Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Millie the Fierce!

Today, I am on the TLC book tour for:
 by Jane Manning

This has been our favorite book to review, so far! We have had the book about a month and Ty asks to read it every night before bed.

The premise is that Millie feels invisible. She creates an alter ego to get attention, but in the end realizes that it's not the kind of attention she desires. It is such sweet story that opens conversation with my boys on why God created us to be exactly the way we are.

From word selection to illustration, this book will have long-time standing on our shelf!

Thank you, Jane, for such a creative twist on learning to be comfortable in our own skin.

We love Millie the Fierce!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family Rules

The personalities emerging from these two boys are wildly entertaining.

On Sunday, we were driving home from church and the following conversation had me stifling laughs.

Ben and I were talking and after the sixth polite, but insistent, "Excuse meeeeeeeeeeeee" from Ty, Ben asked, "What is it, son?"

"I need to talk to you about something."

I say, "Okay, Ty, it's your turn. What do you need to talk about."

Ty: "No, I need to talk to, daddy. It's important."

Ben: "Okay, Ty, I'm listening, now. What do you want to talk about?"

Ty: "I want to talk about smoking."

We swallowed our smiles and allowed Ty to ask his questions. The background story here is that the boys saw someone smoking the other day and wanted to know why "steam was coming out of that man's head". I told the boys about smoking and how we don't smoke in our family because it's not God's best, etc, etc. Well, a couple of days later, we saw another man smoking outside of the restaurant we were about to eat at. Ty made a scene by pointing passionately, saying, "Mom, that man is not being healthy to his body!!"

We, then, had to have a conversation around the corner about how rude it is to point and make people feel bad about their choices. (I had no idea I would be having the just-because-it's-right-for-another-family conversation already!) I explained to the boys that when we are in the car or at home with our family, we can talk about anything and answer all of their questions, but in public, we need to respect people who act differently than our family.

Ever since that day, every time we get in the van, the boys want to talk about smoking.

Watching the boys discover their identities, within our family, is really fun to be a part of. We were playing in their room and I heard a very matter-of-fact Ty say, "In this family, we eat our crust and we don't smoke!" LJ chimed in with, "We don't smoke and we go to church!"

Their thought combinations can be silly, but their convictions are right on.

I am, constantly, amazed at how influential our role as parent is. Ty and LJ believe everything we tell them. And they're shocked when they see standards in the world that don't align with ours. In their minds, everyone should dip their cucumbers in ranch and pray before bed and hold doors open for their's the only experience they have; therefore it's right.

Last night, I was praying over the boys and thinking about their interpretation of our family rules - not smoking, going to church, and eating crust...It hit me. We are creating mini versions of ourselves. While we all have four very distinct personalities, there is a strong family current connecting us. We think, believe, and express ourselves in the same ways.

It's a sobering thought.

I love that the men in my life are, consistently, pushing me to be be more like the Father. I need to be a direct reflection...because I want my boys to be the same.

This week we tackled smoking and Halloween. Maybe next week we'll talk about sex and drugs? That's a joke. We mostly focus on God's simple promises in our life and use every day scenarios to educate our boys on what it means to honor God in all we do.

I'm pretty excited to let my little flashlights into the world. I have every confidence that as they start preschool, next week, their lights will shine, as their minds expand.

I love this job.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Birthday Boy

Happy birthday to my precious boy!!

I love that you are the first person to run to the door after a long day at work. I love that your hugs linger and your kisses come in groups of three. When you grab my cheeks and smash my nose to yours, I know sweeter moments don't exist. I love the energy you embrace the world with and the giant adventurer trapped in your tiny body. I love that you love all the things I love because I love them. I love that we are pickle buddies and that we both prefer water as our drink of choice. I love experiencing life through your expressions. I love your rhythm and the dance remixes you and daddy come up with. I love your "whoop-whoops" and easy spirit. My heart melts every time you say, "Come on, guys!" As if your place in our family always was. I love that you ask to hold my hand and that every night you touch my ears and ask about my earrings. I love your smile and strong muscles. I love the loyalty and friendship you give to your brother and the undeniable affection you share with your daddy. You make me smile when you say, "cocoa butter" and laugh when your response is "my bad!" I love your sensitive heart.

I love the way you love.

I love the way you belong.

I love the boy God made you.

You, my love, will change this world. You have already changed mine.

- Mama

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I can't even tell you how much I love this boy!

Ben and I have been taking turns taking the boys on individual "dates". This week, Ty went with daddy, while LJ came with me. In the last month or so, LJ's personality has really surfaced - and he is funny. The other day, I said, "LJ, you just ran into me" and his response was, "My bad, Mom." My bad? I laughed out loud!

We ventured out for ice cream on our date and I snagged this quick, but adorable, video. It was too cute not to share.

More than anything, I love watching the light in LJ shine.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rainy Day

Someone had a lot of fun in the rain, today...


...and I had a lot of fun watching!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Miss Rebekah

Today, while LJ was napping, Ty asked to hear his "baby adoption story." He loves to hear that we drove all night to watch him be born and that he cried as soon as he "popped out of Miss Rebekah's belly." He had more commentary, today, than I've ever heard. It was really cute hearing him reason why he was crying (it was because he was "so SO hungry"). For the first time, I told Ty that Rebekah was really, really sad when we left the hospital. I gauged his response as I continued...I told him how much she loved him and that she desperately wanted to be his mommy, but more than that she wanted him to have a daddy, but wasn't married to a daddy.

Ty listened intently and asked, "Did she want to be my mommy for a long, long time?"

"Yes, she did, baby. Do you know how much God loves you? Miss Rebekah prayed and prayed to God asking for a family that would take good care of her baby. She wanted a family with a daddy and she wanted to make sure you would be taught all about Jesus. At the same time she was praying, I was praying that God would bring us a baby to love and take care of. Do you know what God did? He answered BOTH of our prayers and led Miss Rebekah to our family! Isn't that cool?"

"Yes, mom!"

I went on to tell him how we all celebrated the day he was born. I told him about all Rebekah's family and how they came to the hospital to see him and spend time with us. I stopped for a few seconds when I saw his mind turning. The words that came out of his mouth were so sweet I wish I could bottle them forever.

Ty said, "Mom. I want to thank Miss Rebekah for babysitting me in her belly and taking good care of me."

"Honey, I think that's a really good idea. We'll call her tonight."

Watching Ty fall in love with his first mom is more special than I can express...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

World Changers

Before I dive into what I want to share about Ty and LJ's relationship, I would like to say that I consider this blog an online journal of not only our experiences as a family, traveling through adoption, but it also reflects the growth and stretching that I experience as a woman, mother, and person of faith. Naturally, when I chose to keep such a public record of my heart cries, I opened myself up to every shade of criticism and encouragement. Most criticism passes moderation because I find value in discussion. I don't, however, post mean-spirited comments that direct malice toward Ben, Ty, LJ, or Rebekah (thankfully, those are few and far between, now that we're on the path to foster adoption).

I say all that to say, this is my space to write from my heart. It doesn't always look or sound pretty. It's not perfect because I'm not perfect. And it may not always be a good representation of adoption, parenting, or Christ...but it is a representation of life, my heart, my struggles.

Yes, Ben and I are being stretched as people and parents, right now...but we wouldn't change a thing. Ty and LJ are the most valuable gifts we've ever been entrusted with. And although I do not subscribe to the theory that God made them for me, I do believe he brought them into our life and will help us grow them for His purpose.

Lately, I've had lots of questions about how LJ and Ty are bonding. I want to talk a little about that, today!

God has given Tyrus an incredible capacity to love. He is the most tenderhearted, perceptive boy I know and God is using him in our family. He says things like, "Mom. I always wanted a brother like LJ" or "Mom, are you so happy to have two boys?"

Although LJ is much more adventurous than Ty and only young by two months, he looks to his big brother for a lot of direction. Lately, LJ has been saying, "Mom, Ty is my best friend." We can thank Cars for introducing the concept!

Their brotherhood is equally beneficial.

LJ is extremely different than Ty in personality and activeness. It has been really neat to watch Ty extend his limits and be willing to try new things because of LJ. One of LJ's best qualities is that he's game for anything. Food, adventure, new experiences - LJ will try it...and now, so will Ty (most of the time).

LJ, naturally, requires constant reassurance and symbolism of home, right now. Ty has become a healthy security for LJ. Work, church, and date-nights are a breeze because LJ always has a piece of home. In the last five months, LJ has never been without me, Ben, or Ty. I think it has really helped in shaping his definition of home and family.

They play SO well together. From cars to dinos to master chef, the boys are buds. Their new game has been playing "daddy". One of them pretends to be the daddy and the other pretends to be a baby. I was cracking up, the other day listening to them talk like Ben.

I love watching the interaction.

One trait that has really surfaced in LJ is loyalty. Last week, we were at a children's museum and another boy came by to get into the car that Ty was driving. LJ shoved him to the side and yelled something "brother" and sat down close, next to Ty. He did get in trouble for the push, but his demonstration of protectiveness was interesting to me.

My constant prayer is that they will be mighty men of God. I hug them and kiss them and lay hands on them every chance I can. I know their love for each other and God is enough to change the world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ups and Downs

I have been enjoying the new Blake Shelton song, "God gave me you for the ups and downs."

When I heard it this morning, it brought tears to my eyes. Ben and I have been living this wave for the several months, now. The amount of love and patience required to parent LJ is well past our natural ability.

There are so many moments that I have to walk away and take a deep breath.

Unless we're on a family run (mama does more of a walk-jog) or expelling energy in some other way - park, pool, bikes, etc - LJ struggles. He has endless energy and minimal ability to focus or regulate his emotions. It's exhausting.

Tonight, after dinner, LJ said, "Mom, I want to go home."

My reply was, "Honey, we are home."

I want to go to another home.

I sighed and bit my comeback, then exchanged eyes with Ben before saying, "That isn't very nice LJ. This is your home and we love you very much."

Ben has the amazing ability to punch restart and move on. He is calm and patient and, continually, redirects the boys' attention. I am in awe of it.

I thought about LJ's comment all night.

It's not that I took his words, personally...I fully recognize that he is three and discriminating in his opinions.

It bugged me that he understood what he said.

As a mom, I want to protect my kids from the world, so that God's truth and goodness can shape their view before they have to face it head on. With Ty, that's easy. All of his experiences have been controlled and protected.

LJ's have not.

He has seen glimpses of the world that will be hidden from Ty for years to come.

I hate the injustice.

In LJ's life, I know the wrongs will be righted and I recognize the significant progress that he's is just, so, extremely, slow going.

The good news is that, tonight, I get to sleep beside my helpmate and tomorrow will be a NEW DAY.