2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Family Fun Day!

One thing I LOVE about Homeschooling is that we can set our school calendar.  So, since my birthday is in April, I always schedule our Spring Break for the week of my birthday.

Once I saw the weather forecast for last Monday, I knew what we needed to do.  No school, my husband was off of work, and the temperature was suppose to be in the mid 80's.... We were headed to the BEACH for the day!

We're close enough to the beach to make a day trip out of it.  We leave by 8:30am and return home around 11pm.  Since both my husband and I went to college very close to the beach we visit, we have a whole list of traditional places we go to every time we are there.

We start with lunch at our favorite beach restaurant....  Next is several hours on the beach, including a nice walk with my guy.... Then we go back to our college.... This time we included a visit with our former Criminal Justice professor.... It was nice making him feel old, now that we have 2 teenagers!  Next was a dinner stop at a place we frequented while in college.... And we followed it up with ice cream with our friends from college and their 3 kids.... 

We had to make a side trip to Target for some aloe for our sunburn.... (SHH, don't tell my mom we forgot to use our sunscreen!)  And then another stop for some coffee....

All in all, it was a great trip.... Some good family time together after a crazy few months.... And a wonderful way to begin my birthday week!


Monday, April 23, 2012

BIrthday Week!

Several years ago, I started a wonderful new tradition related to my birthday.... It's called birthday WEEK!

I schedule Spring Break during my birthday week so I don't have to think about school.

I have learned over the years to plan take out for the dinner menu instead of asking my husband and kids to cook!  :)

So this year, we started the week with a fun family day on Monday....

Tuesday brought my friend and her children to my door in the morning with some Bo-Berry Biscuits!

Wednesday I did absolutely NOTHING in celebration of my birthday... We had Chinese Food for dinner and Carvel Cake for dessert.

Thursday, my kids' friends slept over while my husband was working.  My daughter's friend makes AWESOME cupcakes, so she brought some (and some jelly beans as a present!) to continue the celebration.

Friday, "the boy" came for a visit... The funny thing about that is that his foster mom and I share a birthday.  I also slept in that morning.

Saturday was wonderful because I got to do some shopping with my birthday money AND I had lunch with one of my very best friends.  You can't beat that.  Plus, my husband should've been on night shift but took the weekend off.  NICE!

All in all, it was a great birthday week!  I'm already looking forward to my BIG birthday next year... I'm thinking a vacation will be in order!


Friday, April 20, 2012

More Visits

Last week, "the boy" stayed with us for 4 days.  It went very well and we had no problems to report.  We did hear that he had a rough night back in his foster home on Saturday, saying he doesn't want to leave them.  Since no one has yet talked to him about living in our home and being adopted, we are realizing more and more than this little boy is much more perceptive than many people give him credit for.

He's coming back today for a 9 day visit.  Coming off of his reaction back at his foster home, it will be interesting to me to see how he does with us this time.  I think he's enjoying his time with us, but loves his foster parents.  And since no one has shared with him that he can still keep in contact with them when he lives here, I think he's scared.  Hopefully his therapist will be talking to him about this to help calm his fears.

We were able to learn even more about his likes and dislikes while he stayed with us.  It is easy to entertain this boy!  We won't have to try to "impress" him with trips and visits to different places, although we do have plans to take him to museums and other places our family enjoys.  But that will be just for fun, it won't be to try to convince him that we're a great family.  He enjoys being around the house and playing Nerf basketball (we'll be buying him his own once he makes the permanent transition to our house), playing with Matchbox cars (I'm glad we saved my son's cars and track from 10 years ago!) and playing on my IPod (and he's very good about giving it back when his time is up).

I'm particularly thrilled that my husband is off work this weekend.  He was suppose to be on night shift Friday and Saturday night, but due to a week long class next week, he took the weekend off so he wouldn't be working 12 days in a row.  I know our real life with "the boy" will include my husband working weekends, but they will be able to spend some time together over the weekend and that will be so helpful.  I have lunch plans with a friend on Saturday, so it will be good for my husband and all 3 kids to hang out together for a few hours and get some good bonding time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ukraine Mission Trip

I thought it would be a good idea to let my son share some of what he experienced and learned while he and his dad were in Ukraine.  So, in his family blog debut....Here he is!

I had an AWESOME time in Kiev, Ukraine! Our team of 18 crazy, loud, and obnoxious Americans ;) was broken up into four groups of four to six; each group doing something different. The group I was in was the sports group. We sat in on meetings for a Christian soccer league and played basketball with some of the local kids. We also sometimes helped a church in Kiev during the time we weren't doing anything. I enjoyed experiencing the culture of Ukraine, meeting people, and getting to help the churches and ministries going on in Kiev. I had a great time and hope to go again next year!

OK, so he's not superfluous with his words....but that gives you the general perspective of a 16 year old boy on his first overseas mission trip.  ;)

One of the things my husband said about this trip is that it was life changing....  Actually, his exact, jet-lagged words were "That was the best week of my life!". I later informed him that those are NOT the words I'd like to hear 30 minutes after he has come home from 10 days away from me!  I truly think it was the exhaustion speaking... But I know that he is forever changed from this experience.  He'd love to go back again next year, but he'll have to work some major off duty if we'll be able to afford to send them both back!  And because he is a supervisor, there are so few off duty jobs available to him that it will be amazing if this actually happens for him.  

Back on the home front, my daughter and I did well.  We had something to do each day so we didn't miss the guys too much.  My daughter did make a comment that it seemed like they had been gone for weeks...and it had only been a few days since they had left.  I don't know how military families deal with being apart for months and months at a time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ukraine in Pictures

Since it was my husband and son who went to Kiev, Ukraine on the 10 day mission trip, I thought I'd let my son choose what pictures to post as well as make the comments on the pictures.  Maybe I can also convince him to do a guest post with more info about the trip!


The plane we flew in for the 9-hour flight from Newark, NJ to Frankfurt, Germany

The Kiev Theological Seminary, where our group of 18 stayed during the trip 

There are old apartment buildings everywhere you look in Kiev!

A monument at a park in Kiev. The eyes are looking towards a nearby church and the statue itself is facing Moscow, Russia. On the shield is the symbol of communism.

A Russian Orthodox monastery in Kiev

Some of the people from the church our group (Rich, Evan, Matthew, & Caleb) visited on the Sunday we were in Ukraine
Left to Right- Ruslan, Sveta, Rich, Ruslan, Zhena, Matthew, Caleb, Evan
The five of us were one of four or five groups who did street evangelism for a couple hours in front of some dorms.
Left to Right- Sveta (our translator for the day), Rich, Stefanie, Evan, Matthew

Rich & Sergey (the pastor of an evangelical church in Kiev)

Playing basketball with some of the local kids

Monday, April 9, 2012

First Sleepover

Last week, "the boy" had his first sleepover at our house!  

I was a bit nervous, since my husband and son were in Ukraine on a church mission trip and it would be up to me and my daughter to entertain him.  

He was with us for only about 20 hours, but it was a great introduction to our home and our life.  We got to know some of the things he likes and doesn't like and we were introduced to his sense of humor.  We wrote down some of the funny things he said so we could share them with my husband and son when they returned home.

We learned he is a good eater and likes spaghetti, keifer smoothies and O's cereal from Trader Joe's.  He likes playing with Matchbox cars.  The only Lego's he enjoyed were the bus and cars.  He wasn't a big fan of playing outside, but he loved my daughter's Nerf ball and hoop.

The short visit went very well.  The only problem we had was that he was sad at bedtime because he missed his foster mom.  This was not surprising to me since she's wonderful and he has lived in their house for 3 years.  We chatted for a little while he was softly crying, but he did end up going to sleep a short time later and slept through the night without any other problems.

I've written in other posts about how I'm not a morning person.... Well, I wasn't sure how early "the boy" would wake up, so I actually was up and ready at a decent hour.... I walked toward the kids rooms and didn't even get a chance to turn on the hall light before I heard him say "Good morning!".  He was awake and sitting on his bed.  

He's coming back for a few nights this week and then again for a 9 day stay later this month.  I think this will be a great way to transition to our home.  We hope that transition will be when school is out in June.  We still have a bunch of things to do before he gets here, including buying (hopefully used) outdoor basketball goal, which he said we needed at the house.

There are still days where I kind of freak out inside.  So, I'm glad that the transition is a long one.  I think that will be good for everyone!