Blog on the blog…

(Tyler again)

According to Eric Schmidt, “The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand.”

I know that was true for us. We started this blog March of last year to document our adoption and life after. We did so because we wanted a record to look back on, and we wanted others that are walking down the same adoption road to be able to look at it, learn through our problems, and draw encouragement through our successes. We thought a hand-full of people would read it, and that would be it.

We did not have any idea that a year later, we would have readers in 74 countries! We had no idea we would be having several hundred hits a day. Last night, I pulled up our statistics page, and I saw we had 76 hits from Russia alone!

I got to admit, that one made me a little nervous, not because I’m xenophobic or have anything against Russia or her people… I’m just a bit concerned about so much of my information about myself, my family, and our lives out there. We have identity theft protection that we pay for monthly, and we keep our important records safe, but it does make one nervous to think that so many people around the globe know so much about us.

While I doubt anyone is going to take out a credit card in my kids’ name (except for one of my co-workers, but only because he joked about it after I shared my kids birthday information with him right after I found out), I did want to be a tad cautious moving forward. Further, if people are blessed and encouraged by the information being shared, I didn’t want to just delete the blog either…

So, for the past seven hours, I went through and re-read every post, deleting kids’ names, last names, and specific information about where we live, what we do, etc… the specifics. (For you guys that plan big from the start, we understand why you refer to specific people in your lives with epithets like “Warrior Princess” or simply by initials now!). I may have missed a few, but we will be combing back through over the next few days to get them all.

Don’t worry; we are still Beth and Tyler, we live in Texas and we have five kids (to which we refer to as “big sister”, “our oldest”, or “Darth”… some generic identifier in the blog). For those of you that know us, you know the specifics. For those of you that don’t, I think the reason you visited isn’t tarnished in any way by removing the specifics.

We do thank you all for reading and silently supporting us and our family from a distance. We also thank Al Gore for making all this possible!

At the dinnermesa,

Ty

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A different kind of craft…

I love the homemade crafts (budget friendly ones), here a few that I’ve been up to lately…

I bake, it’s in our budget & a lot of our friends & family will be getting a treat for the holidays…

baking

A Monster defense kit: a blanket to hide under, we had 2 brand new blankets at the house (you could also use a twin sheet) & I just added a heat transfer of a monster face that I got off “google image search”, some light up balls from the dollar store for defense, silly string to paralyze the monster & a snack for the stake-out.

Monster kit 1

A few homemade costumes for career day.  Thankfully we had all the makings at the house, just needed to add orange duct tape, once again heat transfer paper to add some patches from ‘google image’, & we splurged spent about $8 on hats to complete the outfits.

Officers

Some pistachio shell art for the baby shower a few weeks ago & a coffee filter paper bouquet.

pistachio art (1)

I try to get the kids involved as much as possible here are our two youngest helping me flip the turtles (pistachios) on their backs so Mami can paint the other side.

turtles

Lastly I made a homework board for a sweet friend’s birthday.  Just added some pin-striping tape at the bottom for hand writing help & added modge-podged pictures of the birthday girl to the magnets provided with the white board.  A gift well under $10.

Found out that our oldest needs a train for a parade at his school next week…guess that’s what I’ll be doing the next few days.  Wish me luck!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

“Friends” baby shower…

So if you are a guy, this is not the post for you…it also has not one photo of our children in it!  Also you should know that “Friends” is in quotation marks because we based the shower on the this TV show, not because we are only air-quote friends with the Mommy.

Earlier today my friend Lisa & I got the privilege to throw a baby shower for our beautiful friend Coco.  When we first got married my husband did not understand why I love to craft, throw parties/showers, or stress out about the little details.  I explained that it is my way of showing someone that they are special, what they like matters, it’s an avenue for their family to see that they have friends who care about them & support them.  And it is FUN for me.  Here are some pictures of our morning…

The infamous “Friends” couch

Party favors a little Coco”a” to take home & enjoy, and a reminder to pray for the sweet baby girl who will be joining us soon. Also mag-na-doodles because they go along with our “Friends” theme…the back of Joey & Chandler’s door.

Coffee filter flowers for our “Central Perk” setting.

Love old sewing drawers

Fun quotes from the TV show

Some of Coco’s favorite treats

We had all of the guests draw a phrase or picture for Coco & took their pictures. Baby girl was the only one who didn’t object to me putting it on the computer…look at those blue eyes, she is gorgeous!

My attempt at chalkboard art, not up to Lisa standards but still fun

Congratulations to Coco & Javi, new baby girl is going to be so very loved!

Happy hostesses

The true secrets of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.

~William Morris

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Youth Camp…

Do you remember this TV show?  Deborah (the mom) is frustrated because her in-laws keep coming over constantly and disrupting her family’s goings on.  In the  pilot episode Frank (the father-in-law) is on a mission to get Ray & Deb’s twins & smell their heads; Frank’s words, “to suck the youth out of them”.  He wakes them up & takes them out of bed so he can just have a moment with them to be around their youth & it become a part of him.

Tuesday night I sat in a room filled with 60+ teenagers sharing testimonies of how God has been working in their lives.  Suddenly a wall of emotion hit me in the face.  As my eyes filled with tears I was reminded of 5yrs ago when we started working with this group of students…

5yrs ago my husband and I were called to work with the youth at our church.  We were both working full time.  Tyler was in school working on his PhD (aka: torture), we were not married yet so there was still a LOT of wedding planning going on.  My husband had never taught before & he had never worked with teenagers before.  We had no time, we were ill-equipped, we didn’t have teenagers, and we didn’t want to teach.  But when God calls you to serve you go.

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

When we found out that we couldn’t have children biologically rejoicing was the farthest thing from our minds.  We were angry and hurt.  We felt cheated of our God-given right to have a family.  We felt like failures & wondered how this blow would affect our future & our marriage.  Thankfully we were not alone during this time, because God had already begun to fill that void for our unborn child in our life.  “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you…The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…” (Hebrews 13:5-6).   God gave us peace about the one child that we could not have and said LOOK at the 15-20 kids that you are blessed with every Sunday morning!

These children/youth/teenagers have become our children:  we celebrate their successes, grieve in their failures, pray for them by name, worry about the world they are entering & are blessed when we see them surrendering their lives to Christ.  They have also been a tremendous blessing on our marriage…

  • Teaching taught us accountability: at a time in our lives where time is short & lists are long, staying in the Word was not a priority but when you know that without a doubt there will be teenagers waiting for you on Sunday morning expecting a lesson, you will be in the Word.  When the gravity hits you that you only have 52 Sundays in a year with a group of young people that are being bombarded everyday with temptations, sin & pain, you will be in the Word.
  • Teaching taught us that our love is not enough to keep our marriage together.  We have to have a fear of the Lord & keep God in our marriage at all times because when you break that covenant the sin affects everyone around you.  Our children are watching every move we make, how we treat each other & we must be the example otherwise they will start to find influences elsewhere.
  • Teaching the students taught my husband that he loves teaching.  Because of the confidence God allowed him in teaching the 10th graders at our church he is now on staff at this school.

We leave next week to pick up our 5 children & people thought it was crazy that I was going to  youth camp the week before we leave. Friends said:  “You still have SO much to do before you go!”, “What a sacrifice you are making for these teens.”,  “Can’t someone else go?”,   “Don’t they have enough sponsors?”,  “They are so blessed to have you!”

Oh friends, you don’t understand, I am Frank Barone.  I want to wake them up, take them out of bed & “suck the youth out of them.”  God has blessed us abundantly through these students, we have been able to “Rejoice in the Lord always” despite our circumstances because He allowed us to serve in this ministry.  Every success, lesson learned, everything good was from Him!

I pray dear friends that when God calls you to serve that you do not make excuses but delight that He has given you an opportunity.  When we started teaching we expected to change lives, we didn’t know that God would use it to change ours.  As our season changes & we step down from teaching in the youth group we leave with a happy heart, beautiful memories & excitement for the next family that has been called to serve.

They are off to change the world!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Just for us #1…

One of the main reasons our family started the blog is to remember.  In a year when we are asking ourselves, “what were we thinking and we can read about God’s faithfulness & His provision”.  In two years when we ask ourselves, “we are praying (insert request) for our kids and we can read when God answered our request for children.”  In six years when our oldest becomes a teenager and we can look back at when he first joined our family.  In ten years when our kids are wondering how we were feeling, what we were doing, how we lived before they came home.

One of the best pieces of advice that we have been given during our trek to a family is to not forget about each other.  When the kids come home we will be completely focused on them, and our roles as husband & wife will take a backseat to our roles as dad & mom.  We will take time for each other but it will not be like it is now: where we can go to a midnight showing of Shrek, visit friends on a whim, head away for the weekend with no planning, eat out without the fear of food being thrown or a tantrum ensuing.

The “Just for us…” posts are a fun homework project for me & the husband.  Our daily discussions, actions & prayers are centered around the five kids coming into our lives.  As a husband and wife we still need to take time to talk to each other about each other.  Our answers to these random questions are not going to change anybody’s life or solve the world’s problems, but they are going to be a daily reminder that we need to talk to each other and take the time to focus on a strong marriage to be good parents to our children.  I hope that in a few months or years when things are hard or happy we will be able to look back on these posts & remember…

#1.  What is your dream job, and why?

TYLER:  I want to drive around in a van and hand out over-sized checks to people.  Everybody you meet is happy to see you, I like to travel, and it will be fun to watch people cash a giant check at a bank.  And luckily we have a van, so really all I need is some large poster-board & a rich person…seems doable.

BETH:  I would be a professional whistler, much like this famous character.  I love to whistle and it would be great to get paid for it, that way I could remove all of the mouth wrinkles (compare to smoker’s wrinkles) I am going to get from whistling.

#2.  If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

TYLER: I would live in Wisconsin.  I like the Packers.  I like cheese.  I like the cold.  I like Laverne & Shirley.

BETH: I would live in Stars Hollow, CT.  Yes, the fictional world where the show Gilmore Girls was set.  Quirky characters, the Dragon Fly Inn, Luke’s Diner, Kim’s Antiques, and a great town square.  And I would love to be in the “Festival of Living Art”.

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Book ballerina…

Some artwork for the girl’s room…a how-to…

This picture was donated to the garage sale & I saved her because I liked the frame & the size & thought that it would be perfect in the girl’s room…with a small redo.

I had a lot of old reader’s digest books, that we simply do not have room for in the new office.  So instead of getting rid of them I decided to use them for an art project.  The first thing I did was pull off all of the book covers.  They all came off relatively cleanly if they were harder to get off I used a razor blade to get a clean cut.

Sweet baby Jacen came to help me glue all of the book covers to the old picture that was in the frame. Don’t worry all of the covers were cut before he came over to help.

Simple Elmer’s glue held all of the covers in place. I started at the bottom of the picture towards the middle so if any covers needed to be cut it would only have to happen around the edges where the imperfections would be less noticeable.

I am not much of a perfectionist so I would just use my nail to make an indention and cut as straight as possible on that line to finish off the outside of the border.

Cutting down the covers.

After covering the whole picture I had one open space where the books did not line up, luckily I still had a piece of this book left over so I just cut a strip and pieced it in.

For the next part I looked at my inspiration piece.  I used it as a guide and drew out each section of the picture (ex. leg, petal on the skirt, toe shoe, waist, etc) on white paper until I was happy with the result.

All of the pieces are separate & just fitted together like a puzzle. So not perfect but I think I got the point across 🙂

Then I modge-podged each piece onto an old book page.  Make sure you glue them down so the book page side will be facing the correct way.  I used a dictionary from the 1940’s, I love the dictionary pages because they are thin and pretty forgiving about not wrinkling up.  After the pieces were modge-podged I just cut them out.

I covered the entire piece with books to help flatten out any wrinkles, I let it sit overnight.

Before I glued the individual pieces to the book covers I added some details to a few of the pieces to add more texture to the picture.

The ballet shoes & leotard got one layer of this mixture. Enough to add a touch of color and shimmer but you are still able to see pieces of the book page underneath.

The tights got this mixture in a Chevron pattern. I just used a small brush & went slowly, again there are a lot of mistakes but really who’s going to notice 🙂

Each skirt petal got a border of teal mixture from these colors, or an outline of the ballet shoe colors or a border of the tight’s color.

Here she is nearly finished. But she looked a little bland…

Anytime paper starts to look a little flat I try to add in a fabric element.

So I added a ribbon waist for the bodice and some scrap black lace to each petal. I also filled in the ballet shoes with the chevron tights and added a black border around the legs to show some separation.

And here is the final product…

I did give the frame a small paint treatment of dry-brushing (color: Behr, teal zeal) and two coats of stain wiped on and then immediately off (stain: Minwax Ebony).

I just finished painting the office so next on the list of to-do items is finish the girl’s beds & dresser.  Then I’m off to working on the boy’s room.  Hoping creativity shows up and stays with me for the next few weeks!!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Bingo…

A great weekend of celebrating.  First a friend’s birthday; here is the semi-homemade present:

Container Garden with corkscrew grass & peppermint, perfect for the kitchen. I added shells for her love of the beach.

Sweet homemade garden marker with a vintage spoon & scrapbook paper, sealed with this product for waterproofing.

 Also finished a baby shower present:

Sweet Baby Gap spring/summer dresses

Embellished with hand-stitched flowers

Fabric-flower frame with children’s book art

Fabric frame was made from scraps of dusty rose fabric & lace remnants

Baby button bouquet made in a vintage salt shaker

Then off to a wedding shower for a childhood friend.  It was wonderful, filled with Latin American culture & Spanish speakers; great practice for when the kids come home!  And I am proud to say that I understood most of what was being said (thank you Spanish class & online courses)!!  Forgot to take a picture of the shower present, I gave her a monogrammed apron with her new last name’s initial, and other kitchen accouterments.  But here are some lovely details from the party:

Me’me enjoying herself in a tiara 🙂

My mom got to practice her Spanish speaking tools too; proud to say they came back to her pretty quickly!

Some of the fun details

A great game of Bingo (also great Spanish vocab lesson)

El Ginególogo…the gynecologist…gave us all a good chuckle 🙂

At the dinnermesa,

Beth