Sunday, January 24, 2010

A year later...

It has been an incredibly long time since my last entry, and I am sure nobody reads it much anymore, but I thought I would do a quick update on our family a YEAR after adopting our two children from Ukraine:

Everyone speaks English in our house now
Brothers and sisters are becoming siblings; arguing included :)
We buy pickles by the case at Costco
Lots of laughter and noise at our house at all hours
Progress in school
Many kisses and hugs
Moments of wonder and awe that God has entrusted to us such a blessing
Realizing being the mother of 5 children takes a lot more organization
Thanking God that HE is making us a family!

There are more families in Ukraine now adopting, and as I follow their progress, I am truly loving God's movement in the hearts of His people. The adoption path is not an easy one, but it is a worthwhile one. The struggles and pains that accompany the path make one stronger and their faith deep. Only with God is this possible; He is forever our protector and stronghold, guiding us as we attempt to live well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

School Blues

Well, ,obviously school is in session, and Mama is missing her children. Now, I know I am supposed to be doing a dance over here, reveling in my 'free' time, but I just can't yet. I am learning to adjust my thinking and time with our new normal, and not quite liking it yet. The kids are gone 7 hours a day and then we have to do homework, soccer, piano, church, Bible, chores..... get my drift? I miss having some 'down' time with them. Now, we wait for Fridays to relax a little. I hear it will get better, so that is my hope.

The kids are enjoying the experience (for the most part). Berkeley has met some friends and likes her classes; but she has an honors Algebra class that is keeping us up at nights. Pray that all the adjustments work out. Lukas has a friend and loves his locker and teacher :) Isabelle has made friends and enjoys everything about school; believe it or not, the teacher wants her to talk MORE in class-- now that is a change. Paxton likes the PE class and puts up with the rest. He works hard and gets frustrated when he misses a spelling word. Phoebe is amazing; she is not taking adapted spelling tests, but does what the other children are doing; not in every area, but in spelling.

I have been able to help out in Phoebe's class and am looking forward to helping out in the others classes as well. I am asking God how He wants me to use my time now that I have some to spare. I know this will pass, so I am enjoying it while it is here.

On Monday we get a visitor for a month. Our exchange student from a few years ago, is coming for a holiday. We had Franzi with us for a year as a junior in our high school a few years ago, and she became family. The kids are excited that their older 'sister' is coming home. Now, we will have every bed filled and 6 kids to spend time with. Our family just keeps on growing :) We feel blessed and know that in this 'craziness' He is Lord. He has never left our side, and continues to guide us as we seek Him in all things.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Home Stretch

So, I was a little nervous about having my five children home all summer with little plans in the works.  It seems the nerves were unfounded.  We have had a fun and full summer without having to leave town (except first week in Michigan).  I was honestly worried about the kids being "bored" or on each others nerves, but this has happened rarely... again, thank you Jesus!  God is truly making us a family that is attempting to love one another well.  There are days that we need reminding, but we have been blessed with children that are still willing to take some coaching and leading.  Daron and I have realized that as parents we must be ready and "on" all of the time to make the most of these teachable moments, and we have seen the pay-off.  Now, we just have a house full of children and the noises they make, and we KNOW we are blessed beyond all that we could have hoped or imagined.

These last few weeks have really flown by.  The kids have played sports, had short camps, and hung out in the neighborhood swimming and playing with friends.  My dad was in town for a week and that kept us busy-- children's museum, zoo and Monon center water park.  Then, Michael, an old childhood friend was in town for business and we were able to spend one evening with him reliving old times; so fun.  Now, we are already shopping for school supplies and I am yet again reminded that this summer has gone by quickly.  ALL of our children will be attending public school and I am praying God gives us wisdom and peace as we face a new dimension to our lives.  

Last week a good friend went to be with the Lord.  I have been sad for her last years of struggle and the beautiful family she left behind.  I hold on to the promises that she will be reunited with her loved ones in heaven as they trust in their Savior, Jesus Christ.  Let us press on making the most of every moment.....  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Michigan and Days at Home

I will start with the most wonderful news first:  Isabelle prayed to have Jesus be her Lord and Savior this week!!!   We were talking about a friend who prayed this week and I asked Isabelle if she remembered when she made that decision (she did it a few years ago) and she said that she remembered, but she didn't really mean it.  I asked her if she would like to do it now.  She agreed and said she really meant it now (love the girls honesty!).  We prayed together and a half hour later she asked if she could get baptised!!!  Huge surprise.  This can be an intimidating step of faith  in our large church, that makes you say your testimony in front of 800 people while in a pool of water.  Berkeley had already decided that she was ready for the plunge, so she too will be baptised on Sept. 5.  This is the next baptism service.  2 of my girls will make a public declaration of their love of Jesus!  We feel sooooo blessed!!  

Well, we had our first official vacation as a family of 7!  In lieu of buying a new, larger vehicle, we added a storage  "thing" for the top of our car.  We were able to fit all of the kids and luggage and food for one week in our Pilot!  Huge accomplishment. We drove a few hours to Boyne, Michigan along with Karen's family for some outdoor fun.  Some highlights were: kayaking and canoeing on Bear Lake, ferry ride to Mackanaw Island, riding bikes around the island, watching "Up", waterpark and goofing around resort property.  It was a blast to have the whole family together and experience some "firsts" with Paxton and Phoebe.

Since we have been home we have been busy with some activities.  The boys have basketball camp this week and seem to be enjoying it.  Berkeley started 2 Bible studies and is enjoying her freedom from homework and a tight schedule.  We go to the pool quite a bit and have had friends over for the kids.  Next week will be even crazier with VBS and swim camp, but then we have 2 weeks of some quiet down time--  whew!  

Looking forward to the next group of Ukrainian children to arrive.  Our family will help mentor 2 families while their children are here.  This is so exciting for our family.  We have loved the experience and the friendships we have made through it, and look forward to others experiencing the same movement of God in their hearts for the things that move Him.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer is Here!!

We are in the home stretch of end-of-the-year madness!  Berkeley, Lukas and Isabelle finished their classes last week at eQuip; sad to leave those special friendships for our new adventure in the public schools.  Berkeley's class had a dinner to send off the older children; I shed a few tears- she will be in 8th grade next year!!  Where has the time gone?!?  She is in New York this week with her class on a mission trip to work with the homeless.  We have received some fun texts from her and she is having a blast!  

Paxton and Phoebe have 3 days of school left and for them it is not fast enough.  Our pool opened this weekend and all they want to do is swim-or drown.  Phoebe likes to jump in where she cannot touch the bottom.  She jumped on Isabelle at one point where Isabelle could not reach the bottom and in an attempt to keep Phoebe from drowning, kept her own face under water.  Daron had to jump in the pool fully clothed to save his girls- luckily he pulled out his phone first: )  I think Phoebe thought it was quite an adventure; Isabelle burst into tears from fright, but now loves to tell the story of her heroic save.  Paxton can swim, but just enough to get from one side of the shallow end to the other.  He attempted the diving board once and realized he couldn't reach the bottom, so he said he would stay in the shallow end where there was not so much water.  I am sure as summer progresses, and he sees his siblings jumping off, he will change his mind : )

We leave for Michigan Saturday morning.  This is our annual trip that we take with my sister and her family.  They have a time share and we go along for the ride.  We will stay in Boyne in a cute resort town.  The kids go boating, swimming and tons of outdoor things.  There is a water park on the premises and this is always a highlight.  We take a day trip to Macanaw Island and rent bikes to explore the island.  Tons of fudge and salt water taffy round out our time away from home!

This time last year is when we committed to hosting Oleg.  It was the best decision.  Isabelle asked me why this blog is still named Oleg's Journey and I told her because this is where it all began.  Our family is what it is because God chose to use a beautiful boy to open our hearts and home to adoption. We still pray for him and his family in Italy.  We want him to experience the love and grace of his Heavenly Father.  We LOVE the choice God had in mind for us in Paxton and Phoebe.  They are our children.  Paxton loves to look at pictures of Oleg's time with us and he wants stories.  They were good friends in Ukraine and Paxton understands that he is our son, while Oleg was our dear friend.  

God is touching their hearts.  Paxton prayed out loud at dinner last week thanking God for every family member and his food (loves his food).  He wants the Bible read to him at night and while in the car, asks Isabelle or Berkeley to read the red words in the Bible ( red in our Bible are the words spoken by Jesus), not the black.  We told him the black words are valuable too, but he wants Jesus' words right now.  Phoebe walks around the house saying her verse Dad gave them last week, "Try to be good to others first".   We pray that God would continue to reveal Himself to them through different people and experiences.  We love where God has us and pray that others would find their faith stretched by loving the orphans of this world!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Busy with Appointments

It seems as if I have 5 appointments a week.  Actually, I have had that many appointments a week since our family has expanded!!  Teeth have been cleaned and pulled, eyes checked and prescriptions filled for glasses(poor Paxton, not happy at all about that one) and shots up to date. Also, Isabelle broke her arm this week on her scooter, so today she sees the doctor to get a permanent cast put on. Poor kids have been poked and prodded quite a bit lately, but hopefully we are on the down side of that after this week.
Life has been settling a bit into a routine- not always an easy routine, but more so.  All of the children are loving the nice weather and it really helps mom to not have 5 bored children asking her to entertain them.  We are finally looking at decent weather for the weekend, and we are so happy.  Paxton even has his first sleep-over at Andrew's house (boy from his orphanage that we traveled with).  
Thank you for your continued prayer.  We are needing it daily as our life changes into what God has planned for us.  We know that our schooling will look differently next year, probably the local public schools, and after 8 years of home schooling, I am getting sad.  Just a lot of changes.  All is good and God is ever-present in our lives.  We are blessed in so many ways and thank Him daily for his goodness!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Paxton

Happy Birthday, Paxton.  Here's to many more.