Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summer Kickoff!

Today we met our friends at a really cool pool that just opened nearby. It was so fun! There is a big kiddie area, a swimming pool, 2 very big water slides for the big kids and a lazy river.

The kids were toast after 3 hours of nonstop swimming. Hunter and Ella both begged for a nap when we got home. It was 4:00 and there was no way we wanted them falling asleep that late in the day. It felt 99 ways of wrong to be saying "No, you may not take a nap!"

Good times. There is just no better way to spend a hot summer day than at the pool with friends, spending every bit of energy you have without even noticing until you can barely walk to your car when it's time to go home!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Feeling Grateful

Our Hunter(7) just completed his first grade year and brought home his report card today. I teared up(SURPRISE) when I read the comments by his teacher and looked over a year full of all E's and 3's (1st grade code for wonderful).

Here's what Mrs. C. had to say:
"Hunter continues to excel in all areas. His story writing is amazing whether it be research based or fiction. His writing voice is developing and makes his writing pieces quite enjoyable to read! It has been a true pleasure to teach Hunter. He is a wonderful boy!"

That last sentence is what got me. It does a mama's heart good to know that his teacher sees him as we do - a wonderful boy. Of course I am thrilled that he does so well in school, but we are most excited about who he is. Every one of his teachers at school and even teachers he doesn't have stop me, and remark on what a good kid he is. His teacher this year has developed Hunter so much, I could never thank her enough. When Hunter started the year he did not enjoy writing very much at all. She used the Writer's Workshop approach and Hunter ate. it. up. - loved it. She did lots of science and projects, Hunter's forte, and encouraged him and challenged him all along the way.

You know I have a hard time with goodbyes. I really hate saying goodbye to Hunter's 1st grade year, but it makes it a little more bearable knowing that in a week we'll be in the Colorado mountains - yippee!!!
I'll sign off with a little note his teacher sent home that I think is worth sharing:
Inside each of you is something very special.
It grows each time you face a fear - Courage.
It grows each time you admit you were wrong - Character.
It grows each time you allow someone else to shine - Humility.
It grows each time you learn something new - Knowledge.
Keep Growing!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No Pain. No Gain.

I went to the orthopedist today, and I am pretty excited about my diagnosis - chondromalacia otherwise known as "runner's knee"!

"Chondromalacia patella is a common cause of kneecap pain or anterior knee pain. Often called "Runner's Knee," this condition often affects young, otherwise healthy athletes."

I was so afraid he was going to tell me I had arthritis, but now, not only do I not have arthritis, I have a chondromalacia - apparently a common problem for athletes. Young, healthy athletes! For anyone remotely acquainted with my fitness level at the moment, you may chuckle now.

I am in the worst shape I've ever been in, and the most I've run in the last year is around the couch while Piper screams "tickle, pickle, pickle - tickle me!!".

A few months ago I did get on the StairMaster and start doing leg lunges and a few arm weights. That's about the time me knee began hurting. But then a week ago, it completely seized up on me as I stepped out of my car after an extended shopping trip at IKEA. You know IKEA, where all the young, healthy athletes train.

The doc gave me a shot - IN MY KNEE - eewww, and put me on steroids and in a knee brace. Apparently I'm not supposed to run 10-20 miles anytime soon. What will I do with myself without my running? I am already feeling an identity crisis coming on.

It's the life of an athlete you know. Well, young, healthy athletes that is. One day you're up, the next day you're down. One day you're just a middle aged, out of shape mommy. The next you are a young, healthy athlete with chondromalacia. Oh, and if you see me out and about with my knee brace on, please feel free to ask me how my RUNNER'S KNEE is. Just make sure you do it real loud, in front of a lot of people. Thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

If you have daughters, or sons, or have ever gotten so overwhelmed by life that you've ever hurried through bath time, or bed time with your kids - watch this.

It's Steven Curtis Chapman's Cinderella video. The first half is the song and the 2nd half is him telling the story on how he came to write that song. Considering recent events, it really takes your breath away. My hubby is not what I would consider a really emotional person, but this video really impacted him. After he watched it, he said something to the effect that he's got 2 Cinderellas and a prince, and while they are here with us, we must make our time with them count. We always think we've got so long with them, but none of us really know if today could be the day that our clock strikes midnight, as it did for the Chapmans on Wednesday evening.

The day before the Chapman tragedy, I had listened to a podcast by Steve Saint. His father was a missionary along with Jim Elliot, and was speared to death by the very people they had come to help. Later in his life Steve Saint experienced another sudden death in his family. Many of the words he said have helped me sort through the Chapman tragedy, especially at the end of his talk. It can be found here. The story is of loss and redemption. Their story was made into a movie called The End of the Spear. We haven't seen it yet, so we are going to rent it this weekend.

Oh, and this video of SCC and his daughters is really cute. Maria seemed to have had a wonderful life, what a treasure she is! She reminds me so much of Piper.

Meanwhile, I'm off to "dance" with my Cinderellas...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last week we went on a field trip with Hunter(7) to a science museum. I think Piper got the most out of the experience - she LOVED it! Her favorite part was the floor air conditioners that made her dress fly up all Marylin Monroe like.

What cracked me up was all the attention she got from the boys in Hunter's 1st grade class. When they saw me, they immediately asked about Piper's whereabouts. I pointed over to where she was turning circles and falling down in a mess of giggles. They were riveted by her every move. Since when do 1st grade boys think a 2 year old girl is more interesting than dinosaur bones?

Anyway, today has felt so heavy that I needed to take a little time to focus on the little blessings right before my eyes. Melissa said in the comments that when she heard the news about the Chapmans, she went and hugged her little one from China, Madelyn, extra tight. I'm doing the same.

Steven Curtis Chapman and his daughter Maria
*Update: Here is a good article that their hometown newspaper ran. Also SCC's manager is posting updates here.

Our hearts are so very heavy for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth. Yesterday their 5 year old daughter Maria was tragically hit by an SUV in their driveway, driven by one of their teenage sons.

I remember hearing SCC talk about how Maria came into their family. He was in an orphanage in China and something drew him to her. He felt God speak to his heart that she was to be their daughter. She was the youngest of 3 children adopted from China.

I follow the blogs of their family, and his daughter Emily had just posted yesterday that she had gotten engaged over the weekend. All of his children are strong Christians. His 2 teenage sons tour with him, and my heart is broken for the road of grief ahead for all of them, but especially for their son who was involved in the accident. As a parent, I just can't imagine. Grieving for your child that you have lost, while trying to help your other child who feels responsible, who is also grieving for his sister. It's just, so much.

Here is a post by a friend of the family. Mary Beth's blog has lots of pictures of the family, including little Maria. They are such a beautiful family who have dedicated their lives to show love to the fatherless. Right now they are in the process of building a huge orphanage in China for special needs children.

Please, please pray for each family member. I pray they would be overcome with God's peace and comfort as they grieve and walk this very difficult road ahead. I don't know the why of what happened, but I do know that God chooses to work throught the prayers of his people, so LET'S PRAY - right now. There is power in the prayers of God's people, we can help them, by praying earnestly for them.

Go here to see an adorable video of SCC and Maria washing dishes, taken just a couple of weeks ago.
*They have set up a page where you can leave a note for the Chapmans.

I can hardly imagine...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How about a little good news?

My friends Christie and Anton just became parents after a very long wait! I couldn't be happier for them - go here and see their precious little guy.

Ella has a fever and has been up since 4:30 this morning - hooray! I went to the doctor yesterday and found out I probably tore some cartilage in my knee - hooray! Tomorrow is suppossed to be Ella's last day of Pre-K - hooray! But, she probably won't be able to go...ok, I'm losing my positive attitude right about now.

So far, these pictures of little Quint have given the me the biggest smile of my day. He is an answer to so many prayers, and has the cutest little grin. Makes me want to adopt again!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hunter and Kayla
Kayla, Hunter, and Ella

Tonight we said goodbye to our neighbors and friends of 4 years. They are moving - far, far away, and we are sad. It's surprised me a little how much each one of us is feeling this. I walked over there after we'd put the kids down tonight, took one look at my neighbor, Philana, and we both got teary. After we said our goodbyes, I couldn't help the tears that fell on the sidewalk from their house to ours.

Hunter and Kayla are in the same grade at school and have been fast friends since they met at age 3. Kayla and Ella are also very close and can get each other giggling like only little girls can. Kayla's little sister is a year older than Piper, and is full of life. Both of them are just good kids, with good parents. I could on and on about all that we've shared with them over the years. We know stuff about each other. We've helped each other out. When our kids are driving us crazy, we pick up the phone and invite the other one over. It is such a blessing to have a neighbor like that. I am already feeling their absence.

Today we picked Kayla up from school and got to have her over one last time. The kids had made her cards and had gotten she and Brianna a little present. As they sat down for a snack, Hunter said he'd like to say a prayer. He spoke a blessing over sweet Kayla that I will never forget, and then asked God to comfort us, as we got used to missing them. That 7 year old prayer was one of the most honest, pure prayers I think I've ever heard. And, yes, I cried.

I am glad that we invest our lives into the lives of others, but man, it hurts when you have to say goodbye. I'm resisting the temptation to go find Michael W. Smith's "Friends are Friends Forever" and wallow in self pity, as I belt out - "Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hands we know, that a lifetime's not too live as friends"!

So, I got home from our neighbors house and came inside to see the latest news out of China. Wow. Enormous loss. Some have lost their home, parents, spouse, and child - all in a moment's time. We did hear that Piper's hometown is fine, as well as her orphanage. But there are several orphanages that have not been heard from at all.

Loss is an inevitable part of life, and I want our kids to learn how to walk through loss well, not run from it...or get stuck in it. The funny thing about parenting, is the only way to teach them is to show them.

Tomorrow we will bake some brownies and be ready to meet and welcome our new neighbors...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Earthquake in China

Update: The death toll is now over 8,500. NPR happened to be doing interviews in Chengdu when the quake hit there. Listen here. You can hear it hit as she is conducting the interview, which seems to be about churches in the area. It is quite dramatic.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit in Piper's province. Remember when we were in Chongqing a little over a year ago? I'm just trying to picture what must be going on there right now. There are SO many very, very old, tall buildings everywhere. Reports now say the death toll is b/t 3,000-5,000 and rising by the hour.
My heart goes out to the adoptive parents who have been matched with their children, but have not traveled yet, and they have no way of knowing if their child is ok, and for all of the families involved, both here and in China. Of course, I wonder about Piper's birth family and her orphanage.
I'll be checking today to see if there is any news from any of the orphanages in China.

Friday, May 09, 2008

9:24 a.m.

Ella(5): "Mommy, you are not what you think you are."


"Yes, you are really made of molecules, but the molecules don't move, but they are like alive.
Mommy, how would you feel if Hunter spilled wet paint all over your bed?"

Uh, angry?

"Right, angry. But if your had a shrinkulator you would see that the paint was actually rainbow paint. You wouldn't be angry anymore because you would be exploring the molecule world."

I truly hope I never need this information.

The list

So, has it really been 2 weeks since my last post? Geez, May is always so full of this and that when you have kids in school. I did try to post twice, but blogger would not let me in. I took it as a sign from above that I should get up from the computer and put a dent in the layer of dust that had formed on every surface of our house while I was busy field tripping and teacher appreciating.

The only way I get through he month of May of is to live off lists. So, in that spirit, I'm going to get some things I want to write about out of my brain and onto a list. That way, when I have time to write, all I will have to do is pick something off of my list - no thinking - it's a beautiful thing.

1. The prayer that was answered in our family, despite my 1/2 of a mustard seed of faith.

2. slide show of Piper's b-day pictures

3. Piper's latest, and trying to cook dinner with a 2 year old attached to your leg

4. Attempting to regain some level of fitness

5. Summer plans

6. My living room

7. Ella and Piper's room

Ok, that's a good start.

In case I'm not back by Sunday, Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas!!!