Thursday, May 31, 2007
But every word is precious to us!
Even why, (for now) hundreds of times a day.
Does he really want to know why?
I'm not sure.
But it's as clear as day!
This is him signing it.
It's so cute.
I also melt when he says something resembling "I love you" while shooting me the gang sign that is supposed to be the ILY sign.
That handshape is impossible for two-year-old, adorable, brown hands.
I marvel at his progress in communication.
I marvel that I don't even know where the spanking spoon is right now.
What I used to perceive as crazy, two-year-old rebellion, I now look back and realize it was 90% pure anger and frustration.
His personality is different!
He is cooperative, delightful, SO stinkin' funny! We are enjoying each other now like we were meant to.
I am overwhelmingly thankful to the Lord for preparing me for this sweet boy by making me fluent in ASL long before I knew he would exist in my life.
Because God is good.
He is faithful.
He works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to HIS purpose.
We love Him, and we are called to whatever God puts before us!
Thank you God for Justus!!!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
It's also my big brother Brian's birthday- Happy Birthday B!
I did not enjoy my 30th birthday. Besides it coming at a difficult time in my life, it was not exciting to me to enter my 30's. I was quite comfortable in my 20's and really didn't wish to enter a new decade of me. (Or so I thought.) I wanted to be stuck in the 20's. I didn't feel ready for my 30's! I was being rushed, pushed, forced into it. Couldn't we all just wait until we're ready to be 30?
I had decided I was stuck specifically at 25. I think that's a great age. I still don't feel as old as I am. I can't shake the feeling that I just graduated from college. (That was almost 10 years ago.)
There have been many indicators to me that I am old.
-I just said 10 years, like 10 years is nothing. When you're 20 that's half of your life!
-I've had the same make-up bag for 7 years, and I felt like I just got it.
-College kids are starting to look like high school kids.
-The commercials for those cheesy compilation CD's bring back great memories; I replay them over and over on my DVR, incredibly tempted to call that number NOW! (Especially the commercial with the hair bands of the 80's and 90's singing rock ballads. I love that one!)
-I have four kids. That's a reality check.
-The college girls I hang out with have never seen the staple movies of my life, such as "Say Anything", a John Cusak classic. They look at me with blank stares when referencing music, TV, and movies in general.
-Mostly, because I remember when I thought of people who were 32, and they were stinkin' OLD.
At 30, I was a bit uncomfortable, trying to be okay with it. At 31, a tad better.
But today, I feel really good.
I feel very comfortable in my own skin, even if it looks a little older.
I'm so grateful to be who God is making me and molding me to be. I'm so glad to have grown tremendously spiritually in the last five years. I don't ever want to go back.
I have a lot to show for 32! Almost 9 years of marriage. Four incredible kids.
I can only thank God for my life today! Being 32, I have some years to look back on, sharing the greatest mistakes and 'if only I could do that over' moments with my college girls.
I am desperately seeking the wisdom of women older than me on how to be the wife, mother, and woman God is calling me to be today.
I didn't dread this birthday. I have been looking forward to it. It might have taken me two years, but I'm fully embracing my 30's! Contentment, my sisters...it's paramount! God, forgive me for every corner of my life where discontentment is hiding.
Today has been a great day! My husband...have y'all met him? He's amazing!
He made me my favorite cake. It's the most complicated cake ever to make! I am probably evil for preferring it. It's a carrot cake with a glaze and cream cheese frosting. 3 separate recipes. It's amazing. (Southern Living, of course.) Some of you ate it last year on my birthday.
He and the kids made me a birthday breakfast. Fried eggs and waffles.
I got to go running, and even though it was hot, humid, and disghusting, I enjoyed the time to run and pray, listening to music that draws me into worshiping Him-while sweating.
I had a fantastic birthday lunch at my absolute favorite restaurant in town, Madden's, with some sweet girlfriends.
Becky and the kids made me the sweetest birthday cards I've ever received!
And tonight I have a hot date. Rusty is taking me to Messina Hoff! We've never been there, in all the four years we've lived here. I'm super excited!
Also, we're going to get a new vacuum cleaner, which makes me immensely happy, considering the dog is shedding and my vacuums is sucking nothing but air.
Best of all, everytime my husband addresses me, including waking me up this morning, he calls me birthday girl. I love this man.
I'm 32, and it's a great day.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
It's not. It's CAMP OZARK!
It's the sand volley ball court.
This is from Monday night. We had so much fun!
Emma has been charming people with her daredevil ways, and today spent hours on the water trampoline.
Heather, I tried the meaningful conversation while brushing her hair, in order to give a more authentic "Little House" feel to our cabin tonight, but she was a Cheetah, so we didn't get very far. I don't think there were ANY girls like Emma on "Little House."
This week is totally different from the past weeks we have come to Camp Ozark...we usually come in July when campers are here. This is Orientation week for the counselors. So there are no campers, only oodles of fun college students...who love kids...and there are only our kids and the permanent staff members' kids here. So our kids are FAMOUS. Jax is well known around the bumper boats for his schmack talk, and constant spraying of strangers. He's so precious! He watched closely today while Rusty and I did the ropes course and zip line, and yelled up to me "Mom, I love you! When you come down, can you hold me?" I love this boy.
Justus is that adorable little boy who signs. This has captured the heart of every beautiful college girl here. He has also learned to WHOOP and put his thumb up as a crowd-pleaser to the Aggies. I certainly didn't teach him that. We have to credit Bec-Bec (Becky who is here with us, having fun, and helping us out tremendously) with that one.
Unfortunately, Justus has been sick, and is running fever for almost four days now, and has a terrible sore throat. This has only limited his fun marginally. After we had dinner Monday night, they had a dance, and Justus got in the middle and did a little break dancing, while people gathered around and cheered. He was trying to show these white people how it's done.
Treston, quite the hit of the entire camp!
I seriously could have charged admission on this night, because we had dinner "on the grounds" outside, and we just stripped him down and let him go to town on some rice and fruit. It was the mess you might expect. But these cute college people do not see chubby babies covered with rice, in their ears, up their noses, everyday. They gathered around in large groups just to watch. Treston was unbothered. There was food present. That was all that mattered to him. When the food runs out, he starts yelling. This is a pic of his first ice cream. There was no way we were going to get away with having some and deny him! He's pretty easy-going, until it comes to food, as you can tell! The girls have lined up just to hold him, so we let a group take him while Rusty and I braved the ropes course and zip line today.
Other highlight: we went fishing last night. Does anyone remember the phantom fish that I caught last year, unwitnessed by people over the age of 5? Well, we all got lucky this year. Everyone of us caught a fish, and Rusty even caught a hook in the finger. Such are the dangers of fishing with kids. I got some very stereo-typical, adorable pictures of my kids holding up their fishes proudly before throwing them back. It was awesome!By the way, thanks for the recommendations on reading! I am almost done with one of them, and ready to start another. I have enjoyed reading for hours and hours at night! It's been great.
We will be packing it up all too soon. I do miss all of you guys, and will see you soon. Pray for us, driving straight through on the way home (8 hours) with tired (and some sick) kids, and many valuable things precariously strapped to the top.
And yes, Ashley, we'll just squeeze you in next year! I think they expect us to keep bringing more and more kids each year, at this rate. I don't know where another one would sleep, but that wouldn't stop the Ingalls family, would it?
I'll keep you posted on further adventures. Love to all of you!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
We have been basking in the gorgeous weather here! (Prior to today, which is rainy.) It has been absolutely gorgeous, couldn't order a more perfect temperature. It's been a sweat-free camp, and I didn't even know that existed. I don't feel so disghusting at the end of the day that
I want absolutely nothing to do with myself...to run away from ME.
We took a hike with the entire camp up to the cross (at the top of a mountain) with the kids. Now, hiking was not in my vocabulary years ago when Rusty met me. I am a changed woman. I am a good wife. (At least for hiking. I don't know about anything else.) I actually like the physical challenge. However, I'd enjoy it more if there were not the risk of my children falling to their death. Much more.
These pics tell the story of what my kids have enjoyed the most. The newest addition to Camp Ozark...bumper boats that SPRAY other people. What could be cooler than that, at least in Jax's mind?
I believe I'm eligible for "Mom of the Year" for getting on a boat with Justus and letting my
children spray me relentlessly for about 15 minutes. The kids barely got a drop on them, but I was soaked. But it was fun.
Emma, of course, did the zip line and ropes course the very first thing when we got here. She is as fearless as ever.
We are sleeping four kids in a one-room cabin, which feels very
"Little House" to me, minus the air conditioning unit and the refrigerator.
We are having a great time!
Love to you, our friends!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
But I am in desperate need of some really good vacation reading, and I need your book suggestions.
I want fiction. I don't want any book that's going to make me think hard, or make my life better. Those are the books to read during my real life, not my vacation life. I really enjoy Christian fiction, like Francine Rivers. What is wrong with that woman? Why can't she write faster? I don't think I've had a new book from her in years! She would definitely be my favorite.
Anyone have a good recommendation that I could run to the library and grab? I don't want to take a gamble at the library, and end up with a stinky book. I like to do a lot of late-night reading by flashlight while at Camp Ozark. It will totally make my week! Help!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Mom, I know I am truly blessed as a woman to have had a Godly Mother modeled before my eyes everyday. I still go to you when I need wisdom, because I know it is grounded in the Word. What a gift!
As for me, I don't know that I have anything to say that is not cliche about Mother's Day. I guess I just wanted to convey how much I LOVE being a Mom! This is my chosen full-time profession, and I am being dead honest when I say there's nothing else I'd rather do! Being a Mom to Emma, Jax, Justus, and Treston brings me such joy. Being "busy at home" as Titus 2 puts it, truly is our calling. I know that's not a popular idea, and I'm grateful for a pastor who will say it, and also a Dad who said it from the pulpit recently. I don't feel under valued because I have a husband who encourages and praises me. I don't feel unfulfilled because I know this is a high and sacred calling. What I do is of eternal value. I don't want to miss a single moment of it. I don't feel unstimulated because I have my smart little students who are challenging me to learn and be a better teacher! (I can't believe how much I learned in Kindergarten!!! Don't laugh! Do you know what the only mammal is that lays eggs? Emma does.) Now of course, there are days I feel tired. There are days I feel frustrated. Thankfully, my feelings don't rule who I am. Mostly, I just feel overwhelmingly grateful. This is my dream profession, and I'm living the dream! Thank you God!
Friday, May 11, 2007
There is an even better website I want you to check out. It's http://www.aslpro.com/cgi-bin/aslpro/aslpro This one has a much more extensive video dictionary! Awesome!
I have made a new list of signs that you are almost sure to see if you walk into our home on any given day. Ready?
Not (also use for Do not or to negate almost any action)
Dirty (also the sign for dirt)
Firefighter (We use a different sign than what's on the website. Make a B handshape, and put it to your forehead, facing thumb out, like the badge on their hats. Justus points to himself and then signs this about 100 times a day. He wants you to know HE'S going to be a firefighter!)
Justus (Make a J handshape in your hair, on the side of your head, like for curly hair.)
Treston (Make a T handshape, and tap it against your chin a few times)
Emma (Make an E handshape and sign girl with it)
Jax (Justus made this one up himself...tap your index finger to the side of your forehead, like the sign for "think", and then turn it out into an X handshape, in one motion. It's easier than it sounds.)
Mom- sign for Mother
Dad-sign for Father, but Justus baby signs these with just one finger, FYI.
Okay, so now let's put those into Justus sized sentences. This is like a cumulative test.
Justus, please don't touch. (Justus please not touch)
That's too loud! Treston is asleep. (Loud! Treston sleep)
That's yucky! Don't eat that. (gross! not eat)
You need a diaper change. (FYI, I don't sign "dirty" for a dirty diaper, I sign stinky, by just holding my nose. Dirty is not really appropriate for a dirty diaper.)
Does that hurt? I'm sorry! (Hurt? Sorry)
You want a firefighter book?
Where's Daddy? At work. (Daddy Where? Work)
Good job Justus! (Good Work)
Your clothes are dirty. Let's go change. (Clothes dirty. Go change)
Remember, if you sign these things with no expression, it's almost meaningless! Take note of the expressions of the signers on the website. When you meet a deaf person, the expression will almost overwhelm you. But there is grammar built into expression! A deaf person would rather have expression than perfect signs! That's just a side tip when it comes to learning ASL. It also helps with communication with Justus. The more expression he has, the more likely we are to understand what he's signing.
Remember, he still uses baby signs. He doesn't sign these things perfectly. You have to be around him to get used to his signs. But it doesn't take long!
Thanks for those of you really learning! It shows how much you love our sweet boy!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Sunday marked the end of a waiting period for us with Treston. It feels good to be on this side of May 6th. It's a day that's been circled on my calendar for months.
Many of you have asked me where we are with this adoption. My answer has had to be "waiting." There was a waiting period that had to take place before any legal action could be taken.
Now we are ready to take action! We want to make what we already feel to be true, about Treston being our baby, a legal reality!
Pray for New Life's lawyer, who will be representing us. We have already seen God move; as Rusty prayed and fasted about this, God gave him the name of a patient of his who is a lawyer, experienced in family law. Rusty actually saved this man's life once, so we called in a favor. (He was in his early 30's with no risk factors for heart disease, and had come in with some chest pain. Rusty decided to check into it more, despite his age, and found a 90% blockage. The next day he had major bypass surgery. It's awesome when God speaks to your doctor!) This lawyer has been advising New Life's lawyer, and they decided to move the proceedings to OUR county! We are excited about this, because we have heard the judges are more conservative here and apt to move quickly, and we won't have to drive all over the world to attend the court proceedings.
We believe God already has a judge for us. We know He knows the outcome, but we are called to PRAY. So again, I'm asking you to pray also. Unless you have been through this, it's hard to imagine. But going to court to let someone else decide if your baby can stay with you is a strange thing. It can be very scary. We have clung to Phil. 4:6-7, as it says "Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. And then the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." We cannot worry, we can only pray, and be thankful for the amazing things He has done in Treston's life already.
The Adoption Party will be joyous! The Baby Dedication will be so sweet! Writing his new name will be fun! Please pray with us for this to come to pass, and for all of the details. Legal proceedings can be a mess, and lengthy! We are praying against that.
Some of you have asked about the details of Treston's situation, or even Justus'. I may have awkwardly evaded your question. I'm not always good at that, because I am naturally a forthcoming person. But let me tell you why...these boys have stories behind their adoptions. They have birthmothers, and birthfathers. I understand that people are curious about this. But these are their stories to tell. Some of the facts they may wish to keep private, and I'm not going to spill it to everyone we know, every person we chit-chat with in Target for that matter, for their sake. It's not that I don't trust you with this information, it's just not fair to them. As adoptive parents, we need to be discreet. I have not really explained that publicly, but I hope that makes sense. The real story is God had a plan for their lives. He picked them up and planted them in the family he knew from the beginning of time would be theirs. It grants us all a greater understanding of being adopted as Christians, as the Bible puts it. It is a true picture of the gospel story, living and breathing in our family.
Thanks for your prayers! We treasure them. We're going to make this boy a Bacak!!!
Friday, May 04, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
There is this amazing show on the Discovery channel called Planet Earth.
I got the tip from my parents, but scolded Heather for not letting me know first, and she just "assumed I would know."
Well we all know what happens when we assume.
So I'm assuming some of you don't know.
You may not be interested in a nature/wildlife show.
I would never have given it a first glance before I married Rusty, who LOVES this stuff, and then passed on a massive obsession for it down to my daughter.
This is Emma's absolute, hands-down favorite show! She thinks the "woman from Planet Earth" (narrator: Sigourney Weaver) knows everything, and is the greatest source of knowledge she has! It has opened up a new world for Em. I am very aware that I have nothing left to offer Emma as a teacher when it comes to animals. She has now surpassed my knowledge of animals. My only edge on her is I know how to read big books. When she conquers that, I will lose! She has an insatiable thirst to know everything she possibly can about nature and wildlife. After she watches a "Planet Earth" once, maybe twice, she has it memorized. She wants you to watch it with her, but she will narrate the whole time. You don't get to hear it from Sigourney Weaver.
So this show...it's pretty cool. I was just watching the filmmaker's stories about how they get the "never before seen footage" (which they say every 10 minutes). For instance, we saw some rare and beautiful birds from a remote area of the world do their mating dance and it was AMAZING. But the poor camera crew waited for 8 weeks, 8 hours a day, in a camoflouged tent, waiting...all day...doing nothing but sitting in the same spot, looking at birds. Can you imagine? All of these stories astounded me.
You truly do see things never before seen in nature. They are learning things no one knew about all kinds of species on land and in the sea because of new technologically advanced cameras, and somtimes filming with them from the sky. You've got to check this show out! It's so educational for kids and adults, but be warned: the circle of life is accurately represented. Animals eat other animals. I have to skip forward sometimes because I don't like that, but Emma doesn't like to skip anything. She can take it. Can you believe that? But if there was a hunter, of ANY animal present hurting an animal, she would be irate!!! She'd get on her six-year-old soapbox so fast! If you hunt, please don't mention it to Emma. She will never be able to see you the same.