Friday, October 29, 2010

Pennsylvania Travel Log, Part One

Last week we did something kind of crazy: we drove 750 miles to Pennsylvania to meet a family for the first time and stay in their house for a week.

Actually, it wasn't so crazy. Alison and I have been emailing frequently for well over a year. As we are both writers, we got to know each other quite well through the written word. She is another Rwanda-Mama-to-be, and also has two young kids. Although I was nervous about meeting her face-to-face (will the wonderful email friendship carry over? It did!), a few minutes into the visit and I was having a blast. What a great family!

Travel log first, thoughts after.

On the way up, we stopped for an overnight at the Nelsons' house, where I neglected to take a single picture of the boys having an absolute blast with their "cousins" (really my cousins). They ran outside until after dark, and then played in Sam and Seth's basement room until bed time. And I enjoyed talking Nano with Aunt Steph.

We made the long drive the next day, arriving in PA around dinner time. That night, we chatted, got to know each other in person, met the husbands and kids, and watched the four kids play trains until bedtime. We also learned that just about everything in this area relates to trains. Or chocolate. Or the Amish and farming.

Day One in PA (Friday, 10/22): Enjoyed a quiet day in. It was very cold and windy, so that was a good choice! We did go over to the most interesting park, fed ducks in a spring-fed canal, and visited Wilbur Chocolate Factory (smelled so good).

Then the older three watched (what else?) a Thomas movie while Cory took a nap and Alison and I sat in her (wonderful!) sun room and talked adoption, writing, family....

Day Two (Saturday, 10/23): What a fun day this was! I took so many pictures (and then Alison took more when my camera died part way through the day - and stayed dead) that I'll have to continue this day in another post. We took the Strausburg Engine to Cherrycrest Farm, picnicked, spent the day and the farm, and took the train back. Then we ate pizza for dinner and played a railroad-themed board game after the kids were down.

The train ride was so fun! The train swayed back and forth and went something like 16 miles per hour, the same speed it went when it was really taking people places back in the day (as opposed to taking people around just for fun). Made me think of Little House on the Prairie and how long those train trips must have taken.

(Cory insisted upon wearing that Burger King crown)
(Jeremy didn't know the ticket-taker guy was behind him)

(Liam and Annabell)

(grey smoke from the train making the day look stormy)

At the picnic place was a great wooden see-saw that the boys loved. I wonder how hard it would be to make one for the back yard?
The kids in the Africa shirts I made for them (with a button over Rwanda):

Stay tuned for part two, coming tomorrow...

Thankful #12

12. I am thankful for getting to hear so many stories last week about how God led different families to adopt from Rwanda. Everyone's story was so different; God spoke in so many creative, amazing ways, and yet we all ended up walking this same path. What a blessing to hear of God's faithfulness to us. Thank You, Jesus.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thankful Break

I'll be taking a little break from posting for a week or so, but I will still be thinking Thankful! Feel free to join in. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

By Faith (Thankful #11)

By faith we said yes to adoption, and God was faithful to us. He showed us from which country our daughter would come and He made a way for us to get to her.

By faith we started the adoption process, and God was faithful to us. He provided us with the money we needed when we needed it, with loved ones who support us, with people to journey alongside, and with hearts full of love for our daughter.

By faith we wait for her, and God is faithful to us. He gifts us with the strength we need to wait and pray, and He gives us grace upon grace.

By faith we embrace the pain of waiting, and God is faithful to us. He does not waste any pain, but uses it to teach us, to make us know Him more, and thus to make us love Him more.

By faith we stand in the midst of the unknowns of international adoption, and God is faithful to us. He knows the end, He gives us peace, and He helps us trust Him, to know that He will bring our daughter home.

By faith we choose a name, set up a crib, buy a dress, paint a picture of flowers, crochet a blanket. And God is faithful to us. He loves her, He loves us, and He has knit us together into a family since before the world began.

Thank You, Jesus.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thankful #10

I am thankful for the boys' prayers for their baby sister, for their thoughts about her, for how often they talk about her. They cannot wait to meet her, and I love that they are anticipating her arrival. Cory prayed for her yesterday: "Doo-Jesus, please let the baby sister come home soon, in Jesus' name, amen. Now things will speed up!"

I sure hope so, little guy!

The boys are going to make great big brothers for her. Can't wait. Thank You, Jesus.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Past Few Weeks

We've been busy the past few weeks. I hate the feeling of being behind on this blog, so here comes a ginormous catch-up post. I seem to do these periodically. :)

The Wedding:
Our church had one of its first weddings (and the first one to be held at the school where we meet). I was on the team of about three other ladies who put it together, decorated, ran it day-of, etc. It was a lot of work, but it turned out beautifully! (If you've never tried to transform an elementary-school gym and cafeteria into a twinkling, elegant wedding chapel and reception hall in two hours, you should. It's something.) I actually ran the rehearsal and did the wedding coordinator's job day-of, which was new to me and kind of fun. And I also was in charge of the flowers: my first time doing artificial ones, and I was very happy with how they turned out.

Boutonnieres: (Hey, I spelled that right on the first try!!)
Bride's Bouquet (arm bouquet):Maid of Honor's Bouquet:
Bridesmaids' Bouquets:

Soccer Tots:
A friend (whom we actually met at story-time at the library and have since gotten together a good bit!) invited us to join her and her daughter Addison at Soccer Tots on their bring-a-friend day. It was perfect timing because Iain had just been saying how much he wanted to play soccer. The boys loved it. It was at an indoor rink, and they did stretches, drills, games, and lots of following directions and running. They did well with all of it, and even Cory (who tends to want to stick right by me in unfamiliar situations) listened and did what they asked him to do.

Stretching and practicing balance and the soccer stance:
Almost all of my pictures of Iain are blurry. He has really started loving running lately and is hardly ever still.
I love this one of Cory as he is gearing up to kick over a cone.
Cory made every single goal he shot. Nice.

The Fair
Our same story-time friends (they are so nice!) gave us tickets to the fair the next day. We found out that from 10-11 am that day, all the rides were free! So all we paid was parking. :)

Iain has wanted me to take him on a ferris wheel ride for two years now (since he saw one in Orlando at a festival there). He's always been too short. So this time, we really hoped he'd be allowed to go. It wasn't a classic ferris wheel (unfortunately, in my opinion), but a Seattle Wheel or something like that. It's supposedly elegant, but it was a bit scary, actually. Iain told me part way through the ride that he was nervous when we started, but not anymore. He kept calling to Cory, "Hi Cory, I'm on a ferris wheel!"
The boys also got to choose one other ride, and picked "the bug roller coaster." Iain loved it; Cory told me when he got off that he was "nervous because it went so fast." Why they both keep using the word "nervous" is beyond me.

The Pacifier:
This is quite a saga. Be warned.
We were in Walmart one day and I mentioned to Cory that when he decided to give up the pacifier, he could pick out a toy. He said he was ready then, so we ran with it. He picked out two trains and I also got him a special blanket to try to help take the beloved paa-paa's place. When we got home, Jeremy and I tried to think of a way to get rid of it, something Cory could do so he had control. So we decided to have him choose a place to mail it to. He went to the big world map, looked for a loooooong time, and pointed to the country his paci should go to: Russia. So we decorated an envelope and addressed it:
...and then he was supposed to put it in. He balked. Would NOT do it. I showed him the trains again, said he could have them when he did it. Nothing. He said he'd do it "next week." I didn't want to lose momentum, so the next day, I did the deed: I snipped it. Then I gave it to him at naptime (and felt like a traitor!). He popped it in his mouth and then his eyes got big and he said, "uhhh ohhhh. It's broken." He asked me to fix it, and I said I couldn't. He asked for tape. Then he cried and cried and cried (and made me so sad!), and finally went to sleep. While he was sleeping, his dear pacifiers disappeared. (Is this getting too long? Oh well. Skip ahead if you must!)
Anyway. He's been having a rough time going to sleep, but trying valiantly. I am so proud of him! He asks for it still, and I tell him I don't know where it is (which is true!). I thought we were doing okay until two days ago when I was rocking him and he said, "I'm nervous that we won't ever find the paci!" Oh no. Poor little guy. He's been waiting this whole time for us to find the thing. We should have made him do the deed himself; at least then he would have had closure. Put this down for a bad parenting decision. We'll know better next time, that's for sure.

We drove over to B'ham last week to see Lindy's new house, and visit with all the Greats (the five great-grandkids so far: my two, Isaiah, Addie, and Penny. Waiting on our baby girl to come even the boys vs. girls score!) and my mom. The boys especially loved Aunt Lindy's "magic wall" - the wall where cartoons were projected from a machine. Lindy has some good (funny) pictures of the Greats here.
And I finished my second dress order: for Addie. Love it!
Our Anniversary:
My mom was in town for a conference for work and so gave us the whole day Saturday for our 6th anniversary. So we went to Six Flags (you know, six years, six flags, ha ha. Ha.). It was my first time, and Jeremy's first in years.

Of course we went to see and take pictures of Thomas for the boys:
After the first two roller coasters, I decided I was really not a roller coaster person. But then by the end, we did the big daddy of all roller coasters (at that park, anyway) called Goliath. And loved it. Both of us. It is over 300 feet tall and almost three and a half minutes long, and goes up to 70 mph (I saw all this on the "I Conquered the Goliath" shirt that I was tempted to buy. :) ). It was so stinkin' fun that I decided I am a roller coaster fan after all. But just certain types. Jeremy is much less picky and went on another one after the Goliath (when I declared I was done so as to end on a high note). So I took pictures.

Of Jeremy:
Of the Goliath:
And then we roped someone in to taking one of us:
After Six Flags, we went to dinner at Chili's (thinking we had a gift card there. Which we do. And it was safely at home.), and then to a movie (Inception and it was great!). We haven't had a full day date like that in a long time (thanks Mom and Mom and Dad!). We also remembered our other anniversaries and the milestones in between. In six years we have:

--bought two houses
--moved three times
--rented out one house to three different people
--had two kids (sixteen months and one day apart!)
--been to three churches (and not planning on adding to that number)
--been overseas twice
--had five jobs (me, all part time and none including my full-time homemaking/mothering job)
--had two jobs (Jeremy, both full-time)
--waited for our daughter to come home for 14 months and counting
--grown and stretched in ways we never would have imagined
--come to love each other more every year
--had the time of our lives.

The End!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thankful #9

I haven't had my computer for a few days because of Jeremy needing it for work. I could just say how thankful I am for my laptop, but it's not really related to adoption. :)

I am thankful that God has chosen us to parent this baby girl. I can't wait to meet her and introduce her to our families and friends. The wait certainly enhances the anticipation! Thank You, Jesus.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Thankful #8

Thankful that some days pass quickly and easily. While I will not wish days away, ones that are less of a struggle are a blessed relief, a break, an oasis. Breathing room. Thank You, Jesus.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thankful #7

Broken silence. Today, for the first time since January, we saw an approval come through! One family got their approval; one more heard that theirs is on its way. Tomorrow: many more? We pray so, we hope so, we dream so. I am thankful today for broken silence. Thank You, Jesus!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Thankful #6

I am very thankful for the friends I have made on this journey - several that I have met in person, and more that are friends over the internet. It is such a blessing to walk alongside these amazing ladies in praying, waiting, crying, rejoicing, and loving our kids from afar. And if the wait had not been so long, I may not have gotten to know some of them so well. (Still, I will be much happier to get to know them better after all our kids are home!) Thank You, Jesus.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Thankful #5

This one may seem like cheating, but it is really true. I am thankful that during this stage, there is an ebb and flow to how difficult the waiting is. I am thankful that not all days are like today. Thank You, Jesus.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Thankful #4

I have had plenty of time to research, think, dream, and pray during this adoption process. Sometimes you hear of people not really thinking through issues that may arise after the child is home... we certainly have had more than enough time for that. We have read books, talked with other adoptive parents, done an online course, prayed, and talked. We may not know the answers, but we know what to pray about, how to find answers, and at least some of what to anticipate. Thank You, Jesus!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Thankful #3

This time of waiting has made me treasure my time with the boys more - not in the "this is the last time I will have just them" sense, but in the "every day with my children is a gift" sense. I heard a quote on some youtube video a few months ago that I have hanging on the wall over my desk: the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days. Somehow the longing for our daughter to join our family, the desire to have her spend these ordinary days with us has made me more awake and aware of how priceless these days are. Thank You, Jesus!

Pirate Speak

When they play pirates (which is a lot), Iain's name is Johnny Host, and Cory's is Johnny Penny. Not sure where they came up with that...

Cory: I'm fighting the llamas, and they are too scary for you!
Iain: Um, they're not too scary for me. I'm four. And they are just the right size.

Me: Cory, would you like your bagel now?
Cory: Yeah, sure. As soon as I fight all the camels and stuff.

Iain: Pirates like to go to Indonesia.