Friday, September 28, 2012

staycation 2012

Patrick had this past week off. Normally, we would have gone to Chelan for vacation, but kids are back in their fall activities and quite frankly, staying at home for the week fits better in our "adoption budget." But we have truly had the best week!

Monday - To Seattle to meet Grandma and Grandpa. They took us to the King Tut exhibit, the Pacific Science Center, school clothes shopping, and out to dinner.

Tuesday - To Bellevue for more school clothes shopping and out to lunch. Have I mentioned before how much we are spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa? Because we are. And we are so grateful. (Oh - and when we got home that day - I got our USCIS application in the mail. A big, important, adoption application that moves us another step forward!!)

Wednesday - Catch up on things at home and rest. Audrey to dance class - big kids to Awana.

Thursday - Drive to Whidbey Island and go to Fort Casey and Fort Ebey. The big kids were in heaven! They both love history - and learning about war in particular - so this was like a dream come true. Then back to Bellingham with a quick stop at Menchie's (our local frozen yogurt shop) and a family movie night (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).

Friday - First day of our homeschool co-op!

Such a fun week. I am so thankful for my family. We love spending time together!

...and now - here are tons of pictures...





Thursday, September 20, 2012

favorite toy

Ethan's current favorite toy: traffic cones! Just what every good police or fire man must have.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

great book!

Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement
I just finished reading this book and I would highly recommend it to all parents! It's less about teaching your kids do chores and more about eliminating the attitude of "youth entitlement" in your home. She writes:

"Raising independent kids is countercultural these days. Instead of teaching our children to view themselves as capable, we step in to do everything for them. We pave a smooth pathway, compulsively clearing away each pebble of disappointment or difficulty before it can impede their progress."

"With the greatest of intentions and in the name of love, we have developed a tendency to hover, race in to save, protect from failure, arrange for success, manipulate, overprotect, and enable our kids. Freeing their schedules for sports, school, and increasingly important time with friends, we strive to make our children's lives easier or to make success a sure thing by doing it all for them. We shower them with accolades, proclaiming how wonderful they are - yet we rarely give them the opportunity to confirm the substance of that praise."

The author not only clearly identifies the problem, she also presents a solution. Beginning with hard work and high standards. Our kids are capable of so much more than we expect of them!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

this and that...

 Look who's learning to ride a big bike??!! He's doing so great. Our good friends Ryder and Kylie cleaned and repaired one of their son's old bikes and gave it to Ethan. He loves it! He did great his first time out so we hopeful that this will be a smooth transition.

Audrey started a dance class last week. She's taking jazz and enjoys it very much. I just love her sense of style (something she did NOT get from me!).
And Liam is tearing things up on the soccer field. He is so much fun to watch. His team had a great game this weekend (4-2 win!) and he's really enjoying his teammates.
Fall is off and running in the Oscarson house. Busy, but good. Nice to get back into a steady routine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

it's official

Our first day of school!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

open doors

The adoption paperwork process is moving right along. Faster than we even hoped. God has been so good to us. He is opening doors and clearing the path ahead of us. We knew when we started that this adoption was what God wanted us to do. But he is showing me on a daily basis that we are on the right track. Now I know that if I were a more "mature" Christian I would have the faith to follow Him even if things were crashing down in front of us and the path was unclear. But God knows me, and He knows my heart, and He knows that every time He makes this proceed smoothly - He is encouraging me and loving me as only He can. So I just have to share with you some of the ways He has shown himself BIG in our adoption so far.

  • His timing was perfect - we had just completed our school work in the spring on a Friday and that following Monday - two gigantic adoption binders arrived in the mail. They were filled with requirements, documents, instructions, etc. - and they were overwhelming! But He was so good to me to wait until I had closed one chapter (homeschooling) before I opened another.
  • The financial piece of an international adoption is daunting. We have about half of what we need in savings and we are trusting Him to work out the rest. We owed our first large adoption payment back in June. That same week, our friends held a benefit garage sale for us and raised $980. They worked SO hard, donated so much great stuff - and gave it all to us. It was incredible. And then a few weeks later some good friends handed us an envelope with $1,000 in it. A gift we never could have imagined. Given because they love us and they love our Ethiopian daughter, and they felt that this was what God wanted them to do. We were blown away. Already - He is providing. Beyond what we could have imagined.
  • Through a totally random, round-about blog connection - I met a new friend who is also adopting from Ethiopia. Her name is Jess and although we've never met, she has been such an encouragement to me. She reached out via e-mail and we regularly encourage and pray for one another. What a blessing!
  • When Patrick and I had our FBI fingerprints taken, the woman at the police station who was doing them took one look at my hands and said, "Whoa - those are some cracked fingers. I highly doubt they will be able to read these prints." Cracked fingers? Who knew? Too many dishes and hand sanitizer perhaps? A normal timeline for reading these fingerprints is six weeks and a delay in FBI fingerprinting could have held up this whole process. I was nervous. But I told friends about what was going on and we had many people praying. My fingerprints came back from the FBI in THREE weeks and were read the first time. Amazing!
  • The home study is a strange piece. You submit tons of paperwork and then have a social worker come to your home to interview you and discuss everything about your life from birth on. A little nerve wracking, to say the least. We were assigned a social worker from Olympia and we were going to have to pay for her to travel up here and Patrick would have to take time off work. So I was anxious about how all of that would work out and how much it would cost. We were assigned the most wonderful social worker! She agreed to do our entire home study (six hours of interviews) in ONE day. Meaning just one trip for us to pay for. And just one day that Patrick would need off. And she was wonderful. Put us at ease right away. Such a blessing!
  • We were told that the social worker would need about 4-6 weeks to complete our report. She got it back to us in 48 hours. And she somehow turned our unflattering teen years and rambling answers into a well-written testimony of God's grace in our lives. Let me tell you - we should not be where we are today. But that's another post. Let me just say - God is good.
His hand print is all over this adoption. I don't believe in luck. I don't believe in chance. I believe in providence. And I can't wait to share with our daughter how God flung open doors to bring her home.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the gift that keeps on giving...

Remember that nasty Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease my boys had in July? Well I tell you what - it is the gift that just keeps on giving. First a fever. Then blisters. Then the blisters popped and scabbed over. Then parts of the skin on their hands and feet peeled off in big, thick chunks. And now - their fingernails and toenails are coming off. I kid you not. They are coming off. It starts at the base of the nail and just pulls away from the skin. We're hoping they won't lose them all - but at this point the majority are headed that way. I had a little chat with our doctor and she says this is one of the more severe symptoms of this disease. Apparently a really bad case went around this year and we just happened to get it -- in ALL its glory.

I guess I should be thankful my boys are not nose-pickers. How on earth would they function with no fingernails??

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

not-back-to-school day

We had our annual *not* back to school celebration today. It looked a little something like this:
Lynden Park.
Picnic Lunch.
Lynden Library.
It was a very fun way to spend the day. And we even got school pictures taken - so not entirely unproductive. But almost.  :-)

Monday, September 3, 2012

labor day

We have some wonderful neighbors, Ryan and Heather, who make a special effort to get everyone on our street together a few times a year. Today they planned for us to go up to our neighborhood school (which starts tomorrow) and do some work on the grounds. We spoke with the janitor last week and he was overwhelmed with all that needed to be done. So it was great that we could help out. After the work was done, we headed back to Ryan and Heather's for a BBQ.

What a great way to spend Labor Day! Working hard. Building community. Lending a helping hand. Hopefully we've started an annual tradition.


Pretty cool how much work 16 adults and 21 kids can do in just under two hours!