Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gifts from the Heart

About 5 days before Christmas, the kids watched the Boz Christmas movie where the family gives gifts (they did not purchase) from the heart to other family members. Each person draws a name and does or makes something for that person to give them on Christmas Eve. We decided to have the kids do this for this year to really think about their sibling. As it worked out, each kid drew a "new" kid's name. Emily and Elizabeth knew right away what they wanted to do, but the others didn't and I wasn't sure if it would work out. We are averaging about 2 meltdowns a day from different kids, so this blessed me to see them show unselfish love to one another. The giver was truly just as blessed as the receiver! It turned out to be my favorite Christmas memory and will start a new Hamstra tradition. Check it out...

Phoeby gave Elizabeth a picture frame that said "Sisters" and had a picture of all 4 sisters on it.

She loved it! Then, Elizabeth gave Christian her penguin pillow pet 
since he liked the penguins at the zoo when we went.

It brought smiles to both and us too!

Christian and I worked on his gift for Stephen for over an hour. He printed out pictures of different airplanes, cut them out, then we laminated them. He cut them out again and we tied yarn to them. 

Stephen can now hang above his bed like an airplane mobile. Pretty cool and all homemade. 
Christian was pretty proud of his gift to his brother!

Stephen and I also worked on Phoeby's gift for a while. He printed out coloring pages of Dora and Disney princesses from the internet. We then put them in a binder and made a cover page. 

Phoeby started coloring right away and was thrilled to have her personal own coloring book. 
She said it is her work for school!

Emily knew exactly what she wanted to give Duan and was the first to get it ready. 
She gave her the jewelry box that she had that Duan always wanted to play with. It has a ballerina in it that twirls and plays music. 

I think Duan was pretty happy. See Craig trying to move out of the picture?

Duan drew Emily's name and she helped me make a special gift for Emily, 
who has been having the hardest emotional adjustment time lately.
Emily likes to go in her bed and be alone when she is sad, angry, etc...and seems to do it often lately.
So, we created a special paper with Emily's name on it and pictures.

Duan helped me think of making an acrostic with Emily's name and 
writing special things about Emily so that she can remember 
that she is wonderful and very loved by us all! The pictures show Emily with 
different family members to remind her how important she is to our family.
Emily wanted to hang it up in her bed right away...success!

So, if Christmas stopped right there...that would be enough...maybe it should have because the next day with the overwhelming toys and gifts brought meltdowns and lots of busyness for Craig and I. We need to remember to keep it simple and that Christmas really is about giving gifts from the heart.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever 
believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All in a day's work...

NOTE: Don't forget to add your email to the Follow by email on the right. I think I just need to confirm it and then hopefully you will receive automatic posts by email when I write them. Correct me if I'm wrong. 

So, the new word for Craig and I is...exhausted! From the time we get out of bed until we climb back in...we hit the floor running! December is a fun and busy time, and we really aren't doing many activities, just making it til lunch is full of activity in itself with 6 kids! We've had our ups and downs, ins and outs, highs and lows, but today...well, today was a good day (definitely in comparison to the last 3 days!)

We pulled out the fruits of the spirit verse and spent over an hour reading scripture, talking, sharing, role playing (which was really fun since Craig and I like to use real scenarios that happen for them to act out...we just had to recall yesterday!), and then I gave them a fruit of the spirit chart that I made up last night. It worked well for today and we are planning on adding a new fruit everyday. 

Kids will get to give a person in the family a sticker to put on their chart if they have felt that person show that particular "fruit of the spirit" to them. Today was love. So, if someone showed you love, you gave them a sticker to put on their chart. It actually worked well and for the two particular kids who have been more strong-willed and having issues the past few days...they did amazingly well!

So, parenting is hard work...for sure! We are doing a lot of intentional parenting and truly don't even hardly have a moment to catch our breath...but God's grace is sufficient and we are really living out that His mercies are new every morning. Thank God for that...we need it! 

Sunday is Joy... we are looking forward to the next day after that...PEACE! 

Good night! Enjoy the pictures of the kids playing in the snow today! Yesterday, they were out in it at 9:00 am...and that was holding them back. How fun to see them experience it for the first time...that is after all the clothes, boots, bibs, gloves, hats, coats, boots, and extra socks have been put on times 6!!!

Friday at 9:00 a.m. First Snow ever for Christian, Duan, and Phoeby!!

Precious Phoeby, our 3 year old.

The boys!

Phoeby about to go on her first sled ride! I think she liked it!

Duan making a snow she's seen on tv.

 Christian on the sled. 

We wanted to have even more pics but I was in the house making lunch and hot chocolate which Craig was trying to help 6 kids in the snow who lost gloves, etc. It was definitely exciting for them though! Christian finally got an answer to prayer...snow!

God bless! The Hamstras 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Okay, so I've had many people tell me that I need to create a here it is. Nothing fancy...just simple to start and see where it goes from here. I hope to be able to share some pictures and life experiences with others.

Here's an update...We adopted 3 children from the Philippines in October (ages 8, 6, and 3) and we had 3 children already (twins age 9, and 7). So, life is busy...that is an understatement. But life is blessed!

I hope to include more in the future but the creative juices just aren't flowing at 11:10 at night after a long day.

My big thank you today goes out to a friend, Brooke, who came to watch the kids so I could shower (yes, it had been 3 days and I needed know you need to shower when you can't stand your own stinch!) and then I took Emily (my 9 year old) and Phoeby (my 3 year old) to do some shopping and go to lunch. It was a strategic move on my part and a smart one...Emily did great keeping Phoeby entertained and helping so I could actually do some shopping and browsing! We hoped to go to Texas Roadhouse for lunch...but it wasn't open, so we settled for the kid friendly Steak n Shake. Phoeby is now hooked on french fries and hamburgers with lots of ketchup. She's becoming American alright!
It was a nice break!

Scenes from the basement...It gets very loud down there! The kids love it...adults enter with caution!

Phoeby with her favorite costume and car...don't mess with a 3 year old!

Emily likes to pull Phoeby in the car with skates...a new game!

Phoeby learning to skate. It cures the winter time blues when you can't go outside!

Duan and her love of princess dresses!

Christian found the drums!

This has become a Hamstra sport...motorcycle racing with someone pushing on skates!

Craig gave Christian and Stephen an airplane each that he had for years. It is their new treasure!

I wish I had been able to videotape the boys playing with their airplanes. And...I really mean Craig!

My "tension moment" today happened when kids were playing in the basement and I thought, "Well, maybe I can wrap some gifts for family in the guest room with a kid or two while the rest are playing." Wrong! It was going well having Christian help until a phone call happened. Before I knew it, I was talking with the international adoption clinic nurse about parasites in Christian's stool while wrapping a gift with Christian who had no concept of putting tape on a package or how much tape, then monitoring Duan needing to do a #2 in the bathroom and Phoeby saying "I have to lebong! which means poop!" So, I'm still listening to the nurse while the signal cuts in and out and then lifting Phoeby onto the toilet and my cheek pressed the end button to hang up. (I love my iphone, but it is not user friendly for moms who can't use their hands to hold it!) So, after that...I decided leave the one gift we wrapped with tons of tape and try again another day. The gift was for least the lebong ended up in the right place! The lesson learned today was...don't answer the phone!

Well, I hope to learn more about this "blogging" stuff. Til next time...

To God be the Glory...