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"Let’s do this together"

One morning when the outside was still mostly quiet and still, early morning light only beginning to shine through the leaves, Maria heard birds in the trees out the window, and opened the door to see them singing their songs.  “Wow, Finley!  You want to see?” she whispered to him.
So she pulled up a little chair for him to stand on so he could see too, and listened to him as he pointed out all the birds. 
“Maria, yook-it!”

 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Zephaniah 3:17 

Maria watched me airplane feed Elijah and tried it with Finley, who always happily obliges, even if he has just finished eating his own meal.  “Mmmmm, fank you, ‘Aria!”  She knows the key to his heart 😉

“Ok Finley, say ahhhhh!”

‘No prob, sis, my most bff!’  Flippin cuties

We are in such a sweet spot in our adoption, where our children have reached a place for the first time in their lives where they are healthy, happy and joyful.  They no longer live in survival mode, but are filled up with safety, love and fun, knowing their needs will be met.

It’s exhausting for orphans to be so small, yet constantly be on alert to try to care for themselves.  We saw a gradual relaxing in their hearts in those first few weeks we cared for them, which gave way to a sharp increase in their physical and mental growth.  They were free to be kids, relying on parents for the first time.  What was once fear and pain, is now happiness, where they splash their new found joy onto others as they continue to grow.

If I’m convinced of anything, it’s that children are resilient, and grow with love, even if they had been denied it their whole lives prior.

 Andrew and I just can’t even believe it, we can’t put into words just how thankful and happy we are, it feels very abundant.  But, at many moments throughout the day, as I look at my children, I sometimes can’t believe that there are ‘waiting children.’  That children wait, and wait and hope and long for families, and that families miss out on it all.  I can’t believe our children waited as long as they did.  I know many people looked at each of our children, but to many they weren’t ‘perfect enough.’  Man, can you even imagine how much those people are missing out?  Or, I suppose how close we came to missing out ourselves.

Sweet moments that fill our hearts.

 “To not be wanted is toxic to the soul. Kids need someone to believe in their goodness.” 
 -Dr. Barbara Sorrels
 Oh to be loved.  Oh  to be cherished for just who you are, each day.  To have arms ready to embrace you at any moment, where there were once none.

I think one of my favorite moments of each day is after papa gets home from work and plays out back with the kids, and as I call them for dinner, hearing laughter first, then seeing them.  Little ones who so desire the love of a father, one who tells them they are not just good enough, but loved beyond measure, the simple stuff that changes lives forever.

Our neighbors recently gave us a trampoline, which has been all sorts of fun.  It’s a low one, and Andrew totally hit his butt on the ground while trying to show off a sweet move, it was maybe the funniest moment of my life, even he couldn’t help laughing through his pain as the kids fell over from giggles.

“But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.”
  -Bob Goff, Love Does

It’s funny how big and invincible kids feel when they bounce on a trampoline. 

Two of my cool dudes, so darn cute
 “Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, 
 “Let’s go do that together.” 
//Bob Goff
Praising God–daily, usually more

I recently started baking healthy muffins with vegetables and such in them and not adding sugar, my kids think it’s the biggest treat, and I’m all, “I know, riiiiight guys?”

Turns out, he loves to dance a bit

 We are reading Genesis in bsf, and it’s kind of changing my life, and parenting for the better, learning from others mistakes, hah!

Maria and Andrew are so into catching lizards recently,  and there must have been a lizard mating fest because they are everywhere.

What the freaking heck is that long tail!?

 The boys were kind of iffy on the whole thing, but Papa and Maria’s joy for these tiny guys is contagious while I smile and nod and encourage, while making sure I don’t touch them myself.

My boys are blessed to have such a wonderful big sister.  Constantly noticing and pointing out the passing firetrucks to Finley, obliging to play trucks with them….yet again, and again, “Ok, buddy.”  Kind and gentle.

 If you were wondering why Finley’s speech has suddenly blossomed, as well as his sharing and play skills, well, now you know why, oh my gosh, this picture is so cute with their little dolls.  Addie and ‘Safina.’

She is always willing to play with an eager toddler, even if it means sharing her most precious toys.

My kids are cooler than me

Shopping trips with my cute crazies.

 I love when this little guy falls asleep on me.  When people meet him, I almost want to warn them not to guess his age, because they will be so far off and then get embarrassed that no, he’s not 10 months old, but this little one has a spark in his heart now, and is catching up each day, and we love him no matter what, no matter how fast or slow, we know we are better people now that he’s here.  In fact, sometimes I feel like except for the One who sent us to get him, he may be our greatest teacher of true sacrificial love.

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
― E.E. Cummings
I started making the boys protein/green smoothies when they get up from their long afternoon naps, and it has been huge for them, I think boys just need a lil’ extra protein in their lives.  Banana/Protein powder/Spinach/water keeps the afternoon weepies at bay.

We make many efforts to get our kids in nature each day.  Venturing away from the man made play structures, finding leaves, sticks, rocks to climb where they can explore, hike and imagine.  My kids thrive out here, and chomp on ‘sour grass.’

I feel like they eat and nap better after a day of exploring nature, and it bonds them together.

Our kids love church, they don’t even say goodbye to us as they run in to play, except Elijah, who still cries each time we leave him, which is sad, but I am secretly happy at such a tangible view of his attachment.  I kiss him on his crying lips and tell him I’ll be back soon, while secretly celebrating-I know, kind of mean/awesome.

I’ll leave you with this lil’ chubby boy who ate his weight in a burrito:

 Psssst, hey Putin, I think we found out your secret….You’re just mad that you don’t have Chipotle so you banned all your orphans from being able to have any.  #we’reontoyou

So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
//Romans 15:13 MSG//

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  • The Idaho Neumanns March 18, 2013, 5:12 am

    Elijah walking, praise God! What a beautiful story you tell in pictures and in words! Putin indeed needs a burrito! I am still tearing up with joy at Elijah running to his papa. God is so good.

  • Carrie March 18, 2013, 5:31 am

    Love! You made my night! Keep posting! 🙂

  • Kimmie March 18, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Your blog posts and photo’s speak to my soul. I adore your families heartsong!



  • Kate March 18, 2013, 3:11 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you share so many photos – your kids are so beautiful! We know all too well the joy of having a family with a waiting child and kids that were considered very ‘risky’ to most. I wish more people could understand what they are missing out on – your family is a great testimony!

  • daniellem02 March 18, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Oh my gosh, Elijah has some chunk! LOVE IT! He looks so healthy and happy

  • Unknown March 18, 2013, 7:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful children who are so happy and healthy! It warms my heart every time I read your blog :)I am truly amazed and inspired by Elijah’s transformation, it’s incredible he looks like a different child!

  • candabaldwin March 19, 2013, 1:51 am

    I cannot stand how cute your kids are! I am so touched by your posts. They make me want to run get those others who are waiting for a mom and dad. I have read this three times today and cry each time I see the picture with the B. Sorrels quote. Who is that child?

  • Kathleen March 19, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Updates from your sweet family always make me smile!

  • Jill - addingaburden.com March 19, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Yes, YES and Amen! I love the way you choose to dwell in the joy of your life and family. Praising God today for you, your family, and your blog. You are a shining example of Christ’s love. Thank you!

  • Kym March 22, 2013, 9:30 pm

    Thanks for always sharing the sweetest words. i love seeing all these little moments of your daily lives, joy overflows out of these pictures. So much amazing progress, each day! Praise God 🙂

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