Saturday, February 28, 2009

Packing problems

I packed the huge suitcase for Haiti the other day. Then today when looking at the airline confirmation there was a size restriction as well as the 50 lb limit on checked baggage. Our suitcase is 8 inches too big. It's huge. (pic. is of L. age 12 inside) So we are borrowing a friend's bag and trying again. This will save us $265 if they really enforce the rule.
So, now with the new bag, a big duffle, we are actually able to pack more, since the duffle weighs less than the huge suitcase. Off to repack!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


If you haven't seen the pics, our son loves cake. Almost every picture we've received of Elijah consists of him with a fist full! The o. has cake to celebrate birthdays, and going away celebrations. I think E. has eaten his fair share. So the other day, when I got an email from his o. asking to please bring cake mix and frosting to restock their shelves, I thought it was pretty darn funny. I'm going to make that boy some cake to celebrate his homecoming!
Also I got this message on Facebook about Elijah:
After we picked up Elijah from the airport last week we all went out for a cheeseburger. We told him we were celebrating, but he just wanted the cheeseburger. :)

One week

Did you see the counter above? It says in one week my little boy will be home! I can't believe it... J. is leaving on Sunday. I really hope he is able to contact me when he is safe at the orphanage. I want to know everything and hope he is good at communicating what's going on with Elijah and their reunion with me via email. I still have lots to do before they leave, and while J. is gone. Here's my to do list:

Get a presciption for scabies filled
Pick up frosting to bring to the O. (I'll post about this later)
Finish packing
Do mountains of laundry...we have a sick bear
Keep the kids busy with schoolwork and chores, they are just as excited as we are!
Plan L's birthday (nothing big)
Go grocery shopping and stock up
Make some meals that I can freeze for those crazy days
Finish cleaning up the house

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Subscription cancelled

Since we have decided to adopt over 2 years ago, I have had an account with . I used to log on at least 2 times a week, searching for kids that might fit in our family. For over two years, and many inquiries, we have not gotten a single referral. Doors kept closing. We were fine with that, thinking that if it were meant to be, it will happen. If not, the Lord will close all doors. Today, just for fun, I logged on. I haven't in a while. A message came up asking me to update our account. I thought for a minute and clicked "cancel subscription". That door has definately closed for now. We are content with our family size. We are busy and our hearts are full. Who knows what's in store in the future? We are open (and I would love another girl) to whatever God leads us to do.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Babysitting Bears

I went over to my friend's house today and ended up babysitting Baby Bear for the afternoon. He was a great baby for me.   Bear is going through some fussy, colic, reflux stuff. He is thankfully going to see some specialists tomorrow. I hope they can find some solutions! has some darling pics of him.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I am getting better, slowly. The redness is gone and the swelling is a lot better. It is still tender and hurts in some areas, but I think I am on the mend. I have not gone back to the doctor.

Aackkk! I am laying in bed with a heating pad on my belly right now. I noticed last night that my incision sight (belly button) where my gallbladder was removed is tender and red. It hurts to bend at the waist. It feels a bit swollen there as well. I called the doc today and he said it is rare for an infection a month after surgery, but not impossible. So I was instructed to use heat, and if it doesn't get better after a day I will have to come in to the clinic. I feel like I have so much to do still before Elijah gets here. I want to be healthy and well. Please say a little prayer for me, and my worrywart ways. I have bad visions of MRSA and staph in my head.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Don't know what to expect..

I have been having a hard time planning the month of March (and beyond). I am wondering what Elijah's personality will be like, and how his adjustment will go. He seemed pretty laid back when we were there to visit, but that was almost a year ago! And that was in an environment where he was comfortable. I guess we will just have to play it by ear. L's birthday is the weekend after Elijah and J get home. I wonder how things will go if we decide to have family over for a little party?

Also, just want to say how excited I am for my sister. She just got engaged! She's been with her boyfriend for about 5 years now and he finally popped the question. Yay!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New room

These letters were made with love and given to us by Sarah at our adoption shower. So cute!
E's new bed.

The ceiling in this room was really ugly. Since I wanted a travel theme, I decided to decoupage maps all over the ceiling. I used Elmer's glue thinned with water. It worked really well. I even got free maps from AAA. There's a map of Haiti in this corner!

Going public

I had this blog set to private during most of this adoption process, but decided to move to a new site and make it public. I was able to export most of the past posts, but didn't get the oldest ones loaded. You can see our PUBLIC blog at

Friday, February 20, 2009


Visa is printed and in hand. We are booking tickets in a bit! Wow, it's beginning to feel real. Soon I'll be wondering what we were getting ourselves into!

Travel Plans

Things are slowly coming together. We have been trying to find available flights on Lynx so Jeremiah wouldn't have to fly to PAP. It's been hard! The best flights are available to fly March 2 thru 4th. So if everything works out ok, he may be flying to Miami on the 1st and coming home March 5th. This is later than we would prefer, but I'm sure the time will fly by trying to get things together. We haven't received word that the visa was picked up, but hope to soon. I think I remember that most of the time the embassy says to come in after 1pm. So, that will be in a few hours.

Also, we are looking into adoption leave for Jeremiah's job. We heard that he can get 6-7 weeks off paid, but it seems that it's really hard to get and will probably only be getting a week off. He will be spending that week traveling, and with the Chief's permission, he can get an extension for another week. That would be nice to have him home for a bit while everyone is adjusting.

We ended up buying a toddler bed yesterday, and Sarah is loaning us a crib mattress. We figured it would be better for Elijah to be up off the floor a bit. We will be working on putting the bed together soon and I will post pics of his room. I did some shopping yesterday and we went out to dinner with friends to celebrate the news!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Praise God!

We got an email from papadoptions, Elijah's visa is approved. It will be printed and picked up tomorrow. What a huge relief and joy! We are looking at flights and will wait until they actually have his visa before booking anything. We will have our son home prayerfully within a few weeks!
Thanks for your prayers and continue praying for the rest of the process please!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God can do it!!!

I have spent the morning in anxiousness, and trying to get over it! Please will you all join me in prayer for the visa appointment tomorrow? I am going to be praying all day, but specifically at 7:30 pm. The visa appointment is Thursday at 10 in Haiti. That is 7 pst. I am trying to be prepared for any outcome but definitely don't want to hear any bad news.

The COTP prayer requests came out today...
Here is the request for Elijah:

Elijah – The Embassy has requested a 2nd visa appointment for him and that is scheduled for tomorrow, February 19. Pray for the appointment to go well and for his visa to be printed this week!
“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Message

Isaiah 40:27-31 (The Message)
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind
Licia (real hope for haiti) is doing much better. She posted this scripture on her blog and it brought me to tears. It is funny how God's word speaks to you at different times.

Busy day...

My poor son, Loren has to have 4 teeth extracted today. Please think of him as you are eating your leftover valentine candy! I hope he isn't in too much pain. This is just the beginning of orthodontic care. One down, four to go. Ugh.

Corinn is involved in a homeschool play. She is very excited to be going to weekly practice and was happy about the role she got. It is good to see her positive about an activity. She has practice today and was also happy to hear her friend is going to start coming too!

Jeremiah is working over time again. He was called into work yesterday evening and worked until midnight. I guess they are really short staffed. many accidents and illnesses causing people to be at home. I wonder if it is the sunshine effecting them? So today he's working but this time teaching a class. It was planned a month in advance. He's a bit nervous. It's great for our budget, all this OT, so we can have extra for traveling to Haiti.

So my day will be filled with driving kids, picking them up, sitting in the dentist waiting room with 3 kids and listening to whining of a nearly 12 year old boy. FUN!


Got this email this morning (thank you God for some news!), but it isn't the best. It has us and our adoption coordinator baffled:

Good morning,

Eloye Lafleur Smith is scheduled for an appointment for Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
Please do proceed as usual. Thank you

Best Regards, Adoption Unit American Embassy, Haiti

She sent me an email saying she is not sure why they have asked to see him again.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Praise for Eloise, a MAT child

News from Eloise's host dad:

Eliose appears out of danger, every system is improving slowly, they are cutting back on some of the meds, still completely sedated however, looking forward to more progress tomorrow.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hoping for Tuesday

Please pray for news for us on Tuesday. I really am hoping we hear something back from the consulate/embassy. Jeremiah has a feeling we will, and I hope he is right. The suitcase is mostly packed, I have a few things left to do, but can do most of that when Jeremiah is traveling. One major thing is to buy a bed for Elijah. I am going to wait until we get the go ahead to travel though. Since he is sleeping in a cot at the orphanage, I think that using a crib mattress on the floor might be a good transition. Thoughts? His room is childproof and has a gate in the doorway. I'm still feeling peaceful and trusting. I really would love to hear back from the consulate though, just to be sure his file is not just sitting somewhere in Haiti.

Jeremiah was safe and sound last night and made it home around 11. So not too late. I was nearly asleep though.

Church was great today. We were announced as new members to the church in the bulletin. In a few weeks when Jeremiah is not at work, we will be formally announced and are asked to greet people afterwards. This is different for us, we belonged to a Calvary Chapel, which doesn't do formal memberships. They believe that if you feel their church is your home, then you are already a member. I really like being part of this new family and look forward to the missions fair next weekend.

We also enjoyed a beautiful day full of sunshine. The kids got outside to play with our neighbor girl and rode bikes. It's been a while since they have been outside for a considerable amount of time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

I don't want to complain, but I am all alone for V. day, with the kids. My hubby is working today and he normally gets home at 9. I was thinking we could have a few hours before bedtime to celebrate together. He just called to tell me that there was a SWAT callout, and he will most likely have a late night. Ugh. Why do people have to commit crime on my time?

Thankfully we were able to go on a date last night. He took the day/night off and we went out for italian and ice cream after. It was great to spend some time toghter without kids. Plus we got free babysitting! Our church offered childcare for couples and of course we took them up on that! Two kids were with my parents and attended a play at the Children's Theater in Seattle. They had a great time. Someday I will convince my mother that having all the kids at once is not too stressful. I have to count my blessings though, because she did have all of them while I was in the hospital last month.

Have a happy day to all my friends. Please say a prayer for safety for Jeremiah as you enjoy your V. day dinner and chocolates.


I got a phone call the other day. It was from my sis in law. She told me she was calling to talk to someone who has more kids than her. She has a 2 year old little girl and twin 7 month old girls. Life at her house is crazy. She asked me how I do it, with having 4 kids and one almost home. I honestly don't know how. I really don't feel like I have a lot of kids, and at times I forget that to the average person thinks having 5 kids seems insane. I have heard the theory that after 3, having one more is no biggy. I have to agree with that, depending on ages. My older kids are very helpful with the younger sibs. I really rely on my nearly 12 year old son to help with the baby. He is great at making bottles, helping change diapers and grabbing things needed when asked. My 10 year old daughter is helpful too, but complains a bit more. My 6 year old daughter TRIES to be helpful, but sometimes really is not. You know what I mean!

Having 3 kids under 2? That's crazy. My sis in law told me that the other morning she found her 2 year old sitting on top of one of the twins. Riding like a horsey. Oh no! I really wish I lived near them so I can lend a hand once in a while. It was good to talk with her, and I hope my listening ear made her feel a bit better and let off some steam.

Happy Valentines Day!

We aren't really big into commercialized holidays. We do celebrate, in our own way. For V. day, we did not put up decorations, buy candy, etc. But we made homemade cards for our cousins, had a fun Friday night and try to share with each other how much we love one another EVERY day! Last night 2 of the older kids were with grandma to see a play and spent the night. The 2 younger ones enjoyed more time with mom and dad. We took them bowling, and out to lunch. Then we went to our church and dropped them off. The church was offering free child care so couples could go on a date. We went to dinner and had dessert at Coldstone. I ate way too much! It was a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate. J. is working today so we won't get a chance to spend time together today/tonight.


Check out They have a few kids on the home page who FINALLY got their visas recently! These two have been waiting a very long time, and they had the same problem we do. They turned in their receipt last week too. So this is very good news for us too! Keep on praying!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Prayer requests

I just posted that wonderful prayer and it got me thinking of others I need to remember to pray for. Please join me in prayer for these situations...

Licia in Haiti (real hope for haiti) is very sick and in the hospital right now with malaria. Please pray for her health and strength.

Eloise is a little girl from Haiti who is in the US for heart surgery. She is having complications and is in critical condition. Please pray for her and her host family as they go through this together.

My friend Crystal is battling cancer. She is 27 years old. She is a warrior and has such a Christlike attitude. Please pray for her as she is beginning treatment to fight lymphoma.

I know of many people who have lost loved ones recently. Pray for them as they mourn for their family.

Sarah has been waiting for her adopted son for over 3 years. Please pray that he will be signed out of MOI soon and will be home quickly. He is Elijah's buddy at the orphanage.

Please pray for the many other families out their struggling in their adoption process. It should not be so difficult.

Amazing prayer

I am not sure who originally wrote this but I got permission from to post this prayer on here. I think it is wonderfully written and expresses my heart exactly. I can't tell you how much my walk in faith has been strengthened since beginning this journey. Since our adoption I have become a more passionate, more caring person. I have put my trust in Him. I traveled to a third world county to volunteer. I started helping the Medical Advocacy Team and watched the organization form. I have experienced tragedy and heartbreak. I have witnessed others go through unbearable pain. I have formed a love for a culture and country which before this, I didn't really even know where it was on a map. God chose us to go through this. He knew how it would change me. He wanted me to change and I am so glad I did. I still have a long way to go!
Here is the well written prayer:

"Maybe, just maybe, the angle from which we have viewed this trial happens to be the angle of the enemy instead of God's perspective. Maybe God is taking us deeper, deeper into trust and abandonment to Him. Maybe satan wants to discourage you and your families because he sees an army of saints coming into his domain. Maybe he wants to discourage you before the war has even begun. Instead of questioning God's calling to work in and to adopt from Haiti, maybe we should praise God that He has found us worthy to endure and combat a spiritual warfare in this land enchained by darkness. Perhaps it is a blessing, God has seen that you and these families are fit for the battle. Satan knows this and is waging a violent assault to discourage us from continuing this battle. Today, lets change our prayer.

Father, we thank you for all that you are doing through the people, situations, and circumstances that are beyond our control. Father we thank you that Satan's mountains are only made of smoke. And today, Lord, we cry out to you to move the heavenly forces on our behalf and release these children from the clutch and grasp of the enemy so that they may come home. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we bind the demonic forces of darkness, confusion, chaos, inefficiency, pride, and laziness that has brought the Haitian adoption process to a halt. Where there is darkness, we call upon Your light oh God. Where there is confusion, we pray for Your Divine Spirit of clarity, wisdom, and knowledge.

Father break these chains of darkness Lord. We don't have the power in and of ourselves but You have said that when Your people call upon Your name You will hear them and answer their prayers. In place of the chaos in this Haitian adoption system we call for Your peace and organization. Where there is inefficiency we pray for Your spirit of efficiency. Where there is pride and arrogance among the officials we pray for You to soften their hearts and Your humility to fall upon them. Where there is laziness to pray for your strength in Jesus name. Father, most of all we want to thank you. Thank you that You have seen our families as fit to conquer these demonic forces through surrender, prayer and trust in You. Thank you that this is where You have placed us today for Your purpose and plan that is far greater than anything we could imagine. Father I thank you that You see beyond our desire for a trouble-free life, You see the internal construction of our spirit taking place. We surrender to Your plans and Your timing. Thank you Father."


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The house is quiet, and I am in bed with my computer once again. I just can't stay off this thing! I am praying and meditating as I listen to two owls outside our bedroom window. They sound so beautiful together cooing back and forth. I love living in the country!

Here are some verses that I read tonight.

Isaiah 26:4 (New International Version)
4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

1 Peter 5:7 (New International Version)
7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 37:5 (New International Version)
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this

Nahum 1:7 (New International Version)
7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

I have a wonderful feeling of peace about Elijah tonight. I am not sure if this is because of other people's prayers (our church prayer request card specifically asked for peace for us), or my prayers, or that I know God WILL bring Elijah home. I know that He can do anything, and that whenever it happens, it will be perfect timing. I am officially giving it ALL to Him. Here you go Lord, it's up to you!

No news today

I have been on the computer all day, and now the embassy office is closed in Haiti. So I can actually get some things done today! Praying we will hear something GOOD tomorrow. Please join us in praying too. Thanks so much


Well it's been a bit since I last posted. We've been busy. My baby girl, K. celebrated her 6th birthday last weekend. She chose to have pizza, carrots, pop, and for dessert: vanilla cake with white frosting, coconut and cherries on top. She loved opening her gifts and spending time with family.

We are waiting for news on baby #5. Praying that soon we will have him home.

We are enjoying our DTV. I am trying hard to get a handle on how we spend our time with this new "toy"!

Travel warning

Saw this today, and just found it interesting and educational. Jeremiah will not be traveling to Port au Prince, btw.
January 28, 2009

The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Haiti and recommends deferring non-essential travel until further notice. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 30, 2008, and is being issued to remind American citizens of the destructive impact of a series of hurricanes in 2008, to provide updated information on country conditions, and to alert Americans to ongoing security concerns. Travelers are strongly advised to thoroughly consider the risks before traveling to Haiti and to take adequate precautions to ensure their safety if traveling to Haiti.

During the 2008 hurricane season, four tropical storms struck Haiti, which resulted in torrential rains, extensive flooding and mudslides, and hundreds of reported casualties. The lack of governmental infrastructure and rescue services combined with impassable roads and bridges severely hindered rescue and relief efforts. In late August and September 2008, heavy rains and gale-force winds from hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike pelted the country's coastline and interior causing heavy flooding and mudslides. In the aftermath of the storms, eight of the country's nine departments reported significant physical and economic devastation. The storm damage came on the heels of the civil unrest in April 2008. Conditions in Haiti may occasionally limit Embassy assistance to American citizens to emergency services.
In early April 2008, there were violent demonstrations, looting, transportation disruptions, and as many as seven reported deaths in Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince. Some American citizens were temporarily stranded in isolated locations and could not safely travel until calm was restored. The absence of an effective police force in many areas of Haiti means that, when protests take place, there is potential for looting, the erection of intermittent roadblocks set by armed protestors or by the police, and an increased possibility of random crime, including kidnapping, carjacking, home invasion, armed robbery and assault. Americans in Haiti should practice good personal security, take commonsense precautions and avoid any event where crowds may congregate. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent. Americans should closely monitor news media and the U.S. Embassy's website at:

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Haiti despite this warning are reminded that there also is a chronic danger of violent crime, especially kidnappings. Most kidnappings are criminal in nature, and the kidnappers make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender, or age. As of January 2009, 25 Americans were reported kidnapped in 2008. Most of the Americans were abducted in Port-au-Prince. Some kidnap victims have been killed, shot, sexually assaulted, or brutally abused. The lack of civil protections in Haiti, as well as the limited capability of local law enforcement to resolve kidnapping cases, further compounds the element of danger surrounding this trend.Travel is always hazardous within Port-au-Prince. U.S. Embassy personnel are under an Embassy-imposed curfew and must remain in their homes or in U.S. government facilities during the curfew. Some areas are off-limits to Embassy staff after dark, including downtown Port-au-Prince. The Embassy restricts travel by its staff to some areas outside of Port-au-Prince because of the prevailing road and security conditions. This may constrain our ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port-au-Prince. Demonstrations and violence may occasionally limit Embassy operations to emergency services, even within Port-au-Prince. The UN stabilization force (MINUSTAH) remains fully deployed and is assisting the government of Haiti in providing security.

The Department of State strongly advises U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Haiti to register either online at or with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The Consular Section can be reached at (509) (2)229-8000 or e-mail address Travelers should also consult the Department of State's latest Country Specific Information for Haiti and the Worldwide Caution at American citizens also may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States.

Glued to the computer

UPDATE: I resent the email and received an autoresponse from the embassy right away. So I don't think the first email went through. Hoping for some good news soon!

If you have been trying to call us lately, my apologies! We have been glued to the computer, and since we have dial up (high speed isn't available out here in the sticks!) then our phone lines are busy. I got an email yesterday morning from our adoption coordinator. She said the slip of paper was turned into the embassy! So she wanted us to email the embassy asking when they will print Elijah's visa. I wrote a quick email, clicked send, and waited. And waited. Usually when emailing them I get an autoreponse saying that they will get back to us within 3 business days, etc. I have not received that at all. So, it's almost been 24 hours since I sent the email, and I think if I don't hear anything back soon then I think I better resend the email. I am so anxious to hear something!
I will keep you updated!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Still no news

We are still waiting for news, unfortunately none this week. I REALLY hope we will hear something next week. It just makes me crazy to wonder if this idea does not work, then we will need to wait even longer to get that archive and turn it in. Praying really hard!

Praise- a little boy from the o. is going home next week! He had his visa appointment on Tuesday and has his visa. So some people are getting them!

Today is Kylie's 6th birthday. We had a busy day running errands, but enjoyed pizza at home with dad (he had a different schedule today and was home by 5:30) and angel food cake. She got some new barbies, an art set, some money, grandma and grandpa sent her flowers and a stuffed animal, and a new game and sticker/color books. Happy birthday Kylie! You are getting to be such a big girl, we love you! Tomorrow we are celebrating with my mom and dad at a local ice cream shop. Yum.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Morning Glory Muffins-

2 Cups Flour
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Cups grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup drained, crushed pinneapple
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine first 5 ingredients, stir in carrots, raisins, coconut, nuts & pinneapple.
In seperate bowl, beat eggs. oil, & vanilla. Stir into flour mixture until batter is mixed.
Dont over stir. Spoon into muffin pan (3/4 full. Bake for 20 min at 350
makes 1 1/2-2 doz.

No news

I am not sure I will be getting any news today. It's already 3, here, which means it's 6 in Haiti I think. I wish I would get an email very soon. I find myself thinking about this all the time. It is driving me crazy. I am trying to keep busy, but still my mind keeps drifting. I also had a very nice dream about Elijah and woke up at 4 am this morning. I dreamed we were in Haiti, at the embassy. They handed us his passport with his visa, and we were walking down the street with Elijah toward the airport. When I woke I was sad it was just a dream and started praying. I couldn't go back to sleep for quite a while.

It is beautiful outside and the kids had a chance to play outside and I actually was able to hang my clothes out on the line!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great article about transracial adoption

I read this today and LOVED it...


I like to watch The Simple Life. I know, don't even say anything. I found out a few months ago that last year my hubby's cousins were on the show. The disc arrived in the mail today from Dawn and Ed Bellante are camp directors on Season 5. It's so funny to meet my distant relatives for the first time on dvd. On the episode, Paris and Nicole go to summer camp, Camp Shawnee, where they spend the summer with different groups of people. It's pretty it!

Cutting Costs

We recently ordered the book The Total Money Makeover. I have read the first few chapters and so far, so good. I am inspired. We need to get out of debt, cut spending and start saving. How do we do this on one income? This is tricky, especially with the economy the way it is today.

I have decided that the easiest way to cut spending in our home is with the grocery budget. And probably signing up for DTV was not a good choice, budget wise.

I don't have a lot of experience in bargain shopping, although I am getting better. I have learned a lot in the last year, thanks to my friends. I've noticed how my shopping habits have changed.

Phase one: Newlyweds. I moved from my parents' comfortable home to our apartment when I was 19. I believed food needed to be brand name or it was garbage. I also was really into pretending to be Martha Stewart and bought expensive ingredients to make fancy meals. When we ate out it was usually nice restaurants.

Phase two: First child. I realized that the expense of having a child was catching up with us. I started cutting back on the fancy meals, and found there were some store brands that were ok to substitute. I began using coupons at times. We started eating at more family friendly locations and fast food restaurants.

Phase three: Second child. Our second baby came 18 months after our first, and life was a whirlwind. We were so busy, I can't remember many details. I did resort to having our first child's second birthday party at McDonalds. He loved it. I still bought what was needed, when we needed it, and used the occasional coupon. I didn't pay a lot of attention to sales nor did I do any comparison shopping.

Phase four: Moved to a more expensive city with two children. My husband got a new, much higher paying job. We moved across the state to a much more pricier town. Even with the higher paychecks, the budget got tighter. We were renting, and trying to save to buy a house. We also carried some debt from the move and our lifestyle. Tried to eat out less, cook more from scratch, and buy more foods on sale.

Phase five: Homeowners and Third child. We tried to keep up with the Jones's in our brand new house with new neighbors. Thankfully I had some good role models and learned some budget friendly recipes and tips. The town we lived in had a high population of Dutch descendants. I learned "dutch" was also another word for cheap. I began to follow suit! I learned the thrill of consignment shopping for children's clothes. I looked at the store's ads and tried to plan meals around what was on sale.

Phase six: Moved again and added another child. We moved to our country home AND started the adoption process, which took our savings and more. We buckled down. Even if I wanted to work outside the home we wouldn't be able to afford child care. Gas prices skyrocketed. I learned the joys of bargain grocery shopping from a good friend. She took me to all the local discount stores. I learned to scan the sell buy dates at the discount stores and find boxes of cereal for $1.50. We were given a large chest freezer and began searching for meat sales to fill the freezer. I also froze in season fruit for later. I started shopping at thrift stores more often for clothes and accessories. I tried to plan a menu for the week, and also set a food budget.

Phase seven: Another adoption and poor economy. I am not as picky. I make due with what we have in the pantry, sometimes buy expired food at the discount store, and try hard to make things from scratch. I avoid many prepackaged foods unless they are a deal. I started a garden and learned a bit about canning. We went berry picking this summer and froze berries in our freezer. Also went apple picking and made fresh applesauce and apple crisp. I love buying fruits and veggies in season and from local farms, and u pick! Even got free apples from friend's trees and blackberries from our yard. Our garden produced lettuce, zucchini, strawberries, carrots, and beets. I made some plans and changes for next spring. We planted some pear trees. I received a nice bread machine for Christmas.

Now...I feel after all the phases and growing I have gone through I am up for the challenge. I am going to try to feed my family of 6 for $75 a week. Think I can do it? Any advise? For the record, we have 2 adults (my hubby is on a bicycle most of the day), an almost 12 year old boy, a 10 year old girl, a six year old girl, and a one year old boy (drinking whole milk). I think the most challenging part is with my husbands spending. He still enjoys eating out during work, or stopping for a treat. Sometimes he makes his lunch, sometimes I pack it, but sometimes he is rushed out the door and buys something during the day on the road.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Giving in...

We live in the country. Our definition of country: no cable tv or high speed internet. We live about 7 minutes away from civilization, and really enjoy our little 4.7 acre slice of heaven. We have high hopes of building our dream home here one day, having a wonderful garden, and enjoying our wooded land. We've been without television for a long time. We found out last year that with rabbit ears we can get 3 (4 on a good day) Canadian channels on our tv. It is sometimes hard to view our favorite shows through the snow, so we sometimes have to resort to going to friends' homes to watch something we cannot miss.

We got an ad in our phone bill last month for a bundle special. TV, high speed internet and phone service for one low monthly payment. I decided to call and see if we could get signed up. No surprise, high speed internet was not available in our area. But we could still get TV, DirectTV. So after PLEADING with my hubby, we signed up. The guy comes out Saturday to install the dish and two receivers. I cannot tell you how excited my kids are. I am having some mixed emotions.
DTV pros:
great educational programs
can watch my fav. shows without fuzz, adjusting antennae or making one of the kids stand near the tv with arms in the air
good rainy day activity
love TLC
good for bribing

DTV cons:
kids want to have it on all the time
annoying Cartoon Network (will be blocking this channel)
time waster

So it looks like the pros win. Lord help us.


Samuel and I went to our first B-ham playgroup this morning. And wouldn't you know it, we already had some friends there? The group was great and it was nice to have some special ed and speech help. I can't wait to go back next week. This Wednesday Vicky, Samuel's speech therapist, will be coming over. We saw her briefly today as she was leaving the office. Samuel loves her!

Sammy is learning a lot and is starting to get more stable on his feet. He likes to cruise but doesn't really want to try to take some steps on his own. He is signing more and milk, waving bye and likes to make sounds. He makes a funny sound like beeka peeka (repeated) in a high pitched voice. It's so cute. He also makes a car sound when he sees toy cars. Already he's all boy! He really likes singing songs and loves one we learned at Toddler Time...5 little hot dogs. He also likes to play peekaboo and occasionally gives cuddles. He is always ready to give out smiles. He is getting his 6th tooth!

We have still not heard back from Children's about his MRI and he EEG results. I have called several times and had no return call. I'm trying not to get too frustrated.

Waiting is the hardest part

I am feeling better from my cold. I had taken a lot of Airborne and EmergenC and thankfully the cold only lasted a few days. Also my wonderful husband has been holding down the fort here and allowing me to get a lot of rest. Do you think he feels guilty for being out of town while I was in the hospital? I did get a call from the doctor. I had my blood drawn at my appointment on Friday. My levels are still high, but getting better. The nurse said to eat low fat to allow my pancreas and liver to continue healing. I feel pretty good, but kind of weak still.

I have not heard any news today but did get the prayer chain for COTP. Please be praying for several of the kids' visa appointments and the paper for Elijah and two others waiting for their visas. I did get an email from the adoption coordinator. She said it would be best for Jeremiah to fly to CAP and stay with Elijah at COTP for a few days. That is going to be our plan.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday

It is the day of the big game. I am not a sports lovin gal. I have also been down with a cold, along with 3 of my baby bears. So to commemorate Super Bowl kickoff, I will be in bed watching the fun commercials, occasionally getting up to change a diaper or serve some snacks. My hubby and a few kids are going to a friend's house to watch it on the big screen.

I also missed out on church today, but J. took two kiddos with him while the sickos layed around. I think I missed communion, and our pastor has been speaking on finances, one topic we really could use help on!

I spent a long time online today looking at airfare to our hopeful destination to pick up baby bear 5. We are hoping and praying to get some news this week that we can pick up our newest addition. I found that the closer we get to "spring break" the more prices are going up. So the sooner the better for our travel date! Lets pray things get moving!