Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leftover salad

Today I made a yummy salad for lunch:

3/4 head green cabbage
2 carrots, grated
2 leftover pork chops, chopped
1/2 can crushed pineapple
balsamic vinegar salad dressing sweetened a bit with agave nectar
Mix and serve.

The kids even liked it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The tough side of adoption

Look at that adorable child!!!
He is not perfect, he is human.
He's been through starvation, illness,
abandonment and early life in an orphanage.

No one talks about it openly. But you get a group of adoptive moms together and you hear it. Usually more than one mom has a story to tell. Stories that will scare anyone into thinking twice.

Tales of sexual abuse, violence, homicidal or suicidal tendencies.
Lack of resources, counseling services and therapy programs.
DSHS, neighbors, police and church involved.
Respite, rehoming, disruption, hospitalization, residential treatment.

Many people do not like to discuss these ugly issues. Adoption is supposed to be about love, selflessness, sacrifice and obedience. But sometimes it can be so. dang. hard. It can cause severe depression, marriage complications, hurt to other children, stress and damage to material possessions.

I wonder how many families delve into adoption without first becoming educated? Yes, reading a few books is great, but really talked to people who have adopted and are open and honest? Or spoke to a professional or went through training? It seems like more and more I hear of families going through international adoption and bring a cute orphan home from a foreign country without counting the costs. I recently learned of a family who had adopted internationally and had never even heard of RAD before! Seriously. Adorable brown babies are not an accessory.

Yes, adoption has been wonderful and life changing for our family. It has been joyous. It has also been so difficult. I sometimes thing about what life would have been like for J., me and my three kids before adoption. Simpler, easier, less issues. Would I do it again? Yes. But it truly is not for everyone. And I do believe there are mis-matches. How does one choose a child that is right for their family when they are across the world? The information they get about that child is missing pieces, inaccurate or untruthful. Many kids' ages are even wrong simply for the ease of finding an adoptive family. Some adoptions are finalized before the adoptive parents even meet the child!

Please don't think I am writing to discourage adoptive families. I just want more people to get educated and keep learning through the process. I know for us, doing independent adoption, no one was there to be sure we were. We had to be self motivated and thankfully I met some wonderful people who pointed us in the right direction and helped form a small support group.

If you are in the position of going through some hard things with your kids, know that you are not alone. There are so many people walking that path with you, but remain silent. Don't be afraid to seek help. Talk to other adoptive parents and I bet you will find some support and love. We are all in this together.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I am liberated from facebook. I was going to wait until Tuesday to deactivate my account, but I decided to do it tonight. I feel great, like I have a newfound freedom and more time to do the things I want to do. By the way, facebook is kinda lame. They don't totally delete your account if you choose to deactivate it. When you want to return, all you need to do is log in and click a button to reactivate. So I need all my people out there to hold me accountable that I won't return anytime soon. Maybe down the road when my priorities are set straight and life is not so stressful.

My goals/activities for this week:
Clean the main living areas of the house, declutter along the way
Plan a menu and grocery shop
Read "The Connected Child"
Meet a friend for lunch on Wed.
Have a playdate on Thurs. morning
Visit a friend in the hospital, bring her family dinner
Go to C.'s orchestra concert on Wednesday
Figure out a plan for K.'s birthday (on Super Bowl Sunday this year)
Make a doctor appointment for myself
Eat less carbs
Exercise every day
Get to bed by 11 every night

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Counting blessings

I wanted to form some sort of list on this blog to keep track of things that God has blessed our family with. We went into the adoption process with no savings designated toward adoption expenses. One of the BIGGEST concerns J had with adopting was money. I don't think it was just the initial costs he was worried about, but providing for more children until they're able to provide for themselves. My argument was for faith, trust and hope that God would provide for us. And you know what? He has. (...and so has Visa, MC, and American Express) Because of credit card use to pay off adoption related costs, life's a struggle sometimes, but one that only makes our faith grow stronger. It really helps when we look back at all He has blessed us with. If you go on the top of the blog you will see pages/tabs under the photo. Click on Provisions and you will get to witness God providing for our family.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blogs of Note

I love reading Courtney's blog at She is more than just a blog author to me though, she has reached out with words of wisdom and advice via email during some of our toughest times recently.

She is doing a fun activity on her blog to increase her readers and promote other blogs. I love to look at new blogs. I really have made some wonderful real friends through networking this way. How cool is it to travel to Uganda, go out to lunch with some new friends (met through facebook and blogs), connect, and keep in touch through time? I thought it was such a wonderful blessing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound

We were treated to a two night vacation to Great Wolf Lodge for a Christmas gift. The kids have been looking forward to it since Christmas morning.

We started off the day by leaving early on Saturday, dropping the dog at the kennel, the other one with Grandma and Grandpa, and driving for three hours to get there. We stood in the lobby line for quite a while, Saturday was a busy time yet it appeared there was only one person working! Thankfully another employee was passing out bracelets so the kids and I could change and go to the water park while J. finished checking in. Aunt N. was able to come an join us for the day, and she was able to go on the fun slides with the older kids while someone stayed with the little boys.

The waterpark was lots of fun. There was something for everyone, big slides, medium slides, hot tub, wave pool, water basketball, and little kid area with small slides. S. didn't really enjoy getting splashed and there was not a quiet area for him to just sit in the water. The little kid area had all sorts of water squirting, splashing, dumping and spraying. I wish they would have a pool just for kids who don't like to get really wet! E. had a great time and by the end of the weekend was putting his face underwater every chance he got!

We went to our room after a few hours, had a snack, got bathed and changed.

We went out to eat at Country Cousins to celebrate S.'s birthday and met with family there. S. opened some gifts, ate some mini corn dogs, got some ice cream and tried to blow out the candle. He really loved having all that attention.

After the kids went to bed J. and I left the teens in charge while we snuck out to the bar and had a snack and a drink to unwind. It was a busy day and was nice to just talk.

The next day we ate breakfast at the Loose Moose in the resort. It was Sunday morning and CRAZY busy. The service was ok, and the food was fresh. The kids filled up on sweets and junk, but we encouraged a few healthy choices too. I had some eggs, bacon, potatoes and waffles with strawberries. It was pretty good.

We spent most of the day in the water park. K was able to go on all the slides (expect the Tornado) with an adult. L and C had quite a time going on all the slides, riding the waves and enjoying every bit of the park. They even supervised the little boys so J and I could ride down the slides with K a few times.

We took a break at the arcade, and in our room for lunch (there was a fridge and microwave in the room so we packed our meals). We got the boys to take a nap, so we laid low for a few hours in the afternoon.

We went back to the waterpark until 8 pm. It was so much quieter by the afternoon and we were able to enjoy the slides with no lines. I went on all the big slides with the kids, a few were pretty scary. At night the lighted slides are lots of fun. The Howlin' Tornado was completely dark and had a huge drop. Next time J. tells me "it's pretty tame" I am not going to believe him!

J. took the little boys to story time while we finished up with some time in the hot tub. We went back to the room for some pj time, popcorn, tv and treats. The kids ran around with their wand at the interactive stations around the hotel for a bit too.

Monday morning we got up earlier and had breakfast again. This time there was nobody there! It was quite a change. The downfall was the food had been sitting out for quite a while and it was not as good. We went up to our room, packed up everything, brought it out to the car, checked out and then hit the water park again for a few more hours. It was snowing and we wanted to get home before dark, so we had to leave earlier than planned.

We all had a really good time and think it was one of the best family trips we've been on. I think we will go again, in a few years.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I am dealing with emotions of all kinds lately:

Excitement for the year ahead.
Uncertainty about how to cope with daily life.
Confusion about why things happen a certain way.
Fear for my son's health and future.
Sadness about what has happened with Mercy.
Guilt for not trying harder.
Happiness when spending quality time with my children and husband.
Anger at myself for overeating and having poor self control.
Overwhelmed with having a hectic, busy, dirty, chaotic house.
Worried about my children.
Embarrassed to go to the gym and work out.
Frustrated at the ignorance of some people.
Anxious about our finances.
Irritation from problem children.
Enraged by said children's behavior at times.
Exhausted most of the day.

I feel like I can keep all these emotions
contained and pushed down inside for a while...
and then

I open my daughter's backpack and

POP, out shoots the cork
and emotions spill all over the place.

I am not really sure what emotion I was feeling when I saw this.
Thankfully the kids were in bed, the hubby was working overtime
and I was able to just lay in bed and cry, and pray, letting those emotions out for a bit.

Pray for Haiti, one year anniversary

Please join us to...PRAY FOR HAITI
January 12, 2011
4:00pm EST
January 12th will mark one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Those few moments and their aftermath took hundreds of thousands of lives, left countless homeless, and affected countless children in profound and permanent ways, including leaving many as orphans.

Join us on January 12th, 2011 at 4:00pm EST as we come together as a community to pray for the country of Haiti, for stability and integrity in its government, for ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts, for the Haitian church, and for the children of Haiti we all care about so much.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Birthday!

My youngest child turned three yesterday. I can't believe it, he still seems like a baby to us. S had a busy day on his birthday, he also had his first day of preschool! He was sooo excited about riding the bus. We had been trying to contact the bus garage to find out the pick up and drop off time so we could be all ready to go. They never returned our calls, and when we called, there was only a voicemail service. Our plan was originally to have J ride the bus with S, then I would follow in our car to drive back home. We guessed at how long E's bus ride is, and guessed a time that S's bus would arrive. Dad made chocolate chip pancakes and we sang Happy Birthday to him. He blew all his candles out and was eating (still in pjs) when the bus arrived at 8 am! His class begins at 9:20. J ran out and talked with the driver, explaining how we hadn't heard from the bus scheduler and we never assumed he would be riding for an hour and twenty minutes. We drove him to school and got him settled, which worked out well. We found out the bus will not be picking him up that early every time, there was a mistake in the schedule. Whew, we were about to start driving him to school! That is a long ride for such a little guy. He will be on the bus for nearly an hour (one way), still a long time. We are on the border of the district so our boys are on the first and last stop of the day. And there is only one developmental preschool in our district. Poor kids. Thankfully the elementary school is just down the road for when they begin kindergarden (the plan is for E to start in the fall!).

S. and Teacher G. finding his cubby

S walked in to class so confident and proud. He owned it and had a huge grin the whole time. J and I were just there a few minutes, and he just gave us a "bye" as we left. No tears were shed, by S, J, or me! He came home on the bus, and was so happy to see me when he walked down the steps. I spoke to his teacher who told me he did great and was so much fun to have in class.

After lunch, I tried to get S to take a nap, but he would not have anything to do with it. I gave up and let him play quietly in his room. E was at school by the time S arrived home so it was nice for them to have a break from each other. We didn't really have a big birthday celebration since we will be celebrating this weekend at a special place. We had ice cream for dessert (S wanted blue ice cream, but settled for Neapolitan) and received a new monster truck.