Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blame the Creator

Last night, Daddy took Abby out for some father-daughter time, so Ethan and I entertained ourselves at home. At one point in our adventures, Ethan was being particularly goofy. As I laughed with him, I asked, "How'd you get to be so silly?"
With a cute smile but the most sincere tone, he quickly answered, "Because God made me like that."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Our Recent Life in Pictures

I love this time of year! The leaves are just starting to turn colors, and evening walks in the crisp air are so beautiful and refreshing. There has been much activity in the Tapper household, of course, so I wanted to give you a peek into our daily activities.
I love how this picture captures the joy on their faces. They simply love to play together!

We took a walk to the pond. There are so many frogs at the pond. That is why we brought the bucket. Alas, frogs are fast. Very fast. On the way home, our bucket was empty, but Ethan was still smiling. Don't you just love a kid like that!

We have great neighbors...the kind of neighbors that you like to pop through the hedge to visit when you see them out in the yard. However, our particular neighborly hedge was becoming more like a neighborly jungle. Last week, the men attacked the hedge and came out victorious. We now have a manageable, pop-through-friendly hedge, and we had a great backyard bonfire to celebrate! Here's Abby being cute...

...and Ethan enjoying the night. (This boy also qualifies for the "man" title used above as he was a great helping in transporting cut branches back to the fire pit!)

Here we have the conquering of Mount Lawn Tractor by two enthusiastic adventurers.

And here they are topping off the fun with some time on the swings.

I just love this pic!

This one is for any of you who only know the quiet, keep-to-herself Abby. I think she was responding to some silliness prompted by her brother, upping the dramatics by about 5000%!

Since we decided to take an extra year before sending Ethan to school, I did want to make sure I utilized the time wisely and did some things that would help the children to prepare academically. Ethan especially has not been particularly fond of anything that seems to be testing his knowledge levels, so I needed to find a way to introduce concepts without putting on any pressure. Well, I found this simple alphabet banner and hung it in the dining room. Each week, we move the little clothespin marker to the next letter. Our letter of the week game has produced great results! By getting them familiar with just one letter at a time, they seem able to focus and have a lot of fun with it. We look for the letter of the week on road signs, at the park, or in the shapes of nature. We focus on the sounds and get excited about finding words in our daily conversations that start with the letter of the week. It's D-D-D-Delightful!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trying (to grow) my Patience

At the YMCA where I work, there is a girl who comes in whose name is Patience. Now, sometimes you hear a new baby's name, and you think, "Wow...that's some name; he'll really have to grow into that one." Or I, as a former preschool teacher, think, "Oh, the poor kid. Do you realize how hard it is going to be for her to write out all those letters? I hope you'll give her a nickname." At any rate, I think "Patience" takes the cake for a hard-to-live-up-to name. I'm glad it's not my name...at least this week!

This week has brought more than its fair share of challenges -- a new class for me, changes in our schedule as Mike adjusts to fall routines, some tough situations with some friends, little activity to report in "adoption world," and, just tonight, the betrayal of our stove. Yes, the ancient Kenmore relic has ceased to provide its cooking/baking capacity. Actually, that's not quite true. The problem was more that it wouldn't stop. Mike removed his scruptious-looking chocolate cheesecake from the oven and reached to turn the oven knob off. It wouldn't budge. So he got a better grip and tried a little harder. With this additional effort, he was rewarded with a sharp snapping sound and hot, rolling metal at his feet. Ahhh, the gas has been turned off, and we are ready to admit that our occasionally mildly-explosive oven and impossible-to-clean stovetop are due for replacement.

In the midst of God's patience-work on me, he provides wonderful relief in the form of heart-lifting comments from two precious children. Abby crawled up on my lap one morning, turned, and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, you're my best friend." If that doesn't warm your heart...

Ethan, our careful observer, has put these skills to use for bedtime prayer time. If you ever get the chance to be in on a prayer with Ethan, sit back and get comfortable (somewhere that provides cover for significant giggling!) I can't replicate one exactly, but it might go something like this: "Thank you God for lights. Thank you God for ceilings. Thank you God for walls and windows and window screens to keep the bugs out. (pause) Thank you God for beds and wood and wood to make bunk beds out of. Thank you God for covers. Thank you God for pillows. (pause) Thank you God for books. (pause) Thank you God for doors and doorknobs. (pause) Thank you God for..." Pretty special. It makes this impatient (and sometimes irritable) Mom realize how much I've got right here and now!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Three Months Waiting Today!

We have officially endured three months of waiting. Sometimes it seems like the days/hours/minutes are just barely crawling by. Other times, I look back and wonder where the time has gone. Today, the hardest part of waiting is all the unknowns. We do not know when we may receive a referral call. The projected wait times put forth by our agency (based on the wait times of those who recently received their referrals) cover the following timeframes: 1) for an infant girl -- 7-9 months; for an infant boy -- 5-7 months; for a toddler or preschool child -- 6-12 months; for a young sibling group -- 5-7 months. According to these figures, we can presume that we might get a call in November, December, or January. It is possible that our agency would let us know about the availability of a single child before a sibling group becomes available. We would be permitted to accept this single child or to decline that referral and continue to wait for a sibling group. So we do not know when we will get a referral or when we will travel. We do not know if we will be offered one or two children. We do not know whether they will be boys or maybe a girl. We do not know how old they will be.

In the midst of my un-knowing, I cling to One Who Knows.

"Lord, You have looked through me and have known me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You understand my thoughts from far away. You look over my path and my lying down. You know all my ways very well. Even before I speak a word, O Lord, You know it all. You have closed me in from behind and in front. And You have laid Your hand upon me. All You know is too great for me. It is too much for me to understand." Psalm 139:1-6 (New Life Version)

Blessed are You, O Lord my God, King of the Universe. Thank You for Your care for me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

For the Love of Summer

We were blessed with a great day on the beach in New Hampshire last weekend. For me (and certainly most kids I know), beach days are wonder-full. There is the incredible sparkle of dry sand...the surprise splash of an incoming wave...the joy of friendships...the slurping and squelching of wet sand being dug into by small shovels or clawing fingers...the unique ocean smells...the toe-pulling of a receding surf...the capacity for sound travel, enabling the hearing of children's shrieks and giggles across the beach...the strong, yet still refreshing breeze...the tiny, beautiful shells and stones...

"...everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen." (Romans 11:36)