Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nathan's Birthday and Story

Nathan turned 8 today and is officially out of a car seat! woot, woot! Praise the Lord. Two down and two to go. I wanted to share Nathan's story on his special day. So, here is an excerpt from my autobiography (something we had to do for the adoption process) which tells about his adoption. It's long but it's a good story.

We began the paperwork for adoption in April of 1999. Nathaniel was placed in our arms on August 10, 1999. That’s a fast adoption, right? Yes, it was in retrospect but what’s that saying about a watched pot? That’s right. It was the longest four months of our lives. We were right back where we’d started; throwing fits with God for not following our timetable. It was in the middle of one of these tantrums that the Lord finally got my attention.

I was home alone one day and I had cried and prayed until there was nothing left emotionally. I sat with my Bible in my hand (please note that I had not bothered opening it until after venting my fury –pitiful!). I was sick and tired of reading the same passages over and over. You see, I had been picking and choosing the ones that I thought would put the most pressure on God to act immediately on my behalf. Verses like Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” According to my calculations, God needed to uphold His reputation by making good on those promises RIGHT NOW! (you know you've done it, too!) But obviously He wasn’t getting the message.

So, spent and frustrated, I decided to read a passage of Scripture that was obscure, if you will. I had never done a detailed study in the book of Ecclesiastes and didn’t know of many people who had. It seemed like a good starting place. Initially I did what I had painstakingly trained myself to do. I skimmed the page for any “key” verses that would help me tighten the fetters I had placed on God’s wrists. Nothing jumped out. Then I hit chapter five and the words exploded on the page. I stared in disbelief for a few seconds. It was so specific, so personal, so not what I wanted to hear that I knew it was exactly what He was saying to me.

“Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore, let your words be few.”
Ecclesiastes 5:2

Ouch! My words had been many; my mouth had been rash; and my heart had uttered hastily time and again. An almost audible voice thundered this paraphrase, “Shut up you whiny baby. You can’t see what I (God) see. Just be quiet!” Maybe you’ve never been slapped upside the head by God. The thing is it hurts…for a moment. But the same hand He smacks you with is slathered with salve –a healing balm. It stings and then instantly soothes. Amazing grace indeed.

I spent the next days and weeks learning (and failing repeatedly) to hold my tongue. I knew that God could handle my incessant ranting and raving but that enough was enough and sooner or later I had to “be still and know that He is God.” And next thing you know, a precious baby boy was placed in my arms. He was perfect in every way. Nathan was five weeks old when he came home with us but weighing just over seven pounds, he still seemed brand new. It was at this time the agency told us that our profile had been chosen by Nathan’s birth mother on the very first day it was shown. God had already provided and already been faithful before we could even see it.

Nathan is Mr. Whimsy as noted occasionally on this blog. After we sang Happy Birthday to him in bed this morning, he jumps up and does a little booty dance while singing "I like to move it, move it." Silliness. He is Mr. Compassionate. I'll NEVER forget the day that Mamoune was in trouble and he pulled me aside and asked to take her place -no strings, no hidden agenda, just love for his sister. And he is Mr. Supreme Snuggler. In fact, we have his word that even after he gets married and moves out he will come over on Friday mornings and snuggle in the bed with us. ;-)

Nathaniel means "gift from God" and he is exactly that!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Misc. Photos

Before I give you another batch of photos I thought I'd share a Nathan-ism with you. His birthday is on Saturday and on the way home from church we had this conversation:

"Mom, I can't wait for my birthday in two days.

You're excited, huh?

Yeah, but I've been acting all eight-ish today anyway.

Oh. okay. What have you done that was um, "eight-ish"?

Like doing back flips on the playground. That's pretty scary for a seven year old but I can do it now."

I'm wondering what cool things I'll be able to do when I'm all thirty-four ish. I'm pretty sure back flips are out. =) Here is one last batch of pic's.

More Highlights

On the Harrrington front (Amie's side of the fam) there was never a dull moment -not with 8 of 10 grandchildren present and accounted for. But Grandad was ready with a plan and power tools. The kids made their own birdhouses and loved it. Here are some shots of the crew in action.

Cheyenne (my youngest niece -the camera loves her)

Khiley Beth

Jordan, the tool man.

Lisa -taking it very seriously.

And here they all are with the finished product. They painted them the next day but I don't have a picture of it. We have a license plate topped birdhouse for each of the states that Granny and Grandad have lived in. Pretty cool, huh?

Thanks Grandad for a great idea and a great memory!

Atlanta Highlights

Despite everyone falling apart, there were some fun times on our trip to Atlanta. Here are a few of them:
This is what I will call the Sexton Men Olympics. It is a day-by-day documentary of the interaction and quality time shared by Tim and his dad.

Here they are sharing a brain, I mean, ipod. They were just getting in the zone for their first big event which was...

synchronized peanut eating; followed by the even more difficult...

synchronized ice cream eating.

The discipline of these men is extraordinary. Years of training and some serious genetics make them an unbeatable team.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Unlucky 13?

If you've read the last few posts then you know just how crazy
our lives have been recently. We knew things were insane but even WE didn't realize how bad it was until we were standing in the pharmacy at Walmart waiting to pick up medicine and Tim looked at me in dismay and said, "oh baby, it's our anniversary."

That's right. June 25th, 1994 two very young and very stupid people stood before God, family, and friends and promised to love each other "'til death do us part." Thirteen years later, we aren't so young, we're still pretty stupid, and since neither of us is dead yet -we are still together. =)

I must confess that had we experienced an anniversary like this in the first three years of marriage, I would have been reduced to a slobbering ball of shattered expectations. But on this ironically appropriate occasion, I can honestly say that there is no one I would rather be with "in sickness or in health" (heavy emphasis on the sickness) than my Timothy. -beep-beep-beep...that's your sap radar going off

For those who know the story, you can yawn through it or skip down to the bottom but here's how it all began:

Tim and I were both chorus geeks in high school. We auditioned for our school play and were cast opposite each other as Tony and Maria from West Side Story. (cue card: awwww!) For me, it was true love right from the start. I knew immediately that this was the guy I would marry. I just had to convince Tim. Are you convinced yet, honey? =) We dated through my junior and senior year and endured a period of long-distance love while Tim was in school in Anderson, Indiana. Then on my 19th birthday, he proposed. We were married just over a year later. There were lots of people who thought we'd never make it -a stage romance that was doomed to failure. Good thing God is so much bigger than that.

So, 13 years today and what've we got to show for it? By the world's standards, not a dang thing. We live in someone else's barn for crying out loud. Thank goodness that isn't the standard we go by. On the way up from Atlanta yesterday, we heard a preacher talking about finances and he said if you want to know how wealthy you are just add up everything you have that money cannot buy and that you can't take with you. Well, in those terms I have an incredible life of love, passion, laughter, four amazing children, and blessings I cannot even begin to list. I am a millionaire!

Tim, you are my best friend, a wonderful daddy, an amazing leader for our family, and I love you so much. oh, and as soon as you get those fungus toes cleared up we'll do some serious celebrating. ;-)

We surrender!

Okay the black flag was just to warn everyone that the plague was among us. Now, we are flying the white flag of surrender. "We give up!"

With my foot infection, Tim's fungus toes, and Isaiah's possible tick related disease, we were thinking this could be turning into a less than relaxing vacation. We were wrong - with the development of a severe sore throat for Tim and a unrelenting fever for Isabella it quickly became a not-relaxing-at-all vacation.

We had planned to come home on Friday but we were up all night with a Bella who was miserable. We thought "aha" maybe Isaiah actually had a virus and now Isabella has it so we'll wait it out a day, see how she does, and head home on Saturday. Or not. Despite round the clock Motrin and Tylenol her fever never broke and in fact rarely dipped below 103. Friday was another excruciating night. Saturday morning we made another trip to the urgent care facility. We left with a diagnosis of ear infection and a supply of ear drops and amoxi. But because of the weirdness of her muscle aches, the doctor suggested we hit the ER if she didn't show improvement in 24 hours. We were just hoping to be back in the state of North Carolina within 24 hours.

We headed out Sunday morning and drove seven hours straight to Wake Med North ER. We arrived around 4pm and were discharged a few minutes before midnight. The Pribyl family blessed us by picking up the three older kiddos and letting them overnight. And Pastor Rich and Deb came and spent the last wee hours with us at the hospital. Thanks to all of you who prayed, called, emailed, etc.! So, after eight hours, one IV, two IV attempts, a spinal tap, and a follow up with our regular doctor it turns out that Isabella has an ear infection. sigh. Heavy, tired, sigh.

We are exhausted. Beyond actually. And we don't really get it -the "why the heck is all of this happening?" part. We've considered spiritual warfare but to be honest, we aren't that big of a threat. I mean, we are so capable of screwing up, botching up, and completely blowing things all by ourselves that it would be a big waste of Satan's time and resources to give us this kind of attention. Fortunately, if it's warfare or just dumb luck, God is the same. And if He thinks we can handle it, He must plan on getting us through.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Somebody Raise the Black Flag

A quick update from Atlanta - we are apparently under a plague. Here's the run down:

Tim has some kind of fungus (he may not appreciate me telling you this but it is what it is) on his right toes. He is undergoing some homeopathic treatments and is a very cooperative patient, but it isn't comfortable at all and he is hobbling around on one foot.

I (Amie) stabbed myself in the left foot with a pair of manicure scissors (please don't ask me to explain) and the small puncture wound which resulted has become infected. Over the past two days a puffy, itchy, and painful redness has overtaken much of my foot. So, I am hobbling around on one foot.

Isaiah apparently has contracted one of two things: Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. We visited a local doctor's office today and he is being treated with antibiotics, rest, and round the clock Motrin. He is pitiful once the medicine wears off. For those who know him, this will put it into perspective -he didn't eat dinner Sunday night or breakfast Monday morning. I TOLD you he was sick.

So far, Nathan and Mamoune are hanging strong but please say a prayer for us and our ailments. What's a vacation for if not to be sickly and miserable? =)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hello to anyone who hasn't become completely annoyed by our lack of consistent posting and still bothers to read this blog. =)

We are in Atlanta right now enjoying a week with family so, there won't be any updates for a few days unless something truly interesting happens. I'm taking pictures though and will give you the low down on the whole trip when we get back next week.

Pray for safe traveling and patient children.

Oh -funniest thing so far was (and always is) our children's excitement over the world's most ginormous peach in South Carolina. Unfortunately, the architects were not thinking clearly when they erected this structure as evidenced by the fact that it has been affectionately dubbed "The Peach Butt" by our family. I think it was Mamoune who pointed out that "it's Isabella's first time seeing the big peach butt, Mom." Don't worry, I'll be writing it in her baby book asap. ;-) Such sweet milestones these little ones go through. Here it is in all its glory... (you thought they were exaggerating, didn't you?Just imagine it from the angle at which you can't see the leaf. yep.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Miscellaneous Pictures

Isaiah mid-haircut. Remind you of anyone?
"Movin' on up to the East side; to a deluxe apartment in the sky..."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Laundry and Pizza?

What do they have in common? (besides the occasional tomato stain) Around here, it's the new way my kids have found to make laundry day fun. I didn't come up with it -they did. So, it's a truly kid tested, mother approved kind of idea. Here's how it works:

I fold the clothes and the kids put them away. Simple huh? Actually, that's the mommy way...less emphasis on fun; more on just getting the job done. The secret is in the pizza.

When the laundry basket comes out my kids morph into pizza delivery guys/girls. The clothes are the pizzas. They pick one up, deliver it, and come back for more. They love this game and I love that I don't have to keep yelling for them to get more clothes. They literally race each other to get back to me. Here are the pizza flavors they've developed so far but you can have fun creating your own:

red = pepperoni
orange = cheese
black = olive
green = spinach
brown = sausage
other colors (white, pink, blue, yellow, etc) are dessert pizzas

There you go, moms! When was the last time you heard your kids say "aw, is that all the laundry?" Yeah, I wouldn't have believed it either but it happened. I hope this will help motivate your little launderers. =)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Catch and Release

We haven't had many wildlife updates lately so this is for all you nature lovers out there. Our woodchuck has turned out to be Momma Woodchuck. We haven't seen her for a while but we see her two little ones playing in the grass quite often. Cute little boogers. We are also discovering why this area is called Rabbit Run -bunnies everywhere. And our best story so far...

Hummingbird Rescue

starring Tim Sexton

A hummingbird flew into the barn one afternoon and quickly became confused by the white and somewhat reflective ceiling. It was sad to watch. He kept banging into the plastic and we were helpless to know how to shoo him back down toward the barn entrance. Finally, he flew in far enough for Tim to climb on some built in storage units and reach him. He used a clear tote (those Haiti bins came in hand after all =)) and slid cardboard over the top of it and lowered him to safety. We released him in the open air AWAY from the barn. But we managed to get a picture of him first:

The next day a strangely familiar hummingbird was seen fluttering outside our kitchen window. Maybe he just wanted to say "thanks".

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bug Boys

I'm posting this by special request from two of the silliest boys on the planet. Nathan and Isaiah would like the world to know that they are the "ant killingest boys ever!" If I had a better working knowledge of putting videos on here, I'd let you see their homemade commercial. I'll keep working on it. In the meantime, Nathan wants you all to know that if you need any ants "bestroyed" he and Isaiah are just the men for the job. Here are the young entreprenaurs sporting their recent summer do's:

I'd like to say that they come highly recommended but...I can't. Despite their passionate claim to have eliminated EXACTLY 152 ants, their method of choice -soaking the downstairs patio with water and mud- might possibly interfere with the success of this business venture. All the same, Nathan says "we can use anything to kill those ants. Stomping, water, even DIRT, man!" And we all know how much ants hate dirt. =) Regardless of the process, their willingness to serve makes me happy.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Eno River State Park

On Memorial Day, Tim and the kids heading to Eno River State Park. The one thing my kids love to do more than anything else (well, maybe besides eating and watching TV) is exploring. Here they are hot on the trail of...something.

I think they had a good time and to my knowledge they only broke the law once. Apparently there was a barricaded area due to erosion and the danger of the earth crumbling right out from under your feet that someone just couldn't resist. That's all I can say without incriminating anyone further. =)

There was also a radio tower that was of great interest. Don't worry, they didn't climb it but...

...they would have. I imagine they were planning a way to get in, take over the airways, and conquer the world. If Isaiah's in charge, the world would slowly be brainwashed into eating all sugar all the time -a slow but happy demise. If Nathan is calling the shots it will be all war all the time. And if Mamoune is the head of this trio, God help us all. Thank goodness for padlocks and 10 foot fences.

More Stagville Photos...