Monday, February 21, 2011

8 is great!

My sweet little boy (#4) turned 8 this past week!
I can't believe it!!
It really does seem like yesterday that he was wishing us all a "Mewwy Mit Mis!" in December...
and now...
he's just growing up!
I don't know how it's possible that I get to be the mom of such wonderful kiddos.
I certainly don't deserve them...
(according to the "curse" my mother placed on me years ago...that I would one day have children that act "EXACTLY LIKE YOU DO!" ha ha ha...)
Here he is this past fall!
This kid has the BIGGEST heart of any
child you will EVER meet!
He is the first to say "Thank You" and the
last to demand his turn or his way.

His favorite book, fittingly, is Yertle the Turtle.
If you don't know the story, it's about a turtle king who demands all the turtles to stand one each others' backs so that he can see farther, and claim the area he can see as his kingdom. He doesn't care that the turtles below are in pain and hungry... and after awhile, one turtle at the bottom burps, shaking the pile, and the turtle king becomes no more than king of the mud. 

My little guy would be the burping turtle. 

He's a world-changer in the making!

And the party? Well, he invited some friends to play at a local indoor, really cool, entertainment place...
didn't ask for much in the way of presents, and wasn't really that interested in opening his gifts... just wanting to play with his friends instead.

Seriously, how do I deserve a child like this?

Oh, my heart just can't take how much love I have for my kids... and when I see them growing up and becoming the type of people who love unconditionally, serve selflessly, and give generously...
I remember how much I am blessed!

Happy Birthday, buddy!
Mom loves you more than coffee AND chocolate cake!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Holy Discontent

Disclaimer: I have not yet read the book with the same title

This weekend, our pastor introduced our church family to the term "Holy Discontent".
That THING that when you think about a particular situation, you just get to the point where you
JUST CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE. Not one more day of this. Not one more moment. You are moved to action based on your Holy Discontent with the situation.

For you, it may be the homeless downtown.
For some it may be empty food pantries unable to help the struggling.
For others, it may be single moms struggling to do it all on their own.
For still others, it may be children around the world without a family.

Whatever that THING is that the Lord has placed on your heart...
do the WORLD a favor.
PRAY and ASK the Lord to open your eyes to the opportunities in front of you!

They are there!

You may be comfortable in your house and safe from seeing very many needs around you... ask anyway.
You might be busy with your schedule, your job, and running kids back and forth to a million places every week... ask anyway.
You might think you can't do anything to help anyone since you are struggling yourself... ASK ANYWAY.

You never know what blessings you are missing out on EVERY SINGLE DAY because you blindly walk away or drive right past a need that the Lord has placed on your path.
He's watching, you know.
He's waiting...
"Oh, child... is THIS the day you will SEE???"
"Beloved... open the eyes I gave you! There is so much MORE I want from you!"

We say all the time how life is short.
What are you doing with your short, vapor of a life??
I'm happy you are raising your family... but can you do more?

Can you read to a child at your local school one day a week?

Can you start a blog and make it JUST FOR PRAYER REQUESTS
and then commit to pray for those people?

Can you commit to pray for anyone the Lord would bring into your path - - RIGHT THEN AND THERE? No more passive "Awww! I will pray for your family!" and then walking away. Do it right then, with that person!

Will you listen, closely, quietly, and be willing to MOVE when the Lord tells you what He wants you to do?

I firmly believe that we are on the edge of a major revival in this country.
I see it all around me - people being moved to action, children being adopted, couples digging their heels in and refusing to give up on their marriage, friends jumping in to help when they know of a need, ministries being born by those who are unafraid of failure -knowing God is on their side....

God is moving today, still! His plan isn't finished... but unfortunately, the laborers are few!

Engage in this battle!

If not you, then WHO?

Monday, February 14, 2011

6 month visit DONE!

Wow! What a morning!
Someone pass the kleenex!
The radio should be playing "Friends are Friends Forever...."
and there should be lots of girls wearing horrible dresses and bad attempts at make-up application!

No, wait... that was 8th grade graduation.

My FINAL, official post-placement visit is DONE!

I just can't believe it!
Something is just so... FINAL about it!
Not that our kiddos weren't FINAL before...
but up till this point there has always been that looming "next visit" from our social worker
(who is really more like a friend you meet for coffee
but who only wants to talk about YOU and YOUR family!).

We talked for two hours about the babies!
We talked about the fun stuff, the whap-your-head-on-the-wall stuff (5:15am wake up call, anyone?),
and the normal, developmental stuff.
The kiddos just ran around and played...
they argued over not getting a turn on the roller coaster,
cried about not getting the right sippy cup,
and my baby boy wanted to be held every 5 seconds...
but they were good!

We talked about how normal our family is to us,
about how I actually get offended whenever someone says "wow, your house must be CRAZY!" because it's not and it shouldn't be anyway!

as she was leaving...she said:
"this is normally where I tell the family how nice it's been visiting all these times...
but I know I will see you all again soon!"

Hee hee hee....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hair Butter naming

So for a week or two now I have been tossing around names and ideas for my hair/body butter.

The family has been in on it, friends, blog readers... I've been asking everyone for a name suggestion!

Something cute, but not too "out there"...
nothing over-done already...
nothing that would be confusing...
you wouldn't think it would be this hard!!

Then the other night most of us were in/around the kitchen while I was making dinner and I turned around to #6 and said,

"Dinner is ALMOST ready, baby cakes! Go play!"

And #2 turned around and said...

"Mom! That's what you should call it! Baby Cakes!"

Now, I admit... I had toyed with that name previously and one reader even left it in the comments...
but I guess it just never really hit me as a product name till that moment!

we have a name!
Baby Cakes!

Finalizing ingredient lists and should begin filling jars in the next week to 10 days! More info and Etsy store link to follow!
Thanks for all your help!

Oh, and Mama, Ababa and a Woosha ... send me a message with your address and I will send you a sample for posting the name in your comment and reminding me that I call my kids that ALL THE TIME!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Only in Tennessee...

... can your children miss 2 1/2 days of school for 1 1/2 inches of snow.

INCHES, people.

You don't even need snow boots for that much.
You could almost wear flats and not worry about it coming inside your shoes.

Granted, I know... it makes ice on the roads... but all the roads near me are totally clear this morning and they cancelled school last night at 5pm for today. Nice.

Thanks, school district people... it's not like I wasn't looking forward to a 4 1/2 day weekend...
but I WASN'T!!

So today, I am out of tricks, patience, and almost out of food. I plan on taking the kids to this new indoor play/activity/fun place that has a coffee bar. Sounds like heaven to me (as long as they have a sound-proof room for Mommies).

I will let them all run around like wild banshees,
 climb on whatever is for climbing,
be loud,
jump off of things,
be loud some more,

Then we will return home and pretend like its spring and there will be NO MORE SNOW DAYS!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finally! Lots of pictures!

I know I keep promising some photos... 
so here are some pictures of what we have been up to lately!

Yeah, he looks really grouchy. He was upset that I turned on the jets to make all those bubbles... 
and I made him sit down to avoid some non-internet friendly photos.

I tried to scoop the poop to re-test for giardia... but I didn't get good samples, 
only got half the vials filled, then left them in fridge too long... so now...
 I get to start over. Yay me.

Getting ready for a picnic at the park on a rare,
beautiful Saturday!

Picnic day! You don't want to know how much sand
I had to clean out of his crevices after this!

I bake treats for my parents' dental office where I used to work...
this time was 40 lbs of rocky road fudge! Yummmm!

Two main dinner requests...
Fasta (any kind of noodle) and Pee-sah (pizza!)

Little twists... I love little twists!

Again with my beads... I love my beads!

I had to send in baby photos of #1 for the yearbook...
Wasn't he adorable!!?

And another one! I think the yearbook will be MUCH cuter now!

Adorable little boy (#4) that built this awesome snowman!

I made this "injera" from Marcus Samuelsson's recipe for Genna.

And some more sledding!
We are supposed to get snow AGAIN this week...
so it's looking like that stinking groundhog was WRONG.
I'm a little bit done with snow and cold...
in case I didn't mention it before.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just... yuck.

You know what?
I'm allowed to have a bad day.

I'm allowed to be "real" and not be all sunshine and lollipops all the time.
It's not about the kids...
it's not about the adoption...
it's not about anything other than...
dang it, I'm having a bad day!

Sometimes people who really love each other don't get along.
Sometimes people are mean.
Sometimes feelings get hurt.
And sometimes, I just want to go back to bed.

Sometimes I get frustrated and "snap" when a certain small child with a lot of words comes up and looks at MY breakfast (that I finally get to eat at 9am) and says "I don't like that."
I MAY come back with
"Well good thing it's not YOURS then, isn't it!"

I don't HAVE to like being awakened at 5:30am by two little girls who don't know how to freaking SLEEP.
I don't know who wakes who up, or why on EARTH they think that it's time to get up when its pitch black in their room... but its on my NERVE today. Tomorrow may be better... maybe not. I may wake up with them sometime before 6 and be all sunshiney and happy and not be bothered at all that it's so early even most kid shows have not come on TV yet.

I can have JOY because I know who I am in Christ, but be in a funk nonetheless.
 It's not a symptom of my spiritual health to be grouchy today.
MAYBE, just maybe... it's just part of LIFE to have your ups and downs.

I can't always be Little Miss Suzie Sunshine just because I have 7 kids and people hold me to some kind of standard that NO ONE can attain. All those women out there with lots of kids... they have bad days too. I dare you to find ONE mother out there who never gets in a funk. It doesn't work that way.

This isn't about my having 7 kids.
I just felt the need to let you know...
even those "I-don't-know-how-you-do-it" mom's out there have bad days, too.
It doesn't make me a worse mother to let my kids watch more TV than normal today,
or to snap because someone doesn't like what I'm eating for breakfast...
or because the little boy drenched the bathroom twice in less than 14 hours...
or because that same little boy learned to say "Mommy MEAN" because I was mad about the water all over the bathroom floor...
It's just the way it is sometimes.
Hopefully things will clear up after nap time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I got nothin'.

I have lots of ideas for things I should post...
Fun things the kids say...
My trip to the "ethnic" hair store...
My new awesome hair bead organizer...
My hate of the music in yesterday's half-time show...
nothing is coming together for me.
I have seen this fun little insightful idea on others' blogs and it looks interesting!
The idea is, you open up Google and type the one letter, in alphabetical order, and tell everyone what suggestions it has for you, based on your Googling history.
Sounds insightful, right?
So here goes.
A - Amazon. Yeah, clearly Google is our homepage and it's easier to type it in there than to type it up top.
B - Becoming Beka series. This is a book series by a Christian author for young girls, #2 likes them!
C - Craigslist - Trying to find a vehicle that will hold us all.
D -  Dictionary - is the ultimate homework helper around here!
E - Etsy - Setting up a storefront for my hair/body butter and generally looking around for neat stuff!
F - Farms for sale - Yeah, some days I just want to go "off the grid" and simplify.
G - Grooveshark - the internet radio thing my kids listen to.
H - Hobby Lobby - crafty stuff galore.
I - IRS - waiting on that pesky adoption tax refund form to be released!
J - Jet's Pizza - Wonderful pizza place near by!
K - KBB - Kelly's Blue Book - see "Craigslist" above.
L - Lowes - because something always needs fixing when you own a home!
M- Marcus Samuelsson's injera recipe - this is the "quick" injera recipe I used for Genna this year.
N- Nottdoppler - kids game site
O- One Minute Monologues - #1 tried out for a school play and had to memorize something.
P- Picnik - the photo editing site I like, but can never remember how to misspell picnic.
Q- Quick Gluten Free - Always looking for something simple, fast and also tasty.
R- Realtracs - Real Estate listing website - - just for fun, we aren't moving or anything.
S- Sally Beauty Supply - Because 8 different combs just aren't enough. And I want a tangle teezer.
T- Tangle Teezer Reviews - see above.
U- Uganda - Just looking around.
V- Van e350 - More used van googling.
W - Whole Foods - looking up their hair stuff, some vitamins, and locations.
X- Droid X - my phone, looking up how to use it! :)
Y- Yellow Shea Butter - Researching the differences between yellow and the white, refined and unrefined.
Z- Zillow - house site, tells you home values and recent sales prices. Its pretty cool.

And because I couldn't resist...
here's a pic of my newly organized bead holder
and the little tupperware thingy of all my hair rubberbands!
I love new organizational tools!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

6 months home! Wow!

Feb. 3rd - we have been home for 6 months!

I'm not normally good with dates and remembering anniversaries (or birthdays... but that's another post),
but this one has been marked on the calendar since we got home on August 3rd!

In adoption circles the 6-month-home mark is somewhat of a landmark in that (typically) by this point you have found your "new normal". It's not a hard deadline, just one that many families look forward to and say "well, let's see how this is going once we hit 6 months". It's not a sink-or-swim, fish-or-cut bait, poop-or-get-off-the-potty deadline... just a milestone for checking in and assessing what is going on, what is better, what is worse, and what changes should or could be made.

And with that... here is our 6 month update!

The family: We are doing really well! hubby and I were just talking the other day about how "normal" everyone is together. The kids all fight... they all blame the younger kids... they play together...and they laugh together. There is no division between the kids, no "us vs. them" mentality, and everyone just seems... normal!

The parents: We still miss our old mornings together, but Paul's job takes him out of town quite often and that has at least as much to do with our lack of couple-time than the little three. We can't imagine our lives without the littles, and we are constantly amazed at how cohesive our family seems!

Food: When we first got home, the little three would eat literally anything I put in front of them. Not so much anymore. Their favorite things are fasta (pasta), cheerials (cheerio/cereal), PB&J, and anything chocolate! Tonight #5 refused rice... she used to love rice. Tonight "I don't like rice, Mommy." Uh huh. THAT didn't take long.

Sleep: I don't like to talk about it. But I will for you, bloggy friends... because I know you can handle the truth. Truth is... these children are the lightest sleepers I have EVER met. They are still going to bed at a decent hour (normally in bed by 7-7:30) but the girls wake up (on average) around 5:30am. Uh huh. In the dark, on weekends, if they stay up later or go to bed earlier... like some kind of alarm goes off inside their brains. I have never known a child to wake up in the dark, and assume it is morning. I hear it takes like 21 days for something to become a habit... we are well past that, and this waking-up-in-the-dark thing... no. It's still not a habit. I still don't like it, but I have decided that this is just who they are. I hesitate to even say it... Morning People. *shudder*

Language: It took our littles a while longer to learn English than most other single-child adoptions that I have followed. Probably because they could speak Wolaytinga to one another and had no real need to speak much English... at first anyway. Somewhere around the 4th month I realized that I was hearing more English than anything else. Around 5 months, I realized they were playing games together and speaking only English. This month, I was quizzing them on some Amharic and Wolaytinga words we learned during our transition... and they mostly didn't remember them. I am SO incredibly saddened by this! I thought it would last longer! I thought I would get a few more months of some cute little foreign-sounding words in our house! Our last hold out is that they still sing all the songs they learned in Ethiopia! I love, love, love hearing them sing in Wolaytinga! It makes my heart smile!

Hair/Skin: I gotta tell ya. If you were reading my blog before we traveled, you know I was NERVOUS about doing hair, keeping skin hydrated, and feeling very inadequate in my abilities to even de-tangle the first kids' hair... much less how to handle the mystery of my African babies' hair!! Well, I think I am doing a good job! Yes, we have bad hair days.. mostly when I have waited a day or two too long to re-style. Yes, we still have dry skin days... but in my defense, no one wants to stand still for much oiling down when its so stinking COLD in the house! The skin/hair butter I make keeps them hydrated for 24+ hours at a time, but ... sometimes I don't do it even that often. I'm a mom of 7, what can I say! I forget stuff! Overall though, I think I am doing good!

Medicals: Giardia and ringworm are (hopefully) history. We have to turn in some more "samples" to test and see how we are doing on the parasites... but I am SO hoping we are done with scooping poo into tiny vials.
Everyone has gained weight and grown a little in the 6 months... I don't have the specifics in front of me, but I know #6 has gained the most weight out of all three. She's our "healthy" girl for sure!

Other: Well, we did the bone age scans on all three to verify birth dates. Since there is no documentation to speak of in the area our children were born, their birthdays are estimates. Since we got home, we have had some questions as to whether their dates were accurate. Results were basically that #5 is right on - almost perfect birthday/bone age match. #6 was off by a few months, which puts her right around 9-10 months younger than her bigger sister. The biggest difference was our baby boy. We knew right away when we got to Ethiopia that there was NO way this child was turning 3 in a month. The more time we had together, the more toddlers I am around... the more we became convinced there was NO way this child was three years old. Turns out, we were right. His bone scan puts him at just turning TWO in October -  not three in August. That's a big difference! So, yes... we are going to legally change his birthday. We still have to pick a date in early October/late September.

What's next??
Well... we have to re-adopt in our state... then the adoption part of our journey is done!
I gotta say, a couple of years ago I never would have imagined that we would be sitting here today - finishing up our last post-placement visit, feeling so "normal"!

Of course we have our days... of course we have our bad moments...
but, I love my sweet family and I am so happy that God allows me to be
Mommy/Mom/Momma to all seven of them!

(and along with forgetting to oil up the babies frequently, I still don't have a new family photo to share!! I was hoping to stick it right here... so just use your imaginations and I will try to get one soon!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hair/Body Oil

At the risk of utter failure and humiliation...
I am going to go ahead and announce that I am going to begin selling my hair butter/body butter
to the public.
Now that it's out there...
I just have to DO it, right?

Using it on the three littles hair and bodies, one pint lasts me about 6 weeks.
If you are just doing one child, I would imagine it would last quite a bit longer.

I could use some input.

The little girls think it smells like cake...(I think it smells like heaven!)
and I just can't come up with anything creative to call it!!

Thought about Le' Cake... the little girls initials, and the "cake"...
but that's taken by like 15 different bakeries all over the country.

Any ideas??

Also... what would you pay for hair and body oil, all organic ingredients, nothing unnatural inside?
What options would you like to have when ordering?
Any opinions welcome!

*** EDITED TO SAY... YES, it's totally for boys too!! Baby boy loves it!****