August 30, 2009

Sunday

We started the day with coffeecake, followed by church. Titus is having a hard time with Sunday school class. The teachers, ages of kids and dynamics have been changing weekly and he does not want to go. I promised him that I would go with him until he became more comfortable. It was a sweet time watching him interact with the class. Before we went I asked him if he wanted me to come. He got this brave face and nodded yes. It was good to see how he interacted with others and how others interacted with him. He doesn't have a friend yet and I believe he will do really good once he gets one. We had our big lunch of the week, sunday lunch. We were up until 2 in the morning making 3 huge pans of chicken pot pie. ( I went to bed before this, but some were up this late). We took my recipe x 7. The guys loved it. I got a 3 hour nap today which was amazing. We are having some trouble with Titus leaving his bed and his room. Two days in a row he has snuck out into the room connected with his, gotten into the art drawer and dumped an entire bottle of Elmer's glue on our guest bed. It's been very upsetting that he's not responding to punishment. We are trying to babyproof a lot of things but you can't babyproof everything. I had a great conversation with one of the guys that's new here and making lots of adjustments. My kids are in bed and Greg is playing capture the flag in the woods for dorm fellowship. I'm off to make an ice cream cake for a birthday tomorrow. Tomorrow is the RA's day off and it's the major shopping day of the week. Greg and I have two grocery stores and a meat shop to go to. Pray for our adjustment to the RA's day off. We have two subs that help us in the evenings.

August 29, 2009

A moment

WARNING REALLY LONG POST . . . BUT THERE ARE PICS BELOW
I know we have written a lot on here about down times or frustrating times . . . .but tonight I had a moment. A small gift from the Lord, where for about 2 hours everything went great. Actually the whole day was great. Titus woke me up by screaming at 5:36 on a Saturday morning . . . . that was the low point for the day . . . . .but it did get better. First he laid in bed with us for about and hour and then Danielle was kind enough to get up with him and Addison and let me doze till about 7:30. After hanging with the kids for a little while I went down at 9 in the morning and started making pancakes and waffles for the guys. I threw on a little music and found myself really enjoying cooking. After a brunch of pancakes, waffles, fruit and sausage, we did some chores and then left for France at 1:30. We went to Carrfour (A wal-mart on Steroids) and it took us about 2 and a 1/2 hours to get everyone in and out. We came back had some Pizza's for dinner. Danielle made them while we were out . . . . . and then we were initiated into an HBR tradition. It's called "Creeking". Whenever it's a guys birthday we make him a cake and sing Happy birthday, in a really loud, weird, table banging way. This is followed by the guy running for the door and everyone tackling him and dragging him to the creek behind our house and "baptizing" him into HBR. They drop him into the creek and run, because the wet guy is now out to get anyone he can and hug/drench them.
After all of the festivities I then had the chance to see my guys interact with the opposite gender. This timeless interaction is always interesting in my mind. Here are a bunch of guys and girls who don't really know each other and they have to go through all of the hello's and trying to act cool and yet trying to actually talk to each other. Our guys were great, they are much better at this than I was when I was there age. I just love guys and sports around girls, somehow it always turns into this weird/awkward/hilarious attempt to impress.
The best part about the night was seeing Titus interacting with all the guys and girls, the girls were so jealous of all the guys and there chance to have a little "dorm brother". The guys all wanted Titus to hang out with them, because he seemed like a pretty great way to meet girls. Titus can be shy at times, but tonight he left mom and dad's side and hung out with the guys and gave high five's to girls. He didn't whine or complain, he just smiled and had fun. The highlight of the night was at the end there were a bunch of people sitting around the campfire and Titus went around and said goodnight and hugged each one of them.
Our guys really seem to like Titus and Addison and they are uber patient with them. Today was a good day. Today we balanced life as a family of 30 (24 boys, 4 staff, 2 toddlers), I know everyday won't be this good . . . . actually it seems like 99% of them are the opposite of today, but still it was a moment. . . . a great moment!



DINNER, A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, AND A CREEKING



OUR BIRTHDAY BOY
THE ATTEMPT TO FLEE

DRAGGING HIM AWAY

WE REALLY ARE A BUNCH OF SAVAGES


RUN FOR YOUR LIFEEVEN I RAN AWAY, BUT I KEPT SHOOTING AND LOOK AT THIS KNUCKLEHEAD


BONFIRE PICS


HE LOVED STAYING UP LATE AND EATING MARSHMALLOWS

I JUST TOOK THIS PICTURE 10 MINUTES AGO. WHO STUDIES ON A SATURDAY NIGHT

August 27, 2009

First Day of School





When the guys leave in the morning, we have to make sure that everyone is accounted for. They wait outside for the bus to come, and we wish them well. Titus is sad to see them go to school and excited for when they return. Our student body president this year is the one in the red tie (names protected due to their parent's occupations). The opening ceremonies involved them walking in with the flags of the countries they are from.

Thursday






Today was our first day off since we have been here. We have a day off every Thursday. We decided to do a family hike in the Black Forest. Titus is not a big nature lover, so we had to get creative in our hiking time with him. Our walk became more of an adventure walk, sighting pinecones, rocks, logs to walk on, stairs to climb etc. Titus kept saying "What are we going to find?!" Addison just loved sitting in her stroller taking it all in. We had an hour or so walk, had a picnic lunch and then the kids napped. We are getting ready to go out to dinner with friends in a few hours.

August 26, 2009

The Penthouse Replaced?

I know my college friends would hate to read that title. In college I was blessed to spend four glorious years on the top floor of Sammy Morris Hall at Taylor University. We called ourselves the Penthouse. The same feel I had there, I sense here. Everyday I can feel my loyalty to the 3 letters HBR growing and everyday I enjoy getting to know these guys. Tonight I told Danielle I experienced one of my favorite moments in Germany so far. I was in the staff office getting some stuff done and Andrew came by and started talking with me (he was actually just trying to get out of study hours . . . a man after my own heart), before I knew it 5 guys were in the office with me laughing and talking. I just sat back and smiled and was encouraged that these guys felt comfortable with me and were willing to just come in and sit down. All of this is balanced with the reminder that earlier tonight Titus had a melt down at dinner and Danielle and I got frustrated with each other. That's how every day is here, great moments, great interactions, and then frustrating and exhausting moments. But I guess that's life.

August 25, 2009

I know Greg's had a few thought provoking days already, but man, today was a tough one for me. I tried taking the kids to BFA's opening ceremonies and it was a disaster. I packed all their activities and they couldn't sit at all. So, I had them outside and they weren't any better out there. It all culminated with me realizing I had to go home because we were the only family that couldn't be at the ceremony and I didn't even know how to get home! Lots of tears today. It's going to be a long road trying to figure out what works best for me and for the kids in the dorm. I want to be so relational and I just can't be anything I want to be for the dorm because my kids are so needy at their ages and the dorm is so big and so unchildproofed and anytime we go down to the kitchen they are immediately turning stove knobs or trying to drink cleaners or something. Tonight, I put Titus to bed and went to the dorm meeting because I had been in the apartment all day. Titus walked out of his room and out the apartment and I found him screaming on the lowest level because he was so scared and couldn't find anyone. We were all upstairs at the meeting. So now, I am sitting right outside his room with the lights on so he can feel safe. Such adjustments! I know there will be tears and so much stretching being done in my life until we get into a flow that works. But I love the guys. I love any conversations I get with them. Their spirit is unbelieveable. When all came back from the summer every guy greeted every other guy with the most enormous hugs. It was amazing. I'm glad I'm here, just please pray for me to find my role and to find fulfillment in how it needs to work!!

Routine


Today we finally have a friend in the house . . . . routine. It's good to be on a schedule and to have things be somewhat predictable. More than anything routine, brings about the term "gratis", these are chores that each guys has to do. We definitely need the help with dishes, and vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms here. Danielle and I have been amazed at how quickly relationships forms here. Between us and the guys and amongst the guys. One of the best parts so far has been watching roommates interact and get to know each other. As a staff we prayed that even though we didn't know the personalities of some of the guys that we would still be able to put guys with the right person. I know from personal experience that roommates can become best friends. Please keep praying for the guys and for a sense of community and unity in this house. Our prayer is that this place will be a home and not a dorm.

August 23, 2009

A weight lifted


Today they arrived . . . .and we loved it. The new guys and their parents with eyes open and hearts raw. Setting their things in closets and making beds. A few of the returning guys with crazy loud hello's and hugs and welcome back, welcome home. We had great laughter today, good conversations with parents, a phenomenal sense of community as our returning guys welcomed the new guys. I found myself proud of young men whom I've only know for a few hours. Our returning HBR guys helped the new students feel right at home welcomed them, helped carry bags, laughed with them, asked about their life. Today we felt hope. Hope that we can do this, that we will love it and hope that this will be a home and not a dorm. Today we had hope because Titus laughed with the guys and they wanted to meet him. We know this year and job will not be easy, but today the nerves disappeared and excitement replaced it. As we get to know these young men we hope to keep you posted on their life and their families and the stories they represent. Here is a brief overview of the 14 guys in the house tonight. They are from Turkey, China, Bahrain, London, France, Uzbekistan, Germany, Spain, Russia. We are blessed to have our world shrinking.

August 22, 2009

Scared

Why am I scared?
I am scared because I know it's not perfect yet
I am scared because I know that someone might complain
I am scared because I think I might not connect with the guys
I am scared because I know that my kids are going through gut wrenching transition
I am scared because I know that I am capable of failure
I am scared because this feels like a dorm and not a home
I am scared because I know that I will get tired, frustrated and angry
I am scared because I know that I will fail
I am scared because I know that the guys will see me at my worst . . . and best
I am scared because I don't know what I'm doing
I am scared because I have spent 9 years learning in Morton, and now everything is new
I am scared because I know my kids will whine and cry and people will think, "get these kids under control"
I am scared because I know that other dorms are more prepared
I am scared because I don't know what to expect
I am scared because I've never done this before
I am scared because I miss the reliable, the predictable, the known
I am scared because I know that there will be ups and downs
I am scared because I know that this is bigger than me
I am scared because I know that they start arriving in 12 hours
I am scared

August 20, 2009








Today Anna and I washed windows and dusted each of the boys rooms. We took a huge shopping trip, the four of us, Greg, Brandon, Anna, and I and bought 6 carts of food, just to initially stock with, and most of it will only last most of one week! We took a picture of how full our van was! Tomorrow, we finish cleaning the entire dorm, bathrooms included, and have a final BFA meeting and lunch in the morning. We will go to Edeka tomorrow to pick up bulk items. Unlike in America, bulk is not cheaper! We have something in our town the past few days called Spermull. Everyone puts out whatever they want to get rid of, and you go around taking for free whatever people leave out. After two days, the garbageman picks the rest up. We've snagged couches for the guys lounge and two nice ride on toys for Titus! My fellow Morton garage salers would love this! Tonight we drove 20 minutes away to Basel, Switzerland-last minute shopping for Rachel. Because we live so close to the borders, Rachel was able to see Germany, France and Switzerland during her stay here. We could not have gotten through these 3 weeks without her. We have been busy morning until night every single day. Titus has said, mommy please don't go which has been hard. But soon, our schedule starts in a few days. I've snuck in times with him and it was precious when he spent an hour in my bed reading to me and putting stickers in his sticker book. One day I was so tired and needed a nap, and he tucked me in to bed, just like I tuck him in!

August 19, 2009

This week we spent the mornings hearing news about BFA and hearing the testimonies of the new staff for this year. It was so neat to hear how God specifically drew each person separately to this place for this time. And how God was so faithful to meet the details of all of our needs. We spent a lot more time in our dorm this week. Today, I vacuumed all 3 floors of our dorm, all the guys rooms, the bathrooms, lounges etc. I've been trying out the kitchen and I've loved the high powered convection oven that cooks in half the time and the dishwasher. Greg bought us an automatic mini van so I'll have a car to drive! Thanks so much to our supporters who contributed to the van fund! I'll post pictures soon!

p.s. - (from Greg) . . . we just tried to open the passenger side van door and it won't unlock or open . . . WE BOUGHT A LEMON! STORRS LUCK! It's a 1996 with a 100,000 miles on it - what do you expect. I'm sure it will be alright!

One Favorite Paris Experience







Among my busy schedule this week, I so enjoyed eating chocolate croissants at the bakery. We saw the man baking bread and drank a bowl of coffee! We couldn't pass up this opportunity. It was such a new experience drinking such a big cup of coffee! Paris was the place Rachel really wanted to visit and she wanted me to come with her, so on our 2 day weekend off, I got to go see the sites with her!

August 17, 2009

Sacre Coeur

FYI: If you are wondering who this is in the following pictures with Danielle and Rachel. It is one of Rachel's friends from Miracle Camp. She met us in Paris!!



We went to a huge church that was so amazing! They were having mass when we oured it and I couldn't believe how large and amazing it was!

Eiffel Tower





We had a picnic near the tower as the sun was going down. Then we went up once it got dark. After going up we watched the midnight light show and ate some ice cream.

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