Did you know there is no Easter Bunny…

So holidays still kick my butt as a parent.   When we were single & care-free, my only concern was to get whatever dessert I was signed up to bring to Easter dinner on time (and I was usually late).  I still have that on my to-do list hence why I am up this late waiting for my pudding to thicken.  Here are my latest holiday lessons in Easter…

Did you know that we (the parents) have to put the candy in the eggs, no bunny does it, & apparently if your kids do it the magic is ruined.

Easter baskets, kids need an Easter basket.  I grew up getting one every Easter morning (I am going to be real honest now as an adult I might still receive a little something).  It was filled with magical spring treats like the one-time-a-year-delicious peeps, a stuffed bunny/duck/chick, Cadbury creme eggs, etc. Well friends I don’t know how we missed it but we COMPLETELY FORGOT to budget for 5 Easter baskets.  Right now I had to turn off Facebook because every update I see is of beautifully & thoughtfully planned Easter morning surprises.

Separate lesson about the Easter basket, you actually need them before Easter to go to the church/community Easter egg hunts.  This morning we did not have any, so I did a desperate look around the house & the only thing I had 5 of were the galvanized buckets above my kitchen cabinets.  As we walked to the car to head to the egg hunt my youngest son asked, “Are we going to milk cows with these buckets?” Mami’s response, “No.”  His response, “So goats?”

Easter dresses, once again a time honored tradition in my household growing up…something frilly in a pastel with a hat.  Yes, the one time of the year to wear a hat no matter how giant your head is.  Boys are always in nice shirts, ties, no holes in the jeans, shiny shoes…

Resurrection rolls, resurrection cookies, dying eggs…yep none of that happened.  I have 18 hard-boiled eggs in the fridge, dye sitting on the counter, but we ran out of time.  Looks like a lot of egg salad & cobb salad for us this week.

Please know this is not a don’t spend money on these things blog post.  I think that holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations need to be special.  They need to have a budget but they need to be celebrated in some way.  The kids need to know that this is a special day & why.  We learned this lesson on our third wedding anniversary we decided that even though we had no money, we needed to do something to mark this special day.  The year before we talked ourselves out of any celebrating, once again we blamed it on prudence & maturity.  But we had missed it, we had missed making a memory.  On our third year, we borrowed a movie from friends, defrosted the steaks I had bought on sale a few months before, & turned off our phones.  Nothing fancy but we took the time to celebrate the day.

I am so thankful for our parents.  I wish I could explain to you how they have eased us into parenting 5 children.  Through wisdom, advice, help, baby sitting, & through the holidays.

My parents made the kid’s Easter baskets, we didn’t ask them too, we didn’t mention it to them.  My dad just called one day & asked if they could…yes!  Tyler’s mom sewed the girl’s Easter dresses, & even gave me the extra ribbon so I could make the matching bows.  My parents bought the boys new pastel shirts with ties.  As a prideful human being this is hard for me to confess, I want to be able to provide everything for my children, my husband has a good job, I am a stay at home mom, we live frugally & are planners but we still need help.

Tomorrow morning at 5am Tyler & I will be stuffing eggs with candy, because when you are parents that is what you do. 🙂

Tonight instead of dying eggs we celebrated Tyler’s parent’s birthdays, we had hamburgers, played outside, rode bikes, laughed, memories were made.

We may never have a perfect, by-the-books, pinterest-inspired Easter.  But my children will know the Easter story, they will hear about God who sent His only son to be our atoning sacrifice, I pray that someday they will understand the importance, the need of a Savior in their lives, the desire to make Him Lord of their lives.  We will still strive to make family moments, but I refuse to stress or get down about not keeping up with everybody else.  For you mamas out there that are in the same boat not hitting that level of perfection, keep treading water, do your very best for your children & give them to the Lord.

Egg Hunt

This is the 1 picture mom took right before the Easter hunt, as we were taking it the bell rang & we nearly missed the entire hunt & all ended up with about 2 eggs! Luckily we have generous friends who shared with us…mom didn’t take anymore pictures because we might have been teary-eyed the rest of the time. Thanks Mami!

Happy Easter friends & family!

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.   The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him. ‘Now I have told you.’

Matthew 28:2-7

He is risen…the world’s hope!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

 

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Full House…

(Tyler Blog)

In cards, a “full house” is when you have three of a kind and a pair, and you usually go all in. In real life, a “full house” is when you have three boys and a pair of girls, and you wonder how you will go all in! Seriously, if you count the dogs, we have 10 living things in about 1300 square feet of space! I think Bob Saget had a better ratio.

We bought our house in April of 2007, well before we ever entertained the idea of adopting, much less adopting five kids. We did it in a bit of a rush as Beth was working a ton and I was busy splitting my time between my doctorate and work too, but we found a neat little place in the DFW area in a bunch of streets named after Monopoly streets. I often joked about buying all the houses and putting up a hotel. Beth moved in, and I stayed with my folks until we got married that November. Let me pause right here and say it’s a tad frustrating being a first-time home buyer in 2007 when you hear about a first-time home buyer tax credit for people purchasing in 2008! Oh well. You win some, you lose a lot!

Our first house

Our first house

Nonetheless, Beth had a bed, a TV tray, and a futon pillow. That was about it. We used to think, “How will we ever fill this massive house?” Little by little, our spartan walls and floor-space morphed into a pretty comfortable place to be for two people. Some friends from church gave us their old bed and dresser in 2008 (which we still have, even though the mattress tag says it was manufactured in 1982! I was manufactured just two years earlier). In 2009, we splurged and spent our income tax return getting a sectional and a recliner for the living room. It was our first and only new store-bought furniture, and we were so excited, we slept on the sofa for a week straight. By 2010, because interest rates had gotten so low, we refinanced from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan for almost the same price (That’s the “you win some” part). By US standards, it wasn’t much, but we filled it with love and we have tried to bless as many people as we can with it. When 2011 came around, I discovered that by non-US standards, this place was a mansion as I saw how people lived in a very poor part of Peru on a mission trip. This trip also broke my heart for South America, which is why in 2012, five Colombians were able to call this little house their home too. Now, in 2013, I sit and wonder, “how did this place fill up so fast?”

Habitación de las Niñas

Habitación de las Niñas

Habitación de las Niños

Habitación de los Niños

The living room... and dining room... and kitchen.

The living room… and dining room… and kitchen.

So, for the past six months, all 10 of us have been living here. It isn’t too bad, and I know guys on submarines have it worse, but we started thinking about buying a bigger house. We contacted a realtor and a mortgage company to see what the real estate business is like since we’ve been out of the game for 6 years. Good news! Rates are low and prices are down, but we needed to act fast because these incredible deals won’t last long!

Our vision started out small. I thought about how nice it would be to get to my sock drawer in the closet without having to move the vacuum right in front of it. Beth imagined having a laundry room where we wouldn’t have to stack the washer and dryer and turn them sideways to get them to fit. We started thinking about having a nice big common room for our kids to play. We thought about possibly getting four bedrooms so we would only have to double-up instead of triple-up like we are doing now. We also considered possibly having a pool and/or some acreage for our kids to enjoy. I wanted to have a bigger garage or a storage building for tools and hobbies.

After doing some homework, researching the area, and looking into financing, we got the dollar-figure that we would have to pay a month to make it happen. It was bigger than I was expecting, but it wasn’t out of the realm of what we could handle. So we started to pray, seeking God’s wisdom, and we stacked up pros and cons…

Pros:

1. We have more space to spread out and we can have all that junk I said in paragraph 5.

2. We get a good interest rate since they are still super low right now.

3. We can buy a bigger place right now because housing prices are still depressed from a few years ago.

4. We can bless others by having parties, family events, and dinner guests at our house, more so than we can now.

Cons:

1. We would take longer to pay off our adoption debt, which, right now, we are planning to have cleaned up by this time next year.

2. The extra jobs we are working right now would no longer be for extra money to dump on our adoption debt but money that we would absolutely need to survive.

3. We wouldn’t have extra money to give to others to help them out.

4. Our marriage and family would be under more financial stress.

5. We would have to say no to vacations, trips to the museum, and other fun things that come up.

I remember thinking, “If we didn’t have to tithe…” NO! Stop! Pare (because we speak Spanish now)! You idiot! When I started rolling around thoughts of stealing from God in order to satisfy my will, I realized that I was on a dangerous path. I also looked at my pro and con list. All of my pros, with the exception of #4 are self-serving. Also, almost every con will make it harder to serve my Lord and Savior (which isn’t me).

We prayed for wisdom, and God answered, even though it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. So, after all that, it looks like our little place in Texas will be our little place in Texas a while longer. Don’t get me wrong, at some point we will move and get a bigger place, but God made it clear to me that now was not the right time. Maybe in a year or two, but for now, I need to be patient and, most of all, content.

I learned some stuff through this process. God calls us to balance stewardship with faith in every aspect of our lives, and certainly, our money is one of those areas. However, the thing that hit me was, I rarely think He wants us to step out on faith when it is satisfying our will and not His. Also, I’ve learned over the past few months, when you are close to your family, you get close to your family. Our kids need to be close to their forever mom and dad right now. They don’t need a few more square feet.

Our culture here in the US tells us that we need the biggest house we can get, especially when you have so many kids. Our culture also says that adopting five kids, all at once, without ever being a parent before is crazy too. We followed God’s will on that one, and it has been incredible. We’ll just see what He’ll do with this one!

This house is little, but it will always be the place we first called home… and as for me and this little house, we will serve the Lord!

At the dinnermesa,

Ty

I cry all the time (no really ALL the time), over ridiculous things…

Some things that make me cry…

Baby girl learning to ride a bike, how is she already this big?!?

beginning

Baby girl at the beginning of her bike ride, she would sit posed but would not move her feet, content to let Papi push her around…

ending

but 20min into the ride she was off on her own!

fuerte

By the end of the ride she wanted to push Papi!

bike gang

Our gang of bike riders, please note the doo-rags, all of the helmets pull their hair so we came up with a solution & it helps with our street cred.

Watching our oldest son in his America program, as soon as the notes to “God Bless America” started & you remember that just a few months ago you & your family were not in America & your kids weren’t even Americans, but then you cross the border home…

048

A picture from after the show

Watching my nephew in a play of Beauty in the Beast & seeing my oldest daughter get so excited when Belle comes out in her gold dress…

063

When I ask the kids “why do we need to be nice & respectful at the zoo, even if other people are not?”

And they answer, “Because we are a family of integrity & we are also children on God.”

008

And flash mobs, doesn’t matter the size or the quality, I can’t help myself…

Nothing life shattering here, just noticing how kids can change a person.  Before the babies Tyler had seen me cry maybe 3 times in 5yrs, but now weepy all the time…

I’ll try to be more insightful tomorrow.

At the dinnermesa,

Beth