Friday, April 18, 2014

"My greatest gift"

Our son turning five has definitely been interesting.  Many of those interesting four year old behaviors have chilled and he's picked up many more mature characteristics.  One thing he's been saying to us lately at bedtime or super sweet times is, "Mommy and Daddy, you are the greatest gift God has ever given to me", "you are the best gift I've ever been given", etc. 

We just smile and say thank you, and tell him he's the best thing God ever gave us.  I feel like this is a bit of a touchy spot as a parent through adoption.  I never want my children to think that they were a gift, a consolation prize, or have some other crazy high expectation to live up to.  Every life is a miracle not just because of adoption.  

I know that my children's birth parents didn't GIFT us our children.  They didn't choose adoption for us, for our benefit.  Choosing adoption was all about their children.  You see, we were really the gift for our children.  They didn't choose us because we are the perfect parents, but we are what our children's mothers thought were the best thing for their children.  It can be an overwhelming thought to think of it like that.  Major pressure, right?  It's major pressure and accountability for a good reason.  

We are so thankful for being granted the privilege and responsibility of parenting these precious children!!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Take me out to the ball game!

My husband, Nate, scored free hall of fame club seats to the Phillies Opening Day last week!  We realized it had been ten years since we last went to a Phillies game, which meant it was definitely a first for the kiddos to go!  We had one extra ticket, so of course we invited Ash, B's Birth Mom to go with us.  She and her family are quite the Phillies fans.  We were thankful in more ways than one to have her there with us, especially to help educate B about baseball.  

We all had such a great time together, except for the Phillies who probably didn't have too much fun losing their first game quite terribly to Milwaukee.  

Lah-lah loved this baseball wall and kept reaching for random baseballs to see if they were loose.  She was convinced one was going to come off the wall! 

The game was pretty much sold out--we just arrived really early and took these pics before anyone arrived around us! 

Ever since the game last week, B has been playing "Phillies" in the backyard!  So thankful for opportunities to experience fun things together as a family!  

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Choose joy in the dirt

I've found myself sweeping my kitchen floor more times this week than I probably did the whole eternal winter.  Dirt. Clumps of dirt. Mud stains on every article of clothing. 

Though my first inclination is annoyance and frustration about some little person that didn't take their shoes off when they were supposed to, it doesn't last long when I realize how thankful I am.  

-- that my children are no longer cooped up in the house
-- for the beautiful spring weather
-- for our awesome backyard
-- for my husband who has worked for years to make our backyard a great place for kids to play
-- for my precious children who were only dreams in my head for so long

Today, I take joy in every speck of dirt I have to clean or sweep or mop, because Praise Jesus it is no longer an eternal winter!   If it's mud I'm cleaning up, thankfully it is from the rain and not snow!  

Where are you finding Joy this Friday? 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Friday!!!

Whew, these kids keep me hopping! Here's a little bit of what we've been up to these days:

Spring is finally coming, except for the once a week pesky snow shower and we are trying to enjoy it!  

We had an exciting trip to toysrus for B to spend his birthday money on Legos. That was actually less frustrating than I thought. He picked out some fun projects and has been working on them all week.  

Lah-Lah turned 17 months this week and started saying all kinds of words and trying to jump off of everything in sight. We realized she was singing along with one of her leapfrog songs on her LeapFrog Poppin' Play Piano It goes something like this: I can go up I can go dowwwnn, I can boogey-woogey all around! She sings the whole thing!  Here's what she says, "UPPP DOWNNN boogey booygey alll awwound", but usually only when she thinks no one is listening.  

B received his first report card last week and we were amazed at him and his progress.  He is so excited for kindergarten {sniff sniff}

Ash, B's birth mom came for a visit this past weekend and we all loved that! 

And then things have been really busy in the little bumber's baubles shop! I've been creating a bunch of fun happy spring designs. After the eternal winter, we could all use some bright happy in our lives!! Hop on over and check it out. My lovely blog followers can save 20% off your total purchase with the code: bumbersbumblings. And remember if you are local, I'm happy to refund your shipping fees! 

Happy Friday y'all!! We are so looking forward to a date night out with friends tonight!  

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Steal his heart

Photography by Alexis Springer Photography

This past Sunday, B and I went to a little concert at church nearby us to hear the band, The Neverclaim.  A college friend's husband just signed on with them about a week earlier as their new drummer.  When I heard they were in town from Nashville that day, I jumped in the car with B and headed over!  He loves music and concerts.  Of course, we bought the CD and he's been listening to it in his room on repeat. 

One of their songs really impacted me and I've been listening to it on repeat in my car. The song is named Steal Their Hearts and I've embedded the youtube recording of it below.  Try listening to it without tearing up!  Steal Their Hearts is a parent's prayer to God to reveal His love to our children.  You can buy it here on Amazon*or iTunes

His fifth birthday coming along has caused me to reflect and comprehend that my baby boy is growing up.  The fact that he's going to be starting kindergarten this year is a little overwhelming for me.  It would be easy for the fears of what he will be exposed to, what he will have to face, what he may have to stand up to, overtake me.  

I am praying and hoping that as my children have stolen my heart, that God would capture and steal their hearts in a much greater way than the world is trying to capture theirs. I pray that He will use us in a mighty way to lovingly point our children to Christ. 

Would you steal their hearts as You call their name
In a broken world, trying to do the same
Would you let them see the majesty of who You are
Oh Lord, would you steal their hearts?
--The Neverclaim

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*amazon affiliate link - I could make a few pennies if you purchase from the link

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The 5th birthday party without a party

I'm still in shock that our son is 5 --- FIVE YEARS OLD!! How does that happen so quickly???  Okay, I'll stop my sad ponderings, because it really was a joyous fabulous celebration!

We (well I) decided to take a break from the birthday party scene this year.  It's difficult to have two extroverts planning a party {the child and the mom} at a small house in March with possible frigid weather.  He and I both struggle with wanting to invite everyone we can to celebrate because we don't like to leave anyone out.  This year he is in a preschool class of 17!  Ahhh, nope not happening.  Besides all the pinterest explosions putting so much pressure on people to have extravagent parties, it's just too much stress on me to plan a party. I've tried the laidback party and the pinterest-inspired party and they were both just as stressful. I didn't have a chance to celebrate and be with my boy on his big day because I was too busy making sure the party was going off okay.  Everyone else was enjoying him and that wasn't okay with me.

I started prepping him after his 4th birthday about how not everyone had a party every year.  He would be okay with it some days and not okay with it other days.  He insisted that some kind of party would happen at Dunkin Donuts, his favorite restaurant.  Oh well for all those years of trying to avoid the place--he loves it.

Ash, B's Birth Mom, was able to come spend the night with us the evening before.  It had been quite a while since that had happened, so it was a super special treat for all of us!  He was very excited to wake up in the morning and open all his presents that had been delivered by his family members before his birthday.   This year it was all about geography and legos!

Then we all loaded up into the car for a surprise adventure!  He guessed that we were going on a hike in the woods.  Little did he know we were going to his favorite capitol in the world!

BUT FIRST, a stop at Dunkin Donuts!!  

As we continued on our drive, we asked him where the one place he really wanted to go was!  It went something like this, "well...the only city I really want to go to is Washington, DC, but I know we aren't going there...."!  Whew, we were all quite relieved that he did, in fact, want to go to DC.  

Poor Lah-lah slept through this picture

We were able to make it to the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Native American Museum, McDonalds and Starbucks!  It was the most beautiful weather day we've had here all year!!  

It was really such a great day to soak in our son and see what things he was drawn to and revel in his excitement about learning so much.  Sharing all that with Ash was amazing too!  Such a great family day!  

Last year, I posted the four year old interview of him here. This year I'm just sharing the 5 year old interview video instead of typing it all out.  Hope you enjoy listening to him (and not me--ahhh hate hearing myself on video)! 

I'm so proud of who he is and who he is becoming!  And this next year can just crawl by, okay?  

And I'm sure we will have a party again someday, I'm just relieved we didn't this year ;)

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Together Called 2014

Together Called 2014

This past weekend we were able to take part in an amazing marriage retreat called Together Called, hosted by The Sparrow Fund. This was the second annual retreat held at the Inn at Leola Village in Lancaster, PA.  


Saturday Morning Breakfast
Driving into the Inn at Leola Village was a treat.  We immediately felt spoiled as the concierge associate walks us to our room.  Every room is gorgeous and we immediately felt like this was a getaway and special treat for us.  It wasn't just a conference, it was a retreat in the true sense of the word.  We were spoiled and showered upon with love from the second we arrived.  From the amazing swag bag with handwritten notes to each couple, to the amazing luxury room, to the presentation of delicious food and beautiful atmosphere. 

Together Called is a faith-centered retreat.  We were showered with words of love and grace and encouragement as the leadership team walked beside us and gave us practical wisdom and daily tools to use in our parenting and marriage. Grace was the dominant theme in the messages brought by Beth and Stephen Templeton. We weren't sent off in separate breakout sessions; we were encouraged to do this thing together.  To be connected to Christ first, then to be connected in our marriage and in our parenting.  The worship music led by friend's (kim from It's a Vertical Life) husband and band (comprised of adoptive parents) was amazing as well! 

Me and Vertical Mom

Stephen and Beth Templeton of Hope at Home were the main speakers. Cheryl Nitz of Attachment and Bonding Center spoke in a breakout session with her husband on marriage and it was great! Kelly and Mark Raudenbush spoke on Connecting while Correcting in a breakout session and left us with practical loving ways to connect with our children. 

We loved talking and connecting with other couples walking down the same roads as us and couples walking down totally different roads.  Even though all of our adoption stories are different, we all had something in common: love for adoption and Christ. 

There were new friendships formed and old friendships rekindled. 
Johanna, Angie, and me

Such a great time with Kelly, Becky, Wanda, and Abby! I also met Nancy of Ordinary Miracles and the Crazy Nine, and many other wonderful people! 

Love that my college friend, Laura, and I, along with our husbands are able to connect at this retreat!  

The crazy Shultz and the Enns!  
And since we were missing out on a lot of Olympics being there, we had our own version of the olympics.  I'm not even going to try to explain what was happening, but it was hysterical and we did win that game, thanks to my husband's amazing encyclopedia brain. 

I obviously cannot say enough great things about this retreat, but I think my most favorite thing of all was that our husbands could be a part of this and genuinely experience what it is like to be a part of the adoption community.  There are so many different retreats for adoptive moms, blogs, play dates and facebook groups that the men don't really have an opportunity to take part in.  Last year, my husband was a little nervous about Together Called. He had seen my participation in the planning, but still did not know what to expect.  To see these husbands come alive, and realize how great it is to have others that relate and understand what they have gone through and are going through presently is incredible.

I guess I should have written a top 5 favorite things about this retreat, because spending time with this dude, was my absolute favorite.  

And sorry, Nate, the only non-selfie picture of you was caught in the middle of a sneeze!

If you were at Together Called and blogged about it, please link your post up here on the Sparrow Fund's page!

Sign up on the sparrow fund website for notifications of next year's event or follow along on the facebook page for updates! 

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