trash-to-treasure trucks

yesterday we spray painted...

and these little buddies got some fancy pin-striping as well...

today we got a little surprise (a mini blizzard) and the boys did this:

miss emery did this:

and while the troops were napping after lots of snow and hot chocolate, me and the glue gun did this (with the help of google images)...

(thank you $1 store flashlights)
might be the first ever cardboard box trash truck photo shoot.
way to work it boys.

i have a feeling my next task will be a candy trap door, of which i am still in the configuration stage...
and then some sort of shoulder straps. now wishing i made my kids wear suspenders...a pair or two of those would work wonders right about now :)

sending goats for christmas

i saw this on ashley's blog a few weeks ago. i was so inspired by her wisdom to give her kids the opportunity to choose to serve others, even if it meant a personal sacrifice for them. i silently prayed i could help my kids catch the same vision.

when our catalogue came this week, i set aside time with the boys while emery was sleeping. they poured over each page and we read each description. we read how a single goat can sustain a family with food and income. how $7 can feed a child for a week or $40 can feed an orphan for a month including medicine and a place to live. we talked about sister. how much we love her and how painful it is to think about a time when she didn't have a family. we spoke with passion. they got it. they soaked in every word. we talked about what it would be like to not have a house or food or shoes. we talked about how hard it would be if our family was hungry and had to drink dirty water.
we've talked about those things before, but seeing a tangible way to help made a big difference. they wanted to know everything about everything. .

i let them circle anything they wanted to give

and we talked about what giving those things would mean to us...what it would mean at Christmas time this year....it would mean less for us and more for someone else.
"ok, mommy. no problem."
back to circling.

they have been riveted over the past year at the thought of kids drinking dirty water, and often ask me if they can give their allowance to help build a well. when we came to the page showing well digging, they were stoked. since a well costs around $10,000, Samaritan's Purse offers a "share" option for a mere $40. that page got a lot of really big circles.

in the end, when i added up all of the shoes and clean water and food and medical supplies and housing supplies and goats and sheep and chickens, etc, it was well over what we ever spend for christmas gifts. and i mean WAY over.
in fact, if i'm honest, the number made me question whether or not i wanted to follow through.

and then foster said, "when can we go take the clean water? how do we goats get there? do we need tools to help build the houses?"

i instantly got that strange gut cry...the one that makes my whole body fill with happy sobs.

it was a beautiful moment.

i said, "right now, we can help by sending money to purchase the goats and supplies and other people will have the honor of giving them to the people in need. but when you get a bit older, you can be the one to go! you can go take clean water and goats and chickens and medicine!!"

foster: "did you hear that rowan?? when we get bigger, we can go! yay!!! we get to go!! lets pretend we are on the airplane right now!"

and off they went. pretending to save the world.
the incredible thing is...they actually can.


garbage glory

the boys decided they both wanted to be trash trucks for trick or treat. last year was the first time we did trick or treat...and i love going handmade and making something the boys can help with...preferably using a cardboard box and spray paint :)

i tried hard to convince someone to be this...i think it looks adorable!

but two boys wanting nothing to do with my idea. actually, rowan was convinced he would fly away :)

so trash trucks it is.

we are shooting for this. one blue and one green.

and the boys plan to add real working headlights and a dumpster lifter for candy.
stage one:

and this is what we did to entertain ourselves while i was busy with an exacto knife.

see those angry eyes? we had a bit of that too.

i have a feeling i won't have time this week to make another move on the garbage project. might be spray-painting these babies late sunday night :)


simple items and extrordinary imaginations

these are the moments i want to remember. the ones that happen when i'm usually wanting a few moments to just sit down and accomplish something. but being present with my kids is often accomplishing more than i realize.

i love these moments. i love to see what they create and talk about and explore.

i love muddy fingers and toys tossed about in mid play.

i love simple items and extraordinary imaginations.

these are the times that i love.

when the blog is silent...

when the blog is silent, it often means real life is loud.
that's our week. loud.
loud with physical therapy and speech therapy and univ. of del sessions and school and attempted motivation. loud with clutter because i STILL haven't unpacked my bag from my amazing weekend, will always have laundry unfolded and absurd piles of clutter needing to be delt with. perhaps my un-motivation stems because i just can't quite say goodbye to such an incredible weekend.
great friends can sooth the soul, and that's what this past weekend felt like. my quick zip to NC was just what i needed. we laughed from start to finish and talked and told old stories and left no aspect untold. it was delightful. so delightful, in fact, that i couldn't pull myself away to take photos...unusual for me, since i love to come home with a camera full of memories. this time, my heart will have to do the capturing.
for two days, i felt young again and our friendships pickup up as if no time had been lost. i can't wait until we reunite again! OBX in 2013, ok girls??

i'm at one of those stages that needs motivation. we've been in our rental house for 2 months now. i should be rested enough to be motivated and finish the many unfinished projects. but i'm not. i keep collapsing at night beside the stack of stuff i should be working on. the paperwork and the painting. the horrible pillows that need recovered and the walls blank with a lack of photographs. oh you craft girls out there...bestow your motivation on me.
upon waking in the morning, i inevitably feel the pressure of my inactivity the night before, but it keeps repeating. we have so much fun planned in the weekend ahead (including FINALLY uniting emery and brooklyn!!!! i can't WAIT) that i've decided to wait until next week to feel guilty for all the stuff that is falling behind :)
it's a loud week...sometimes they turn out to be the best ones.

oh and one of my dear friends challenged me to 21 days with no complaining. about anything. at all.
if you catch yourself complaining, you start the 21 days over.
boy do i need that challenge!
have i already complained during the course of this post? eek. probably.
i'm realizing just how much i complain, and it's an ugly color on me.
so i'm taking on the challenge.
i have a feeling the effects will be miraculous :)


"and just like my sister..."

i was in the kitchen making sandwiches.
my girlfriends and their kids were over, chaos and laughter and massive amounts of all kinds of toys were strewn about.
the recipe for a great morning with friends.

laurel says to me, "you've gotta hear what foster just said. i said to him, 'you look just like your uncle steve today!'"

and foster said "and just like my sister."

plain as day. second nature.
she's my sister. we look alike. duh.

i wish i had heard it with my own ears...it brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat to think about his beautiful heart and the amazing shift that our family has encountered.
adoption shifts a family.
my son looks at emery and sees his sister. in his mind she is so much his sister that they look alike.
we've talked about birth moms and adoption and he knows she has a birth mom and birth father. but his heart is linked with her and she isn't adopted anymore. she's his sister.

it's so simple, but it astounds me.
i would have never known his heart could grow and understand such huge things. i probably wouldn't have had the wisdom to spend the time talking about adoption and the beauty of the way God adopts each of us. God's love and plan for each of us involves adoption and siblings and birth parents and so much of what we are seeing in front of us.

i know i'm not saying anything profound. but in my heart, i just can't explain the magnitude of what i feel. it's simply beautiful.
amidst the harder parts of what the past few months have been...
the beautiful parts always shine through.

masking tape made today awesome.

good morning mr. sunshine.
surprise. the house is now the ultimate race course.
today is going to be awesome.

pjs and race cars go hand in hand

oh and little missy has been in ultra happy mode recently.
content, cheerful, snagging all kinds of things out of the cabinets when i turn my back...just like she's always been here...just the way it's supposed to be.

she rests her cheek against mine. she holds my hand for no reason. she blows kisses and taps my legs when she wants to be held. she smiles and giggles and chases me around the house. her brothers smother her with kisses and hugs, even when she pulls their hair and steals their toys. there is a lot of love floating around here.
3 feels splendid.
perfect? no.
but this week has felt splendid amidst the imperfect

and my jet set weekend? i'm so excited.

we will see what the weekend holds for mr. clint and his first full 2 days with all 3. he does so much with the boys...often fun and creative things i wouldn't dream of...but since we came home with emery, she's been attached to me like white on rice (haha), so with me out of the equation, there's a bit of a wildcard situation. i'm praying it will be a turning point and she will allow him to feed her and put her to bed since i won't be in sight. you know how kids always act differently when mom's not around? well mine are less whiny when i'm not there...it seems i bring it out in them :)


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