Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Potty Training and Other Changes

Life, even when we want it to stay the same, is always changing.  At this moment, there's a little boy laying on his back on the living room floor, calmly eating his toast and using his toes to play with his toys.  He's wearing a t-shirt and underwear.  Yes, underwear.  Last week we moved him to pull-ups and got him used to sitting on his potty-training potty seat on the toilet.  He went almost every time we put him on the toilet but because he was still wearing a diaper, there's was no motivation for him to no "go" in between.  So today, I put underwear on him and I set a timer so we go to the potty every 30 minutes.  He had one accident of epic proportions (use your imagination) first thing this morning but he's done fine since then.  He gets a sticker and a piece of candy every time he goes and luckily, for the preservation of his teeth, he's far more interested in the sticker than the candy.  I may cut out the candy all together but then I have no excuse to have a piece. :)
We've had other changes around here too.  Over the past 8-10 weeks, our second floor (where the bedrooms are) has been transformed from a drab, dull area into four beautiful, bright rooms with new paint, more lights, and a refinished wood floor.  All of the windows on the second floor are going to be replaced on Saturday and we're currently working on trim and baseboard.  We hope to be completely done with everything in a couple weeks.  After that, I'll do the more fun things... arranging furniture, putting up blinds and valances, hanging pictures and paintings, picking out rugs, etc. 
And another thing that has not actually changed yet but will be soon.  We started the TIPS-MAPP training on Monday to become certified foster parents.  We don't know yet where this journey will lead us but we want to start down the path.  After the bedrooms are all done, we're also going to have our homestudy updated and get ready to pursue a private adoption.  I often sit and wonder what our family will look like in a year.  There's so many unknowns when it comes to foster care and adoption and frankly, it's really scary.  But we trust in a God Who knows all things and that brings a great measure of comfort.   

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  Many aspects of that day are happy ones for me.  I have a wonderful mother who is my friend and a source of wisdom and ideas.  She loves her grandchildren deeply and after sacrificing for years for her own children, continues to go above and beyond for her grandchildren.  I have a mother-in-law who likes and approves of me (and yes, she loves me also but when it comes to in-laws, the other two things are sometimes more important) and she's also a devoted grandmother to our son.  And of course, I myself am a mother.  Our sweet little son turned 2 in March and daily he brings us joy and challenges.  I love being a mother and I hope and pray that God has more children for us in our future. 
But two women, two dear friends, were on my heart yesterday and I grieved for them.  Both of them have lost two babies in the last year.  Both of them are mothers with babies in heaven.  And they aren't alone.  Most of the women in my life have had miscarriages and the statistics on miscarriage are heartbreaking. 
As the body of Christ, we are told to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.  It's not wrong to celebrate Mother's Day.  In fact, it's right and good to honor mothers because motherhood is not an easy job.  But keep in mind on days like that that there are those for whom the day only brings grief and guilt.  Children who are estranged from their mother or abandoned by their mother, women who have had miscarriages or abortions, mothers with wayward children, etc.  Weep with these people as much as you rejoice with the others. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Biblical Principles

I have just re-learned a lesson that should be obvious but isn't, at least not all the time. The principles of the Bible are oftentimes as much (or more) for ourselves than they are for other people.  For example, Jesus tells us to forgive because we need to be able to let go, not because the other person will necessarily benefit.  "A soft answer turns away wrath" is as much about making sure we don't say or do anything we'll need to repent of later as it is about diffusing a tense situation.  There are always situations where we feel we're justified in striking back, especially when someone else has said something that's less than fair about us.  But if we answer in a more Christ-like way, it allows us to forget about what they said because we're not continuing to hash it around in our heads, trying to think of another thing we can say to strike back at them.  There is nothing more destructive for ourselves than when we feel we have the right to be cruel or hurtful to someone else.  Jesus always said (and set the example by His actions), that we never have the right to treat someone in less than  loving way.  He was unjustly arrested, brutally beaten, and nailed to a cross.  And He forgave the people Who did it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Renovation Work

My parents were here last week to help us do what ended up being a major renovation of the kids bathroom, among other things.  The house that we bought was very poorly maintained by the previous owners and we have a lot of work to do to get it into good condition again.  For the most part we don't mind since we got a big house with a lot of "potential" (don't you hate it when people say that?) for a pretty good price.  Once we're done with everything that we want to do (7-10 years from now), it will be worth significantly more than we paid for it.  Most of what we put in to it will be sweat equity and the rest, of course, will be money. 

The kids bathroom was the room that needed the most done to it to fix it and make it nice.  We removed the tub surround, the tile and sheetrock above the surround, the floor, the subfloor (water damage), and all the trim and baseboard and we replaced the surround, the sheetrock, the baseboard and trim, and the subfloor and flooring.  We painted, added a fan/light above the tub, replaced the black medicine cabinet with a regular mirror, replaced the black cabinet above the toilet with shelves, and put in new towel bars so that everything matched.  The transformation is amazing!  The bathroom is very small and the color of the walls and the two cabinets on the wall made it seem even smaller.  Now the smallness of the room isn't really noticeable. 

The next room we're going to tackle is the third bedroom which, when we're done with it, will turn into Josiah's room.  We're going to replace the windows, have the wood floor refinished, replace all the trim and baseboard, paint, and add shelves to part of the closet.  The only thing we don't have to fix or replace is the ceiling light/fan.  Once we're done with that, we'll get a big boy bed for Josiah and move him into his new room.  The room that we'll work on after that is the nursery, the room that Josiah is currently in.  With all the other things we have going on this summer (and the expense), those two rooms will probably be all that we do this year. 

We've met a few of our neighbors (they've all been friendly but not nosey) and we're really loving our neighborhood.  I think the Lord guided us to a good home and area for raising a family and we're very thankful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Birds

As I sit here at my desk typing, I can look out the window into the backyard and see a couple squirrels running about and birds of all varieties fluttering and scratching and hopping and eating.  Purple finches, sparrows, blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, juncos, woodpeckers, doves, a little brown bird that I don't recognize (possibly a Carolina wren), and (the less desirable) starlings all make their appearance during the course of the day.  Several of my bird feeders were up about a week and a half after we moved in and, thanks to the neighbor directly behind us who has a couple bird feeders, we attracted a considerable number of the winged creatures within a few days.  I get a great amount of pleasure out of watching the birds in my backyard (as you can probably tell because this is not the first time I've blogged about my birds).  I saw a couple chickadees this morning for the first time since moving to Kansas.  I never saw any at our old house (or at anyone else's house here in Kansas for that matter) and the two this morning were the first I've seen here.  Cardinals are by far my favorite bird but I like the cheerful little chickadees too.  I'm so glad that we live in a house that's so close to open fields and small forests.  At the old house I was able to attract a lot of finches and sparrows but I also got a lot of crows, grackels, starlings, and black birds.  Blue jay or cardinal sightings were a rare treat.

I do hope Josiah grows up to love and appreciate wildlife as much as I do.  There's only a few of God's creatures that I absolutely hate (possums are at the top of the list) but even the annoying or pesky or slightly scary ones are still fun to watch from a safe distance (snakes, mice, coons, coyotes).  My Dad has a bachelor's degree (and several master's courses) in wildlife biology so my siblings and I got a lot of wildlife lessons when we were living at home.  My husband didn't have that exposure to wildlife as a child and unfortunately, his view of wildlife is pretty much "meh."  But being around me has caused him to come around a little bit.  Maybe by the time we're 80, he'll actually enjoy sitting and watching the birds. At least, one can hope!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Our New House

Well, it's been over a month since my last blog post, and what a month it's been.  It's been both emotionally and physically exhausting... and exhilarating!  We finally were able to buy and move into the house that we wanted.  This house, the big white house on the corner, was the first one we looked at with our realtor and the one that we compared all other houses to.  There were some flaws, as there are with all houses, and we required the sellers to fix a few things, but we just knew that this house was it.  And then, the day we were supposed to close on the sale of our other house, everything fell through.  It was horrible.  We didn't understand why it was happening and asked many friends and family members to pray for us.  Our only option was to carry both mortgages until the people who wanted to buy our other house could close on their loan.  And of course, our bank told us that we couldn't carry both loans.  But then, as we prayed and talked to people and worked with our loan processor, we were able to change some things on our loan application and our bank approved the loan for the purchase of this house.  By the time we signed the papers and got the truck unloaded, we were drained. 
Yes, a house is just a material possession and we can't take it with us but it's one of the biggest (if not the biggest) purchases we make in our life and to have one's hope set on a house and then lose it is very difficult.  But the Lord saw fit to allow us to buy this house and for that we are grateful.  We have many plans for this house and anticipate spending lots of weekends over the next few years working to make this house into the home that we envision.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The New Year

A month since my last post and my first one of 2015.  Our closing date has been moved out to the 20th (possibly the 16th if everything can be processed quickly) and living with about 75% of our possessions already packed into boxes has proved difficult.  The original plan was that we'd get back from Wisconsin on the 1st and close and move on the 2nd into the 3rd.  We didn't find out until a week before we were supposed to leave for Wisconsin that our buyers were having issues getting their bank to process their FHA loan.  They started pursuing a conventional loan at another bank but the original bank came through the same day they got accepted at the other bank so they went back to the original bank for their loan.  However, all the delays and paperwork issues forced the closing date to be moved out.  This will prove to be a good thing in the long run because the sellers of our new house have a short list of repairs yet to make on their home. 

Our excitement over moving has been tempered by the delays and the sellers fighting us tooth-n-nail on every repair we've requested they make.  Considering what we could've asked them to do, we were generous and decided that we could do a number of the repairs ourselves after we moved in.  The sellers lived in that house for 13 years and did very little to maintain it in those years.  Almost all the repairs we're requesting could've been avoided if they had taken care of their house.  I don't understand why people don't take care of their things because it always bites you in the long run.

We look with great expectation on this new year.  Lord willing, we'll be in a new house and have another child by the end of 2015.  I'm sure there will be many other exciting things as well, and most likely some trials.  I'm just glad that I believe in a God who has complete control of the past, the present, and the future.