Baby Photos!!!!

We had a great meeting with N's birthmother this afternoon. She is young and beautiful! And she does NOT look like she had a baby 2 weeks ago. How disgusting is that? It took me 6 months after my pregnancies to fit in my jeans! Anyway, she was very quiet, but we talked a little, she held N, and we got some good pics for the scrapbook. A couple of his other close family members were there as well, so I have photos of them as well. I made it safely to my brother's house this evening, and am so relieved to be out of the hotel and have some company! My sis-in-law, "Aunt P", and her 11 month old daughter, actually flew out to my house to care for the kids all week. She returned here last night. So we all get to see each other, which is great! Unfortunately, we did not get the desired phone call from ICPC today, so I will be here at least all weekend. Keep praying for a Monday call!

So, not to keep you waiting any longer.....(drum roll......).....

Introducing our little N!

The night I first picked N up from the agency director's house.
I just couldn't get over how tiny and absolutely gorgeous he was!

A goofy pic, but I was trying to provide a comparison of his
size to my hand. Told you he was tiny!

A random photo

I love his big brown eyes! They are so alert and expressive.

N meeting Grandpa last weekend.

Another random photo. N doesn't have a bit of fat on his little body. Wish I had that problem!

I couldn't resist. This is how he usually sleeps, with his tongue showing.

So, there you have it. I finally got access to a pc/camera cord, a computer, and a few minutes to post. Enjoy!!

Still Here and Still Waiting

Sorry for the absence. And thank you for the kind words through my e-mail and comments. It is such a relief to know we are in your thoughts and prayers. I checked out of my original hotel last weekend to transfer to an extended-stay place with cheaper rates. Unfortunately, they did not have a computer. S has read me a few of your comments, but otherwise, I have had no access to update you. I finally got permission to leave the city today, so I will be heading to my brother's house tonight. I am at a library for a bit now.

N saw the pediatric orthopeadist on Tuesday morn. He suspected the same issue, however, he could not run the necessary diagnostic test until he is 3 weeks old. They gave me permission to wait until I get back home and do it with an ortho there. What a relief!

All in all, N is doing very well. He is defintely maturing. Hard to believe he is almost 2 weeks old. He is eating very well, awake several hours a day now, and starting to "uncurl" from the newborn fetal-position a little bit. His eye never got any worse, so thank you for your prayers.

This afternoon, I am meeting the birthmother for the first time. I am basically hanging out at the library here for several hours, until it is time to meet up with the agency director and follow her to the restaurant where we will meet. I am a little nervous, of course, but also eager to meet the woman who blessed us with our new son.

After the meeting, I will head down to my brother's and wait....wait....wait. At this point, I am waiting on the ICPC (interstate paperwork) to go through, allowing me to leave this state and return home. We know it is being processed, and that it has made it to our state, but when we will actually get the call, I have NO idea. If you read this today, say a little prayer that the call comes today if possible. I am so eager to return home. I miss my family back home, my kids are having a rough time understanding why I can't tell them when I will be home, and I am getting tired of sitting around just waiting. I am also having some difficulty with my blood sugars. I am very sensitive to change, and the time change, the change in schedule, and the change in daily activity level has affected me greatly. I need to get back into my routine to get them under control again. Despite all that, though, I am truly enjoying this new little bundle. The time alone with him has had its advantages for bonding between the two of us.

Thanks again for your prayers, encouragement, and support. Please keep them coming!


A good night's sleep

I slept so well last night! This is the first time in 2 days I felt truly fresh! It was a bit of a long and challenging night. Since I was still unable to get to the store with the goings on of yesterday, I was REALLY low on diapers during the night. I was actually lining his diapers with lots of kleenex, and changing the kleenex for the wet diapers. That way I could save the remaining diapers for dirties. We had several spells last night where he couldn't sleep for some reason, but he was usually calmed pretty quickly with a bit of cuddling. I was so tired at bedtime, I actually set my watch alarm to wake me up every 3 hours, just in case his little squeaks didn't wake me. As tiny as he is, I feel compelled to wake him and feed him even if he is still sleeping! He doesn't have an ounce of fat on him, so I don't think he can afford to sleep through a meal! Anyway, after the 5 am feeding, I set my watch again and snuggled back in for a couple more hours sleep. I woke abruptly at 9 am! I totally panicked! 4 hours of incredibly heavy sleep. I slept right through my watch alarm (not that it's that loud). Baby was still sound asleep, but I quickly dressed, woke him, and we went down to breakfast. I fed him while I ate.

As much as I want to show him off, I find myself hiding him most of the time. I have been forewarned by other adoptive parents of newborns that I should expect many unwanted lectures about not taking such a young baby out in public (like I have a choice?). I either wear him in my wrap or completely bundled in a blanket or in the car seat with a blanket covering the whole thing. I just do not feel like dealing with strangers', albeit well-intentioned, comments about him being so young and small. I have had a couple, but I find it is easier to just kind of avoid it a bit to begin with. Plus, in this cold, RSV, and flu season, I think it is better for him to eliminate all temptation for strangers who may be inclined to lean a bit too close or even touch him. Wow, I sound like a brand-new mom here!! LOL

I am off to get the day started. First stop, Babies R Us!! I will be changing hotels tonight so I can get a little kitchenette and eat a little better. So, later today I will have to go out and get some groceries.

A quick note...N seems to be developing a bit of conjunctivitis in his eye. VERY minor at this point, but it is the weekend, so perhaps everyone could say a quick prayer that it clears up quickly on its own.


Long day

Boy, oh boy, am I exhausted! Today was another busy day. It started with a semi-sleepless night. The baby actually slept quite well, but I always tend to be most nervous with a brand-new newborn and sleep very lightly. So every squeak he made woke me. Nonetheless, I got a little sleep, awoke this morning to a continental breakfast at the hotel (nothing like a good buttermilk biscuit (complete with vegetable shortening) and some pasteurized, homogenized milk to start the day off right! LOL I checked out of the hotel with the intent of traveling to my brother's house tonight. I had about an hour to kill before my appt. at the agency to sign more papers, so I tried to find a Babies R Us. I have nothing but a handful of diapers, some formula, and a couple of little onesies and sleepers (most of which are dirty now) for this poor little guy. No luck on the store, so I headed to the agency for my 10 am appt. I wound up stuck there for several hours (missing lunch), then was required to take the baby immediately to a doc appt for a thorough check up before I could leave town. That turned into a 3 hour ordeal and orders to remain in this city instead of going to my brother's. The good news is that he does seem healthy for the most part, however a few concerns did come up. He is having a hip issue that may require a hip brace for a while, but we have to see an orthopaedist next week to know for sure. Then there is an insurance issue we are dealing with, otherwise we may be paying a several-thousand dollar doctor bill for this upcoming visit.

Embarrasingly, the dozen phone calls that resulted in little progress, a complete change of plans for the next week, a serious lack of food, a lack of proper paperwork, insurance hassles, and a lack of sleep finally caught up to me and I totally lost it and just started crying right there in the pediatric clinic. I do not tend to be a very emotional person, and I was so embarrassed. I was truly a wreck for a while there. Finally, we came up with a plan we could live with, and I went to get a semi-healthy dinner. I felt better immediately. Oh, and the best part of dinner (other than my companion), was I got to have a delicious glass of southern-style sweet tea! WOO-HOO!! Ok, so my time out of the south means I can't tolerate the rich sweetness here anymore, so I did have to dilute it with unsweet tea, but oh, was it ever so good! I got a big glass to take back to the hotel. After dinner, I returned to the hotel from last night, got another room, made a few calls, and came in here to try to update everyone.

So now that all that is off my chest, I can update you a little more on baby. I think we have named him (that's right, he was born so unexpectedly, we didn't even have a name picked out!!). The birthmom had given him a name, which we are using in part, as well as adding a family name of "N". As of this morning, he is 5 lbs, 5 oz--did I mention TINY!!! I just cannot get over his little size. Everything about him is so small. I can hold him with one hand. He doesn't really cry (or at least that I have heard), he just gives these little squeaks when he is hungry. Even his burps are tiny! He is rather dark now, meaning he will likely be VERY dark as he ages. He has long black hair for now, but that too will eventually change into tight curls. He has big, beautiful brown eyes, and is actually very alert after eating. He seems to love being held, as he just nestles right in and completely relaxes. I do apologize for no pictures. Believe me, I am taking plenty, but on my list of "items to pack", I forgot to put the cord that downloads pics from the camera to the computer. So I fear you will all have to wait until I get home.

If I may request continued prayer though, as we have several big paperwork issues we have to deal with on Monday. There is a lot involved, and we would really appreciate prayers that everything will go smoothly and timely so that we can get little N the care he needs, and get back home. If I may also request prayer for my family back home, as S is handling a lot of these issues in addition to work, and I found out today that little A is apparently having some separation anxiety with me being gone. For those of you who have been helping out on that end, thank you so much!! It truly means a lot!

Adoption is a wonderful blessing, but the process itself can be quite stressful. Thank you all so much for your support. The comments you are leaving mean a great deal as I wait here alone while S holds down the fort and mans things from his end. Please keep them coming!

He has arrived!!

I am sitting in another state, across the country from home, holding our newest addition! It is a long story, but yesterday, I got a phone call about 8:30 am (right after yesterday's post) that he had been born a few days ago, was released from the hospital, and I needed to come get him! Let's just say the next hour was a whirlwind of activity and, only thanks to a great friend (you know who you are!), I was at the airport an hour later. I flew all day, arrived at the adoption agency director's house about 9 last night, and held our new son for the first time. I had my first sleepless night last night in a hotel. I don't know many details at this point, but hope to find out more today. I can say that he is around 5 pounds--half the size of my other 3. He is so incredibly tiny, I just can't get used to it. My daughter has dolls bigger than him! But he is BEAUTIFUL! Folks are waiting, so I have to go. More details to come! Please keep us in your prayers!


I have arrived!!

..well, at least for this morning. With a little help from M having a little accident (there's nothing like a little urine to get you going first thing in the morning!), I was up at 5:45! I can't believe how excited I am at rising before the sun. I spent around 30 minutes just reading the wonderful Word of God and praying. It feels so fulfilling and rewarding. That alone helps motivate me to keep going. I am finding another benefit to this early rising....I am able to go to bed earlier (with S) and sleep better! Normally, when I go to bed early, I toss and turn all night. So, there is my little bit of excitement from the pre-dawn hours today! My dog thinks I am nuts and can't figure out why he can't have breakfast yet. I have to thank those of you who have become regular readers, as I feel somewhat accountable to you all. Once I post my goal here, I feel more inspired to meet my goals. So thank you for your patient reading of some of these seemingly trivial posts! Hope everyone has a great day. We are heading to the children's museum today!


Abortion and FOCA

Most of you are well aware that I do not tend to pass on forwards, or get very involved in many internet political things. This one, however, did get my attention. Abortion is something I take very seriously. I will never forget an ethics course I took in college, and when a debate topic involved abortion, a man in my class stated, "a fetus is nothing more than an extra accumulation of cells--much like a wart somewhere on our body. It is not a real human until it is born." I will never forget that comparison, as well as how many in the class completely agreed with that viewpoint. It was heartbreaking. Now, it has hit even closer to home. Our little A was almost aborted, but, thank the Lord that his birthmother followed the Lord's prompting to place him for adoption instead.

In any case, there is a potential that our new president could pass a bill known as FOCA that would eliminate current laws that limit abortion procedures. It would endanger the lives of countless unborn children, put many young women at risk, and it could put Christian hospitals and clinics into a very bad situation. I do regret that I have had very limited time to research it for you, but my limited research seems to show it is legitimate. There is an organization called Fight FOCA that is collecting signatures in the hopes of stopping the passage of this bill. Please, take just a moment and go to http://www.fightfoca.com/ where you can read all the details, watch the videos, and learn more. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and just add your signature. Then, and more importantly, take a moment to bow your head and pray....for wisdom and guidance for our new president, that he might come to know Christ as his personal saviour, for the unborn babies whose mothers might be considering abortion, for the mothers who are considering abortion, for mothers who have aborted and are struggling with the life-long consequences of that decision, and for God's will to be done in this situation. Thank you.

A step closer to homesteading

We did it! We just bought our first chest freezer. It is just a mid-sized one to keep it portable until we retire, but it offers enough space to store some meat, milk, and a few dinners for a busy (or lazy) night.

Furthermore, I have officially ordered my first fresh beef! That is actually the part I am excited about. Fresh, natural, hormone and antibiotic-free beef, from pastured cattle is absolutely delicious. Even more delicious is the awesome price you can get by buying directly from the rancher rather than going through the store! In our case, I had to order a "whole beef" in order to buy that way, but since that can make upwards of 500 pounds of beef, that was too much for my little freezer. So, I found a few friends to go in with me. When I called to actually place the order, the rancher offered me a better deal if I was willing to buy something slightly different. He had 2 young dogie heifers (a dogie is a calf that has lost its mother--an orphan, essentially) that were smaller than normal and possibly leaner than preferred, and he offered me a steal! Of course, this meant I was looking at 550-600 lbs of beef after processing, so I had to find a few more folks who were interested. I am still working on that part. So, in a few weeks, I will be going to the butcher/processing plant to pick up my freshly cut beef. I can't wait to see how it tastes!! I hope S truly is a mid-westerner, because for the next 6 months or so, we will be eating burgers, roasts, steaks, beef broth, beef stroganoff, beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs, and any other beef-requiring recipe I can find!

So the next step will be growing my own beef! Of course, that won't likely be happening until we actually move to the farm, but I am looking forward to that!


Lemonade Award

Well, I just received a very kind thought from a regular blog-reader, Gina. My first blog award. I don't know much about these things, so Gina, if you'd care to explain, I would greatly appreciate it. Then I will know more about how to pass it on!

Thanks so much!! I really appreciate it!

And, in keeping the spirit, I am passing it along to:


I have greatly admired several things about her since I became a reader, to include the fact she makes it work (seemingly well!) with 13 children, all being homeschooled, and many of whom are adopted. Plus, as she has endured over 65 hours of dental work this year, which included organizing childcare, rearranging child schedules, etc., she has always had the best spirit and attitude. Thanks Renee!


Morning #2 and #3

I am still working on my new goal of rising early. Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:40. I was, for once, refreshed and awake. I looked over at the unusual sight of my wonderful hubby still in bed beside me. Mind you, this is VERY unusual. He is naturally an early riser (around 6 am on most weekends), and during the weekdays, he is often up around 4:30 due to his work schedule. So waking up with him beside me is a rare treat indeed. But, I digress. So, assuming he must be very tired and not wanting to disturb him, I told Will (the dog) to "stay" (normally he follows me downstairs), slipped out of bed, quietly put my robe on, and went downstairs. I picked up my Bible and began a wonderful quiet time with the Lord. Around 6:55, a very dreary-eyed S came downstairs, took one look at me, and asked, "Who are you, and what did you do with my wife?" It was classic. It was then I realized I hadn't mentioned my new goal to him. Oh well!

This morning, I am proud to report, that, with a little encouragement from S, I was up at 6:15. I managed to take a shower, get dressed, and take care of several things before the kids came down. I'm getting closer! I can do this!


Defending the "fatherless"

Baby #4 is seeming more real every day. In the last 10 days or so, I have re-arranged the kids' bedrooms, cleaned up my infant carseat, packed the infant diaper bag with basic essentials, researched plane tickets and schedules so I know who to call, created my packing and "to do" list for when the call actually comes, and found a crib, mattress, and bedding set. Other military wives just gave us the crib and mattress, and the bedding set I found at a children's consignment store for about $40. I also found a little universal stroller frame that I can just clip the infant seat into. That way, should I need a stroller while stuck waiting on ICPC, I will have one without the bulk of a standard stroller.

The set is actually pretty gender neutral, with burgundy, hunter green, navy, tan, and denim colors, though this pic makes it look very blue. I wanted gender neutral just in case....you never know what the future might hold.

The car seat and diaper bag are just sitting, waiting for the call!

S and I spent the morning in a Red Cross CPR review class. It was required for our first adoption, and although we haven't been asked for it this go around, we decided that, just in case it had been overlooked in our file, we would go ahead and get current to avoid potential issues later. While the class itself was what we expected, one of the other participants was our first experience dealing with outright racism. We have been warned about it, so were somewhat prepared fortunately, but it still caught us off guard. She happened to be an African-American woman, and when she found out (just through the course of conversation) that A was biracial and our new son would be full AA, she was obviously not pleased. She began asking questions like, "how are you going to see a child of color the same as your bio kids?" and "why do actually seek out AA's to adopt?" and so on. The questions themselves were not that bad, but her tone and the barrage of questions (some accusing and confrontational) made it obvious we were not dealing with an pro-adoption person. We calmly answered her questions, explained first that we did not actively seek to adopt ANY race, but rather, were open to the child God wanted us to have. We further explained that we were concerned initially about comparisons (mostly by others), discrimination, and learning about hair and skin care, and we had many discussions with friends of other ethnic backgrounds for their opinions and advice. We also prayed--HARD--about it. Although in a typical situation, it would likely be best to just politely excuse ourselves, we were kind of stuck in this situation, as we had several hours of class time left. So, as the conversation progressed, we patiently answered each of her concerns with our limited knowledge and statistics. We also mentioned the fact that, at one point (during our match with A), we had been offered 2 healthy babies who were laying in hospital cribs because no one wanted them due to their skin color. I told her that, no matter what a child's skin color and risk of discrimination, EVERY child deserved a loving family. We would (and will) do what we can to help them through future situations and teach them how to handle issues that arise in the future. She did finally agree that a loving, Godly family was the most important thing for a child. I don't know if we finally gained her confidence or if she just gave up. Honestly, we never got to find out, as, a short while later, she became very irritated with our instructor over another issue and abruptly walked out of the class. I can only pray that God will touch and soften her heart. Overall, she seemed like a very angry, miserable woman, and I hope that this experience will at least help her see things in a more positive light. We learned a few other things about her during our conversation that possibly shed some light on why she had this attitude, but those are past issues that only God can help her deal with. I pray she will seek Him and let Him help her work through those issues.

Nonetheless, although we have experienced some subtle forms, this blatant form, and may very well experience more discrimination, prejudices, and racism as we continue in our journey, trusting and allowing God to work in our lives, we are confident that we are doing as God has instructed us to do. We will continue to seek God's guidance through our quiet times with Him, through prayer, and through the calling we feel God is distinctly laying on our hearts to care for the "fatherless."

"All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."(Matt. 10:22)


Homeschool Friday

Today, in my attempt to really focus more on my children (see previous post), we enjoyed some time just having fun. Dare I say JR really seems to be musically inclined? You be the judge:

Ok, so I admit, we have a little work to do in music class, but hey, at least he is learning to be creative and love music! That's all that counts, right?

Then we played JR's favorite board game, called "Allowance." It is designed for slightly older kids, but he loves it, and it has actually helped tremendously with his counting and concepts of money.

Where is your Heart?

This week, I was able to check off one of the books on my "want to read" list. It was called "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" by Teri Maxwell. An excellent book in many ways, it caused me to have a bit of introspection. One of the points she made in the book is that we can't expect to capture or keep our children's hearts, unless our children first have our hearts. Easy, right? Of course my children have my heart. I am a mother, isn't it only natural? I mean, my every day is dedicated to them...I care for them, sacrifice for them, even homeschool. Then she asked a simple question that really caused some introspection...."What do you do in your free time?" If I was honest with myself, I have to admit, I LOVE the computer. I spend almost 6 out of 7 days in my home, do the majority of my shopping online (what little I do), book tickets, take care of business, research and order homeschool materials, almost everything. I also correspond with other moms, which is something I very much enjoy. But when I thought more deeply about it, I realized that almost every free moment I had was spent on the computer. Sure, I spend plenty of my time with the kids or cleaning house, but what I realized was that, as soon as I had free time, I didn't always DESIRE to play with kids. I DESIRED to get on the computer. Furthermore, she asked how we reacted if we were on "free time" and our children interupted for a moment. Irritated? Angry? Or understanding and loving? She wasn't saying that we can't have free time or that EVERY moment of a mother's day must be with spent with our children. She was simply trying to make the point that sometimes we, as mothers, do not FULLY give our children our hearts, and that must be the first step if we are to gain theirs with the intent of leading them in the instruction of the Lord.

So the past few days, I have been challenging myself to do better. I have made more of a point to be more verbally thankful of my children during my prayer time, to be more encouraging and smile more when dealing directly with my children, to spend more time holding and interacting with A, and to do more of the "silly" (sometimes monotonous) games that so thrills JR and M. Another challenge I have decided to take on is to rise earlier in the morning. You have to understand that I am a TOTAL and complete night owl. I despise mornings, wish we could totally skip mornings and just jump straight to afternoon. I have always been this way, and the biggest struggle of my entire day happens every morning as I try to drag myself out of bed. Then it takes me a good hour to really wake up and get my brain fully functional (maybe I should learn to like coffee?) Not to make excuses, but I have truly wondered if this is related to my being a Type 1 diabetic. Although I am healthy, my body must often work twice as hard as the average "normal" person. If I happen to have a bad night with high or low blood sugars, it can take more than a day for me to fully recover. I just feel "blah" and worn out. Then again, perhaps this a totally normal thing that can be re-trained. I honestly don't know. Nonetheless, she pointed out that if we truly want to do something we enjoy, then just try to do it before the children arise. Although my kids wake WAAYY before I do, we have taught them to stay in their room until 7 am. So, my new goal is to get up around 6, have a quiet time with the Lord, do some work on the computer, then start my day.

This morning was my first official attempt. I didn't actually wake up until around 6:30, then spent 10 minutes arguing with myself. "You can do this! (Go back to sleep!) You will be so happy with yourself! (Just 15 more minutes!) You can get some housework done before the kids are up! (Who wants to do housework before 7!)...." Finally, I managed to drag myself out of bed around 6:40. I got dressed, picked my room up a bit, and then, about 6:50, this walked in:

I absolutely could not resist that adorable little face! I invited her to join me on my bed for some cuddle time. Which she immediately accepted. So, for 10 minutes, we sat together, just snuggling and talking, and I can honestly say we both enjoyed it immensely. In a home with 3 children (soon to be 4), things can hectic, and I do cherish the occasional individual moments with them. So although my morning wasn't a complete success in terms of my goal, I took the first step. And I can't think of a better reward than a private smile and hug from one of my kids!


Raising Children According to the Lord

Raising children is one thing. Technically, I suppose anyone could do it. On the other hand, raising children "...in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4)" is a whole different ball game. Discipline in particular is something I have really struggled with. As my children grow older, I am constantly striving to find the appropriate way to discipline them when discipline become necessary. It has been one of my greater challenges. I have talked with experienced mothers who have older children that seem to love the Lord and are well-behaved, I have read many books, including the Bible. The problem seems to be that there are so many different interpretations, that it can get confusing. And I have not yet felt God leading me in a distinct direction as to the type of methods to use. Another area we have struggled with is in the area of consistency with discipline. Although the children are pretty understanding of WHEN discipline is required, we have been somewhat lacking in consistency of the TYPE of discipline we use. I am guilty of it myself, but particularly when you add in the fact the S is gone so much, then he comes in and may need to discipline a behavior, and his method may be completely different than mine. Until now!

Although we are still praying and learning about the best method of discipline (which I am learning will change as the children grow), I found a resource that is basically a consequence chart. The chart is preprinted and laminated (for dry-erase marker). In the first column, misbehaviors are assigned a category such as "disobedience," "lying," "hitting, kicking, etc.," to which you can pencil in others (like we had to add "yelling" (an issue JR is currently having with M) and "spitting" (an issue M is currently dealing with). This category contains both text and a picture (to help younger children). The second column has a scripture reference that pertains to that behavior. The third column is blank, so you pencil in your method of discipline for that behavior and for the appropriate ages of your children (i.e. "2 spanks," "2 min. time out," "double restitution," "lose privilege," etc.) Then, when the child misbehaves, we take them to the chart, find the appropriate category, read the corresponding scripture, and discuss the necessary discipline.

I have only been using the chart for a couple of days, but we absolutely LOVE it. We have changed our categorical disciplinary methods a time or two as we get into a more realistic, consistent "groove," but the chart has proven advantageous in more ways than I expected. First, because it is posted in a fairly central location, it is a presence in our lives. Interestingly, I have not found myself viewing it as a "discipline chart" as I expected, but more as a scripture-based resource to help me "train" my children. Secondly, when the children misbehave, we go to the chart. Taking the time to go the chart between action and discipline, encourages me or S to regain our composure and ensure we are disciplining with the right attitude ourselves. Having the scripture there further encourages such. Thirdly, the children are already memorizing (not that they misbehave that often, it is just that easy to use!) the actions and the corresponding consequences. They are not yet memorizing the scripture, but we will work on that. It also helps ensure the children understand exactly what they did wrong, why it was wrong, and what result must ensue. Fourthly, it provides predictable consistency from behavior to behavior, and between S and I. Fifthly, I have found I do not feel as guilty about disciplining my children. When I have it black & white, according to God's own word, it makes me more confident that I am doing what is best for my children, and helps me to remember that God will also discipline me when I do those same behaviors. It helps distinguish between "pettiness" and helps you identify the true sin in a behavior, which in turn, helps me guide my children biblically and prevents unnecessary or confusing discipline. I only wish I had been smart enough to develop this myself!


Daily Life with Preschoolers

A couple of days ago, I rearranged bedrooms to start preparing for the new baby. We decided that, since JR and M sleep in the same room half the time anyway, it would just be easier to combine their rooms, with JR on the top bunk and M on the bottom. So I moved everything into their room, which included most of their toys (whatever is not put away or in the playroom). This seemed to be working well for a while. For a 2 hour period every afternoon, we have nap/quiet time. The kids are allowed to either play quietly or nap, as long as they don't leave their bedroom, while A sleeps, and I do whatever I need to. Well, after their quiet time ended, they came downstairs giggling. I turned to find M, all dressed up in her princess costume (she can't quite figure out how to put the sleeves on by herself). JR, not to be outdone, had decided to join her apparently:

Yes, indeed, that is my oldest son wearing a tiara, necklace, and skirt....sighhhh........Time to get dad busy doing father/son projects I guess.

Tonight was even more adventurous. Still doing some new baby preps, S pulled our infant seat out of storage, and I set to cleaning it up tonight. I completely disassembled it to throw it in the wash. All the pieces to be washed were in one pile, with pieces not being washed in another. I instructed the kids to not touch, and took the car seat itself into the office to check for recalls. I returned after only a brief moment, to find one of my buckle pieces MISSING! M confessed that she had wanted to play with it and "lost" it. There are two things that never fail to amaze me with kids....first, how quickly they lose something, and secondly, how quickly they can completely forget where they even had it last! M was given an opportunity to find it, appropriately disciplined for disobeying, and forbidden to have any fun until it was found. JR, bless his heart, was searching as frantically as a 4 yr old can. We turned this house inside out. I crawled on my knees (at M's level) half the time looking in every spot I could possibly imagine it being. I mean, you CANNOT bring a baby home from the hospital without a properly fitted carseat. This means you MUST have all buckle pieces. Sure I could probably order another, but that could take weeks, and we may not get it in time! I was almost panicked. I told the kids we had to pray! After a good 30 minutes searching, M just wanted to go to bed, it was their bedtime anyway, so I took a break, put them to bed, said their prayers, and resumed my search, praying the whole time!

Wouldn't you know, God came through for me once again! Just as I was ready to give up, I noticed it laying on the back of the couch, where, I can only figure maybe she threw it up, and that is where it landed. I quickly ran upstairs, reported the news to the kids, and figured it was a great opportunity to show them how God can help us. We said a Thank you prayer then. Oh, I am so relieved!

So, that's life with preschoolers. They keep you on your toes!


Breadmakers part 2

I decided to test the bread maker today, cautiously added the ingredients (double checking the measuring cup), and started it. At one point during the mix cycle, there was an odd noise, but it stopped. So I waited the 3 hours and 10 minutes that it normally takes to complete the entire bread-making cycle. Here is the result:

Our dinner included a beautiful, perfectly cooked loaf of dill bread. Guess my hubby is pretty handy, wouldn't ya' say?!

Adoption Update #5

Well, we are officially matched! Although we finished our part of the homestudy about 3 weeks ago, we have been waiting on the social worker and his agency to complete the reports. I just got word that he submitted it to our adoption agency THIS weekend, and yesterday, I got the call that we are matched!

For those of you who know our story from last time, this one sounds quite different (we know the sex for one thing!). To protect privacy, I must limit the info I post here, but I can tell you we are expecting an African-American baby boy, due in just 5 weeks! AAAGH! 5 weeks! Little A will barely be 10 months old! I am going to have 2 babies on my hands! I NEVER thought I would see the day when I would have to have 2 cribs, but it looks like I am going to have to start furniture shopping and rearranging rooms. JR has already picked a name--a name he really wanted to name A, but we decided against because it is too similar to my name. Now, here we are again, he is dead set on that name for the new baby. We really don't want it, but he and M both are almost begging. We'll have to think on that one.

As always, adoption is a bittersweet thing. While we are thrilled to be "expecting" a new little one joining our family, we also know that a young girl will soon be losing this same precious bundle of joy. That is the part I dread--when she actually relinquishes him to our care. Until you have been there, hugged that birthmother, and seen her tears, you have no idea how emotionally intense that moment is. There are just no words. Have you ever wondered what you would say to a mother who is GIVING you her just-born child? I don't care what race, social class, education level, or background a birthmother has, or how adamantly she may deny any attachment, she is still a mother who has carried a baby for 9 months. She has loved it enough not to abort or abandon, and that says a lot! And although we all move on with our lives, we will also always share a common bond through that little baby.

So now, the planning starts. I have to come up with sitters who will be available at a moment's notice. This time we have the added difficulty of having to travel out of state. I have to research plane travel for the month of February, and figure out who offers the best prices for last minute travel. I have to research rental car agencies. I also have to pack bags and have them on standby. When we get the call that the mother is labor, we have to boogie! My understanding is she wants us to fly across the country, and make it to the hospital in time to meet us before she gives birth. We'll see if that happens! This is not her first birth, so labor could go quickly. We are hoping S will be able to fly with me for the first couple of days, but after that, he will have to return, and I will be on my own. We also have to deal with something called ICPC this time. It is basically formal paperwork that grants us permission to take the baby out of one state and into another for the purposes of adoption. The good thing is its easy on our part. We just have to wait for the call that we are approved. The bad thing is that it can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to get that approval. So I have no idea how long I will be gone, how long I have to plan for sitters, or how long I will be away from my family. The average is typically 5-7 days, so we are hoping we will fall in that average. Of course, this small factor adds a whole load of complication. Take for instance, that I will have a days-old baby. I will still have to eat, possibly pick up items from the store, and eventually go through an airport and flight with this little one. I am not looking forward to the unsolicited advice that is apparently very common in this situation--where people who haven't a clue will quickly criticize you for exposing such a young baby to so many people. I have been thoroughly forewarned to not tell such strangers the baby's age (saying something like "young" instead), and that it will help prevent awkward situations. I tell you, anyone who thinks adoption is the easy way to grow a family needs to think again!!

Oh, it is exciting though! It will be a new experience for us in so many ways. Ok, I will quit rambling now, as I am sure you have better things to be doing. But, I do covet your prayers. If you have the opportunity, please pray for everyone involved--the expectant mother who is about to go through loss, the baby and his health and safety, the adoption agency, counselors, and lawyers who make this all work, and of course, our family, as we go through that first week or two, and as we then return home and adapt to life as a family of 6. WOW!



Have you ever wondered what would happen if you didn't put just the right amount of ingredients into a bread maker? For example, hypothetically, of course, what if you accidentally used twice the amount of water required by the recipe, but the proper amount of flour and everything else?

Well, here is my theory. Let's assume that instead of using 1 cup of water to 3 cups of flour, you accidentally used the wrong measuring cup and put 2 cups of water to 3 cups of flour. At first you probably will think the mix cycle just isn't complete, and that is why it doesn't seem to be mixing properly. Then you will see it has mixed, and seems a little more like pancake batter than a ball of bread dough, but of course, you are confident you did everything right, so you let it keep going, thinking it is just a fluke and everything will turn out fine. Then, just for fun, lets say you have about 14 people show up to your house for your church small-group time. As the evening concludes, one of these people happens to notice a burning smell, notices your bread maker sitting in the corner of the kitchen with smoke billowing out of every vent, and yells FIRE!! All the men hurriedly grab the bread maker, run it outside, and proceed to open all the windows and doors before the smoke alarms go off and traumatize the 10 or so young children running around playing. At this point, you will likely be thinking, "Guess I'm getting a new bread maker for Valentine's!" When the smoke and heat finally clear, you and dear hubby go outside and cautiously approach the bread maker. Upon opening, you see the heat cycle has caused the gooey batter to expand up and over the edge of the pan, flow down the outside of the pan, filling the bottom of the bread maker, covering the burner (thereby causing the smoke and smell), and oozing into almost every vent, nook, cranny, and screw. Of course, if you are frugal at all, you would want to know if the bread maker is salvagable, so your dear hubby would then proceed to investigate the extent of the damage to see if he can NOT have to buy a new one. So, of course, he would then dissassemble the entire bread maker, clean every visible millimeter of it, and attempt to reassemble.

Of course, this is all just my theory!


School Day

I am always on the lookout for new ideas for our school day. I have just come to LOVE activities that keep the kids entertained, yet teach them something. I first heard of this item on another blog I read, and began researching it. I was dismayed to find how ridiculously expensive they are, but loved the concept behind it. It is called a cylinder block, and comes in a set of 4 blocks, with each having 10 cylinders. The amazing thing is that each cylinder will only fit into 1 hole in 1 one of the blocks, so they are all unique, and it makes the activity challenging. Some are slender, while some are wide, some are short, while some are tall, and every mixture in between. It teaches a lot of things--hand-eye coordination, prep for holding a pen or pencil properly later, size and shape differentiation, and focus. The activity is easy enough that I can give my 2 yr old 1 block and have her do those cylinders, and you can increase the challenge accordingly. 4 yr old JR can do 2-3 simultaneously, and as they get better and faster, you can dump and mix all 4 block's cylinders and try to replace them. You can have races to see who can do it fastest. S and I actually did that today, by dumping and mixing all 4 and timing each other. (I almost won, until I accidently dropped a cylinder into a hole that was too deep. I had to dump the thing to get it out and that cost seconds!) This activity is currently one of my favorites for the kids. It is just amazing how M can walk up, pick up a cylinder, and drop it immediately into the correct hole. It really improves the fine motor skills, and it has done so quickly for my kids!


Snow Day!

We decided to take a drive up into the mountains today and take the kids sledding for the first time. We borrowed a few things, got a sitter for A, and off we went. We found a perfect little area, just off the road with some great hills and good powder.

We all had a blast. It has been years for us big folks, and the kids, though scared at first, were sledding on their own after a few runs.

The kids kept losing their gloves. I think we spent almost as much time redressing everyone as sledding.

When it was time to go, the kids laid down in the snow and said they were comfy and liked it there. It didn't matter to them that JR had a scratched up face from an OOPS that resulted in him going airborn and landing on his face, or that M had so much snow on her face and in her hat and gloves from mom's steering us into fresh powder on one run. Oh well, we consider it jumping in with both feet (or face!). We just want them to have the full experience, right?! Then we proceeded to return to the van, change clothes, and load up. It was a perfect day, until.......
M decided to get her finger caught in the van door! OUCH! Poor kid! I think anyone in the hills heard her screaming! We though we were going to have to make a trip to the ER, but by the time we drove back into the city, she was using the finger, the swelling had stopped, and she wasn't complaining too much. We are going to keep an eye on it for now and see what happens. I will have to watch that more closely!

New Furniture!

You know how God is soooo incredibly good, at times when we least expect it? Well, long story short, we have had some situations that left us wanting/needing a few items around the house. One was a little table for the kids. S has had a beautiful scrap piece of oak for several years that was plenty big enough to make one, but we had no way to cut it. Recently, he was given a table saw. So here was his first project:

We just had to buy the legs and stain it. It is pretty simple, but it serves its purpose perfectly, the kids love it, and I love not having toys and school stuff all over my dining table all the time now.

Then, another long story short, I have wanted a living room suit for years, but couldn't justify buying one due to our frequent moving and the fact we had what we NEEDED. We have been using a futon and a recliner. We always keep an eye out at yard sales, but most of what we find is either way too big to practically move around the country, or old and ready to fall apart. We were at a friend's house recently for our weekly small-group worship, and wound up with a new couch and loveseat...FREE. It is in great shape and has a nice country look to it (which we want for our future farm house). Funny thing is, we have around 20-30 people coming to our house for weekly worship this weekend, and we actually have a way to seat them all now! Not sure what we will do with futon and recliner if our next house is smaller. We want it for the farm, but we have a few years before we get there. I'm sure we will work it out though.

I may have to change the curtains out to match a bit better, but the cats approve (one is ours, and the other we are petsitting)!