December 16, 2009

1st Annual Rivers Day

Isaiah's Finalization day was yesterday. December 15, 2009.
A judge declared him "from this day onward" to be Isaiah Kingston Rivers.
It wasn't super emotional or anything, and didn't really change or increase our feelings toward Isaiah (he's always felt like ours no matter what a court declares him to be) but I still haven't fully processed it all and what all I feel about it, so here's just a summary of the day. I will say it was a wonderful day though!

Like many families who adopt, the day their child legally and forever becomes part of their family they declare as a family holiday, "Gotcha Day" or in our family "Rivers Day." Here we are waiting for our hearing...
We got to the courthouse early only to discover that the judge who was supposed to preside over the hearing didn't come to work that day. She was the same judge who had done my sister's family hearing and she was a tad on the unfriendly side. She didn't even want to take pictures with my sister's family but when our lawyer (who rocks!) asked her in front of the courtroom to take just a couple, her reply was, "Well, I guess I have to now." So needless to say we weren't super disappointed to not get her, but our lawyer came through and found another judge who would see us. This judge, Judge Thorpe, was great. She seemed excited for our family and welcomed us behind the bench to take pictures after the finalization...even saying "You know you're gonna have to hand over that baby, right?!" She let Isaiah hold the gavel in it and said, "However tight they hold on to this shows how much you're gonna have to pay for law school." After the picture Isaiah didn't let go and she kept trying to pry it from his hands and commented, "Well, if that's not the face of a judge, I don't know what is!"Afterward we went to Downtown Disney to celebrate Rivers Day at the T-Rex Restaurant. It was SO cool! After growing up near Disney, themed restaurants often fail to impress me, but this one was incredible. The hostess gave us the best seat in the house (she said, we believe her!) in the "Ice Room" that looked like a prehistoric ice cave with changing lights. Very cool. The food was scrumptralescent! Then when they brought us this ginormous dessert (Chocolate Extinction-complete with dry ice!), the staff sang a "Happy Adoption Day" song. (This picture looks like my sister is shooting a ray-gun at it!)We then did a little shopping and went to Hollywood Studios to finish the day. As we were driving home we kept commenting on what a perfect day it had been!

December 04, 2009 Tea Eggnog Cookies

Not much of a chef, but I picked a winner tonight! While perusing the Christmas edition of Southern Living I found these DELICIOUS holiday cookies! They're like sugar cookies' better looking and tasting cousins that come to visit on the holidays.
For Cookie Batter
1 Chai Tea Bag (cut open, dumped in mixing bowl, throw bag away)
1 Package Sugar Cookie Mix

1 Stick of Butter Melted (= 1/2 cup)
1 Large Egg

2 Tbsp eggnog

& Parchment paper on cookie sheet (easy to find near saran wrap)
Cinnamon-Sugar in small bowl

For Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I thought this would be hard, but it's easy! and cheap!)

2 Tbsp eggnog

1. Preheat oven to 350˚
2. Blend well cookie batter ingredients.
3. Drop spoonfuls of batter on parchment paper.
4. Dip bottom of a glass into cinnamon-sugar and lightly press/tap on cookie dough to flatten. Note: First one I flattened stuck to the glass, so on all the rest I tapped much because the first one made the glass a little sticky the cinnamon-sugar stuck to it better.
5. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool completely on cooling rack (about 10 minutes)
6. Whisk together Icing ingredients. Spoon-spread onto cookies.Basically they're like sugar cookies but with a little Chai Tea and Eggnog mixed in...but they are YUM!
Hope this helps gets spread the holiday fun!

November 21, 2009

Friday, Seen Through The Eyes Of My Samsung Rant
















November 18, 2009

Our Little Werewolf

In honor of the release of New Moon this week, I wanted to tell you all about a quirky thing we've figured out about Isaac.
He's a Werewolf.

For those of you who have read "Twilight," I hope you'll think this is cute.
For those of you who haven't read it, I'm sorry you won't get this.
For those of you who hate that I'm even bringing this up, get over it.
I completely enjoyed reading the series! (Though I don't have tickets for the movie. Yet.)

Isaac is grumpy in the morning. He's just like me (Sharon). No one can talk to him before breakfast without him whining.
Except for one person.

Every morning one of us goes in and gets Isaac from his room.
Usually its Anthony.
But we've noticed whoever is the first one to pick him up,
he imprints on.
The world, until breakfast is over, revolves around that person. No one else is important.
Only that person will do to hold him, talk to him, feed him, touch him, or even look at him.

This morning I went in to his room because he woke up a little early and laid down with him.
A little while later when Anthony came in to get him for breakfast, he screamed and cried and only wanted Mama.

I was the center of his universe before breakfast this morning (which we feed him immediately upon him waking up, so that time period was about 10 minutes...but still)

And, as annoying as it is for everyone else, if you're the one he's imprinted on, it's a pretty good feeling! We love our little Werewolf!

And because no post is complete without pictures, here's Isaac and his best friend (who he's attached to for the rest of the day)
The last two mornings I've gotten pictures of this, but anytime Isaiah is accessible to Isaac, he will be near him. In the morning I usually put him under his rings and Isaac just lays there with him.
The other is just to show off the more successful moments of my mothering career:
Two boys. Simultaneous naps!

November 03, 2009

November is Adoption Awareness Month!

So Isaiah was wondering, "If you're a Christian family and you haven't considered adopting, why not?"It's a good question!
There are so many families out there who have enough love, space, and time in their lives to do it! Yet, since we've started this process and especially since getting Isaiah, I've had more families and couples than I can count say, "It's great but we just don't feel called." Or, "Maybe one day." or "We've always thought about it..." (and it just trails off)...

(This post may step on your toes so I apologize in advance. I just can't be namby-pamby about it and act like this isn't a big deal. Some of you need to be challenged, so here goes...)
Don't get me wrong. It's not something to be taken lightly. Like saying, "Hey, you should try honey crisp apples! They're delicious!" and on your next trip to Wal-mart pick a few up. Oh, if children could make their way into good homes that easily it'd be fantastic!! But it doesn't work that way.

Yes, adoption takes time. Time to pray about it as to what your family can do to be a part of it. Time to fill out paperwork. Time to wait for a baby.

Yes, adoption takes money. Money that's going toward that new car or grown-up toy that you've been saving for. Money that seems like a mountain, but really is nothing for a God who owns everything to get you some of it to adopt a baby. Money that sometimes has lots of zeros behind it.

And adoption takes something else. I can't quite find the term for it, but its something like "gumption" or "courage" or maybe just good old fashioned Christian "obedience."

(I warned you about the preachy thing! You kept reading!)

James (as in from the Bible "James") said the religion that is purest is to take care of widows and orphans.

I won't go so far as to say that the bible commands outright that we adopt children but I will say a few things that are pretty close to that... hear me out... couple things, then I'll leave you to your day...

First thing-
Jesus told his disciples to pray that what is done in heaven, be done on earth as well.

This is one of the reasons we sing praise songs. The angels sing them in heaven. Well. As far as I can tell, none of us born on earth except Jesus were naturally a part of God's family, and yet, how many millions of believers are sharing the glory of heaven with Jesus Christ, God's Son, at this very moment? How many more of us have put our faith in Jesus and thankfully expect to receive that inheritance ourselves? Uh, me for one! We DO NOT DESERVE IT...HEAVEN IS NOT AN "UNALIENABLE RIGHT"... it was given to us because of our salvation and was purchased at a great price (talk about adoption prices!)

Paul told the Romans we get to call God "Abba Father" because he adopted us. How flippantly do we say, "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit"... if we hadn't been adopted that whole "Father" part would be near blasphemy! (I'm not theological enough to know if it actually would be, but Jesus kept getting in trouble for it in the gospels because he said "Father" and they charged him with blasphemy...makes sense)

So. If we're asking God to help us to do his will on earth as it is in heaven, it seems to me like God's will for our lives is adoption. He did it for us in the heavenlies, we do it for others on earth. That's huge!

"WHOA!!!" Says Zay!
Second, and this one is admittedly a tad less straightforward, but still.
If we're to care for the orphans like it says we should in God's Word, then why not adopt?

I know I know..."Whoa Sharon, you're gettin' a bit ahead'a yerself there."
Ok then.
What have we done to care for the orphans of the world?
What have you done?

There's a gazillion of them! And honestly, adoption has been the first way I've ever gotten first-hand involvement in caring for the orphan. I think I've given to like a food-pantry that maybe some kids without families was to receive at Christmas or something a few years back, but to be frank...there was ZERO obedience in my life in this realm.

That was before. Now, I have a son! What a gift! And all because I was willing to obey! And there are already ways floating around in my head that I hope we can get our family involved even more. It's amazing how much I've even heard about other ways to get involved. And I think it's God giving me even more of a chance to teach me and mold me in this area...opportunities that I wasn't even looking for before. I still have a long way to go, but it's definitely a start!

Pause for a family photo... I love Isaac and my dad in this pic...they're both making a similar face.
And lastly- at least for this blogpost...
We're to share our lives with others and to tell them about Christ. You see this little guy here?
We're already telling him and we can't wait for the day when he asks Jesus into his heart! What a priviledge to be his mommy!

I'll apologize for being a bit preachy in this blogpost. I have to work REAL hard on mercy. My goal in writing all that above was to hopefully get all you INCREDIBLE families who read our blog to look at your spouse (today, tonight, or first availablity:) and say,

"What do you think about us adopting?"

Or especially maybe this one,

"Honey, I think we should just ask God to speak to our hearts about adoption. Ask him what he thinks and to guide us as to what we should do."

Then pray. Pray together.

We recently met with a friend who her and her husband are following God down this path. He was opposed for a long time...especially since they had two biological children. He's a fire-fighter, and a country-boy and it was just not something he was really open to. She's been good with it all along and has prayed for years for him for God to open his heart. To her surprise, one day (right after Isaiah's adoption) he came home and told his wife he had already talked to an adoption agency and that they had a meeting scheduled on November 7th! HA! When my friend told me all this she spoke honestly and said, "We're terrified. We have NEVER prayed together like this. We both feel so vulnerable before God because this is so out of our hands. If he doesn't lead us, then we can't take another step. Yet, he keeps showing us the way and we keep following him."

I think my next post will be about some of the emotions some of you may be feeling about all this. You're probably like our friends...or even more terrified... terrified to even pray because you have no clue what God might say! But do it... pray. God knows perfectly well and you can be sure whatever he tells you to do is going to blow your socks off! So what are you waiting for?

October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Carving and Trick-or-Treating!

Since Halloween isn't celebrated at all overseas (instead, they talk about and have the spirit-world as a part of their everyday lives)- we got excited about carving a pumpkin this year and about buying Isaac a costume. (Isaiah has a onesie that says "I love my Mummy"...glows in the dark!)

I think I'm determined to soak in all the American-ness before going back overseas sometime next year. America has so many fun cultural things that I never appreciated before I lived away from it all. We're not into Halloween and all the scary stuff... our beliefs about the spirit world come from the bible, not Hollywood movies about ghosts... but c'mon folks... the costumes for kids are just waaaay too cute these days. And we're good with our kids having fun and dressing in funny costumes and getting candy. No mention of ghosts, goblins, vampires, etc.!!!'s way too many pictures of some of our fun.

We carved a pumpkin... Anthony did the goo and I did the carving...Isaac helped with all:)Hard to believe the baby in the picture below is only 7 weeks old! So chunky and so expressive!
Click on the picture below... check out the bottom lip on baby Zay! That child gets me everytime with that lip! Whatever you want kid! :)
Checkin' out my pumpkin carving skills. Definitely some brain wrinkles being added!
Kisses for brother (x 1,000 per day)The next day we went to the library (spooky huh?) to go trick-or-treating with cousins Kate and Lizzie (aka- Little Bo Peep and her Lost Sheep). If we go out on Halloween I think I may write "Fender" on the head of Isaac's costume. He's the cutest Stratocaster ever! Fun!
Napping on the way... (I love the Florida-scene out the window. Home!)
The Durrance girls being adorable as usual! I asked Kate (3 yrs) if she could tell me the Little Bo Peep rhyme... and she did! Perfectly!
Isaac and Lizzie are only a few weeks apart. She talks well, but Isaac has her on size. I love that both my boys have cousins a month older than each of them (Lizzie and Isaac, Emmett and Isaiah)
The smile on Isaac is just TOO fun! Love it! And don't you just want to squeeze little Miss Elizabeth Claire?!?!
This picture of Isaac sums up most of my days! What a fun little boy!