Monday, October 8, 2012

Capture Gratitude: September

 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

Still getting caught up from my blog break... Should be back to weekly Capture Gratitude next week! If I were guessing ahead, I'd think you might see a bit of fall color in that, because the leaves are turning and I am HAPPY.

Going to the Farmers' Market is one of my favorite things to do here in Lincoln. Unfortunately, while my boys are willing to go, they don't exactly make it super enjoyable always (they like about the first 4th of it, then the complaining starts.) Between that and Luke's summer basketball schedule, last month we went for the first time this year. I think it's more enjoyable if I go with friends...but it's fun to go as a family too. I love it, at least!

This hardly needs any explanation, right? My family is nuts for Husker football. We watch a lot of games out at Matt's mom's house (because they're often on channels we don't have). But for the first game we were able to watch at home, Luke got REALLY into it. He was being all secretive, and then brought me downstairs to unveil the Husker-ized basement. Love. It.
So thankful for our awesome neighbors, plus more time to spend with them.

Along with our good friends Julie & Jonathan (Tobin's little best bud), we were able to get in one last trip to the zoo this month.

Yay for the butterfly tent! Micah was not interested in letting a butterfly land on him. Although he did try to stomp on them (oops.)

And of all the wonderful things at the children's zoo, playing in the big pile of dirt is at the top of the list...
Along with the train, of course.

I just can't get enough of scenes like this.

And this, which is how I found the boys one morning when I came back from my run:

My friend Susie has a collection of heart shaped rocks that's she has found on various runs and walks. She is always on the look out for them, as reminders of God's love for her. I was thrilled to find this little reminder of my own.

On our leaf unit, we visited Pioneers Park Nature Center, which was so much fun. Our friend Esther came with us - this was the week before she left for Spain, so our last hang out time with her.

Tobin was enchanted with Jake the Bull Snake. And he asked the Park worker about 800 questions. The poor man could hardly get 3 words of an answer out before there was another question. But he was super patient, and even told Tobin "that's a good question" when Tobin asked how Jake pooped.

I love fall.

Many of you know that the year before we brought Micah home, I worked an extra job to help pay our adoption expenses. It was the best job ever: We baby sat for our friends Brooke & Cody, whose daughter Sarah was adopted from the same babies home as Micah. It was great preparation for us, and helped them out in their first year home.

And the Lord worked the timing out perfectly. Just as we were headed to Uganda for court to bring Micah home, Brooke was able to quit her job and stay home with Sarah herself. Wonderful...except we really miss our "Sarah days", as Tobin used to call them.

Well this past week we got to have Sarah days again, while Brooke was on a mission trip in Uganda. SO much fun!

I really wonder if Micah hadn't had such a significant life change involving a long plane ride...would he still be this obsessed with airplanes? I know lots of boys like them, but I swear, it's different. The child can hear and see airplanes that no one else notices. And he notices

Imagine his delight when we took our friends to the airport and he got uninterrupted time to watch airplanes. For the most part, they just sat there. And he was happy just watching them sit.

I've often said that college ministry only has one downside, but it's a heck of a downside: You give your hearts to people for 4+ years, and then they leave you. Over the years I've had lots of goodbyes, and lots of airport "see-you-next-year!"s. I try to remind myself that it's better to care and hurt than not to care at all - I'd rather give my heart than not. Plus: we WANT to be senders.

So it was our privilege to drive our Esther to the airport as she and our good friends Alexis and Amy head off to teach in Spain for the year. Amy & Lexi's families drove them, but Esther's parents are in Colorado, so we got to be the stand-ins.

The girls and their sisters ( of Esther's sisters.) Watching these sisters say goodbye about did me in!
It was a precious time to pray with their families and entrust them to the Lord. And it reminded me of so many sweet memories in IAH (Heidi, I'm looking at YOU!)

This summer Matt & I made a conscious effort to spend time alone with Luke, which was really good (considering that he just doesn't get much attention with all the other attention-getters around here.) Now that school has started, that has been a lot harder. I can tell that we need to be more intentional about this... in part because Luke was THRILLED that I picked him up from school last Friday to take him fall/winter clothes shopping just the two of us. He is really a different kid when it's just the two of us, and I love it. He is really funny.

Case in point: Look what he found for $2.16:

One of the things we did together this summer is watch episodes of White Collar together. So Luke is pretty excited about his Neil Caffrey hat. Parenthetically, he's decided he wants to be an FBI agent, which I also love. I just found out they're streaming ALIAS on Netflix now, so I'll probably have him ready to work for the CIA in a month or so. Though likely he'll find Sidney Bristow not quite as slick and cool as Neil Caffrey. (For those just tuning in to my life: Alias is my all time favorite TV show. I love almost anything spy related.)

Micah makes a pretty cute Neil Caffrey too, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Apple Picking Time

Since most of what I'm posting right now is catch up, I thought I'd go ahead and share what we did this weekend in a timely manner.

In our Kindergarten curriculum, we are on Unit 4: A is for Apple. So on Saturday, we loaded up the family and headed out to Martin's Hillside Orchard in Ceresco. Sometimes I feel like the effort it takes to get everyone organized and out the door for a fun time is hardly worth the fun you have. I was pretty grouchy by the time we were loaded in the car (I'm beginning to wonder if Saturdays as a stay-at-home mom don't bring out the same pressure-y issues that New Year's Eve does for me.) But once we got there, it was really fun. It is so beautiful out there, and fun to be outside on a beautiful (if warm) fall day.

The kids LOVED getting to use the apple picker (and stopped fighting over it after just a little bit). And you can't ever go wrong with a hayrack ride.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Capture Gratitude: August

 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

 Despite my blog silence, August had much to be thankful for...

 We spent the last week in July and the first week in August in Texas with my family. When we were there in March, we saw LOTS of non-family and it was a really quick trip. This time we stayed for as long as we could (trying to be there for my niece's birth...which did not work out, sadly) and spent almost all of our time with family. It was SO GOOD.

OK... So this isn't actually a gift: For a little while this summer, I experimented with uploading my pictures from my phone using dropbox. I didn't like it: it leaves copies on your phone, and you can't sort or organize them as you move them, they just all go into one big folder. But now this is the ONLY picture I can find of our time in Texas. Oh dear. I know they're here somewhere. I PRAY they are here somewhere and I didn't delete them, thinking I'd moved them over. Eek.

So thankful for these beautiful pictures Mandie Joy took of our family (if you missed them, click here to see more.)

My baby niece Finley Rae was born, Michael & Leslie's first.
 She is a BEAUTY and I can't wait to get my hands on her.

We found a working telephone booth. I don't know why this was so exciting to our boys, maybe Superman?? What would Superman even do now that there are no telephone booths?

165. Family Fun
We got a Groupon for a local fun city place, so we spent the day before Luke's first day of school riding Go Karts and doing other awesome things.

 Of course by the end of the day, it was obvious that Luke was sick. He'd seemed to have been fighting off a cold, but that morning I probably shouldn't have believed him that he was feeling better. I think he didn't want to give up the go karts... But that meant that once we got back from Omaha, I went straight to the urgent care with Luke, where they confirmed he had strep throat.

Since he was sick, here's what Luke was actually doing on the first day of school:
And here's his first day of GOING to school. I can't believe we have a 7th grader. I have lived in fear of middle school for years now, but Luke loves it, and as it turns out, middle school boys are HILARIOUS. At least mine is.

Tobin had his first day of Kindergarten a week later.
And here's Micah, on the first day of "sort of homeschooling preschool" AKA trying to build up Micah's tolerance for structured activity:

I am going to talk more about this, but I am a reluctant homeschooler. I spent the night before public school started not rejoicing that I get to keep my baby with me, but freaking out thinking, "WHAT HAVE I DONE??"

But as it turns out, I love homeschooling (Kindergarten, at least.)

More on this coming soon...

 How many times has this shown up on my gift list? A lot. They fight and I spend a fair amount of my time (more than I should, I think) refereeing. But we do have our moments of brotherly love. I never get tired of seeing this:

 (They are reading Sandra Boynton's Blue Hat, Green Hat, which as you can see they all love. That silly Turkey.)
 What they're doing while I do my Bible study/devotional.

I should probably do a whole separate post for this... But praise the LORD for how well Micah did through his surgery.

Here he is on the way to the hospital, in the wee small hours of the night.
 Goodbye front two teeth!
He liked the hospital because there was a TV, with many channels we don't have at home. See how he's smiling for me, but not actually taking his eyes off the television?
 Micah did just fine when they took him from us - lucky for us, he got to just be rolled off on his bed. If they'd carried him away, I think that would have been a problem, even with the drugs they gave him ahead of time. But as it was, he was pretty amazed that his bed was a car.

Coming out of the anesthesia was no picnic, but it didn't last long. And it was actually a really sweet time for me. They let me go back in the recovery room, so he woke up in my arms. He was super upset and really out of it, unable to be comforted, for 30-45 minutes. Then he collapsed asleep in my arms, and I held him as he slept for another 45 minutes. Then he woke up just himself again and was super excited to have a Popsicle for breakfast. It was not fun to see him so out of it and crying - but as I held and comforted him, and told him over and over that "Mommy is here!", I was really touched. I kept thinking of the hours I would have spent doing that if I had been able to have him as a baby. So it felt like a privilege to get to do that for and with him, even though it broke my heart.

And then they released us.

We went home and he ate a normal lunch, took a great nap, and spent most of the day relaxing. He was back to his wild self the next day. A lot of people asked about him in the following weeks. I told them I feel like he recovered faster than I did. Between our travels the weekend before surgery, and the sleeplessness the night before, plus the stress of the day, I ended up getting really sick by the end of the week. Micah, on the other hand, was awesome by the next day.

And we like his new smile.