Saturday, March 17, 2012

The past four years can be summed up with the words to one of your favorite books: 
I  love you best.  I  love you most. 
 I  love you high.  I  love you low. 
 I  love you deep.  I  love you wide. 


I think my favorite part of this book is when we read how God loves us best, loves us most, loves us high, loves us low, loves us deep & loves us wide.  He loves us this much!!  If there is any one thing I pray that you have learned from us it is that you are never alone, you are always on His mind, always on His heart and as much as we love you...bushels & pecks...He loves you even more!! 
*I Love You This Much by Lynn Hodges & Sue Buchanan

There is not a thing in this world I would not do for you.  You are my sweet sunshine!  You  are our amazing, bright, beautiful, kind, hilarious, wonderful, cherished, high heel loving, dress donning, & baby doll toting sweet heart.  You have brought so much joy to us as a family and we are all so blessed to call you ours!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Park is not just a park...

So our first official day off for Spring Break and Big Daddy took off work.  We decided since it was supposed to be the prettiest day of the week we would do a local park crawl.  So we mapped out the local parks and went to each of them.  We decided to take a spiral and make it an official day of review.  So at each park the girls would tell me about the amenities, the favorites, the negatives and then their opinion and star rating...based on 5 stars (which will be symbolized by "*").  

Park #1:
Love's review:  It love it!, favorite: climbing wall ****
Hope's review:  Good. , favorite:  monkey bars ***
 Park #2:  
Hope's review:  Not so good., favorite: slides  **
Love's review:  Really great. favorite: fireman ladder ***
Oh, see Big Daddy on the walking bonus!!
 Park #3:  Love's review:  I like it!, favorite: small climbing rock ***
 Park #3:  Hope's review:  Boo! favorite:  large clilmbing rock *
 Park #4:  Hope's review: Super, Super, Super Awesome!!  If this were the only park I'd be perfectly fine! favorite:  merry go round *****
Love's review: Very, very great!! favorite:  merry go round *****
Adult bonus: nice walking trail!!
 Park #5  Hope's review:  The best park ever!!  I want to come here all the time! favorite:  walking in the creek looking for fossils, crawdads, tadpoles, and minnows! **********(yes it WAS a 5 star system)
Love's review:  I really, really love this park! favorite:  getting her shoes and pants wet in the creek and walking in the water with Daddy. **********

And finally, our last park for the day Park #6:
Hope's review:  Pretty good!  favorite:  tall plastic climbing wall ***
Love's review:  Not good.  favorite:  nothing *

And that brings us to the close of our very first official review.  
I can tell you that nature out does man made every single time.  The two parks they loved the most had the most natural scenery and access to be a part of nature instead of a large plastic or metal play area randomly placed in the middle of a flat field.  They were also the two most crowded parks.  So, we must be part of poplar opinion.  Oh, and one last thing.  Parks need restrooms. That was a general consensus.  
Well, off for day two of Spring Break!  

The Cowgirl Way

We went to a really cool first Birthday Party for my nephew's twin boys.  It was rodeo theme and had a lot for the girls to do.  They of course wanted to wear their cowboy boots they received for Christmas.  They look so adorable in them.  They would wear them 24/7 if they could.
Hope really took to roping.  Her uncle spent some time showing her how to set up her rope, swing it, and throw it.  She spent most of her two hours right here, ya know...roping.  She was fairly good at it.  She managed to rope the horns just enough times to keep her interested in doing it more.  Needless to say, she would really like one of these roping dummies in her own backyard.
I love her look of concentration.  I happen to think she is a natural.  But, I am her mother ;)
Hope has told us recently, "My life long dream is to ride a horse."  Don't tell but someone has a birthday coming up and that dream will come true!  :)
And then there is Love...who is perfectly pleased with her cupcake.
And a sit and pose on the dummy.
Here the girls are waiting for the "cattle drive."  I think it may be a bit overrated.  It was basically taking about 30 Longhorns and pushing them down part of the street.  Think Six Flags gun show, except no guns, no noise, less time and way less exciting.
Well, then we called it a day, pardner!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Continuing On...

This post was started back in September.  I think I updated all the things that are no longer relevant. :)
Well, I left off with sharing about Hunter & Faith so what about my little ones?
Hope is now in the 2nd grade. She is doing really well and already at the top of her grade for reading. She would be ahead of 2nd grade but her fluency (speed & expression) is not where it should be. She likes every word to be correct and doesn't like to go ahead until it is. I tried her on Junie B. Jones books, thinking she would love them like Faith did. Well, nope, not all. She wants to correct her grammar all the time and tell me that it really isn't funny if you speak that way. Oh we are in some other books. She immediately informed me that she felt like her chapter books were far too easy. "Suddenly...suddenly...that seems like a level A word to me mom." Oh the joys of having one who likes to push herself. She basically taught herself double digit addition and subtraction this summer. She is a gifted learner.(Update: She now loves Junie B. Jones books!  She has incredible fluency and has about exceeded a grade ahead in reading according to their "tests".  She is far more expressive than I was even in Jr. High.   She actually would be many grades ahead but the fluency assessment gets harder.)
She had a blast in Florida on our vacation and during the summer prefers a pool to just about anything. She can swim like a fish too! And, I am sure you can tell, she has lost handfuls of teeth. She has a permanent dentition that will rival any large man. Her new teeth are huge and have managed to help baby teeth fall out that are supposed to remain for years from now. The orthodontist already loves her and knows she is going to be one of his big cases. He referred to her as the only case so far with this huge set of teeth and this small of mouth. That sounds like fun...doesn't it?
She is back into soccer for this Fall. She has been on the same team now for almost two years. She loves her coach and is just now starting to make relationships with the other girls. She generally just stuck to herself. She is A-mazing. I'm not exaggerating either. She has the natural athletic ability and drive that I have never before witnessed. She even talks to herself in her head and says stuff like..."your job isn't to be number 3 it is to be number 1" or "you need to be up front not back here or you won't win". Sounds like we talk a lot about sports to her...but we really don't. We have never emphasized that winning is anything. We still ask her after every game...did you have fun? She has been scouted by a couple of select teams already. We do not want to go that route. We want her to just enjoy it and let her explore her interests.
Speaking of exploring...her soccer team is now a softball team too. Well, most of them. They are all first season girls and to date have not lost a game. Hope is incredible at fielding the ball and plays pitcher. Sounds like a big deal but we are at coach pitch level, she mainly fields and throws them out at first. I have to give it to her. When we started she could hardly throw a ball and now she looks as good as anyone when she does. Her soccer/softball team is made up of girls just like her. They are all just naturally athletic and do really well at sports. I like that she is trying something new. :) I would normally have not allowed two sports at once but with the entire team going, we felt like we wouldn't have that opportunity again. Now, they are all hooked.

Well, Love began Kindergarten this year. She was really excited about it...for about 3 days. Then we hit a rough patch. I am not even going to candy coat was just plain awful for a full month. We are talking bawling...full blown tears and wailing. Bless her little heart. It was just about all I could bare. I am usually pretty strong for my kids but I had to wear sunglasses just to hide the tears I was crying right along side of her. She is a very young Kindergartener - like real young. Her birthday was July 31st and she turned 5 but she is still very, very young. It was crazy. Then one day...poof! It was over. And now we are finally back on to the days of loving school and looking forward to it each morning. Recently just had a conference with her teacher and due to her age and lack of maturity we are still evaluating whether or not she will remain in school. We will meet again in October. Her teacher said that with her being so little and so young that all the other kids and staff tend to really favor her and help her do things. (Update: Love came home to homeschool the end of Jan.  She struggled with tremendous separation anxiety after Christmas break.  We tried to make it through but eventually took her to the doctor for consistent chronic stomach aches while at school, or mentioning school, or the night before school, or even the morning of school.  She was crying much more than the beginning of school and no longer even liked the thought of it.  Her pediatrician recommended we bring her home and she has been back to her smiley joyful self ever since!)

Love played her very first season of soccer this past fall.  She did pretty well for her size.  She can kick a ball the length of the field.  She was intimidated by the taller girls and would generally steer clear.  She did not however care for the heat.  I ended up coaching her team and we did pretty well.  We took 3rd in a 7 team tournament.  She loved the trophy and medal. She had planned on playing again this season but at the last minute decided against it.  She just wanted to stay home with mom.

 I really think her talents are going to be more creative.  She loves singing, dancing and drawing.  She is quite good at all three too!  She is our artsy child.  I have to say, for the most part, this is new to me.  She also loves to paint and play with playdoh and moon dough.  She is our first of four who truly seems to be herself when she is creating something.  She goes through the paint, paper, chalk and other supplies pretty quick.

Well, like I said earlier in the update...Love is homeschooled now.  She has been such a delight!  I love to have here.  She loves learning and being home so it suits her really well.  I do believe we will most likely try public school again next year.  I think when she matures she would like to be back among her peers.  She has a true love for learning and enjoys the social aspects of school as well.  But, as I have learned over the years...nothing is set in stone.  We will cross that bridge when we come to it.  She is getting really close to reading and can sound out most three letter words and spell quite a few as well.  She is doing well with her sight words and is now on her way to rhyming much more consistently.  She still struggles a bit with counting to 100, and recognizing the teens but can add and subtract well.  Teaching at this age is new to me.  I know I do not want to leave learning gaps at this age and really want her to have a great foundation.  Another thing I did not know was that as a homeschool student she still qualifies for her speech services through the ISD.  This is wonderful!  In fact, it was the main reason I did not put up a fight to pull her any sooner our of school.  If I would have known she would still receive the therapy I probably would have just kept her home                                                      
in that first month of school.
Love still enjoyed the water this summer.  She was just about the cutest thing on the beach.  She worked hard to keep her pail full of water.  She has already been asking when she can go swimming again.  She enjoys being outdoors.  She is our big pretender.  She is always someone's mom, teacher, doctor, chef, puppy or cashier and has her baby dolls to play along and listen if her friends won't.  She looks up to her big sister Hope so much!  She enjoys playing with her and being read to her by her.  When I ask her if Hope is her best friend, she always laughs at me and says, "Noooo!  She is my big sister!"  Which, in her mind, completely trumps the best friend title.  I think I would have to agree...being a big sister myself.  Ha!

Well, here a couple of more recent photos.  Hopefully I will post again soon.  It is always on my back burner, it just never seems to get to the cooking stage. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Lincoln

Please help my sweet friend Shandra bring their beautiful son Lincoln Quan home from China! Their family is raffling off an Ipad 2 to cover the orphanage fee of $5000. Tickets are 1 for $5 or 5/$20. Drawing will be held Dec. 10th. Every single dollar brings them closer to their son. Reminds me of this quote: I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.♥ Together we can make a difference :) Just let me know through comment or click on her name and comment her for the link to paypal! Thank you guys so much!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Been A Long Time...

First let me say that I am sorry for not keeping up with our blog. I have not only missed sharing with you guys but also miss having a place to come to and reflect back on life not only in photos but in words as well. I miss hearing what I had to say...ha! As conceited as that may sound I do mean it. But not in that way. You know how you share something on your heart and it pours out in words so much easier than if you told the same story 10 times to 10 different people? Well, that is how our story has been told person. So much is lost when it isn't fresh on your mind and when you have other people there to ask questions or call on the phone or a kid who needs to go potty. Anyone know what I mean? I also miss keeping up with all of the blogs I read. I feel like I have moved away and have no idea what is going on with some of my best friends. I have missed you guys so much!!

So, without going back into all that I've neglected to tell you...I will start with life now.

We are in a busy season. A season that I feel overwhelmed. Not with heartache but with time management. We have 4 busy kids. Hunter will be 17 in two months, Faith is 15 1/2, Hope turned 7 in July and Love turned 5 a few days after her. I think it is kind of cool how there are 10 years between Hunter and Hope and 10 years between Faith and Love. The little girls are the biggest playmates...they remind me of Hunter of Faith when they were little. Hands down they are the best of friends. I hope that with them being both girls that their relationship will stay close. Faith and Hope are the next set of buddies, they are a lot alike. They both have witty humor and they both love sports...especially soccer. Hunter and Love are pretty close as well. Hunter has a soft spot for his littlest sister and she still thinks he is great...which works for him. :)
Hunter is our laid back, no hurry to get things done kind of guy. He loves spending time with family and friends and is probably the most affectionate 16 year old boy I know. He is a hugger. I love it! Hunter has been driving for almost a year. He has been working off and on. He had a fairly steady job at the beginning of summer. It was physical labor. Believe it or not, he would rather be working with his hands and doing the more laborious jobs than sitting in the air conditioning and working behind a grill or a cash register. Whatever suits him, I suppose. He moved on to lawn mowing later in summer and the drought we have had here has pretty much killed that job. He is a junior this year. He has a lot of work ahead of him and he is searching to find what it is he really wants to do with his life. He is exploring options of trade school, military, working for a large company, or college. I would say college is probably his least favorite option at this point. I heard some really good advice from a wise man once. He said, "College is for people who either love to learn or have to go to get the degree to do what they love to do. It is not for everybody and it is not a place to go after high school just because you don't know what else to do." Up until I heard that and let it sink in did I ever even consider this as an option. I want him to do something he loves...and not think about how much it pays. In an ideal world, I would like that option to be able to support a family-in the future. If we could find a career that could include: outdoors, hunting, fishing & camping...well, we would have a winner. So, I am thinking maybe the agriculture route for a career. But, who knows? Oh, and he has been "working out" with Big Daddy. I am told to look out for him by December...he has already built a lot of muscle and his shoulders are broadening. He is looking less like a boy and more like a man. Makes my heart conflicted in feelings...happy to see him growing up and sad to know his years here with us are numbered.
Faith is my focused and goal driven child. She has more self motivation than a lot of adults. She has had her permit for about 6 months. She is a sophomore this year and is doing her best to move ahead to her junior year. She is taking quite a load of classes this year. She really wants to graduate early. She also has her very first part time job. She works for a neat little yogurt shop here in town. She is loving the financial aspects but not the "working" so much. She thought it was fun the first week but as she comes to her one month mark of being employed, it has lost its luster. She is saving for a car. She is also playing select soccer again this season. She is playing indoor and outdoor soccer right now and practices twice a week. It is pretty time consuming but she loves it and it keeps her in shape. She has a new coach this season. He gives her very little slack. He sees so much potential in her and isn't really willing to accept less than what he knows she is capable of. Which works in her favor, but she isn't really enjoying the work it takes to get to that last little bit of effort. Her game has improved even more than I could have imagined and she is so much more productive on the field. She has her eyes set on her future. She wants to be a pediatric nurse. She sees herself in an oncology department. She does well with children and has always been a huge help to us with the little girls...especially when they are sick. She wanted to be a lawyer last year. She thought because she was good at arguing her point that it just might be her forte'. Once she realized the schooling behind it, she wasn't that excited about it anymore. She thinks that would be too far into life before she would start a family. In her plan, she sees herself married after college and kids before thirty. She sounds so much like me it kills me.
Well, that will have to do for now...more later.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Forever Family Day!

Three years ago today....
This was the last picture we received before meeting our precious little Love in person. She was adorable! I could not wait to see her, hold her and love on her! This photo made me she taken care of, is she happy, is she ready for what is about to happen, is she ready for her little life to be shaken up again?
Here is the first time I held her...she was all smiles, reluctant but willing.
Is she not the most precious little thing?
Daddy was instantly smitten with her...she had him even before hello :)
I love this photo, she is liking the loving but still you can see the curiosity in her eyes. I think she wanted to trust it but then when our eyes would meet even for just a second...a big 'ole head butt would follow. I know, there may be no correlation. But I wonder...maybe her little self was protecting her tender heart. It was hard for her to make eye contact for a little while. And she was just dealing the best she could with the circumstances she had endured.

And this one...3 years later. She is living proof that God heals hearts. That He has the power to bring a peace that surpasses all understanding. It can't be a good feeling to know that before age 2 you have been in 3 different families, it can't feel like "forever" when forever has not been before. Even little hearts are tender and needy and rightly so - deserving of that full blown affection and unconditional love and...Forever. Which is what we have been blessed with. Our beautiful baby girl, while we do not share the same blood we share the same heart. When she hurts we hurt, when she is sad we are sad, when she rejoices we rejoice and when she smiles....everyone smiles. She has a smile that will not only capture a room but will steal your heart. No.Joke.

Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt in the best possible way?? Does that make sense at all? Well, that is how I would describe our love for her. If it is even a inkling of how the Lord loves us at all, which, I honestly believe it is...I get it. I am undone just thinking about it. My in the world were we ever enough to be entrusted with Love's precious little self ? It is just too much, too rich, too wonderful, too good to be true. Oh, but it is...True. Thank You God!
We are beyond blessed to call you OURS!!