Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Forever Friends Weekend

This last weekend we got to do something rare and wonderful and amazing. We got to spend time with adults and NO children. Of course we looooove our children but it has been almost 4 years since we have had kidless time with these special people.

We found this beautiful place that had a three bedroom apartment out in the middle of nowhere.

There was nothing to do but stare at the cows which was PERFECT for us.

Oh yeah. There WAS rock throwing. Uh huh. Boys will be boys. Stick them out in the country and they feel the need to throw things and occasionally pee outdoors.

The girls just stroll by the lake and talk about rainbows and cute, pretty stuff.

Baby William got to come along on our weekend because he doesn't count as full fledged KIDDO yet. He is just a cute, still baby. He mostly lays around looking like this. AWWWW..
We actually had time to park our super cool mom minivans in a pattern and do awesome poses! We had TIME for that.

We danced and sang old country songs in a really off key manner.

We hung out and laughed and told stories.
Oh yeah... we drank pina coladas and margaritas... don't tell! :0)
There are all kinds of friends. Each kind of friend is special and wonderful. I am so blessed with all kinds of amazing relationships. They walk me through different parts of life.
These friends are my forever friends. Somehow no matter where we go or what we do we are still close. There is something really special about those friends that really KNOW you. They know your history and why you act the way you do. They know your pet peeves and what will make you laugh so hard you snort. They know what commercials would make you cry or what boys you kissed in college. I am grateful to have people who know me like that. They were there in college when Holly and I were in the Miss UMHB pageant. Hee hee. (Holly WAS Ms UMHB for your info) They were there when Russ and I met and fell in love during our practices and performance of "Little Women." We have been there through dates and non-commital lip together. We have been through graduations and first jobs. We have been together through break ups and back togethers and heart break and engagements and weddings. We have been through pregnancies and miscarriages and adoption and babies up all night. We have been through promotions and lay offs and career changes. We have been through toddlers and surgeries and moving across the country. We have been through adoring each other and being annoyed at each other and sometimes really angry. BUT we have always been together.
No matter where I am in my life and in my heart I know there are certain people who will always be there. They know the ugliest parts of who I am and somehow..they still love me. Thank you Lord for friends like that.

Holly, Jamie, Sam, Wendi, Russ... thank you. Thank you for always loving me- even on the days I am particularly unloveable. Life would never be the same without my forever friends.

Love, Angel

Who me????

Today I was on a very important phone call and Kaitlyn asked me if she could have chocolate. I didn't really say NO... I was distracted. I just gave her the quiet signal and kind of waved her away a little. (I know- great parenting) Later, I went to go get some chocolate for ME. You know.. like mother, like daughter. I couldn't find it so I asked Kaitlyn where it was. She said, OHHH it's in the TV room where Zoe and I were." I went in there and almost the WHOLE bag was gone. THE WHOLE BAG!! No wonder she had just said her tummy hurt. I said, "Kaitlyn, you ate too much chocolate. I think that is why your tummy hurts." Then I tickled her and teasingly said, "Little girl, you are so bad!" She giggled and said, "Oh mommy. I'm not BAAADDD. I'm just really silly!" I said, "Yes, you are really silly and I love you." I laughed and couldn't even be a little irritated. It was just too cute.
All this brings be back to my quote for the month. "How can I be the superhero God wants me to be when all I can think about is chocolate?!" (From Larry Boy on Veggie Tales) It's really what this all comes back to. Or something like that! :0)

Money Bags

Both of our girls have many small jobs that they do around the house just because they are part of the family and we all pitch in. However, if my girls do work that I consider above and beyond little kiddo chores I will pay them allowance. Zoe loves to help me with these jobs. She has been saving up her money since she came home. For Christmas she got an American Girl doll named Josephina. She had mentioned that it bothered her that Josephina didn't have any extra clothes. I asked her if she wanted to use her money to buy Josephina some things. She was super excited.

When we counted her money we found that she had saved $30. WOW! Not bad. We went to Target and she picked some things. She bought a bathtub and an outfit.

She had so much fun and was so proud of herself. She said that it was her first time to buy something with her own money. She said that she worked hard in Guatemala but didn't get paid. :0( I told her that I thought it was because her Guatemala mommy needed the money for food. She agreed with that. She said she wants to work some more to save money for some more outfits. Good for her, great help for mommy! :0)

rain, rain go away

This is what my poor kiddos do anytime the sun peeks out for a minute behind the brooding rain clouds. They rush out and soak it in. It has been been three weeks of almost non stop rain here in the great state of Texas. It's raining now and there is a pretty good chance it'll be raining tommorrow. WHAT'S UP???? Where is my sunny warm state? I'm starting to feel like I moved back to Seattle.

OK! I'll quit whining now. I know you people in blizzards are crying a river about my drizzle. :0) Sorry.. us southern folk are big wimps about cold and rain. Angel

Thursday, January 25, 2007

How right you are.

As Julia just pointed out in all her wisdom... there is a post that was even funnier than the duct tape. I for one could use a good laugh. So here is the encore of a WAY funny video. If you didn't catch it before watch it now. Jeez, even if you saw it before watch it again. It's THAT funny.

and here is the sweet youth pastor giving a sermon at his church... oh man... poor thing

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The role of duct tape in productive parenting

NOOOOOO this is not my kiddo! NOOOOO I do not know who's kiddo it is and do not plan to employ duct tape into my parenting any time soon. HOWEVER, there are days that this could be extremely handy. Don't you think?

This is particularly funny because it was sent by some wonderful old school friends of ours. One of them used to be very keen on duct tape in college. He used to go on and on about all the wonderful uses for duct tape. Very appropriate. Thanks for passing it along guys. I am so excited because we get to spend this weekend with them. FUN! :0) Angel

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kaitlyn's Bedtime Prayer

Jesus, Please keep Belle safe. Please keep Ariel safe. Jesus please keep my Barbie safe. Jesus, thank you for Zoe. Keep Guatemala safe that it won't rain so much- just a little bit. In Jesus Name, Amen.

That girl understands a lot more than we give her credit for. She is 3 years old one minute and 30 the next minute. I almost started crying. Angel

Zoe's Bedtime Prayer

Jesus, Thank for giving me parents. Thank you for the United States. Thank you that I'm safe. Thank you for G (foster mom). Please keep my mommy in Guatemala safe. Thank you for.... (the name of every single person in our family) In Jesus, AMEN!

Precious. Angel

What Zoe Remembers

As Zoe becomes more and more comfortable with us and her language increases she has opened up more everyday about her past. It seems that the last couple of weeks have been one revelation after another. There are some things I feel are her personal memories that I won't share publicly. However, what she shared tonight I feel free to share. Part of what she remembers is the mudslides that hit Guatemala and her home in Esquintla. As many of you know the catastrophe in October 2005 is what caused Zoe's Guatemala mommy to finally make the heartbreaking decision to find Zoe another family. Here is some of what she shared.

Zoe said that the house you see BELOW is similar to her house in Guatemala except her house was older.
Zoe remembers water up to her chest in her home. The water was full of thick mud. She and her mommy had to run. As they were running the current swept her under and started to take her away. Her mother caught her and pulled her up again. She saw trees uprooted and lying around everywhere. This is what she told me almost word for word. She speaks in broken English when she knows the words and lapses into Spanish when she doesn't. She said, "The old people died. They were little and slow. They go under the water. They could not breathe and bubbles came up. They died. It scary. We ran. I go under water. My mommy help. She take my hands. I scary."

Zoe told us that she got hurt from trees in the water. We know from the foster mother and the scars that she had infected wounds on her legs. She also had no food because everything was washed away. As she shared all of this she would stop to cry frequently.

This little miracle of a child has truly seen and been through more than many of us can comprehend. As I learn more and more about her I am amazed at her strength. I am honored by her trust.

As I learn more about her Guatemala mommy, I love her more and more. I know in my soul that this woman loved Zoe Mirna. She did all she could and lived in a place where she could not succeed. She could not help Zoe so she helped her in the only way she could. She gave her up after trying for so many years.
When I think back I realize that the first time we visited her was only 6-8 weeks after she had been through this horrific trauma. We knew she was affected by the flood but we didn't GET it. We didn't now how much she had seen and endured. We had no idea how much she understood.
It breaks my heart. My heart is to help change things. I want to help mothers like Zoe's birth mother to have choices and help and options. After all I have learned I know that Zoe's mommy had no other way out. She had no choices. It is so wrong. I hope and pray that I can somehow help to change that for other women in the future. Russ and I have a heart to not only adopt but provide a system that helps prevent adoption from becoming a neccesity. Please Lord, give us an open door to do that. Someday I truly want to help make it different-to make the world a less painful place. There is so much I don't even get. I get this though... if we all try to make a small difference, it will make a big difference. So big it might change the world.
I am only one
but I am one
I cannot do everything
but I can do something
and what I can do
and should do
by the grace of God
I will do
To see a slide show of the mudslides click here
Love, Angel

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My new favorite quote

"How can I be the superhero God wants me to be when all I can think about is chocolate?!" (From Larry Boy on Veggie Tales) HEE HEE! How true it is.

I saw this quote on this blog and had to steal it. Too funny. I looove this blog. Anybody who can guess what kind of adoption my be in OUR future?? :0) No I didn't say NOW. In our future...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dear Julia,

I made this for you yesterday and had major technical difficulties getting it on here. Sorry it's late! :0( I think you are doing an amazing job. I am rejoicing with you that things are turning around. The first time I heard this song I knew God was urging me to keep moving when I felt like giving up. I made this video to help you remember God's faithfulness in your last year. You have walked in faith and seen miracles happen in your family!! I dare you to continue to hear the voice of adventure that calls both of us! Hear it above the fear. You are so strong to be walking this path again so soon. I know how hard it can be on your heart. Lots of love to you. Angel

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Funny Faces For Julia

SMILE JULIA! We love you. We are praying, praying, praying, praying! I KNOW that God has good things for you and this baby. I know that you know that too. Here are some funny faces just for you my friend. You are amazing, awesome, spectacular! HUGS!!!!!!

Angel, Zoe and Kaitlyn

PS If you haven't visited Julia's blog lately. Go check it out and give her some bloggy love!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Guess what Zoe learned on Friday!

YAY! Look at her go. My little genius. :0)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Today I decided to close the zoo.

I am trying really hard to get our life in line. You know,
how to do this whole I have 2 kiddos and I homeschool
life. I remembered this e-mail I recieved last year. I thought I would share it with you. It is very long and very worth it. I hope you like it.
Close the Zoo
The animals in the Hong Kong Zoo were growing noticeably fatigued, unhealthy, and more edgy and testy with each other as the zoo grew in human observers. So, according to the account in Newsweek, the zoo's directors decided to give the animals time off by closing the gates to the public one day a week. The animals showed some improvement, but still there was more fighting and sickness than what seemed normal. Again the directors met and decided to do what had never been done: Close the zoo two days every week. This time, results were dramatic. Health and playfulness were restored. The animals quit fighting. The directors were amazed.
There's a lesson there for parents. If your kids aren't acting like the maturing, lovable creatures they were meant to be . . . try closing the zoo. People everywhere ask me about America's kids in the 21st century and what differentiates this generation from that which came before them. There are many! But one stands out like the flash of a camera in a dark room. America's modern day family looks like a pendulum of a clock; on the broad stroke of the pendulum to the left you see bored kids . . . really, really bored kids, watching three or four hours of TV a day or playing video games until their fingers drop off.
On the other swing of the pendulum you see busy kids. Busy, busy kids. Up early for work out or college prep study sessions, off to a challenging high-demand day at school, followed by an athletic training session, band practice or school function, whisking through a fast food line, and hitting the books 'til 'late thirty' before dragging themselves into bed. The mini-van screams off to upteen practices of all kinds, clubs, support groups, school functions, in and out of season work-outs, high-demand coaches, tutors, a cramming session at McDonalds and flying home for studies and a few precious hours of much needed rest. Somewhere in the middle of that pendulum swing is my favorite word in home making . . . balance. BALANCE. CLOSE THE ZOO and find some balance! If the Hong Kong Zoo animals' performance improved, so much more our kids.
Jump on board with me and let's take a little road trip down the Avenue of Balance. (And let's drive 35 miles per hour!) "FAMILY" doesn't' happen in the drive-thru lane! In the eighteen years that will travel at twice the speed of light, that little fellow who's showing off his very capable lungs will be packing his bags for college. Eighteen important, precious, significant . . . . no, sacred . . . years to be in a family. Family happens at home! Family happens at the dinner table. Family happens at the bedside devotions. Family happens on an all-family camping trip. Family happens on a mom/daughter retreat. Family happens around a Monopoly board. Family happens holding hands in prayer. Family happens when "time out" is called and the game of chaos comes to screeching halt. Family happens when a home cooked meal is being served. Family happens when all family members sit together at church.
Want to CLOSE THE ZOO and experience family in 2007? First of all, set down some ground rules this year . . . some core values . . . some family absolutes. Grab the reigns of this runaway wagon of exhausted ponies and take charge of the schedule again. Let everyone know that we will all sit together in church, that we will all huddle just before bed three nights a week and read Psalm together and share prayer requests, that we will seek out and pursue a family mission trip to the inner-city or neighboring country in the next twelve months, that we will all get our calendars and go camping or skiing or sailing together, that we will eat supper together three to five nights a week, that we will take on a project for a less fortunate family, that we will pool our pocket change in our piggy bank and send an inner-city child to Kids Across America.
Family stuff! Remember, it is not how many fish you caught with your son. It's how much you laughed when your tent started leaking!
ACTIVITY: Menace or marvel? It's up to you. The single, biggest mistake Debbie Jo and I made as parents was letting a zealous coach take kamp away from our son. Every day all summer he had to be in the school weight room.
Looking back, we were conned and should have said no. Certain things are more important than year round sports. One of those things is family, and the other is a kamp that stresses, encourages and rebuilds family. I'm an ex-football coach and sports enthusiast, for sure. Few places in a child's life teach teamwork, sacrifice and mental and physical toughness and humility like sports. All my kids did sports and I believe there are lessons taught on the playing field that are super important! But the basketball floor or the band concert or the school play or the gymnastics arena do not measure up to the memories made on a family outing or four little tykes painting a "Welcome Home, Mommy" banner on a eight foot piece of butcher paper! In twenty years no one will count the number of trophies in a trophy case. But no one will ever forget the number of times we all huddled around the dinner table, or card table, or king-size bed, or the living room floor and created something fun . . . together! Before you sign up your child for a sport or a school activity, ask questions and count the cost of participation. Overlay your priorities as a family leader first and make sure there is a match. Plan your "times away" before you sign the dotted line.
I've spoken to the Oklahoma University football team twice in the last three years. I've never been part of a college sports organization as disciplined physically, mentally and spiritually as that team! I've also grown to admire Head Coach Bob Stoop's priorities. Amidst all the pressures to win national championships, all his coaches are encouraged to pack their kids' lunches and get their kids to school before coming to work. No father is welcome before 8:30 a.m. at the office. As long as their children don't hinder practice, they are all welcome in the arena where their dad coaches the Sooners. In Norman it is family first and winning second. No wonder the man finds success year after year after year! He CLOSES THE ZOO until the dads have done their first job first. THE OTHER ZOO:

As a man thinketh, so he is. - Proverbs 23:7"

A man is what he thinks about all day long. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man's life is what his thoughts make of it. - Marcus Aurelius

Protecting our kids' minds and engaging ourselves fully as our kids' "ear and eye filters" to slow down the media zoo that seeks to fill their mind with immoral garbage is definitely one of the most challenging and surely among the most important jobs we have as parents. The average eighteen year old has taken in over 80,000 illicit sex scenes (implied or viewed in various stages of display) from television alone in his/her growing up years, and studies show that 92% of those scenes are with extramarital partners. A quick scan of this week's TV Guide ends the mystery of why so many teens and pre-teen kids are falling into sexual temptation and activity. "A pair of daring incest plots has soap fans in a tizzy. "Jonathan woos his cousin Tammy and takes her virginity." "Whitney discovers that her long-time lover is really her brother." Are you kidding me? This is mainstream television! Mainstream rock, rap and hip-hop music is every bit as morally degrading. Why permit this assault on our kids' minds?
My Labrador retriever taught me an insightful truth about my responsibility as a dad once upon a time. If he had a dangerous chicken bone in his mouth, no act of Congress or California earthquake could make him give it up. But if I offered him a juicy piece of lean meat in the palm of my hand, then like any dog, he's drop that bone every time. Are you worried about the attraction some tantalizing but dangerous bones might hold to your kids? Then turn your home into a king's cut of prime rib to entice their taste buds. Make life at home a celebration for them - a homecoming party every evening after school, and a holiday every weekend.
"The best way to make kids good," Oscar Wilde said, "is to keep them happy."
Kids love to stay home when the home has parent leaders who make it the 'funnest place to be. A picture I saw on a giant billboard years ago on Interstate 40 continues to stay in my mind. A family of five was holding hands and walking, all smiling. Big colorful letters read, "Get your good times together." What else can a family do together? For starters, try a few of these: Homemade carnivals in the living room, with prizes for the winner in each event: throwing darts at balloons, pitching pennies, tossing a hat on a broomstick, bobbing for apples. Homemade miniature golf. Balloon volleyball over a king-size bed. Pillow fights. Decorate Christmas cookies together. Table games. Puzzles. Checkers. Charades. Coloring contests. Making popcorn balls. Making caramel apples. Leather crafts. Wood crafts. Family baseball, football, volleyball (we always handicap the better athletes to keep the competition close), BB gun contests, bow-and-arrows in the front yard popping balloons. Shuffleboard. Go-cart racing. Rollerskating. Window shopping. Scavenger hunts at the mall. Spoil Mommy Day. Date Night with Dad. (I try to give each daughter a memorable date - as well as teach them how a girl should be treated by a guy - by opening the door for her, seating her, giving her preference, and talking about the love, admiration, and respect I have for their mom.) Hunting trips. Fishing. Camping. Hiking. Horseback riding. Mountain climbing. My kids still think I'm nuts for the day we packed a picnic basket with a white tablecloth, china, and candlesticks for breakfast at McDonald's.
One beautiful spring day many years ago I was tied up at the office until dark. My youngest boy had his best friend over, and they romped and played G.I. Joe for hours. Boy, were they having fun! I dragged into the house just before bedtime and picked up my happy boy, told him he was a champ, and bounced him like a basketball into the bed two or three times. It must have lasted all of ten seconds. Then it was time to brush his teeth, put on his P.J.'s, and hit the sack. As I tucked him in, I asked, "What was the highlight of your day today, Cooper?" I thought I'd hear tall tales of soldiers at war. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Getting bounced in the bed." "Really?" I asked, half-shocked. "Why is that?" He sunk in the truth: "'Cause you were there, Daddy . . . 'cause you were there."

CLOSING THE ZOO is hard work sometimes! I'll admit to a lot of failure in my home. Now that the kids are building their own homes and beginning to close their own zoos, I believe it was well worth the effort! Your scrapbook pages will be filled with great memories and your hearts will treasure the countless good times shared together as a family. Your grandchildren will carry the "shield of faith" from your intentionality as you CLOSE THE ZOO and, as a family, "got your good times together". For better families, Joe White, President Kanakuk Kamps (

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pizza Night

See what we did tonight? We made gluten free pizza. I KNOW! You want to know more about the gluten free thing and I want to tell you. REALLY! I do. I am just way too tired right now. I'll get to it. I WILL! :0) Anyway, it was yummy- even without gluten.
This was my first time to make home made pizza. So it was a first for all of us. We had fun and the girls considered it a huge success. This time I was only brave enough to do pepperoni. Next time who knows how many wild toppings I might add!
Later, :0) Angel