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

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! :)