Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Merry Christmas Letter

The Coston family has been blessed beyond measure this year. It has been a year full of change, chaos, adjustment but, above all, blessing.
We’ve celebrated birthdays, our first forever family anniversary with Dex, lost teeth, a year in business, deaths into heaven, brokenness and healing, friendship, new schools and teachers, scrapes and scraps on and between kids, answered prayers, and lots of love. Each of the children has grown and changed immeasurably this year, each growing more distinctly individual. Abi is thriving in school, definitely academically-oriented, loving reading and writing, the monkey bars,
and children’s choir. Brandon loves to build and invent things, mostly from cardboard and tape, is in love with his kindergarten teacher, and is becoming more of a rough-and-tumble little boy every day. Camryn is our spicy, spirited little preschooler who loves to learn, coerce others, be in-charge, melt into a puddle when things don’t go her way, and make us melt into a puddle with her beauty and sweetness. Dex is becoming confident in our love, confident enough to be completely “two,” and loves to blow bubbles, play outside, color, sing and dance, eat candy, and kiss Momma. Each of our babies is such a blessing and opportunity to see what we’re truly made of each and every day.

Our vet clinic has been open almost a year now, and there have certainly been bumps along the way as we’ve learned. But, as we say daily, we haven’t starved to death yet, and it is an honor to serve our community in this way. Mischelle started working in the clinic full-time in April, which has meant significant adjustments for the whole family, but we’ve survived the transition. We work together and play together.

Our days are gloriously filled with rocks in the dryer, learning to spell “big” 10-letter-long words, booger emergencies, potty-training, lost coats, applying God’s Word to our family, fixing puppies
and kitties, a messy house, lots of noise, more new tennis shoes and blue jeans, scooter rides, board games, sidewalk chalk, spankings and kisses, discussions and decisions, snuggles, and “I love you’s.”

And we are blessed.

Love,
The Coston Clan

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Is it or Ain't It?

Great line of questioning, drawing a parallel between the two . . . there's no middle ground. Either abortion is or isn't right. Watch with an open mind.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cloudy Day ....

Today, my mood just matches the weather. Cloudy.
I have so much to be thankful for - I certainly haven't lost sight of that. Just a bit gloomy.
I was told by an elderly man today, who had just come within 2 inches of plowing over my cart full of children groceries in the crosswalk, that his time (all 20 extra seconds it would have taken him to stop and let us pass had he chosen to do so) was more valuable than the four precious faces in my cart. I generally ram my cart into the fenders of said crosswalk offenders, but I had exercised self-control, much to my chagrin now. Just kidding. Kind of.
I put away the highchair for the fourth and final time.
There are home repair projects that desperately need to be done, but I can't do it myself (enter the sobbing when I came home to discover my 85-year-old neighbor brushhogging our pasture because it's embarrasingly overgrown).
We have this puppy that I really like but can't seem to fully housebreak, and even I am tired of steam cleaning.
Dexter won't quit vocalizing through his nose - think nails on a chalkboard.
Remission is no longer a likely outcome for Nick's grandfather.
I have become a last-minute, procrastinator out of necessity.
My momma doesn't feel good lately.
Everyone's bedsheets need to be changed.
I miss my best friend.
There's a 6-inch hole in my living room carpet - let me tell you that cleared a room when this Momma discovered that!
I have gained 5 pounds and haven't exercised in weeks, unless you count holding down a 100-pound obnoxious puppy yesterday.
My kitchen is still half-painted.
Despite 3 hours in town this morning, I still have a list of errands a mile long.
I haven't vacuumed along my baseboards in months, and my plants are droopy and begging for a drink.
My first-ever Smartphone just died. So much for technology.
I have a massage gift certificate that I haven't used in almost 2 years. Thankfully, it has no expiration date.
I just feel gloomy, and then I feel guilty and ashamed for letting these things, most of which are horribly insignificant, bug me.
Attitude is a choice, and I will smile.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

No Whining

As I grew up and envisioned my life, my visions of family portraits certainly didn't include a fiesty little Asian man. In retrospect, I'm not quite sure how our life journey wound up here, but I'm so thankfult that it has.

I've always been a "suck it up; get up and get moving; get tough" kind of gal. I run a wee bit short on mercy and find it difficult to coddle those whose only affliction is apathy or laziness. However, orphans don't fit in that category and somehow God has used that small loophole in my "No whining, Git'r'Done" edict to bring a little compassion and Dexter into my life. I don't think there's any question that as Christians, we all share a role in the plight of orphans.
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:17
Scripture doesn't have any qualifiers on this passage .... those are action verbs (learn, seek, defend, take up). They require action. Not everyone is called to be an adoptive parent. I didn't think I was. But, you can help support orphans and foster/adoptive families in so many other ways.

It was a year ago Friday that we returned home with Dex. I think it's really neat that our coming home date will always coincide with National Orphan Sunday. The National Christian Alliance has marked the first Sunday of November "Orphan Sunday" (visit orphansunday.org for more information). Now that I'm beginning to have my feet under me as an adoptive mom, I'd like to start planning for a local event for next year to raise awareness for the need for adoptive and foster parents for the world's 140 MILLION children without families. I encourage you to take action for an orphan somehow, in some way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tomorrow Will Be Very Boring!

Tomorrow will be very boring compared to October 20th of last year!

We are not boarding a plane to travel to the other side of the globe. We will not be having a day that lasts 37 hours. We will not be stranded in an airport where no one speaks the same language as we do. We will not be with people who would understand why the t-shirt "I'm huge in China" is hysterical. We will not be eating something unidentifiable, but with a strong similarity to fish, at 33,000 feet altitude. We will not be trying to get through each airport security checkpoint without our around-the-waist money pouches looking obvious because we didn't want to try to explain to Chinese-speaking guards why we have $10,000 in US currency strapped to our bodies. We will not be squatting over a porcelain-lined hole in the ground to urinate. We will not be nauseous from the anticipation of meeting our 4th child for the first time, as well as leaving our other three children 6000 miles behind. Going to work in Greenwood, AR, and eating leftovers for dinner seems relatively boring, in comparison.

I cannot believe that it's been a year since we left for China. Sigh. Smile. Cry. Sob. Smile.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dexter!

In just a few minutes, our littlest man will be 2 -- on this side of the globe, anyway. On the other side, in China, he's already 2.
So many emotions fill my heart in anticipation of his birthday. I am so grateful to be with him this year. Happy tears overflowed tonight when I laid out his clothes to wear tomorrow, which included the "Birthday Boy" shirt I bought last year just before his first birthday, when it had become obvious that we were not going to get clearance to travel to be with him on his birthday. I had what I call an "ugly cry" in the middle of JCPenney's, looking at the shirts and wanting to be with him so badly. I am sorrowful for what I know must lurk in his "tummy mommy's" heart on this day, when she relives the birth of a precious little boy that she could not keep. I am ecstatic that he is happy and healthy and loved. I am melancholy that in 16 minutes, when he turns 2, I will never, ever again have a 1-year-old child in my home. I always longed to be a mom, dreaming of having squirmy babies and rambunctious toddlers in my arms and home. Now that phase of life is quickly fading into something equally wonderful but maturely different. I am forever changed by the things he's taught me and the love I've experienced.
Happy Birthday, Dex!
Love,
Mom

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day of School

This year, the first day of school was twice as much fun in the Coston house! Abi is a second grader, and Brandon is a kindergartener! Brandon was so excited about school - he's been ready since the day he turned 5 to go to school (slight misunderstanding about my statement that, "You will get to go to school when you turn 5.")Brandon wasn't the tiniest bit hesitant about school. He threw on that backpack and took off down the trail we were walking to school .... tomorrow is what he's really been waiting for, though, when he gets to ride the bus! He was eager to get past the picture taking with Mrs. Sosebee and get on with recess!
Abi was excited about second grade, but she said she knew she wouldn't learn much the first few weeks because "you never do" (she's such an expert at this school thing now!)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Mr. America's first Independence Day!Freedom is currently defined by Dex as "being out of any buckles, restraints, strollers, or other cruel, spirit-smashing devices" ... he enjoyed some freedom at Greenwood's FreedomFest tonight.Mr. America will likely not be joining the local fire department when he grows up ... not a fan of the firetruck!

We're so grateful that Dex is part of our family. We are so grateful to live in America! Happy 4th of July to our Chinese-American son!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer

So many summer fun times .... so many picture-worthy moments!Playing at the parkBubbles
Sisters - My beautiful daughters
Bicycle washings
Preparing for the assault
Bike rides
Sleepovers in siblings' rooms.
Baseball games.
The results of eating of dishwashing detergent . . . a whole new meaning to having your mouth washed out (by tears and Electrosol)!
Swinging Naps
Sunday morning doughnut breakfasts at the "gas station"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One More Milestone

We are officially bottle-free in our house . . . 6 nights with no nighttime bottle and 2 days with no naptime bottle (they may hate me at Mother's Day Out tomorrow when naptime rolls around!) Dex is doing amazingly well, crying pretty hard for a few minutes at bedtime and rarely even fussing during the night. A milestone that came on very quickly for me. Sigh. Maybe too quickly. We will never have bottles in our house again. That cabinet that was one of the first ones set up when we moved into this house - the one that has all of the little cups and bottles in it - it will seem kind of empty now. I longed for so many years to be at the point that we could enter the baby years, and those years are so quickly fleeting now. Sigh. Again.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Will I Be Able to Do It?

As I get ready to call it a night, I'm summoning up all of my gumption for later . . . I'm gonna need it. Last night, I was at the clinic late, and Nick ended up bringing Dex home and putting him to bed. Fortunately, although at the time it seemed quite unfortunate to Nick, I'm sure, the milk I'd bought earlier in the day was still at the clinic. So, Dex went to bed with a cup of juice instead, which instantly hit the floor in disgust. He cried and then went to sleep and did not have a bottle in the middle of the night. There was a little crying in the middle of the night, but he always went back to sleep before I caved in and warmed any milk. Can it be that my baby boy has had his last nighttime bottle. Like so many other "lasts," I didn't see it coming. Have I rocked him at night with his "bah-be" for the last time? I remember wanting to really soak up the last time Brandon nursed because I knew he was losing interest and eating mostly solid foods, so I was all prepared for the next night being "it." The little stinker wouldn't even latch on the next night. That last had come and gone. I'm super sentimental about these things, and I think God just rips the band-aid off, so to speak, and puts me out of my misery.
I just hope that I don't cave in tonight, in the wee hours of the morning, when I know a bottle will make the crying stop, and I can sink back into my warm covers . . . Gumption.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

5 Star Living

Turn-down Service ... Pashaw!
Room Service ... Phooey!
Laundry Service ... Blah!
Those 5-Star hotels don't have anything compared to the Coston Home. We have TP Service. There's always a pile of toilet paper, already unrolled, right beside the toilet when you need it.

I am a blessed woman.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cami is 3

I like to let the birthday kid decide what they want to do on their special day. When I asked Camryn what she wanted to do, she said that she wanted to go the park, go to Abi's school playground, paint her fingernails, and buy cupcakes. Well, the weather didn't cooperate with the Cami's outdoor plans, but we came up with a satisfactory alternative.
I think what the child chooses to do when they can do anything they want to do for the day tells a lot about what is important to them! Camryn's day involved a lot of play and junk food:
* pigtails
* a poptart at the gas station
* playing at Monkey house in the bounce-arounds
* Strawberry Shortcake movie
* pizza for lunch
* fingernail painting with purple sparkly nail polish
* princess cupcakes
* dinner and play at McDonald's
* another princess cupcake

video

video

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And Now, Little Dex, You Can Pay Taxes!

Our entire journey to Dex has been marked by a series of envelopes bringing news and necessary documents. Today, the final envelope arrived: his Social Security card. Everything is official with both the Chinese and U.S. governments!

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Breakfast Tune

The family discussion about where to eat dinner when we eat out is generally fraught with frustration and dissension -- and everyone swearing that Dex votes for whatever their vote is for. Makes me want to go home and have bologna sandwiches -- and, if you know how I feel about bologna, you'd know how frustrating this decision really is.

Saturday night started out with the same yin/yang approach .... until Brandon suddenly had a unique idea: "Let's have smiley face pancakes at ipod!" To which everyone under 7 joins in shouting, "Yeah! Ipod! Pancakes! Ipod!"

I think my kids are as technologically gifted as I am! But we all love pancakes, especially with smiley faces and lots of syrup!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Miss Independence

The conversation this morning went something like this:
Me: Cami ... time to wake up.
Cam: Sits upright in bed immediately
Me: (Thinking: something is very wrong here - she never stays upright within the first 5 minutes of being awake.) What's wrong, Cam?
Cam: I have to pee-pee!
Me: Great! Let's go to the bathroom.
Cam: No, nevermind, my bed is all wet.
Me: (Stupidly sticking my hand under her bottom.) Oh, wow, why did your diaper overflow so much?
Cam: I don't have on a diaper.
Me: What happened to your diaper last night.
Cam: Well, I took it off when I got up in the middle of the night to go poop on the potty. Don't worry, Mommy, I put it in the trashcan.
Me: (Shocked!) Did you wipe?
Cam: Yeeeeesss! (Eyeroll)
Me: (Rushing to the bathroom to check out the situation). Thank you, Cami, for putting your diaper in the trashcan -- and half a roll of toilet paper in the toilet with the little terdies you didn't flush. (Gag!)

I'm feeling the independence coming on -- no more nighttime diapers! That would mean we're back to only ONE KID IN DIAPERS! YeeHow!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weeks in Photos

I've gotten so behind on blogging .... too overwhelming to try to catch up.
So, a photo montage it is!
B loves his Papa Elton and his dog!

Brothers!Look at that little stinker,
poised and ready to smack me in the back of the head with a snowball!Both sets of cheeks were pink and cold!Nothing better for a little boy than an empty box and a sheet of bubble wrap!