Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sunday Snapshot- Chinese New Year

We are getting better at celebrating Chinese New Year, especially when you consider where we started.  
The first year after we brought Ruthie home, a friend of mine from China walked up to me at church and said, "Happy New Year."  I couldn't figure out for the life of me why she would wish me happy new year 3 weeks into January.  Then I went home, opened my Facebook, and figured out that I was way behind. 


Last year, we visited the Forbidden Gardens in Katy which I thought was a great way to celebrate. 


So this year I started seeing early all the great plans and creative ideas of the other adoptive families.  You guys are really impressive.  I am not to the point of baking cakes to look like dragons yet, but I did take red envelopes with chocolate gold coins in them to the kid's classes and talk a little about the holiday.


Next years goal, learn to make dumplings so we can prepare our own dinner instead of going with Chinese take out.



Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Can't Stay Mad At That Kid

I was up at the school yesterday frustratingly looking for Sam's lost library book.

As I was walking down the hall I saw the Kindergarten wall and this:



Well, I guess I can forgive the lost library book .  This time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dents and Stains

I was watching Cars 2 the other night with the fam and I left pondering the story line where Tow Mater intentionally did not fix his dents because they represented a memory.  I went to bed thinking on that and it's implications to my own life, both good and bad.

The next morning I was visiting with a dear friend about a topic the had nothing to do with Mater and she out of the blue shared an interaction from her previous evening where a pastor referred to a relationship of his as one that left him stained all over.   I hung up and pondered the similarities between the two pictures and their timing.  Historically, when God opens my eyes to the same message (theme) several times in a short period I know that He is trying to teach me something.    It is just one way he gets my attention and speaks to me.  Sharing it hear is one way I process it and hopefully encourage others along the way.

I will start with the dents.  

I wrecked my car at the beginning of the school year and let me be real honest, I couldn't get that bumper fixed fast enough.  It wasn't that I was too cool to drive a car with a dented bumper.  Instead it was that I didn't want people to know that I was too stupid to not see the car behind me when I was backing up.  I needed to fix my dent in order to cover up my weakness.

In life we are the same way.  We cover up the dents of our bad choices and personal struggles in hopes that others won't see that we aren't perfect or that our imperfections are larger than your run of the mill door dings.  I find it interesting that the Bible instructs us to do just the opposite.

2 Cor 11:30- If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness
2 Cor 12:9- But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I am still not sure what all God wants me to see through this right now and I am pretty sure the lesson is not over.  I have a hunch it has something to do with Jack and all that he is walking through.  Watching my child lose his ability to walk is harder than I ever anticipated and watching him grieve is even more difficult.  Our bedtime routine  that was just a few months ago studying about countries around the world has turned into comforting him as he processes out loud that day's struggles.  I fear the suggestions for treating him and I fear the consequences of not taking them.

Our home is not defined by physical and emotional strength these days.  Nope there is a whole lot of weakness around here leaving all kinds of dents on our shiny exterior, but what we do have is Christ.  With Christ in our sufferings, we have the ability to persevere.  I keep telling Jack that our perseverance is developing character in him (through lots of decorative dents).  And the Bible tells me that character will lead to hope and hope steers us away from shame (or the need to cover our dents).  

Romans 5:3-5 But we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 So I think Mater is right.  I too would rather hold onto the memories and lessons of my dents than drive around shiny and smooth, pretending to be something that I am not.

We will talk about stains soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday Snapshot-Homemade Valentines

I Heart Faces had a post this week on Valentines.  There was this super cute picture of a child making kissing faces and the mom had used it to close a bag holding Hershey's kisses.  I liked the idea and decided to take pics of the kiddos for a similar Valentine that would feature all my kids.



I wasn't sure if we would do Hershey's hugs or Hershey's kisses or both so we just went for it.


And settled on a combination pose.


Prior to seeing the post on I Heart faces, my idea was to do this next shot and attach a piece of candy to it.


But Jack wasn't thrilled with the idea of having his friends see him with the word "love" on the bottom of his feet and it didn't convince him when I told him we could do "be mine" instead. :)   So we settled on the shot where you couldn't see their heads.  It is all about the feet anyway.  Right?


Alright so the final product looks like this.  I will fold it over a treat bag filled with Hershey's hugs and kisses and send them to school with the kids.  I will be sure and post a pic in a few weeks of the finished product.







Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jack's Gait Lab

Jack spent 3 hours today in a gait lab at Shriners Hospital for children. They studied his gait biomechanics, muscle function, foot placements,  functional joint mobility, and even metabolic output.  It really was very impressive.



We are trying to decide what is going to be the best treatment option for him.


And it is supposed to take several weeks to get all of the results.


Today I am super thankful for the people at Shriners and their commitment to helping my boy be more functional.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Prayers For Wisdom

I believe I've mentioned this before, but God tends to work with me in themes.  There are major theme lessons that can last years and then there seem to be mini-themes wrapped up in there that he shows me in the everyday.   The major themes tend to revolve around His character.  For example, for the first several years of my marriage, God revealed himself to us consistently as provider.  When we first moved here and were waiting on Ruthie, God revealed himself as my source of peace.  And now he is revealing himself as my source of wisdom.

There are several places I am seeking wisdom (thus the theme).  I have a mission trip I am praying about.  Trent and I are preparing a series of talks for a marriage conference in a few weeks. I am trying to discern what is the right work/family balance for me with PT and photography.  But most importantly we are seeking wisdom for Jack.

I haven't shared much of this hear lately because I don't want to violate Jack's privacy as he is a pretty private kiddo.  I also don't want to draw attention to myself through my kids struggles because not only does that make it about me and not what God is allowing us to walk through but it also leads me to finding my identity in my children's struggles and I don't want to do that either.   I do want to live honestly though and I know many of you love Jack and want to know what is going on and I don't want to keep that from you.

So here is the short and sweet and some ways you can being praying for us and my little guy.  This fall Jack had a pretty significant exacerbation of his leg symptoms.  He has been doing pretty well for the last year since his back surgery but then things started to change.  I took him to a pediatric orthopedist who said that his legs are developing rotated and he recommended some pretty dramatic procedures.  I have gotten one 2nd opinion and I we will be seeing a 3rd doctor on Wednesday for another opinion.  He has a gait study on Thursday and an MRI very soon.  We need to make a decision on how to best help this child now and in the long run.  The hardest part is that he is really starting to grieve his condition.

Could you pray that we will make the best decision for him and that we will have a real peace about the correct choices.  Please also pray for his heart that he will embrace his blessings and see his struggles as an opportunity for God to develop his character.  And please pray that we could adequately balance our roles as comforter, motivator, and teacher.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Snapshot- Pinwheel Fun


Ruthie gets her cast off this week.


I am both anxiously excited and nervous to see what function she gains from this procedure.


Will she be able to bend her elbow to be independent with those handful of tasks she still needs help with now?


I decided to take these pictures with the pinwheel because it is the source of a really funny memory from this experience.


Right before they took Ruthie into surgery, they gave her "happy juice" and handed her this pinwheel.


Watching my daughter "drunk" and giggling at the colors of the spinning wheel made me wonder what kind of hippy she might have been. :)


I would imagine that the experience must have felt somewhat like sitting inside of a kaleidoscope.


Well now she still loves the pinwheel and we joke that she must be trying to re-create her pre-op ride.


Oh Ruthie, with all your spunk, determination, and sense of adventure, I can't wait to see who you turn out to be and what you manage to conquer. 




Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marshmallow Wars

We have great friends. 


One friend gave the kids the components to make marshmallow guns.


And another gave Ruthie this completely adorable hat!


Combine the two and we have great and very cute fun.





Watch out people.  They are armed and dangerous.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 Best Face Photo

I Heart Faces is having a best face photo contest this week and I immediately thought of this one.  Ruthie and I were playing in The Heights when we found this wall and she decided to imitate this frog for a moment.  That's my silly girl.





I Heart Faces Photo Challenge & Photography Tutorials

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ruthie's New Bed

For Ruthie's 5th birthday, I wanted to get her a new bed and move her out of the toddler bed she has been sleeping in since she came home.   I decided it would be really neat if we could buy her a playhouse bed.  Well Trent got to looking on line and decided that the prices were as neat as the idea and then he decided that he could build one himself.


It didn't hurt when I showed him a website where a woman (ana-white.com) had built a playhouse bed by herself.


Trent worked hard for over a month and turned our garage into a carpenter's workshop.  The boys even helped him with measuring and using the nail gun and my job was painting.


The original bed did not have a slide with it, but Trent made the mistake of mentioning a slide to Ruthie and there was no turning back.


We finished just in time for her birthday and I think it turned out perfect.


Trent may even have a new hobby.  When he finished the bed, he made 3 step stools for the kids and 2 benches for me.



Ruthie also loves her new reading corner.


Gotta go play now!