Friday, December 9, 2011

You Miss Me, Right?

The cat's favorite place to sleep. 
 I have to hold Lily's head still in order to get a good pictures. Homegirl is squirrely.

 This is about as much snow as we ever get here.
 Ella is busy catching up in geometry. While her sisters are on a school break, she's doing lots of geometry and grammar.
 I wish I could relax like a cat does.
 Anna would like to show you her teeth.
 And her dinner.
 My favorite ornaments. My aunt made these for us our second Christmas together.
 This is how Ella spends nearly every meal: reading and eating. I totally understand.
 Rachel is my Master Shifu.
 Isaac. He's so cute.
 My Christmas tree is oddly adorned. This is what happens when you have toddlers and a dog and a cat.
 My little Tiger Lily. Ahhh. She's a good snuggler.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RIP Rosalina

 Ella and Sarah's little robo dwarf hamster, Rosalina, died this morning. Poor Ella was hysterical. Now she's buried in my flower bed. We are going to plant a rose there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Adoption?

It has been so long since I wrote anything about our adoption, some of you may have completely forgotten it was happening! Well, other than that adoption ticker that has been on my side blog for years... If you haven't read the posts from three years ago about the first parts of our adoption, you can read the highlights here, here, here, here, here, and here.  If you are suffering from insomnia, you can do a search in our blog for "adoption" and get every last post.  For a while, it was really all I wrote about...

Anyway, we are still in "the wait." A few things have happened that have caused us to start moving forward again.  We are watching the current wait lengthen, and lengthen, and lengthen some more.  The families who are getting their babies right now have been waiting for over five years at this point, and it is still getting longer. We have already been waiting three years, and from how things are going, the best prediction is that we would have to wait another three to five years!  We do not really want two separate families with one group of older children and one of younger children, so this wait is quite unappealing.  We also have slowly come to realize that we are indeed open to a child from the waiting list.  When we first started this adoption, we applied under the most limited guidelines we could - to get a healthy baby girl, under the age of one. As we have learned to live with the allergy fiasco in our lives, we have realized that all children have special needs and feel convicted that excluding a child simply because she has some medical need is not okay for us.  Almost a year ago, we began to pray about switching our application to accept a "waiting child" rather than accept only a "traditional" placement.  It is only very recently that Jerry and I are on the exact same page with what we are comfortable with, but when that happened, we started the process of moving forward.  Because all of our paperwork from 2008 is out of date, we have to redo most of what we have already done.  The first thing we did was start taking the eleven "parent training" classes that are required for the adoption.  They are not really about parenting generally, but more about parenting in adoption situations and learning about adoption, needs of adopted children, and China specifically.  We have now done three of the eleven classes, and they have brought about great discussions for us!  I also called our wonderful adoption agency and told them we were ready to renew our paperwork.  They are contacting our social worker to get the ball rolling on a new home study, which is the first thing that must be done with that.  We also need to submit a "Medical Checklist" to our agency, detailing what special needs we are willing to consider.  This is very difficult for us.  It feels completely wrong to check a box that says, "Yes, we will accept this." and "No, we will not accept this." It feels like we are playing God! We have talked with our pediatrician about getting together to go over the medical terms on this sheet to know what each condition means for our daughter's long term health, and really need to set a firm time to do this.  Once they have this checklist at our agency, they start looking for potential matches for us.  By switching to the "Waiting Child" program, our wait will now be 6-18 months rather than just as many years (or so it seems...). 

Please pray for us as we enter this new phase of the adoption.  Please pray that we will know when we see a specific child on the list if she is the right one for our family.  Please also pray that if God would want us to adopt two children (as is our desire) that he will work out the details for that.  It is possible for us to bring home two girls instead of one, but there are many things that would have to line up just so for that to happen.  However, if there is one thing I have learned absoultely for certain through this whole process, it is that God is more than able to line up every detail to accomplish what he wills - even the details that in no way should come together!  I am trusting that this is also in his very capable hands.

Because all posts are better with pictures, I'll include some! :) The first is from our original adoption application sent to China, then one more recent to show a comparison!
June 2008 - Andrew is in my tummy, and Ethan is the same age in this picture that Andrew is now!

Aaron and Ethan showing off the banana bread they helped me make last week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Frog Is Not Cuter Than the Children

 Ella likes to climb trees. I finally got a picture of her not looking goofy.
 I caught a tree frog in my parents' home last night. Then I took this picture. Isn't he cute?
Look! Someone else was behind the camera lens.

Monday, October 31, 2011


 I hosted my former blogging friend and now real-life friend Terry and her 5 (fabulous) daughters for tea on Friday. Everyone needs to make these Killer Brownies.
 Look at my turtles! Marie got them for me when she went to Hawaii. They sell them at Wal-Mart there. Wow!
Here's my poor cat. We took him in to get neutered and found out she needed to be spayed instead. So we changed her names from Hobbes to Mittens. That Cone of Shame did not work for her at all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds

I know that when most people carve a pumpkin, they want to get rid of the messy, seed-filled pulp found inside as quickly as possible.  They are really missing out on a tasty snack, though!  I have always roasted my pumpkin seeds by tossing them in olive oil and salt, but I have found a much, much better recipe! This time I used butter and added cinnamon - and the result was the Best. Pumpkin. Seeds. Ever.  You really must go out and buy a pumpkin, carve it up, and roast the seeds now. You won't be sorry.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 c. cleaned pumpkin seeds
2 TB butter, melted
pinch salt
dash cinnamon

Toss the seeds in the remaining ingredients and spread them on a baking sheet.  Place in a 300 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, until golden brown. YUM. These are especially tasty right out of the oven!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


In honor of the fact that the high temperature for today is 57, I thought I'd share the many things I love about Autumn:

Fall decorations popping up around the house...

Rosy cheeks and warm, comfy clothes...

All things pumpkin! These were turned into puree and roasted pumpkin seeds...

Evidence that the house feels chilly from open windows...

Roast turkey with gravy and the three gallons of turkey stock I made with the bones...

Really, what's not to like?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Women's Work

I bet some of you just cringed when you saw the title of this post! Truth be told, I grew up in a home where the division of labor fit right in with "traditional roles." Because of this, I learned to cook, clean, and babysit, and my brother learned to fix things, mow the lawn, and set up a business.  I don't ever remember my brother cooking something in the kitchen, and to this day I have never started a lawn mower.  The cooking and cleaning were never referred to as "women's work" in my house - in fact, my father is just as good a cook as my mother! Regardless, the words weren't needed to express the general idea.  I don't disagree with that idea completely, either.  I have grown to love domestic duties, and am happy to leave the fixing and outdoor work to my husband.  He equally loves the outdoor "man's work" and is happy to leave the cooking and cleaning to me.  Even so, I really want my boys to be comfortable in a kitchen and taking care of domestic duties.  It is my belief that early marriage is beneficial, and hope my children will seek God for a quality spouse sooner than later in their adult lives.  But the reality is that people are waiting longer and longer in our culture to marry, and my children will no doubt be influenced by our culture.  I want them to be able to take care of themselves if they should find themselves living on their own.  Even if they do marry young, I would love for their wives to be surprised by a meal cooked by their husbands that isn't a chore to choke down.  To that end, we have started cooking lessons.  My boys love watching me in the kitchen and are quite excited to be learning a few skills.

Today we made banana bread! Aaron, my pickiest eater by far, wasn't super thrilled with the end result, but he was nearly giddy to be able to make it!  I am still holding out hope that he will outgrow his picky eating...
The bread is made with whole wheat flour and sweetened with honey, so our baking lesson also included health lessons about fiber, whole grains, processed vs. unprocessed food, and God made vs. man made sweeteners.  I am so proud of my boys for all they are learning!

Banana Bread
1. Place butter in large mixing bowl.  With a wire whist blend in remaining liquid ingredients one at a time:

1/4 c soft butter
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
3 medium bananas, very ripe
3/4 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

2. Place flour and nuts in medium mixing bowl.  Thoroughly blend in remaining ingredients with a mixing spoon:

3 c whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c chopped walnuts, optional (we used them)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp salt

3. Blend dry ingredients into liquid ingredients until just mixed.

4. Scrape batter into greased loaf pan and set pan in center of a 325 degree oven.

5. Bake for 70 minutes, and cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a clean surface to cool.

The Others

 Dog (AKA Ready)
Cat (AKA Hobbes)

Seriously Troublesome
Exuberantly Happy
Tiresomely Naughty
Daringly Cute

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ripe Lemons

 Aren't they pretty?!

 What should I make? It has to be something good.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Why Why

This is the way my day started out. Don't let the calm, neat, orderly and idyllic scene fool you.

This is where the day has gone. And that was after the cat stepped in his poop and tracked it all over the house and the massive clean-up that ensued from that.

My Definition of Clean clearly not the same as theirs.

Over the weekend, we gave the boys the task of cleaning their room.  When they went to bed last night, it actually looked pretty good.  I could see that there were still quite a few things on their dresser and desk that could be put away, but overall, it looked like they did a decent job.  But something in me just knew I needed to take a closer look.  This is what I found:

I decided to look under the bed, behind the door, and under the dresser and nightstand.  I used my kitchen broom to sweep everything I found into the center of their room.

I think there's a bit more work for them to do! Or, as my husband would say, "There's still some chicken on the bone."

The boys haven't seen this pile yet, but you'll kow when they do.  The wailing it is likely to cause will be loud enough to be heard around the world.

You know, this reminds me of something my mother used to do to me when I was a girl...oh, shoot.  I'm becoming my mother.  Bwahahahahaha!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Six Stitches

After his unfortunate run-in with a bowling ball...

Ethan is now the proud owner of six stitches.

He's not too much worse for the wear!

Details to follow tomorrow - right now I've got to head to work and then my church small group!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Two Rings

Here is the ring that broke on Del's car that caused it to have to be towed home. We had to buy a new cable for it because they don't sell just the ring. Dad and Del fixed his car in about 3 hours. It broke on Sunday and they fixed it on Monday.
 This is the same ring that broke in my van on Thursday...with me and all six of my kids in the Pediatrician's office. Lovely. You can see the tiny ring fits inside my wedding ring; it's a size 5. Such a little thing and it brought down both our vehicles in four days. Del and Dad make a good team; they fixed my van at the pediatrician's office in about 40 minutes.
Here's my ring on my hand for some perspective.