The other night Cole and I were praying before bed.  I always try and make sure that we pray for our sponsored kids, Karan and Anthony.  When I said Anthony's name, Cole said, "Who's Anfony?"  So I explained which boy Anthony is and that we need to pray for him and his mom.

"And his daddy?" Cole asked.  I explained that Anthony doesn't have a daddy.

"I wish he had a daddy," Cole said.  I suggested that we pray that God would bring Anthony a daddy.  "Maybe he could bring one like Mr. Jeff."  (Our friend, Jeff, just adopted Cole's friend, Kwame.  I'm not sure if he thought of this because of different skin colors or what, because we have made sure not to point out the different skin colors.  People are people and we are all beautiful!  I just don't feel the need to distinguish until he asks.) 

I asked Cole if he thought daddies are special.  "Yeah - hey!  Maybe he could get a daddy like my daddy!  That would be cool!"

So we prayed that God would bless Anthony with a daddy like Cole's - one who loves the Lord, loves Anthony's mommy, and loves Anthony.  One who would be silly with Anthony, play with him, read to him, and especially teach him about God.

And then, once Cole was asleep, I prayed for his daddy.  I couldn't love him more.

The Shedd Aquarium

Jake took the day off today and we packed up the family and went to the Shedd Aquarium downtown.  I am so blessed because Jake recognizes that we need to schedule family days, otherwise, our time together gets lost in the craziness of church and ministry.  Cole was waiting for this day for the last four days.  Every day he'd say, "Only two more naps and then it's -quarium time!" (And less and less).  So, today was our special day.
Cole ready to give the attendant his ticket
It was also a very crazy day at the aquarium because it was a free day!  Lots of schools and other groups were there, so it was a bit incredibly hectic.  I was so proud of our kiddos because they did so well!  We were barely able to see any of the actual exhibits because there were so many people - hence the lack of fish pictures.  But, we did the math and ended up buying a year-long membership - it was the cost of two visits for our family!  So, I'm really excited because we can go to the aquarium any time we want and don't have to worry about anything but parking.  Excellent!
I have no idea what Hayden is doing, but this face is too silly not to post!
 Yay!  Laina's first trip to the aquarium!

Look how Laina is looking at Jake - hilarious!
 We finally found a quiet room where the kids could roam and have some fun.  Here is Cole drawing on a chalkboard.
 Honest to goodness, every picture I have of Hayden, she is making a silly face.  I have no idea what she's doing here!  But she just makes me laugh.

Like I said, we got no pictures of fish or dolphins, but we got wonderful family pictures.  Here's the gang waiting for the dolphin show!
 And now with Mom and Laina...
 My precious baby
Cole was so sweet because he just wasn't sure what to think about the whole thing.  He kept saying we had to stay back from the exhibits so the fish didn't get us.  Sadly, I'm the one to blame for his timidity!  Sorry, buddy!
M&M stained-mouth Hayden.  :)
 This is pretty much how Maurah was throughout the whole aquarium.  Our dolphin show wasn't until 2:30 and she hadn't napped yet.  The poor, tired sweetie!
 Sometimes it helps just to snuggle.  This was a wonderful time.  :)
 But once the show began, our little animal lover was in awe.
Until the loud music started - it still amazes me how similar in personality Cole and Maurah are!

Sometimes it's nice to be out in public and to realize just how great your kids really are!  Since we had so many families around us with young ones, we saw many tantrums, tears, and just plain rude kids.  I'm so proud of our kids, especially that they have such sweet hearts.  I pray that Jake and I can continue to encourage them in this way and that they'll be loving, compassionate, serving adults one day.  

And I'll especially teach them not to cut in front of young parents with lots of kids while they're waiting for the elevator!  Ha!

Let Us Introduce...

...our snowman Daddy!  We gave him Jake's scarf and his Michigan hat so we could have Daddy here with us this Friday.  :)  Cole ended up eating one of our "Daddy's" celery arms once the picture was over.  And I still ask myself....why am I surprised by these things?  ;)

Happy Friday!

(P.S. - Yes, that's Laina bundled in the background and in her exersaucer.  What can I say?  When cabin fever strikes, you have to take extreme measures!)

More Photos? Of course!

But with this cuteness, could you really blame me?  I think not!  Especially with a big bow.  
Maybe you didn't know:  Baby + Big Bow = Bliss.
Laina's new "trick" is pulling up her shirt.  I'm trying to teach her "modest is hottest", but she's not quite getting it yet.  Ha!

I can lift it even with my brother smooshing me!
Another equation for you:  My oldest + My youngest = My heart melting
Those cheeks.  Help me - I'm a puddle.
Photo shoot is over!  When the bow is being pulled, it's time to rescue the baby!

Dear Canon, I Love You. XOXO, Megan

Just posting some of the pics I took with my camera today.  I am L.O.V.I.N.G. this new camera!  Never again will I return to a point and shoot!  So here's a peek into a typical day in our home.  Enjoy!

Jonah's EB Auction

I hope you all have taken the chance to click on the box to the left and read about little Jonah's story.  He was born with Junctional EB, something I had never even heard about until I came across his mommy's (Patrice) blog.  I love their blog because Patrice is so open and honest with how life is raising a little one with special needs.

Well, to celebrate Jonah's upcoming 1st Birthday, friends and family are hosting an online auction to raise money for DebRA to help find a cure.  Patrice says there are over 100 items to bid on, so please check it out!  Even if you aren't able to be a part of the auction, you can help by posting this information on your blog to get the word out.  Or, you could become a fan of the auction on Facebook.  Go to this link to learn more about the auction.

Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to post this on their blog!  Sometimes the littlest efforts help the greatest.  :)

Thought for Tuesday

We have a new rule in our home.

Cole may not go to Awana on Tuesday nights if he doesn't take a nap.  Last week he had a horrible week at Cubbies', behaviorally speaking, and we decided it just isn't fair to his teachers to send our over-tired little man to them so he can disobey and act out.

I was just thinking this afternoon how we are so much like preschoolers in how we respond to God.  I know that when I am tired or just worn down, it's so hard for me to listen, to have perspective, to obey.  We are such finite creatures who need rest and need refreshment.

Jesus says, "Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest." 

It's very easy for me to get caught up in the "doings" of life.  I forget that I need to stop and rest in my God because then I am restored.  When I take the time to be quiet before God, He fills me up, ready to face my day.  I am then excited to be obedient to Him and to show my love to Him through my actions.

Right now we're teaching Cole this principle in a minute way - he needs a nap so he can be ready to obey his authorities and have a good time at church.  I hope it will follow him into adulthood though, encouraging him to rest before God.

Which encourages me to leave this computer while all of my kids are resting.  Have a great Tuesday!

A Series of Unfortunate Events

As I sit in bed all "plugged up" and barely able to move, let me tell you about my Thursday!

Usually, I love Thursdays.  Thursday is a very special day for the kids and me because it's the day that my good friend Donna comes and plays with the kids so I can get out for a couple of hours.  This particular Thursday was even more exciting because I was off to get some outfits for the kids' photo session we're having done next week.  So, as I was driving along in my oh-so-quiet van, I decided to make a couple of phone calls I otherwise don't get to make normally.  I know - cell phones and driving do not mix well - but neither do four kids under four and phone calls.  As I'm calling my sister-in-law, I realize that I have gotten on the highway in the wrong direction.  Not only am I going in the wrong direction, but the next exit is 12 miles away!  Ah!  This trip is going to steal some valuable shopping time.

I finally reach the exit and get back on the highway going in the right direction this time.  As soon as I get back on, my gas light comes on.  Remembering a Dateline episode where the guy drove his van 30 miles with the gas light on, I knew I'd be okay.  I get back to the mall and do my shopping.  Upon leaving the mall, I decided that I would get gas at the station where I turn to go home.  It would most likely be cheaper than the stations in the busy mall area.  I get to that road and find the station to be closed down!  And apparently, not just closed down, but boarded up even.  I'm in trouble, I thought.  There is no station the rest of the way home!

I figured I could probably make it home and turned my odometer to zero to see how far it was and to expect when I'd be in trouble.  Then, DETOUR!  Yep - the street I take home - the only street home - was closed part-way and the kind construction folks left me with a detour that took me round and about streets I'd never been on only to come back to my original street.  While these four miles were being added on, I realized that my phone was dying - and my car charger was in Jake's car.  If I ran out of gas, I was really in trouble!

I prayed the rest of the way home and managed to text Jake my location right as my phone died.  Thankfully, he'd at least know where to look for me!  I kept praying that I'd just make it home.  And then, as I watched the needle get closer to "E", I prayed that I could just get into my neighborhood.  Amazingly, God answered that prayer!  I turned into our neighborhood and my van just stopped.  Ka-dunk!  I actually thought to myself, It doesn't sputter like it does in cartoons!  It gives you no warning!  Yeah - because the orange warning light that followed you for the last 30 miles wasn't warning enough!

Anyway, I was so thankful I made it into our neighborhood and wasn't stranded on the street!  God is so gracious!  I couldn't help but have a smile on my face as I walked home to tell Donna all about my morning - and to ask if I could borrow her vehicle to get some gas!  I did get some gas, moved my van from the poor old lady's driveway it died in and lived to tell about my first ever experience of running out of gas!

Lessons learned:
1) It's wise to always have your cell phone charger with you
2) It's wiser still to stop at the first gas station you come upon
3) It's probably wisest to not be yacking on the phone so you were going the right direction the whole time to begin with and didn't waste gas on 24 unnecessary miles!

The best thing to come from it though?  I got Laina a really, really, really cute dress for her pictures!

 Really.  How cute is this?  She will coordinate with Maurah and Hayden's dresses and they will look so adorable!  I can't wait to have my friend Amee take the kids' pictures next Thursday!  And I promise to keep my cell phone off for that drive!

Great Giveaway!

Hey, for all of you mommy's out there, Jennifer is having a great giveaway on her site!  Check her out here!

Praying for my kids

Matthew 33-37 (The Message)  "And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

One of my resolutions for 2010 is to pray for my kids. You would think that the sole fact of me being a mother means that I pray for my kids daily. Truth be told, I do pray a lot throughout the day - but it's usually that we will all make it through the day. And, if we make it through the day with smiles on our faces, it's that much better!

Still, I have been a complete failure at praying for my kids in ways that matter - i.e., salvation, grace, kindness, etc. Instead, I have adapted the attitude that it's what I do with them that will make these things happen in their lives. While this is true to some degree, I can do nothing if God isn't working in their hearts.

I remember when the twins were in the hospital and I had the realization that I was not just their mother - I was their advocate. I had to represent them and stand up for the care they needed because they couldn't possibly do that for themselves. Really, I am all of my childrens' advocate before God.   They are not yet at ages to understand and know what's best for them (a relationship with the Lord), so it's my job privilege to stand before God and bring these requests before Him.  He has given them to me for a short time, but they are ultimately His.  The least I can do for them is uphold them in prayer.

Still, I'm not the greatest at follow-through.  Here, I publicly admit that I have been known to tell someone I'm going to pray for them and don't do it.  As hard as I want to, I struggle to remember and take the time to do it.  I'm glad to say I've gotten better at it and have started to ask people if I can pray for them then and there so I don't forget once I walk away.  But to pray for someone every day is still a weak spot of mine.  That's why I'm so thrilled to share this prayer calendar with you!  Scroll down to the bottom to print it out.

I will be using this to pray for my kids every day this month of February.  I think of February as the month of love, and what better way to love my kids than to pray for them?  I'm so excited to do this and I hope you'll join me!  I love that they say to put it by your potty too - I've started making the kids stay outside of the bathroom so I can get a few moments of solitude.  (They used to come in and want to sit on my lap.  Too much information?  Sorry!)  Typically, the bathroom is my escape room when I need a little sanity.  What better to help me get clarity on why I'm going to read the same book 50 times or why I need to respond in love when the bedspread, nightstand and desk are colored in permanent marker?  (Not that this has ever happened in our home of course!) 

Let me know if you've got any other suggestions or ideas on how you pray for your kids!  Or let me know if you'll be walking through this prayer calendar with me!  I can't wait to present my children before the Lord! 

Wiggles and Giggles

I had this conversation with Cole yesterday about his friend, Kwame, who is being adopted and whose parents are changing his name to Elijah. I'm working on Cole learning his new name. Here's how it went down:

Me: So, what is Kwame's new name going to be?
Cole: Ewijah!
Me: Very good, buddy!
Cole: And what's my new name going to be?
Me: Your name is going to be Cole forever and ever. We're not going to change your name.
Cole: But, is my new name...Wiggo-bot?
Me: What? Lego-bot?
Cole: No, Mom! Wiggo-bot! Ewizabef (our babysitter and sister to Kwame - I mean, Elijah!) told me that I'm a wiggo-bot!
Me: Ooooh! Wiggle-butt! (laughing hysterically)
Cole: (very seriously) Yeah - is that my new name?

I don't even remember what I answered because I was just giggling so hard. This child is too much!

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...