Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I'm still here, just in case anyone might be, you know, wondering- ha!

I'm up to something, something really big, and it's requiring the majority of my free (blogging) time.  I know that isn't much of an explanation, but that's all I can share at this point.

Believe me when I tell you that I'm struggling with balance big time!  I am such an all-or-nothing kind of girl, it's quite pitiful!  So I'm feverishly trying to find and maintain the many necessary balances between spending time with and serving the Lord, loving and caring for my family, all that crazy exercise (which thankfully IS doing something, finally!!!!), and honoring the special friendships in my life.  Then there's the added secretive something, and that demands much time and effort, but I feel SO alive, a feeling I haven't had in a very long time.  I told a dear friend last week that I feel like God has given me the green light to LIVE, and not just exist, to stop wasting my talents and dreams, because the alternative is devastating.  I've lived that alternative for a decade now, and I can no longer justify or make excuses.

Okay, so that was way more than I was going to say, but....

Hope you are all in good health and spirits!!  I'm going to throw in a pic of my cutie girl, because she's well, so cute!  :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Our Birthday Girl

Yesterday we celebrated Isabelle Katie's 3rd Birthday with some of our good friends from church.  I had SO much fun getting things ready for the big day!
I had also planned on finally posting pics of her birthday dress that I made last month, but...since her party turned into a lovely butterfly (posa, from mariposa, according to Isabelle) theme, I did not have the strength to resist the adorable little butterfly dress at Gymboree, which was on sale and I had my bucks to play around was perfect!
We asked her friends to come wearing their sundresses, as we'd be having a picnic in January!!
So much fun!!!
 All the girls all looked adorable!!

Here are some pictures of the big day...
My darling girly birthday girl!!!

Someone's a little ex-cit-ed!!

Lots of pink and yellow flowers
Tradition has it that I buy one or two new pretty plants for New Year's...
of course they're dead within two months, but...
they work well for a summer party in the middle of winter!

 The other flowers are recycled from the Valentine's Day box, all purchased on clearance a few years back~ each year I add to my collection of white porcelain vases, usually at TJ Maxx or Marshall's for two or three dollars each, and they worked perfectly with our theme. 

Ginormous tissue paper peonies~ loved these!
They were also on the stairs with a couple of pink balloons.

I kept the crepe paper at a minimum for this party~ between the windows and draped across the tiles on the fireplace.

Easy as pie...which is ironic, since I cannot make a pie to save my get the idea!
Truth be told, I'm not one to do goody bags for birthday parties.
I think I've done a handful in the past, but mainly it just adds to the stress.
But these were fun and cute and I loved putting them together!

Inexpensive paper bags filled with just a couple of things from the dollar aisle at Michael's~ I got things with multiple items, like princess crayons, and divvied them up among the bags.
The butterflies are clips, 2 for a dollar I believe, so that was the biggest expense.
I think they turned out really well and the girls were very excited to take them home!

Miss Isabelle giving things the once-over earlier in the morning
I think she approved- she kept dancing around saying "My birsday party, so pretty!  So many pretties!"

Onto the...Birthday Cake!!!

I was a little disappointed that I didn't have enough room for a fancy letter "I"
But I think the cake turned out pretty- that's a heart shape on top of a round layer.
I added the paper doilies to give it some more summer charm and personality...that, and my plate is a black print, so a bit sophisticated for three year olds, ha!

 I can see now why I don't get paid the big bucks for my confection creations- so it wasn't very smooth on the sides there, but it sure tasted good!
I think I was in love with that beautiful pink frosting.

We also served true picnic fare~ green and red grapes, cheese & crackers, and pink lemonade. What a nice change of pace for the middle of winter!

I'm going to throw in this one last picture of the explosion that went off in the play room. Or at least that's how it looked, ha!
Who says only boys make b-i-g messes?

We're so thankful for our good friends!
Thank you!
So grateful to God for bringing us our special princess!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All In A Day

***Hello and welcome to my blog!  Kelly is hosting a Typical Day In Your Life blog hop this week, and I remembered writing this last month.  Please don't judge me, okay...but have fun! ha ha  :) ***

And a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my 9-year-old Jonah Gabriel today, the one who entered our lives amid the infamous Nor'Easter of 2001!!  March 5th will forever be one of my favorite days, so my day will also include lots of fun birthday things,  like making smiley face lollipops for school and special dinners!! 
I thought it might be fun to capture the many moments of a typical day on film, mostly for future reference, as I'm all too aware of how easily those memories come and go with time.  Monday used to be Big Clean day, but I've been tweaking my schedule (yes, I clean on a schedule, and I think it's the only way to go!) recently.  Or rather, getting back to even wanting to have a schedule.  Ahem.  Ok, so what did we do?

I'm up early, crazy early. (4:30ish)  I like to be alone to think, pray, read, plan (and now I've got my big project I'm working on!).  When this time is removed by small humans, that is not a good way to start my day.  Happily, yesterday was good.

Then there's the usual morning routine, getting lunches finished, breakfast started (I like real breakfasts), shooing naughty cats off the table, and getting boys up and at 'em.  That's sometimes easier said than done; yesterday was one of those times.

25 minutes and three tantrums later, all from the same child, the first 2 were out the door and off to school.  I love that Caleb and I get to linger.  I'm not so much loving the frigid rude awakening as I bundle up Isabelle Katie and myself to walk Caleb up to the corner for the bus, only to return 4 minutes later and de-bundle.  Isabelle used to sleep until 7:30 so sometimes I walked C really quickly up and would be back before she even awoke.  Anyhoo.

My arctic rush outside yesterday morning literally sucked the  SO COLD!  Isabelle is in the jogger with the shield, complaining away.  I'm thinking, Get over it, babe, 'cause we're going for a long walk in this beast today- snow on the road or not! (And yes, we did that!  Way to go, me!)

Color time.  And playing with my new camera.


 Laundry. Lots of laundry.

Most mornings we go to play groups, Bible studies, errands or grocery shopping, but not today.

Playtime in the snow.  Isabelle Kate was chirping to the birdies, sprinkling snow "seed" on the driveway for them.  Very cute!  Phone rings- run inside and it's a friend from Grace Group.  I chat away while watching Isabelle from the window.  She still looks so cute out there!

Isabelle inside.  Two attempts at playing with beans in a pan.  This was always Caleb's favorite activity.  Isabelle thinks it's fun, but she makes a huge mess.  Not so much fun for me. 

Doesn't that grin just scream "Let's see how quickly I can get all these beans off the pan???"
Stared down the pile of flannel for the boys' PJs.  Nope, that wasn't going anywhere yesterday.

Lunch.  More laundry.  Vacuuming before Calliou at noon.  Since Isabelle hasn't been napping every day lately, I was wondering if I'd need to contend with a tired, non-sleeping toddler on my hands in the afternoon.  Thank you Jesus, she was asleep fast, after singing, reading "Clissorf"- Clifford- and snuggling, which then gave me time for other equally important things, like watching my friend's copy of Twilight for the...third time- thank you SARAH!! 

Oh Edward, how you've captivated my feeble little human heart.  Just in case you're wondering, no I'm not serious.  At all.  It's just a movie, folks!  :)  It was productive- I was folding the mountains of clothes AND doing the occasional lunge or karate kick!  See that?  No time wasted!

Boys home. Tantrum boy still not so much fun to be around.  Hot cocoa and snacks in the making.  Twilight soundtrack semi-blaring in the background from my playlist (on the photo blog)- for a pianist, it's really quite motivating and inspirational to me.  Trying to wake up darling girly girl...still.  Not many skirmishes between the testosterone crew, which was a pleasant surprise.  Homework patrol.  Tantrum boy...better...a little.  Carrying armfuls of folded clothes upstairs (and squeezing those glutes at the same time!) Start dinner.  Bill home- yay!!!!!  Help Ethan figure something out on the piano.  Finish up a thank-you basket for the hostess/friend who prepared an entire 3-course delightful meal for all the ladies in Grace Group.  Paint pretties on Isa's fingernails (she calls them handnails- ha!)  Quick game of chase thorugh The Loop.  Dinner on the table- meatloaf, baked sweet potato rounds, steamed baby spinach, milk and wheat rolls.  Yum.  I was so hungry and had a hard time refraining from nibbling while I waited for my own feast at 7:30, which, BTW, seems like forever when you're used to 5:30!  So worth it, though!  It was wonderful to catch up with these special women and hear all that God has been doing in their lives- we've been on Christmas break and won't reconvene for another 2 weeks. Missed Bill, since I was out all evening, and he was in bed by the time I returned at 11pm- too late for me on a school night!  Yawn.

So, that was my day!  I know I missed a few things, but I think I've remembered the important parts. Whew, now I'm tired all over again!  :)

On Sunday, Jonah had a recital and did a wonderful job playing...and waiting.  Many of  the adults who played chose really, really, really long songs, which just made all the children wait and wait.  I'm all for the arts, but c'mon people- just because you can play a 15 minute concerto doesn't mean that you should be playing it at a recital!  I'm just saying...
Way to go, Jonah!

He is actually going to be taking a break from lessons because of his recent behavior- I'll save that for another day.  Sigh.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thinking To Stay Warm

I did something this week I don't normally do.

I watched the Bachelor.

I like the young man enough- he seems sweet and genuine; though I really wonder what on earth he expects to find in a situation like this one....I digress.  The women, on the other hand, didn't come across quite so well.  Maybe that's all part of the marketing ploy for all I know, yet I found the whole thing really, really sad.

Halfway through the show my heart was aching for some of these girls, wondering why they felt so empty, so "washed up" at the tender age of 25.  The most horrifying aspect was that several of them seemed to have already mapped out their young lives with this man, as if they knew him intimately enough to even fathom the idea.  I guess I felt sorry for some of them, and I wanted to take them aside to tell them how valuable they are, how much God loves them and has a perfect plan for their lives, whether it involves finding love on a TV show or not.  Then it hit me- I didn't know that when I was their age either.  I've always believed in God, but I didn't have any knowledge of His real love for me and for the details of my life.  I cannot reach out to the girls on the show, but I can reach out to the young women in my own circles, to encourage them, uphold them in prayer, and simply be there.  I'm going to have to pray about what God wants me to do...and I'll keep you posted.

For now, I'm cold, feeling a bit withdrawn and isolated, so I'm going to post a few favorite pictures from warmer days over the years.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I started out the brand new year

without the usual fanfare and excitement; without my annual To-Do list perched by my side; no countdowns, celebrations, or even a midnight kiss from the mister.

No, my date was more the porcelain variety.


Not pretty.  Definitely not fun.

I suppose my night of terror wasn't really that big a deal; rather, it was the all-nighters I'd been pulling with each child leading up to it.  It was strange- each kid had his, then her, own horrible night and subsequent horrible day, and then it was all over.  One right after the other.  All week long.  I'm not sure if it was worse that it was vacation week, or if it was actually a blessing in disguise.  Regardless, it seemed like a really long week.

But we are back to relative good health today.  The sun is almost shining, which would be a wonderful gift after nearly 4 days of gray, snow-stormy days, and Isabelle Kate and I have already survived the likes of the grocery store, tidied up a bit, and played outside.  And it isn't even lunch time.  Oh, I think I'm making a comeback afterall!

Be forewarned: there may be disconnected, not-fully-thought-through ramblings if you keep scroll down for a cute pic if you're not in the mood.  :)

I was thinking just the other day that I never mentioned how Christmas Eve holds an extra-special significance for our family.  June 24, 2008 was the day we loaded up and moved down to Guatemala to be with our baby girl, for what we thought would be a 2-3 week stay in the country.  So many things happened there, things that I feel I have yet to fully recover from but I won't allow myself the proper time and space to reflect...well, anyway, we didn't even realize until Christmas Eve last year that it was our 6-month anniversary of being together with our Isabelle.  I think that's pretty special!  And this year, yesterday actually, marked that magical aoption landmark of having more time together than having had apart.

When I look back on our year-and-a-half together, I'm amazed, humbled, and mostly in awe that it feels like she has been with us forever.  Yet the truth is that she spent just as much time with her beloved foster family.  I know God brought us to each other and it is He who has smoothed out the bumps along the way.  I know He meant for us to be her parents just as she was born to be our precious daughter.  Still amazes me.  Leaves me...speechless, if you will, though certainly not for long.  Ha

In reflecting on these things I can't help but feel unworthy.  I am not a perfect Mom.  I lose my cool, battle with self-doubt, insecurity, and other energy-draining issues.  I do not choose peace every time, and I certainly don't feel joy in my everyday life, not the way I long to.  There are many days when I wonder if my daughter would have been better off with another mother; if my boys would be better off with a more giving, fun, easy-going Mom.

Hmmmm.  That's sounding more meolodramatic than I'd intended, but yes, it's still truthful.  I make so many mistakes!  And I'm all too aware of the damage that gets done, even without intention.  Yikes, that's almost unbearable!  Yet I know, I believe, and I have found out for myself, that God does keep his promise about using our pain for good.  He alone gives us the freedom to live, love, and forgive fully, so I think I'll meditate on those promises this week while I now have the chance to think ahead to the promises and hope of a brand new year.

This cutie has always had such a keen sense of style-
this was his response to putting on a warm play shirt and some longer socks for outdoor play
See my point?????
hee hee hee hee -how I LOVE that boy!!!!
Happy Belated New Year!

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