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more pictures and a few of my thoughts

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hello friends. hello family.

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it’s been an interesting week…and a bit of a long one!

i finally took addy to the doctors last week because she was the only kid not getting over the cold they all shared over new years. ends up, her’s had turned into bronchitis with asthma.

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just when she was getting better and sleeping better, she became baby cranky and i thought she was relapsing…then we noticed swollen gums…and at least 4 (maybe 6) teeth coming in!

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i wanted to go backwards in time however and share a few pictures from january 1st and 2nd. we were able to FINALLY meet our niece and cousin, emma nichole klein and it was amazing! she is adorable in every way, with huge brown eyes and a smile that lights up her entire countenance. i realized that christian and i are not in any of the pictures, i guess because taking care of four children is a little distracting. b is not in any of the pictures, because, well she was sitting in a corner not getting what she wanted and i decided THAT didn’t need to be photographed!

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i am learning a lot. christian is learning a lot. sometimes i try to do it on my own and i feel like giving up and then i am reminded that we aren’t doing this alone…god is doing it and we are just helping. perspective helps. and of course early morning devos with my pj-clad, beanie-wearing, pancake-eating goof ball. 🙂

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some days are so good. and some days are so hard. and some days, well they are just this kind of day:

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on top of everything else this week, we actually had RAIN! and i mean real, not southern california-style rain! it has poured off and on since sunday! sunday evening we had a movie, popcorn and peach cobbler night (because monday was a school holiday)!

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ah, yes…they share sooooo well!

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the rain has really intrigued my oldest two, who have only seen snow once thanks to our christmas trip up north. a is still shocked that she actually has to still go to school with all that wetness coming down from the sky! here are a few random pictures i took while they were eating lunch and staring outside at the rain. notice how they take turns smiling, being weird, being grumpy…i don’t think i will ever get just one good picture!

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yes, the toddlers are actually easier!

a very big thanks to the grandmas, who provided us with some adorable new outfits for christmas. this is one of said outfits:

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yes, i do have my slippers on in this picture. memories, yes. perfection, no.

a few last pictures before i take a shower this morning!

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a’s first day of school and a present from her new teacher, ms. c!

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addy drinking a bottle when she was sick and a sharing some snuggles with her

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addy wakes up at 7a, before the other girls. this is one of the ways she helps mama. who needs toys when you have granola bars and empty oatmeal containers?

oh and a smidge of advertising before i end this post. we are reading “the heart of anger” by lou priolo (thanks gma klein). it’s not just for out of control “angry” kids…it’s for all kids. if you have kids, this is a book you should read. it is really helping us go from having a one year old to having a seven year old!

blessings!

twenty-two days of our life in one post…

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it has been twenty-two days since the girls moved in…at times it feels like they have always lived with us and at other times it feels like it was just yesterday that they came. we went and picked them up on sunday afternoon, five days before christmas. at first we thought that they had so much stuff but now, three weeks later we have come to realize that they had accumulated a lot of junk from living in many different places.

i am not exactly sure how “confidential” to be when talking about them and yet i know that many of you want to know what is happening in our lives and are praying for us. with all that in mind, for now i am just going to nickname them…”a” (who is seven), “b” (who is four) and “c” (who is two) plus of course, addy (who is one)! it’s quite a houseful and although i am adjusting pretty well (coming from a family of eight), honestly it is christian that amazes me sometimes. i can’t imagine how much there is to learn going from an only child to getting married and having four children in two years, but he is hanging in there and he is swimming. although i am sure he would rather not be compared to this story…it makes me think of the mouse that was dropped into a pitcher of cream and kept swimming and swimming until he turned that cream into butter and managed to crawl out. and yes, i did just compare my husband to a mouse.

it’s rarely quiet around here until around eight at night and then it is oh, so peaceful. we are first of all blessed with good sleepers. c goes down first at 7 or 7:30 and falls asleep in her own toddler bed without a sound. then a and b follow at 7:30 or 8 (they share a room with two twin beds). after hugs, stories, hugs, prayers, hugs, kisses and a couple more hugs, they stay in bed and fall asleep. i plug their nightlight in, remind them that they are not allowed to come out and i shut their door. then i give addy a bottle and a moment of quietness and put her to bed in the same room as c (and since c is sound asleep by then, if addy does cry it still doesn’t wake c up). addy actually sleeps the least, from around 8p to 7 or 8a. a and b wake up around 7:30 or 8a. our sleepyhead is c, who i usually open her door to start waking up around 9a! i realize you are all quite jealous right about now, but i really think the lord knew that with everything, we were going to at least need sleep.

however, they talk a lot. and sometimes i forget and i just let them talk and then my head is ringing and i feel exhausted and then i remember that they are sinning with their mouths even if they aren’t saying anything “bad.” they argue a lot too and they correct adults without even blinking an eye because no one took the time to teach them that adults need to be treated differently, with respect, not like a peer.

but they love to learn. they soak up everything you take the time to show them. they were excited to learn how to unload the dishwasher. they want chores and to help in the kitchen. they think folding laundry and making the beds and setting the table and sweeping the floor is fun and exciting and a privilege.

and then the pouting comes and the tantrums and the throwing and kicking. they haven’t been restrained. they haven’t been told “no.” they used to make their own decisions like what to eat for breakfast and what to watch on the television. they don’t necessarily want a bunch of “grown-ups” running the house and acting different. they are offended when they are treated differently because they don’t see themselves as the kids and us as the parents.

yet they are soaking up the bible. we simply speak biblical truths to them everyday, over and over. we are working hard on not making it about us and we are trying not to discipline the external symptoms. we made a chart that has “god” on the top, “mom and dad” in the middle and “kids” on the bottom. we remind them everyday that god has commanded them in the bible to obey their parents and that when they do, they are obeying him also since we are obeying god. we try not to say “don’t correct me because it hurts my feelings” and instead say, “the bible tells children to obey their parents in ephesians and colossians and since we obey the bible in this house, that means you must obey us.”

some days go by and before i know it, it’s bedtime and they haven’t had a single issue. other days they are all in their beds at 6:30p with a couple books and christian and i are in the living room, just sitting on the sofa wondering what we got ourselves into. tuesday night to wednesday morning and friday night to saturday morning are the hardest because of something called visitations. the hoops, the hurdles and the red tape of fostering a child is…daunting, intense and somewhat ridiculous.

and while right now, there are moments when i think we aren’t making a single difference in their lives i am reminded and gently rebuked by a scripture that my mom sent me –

galatians 6: 7-9

do not be deceived, god is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. for he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap everlasting life. and let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

amen

p.s. i am completely aware that sentences should never start with: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…i did get an a+ in english composition…i just don’t care anymore. i have way too many other things on my mind. 🙂

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my laundry piles the first week they were here…i think it ended up being five or six loads

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how seven suitcases ended up being this much clothing that fit or was appropriate, i have no idea

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we tried to have them sit on santa’s lap…it did not work. b was excited the entire time in the line and then took one look at him and said, “i do not want to sit on his lap.” addy and c wailed until christian and i held them. only a was excited…the others look like we traumatized them. :-/

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at least he gave them books that they loved reading outside the mall while christian waited in line to pay a million dollars for that stunning previous picture.

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we made sugar cookies and played the wii during the week since it was christmas vacation!

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we celebrated on christmas’ eve’s eve with grandma and grandpa burtt

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(i know, addy is thrilled in this picture)

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we went to burbank on christmas eve with friends that we grew up with and are pretty much family

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we wore matching christmas jammies from auntie sarah and set out cookies and milk and oatmeal (for the reindeer) because besides being scarred for life by seeing santa at the mall, i guess they were actually still excited to get presents. 🙂

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we even got bikes and really cool toys because god always provides in random ways!

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we went up north (night time driving, baby) and spend a week at grammie and pops klein’s house along with dora and spencer (who was waiting for his mommy and daddy to bring home his new baby sister!).

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sacramento train museum

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bedtime rituals (i know, i know…another thrilled picture of addy!)

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we even went to truckee to play in the snow, where we all had a blast (can’t you tell?)

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oh and rode the gondola and played with uncle andrew and uncle timothy and finally crashed on the way home.

i have a few more picture, but they are still on my camera and it is getting late. we were also able to meet emma nichole klein, my beautiful new niece who i could not snuggle enough while we were there. i will try to post those also when i get the chance!

but until then, be blessed!

addy’s one year photo shoot

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yes, i’m finally posting addy’s one year pictures…even though now she is thirteen months! we had a little photo shoot, courtesy of auntie sarah and it turned out great (even though we woke her up, put her in a dress and took her picture all before sarah left on an airplane on an early saturday morning!)

addy is still an easy baby (toddler?) as you can maybe tell from the pictures. she is just very busy…something we should have guessed when she was trying to walk around the coffee table at five months old (before she had even learned to crawl). i really can’t turn around…she has discovered how to open baby locks and if the bathroom door isn’t completely latched, she’ll gladly put all her toys away IN the toilet.

however i haven’t met a happier baby yet. she is adjusting pretty well to three more kids in the home and simply trying to “catch up.” she pretty much spends the entire day running after them! she grew so fast in the beginning and now the doctors say she is “petite” for her age…guess she blends in well with the other “shorties” in the family!

enjoy!

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mama’s happy girl

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christmas teddy bear that plays music

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that bow is barely hanging in there!

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checking out the grass

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she gives everything a hug or kiss lately

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this is one of my favorites!

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still eats anything she can find

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oh yes, opinionated too!

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oh to be amazed by your own fingers…

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and she communicates well. this one says: ALL DONE!

Changes

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One year ago I was on my way up north with a newborn baby. I was trying to figure out how the heck to nurse her. I was wondering if I would make it to her two month old birthday. I was heading to Colfax to be home for Christmas…a place I have been every Christmas of my life so far.

This year though is different. Not bad, just really different. One year later, I think my body has decided it’s time to stop nursing…but I’m not really sure I’m ready. I’m not really sure that Addy’s ready either but something tells me neither of us have a choice in the matter. On top of that, for the first time in my 28 years of life, I won’t be waking up in my childhood home on Christmas morning.

It actually makes me tear up a little as silly as that may sound. I never thought I would enjoy nursing my baby and honestly I’m gonna miss it. And there is a reason so many people sing “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Let me tell you, if I could figure out a way to get up there Christmas Eve…I’d be there.

Yeah yeah, I know we will be there on the 26th or 27th. And I have a beautiful healthy 13 month old that is ready to become a little girl. And tomorrow afternoon we will become the parents of three more girls for what we hope will be forever. And come to think of it, there will be many more Christmas to be home for.

But it’s sure a lot of changes all at one.

3 + 3 = 6

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Where to start?

As many of you know, Christian and I have talked about adoption from the beginning…I think before we were even dating! We didn’t know what it would look like, but we knew that the Lord had called us to take care of the orphans and to adopt. After we got married, we looked into county foster care, but then we found out we were pregnant with Addysen which put everything on hold. A few months ago, we felt the call and urge all over again, so we started looking into different options. This time, we found an organization called Aspiranet. They are a private, non-profit foster organization. Their kids also come from the county, but there are a few minor differences when you go with a private foster organization. We really only started the process at the end of September, but everything went so smoothly, that we found ourselves almost certified by the first week of November! Pretty much that same week, they asked us about a prospective sibling group.

There are a few factors about these girls that affirmed in our hearts the choice we would make. There are three factors that make children considered “un-adoptable” (as horrible as that sounds). If they are a sibling group, if they are mixed race and if they are over six years old, their chance of being adopted is “slim.” It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? When they mentions the girls, our hearts were pricked…three girls, mixed race, ages 2, 4 and 7…our hearts began to melt just thinking about them.

We want to respect the girls’ privacy especially since right now, they are in a transitional phase. With time, we will be able to share more details, but for now we want to be cautious with what we share online. We were able to meet them on a Friday evening and it was everything we dreamed of…butterflies and anticipation. They came out of the room, one at a time and we curiously watched them. I think they bounced more than they walked. As of right now, we are getting to know them. We transport them twice a week, plus we get to spend other times just hanging out. This past weekend, we took a trip to a tree farm and picked out the most beautiful tree in the world. It was exhausting. 🙂 Next week, they will spend the night.

Yes, our family really is growing from 3 to 6 overnight…and yes, we are a little scared at time! But we know without a doubt that the Lord will give us just enough strength to do what we need to do! The girls are set to move in on December 21st, yes just four days before Christmas. We aren’t sure what our holiday plans will look like…for now we are just taking one day at a time. Please keep us in your prayers…we definitely need them!

Disneyland with Auntie Dora and Grandma Moo-Moo

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Then just Grandma Moo-Moo, Auntie Sarah and I went back for an evening

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In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, our friends Phil, Pook and Lalita came to visit (they are missionaries to Thailand). Lalita and Addy were born only two days apart!

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Thanksgiving dinner with Great-Grandma Bell, Great-Aunt Debbie and cousins

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Thanks to Grandma…we actually finished the stockings…seven of them!

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Addy’s 1st Birthday

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And finally, the pictures you’ve really been waiting for…

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happy first birthday, addy

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she was supposed to arrive on november 16th…but she didn’t. 🙂 she arrived on november 28th instead, after a two day labor that included thanksgiving and many other things. she weighed in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces and she was 21 inches long. today she is one and i really can’t believe that one entire year has gone by. today she weighs around 18 pounds, is 29 inches long, walks, talks and runs! there is never a dull moment around here, folks! her words include “ma-ma,” “da-da,” “dog-dog,” “hiiiii,” “mmm-mmm” (grandma), “dor-dor” (dora), “doh-doh” (sarah) and the latest…”noooo-noooo.”

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the first few hours

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one month for her first christmas

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two months and already wanting to get around!

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three months and heading to moldova

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four months in eastern europe

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cutting her mullet off at five months

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crawling, standing and wishing she could walk at six months

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eating everything in sight by seven months

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more airplane rides at eight months

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determined to walk anywhere and everywhere at nine months

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ten months and one the phone already

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disneyland and her cousin at eleven months

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pumpkin patches

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best friends

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thanksgiving

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and now she is one!

happy first birthday, addysen grace klein burtt.

2 corinthians 12:9
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.