Donovan is 4!

This happened. In case you were curious, I was not one of those adorable pregnant women.
I was enormous. And loved it.  What can I say, my babies got deluxe accomadations.
 
He is sweet.
 
He is healthy.
 
 
He is adorable
 
 
 
He thinks his dad is THE coolest. And he is.
 
He calls alligator and crocodiles a collective, “crockadator.”
 
He loves hanging out with me, like at “Red Robin-hood.”
 
 
Thinks its hilarious to wiggle his tushey. Randomly. And Often.
 
Tigger is his fave. Sleeps with him every night.
 
 
He is extremely talented. For instance, he can turn anything into a spaceship.
I have to say things to him like
“Stop licking the van!!!”
and
“Put the gutter down!!!! It is not a sword!”
And he says things to me like:
 
“Hey Mommy, look at my disgustines!”  (what he calls instestines/stomach)
and
“I love you…. corndog”
 
He uses the word mines, hims and yours completely wrong, and its adorable.
He can eat 4 fried eggs and then want additional food.
 
 
His hugs and kisses are so sweet and unsolicitated.
 
 
And he adores his big sisters, who make him crazy, who he makes crazy and then we are all… crazy.
 
Happy Birthday my sweet little man. I am wildly in love with you.
 
 
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InstaFriday {on Sunday}

I was cheerily making tea party snacks.
Listening to Christmas music.
Looking forward to my double date that evening.
Thought I would check in on what my messages on facebook.
That’s when I heard. 
Families living a nightmare.
And since then I have been struggling to wrap my head around the pain of parents going to bed without their babies.
That, and the 26,000 kids who die every day. From preventable illnesses.
How do we go on with so much Evil in the world?
We conquer it by siding with the God of Love.
So this weekend we focused on good. Doing good.  Loving on our children.

This girl… what am I going to do with her?

 
Simple moments, like a dog waiting for his girls to come through that door after school
 
Celebrated life
 
Laughed with our friends
 
 
Reveled in the silliness of my little boy
 
 
Held my kindergartener a little longer and tighter
 
 

life rearranged

For Yana

This is Yana

Look at that beautiful little face! My mother’s heart cannot even fathom that this sweet lovie was not wanted. Isn’t wanted.  It terrifies me that in a short while, she could be transferred to an institution to shrivel in despair, simply for having Down Syndrome.

I am joining with Jeannett at Liferearranged.com and Reeses Rainbow to fill this girl’s grant fund.  So when the perfect family comes along, with extra love to give, with the courage to rescue this sweet child, there will be NO financial burden in the way.  $1 matters.  $5 matters. $10 is awesome.  Give a little.  Give it a lot.  Just do what you can.  And just maybe, Yana will have a family for Christmas next year.
Hop on over to Life Rearranged to hear about how you can help spread the word to save this baby. Because my heart just can’t even handle writing another word about her.  Jeannett wrote beautifully about Yana and my words will not do her justice tonight.  So go read Yana’s story.  She’s a real baby, with no Mommy, no Daddy, scared and lonely in this world.  She matters.

life rearranged

I Am Not Mom of the Year

From where I’m sitting I can see a piece of fabric I’ve been meaning to make into a baby blanket for about 5 months…. on top of the piano.

…..a cardboard thingy of 20 hair bands….. on the end table
…..a broken picture frame…..
…..gift box on top of a pile of laundry, and speaking of those 6 baskets of laundry…..

My counters have crumbs and coffee splatters

I haven’t cleaned the toilets

There are tufts of dog hair floating around like tumble weeds

I’ve been stepping over a crayon wrapper on the stairs for a solid 4 days

There is mail dispersed on every flat surface

My 5 year and 11 month year old daughter still sucks her thumb

I make my older 3 make their own breakfast every morning and more often than not we are harried and rushed out of the door every time I have carpool. They may or may not leave with their hair brushed.

My walls aren’t clean, have chipped paint, and I forgot to touch up the blue paint on the ceiling…last May

I often choose to eat a cookie instead of running on my treadmill

And my kids will be eating corndogs for dinner.

My house will never show up on Pinterest as anything but a “before” or “what not to do” picture

Just keeping it real. 

But what I did accomplish?

Coffee yesterday morning with a friend, who likes me enough not to judge the fact that I showed up in my yoga pants!

Sleepover for my big girls, in which there was many hours of giggling and several dozen Christmas cookies made. (I just now vaccuumed the last sprinkle)

Christmas tree night with my family!

 
 

One night of dance done. Passing the 2nd night off onto Alex while I go out with a friend… to a mall… without kids!

I watched a whole Hallmark Christmas movie while I folded 6 baskets of laundry.

I made inappropriate “married people texts” to my husband to cheer him up at work, where he has been since 4:30, not being payed overtime.  He just does it because that’s who he is.

I am NOT mom or wife of the year.  But I do love my crazy family like crazy.

I’m feeling so good I might just unpack my suitcase from El Salvador. Tomorrow.

Its About Giving

I’ve been sitting here with a blinking cursor for a solid twenty minutes.  I don’t know how to get through the emotion and the reality of life in El Salvador.
I went down with our church Missions Director, and another team leader to plan for the coming trips next year.

It was magnificent to have the opportunity to escape the holiday/kids/school/dance/piano/gymnastics/birthdays/carpool/homemaking whirlwind of life. 

Truthfully, while it was a work trip, it was honestly more of a gift.  Thank You Don for bringing me!! I needed to get away and breath for a moment.  I needed some solitude in front of a magnificent ocean for my spirit to be still and soak in the Peace only the Creator of that ocean could provide. I needed to be amongst my La Libertad friends, with their love and acceptance, and passion for Jesus. The Holy Spirit is in the breeze.

I was revived and refocused on what is truly important. Because who can focus in Commercialized American Christmas Chaos? It sucks you in and makes you crazy.  It lies to you.  It claims that happiness and Christmas can be found in Lipstick, and electronics, movies, video games, mounds of toys…..

But in El Salvador?  None of that matters.  In El Salvador, survival is everything.  Every day.  Working 6 and 7 days a week so that you can buy rice and perhaps some chicken or fish for your family.

It is also a place with extreme beauty.  If you sat on the beach outside of my hotel, you would think you were in a tropical paradise with palms, black sand, 85 degrees with a warm soft breeze blowing.  And if you sit there a little longer you would see a sunset that is so beyond any description.

But if you were to avert your eyes to the right 100 yards…. extreme poverty.  Where feeding your children every day is a fight.  Where if you have tattoos the police will pull you aside and may put you in jail thinking you are in a gang.  You might be mugged at night, and the gangs will try and suck your child into their violence and drug trafficking as a pre-teen.

This is not El Salvador’s real story.  The story is in the people. Like Pastor Ivo and his wife Marielos, who have committed their lives to reaching the poorest of the poor.  The are committed to keeping children from turning to the gangs.

 It is people like Zobeta that I told you about, that was raised in an orphanage, survived the streets and now works running a daycare center while other women are trained to make hand made goods to sell. 

The story is in people like my dearest friend Evelin.  Who put herself through college, raises her nephew as her own and is passionate about serving her God in her church.  It is because of the deep love and reliance on God that these people of La Libertad continue on every day.

It was my honor to represent my friends in the U.S. who gave pack n’ plays.  I was deeply moved that women here are willing to give baggage fees and fight for women a world away, that they have not witnessed on their own.  They did it because of their deep love for God, and I am blessed to call them my friends.

The story is in the people who care for the little ones every day.

And the people who find happiness not in the newest electronic gadgets, but in a simple Sunday game of Beach Soccer, and swimming with their families. 

The story is in the people that give to each other.  Because Christmas is not about how many toys we can stuff under the tree, but about how we give in honor of the God who gave His Son to us.

If you want to give back this Chrismtas, please consider Compassion International.  They work to stop the cycle of poverty, work to stop starvation and illiteracy, they work to give Jesus to every man, woman and child. And at Christmas time they offer a Christmas catalogue to make it so so simple to give in a meaningful, important, and most impactful way.  The gifts in this catalogue will not be tossed aside or forgotten after 3 days.  You won’t find them months later under a couch, or behind a bed.  These gifts make it possible for people to thrive, physically and spiritually.  So go shop the Compassion Christmas Catalogue and buy a goat or a chicken today!!

What is your favorite holiday tradidions with your family?  I know in Ohio, it is NOT soccer on a beach! Decorating the tree while listening to music, and having Christmas cookies is my favorite.  What is yours?