Saturday, July 15, 2017

KIDS UPDATE - JULY '17

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It's time for an update on these crazy-wonderful kiddos of ours!

D-man
     He usually starts talking in the morning around 7:30 or 8am. I send JD up to "help" him get out of his crib (but he doesn't really need help--he can climb in and out by himself). He walks down the stairs by himself. If Bryce and I are still sitting on the couch, he says, "Good morning dad, good morning mom" and then walks to the dining room table and climbs up to his chair for breakfast. :-) It's the most adorable thing! 
     The older kids crack up when he says "mummy!" for "yummy."  Oh how he loves them. Loves to ask about them and call for them and follow them around. He also has started to "tell" on them: one day he came in from the deck and told me very seriously, "Silas hit [Miss A]." Lots of words from this one! The other day he was standing in the kitchen asking me for something very insistently, and it took me a bit to realize he was asking for a "lemon drop" that I keep in a glass jar (because he hears JD asking for one quite often). If I was to give him a piece of candy he would start hopping around on two feet--it makes him so happy!
      Lately he has been learning colors, and without us directly teaching them. Already he can pick out blue, green, yellow, orange and pink without prompting. Because of the game "Sequence" that the older kids like to play, he can pick out the tiger and lion cards (and growl loudly!). He likes to jump off our fabric ottomans--always jumping and climbing and exploring. Such a trooper when we're out and about, but I guess child #5 needs to be! My favorite is when he grabs onto my legs and says, "Got you, mom!"



Miss A
     This little girl loves to dress up and play pretend and carry her baby around. She and Silas could play together like that for hours! She wears a green dress-up Frozen dress and he wears a blue cape..and they both carry around little bags. Oh they are cute--best pals. She also likes to play games with the older two and put together puzzles, and she does pretty well too!
     Most days she still has a rest time after lunch, but lately I've been giving her books to read and she doesn't always fall asleep. Bedtimes are a little easier if she doesn't get a long nap, but the rest time (+ break for the mama) is nice.
     A couple of weeks ago I took her to get her hair done at an ethnic salon. The lady spent three hours washing, combing and twisting her hair. Miss A sat like a champ! (Lots of snacks and books and tablet time.) She does this for me every week, so I wasn't worried about her being able to sit for an appointment, but the ladies there were so impressed with a 3-year-old! They said she puts the 12-year-olds who come in to shame. 
     She loves for me to paint her nails--"paint nails" she calls them. And something funny I've noticed, she is a pretty hilarious backseat driver. She tells me when something is in the road, makes sure I'm watching out for other cars, and gasps if she thinks I stopped too fast. This one is the only one of the five who consistently calls me "mama"....in her adorable little voice.




Silas
     Another one potty-trained! A few weeks after we moved into our new home, we decided to tackle it and about three days later he was done. Feels so good to only have one in diapers now!! He says "I got one!" after he poops...he always makes me laugh in the bathroom. My favorite was when we were potty training him--it was a warm-ish February/March and so he would follow Bryce around outside at the new house with a winter jacket on, rain boots, and little shorts underwear. 
     Silas is cuddly with me often but he is Bryce's little pal. Loves to ride around on Bryce's shoulders and follows daddy around on his days at home. They are so cute together. Bryce taught him to ride a bike like a big boy a few months ago...yay for a balance bike: it just took one day. Just 3-years-old and he's now cruising around our driveway. Silas has a bit of a lisp (which I forget about.....I just love the way he talks). Cute examples: very = bury, sticky = skicky. 
     No more naps for this little guy. He still could use one technically but he just doesn't go to sleep at night when he does. We still keep an early bedtime of 7pm for all of the kids, so it's worth it to have no naps and send them all to bed at 7! At nighttime, it is very important for Silas to give Bryce and I proper hugs and kisses: kiss right cheek, big squeeze, kiss left cheek, another big squeeze.




Justus (JD)
     Our thoughtful, fun little man. I feel like he's growing up so much these days. Always thinking, processing. And we love to see glimpses of his sense of humor. It's so cute when he cracks himself up...many times Bryce and I genuinely laugh at something he says, and he was meaning to be funny!
     He has a good brain for memorizing. He and Bryce play this game where one of them hums a song and the other has to guess it. JD usually can name the song within a couple of bars. The other kids like to join in too, but it's a little more comical when they do it (Miss A's hums always come out sounding like "Jesus Loves Me.") Bryce has also been working consistently with the kids at dinner time to memorize 12 verses that the church kids program highlights. JD memorized all 12 a couple of weeks ago (verses and references), so he got a special ice cream outing with dad (and a Silas tag-along; he also quoted all 12 with minimal prompting).  Another game we like to play at dinner time is "I Spy." JD gets the gist of the game, but with the others we're still working on teaching them to decide on the object before everyone starts guessing!
     Justus loves all things super hero or star wars (which is hilarious because he's never watched anything for either of those). We got him a light saber a while ago....because he has literally been talking about one for a year. There are strict no-hitting-siblings rules, but he loves to put his batman cape on and have imaginary battles. 




Miss S
     While her sister loves to "play house," this one loves to be crafty or play a memory game or ride her bike or make a paper/glue/scissors creation or build with legos. Lately she and JD have been pals with most of these things--it's fun to watch them when they're actually getting along! They love to make things with paper and tape (requires a lot of patience from this clutter-clearing mama with all of the paper scraps and "special" creations to save). She and JD took swim lessons back in April and they are getting more and more confident in the water. We've been trying to take them all to the pool at least once a week this summer. It's quite the feat just to put sunscreen on them all!
     I love to hear Miss S "read" aloud to her sister. If it's a book I've already read to them, then she usually does a really good job remembering what I read and telling it in her own words. I've been taking the kids to the library every 3 weeks. The older four have to pick out the number of books that match their age before they can play on the computers. It helps us to read more throughout the week when we have new books to get through. They all sit so well for reading time! (D-man not always quietly, but he's getting better.)
     A few months ago Bryce and I instituted a chore chart for the older 4 kids, with the 5-year-olds being responsible for a quite a bit more than the 3-year-olds. It has helped organize our morning schedule. The charts are connected to a small allowance, and the older two have enjoyed watching their saved money add up. JD wants to buy a transformer with his savings and Miss S wants to buy a costume.


Fun events/activities of the last few months:
* Bible Study Fellowship with all five kids in classes
* swim lessons for JD and Miss S
* celebrated D-man's 2nd birthday
* lots of playground, hiking and pool outings this summer
* Eberly family reunion in Fort Wayne for a week
* visit to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
* Aunt Kristin and Noah's wedding (which they were all in!)
* Wendy/Mimi's family reunion
* Indians baseball game for Bryce's birthday
* 4th of July parade in Lebanon

Monday, July 10, 2017

MOMS WHO WAIT

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We are moms. So by definition, we are those who wait.

Waiting for a positive pregnancy test.
Waiting for that due date to finally arrive.
Waiting for the sleepless nights to end.
Waiting to receive the overseas adoption court order.
Waiting to find out that you can finally fly to get your child.
Waiting to get them all out of diapers.
Waiting for the day when they can do their own laundry.
Waiting for the day when God will heal them.
Waiting to get a call about a foster placement.
Waiting to get a call that a bio mom picked your family.
Waiting for summer to come (yay! school's out!).
Waiting for summer to end (yay! school's back in session!).
Waiting for them to turn to Jesus with their whole hearts.

My current place:
Waiting to know whether they will be ours forever, or not.

W a i t i n g.



“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time--for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters


We will wait; it is our lot as mothers. Therefore, the question must be: How does one continue to live well in the waiting? How do I honor Jesus when the Present is painful or the Future weighs on my heart?

W a i t i n g.

Three do-nots come to mind:
Do not be afraid. (2 Kings 6:16)
Do not worry. (Matthew 6:25)
Do not be anxious. (Philippians 4:6)

All of those are exactly where my heart wants to be--afraid, worried and anxious. Some days, a heavy dread pulls at my soul, making me wander aimlessly around the house, hopeless and discontent. But Jesus says, "Do not!" He is calling me to Himself in the waiting. The Present ("lit up with eternal rays"!) is where I am and exactly where He is with me. Therefore, I wait with hope.

Last week He gave me a prayer for the waiting.

O Lord, out of the depths I cry to You.
Please, hear my voice. Thank You for hearing me.
I am crying out for mercy--
      mercy for my heart,
      mercy for the children,
      mercy for our family.
You, O Lord, are holy and the Great Forgiver, 
      therefore I stand in awe of You.
I wait for You.
Please help my soul in the waiting.
In Your Word I choose to hope--
      Your promises,
      Your faithfulness
      Your love.
With You is unfailing love and Full Redemption.
You Yourself will redeem.
In the morning, I know that You will come.
(paraphrase of Psalm 130)

Monday, June 5, 2017

HE IS [I AM NOT]

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The past few weeks I've been wrestling through emotions and situations that leave me breathless with fear and heartache. Yet this truth has been my solid foundation through it all: He is God (which means that I am not). Three characters from the Bible keep coming to mind: Hannah, Job and Jeremiah. All three, when faced with horrible and heartbreaking scenarios in their life, turned to God in worship and surrender, with great humility.

Hannah:
There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.
Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God Who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed.
The LORD brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up.
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts. (1 Samuel chapter 2)

Job:
Then Job replied to the LORD: "I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. . . . My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job chapter 42)

Jeremiah:
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust--there may yet be hope.
Who can speak and have it happen if the LORD has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?
Why should any living man complain . . . ? (Lamentations chapter 3)




When I focus my mind and soul on the God-ness of God--the unchanging, unfailing truth that HE IS GOD--three things happen:

1. I am awed by Him
           There is no one holy like You. There is no one besides You. You are a God Who knows. You can do all things. No plan of Yours can be thwarted. Nothing happens unless You decree it. You weigh deeds. You bring death and make alive; send poverty and wealth; send calamities and good things.

2. I am convicted of pride
          I must not keep talking so proudly or let my mouth speak such arrogance. [I see You and then] I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Let me bear the yoke. Let me sit alone in silence. Let me bury my face in the dust. 

3. I am encouraged to trust
          There is no Rock like our God. There may yet be Hope.

Daily (hourly?) I am striving to humbly submit and let Him be God. This truth is the one place I can settle myself down in without a doubt: He is God. (So many other things in life are uncertain but not this!) Deeper certainty of this truth brings hope in the midst of heartache, joy where there are no easy answers, and peace when my life is unsteady. God is God. Amen.

Even in darkness
     my heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord
     my heart is secure
I will have no fear (Psalm 112)