Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just for a Minute

Okay, I'm going to whine and complain for just a minute. We considered getting a swing set for the boys for a couple of years and this year, we decided it was time and so we carefully chose a playset to build in the backyard. We put it up in June and the boys have loved it.

Today, the horrible wind picked up the playset (anything short of cement would not have kept it down), carried it 15 feet and and turned it upside down - it is in awful shape. Our homeowners insurance has a deductible that would be about the amount to replace it, so I think we will try to salvage it. But I'm disappointed and sad. It was something we budgeted for and wanted to do for the kids and seeing it in pieces in the backyard is so upsetting to me tonight.

All right, I'm done with the pity party - there are so many worse things to have happen and I have friends going through really tough things and I recognize this is rather trivial. I have a handy husband and I think he will be able to fix it but it will take time. We are all okay and the house is okay - I'm so thankful for that!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Other Things

I've been really wanting to write a substantive post of late. And yet I keep coming back to a couple of topics that I'm not ready to write about just yet. So...I won't write about them. :) Instead, here is a mish-mash of other things.

We are currently working on re-doing the boys' rooms. Painting, rearranging furniture, cleaning, donating, and working with them on taking personal responsibility for making their beds and putting their clothes in the laundry. We've taken a minimalist approach on their rooms so it's easier to maintain...for all of us.

Titus has really taken off on the language front. I talked to his pediatrician because I was thinking of having him evaluated but she is not concerned at all. He has more words than we can keep track of, he is trying to say everything, and he has several two word phrases. It's so exciting to hear him talk! He's often hard to understand and shy about talking around others but he's getting there!

The boys all had great check-ups last week. Calvin's chart is one of our doctor's favorites - she has shared that with me a couple of times. She told me that she always shows new nurses his growth chart and tells them that it show what love and family can do. He went from nowhere near the growth chart to a solid 20%+. It's been a delight for us to see, too! Patrick remains the highest on the chart of our three. Although the boys are a little closer in height than they have been in past years.

We are enjoying school for the most part. I'm amazed at how much Titus is picking up - he brought me our reading program to do with him and is already wanting to identify letters and sounds. Patrick LOVES reading and always wants to be first to work on his pages. Calvin would spend the whole day drawing if I would let him. He is very artistic and imaginative. Overall, they like what we are working on.

Calvin lost his first tooth. I wasn't home which made me a little sad. He was happy that the tooth fairy brought him a small lego set (after the first it's $1/tooth :)). Hard to believe we are headed into the years of losing teeth.

We are debating whether we will have our Christmas Open House this year. Last year I hosted a ladies' brunch instead of our open house and this year I just can't decide. I do love making the food and decorating the house... I think I would probably be disappointed to not host something! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Pictures

The boys were due for some new photos so we headed to my parents' backyard to take some. I wanted them in time to frame for Andrew's birthday - he needed some photos for his office! Photo taking can be a little frustrating - we are at that cheesy smile stage with a couple of them. However, I think we got some good ones, too. And some silly ones which are fun. I bribed them with the promise of candy when we were done. We still need to do a family picture between now and Christmas...one of these days! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Love!

On this day, many...er..a lot...er...merely a few years ago, my husband was born. What a sweet, amazing guy he is! He is a wonderful provider, a beyond awesome dad, a supportive husband, and an all round nice person. During this challenging year, he has been my rock, my encourager, and my best friend. He's all those things other times, too - I have just really come to appreciate it in new ways this year.

It's been such a joy to see him transition into his new job and realize what a great fit it is for him and for our family. I am just so grateful to be married to Andrew!

Happy Birthday, Honey!
Wishing you the greatest birthday ever and many more to come!

Friday, October 15, 2010


I think deciding what is most important and what needs to be a priority is one of the most challenging aspects of life. There are so many good things to be involved in and so many great opportunities. And saying 'no' can be so hard! How quickly our lives (and by that, I mean, my family) become over committed. We struggle to keep things balanced and I feel like more often than not, Andrew look at each other and wonder how it has happened...again. :)

So, it's Friday. We have a busy weekend full of things that we want to do - soccer and church fall picnic (in case you are interested). But somewhere in this weekend, I must fit in the cleaning, menu planning, and school plans. We continue to learn to balance, to prioritize, to say 'no,' to choose carefully, and to love and teach our boys about serving others, about hospitality, and about the importance of family.

It's a work in progress. I write this post not so much for advice on how to prioritize :) but rather to share what I've been thinking on lately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mom Life

Sometimes I find myself frustrated with the messy house, the noise level, the bickering, the constant questions and demands but the truth is, I don't wish these years away. I adore being a mom. My kids make me smile and laugh every single day. Even in the midst of stress, challenge, and well, let's face it...life, I wouldn't trade this stage in life. And when one of my sons says, "I love you all around the world lots of times and up to the moon," and another son says, "Mom, come see what I made," and another son flashes his smile and smothers me with kisses, I can't help but wish this time to last forever. Sure, my house feels like a disaster zone, I'm constantly tired, life is busy beyond belief, and we had take-out pizza for dinner one night this week, but it's a good life.

I never want to forget these moments. I treasure them. I want to make more memories. And I want my children to remember these years with joy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I made vegetable beef soup tonight and it made me think of the many wonderful pots of soup I've enjoyed at my Grandpa & Grandma C.'s house. Seriously, my grandma makes amazing vegetable soup! The bubbly, delicious, fragrant soup fills the house with wonderful smells. Good memories...good soup...AWESOME grandparents. :) Oh and in case you were wondering, my soup was tasty but it was not my grandma's.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Emotions? What?

It's hard to put into words.
The emotions I feel.
I feel tremendously blessed.
And happy.
How could I not?
Three amazing boys.
One awesome husband.
And a lot of family.
And friends.
Yet something is stirring within me.
I can't quite put my finger on it.
Perhaps it will become clear.

Emotions are a funny thing.
Personal and at times, confusing.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

My Boys Thoughts On Family

There is pretty much nothing sweeter to me than the words that our boys came up with when we talked about what family means to them. Knowing that they did not have the love and nurture of a family for a little over the first year of their life and seeing how far they have come in four years is inspiring. I am truly humbled and challenged by their list.

Sitting by each other

I love my family!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy Family Day!

Four years ago today marks the day that a judge in Uralsk, Kazakhstan declared Calvin Amirkhan Joseph and Patrick Murat Rudolph to be forever our sons. It was a rainy, cold, dreary day as I recall but the weather couldn't squelch our amazing joy. You see, up until that day, we really weren't sure if we would be allowed to adopt both of our boys. We had been told 'no' and then we had been told that they would see what they could do but we could never get a for sure 'yes'. So, we celebrate October 4 as our family day - it was our 'for sure forever' day.

This is the first year that the boys more fully understand the significance of this time. It's really the birthday of our family. Since I was in Kazakhstan this year, I was able to pick up a few gifts for the boys which I know they will love.

What wonderful sons we have been blessed with. I love being a mom...their mom. I never would have guessed that God would gift us with three boys - none share our DNA but all are ours forever and we could not possibly love them more.

Happy Family Day, Calvin & Patrick. We love you forever. We are SO happy God brought you into our lives and made you a part of our family. You are amazing, resilient, smart, and sweet boys and I'm so proud of you both for your courage, trust, and big hearts.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Blogging has continued to fall by the wayside - between the school schedule, work, soccer, and various other activities, I find myself exhausted at the end of each day. So, here is a short list of the happenings of late:

- Calvin has his first loose tooth and I am rather emotional about it - just doesn't seem he can be old enough for that. We've discussed losing teeth and the tooth fairy a lot this week (don't judge - yes, the tooth fairy visits. What can I say, I'm a hygienist! :)). We are still deciding what the tooth fairy will bring for the very first tooth lost.

- Patrick has a favorite stuffed animal - a cat. He named her Kati and we currently have to tell Kati "goodnight" and we have to regularly acknowledge her presence. He has been singing all day, every day lately which is kind of cute - I like that he's singing his scripture memory song which is Ephesians 6.

- Titus is rapidly gaining words. He will now try to say almost anything for us - not so much for others. He likes colors - especially blue and yellow and proudly says those words. He really enjoys being included in school and asks me to write "ttttt" on his papers.

- We had a field trip to the apple orchard which prompted the boys to request that we make an apple pie. Today, we did just that and we tried a new recipe. It was delicious! I'll probably share it on the cooking blog.

- Speaking of The Cooks Next Door, we celebrate one year of having the blog up and running this next week! So exciting - it's been a great year! We continue to have lots of ideas, though time has been a challenge. :)

- We continue to plug away at home organization and de-junking. I'm encouraged by the progress and I'm finding that each step is very freeing. I'm looking forward to having more of it behind us!

- I was challenged by Katie @Heart Gone Walking to go through our clothes and find more to give to refugee families in our area. And along those lines, a huge thank-you for the donations from many of you! There is still plenty of need - there are many refugees in our city. You can check out Katie's blog to find out more of what is needed, how to get involved etc.

- It was kind of a tough week overall but I'm learning to seize the teachable moments. And I continue to remind myself that the boys are in kindergarten. :) We have a pretty intense curriculum but they are doing very well.

- After being ready to give up in the first two weeks of homeschooling, I can honestly say that I'm enjoying it. It's been challenging and rewarding. Finding books and resources to re-inforce lessons, coming up with crafts and fun projects, and being involved in every aspect of their education has actually been really awesome. We are all enjoying one another and I'm learning a lot about my kids. All in all, it's been a good first month of school.

And that's about it. :)