18 December 2010

a little family Christmas

We headed out to see some of Santa's reindeer last night. We had cocoa and cookies while we waited in line...Wilson didn't care to see this Santa up-close, so I hopped in the sleigh with Walker. Santa requested chocolate chip cookies and milk for Christmas eve. Wilson also wants to leave him some fudge... I am sure Santa will appreciate the fudge!
This morning we did our little family Christmas... The boys got to unwrap their three presents from us. Walker found the pickle on the tree so he got to open the first gift (there is a video of the pickle-search, maybe Brad will upload it later...) He was pretty excited...
And here's Wilson with his first gift... I am not really liking how old he looks here... His daddy picked out a special card for his DS so all his games are consolidated. He was pretty happy about it.
Walker was SO thrilled to get a fake lizard and a fake tank for it. I have to admit, I was a little worried that he would be disappointed, but he was SO giddy about it! I love his crazy Christmas wishes!
Wilson is so serious when unwrapping his gifts...
And here is Walker with his third gift, a put-together-take-apart-vehicle set, called "Motor Works."
Wilson got a Lego Architecture set... he says he wants to be an architect when he grows up. He wanted to put the Empire State Building together immediately. He and daddy got it done really quickly.

One (out of three- how sad is that?) of Walker's gifts was a duplicate of another puzzle he already had so we are going to donate that to a Toy Drive today. Brad is picking up the requested puzzle at the PX after he signs out on leave today. Oops.

Tonight we're having a little family Christmas dinner. I am attempting to make my first torte, a Lutz family favorite. I sure hope it turns out! We'll also be packing up so we can roll on out of here soon. Christmastime is officially underway... and its continuing until the 31st so that makes it extra special this year! =)

14 December 2010

adoption update

A couple folks have asked about an adoption update, so here it is.

We are waiting.

In so many ways, I feel like there is nothing to report.

And in other ways, I feel like there is so much going on, but little of it is at my level of understanding.

God is at work. He is teaching Brad and I (and the boys) a great deal about waiting with hope. He is teaching us about believing that His plans will bring about the most hope and best future for all parties involved. He is teaching us about the vast expanse of His plans and the smallness of our own.

On the practical side of things, our adoption packet is somewhere in the process of being approved locally and then being sent on to be approved by the state. At this point in time, I don't think anyone will call us to let us know exactly which stage our packet is at. Our social worker has told me to call and check in with her periodically.

So we pray. We invite others to pray with us. And we wait. And we hope. This season of advent holds a new sense of anticipation for us.

All the while, we are aware that as we pray, and wait, and hope; our child might be experiencing some hard things. I have moments that I am overcome with urgency to pray for our child. I admit, I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what might be going on... but ever so patiently God has been working on my heart to stop figuring and just pray fervently for this little one.

This song is on my iPod shuffle, and always makes my eyes well up

(You might remember it from last winter. I posted it either here or on FB shortly after the earthquake in Haiti. It was written and performed by an adoptive father, waiting to get his kids home from Haiti. His daughter, Story, was home at the time of the earthquake, but his son, Amos, was still there. He is home now too.)

The first time I heard this song, I bawled. And truly it gets to me each time. Brad teases me about having slow songs on my iPod, but I swear I run faster when this one comes on! Then I have trouble breathing as I fight the urge to cry.

Some of my favorite lyrics:

The day will come when all of this is gone
You've got to find a way to believe

I'll find a way to get you here
If it takes my fleeting breath
Another sunrise hits the ground and its a dark lonely sight
Light years away I hope you know
There is somebody searching for the way to get you here

so close your eyes and dream
of a better day with me
as angels hold you tight
may you sleep in peace tonight
so dream dream dream my child
Hear the whisperings of hope

Last week as I ran and sang along (I swear I was the only one in the workout room that day), I thought of our child and some other friends that are in various phases of the adoption process. I thought of the struggle, the difficulty of waiting. Of doing everything we can, and then just waiting.

And softly clearly, God reminded me of this waiting. He reminded me of the lengths He went to make a way to get me home. He sent His son, so long ago to be the perfect sacrifice. He waited for me to accept the Hope that He gave so willingly. He knows all about this waiting for a child to come home.

He is teaching us well as we wait. We pray that He gets all the glory as each day goes by.

"But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." Romans 8:25

13 December 2010

zhu zhu gifts

I think most of you know that we usually do the Angel Tree each year... we usually choose kids the same age as each of our boys and let them pick out gifts. Well, last year that changed because our church hosts a Giving Tree for some local families. We sign up to help two kids and they tell us their names and ages (instead of choosing our own). This year we got to shop for a little girl, and she wanted a Zhu Zhu Pet. I decided to make her some accessories to go with it, so we could stretch our dollars a little further. I used Walker's Zhu Zhu pet as a model.

I am not sure which is cuter in this picture, the Zhu Zhu's dress or Walker's face. And here's the little bed and pillow...
I wanted to make sure that the little girl knew what these little bits of fabric were when she opened them so I made some packaging to go with it.

Walker decided that the dresses were "adorable" (his word!) and asked if he could keep one because his Zhu Zhu pet is a girl. I told him no, but maybe sometime after Christmas I'll make one for his.... if he asks again ;)

09 December 2010

cub scout Christmas party and something for Mom

so we get the award for taking the worst pictures at the Christmas party Monday night. Good thing Wilson is so cute, makes up for the fuzzy-focus... Here he is getting some more belt loops, and a present from Santa - a pinewood derby car kit!And here he is with a bunch of other scouts getting a patch for selling some popcorn.
And this is for you, Mom. I thought I'd be extra nice and get the boys and the dog in the wreath picture too... They didn't think it was extra nice though. LOVE the wreath, Mom! It is SO pretty on our door. Thank you =)

06 December 2010

How Junior has changed our lives...

... also known as the Compassion International post.

So, if I am honest with y'all, I've put off this post for two weeks now. I have been prompted to write it - clearly, without a doubt - and yet, I've talked myself out of it. And here I sit, deciding to be obedient. I don't doubt for a second that this is intended specifically for one of you.

So be prepared.

We started sponsoring Junior through Compassion International last year. I first thought about sponsoring a child while Brad was deployed but I didn't want to sign up for it while on our "deployment" pay and then have to back out of it when Brad came home. Finally we made time last year after we were settled here, to look on the website and select a child to sponsor.

This won't be a surprise to anyone - we knew we wanted a child from Africa. We also wanted a boy so our boys could relate. We choose Junior because he is in between Wilson and Walker's age.

After we signed up, we received a packet with his picture and some background information about him and his family. We wrote him a letter and included some stickers and coloring pages.

A long while later, we got our first letter from him. I had no idea how amazing that would feel.

We've exchanged a few letters now. Junior is still pretty young, so his letters are brief and you can tell that someone helps him write them. He also draws us pictures. There is a format for his letters so he includes information about what he is learning at school and what he likes to do at home, etc. Its always a treat to hear from him.

But his last letter brought me to tears.

Brad and I had just had to make a financial decision that was somewhat disappointing. We felt like we had let the boys down, and that perhaps other people were unhappy with us too. I did a lot of crying about it. I did a lot of praying about it. I also cried and prayed as is common in my relationship with Jesus. God can handle that sort of thing. In the end, I felt a lot of peace about our decision, although I wasn't very thrilled with my initial response. {Lord, if I could learn to respond to circumstances immediately the way you want, wow, that would be awesome!}

Then we got Junior's letter. He told us about school and a song he is singing there. He told us that he likes to fetch water and collect firewood for dinner preparation. And he told us that his family prays for us. And my eyes stung immediately. This little boy, who has so little in terms of worldly possessions, prays for my family.

I've been to Africa, I can picture what Junior's house might be like. I can imagine the sounds and the smells. I am humbled to think that in that little home prayers are offered for my family.

I thought about how I had just been crying over a financial decision we had made. A decision that in terms of eternity will have little to no impact. I cried over it. Meanwhile, this family in Africa was praying for me. I thanked God for Junior. I thanked Him for leading us to sponsor this little guy. I thanked Him for letting us be a part of His bigger picture.

Junior gives us perspective. Junior teaches us about being thankful and working hard. Junior teaches us about faithfulness. We hope to sponsor Junior throughout his entire childhood. One day I hope to meet him here on earth. I look forward to the day we meet him in heaven. There are many more children like Junior, would you consider sponsoring one?

02 December 2010

fire station

Wilson's cub scout pack headed over to the local fire station this week... it was pretty much a dream come true for all of the boys when the fireman started spraying water from the water canon on top of the truck...The scouts got to try on some gear...
...as did their siblings.
They even got to try out the headsets in the truck, I wish I knew what Walker was saying when I snapped this picture...
They really had a great time.

01 December 2010

Fantasy in Lights

we heard about this last year, and thought we'd go after the holidays but we missed it. So this year we got our tickets before Thanksgiving. We had to go on a "value" night or we wouldn't have gone at all... so this Sunday we loaded up. Pj's, hot cocoa, and the big white dog...Walker was mesmerized...
We had to wait in a line-up before we could drive through. After about 30 minutes we got to go... we drove through the gardens on very dark roads for what seemed like for-ev-er. We even wondered at one point if the car we were following took a wrong turn... but when we rounded the corner and saw these guys - we knew we were on the right road
This might have been my favorite section with all the snowflakes and white lights twinkling....
Walker could not get over the fact that "We drove through a big reef!"
And of course, Callaway would have to have some butterfly lights by the butterfly pavilion...
Brad appreciated me snapping pictures while he was driving.
It took us about 50 minutes or so to drive through the entire Fantasy In Lights. We had our windows down for most of it, because there was music that corresponded to each section. It was wonderful. Walker is still talking about the "reef."