Friday, December 6, 2013

Raina's 4th Birthday!

My sweet baby girl is 4!  This post is super late, but I still want to share.  We had a blast planning her party.  This girl asks for a horse almost every day.  Especially if we're driving somewhere.  She'll say things like, "Mom!  I want a horse.  Can we go buy a horse NOW?" or "I'm saving for a horse. Can I go buy a horse now?"  or when given some money, "I have enough money to buy a horse now!"
Yup!  This girl loves horses!  Anything with horses...books, movies; especially FLICKA! And all things pretty and girly!  So we incorporated both into her party.
For some silly reason Raina has begun sticking out her tongue when she's the center of attention.  Too cute!
Raina's been a very slow eater for the past year, and every meal is a battle to get her to finish.  Well, her birthday happened to fall on a Sunday and she wanted to open a present before we left for church.  Long story short...Raina finished her breakfast before anyone else!  lol!

Notice the cute butterfly ring on her hand.  Raina always wears some sort of jewellery.  And most often it compliments her outfit!  She will certainly grow up to have more style sense than her mother!  :)

And yes, she got a horse.  Not a real horse, but a horse for her dolls.  And yes, she has tried riding it!  lol!  But for the moment she is content that she finally has a horse.



We invited friends over for pizza after church.  Raina insisted that Cece be there!  We love this family!  They have adopted twice and there is a great connection.  And Nate didn't even fuss at having to drink out of "mug" with pink accents and pink juice!  ;)

I LOVE this picture!  Cece is a heart crusher! So incredibly lovable and adorable!  Maybe that's why Raina and Cece have such a connection...just saying!  Ok! I'm bragging about my baby girl...but honestly, she is nothing but sweetness!

Love this boy too!  Sweet Elijah!  Recently home from China.  Love how he adores my China babies!

The kids helped make the treat bags.  I love doing this.  Kids get to pick what they want...of coarse most want everything!  And it's something to do!

 More gifts...

 Raina is such a blessing to our family.  Everyone loves her.  She is sweet and kind...unless her little brother takes something of hers!  She wakes up cheerful each and every day.  She still naps regularly.  She is mischievous and busy. She loves being read to and playing with her dolls and kitchen.  She loves watching TV/movies...especially Hannah Montana and Flicka.  She generally follows Malia's lead and will say and do most of what Malia tells her to do.  She is strong willed and determined.  She will ask for the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over get the picture! :) Usually in one breathe!  Raina is an incredible gift from God!  So thankful we said "yes!"


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Morgun's 12th Birthday!

I'm super late in posting Morgun's birthday.  It's been super crazy around here for the past few weeks.  I was sick for 5+ weeks and then my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital, followed a few days later by my brother-in-law, Ruben.  Mom P. is now at home, and Ruben will be having open heart surgery tomorrow to replace a valve.  Needless to say our lives have been stress filled and busy!
I still wasn't feeling well when we celebrated Morgun's birthday, but decided to wing it anyhow.  I'm soooooo glad I did!  Morgun invited 5 of his friends for supper and a sleepover.  Thankfully, he wanted the same theme and cake as Alex had.  It sure made things easier!  Can you tell I was really beginning to feel gross by the time I did the lettering?  lol!

I wasn't going to post any pics of the kids that were here...not sure how the parents would feel.  However, when I saw this one, I couldn't resist!  Hilarious!!


We didn't do any shooting, but still had a frog eating contest.

The boys also spent a LOT of time outside, sledding down the river bank...a very steep river bank!

I know it's cliché, but wow!  Time does fly!  I can not believe that the little 6 lbs 15 oz little boy is now 12!!  In some ways he still seems like a little boy, but it is becoming more and more apparent that he is a young man. 
Morgun is an amazing kid!  He is kind and gentle.  Almost daily I find him going out of his way to do something nice for someone.  He loves reading to his younger siblings and he loves surprising me by folding the laundry and putting it away.  When buying a gift he spends huge amounts of time trying to figure out what to buy.  His is incredibly thoughtful.  He loves hugs...loooong hugs!...and so do I!!
Morgun enjoys his school work and is becoming more responsible and self motivated.  He is smart.  His favorite subject is Math.  He is enjoying reading more than ever before.  He does amazingly well at Tae Kwon Do and is a natural born leader.  He loves playing basketball and plays his heart out at each and every game, even when he's struggling to catch his breath due to his asthma.  He is cheerful and always has a gentle smile for us.  He loves his siblings and is constantly making sure they are OK, especially when we're shopping.  He loves carrying the littlest two and caring for them.  He makes this mama proud!  :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Raina's Second Adoption

My heart sings with joy tonight!  We couldn't be more blessed!  God has answered another one or our prayers.  Raina asked Jesus into her heart tonight!
We don't talk about salvation all that often, and sometimes I wonder if it's often enough.   On the other hand, we make a conscious effort not to guilt our kids into "praying the prayer", or to pressure them in any way.  We truly believe any conversion has to be the work of God Himself.  And tonight His presence was tangible.
Malia and Raina got into a big fight.  All because Malia did not want help Raina put on her pj's.  I'm not sure what exactly happened.  Let's just say there was some hitting, kicking and biting involved, with lots of tears.  Both girls got timeout and a good talking to.  Nothing irritates this mama more than scratching, hair pulling and worst of all...biting!   As always they had to say sorry to each other.  I could tell both girls were still feeling horrible about their behaviour, so I suggested they talk to God.  Raina began praying and totally blew me away.  She prayed, with tears rolling down her face, "Dear God please come into my heart.  Amen".
There are no words.  Just a lot of humble gratitude!...and maybe a few tears of joy! :)

"I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in the truth."
3 John 1:3

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Alex's 14th Birthday!

Alex turned 14 last week.  I can hardly believe he is that old already!  Some days I wish I could go back in time and cuddle that chubby faced little boy once again and treasure each moment more.  But I can't.  Instead I am learning to treasure each moment more than ever before, cause kids just grow up way too fast! 
Alex really didn't know what to do for his birthday this year.  We ended up deciding to keep his birthday party small and invited my sister and her family.  The theme was "Duck Dynasty"!  It was the perfect party for Alex...and lots of fun to plan!
We tried Ms. Kay's famous Pepper Steak and even tried some squirrel brains!...I will leave the contents of the squirrel brains up to your imagination.  ;)  We had a frog eating contest, which was super fun to watch!  We played a few games of "Who Said..." and "Si-cology".  Of coarse Alex knew almost every answer!  Not surprising since he has watched each episode so many times, I think he practically has them memorized!  The guys (and Brook) also did some skeet shooting.  I'm told they had a blast!
The cake was super easy and best of all...Alex loved it!
 The kids and I spent one day making all the posters and signs for the party.  So much fun!  The kids got to make their own party bags...complete with squirrel skin (beef jerky), frogs, Si's Doe poo...(yuck!), and oodles of other brown, orange and green candy.

I had most of the decorating stuff on hand...even the camo table cloth!  Well, not really.  I washed the boys' curtains and used them!  I borrowed the ducks, duck calls, and shot gun casings from Martin's office.  The bales and flowers are part of my yearly fall display.

As you can see, the color theme was orange, brown and green.  I had asked everyone to dress in either camo, or one of these colors.  We were pretty amazed to see Dan and Eve show up dressed as Phil and Ms. Kay!  Loved the pillow tummy!

This boy of mine is growing up to be a gentle, kind hearted young man.  He is maturing in leaps and bounds.  It blesses my heart to see him play with the little kids, making them laugh and helping out where ever possible.  I think what melts my heart the most is how Alex gets and supports the whole "caring for orphans" command.  He knows how difficult it can be.  He knows the sacrifices he has had to made.  Still he loves his siblings with his whole heart and wouldn't change our family for the world! 
Alex is incredibly smart and artistic.  He has been making throwing knives, using old metal and a grinder.  Each one is turning out better than the previous one.  He loves researching everything from knife making, to guns, to movies.  He works independently at his school work and rarely complains about school work.  He excels in almost every subject.  Most importantly he loves God and is constantly working to become more Christ like.  His intuitive spirit never ceases to amaze me.  He understands things that are way beyond his years and has been gifted with a discerning heart.  I know God has great things planned for Alex!  I'm so thrilled to have a front row seat as God's will unfolds in Alex's life!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a day late...again...on posting for Thanksgiving Day!  Our day turned out a lot different than I had envisioned.  I was looking forward to a day of relaxation and family time.  We did get both, but not in the way I had planned.  We headed to Yorkton, about a 4 hour drive, to look at a vehicle and came home with a 2006 Suburban.  Hopefully this vehicle will be a  good purchase.  It should fit us and all our stuff for our trip to BC for Andrew and Lu's wedding.  Yah!  Our Tahoe has been having issues for over a year and our mechanic can not figure out what is wrong.  The Tahoe looses power at any given time.   The motor runs, but there is no power to drive.   We pull over, flashers on, turn off the engine, wait a few minutes and start the engine again and go.  Sometimes we can drive hundreds of kilometres and the next day we can only drive 2 kms.  I lost count of how many times this happened yesterday.  I'm guessing well over 30 times.  I'm hoping and praying we can fix this and sell the vehicle.  In the mean time it will be wonderful to have a vehicle that works well.
Anyhow...on to Thanksgiving.  I am finding the older I get and the more I learn, the more I love Thanksgiving.  It is the one celebration that does not involve extra purchases, (other than some specialty foods perhaps) such as Christmas and Easter.  I love that we take the time to really focus on all of our blessings.  This year was especially meaningful.  I've been taking the time to write down what I am grateful for on an almost daily basis.  It is a challenge some days and I'm ok with that.  I hate forcing something, however, the more I consciously acknowledge all I am blessed with, the more grateful I am.  Here are some of the things I have written in my "Thankfulness Journal"...
238) Early morning mist.
246) Soft cuddles from Jackson.
251) Smell of harvest in the air.
258) Joy on Malia's face at a job well done.
268) Glow in new mama's eyes.
270) Me having a melt down.  (Sounds odd, but it's good to know GOD is in control)
274) Alex willingness to do chores.
297) Freezer meals.
307) Bright fall colors
323) Gentle back rubs from Raina
351) Short dates with Martin
Most of all, I am thankful for a God that offers grace, forgiveness, and mercy each and every day; and for my lovely family who make me laugh every day! :) 

Friday, October 11, 2013

22 Years

This past weekend Martin and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary.  We had planned to go out for supper, with the kids of coarse, because Jackson still gets stressed when we're not around.  However, our weekend was a whirlwind of activity and by the time Saturday rolled around we were more than happy to have a low key family supper and movie at home.  Yesterday we managed to sneak away for a few hours in the afternoon while the little ones napped.  (Insert looooong sigh!)  It felt so good to grab an icecap/coffee and go for a stroll along the beautiful riverbank in Saskatoon.  The air smelled of poplar they only smell in fall.  The air was warm and the sun was shining. It was just what we needed!
I  know it sounds cliché, but our wedding day feels like it was only a few years ago and I usually feel just as young, although the pictures tell a different story! lol.   Time has flown by and what an adventure it has been!
According to statistics, our marriage should have ended many years ago.  We married young.  (At least I did! ;)  We had very little in the way of finances.  We have renovated/restored several still isn't done after 10 years!  (It drives me crazy!!!)  We've experienced many major changes in our lives, all  which are considered huge stressors.  In the past 7 years we have lost both my parents to cancer, left a church we attended for 12 years, adopted 3 kids, experienced major financial stress, dealt with many surgeries and illnesses, and began homeschooling.  Yes, according to statistics...our marriage shouldn't be happy.  However, we are happy!
Yesterday I asked Martin what has made our marriage work. His response was a simple, but true answer..."We love each other!"  Corinthians 13:4-7 says "Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.  Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first", doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel.  Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end."  Perfect love looks like this.  Unfortunately, our love for each other isn't always perfect.  We fight.  We hurt each other.  We're downright rude and mean sometimes.  In fact the past few years have been downright hard!  Sometimes we don't even like each other.  But at the end of the day we are determined to make it work.  The neat thing is that we complement each other.  One is more willing to ask for forgiveness. One is more willing to forget about the incident.  One can't sleep until things have been made right.  One focuses more all the good times and intentionally talks about them.  One is the gas and the other is the brake.  One is a dreamer.  One is a realist.  Both of us are 100% committed!  Add an immeasurable amount of God's grace and mercy and somehow it works!  We are each others best friend and we still love each other after 22 years!

This man of mine never ceases to amaze me!  He does what is right.  No matter how much it costs him.  He has been "a reluctant spouse" each time we have adopted.  But somehow he puts his human selfishness aside and loves on our children with his whole heart, working hard to bond with each one.  He puts family before work.  He is quiet in all he does.  In some circles he is seen as less than  "a godly man" because he isn't vocal about his love for God and he's not one to pray in front of others.  He'd rather live out his love for God.  He regularally visits with the down and out...those the church generally sees as a failure.  He comes home weekly with stories of how someone has shared their heart with him.  He listens with a caring and loving heart.  He comes home from work exhausted, but still pitches in and helps with the dishes, household chores, the kids...whatever needs to be done...without a complaint.  I am blessed to have him in my life!!!

"You know when you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." — Dr. Seuss
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao  Tzo
PS:  Thanks to Chantel Klassen for the wonderful photos!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

First Month Back to School

The first month of school has come and gone.  And I'm still alive to write about it!  lol!  What a busy month.  We began a week late due to a mix up with the boy's online classes and Malia's curriculum arriving late.  We've been trying to catch up all month...and we did!  So much so that the boys have already completed about 25 % of this years work! Malia has completed 40 days worth of school work.  I have decided I really need to relax...a LOT, and have more fun with my kids.  We are beginning to see the benefits of homeschooling, even as I mourn that which our kids are missing out on. 
In spite of this being a crazy month, our kids have been super happy.  There is a calm in the air that is unusual for this time of year.  A peace that has settled on our kids.  At the moment, I wouldn't trade it for the world!  Here are a few pics of what home schooling has looked like this month.
I did manage to get a quick shot of the kids on their first "official" day back to school.

The boys have taken their bows and arrows out almost every day.  Something they used to not have time for.  We're beginning to think it may be time to get a more serious bow for both boys.  (Sorry for the poor quality photos...someone dropped my lens and it's not working like it should)

Malia's been riding her bike a lot, showing off to her little siblings.  :)  Malia has been loving home schooling.  She was so angry when we first told her, because she knew she couldn't pull the wool over my eyes, and that I will make her redo her work every time it's not neat.  For the most part this has not been an issue.  She works incredibly hard and has the neatest printing ever.  Her letters are formed perfectly.  She's only had a few episodes where she has pretended she didn't know what to do.  I'm enjoying the opportunity to fill her love bucket and have been showering her with praise at every opportunity.  I think it is the beginning to true healing and bonding for this sweet girl of mine and it is beginning to show.
Recently Raina commented "Mom, you look so bootiful!" Something she says almost daily...I may end up with a swollen head! lol!  I responded by telling her how beautiful she was.  She didn't think she was beautiful because she was wearing old pjs.  I explained that beauty has nothing to with clothes, or hair, or jewelry; but rather that she was beautiful regardless of what she was wearing.  Malia piped up and said "Yah!  You're beautiful!  Just like me!  I have beautiful eyes, beautiful hair and my cleft lip is beautiful too!"

The boys are taking online classes, which means I do not have to plan or mark their work.  I help out when they need help and monitor to make sure their assignments are completed on time.  My biggest fear was the amount of time they would spend on the computer.  It turns out that they can easily finish a days work in a few hours.

Alex didn't want anyone to see what he was working on...

Each day the kids get a mid morning break...recess.  My sanity time!  :)  Morgun has been playing with the little ones a lot and their imaginations are on fire.  We simply HAD to eat lunch in the play fort one day. 

The boys were good sports and played along.  I think they actually really enjoyed themselves.  Honestly who wouldn't?  It was kind of cool!

At the moment the kids work in various the kitchen table or in the Lego room.  It drives me crazy having school stuff everywhere.  Hopefully the patio will be ready soon so we can move everything school related into there.

We've been enjoying weekly visits to the library, which usually means a day in town.  The kids are loving it!  We've even done some crafts.
Morgun has been playing Lego with the girls and they came up with this neat house...filled with detail.  The board on the left shows construction workers in the process of building a house.  Love their creativity!

The boys have spent hours and hours out in the garage making throwing knives.  They've each made several, improving on them each time.  Ahhh!  Makes me smile to see all the good that is coming with our decision to home school.

As much as I feel we had a great first month, there are things I want to improve upon.  I want to have more of a schedule.  We've been trying to start school at 9 am each day, have a 15-30 min recess and then be done school by noon.  Some days we've been successful, and the next, not so much.  I really need some sort of routine.  At the moment half of my craziness comes from not enough routine.  In the next months our goal will be to schedule in more free days to focus on the artsy and fun side of school.  I would also love to take one day a week off just to focus on all the housework, bookwork, etc.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tree Fort

I figured I best post these pics before the snow flies!  lol.  I've been meaning to post them and keep forgetting. Too much to do.  Too little time.
 At least it's not a cell phone I'm forgetting about!  Oh my word!  You will not believe it!  This past weekend I grabbed my cell phone to snap a picture of Jackson playing outside.  While waiting for the cell to pick up a signal, I decided to grab the garbage by the door and toss it into the garbage can.  I got to the garbage can and realized it was overflowing.  Being the "do as much as I can, as fast as I can" kinda gal, I grabbed the matches, stuck them in my pocket, filled both hands with garbage and headed to the burning barrel and promptly dumped everything in...including the cell phone I was still holding in my hand!  Yes, I did light the fire, completely forgetting about my phone until after I had put the matches back where they belonged.  I have no idea why I thought to put the matches in my pocket and not my cell...dumb!!!  It took about 15 minutes before I realized where the phone must be...yup!  Too late!
See here's the thing...I've had this phone for almost 2 years and h.a.t.e.d. it at first.  Martin thought he was buying me a VERY thoughtful and lovely gift when he purchased it.  I, on the other hand, was m.a.d.!!  I could not believe that he would spend money so foolishly when I already had a cell phone that worked perfectly fine, thank you!!  Well...eventually I fell in love with that phone and forgave Martin for spending the money.  I realized my phone was a pretty sweet thing to have.  Now I'm back to the phone that "worked perfectly fine, thank you!!"...and I HATE it!  It is so ssssssllllllooooowwwww!!  Oh well!  Lesson learned! 
Anyhow....back to the pictures of the boys' tree fort.  Alex and Morgun have been working on this fort for a few years and it gets improved upon all the time.  I love seeing them be creative and use their hammers and saws.  It takes quite the determination to saw those boards with a handsaw.  So proud of my boys!