Knowing When

On a particularly busy evening, in a particularly tense moment, Madelyn scooted away to make me this.

I was stressed.  Oh yes, I get that way from time to time.  I may appear like I have it all together sometimes, or that I am cool as a cucumber, but I can often get strung out and maxed out.

Madelyn noticed the struggle I was experiencing and knew how to love me in that moment.  She didn’t say a word; she just placed this gorgeous little gift of love on the counter right behind me.  She knew I would turn and see it.  She knew when to step in and love.  Of course the minute I saw it, my shoulders went down.  I smiled an effortless smile.  I felt loved.  Even in a fussy moment when I was not shining so bright, she chose to love and affirm.

Thanks, Maddie.  You inspire me to love unconditionally.


Room Time Mishap

Scott called from upstairs, “Anna, come now!  You have to see this!”  Then at the top of the steps he tells me we can either get really mad or laugh hysterically.  I cover my mouth and walk heavy footed to our foster children’s room.

I peered into the room to find M & S covered in Vaseline.  The jelly was mostly in their hair.  Of course, the container they got into was the biggest one that the company makes.

Years ago when we started having little ones, we established what we call “room time.”  I baby-proof the room and allow for little ones as young as one year old to have playtime in their room without anyone supervising.  This time allows me to take a shower, make a meal, check email or just breathe.  Room time for kids can prove that they don’t have to be entertained by others, but can actually enjoy playing in their own space independently.

On this particular day last week, evidently our little two wanted to entertain themselves in a new, creative way.  The Vaseline was so thick and there was just so much!  A part of me wanted to laugh.  I did grin a little, but mostly I was frustrated.

I struggle a little anyways caring for our two foster children’s hair.  I have done online research, spoken with numerous friends and hair stylists, bought a lot of products, and watched tutorials on YouTube on how to care for M & S’s hair.  I care greatly about helping them to be their best.  I am still learning how to cater to their hair, which is so different than my own.  Just last night I was watching a You Tube clip from a gal provides tutorials.  (You can check out her website here.)  I watched and learned how to do tiny twists.

So, adding a whole lot of Vaseline to hair that I have not learned how to care for totally was quite difficult.

(Side note: I have to say that I love, love, love these foster children.  I also love their hair.  I am just admitting to my inability to fully nail down the treatment and upkeep of hair so different than my own.  I will continue to learn and give myself grace concerning this (daily).)

Back to the room time incident . . .  I thought I had removed all things that would be a temptation to get into.  Our two year old is pretty low key, but our little girl that is one is quite curious and busy (that is putting it really nicely).  I usually put the diaper trashcan way up high on a set of drawers, and I remove wipes and diapers from the room.  I take out lotions and definitely cover electrical sockets with those baby proof covers.  Silly me, I totally missed the huge Vaseline container in the far back corner of the top drawer of the changing table.

Just so you know, the Vaseline has worked itself out.  I did Google our little problem and found many helpful hints.  Room time is still a daily must have even after such a messy lesson learned.

Hair is a common topic in our home.  Scott and I have just gotten our hands on Good Hair, a documentary by Chris Rock.  I imagine it will be a source of comic relief, as well as an awareness into the topic of hair and how extremely important it can be.

Thanksgiving 2011

We spent our Thanksgiving holiday with family.  Whether it was in our own home or our parents’, we were surrounded by those we love just having a grand time eating and being together.

Jerry, Jan and Scott

Scott with Kalen (showing his fierce football face)

Here’s sweet Shanda, my sister-in-law, cuddling with Jasper.  This was Jasper’s first road trip.  🙂

My dad and Sally at our house with desserts.

(from left to right) My brother, Ryan, and Stephanie, Scott, myself and Scott, my stepbrother.

Anna Kristin with Madelyn at my mom’s house.

My dear grandma, Virginia, with my uncle, Bob.

Here are our kids with Annette and my mom.  What a fun day we had at their house.

The Restaurant

Brayden’s kindergarten class worked super hard to create their own restaurant.  This restaurant would be called The Central Park Guinea Pig Under the Sea Restaurant.  As you can see, the name was chosen carefully by the class.

Brady and his class worked hard for weeks preparing for the day when their families would be invited in for a special meal at the restaurant.  They decorated the room with tables, lights, place cards, napkins with handmade napkin rings, flowers, and tablecloths.  They decided/voted on things that would go on the menu and came up with a plan.  Aileen, Brayden’s teacher, and the entire class executed this whole thing beautifully.

(Sidenote:  This is a great example of something that might go on at a project based school like Central Park)

Scott and I, along with the rest of Brayden’s siblings came to this special event and were waited on by none other than Brayden K. Morrison.  He was an excited and hard working server.  You can check out the menu down below that we were all able to order from.  Super cute!!

An Inspiration, to Say the Least

I am reading a book that was just published this fall by a gal named Katie Davis.  She is from Nashville, TN and now lives in Uganda.  I have been following her story for quite some time.  A friend of mine sent me a link to Katie’s blog over a year ago.  I remember pouring over her blog for what seemed like hours the first time I looked at it.  I could not believe it was real.

Katie is approaching her 23rd birthday this month and all the beauties that surround her in this photo call her Mommy.  Yep, her full time job is a mother to all of these girls!

My sweet husband surprised me with Katie’s new book.  

I can not be reading this book and not share, on my blog, about this amazing woman and what the Lord is doing through her, Amazima (the organization Katie started in 2008 with her parents and friends of Tennessee), and the people of Uganda.

Please watch this short clip.  I know you’ll be inspired as well.  I will post some excerpts from the book soon.

To read more or to give to Katie’s organization check out Amazima’s website.

Still There

We met again.  There had been more time that had passed this time.  Instead of 6 months, it had been about a year.  We have been busy living our lives, a pregnancy even came and went and we were able to pick back up right where we left off.  My long time friends, Torie, Laurie and Gari Leigh, and I met in Winston-Salem for a day of giggles, heart-filled talks, good food and drinks and, of course, shopping.

It is a rare gift, I know, to have these friends that I have been able to hold on to for well over twenty years.  I love you, girls.  May our friendship continue to last the test of time.  May we one day sit together with big floppy hats, when we are old and gray, on a beach somewhere laughing at ourselves and life.

Gari Leigh, Torie, and Laurie