Friday, December 12, 2008

I loved you then...

Today is Caleb's 1/2 birthday. If you have kids like mine, you know this is an important day. Caleb will discover this special day next year! Until then, we are thanking God that we have him with us in our hearts and have a few pictures to make him seem a little bit closer.

My prayer for Caleb today is pretty much summed up in the song "I Loved You Then" (on my playlist on the sidebar, if it isn't playing right now). When we finally get to see Caleb and invite him into our family, these are the words I will tell him. We loved you then. We love you now. And tomorrow.

Even before Caleb knew we existed, we loved him. While his life was going on as normal, we were loving him even then. We'll look back on days like today and tell him how much we loved him. Even way back on a snowy day in December.

And it is such a clear picture of how God loves us. Even in our sin, he loved us then. He loved us when we didn't even know about Him. He came to us, paid the ransom for our lives with his very own life. He loved us then. And He loves us now. And forever. We get to actually live out the hope of the gospel through the blessing of adoption. It is showing me the heart of God in new ways. And it really is the story of all of us who accept His invitation and become children of God.

Here are the words to the song. I can't listen to it without tears.

Pain touches everyone
Heartache falls on every heart
And all of us go through the storm
It doesn't matter who you are
And you're up against the wind
And you feel you've lost your way
Listen to me say

I loved you then
I love you now
I will love you tomorrow
When this world breaks you down
I will give you strength to stand
Look to me
Take my hand and just believe
Before this day ever began
I loved you then

Time changes everything
Moments fly by like the wind
And you can try to hold on so tight
But you'll never get time back again
Oh you feel stuck with your mistakes
Can't turn anything around
And it seems there's no way out

I won't let you go
Not even for a minute
So don't lose hope

Monday, December 8, 2008

thinking of Caleb and Nathan turns 6!

It's Christmas time and we're thinking about our Caleb...

This Christmas we'll be rejoicing over the birth of our Saviour, Jesus. And we'll also be rejoicing over the birth of our newest son, Caleb, whom we haven't met yet but love as if he were here. We are missing you, Caleb.

Good mom, bad mom stories..
I'll start with the bad mom story so I can end on a good note.
Nathan turned six on Friday. We have been counting the days for his 6th birthday for 364 days. Yes, the countdown for birthdays always begins the day after a birthday celebration around here. Makes for a l-o-n-g wait, but the kids do it none the less. So, you'd think that I would have a few b-day candles on hand, right? No, not me. I recently decluttered one of my always cluttered kitchen drawers and threw away all the used and random b-day candles thinking, of course, that I would replace them with nice new ones that all matched. Well, that was several weeks ago and a lot of life happened between then and Friday and not one time did I think about candles. I ended up scrambling around for some on Friday. The only option at 8:30 pm?...
Six purple tealight candles. I will forever have proof of my not-so-great-mom moment. It was pretty funny though. And even funnier that Nathan didn't even seem to notice or care.

And now, on to my good mom story. After three kids, I have learned a few things. Some I don't learn until after the fact. Some I learn just in the right time. And some I actually learn and get to put into practice. One of my best parenting tips is this: don't push your kid to do any "age appropriate" task that really doesn't matter and will eventually come in time. And this is why...Andy and I realized that Nathan was about to turn six and neither of us had even attempted to teach him how to tie his shoes. Now Kara, on the otherhand, oh, we spent forever teaching her and probably started when she was three years old or something crazily optimistic like that. Not Nathan. He's our third and things are much different in his life. So, a few days before his sixth b-day I think, uh oh, he should have learned this when he was five, right? Isn't this something every kindergartner should know? I put him on the couch and say, "Nate, let me show you how to tie your shoes." And you know what? He learned. Right then and right there. No tears, no emotional breakdowns, no days and weeks and months of trying. Just one day. One lesson. So, now my six year old can tie his shoes. He can also fold his laundry, make his bed, take a shower, sweep the floor, empty the trash, change the toilet paper roll, clean bathtubs and showers and sinks, mop the floors (by hand, on his hands and knees!), dust the baseboards and a whole host of other helpful things! Welcome to the world of DO IT YOURSELF, Nathan. Your mommy is thrilled to finally see you here! julia.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A little bit of fun while waiting...

My friend Nyla, aka "the stamping lady" according to my kids, had a great idea to make our waiting-on-China-time go a bit faster...or at least seem a bit more fun. She came up with an idea to make a CountUP to Caleb Calendar. We went over to her craft studio yesterday to make it. The kids decorated the front of the calendar and punched out paper shapes to glue on to each day of the calendar. Now each morning, one of them gets to pick a fun paper shape and glue it onto the calendar for the day. And leave it to Anna to figure out a way to make it all perfectly fair. As soon as we got home, she immediately marked every date on the calendar with the initials K, A or N to designate who gets to glue the shape on for the day. Yes, she inherited my love of systems.

Here are a few close ups of the calendar:

And as for my special way of making the wait time seem worthwhile...I committed to lose one pound and gain one bible memory verse for every week that we wait to hear from China. I'm on week two and am down 2.5 lbs and up to verse number 2 as of today. Not bad for me. I'm not sure how successful I'll be at losing weight. I just love food too much! I am bringing out all the tricks though. I bought healthy snacks yesterday and had the girls organize little snack bags of all the "goodies" (and I do use the word "goodies" rather hesitantly!). Hopefully, it will keep me from begging for stale Halloween candy from them. That is my weakness about 3:00pm everyday. Today I'm going to make myself think about nuts and dried fruit. Mmm....I'm trying to make it sound good. It's rather hard! Hopefully it will somehow balance out calories from the doughnuts I ate this morning...

So, bring on the wait, China! We're making it worthwhile and fun here! julia.