Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My toddler wants to marry Jesus!

Recently my husband asked my 2 year old who he was going to marry.

My toddler thought for a minute and said, "Jesus!"

My 4 year old daughter immediately chimed in, "You can't marry Jesus! Because He's in Heaven!"

Then her reasoning took a completely different route than I expected.

"And He's an adult. You have to marry a kid."

My husband interjected, "You don't marry a kid. When you are an adult you marry another adult."

To which my daughter replied, "Yeah, but you can't marry your teacher because when you're an adult she'll be a grandma!"

I'm thankful for 4 year old logic and the fact that Jesus comes up in our daily conversations.

And as for marrying Jesus, He is the ultimate bridegroom isn't He?
Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. Matt 9:15

Find more Thankful Thursday.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sibling Sweetness

"The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend." -Cali Rae Turner

I caught this shot of my younger son and daughter at an Easter egg hunt this past weekend. I love it because it illustrates one of the great joys of my life -- to watch the friendships develop between my children!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What is He doing?

A few months ago before we began sharing with our family and close friends that we planned to adopt a child from Ethiopia, we had prepared ourselves for a variety of reactions from supportive to completely opposed and everything in between.

My dad was definitely an area of concern as far as what his reaction would be. I was pretty confident he would not be ecstatically happy about the idea, I just didn't know how negative he'd be.

For three or four weeks I tried to tell him the news but things just kept interfering. I'd call and he'd be about to get on an airplane, he'd call me back and I'd be right in the middle of something with the kids and not really able to talk. I was beginning to feel bad, nearly everyone else close to us knew and I was afraid he was going to find out through someone else.

But finally after nearly 4 weeks of trying, I was able to get a hold of him on a Saturday during a time convenient for both of us to talk a bit. After I told him the first thing he said was, "I'm glad I'm hearing this now. I just saw the movie The Blind Side last night and it makes me see this whole thing differently than I would have before seeing that movie."

He was able to take the news calmly, even be slightly supportive, much better than I expected! But, if I had told him when I planned to 3 weeks earlier, the result could have been (and likely would have been) so different.

God orchestrated that timing!

For three weeks I wondered why we couldn't seem to connect for more than a 2 minute phone call! Which brings me to a point I need reminding of every day:

We don't always know what God is doing.

One of the aspects of the Easter story I didn't think much about until recent years was just how dark everything must have seemed right after Jesus died on the cross. To His followers, His family, His disciples their king was dead. They had placed all their hopes in Jesus, many left everything to follow Him. They became sure He was their savior. And then they watched Him die, a horrific death. I cannot even fathom the despair they must have felt! But oh how everything changed on Sunday! He was alive again, God had raised him from the dead!

I recently did a Bible study on Genesis ch. 39 & 40 where Joseph is put in prison because Potiphar's wife falsely accused him. Joseph did the right thing, he ran away when she tried to seduce him, but he ended up being the one thrown in jail. At that point I'm sure no one, especially not Joseph, could imagine how God was going to use that situation for good, but He did use it to lead to Joseph becoming the 2nd most important man in all of Egypt!

Although we don't always know what God is doing, we do know that He is good, and He is causing all things to work together for good.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The post that is NOT about shoes

It's Not Me! Monday (a blog carnival created by MckMama; you can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing - but really have!)

On Friday, I did NOT finally get so tired of picking my 1st grader (who knows how to tie his shoe laces, but just often chooses not to) up at school to find his shoes like this:

that I said, "That's it! We are going back to Velcro shoes!"

My son is actually thrilled with his new tennis shoes/water sandals, so it's a win for everyone! (I'm sure his teacher was tired of seeing him with his shoes untied all day, too!)

We did NOT have a conversation that went like this:
Me: "Doesn't it bother you having your laces flapping around every time you walk?"
7 year old: looks at me confused as if he can't understand why that would bother anyone
Me: "Well, it bothers
me when your laces are flapping around like that!"

And while I'm denying things, that afternoon when I had all 3 of my children in the Stride Rite store, there is NO WAY each of them measured a full one to one & a half size larger than the shoes they wore into the store. As a mother, I am totally on top of my kids' foot growth and never let them wear shoes that are too small to the point that one of my children looked worried when trying on a shoe that actually fit and said, "It feels funny!" and I had to explain that it would feel different but your toe is not actually supposed to be up against the front of your shoes. NOPE, NOT ME!!

And since I truly am a lover of the $15 Target shoes over the Stride Rite shoes, there is NO WAY Stride Rite won me over with their "Buy one pair, get one half off sale" to the point that I actually wished we already had our 4th child because once we picked out a pair of shoes for all 3 of my kids, I had to go and buy my daughter a 2nd pair of shoes to really maximize the sale!

And my final shoe confession: When my 4 year old daughter desperately wanted to wear her new white sandals to church this morning, I did NOT refuse to let her and say, "You can't wear white shoes before Easter!" Seriously, I would NEVER follow such an arbitrary fashion rule!

And when she asked why her little brother got to wear his new sandals when she couldn't wear hers, I did NOT answer, "Well, his sandals are brown, and that's a year 'round color."

Find more Mama Guilt Mondays here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Unclassifiable! Yes, unclassifiable! As in not able to be classified.

That's what U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) finally deemed my fingerprints after I went in 2 different times to let them take my prints.

These fingerprints are crucial for our I-600A, which is the approval to be able to bring the child we adopt from Ethiopia into the U.S.

It sounds kinda cool to have unclassifiable prints, but in reality?

Not so cool.

Especially if you are not trying to live a life of crime, but rather trying to adopt a child from a foreign country!

So, after gathering police clearances (which was a whole adventure in and of itself) from 2 different police departments representing the 2 cities I've lived in during the past 5 years that stated I was not a criminal, I headed in today for my appointment with CIS (which falls under the Dept. of Homeland Security).

At 9:30 this morning I got to see my 3rd Department of Homeland Security office in my city. I had no idea we even had one before beginning this adoption journey and now I've been in three in less than three months.

And I'm here to tell you, the Dept. of Homeland Security? Doesn't mess around! You would probably be glad to know that such an important office to the welfare of our country has tight security and elaborate, specific procedures around their offices. But, should you actually have to go to one (or three), all the security and elaborate, specific procedures just serve to stress you out!

There are tons of signs posted everywhere, which are just printed out on white pieces of paper and taped up, explaining the various rules and procedures. They say things like, "Place bags here to be x-ray scanned, even sunglasses must be sent through the scanner." "Turn off your cell phone." "Turn in your appointment form here." "Stand here and wait to be called. Do not approach the window until you are called." "Have your picture idea ready." "Fill out only the highlighted areas" "Exit this door."

I graduated from a university with a degree, but somehow I am still not smart enough for these offices. I did tons of things wrong each time.

Today, there was a no food rule (which I don't think the other 2 offices had) and because I had my toddler with me, I had packed several snacks in my purse, all of which were confiscated at the security checkpoint by the scanner guy! Sorry, I must have missed that sign!

But, praise God, the actual appointment didn't take very long. And after swearing under oath that I am not a criminal and providing police department proof that I am not a criminal, I think they may actually believe I am not a criminal. And hopefully we'll be getting the final approval in the mail soon -- the last document we are waiting on before we can be on the wait list for a child!

At least I don't have to gain 30 lbs for this child, but if these hurdles keep multiplying I am gonna need an epidural!

Find more What I learned this week here.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mommy Job Security

There was a night a while back at the end of a long day, my husband got home late, and after dinner I stole away to the couch to rest a bit while my husband started the bedtime process for our 3 kids. The following are 13 things I heard shouted down from the upstairs in the 10 minutes I attempted to take a break downstairs on the couch:

Mom, where's Jack? (my oldest son's stuffed dog)

Go see if Mommy can get your hair bands out.

Mommy, come read me a story!

Where are his regular jammies? All I can find are the warm jammies!

I want Mommy!

Mom, come up here!

Mommy will brush my teeth.

Are you going to lay out his clothes for tomorrow?

But I love Mommy!

Daddy, you did it the wrong way, I fixed it.

Where's Mommy?

Mommy, will you still say prayers with me?

I need Mommy!

Although tiring at times and lacking in breaks or overtime pay, I am ever so thankful for my mommy job!

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

His Camping Bag

You may remember this post I did last year (and republished last week) on my daughter's camping bag. Well, before our camping trip this year, the kids again eagerly got out their bags and couldn't wait to begin packing. I encouraged them to pack because it would occupy them while I did the real packing of their clothes for the trip.

But I got busy and forgot to check-up on their packing until later when I noticed my toddler's suitcase set out in the hallway outside his room.

I couldn't wait to lift the lid and see just what my 2 year old had packed for his camping adventure.

I should have guessed! His security object, the large stuffed bulldog he calls "Big Duke"! There was also another smaller stuffed dog and a very small plastic red sword that goes with his knight action figures.

Because when you're camping you absolutely must have your best dogs for comfort and you never know when you might need the ability to fight off the 3 inch tall bad guys!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Better Purpose for Our Money

My children followed me like three little ducks as I wound my way down aisles of bookshelves to the back of the store. I removed the books I'd brought in from the bag over my shoulder and stacked them on the counter. The woman working there looked the books over and said kind of apologetically as if she thought I'd expect more, "I can give you $6 for them."

"Great!" I said, excited to turn unwanted books into cash, exhilarated to be ridding my home of clutter and getting paid to do it!

She printed off a little receipt for me that I could redeem at the check-out with the $6.00 amount printed on it, and I was ready for my 2nd mission in that store. . .

Introduce my children to the Half Price Bookstore.

They were skeptical about it when I launched the idea at home on the Friday afternoon of their Spring Break. "Can't we just go to a regular bookstore!" my oldest lamented. But when I led them over to the children's section of the Half Price Books, they were amazed. It seemed a lot like the regular bookstore! "Are these books really used, Mama?" they asked. "Yes," I told them, and then slightly under my breath, "although more gently used than you guys seem to
use books!"

There was a particular book I was looking for, one our library didn't have available for check-out, one that correlated with a play I was taking my 4 year old daughter to soon and wanted to read her the book first. We found it in great condition and $1.98. Then I told my boys they could each pick one book. One of my sons picked a book that was $3.75. I glanced down at the $6 ticket in my hand and said, "There are 3 of you and I have $6, you can each get one that is $1.98." He argued briefly that I could just pay the extra from my wallet, even offered to use his allowance at one point. I found a $1.98 book on Benjamin Franklin. My son has a new interest in inventions and non-fiction books, so he was sold on it.

It felt good at the register to be able to buy them all three a good book for only some spare change to cover the tax after I turned in the $6 ticket.

Then as I got in the car and began to drive home, another feeling kind of crept in. Was I being too frugal? I mean in the store I was acting as if the $6.00 printed on the ticket was the only money we had in the world, when we really could have afforded to spend more. Did I really want my kids looking back at their childhood and remembering their mom saying, "No, Honey, you need to pick a cheaper used book"?

But then I remembered the reason for my ever increasing frugality. It is, thankfully, not because of our need. My husband's salary has not decreased these last few years, actually the opposite, but we are challenging ourselves to spend less on stuff for us, so we have more to give away to those who truly have need.

That evening after the used bookstore expedition, we opened the mail and found this:
It's a letter from a little girl named Juliet we currently sponsor who is an orphan in Uganda, and says "I love you so much. I pray for you and your family. I like hearing songs." and then later, "I am 8 years old. God has good plans for you. God loves us all. I love you. love, Juliet." We've sponsored her for a few years now, paying $30 per month for her care in the Lulwanda Children's Home.

And then and there my husband and I sat down with our kids and did something we've talked about for a few months now, we sponsored another child. Although we sponsor one, we've felt compelled to do more and have been moved by the work Compassion International is doing in the lives of children living in poverty.

So, Friday evening we sat around the computer together and browsed the profiles of kids we could sponsor. We decided on Mathews, a little boy from Ethiopia (where we are adopting a daughter from) who is 7 just like my oldest son. And we committed to be a part of his life for a long time, hopefully until he is grown, God-willing. We'll send the $38 per month to provide him with food and clean water, medical care, education, and most important he'll be taught about Jesus! But, as a family (Compassion encourages but does not require writing to your sponsored child) we also committed to writing to Mathews once a month to let him know we care about him and God does, too.

When we finished, I was excited, excited to become a part of this boy's life. Excited to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in his life. Excited for another tie to Ethiopia, a country we will forever be linked to once we bring home our daughter from there. Excited to maybe even get to meet Mathews during 1 of the 2 trips we will make to Ethiopia over the next year to adopt our daughter (God just may bring good out of the 2 trips requirement, yet!)!

And then there was the opportunity for the teachable moment. I told my kids, "You know we could have easily spent $38 in that used bookstore today. Even with the books being half price, there were several neat ones, ones that came with toys, even. I know if I'd let you, you guys could have spent that much and more, but because we didn't we can send that money to help Mathews have things like water and food that he really needs.

I'm grateful to be able to make life better for Juliet and Mathews, and I'm so very grateful for a better purpose for our God-given money than blowing it in a bookstore!

This post is part of the
Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!
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Not another picture of the potty!

It's Not Me! Monday (a blog carnival created by MckMama; you can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing - but really have!)

We did NOT go camping last week with our 3 children ages 7, 4, and 2.

And this is most certainly NOT a picture of the side of our tent, with the little blue potty out for all the world to see! We were NOT too lazy to walk the 5 minute walk down to the potties every time one of the little kids had to go, thus using the "tent potty" often!

Speaking of potty breaks, during the car trip to camping, while we were right smack dab in the middle of nowhere, my 7 year old did NOT suddenly announce he had to go potty RIGHT NOW and could only wait one minute! I did NOT launch into a long lecture about the fact that the human bladder does not in fact fill up all of the sudden, but gradually over a period of time and thus he could have told us sooner before he had to go so bad! Those 2 biochemistry classes I took in college are NOT paying off!

After we got home, we did NOT spend the last half of Spring Break sleeping in! I am NOT in love with Daylight Savings time and the fact that my boys who always rise by 7AM slept until 8 every morning!

And in case you missed my post over the weekend. I did NOT spend a good portion of my Friday night creating a fanny pack for my blog!

Can't wait to hear what you've NOT been up to!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's like a fanny pack for my blog!

I've been doing a little spring cleaning around my house this end of spring break week and decided it was finally time to tackle some blog straightening issues I've been putting off, too!

It seems the changes didn't make things much prettier around here, but they are more functional, I hope. And now at the age of 33, I'm afraid function is beginning to trump attractiveness in nearly every facet of my life. I may even begin sporting a fanny pack! Okay, not really! But I did spend a good bit of my Friday night changing HTML code and I don't think it gets much dorkier than that!

So, you regulars, can you spot the changes? Pretend its Highlights magazine!

I added a Followers Gadget on the right sidebar because I've heard from a few different people that they wanted to follow but couldn't figure out how. As you may know, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to all the bloggy technical stuff, so for the life of me I have no idea what the difference is between subscribers and followers, but I do know that they must be different because my Google subscribers number is double my number of followers. But, I can appreciate that if you sign-up as a follower then I can see who you are and come visit you at your blog, so that is better than being just a subscriber!! Click that little "follow" button and you'll be sure not to miss a bit of the chaos and I can get to know you, too!

The other thing I've wanted to add forever but not made the time for before last night -- a navigation bar! Isn't it gorgeous? That brown and green bar with the words "home", "about", etc. under my title. Go ahead click on the words and see what happens! I'm not a good enough HTML code wizard to make it pretty, remember we're going for function. That was the best I could do and to do any more would surely have brought on the need for an Excedrin or Aleve or fake fingernails to replace the ones I would completely chew off if I had to revert back to my original blog template one more time!

I'm thankful I did not have to learn the lesson the hard way and now I will pass on this gem to anyone else who suffers from lack of bloggy technical knowledge -- you want to back-up your blog template before you do any messing with your code because if you break the whole thing you will have the option of reverting back to the original!

And if you want to know how to add a navigation bar to your site seeing as how it is so beautiful over here, this post is how I went about adding the navigation bar. Followed the instructions step-by-step.

I've even added a shopping feature to the blog, because the ability to shop makes everything better, right? Click on "shop" there in the shiny, new navigation bar and you'll enter the "It Feels Like Chaos store" powered by I've put a few items in the store and will add more later, but rest assured, although I get a small portion of the proceeds from any sales, I will only put things in the store that I absolutely love and have truly used or read in my real life!

Feel free to impart any blog design/template changing knowledge you have, it should be painfully clear that I need it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recommended Reads

  • Since announcing on this blog and in real life, our plans to adopt a child I've gotten several emails regarding adoption, which I love. Adoption has become a subject very near and dear to my heart. But there is one question I have gotten more than a couple times and really struggled with how to answer and that is, "I really want to adopt but my husband is not on board, what should I do?" I've struggled with it because I do believe in God's design that the husband is the head of the family and should lead in such key decisions. And I've struggled with it because adoption is a hard thing and just getting as far down the road of it as we have, I am so thankful it wasn't something I wanted more than my husband or talked him into. He actually made the 1st real step on his own. We'd talked countless hours on the subject over months and months, but when it came down to the initial contact with our adoption agency I didn't even know my husband had done it until I got an email from the agency with the message, "Congratulations on the completing the first step in your adoption!" And I was like, "Okay, I guess we're doing this!" Anyway, I apologize for avoiding this hard question but I've been praying about how to answer it and God lead me to this blog video.
  • There are benefits to roadtrips because I usually don't have much time to read beyond my weekly Bible studies, but I have read nearly the entire book Don't Waste Your Life in the past week and I seriously recommend it! John Piper will shatter many of your preconceived ideas on living a Godly life and he uses Scripture as his basis throughout the book.

Find more Friday Fragments and Finer Things Friday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just give him a river and some rocks!

We're back! We had a wonderful get-away; I'll share more on it later. I'm still in Spring Break mode so I won't write much.

But I did want to share my toddler's new passion. It was the highlight of the trip for him. He told my husband and me so just yesterday. I should have guessed because really I saw it in his face at the time, the utter delight. It was like he discovered what he was born to do. All the kids did it some,
but the toddler did it over and over again for a long time. It is the longest I've ever clocked his attention span. And had we not drug him away, I have no doubt he could have done it forever.

So what it is, this thing my toddler so loves?

Throwing rocks in the river!

And I loved watching him do it!

Find more Thankful Thursday, Things I Love Thursday & A Thousand Words Thursday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brotherly Love Revisited

***This was originally published March 11, 2009. These brothers are now 7 and almost 3. They've been sharing a room for nearly a year now; they still feel this way about each other (most of the time, anyway!) ***

This picture of my boys says a thousand words about the love between brothers.

Here are 13 things it says to me:
  1. These 2 brothers are now just turned 6 years old and almost 2. They will soon be sharing a room. I plan to frame this picture and hang it in their room to remind them of their love for each other!
  2. For me, a big blessing of having a 3rd child has been watching my oldest (who was a young 4 year old when his brother was born) enjoy the baby. When his sister was born he was just 2 and too young to really get the big brother role.
  3. My oldest began praying for a baby brother months before my husband and I even had made the decision to try for a 3rd child.
  4. At the end of most days, my oldest still prays, "Thank you for my baby brother" and it just makes all the work of the day caring for 3 little kids so worth it!
  5. I love the way my baby's arms are really hugging onto his big brother's arm. And now that he is almost 2, the infatuation is still there -- Oh how he loves his "Brober"!
  6. When Big Brother comes home from kindergarten and sits down at the table with his homework sheet and a pencil, Little Brother runs to get some paper and crayons and sits down next to Big Brother to work alongside him!
  7. It is not a fun day for mom, however, when Little Brother gets overly zealous and colors on Big Brother's homework sheet!
  8. Think how much they will learn from each other over the years!
  9. "Sibling relationships - and 80 percent of Americans have at least one - outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust." ~Erica E. Goode, "The Secret World of Siblings," U.S. News & World Report, 10 January 1994
  10. A great quote, “Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” ~Marc Brown
  11. Another, "It takes two men to make one brother." ~Israel Zangwill
  12. Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor"
  13. 1 John 3:16, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Camping Bag (Republished)

***This was originally published on March 18, 2009***

We are camping for the end of this Spring Break week. Actually combining a trip to Sea World with a camping trip that my husband and oldest son have been dreaming of for months and months. This afternoon I told my 3 year old daughter we needed to pack for our camping trip. I set a bag in her room and before I could pack it, I got distracted in another part of the house.

I returned a few minutes later to find this.

Behold my daughter's bag all packed for camping:

13 things I'd like to say about this picture:
  1. Yes, that is a fairy princess wand, along with her blankie, a couple books, a little doll and a stuffed rabbit.
  2. Clearly she has no idea what she is in for with this camping thing.
  3. Or maybe she does. The wand could actually come in handy to transform our freezing, sleeping on the ground, bug tortured selves into palace dwellers!
  4. I think she's crazy for packing this bag for camping, but how crazy are her parents for going camping with our 3 kids ages 6, 3, and 1?!!!
  5. I'm not really sure how I got roped into this camping adventure.
  6. It began as a day trip to Sea World, 3 hrs there, 3 hrs back, and we'd all sleep soundly in our own cozy beds after an exciting, fun-filled day.
  7. Then it became "let's combine this trip with the camping dream that our oldest child has had" (and also his dad). My husband even persuaded me with shopping -- "Then we could stop by that great outlet mall the next day before heading home!" he said.
  8. I thought, "Okay, I can stand anything for one night, especially if there is shopping at the end of it."
  9. Then somehow it became 2 nights and my husband practically bought out the REI store, even a 2 room tent!
  10. Now, to justify his purchases (which include both cold weather and warm weather sleeping bags for every member of our family!) he is talking about camping a few times a year!
  11. Did I mention that I'm not a big fan of camping? Mostly because I am a fan of personal hygiene and climate control and sleeping more than a couple inches from my 3 children!
  12. And now I'm signed up for a lifetime (yes the tent is guaranteed to last a lifetime) of camping.
  13. But, I am thankful, in advance, for the family memories that this camping is sure to create! One thing I am sure of. The camping adventure -- it will be memorable!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Caught on Camera

***This was originally published Feb. 8, 2009. The ages of my children have changed by about a year, but basically all this kind of stuff still happens!***

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by
MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. This is my first stab at a Not Me! post but surprisingly I could think of tons of things I DID NOT do, so here goes!

I DID NOT catch my 1 year-old eating a cracker with completely filthy, dirty, black hands!

I most certainly DID NOT take a picture to document this filthy cracker hand for all the world to marvel at my super parenting abilities! Seriously, y'all, how does a hand get that dirty and then get a cracker without a mother noticing?

I DID NOT happen to find this article entitled,
"Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You" that same day by chance and declare myself an awesome mother for allowing my kid to eat dirt that very morning!

I DID NOT spend an entire week documenting every moment with the bunny mascot from my daughter's preschool class so we could complete the Bunny Journal.

And when my little girl woke up the night before the bunny had to be returned to school crying that she didn't want to take Benjamin Bunny back to school, I definitely DID NOT wildly dig through our stuffed animal bin, pull out a white bunny from the bottom and declare it Benjamin Bunny's long lost sister Becca Bunny who could stay at our house forever and ever! No, I would NOT do that because that would be mind games and I DO NOT subject my children to that sort of fantasy world! And, by the way my daughter DID NOT fall for the long lost sister bit and is NOT now carrying Becca Bunny everywhere!

We DID NOT go to the car show and let our 3 children climb all over, rub fingerprints on, and pretend drive all the brand new cars while the salespeople frowned at them!

My cart DID NOT look like this leaving Target on Friday. We DO NOT attract attention from other storegoers when my 5 year-old chooses to ride in the bottom like this!

Okay, now your turn, what did you NOT DO this past week?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is it really possible to overuse the word "awesome"?

So after the mind-spinning news yesterday that we'll now have to travel twice to Ethiopia for our adoption instead of the expected one trip, and my reminding myself that God is in control and using the Rom. 8:28 verse that He causes all things to work together for good on my blog, I walked into my Thursday Bible Study this morning and what was written across the white board? "God is in control. He is faithful." And the ladies were reading 8 different verses relating to God being in control and faithful, including Rom. 8:28! Is God awesome, or what?

And speaking of God being awesome. The FedEx delivery man brought a very important envelope this afternoon. The FBI clearances we've waited over 10 weeks for!!! And we passed! No criminal records! I wasn't worried about that part, but I was worried after all that waiting they'd send a notice that they couldn't process my fingerprints, like the notice I got from Immigration. So getting the clearances is a huge relief and huge step closer to the waiting list for us. Now we are only waiting on one document -- our approval letter from Citizenship & Immigration Services - then we will go on the wait list and around 5 months after that be matched with a child in Ethiopia. I know there will come a time when I'll get tired of the wait list, but right now it is very much the green grass on the other side of this enormous paperwork process we've been in for nearly 6 months! And no, I don't believe it is a coincidence that we got this key piece of long-awaited paperwork the next day after getting the hard news of Ethiopia now requiring two trips. I believe it was God reaffirming this path we are on towards adoption.

I know you're sad I didn't post another picture of my mail with all its excitement, but I have a consolation prize in the form of a picture of my bathroom! My toddler is now so good at using the potty that I can even send him in to the bathroom to go by himself, which is awesome, until I go in later and it looks like this. . .

And in case you were wondering, yes I did re-roll that toilet paper back onto the spindle to be used and yes, I am too cheap to just rip off the unrolled portion and throw it away! I hope you're thinking, "Awesome, I would so re-roll that t.p. too!" and not "Gross!"

Speaking of the bathroom, my 7 year old ran in a few days ago, peed and yelled, "Mom, something awesome happened! Right when I pulled down my pants I went, so I didn’t have to wait at all!" Me: "Wow, Buddy, that is awesome!"

I don't pretend to understand the mind of a 7 year old boy!

One more funny kid statement for you. My toddler was doing something a little crazy on the stairs and I cautioned, "Be careful." To which he replied, "I try not to go to the hospital, Mommy."

"Awesome, that's really a good goal for us all!"

Spring Break starts tomorrow so I'll be doing some re-publishing of old posts for some of next week to have more time to hang out with my kids. Assuming I survive all the awesome Spring Break fun, I may post some new stuff mid to late next week.

Have an awesome weekend! And feel free to sound off in my comments on the answer to the question asked in the title.

Find more Friday Fragments, Finer Things Friday, 7 Quick Takes Friday.
Find more Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thirteen Thoughts on Two Trips

We knew it before we started. Adoption is a roller coaster ride.

In domestic adoptions birth mothers can change their minds up to 48 hours after the baby is born. I know friends who have been called to the hospital the day the baby they've been matched with is born. They held him, took tons of pictures, emailed all the relatives, fell in love, only to find out the next day the birth mother changed her mind, she decided to parent her child rather than giving him up for adoption.

In international adoptions countries can change the rules partway through or even shut down their adoptions entirely.

We signed up anyway.

It was a huge step of faith and to look at the whole process seemed too overwhelming, so we decided to take it one step at a time and trust that God would lead us one phone call, one document, one check written at a time. And He has.

We've already had a couple of unexpected delays and we hoped they would be it. The bumpy spots on our adoption road that all adoptive families seem to experience somewhere along the way.

But today brought a bigger bump, actually a semi-hill, for us as well as anyone in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has been a one trip country for adoptions. You pass court and the child is legally yours before you ever travel. Then you'd go for 1 week to pick up your child and bring them home. This 1 trip policy was rather unique as many countries require multiple trips during an adoption process.

The word broke today that now Ethiopia will require adoptive parents to travel twice. One trip of around 5 days duration shortly after getting the referral (where you are matched with a specific child) to meet the child and testify that you are willing to adopt the child and then another trip 3 to 6 weeks later to finalize the adoption, have the embassy appointment and pick up the child's visa. The 2nd trip is around 1 week.

We don't have a lot of details around the change. Our agency sent out an email and is likely scrambling to figure out the ramifications themselves before communicating more via conference call. I belong to a few different Ethiopia adoption groups and can say the news has definitely rocked many people's worlds.

More expense for an extra trip, more time off work, leaving current children behind for now not only 1 trip but 2, the fact that both parents must travel for the court trip (before only 1 parent had to travel even to pick up the child), and leaving Ethiopia at the end of that 1st trip without our child are all huge issues facing adoptive parents.

But there are positives. For one, it seems we'll be able to see, meet, and hold our adoptive child sooner. (Although we will have the agony of leaving her behind when we return home for a few weeks without her.) Also, there is the fact that due to immigration rules, because we will meet our child before adopting them, when they set foot on U.S. soil they will automatically become citizens. Before they would have come over on a Visa which would have required us to re-adopt them here in the U.S. before they became citizens. Also, hopefully the new process will help solve the problems a few people have had where they traveled to pick up the child who was legally theirs by this point (but they'd never seen in real life) and they discovered their agency (have not heard of anyone experiencing this with the agency we're using) had misrepresented the child to them and the child was either a different age or had more medical & developmental issues than the agency let on.

We are thankful to have no doubt that God lead us to this journey and although we can't see the whole road, we are trusting Him with it. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three Lil' Texans

For today's Wordless & Wordful Wednesday I have 3 pictures from our trip to the livestock show this past weekend. I couldn't pick just 1!

My cowboys and cowgirl:

The toddler getting up close and personal with a goat:

Llama feeding:

Especially Entertaining, Educating & Engaging

There is something I've found that entertains my kids for long periods of time, enhances their creativity, and is easily available.


I save extras from stationary sets or envelopes that come with bills we pay electronically so we don't need them, I seem to have an unending free supply.

My kids love creating mail for each other, my husband, and me. Sometimes they even have treasure hunts where they hide the envelopes and have me search for them. The entertainment possibilities they come up with when given empty, unused envelopes amazes me! And it encourages them to write, draw, spell and read!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer while Kristin is away.

And don't forget to follow Kristin's journey in Kenya.

Monday, March 8, 2010

From 1 to 2 to 3

One of my newest bloggy friends is Lisa from Little Writer Momma and she posed the question last week, "How was it going from 2 (kids) to 3 (kids) for you?" I used to get asked that question all the time, but now many of my in real life friends have had their 3rd (and a couple even 4th) kids so I don't hear it as much, but it is an interesting question. So before we add a 4th child with our adoption from Ethiopia and I completely forget what life was like with only 3, here are my thoughts on the transition not only from 2 to 3 kids, but 1 to 2 also.

When you have your 1st baby and you give him a bath for the 1st time in the baby bathtub, you are thinking, "Is the water too hot? Too cold? How much soap do I use? How exactly do I wash that area of his neck under his chin (the spot where the spit-up collects)? How do I get this slippery baby out of the tub? What if I drop him?"

When you have your 2nd baby and you give her a bath for the 1st time in the baby bathtub, all you can think is, "Wow, she is so tiny! I love the baby bathtub! Oh how quickly she will outgrow this!"

When you have your 3rd baby, you think, "I know I didn't give him a bath yesterday, but I'm so tired I think I'm gonna skip that bath again today. He's a newborn; it's not like he played in the sandbox or anything! I mean, how dirty could he be?"

When you have that 1st baby obviously everything is new and exciting. But it is a huge life change! Nearly everything becomes different overnight when that baby is born! Honestly it is hard for me to even remember life with zero kids but the adjustment from 0 to 1 kid has to be the hardest.

I think everybody ought to have at least 2 kids, because the huge blessing of that 2nd baby is that you
enjoy them so much more. Now you know a little more what you are doing, you worry less, and you know just how quickly all those phases pass! The baby is the easy part about having a 2nd child. The big adjustment is managing the toddler/bigger kid with the baby. There is no napping when the baby naps if your 2 year old is awake! And try having the patience needed to manage a toddler when you have been up all night with a newborn! My husband used to say the adjustment to 2 kids was harder on the dads because their free time diminishes substantially. After mom has been juggling two kids all day, when her husband gets home he's either taking 1 or both those kids. The other big adjustment with having a 2nd child is the sibling fighting. In my experience, this is an issue earlier if your firstborn is a boy. From day 1 you will have to worry about him being too rough with the baby, both by accident and on purpose. I remember distinctly the first time my son hit his baby sister. Oh the conflict when your mama lion instincts see your precious baby hurt by someone but realize that someone is your beloved other child! At the same time, you get to witness the blessing of watching the sweet interactions between your 2 children, and watch their friendship grow. With the addition of a 2nd child there's also the issue of managing 2 different kid schedules. With one baby, life revolves around their nap schedule, but with the 2nd baby you will have to navigate around the older child's activities, and you'll find yourself waking up that baby to go pick up the older child at school. But as a positive, most second born kids are more easy-going as a result!

Now the transition from 2 kids to 3 brings, for lack of a better word, chaos. If you are a momma that must have your children under control, perfectly dressed, noses wiped, nobody crying, and everyone with shoes on the correct feet every time you go out, don't have 3 kids (or at least not 3 close in age to each other). Because you are 1 momma and there are 3 of them. Chances are very high that anytime you are out and about with all 3, someone will spill a drink, have a fit, get lost, fall down, or do something embarrassing. You just can't control them all, all the time. The best way I can describe having 3 kids is more life!

You have one more child and with that one more child you have more joy, more wash, more hugs, more crying, more smiles, more messes, more laughter, more teeth to brush, more dancing, more throwing up, more playing, more getting hurt, more "I love you"s, more runny noses, more kid artwork, more dishes, more memories.

More love!

Of course, the more is there with each of the transitions but it becomes more pronounced with the move from 2 to 3. For example, moving from 1 child to 2 children the noise will double in your household, so for the move to 3 children it triples, right? Wrong! Multiply the noise level by about 10! I'm not sure why it works like that but I've noticed that math is true even for playdates among non-sibling kids. A playdate with my 1 child plus 1 friend (2 kids) = rather calm and quiet but if I add another friend (3 kids), suddenly it is like a stampede of elephants have invaded my home!

I could say a lot more about this subject but this post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge, so I'm out of time. Maybe I'll revisit this topic in a future post!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Find more Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Not Enough Hours in the Day!

I'm joining up with Kelly's Korner for Show Us Your Life and her topic this week is what is your typical day like? Really I have no typical day, each day is different, so I'll just share today:

6:25 AM - alarm goes off, I hit snooze

6:30 AM - I get out of bed, jump into workout clothes and begin Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred workout

7 AM - done with Shred and in shower

7:15 AM - make sack lunch for 1st grader

7:20 - 8:50 AM - eat breakfast, clean up kitchen, start some wash, get 2 little kids ready for the day, read to them, get dinner started in the crock pot, finish getting dressed myself, do nebulizer treatment on my 2 year old who is sick with bronchitis

9 AM - drop off my 4 year old at preschool

9 AM - noon - toddler's cough is still too bad to go to Community Bible Study which he and I usually do every Thursday, so instead we hang out, do some chores, run by the grocery store, and the car wash.

*** Right here can I just insert that due to the bronchitis (which he gets a lot just a couple days after coming down with a common cold) my toddler is taking steroids to help his airway open up and allow him to breathe easier. But do you want to know what is even crazier than spending your morning with a toddler? Spending your morning with a toddler on steroids! I'm not at all kidding when I say that I said a lot of prayers for patience.

noon - normally I'd pick up my daughter at preschool, but my husband picked her up today so they could have a special lunch date. What did she want to eat on her date? A hot dog and Sprite! She's a cheap date! Toddler and I have lunch together on our back patio

12:45 - 1PM read stories to Toddler and do another nebulizer treatment, then he goes down for a nap

1PM - 1:20 PM read stories with my daughter, then she has rest time, today she actually sleeps, which is rare

1:20 - 2:40 PM I clean up a little, have some quiet time when I pray and read scripture, rest a little, finish wash from earlier, make the dough for a batch of cookies I'll bake later

PM wake up little kids and get them in the car with snacks so we can pick up my 1st grader at school

PM pick up 1st grader

PM home getting snack for 1st grader and talking about his day

PM begin getting kids ready to take my daughter to her swim lesson & son's baseball immediately following

4:05 PM leave for swimming

PM her lesson starts, I visit with a friend while watching her swim, entertaining toddler, and looking over 1st grader's homework

5:00 PM her swimming is over, dry her off, herd everyone into the car

5:25 PM triangulate with husband on the phone; he help's coach son's baseball and is coming from work and meeting us at practice

5:30 PM arrive at 7 year old's baseball, he discovers he left his hat at home and suggests I go get it; I lecture him on taking responsibility for his own stuff and that I need to go home and make dinner and can't bring him back his hat; I find another hat in his baseball bag; 7 year old doesn't want that hat; the other coach is there and my husband will be soon, I send my son into practice and actually use the word "hustle" at some point

5:45 - 6:30 PM finish making dinner (part of it was in the crock pot all day), bathe my 2 little kids, call my mom to check on her, clean up some stuff, recruit my 2 little kids into cleaning up a little

6:45 PM - Husband and son are home from practice, we eat dinner as a family

7:15 PM - bake cookies mixed up earlier

7:45 PM - help tuck kids into bed

8PM - 8:45 PM - Husband and I watch Survivor (Survivor and Lost are the only 2 TV shows we watch) episode from the DVR

8:45 PM - 10:15 PM - work on cooking ahead a couple recipes in the kitchen while my husband does dinner dishes, while we work we listen to a Matt Chandler sermon, and then visit about it

10:15 PM - finally time to sit down and blog

11 PM or so - hopefully bedtime!!

*** Tuesdays and Thursdays are our crazy days with my older kids having activities in the afternoon, but at least the other 3 days of the week we can spend more time at home together and not running around so much!! ****

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

God Bless Texas!

I'd like to share a little culture with those of you who may not be from around these parts. It's rodeo time here in Texas and I couldn't be happier to be a Texan!

To help you understand, I give you 13 things I love about this rodeo season:

1. This is the one of time of year when you do actually see horse-drawn wagons on the roads. I realize (because I've met them before) there are people who think this is how Texas is all the time, but believe it or not we do have cars!

2. At the rodeo not only can you see calf roping, barrel racing, and bull riding, but also mutton bustin' where (I'm not kidding) kids ages 5 and 6 years old attempt to ride a "mutton" or sheep the longest! At least the parents who allow their babies to hang on the back of a running, bucking sheep have the good sense to put helmets on them 1st, or maybe that's just because the event coordinators require it!

3. Rodeo season gives us all an excuse to wear western clothes and is there anything cuter than little cowgirls and cowboys?

4. Not only do they serve BBQ at the rodeo, but fried Oreos.

5. And funnel cake sundaes (because a regular funnel cake is not fattening enough, you must add ice cream and chocolate sauce and whipped cream!)

6. And chocolate dipped cheesecake

7. And all kinds of food on a stick that you never imagined could be served on a stick!

8. The livestock show is the only place I know where you can see pigs worth $140,000 and steers worth $300,000. Here's my daughter a couple years ago staring at the grand champion steer that would later auction for around $300,00. She decided she liked it so much, "Daddy, can I have him?"

9. At the livestock show my kids can see real milking demonstrations -- "so that's where our milk comes from!"

10. They also have a birthing center where you can see baby pigs, cows, sheep, horses, etc. that are just days old! So cute!

11. You can cheer on your favorite pig in the pig races!

12. The petting zoo provides all kinds of opportunities for strengthening your kids' immune systems!

13. And if all that were not enough, there is a huge carnival, too, with rides and fun houses and games that are nearly impossible to win but grown men pay tons of money to play over and over again in order to win a cheap stuffed animal!

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen , Things I Love Thursday & A Thousand Words Thursday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Solution to Many of Your Problems

Want to know the answer to many of the problems you may be facing?

Learn about people who have less, much, much less than you.

Stare poverty in the face, eye to eye, and I guarantee your heart will leave forever changed.

Do you need help organizing your house? Have trouble getting rid of stuff? I did, too, until I saw it. And now my excess disgusts me. I used to have two pair of running shoes. But then I read accounts and saw pictures of children in Africa who have never had even one pair of shoes.

Do you ever get tired of cooking dinner for your family? I did too, until I saw the stories of mothers who had no food at all to feed their children, for days, weeks, even months at a time!

Do you ever wonder what your purpose here in this life is? Why you are important? I did, too, until I realized as long as I am living, breathing on this earth I can be a difference in the lives of people who are hurting. I can shine light into their darkness. And you can too!

Kristin from We are THAT Family is joining the Compassion International trip to Kenya and will be blogging about it. Compassion is a super way to get involved being the difference in the life of someone in need because not only do you help financially, but you write to the child you sponsor and can provide them love and encouragement they may not otherwise have. Be sure to follow along on her journey with the link below.

I can't wait! Kenya is right next door to Ethiopia (on the South side) where we are in the process of adopting a daughter. To say Africa has changed our lives would be a huge understatement! Have you heard the slogan, "I need Africa more than Africa needs me."
The more I learn about Africa the more I believe that is totally true!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer while Kristin is away.

A Toddler-Sized Baseball Glove

Last baseball season I was constantly chasing my toddler off the field, out of the dugout, away from the swinging bats. Oh how much he wanted to be right in the middle of it all!

This year I'm trying a new tactic for baseball season toddler management.

I bought the toddler his own baseball glove.

That's right, I give up. You are only 2, but go, play baseball with the big boys if you must. Who am I to stand in your way? Toddler-sized baseball glove . . . $14.00. My 3 guys having grounder practice in the backyard . . . priceless!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Homemade Cupcake Toppers

For his recent birthday celebration at school, my son wanted Mario cupcakes (as in Super Mario Bros.). I searched the internet for some of those plastic character rings that usually top store-bought kid cupcakes, so I could simply add them to the top of the cupcakes I planned to pick up at Sam's. But I couldn't find any with a Mario theme. In fact the only Mario themed cupcake toppers I could find anywhere were on and homemade by a mom with a printer and some craft punches.

So, I got to thinking, I could save my $20 and make some myself.

I searched the Internet for free, printable Mario images. When I found one I liked I copied it and printed a bunch on one page of cardstock paper. Then I just cut them out and glued them onto some yellow construction paper I'd cut into rectangles with some craft scissors. Then I taped the rectangles onto some lollipop sticks I already had.

Pretty easy, free since I used all materials I already had, good enough for 1st graders, and most important -- my boy was happy!! All around a successful craft!

Check out Tackle it Tuesday & Try and Tell.