Activity of the Week - Postcards!

I discovered the website Postcrossing recently in a Family Fun magazine. This is a website where people sign up to send and receive post cards from around the world - how cool is that!!

So we put up our new world map and got ready to send our first two post cards - one to Taiwan and one to Poland. We then received two post cards from Michigan and Germany. We sent another to the Netherlands and are waiting to see where our next post card will come from!

This site has been great fun! Postcards are pretty cheap (we bought some at Jewel for 33 cents) and it has cost 98 cents to mail each card internationally. And who doesn't like getting fun mail!

"I had a dream ..."

Several months ago, as I was looking in on the boys sleeping before heading to bed myself, I noticed John having a dream about Mario Kart. How do I know this you might ask? Because his hands slowly moved up and grabbed on to a steering wheel and he began to move them as if he were driving - it was quite hilarious! I of course shared the story with everyone the next day and we all got a good laugh.

Every once in a while, Ryan will say he dreamed he was playing Mario Kart too.

So when I overheard him say to Mike this weekend, "I had a dream," I expected it to be about Mario Kart. But instead, Ryan continues, "There were seven skinny cows and they ate the seven fat cows." It seriously was all I could do to contain myself!!

Waiting for the Cloud to Move

The Lord has brought many verses to me over the past few weeks after we learned we could not proceed in the adoption process.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
trust: to place confidence, depend, hope, entrust, to rely on, a practical willingness to let God hold me

Do not let you hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust. Psalm 40:4a

Is anything too hard for the Lord? Genesis 18:14

Those who hope (trust in God's power, patience in His timing) in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

I am thankful for the Lord and His word. I am thankful for friends and family who are and who have been praying for us. I am thankful from so many from my Yahoo Group who have walked the path of adoption who have offered their encouragement and support. I am thankful for the two amazing boys the Lord had blessed us with.

I have been asking God for wisdom and revelation in all this. Should I hold on to the dream of another adoption or let it go? Are you calling us to adopt again Lord and should I begin fundraising? Or is our family complete? I have not felt an answer either way, simply the need to wait. i have struggled. Why did You call us Lord to step out when You knew our path would be blocked right away? So next I prayed for the Lord to give Mike revelation as to what to do! No answer that way either. I have beseeched the Lord - tell me what to do and I'll do it!!

Yesterday as I read in Numbers 9 of the Israelites moving through the desert, following the Lord who was in the form of a cloud, I finally got it - God's revelation is for me to wait - to wait for His cloud to move:
Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. Numbers 9:17-23

Adoption on Hold

We received some very disappointing news from our social worker today. At this time we are not able to proceed with the adoption. The state of Illinois will not approve us because we do not make enough income.

I will be beginning a part time job in a few weeks and her advice is to wait a year so that we are able to prove a greater income.

Please pray for us. This is a setback I never saw coming and we are all disappointed. Please pray for help believing that in ALL THINGS God works good for those who love Him.

Referral-iversary . . . 2 Years Ago Today

Two years ago today the best phone call ever, "This is your referral call!

Showing my nieces the "new cousins"
Celebrating with our small group who we were privileged enough to walk through the process with:

To read the original post from two years ago, click here:

So tonight at dinner, we retold the story of the phone call and Mommy coming home to wake Daddy up to tell him it was referral day and how we saw their pictures for the first time and we didn't know who they were until that day and how we went and showed the pictures to Gramma and Bompa, Aunt Sarah and Uncle Ken, Uncle Don, and how we asked Sami and Maddy if they wanted to see pictures of the "new cousins" and how Sami just jumped up and down saying yes (her excitement seriously paralled mine!) and how we came back home and our small group was here with balloons and flowers and we drank a toast of Champaign in their honor and praised God for His blessings to us and how we were so happy!

Wordless Wednesday

Activity of the Week - Pumpkins

This fun project took us a couple days to complete.

We began with four small pumpkins and used them to by complete a chart of their weight, height, and circumference. Before finding each actual measurement, I had the boys make a prediction. We predicted each pumpkin one at a time so they were able to make a prediction in comparison to what they already knew (I helped a little with this concept). For example, pumpkin 2 was smaller than pumpkin 1 so it was going to weigh less and not be as tell.

Holding the pumpkins before guessing a weight:
Setting the pumpkin on the kitchen scale (good discussion on pounds and ounces!)

Measuring the pumpkin (another good discussion on feet and inches)

Using a tape measure to check the circumference (we discussed what that word meant) and they are always so ready to smile for the camera!

Our completed graph:

Then we were on to the next pumpkin activity! I gave the boys a few drops of red and yellow finger paint on a paper plate (hadn't intended for this to be a color mixing activity but I had no orange finger paint - so bonus skill!) and they mixed them together to cover the whole plate.

Once the plates dried we traced and cut out different shapes to glue on for the eyes, nose, and mouth:

The one on the left would of course be my artist husband's, followed by mine, John's (whose idea it was to add the stem on the front), and Ryan's who wanted to make his pumpkin have ears like a bunny, hence the two stems!

Lots of math and creative skills with this fun activity!

God's Plan A for Mike and Amy continues . . .

So what do we do now?

This is a question I have asked myself since coming home from Ethiopia in February 2010. Having been through the international adoption process, having traveled half way around the world, having seen a humble people poor in material possessions but so rich in love, knowing there are more orphans . . . what do I do now?

We have not felt called to begin an orphan ministry or another kind of support system in cooperation with groups in Ethiopia as some have (more info about some GREAT organizations in future posts). But what do I do?

I love the boys, help them adjust to life in our home, delight that they are happy and healthy. But what do I do?

It is a question that has haunted me. Until Now - until 2 weeks ago when we attended an adoption conference in Indianapolis, Indiana hosted by MLJ Adoptions. We knew we would come home having heard some great information and with great resources. We did not anticipate hearing from God in the way we did. We did not anticipate being shown why the door to beginning an adoption from China had been temporarily closed to us seven weeks ago. We did not anticipate God speaking to our hearts and saying, "Give me everything and follow hard after me!" (okay, that is what I'm supposed to do!) We did not anticipate getting crazy with God - but that is what we are doing!

We are beyond thrilled to announce that we have been accepted into one of MLJ Adoptions program!! God is leading us to adopt again!! We are requesting siblings, either gender aged 0-4 years old. However, a sibling referral is rare, so our single child request would be for a child, either gender aged 0-2 years old. I am still in awe of all God has planned for us as I type the above sentence!!

I never would have anticipated . . . but God knew and I am blessed because of it.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Spiritual Conversations from a 5 and 6 Year Old

Here's part of a conversation from the back seat of the car. It stemmed from having driven by my Gramma's house. My Gramma went to be with Jesus this March.

Ryan: Great Gramma is dead.
John: She's alive. (This exchange went back and forth a few times before John added) She's in heaven. (slight pause) Why can't we all just die right now and go to heaven?
(Now John will frequently ask rather deep spiritual questions and is truly interested in the answer, so I jumped in at this point.
Mommy: Because each of us has our purpose to fill here on earth.
Ryan: That's right. You buy it you break it!
John: No Ryan, You break it you buy it. (Again, this exchange went back and forth a few times before John states) I'm not having this argument anymore.
Ryan: Me neither. I'm not having this argument.

Activity of the Week

We have spent some time working with colors this past week. Ryan is still practicing at mastering them and John has been asking which colors mixed together make which other colors.

So we traced six small circles on paper. Then in each of the circles I added drops of paint: 1 - red, 2 - red and yellow, 3 - yellow, 4 - yellow and blue, 5 - blue, 6 - blue and red. Then I gave them six q-tips which they used to fill in each circle with paint. We commented on what was happened to the different colors as they mixed together and formed a new color.

The finished product:

The this idea came from a list of classroom sensory bottle ideas (if anyone is interested in a copy of the list, let me know or leave your email and I'll send you a copy!). In each bottle add water, a couple drops of dish soap, and food coloring - then shake for suds. The boys LOVE them!! And insisted i make a white bottle too:

New Dress Up Costumes!

You gotta love the Salvation Army store!! We added to our dress up costumes today (I was there to actually find clothes to use for the boys to be Superman and Batman for Halloween - pictures to follow in a few weeks). And thanks to my mom being a senior citizen, we got an extra 25% off!

Here's Mr. Bones:
and the Fierce Knight:

Wordless Wednesday

Activity of the Week

Well, I'm back!!!

I realize I have not been too up to date this summer with blogging (never posted anything about our 3 day trip to Green Bay for Packer Training Camp and worse I don't think there's a post about either of the boys birthdays - but hey, I did get first day of school on here!) But I long to make a little bit of time to weekly post on our activities, life, adoption thoughts, and basically anything that might give you a chuckle or an idea to try in your home.

Since I glean a lot of great ideas from other blogs, I want to give some ideas back! So I am introducing "Activity of the Week."

I have some number mats from when I taught preschool. They contain from 4 to 6 numbers and range from easy (1-4) to more challenging (includes numbers up to 12). Then I give the boys counters, which can be anything from plastic beads to fun food items (we used goldfish, mini marshmallows, fruit loops, and chocolate chips). They must count and place the correct number of counters in each square before enjoying their yummy snack. The boys LOVED this activity and asked to do it a second time when they finished. This activity works on counting, one to one correspondence, and number identification (sorry, the teacher in me needs to add all the skills they were working on as they had fun and didn't even realize it!)

Hope you have as much fun as we did!

8/29/11 - Ryan's First Day Back at Preschool

Ryan was excited and ready to start back to preschool this Monday. He is in our district's preschool program and has the same teacher as last year.

New outfit for the first day back:
And not to be outdone by his brother, also a "posing" picture:

Coming out the front door:

Waiting for two school buses:

Here comes Ryan's bus!

We have the same bus drivers again this year - yeah!

And though it's hard to see, there's a little face looking out through the window at me saying good bye!

I thank You Lord that Ryan has the opportunity to be in this preschool program again this year and I praise You for the wonderful staff who will work with him. I ask that you would grow his confidence, his ability to understand, call up, and use this crazy English language, and his smile (if that's possible!). I thank You that Your plans for him are also for good, to prosper him and not to harm him. I thank You that You will never leave or forsake him. Watch over him and keep him and his happy soul in the palm of Your hand.

8/25/11 - First Day of Kindergarten

John started kindergarten this week!! And to say he was excited about it would be an understatement!

First day of school new outfit:
(do you kind of get the sense he loves posing for the camera?)


Coming out the front door to wait for the bus:

Waiting for the bus:

Here comes the bus: (yes, I do document everything!)

Getting on the bus:

and driving away:

Please watch over my child Lord as he goes into a new world of wonder and excitement and hurt and discovery and disappointment and imagination. Thank You Lord that Your plans for him are good, to prosper him and not to harm him. Thank you Lord that you will never leave him nor forsake him. Please watch over him and his heart and keep him in the palm of your hand. May he grow and learn and continue to be filled with joy and wonder at this world and all Your blessings!

8/20/11 - 18 Months!

I can't believe it's been 18 months since we stepped off a plane at O'Hare airport and walked down a flight of stairs to see - literally - a mob of our friends and family running toward us!!

But then again it seems like the boys have always been here and I have a hard time remembering what life was like before them. Their arrival and being an overnight Mom to two boys who move has definitely been the biggest challenge but certainly the greatest joy.

The first days home - February 2010:

18 months later - August 2011

Incidentally, now that the boys have been home 18 months - the time frame our international agency America World requires parents adopting children over the age of three to wait - we can think about starting the process over again!! Hmmmm . . . . .

07/13/11 - Puzzles Completed!

Thanks Ms. Doreen for putting us over the top with your donation!! That's 200 dollars the boys raised for the American Cancer Society - WOW!

On the back of each piece is the initials of the person who "sponsored" it - that way whenever we do the puzzle, we'll remember all your generosity!