Monday, August 31, 2009

Our romantic getaway

We stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast on the way to pick up the kids.  The best part, it was half off due to a booking error!  It was nice and we had fun around the small tourist town nearby.  We enjoyed a yummy mexican dinner that evening and mini golf the next day.  
Scene of the b&b

Mini golfing

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Little Bill


E. reminds me of the cartoon series Little Bill.  I think he looks a lot like him!  There is an episode where Little Bill is going to be in a wedding, and is the ring bearer.  He gets upset because he wants to be the "ring bear" and wear a bear suit.  

E. gets to be a ring bearer in his aunt's upcoming wedding.  I ordered this tuxedo for him off ebay. It was brand new with tags for $19.99.  I think it will look perfect once it gets pressed. 
What a deal!  Isn't he so cute?

Burdens and Blessings

  • School begins on Wednesday. Rejoicing and worrying all at the same time.
  • E. has been mean lately, mainly to me.  Is he mad that I left him for four days?  Am I just too sensitive?
  • AWANA starts up soon. I recently signed up to help.  I wanted to go to women's bible study during AWANA, but they also offer it on Wed. morning.  Which is the same time as the playgroup  I wanted to go to with E. and S.   Decisions, decisions.
  • A two month old baby boy has been missing for two days mere blocks from our home.  He was taken right out of his home.  Police suspect family or friends since his mother was recently sentenced to prison.  Praying little baby is safe and well.  I am uneasy.  
  • The youth at our church shared about their mission trip to Guatemala.  It was moving and I am amazed by the spiritual maturity of these kids.  Praying about going on a mission trip next year if offered to adults.  
  • Triage? Is this something MAT must do to help the children who need surgery?  Should we limit God's capabilities?  I am struggling with this.
  • Needing to unpack clothes, do laundry and figure out a menu for the coming week.  Ugh.
  • Glad J. is still on vacation and we have some time to spend working around the homestead. His birthday is coming up!  My mom bought him and I tickets to a David Crowder Band concert in Oct. for his gift.  How fun!
  • We have many appointments coming, eye doctor, dentist, therapy...times 7.  It's a lot.  I am so grateful for good insurance and benefits.  
  • My K. is 6.  She is struggling lately with some not too big issues, but could use your prayers.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

Please pray for COTP

Prayer Requests August 28, 2009

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 57:10

- Suzette (one of our nannies) gave birth to a healthy baby girl last Friday!
- Daniela had her visa appointment yesterday and her visa will be printed today! Her adoptive family will be coming to COTP within the next few weeks to pick her up and take her home to Washington! Praise the Lord!
- We’ve been having problems with our generator but Kurt was able to repair it for now and Arlyn will be back to service it next week.
- Irelene turned 1 year old on Wednesday!
- Jean Renel was able to return home to his Haitian family on Monday. Please be praying that he adjusts well to the transition and that his Mom will be attentive to his needs.
- We are so thankful for our nannies and for the love that they show our children. The other night one of the babies got sick and they all gathered around him to sing and pray over him.
- Samuel is home from the hospital and is doing much better.

Staff and Volunteers
- Pray for wisdom and guidance for all of our long-term staff working in Haiti: Maria, Arlyn, Lindsay, Kurt & Laura, Jamie & Jenny
- Pray that our staff in Haiti would be a Christian light to all those that they come into contact with.
- Arlyn returns to COTP next week, pray for safe travels for him.
- Pray for our nannies who are pregnant right now: Nene, Evania, Nadia, Camelie, and Mme Ga. Pray that they would go full-term and have complication free deliveries. Mme Ga fell the other day and is having a lot of pain – please be praying that the baby is okay.
- Laura took 3 mothers and their babies to PAP for CT scans so that we can begin working on medical visas for them. They had a successful trip and all the CT scans were done. Pray for good results and for hospitals in the States to step forward and offer their medical care.

- Mikenson had a seizure on Tuesday night and had to be taken to Milot Hospital. Please pray that the doctors would be able to figure out what caused his seizure and that Mikenson would return to full health quickly.
- Pierre also had a seizure on Tuesday night. He has a history of seizures so this one was not as surprising as Mikenson’s. Pray that this most recent seizure would not have any long-term effects.
- Herly has been struggling to gain weight and hasn’t been drinking enough so Laura put down an ng tube. Pray that his appetite will increase and that he’ll start to do better.
- Alex has been sick recently and is also struggling with gaining weight. Pray that he’ll do better.
- Anel is also struggling with gaining weight. He doesn’t like to eat at all and he doesn’t drink enough. Pray for this to change.
- David (our sweet baby with down syndrome that we are working on a medical visa for) is gaining well but struggles with a lot of respiratory problems. Pray that he will stay stable in our care until he gets to the States on his medical visa. The hospital in the States will meet on Friday to make a decision of whether or not to accept him into their care.
- Comfort and no pain for Conrad
- Daycen was admitted to COTP yesterday. He was abandoned by his mother and his father is trying to sort things out right and needed a little help caring for Daycen in the meantime. Daycen is 7 months old and weighs just over 12lbs. He is a sweet, handsome boy who appears to be very healthy. Pray for him as he adjusts to living at COTP.
- Pray that the other children will remain healthy and for health for our staff here who are caring for the sicker babies.

- Pray for Antonio, Paulaine, and Herns. Pray that they would not become discouraged as they wait for our Creche license to be approved.
- Pray for all the files in the adoption process – pray that they would quickly move through the different offices and that there would be no delays or problems.
- Pray for peace and patience for the adoptive families as they wait for their little one(s) to come home.
- Antonio met with the director of IBESR and she has promised to visit COTP in September. Please pray that she holds true to her word and that IBESR will be pleased with what they see at COTP and that our Creche license would be approved.
- Please be praying specifically for Isaac. His file has been in MOI for a very long time. Pray that it would be approved this week and for good news on his case.


We had a relaxing few days and had a great time experiencing life without kids again (it's been 12 years!). Now we are all together. It's amazing how quickly the stress from the fighting, whining, tantrums, constant needs, etc. can all come back. I love being a mom, but sometimes it is just a lot! We (moms) really need to take care of ourselves. The support from loved ones is so important too. Thanks Grandpa and Grandma for providing the opportunity to let us get away!

E. did fine and seemed really excited to see us again. He also learned some new words in the last 3 days! S. didn't want to give me a hug at first, he was too excited to see Dadden (his word for Daddy). Soon he was excited to see both of us. The other 3 always do great and they had a fun time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No kids

J. and I have been home alone.  No kids, quiet house, lots of time to ourselves.  We met Grandma and Grandpa about halfway between our homes (they live about 6 hours away) and left the kids with them.  ALL of them.  We had planned on going on an anniversary getaway this week, but thought it would be better financially to stay close to home.  So instead of my mother in law coming to stay at our home, which would have been ideal for the little boys, we sent them to their house.  I think things are going well, besides some minor sleep issues.   I am a bit worried about little things, but am sure they will be fine.  We've been having a great time together and it has been a lovely break!  We'll be together as a family again on Thursday.  We celebrate our 14 year wedding anniversary tomorrow.  Time has flown by.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Time to make a change...

The kids are going to school.  Yes, all three of my school aged baby bears will be attending public school.  Two of them for the first time.  I feel giddy, guilty and nervous all at the same time.  

The last six months of having E. home (yes it has nearly been six months!) has been a whirlwind of chaos and activity.  I have been having a hard time adjusting to being a mother to 5.  Add on top of that the pressures of the kids' education was just too much.  So for now, they will be trying school.  K. will be in grade 1, C. in grade 5 and L. in grade 7.  School starts on Sept. 2.  I will be praying for them EVERY day. We will see what the Lord  has for the future, but for now this is where we believe He wants us to be.  The decision was actually just made today after many discussions, lots of prayer and thought. 

After homeschooling for almost 6 years this will be quite an adjustment!  Please keep us in your prayers while we are going through this change.

I am excited at the thought of having more time to spend with E. and S.  I have lots of fun things planned for us!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Caps for Sale

One of my favorite children's book from my childhood was a book called Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. The peddler would walk up and down the streets selling caps that were balanced on top of his head.

While we didn't see the peddler on our trip, there was a hat shop in Oregon that sold all sorts of hats.  Our favorites were the funny/silly ones. What a fun, no expense way to create memories! Or maybe pick up a new parasite?

link to photos

My friend has some nice photos on her blog from our trip. Click HERE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Food, Ears and Therapy

Whiny E. not liking the drive on our vacation

Yesterday E. told me his ear hurt.  I looked inside and it looked like he had stuck some oatmeal or bread inside of it.  What?  Why?  I got some tweezers and was able to grab hold of the substance and pull it out (about the size of a pea).  I looked in it again, there was still a bunch of stuff deeper inside.  I called the doctor.  I didn't want to do what my instinct was, put something inside his ear to fish it out, and end up pushing it further inside.  The advise nurse told me to flush his ear with warm water.  So I did, and I did and I did.  It would not come out.  I gave him a bath and had him lay in the water, covering his ears.  It was still jammed inside.  I gave up for the day.  Today I decided to give it another shot.  Syringe, warm water, towels and a crying 3 year old filled two hours of my afternoon.  After many attempts, brown, chunky STUFF came draining out of his ear.  Followed by a BIG plug of ear wax, dirt and gunk.  EWWW!  I decided to do the other ear as well, since it also looked plugged.  It took nearly as long but almost the same amount of stuff came out of that one too. Lets hope he can hear better now!

The OT who did his evaluation called today to go over the results.  It sounds like he for sure has a sensory processing disorder.  He will be going to his first therapy session on Sept 11.  I hope it helps.  She recommended seeing him weekly, but since her schedule is so full, it may not be possible.  It sounds like all the therapists in our county are busy.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pictures of our trip

S. and Papa
Handsome E.
K. all cold and wet
Love Birds
Our camp
The carousel

Science on the beach
At the arcade
The ride home

Monday, August 17, 2009

We're home!

I have a pile of laundry about 5 feet high.  I ended up not packing enough clothes, but we made it work.  We also packed some things we did not need all, like a croquet set, some games, and shorts and tees!  It was pretty chilly most of the time, but not unbearable.  I was only really cold during the first night, mainly because baby S. was sleeping between J. and I.  I couldn't cuddle up to my honey, so my feet were freezing!  

Last night we stayed in a hotel and had fun playing in the pool.  The kids enjoyed watching tv and going to bed relatively early.  We got home today with time to pick up the dogs, clean out the car, and mow the lawn.  I am working on all the laundry. Pictures will be coming soon, when I can find my camera!

Heading home soon

Friday, August 14, 2009


We are here, at the KOA. Seriously we have high speed internet. I don't even have that at home!

The campground is set up like a mobile home park, complete with trashy neighbors. When E. and I were walking to the bathroom, about a half a mile away, a pickup full of kids in the back passed us by, with a comment "there's a black boy!" Nice.

We bought a bundle of firewood, it won't burn. The kids are all still awake, and here I am, blogging about tomorrow's festivities, because I know you won't want to miss this!
Arabian Nights


Astryd Farah de Michelle

International Belly Dance Artist and Instructor

Enjoy 2 performances beginning at 6 pm

Enjoy light hor d'oeuvres between performances

Astryd will offer a quick bellydance lesson during one of the 20-30 minute sessions.

Give it a try!

The KOA "supervisor" told us the entire community was invited to attend. Astryd is coming all the way from Egypt. Come one, come all!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nearly ready to go

We will be leaving for our camping trip soon. Please pray for us.  Pray that the kids will stay safe and healthy (S. has a bit of a cold).  Pray we will stay warm.  Pray we will all have a great time. Pray for a safe drive.  Pray for my patience!

Pee Pee

E. is fully potty trained, but we are working on staying dry during bedtime.  He is 3 years and 4 months old.  Lately I have been putting a diaper or pull up on him at night, to keep bedding dry.  Last night J. put the boys to bed and decided to have E. sleep in his big boy underwear.  He woke up, changed his wet pants by himself and started to play.  We went to his room to grab some clothes and noticed a huge puddle of urine on a bean bag chair in their room.  We questioned E.  He acted out the whole thing very clearly, showing us how he pulled his pants down and went "pssss" on the bean bag.  He got in BIG trouble.  He was asked where he should go pee pee.  He replied "in de toilet".  This is in fact the third time he has urinated in his room on purpose.  I am not very happy and am not quite sure how to discipline.  Even negative attention is attention, if this is why he is choosing to do this.  The bathroom is a quick few steps down the hall so I don't think it's that he couldn't make it there.  I think that part of the problem may be that at the o. the boys would urinate wherever they chose to outside.  Maybe.  Or maybe he is just doing this to be naughty?  I don't know.  Hoping he will not do this on our camping trip this weekend! Now, off to do some laundry, pack and clean up pee pee. 

Camping trip pointers

When planning a camping trip to the Oregon coast for 5 kids, 2 adults, and a 7 passenger mini van, here are some pointers for packing and preparing:
  • Don't mention taking an extra kid with you until you are sure there is enough seating in the caravan of vans driving to the campground.
  • Be sure the pancake breakfast served at the campground is for everyday.  We don't have to pack food for breakfasts!
  • Bring lots of diapers and wipes for littles.
  • Start packing several days in advance, but be sure to leave some clothes out so kids have something to wear!
  • Don't over pack!  Thankfully there are laundry services at the campground.  
  • Bring lots of warm clothes for cooler weather on the beach.
We'll see how well I did with packing after we get there!  I hope the rain stays away and the kids have fun.  E. and S. have never been camping before.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sensory Integration

I went to a great event last night put on by our local Parent to Parent group. The OT our doctor recommended was the guest speaker, so I got a good idea of what she was like, which was great. Unfortunately she is very busy and she has a waiting list. I learned a lot and got some great tips! After learning more, I suspect that some of my other children could have some mild SPD stuff going on too.   
Here are some of the things I can do around the house for home therapy:

Make a weighted blanket (I will post instructions soon)
"Heavy" playtime (jumping, swinging, lifting, heavy pressure)  
Sensory play table
Bouncing on a ball or bungee chair 
Squishing between cushions
Swinging and spinning
Sit n Spin toys
Holding firmly for an amount of time
Mini trampoline
Dressing in tight lycra clothing
Practicing safety, making sure "stop" is a word they know if important (not used all the time)

There are some great products out there too...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Host Family Needed

There is a need for a host family in the LA, California area.  I don't have the details, but if you are interested please contact Robin at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tiny girl

K. at age 4, still my little girl

K. is a little girl.  She is 6, but is petite.  Cl. is so cute with her, and calls her his "tiny girl".  He told her today that if anyone is mean to her or hurts her he will protect her.  She took him up on that offer very quickly and now has her own personal bodyguard (or someone to listen to tattling).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

white wedding

This evening we attended a wedding.  It reminded me a lot of our wedding, we were so young and naive.  I missed the entire ceremony, due to the little boys being way too noisy and unable to sit still.  J. was in the wedding party so it was all on me to keep the kids in line.  We had to go on a little walk outside, leaving the 4 older kids inside by themselves. They did just fine.  

Cl. was not that impressed by the whole thing.  He really wanted to leave so he could go home and watch tv.  We were home by 8, just in time.  My feet hurt and it's time for the kids to go to bed!

I did meet an adoptive mom who adopted two older girls from Ethiopia.  She was very friendly and her girls loved my boys.  Too bad they live several hours away.  I hope that we can connect again.  It's so strange when you meet another interracial adoptive family.  You don't quite know if you should approach them or not, and it's always awkward to ask where they adopted from.  

Many people asked about Cl. I am amazed at how many people had no qualms about asking me about his surgery and home life right in front of him!  Maybe they thought he didn't speak English?

Country festival

We live in the outskirts of the city in a very small town, population around 300.  Today is the local festival to celebrate this small town, and embrace your inner "hick" or hillbilly as my kids say.  It's funny, since we do live very close to several major cities, but the feel out here is so country.  J. took the kids to the festival to see the parade, street fair, lawnmower races, car show, and hick olympics.  They will be missing out on the karaoke contest, since we are headed to a wedding this afternoon.  Bummer.

Cl. is amazed at how slow our internet connection is.  He also was wondering why we can't record his favorite shows.  Life is slower out here in the country, perhaps even slower than Haiti!  I was trying to explain that we don't have cable available, and the only way to get high speed internet is by a satellite provider.   Not on the top of our priorities at this point.  I also said we live out in the country, to which Cl. replied, "You don't live in the county, in America?"  Totally lost in translation!

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Lord I left you in mon high"

Cl. had a list of praise songs he enjoys.  The minute he got in the car to come to our our house he asked J. if he knew the songs.  The first one was written "Lord I left you in mon high" in carefully printed pencil.  I laughed when I saw it after he was in bed.  It is supposed to be "Lord, I lift your name on high".  Cl. is a joy to be around.  He is certainly a teen, and already knows how to push the boundaries, but it's been a fun day today.  The kids are all getting along wonderfully.  The only thing I don't get about him: he doesn't like chocolate.  Crazy.  

Thursday, August 6, 2009


While cleaning up the dishes tonight I experienced an overwhelming sense of joy.  My hubby J. was playing his guitar and singing worship songs while all of the kids and our visitor, Cl. were singing along.  It was like the Lord was giving me a hug, and telling me we are doing the right thing with our lives. At times I feel restless, frustrated and unsure about our direction.  But really, what control do I have to change the coarse of things?  NONE!  It is all in His hands.  I believe He is glad that we took the time to get to know Cl. better.  I am so happy my children have had the chance to meet friends from all different parts of the world.  L, C and K are patient, kind and understanding to other people's differences.  It is good to know how much they learn from these experiences and see how blessed they are to share their love, home, parent's attention, bedrooms and toys.  We've experienced heartbreak too.  It's hard to see kids leave after we have formed a bond.  We have loved a child who has passed away in another country.  The positives do outweigh the negatives.  We personally gain much from the experience, but the overall goal is to see families reunite with a healthy child.  That is pure delight.

If your family is interested in hosting a child through the Medical Advocacy Team, contact to get a host family application.

A visitor

We will be having fun with a visitor this week.  He is coming today and staying for a while.  Cl. is here from Haiti with the Medical Advocacy Team.  He had surgery,  is recovering well and will be going home to Haiti next month.  His host family is on summer vacation so we are helping them out and will enjoy his company.  Cl. is 13, just a half year older than our L. and speaks English well.  I am hoping he will feel at home and have fun being here.  While he is here he will be experiencing:
a rehearsal dinner for a wedding
an American wedding
our church
a possible trip to the water/amusement park
life in the country
and more

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Praising this morning

Isaiah 25: 1

1 O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

Psalm 86:15 (New International Version)

15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalm 89:8 (New International Version)

8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?
You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday boredom

Bored today so I will give a little update for you on life here:
  • The girls' door jam broke from too much pre teen slamming.
  • I fixed it myself and then began painting said door jam.
  • I noticed other parts of the hallway that needed fresh paint so kept on going!
  • I painted for 3 hours.
  • We skipped church because of sick kids, and J. is at work.
  • E. made it home from Gramma's last night.  He did great and did not have any problems sleeping there.  He missed us though.  
  • We missed him, but did enjoy the short break.
  • E. sang "Old Mac Donald" for about half an hour on the way home followed by vomiting up a red substance.  He didn't even miss a beat. A call to Gramma revealed it was raspberries.  Yuck!
  • C. is still at Gramma's house.
  • It is still really hot in our town, but not as hot as it was a few days ago.
  • I've been praying and thinking long and hard about life.  Where and what is God calling us to do? Something is stirring in my heart, but not sure what.
  • Maybe a mission trip to Haiti?
  • Or realize my dream to live off the grid?
  • Or start my own business?
  • Or move to Hawaii?
  • I do like mild weather, or AC.  Right now we have neither.
  • Mini vans are not very reliable.  We have a warning light on the dashboard again.
  • I really like America's Best Dance Crew.  MTV is playing reruns today.  Fun.
  • When I get thin I am going to take dance lessons again.
  • Did you know I was a dancer for 13 years?
  • I danced in Washington DC Independence Day parade with my team.  
  • I had a fun time going to a movie and swimming laps with Sarah the other night.  We saw Food Inc.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  You will never look at food the same way again.
  • We are trying to come up with a plan to celebrate our 14 year anniversary at the end of the month.   We may ship the kids off to the other Grandma and Grandpa's house and stay at home.  How much fun would that be to have the house all to ourselves?  We could do some fun day trips.
  • J. is going to be in a wedding next weekend.  The groom is only 21.  I feel so old.  It's funny to think we were younger than 21 when we exchanged vows. (I was 19!)  People must have thought we were crazy.  We defied the odds.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer update

Alex (Samuel) is doing great and having a fun summer.  He is learning a few new words.  He can say hello, up, mama, papa, dada, car, truck, wow, ball, banana, water (sounds like waden), moo, cow, neigh, oww, baby, and others I can't think of right now.  He is starting to combine words like "Hi dada!" He is imitating words and sounds a lot more and that is great to hear!  He is very independent and likes to run, walk, climb and dance.  He has been to the zoo, museum, park, swimming, camping and more!  He charms everyone he meets, and asks complete strangers to pick him up.  This concerns me a bit, but I am trying to teach him to say hello instead of lifting his hands and saying "UP!". He waves on demand and his smile will get ya!  He is eating everything except doesn't really like cut up pieces of meat.  We are trying to put all the bottles away and just do sippy cups.   He has not even complained.
As far as health, he's been healthy this month. We have a doctor's appointment in September since they couldn't get him in for his 18 month check before then.  

It's all in a name

I am wanting to name our "homestead".  We live on 4.7 acres, in a rural area, but also close to several small towns.  We live about 20 minutes drive from the biggest city, and 5 minutes drive to the freeway.  I really like our location.  We have a long, narrow lot so our neighbors are close, which can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on who is renting the house on our right.  We have elderly neighbors on our left, who we love dearly.  
We have a garden and are working on some fruit trees and berries.  We grew some strawberries and blueberries this year!  The back 2.5 acres of our property is wooded and thick with underbrush.  It is also pretty marshy and the last acre is wetland.  We have our home, a 600 sq. foot building we call "the studio" (used to be used as a recording studio before we moved in), a shed that our kitty Betty sleeps in, a pump house and a covered parking area that we have used as a woodshed and storage area for bikes and toys.  Our homestead is constantly a work in progress, but we have done a lot since we moved in four years ago. 

Please leave me a comment with suggestions on a name for our place.  I think it will make us feel more at home!

Pioneer Pastimes Giveaway

Raising Olives is having a giveaway of some homemade classic wooden toys.  To enter click here and leave a comment.