Thursday, April 17, 2014

Doing Restorative Work

I had a really encouraging moment on Tuesday night. It was our GPS graduation night, which is where the prospective foster parents who have been going through 10 weeks of training are commissioned to the next stage of the process. One of the foster parents spoke to the workers in the room and thanked us for devoting our lives and making the sacrifices and investments (time, education, etc) to do God's restorative work in the lives of children. He said that we were a part of God's redemptive plan on earth, by helping children in difficult situations and being a picture of the gospel here.

I've heard my husband and many others preach on the value of work, and how our work can be used for God's glory. Honestly, I've struggled with my role as a working mom, and wondered what is the best for my children. I've really, really enjoyed my job and my children are doing great at daycare - they are there part-time and I can see the benefits to our family. There are certainly challenges with being a working mom, like staying up late fixing daycare bottles and folding laundry at 6 am. It does take sacrifice on our entire family for me to do my internship and to complete this master's program.

I was very encouraged, though, to be affirmed that what I am doing is worth it. I am investing in something bigger than myself, and I am taking part in God's restorative work. Although my children are my first ministry, I am able to use my skills and gifts for God's glory in and outside of my home. I know this is a privilege! I'm thankful for a supportive husband, a fantastic daycare, and the grace from the Lord to work in my life. It is amazing to look back and see how the pieces of the puzzle have been formed and are starting to make a picture. God is so good, so faithful, so sovereign! I do not know the next steps, but I know that He is working in my life and that His purpose is bigger than mine. I'm excited and eager to see what is ahead. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snack Time & A Bunny Fail

Edie is just now getting into puffs and yogurt melts. The other day I just put a few on the floor and let the kids go after it.









And then I put bunny ears on them. And they hated it. But I thought it was hilarious!






Nothing says Happy Easter like a screaming kid in bunny ears!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We Like to Meet GaGa & Pops at the Mall

Will's parents live around 2 hours north of us, but we often meet them at the Gadsden mall, which is just 35 minutes from us, and 1 hour and 15 minutes from their house. It's not exactly a fair distance, but when you consider that we have two kiddos, it makes it a little more equal :). It's nice to have a meeting place that we can spend a few hours with them every once in a while. No need to pack up for an entire weekend, but we all still get our family fix!

We met GaGa and Pop in March for dinner at the mall. We love the Gadsden Mall because it has a carousel!



The kids and I met GaGa on my birthday (April 1) for a few hours! GaGa treated me to some new clothes, and she entertained the kids in the dressing room! Of course, Israel rode the carousel. This time we also discovered the toy cars in another section that the kids thoroughly enjoyed!

Can you believe this cuteness? Israel is hugging Edie. 





To top it all off... GaGa made me a homemade cookie cake for my birthday! Happy 27 indeed. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Israel Rode a Horse

Back in... February? We went to a birthday party for our friends' son at a horse farm. It was seriously the best birthday party we've ever been to! Israel did AWESOME with the horses and for the first time, I felt like he fit in with the kids. There was horse riding, a hayride, cupcake eating, and then the other kids went fishing, but we headed home at that point. Both kids were well-behaved and we drove home in shock at how well the outing was! Thank you Monroes for inviting us to Tucker's party! It was so much fun!










What a fun day for us. I'm so thankful for the really good days!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Edith: Eight Months Old

Dear Edie,
Our sweet “Edie Bat” – you are the best and craziest girl I know. You make me laugh so much at your adventurous and determined spirit. You are into everything now! You are crawling and rolling into every corner of the house, and if there is something you want, you go after it! You have the funniest crawl as you look like an inchworm. You use your head and feet and stick your bottom in the air as you go.






You are shaping up to be pretty resilient. You have endured a few bruise-worthy mishaps from your brother’s strategic aim during some toy-throwing. The other day he threw something at you, you cried, and when I came in there to respond, he looked at you, looked at me, and then hit you for tattling on him. I’m sorry babe… but it did make me laugh a little. You and Israel are already having classic sibling relationships: sometimes you are best friends, sometimes you pester each other. I’m so glad that you have each other though! You love smiling at each other in the backseat of the car, and you love the same toys (at the same time).


In addition to crawling, your other milestone this month is teeth! You popped a bottom tooth out, and you’ve really done pretty well with it. You also had an ear infection at the same time, so you have been on an antibiotic. I was very relieved that your fussiness and need to nurse 3-4 times a night was related to an ear infection! Once you had medicine, you became the precious, silly girl we know once more.


Making Messes Like It's Her Job
You are still going to daycare, but now you are going 3 days a week instead of two. To be honest, you’ve received a few report cards that indicated you were a little high maintenance. This is when the “Edie P” or “Diva Princess” version of you comes out. You typically are a very happy girl, and although you’ve shown some separation anxiety in the last month, you do well with others aside from me. You always light up when you see me or your dad, and every morning when we get you out of your crib you kick your legs fast and your face lights up! We love that you are such a happy girl!


Therapy waiting room fun
You still have 2-3 naps per day, and you are eating babyfood. We have tried a few “solid” foods that you have chewed up a little, like soft carrots. You also LOVE puffs or cheerios. I can put a handful of cheerios on your high chair and you will be entertained for 30 minutes. You are still nursing several times a day, and I give you a “dream feed” at night when I go to bed, around 9:30/10. You aren’t nursing as long during the day, but that is mainly because you are so busy and get distracted very easily. You love your paci, and we keep at least 2 in your crib because sometimes you like to take one out and put the other in.



We can’t wait to see your personality continue to show. You’re so loved, little girl.

Love,

Mama

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Israel: 2.5 Years

Dear Israel,

You are two-and-a-half!!! I am so proud of you sweet boy. You are my hero. You work so hard every week at therapy and you have been making some huge progress lately. You are starting to take steps with prompting, you are scooting on your bottom, you are drinking from an open cup, and you are starting to talk! You have said car, truck, mama, dad, GaGa, Pop/Papa, chair, puppy, and baby. You are starting to be a little pickier about what you eat, and almost every day (sometimes multiple times) you will flip your plate over onto the floor if you are done eating. You love your sister! You love bath time and splashing water and touching the water as it comes out of the faucet. You love music and make it very clear that you want your cd player on playing your silly songs. You still love Elmo and Baby Einstein and will not watch anything else. You’re still throwing most of your toys, although we did wise up and literally tied your basketball goal to a table so you can no longer toss the goal or tip it over. You love the toys that make noise most, with the exception of your red car- it has a top part that spins that you will touch all day long! You love all of your musical toys like the drum and xylophone.




If you could design a perfect day, it would include sitting on the porch watching cars go by, listening to your music, eating snacks and drinking apple juice. You love rolling the ball back and forth… although really you love rolling it in the opposite direction of where anyone is sitting so we have to chase it.


You love school so much. You are a flirt with your teachers and you always smile when I am dropping you off as we walk into the building. You think you own the place! At church when you’re in the nursery and I’m working in the room across the hall from yours, you and I will smile and laugh at each other. You are so silly, and everyone loves you so much! You bring joy to people around you!


You are formally named ‘The Stack’ at our house. Your dad and I sit up at night and talk about all the things you do. You have one million facial expressions and you can go from being super silly to super cranky in .5 seconds. I think this is the “terrible twos” people talk about, but really I think we’ve got it pretty good. You have your crazy kid moments where you will thrash and hit, but it doesn’t last forever. You still go to bed pretty easy, although lately you have been waking up at 5 am. You need to figure your internal clock out because that is not ok! You take one nap mid-day, and sometimes it is 3 hours long and sometimes it is 30 minutes. The 30 minute days can be pretty rough.



We are approaching our two year gotcha day in just a few weeks. I can’t believe it- it feels like you’ve always been in our life! I am so proud to be your mom. You’re hilarious, silly, sweet, and snuggly. I love it when I hug you and you pat my back. I love that you love books and that you sing in the car. I love when you talk about cars and trucks, and when you shake your head really fast to make yourself laugh. Israel, you’re just the best. Happy 2.5 years buddy. I’m lucky to be your mom.

Love,

Mama 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Shout Out: Viljoen family!

We are the Viljoen family; Jacques, Tabatha and Hans. We are adopting from the Czech Republic and our blog is steadfastparents.blogspot.com or you can follow us on facebook atwww.facebook.com/steadfastparents.


We have been married for 3 years, and have a 13 month old little boy named Hans. We have wanted to adopt since before we decided to start our family. We have felt led by the Lord that this is the time to do it, so we are!  We chose our country after much prayer and a strong feeling toward the Czech Republic. Right now we are just at the beginning of our adoption process, having just completed a family profile with our agency and are fundraising to help provide for the cost of our application and home study. 


We are doing two fundraisers right now. We are pre-selling tee-shirts that have been custom-designed and will be printed by a local company in Rocky Mount, NC. We are also selling Apparent Project bracelets, which not only benefit our adoption, but allow parents in Haiti to provide for their children. Both of these items can be ordered from our store at: http://steadfastparents.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

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