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one month

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saturday night i couldn’t fall asleep. now mind you, i had just gotten back from a klein girls’ overnight in ventura/santa barbara. (which, was a BLAST…thank you mama for planning it and cacey, sarah and dora for being my sisters and dad and christian for watching addy and emma!) but as i lay in my bed and everyone else was falling asleep, i just felt sad and i didn’t know why. finally i rolled over and picked up my phone and read the time…12:01a, june 13th…and i started to cry. i don’t know why saturday, day 30 was a normal day and why today, day 32 was a normal day but sunday, day 31, ONE MONTH was a painful day. i just know that as i lay there, i missed my girls.

so i remembered because that is what my mind had decided to do. i pictured that thursday morning, the last time i got all four girls up and ready. i remembered getting home around 3:30p and putting them in their best-est outfits and fixing their hair one last time. i thought about how our social worker was supposed to be there by 4p but she wasn’t. i smiled because i remembered that at 5p i fed them a snack dessert of ice cream. i cried as i pictured the social worker getting there at 6 and we buckled them into their seats one last time and hugged them one last time and kissed them one last time two last times and told them to obey one last time. and then i walked back to the house with christian, only this time it was in my head but it helped me to once again surrender them to the Lord and let them go.

and i was better.

sometimes we just need to stop everything and grieve a little more.

all things considered, we are doing good around here. we had a very quiet week after the girls left and then the following week we flew to indiana for my cousin laurie’s wedding. we got to see lots of family and friends, including my cousin jen and her husband and two kids who are missionaries to a secret country that i can’t tell you or else i’d probably have to burn my laptop. (that could be a slight exaggeration but it sounds so interesting!)

since getting home, i have cleaned and organized a lot. addy has almost finished potty-training, on her own. i have to add that little tag because i don’t want you to think i am forcing an 18 month old to potty train…that kid wants candy! she has become obsessed with “elmo!” of late and identifies two, four, ten new things a day. (i didn’t know she talked but i am wondering if she was just over talked in the bustle of children.) she points things out to me all day long…”dada keys,” “high chair,” “apple,” “bird,” and so forth. last week we went to her 18 month check up and she was a champ! she’s a shorty…31″ and 22 pounds, putting her in the 10th percentiles all around. she decided to show off to the doctor. when he asked to look in her ear, she pointed to her ear and exclaimed, “ear mine!” when he asked, “may i take your diaper off now?” she pointed at her diaper and matter-of-factly informed him, “potty, poo-poo, candy!” i don’t think he understood that she was explaining how to potty train, but oh well.

i should add that she had a blast with her cousin emma who was here for the weekend. this morning she woke up and was walking into the living room and as she past the other bedroom, she shouted, “emma!” and threw her hands in the air. it was so sad to remind her that emma went home. emma, come back and bring spencer with you!

i haven’t downloaded pictures off my camera in a while…but here are a couple from our last two days with the girls:

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one day at a time…

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i learned something interesting last week…i learned that all children are not this messy when they eat. i thought this was the way toddlers ate until i was talking to someone last week and they asked me, “is she always that messy when she eats?” shockingly, not every toddler gains such enjoyment from rubbing their food into their tummy or hiding it in their belly button or poking it in their nose. i had no idea.

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this would be a child that is really into getting herself dressed…in of course, the essentials…boots, a scarf and a necklace. 🙂

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warning, if you leave the room…your toddler may take her panties off and put them on her baby instead. 🙂

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yesterday, we were at the church office, working and addy started acting a little fussy. we took her temperature (three times!) and it was 102.7. yikes. i took her home, gave her tylenol and this was her after the tylenol kicked in.

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this is how she spent the rest of the afternoon/evening. i’ve never had her lay still for more than five minutes, so that’s how i knew she was actually sick. even with tylenol and motrin, her temp hovered around 100 degrees yesterday.

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today she was a little better although she still has a fever. we took a walk and she ended up sleeping most of the way. i parked the stroller in the shade and kept an eye on here while i did some work outside the house.

sorry for the fuzzy pictures…i haven’t actually pulled my camera out this past week, so these are just cell phone pictures. we are definitely taking one day at a time. i am just starting to read emails, facebook messages, etc. and they are very encouraging.

thanks again.

tenth avenue north

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On and On

Love, I have waited for you
And love, I was wounded for you
Won’t you look into my eyes
Through the pain and through your pride
And find I am true
You’re the one I can’t deny
And I’ll never leave your side
I gave my life for you
So what are you waiting for?

On and on we go
Come love take my hand
On and on we go
Time and time again
On and on we go
Back to where this all began
Come love take my hand

Life is waiting for you
And life I have given to you
Tell me what else can I do
What more have I left to prove?
That I am what you need
Still I will hold on to your heart
Through the chaos and the dark
When your eyes fail to see
So what are you waiting for?

On and on we go
Come love take my hand
On and on we go
As you run away again
On and on we go
Back to where this all began

Broken I was for you
Broken I’m still for you
My broken heart breaks for you
Broken I’m over you

On and on we go
On and on we go

On and on we go
Come love take my hand
On and on we go
Time and time again
On and on we go
Back to where this all began
Come love take my hand
Come love take my hand
Come take my hand

change that we can’t control.

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trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. proverbs 3:5 & 6.

can a human step of faith ever be 100% faith? honestly, i’m not sure if it can. what do i mean? i think faith is something we are called to do in order to obey the Lord. but i wonder how many of us still have a little expectation mixed in with that step of faith. i know i do. i know we did.

fostering was a step of faith for christian and i. we’ve always known we were called to physically adopt a child or more than one child. we didn’t realize the Lord was leading us to foster until we had been married for about six months. when we finally realized we were being called to fost-adopt, we were willing to take that step of faith. but here’s the kicker. the truth of the matter is, we brought an expectation with us, called permanency.

we thought we would fost-adopt our first sibling group. i know they tell you it may not happen, but we were so sure of it. we knew there was a chance that parental rights might not be terminated, but we were pretty sure they would be and we would find ourselves adopting. we never dreamed that the Lord might ask us to foster but not adopt. that would be the expectation we brought along.

the truth is, the Lord hasn’t give any of our kids to us permanently. He’s just loaning each and every one of them to us. for our oldest three, five months was all He planned on, i guess. i can fight it, i can run…but in the end, i have to accept it. the Lord is closing the door for us to adopt our oldest three girls and whether it makes sense to us or not, we have to trust that the Lord’s will is good and that He cares for all of us.

honestly? i’m scared. will my girls be okay? will someone love them and hug them and tell them about Jesus? will someone tuck them in at night and pray for them? will someone brush their teeth and braid their seriously curly, tangled hair? i don’t know.

i know some of you will want to know what, why, how? you will have to trust us when we tell you this decision was not made lightly. it was made with pain, with tears, with fasting and with prayer. it was made with godly and wise people involved. it was made with safety, love and our girls’ best interest. what you must know is that somehow through this painful decision and realization, all four of our girls will be safer. that is something we are asking you to try and understand.

will addy ever understand? will she ever understand why they took away her three sisters? will she be able to trust us when we tell her we know it was God’s will? or with time will she simply forget and not even remember on her own that once she had three older sisters? i ask myself these questions over and over and i don’t have any answers.

i don’t have answers for anything right now. but i know that my Lord will be there with my girls through it all. i know He will go with them and He will be protecting them. I know that He will help Addy understand why someday. And I know He will heal christian’s and my hearts eventually. i also know that it will all take time. please pray for our family and us during this very difficult time.

the girls will leave this thursday. i know it seems suddenly, but we felt it was better to keep it quiet since we weren’t allowed to tell them anything until today (tuesday). last friday, i was praying and i told the Lord, “i feel so out of control” and in that calm, quiet voice he gently rebuked me, “you were never in control, marie.” one thing we would like all of you to know is that we are so thankful to have had the support and prayers from all of you and are so thankful to know that already now, you are praying for us.

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. psalm 126: 5 & 6.

love lots,

marie and christian

a mama and me sort of day

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sometimes foster kids are given a chance to go and do something fun which at the same time provides the family with respite care (a rest). last weekend, our older girls headed to oxnard, auntie sarah headed to long beach and i spent two days not really knowing what to do. 🙂

friday night we went to conejo valley days…which was fun enough i guess but pretty much something like auburn fair only without all the animals/showing/competition. you had to pay to get in and then the only things to do required money…ahhh the life of a cheapskate! they had rides but since addy was the only kid, we didn’t pay for her to go on any (and we had just been at disneyland the week before). they had fair games and food which we weren’t really tempted by. they had a pony ride for $5 and a petting zoo for $3. i did find myself being drawn into the petting zoo since 3/4 of the animals were pygmy goats. (random fact about marie…i raised/showed pygmy goats for MANY years.)

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addy was drawn to the petting zoo also. she kept saying, “ohhhh mama, dog-dog!”

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she kept telling the goats all sorts of things i know nothing about. they really had a little love affair going on.

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here she is giving this little fella kisses which he was more than happy to give back to her. we didn’t even have to pay to feed them…they liked her just the way she was!

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possibly because they thought her hair was straw. at one point this little guy came up behind her and all of a sudden i heared her say, “oh ow ow!” and i looked and he had chomped a little clump of blond baby hair right off! this is her giving him a talking to! she really is saying, “no no ow ow!”

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there was a band playing some sort of blue grass/folk/old rock music and addy was a fan.

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dancing to the tunes…

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people watching with mama

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saturday i finally made this ballerina tutu from material grammie gave us. she thought she was pretty cute in this little apparel.

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hanging out in panties with her daddy. can she look anymore like a toddler? where did my baby go?!

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she always asks to eat sitting on the floor (i don’t know why). saturday morning, i figured why not?

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she spent some time filling her belly button with oatmeal…

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and showing off a seriously adorable pot belly. 🙂

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2t panties are the smallest i can find anywhere and they are not very small…but they sure look cute (and a little funny when you are still wearing all your 12 month clothing!)

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this last one cracks me up. i went for a jog (with her in the stroller). for some reason, even though it was 70 degrees already, addy still thinks she needs to wear her beanie and scarf when we go for a jog. she’s really into that scarf, if you can’t tell from the picture!

“the light meets the dark”

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there has been a lot going on around here…good and bad. God is always good though and that is what really matters, right? 🙂

i don’t have anything brilliant to say or any time to say it for that matter! but what i can say is that today, my seven year old became a believer. and if that is all i have to post about this month…well, i am completely okay with that.

i also am brought to tears every time i listen to this song. plus i have been listening to it on repeat. so basically, i cried for a little while. sometimes, you just gotta cry and no, we aren’t pregnant around here (for all you confused and twisted family members). this song is just powerful, in my opinion. be blessed!

tenth avenue north

“healing begins”

so you thought you had to keep this up
all the work that you do
so we think that you’re good
and you can’t believe it’s not enough
all the walls you built up
are just glass on the outside

so let ’em fall down
there’s freedom waiting in the sound
when you let your walls fall to the ground
we’re here now

this is where the healing begins, oh
this is where the healing starts
when you come to where you’re broken within
the light meets the dark
the light meets the dark

afraid to let your secrets out
everything that you hide
can come crashing through the door now
but too scared to face all your fear
so you hide but you find
that the shame won’t disappear

so let it fall down
there’s freedom waiting in the sound
when you let your walls fall to the ground
we’re here now
we’re here now, oh

this is where the healing begins, oh
this is where the healing starts
when you come to where you’re broken within
the light meets the dark
the light meets the dark

sparks will fly as grace collides
with the dark inside of us
so please don’t fight
this coming light
let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

this is where the healing begins, oh
this is where the healing starts
when you come to where you’re broken within
the light meets the dark
the light meets the dark

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birthdays? nope…but why not put birthday candles in cake and cookies!

spring break!

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who is this handsome fella? a year ago, we were in moldova and addy was getting to know aiden yeats whom we jokingly said was her betrothed husband. come to find out, she actually has the hots for new baby brother, elias. (she’s actually nine months older than him, if you can’t tell.) who would have guessed that she’d have a thing for the younger men…:-)

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this is teresa with elias (who is seven months old) and aiden who is now 3 and a half and talking so much more than last year! somehow in the shuffle of kids and company, i don’t have a single picture of steven. ahhhh the fun of being a mom.

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this would be potty training made easy thanks to lolly pops. she actually loves to sit on the potty and claps for herself every time she is successful.

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this one hates to sit on the potty and asks ten million times “i have candy now, mom?” her candy must wait until afterward or she won’t actually go on the potty!

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this would be the death of my cell phone. amazement #1? sarah found it 2 hours later on the freeway. amazement #2? the apple store bought it back and gave me a deal on a replacement. at&t just laughed. lesson learned…don’t leave anything of value (including children) on the bumper of your car while driving.

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easter morning fun. addy is not in the picture because she was sound asleep. yes, someone decided to sleep in until 8am on easter morning cause someone loves their mama, right?!

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yet another failed attempt to take pictures on my own…someone finally offered to snap this one. i am not sure why i keep trying.

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easter presents from grandma cindy!

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now what you can’t tell here is that grandpa jim and christian are actually swinging the jump rope for her. grandchildren will make grandparents do things they never thought possible!

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we had a great time at grandma cindy and grandpa jim’s home!

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when we were at grammie and pops, we tried taking a few pictures in the girls’ christmas dresses (they wore them to cousin emma’s fairy birthday). what you don’t realize is that this is actually an impossible feat and we probably should just give up now. sometimes you just gotta take what you get, right?

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she’s totally ready to be a model, but mom says no. i have to confess…i have more fun dressing my kids then myself most days.

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if you couldn’t guess, my one year old is way more into taking pictures than my two year old.

i will probably post again soon. i am on posting catching up, i think. i have more pictures including ones from grammie and pops, emma’s birthday and gardening.

emma and addy had a little photo shoot…

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we had grand plans. plans to bring matching outfits from grammie. plans to take tons of adorable pictures outside. yes, plans…:-) but alas it all went differently. one outfit was forgotten. we waited until saturday for auntie sarah to take the pictures. emma had a FULL blown cold by then (she’s a champ, cause in these pictures she is sick and medicated). addy needed a nap and was coming down with the same cold. the beautifully sunny week became a cloudy and cold saturday. we ended up putting them in these outfits i had and sarah snapped a few shots of emma the sick and addy the moody. 🙂 i think they are adorable, of course.

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we started off so well…with cherrios in hand

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they were both kind of grumpy, if you can’t tell

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occasionally addy would cheer for herself

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we kept trying to get addy to hug, but she just kept talking to her

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and crawling on her

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and emma kept crawling away

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and away

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which made addy laugh i guess

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getting fiesty

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stopping hitting emma in the head, addy!

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this would be “addy, give emma a kiss” for the hundredth time.

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ah yes, they look like they are having fun.

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this is where it ended…with emma giving addy a hug and addy yelling “ow ow ow” and melting down.

something tells me these two cousins are going to become the best of friends pretty soon and share secrets and dreams. i can’t wait until they get to see each other next time.

spring is here!

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wow. a month since my last post…it goes just that fast! we are all alive and well around here.

(i think.)

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christian was in florida and the bahamas for a week. and while it wasn’t the tropical oasis you are picturing right now, he came home excited and refreshed about ministry. at first i was a little jealous (since i am the wanderer in the family) but after he got home, i was convicted that it was way, way worth being a single parent of four kids and letting him go!

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a is doing pretty good in school (even getting a math award) although she is still learning the dynamics of being in a classroom. she is very good in school and probably a little bored, so teaching her to still be focused and respectful is taking a little work. she is growing…half an inch in the last two weeks is just the latest measurement!

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b is going to start preschool, finally! everything to do with a foster child involves red tape and time, including enrolling her in preschool. i think we started the process towards the end of january. i have been working on her letters and numbers and colors and shapes and she asks me every morning, “mom, do i have homework today?”

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c is getting smaller, faster and all around more active! she is definitely two and some days it just helps to remind myself of that fact. she talks a lot but i am not sure she is thinking all that much while she is talking, heh heh heh! she is positive that everything is the color pink or “lellow” no matter what you tell her. her and addy still play amazingly together which is a blessing!

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addy is still the “petite” one in the family (aw, the nice word for short and scrawny!). but oh, does she hold her own. she’s the quietest one of the bunch but she is definitely the thinker around here. she’s also the climber and can scale anything, including a high chair, the sofa, a coffee table, the toilet, etc. she’s giving me gray hairs with that one. she also loves to be outside at any time.

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i’ve started potty training my toddlers. c is 2 years, 4 months and very resistant to the idea of sitting on the potty. we are using the bribery method and offering small candies for any form of success. addy is obsessed with the potty and will sit on it whenever you let her so i figured, why not? she is actually the most successful of the two although i am sure c understands what is going on better. we aren’t taking a very aggressive approach and my goal is to be finished sometime this summer, hopefully.

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ministry is going good. it took a little time, getting into the “groove” of things and figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but it is really coming together. auntie doh-doh is our other arm, leg and mind and she is playing a big part in the whole thing. sorry grammie, you can never have her back. 🙂 the kids are learning what it means to have both parents work at the church. “we are always here, ya know,” one of them told me last week. it’s true…they nap in the cry room, they clean the church with us, they attend both sunday morning services…the list goes on!

we had friends visit…avery from ukraine/romania and her husband florin and cameron (avery’s brother who is on the east coast going to college right now). we went to the beach and (of course), aunt sarah photographed it for us. whew.

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we also had a little surprise party for auntie “g” which included ten adults and thirteen kids!

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But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

happy valentine’s day

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happy valentine’s day from a bunch of goofy girls. we went to first service and actually we were there early with christian setting up. yes, i did finish a and b’s hair in the cafe, but we were there on time! right before taking the girls to their classes, i tried taking a picture of them in their dresses (without auntie sarah or christian or any help at all). it didn’t really go too well, but oh well! either b was pouting or addy was distracted or c was looking at addy telling her to look at mommy or something like that…

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after church, the girls’ former foster family took them for the day for a treat. auntie doh-doh had a little addy time…which is kind of fun because last valentine’s day was our first real date after addy was born and sarah’s first time to babysit her and i think, addy’s first time to actually be babysat (longer than a nap).

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last year when we came home…the house was clean, the baby was fed and of course, sarah had photographed her. this year, it was the same!

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(addy when she was 2.5 months old…check out that dark hair!)

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(addy now at 14.5 months old with blond hair that is finally growing!)

we, on the other hand, went to santa monica to eat at my favorite restaurant, walked around and enjoyed some frozen yogurt. it was a nice afternoon/evening and we were very thankful for the opportunity to get away. do we have pictures? nope. but we had fun. 3rd married valentine’s day. good stuff.

birthdays and such

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I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 27:13-14

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i’ve got goofballs. no matter how you look at it, i have silly kids.

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pops came to visit. he didn’t bring grammie. 🙁 at least he brought goodies from grammie. a snuggly teddy for addy. a cheering carebear that says, “yay c, you ate your vegetables!” a piglet that says, “be brave b!” and a really cool surfing scooby for a seven year old a.

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grandma and grandpa burtt also came to visit…which is kind of funny because last year for christian’s birthday, we had pops klein and grandma and grandpa burtt, but no grammie klein.

last year:

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this year:

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(she poses for the camera, of course!)

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(this is in response to saying, “addy put the bag on your head.” she does it with anything!)

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(yes, they stuffed her pajamas with wrapping paper! she walked around patting it and giggling.)

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we had a lot of fun with 3/4 of our grandparents…a little mario kart (who looks more competitive in the picture…the men or the girls?!). we also went to the mall to play in the indoor play place (because it actually rained almost the entire time!).

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(ah yes, the seven year old with attitude.)

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(and for that matter, the one year old with attitude!)

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Pictures in the dark:

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And finally, thanks to auntie sarah, we had a photo shoot with first a and b and then c. when you look at these and see some of the…energy…you too should appreciate the work that goes into getting just one good picture out of them! thanks, auntie doh-doh (addy’s name for sarah).

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this is what we were going for:

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but this is more typical:

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on that note…

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Psalm 34:7-8

court dates and blood

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“since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.”

isaiah 64:4

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i keep trying to think of something witty or cute to say in this blog…but i can’t. all my creative juices are being used up by motherhood. most of the time, i am trying to decipher what the heck my kids are saying to me and help them reform some of their ideas.

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“you think you are brown because you like chocolate and i am white because i don’t? oh boy.”

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“your head explodes when you need to go poop…um…i don’t know what to tell you.”

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every day brings a new challenge and every day i am sent running to the cross, begging for help. there really isn’t a lot of fruit to see just yet, but i know it is going to be there some day!

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i mean look at her. she’s actually holding that green bean like she enjoys eating it. that my friends, is progress!

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january 26th was our court date…the biggest praise of all was that social services were terminated. it’s too much to explain and not really appropriate for a public blog, but i can say that we are (slowly) moving in the right direction. one thing to continue to pray about is the amount of visits we have with the girls’ biological parent. right now, it is two visits per week and we requested a decrease down to one visit per week (since we are the ones dealing with the aftermath of a visit and well, it’s not pretty). the judge should make a decision “when he gets a chance” this week or next. our next court date isn’t until may, so for now…we focus on the simple things…obey…take baths…flush the toilet. you know, just the basics. 🙂

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yes, i did take pictures while addy climbed a wall and fell off. if it makes it any better, she did it over and over. she really is her mother’s daughter and if she is going to be a good climber, i am pretty sure this is the age to start practicing, right? by the way, you can be praying for addy. she had a blood test (which was horrible) that came back with a few levels too low and too high. then we had to draw more blood (which was horrible-er) to run a few more tests. as of right now, the two easiest diagnosis are:

1. her levels are a little off after having bronchitis (a typical situation).

2. she genetically inherited celiac’s disease and eating gluten free really is going to be a way of life around here. and while you might think this would be easy for me, it really gets me thinking…a gluten free baby/toddler is going to be a lot of work.

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and then after all the doctors visits, she gained a cold. oh thank you doctor’s offices. so now we have snot and barking coughs. oh the joy of germs!

i should get to more important things (you know, brushing my teeth and taking a shower), so i will leave you with these pictures of a typical evening around here:

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nothing like library books and homework to make an evening complete!

“and he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ therefore most gladly i will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of christ may rest upon me.”

2 corinthians 12:9