Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What you Don't want to hear your child say....and the turtle tales continue

You don't ever want to pick up the phone and hear your child on the other end say, "Mom! somthing terrible has happened!!!!" Noah and I had just gotten up with the birds to take my car in for a front end alignment. We were pulling into the Hardee's parking lot afterwards to grab a biscuit, when Mackenzie called from home with the above mentioned words. In that second before se told me what had happened, several different scenarios went through my mind-all of them involving injuries and one or both of the other children that were at home with her.
"What is it?" I asked, not sure if I wanted to know.
"It's the turtle.." I felt extreme relief...just the turtle, I thought...but then...
"It's got blood and maggots coming out of the crack in its shell and it's not moving...and it smells really bad!" I could hear Lexie in the background saying, Turtle? Turtle!...."
I told her to take it out to the woods, and then broke the news to Noah. He tried so hard not to cry, and it was pitiful watching his little lip quiver. I told him someday we would find another turtle, and I promised to stop by the side of the road and take it home. He sniffed, 'but Franklin was going to go to Florida with us!" A biscuit softened the blow a little bit, and he perked up when I suggested inviting a friend over. 20 minutes later we were on our way to pick up his friend, when lo and behold, what did we find crossing the road? I almost gave us both whiplash when I slammed on the brakes! I had never been so happy to see a turtle! I jumped out of the car, grabbed the little guy and said, "Look,God gave you another turtle!" He was so excited- "Can I still have my friend over, too?" when I answered yes, all was immediately well in his litte world-a new turtle, a friend to play with....Life is good. Later, when Mike came home, Noah said, "Dad, come look at the new turtle God gave me!" Isn't it neat how God takes care of such tiny little details to affirm the faith of a child? Oh...and turtle number two's name is Goliath. We are hopeful he will last a little longer!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Turtle on the loose...

We got home from running errands this afternoon, and even with several heavy books on top of his box, Franklin the turtle had escaped again. He was no where in sight. After about 15 minutes of searching, and me saying, "ok, if you were a turtle, where would you go?' The kids found him lodged in a corner under Noah's bed. He now has a new box with a snap on escape -proof lid (with holes drilled in it)to avoid any more escapes. Noah is making all sorts of plans for Franklin to travel with us to Florida next week-I don't care as long as the lid is on his box!

A beautiful day...a brisk walk, a turtle and burnt grilled cheese...

We all woke up yesterday morning to the most beautiful weather! We were all out the door at 7:30 for piano and while the girls were at piano, Lexie, Noah and I walked at the track. Now that Will has gone home and I just have one litte one to get ready in the mornings, I really want to get up and out early and walk. Those of you (Lynn, Rina, Emily...) Who get up and out to RUN before the sun comes up amaze me! Anyway, I headed to the track for a few laps-Noah began whining he was tired, thirsty, hot, on the verge of death, etc...after 1/2 a lap. It was not most pleasant. He became even more irritated when Lexie, from her stroller kept saying his name over and over and over again. After only 2 laps I was questioning my decision! Noah endured (barely) another lap-this last one was more enjoyable for me, since due to the aforementioned whining, he was not allowed to utter a sound for the last lap. Lexie took his silence as a cue to repeat his name even more often and more loudly. So my big lap count was 3. Better than none!
After Noah recovered from his apparent dehydration and near death experience, and offered an apology, he happily helped me load the stroller into the car and we went to pick up the girls.
We dropped Mackenzie off for a much anticipated babysitting job-side note-last night when a friend called (you know who you are) to ask her to babysit today, she remarked, "Could my birthday get any better than this?!?" We picked up Mae's sweet little friend and headed home to enjoy the beautiful weather. on the way Noah was lamenting that He did not have a friend coming over and urged me to call his friend's mom right that minute to see if we could go pick him up NOW. Since Austin has gone home, Noah has had this one particular friend on the brain, and wonders why he can't spend the night EVERY day. Anyway, It was not a good moment to call for another playdate, and he was disappointed with my "not today" response. Just when he was about to get very glum, we spotted a turtle in the road-I promise, it was a turtle straight from heaven! I pulled over and got the turtle and handed it to Noah, "Now I have something to play with today!" He exclaimed. Thank you Lord for little "happies' like this along the way...Noah has definately been feeling a little lonely lately. He named the turtle Franklin and filled its new home (a plastic shoebox) with rocks, grass, carrots, apple peels and a dish of water. Lexie now was repeating over and over "Turtle! Turtle! Turtle!" All was right in our little corner of the world. Mae and sweet little friend put on dress up clothes and built fairy kingdoms outside, Noah hunted bugs for his turtle and Lexie followed me around the house with a Barney video saying, "Barney? Barney! Barney?" Until I relented. She is Barney nutty. I threw on a roast with some potatoes and carrots-actually 2 roasts in 2 crockpots-one for us and one to bring to a friend with a sweet new baby girl. I was into peeling potatoes when Noah came in yelling, "Franklin's gone, he's gone!!!"
I thought, I know there is not a turtle running free in my house. I followed Noah to his room, and sure enough, the turtle box on his dresser was lacking a turtle. Mind you, his dresser is very tall, so unless this was a turtle with super flying powers, it had to have hit the floor pretty hard, in which case I would think it would be lying on the floor stunned and not running through my house. No turtle in sight, and Noah on the verge of tears, I looked behind the bedroom door-
There was Mr stunt diving turtle, in a bucket of tinker toys, next to Noah's dresser. Noah was so happy to find his new pet and I was thrilled that the little critter was not going to appear on my bed in the middle of the night, staring at me. Actually, before bed we did put a heavy book on top of his box, to avoid any more escapes.
So Noah was turtle happy, Mae (dressed as princess fairy) and sweet little friend(apparently dressed as colonial fairy-our dress up box is quite lacking...) appeared for just a split second to ask me to kiss their foreheads to break some fairy spell, And Lexie was engrossed in Barney...all was well.
A request from all the children was made for grilled cheese for lunch, with cheese puffs...would they like a side of cheese to go with that? Now, I consider myself a fairly good cook. My dad has taught me to make wonderful spaghetti sauce from scratch, I can whip up some great zucchini bread and an assortment of other items my family ooohs and aaaahs over-but grilled cheese is not one of those items. After 15 years of marriage and cooking, grilled cheese still eludes me.
It always come out burnt, half deformed from being stuck to the pan, or burnt and deformed.
Today was no exception. The grilled cheese was both burnt, and of an unrecognizable shape after I tried to scrape each sandwhich from the pan. One sandwhich out of the bunch that I made was definately closer in resembling an actual grilled cheese than the others. So, this one special grilled cheese I offered to our guest. When they came running in for lunch, and after Noah had scrubbed all his turtle germs off, I explained to sweet little friend that I am not a grilled cheese professional, and told her that although all the grilled cheeses were burnt and shaped like amoebas, as our guest she was getting the least burnt and most square sandwich. Noah and Mae eagerly agreed that our guest should have the special sandwhich. Then, sweet little friend, who had already impressed me with her manners and disposition, did something unthinkable--
After two bites of her grilled cheese, and as serious as anything, she exclaimed," Miss Michelle,
this is the best grilled cheese I have ever tasted!" I made a note to myself that she will get the guest of the year award, and Noah and Mae looked at her like she was crazy, as they scratched the charred places off of their bread. Our day finished up with delivering a meal to the house of the newborn. We all had a wonderful visit, and enjoyed holding a brand new baby and watching the sun set over the waterway. Their sweet family presented Lexie with a little gift for her upcoming adoption, part of which was a gigantic bubble wand. Lexie insisted on bubble blowing all the way home and even on the couch during bedtime stories. I'm sure she will wake up saying, "bubbles? bubbles! bubbles?" It was a great day-nothing extraordinary, just everyday stuff, but sometimes those are the best days!
Today we are gearing up to straighten the house before the realtor shows it, and taking schoolwork in the car as we head on another adventure-going to get the front end of my car aligned! I am sure my family will have no trouble turning this into something exciting. I just need to make sure that book is still on top of the turtle box before I leave the house....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mackenzie!

Hard to believe my oldest daughter, Mackenzie turned 13 today. I am so amazed by the beautiful young woman she is becoming. I blinked and she grew up! I gave her my very well worn Bible that was given to me by my dad on my birthday in 1995-before we even knew she'd be a part of our family! Her dad and I also gave her one of my wedding bands (I have 2), which she had asked for to wear as a purity ring. We put it in an envelope with a note saying that we hoped the gold ring would be a reminder that gold is not pure and beautiful until it has gone through the fire, and that we would be continuosly praying that she would keep her life pure even as she would go through trials and temptations, all the while allowing God to mold and refine her into the woman he wants her to be. Yesterday her birthday gift was having a day with me and two of her friends to go yard-saling (our favorite past-time), consignment sale shopping, out to subway for lunch (her favorite place to eat), then to bath and body works to try out perfume and lotion and then to Barnes and Noble to smell new books, well, and read them too-but we love to smell new books in our family. What a sweet time we had, It was so nice to spend the day with her. We came home to the smell of Dad's cooking-grilled porkchops, black beans and yellow rice-yum! This mornig her brother and sister showered her with home-made cards and even did her chores for her! It seems like she has dreamed of being 13 forever. It seems like it has come too quickly!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's on the Menu?...

Monday: Eggplant Parmigiana, salad and garlic texas toast (Mackenzie made home-made chocolate chip/pecan cookies for dessert-I ate way too many.)

Tuesday: Chicken Divan, Salad

Wednesday: Supper @ church (what a treat to not have to clean up the kitchen!)

Thursday: BBQ Chicken, Black Beans w/garlic and yellow rice

Friday: (dessert and chips to take to our homeschool group picnic-Mackenzie will probably make her peanut butter and jelly cookies)

Saturday: Bubble Pizza, corn and jello w/coolwhip

Sunday: Crock pot roast with potatoes and carrots

Monday: fettucini alfredo, salad

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: supper @ church

Thursday: Hamburgers, baked beans and fries

Two great books....

I just finished reading Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, which I started out reading to see if it would be required reading for Mackenzie. (yes, it will be) I did not realize how much I would find in there for me, as was true with another book I just finished "previewing"as well- Do Hard Things by homeschooled brothers, Alex and Brett Harris (Also required reading). I thought I would post a few quotes from these books that really stuck with me.

From Passion and Purity:

"Life requires countless little 'deaths'= occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yes to God."

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection form suffering. The love of God is of a differnt nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. It never denies reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering. The love of God did not protect his own son. That was proof of his love-that he gave that son-that he let him go to Calvary's cross, though legions of angels might have rescued him. He will not necessarily protect us- not from anything that makes us like his son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process."

"Purity means freedom from contamination, from anything that would spoil the taste or the pleasure, reduce the power or in any way adulterate what the thing was meant to be. It means clean-ness, clearness-no additives, nothing artificial-in other words, 'all natural', in the sense in which the original designer designed it to be. Can I say categorically that a kiss (before marriage) is a sin? I can say that it might be. I can say that it might take the edge off, spoil the taste ans pleasure later on. It might reduce the power, it might distract the heart."

I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our own way in the end, but by his making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are honestly able to pray, 'thy will be done.' Acceptance of whatever that means is the great victory of faith that overcomes the world."

And from Do Hard Things.....

"The fence that keeps us from breaking out of our comfort zone is nearly always built of fear. Fear of weakness, discomfort, failure, humiliation. We've noticed something else too: You can't live by fear and live by faith at the same time. II Timothy 1:7 reads "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, of self discipline.' And when we read about the Bible heroes who accomplished big, hard things for God, we discover the main job requirement: 'Without faith it is impossible to please God.' (Heb. 11:6)"

"The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility. They are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now."

True courage is not the absence of fear. It is refusing to allow fear to control your actions."

The Harris brothers quote many other well known people in their book as well:

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." -Corrie Ten Boom

"Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials." -Smith Wigglesworth

My next one to "preview" is So Much More by the Botkin sisters. I'd love to hear what others suggest as required reading for their teens.

In our read aloud time, We are devouring the "Millie Keith" books of the Life of Faith series.
Mackenzie has already read all the Life of Faith books over and over and over....but she reccomended that I read Millie aloud to Mae and Noah and they have loved every minute.
We have 2 chapters left in book three, and I really am supposed to be reading to them some historical fiction that coincides with our studies of Ancient Egypt, but I am hooked on these wonderful books! We are also having a great time reading Dinosaurs of Eden and I am enjoying (surprisingly) reading the girls' Apologia science text-Exploring Creation with General Science.

My, how time flies....

I really can not believe that the last time I posted was December...Every time I've thought about it I have just been too busy, and after reading some blogs last night, I realized just how much I've already forgotten that has happened over the last nine months! So I was inspired to try to catch up! But rather than back track 9 months, I am just going to pick up with our most recent happenings. A major life change for us was back in June when our sweet foster child went home to his mom and dad. He had been with us 18 months. I cried for weeks leading up to his leaving-I cried when I packed his clothes and when he brought me fistfuls of flowers he had picked on his last day with us. But as we left him with his mom and dad that day and drove away, an amazing peace came over me, and I knew there was nothing I could do but leave him in God's hands.
Since he's been gone, life has been different, especially for Noah, who had gotten very used to having a brother and constant playmate/partner in crime. Noah has definately grown closer to his dad these past few months, which has been wonderful to watch. Still, somedays He'll say things like, "I wonder if I'll get another foster brother again so my room won't be so lonely anymore." He did get a new foster brother, but not necessarily the one he had hoped for...a week after Austin went home we received a call about a sweet little 2 month old boy...Who actually will be going home tomorrow. God has kept us (we think) from getting too attached to this little one-since we knew from the very beginning he would be going home. But tonight everyone at our house just couldn't get enough of him on our last evening with him. Even Lexie cuddled and kissed him all over his little head before she went to bed. We think she will miss him for about five minutes, and then she realize she is once again the queen of her little universe and be very happy! Speaking of Lexie... We found out today that her adoption will be finalized on October 1.
When we told the kids Noah said, "Now she will be my sister forever!!!" It has seemed like such an impossible thing-it is so hard to believe that we are finally realizing this dream of adopting that we've had since before Mackenzie was born. Mae is counting down the days. Mackenzie is trying out Lexie's "new" name on her. She will still be Lexie, or "Lulu" as we all affectionately call her (Mackenzie found out that Lulu means little elf-very appropriate for Lexie!). But her new given name will be Alexianna Marie Barnes. The Girls begged for Alexianna and Marie is for Mike's sister who died when she was just a toddler. Her first name was Gladys-but we just couldn't make that work....well, I didn't even try to make that work...
So now we are officially caught up...