Monday, June 29, 2009

Scrapbook Buddy

Doodle scrapbooking about her great-grandmas

Our girls are both involved in 4-H this year, thanks to the advice and information from many of our friends. With this new venture comes many projects that we are finishing quite quickly. Some of them are more fun for me than others. Doodle signed up for scrapbooking this year as well as photography. Those are two things I do enjoy.

So last Friday, she and I went to a scrapbooking crop. We plugged away and completed her entire book for 4-H. Yeah! Good team work. I think it was very fun to watch her think through how she wanted things. I love scrapbooking and it is an creative outlet for me. I find it almost therapeutic. I have great friends who sit and work away with me while we talk the time away. Other times we have a silence that only a mom can fully appreciate. Regardless, it meets a need. I have to say that I was not looking forward in sharing this outlet with my kids quite yet. However, I found our day quite enjoyable. Doodle did mention to me that she enjoyed hanging out with my friends on Friday but she is not too sure about the scrapbooking! Made me laugh. I think I am safe with my outlet for a little bit longer.
Mother and Daughter working on 4-H book.

Bubbles A Plenty, Bubble Galore!

Have you ever had one of those days where you really just wanted to crawl back in bed and start over? Doodle had one of those days on this past Wednesday. I had asked her to work on unloading the dishwasher and reloading. She decided to take it upon herself to run the dishwasher. So she noticed some of the items from the last load were not as clean as we like and thought it might be better to add more soap. She thought about it and thought the Dawn works well and added it to the load. I am alerted to this new decision with screams. "MOM!!!! The washer is exploding!!" I ran to the washing machine. It was off. I ran to the kitchen and found this:

I quickly opened the dishwasher to stop it and started to giggle. I had to grab the camera. I told Doodle that this will be something we all will laugh about someday.

Ok, is it just me or do you want to grab the bubbles and blow too?

I'm not sure she believes me quite yet. However, we have since had a discussion about the proper use of various cleaning supplies around the house. Good thing to remember.

Doodle still not finding it funny.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Be Careful What You Pray For!

My girls have been infatuated with wanting a bunny ever since their friend recently got one. Our answer remains the same, not at this time. So, they began praying for a bunny. I know Bean keeps praying about it but little did I know how God would answer this prayer! She ran inside one day screaming that she has a baby bunny! I looked out my window and low and behold there it was!

The new "gift"

I have a baby bunny living under my deck. It comes out to eat grass under my bedroom window
from time to time and my girls are sure God brought it to them! I love that! Not only are they thanking God for this little guy, but they have named it and continually are taking carrots out to the yard to feed it. One day last week, they put three carrots out by the deck, the next morning, there were only two! You know what that means to a young girl of 8? The bunny had to eat it!

The proof the bunny ate their carrot!

No matter who or what is eating their carrots, what I enjoy is watching my girls get excited over this little bunny. Even more, I enjoy hearing my girls work together in praising God for a gift they prayed for and are fully aware from where it came. God always gives better gifts than we can imagine if only we ask. Hmm, I guess there is another lesson my children will teach me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!!

My honey with his girls!

There is nothing sweeter to me than watching my honey play with his girlies. I just love seeing them interact and little by little, he becomes a little boy again. I love it! This Father's Day we spent the afternoon down at his parents house with his sister's family. We all enjoyed a lovely lunch together. Then, Bean asked Grandma if she could take home her daddy's matchbox car collection. Man, I don't think Grandma was ready to part with it but I tell you, the girls love playing with things that were ours. It is so cool to see them enjoy that stuff. Makes me wonder what their kids will enjoy of their moms. Anyway, after a bit of convincing, we brought them home. We went over to my parents for dessert then finally home for the night. Once situated, I found these two in our room together....

Bean and Daddy playing cars.

I don't think I could have given him a better Father's Day. He loves spending time with his girls and I love watching it. I just hope he lets Bean play with his cars more than he does! Haha! Seriously though, I am grateful to have a husband who enjoys being a husband and adores being a daddy. I love that about him. I honor him everyday but really enjoy adding that special treat of spoiling him on Father's Day. No work for the day, steaks on the grill, naps, homemade cobbler, cuddles, cars...what could be better?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bible Bowl Road Trip!

Bean, Nay and Doodle enjoying a shake break.

The girls and I have had a couple weekends where we needed to travel with their Bible Bowl team at church and Daddy was not able to go with us due to work. So, while that is always a bit of an adventure as I am directionally challenged, we still managed to have a wonderful time. The first trip was to Louisville, Kentucky which I wrote about earlier. This second trip was to Cincinnati, Ohio. I am more familiar with this area than the other. Regardless, I decided to invite two of my nieces to go with us on a girls road trip weekend. One of them, "Nay" decided to go along with us. I knew she might get a bit bored but she could take a book to read during the games and enjoy the times the girls were free. Little did I know that she would end up having a fun weekend getaway. She ended up timing for all the games and running the buzzer board for others. After the games the first night, we hit the hay after we had a short devotions together as a team. Bean and Nay ready for lights out...
can't you tell they are sleepy?

The girls had a great weekend. I was impressed with how well the younger girls team worked together as a team and acted so politely to other teams. Not always the case. Matt was flying in to try to catch a game on that Saturday but it didn't pan out. The girls team was eliminated before the last round. So we all headed to the airport. The girls were hungry so they grabbed an apple in the car. Once I got home, I found these silly pictures on my camera. I would say, this was a successful weekend road trip after all.

Doodle pretending she is...well, a horse of course! :0)

Nay appearing to be frightened.

Bean acting way too cool to have an entire apple in her mouth!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where has the time gone?

This week's walk down memory lane will be a bit more focused on just me. ;) I guess technically they all are since it is my blog but this one is different. You see, Monday I had a birthday. I am now 40! Now that number doesn't make me sad or even mad. I just see it as a number, but then I get to thinking, where did all the time go? When did I live enough life to be 40?! So today, I am writing about my top 40 memories thus far. Granted I could write my top 200, but since this is most likely going to be a long post anyway, we will keep it to 40 in honor of my age. :)

40. Playing with the Little People sets with my brother and sister for days on end. We would set up a village in our bedroom and keep it there until Mom would have enough and have us clean it up.

39. Snapping green beans on the front porch swing with my Grandma Zornes. (the Ann in my name) She would just swing, snap, talk. Loved that time with her.

38. Walking through my grandpa's wood shop and trying to figure out how he would make all those pieces of wood into cool wagons and baby cradles. I was so amazed by his gift.

37. Hearing my Grandpa Milich call me his Blonde Princess. I only was honored with that title for 10 short years before he went home to Jesus, but I still cherish that title today. :)

36. Camping trips of any kind with my family as a child. My dad would talk like Donald Duck for a bedtime story. The best times were when "Donald" got tickled himself and couldn't go on! Hilarious!

35. Walking to school with my brother before we moved to the house my parents live in now. There was something really cool about that as a kid. My kids can't believe we walked that far or that Nana let us! :) The times have changed for sure and that makes me sound old!! haha!

34. Climbing into my sister's bed during a bad storm to keep her "safe" when really I just hated the storms myself and was scared silly! Loved sharing a room with her and all the perks of that. We would giggle all night if allowed and talk about all life's lessons as we got older. Priceless times I cherish.

33. My brother protecting his little sister no matter what happened to him. There were many times my mouth got him in more trouble than he wanted but he still was always there for me and still is. Love having him there.

32. Going to my Father/Daughter Square Dances with my dad. Priceless! Dancing on his feet or walking around his feet as a young girl all of that made me feel so cherished.

31. Sitting on my mom's lap listening to her read me story after story in the Golden Book series. Also as we got older, I loved listening to my mom read to us during Christmas season the following two books: A Certain Small Shepherd and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. She could really make those books come alive. My all time favorite story she read to us was, " Did you Carry the Flag Today, Charlie?" That story was a touching but watching her tear up during parts of it is a dear memory I cherish.

30. My brother tearing off Mrs. Beasley's head and putting her head in one drawer and the body in another. Oh the horror when I went to get dressed that morning and there was my doll's head staring me! And oh the horror for him when my parents found out! Still a story we giggle about when we get together.

29. Going to stay with my Grandma Milich in the summer for a week or more at a time. She always had the best plans set up for us to enjoy. Sometimes it was visiting parts of Chicago, a baseball game, Six Flags, but always Putt-Putt and ice cream. I loved hanging out with her neighbor Millie as well. Just adored how these two women could make a young girl feel special in one week!

28. I loved going to school. I was one of the weird kids who was sad when summer break rolled around. School had special memories for me. I loved my teachers. I loved doing the homework. I loved being in that building. No shocker that I would one day become a teacher myself.

27. Being in the Drill Team was such fun in high school. We had the same schedule as the band and toured to different places with them. I have very fond memories of going to Milwaukee, Orlando and marching in various parades around Indy. I loved to be a part of the marching band but also during the basketball season, dancing during half-time with the Drill Team members. My greatest complement at that time in my life was when I was voted to be captain of the Drill Team my junior and senior years. I was never the best dancer or flag girl, but I always tried to be kind to all the girls and it was nice to see they respected that.

26. The friends I met in college were so fun! I loved hanging out with all of them. Those were the times of adventure! One weekend, we got in my friends' car and headed out for a road trip! Where did we go?, you ask. Oh, these rebels all went grandma's!! We all headed up to her apartment and hit the great mall near her place. We had so much fun hanging out with her as well as some of her buddies. They were a hoot and I truly was loving having them see what I had always gram was a cool lady. :)

25. Being in youth group with my parents as the leaders. They truly were gifted and have passed on their love of Christ to more than just their children.

24. Learning to drive with my dad! We had a stick shift or a full size station wagon. I was a mess and I made him more nervous than anything. Mom ended up having to step in to save us both!

23. Talking to my husband the first time on the phone. We were introduced by a mutual friend and when he called the first time, we talked for 45 minutes. We laughed so much and I knew then if he wasn't the "one" he certainly would be a friend of mine for a long time.

22. Our first date, Matt drove up in his cool camero! He was a perfect gentleman, opening doors, pulling out chairs. After dinner, he asked me what I would like to do. My grandma had come to stay with me from Florida since my parents and sister were out of town for church camp. I felt badly that she had flown in to be with me and all the other nights I had to work and the one free night I had, I went on a date. So I asked him if he would mind going back to the house and playing a game with her. True sign of a man...he agreed to it and he won her over the first date. (me too!)

21. After a few dates, we took my sister and her boyfriend down to Matt's families boat for the day. We all enjoyed the time together. After a fun day in the sun, we went for ice cream. As we were walking, I just grabbed his hand. Well, that seems fine, but we had not held hands yet!!! Once I realized what I did, I didn't know whether to pull it back or let it be. I didn't know what to say. My sister and I giggled about that for hours that night! He says it is proof that I made the first move. I say it is proof that he made me feel so comfortable with him that it was just natural to reach over and grab his hand as we walked together. :) You choose!

20. The day Matt proposed to me, he was so excited he couldn't stand it. I knew something was up but I didn't know what. He is a dentist, so he had received a call that he said was a patient. He left my parents home and I started getting ready for work. He came back before I left for work. He just couldn't wait. He wanted to do it differently but he couldn't wait! He ran up the stairs to my room and proposed to me before I went to work!!! aaaahhh! I have to work now? Truly, he was like a little kid so excited to show his new findings. He couldn't hold his excitement and I couldn't either once I got to work. :)

19. I use to work in a clothing store at the mall when Matt and I first met. That would help pay for school. I also worked at my dad's employer for a summer job. Always fun. But when I was at the mall, Matt's grandpa use to come by as he was walking the mall. He would stop by the store and check in on me. He was a joy to talk with . A few times, I would be on break and he would go sit with me and have a coke. I had missed my Grandpa Milich for 11 years at this point, and truly it was nice to have Grandpa Dick's attention like that.

18. Our wedding was a memory I will not ever forget. My most precious memory of that day is when Matt first saw me in my dress. We took our pictures before the wedding to make the reception quicker. I didn't want to take away from seeing the look of his face seeing me in the dress for the first time. So our photographer stepped in and snapped a picture as Matt walked in. It was just the two of us...and the photographer. After that, he left and Matt and I read Psalm 1 together to complete our reading all the Psalms as a countdown for our wedding. The look on his face is etched in my memory forever. And you know what I love even more, that look is still there when he looks me in the eye.

17. Since Matt's family are boating people, I had to learn a whole new world. I loved hanging out on the boat with him but quickly learned I needed to step it up and try to ski. Matt was a patient teacher and I was so excited that I finally got up on the skis. I love watching him slalom ski so much. He was more excited watching me cross over the wake for the first time than I can describe. He truly just enjoys watching others succeed.

16. We also have had many trips with his family on houseboats. My favorite ones were with his grandparents on board. I loved sitting out on top of that boat talking to his grandpa or going down to the kitchen where his grandma would be working away. I learned many valuable tricks with cooking by watching her in there. I also learned that in order to keep a marriage alive, you have to laugh together. ;)

15. Holding my nephews and nieces for the first time was truly amazing! I adore being an aunt and watching these little people grow into the men and women God intended them to become. The past 13 years have flown by but truly I adore having all 8 of them over to our house. I love how they love each other but also that they are each unique little beings. No two are exactly alike and yet that is fine by them. They just enjoy being together and I enjoy hanging out with them.

14. Friends...friends...friends! I have been blessed with knowing many people and truly am amazed at the people God has placed in my life, but there are certain few people in my life that God has placed there for more than just a season. Our hearts our bound together through life and I know these sisters-in-Christ will continue to walk through life with me. I am blessed to know I have such good friends that will hold my feet to the fire when I am out of line with God's Word and that they expect the same from me.

13. Hearing the phone ring the first time we talked to Doodle's birth mother...well, how do you put that into words? Realizing we were going to be parents soon and that it was a girl put us over the moon. We had waited so long and truly knew this was our girl. That phone call changed our lives.

12.Holding our baby girl the first time, watching Matt hold his girl and feed her and cry. He had such tears of joy that day. I was overjoyed to the point of exploding. My heart was full. (still is every time I see him with his girls like that)

11.Bringing home our girl. Welcome home little one! We prayed and prayed and that day arrived. We felt like it was a dream. After all the family left that day, we sat on the couch together holding our baby girl. He looked at me and we said a prayer and we just let it all out. The tears of joy flooded that moment with sweet love of a child only parents can truly understand.

10.The phone call that we had been chosen again to adopt another baby was pure joy. Matt received the call at work and called me while I was visiting my grandma with my mom. Finding out it was another girl, knowing a name, all very precious.

9.The day we told Doodle that God had blessed her with a sister, she screamed! She was so excited. Watching her love on her baby sister was truly beyond words. Bringing home two little girls that God had placed in our home, sent Matt and I over the top with joy.

8.Meeting our little baby girl for the first time, seeing Matt's tears run down his face as he looked into the face of his girl, truly goes without description. Just sweet to my heart.

7. The smell of our baby girl lying on me. Oh that smell is precious and truly someone could be rich if they figured out how to manufacture it! :)

6.Taking the girls to Bible Study Fellowship with me as well as their cousins with us. It was so much fun to march in there with my little crew in tow. They amazed me with what they learned over the years. Those years at BSF were some of the most fun memories. I even had the blessing of taking my Gram with us when she moved to our area from Florida.

5. Hearing my girls giggle in the other room while I am working on something. Doesn't matter what it is, I have to stop to go see what they are laughing about. It brings joy to my heart to hear them enjoying each other. I always think the laughter of a child must bring a smile to the face of God. Nothing is as captivating.

4. The day Matt and I renewed our vows to each other. God knows all of it and he knew why we wanted to do this. That day was one I will never forget for those who had walked that road with us knew why the tears ran down our faces that day. Tears of joy again. God was glorified in that day and in that commitment.

3. Choosing to home school was a tough decision for me. I was a teacher by trade and felt it was a betrayal. But now, I see it is so not. I am so thrilled for all the journeys God has placed us on with this home school adventure.

2. My husband is a dear man. He loves me the same on my good days and my not so good days. We enjoy our time together in the evening and talking through the day. I have to say that watching my parents as a child set the tone for how I wanted to be with my husband some day. I am grateful for their example but most of all I am so thrilled to be married to my best friend. Not only do I love him, but I like him! That is so cool! He makes me laugh, holds me when I cry and loves me no matter what. Icing on the cake...he still gives me goose bumps! :)

1. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4 This scripture tops my chart for I have had the joy of knowing and being present when both of my girls have asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. Nothing tops knowing that your family will be together in eternity.

Now, let me say that there are soooo many more things that are going through my mind to add to my list, but this is long enough. The point of all of this is not to show my age. It is to show God's hand in my life. I have always been able to feel his presence in my life but when I look back at the men and women He blessed me with to spend my life and the children I am honored to raise and be in their life...well, I just am overwhelmed at that point. My God is an amazing God! I am floored by His interest in my life and that He not only loved me enough to send these people to share my life with but most importantly, that He loved me (and all of you) enough to send His one and ony Son to die for our sins. With that in mind, I desire to spend the next 40 years finding ways to show others the path to Him so they will be able to feel the love and joy of knowing Jesus that I have been blessed with for many years. God, you amaze me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What will you do oo oo for....your daddy?

I know that is not how the song goes, but that is what we are singing this morning. We have had some trouble keeping on top of lots of stuff lately just due to being gone so much really. Matt has not been able to mow as often as he likes to have it done which has allowed me to bless him by taking on that task from time to time. I actually found out I enjoy it. (shh...don't tell) Anyway, after the last couple times I mowed, I noticed it looked like we had harvested wheat more than mowed grass. Our yard looked horrible. Even I noticed, which truly I am not a yard nazi type person. I figure if God wanted it all cut down he would have made it short! :) Anyway, I enjoy nature as is for the most part. But Matt truly can not stand when his yard has lines of grass clippings looking like an unswept carpet. He likes it to look like a freshly swept carpet, I guess.

So today, after I mowed, I went in to get my eager helpers and between the three of us, we raked and bagged the grass clippings for our daddy. Why? Because we love him and wanted to bless him. Didn't take as long as we thought it would and you know what? No whiners. Because I told them this would bless Daddy from the beginning, they jumped right in to help. I also told them I would pay them for each bag they filled up after I realized how big the job was going to be. Well, little did I know how much grass we have! We ended up bagging 7 bags of clippings!
Doodle and Bean with the proof of their hard work.

As we finished, Doodle said," Mom, you should have taken a before and after shot for your blog." Oops! So, instead we have a girls sitting on the bags they filled and the after. You know, I love that they were willing to do the work without payment before I mentioned it. I love that they wanted to bless their Daddy in this way. I know it is silly but somehow I managed to make raking and bagging grass sappy. What can I say? I love my man.

A almost well manicured lawn.

The other side of our backyard and our nasty old shed.
Maybe that will be our next project. :0)

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Chore Chart

Recently I was talking with my mom about being overwhelmed with keeping up the house. I just can't seem to get it together to get all the jobs done the way I like them to be done. I have learned with homeschooling to let the dust build but I can't stand the clutter and boy have we accumulated clutter this year!! I know there are more important things I am teaching my children, but I just started feeling swamped. So, with that conversation came the wisdom of a woman who has been there in one way or another and came my freedom. :)

Mom reminded me that I basically have a full time job. When she went back to work full time, we all had to pitch in more to help keep the house. She gave each of us days to do our laundry and days to cook and clean the kitchen. The other days we did bathrooms, dusted and swept living areas and such. If we chose to not do our laundry on laundry day, we did not have clean laundry until the following week. Also, if we did not get it out of the washer and dryer by bedtime that day, it was taken until the next week as well. We had to do extra chores to earn it back. Now, I must admit, as a kid I hated this. But as an adult I see that it taught me to follow through with my tasks on hand and that I had to take ownership in my jobs. With that revelation, came our new chore chart.

Each day we have a certain task assigned to us. We all have a job to do that day. Of course there is the basic daily jobs of making beds, put away your clothes, shoes and toys before bed, but the big job of the day is to be completed by bedtime. If it is not, there is no t.v. or computer time the next day.

So far, Doodle loves the system. She feels she is helping out more. I am not reminding them of their chores as they both can read and know where the chart is posted. It is their job to do it. Now of course, I do mention that I am doing my job for the day hoping to pass that on to little one. :) The first week of this new chart, I taught the girls what was expected in cleaning the various areas as well as the laundry. This week, I plan on staying in the room to observe and next week I feel they will be good to go on their own. The plan is working and I see both girls feeling proud of what they accomplished in the day and I didn't have to remind them or nag them to get it done. They know if it is not done by bedtime there will be a consequence. Thanks Mom! I needed that advice and reminder that I can't do it all.

Menu for the week

Well, I finally have my act together enough this week to post our menu. :) We have started having nights for the girls to cook dinner each week and so far it is such a blessing. I had not given over the reigns fully yet until my mom reminded me that I was making dinner on my own at Doodle's age. Helps to have someone remind you gently just how old your kids really are! :) So here is the plan:

Monday: Turkey burgers, salad, baked beans

Tuesday: Taco Salad, salsa & chips (Bean's cooking)

Wednesday: Crouton Chicken, steamed veggies, rice (Doodle's cooking)

Thursday: (dance and Bible Bowl) Crockpot lasagna, salad, bread

Friday: Bible Bowl Tournament in out

Saturday: on out

Sunday: Father's Day!!! Cook out with family

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bible Bowl Champs!

The girls and I headed out on Thursday after ballet to Louisville, Kentucky. We were attending the Southeast Christian Church's Main Game Bible Bowl Tournament. We drove through storms at the beginning and end of our venture. I do not see well when it rains but add the heavy downpours and lightening show and I was praying us there for sure! Regardless, we arrived at the hotel, got tucked in for the night and went to sleep. The next morning we all headed over to Southeast for the beginning of the tournament at 8:30. The girls had 5 rounds of games. Then they had two fun rounds called Family Feud and Fun. In these rounds, the kids were just trying to earn tokens for a fun park they were going to that day. So, they had a round where they were asked 12 questions on each team, then a round where they had 12 questions asked to both teams and then they had a round where they asked the coaches the questions. Well, I was Bean's coach at this event. So that meant I had to answer the questions. Luckily, I did well for my girl, but man did it give me some idea what my girls go through before a tournament! I was one nervous momma!

Bean and her team mates

Friday's games ended and we all headed over to the nearby buffet. They had reserved spots for all of the teams. (16 teams) We ate and then headed over to the Renaissance Fun Park for a great time of putt-putt, go-karts, laser tag and games. The girls had a blast and I was able to sit and talk with the other mom's on our team for a bit. I also drove go karts with the girls. After that, the girls and I headed back to our room and rested before we headed to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. We enjoyed the salad bar so much! Yum! We ended our day at the pool and then off to bed for a good night's rest.
Doodle and her team after Fridays win.

Saturday morning started early again. We checked out and headed over to the church. They gave away ribbons for the top three teams in each division from Friday's games. Doodle's team won the division undefeated at that point. She was so excited.

Saturday's events were different than Friday's. This was a double elimination day. So Bean's team played their games and ended up coming in 12th out of 16 teams! We were very proud of them. They are a younger team and truly did great. Doodle's team only lost one game the entire weekend and winding up winning the entire weekend! This is our first year with Bible Bowl and truly we are so impressed with the quality of the group of kids.
Main Game Champs!

Doodle's team will be competing at the Bible Bowl Nationals in Indianapolis in July. We are very proud of both of our girls. Both have worked so hard this year memorizing a ton of God's Word. What I am most proud of for Doodle, not only does she work hard to memorize the portions of scripture they are working on at that time, but when she plays, win or lose, she shines for Christ during these tournaments. Bean does too, she just has not had the chance to win at the level Doodle has yet. I just am impressed that Doodle is kind to her team mates as well as the other teams. She gets it. We tell her repeatedly that it does not matter how much she learns of God's Word if she does not live it. We are very proud parents to say the least. :)
Doodle holding the trophy. One proud momma!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

God's Perfect Timing

Last night we experienced one of those precious times as parents which we all cherish. Doodle and I had a strange experience earlier in the day which we were explaining to Matt. It involved someone we adore asking some questions about the girls' birth parents in front of them. The look on Doodle's face as it was happening put me into protective mommy mode and I must have had a shocked look on my face as well because the person asked if that was too personal. I bowed out gracefully with a simple yes. She felt awkward and there were a few more things said but truly I think the questions come from lack of understanding adoption and the adoptive family.

No child wants to be asked these questions in public ever. No adoptive mom wants to hear someone ask her if they know about their child's "parents". My response to that was and will always be, "Yes, since I am her mom I know her parents very well." Regardless sharing this event with Matt brought up some great topics to talk about....the day we learned we were expecting and the first time we held each of our girls. Along with those memories came the amazing way God gave peace to each of their birth mothers as well as their parents in knowing these girls were meant to be in our home.

With their permission, I share how God's perfect timing is worth the wait. The details of their birth mothers will not be shared as that is their own story to tell one day but the part that is ours I can share. :)

Matt and I had been married for 4 years when we knew there was something wrong with shall we call it the "baby-making machine". ;) Anyway, we went to see specialists and never experienced a pregnancy at all. We were heartsick to find out that the only way we could become parents biologically was to go through some very risky procedures which would take all our money with no guarantee a child would be the end result. That made no sense to us and we felt no peace with that choice. Our choices in the medical ring lead us to that decision to walk into Bethany Christian Services in early 1997.

We went to the first meeting for potential adoptive parents in May. We then left with all our paperwork, to go on a family vacation with Matt's family. We were doing the paperwork shuffle on this vacation. When we returned, we turned in what was done but still did not have everything complete. One Sunday, we were sitting at home after church and our phone began ringing off the hook. We had 6 people call us from church. Each of these people were telling us about the same situation with our oldest being the result. :) They were sure we needed to meet with this birth mother and answer her prayers as well as ours. So the final call was a minister who asked if she could call us. we agreed and she called ten minutes later. This precious woman gave us peace right away. Her questions were amazing and humbled both of us. They were not what we would have thought at all. At the end of that 45 minute conversation, she told us she knew she wanted us to be the parents of her baby girl. A baby girl!!! As we hung up the phone, we both hit our knees and cried out to our God in prayer and just joy.

We didn't know or truly it didn't make a difference if it was a boy or girl, but to hear that made my heart soar. We were finally going to bring our baby girl home. We had a name already picked out and we began praying for her as well as her birth mother. After a few more calls, a lot of paperwork and shopping galore, we were ready for our new baby. One day, her birth mother called after an appointment to share her fears with me. As we talked, I asked her if she wanted to know what we were naming the baby. This is where God answered both our prayers at the same time. You see, one of my fears was that one day when and if my girls ever desired to go back and connect with their birth families that I wanted them to always be known as the names they knew their entire life not the names someone else gave them when they were with them and then different with us. So, I shared the name and at first there was silence. Then I heard tears and a quiet voice..."who told you?" I didn't understand. "Who told me what?" was all I could ask at that moment. "Those are my girls names."

You see, in that moment, God showed me that He cared about even the silliest request of a mom to give me the gift of my baby girl having the name we chose for her on her original and adoptive birth certificate. At that same moment, our amazing God gave this precious woman the gift of peace. That name gave her the peace to know she was making the right choice and our home was the place God wanted this baby girl. Exactly ten weeks from the first time we walked into the adoption agency, we were going to the hospital to meet our baby girl and her birth mother in person. We loved them both and prayed for them both but that meeting is forever etched in our mind. I will never forget watching my husband hold his baby girl that first time. The tears of joy still flow as he told his girl about it last night. There is no words to describe that feeling of holding a child that did not come from your body yet you know it was meant to be yours. It is like a song we use to listen to describes,'we didn't know you could miss someone you never met. Yet when we saw her the first time, we felt we were finally completed as a family. She was finally home. That moment was worth the seven year wait. God knew that what He had planned was far superior to our prayer requests and He certainly blew us away.Daddy and Doodle hanging out together.

Two and a half years later, we decide it is time to put our name in again. So we went around letting family know this is the time and to not expect it to happen so fast again. We knew that was a gift from God last time but also fully understand that this doesn't happen like that all the time. The norm is to wait 9-12 months. So we started the paperwork in June. We began preparing the nursery again. Then I took off to Florida with my mom to visit my grandma while she had spinal surgery.

Matt received a phone call at work that he still tears up over today. Although we had not finished all the paperwork yet again, they had put our information in the file the birth mothers look through to choose parents for their baby. We had been selected again and the birth mother wanted to meet with us. She also was only 8 weeks from her delivery date!! What?! That can't be possible! So, we made tons of calls and finished what was needed with the paperwork. I started praying for another girl because I wanted Doodle to have that special sister bond that I had with mine. I didn't share that with anyone but God and knew it would not matter either way just one of those things.

Then came the day we drove up to meet the birth mother. This time, it was face to face. We did not experience that with our older daughter until after the birth. This was new. We prayed so hard that we would say the right things and that no matter what we would shine for Him in this meeting. We were taken back by how sweet this young girl was and truly how much she looked like me! It was scary! She asked such special questions that would give her the peace she needed as well. She then told us that she was having a girl. What?! Only God could answer that prayer. I was delighted that my Doodle would have a sister soon. Then we went home and waited.
The Miller Girls
We heard she did choose us officially. A couple weeks later, her birth mother went into early delivery. We were called to the hospital to hold the baby if we wanted but the papers had not been signed yet. After praying about it, Matt and I took Doodle to his sister then we headed to the hospital to hold this baby that might never come home with us. We had to decide to put this baby's need of touch and bonding ahead of our own need to know she is ours.

As we walked into the room, we saw her the first time, the same feeling we had when we held Doodle swept over us. I looked up and saw my man weeping again. Then the social worker came in and said that the birth mother wanted to see just me. Oh no! Had she changed her mind? I walked down that hospital hallway praying and shaking as I entered the room. There sat this young woman and a friend. She wanted to tell me about a dream she had been having that had given her peace in knowing her baby was to be ours. This dream was so precious. I sat there and listened. I was then able to thank her in person for giving us the gift we could not give each other, the gift of parenthood. We hugged and then I asked her if she wanted to know the name we would be giving her baby as well. She did and with the name came the tears. She loved it and wanted to use it on the birth certificate. Again, God met her need for peace before she signed that paperwork and for me grace for my simple hearts' desire.Bean and Mommy goofing off.
We brought home our second baby girl six weeks from the time we first met with the agency. Only God could make that happen twice! We knew that He wanted these two girls to be in our home but also together. He answered private requests all along the way. There is no doubt that we were meant to be their parents and there was peace in that decision with each birth mother before they signed the paperwork to make that official. We have never felt slighted in not giving birth to these girls. We feel that their stories are so amazing they will never doubt God's hand and his perfect timing in all of it. We serve a mighty God who is full of great surprises. I know one thing we have learned through both of our adoptions, don't put God in a box! If you tell everyone "it won't happen like this twice', God will meet that doubt with a great booming, "WATCH ME!" :) We also have learned to have the nursery ready before we go for the first meeting.

Seriously though, we ended our night discussing these two stories of how God provided just what was needed at that time and that these two girls should have confidence in knowing God placed them in our home at just the right time. Everything fell into place just right once it was meant to be. Watching Matt tell parts of their stories and tear up, gave each of them a sweet glance into his heart. There is no doubt in their minds today that we are their parents and they were so wanted, prayed for and loved by all the adults involved in the beautiful way God brought them to us. What sweet moments to relish. Another time I will have to tell you the way God's perfect timing brought us our girls from Romania, but I think this post is too long already! ;-)The Miller Family

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Disney Mania!!!

Recently, we have had so much fun listening to the adventures or plans of many of our friends' ventures to Disney World. This always brings it right back to us. We love being there. Truly it is just a fun place to be a kid again with your kids if you can let your guard down to do so. Our kids have been blessed in going three times because my husband's parents take us for Christmas every three years or so. That is our gift for that year and we adore making memories versus the stuff.

So that got me to thinking, today's walk down memory lane would be about the trips so far. When we first went to Disney World in 2003, Doodle was 6 and Bean was 3. Bean was not into any of the characters for a long time. We do not have many pictures of her with them. The only ones she would really go up to were Winnie the Pooh (who could be scared of Pooh?), Chip and Dale, Mickey and Minnie.
Doodle and Bean with Mickey Mouse 2003
One of my favorite memories that first year was when Doodle saw the castle, she was very quickly asking to go visit Cinderella.
The castle
I hated to be the bearer of bad news but felt it would be a long four days if I didn't explain that this was not her real castle. It is a pretend castle that looks like her castle in the movie. (which of course she thought was real at the time) Regardless, we walked down Main Street and through the castle to show her how pretty it was inside but also that no one lived there. As we exited the castle, we heard girls screaming and pointing. I turn around and what do I see? Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother standing on the balcony of the castle!Fairy Godmother and Cinderella making me look like a liar.

Doodle turns to me and said,"I told you she lived there!" Made me laugh so hard! Nothing to say to that! Perfect timing! The other thing I think of when I think of that first trip was how much my kids did not know about Disney cartoons! As we were walking through Main Street one day, Doodle spotted Chip and Dale signing autographs. She had one of the books and was trying to get as many autographs as she could. So she yelled," Daddy! There's Chip and Dip!" She was so serious. Matt and I giggled and told her their real names, but somehow we now have grown to enjoy her name for them. So here they are with Chip and Dip! (we wondered if it was also a link to our eating habits!;)
Doodle, Bean, Cousin R with Chip and Dip.

The second time we went to Disney with the family was in 2006. This time Doodle was 9 and Bean was 6. It was so much easier walking around the place having kids who did not have such little feet as well as running off. Face it being 6 versus 3 is just a big difference. We were able to enjoy more of the character meals thanks to Grandma and Grandpa.
Grandma and Grandpa with the girls at Cafe' Mickey.

We were able to enjoy the late hours more as well. When you stay on the Disney grounds, they keep one park open late for the people in the resorts each night. They also open one park early each day. So we take part in those hours because it is so much less crowded. We see more and ride more from 9 pm to midnight than we do all day! However, these long hours started wearing on all of us. The last bus ride back to the hotel, we turn to see all four grandkids sitting together. Well, not all were sitting....
Bean trying to sleep on the bus with cousins and Doodle.

Finally, we just went to Disney again with the entire Miller family in October 2008. We were suppose to go in 2009 instead but it was changed for various reasons. The girls were 11 and 8. This was my favorite time so far as far as low stress and pure fun. I still love the excitement in the girls faces when the see the characters they loved early on but truly they were so tired and there was a lot more whining early on. So for a parent, I loved this trip. We all were able to ride all the rides this time. No one had to sit out and deal with sad little hearts. They all knew what they liked best and were so willing to take turns to see each others things as well. We had very little drama and lots of giggles and fun. The kids were able to spend more time with Grandma and Grandpa walking around as well. That gave the parents some time alone which is always sweet. While all of that is true, I just can't believe how fast it seems to have gone by from pushing strollers, naptime and fear of characters to standing in line at midnight waiting to ride the new Toy Story ride.
Bean and Doodle waiting for the new Toy Story ride.

Time flies by so quickly so really whether it is camping trips as I took as a child or being blessed with Disney mania, just enjoy all the moments God gives you with your kids. Each one will one day add to that quilt they sew together in their minds of growing up in your family. I know I cherish those memories of my childhood camping trips.....but that's another walk down memory lane for another day. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Miller for such great memories. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Wide Open Road

Often I talk to my girls about the joy I found as a child in riding my bike for miles. We lived in a rural area and were able to ride our bikes from farm to farm with little concern. We loved stopping by the little store at the campground around the corner as well. Then we had no worries about all the craziness we have in our world today. So we were able to do that with both parent and child feeling at ease. I have always wanted both my girls to know what that felt like to be riding your bike and taking in all of God's beautiful creation as you go. Pedaling so fast you feel the wind against your face and the occasional bug. Trying to hold your hands up so you ride with no hands. Just all the freedom you had at that moment was a memory I recall loving.

Sadly, in the world we live in today and the area we live in today, my girls can not have this freedom. It makes me sad. But yesterday, we visited our dear friends who live in the country. Love even driving up to visit them. With each little town we pass there are fewer and fewer homes, less busyness and scenery that always reminds me of what a mighty God we serve.
While visiting, my friend, Lainie, suggested that the two older girls take a bike ride down to see the horses at the farm down the road. My first reaction was to feel a slight panic only because we don't have the freedom here. Then I thought about it and realized very quickly that this is what I have been waiting for my girls to experience. So, they got their gear on and headed out with cameras in tow. The pictures in this post were all taken by Doodle on this adventure. She could not get over how exciting it was to be on this ride.
She loved all the scenery as well but most of all, she loved getting to see the horses. She adores horses so much so this day was the best day she has had in a long time. She was able to hang out with her best buddy, Emelie, riding bikes on the open road and hanging out with some horses.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Through God's Eyes

Oh how I wish I could somehow allow my girls to see in them what I see. I sit and listen to their frustrations at not being good with math or reading, being bigger than other kids their age, being slower at running or faster at developing. Whatever their concern, I am always thankful they bring it to me and I know how rare that truly is for their age. Yet I sometimes wonder if they will ever look in the mirror or think of themselves in the same light that I see them. My girls are beautiful. They are each unique in the way God created them and truly they are just pretty girls.

More importantly than being "pretty" is the fact that these two girls have truly amazing hearts for God. I see that in them in the little things they choose to do or the things they choose not to do. Now, I am not saying my kids are perfect nor am I saying they never make bad choices. What I am saying is that what I see in them gives me peace as to what kind of women they will one day become.

I see Doodle striving for excellence in all she does not to bring her self praise but to bring God glory. She has a heart for Christ that is unlike most children her age. I hear often that people think she is older than she is due to her "old soul". She sees beauty in things that are unlovable and is bold in letting others know when they are not walking in the light. When Doodle dances for God, truly it is moving as you know you are watching a very intimate moment between a girl and her God. She knows what it means to be reverent and she displays it in her dance.
Doodle in her ballet recital costume from last year.
Bean has a heart to serve. She sees others in need and thinks of how she can help and does it! Follow through is a huge gift for this girl in the area of service. Bean has a gift of seeing what others do not. She is very observant and is able to find the lonely kid or the beggar on the street when no one else sees. Now there are times this gift is not helpful, like when she was able to view things at the track that I would not want her to see, but usually it is a gift. What I love about that is that she doesn't just see it but she wants to do something. She is prodded to action. How many of us just drive or walk by and think nothing of that person again? Not my girl.
Bean helping watch a friends little girl.

When I sit and think about how can I help them to see what I see in them, it makes me weep. For I know as I do this from time to time, my precious God does it everyday when he looks at each of us. What will it take for me to see myself the way God does? For we all are his best part of creation. Genesis shows us that after he created everything else is says, "It is good." But after he created man it says "it was very good". We are very good to him. We are his very good creation. Which makes me think, do I thank him for creating me the way he did? Would I stand in front of a masterpiece of someone on earth and tell them what I don't like about it? Would I complain about the choice of color or texture of the piece? I doubt it. If that is true, why then do I do that to my heavenly Father? When I choose to stand before a mirror and think the thoughts of disgust or believe the lies in my head, I am telling God his creation is faulty. Who am I to do that to a Holy God?! So, as I sift through my daughter's thoughts I am always amazed how God uses them to stretch me. Thank you, Abba Father, for loving me enough to listen to my heart and know that I adore you and your creation. (I just sometimes don't fully understand the need for cellulite. :) I am grateful you don't give up on me and I will continue to listen to your words in how I should instruct the girls about these things.

Three of God's creations learning to love all of His creation.

Faithful Friends

Today's walk down memory lane is going to be one of those sweet moments I adore. My girls have had the blessing of being friends with many people in their little lives this far. However, there are few of those friends that seem to remain a constant in our lives as the girls get older. As I was flipping through pictures recently, I came across some of the pictures that brought a smile to my face. My dear friend, Lainie, had recently moved away from our area of town to a very rural country setting. So one day, we took off to go for a visit. I remember Bean putting on this fun skirt because she wanted to look like Boo who loves to wear skirts regularly.

Fall 2006
Doodle and E. love talking about horses and exploring in their woods. Three years later, still enjoying talking about horses but those little girls are looking more and more like young ladies.
Fall 2009

Summer 2008
Here Bean and Boo are making a masterpiece in the kitchen. Truly these two are the crafters and cooks. They like to do things. While there sisters will sit and pour through horse magazine after horse magazine, they will make tons of bead projects, knit a hat or bookmark or whatever they dream up. I just love seeing that while we do not get to see our friends as often as we would like, all of us still enjoy that time together when it comes around. We just pick up where we left off and treasure the time together. The fact that I enjoy the mom to these girls as much as my girls enjoy their friends is just icing on the cake. :)
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