Thursday, November 28, 2013

Terrific Teens

WE now have FOUR teenagers!  How lucky are we?  Parker turned 13 on November 15th.  It's funny, for years I was worried about teenagers.  About how difficult they would be.  And you know what?  I absolutely LOVE mine:)  Now Taylor, Grace, Parker and Cali, if you're reading this, I don't want you to get big heads.  You're not quite perfect!  Occasionally there is some eye-rolling, deep sighing and overall melancholy when chores are assigned or you're asked to do something you're not super-happy about.  But that just goes with the territory.  The great things you guys do for our family totally outweigh any challenges you add to my life and mom's!  Keep it up.  You guys are awesome!  And maybe best of all is how much fun you are.  The older you get, the more your likes and mine coincide.  The games you like to play, the shows you like to watch, your athletic abilities are all becoming more and more grown up.  You guys are tons of fun.  The other day we did a quick calculation and realized that for a couple of months after Xander turns 13, we will have NINE teenagers at one time.  Like I said, how lucky are we?

Here are a few pics of Parker's birthday.  The usual birthday breakfast in bed and a cheesecake for his birthday cake.

The feast:

Taylor can sleep through anything, even a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday:

Parker's version of "the smolder":

 Happy Birthday, Parker!  We love you SO much!

-Mom and Dad

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!  As we celebrate and give thanks, may we think of Him who gave us the most precious gift of all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Always Room

So you're all our friends, right?  You love us?  Well, probably not all of you, but hopefully most?  So I can level with you?  Christi and I love kids.  (I know, I know.  Big surprise.)  We really have hearts for adoption.  So this is my big confession…we often look at profiles of wonderful children and letting our hearts goes out to them.  Over the past several years we have probably fallen in love with at least one child a month.  Wishing we could adopt them.  Understanding that we just can't adopt them all, but loving so many of them nonetheless.  In fact, just yesterday we ran into another little guy who just melted us and we were talking about him again this morning.  I share this with you so you can understand the humor in this:

Sophi was singing a Little Mermaid song as Christi and I were feeding Elli.  Suddenly this variation just  came to me.  (Don't feel jealous, remember, I did spend 5  years in Nashville as an aspiring songwriter.  And my favorite co-writer did chime in as I went along;)

Look at these kids.
Aren't they neat?
Wouldn't you think our collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think we're a fam, a family with everyone!
Look at this home
Treasures untold!
How many children can one bedroom hold?
Looking around here you think,
Sure, they have everyone!
We've got canes and wheelchairs aplenty.
We've got eight-year-old cuties galore.
You want teenagers?
We've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal.
We want moooooooore!

(And I wonder why I never hit it big?)


Monday, November 25, 2013

Rec Center Revisited

A quick follow up to my post from the other day.  We had a meeting with the rec center on Friday and everything went great.  There is a special needs specialist that works with all of the Salt Lake County rec centers.  She was there and three people from the local center.  They were very accommodating and  the kids will be staying in the class they were in originally.  Long story short…kids with disabilities have every right to be in the same classes as kids without.  They also have the right to an assistant (e.g.. a parent) in the water with them if necessary.

So the kids will be happy, I will be happy, and Christi will be happy (as long as I learned my lesson and will be less vociferous in the event that a similar situation arises in the future:).


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sense of Humor?

The other night at dinner, Parker told a joke:  "What's red and smells like blue paint?"

A moment later Taylor responded, "Red paint!"  

Graci contemplated that for several seconds and then said, "Hmmmm…I was going to say a lobster."

Love that girl!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Taylor looked remarkably good in his throwback Thursday outfit this week:

Taylor and Parker found the socks for $1/pair at Walgreens.  They have pink hearts, purple stripes and other great colors:)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

24 Hours

Last night was pretty much perfect.  I think I mentioned that Christi got us started on weekly dates again.  It's been really great!  I've tried to be a little more creative and come up with some fun outings.  Last week I came up with the most creative one yet.  For years I have enjoyed a couple of Christmas songs by a group called Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  They are really cool rock-type arrangements, and they are often played during the holidays.  This year I decided to do a little research on this mystery group.  It turns out that they perform a rock opera every Christmas called "The Lost Christmas Eve."  I went out on a limb and purchased tickets for Christi and me.  The catch was...the performance in Salt Lake City was on a Wednesday night.

Wednesday nights.  Not exactly a time where Christi and I are lamenting how bored we are and how much we need something to fill our time.  Basketball practice for two boys, piano lessons for two of the kids and youth night for Parker, Taylor, Cali and Graci (not all of which are at the church!) leaves us feeling very much like chauffeurs.  This particular Wednesday was also the night before science projects for Graci and Taylor were due.  So I consulted Christi before I bought the tickets and asked if she could arrange for a babysitter.  She was intrigued and said she'd figure it out.  Our perfect, mini-miracle of a Wednesday night started on Sunday afternoon.  After church, one of our youth leaders approached me and asked "What are you doing on Wednesday evening?"  "Actually," I replied, "we're looking for a babysitter.  We've got a date planned, but with our older kids going to their activities, we're wondering who might be able to stay with the littles."  "Great!" she said.  "The 16 and 17 year old girls were hoping that for their activity they could come and play with your kids!  We'll babysit for you."  Wow!  Tender mercy number one for Wednesday night.

Yesterday came and we were getting ready to go.  Graci was going to have to make dinner for the littles before she went to her activity.  Christi gets a phone call from a friend.  "Can I bring dinner over?"  Christi was quite surprised and asked if this lady knew we were going out on a date.  "No, I just had some extra dinner and thought maybe you guys could use it."  Tender mercy number two.  Graci was very pleased.

We left about 4:30 and headed about 10 minutes up the road to the TRAX park-and-ride station.  (TRAX is the local transit train system.)  We took a 45-minute train ride up to Salt Lake.  We walked a few blocks to the City Creek mall and had dinner at The Blue Lemon.  The weather was crisp, but not freezing.  It was seriously a perfect night.  After dinner we spent 45 minutes on temple square.  I spoke a bit of Chinese with some sister missionaries there and they were delighted to learn about our family.  We enjoyed several minutes listening to the church orchestra practicing at the tabernacle.

We arrived at the arena 30 minutes early.  (I think this was part of the magic of the evening.  Normally I run late for pretty much everything.  It's a terrible habit, and has caused just a bit of strife in our relationship over the years.  But last night I planned the timing extremely well and the entire evening was wonderfully relaxed.  Christi loved it!)  On our way in we found a stand selling delicious gelato and figured we owed it to my brother Steven on his mission in Italy to indulge:)  Fantastic choice!

The concert started.  It was full of lights, smoke, fire, snow, electric guitars, electric violins and amazing voices.  We heard several heavy metal Christmas carols and the one song of theirs that we knew well and really loved.  And then came the funniest tender mercy of all.  Both of us were able to look at each other and realize that, at just under half-way through the show, we were satisfied.  We both thought we would prefer to get home earlier and watch a Star Trek.  So we got up and left!  It would have been easy to think, "We spent a fair amount of money on these tickets.  We should stay for the whole thing."  But I went back to my basic Econ class in college and remembered the difference between sunk costs and marginal costs and we made the best decision.

Somehow riding TRAX to and from our destination made it so even the travel time was an adventure.  We met a cute little family on the ride home with a 5-year-old boy who was blown away by my "strings attached to my lips" trick.  We met a student from the business college in SLC.  And we had a great time just being together.  It was a perfect night!

Then we woke up and it was today.  Just 24 hours later.  And what a difference a day makes!  I'll start out with the end.  In between sentences here at 10:18 pm I'm going over to the stove and stirring the split pea soup that Christi thought she started early enough to be our dinner.  We just can't get the peas to soften up.  I don't know if it's the batch of peas or the new pot we're using or if we got the recipe wrong or if it's the new gas cooktop.  Regardless, the 5-6 hours it's been cooking has started to weigh heavily on our souls.  (Don't worry--the corn dogs around 9pm meant the kids didn't have to go to bed hungry.)

The day started out OK.  I took work off to go with Xander on a field trip.  Christi went to the eye doctor with Sophi.  While I was in the planetarium and Christi was getting her vision tested, Bret, our builder, texted wondering why we weren't home for the appointment he and two contractors had with us.  Miscommunication I guess.  I gave him the garage code and he started work.  So Christi came home to a house full of guys she hadn't been expecting.  Always a fun treat!

After school, Jesi had a friend over, Cali had a piano lesson, Taylor was sick and missed basketball practice, Parker stayed at school for practice, Sophi went to a friend's house, I had to run to the store to get an onion for the soup, Christi started driving away to take Jesi's friend home then turned around as she realized she couldn't take Jesi on the trip or Jess would be late for swimming lessons, at the last second I realized Sophi still wasn't back from her friend's house and would therefore miss swimming lessons entirely, Taylor was still working on his science project, now one day late....  You get the idea.

In the midst of the craziness I got a call.  From the rec center.  About the swimming lessons.  Sophi, Lexi, Jess and Xander are in a very low-key class with two other kids we don't know.  It lasts for 30 minutes twice a week for three weeks.  They have taken the same class in the past and, due to Lexi and Sophi's disabilities the staff have invited Christi or me to get in the pool with the girls.  Tuesday was the first class of this session and I brought the kids and was in the water with Sophi.  In the past, we have received the nicest comments from other parents about our amazing and special kids.  Tears have been shed as people have watched Sophi adapt.  But this time, according to the lady calling me from the rec center, a parent had complained.  "Why was there a parent in the pool with the kids?"  (So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at Sophi and answer that question!)  And there are dozens of other adults in this public pool swimming with dozens of kids.  It's not like I was the only adult in the water.  The rec center lady started to tell me that our kids would not be able to be in the class...and I lost it.

OK.  Over the years I have really learned a lot of lessons in patience.  Thanks to my sweet wife and her calming influence, I have learned much in the way of keeping my calm in dire circumstances.  But I don't think I've ever experienced what I experienced at that moment.  I felt like something exploded inside of me.  The proverbial mother bear took over.  I started shaking.  I spoke with an intensity I've never felt before.  I told her there was no WAY she was going to take my kids out of this class.  That I was going to call my attorney and file a discrimination lawsuit (remind me to get an attorney:), that my kids had as much right as any other kids to be in that class.  The adrenaline pumping through me was like a tidal wave I couldn't stop.

After about six minutes of this (interspersed with her trying to help me see that there might be some other viable options) I said, "You know what?  This isn't me.  I don't respond to things like this.  I need to let you go, calm myself down and call you back in about 10 minutes."  She readily agreed to this plan!  In retrospect, I think part of the problem was the timing.  She was calling me less than an hour before the start of this MUCH-anticipated swimming event and telling me that my kids weren't welcome.  I felt very blindsided.  Plus, swimming is one of very few athletic activities that Lexi and Sophi can do with their peers.

I was able to calm myself down.  I called back and apologized.  We had a civil discussion and are going to meet tomorrow to figure out the best scenario for our kids.  I'm not sure how I feel about this even being something that needs to be discussed, but I've cooled down now and believe I can look at things with an open mind.

The moral of the story:  If you have a perfect day...enjoy it!  Who knows when another one will come along:)


PS.  It's 11:05.  Taylor and his partner (and Christianne) just finished their science project.  He hadn't had dinner so he scooped up a bowl of split pea soup.  It still wasn't done….

Parker describes it as "The stuff that looks like puke but tastes fantastic." :)

All Colors Are The Same

Sophi  (out of the blue):"What color are you?"

Me:  "What?"

Sophi:  "What color are you?"

Me:  "What do you mean?"

Sophi:  "What color are your skin?"

Me:  "White"

Sophi:  "My skin is white, too!  We're the same!"

Me:  "Do you know anyone whose skin isn't white?"

Sophi:  "Graci and Cali and Lexi.  Their skin is brown."

Me, trying to dig a bit deeper:  "Is any color better than another?"

Sophi:  "No.  All colors are the same."

Me:  "That's right!"

Sophi:  "We have a dad in our group!  We're lucky!"

I have no idea what prompted that discussion, but I'm grateful that she understands that skin color doesn't matter.  I'm glad that she likes being in a group with dad.  It's interesting that she sees herself as the same race as her parents.  (She does have very fair skin.)

I love our multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-abilities family!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Proud Sophi

Sophi has had a difficult time coping with adversity ever since we adopted her.  When things are going according to plan, life is great.  She's as happy as a clam--a bright spot in our home.  When something, even the smallest thing, upsets her, she absolutely falls apart.  Screaming, raging, foot stomping falls apart.  To be fair, she has improved SO MUCH in the past two years.  We are proud of her efforts.  What's cute is how proud she is when she behaves well.  After church on Sundays she will proclaim, "I was so good in my class!  You didn't have to come get me!"  After pre-school she will tell everyone: "I was so good in pre-school!  I didn't even cry!"  All of this is shared with a high level of exuberance.

This morning I was at the computer in my office doing some work.  Sophi had been quietly playing in the other room.  She came in and said, "Can I have a treat?"  I looked at her and raised an eyebrow Mr. Spock style and just stared.  After a few seconds she says in a strong voice, "I was so good!  Well!  Duh!"

Good for you, Soph:)  Stand up for yourself!


Walking In Another Person's Shoes

Taylor is getting tall.  Over 5'11 now, he is almost looking me straight in the eye.  (In fact, if he's wearing shoes and I'm not, we're virtually the same height.  He, of course, loves this.  All 120 pounds of him.  Keep eating, my son.  Keep eating!)  The shoes he is wearing at this point are often mine.  That's right, my 14-year-old son often borrows my size 13 shoes.  He prefers to use his own athletic shoes, but I often find him sporting my flip flops or dress shoes.

On Sunday he had worn black pants and black socks to church along with a pair of my black shoes.  After church he came home and changed into something more comfy: basketball shorts and a t-shirt.  He kept the black socks.  Later in the day he needed to go outside for something.  The closest shoes were my dress pair he had worn earlier.  When he came back inside, I looked at him and said:  "OK, you can wear my shoes, but never, ever let me see you in shorts, black socks and black shoes.  It is a horrible look under all circumstances!"

He humbly agreed to obey my edict and shuffled off to my closet to return my footwear.  About four minutes later he came back out wearing a shirt I wore 10 years ago in Hawaii and a big goofy grin on his face.  "How do you like me now?" he said:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Looking at the Heart

It has been many years since I've read this story, and I'm not sure if it's true or if it's a parable.  Either way, the message is beautiful.  (Thanks, Grandma Larsen, for forwarding this on:)

My house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. I lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic.
One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door.  I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.  "Why, he's not as tall as me, I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.  But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.
Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening.  I've come to see if you've a room for just one night.  I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."
He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room.  "I guess it's my face .... I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments ..."
For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch.  My bus leaves early in the morning."
I told him would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch..  I went inside and finished getting supper.  When I was ready, I asked the old man if he would join Me  "No, thank you.  I have plenty."  And he held up a brown paper bag.
When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.  He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her 5 children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.
He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing.  He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer.  He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going...
When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.  He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment?  I won't put you out a bit.  I can sleep fine in a chair."  He paused a moment and then added, "You made me feel at home.  Grownups are bothered by my face, but you don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.
And, on his next trip, he arrived a little after 7 in the morning..  As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen!  He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh.  I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. And I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this….
In the years he came to stay overnight,there was never a time that he did not bring fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.  Other times packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed.  Knowing that he must walk 3 miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.
When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.  "Did you keep that awful looking man last night?  I turned him away!  You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"
Maybe I did lose roomers once or twice.  But, oh!, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.  I know I will always will be grateful to have known him; from him learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.
Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms.  But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket.  I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!"  My friend changed my mind.  "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail.  It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."
She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven.
"Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman.  "He won't mind starting in this small body."
All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at..  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)
As I read this again today, with the added perspective of a father to several wonderfully special kids, I was particularly touched by the truth  of this concept.  Sophi, Cali, Lexi, Graci, Xander and Elli, I am so excited for the day that your bodies are resurrected, perfect in every way, and your physical capabilities will match the greatness of your spirits!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weathering the Storm

I just read an amazing quote I want to share.  I believe it has the potential to be life changing.

Tony Dungy (NFL coach and adoptive dad) wrote in his book "Quiet Strength" the important thing to remember when we feel we are utterly lost in the maelstrom of adversity is to make sure (1) our heading is correct, and (2) we keep moving our feet. That's it. Don't worry if you can't see any progress. Don't worry if you can't see a way out of the storm. If your heading is correct and your feet are moving, sooner or later you'll poke out the other side of the storm.

I love this.  Such a simple concept, and yet it gives hope amid even the most difficult of challenges.  May we all find our way through the storms of life.


Great Kids

Cali has been blessed with an amazing group of friends.  Several girls her age get together at least monthly to have  a "late night."  They play games, watch movies, do crafts, whatever.  They are all top notch kids with great standards and it has been sweet to see them adopt Cali into their group.

One of these girls planned a trip to the temple for this past Saturday.  It was so impressive to see this group of young teenagers decide to spend several hours of their weekend in the service of others.  Since I was one of two adults that went with them, I invited Taylor and Parker to come along as well.  Given the girl to guy ratio, perhaps they had multiple motivations?  Bottom line, I was able to accompany 12 wonderful youth to the temple and observe their great example of being willing to be valiant in following the Lord and His gospel.  What a privilege for me!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Special Needs Adoption

A couple weeks ago we were contacted by Huff Post Live.  They were doing a 25 minute segment on special needs adoption and had found our blog.  They wondered if we would be willing to participate in the live segment.  Christi wasn't available, but I was able to participate.  Here is the segment.  If you've ever considered adopting, it might be worth watching:)


OK.  I absolutely LOVE this video:)  The music is fantastic.  (Must admit I hadn't even heard Taylor Swift's version).  I love a cappella performances, and these guys don't disappoint.  But what I like best about it is the cute storyline of the video.  For several months over the summer Christi and I pretty much gave up on dates.  We were just so crazy busy.  About four weeks ago Christi had had enough of apathy and let me know it was important for us to date each other.  And she was right!  I highly recommend it for married couples:)  Thanks, Dad, for the link.

Silver Linings

Life is hard.  The trials that we go through ourselves can cause much pain and heartache.  But the trials that we see our kids go through can hurt us even more.  Before I got married I remember my dad telling me that being a husband and a father would intensify the experiences I would go through for the rest of my life.  The highs would be higher.  The lows, lower.  I believe this to be true.

Taylor and Parker made the Providence Hall basketball team again this year.  No huge surprise, although, since the coach was different, it wasn't a foregone conclusion.  So Christi and I were able to breath a little easier when we got the text Wednesday morning from Parker.  It was a picture of the team list.  Both of their names were on it, along with several of their friends.  We were so happy for them.  Then I noticed that two particular names were missing.  These are good kids, great kids even.  Both close friends of Taylor's.  And knowing as many of the kids that made the team as I do, I knew that both of these boys should have made it.  Prior to last year's tryout, one of these boys had told Taylor he had been praying all summer to make the team.  He didn't make it last year as a 7th grader, but we were sure he would make it as an 8th grader.  For some reason he didn't.  The other boy looked at the final list on Wednesday morning, saw he wasn't on it, checked out and went home.

Even though they're not our kids, Christi and I just ached for these two boys.  We know how devastated either of our boys would have been had they not made the team.  And we love these boys, too.  They are great kids who are a good influence in Taylor's life.  Why?  Why does life have to be so hard?  I know at some time, at some level, our boys will face a day when they don't make the team.  How do parents face such crushing pain and still go on?

Christi and I were really impacted by it.  We talked about it several times through the evening.  At one point Cali looked at me, obviously not understanding how important such a thing could be, and asked, "Why are those boys sad?"  Me:  "Because they didn't make the basketball team."  Cali, with a bit of a smirk on her face, "I didn't make the team!"  She kind of rolled her eyes as she said this, indicating that she thought it was a pretty silly thing to worry about.  I think  that was all she meant, but the deeper meaning in what she said hit me pretty hard.

OK. Find pain in not making the team.  But then look at your legs and realize how grateful you are that you could try out.  Someday you'll grow up, get a job, have a family and probably forget that you missed that one year of basketball.  But you'll always have your legs.  Some people don't.

So much pain in the world.

But so much joy.  So much to be thankful for.

Friends who rally around Cali.  Friends who invite her to all kinds of parties and late nights and church activities.  Friends who push her between classes and help her understand assignments.  Unbelievable advances in medical care and equipment.  Laws that seek to make as many opportunities as possible available to people with all types of disabilities.  Literally hundreds of people who love Lexi and who have experienced the light she brings into a dark world.  Thousands of people who have viewed videos of Sophi on YouTube and who have had their burdens lightened by watching how she lives her life with joy in the face of hardship.  (Soph just walked in and is narrating every picture of the first link above:  "Me on a slide in the park!  Me on da beach!  Me in a box!" and on and on and on:)

So many experiences in the world around us that testify that God lives and loves us.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.    Mountain peaks and ocean surf.  Tulips in spring and roses in summer.  Horses to ride and dogs to love and wild animals to marvel at.  From the Grand Canyon to the Florida keys to the vast beauty of China, so many, many places and wonders in God's masterful canvas.

And most of all, faith, hope and love in and through Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Faith that someday we will all be resurrected with perfect bodies.  Hope that through His grace we can live again with our Father in Heaven.  Love for a family that will be together throughout eternity.

And so I hope that as life continues to bring it's inevitable challenges, we will each be able to focus on the equally inevitable joys.  I didn't start this out thinking it would be a Thanksgiving post, but I guess it fits.  I hope I can always give thanks for the blessings in my life, even when the hard times come.  And I hope my kids can do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our Brave Little Girl

Sophi declared with pride this morning: "Mommy, yesterday I scared the bee away in pre-school!"

Christi: "You what?"

Sophi:  "There was a bee and I scared it away so it wouldn't get the other kids!"

Christi:  "Wow!  That's great!"

Sophi:  "And I scared it away from the teacher, too!  She said I did!"

Christi:  "Good job, Soph.  How did you scare it away?"

Sophi:  "I cried!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cute Quotes

College football commentators often quote statistics.  When they run out of meaningful ones they turn to what Parker calls "made-up stats."  Such as:  "State university is undefeated…since the middle of last season…when they lead at halftime…against non-conference opponents…from the Pacific time zone." OK, so they're not usually quite that bad, but you get the idea.  Graci, our little observer, came up with her own "made-up stat" today.  We were driving to church for youth night and she said, "Have you ever noticed that all the people in our family…who are adopted…who can see…have trouble with their legs?"  That's our Graci!

On the way home from dropping the older kids off it was just Sophi and me in the car.  She suddenly says "Lori and me are BFFs!"  (Lori is one of her pre-school teachers.)  "What?"  "Lori and me are BFFs!"  "What's a BFF?"  "It means we team up!"

I love the wonderful, funny and insightful comments I hear from my kids every day:)


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Come Unto Me...

If it seems like deja vu when you go to church on Sunday, it's because you've heard the lesson before.  The same basic messages are repeated in sermons all over the world.  Love God.  Love your neighbor. Confess your sins and accept Christ as your Savior.  Why all the repetition?  Because it takes a lifetime to learn many of the lessons.

I had one of those "I've-read-this-a-hundred-times-so-why-does-it-seem-so-new-this-time" experiences yesterday.  I had been whining to Christi about some of the responsibilities we have.  I was primarily focused on some of the many things that being a Christian requires of us.  It's not always easy!  But as I read the scriptures I came across this passage from Matthew 11:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

What a moment to reread this message.  I felt like it had been written just for me.  "Take my yoke upon you."  In other words, do the things He's asked me to do.  (Quit whining and just do them!)  And what will happen if I do try to shoulder the burdens He has called me to bear?  I will find rest unto my soul.  For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  I pray that I will have enough faith to always shoulder His yoke.  That I will push through the challenging times knowing that in the end He will give me rest.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Carving Pumpkins

For Family Home Evening the Monday before Halloween, we carved pumpkins.  Instead of having a pumpkin for each child (perhaps a bit too many!) (pumpkins, NOT children:), we carved in teams:  Taylor and Xander, Graci, Cali and Sophi, Parker and Lexi, Dad and Jesi.  A fun evening, followed by powdered doughnuts!


Party Time!

Christi is a brave soul!  She scheduled birthday parties for Sophi and Cali on the same day.  Sophi from 3-5.  Cali from 6:30-10:00.  Both came off beautifully.  Sophi had a "P" party, with pajamas, princesses, pizza and all things "P."  Cali's was particularly fun.  Christi took 12 girls to the mall and sent them in two groups on a scavenger hunt.  They had to get physical items (a french fry you didn't pay for, earrings for Cali, etc.).  They also had to get several different things on video (a random person singing happy birthday in a different language, all the girls in the group eating dessert together, etc.)  They had a ball!  Here are some pics:

What Happens When Jer Is In the Doghouse...

(It was pretty effective!)