Friday, June 5, 2015

Settling In, Family Update, & a Decision

We have been in our new house almost two weeks now. Thanks be to God for the help of a couple of dear friends who worked hard to get all our stuff moved from the rental house.

We are still very much in that make-do stage that comes with moves. Baby ME made do with this place to play in the first few days we were here...

And she played for quite a long time with that whisk!

Mixed in with the move-in chaos was the added crazy of illness - a few of the kids passed around a virus. Sicknesses that make you and me feel gross and tired often make BH very ill. This time it morphed quickly in to pneumonia, so we were at urgent care on Memorial Day.

I'm happy to say that God has healed him. It was many days and lots and lots and lots of nebulizer treatments, steroids, and antibiotics before he got better. We're hoping to connect with a pediatric pulmonary specialist this summer in order to get a better understanding of BH's problems and perhaps come up with improved responses to his issues.

Sometimes it's so easy to miss God's little and big kindnesses when things are a mess around me. During the move, we lost ALL the keys to the new house, and there are a LOT. Most of the doors have different locks and on several, the deadbolt and doorknob have different keys. Anyway, a few days went by...we prayed for God to help us find the bag of keys.

And He did:

Yep, they were in the freezer. 
Who knows why.

Our new yard is full of lovely flowers, plants and trees. There are two clumps of pink calla lilies. They are so dramatic and graceful!

More making do here...breakfast in the first few days in the house. I am happy to say the table and chairs are up and functional now.

We've been to the doctor's office four times in these two weeks. Whew. Thankful for good medical care, though. BH has been well-behaved at the doctor visits, thank the Lord. He was very entertained by his baggie of Legos at this particular visit. He calls the Lego minifigures "his boys."

Moving is exhausting. For all of us:

A safe place for baby while big sister caregiver does laundry...

Milestones don't wait for life to calm down. Baby ME has been having a little solid food each day for almost a week now. She has had a super dramatic reaction to the experience, shivering all over in apparent disgust and shock each time the spoon and food first touch her mouth. Funny. She's growing more accustomed, though. She's also sitting up pretty well, too!

Did I mention that moving is exhausting, for everyone? 
Note the ever-present (for the last 2 weeks anyway) nebulizer near his head. Glad, glad, glad that's past for now!

So, we continue to settle in, one box at a time. There's also summer school to be done over the coming weeks. Life is always very full. Praying for God's strength - that He will give me strength to keep my trust in Him and not panic and get all self-sufficient...that's an exhausting, anxious place to live, eh?

I've decided to ramp down the blog during this season. This will be the last, or close to the last, post for awhile. I may return here in time, but for now, this will rest. Thanks for being my blog friend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Texas and the Big Move

Miss ME and I got to take a little jaunt out west from Saturday to Monday. On my way out of TX, I stopped to browse the ever-pompous and delightful t-shirt selection at the airport. This was my favorite.

Given that Baby is such a smiling, uncomplicated little thing, I wasn't anxious about traveling with her, but you never know. I prayed she'd do well, and hoped the air travel wouldn't hurt her ears.

This was her state in the airport before we boarded to go to Texas:

Once on the plane, she mostly relaxed in my lap....

I mean, she really relaxed. Slept most of the 2 hour flight, and I got to read! What a treat!

God graced us with such strong and beautiful relationships during our nine years in Texas. We traveled there last weekend to attend a wedding. Our dear friends' daughter was married on Sunday, on her parents' and grand parents' anniversary.

There are five kids in their family, three of whom are girls (young ladies now, women, actually), all of whom babysat our children many times.

The happy bride and groom planned a beautiful, simple ceremony and celebration. The weather was horrible, awful, wet, and thunderous the morning of the festivities, but God in His tender mercy allowed it to all clear off before the evening wedding. I always get emotional at weddings, because I'm transported back to my own big day, and am reminded of the blessedness of marriage.

I got to see many precious friends while away. The time there was bittersweet. So much for which to give thanks to God, and still sad over the loss of regular in-person contact with our Texas people.

Driving around and not being or feeling lost was a treat, too, I have to say. I have not figured our new area out yet, when it comes to navigating and all that.

As we headed back east from Texas, Baby once again confirmed her easy going status by napping twice on the flight home. She proved to be quite the charmer, striking up sweet little baby talk conversations with lots of people, all of whom seemed more than glad to chat it up with my little baby doll.

So we made it home safely. Thanks be to God. What an honor and blessing to get to make the trip and to connect with others...

And now, it's back to life here. This is a big part of what we did this week:

It's been all about final packing, organizing, cleaning at the new house, making small move-in improvements there, while trying to maintain a bit of normalcy here at the old house - naps and playtime and books read to little ones. On that note, a funny quote, and a testament to my amazing big kids, who are so kind to read to the little ones a lot: today, MK offered to read to the younger set. CJ came to her, semi-whining and asked, Do I have to listen to Hamlet again?! It's not really what I expect to hear my four year old saying, but how fun is that, that she even knows what Hamlet is, and that it's because her big sister reads to her so much (that one is from a children's version of Shakespeare's works). This is all extra-special to me because I do not love reading aloud to the kids.

So tomorrow and the next day are IT: the big move! I'll be honest - I feel completely overwhelmed by it at the moment! But we've been provided a home by our God and He's not overwhelmed at all...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mostly Good Chaos

Among so many other things, God is a God of Delights. This morning I went for a little jog, and had the delicious pleasure of breathing deep breaths of honeysuckle scent, sweet and heavy in the new-day air. I thank Him for this delight. He is good. He's such a Creative Genius, right? He's made all this wonder and beauty and He sustains it (and me) with His power.

What has He provided for your delight lately?

Things are pretty chaotic right now. It's mostly a positive chaos. Home buying and moving. End of school. Tech week for AH and MK, whose drama club production opens tomorrow night for five shows. It's a double feature: Into the Woods and Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass. Both are being presented in a steampunk style. Very interesting and fun. I was asked last minute to prepare bio boards for the show, which I was excited to do, since it's a fun and creative way to contribute, and I've not been able to do much beyond get the girls to practice and back so far. Anyway, I've been working on that...

And there was my birthday this week - BB cooked a great supper for me and made amazing fried pies for a treat. The girls all gave me special greetings and little gifts and cards. Hello, year 39!

EG made me this fabulous sign, which we tucked away to use again on another birthday sometime...

Like I said, things have been a tad chaotic and little people may or may not be fending for themselves here and and there:

BH loves to "cook." He pulls out all the pots and lids and sometimes I give him dried beans or something to pretend with. He helped himself to powdered sugar and toothpicks this go around. Maybe dessert for a beaver? But I'm sure BH didn't actually eat any of the sugar himself...

My birthday (May 4) is also AH's "birthday in our family," as it marks the day her adoption was final. Four years now! We always mark the day with reminders.

This week, with their newfound free time, several of the kids became entrepreneurial: they opened little shops in the schoolroom, selling crafts, candy, flowers and who-knows-what. It was fun to see them working together - and competing! - and just having a good time being creative and relaxed. EG helped them out a lot.

CJ's shop

BH's Shop of Cars - created so he'd leave the girls' stores alone

Ah, the income! See the glow on CA's face! Ha!

And, Miss ME continues to be the belle of the household, beloved by all and changing fast - she's rolling and trying to sit up and laughing and smiling...more delight.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Break and a Birthday

BB had his birthday almost three weeks ago now. Spring break was also nearly three weeks past. There are times when life gets whirly. Not bad, just whirly, and I don't write much or write well when it's like that. We are in the thick of packing for our move and the girls each have had big end-of-schoolyear projects and then there's the drama production upcoming. AH and MK are both in a big show with their drama club in about two weeks.

But BB's birthday and spring break were so good that we'll go back in time to document it...

I decided to surprise him with a special day, and he was fortunate enough to be able to take the day off from work. The three youngest stayed with a babysitter while the rest of us toured the Bodies Exhibit, something BB and I have been wanting to see for years. We all enjoyed that. I'd done some research to find a place that makes good Texas barbeque around here. After touring Bodies, we grabbed BBQ takeout and went back home to the little ones, where all of us devoured the good meal. His treat of choice was banana splits. A good time was had by all. I'm so grateful to God for BB and for the good day He gave us as a family on his birthday!

The next day we packed up our things and headed up north a bit, to spend a few days in the mountains. It had been a long time since we'd spent time in/near the Smokies and a long time since our whole family enjoyed a hard stop to all typical activity (including technology!).

The three-night stay away proved to be so restful and simple and rejuvenating - another mercy from God. We drove there mid-afternoon, unloaded our things, ran back out for a few groceries, returned to the cabin, then never left again till it was time to go home!

Here are some images from that sweet, good break the Lord gave us....