31 July 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23


Faith became a little camera shy at the last moment so Grace said her new scripture solo. They're like little sponges at this age. Such a sweet, sweet sound. May it be pleasing to the Lord!

FAITH

Someone learned how to write her name last week.
Can you tell she's beaming with pride?

28 July 2009

Gettin' Crafty

The three amigas.

Viv works on her craft.

Grace flashes a smile.

Faith counts the strips.

Taking a dance break.

The finished product.

Flip flops or house slippers.

Our models.

Faith got to try on Vivien's pretty dress-up clothes.

We had peanut butter sandwiches in the shape of a cross.

Hailey invited us girls over for lunch and a fun craft project this morning.
It was an easy craft that even I could do! Despite the fact that we didn't have pinking shears, the flip-flops turned out very cute! I think this would be a perfect gift for Faith and Grace to make for some of their friends in the future. Thanks for a fantastic morning Hai and Viv! We are so blessed to have such wonderful girlfriends!

27 July 2009

Luxury

Morgan and I had the luxury of having an all-day date on Sunday. After serving in the children's ministry in the morning by watching 13, 3 year-olds, we dropped off the kids at grandma and grandpa's and headed for the Spa at Desert Springs. We enjoyed a very relaxing day of reading poolside, quiet conversation, and the use of all the spa facilities. Thanks to my friend, Tiffaney for hooking us up with spa passes! From there, we went to Sullivan's at El Paseo for an early dinner and some jazz. It doesn't get any better than that. Sullivan's has a great happy hour on Sundays and Thursdays and the best $5 burger (made with filet) in town. The day always flies by when I'm hanging out with my favorite person. Loved every minute of it!

26 July 2009

Teagan's birthday!

On our way to the party.

The birthday boy.

Vivien, Levi and Derek.

Morgan helps Grace shower.

She loved it.

"Look at me, mom!"

Pool time fun.

Little brother, Trey.

Faith fills up her bucket.

The three amigas.

The kids decorate their buckets.

Faith and Viv at work.

Faith took a picture of me and Grace.

Teagan opens his presents.

Blowing out his candles.

On Saturday, we celebrated Teagan's 3rd birthday with a swim and ice cream party at his house. We had some cloud cover in the morning which made for a 'not so scorching' party. Shannon arranged a fun little craft for the kids and they topped it off with a make your own sundae- a.k.a., kid heaven. We were home by noon and that means that the sugar high wore off before nap time, always a good thing! Happy Birthday, sweet boy! We love you!

24 July 2009

Conversations about adoption

My girlie-girls- this is how they dress themselves everyday.

The girls are starting to understand that they are adopted. Well, as much as they can at this early age. Often, I would discuss the subject with them when we talked about babies or friends who were expecting. About a year ago, it started out as a one-way conversation but now, it has grown to be quite a little dialogue. I wasn't even sure if they were 'getting it' but of course, it's always a little surprising once you hear them talk about it out loud.

Over the last week, they have brought it up on various occasions. Once was when we saw my brother and his wife last week. They are expecting their first child any day now. Woo-hoo! Anyway, Faith touched Emily's stomach and asked if the baby had kicked her belly. Emily told her that yes, sometimes, the baby does kick. To my surprise, Faith responded by saying that when she was a baby, she used to kick another woman's stomach, too. Then she went on to explain that she didn't come out of her mommy's stomach, she came out of another woman's stomach. She followed by saying, "I'm adopted." To which we all replied. "That's right! And that's why you and your sister are so special!"
For now, I have refrained from using the term 'birth mom' or another 'mommy'. Simply because I feel that in their little world, one mommy is all that their hearts could and should process right now. In the future, I'm sure that we will refer to their biological mom as their birth mom.

I have taken every opportunity to share how God created our family with them. I tell them the story of how daddy and I prayed and prayed for one baby and instead, God surprised us with TWO! They usually laugh with glee as I tell them the story of how surprised and happy we were when we heard the news and how far we flew in a plane to meet them. Lately, they have been asking me about the early months of their life. They wanted to know if there was a doctor, a hospital, what they ate, and if they had a basket. The basket threw me off a little but I said, "Yes, there was probably a basket." Then they asked if they floated down a river in the basket!

Huh?? "You know mommy, just like baby Moses."

What smart little cookies I have.

We are so blessed and fortunate to have a small circle of fellow adopted friends and family members. As you can tell from the story above, the girls are beginning to get it, in their own, 3 year-old way. I'm so thankful that I can use biblical figures like Moses and Esther to help my daughters understand that no matter what our bloodlines are, it is the blood of Jesus Christ that matters most. Every life matters to God and He created each one of us to take our own journey towards Him. Morgan and I will do our best to keep the lines of communication open and willing to discuss their adoption at any time. My hope and prayer is that this will lead to security, clarity, and a knowledge of a greater plan and purpose in the lives of our children.

21 July 2009

Happy Mid-Summer!

Last Thursday and Friday, Morgan had some business in San Diego, so the girls and I decided to go with him. His days were filled with meetings, a dinner benefit and a golf tournament so we knew that we wouldn't be seeing very much of him. Regardless, he was going to be staying in a hotel anyway, so as long as it had a nice pool, the girls and I could tag along and we would be just fine. It was a wonderful 'mommy and me' time. I enjoyed every minute. In fact, I refrained from taking any pictures while we were there. I'm usually the family photographer and I love to capture special moments but I wanted to concentrate on being 'in the moment' with my girls instead of being behind the camera lense. Our time away was so nice because there were no distractions- no cleaning, laundry, cooking, computer, TV, or phone calls.
It was sort of a mini-vacation, you could say! It actually reinforced my desire to focus on giving my family my best this summer. It sounds sort of strange but let's face it, there are so many distractions that take up our time on a daily basis. I found that for me, most of these activities, if not re-evaluated and checked often, can rob me of my precious time, energy, priorities, and even good intentions.

Some of these distractions are not necessarily bad. For example, I made the decision this summer to pass on attending bible study. It was not just any bible study, it was my beloved Beth Moore and the study was on Esther. For weeks, I went back and forth and finally, through prayer and an honest look at myself, my kids, and my deepest desires, I felt the Lord nudging me to do something else this summer. Something that involved me and my kids. I knew that my children deserved the best parts of me. Not the short, tired, and what was left-over me. Sure, they were always clean, well-fed, looking cute, and got lots of rest but were they really getting my best everyday? Were we connecting daily on a much deeper level? The reality is that my girls are now 3 years-old and they are bright, communicative and impressionable little beings that love to have fun, learn, laugh and enjoy life. What greater privilege and joy could there be than to participate in the shaping of these young hearts?

On the drive to San Diego, Morgan mentioned that he noticed I was much more "mellow" in the last few weeks with the girls. He said that he can often hear my tone of voice from his office and that tells him what kind of day I'm having. It has certainly been a conscious effort on my part. With God's power and grace, I am choosing to die to myself daily in order for the Holy Spirit to reign in me. It's easy to forget that I am indeed filled with the fruit of the Spirit, if only I just tapped into it. I think another reason why I seem to be a bit more mellow lately is because I'm finally settling into motherhood. I had a steep learning curve for the first couple of years, multiplied by 2!

I can honestly say that I am loving life right now. The time that I have spent with my children so far this summer has been some of the best. There is a beautiful life captured in the little moments that we share. The hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the cuddles, and the countless, "I love you, moms."
We are spending more time reading bible stories, devotions, cooking, writing, painting, playing games, singing, and dancing. I am engaging them more and more and even though they may not say it now, I know that they are appreciative of my time and commitment towards them.

Everything can be a learning experience and as time goes on, I am slowly growing into the kind of mother that God wants me to be. Along the way,
I may have some set backs but as long as I keep asking the Lord for His guidance and help, I know that He will set me on a straight path. As each day passes, I realize the enormous impact I have in the lives and hearts of these two precious children that the Lord has entrusted us with. And like I told Faith and Grace last night, just like Esther, God has a special plan for each of their lives and someday they too, will be asked to do something with great courage for God.

Lastly, I am so grateful for my hard-working husband who allows and encourages me to grow into my role as a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. He has been working and traveling quite a bit with his new company over these last couple of months and although we miss him, it has actually allowed the girls and I to bond even more. When daddy is in the room, he is still their favorite but who can blame them? I am totally content with being second to him. After all, he's my favorite, too.

12 July 2009

Oak Glen

Grace feeds a baby goat.

They were happily feeding the animals right out of their hand.


My little cub.

Grace is becoming quite the little photographer.

Doing their wild bear impression.

Feeding ducks.

Faith talking to the animals.

Grace rides a pony.

Round and round...

Faith looks like such a big girl.

Giddy-up!

Choo-choo!

All aboard the Village Express!

Family photo.

"Mad Dog" Morgan.

"Fast Fingers" Faith.

G.G. (a.k.a. "Giggles")

In an effort to save some money, we looked for a fun and inexpensive option for a day trip with the kids. We ended up driving up to Oak Glen on Saturday morning. The girls had fun at the petting zoo and especially liked feeding all the animals. They also went on a train ride and had their first-ever pony ride.
It was a welcomed break from the heat as it was about 20 degrees cooler up there! We were surprised that it wasn't more crowded. We didn't wait in any lines and it seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves. It was a fun little day trip!

10 July 2009

An interview...

Enjoying a lazy summer day...

It's been a while since I've shared much about Faith and Grace's personalities. Here's a glimpse into what they are like, so far, into their 3's. As I mentioned before, I am really loving this age. They can fully communicate but still have a little "baby" left in them- although sometimes, I think I'm talking to two,
10 year-olds!

*Faith*
social-talkative-sharp-intuitive-detailed-industrious-imaginative-inquisitive-happy-adventurous-independent-leader-loves to laugh-read-draw-color-dance-and make up songs.

*Grace*
girlie-girl-dainty-sensitive-lover-affectionate-bright-sweet-free spirit-delightfully oblivious-scares easily-kind hearted-gentle soul-loves the Lord-loves to sing-read-paint-dance-and play dress-up.

We are so thankful that they have each other. They love one another and call each other affectionate terms such as "my Faith", "my Gracie", "my sissy", "my best friend" and lately, "my twin sister." What an incredible blessing our children are from the Lord!

Over the last couple of days, I also interviewed them with some questions. Here are their answers...
Favorite food?
Faith- pizza
Grace- chickens (everything that ends with the letter "n", she adds an "s" to).

Favorite fruit?
Faith- banana
Grace- strawberries

Favorite vegetable?
Faith- corn on the cob
Grace- broccoli and green beans

Favorite Princess?
Faith- Cinderella
Grace- Sleeping Beauty

Favorite color?
Faith- blue
Grace- pink

Favorite song?
Faith- Jesus the soccer star
Grace- God made me

Favorite thing to do with mom?
Faith- hug her
Grace- love her

Favorite thing to do with dad?
Faith- swim and dive for rings
Grace- swim and dive for rings

Favorite thing to do as a family?
Faith- hold hands, go to the beach, and go on vacation
Grace- love them

Favorite animal?
Faith- giraffe
Grace- penguins

Favorite bible story?
Faith- Jonah and the whale
Grace- do not judge

09 July 2009

summer dance

Watching the big girl class before them.

3 little monkeys.

We've been spending much of our time in the pool these days but the girls also started their summer dance class yesterday. They absolutely loved it!
It's a 45 minute class and they all did so well! All day long, it was all they could talk about. They were so excited to get up from their nap and put on their ballerina clothes. The parents can sit in a room and watch the kids but the kids can't see us. It's actually perfect. They were so stinking adorable I could hardly stand it! I'm lovin' this age!

06 July 2009

the fourth!

"Happy 4th of July!"

Pool time fun.

I made a yummy patriotic trifle. D-lish!

Ready to go see fireworks.

Cutie pie!

Photo courtesy of Grace.

Mom and Faith waiting for the show to begin.

Grace wants to dip her feet in the pool.

Faith gets the best seat.

Awww....

Ooh... aah!

We kept it pretty mellow this weekend. Morgan's parents came over for a swim and barbecue on the 4th. The girls also started to swim to the bottom of the pool and get their own dive rings this weekend. In the past, we had to give them a little push. They also learned how to play Marco Polo. In order to see fireworks at night, we kept the girls up a little past their regular nap time so that they could sleep in and stay up later. They did pretty well considering all the swimming they did earlier in the day. Hope you and yours had a happy 4th!

Many thanks to the brave servicemen and women who defend our country's freedom. May God Bless them and their families and may God Bless America!

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