Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Family NIght #2

I had mention before that we are going through a study our church; Austin Stone called Family Primer. It's a back to the basics kind of study and I like that. I confess that there are times when I need to just sit down and be reminded what the basics really are. I especially like that it's causing me to notice that my kids are always watching me and my faith. And I want them to see that I'm never too busy to read the Word, Pray, to Give to Others, live in Community, Serve the Church Family, and do Mission Work.

This week was all about prayer especially in the context of parenting.
Prayer is critical for parents in three specific ways:
1) To grow closer to their Creator and their Savior
2) To minister to their children by praying for them and over them
3) To model and teach their children to pray

Family night this week started at Chick-fil-a (Tuesday is kids eat free night). The boys got to play on the playground and Connor got his face painted.
Then we headed back home and played. We finished the night off doing a family craft. We made "prayer bears". The boys decorated two paper plates and glued on the face, hands, and feet of their bear.
Then we wrote down people we want to remember to pray for and put those names inside the two paper plates. Daddy stapled them together and helped the boys finish their PRAYER BEAR.
It was another fun family night.

Here's a few questions for parents out there. Do you take time to pray over your children? (And I mean really specific prayers) Do you pray together as a family at least once a day? And finally do you encourage your children to pray on their own? I understand that life gets hectic and busy, but Moms and Dads please never be too busy to teach, model, and just pray with your kids!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Adoption Journey: Foster Class #2

Separation, Loss, and Grief was the title of the class this week so you know that there were lots of laughs and fun stories; NOT. It was a lot of heavy stuff, but because I'm the glass-is-always-full kind of girl, I saw a lot of opportunities for God's grace, goodness, and love. I took a lot of classes that dealt with these big issues back in college and even had to take a class called loss, death, and dying (it was a really uplifting class I tell ya). Why didn't anyone tell me that the boring stuff we studied in college would actually matter one day??? I might have paid more attention in class and actually read what I was supposed to. (probably not hehehe)

I could write about the loads of information we got last night about what these kids are going through, but like I said I'm not that kind of girl. I don't want to talk about all the negative stuff. Instead, I wanna talk about what our role will be in these babies lives (as of right now that's the age we feel called to foster, I hope that one day we are called to foster older kids too, but we want to always be able to adopt when needed)

50% of what we need to know for life is learned in the first year of life
This hit me hard. My first thought was about my kids and what the heck we did that first year and if it was "right." And, then my second thought was that I'm excited that in some cases I'll be used by God to help these babies get the love and healthy attachment they have to experience and learn that first year. I'm sure that for some in the class they were freakin' out (especially those who want to only adopt) because foster kids are being taken out of their homes for a reason. I'm pretty sure it's not because healthy attachment and perfect parenting is happening.

I'm still processing what kinds of things I need to start doing to prepare my head and heart for caring for these babies. I'll need to reread a lot of material on healthy attachment, therapy play, care giving for malnourished, unattached, hurting, sometimes physically abused, and needy babies. But, for now I'm going to cling to God's perfect plan for these kids. I feel so lucky that God can and will use me and our family to help love these babies as long as they are in our home.

Next week we get to ask questions and listen to a panel of veteran foster parents. I'm very excited about that. What question would you ask?

*Last year 14% of Austin, TX kids in foster care were reunited with families, 26% were adopted, & 57% aged out with no support. 57 PERCENT!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Scott came to visit

Adam's brother Scott came in for a quick visit. He hadn't met Bryce or Alexis yet, so it was ABOUT TIME! It was a fast visit, but we had a great time.
We had an adoption conference all morning and then came home and crashed. After that we went to dinner at Hula Hut one of our favorite restaurants which sits right on the water. (Actually we eat on the pier which I guess is on the water) Then Adam, Scott, and Daniel went out to explore downtown together. It was fun but too fast and we hope we get to see Uncle Scott again soon.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Family Night #1

We started a new family study this last week; called "Room for the Whole Family". It makes you sit down and really ask some of the tough questions, which is good. Things like "Which of these 2 scenarios would give your children a greater love for God's Word. You telling them they should read it , or them seeing you read the Bible on your own and reading it to them?" This week really concentrated on God's love for you and your family and how to show that to eachother. Each week we are given a wonderful family activity to do together. This week we hide little notes around the play room. Half of them were love notes from Mom and Dad and the other half were simple bible verses about God's love. Here's a picture of the notes I made.
I hide the notes while the boys were getting their shower. Then when they came out we let them hunt for them. This was especially fun because Connor had to help Bryce find his. (I love it when Connor acts like an awesome big brother!)
Then we sat down all together and Daddy helped the boys read their special notes. I didn't know how well this would go over, but the boys pretty much thought that they were the coolest things ever!
After reading the cards we had a little talk about love. First I asked the boys who loved them? Then we talked about how we show people that we love them. We hug them, tell them "I love you", do nice things for them, help them, and write notes that say "I love you". Then we talked about the notes the boys got that were Bible verses and how the Bible is one big giant love note from God. Next Daddy read the story; "The Story and the Song" from the The Jesus Storybook Bible. (If you don't have this Bible you HAVE to get it, it's incredible!)
We ended our family night playing a couple games of Wii bowling! (Cause that's how we roll!)
I'll continue posting our family night activites because these ideas are so much fun!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Confessions: It's time to be real

I recently read a post from another blogging Mom about "being real". That sometimes the blog world is all about cute pictures of babies, cute Mommy crafts(I don't CRAFT), kids reading at 3 and potty trained at 1, etc. I hope that my blog never becomes something fake and discouraging to other Moms out there SO.... I thought I'd lay it out there and confess some of my lowest moments as a Mommy. (Enjoy!! I know you will.....)

1) I wait until the diaper is about to fall off before I change it. I hear those suckers can hold pounds and pounds of pee so I'm sure I'm all good. (If it's dirty I change it...I promise)

2) Sometimes the ONLY vegetable my kids get are the fries from chick-fil-a.

3) My kids can't sing 1 "normal" little kid song,(Wheels on the bus, BINGO, Old McDonald) because quite frankly I can't stand them. We listen to Toby Mac, Pink, Reliant K, etc, etc

4) I don't wash the sheets every week. And I'm doing good if I wash their towels more than once a week. ( I hate laundry) And I don't sort our clothes either! All of our clothes go in the wash together! Hehehe

5) I've thrown banana peels, apple cores, and other unfinished snacks outta of the car window. I then tell my kids that I'm feeding the birds. (Like that makes it any better)

6) I let my kids eat snacks in the car. (I never wanted to be that Mom)

7) We have "lost" sippy cups with milk in them and then found them a day later. (My kids might have tried and succeeded in drinking out of it before I could stop them)

8) I have had to walk outside so I could scream.

9)I've left a cart of groceries in the store without telling anyone after discovering I'd left my wallet at home.

10) I've pulled over and made my little boy pee on the side of the road because I was too lazy to unpack the rest of the kids out of the car and go inside a gas station.

11) I've let my boys play in a public fountain more than once in just their underwear. (Once it was during a house showing and once while on vacation)

12) I make pb & j for lunch pretty much everyday (yeah my kids love it), but really I'm just lazy.

13) I let my little cute boys play with toy guns and they even shoot each other.

14) I let my kids eat their sugar filled breakfast (I make a protein shake to make myself feel better about their horrible breakfast) while watching TV some mornings. I'm not the best Mom in the mornings and sometimes Imagination Movers is the only way I survive.

15) I dropped a full jar of peanut butter on my foot once while making yes pb & j (I swear they like it) and it took every single little bit of will power I have to not cuss. Connor kept asking me "What Mommy?" And I was like "What do you think Connor I just broke my foot?" All day long Connor kept asking about my broken foot. I'm proud that I didn't say the cuss word I wanted to so badly, but I did scream loud enough to scare and make Alexis cry.

Whew! Talk about being real! What about you? Any awesome Mommy moments you wanna share?
I had to post one cute picture on this post, it felt like it was lacking something. Oh yeah that is my barely 8 MONTH OLD baby cruising on the stairs. (Notice that there is NO baby gate up) Thank you Jesus for grace everyday. I love being a Mommy and am so glad that I can be honest that I mess up and wanna scream some days, but then I get 3 sweet kisses and 2 "I love you"(Alexis is still working on talking) each night and that makes it all worth it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Skeese Greets Women's Triathlon

I like to push myself in everything that I do. It's kind of one of those things that is just me. I'm a firm believer that you will never know just how much or what you are really capable if you don't push yourself. There are times when I failed when I pushed myself and times when I've achieved things I never imagined. So I'm going to push myself again and compete in a all women's triathlon in May of this year. It's a triathlon sprint which is really good because my knees could never run 26.2 miles!! I'll have to swim 300 meters (about 1/4 of a mile), bike 12 miles, and run 2 miles. I'll keep you updated with my training and I'll also need your help because I want to raise money for HELP HAITI.

This is new to me and kind of scary. Here are some of my fears so far (there will be more)

1) I've never competed by myself. I've always been on a team. This is me against the world so to speak.

2) My pride is going to be wounded A LOT. This is my first triathlon and because this is a national one, there will be professional competitors there. I'm scared of getting absolutely destroyed. And if I'm the last in my group I might cry like a little baby.

3) My body holding up. I have terrible knees. They're so bad that my surgeon can't even do anything more for me until I'm at the age when you can safely get them replaced. Can they hold up?

4) Do I have to eat healthy now? I HATE eating healthy. I love food way too much. It's one of the biggest reasons I work out as hard as I do, because I want to be free to eat CRAP!!! I'll probably have to change my diet once we get close to the race.

5) Wearing a bathing suit or sports bra in front of all those in shape and very skinny women. This one might seem really ridiculous. But you go running around in your swimsuit or sports bra a lot? I DO NOT EVER! But in a women's tri there's a dress code. I can't wear my standard lose basketball or soccer shorts and over sized free youth t shirt. I'm going to have to wear what's required and it scares the you know what outta me. (This is so scary it's got me rethinking fear # 4 but I have no will power when it comes to food and that's not why I'm doing this race)

*For my Mom: I'm going to be training on Lifetime Fitness' women's team, so I'll have a professional helping me throughout this whole process. (Don't worry)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adoption Journey: Foster Class #1

We had our first foster care certification class last night. It was great to put some faces to people I had been emailing at Arrow (our agency) and to meet families who are interested in fostering/adopting too. It was a very basic introduction type class so we didn't really "learn" anything new.
EXCEPT THIS! There is a huge need for certified foster babysitters. Because foster babies and kiddos are wards of the state not just anyone can babysit. So that means families out there sacrificing a lot already are not getting chances to go out for a dinner or movie sometimes.....EVER. Could you imagine??? So I'm spreading the word(and you should too). It only takes about 3-4 hours to become a certified foster babysitter. Selfishly I want lots and lots of friends and family to become certified because Adam and I would like a night out every now and then. But my prayer is that you think about what a blessing you could be for families who are giving so much. 4 hours?? and a couple hours here and there to babysit. If you can't or haven't felt called to foster or adopt I can't think of a better way to help serve the orphans in your own city.

*In the US there are approximately 500,000 children in foster care (Jan 2008)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Verge 2010

Adam had the chance to go to Verge 2010 last weekend. It was a conference that basically asked a lot of questions. I don't want to sound preachy and that's not the point of this post. Instead I ask that you read through and really think about the following questions.....

If you didn't KNOW the truth that is Jesus Christ would the "Christian way of life" be appealing to you?

Are we (the church) doing a good job showing the things Jesus preached to the world? If no, why not?

Are the things that happened and how the Christians acted in the New Testament just made up stories or real? If it's real, why don't our churches look like them?

For too long I felt like as long as I tithe, prayer daily, read my Bible daily, memorized scripture, went to church, served at that church, and did some extra stuff here and there I WAS ALL GOOD. But honestly is that what Jesus asked us to do?

If you asked your child to "Go and clean your room". And when you came back hours later to check on him or her you asked "Did you do as I asked?" What if your child looked up at you and said "Well no....but I did memorize what you asked see "Go and clean you room. Oooh and I can say it in Hebrew and Greek"?

I'm still working through some of these questions. But I do know that I can and am going to do better. I'm going to act like my faith is the MOST important thing in the world to me. More important than my husband, kids, my clean house, the gym, my NAPTIME. I'm going to do more than just preach at my kids, I'm going to live it. I'm going to love those whom Jesus ASKED me to love; the homeless, the ORPHAN, the widows, the NEEDY. I'm going to love on those who don't know Jesus, no matter what. I'm going to make my life worth something for the kingdom. I'm going to back up what I say and believe with actions.

Join me by asking the hard questions and watch this video. Have we forgot to pick up the manual and yes read it, but actually do what it says???!!!!!

The Big Red Tractor from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

Look foward to more posts about how our family is trying to live this out.......

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Alexis is crawling....

So Alexis has been crawling for like 3 weeks and I got in trouble for posting no video! So here it is..... She is really getting FAST! And I need to start thinking about baby gates very soon... Today I looked over and watch that little munchkin pull herself to a standing position on the couch. AGH!!! My little baby is growing up way too fast.

Alexis Crawling from Adam McManus on Vimeo.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Single Mom Weekend

Adam got a chance to go to Verge 2010, a super AWESOME conference about what God is stiring in some of the biggest and smartest Christian leaders today, this last weekend. I was so excited that he got to go, and I will post about it later. But, that meant that I was home by myself for the weekend. I know that in reality I'm only "by myself" 3 extra awake hours each day, but those last 3 hours each night are brutal to me. I feel like the boys are just ready for some Daddy time. I wanted this time to be fun so I tried to come up with some extra special activities to do. Here they are.....
We played "play-doh" and made Valentines
We played a new fun game called "scavenger hunt". I hid a bunch of little toys all over the room and then let the boys find them. Kind of like an Easter Egg hunt but anytime anywhere. They loved it and kept trying to play it over and over again throughout the weekend. I kept finding toys hidden in my couch cushions and under the rug, which was kind of funny! While vacuuming one time, I found a plastic bug and screamed and jumped, the boys thought that was HILARIOUS!
Alexis had fun as long as Mommy was near.
We had a dance party one night. I blasted fun music and we ran around, danced, exercised, and just HAD FUN!
And we had a movie night! We watched Kung Fu Panda and had yummy snacks.

Overall, we had a great time. Although it takes some more effort from me, I'm glad that I got some extra special time with the kiddos. (I want my readers to know that the house wasn't able to stay as clean as it usually is. SEE sometimes my house isn't "clean". Hahaha)

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Boss

I am the oldest and grew up hearing "You're not the Mom I am" or "Jennifer Marie you are not the boss" A LOT!! If I could pick one thing that I got in trouble for the most growing up it was acting like the Mom or the Boss. Well guess what??!! I birthed me a little clone....a little boss. And to put it nicely he's driving me NUTS!!! Apparently Bryce and Alexis aren't the only lucky ones who get to be bossed around by the Con-man.
Connor (AKA the Boss)

"Mommy are you wearing your seat belt the right way?" I admit that this is a bad habit, and I have no good reason why I do it. But I wear my seat belt incorrectly and always have. Connor has become a little police man and makes me put it on correctly every time we drive anywhere.

After trying a horrible drink called "Muscle Milk". "Mommy you need to try new things (sings the song I sing to the boys) try new things, try new things. You've never know what you'll like till you try new things." It was absolutely disgusting by the way!

Yeah I say "shut up" a lot. Never to someone in a mean way, usually when I'm surprised or shocked. "Mommy we don't say "shut up"!

"Mommy you need to be nice and show your kind heart to others" After I told Connor he had to go to the corner, because he disobeyed.

After eating ONE Hershey kiss. "Mommy you need to make healthy choices with your food, and that's not cause it's candy. Do you want your teeth to fall out?"

This kid cracks me up. We are working on his "bossy-ness" with his brother a lot lately. But I'm also proud that he has a backbone and I will continue to pray that God uses it in HUGE WAYS someday.
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