Sunday, September 27, 2015

Birthday Months

The summer and early fall months are what I consider the birthday months in our household.   You see 4 out of our 5 children have birthdays starting in July, then August, and ending in September.  So, for three months straight we are talking about cakes, games, presents, friends, food, and dates.  I love my children and I relish in the celebration of their lives, but by the end of September I am thankful that there are no more parties to plan until February when our Juwan gets to celebrate his day!  We do not go all crazy for birthdays.  Yes, we try to do some sort of fun cake.  This year Lola wanted owl cupcakes, Brennan and Samuel had s'mores cupcakes, and by the time we got to Lige (and our foster daughter) we were tired of cake so they had tractor cookies with apple crisp.   Each party we try to have some sort of theme, but we usually make some small decorations ourselves and definitely do not break the bank to accomplish this feat.  Since Lola wanted owls each table had a little thrift store owl figurine with a saying like, "Owl always love you."  Even though it was rainy we managed to do a scavenger hunt with clues.  Samuel and Brennan's party didn't have decorations, but who needs that when you have an obstacle course complete with zip line and bow and arrow practice.  Then Lige and baby still being little needed only some tractors and green pinwheels to complete their party.  It was great having lots of helpers decorate tractor cookies and make pinwheels.  The only negative to their party was that Scott was sick and couldn't participate.  Anyway,  I'm sure I could make the parties a little less work intensive, but there is something about putting the labor of love into making each party a little special.  I hope that looking back the kids and I will remember and see these parties for what they really are: an expression of love and thankfulness for each one of them!

Unfortunately, due to our lack of organization around here all I could find was a brief video from Samuel and Brennan's Birthday, a video from Lola's actual birthday, but nothing from the party, a video of the zip line used for the boys' party, and a blurry picture from Lige's birthday party.  I guess that's what happens when your either busy enjoying your child's birthday, hosting your child's party, or trying to do it all while your husband is sick and no one else seems to care about taking pictures of your child's party....  Yes, as I type this post I'm feeling frustrated!

Lige 3 years old

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Just a Little Leg Room

"I'm glad Lola's not here," were the words that came from the backseat of the van one evening after we had left Lola at our good friends' house to spend the night.  I was about to whip out the Mama response.  You all know what I'm talking about.  The voice that is filled with disappointment, scolding, and disdain.  The one that can invoke instant shame and remorse...umm yes that one, the one that really doesn't work.  Anyway, it was on the tip of my tongue, when suddenly something in me said, "Wait a minute...don't jump to conclusions, let's see what he means."  WOW, I know right?  I mean this doesn't often happen.  I usually am quick to speak and quick to bark! But in this rare instance I didn't bark, I simple said, "Brennan what do you mean?"  Then in the sweetest most innocent voice, without hesitation Brennan said, "Because I have more room back here when she is gone."  After a moments pause the car erupted in laughter.  Samuel, Juwan, and I just couldn't stop laughing.  We all expected some nasty response from Brennan, but instead he completely surprised us! We have five kids and one foster child at the moment; all of which are smashed tightly into our van.  There are two car seats in back and then Lola.  Then in the middle there are two car seats and Samuel.  This does not leave much room.   He didn't hate his sister, he didn't rejoice in her absence because she aggravated him, he wasn't exhilarated because he would get to ransack her room while she was gone.  No, he just simply loved having a little leg room!
Isn't that the case in life?  I mean sometimes we just need a little space, a little time, a little peace to stretch our legs.  No matter how much we love our families, our friends, our jobs, or our church, sometimes it is so refreshing to have a little time to ourselves.  I know that this is the case for me.  Here is one reason I completely relate to what Brennan was feeling that evening.  When Lige, our youngest son, was about 4 months old Lola came back to live with us.  Now, we decided it would be a good idea for Lige to move into our room in order to give Lola the space she needed.  There was not room in the boy's room for a crib; thus he ended up in ours.  Well, for many of you who have been in this predicament, you know that a baby who wakes up in his crib, which is in his parents' room, instantly knows that his parents' are in that room.  He will not go back to sleep in that crib for anything!  Then begins the long road of co-sleeping!  Needless to say, there is no leg room in a full bed with two adults and a baby.  Even less leg room when that baby is a two-year old!  In the morning, when Lige would wake up,  Scott usually got up with him.  I would stay in bed and just stretch my whole body out!  I loved even those 5 minutes when I could have all that leg room to stretch, unencumbered by my clingy two year old and  husband.  Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and Lige, but sometimes you just need a little room to move, a little time to just be.  As a little side note, Lige is now sleeping in his own bed with his brothers.  Even though most nights at least one of us has to go snuggle with him when he wakes in the night.  But this is progress believe me!
Whether you're a 7 year old boy who comes from a big family, a mom who has a clingy baby, or fill in the blank.  We all can rejoice in a little time to ourselves now and again, and not feel guilty about it either.  It doesn't mean we don't love our families.  We just need a little leg room from time to time!

Couldn't Ask for a Lovelier Day

Lola and Samuel posing in the photo booth

Beautiful, warm, sunny May day, shared with family and friends made for a very lovely day! A day where we came together to celebrate Lola being part of our family.  We called it her adoption day party, even though her adoption was finalized awhile back.  We call it a celebration, her party when in reality maybe it should be our party.  After all we are the ones that have been truly blessed to be called Lola's family!

Adoption is a wonderful thing; there is no doubt about it!  It is almost a miracle in and of itself.   A child and a family with grandparents, uncles, cousins, etc. join together to form a new family that is not biologically connected.   Now adoption is not as simple as that either.  There are hard times, adjustment, and wonderful moments too.  It does take more than love, but it doesn't take more than God!  He does make it possible regardless the struggles.  Lola is our child through and through; we are blessed!  However, with all the wonders that accompany adoption there is a sense of loss that cannot, must not be dismissed.

I will not share the details of Lola's story because this has been our promise to her.  It is her story to share or withhold, not mine, not my husbands, not her siblings, no one's story but her own!  Yet it is safe to assume that a child who has been adopted had a birth family.  This is the case with every child...maybe they were placed in foster care, maybe their birth family couldn't give them the life they wished for them, maybe there was a death of one or more parent, maybe...but with any adoption there was a before, no matter how brief that before may or may not have been.  So, even though Lola's adoption party was a celebration, we also must recognize that our gain came with a loss, a price.  We choose to honor that before, by putting pictures of her birth parents in her video, by talking about and remembering her before, and most of all by thanking God for the before because this is part of who Lola is.  This is her story and now part of our story.  We are truly thankful to be part of it.  We couldn't have asked for a lovelier day!

(note: I wanted to post this because it is long over due, but have hesitated because I want to post Lola's video also.  However, as of right now it is too long; so we have to do some editing first)