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

Monday, March 30, 2009

I should be cleaning now!

Yeah, my house is a total disaster... welcome to the Monday post-weekend with all four kids home chaos. I should be cleaning it right now instead of posting to this time sucker therapeutic blessing blog!

I am just thankful for SO many things today that I had to get it out of me. First of all for my husband! He is so amazing! He called me to check in a few minutes ago and I can't believe how much I get excited to get a mid-day call from him after 12 years of marriage. I am so blessed to have a relationship that still feels new and exciting to me!

Also, I am thankful that I have a doctor, who I LOVE and TRUST and who might possibly be the best pediatrician on the planet, and who is only 40 minutes away by car (yes, there are closer pediatricians, but 40 minutes by car is closer than most of the world enjoys and I get to see someone I admire) and after seeing him I get to pay $10 for an anti-biotic that will fix my baby right up.

And that brings me to the biggest blessing of the day. Last night at about 12:15 I hear Meg crying out in long, non-sensical sentences. I rush into her room to see what the matter was and she was talking alot of nonsense and some things that I could make out, but that didn't seem right. I realize she is burning up with fever (103 to be exact) and figure out that she is actually hallucinating. I don't know why this didn't totally freak me out... well, actually, I do know why... it's pretty hard to throw me anything in the middle of the night that I haven't seen at one time or another so I don't tend to get too worked up if it's not apparently life threatening. But what was the blessing in all that? I gave her some Motrin (thank God for access even to that) and sat down beside her bed to pat her back until she fell back asleep. I had not felt good yesterday so I was dead tired and initially I was just wishing she would close her eyes so I could go back to sleep. But she is laying there on her stomach staring at me with those big brown eyes of hers and I remembered this post I put on her blog about this time last year. At that time, I had only seen my daughter in a photo. I worried that she was sick in the night with no one to comfort her. I worried that there was no one to scoop her up when she skinned her knee. And I worried that no one was wiping her tears when she cried. And I sat there, rubbing her back, not caring about my sleep, because I remembered the immense privilege it is to be sitting up in the night with her. And I am so thankful for that sweet moment with her.

I am also painfully aware how blessed we are to be dealing with pink eye and a double ear infection. Sweet Maggie is facing surgery today, and possibly a repeat of the surgery she already had. Stellan and his family are fighting for his very life. Precious little Hope is living every day with the real possibility of a grave injury or worse. My baby has a very minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, and for that, I am thankful too. And yet, somehow, in Jesus kingdom, all these other families are joyful in their situations too! Thank you Jesus for these friends!

Last but not least, I am thankful that I got to have a conversation today with a friend who is discerning religion for her family. I am thankful for that privilege because I know there are countries where the conversation would not be possible or logical, because there are places where there are no choices regarding religion.

"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care." Psalm 95:6-7

Please Pray!!!!

Friends, I am asking you all to PRAY today! Please! My sweet friend, Gwen, is at the hospital with her precious daughter Maggie. Maggie is this little light of a girl who was plucked right out of a Chinese orphanage by the hand of God, via my precious friend. Most of you know Gwen as the gal I am praying to Uganda for Abigail and Joseph. But right now, we need Maggie to be taken to the feet of Jesus in prayer! He can heal her wounds. You can read Maggie's story here!

Please take a moment now to ask Jesus to heal Maggie's wounds. He is doing a mighty work in her and through her. Her family is glorifying Him in every moment, both joyfully and in tears. Won't you please pray with me!?

Proverbs 18:10

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

Well, this seems as good a time as any to break out the photos and introduce you to the newest member of our family.... meet Mike!


The original plan, you may recall from last week, was to "rehome" this sweet fellow. But of course, the BEGGING started almost immediately upon his arrival (actually, we hadn't even gotten home yet when Jack was asking to keep him.) So I took the $100 that Millie's owner (remember Millie, the sweet Border Collie we found) and got his shots and got him ready for his new home so he would be much easier to place. And then they stepped up the begging a notch or two. And I caved (did I mention I am always a sucker for a stray animal or any other homeless creature?) And poor Brian pretty much got swept up in the current of a raging river of persuasion. Then Wednesday night we held a family meeting at dinner to discuss whether he would stay or go. Right now he is on a sort of parole because the kids have to fulfill one of the two conditions I had for him staying. First condition? Change his name, check. The kids had been calling him Charlie. It's a long story about how we arrived at that name, but it was meant to be a compliment to a very close friend of ours. Which was fine when I thought his stay was temporary... it was a little funny and Charlie didn't seem too upset about it (the human Charlie that is.) Anyway, when we decided to actually keep him though, I knew I could not keep his name and made that one of the conditions to his staying. So... the search for a name began. Connor submitted John McCain, which I personally loved and thought it was very fitting and would have kept, if it were up to me. Liam, who is a lover of all things minority, submitted Michael Jordan (basketball FANATIC!) and Martin Luther King, Jr., who we could call Luther (this was Brian's vote.) Seeing as how our sweet Golden boy is named Vince (think Vince Young of Titan's fame) I thought it would be nice to call the new dog Javon (as in Kearse) and we could have a team of Titans dogs. Jack was stubbornly sticking to Charlie, so I let him be the deciding vote on which of the four we went with... so meet Mike! As funny as it is to call the dogs in ("Mike, Vince, come here!") I still think it would have been a riot to name him John McCain. Can't you just hear me in the yard, "John McCain, get back here! .... John McCain, get off that couch!" hehehehe
In other weekly happenings around here. Is there anything more quintessentially boy than smashing things to small bits with a hammer... in protective eye gear, of course?
Then we must examine said small bits to see what we've created... or "de-created" as the case may be.

All the while being supervised by the loving eyes of Corduroy, the best bear a boy could love!

And at the end of the day, a little tiger (even bright green ones) needs a hug from Daddy! I took this photo because the tail was just too cute, sticking out from the comforting arms of my strong hubby.

Have a great weekend, and take some story telling photos of your own! And keep praying for MckMama, Stellan, the orphans of the world, and don't forget to buy your red envelopes!

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

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Red Envelope Day - March 31

This coming Tuesday is the day that we got our referral for Meg. I can't believe it was just one year ago that we didn't know her at all. She was a deep longing in my heart and a child with no one to love her. That breaks my heart! To think of the state she was in and the unfulfilled potential in her just one year ago, what her days were like, what her nights were like, she was on her own. She was unloved this time one year ago. Such a short time in the grand scheme of things, but what a long way from where she was. She is now cherished and loved and adored and meeting and exceeding every expectation we had for her, less than one year later.


A fellow blogger and adoptive parent, Heather, sent me information today on the Red Envelope campaign and I thought it was SUCH a perfect way to honor Meg and commemorate her anniversary date of us receiving her referral. I remember so vividly the moment I got that call from Carol at CSS and opened my e-mail to see this little photo.

I remember sending to Brian and Michelle and jumping around. And then sending it to our beloved pediatrician. I remember where I was the minute he called us back and almost every detail of what he told me about her and his thoughts on whether or not we should move forward (which probably didn't matter much by then, we were already in love.) I remember it all. And it stops my heart to think that her biological mother, the one who gave her life, the one thing I could not have given her, had another "choice", an "option" was available to her that would have changed the course of my life forever. And I am thankful every single day that there are women in situations so difficult I could never comprehend them, yet they choose to give their children a chance. All it took for Meg was a chance at life. God redeemed her. And He redeems the ones that seem, by worldly standards, to be forgotten too. Their miracles look different than Meg's miracle. And we don't understand it, really, we can't comprehend how a child in an orphanage or homeless, or born addicted to drugs, or into poverty, or completely alone in the world with no orphanage to go to could be anything other than a mistake. But that's because we think in the terms of earthly standards. We think of the little portion that we know as humans. We don't understand with a heavenly understanding, we don't see the big picture, we see through fog, but someday we will see clearly and we will stand shoulder to shoulder rejoicing in heaven with all the unborn victims of "medical advances" and "women's rights." We will see the cost of "choices" and we will praise God, even as we realize our ignorance and hang our heads in shame! And miraculously, at the same instant, we will receive freedom from our shame and we will be forgiven and covered in grace and mercy. I don't understand it, it's beyond my comprehension, but I know it will happen, I believe it!

But in the meantime, though I don't believe the hearts of men can ever be changed to the extent that abortion would be abolished. I have such a little amount of faith, not in God, but in men's willingness to make hard decisions that are against their own comfort and the main stream flow, that I don't think we will ever win this fight against death. And at the same time, I guess my lack of faith limits God's ability to truly change the hearts of men, for whatever reason, He requires our faith to act. But I believe that God holds me accountable if I don't try. He expects me to voice my opposition and stand up for what He has put on my heart. And this is such an easy way to make a big impact. Can you imagine the affect of thousands of red envelopes showing up at the White House? The President may not suddenly become pro-life, but someone in the mail room might take a longer look at an old belief. Someone in that mail room, or office, might be at a "decision point" in their own pregnancy and make a different choice. We never know, don't need to know, the long reaching arm of God in the small actions we take, it's only important that we follow what is required of us. We sew the seeds, He cultivates the harvest! And this is one time that we can count the cost, it's less than 50 cents! Please join me. And if you don't have an adopted child of your own to do this for, I would be honored if you would write Meg's name on that envelope, somewhere, and join me in commemorating the anniversary of her referral. The details are below:

Red Envelope Day

Barack Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event during his campaign, uttering the now infamous line, "Well, the first thing I'd do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. [Applause.] That's the first thing that I'd do."An empty red envelope will send a message to President Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue [The Freedom of Choice Act, which will essentially "undo" every law currently in place to limit abortion in the U.S. (i.e., parental consent laws, parental notification, waiting periods, prohibition of transporting a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion, etc.)]. It will be quiet, but clear.

Please read more about The Freedom of Choice Act here:

http://www.lifenews.com/nat4359.html

http://www.barackobama.com/2008/01/22/obama_statement_on_35th_annive.php

http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/07/one_year_annive.html

Here is what we can do:

Get a red envelope. You can buy them at Kinko's, or at party supply stores.

On the front, address it to

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message. "This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion. It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world."

We will mail the envelopes out March 31st, 2009 -- just put them in the mail that day from wherever you live.Please forward this event to every one of your friends who you think would send one, too. And they can in turn forward the information to their mailing lists. I wish we could send 50 million red envelopes, one for every aborted child who died [in the U.S.] before having a chance to live. It may seem that those who believe abortion is wrong are in a minority. It may seem like we have no voice and it's shameful to even bring it up. Let us show our President and the world that the voices of those of us who do not believe abortion is acceptable are not silent and must be heard.The Lord may use our simple collective showing to begin to change the heart of our President and others on this issue. Thank you.

"On that day, tell your son, 'I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.'" Exodus 13:8 (I do this for what the Lord did for me when I came out of Russia, three times, clutching a discarded life and thanking God every minute for it!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Attachment Issues

I sat down tonight to write a post about attachment. But then before I got to writing, I just had to peak in on Katie. Once again, I am blown away by her! How in the world did a 20 year old figure this out so soon in life and oh the years I wasted, not "getting it." I have so many thoughts going through my head. The Lord taught me so much today as I studied. Reading Crazy Love has been great, but the Word that has come to me through studying for the book has been even more crazy. I love when the Lord sits down to teach me. I feel so privileged to sit at the feet of the ultimate Professor and just soak in the Word He has for me specifically. Anyway, one thing Katie said today, and what I know that I know that I know, is that caring for orphans/fatherless/hungry/poor/widowed is not something that some are called to. If you proclaim Christ as your savior, YOU, my sweet friend, ARE called to love the orphans! Yes, YOU! I have heard so many times people tell me that they are not called to adopt or that their call to serve is x and not y. But friends, it's very clearly laid out in many books of the New Testament, but no where more clearly than in James that God/Christ are expecting us to care for the orphaned. It's not instead of whatever you feel called to, it's in addition to... I'm still blown away that we have enough Christians in the world to end the orphan crisis, and yet it persists! If you have a passion for something other than orphans, I know enough to know that God is using you very specifically to accomplish a goal. My grandma was a musician and gave her church the gift of teaching and piano for 70+ years, I know God called her to that. I know he blessed a great number of people with those gifts through her. But she also loved the poor... loved them in real ways, ways that weren't glamorous and didn't get her on any magazine covers. But putting a roof over their head when they needed it, helping refugees, and sharing our family holidays with widows in town, one in particular. This is what it is SUPPOSED to look like. She shared her gifts and her passion, but she ALSO cared for the ones God left us in charge of. Think about it, if you think that the orphans and widows aren't your calling, I'd challenge you to rethink that and dig into scripture to support your view. Katie said it better than me, please head over and read her post from today!

Now, as to what I was GOING to post about... I get alot of e-mails/calls regarding attachment questions. I love talking with adoptive families. I consider it paying forward for all the help I have received along this journey, and believe me friends, it's been tremendous and it is ongoing. I did not wake up one day knowing about attachment, I lived it, learned it, and was patiently brought along by some very amazing women, somehow they continue to love and tolerate me, my failings and my questions. Marianne Schroer is truly a goddess of attachment and if you live ANYWHERE in Middle Tennessee and have even the slightest inkling that you might need some help with your transition, the best money you could ever spend would be on consultation with her. But if you are just asking yourself some questions about whether or not you should be concerned, I dug up this checklist provided by ATTACh (Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children.)

"A child who exhibits several of the following signs and symptoms should be evaluated by a licensed therapist:

superficially engaging and charming
lack of eye contact
indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
lack of ability to give and receive affection on parents' terms - not cuddly
inappropriately demanding and clingy
persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter
poor peer relationships
low self-esteem
extreme control problems - may attempt to control openly or in sneaky ways
difficulty learning from mistakes
learning problems - disabilities, delays
poor impulse control
abnormal speech patterns
abnormal eating patterns
chronic "crazy" lying
stealing
destructive to self, others, property
cruel to animals
preoccupied with fire, blood, and gore"

The most difficult thing about diagnosing attachment issues is that alot of these things can be symptoms of other, more common problems (ADHD, SID, etc.) However, if you find yourself checking SEVERAL of the things on the list, then it's definitely time to have an evaluation from a licensed attachment professional. NOT just any therapist will do, it's imperative that you find someone who is recognized in the field of attachment and understands the very specific needs of an unattached or tentatively attached child. Believe me, this is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Hoping it will get better with time is not generally a solution and you can actually do more harm than good. There are so many good books you can read on attachment, at the very least, start with the ones recommended on the ATTACh site. It may seem strange to some to put this "hard stuff" on the bottom of a post asking people to check their beliefs about orphans, but I would counter by saying that I didn't say loving orphans was glamorous or easy, but it is what we are expected to do, however that looks for you.

I have a couple of other posts I am working on, one of which is a list of activities that will help facilitate attachment. This is one I think that can be very useful to ALL families when they are in the early post-adoption stages. It's never a bad idea to use facilitation activities in the beginning. I also have some information on dealing with cultural differences of children adopted from other countries. I have been trying to clean out all my old social work files and I am going to post the most commonly asked information here for others to use when they need. I will work on that this week and get them up sometime soon.

I also am getting ready to sell a HUGE amount of Meg's clothes. If you know of anyone with a little girl in the age range of 12-24 months, send them my e-mail address. I am thinking about posting the photos of all the clothes here on the blog before I put them on eBay so that I can offer them first to my "virtual friends." I sold a few to some folks already, but when I switched the seasons over, I found a whole stockpile of stuff that either doesn't fit that I thought would, or I had forgotten about. Just so you know, 100% of the proceeds will be going to an orphan related cause (I haven't decided exactly what that will be yet.)

And last but not least, please continue to pray for Stellan.

John 11:26
"Believest thou this?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Hey everyone, I realized today when I went to sign in on Not Me Monday that MckMama's little miracle baby is very sick and in serious health jeopardy. They need your prayers. Please pray with me and all the blog community for Stellan and his family.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Lady at Publix

Do you ever make a big fuss over the food that the demo ladies (and gents) are hawking, even if you don't like it? I do. More than once I've even felt obligated to put whatever they are demonstrating into my basket, only to come to my senses and ditch it somewhere else in the store. Why do I think it's personal to them if I don't like what the store has decided to highlight for the day? Seriously, I have issues! There is this precious lady at our Publix, an older lady, who stands right in the yummy cheeses section. I take a hard right coming in the door just to avoid her because I don't want to turn down whatever she might be demonstrating for the day. I grew up in a town that's claim to fame was a Banana Festival with a ONE TON banana pudding. Ewwww! I used to like Banana Pudding... what's not to like? So, every year, we would have the Banana Festival and cap off the fun week with a parade (what's better than a small town parade?) Anyway, the crowning glory of this parade was the Turner Dairy one ton banana pudding. It was in a huge clear vat, atop a flat bed trailer, rolled through the middle of town, down Lake Street, and finally came to a rest in the park, where I would stand for several minutes in line for a small styrofoam bowl of the stuff. Then at about age 10, I realized that this pudding had been sitting out in the heat, on a trailer, and there were people serving it who had to basically lean into the huge bowl to scoop out my serving. Of course, there was no way to entirely keep the flies and things out of it.... so, now to this day, I cannot eat anything that seems like it might be made in a vat. My friends make fun of me for this. They are constantly trying to point out stuff that I eat that they insist must be made in a vat. They even tried to convince me that wine and beer are made in vats.... maybe, but there is something about anything pudding-ish that seems like it's probably mass produced like that (pre-made pimento cheese, for example) that I just can't stomach.

Sorry, just some random thoughts spurred by the demo lady at Publix.... wonder if she notices I avoid her..... wonder if I should explain my vat phobia.... wonder if that would make her feel less rejected by me.... wonder if I am totally losing it? :)

Random question of the day... if you leave your laundry in the washer for three days (not really saying it was an accident, not really saying it wasn't) how many drier sheets does it take to freshen it IF you decided not to re-rinse? Answer? I don't know, but I can tell you it's more than five!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sweet Dreams


Tonight Meg fell asleep in my arms. As lovely as the weekend was alone with my hubby, I have to admit, if I am being honest with myself, that it did take a bit of a toll on Meg. She has not been easy to put down for naps or bedtime since she got back. She doesn't really want me out of her sight and she wants to be held more than her norm. She does calm down pretty quickly at nap time, but at night she has been pretty hysterically upset if I try to leave her before she is drowsy. So tonight when I turned out her light (still holding her, ready to rock and sing) she went into overdrive and actually smacked me pretty hard. I ended up holding her for a long time and telling her that even though she may go visit, she will always be with Mommy and Daddy and that we will never leave her. She calmed down after a few minutes and then I just rocked her until she fell asleep. It's so sweet to hold your baby while they are sleeping, particularly if it's probably your last baby (no one panic BRIAN, I say probably because I have learned never to tempt God to prove me wrong.) I just held her and rocked, knowing that those times are numbered for me, at least with my own children, and that I didn't really care about the laundry or the dishes, those are still there now, and my baby just won't be a baby that much longer.


I had a conversation tonight with my sister-in-law who asked me if I was sad to be getting rid of so much of my baby stuff. She was asking me because she lives around the corner from me so I unload a trunk load of plastic on her every chance I get and I guess she must think there is SO much that I am sad about it. Truthfully, I think you know when you are done. And I really feel like I am. At least I don't feel like I will have another baby in my home. I would never say never to adoption because I know that if God called us at some point to take in a child, Brian and I probably would have the heart for it, but I don't think we will ever pursue another adoption like we sought out our children. God is gently speaking to my heart that there are other ways to help orphans than actually bringing them into my own home. In fact, with the money an adoption costs, you can help ALOT of orphans in Uganda, or most anywhere else for that matter. It's not a mother and a home, but it's more than they have now, and there are others out there who are called, it's just about spreading the word and planting seeds. I have to trust God for the harvest. And that's how I can go on and actually function while carrying this burden, I know God carries it too. So, while it does make me a bit nostalgic, it's not sad, so much, that there is a mass exodus of baby gear from our household. Now when I take the crib down for the fourth and final time, that will be a day for much condolence, I assure you!


Speaking of sweet people who are called, my sweet, precious neighbor, Janet, stopped me today and told me that she wants to make a donation to my friend, Gwen, for her adoption. See, there was a gold party in our neighborhood last week and Janet sold some gold. I went to the party just to see my friends, but I didn't have any gold to take because I gave all my gold to Gwen for her adoption fundraiser. I was thrilled to do it because adoption is close to my heart and I love Gwen. It wasn't a sacrificial gift, I gave something I wasn't using to someone I love and it was very easy to do. Now Janet, on the other hand, does not know Gwen. She has never met her. Janet does not have adopted children (though she loves mine and several others in the neighborhood) and as far as I know, she wasn't adopted herself either. But Janet is giving this money to Gwen because she wants to have a part in these two babies finding a family. I was SO touched by Janet's generosity. Really? You want to help someone you don't know accomplish a cause that you haven't experienced first-hand? You want to share in your treasures? I didn't expect it, I certainly wouldn't have ever even thought of it. And I KNOW Gwen didn't think of it. But I was so humbled by Janet's offer for my friend. I was so humbled by how generous this was. It doesn't matter in the least to me what amount Janet gives. I don't even want to know, I want to give it to Gwen in an envelope and not know what is inside (if it's $2 or $20, it doesn't change the motivation.) I just want to notice that today God sent me a neighbor to show me what it's supposed to look like. He didn't want me to miss the fact that I had read today from 2 Corinthians about sharing in our abundance and He sent someone to my path only minutes later to show me what it looks like when we do that for one another. He answered a prayer for me today in a way that He meant for me to take notice of, and I wanted to tell you too, because our God is BIG, He is REAL, He cares about the poor and oppressed and orphaned and ANYONE else who is hurting.


2 Corinthians 8:13-15

"Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."


Thanks Janet, for being my neighbor today! And Gwen's neighbor too!

Not Me Monday

Well, this week's Not Me is a humdinger, let me tell you. Because LAST week I most certainly did NOT link the WRONG Not Me post to MckMama's Mr. Linky, and then wonder "Why in the heck does everyone keep talking to me about Disney?" HA! "Well, genius Ondrea, that would be because you put the Not-Me URL from Disney in Mr. Linky-thing instead of the actual current Not Me." So, sorry to all you faithful readers (all 5 of you) who linked over to the OLD post, wondering why the heck I was playing the game with an old Not-Me. I am sure you must have done something wrong on your end because there is NO way I made a technical mistake, nope, not me!

My kids did not talk me into letting them put bubbles into my whirlpool tub (you know, the one that says NEVER use bubble bath.) If I had let them talk me into it, that would be silly because I know from experience that the bubbles get so tall they cover the kids. I also would know from experience, if I had ever actually let them do that, that the bubbles get into the motor of the tub and there will be bubbles in the bath for eternity (or at least the next 15 baths) until all the soap actually runs through there, even when you don't actually WANT a bubble bath. So, there is NO way I would ever let them do that, speaking from experience and all. And if I had actually let them do it, this would not have been the result!







And there is no way in the world that four clean, shining children who live in my household could possibly produce THIS MUCH dirt from one bath. No way, because you see, my children do not get dirty, they play in their Sunday clothes day in and day out with no stains, spills, or tears. So, there just has to be some other explanation for what was left in my previously clean tub when they did get out of it.




I am not one of those people who takes photos when I see something in a store I want to make buy. Actually, mostly I would take photos of the quotes I would want to remember so I could actually use those.... but that would be if I was that type of person, which I am not, but if I was, then I would have liked this quote from Winnie the Pooh on a frame that I saw during Feile Franklin and I would have been planning to write it on something for my friend's upcoming 40th birthday dinner.




My husband is definitely NOT Irish. He is not proud of the fact that he has dual citizenship, and he does not tell our kids how lucky they are to be Russian/American/Irish on St. Patrick's Day. He does not make such a big stinkin deal out of us all dressing in green take so much pride in his Irish heritage that Liam dressed in green from head to toe for the occasion. He even wore a TIE... TO SCHOOL! Or wait, maybe he didn't.... but anyway, I'm not actually a little over the top proud of his Irish family too. I'm not so in love with his Irish cousins that I wish I could adopt all of them too (along with the 147,000,000 others who need me [or YOU] to love them.)




Speaking of not being Irish... the leprechauns do not ever come to our house on the eve of St. Patrick's Day. We make a big point to keep the little buggers out of the house at all cost, but if they did happen to get in, they would not have squirted shaving cream all over the bathroom mirror and written edicts to our family (like Green Rules or Go Green) in the shaving cream. They would not ever clean out their nasty little ears and leave the green food coloring ear wax on the end of their swabs, which would most certainly not be thrown on the bathroom floor. They wouldn't leave green pea in the toilet, they wouldn't turn the toothbrushes all green from where they stuck them in their nasty little mouths, and they wouldn't have left tiny little footprints on the bathroom counter from where they were messy with the toothpaste and then walked through it. This would never happen because leprechauns are nice little folk who are not dirty (they only get a bath once a year before the big day, you know) and they are not at all known for their mischief.


And last, but certainly not least, this photo does not have one thing to do with a Monday or Not Me (because it's actually NOT me.) And I would not be posting this here just in the hopes of embarrassing my neighbor. Because actually, I happen to know that he wouldn't be embarrassed by this photo snapped of him at the Feile Franklin Irish Street Festival last weekend. He would not be embarrassed because he actually isn't Irish either and if you don't know, it's darn near impossible to embarrass the Irish... they'll do anything in the name of a good time! :)



Actually, this is going to be last... because I did NOT totally completely and utterly FORGET that today is Monday... not me. How lame would that be? Seriously, I didn't have my post prepared ahead of time and everything and I am not sitting here kicking myself knowing I'll be about number 3,000 on Mr. Linky. ARGH!

So there you have it, my friends, all the things I didn't do, and would never admit to if I had. If you haven't done anything crazy this week that you'd like to hide from the world confess for all to judge, then by all means, just head over to MckMama's the check out what all the "normal" people are in a stir about. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Me Monday

It's another Monday, another opportunity to head over to McMama's place and get your "Not Me" on... or just read mine and laugh (or cry) at my crazy life. Or maybe just be thoroughly confused, because apparently there is a whole contingency of people who can't figure out if I actually do these things or not. :)

This week I did NOT spend the whole week planning in my head what I would do with a completely child free 48 hours. I would not be looking forward to two entire days alone with my hubby, who I have actually really not been alone with for eight months. The last time we were actually alone was NOT in St. Petersburg, Russia... that would mean that it has been eight whole months since we've had time to just remember what it is we like about hanging out together... that's way too long!

I also did NOT (no way, no how) actually sleep until 9:47 Saturday morning. Ahhhh, the glory of sleep. I did wake up at 6:15 and think momentarily that I would not be able to get back to sleep, but then, blissfully, I drifted back into oblivion for three more hours.

I did not get a visit from my sweet neighbor this week, who is expecting her third child, to tell me that it's also her third BOY! She brought me a green cupcake with dirt and worms on it to tell me that there would be yet another dirty little munchkin making a trail between her house and mine.

I did not sew two pairs of pants, one dress and one shirt in the free time I had on Saturday!

I did not miss my kids at all. I mean, knowing all too well how quickly the time would go, why would I waste any of that glorious free time missing them? Well, maybe I DID do this, just a little... you figure it out. :)

My sweet husband did not make me breakfast BOTH days this weekend. And Sunday morning he didn't actually even garnish the plate with orange wedges. Is this what life will be like when the nest is empty? Not that I'm anywhere CLOSE to having an empty nest (which is probably why I can flippantly refer to it without tears in my eyes) because by the time our nest actually is empty (if we are still alive) we will be so old that someone will be pureeing our breakfast for us. :)

I did not rescue TWO dogs this week.The first was the aforementioned sweet Millie, who was only momentarily at our house. Number two on the adventure this week is the little vagabond who showed up at my dad's house and luckily landed here at my house rather than the other fate that awaited him if I hadn't agreed to take him. My dad is a softy for animals like I am, but he (the dog) would have met a much crueler fate if my dad's one attempt (calling me) at rehoming his had not worked.

I did not have a great night out on Saturday with several couples from our neighborhood.We did not attend Feile Franklin, an Irish festival, together. It was not so nice to be out with friends we don't see much of in the winter (in the summer we are all together constantly as a result of swim team, boating, etc. that we do together) and just a good chance to catch up with some fun folks.

At said event, I did not make an appetizer that was actually completely eaten AND complimented. As I may have mentioned, I am not a very good cook and rarely have I ever taken a dish that was actually all eaten, much less complimented. I guess buffalo chicken dip will be my new staple dish to bring to parties. At this event, my neighbors did not have the sweetest things to say about Meg, reminding me once again how blessed we are and how amazing God is!

What didn't you do this week? Head on over to MckMama's to participate in your own confessions!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Glory of the Dollar Store

Is there any more perfect combination in a kids mind than the lure of The Dollar Store and the wallet of a grandparent? I'm not sure I can think 0f one. Ask any of my three older kids what their favorite things in life are and the Dollar Store is sure to hit the top five for all three of them. Add to that the abundant indulgence of a grandparent and you have a child's utopia. My kids are in Memphis for the weekend..... pause here for dramatic effect... just imagine the quiet, the conversation, the dinners out at adult venues, the SLEEP... that has occurred in this house this weekend. Oh yeah, back to the topic, so, my kids have gone to spend the weekend with Maggie and Gee (Brian's parents) and they are capping off the weekend with a trip to their favorite venue. I can't wait to see the treasures they bring home.

They will be surprised to see that we are bringing home another treasure from the weekend too. My dad called me yesterday to tell me that a stray dog has shown up at his house. It's a small male dog that looks like a miniature Golden Retriever. According to my dad, it's a fairly young, very friendly dog who needs a new home (because when you live on a farm like my dad, if you don't have a purpose or a job, you don't get fed) so he asked if I would "foster" him and find a home. SO, of course, bleeding heart for all things homeless.... yes, I'll take it. I'll post of photo of him once we get him here and I get him cleaned up, etc.... just in case you're in the market for a smallish Golden Retriever. :)

In the meantime, please head over to Katie's blog and check out what's happening in Uganda. Our friends, Mike and Suzanne, are there this week, getting their hands on those precious children and letting God get His hands on them in a new way. It really makes me long to serve Him more!

Isaiah 48:6
" You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? "From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

These two pumpkins LOVE each other! :)

These were Jack's Open Market products. He sold out, they really were cute!


This sweet dog was wandering around at the school on Wednesday. She did not have on a collar so of course, my kids begged me not to leave her there. We brought her home and made signs of "Found Dog" to post all over the area. By the afernoon, the family called us and were VERY happy to have Millie back. But Jack cried to see her go because she was so sweet. AND she could play basketball too. Seriously, just like Air Bud, she would bump the ball back to us with her nose and scoot it into a soccer goal. She was so amazing... now guess who is begging for a Border Collie.... crazy! :)





Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hope Hollis

Dear friends, so many of you have asked me for an update on Hope Hollis, the sweet little angel on my sidebar with the adorable little glasses. Her sweet mommy sent this to me today and I wanted to pass it on to you.
"I want to give a quick update on our little Hope. As you know, her cardiologist appointment is scheduled for late June, and at that time, we will find out whether God had healed her little heart or whether He is going to allow her to go through a third open heart surgery. Praying Friends, we are believing for a miracle with every bit of faith we can muster!!!
To celebrate Hope's life, we have decided to take her to Disney World over Spring Break. We plan to dress her up as Cinderella one day, Snow White the next, and then as Belle. We plan to tie balloons all over her stroller, take baths in pink cotton candy, and even try to get Hope in the front car to lead one of the morning parades wearing her very own Mickey Mouse ears! We will introduce her to Cinderella, let her have lunch with Winnie the Pooh, take flight with Dumbo over the Magic Kingdom, and stay up late watching fireworks. We can hardly wait!
Our family has a choice to make. We can allow Hope's uncertain future to bring us down and cause us to fret, or we can choose to jump in and enjoy our lives with her. We are choosing JOY!!!
Thank you for standing with our family with your prayers for Hope! May God continually be glorified through her little life."

I also want to add that there is another condition Hope has been diagnosed with. I do not understand all the implications or medical ramifications, but as I understand it, Hope was born with a larger than average separation between some of the vertebrae in her neck. This is apparently not uncommon for children with Down Syndrome, but of course, we were hoping this wouldn't apply to Hope because she has already suffered so many "ailments" and life threatening issues. As I understand it, the problem with these separations is that a wrong move or a hard blow could cause irreversible damage to Hope's spinal column. Friends, I cannot tell you in a way that would help you truly know the daily faith that it takes for this family just to get out of bed in the morning. If I told you all the ways Satan has attacked this family, all the angles he has used to try to rob these precious friends of their joy and hope, you would probably not believe me. And I can honestly tell you that even through the extreme trials this family has faced, they have glorified the Father, they have sought Him, not in spite of, but MORE SO because and through it all. Please, please, please join me in praying for this precious child. The world needs more Hope Hollis right now, not less. She is precious and even though we know that she belongs to Him, and it's easy for me as a sister to place her completely in God's hands and trust that He will do according to His will and it will be the right thing, it's a different thing entirely for her mother to willingly lay her in the arms of the Lord, knowing full well that He may choose to take her to heaven with Him. I ask you to pray with me for Hope's healing, but also for the courage, wisdom, understanding and faith the entire Hollis family needs right now.

Thank you so much!

Lamentations 3:21-24
"Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

More of this craziness...

This book is really rocking my world right now. I'm telling you, God is doing something with me that, quite frankly, I'm a little scared of. I really do believe things come to us in their own time, His own time, when He's ready to carve something out or put something in that you didn't see coming.

Today, the exercise in the chapter I am reading was to ask ourselves if we are answering God's greatest call to us, to love. The way we can know if we really are doing this is to turn to God's definition of love and substitute our name each time God defines love. Honestly, I'm humbled even to put this out there... humbled to have to examine myself not only in the quiet privacy of my own soul, but for others to read and judge as well. Those who know me will certainly be shocked into judgment as they read these, it's startling to see your name laid out there lie this. So, for me, it looks like this (or more acccurately, it SHOULD look like this):

1 Corinthians 13

Ondrea never gives up.
Ondrea cares more for others than she does for herself.
Ondrea doesn't want what she doesn't have (okay, I'm working on that one pretty hard.)
Ondrea doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force herself on others, isn't always "me first."
Ondrea doesn't fly off the handle (wonder if we should just ask my children.)
Ondrea doesn't keep score of the sins of others.
Ondrea doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the Truth.
Ondrea puts up with anything (should we ask my husband?)
Ondrea trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.

Did you put your name into any of those? Now, obviously, I am falling WAY short on every single one of these. I'm failing so miserably I can't even bring myself to comment on half of them. But the ones that really hit home are the ones that most directly affect my family. Particularly my children, whom God has graciously (lavishly and heaps of grace) given me to love and parent. Seriously, God told us to love the orphans, and then He so LOVINGLY called me to do it. He placed a burning passion in my heart and then allowed me to go out and fill it! Do you know how completely and utterly and wholly lucky.... blessed.... I am? How many people have been given a passion in life, I mean, the kind that gives their life purpose to the point that they don't have to ask what is the meaning of life? And then of those lucky few who are called and whose passion is revealed, how many get to live out their passion and pursue it the way God has allowed me to pursue mine? He started by giving me a husband who would carry that passion with me, who would allow me to follow the dream even when he didn't feel called, and then He placed the circumstances in our life to prompt us. He gave us the resources to make good on our promises. And He then gave us a daily opportunity to "care for orphans", you know, the ones "He did not leave as orphans." So, what does that look like? How am I doing on the love scale? ļ¼©mean, I'm loving orphans... burning for them. But then I'm not loving the ones in my home in a way that glorifies God and brings me into closer relationship with Him. So, though I might speak with the tongues of angels, though I might give everything I have, though I might prophecy or worship, it's all for nothing if I'm failing at love. And I'll say it here first, I might not be failing, but I'm certainly floundering. I'm barely above average and I know God is calling me to more. Average is evil in God's eyes!

By the way, all the quotes lately are from "The Message" translation of the Bible. I love my NIV for study, but The Message just brings the words to life in a way that is very hard to ignore.

Lamentations 3

"I called out your name, O God, called from the bottom of the pit. You listened when I called out, 'don't shut your ears! Get me out of here! Save me!' You came close when I called out. You said, "It's going to be alright."

Friday, March 06, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday... and a little more

Okay friends, I thought I could get off on a rant. But then I found this awesome, cool adoptive mom who just took all the words right out of my mouth! And she was ranting about something that I haven't ranted about in a while and it reminded me of how absolutely annoying it can be when people are so freakin' clueless. Check it out... http://rdehaus.blogspot.com/2008/11/etiquette-lesson.html



Also, another thing I have been noticing and meaning to write about that I haven't taken time to say... mostly because I've been so consumed with trying to figure out how to sell all my possessions and give them to the poor without actually doing it. Seriously, isn't that what we're supposed to do? Read that passage in the Bible (Matthew 19:21) and then figure out what the heck Jesus REALLY meant because surely he didn't intend for me to live a life of less. Hmmmm, still working on it, but I'll let you know if I come up with something brilliant... k?



So, what I have also been thinking about is how this on-line blogging community really is just that... a community. It's very much like making friends. My friends who don't blog or don't at least follow blogs don't really understand that. Most blogs start out as a way for a blogger to chronicle some things of a personal nature. Sometimes maybe it's started with the intent of educating or whatever, but not the blogs I follow. Most of us are just moms who started out writing for our families and it developed into something more... an outlet for us, a community of like-minded women supporting one another, a way to remind ourselves that we are not alone, a connection to the outside world that's sometimes hard to come by when you're raising little children, and just plain entertaining too. The thing I have noticed for myself is that the people who follow my blog and the folks whose blogs I follow are mostly like-minded individuals who have something in common with me and me with them. A great majority of us are adoptive families, which immediately means we "get" each other on some level. The rest are certainly mom's and no one understands a mom's heart like another mom. So, you take a bunch of women who have something very sacred in common, and voila, community. But it goes beyond that. There are also "conversations" that take place in blog land. All the time I see a post on someone's blog that I want to comment on, like responding to a friend in conversation. And sometimes those posts or those comments spur posts on my own blog, where I link back to the original poster's prompting, which brings my friends (followers) to her blog and instantly, I've introduced one of my friends to another of my friends. So, the conversation continues and the community grows and we all sort of seem to know one another. I mean, how many of you reading this haven't at least once popped over to MckMama (Brian, you don't count!) So, then, in blog land, you start to follow blogs and you realize that these women follow pretty much the same ones you do (you know all the same people, like at PTO meetings.) You see the same faces and same links all around. And that furthers the notion that if these women all lived on your street (oh, what a glorious neighborhood that would be!) you'd definitely be having play dates and ranting about all this stuff in person... and MckMama would be taking our pictures for us and we'd be living in that Walgreen's commercial... you know, Perfect. But we don't and never will this side of heaven, so for now, I'll just keep blogging and keep letting my non-blog friends laugh at me when I say that Barb in Finland is my friend.



Cheerio my dear friends, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!



My favorite photo this week? This morning Liam asked me to take a photo of his shoes because he wanted to remember them just the way they are (brand new with no scuffs.) Precious! So I took a photo of his whole body, not just his shoes, because although he's not brand new, he's pretty "unscuffed" right now and I want to remember HIM just this way! And as I was watching him walk to the bus stop with my heart so heavy it felt like it would break because of all the struggles he has to deal with in life, I remembered that Jesus loves him as much as he ever loved anyone and Jesus' heart is breaking for him too. And as pitiful as it is to watch him struggle with all the effects of what was done to him as an infant, the good news is that he is loved and precious!






Oh yeah, and if it's still freezing cold where you are, just ignore the fact that he was leaving for school with no coat because it's supposed to be warm here this weekend! :)

Genesis 35:11 "And God said to him, "I am God Almighty ; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Easy stuff is so hard!

Here is the quote from today's reading of Crazy Love that just has me stumped. Maybe the answers is further into the book? Maybe I need to dig into the Word and find it for myself. Maybe if I do dig in, I will find what I want to find and not what God is trying to tell me. But you tell me, what do you make of it?

"Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them - they have their retirement plans in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live - they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis - their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God."

This is Lent. For Catholics, that usually means sacrificing something. But for most of us, it's nothing that hurts too much. Here's what God says about the kind of fasting that means something to Him:

Isaiah 58: 6- 8 from The Message translation

"This is the kind of fast day I am after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once."

c.o.n.v.i.c.t.i.o.n.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Crazy Love

I am reading a book right now called Crazy Love. The book itself is a bit crazy... or radical is probably a better word. I won't spoil it all for you, but I am going to ask you to go out and get it and read it along with me. It's riveting and I am going to need a whole host of folks to help me process because it's so beyond my comprehension level at some times, it's so much bigger than me, that I don't think I can shoulder it all by myself. So, get yourself a copy and let's talk about it. But beware, God is probably going to ask something big of you through it.

Today as I was reading I was struck, literally STRUCK as in a board to the head, by a few things that I was reading. I have read so many times and stood in awe so often of the verses in Psalm 139 where David tells us of God's great love for us and how we were created for Him and by Him and that He knew us before he formed us, even before He formed Earth He knew that today would come and this was scheduled in His day-timer of my life. I love that entire chapter of Psalms because it's so encouraging to me. And then I read Jeremiah 1 today and heard the Lord say again that He knew me before I was born and that He had made great plans for me. They may not seem great in the grand scheme of humanity, but they are His plans and therefore they are great. He has planned for me to serve Him in some very ordinary and a few extraordinary ways, but I'm doing what He called me to do and that makes it significant. The part that hit me anew and fresh today was when the author of this book, Francis Chan, makes the connection between those verses and Ephesians 2:10, in which Paul tells us that we were created (conceived in the Mind of God before we were conceived in the womb, or even our parents were conceived) to "do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Wow, He already has a "to-do" list for me and He has spent every day of my life preparing me to accomplish those things, which by the world's standards may be insignificant, but by His standards are essential to the bigger picture. Then the author goes on to say, "My existence was not random, nor was it an accident." This immediately set my spirit groaning. There are so many children in this world who are victims of "worldly knowledge" or convenience or standards. Children who were not accidents, who were not random, who have or had very specific calls from God, specific to-do lists that were or are set aside ONLY for them. But many of these children are never given a chance at accomplishing these tasks because of our medical "advances" and advice of well-meaning, but misguided doctors. Many children never get the chance to accomplish God's goals for them because it's an "inconvenient" time for their parents. And still others, with whom my heart resides, are trying to fulfill their God given lists without the guidance of a loving parent or maybe having never even heard of God because they are never really spoken to, just spoken at, by the adults who care for them in orphanages. All these 147,000,000 orphans in the world were not random creations, not accidents, but purposefully created by God. Some of them will find their way home and live out the destiny God created for them. But far more will not be given the chance at that life that God meant for them to have because not enough people are willing to bridge the chasm between comfortable and "known" to the giant unknown of adoption. I read somewhere last week (maybe it was Katie's blog, not sure) that around 30% of Christians consider adopting at some point, but only 1% actually do. Only 1%, are you KIDDING me? Friends, we are all adopted! God adopted us when Jesus died on the cross. We are all part of an adoptive family! God gave us a stellar example of what He wants family to look like with Mary and Joseph.... Joseph adopted Jesus! Wow, just think of it, right there in THE Christian family is God's endorsement for adoption. I am blown away by the fact that 30% of Christians consider adopting. What stops them, I wonder? Fear? The unknown? The "hassle" of it? The daunting task? Money? I wonder if God is in those restraints? Is it God's will that holds back these 30%? I know that God does not call everyone to adopt, but if 30% of Christians are "open" to it, and if they actually followed through, do you realize there would not be one orphan in the world? 30% is enough to end the orphan crisis altogether. Somewhere there is a child whose destiny, planned, wanted, needed, scheduled, is not being realized because there is someone who is dismissing God's nudging at their heart. Somewhere there is a child who is waiting for his or her mother and father to stop considering and just put one foot in front of the other in faith. Is it you? I'm not saying it is you, clearly not all have been called. But if you were called, and you have considered it, what's stopping you? God needs you to step in so He can start clicking some things off that child's to-do list. If you feel the urge, but feel the fulfillment is just too much or you are overwhelmed and don't even know where to start, please e-mail me directly or leave me a comment. I will pray with you. I will help you sort through all your options and decisions. I will help you raise money, I will tell you what I know and put you in touch with people who know more. Just please take that little first step!

From The Message translation of Jeremiah 1:

"Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you..."

In this chapter, God also encourages us not to feel incapable, He says, "Don't say, 'I'm only a boy.' I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there. I'll tell you what to say and you'll say it. Don't be afraid of a soul. I'll be right there, looking after you."

Monday, March 02, 2009

What am I, some kind of overachiever?

Whew, two blog posts in one day? What am I, some kind of blogachiever or something? Anyway, I just visited a blog I have been to several times before, but today I noticed that she was creating this really fun blog carnival... on a whim, I decided to participate. Why did I DO that? I mean, like I really need another blog to read... but anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, she is doing this fun blog carnival and I wanted to jump in on it and you might just be interested in it yourself. Go have some fun with Lynette at "Dancing Barefoot". And participate in Getting to Know You, if you feel so inclined. And even if you don't participate, you can still go check out all the other fun, she-she people that are actually participating... you might just find someone you love over there. :) Just click on the link below and then click to your hearts content while you get to know lots of other folks out there in Bloggyville.



Oh yeah, and since it's still Monday, might I add that I did NOT make it through a $200 trip to the grocery today with BOTH my pre-schooler AND my 2 year old in tow. I did not accomplish this by an ingenius game I thought up on the way into said grocery (whose employees all wear green vests.) I gave them a box of Jelly Belly candy and told them that they were "invisible pills." Every time they saw someone wearing green they needed to take a pill because today all pirates were wearing green. If a Pirate saw them before they took their pill, we'd be pillaged and made to walk the plank. They did a most excellent job of playing the game and you would not believe how many people were wearing green today (besides said employees.) And so what if they ate so much sugar that they ruined their lunch... there were NO tears at the grocery! :) I call that one successful Monday!

My verse for the day is Song of Songs... the entire book. Seriously, it's only like 7 chapters long and if you read it in The Message translation of the Bible, it's a beautiful love story that will make you just want to squeeze your hubby too tight!

Not Me Monday

Another Monday, another Blog Carnival... if you haven't felt the cathartic cleansing of participation, then git yer booty to MckMama's to confess your own "Not Me's". But not until after you've read mine!

My whole family is not in on the "Not Me" act. My brother does not EVER make suggestions for things I should confess here. He wouldn't do that because of course, he would know that would be very RUDE of him to point out my flaws. So of course, being the great brother he is, he wouldn't do that... but let's move on. His wife, who actually isn't RUDE, did NOT e-mail me his suggestion this week (while looking at my Disney photos on-line) and he did not say that I should add "I did NOT take 4,000,000 pictures in the "It's a Small World" ride." And I actually did NOT take all those millions of shots in that particular ride because I was taking requests from the peanut gallery. I did not have a very excited 7 year old sitting behind me yelling (very loudly I might add) "Mom, take a picture of that one. Ooooh, take a picture of that! Oh, oh, take a picture of that girl. Did you get that one?" You get the, um, picture.

I did NOT hear myself say this, "If you touch him one more time...", "I asked you to stop... ", "If you cry you will not get that... " and then realize, "Hey, it's not me... it's the family next to me and it sounds EXACTLY like the conversation I just had with my own kids." :)

I was not happy to know that our family is normal. And I did not say all those things to my kids at least once each last week and then sort of smile involuntarily when it was not my kid laying on the ground begging for a balloon. I didn't mean to, NOT ME!

I did not curse this woman, who kept sticking her little point and shoot into MY shot!

And of course, if it weren't for that pesky little safari tour guide, (who, I might add, was way too peppy for all us parents who had been with dragging our kids around the Magic Kingdom for four days) I could have gotten alot better shots. She was so insistent about keeping our arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and remaining in our seats... I mean, you'd think there were wild animals about or something! Ugh...

I have NOT finished all our dirty laundry from last week. I didn't say it was folded and put away. In fact, it is most certainly NOT laying in a big pile on my bedroom floor and my dog absolutely, no way, positively did NOT make it his bed last night. I mean, that would be wrong on so many levels, especially since he hasn't been bathed in at least a few weeks.

We did not have the most fabulous and laziest weekend known to man. I don't know the last time that I have spent a weekend where I did not eat one meal outside of this house, but this weekend we did and it was NOT wonderful to lay around in our jammies with all four kids watching movies every night until we all fell asleep. I guess none of us were ready for the "togetherness" to end.

I did NOT have a wonderful time at the Magic Kingdom, I was not totally proud of all four of my kids for their individual contributions to the week, I was not a little sad to see the week end and us have to go back to our regular lives, and then I also was not happy to be home sleeping in my own bed without six people in the same room. None of that happened, no way!

And now I am not totally stressed about the fact that the END OF SCHOOL is almost here... can you believe it? and I have SO much stuff to do and dangit, I have to go now, because, well, there's alot of stuff that I have to do...