Christmas Lights!

I’ve decided that I need to simplify blogging a bit and one idea I have is to share a single photo and the story behind it.

Our town lights the main downtown street up with gorgeous Christmas lights from Thanksgiving until after Valentine’s Day. This year, every time we were remotely in that area, Gus would ask us to drive down the street and see the lights. He always knew when we were in area… “I want to see a Christmas lights!! I wanna see a Christmas lights!”



We always caved, because who doesn’t love the one of Christmas lights, especially through the eyes of a 3 year old.

Role Reversal

Gus didn’t want to get ready for bed tonight, so Aaron slipped Gus’s pajamas over his ankles. Then, I told “Papa” that he better put “Gus” to bed.

“Did you remember to tuck him in?” “Oh!”




“Did you read Gus a story?” “Oh!”



“Did you turn off the light?” “Oh!”


Goodnight, “Gus”.

Valentine’s Day

My most memorable Valentine’s Day was 3 years ago. That day, I found myself in the very cold city of Moscow, where I met my youngest love.


I hardly even recognize that kid anymore. A shadow of who he really is. At one year old, smiles were hard to come by.

Quiet, observant, stoic. That’s how he seemed.

We didn’t see any bits of his personality until 3.5 months later, after our court trip, when we finally started to see his goofy and wild spirit come out.


Now, he’s the family wild spirit. He keeps everyone laughing.

A few mornings ago, he woke up sick. Normally, he wakes up smiling, chatty long before the rest of us are ready to hear a sound. On the dark, freezing winter mornings, I joke it’s the Russian in him, better adapted to the dark and the cold than the rest of us. But this morning, I turned the lights on, patted his back and then headed downstairs, knowing he’d get up when he was ready.

And when he did, he just cried and screamed. I picked him up and he started to calm down. A minute later, I tried to put him down again, so I could help Reed and Lena get ready, but the screaming started again quickly. All he wanted was to be held. So, held him I did. In the moments that are usually spent rushing around the house to get his siblings ready for school, we sat on the couch and he pressed his body into mine, positioning my arm around him like a seat belt. He relaxed and quieted.

Those moments of sitting on the couch, holding him, were sacred. I often wonder if I’m doing this parenting gig right. Maybe I’d be a better parent if I had more experience, if I was less busy, if I was just a more patient and gentle person, but you know what? In that moment, Gus would have settled for no one else. In that moment, I knew that I, with all of my flaws and imperfections, was enough for him. He felt loved and secure with me.

My heart keeps jumping to the host kids. The listings for many of the hosting groups are up, or will be soon. I read the little bits of their stories and I wish I could hug each one of them, tell them that someone cares. Parenting a teenager isn’t remotely the same as parenting a preschooler. But, when they’re sick or when they’re hurting, they still crave that love of a mom. They want someone to care and nurture them, too. Not the perfect family, but a flawed and imperfect family who loves them as they are. They all need someone to make them feel secure and cherished.

Maybe you’re that somebody?

Project 143 | New Horizons for Children | Children’s Cultural Connection | Frontier Horizon

Bad Hair Day

Buzz. Tears. Hair everywhere. That’s how our snow day ended.

Reed has been begging to have all of his hair shaved off since last summer. Aaron had been putting it off, but we had a good reason to go ahead with it last week.

I showed him some images to confirm it was what he wanted. He was very excited.

Then came the clippers and minus a few “don’t cut my ear!” requests, it was fine.



Ears safe, but the tears came when he looked in the mirror.

It was not what he expected.





Ah, the disappointments of a haircut you just don’t love on yourself.

One week later, I think he’s pretty well over his disappointment now. I told to him about the military induction haircut and that changed his attitude. He is fascinated with “army men”.

It was not fun to see his disappointment over his hair, but I’m still glad Aaron did it for him. I am a big fan of letting kids make their own mistakes (at least when they don’t mean hurting anyone) and this may have been one of those. And, hair or no hair, I think he looks pretty cute.

35/365: Snow Day

We finally got snow today. We’ve barely had any snow at all this year. Definitely some colder weather, but not more than a light dusting of snow. We still hardly got more than a light dusting, but at least we got a chance to play in it.

It was supposed to start this morning, but around lunchtime, still no snow. I thought it might miss us.

But, when Gus and I left to pick up Reed and Lena from school… the ground was covered in white.

This young sir LOVES falling snow.



We picked Reed and Lena up from school, but not everyone shared out excitement over the snow. One of Reed’s classmates informed us that the snow was “graupel”, little balls instead of the usual flakes.

Dogs just wanted to go in.

Gus, on the other hand, asked me if he could go “jumpin”. Oh, why not.



I made him come in after just a couple of minutes, much to his disappointment.

I really encouraged Reed and Lena to play outside in the snow, too, as this is the only snow we’ve had a chance to play in, and who knows if it will snow again this year.

She took my suggestion and then just looked miserable.

Reed, on the other hand, took my suggestion and had a blast.


The snow did eventually turn into snowflakes as well, so I spent some time alone outside with my camera as well.


While I’m ready for spring, one snow day every once in awhile isn’t so bad!

20 Birthday Questions (Gus – 4 years old)


Just like I did for Reed and Lena this year, I made a video of Gus answering his birthday questions. I also typed out his answers to the questions, but I really, really recommend that you watch the video. It’s so very Gus.

1. What is your favorite color? Tractors? “Like, is your favorite color green or red or yellow?” Black

2. What is your favorite toy? Cars

3. What is your favorite fruit? Food! “Like bananas or grapes or strawberries or watermelon?” Watermelon

4. What is your favorite tv show? Ummm… good sister

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Quesadilla

6. What is your favorite outfit? Underwear

7. What is your favorite game? Presents? Playin’ with my ball! And birthday and presents!

8. What is your favorite snack? Crackers

9. What is your favorite animal? Cat. Cat. Meow! Meow! Meow!

10. What is your favorite song? Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o!

11. What is your favorite book? Elmo

12. Who is your best friend? “Is it Lena?” Yeah.

13. What is your favorite special treat? Ice cream

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Jump-aline

15. What is your favorite drink? Water… no… juice.

16. What is your favorite holiday? “Like Christmas or Halloween or Fourth of July with the fireworks?” (talks about how he was scared of the fireworks)

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? “Maybe Doggie?” Yeah

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Muffins

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Lollipop!

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Funny cake

I thought I only started the birthday questions for him a year ago, on his third birthday, until I discovered this video I recorded on his second birthday, where he scarfs down cake and answers almost every question with “no”.

Here’s the post with his third birthday questions– only typed, no video unfortunately.

Gus’s 4th Birthday

It’s pretty great being 4.

Gus got a pretty laid back 4th birthday. We got some winter weather today, so we hung out at home.

We played on my bed.



He opened gifts.

I made him a jib-jab birthday card. And it was funny the first time.

But, it only seemed to get funnier and funnier to him the more he watched it.2015-02-01_0008

And of course, there was cake…


Gus’s birthday is always a special one for me. We committed to adopt him right around his first birthday and met him just 13 days later. The other thing that’s so special about his fourth birthday is that this is the first birthday we’ve celebrated with each of our kids. Reed was almost 4 when we adopted him, so it’s fun to see how they’re all different at 4 and also see some similarities, too. Here’s a post from Lena’s fourth birthday and here’s a post from Reed’s fourth birthday.

Happy Birthday, Gus!