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Advent Christmas in pictures

It’s been a wonderful Christmas season this year!  I thought I’d share some highlights from the last two weeks.  (I realize that this will probably only been seen by the grandparents and provide a recollection of what we did this 2014 whirlwind holiday season!)

20141206_091334We took my parents to the woods to get a tree.  While our Charlie Brown trees aren’t the full evergreens in the lots, we had a great time exploring, climbing up and down huge hills and being together!

20141212_165520THE TREE!  In it’s rightful place in the family room.

20141206_092328This is the best we could do.  Desta was excited about tree hunting–no really, she was!

20141209_061505This year, Zeb, our Elf, arrived.  While the “sleeping in” Desta had started has stopped, her 6 am explorations of Zeb’s exploits have added a lot of fun to this Christmas season!

20141218_100934Zeb spends the day hanging out with Desta.  (BTW, this is a Masai cloth I brought back from Kenya. My mom sewed in fleece and it’s the most fought for blanket in the house.  Next year I’ll be bringing back at least 6.  Such great colors!)

20141213_161404Matt and I have tried, for 16 years! to see the Messiah live.  This year, we did it.  The Colorado Symphony and chorus were amazing.  We decided this will be a yearly MUST for us.  When the entire audience stood for the Hallelujah chorus, I felt such deep joy.

20141217_112106My mom had a BIG birthday this year.  We had such a great time celebrating her.  For a belated birthday treat, I took her to the Glen Eyrie Castle for Christmas tea. We both agreed that this will become a new tradition.  (They even had gluten free options for me!) We had a great time of uninterrupted conversation while drinking rooibos tea.

20141216_174840In the midst of last week, Matt and I attended the Compassion Christmas party at the Broadmoor.  What fun to dress up and enjoy the staff–about 1,700–along with spending the night. I slept in until 8:15! Absolute luxury!

20141219_152154I ended the week hosting Tobin’s class winter party. As room mother, I spend about 2 weeks preparing for the parties.  Twenty three kids, mostly boys, means a lot of games.  This party we did four Minute to Win it Games, had a great time decorating ice cream cone trees, had a “melted snowman” bar of food and made bead candy canes.  It was so much fun!

That evening I took Desta, Maddie (a  friend) and Tobin to see Annie. I completely disagree with the reviews–we all thought it was fabulous. The music and dancing was amazing!

Now–on to Christmas week!

 

 

 

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Where is the quiet this Advent?

m4s0n501

20141212_165520What a week.  What a month.

I have struggled finding Advent waiting in the midst of this season.  This year, this time in our family’s lives, is so full.  I don’t long for a slower pace. I long for intentional time.

As I looked through our photos from the past few weeks, we have done a lot.  The older our kids get, the more hectic our life becomes.

Today, this Friday night, I sit by our tree, ignoring my yelling kids, and the dog who has peed for the fifth time today (inside).

See, doing that it is hard for me.  The ignoring of my surroundings.  I’m a fixer, a doer. I like to make sure that everything is in order.  As I walked home with the kids today, I found myself telling them about keeping the house clean.  Instead of asking about their days, I was admonishing their behavior before they even had a chance to prove me wrong.

Advent is supposed to be about family, about being together–anticipating what’s to come.  Instead my head is down and I just keep working.  If I can just get it all done..that’s my mindset.

I’m working so hard to change that. I’m trying to think before I speak.  I’m trying to figure out the importance of some things and the need to let some things go.

At this moment I say simply, “it can wait.”  “Not now.”

I don’t want to lose the meaning of the season to all the busy.

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Intentionality

20141126_184900As you’ve noticed,  my time on this blog has diminished.  In order to find balance in our lives, I’ve  realized that some things need to be set aside for a season.

This blog was originally begun as a public journal of sorts, outlining our adoption journey.  It became a  place of community and refuge during that season.

While I wish I could post every day, I have quickly found time stretched and pulled in many directions.

20141127_154256This Christmas season Matt and I have created some intentional plans with our children.  They involve time with them and time off electronics.  As a working mom to three growing children, I’m conscious of each moment I get to spend with the kids.

Thank you for stopping by and seeing if a new post has been written.  I will be keeping this blog but not regularly posting these next few months.

Thank you for all your comments, your love, your support and your words of encouragement.  May this Christmas season be filled with many memories, JOY and above all, peace and contentment.

 

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Parenting olders and youngers

We will be down one this Thanksgiving.  I don’t know how I feel about our oldest leaving without us at 4:30 AM Thanksgiving morning.  Off to warm and sun in California.  Off to play soccer.

It’s strange this parenting older children.  We still have a little one who is giddy about getting out the Christmas boxes and play with the Little People drummer boy kit.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on a teeter totter; up and down.

20141123_155622Each child requires separate parenting.  For the olders, it’s now the coaching of doing laundry, putting down the phone to get tasks done.  It’s reminders to always put your glasses in a case BEFORE you sit down.  Yep, thank goodness for merciful and understanding eye doctors who give one free pass!

20141125_134138It’s making choices to still make Christmas cookies and Qtip ornaments, even when you’re dead tired and just want to watch a movie with the olders.  It’s making two Thanksgiving meals so ALL your family can be at one together.

20141125_150256It’s getting up at 6, fitting in a workout so you can take middle schooled kiddos to a movie.  It’s asking, for the fourth time, that the pan be washed by a child rather than just doing it yourself.

It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting. It sometimes feels never-ending.  BUT it’s so very rewarding too.  It’s filled with the moment your child comes up and just hugs you.  It’s that quiet thank you from another who realizes, this one time, that you went out of the way to help her.

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How was Kenya?

IMG_9552It’s been too long since I’ve last written here.

I returned from Kenya Saturday, filled with the life Africa always gives.  My mind and my heart are full; my brain maxed out.

IMG_9563I spent the week listening and asking.  Hours of conversations recorded, intentional conversations.  It’s  hard work sitting and listening.

This week I’ve been reviewing and writing.  I’m working hard to summarize the experiences into reports that will benefit Biblica.  I continue to learn new ways to communicate cross culturally.  I find myself misstepping at times.  

People have asked me highlights of my time.  How do you summarize the colliding of worlds?

IMG_9594The trip began revisiting my high school 20 years later.  As I walked the rugby field and visited the dorms that were my home, waves of memories poured over me.  That time at Rift Valley Academy was truly a gift. That place is still, to this day, filled with deep grace and love.

I am forever grateful for the 4 years I spent at RVA.

IMG_9765Mashed in the middle were meetings and people–the reason why I was there in the first place.  I have never worked so hard as I did last week.  Waking up 6 am and dropping into bed at 10 pm; each hour filled with ministry, conversation, meetings and learning.

IMG_9959Friday came and I met Edwin and Mama Edwin; our child we’ve supported through Compassion International for 16 years.  As we walked and talked, I felt like I was in the middle of a dream. Edwin kept saying, “I will never forget this day.”  Yes, me too Edwin.  Once a small 5 year old boy in a picture; now a man ready to begin adult life.  We ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken, visited Elephants, shopped for tea and flour at Nakumatt and spoke so many words while in “jams” (traffic jams).

No, I do not have a highlight.  See, it was all a highlight.  Each conversation, each experience, each meeting was new.

I continue to turn it over in my brain. I continue to be thankful for the time spent back in my homeland.