Keepin' It Real.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my mother-in-law about a picture I saw on Instagram.  Someone I follow who I've never met who has twin boys that are about the same age as my boys. I commented that her boys always seem content to play quietly together or separately while their mom is getting stuff done.  I told her I couldn't understand how she fostered that environment in their home.  She responded with the line I'm sure lots of you have heard, "you're comparing her 5% to your 100%".  She then followed up with, "think about what you just posted.  It could have sent the same message."  And she's right!  When you look at the picture below you might have thought that life seemed quiet that day.  You might have thought our reading time always looks like this.  You may have painted a much different picture in your head than our reality!  So how about a honest picture of what this day looked like?  Ya know, just to keep it real.

The boys and I took a last minute trip down to the beach for a few days to visit my sister (along with my mom and sister in law).  We returned at 10:30 pm on Thursday night and were leaving on Saturday at 8 am to head back to the beach for a week vacation with Jordan's family.  We had Friday to unpack, do laundry, shop for the coming week, and repack.  So Friday morning we climbed over all of our bags in the kitchen floor to get out the door to run errands.  We ran by Five Below to buy the boys boogie boards for our trip --- this started out with full excitement and quick obedience and by the time we made it out of Five Below and over to BJ's two kids had been knocked in the head and one was beating his against the wall on our walk over to BJ's.  So they were placed in the buggy not to be touched.  Of course we hit BJ's on a Sample Day so at every other aisle all three boys wanted to get out and try whatever was being offered.  Which also resulted in one (or multiple) of the following statements:

  • "Say thank you"
  • "Look her in the eye when you say it"
  • "You can not take a bite before you say thank you." 
  • "Make sure to throw your trash in the trash can."  
  • "Oh you don't care for that?  Here's a napkin. "
  • "Don't pour it out."  
  • "I'm sorry, do you have any napkins? We just had a spill."  

By the time we get through BJ's we've rotated through all the seats in the buggy and the car attached to the front at least three times (because of bickering or playing too loudly), I've dropped my coupons four times, the buggy is so weighed down by all the drinks that I can hardly push it, and I am trying not to lose my cool.  We make it through the check out, walk down the wrong aisle of the parking lot, the wind blows a couple of boogie boards off into the parking lot, a giant box of diapers falls out from under my cart and I'm just trying to get everything into the car and all the kids strapped in with out saying a cuss word.  It's awesome.  

When we leave there we head to Target to get the things that we couldn't get at BJ's (because who needs a bulk package of fifteen tubes of mascara or limes or sunscreen?).  We make it through Target all in one piece until we make it to the checkout counter.  Then my sweet, little, two year old cherub LOSES HIS MIND when I have to take the debit card away from him to pay.  Well let's all be honest, at that point, whatcha gonna do?  Your items have been rung up, one twin is picking up all the candy, one twin is trying to push the cart towards the door, and you have all eyes on you because your two year old is yes, LOSING HIS MIND.  So we power through.  I'm trying to load up the bags into my cart, grab my receipt, and book it to the car without having to make eye contact with anyone.  But of course, oh of course, someone is all "Mommyyyyy, I gotta go potty.".  So we book it over to the family bathroom and drag the giant cart up to the door and I begin unload my loud circus.  As I pick the first kid up to put him into the bathroom a grandmother and her elementary aged granddaughter walk right between us and the door and whip it right into the family bathroom.  I almost lost my mind.  So we proceed to play with the water fountain while these two little dainty customers finish their business.  When she walked out I was glaring at her.  It's so not like me but I was fuming!  To which she says, "oh, were y'all going in here?  I figured you were going in that bathroom" while pointing at the men's bathroom.  Oh my word, it took all things good and holy inside me not to pummel her to the ground.  I wanted to be all "Yes ma'am, I'm going to send two four year olds and a two year old into the men's bathroom by themselves while you and your nine year old granddaughter use the family restroom".  I just attempted to politely smile and then rushed my crew of babes awkwardly holding their pants in the middle of Target into the bathroom.  Finally we all made it out alive and came home to inhale a bite of lunch and move on to our reading time!  

I actually called my mom on the way home to explain the whole situation.  I was so bummed that my prayer just a few hours earlier that morning had been that I would keep a tight reign on the view that my home is my mission field --- that I would use my day to point my boys to Jesus with the words on my tongue and my actions toward them and others, and that our conversations would be filled with grace and truth.  And all I could think after leaving Target was, "well that's not exactly what I had in mind...I just hope my boys don't think attempting to shoot lazer beams from my eyes at a woman for using the bathroom before us is a picture of how Jesus would've done it..."

All of that to say, our house doesn't look calm and quiet all the time.  And there are hard days.  And I struggle with praying for one thing and two minutes later I'm making little choices to live by my flesh instead of the Spirit.  My boys sometimes argue and often disobey.  We are training, mamas.  Some days that gets long and hard and frustrating.  And some days I just get irritated by it all.  But I'm thankful there's grace for those days.  There's grace for our loud house and our disobedient kids and our disobedient selves.  I'm thankful and I need to be reminded often.  So if today is a day of feeling less than or incapable or aggravated or jealous, know that I'm in the trenches with you.  And know even more than that, that God offers grace for our messes.

2016 Conklin Beach Week

We're finishing up our beach week with Jordan's family and I finished our video!  We've had a great week of playing on the beach, laughing with one another, chasing kiddos, watching the Olympics and staying up too late.  It's been one of our best weeks yet!  Here's the video to document our week!  (I try to make these videos after any trip we take because I know I'll want my kids to look back on home videos one day!  I wrote a post about how I do them here if you are curious about them!).  I'll be back with beach pictures soon!

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Let's do this! (the beginning of our adoption story)

Yesterday we mailed off our initial application for our adoption!  I could squeal with excitement!  This is something I've longed for.  I've always felt called to adopt, like since before I was married I knew it was something I wanted.  When Jordan and I got married we had a few conversations about adoption but for a few years he didn't feel that same burning desire.  I never wanted to force it on him because I knew that it had to be something we both felt called to instead of a decision he was forced into or even one he "let me win".  So I prayed.  I prayed earnestly that God would place a desire in him for our family to one day bring a baby home.  We didn't spend much, if any, time talking about it for years.  Then we had Crews and Tate.  They were born at 32 weeks so we spent 5 weeks in the NICU.  While we were there a child was in the bed beside Crews who never had a single visitor.  No parent showed up to rock him and feed him.  He would cry and if a nurse was able she would come and comfort him (they did a wonderful job!) but his parents weren't there.  One of the nights we left the NICU Jordan said to me, "We're going to adopt one day.  If we could take him home with Crews and Tate, I'd do it."  I had chills.  I fell in love with the man even more.  His heart is beautiful, y'all.  He is compassionate and emotional and willing to move where the Spirit leads.  I am so grateful.

So, here we are.  Beginning our adoption process.  We've gotten the question from multiple people who love us dearly, "why are you adopting?".  I think the question stems from multiple places.  Yes, the Lord has been gracious to give us biological children.  Yes, it's expensive.  Yes, it's possibly (read: probably) going to be a hard, frustrating road to bringing a baby home.  Yes, there may be new things that we learn to handle that we never would otherwise.  But y'all.  If we are in Christ, we are all adopted.  We have been called sons and daughters of the one, true God.  We have the sweet, precious opportunity to live that out.  To bring a child into our home and love them and raise them and call them one of our own.  It is putting flesh on the Gospel.  Don't hear me say we have it all figured out.  We definitely don't.  It's that God has called us to something and we desperately desire to follow.  

"For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith"  - Galatians 3:26

We are excited and hopeful and truly beside ourselves as we start this journey. We'd love to share our experience with you and we'd love for you to pray alongside us.  As we walk through this I'd love to share specific ways you can pray.  So for tonight here are a few:

1.  Please pray for wisdom as we make decisions.  It seems that at every turn there is another big decision to make (country, adoption agency, home study agency, gender, what type of special needs, etc).  We'd love for the Holy Spirit to speak clearly and loudly into each decision.  

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." - John 16:13

2.  Please pray for smooth paperwork.  After being accepted with our agency we received lots of paperwork, essentially a handbook for the entire process.  One of the initial pages said, welcome to your "paperwork pregnancy".  Please pray that as we work through loads of paperwork that things would go smoothly!

3.  Our last request gives me chills to write.  The reality is that our baby is possibly alive right now.  That in a crib across the world there is a baby that is ours.  Would you join us in praying for protection over him or her?  That they would be cared for well during this time and that God would place a hedge around them.  Hemming him/her in behind and before, and laying His hand upon them (Ps. 139:5).  

"You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me" - Psalm 139:5

What a sweet, sweet way for me to end my birthday!  In anticipation of a new babe coming into our family.  If I could choose any way to spend my 30th year it would be like this.  I will keep you posted of our progress as we continue.  We covet your prayers!

(Note:  this post was started last week.  We've since been accepted by our agency and are moving forward with our home study!)