Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Oldest Son

Nathaniel Brenton. Nathaniel means "gift of God" and Brenton is after his daddy. He turned seven earlier this month.

Nathaniel joined our family in a "BIG" way.......He was my biggest birth----10 lbs, 12 oz!----but my easiest, smoothest childbirth. (Who would have thought that a large baby would be easier to birth?? :))

He's definitely a people person. Even as a baby, Nathaniel would wake up early in the morning, ready to play, play, play! His idea of torture is being asked to play alone for a while. He gets in more trouble than some of our other children (mostly because he doesn't stop to think before he's on to his next adventure!) , but he's got a great big heart and a tender spirit to our teaching. We know God has something awesome planned for our little man someday and we're so thankful we get to be a part of Nathaniel's life.

Brent and I love music and enjoy writing music on occasion. We have written several songs for our children and today I thought I'd share Nathaniel's song.

Nathaniel is my Buddy,
My Buddy, my Buddy,
Nathaniel is my Buddy-
I love him all. day. long!
We love to hop and sing,
And run and jump and say--
I love my Buddy,
And my Buddy loves me!
Nathaniel is my Buddy,
Nathaniel is my Buddy--
I love my Buddy,
And my Buddy loves me.

It's simple, I know, but Oh! how children love having a song with their name in it! This song is called "The Buddy Song" because Daddy calls his boys little "buddies". :)

Since Nathaniel's birthday is in the Fall, one of his traditions we've established is having a fire in our fire-pit and roasting marshmellows over it! The cool evening, complete with extended family, fire, and marshmellows is always a hit with everyone. Last year, we told stories around our fire, but this year, we sang. There's just something special about little voices singing praises to our Lord, circled around a warm fire. It was one of those moments you tuck away and bring out later when things are rough and you need a good reminder of why I'm doing this.  :)

Marshmellows, marshmellows, and more marshmellows!

Happy Birthday month, to my oldest son and sweet little Buddy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Girly Girls

I finished sewing the girls' dresses today. Johanna and Eliana are having a hard time waiting until tomorrow to wear them.........


I let them try them on for a little "photo shoot" outside. :)

These girls are my little women in-training and they are such a blessing to this Momma's heart. I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for each of their lives-----but in the meantime, I'm enjoying having them close to me! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I noticed Ethan (2) and Gabbey (2) laying in this position while watching "Letter Factory" this morning.

I know I'm partial, cause I'm the Mommy :) but I love the view from this direction.

And just for fun, one more picture of toddler cuteness in our house. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This conversation was overheard between Johanna (14) and Eliana (9) as they laid in their bunk beds trying to go to sleep tonight.....

Ellie: "What do you dream about?"

Johanna: "Sometimes bad things."

Ellie: "You know what I do when I have bad dreams? I pray to Jesus! Then I go back to sleep and I'm not afraid anymore."

Johanna: "Don't know how to pray."

Ellie: "Yes you do. Just pray like this, 'Dear God, please help me not be afraid. Please take away the bad dreams. Amen.' "

Johanna: "But I not know good English...."

Ellie: "Oh, that doesn't matter. You can pray to Jesus in Chinese! He understands everything!"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reflections of Family Day....

Night has fallen on the Bergey household.

All seven children are tucked soundly into their warm beds. Brent and I sit down in front of our cozy fireplace for some "couple" time. I take a few minutes to reflect on our day.....

An early morning wake-up call by Ethan (2 years) crawling into bed with me.

"I need to 'nuggle, Mommy." he whispered. "I'll be quiet!"

I find myself sandwiched in-between Lyssie (also 2 years) at my back and my sweet-smelling Ethan at my front.

I attempt to fall back to sleep, but then Gabbey (also 2 years) wakes up. I can hear her fussing from the bathroom (her crib is in there) and wake Brent up since I'm already squished by the two-year-old sandwich.

Gabbey crawls over Lyssie to lay on my chest.

I officially cannot move or even breathe.

I look over at Brent and he whispers----"How can anyone not LOVE two-year-olds??" :)

Egg and sausage casserole feeds our family breakfast.

We head to town to run errands. Brent drops the four girls and I off at Joann's (I had two gift-cards from the Adoption Shower!).

Johanna (14) and Eliana (9) pick out a gorgeous turquoise and pink print for new Sunday dresses.

(If you're now thinking "when does she have time to sew??" the answer would be, I don't. All I know is, I am thoroughly disgusted with the lack of modest, feminine dresses for older girls so I will HAVE to find time to sew this week! :) )

The dollar menu at Burger King feeds our family lunch. The kiddos especially enjoy the play area. I love it that Johanna shows no reservations when it comes to play.

Find a couple of pairs of boots for the younger girls and Noah at a thrift store. Of course, now that almost all of my children have snow gear, we surely won't see as much as one snowflake this year.

Pick up groceries at Sam's Club. Brent and Nathaniel (7) stay in the car and listen to a football game while the baby girls sleep.

We try EVERY sample offered at Sam's and we all prefer the pie samples. Some serious YUM! :)

Avoid getting yelled at by a grumpy man in a wheelchair like our last trip to Sam's. Whew. Refreshing.

Head home. Ethan falls asleep and I carry him straight to bed.

Older girls bathe the little girls while Nathaniel and Noah (4) drenched my entire bathroom with water take their bath. I am reminded that some things do get easier--my girls are such a blessing!

Snuggle Gabbey and put her to bed.

Sing to Lyssie and tuck her into bed.

Lay on the couch with Johanna. She wants to be carried to bed by Daddy.

Eliana lets Daddy pull a tooth. The tooth fairy doesn't come to our house :) but we do put money under our kids pillows after they've lost a tooth.

Johanna tried yet again to pull one of her teeth. She's totally bummed that she lost all of her baby teeth in China and has no money-earning potential left in her mouth.

I ask her who pulled her teeth in China.

"I pull my teeth, throw them on the floor." she nonchalantly replies.

I kiss the oldest four good-night and reflect for awhile....

I'm so thankful.

For babies who sandwich.

For boys who laugh loudly.

For girls who love feminine things as much as I do.

For children growing in maturity.

For a little girls who are growing and blending beautifully into our family.

And for a daughter who no longer has to take care of things that should never have been her responsiblity.

It was a typical Family Day.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Family Picture

We took a family picture on Sunday.

Here's the "before" shot :)......Daddy and Mommy cleaning faces at the last minute, lol.......

And here's the "after" shot.......

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Heart of the Matter: Purposeful Parenting

(If you haven't read it yet, please start with Toddler Training, Series Overview .)

Parent your toddlers with a purpose, on purpose.

Following are the choices we've made to parent our toddlers with a plan:


There are certainly multiple parenting philosophies out there today. Any new parent could easily be overwhelmed by all the choices and varying opinions. From breastfeeding to vaccinations, time-outs to spankings, there are passionate people on every side of the "fence"!

We're going to address this point in a post all its own, so I won't elaborate here, except to say this: In the Bergey Bunch, we try to honor God by having a balanced, well-planned, "toolbox" approach to our parenting. Regardless of what works for you, every family needs to have their own established parenting philosophy.


Everything always falls back on attitude. Yours, mine, our toddlers......

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard negative feedback regarding parenting toddlers. (especially now that we have three 2 year olds!) "Wait 'til he's walking!" "Wait 'til she's two!" "I hate potty training!" "I am SO glad I'm done with that stage!" "You're not actually considering having more are you?"

If you approach parenting toddlers with a negative attitude, you will.not.enjoy.it. Not going to happen.

But if you choose to have an upbeat, positive, "I can do this and it's AWESOME!" attitude, you will soon find yourself loving it.

It's all in your attitude, so CHOOSE TO HAVE A POSITIVE ONE!


I am determined to enjoy my toddlers. For me, this is often a choice of my will. It is easy to enjoy their cute cuddly bodies and sweet cheeks, their snuggles and kisses. It is not as easy to enjoy their short tempers, limited communication skills (aka screaming or crying), or monumental messes. :)

That is where the choice comes in.

CHOOSE to see your toddlers for who God created them to be.
CHOOSE to embrace each misbehavior as an opportunity to point your children to Him.
CHOOSE to take a deep breath, smile, and clean up yet another spill or mess.
CHOOSE to remember how much you're going to miss this when they're gone.

CHOOSE to enjoy your toddlers!


You cannot teach your toddlers manners if you don't use them.

You cannot teach your toddlers to be respectful if you show their father disrespect. (OUCH!)

You cannot teach your toddlers to sing praises to our Lord if you have a complaint on your lips.

You cannot teach your toddlers thankfulness if you are constantly grumbling.

You cannot teach your toddlers cleanliness if your heart is dirty with sin.

You cannot teach your toddlers patience if you CAN'T FIND YOURS.


This one starts to touch on the practical side of parenting---and I'm saving that for Part Two!---but I do want to encourage you to Decide how you want your toddlers to act and plan to teach them accordingly.

Here's a example of how that works in the Bergey Bunch. We want our toddlers to learn to shake an adults' hand, look them in the eye, and say "hello" when appropriate. We choose ahead of time how we want them to act, and then we set a plan to teach them accordingly.

Here's one more example. We want our toddlers to take a nap or go to bed when they're told, without crying, and stay.in.bed. We choose ahead of time how we want them to act, and then we set a plan to teach them accordingly.

(Remember, my children are NOT perfect! :) I am not saying that we never have problems in either of these areas, rather that we have goals and we are constantly working our little ones towards those goals.)


This is such an important part of toddler parenting! It is so easy to spend your day reacting to your toddlers messes and mishaps and literally "flying by the seat of your pants" parenting.

I do not recommend this. :)

Research, read God's word, glean wisdom from other godly Mommys, communicate with your spouse, and plan, plan, plan for parenting your toddlers! Do not expect godly character, good manners and self-control to just "happen". It takes active, not reactive work.

Rather than reacting to every stage and event in your toddler's life, be active in planning their day, their character, and your discipline.


I have spoken to countless women over the years who have been frustrated by their children's behavior and either their husbands harshness/over-strictness or uninvolvement/careless attitude. Obviously, this could apply to wives as well, but I'm not usually discussing parenting with men :).

The truth is this: children are better off with two parents on the same team than one strict parent and one lenient parent.

Whatever parenting decisions need to be made regarding your toddlers need to be made TOGETHER with your spouse.

 In our home, we sit down several nights a week and talk about each one of our children. We evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and work out a plan of action regarding each child. Brent will then text or call me throughout the day and "check-in" on the children and me. We make communicating about our children a top priority.

Here's a practical example of a conversation between Brent and I. We talk about how Gabbey (2 years) has been doing lately, pointing out that she has taken to whining. Alot. We also converse about her attachment issues and adjustment to two new sisters. At that point we decide to work on scripting words for her when she whines and we both commit to spending more time one-on-one snuggling her to help with her attachment fears.

If you're frustrated at the inconsistencies between you and your spouse in your parenting, consider setting aside more time to communicate about your children.



Ministry is defined as "the act of serving".

Ministry is often used to refer to public Christian service, whether in one's local church, prison, nursing home, etc or as a missionary on a foreign field. Clearly these are services and ministries that are Biblical, needed, even necessary for the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We believe parenting the next generation in a God-honoring way is also ministry. It is not glamorous. There are no bright lights or applause. No one will shake your hand and thank you for a job well done. Your name will not be highlighted in bold print anywhere and people will not praise your gifts or talents. You will be exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed at times and ask God, "Can I really do this?"

But if our hearts are yielded to His will and we are willing to follow Him (even in the seemingly mundane tasks of parenting toddlers!) then we are serving Him in the vital ministry of godly parenting.

Right now, with the current ages of our children, we are sometimes limited in our ability to serve in public ministry. (Just keeping track of three 2 year olds is a full-time job, lol!) This limited ability can especially be discouraging for mothers with young children. Perhaps they were faithful in many church ministries and then the babies started coming and their focus needed to change for a season. A nursing infant or newly adopted, insecure toddler need alot of Mommy's time. Discouragement can set in when the efficient care of their children limits for a time their involvement in more public ministries.

In reality, raising godly chilren IS ministry! We like to look at it like this: We are sacrificing now to raise a whole army of servants for Him. Our children are learning to serve God at home so they can one day be effective workers in His army.


In conclusion, Purposeful Parenting is the choice to joyfully and actively embrace, plan for, and pursue the ministry of parenting. Join me next time as we consider Parenting Philosophies:Which One Works For You?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Toddler Training, Series Overview

I'm SO excited to begin this series! This will be a two-part series covering everything from parenting philosophies to potty-training.

Part One of this series is going to cover Purposeful Parenting, while Part Two will cover the practical Toddler Training Tips.

Toddler, Defined

The word toddler could mean different things to different people, but for the sake of this series, we're going to consider all little ones between the crawling stage and kindergarten age "toddlers".  Our expectations--and their abilities---will grow with their age, but most of the things we'll be talking about will apply to this age range.


I'm not the world's greatest parent. Shocker, I know. :) I'm not writing this series because I have all the answers. I don't. I do think I have great children, but they're certainly not perfect. Nor do I expect that they ever will be. Without their sin, they would never realize their need of a Saviour, so in a way, I'm thankful for their childish misbehavior.

This is not a "How to Have a Perfectly Behaved Child in 3 Days" series, nor is it a method guaranteeing Godly children because it's the only Biblical way to parent toddlers. Nope. (Neither one of those really exists anyway.) It's not the ONLY way to successfully parent toddlers,  SO if you have a better or more efficient way of parenting, don't listen to a word I say! :) Better yet, add your ideas to the comments as I'd love to try them sometime!

My goal in writing this series is simply this: To share what works for the Bergey Bunch and offer encouragement to other Mommies in the midst of the busy toddler years.  


Here's a few of the topics I have planned:

--The Heart of the Matter: Parenting With a Purpose
--Parenting Philosophies: Which One Works For You?
--Jesus' Take on Toddlers
--Potty Training 101
--Manners: How Scripting Can Teach Our Children Manners
--Bedtime: Back to Basics
--Discipline, From Do-Overs to Spankings
--and many more!

Have a topic you'd like to see covered? Let me know!

Are you an experienced Mommy who would like to contribute to this series? Leave a comment or email me with your ideas!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Showered With Blessings

We are blessed.

Last night, my friend Teresa from church and my younger sister Lauren threw our newly adopted daughters --- all three of them!--- an Adoption Shower.

It was unexpected and so precious to me.

My sister Catherine made these beautiful pictures with each of my girls' names on it!

Johanna's smile lets you know how she felt about the whole thing.....

I was and am truly overwhelmed at the outpouring of love from family and friends. We were spoiled with toys, clothes, books, scrapbook supplies, pajamas, gift cards/cash, and much, much more.

As I found a place for all of the new things late last night and re-read the cards.........tears of joy. Not so much for myself, but for our girls.......their hearts are mending, day-by-day, and we are forever grateful to those who come along side us in this process and love our girlies like we do. :)

Yummy Cake!!!

Cameron with Gabbey and Bethany with Lyssie:

Me with my four girls!

Brent's sister Rhonda came for the weekend. We all love her and are so thankful for her part in our lives.

With two of my sisters: Catherine on the left, and Lauren on the right. Love you, dearly!!!

Alyssia received her first doll!!! Teresa gave her a little Chinese baby doll. Lyssie just giggled and smiled when she opened it, and then hugged it over and over again.

It was such a lovely outpouring of love on our family. The girls and I are very thankful to each one of you! Special thanks to Teresa, Lauren, and Catherine for the time and hard work they put into giving us such a lovely evening.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Song for Mommy....

(I haven't forgotten about the new series I promised! Please continue to give me feedback as I pretty much have even votes for each topic!)

The other night, Johanna (14 and home from China for 3 months) called me into the girls' room.

"I sing for you, Mommy." she shyly whispered.

Knowing how much she loves to sing, I smiled and replied, "Okay! I will listen!"

"I sing this song in my bed in China." Then she proceeded to sing a lovely Chinese song.

The only word I was able to make out was "mama", which was repeated several times....

"What is the song about, Johanna?" I asked.

"It is 'I Miss My Mama' and I sing it in China at night in my bed." she answered quietly, as little tears started to trickle down her cheeks....

"Oh, Johanna!" I exclaimed. "Come to Mommy." She climbed onto my lap and wrapped her arms around me tightly.

I snuggled and loved on this precious child, sang her our special song, stroked her hair and wiped away the tears while shedding some of my own.....Thinking all the while of her childhood that was spent in a orphanage---warm and fed, yet deprived of the one thing every child needs and deserves:

Her Mommy.