Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coming Home

This day dawns...the last day of my regular work life...for now. I worked at a practice downtown and a practice on the westside of town for years and then took a great new position in a start-up practice 1 1/2 years ago. It was a wonderful career move with fantastic co-workers, great patients, and the best boss anyone could ever want. The professional growth and the increased responsibility proved rewarding.

This summer it became clear that our beautiful boys needed me home. Homeschooling has little to do with it - though it will be nice to have a more consistent schedule. We realized that they needed the continuity and the stability as we worked through some things. Recently, we learned just how much the stressors of all three of our children's early development affects their actual brain chemistry. We need to be more proactive as we help them to continue to overcome the sad disadvantages that come with being from hard places. It takes more than love to bring healing and we are 100% committed. We feel incredibly blessed to be their parents and even during the tough times, we wouldn't have it any other way.

And if it's even possible, learning about how much the first year of life and even prenatal stress effects children makes me even sadder about the orphan plight. Praying that many, many children will find loving, committed homes and families. It has been hands down the most amazing, rewarding, challenging journey of our lives. We love our kids and we continue to advocate for orphans and for adoption. They have changed our lives, shifted our focus, and given us a deeper understanding of our own relationship with God. And, in many ways, we have changed their lives - I'm so thankful we all have each other.

So, it's with a mixture of sadness and joy and excitment that I end a chapter and begin a new one. How can I not be excited about being home with my sweet sons?! But in all honesty, I worry - even though I know God will provide and I know that this is His desire. So here's to trusting Him, finding joy in the journey, and embracing these years (that are passing too quickly!) with the boys. I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Burden

147 million.
This number is burdening me.
It has been on my heart for a long time now.
I think about it daily.
I pray that God makes our path clear.
I trust that He will continue to use us.
He has already enlarged my heart.
He is opening my eyes to need.
He is challenging my ideals.
It is sometimes painful.
It is sometimes hard and confusing.
It makes me love Him more.
It makes me love my children more.
My "plans" are changing.
Our vision is growing.
147 million.
What can I do?
What can WE do?
What can YOU do?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My husband had mono this past spring/early summer and therefore our garden was put in a little late. We have been anxiously awaiting the tomatoes and what beautiful ones we have! They are delicious - there is really nothing like homegrown tomatoes.

We are working on ideas for re-launching the cooking blog. I'm excited! My kitchen has been a bit boring of late although I enjoyed making a pound cake with berry sauce and honey whipped cream as well as trying a new pumpkin bar recipe (both made to share with others :)). It's soup season which I love and I'm planning to venture into the artisan bread world - the perfect fall and winter comfort meal in my opinion!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not to Throw You Off...

...but I'm posting again. Wow. I don't want to speak too soon but I *might* be getting a little bit of my blogging groove back. I have missed it - really and truly. Anyway...

Yesterday we had such a great time at Conner Prairie Country Fair and Mini Maker's Faire. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful event. There was something for everyone - the boys loved building an egg protector and then launching it in an egg catapult. C & T built mini whiteboards and and P made a set of coasters. We enjoyed a hayride, tractor parade, heirloom apple & tomato tasting, robot demonstrations and so much more. Perhaps our favorite part was the circus equipement we got to try out - bikes, tightrope, and trapeze are a few of the things they provided! We spent SIX hours there (a record for us) and the boys still weren't ready to go home. :) All in all a very fun and successful family day. Oh, I forgot to mention that all of the above was included in normal admission or free for members.

Here are a few pictures of the fun!
P building his coaster set!

A happy little boy...anything with food. :)

Helping C build his white board.

C & P with their egg protector - the egg survived and they were awarded a golden egg!
T getting ready to launch his egg - alas it was scrambled. :)
C & P trying out a little circus bike built for 2!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Top 10

It's probably no surprise that I can get pretty excited about kitchen products. With my love of baking and cooking goes an insane love for all things kitchen...gadgets, dishes, serving ware, cookbooks, you name it! I can get lost for hours in the kitchen section of stores. My idea for building a house is to start with a great big kitchen with lots of storage - my husband thinks maybe we should be a little more balanced in our approach but I digress...

Anyway, I'm hosting a Pampered Chef party next week and it has made me think about the products I love the most. My kitchen is stocked with many of their items and they receive regular use - some almost daily use. Since cooking and baking are a hobby, I use more products than maybe the average home cook but their kitchen basics are awesome for anyone!

So, it seems fitting to offer my top 10 most-used, favorite products:

1.   Chef's Tongs (quite simply, I don't know how I ever got along without them - amazing)

2.   Measure Mix & Pour
(this is for salad dressing - it even includes recipes on the outside - I don't even buy salad dressing anymore)

3.   Stoneware
(I use the flat stones and bar pans ALL the time - things bake more evenly and they are easy to maintain)

4.   Mini Serving Spatula
(the best size for serving just about anything - brownies, cornbread, bars etc. - I had two, one handle broke - I will be getting another one!)

5.   Silicon Basting Brush
(admittedly wasn't sure if I would like this but I LOVE it - easy to clean, no bristles falling out, and even rests on the side of your bowl)

6.   Rubber Scrapers
(you will never buy any other rubber scrapers...the end.)

7.   Bamboo Spoons
(sturdy, perfect shape, really nice)

8.   Twixit! Clip Combo Pack
(keeps everything fresher - they are constantly in use)

9.   Ice Cream Dipper
(makes scooping ice cream so much easier - this might get used more often than it should... :))

10. Easy Read Measuring Cups
(no more bending down to make sure you have the right amount - you can look from the top and (bonus!) they stack inside of each other for easy storage)

HONORABLE MENTION - these items are also favorites and are used constantly - should have made it a top 15!
- 12" Skillet w/lid (heavy duty cookware, great size, use it all the time - the clear glass lid is a really nice feature)
- Garlic Press (no more mincing and getting all of the garlic smell on your hands)
- Citrus Press (gets all of the juice out of your lemons and limes)
- Whisks (both the traditional and mini are great quality - the handle is nicely weighted)
- Microplane (excellent for citrus, hard cheese, nutmeg, ginger root, garlic and more!)

What are your favorite products?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

School - Our Second Year

We have begun our second year of homeschooling. In many ways, I still find myself surprised that we have been led down that path. It was unexpected. However, I remain convinced that it is the best choice for us at the moment and overall we are all enjoying it. We continue to take it one year at a time - we re-evaluate and decide each year what is best for each member of the family.

We've chosen a fairly rigorous classical program with lots of memorization and the boys have loved it...well, most of it. :) This year I am teaching for our group classes and it has been so fun! Patrick has taken off with his reading skills and both of the boys enjoy math. We have added several new subjects this year and I am loving the new curriculum. The homeschool convention in March proved to be just what I needed to feel inspired, to branch out from the known, and to challenge me to not underestimate my children. 

This year, Titus is insistent that he be included in school. I put together a bin of school activities for him which he likes...as long as I am sitting with him. :) Since he is so motivated, I decided to be a little more structured for him, so we are working on colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. He participates in much of the boys memory program and often wants to "do it by myself." (That independence is a bit of a theme with our three year old. :)) He really likes to work puzzles, read books, play games, and color. Thankfully, he is also learning to play some by himself.

We are all enjoying our Bible program this year and it has provided many opportunities for deep discussions. I have appreciated the opportunity to also talk more about their history and personal stories and the great joy they have brought to our lives. I feel like I can never fully express to them how thankful we are that God chose them to be in our family but they love to hear it and feel that affirmation.

So, I'm happy for the fall - the structure is good for us. I delight in seeing the boys learning and growing and I am trying to treasure these moments and years. It amazes me how much they are growing. As I'm changing out the clothes for the season, I'm reminded again of how quickly the years pass. My heart overflows with love for our sons. Our children. I never get tired of the sound of those words.

I'm excited for this 1st grade year for Calvin & Patrick and pre-k for Titus. I trust we will learn together and challenge one another. Here's to a new school year - always an adventure! 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Change is in the Air

I guess since it's official, I can share that at the end of this month I will be home full-time. It was such a hard decision in many respects and an easy one in others. I love my boss, my job, and my co-workers - it's been a great career move and a rewarding position. While I loved it, I was also feeling very torn - the needs of my family were increasing and my commute was long. Last year the boys were in kindergarten and it worked; this year I didn't know exactly how I was going to balance their more intense schooling with everything else. My desire to excel in everything was resulting in stress and a feeling that I was succeeding fully in nothing. Most of all, it became clear this summer that there were some challenges that need addressed and worked through with the boys and it was hard to do that with our busy schedule.

So, with much consideration and prayer and agonizing, Andrew and I decided that I should resign my position and come home for this season. I'm excited and looking forward to this new adventure. I know I will miss my job but I know that I will find much fulfillment in being home. I will work once a month to keep my skills current (and continue care for some of my patients) and I will continue to complete all of my continuing education in order to maintain my license.

If you had told us at the beginning of the summer that we would make this decision, we would have doubted. :) In fact, we imagined sharing very different news but that must wait. We are thankful for the employment God has provided these many years. We are looking forward to seeing how God will continue to provide for us and guide us.   

How do the boys feel about it? They will miss their sitters but they are thrilled that I will be home all the time...at least at the moment. :)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

And Now He Is 3

Titus turned 3 last month! He was so excited because he really "got" the birthday thing this year. I made cupcakes that were a disasterous flop and so, I changed tactics and let him decorate his own. He was thrilled, I was relieved! :) He wanted everything to be chocolate - a boy after my own heart.

It's hard to believe that we were blessed and surprised with Titus three whole years ago. We remain so thankful that C chose life and that she gave us the honor of being his parents. He has brought all kinds of new adventures and joy to our family.

Titus has grown up so much this year as is inevitable with the changing from toddler-hood to little boyhood. He has embraced this change with much gusto - insisting on keeping up with his brothers in every way. He feels positively left out if he doesn't have school work to complete and asks regularly for "my reading" and "my numbers." :) He is a tiny guy but don't let his size fool you - he can talk your ear off and play a mean game of baseball. He LOVES sports and counts down the days until he is old enough to play soccer.

Dear Titus,

You have grown up so much this year! You insist that you are not a baby - not even my baby - but rather that you are a big boy. Titus, you love to laugh, play jokes, and make others laugh. Sometimes your brothers get frustrated because you want to do everything with them but really, you are good friends with your brothers. :)

This past year, you conquered most of your fear of separation and went to class one morning a week. You had so much fun playing and learning and making new friends. Although you are often shy at first, you actually have a lot to say. You especially enjoyed bringing things for show-and-tell occasionally.

Titus, you have a great memory and work to memorize everything the older boys are memorizing. You also enjoy playing games almost more than anything else. Your favorite games are match games, Cootie, and Cherry-O. You really like to read books - it is so fun reading to you and your brothers. 

You bring so much joy and blessing to your dad, brothers, and me! We can't imagine our family any other way! We think of your first mom and thank God for her - for her choosing life and for her choosing us to be your parents and family. We pray that you continue to grow in grace. We love you so much and we are so thankful for you!

Love forever,