Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Ultimate 1st World Problem -- My Dog Groomer is Booked Until January!

The week has flown by, and Saturday is November, which is all kinds of crazy!


One evening this week while working at my volunteer job as a court appointed special advocate for children in state protective custody, I sat next to a 13 year old girl on the couch in her foster home and she told me in a tone of voice I don't think I'll ever forget, "I just want to be adopted."

It broke my heart into a million pieces!  I am now working to change the situation for this sweet girl and her younger brother, to find them a home where they will be loved, treasured, a place where they can heal from the pain of their past.

I drove home sadly reflecting on how much children need a family and how the foster home where these two children are placed was meeting their basic needs, but not loving them as a family would. Then I walked into my house to the scene of my husband carving a pumpkin with our 4 pajama-clad children.

There was mess and pumpkin guts and squealing and one brother wiping pumpkin goo on a sister's arm and arguing over the name for the newly created jack-o-lantern, but it was FAMILY!  We were all known and loved and messy and loud, and that's what I want for these 2 children on my case.


In happier news than children without parents, Madeline the dog got a much needed grooming this week.  You can thank me for forgetting to snap a photo before she went in and thus sparing you the vision of the "before" and allowing just the "after":

Because we let the grooming wait too long this time, when I picked up the dog I took the proactive step of scheduling her next grooming appointment and was surprised to find that even on October 29th, they are booked all the way through the first of the new year!  So we have an appointment the 2nd week in January.  Here's a truth that likely reveals something rather pathetic about the state of my life: I can call my hairstylist and get an appointment within a week, yet my dog's hair stylist books up over 2 months in advance!!  


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Just imagine all the possibilities of what you can do with that extra hour "Fall Back" provides!!  My plan for that hour is lofty, indeed -- sleep!  

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Monday, October 27, 2014

Running Alongside As My Daughter Achieved Her Goal

Last month I blogged about my 9 year old daughter's goal to run 3 miles and how we were working up to it, running a little farther each weekend.

Well, on Saturday she did it!

She ran 3 miles!!

And a pretty good time, too -- 30 minutes 46 seconds, so averaging 10 min. and 15 sec. per mile.

I'm so proud of my daughter, she is a person who not only sets high goals for herself but works hard to achieve her goals!  I can't wait to see how God is going to use her drive for His glory!

Based on how far we'd run the weekend the before, we thought she'd achieve her goal this weekend, so my husband and our other 3 kids came to the park and were there to cheer her on as she finished the last bit of the 3rd mile.  It was very special!  What I also loved was that as we ran around the 3 mile running loop, other runners, strangers to us who didn't even know she was trying to run 3 miles for the 1st time, were encouraging my girl, telling her things like, "Good Job!"  and "You go, girl!"

Here we are after the run (she looks a whole lot better than I do!), right before we celebrated with chocolate shakes:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elephant Pumpkins and Doll Discrimination, It's All Here!

There are some weeks that go by and I am so busy but at the end of it there is nothing tangible to show for all the work.

But, not this week, folks!  This week I have this:

Yes, I helped my 7 year old turn a pumpkin into an elephant for his school project where they were to decorate a pumpkin to look like a book character.  He chose Horton from Horton Hatches the Egg as his character. Let it be known that I typically do not assist quite so much with my children's school projects, but seriously, for this one?  What 7 year old can turn a pumpkin into a book character by themselves??  And my little guy and I did have fun doing this project together.

Grab a glue gun, some grey spray paint, an old grey sock stuffed with stuffing and a wire coat hangar, some construction paper ears, googly eyes, and a felt cut out mouth and you too could have a pumpkin elephant!  What better thing to add to your Halloween decor?!!

This is another item I've added to my arsenal of Mommy-skills, the ability to turn a pumpkin into an elephant!  Cinderella's fairy godmother's got nothing on me!


We have every other year friend birthday parties for our kids and on the off years they can choose a special activity with a parent or our family, like attending a professional sports event, visiting an amusement park, or the hotel overnight I recently did with my older daughter.  To celebrate Little Girl's birthday this past week, I took her and my 9 year old daughter to the American Girl store.  

We had lunch with their dolls, the dolls are given their own seat and dishes!  

Then we had the dolls hair done, which Little Girl's doll REALLY needed as she had done her own "styles" on her poor doll and it was looking really ratted and messy.  For a bargain $10 (and hear me on this, NOTHING else is a bargain at that store, but getting her old doll's hair fixed back to nice for only $10 was a steal!) Daisy the doll even got to sit in a salon chair with a cape and get her hair styled.  Little Girl loved watching her doll's hair get fixed.  (The look on the stylist's face is hilarious, the doll's hair really was that bad!)

But, that sweet lady was able to work wonders and Daisy the doll is back to cute curly pigtails!

We had such a fun afternoon, I really should have just ended it there, but I'd told Little Girl that as part of her birthday gift from us she could pick out a new doll from the store.  Oh sweet mercy, I cannot tell you how many times my older daughter and I walked around that store with Little Girl looking at all the choices!  Little Girl would enthusiastically fall in love with a doll, settle on it, only to change her mind to a different doll one display over!  Then she'd pick a doll because she liked the outfit it was dressed in and we had a time explaining that the doll was not dressed in the outfit she came in, so she should not pick the doll based on the dress the doll was wearing, that dress was sold separately for $40!!

And don't even get me started on the little episode where my 9 year old daughter tried to convince her little sister to get "Addie", the doll with "brown skin, like yours".  We broke down all kinds of cultural and racial barriers right there in the American Girl store and Little Girl left with a fair skinned, blonde-haired doll, proving to the world that you don't have to look like your doll to love her!

Here she is with her old and new dolls:


Happy Friday, Friends!!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guess Who Turned Six!

I can't believe it, but our Little Girl turned SIX on Monday!

We've now been able to celebrate as many birthdays with her as those we missed (since she joined our family as a three year old).  This milestone feels kind of big for me as her mom, rounding the corner so that the majority of her life is no longer an unknown, but has been with us! 

Little Girl, you are known, you are loved, and so much a part of our family that we can't imagine life without you!  Happy birthday sweet six year old!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Her Ethiopian Brother -- Kidding!

So I shouldn't joke about this, but I can't resist.  Her Ethiopian brother:

No, sadly we don't have another Ethiopian living in our home, besides our Little Girl, but we do have a life-size cut-out of an Ethiopian child!

Why?  You might ask.  Well, we are trying to start a carepoint in Ethiopia to provide for 150 impoverished children and we've been given the opportunity to have a booth at our church during the next 2 Sundays to highlight the ministry in Ethiopia, so my husband had this life-size cut-out created from a photo we took of a real-life child at a potential carepoint site we visited during our Ethiopia trip this past August.

We are praying to get some help for that precious little one and so many others!

Now, to keep the cut-out safe from getting messed up by all the kids and the dog who live in our house, my husband put it up on top of a bookshelf in our bedroom.  I know logically that it is not a real person, but that does not stop me from jumping every time I walk into my bedroom.  It startles me every time!


I haven't been a very good blogger lately, just not enough time!  My apologies to anyone that follows regularly.  I have several volunteer jobs I'm focusing a lot of time on right now in addition to all the housework and parenting!

Speaking of me falling really short, my husband bought me an iPad Mini recently, not really because I wanted one, but because he and our 11 year old son wanted me to have one!  My husband kindly configured my mail on the iPad Mini so that all 3 of my email accounts all empty into the same box (divided by folders).  Yes, I do have 3 Yahoo Mail accounts, doesn't everyone?  There is my email I use for friends and family and my kids' school, then there is my blog email, and finally my "junk" email which is what I give out for on-line purchases.  But, with all three accounts combined, I get to see this demoralizing loveliness taunting me from the screen:

EIGHTY-SIX THOUSAND six hundred and seven unread emails!!  What?  How is that even possible?

Understandably I am a tad OVERWHELMED.   If you've sent me an email in the past few years and not heard back, I am very sorry, you are in the queue, but don't expect a response any time in the next couple decades.


Happy Friday, y'all!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sibling Slumber Party

My oldest son was away this past weekend at a middle school retreat with our church youth group.  My younger son, who shares a room with his big brother, didn't like the idea of sleeping alone.  Good thing his sisters were more than happy to have him sleep over in their room!

Sometimes they annoy each other, but they are truly the best of friends!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Weeks are Flying By!

Wow, another Friday, already.  How did that happen so fast?!!

I haven't been the best blogger lately, just too many other things to focus on.  And life is very full.


Do you want to know something I have learned about the season of life we are in right now with 4 kids ages 11, 9, 7, and 5 years old? 

Teeth will come out!

It is happening at about a rate of 2 to 3 teeth per week and has gotten to the point where it's not even unusual for me to have a Ziploc baggie with someone's tooth in it in my purse or sitting in the cupholder of the car!

The weirdest thing lately has been my 11 year old losing teeth.  He went through a couple years where he didn't lose any teeth but now he's losing the bigger teeth like the molars.  Every time it happens my son and I have to reassure my alarmed husband that it was in fact a tooth that was "supposed to come out"!


Speaking of the 11 year old, he just finished up his first 6 weeks of middle school and managed to pull all A's!  I knew he was smart enough to do well in middle school but I worried and worried about his lack of organization and thought it would be his downfall when he had 8 classes and 2 lockers to manage.  It wasn't always smooth sailing and I, as his mom watching from the sidelines, certainly sweated out some days, like the day he left his expandable folder (the one that holds the work for all of his classes) on the kitchen table:

As hard as it was for me to discover that folder at home after I'd taken him to school and realize just what a bad day he was likely going to have without that folder, I knew that it was a growth experience.  And it was!  When I picked him up from school he suggested, without any lecturing from me, "I think I need to make a checklist!"  And the next school day he went to each teacher that he was not able to turn in work to and turned in his late work (because in middle school teachers are not going to come find you about missing work), they gave him partial credit and he ended the 6 weeks with 92 or above for all 8 classes!  We are so proud of him!  And the best part, he is really enjoying middle school, learning so much, and appreciating all the opportunities our public school offers!


My 7 year old son continues to astound us with his building skills and fills the playroom with his creations:

My kids have loved the Kapla 200 Blocks Set ** I got them for Christmas!  Definitely one of my best toy purchases ever!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

**Affiliate links included in this post. **
Half-Past Kissin' Time

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When Ebola Comes to Dallas, Texas

I took an infectious diseases class in college where I actually did a term paper on Ebola, that is one of many reasons I've been closely following the heartbreaking outbreak in West Africa.  But, also because Africa has a big piece of my heart.  Ethiopia is on the other side of the continent from the Ebola outbreak; Ethiopia is in East Africa but, still, the healthcare system is extremely lacking.  I've seen the devastation that is inadequate healthcare.

The healthcare problems in Africa are both simple and extremely complex at the same time.  Quite simply, there are not enough doctors.  There are currently more doctors working in Chicago than in all of Ethiopia!  And the complex issues, things like many do attend medical school in Ethiopia but are lured away by job offers from developed nations upon graduation and healthcare is vastly harder where there is improper sanitation and limited access to clean water and electricity.

The health system is so vastly different than what we have access to here in America.  One statistic that dramatically highlights the differences:  just 6% of births in Ethiopia are attended by a skilled health worker while in America 98.75% of births are in a hospital!  So, in Ethiopia large numbers of women and babies still die in childbirth.

I feel like we in America have said for too long, "It's not our problem" regarding flailing healthcare in African countries.  But the reality is that we are not as isolated as our arrogance might suggest, only a plane ride or two away as the Ebola case in Dallas, Texas reveals.  

If anything good can come out of the devastation of this Ebola outbreak, let it be that nations who have so much give a bigger hand up to those that have so little.

Two people in the picture below, my husband and me, happened to be born in a nation of plenty, and the 100 or so others in the picture, mostly children, happened to be born in a country of great poverty where so many struggle for basics like food, water, and medical care.  We were all created in the very image of God.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Family Adventure Day

The kids had a fall holiday from school on Friday so on Saturday we set off for "Family Adventure Day".

We loaded all 6 bikes on the SUV, packed a picnic lunch, grabbed some donuts and kloaches for breakfast and headed west a couple hours to a state park with some waterfalls that we'd never been to before.  The weather was gorgeous and we had a beautiful day exploring as a family!

Don't ask me how close Little Girl came to a collision with a patch of cacti when the trail went downhill and she took it full speed as I watched in horror from behind!  Thankfully she narrowly missed the cactus and came to a stop safely in some tall grass.  I, however, have several new gray hairs from bike riding over hills with that daredevil little girl who kept telling me as I begged her to slow down, "I'm not controlling my bike, IT is controlling ME!"  But, go figure, her only scraped knee was on the hill I deemed "too steep" and while we were walking our bikes down the hill she fell and got a little scraped up!

We drove home after dark with some very sleepy kids and fun memories of our family adventure day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Cardboard Box is in the "Toy Hall of Fame"

Did you know there was such thing as a "Toy Hall of Fame"?

And would you have guessed the cardboard box had a spot in it?

It does!  Right there on the list of toys that have been inducted (alphabetically listed) between Candyland and Checkers is cardboard box!

It has definitely been a favorite of my kids through the years!

We had some furniture delivered recently in large, sturdy cardboard boxes, which my children were thrilled with.  The boxes are now set up on our back patio and have already provided hours of enjoyment and creative play!