Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy to Be Off the Highway

We're home again and I am very happy to be off the highway. I don't enjoy travelling very much but did enjoy the two Karen Kingsbury books I read to pass the time. The kids did as well as they could have for being strapped in their car seats for hours. We had to make a couple emergency potty stops and had a few emotional breakdowns, but besides the close calls with flying tires & cars almost pushing us off the road, everything went pretty well. Thank you Lord for answering our prayers & sending your angels to surround our van, keeping us safe & protected while travelling! We made it home around four on Sunday night and both Kevin and I had a burst of energy. We got everything unpacked and put away. I even did a couple loads of laundry. It sure helped my Monday go a lot smoother. We're back in the swing of things again, but the day after vacation is usually an adjustment for me. ..I loved having my husband with me 24/7 and having all the extra help with the kids...too bad he had to go back to work today.
These pictures are of our Easter egg hunt on the beach last week. Great memories! While in Florida I took 265 pictures...there is more to come on my blog. =)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Florida Sunsets

Well it's our last day here and the hottest day yet with temps over 80 degrees. We are trying to soak in as much sun as we possibly can by going back and forth from the beach to the pool. I heard that Indiana is still cool, so I will do what I can to bring back some warmer weather. One of my favorite times of the day here is at sunset. Our routine has been to play games on the beach & take pictures as the sun goes down. Fun times!
It's been so nice vacationing with my family this week. It's so much more fun with a bigger group to hang out with and laugh with. I'm afraid the kids are a little spoiled now with all the extra attention from Grandma & Grandpa and all their cousins, but it's certainly been worth it. I've loved getting up early and walking the beach each morning with mom & dad. I've loved watching my children have a blast learning to swim better with their cousins. I've loved watching my dad play in the sand with my kids. I've loved seeing my pregnant sister each day and talking about the upcoming arrival of baby Emmi. I've loved this whole week!
I've loved spending lots and lots of time with the love of my life.
I've loved playing endlessly with my children and watching their excitement this week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Playing in the Sand

Our Florida vacation is going great. The kids have loved playing in the sand...well, Caedmon probably more than Kaiya. She thinks the sand is full of spiders and doesn't like walking in it so much...what a princess! The sand on this beach is the best I've ever seen. It's feels like powdered sugar. Here are some pictures we've taken this week having fun in the sand.

I was surprised when Caedmon agreed to be buried in the sand by his daddy. He giggled & giggled the whole time.
These pictures were taken yesterday afternoon of Daddy and Caedmon building a sand castle. We also saw a dolphin in the Gulf that afternoon as well.
And here's Princess Kaiya lounging on her chair because she doesn't want to get eaten by those beach spiders.

When it came to playing in the ocean, I couldn't keep her away from it.

The completed castle.

And finally, a family picture of our first night watching the sunset.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunshine State...Here We Are!

Here's the whole group pictured together at the Florida state line. We had great traveling weather with beautiful sunny skies the whole trip, but when we arrived at Sarasota, we were greeted with rain. By Easter morning it stopped, and we woke up bright & early (6am) to attend a sunrise service right on the beach. It was a pretty cool service and we guessed that over 2,000 were in attendance. The Easter service was the first time we were on the beach since arriving in Florida, and Caedmon couldn't stand still with a beach full of soft white sand surrounding him. It was all we could do to keep him from getting sand on everyone sitting around us. Who could blame him? It was fun to see his excitement.

Easter Sunday was spent doing what we came to Florida to do...playing in the sun! Kaiya was so brave...a little too brave in the water. She is fearless! Caedmon on the other hand has more of a fear of water, but by the end of our first day, he was swimming all over the pool and having a blast.That evening our cousins, Andy & Danielle, invited us over to be a part of their family Easter celebrations. Caedmon had a blast playing with their boys and we loved spending the evening with their family. Kevin's Grandpa & Grandma were there as well and it was great to see them again.Even though Danielle and I rarely see each other, it feels like we can always pick right up where we left off. She's so fun & always great to talk to.

Today was a great start to our vacation! Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Heading South

This picture was taken at 2:30 AM this morning. The kids were all smiles and didn't mind that we pulled them out of their warm and cozy beds in the middle of night because they knew that this was a very special day...the first day of our family vacation to FLORIDA!!!
With the threat of a winter storm coming that day, we left our home town happily and didn't look back. My whole family joined us including my parents and sister's family. My nephew, Jake will turn 16 while we are there, so he brought along a couple friends. While driving through Kentucky, the temperatures climbed to the 70s. It was a beautiful day to be on the road and refreshing to see green grass and the Spring flowers blooming. We packed lunches and stopped for a picnic along the way.
We arrived in Perry, Georgia and will sleep here for the night. We're all tired...good night.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prayers for Our Children

"Lord show me how to pray for my children. Help me to raise them Your way. And may Your will be done in their lives." Last year I read the book "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian. A great book and wonderful tool to use to help in the area of covering our kids in prayer. Before reading the book, I found myself frustrated about this topic...feeling guilty for not taking the time and not knowing what to pray. I got a piece of advice from another mom with five kids. She assigns a day of the week for each child and prays throughout the day for that child. I tried that and it didn't work so well for me, with all the distractions of the day.

Stormie suggested making a list for each child. I did that last year and again at the beginning of this year. It was pretty cool to read last years list again and see how God answered.

I had forgotten how many times we were at the Dr. last year for Caedmon's chronic ear infections...every month it seemed and nothing helped. Now this past winter, neither of them has been to the Doctor for sickness. PTL! And Kaiya was also going through a phase where she didn't want to be left at a babysitter...especially overnight. At the time, it was so frustrating but now she does so well.

Here are the lists for this year:

- for a healthy understanding & acceptance of being adopted
- quick obedience to mom & dad and others in authority
- wisdom & patience for us as parents in the area of discipline
- that he would use his high-energy in a positive way
- purity in all areas -- what he sees, hears & does -- that we would provide a home that encourages purity
- protection from sickness, disease, injury, harm, kidnapping
- against past generational sins & bondage's carried down from birth parents and ourselves
- future & present friendships
-only positive influences, healthy relationships, that he would know how to work through conflicts, that he would be a faithful friend to others and have the blessing of many friendships
- As he starts school this Fall - a caring & loving teacher, his attention span & ability to focus & learn
- Temper tantrums - learning control when things don't go his way
- That we could encourage his gifts & talents
- Showing respect for elders - looking at and answering them when they talk to him
- His future spouse
- His relationship with the Lord and acceptance of Him into his life
- His relationship with family members - parents & siblings

- protection over her from danger, harm, sickness, disease, kidnapping
- past generational sins carried down from birth parents & ourselves
- Her future spouse
- Future friendships - only positive influences - that she could be a good role model to others as well - know how to handle conflicts in a positive way and have many friendships
- Potty training to the completion
- Quick obedience to mom & dad and others in authority over her
- Showing respect to elders and answering them when they talk to her
- Purity - what she sees, hears & does
- That she would have a healthy self-esteem and not feel like looks are the most important
- Healthy relationships with parents & siblings
- Healthy understanding and acceptance of her adoption
- A likable personality - gentle & loving spirit for others - compassion
- Future salvation
- Wisdom & patience for us as we discipline

Here's an excerpt from the book that I thought was good:

When things go wrong in our children's lives, we blame ourselves. We beat ourselves up for not being perfect parents. But it's not being a perfect parent that makes the difference in a child's life, because there are no perfect parents. None of us are perfect, so how can we be perfect parents? It's being a praying parent that makes the difference. And that's something we all can be.

Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children. Lamentations 2:19

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13-14

Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17-18

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Springing Forward

Spring is so close, I can smell it! Yesterday was gorgeous! Bright sunshine and temperatures slowly climbing into the 50s. I love the time change with the daylight lasting longer in the evenings now. The kids have been sleeping in longer which is wonderful, but unfortunately I have been too. Now if I could just get up at my normal time it would be perfect. Soon we will be seeing the signs of new life popping through the soil...this is my favorite time of year!

Speaking of new life, we were so privileged to meet a new little life yesterday at the hospital. Our friends, Rob & Jenny, had a new baby boy on Tuesday.
Baby Chase came four weeks early at 6 pounds & 7 ounces, surprising everyone. His size reminded me so much of Kaiya when she was born. She was a tiny 6 pounds & 8 ounces. After having lunch with daddy & visiting Baby Chase, the kids and I ran a few errands. I decided we would wear our Spring jackets instead of the heavy winter coats and I'm so glad we did. With the sun shining in the van, it was actually kind of hot. We even rolled down the windows a little. Come on Spring, we're ready!The kids did so great, running errands during their usual nap time. They fell asleep on the way home and slept in the van while I got all the groceries unloaded and put away.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jake's 16th Surprise Party

On Saturday, my sister & brother-in-law threw a big 16th surprise birthday party for my nephew, Jake. Can it really be true that he is going to be 16 already? I remember his birth...I was a junior in high school and my mom got me out of school when my sister was going to the hospital that day. I drove like a maniac to get home so we could get to the hospital in time for his birth. What an exciting moment for our family welcoming the first grandson & for me, becoming an aunt for the first time!
That's one proud stylin' Aunt!

My sister asked us if we could come up with a plan to keep Jake away on Saturday until the big surprise. So Kevin called him up and asked if he wanted to spend the day with him and then we would take him out to dinner that night. Shanna had all the guests really dress up and had a "tie" theme, so we told him that we wanted him to bring his suit & tie because we were going to take him to a really nice restaurant. To get Jake back to his house, we told him that his dad wanted to borrow a drill from Kevin and that we were going to drop it off quickly before going to dinner. When we arrived, their parking lot was full of cars and their house was full of his friends & family. Everyone was asked to bring a tie as a gift or as part of their gift that reminded them of Jake, then share a story about why they chose it. I gave him a red tie to remind him of the day that he broke my nose and made it bleed a lot. He was four (Caedmon's age) and our family was having a picnic at the Hurshtown Reservoir. Everyone was throwing rocks into the water, so he did the same except his (a really big one) hit me right on the nose instead of making it in the water. Kevin was standing right beside me thankfully and caught me in his arms before I collapsed into the water. There was a lot of bleeding and a broken & very swollen nose! I've given him a hard time since. =)
A devotional challenge to the teens by Clint, Jake's DadRylie dressed in one of Jake's suitsWe're all very proud of you, Jake, and the man that you are becoming. You bring a lot of laughter & joy to our family. May you continue to be a shining light & positive influence to those around you! Happy 16th! We love you!

Watch out drivers, here he comes!