Steffi continues to be a delight. I’ve had at least four of her teachers at church and school pull me aside to say, “I just love her. She is just so wonderful. She is so sweet.” That is true. Yet she has also become rather stubborn at times and she will deliberately slow down when we are trying to get somewhere or get something done. Although it can be annoying, I know it is good for an “always obedient” child (especially an adopted one) to feel safe enough to disobey sometimes.
Another joke, this one from Mollie (I’ll have to make a page about it). I was praying for the girls and thanking God for each one being special, and playing on a book I read the kids all the time which talks about all kids being the favorites of the parents, I said, “and we thank you God for our Steffi, who is always everyone’s favorite.”
Mollie burst out, “She’s not MY favorite!”
Sophie and I looked up and laughed.
“Well,” stammered Mollie, “She’s NOT!”
I guess we need to work on the “love others” part of the Great Commandment.
Being the only boy in a family with four girls isn’t always easy. When we went to China the second time, Brendan asked if we would bring home a brother. Frankly, he was such a difficult toddler, I wasn’t exactly sure I’d be able to survive a second boy. Instead, we brought home the next best thing: Steffi. Steffi loves boy stuff and would be happy to throw a ball back and forth with me all day. She wore her 12 inch bike completely out this week. There was a hole in the tire and a broken chain guard. How many kids need TWO 12 inch bikes?
When we are parking, she wants to park next to “that Suburban car. I wish we had one of those!” or “park next to that big truck. I’m getting one of those when I grow up.” At five years old, she is just thirty pounds and 41 inches. I’m not sure she’ll be out of a booster seat when she grows up.
Memorial day weekend, she and Brendan played cars, Legos (always Legos), sword fights (with nerf swords), marbles, water balloons and water gun fights. It is great having a “brother.”
(layout: I originally made this layout on a quickpage and when it was all done, I didn’t like it! So much for making a quick layout. Instead, I started over with a Ditthersdoodle template, Retrodiva walk in the park paper, Carrie Stevens shabby stripe, dc designs springfresh paper 2, Green with swirls embrace life SandeKrieger Memory makers, springfresh alpha, AGE friendship rikrack)
I am a saver, not a spender, even though I’m happily going through my “stuff” and trying to get rid of things we don’t really use. However, if I have something I really like, I will use it until it is used up. As I got ready to throw out this pot, I just had to take a picture, it has been such a faithful companion to me through my married life. Nothing in this life lasts forever, but this layout reminds me that some of the things which most enhance my life are simple things: a pot, my broom, a spray bottle of water, and plenty of rags. Things that allow me to do my job more easily, make my living space clean, and my food well-prepared. I have written letters to different children I’ve sponsored through Compassion over the years. On the surface, it seems that our lives are so very different. Yet when I’ve talked about the things which really matter most to us–our families, the natural world where we live, and the Bible–I find that the core of what makes our lives beautiful is very much alike. I want to try to remember to focus on these real and important things, and not be distracted by the things which will not last forever.
(Layout: BS intensity Quickpage, Doodles 2 and 3 by Sommerblume, EH round stitches)
As a mom, sometimes I feel that everything about me belongs to my family: my time, my energy, my attention, and even my body (since someone is always pulling on some part of it). Throughout motherhood, I’ve created space for myself through creative cooking, crafts, Bible reading and studying history and theology. However, during my 14 years as a mom of preschoolers, I’d given up parts of my former, non-mom life. This last year, as I move out of preschool motherhood, I’ve begun to reclaim that part of me that liked to read Victorian novels, and enjoyed art. I started by creating an art space above my computer of things that are about me and also by starting this blog. We are getting ready to remodel that room and I’m ready to move on to a neater stage, but I wanted to record my attempts to bring back a part of me I’d given up for a while in order to better nurture my family.
(layout: For a long time, I’ve read about how great brushes are and how you can use filters to get different effects. I tried some out on this page and I actually figured out how to do them without getting completely frustrated! Purple is not a color I ever wear (I never wear pink either) but I saw a wonderful purple and green layout on Scrapgirls and have been wanting to use those colors together for a while. Now I may end up buying the Ophelia kit that uses those colors. By the way, the reason I list the digital items I use on each layout is that most of the designers put that requirement in their use agreements. Most of what I use I got for free or very inexpensively. If you like something, you can probably find it by typing the name in Google. Papers: dcouturefirendship paper2, Green with swirls Embrace LifeSandeKriegerMemoryMakers, P15Rapunzel, Retrodiva Cozy lace Ribbon, AGE Friendship flower, EH Sunflower (recolored and enhanced), Retrodiva Be Free overlay, my own fern element)
All throughout my second trip to China, I was introducing myself as living in Texas but actually being a Californian. Someone finally asked, “How long have you lived in Texas?”
“Fourteen years,” I said.
He laughed, “Admit it! You’re a Texan!”
Even if I never really understand the Alamo, or memorize the six flags that flew over Texas, I am glad to live here and especially glad to raise my children in this state. It didn’t take long to find out that if you are a kid in Texas, you’d better have a cowboy outfit. We’ve bought several second-hand boots and anyone who can fit into them is welcome to wear them. Texas two-step, here we come!
(layout: MarialaFrance Harvest halloween solid, joyful heart designs plain jane brown string, joyful heart designs friendship paper 3, ams dsd freebie flowerclip, frame1bymanu70)
Lately, my kids have been wanting to cook with me. Sometimes, I’m quite impatient to get something made as quickly as possible and I just want to shoo them away. However, I know I need to let them learn. My mom let me take over most of the baking when I was about eight. Sophie and Mollie are almost that age. So when I decided to make a coffee cake for no particular reason last Sunday afternoon, I decided to let them make it with me and take as long as they wanted. Sophie measured and Mollie mixed the batter. I let them choose the filling and walked away for a few minutes when they were awkwardly attempting to put the batter in the pan. “The worst would be a mess to clean up, ” I reasoned. A few minutes later, Sophie came over. “Would you get the batter out?” she asked, “Its too hard for me.” She skipped away to play, leaving me to finish up and think. I want to remember: focus on the process, not the end result; let them try new things without fear of failing; be there to help and clean up the mess that comes with learning.
(layout: DC Designs Boy Crazy QP3, MAD Gather special, Springfresh Alpha)
Why is it that five year olds have spiritual questions that none of my previous Bible readingevolution in the Bible, or even the problem of evil and suffering. Instead, while riding in the car listening to Larry singing, “Oh, Where is my Hairbrush?” I get this question from the far left carseat at the back of the van, “Mom, did Jesus come down and take the goldfish up to heaven?”
We have a problem with the goldfish. I admit it was my idea to try and see if feeder goldfish (feeder, as in, they are sold for 10 cents to feed to your snake) could survive in the pretty blue birdbath by our front door. They didn’t. Or at least the first batch didn’t when I changed the water. All nine of them went bottoms up the next day. So I’ve been more careful with the second batch, but as of yesterday, we only have four out of nine left.
I always tell my kids I will not lie to them about anything. I will always tell the truth (hence no tooth fairy or Santa Claus). Moreover, I try to be as theologically accurate as I can. I’m just not sure where to go on this question. I answer anyway, “I don’t think Jesus is taking them to heaven. They died.” Steffi replied, “Then Jesus took them to heaven?” I try again: “Actually, I just sort of scooped them up and put them in the flower bed.”
Steffi: “You buried them?”
Steffi: “Then Jesus took them to heaven! He’s a good guy.”
I guess I’ll just have to go with that.
(layout: ASharrow Friendship paper 1 and 2, JHD playtime words paper, joyful heart designs orange paper, AGE friendship flower, joyful heart designs fiber)