Friday, August 24, 2012

Who is your emotional toilet?

I started back to school this week (for about the 14th time), but this time I have no excuses for not finishing up my degree. I'm working on my associate's in Education Assisting, and hope to continue on for a teaching degree in special education.

One of my classes is College Survival Skills, which I have been putting off forever. As many credits as I already have, I surely have the skills to survive college. But apparently this is a statewide required class, so I'm in it. I had my first class this morning, and the instructor is a hoot. She has a great way of teaching and keeping everyone listening. But one question she had stopped the room. "Who is your emotional toilet?"

Say what?

She went on to explain that we all need a friend who, when we are feeling overwhelmed and full of negative thoughts, we need a friend that will help us flush those thoughts away. Umm ok. So of course I stopped to think about who my emotional toilet is. It took about 2 seconds to know who mine is.

My best friend Kristin. Umm, if she's still my friend after I've called her a toilet, that is. I think she'll be cool with it though. Most of the time I'm hers too, so it should even out! Kristin and I are co-leaders of the most awesome mega girl scout troop ever. She is our MEGA FEARLESS leader. We have so much in common besides girl scouts though. We are both very strong advocates of international special needs adoption, Christians, and are both Pinterest addicts. Kristin so much that she is embarking on a great adventure with homeschooling her girls this year, Pinterest Academy. You need to check this out, seriously!!

I am very blessed to have a great circle of close friends. My best friend, Angie, who I have literally known my entire life. I have a picture somewhere of me and my mom at her mom's baby shower. Even though we don't talk nearly as much as we should, she's like a sister to me. Another best friend is Marsha. We REALLY don't  talk or see each other much, as she lives VERY VERY far away, which makes me sad. But now I temporarily have her dog as she moves even more VERY VERY VERY far away, so I have a hostage to make her come back and see me. Marsha and I have known each other since kindergarten, and some of my most favorite memories from high school are of us riding around town listening to the Beach Boys. We can go years, and we have, without talking, but then we'll pick up the conversation like it was 10 minutes ago. That's true friendship.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 - Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Appreciate your friends. Be a friend to them. Learn what makes a true friendship and cherish and nurture it!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rogers kids - part two

Dave and I had always said we wanted eight kids, but God had other plans for us, and we wound up with only four. So staying with the Rogers meant I had my chance to see what it was like to mother eight kids (counting my daughter Anna, who stayed with us most of the time, until she had to start school.) I have SOOO much respect for mothers of large families! It's a challenge, and that's an understatement. lol. But as I have said, it is worth it! It's nuts, especially at mealtime, trying to get everyone's plate, drink, making sure there was food that they all liked (linguine with bacon was an unanimous hit, pork chops were a bust). I counted heads a million times a day, and the longer I was around the kids, it didn't seem like so many kids. There were times we were all sitting around watching a movie, and I would count heads, sure two or three were missing, because it just didn't seem like that could be all of them. Other times it seemed like they multiplied into about 57 kids!

 I can't call my four kids by their right names, so I knew there was no chance it was gonna happen there. More than once I would say, "hey, you in the red shirt, come here!". Others were nicknamed, Joy aka the Leech, John aka Wild Man. The kids are very well mannered, and started out calling me Mrs. Traci. That just seemed too formal to me, and we changed it to Tia (spanish for aunt, and what my nephew calls me.) John, though, developed a funny habit. He would call me Tia most of the time, but when he wanted to do something that he knew was wrong, it inevitably started out as "umm ummm heyyyyy, can I .....". It got to be a joke with the others, and soon my nickname was "umm heyyyy".

Although it was frustrating at times, and as I told one man at the Mexican restaurant, "having this many kids is like herding fish", it was pretty funny most of the time. And yes, I took all seven kids out to eat by myself. After a few outings, I got brave and we even went to the grocery store. Being out with all of them usually led to a few questions, "are they all yours" usually... I would say not exactly mine, but they are all brothers and sisters. And I love these kids. I really got to see their individual personalities shine through. Madi is definitely's mommy's helper, and she is a very intelligent imaginative young lady. We had fun hanging out after the others went to bed, trying to watch the "Love Begins" movie. We never made it start to finish on the movie. Matthew is all boy, loves playing outside, but can be very wise and spiritually minded. We enjoyed our quiet time together when the younger kids were asleep. Joy, who I nicknamed the Leech, truly is a joy to be around. She has a lot of love to give, and is very affectionate. She loves to help, and everytime I turned around, she was there to give me a hug or offer to do something for me, thus her nickname. After I explained what leeches were and why I nicknamed her that, she thought it was hilarious! Cailee is a bundle of energy! She will snuggle for a while, then she's off to see what she can get into. Infamous line to Cailee - "stop pouring pepper on your brother's head!" John...what can I say about John?? That kid is a trip. Absurdly long eyelashes over big brown eyes, they will melt your heart. And that's when you're in trouble! If you can't see or hear him, you have to assume he's doing something he shouldn't. In other words, a typical four year old boy! Infamous John line - "John, stop eating your shoes". I'm not kidding.

Malachi - he stole my heart. I miss him so much! One of the happiest kids I have ever seen. And he loves to make people laugh. He'll do something funny, then just fall on the floor, so proud of himself for making you laugh. My favorite Malachi pic:

 And last but definitely not least: Clare Bear! Clare is very much a princess! She is an absolute doll. The last week of my stay she wasn't feeling her best, and let me know real quick if I wasn't giving her enough dedicated attention. She didn't have to worry about that with Dave around. I love this picture of her. Dave had just came in from work, and this was the biggest smile I had seen on her face all day!!

I couldn't have done this without help. Dave, my three daughters, my mom, some friends of mine and Erika's, it took all of us to make this happen. And we are all better off for having done it!! If you know of someone adopting, ask them exactly what you can do to help. It's not always about giving money to help them financially, or praying for them, but there are many burdens you can carry for them to lighten their load. 

An amazing experience - part 1

Utterly and completely exhausted! Best way to sum up how I feel! I just spent three weeks with an amazing family. The Rogers family are adopting Jessa and Caleb (formerly Bernadette and Mason), and Erika and Mel needed someone to stay with the kids while they were overseas. I've never had much sense anyway, so I cheerfully volunteered to stay with their 7 kids (all ages 10 and under), 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a herd of alpacas. Where to start to tell you about this? I had planned to blog while I was there, so that Erika and Mel could keep up with the kids and our goings on. Yeah, right! By the time bedtime for the kids rolled around, I was so tired I couldn't have typed my name! But it was worth every single second.

One last family pic before they head into the blue skies!

And they're off!

The kids looked forward to the daily call from Mom and Dad. Afternoon here, but bedtime overseas.

Bathtime for seven kids can be kind of crazy but that meant bedtime (and rest for me!) was very close! lol

One last chance to get their energy out before bed!

I couldn't have done it without help though! Mrs. Debbie came to help us out overnight the first weekend and we even made it to church on time Sunday! 

Madison took over the alpaca chores while her parents were gone and did it like a pro. From hauling hay and grain to watering, and even to rounding up escapee alpacas, she did a great job!

Another fun part was checking the mail for care packages from Nammy, their grandma! This helped them so much to pass the time, from coloring to melty bead crafts, books, making picture frames. Here's Madison opening the first package!

Clare had fun drawing!

Malachi loved the crayons. First he had fun rolling them off the table, then he thought it was hilarious to put them in the opened package so they would fall out the other end!

The rain didn't stop the kids from playing outside! They had fun dancing in the rain!

Working on their craft from Nammy one day and their parents called. Love this look on Cailee's face!

 Clare was always so excited to see my hubby Dave come in! She took a shine to him the first time she met him, and any night he was there, she wouldn't let me put her to bed. Dave had to do it!

Dave taught them how to balance a quarter on their elbow and then catch it in their hand. 

Clare happy in Dave's arms!

Playing badminton

The one bad thing about doing this to one of them...they ALL had to have a turn! He got his workout that day!

Dave brought the tent up so he and the big kids could have a sleepover. That lasted until the scary story had them too scared to sleep outside!

They did have a campfire and roasted marshmallows!

And of course I had to spoil them just a little bit! One day was backwards day, where we started the day with brownie sundaes, and ended with french toast.

Movie night with popcorn. (I made kettle corn for the older ones, it was sooo good!!)

To be continued...