Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reaching Out

We're now nearing the 4 month mark of being a family of 5.  It feels like a milestone worth pondering.  I've been trying to take time to remember how far we've come, especially in those hard moments that can sprinkle the days.

I'm also trying to pause and count the gifts of laughter bubbling from an upstairs bedroom, less meltdowns, a brother offering to share, kiddos running happily in the backyard together, smoother bedtimes, or hearing "serious planning" of a battle or adventure as two brothers go off together (with a little sister tagging close behind).

We are getting to a place where its easier to be out and about as a family.  Attempting a restaurant or errands as a whole family no longer fills me with nearly as much worry.  Its a good feeling.

After a discussion with my wonderful hubby, this month I set the goal to be more intentional about reaching out and slowly increasing the circle of people our new kiddos know.  New people are still a bit nerve wracking to them but its getting easier.  There are a few friends of ours that they met several times (playdates, open gym, church family activities) and its been great to see them more comfortably interacting with those families.  So we've been trying to plan a few more playdates, invite others in, plan short day trips as a family (cousin birthday party, trip to the zoo, etc).  We even managed a very wet and rainy camping weekend.

From a paper chasing perspective for those detail oriented readers... This month we finished all the paperwork and visits to renew our homestudy again to keep our foster care license active to get us through finalization.  (The mountain of paperwork was a bit more complicated to get done with 3 kiddos but totally worth it). We are still hoping that we'll be able to finalize the adoption of our two precious kiddos by late summer or early fall, completely dependent on the schedule of courts and lawyers at this point.

Please continue to pray for us.  Summer is just around the corner and with it a new routine to adapt to, with a bit less structure than the school year naturally provides -- and all 3 kids do better with structure.  My husband's travel schedule also increases and our weekends get busier.  I hope we can create great memories together, enjoy the outdoors, strengthen relationships and really enjoy each other.  And on those days that tempers flare or kids are melting or someone is just feeling "off", pray we can approach the situations with grace and do the best we can with God's help.

Monday, May 4, 2015

April Projects

We are finding a good rhythm now with all three kids and I was able to do a few projects with them this last month or so.  It is much harder to take pics while helping them finish their projects though as I just don't seem to have enough hands.

Here's a two of my favorites:

Watercolor Eggs
Before Easter I cut a bunch of egg shapes from regular printer paper (each about the size of half a sheet) and had the kids paint them with watercolor.  It was super simple with almost no prep (I cut more sheets while they painted) but I loved how unique they all turned out and how fun it was to decorate with them.  We also gave a few as Easter cards :)

Toilet Paper Roll Flowers
With 5 people in the house, we seem to always have an over abundance of empty toilet paper rolls so I decided to come up with a spring project to use them.  I made this one up as we went, which actually turned out better than I expected.

First I took the empty rolls and made 4-6 cuts in them 3/4 of the way down the roll, leaving about an inch uncut at the bottom (my 6 yr old helped with this step).  I folded each section down like you see in the top left.  I then cut petals out of colored paper.  The kids glued them on and had fun discussing patterns etc.  I'd originally planned to just have petals on the top but the kiddos wanted to glue them on both sides which actually added some nice extra color.  I hung them on a piece of string using clothes pins so that they point a variety of directions.  Bright spring colors to enjoy inside when is rainy outside.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baby Chick Time

Its become a sign of spring here on the Gravelly Road -- the annual trip to get a few more chickens to add to our small backyard flock.  Its been fun to share the cuteness of baby chicks with our new kiddos as well.

backyard chicks

We added four this year.  If you've read our previous spring posts, you'd know we started with four chicks (with one ending up being a rooster) and added three more last spring.  Well, the rooster developed a mean streak and was evicted from the Gravelly Road last fall.  Sadly we lost two hens over the winter to predators that managed to get into the coop at dusk before we'd made it outside to lock up the gate.  So four is just about right, giving us a little flock of eight hens (hopefully).

chicks new feathers

Already the chicks are quickly getting their real feathers and loosing their soft fluff.  Hopefully spring will be here to stay soon so they can get a bit more fresh air than their temporary home in the shed under the heat lamp.

Names are still under discussion... right now we have Anna, R2-D2 and Chicken Little.

And while having preschoolers around baby chicks means a never-ending chorus of "gently, gently", we are enjoying our new chicken residents on the Gravelly Road.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Plan

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays at Kate Motaung's blog, (after a long hiatus) encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This week's prompt: PLAN

I longed, prayed, and pleaded to know the plan.

I dreamed of my own version of the plan, but over and over I was reminded we didn't know the plan.  It wasn't for us to know yet.

We couldn't have guessed His plan.

Its too amazing, audacious and a bit crazy.

Going from a family of three to a family of five.

Our paperwork ending up on the same social worker's desk multiple times, each time making her think of two particular siblings that needed a forever family.

Meeting our new son and daughter right before Christmas and having them move into our family 5 weeks later.

Each child in the family now only thirteen months apart in age.  Six.  Five.  Four.

A family put together by God.

A plan that only God would have come up with.

He has confirmed it over and over.

For that I'm am thankful.  This journey is laid out by Him not dreamed up by us.

I know He holds the plan.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Finishing our "Books While We Wait" List

As you know, we've buying a new children's book each month while we waited to adopt.  Since our family has now grown to a family of 5 (our two new little ones moved in the end of January), this tradition is ending, but I realized I hadn't posted about the last 3 that I purchased.  If you want to see the entire list, please feel free to click on the link at the bottom and review the other we picked in the past.

January 2015 -- Emma's Yucky Brother by Jean Little

I bought this book because it specifically talks specifically about adopting through foster care by following Emma and her new brother, multiple visits before staying for good, some unexpected behavior, and the extra time/attention the new sibling will need from Mom and Dad, even though they are not a baby.  I wish "yucky" wasn't used as an adjective to describe people in the book as its easy for kids to latch onto without understanding that by the end of the story it was just meant in jest.  Otherwise it was helpful as we talked about the transition we were in the middle of in January.

December 2014 -- God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner

This book, while not a Christmas title, is what I picked for our December book.  I love how it celebrates God's act of creation and then reminds the reader that God placed his light in each one of us.  The text and illustration draw you in and its one I don't mind reading multiple times.

Novemeber 2014 -- It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox) by Lysa TerKeurst

This book follows two unlikely friends, Little Fox and Little Seed, as they face some seemingly scary changes to learn that God is always with them.  Our kindergartner liked it right away (he thought it was silly that the seed was scared to be planted) but the deeper meaning of the story took a while for him to start to understand.  Definitely a great book for any family bookshelf.

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