"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cross Country Racin'

Because I was unable to attend the first race of the season,
TODAY was the FIRST time I watched my son
 huddle with the High School Cross Country team.
He has grown and matured so much since last year, that it took me a minute to pick him out of the huddle. 
 This was a small race, so all the boys in 9th through 12th grade ran together.
It was the first time Jamison raced a 5K.
(Last year he ran ~ 1.9 miles)
 It was a fun meet.
They played great rockin' music as the guys lined up and took off.
 This is about the 1 or 1.5 mile mark.
 This was taken at the finish.
Jamison was very pleased with his race.
He paced well, felt good, and ended with enough kick
to pass a couple of MHS runners!
It was a fun afternoon!  I am very thankful as Jay was unable to train this summer because of some hip issues.  He has been working hard, icing lots, stretching more than ever, and finally feeling good!

In fact, he ran so well that he beat the time his coach had set for him by almost 50 seconds!
Cross Country is A LOT of work!  Jamison's coach tells them almost every practice,"This is not a jogging club!  It is a varsity sport!"  Which must be why they have practice at 6 am tomorrow, the day after a race?!?  You know your child is dedicated and excited about something when they do not complain about getting up at 5:30am to practice.
CONGRATS on a great race today Jay!
I am proud of you! 
Sierra, however, is not!  She practiced with her team for just under 2 weeks and then developed tendonitis.  So she has to rest a while.  She is hoping she feels good enough to be fitted for some custom orthotics by the end of next week.  The reason she has tendonitis is that she is pronating.  Without the orthotics, the tendonitis will be back.  So, we are hoping to get her some good inserts and some time with a trainer correcting her stride a bit, and hopefully she will race later this season.  She is BUMMED!  Until she is ready to race, she will serve the team as student manage and sideline cheerleader, I have no doubt she will excell at both of those roles!

Monday, August 27, 2012

In The Mirror, by Sierra

In The Mirror
By Sierra

I consider myself very talkative.

In the mirror I see a green eyed, blonde.

I smile, read, and talk all day long.

The thought of my family getting bigger makes me excited!

I like to eat buffalo wings.

I know how to drum.

I often dream of falling off a cliff when I am sleeping.

I wish I had more siblings, but I am glad I already have 4.

I am constantly asking for a trap set.

There is nothing that scares me more than spiders, grasshoppers, and snakes.

I wonder when I will finally get to move into my house.

People ask me, "Why do you hate blonde jokes?"

Sometimes I think about how much I hate UND.

I cry when I think about my dog dying.

I laugh when my friends fall.

Someday I will figure out who I am supposed to be.

I don’t think I will ever stop talking.

Someday I would like to become a missionary in Africa.

***I love the glimpses I get into my kids' hearts through their homework! (This was shared with permission from my Sierra girl.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Construction Update: Cabinets, Septic, and a Pretty Front Door

It was another busy week in Operation Get the House DONE!
 The cabinets are going in.
They are perfectly perfect.
I can hardly wait to see the finished product.
 My laundry room.
The ONLY way I could be more excited to use this room is if I had NEVER had a washer and dryer before.  I MISS my laundry room sooooooo much!  And this new laundry room is by far the nicest I have ever had. 
 This is the cute little vanity in "Joshua's" bathroom.
I just adore it!
 This photo is out of order.
It is the other wall in my laundry room.
The open shelving will hold hampers - one for each of us.
Could it be more simple, yet perfect?
Paul Klemetson of Klemetson Woodworks deserves all the credit for this design.
It is a momma's dream.
(and beautiful to boot!)
 Much less beautiful, but arguably more important is the septic system that Chad has been working on.  Above are the tanks.
 And these runs (if I understand correctly) make up the drain field.
Joshua helped, of course.
 By the time we left the house today, Chad had it all done.
Tomorrow it will be inspected.
With any luck all these pipes and tanks will soon be under dirt and put to use!
 The front door was installed this week.
It was one of the moments Chad was really looking forward to.
He fell in love with oversized African Mahogany front doors.
I did not fall in love with the price.
So, he searched and searched and searched, until he finally found the door he wanted at just a little more than the price I wanted.
We are both totally thrilled with how it came together!
 This picture is further evidence of Joshua's need to understand how everything works.
It is also evidence of just how much his daddy loves him.
The day we went to the house to check out the door, the guy came to clean out the porta-potty.  Joshua INSISTED he watch him work.
He even held the door while the worker sucked out the toilet.
This weekend, my mom and I stained an unimaginably huge pile of trim.
 Chad began lacquering it today.
 I was able to get the lacquering done on the windows, so we were able to remove the plastic film,
 scrape off the bits of construction gunk.,
 and wash all the windows.
It sounds like no big deal, but even the kids agree that the clean windows change the whole look of the house.  I totally enjoyed the day.  I guess there is a little of my Grandmas in me after all.
 While we worked today, Brenna and Joshua climbed all over the dirt piles.
They had SO much fun!
 Joshua came home incredibly dirty.  When I got him in the shower, mud ran from his hair as we washed it!  There is nothing more fun than a dirt pile.
This coming week we hope to complete the septic work and get all the dirt piles spread.  It will be fun to see the yard when it is not "lumpy."  The kids will really miss those piles though!
Chad is doing everything he can to get the water up and running.  Then we can move the campers to the lot AND maybe get the washer and dryer hooked up.  Oh that will be a happy day! 
Then the doors need to be installed.
After that, we will begin trimming windows.
The appliances are set to arrive on Wednesday.
The cabinets will be fully installed this week and the guys will come to template the kitchen for counter top on Friday.
With the long weekend we are hoping to get lots done so that we are ready whenever the carpet arrives.  There is so much to do that we both agree to just think about each task as it comes.  We do not have a move in date.  We will just work as quickly as we can to get trim on, flooring laid, etc... and move in whenever it is done.
If you love woodwork and are looking for some extra labor this Labor Day weekend.  Just stop on in (smile) we have a great big project for you!


Thanks for praying for me.

The end of last week was hard.

I received a "there was an accident, but she's OK" call.  I was too tired, worn, and stressed already to handle it as well as I usually would have.

Sometimes owning our own business is very draining.  Last week it was especially so.  I was too tired, worn, and stressed to handle it as well as I usually do.

Those things on top of the usual crazy we have chosen for the summer - camper living, working many hours on the new house, jobs, kids, school starting - just seemed like more than I could handle.

My stresses will remain for a period of time, so please continue to pray for me.  We will make it through, eventually. . .

In the midst of the crazy and stressful, Joshua has been my stress relief.  He says the funniest things.  I thought I better write them down before I forget all his precious thoughts.

  • Joshua has spent A LOT of time around our employees this summer.  He loves them.  They have been incredible with him as well.  So we were shocked when he commented to Chad this week, "You should fire Cory."  Chad further questioned him about why Cory should be fired and Joshua responded, "Well, if you fire him, he has to give you back the blue truck.  I love the blue truck."
  • Another day the guys were packing up for the day.  Joshua could NOT understand why they were leaving.  He told them, "You should not go home.  There is still work to do!"  Chad is more and more sure every day that Joshua will be an excellent business partner some day!
  • Recently a good friend of ours adopted a baby.  Joshua was THRILLED to meet him.  When he peaked into the infant seat to see the little guy sleeping, he whispered into my ear, "Mom he has brown skin like me!  He even has black hair like me!  He is really, really cute!"  I agreed!  Driving home later Joshua asked me, "Mom, do you know what the cutest thing I ever saw in the whole wide world is?"  I told him I did not.  He said with a huff, "Glenn's baby!"  Then he had an idea.  "Mom we should adopt a baby with brown skin like that!  I would really like that."  I told him that would be pretty special and asked what he would think about us having a baby with white skin.  After considering the idea for a while, he responded, "Well, brown skin is the cutest.  But I do think everyone in our family is pretty cute.  Right mom?  So a white baby would be OK, but a brown one would be sooooo cuter!" 
  • Yesterday morning Joshua climbed into bed next to me about 6:45 am.  He snuggled in tight as said, "I bet you are so happy I am here.  Now you can be really comfy with me to snuggle."  before falling right back to sleep.
I am so thankful for laughter, silliness, and innocence in the midst of crazy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wanted: Prayer Support

I would so appreciate your prayers. Although school went well, some other details did not.  I do not have the time, energy, or permission to elaborate (and no one is injured or ill).  However, I am developing an allergy to stress.  I am wiped out.

Please pray God's protection and blessing over our family.

And while you are at it, pray for Jamison.  His first High School cross country meet is tomorrow.  It is an out of town meet, and we will not be there.  I hate that.

Some seasons are hard.  This hard season has worn me out.

Thank you for praying us through.

First Day of School 2012

The first day of school always makes me cry!
I like my kids home best.
I usually hide this fact pretty well, but the middle three were in the car when I dropped Joshua off at Preschool.  There was NO way I could not let a tear or two fall.  I am so proud of how he is handling this transition.  I am so in awe of his progress this last year.  My tears just could not wait until the car was empty!
(Yep, they laughed at me!)
 Krissy - Grade 11 - tolerating my camera.
(I do appreciate it!)
 Jamison - Grade 9
Brenna - Grade 4
Sierra - Grade 7
(Yes! I asked them to pose in front of the campers on purpose.  I hope it is the only year we ever live in campers when school begins!  It has not been THAT bad, but I do not want to repeat it either.)

 I am so thankful this beauty has a big brother to watch out for her!
She and Jamison are at the same school this year.
In the last week, she ditched the glasses for contacts and added braces.
She looks ready for Middle School to me!
 Brenna was a little nervous about the playground with her broken clavicle.
In the end a couple loyal friends walked the playground at her side.
Good friends are such treasures.
It was so odd to drop her off all by herself at the elementary school!  She has never been the only one there before!
 Little man was excited to head to school.
He did a great job at drop off and was so proud to tell me all he had done.
He was thrilled to show me the picture he colored.
I was thrilled, too.  He has had very little interest in coloring or writing thus far.  In fact I am sure the teacher thought I was NUTS to be so excited about his undeveloped squiggles!
He is happy to go back tomorrow, but
getting up early and working hard all morning at Preschool took its toll! He snuck in a quick nap while we drove across town!
I am so thankful he had a good day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

(I Think) He's Ready for Preschool!

One year ago, I had just accepted my job at church.  I was looking for day care, and I was totally heartbroken.  It was absolutely the hardest time of my life.  Although I enjoy my job and believe it is where God has called me to be, giving up time with my son is nearly unbearable. 
The first daycare Joshua was in was NOT the right fit.  So shortly after he started there, I was back to searching for childcare.  It was beyond stressful.
One of the places I visited in my search for the right fit was Montessori.  I loved Montessori.  I knew it would be a great place for Joshua - some day.  The multi-age classes was exactly what I wanted for him.  Their education philosophy was just what I had in mind for him.
But he was NOT ready.  All the kids caused him shut down.  The setting was too institutional.  As kind and friendly as the school is, it was too institutional.  It brought up too many memories of orphanage living.  While visiting the school he crawled up onto my hip, inserted his thumb into his mouth, buried his head under my chin, and closed his eyes. 
Thankfully, my friend Kristen was able to care for him until February.  That was a God-send.
In February, he transitioned once again.  This time to my friend Mia's home day care.
I am SO thankful for the love each of these special ladies lavished on my son.
Each change (was stressful) brought more and more growth in our son.
At Kristen's house, Joshua learned to feel safe away from me.
At Mia's he learned to interact with a small group of preschoolers, all day long.
His confidence grew and grew and grew all year.  He became so solid!  He was able to LOVE his momma and daddy like crazy, and adore a care giver, ALL at the same time.
The plan for Fall is for him to attend Montessori Preschool.
Open house was tonight.
I can not even explain how well things went.  It was absolutely amazing.
Joshua spoke with his teachers. 
He explored all the rooms - making sure I was nearby, but not needing me to hover.
He was not fearful.
He was not putting on a show.
He was simply Joshua.
Joshua Gebeyehu Chad Dietrich.
Tomorrow, school begins!
I think he is ready!
I think he will soar!
I am beyond grateful.
And I am reminded once again of the power of praying scripture over our children.
I have claimed Joshua 1:9 for my son "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified.  Do not be discouraged.  For the Lord your God WILL BE WITH you wherever you go." over and over and over and over.
Good, educated, consistent, prayerful parenting is important.
Thankful for the redemption I saw in my son tonight.
Praying he is filled with His courage tomorrow.
***All 5 kids start school tomorrow.  Please pray for them all and their parents too.  The thought of another transition exhausts me.  Living in the campers way down south when the schools and the new house is way up north is highly inconvenient.  Bedtime is also a problem.  It makes for very short work evenings for me.  In all honesty, I have NO idea how or when the work will be done.  And while that is stressful and I am more tired than I ever remember being in my whole life, I am still less stressed than I was last year at this time! How's that for some weird progress?!?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Construction Update: Lights are On! Staining and Lacquering Begin!

 The BIG accomplishment this week is that we now have lights and outlets.

This makes working at all times of the day (and late into the night) possible.
 This is a picture of LOVE in action.

We have A LOT of recessed lighting in our home.  I insisted that all the fixtures (the rings that surround the light bulb) be painted the same color as the ceiling.  So Chad, just to make me happy, helped me take down many, many fixtures AND paint them right away.  The do-nuts on the ceiling drove me crazy!  I so appreciate that once in a while Chad drops everything to fix the small stuff, just to make me happy.

(I am much happier now!)
 Friday night Chad and I went to Menards to pick up all our doors and much of our flooring.
We filled up his largest trailer.
 I am so thankful that we have strong helpful kids.
Unloading was a lot of work, but the kids made it much easier!
 This is the big pile of flooring that my darling husband will soon be installing.
 Joshua reminded me that I needed to take a photo of him in his dark blue room.
He is very proud!
 Joshua insisted he take mom and dad's picture in our room, too.

You can not imagine how happy I will be to have a bedroom again!
Privacy is NOT part of camper living.
 This photo of Brenna in her hot pink room was too cute not to post.
She is LOVING her room!
 My boys!
These two make my heart happy as they tease and wrestle.
They are so funny together.
 Saturday we set up a door sanding, staining, and lacquering assembly line.

Brian offered to help.  He spent all afternoon sanding doors.  An extra set of hands is so appreciated.

And Cindy sent food.  My mom laughed watching us eat.  We have been living on pizza, tacos, and hot dogs.  Real food tastes SO good.
 Krissy and I set a goal to have everything in the garage stained before we left for the day, so we all worked together to get each one of the door frames sanded and stained before dark.

It was so fun to have Krissy be the one to say, "We are gonna do this!  I am not leaving until this job is done!"  (Jay is not impressed with the shirtless photo.  He was not planning on working with messy stain so he was wearing a shirt that he did not want to ruin.  He ditched his shirt to pitch in and get the job done.  Momma insisted on a photo because I was so proud of the way all the kids jumped in to work together even at the end of a long day!)
 Throughout the weekend, my mom stained windows.  That is a messy and tedious job.  I was so thankful to have her help.  Tedious jobs are a struggle for me.  I always want to go too fast and end up making a mess.  Her patience was just what the situation called for.
 The older three kids had yet another tedious job.

We asked them to vacuum the whole house to try and remove as much dust and dirt as possible before we started lacquering.  It was not a fun job, but they hung in there and got it done!
 Today, Chad sprayed lacquer on the doors we sanded and stained yesterday.

Each door needs to be sanded one more time before it is hung.

I spent the day brushing lacquer on the windows that my mom so graciously stained.

Little by little, tasks are getting done.

This week we hope:
The siding will be completed.
The driveway will be completed.
Interior door installation will begin.
Cabinet installation will begin.
Lacquering of windows will be completed.
Septic work will take place.

***Please pray that we get the details of our septic worked out.  Chad is waiting on some engineering before he begins it.  We need this done ASAP.  The sooner the septic system is done the better.  We would really like to move the campers to the house lot, but we can not do that until the septic system is in place.  

Here is one more Joshua picture to make you smile.

Chad bought a new toy.  Joshua (of course) got a ride.  After he rode with Chad, he played in the cab for a long time.  Finally he called me over and explained how each and every lever works.  That boy shares his daddy's heart no doubt!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moving Closer to Reconciliation

One of the hardest things about this summer has been that we are living in fast forward.  There is always, always, always something to do.  The work is NEVER done.  Now I know many of us live this way all the time, but we have truly taken it to the next level this summer.

For me, living in fast forward is difficult because I do not have time to process.  I am a fairly introspective individual.  I like to have the time to mill things over in my mind, pray things over in my heart, and eventually "get it."  Writing often helps me process, and there has definitely not been much time to write.

So, all summer I have continued to wrestle with the same idea.  I wrote about it once, here.

The basic premise is simple.  The Bible says, "My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.  But does He?

I see kids ALL the time that are not (in my estimation) having all their needs met.  Some are hungry.  Some are dirty.  Some are starving for love, attention, security.  To me, their needs are NOT being met.

My definition of "needs" was probably formed in early elementary school.  I was taught that our basic needs are food, clothing, water, and shelter.  But what does God see our needs as?

I have gone round and round and round with these questions all summer.  While my trust that the Bible is truth, has not faltered.  My heart has cried to understand that truth more fully.

I do not have it all figured out yet, but this week several very simple thoughts have started to help me reconcile.

I was telling Chad how I continued to be bugged by that verse.  He replied, "Alicia the needs you are thinking of just keep our bodies alive longer."

That made my mental light bulb flicker.  He was right.  God is not worried about our preserving our physical bodies nearly so much as preserving our souls.  Our TRUE need is to know Him for eternity.

Hmmmmm. . . . .

Then as I was rereading Kisses From Katie, I noticed these words "Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear things that can destroy the body but things that can destroy the soul."

Hmmmmmm. . . .

I can not say that my understanding is crystal clear.  My understanding remains a bit blurry.  It may always be.  Yet, I love that as we question and seek, God reveals His heart.

So I will continue to question and seek, because the desire of my heart is to know His.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Construction Update: Primed!! and (Almost) Fully Painted

After all my disappointment last week about seemingly slow moving construction, this week was the polar opposite.  This week, things moved faster and smoother than I could have ever imagined!

The first task of the week was the yuckiest - attic insulation!
Chad took the day off on Tuesday to work in the attic.  Jamison kept the blower full.
Because of some mechanical issues, it was SLOW going, but Chad and I FINALLY finished insulating the house late Tuesday evening.

Wednesday evening we began priming!
Priming with a sprayer is MESSY business.  You know how a garden hose sends off a mist if sprayed into the air?  Priming with a sprayer works the same way.  It is especially yucky in small rooms and closets.  Chad ended each spraying session absolutely filthy!

My job during this mess was much simpler than his.  I was supposed to back roll any spots that were really wet and also help him drag the long hoses from room to room.  I was messy, too - but not nearly as covered as Chad was!
Project Prime the House had a very tight deadline.
We began Wednesday evening, and it needed to be completed by Thursday evening.  Chad and I both had to work on Thursday - but by 11:42 PM that evening we had completed our mission.  The house was totally primed.  Chad sprayed a total of 65 gallons of primer between Wednesday at 7 PM and Thursday at 11:42 PM - in addition to working most of Thursday!

Friday the tapers were back on site to texture.
Saturday we began painting!

I was/am so thrilled to begin the finish work stage of this home.  I LOVE to paint, especially in new construction.  I had planned on taking my time and painting slowly.

And then on Friday, just as I was ordering paint, the electrician called me.

He requested that we have the house fully painted by Wednesday so that he could begin his finish work!

YIKES!  So much for painting slowly!  However, I am thrilled to have our subs pushing us along, so we decided to accept his challenge with JOY!

Saturday, Chad and I dropped off Joshua and Brenna at my parent's house at 9:30.  We headed to the paint store to pick up our order.  Our goal for the day was to spray paint on all the walls we had planned to spray.  It only pays to spray paint (vs roll it) if you have a rather large quantity to paint.  So we chose to spray all the bedroom ceilings and closets white.  The main living areas of our home, including a very high vault, we sprayed a latte color.  Our master suite (bedroom, bath, and closet) we sprayed as well. 

All in all we sprayed 50 gallons of paint on Saturday!
We also rolled two accent walls, including the high window wall!
The house was transformed in a blink!
We were totally exhausted, but also SO excited!

Today (Sunday) we headed out to the house to resume painting after church.

This time we had the kids with us, and I was nervous!  The kids have been wanting to paint their own rooms. I was sceptical.  On one hand, I wanted them to try.  They have worked so hard doing anything we asked, I really wanted to honor their desire to paint.  Yet, painting can be harder than it looks, and bad help can be worse than no help. . .

I thought/prayed all through Saturday night about how to make the painting experience a good one for the kids.  I was very concerned that I would be cranky and critical of their (poor?) attempts.
In the end, I had no reason to be cranky or critical.

The kids each painted their own rooms (I edged, they rolled) beautifully!  There were no runs, no spills, no cranky momma, ONLY beautifully painted walls!  It was delightful!

Chad found a mini roller for Brenna to use.  I was unsure how to enable Brenna to paint.  I did not think she was strong enough to use a full size roller with her broken collar bone.  The small roller worked perfectly.  She did a great job, and she is THRILLED with the bright pink she chose for her walls.  (It is REALLY bright - but if she is happy, I am happy.)
Sierra was not feeling well today. (In fact, she has spent this evening vomiting.  Stomach flu in the camper is my idea of a NIGHTMARE.  She is handling it gracefully, but prayers for her to stop vomiting and start feeling better would be appreciated!)  However, after waiting all this time to paint her room, she was determined to follow through!  Sierra girl did a stunning job rolling her "Rapture Blue" paint on her walls.  This color I love.  It is soothing and exciting all in one - perfectly Sierra!
Jamison did not care what color his room was painted.  So, my Auntie Patty and I chose a soft grey.  I LOVE it.  It is soft, yet masculine.  It is a true gun metal grey without a hint of purple to blue.  (Don't know if you remember the accent wall disaster this winter, but grey is not a color I have had success with in the past!  So I am extra thrilled to love this one!)  Jay rolled all four walls for me, and they look awesome!  I think he is pleased with the color as well.

Tomorrow, I need to second coat Jamison's walls.  Joshua's bedroom and Krissy's bedroom both need two coats of paint.  The master needs a second coat on the soffited ceiling and one accent wall must be painted (twice). 

And that is it! (With the exception of corner touch ups of course.)

I am shocked, awed, and very thankful for how well the painting has gone.  It has been so fun!  In fact, I have to force myself to quit.  I just want to keep going and going because I enjoy it so much.  It is such a blessing!

Also a blessing, are your prayers.

Last week I accomplished more that I could have ever imagined!  I went to Sierra's Middle School open house. Sierra and Jay had sports physicals. Sierra and I had eye doctor appointments.  I took Sierra school clothes shopping.  I bought Jay and Sierra the shoes they will need for cross country.  I completed my to-do lists at both my jobs. We attended an annual adoption gathering with other adoptive families in our area. I even had lunch with Chad on our anniversary!  All in addition to the enormous amount of work we got done at the house!  It was/is utterly amazing.

Also amazing is my mom, who washed our family's laundry for the second week in a row, AND watched Brenna and Joshua ALL weekend.  AND Chad's Grandma, who made us a WONDERFUL home cooked meatball meat this week.  We have been eating like college students, so home cooked was AMAZING!

I suspect we will continue to live in fast forward until we are moved into the house.  In fact, I expect it to get crazier.  Cross country starts tomorrow, which means driving to practices (2 a day for Jay and 1 for Sierra) and attending meets on weekends.  (That is not a complaint, I LOVE cross country!)  Because Chad and I are installing all the flooring expect the carpet, along with all the tiling of bathrooms, and all the staining, lacquering, and installing of doors, floor boards, and window trim, this last phase of construction may just be the craziest.  It is also the most fun!

So please continue to pray for us.
Because prayer changes everything!

Remember Sierra's payer for the summer?
She asked me to pray that our family would grow closer than ever before this summer as we all lived in tight quarters and worked hard side by side.

Today while we were painting her room she told me, "Mom!  It is so weird?!?  Everyone keeps telling me how close we have gotten this summer!  Grandma told me she noticed how close Jay and Krissy and I are.  Grandpa said the same thing.  So did Tishina.  Isn't that weird?"

I told her I agreed.

I also told her I did not think it was weird at all.

I thought it was to be expected!
Because, God always answers our prayers.
And on this occasion, it was a YES! answer to the desire of Sierra's heart.

Thank you God for miracles amid the mess!