Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent and Waiting

I've come to have a new appreciation for advent. That time of year when we find ourselves WAITING. Waiting for Christ's birth. Waiting for the Messiah. Waiting for Love to come to Earth.

In that same respect I find myself waiting. Waiting to learn of a little soul who will change our lives forever. Waiting to complete paperwork. Waiting for others to complete paperwork. Waiting for approvals. Waiting for funds. Waiting.

This article sums it up well...

Advent Reflections: We're All Waiting for Something

By: David Bennett

It seems that as the world becomes supposedly less complicated through technological advances, we still find ourselves waiting. Waiting for that package to arrive that we ordered online in record speed. Waiting in line at the self-checkout station at the supermarket, designed to eliminate the evils of waiting. Waiting for the phone to ring on Saturday night. Waiting for that great job to come along. Or waiting for that elusive perfect relationship. It never ends. Researchers tell us that the average person will spend 5 years of his or her life waiting in line, 2 years playing telephone tag, and six months sitting at red lights. That is over 7 and a half years of waiting, at best doing nothing, or at worst experiencing great aggravation! The bottom line is that even in our fast-paced world, with postmodern conveniences, we are all waiting for something. However, as strange as it sounds, during the Advent season, we discover a purpose to our waiting. Let me explain.

You think we have it rough, how about waiting thousands of years, not for something minor like groceries, but for the king whose eternal reign would end the oppression of the world? What do we think about thousands of people hoping and praying fervently for something miraculous to happen, while successive generations are born and pass away, without a hint of fulfillment? I am speaking here of the ancient Hebrew patriarchs, kings, prophets, and priests, who waited expectantly for the coming of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah expresses this hope:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD (Isaiah 2:2-5, RSV).

Then, hundreds of years later, born in Bethlehem, a small town in the Roman Empire, their hope is finally realized, but with a twist, because Jesus is not the earthly warrior-king many expected. And even after waiting, the final realization of the Messiah's eternal reign is still yet to be seen, coming in the future, when the baby born in Bethlehem returns in power to judge the living and the dead. All of this makes our own waiting seem pretty insignificant. Somehow waiting five extra minutes for a dried out bun and a tiny piece of meat from a fast-food restaurant seems pretty trivial.

During the Advent season we symbolically participate in the waiting of the patriarchs, kings, prophets, and priests, as we await Christ's final and glorious return. Through prayer(...) and the signs and symbols of Advent, we groan with Isaiah for a day when weapons will be turned into agricultural instruments. We cry out with Zechariah, rejoicing that the dawn from on high is breaking upon us. We pray with the likes of Adam, Job, Hannah, Solomon, Micah, and millions of others, named and unnamed, many whose expectations of the future kingdom may have been hazy, yet who still yearned for something more complete and more "real" than what they knew.

As we wait in long lines this Advent season, or as we wait for anything really, I think it is important that we remember the waiting of those expecting the Messiah, and always wait with patience, humility, and expectant hope in a state of prayer. I know it is difficult, but especially during Advent, waiting prayerfully and patiently, in the manner of (God) is not only a good spiritual discipline, but could also lower our risk of holiday-induced blood pressure. It seems like we're all waiting for something, so why not use these experiences to enhance our Advent disciplines by prayerfully waiting, joining our prayers with Isaiah, Zechariah, and all the saints?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Snapshots of Christmas Prep

Each of the kids have a tote with their own ornaments. Each year I give each one a special ornament, usually commemorating something special from that year. Sunday I helped each put up their ornaments one at a time. It was much easier, in our small space, than having all three putting things up at once, and was a special time to share with each as we remembered the ornaments.

They each have one in a silver frame. It's a picture of themselves on their very first Christmas with me. Special memories!

My favorite vintage decoration... passed down...

When I was wanting family stockings a few years ago, I was pretty specific on what I wanted. My mom suggested that she could knit them and so we created our own pattern and chose the wool. I LOVE our stockings!!! We have one extra still for our new little! :) While we don't have a fireplace, we make due!

My Grandma made this for me when I was very small... my kids LOVE him! :)

Still haven't filled up this section of wall, so hung the vintage sign for now...

These are the kids' ornaments for 2010. Nothing real meaningful, except that they remind me of cookies which we make every year together at Christmas!

Don't forget... if you still need a special Christmas gift for that hard to buy for person... we have tshirts and necklaces for sale. Just click one of the links at the top of the page under the header! They will ship within two days of your order! Two more necklaces sold today, woot woot!!! :) They will each come with a note explaining where the money went that purchased this gift so your recipient knows that they are not only receiving their gift, but that a family is also being helped with their adoption as well! A win-win! :O)
Thursday, November 25, 2010

Abundantly Thankful

This Thanksgiving I take pause to remember all that I am Thankful for. Don't get me wrong though, this is something I try to do often. I don't think gratitude should be relegated to once a year, but a way of life. I thank my God daily for my children, my job, my family and friends, my hardships and successes. I TRY to ...

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Doesn't mean it always happens, but I humanly attempt.

Usually on Thanksgiving the kids and I take the train to Chicago for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Before I had kids I would watch the parade on tv and wish I was there. Once I had children, I decided why not start our own tradition and go!? I wasn't big on cooking a huge turkey when it was just us, and LOVE the parade. So we usually get up and leave by 4:30 am, get to the train for the 5:55 and make it to a parade spot with time to spare for the start. We would bring along things to occupy the kids, snacks, etc. The parade was always great, especially the balloons, and afterward we'd get turkey sandwiches from Sub*way and eat while we waited for the return train.

Last year when we went we were not only met with the freezing cold we'd gotten used to, but also RAIN. Now cold is fine, you can bundle and layer and we weren't out too too long before we were warming up in the train station, but COLD and RAIN, not such a pleasant mix. We still had fun...

Thanksgiving 2009

But it was yucky!

So, when it rained all day yesterday, and added in a little ice to boot, we rethought our plans for today. Instead of going to bed early, we opted to rent a red*box, stay up late, hop in our sleeping bags, and eat popcorn...

Today was a chorus of "Happy Thanksgivings" as I woke up. Lots of excitement in the air, and thankfulness too.

Of course the first thing on the kids' agendas... finding Tom (our Christmas Elf who comes on Thanksgiving).

And instead of taking an early train, eating junky snacks on the way, and freezing our tails off under a large umbrella, we opted for a breakfast of powdered sugar donuts...

Learning how to string popcorn and cranberries to drape on our tree...

Finding out what happens when we're not as careful as mom suggested and our thread gets tangled...

Trying to get Percy to cooperate and play "baby" (he was in here all of two seconds while I snapped the picture and then was GONE)...

Making some more of our Christmas ornament gifts...

Playing in a box...

Playing in the kitchen while mom cooked lunch...

And eating their FIRST ever, at-home, Thanksgiving meal!

Kids are napping now, and then we're going to be going out for dinner and to the theater to see Tangl*ed. A full day filled with fun and THANKFULNESS!

Cheers to you and yours this Blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gifts in the Making

I love Christmas. I love the feeling in the air, the kindness you (unfortunately) see just a bit more of, the idea of giving a little something special to a loved one to humanly mimic the Special Gift we were given by God in His Son all those many years ago, and the teaching of the meaning of Christmas to my children. I love watching my kids get excited to give a gift, just as I am always excited to see someone's reaction to a gift I have given.

In previous years I've had each of the kids randomly choose one another to give a Christmas gift to, and would help them choose something they knew that child would treasure. (usually a toy of course ended up being purchased) My kids do NOT need toys! They embarrassingly have enough toys to make most children a bit jealous I think, even though there are times I'm sure where they would argue me to the death, not having the ONE toy they THINK they need. All that being said, let's face it, they get spoiled by friends and family! :) This year we're trying to cut back. I'm trying to get Grandma and Grandpa to cut back too. Not only because the spending is a little out of control, but also with so many things to open on Christmas morning, I think the meaning behind the gifts and the specialness of each gift gets overshadowed by opening the next. I'd like to concentrate more on the gift and giver, and the Gift and Giver. Shift the focus, but in a way that the kids won't buck the idea and will start ever slowly to open up to the idea of giving even more than they already do.

With the kids, I had seen a few blogs where the kids made homemade gifts for their siblings and I thought what a wonderful idea. They were a little more practical than a toy, time and thought went into each gift, and the kids really had a hand in them as they made each one. So this year that's what they're doing! They each have a great project that they are going to be making and as they do I'll post what they're making and pics of each so that if you'd like to duplicate any you can. They are going to be very inexpensive, but highly loved and treasured I think! And they're each very practical, useful gifts! (Well, maybe the olders a little more than Liam's, but his will still be great!)

I have NOT limited my parents (as they like to think!) BUT suggested that why not get a family type gift, a clothing type gift, and one special toy they really want. So, when over the summer I saw that a certain store had the Zh*u Zh*u pets on clearance, I suggested that was a great family gift that they were beginning to crave and that they could play together. They ended up purchasing each child (plus our unknown fourth child, just in case!) a hamster, an outfit, and a "set" that can be connected together to build a play "area" for them to share. Not long after, I was sharing with my mom my idea for getting the kids embroidered, monogrammed towels to hang in the bathroom and she jumped at the idea of getting those for the kids for Christmas saying she had had that idea also quite a while ago. I found a set I really liked and she got four (yes, I said four, I know I'm anal!) :) and they are AWESOME! They will also be giving each of the kids a toy that they each specifically wanted this year. I think they will be so focused on the special toy and the family gift that they will have so much fun!

While I know that many families choose not to "do Santa," we still do. I think they realize that he isn't our focus. They usually ask for ONE special thing and then Santa also gets a few small surprises to tuck under the tree. Santa is allowed to get a few gifts that they know mom wouldn't necessarily purchase! :) Like when Olivia was getting rid of all her Barbi*es, Santa still gave her a couple Han*nah Mon*tana ones. :) So Santa also took advantage of the sale going on with the Zh*u Zh*u's and got them a few more sets to go along with what Grandma and Grandpa are giving! They should play with that forever! (We can hope right!?)

All that to say I am so excited to share with you the gifts the kids are making one another! Hoping to get to one of them this weekend, but it's going to be hard not letting the other kids see, so we'll see how that will work...
Tuesday, November 23, 2010


And in even bigger news...


Come on, feel the joy! :)

The next steps:
Tomorrow it will be sent to the state for approval.
When that approval comes back I will apply to USCIS for my I800a, basically asking the US for approval to adopt internationally.
When that approval comes, I can then inquire about any child on the waiting list.
Once I have a child and am "matched", it will be more paper gathering and a wait of 8-9 months before I can finally travel to pick them up and bring them HOME!


We had a very important meeting... at Mc*Donalds!

You may remember my post a while back about my heavy heart regarding not hearing from Liam's bio mom for quite some time. It was last February to be exact and I was worried. Well, two weeks ago we finally did hear from her again! And we exchanged a couple letters and set up a visit for tonight. It went really well, as always!

I am continually impressed by her and her openness to this situation, to my changing of his name, to my other two kids, to me, to the whole situation. I love that I can keep communication open so that he will know her as he grows, so that he will have someone to answer those questions, even if the answers may not be quite accurate. So that he will know I did what I could for him. The only hard part of this: that Olivia and Braeden wish for the same themselves and I cannot provide that for them. But I can for this one...

...and for that I am grateful...

Braeden's Christmas Wish

The other day Braeden said that what he wanted for Christmas was a little sister! So sweet! My heart melted...

Then a few days later my parents surprised me with the news of a family gift they were giving us early for Christmas. Large and unexpected this gift was a complete shock and surprise to say the least. After I spoke with them on the phone, I brought the kids into the living room to tell them about the gift as well. Braeden hung his head and walked sadly to the couch, pulling Percy up on his lap to commiserate with him. In my head I was thinking, you little stinker, you thought it was going to be (X Y or Z toy here). But I asked, "Braeden, what's wrong?" And heard back, "I thought you were going to say my little sister."

Oh. My. Heart.

And he has continued in that regard, wanting desperately to know WHO this little one is that we've been working so hard to bring HOME and WHEN is she going to get here!? I concur! :)

Today he brought this project home from school (lovin the ONE leg! Hilarious!) to hang on our refrigerator door...

And if you look closely you'll see...


And glued under some more feathers, Braeden tells me it says "my brother and sister" too...

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot...

like Christmas!

It seems like every five minutes right now Liam says, "It's Christmastime mama?" or "It's Christmastime!" See... for him right now Christmastime means we're heading to Florida to see Grandma and Grandpa, so he's extra super excited for it to be Christmastime! :) Slowly we've begun doing some things around the house to prepare.

I just love this time of year. I love seeing the kids grow more and more understanding of the TRUE meaning of Christmas. I love hearing Braeden saying, "Christmas isn't about GETTING gifts, it's about Jesus and giving." (Even though I'm still pretty sure he'd be devastated were there nothing under the tree, but we're working on it!) :) I love seeing Olivia get excited about making her siblings' gifts this year. And I think it's hilarious that Liam keeps trying to talk himself into the fact that "Santa's a nice man mom. I sit on his lap." Yeah, we'll see if that happens buddy! I'm thinking not so much! :)

Since we do go to FL over our break, and since I LOVE LOVE LOVE real trees and my parents sadly don't do one any longer, I try to put one up at home before we go. Hopefully we'll be able to do that this weekend. I had hoped for last weekend, but no one had them out yet. So instead, we got out a set of Christmas ornaments that the kids are working on making for friends and family (cat's out of the bag!). :)

The boys had a blast! Olivia was busy with the dreaded homework, but we still have many more to make so she'll get a chance this weekend.

My favorite part was one I hadn't even anticipated. Liam had a hard time stringing the tiny beads and I was doing those for him at the beginning.

But by his second ornament, he was doing them ALL by himself! I was so extremely proud of him! That is a big accomplishment for my guy! :)

We had lots of fun and can't wait to attach them to teacher and family gifts!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Zoo Day...

... for the year...

Our zoo membership is up at the end of the month, and with Thanksgiving next week, and having had the flu the past two weekends, we finally were able to make it to the zoo before it expired.

We headed up today with a good friend and 3 of her 5 kiddos. One is Olivia's age, one is Braeden's age, and one is older than them all, but they all had a great time!!! Braeden lost it towards the end because it was set in his head that we WERE going into a gift shop and he WAS going to get "something" - but that had never been the case and I ended up having to carrying him to the car. He did finally get himself together on the way home and we met up with my friend's husband and the other two kids for dinner. We had a great time and I enjoyed the time spent with her!

Let's Connect!

Search This Blog


About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Blog Archive

What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources

Other Awesome Blogs

Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you