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Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Date

Steven takes each of our girls on dates, one at a time. It is a sweet time for them and teaches them what to expect from boys when the time comes to *gulp* date. (courting is what we have decided on, but that discussion will come later!)

Our youngest has only been on modified dates because she was so young, so they would go out to eat or get ice cream or something like that. Well, this year she is old enough for a more 'grown up' date! She gets to go to a movie and dinner with Daddy.

I told her when it was time to get ready and she asked why. I told her that she was going on a 'real' date with Daddy and she threw her hands up to her face and squealed in delight. She ran around the house telling her sisters where she was going. It was the sweetest thing.

For each date, Steven buys them a piece of jewelry that is age appropriate. It is a precious moment between father and daughter.

Her necklace that says "Daddy's Girl".

She was so excited that she didn't let go for a few minutes!

Daddy, showing her what her gift was.

A very sweet girl that is growing up all too quickly.

New Things...

I made the mistake of buying the girls new toothbrushes. Why is that a mistake you ask? Well, because I bought the kind that has a suction cup on the end. I figured that it would be an easy way for them to keep track of them.

Um, no.

It was an opportunity to see how many things they could stick to! Now, that doesn't sound so bad until your 4yo comes down and says that she got her toothbrush stuck, 'but it's okay now'.

Yeah, I don't think so.

One look at her and we could see exactly where she got it stuck. I think the picture explains it all!

Can you see her forehead? This happened a few days ago and it is still there!! lol Leave it to her to get a hickey on her forehead!

This is a flower that our 7yodd has nursed back to health. She is doing wonders with our plants. :-)

A picture of doughnuts? Well, I just had to because they were sooo yummy!

This is our 'new' car! Steven's van was having some issues and we were saving up for a different car that would get better gas mileage. Here it is! Steven is loving it. :-) It is nice for him to have a 'manly' car and not a minivan to drive!

Little things

The little things are what matter. Right? I know that some people would not agree, but I tend to have a different perspective than most on just about everything! To me, the little things are what make the big things big. Make sense?

Let me explain.

Our youngest has been doing school with us since she was able to hold a crayon. She loves being with her big sisters while they are doing school. (little thing) She has learned her colors and shapes this way. (little thing that builds to a big thing)

Last year in our home school group, she had a class for learning letters. Granted, she already had them learned and could write her name, but she enjoyed ‘teaching’ the younger kids with me! I didn’t realize, however, that she knew ALL of her letters. Evidently she was paying more attention than we had realized. (little thing)

She has been able to write her name for over a year now. (big thing that came from many little things) Her sisters think it’s cute when she spells it for them! She can also recognize their names on sight. But only because they write them down for her continually and repeat them over and over again. (little thing)

She has been ‘writing’ notes to all of us that have up until this point just been scribbles. (little thing) Now she is asking us to spell words for her (little thing) like “I love you.” (big thing)

Yesterday, she gave me a piece of paper that I had just spelled “I love you” for and what I saw brought tears to my eyes. She has learned to spell Mom and Dad from memory. (little thing that means the world)

Three little letters in each word that are quite easy to spell mean more than anything else. She was so proud that she knew how to spell our names! All the little things that she has been doing and that we have doing with her and for her have added up to a big thing for her momma’s heart.

We will keep doing the little things and treasuring them along the way.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tapestry of Grace Year 1 Weeks 1 & 2

We started school on August 8th with Tapestry of Grace Year 1. We knew it was going to be exciting and we were really looking forward to it.

We started out with pyramids, mummies, pharaohs, and Egypt herself. It has been fascinating to take virtual tours of pyramids, learn about the mummification process, see pharaohs as Moses saw them, and learn about the land of Egypt.

Tapestry of Grace has not disappointed with presentation or material. It is wonderfully laid out and the girls are making connections to 'regular' history and Biblical history and how they run concurrently with each other.

We have read many books already and done several craft projects. (I haven't taken pictures of a few of them!)

These are our salt dough sculptures of the Sphinx. It was harder to do than the girls originally thought they would be!

This is our 4yodds, it looks a little more like a lamb than the Sphinx, but she did it on her own so we are letting it be!!

This is our 10yodds.

The 11yodds

The 7yodds

This is our 10yodd. She was supposed to make her own 'smell' like an apothecary would have to help heal or cure someone. It was so disgusting that we couldn't stand it and had to dump it down the toilet. :-D She definitely made her own smell!! lol

We have also been reading in Exodus to go along with our Egyptian studies. It is enlightening to read these things together and see the whole picture.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Every day life...

Some days are better than others around here. But most days are great! We really enjoy being together, strange as that may seem to some people.

I really love taking these pictures with the kids. They are so much fun!

She got her braces off. She didn't like her teeth, she thought they looked too big. :-) I think she looks beautiful.

School is hard work. Our 10yodd was reading to the 4yodd and she fell asleep. It was just too sweet seeing them there, so I didn't make them move. I just let them snuggle.

Steven took this picture. He thought it looked cool! I do too. :)

I have some pics and a post coming on our first few weeks of school. It has been great already.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A New Find

We got some of our curriculum in the mail on Monday and today we broke it out.

This year we are trying our hand at a foreign language. Again. Last year Spanish didn't go very well. None of us liked it, so we didn't do it.

This year we are trying Latin. We are using Prima Latina. >insert groaning by the kids here< There was all kinds of grunts and groans and endless complaining when I told them about it.

I was determined to persevere. I have been hearing from several resources that studying Latin will help with long-range schooling success. I am all about helping them succeed later in life without me!! we pulled out the books and the listening CD and went to work. I am thrilled to say that I loved it. But better yet, the girls LOVED it. We all had a great time learning it and then putting their father in awe at the dinner table with their knowledge of Latin!

I am excited to see where this curriculum takes us. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Royal Family Kids Camp

It took me a while to process camp this year. It was a great year. It was a year with several firsts. We had new directors, lots of newbies, and an extra camper and counselor.

Royal Family Kids Camp is an amazing organization committed to seeking out the lost. We are blessed to get to know these kids for one week of their lives in hopes that we will meet up again someday in the Kingdom.

Who are these kids? Well, their label is ‘Foster Kids’. Some call them rejects. Some call them trouble. Most don’t even think of them at all. God calls them precious, wanted, beautiful, and loved.

I call them mine.

My first year attending RFKC was when my two children were 2 ½ and 1. I first heard about the camp at church when I was pregnant with our second dd and they wouldn’t let me go! I waited an entire year and when I heard the stories from the first year I was crying all the way through the service. I couldn’t explain why it hit me so strongly, it just did. I needed to go.

I went.

I was forever changed.

Several of my girls stole my heart that year. L and A, especially. L’s smile was so beautiful and bright even though she had been abused and neglected. She was hopeful and full of love. I miss her. She went home after camp. I saw her the following year when I had her cousin in my cabin. She was still just as beautiful. I have never heard what happened to her. God knows.

A was so scared and lost that she resembled a frightened animal. And she acted like one. She shied away from physical contact and struggled to interact with the other children. The first night at camp when we were getting the girls ready for bed, she curled up in the farthest corner of her bed and wailed. She wasn’t crying; it sounded like she was keening. Her eyes were as wide as saucers and she was shaking so hard that the bed was moving. That moment and the look in her eyes changed me forever.

What could have happened to her that would cause her to act like that? Maybe I didn’t want to know. No, I was sure I didn’t.

Going home and releasing these kids, my kids, back into the awful reality they lived was very difficult. The weekend we came home, I was singing in the choir and we sang, “God Will Make a Way”. I bawled all the way through. In front of the entire congregation for all three services!

My heart was broken for the least of these.

There was never a question that I would go back. I could not stay away. I think it was more selfish than anything. I was blessed by these children beyond measure. I felt useful; like I had something to offer them. Even if it was just sitting and listening.

Each year had at least one or two girls that I wanted to bring home. Some kids were too painful to be around because of their hurts. Like the seven year old who wanted me to write her letter to God. She couldn’t write or read very well but she really wanted to send a note to God. I instantly spread out on the floor with the rest of our cabin and she simply stated, “I want my parents to stop molesting me so I can go home.”

It was too much. My heart broke even further. This beatific child, who was so abused by the people that were supposed to protect her, was praying for them. The tears flowed heavily. She looked up at me with an angelic expression and asked, “Why are you crying?” I wanted to say that I was crying because her innocence was taken. Or because her life was altered forever and she didn’t even realize the extent of it yet. I wanted to tell her that I was crying because no one was there to protect her.

I simply said that I was sorry for what had happened to her. I excused myself and went for a walk. I cried like a baby.

There have been years that the kids have asked me to adopt them. I would if I could. But how do you explain to a child that you love them but are sending them back to the hell that is their lives? It doesn’t make sense. It still doesn’t ten years later.

C was another girl that stole my heart. She was scared of everything and wouldn’t go anywhere if she couldn’t hold my hand. She rarely spoke. She just sat by my side and held my hand. Her brown eyes were full of a depth of hurt that I would never begin to understand. But she trusted me to take care of her. There was a quiet pain and shame that made it almost impossible for her to behave normally. We made it through camp and watching her walk away tore a piece of my heart out.

C came back the next year and I was shocked by what I saw. She came off the bus smiling and talking to everyone! She was a different kid. I am not sure what made the difference, but it was astounding. She was enjoying herself and I was enjoying watching her. I took almost as much pleasure in her as a parent would have. She stole my heart all over again. As I watched her leave that year, I knew that she would be okay. I knew that God loved her more than I did and He had a plan for her that was already set in motion. I just wished I could see some of it.

M and K were two girls that I desperately wanted to adopt. They were amazing young ladies who will forever have a place in my heart. M aged out of the system and I see her occasionally. She is doing well. K I have never seen again.

It is amazing to think that on a Monday morning you can meet someone and by that evening you love them. I don’t understand it. But it happens. God causes a love to grow and then allows our hearts to be broken by them. Just as His heart breaks for them.
I never understood the term ‘Holy Love’ until I met these kids. They have such an amazing ability to love despite the horrors done to them. They are precious and they are loved. I can only pray that they can remember the love they felt and the God they learned about at camp.