Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kindergarten Graduation

I figure if I do at least three posts a night, I might catch up in a month or so!!!

Xander had his kindergarten graduation a few weeks ago. I am so proud of how far he has come this year. For the whole first half of the year, he couldn't seem to get the concept of letters/sounds AT ALL. By the end of the year, he was reading simple words. GO XANDER!!! I am so grateful for his good teacher, who is patient and loving (he needs both!) and worked so hard on his behalf. I'm also so grateful to have him at such a great school. This year we have balanced having three kindergartners in three different schools-- yikes! Next year, Lexi will be moving to the same school as the other kiddos. Elli will remain at her school (for kids with special needs) and we are so grateful to have her there.

Congrats, X-man, on surviving kindergarten!! I think you are the most handsome guy of the bunch, and I still think you are going to be student body president someday with your awesome personality! (:

Xander with TA

Xander with principal

Xander with teacher

Princess Festival

Anyone that knows Graci and Jesi know that they LOVE LOVE LOVE princesses! So when we heard of "The Princess Festival" we knew that there was no question we would take them. (: Graci was so excited for a chance to wear her Make-a-Wish dress again!

The Princess Festival is one of the neatest organizations I've known. It's mission statement: To touch the hearts of young girls and communities to empower them in acts of service, kindness, and courage through the creative engagement of imaginative characters, stories, and events.

Every year, a new princess is introduced, complete with a book and everything. The goal is to have princesses that girls can both relate to and look up to. This year's princess was "Mila." I spoke to the founder of the festival and she said that Mila was invented because girls with short hair felt like they couldn't be princesses. Next year, they are looking to find a princess with down syndrome. Awesome. Wouldn't it be cool to have Lexi or Sophi as one of their princesses a few years down the road??? (:

As soon as they walked through the doors, they were sprinkled with pixie dust and given nametags, so that the characters could address them all as "Princess Jesi, Princess Graci," etc.

At the festival, there were princesses of all sorts. All of the classics, of course, but without the Disney twists. There were six different fifteen minute "adventures" including some fantastic plays. One of them was hearing the story of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" told by the twelve princesses themselves, and learning a dance with them.

All of the princesses and other characters were volunteers. There were also little service projects that the girls could help with throughout the day, and all of the proceeds of the festival go toward different charitable projects. It is amazing to read about what has been accomplished with this festival!

Graci and Jesi ate the whole thing up. Jeremy and I had such fun watching the magic in their eyes. I sure love my sweet princesses. (:

#1 Brother

Summer is flying by!! With baseball, dance recitals, playdates, late nights, baseball, gardening, picnics at the splash park, deep cleaning, baseball, dates with Mom and Dad, fun times with grandparents, summer walks/drives, and more baseball, we have definitely been keeping busy around here!

A couple of weeks ago, we passed around the stomach flu. Graci was the only one that didn't get it, and boy is she lucky!! It was miserable, and I am very happy to be done with not only the flu itself, but the clean up from others having the flu!!! It took almost two weeks to pass through all of us. UGH!

The day that I had it the worst, Jesi had it as well. She ended up in my bed with me and we were there all day and night. I could tell she was getting dehydrated, and knew I was as well, so I would tell her, "I'll drink a sip of gatorade if you drink a sip." It was the only way I could make myself drink! At one point I realized she hadn't eaten anything since the night before, and told her she really needed to pick something to eat. I called Taylor in (the big kids were taking care of the littles while Jeremy was at work) and told him he needed to get something for Jesi. He asked her what she wanted, and her reply was, "spaghettios." Well, after a thorough search of the pantry and food storage room, Taylor found that we didn't have any. He suggested every other food imaginable, but her heart (or stomach) was set on spaghettios. He asked me if he should go to the store and get some, and I said, "Whatever..."

What was I thinking?

I'm not sure-- just know that I wasn't really coherent. In my normal state of mind, I would never have let an 11-year-old go to the store by himself. Especially when it meant crossing a busy street. But I was in and out of consciousness and so miserable that I didn't really think about what I was telling him.

So this sweet boy got his own money and jumped on his bike. He rode to the nearest store, Smith's, and bought Jesi her spaghettios. Over a three mile roundtrip by himself on a hot summer day, just to help his sister. He came home, warmed up the spaghettios, and brought them to my room-- expecting a happy sister, I would imagine. Jesi brought the spoon up to her mouth, then put it down without so much a nibble, saying, "I'm going to be sick!"

Poor Taylor. Poor Jesi. I still think he wins "brother of the year." (:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Better late than never...

Every summer we have a Green family reunion. My parents and as many of my siblings as we can get together at one spot enjoy a week together. More often than not, we do this at one of our favorite childhood vacation destinations: the Oregon Coast. Last summer, we went to Lincoln City, OR and had a fantastic time. In fact, on the last day, Taylor told me that it was the best vacation he had ever had. (Admittedly, this was before our Disney cruise, but it was also after several trips to Disneyland and Disney World.) So he really does enjoy all of his aunts and uncles and cousins:) I have been meaning to blog about our trip in 2010 for almost a year now. In fact I promised to do so here. But things got crazy and I never got around to it. Until now. I figured we've got less than 3 weeks until we leave for our 2011 trip, so it's now or never!!!

On the way up to Oregon, I drove the 6 (at the time!) kids by myself. Christi flew up and thus was blessed with 48 hours of time to deep clean the house. On the way, we stopped at the home of my childhood best friend, Mikkel Nelson. He now lives in Boise, ID. Mikkel and his wife, April, are fantastic people. They have a beautiful family, and we have stayed with them several times as we've traveled to Oregon. Thanks, Mikkel!

We stayed there two nights and had a great time with them. One of the favorite activities was a trip to the local splash park. All the kids loved it. They also loved Mikkel's cute little dog. Here are some pics:

Xander with Mikkel and his dog:

Look out below!!!

Cute sunbathers:)

April was also generous enough to watch all of our kids plus her own and let Mikkel and I go out and play a round of disc golf together. I had never played before and I quite enjoyed it.

After golfing, we went back to their home and watched a movie in the back yard. They put up a big sheet on the outside of their home and used a projector to watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." The kids loved it! Thanks, Mikkel and April for being such great hosts. We love you guys and hope to see you again before too long.

So there is the first part of a week-long trip. I really will add more pics and stories in the near future. But it's getting late, and Mary Tyler Moore is waiting...


15 Minutes of Fame

We love to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. We found out yesterday that they just started building a home 15 minutes from us! So of course we had to go check it out. It's really an amazing undertaking. In addition to the property they are building on, they require acres of extra space for their equipment and volunteer tents and who knows what else. We've gone up twice so far, once in the day and once at night. At night they have dozens of generators powering huge lights so they can go at it 24/7. It's really fascinating.

Today we took the kids up to see. It is Xander's favorite show, and we were hoping he might be able to give a high 5 to Ty Pennington. No such luck today, but we may try again later. While we were there, we saw many of the volunteers in the blue shirts and white hard hats. One of these volunteers walked by us, then stopped and said: "I know you guys! I read your blog." So, I guess we've now had our 15 minutes of fame. It really was a neat experience to talk to someone we've never met, but who has been touched by our children and their stories.

So here's a shout out to Andrea from Provo. Way to help out by volunteering for this great family and their new home. And thanks for stopping to say hello:)


PS. You can read about the home makeover project here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

I dream a lot. I never really give much thought to meanings behind my dreams. Sometimes I will mention a dream to Christi and she'll say something like, "Oh, that was probably because of such and such an experience you had the other day." And I'll see the connection. A couple of nights ago I had a dream, and it was the first time that I ever remember a dream really representing something to me or sending me a message.

It wasn't very in-depth. I dreamed that one of my siblings was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. I was overwhelmingly suffocated by the realization that this person whom I loved so much would be locked away without chance of escape. My sibling's hopes and goals for the future had been crushed. I had the opportunity to call and talk to my sibling in jail. Through this conversation I was able to empathize with him and feel the crushing weight of his complete and utter confinement, his intense desire to be set free, and his complete inability to make this happen. These feelings in my dream were intense and real and remained with me after I woke up.

I was awakened by Elli screaming. This is not a common occurrence in our lives right now, but it does happen now and then. It was morning, so I got up, got a drink, tried to shake the cobwebs from my head, then went down to see if I could help her stop. I cuddled on the bed with her and talked to her in the patronizing language and tone that one uses with an infant. I was finally able to calm her down to some extent. As I lay there next to her, I suddenly saw the metaphor of my dream. My sweet, dear Elli is in a prison. One even more confining than the brick and mortar jail of my dream. There is no escape. There is little hope for parole or freedom, even 20 years from now. Communication with those outside her cell is as if through a semi-soundproof wall, so that most words are obscured and only the most rudimentary of concepts can be conveyed.

My poor little Elli. I have no idea what her mental capacities are. Physically, she is strong and powerful. She can cause her limbs to wreak havoc on the people and objects around her. But to what extent she has control over what she does with those limbs, I don't know. Inside her cell can she think like a typical 6-year old? At what neurological level is the breakdown that causes her inability to communicate? Does she yearn for escape? I am pretty confident that, at least to some extent, she does. There are times when both Christi and I have felt that her angst and anger are the result of the lack of an ability to let us know what she wants or needs.

My sweet Elli. As I lay there on the bed next to her, I was filled with a renewed desire to at least provide a comforting and loving environment for her to grow up in. To do what I could to help her feel wanted and loved. To help her feel like she is part of a family. A family that will be with her throughout this life. And after. For though hers is a life lived in a prison, there is One who came to break the prison walls. One who overcame death. One who ensured that all who have suffered physical and mental infirmities in this life will be resurrected with perfect, beautiful, eternal bodies. So, my sweet Elli, there is hope for escape after all. There will come a day when you will look at each of your family with your stunning eyes, and those eyes will work. They will penetrate the gaze of each of your family members in turn.

I hope to be there when you look for the first time into Parker's eyes. Wonderful, amazing Parker. Of all the people in our family, Parker it is who never gets frustrated with you. Who has nothing but Christlike love and empathy for you. I hope to be nearby when you share that first, fully comprehending look at each other. When you first embrace him and say "Thank you, Parker, for the way you treated me."

I aspire to someday be like Parker. To someday show you the same unconditional love he shows you. To be able to endure middle-of-the-night crying fits, tantrums during which you pull my hair, and standoffs where you leave your food in your mouth forever before letting it dribble down your chin and clothes. To be able to love you at those times as much as I love you when you are singing joyfully at the top of your lungs or repeatedly pulling my head close for hugs and kisses or finding great happiness with one of your myriad musical toys.

I am grateful for Father's Day. I am so grateful to my almost-perfect wife (really, if she was any better, God would take her into heaven immediately). I am grateful for the seven WONDERFUL children who wished me Happy Father's Day this morning. And I am truly grateful for the eighth child. The one who hasn't wished me Happy Father's Day, but who someday will.

I love you Elli.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Party planner

Jessica just came in and handed me a "pamphlet." It is entitled, "Jessica's For My Birthday."

for my birthday brefckist. Sochich, backin, and fruit.

kind of party. Princess

Deckrashins. Baloons and pink and purple stremrs.

Food. Cake.

Presents I do not no.

games. put the crown on the princess. Princess bord game. Make crowns.

Being as how her birthday isn't until August, I was impressed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just a few months...

...was all the time you needed to change my life in so many ways. With that short time you had, you wrapped me around your tiny little finger, and I will never let go.

With just a few months, you taught me life lessons, made me fall in love, and awakened tender, sacred feelings that I will never forget.

With just a few months, you gave me one of the hardest jobs a mom can have-- being a mother of an angel.

With just a few months, you refined me.

You broke my heart, and you healed my heart.

You led our entire family on a journey that gave a family to precious children we never would have known.

Your tiny footprints left their mark in this world.

Would that we would all accomplish so much in just a few short months.

Happy Birthday, little Jake.

Light the way home...

Friday, June 3, 2011


First, Christi's sickness was just your average flu-like symptoms. She's doing better now. However she is exhausted. Not sure why?!?

The IRS is forcing me into 6-8 hours of making copies as they are requiring me to send in documentation of all of our 2010 adoption expenses before they will send us our refund. I'm not a fan of the IRS. On so many levels.

I tucked Lexi into bed tonight. Before I left the room she loudly proclaimed: "I need happy!!!" (Happy is her stuffed animal that talks to her.) "Where is happy?" I asked. "Happy is right there in front of you!" Hmmm. Remember, this is coming from a little girl who can't see. Apparently she's heard that line before. Funny thing though...Happy WAS right there in front of me:)

Tonight Jesi and Xander went to the neighbor's house to play night games. After awhile a notice a little blond head appear then disappear at the front window. I wasn't even sure I had seen it. I checked the front porch, and there was Jesi in her pathetic little cuteness. Tear stained face and sniffles. "What's wrong Jess?" "The big kids are watching a movie and I'm too little to watch!" "Why don't you play with Annie?" "Annie's sick." "Why don't you play with the other kids?" "Well, Gracie (not our Graci) used to be my friend, but now she found other friends and she doesn't want to play with me any more." Doesn't your heart just break for your kids? Life is so cruel when you're young and EVERYTHING revolves on how popular you are and how much the other kids like you and want to play with you. So dad tried to give some moral support. I suggested she go ask Gracie and her friends if she could play with them. Jesi was convinced that they would not like her games and she would not like their games. I told her that sometimes when you are trying to make friends, it is best to start out playing the games they want to play. In fact, if you try them, you make like them! I tried to give an example of this. I pointed out the unthinkable to her. At one point I didn't really like baseball! I couldn't stand to watch it on TV. I only played it minimally as a kid. When Taylor and Parker first started T-ball, I didn't know how to coach baseball at all. But I told her that as I watched them play and learned more and more about it, I came to love baseball! "In fact, Jess, we're kind of alike! At the beginning of this year, you didn't even want to play baseball, but I made you. Now you LOVE baseball. We're like twins!!!" Jess: "Well except that I'm a girl and you're a boy and we're really different." At least she stopped crying:)


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Christi's quote of the day (While dying of sickness-induced pain)

"I'm pretty sure my left ring finger doesn't hurt."

Poor girl!

Vote for Kylie!

Kylie is a young woman that goes to our church. She babysits our kids from time to time and she is fantastic. All of the kids love her. She ran for student body office at her high school this year, and asked if she could take some video of our kids to help her campaign. This is the result: (Make sure you double click on the video to watch it in it's own window.)

Needless to say, she won an SBO spot!