Sunday, November 13, 2011

A little daily devotion....from my heart

A few weeks ago, I started a new bible study at church. This past week our assignment was write down 3-5 things that were of most importance to us in our lives. This was intended to not be what should be the most imporant but rather what we were making the most important in our lives. Pssshhh...easy peasie, right? Not so much! I left class thinking I'll have that done in a matter of minutes. The next day, I went to go on and make my list so that I didn't forget later in the week. I thought it would only take me a couple of seconds. I grab my pen and paper and began to write: 1) Kids 2) that really the truth??? I know that it should be 1)God 2) Husband and 3)kids, that is the order that the Lord tells us that we need to put things in our lives...but do we really?? I can without a shadow of a doubt say that I don't. I put my pen down and eally bgan to think about what I am focusing on the most in my life. This easy task became a very complicated one for me in a matter of minutes. So I sit and think...what takes up most of my time? I wanted to see not necessarily what was physically taking a lot of my time, but I wanted to see where my mind was focused. I know that majority of my time is with my kids and I would have that no other way. I have waited long enough for them and been without them long enough that I don't want to spend one unneccessary minute away from them. But I began to realize that they devil was attacking me with one thing that is holding me down and keeping me from putting things in the order that God would like them to be in. In our adoption process, the devil attacked me daily with doubt. He tried every single minute to make me give up and not push through on bringing my kids home. Well...he failed. So now he has begun to get a hold on me in a much different that it took this assignment for me to even see. He attacks me daily with people pleasing. Simple as that, sounds kind of crazy I know. Before becoming a parent there was a lot that didn't really matter much to me so I went with the flow because it was not really a big deal. Since becoming a mother, my priorities have been flipped in a pretty big way and there are things that are highly important to me now that Benji and I didn't deem super important before. The devil has begun to take over my thoughts and make me spend an incredible amount of time worrying about who's going to think what about every single choice that I make. There are times that Benji and I make a choice on how we plan on doing something then in creeps the devil with "you can't do will make this person mad. You can't do my because this person wants you to do it this way". All this is the devil's crafty way of making a mess of the way that the Lord intends for my priorities to be. This has really made me have to sit back and evaluate my life and the people in it. It is going to be a major undertaking but I am determined to get my priorities back in line.
1) God: making sure that I am following and seeking his path for my life daily.
2) My husband: yes I spend plenty of time with my hubby, with the exceptin of work we are usually together. But am I really putting him first? Am I putting his heart first in choices that I make in my life or I am putting other things first because it is easier? I am blessed with an incredibly flexible and understanding husband. Do I take advantage of those wonderful qualities and put him and the things he wants last because he is so easy going? Yep...I do. Is that the way God intended me to be as his wife? Not at all...reckon I really need to get to working on this one and stand firm behind him when he voices his opinions and his desires. I have some work to do here:)
3)My kids: I do pretty good here for the most part. But there are some pretty specific things that I want for my kids and our family. I need to make sure that I stand firm on those things and close my ears to any naysayers...that is where the devil gets me the most. I only have a few years to do the most for my kids. I want to make sure that I am implementing values into them that the Lord has called me to do. I want to be the very best Mother that I can be for my boys. I can't be the best mother until I put the previous 2 in place and quit letting naysayers get the best of me. Those are not the voices of God.
So it is my new mission to completely block out personal attacks because they have really pulled me down lately. I have allowed them into my spirit and it has really effected me in a big way over the past several months. On that same hand..I want to watch myself in that same regard. I don't want to be someone's stumbling block. I don't want to be the devil's handyman and tear others down. So...for accountability sake, I personally will be working my hardest to get my priorities in the order the Lord has called me to put them in, and I will be checking myself for negativity...I want to make sure that I am building others up not tearing them

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mountain fun

We were blessed a little over a year ago to meet a couple that were also in the process of adopting from Russia. We immediately clicked, and now I feel like I have known them all my life. Turns out we ended up adopting our kiddos from the same region about 6 months apart, so we have been in the process pretty much together. It is incredible having them to share this journey with. It is so wonderful to have someone that you can just talk to who shares similiar experiences, and who just knows where you are coming from. I definitely believe that the Lord put our lives together as they will forever be very very dear to us and our families will forever share a special bond. This past weekend we met up for a little weekend getaway to the mountains. We had such a good time and the boys have asked daily to go back to the mountains with Aunt Tara, Uncle Jonathan and "Baby Masha".

We joke that Daniel and Masha are going to marry one day. Don't they make such a cute couple?

Such a special family:)

Three special kiddos born in Russia but destined for the US.A friend once told me "To be a mother means having pieces of your heart walking around outside of your body" (not sure that I quoted that 100% accurately..but thanks Hannah...that quote has stuck with me:). These 2 kiddos are proof that your heart can be outside your body. I absolutely cannnot imagine loving anything more than I love these two boys. They make being a Mama such an easy job.

Anyone that knows us knows that Santa has always been a huge part of our lives. Heck...Santa still comes to see us. My Daddy alwas said "Santa will come as long as you believe" by golly I still believe to this day. HA!!! I hope to carry on the wonderful, magical presence of Santa with my boys as my parents did for us. (Not that the birth of Christ is not the center of the season, because it absolutely will be), Santa was just huge for us as a child and I just hope and pray that the boys get that awesome magical feeling that I always had as a child.

I say all that to is our first pic with Santa:):) The boys were so excited over this statue so I know that Christmas is going to be a blast.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meeting our boys 1 year ago

One year ago today (well actually yesterday but I didn't post this is time) we met our precious boys for the first time. We were so incredibly excited to see and touch what we had fallen in love with a month prior. I'd be lying if I said that the first meeting was this magical moment to where the boys just knew that Daddy and Mama were there. It wasn't like that at all truthfully. They brought the boys into the room while we were in the middle of talking to the doctor. So we sat there for a few moments watching them in awe pulling out toys and playing quietly. We we completely oblivious to anything the doc said...we were seeing or sons for the first time. The boys were quite disconnected from us to say the least...which was hard, but that is part of the process. It took a while before they would let us play with them but before long they opened up to us ever so slightly. I think back on this day one year ago then I think about how far we have come. I stand so in awe of God and all that he has done to get us where we are today. One year ago today, we hugged our boys and truthfully it was like hugging a board. This very morning I got woke up by one crawling in the bed saying "Mama, I need you to snuggle me." There is nothing like coming home from work to two precious boys running, almost knocking me down to get hugs.

God is amazing! I have no other words than just that...God is amazing!

Here is a couple of pics from our the day that we first met our boys:

This was the expression that we got for the first 2 days. There were some occasional smiles, but they were hard to come across.

This is now. (yes I am aware there is a Christmas tree and it is Oct...but I needed a Christmas pic and I just love it...don't judge:)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

6 months ago....

Six months ago today we stepped back on US soil with two of the most precious miracles ever. Yes, our two boys are miracles. They have blessed us far more than we ever deserve and they have brought an incredible amount of love and joy to our lives. We are ever so thankful that the Lord chose those children to be our children.
We sat down last night and watched some of our video from our time in Russia and it blew my mind as of to how much they have grown and changed. Noah was pretty much non-verbal when we brought him home. We immediately got him speech therapy and after only 8 sessions he has been discharged. This child is speaking full sentences. He was truly a grumpy little fella when we first met him but he is the sweetest and most loving little thing now. He keeps us laughing.
Daniel was considered severly speech delayed when we brought him home, not he speaks full English (he does still have an adorable accent) but his speech has been amazing. He was such a sad, solemn little boy when we first met him. Now he is full of personality. He is a very considerate and loving child who wants to please you constantly. He has become an amazing big brother. These boys are our hearts. We love them more than words can everdescribe.
I have to think back to when we first recieved our referral on them. There were some pretty major concerns medically and developmentally. We had doctors here in the states tell us that they thought that both had multiple sclerosis and that we should seriously reconsider accepting them. I remeber looking at Benji and saying....I don't care what is wrong with them. Those are our children and we have to get them home. He whole heartedly agreed and four months later...they became our sons.
Here are a few pictures of where they were when we first got back to them and some now.

No more leggings and flowered sandals!

No more looking at the world from an orhanage window

No more visiting room in an orphanage

God's grace is AMAZING!

No more quiet solemn little boys...we are full of personality and excitement now!! They are little hams that love pretty much anything and everything.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Family Beach trip

Let me begin by apologizing for being such a crummy blogger. I know it has been over a month...shame on me. I will do better, I promise. I have a lot of catching up to do so stay tuned but for now I have some pics to share from our trip to the beach. My family does a family beach trip every year. Benji and I were so excited to take the boys to their first annual beach trip. For days Daniel asked "We going to the beach today?" He was super excited. They boys had a blast (as did we). It was so good to have some time with my parents (thank you guys so much for making this vacation happen every year!) and my sister and her family. Daniel could not wait to see his best fwiend (cousin) Nathan, and Noah wanted to see Jenn (our niece) who of course is a gorgeous girl...the boy loves his women. Here is a few pics from our trip:

My Precious boys

Benji the boys and I

My parents and their grandkids

My sweet Nephew Nathan with an alligator

Noah holding the gator (saying "too heaby")
Daniel with the gator

Me and my Noah Bear

Me and my Danny Boy

Daniel and Daddy on their first deep sea fishing trip

Daddy and Noah at the ocean The Lord has blessed us beyond measure

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The things they say

We are so amazed at how well the boys are speaking. Daniel now speaks full and clear English. Noah, who was almost non-verbal when we got him, had speech therapy for a couple months and is already being discharged because he is right where he should be. He is speaking full sentences! We truely could not be more proud of them and how far they have come. They amaze us everyday and Benji and I are so blessed to have them as our sons.

These boys keep us laughing. The things that they can come up with are hilarious. The other day, I was in my bedroom and they were in the hall outside my door. I heared them debating and it went like this:

Daniel: That's my boo-boo!
Noah: My boo-boo
Daniel: No, it's my boo-boo! It's Daniels boo-boo!
Noah: Nonah's (his version of Noah) boo-boo!
Daniel: (running into my room and pointing to a scrape on his arm) Mama tell Noah that this is my boo-boo...not his!
Me: That is Daniel's boo-boo, Noah has his own boo-boo on his knee (pointing to Noah's scrape on his knee)
Noah: YAY! Noah boo-boo! (pointing to his own knee)
Daniel: I told you this one was mine! (pointing to his elbow)
I just had to laugh. In our house...everything has to be done in 2's. Everything we buy, we buy 2 of the same object....obviously boo-boo's should be no exception.

*Disclaimer: below may be slightly inappropriate...but I am learning that raising boys often is:)

Daniel has this little "dance" he does when he has to go to the potty. He gets caught up in playing and doesn't want to go to the restroom so you will often see this little dance that is usually paired with "holding himself". I often tell him "Daniel, you are holding your wee-wee and go on to the potty". Well..he was doing his little dance last night and I said asked him if he needed to go potty, to which he responded "no maam". I said "are you sure you don't need to go?" To which his repsonse was, "But I'm not holding my wee-wee". Again...I just had to laugh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dedication and Birthday Party

This past Sunday we dedicated our boys and had their birthday party. Yes, the party was a little late but we really wanted all of our family there and we waiting so that out of town guests could make it.
My Mama had a beautiful flower arrangement placed in the church in honor of the boys for their dedication and my daddy made bulletins with their pictures and a paragraph from our blog. They were awesome, it just made the dedication all the more special.
My sister made a slideshow of our adoption journey and our music pastor sang "When love takes you in" while the slideshow played. I had Daniel in my lap and I swear by the time the slideshow and song was over, poor little Daniel's head was full of tears and snot.
Our Pastor did an amazing job on the dedication and Uncle Mickey (Benji's bro) closed it out in prayer. Pretty much everyone in both of our families were there for the dedication, as well as several close friends that are like family...which was the icing on top of the cake. We can't thank everyone enough for all the love and support that we felt from everyone. The dedication could not have been more special and perfect to us. It was just a treasured moment in this amazing journey.

After the dedication service, we did a Zoo themed birthday party for the boys. Thank you so much for all that helped. A big thanks to my sister who worked her tail feathers off to help me get it all together. The party was perfect and the boys had a blast. We are so blessed to have such awesome family and friends that have supported us like no other on this journey. It is journeys such as this that you really see where your real support system is...and you really see just how blessed that you are.

Here are a few pics from the day. Thank heavens my cousin came with a camera or else I just may not have had any pics. Thank you Erin! I'll get more pics from her and hopefully post later. Here are a few for now:

The dedication

Daddy and his boys (Mama's fave pic ever!)

Present time

The Candy Buffet and cake table

Blowing out the candles

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Our Precious Noah!

Our Precious baby boy Noah,

We are ever so thankful that just 2 years ago today the Lord brought you into this world. You were not born to us but you were certainly born for us. You are such a special little boy who definitely has the gift of laughter. You have an infectious laughter that brings a smile to those around you (and spares you from trouble from time to time:) Your daddy and I love you so very much. You and your brother have made our lives complete and not a day goes by that we do not thank God for bringing us together. We love you so very much!

Our Prayer for you is this:
In the Bible Noah was a great man of God. He obeyed the Lord and he listened when the Lord spoke. He was faithful in God's calling in his life. Even when the world thought that Noah was a little crazy...he remained faithful to the Lord's instructions. We pray that you always remain faithful to the Lord and you follow his instructions in your life. Don't be afraid to go out on a limb in life just as Noah did. Put all your trust in the Lord as he will forever take care of you. The name Noah means "rest/peace". May you always have peace in your life. The Lord sent Noah a rainbow as his promise. The day that we were headed to pick you and Daniel up...there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. The Lord had fulfulled his promise to us, and we are blessed beyond measure to have you as our son!

We love you with everything in us,

Daddy and Mama

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zoo trip

This past Saturday we met my BFF and her family for a trip to the zoo. We had a blast. The boys loved the animals. It was quite hot but the boys did fantastic. Here are a few pics of our trip.

Mama and Daniel on the Merry-go-Round.

Noah and his daddy on the Merry-go-Round. I am so blessed:)

The gorilla was sleeping by the glass...this facinated the boys.

Noah was very leary of the goats, Daniel loved feeding them:

And before we got out of the parking lot:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One clingy Mama

Yep...I am clingy! I admit it. I hate, despise, loate, dread being away from my kids. I am working 3 days a week right now and that is my limit. By the time the 5 o'clock whistle blows, I am beyond ready to get back to my lil' fellas. They are fine without me, heck, I don't know that they really even miss me all that bad as they are either with their daddy or my mama.

I am just not ready to be away from them any more than I absolutely have to be. I feel like I have waited so long to get them, and I have missed so much of their lives already. I don't want to miss one more second.

Last night, I caved and let my parents take them to dinner so that the boys could meet some of their friends. Let me tell ya, that was the longest hour and 43 mins of my life (not that I was counting). It was the first dinner that we have eaten in 3 months without hearing our little ones say the blessing. Do let me tell you, I have no intentions of another for quite some time;)

I know that it will get better in time. There will soon come a day that I will be begging to have just 5 minutes of peace and quiet. The way I figure it, we waited for about 7 years to hear little ones in the house. Now I want to hear them all day every day. Am I abnormal or a little
obsessive? Perhaps! But it works for me:)

On a sidenote: Daniel has been having a lot of "moments" lately. He has these periods where he cries and cries. They have been happening mostly at night but some during the day. He keeps repeating "Daniel home forever and ever and ever. No Russia. Daniel, Mama, Daddy, Noah together at home". We have to sit with him hug him and love on him and keep telling him over and over that he is home and he never ever has to go back to Russia. Every time we have on of these talks I sing him the lyrics to Sugarland's "Stuck like Glue". It always makes him smile and I tell him it is our song. To my knowledge he has not actually heard Sugarland sing it..only my horrific and screechy rendition. Well, tonight we were playing outside and Benji had cut the radio on. The song came on and it didn't even occur to me what was playing. Daniel stopped and said "Mama! Music!" and I said "Yeah, the music is on". Daniel said, "No mommy, our song". I was shocked that he recognized it. Guess I sound more like Jennifer Nettles then I thought... NOT:):):) None the less. I am stuck like glue to my youngins!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Daniel's Birthday

Daniel had a wonderful birthday! We kept it pretty low key because we are doing a joint party for both boys next month. Both sets of grandparents came up to eat dinner and we had cake, icecream and presents after dinner. He loved to sing Happy Birthday to himself and did it often throughout the day. I didn't quite realize just how much that he enjoyed his birthday until I went to get him to sleep. Ususally he waits until we get N to sleep then hops in our lap and we rock him to sleep. (He very much wants his snuggle time before bed now...far cry from the little boy just 3 short months ago who would cry and cry if we tried to rock him to sleep:) As I was putting N in his bed, D was at the chair waiting on me to rock him as usual. When he hopped in my lap he began talking about everything that happend that day with a lot of excitement. He re-counted the entire evening and was so excited that he couldn't quit talking about his birthday. It made my day that it meant so much to him.

Daniel and his first birthday present. We let him open this one early in the day. The pics of him opening his other presents were so blurry:(
His birthday dinner per his request...spaghetti! He asked for spaghetti for his birthday dinner weeks ago then at the last minute he decided he wanted chicken and feench fies (french fries)...which he got for lunch.

His cake. It is small but I wanted to make him a Daniel in the Lion's Den cake. We read the story about Daniel the night before his birthday so that he would understand the cake a little better. I had 5 cakes to do this week so his little cake did get a little neglected, but he loved it and that is all that mattered to me.

Noah enjoying some cake and icecream. He did so good with Daniel's birthday.

Happy Birthday our sweet Daniel

My Precious, precious Daniel!
This is the first birthday that we have been able to spend with you. I truly hurt for the past few birthdays that you had to celebrate without being with your family, but I can assure you that you will never ever have to spend another birthday without your family by your side.
Your daddy and I thank God for you each and every day. On this day four years ago you were not born with us but rather for us. The Lord hand picked you to be our little boy. For that we will thank the Lord each and every day. You are so very special, you are our heart and we love you more than words can ever describe. We loved you before we ever knew you, before we ever saw your beautiful little face. You (and your brother) have made our lives complete and I don't know how we ever survived without you.

Our prayer for you is this:
The Bible tells us of a man named Daniel. Daniel was ever faithful to the Lord. He was a prayerful man who loved the Lord deeply. Daniel was cast into the lion's den because he stood up for what he believed in. While in the lion's den, the Lord sent and angel to protect him from the fierce lions. It is our prayer that you always stand up for what you believe in. We pray that you always put the Lord first in your life and that you remain faithful to him. We also pray that the Lord sends his angels to always protect you. When life gets fierce (like the lions) we pray that you always look to the Lord for your protection. The name Daniel means "God is my judge". Always know that God is your only judge. No matter what life throws you and no matter what anyone else on this earth says, God is your judge...not the world. God created you just the way that you are and he has great plans for your life.

You are and will always be our precious son and we love you with every fiber of our being!

Happy Birthday to our precious Danny Boy!

We love you so, so much!
Daddy and Mama

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Normally, I somewhat dread Mother's Day. I don't mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but when you are in the process of waiting on a child for so long Mother's Day can be a tough day. I am so blessed with a wonderful mother who is my best friend and for that reason alone...Mother's Day was tolerable. I remeber year after year on Mother's Day I would get the constant "Well maybe next year you will finally be a mother" comment from people. That comment made me cringe.
Well...this year Mother's Day had a whole new meaning for me. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to call these two boys my sons. They have changed my life in so many ways. The Lord has blessed me as a Mother far beyond anything that I ever deserve. He has given me two of the most precious sons that a mother could ever ask for. I am so thankful for the journey that the Lord sent us on to bring our sons home.
To anyone out there that is in the "wait" to be a mother, please know that it will happen, and when it does it is well worth the wait. The Lord is always faithful!

Me and my precious little boys on my first Mother's Day (yes....I am much happier than I look in this pic. I was in the middle of saying something when my dear hubby snapped the pic and it was the only pic that we took:)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fishing and Gardening

Benji took D fishing for the first time this morning and I have never seen D more excited about anything. He was so excited to go. We packed his backpack and set out his fishing pole the night before so he went to bed super excited about his fishing trip with his daddy. A dear family friend took them to his pond where they racked up over 50 fish....and my little fella caught his first fish. D and his daddy went straight to the taxidermist to mount his first fish. I am not sure who was more excited D or Benji. D has told everyone that he has seen today about his fish. There is nothing better than seeing him so happy. He got to go fishing and have some one on one time with his daddy.

Here is D and his catch:

Life with two boys can be a challenge to keep things perfectly even. Benji is taking N for some special time in the morning so I don't have a pic of his daddy time just yet. However this one captures his personality to a tee. This was after his spaghetti lunch the other day. He was thrilled to be so messy. He thought it was hysterical to have spaghetti from head to toe. How can you get mad at this face?My daddy plants a garden behind our house every year (we live next door to each other). This year he has a helper. D had the best time being his Pop's right hand man. He was such a good little helper and was on his Pop's heels the whole time.

Everything Pop's did....D had to do:

And this is how N spend his time while D and Pops were hard at work....observing with Belle. N loves his Belle....and she quite fancies him as well.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The pics that I promised from Easter

We had a wonderful Easter! I feel so incredibly blessed that the boys are finally home to celebrate Easter right where they belong! The boys loved spending time with family, hunting eggs...and of course the incredible amount of candy that they consumed. D got into the Easter Bunny more than I thought that he would have. He didn't quite understand why he didn't get to see the Easter Bunny at his house though. My dear cousin came up during the night and left 405 plastic eggs in my yard (she is still bitter about an egg hunt that we had when we were ya Erin!) The boys looked out the window and saw the eggs scattered everywhere, D immediately yelled "The Easter Bunny!!!" So now he thinks the Easter Bunny left him all those eggs. I hate to crush the little fella...but the Easter Bunny will not be leaving 400 eggs in the front yard next year:)
Despite all the hoop-la over the Easter Bunny, I am ever thankful for the true meaning of Easter. I am so thankful that the Lord loves us so much that he sacrificed his son. Having two sons of my own now...I see just how hard that sacrifice was!
Here are a few pics of our Easter weekend: