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.
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.
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
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.
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 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
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
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.
i can no longer bend over to tie my shoes or cross my legs-- seems like I've got wisdom i didn't use to have (that's what Anita Renfroe calls fat- love her and she is hilarious http://www.anitarenfroe.com/)
if it isn't missing, it's appears to be sagging. it's just seems wrong.
and then, there are my eyes..
i can no longer see without my glasses (which are bi-focal- prisms) so, when i decided to take the puffy eye issue into my own hands and resort to the suggestions i've seen on tv, it got kind of comical.
cucumber is supposed to be good for under-eye puffiness, i got me some puffiness going on. cucumber scrubs, rubs, potions and lotions were too pricey for me. so,
i just bought a cucumber
i removed my make-up, sliced up the cuke and headed to bed.
problem- my favorite show was on tv. i couldn't see the tv through the cucumber, or without my glasses.
i did what any self-respecting desperate 40 something tired looking momma would do.
i slid the cucumber slices down just a bit, put on my glasses and tilted my head just so... perfect.
not sure when i dozed off or when the cucumbers slid off of my face
you can imagine my shocking surprise to feel them under my knees as i rolled over- not remembering the entire lucy ricardo scenario from a few hours before.
in my slumber i laid them on the nightstand, removed my glasses and went back to sleep.
not sure if it removed the puffiness, but for 59 cents it was so much fun, i might just try it again.
and, since cucumbers have zero points for all you weight watcher fans, it should help reduce the size of my wisdom.
First, I am thankful that while most everyone else I love is doing Multitude Mondays... y'all are letting me be "different" and be thankful on Tuesdays. You know- the "T's" worked together and since I am not OCD at all, it just seemed right. And, since I am also a bit stubborn, I felt the need to keep it on Tuesday. But, I am starting to feel a bit "weird" so next week, I'll join the crowd and be thankful on Mondays... (and start my count to 1000) just so you know.
Thanks Nae for introducing me... some things are just to good to not be a part of.
I'm thankful for my Kristen... my "borrowed" daughter who just happens to be one of the newest Blue Ridge All District Cheerleaders.
I'm thankful that Shayne got a deer... he so loves hunting- and jerky- and especially grateful that he touches it and I don't have to.
I'm thankful for fall...
I'm thankful for Grandaddy...
I'm thankful for Elijah's desire to help mommy- cleaning windows
organizing my shoes --no comments- I'm thankful for my shoes too :)
and emptied the trash... all his idea!
I'm thankful to spend the evening with my Jill, (Whitney & Allie) to hear my sister-in-law Ona share her testimony. I'm thankful we serve the same Savior.
I'm thankful for brothers, and sons. And, that some times are just plain sweet.
And lastly, I'm thankful there were no cameras in the gynecologist office today, capturing the trouble I encountered in simply trying to get redressed with my ankle boots still on.
please, don't imagine on this one!