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Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday little brother

Today is my little brother's birthday.
To some, he's a rock star. We tease him about that. But to me, he's my little brother.

He's the one that used to sleep on my bedroom floor at night so we could sleep together.

He's the one that would comfort his bigger sister on the way into school because I desperately didn't want to go! (That's another story about a real thing called "school phobia" and some legit craziness on my part. School was scary! Except for Robbie. He would tell me "school is fun, Jojo!" That's what he called me.)

He's the one I got the brilliant idea with to pour a bottle of bubbles on top of our air hockey machine and turn it on! It was cooler than you are imagining right now!!! But obviously, we got busted and obviously, we broke the air hockey machine.

He was my duet partner. Oh yeah, his first big gig was when we sang together and won the Super Summer contest, which was the pinnacle of a music career in our minds at the time. Guess it wasn't, hu Rob?

We're the closest in age, so we always went to school together and had a lot of the same friends. We sang in a band together in High School, (the epic youth group rock n' roll band Zion. You've heard of it, right?:) rode together to school, and just hung out together a lot! I can't imagine surviving high school without him!

He's the one I sat in the back of our Astros minivan as we embarked on yet another move, and drove into teeny-tiny Magnolia, saying "holy crap! This is not like Sugar Land at all." What would that have been like without a forever-the-optimist little bro?

He's the one that lived right across the street from me in college, and comforted me when I had a big break-up and bawled my eyes out all through the night.

He can make any situation feel light, everything seem brighter, and can always make me laugh. Always has.

He's a little brother who watched out for his big sister quite a bit.

He's my little brother who's turned into a super cool Dad of three precious kiddos, and married his high school sweetheart. I remember the day very well when they met at age 15. (How long did you guys talk on the phone before you went on a date? Like two years?)

I love you, Rob! Happy Birthday!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Very Bacak Christmas: Highlights and slideshow

Hope your Christmas was wonderful! Here's our recap.
Just a few Christmas highlights:
1. Being home! We love visiting family, but it's just so good to be at home in our own beds and where life is normal for Christmas.

2. Christmas Eve Night- we bathed all the kids, and they came out of the bath to find their Christmas p.j.'s hanging on the hearth for them. Four naked kids donned cute new p.j.'s, slippers, and we got in the van to do our Santa's Wonderland drive thru! It was great!
We came home and had such a wonderful, easy Christmas Eve dinner! We had seasoned pork loin and asparagus, which Rusty grilled, and I made mashed potatoes and rolls. I melted some seedless raspberry jam for raspberry sauce over the pork loin, and it was all amazing, and amazingly easy!
We did Advent, and finally lit that inside candle. It was very special and memorable!

3. Monkey Bread for breakfast. As you can see, as usual, it's all about the food for me. White Chicken Chili for lunch.

4. We opened gifts and Christmas threw up all over my living room. I wondered, as I was gathering up wrapping paper, when did I make the switch from the person ripping open gifts to the person gathering up the paper? That's the true mark of adulthood.

5. Staying in our p.j.'s. Yep, til almost 5pm. Then we went to the nursing home we love to visit and had a good time there with the old folks, especially our sweet Mr. Gruner. What a blessing to be with them on Christmas!

6. We went to the movies. It was fun family time, but I'll tell you, I think "Tale of Desperaux" is not worth the money. The kids liked it, but Rusty and I felt like it was about 4 hours long.

7. I feel so blessed! God has truly rained down on me blessings that I don't deserve. I am so thankful, most of all for a Savior!

Click to play Bacak Christmas 08
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wal-Mart or cancel Christmas?

I just came to a sad realization.
I need to go to Wal-Mart.
I can usually make due when this need arises, avoiding it at all costs.
But today is Christmas Eve's Eve, and I need some key Christmas ingredients.
wrapping paper
So I am weighing my options.
I have five kids in the house. (I like to pick up extras, as long as they're Feldmans.) They're running around the house in last year's Christmas p.j.s that are too short at the bottom, having fun. But,
I can't make pumpkin bread.
I can't make Christmas candy.
I can't wrap a single gift.
I can't make that horrible thing on Emma's scalp go away.
Her head could rot off.
And yet...I'm not sure which is worse.
Taking all my kids to this dreaded place with small baskets and dirty floors that my kids will undoubtedly crawl on when I'm not looking and skinny aisles and...
I want to stay home.
I'll give you a million dollars to go to Wal-Mart for me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Super Thankful for a Savior

I told y'all I'm doing the one-year-Bible reading plan, right? We started November 1st. I just read through Leviticus, and let me tell you...it's some weird stuff. One day's reading will cover skin rashes and bodily discharges and that kind of sicked me out. However, it's given me a unique perspective for Christmas this year. These are the things that really stood out to me:

1. The wages of sin is death. Yep, I stole that from Romans. But you see that for real in the Old Testament. It has been confusing to me in the past to be reading along, and see that someone has committed a sin (that might seem small to me) and then poof! God strikes them dead. What? Why? How? That seems like an over-reaction, Lord! A bit unjust. But this is the truth: We deserve death for our sins. We don't deserve anything else. Just death. We're not entitled to anything from God. We're not entitled to a life of happiness, ease, flowers and sunshine. We're entitled to...you guessed it...death. BUT! God, in all his goodness, had mercy on us and made a way for us. He offers atonement for our sins. Jesus. We didn't deserve it, and we never could. The fact that He saved us by no merit of our own, that is actually unjust. We don't get what we deserve. God's wrath would actually be just. This is a basic principle we learn when we're young. Every kids who was ever in AWANAS, G.A.'s, R.A.'s, or any Sunday School class has learned Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." But reading the OT makes this real for me.

2. God is specific. He gave them unbelievably specific instructions. He didn't deliver a million people from slavery, lead them into the desert of all places, and tell them to figure it out. No. He gave them unbelievably specific instructions on how to manage the people, how to feed them, how to worship, how to make their sacrifices, and how to avoid diseases and maintain sanitary conditions. As I'm reading the rules on skin rashes, I'm thinking 'Good gracious, it was a real bummer when you got a rash.' I mean, you have to live outside the camp for a while, and then you have to shave off all the hair on your body, including your eyebrows, and make sacrifices, and...I can't imagine all the laundry that would have built up for me at home by the time I did all that. But my Mom helped shed some light on this by pointing out, these were a million people in the desert. God knew exactly what they didn't know about the spread of disease, unsanitary water, unsanitary food preparation, and keeping order. His instructions leave little room for error. How gracious of Him! When he instructs them on sexual sin, it was confusing to me that He didn't just say "just have relations with your wife" and leave it at that. But instead, He says "Don't have relations with your neighbor, your sister, your neighbor's sister, your aunt, your aunt's slavegirls, your slavegirls, your aunt's neighbor's slavegirls..." you get the picture. But then I got the picture of how specific I have to be with my kids. If my little ones are going to use markers, just saying "only write on the paper!" is not good enough. I need to specifically say "don't write on the table, don't write on your clothes, don't write on the floor, don't write on your brother, and don't color in your hair." If I don't, garuntee you, one or all of those things will happen. Until my kids grow up more, they need constant specificity. God knew the Israelites needed that too.

3. I'm super thankful for a Savior! Our minds are too numb to the fact that Jesus paid for our sins and we don't have to. Maybe it's because some of us have known that fact all our lives. My four-year-old knows that very well in his head. But good gracious, when you read through what it took for them under the Old Covenant to try to atone for their sins with sacrifices, it's overwhelming. And it makes me a little squeamish. Reading the blood and guts parts over my morning coffee made me a little ill. But it also made me enormously grateful! We live under the New Covenant. Jesus has already paid the price. This is why He came. This was God's beautiful and mysterious plan from the beginning of time. This was the reason He came to earth as a helpless infant that holy night. We deserve death, but he got it instead. We deserve God's wrath, but he endured the cross. For so long, they had to stave off God's wrath with their sacrifices and the keeping of the law. It's exhausting to read it all. But His plan was good and enduring, and He chose to save us and cover our sins with Jesus' blood. I'm very in awe of that big picture plan this Christmas as I do these readings.

So as always, I'm thankful for God's Word. I'm even thankful for the parts I don't understand and never will on this earth. It builds my faith. If our God was so small that we could understand Him fully with our finite minds, He would not be God. I can live in awe of a great God who is beyond my imagination! This passage has summed it up best for me. Rom 11:33-36
3 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
35 "Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Luke 2 Memory Verses, by Bacak kids

I will be so sad when Jax gets that front tooth in and can talk properly. That may be wrong, but listen to him recite Luke 2. My favorite part is "swabbling cloths"!
This is the passage we learned for Advent this year.

This is Emma doing Luke 2, and then watch at the end, Justus and Treston joining in! So funny!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jax's Baptism Video

My Mom is the coolest. She makes videos of everything for us. They're awesome. This is the one she made of Jax's baptism. (short) Notice Robbie singing in the background. This made me bawl like a baby. My kids woke up this morning, and I was sitting at the computer, bawling. I'm so grateful for salvation!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Newest Seay Kids!

Finally! My brother Brian was able to introduce everyone to their newest additions on his blog today. If you haven't been following this journey on my blog or his, a brief recap: Brian works for Compassion International. (Amazing! Check it out!) He and his wife Amy felt a clear call from the Lord to adopt about two years ago. God directed them eventually to a region in Africa where he has spent a lot of time through Compassion. The court date in Africa was yesterday, which means it's official there. They had four kids yesterday, and today they have SIX! They will go there and bring them home in January! Praise the Lord with us for Yeneneh and Sosy Seay! God is adding to our family in amazing ways!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Only in a Doctor's House...

I have written a post like this before. Not normal things occur in a doctor's house. Like having urine samples in your fridge. (I know, sick!) Or having your kids' favorite toy be a pap smear stick. (They just pick them up from the office and for some reason, they're so fun.) Well, last night, my kids got their flu shots at home, and I thought, only in a doctor's house, does your Dad call you into the bedroom, and 20 seconds later, you get a shot. He really thinks the anticipation is the worst part. So he eliminates that. He says "Emma, it's time to get your flu shot." Wipe. Stick. It's done. "Now tell Jax to come here." He took them one at a time. Treston didn't even flinch. He just smiled. He was getting his diaper changed, and Rusty said "flu shot time, T-Bear." Stick. He smiles. What!? I was last. I flinched a little when I got mine! I felt like a super wimp. I was doing dishes, and here comes Flu Vaccinator Guy! He taps me on the shoulder, gives a brief verbal warning, and before I can think about it, stick.
So the Bacaks are flu immunized. Let's pray it protects us this year. We got a nasty strain last year that laughed in the face of our vaccination. It was one of our Christmas gifts at the Seay Family Christmas Spectacular. There's no debating, the flu shot is not 100%, but after having a flu-infested family last year, I'll do anything possible to prevent that again. Anything!
So flu shot, do your magic. And keep that stinky flu away!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Treston has a birthfather

Duh. I know. It sounds weird. Having heard the story of the birds and the bees, we should have known that already. But we never knew him, so he kind of didn't exist for us. You've heard me talk about Justus' birthmom, who we have a great relationship with, but Treston has a different kind of story, and sadly, we've never had the privelege of knowing his birthparents.
In a strange turn of events, Treston's birthfather entered the scene, and wanted to visit. We said okay!
So a few months ago, in a supervised visit with New Life, we met Treston's birthfather. We sat at a McDonalds in Houston, while Treston clutched me, and tried to small talk. I'm not going to lie. It was awkward. He desperately wanted Treston to respond to him, and Treston didn't have the first clue who he was and knew something intense was going on, so he mostly clung to me, while all eyes were on him, and there was a pressure for him to do something...he just didn't know what.
But it was a good visit, in that it began a relationship. It was just a small start. Treston finally had a birthparent! This was new for us...different...good.
To be honest, I hadn't put much thought into birthfathers.
I know that sounds horrible. I'm confessing this to all of you.
It's just that birthfathers are sometimes not present or involved, and in our cases, I'd never met either of them, so I had never given a thought to their loss or pain.
But I saw it right in front of me.
He was desperate for Treston to even look at him.
He teared up when he left, telling us what this meant to him.
He'd thought of him so much, and he was so glad this day had finally come.
It was a lot to process for me.
Treston's story is kind of complicated, so to be honest, I'd just left birthfathers out of the equation. But they hurt too. They feel loss. They long for something that will never be.
Forming this relationship with Treston's birthfather is giving him something he longs for. Even just a piece of it.
And really, I can't imagine what an impact this will make on Treston's life.
To have a birthparent who is in his life, who loves him, a link to the biological, a piece of his history...it could change everything for our T-Bear.
So we had a second visit this week, where we exchanged gifts. This visit was easier. Treston even let him hold him. He didn't totally cold shoulder him, and that was improvement. It's precious to me how much he wants Treston to love him.
This relationship has just begun. There's a lot of trust building, and getting-to-know-eachother ahead of us. But it's a start.
And now that I've seen the pain of a birthfather, I'm different. It's changed how I look at adoption, and that's good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Slideshow

We woke up to snow this morning. Real, live snow! Rusty woke me up to find big snowflakes falling. How often does that happen? It was a super fun morning, waking all the kids and them playing in it. (Emma lay down in it and tried to make a snow angel, but it didn't quite work. However gathering up some snow and throwing it at each other did work.) We had lots of hot cocoa this morning. It's almost like a real winter. Which is funny because yesterday we wore shorts.
I made a slideshow from a Seay family Christmas outing this week, plus our snow pics. Rusty and Emma even made a tiny, mini-snowman. It may seem pathetic compared to real, full-size snowmen, but in Texas, it's a miracle!
Click to play Winter slideshow
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Monday, December 08, 2008

You ought to know...

I have a new favorite creamer.
We got it at the store yesterday, and Rusty woke me this morning, coaxing me out of bed, saying "our new creamer is really good!"
He was right, and he knew what to say to get me out of bed.
Because I'm going to be honest folks. Without coffee and good creamer, I wouldn't be reading my Bible as much as I should. That may make me less spiritual than I should be, but it's just the truth.
Coffee helps me love Jesus.
And you all know about the tragedy we suffered with our beloved cappuccino machine, passing away not long ago, unexpectedly. (If not, you can read about it here.) I still have hopes that it's going to come to life again. But for now, I'm drinking from a tiny little coffee pot that Rusty has had since before we got married. Coffee is not the same for me. The last batch of grounds we bought was...well, horrible...and this coffee diva has been dissatisfied with morning life.
I think it's affected my mothering.
So this morning, we have better coffee grounds and THIS CREAMER! Yay! Things are looking up!
Thank you Lord for good things. Every good gift is from above. It's biblical. And I am crazy grateful for good creamer this morning.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy "GOTCHA" Day Treston!

This is the day we "got" Treston two years ago! December 6th is forever burned in my mind. What a day! He was so totally unexpected, and wonderful! This what I wrote last year about what that day felt like...Happy "Gotcha" Day T-Bear! Our life would be oh-so-boring without you, love.

Treston came to the Bacak house.
One year ago today, we drove all dressed-up with an empty strapped in baby seat, and a reconfigured seating arrangement in the Bacak mini-van.
We stood in the New Life building...a building I have know more than half of my life, and is probably the place my children think all people get babies from.
We stood and waited. Nervous.
We signed paperwork.
We talked about that this could be for forever, and it could be for two weeks. No one knew.
Foster-to-adopt? What did that mean?
It meant uncertainty, and faith, and risk. A great big risk.
I couldn't make any promises to my kids. We didn't know.
And in came the baby who was well worth the risk.
God went to great lengths to place him in our arms.
His loving foster Mom placed him in my arms, with tears in her eyes.
Rusty and I looked at him. (Actual picture above.)
We had a baby.
We hadn't been in the process of waiting, and praying, and preparing...this was all so different...unexpected...scary...WONDERFUL.
I was head over heels in love with this little guy already.
You know, just like many of you Moms felt when you laid eyes on the baby that you birthed? Same feeling. Minus blinding, life-threatening pain.
We circled up with granparents and Sara and prayed for Treston.
Then we drove home.
New beautiful brown baby in the formerly empty seat.
A baby bag stuffed with his few belongings in tow, as well as his favorite swing.
We came home, and Melodi Henry and Kaycee brought us tortilla soup.
We ate it, and watched him in the swing.
We had a baby.
We didn't know how long he would stay, but it sure felt like he was mine.
That's because he was.
He was ours before we brought him home.
He was ours before THE phone call and we knew he existed.
He was ours before he was even born.
He was ours because God planned it before time began.
We didn't get to send out a birth announcement.
We didn't have "It's a Boy" balloons.
There was no celebrating, but we had a baby.
(That's why when the celebrating day came, we've been serious about it!)
We went to church and showed up with a baby, and confused people.
We saw the brilliant Christmas play at church, and I cried a lot, mainly cause we had a baby.
And then they announced baby dedication, and I ached to get up at church and hold him proudly and dedicate him as his parents, but we couldn't.
I love baby dedications!
The last one we had at church on Mother's Day was very difficult for me. We still didn't know how this story would end up. I wanted to be up there so bad!!! I bawled, like embarrassing cry, right there in my seat. Rusty had to go chase down some tissue. I was a mess.
But our dedication day is coming. He is ours!!!!
December 15th we get to stand before the church and make a commitment as his parents to raise him to know and love the Lord.
God has big plans for Treston. He didn't do this for nothing.
We praise God for this day a year ago, Demeber 6th, 2006.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Power of the Stool

Treston and the snow globe

Oh yes, Treston has discovered the power of the stool. Not his poop-stool. That would be gross (and yet wildly funny to my boys!) No, the power of the STEPSTOOL.
A whole new world has opened up.
A world formerly unavailable, unknown.
A superpower among little people.
A world of Sharpies and sugar bowls, and water faucets.
I did something very foolish today.
I took a shower.
I've told y'all before, terrible, terrible things happen when I take a shower.
I know this going in. It's just that the urge to bathe overcomes me and I think maybe this time it will be okay.
It rarely is.
So today I came out of the shower, and I do a mad dash, as always, in a robe, dripping wet, assessing the damage.
All was quiet. That can be good or very bad.
My computer screen was shut. It never is, so I fully expected there to be Sharpie on the screen, but there wasn't. Just many mad boxes telling me not to do what I just did to the computer. If my computer were smarter it would know when my kids touch it and immediately shut down for it's own preservation. That's going to happen in the future. Computers are going to outsmart toddlers. Our kids are going to have it so much better than we do when they're parents! STINK!
I go further into the kitchen. I see Treston...on the stool, where he's been all freakin' day long, and he has a tiny little cup trying to fill it with water at the water spout on the refrigerator.
It looked harmless enough.
But then I discovered he had literally flooded the kitchen holding that cup up to the water spout. He was practically floating on that little stool and there was at least an inch of water around him. I ran for beach towels.
What would I do without beach towels? They are good for so much more than swimming!
I used up five beach towels trying to cover all the water.
I just wanted to take a shower. Is that so wrong?
He has been on the stool all day searching for Sharpies. He didn't want regular markers.
No. Bo-ring. He only wanted Sharpies.
He knows which weapons can do the maximum amount of damage.
I finally found a high place for my Sharpies to hide.
He is totally in love with the pencil sharpener. I let him stand on that stool and sharpen pencils down to their nubby eraser today because it kept him away from toilets.
We're all familiar with kids throwing things in the toilet.
Yesterday he tried to flush an apple.
That doesn't work, by the way.
In the process of Rusty retrieving the apple, he found all kinds of things in there! I didn't even want to know.
He can also get high enough to throw foreign objects into the toaster. Again, let's just add fire to the mix.
The stool also gets him a view of the glass snowglobe with baby Jesus inside.
He loves that thing! (Picture above.) He asks me to turn the music on and shake it, and he says "Jesus."
Then you think "how cute is this kid! I love him so stinkin' much!!!!" God gives you those moments for a reason. They keep a two-year-old alive.
I'm going to miss this someday, right?
(*I wrote this post yesterday. Today he painted our rug with rubber cement. That doesn't come off, FYI.)

Family Worship with an Open Flame

Here is a picture of our Advent decor at my dining room table. I don't know what an Advent wreath is supposed to look like, really? But I put a wreath on my table, dressed it with a little holly bush sprigs, and put a big white candle in the center of four red candles.
Heather and I were just talking about how funny it is...doing this Advent thing is just like taking our regular family worship and adding in...FIRE! Prest-o, Change-o, It's magially exciting! With a house full of boys, there's nothing more thrilling than an open flame. Seriously!
They were constantly trying to blow it out throughout the whole devotional.
Emma raised her hand after we were halfway through and asked "If Jesus doesn't come back before next year, can we do this again?"
Yes! How cute is that?
She brought her own reading to our Advent devo last night. She read aloud from Luke two, which is what they are memorizing right now. I love the way she can read scripture aloud at every family worship time. There's just something REALLY sweet about hearing your kids read scripture.
So for those who were asking me, this is what my Advent wreath looks like. It's probably all wrong. Don't tell me. I'm just a Baptist, trying to get the hang of this. But we think Advent rocks!