Thursday, December 31, 2009

Making precious memories to store in my heart

Thanksgiving and Christmas have now come and gone and so many precious memories were made. The pictures above are 1)Thanksgiving dinner in Braithwaite; 2) Kids' Christmas picture; 3) Grace roasting smores on our firepit; 4) Kids by their snowman; 5) Linzi and I at the airport before leaving for Africa. For Thanksgiving we traveled to Louisiana and spent Wednesday through Saturday in Braithwaite with Dave's family---for some of our extended family, it was their first time meeting Grace. For Christmas, we decided to spend it at our home in St. Louis so my mom and dad drove up the Tuesday before Christmas and were there for our first holiday in our new city and for Grace's first Christmas. We had the added blessing of having a white Christmas---very foreign for us Cajuns! Grace has absolutely loved this new concept of "Christmas" and especially loves to hear about the story of baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph. I think Emma, Gabe, and Hayden were more excited to see Grace's face on Christmas morning than they were to see their own presents. We had a pretty "small" Christmas as far as presents go--and our kids were so understanding and seem to grasp what this time of year is really all about. As all of my family is experiencing some financial hardships, we all decided that our gift would be being together for the holidays. My sister and her family (Wendy, Ken, Linzi, Scotti Beth, and Tanner) arrived late Christmas night and have spent the whole week here along with my mom and dad. We have had such a great time--we haven't really even "done" anything--we've just enjoyed being together. Today is New Year's Eve and early, early this morning we put Linzi (who is 22 at this writing and a recent graduate of Harding U.) on a plane bound for Africa. She will be spending the next 7 months teaching at a mission school in Kenya and then she will begin Graduate school for Speech Pathology at Tennessee Tech following her return in the fall. We are so proud of her decision to answer the call she received from the Lord and to be a light to the children in Africa.

We are having a quiet day so far---we have been just watching movies, napping, and relaxing. As I type this I am reflecting on how blessed I am---I have had the honor of being part of an incredible family who loves the Lord with all of their hearts and lives to serve Him and Him alone. Thank you, Father, for your blessings; I am constantly amazed by your unfailing love and faithfulness!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homeschool, Swine Flu, and other deSambourg happenings

Yes, it has been WAY TOO LONG since my last post--I have GOT to get better at this. Once I started school, my life went into overdrive, it seems, and I haven't had time for much. Anyway, we started school at the beginning of September after a quick trip to New Orleans to visit family and friends. (2 pics at the top are at the aquarium and St. Louis cathedral). I am homeschooling Emma, Gabe, and Hayden---given the choice of public school or homeschool, Gabe chose homeschool. Mostly because we helped start a new co-op this year that involves families who use the same curriculum as we do and he wanted to be a part of that. (The other 2 pictures are homeschool related: one is apple picking with the co-op and the other is the sukkah we decorated for the Feast of the Tabernacles). Actually, the school year has been quite awesome and we are all enjoying it. We have begun a 4 year history study--this year is Creation to Greeks. There are 14 kids in our CTG class at our co-op and there are around 25 to 30 kids total. We meet on Wednesday afternoons for nature hikes and all day on Friday where we have 2 1/2 hours of classes, 1 hour of enrichment (P.E.; Public Speaking; Health), 1 hour of social time and 30 minutes of worship. Once a month a missionary speaks to our group and once a month we participate in an outreach opportunity. This co-op has truly been a gift from God and we have all grown spiritually from all the amazing opportunities as well as the amazing people we are getting to know.

Grace is now attending a special class 4 days a week for 3 hours in the morning. This class is designed specifically for severe speech impaired children and has only 9 kids in the class. It is taught by 2 speech therapists and all activities revolve around target speech sounds. We have seen great improvement in her speech with the work we continuously do with her, as well as just 1 month of this class.

Gabe and Hayden are both playing soccer since September and doing really well. Emma resumed her art class on Thursdays and has been involved in writing and creating a claymation movie--we are so excited to see it! Dave is as busy as ever--nothing unusual there. I teach 12 piano students now--along with homeschooling and all the other duties of a wife, mother, active church and community member, I keep VERY busy. However, this week has slowed me down since I came down with the H1N1 flu on Tuesday. Gabe followed on Wednesday and as of today (Friday), I am on the mend, but he is still pretty sick. We are praying that everyone else can stay well, but over the next 10 days we will see how many more, if any, fallen soldiers we have. I will try to do better at blogging more often!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Glamorous Grace

Yesterday, Grace "told" me in "Gracese" (her form of communication) that she wanted to grow her hair long and pierce her ears. She's been in America 5 months, and already she is turning into a Diva!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A "Child-like" view of Jesus

Something struck me in church this morning that I wanted to share. A new couple has been visiting our church for the past couple of weeks and the wife decided to become baptized today. We went through the same "baptizing routine" where we sang and prayed while she got ready with the help of a few ladies. When she came out into the baptistry, I put Grace on my lap and directed her attention to the scene. I whispered in her ear all that was happening--that this woman had decided to follow Jesus and all her sins will be washed away and that Jesus was going to come live in her heart now. I even put Grace's hand on her heart and my heart so she could feel the beating. Right before the woman was immersed in the water I said to Grace, "Here we go, Jesus is about to come live in her heart!" When the woman came up from the water Grace let out a squeal and said "Yay!" and was smiling so big and so excited. I want to be that genuinely excited about people being saved and not look at baptisms as just part of the "routine". I pray for the child-like view of Jesus and His people that Grace has.

On a side note, the pictures above are from our trip to Meramac Springs in St. James, MO. Blessings to all of you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

4th of July in Louisiana!

My "little" girl, Emma, turned 13 on July 2nd!!!! How can that be possible? We granted her wish and made sure she was able to celebrate it in La. She spent her actual birthday at my parents' house, as well as visiting friends and getting a snoball in Ponchatoula. The next day we went to Dave's mom's house and spent time with grandparents and cousins. Emma made and decorated her own cake at her request. On the 4th, we drove over to St. Francisville for the annual family reunion on Dave's side--HUGE crowd of people. It was a special time for our family as it was Grace's first time meeting her HUGE extended family and their first time meeting her. Of course, everyone loved her and she loved everyone! We drove back to St. Louis Sunday--just in time to get KidsFest rolling on Monday morning. KidsFest is our church's version of VBS, only it's BIGGER and BETTER! It goes from 10am to 3pm Monday thru Friday and though it entails the normal Bible stories and applications, it offers so much more. There were 2 water days where the kids had water slides, water guns, a firetruck hosing the children, shaving cream, etc... The other days had rock wall climbing, moonwalks, games, a visit from a helicopter, motorcycle, and police dog. Gabe and Hayden are campers and Emma is a counselor. I was the morning/afternoon songleader--and these aren't just any songs. They come complete with dancing and movement--I feel like I've been at an aerobics class each day. A funny thing happened this week with Gabe: one of the boys in his group said to him, "Aren't you embarrassed about your mom being up there?" Gabe replied, "That's not my mom." Talk about throw your mama under a bus!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fun, Fun Summer!

Been a few weeks since I blogged--we have had 4 straight weeks of visitors through the month of June. It's kept us busy, but we certainly enjoyed having everyone. In the beginning of June we were blessed to have Dave's mom (Nana) and Paw Paw Hugh come--we visited the butterfly museum while they were here. A few days later, our neighbors from Ponchatoula (Tim, Stephanie, Halee, and Greg Morris)came to stay for 4 days. We went to the zoo, the arch, and toured the Anheiser Busch facility. They left on a Monday morning and that afternoon more beloved La. friends graced us with a visit: Christine, Emma, and Sean. We swam, relaxed, and visited the Onondanga Cave together. 2 days after they left, my parents, sister, and her family arrived (on Fathers Day)and stayed a couple of days. We shopped, swam, and thoroughly soaked up our time together. Everyone left this past Wednesday and no one is scheduled on the calendar as of yet. Of course, we are enjoying the quietness of just our family, but I really enjoy having company also. Grace did pretty well with all of the upheaval, but she was affected by it somewhat. She threw a lot more tantrums than normal--some were VERY public. For instance, she threw a doosey at the Arch-----everyone was staring and I had to take the 4 kids and leave the museum while my friends continued their tour (Dave was at work). Everyone stared at the "poor little Chinese girl" who was screaming her head off and assumed her mommy didn't know how to take care of her. A security guard even came and stood by me with a very concerned and worried look. But the topper was when a one-armed woman (no kidding, she only had one arm---which I'm not making fun of--it just has significance in the story) tried to take Grace by the hand and walk away with her. Normally Grace goes with ANYONE, but for a change, she wouldn't go with this woman (possibly due to her one arm--hence the significance of mentioning it). The woman said--"tell her to go with me"--I think she felt she could do a better job calming Grace down. What she didn't know is that Grace was just mad because I wouldn't give her a cookie until she held my hand in the museum so she wouldn't get lost. I said back, "Excuse me, I am attaching and bonding with this child whom I've just adopted, I've got it, thank you." She almost wouldn't take "no" for an answer until I got REALLY firm with her. I've learned how to not let public tantrums ruffle my feathers or dirty, concerned, looks from people derail me from my task.

On June 20th, our church threw us a money tree shower in honor of Grace's arrival which was really nice and thoughtful. We go back to La. for the 4th and Grace gets to meet all of her cousins and aunts on Dave's side. All of the kids are thrilled--especially Emma since she gets to spend her 13th birthday in her beloved La. All in all, the summer has been great fun--hope all of yours has been too!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A weekend of Firsts!!!

One of the most exciting things for us is to watch our little Grace experience the big world and all that it has to offer. This weekend we had the pleasure of taking Grace to a "big movie" for the first time---we went to see "Up"--which is a great movie, by the way. She doesn't even watch TV nor does she EVER stay still,so we weren't sure how it would go, but we figured we had to do it sometime. So, equipped with 2 bags of skittles, we made our way to the 11:45 showing (before noon movies are cheaper!). We had really talked it up--she was so excited and she didn't even know what she was excited about. Well, I must say, she did incredibly well! She even watched a good part of it and laughed at a few spots! Of course, she went from Dave's lap, to my lap, to her seat, etc... but the skittles didn't run out until 10 minutes before the end and we were still able to make it. Another first this weekend was the pool!!! Again we talked it up and she was REAL excited to go----we had gone swimsuit shopping a couple of weeks before. She was so cute picking out her pink, shiny swimsuit and trying it on in the mirror. Grace, who has no fear whatsoever, went right into the pool with Emma and was jumping in and going under water within a few minutes. She will be taking swimming lessons with Hayden in a week and I figure she will have it down in no time. She's the kind of kid that things seem to come easily for her--she's pure joy!!! Emma and Gabe kept fighting over who would hold her in the pool---hope it stays that way for a while :). One last first---Emma, Gabe, and Hayden taught Grace how to play hide-and-go-seek. It was the cutest sight to witness---Grace would count and go find everyone. When it was her turn to hide she would hide and then yell "ight eya!" (translation, "right here"). What a gift to be able to experience these little joys with such a precious little girl!!!