Saturday, September 28, 2013

6th Grade Angel

Snapper had a swim meet this morning. She had a persistent side cramp (since yesterday afternoon) and swam very poorly. She came home feeling down and discouraged. And then she remembered that the best way to snap yourself out of a funk is to do something for another person. She came to me and said:

Mom, you do so much for me every day and you deserve a rest. Please rest and relax today and leave the house to me.

In the last 2 hours, Snapper has...

  • Cleaned her bedroom
  • Cycled 2 loads of laundry
  • Sorted 6 loads of laundry
  • Folded and put away 2 loads of towels
  • Thoroughly cleaned the kitchen (unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, wiped counters, swept the floor, wiped down appliances and fridge0
  • Vacuumed the living room
  • Wiped down the front bathroom
  • Is helping me with more laundry
Bless you, sweet child. You are such a gift, and your thoughtfulness and servant's heart is greatly appreciated today.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Birthday Party Thoughts

When I was little, my mom used to throw elaborate theme parties for my sister and me. They weren't expensive...just very creatively done. I loved my parties. My friends loved my parties, too. Even when I was a kid, I vowed that I would do the same thing for my kids. For the most part, I have.

Snapper's Parties:
1- Luau
2- Pooh Bear Picnic
3- Balloons
4- No at an indoor playground
5- Gardening
6- No party...she opted to go on a shopping spree and date day with me instead
7- Cooking
8- No party...we had just moved to Orlando and she had no friends. We spent a day at Downtown Disney, and a day at the beach.
9- Around the World (coolest party EVER)
10- Day at SeaWorld, eating meals and treats at the park (which we don't usually do)
11- Theme TBD. Because I've been so horribly sick with this pregnancy, I've promised Snapper a party once I feel better. She's thinking of having a Bunco party this year. That would be a fun way to get to know her new friends at her new school.

Bubbles, Sunny, and Piper have only been with us for one birthday each. Prior to coming to live with us, they'd never had a real birthday party. I decided to remedy that by going all out on the parties. I let them know I won't usually do parties that big and fancy, but I wanted their first with us to be really special.
Bubbles' 8th- Under the Sea
Piper's 7th- Formal Tea Party
Sunny's 5th- Teddy Bear Picnic

Pepper has always been more difficult. His birthday is in July, and because we're missionaries, we almost always travel in the summer. And we're not talking being gone a week...this summer we were gone for 7 weeks. No time to do a party at home. His birthday celebrations have always been special, just not themed birthday parties. He has always been fine with that.

1- Cake smash party with a few close friends and Matt's mom, who was in town
2- Baseball party
3- Pool pizza party
4- Lucky kid got three parties while we were on the road with different branches of our family! Transformers theme, Fireman theme, and a family get-together.
5- We spent the day at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, WY. He got a new cowboy hat and lots of treats.
6- Pool pizza party in Little Rock
7- Limo ride to the park with friends in Wyoming

I'm hoping we'll be home for his 8th birthday so I can do a pirate party for him. I can think of so many fun things to do!

Bubbles' 9th birthday is next month. She wants a mustache party. Hmm....
Piper is already talking party themes. She wants a spa party with makeovers and glamour photos. FUN!
Sunny can't decide if she wants a party, or if she wants Daddy to take her to Disney for a day. I vote Disney...easier for me because I'll be only 2 months away from Baby's arrival then.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Can't Stop Crying!

A few months ago, Pepper got very frustrated with something. In desperation he yelled out, "This is L-A-I-M. LAME!" We laughed and laughed. He didn't know why we were laughing, but he had to laugh with us. L-A-I-M has become a catch phrase around our house.

Today I am feeling L-A-I-M. I can't stop crying. Today is my little Snapper's 11th birthday. Of course, I had to have her on 9/11. So my emotions are a garbled mix of pure joy at the incredible young lady Snapper is becoming, anxiety at how fast the years are slipping away (live her life over and she's older than I was when I got married), grief at the memory of 9/11 twelve years ago, and deep sadness at the fact that my mom didn't get to watch her granddaughter grow up. Throw in a healthy dose of pregnancy hormones and I am a hot mess. I have been bawling off and on since I woke up this morning. I just can't get myself together!

I hung the usual birthday signs this morning and Matt made cheese souffle for breakfast--Snapper's favorite. Last night Matt went up to the school and filled Snapper's locker with streamers, balloons, and candy. He went with her this morning to take photos of her when she opened her locker. I am making caramel corn to take up to the school for Snapper to share with her small group this afternoon. Tonight we are having pizza before Awana at church. Tomorrow night I'll make the dinner of her choice. When my sickness has passed, I'll have a birthday party for her. Special girl deserves special treatment!

I suppose now would be a good time to sing my daughter's praises. She is a remarkable kid. In the craziness of the last 15 months and adding three high needs kids to our family, Snapper hasn't gotten as much attention as she should have. I will gladly remedy that now.

Today Snapper is 11 years old.

  • 4'9" tall (52%)
  • 76 pounds (34%)
  • She wears a size 10 shorts and bathing suit, size 12 slim pants, size 10/12 shirt
  • Size 8.5 shoe
  • Favorite colors are turquoise and purple
  • Favorite animal is a cat
  • Still a competitive swimmer, going strong! She just qualified for the state championships in backstroke and IM!!! 
  • An EXCELLENT 6th grade student
  • Attends a college prep school and takes all honors classes
  • We just got her first progress report and were delighted that she has ALL A+ grades! Seriously? Not just straight A's, y'all! She's one smart cookie and a very hard worker
  • Poorly organized, but determined to change that. She's succeeding with this in her schoolwork.
  • Best friends are Myah, Victoria, and Ryan
  • Favorite activities: reading, computer/DS games, playing with her dolls, playing with her little sister Bubbles, painting, karate
  • Terrified of severe storms
  • Not a morning person. At all.
  • Favorite foods: Hashbrown casserole, cheese souffle, ice cream
  • LOVES school
  • Favorite classes: P.E. and Math
  • Personality strengths: compassion, generosity, sensitivity to others, friendly, loyal, outgoing, faithful, responsible, trustworthy
  • Personality quirks: easily irritated, can be snappish, disorganized and messy at home, passive
  • Loves God passionately

Snapper is a complete delight. She is so much fun to be with. I thoroughly enjoy the alone times we get to have. I'm coaching her school swim team in order to do something that just about her. I rarely have to discipline Snapper. All the hard work we did when she was little is paying off now! I am so thankful to get the privilege of being mom to this amazing young lady. Each year with her has gotten better and better. I don't dread the teen years. Not at all! I welcome them and am looking forward to enjoying those years with her! Thank you, dear God, for giving me the gift of this amazing daughter!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Doctor Knows Best?

Several years ago--after a series of miscarriages that just about broke my heart--Matt developed a severe infection. The infection resulted in scar tissue. The scar tissue left us infertile. Though we were saddened by the doctor's difficult words, we didn't give up hope of having another child. After several years of trying for another baby, we called it quits. My heart couldn't handle anymore negative pregnancy tests. I begged God to give us another child, or to take away my desire for another baby. To my surprise, He took away the desire. I no longer wanted another baby. I was surprised, though, to find a growing desire in my heart to adopt an older child or two. You know where that story goes! In January, Matt and I adopted our precious Bubbles, Piper, and Sunny. With five children in our family, we were pretty sure we were done having kids for a while. We talked extensively about adopting teens in the future...the distant future. We also toyed with the idea of reopening out foster home. We seriously talked about fostering new babies. Matt and I figured having babies in our home would be valuable for our adopted daughters, whose own babyhood was completely distorted by their neglectful, abusive birth parents. All the kids were in favor of fostering babies. We were looking at renewing our foster care license in the spring.

And then, three weeks ago, I had a very bad cranky spell. I was mean, and I couldn't stop it. I also had some pretty hefty back pain. The next morning I was nauseous. I figured I was dealing with a bad PMS month, so I went to check my calendar. To my surprise, I realized I was 10 days late for my period. In all the craziness of getting home from our trip, VBS, and getting the kids started in school, I lost track of the timing of my cycle. This has happened many times before, but I sent Matt to the store for a pregnancy test, just to confirm that I wasn't pregnant. Imagine my surprise when that little test was positive in about 15 seconds!!!

Y'all, after years of heartache and infertility, God has seen fit to give us another baby! A precious little one that will belong to us, a baby we won't ever have to give back. Our little girls will get to watch Matt and me take care of our baby the way God intended parents to care for a baby. They'll get to love and nurture this little brother or sister who will belong to us forever.

I believe Bubbles best captured the emotions in my heart with her perceptive observation.
Mommy, this baby will be my real brother or sister. Snapper and Pepper are my real brother and sister too, but this baby will be even more real. This baby will never remember a time when we weren't all a family. To him, I'll just be one of his big sisters. I can't wait for the baby to come! It's going to be the most loved baby in the world!

I'm blown away. I never planned on having six kids. I never in a thousand years thought I would get the privilege of carrying another baby! But God, in His goodness, has given us this precious gift. I am SO EXCITED! Baby is due mid-April.