Friday, July 29, 2011

The Effects of Kids' Games

Warning: This may happen to your young child should you choose to have them participate in Kids' Games 2012!

We are all pretty worn out around here...but it's a good tired! What an awesome week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What a week this has been! And it's only Wednesday!!!

Sammy, Caedmon and I, along with nearly 200 other kids and volunteers, have been participating in South Bay's 2nd annual Kids' Games event. It has been fun, energizing, exhausting, and crazy all at the same time! I wish I had some photos to show you, but I've been too busy running around cheering for the "Red Cubs" with a bunch of 9 year old girls! There has been many-a-photo taken this week, just not by me. So I will hopefully get my hands on some of those and post them at a later time.

Here are a few of my highlights so far:
  • We gave each other nicknames today. My girls named me "Sunshine", which totally melted my heart!
  • The nickname Caedmon gave himself was "Faster Than Anyone". Makes me laugh every time I think about it!
  • I totally nailed some kid in the face with a water bomb yesterday! I felt like yelling, "I'm sorry!" and "I got you!" all at once. 
  • I have a tiny little 2nd grade girl (probably less than 40 pounds) that ROCKED at dodge ball today. She was getting so frustrated with her volleyball skills, but when we got to dodge ball, she was the last one standing! I put her on someone shoulders and we all gathered around chanting her name!
  • One of my girls comes from a Buddhist family. Today I overheard her singing all the songs that we're teaching them: "Jesus, you're my super-hero. You're my star, my best friend." Planting seeds, I tell ya.
Kids' Games, oh how I love thee!

Monday, July 25, 2011

This kid makes me laugh!

Caedmon brings me such joy and laughter! He says the funniest things...often so fast that I don't even have time to write them down.

For example, the other day as we were unloading from the van, he was struggling to get the sliding door open. He finally succeeded, turned to look at me and said, "That door was no match for me!"

In a recent conversation about Bad Guys, Caedmon assured me, "Mom, they will get their just reward."

Caedmon also happens to be one of the funniest dancers of all times. We were in Mountain View last Thursday night where they had live street music. Caedmon jumped right in the mix and worked his magic. Here's one of the clips I caught of him:

Now, that boy has got some rhythm! I particularly like the spin move at the end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Feeding a Family

Does anyone else out there get stressed out by the whole process of meal planning for the week, making a grocery list for those meals, grocery shopping (with the Littles in tow), unloading those groceries with the before mentioned Littles, and then cooking all of the meals?

Does anyone else out there ever feel stuck in a rut with the same group of recipes that you just rotate through every few weeks?

Does anyone else out there feel like you are thinking of food all day long...not necessarily because you want to eat it, but simply because you're never far away from needing to prepare the next meal of the day for a bunch of hungry mouths. And then it dawns on you, no wonder so many women struggle with their weight! Our whole lives revolve around food! (or at least that's how it feels at times)

Well, I have definitely experienced all of that. And I am quite pleased with my new find that is relieving a bit of the pressure. My new find may be old news to you, but nevertheless, I'm pretty excited about it!

What is it? E-Mealz!

This awesome site provides a new 7-day meal plan for every week. AND they make the grocery list for you! Here are a few other factors that totally sold me:
  • They have regular, low-fat, and vegetarian meal plans.
  • Dave Ramsey recommends it (which is awesome for those of us who feel like we are eating our paychecks).
  • You can select the size family that you are cooking for.
  • All this for $5 a month. 
I am not getting paid to endorse this product, although that would be really cool. I just wanted to share the love of a good find.

Leave a comment to let me know if you already use E-Mealz, if you're going to give it a try, or if you have some other ideas that help with meal planning.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Way to Go, Bay Kids!!!

Bay Kids is the children's ministry of our church and I must say that I deeply love & appreciate the staff and volunteers who make it happen every week. My children get to enjoy lots of it, and they NEVER complain about going. In fact, they look forward to Sunday and always seem to be having a blast when I pick them up.

Music, games, crafts, Bible stories, and sometimes even outdoor play!

Today Sammy was showing off a little of what he learned yesterday at Bay Kids and I was able to catch it on video. When I showed the video to Andy he said it made his heart sing with joy!

How awesome is that? Things to do: teach my child God loves him. Check!

If you are a volunteer with Bay Kids, thank you!! You're investment is making a difference.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meet Kennedy...

This is Kennedy.

She's a totally awesome, spunky, fun-lovin', almost 15 year old from Texas who is living with us right now.

She came out here last summer on a mission trip with her church and decided she wanted to come back this summer as an intern.

As evidenced in the pictures below, my children adore her and she is incredible with them!

And I'm pretty hooked on her, too! We've been needing a little more estrogen around this house. :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Re-Adoption Day!

Today was our Readoption Court Hearing for Sammy.

My dad (jokingly) asked, "Is that like renewing your wedding vows? Like, "Yeah, we'd adopt you all over again!"

I honestly don't understand the why behind readoption. It's not legally required nor does it make Sammy any more "our son" in the eyes of the government. Our adoption was full and final in Ethiopia. But from my understanding, readoption will make it easier for Sammy when he's old enough to get a job, Social Security stuff, etc... I don't really know. But, it's also the way that we legally changed his name and date of birth.

The judge gave Caedmon and Sammy both a stuffed animal. Caedmon chose a hermit crab and Sammy chose a teddy bear. I thought both of the choices were impeccable! 

They told us that we should receive his birth order (not a birth certificate since he wasn't born in the US) from Sacramento in SIX-TWELVE MONTHS! Seriously efficient, huh? That seems to be about the same time frame we'll be getting our adoption tax refund from the IRS.

We went to Starbucks afterwards to celebrate with a little treat and we all shared why we are glad that Sammy is apart of the Wood family.
  • Daddy's answer: "Because Sammy brings so much joy and life to our family. He's always joking around and laughing."
  • My answer: "I'm happy that Caedmon has a brother and also we have more love in our family. Whenever we add a new person to our family, we have another person to love so our hearts grow." 
  • Caedmon's answer, "I'm glad Sammy is apart of the Wood family because now we have 4 people instead of 3. And I like Sammy sleeping in my room because it helps me not be scared at night." 

I love my family!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Tangible Faith

Yesterday I had a conversation with my friend, Joyce, who is a cancer survivor. A 3 time cancer survivor, actually. The cancer just kept coming back. Her doctor told her recently that she is his only patient to ever survive that. She has been cancer free for 6 glorious years now.

I asked Joyce what faith looked like for her during those dark moments. How did she approach her sickness not knowing whether she would live or die?

The reality is that, when you have a life or death illness, you honestly don't know if it is God's will to heal you in this life or to take you home to give you complete healing in Heaven. We pray for healing. We may claim verses of Scripture that talk about healing. We believe in the God of the Universe who is more than capable of healing. But unless God sends you some type of cosmic email, you really don't know if physical healing is His plan.

So what does faith look like in that moment? Is it my best attempt to believe really really hard that what I want to happen will come true? Is it keeping an optimistic attitude? Is it claiming victory and healing?

I have had my back against the wall in a few situations where I desperately wanted a certain outcome but didn't know the Lord's will. The most recent (and probably painful) of those times has been surrounding the issue of infertility. I don't know whether or not it is God's will to ever give us another biological child. I don't know if I should "keep believing" Him for that, or to close that chapter in my heart.

I don't know what you're faith shaking situation is. We all have them in life. Some promise or desire we'd like to hold on to, but not really knowing what God's will is for us.

Here's what I do:
  • I remind myself that God is completely in control and has the power to do whatever He desires. His hands are not tied. 
  • I remind myself that His ways and His thoughts are higher, and wiser, and better than my own.
  • I pour out my heart to Him, telling Him all about my pain and deepest desires of my heart.
  • And then I end each prayer with, "Not my will, but Yours be done."
It is in those moments that my heart remembers my deepest desire is for God's will to be done. No matter how strong my longing for a given outcome may be, I know that if God's not in it then I don't want it.

My faith is in God, not in some promise, desire, or isolated verse of Scripture.

Our God is in Heaven,
He does whatever pleases Him.
Psalm 115:3

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cutie-pie Caedmon

The other day I came across this old video of Caedmon and I fell in love with him all over again! 
He's 2 years old in this clip.

Love that kid.

His two most recent ridiculous quotes are:
  • "Mom, can we move my booster seat up there so I can drive a little?" I'm pretty sure that if moving a booster seat is required, you're not quite ready to drive.
  • "Mom, can we return this App to the App Store?" I guess he didn't like it anymore, and even though it doesn't work like that, it baffles my mind that he knows enough about technology to even ask! There are probably adults reading this blog who don't even understand that question. (None from the Silicon Valley, of course.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meeting Sammy

A year ago today I experienced one of the most sacred moments of my life. I met Sammy for the first time.

There really are no words that can adequately describe that moment. I had been yearning for this child for over 3 years and I was finally seeing him face to face. I was touching his skin. This was my son. This was a longing fulfilled.

That week with Sammy was like a honeymoon. All of reality faded to gray as I was consumed by my passionate love for this child. I was mesmerized by his little personality that came out more and more each day. So cautious and reserved that first day. Belly laughing by the end of the week.

Sammy, one year ago today I held you for the first time. I whispered in your ear that I was your Mommy and that nothing but death would separate us. I had known you only a minute, but I relished the thought of having the rest of my life with you. This morning I held you again...this time it felt much more natural then the first. We sat on our couch and you rested your head on my chest for a long time. You felt right at home in your Mommy's arms. Sammy, you may not have my eyes or my hair, but you have won my heart. I'm so thankful that God joined our lives and made us a family. The day I met you will always be one of the most joyful and wonderful days of my life. I love you forever, my precious son.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy July 4th (on the 5th)

I didn't make it around to blogging yesterday, but we did have a lot of fun! South Bay served at Santa Clara's annual 4th of July festival from 8-5. We had a mission team from Georgia here to help us and our tables were busy all day long! We offered crafts for kids as well as various prizes and give-a-ways. I believe every single child at that park was toting around a "South Bay Church" helium balloon by the end of the day!

The boys and I made it out for a little while. I'm honestly no help at all for events like this. I always want to volunteer and serve in some really valiant capacity, but then I remember that keeping up with the Littles in the midst of thousands of people is about the only volunteer position I can handle. And, thus, Andy's serves on behalf of the whole Wood clan. However, I still like to go to see the volunteers, enjoy the festive spirit, and take a few pics.

We had Uncle Sam painted on both boys faces, and then affectionately 
referred to Sammy as "Uncle Sam" the rest of the day!

Later that afternoon, the Pilgreen's and Santos joined us for a pool party and cookout. It was so much fun to connect with these two like-hearted couples. An added bonus was having Kennedy with us. Kennedy is living with us for a few weeks this summer and is serving as a summer intern for South Bay. She is UH-MAZE-ING with kids and totally entertained them the whole night. I'm trying to convince her parents to let her move in with us permanently! But I don't think they're buying it. :-)