Every Friday, Aaron works on a letter of the week craft. Luke and Ethan take turns being his helper. With the help of pinterest, I have found some great ideas. These are not original and from several different sources. The boys look forward to this each week. Here is a sample of their work. I prep all the pieces and they put it together. Sometimes the big boys do more helping then I'd like... but it's mostly a great joint activity.
...try, try again!!! The boys have been obsessed with learning how to do a handstand. And by golly, the older two have gotten the hang of it. They can even hold the handstand for a bit. Aaron's working on it and making progress. Of course, I had to get in on the action too and have been practicing my hand stands from way back when... but I'm not sharing those pictures. ha!
Wish they were just as determined with their studies. ;)
When we decided to host Irina, I didn't think much about how people would respond. Let me just say, the outpouring of prayer, love, support and generosity has been ABUNDANT. People are already blessing us by gathering clothes and sending care packages. A special 8 year old friend wants to get Irina a stuffed animal and help with clothes! It makes me a bit choked up. Isn't that a picture of how He loves us??? Actually, His love for us is even greater because He knows all our thoughts and the condition of our hearts (all the good and bad) and yet He still pours out His abundant love on us. I need to sit on this truth today... this rainy day with the impending storm and stir crazy boys. The circumstances haven't really brought out the best in us and yet God's love for us never fails.
Oh sweet Irina... I hope you know how much people are already welcoming you and praying for you. The boys talk about you non-stop. We pray for you and can't wait to meet you and enjoy our three weeks together.
Here is a quote from an email I received that was so encouraging. "I'll pray now for the grace of the Lord to cover all of this and for you guys to know the joys and the blessings of following him--even and especially on that day or two when you wonder why you did it! Thanks again for how you're walking with the Lord into this opportunity to love this little girl who needs to know a Father who will never leave or abandon her."
Last Monday, we were unexpectedly prodded by the Lord to consider hosting an orphan from the Ukraine for Christmas. For several weeks, we'd known about a group of orphans traveling to the states, but had been too busy and distracted to even consider participating. And yet, the Lord kept tugging on our hearts. We began asking questions and learned that there were children with airline tickets and no hosting family. It became obvious to us that we needed and wanted to participate. Darin called me from a business trip one morning and said, "It's not really a question of whether we should do it. It's a matter of who should we host." And so we were matched with 9 year old Irina.
Here is what we know about her:
Irina lives in a country orphanage in Mykolaivka, and was born on April 13, 2003. She is described by the facilitator as: "Friendly and curious. Irina is responsible and likes to help adults. She likes reading fairy tales and dancing. Favorite color is pink. She likes candies!" She speaks no English and is available for adoption.
Our goal in hosting Irina for three weeks this Christmas is to connect her with a forever family. The orphanage provides her with basic needs, but it doesn't provide her with the love that comes from belonging to a family. We are praying that this trip to the states would make that connection for her. What we most want to share with Irina though is the love of Jesus Christ. We want her to see that anyone who believes and receives Him is adopted into His family forever!!!! What could be a better gift to give her?!! We are praying that despite the language barriers, He will speak through us in the way we love her while she is here.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son,
that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us
that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1
"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19
Will you consider partnering with us? The most important need we have is prayer. Will you commit to praying for our family, our three weeks together and for Irina's heart? Also pray and consider telling others about Irina's need for a forever family? We will be providing for all her needs while she is here. She will arrive with only the clothes on her back. If you have used girl clothes that you are willing to donate, we would be grateful. Or, if you have other tangible ways you could show Irina love while she is here, please let us know. (dental services, talents you'd like to share, etc.)
We are excited for this adventure for many reasons, but mostly for the joys in following Him. Already, we see huge blessings by just agreeing to host her. As time permits, I'm hoping to update this blog with tales from our journey and to give you a glimpse into Irina's personality. I am sure there will be some funny stories as she adjusts to living with three little boys! I have to admit, it will be pretty fun for me to have another girl in the house.
Have you ever heard of Orphan Sunday? Did you know that it is coming up on November 4th?
"On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress. On November 4th, 2012, thousands of events echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well." (http://orphansunday.org/about/)
It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children. The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers… (http://www.orphanhopeintl.org/facts-statistics/)
Will you consider praying for the orphan? Check out this website with a google doc to sign up and pray. CLICK HERE Prayer is powerful!
Will you consider attending an Orphan Sunday event near you? If you are local, please join us to be encouraged and challenged. Did you know that there are other ways to participate in orphan care besides adoption and foster care? Come find out how. Everyone is welcome!
It seriously took all five boys to get the wagon filled with apples up the hill. Go team work!
We made LOTS of delicious apple sauce with our jonagold apples. yummy!
Pumpkin Patch field trip:
Okay... are you noticing these boys like wearing red and navy?? They do have other clothes in their closets and yet, they often coordinate with each other and as you see in these photos, wear a LOT of the same things over and over. I promise that I don't always instigate all the matchy match! ;)
Ethan begged me to buy this lawn/garden statue. Sorry buddy!
Do you see that red shirt again on Ethan? One of his favorites!
Sorghum Press... We need one of these in the back yard. They kept running and running.
I think that concludes our fall photo summary for now... stay tuned for some other exciting happenings!
Yep, that is the number of pictures I have taken since I posted in September!! Crazy. So... for the purpose of creating a scrapbook here to remember our fall... this begins my photo summary. It's going to take more then one post even if I'm selective with the photos.
First up... a Saturday Farm Tour in a neighboring town. I plotted our route and we visited four farms: a dairy farm, horse farm, equine breeding farm and organic beef farm. (We didn't stay long at the breeding farm... duh! should have known we wouldn't need a lesson in horse breeding!!! oh my! We were quick to excuse ourselves from this tour.)
And no... the cow is not nibbling on Luke's hair. Moo!
They were a little unsure about all the mud and smell.
I was super excited to see they use Alfa Laval refrigeration equipment.
Darin used to work for this company designing plate heat exchangers
and now he is one of their sales reps. Fun to show the
boys a small glimpse of what Daddy does.
Do you know that the cows lay on water beds to help increase their milk production?
Ethan is seriously enamored with horses. Oh how he wished he could take a ride at the horse farm!
Next up... A field trip to the National Zoo in Washington DC. I mistakenly thought Aaron was ready to do without the stroller, but boy was he tired after we walked around for five hours! After two hours, he was begging to go home and go to sleep. Whoops!
Silly boys on our walk back to the car. I tried to distract them by
taking photos since they were so tired and a bit whiny.
Their faces crack me up.
Last stop for today's post.. Botanical Garden visit with Grandma and Grandpa. So glad to have them here visiting and enjoying the boys in their own environment.
Of course, if one boy does it, so do the others! Look at this cool dude in his shades. ;)
How in the world do you catch up with blogging after almost a month away?? Well... I'm hoping that this week there will be time to summarize with photos and with words. We've been busy, busy, busy keeping up with school, enjoying family visits, working on projects, loving on my mom after her surgery, and somehow trying to get more then 6 hours of sleep each night. Blogging has been a luxury that there simply isn't enough time to squeeze in. But, boy do I miss it!!
Many kind thanks to some blog readers who checked in on me. We're doing great! God is opening my eyes to new things and I'm so thankful. I'm looking forward to filling you in on all the happenings around here... maybe even the good, bad and ugly. Wouldn't want you to get an inaccurate picture of a June Cleaver life around here! ;) Somehow, God smoothes out all the rough spots, doesn't He? Isn't that encouraging? phew!
So, until the next time... this is what life is like around here.
We are definitely aggressive,
and every day is an opportunity to climb and take risks.
I often try to hide in my shell to escape it all,
...especially all the mudslinging. Do you realize how dirty boys can get??
Bath time is necessary every day this time of year.
While it may seem that our house is much like a zoo, I wouldn't want to live any other place.