Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Month of July-Summary

The Month of July in Pictures.

Backyard swimming is WAY less stressful on Mommy than the public pool.  Plus, he'll sit here for hours dumping water on himself.
First time for tennis lessons.  The last lesson I came back to pick Leah up and she was sitting in the stands chatting with the other watching mom's...not sure if she's going to be a ball player!

You knew this was coming, right???  Dress-up time!

Cheerleading practice with the Great Grandmas!

Swim lessons for Leah--she went off the diving board for the first time!
Waiting for the candy to be thrown out during the County Fair Parade.

Waving her flag during the parade.

We could NOT get him off of these lawnmowers.  He is ALL boy.
We LOVE goats!  (just don't touch them)

We yell at the goats!

We laugh at the goats.

But its okay to pet the sheep...Autum kept walking around saying "baaa, baaa!"

These things look weird!  Chickens!
This was my team for the event! What a great day!

I competed with a 4-man team in a CrossFit: Operation Liberty Competition.

This is how I 'escape' life and stress!

This is what I do everyday! Haha, get up and down with 2 kids on my hip!  Us mom's killed this part of the workout, even though the bag weighed 2/3's of our body weight!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Short Stories from the Woods Household

Long car rides home constitute delirious behavior from a 6-year old.  
     After listening to Leah talk 90 miles per hour for 3 hours on our way home from Kansas City, Missouri, I notice a pause and an awkward silence in her I turn around to make sure she hasn't passed out from lack of oxygen or anything..only to find her shirtless..with 2 straws pointing out from her chest into a cup...many thoughts ran through my mind as to what she was thinking-in the millisecond I had before she began to explain...but this wasn't one of them..."Mom, look....I'm a dairy cow and my udders need milked!"  (*side note: she had recently visited a local dairy)

     Blake and Autum can take off their diapers now.  So it is against the law in our house to allow either child to run around in just their diapers...pants must be on!  A few evenings ago, I decided to throw Autum and Blake in the shower with me to speed up the evenings routine before bed.  I removed Autum's clothes, threw her in and proceeded to remove Blake's diaper..only to realize he was pooping!  The quick little booger got away from me and ran into the shower, leaving a nice trail behind him on the bathroom floor.  I grabbed him by his leg, tried to wrap his diaper back around him and hauled him back to his room, where there were wipes to clean him up. While doing this, I realize I've left Autum in the shower by herself...I put Blake back on the floor and instruct him to follow me back to the bathroom as I run along ahead of him.  I walk in to find Autum singing her little heart out under the shower faucet, holding my cell phone in the stream of water...
I grab it from her and throw it on the towel outside the tub, while saying a quick prayer that it still works...and realize Blake has not made it back to the bathroom yet.  So I dart out the door to find him...and am met with an ugly scene...he is in the hallway, just past the laundry room...fingerpainting on the wall...not with paint...he is covered in poop from head to is on his hands, face, and in his hair.  He is making swirls on the wall with it and is quite proud of his work as he smiles up at me...only to be met with my horrified face! (and a few choice words)  I didn't even know what to do, or where to begin...I went back got Autum out of the shower, dried her off and left her screaming in the bathroom while I went back to figure out how to clean up this mess and my child!  Lots of clorox, disinfectant, mop suds, and baby soap later all was cleaned up and smelling fresh. 

Giving me 'loves'
   At night, after supper, we all go to the living room and sit on the floor and wrestle, read books, have pillow fights, have running races, play games, sing songs, or whatever else we can come up with.  It is truly one of my favorite parts of the day because as I watch my kids play, I think about how quickly this time will pass and these evenings will only be a memory.  Anyway, this particular night, Autum was being very 'lovey'...most likely because I babysat our little neighbor boy, who is 5 months old.  Autum was very clingy and kept reminding me... "I baby...Mama! I baby...!" She kept wanting me to swaddle her and hold her like an infant.  So that evening she kept laying her head on my shoulder and smiling really I told her to "give me lovies"...and she'd come back and lay her head on my shoulder.  Well, Jerad wanted in on the sweetness, and he was lying on his stomach on the floor only a few feet away, so he said "Autum, come give me lovies!"  She walked over, ever so gently, turned her head sideways  and smiled as if she was going to lay her head on his shoulder...Jerad looked up and smiled and Autum kicked him in the face with her chubby little foot and ran back to my lap! Hahahaha, I'm still laughing...

WWF Style..
  Blake's new activity is to stand up really quick from a lying down position, throw his head back and jump in the air and land on his back....then roll across the floor, in an all-boy, ornery, rough-house, land on your sisters-style of play!  It is quite entertaining, especially in the pool or bathtub when he can really get a rise out of someone for all the water being splashed!

"It's a Baby Ruth!"
  If Autum has not pooped by the afternoon, when we typically go to a public pool, we DO NOT go. I cannot stand to hear Leah exclaim to everyone within a 3-mile radius to look at that poop streak down the baby pool slide, that her sister just left!

Door to Door Salesman
     In the past few weeks, we have had 2 people randomly stop by the house trying to sell us items.  The first one was offering free carpet cleaning of 1-2 rooms of our house if we'd simply listen to her sales pitch about a vacuum cleaner.  Well, I needed a shower, had food all over my hands, had food on the oven, 2 filthy-handed little kiddos at my feet, and a red-headed Chatty Cathy at my side, when she asked if I was busy...she then asked if we had any stains on our carpet...Ha.Ha.Ha.  Dumb question.  To which I answered..."No, our carpets are really pretty clean!"  Leah chimes in with "NO THEY ARE NOT, YOU SHOULD SEE ALL THE STAINS FROM THESE BABIES!  Mom, we NEED to clean the carpets..."  (I felt like the lady in the soup commercial that rams her cart into the display case just so her child won't hear about all the vegetables contained in each serving of soup)  I quickly wrapped my arm around Leah's shoulder and across her mouth and gave her a big squeeze, while I informed the lady we didn't need her services.  Then Leah and I had a Come to Jesus meeting about being at the door with salesman...she now knows, from a fear-based motivation, that she is not allowed to talk when Mommy is...

    Leah had her first run-in with a homeless fellow while we were in Missouri this past weekend.  He was lying outside a gas station, fully clad in a full beard, heavy coat, backpack, paper sack, and hat and boots.  I could see Leah's wheels turning as she had him in lock-down mode with her I waited, waited, waited, and cringed a bit as I heard her ask...."Hey man, where are you going camping???"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Baby

Autum is exploding with personality lately.  She's hit that stage where she really wants to communicate...various sounds come from behind that pacifier (that we are working to remove) that sound like words.

Words I hear the most are:
"No!" (crosses her arms over her chest and turns her body away from you)
"Eeeewwwweeeee! PU!" (and plugs her nose and waves her hands)
"Hot!" (again waves her hands)
"Shhhh!" (and holds her little finger over her mouth to shush you)

Most recently I heard this..."help"  "help"  "help"...and it took me a minute to realize she was saying it, and another minute for me to figure out where she was at, and finally another minute as to why she was hollering it.  I walked into her room to find her dangling from her toy box lid, arms and legs flailing in the air.  She was hooked by the back of her shorts...I had no idea she knew that word and how to use it appropriately.  Good thing!

So many things Autum does remind me of Leah at this age.  Ornery, yet innocent.  Still cute and squishy.  Unable to talk back and argue.  And learning things at a rapid rate.  But what else I notice is how her being the 'baby' of the family effects her behavior and thinking. 

Girl can hit a 4-octave high screech that makes your blood curdle in 0 seconds flat if someone lays their hands on something she wants or is playing with...and it's highly effective at getting attention.

Girl can remove anyone from my lap during story time, no matter how big they are.  She'll lay her head on my chest, reach her arms over her head and just fall forward, wiggling her way between my body and whoever is sitting on my lap...and she'll just lay there until the previous seat owner gets angry and moves.  And for some reason I let her...

Girl can smack anyone with anything and not get in trouble...guess we consider it self-defense. Who knows?

Girl knows what she wants, when she wants it.  And you better serve it up NOW!

Girl can pick up a ball and glove and know what to do with it.  Or a microphone, racket, bat, pom pons, etc.  She's been to a few games, practices, events...

Girl can mooch food off anybody, anywhere..

Girl can draw the attention of a full room in one movement.

Girl can make my dad or Jerad's dad turn to mush by sweetly whispering "pa-paa"  "paa--pa"

Girl can do something obviously naughty and everyone just laughs...

But this girl is also the lover of the family.  She's the little "mama."  She's always making sure everyone is taken care of.  She'll fetch Blake his drink.  She'll give him his pacifier at night before bed.  She'll grab a blankie for herself and one for him.  She squeals in delight and runs to give Leah a hug every morning when she wakes up.  She won't lay a hand on Blake, even if he hits or pushes her.  (she waits until later to get in a cheap shot) 

So many dynamics make up who this little girl is and will be, but for now I just want her to stay the baby because she is growing up WAY too fast already. 

I'll be curious to learn how adding Blake to the family will affect his and her personalities later on in life.  As he was the baby of his biological family too...

Friday, July 13, 2012


Once a month, I contract out my wellness services with a day service provider of mentally/physically-handicapped adults, in Wichita.  Like I've posted before, I LOVE my work.  It's challenging.  It requires you to fly by the seat of your pants.  There is NO structure.  It is crazy.  It is never the same.  I am always greeted with high-fives and hugs...a few grunts every now and then!  I just feel that this is the work God designed for me to do.  I feel like I can relate to so many of my clients (friends).  It's tough sometimes, not easy, requires patience, but I always learn something about myself when I walk out of those buildings several days a week.  Sometimes I leave with a smile because of the progress we are all making and sometimes I leave with tears seeping up in my eyes because of how humbled I am by the efforts of those I work with.

And this week, didn't fail to leave me humbled...once again.

I bounced into class with my music jamming to get everyone up and going.  This particular class is all men.  1 wheelchair-bound comedian.  1 large teddy bear.  1 silly, shy coffee-addict.  And 1 autistic "pop, pop, pop" lover.  Sometimes I'll have 1-2 stragglers randomly join us for the class, but mainly its these 4.  Tuesday I had the opportunity to meet a new guy. 

This was my first thought upon seeing him..."he hasn't been in a wheelchair forever."  Here's how I came to this conclusion.  First, he was covered in tattoos.  Second, he had very visible, fresh scars on his head and bruises on his face.  His hair was just growing back in.  He was wearing a shirt that looked not to be his style, more than likely, not his.  He had Nike Air Jordan sandals on with crew socks.  But all of these things were not the biggest trigger for my thought-process...

It was in his eyes.  His eyes were a beautiful pale blue...but they were lost.  They were empty of emotion, joy, and passion.  They were holding something back. 

His staff told me not to get too close to him because he'd hit me or kick me.  They said he probably wouldn't participate in class, that he was just there to get him outside a while.  They said he was a new client.  From another state.  Living here now with his grandmother.  He was in his early 30's. 

I kept all this in mind as I began leading the others in a medicine ball warm-up.  Then we proceeded to a kickboxing cardio workout, before ending with a Poker-style card game, workout. All the while I kept one eye on this man...because I knew there was someone in his body, someone trapped, who wanted out.  He just needed prompting.  He had a story to tell. 

He watched closely as we warmed up, but would look down if we happened to make eye contact.  He would randomly flip-off one of the other guys as they ran past him to pick up a stray medicine ball, sometimes even swinging his stiff arm their direction as if to punch them-if he could only reach. 

He is angry.  That was my first assumption based on this observation.  So I begin to assume something very bad has happened to him.

As we proceeded through the card game, I noticed his curiosity beginning to get the best of him as he lifted his head up to see what we were I went with it and held the deck of cards out for him to draw one.  His staff stepped forward to discourage his participation...he swung his arm at her as if to motion her to step back...and he slowly reached his hand forward and with one finger drew a card from the pile, then he withdrew his hand and looked at what it was. After seeing what it was, he threw it away from me so I had to go pick it up. (This game seemed familiar :)  So we did the exercise based on what the card said...and we moved on as if nothing had happened.

Next we were set to box, I was really curious to see his response to this exercise.  We got all set-up and began to box in 1 minutes sets.  After awhile I heard this grunting noise behind me and turned to see this man was trying to get my attention.  I knew it!  He wanted in on the action.  I held the gloves out and he grabbed them from my hands.  I proceeded to help him put them on...then I held up the bag and he began to punch, and punch, and punch.  Then he stopped.  He lowered his head.  And didn't make a sound.  I waited, waited, waited.  His staff began to say something about him not cooperating or being too tired and tried to step in and remove his gloves.  He took a swing at her, barely missing her face.  I told her to just wait.  He lowered his head again.

He was scared.

Pretty soon he slid his hand up, removed the glove and threw it away from me.  Again.  I picked it up and returned it to him and told him to throw it again, only farther.  He lifted his head up and looked at me like I was crazy.  He bent his arm up awkwardly, and let the glove fly through the went farther this time.  I encouraged him with praise.

Then we went on with class.  Everyone else boxed again for a second time.  Again, the grunting sound came...I let him have a turn again.  It ended in much the same way.  He threw his gloves...but this time he gestured for the bag.  He wanted to throw it too.  So I gave it to him.  It was heavier than he predicted, so it didn't fly quite so well.  But it was a sign of effort in my book.

He wanted to be challenged.  He was motivated by it.

Next we moved on to using the stretchy bands for resistance.  Again, I kept one eye on him as he watched what we were doing.  So I walked over and hooked the band around his hand...again, to the warning of his staff, I walked backward to add resistance to the band and I prompted him to pull it.  He did, then he let go of it and it snapped my hand.  I showed no emotion because I wasn't going to let him win at his own game, and hooked the band around his hand again.  He pulled back and let it spring like a bow and arrow, only this time I side stepped out of the way.  I told him good job and that we had 8 more to go.  So we continued this pattern for 8 more reps.  We repeated it a few rounds and he continued to try to snap me the entire time.  But he was getting exercise, whether he knew it or not.  The other class participant's just laughed and talked as if he wasn't in the room. 

Finally, we ended with some dumbbell exercises for our upper body.   I planned to include him again, as one last test.  I handed him the 5 lb. dumbbell just like I did everyone else.  I prompted them to raise it overhead 5 times...and he did it.  Slowly but surely, he did it!!  Then, like I thought, he threw it at his staff.  Again, barely missing her.  I didn't say a word and walked over and directed him to throw it at the cone I set see if he could throw it past the cone...he did it.  I handed it to him again, we did this a few times.

As class ended, we stretched and I dismissed everyone.  I walked over to shake this young man's hand and to praise him for his work that day.  His staff told me that was a bad idea, that he would probably squeeze or try to pinch my hand.  But I took my chances because I wanted him to know I knew he was in there, that I acknowledged him as a real, live person.  As someone that wanted to be respected and treated no differently than anyone else in the class.  But as someone with some deep hurt and pain and resentment and anger....I wanted him to know I knew that ...and it was okay.

So I shook his hand.  He looked up at me with his blue eyes and I saw something.  He squeezed my hand harder, and his staff began to reprimand him, and I shook her off...because I knew we were communicating.  I could feel it down in my soul.  He was telling me something.

As I loaded my truck back up with the equipment and got inside, I had tears streaming down my face.  I was unsure why.  Really.  No idea.  Except for that I learned something that day.  Something that touched my heart and soul.

Thank you, Jesus.  For this man.  He may not feel a purpose in living any longer, but I needed him that day.  Help him to know his purpose in my life.  Dear Lord, allow him that.

** I later found out this young man was in a tree trimming accident.  He fell 54 ft. from a bucket after a large limb fell on his head knocking him over the edge and paralyzing him to the state he is in now. 

 I get the anger.  I get the fear.  I get it.  I saw it.  I felt it that day.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I feel like the words I heard yesterday were an answer to prayer.

We visited a church yesterday in McPherson.  We went with open-minds, willing hearts, and tired kids.  But we made it to the 9 am service!  Anyway, I feel like I was hit in the head with a 2x4 by yesterday's sermon.  It spoke directly to my heart.  It was one of those where you begin looking around to see if the anyone else is paying attention because this sermon is meant specifically for you.

But what surprised me the most was the theme of the sermon was "Discouragement."  I don't feel discouraged.   I'm an optimistic kind of gal, so it's hard for me to be discouraged.  But anyway, the story followed Elijah in 1 Kings.  In short, Elijah was chosen to do some GIGANTIC things for Christ.  He went up against King Ahab (described as the most evil King in Israel) and his wife Jezebel (who is described as being more evil then her husband).  He proved that Baal, the god of fire, was powerless, as well as the 450 prophets of Baal.  And that God was the only true God, worthy of praise and full of power.  It's a pretty incredible story, you should go read it. (I Kings 17-19)  Or check out one of your kids story Bibles, it's always a story that is included!

This story in itself wasn't what struck me.  It's what happened to Elijah after this big hype.  Elijah had done this amazing feat and had killed all the 450 prophets that worshiped Baal, and should have been feeling the fullness of God's presence and might after just being a part of something so HUGE.  He should be rejoicing in God's sovereignty and work through himself, Elijah. 

But instead, he flees.  He runs for his life when he hears word that Jezebel, King Ahab's wife, wants him killed.  He pleads with God to take his life, that he is no better than his ancestors.  He begins to doubt.  He begins to fear.  Lose hope.  He begins to feel discouraged...and lets these thoughts take his mind captive so much so that he thinks leaving life on Earth is a better choice than living.  He isolates himself from others and takes his eyes off of Christ. 

4 things happened that I just described: He begins to wander.  He says things he doesn't really mean.  He wants to quit.  He isolates himself from other believers.  He takes his eyes off of the solution, hope in Christ.

After all that God did in his life.  The mighty showing of God's power, through Elijah's faithfulness...the closeness Elijah experienced to God during that time. 

How could he experience fear, discouragement, doubt after all of that?

Well, he did.
And what I'm learning is, it is normal.  These actions of feeling like you are wandering, isolating yourself, and losing hope in Christ are very normal after coming off a huge victory in Christ.

And that is where we are at.  I keep describing myself as "feeling like I'm wandering aimlessly."  And I won't lie, my prayer life, my devotions, and my closeness to the Holy Spirit have been lacking the past 2 months. 

I feel like this media fasting week, has rejuvenated my soul.  I spent many hours in prayer, reading Scripture...that I had replaced with TV and Internet before.  I feel like this fast was a preparation for my heart to be softened to hear Sunday's sermon.  Otherwise my first reaction might have been denial, not repentance and realization.

I think what we are experiencing is a post-adoption depression of sorts.  It's common, actually.  You come off such a high of the journey to adopt, you see God working out big and small details in your life, you are so close to Him during that time because you have to be, you are on a natural high.  And God pulls through Big-time and the emotions are indescribable. 

...And then you return the day-to-day stuff.  Real life again.  Where it's quiet. Normal.  Less exciting.  Where it seems like God's presence isn't as obvious, real.  And it becomes easy to think that and allow those thoughts to affect your actions.  You almost feel like God isn't there any longer.  Like He doesn't need you anymore.  Even though you crave that 'high' you experienced during the tough, gritty part of life.  Where His presence was undeniable.

But that's not our calling right now.  We are called to live.  Be.  Quietly for now.  To rest assured in Him, even in the less-dramatic, less-crisis-filled days of life.  To seek Him in the stillness just as earnestly as before.  So we are going to have to work harder in the quiet times,  we are realizing.  To keep God at the forefront of our thoughts and actions. Which I am beginning to think is harder than trusting in the trying times.  But we are trusting, working, and praying...

To not get discouraged.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How We Spent our Week..


These are a few snapshots of our week without TV, movies, Internet, etc.  We made it! 

We shot fireworks with my parents and sister and her boyfriend.  Plus a few neighbor friends. 
Then we built indoor forts.
We had pillow fights.
We spent hours at the park and playground.
We went to the public pool, McPherson Water Park, and our own backyard pool.
We went to visit our friends at Parkside Homes.
We had playdates.
We went to see friends.
We went to the YMCA.
We read books, read books, read books.
We sang songs.
We made a music video.
We danced.
We put actions to songs.
We made cookies.
We fried fish.
We  BBQ'd with neighbors.
We made a climbing rope for our backyard.
We cleaned up the yard.
We hauled brush.
We trimmed trees.
We weeded the garden.
We shucked corn.
We snapped beans.
We picked squash.
We watered and watered the garden.
We deep-cleaned the bathrooms.

We stayed busy.  And quite honestly didn't notice the TV not being on.  Maybe my kids aren't old enough to notice, yet.  Or maybe my kids don't sit still long enough to watch a movie.  Or maybe its because we don't have any computer or TV games, and electronics.  Who knows? 

But we did have fun.  I was more aware of the need to pray for people as they came to mind.  I spent much more time in prayer. I had some great Bible reading time.  I rejoiced with praises.  I was burdened by prayer requests.  I was sensitive to the Holy Spirit's lead and prompting.  Much more than I have been in a while.  It was a good refresher and reminder at how distracted I can be by TV.  Radio.  Internet.  Facebook.  Blogging. 

So I am back, but I am re-entering this electronic world with hesitancy.  I vow to remain sensitive to other's needs, to their prayers, to the importance of interceding on behalf of others.  To cry out.  To plea.  To Praise.  To request.

I missed you all.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Prayers for my Children

This week we are enabling a media fast.  Somewhat prompted by the book "7" I have spoken of before.  There are a few of us challenging ourselves and our family to this task for 1 week. 
I chose no TV.
No Facebook/Email except for work.
No radio, except for working out.
No movies.
No unneeded texting/phone calls.

I then chose to replace this time with some things for myself to focus on and for my kids.
For my kids:
Volunteer/Help with activities at Parkside Homes (retirement village...we frequent there, but not as much this summer.
Camp out in living room
Bonfire/Fireworks outside
Messy, sensory activities for Blake
Weed garden, pick vegetables

 For myself I have chosen to really focus on getting caught up on my Bible reading, and dissecting God's word.  But my main focus this week has been to intercede on behalf of so many needs of those around me in prayer.  As people/events come to mind, I write them down and pray, pray, pray.
The Farley' Russia!!!
Friends hoping for job changes/promotions.
For my friends doing this media fast to get through this week and their children's complaining.
For discernment in tough decisions
For people traveling
For friends involved in church planting

So today I caught myself mumbling so many prayers, ones I guess I hadn't really realized, until now, were prayers that I must verbalize during my daily routine...

For example,
Dear God, let my kids sleep past 6:30 am...

Oh Lord, I pray that Blake's diaper held up through the night..
...Praise God, it did!

Our Father who art in Heaven, forgive me my sins if I do something I wish I wouldn't have in response to Leah's 49,545th question for the morning...

Dear God, let there be chocolate in this house somewhere..

Oh Lord, when will the crying stop?

Father, please let their be other kids/mom's at the park so I don't have to be the sole entertainment...
...Praise God there is!

Praise You Father, for 2-hour naps...

Thank you Lord for protecting my kids, while they played in the street, much to my ignorance, while I watered the flowers...

Thank you for wisdom today Lord.

Place your blanket of protection over my children/household while we sleep, protect us from the fiery darts of Satan.

God is Great, God is Good, let us thank Him for our food...Amen.  (via the kids)

I praise you for your creation.  Sun.  Moon.  Stars.  Sky.

Clear my heart, mind, and soul of any distractions before I partake of your Word and Scripture today.  Sanctify me, purify me, convict me, lead me, mold me, make me.

I give you praise for your timing, your sovereignty, and Lordship over all.

Forgive me, father.  I have NO patience today.  Thank you for Leah's reminder that I did not show God's love to her when I slammed her door and made her stay in her room for a longer time during quiet time today.

Please help my children understand that you bless us with this food and NOT to waste it.

I pray your hand over Jerad today, as he goes to work.  Guard his heart, his eyes, and his mind from evil.  Give him courage to speak up.  Strength to stand up.  Hope to others.

Oh Dear God...another spilled cup of milk...on the couch? Really?  What are you trying to teach me today?

Lord, thank you for this day.  For your presence.  Your Peace.  Your Mercies.

Oh Holy Spirit, please intercede on behalf of my children's soul's.  Fight for them.  Help them to come to know you in a real way, a personal way, not because of me, but because of their desire and love and excitement to know you on their own.  I pray you will surround them with influences that direct them to You, Father.  Protect their hearts and minds.  Give them your peace.

Use my family to further your kingdom.

Help me to know you more.

Give me your supernatural favor at work Tuesday and Thursday.  Give me grace.  Lots of grace.

Thank you for allowing me the outlet of exercise, and my enjoyment and benefit from doing it.  Mentally and physically.

Forgive me for the fear underlying my anxiety over this decision..

Alert me of opportunities to serve this week, to love.  To intercede and pray.  Burden my heart for the things that burden yours Father.  Help me not to forget.