Monday, December 20, 2010

Sibling Gifts

One of the gifts of having siblings is actually receiving gifts from siblings.  Actually, this was part of our quest in teaching the kids that it is better to give than to receive.  I can't take credit for it, as I totally stole the idea from my friend Gretchen.  We had lots of fun though.

Jon took the boys one at a time, and I took Rachel shopping.  We hit one of our kiddos favorite spots - THE DOLLAR TREE!  The kids had so much fun roaming the toy aisles to pick out the perfect presents for their siblings. 

After shopping success, Mommy and Daddy decided the gift of yummy Mexican food was in order.  Who doesn't love La Fiesta Grande???  However, while enjoying our food, one thing became crystal clear - our kids can't keep secrets.  Hmmm... must have inherited that gene from Auntie Val! 

To keep the beans from spilling anymore than they already had, once home, we sequestered the children in our bedroom to watch the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Individually, each child emerged to join Mommy in wrapping their carefully chosen treasures.  Foregoing the conclusion of the classic cartoon, the kiddos gathered around clutching their prized purchases as giddy as giddy could be!  Once they exchanged gifts, paper flew, and you would have thought they had the most amazing gizmos and gadgets ever invented! 

"Wow - just what I always wanted!"
"You got this for ME?!?! I LOVE IT!"
"Yay, yay, yay!"

It was absolutely precious how excited they were!  It doesn't take a lot.  $6.36 out of Mom and Dad's pocket and a little thoughtfulness on the kiddos part equalled lots of JOY in the end.... and maybe a Christmas lesson learned.  It is just as wonderful and fun to GIVE as it is to receive.

 Exchange and Open
 Two Happy Boys
 Super excited to open her princess wand and tiara!
Showing off the new loot

Court Is Now In Session!

All rise - Court is now in session.  It's OFFICIAL!!! My cuties names are now legally Jeremiah Cole Ezekeal Wells and Rachel Elena Yemesrach Wells. After our court appearance this afternoon, the readoption is complete. The children no longer hold resident alien status but are now U.S. Citizens.

My one and only court appearance (well, minus future adoptions ) was not exactly what I expected. Needless to say, Franklin County Family Court is not quite like the courtrooms you see on TV. The courtroom was empty aside from our family, our attorney, the GAL, bailiff, court reporter, and judge. Things weren't smooth and polished and moved somewhat awkwardly along. Jon was the one actually sworn in and fielding most questions while I tended to the kids. A couple of times, in response to something the GAL would say, I'd want to reply. However, having not been sworn in, I wasn't sure whether to speak. When the judge would look my way and acknowledge, then I'd chime in. After the fact, I was sworn in and actually answered a few questions and verified Jon's testimony.

Of course, when the judge got to pronouncing their names - Jon and I had to chime in again. Once the case was closed, we posed for photo ops.

It is so nice to have this piece of the adoption puzzle complete. A huge thank you to our attorney and friend, Harold! He spent a lot of time and worked very hard on our behalf... all voluntarily and out of the kindness of his heart. Again, another one of God's blessings to us throughout our adoption process!!!!

Hark How the Bells, Sweet Colored Bells

December 19th  - Christmas Sunday!  Ahhh yes... I woke up a tad bit early so that we could all get gussied up minus the usual, typical hectic Sunday morning stress.  Believe it or not - it worked.  We all made it out the door donning our holiday duds and had smiles on our faces. Posing in front of the Christmas tree is a family must, and one of the rare occasions all 5 of us make it in the same picture.  However, I think the pics of the 3 kiddos are much cuter!!!

Following Sunday School, the children came upstairs and sat on the front pews.  After the prelude and a brief introduction they took the stage to open our worship service.  They played "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Away in the Manger."  Caleb played yellow, Jeremiah had the responsibility of dark blue, and Rachel chimed right in with purple.  The kiddos were so cute playing the bells.  They took the task really seriously and were glued on the color-coded cards being flipped.  It was quite intense for 4 and 5 year-olds, but they were so stinkin' proud of themselves as were we!  Papaw and Mamaw even came up to catch this musical phenomenon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creation Camouflage DNG Review

Admittedly, I'm afraid I won't be able to do this review justice.  My sincere apologies to Amanda B.  With a dance recital, holiday festivities, snow, and ice, even our best intentions and well thought out plans have fallen by the wayside.  Not as much schooling has taken place this past week, as I had planned.  I suppose since the rest of the state had snow days so did the Wells :( 

Through the Download N Go series, week long unit studies are available on topics ranging from continents, countries, and key historical figures to edible treats and exotic animals. There is truly something for every student's interests. The units are cross-curricular as they include history, geography, science, math, literature, art, etc. and each unit has been created with K-4th grade students in mind. The Download N Go's are each busting at the seams and filled to the brim with engaging, entertaining, and educational material. Our family loves the embedded video clips and websites, and you can't beat the incredible graphics included in each study.

Even though my kiddos have just scratched the surface of the Creation Camouflage DNG, I can confidently say, this may just be our most favorite study to date.  My animal junkies are LOVING it!  I'm excited to complete the study with them and eager to head to the library to gather more resources.  Amanda Bennett provides an extensive list of recommended books/websites/etc.  While the DNG truly is a stand alone comprehensive study, the recommendations are bonus and supplement so well!!!!

An overview of the week is as follows:
Day 1: Hiding in Plain Sight
Day 2: Getting to Know the Rain Forest
Day 3: What Is in the Desert?
Day 4: Hiding in the Ocean
Day 5: Cool Things About the Tundra

As you can see from the sample pages below, there are so many activities included in the Creation Camouflage DNG.  There are notebooking pages as well as lapbooking elements.  All of the prep work is provided.  Simply print the pages, grab some crayons and glue, and the kids are all set!
On Day 1, when talking about how and why animals hide, we had our own hide-and-seek game in the house.  Yes, we broke the "no running in the house" rule, but who am I kidding?  Rarely, do the kids ever follow this rule :(  While Jeremiah was hiding under his bed, he found a new critter that wasn't so well camouflaged... the dust bunny!  Fear not, his sweet OCD tendencies couldn't stand for that, so these feisty beasts met their demise when he came at them armed with baby wipes in hand.  There is one spotless floor under my boys' beds.

Our discussion of winter on Day 1 was definitely aided by the blanket of white God gave us this week.  We were really able to talk about what activities could and couldn't transpire as we were truly living it.  We pulled several "snow" books off of our bookshelves to read...  of course, A Snowy Day.

I do believe that the winter weather is here to stay! While you may be hiding out in the comfort of your warm home and snuggly pj's, don't hide from this amazing opportunity to learn about some of God's camouflage creatures.  Check out the DNG store, and purchase the Creation Camouflage DNG for your family's educational pleasure!  I also encourage you to read others reviews of this product.  Just as I do, I know you will glean much from the ingenuity and creativity of these homeschooling parents.

GCC Christmas Party

Following the dance recital and our Cracker Barrel outing, we headed to Graefenburg Christian Church for the annual Christmas party. This is always such a great time of food, fellowship, and fun. After enjoying some hearty soup, sandwiches, and sweet and savory treats, it was time to open gifts. This is the time that Secret Sisters are revealed, children give presents to Sunday School and evening teachers and kids in their classes, and the PREACHER'S KIDS GET SPOILED. Hmmm... guess who the PK'S are??? Yep, my three cuties! As usual, our church family goes above and beyond!!! They are ensuring our little ones are rotten. This was a first for Jeremiah and Rachel, and by the grins on their faces, I do believe they were fans.

GCC FAMILY - thank you so much for your generosity and the many kindnesses you show our family the entire year through. We love you all so very much!

Stellar Performance

Same song...  Second verse... Much, MUCH WORSE!!!!!

Where, oh where, have the dance shoes gone?
Oh where, oh where, can they be?
Lost in a Princess Tiana backpack
I'm suffering from insanity!!!!

Our morning started off well enough.  Jon headed to church to assist with God's Pantry, and I finished some last minute wrapping for the church Christmas party later that evening.  I fed the kiddos a really early lunch....  bananas and hotdogs at 10:30 a.m. YUM! (Really ICK!) I set out fixing Rachel's hair and dressing her in pretty suntan tights.  I gathered the costumes, and all was running smoothly until I discovered that Rachel's dance shoes were NOWHERE to be found.  So... ransack the house TAKE 2 commenced.  I had all the kids in on searching for the purple Princess Tiana backpack.

When our searches came up empty, I called Jon in a frantic, crazy-woman panic!  He assured me that it would be ok, and I half-screamed/half-cried, "It's not ok!  I feel like I'm losing my mind!"  Somehow, he convinced me to head on to Shelbyville.  While driving, one of my psychotic phone messages was returned, and I learned that we had indeed left the royal backpack and the treasured shoes in the dressing room.  Sheewwww...  this Momma was so stressed out, but thankfully, some immediate relief helped.

I got Miss Rachel all dolled up, watched her get hosed in sparkling body glitter, and have her rear end sprayed with hair spray to remedy the static cling.  Hmmm... the one thing this proved, I am not now nor ever will I be cut out to be a pageant Momma.  Before I could dwell on those thoughts long, Kacey positioned the girls in lines.  I gave Rachel a hug and high fives and headed out the door.  Rachel called out, "I love you Mommy!" Nervously, I headed to sit with Jon.

When Rachel took the stage, she looked a little unsure.  I then saw her start scanning the audience.  An immediate smile lit up her face when she spotted Daddy then positioned on the front row to capture the dance on film.  As the music started, she locked eyes on Kacey and did exactly what she was supposed to do.  It was such a joy to watch her.

During intermission, I went to change her, and all she could say was, "Cool Mommy!  So cool!"  Once she was in her white and gold tap costume and returned to her spot in line, it was time to make my exit.  There were 3 criers in the room as I left, but I poked my head in for one last check and Rachel was grinning ear to ear.  I was sure she'd turn on the charm in her tap routine.

The funniest thing happened before the tap music started.  A ring-leader on the back row was enamored with the sound of her tap shoes on the floor.  She began to jump and at 3 and 4 years old "monkey see, monkey do!"  Several girls began jumping as well.  Not to be left out, Rachel joined keeping a perfect steady beat with her jumps.  Somehow, Kacey got their attention, the music began, and the girls danced their sweet little routine.

Needless to say, Mommy, Daddy, Jeremiah, Caleb, Mamaw, Papaw, Uncle Matthew, Aunt Megan, baby Malach, Mark, and Jane were all so very proud of Rachel and her stellar performance.  Rachel received a trophy cut-out of herself and a flower, and then we headed to Cracker Barrel with the fam to celebrate her job well done!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where, Oh Where, Have the Dance Tights Gone?

Where, oh where, have the dance tights gone?
Oh where? Oh where can they be?
They're not the ugly olive green kind,
But the ones I just had my best friend pick up for me!

As catchy as this little ditty may be, I was not so happy to be singing it!  Originally, when dance costumes arrived, we were given options as to where to buy the girl's dance tights.  Attempting to be "Bargain Betty" (ok - that's really my friend Gretchen's self-appointed yet incredibly accurate title!), I opted for the Payless option.  Out with the Black Friday crazies, Gretchen gave me a call and actually picked up the tights for me.  SCORE!

It wasn't until opening the tights on dance picture day that we realized that they were not nude or suntan at all.  Instead, they were a hideous brownish - and on Rachel, an olive green color.  Ick!!!!  They clashed horribly with the teal outfit, but thankfully, when photographed didn't appear as ugly with the white costume.  Hence, the fact, I purchased some of these pics of my cutie!!!!  Really, can you blame me?  How could I not splurge on these?

I decided that it would be best to get the more expensive tights for the actual dance recital, so Rachel would have a more attractive ensemble and would match the majority of the other girls.  Since the store that sold the dance tights was so close to my best friend's house, Jane was able to pick up a pair of tights for me and bring them to church.  Unfortunately, between Sunday and Friday, I managed to lose the tights.  I looked every place I could possibly think to look, and they were nowhere to be found.  While looking, I was ranting and raving, so my hubby agreed to go to the store and buy another pair.  Unfortunately, shortly after he left, he phoned to say that there were no longer any tights in Rachel's size available.  Ughhhh!

As I loaded up the munchkins to head to Shelbyville, Rachel in ugly tights mind you, dear Jon headed to a dance store in Lexington.  Thankfully, mid-rehearsal he phoned to say he had pretty tights in hand :-) I believe, Rachel was a tad-bit overwhelmed at the big stage.  Before all the other girls arrived, Miss Kacey took her up on the stage and Momma nabbed a few pics.  Then, when class started, Kacey went to work placing the girls...  "X marks the spot!" and my baby was front and center :-)

It was in the lag time that Rachel began to panic.  I knew it immediately.  She started fidgeting with her skirt, looking at the ground, and scratching - all tell-tale signs that she is uncomfortable and/or nervous.  I went to the stage to talk to her, and she touted her typical, "People no look at me!"  She never wants to be singled out, the center of what she perceives as negative attention, or feel as if people are laughing at her.  I did my best to reassure her, but the magic happened as soon as Kacey turned the music on.  Rachel's eyes were glued to Kacey.  She mimicked her every move and was completely focused.  She danced surprisingly well.  I was so proud of her. 

We exchanged some high fives and hugs, and I changed her into her tap costume.  Miss Pris took the stage with some confidence this time and did a great job.  I'm so proud of her - what a LONG way she has come in 10 months!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A visit from our GAL

We had an early afternoon visit from our GAL.  This lady wasn't just any gal, but instead, the Guardian ad Litem assigned to us by the court system.  Her job was simply to represent the children in our readoption hearing.  Basically, she came to our house to ensure the children were being well-taken care of and had their needs met. 

The use of a GAL in an international readoption case seems somewhat ridiculous considering our lengthy homestudy, USCIS approval, completed adoption, our timely compliance with post placement requirements, and all positive post placement reports.  However, the readoption takes place in family court, and therefore, follows the stipulations it presents.  Of course, while most view readoption as mere formality, I do believe our GAL took her job seriously.  Honestly, she was quite pleasant and the whole process took about an hour, so it wasn't bad at all.  She admitted she felt it was somewhat intrusive, but considering all you go through to adopt, this was nothing!

While she did a quick walk-through of the house before leaving, but the majority of our time was spent in conversation.  She asked Jon and I and the children various questions.  Her focus seemed to be education, and I believe, I proved to her that I could sufficiently educate our children.  She really latched on to the fact that I had a fine arts background, and I believe, we scored bonus points when she learned of Rachel's upcoming dance recital, the kids bell choir at church, and Caleb's desire to be a veterinarian when he grows up. 

She will complete a report of her findings to be presented as evidence in court.  Our court appointment is Monday, and we are looking forward to crossing this next step off the to-do list.  Both our attorney and the Guardian ad Litem will be present.  During this court appearance, readoption will occur, and the children's names will legally be changed.  We will then be able to get KY issued birth certificates and file for their Certificates of Citizenship.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TANGLED & Christmas Activities

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!  Activities galore, and we've taken in a lot!  Here's a short re-cap...

December 8th - Candy Cane Goodness @ the Vaught's
**Miss Gretchen read The Legend of the Candy Cane and guided the kids in making candy cane reindeer, glitter Jesus is the Reason for the Season candy canes, and a candy sleigh ornament.
**Miss Cara helped the kids make a yummy pudding/cookie/whipped cream/candy cane treat for dessert.  She also had the kids twist red and white cookie dough to make candy cane cookies.  This yumminess baked while we played, and we got to take them home to eat.
**I  led the kids in a noisy rendition of Jingle Bells.  We had quite the cluster bell players extraordinaire!  Then, we sang and signed Silent Night.

December 9th - CHIL Party and Play
At the beginning of the school year, we joined the Christian Homeschooler in Lawrenceburg group.  We were too late to participate in any of the classes, and unfortunately, we have been unable to attend any of the field trips or activities.  However, the calendar was open, so we were able to watch the upper elementary kids perform the play Cinderella and stayed for the CHIL party afterwards.  The kids really enjoyed seeing the performance.  We do hope to get more involved with this group in the future.

December 10th - Ladies Circle Christmas Party
Hooray - some adult time for Mommy!  I ate lots of yummy food...  several helpings of grape salad and lots of Glenna's famous rolls.  It is always great to spend time with this wonderful group of Christian ladies.

December 11th - Kelsey's B-day Party
The kids and I were up and at it early and on the road to Lexington.  Kelsey turned 3, and we were all a part of the celebration.  We had a theatre at The Movie Tavern all to ourselves and enjoyed a pancake breakfast while watching TANGLED in 3D.  It was a great morning!

December 13th - Cookie Exchange
There was a division of the sexes.  The Wells' men headed to church for a board meeting.  Of course, since the littlest men would be bored, they watched IronMan cartoons in one of the Sunday school classrooms.  Rachel and I headed to a cookie exchange.  Don't laugh to hard, but thanks to a tip from a friend, I was able to make the PERFECT treats.  Best of all, Rachel played with Kelsey.  This is HUGE!  I've never seen Rachel actually interact and play with another child on her own.  Usually, in a group setting, she still prefers to be close to Jeremiah and Caleb or does something on her own.  However, she and Kelsey really hit it off.  Moon Dough, make-up, crafting, and treats - how could they have not had fun?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Depraved Indifference

I watched this video....  WOW!  I dare you to watch it and not be stirred.  We are the body!  You are God's hands and his feet.  Please pray that God will break and burden you...  Ladies and gentleman, it is time to act!  Be the voice for the one who has none!  Be the arms that embrace, comfort, and love the forgotten and alone. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lights Under Louisville

After Rachel's dance class, we met Daddy and drove to enjoy some fine Ethiopian cuisine.  Thanks to a deal I nabbed earlier, we had a $25 gift certificate to Louisville's Queen of Sheba.  Of course, a family of 5 and $25 aren't equivalent, but it's always nice to save a little off the total bill.

All the kiddos are fans of the appetizer sambussa.  Jeremiah and Rachel prefer their with lentils, and Caleb and I opt for the chicken variety.  Daddy goes for the coffee.  Jeremiah devoured the injera...  it's obvious that this taste of home truly brings him joy.  We must be more diligent in taking him out for this treat!

When our bellies could hold no more, we loaded up and drove to Louisville's Mega Cavern.  Honestly, until a few years ago, I really didn't know this place even existed.  Then, I learned it was a man-made cavern originally mined during the 1930's.  The majority of this underground phenomenon resides under the Louisville Zoo.  Just this year, I found out that at Christmas time, it transforms into a spectacular light display coined "Lights Under Louisville."  (In years past, we have always taken Caleb to "Southern Lights" at the KY Horse Park.  However, in keeping with my new interest in money saving deals, I managed to score admission to "Lights Under Louisville" for $15 on Groupon.)

The kids loved seeing the lights.  Aside from Christmas lights on houses we drive by, Jeremiah and Rachel had never really experienced Christmas lights.  The shear magnitude and astounding number of lights had them squealing with delight.  Because the temperature in the cavern stays in the upper 50's, we were able to roll our windows down and enjoy the Christmas music playing.  Ok... actually, it was blaring.  I'm surprised that none of us suffered permanent hearing loss when we drove right beside the speakers.
For me, I was most struck by the strong Christian message shared with what I'm guessing to be a predominantly secular audience.  From the very beginning, Christ was the focal point.  The actual entrance to the cavern had the words, "Keep Christ in Christmas" lit above it.  Then, after driving through a series of Frosty, Santa's Workshop, Elves, Candy Canes, Playful Penguins, Reindeer Flying School, etc., we saw a display of Joseph and Mary on a donkey traveling to Bethlehem, angels proclaiming Christ's birth, and the manger scene complete with shepherds and wise men.  There were also praying hands, a dove, the cross, and Remember Christ lit up at various points along the path.  I truly appreciate the fact that Christ was indeed kept in Christmas!

A Curious Cub... oh, the lessons learned!

My own three little cubs were as excited as this Mama Bear when we received a box in the mail from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers.  Inside the box, we truly discovered a treasure... Lisa Tawn Bergren's God Gave Us So Much.  In actuality, this book is a compilation of three titles:  God Gave Us the World, God Gave Us Love, and God Gave Us Heaven.  Since our personal library already hosts Bergren's titles God Gave Us You and God Gave Us Christmas, we were familiar with the characters brought to life through Laura J. Bryant's beautiful illustrations and were excited to begin reading. 

God Gave Us So Much serves as the platform for one very curious cub to ask questions about the very nature of God and the world around her.  Mama, Papa, and Grampa field and answer Little Cub's questions, and as a Mama of three precocious little ones, I can completely relate.  I only hope I'm able to answer my little ones in a manner as gentle and honest as the fictional characters.  Personally, I found that simply reading this book sparked wonderful conversations with my little cubs and some authentic teachable moments.

In God Gave Us the World, Little Cub discovers the vastness of the world and people God created.  This book is timely and especially dear to us as we are a multi-cultural family.  I love that despite where one lives or what he/she looks like, "Every bear (or child) has a special place in God's great big world."

Little Cub encounters some pesky otters in God Gave Us Love.  In learning that God wants us to show others love, the young cub also learns that there is nothing that can cause God not to love her.  Along with Little Cub, my kiddos were reminded that God shows us His love in many ways - the greatest of course would be sending His Son to save us.  God is LOVE!

Finally, Little Cub learns about heaven.  In our house, there is a lot of talk about heaven.  Some questions are so very curious and others revolve around loved ones who are there.  In God Gave Us Heaven, Little Cub asks, "What is heaven?" and "When will I go to heaven?"  These questions are asked by even the smallest children, and I so appreciate that the author addressed them rather than avoid them.

I highly recommend adding this title to any child's library.  Snuggling and cuddling your own little cubs close, read God Gave Us So Much.  Rather than shy away from answering tough questions, use this charming book as a tool to teach and encourage the ones you hold dear. 

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  This review reflects my honest opinions. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Santa at Cracker Barrel

To celebrate a baptism at church, we joined several of our GCC family members for lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Shelbyville.  While waiting in the country store section, an elderly gentleman clued me in that Santa and Mrs. Claus were dining.  Because of the baptism, I had the camera tucked away in my purse, and I'm so glad. 

Our group was fairly large, so we were being seated at two big tables.  Our friend wasn't sure why the kiddos were headed towards the far table, but he was unaware that they were actually positioning themselves closer to Santa.  Yes, Santa and the Mrs. dressed in complete North Pole attire were literally dining at the table behind us.  The kids absolutely lit up, and Santa and Mrs. Claus gave us a wave. 

As I was seated, I commented to Santa that this was the first time that Jeremiah and Rachel had ever REALLY seen Santa.  He was so nice.  On his way out, he stopped by our table, asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas, gave hugs, and smiled for the impromptu photo op.  The only thing missing was a jolly "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

Jeremiah asked, "Is this North Pole?"  I replied, "No honey, this is the Cracker Barrel.  Santa's just hungry."  The ever observant Caleb asked where Santa had his sleigh, and I assured him it was parked on the roof.  As we were leaving, he scoped it out to find it missing.  I reminded him that Santa finished eating before we did and had to head to the North Pole.  Although, my sister informed me he just moved on to Richmond.  She spotted him not in his sleigh but sitting in a purple dodge neon in the Meijer's parking lot! 

Other cuteness from today....

**All dressed up for church, Rachel says, "I so pretty!  People LOVE me."

**Caleb asked to pray before supper tonight.  He said he wanted to pray for John the Baptist's parents because they are REALLY old.

I love these crazy kiddos!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Wednesday afternoon, friends Melissa and McKenzie came over to the house. McKenzie got on the computer and started playing her Webkinz games and teaching my kiddos all about them. They were absolutely enthralled and couldn't wait for Daddy to get home to ask if they could have one too. 

Yesterday, after a quick trip to the grocery to get bread, milk, and a few necessities, Jon also returned with Webkinz in hand.  He asked if I thought they should get them now or wait til Christmas.  Only because I knew they were inexpensive and I really didn't want to hear the kids beg for them for a month, I agreed we should give them to them now.  Actually, if they are a hit, we could get them another one as the perfect gifts to top off their Christmas.   

With Daddy's help, they each set up an account so they could play computer games with them. One of the things you first do is adopt the animals and give them names. Then, you print off the adoption certificate. I thought what a perfect segway or open window to talk adoption with the kiddos.

I asked Jeremiah if he knew the word adopted. I explained how they didn't always have their animals. They used to live at the store and didn't have a family to love them. Now they were with us and we could love them forever. I asked, "Do you know who else is adopted?"  Caleb said, "I'm adopted!"  Admittedly, I wasn't really going for the "spiritual" adoption talk, so I kind of ignored him.

I looked at Jeremiah and reminded him, "You are adopted. Remember you and Rachel haven't always lived here. You used to be in Ethiopia, but now you are here. You will be with us forever and we will always love you!"

Then, my Caleb busts out with... "Mom, I'm adopted too. I haven't always been here. Before I was a baby here, I was in God's hands!"  Wow - talk about blowing me over. Out of the mouths of babes...
God absolutely used my 5 year old son to minister to my heart. 

Yesterday, my dear friend was having lots of tests run and today is meeting with doctors concerning the precious little one she is carrying.  She's been on my mind, and I've been praying so much for her. 
My sweet Caleb spoke what I needed to hear.  No matter the outcome of the tests or what lies ahead, the precious baby is in God's hands. I can't think of a better place to be. I pray that this sweet girl will one day be held by her mother and father as well.  However, until that day, I rest assured she's in very capable hands.

Little kids are often wise beyond their years and give us glimmers of heaven.  Thanks God for blessing me with Caleb!  Although, I must tell you that to my great frustration that same sweet boy acted like a fool at dinner and took over an hour to eat a serving of hamburger helper. Oh well... a 5 year old can only have so many profound moments in one day :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

Is it Christmas yet?  How many sleeps till Christmas?  When is Christmas?  The questions have begun, and as we all know, 4 and 5 year olds don't grasp the concept of time.  I can remember making the infamous paper chain as a child and have had Caleb do the same the past couple years.  This visual and the physical act of tearing a link off the chain each night will hopefully help. 

This year while the 3 little ones worked on their paper chain, I attempted to make the activity somewhat educational.  The boys wrote all the numbers on the red and green paper.  Jeremiah can count to 10 flawlessly now - Hallelujah! So, he handled those digits while Caleb manned the teens and twenties.  Rachel was the chief artistic designer.  She drew lots of pictures and the boys joined her in decorating once the numbers were written.

After our 24 papers appeared quite festive, I mixed them up and spread them out on the rug.  Then, we had the task of putting them in order.  We rotated so they each had equal turns.  This is what happens when you become a homeschool Mommy... everything becomes a lesson plan :-)  Oh well... learning is fun!  Paper chains = Math for the day!

As the kiddos found the numbers in order, I was busy assembling.  In the end, we had a completed chain, and Jeremiah and Rachel remained clueless.  When Caleb tore the first link off the chain before bed, possibly, they began to understand.  The countdown is officially on :-)

Trees x 3

Trees x 3... It's looking a lot like Christmas to me!  Yes, the decorating has begun.  There is much left to do, but we have made a good start.

First, we tackled our family tree which is in the living room.  The kids had sooo much fun decorating!  Rachel kept giggling and chanting, "I like it, I like it, I like it!"  Jeremiah kept saying, "I'm so excited!  Thank you Momma!"  Caleb was the old pro and helped scope out the best spots to put the ornaments.

The 3 1/2 foot area of the tree is very heavily decorated :)  I'm fighting hard and resisting the urge to re-decorate when the kiddos are napping or sleeping.  I may be spatially challenged, but even I wouldn't clump so many like ornaments together in one spot.  Oh well... the sight gives my tree character and represents where my family is right now.  Preschoolers/Kindergarteners abound!  This is life with 4 and 5 year olds, so I'm going to embrace it!  The tree stays as is :-) 

 Trees 2 and 3 are found in the kiddos rooms.  They love the fiber optics lights and having their own special little ornaments for their trees.  I hope they keep their sweet smiles and enthusiasm for years to come.  Celebrating Jesus' birth is definitely something to smile about, and I look forward to teaching them more and more about that each day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Bible in 90 Days

I was very excited yesterday when I saw the MomsToolbox Facebook post yesterday.  It is time to sign up for The Bible in 90 Days Challenge.  While internet surfing, I stumbled upon the MomsToolbox blog just after the previous group had started.  I have been waiting for the next group to begin.  Could I have downloaded the reading schedule and completed this challenge on my own?  Possibly.  However, I know myself!  In order to achieve this, I knew I needed to do it in community with accountability.  Also, through this challenge, a mentor is available to encourage me along the way.  I believe that using this format I will be able to read the entire Word of God in 90 Days.

Would you consider joining with me?
Click Here to get started!

My Thankful 30

Throughout the month of November, I've noticed that many friends have blogged or Facebooked daily thankful posts.  I was not nearly that organized, but I love the idea of dedicating the entire month rather than just one day to Thanksgiving.  Honestly, I hope that each day I express my gratitude for the many blessings and abundance God has given me, but I fear I fall very short in doing so.

As November will soon give way to December, I wanted to create my own "Thankful for 30."  Soon Christmas will be the focus, but I'd be remissed if I neglected to give thanks!  As I'm sure we could all say, this list could go much, much longer!!!
  1. Sacrifice - God sent his only Son to die for me!
  2. Salvation - knowing my eternity is in Heaven.
  3. Unconditonal love from my Father above
  4. Forgiveness
  5. Jon - my husband who loves me as Christ loves the Church
  6. Caleb - my precious son! 
  7. Jeremiah - my cutie!
  8. Rachel - my princess!
  9. The miracle of adoption
  10. My parents who taught me about Jesus, love, and support me.
  11. My siblings - love you Brother and Sister :)
  12. My grandparents, Papa and Mama Spaulding, who taught me what it means to serve God
  13. My extended family
  14. Jane - my very best friend
  15. Friends - both lifelong and for seasons
  16. Prayer Warriors and Mentors in the faith
  17. The Church - believers everywhere
  18. America and the freedoms we have
  19. Ethiopia - where a part of my heart will always be
  20. Health
  21. Clean Water
  22. Food
  23. Shelter
  24. Clothing
  25. Access to medical care
  26. Technology - allowing for communication and relationships with others worldwide
  27. Music
  28. My adoption support group
  29. My Passion - to enter the fields of the fatherless and be a voice for those who have none 
  30. Having ALL my "needs" met and more "wants" than I should

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Wells Family Thanksgiving

My big boys waiting for Turkey Dinner.
 Rachel and Allison, and yes, the pink boa, dress-up clothes, and tu-tu spark Rachel's creative energy!
 Time for Grandma's Little People Christmas to come to life.  Jeremiah has the 1st box and the others await the rest.
 Rachel checks out Santa and his sleigh.
 Beth and Josh keep tabs on the Thomas Kincade tree.  A choo-choo goes round and round.
 Caleb plays with the Nativity.
Jeremiah has Santa on the Train Track.

Our Thanksgiving plans veered from the usual trip to Tennessee, and we celebrated at Jon's parents' house.  Mary prepared a great meal and a decadent dessert.  She knows my great love affair with the peanut butter/chocolate combination, so to my shear delight, she made a peanut butter turtle pie.  Rich and Delicious!!!

With five little ones (each with their own personalities, quirks, and triggers), it is always a guess as to how the get-together will go.  I believe, we were all pleasantly surprised.  We were together from a little before 1 p.m. until after 7 p.m. with minimal meltdowns.  Kiddos played well together, and the adults were even able to chat some.  It really was an enjoyable day!  It reminds us that we have sooo much for which to be thankful.  Namely, the blessings of family - Terry, Mary, Lee, Beth, Allison, and Josh...  God gave us you!  Of course, I can't forget those we were unable to share our holiday with:  Dad, Mom, Matthew, Megan, Malachi, Adam, and Valerie - we are so blessed by you. Thanks for all your love and support.

I am thankful for my amazing hubby!  Jon loves the Lord and his family.  He works so very hard and cares so very much.  Caleb, my precious boy.  I'm thankful for your wild imagination, quest to learn more, your desire for God, and your compassionate heart! 

Jeremiah and Rachel - this time last year, I was thankful to finally see your pictures.  This year, I'm thankful to have you in my arms and to know you.  Jeremiah, you have such an endearing smile and an infectious laugh.  You desire to please and have a servant's heart.  Rachel you are pure joy!  Your giggle is music, and your beautiful eyes so captivating.  I love hearing you repeat endlessly, "Mommy, I love you!" and "You MY mom!"

Heavenly Father... Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!