Monday, July 12, 2010
Little Emily was born last week, and she also has Down Syndrome and a minor heart defect. She is doing pretty well except for regulating her body temperature and feeding. Her mother did not know that Emily had Downs before her birth, but she's got a great outlook, seeing this as a blessing and that God put this special baby in her arms for a purpose...Praise The Lord! Pray that Emily will be able to go home soon and be with her family.
Also, there are over 200 babies in the world with Down Syndrome who are living in orphanages, waiting to be adopted, and many families wanting to adopt them...the only thing keeping these babies from joining the families who love them is funding...visit Reece's Rainbow and see how you can help these precious little ones!
Thanks in advance for praying for these little ones!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sunday morning meant church, and finally we all got to go (it's been weeks since we were all healthy and able to attend!) to church, then Dairy Queen on the way home, lunch, naps, a BBQ dinner.
Then we went to the annual baptism service and it was so inspiring! Wonderful singing (it was like there was electricity running through the room...) and the testimonies were all so inspiring! The 6 baptism candidate ran from age 12 to 20, but they all had changed lives and a desire to live their lives to bring glory to God. Amazing!
The we came home and made Strawberry shortcake our way - angel food cake + fresh, local strawberries, topped with oodles of whip cream!
A wonderful way to start my week!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
As a mother, I seem to be doing the plate balancing act that you see Asian acrobats do...all those plates spinning on top of sticks...they run around keeping each plate spinning fast enough that it doesn't fall off the stick, but if they let up for just one minute, the plates come crashing down all around them....
It doesn't take much to get distracted, an illness, a vacation, rainy weather, sunny weather...and before I know it, all my plates are crashing around me and life just plain gets messy.
Today, I'm picking up my plates and getting them spinning again...Lord Willing! Over the past couple of months, our family has had a bad cold run through ALL the kids, I got two colds almost back to back, plus Esther ended up with pneumonia...add to that springtime projects and a camping trip, you get burn out...that's just where I've been this week, but today I woke up refreshed at 5 am, and ready to start fresh!
But where to start...there's so many things screaming for my attention....priorities...that's where..so what are my priorities?
1 - Nurturing my relationship with my loving Heavenly Father, this means getting up early enough to spend time with him every morning!
2 - Nurturing my relationship to my dear husband...this means getting up with him in the morning to have some one on one time and help him get his meals together.
3 - Guarding my health (and my family's health)...this means getting up early to exercise, and trying to make healthy choices in my eating/meal planning. I remind try to remind myself that I want to be an awesome grandma, and that means investing in my health today...
4 - Nurturing my children - this means getting up early so I can wake them up and help them meet their responsibilities in the morning, and staying involved throughout the day
5 - Making my home an oasis for my family...this means delegating where ever possible, so we all share the load, but also putting my organizational skills to work regularly to keep my home running smoothly and looking nice.
6 - Nurturing family relationships and good friendships...this means keeping my "to do" list short enough that I actually have time for friends, and being the one to make the calls to connect...
7 - Making memories...this one I have learned through the losses in my life (my niece Leah, and my nephew James), that when all is said and done, it's not the everyday things that stick in your memory, or even the holidays (they seem to all blend into each other), but it's the special times that make lasting memories (camping, picnics, hikes, projects). This is so hard when the day to day of life makes it seem like you can never get away from the everyday routine...but it's so rewarding when you do!
There are so many other things that fit into those priorities, and there are so many other "good" things I would love to do, but so often I have to choose to not do those "good" things so that the "better" and "best" things get done...
So, how do you know what choices to make each day to make the most of the time given?
"Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation; For you I wait all the day" Psalm 25:4-5
I need to put God first, and prayerfully start each day, asking for wisdom to listen to that "small quiet voice" of the Holy Spirit, and the strength to do what He leads me to do.
And lastly, be flexible...it seems all my plans and to do lists get off track at times, but that isn't always bad...I need to hold them loosely and keep an eye out for the blessings along the way that are little surprises from God, not in my planning book, but His.
I was editing my blog entries, so you can now find all of Esther's Story with just one click, but I noticed that there aren't many posts recently about our family! So here's one overdue quick update on us, and a few recent photos!
[caption id="attachment_772" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="New Color On Trim"][/caption]
We have had a very busy spring - painting the trim inside the house (window, door, and floor trim) and actually got that finished, painting the outside trim - almost done!, putting in new yard, front and back...not even close to being done but got a great start, new flower gardens and making last year's even better:,[caption id="attachment_770" align="aligncenter" width="262" caption="Esther loves to help!"][/caption]spring cleaning inside the house, and planning a camping trip with some friends!
[caption id="attachment_771" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="One of the new gardens"][/caption]
Updates on our family -
Daryl is working many hours, as well as working on car projects, a bike making project and perfecting his bowling game.
I am busy as ever and never seem to have enough energy/hours in a day to accomplish all I think I should in a day. I am doing great overall, but was socked with a couple of colds this spring that slowed me down. I am also enjoying bowling, and I am continuing to work on my guitar playing.
[caption id="attachment_744" align="aligncenter" width="162" caption="Jeremy at Work, Computer Networking"][/caption]
Jeremy will be out of the Marines in under 3 months, and we are so looking forward to having the entire family under one roof again! Five years is a long time! This spring he put a new engine in his car, and also started bowling in a league for the first time.[caption id="attachment_747" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Jason with his fancy phone...we have to take photos on the sly...he\'ll have my hide if/when he sees this!"][/caption]
Jason is still working full time+ and busy as ever with his sports (bowling, extreme Frisbee, volleyball) and hobbies (cars, video games, RC cars and airplanes to name a few)[caption id="attachment_775" align="aligncenter" width="276" caption="Such a great Smile!"][/caption]
Jessica is working for Snap-EZ, planted a HUGE vegetable garden this year, reading books, loving on Esther and the other children, volunteering at various events and caring for her dog (she's down to one now, but planning to get a new puppy once she saves enough money) and is on her first bowling league![caption id="attachment_750" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="So Sweet!"][/caption]
Jonathan is now working almost full time - 4 8 hours days and has already paid for a car and is now shopping for a good bicycle, and is also in a league with us[caption id="attachment_751" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The artist at work!"][/caption]
Rebekah has started working a little for Snap-EZ (cutting), and she still loves to draw. She's been dabbling in gardening too, and has made some nice garden art as well! She's also gotten her first pet, a little black and white kitten named Sweet Tea (she looks like our first kitten who was named Sweety). Rebekah is also planning to be baptized in August and we are so thrilled that she has chosen to follow Christ and make this statement of her faith![caption id="attachment_752" align="aligncenter" width="252" caption="Our flower child...she made the head band with real flowers from her gardens!"][/caption]
Rachel has really gotten the green thumb and has been buying plants, making gardens around her play house, and learning to do starts, as well as gathering seeds for next year - she hopes to do some selling at the Lynden Gardeners Market soon! Rachel is also planning to be baptized in August, and is very excited about this as she has wanted to for several years, but we wanted her to wait until she really understood what she was doing. We are so thankful that she has chosen to give her life to Christ at such an early age![caption id="attachment_753" align="aligncenter" width="162" caption="Reuben made this bow while we were camping!"][/caption]
Reuben LOVES to bowl! We are doing the Kids Bowl Free thing with the kids and he lives to bowl! He's in softball camp this week and is really enjoying that too. He also has a soft spot in his heart for Esther and takes a lot of time to love on her and play with her![caption id="attachment_754" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Construction Man"][/caption]
Daniel seems to like to stay home, he's our quiet boy, but he LOVES to read...he learned to read over the last year and has taken to it like fish to water. Daniel has finally gotten the knack of holding Esther and dotes on her much of the time.[caption id="attachment_755" align="aligncenter" width="227" caption="Dayton Loves our new kitten!"][/caption]
Dayton is so smart, loves to work with his Dad of projects, and is so sweet with Esther - he also loves our new kitten and loves to ride his bike![caption id="attachment_756" align="aligncenter" width="220" caption="You just want to pinch those cheeks!"][/caption]
Elizabeth has recently learned to ride her bike without training wheels, and loves to play house and other things with Dayton (she bosses him around most of the time, but he loves it). She loves sleeping in Rachel's play house with her big sisters, and even slept in the big girls tent our entire camping trip! She has perfect pitch and rhythm, and loves to sing with me when I play my guitar. She also is known to play the piano and sing in perfect pitch to her playing...a future virtuoso![caption id="attachment_757" align="aligncenter" width="285" caption="Princess Esther"][/caption]
Esther is doing a perfect crawl now, and also "walks" on her hands and feet. She can stand up against almost any surface, and will also try to climb onto any surface, and will walk along the couches. She can walk if you hold her hands and can now stand for a second or two without support! She is so close to walking! She is our joy and such a delight, her laughter is contagious and she loves to make others smile and laugh! She can do "Itsy Bitsy Spider" now as well as sign for milk, more, bye bye and Hi! She loves to clap and cheer for others, so she loves going to watch daddy play church softball.
Our highlight so far this summer has been our camping trip to Gold Basin with two of our close friends and their children. We even went on a 2 mile hike to Heather Lake (it sounded so innocent) - man was that ever hair-brained, but we did it and we all got to the top. The kids did great, it was poor old mom who carried Esther over halfway up, and then had trouble finishing the hike ("just" 2 miles, but it climbs over 1000 feet!!!!) - now I found a site about trails, and should have read it first - it says the hike is 4 hours (took us 5 1/2), and is "more difficult" skill level...not for beginners like me! They say the you bond closely with people you share a life threatening experience with...I am now well bonded to my family! Here's photo from another website (we didn't have our camera and haven't gotten the ones the Thames took up there):[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Heather Lake, Mt Pilchuck"][/caption]
It was beautiful up there - peaks reaching another 1000 feet into the sky on all sides, waterfalls in several places, smooth as glass water, fish jumping, old growth forest all around, and more mosquitoes that we could handle, so after a short break for eating/drinking, we headed back down - 3 hours up, 1 1/2 hours down! Today I am finally not sore anymore (we did the hike last Saturday!)
So you can see, things are going along smoothly, for the most part, around here, but everyone is busy and growing and there always seems to be something new and exciting just around the corner!
Next week the kids are participating in our church's Extreme Vacation Bible school and I'll have the house to myself and the two little girls every morning...how weird will that be????
Here's a few more "Esther" photos I thought you'd like to check out:
[caption id="attachment_768" align="aligncenter" width="193" caption=""Can't I just read my book in peace!""][/caption]
"Can't I just read in peace?????"
[caption id="attachment_759" align="aligncenter" width="233" caption="It wasn\'t me!!!!!"][/caption]