Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Deeper Meaning of Gotcha Day

Beyond the cupcake sprinkles and splash pad sprinklers, there really is a deeper celebration to our Gotcha Day.  Of course we want to have fun with our sons and create special memories associated with our family’s anniversary, but we also want to take pause to remember the foundation of it all.  There are glorious Biblical truths daily looking back at me through the deep brown eyes of my children.

The Bible is replete with verses illustrating the beautiful allegory of our adoption as Christians:  

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:5

What strikes me most about these verses is that onus of action rests on God alone.  He is the Giver; those of us who are believers in Christ are but recipients.  He acted, He chose, He purposed.  We received, we were drawn, we were accepted as heirs and children of God.  What did I do to merit God’s favor?  What good works did I put forth to earn his acceptance? 

What did this scrap of a child possess to attract our attention?

During the seemingly endless adoption process, was this sweet boy toiling and working away to secure his place in our family?

The answer seems so obvious when I look at these helpless babies.  Completely unaware of everything that we doing on their behalf to bring them home to us, they didn’t do anything, present anything, or convince us of anything in order to be loved and chosen. We loved our sons because we chose them. We chose our sons because we loved them. Is God not the same toward us?  God loves us because He chose us.  He chose us because He loves us.  Even the very act of loving our sons comes from beyond us.  We love them because God first loved us.  We chose them because God first chose us.  He is the Actor, the Initiator, the Author.

June 23rd is not only Micah and Samuel’s Gotcha Day.  June 23rd is in fact my Gotcha Day as well.  It’s the day fourteen years ago that God grabbed a hold of my heart and helped me to understand that I didn’t have to be “good enough” to earn my place as a child of God.  My every shortcoming, failure, and sin was made right and forgiven in Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice on my behalf.  I am no different from those vulnerable babies in need of a rescuer, desperate for someone to fight for them and do what they couldn’t do for themselves.  What I could not do for myself, God did and invited me to rest in His sufficiency.

So thank you, my sons, for being a daily testimony to me of these gospel truths. 

Thank you, Micah, for reminding me with your laughter and smile what a joy it is to be called a child of God.

Thank you, Samuel, for reminding me with your snuggles and hugs how sweet intimacy with my Father is.

Thank you, my Heavenly Father, for allowing me to receive the Spirit of adoption as your child.  Thank you, my Abba, for allowing me to receive these boys as my own children.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gotcha Day!

Gotcha Day is how we celebrate the anniversary of Micah & Sami joining our family one year ago.  

One year.  

It seems like it has gone by so quickly.  

But we also can't really remember what life was like before them.  

Before their smiles.  Before their laughter.  

Before getting to be a part of their lives everyday and watching them grow from babies to little boys.

We wanted to celebrate our buddies and the blessing they have been to us.  And what better way to do that than by running through a park full of sprinklers?

It's called a Splash Pad.  Enough water for a good time but not enough to make mamas gray prematurely by having to keep on eagle eye to prevent kiddos from drowning.  Plus there's a fence that wraps around the entire place to keep those non-drowning kiddos from running away.  It's what every Gotcha Day dream is made of!

To make it even more of a Hollywood day, Sam decided to re-enact a scene from "Marley & Me."  Do you remember the part where Owen Wilson takes Marley to a beach park and has a sudden whim of liberation?  He lets Marley off the leash where he frolics in the surf for a few moments of doggy bliss.  But then nature calls and the entire afternoon is ruined.  Dog owners wag fingers in dismay, dogs stop wagging their tails, and the beach police show up to issue a hefty fine.

Back to the Splash Park.  Sami is playing happily, running through the showers, rolling on his belly in the puddles.  But then nature calls and his swim diaper just wasn't up to the task.  Grossed out kids pointed and ran away shrieking.  Just like Marley, Sami had no idea that anything was amiss.  Superhero daddy cleaned him up and sent him back into the fray, sans swimsuit (the only true casualty of the incident).

After the boys had their fill of water fun, we had a snack on the lawn and were given a free frisbee.  Micah peed in it as soon as we took off his swimsuit.  

Hudson had himself a sunny day.  He too is very thrilled about Gotcha Day.

Cupcakes were also the order of the day, especially since I let them eat them before dinner.  And the reason, I'm embarrassed to admit, was because the light outside would be better for pictures before dinner than after.  Yup, I'm a photography nerd.

Happy Gotcha Day!  We love you buddies and are so thankful that you are in our family!

Friday, June 22, 2012

When Nostalgia Makes Decisions

I'm going to make a very dogmatic statement here so don't be offended: the childhood of every honest-to-goodness Central Texan should include Schlitterbahn.  Ranked one of the world's best water parks, its acres of splishy-splashy fun make it live up to its slogan of "The Hottest Coolest Time in Texas."  Floating in the lazy river on a giant crocodile, enjoying a picnic lunch in the shade, tramping around the park with your friends like you own the place, attempting to meet boys (emphasis on attempting), braving the tallest water times had by all, children, tweens, and adults alike.

So when you let nostalgia like that make decisions for you, you end up bringing your one-month old son to a water park.  Now that could have resulted in an abysmal failure or a most fabulous day.

Thanks to the sleeping skills of wee Hudson, the latter proved to be true.  (Plus I had an excuse to put him in his whale swimsuit, even though not one inch of him touched the water.)

With Mark & Valerie in town, we had a 1:2 child to adult ratio and figured we could make it work.  And if you recall Sam's love affair with all things water, you'll understand why it was worth it to try.  

But he definitely wasn't the only buddy that had a delectable time. 

The biggest concern was whether or not skipping nap time would result in sudden & total meltdown.  But the charms of Schlitterbahn put that fear to rest.  Apparently, inner-tubes have more than one use.




So we took a gamble with a newborn and came out on top.  On top of a crocodile that is! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Corbin Clan

The Corbin clan was reunited this week when my brother Mark and his wife Valerie came for a visit from the distant land of New Jersey.  The buddies, of course, enjoyed two more people who paid attention to them.

And the littlest buddy enjoyed making a new friend.  I think he did at least.  He seemed to be enjoying himself.  

We also made a day trip to see my granddad (or "Go Dad" as Micah called him) who recently moved to Georgetown about 30 minutes outside of Austin.

I love the representation of generations in this picture.  I also love the disparity of hair.

We ate at a quaint cafe in Georgetown that Mark & Val used to frequent when they were in college there.  Micah's devilish grin is due to the fact that we paid $7 for a peanut butter & banana sandwich, and he only ate four bites.

And a cafe doesn't qualify as quaint without its own herb garden in the back.  Valerie gave Micah a sample of mint, which unfortunately in a two-year old's brain translates to universal permission to eat leaves off any plant of his choosing in the future.

My brother & I are different in a lot of ways but probably the most dramatic is our preferences in food.  Apparently, all the discriminating taste buds in the gene pool ended up in Mark's mouth, not mine.  Mark & Val are bone fide foodies who scoff at the fact that I think cereal constitutes a non-breakfast meal.  Food is not a function for them; it's art.  When they are at the kitchen's helm, I will most gladly trade in my bowl & spoon.  When else do I eat beautiful salads like this?

Prepared by beautiful chefs like this?

But the clincher--lamb chops.  In my world, lamb chop conjures thoughts of a fuzzy puppet who entertained children on TV and was a spokesperson (or spokes-sheep I guess?) for kids underwear.  However, thanks to the metropolitan tastes of this dynamic duo, I can now check off "Eat lamb chops" from my bucket list.  Or at least add it to my bucket list so I can then check it off in a gusto of life accomplishment.  

Mark & Val headed home to Jersey this morning, leaving us with happy memories & happy bellies.

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Once Unwanted Popsicle

When I was growing up, popsicles were a staple in our home.  The authentic ones with the corny jokes on the stick and the walrus playing a saxophone on the box.  The only problem was that the flavor distribution didn't match our family's preferences.  The reds were always the first to go, followed by the oranges.  But the purples...ah, those sad, sad grape popsicles.  They sat lonely and neglected in the freezer, with only each other and frost crystals to keep them company.  If it weren't for one of the neighbor kids down the street who happily ate the purples by the fistful, they all would have been subjected to their inevitable end of melting away in the kitchen sink.

Now that summer is practically in full swing here in sunny Texas, popsicles have been welcomed back to our home.  Well, the red & orange ones at least.  But thankfully we've got some other individuals on hand who are more than happy to help us solve the purple popsicle surplus.

The Five Second Rule most certainly applies to popsicles in the driveway as well.  (In American, at least.  I certainly will not make the same promise for popsicles consumed by my children in China.)

So bring it, summer.  You're no match to the power of the once-scorned-but-now-loved purple popsicle!

Friday, June 01, 2012

The New Normal

This post is for all of you who are saying to yourself, "Ya know, I don't really care about your hormones & mood swings.  Show me pictures of that BABY."  As you wish...

This is our little Hudson.  He is two weeks old now.  Strange how fast it's already gone.

His hobbies include eating, sleeping, and pooping.  He still hasn't quite arisen from his newborn coma and spends most of my waking moments asleep.  I often have to wake him at night for feedings, and I will confess that I've gotten 5 hour stretches of sleep because of this fabulous perk of his.  Nursing has gone well, he's gaining weight, and besides a little tear duct infection, I'm pretty convinced he lands squarely in the "easy" category of newborns.  He hates for his arms to be swaddled so he always ends up in entertaining positions like this: 

With four sets of adult arms in the house, our littlest buddy rarely gets put down.  I know this isn't a very wise strategy for the future, but I just can't get enough of his smallness.

Neither can my mom.

As for our big brothers, they've weathered the change quite well.  I am so thankful for our current situation that frees Kevin to be so involved with them.  He more or less hangs out with Micah & Sam all day, which enables me to take care of Hudson, rest, and partake in as many newborn staring contests as I can (I usually win since his eyes are closed for most of them).  

I really do promise that Kevin has more fun than this picture might suggest:  

They've dominated every park in a 10 mile radius...

And, thanks to our zebra blow-up pool (which Micah calls the zebra "cool"), have further convinced us that Sami is part fish...

It doesn't matter if he's in the pool naked (because I'm convinced that swim diapers are a waste of money when swimming in your front yard) or fully clothed (because we're those kind of parents), this is the look he's typically wearing while wet:

Since Hudson is such a low-key kind of dude, I've still gotten to spend a good amount of time with my bigger buddies.  We've been able to consistently maintain our bedtime family worship routine (but not without an occasional game of Baby Diaper Head).

So that's the new normal around here.  Babies, babies, and more babies.  You would think that going from zero to three in less than a year would have a lot more bumps in the road.  But thanks to the grace of God, a fabulous husband, and lots of helping hands, the transition has been pretty smooth so far.