Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Schooling decisions

The time has come to make some decisions for school next year. Right now we are enrolled in a parent partnership program (PPP) for homeschooling families. We decided to do this because we could be off site (not take any classes) but still be accountable to someone and collect funds for lessons, books, materials and field trips. A few years ago we were involved with another PPP where we were taking classes there once or twice a week. This was good too. While I love the funds and the classes we can get involved in, I feel the paperwork and such can be overwhelming right now. We are trying to decide what to do next year. We are pretty sure we are sending L. (age 12 and going into 7th grade) to public jr. high school but we need to decide what to do concerning the girls (soon to be 1st grade and 5th grade)

*Home school girls on my own and have NO PAPERWORK to do for the school district

*Enroll girls in the current PPP we are in now off site (no classes)

*Enroll girls in the current PPP on site (take classes but have to stay with them at the building)

*Enroll girls in the other PPP on site (am able to drop kids off with this program) but with more paperwork and restrictions

It's so great that we have all these choices! I am leaning toward homeschooling without the help of the PPP, at least for the first semester. That way I will have more time to adjust having 5 kids, sending my J-higher to school, and concentrate more on teaching the kids and less time worrying about required paperwork, checking in, etc. Any advise?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Large Family?

I was reading this post and started to think about this question. When is a family considered large? Is it 3, 4, 5 kids? I know several families with 13 kids, my close friend has 14. To me our family almost seems small because of who I hang with. When I met my husband I thought his mom was CRAZY to have 6 kids and homeschool. That is just one more child than my brood.

Having our family grow by two more kids in less than a year has been hard...
I definitely feel like life can be out of control at least once a day.
I have an obnoxious pile of laundry most of the time.
I notice the amount of groceries we go through and it seems we are always out of something.
I hardly ever have a quiet moment during the day and I cherish bedtime.
Our minivan is full, and we would have to buy a large SUV or 12 passenger van to fit one more person in our vehicle.

I feel like we are so blessed and couldn't be more happy about the number of kids God has given us. We are busy, but happy. I love our big family.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Yesterday we had to take C. and K. back to the dentist for a little work. The dentist suggested we bring Elijah back to watch, since he was so apprehensive about being there last time. So we all went to the dentist. Fun. The little boys liked to see the fish...

Then K. got started with her filling. C. had a sealant. All was going well, until I noticed the needle going into K's mouth, for the second time. The hygentist had made an error and they had numbed the wrong side! Poor kid, six year old K. was doing so well dispite the mistake. The little boys were not thrilled to be there, but they did ok. E. declined the offer to ride the chair on C's lap.

After the work was done, K.was miserable. This was her first filling and she was not liking the feeling of the numb lips and pain. She is the most miserable sick kid ever.

We went to Mc Donalds after. K. had an ice cream. It was E's first time at Playland. We were in a hurry to go home, so they only had one chance to go down the slide.

Kylie fell asleep once we got home, and unfortunately missed the chance to go to the park later. L. and C. went with me to meet our friends at the park. It was naptime for the rest of the family!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Time with C.

Today started out ok, I was really looking forward to spending some one on one time with C. She's been struggling a bit with E. being home. We had a lunch date planned. Olive Garden, her favorite. We went a bit later to avoid the lunch rush. We sat at our table, awkwardly talking about life, summer plans, and activities. It felt very strange, the quiet, the time to enjoy my food, and time to listen to my daughter. She is a pretty timid, quiet girl when she is not "on stage". She enjoyed her dish of fettuccine alfredo, her favorite. We also shared some shrimp scampi. Yum.

After lunch we stopped at Target to get some household items. We also picked out a cute outfit for C. to wear on Easter. Then the drama started. She had been asking for a DS game for a while now. She claims we owe her money (from her birthday) and that she wanted to cash it in now. I told her no, that it wouldn't be fair for the other kids, and that she still owed her sister a new barbie. (She'd broken K's new barbie the other day) Also I believe she had spent all the money she had in our "bank". So she whined and complained a bit as we left the store.

Once we got home the drama kicked up a notch. She started crying and dropped her leftovers on the floor, which she blamed on baby S. She started name calling and treating me with lots of disrespect. I sent her to her room. I got in my bed and cried. I don't know how to deal with this. Mood swings, much emotion, rejection, names and tears. I just wanted to enjoy a nice lunch with my daughter. How will I survive the next 10 years? Help me Lord!


Gotta love em!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Other Shore

Today at our church we were blessed by the performances of 8 college students from George Fox University. Here is the link for the description of the University Players: http://www.georgefox.edu/church/tourgroups/index.html It was great and the kids really enjoyed the performance too. The theme was The Other Shore. A great lesson about stepping out of our comfort zones, serving others no matter where they are in life, and loving like Jesus.

Elijah went to the church nursery for the first time. He was uneasy before we left but we distracted him and snuck out before he noticed. I checked in on him between Sunday School and church service. I got the thumbs up from the nursery worker, so I kept him in there and enjoyed church. He seemed like he had a great time, when I went to pick him up everyone told me how much fun my two boys were. I was so glad he did well! Yay for Elijah!

Random Photo Challenge

My good friend Sarah at http://ourhaitianjourney.blogspot.com/ posted a photo challenge.

Go to your third picture folder and post the first picture with the color brown in it.

This is Miss C. She is my second child, now 10 1/2 years old. This photo was taken a few years ago at the local farm during one of our field trips to pick out pumpkins! I was noticing just yesterday at how grown up she is getting. Looking back at this pic, I can see how much she has changed. She is beautiful and full of life.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Compost Bin Project

I am going to try this project with my kids. http://www.thehappyhousewife.com/diy-compost-bin/ I had a compost pile on the side of our property, and it was really hard to maintain. I am new to composting and only had a bit of knowledge about how it works. This project looks like a solution to our compost mess.


Visit this site:
And leave a comment to enter this giveaway for a Sister Schuberts gift basket given to 1 lucky reader filled with all sorts of goodies.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Two weeks

It's been two weeks since Elijah's arrival. He is still doing well and learning new things all the time. He repeats us a lot but still doesn't understand a lot. He has been doing a new thing the last two days where he will babel nonsense (doesn't sound like Creole or English). I think he is just trying to communicate to us in some way, kinda like if I were to try to speak Japanese. That would sound like a lot of babel too! He is also exploring his boundaries and figuring out the rules. Today he looked at me, heard me say "no Elijah", and decided to kick over the dog's dish with water in it. He got a time out and then came over to say "sorry Mama" with a tiny bit of prodding. He is so sweet and loves to give hugs and kisses. He wraps himself around my leg many times during the day. Today I was able to get away to get my haircut. When I got home he enthusiastically yelled "MAMA!" once I opened the door.

The other day Elijah was walking around with the kids' play glasses on his face. They are red, square shaped frames that were very large on Elijah. I thought he looked a lot like Steve Urkel. I hiked his pajama pants up high and taught him how to say the coin phrase "Did I do that?" Elijah is a pro, even down to the nasally drawl!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Above Rubies

I had a new friend from church recommend this magazine to me. I went on the website to check it out. http://www.aboverubies.org/ I just subscribed to the magazine, available by donation. I can't wait to read my first issue. There was a poem on the site that stood out to me, here is the best part...

Oh listen, dear mother
To words that are true -
No one or nothing
Can care just like you.

Your children are blessings
Loaned from above,
More than money or things
What they need is your love.

By Cynthia Flanagan.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Better late than never!

We got an update on E. from the orphanage today!  It was so fun to read another person's perception of his personality.  It was right on!  I am so thankful for the volunteers and caregivers that took the time to get to know and love Elijah when we were not able to be there.

Elijah loves food; he’ll eat and eat and eat. I’ve been trying to encourage him to take smaller bites at meal times but Elijah doesn’t seem too interested at that, he has mastered the art of getting as much as possible onto his spoon and into his mouth! Before meal and snack times all of the kids are encouraged to pray, they usually thank God for the food they are about to eat, for the people who gave them the food, for their nannies and for the people who come on the tap-tap and need help. Elijah is always very eager to pray as he knows he can eat as soon as his prayer is over so often he’ll pray “Merci Bondye, Amen”, (“thanks God, amen”)!! The other day I found him licking his bowl after he had finished eating and when I told him he wasn’t allowed to do that he said “mais, li dou” (but it’s good), all the nannies started to laugh at Elijah’s innocent remark.

He is such a sweet boy and loves to give hugs and snuggle up to my legs when I’m standing in the hallway. He also watches out for his friends which is really good to see. D is a new boy in Elijah’s room that isn’t very mobile yet. Elijah sat with him in the hallway yesterday morning and kept breaking off pieces of his peanut butter sandwich to share with D. Elijah was so eager to share his food that he hardly waited for D to finish what he had in his mouth before trying to put more bread in there!

During school Elijah loves playing with containers; he likes to put things in and take them out of tubs. Elijah really enjoys being in control of his toys, he likes when/what he holds is his own thing and if is busy playing with his bucket and different shapes he doesn’t like when others interrupt him and want to play too. He busies himself with his little containers yet still listens to what the teachers are saying; if he isn’t interested in partaking in the activity that they are doing then he’ll continue to play with his bucket of toys but if he is interested he’ll jump right into it! Sometimes the teachers will specifically ask Elijah to do an activity with them and he’ll often say “no” and continue to play by himself but he’ll watch his friends do the activity instead and clap and cheer for them and will then join in!

Elijah loves to sing and he sings loudly for everyone to hear. As soon as he starts to sing Elijah starts dancing; he places his hands on his hips and sways from side to side. He loves movie time and is always one of the first to shout “merci Maria, thank you, you’re welcome” when I put a movie on, Elijah’s favourite movies are ones with kids singing in them. I was able to travel from PAP to Cap with Elijah once; he wasn’t a big fan of the plane and didn’t enjoy taking off or landing but was really easily distracted with treats. He had a little can of Pringles that he loved; I think he enjoyed popping the lid off and putting other things into the can as much as he enjoyed eating the Pringles! 
Elijah is 34 inches tall and weighs 28 pounds 14 ounces.

snowboarding and dental appointments

J. and L. went snowboarding last weekend. They went with friends and had a great time. L. wants to buy a board now and go more frequently. I told him that we can keep our eyes open for used equipment. The biggest expense is traveling to the mountain, since we can use funding through the homeschooling program he is in for lift tickets.

Dentist visit was today. We scheduled all five kids for the same time. S. and E. were in a small room for new patients. First we had to fill out medical history and paperwork. Both boys were not liking the confined feeling so I brought out the goldfish crackers. Hellooo, not a good idea with two preschoolers, one mom and a clean carpeted exam room! There were cracker crumbs EVERYWHERE. I felt so bad about the mess. After the older 3 kids were situated, I had Papa come in and help. Elijah was not too cool with rubber gloved hands inside his mouth. I had to sit on the chair with him. He was very clingy and intimidated. Thankfully everyone had a good checkup, with one cavity (on a baby tooth for K.) and one sealant. That will be another day! E's teeth look beautiful, and S's teeth are still coming in quickly, poor baby.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Food Safety Modernization Act

PLEASE GET ACQUAINTED WITH HR 875 (THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT OF 2009), which is currently under consideration by Congress. The proposed bill is in response to the many recent episodes of contaminated food problems (i.e. salmonella and peanuts). Like many laws, it is well intended, but will have disastrous outcomes:
DO YOU LIKE YOUR HEIRLOOM TOMATOES? DO YOU APPRECIATE SHARING HOMEGROWN VEGETABLES WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS? Do you support local farmers..... local farmer's markets..... organic farming practices? ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN.....THIS BILL HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CRIMINALIZE SHARING OR DISTRIBUTING FOOD OR SEEDS THAT ARE NOTSANCTIONED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The bill has the potential to lead to such strict control of the food supply, that only the BIG GROWERS will have the facilities and finances to conform to the new regulations. The act can force farmers to use chemicals and genetically modified seeds (purchased from the major agricultural companies) in order to make the food "safe". The penalties for not using the "safe" seeds and plants are so severe (up to $500,000) that it would put local, back yard and organic farmers out of business. Seed banks and heirloom plants could be forbidden because they could be viewed as a potential source of contamination.
THE LEGISLATION IS ON A 'FAST TRACK' FOR APPROVAL: http://ecochildsplay.com/2009/%2003/10/could-the-food-safety-modernization-act-of-2009-be-the-end-to-farmers-markets-and-organic-farms/
Please contact your congressman and speak out against HR 875 in it's current form.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Meal Ideas?

I have used up nearly all my freezer meals I made while waiting for E. to come home. Dinner time here is chaos and I need some quick, easy ideas. I love our crock pot but don't have a lot of good recipes. Any help would be appreciated!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In love

I feel like we are all adjusting and bonding very well, a week since Elijah's been home. He has been doing wonderfully.

*He went to bed last night, in his own bed (without crying) and stayed in bed all night long (without crying)! What an accomplishment. Let's hope there is a repeat performance tonight and consistently over time.

*He has been working on keeping his pants dry, although still has the understandable accidents a few times a day. I often think it's because I don't understand him when he is trying to tell me he has to go.

*Elijah has been getting better at communicating. He said "Baby go night night?" last night when it was bedtime (referring to S.) He also understands when I give him simple tasks in English too.

*Elijah is a smart little boy and learns very quickly. I had thought he might qualify for special services through our school district, but am thinking he will be just fine. It's really hard to tell though because of his lack of English.

*Jeremiah took him to get his TB site checked, all clear. He also had round one of labs done. I am so glad I missed it! It breaks my heart having to hold down kids while they get poked in the arm.

I feel so happy E. is my son and that he is here with us. He has been such a blessing. I am grateful that God chose us to become Elijah's parents.

I also wanted to share the post and video on the Livesay's blog about HIV/AIDS. There are many people out there that are not well educated about HIV and should really take the time to read about it. http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2009/03/hivaids.html

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The best gifts

We got some really nice gifts recently from family and friends. We got some money to help with travel and other expenses. This was such a blessing. A few weeks ago we got a box in the mail and were told to wait until J. and E. were on their way home to open it. It had a great homemade sign with E's picture on it, along with cake mix, frosting, streamers, balloons, plates, napkins, horns, etc. We used them to celebrate E.'s homecoming. What a great idea! We also got a basket from our friends with Benji movies, popcorn, cookies, crackers, pretzels, pop and raisins. Another great idea! Thanks friends!

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday L! Our oldest child turned 12. We had Grandpa and Grandma A. and my sister and her fiance come over. It was the first time our family met Elijah. We all had a great time. L. is going snowboarding with Dad sometime soon for his birthday gift. He also got a D.S. game, money, Legos and some Tech Decks from family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We went to the doctor today!  Elijah is doing really well.  He's in the 5th percentile for height, and 10th for weight.  He has a spot on his cheek that looks like ringworm, so we are treating that with cream.  He had to get another TB check, so he was pretty upset with that, also did not appreciate the doctor looking in his ears.  When we go back in two days for the TB site check, then we will pick up lab slips to begin the fun part of blood work and stool samples!  He sang Happy Birthday to the doctor and the two nurses and won their hearts.  It made the nurse feel really bad that she had to poke him after his serenade.

Monday, March 9, 2009

doing good!

Playing together after breakfast on Friday

Today has been another busy day, and a bit challenging. We had some snow up here, and it made the roads terrible. I bundled up the boys and drove them to our toddler playgroup. The drive took longer than usual but we made it 20 minutes late. Elijah did great playing with the kids and seemed to have a good time. The minute we walked through the doors he exclaimed "Yeaaaayyyy!" He had a big tantrum when it was time to leave though, which lasted about 1/2 hour. It was wearing to say the least.

He is scared of the dogs and likes to tease them. He is nice when we show him how to treat them, but likes to yell at them and pretent to kick them occasionally. He likes to stay by my side most of the day, which is difficult when trying to cook dinner or clean up. It is fun though when we are cuddling or laying around. He loves to mimic and copy EVERYTHING. Right now he is laughing at daddy, and repeating everything he is doing. He has a great laugh! He's also been sleeping through the night for the last 2 nights! That has been very nice. He still doesn't like falling asleep but the fact that he will sleep for a good 11 hours is super.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day two

Elijah and IsaacGoodbye cake

Elijah is still doing really great.  He woke in the middle of the night again, yelling "MARIA!"(one of the long term volunteers at COTP) and was very upset.  He climbed the gate in his doorway and was running down the hall.  J. and I took turns trying to calm him down and got him back to sleep, then he stayed in bed until around 7 am. He is taking a nap now, he fell asleep in the car on the way home from Costco.  I was surprised that he went back to sleep after transferring him to our bed.  One thing I noticed is he doesn't like his little pillow, or the quilt/blankets on his bed.  I worry about him being cold, so I cover him after he is asleep, but he seems scared of them. So we will try to go to bed without these things tonight.   They didn't use them in Haiti.  

He is eating well, interacting well, and has been pretty well behaved.  He had a small tantrum today but nothing too difficult to deal with.  Other than that we have been pleasantly surprised!  I think the hardest thing has been the sleep issue, and communication or language barrier.  These haven't been as bad as I had been preparing myself for.  

While we were at Costco and Target I felt like we had a LOT of kids.  I felt a lot of eyes on us as we maneuvered our way through the store.  We ran into a few friends and it was nice to have Elijah meet them.  He was GREAT the whole trip and really liked the free samples and hot dog for lunch.  During lunch, a lady made eye contact with me while J. was getting some drinks.  She asked "are these all your kids?"  I smiled and said "yes, they are!".  She said, "oh, that's wonderful, good for you."  I was puzzled by what I should say in response so I just said, "it's a lot of work!"  Thankfully all the kids were behaving so we were representing large, adopted families in a positive way.

As far as eating, there are only two things so far that E. doesn't like...cantaloupe and string cheese.  Everything else he has eaten without problem.  His portion sizes are about the same size as my 6 year old daughter, so not outrageous.  His belly seems a lot less bloated now too since he got home.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Home and doing well

We met at the airport around 6:30 pm last night. I don't think we got any photos, but L. took some video after struggling with turning the camera on for a few minutes while I was saying hi to Elijah. I will never forget how I felt at that moment, although I had thought I would have been more emotional. Elijah was a bit overwhelmed and had a hard time on the plane. We also had a two hour drive home. We stopped to eat dinner at Arby's and Elijah enjoyed a turkey sandwich and fries. He stayed awake the entire drive home, but looked exhausted. He was excited to check out his house, new bed, room, and toys. He did really well using the toilet, taking a bath, and getting all ready for bed. Then the fun part...going to sleep. He cried and cried, and after staying with him, rubbing his back, and singing a song or two, I realized that he was going to cry whether I was there or not. So we let him cry, and eventually he fell asleep. He woke up at 5:3O am and was soaked through his diaper and pjs. I changed him and put him back in bed. He started to cry again. This time I didn't want to let him cry, since he would likely wake up everyone else, so after about 10 minutes, and several attempts to get him to stay in bed without crying too loudly, I brought him to bed with us. He fell asleep snuggled up next to me quickly and slept until we woke him up for breakfast at 9am.
J. has been sick since returning home, with fever, chills, vomiting and other fun stuff. I am really hoping he will not be suffering during this special time and spending his time off work sick in bed. He was able to help today by taking L. to his baseball clinic and our dog Jackson to the vet. (pray for that dog, he is not doing so great right now)
Elijah had a great day today, starting with a good breakfast. He ate sausage and scrambled eggs, and orange juice without hesitation. He got dressed, all the way to his shoes, and had a great time playing with his brothers and sisters. He was a bit unsure about all the attention they were giving him, but he liked checking out the toys and going around the house closing doors! We ended up driving into town to take care of medical insurance paperwork. Since we were there, we made a stop to Fred Meyers and did a bit of shopping. I took Elijah, L. and C. Elijah did great, you would have never guessed it was his first shopping experience. He seemed to really enjoy it. I bought some more warm pj's for him and the kids needed some new shoes. We were in the toy department and E. got really excited about the plastic animals, especially the cow. He was shouting "Mooo!" and I couldn't help myself. I bought the cute little "bef" cow for Elijah. This turned into a weapon later in the day though.
Since we had a busy day with shopping and such, we had a late lunch and no nap. Eljiah started acting very silly and goofy and I could tell he was getting really tired. He and K. (age 6) have really hit it off, and he has her wrapped around his little finger. We ate dinner and between dodging thrown food and dealing with sick dog Jackson, I was about ready for bed! I got E. bathed and in bed in record time. Tonight he cried again, almost acting scared, but after less than 10 minutes he was silently asleep (with his booty in the air!).
More photos to come, I just need to get some zzzs! I am so glad to have E. home and couldn't be happier about how well he seems to be adjusting already.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Travel update

J. and Elijah finally made it to Florida, after some delays. They are getting settled with dinner and hotel room relaxation. I was able to talk with Elijah for a minute on the phone! He said "hi mama!" and "I love you" and "Mama alay" (which means mama go, in creole). He wants to come home. He has a runny nose and has been rubbing his ears. They are both exhausted. I am glad they have a bit of time in the morning to sleep in and have a good breakfast before they head home. Another long day of travel tomorrow. Poor boys.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What not to do

or say to an interracial adoptive family...

Laurel's post got me thinking. Please post a comment to give your suggestions...what NOT to say to a family (or child) knit together through adoption.

News from Haiti

Papa Bear here,

It is our final night in Haiti. I am not much of a blogger or IM person, so excuse my lack of internet shorthand. You will not see a lot of C U L8R in my post or BRB ;{

I left home around 0120 hours, on Sunday morning, and got into Ft Lauderdale around 2000 hours EST, or 1700 at home. It had been a really long day at that point.

In Seattle, they were asking for volunteers to bump their flight, in exchange for a 300 dollar travel voucher. I was so excited, because they had a flight that would get me into Houston an hour later then I would have arrived. Since I had a 3 hour layover anyways, it didn't bother me if I waited there or in Seattle. They thanked me profusely for volunteering, and then when the plane boarded, they told me I could board, and they didn't need my seat.

So, no 300 dollar voucher, but they gave me some nice parting gifts. I now have a voucher for.....Wait for it.....Settle down, I'll tell you....one Free Headphone Usage the next time I fly Continental Air. AWESOME!!!

The hotel in Ft Lauderdale was nice. It was a 5 minute ride on the free shuttle, and the room was nice. The kids for Spring Break have not arrived in force yet, so it was quiet and comfortable. The 3 am wake up call never got to my room, but I was awake at 0200 anyways so it didn't matter. I did get a chance to look around the area. About 4 blocks from the hotel is a BK and McD's and a Dennys. Since E and I are staying at the same place on the way home, this is great.

The ride to Cap Haitien was interesting. The people are very friendly, though I couldn't understand a word they were saying. At one point, I was standing in line, and another man tried to cut in front of me. A couple other men saw this, and yelled at him. There was a short shouting match between them all. I just waved my hand to show that he could go ahead, and all settled down from there.

I was reminded of how small the Haitian's are in stature, when they had me stand on the scale. I was already head and shoulders taller then almost all of them. When I stood on the scale with my carry-on, it read 210.0 lbs. I thought that was pretty good. There was a loud exclamation from the peanut gallery behind me, and several people were making comments. I thought maybe they were excited about something going on behind me, like fireworks, or dancing fauns...but no, they were all looking at me, and a couple were even pointing at the numbers prominently displayed for everyone in line to see.

I felt like a god though as I stepped down and everyone parted in front of me to allow me and my massive girth to proceed to a waiting chair. I like to think they were in awe of such a wonderful specimen of a man. But they were more likely just frightened of the giant American tripping and squashing them.

The flight was difficult. The plane is a small 17 seat, two prop, plane. The flight is about 2 1/2 hours through the Bermuda Triangle. The plane has single seats down the two sides of the plane. Across the back are three seats. The back seat is about the same size as the back seat of a VW Bug. With less leg room. I like to sit in the middle seat, so I can stretch my legs in the aisle.

Getting on the plane was good. There were only 15 on board. As the ceiling is so low, I have to bend over, almost in half, I was excited to see the back row still open. I raced to the back, and took the middle seat. All was good.

Then Mr. Grumpypants, the pilot came on board. He started yelling at the Haitian woman sitting in the emergency seat aisle. Asking if she understood English and was willing to perform the duties bestowed upon the person seated in this most prestigious of seats. Of course she couldn't understand a lick of English, and she was ..... portly. I don't think she could have been pushed out of the tiny emergency door by all the able bodied men on the plane.

He made her move out of this seat, and she squeezed her way toward the back of the plane. Straight at me. I thought about feigning sleep, but, as I had just sat down, this seemed kinda' odd. As she was now bearing down on me, I had a decision to make, move left or right or risk suffocation. I quickly darted to the right, into the open seat, as the women plopped down in the seat I had just vacated. She was not able to move into the seat on the left, so I was committed to the back right corner of the plane.

I slept fitfully throughout the next 2 1/2 hours, but awoke to a beautiful view of the sun drenched mountains of Haiti. The flight was bumpy, but mercifully over soon. We were greeted on the tarmac by armed U.N. soldiers lining the taxiway, guarding a U.N. Helicopter. Very reassuring. I felt like I was in a spy/thriller movie. "My Own Private Haiti." "Saving E."

The heat and humidity were unbearable. The landscape was drenched. As we had been flying in, I noted that most of the roads looked like streams. For the past two nights, Haiti had been pounded with Monsoon like rains. Right now though, the sun was shining, and it was beautiful.

I waited for about 20 minutes before COTP staff arrived and picked me up. The ride to the orphanage was different then last time I was here. The main road in CAP is now paved. But once you pass the road to the D.R., then the roads were worse then before. Every chuckhole was filled with water, so there was no real way to know how deep they were. A few were unavoidable and Lindsey, the driver, had to put the truck in 4wheel low, and crawl through ponds covering the entire road way.

Once we got the orphanage, E was waiting for us. The nannies had him bathed and in fresh clean clothes and sandals. He was grinning ear to ear, and came to me without any hesitation. He has been literally by my side since. I am only able to type this post now, because he is asleep and has no idea that I'm not there with him.

There were many changes at COTP. The new apartments look great. The lower office is completed and the upstairs apartments are in the process of being painted and tiled. The well and pump house are now enclosed with steel bar fencing to keep the youngens out, and the vehicle storage area is roofed.

In the kitchen in the guest house is the biggest change. The center island has been removed, and it is all open. They have all new cherry wood looking cabinets, and a dishwasher. The guest house feels very open and large.

As this trip is for E, I have spent very little time with the other children. I have been in there a few times with E, to let him say hello, or watch videos at night. But, he has tasted the good life, and is ready to go back to the Guesthouse after a few minutes.

I have been able to take several photos of the children. Mostly for sending to other parents. Everyone here is so supportive, and I think just as frustrated with the system as parents are.

This morning, E, myself and one of the volunteers walked down the road apiece to a little local cafe. It is run by a couple that I met last time I was down here. She was 14 months pregnant at the time we were last here, or at least looked that way. She now has a beautiful 11 month old girl. She was born April 2nd, and kept asking me about Kim. She remembered Kim's b-day was April 3, so she kept reminding me to say hello to Kim and tell her about her daughter's b-day.

E and I shared an orange colored pop. I was taken aback at first, because I was expecting it to taste like orange Crush. But it had a strong resemblance to Cream Soda. It was very good, and it felt very natural to sit in an open cafe along the road in Haiti. While speaking with old and new friends at our table, we would also have occasional passerby contact. It was a fun little adventure. I could probably get used to this lifestyle.

Speaking of tasting the good life...E will not eat the food they bring him. He has now eaten from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and realized that Papa's food tastes much better. Each meal now, I will fill my plate 3 times, and he will eat more than his fair share off my plate. It's gotten to the point, that he was very leery about the Vanilla Jell-o pudding I tried to give him for dessert tonight. It has the same look, feel and consistency of a meal the children have about 5 times a week. It took me awhile to get him to try a bite. He had to have 3 bites, before he finally realized that this was good stuff. Of course, he wanted more once we were done. I am saving the rest for the trip home tomorrow and Thursday. Momma Bear is pretty clever....She sent the vanilla pudding, 'cause she knew that if she sent the Chocolate, I would have eaten it all before I got here.

Everyone had a little going away party today for E. They made him a cake, and one of the workers decorated it like Thomas the Train. Very good work on the decorating. It looked store bought, and tasted just as good. E was so cute. He sucked his piece down and then helped the little boy next to him eat his. E picked up a handful of the boys cake, but instead of eating it himself, he held it out, and said something in Kreole. The little boy opened his mouth, and E shoved the cake right into the boys open piehole....or cakehole in this instance. E fed the little boy his entire piece of cake.

In the next 3 weeks, we will have 3 birthdays at our house. E is going to get home, and think that cake is a weekly thing. He may be disappointed a bit though once the birthday drought from early April to early September hits. That's a long time to go without cake...

Tomorrow is a big day. We will leave early with Arlen, as he has to run errands in town. His parents are flying in, as well as another couple, who are coming to take their two kids home. We will be at the CAP airport for a 3 hours before our flight, but that should give us plenty of time to get everything squared away. After we get into Ft Lauderdale, we will hit McD's for dinner and then bed time, after a real shower and bath. Then on Thursday, we take the big planes home to Seattle.

Please continue to pray for safe travels, good health, and quick and easy entry throughout the customs process. Thank you for all your support, and God Bless.

Papa Bear

new photos

to tide you (and me) over. We got these in our inbox today. Adorable.

Elijah and Isaac (will be lifelong buddies)


Monday, March 2, 2009

Life is like a dream

The days have been passing so s l o w l y. I am counting down the time until we can leave to go to the airport to meet my boys. Tomorrow we have a busy morning, with C. going to play practice and a doctor trip. Then we are going to stop and buy some groceries, and organizing tools for the home (kids' hangers, hooks for the shower, and dish scrubbers). Hopefully that will help keep my mind off things for part of the day. I was able to IM my hubby tonight, he was up and couldn't sleep. He told me some sweet things about Elijah. I can't even imagine what life is going to be like when they get home. It's like a dream right now.


Had a lovely online chat just a few minutes ago with J. Here are some reports:

E. is on his lap, and said "Mama" when he saw my photo.

He is repeating a lot of words and saying "oui" when people ask him questions.

There are 7 people there

J. saw a few of the older kids, but not many others. Another family is arriving to pick up their kids on Wed.

E. has a runny nose, will fit in with the rest of our family well!

J's exhausted.

His bag made it there!

E. was stuffing his face with pancakes and pineapple.

They are sleeping in one of the rooms near the playroom in the guest house. E. has a cot set up near J's bed.

Oh, how I wish I was there.

He's there

J. sent me a quick little message online saying he made it there. I have no other details. It's killing me. I responded with a bunch more questions and hope to hear from him later. I am sure he is busy lovin' on E. and getting settled in. Can't wait to hear how it is all going.

The kids are still all asleep and it is windy and yucky out. I am glad we have nothing planned today. We all seem to be a bit sick, I feel better after taking some suppliments last night, but the majority of the crew has a cold. So the goals of the day are to finish laundry, clean the kitchen, and do some schoolwork. Oh shoot, the kids are stirring!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Safe in Florida

J. is all checked into his room in Fort Lauderdale. He said the weather is cold and windy and flights are being cancelled all over the place. I am thankful his layover was in TX and not NY or Atlanta. PLEASE pray that the flight tomorrow morning will go without any delay or problems. He is supposed to arrive around 9am in Haiti. That's 6am here. I asked him to email me when he gets in. Can't wait to hear how Elijah is doing!


Thank you COTP for loving our son when we couldn't be there. Thank you for the amazing care the volunteers and employees have given him. We couldn't be more grateful.

He's off

J. left about 45 minutes ago. He is taking a shuttle to the airport, then will arrive in Florida this evening. He leaves for Haiti on Monday morning, around 9 am. Then he and Elijah will leave on the 4th, and home on the 5th! I am so nervous, but excited! Can't sleep now, so am up checking emails and stuff.