Friday, June 29, 2012

Testing, testing...Is this thing still on?

Or how I  could list second-guessing myself as a possible occupation...

Well, since I am writing this entry more than six  months after the last one it would seem that either I must be really, really busy or I am a really, really bad blogger...or a combination of both!

Our old home~ a beautiful Victorian built in 1840, on a large city lot
It's true that the last six months have seen some pretty crazy times. What with house-hunting, then packing up our large household, moving our large household (Lord, I hope we NEVER have to move again...ever!) and then weeks of setting up our new home. Then throw in a houseful of kids with alternating winter sicknesses of which I succumbed to not just one, but TWO down-and-out for two weeks cases of strep throat, all the while trying to keep up with home-schooling the youngest four and gosh, I really do have plenty of excuses for not keeping this journal updated.
A side view of our new home; a Colonial built in 1822 on 6 acres

But in truth, those really are not the main reasons I haven't been writing. It seems I have "lost my voice." I have started and deleted several posts countless times now since January…written them in my head during the day and then when I tried to write anything down the right words seem to escape me. Granted, it is a definite challenge to sit and put a coherent thought to paper when I have the constant interruptions that are inherent when you have many little children. But even in the quiet times when all my Littles are in their beds and the biorhythms that have my hard-working “early to bed/ super-early to rise” husband sleeping, this night owl has time to reflect and compose in peace, but my mind always just goes... blank.

All day long I have these thoughts of things I would like to share...some good thoughts sometimes too! And I have lots and lots of pictures of the family as they are growing and becoming the fascinating people they really are. We have been incredibly blessed with some truly amazing and interesting people in this family. Yet when I get a moment to actually sit and share, I stare at the blank screen, unable to put a single word or photo on there.

Now part of this stems from the fact that I go back and forth as to if and why I should even be doing this. Some days I think that by sharing the pictures and stories of our family's journey it might be encouraging to others who may be considering adoption as a way to grow their family, or just keep growing their family. No matter how or when or what shape or color they arrive into your family, children are ALWAYS a blessing from the Lord, and "Blessed is the man who has a quiverfull of them." I suppose that alone would be a good reason to keep this updated. If I thought that even a single orphan was adopted into a loving, Christian home because of our family's example, I would gladly continue.

Then there was the thought that maybe by sharing my personal story and my history of living the first half of my life totally screwing up my life with bad choices and of how Because of His Grace I am no longer that person it might also encourage another sister who is struggling with her past. If God can redeem and still use this broken vessel...He can use anyone! I would love to be able to encourage others but I wonder if this is really the best way to do that?

Other days I stop myself from writing wondering  why I should be taking the  time and effort of putting our private lives out there when maybe either:
 A. Hello? No one cares about what goes on in your family or anything you have to say lady! No one reads this stuff, so you're not helping anyone!!
Obviously, I know there are far more interesting family stories out there and they are being written by extremely talented writers (And I know this because I already subscribe to their blogs!) so really, why should I even take the time if no one cares and no one reads this stuff?? Good question I think!
And or/or:
 B. The Wrong people may be interested. Yes, I sometimes do get (I think legitimately) paranoid about our privacy in this electronic, billions of people on the WorldWideWeb planet. Besides the possibility of attracting the attention of nasty trolls and cyber creepy weirdoes, we are also a family that has been pretty vocal about how unhappy we are with how far Big Brother feels that can legally be sticking their nose into our private affairs and telling us what we can or cannot do. But don't get me started on THAT now...)

So what to do? What to do? Well first off, if you are interested in reading some really good stuff, check out some of my favorite Christian writers, like: Katie,  Ann,  Sara  and Susanna. Each of these women have a unique and different encouragement they share in their writing. Additionally, Ann and Sara often guest write for other venues and from there, you will find a host of other spectacular women writers that will bless your socks off. Read their stuff and you will quickly realize why I feel foolish to even blog on the same planet as they do! Also, there's my friend and kindred-spirit Alynn, who does an exceptional job documenting life with a large, adoptive family and from there, really the list of fabulous family blogs out there are endless.

Still, I know that some of my friends that visit are really curious in how our adoption from Belize is going. Writing about adopting internationally a large, older child sibling group is not your typical blog content and it certainly does have its unique challenges and perspectives to share. I suppose how we navigate these challenges may be of some interest to those who may want to see how it all turns out. We certainly are curious about that too! And since I haven’t updated how that is all going since January, I will give you long-story-short answer here:

When we left Belize in January, we were told by the officials that The Fab Five would be home by June. At the time we were devastated it was going to take six more months to get these kids home. HAH! As of today, June is nearly over and at this point we are hoping The Fab Five  will be home by the year's end.  I  really cannot say too much right now, but can tell you this; the enemy of our souls has been doing everything he can to stop it. He nearly succeeded a time or two, but we are not giving up.  I have to remain silent about most of this for now, but I assure there is  MUCH I could say about this process, and possibly I will in due time. For now, if there is anyone who still reads this stuff and believes in the power of prayer, pray that the officials who are holding this process up will either get going or be replaced by someone who will get it going!

Now the only other reason to keep this journal going is so that our extended family member and friends who live in far away places can see and stay in touch with how we are doing here. But I can only do this if I can be keepin' it real with ya ~ We happen to think our large, blended, and colorful family is exceptionally beautiful and we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. But at times our lives have also been quite hard, messy and some heartbreak is inevitable when you choose to raise a large family. No way around it. I would not be painting an honest picture life in a large, adoptive family if I only share the picture perfect days. And that’s just not me. I realize the risk that this may not exactly be an encouragement to others who are thinking about adoption or having a larger family, but I feel I would be doing them a great disservice if I don’t also share my fears, failures and struggles as well as the many joys and blessings.

For example...

I spend a majority of my days just trying to finish up home schooling without my brain exploding all over the ceiling because I am STILL trying to teach Bella that the word "had" is the same word "had" she just read in the sentence above it AND the 12 pages with the word "had" on it before then...or  improper fractions for the 500th time this week to a child who stares at me with that blank, deer-in-the -headlights look. Or explaining that in the English language we have this  noun/verb connection wherein "one cat sleepS, but two catS sleep... day in, day to a relativity new English language speaker who when corrected, cops an attitude usually reserved for hormonal teen girls. Or the impossibility of trying to teach my 5 y/o genius son who can read and do advanced math that he really should not hold his pencil like Neanderthal Man...
Yep...keeping my brain from implosion or explosion is a daily chore.

Or how my laundry room is by far the most visited room in the house...and gracious sakes how I must not forget to get the clean clothes out of the dryer before my husband's shirts get all wrinkly, because God knows if I have to iron them... he will never see them again. My ironing and mending pile is referred to around here as “The Bermuda Triangle.” I have several of David’s shirts hanging on the back of chairs right now trying to become a bit more de-wrinkled, just so I can get this much written.

Hopefully you weren't hoping to come and find any Pinteresting activity here either. No pictures or recipes of how I bake my own freshly ground, 100% whole wheat breads or find me making creative dinners with adventures in other cuisines that might actually intrigue my home-schooled kids into possibly learning geography. No, I am happy nowadays just to scrape enough of my brain off the ceiling in time to  get the semi-folded pile of laundry off the kitchen table before Bella’s granola bar crumbs adhere to it all and  attempt to get a meal on the table that has a semblance of nutrition and taste AND that won't have Ben complaining because it's not spaghetti and meatballs. Ok, forget that...if it's not spaghetti and meatballs he WILL complain! Dinners are pretty simple around here.

You will not find any creative gardening ideas here either as most of my various half-dead plants are dying for a simple drink of water and forget any  glorious photos of  beautiful gardens as all I have here are the choked-out, seedlings in pots that I planted in this spring in anticipation of doing a huge garden. Go ahead, laugh. My husband actually spent several hours after work roto-tilling a 40' x 40' plot, but  yeah...sorry  about that all you little seedlings still stuck in your pots; I really meant well.

Ok I am slightly exaggerating here as after all the work that David did turning over  such a large plot I finally did manage to plant some of the plants he brought home from Lowes. We have some tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and cucumbers and even some strawberry plants that I mail-ordered and that wound up arriving looking like a bunch of dead roots (but lo and behold, most of them actually survived). But now weeds are rearing their ugly heads and the grass that doesn't like to grow in the lawn is all of a sudden prolific in the garden. What's up with that? Sorry, no photo op there. And wow... I really don't like weeding and I have the blisters on my soft, lily-white hands to prove it! Hopefully the more established vegetable plants will be able to duke it out with the weeds and bring forth some measure of a harvest without too much more effort on my part.

You will never find any home decor tips here either.  There are just too many dust bunnies in most of the corners and a few sticky counter-tops as I try to turn a blind eye in order to encourage my twin 5 y/o they really are big enough to pour their own milk and I am pretty sure all of my windows have little fingerprints on them. And all the pictures that used to hang on the walls at our former home are still in a heap on the dining room floor, along with the girls' beautiful tea sets from Vietnam and Korea that don't seem to have a good place to go.  Oh, and the real, wooden shutters that  I found that just need to be scraped and refinished, then painted into some really neat headboards or shelves? (yeah, thanks for the great ideas, Pinterest) They are gathering dust in the barn along with heaps of packing boxes that are still waiting to be put away. You know, I think I really prefer the simple life who really needs to know where I packed the iced tea container with the bottom spigot anyway. Let's use an empty plastic juice jug instead of putting it in the recycle ~

You can easily see after that bit of blogging that I prolly won’t be getting a call to be replacing Martha Stewart any time soon. So if you are looking for someone who has it much more all-together in every aspect, well you will not find it here. I realize even this post is too long and disjointed, but that's what you get when I take 6 months off!
But should you still desire to stop back and see what's going on at our crazy household, I'd truly love to have your company. Please feel free to let me know you're here and for heaven's sake...why?

Because I know what I hope you can take away from a visit here is that in spite of the many times in a day that I fail and fall short, Because of His Grace we really are still doing amazingly well. I kinda shake my head in wonder at that, but I know that it is because Jesus really has got my back...and when I let Him, (‘cause lesson #1…you actually have to give up your ideas of how it should be done and let Him have His way…go figure ~  He was really serious about that!) …He makes up for my lack in profound ways. HE is the glue that keeps us all together. And I know that He's got your back as well.  Maybe that's enough all we really need know to be able to celebrate this crazy life together. Well that, and maybe some Pinot Grigio …

I am determined to get some pictures of what's been going on around here lately, so please check back if you are especially interested in seeing how the family is progressing.  Maybe I can even find some interesting photos that are in focus...

Oh..PS: If you were waiting to hear back from me from a recent (or not so recent) email, I truly, sincerely apologize. It seems my "lost voice" has even effected my responding to personal emails as well. But have no fear as I am perfecting shushing and shooing away my children with my favorite go-to exasperated voice, asking them "WOULD YOU ALL PLEASE BE QUIET AND LEAVE ME ALONE FOR FIVE MINUTES SO I CAN WRITE THIS NICE FAMILY BACK AND EXPOUND ON THE JOYS OF ADOPTING AND HAVING A LARGE FAMILY!!
SHEESH! Now, where was I?..."
That personal email response should be coming to you any day now...

HAH!! PSS: Seems when I get the chance to write a certain side-effect is that my brain forgets how to tell time. I was only able to get this written because my Youngers were at VBS for three hours this morning. Only I just looked up and realized I was already 10 minutes late to pick them up. YIKES...visions of my four little ones with forlorn expressions on their sweet faces waiting to be picked up had me driving like Mario Andretti to get there before everyone else left. (Thankfully,  I am very glad I wasn't the only Mom to arrive late...phew!)