Friday, December 19, 2008

Bittersweet Stockings

We finally have stockings for everyone. The past few years we've sort of had a mismatched set of this or that, not sure if we want to add a 'dad' or 'mom' stocking or not, and we just never had "good" stockings. So, I found this company on ebay to embroider our names on our stockings, all seven of us. SEVEN OF US! It didn't really hit me until they came in that we have five children. Whether they are all in our home or not, we have five children. And, when I pulled them all out of the package they came in, Avery's was the first one I saw, and it was so sudden, that we are really missing someone. Precious Avery.

There are things in our lives that have just become a part of us. We have this map of China in our hallway. We have this book about China on our shelf. We have a massive stack of papers allowing us to have her. We have friends who have adopted children from China who send us pictures of their children and their beautiful Asian faces are in our house. We talk about Avery. We pray for Avery and her birth parents. She has become such a part of our lives even though she isn't physically here that we forget she's a part of our lives. And then her stocking comes in the mail, with HER name on it and it all comes back to us - what we are doing. We are waiting for our baby girl.

This Christmas we are so grateful that we have four kids to keep us busy and watch them enjoy the gifts of Christmas. What would it be like if we were a couple who couldn't have kids? But, we KNOW what that face looks like when they "get" Christmas and Santa. Thank you God that we know! And to be privileged to see it more times is such a blessing! I CAN NOT wait to see it on each of my children's faces, but Avery's will be such a special blessing. Not more special than the others, just different special.

I pray that I am not having the same feelings next Christmas. That I am able to show you actual pictures of Avery with her brothers and sisters dressed in her Christmas dress. I know that God's timing is perfect and I do want His will to be done. As any mother, I just want my children home.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All is Right With the World

Carlie now has enough hair for a ponytail. She is so proud!

Apparently, in Tulsa we don't have "snow days" anymore, we have "ice days." Sunday night we got an ice storm and now the kids are on their second day of not having any school. I used to be brave and drive in whatever kind of weather, but not now. I'm a wimp. I know other people are out in it, but I just haven't gone farther than my mailbox. We seem to be doing alright. However, the grocery situation could be getting critical if we don't get out tomorrow. Not having any bread for sandwiches can turn into sort of a good thing! We have eaten things out of the freezer that we probably shouldn't have - ha ha! My Christmas shopping is at a bit of a lull, but I have most of it done. There's just a few things I need to get out and get. So, we are cozy (thank goodness the electricity has stayed on!), we have hot chocolate, we have movies, we have books, and we can take warm baths. So, life is pretty good! GET ME OUT OF HERE!!! I'm locked up with no adult conversation for almost 48 hours straight!! We are out of bread, almost out of milk, almost out of laundry detergent, almost out of juice, no fruit to eat!!!!!! AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!! I'm gonna start yoga this afternoon.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Carlie, a Spoon, and a Bowl

Carlie does this "eh" thing, which means 'I want something and you need to figure it out.' It's not very cute at all, but she is communicating, sometimes she does some signs after we tell her to, but for the most part it's "eh." So, the other night she was "eh'ing" at us and we finally figured out that she was wanting a bowl and a spoon like everyone else. Can you imagine us all hopping around trying to figure out what she wants, bringing her various objects until she nods that that is what she wants? It's really not that bad, but we want the "eh'ing" to stop pretty quickly so we try to guess. Once we figured out it was a bowl and spoon she was thrilled! She kept pounding the spoon into the bowl trying to get food on to it, but not much luck. She resorted to picking it up with her fingers. But, hey, we are learning!
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long Lost Items!

Today, I was searching for a key, our extra house key. I couldn't find it anywhere, but I had a sneaking suspicion of who might know where it was. So, I frisked him, the three-and-a-half year old. He didn't have the one I was looking for, but I did find this blobby looking thing in his pocket on the left. It is a different house key that I had been looking for. It's all wadded up in gum. He had stuck a pack of gum in his pocket one day and I didn't check his pockets (he's not much of a pocket guy, that's his older brother). So, I guess the gum joined with the house key to form one giant mass. Does anyone know how to get gum off a house key?

The remote has been missing for at least a couple of years, at least since the now three-and-a-half year old could walk. Thankfully, we didn't need it to do most of the stuff we needed to do on our TV, only to adjust the picture size (we watched stuff on "stretch" for a while until Lyndal figured out how to do it without a remote. That was fun, Op*ah on "stretch"). We searched everywhere for it, we tore our big TV room a part looking for this thing just sure it would eventually show up. Maybe he'd thrown it in the trash can? It was outside somewhere? We waited several months before we finally broke down and bought a new one. Today I was going through the tall bin that I store wrapping paper in and there it was, the long lost remote. I'm sure it felt like one of Andy's toys from Toy Story being gone so long (Remember Squeaker? The plastic penguin whose squeaker was broken?). We will reunite it with it's brothers and sisters very soon.

So, do I need to keep this kid on a tether attached to my belt loop? Or tie a string from my toe to his toe?
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Stove Grilled Corn

I accidentally prepare this dish, not a lot, but some. Mainly because my family doesn't want me to fix "stove grilled" corn much. Here's the recipe:

1 bag of frozen corn (we like sweet, if it starts out sweet then it off sets the burnt taste)
1/4 cup of water
1 tsp. of butter

Put all into a small sauce pan and simmer on low heat at the beginning of the entire meal prep time. Now, just fuggedaboudit. Once you remember that you had corn on the stove (about 20 minute? I don't know, not sure how long it's been sitting there), stir. You now have nicely stove grilled corn!

Stay tuned and I'll tell you about flavor packets in roasts!
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

LAST Batch I Promise!

I have quite a few pictures of me, my middle sister, and my three cousins, that is what the top and second picture is. The second picture has a funny story to it. My sister Angie, notice how there is a gap of space between her and the rest of us? Well, she was the "asker," she was the youngest (for 8 years), and she was really cute. Whenever the five of us would want something, but we thought our mom's might say no we'd rehearse with Angie what to say and have her go ask. Well, this happened to be Easter Sunday and we wanted to walk to the corner store which was a few blocks away and guess what. Our mom's said no. Who did we get mad at? Angie. OBVIOUSLY it was her fault, right? That is so sad! Look at how cute she is in her little pink gingham dress, that white bow in her hair, and those ankle socks. I'm sorry Angie! It's not your fault! You can go to the corner store in your Easter dress now! (Yeah, that's me in the glasses.)
Check out my mom's hair in that last picture. Is that real?! That couldn'tve been the style! Who does that? How does that happen? Just kidding mom, it's much better than when you accidentally dyed your hair purple. I don't think I have a picture of your purple hair. And THANK goodness I have all the pictures of my half shaved head!
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Long Live the 70's and 80's!

My youngest sister emailed me and said, "Send more old pictures so I can laugh my fanny off at you guys!" So, here are some more, but none with her in them just yet . . . savin' the best for last laughs!
The top picture is taken on my Grandma and Grandad's front porch and is one of my all time favorite pictures, especially of my middle sister, Angie. She is on the top row in the middle (is that not the cutest face?!) I remember that outfit for some reason, it was terry-cloth. My cousin D'Ann is to her right and to her left is my Grandma and Grandad's neighbor (who happened to be one of Angie's best friends, and her mom was my piano teacher), Lori B. On the bottom is me, then my cousin Brent, then Mark. I had the most fun with my cousins back then and still do to this day.
The bottom picture was taken at my other Grandparent's house at Christmas. I am totally diggin the furniture in this picture! The TV with the rabbit ears, the foiled horse statue, the green velvet chair with the nail-head trim talk about some style. I think that this picture of me looks a little bit like Carlie, what do you think? I'm probably about 2 in this picture.
Enjoy! Hope Amber has stopped laughing by now! Just wait sister dear! I have some pretty sweet pictures of you! And I don't mean sweet in a good way.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holidays Past

I have some great family pictures of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter from the 70s and 80s. It's almost as much fun looking at the people as it is looking at the furniture, cars, and clothes! The top picture is from a time in the summer when my Aunt Patty and Uncle Jerry came in from California to my Grandma and Grandad's house in Piedmont. The middle one is of my three cousins and myself (and part of my sister - I didn't take the picture, so you can't be mad at me). I love my big, giant cowboy boots and my cousin Mark's pants in this picture. Oh! and don't forget the orange shag carpet and wood paneling! AND, if I remember correctly my outfit was purple polyester. The bottom picture is my two cousins Rusty, and Robin, and myself at my other Grandma and Grandpa's house. Check out the cool stereo/record player thing against the wall. Not sure why we aren't smiling, I know we were happy children. Maybe it was because we hadn't opened the presents yet?
There are more pictures to share, but I didn't want to scare you all at once! Enjoy the little blast from the past!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Smell . . . er . . . TROUBLE!

Conner and Nicci never played with the toilet paper. Ethan and Carlie did and do (do). I don't know if it's trouble I smell, but it sure is something. I'll let you know when I figure it out.
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Way to Go God and E*PN!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This Christmas Will You . . .

Buy more than you did last year?

Now, I know I just posted about blogs to shop from and here I am encouraging you to refocus your spending elsewhere.  Either way (shopping from the places I mentioned or watching this video and choosing differently) you are helping a person in need.  I'm not sure what our family will do.  My hubbie and I have been talking about this for a while now.  We gotta sit down and plan - we'll let you know what we come up with.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christmas Wish List - by Ethan

We've been getting lots of catalogs in the mail lately enticing us with lots of goodies for Christmas (cuz, you know, it's all about what we GET). Ethan wanted me to sit down and help him write his Christmas wish list for Santa. The very first thing he had me write down was:


As the list goes on he names more specific things, but he wanted to be sure and let Santa know that he wanted ALL of the toys. He is too smart. Why didn't I think of this when I was a kid?
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Monday, November 10, 2008

A Verse That Speaks to Me Today . . .

1 Corinthians 2:9 (New International Version)

However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"

Hope, it is found when I need it most . . . enjoy the day!

Ups and Downs

In my zest for Adoption Awareness Month I hear that the CCAA mailed referrals for two days of LIDs this month. Just two days. That is a very small amount. The CCAA remains steadfast that domestic adoption is on the rise and that abandonments are down. I am grateful for that, but is that really true? Pictures I see of inside orphanages show quite a few children. Why are these children still in orphanages if there are families lined up from 2006-2008 to welcome them? Obviously, I do not have all the facts, I do not work for the CCAA, nor do I work in an orphanage, nor do I live in China. I just know what I see and hear from friends who have been over there. So, we wait . . .
It's a cold, rainy Monday here in Tulsa. I love days like this, where I am nice and cozy warm, the smell of clean laundry wafting through the house. What's it like where Avery is?
I love Oklahoma. I get all the seasons in full force with all their beautiful and ugly colors. I get mountains, I get plains, plateaus, rivers, lakes, big city life, and small town glory. The people here are usually pretty friendly and most of us have a heart for Jesus. Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound . . .
The bottom picture is of the Wudang Mountains in China. There are so many very unique sites in China. Of course, there's the Great Wall, there's the Dragon Back Mountains, rice paddies, lakes, palaces, remote farm communities, very different ways of dressing, worshipping, relating, being, and living. The middle picture is a rice farm terraced on the mountains, and the top is Kunming, Jade Snow Dragon Mountain.

Psalm 31:7 (New International Version)

I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So . . . You Got Some Shopping to Do?

Sweet and Spicey Designs
Red Thread Stitches
Well, as you know Christmas is coming very soon. We all have a little shopping to do, right? Well, why not shop online? The benefits to shopping online? No crowds, no parking hassles, no strollers to mess with, no pushy sales people, and no cold malls which encourage you to buy a sweater for yourself while you are there! Why shop at one of these or the ones listed to the right? Because they all help orphans that's why! See, you CAN help orphans just sitting in your own home! Isn't that easy?
The one link that is "Touching Lives" has lists of blogs and sites totally helping orphans, that is the sites whole purpose. I have purchased a shirt for myself from "Lucky Bug Kids Clothing." She is super nice and aims to please - good quality stuff.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Piece of the Puzzle

Adopting a child is a labor of love, it's being what they call "paper pregnant," it's paperwork gathering/notarizing/copying/requesting, it's waiting, it's waiting some more, it's praying, it's being part of a puzzle bigger than you can imagine, it's happy, it's sad, it's remarkable, and it's what we are supposed to do.
These pictures have been on here before a while back, but I just had to go through them again looking for something. I was reminded of just how far we have come, how much paperwork is involved, and it reminded me of what we are still doing. We are "paper pregnant" with Avery and I wouldn't have it any other way.

because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
Job 29:12
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Orphan Care, International

Orphan Care International was created by our adoption agency, Dillon International. It helps to provide medical care, healthy meals, educational services, foster care training, surgeries, and more to orphans who are still waiting for their forever families. This is a wonderful organization to support if you feel lead to give.

Mark 9:36-37
36He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
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A Poll - Help Us!

Our children all have "nicknames" except Conner - he refused. Nicole is called Nicci or Zoe. Zoe is because when she was little she used to were bracelets on both hands and had reddish hair, that reminded us of the monster Zoe on Sesame Street. Ethan is Diggy, after Diggy on the show "Run's House." Their son Diggy has a scratchy voice and our Ethan does, too.
Now, here is where we are having a hard time. Carlie's nickname is a debate. My husband wants to call her Pepper Pots. I want to call her Tinkerbell (when she has a poopy diaper she can be called Stinkerbell or just Stink).
So, if you could please vote in our poll (to the right) as to what nickname you think Carlie needs that would be great. I'll post a picture of her so you can see the deserving young child is . . . .

When Love Takes You In . . .

Ephesians 1:3-6 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

As you can see, we are all adopted by our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November is Adoption Awareness Month. PLEASE watch this short video. Even if you are not called to adopt, you can still do something: sponsor an orphan, volunteer with your local crisis pregnancy center, and last but definitely not least pray. Pray for the orphans, pray for the families in the process of adopting, pray for foster families, pray for countries who seem to be a little too proud or greedy.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

All this month this blog will feature different ways you can help orphans.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat Smell My Feet . . .

A night in the neighborhood . . . .
This was our first year to not have all of them with us. Conner had to be at a birthday party at 7, he was a "Zombie Lawyer." So, by the time we got back to our neighborhood it was really dark and we hadn't hit a single house yet! We got busy!
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Clothing Issues Again . . .

Ethan wanted to be a shark first - couldn't find one. So, I took him to the Disney store and told him that he could have whatever costume he wanted (safe costumes there, not too gorey, or evil, and they were %50 off!) we came out with a Mickey Mouse costume for Ethan, and a Minnie Mouse costume for Carlie. Won't that be so cute mom thinks!? I just had to get a long sleeved black shirt and some black tights (I'm thinking as I'm buying the tights that he will definitely not be happy about the tights, but I want the costume to be PERFECT) to go under the Mickey costume and we were set.
So, Halloween night rolls around and we are getting dressed. He had on a blue and green soccer type shorts outfit that he wore to preschool and he was stressing that he couldn't put the Mickey costume on OVER the soccer shorts ensemble - we hadn't even attempted the tights and long sleeved black shirt yet. Somehow I talked him into the long-sleeved shirt, tights, and Mickey costume. He had it on for about 10 minutes and just couldn't stand it, and I tried everything to distract him, but it was not happening. He finally stripped and put the blue and green outfit back on stating, "I am NOT going trick-or-treating! I am NOT going to get candy!" Jeesh. In the meantime the other kids are all getting their costumes on, I'm doing Carlie's bow for her mouse ears, and then Nicci's hair, Conner's in the bathroom putting on his face paint (don't call it make-up because he's not a girl) and Ethan is watching. He gets the tights back on (the LAST thing I EVER expected him to wear!), then the Mickey Mouse costume went on over the black tights and the blue and green soccer shirt. He put on the ears and the black shoes and he was set. Hey, I can live with this! He went willingly and it was his idea!
He'll outgrow this phase. I'm not worried. We do our best to handle it with as much patience, guidance, and humor as we can, all the while making him think that he's in control.
When we got home he IMMEDIATELY stripped and put on the blue and green soccer clothes.
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Whatcha Gonna Wear E?

Our third child, Ethan (also known as Diggy), has "issues" with clothing. Ever since we told him we were going to the beach this past June he has worn a bathing suit - I didn't tell him we were going until about mid-May because he would obsess about it. Now, I don't totally let him have control over what he wears. There are two rules/guidelines/boundaries that he has: no bathings suits at preschool, and no bathings suits at church. He knows these rules very well, not that he doesn't try to get away with wearing a "ba soup" to the forbidden places. Everywhere else is fair game - the zoo, the grocery store, outside with/without water, the mall. Bathings suits make good pajamas it turns out! Some days he does try to make the rules work for him, he'll even try changing to a different bathing suit thinking that "maybe it's this particular bathing suit my mom doesn't like?" And when he comes home from a long day at preschool or church he strips as fast as he can into a bathing suit. I'm not sure what the winter will hold for us as far as clothing choices. I've been trying to transfer this obsession to those slicky basketball pants, but so far it's a no go. He's such a cutie, the little stinker!
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