Monday, April 29, 2013

A Beautiful Spring Weekend

I think spring has finally arrived here on our gravelly road.  We've been spending as much time outside in the sunshine as possible, first with sweatshirts but eventually warm enough for short sleeves.

The baseball gear came out and the sandbox enjoyed.

The chicken coop was moved outside.  Our dog was very interested, not sure if he thinks they are playmates or dinner.  In case you are curious, the names of the four chickens are currently John Smith, Meanie Queenie, Brownie, and Mrs Clucky (though a few have change a few times).

We grilled several times, ate supper on the patio, bonfires and s'mores. 

A beautiful weekend on the gravelly road!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Nursery In Progress

One fun part of preparing to add a child to our family through adoption is creating a physical space for him/her in our home. 

The nursery has been "in progress" for quite a while. Before we moved in, a lot of changes were done to the bedrooms upstairs, including the nursery -- in-floor heat, new flooring, paint, and lights.  We've since set up the crib (mostly so we didn't misplace any pieces), added some cute wall decals (we loved using decals in our son's room so it was fun to find some for the nursery too), curtains and a new changing table.

We still need to find a rug, upgrade the light to be a dimmable, move the glider upstairs and clean out the closet (it has been a collecting place for outgrown little boy clothes).  I've moved the newborn and 0-3 month clothes bins into the closet for now and moved a few other baby items upstairs. 

There's still a lot to do and I'll update when/if we get further.  I appreciate having a place in our home waiting for baby. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five Minute Fridays: Friend

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This week's prompt: Friend


I've known her for a lifetime.  She's always been there.  Growing up together meant whispered secrets, screaming fights, writing notes, angry tears, planning surprises, working together, not working together, vacations, riding bikes, back yard fun, inside games, matching clothes (yep did that), cheering, learning, avoiding and loving.

Then I went away to college.  A few years later she joined me there.  Older, wiser, with more inner beauty than I remembered.  Math homework in the hallways, Tuesday lunches, Sunday homework days with laundry always going, chili lunches watching football, missing home, discussing new and changing lives, my husband, her "guy friend" that she wasn't dating, precious yet routine time together.

She is the best encourager I know. Faithful prayer warrior. Always a note just when its needed. A gift left on the counter to be found after a long week. Sharing chocolate during evening visits when my baby didn't want to sleep.

Now she's living a few hours a way.  No longer down the hall.  Not even across town.  I miss her.  Thankfully she is only a phone call, email or text away.  Yet not the same.

I am forever thankful that she is on this journey of life with me.

Closer than a friend, she is my sister.


Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Still Lovin' Trains

Even though he loves his legos, trains are still a fav.

Of course trains are generally loud :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Home Study Update, Social Worker Visit and Waiting

This morning our social worker visited our home on the gravelly road as part of the process of updating our home study document.  We had a nice visit, mostly just talking about the past year.  She shared more information about some of the advertising and information sharing the agency has been doing that seems to be having a positive impact on the number of inquiries and profile showings.  We talked about some ways to continue to "spread the word" that we are waiting to adopt -- it was interesting to hear how other families have connected with a mom making an adoption plan through their network of contacts (vs waiting for a mom to find the adoption agency).

Its amazing to me that its been nearly a year since we officially became a waiting family, praying to grow our family through adoption.  Waiting is hard.  But it helps that we are busy.  It also helps that an amazing little boy calls me Mommy and fills my days to overflowing.  The unpredictability of the waiting is the hardest for me.  The "what if" is always in the back of my mind, especially as we make plans for coming summer months.

Yesterday my son said, "Mom, what if a baby comes to our family THIS summer?  I think it should be the last day of summer, right before the fall.  Then would the baby have a summer birthday or a fall birthday?"  (He is very interested when people's birthdays are lately). 

We don't know when God will lead a loving and brave woman to adoption, when we will be chosen to be the family to an amazing gift of a child, or when a baby will be placed in our family.

I believe our family is beautiful just as it is. I also believe that God will grow our family and make our family even more beautiful in HIS time.  And so we wait on Him.

(If you are new to Life on the Gravelly Road, check our the Adoption & Our Family page for a high level look at our journey). 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Alphabet Costume Races

learning letters while being silly with costumes

The other day we were stuck inside (snow and sleet outside), and I knew I had to find something for my son to do that would keep his interest and keep him moving.  So we played a game we called "Alphabet Costume Races" that was a nice blend of physical activity, learning and silliness to keep his attention.

I put a variety of items from the costume box (hats, shirts, capes, etc) into four grocery bags.  Then I wrote a group of letters on each bag (we ended up with 6 letters per bag).  You could also use sight words for older kids.

Then I set the letter bags of costumes on one end of the room and I sat on the other end with a white board and white board crayon.

Each round my son started next to me.  I called out a letter, he raced to find the right letter/bag, put on a costume item, race back to me, and write the letter on the white board.  Then I called a new letter and he started again, adding more items to his crazy costume.

It was interesting to see which letters he could write quickly (ones in his name, etc) and ones that he needed to glance back at the bag to see how it was shaped.  Since each round added more costume items, it got increasingly silly and harder for him to move quickly.

After we were done, we each took two bags and raced to put on all the costume items in them.  Sometimes its good just to be silly with my son.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Our Week

At the beginning of the week, we had fun playing outside in the melting snow:

Then we got more snow and we played outside in that:

Today we celebrated Earth Day by attending a special event at a local Environmental Learning Center.  Part of the event was a special animal program was put on by the ZooMobile.  There were also lots of booths and activities set up to teach kids about pollution, water run off,  protecting our waterways, invasive species, recycling and reuse, etc.
We are staying busy and trying to make the most of this prolonged winter :)  At least we've had some days with plenty of sunshine so this last batch of snow shouldn't last long.  Maybe we can get the garden started in a couple weeks.... or maybe by June.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five Minute Fridays: Jump

I'm trying something new this week.  I'm participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging brave women to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  It's rather scary, now that I think about it I'd rather be writing computer code, but oh well.  I guess its appropriate then that today's prompt is JUMP.


It happens almost every day.  I spot my 4 year old poised, ready to jump.  From the 3 stairs up.  From the couch.  From the top of a large boulder in the back yard.  Almost every time, my worry-wart mommy voice kicks in -- be careful, please get down, not so high!

But yet, I want him to learn to be brave.  To know when is the right time to jump in.  To try something new, to stand up for someone be bullied, to be the friend to the lonely class mate.  I don't want my mommy worry-wart voice ringing in his head when it should be encouraging him.  How do I help this little one of mine learn to make wise choices if I don't let him have his own failures when he's young?  (even if it might end up with bumps and bruises, or an urgent care visit)  Where is that balance?

There are days I long for his ability to jump.  I try to follow his lead.  Talking to the mom at the playground that I've never met as our children happily play together.  Setting up playdates with his friends that he asks to do so often.  Reaching out, speaking up, trying new things, throwing caution to the wind.  Maybe he's really the one teaching me, encouraging me to take the next JUMP.


Five Minute Friday

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: The Artist's Daughter

I was given a copy of the new book The Artist's Daughter: A Memoir by Alexandra Kuykendall by MOPS International a few weeks ago as part of a program to help get the word out on this great book, the theme book for MOPS next year (2013-2014 ). 

The book arrived on a Monday.  That evening I decided to start the book, thinking some light reading before bed would be nice.  Well 100+ pages later, a little past midnight I finally went to bed.  I finished the book the next day.  I've since read it a second time.  I enjoyed it THAT much.

The book tells moving stories from the author's journey from childhood into motherhood, with identity, faith, marriage and mom struggles along the way.  It examines the core questions of "Am I lovable?  Am I loved?  and Am I loving?" throughout.

I found Alexandra to be a wonderfully authentic storyteller such that you easily get caught up in her journey.  At the same time, the book is filled with wisdom and Truth that gives the reader opportunities to reflect and examine their own life experiences and the journey that God is leading them on.

I was touched by her powerful words in so many parts of the book.  Here's two quotes that touched me:

"The grief was for what could have been, what should have been, and what would never be. ... I had to know how to live in the shape I was in.  To move forward with a husband who was willing to put his arms around me and hold me tight for as long as I needed.  With a God who allowed the pain to be there and was always willing to love me through it."  pg 98
"The [phrase] "do what only you can do" was not only about cutting things out of my life, it was also about stepping up when it was time."  pg 215

If you get a chance, take the time to read this one and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.  (If you see me regularly and like to borrow my copy, please let me know!)

Below is a video of the author discussing the book, if you want to learn more.

* Disclosure - I was given a free book to help promote and spread the word on this book. My opinions are my own.

Monday, April 8, 2013

New residents on the gravelly road

That first summer when we first starting spending weekends at our home on the gravelly road (before the house in the cities sold), our little boy often referred to the acreage as "the farm".  He wanted to know when we'd get a cow or horse or pig and where they would sleep (the shed wasn't really a barn... ).  Well, this week we started a new adventure that makes our acreage a tiny bit more farm-like.

Baby chicks.

The idea was proposed sometime this winter, by my husband.  I was a little hesitant, ok a lot hesitant.  Mostly because I know nothing about chickens and with his travel schedule I worried I would need to do most of the chicken related tasks. 

Well, a "how to raise chickens" type book was purchased.  Many Saturdays and evenings I'd find my husband in the chair reading the chicken book, often out loud to our son.  I love that my husband provided our son with a tangible example of using books to gain the knowledge you need for what you're working on.  I loved hearing the request "Dad, can we please read more from the chicken book?"

I was still hesitant but it was very quickly becoming their special project (too sweet to try to dissuade at that point).  Soon chicken coop building was underway, which meant hours in the shed working together -- such special time for them.

Thursday the baby chicks came home, four of them to be exact.  They are awfully cute!  No names yet, though John Smith and Tweet have been proposed. 

So begins our new adventure raising chickens.  Maybe I should start reading that chicken book...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fun with the Letter "W"

We studied "W is for Walrus" for about a week and half before Easter, but with the holiday weekend and now fighting a cold I've been slow to write about it.  We had fun with this one and just kept talking about it... I read the walrus books quite a few times! 



We watched the movie Artic Tale, a wildlife documentary movie following a mother walrus and her calf as well as a mother polar bear and her cubs.  It was a well done movie and very educational -- just a warning though it is true to the harsh environment of the arctic and several animals die.  After watching the movie, we talked about what the walruses ate, how they stayed warm in the arctic, and how silly they looked when they tried to move around on land.  It was fun to see how much he'd learned.

He worked on a fun W is for Walrus color sheet.

Another day we made this fun walrus craft with tusks in the shape of the letter W

I first saw the idea on pinterest via Lil' Miss Smarty Pants.  First I drew a half oval on the light brown paper and my kiddo carefully cut it out.  He did a great job taking his time.  I cut out the rest of the face out of dark brown paper.  After he glued the face together and added the googly eyes, we started working on the tusks.  Instead of cutting out a white paper "w", I got out a white pipe cleaner so that he could bend it to the shape of the letter (with help).  Then I wrote the "W" on the paper for him to trace with the glue.  It took a bit of work to get the pipe cleaner tusks to stay stuck.  We ended up clipping it on with a chip clip and soaking it with more glue :)  While we waited for it to dry, brown yarn was added for whiskers.

Throughout the week, he practiced writing the letter "W" on the whiteboard, with chalk on the driveway, and making them out of play-doh and legos.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Weekend Photo Overload

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Easter with family.  It is such a blessing to live close enough to be able to spend time with extendeed family over a weekend.

Saturday was the big egg hunt, though not as big as some years with some nieces and nephews unable to join the fun.  My silly boy found a pair of binoculars in the playhouse and decided they were necessary for searching for eggs :)
Of course there was plenty of other fun on Saturday -- riding trike, blowing bubbles, rides on the tire swing and a visit to a relatives' farm to see the baby pigs.  It was a beautiful day so we spent a lot of it outside -- there wasn't even any snow on the ground!
Sunday after church, my kiddo did a special treasure hunt put together by Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt.  Each map led to a different map until he found his Easter present.  He was soooo excited.

So blessed to be able to celebrate the joy of our Risen Lord with a weekend full of fun memories.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...