Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Psalm 82:3

What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?
What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?
(excerpt from The Hole in Our Gospel)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow, sports & more

Me and my girl with a HUGE heart. We have been discussing the meaning of life lately - no kidding.  It was HER idea.  Something about being "almost 10" and wanting to know "what God wants me to do in my life."

How to spend the day when school is cancelled.  1) Head to the library on super slick roads listening to one or more kids say "Yea, mom, this is the funnest road ever" 2) Dodge low-lying branches in the middle of those roads while kids say "Yea, mom, this is really a fun road to drive on 3) Get out of the vehicle in the library parking log (aka "ice rink") and watch MJ do a wipe-out of her very own (poor girl) 4) Head home to play in the white stuff before it disappears!  Quick!

By the way...if mom and Chelsea get a picture together, MJ needs one too.  Anyone surprised by that? 
Me neither.

Jacob loves the snow.  He and Chels made a new friend (literally).  They named him either Ja-sea or Chel-cob.  The debate continued long after they said good night to their new friend.  It was sure fun watching Jacob play in the white stuff for the first time!  Sometimes he'd just lay there with his mouth open catching snowflakes.

Jared tried teaching Jacob what a snowboard was.  He tried, tried and tried some more to figure it out,
but in the end decided that sledding was MUCH easier.  

So there wasn't a lot of snow.  Do you really need all that much to get a snow day around here?  Apparently not!  Four-day weekend it was...and a hurried trip to a hill was a must - before it all melted!
 Here is what happened BEFORE the snow day.  Anyone want to guess who started it???

Silly boys...don't ya know snow is cold?
"Let's see how long I can stand it before my feet get frost bite!"
"I wanna go outside, too...can I?"
What were us girls during while this was going on?  What we SHOULD have been doing - hanging out inside, laughing at our boys who were screaming like a Corey (see older posts to explain what that means).

Found an indoor soccer league for the boys this winter.  Jacob loves it so long as his dad doesn't make him play goalie (nobody wants to be goalie, so they all have to take turns).  How do we know he doesn't like goalie?  1) He tells us.  2) He pouts, not making eye-contact with anyone. 3) He tells his teacher about it in his journal the next week...and the week after that.

The boys were on the same team this week. 

Yoswers...that's an interesting pose!

Meanwhile, the girls are both in gymnastics.  Chelsea has "real" gymnastics during the week, but wanted more gymnastics time, too.  The YMCA has a great class (I was amazed, really!) for her to work out one extra time a week, so she and MJ both signed up. 
She can officially do a pull-over now - all by herself. 

The girl can jump (and dive roll) better than I expected! 

She's figuring it out...and working on her muscles.

This one LOVES the springboard!

In other in China (yesterday in the US) is Miranda's 5th Gotcha Day. The girl couldn't stand it, she was so excited.  She wanted a cake, wanted to put in her own candle, go out to dinner, wear a pretty dress to church, watch her "China movie" and get a piggy back ride to bed.
The sweet part was when she saw her "gotcha moment" and started crying.  I don't exactly know why...and I honestly don't think she knows either.  But when she saw herself walk in the Civil Affairs office and me and Kyle showing her a Dora book and a bowl of Cheerio's, she lost it.  I got lots of snuggles for the rest of the afternoon and dad had a hard time not wanting to take her out for a special dinner.  We love you Miss Miranda!

Some great friends of ours are winding down from their Gotcha Day in Ethiopia right now...SO cool that MJ gets to share her special Gotcha Day with two more kiddo's.  Welcome to your forever family, Dawit and Meron Hammond!!!!!  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas in VA

Our first Christmas in VA wasn't in VA.  We decided to take a trip for Christmas rather than buying gifts for one another (we weren't totally lame parents...we did get the kids a few small things).  It's admittedly hard to get in the Christmas spirit when you're used to celebrations of Christ's birth with your church family and friends, but you have no church or friends.  It was just going to be the 7 of a smallish house with way too many boxes still boxed we took our celebration on the road. 

Kids got to experience a dinner theater for the first time...and loved it.

We're not really a country family, but this show seemed to have the most action.  We were assigned to the McGraw family - and our "family" won!  We were on the red team.

Best part of the show was when a girl came up to get Miranda and Chelsea to "help out".  Miranda was beside her self and couldn't believe it and was more excited than I've seen her - ever!  Check out that smile as she waves to her audience.  And Chelsea did a great job and looked like a natural, but when she came back up to our seats her body was shaking!  She said it was "cool and fun" but that she was SO nervous.  It took several minutes for her little body to stop shaking.  Of course they film each show and now I see how they make their $$.  We HAD to buy the DVD.  Fun, fun night!

We stayed at the Wilderness at the Smokey's for Christmas...and loved, loved, loved it.  It was pouring rain outside, but inside it was 85 degrees and joke!  Corey says he got a suntan??  The wave pool was a favorite and the kids really enjoyed "attacking" the waves rather than riding them.  MJ held her own, too, despite being less strong than the other kids.  When a white top found her, it took her out or flipped her over, but she got back up again - and went back for more!  She was sure a good sport about it and just laughed it off - then asked for her dad to help her get back to the "fight." This wave diving thing is sure great exercise, too!  Dang, were we all tired and sore each night.

It's harder than it looks, apparently, but Jared did great body surfing.

 In fact, they all did surprisingly well.

Giant indoor water slides that take you outside the building and wrap you around several times, are rather run - especially when they're this big.  I've not seen one this big before...and there were 2 that held 4 people per raft.  One of them dropped you into a funnel and you found yourself up the wall a few times before it spit you out the bottom.  That was everyone's favorite.

See the smiles?  SO glad Jacob took swim lessons this past summer...he loves the water like the other kids do, and we don't have to worry about him drowning, either. 

I have always loved ropes courses, but I've not seen one like this before.  3 stories and you're attached to a track above the entire time.  SCARY, but fun!

Most people know that Jared is good at just about every sport he tries.  Well, Corey just can't compete with him...until now.  Yep, Mr. Corey made it to the top of the rock wall several times!  And was proud of it, too.  In fact, he now politely reminds Jared from time to time.  For example, "Hey, Mr. 'I can't climb a rock wall', want to play X-Box with me?"                             Way to go Corey!

The girls did pretty well, too.  Chels made it 3/4 of the way up and Miranda almost got 1/2 way.

Can't figure out why his photo won't rotate like the other's did...sorry!)

Did ya hear?  Corey has a new girlfriend!

And that's how we spent our Christmas...and it was nice.  We avoided the hustle and bustle of the "worldly" Christmas, took in a live nativity before we left and talked about why Christmas exists.  About the only real question the kids had about Christmas this year was "How did those people dressed as angels on the side of the church hang there for 4 hours?"  Good Question! 

Totally random picture...she is just cute when she gets out of the shower.