the boys get to see their cousins so often!! They are having a blast hanging out and talking Legos and playing swords and other fun boy stuff!

First Day of School

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Long lost post from July!!

I can't believe I forgot to post about Sophia's broken arm!!!  It was such a big event for us!!  So one Sunday morning in July, Sophia apparently fell off of a little baby armchair onto her left arm.  I went to pick her up from Sunday school and she was crying, though not that much, so they mentioned that she had just started crying but the lady who handed her to me wasn't sure why she was crying.  It was a weird cry, one of those cries that you just know something is not quite right.  So we got her home and I went to change her out of her dress and noticed that she wasn't using her left arm!  I called Jeff into the room, showed him that she was unable to move her arm, and off we headed for the ER.  We stopped by the church to try to find out what had happened, as we knew it was something that happened there and that was why she had been crying.  Everyone had gone home, except for the Childhood Resource people, so they called up some of the workers and that's when someone mentioned that they thought she had fallen out of that little chair.

In the ER they did xrays and thought that maybe it was just dislocated (nursemaids elbow) and so the ER NP attempted to put it back in...Sophia was crying and the NP did it 3 times and it obviously wasn't working. After about 15 minutes of being out, she came back in and tried to get Sophia to use her arm, she coaxed her with a popsicle, but instead of trying to reach for it with her arm, she reached for it with her foot!! At that point the NP said she suspected it was something more than a dislocation and splinted up her arm and told us to see an Orthopedic specialist on Monday. 

Monday I called Gillette Children's Hospital and they got us in right away with a specialist.  He looked again at the xrays and couldn't find a break, but he also said he was sure it wasn't dislocated because of the pain and the fact that she STILL wasn't using her arm at all.  He said he suspected a hairline fracture in the cartilage of her elbow and ordered her to have it casted. 

Sophia picked out a lovely PINK casting material and ended up having to wear her sweet little cast for 3 ruined her time of swimming, going to the lake during Family Camp, and not to mention what an ordeal it was to give her baths!!  She survived though, and about 5 days after getting it casted started using her fingers and then her arm.  It healed well and we are so thankful, once again, that we are near good medical care!

Wheaton, IL

We arrived in Wheaton on August 16th, and began moving things in to our lovely, fully furnished 3 story duplex!!  It's part of the Furlough Homes Foundation, a ministry of College Church here in Wheaton that provides homes for missionaries on furlough.  It's just perfect.  It has everything we could need inside, it's 2 blocks from the boys' school, so we can walk everyday, and there are tons of MKs (Missionary Kids) for the boys to play with who also live in homes similar to ours. You can see in the picture that we were completely loaded down...the Tahoe has 2 bikes on front and 4 on back, plus the car top carrier and full of suitcases in back!!  It was soo fun to travel together, we also had our small Toyota Corolla packed to the gills as well...I drove that with 2 kids while Jeff drove the Tahoe with 2 kids.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I need to catch up on some other posts, but I'll post quickly to let everyone know that we are moving to Wheaton, IL tomorrow!!!  It's a new season for our family, one where all the males in the household will be going to school and the girls will stay home!  We are super excited and basically have the cars loaded up and ready to go!!  I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Mini golfing with the family

My ball definitely wasn't supposed to land on the cart path! Oops!

Bully Pulpit's signature 15th hole

Golfing with my mom at Bully Pulpit

After spending some days in Colorado and Douglas, we headed to Medora to spend some time with my parents. 
This girl is in love with her shoes!  


I love summer.  I love the warm weather.  I love wearing flip flops everyday.  I just love summer, and I've loved watching Sophia experience things with her senses--feeling grass on her feet, smelling the flowers, tasting lots of fresh fruit, and watching the birds and other wildlife we've seen.

Snow in June???

We headed to Colorado in June to catch up with some supporters and visit a couple of our churches. While we were there, we went to a wedding in Winter Park...imagine our surprise that there was STILL snow on Berthoud Pass!!!  The boys thought it would be fun to throw snowballs at me...however as they ran around gathering snow, they all started feeling sick because of the altitude!!  Fun times!

Canada 3

Canada 2


So we got invited to spend a few days in Canada with some was to be a quick trip up there and back, but with a few days for relaxing and fishing in between.  It was such a great time!  We went with our friends, the Heinschs, and their 3 boys.  I'm telling you, those 6 boys spent 90% of their time in the freezing water--either catching crawfish, swimming, kayaking, or fishing.  They had SO much fun!  I especially loved the deck over the water, and was excited to catch a sunrise there one morning.  We had some rain, but for the most part it was super good weather and an excellent time! 
Heading to the was an old factory building!
Waiting in line to get into Canada