Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane

For heaven's sake.  October somehow turned into one of those months that jerks you around from one thing to another at blinding speed.  It snuck up on me, too.  I'm prepared for those kind of months in November and December, and usually May for some weird reason, but October??  Did not see that coming.  Therefore, I have literally had no time to blog.  So, I'm cramming two posts into one today, and really letting the pictures do most of the talking.  

In the midst of the crazy busyness we have made some great memories.  First, we went with the mom's club to visit the fire station.  It was so neat to see the trucks up close.  Drew and Lyla were still a little young to get the full appreciation, but they still had fun!

Next, we had Lyla's birthday weekend.  It was so fun to have all the family together.  While the dads played golf together, and Aunt Katy got ready for the party, Aunt Kristin, Grammy, and myself took the cousins to the pumpkin patch.  We went to Gentry's Farm just outside of Franklin and it was fantastic.  I wish we could go there year round!  Drew was a wild man the whole day.  He tried twice to run straight into the pond!!  He loved the hayride and the kids thought it was hilarious that the cows had poop all over their bottoms!  We saw animals and played in a hay maze and had snacks and played with chicken feed.  It was a great day!

It took me about a week to finish this post!!  We are hoping for a few weeks at a slower pace before the holidays roll around.  Even though I know it will be crazy, I'm starting to get excited!!  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lyla!

Ok, so I'm a few days late, but really we've been celebrating for a few days now!

In honor of my best girl's birthday, I'm writing a Top Ten.  So, here goes.

The Top Ten Things I love about Lyla

1.  Her hugs.  This kid gives the best hugs ever.  Both hands around the neck and really big squeezes.  The best.

2.  Her singing.  Especially when she spontaneously busts it out in the car!

3.  How she says, "Pome on, Aunt Kel" [translation: "C'mon, Aunt Kel"]

4.  The fact that she calls me Aunt Kel

5.  Her after nap routine of calling out all the names she knows hoping someone, anyone will come get her.

6.  When she wears her stretchy headband a la Pat Benatar.

7.  Our after nap snuggle time on the couch.

8.  When she wants to carry 4 or 5 stuffed animals, plus Lovey up to bed.

9.  Her curly hair in back.

10.  All the millions of funny things she says in a day.  "Here I am!"  "Hi there, Aunt Kel"  "Feel better, Drew Drew"  

I love you little girl!!  Here are some of my fave Lyla pics:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Both Hands

Well, this is another post about me rather than Drew.  And it will probably be long.  So.  There's your warning.  Long post, no cute kid stories.  If you want to opt out now, feel free!

As most of you know I have been working with a family through CASA for almost three years.  A few months ago, their adoption was finally complete.  It was a great feeling for sure, but I just felt like there was more I needed to help with.  Christina (my kids' aunt-who adopted them) worked so hard to finally buy a home of her own and she was able to get a really good one.  Keep in mind that she has 5 teenagers living in her home and they are all big kids!  So, the girls have been sleeping in an unfinished bonus room over the garage.  And when I say unfinished, I mean sub flooring, exposed insulation and bare bulbs.  There is also no air conditioning in this room.  Their clothes were in boxes along the walls and they were sleeping on donated mattresses.  Any of you who have done home renovation projects know how easily the cost can add up.  

I looked around the house and felt really discouraged.  I wished so badly there was a way for me to help.  So, when my small group started talking about wanting a project to do, I mentioned this room to them.  Now that the kids were no longer in state custody, my small group was free to meet them.  I went to visit the house with two men from our group.  One of the men is an architect (God moment #1).  He took one look at the room and knew instantly what needed to be done and what materials would be required.  Our small group leader got busy contacting other people from our church and literally hours before they went shopping for supplies and anonymous donor gave $3000 toward the project! (God moment #2).  For the past several weeks a few men from my small group have worked their guts out framing, hanging dry wall, building closets, etc.  One of the last remaining hurdles was some electrical work that needed to be done.  Another woman in our group is friends with an electrician who donated his time and materials to the project (God moment #3).  

At the same time all of this was taking shape, our group leader (Kathy) met a man with a ministry that helps couples who are adopting raise money for their adoption costs.  His ministry is called "Both Hands".  The basic idea is that the adopting couple raise money by having a work day at a widow's home.  His ministry verse is : "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27.  Such an amazing idea!  I got in touch with the founder of this ministry and talked with him about Christina and her family.  He agreed that she was a great candidate for this sort of project.  (God moment #4)  The next task was to match up an adopting couple with this project.  The couple chosen for this project were in the process of adopting a little girl from Guatemala.  In fact, the wife was living in Guatemala fostering the little girl until they could bring her home!  AND, this woman just happened to be someone our small group leaders (Jerry & Kathy) have known since she was little!!  WHAT?!?!  (God moment #5)

So, Saturday was work day at the house.  When I walked into the finished bonus room, I started to cry.  It was amazing.  The whole day was totally overwhelming for me.  All of these wonderful men and women descended on this house and blessed it by doing all the things that Christina never has time to do.  And not only did they bless the home, they blessed the little boys (well, not so little anymore!!) by playing with them, and teasing them and teaching them new skills.  It was an amazing picture of the body of Christ.  There is no way I would ever have been able to do any of the things that were done for this family.  But the Lord heard my cry for them and He sent in the troops!!  It was one of my best memories ever.  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Business News!!

Drew is taking care of business!!  He has now gone poop on the potty two times!!  The first time I kind of caught him in the middle and he finished up on the potty, but today-just now-he told me he had to go and told me he wanted to go on the potty.  So we went and he did it!!  I am so proud!

We are not actively potty training.  I know Drew well enough to know that I will definitely have to let him go at his own pace.  But he is definitely interested in sitting on the potty, and he tells me anytime he has to poo.  He still hasn't peed on the potty, and I'm not sure he gets that he's supposed to, but I'm in no hurry.  I'm just thrilled he isn't scared about it!

He definitely likes to hang out up there.  A while ago he wanted me to get him a book to look at while he was sitting there.  I'm including a picture.  Scout's honor it wasn't staged!  He wanted that book!  Ahhh.  A man and his throne.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Magic Continues

Bragging again.  This is bound to get me in some serious trouble really soon.  Like public humiliation kind of trouble.  But Drew and Lyla were GREAT at story time today.  And, we had such good luck with the rain.  I know, you might have gone back to read that again-but, I did say GOOD luck!!  Amazing, isn't it??  It was raining when we left home, but after a whole day trapped in the house, I would have rowed us in a boat to the library!  We donned our jackets and headed out to brave the elements.  By the time we got to the library, it had stopped raining.  And we got a space close to the building.  

The crowd was a little thin today, I guess because of the rain.  I don't really care about the reason, because Drew always does much better when there are less people.  He and Lyla sang their hearts out.  And, , they got to be the helpers!!!  They had the very important task of taping the Letter of the Day up on the wall.  It was pretty fun to watch.  They were excited.  Ms. Donna brought snacks again today, which is always popular, and Drew got to give bear a hug.  

I'm getting spoiled with all the great behavior.  We're due for some kind of craziness.  But that's pessimistic, isn't it?  I'll just keep focusing on the fabulousness and keep my fingers crossed!

Drew and Lyla's Excellent Adventures

Yikes!  I have not taken the time to sit down and write a blog post in a really long time.  We have had a few really amazing weeks.  I've been so thankful for the fabulous behavior, and we have had so much fun, but there really haven't been any antics to report!  Although, in fairness, I guess I should report all the great behavior, too!

I've mentioned the Mom's Club I've joined, and while it's not really like me to join any group that has the words "Mom" or "Club" in it, it has been a really great thing.  I have discovered a lot of new parks and places to take the kids to play.  One of the playgrounds is so close to my house and is covered by a giant tarp that creates shade all over the playground.  How did I not know about this place??  We've been twice in the last month!  Last time we were there, Drew and Lyla were just playing their hearts out.  Another mom was there and her kids were giving her a hard time.  I heard her say, "Look at that mom.  See her just sitting on the bench?  That's what moms are supposed to get to do at the park.  You guys are being high maintenance.  See how her kids are just playing?"  HA!  I almost laughed out loud!  Can you believe anyone was saying that about me??  It was pretty great.  

Last week we went to the Nature Center.  It is also really close to my house, but I've never taken the kids there because I thought they were too little.  Boy was I wrong!  This place is amazing!  There were so many things for them to do and explore.  They loved looking at all the animals.  They got to touch real live animal bones (although, they really had no clue what they were!) and dress up in animal costumes.  Lyla spent the entire time dressed up like a ladybug!  Drew passed on wearing any costume for more than a second.  The playground at this place is really neat.  It is all natural.  They have a little kid sized cabin and a slide that sits right in the side of a big dirt hill.  Talk about a kid's dream!  They scramble up all the dirt and slide down.  It is quite a dirty proposition, and I almost had a heart attack-Lyla was wearing a super cute little pink dress and bloomers!!  I decided to just let her go for it and pay the price later.  Luckily, all the dirt washed right out during nap time.

Drew has been doing so much better with the church nursery and childcare at Mom's Club.  On Sunday, he didn't even cry at church!!  We even stayed both hours and he did not cry during the transition.  I must say I was seriously considering quitting church because it broke my heart to see him so upset.  Cooler heads prevailed, however, (cooler heads being big Dan as always!) and told me to give it some time.  Dan was right.  He just needed to get used to it.  I'm sure we will have more hard days, but I was really thankful for an easy morning.

Oh, and!  I ran my 5K on Saturday.  It was great-I didn't die or come in last place!!  I met my goal of running the whole time-no walking-and I actually ran my best time.  (Which I will not be publishing because it's embarrassing!!)  Sadly, I did not fall in love with running.  But, I think I could be convinced to do another race.  Maybe.