Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Show 'N Tell: DIY Advent Calendar

Now, I know I've already confessed to you all my severe addiction to the blog world. Not so much now that I've started babysitting by day, as it takes up any spare moments I used to have during the day. :-)

However, I came across this a few weeks ago, and put a MUST DO on it. Christmas is really fun with a 4 year old, and I want to make it ultra-special for my little guy. In doing so, I'm trying to do all the little things my parents did that made Christmas time so magical...I don't care what they say - it isn't "Santa" that makes this time of year magical. It's our attitudes, our non-self focus. It's the urge to do something for others and the pure joy we get out of a snowflake. And it's the fact that all these "wordly" traditions, from christmas lights & trees to candy canes - all stem and go around our Savior's birth. (There may be more to come on this in another post.)

Anyway - in being true to myself, I wanted to make our very first advent calendar and I wanted it to be something that could be made and be stored easily. I got this idea from here, which is one of the bajillion blogs I follow and copy ideas from on a daily basis. (Thanks, by the way!)

It is easy and simple, and I was able to use my early Christmas/birthday/...present (Cricut!!!!!) to make all the numbers. It took a few hours, just b/c a lot of it is cutting, punching out, gluing on, and those little magnets were a PAIN! But I think it will be fabulous to use over and over. All it took was a mini-muffin tin (3.87 @ Wally World), paper, and little magnets.

Along the lines of being true to myself - instead of giving my little sugar-crazed child more sugar, we are going to do a special "Christmas activity" each day. I used her list that she posted and added a bunch of my own.

And I know you're all anxious to see what all this blabber is about:

See?!?! Isn't it FABULOUS!?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Show 'N Tell: Dirty/Clean Dishwasher Mag

Okay - so I know I've mentioned my addiction to blogs before. Here is another by-product of my gentle perusing of others thoughts, creations, and diy projects. I'm calling it my dirty/clean dishwasher mag. No more wondering if the dishes are clean or dirty. No more inspecting dishes or loading dirty dishes in a clean dishwasher.


I used an old cd, a small scrap of scrapbook paper, 2 different size ribbons, stickers (for letters), the ever-beloved Mod-Podge and buttons of different sizes.

I found the original idea on this blog, called Living Life Crafty. Love love LOVE it! Anyway - happy crafting!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Show 'N Tell: Go Away, Big Green Monster

As one of my favorite children's books (being that it is very age appropriate for PreKers), I was thrilled to death when Dillon brought this home from school. It's a replica of the Green Monster in Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley Little does he know how much I love this book! So much so that it inspired my very first scrapbook page for my little munchkin!

And I had to take a picture to share it with you all. (Thus the show n' tell title) I'm sure there's more to come, for the stack is large, and time is small. For now, though, I am so happy to have D's first page in his blue scrapbook that I bought before we ever even got him!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Kick in the Gut

Just yesterday, I was in tears on my couch telling my husband about how I miss working, even though I know it's in the best interest of my 4 year old to stay with him.

A year ago, I would have never dreamed of actually getting to be a momma (especially the instant kind). And here I am, 7 months into this journey. My son will have my last name soon, but for now, we spend countless hours singing, reading, playing, hugging, running, shouting, building, and loving.

Just last year, I had a whole classroom that I decorated and kept clean and ran as smooth as a whistle (if there is such a thing as "smooth" in PreK). I had friends who worked beside me all day every day. They supported me and lifted me up. We laughed every single day. We shared stories, struggles, and triumphs. They were not only my friends, but they were constantly affirming me and helping me to be a better teacher.

And now it's just me and D...and though I love it, I miss teaching.

Enter my newest obsession - blogging. Not so much mine, but reading other people's. There are some crazy creative people out there. Seriously. And I can sit for hours and read random stranger's blogs, their thoughts, ideas, crafts, d-i-y projects, and other mommy-ness. And I feel a part of some community, be it very shallow and full of strangers.

However, today I had a divine appointment with my new favorite blog, I Can Teach My Child! Somehow I feel I might be related to this chick. We're very much the same. And she just wrote this blog about approval. It.Hit.Home.

And though I must hit the proverbial "sack" now, I want to share the verse that kicked me in the gut tonight from my bloggy world:

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." -Galatians 1:10

This is so not about me. It never is. And I have my little pity parties on the couch, fully equipped with tears and a truly sad heart (it was pitiful, I'm tellin' ya). But that's me shining through. Yucky, old, selfish and gross me.

I needed a kick in the gut tonight, God. Perspectives that help me focus on You and You alone are just what one needs at times. Thank you...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm a dog person...

I'm a dog person. I know what some of you are thinking - WHAT?!?!?! Is this the same girl who begged her parents at age 10 for a mutt named Panda and then virtually forgot about her, whined about having to feed and water her, and never spent time in the back yard with her? The same girl?

Others of you (Williamsons especially) are thinking "Gross!" I know...I know...

I was raised to like to look at dogs. My daddy has a heart for animals...always has. Grammy has lots of stories. But due to multiple circumstances and life experiences, we did not have an indoor dog. We did, however, have Panda...Poor Panda. Enough about that.

I married a dog person, actually, married into a dog family. There wasn't a time in Aaron's life that he didn't have a dog in their home. And there are stories...boy, are there stories.

Enter the ever-lasting argument about indoor dogs. Some people like 'em; some people don't. I had a misconception that indoor dogs made a home smell or dirty. Not sure where I got it, but I did. We have friends that have indoor dogs. Their home isn't smelly or dirty, though I have been in homes that were. I officially think that's due to the owner and not the poor dog, but that's another soap-box.

Aaron & I couldn't agree. Aaron didn't want an outdoor dog; I didn't want an indoor dog. So I would always be denying him and our children of an experience that he treasures from his childhood.

Here I am, 2 years after getting our favorite K-9, Gilbert Rufus Keathley, proclaiming that I'm a dog person! I love little dogs and big dogs. I like licking dogs and barking dogs (though that can get annoying on both parts). I love puppies and old dogs. Seriously. They're so great. What a great companion...Recently, I have met a yorkie that I adore (CJ), who belongs to my cousin.

Anywho - all this to say...Gilbert, though he doesn't speak, is always here for me. When I cry, he sits at my feet (or on my lap). When I sleep, he snuggles up (or takes up most of the bed). When I am in danger (even if it's pretend), WATCH OUT! He sure loves hims Momma...He listens (sometimes), obeys (usually), and loves. He guards, protects, and hunts. He loves...he loves me, Dad, AND our new addition, 4 year old Dillon. They are the best of friends.

There's not a thing that I would trade for this dog. Seriously. He's the best thing EVER. And yes, I have to vacuum and clean more. I have to spray febreeze on our couch. I have to smell his stinky farts, and fight over the spot where my feet are supposed to go in bed. But my life is better with Gil.

I am a dog person. Officially. To which Aaron replies FINALLY. (and who wouldn't be with THIS thing living with them!?)(okay - I adore this pic. Gil actually gets behind people on the couch...as if he's hugging or something. He loves his dad. :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Never-Ending Story

I’m Joslyn. Many words could tell who I am: 29, wife, Momma, crafty, lover of books, crazy about Jesus, family oriented, card-making scrapbooker, friend, passionate, singer, teacher, photographer wanna-be, cook, encourager, adopted. Yes, I said adopted. And though I am all those things, only the people who know me best know that I’m adopted.

And yet it’s not a secret. The world acts as if it’s unfortunate. People say things like, “Oh, I’m sorry” or “Oh, I didn’t know that” in very uncomfortable tones and then quickly change the subject. Others have questions and bring it up like it’s an open wound or something.

And so I’m here to tell you my story. So you won’t be sorry. And so you won’t be sorry from now on when you hear someone is adopted.

First, I want to gander at my favorite piece of literature. Here, we do not shy from talking about adoption. In fact, adoption is the analogy used to explain how one becomes a part of God’s family. When we put Jesus first, it’s as if we get a whole new family! Galatians chapter 4 tells us that

“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

The Bible makes it clear in numerous places that we are adopted into God’s family. And isn’t that the case? How many of you non-adopted people out there are closer with people from your church than you are with your own family? How blessed does that make you feel? It’s as if you were chosen; accepted as you are for who you are and not who you are born of.

And so it is for an adoptee. We are chosen. We are plucked from whatever situation, and we are placed in arms made of unconditional love.

Here is my (hopefully) never-ending adoption story:

I was born 12/8/1980 to Sarah, who was 42. I was her fifth birth child, and I was the third one she put up for adoption. My parents, who had been trying to conceive for 7 years, got the call on the day I was born. Though it took them 6.5 weeks to get to me (interstate adoptions and all the legalities), they were thrilled from that moment on to be my Mommy & Daddy.

My parents chose me. They wanted a baby for 7 long years, and I was the answer to their prayers. They had prayed for me for 7 years; longed to hold and smell those fresh baby smells for 7 years. They cried over it, and they trusted God over it. Ironically, over the weekend they came to get me (1/16/1981), my Mom wasn’t feeling so well. Turns out that’s because my sister, Katrina, was already causing a ruckus in the womb! In the next 5 years, my parents gave me 1 sister (Katrina), and 2 brothers (Jeremy & Nathan). I always joke that I made my parents fertile. J

The 6 of us had a very busy, full life. My dad, Gary, is a Nazarene pastor. My mom, Shiela, is a trained teacher who stayed home with us while we were all in school. We lived on little, laughed a lot, played a lot of games and sports, and celebrated holidays more with traditions than gifts (though we did do gifts, just not extravagant ones). We had family night through much of my childhood and adolescence. We were at church anytime the doors were open. We siblings fought much, and tended to form teams against each other. We picked on my baby brother (sorry, Nate), and ganged up on each other (and sometimes my parents). Though life wasn’t always easy, I look back and am thankful for my large family. I’m thankful for the many camping escapades and sacrifices my parents made for us. I’m thankful that Mom was always home when I got home from school (even though it was kind of annoying at times). I’m thankful for chores, allowances, and learning about stewardship early in life. To this day, my sister is one of my dearest and closest friends, along with my brothers. I never hesitate to spend time with them.

I have had a great life. I literally could not ask for more. And though you may think this is where I tell you that this is it, I’m going to tell you that now I have the pleasure of adopting.

As a PreK teacher in the public school system, I had the chance to meet many fun little people. It is the job God created me for, and I loved most minutes of it! Enter Dillon, 3, on 8/2009. He was sweet, rowdy, and had very few words in his vocabulary. And did I mention that he was the cutest boy ever with the deepest brown eyes? As the year progressed, I continued to fall for this little man. His foster parents loved him so very much but had already raised 4 grown children and were ready for retirement years. Long story short, I had this wild idea that I should raise him! I already loved him! How hard could this be? The next step would be getting my husband involved and on board.

Though I expected opposition from him, he encouraged me to look into it and was willing to do what it took to get our foster license. In turn, we started seeing Dillon more often at our house and spending more time with him.

We got to add a 3rd member to our house on 4/12/2010. I will never forget that day. To this date (11/2010), we are still in the process of adopting. In the meantime, Dillon is the light of our lives and the joy to all of our extended family. He is still sweet and rowdy, and his vocabulary is limitless now. We do everything together, and we love each day getting to know him more and more. Sometimes we get sad that we missed 4 years and 3 weeks of his life. Sometimes we feel robbed. And yet, when he smiles at us the way that only he can, God fills us up once more.

Adoption is not a curse; it’s a blessing. Adoption is scary, and yet fills so many lives with joy. Adoption is risky, as are most important decisions we make in our short lives. And, in my case, I’m hoping that my adoption story is never-ending. I want my son to value it so much to include it in his future family and so forth. Just as God’s adoption story is never-ending, I pray mine will be, too.