25 May 2016

My Stephen

We were laying in bed tonight (keeping each other awake with rambletalk), and I was just so struck by how wonderful it is to have a husband who's willing to brainstorm with me about what we feed our kids. It matters to him, not just because he cares that our kids get nourishment, but also because he's the one who feeds them breakfast every morning. He's also the one who gets up with them every morning, and takes them potty every morning, and brushes their teeth every morning (and most nights). And lest that sound like nbd, please remember we have four kids. So two potty trips, two diaper changes, four mouths to brush, and four children in varying states of willingness to eat what he prepares all by himself.

Wee babes on honeymoon
Feeding these kids is almost always a thankless struggle. I'm very thankful our daughters don't have some of the eating problems that can come from food scarcity; they definitely have the normal little kid problems of "I'd rather survive on the minimum amount of calories to keep me alive so I can spend the maximum amount of time playing. Also what you're serving me isn't pizza so it's just not any good. Sorry not sorry. Also I'm so incredibly thirsty or I need a fork immediately oh wait no I need a spoon or where, where is the ketchup I obviously need for my lettuce."

Stephen and Ezra matching, generally being precious. Spring 2014.
[my mantra lately has been there are four of you and one of me. I can only do one thing at a time. I will put your request on the to-do list. You're welcome.] If I'm making life sound hard right now, well, it is. It's a LOT of output every day, with many tasks that don't intrinsically bring me joy. There are so many beautiful and special moments I have with my kids, but there are currently more times I have to dig deep into my place of abiding with God to have any hope of handling whatever is going down well. When they play together, or play well with me, it is sweeter than any other thing in life, but there's also plenty of grabbing and yelling and tantrums and selfishness and little people being just unabashedly sinful. It is draining to train four little people in empathy and love and, you know, how to live in a family. But, praise God! I don't have to do it alone, or even just with God.

My precious boys vs my sad camera phone, late August 2014
Stephen isn't a showy person. He doesn't plan exciting dates or write me love notes very often (though he did write me several songs about ten years ago). He doesn't habitually praise me in front of people (at least while I'm there). He doesn't buy me big gifts or do any extravagant things. Sometimes I wish he did, when I want to do irresponsibly-fun things I'd regret later, but I know that what I really prefer is his continual devotion to me and our family.

If our hands are full, you should see our hearts! And my head; I'm craaazy absent-minded these days.
I know he's really tired. But he doesn't sleep in. Ever. And he gets home straight from work, helps feed the kids (and often tackles the post-dinner kitchen), is the main put-to-bedder (I also have a role in the bedtime routine, but it's much smaller), and then goes back in to work making calls to raise support. To provide for us. He really does lay his life down for me. And I'd much rather have his help than for him to be telling people how amazing I am for doing everything myself, know what I mean? I am so utterly blessed to have this man as my life partner. I love my Stephen.

03 May 2016

MaceFace

You know, I've lived in College Station for the vast majority of my life, and we're moving to a new city in (possibly less than) a year. And you know what I'm going to miss most?

...not knowing every route to everywhere (though it is convenient)...

...not the proximity of everything (bc there's not much to do here)...

...not even Fellowship Church, my home for over a decade.

It will be this woman right here.

I know it's not a quality pic. But wouldn't you miss someone who would look at you like this?

I mentioned Macie in my last post, because her husband, Mark, was ordained with Stephen. And Macie is such a great candidate for the role of Pastor's Wife, not because fits some mold, but because she is a minister. And she loves with breadth and depth. She is so committed to God and to her relationship with him. Springs of living water flow from her, because she puts action to her desire to abide in Jesus.

Mace and her gorge fam

And she loves me. She loves me even though I'm, frankly, not a great friend. She texts me encouragement and I often don't even text back you guys. Not even a "thanks!" #yesreallyabadfriend

I love her too, so much; I'm just not good at loving people well. I can say that, the Holy Spirit spoke almost those exact words to me (full of grace and favor as well as truth) about my husband. But Mace is a delight to my heart, and I'm going to miss seeing her face more than the home I grew up in.

Okay, also because she's like really pretty.

Would you take a moment and pray for her? Her loss is worse than mine, because she's losing two other great friends to our church plant move. We're going on an adventure (but the real kind, with hardships and struggle; not the sightseeing kind), and she has to go about her normal life without people she's shared it with for many years. Not that we can't still be close, but it isn't the same as living on the same block and seeing each other almost daily. So I'm asking for you to pray for her now. She loves prayer, and this is a great way for you to help me bless her. Thanks.

28 April 2016

My Husband, the Pastor!

Stephen was ordained on Sunday. Which feels both like an obvious expectation and just so crazy at the same time. He was celebrated by our church and a few of our supporters on Sunday.

He was ordained with our good friend, Mark Gonzalez. He and his wife went on staff a year before Stephen, and Ezra & their oldest kiddo are only six weeks apart, so we've been going through the gamut of being campus staff and then parents together for a long time.

current pastors praying over the new pastorlings

After giving them a litany of charges (protect the flock, be devoted to serving, other things I missed because I had to take Stella to the bathroom), the current pastors laid hands on them and prayed over them. Then they brought us up to pray over us as families.

Seen here totally NOT about to make out with Pastor Steve.

Our kids endured made it through the whole service surprisingly well, especially considering we were at the front of the entire crowd and it was well past their lunchtime before it was over.

This man of mine is really incredible. I don't talk about him a lot on here, but he is. He parented our boys himself while I was gone in Uganda, all while working as much as he could to not use up all his paid time off. I cannot tell you how tired he was. And then when we got back from Uganda, he decided he would take the kids over to his parents' house once a week to give me a night off -- even though he never gets a night off ever. And he decided to wake up early every morning so he can get to work earlier so he can come home earlier and spend time with us. He also also lets me sleep in on his days off. Not to mention how he encourages me and keeps us focused on our financial goals, since we're moving to San Antonio in a year and we just had this crazy expense called adopting two children internationally (or whatever).

Also he's super handsome and loves babies.

And we make gorgeous babies together, but that's just a bonus.

26 April 2016

Mirah Mine


This girl has been through a LOT in the past two months (okay, two years). She had a weird thing happen to her where her gums started bleeding, when they hadn't been before, and it got so extreme that they would bleed just from her gritting her teeth, but she didn't have any cavities. It was alarming to see her gums bleeding without anything touching them, just from her biting down.

After a battery of tests, all of her levels looked great, and the doctors basically shrugged their shoulders and guessed it was virus-related. Turns out it must have been, since it got better slowly (just like it came) and was followed by a rash (with no other symptoms), which just started to clear up on Sunday.

We also had an abdominal ultrasound (to check on her spleen and liver), as well as a bone age x-ray done. The results came back today: she's about two years and six months old, just like we thought! With her current birthdate of 9/14/14, we'll definitely need to change the year.

Luckily this little girl is pretty fun-oriented, and with the exception of a few days when her mouth was really having trouble, she's been as sunny as she usually is.

She's also definitely gone through a growth spurt (or two?!?) since I got her in February, and her tummy isn't quite as big. And her big girl hair is coming in! Such big changes for our little sweetie.

16 April 2016

The Bigs



I love these kiddos so much. And they really like each other (most of the time). As Stella's starting to really speak English -- whole sentences! -- they're better able to engage in imaginative play together. Daniel Tiger has really come in handy; they sing jingles at each other, which is kind of helpful, albeit often a little self-righteous. It has been hard to parent littles who can't "use your words to say how you feel," but we're getting there! So exciting to be able to talk through things together, especially with that sweet girl up there.

We took these pictures during our last cold snap of the year -- of course it was really cold for like 12 hours, so I had to change all the outfits I had chosen for six people on the same day. Our family photos were taken by a coworker and friend, Jenni Olowo, for free! She has such a heart for adoption. Now that we finally have good-quality pictures of us together, I can send out our thank-yous that have been so long in coming!