Monday, May 31, 2010

The end of the baby phase, or is it?

We had 3 kids in a little over 4 years; the oldest was 4 yrs and 2 months old when we had the third.

So, we were used to babies.

Life with a baby is just what we did. When the baby grew up into a toddler, another baby took its place.

In the case of our 3rd child, the crib was actually still occupied with baby #2 when baby #3 came along (he slept in a pack-n-play for the 1st six months)!

Diapers, pacifiers, baby monitors, nursing sessions, infant car seats, baby gates, a changing table, a crib, a stroller. . .

Were all a part of every day life for years!

But, then our youngest baby began to grow up.

And slowly the baby stuff began to disappear from the house and from our lives.

And now that he's 3 and pretty reliably potty-trained, I hardly ever even grab the diaper bag as I'm walking out the door anymore!

When I'm around a friend who has a real baby (as opposed to my 3 year old one!) I am reminded of just how far we've gone from the baby phase.

And it occurs to me how strange it may be to go back.

I didn't imagine we would.

As we wait to be matched with the child we'll adopt from Ethiopia, our requested age range is 0 to 30 months and we completely expected to get a referral of a toddler rather than an infant because many families only request infants.

But, it seems now that infants from Ethiopia are being more readily matched through our agency rather than toddlers, with some families who specifically requested a toddler waiting longer than the families waiting for infants.

The trend could completely shift back again before we are due to get a referral (still likely months away), but still, it does make me wonder if we'll get matched with a baby.

It will be a blessing either way, a baby would likely have fewer transition issues, but a toddler would be closer in age and more able to play right away with our other 3 kids.

It is kinda weird not knowing what to expect, but God knows just the right baby girl or toddler girl for our family, and the not knowing is just part of the crazy adventure of adoption!

One thing I do know, though, we won't be getting 16 babies like in the picture of all my daughter's dolls she decided to bring downstairs and lay out in our entryway!

Although that would certainly launch us back into baby-mode in a hurry!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekend Sunshine

The past week was hard, nearly excruciatingly so. My mom stayed with us for 5 nights and days and there were many tough issues. There are no easy answers on this uphill climb dealing with her Lewy Body Dementia.

There are some ugly things about life on this earth that we cannot change; but someday God will make them right.

When my mom left early Saturday, I was emotionally depleted and began looking for the sunshine.

God brought it.

A zoo trip with my husband and kids where we got to gaze at the miracle of a 3 week old baby elephant and laugh at the amazing antics of a big elephant who splashed and rolled in his water pool over and over again!

Then afternoon therapy in the form of 3 hours spent cleaning my house. Making what tiny bit of the world I control, right again, one tile, one toilet, one mirror, one counter at a time.

Dinner out where all the kids behaved beautifully.

The homemade waffles for breakfast this morning before church!

Swimming laps with my 7 year old at the pool this afternoon.

Black-eyed peas fresh from our garden. Some shelled, some snapped, all cooked with bacon for dinner because I'm from the South, and because they are delicious that way!

And tomorrow?

Building sandcastles on a beach not coated in oil, the 1st beach trip in 8 years where someone will not be wearing a swim diaper, rubbing sunscreen on sandy kids, eating ice-cold chocolate chip cookies while listening to the surf.

(Chocolate chip cookies are amazing warm and gooey fresh from the oven, everyone knows that, but have you ever tried them ice cold from the cooler on a hot, hot day? Divine!)

Home from the beach, a car full of sand and what are sure to be napping kids. An hour of uninterrupted reading time.

Over dinner we'll discuss the meaning behind Memorial Day with our children, we will remember with thankfulness the sacrifice of so many for our great nation, and pray for their families left behind.

We'll crowd around the ice cream maker as it churns chocolate liquid into chocolate ice cream, it will have to be stopped and started three times so each child has a turn to push the button that turns on the magic of ice cream creation, when it's through we'll enjoy the frozen goodness, and marvel over how much better it is than store-bought!

Savoring blessings, enjoying every day gifts, looking for the good and finding so much of it!

Hope you are too!

Find more Mamarazzi Monday and Making Your Home Sing Monday.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nothing says "wedded bliss" quite like a waffle maker!

Do you want to know how you know you've been married a while?

Two days before your 11 year anniversary at 2:30 in the afternoon you call your husband at work and say, "Hey, you haven't gotten me anything for our anniversary yet, right?"

Husband: long pause as he frantically looks to his calendar and then the date inscribed on the inside of his wedding band, thinking, "Is our anniversary today? Was it yesterday? No, it's Saturday, wow, I almost forgot!"

But, outloud he says, "No. . ."

Wife: "Good! Because I just found a gift I'd like to get as our joint gift to each other for our anniversary. It's only $38.29 on Amazon! And with our free trial membership of the Amazon Prime we get 2 day free shipping so if I order now it might get here on our anniversary."

Wife: pauses just in case husband would like to say anything.

Husband: "That sounds good."

Wife: "Do you want to know what it is?

Husband: "Well if you want to tell me or is it supposed to be a surprise?"

Wife: "No, I'd rather tell you because I don't want to get it and then have you get all weird about me buying a cheap one because a while back you said if we got one we should get a nice one. It's a waffle maker. You know I hate the idea of adding a new kitchen appliance or spending money, but we have thought about getting one for a while now and I just found a good homemade waffle recipe on a blog that I want to try and the kids would love homemade waffles a few mornings a week! The waffle maker is not as expensive as the professional ones but it has tons of 5 star consumer reviews that say it works just as well as the more expensive ones. It has this flip mechanism that really makes sense that it would cook a better waffle. I have to go take my mom to get her hair done, so I really can't talk, but what do you think, should I order it?

Husband: "Yeah, go ahead."

It just doesn't get any more romantic than that, folks! Seriously!

But, really it is perfect! Neither my husband nor I are real gift people. We've taken the test and it is not either of our love language. Praise the Lord because I don't know what I'd do if I was having to buy my husband little gifts all the time just so he felt loved!

So, by now in our marriage we pretty much run the gifts by each other first, you know, no use wasting money on something the other one may not really like!

And last year we went on a huge vacation for our 10 year anniversary so this year we already knew was gonna be low-key! And even I have to confess to almost forgetting it all together!

But the waffle maker saves the day, I got the shipping notice and it looks like we really may get it on our anniversary!

I can't wait for some homemade waffles only not with cheese like Mel does, nope, I prefer mine with strawberries, syrup, and whip cream! Yum!

Find more Finer Things Friday and Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Review: One Million Arrows

When Julie Ferwerda sent me her book One Million Arrows to read for a blog tour I was excited by the subject and thrilled that the proceeds from the sales would go to international orphan ministry!

The book perfectly addressed some questions my husband and I began asking a few years ago: "What is my family here for? As believers, is parenting a more significant and eternity-impacting role than we've given it credit for? Are we satisfied with happy, well-adjusted, even ambitious kids who happen to love God, or is there something more?"

I got about half-way through the book and began wishing I'd taken notes as I was reading because there were so many good points and ideas presented that I couldn't remember all of them, but I guess I'll just have to re-read it!

The "mission" talked about in the book is "being Jesus to the hurting, empty, hopeless world in your own individual way. It's really not about us. We've been called beyond ourselves for something bigger."

And the arrows? "An arrow of God doesn't have to be in full-time ministry, but is always focused unwaveringly on bringing the love of Jesus Christ into every aspect of the journey throughout his or her life. "

After reading the line, "Instead of raising channel changers, I most definitely want to raise world changers." I sort of wished I had a plasma TV on the wall (which I don't) just so I could get rid of it and instead hang a large, framed version of that quote in the spot where the TV once hung.

The stakes are really are so high, "The Enemy wishes nothing more than to coax our kids, if not into rebellion, into pursuing passionless, insignificant, and potentially empty lives."

And the scary part is that many Christians are lulled into believing their kids are fine and on the right track when in reality they have not internalized what it really means to love and follow Jesus. Julie points out, "I've encountered many kids from nice Christian families, great youth groups, and even Christian schools who care very little about God's plan for their future. . . To fill their need-for-speed, many of our kids bury themselves in gaming, social networking, TV and reality shows, graphic movies, and other forms of mind-numbing amusement, often at the expense of meaningful family relationships or selfless contributions in the lives of others."

And we all know kids absorb so much more what they see us as parents do than what we just tell them to do, so I was glad to see that point addressed, "But we can hardly sit back and think that our kids are the only ones singled out for such grand plans. How will they know unless we teach them from our own habits and experiences? How will they catch it unless we model it for them consistently?"

Being a person on the waiting list to adopt a child from Ethiopia, I loved when Julie posed the question, "Have you ever considered raising more kids? . . . As parents using our gifts and abilities for the mission, what could we accomplish by investing in one more child (or even a few) in order to effect change that carries into other countries and even continents?"

I'm not going to elaborate because you'll just have to read it yourself, but the part in the book about "Jesus Math!" is absolutely priceless and something I know I will reflect on often!

I'll leave you with one more thought-provoking quote from the book: "You and I are possibly the only chance this world will ever get to actually see Jesus."

Thank you Julie for writing this book, for allowing me to read it, and for challenging and inspiring parents everywhere! I am confident your book will help create many, many "arrows" in the hand of God.

Click here to buy the book.

Find more Thankful Thursday here and Things I love Thursday here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why One Pet is Enough

When I was a little girl I LOVED animals. We had a few dogs but I decided when I grew up and had my own house, I'd have a backyard full of animals!

So flash forward about 20 or 25 years and now I am a grown up. I have a house with a backyard and still love animals, but I have only 1 dog.


What happened to the dream?

1 dog + 3 kids = plenty of messes

And guess who is the #1 mess-cleaner-uper around here?


And until someone else earns that designation or I lose my mind (which happens often, like when I decide to make cowboy boot-shaped cakes for my kids' party) we will have only 1 pet!

Exhibit A:
The mess created recently when a certain elderly (read: she has way outgrown the mischievous puppy days!) dog got a used coffee filter out of the kitchen trash can. The trash can that has a lid that only opens when you step on the petal!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Because somebody needs to step in.

Tomorrow I will step into their lives.

Today we are strangers.

But tomorrow, I will know very intimate details of their lives.

Tomorrow I'll learn of the abuse that landed them in protective custody.

Tomorrow I will read of their medical issues, emotional problems, and their current foster home placement.

Next week I will meet them face to face.

I'll promise to fight for them, to walk along side them during this amazingly tough season of their young lives.

I will begin putting a plan in motion to help them.

To help them find their way into a safe, stable, loving permanent home.

It may be back with a reformed parent or parents, or with relatives, or adoptive parents, hopefully, prayerfully it will not be in the permanent custody of the state.

The state is not a very good parent.

Over the course of the next year I'll meet regularly with them, as well as their parents, teachers, foster parents, therapists, doctors, lawyers, relatives, case workers, and the judge for their case.

I will be their voice in a broken system.

I pray for God to work through me, that I will be His hands and feet and voice.

As I begin a new case in my volunteer work as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) through Child Advocates I'm thankful for the opportunity to be used.

I'm grateful my own family allows me a few hours away here and there so that I may serve children who do not have the safe, loving home that my 3 kids do. I'm hopeful that because I care about the needy and the helpless and the lost, someday my children will care about them too.

I'm confident that although I am an ordinary person, just because I care, I'll be able to make a difference in the lives of these 2 children that today are strangers. I've seen it happen before. Their case is my 7th case, the 13th and 14th children I will take on and fight for as if they were my own.

I do not know them today and will never be able to share them publicly, but after tomorrow, their names and faces I will never forget.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Cakes that did not look like frogs!

It's time for 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!).

Around here: (Hint: If you get confused, just remove the words in my post that are in all caps and you'll know the truth!)

I did NOT make cowboy boot and cowgirl boot shaped cakes for my little kids' birthday party on Friday. Considering my lack of experience in the cake decorating department, before attempting this, I did NOT warn my daughter that they may come out not looking like boots, but maybe frogs or something!

And while they weren't perfect boots, I am happy to say they really did not look like frogs!

The boy boot:

and the girl one:

I was NOT so thankful for the wonder that is The Internet and to be able to copy this blogger's cake and so happy she even had a link to a template that made the cutting into a boot shape so easy even I could do it!

Now the icing part? That was a bit challenging and may have added a gray hair or twenty or sixty to my collection! But all and all we were happy with the results and had a great time celebrating with tons of western themed fun!

Find more Homemaker Mondays, Made it Monday, Just Something I Whipped Up, Tackle it Tuesday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random Ramblings

I love the moments when I can listen in on my kids talking with each other. A few days ago I heard my 4 year old daughter say to her little brother, "You have talked so much, now it's my turn." She actually said it in a very nice, matter of fact voice. It was hilarious!

Then there are the times they are arguing but it is just so funny. For example, recently my daughter was touting the fact that she had not done the bad thing her brothers had done to get in trouble (pounding on our outside wood table with rocks so hard they made several small dents in the wood) and my 7 year old son said to her, "Well, you're not perfect. Because there was only one perfect person EVER and that was Jesus!"

He's good! I mean there is just no come-back for that!

I survived 2 nights of the up-do for my little ballerina and feel completely geared up for the big dance recital day. Her costume is adorable, the little dance is precious, and at rehearsal 9 of the 10 little girls actually danced. One of the younger girls in the class had a big freak-out once we got backstage and began screaming at the top of her lungs, "NO! I'm NOT going out there!" Bless her heart, it is a bit scary with the stage so big and it's really dark until the curtains open and the lights go on! I hope watching the other girls got her courage up to do it on Sunday. I had fun hanging out with my daughter after her dance and watching some of the other classes perform on the stage.

We are having a joint cowboy/cowgirl themed birthday party at our house tomorrow night for my 2 younger kids (a late 3rd birthday and an early 5th birthday). And because I have lost every shred of sense I ever had, I am making the cakes -- a pink cowgirl boot one and a brown cowboy boot one. Except I'm not really a cake designer and am totally attempting to copy something I saw on the internet. I've already warned my daughter that it may turn out not looking like a boot at all, but rather a frog or something! And because she's so sweet she said that would be okay.

I made the decision to do homemade cakes sometime last week, but for now the reasons are escaping me. Something about not liking the designs for that theme at the Sam's Club, wanting to be frugal, underestimating the difficulty of shaping cake like a boot, and thinking I'd rather be in my kitchen baking than standing at the bakery counter filling out the form to order a cake. Somehow none of those reasons seem good anymore now that I'm right in the midst of the cake-creating process!

I may or may not show you pictures later.

Y'all have a super weekend! If you need me, I can be found sawing cakes into the shape of a boot or shepherding 10 costume-clad little girls to the restroom backstage! "No really, everyone needs to at least try to go now because you don't want to have to go while you're on stage!"

It is really a blessed life I get to lead and I'm thankful for every minute!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

13 Things I Could Eat/Drink Every Day

13 things I could eat/drink every day (most I actually do eat/drink every day) and not get tired of:
  1. Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal (this is my late night snack every. single. night)
  2. skim milk
  3. plain Yogurt mixed with fruit, honey, and granola
  4. Kashi Cereal (my breakfast every day)
  5. fruit (usually sliced apples, pears, or grapes)
  6. hummus
  7. homemade whole wheat crackers
  8. homemade whole wheat bread
  9. peanut butter
  10. coffee
  11. Coke Zero
  12. orange juice
  13. water
In fact, with the exception of dinner, which is different nearly every night, those 13 food items constitute nearly my entire diet for breakfast, lunch, & snacks. Thankfully most of these things I love are pretty healthy!

And because I know you need more exciting information out of this blog post, yes, I did just eat a bowl of Cranberry Almond Crunch while I wrote this.

*** Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way (either with money or free products) nor asked to write these product endorsements. However, if you happen to work for Post and would like to send some Cranberry Almond Crunch my way thus saving me the $2.99 per box, I will dedicate an entire blog post to my love of the cranberry, crunchy goodness! I've got to be your most faithful fan, I've lost count of the number of years I've eaten that cereal nearly every night -- at least 4! ***

Do you have any food items you eat every day?

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I don't even have time to curl my own hair!

So you wanna know how I spent a good part of my Tuesday?

Trying to get my 4 year old daughter's super straight hair (inherited from me) into the "curly ponytail" requested by her dance teacher for her ballet recital pictures that were today!

After an attempt with these curlers and achieving curls that lasted about 7 minutes, I ended up dragging out the curling iron I haven't used since, well, I don't know when, college?

The results were better, but Baby, you'd really be best served embracing the straight look; trust me on that one and it could save you years worth of time!

My little girl also got to indulge in some blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow for the pictures. A rare treat for sure. But, when she began eying the rest of my make-up and demanding, "I want to be MORE fancy!" I knew it was time to cut her off and perhaps spend less time reading the Fancy Nancy books as well!

I'm definitely not cut out to be a Toddlers and Tiaras mom!

But we do get to repeat the whole scene tomorrow for the rehearsal and again Sunday for the recital! And then, the lipstick, bobby pins, and curling iron will be packed away for another 12 months!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Grocery shopping, only better!

For a long time I put off jumping on the reusable grocery bags bandwagon.

I imagined it was so much trouble carrying the bags into the store and rationalized that when I wasn't shopping with small children then would be the time to be concerned about the environment, right now it was just about surviving the grocery store trip and making it home with at least most of the items on the list!

But, a few weeks ago the reusable bags were on sale for a dollar at Target and so I bought some.
And do you know what?

I love using them!

It really is not hard just keeping them in the back of my car and carrying them into the store when I shop.

And, the benefits I never anticipated: so many more groceries fit into those reusable bags than the plastic store ones; the handles make it much less painful on your hands hauling in even heavy bags; the bags don't topple over in the back of my vehicle and . . .

they look much prettier on my counter if it takes me a while, or half a day, to get around to unloading the non-perishable items!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Changing our View

We are trying to follow the path God has our for our family.

Some days the path is clear, the hiking is easy, along a beautiful river, even.

Other days the path is overgrown with grass, uphill, tiring, and the river cannot be seen.

And then there are days when the path is filled with obstacles we must climb over and the path seems to lead straight into the river of churning rapids.

We pray to have the courage to stay on the path and the discernment to know what that means for our lives each day.

Recently we were confronted with this statistic:

Every day.

26,000 children!

And so we had to ask, "What does that mean for our path? For our life as a family well fed in America?"

The Bible says,
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold we did not know this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to his work? Proverbs 24:11-12

We know they are dying, we cannot pretend we do not know.

And so we asked what we can do about it.

We are in the process of adopting 1 child from Ethiopia. We sponsor 2 others in Africa.

But, we began to feel that was far from enough.

We don't have all the answers and are still struggling with this issue and what God would have our family do.

But we did come up with one easy answer.

We are canceling our cable TV.

The end of this month (and not coincidentally right after Lost ends forever because we are still selfish), it is gone!

The $70 per month we were spending can sponsor nearly two children.

Two more children rescued from death just with the price of television we've grown to hate watching (2 shows per week is all we watch and 1 is ending) anyway.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm so happy to be fishless!

It's time for 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!).

Around here: (Hint: If you get confused, just remove the words in my post that are in all caps and you'll know the truth!)

Today when I was in a meeting for all the children's Bible study teachers at my church, they began pulling names out of a bowl to give away 3 door prizes. The prizes? A beta fish.

A real, living fish swimming in a little fish bowl.

I whispered to my friend sitting next to me, "If I'd known that was the prize I would have never put my name in the bowl!"

She giggled.

And 0.5 seconds later.

They did NOT read my name!

The head of the preschool dept. at our church did NOT skip over to my table, present me with the fish bowl complete with a real, living fish, hand me a baggie of pellets, say, "Feed it 1 or 2 each day", and then flitter off before I could protest!

I did NOT spend the entire rest of the meeting completely tuning out the speakers as I tried to figure out how to get rid of the thing!

I really never thought I'd be THAT mom.

You know the one that says, "Yeah, you can have that for a pet when you're old enough to take care of it all by yourself!"

But 1 dog and 3 kids later, I AM THAT MOM!

There was a moment as the blue fish stared back at me that I began to wonder if maybe God wanted me to have it, after all my name was chosen. And I imagined the excitement my children would have over the fish.

But then I imagined my toddler dropping the bowl, or reaching in and getting the fish out someday when I wasn't looking. I also remembered the often short lifespan of fish and actually had the thought, "It is a busy week coming up, I really don't want to deal with a dead fish, sad children, and a fish burial. Really not on the agenda this week."

And then the clincher, I noticed a gray haze of fish poop that had already accumulated at the bottom of the small bowl and remembered back to many o' fish bowls I cleaned out for my goldfish as a child and the stench of that fish bowl water!

And as soon as the meeting wrapped up, I was NOT the one in the back yelling, "Anybody want a beta fish!"

In the end, I did NOT give it to a lady who said her neighbor would love the fish!

And until they start reading my blog, my kids will never know what they missed!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I know you've been on the edge of your seat!

Guess what came down on Monday?

I believe Raise them Up was the closest at estimating when it would come down with with her Memorial Day guess!

Yep, if you remember my Love is in the Air post about the Valentine's helium balloon that was let go by a certain toddler on Valentine's Day, when he took the string off, and it was stuck in the highest ceiling point in our house, well, finally on Monday (3 months later) the loss of air combined with the running of the A/C caused the balloon to move to a position where my husband could reach it!

The only problem is that instead of taking it directly to the trash like I would have, all the while dancing a happy dance to FINALLY be rid of that balloon, he pulled it down and handed it to my 4 year old daughter.

The girl who if you tear a stray string off her sock says, "Let me have that string, I want to save it!" Oh yes she did say that to me just today! Seriously, the girl saves things even a pack-rat would call trash!

In a moment of complete weakness while trying to convince my girl to throw the balloon away after she said, "But I want to show my friends it came down!", I may have actually suggested she take it for show-and-tell at preschool, hoping after she'd sufficiently shown it off we could throw it away! But immediately after she became very enthusiastic about taking it for show-and-tell I had the realization that I was allowing my daughter to showcase to her teachers and entire class the fact that even though it was May 12th, we still had a balloon from a holiday that fell on Feb. 14th!

It went for show-and-tell and I was secretly hoping it would somehow get lost and not make it home, but come home with us it did. I talked my girl into cutting it to let out the remaining bit of air and was rallying for the trashcan when she decided,

"No, look it can be a bag to hold this card I made for you, Mommy!"

I do have to admire her recycling, repurposing, green-minded spirit, but I also have to confess that when she went to sleep that night I took the card out, saved it, and threw the balloon carcass away!

Shhhh, don't tell because it's been a couple days and she hasn't missed it yet!

Oh and Raise them Up, your prize is that I took out the trash before thinking up the idea of sending the balloon to the lucky closest guesser! I know you're happy that bundle o' love is not headed your way!

Find more Finer Things Friday, and Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1 Month Waiting for Her

It's been exactly 1 month today since we started officially

Waiting for her

13 letters in that phrase but a thousand thoughts.

Life moves at warp speed these days, so it's not as if this last month crawled by.

But at the same time we'd gladly go get her tomorrow if we could.

Yet, really if we got "the call" tomorrow (which there is a 0.2% chance of), full blown panic and hyperventilation would set in.

We are waiting for her, praying for her, loving her.

Although we don't know her name, age, or what she looks like, it doesn't really seem to matter right now, we wait, pray and love just the same.

People say this is the hardest part of adoption, the waiting. I say they've never been in the bank trying to get something notarized with 3 little kids all the while praying the bank worker doesn't realize she is notarizing documents so you and your husband can adopt another child to go along with the 3 who have just turned their waiting room into a jungle gym! For me the paperchase was much harder than the last month has been.

But, I'll likely change that statement in about 6 months if we are still waiting.

When we announced we made it to the wait list a few people commented, "So it's like getting a positive pregnancy test!" Yeah! Only, no, I've had a few positive pregnancies tests and it is nothing like that.

There are times when I wonder what is going on with her right now. Is she still with her birth family? Or has whatever tragedy that will separate them already happened and she is at the orphanage? Is she a toddler who watches her friends get adopted and wonders when it will be her turn? Or is she an infant unable to really understand what is going on around her?

She may technically be an orphan but to us she is the beloved "Baby Sister" with a family waiting for her.

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How many preschoolers can fit in a wading pool?

Apparently 6!!!

And call me crazy, but if pressed I think I could squeeze in one more!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Doggy Door is Always Opened

My toddler (the newly turned 3 year old) occasionally likes to use the doggy door as his method for exiting our house and entering the coveted backyard. There is a panel that covers the flap of the doggy door and must be slid up from the inside in order for the doggy door to be used.

So, in the past someone bigger, like an older sibling, had to open the doggy door before my toddler could crawl out.

But, not anymore.


His three year old self can now slide that little panel up and crawl out the flap whenever he feels like it!

The other morning as I helped his big sister with her shoes before school, I looked up to discover my toddler in the backyard of his own volition!

The following conversation ensued:

Me: "How did you get outside?"

Him: "I came 'frough the doggy door."

Me: "You know, doggy doors are for dogs. And you are not a dog, you are a person."

Him: "Doggy doors are for dogs and persons!"

So, anyone ever heard of a toddler-proofing device for a doggy door?

This whole door that cannot really be shut reminds me of the Bible verse:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: "The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Rev. 3:7-8

And the concept of open doors has been a big one in our life lately as we've taken a different direction with our lives through initiating the process to adopt a child into our family. Crawling through that open door on our hands and knees has lead to other doors, some opened and some closed.

We are thankful for the clarity God has provided us so far and we pray for the courage to walk through the open doors He sets before us and for peace over the ones that are closed.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

How an Uncrafty Person Recovers Patio Furniture

I'm bringing you a crafty version of Not Me, Monday (Not Me! Monday is 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!)!

**Hint: If you get confused, just remove the words in my post that are in all caps and you'll know the truth!**

I did NOT jump all over the suggestion of exactly one person who commented on my blog post from Friday who said they'd like to see pictures of the cushions I recovered for my outdoor patio furniture!

I am NOT posting a crafty tutorial as if I am an expert!

** Disclaimer I had no idea what I was doing. I just made up a process as I went along. I am happy with the outcome but have no guarantee it will hold up to the test of time! **

So here you go.

How I, an uncrafty person, recovered my patio furniture cushions:

Before my cushions (2 chair cushions and 1 bench cushion) were terribly stained. Too many times hosting kid birthday parties, too many nights of our neighbor's cats sleeping on them, too many coatings with yellow pollen that blows through the air freely for a couple months every spring all contributed to the ugliness.

I went to the fabric store and because I am cheap I limited my choices to the discount fabric. I found some great fabric for around $2.00 per yard. The material is not technically outdoor fabric, but the furniture is under a roof and the material is rough textured and stiff so it seems like moisture would not absorb too easily and some debris would brush off.

I am uncrafty so I didn't really closely measure and pretty much just guessed and got 5 yards (I ended up with a bunch extra but I'm glad to have spare in case a cushion needs to be recovered in the future.)

I cut the fabric to wrap around each cushion and then pretended like I was wrapping a present.
Only instead of using tape, I hand stitched the fabric to the cushion in a few different spots using heavy-duty thread. The heavy-duty thread I had on hand was a beige type color and it would have been much better to use a color that exactly blended with my fabric, but I was worried that adding another trip to the store for this project just may have been enough to put it over the edge into the land-of-projects-I-plan-but-never-accomplish, so I foraged ahead with the mismatched thread, knowing the goal was not perfection!

I folded over the edges that would end up showing on the outside before I stitched them to the cushion to get a clean edge without hemming.

And the finished product:

And here's what they look like on the furniture:

I did the bench cushion first. I wanted to tackled the hardest part first because I thought once I got it over with then I'd surely be motivated to finish the other cushions because I'd just have the easy chair ones left. But, in hindsight, I wish I'd done the bench last because I learned so much during the process and got better with each cushion. For the bench I actually used a combination of stapling the fabric and sewing it, but I realized the staples didn't work very well and hated the areas where I could see staples showing. I ended up adding a ribbon trim to 2 ends to cover staples, but that step would have been unnecessary if I'd just stitched it all to begin with!

I really love the way it turned out. I hope it holds up over time. But if not, I'm only out about $10 and a few hours of my time (the bench took me a couple hours and the chairs about 45 min. each) and for now it looks so much better than the stained fabric!!

If I can do it, you can too! From a girl who actually managed to poke herself in the lip with a needle during this process, trust me on that one, and also trust me that you should not attempt to hold the needle with your mouth while you position fabric!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reading, crafting, shaving 3 years off my age, and reflecting on motherhood all in one post!

Julie Ferwerda sent me a copy of her new book One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World. I'm reading it and will be reviewing it here on my blog in a couple weeks. The book's topic goes right along with the kind of parenting my husband and I are striving for, to raise our children to live with passion for Jesus and to change the world for Him. You can view a trailer for the book below. I get contacted often about product reviews, but this one I could not ignore. Aside from the subject being one I am so interested in, ALL profits from the book go to international orphan care and ministry, including work with orphans in Haiti!

How awesome is that?!!

A couple times a year I get the urge to spray-paint something and y'all, it's here! Today it was a used-to-be-white mesh storage basket housing sports gear on our back patio. It is now a lovely shade of silver and looks brand new for the cost of about 5 minutes of my time -- awesome!

Apparently the spray paint is not enough to satisfy the spring/summer fever, though, because I'm also debating adding some wall decoration over our master bed. The wall has been bare since we moved in over 3 years ago!! During some cleaning out I found some plain white canvases in our storage area and am trying to decide if I want to paint them or cover them with fabric. My poor husband has been subjected to all the options, but has yet to be much help with deciding!

Oh! And I'm in the process of recovering the cushions on my outdoor patio set. Nevermind that I have no idea what I'm doing! It is a hodge-podge of staples and sewing and gluing the likes of which Martha Stewart would running screaming away from! But I did find some beautiful fabric cheap at the craft store! One cushion down, two more to go! I really must learn to finish one project before starting another!

I already got a Mother's Day gift from my daughter. Her preschool class created gifts for their moms and attached to the gift wrap is a sheet with things your child said about their mom. My daughter put down my age as 3 years younger than I actually am! Thanks, Baby! I couldn't help glacing at a the other kids' projects lining the walkway in the hall. One little boy in her class said his mom was 60! I'm not sure exactly how old she is, but she's nowhere near 60 and likely will not be thrilled to see that her pre-K son thinks she's that old!

As Mother's Day approaches I've been thinking about some unsung heroes of motherhood, foster mothers. I truly believe they are angels right here on earth! They get a child at the worst time in that kid's life, they often have to undo deep hurts & fears from previous parents, and they care for the kids day in and day out, doing therapy, getting up at nights when the children cry out, only to often give that child up after a year or two and never see them again. My volunteer work as a court-appointed special advocate has allowed me to meet several foster mothers and their selfless love for those kids amazes me! There is a big misconception in society that foster parents do it for the money. I'm here to tell you most do not. In Texas, where I live, foster parents for a basic child (without special needs) get $22.00 per day and I bet nearly all of that is used up to house, feed, clothe, drive a child to therapy (all children in CPS custody need some type or several types of therapy), etc.

And Happy Mother's Day to all of you! It is such a blessing to share my motherhood journey with y'all! I'll leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes about mothers.

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." - Calvin Trillin

"I'd like to be the ideal mother, but I'm too busy raising my kids." - Anonymous

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

13 Unexpected Things I've Learned from Motherhood

1. Most of the time a kiss really does make it better.

2. Sometimes the best answer is to laugh.

3. Hand-sanitizer gets Silly Putty out of carpet.

4. Never leave powder in your toddler's room during naptime, even if it is in the top dresser drawer much higher than he can reach.

5. The ability to determine if a child has a fever with just my cheek.

6. It is possible to hold the hands of two children with just one of my hands.

7. The knowledge of the entire layout of our local zoo, including the names of many of the animals, such as, "Okay, everybody say bye-bye to Jonathan the lion," or "Hi, Boomer the grizzly bear." or "Look, it's Miles the giraffe over there."

8. The ability to make up arbitrary rules on the fly like, "You only get a band-aid if it's actually bleeding." or "You can only sword fight other children who also have swords."

9. There is really no such thing as toddler-proofed!

10. It is possible to memorize entire children's books and recite them word for word.

11. Disposable swim diapers leak!

12. Never go anywhere without wet wipes.

13. That although it is hard and there are very few vacation or sick days, being a mom is the best job in the world!

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen