Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kylie - photos to follow in another post

Spirited, determined, independent, self-confident, compassionate, nurturing, caring, friendly, funny, creative, strong willed, bravc, fearless, drama queen, out-of-the-box-thinker - these are some characteristics that come to my mind when I think of Kylie, our 5-year-old princess.

Yes, she loves being a princess, wearing pink and frills and has a very clear idea in her mind what clothes she wants to wear, what looks nice and matches!

Pets and other animals, as well as dolls and real babies/children are high on her priority list.

She regularly BEGS us for more pets - a mouse, please? - a cat, PLEASE? - a puppy dog, P L E A S E ? - a horse, P-L-E-A-S-E!!! (what's next?!)

She still enjoys her guinea pigs, who've just had another litter of 6 cute babies.

Yesterday, she took Toby, her male guinea pig, to school, to share with her friends/new class-mates.

Kylie's favourite games are still the role-play-ones, like moms and dads and pets, or lately, teachers and pets...

As much as she's a girly girl, she's no wimp. She watches Jeremie skin possums and rabbits and gut and pluck ducks without a whimper. She loves digging for/finding worms and collects all kinds of insects. In her kindergarten, she was known as the one that brought insects to share.

Speaking of sharing, Kylie doesn't know the word "stranger". It doesn't exist in her vocabulary. The world is her home (interesting, t'was/is the same with all of our children) and she starts talking to any stranger anywhere. It is like she's a magnet, attracted to people and not shy at all- definitely no loner, that girl!

10 days after we got back home, Kylie had an operation: she had grommets(little tubes) put into her ears to drain the fluid that had been blocked in her inner ear and made her quite hard of hearing. The hospital staff was amazed at how courageous she was - both at the time of going into the operation - as well as coming out of it. What a trooper! No more excuse for not hearing well now :)!

Shortly before we left on our trip, a family from the "Mongrel Mob" moved into the house next to us. Those are not necessarily the kind of neigbours that are highly desired (known for alcohol, noisy parties, violence, rape etc).

Well, when we came back, Kylie made contact with their children in no time and invited them over to our place (with my permission).

It was so special to see her reach out and be a friend to those very neglected (abused?) children. She pushed them on the swing, jumped on the trampoline with them, played dolls, let them hold her guinea pigs, and offered them food and drink - all her own initiative and doing.

Sadly, they moved away last week-end - - - when I was just starting to learn their names and make contact with some of the moms (they had several families stay in a 3-bedroom house). I was even dreaming of having a regular "outreach" for them in our yard...


Last night, as I was reading in an old diary, I came across an entrance I wrote in 1998 that I felt God had another child for us (we had 3 at the time). It sure took a while, but I am SO GLAD and GRATEFUL that God gave us Kylie 4 years later!!!!!!


She's a character, a treasure - loved and enjoyed beyond what words can express!

What a privilege to parent her and to see her personality and giftings unfold in front of our eyes!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have a look at this!

I love this couple from IHOP (International House of Prayer in Kansas City) and their vision!!! Even though I've never met them in person, they are my heroes!

Making a difference!!

We received an email from a group of young people that are doing the "Discipleship Training School" with our daughter Nathalie. While Nathalie is presently in Israel on outreach, another group went to Ethiopia.

Read this to find out about their very moving experience RIGHT NOW - these are mostly young kids in their late teens, early twenties.

Can WE help?!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Slumdog Millionaire" - date

As I expected, Rich passed his tests with flying colours! Congratulations, honey, you're a legend! (NZ expression)

Last night, Rich and I had our weekly date, lying on lawnchairs in our backyard, watching the Movie "Slumdog Millionaire" with a blanket wrapped around us to keep us warm in the late summer evening. During our little chat before we started the movie (on our laptop), I was once again overwhelmed with GRATEFULNESS for God's AMAZING love and blessings in our lives!!! As we looked out over our neighbour's pasture, a group of sheep came close to us, bah-ing along - - - in the distance we could see some water from the bay... how romantic!
Everything was beautiful and calm. WOW! How blessed are we to live in such a place?!!!

I remembered a pastor's prophesy many years ago that one day, God was going to give us a big house so that we can really excercise our ministry of hospitality. I remember thinking, "Yeah, right! That would have to take a major miracle - probably won't ever happen!"
It's been over 10 years, but God DID the miracle!!! We're in a six-bedroom house and exercising hospitality, too!!!

And for an incredibly low rent!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! You came through with your promise in spite of my unbelief (this has happened to me quite a few times already - I should maybe learn a lesson?!)

The movie left me DEEPLY touched and the tears started rolling in the darkness underneath a gorgeous star-light sky, my inside guts turning and turning with compassion. Even though I haven't been to India, I've personally witnessed the life of street children in the Philippines and in Brazil - and I am forever impacted by them!!!

What a contrast between my so blessed life and the daily reality of hunger, survival (or not), violence, loneliness, betrayal, suffering etc that MILLIONS of children are facing RIGHT NOW - all over the world!!!

All I can do is cry out to God to have mercy on them and send them somebody to love them, rescue them, feed them, keep them safe.

All I can do is say to God one more time, tell ME to DO anything about it, and I will do it! I am willing, just make it clear WHAT I should do.

I am passionate about the orphans! I want to make a differenc with my life! Not stay in my lawnchair and enjoy the sheep and stars - although that's definitely a nice way to hang out with my hubby from time to time:)!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Week-end studying

The neat thing about being involved in different ministries is the varying things Rich gets to do.
Since we've come back, Rich has been making up for lost time (not quite) with St.John, the local ambulance that he's been volunteering with to keep his skills for emergency relief - plus learn new things.

This week-end he's doing a training so that he'll be able to drive the ambulance - with sirens - when there is an emergency. He's enjoying it - and I'm amazed how much I see him studying happily away. Tomorrow are the tests - both theoretical and practical.

Here's my handsome hubby - just about to run out of the house. I wanted to get him in his full attire but he's a bit camera shy and that's all I was able to get in the rush this morning.

Shayden on a skateboard

I couldn't resist posting this - I just LOVE his laugh!!!

video

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shayden

What a sweetheart!!!
I can't tell you HOW MUCH I am enjoying Shayden! He's an amazing little guy!

He did well traveling and adjusted relatively easily to so many different situations and people.

On the planes he may not have slept much, but was happy most of the time - only had about 1 pretty short meltdown each of the (4) 12-hour plane rides - not bad!

Of course, for us, having a toddler with us certainly added a fair share of extra work/stress (and I wouldn't want to do it again any time soon!), but it was definitely worth it!
I know I/we would have so regretted having giving him up just for the sake of a 9-week-trip!

When we got home, he was delighted to find all his toys and books again. He is totally crazy about books. He is fascinated by animals, particularly dolphins and whales at the moment.

Even though he couldn't express it with words (he still just says 4 words, plus 20+ signs), I think he really enjoyed being back in his crib and room!
He's been sleeping from 7pm to 7am most nights since we came back - which is NICE - plus taking a 2-3hr nap each day! While we were on the road, he would wake up very early many mornings - 4:30ish and nap shorter.

He likes routine and predictability, even though he did tolerate the constant changes of our trip without too much of a fuss.

Overall, Shayden is extremely cheerful and happy and has an amazing sense of humour - laughing at the smallest thing. His smile and funny faces - of which he learned a few more on our trip - conquers people's hearts in no time.
He is easygoing and fun and just such a blessing for our family!
According to this developmental therapist who came by this week, he's about a year behind in his gross motor skills (like walking) and his speech. In all other respects (fine motor skills etc) he's pretty much caught up - which she says is amazing! Thank you, Jesus!
Unfortunately, his weight is still pitiful at 9kg (20pounds) at almost 26 months and his arms and legs so spindly. Obviously he is still just eating the bare minimum... arrghh!
Here he is, helping us unpack the suitcases:



Natural at unpacking



Catching up on some summer fun at the beach


Isn't he a darling?!


Enjoying the water with Kylie - brrr, it's pretty cold, though


Hey, don't splash me!



Taking a nap through the Redwood Forest in close-by Rotorua during a family outing



Asleep in the Ergo Carrier, a fantastic carrier!
Enjoying his room and toys - blowing the Thomas wistle

Pointing to his nose, as the book promts

Practicing sorting the shapes and getting pretty good at it, too!

at a play ground
water play is his favourite at play group!

Cooling off from the summer heat in our garden

Another hot day at home - amusing himself while I take care of laundry!

And, Shayden is starting to be quite the little helper around the house: helping me wipe the tray of his high chair (which gets VERY messy every meal!), sweeping the floor and cooking.
Have a look!
Cleaning up after a play dough session with Kylie

Talk about a serious cleaner! Got to get all the play dough underneath the table! Way to go, son!

What are we cooking for dinner?
P.S.: I am also enjoying immensely not being so tight financially with him. We get money for him regularly from the social services that we HAVE TO spend on clothes and his board payments more than pay for all his needs and toys etc. - I was always dreaming of having a baby/child and being able to splurge - well, I waited a while, but here we go! Thanks, Daddy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ever wondered how ONE 2-year-old...

... can occupy the whole family?
Wonder no more.

It's happening at our house - and little does the wee man know that all this fuss is about him - (and to top it off, to "cage" him into our yard!)

Instead of talking about our trip and all kinds of catch-up-kind-of-stuff, I'll just let you see some photos of t-o-d-a-y.

Our present rental home/property is not fenced in, so our first project since coming back - besides chasing spiders (everywhere), moths (pantry) and weeds (garden), getting organized again (winter clothes into storage, horray!, summer clothes out, yay), catching up with friends and on mail and communication and enjoying the summer - is getting part of the garden fenced in so that Shayden is safe. He is just about walking now - yep - still, "just about", and even without walking, he' getting around very quickly on all fours.

He absolutely LOVES being outdoors!

So I can't wait for the fence to be completed! He'll have so much fun AND not get hurt by falling down the hill or running into cars. And I don't have to stay with him at all times and can watch him from the kitchen or dining area while doing housework or whatever.
Praise God for a handyman husband and son - well done, Rich and Jeremie - you are doing an amazing job!!! Leilani and Kylie are painting after school :-) while I stay in the house and watch him/write on the blog :)

Here we go - a fence in the making:

Planning

Already a few steps further

coming along nicely




Kylie's first painting project


Look closely at that sweet face and you'll see more than freckles adorning it :)

coming close to getting done

just some more painting and a couple of gates left



Now we'll just have to hope and pray that we won't be asked to leave the house in a few months!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been quite a big project, time consuming and expensive - and still not all done. What don't you all do for LOVE?!! And LOVE YOU we DO Shayden, and hope that you'll always know that deep in your heart!!!

If he was a little older, he'd probably be mad at us for restricting his freedom... hmmm... I guess that's how some people feel about things that God "forbids" us or seems to restrict us in - doubting his character or love for them when in reality it's all the opposite... interesting!

Anyways, all this was actually yesterday (by the time I got all the photos in) - and today it's pouring rain...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coming again soon...

I'm so sorry about my scarce input into this blog in the last few months and boring my eager readers (all three of you - hihi) with the same look day after day. Hopefully, now that we've been back home for a couple of weeks, things will slowly get back to a pace that'll permit me to write just a bit more - hopefully!



So watch this space... I can't wait to share some stuff - and photos... nothing dramatic (no, no baby at this time, at least not yet - talking about Shayden's sibling to be born or born already, we don't know what's happening with that situation)