Monday, December 13, 2010

Thankful on a cold Monday....

It is a bitter cold Monday, and I was in agreement with my boys today that it would be a great day to stay in bed.  A mom can dream can't she :)  The week promises to be crazy- packed full with work, and plans every night this week.  Crazy, Chaos... it's what we know, it's what we do.  And, while it seems our lives are in a constant state of change,  

I will be thankful!

28.  for the precious little boy who keeps finding his way into my bed in the wee hours of the morning- because with us, he feels safe
29.  for the parking space in front of the office this afternoon, and not getting a parking ticket
30.  for Kleenex, to wipe the tears that are flowing too freely and frequently these days
31.  for Teri
32.  that Jeremiah tells me God has plans for me, that are not to harm me (some days I need to be reminded)
33.  a surprise date night with my husband
34.  Godly counsel
35.  the tacky Christmas lights popping up all over town
36.  Shayne,  he makes me smile watching him as he gets so excited about this time every year
37.  checks that arrive on time
38.  working from home
39.  the glow of the christmas tree
40.  a garage to carry my sleeping children from, instead of out in the wind
41.  that I can pour my heart out to God, and never say a word
42.  a movie night with Shayne- even if it started after 11 pm- any time with my teenage son is precious
43.  that my husband cleaned up the kitchen this morning, after I baked last night and left the dishes in the sink
44.  homemade oreo truffles in the fridge
45.  I survived taking all the kids Christmas shopping for Daddy, with NO, that's ZERO major meltdowns in the the store

what 'ya thankful for?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Isaiah cried to go to the bus stop with Rex and Elijah this morning- yes he was in shorts and a TShirt, and No, he wasn't interested in anything else, like a jacket or coat- he just ran screaming out the front door, "wait for me daddy"

Rex kept asking him if he was cold, to which he replied through chattering teeth, NO.  (he lies)

Since we know he has issues with textures and especially his clothing, we are choosing not to battle over what he wears.  I know, you and everybody else disagrees with this decision- but you don't have to deal with him when he is melting down because he can't unbutton his jeans or the tag is itching him, or there is a pocket, or the neck droops, or the pants are itchy, or, or, or.  So, while it goes against the "norm" for us as parents, and we look irresponsible to the world, we are determined, that he knows what he feels and when he gets cold enough he will decide to wear long pants. 

So, imagine my excitement when I picked him up from daycare tonight, and walking down the hallway, he slipped in, out of the blue, the question.....

Mommy, can I wear pants tomorrow- the wind is cold on my legs!  

I picked my jaw up off of the floor and responded, OF COURSE you can wear pants! It was at this moment that both of my arms spontaneously went straight up in victory and I heard the hallelujah chorus in my mind.

Now, I can hardly sleep in anticipation of his decision tomorrow morning.  I'm hoping, since it is 19 degrees that he will choose wisely.  I am lying her imagining the expression on all his teachers faces.  (as if their suggestion was the one thing that finally convinced him, their idea was one that his parents had never considered.)

I guess we will just have to wait and see how it goes in the morning.  I'll be sure to let you know :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peace and Perspective

Christmas brings many emotions.  I love the season, but usually find myself struggling with trying to make our dollars stretch far enough, find the extra time to do all the extra things, and enjoy the season without the extra stresses.  Simply put- I often loose my perspective. 

Sunday nights have become "mommy's night" and normally I stay home while my boys go to Awana's and youth group. I usually end up at the grocery store, or running errands or folding laundry. It rarely ends up being a peaceful night, but it is usually quiet. This past Sunday night, I took a little trip to KMart to pick up some Melatonin for my boys.  I watched the other shoppers fill their carts with gifts and decorations.  Then, I got to the check out line, and in front of me was a couple....of grandparents.  They had filled a couple of carts with Christmas gifts for their grandson. I know it was for their grandson because I heard them talk about it, over and over and over.  On and on they went about their grandson, and Christmas morning, and oh what fun it was going to be.  I confess, I got whiny.  I thought back on my childhood- if I ever actually received a present from my grandparents, I sadly don't remember it.  Then I thought about my own children- who have grandparents who love them- but have never, to my knowledge, bought cartloads of presents for them.  I went home feeling more "poor" than before and a little more stressed wondering how we were going to "do" all that needed to be done.  I was distracted by the worlds' perspective of Christmas.

I arrived home to an empty house, and took advantage of the last hour of so of quiet to finish decorating the house for Christmas.  I pulled out our nativity set, which I hadn't used the last couple of years.  Let's just be honest- this year is the first year since Elijah and Isaiah joined our family, that is remotely close to the NORMAL we used to know. 

I arranged the pieces in what I thought was the appropriate places...

While the boys all walked past, nobody payed attention except Isaiah.  He walked in the door and was immediately drawn to it.  Isaiah's my "crasher" so my initial reaction was "don't touch- they will break" but I decided that if he wanted to play with baby Jesus, who am I to say no. 

He began to take it apart.  He talked to them, calling them "buddy"- they were "in"- he would stop and clap.  He started singing "glory to God" raising his hands in praise, and then every so often, would wipe his forehead, as if it were dripping with sweat. 

this is how he put them back- he told me "baby Jesus has to be in the middle so everybody can see him"

Got cold chills?  I sure did.  God spoke to me through my baby's play.  I think he's got perspective.

So how do we find peace, when the world is throwing all the wrong  perspectives at us?

Isaiah 26:3- He keeps him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusts in Him.

The only thing we can trust in, depend on- is Jesus.  He won't fail us.

This morning, before we could go to school, Isaiah had to stop and play, and when he was done, he made sure Jesus was in His proper place- the center.

and my fear about them getting broken....

oh yea, we have a headless shepherd. 

But, that's okay.   We are all broken aren't we?  We come to Jesus, broken and ugly and with nothing to offer.   I'll glue the shepherds head back on then Isaiah will let him back into the group so he can look at Jesus too. And, because that baby boy grew up and willingly gave his life on the cross, 33 years later- He takes us in our brokenness, covers our sin with his blood and glues us back together.  And, He keeps putting us back together, over and over and over- that's why we can put our trust in Him.  That's how we can know peace. 

Got peace? 
Get perspective...
Keep Jesus in the center of your life and your Christmas! 

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will be saved! 

Praise Him, Praise Him, Glory to the Newborn King!!!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Santa Saturday 2010

admiring the reindeer... and reminding us that "Shayne would shoot this deer"
(note he is back in his favorite "scare" pants and hunting shirt- washed yet again)

working out with Isaiah's thera-band, waiting to see Santa 

Santa sings about the Reindeers, including Holly & Buck (he's the naughty reindeer)

the boys enjoyed it, but only in mommy's lap- they still get scared in different surroundings  

helping Santa sing... very quietly

Santa had alot more to talk about this year- Isaiah wasn't too interested in the stories 

he didn't wake up while Santa played the cow bells- or during the annual Santa photo - which normally doesn't include mommy 

until we walked out of the door- so we hurried back in for one more photo- eyes opened but still a little sleepy

then it was off the the Roanoke Weiner Stand for our traditional Santa Saturday lunch- and what a surprise....


so Elijah caught some...

then, it was time to pick up Shayne- who we really missed today. 

a little movie and a snack waiting for dinner finishes off a great day!

beginning to feel like Christmas...

I love Christmas.  No matter how stressful it can be, and it usually is, I still love the season.  I love what it means to me, my Jesus was born.  And, I in a sick way, enjoy watching the insanity of the American consumers.  I love the smells.  I love the music that plays in the background.

I love the Christmas programs my children "perform" (if you will) in. 

Yesterday was the first. 

The morning started with great fun- as soon as I suggested that Isaiah wear pants (and not scare pants, his favorite plain shorts) the meltdown began.  "I don't want to sing, it makes me scared, I want to stay home mommy" and on and on it went.  I finally got him into his "fly" clothes and I dropped him off at pre-school. 

The Kingom Kids Christmas program started at 10AM on a Friday morning. Seriously people, don't you know what that does to the kids- seeing mommy in the middle of the morning- OF COURSE they all start crying to go home.  Anyway, I attended all my meetings and took early lunch.  Arriving right on time 10:03 a.m. :)  I wasn't sure what to expect- based on our early morning antics.

The air was filled with excitement.  Cameras, vidoe cameras - and IPHONES everyway. Beaming parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles.  so fun. 

The classes performed by age.

The three's were precious- I don't remember too much about their songs, but they all seemed to find their mommy's and greet them appropriately... HI MOMMY- THERES MY MOMMY :)

and then it was Isaiah's class' turn.. they marched in like little indians-

at least he wasn't crying - and was wearing long pants

but definitely not so sure about this

but he came around and sang beautifully- Santa Clause is Coming to Town, and Go, tell it on the Mountain.  Total time- abour 4.5 minutes.  

Then they all came together for a wonderful rendition of "We wish you a Merry Christmas"

"Hi Mommy!"  Hi Baby... I want to go home mommy, Landon's going home! 
yea, again with the mid-morning ideas.  I need to have a talk with the planners.

I walked him to his room, reminded him the wonderful smell was school pizza and assured him I'd be back for him later.

and I was back home and working by 10:45a.m. 

I do love this time of year.  Today, we're off today to see Santa. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

giving thanks for:  

celebrating Frankie & Shirley's 44th wedding anniversary, and Frankie's 70th Birthday with family and friends- and good food.

celebrating the one year anniversary of our boys' adoption- and spending the day watching them enjoy their sister. 

meeting my new great-nephew - Owen.  And smelling him - oh did I smell him, ha!  I got to feed and change him, and kiss his cheeks, and his toes. 

seeing Audrey, even tho she was recovering from the stomach bug and was a bit shy, I so enjoyed watching her play, just looking at her and listening to her.

watching Shayne beam with excitement every time he talked about killing a 10pt 175 lb. buck...
(and watch him cut up the meat.. ugh!)  We've eaten two meals so far- not too bad. 

cooking  Thanksgiving dinner at our house, a new tradition this year.  My turkey turned out delicious,  we had more food than we could eat and we enjoyed being with our family for the day (all 19 of us)  

the location changed- the traditions remained.

enjoying a lot of time with precious friends.

cleaning my house.  ALL of my house at once, including clean sheets on the beds. 

spending a little extra time with my mom.

putting up our Christmas tree.

Visiting with my sweet mother-in-law, 89 years young yesterday, and putting up her Christmas tree.  I watched her putter about.  I know every minute with her is precious and I don't take them for granted.  I was a bit ashamed, that I don't find time for more of them.

so far, we've steered clear of the stomach bug flying around- which is a blessing since we've been in at least 3 houses and around 4 different families fighting it. 

the numerous reminders of how awesome my GOD is and how HE provides for us.

that my boys were in bed asleep by 7:30pm- that means I can call it an early night too. 

what 'ya thankful for?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You can't pick your family- or can you?

I'm sure you've heard the saying "you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family"  I've been thinking about that alot lately- especially when my little ones get frustrated, and retort to my commands with "I want a new family."  Before you start judging us, and listing all the ways you would correct them and stop that disrespectful behavior, try to walk a mile, so to say, in their shoes.

They were so young when we picked them up from the social worker at the hospital, we naively assumed we wouldn't have to deal with any of the "demons" of their past, I mean really, how much could they remember?  

Let's just say there are connections to the biological families we are born into, that run deep.  In a family where everything works as God desires, those connections are a blessing.  However, in cases where families are so dysfunctional that they don't remain intact, those connections are a curse.  My boys can't verbalize all that they lived through the early months of their lives, but don't be fooled, they do remember. 

Last year, November 21 our adoption was final. We became forever family.  We picked them to be ours, after a 3 year labor!  A month later their sister who some of you know, because she also lived with us for a while, was also adopted.  That was great news too, but we were still heavy hearted. 

When I picked Elijah & Isaiah  up from the hospital, their "momma" was there too- she was 8 years old.  She wasn't really their momma, but in their eyes she played that role.  She had been their caregiver on multiple occasions- left alone in their apt. to care for them.  We got them on a Monday afternoon, she had been caring for them since Friday- with no adult supervision.  She cradled Isaiah in her arms and stared me down as I began to cuddle and love on Elijah.  She was brave, and loving. She was the one who could tell me details that a mom needed to know- like which formula Isaiah took - (the can with purple on it.) Foster care was not new to her, she had been there before and knew exactly what it meant.   Still she did the right thing, and in return took all the blame. 

In November 2009, while we were celebrating the end of a long journey, hers was beginning anew.  She was now "free" to find a forever family; but there wasn't one.  Oh, we considered it, but knew that it was not the best thing.  So, we prayed.  We checked on her.  We sent pictures of her brothers.  We knew she worried about them and asked about them.  Adoption scared her- and she reacted like most kids do.  She tested.

Fast forward to November 20, 2010, National Adoption Day!  We had already planned to join in the celebration- we want our boys to remember how special that day is for our family and it was the 1st Anniversary of their adoptions.   But, the day took on a new excitement when we were asked to surprise their sister, and join them for her adoption! 

Rex and I were so happy for her.  We understand the love required of her new mom and dad to accept her, just as she is.  We understand what they are promising to do- because we understand what her past is.  We also understood that by walking into that courtroom, we were about to open a door.  A door that once opened cannot be closed, at least not without consequence.  And, our boys are still struggling daily with their own grief and memories and demons.  Just explaining why she had a different first name and last name was a task.  But we believed it would be worth the risk. 

We expected Elijah to recognize her and understand who she is- but didn't expect the reaction Isaiah had.  Connections.

They got their attitude together, and off we went. 

It had been more than 2 years since we had seen her. We made her a little gift- with lots of photos.

Isaiah took right to her- "my sister" and made sure he knew where she was the rest of the day.

Waiting for the judge to come in, I noticed she was crying.  I was told that was only the second time in years.  Had we made the right choice?

She lit up- and we all enjoyed talking to her and getting to know her.  She played football last year, and wrestled.  She will be 13 in January.  She, like her brothers is very bright. 

Isaiah drew me.. and wrote "your the best mom ever" (his words, not mine- and might I add I am so glad he drew me skinny)

about 30 minutes later, I found an added note- from Aariqua.  It made me smile, and cry.

Isaiah would say.. "I need to check on my sister" and off he'd go find her. 
She drew him- he loved it.  She is in advanced art.  Isaiah loves to draw.  Connections.

We played and ate lunch, and laughed.  I watched her chase her brothers, and whisper "I love you" to them, when she would catch them. 

I had never seen her smile so brightly. 

Then, we had to say goodbye.

It was a day I wouldn't trade for anything.  But, it also brought a week that we anticipated, and prepared for. We left the school last Saturday, and they haven't said a word about "my sister" but I know they are thinking about her.  I know because they can't control their emotions.  I know because they want to be near us all the time.  I know because they acted up at school.  I know because Isaiah's nightmares continue.  I know because when they get mad, or sad,  they want a new family.  And why wouldn't they?  That's what they know.  

  No matter what they throw at us, we are changing that for them.  We will love them until they are secure.  We will love them until they are stable. We will love them until they feel safe. We will love them until the nightmares are gone. We will love them no matter what.  
We will see Aariqua again- connections you know.

And, we will teach them that sometimes in life, you can pick your family; but once you are an Allen- you are an Allen forever. 

We are forever family!    

Monday, November 15, 2010

Multitude Monday - a five year olds search for truth

while I had things in mind to list tonight- my thinking was derailed as i put my youngins' to bed.  amazingly, isaiah fell asleep first (that is definitely on my thankful list) so elijah and me had some quiet conversation while we rocked. 

the conversation went something like this..

mommy- how come i've never seen Jesus
well, none of us has seen Jesus, we will see Jesus when we get to heaven
how do you get to heaven
well, you have to tell God you're sorry for making bad choices (sin) and tell Jesus you want him to be your Saviour, and then try to be as much like Jesus as you can
mommy is our heart black
we all have black hearts- we make bad choices and don't do what Jesus tells us to- like not to lie, not to steal, to honor (obey) your mommy and daddy- have you done any of those things
me too, we all have- everybody is a sinner
if we be good, does it get white
no baby, only Jesus can take away the black in your heart- his blood covers our sin, and makes our hearts clean- we can never be good enough
if we don't go to heaven, then we go down
what's that bad man's name that lives down?
you tell me, what his name is
the devil
yes, the devil, satan, the serpent- the enemy- he's the enemy because he hates God and wants us to not love God either

we talked a little bit more, and i sang "holy, holy, holy"
for those of you who may not know the song, it goes something like this

holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
early in the morning my song will rise to thee
holy, holy, holy,   merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed trinity!

he asked, whats the trinity mommy?
it is God the Father (God), God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit) trinity means 3
mommy- is the holy spirit the one that gives us pressents- that makes us be good?
do you mean the one that gives us spiritual gifts- like patience, love, kindness- and helps us make good choices
yep, that's the Holy Spirit
is he white?

God is God alone! Awesome and Mighty in power.  His ways are higher than our own and He bids the little children to come.

seems all the other things on my mind paled insignificant when matched up against a five year old seeking the truth of God! 

i'm thinking that is about the most precious thing I have today, to be thankful for.

what 'ya thankful for today?

Sunday, November 14, 2010


i am pretty sure i hear that word hundreds of times some days- so i decided to do an experiment today below are the "mommy's" i was able to document.  (note, this decision came about 2 hours into our day)  

mommy i got some more trash
mommy i got some more trash
mommy i got some more trash (handing me the crust from his pop-tart with each announcement- which continued about every 22 seconds for what seemed like the next ten minutes
mommy i'm hungry
mommy i'm thirsty
mommy i got to go potty
mommy you're being mean
mommy i'm tired
mommy can we watch curious george
mommy my teacher lets me bring toys, mommmmmyyyyyyy
mommy are we going to grandmas-- yes Elijah-- (then he instructed- okay people, don't tell grandma she's old)
mommy can i take my motorcycle
mommy can i play here
mommy can i take my lunchbox in
mommy am i good
mommy hers is not pretty (isaiah referring to the rather plump model advertising skinny control jeans-he was not impressed)
daddy mommys being mean to me
mommy let's fight (as isaiah sat on my chest with his fist drawn- giggling)
mommy are you writing my name
mommy are you writing something about me
mommy are you sending my name to God and santa claus?
mommy can i sit on your leg
mommy i'm going to jump on you
mommy do you like that
mommy put both your feet up (wanting a two legged horsey to ride)
mommy can we do the tent
mommy watch this
mommy am I good at rubbing your leg (don't ask- his attempt at a massage)
mommy i see you on the wall
mommy close your eyes, close your eyes mommy, mommmmeeeeee
mommy what's this
mommy i'm a statue see
mommy look
mommy look
mommy it was an accident
mommy i'm done with this
mommy he took all my bubble gum
mommy can i go to the bathroom
mommy try to get this
mommy i see a cat
mommy can we make a tent
mommy can we go to pizza hut, i'm hungry
mommy can we ride rides
mommy i want to go get some fries please mommy we'll be good
mommy ----WHAT
insert call from oldest son- mom, how much money is on my debit card
mommy it's over , its over mommy
mommy can you get my blankie
mommy do you forgive us
mommy why don't this back not do this (wanting the seat in the van to recline)
mommy i'm tired
mommy i'm not tired anymore (13 seconds later)
mommy you make yummy food
thank you mommy
mommy why are you not eating (mommy wasn't feeling good today- fever all day)
mommy look, is her and her they match
mommy i love you
mommy you're not eating (i don't feel good, isaiah) can i rub your shoulders so you feel better mommy
mommy watch this
mommy look- rock and roll, slide (thanks Mr. Bob)
mommy can i say what the girl says?
mommy i won't do it again
mommy can i get up (time out)
look mommy, i'm spider man

then it was four o'clock!

and here are my precious darlings...

we still have some work to do on the clothes, let's just say we got the new shirt on him - with the scare pants

new mohawks

this pretty much sums it up today.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is that what I think it is?

My BFF was spending the day with Isaiah and me.  Gotta love her, since we were running my errands- not so much fun, really. But, there is always an adventure to be found.

We met up at the yard sale going on at her preschool- had some hot dogs for breakfast and got a tent for the kids for $ .50  then on to Green Ridge Rec Center- then by my mom's to drop off/pick up some things.  Next, a haircut for Isaiah at the barber.  The child finally got his Mohawk he's been begging for. (note, I had to pay $10 + tip per son for Mohawks, my new great nephew was born with his) This is where the fun begins.  Have you ever seen Barber Shop?

anyway- it was fun- especially when the haircut was done and CJ, the barber,  sat Isaiah on the floor and told him to come back to see him.  Isaiah turned to CJ and gave him a "fist bump"   too cute. 

then, we went in search of some "fly" clothes (really, this mom just wanted some pants for Elijah that would fit his skinny little waist AND reach his ankles; and then the need for some shirts to fit Isaiah) since we had to have some clothes, figured we might as well find cool ones that meet Shayne's approval too.

Since Isaiah has SPD- Sensory Processing (Integration) Disorder- clothes are a huge deal.  We laugh about the "scare" pants and two t-shirts that he rotates EVERY day, but for whatever reason they work for him.  But, trying to find new clothes, season appropriate that fit and are comfortable for him, that was my challenge.  Do you know how hard it is to find shirts without buttons, pockets, tags or zippers?  Anyway- that's how we ended up at Once Upon a Child. 

Teri was standing about 10 feet from me- which proved to be a good thing.  I was flipping through the shirts when I heard it.  I turned my head about the same time Teri did.  She had heard it to.  The sound of passing gas.  No- it wasn't Teri or me.  It was a little gray headed lady- appeared to be about 70 or 80 or 90.  She was letting it rip, in sync with every step with her cane.  Teri kept her composure much better than I did.  I couldn't help it, I laughed out loud.  Thankfully, the lady must not hear too good since just she never turned around.  Even when she continued round two.  

I would have been insanely embarrassed- she was oblivious. 

Later, I found myself standing directly behind her in line as we were paying for our purchases.  I was a little nervous about my location but everything was fine.  I stood there thinking about the earlier events, and the differences in how I would have dealt with that situation.  I am pretty sure I would rather die first, and it didn't seem to phase her one bit.  I thought about since I didn't know her, if I ever did see her again, I doubted that I would be able to identify her as the gassy grandma.  I wondered how she could "care less" about public opinion and we care so much.  I concluded it must be age related. 

I dropped Teri off, picked up Elijah and we went to CitiTrends to finish "fly" shopping.  (insert note here, I am feeling pretty proud of myself that I even dared to take them into a store without backup,  let alone a store I had never been in to before. 

I am trying to power shop the clearance rack, while holding a very tired 4 year old, and keep up with my dancing 5 year old.  That boy can dance. 

And then, I heard that sound, again.  I looked around for the gray headed grandma but she was nowhere to be found.  I noticed tho' as I scanned the aisles,  people were staring at me.  I knew I was not yet of age to be letting her rip in public places, so who was?   

Then, I heard the other sound that is so familiar.  Elijah's giggles.  My little dancer had smuggled his whoopee cushion into the store and was having a great time surprising the other shoppers. After hearing myself say again, Elijah don't do that in the store, I realized people were still staring.  Duh,  they couldn't see the cushion, they just kept hearing sound effects.  I quickly confiscated it and tucked it away in my purse. 

:)  never a dull moment with the allenz.

p.s.  we did find some cool clothes-- look for picture of new haircuts and outfits tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

welcome baby Owen

being an aunt is... great!

welcome to the family 
Owen Tyler Naff
9 lbs 4 oz ---- 22.5 inches long

you are loved!

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