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Monday, November 30, 2009

To Save A Life Movie

I'm so excited about this!

Superman's childhood friend and her husband wrote and produced this movie that is coming out in theaters in January! I'm so excited for them, and love the message the movie brings.

Check it out!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!!

I know it's only Thanksgiving, but as I've gotten older (not OLD...oldER), I've realized how fast time flies. And Christmas time is my favorite time of year, so I want to enjoy it! Please don't rush it! I need to enjoy it more! So, we put up our tree on Superman studded our house with adorable white lights...ah, I can smell the Christmas-ness in the air...

My dear friend Amber, who has an incredible blog posted this wonderful idea of Hot Chocolate on a Stick. She was kind enough to give us a sampling, and a few nights ago, our kiddos tried it out. N decided that eating the chocolate straight off the stick was the best way to kinda gal!

Every year from Dec. 1st - 24th, the "Advent Angel" comes to our house. It's a little tradition I started when our boys were 2. Every night the "angel" leaves a note in the box that gives a clue of where to go...i.e., "Go to where your daddy poops." When they get to the location, there is a little trinket waiting for them. I usually hit up Wishing Well and buy a bunch of those 5-or-10-cent things and stash them away. They work really well. But this year, I think I'm going to avoid the cheap trinkets and do something a bit different...each day, the angel will tell the kids what activity we'll be doing that a Christmas movie together, read a Christmas story together, play a game in the dark, do kind things for other people, etc. On the 25th (Christmas), the kids leave something for the Advent Angel; thank-you notes, drawings, cookies, etc. It has become a much-looked-forward-to event in our home.

I just love having the Christmas tree up. There's something about having all the lights off in the house, and the tree lit...

Here's N admiring the ornaments...

She and G looked at the tree for a good 1/2 hour after it was put up.

Every year after Christmas, I wait until all the Christmas stuff is 75% off at Target. Then I stock up for the following year! Such fun. Last year I bought these mini-trees and mini-ornaments for less than $10 for 6 trees and 4 boxes of ornaments. The kids had a blast each decorating their own trees, and it kept them occupied for, oh, at least 30 minutes...which is like an eternity around here.

So many fun Christmas traditions...we also do the 12 days of Christmas and do an act of service for someone...make cookies for the police station and fire station, rake someone's leaves, etc. Oh, and one of my personal favorites, we give out an award each year to the family that has the best decorations (in our opinions). We usually bake cookies and make a poster, but this year I may go official and get a REAL plaque made! I'm stoked about that one. I'm sure I'll be posting more. What are some of yours?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the winner is...

...Please excuse the dirty fingernails. =)

Congratulations!! Thank you to each of you who entered--and thanks for your blog topic ideas!

Rambling Mother, I'll mail out your gift card by the end of the week. Please let me know when you get it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giveaway Update!

Ok, gals. We've all had the sickies around here...pretty sure Superman brought the piggy flu into our house (as is apparent from the pic above).

It spread to J-Man, who went on to go to the E.R. after a bad asthma attack. I got knocked down Saturday night, but I'm on the up and up now! I'll be doing the drawing for the $20 Target gift card tomorrow sometime.

So, if you're interested, go to THIS entry for the rule-i-oes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another giveaway!

Who loves Target??? I do! I do! Who wants a $20 Target gift card??? I do! I do!
Alas, it is not for me...but for one of you lucky people!

Here's what I need you to do:

1. Post a comment on this thread with a topic you would like me to write about on my blog. It can be adoption-related, or not.

2. If you have a blog, post a link to my blog on yours.

That's all, friends! I'll do the giveaway early next week. Good luck!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Have you ever been at your wits' end with one of your children? Pretty much given up hope that he or she will turn out to be a contributing member of society? Worried that he or she will forever be self-absorbed, selfish and not have an ounce of compassion? Well, maybe not, but that's pretty much where I fall at times with one of our little ones. It seems that every so often, this particular child subconsciously decides he will challenge my abilities as a parent, bring me to the brink of tears and make me question what in the heck I'm doing. And of course, Satan uses this prime opportunity to plant seeds of discouragement in my heart. Am I the only one?

This child I speak of has, over the last month, been consistently trouble-making. Not caring about consequences, he has had many privileges taken away, and wasn't phased one bit. We tried everything--being extra harsh, being extra encouraging, positive reinforcement, long talks, Biblical references--everything. Nothing broke through the disobedient nature we were trying to break.

It wasn't like this child was doing awful things. It was just that he was doing wrong regularly, seemingly on purpose, and having no regard for how other people {namely his mommy} were feeling.

After a month of feeling beaten down and discouraged, feeling as though this child would surely grow up thinking only of himself, I gave up. I prayed and told the Lord that He must have found the wrong parent for this child. I could not be the right mommy for him. "So, Lord," I said, "you need to take care of this. I've got nothing else to try."

Now this prayer was silent. There was no big family meeting, no discussion with the child; it was between the Lord and me. I didn't even mention it to Superman, because I figured the issue was mostly with me anyway. I mean, Superman understood there were problems, but it was generally me dealing with things since I am the one home all day.

That was on a Friday.

The weekend was fine.

Monday came, and I think my child sensed the relaxation that had come over me. Maybe I was more high-strung than I realized before, because my sweet boy has returned! It's been a good 4 days now, and I have hope again.

The Lord has once again proven to me, that He will indeed let me get to the point of cracking. But he will not let me shatter. Maybe next time this child is going through his "selfish" phase, I can let go of control faster. Maybe instead of trying for a month to "fix" things, I can remember to just let go and let God. Yeah, I know...cliche. But it's oh, so true.

We only have so much power as parents, ya know. I mean, all I can do is do my best to be the woman who God wants me to be, try to be a living example to my kids, and pray that the Lord keeps His hand on them. I mean, really, I have little to no control over what paths they choose to go down. I can't take it personally when they act out. I just have to remember they are who they are...and the Lord made them that way for a reason. Each of them is blessed with gifts, and if we find those gifts and nurture them, I think we've done our job.

"Waiting Children"

Can you believe there are over 80,000 kids in foster care just in California? Did you know 46% of them will experience 3 or more foster placements? Did you know the average time a child waits in foster care to be adopted is 44 months?

I don't know what it is about these waiting children that makes me want to scoop them up and bring them home. Almost 42% of these "waiting kids" are between the ages of 13-21. Can you imagine? Can you imagine being a teenager without a place to call home? Can you imagine going through the hormonal changes of adolescence without having your mom or dad there to guide you through it? Can you imagine every birthday and Christmas just wishing that someone would pick you to be their child? Can you imagine being rejected time after time after time? Can you imagine...growing up, being sent out on your own, with nowhere to go??

I tell you, these older kids weigh heavy on my heart.

When we were first thinking of adopting, Superman and I agreed we were willing to take a child up to the age of 5. We hadn't been parents before, and didn't feel as though we would know what to do with a child older than that. But then we got pregnant. That pretty much changed everything. We had this little boy to consider. What would happen if we messed up that birth order that the adoption agency talked about so much? What would happen if we brought an "older" child into our home, and they acted out against our sweet little boy? So, we made the decision to keep him as our eldest.

I'm happy with that decision, especially now seeing what a "typical" first child he is...Type-A personality, perfectionist, bossy. But I still think about those older kids.

There are times when Superman comes home from teaching eighth graders with stories of hurting kids. I just want him to take them out of their messed up home lives and transplant them into our home. I wish it was as easy as that.

I still wonder if when our kids are teenagers, or even out of the house, I will want to bring in some teenage foster kids who desperately need a home. But, let's keep that between you and I for now. I don't think I've ever mentioned that to Superman yet. And even though I'm sure he'd be receptive, I don't want to scare him away. I mean, we do have five kids already...that's probably enough for now. Anyone want to take in a few teenagers so I can live vicariously?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ode To Superman (and our marriage).


My Godly,
perfect balance of me.

The most wonderful dad in the world.

When looking for a photo of him to post on this blog, I realized I have only a few of him all by himself. I need to change that.

When God created this man, He must have perfectly combined the necessary ingredients to come up with a soul mate just for me. And I don't use the term "soul mate" lightly. He is, without a doubt, the epitome of my other half.

When we were first married, I was a wreck. I mean, I was pretty darn messed up. I had never really witnessed in depth what a healthy marriage was. I had seen the way my mom was treated by my dad and knew that I never was going to be treated that way. I was mean. I was angry. I was manipulative. But only to my husband. I suppose I knew no one else would take such abuse from me.

But, I digress. Those first 6 months of marriage were a nightmare for me, and I'm sure a night horror for Superman. We would get in an argument (usually provoked by me), and I would say, "Why don't you just divorce me?" Poor, poor Superman. He was and is a patient man. He would assure me that divorce simply was not an option, and that I was stuck with him no matter what.

One day, Superman said something that changed my life. He said, "Shanti, you need to make a change. I'm willing to help you, but I will not be treated like this. You need to go to counseling. I'll go with you if you want me to, but you are in serious need of help."

No one had ever called me on my behavior before. I was a master at being the kind, bubbly, outgoing girl with everyone in my life, except for the person who was closest to me.

A few short months after that conversation, I gave my life to the Lord. I had accepted the Lord into my life years before, but I had never truly given my life to Him. And I have Superman to thank for prompting me to do so. It was his perseverance and devotion to me that saved our marriage and changed it from one of anguish to one filled with joy, love and true happiness.

Superman is wise beyond his years. He leads our family effortlessly (or at least makes it look that way). He is not afraid to take risks, in fact he seeks out ways to stretch himself so he doesn't get complacent. He is fully devoted to following the Lord's will for his life and will do whatever is necessary in order to accomplish that. He is not fearful of the future or uncertainties. He is confident that the Lord will provide and that whatever trials we go through are directly related to His will for us.

I wish I could share this man with everyone. Alas, he is an introvert. Put him around a group of adults, and he turns into a quiet observer. Put him in a room with his family or close friends, however, and it's like he is a different person. Here's an example of that:

Or here:

Superman is a teacher by trade and was made to have a lasting impact on his students. He is a natural in the classroom, and he actually makes math fun (as you can see from the serious video above).

I love this man more with each passing year. And I really mean that. He is not perfect, but he's pretty much as close to it as one can get.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How did a week go by?

I don't think it's possible that a week just flew by without me writing in this blog. I must have been in some alternate universe, because I'm sure it's only been a few days.

At any rate, my calendar informs me that it is November 2nd today. That's right--it's almost Christmas! I know, I know, let's not neglect poor little Thanksgiving. I do love Thanksgiving, but mostly because it is a gateway to Christmas.

Last week in my Bible study (we're doing a Precepts study on the book of John), we had a fun time of fellowship. We have a few new gals who joined our group this year, and we were supposed to sit next to someone we don't know very well and get to know her better. We were specifically supposed to share a bit about our childhoods.

During the course of the conversation, my favorite memory came up. Christmas.

I think that word deserves the italics.

There wasn't a lot of stability in our home, but my grandparents lived just down the street. Their involvement in our lives was vital to me turning out to be a confident, contented, "normal" woman. I'm sure I'm not abnormal in any way. =)

Christmas morning, my grandparents would call before they left their house to tell us how many "helpers" they needed. The more helpers, the more presents! I know, this seems completely trivial and shallow, but for a child, it was a true source of glee. My grandparents are still pluggin' along...ages 96 and 91!

I often think about where our kids would be if they weren't with us. I think about how on Christmas morning, they would only have a temporary family. They wouldn't know the sheer joy of feeling unconditionally loved, carrying no burdens {as children shouldn't}. They wouldn't have a life filled with fond memories of Christmas morning, hot cocoa, sticky buns, stockings, and presents. It tears me apart to know there are thousands and thousands of children, just right here in California who will grow up in foster care, only to age out of the system without a family to come home to every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and on all those days when they just need a shoulder to cry on. Sigh. I wish there was more we could do.

Christmas is my favorite time of year...people tend to be more giving, they want to help others, they seek out ways to help neighbors. It would be nice if it was like that all year, eh?

So, what is your favorite childhood memory?
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