The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hope and Promise and Blessings

Today is a good day for our family. My nephew, Brody Franklin Moss was born at around 12:30 in the afternoon. He's gorgeous. And I am reminded how sweet and precious newborn babies are, what a miracle new life is, and how blessed I am to be able to have a relationship with my niece and now nephew because they live around the corner from me. Holding that new little life, I couldn't help but thank God for the gift of life, and feel a little twinge of sorrow for the birth mothers of the world. Holding little Brody, I can't imagine having someone else raise him or not getting to watch him grow up. Of course all the emotions of my own child's birth are brought back to me. It's hard to believe that big ol' Connor was ever that tiny, but he was! He was almost exactly they same size as Brody. It's such a privilege and a blessing to be part of new life, especially when it's a child you love!

Also, my little Connor has strep. He is a tough kid. This is the child who NEVER complains that his ears hurt until about an hour before his ear drums burst. I have yet to get him to the doctor before his drums are about to burst because he doesn't ever run a fever with an infection and he never complains. So on Saturday when he told me it felt like there was a thorn in his throat, I gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed. The next day he was totally fine, running, playing, happy. Monday he woke up with a rash over his entire body and I knew immediately that his "thorn" was strep. Sure enough, we went to the doctor and he is now on antibiotics. Which led me to think of Katie and her kiddos. When Katie's kids get sick with something like Strep, are they even able to be seen by a doctor? Are there antibiotics to give them? If so, surely they aren't readily available and it can't be as easy to get them as it is for me. Also, I thought of how hard it would be if we didn't have insurance. For me, there was no thought whatsoever of whether to take him to the doctor, but I know for so many people, it's an agonizing decision on whether or not something is worthy of the money it would take to be seen by a doctor, which means kids get sicker and sicker until it's a must and probably the condition is far worse. And of course, my copay for his medicine was $10. No problem to pay at all, but what about if I didn't have insurance? How much would it have been? And my little nephew was born today in a clean, sterile environment where my sister-in-law had adequate care and pain medication. There was danger, certainly, as there always is, but it was minimal. We never really worried that her life or the life of her baby were in danger. How different our experience today would have been if we were living in most other countries in the world. Tonight, I will go to bed thankful for the privilege of living in this country, for the insurance that allows me to keep my kids healthy without thought of money, and for the medical care that is available to us that makes little illnesses like strep a, well, little illness that can be cured within 24 hours.

And also, Stellan has RSV. Many of you follow MckMama, as I do. And her precious little miracle baby is in the hospital. How blessed their family is that this precious baby, who everyone prayed so hard for and fought such a spiritual war for, doesn't have to suffer and die with something like RSV, but he can be helped and kept comfortable (at least semi-comfortable) and his Mama can be there and know that very capable and smart people are helping him and God has placed him in a place where there are tools to help him. Aren't we all so blessed!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things that meant alot to me this year....

It's 12:36 on Saturday, December 27 and I am still in my pajamas. So are two of my four kids. What a decadent and freeing end to the hustle and bustle of this week. As I went through my overly gifted week with my children (which, sadly, still has more gifts to come from my side of the family) I couldn't help but think of a few things that are real blessings to me this year:

I couldn't help but think of all the friends I have made on the adoption journey this year. I especially thought of Norm and Karyn, Susan and Randy, Becky and Keith, Carol and Lance, and a few others who are getting to experience Christmas for the first time this year with a child in their arms. I remember so well that first year with Jack. He had been home only three and a half weeks when Christmas rolled around and it was absolutely THRILLING for Brian and I to finally be getting the experience of creating our own Christmas memories and traditions.

I was also thinking of my special friends Michelle and Ian, Nicole and Brett, Barb and Stefan, and Karen and Kerry, who got to celebrate with a little pink this year after many years of ALOT of blue. I could identify with them so much this year and thought of them when I was purchasing things like Meg's play kitchen and tea set, etc.

The other thing that meant alot to me was this idea from Karyn about putting an envelope on the tree to celebrate the birth mothers of my children. Since I didn't see the idea in time for Christmas, I am stealing her idea and gong to do this as a way to commemorate the Russian Christmas, which is in January. I am going to take some of the unused photo boxes I have in my closet and label each one with a child's name on it. Starting this year, I will put a piece of artwork, maybe a Christmas photo, or some other memorable trinket from the year. I am also going to carry on Karyn's idea of making a donation in honor of each of their birth mothers. I love this idea and wanted to pass it to all of you who might be looking for a way to honor a birth mother than you can never reach out to. Thanks for the idea Karyn!

Also this year, our families had decided not to give gifts to each other (parents and siblings did not exchange gifts in our family this year.) When my in-laws came for Christmas with large boxes for each couple, I thought that they had decided to surprise everyone with a special something, but I had no idea how special that something was going to be. They had taken "things" from their attic and closets that had belonged to Brian's granparents and passed them on to each couple. It was a very sweet gift and one that took some creativity, but meant more than anything they could have purchased.

Even though the idea not to exchange gifts was not my idea (it was between my husband and his sister) I think I was credited (or blamed as the case may be) for trying to force people not to do what they wanted to do on Christmas. As grateful as I am for all the gifts we always recieve from all sides of our family, it's such an overkill of what is necessary that I must say that one of the things that meant the very most to me this year was NOT having alot of gifts to open. I couldn't believe how freeing it was not to have piles and piles of stuff to incorporate into my already blessed and overflowing life. Brian and I did exchange, but I really even could have done without that. I just enjoyed having my kids home, seeing their faces as they opened things they were excited to have, and enjoyed the freedom of less "stuff" and more "fellowship" that was created from the lack of trappings. It's so hard to stare into the face of those who have NOTHING and then celebrate the EVERYTHING that I have without a little guilt. I know the poor will always be with us, but I also know there is nothing in my life that I want or need and not having the "stuff" this year freed me, somehow, to honor and dwell on the important things I wanted to feel this Christmas.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, especially those of you who were celebrating a first of any kind in your life this year... there's nothing like it!

Happy New Year!

Psalm 51:17-19

"Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. For you do not desire sacrifice, a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God do not spurn a broken, humbled heart."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Thrill of Hope

Did you ever think about that before? How THRILLING hope is. Really, think about what hope looks like and feels like. Anticipation of a child for Christmas morning? Hope of "the call" as an adoptive parent? Hope of "It's a Girl!" or "It's a Boy!" for a pregnant mother? Hope for peace! Hope for change. Hope for healing. The thrill of something greatly anticipated is, well, thrilling!

What thrills me this week? The fact that God chose to come to us via a poor, unwed, teenage mother. The fact that the example He gave us of what a holy family looks like included adoption, poverty, submission to God and government, and above all, trust and obedience. I love that Mary and Joseph were both troubled by the thought of this pregnancy, but that in the end, they did as God asked and they left the details of how it would all work out up to Him. They said "Yes", not "Let me think about it." I love that they didn't try to over-control it or "spin" it. And I love that Jesus came at a pretty inconvenient time too. They were required by their government to be present for something, but life goes on, babies are born, and the world keeps turning, even at the most inconvenient of times.

And yet, it's still thrilling. When a baby comes into your life through birth or adoption (as it did for Mary and for Joseph), the inconveniences, practicalities and doubts all have a way of getting out of the way and making room for the thrill of that new life. You don't worry too much about the college savings on the day of the birth!

I also find it thrilling that God ran out and told the lowest citizens he could find FIRST. When you get THRILLING news, who do you call first? After you dance around in your kitchen laughing and screaming, do you call your mother, your husband, your best friend? God called the shepherds... dirty, smelly, uneducated guys who live outside. Imagine, in God's THRILLING moment that He appeared to the lowly. In today's world, if Jesus were being born tomorrow night instead of 2008 years ago, who would God have appeared to? Would He have shown up under the Woodland Street Bridge in Nashville to the little colony of homeless men who live there? Would He have been in the orphanage with the unknown and unwanted around the world? Where would people be most THRILLED to hear this kind of good news? Your home? Mine?

If you have never REALLY listened to the words of Oh Holy Night, please stop for a moment, scroll down to the playlist and start over to hear Martina McBride belt it out. If you can hear her beg you to "fall on your knees" without actually wanting to, then let me know what moves you. Do you think that song is more applicable today then when it was first played on the radio on 1906? Is our world more weary today than it was then? I don't know, but I am THRILLED that our weary world has a reason to pause and rejoice this week... in the midst of economic crisis, in the midst of unknown job markets, housing markets, a war, and a presidential transition, we can know that none of this is beyond God's reach. He has a plan and all He requires of us is a "yes" to Him.

Merry Christmas!

Luke 1:51-53
"He has shown might with His arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Me Monday

Hop on over the MckMama's blog for more Not Me Fun:

I did NOT write this whole post with a very annoyed child on my lap. My kids never get jealous when I am on the computer.

I did not change all my music to different artists versions of Oh Holy Night. It is NOT my favorite Christmas song because it's got no meaning whatsoever.

I did not have a complete pre-Christmas meltdown last night at 9:15 because the kids wouldn't stay in bed, my husband wouldn't quit watching football and help me do the wet chores I couldn't do with my hand (more about that below.) I did NOT raise holy cane to the point that the kids made fun of Brian when he went in to check on them because he got in trouble with Mommy.

I did NOT have carpal tunnel surgery on my hand last Friday. Why would I possibly want to do something so limiting the week before Christmas? I also did not drive to Memphis to have this surgery done by my brother-in-law. I wouldn't need to drive three hours because I have a perfectly good orthopedic clinic and surgery center at the ENTRANCE TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD. And the reason I did NOT drive to Memphis (200 miles) had nothing to do with the fact that I would have two complete nights of sleep and a day of guiltless recovery.

We did NOT start our crazy, never-ending, multiple Christmas celebrations last weekend. My dad and his family were the first up to bat this year.

We did not eat at Famous Dave's AGAIN for our family Christmas dinner. Of course, we don't take them there EVERY year because being the good daughter I am, I always cook a gourmet meal for them.

While we were there, we did not get shafted on the timing of our food all arriving at different times and the manager did not give us three free deserts AND gift certificates for our next visit.... they rock! Wonder how I can get my meal screwed up next time? :)

This weekend as we were entering our neighbors house for a progressive dinner party, my husband did not ask me, "Were we actually invited to this?" Now I ask you, WHY on earth would he think I would drag myself out the night after surgery to an event we weren't invited to? Hmph!

And I am not totally done with my shopping for the Christmas marathon so I can enjoy the entire week of my hubby and kiddos being off from school/work! That would be so unlike me. :)

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Love that Nativity!

Okay, people, if you don't get a laugh out of this nativity scene, nothing is humorous to you. (Scroll down to the bottom to see the homemade nativity... precious!) Or, maybe it could be that my sense of humor is a little off today. I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my darling daughter decided YESTERDAY that she was going to potty train herself. I won't go into what a terrible potty trainer I am and how I procrastinate it and how she could NOT have chosen a worse time than the week before Christmas (the week of two school Christmas programs and about 5,329 errands to run.) But back to the point, which is that my sense of humor MUST be in tact if I am laughing about this because the scene that follows could only be accomplished by a seasoned mother. Do not try this at home, it's only for professionals.

Meg says, "I need pee-pee!!!!" We run to the potty as I realize that there is poop actually coming out of her at that very moment and in fact, she has already STEPPED in the poop. I put her on the potty and go to clean up the said accident, when I can't locate the "droppings" I realize that my wonderful dog has eaten the evidence. I start to wipe her foot off and realize it's all down her leg, etc. so I turn to start the bath water at which time, Connor drops the training seat on her foot and she starts howling bloody murder. Being the awesome, experienced, loving mom that I am, I jerk her right up, kiss her foot, and then realize it was the one with the poop on it. Connor proceeds to feed the dog an ENTIRE bag of breath freshening treats and that's enough said about the great poop incident of '08.

Proberbs 17:1
"Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An award for moi????

Thanks to Susan over at "Cheerios in My Shorts" for the Kreativ Blogger Award!

The rules are as follows:
List six things that make you happy. Pass the award along to six more bloggers. Do not give the typical answers and go for the less obvious, as you all know that family, friends, God, etc. would be on the list. So here are my six in no particular order.

1. Change jingling in a man's pocket makes me happy. I love the sound!

2. When any man opens the door for me, that makes me happy. I know I'm old-school and so Southern, but I make no apologies for that.

3. Silence... makes me happy. Of course, the sound of my kids laughing makes me happy, but if I'm going for the less obvious then I have to say silence because it's totally rare (almost extinct) around here.

4. Real wood fires when it's cold outside make me exceedingly happy. There is nothing in the world that's better than a fire crackling and popping in the fireplace, the lights of my Christmas tree burning, a good movie and a snuggle with my hubby on our couch.

5. Newborn babies make me happy. Especially when they belong to someone I love. I can't think of one thing I would rather do than rub a newborn babies head against my cheek!

6. Bookstores make me very happy. Particularly when my husband gives me a gift certificate and watches the kids so I can spend hours and money without guilt.

Now, obviously, clean running water, gainful employment, a warm bed, nice home, family, faith, gifts under my tree, and the love of friends make me happy too. Even though this list was supposed to be about the less obvious things, (and I know why because it would be really boring to hear every single person say the things you don't want to take for granted.) I do want to mention these things because I am so very painfully aware that there are millions of people in the world at this time, 147,000,000 of them children, who don't have these things and I want to acknowledge that I recognize the blessing they are in my life! And I never want to forget that 75% of my children were at one time among them.

Now, I'm passing this award on to:

Heather (who hopefully will ACTUALLY do this one! hint hint)
Barb (because she needs an award right about now!)
Dinia (because she is one interesting and adventurous mama! :)
Katie (I'm completely not expecting her to actually participate, but I do want you to check out her site! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program....

to bring you a "SNOW DAY!"

If my crazy life had a background track, it would sound like this:


Hey, Liam, wanna play Lego
I want cheese.
Oh, I wish I had some cheese.


Yeah, okay, I'll be the red dude
Mom have you seen my ______________

More random screaming.... VINCE!!!!! Crash! Get him out of here!

Mom, what does this say.
Hey, can someone tie my shoe (someone meaning, of course, Mom)
No, I wanna be the red dude, you were the red dude last time
Liam, take your hands off that! That's mine!
Oh, I wish I could find my other shoe!


No I wasn't, Connor you're always the red dude
Mom, I need some scissors, glue, a blow torch, a chain saw, hammer, and some matches.
I want banana


Give me that!!!!!!!!
I'm not your friend!
Stoppit Meg!
I don't want banana
Has anyone seen my other glove?
Where's my glove?
Oh, where's my GLOVE!!!! Ugh!


No, no, in a minute, I don't know where did you have it last and WHAT!!!!!

This concludes the test of our emergency snow day system. Had this been an actual snow day, we would have photos of children building snow men and having snow cream. Since this was NOT an actual snow day, but only a day out of school with alot of very wet clothes, we will now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

"Have pity on me Lord, for I am weak..." Psalm 6:3

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Quick note...

Just a very very quick note to say that I hope you all noticed the new button on the sidebar... front and center. PLEASE take a moment to visit Katie's blog, if you haven't already. The work she is doing with orphans is very real and very tangible and you'll be blessed by your visit, I promise! And if you feel so moved, while you are there, please take a moment to add Katie's button to your blog too. The code is right there on her blog, so grab it and spread the word!

Thanks! Ondrea

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Katie Davis

Okay, there WILL be more to come on this in the very near future, but for right now, just go here! I have had a link to this blog on my blog for a very long time, but tonight I got the very distinct pleasure of hearing this young woman speak. I came away with a burning desire to DO SOMETHING that can only be attained by hearing a person speak who has a burning passion for what they are doing. I have so many things I want to say to and about this young lady, but my head is swimming right now and I can't get the thoughts to form coherent strings. Let me just say that if anyone ever shared my heart for orphans, it's this girl. In fact, her heart puts my heart to shame. I am humbled by the pitiful state of my heart when viewed in the blinding light of what God has accomplished through Katie in two short years! And I can tell you that the burden I feel for these children is tremendous, but her burden is a bone weary burden that is so obviously of God that it makes others want to just touch a little bit of it.

Katie spoke at the home of a friend tonight and I have her coming to speak at my house on January 6. Any of you blog friends out there who want to make a trip to Nashville to hear her speak, I will make sure you have a bed to sleep in (it may be shared with a 4 year old, but there will be a pillow) and I will welcome you and you WILL be blessed. In fact, there's no way to hear her and not be blessed. You would not believe the story if I relayed it to you, you have to hear it from her lips. I am telling you, I have read the blog, I have told you many times that this girl is amazing, but I believe it in a different way tonight than what I understood before. Please read the blog and please please please continue to pray and don't cease to DO for the orphans of the world. I am more convinced than ever that whatever we are doing that is not purposeful and intentional in the direction of caring for the "least of these" is a total waste of our time!

James 1:27

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

This was the tag line of Meg's adoption blog. But did you ever stop to really consider this verse? Religion (like a denomination) that is PURE and UNDEFILED (meaning, not stained by the mess that humans always make of things) is when we care for the helpless. Not Protestant, not Catholic, not non-denominational, but just purity in the eyes of God is when we get our hands dirty caring for the ones who aren't glamorous and certainly aren't always lovable. Singleness of heart, to care for the orphans!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Birthday!

He may kill me for this photo because it was made this morning before he even had his coffee, but really, he is still so handsome that he looks pretty darn good for having just rolled out of bed! :) Sorry babe!
Today is my amazing, sweet, tolerant, handsome, fun, God-seeking, loving husband's birthday. Proof of how amazing he is? He took the whole fam-damily to Shogun for dinner tonight because that is where the kids like to go. I think it's the first time we've all been out to a "nice" restaurant together and this brought the realization that we have moved from a party of five to the "mandatory gratuity added" category with just our immediate family. Now we're talkin'!

Happy Birthday honey, on the off chance that you would possibly be reading this... hahaha (that's a joke because the only time he EVER reads my blog is if I tell him there's something he needs to read.) Hope you enjoy the book. This was Meg and Connor yesterday in their Christmas gear. They both had on Rudolph so I had to get some snaps.

This Rudolph "mask" was part of a party invitation we received in the mail today... very cute invite and Connor thought it was a good costume too! :) And by the way, Meg has decided that her name is Zizzy... funny girl!

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Russian Way

Today I was catching up with my friend Heather's blog and a thought came to me while reading it. The first thought was this, "I hate all you women out there who can just go to the mall and fight the throngs of people for your Christmas shopping without a child (or four or five) hanging from your pant leg." But then I remembered that alot of you women are my friends, so I retracted that statement and realized that there actually IS a better way. :) And hold onto your hats because I NEVER thought I would say this, but I believe the Russian's DO have this one figured out.

Imagine with me now, that you are in Russia (think no anti-smoking laws ANYWHERE!) Now imagine that there are three hundred people trying to check-out (or check-in, or get in, or pay, or whatever) and the space in which to do so is about 10x12. Now, imagine that there is no such thing as personal space, I was here first, or even so much as the CONCEPT of an organized line. Have you ever been to Macy's in New York on Black Friday?
Okay, then you've got a semi-picture of what a "Russian queue" is like (I say semi picture because there's really no such thing as a line in Russia.) So, at this point you get that it's mass chaos (this applies to cars too, but that's another post.) Anyway, so why the heck would I be wishing for that at Christmastime? Because the one thing the Russian's really do have figured out in the line department is that if you have a baby, if you are old, or if you are pregnant, you get to go right up to the front. It's not that people tell you to go ahead of them... no, you don't have to wait to be invited. It's a very accepted and expected cultural norm that you just WALK RIGHT TO THE FRONT!!!! (gasp) if you have a babe in arms. Isn't that AMAZING!??? I mean, seriously, can you imagine?

Now, this brings me to all sorts of conclusions about Russian and American culture. I could make some generalizations about what this says about our country AND their's, but for right now, I am just really wishing that we had this same courtesy in our country because that, my friends, would make shopping with a toddler well worth the time and effort! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Taking Pause

Well, so much for joyful, joyful, huh? My friend, Michelle, posted a prayer today on our on-line adoption site and it really brought the wind out of my Christmas sails. As much as I am overjoyed to be spending my first Christmas with our little girl and my consecutive Christmas with all my boys, her posted prayer reminds me that my being content and happy means that no more orphans will be coming home to my house. She asked God to bring a smile to the caregivers so that it might brighten the day of one child. And I am reminded again of the joylessness of an orphans day. Christmas day will be just another day for many many children in Russia (and around the world for that matter.) There are over 100,000,000 (that's eight zeroes folks!) orphans going to bed tonight without a mommy or daddy. There are over 100,000,000 children who won't have anyone delighting in them on Christmas morning or any other day of the year. That's 100,000,000 chidren who will not be hugged, not be tucked into bed, not be told "I love you" tonight, tomorrow, or on Christmas Day. Life in an orphanage is bleak. It's a life lived in black and white instead of color. It's a life where not only are you not loved, you don't know what love is. Can you even start to imagine that? The number is staggering, it's actually more than what we can fathom and it seems unattainable, un-help'able, unreachable. But truth is, it's not that much if everyone who could do something would do something!

The only good news I have for you is that our Father is so in love with these little souls that He is in their midst every moment of every day. No tear falls, no sigh is exhaled, without His knowing. Our Father is not only with them, He dwells there, He lives their lives with them, He wraps His arms around them and holds them in the cold, and they are not alone. But He cannot care for them without our help. He didn't set it up that way, He left it for us to do. Please do remember that there are millions of children who are suffering this year, not only children who will not have gifts, but children who will not even be acknowledged. Please don't forget, in all our merriment, that there is bone aching sadness in the hearts and eyes of 140,000,000 children and they need your prayers! Do what you can do to support adoption! If you can pray, pray; if you can finance, send money; if you can adopt, do it!

Deuteronomy 6:6-9
"Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Joyful, joyful....

I'm almost giddy with excitement! It's the most wonderful time of the year. Seriously, isn't this the best? I love the week of Thanksgiving through the week of New Year's. There's so much anticipation, so much cheer, so much family... so much FOOD! :) And there are just so many things we have to be thankful for and hopeful about this year!

Like this... who would recognize this little one from then to now?

This is Meg with her two grandmothers on the morning after we arrived in Nashville.

And these are her and her beloved big brother, tonight at bedtime. What a little Christmas miracle she is! And there seem to be little miracles all around us right now and I am just over the moon with excitement!

I want to start the Christmas season by just mentioning that I can't express how thankful I am not to have a longing in my heart this year at the holidays. I can't remember a time when I felt total and complete cotentment, especially at Christmas. I always new there was something out there on the horizon for me that I was going to have to work for and strive toward. I always felt the pull of "when..." But now my family is complete, I have every thing and person I ever wanted in my life and I am so very happy and relieved this year to just "be" for Christmas. Just be a family, just be here and not have my heart or mind somewhere else, just be happy that my husband has a job and we are warm... we are just so very blessed, abundantly cared for, and decadently fortunate.

So, hopefully you'll not get sick of my peppiness by the end of December and I will completely lose all my three followers because you're sick of holiday cheer... but I can't help but be a little dizzy tonight at the thought of a play kitchen set under our tree on Christmas morning! :)

Proverbs 17:22
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not Me Monday

I did not spend the weekend at my parents house in West Tennessee/Kentucky.

I did not watch my tiny daughter ride a horse for the first time and SCREAM BLOODY MURDER when we took her off of it. This was not a full size horse, but a tiny little poodle sized pony (NOT!)

I did not have a last family luncheon at my grandmothers house before the new tenants move in over the holiday.

I did not spend this morning thinking about the fact that we will have our first Post Adoption Supervisory Visit TODAY! I am not completely amazed that my daughter has been home for five months already.

I did not call a friend on Sunday to see if she had checked on Adrienne since I didn't have good internet access over the weekend.

I did not put up my big Christmas tree this week and I did not also make a boxwood wreath for my front door.

I am not SOOOOO in the mood for Christmas. And I am NOT soooooo excited about Thanksgiving that I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. I cannot wait for Wednesday to roll around.

And I did not FINALLY successfully start to knit a baby cap for Meg. This is not my SEVENTH attempt at knitting a hat and I have never gotten this far without a knotted mess so hopefully I can have a finished product to show by the end of the holiday! :)

My kids are NOT out of school this week so I do not have a ton of hand made Christmas crafts lined up for us to do today! :)

What did you NOT do this week?

Pop over to MckMamma's to see what else people aren't doing.

Also, please visit Michelle. She joined the Not Me this week, sort of, and she's got a pretty good list going already! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Please pray with me!

It is with such a very heavy heart that I ask you to join me in prayer for my "sister" Adrienne. She and her husband Jim are in New Jersey for the birth of a baby girl they were expecting to adopt. Adrienne met the baby soon after her birth and everything seemed set to go forward. Yesterday the birth mother decided she needed more time and took the baby home with her.

I call Adrienne my sister because all of us who have walked this adoption road know the pain and anxiety that comes from being in such utter dependence on another person to fulfill such a simple dream, that of holding your baby in your arms. If you have experienced adoption on any level, then you are my sister/brother and you understand what I'm saying. So many times it seems so unfair. Although adoption is a beautiful miracle and blessing, there is also another side to it that is scary and can be painful. We know that our God is merciful. We know He cares for both Adrienne AND this baby's birth mother. We know He is sovereign and that He can make this right, whatever "right" is. However, one of these mothers is going to go home sometime soon with empty arms and there is no quick course over that mountain. Please pray with me!

"Never, no never will I leave you nore forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not exactly what I had in mind....

When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I thought I would post about once a month about some momentous adventures in my kids' lives. I didn't realize it would become a composite of confessions for the domestically challenged part of me. I didn't know I would be airing all my dirty little secrets (newsflash, I suck at housekeeping.)

But here we are, two years later, and it's pretty obvious that I am not a gifted domestic diva. Tonight I was making a potato bar for dinner. I was so cute, I had all my 'fixins' laid out in little bowls, made my bacon nice and crisp ahead of time and let it sit to firm. I was chatting with my friend Sonja while I washed the potatoes and popped them in the oven. I asked her at the time, "Why do I need to wrap these in tin-foil? Guess we'll see." (FYI, Sonja didn't know either... sorry Sonj, I need to validate my ignorance here!) Well, I found out that you wrap the potatoes in tin foil before you put them in the heat because, ladies, they will EXPLODE in the oven if you don't! Yes, that's right, pop right open and spew little bits of baked potato all over your nice clean oven floor. Then, since you won't realize that the potatoes are exploding in your oven, they will be burnt and baked on indefinitely (or at least until the cleaning lady comes and has a heart attack when she opens the oven.)

By the way, the really big potatoes did not explode, so we were still able to salvage enough to have a loaded potato dinner... but still.... there's this to deal with.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Not Me Monday

I did NOT misread an ice cream label in the grocery store and think it said, "Triple Chin". Then I did not chuckle to myself thinking, "Well, if they are going to name this stuff what it does to your body, I'm going to avoid the "Bigger Butt" and "Flabby Tummy." I then realized it said, "Triple Churn". Oh...

I did not have to sit up all night with a sick kiddo on Thursday night. My children wash their hands constantly so there is no way we could spread or pick up germs. My WHOLE family did NOT share a Coke about 2 hours before said kiddo started puking. We would not do that. I know how bad it is to share drinks with people and how likely we are to spread germs that way so I would never chance my WHOLE family getting sick like that. Jury is still out, by the way...

I did not get THE best deal on a camera from Tarzhay this week. I never get good deals (seriously, I'm not this lucky) so the fact that this happened to me made me try to call five people, but no one was as impressed as me. I did not get an ad from said retailer this week that advertised a Kod@k 10 meg digital camera for $79. When I got to the store, the actual price on the camera was not $179 and the sales person did not tell me that I was wrong about the price. I then did NOT proceed to drive home, get my ad, go back to said store and make them give me the camera at the advertised price, which I think might have turned out to be a big misprint, but they honored it nonetheless. I honored them by spending another $200 in their store on miscellaneous items. (I'm just trying to do my part for the economy and I saw on Fox today that said store profits were down by 2.4% this month... every little bit helps, right?) You might be wondering why I needed a new camera, considering I have the mac daddy cam that would be the first thing (after my kids) that I would run for in a fire. Well, my point and shoot got dropped one too many times last week and therefore, Favorite Photo Friday contained NO zoo shots... so I had to have something I could throw in my purse and my Canon definitely does not fit that description.

I did not take my kids to the zoo this week and have to borrow wipes from another mom because I was there without any. I am so much more prepared than that, I would never leave the house without all my supplies. (Don't tell anyone, but I also did NOT host a weenie roast for my son's birthday and forget to get buns... because that is not the kind of mom I am, but let's keep that little story between us!)

I did not leave town for the weekend and leave a load of laundry in the WASHER! And then on Monday when I realized what I had done, I did not smell them, go ahead and put them in the dryer and hope that the extra drier sheets would sort out the mildew smell.

Connor and I did not have alot of fun this afternoon making salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree in his room. Nope, why would we do that, I wouldn't already have up THREE trees and be planning to put up a fourth as soon as the bus comes this afternoon! :) I tried, I really did try, not to just skip over the Thanksgiving decorations and skip straight to Christmas. But the stores didn't cooperate. Everywhere I go there is Christmas music and I will admit that their marketing ploy totally worked on me. Oh well, I was barely resisting anyway.

Happy Monday everyone!

Favorite Photo Friday

I wish I could write something really exciting tonight for my Friday post. Seeing as how we have a new president, a new ruling party, and alot of other stuff happened this week, you'd think I could come up with something better. But truth be known, I'm wiped out because I'm sitting up with my sick kiddo who has a stomach virus. Liam is NOT a good patient. I mean, no one likes throwing up, don't get me wrong. But Liam does it and then he screams and yells and just goes completely berzerk... so, it's not fun at midnight to be in the midst of a stomach funk and that's all I can think of.
Anyway, these are not only my favorite photos from the week, they are, in fact, my ONLY photos from the week. I can't believe it. I think this is the first time in my life I have only taken three photos in a week. The first one is Meg reading a book to her doll, Ksusha (named after our beautiful friend, Ksusha, from Moscow.) The second one makes me laugh because she was pretending to be mad at Ksusha and she was stomping her foot. Now I swear, she's never seen me stomp my foot, so I don't know what that's about. The third is just cute because I love the outfit! :)

John 11:26

"Believest thou this?"
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Monday, November 03, 2008

The Butternut Squash Debacle

If I had video of tonight's dinner, the story would be more believable, and even more hilarious. For some reason, I got all house-wifey today and spent the day cooking and cleaning. Moment of silence here people, this deserves some recognition in and of itself.

Okay, so, in my attempt to be all things to all people, I actually thought ahead and purchased a butternut squash in preparation for this craving of a recipe from Giada of the Food Network. I peeled and boiled the darn thing last night and put it in the fridge for the finishing process today. (This may sound like normal preparation to you, but to me, it's next to the second coming of Christ because I don't think think about what's for dinner until 3:30 PM, much less prepare an ingredient the night before. We may be very near to the end of time!) So, in between putting a coat of stain and a coat a poly on my kitchen floor, I made a homemade cream sauce, boiled authentic lasagna noodles, and pureed butternut squash for said lasagna. Did I mention that there were THREE children involved in this process (Jack was home "sick" from school, and of course, Meg and Connor are always under foot.)

So, for the debacle part. I was so excited about the lasagna. I could taste it all day. I had made it one time before and remembered it being a savory treat that was only suited for a really special occasion (last time I made it to contribute to Thanksgiving feast.) Did I mention that it had honest-to-god lasagna noodles, not the no boil kind either! Anyway, as I was serving it, I knew from the look of it that it's culinary perfection would not be readily apparent to my children. So I did what any good mother would do... I bribed them with chocolate if they took two bites! :) First bites went well all around. There were a few disgusted critics after that first bite, but I was not deterred. I insisted there would be a second bite or no candy. Meanwhile, Meg and I are chowing down on our lasagna and loving it. She is obviously far more cultured culinarily than my boys! So, the second bite went like this.... Liam takes three or four more bites and says, "Um, not bad!" That's not the response Giada gets, but it's better than I had originally anticipated.Jack puts bite 2 in his mouth and GAGS! Yes, that's right... GAGS! Seriously, I thought the boy was going to throw up at the table. This is a response that was held solely for Brussels sprouts in my childhood, so I am more than offended that my famed lasagna brings on the gag reflex of a green vegetable. Okay, but I'm still hitting 50/50 at this point. Last up, Connor. I actually have to feed it to him because he couldn't convince his hand to put the disgusting gruel voluntarily into his mouth. Ensued crying (hysterical tears spilling down the cheeks crying.) Now I'm sure Giada never had this from her guests! Brian, who has tried to act like an adult up to this point, caves, admits he hated it too and lets them all have candy. I guess he can forget ever bribing them to eat the next thing on their plates. I gave most of it to the dog, who, by the way, LOVED it! :) Oh well, that just means I have enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner for me and Meg tomorrow.

Thank goodness my husband has a funny sense of humor. He actually had us all laughing our way through the fiasco and even I found it hard to be offended. I know this was not a resounding endorsement, but on behalf of Giada and myself, let me just say that the recipe really is delicious and if you are into harvest veggies, I highly recommend it! :)

Bon apetit! Or as the Russians say, "Fa-coos-na" (delicious) (which, as luck would have it is very close to the Russian word for "Funky", which is fa-nooch-ka! :) It's all in how you look at it, I suppose!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Gotta get all this off my chest....

First of all, I just want to say that I follow some blogs of people I have never met, but still refer to as my "friends". Keep in mind these people don't know I exist, have likely never read my blog, and don't know that I read theirs. But such is the personal nature of divulging all your "stuff" to the world, that people feel like they know you when, in reality, it's a one way relationship. Anyway, one of my blogger friends, MckMamma, got an awesome miracle last Wednesday, which I already wrote about, but you can click on her button and read it for yourself in better words than mine.

But what really made me cry was what Angie wrote about MckMamma.

Notice that I am on a first name basis with Angie, again, another person who has never met me but who I prayed for when she lost her daughter and who I found MckMamma through. So, those of you who are bloggers are totally gettin' me right about now, and those who don't blog are just scratching your head in confusion.

Now, for the part I need to get off my chest. I hate marketers of all things children. Seriously, I am calling a ban on toys and costumes in my home from this day forward. First of all, in eight years of parenting, I thought I had figured out some things. I know that you can't start the Halloween costume search too soon because kids will change their minds 100 times before the actual date. But if you save it for too late, then you'll be stuck with the Wally World version of the princess rather than the Disney store version becuase there will be NOTHING left. Also, if you take your kids to the Great Pumpkin (you know, the giant tent they put up in the mall parking lot) your 3rd grader will be tempted by costumes in his size, but that are TOTALLY inappropriate for him (like, say, Freddie Krueger... you know, a rated R movie character that my child isn't old enough to see, but someone thought it was a good idea to make this costume in a size 7, you know, for all the 7/8 year olds who are big Freddie Krueger fans.) Anyway, that's a whole other rant... don't let me get started here because you don't have time to read all my thoughts on that subject. Not to mention, the other children in your party will be exposed to inappropriate sexual content in the form of 12 year old girl costumes that are unidentifiable in terms of character other than "slut" or "tramp." They look something like the costumes the Titan's Cheerleaders wore last week during the Monday Night Football game, only, did I mention, they are grown ladies and these costumes are meant for girls around age 12... huh? So, bottom line, don't visit the Great Pumpkin.

Now, we did manage to find costumes for all our kiddos, but Meg is the only one who actually wore the costume that was purchased for her.
And she looked darn cute doing it. But Jack and Brian were supposed to be ZZ Top. Liam was going to be Commander Cody from Star Wars. Connor bought a White Ranger (Power Ranger) costume. Not one of my children followed through. By the time we were all dressed, Connor was an Army Commando.
Jack started out as ZZ Top's other half, but quickly decided he didn't want to do that and alternated the night between turning the beard backwards to be a hippy and just going sans costume altogether. Does this mean we are nearing the age when he will head out with a T-shirt and a little bit of hair coloring and a pillow case? Bummer! Anyway, next year I am saving the $50 we spent on costumes and telling them they have to make something from home. Hey, this is what we did when we were kids and I don't think I'm totally scarred from it... or maybe it explains some things?

Liam was the other half of ZZ Top.
Other than that, we had an excellent night. This is the first year in many that I haven't hosted the pre and post-trick-or-treating. We moved the party to my SIL's house this year because she lives on "the circle", which is a street in our neighborhood where ALL the kids go for their candy. It was so much fun. In addition to being with Reilly (my neice), we got to hang with our good buddies Micah, Asher, Brendan, Cassidy and others. Brian was dressed as Vince Young. You can possibly see his diaper and pacifier in the group photo. This was pretty creative for a last minute costume since he thought he was ZZ Top until about 1 hour prior to leaving the house. I was Sarah Palin. (My sash says, "America's Hottest Governor" in case you can't read it.)

Here are a couple of photos of our awesome friends in their great costumes, which they probably planned to wear BEFORE the day of....

As for the toy thing, kids don't really play with toys. The evidence, my FOUR toy boxes which sit full of toys while my kids walk idly around me in circles asking what they can do. Seriously! So, any of you out there with brilliant non-toy Christmas gift selection... I'm open to suggestions. I need some creative help here.

Cheap Jeans

Okay, I got a very funny post on my Facebook "Wall". It went as follows:

"So. The jeans ... shrunk 3 inches. Whatever you do, don't spill on them. Don't walk in any puddles of water. Don't let any kiddos touch them. Don't breath on them wrong. They will shrink. Love, me"

This is from Heather over at Highly Caffeinated. I ran into her at school on Friday during the Halloween Parties. I was wearing a pair of jeans that I just bought and she commented that she had the same ones and had I washed mine yet. Maybe it's time to come out of the closet and let you all know that I don't wash my clothes very often (did I mention that I have six people's laundry to do?) Anyway, I avoid washing my own clothing at all cost and often put off washing my jeans until they are so stretched out that they fall off me. (You'd be amazed at what a spritz of Febreeze is good for! :) Anyway, if you're with me and smell something, just move downwind... it's probably dirty laundry... but I digress (very deep down, I might add.)

I pointed out to my husband that my two youngest boys mostly wear "Big Enough" brand clothing. My oldest son wears alot of Gap and Mini Boden. My husband, of course, wears alot of business wear. Meg, we won't even discuss the cost of her wardrobe. Why am I, the one who buys all these expensive things for my family, the only one wearing shirts and jeans from Wal-Mart and Target? Hmmmm, something is wrong with this picture.

Anyway, apparently I shouldn't wash the cheap jeans. Which is a real problem when you have to live life with three boys! :)

Happy November! Did I mention that I took down all my Halloween decor yesterday to make room for the Christmas stuff I will probably get out of the attic this week! :)

And in honor of my awesome SIL, Grace, I am starting my Christmas music on the blog this week too! :) Oh, I love this time of year... I'm SO excited it's November! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prettiest Princess Ever and one priceless moment

Okay, I had to post these, even though these for Favorite Photo Friday. I was struggling to figure out what would be my protocol for Favorite Photo Friday, when in reality, my fav photos might get snapped on a Friday... as will likely be the case with Halloween being tomorrow. Anyway, so I decided to include THOSE fav photos in next weeks Friday post. So... Fav. Photo Friday will be Friday through Thursday and I can guiltlessly post photos, knowing tomorrows pics will be for next Friday's post.

Anyway, thank God for digital because at this rate, my hubby would have to take a second job to develop all the film required around here. :) This is not Meg's official Halloween costume, but the other kids were wearing theirs today, so I put her in the princess dress. It was so precious, I might actually have to skip the costume she was going to wear and go with this one. I won't spill the beans on the real costume, in case I decide to unveil it tomorrow! :)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photos of Brian and Connor learning to write his name, especially the one of just their hands. Ummmph, that one will be priceless in years to come, I can already tell.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not Me Tuesday????

Wow! Has ANOTHER Monday really come and gone without a Not Me post? I am aware that some of you come looking for it, but whew, life seems to be flying by right now. If the first three months post-adoption seems like you're driving in the right lane and everyone else is in passing mode, then I guess the second three months seems like I've entered the Auto Ban.

You know, something really weird happened. My mom sent me an e-mail about a coincidence that happened between her and another "adoptive grandmother" and in that e-mail, she was saying some things that I had already written for this particular blog post. So I guess there is just coincidence floating around today. Or maybe this one is just stating the obvious, but anyway, here is what my mom and I were both thinking.

I had asked my friend Marina if she would translate some stuff for me to send to the orphanage. I really want to write a letter and send some photos of Meg and just thank them for the excellent care they gave her. Some of the behaviors she has, I know, are inherent in her personality. But some of them are things that she learned from the ladies who cared for her. I honestly can't find one thing I don't like about this child. She's so perfect for our family. Which got me thanking God last night for His infinite wisdom in bringing us together. Which ALSO got me thinking about how much I like to control things and how often I doubt that things are going to work out the way I want them to. I spent hours obsessing over the little girls on that Russian database. Literally, every morning I would wake up, pull up the database on my computer, and pray for each and every little girl in our age range that I thought MIGHT be our daughter. I don't regret praying for these children as I am sure that God heard those prayers and blessed them and me through that process. I would always start by saying, "Good morning girls." :) Anyway, in that process, I fell in love with a few of the little faces. I even had my friend, Marina, call the MOE representative in St. Pete and inquire about one specific child. I absolutely obsessed about which one I thought would be my daughter and which ones I wanted to be my daughter. For whatever reason, Meg's photo was not listed in the group of girls under my search criteria. I don't know if she hadn't been released, if she wasn't categorized correctly on the database or what, but I wasn't able to find her until after I went searching for her once I had my referral. So, in all my praying and falling in love and obsessing, I never even saw a photo or knew of Meg's existence. It just proves, once again, how much more capable God is than I am of controlling the circumstances of life for my good. I mean, as I was praying last night, I just thanked God for how absolutely perfect this child is for our family, how much I love her in every way, how well she fits in and how well she has adjusted (all things considered.) I marvelled, really, at how many details He provided for us that we wouldn't have dreamed were possible. She is more beautiful, healthier, happier, better adjusted, less affected by life in an institution, and more of a personality fit than we ever would have dared ask for.

This is not to say that children who are not healthy, well adjusted, etc. are less of a blessing. We've been that route too. We've done every therapy known to man, I promise. And through those trials, I was blessed too. God brought us so much knowledge, so much patience and stretched us so far with those experiences. I believe we are refined and closer to our God because of all the trying experiences we've had in all three of our adoptions. But for where we are now in our life, it's a breath of fresh air for me that we could have this experience to compare to the others that we have had in the past.

I look at all four of my kiddos, healthy, happy, well-adjusted, and all four of them doing their absolute best at what they do as individuals and I realized that in my wildest dreams, I couldn't have orchestrated a more perfect family for myself. It's beyond what I deserve and beyond what I imagined possible for myself 10 years ago when we were in the throes of infertility. From that darkness, to this light, is 1,000 miles apart and a journey that has blessed me beyond measure.

So what if I'm too busy to post to my blog on time for Not Me Monday! I did not have a successful party last Friday night for Jack's birthday. The weather DID NOT cooperate at the last minute (and once again, proving God could provide better than I could.) I did not have NO access to my computer until last night at 9:00, at which time I was NOT already asleep because I was exhausted. The reason I was exhausted had NOTHING to do with the Monday Night Titans game I had been to the night before and I had NOT stayed out past 11:00 on a school night, GASP! I have not been missing all the action on all the blogs this weekend (due to said internet failure), I did NOT even think about them one single time. I did NOT think about MckMamma over the weekend, knowing her delivery date is oh so near. My mother in law (you know, the Martha Stewart one) is NOT in town for a whole week and she did NOT bring dinner for our whole family to eat together last night, only to have to ditch it at the last minute because my niece had a last minute melt-down. We did NOT go ahead and eat that dinner without her and love every single bite! :) I would never do that, what kind of person would eat a meal prepared for someone else when that someone couldn't attend? I am not loving every single crazy, insane, and out of control minute of life with my four little monkeys! And I am NOT running off right now to re-caffeinate before the bus comes to drop off the big boys. I certainly don't need caffeine in the middle of the afternoon... those three cups of coffee and large Coke I've already had today should be plenty.

Isaiah 25:1
"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday

Another Friday has rolled around. I can't believe it. Well, for you night-owls, I know that technically it's still Thursday, but the fact of the matter is that we are having Jack's birthday party tomorrow night and I know I won't realistically get around to posting this tomorrow. So I am delaying the start of Grey's until I get this done.

Speaking of Grey's, I am really torn up about watching tonight. I am almost done with Ahab's Wife and I am dying to go get in my bed and finish it tonight. But I know I won't be awake long enough to read AND watch Gray's, so I guess it's going to have to wait for the weekend. And I guess that means the late fees at the library will have to rack up a few more days. Ugh!

Anyway, it's Halloween central around my house, as you can tell from the "fav photos". I don't know why I get all these decorations that look so cute when they are in the store, but when I put them together at my house, they look like a hodge podge of junk. Why can some people take a few simple decorations and make their homes look like a Southern Living cover (remember kids, we've already discussed my Southern Living-wanna-be'ness) and I can take a handful of the same stuff and it looks like the Great Pumpkin puked on my lawn. Egad!

As I have already mentioned, I am no Martha Stewart. Unfortunately or fortunately for me, whichever the case may be, I married into a family of entertaining southern women. For that matter, I was born into a family of entertaining Southern women. My mom and Brian's mom can both put on a spread like you wouldn't believe with no more notice than a five minute drive home from church. I, however, did not get the "kitchen gene" in my family. I can whip you out a pair of groovy pants or a funky T-shirt in about an hour flat, but don't ask me to cook or look like Martha Stewart when I entertain you. I'll offer you something to drink (if you're lucky), but it will be from a can, not something made on the stove and then put in a pretty hand-painted pitcher. Anyway, why am I rambling (on and on and on) about this? Because I have about 30 people coming to my house tomorrow night for this party (and did I mention all three of the entertaining in-laws will be here) and I had it all figured out how I could look like the best hostess ever as easy as pie. I had planned a hot-dog roast... I was lighting the firepits in the back yard, I bought orange lights to string around our new deck railing... I have 48 hot dogs ready to be roasted over an open fire... and the weatherman is predicting torrential downpours! HELP! What the heck am I going to do with 30 people INSIDE my house and 48 hot dogs that haven't been cooked? Oh dang, looks like once again I'll be ordering pizza for a birthday party! :)


I thought this was going to be my fav photo because it's Jack helping his little brother with his pre-school homework. It's priceless.
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But then I saw these and I couldn't resist posting them. #1 because I laugh when I see the flower on the floor next to my feet in the photo with Connor... I told you I'm not a housekeeper and I'm not lying.

#2 because I'm actually IN some photos for a change... my children WILL have evidence that I actually exist.

#3 because everyone just looks so happy and it's such a fun time for our family that I had to show off my cutie pies!

Have a great weekend. I'm sure I'll have tons of "Not Me's" for the Monday post after my rain party! :)
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Did we have fun?

We're back from the beach. Did we have fun? Here's the best of the best (I will spare you all 346 photos!) It's always good to be home, but time together with just the six of us was totally priceless!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Headed South....

Pardon my absence for a few days while I put some sun on these lilly white legs and just enjoy sitting in a house that doesn't need to be cleaned (at least not by me!)

I couldn't get it together for "Not Me, Monday!" yesterday. Sorry everyone... I have so much fun doing it, but I just couldn't work it up this time even though I thought of about 1,000 not-me's throughout the week. It's funny how participating in that carnival makes you really look at some of the outrageous parts of every day life a little more humorously... but still be sure to check out MckMamma's blog for the other not-me'ers.

Brian and I have instituted a "no tv on vacation" plan... we'll see how long it lasts. I'm taking the under on about five hours. But it's a nice thought anyway. I told him there is no way he's applying that rule to me because I'm not missing Gray's Anatomy for vacation... that's a mini-vacation in itself.

Well, that's about it. We're all packed up and the fishing poles and kites are waiting to go into the Rocket Box when Brian gets around to packing the three things he's responsible for. I love how he asks me why getting ready for vacation stresses me out... oh, I don't know... I only have to do about ten loads of laundry, pack for FIVE people, get all the beach stuff together, pull together ever electronic gaming device in the house and then locate the actual games that go to them. I only have to rearrange car-seats and clean out the car and pack snacks and go to the grocery and..... This time tomorrow, I'll be having a margarita on the deck of our condo, eating some smoked tuna dip from the fresh catch store, and listening to a Kenny Chesney CD. :) I can't tell you how much we all need this little adventure. I found this verse in Isaiah that says it all. I can't wait... y'all carry on in my absence.

Isaiah 44
"For I will pour water on the thirsty ground and send streams coursing through the parched earth. I will pour my Spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I have been affected today in a way I didn't anticipate. Today is Jack's (my oldest) and Meg's (my youngest) birthday. Obviously, I have shared many birthdays with my children between four kids over eight years. However, there's something really profound and moving for me that my first baby and my last baby were both born on this day. There is definitely something very special about the day, beyond the fact that it's a birthday. It's like an affirmation for me that God had a plan and saw all the events of the future, even before the first one was set into motion. Jack was born 5 weeks early. Meg was born one week late. Both so that they could share this special day and fulfill God's promise to us to fill our home with the laughter of our children. It's so fitting and perfect that Jack shares his birthday with his sister, above the other siblings, because he is the one who is most enthralled with her. He is the one who dotes on her and adores her. She also loves him in a way that only a little sister can love a big brother. It reminds me of the stories my MIL tells of how Brian's younger sister idolized her big brother and wanted to sleep in his room at night and go where he went. It's precious to me that they have this relationship because I see the relationship Brian still has with his sister and I know it's something that will be special for the rest of their lives.

I am one very blessed Mama, and today, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of that blessing! I am overwhelmed with how undeserving I am of these precious and perfect souls that have been entrusted to us by a loving and merciful God!

Psalm 37:4
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

And because I missed Favorite Photo Friday, here's the best of the week:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Three months home and 2 year check-up!

Yesterday was Meg's two year physical. That in and of itself would not be blog-worthy except for the miraculous thing that occurred during the visit. Dr. Heil (our beloved, in case you missed that point in earlier posts) pronounced, "I can't find a thing wrong with her." To which I quickly retorted, "Really?! This is our first spin around the 'nothing's wrong' PI block." Seriously folks, if there is a therapy out there, I've done it with someone (and still am, with some, by the way!) I have never even heard of anyone coming home with NO issues. Now, I realize that I am jinxing myself. I realize that tomorrow the spawn of the Alien will wake up in place of my once healthy and beautiful daughter. I realize that simply by posting this, I am totally tempting fate and something will bite me in the butt... hard! But, just for a moment, for a fleeting glimpse of a second, I just have to revel in the deep breath I took and know that for once, I am not facing a mountain of paperwork, government forms, tests, and therapy appointments. Folks, I need this... have you seen my schedule? As my friend, Kendra, said, "I need a flow chart to figure out who is going where."

That's not to say that we don't have some things ahead of us. Dr. Heil does want us to have her hearing tested. He says it's a requirement for all IA kiddos in his practice, so we'll be heading off to the audiologist for that soon. But according to her speech development, he feels sure she will not have any hearing issues. He believes that possibly I am wrong about her speech and that she does, indeed, have 50 words (which would put her on target for her age.) I don't think so, I could only think of about 20, but he said the fact that she is stringing together 3 words makes him curious that she doesn't have more and he thinks within three more months she will have 100 words. Folks, 50 words is what a normal two-year-old is supposed to have. 100 words is what a normal 2 year, three month kiddo is supposed to have. Do you know how amazing it would be to me to have a kid come home and be "normal" within six months. (Even our bio son was not in the "normal" range for speech at age 2.) I've never seen it in my house and I still can't let myself believe it will happen. I am sure there is a therapy out there waiting to jump up and grab at me... you may remember that I am somewhat of a doubting Thomas. But anyway, for this particular dot on the timeline, I am just going to sit and marvel at the possibility of "normal."

The little string-bean is 85% for height (same as she has been since six months of age.) She is 14th % for weight. Her head circ. is "average." Again, a first for our family as I've never had a kid hit the chart inside of two years post adoption. I have always heard stories of folks adopting "chubby" kids or really tall kids, but I could not attest to it personally, until now. Of course, you realize that this means I will have sons who are 5'5" and a daughter who is 6'5". :) Wouldn't trade it for the world!

Okay, also, our baby girl has been home three months already. I can't believe it. I've reached the "I'm not drowning anymore" point. Do you remember the analogy I gave my clients about the first year home? First three months, you're going under, you don't even look like you're keeping it together, you're definitely bobbing up and down and gasping for air on the infrequent trips to the surface. Three to six months you're starting to tread water. You're not making forward progress, and your paddling like h-e-*-* under the water, but the view from above is at least your head is out of the water now and you can gasp for air when you need it without fighting for it. Of course, you're panting from the long time you just spent under the surface. Then there's the six to twelve month mark that's still out there ahead of me. It's when you actually start to make some progress toward the shore. It's when your strokes aren't necessarily pretty, you might be dog paddling rather than doing a Michael Phelps 'fly, but you're getting there nonetheless. The closer you get to shore, the smoother your strokes become. So... it's monumental and worth recording that we've hit the head above water stage. And you know what, I feel it. I definitely feel my head is now above the water. It's really not that there is a magical timeline, it's just apparently that three months is about what human beings require x 24/7 to get to really know one another and develop a norm. I'm very much looking forward to the next three months. This is my favorite time of year, I love Halloween, I love when summer relents and gives way to crisp weather, I love Thanksgiving, and there's nothing more magical than a little person's first Christmas. We have some fun ahead of us in the next three months, and knowing that when all that fun is over, we'll be almost to our six month mark makes it even more exciting. Whew! That's a big ol' collective sigh of relief.

And oh yeah, the bonus of hitting that six month mark will be that this d#@* election is behind us and I can stop worrying about and talking about and hearing about that for another FOUR WHOLE years! :) Wow, four years, Meg will be in school the next time we elect a president. That will be a nice long break from politics. :)

Psalm 85:8
"I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people... "

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not Me Monday

I did NOT have a conversation at the dinner table that calmly involved these words, "Do not stab your brother with that fork."

I did not go to bed early three nights this week so that I could read more of the library books I checked out. I'm not a reader, why would I do that!

I did not get so engrossed in The BFG by Roald Dahl with my third grader that I read past his bedtime. What kind of mother lets her kids stay up past their bedtime?

I did not have ten discussions this week with my best friend about why we are so entitled to sell our Monday Night Football tickets (against our hubbies' wishes) as long as they are going for a hefty enough price. That would make us fair weather fans, and we are definitely not fair weather fans (just in need of a little redecorating cash!:)

I did not breathe a sigh of relief when our big school fundraiser was over on Friday and now we can cruise until after fall break. I mean, who doesn't love school fundraisers, I wish we had them every day! :)

I did not get strep throat this week, only the busiest week of school. And while I was at the doctor being diagnosed, I did not let Meg open EVERY single sucker in a dum-dum bag, taste them, and then wrap it back up and drop it in my purse. I would never do that. I'm a good mother, I wouldn't use candy to pass the time waiting, even if I was sick, which I'm not, right?

I did not offend one of the dearest people in the world to me this week over something totally stupid. I was not close minded and I did not do exactly what I HATE in others and just go on and on about something without considering her feelings. What kind of friend would I be if I did that. Plus, I'm totally self-aware and I never say anything without thinking how it will affect others and I certainly wouldn't do this to someone so important. I hate people like that!

I did not get excited to log into the blog today knowing that I could read everyone else's "Not Me" posts! :)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sibling Rivalry...

One of the things I like least about becoming a parent for the second, third, fourth time is the Sibling Rivalry that rears it's ugly little head! It makes my baby a big boy (all three times), it makes a child that I left the house feeling was the most precious, gentle, adoring, adorable son in the world become the most passive-aggressive, jealous, mean-spirited, defiant little brat I have ever seen. Truly, adding a sibling seems to bring out the very worst of all my kids. The good news is, it only seems to happen once, so when Jack was displaced by Liam, he didn't feel the same level of angst when Connor came home and Meg, etc.

Connor definitely falls into that passive-aggressive category. I witness him walking past Meg, supposedly very innocently, and just "accidentally" knocking her down or stepping on her toe. The infractions are sometimes very subtle, but sometimes just very blatant, like today when he said, "Watch this mom" and then proceeded to hit her in the face with a sink plunger. Egad!

Not surprisingly, though probably a little late, I broke out the Siblings Without Rivalry book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish that has walked me through two other little misplaced toddlers to see what I could glean. I re-read what I consider to be one of the most enlightening exercises I have found regarding how siblings feel about one another and what brings out this "meanness." Following is a direct quote from the book:

"Imagine that your spouse puts an arm around you and says, "Honey, I love you so much, and you're so wonderful that I've decided to have another wife just like you." When the new wife (husband) finally arrives, you see that she's very young and kind of cute. When the three of you are out together, people say hello to you politely, but exclaim ecstatically over the newcomer. "Isn't she adorable! Hello sweetheart... You are precious!" Then they turn to you and ask, "How do you like the new wife?" The new wife needs clothing. Your husband goes into your closet, takes some of your sweaters and pants and gives them to her. When you protest, he points out that since you've put on a little weight, your clothes are too tight on you and will fit her perfectly. The new wife is maturing rapidly. Every day she seems smarter and more competent. One afternoon as you're struggling to figure out the directions on the new computer your husband bought you, she bursts into the room and says, "ooooh, can I use it? I know how." When you tell her she can't use it, she runs crying to your husband. Moments later she returns with him. Her face is tear-stained and he has his arm around her. He says to you, "What would be the harm in lettering her have a turn? Why can't you share?" One day you find your husband and the new wife lying on the bed together. He's tickling her and she's giggling. Suddenly the phone rings and he answers it. Afterwards he tells you that something important has come up and he must leave immediately. He asks you to stay home with the new wife, and make sure she's all right."

Isn't that the best! When you throw adoption into the mix, it means that you not only bring home a "cuter/younger" version, but you also bring home a child who's already mobile, already into all their stuff, already "behind" in their needs for your attention. Losing your place as the baby of the family is HARD enough to an infant (a.k.a. blob) who stays where mom leaves them, sleeps 16 hours a day, and can't bother you when you want to be left alone. But displace the baby with a child who needs to securely bond and all the implications that brings with it, along with the fact that this new little person is getting into all your favorite things. Your mom is a stress case because now she has to worry about your new siblings physical, motor, and emotional development and attachment while trying to keep your needs met and you have a recipe for an early afternoon cocktail, for sure! (For mommy, not new sibling or brother, of course! :) Anyway, this too shall pass, we hope. I only half joke when I say that Jack is still not over the fact he's not an only child. He would probably be perfectly happy to have one sibling... Meg. Liam and Connor are the best of buddies, those two I don't ever have to worry about, but Jack is constantly riding Liam even to this day. And we already heard the issues Connor has with his sister.

Well, if that doesn't make you want to run out and have a baby/adopt a toddler, I don't know what will! :) The only thing I can tell you is that the rewards, even in light of all this, for both you AND your older child are far greater than if there never was a sibling to rival. It's worth it, but boy, do I ever need a Savior!

Psalm 69:1-3
"Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters and a flood overflows me, I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday


Okay, I'm a total copy-cat. I am ripping this idea right off of Adrienne's blog. I'm not even trying to make it my own, I'm stealing it lock, stock and barrel (and name too.) I actually tried all week to think of a catchy DIFFERENT name for it so I wouldn't so blatantly be mimicing Adrienne, but in the end, I decided I could not improve on perfection.

Today was Moore Miles, our big school fundraiser. After Moore Miles, all the over-worked volunteers get together for a block party/let-down (i.e. the work is done) party. I couldn't pick just one photo, but they are both of the same thing. The boys had to get "tight" for the occassion. (Apparently tight is a new word to say when something is "cool". I'm so old and not with it that I'm not actually sure of the appropriate usage, but I heard the kids saying "that's tight" ALOT while we were hawking their hair! :)

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Monday, September 29, 2008


Michelle (my adoption rock!) just tagged me! Okay, six random facts about myself.... well, that's hardly going to be entertaining, but here goes.

1. I first felt the "call" to adopt while I was on-line late one night looking for information on how to adopt a retired racing Greyhound. It was about 2 AM and I was a terrible "googler" (Still am) and came across photo listings of kids instead of dogs. I went and woke Brian up out of a dead sleep and made him come look at all the pictures. He should have known then he was in trouble, we had only been married about a month. Still, here we are 11 years and three adoptions (one birth) later, and he survived it all! :)

2. I grew up on a semi-farm. We raised beef cattle. My dad used to break horses as a second job and we had an arena in our field beside our house. One time, he broke horses for Loretta Lynn's dude ranch and I got to go with him to deliver them back to her after they were broke. I didn't meet Loretta, but I met her husband Mooney. I was only six or so, and from that point on, Loretta Lynn was like my most favorite person in the whole wide world. I loved her dresses and thought she was the bomb! Another thing we had on our farm was a bull riding practice arena. All the cowboys from the UTM rodeo team would come to our house to practice riding bulls. This was NOT a bad thing for a high school girl. The only drawback was that it was my responsibility to water the bulls (and horses and dogs and cats) and I was TERRIFIED of the bulls!

3. I have brought home homeless animals all my life and often used to lie to my parents and make up stories about where these animals mysteriously appeared from! :) I'm still a sucker for homeless pets and foster dogs (from Middle Tennessee Golden Retriever Rescue) still have a way of "showing up" at our house, much to my sweet hubbies chagrin.

4. When B and I were in Fryazino adopting our second son, we met a little African boy who stole my heart. We took pictures of him and the nanny's paraded him in front of us every day, showing us his fine motor skills, etc. and asking if we could help find him a home. I gave the photos to a few folks who have a strong heart for adoption, and a friend of a friend of a friend decided they wanted to pursue his adoption. He now lives one street over from me, but I didn't know the family at the time they saw his photo. He is a doll and I am SO thankful for God allowing me to be part of his coming home. And I'm so thrilled that he lives around the corner and is one of four kids in an amazing family!

5. I actually know TWO people who know Bono and one person who knows Sting. :) I'm practically famous!

6. Brian and I lived in the East Bay area of San Francisco for a VERY short time right after we got married. I LOVED it! It was collectively some of the best months of my life and I have the fondest memories of there. It was a great way to start a marriage.

So here are the rules if I tag you...
1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random facts about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the taggers know when your entry is up.

And I am tagging:

Barb in Finland (thanks for the Nestle research and I'm PRAYING hard for our little Sophia) who's adopting from St. Petersburg any day now.

Becky, super cool chick who just taught me to make the little linky thing in my post body... and she's created a monster, I use a link in almost every post. Also, she is the mother to Meg's possible future husband because I am all about arranged marriages!

Grace, my sweet sister-in-law, who always comes through for me EVERY time I need her. And did I mention she's the best aunt in the entire world! :)

Heather, the only other suburban mom I personally know (not counting cyber friends) who actually HAS a blog!

Katie, who is a personal hero of mine. And if you haven't checked out what God can do with a young life, then you really need to check out Katie's blog. I am tagging her because I am very, very interested to see what six random facts she will have to say about herself!

and Nicole, who I don't know, but she left a comment on my blog and I know she's getting ready to leave for China and just needs about one more thing to think about before she goes... and for some reason, I really connected with her "not me" list so I want to see what her six random things are! :)

Thanks for playing! :)