Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why do they have to grow up?

Chad and I had an entire evening and night alone. No kids!!! The girls went to my moms for the night and Chad's parents have the boys. We will not have them until sometime tomorrow. I MISS THEM! The girls started calling about 15 minutes after we left them, so I think the feeling is mutual. The boys on the other hand.... well, at grandma Linda's the boys have a 12 year old cousin, video games and a new puppy. I had to call them!

Chad and I went to dinner tonight all by ourselves. We got seated right next to a table with two young couples and their sweet little babies. They were not as cute as my babies (I may be a little biased), but I could not stop looking at them. That is when it hit me HARD! I do not have any babies left. I have 3 school ager's and a pre-schooler. I almost cried in the Mexican restaurant. I do not know how it happened. One day I was the proud mother of little tiny, adorable, sweet smelling little kids. Now they are practically grown. Leanne will be leaving for college in the blink of an eye and THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO STOP IT. I want them little again! I want them little forever! I want them to need me to fill sippy cups of milk and tie shoes. Is there some way to get that back? I tell the kids all of the time "if I had a magic wand I would keep you like this forever". But time just keeps moving.

Honestly I do not know where the time has gone. It seems like my days go by faster and faster turning from days to weeks to months and then years. It will be six years ago next month that Chad and I walked into that office and brought our children home. I knew the moment I saw them all standing there with all the possessions they had in trash bags, that they were my children forever. I knew looking into those sad little faces that I needed them and they needed me. For months after that life was hard. It was not like those silly Hallmark movies I used to watch. Having kids was not all picnics in the park and trips to the zoo. It was stinky diapers, temper tantrums and mounds of laundry. But, this momma would do it all again if I could have them little for just one more day.

Since I can not turn back the clock, I guess I will have to find a way to get passed this. I have been assured by friends who have older children that I will come to a point in my life where I enjoy them being independent. I am not sure this will ever be true for me. I guess I will just have to keep trying to talk Chad into adopting a baby from China or Vietnam or Africa....:) That should help! Right?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Justin and Katie. Only kids can get away with such fashion. Yes, my son was wearing a coon skin cap and Katie boots with shorts, in public. They are only young once!

Monday, January 19, 2009

All Cheered Out

We are home from Indy and we are all cheered out!

Chad and I took all 4 kids to Indianapolis this weekend for the Jamfest Nationals Cheer competition. Both of Leanne's teams were competing, so we thought it would be a nice family weekend. Not so much! Thousands Cheerleaders in one building is not my idea of family fun (there were over 500 teams with between 15 and 35 girls each). I think Justin said it best this weekend when he said "this is the stupidest vacation I have ever been on!" I would not call it stupid, just crowded, noisy and hot. The kids were cranky from the lack of sleep and there was honestly nothing for them to do except argue with each other and watch cheerleading. We all know how much I love cheerleading, but it was even a bit much for me.

We stayed a Mar*iot Res*dence Inn and while the room looked nice I am pretty sure the walls were insulated with toilet paper. It was so loud at night we could not sleep. I am sure the fact that the hotel was over run by teenage girls (more cheerleaders) didn't help. We started our Sunday at 6:15 AM. That was when we turned on the lights. The kids were all up at around 2:20 AM having a "party". At one point we walked in on Justin standing on the bed on top of his pillow "surfing". The other kids though it was hilarious. I threatened them with grounding and losing Ds's among other things for several hours before I gave up and just turned the lights on. We were up so early they were not even serving breakfast at the hotel yet. That is not right!

The rest of the trip was nice. We borrowed my friend Lisa's pink GPS. It was great. At one point however it did start yelling at me:) It was saying "turn right", but it was not giving me the directions until it was to late to make the turn. Finally it started saying "turn right, turn right, turn right...Turn LEFT!!!" It was so funny. I am pretty sure I confused the thing. We finally arrived home around midnight last night and boy was it nice to sleep in my own bed.

I guess I should mention how our teams did. Leanne's youth team finished 11th and her senior team finished 9th. Both teams had great performances. On the second day the youth team had the best performance ever. So even though the girls didn't finish as well as we hoped in the standings.... they did wonderfully. The looked great, had a ton of energy and most of all had fun. We could not have asked them to do better. I am so proud of all of them!

Here are a few pictures of Leanne throwing her back tuck. The second one is her moments after she landed it. She is very proud:)
(These are pics I copied from a website. We bought the CD but it takes 4-6 weeks to receive. I will replace them with the correct ones when I get my CD)

This is what happens when a tuck does not land. The poor girl fell on her face this summer when she was learning her standing back tuck. She broke her thumb and her nose. She faced her fears 4 weeks later by getting back on the mat and perfecting that tuck!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

8! and Then Some


My little Justin is 8 today. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday he was a sweet 2-year-old little baby boy. Justin has grown into a wonderful little boy. He is so sweet and loving. Justin loves to give hugs and still likes to cuddle with his mama. He is so smart and is so very funny. Justin is very strong willed and will not back down when he thinks he is right. We love Justin so much. The memories of Justin's first 6 years with us are priceless. I can not wait to see what the future holds for him. I know he will do something wonderful.

To celebrate Justin's special day we had a family dinner at home. He really wanted to go to BD's Mongolian BBQ, but we got ALOT of snow today and the roads were terrible. Justin settled for McDonald's, since it was a close second anyway! He also got to choose his cake, so we had a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Yummy! He opened his gifts from us and he loved them all. Jus got a remote controlled skunk, a new scooter and helmet, a metal detector and a small steel safe with an alarm (to keep his siblings out). All of his gifts were a huge hit, but he really loved the metal detector. He can not wait for a nice day so he can go out with his pal Seth and look for treasure.

We always end up celebrating the kids birthdays for several days. We celebrate once with family and once with friends. Justin's "fake birthday" (that is what he calls it) will be held on February 7th at the World of Bounce. He will be having a joint party with Katie that day. We will have the place to ourselves for about 3 hours, so each of the kids can invite 12 friends. They are both really looking forward to their party.

I will end with a cute story:

When Chad woke Justin up today he told him Happy Birthday. They then had the following conversation:

Chad: "Well Buddy, now that you are 8, it is time to get a job!"

Justin: "What do you mean?"

Chad: "You know work. You have to get a REAL job."

Justin: "Ohhh! Like at BURGER KING?"

He is so crazy.

(For some reason the spacing is messing up on this post. I will try to edit it again later!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday (on Saturday)

I was so busy yesterday I did not have a minute to post on Thankful Thursday. The terrible thing is I really don't remember what I did yesterday. I think my kids have sucked every ounce of intelligence out of my brain. I love them dearly, but they are exhausting! Truth be told, I would miss them like crazy if they were not with me every waking minute of the day. However, I will not lie and say I do not day dream about them all being in school all day. I think of lunch dates with friends, reading books, grocery shopping alone (before 10pm), having a clean house because they are not making messes all hours of the day..... A girl can dream.

This is going to be short and sweet. Princess Katie has shared her flu with me. I am so sick! I feel horrible, but I can not lay in bed for another minute. I feel so terrible that I sent Chad to a cheer competition with Leanne today. Dad is being "cheer mom" for the day. He took Katie with him, so it is just me and my sweet boys whom I last saw playing video games and drinking a diet Mt. Dew. I was too weak to correct them. Back to Chad.... He deserves and award or something. He helped Leanne get ready and even double checked her bag to make sure she had her "spankies for her second uniform". I was shocked the man remembered. He did not attempt the cheer make-up. Who can blame him? It involves glue and lots of glitter, but I would have loved to see her after he did it:) I called my great friend Shelly and she agreed to go early, do Leanne's make-up and help her change into her senior uniform and re fix her hair, make-up and bow for the second team. She will also help get her to the right people at the right time. I am sure Chad is thrilled to be there. Don't worry though Katie will keep him occupied! He will have a new understanding for me when he gets home!

Now back to Thankful Thursday (on Saturday). I am so glad I decided to join the other bloggers who participate in Thankful Thursday. I have found myself thinking about what I am thankful for all week. Thinking about what I am thankful for has helped me in other areas as well. I have always prayed everyday. Lately though I have found myself in a little rut. I thank the Lord for the usual things, my salvation, my husband and my kids, but lately I have been asking for more than I am thanking him for. In the last week I have found my time in prayer to be a lot more in depth. I have realized I need to thank the Lord for the small stuff I take for granted every day. There is nothing to small to praise God for. Our God is GOOD. I am adding to my goals for this year. I would like to start getting up earlier than the kids and spending some time in prayer. We start our school day with prayer, but I need to be praying personally each morning for my children and our day. I need to begin my days on the right foot. I will do this everyday next week and hope that by next week on Thankful Thursday I am able to feel a difference.

Here is this weeks list. In no particular order:

1.) Adoption: There was a time in my life I thought I may never be a mother. It was such a low point in my life. I was overwhelmed with the feelings of sadness, grief and hopelessness. I could not understand why this was happening to me. Through adoption all of those feelings are now gone. Adoption also saves lives. It saves the lives of helpless babies who may not have ever had the chance to take their first breath. Adoption saves orphans from a lonely life in an orphanage in Asia, the streets of Africa or the foster care system of the United States.

2.) Vacation: I am thankful we are able to take our family on vacation. There is something so wonderful about leaving all of the cares of life and spending a week away. Whether it is hitting the beach, going to Disney or just camping, spending uninterrupted time with my family is priceless.

3.) Our Troops: I am so very thankful for the men and women of our armed forces. I am also thankful for their families. They sacrifice so much of themselves, time with family and for some their life, to protect this wonderful nation of ours. I recently watched my friend send her son off for training so he could head to the Middle East to protect our nation. She is so sad to see her baby boy leave. Yet she knows this is where he wants to be. Please continue to pray for the men and women serving our country. Whether or not we support the war, we have to support our troops.

4.) Salvation: I am so thankful for my Salvation. I am thankful that through the grace of God I know where I will spend eternity. I have peace in the fact that once I close my eyes forever here on earth I will open them in eternity. I know I will be in Heaven. I find comfort in knowing this. I am thankful that through the blood of Jesus, I am saved.

Only 4 today. I am heading back to bed. Please pray I am better by tomorrow. Leanne's competition continues tomorrow and I want to be there. I NEVER miss her competitions. I have big time mommy guilt!

(I know it says I posted this on Friday. I started it on Friday, but posted it on Saturday. I am not crazy!)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a CHEER MOM!!!

As most of my friends know Leanne is a cheerleader. Not the "Go Team Go!" type cheerleader, but the ESPN, flying in the air, flipping all over the place, dancing and jumping type cheerleader. When people hear Leanne say she cheers it is usually followed with something like "show me one of your cheers". To which she will reply "I don't know any cheers!" while staring at them like they have 3 heads. This is All-star cheer and all of the girls think they are stars. So do their mothers, but that is a different post:)

Leanne spends a minimum of 15 hours per week at cheerleading. She does not mind at all. In fact, I have to practically drag her out of the gym after each practice. She just loves it! One of my dearest friends just can not understand why we love this sport so much. I don't really know either. I think the glitter, sparkly outfits, fake hair, the lights, music and the thrill of the stunting is what Leanne likes. I think the reason I am so into it is because Leanne really excels at cheerleading. Leanne started cheering right after she was placed with us. She was so shy and sad. Cheerleading really brought her out of her shell. She is a totally different little girl. I like to think some of it was excellent parenting, but I will give credit where credit is due:) Cheerleading gave her the confidence nothing else could in that difficult time in her life. I don't know if I would feel as strongly about it as I do, if she was not so talented. But, I can honestly say "My girl is GOOD!". Or maybe I am living vicariously through my daughter? Hmmm... That something to think about:)

Cheerleading has instilled so many wonderful traits in Leanne at such a young age. As a homeschooler she does not have to work with groups of her peers. She works at her own pace and has no one to be accountable to. Being part of a team has taught her:

1.) How it is necessary for the whole group to work together to make a something work.
2.) How to work together with a person she may not really like.
3.) How to be a part of team.
4.) How having a positive attitude is always important.
5.) Life does not always work out the way you want it to.

I am sure there are many more lessons she has learned on her team, but those are the 5 she could come up with when I asked her.

Leanne and I get to spend a lot of quality time together because of cheer. She and I spend a lot of girl weekends together (we usually bring Katie along too!). We have had a mother/daughter trip to Florida for Nationals for the last 3 years. We will be going again in March and we are both looking forward to it. I hope as Leanne gets older she will look back at all the time she and I spent together and realize how much I loved being with her. Leanne is such a loving, sweet, caring, smart and beautiful young lady. I am honored to be her mother.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I have the best intentions....

Today was our first day back to school after our long Christmas break. I had grand plans for how this day would go. The first thing I decided was there would be no phone calls for me today! I was not placing one and I was not going to answer the phone. My next goal was to wake up at 6:30, get a shower (before afternoon! I was shocked too.) I was going to come downstairs alone, before the kids got up and read my Bible (I am so bad about this) and pray for a productive and peaceful day. I would get the kids up, have them get dressed and make breakfast. I would spend some time with Katie while the big kids did independent seat work. I would take turns working with each child, while someone played with Katie and the other child had quiet reading time. After talking to my good friend Lisa last night, I decided to give each subject a time limit. That's right, no more math for 2 hours. You get 45 minutes and then it is homework. Homeschool homework and dad could help them we he gets home. Brilliant! I had solved all of our problems in one night, with one call to a very wise homeschooling friend. I was so excited for today. I had even made the copies I needed, in advance. I was really on a roll last night. I was ready to brave the much dreaded copy work. Life was good....

All mom's know nothing ever goes as planned. As I was peacefully dreaming away last night I was suddenly awaken by the sounds of Princess Katie getting sick. Being 3 I was pretty sure she had not made it to an appropriate place for this to happen. You guessed it, she was in her bed. Which as luck would have it is also be my bed (read with much sarcasm). Yes, the princess snuggles right next to mom in the big bed every night. I was horrified. So instead of starting at 6 a.m. my perfect day started at 2:30. I know this doesn't seem like a huge deal to a lot of mothers. Sick kids happen! I however am not that kind of mom. I don't "do" vomit! I don't like to see it, smell it, hear it or do it. All of which are hard to avoid when it is happening right next to your pillow. I am the mom who will hand you a towel from outside the door and lysol after you are finished. I am not the hair holding, back rubbing, it's going to be okay kind of gal. I HATE it! In fact I was on a 10 year streak myself until the "incident of 2008". But what's a mother to do when her baby is calling for her. I held her hand, rubbed her back and cleaned her up. I thought it was a fluke, that maybe something she ate didn't agree with her. She seemed to be her normal bossy self: "I need pink jammy pants", "not that toothpaste it's to spicy", "I need a new pillow", "call the doctor in the morning".... you get the picture. She was bouncing around on our nice clean bed and seemed normal. So, being the kind mother that I am, I tucked her in, kissed her head and had "the talk". The "if you have to be sick again please, please, please make it to the potty" talk. Being the kind sweet little girl she is, she made it there the rest of the night. It was not a fluke, I have a sick baby. Poor little thing!

I now have Katie watching Barney, Justin is in his room in trouble and the older kids doing silent reading. The day is not totally lost. I will do better tomorrow. After all, I can not solve all of life's problems in one night. But, I do have the best intentions.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I have not blogged in the last few days because we have not left our house all weekend. Sometimes I feel so old and boring! Seriously though, it is not often that we can stay home. We are always on the go. I think poor little Katie has spent most of her life strapped in a car seat going from one event to another.

To give you an idea of our weekly schedule:
Monday: AM. Home school Group (when in session) PM. Tumbling
Tuesday: AM. School PM. cheer practice, starting 1/6 Katie's dance class
Wednesday: AM. School PM. Cheer practice again
Thursday: AM. School and Justin's Speech therapy PM. Tumbling for both girls and Scouts for both boys
Friday: AM. School PM. Nothing
Saturday: From September- April our Saturdays are filled with cheer competitions, football or baseball games.
Sunday: Leanne cheers from 2-8 and we have the day off.

Now we have to add in doctors appointments, dentist/orthodontist appointments, trips to fix broken glasses, cleaning, cooking, laundry and grocery shopping. Let's not forget a few random trips to the ER for stitches or broken bones. My kids only get sick or hurt over the weekend and after hours! We actually had stitches in the back of the head (Justin) and a broken thumb and nose (Leanne) last year. In the spring we add 4 weekly baseball practices, which to keep things fun for me usually include at least one night of both boys on different fields at the same time. In the fall we add 4 nights a week of football practice. Throw in the occasional field trip and it is easy to see why I am never home. What I don't understand is how people think home schooled kids are "un-socialized"?

Back to this weekend.... We played board games like Lucky Ducks (one millions times), yahtzee and monopoly. We actually finished two games of monopoly. We tried to play clue, but it still seems a little hard for some of our kids. However, the thing we have had the most fun with this weekend is my new steam mop. Go figure! Hundreds of dollars spent on new toys for Christmas and my kids are fighting over a steam mop. On a positive note, my floors have never been so clean!

We are now off to cheerleading practice. Katie is going to Grandma Tina's and the boys and I are having a nice afternoon together. Tomorrow is the end of Christmas break. Back to our normal schedule. I am exhausted just thinking about it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I love reading adoption blogs. I started reading adoption stories (before blogs) about 8 years ago. I was just drawn to them. I read about any type of adoption I could. Even though Chad and I were "trying" for a baby, I just couldn't help myself. I think I knew in my heart of hearts I would adopt. After trying for a LONG time we did adopt. Our family was first blessed with Leanne, Cameron and Justin at the ages of 5, 3 and 2 respectively. Princess Katie came 2 years later at just 2 days old. Even after adopting 4 children I am still addicted to reading adoption blogs.

This is where Thankful Thursday comes in. I came across the blog of a sweet women who has adopted many children internationally. She and her loving husband just came home with two little beauties from Ugand* Afric* and will be traveling soon to pick up their daughter in Ch*na. She has recently started a routine for her Thursday posts called Thankful Thursday. I thought it was a wonderful idea and hope she doesn't mind if I borrow it myself. So each Thursday I will share a few things I am thankful for. They are in no particular order, I am just thankful for them all.

1.) Healthy children: I am so blessed with the children I have. I am thankful they are all healthy. I was reading in the news paper today about a sweet little 8 year old girl who went home to be with the Lord yesterday, while in the arms of her daddy. This little girl had battled cancer for many years. She is finally pain free and walking streets of gold. I will hug my babies a little tighter tonight.

2.) A loving husband: I am so blessed to have a husband who not only loves me, but loves us so much he sacrifices his time with our family to work long hours so I can be a stay home mom. I love him so much!

3.) heat: on this cold January night in Ohio I am thankful for heat.

4.) good friends: I do not have ton of friends like I once did. However, the few friends I do have are priceless.

5.) Traditions: I am thankful that as this holiday season has passed we were able to share some family traditions both old and new. We ate familiar foods from our childhoods and tried new recipes. We placed old memory filled ornaments on the tree and added new ones to remind us of the past year events. We had monkey bread for Christmas and great grandma's homemade candy. We watched Christmas movies, played board games and saw the big nativity downtown. I am so thankful I have this awesome family to share these traditions with. I pray they are traditions my children will continue with their children. I pray they want to come home each holiday as adults for mom's monkey bread or to watch The Christmas Story with dad. I pray that as they look back on Christmas' past they can feel the love, the joy and the happiness that they have brought to us.

Happy New Year

It is hard to believe it is 2009. I remember Y2K like it was yesterday. On January 1, 2000, I was in the middle of planning my dream wedding. On January 1, 2009, I am planning a grocery list, dinner, a week of school lessons and a birthday party for two of my kids. Where does the time go?

We had a wonderful New Years Eve. We didn't get dressed up, nor did we have a night on the town. We spent the evening with our good friends the Hood's and all of our children. It was a fun evening with good food and games. We rang in the New Year with the excited screams of 7 children, who celebrated a few seconds early. I didn't actually see the ball drop, since the kids were in front of the television, but I am sure it was lovely. The kids had noise makers and poppers so they were thrilled, and we were all happy just watching them. This event is becoming a tradition for both families. What a great way to bring in a New Year with good friends and your family. I wouldn't want it any other way! The "Happy New Year" wishes from my kids and the first kiss of the new year from each of them is more than I could ask for.

I am not making resolutions this year. I never keep them, so I think I will skip it this year. I will however make a few "goals" for myself.

1.) slow down
2.) spend more time playing with my children and less time sweating the small stuff
3.) save more, spend less

I think three goals will be a nice start to 2009.

Happy New Year Friends. I wish you lots of Love, Laughs and Happiness in 2009.