Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy 2nd Alesha Day!

On May 20th we celebrated our 2nd Alesha Day.  It has been 2 years since we stood in an orphanage in Kolkata, India and became a family of 4.  What a blessing Alesha is to our family.  It is amazing to see how much she has changed in the past 2 years.  We are blessed beyond measure.

We celebrated by going out for Indian food and eating some cake when we got home.  Alesha's oldest brother Martin baked and frosted her cake this year.  So sweet.

Our little princess

Me and my girl

Daddy and his girl

The boys with their sister

Enjoyed dipping her cracker in all the sauces.

All my boys with Alesha.  Cake made by Martin.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Alesha's 1st time at Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood 4-14-12

While the boys were tearing up the slopes I entertained little miss for 7 hours at the lodge.  Above is our adventure in the snow, which she LOVED!  Below are some pictures of how we spent the rest of our

Smokey the Bear

This wheel is spins

A box of pretty rocks on the floor at the ski shop =  1/2 hr of entertainment

Beautiful day. Sunny...must put on sunscreen ;  Cold....must put on layers of clothes

My attempt at a self picture of the two of us

Our beautiful girl

Maybe next year I will hit these slopes :-)

They have BIG chairs in the lodge.

End of the day.  Just waiting for my daddy and brothers to come to the car so we can head home.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mt. Hood Timberline Ski Trip 4-14-12

Here is a video my husband took with his new toy, a GoPro camera.  He captured this footage by skiing close to the boys with the camera attached to the end of his ski pool...CRAZY!  I am SO proud of both my boys. You would NEVER guess that this was ONLY their 5th time skiing and snowboarding.  This footage was taken on the black diamond run up on Mt. Hood Timberline.  These boys are HOOKED!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Easter 2012

I don't know about you, but Easter snuck up on me this year.  With our family having the flu the last 2 weeks of March and still recovering I couldn't believe that Easter was here already!  Darin took the boys skiing so I decided to take Alesha to a community church Easter event happening in our neighborhood.  Since I was still weak from the flu I took advantage of somebody else planning an activity for us to attend :-)  This was Alesha's first BIG egg hunt.  She wasn't quite sure what to do.  There were SO many people there it was crazy. 

I always find it strange that when you go to a FREE community event (put on by the local church no less) that people have tons of stuff to complain about.  What ever happened to thanking the people who put on the event and just enjoying yourself?  I for one was just thankful for a nice sunshiny day and enjoyed spending time with my daughter. 

After sometime they officially started the egg hunt with a loud whistle and all the kids and parents ran like crazy for the hundreds of eggs laying wide open in the grass.  My cautious girl when it comes to lots of people stayed back and let everybody pass her. She finally found a long lost egg that somebody had missed.  It was already opened...probably somebody stepped on it, but she didn't mind.  She finally mingled in a bit with the other kids, but was not near fast enough to scoop those eggs up compared to the veteran egg hunters and their parents.  In the end, she had 6 1/2 eggs compared to all the other children who's baskets were overflowing (some with 50 or more).  My little love was so happy with her 6 eggs it brought as much of a smile as the 50.  She sat quietly and opened each egg delicately as she looked to see what treasure layed inside.  A sticker, a sucker, and a chocolate candy.  Perfect! 

Waiting for the whistle

Finding the long lost egg that everybody passed up.

Trying to figure out what to do.

Alesha with her 6 and one-half eggs.

We then headed over to where the fire engines were and Alesha loved it.  To my surprise she climbed inside the truck after she saw a little boy in front of her getting his picture taken.  We made our way through the Easter story display they had out and grabbed a bottle of water and bag of chips for our drive home.  I was exhausted, but it was a fun day.

She was pretty excited to sit in daddy's truck.

 The day Easter arrived we had not decorated eggs, nor did I get my traditional Easter baskets made for the kids, we had no guests coming over for dinner, and we missed church service, too. This made me so sad.  I just simply didn't have the energy to get anything done or make plans for people to come over when I didn't know when we would be well.  My kids were amazingly understanding.  The boys organized an egg hunt for Alesha in our yard and I managed to get a few pics of Alesha in her Easter dress.  My boys tend to steer clear of the camera these days.  I guess that is a middle school boy thing.  We spent the day together as a family and enjoyed dinner together.  At least I made the traditional Easter dinner.  Most importantly we gave thanks and talked about what Easter is really about. Jesus is Risen, He has Risen Indeed!  I hope next year will be filled with sharing this holiday with family and friends.

WOW, her lashes are LONG

This smile brings joy to my heart!

Alesha and Daddy

I'm all done with pictures, mommy

The boys showing her all the eggs

I loved how she carried her basket like a purse.

"Look, I got a lot more eggs with just me at the egg hunt" :-)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

B90X Bible Reading Plan

At the end of December 2011 I was reading a post on another adoption friend's blog about a Bible reading plan called B90X she was going to start in January and asked if anybody wanted to join her.  The question caught my attention.  I had never heard of this plan before.  As I continued to read about the plan I discovered that you read the ENTIRE Bible in 90 days!  This made me stop in my tracks.  Could I even do something like this?  I have tried SO many reading plans over the years and around February of the new year I have failed once again.  Time and time again I have tried and failed.  Could I actually do it this time?  She asked to message her if we were planning on doing it and we could help keep each other encouraged.  Well I thought I might give it a try, but I wasn't going to let her know I was doing it, because I would probably fail once again.  In fact I decided I wouldn't tell anybody until I was well on my way to success.

So on January 1st I began my journey through the entire Bible (in secret I guess you could say :-).  I have never had a problem getting through the first few books of the Bible, it is the books of Number, Deuteronomy, Judges, etc. that always seem to derail my plan.  This time I vowed it would be different with God's help.  You see I had really been struggling to be in God's word on a regular basis (or at all for that matter) and thought that this plan would be the best way to renew a desire to be in God's Word. Finding time to read would be the challenge for sure.  It is very hard for me to read and actually remember what I read when there is noise going on around me.  Well in a house full of people, quiet is very difficult to find.  The late evenings when everybody was asleep proved to be the best bet, but a challenge non the less because I was EXHAUSTED most nights.  For awhile Alesha would nap during the day for an hour so I would occasionally read during that time, but as a norm it happened at night.  I did enjoy the quiet and reading while everybody was asleep, but would always feel like there was something else I "should" be doing.  Bad priorities I know, but when I looked around and saw all that needed to be done I would feel guilty for just sitting there reading.

As the days went by I began to crave my time in God's word.  YES, this is what I have been longing for!  At the same time I felt like I was under attack daily.  Finding that quiet time to read became increasingly harder to find and to actually follow through, but I was determined this time would be different!  Having my family sick through the next 3 months was a HUGE discouragement for me and felt like an attack directly from the enemy.  We battled high fevers, vomiting, colds, coughs, and ended the last 2 weeks of March with the FLU!  Yep, I finished my last day of the reading plan with 103.1 fever.  See this time I was DETERMINED to finish this goal no matter what!  The lack of sleep, irritability, and falling behind on everything made reading something I had to be VERY purposeful in completing everyday.  There were a couple of times through the 3 months that I fell behind a couple times, BUT instead of giving up, I had my husband watch the kids on Saturday and spent 6-7 hours reading to catch up and get back on track. 

I will say that it was so different for me to read the Bible in large portions and in order.  A lot of plans jump around from the Old Testament/Psalms/New Testament and I always found it difficult to keep a rhythm going.  With starting at the beginning and going straight through there is a different feel about it. It doesn't seem so choppy.  It is easier to make connections and it flows better.  I found a lot of repetition this time as I read through from cover to cover. 

When reading through the Old Testament I was so thankful that I don't have to kill an animal and sacrifice it when I sin.  I was struck by the sheer number of animals that must have roamed the earth at that time to sustain all the sacrifices that took place.  How thankful I am that Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross. I also struggled a lot with the Old Testament.  God seems so  harsh in the Old Testament.  I had a friend tell me once that it seems like there are two different God's in the Bible.  The Old Testament God and the New Testament God.  It sure seems that way at times.  I know this is an entirely different conversation, but something I observed during this challenge.  I still will never be able to fully grasp the depth of Christ's love for me to go through such a brutal death.  Reading through the betrayal of his disciples, the sheer evil of people, the lack of guts in Kings of that day to stand up for what is right, and the brutality shown to Jesus who did NOTHING wrong was difficult to read even though I have read the account many times before.  I for one am so thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus.  My prayer is that I would remember that daily and continue to fall into a deeper relationship with He who saved me.

I am happy to say that for the first time in my life at the age of 41 I can say without a doubt that I have officially read every word of the Bible from cover to cover.  This is not to boast in anyway.  In fact I am sad that it took me to the age of 41 to accomplish this.  Yes, I am sure that I have read most of the Bible throughout the years, but I could never say with confidence that I had read the entire thing.  When I hear of people who read through the Bible every year I now know what a huge accomplishment that is.  I am still surprised that I actually completed a goal that I set for myself.  I don't set many goals for myself for fear of failure.  I honestly still didn't think I would be able to do it.  I am thankful that a challenge was set out there for me to take part in if I chose.  If this plan is something that you think you might like to do, please leave a comment for me or send me a message.  I would love to encourage you along your journey if you chose to do it.

One thing I wished I had done was to have a plan for when I finished the B90X plan.  I have struggled since finishing the last day of March to be in God's word.  It is SO easy to fall back into our old ways.  I am praying that I will get my priorities in order again and make that time to kindle my relationship with my Savior.   

Thursday, April 26, 2012

March update

We started March off with Alesha's 3rd birthday (see post below), then the boys tried skiing and snowboarding for the first time, we attended our first Holi Festival,  we lost our beautiful cherry blossom tree from the "out of the blue" snow, and the boys had their 2nd band concert of the year.

I scored a sweet deal on SharingSpree for a rental of ski equipment, a lesson, and an all day lift ticket.  We have been waiting for such a deal for quite some time.  After seizing the opportunity both boys were outfited and headed up to Mt. Hood Summit with their dad for their first taste of skiing and snowboarding.  These boys were hooked after the first couple hours.  They had the perfect weather and by the end of the day you would never have guessed it was their first time on the mountain.  It has been great to see the boys share in their dad's love of the mountain.  They have a blast EVERY time they go and can't wait until the next weekend arrives to head back up. 

Luke is in the gray coat getting some instruction
Martin headed down the mountain after his lesson.
On March 10th we attended our very first Rang Barse (Holi Festival).  This was SO much FUN!!  We had hoped that 2 years ago we would have been in India bringing our daughter home, celebrating Alesha's first birthday, and celebrating Holi in India, but our adoption story didn't play out like we had planned.  When I started talking about a possible Holi Festival here in our area with Sushmita the owner of Bollywood Movez, I was really excited!  Let me tell you, this lady really knows how to throw a party! 

I was surprised by the sheer number of people that came (500 + people).  There was LOUD Indian music playing, Bollywood dancing, a catered Indian lunch, and lots of color, color and more COLOR!  Alesha, seemed a bit timid at first and then as the minutes ticked by  time went on I watched as she completely check out.  It was so strange to see that blank stare and that look of vacancy in her face.  It was reminisent of when we first brought her home.  I think it was just too much at once.  After about an hour she came out of her "shut down" mode and really began to engage in the activities.  She was throwing color, eating, and wiggling to the music.  I was not sure how she would react to the event, but was surprised by the complete shutting down.  It made me so sad to see her like that.  Maybe it brought back too many memories for her.  Whatever the case, she brightened up and enjoyed the rest of the day.  We had a BLAST and we will be first in line for tickets to next years event!
So excited to go, we purchased the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th adult tickets and the 2nd chilren's ticket to the event :-)

The kids before the real party started.  Sushmita dabbed color on Alesha's face when we first cute.

Look at those beautiful colors!  Alesha, wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

Luke on the other hand caught on in no time.

This was about half way through the throwing of color.

Toward the end of the color throwing

Martin completely covered in color

Me and Alesha towards the beginning

Daddy, Alesha, and Mommy at the end.

We ran into a few friends, too.

March 22nd we had a very wet and heavy snow that fell.  As a result in the middle of the night we heard a very LOUD scraping noise.  It would best be described as a small cat trying to get traction as he slid off the roof.  That was the first sound that startled us from our slumber quickly followed by what I would call a bobcat or lion trying to get fraction as he slid off the roof.  It scared the dickens out of me.  We looked out the window into our pitch black yard and didn't see anything that stood out as strange.  We just said that was really weird and went back to bed.  Well in morning this is what we saw as the sun started rising.  YIKES!  Our HUGE cherry blossom tree in the back yard could not withstand the weight of the heavy snow and came crashing down in the middle of the night.  Thankfully it missed the house, but the sound we heard was the branches scratching the windows and side of the house as it fell to the ground.  Mystery solved, but WOW, what a mess we had to clean up.  It ripped up the fence when the roots of the tree popped out of the ground.