Christmas miracles

So what do you think of the miracle series?  I'm loving this!  Documenting everything makes it so when I'm having a rough day I can come back and see all God has done for us.  I hope you enjoy, but even more than that, I pray that when you read it, you're encouraged to look at your own life and find the miracles. 

I mentioned in my last post that Allan and I were praying for some way to serve the girls at the Fatherheart Maternity Home.  We hadn't really felt anything that was feasible so I was beginning to think maybe it just wasn't time.  When Rhiya came in last night, I just kinda let it go, thinking we'd enjoy her and not worry about it until next year.

This morning the kids were in the Christmas play at church.  HOW.ADORABLE.ARE.THEY?? 
 GraceAnne has been singing in the Weds night praise band and was happy to play Mary.  She did so great!
 Do you notice a reluctant sheep back there?  Do you see that she is good friends with Mary? ;P  Violet did not want to put on her shirt, so she went on stage with her Halloween shirt on.  She also took off a hoof and started picking her nose.  Then she ran off stage to collect cotton balls and went back on.  Then she took off both hooves and threw them in front of her.  I don't know if anyone else noticed, but she stole the show for me!  GraceAnne is such a loving sister to have held her hand and patted her hair the way she did.
There's my little sheep, NOT singing Away in a Manger

After church we escorted the youth around the neighborhood to sell the rest of the cookies they had to get rid of.  They were trying to raise money for the angel tree kids the group chose.  Allan went home and rode his bike back and the littles had a blast on the bike.

Once we got home and I had lunch ready, we all sat down and started to make a game plan of our week with Rhiya.  We didn't have much planned, because money is tight right now, so we discussed making gingerbread cookies from scratch and taking the police some treats and the homeless ministry on Christmas day.  Then we got around to the one event we had planned that would cost a little bit-going to the drive-thru Christmas lights.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks...THAT is what we should do for those young women at the maternity home!!

So we started thinking about how we could make this happen.  I remembered that they told us their free day was Tuesday.  I mentioned before that they have a lot of life skills type stuff and they are busy every evening doing fun stuff except for Tuesdays.  Now...today is Sunday.  Tuesday is coming up pretty quick, but nevertheless, I started looking for a 15 passenger van.  I called a lot of people and even looked up how much it would cost to rent one, but no luck. 

I even tried to call the church that they go to to see if they would loan us a van for the night.  No one answered, of course, because it's Sunday. 

I sat here thinking about it and wondered if maybe it was a stupid idea, but something in my head kept saying, "Call Fatherheart."  I brushed it off many times, reasoning that they would also not answer, considering it is Sunday.  I thought, "I'll call them tomorrow."  But the feeling wouldn't let me go.  I even emailed them to see if the nudging would go away, but no.  How many times does stuff like this have to happen to me before I realize that I need to LISTEN to this still, small voice? 

Anyway, I finally just called and much to my surprise someone picked up on the 2nd ring!  I let that surprise shine through by saying, "I didn't really expect anyone to answer!"
She said, "I'm sorry..."
I said, "don't be sorry, I just didn't think anyone would be there!"
"well, I'm cleaning the office right now and so I thought I'd answer the phone."
I said, "Well, that sounds like a God thing to me, so let me tell you what we want to do!"  Then I told her about our hope and she said that she is one of the after-care residents there and doesn't make decisions, but that she would pass my message on to the house mom and she'd get back to me.  Then she paused a moment and said, "I'm so blessed to get to talk to you.   I'm glad I answered the phone."  wow! 

So I kinda figured I'd get a call back tomorrow, but literally 5 minutes later I was telling Allan about the conversation and my phone rang.  I picked it up and there she was on the other line...Mama Brown!  I stuttered my way through the first part of the conversation, feeling completely inadequate and like she'd think I was nuts.  As she caught the idea of what I was saying she said that it would be nice, but some of the girls were going home for Christmas and that they had some extra girls from another ministry staying because they had no place to go and there was room at the house.  I told her that we'd love to take any of them who wanted to go and she said she'd see if anyone wanted to go and make sure they weren't previously committed to anything else.

Then I dropped the bomb on her.  I said, "Well, I'll tell you the second part of this then, and forgive me if I'm over-stepping my bounds, but we were considering asking your church to use a 15 passenger van if they have one." 

"uhhhhhhh" was the response.  Then I knew I had blown it.  WHO calls with an idea like this without the means to pull it off?  REALLY, how dare I call without having all my ducks in a row first?  It's kinda like a kid coming over and asking, "can I play with all your kids' toys?"  Except we'd be playing with their kids. too.  HAHA!

After a moment of silence and me grimmacing she said, "well...we have a 15 passenger van.  If it's not signed out on Tuesday, I'm sure someone would be willing to drive it to take everyone.  Let me check on all of this stuff and I'll give you a call this evening to let you know."

This is when I ran around like a crazy lady doing little dances and begging everyone I could find IRL and on facebook to pray the doors would be wide open. 

She called back an hour and a half later and said that they have a driver, a van, a couple of staff and some young women who are very excited to go see the lights in Tyler with us!  PRAISE GOD!  Oh, and then she thanked ME!  I feel like we're the ones who are recieving the privilege.  I can't imagine that I should get any thanks for any of this.

Why does this excite me?  I don't really know.  What I do know is that these girls are so close to my heart and I have an intense need to show them I care.  Allan is excited, too.  The kids are going to make gingerbread cookies and spiced cider to bring along for the ride and to share.  I am on cloud nine. 

Praise God.  This is so amazing!


Miracles #......10, 11 & 12?? This adoption journey

Oh, how my heart has been singing for the last 18 hours.  Let's roll back a hair and start at the beginning. 

I friended Fatherheart Maternity Home on facebook before we went to their fundraising banquet in the beginning of November.  I love seeing the pictures of all they do and the beautiful home they have there.  This is just one of the ministries they provide under the blanket of Living Alternatives, but it is an amazing one! 

A couple of weeks ago, Fatherheart put out a little invitation on facebook for people to come to their Christmas "shower" open house.  I'm a big fan of making one's face known to people you intend to work with/have a relationship with in the future, so I told Allan about it and we started looking for a sitter.  The girl who watched the kids when we went to the banquet couldn't do it because it was a school night and well, I was really out of options.  Then, Friday December 2nd we went to our last homeschool co-op for the semester and as I was sitting in the nursery, I got to talk to the teenage daughter of a woman who has become my friend this school year.  It didn't hit me until that night that Alex could watch the kids, (she's everything we love in a sitter...kind, loving, attentive, responsible, etc) so I messaged her mom and asked how much she would charge.

I waited a little while for a response and as the day of the open house got nearer, I found myself praying that prayer from our experience with the banquet, "Lord, if this is not your will, still my heart..."  Finally my friend wrote back and said that *if* they were in town that night, Alex would watch the kids and she would bless us by doing it free of charge this time.  I was in disbelief.  We hadn't budgeted anything for a sitter in December, so we weren't sure where the money to pay her would come from.  She had to be here from 4pm-11pm and that's much longer than we would normally have a sitter for and we like to bless our sitters abundantly. (since they are doing the same for us!)  To keep from rambling anymore, I'll just underscore that this offer was an enormous blessing to us.

We waited with baited breath (or maybe that was just me...Allan seems to have a better handle of the patient endurance in this particular part of our lives than I do) and my friend wrote back and said, "YES!  We will be in town and I will drop her off a little before 4."

Oh.My.Goodness.  This is happening!  This is really happening.  Why was I even so excited to go?  It's not like the open house had anything to do with or would hold any bearing over the adoption process.  The only way I can explain it is just the same reason I *had* to talk to Bev the night of the banquet.  I don't know why, but God is so pulling us toward this ministry with a fiery passion.  I also had a slight inclination that *she* might be there.  What she?  Who is she?  The mother of our babies.  I don't have a clue why, or even HOW that will work, since we haven't even finished the process of being eligible for adoption through Loving Alternatives, but I just felt that way.

Yesterday afternoon Allan came home from his daily stuff early to get ready.  We were going to leave at 4, since the open house started at 6 to avoid a repeat of the banquet debacle.  When I googled the address, we found it was 30 minutes closer to us, which is a blessing in itself, since we'll have to drive out there somewhat frequently in the coming months.  Alex came and we gave her the grand tour and left, excited.  We chatted a bit on the way there, but I felt nervous.  I couldn't explain why, but I was and God gave me a very deep, and yet shallow at the same time, rest for the last 45 minutes of our ride. 

When we pulled in, we were 20 minutes early and no other cars were there yet.  We sat in the truck taking in the sights of the property as the light waned quickly.  I felt "home."  I could feel the hand of God resting on that place even just from inside our truck.  The house sits on 27 acres that have been carefully planned for making girls in potentially bad situations feel completely at ease and well-loved.  Everything about the property screams "Come to me, you who are weary, and you will find rest."

Finally we watched another car wind up the long driveway and jumped out of the truck.  Walking up to the house is breath-taking in itself, this massive country home with charm to spare and all lit up for Christmas.  Walking in, though...there were residents waiting to greet and take guests on tours of the whole house.  The house has 12 bedrooms, each equipped to house 2 girls.  Bathrooms are communal, but there are plenty.  Everything is decorated so beautifully, with well-thought out colors and scripture verses to remind the young ladies there of how special they are plastered EVERYWHERE.  I promise you, I would live there in a minute! 

The tour ended with the dining hall where there were snacks of every kind laid out and information on the various ministries.  We each grabbed a cup of coffee and in no time at all, found ourselves engaged in deep conversations with staff, residents and other guests.  It was all such a blessing.  As more guests came, the staff and residents busied themselves with tours and answering questions.  Allan and I wandered into the front room and found 3 of the residents sitting, waiting for more guests to show up.  They invited us to sit and talk with them and oh, how they opened up and honored us with their stories.

One resident talked about how she found the perfect family for her son to go to.  She was so happy and at peace with the choice.  (Fatherheart is all about choices.  They teach the girls the life skills they will need to go be fabulous parents who only need rely on the Lord.  They also offer the option of placing their children with other families through the Loving Alternatives program.  This is the program we are currently working with)  Another resident told us about her past and how God used the baby growing inside her to save her and how she was proud to have saved him, as well.  Another resident was new and I felt drawn to her immediately.  After talking to Allan later, he said he felt the same way.  She shared bits of her story with us and asked questions about our family as other people walked in and out of the entryway.  In fact, we talked so long, the staff had to come and gently tell us that they were getting ready to clean up.

Without getting into too many details, she is due around our birthdays and she's not sure if she wants to parent her son or place him, but she knows that she wants whatever God's will is and she has a very strong need for *REAL* Christians to touch her life.

We went to say our goodbyes to everyone we had met and to talk to the "house mom" about coming to teach the girls about cloth diapering and emergency diapering.  She seemed genuinely excited and said she would have her life skills coach call me (I'm waiting so anxiously for that call!  I can't wait to share that ministry with these wonderful young women!)  We walked back toward the front of the house, but the girl we had felt so drawn to was not in any of the nooks and crannies I peeked in.  I had a worried look on my face, I *needed* to tell her goodbye and give her a hug and let her know we'd be praying for her and her son.  Allan was looking around, too and finally, with a sigh of relief said, "she's over here."  We went to her and hugged her and told her what we needed to say. 

She said she'd be praying for us.  WOW.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; sometimes we, as people, go into things thinking that we'll do something to bless someone else...but then they change our lives more than we could ever hope to touch theirs.  It is that way with our Compassion kids, it's that way with homeless ministry and it's certainly that way with Fatherheart.  If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's that way with any ministry that God is actually a part of.  We come with humble hearts and leave far more full than we could have imagined.

The ride home last night was so full of hope, love and excitement.  I so desperately want to find *some* way to serve those girls this Christmas.  I desperately want to take my kids out there and hug on those young ladies some more and get to know them even better.  We got home around 11 with our heads and hearts swimming and we went to sleep with smiles on our faces.  Who could ask for more?  Will our babies come from there?  I don't know, but I do know that even if they don't, Fatherheart will always have a piece of our hearts, because the love of God  rests there and He chose to let us feel it for a few hours yesterday.

So please, PLEASE join us in praying for the Fatherheart Maternity Home.  For the staff who do amazing work with these young women and the residents currently there and that the home would be full.  For all the babies and the homes they will fill, whether they will go home with their birth mothers or with adoptive parents.  If  you meet a young woman who could benefit from a ministry like this-refer her!  They have taken in girls from everywhere in the US and even from other countries. 

P.S. We've had a real bad drought the last several months down here in Texas.  Allan and I, (and many we know) have prayed desperately for the Lord to open the heavens and bring down healing rain on this land.  The last few weeks we've had some short showers, but nothing to fill the empty creek beds and tanks.  Yesterday that cleansing rain came.  All day long it rained, slow and steady.  The entire ride to Tyler was rainy and while we were there we could hear the droplets on the window panes and all the way home it rained.  It rained at least until we fell asleep last night. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, let us not forget that his name was also Emmanuel-meaning "God is with us."  And he certainly is...bringing healing rain to the parched lands literally and figuratively.

P.P.S. Our sweet babies LOVED Alex and had a great time last night!  Praise God!

Love and miss you all!


Great Big Birthday Boy!

I cannot believe our little man is TWO!!  Where does the time go?  We were digging through photos the other day, trying to find a family picture to send to our newest sponsored child (she lives in Ghana and is only a month younger than GraceAnne) and found several of Corbin when he was little.  Like these:
 Corbin and our doula, Cheryl at the hospital.
 Tiny little MAN
 His first bath....not so happy and neither were we!
 In the early days, if he was close to mommy, he was happy.
 Sweet, smiley little booger!
Always ready for an adventure.

When I look back on his first year, I know that so much of that time was us just simply surviving.  But after all those hospitalizations and procedures and illnesses and the surgery and losing his little brother, we finally made it to his first birthday.  There wasn't much fanfare, I was too sucked up in every day living at the time to really look forward far enough to plan a December birthday party, but there was lots of love and relief and joy. 
 He got big so fast! 

 I don't think there has ever been a little boy more loved than Corbin.  His sisters dote on him all the time.
 First birthday cupcakes.  BLUE because I finally COULD :)
 Most of my kidlets, happy with their family and friends
Ever the little cheese...this guy has made our home so much more complete!

If the first year was difficult (though joyful and full of happy times, too) this year has been a whirlwind!  It's amazing to me how much they change in the early years.  This morning I thought to get some pictures of the birthday boy, and well, they say you can't get a good picture of a 2-year-old and I might have to add ESPECIALLY if said 2-year-old is a boy!  But oh how is little personality shines in what I got!
 He knows what the camera is for and when it comes out he said, "CHEESE, I SEE!"  But doesn't actually give a moment to even snap the picture.  He wants to see the preview screen.  He is impatient like that in almost everything.  Cooperative, but not understanding that it takes a little bit of time. 
 "I said I SEE!!"
Another picture?  I'm pretty much over this, mom...
 So I said, "let's go in the dining room and take a picture of you in front of the tree" but he didn't want to be in front of the tree...He wanted to be on "THAT CHAIR!  I go on THAT CHAIR!"  He is also very particular.  Everything has to be *just so*  I talked about that in the early mornings post a couple days ago.
 Oh...are you still taking pictures?  Because I want to eat what's left of my oatmeal.  If you have the camera, you probably can't snatch me off the table, so here I go!

How do I describe Corbin?  At 2, he *loves* to cook and watch me cook.  If something is on the counter, it is not safe.  If something is at the top of the stairs, it will be tossed down before he comes running after it.  He is all at once a loving boy and a hurricane.  He is attached to his daddy at the hip and if daddy is around to do something, daddy MUST do it.  He loves playing with his sisters and he is in perpetual motion.  He is also very smart.  He knows all of his colors and some shapes and can sing so nicely. 

Grumpy because I took his picture while he was throwing a fit...but his eyes match almost anything.  He has those brown-green-blue eyes.  I guess they call that hazel.  I call it amazing ;P

And need I mention how beautiful this kid is?  We went to the movies a week or so ago and on the way out one of the ushers was handing out candy and looked at him and squealed.  She said, "OH MY GOSH, LOOK AT HIM!!"  Corbin looked a little confused and she said to her friends, "He is the CUTEST little boy I have EVER seen!"  Then she came and gave him some candy.  We get told he needs to be in baby commercials all the time.  But none of this suprises me (since I have the smartest, most beautiful babies EVER ;P) though it sure brings a lot of delight.

Happy Birthday to you, Corbin.  You are my precious little man and our prayer is that you grow to be a Godly man who will follow hard after Christ, wherever He leads you and that you will lead your future wife and children with love, kindness and a true servant leader's heart.  You love us all so well and we are grateful to be your family.  You are a wonderful son, little brother and you will be a loving big brother someday.  You continue to surprise us and delight us every day.  Happy Birthday to our long-awaited son.  


Photo Dump + commentary

 December 1st our town had its annual parade of lights.  GraceAnne has been in it with her Girlscouts troop the last few years.  Every year they have a theme.  GraceAnne was a red present.  SO CUTE! 
 The littles enjoyed the lights, but they were pretty naughty the whole time.  There was a lot of chasing going on.
 We went to Bethlehem Revisited last year.  I know I talk about this every year, but I really do love this ministry.  They set up an area the size of a block to look like Bethlehem and people dress up like they would have in Jesus' time.  You can follow the Holy Family through the town, and watch Jesus be born.  Then you can follow the wisement as they go to see Jesus.  The whole town is bustling with excitement, as the census is being done and sleep Bethlehem has some tourism traffic.  Too cool.  The littles really liked all the live animals and talked about "Baby Jesus" all the way home.
 There we all are in front of the church that puts the production on.  Hard to believe it was 2 years ago that I went into labor there.  Watching my little boy run all over the place made me tear up a few times.
 Last night the girls and I went with a good friend from church to a Christmas "play" here in town.  It was pretty amazing!  We were out late and had yummy snacks and good company and lots of fun.
 This morning I'm "dressed up" but I can't tell anyone why yet.  Soon enough :)
 So last week cold weather set in BIG TIME.  Well, big time for Texas.  We were down in the 20's overnight.  Peanuts don't like frost, so I covered the plants a couple nights until it was decent enough during the day to get out there and dig them up.  I laid them out on a sheet to dry for a couple days before plucking them all off today.  I don't think I got quite the yield we could have, but I would consider the project a huge success for my first time!  Next year I'm going to plant earlier and devote one whole box to them (they were sharing a box with garlic, rosemary, basil and tomatoes this year) and research what they like.  Overall, they were exceedingly easy, very drought tolerant (important this year!) resistant to pests and disease. 
 There's our little harvest!  That came from 8 plants...or maybe it was 7.  I dont' remember, but not very many.  There would have been more, but some were very shriveled?  I am not sure if I under-watered (I watered when they started to droop, about every week or so) or if it was *too* hot (we had many, many days over 100 this year) or if my soil was not what peanuts like.  There's plenty there to save for seed for next year and to snack on, though!  Very exciting.
And these guys made me laugh.  That was my only triple nut, but there were plenty that were nice and fat like that. 

Today we're shutting the home internet off.  We'll have it on our phones, but it's hard to blog from a phone, so hopefully once a week I can go bum some free wifi somewhere and make a post.  It's just gotten too expensive lately and we can't really see anything awful about shutting it off, so...we are.  I still have the same phone number I've had for 5 years, though and the same email I've had for 12 (omg, I'm getting old!) so contacting me will be easy enough if you need to or want to :)

Lots of love!  Praying your holiday season is amazing :)


Early Mornings

Another cruddy iPhone pic.  I smiled because I look like a hag and I thought a smile might make it better.  Maybe it didn't, but it's too early to care.

So sometimes my son doesn't sleep so well.  There's no real excuse, he just wants his mommy...or his daddy, depending on who comes first(he'll want the opposite).  He's a very particular child-everything has to be "just so."  For example, when I went to see what was the matter at 5am, he wanted a "BI-PER CHANGE."  He's been getting through the night dry for some time now, so I didn't really believe him, but he insisted, so I changed him.  I didn't have my stash upstairs, so he just got some flats fastened together with Boingos.  That was not satisfactory.  He wanted his black diaper, or at the very least, a blue Snappi.  WHO CARES?  YOU'RE GOING TO SLEEP! 

But he cared.  I haven't got the learning curve on the Boingos yet, so I had to come back 5 minutes later to readjust the diaper because it came undone.  This time I pinned.  He refused to go to sleep, even after we pulled out all our usual tricks.

Finally at 5:45 I gave up and got dressed for the day.  I told Allan to turn his alarm off so he could get some sleep.  Today is a special day, I'm going to doula training orientation over an hour away.  I got dressed accordingly and rescued my son from his bed and stumbled down the stairs to start some much needed coffee. 

First he just whined at me.  A LOT.  What did he want?  Probably more sleep, but he was being a stubborn toddler.  Then he whined for milk.  I got him a sippy of milk and that upset him because he wasn't being held while I screwed the lid onto the cup. 

We sat at the table and I read my daily bible passages aloud to him while he sipped his milk.  When the coffee was done, I got up to get a cup and he cried.  I threatened him with evil mommy if I didn't get my caffeine and he backed off just enough for me to grab it and sit at the computer.  I thought we were good and he'd just chill on my lap.

Nope.  Then he whined that he went "poo-poo."  He calls pee poop, so I cautiously checked to make sure it was, in fact, only pee and I got lucky.  I took the diaper off and he insisted that  he sit on his Elmo potty.  He did and when I tried to put another diaper on, he screamed bloody murder.  Not wanting to wake the house, I let him sit on me pantsless.

Let me just say that there was a time in my life when I thought that boys and girls were not really any different...that society placed different expectations on them and that was why they grew up differently.  I started to get a hint after I had children, but it didn't *really* hit home until I brought my little guy home from the hospital and had my first realization of, "boys are stinky."  Hey...you gotta start somewhere, right?

That in mind, letting him sit on me pantsless was probably not the smartest move ever, because, well, he marked his territory and now I smell like toddler boy pee.  *Gross*

I forced him into a diaper and looked down at my shirt, only to discover he had also wiped snot ALL OVER it during his fits.

When he was forced into his diaper, he then whined at me for a bowl of oats and after he had gotten a few bites in his tummy, he demanded I change him into his "CAR WOOLIES"
He got a hole in his sleeping woolies and I sewed a patch onto them with some scrap wool a friend sent me.  I'm a terrible seamstress, but he thinks they are amazing.

After I changed him (do you get the feeling my son might be a hair spoiled?) I pulled him into my lap again, where he proceeded to wipe even more snot on me and press his cold sippy into my chest.  In the midst of that discomfort I noticed that his breathing was getting a little deeper and more rhythmic.  I looked down at his face to see his eyelids drooping and, after a few minutes, caught that picture up there.

My son doesn't sleep on me much anymore...probably hardly at all since he started walking.  The dead weight of this toddler is putting my arm to sleep right now, but I know if I lay him down he will wake up and it will be hell.  I have to leave in 30 minutes, but he's just so precious.  I can't move him.  Here's praying my husband comes to rescue me in a few minutes and I can get changed before I have to drive north. 

I hope your day is starting as sweet, without the bitter to go with it ;)



My husband likes to say, "Forward, always forward; never back."  It's an old Army thing or it's an AGD Jr. thing.  Probably it's both.  I'm sure he'll turn to me and let me know when he checks my blog next.  Regardless, it's a good sentiment.  I know where it comes from, but I'm just not sure I agree.

For example, last night a friend came over and said, "wow...your house is nice and warm."  Now, we live in Texas, so maybe that would not always be a compliment, but last night it was below freezing, so it was a fantastic feeling, to hear someone we care about tell us our home is nice and warm.  After he left I reflected on how the house was not ALWAYS nice and warm.  Until we were hugely blessed 3 years ago, our house was shut off and cold.  It didn't hold heat well.  I think it's important for us to remember these things so we don't get lost in day-to-day complaints.  Looking back can remind us of how much we have NOW and what we have to look forward to. 

In the grand scheme of things, it seems like we're stepping back.  We've been doing some serious restructuring and refiguring lately.  I said before we've been figuring out how to streamline our household-this includes moving rooms around and finding new ways to do things.  Beyond the physical, we've been taking mental counts and spiritual counts.  It seems like there is a lot of air in our bags of activities that needs to be squished out, proverbially speaking.  For example, I teach a bible study on Monday nights.  It's fabulous and I love it.  Allan facilitates a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class on Sundays.  It's fabulous and he loves it.  We both agree that these are fantastic ministries that we should be a part of, but...it pulls us out of our home and away from our family 2 nights per week.  To solve the problem, and streamline our lives, we've decided to teach them on the same night, thus freeing up a night that is very much needed for us as a family.

I say it feels like stepping back, because we're scaling things down a bit (you know how you feel when you clean out your email inbox?  Multiply that by, well...lots) and figuring out how we can get some of our time back.  Like defragmenting a computer-IRL.

If we don't step back just a hair, we can't move forward with the things God would have us to do, because we just simply don't have time to spare.  We need to take some classes to get registered to be a foster family (foster to adopt) but with our current schedule, we just can't afford more nights away from home.  We will be in a position of needing to bond with an infant again at some point, but if life keeps going at the pace it is going, someone is going to be sorely left in the dust.

Besides, it is winter and winter is a time to step back, regroup, refocus and then move forward with the new year, right?  So...while we prepare to move forward, we are attempting to step back and it feels good.  It's like walking around your head and taking inventory of what you thought you just *had* to have, but is actually just taking up space.

That's a whole lot of philosophy all jumbled up there...losing my memory card has really put me in a blogging funk since the only pictures I can get are on my phone or Allan's crappy Kodak now.  Dear Santa...? lol

That said, here are some crappy pictures from my iPhone to tide you over. ;)
 Do they really count as crappy if they're of the cutest kids on earth?  My gosh I love these babies!
 GraceAnne is incredibly smart, but after schooling her for a year and a half, I now understand why she came home so cranky every day after public school...sitting still for so long was killing her.  If I let her do crazy stuff like the above, she does just fine, thankyouverymuch.  Sitting still in one place?  Notsomuch.
 Violet started on Corbin's lap...I said, "you need to get off of him.  You are big and he is little."  This is probably a lie...he weighs as much as she does, though he's a bit shorter.  She promptly got off of him and said, "I am sorry, Kerbin.  You sit on me!" So he did.  I love how they love each other.
 MUH BOIS!!!  He is SUCH a daddy's boy, it's not even fair.  What happened to them being mommy's boy? 
You know, reflecting on GraceAnne...she drew a picture of 3 people and one with a baby in its belly as our announcement for Violet.  She was 3.  I imagined I would be less impressed with this rendition of a "PUM-KIN" but...I'd be lying if I said I ever worked with Violet on drawing.  Any time until now when a crayon, pencil, pen, marker or a piece of poo came to find itself in my youngest daughter's hand, there would be art on the walls.  I noticed lately that she has been making some nice circles, but didn't think a whole lot of it.  Yesterday she was quiet for a long time.  Violet is not to be trusted when she's quiet so I said, "What are you doing, Violet?"  She said, "I drawing."  uh-oh.  "WHAT are you drawing on!?" and I ran into the other room.  Then she showed me this and announced "PUM-KIN on my pay-perrr." 
My daughter is a genius!  All by herself.  Swoon.

So, all of those are repeats for my friends on facebook.  Stinking facebook, stealing all my blog posts...but it is what it is and I know not everyone here knows me over there, so it's all good.  I hope you're all having a fabulous start to the Christmas season!!