Thursday, March 27, 2014

Plain 'ol Life


     After Spring Break but before Summer life has kicked in. I will tell you this. Everything with adopted children is harder. Everything. I'm doing some research as to why this is which I will share soon. Let's suffice it to say….trust me. It just is. Even plain ol daily life.
     We are back in the throes of this plain ol life. Early mornings….rushing out the door…..forgetting your school project so the Mom has to bring it to the school after she has driven all the way home….gymnastics practice (lots of meets coming up!!)…..playdates…training for Mom's new job…..homeschool days….birthday parties…church events…family dinners..the everlasting laundry….grocery shopping and feeding these people. (Has anyone else noticed the price of food has gone up a gazillion dollars AGAIN? What's up with that?)
     We are crazy busy but at the same time not so busy. I don't want to miss the days that are completely NORMAL. Before we adopted I yearned to give an orphan a home….for a child (ren) to have a normal life.  Now our youngest three have that…..and I don't want it to pass us by unnoticed…..unmentioned. I love the quote, "One day you'll realize that the little things in life were really the big ones." So very true, don't you think? I love our normal. Click below to see a piece of Mei Mei's never ending constant motion normal. Dizzy.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fill My Cup Lord…..Before Someone Gets Hurt:)

     There are times when I need a break….then there are times when I NEED a break. Y'all know what I mean? I love my kids, really to the moon and back. I love being and working at our school. I love being a wife. I love still having our older kids very active in our lives and want our grandchildren to have the best possible relationship with me. BUT all that love was threatening to do me in……and I knew I was three screws short of needing padded walls right before our Spring Break.
     The third nine weeks is always a killer for me but this year with traveling, the POX (screamed in capitals) and the always dreaded make-up work put me in the nuthouse. Add to that three extremely needy daughters each with their own set of emotional 'issues', and our family was headed for a train wreck cause this Mama couldn't take or do anymore. Someone was gonna blow. Two of our current 'at home' kiddos are in the throes of adolescence. You know, the stuff that gives you the chills and makes you want to send them to someone else's house to raise until they are done 'adolescing'.  The third has a talking voice OF THE HIGHEST DECIBELS POSSIBLE AND TALKS INCESSANTLY TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN AND EVEN THOSE WHO DON"T. The hubs knew I needed some respite but how to get that when your lives scream ahead at 90mph with no, and I mean no free time (except at 2am….and that's a giant maybe)? 
     We did something we don't normally do. We planned a getaway at the last minute…….to Disney World at Spring Break time.  This is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me cause I like everything listed on a google calendar months in advance. I loved the idea but at the same time….I knew I needed to have a break of 'quiet' for at least part of that time. The very people I am called to serve daily (and who just happened to be going on this getaway with us) are the very people I needed a break from. I needed my cup filled….and I prayed…..cause if you haven't heard, Disney World isn't exactly quiet….and did I mention the crazed people that come to Disney for Spring Break?? (At least Decibel Daughter would fit in because most there operate at the same pre-set loudness level possible.)
     We cleaned the house from top to bottom. We 'pre-did' (yes, sir we did) our projects due next week. We did and put away every itty-bitty scrap of laundry. (Can't you see me cracking that whip??) We grocery shopped for the entire week of our return. ….then we went to Disney World….for Spring Break. (I was still hanging by a thread and hoping I wouldn't hurt somebody…..really y'all, not kidding.)
      Then the hubs did something. Something I didn't ask for. He offered to take the girls for a day so I could do whatever I wanted to…..alone. (These girls are a handful y'all…..no easy feat to do single-parent style)! I took all of 3 seconds to accept his offer. Oh my word, was I ever giddy! It seemed like forever since I'd had solitude….real honest to goodness time with the Lord in a way that only an extended length of time to focus, hear, pray and journal could do. We had picked a new resort to try this time….mostly because all our usual's were booked up. Great and stellar planning on our part….but God was in this from the beginning. We got the quietest resort and hands down one of our favs so far, 'The Caribbean Beach Resort' on Disney grounds. 
       So the first day we were there….off went the hubs and the girls to Animal Kingdom…..and I got what I so desperately needed……a private retreat to rest, renew, pray, listen and hear from God. I camped out in the book of Matthew…..specifically the beatitudes and how they should affect our everyday lives in the now. Powerful stuff. I also read in it's entirety "I Wish You Happy Forever," by Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky. Half the Sky is one of a handful of NGO's licensed to operate in China that provides training for orphanage workers, renovations and supplies in order to provide loving, nurturing care for those left behind in China's orphanages. Jenny and her staff change lives….one at a time. This is my (our) goal too….when we aren't bone tired and worn paper thin.
My view for the day….brought to you by Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. My new Happy Place.
      I can't even begin to tell you how awesome my now is. I'm ready. I'm re-envisioned. I know my God….I know He's hearing my prayers, my pleas, my heart. I know what we are called to do in our home is far from normal….but with God's strength flowing through our veins there is nothing we can't accomplish. I know I can hear his voice through the mundane of everyday….through the hard….through the weariness of raising special needs daughters. We are watching miracles everyday in the lives of these under our roof. In my weary state I wasn't seeing the everyday miracles through eyes of faith for their futures. God yet again reminded me….one day at a time. One step at a time….recount where I've brought you thus far….and in faith be girded in quiet strength for the future. My cup was filled. God met me where in my weakened state and filled me full of quiet, peaceful heart-rest yet again….and no one got hurt in the process. Win, win, win. Back on track and ready to roll!

P.S. Came home to loud daughter who is still loud. Really, really loud. Adolescent daughters whom know nothing about this blog's existence are currently very, very sweet…..however this seasoned mom knows that can turn on a dime and is prepared….with really early bedtimes and iPod removal. Total first world problems that rock them to the core. Ouch.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snow. It's the Bestworst.

     I made up a new word. Don't care if it's grammatically correct or not. I have now dealt with the monster that is called 'Snow.' It's such a soft word…such a pretty word but definitely an oxymoron if you are the one driving in it. Let's just say…..the girls have now had their opportunity to see snow, live in snow for the first time and I hope and pray that this Florida girl doesn't have to drive in it again any time soon. The weather this winter has been nothing short of crazed for most of the country….except Florida. We love Florida. Yes, we have hurricanes but wouldn't you know…those darn things give warning that they are coming. If you have to live in an area where there are natural disasters….hurricanes give you the opportunity to get the heck out of dodge.
     The downside of Florida are the missing seasons. You pretty much have summer 1/2 the year and spring the other half. Not too shabby until you try and teach your kid there really are 4 seasons. They pretty much think you are a liar…..unless you show them in person. This is exactly what we did the beginning of February.
     This mom and the littles packed to the gills, took off on a rather fun road trip. Our 4th grade class (all 120+ of us) went to Williamsburg, Va., for a week to cap off our study of the Colonies and the American Revolution. Now this was Blondie's trip but I couldn't very well leave the others behind now could I? The Doc was actually traveling on his own in the midwest speaking at a conference. I was on my own….which didn't scare me one bit.
     The most asked question from all that knew about the trip was, "Why February?" To tell you the truth, I asked the same question…..and was told, cost. If you go to a huge tourist destination in the dead of winter you are guaranteed lower crowds (as in none), easier access to attractions, and cheapcheapcheap accommodations and tickets……and the risk of frostbite. Now, our school has done this trip for several years now…..at the same time of year and has hit 'cooler' temps, a little rain but no snow to speak of. All these kids wanted this year was snow. To heck with the Colonists, Indians and living museums…..snow was the thang in their hearts. They were rewarded!
     The second day into my drive we hit a little crisis. Haven't' had one in a while so not sure why it surprised me. Blondie woke up in the hotel with a migraine. She gets these from time to time but this was a first while traveling. I had to get to Williamsburg before dark so there was no choice to put hurting, pathetic, nauseated girl in the car and try and coax her along. The other two girls had to do their school for the week since they were missing class……in the car. Real fun to try and shout directions for long division over your shoulder at 70mph., while daughter in front seat is throwing up into garbage bag. What could be more fun?? Oh…..add snow. This was the point it started snowing….lightly at first, then the farther north we went the heavier it began to fall. It was beautiful. It really was. This was the beginning of no math getting done…..the girls were too enamored. Make that 2 of them….the 3rd was still throwing up. I actually grabbed the hotel laundry bag, dumped out all the dirty clothes and threw bag under Blondie's face to catch the next round……at 70mph. Super Mom. Heh.
      Five hours later, Blondie was herself again.(I'm sparing you the gazillion, million "MOOOMMMMMMM's, and "Is the answer to number 5, 32 remainder 7?? Huh, Mom, is it?? Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, is it??" All while continuing vomit in the front seat and I was getting phone calls from the Doc who was talking us through said migraine on interstate.) It was complete and utter drama…but we arrived safe and ever so slightly frazzled…... just as the snow stopped for the next 2 days. Migraines y'all, are no joke. Neither is long division.
       Williamsburg is amazing. It has got to be one of my favorite places ever….to be walking on the same ground as the first Indians and settlers is nothing short of incredible. They have done such an extraordinary job of making each venue kid friendly with hosts in character that makes history come alive. If you ever have the chance to get there….go! Can't say enough. However…..we were there during one of the coldest winters on record. Yay. (Insert rattling, chattering teeth here).
      It's really hard to listen and understand your tour guide when it's a whopping 28 degrees out…..and your whole day is outside. We gave it the old college try though….and my girls were troopers. After 2 days of this the news broke that Winter Storm Pax was blanketing Charlotte (where daughter Julie lives and our next stop) and we were set to get snow ourselves. That beautiful snow came down just for these Florida kids. It covered the field by the hotel and we let our newbie, green Florida kids play outside in it until after 10pm…..cause that's what you do when your kids have prayed so hard.
       At the end of the week I took off for Charlotte…..followed by snow covering the interstate the entire trip. Giant hunks of ice and snow crashed my windshield as trucks coming from up north passed me and dropped huge buckets of the stuff from their roofs. Dangerous driving that I wasn't used to. Charlotte was covered with a foot of snow. A. foot. They aren't used to this….and the roads weren't plowed well. I wasn't used to this. Thank the Lord for my hardy Surburban. Getting through was a little  cray-cray (heh) but we did it….(then turned around and drove back to the Sunshine State bringing Julie and baby Wubba with us.) The girls made homemade sleds and were out on the hill before breakfast…in their pi's. They made snowmen, had snowball fights and got along like the angels they made.  They got their snow.
Ready, set, cold.

Rumor has it that Pocahontas did cartwheels in this same spot in 1510. 

The people and friends of our school are what make it so incredible. Nature Girl and her BF…..goose hunting (yes, I said that)  at Jamestown. They are two peas in a pod.

Glassblowing


Powhatan wannabe.

This canoe was full of ice….it's 25 degrees outside so Nature Girl goes it bare handed…..of course.


Learning to set the table to dine. Harder than it looks!!

Sigh. The beauty….even in winter.

You can even get yo hair did……at the wigmaker. Schmancy.

Williamsburg we love you even though thou art frigid. 

Shopping at the Milliners.

The tunnel into historic Williamsburg with Mei Mei and her blankie. Her best friend all week.

Catching the first few flakes.

Does she look cold? Yea, it was so worth it!

One of my fav moments from the trip. These Florida kids…..love them.

Bare hands, freezing temps and late nights CAN NOT stop us! CAN NOT!!

Learning to dance in the Governor's Palace.

Dressing Blondie in period clothing. Not easy. Thank the Lord for elastic, velcro and cotton! Oh, and living in the land of flip flops ain't so bad either. It seriously must have taken these people 4 hours to get dressed everyday. Seriously.

Blondie and friends…..as a Colonial Girl of the day. 

Oh my word! Watch out for the Asian carrying the musket WAAAYYYYY to big for her. She'll whack you in your parts if you know what I mean!

CHARGE!

This kid was CARRIED and babied all week. Oy vey. She ate up all the attention.
     I felt like I had driven around the world….but actually it was really fun. The driving in snow part I have no desire to repeat….too nerve-racking but next year Mei Mei will be in 4th grade and we get to do the whole thing over again!!