Thursday, December 31, 2009
Christmas letters are difficult for me to write because most people list all the wonderful things that have happened to them during the year, often citing those things as blessings from God. In the spirit of honesty and genuineness I believe my favorite Christmas letter I ever received was from friends who openly discussed the fact they they had gone bankrupt during the year. I am so happy that God blesses all of us at times with wonderful events to fill our Christmas letters with cheer. But if having a list of celebrations indicates God's blessing on our lives, our family is in trouble! God brings hardships too. Sometimes they last through several years of no Christmas letters. But I refuse to believe that means God isn't going to bless us soon, or that He isn't blessing us right now in ways we can't yet understand. Or in ways not quite worthy of a Christmas letter, yet blessings all the same.
While I like to consider myself an optimist, I also have to be honest and say that life is not all a bed of roses. Some years it is less-rose filled than others, and this was one of those years. So in all honesty, I must say, "Good riddance to 2009!" That being said, let the optimism kick in with a huge welcome and faith that 2010 will bring a few extra belly laughs.
But here are a few blessings we did receive in 2009... The Top 9 of '09
1. This was our first full calendar year with Will, in which we watched him learn to communicate almost anything he wishes, talking up a storm. He grew from my "baby," to my "big boy." He's potty trained and ready to take on the world.
2. I spent a full year as a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I love being with my boy, teaching him, sharing in his triumphs, being his primary care-giver. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that staying at home is a wonderful thing to do "if you can." I want to be the first to tell you that I can't. No one with any sense would look at our income and tell us they recommend me staying home, but that's what I did anyway. Because this is an area we feel strongly about, and God made it work.
3. I joined 2 SAHM organizations this calendar year...MOMS Club and MOPS. I've met some wonderful ladies and managed not to become a total recluse. I've been challenged and refreshed and learned that, in spite of my talking about Will all the time because I love him so much and spend so much time with him, I am still my own person. I maintain an identity outside of him. I am who God created me to be on many levels, not just as a mom.
4. Our photography business has taken off! We're excited about all the new things we have done this year...new clients, new events, new equipment, and new ways of doing business. Instead of a hodge-podge of things I have been wishing to get in gear my whole life, all my new years resolutions this year center around a do-able business plan. This is our passion and a large part of our hope for the future. A special thanks to everyone who has worked with us this year!
5. John and I celebrated 7 years of the best marriage around without getting the 7 year itch! Still best friends!
6. I turned 33 this year. The same age Jesus was when he died. So much accomplished in his short life (drastic understatement!). So what to do with mine? I learned a lot more about giving this year. Since monetary giving is often out, I learned a lot more about serving physically. Doing for others. Also appreciating the fact that I can, that I am physically and monetarily able to provide some of the little things that others might need. That work isn't bogging me down so I can focus on "more important" things.
7. I embraced simplicity. Fully participating in the coupon system, learning to make-do with what we often had at hand, still finding that we had more than we need, more than many others. Hearing about lavish gifts that others were planning to give at Christmas, it really hit me that I actually LIKE the way we do things. We don't go into debt or worry about how we are going to pay for all the presents. We don't agonize about finding the perfect gifts or need to run around like crazy to get everything done. Our Christmas is still full enough of presents, as are birthdays, Easter, etc.
8. FaceBook! Silly? Maybe. But anything that helps me stay connected to friends is a blessing. Maybe I waste a little too much time on a couple of my favorite games there, but coming from someone who always feels like I need to be productive, the down time is not only welcome, but much needed.
9. In spite of some rough and dark patches, we have managed to retain the hope that what God has placed in our hearts, He will provide for. We cling to our faith, believing, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 and "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
In spite of what kind of 2009 you had, may your 2010 be even better! God bless!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
My favorite Thanksgiving Day picture--Grandma Apple doing a puzzle in the floor with Will.
You may have noticed that I missed the entire month of November. Blog posts often run through my head, but the time and focus to sit down to write is not quite as abundant. For November, the month of Thanksgiving, I did try to focus more on being thankful. Since Will is old enough to understand the holidays a little better, I wanted to figure out how to impress on him the importance of being thankful. As in all parenting, I must lead by example. So here are some specific things I am especially thankful for...
Faith that tells me our circumstances are not forever
Hope that God will once again provide for what He has placed in our hearts
Will usually sleeps through the night :)
Though John's hours are unpredictable and downright yucky, he comes home every night, and isn't half a world away fighting a war or traveling often with his job
My husband works very hard (even though he doesn't get the credit he deserves) to provide for us so that I can stay home with my son
My son is not only adorable, but also Mr. Personality...I predict he will someday be the class clown
My parents are willing to drive 2 hours just to babysit Will when I need them
I have found a few other babysitters :)
I'm more acutely aware of the needs around me, making me more appreciative that I have exactly what I need, and much of what I want.
God allows me to help others. We don't always have the money to give, but I am amazed at the abundance of "stuff" I find that I can give to others in need. That may not seem so amazing to you, but this is coming from a mom who sold everything she could get her hands on at multiple yard sales to make money to bring home her little boy. I am frugal in my spending, more so with each passing day, so I don't buy a lot of junk. The junk seems to multiply!
Everyone who has encouraged us with our photography and let us take their pictures
Sneaking in Will's room and watching him sleep
The sound of Will's laugh
Will is basically potty trained!
A genuine smile on the face of my husband
Will has learned to say, "Yes, Sir." (And sometimes Ma'am.)
Now for Will. Since he began praying a few months ago, it is obvious that he has a thankful heart. We pray it stays that way! For the first several weeks of prayer, his prayers always ended with, "Now Daddy go to work." He misses his Daddy and that's big on his heart. While it broke our hearts, especially John's, we couldn't help but giggle when he said it.
But in spite of his growing and changing prayers, one thing has remained constant...Will's prayers always start with, and mostly consist of, the things he is most thankful for, in that special no holds barred way that only a child has. He is not only thankful for the things of the day, as you would think a little boy would be preoccupied with, but he mentions things that made a big impression on him months ago. For example, we only made it to 2 of his cousin's football games this season, but we have prayed prayers of thanks for those 2 games for at least 50 nights!
So here are few of the things that Will thanks God for, not just my speculations, but things that have actually come out of his mouth...
go to Josh and Steven's foot ball game
Steven (Josh's friend he's met exactly twice)
ride Papaw's golf cart
my golf cart
I play with my golf club and golf ball.
go to Mimi Papaw's
being ring bearer (which he's been begging to do again...actually shed tears over)
sing some songs (especially, Alright, Sideways, and Down the Road--He's a country boy.)
bird pooped on Mimi's car (we talked about that for months)
sit in Papaw's lap
Mimi Papaw coming
Will look good.
going on train tracks
read some books
May the spirit of thankfulness continue throughout the year. Why else would I be writing this in December ? ;)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
1 rambunctious 2 1/2 year old
2 child-like parents
1 best-ever chicken costume
31 days praying for Halloween health
4 festive shirts
3 trips to the pumpkin patch
piles of colorful leaves
1 fall family photo shoot
2 Halloween crafts at Michael's Craft Store
3 night-time visits to the Tanbark Halloween house
1 Moms Club costume parade
2 Halloween parties
1 Halloween story-time at the library
1 card from Mimi and Papaw
2 big Halloween events
1 ride on top of a real firetruck
1 glowing Jack-o-lantern
1 tour of local stores celebrating Halloween morning
1 free kids meal at Qdoba for Halloween lunch
1 night Trick-or-Treating at Fayette Mall
1 stop at Jo's for a special treat
1 Jack-o-Lantern full of num-nahs
Cook at unusually cold temperatures until the very tired chicken declares, "Go home! Will ready to go home!" Top off with some Yummy Mummy Sausages and Ghoul-Aid. Savor the memories and enjoy.
****Sometimes if you cook it too long, it will become a little bitter. For example, during one of the trick-or-treat stops, I said, "Smile for a picture!" Will turned around and yelled, "I said NO!" in his very meanest 2 year old voice, which is surprisingly mean for a 2 year old.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
But I didn't want the day to pass without saying Happy Grandparents Day to both my grandmother (who will probably never see this as she doesn't do computers) and to Will's grandparents. We all need grandparents to dote on us when our parents are trying to discipline, which is just what Will's grandparents do. So allow me to put a few words into his mouth, "Mamaw! Mimi! Papaw! Thanks for all the cookies and chips before meals. For all the toys and books that make loud noises and the golf cart rides. For reminding me how smart I am and letting me make gates with your legs for an hour at a time. For teaching me how to make funny faces and letting me yell in your houses. For turning on the TV for me when Mommy and Daddy think it's time to turn it off. For bragging to your friends about me, singing with me when you aren't usually a singer, and reading to me when you aren't normally a reader. For letting me kick you in the middle of the night and sleep in y0ur bed. For spoiling me rotten. I love you! Happy Grandparents Day!"
And Happy Birthday Mimi! We love you and look forward to celebrating with you in person soon!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
According to Beth Moore's suggestion, I have decided to not add any more verses for the year, but instead to try to really memorize the ones I have already picked. There are over 24 of them already since I memorized some of them in pairs, so I'm not really cheating. (Not that you care, but I do!)
I hope everyone's September is full of fun and wonderful surprises!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Will's 1st Baseball Game--The Lexington Legends--We caught one of the game balls and he was hooked up with a free glove signed by Big L. Thanks Joe and Linda! (And Joe's friend!)
Playing in the creek near Mimi and Papaw's house. Not Will's normal picture look, but I thought it was funny. Will is a very expressive guy!
Scared of heights, but relaxing for a little fun on the farm.
A Helping Hand Adoption Reunion Picnic, posed with our travel group (There were many more in our group who couldn't make it.)
Will's Child Dedication at Vineyard Community Church; Thanks everyone who celebrated with us! (A couple people not pictured.)
Playing in Fountain Square, Cincinnati, on Forever Family Day
"Looks like fun," you say? Any time we leave somewhere, Will announces that he had fun there. "Will had fun--Walmart! Will had fun--Kroger! Will had fun--church!" So now Will's favorite saying..."Will-fun guy!"
And where else could Will be found this summer? On the couch watching our first family TV show--I Survived a Japanese Game Show! Hai Majide! (Translated, "Are you serious?")
It seems like we were able to pack a lot more in this summer. Last summer was taken over by getting ready for Will, getting Will, and learning to take care of a little boy on little to no sleep! Hope everyone had as great a summer as we did!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
1. Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. (John Wimber) If God is as big and powerful as we claim He is, isn't He going to want us to do some big (aka risky) things?
2. On the surface faith makes no sense. Why doesn't faith make sense to most people? Because faith is being certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
3. If I am a follower of Christ, I should be defined by my faith, which (back to #1) is spelled R-I-S-K. Therefore, I should be doing some risky things this year, that would seem crazy to most people.
Once you see how my resolutions are coming along, I think you will see how all-encompassing the above 3 factors have been in our lives this year.
So here were my goals.
1. Potty Training--Check! Once we got past the first 3 miserable days of spending nearly all our time in the bathroom or cleaning up messes, Will has been amazing. The 2nd day of training we took a short break to visit the local fire station. The fireman saw him holding himself and asked if he needed to use the bathroom. He made it! Amazing control when he wants it, which is pretty much all the time now. Yeah Will!
2. Eating More Vegetables--I am doing a little better. I at least have the fruit down. I am eating healthier in general, so if I don't want to starve, I have to include a few more veggies. But I am still striving for the 5 servings a day on most days.
3. Play More--I have been more intentional about making sure that I do play while doing other things. I have been doing a little more intentional play, but can probably still do better. Perhaps I should set a 30 minute timer like Mom used to when we were practicing piano???
4. Build our Photography Business--The website is up! http://www.wohlfordphotography.com Two weddings are booked. Better business cards are in hand. We have several new customers lined up. We are still very excited about our "new" business!
5. Scripture Memory--Confession time. I have soooo slacked off. I am still picking my verses, but the spiral ring containing them is MIA without the IA. I plan on catching up. That will sure be a lot of work.
6. TBA--This is the one that started rumors flying before. But I can reveal some of it now... Part of the announcement is that we both really thought I should stay home from work. I had to officially let them know in February. I won't be returning to teaching this year. It still feels weird. I miss shopping for school supplies and catching up on the school gossip, seeing some of my teacher friends. But I know I have more fun with Will. He already knows all his ABC's and can count to 14. He is beginning to recognize his colors and knows most of the shapes--including the octagon. He has fun everywhere he goes and we do tend to keep the road warm. Even though we are strained right now, I still know that this was the right decision for our family.
And the rest of it is that we plan on adopting another baby--hopefully sooner rather than later. I'm sure this doesn't come as a shock for any of you that really know us. We have always wanted a big family. We had hoped to have already started the process. I still have hopes that we will have started by the end of the calendar year. Thanks Economy for slowing us down. But I thought I would go ahead and let you know because we could definitely use the prayers, just as we did last time. It took so long last time, that we kind of wanted to keep it to us for now, but God likes it when we pray for each other, so please pray for us to qualify, have the finances available, and for that baby somewhere who needs a home with an awesome brother!
So, back to the top, you can see that our lives feel like nothing but RISK right now--new photography business, planning to adopt again, still figuring out the day-to-day in this economy. And definitely, planning on doing anything that costs $$, which all of those things do, makes absolutely no sense. So is my life defined by faith? I still question sometimes. I definitely do not see what or why God makes the decisions He does often. But living the life I live, having the year we have been having, being able to get out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face, I have to say that my life must be defined by faith because I sure am waiting on God to provide! I am a follower of Christ, hopefully defined by my faith, which is definitely spelled R-I-S-K. If you think I am crazy, according to what is listed above, I must be doing my job. So what do you call a girl with no "real" job, trying to start a business and adopt a baby, who's biggest goals are to play with her son more, eat veggies, and memorize Bible verses? Crazy?!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
1 Pet 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
If you click the links, you'll see I copied them from BibleGateway.com. It's a great place to look things up, see different translations, etc. Check it out!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We fairly frequently get the same question we got last night..."Is he always this happy?" Most of the time, the answer is a resounding, "Yes!" Although we could have done without his jumping up and down on the couch in front of the social worker to prove it. Will is very happy. He was described that way to us on the day we got him, when he was screaming and trying to get away from us. After he had time to get use to us, we could see this was true. She will probably never read this, but it just seems right to say thank you to the woman who was his foster mother. She must have been the absolute best. She taught him to dance and love music. He was no stranger to running and giggling. Most importantly, she bonded with him, which later gave him the ability to bond with and love us. Thank you so much!
So enough with the serious stuff, here's what you really want...pictures! I missed my tribute to fathers on Father's Day, so I wanted to share a picture of my Dad with Will. Papaw is one of Will's favorite people in the world. It's been that way since the minute they met at the airport. All children seem to love my father. I do not think I have ever seen anyone act goofier around a child, which is what makes him so great. Dad, thanks for being so special to my boy. For all the rides you give him in the golf cart, the potato chips you sneak to him, and for sleeping with the little wildcat when he visits! And thank you for being the same kind of great father to me!
Will with Mimi and Papaw at the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg
I could not let my Father's Day tribute go by without a shout out to John, of course! Anyone who knows John must know that he is an amazing father. He dotes on Will constantly. Will wants to be just like his daddy...playing guitar, riding in Daddy's car, dressing like him. If given a choice, Will will pick out a shirt that he thinks looks like Daddy's.
Since John loves his T-shirts, I could see no better present than to make them matching shirts.
Happy belated Father's Day to all you dad's out there! (When I'm this late with a wish, I like to call it "spreading the joy.")
Fathers and Families. We celebrate Family Day, the day we first met Will, on June 29th. Will has become quite the train enthusiast, so we went to check out Entertrainment just north of Cincinnati. Definitely worth the trip if your little ones (or big ones) like trains--or if you need a good excuse to visit Ikea. It was the perfect way for us to celebrate being a family.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
James 1:5 (NIV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
And for the rest of the month...
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Monday, June 8, 2009
As of June 8, 2009, John and I have been very happily married for 7 years! It's amazing how time flies! But it's even more amazing how love can grow every day.
For those of you not married yet, wait until you find a godly man (or woman) who loves you more than you could ever have imagined. John is the picture of selfless, unconditional love. I've always said he is a much nicer person than me, and he has proven it every day for 7 years. Girls, you've got to find the kind of guy that does not make you cringe when you read about submission in the Bible, because you know that he truly does have your best interest at heart and is seeking God's counsel to back it up.
I don't really feel like I picked John, more like God dropped him in my lap and said, "Here he is!" I may be wrong, but I'm one of those people who feels like God has one special person out there for you. I think we can mess with the plan and God can make the next best thing work, but I think if you follow the path there is one best choice out there for you. John is it for me.
The best reason to get married is that you feel that you can better serve God with that person than you could without him or her. I believed that 7 years ago, but now I see how true it has been. John has not only helped me live out my dreams, but has also helped me realize what they are. I seem to mention something small in passing and BOOM! John is on it, encouraging me to do it, to live it, to be it. (For an example, check out our new website: http://www.wohlfordphotography.com.)
One of the very best pieces of advice that anyone ever gave me was to marry someone whom you would want to raise your children if you were gone. I have no doubts that if something happened to me, Will would turn out to be the kind of man I want him to be, a man like his father.
To my husband, John, I love you with all my heart! Thank you for the last 7 years. I look forward to our future together! And thank you God for this wonderful man!
Friday, May 22, 2009
My first official Mothers' Day was great. It started with church. Although we don't go to a traditional church, we did the traditional "mothers please stand" thing. I must say that I've always hated that. Anyone with me? I know that my mom always hated standing up because she didn't want anyone to look at her. I hate it because of all the years I wanted to stand, but couldn't. Then there was last year when I had a referral and had to go through the whole "Should or shouldn't I?" conversation in my head. I did decide to stand, but wondered how many people were talking about me and wondering where my child was. The year before that I totally skipped church just because I didn't want to burst into tears when they asked mothers to stand. So a word to those who have a say in whether or not their churches ask the moms to stand--please don't! You can honor everyone while they're still sitting down. The nicest non-moms day I had was a few years ago when all the women were given flowers, whether moms or not, because they recognized the mothering nature of all women. Somewhere in every congregation is that woman who, whether she wants to stand or not, desperately wants to be a mom, but isn't yet. That poor girl feels bad enough, so please don't make it worse!
Standing or sitting, there are moms in our lives that deserve to be honored. My mom is one of my best friends. I wish I could spend more time with her and have the best time when we do. There is probably no one in the world who is more like me--except maybe John! She was an excellent role model growing up and still is. She is a wonderful grandmother to Will. The best compliment I ever got was that I was the perfect mix of my mom and dad. I should say more, but how can you put into words all your mother means to you?
My grandmothers have also been a great blessing to me, spoiling me and teaching me. Grandma Tilly (Apple) adores Will and is wonderful with him. They had an especially good time making pretend apple pies just a couple days ago.
John's mom has been a blessing to us. She is a great example of generosity and putting others above herself. She too loves Will with all her heart.
This Mothers' Day, as with those past, I hoped to do a little something for the moms in our life, but fell short as always! But as a mother with a child finally here in the flesh, I felt that I didn't really need to be honored. It goes back to the old question, "Should we really be honored for doing our job?" It's my job to love Will with all my heart, provide for him, and help him be the best person he can be. I do that with the best of my ability. Although I knew it would be demanding, it's a lot more consuming a job than I thought it would be--and a LOT less sleep! But when the day is done, it's my job. That's what I signed up for. I would not trade it for anything. Instead, I just wanted to spend Mothers' Day thinking about how lucky I was just to finally be a mom. How lucky I am to have, who we feel, is the cutest, sweetest, smartest little guy in the whole world. Without a doubt, you can count me among the luckiest moms in the world. Will is my present. I am just glad he was here with me this year!
Regardless of that feeling, John and Will did make Mothers' Day extra special. John did not miss any chances to direct Will to give extra hugs and kisses. In addition to what John got me, he took Will to pick out which scrapbooking or quilting magazine and num-nah (candy) mommy would get. We knew Will would get into it because the night before Will had grabbed his own basket and meticulously looked over the items at the dollar store, deciding wich things to keep and which to put back. I must say that, with Daddy's help, he did a great job on my gifts.
I also hoped to get something Will had made to remember my first Moms' Day. At church they decided to have the smaller kids make footprints. When we picked up Will they told us that he wouldn't do it. He was the only kid in the class who wouldn't. As a matter of fact, he started shouting, "Ew! Ew!" when they tried to paint his feet. He even got the rest of the kids to chime in shouting. That's my boy--the instigator!
To all of the lucky moms out there, happy belated Mothers' Day!
I mentioned a few months ago that I have a slew of pictures of me with a big cheesy grin showing how happy I am to be a mom. Here is a couple of my favorites...
And here's my verse, only a week late!
All your sons will be taught by the LORD,
and great will be your children's peace.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Birthday Bike compliments of Grandma Apple (named for always giving Will apples),
Construction Bike Helmet and pads--too cute for words!
I always hoped that when I had children, they would be full of spunk and personality. That's exactly what we got. I just didn't expect it to start at such a young age.
Will loves his music. His newest trick is to yell, "Song!" when we are in the car and a commercial comes on. If he doesn't like the song that is playing, such as Taylor Swift, he will also yell, "Song!" He even knows when a song is getting ready to go off and will start yelling, "Song!" in anticipation. If I'm watching something on the DVR and skipping through the commercials, he'll hear the jingle and start yelling, "Song!" so we have to go back and watch the commercials. He yells "Song!" with all the strength his little body can muster and, when the song is finally over, the end is often met with tears. His love for music and dancing has even earned him a standing invitation when Big Boss Man, is favorite blues band, plays at Cielito Lindo, the local Mexican restaurant.
Will and Daddy have written a number one hit (in our household) which is actually being sung to me now and played on the ukulele. We call it The Family Song. It is basically a list of the names of everyone in our family, but no other song compares. Any time we ask Will what song he wants to hear, he breaks into The Family Song. We hear Will singing it to himself throughout the day.
Will also has to go hear the worship at church and screams, "Song!" as we carry him screaming past the sanctuary so that he can go to his class first. Luckily we go to a church where it is okay that Will dance on the chairs as he worships. It was confirmed this weekend that Will is either going to be a head banger, or he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Another thing that has amazed me lately is Will's uncanny sense of direction. Whenever we are in the general vicinity of Guitar Center, Will starts yelling for Daddy or Daddy's Car (another of his fascinations). We were driving by Joseph Beth the other day, coming from the opposite direction we usually approach from, and he started screaming, "Choo choo! Choo choo!" because that is where he goes to play with the trains.
When Will first came to us, we tried to comfort him by speaking a little Chinese. I am pretty sure that what we said didn't sound too Chinese. (I am reminded of trying to speak Spanish to a little Mexican girl in my class. She started repeating the Spanish back to me, just like she did when I taught her English. She was totally unaware that I was trying to speak Spanish to her!) As time has gone by with Will, we have slacked off on the Chinese. Recently I have made a more concentrated effort to tell Will, "Good night. Mommy loves you!" in Chinese before he goes to bed. According to our adoption guides, this sounds a lot like, "Wo o. Mommy eye knee." As I was saying this to Will the other night, he began laughing uncontrollably. I was not sure what was so funny until he started screaming, "Night night, knee!" over and over. Now it is a nightly ritual that we must tell not only our knees, but all of our body parts, especially our elbows, good night. I heard him telling his stuffed animals, "Wan an!" (good night) this morning.
Will has lots of Mommy time, so Daddy time is very special to him. If John is around and I try to push the cart Will is in, change his diaper, or give him a bath, I get Will's version of "talk to the hand." That would be the hand extended up in the stop position, with Will screaming, "NO!" at the top of his lungs while rapidly shaking his head. Who knew "talk to the hand" was an innate expression? I must admit that I like it when he tells me Daddy must change his diaper.
We went out to eat a few weeks ago and someone came up to our table to tell us hello. John immediately thought it was someone I had taught with over the years. I immediately thought it was someone had gone to church with. Will immediately said, "Doctor!" and he was right. I guess when you spend enough time screaming at someone, their memory gets seared into your brain.
Yesterday Will got his kicks by trying to pick my nose. Never a dull moment.
I hope I don't bore you with my little Will stories, but he continues to amaze us. I always knew I'd enjoy being a mother, but I never knew it would be this much fun. As John said earlier tonight, we are going to have to stop talking about how cute he is in front of him all the time because he is going to catch on pretty soon. Or do you think he already has???
So for here's my Mothers' Day verse, which is also my excuse for scrapbooking verse (National Scrapbooking Day--May 2, 2009):
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Happy Mothers Day to all, but especially to those first time moms and those still waiting! And Happy National Scrapbooking Day!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
First signs of spring!
I hope that you had a wonderful Easter! Ours was the best Easter ever, of course, since it was Will's first Easter with us. We had a few small Easter egg and candy hunts, as well as a picture of a very scared Will and me with the Easter Bunny. As a special Easter treat, Will had the cutest little Easter outfit ever!
We tried to instill the real Easter story by reading lots of Easter books, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to find a good kid's Christian Easter book. Will also watched Miss Patty Cake's Easter video--super cheesy, but great for little ones. Will sang the songs and danced around the room. Anyone else got ideas on how to help children understand the real meaning of Easter, especially little ones? Please share! It seemed we could think of lots of things for Christmas, but Easter was a little trickier.
Enjoy a few of our favorite Easter pics below. I hope they help you stay in the Easter spirit all year long!
1st egg hunt--Babies R Us
This was the official Easter outfit.
Someone told us to color the eggs in the bathtub--great idea! No mess!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
A few important updates...
Please keep praying for my friend Doug. He has a long road to complete recovery. Also pray for his wife and daughter who are adjusting to him not being at home.
My friend Marion's job is possibly in danger with some new legislation. Please click here and scroll to the bottom to sign this petition and help a friend of a friend (me!). You will also be helping students get competitive loan rates for higher education.
I have another friend who has also been working hard to create a new blog to help mothers. It's got lots of good information on it and links to helpful resources. Check it out here.
My New Verse
I can't back down from a challenge, but I sure can slack off. I hit the first 2 or 3 verses hard, but since then I haven't been memorizing my verses. I am going to get back at it. We are only on verse 7, so surely I can catch up, but only if I start now. Regardless, it has still been good to see that God always has something to say about right where I am. Here is my newest verse...
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I have also decided to go back to work. I know somebody who knows somebody and was offered a job at the University of Kentucky teaching a new class about the pitfalls of teaching. It's part of their new awareness program to help students make sure that their major is a good fit. I have been busy writing down all my favorite teaching stories.
Since I will be working again, we have been looking for a daycare for Will. We found an amazing little preschool that allows you to pick a major and minor for your child. It is designed to groom them into who you want them to be. Will will be majoring in science (and doing baby science projects most of the day--some with minor explosions!) and minoring in dance (with emphasis on break dancing and ballet).
Will has also finally started talking in complete sentences. He spoke his first sentences when we were getting ready to put him to bed the other night. He said, "No way! I'm coming with you!"
John and I have also been accepted as contestants on a new weight loss show. Since the biggest losers seem to be the heaviest people, as part of our strategy, we committed to eating at buffets most evenings until the show starts taping in the late summer. If you are hankering for a buffet, give us a call.
Since my Face Book quiz said I was most like the TV mom Carol Brady, we decided that we should also get a maid. After hours of crazy interviews, we finally found one. She is going to be a live-in maid, like Alice, since we are such messes. She can follow us around and pick up after us all day, then cook us 5 course meals at night when we are tired of the buffet!
Last, but not least, we thought it would take a while to add to our family again, but the adoption rules have once again changed. As long as you can come get them by the end of the year, regardless of income, you can now adopt as many children as you want at one time from Val Verde, a South American country. By Christmas we should have four new little angels home with us. Actually, they aren't all so little. The boys are 7 and 9. The girls are 4 and 12. Look for them on the next Christmas card.
That's how it stands for the Wohlford family, this first day of April, 2009.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Luckily I wasn't far from my destination. I was sitting in a parking space by the time the special needs coordinator at A Helping Hand could give me the information. "We have a baby who's file you can review. It's a boy." I so wish I could remember everything Dana said word for word, but the main thing that stuck out was, "It's a boy." I scrambled for something, anything to write on, and finally found an old envelope. I scratched down his basic info--name, age, location, and special need.
I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that I was probably going to have a little boy instead of a girl. I'd been working on that idea already since we had agreed we'd take either sex when we applied for the special needs list. But still, after thinking you were most definitely going to have a little girl for three years, it's not easy to make a quick switch. But we knew that we wanted to have a little boy some day. I said John needed to have a boy so he could teach him how to be a gentlemen like John (one of few men who still open the car doors for their wives after 7 years of marriage).
The next two hours I was spinning, dying to get back home to my computer so I could see his face. I went into Jazzercise late, but there was an extra spring in my step. Then I went to visit my father-in-law (who had broken his hip) at the rehabilitation center. It was killing me not to tell him, but I hadn't even told John yet. He was in Atlanta for a work conference. What timing!
Finally I reunited with my computer. This is what I saw.
My first thought was how cute he was! My second was that he could actually be my baby! To be honest, I also had a chuckle about this adorable little boy getting his picture made on a bright pink flower. I tried not to get my hopes up because I hadn't talked to John yet and I knew we had to be on the same page. But I knew I wanted this little sweet guy to be MY little boy. But John was so worried about the money that I was afraid he would say no. Adoption does come with a pretty hefty price tag.
I couldn't wait to see the second and only other picture, so I opened it almost immediately.
Look at those little feet! I zeroed in on them. He might like to play ball. He could stand holding on to something. And a million other thoughts. It's amazing all the information you can glean just from a photo or two when that's all you have. (My mom is especially good at this!)
Then I read his medical info, much of which made absolutely no sense to me, and called my folks. Sorry John, but I just had to tell someone! I talked to my dad. Mom wouldn't be home for a several more minutes, which seemed like eternity. Then I finally talked to John. He had to wait for the computer in the lobby at his hotel to be free before he could even see his picture. I could tell he was excited, but tired... and scared.
I stayed up very late that night assorting the baby stuff we had collected over the past three years into stuff a little boy could use and stuff we had to stow away for a girl.
I wish I could say we went to get him right away, or even signed the papers the next day. But there was another month of calls to Will's future doctor, waiting for more medical info from China, more doctor reviews, etc. All the time with John telling me to be patient and not get too attached yet. Me getting impatient and too attached, deciding that this was going to be my little boy no matter what the doctor said. I had the best news in the world and was trying not to tell anyone but my family about it, carrying around his picture and sneaking peaks while no one was looking.
But thanks to the adoption speed ups before the 2008 Olympics in China, everything from that point on happened at the speed of light. And the rest is history.
I've learned so many things from our adoption experience. Looking in Will's sweet face everyday helps me remember. The best things in life are the things that you don't plan for. I never planned to fall in love with my best friend and marry him. I never planned to adopt a little boy from China. But God has blessed me more than I ever dreamed! We were definitely meant to have a little boy--this little boy, our Will.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Here are some of my favorites...
Bumpy road, kissed toad, recovery mode!
Loving this life --Longing for next.
Traumatized caterpillar peeking out of cocoon
Brother's May wedding: Need affordable Liposuction
All for Him and Him for all
Seeing the Sacred in Ordinary LifeI do believe...help my unbelief!
Changing their diapers...building their character
This is a lot harder than it looks. Here's what I finally came up with...
Creative minds are often the messiest.
Diamond in the rough--please shine.
Crazy, curly hair reflects inner chaos.
Two princes here. Waiting for Third.
Beer budget. Champagne taste. Lottery wishes.
Children's laughter is the best medicine.
Thinking out of box sometimes works.
Not crazy--just given different directions.
Now it's your turn...
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on the computer
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder
3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 people to do the same
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)
Much to my sister's dismay, my nephew, Josh, has always loved and wanted to play football. For the past 3 years, he has played for Lexington Traditional Magnet School. We were asked to take some action shots and do photo collages for some of the teammates. We also got to do a giant team photo. This is one of the action shots. I really enjoyed doing it. Too bad I don't know more about football!
Next year we will begin cheering for Josh at Lafayette High School. I love the atmosphere of high school football and hope we can attend several "Josh-ball" games, as Will is now calling them.
3. Nancy & Dan
Erica, thanks for the fun challenge!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
February is usually a big month for us with Valentine's, birthdays, the first glimpse of sunny days, plus those last exciting bits of snow. This month was good, but we have some friends (more than one) who have had some hard times this month. It has been a bit of a wake up call for us, realizing our humanity and that bad things happen to good people. Sometimes I need a reminder that God is going to reward our faithfulness, even when things seem bleak for a time. More important than my reward, I need to remember that I have to keep having faith to please God. He's got his own timing and can see the big picture even when I cannot. Although it is sometimes frustrating, I find it refreshing to realize that I am not in charge of everything!
Monday, February 23, 2009
I will never have another birthday without remembering turning 30. While most people dreaded it, I was very excited. You have to be 30 before you send your paperwork to China to adopt. Unfortunately, after working on our paperwork for almost a year at that point, we were still waiting on our government to send something back before we could turn everything in. Needless to say, I spent the morning of my 30th birthday crying over paperwork instead of celebrating it. It was only a couple weeks later that our paperwork was on its way to China.
At the time, the wait was only about 10 months, so we had expected to have a baby by my 31st birthday. But 31 came and went. So did 32. A couple weeks after my 32nd birthday, I finally saw Will's picture for the first time. When I saw his birthday, it was further confirmation that he was my little boy.
I've always thought it was special that each July the family gets to gather for a birthday party for my nephew, my dad, and my brother-in-law. They all have birthdays within 5 days of each other. So when we found out Will's birthday was just 4 days before mine, I knew that another family birthday party was in order.
This year it was finally here. We celebrated Will's actual birthday on the 17th, but his party fell on my birthday. There is no one I would rather share a birthday with. It was definitely my best birthday ever because he was here to share it with me. Happy 2nd birthday to my wonderful little boy! Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate. We wish we had room to invite more of our wonderful friends to share the day with us.
On the flip side, we will never celebrate Will's birthday when I don't say a prayer of thanks for his birth parents who helped create our wonderful little man. I imagine they must be good looking, funny, and smart (like he is!). Also brave and selfless, to give up their little boy who I truly believe they loved, so that he could get the help he needed to be healthy and have a family who could provide for him. In a country that does not have adoption plans in the form that we do in America, they left him in a very nice place where he could be found quickly and taken care of. We pray that someday we can meet in heaven and show our true appreciation.
And to everyone else with February birthdays (It seems to be a popular month!)...
Monday, February 16, 2009
Now for my next verse...
1 Corinthians 6:12
"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day from our family to yours! I hope that no matter what your love life situation, you find that something good happens to you today!
Here's a little trip down memory lane, especially for the single people out there (and a chuckle for the rest of you)...The last couple years before John became my forever Valentine, I decided that I deserved flowers on Valentine's Day just as much as the dating people. I made a promise to myself that I would by my own flowers on Valentine's as a reminder that even though I was sad on Valentine's Day and felt unloved, God still loved me. After all, God made the flowers, so He must want me to have some! Pathetic? Maybe. But it did brighten my day. Even though I will have been married for 7 years this summer, I still have a very sharp memory of what it felt like to be without a Valentine.
Even with a Valentine, today is not going to turn out quite like I had hoped. John is working ALL day and usually does not even get to come home for lunch on Saturdays. Will is sick, so there goes much, if any, chance of getting to surprise John at the store. But I'm just happy to have a wonderful husband that I love very much and who I know loves me. Happy Valentine's Day, John!
I hope that all of you, single or not, consider this your personal Valentine from Will. And if no one brings you flowers, remember that you have my blessing (and God's!) to go buy some for yourself! Happy Valentine's Day!
Friday, February 6, 2009
While others went without power, our little nook stayed nice and warm. Even our cheap pear trees, the only 2 left in the neighborhood, never lost a branch. Praise God! Our friends weren't all quite so lucky. We had some good friends stay with us a couple of days--slumber party style. Will was quite excited and, in typical playboy fashion, used the time to make a new girlfriend. He'd seen Hailey a few times before, but nothing bonds a young couple like spending quality time together. Check out his first kiss below...
My, they start young these days!
In spite of all the fun, we did miss out on a few things. It was actually too cold and icy to get out and sled and build snowmen. We would have made the old family go at it anyway except my husband is lucky enough to work at the only place in their area who wouldn't shut down. (Apparently someone in Indiana, where all the stores were closed, got to make the decisions here.) It's just no fun without John!
But I did dress Will in 5 or so layers to slip around the house and take some pictures for a few minutes. I was itching to get out and take some "cool" ice pictures, but I own one of very few Jeeps that aren't actually 4x4s, so it was a little dangerous. Plus you can't really traipse through snow and tight places with an almost two year old who loves to run the other direction, so no great ice pictures this time. : ( But maybe we will get lucky again. Winter is not over yet!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
The part that really stood out to me this time was "in increasing measure." I may have some of those things, but they are not always increasing. My hope is that in memorizing what I am to work on, I won't be so stagnant in my walk.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Today is officially the first day of Chinese New Year. Happy Year of the Ox! Over the next 15 days, we, and the Chinese people, will be celebrating. For us it means reading and watching more about China, Chinese crafts and decorations, and, of course, eating more Chinese! I LOVE holidays, so this is right up my alley. It is at times like this, however, that I feel especially inadequate to assume that because of me my child will understand anything about his birth country at all. It's kind of like telling someone what's in a recipe, without giving the exact measurements so they can't recreate it and it may end up tasting totally different all together.
Yesterday was our first official Chinese New Year celebration. We went to see a play at the Main Street branch of the library. Except for being a hair long for the children, the show was awesome! There were lots of dancers, singers, and our favorite--Kung Fu! Those of you who have never really seen Kung Fu, you've got to check it out. It was amazing! John use to have a roommate who was a Kung Fu World Champion. It's funny how God prepares you for the future.
We were also delighted to see our first live lion dance. Will was so taken with the drums that it took him quite a while to turn his head to realize there were even dragons.
2 lions fighting
At the end there was Chinese fashion show showcasing original costumes of some of the northeastern people groups of China. Will is from Inner Mongolia, which is pretty much up north in the middle, so some of the costumes were very similar to one we bought him. (We bought it a little big, so maybe you'll see it next year.) Chinese fashion shows are much more choreographed and dance-like than our fashion shows. The highlight of the fashion show was a girl who's headdress looked like it had a reindeer antler.
After dinner we headed to a Chinese restaurant and ate with our friends who have a beautiful little girl from China.
There were about 80 of us there with the local Families with Children from China group. We were excited to run into another family we had traveled through China with. It was great to see how much their little girl and grown.
It's tradition to give gifts on Chinese New Year, especially red envelopes filled with money, so I got some red envelopes from a local party store for the kids. I filled them with fake Chinese money, a Chinese New Year pencil, Chinese clothing notepads, and panda stickers.
More Chinese New Year installments to come. Until then, Happy Year of the Ox!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I join many others who will pray for our new president, who definitely has his work cut out for him. I was very happy to hear that Rick Warren prayed for President Obama in Jesus name. I agree that it is exciting to see a new president, one who represents a dream for many, welcomed into office.
At the same time, I think it is extremely sad that President Bush left with his reputation tarnished. I, for one, never want to feel the pressure of being the president of our great nation. He had impossible circumstances to deal with during his entire administration. No matter what decisions he could have made, he would have been wrong in the eyes of many. Check out this eloquent post, Thank You, President Bush, that I found through a link on one of my friend's blogs. Let me finish by saying that I am proud it was President Bush who signed my son's certificate of citizenship and officially welcomed Will to America.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (New International Version)
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Celebrating with his free Birthday Burger at Round Robin. Much to my delight, though not John's, they also sing to you and bring you a free Sundae!
John celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday, at least as much celebrating as you normally do at 38. I always have grand ideas of making birthdays the most awesome, amazing days ever, something they write movies about, but I always fall short. John doesn't really expect much anyway, but I love him so much and want to make it special for him. Unfortunately, he had a couple ugly things happen that made the day difficult--one that was pretty much over yesterday and one that will probably haunt us a few more weeks or months, if not longer. It is so true that it's much harder to watch someone you love get hurt than it is to be hurt yourself. I hate it that this happened. I hate it that it happened on his birthday. I don't understand why everyone doesn't see how wonderful, amazing, funny, smart, and dedicated my husband is, but I sure do. After 38 years of life, he is better than ever!
May this year be your best yet! Good things are coming. I love you, John!
John examining his new guitar quilt. Somehow he was surprised, even though I wouldn't let him go in the basement (where I sew) and Will has walked around pointing at the microwave constantly yelling, "Sew!" the last couple weeks.
As you can see, only the top is finished. I'll post more pics when it's in its completed state--very soon!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
John 15:7-8 NIV
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Baby New Year 2009
I thought about posting the best of 2008, but I do that practically every time I blog. Will was obviously the '08 highlight! So instead, I decided I need to share some thoughts on '09.
I am particularly excited about the upcoming year. I'm so glad Will is going to be here from the start of it, but I think it's more than that. The first sermon of the year at church, about faith, reiterated a lot of what I've been thinking...
1. Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. (John Wimber) If God is as big and powerful as we claim He is, isn't He going to want us to do some big (aka risky) things?
2. On the surface faith makes no sense. Why doesn't faith make sense to most people? Because faith is being certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
3. If I am a follower of Christ, I should be defined by my faith, which (back to #1) is spelled R-I-S-K. Therefore, I should be doing some risky things this year, that would seem crazy to most people.
What specifically am I talking about? First, let's look at the history books. The most recent example and closest to our hearts is that God asked us, 2 ordinary people who operate on an extremely average income, to undertake a very expensive adoption. When we stepped out on faith, God provided the money. We brought our little boy home and to date are not any deeper in debt for doing so. We believe that God asked those same 2 ordinary people, operating on that same average income, to cut that income in half and have one of us stay at home with our child, at the very least for a year. "Couponing" and being thrifty has almost become a hobby. The bills have all been paid on time thus far.
Back to 2009, I've never been a prophet. But there are some things I'm pretty sure I should work on this year, some riskier than others...
1. Potty Training--Will was able to hold it all day instead of going in a bag for the doctor. As soon as I took off the bag, he looked at me and said, "Mommy. Pee pee." Then he went in his diaper. Just one of many signs he's ready. Risks: more laundry, dirty floors, germs
2. Eating More Vegetables--I came up with a new word for what I am, meatitarian. I'm looking for yummy ways to fix veggies without tons of butter, sauce, and cheese. If you've got any good recipes, send them my way. Risks: grumpiness, going hungry
3. Play More--I'm great at fitting in some playing while I get my tasks done, but I have a hard time sitting still for prolonged, focussed play. I don't want my children to remember me as the mom who always had something else to do. Risks: Not getting as much "other stuff" done
4. Build our Photography Business--It's something we both love. God has sent photography jobs our way several times over the last few years when we weren't even looking. It seems that now is the time to press forward with that endeavor. We should have a website up very soon. If you know anyone who wants pictures, please send them our way! Risks: failure, getting out of the comfort zone, lots of time
5. Scripture Memory--I've been convicted of this since my freshman year of college (14 years ago!!!) and never really committed. Since I'm a huge Beth Moore fan and she's issuing a challenge on her blog, I've decided to jump in and finally do it. You can pick your own scripture to mememorize, which is important to me. I've never been able to focus on something just because it was meaningful to someone else. Check it out! Risks: time, God asking me to use that scripture when I selfishly don't want to (there's that comfort zone thing again!)
6. TBA--To Be Announced. But rest assured there is more, a lot more. The most meaningful of all, but there is a season for everything, and I just don't think it's the season to share quite yet. Besides, I have to give you a reason to keep coming back for more!