Reading Nook

Spring is here. We’re loving the warmer weather and everything in bloom. But, there’s also… the rain. I am fine with the rain Monday-Friday, but on weekends, I really appreciate nice weather so we can be outside.

Last Saturday, it poured rain all morning, but the kids still found a way to keep busy, by making a little reading nook on our stairs.

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Our dog Josie is terrified of thunderstorms, but she decided that the kids would keep her safe.
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I love these moments, when I find them enjoying each others’ company and just co-existing peacefully with Curious George and a few blankets.
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Bangs and Hearts

Lena got a hair cut. She chose to keep it long, but add bangs.

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She’s very happy with her choice.
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I love her confidence. She’s not a bold person or the stand out in the crowd type, but she has a certain self-assurance that I adore.

All self portraits come with a heart on them, because she loves people. Everyone in the whole wide world. This day, it was her mission to let every tree at the park know that she loves them.
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Sometimes, she reminds me that the world is a little bit more beautiful and people a little bit more lovely than I think of them. 
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Yes, I love her haircut, but even more, I love her heart.
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Tulip Fest

Two weekends ago, it was Kite Fest. Last weekend, it was Tulip Fest in Wamego, KS. A bit of a drive for us, but definitely worth it.

Wamego has this lovely Dutch windmill.
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So, so much to do at Tulip Fest.
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Reed asked to do the rock climbing wall and I wasn’t too sure how it would go. Lena decided to join him.
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Side by side and they were really moving, until Reed decided that he could do no more. I think Lena felt discouraged when she saw him quitting and decided she was done, too.

We replenished on the healthiest food we could find.
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And, Reed gave the climbing wall another shot. We really encouraged Lena to give it another go, too, but she wasn’t up for it.

Reed was doing really well, until he got to just a few feet from the top. He looked at me, ready to give up again, but I told him he could do it. I started telling him which hands and feet to move next and soon, he hit the buzzer at the top.
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I was very proud of him for persevering, believing in himself and listening to my directions.

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It was such a nice night that we even hung out after Tulip Fest wrapped up and played at the playground.
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And, a little hike finished off our wonderful day.

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Easter

We kicked off our Easter festivities on Good Friday with egg-dying. We went for simple red eggs again, using onion peels like we did two years ago. It’s very easy to do and not messy. And Russian/Ukrainian. We talked about eggs symbolizing the life that only Jesus can give us and red for his blood.
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I’ve had lots of people ask me about these since we posted them on instagram. It’s just yellow onion peels + white vinegar. And they are a bright crimson red when wet and dry to a brick red. Here’s the recipe we use.

We watched a couple of “What’s in the Bible?” videos on Friday and Saturday. They explain topics with lots of kid-friendly detail.

On Sunday, we went to church. That was about the extent of our Jesus-centered holiday.

For the afternoon, we went out and flew kites. It had nothing to do with Easter, but the Overland Park Arboretum was having Kite Fest. My sister had sent them some kites and this seemed like the opportunity to use them.

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I don’t think kites have any less to do with the resurrection of Jesus than Easter eggs and bunnies and candy do, so I won’t feel bad.

Reed told me that he needed no assistance learning to fly his kite. I sort of laughed, but he really did figure it out himself. He did ask me for help getting it up a few times, but he also did a fine job by himself. I was impressed.
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Gus needed more help than we could offer him.
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Aaron helped Lena get hers in the air and together, they had some success.
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Reed is becoming quite the gracious older brother, pushing Gus on swings, helping him on/off the trampoline, and… letting him hold his beloved kite.
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I’m thankful for his patience with his pesky little brother.
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The arboretum actually has a kids’ garden and it contains some “dinosaur bones”, a large section of trains, play houses, trucks to play with– lots and lots to do.
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It was a relaxed holiday, and that’s how I like them. :)

Summer Hosting!

I mentioned in my last post that we decided to host again this summer. Our family, Reed and Lena particularly, are very excited about this. Aaron and I really wanted to make sure that they were okay with sharing their summer with another kid. We talked with them about how they felt about our hosting experiences and if they’d like to do it again. They both said, “YES! What’s her name? How old is she? How soon will she be here? Can I make her a card?” Gus was there for the conversation too, but he doesn’t really “get” exactly what it means, especially since it’s still so far in the distant future.

Who?
We’re hosting an 8 year old girl from the same country as Big L. She’s just a bit older than Reed. Her bio information says that she likes math and science, as well as crafts. And, that she loves animals, especially dogs and wants to be a vet! She sounds like a cool kid and we even got to see a short video of her (a new thing that P143 is doing this year). When we first decided to consider hosting, we narrowed it down to a few kids with some specific criteria and P143 then pointed us towards her.

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What does this mean for Big L?
Big L still isn’t sure about adoption, due to her current circumstances. We wanted to keep things “open” in case she had a change of heart. We basically decided to look at the possibility of Big L’s adoption and hosting this summer as two separate questions. Her adoption is still a possibility, but things are very complicated. Hosting is at the very least an opportunity to show “N” some love and stability this summer.

How long is “N” here?
She will be here from early/middle of June until the end of August.

How can we help?
We’re going pretty low-key with the fundraising this time. I still have some MudLove bracelets and a few t-shirts left from the winter. If you would like to order some prints, you can order here. And, I am offering photo sessions for local friends.

I’ve also added a button on the right side bar which shows how much we have left for N’s hosting fees. All donations made through there (Razoo) are tax deductible. We always appreciate your donations, as hosting is expensive.

Updates on Life

My sister (jokingly) said I wasn’t allowed to blog again until their weather on the East Coast got as nice as ours. I think I might be allowed now.

What have we been up to? Well…

Reed won an award for his class this month. Each month the teachers pick a child in their class who is excelling and being an excellent student. Reed got that distinction this month– for being a great helper to all and also developing a love of reading. Reed truly is a great helper at school AND home and I’m really proud of who he is becoming.
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Lena’s class performed at the same assembly where Reed got the award. Lena had picked out a dress and I braided her hair. That morning, when Gus saw her, he said, “Lena, you look so pretty! Mama, is she a princess?” And Reed had pulled out her two fanciest pairs of shoes to pick from. She has such kind brothers. She’s also doing great in school– reading is her subject as well and her class is currently writing books.
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Gus is… Gus. As he often reminds us, he’s “special”. He’s caught between being a baby and a clever little boy. Bubbles are still his favorite around here, with the trampoline being a close second.
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I’m currently doing Couch to 5K to prepare for Bekah’s run.
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And, I’m doing a personal photography project.
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Aaron and I are trying to invest a bit more time into each other before summer and our busy schedules begin. It’s good to take a bit of time for us and take a break from the million directions we’re always moving in.
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We’ve also decided to host another child this summer… I think all of the details for that will need to be it’s own blog post. But this was a family decision and everyone is excited.

Lots happening over here and I’ll be back to share the hosting details soon!

Summer Nights

Yesterday was the first day of spring, but we’ve already had days and evenings that feel like summer. Especially combining warm temperatures and the kids’ spring break.

Aaron and I have been trying to appreciate these warm nights by going for a walk after dinner. He and I walk, Reed and Lena ride bikes and Gus goes in the stroller.
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It is the very best, warm enough to be out as the sun is setting, but without any of the bugs.
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Her wardrobe has not switched completely from winter to spring/summer yet. Winter boots + shorts and t-shirt.
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Reed and Lena are getting used to be on bikes again. One night Reed said “my bike is slow tonight!” Aaron and I laughed, but we did discover that he had it in the lowest gear, so there was some truth to his statement.
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This little guy isn’t too sure how he feels about the stroller, but it’s already fallen asleep in it once.
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And when we’re out late enough, we all enjoy the starry sky. We’ve spotted the Big Dipper, the Pleaides, and Orion’s belt.

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We’re eagerly anticipating the real summer. :)