Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movie Night

We have family movie night fairly often, at least a couple times a month.

My kids think the most important rule for family night is to bring every blanket and pillow there is in the whole house into the living room. Even the ones on beds. Silly girls! ;)

Of course popcorn is a tradition, and I often add some surprise down in their bowl... like a piece of chocolate or one or two candies. They've come to expect it, but it's still a fun part of movie night.

On this particular night, I desperately needed a grocery run but just didn't want to get out into the cold to go... so supper became whatever I could find for their little movie bowl. Sounds pitiful, really, but it was hilariously funny to TJ and I that the girls thought this was the best supper ever. They giggled with glee, and chatted to each other about what was in their bowl.

I kid not, I had 1 turkey frank, 2 cheese sticks, 1 box of raisins, a handful of froot loops, and popcorn. I sliced the turkey frank and cheese sticks as thinly as I could and divided them among the 6 bowls. Same with the other goodies, and ta-da... supper. And the kids were happy as ever. Why have I wasted all this time cooking?

This time we watched, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". It was good, I think. I spent most of the time noticing my mouth watering and really wanted to eat everything that was falling from the sky. The cheeseburgers looked good. Then when breakfast with eggs and bacon and pancakes came raining down... that looked REAL good. ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Will Love Him Again

When he's done with this project. You'd think I'd have some compassion and understanding for the man who is working so hard to make a place where we can all sit as a family and eat supper. You see, we don't all currently fit. Yes, he is working very hard.

But that doesn't stop crazy-too-much-estrogen woman from being frustrated. There's a big gaping hole in my wall, folks.

And it's cold. And there is sawing and banging that interrupts babies napping and our school schedule. The table isn't accessible and so kids are spilling and making huge messes with meals. Not to mention the saw dust and nails and tools that are strewn all over whole house. Let's not forget my Blessing has some sensory issues and the noise is about to send her into orbit. The baby doesn't care for it much, either. She's funny about it, though. She goes to investigate when it gets a little quiet, but then hubby will bang a nail or crank up the saw again and she comes running as fast as her little legs will carry her into my lap.

Here' s the before picture. Kind of. He'd already taken down some molding and the furniture is moved out (into our living space and right smack in the way), but you get the general idea of what it used to look like.

And now for the swing (Yes, I'm swinging with the best of them these days)... I'm so excited about this little nook! He's putting in a bench around the bay window, and building a table that will better fit that area as well as our family. Yay! Stay tuned for after photos. Hopefully they will come very, VERY soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've read all the books people. I know eating is a control battle that isn't worth fighting. I've even given advice to other moms about how to get their kids to eat food. Heck, I myself lived on cereal and chicken strips for years on end. BUT THIS KID IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!!!!

I know, they'll eat if they're hungry enough. I think I know it. That's what everybody says. But I'm telling you she just might shrivel up and die rather than eat ANYTHING other than peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

I know some of you RADical moms have RADishes and are dealing with it, too. But just for the record, this is not my RADilicious baby. Actually 2 of my born-of-the-heart babies are fantastic eaters. Hoarders and gorgers, in fact. I'm beginning to think that's better than this other yahoo that's gonna literally blow away with the next strong wind.

I can see the advice coming already. Really, I love ya for it, but spare me. I've tried it. I've not said anything. I've offered a wide variety. I've not fixed anything different for her and took the "eat it or don't, either way I don't care" attitude. I've let her not eat at all and ignored her bedtime pleas for a peanut butter and honey sandwich. I've not let it become a control battle between us even tho on the inside I was screaming "EAT THE MEAL, WHINY PANTS! CHILDREN ARE DYING IN OTHER COUNTRIES!" I know she'll grow out of it. (maybe)

Breakfast foods she likes. I fix peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch every. single. day. But she got to the point that she literally would not eat ANYTHING I fixed for supper. Tired of watching her waste away and go to bed hungry- & crying I might add- and frustrated beyond belief, I decided to take action. Go ahead, let me have it.

I told her if she didn't eat what was on her plate (it was more than reasonable), that same plate would be served to her at every meal until it was gone. Sure enough, 30 minutes after everyone else had left the table she was still whining in her seat. Real tears. Well, real in the sense that they were wet. How do kids do that? So I kissed her on the head, told her thank you for letting me know she just wasn't hungry enough, and that I would make sure she had that plate with all that yummy food for breakfast.

I really expected to serve it to her for 2 or 3 meals before she caved. But do you know that child ate it with a smile the very next morning? (the difference in RAD and just sheer stubborness) Even while everyone else was chomping down on pancakes?

I know I'll have to do that a few more time before it's all over, but I'm happy for the moment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Ketchup

One Saturday during the summer the kids were invited to an afternoon birthday party where there were going to be a couple of big blow-up type water slides. Faith had a swim meet that day, too, but typically they are over by 2 or so, so we didn't think making both events would be a problem. So we loaded everyone up and went to the meet to cheer on biggest sister.

Only the cheering didn't last long. It was hot. HOT. Do you hear me? Middle of summer Arkansas, melt your eye lashes, can't breathe the air is so heavy kind of hot. Cheering quickly became whining. and grumbling. and sweating to death. Let's remember they are watching other people swim, while they can't get in the pool, and don't understand why. Miserable, I tell you. And so we began to bribe. I know, stellar parenting. We told them about the party. About the water slides. About how much fun it would be.

Except we missed the party. Yep, the meet ran too late. I felt so sorry for them.

Sorry enough to use the plastic from hell. The little rectangular one. You know, the credit card. Shhhh... we're on the beat-debt-build-wealth plan. Don't tell David Ramsey.

Waiting for it to be ready is SO hard!

Grace (Love that face):

Where Mercy went after the first splash in the eyes:

Even Dad was HHHHHOT:

So fun for everyone:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Catch-Up Blogging

I have quite the swimmer.

It was actually 2 summers ago that I jumped in with her for a race. Keep in mind I'm ?-years her senior. And she was only 10 at the time. I expected to easily beat her. Or you know, being the good mother that I am, at least to take it easy and make it look like it was really close for her confidence boost. Um, no... she left me in the dust. So the second go 'round I gave it my all from start to finish. She still beat me by a body length. Not to mention while she was begging for others to challenge her, I thought I was going to pass right out. I couldn't breathe for an hour. Couldn't see without spots for 2.

Almost every weekday morning this past summer (and the summer before), she's practiced with a swim team from 7 to 9. She's such a hard worker, and thrives on the competition. Most of the kids (shameless bragging about to occur) would complain or whine about the tough workout, or at the very least not swim their best; my Faith, however, swims her hardest the entire time. From start to finish she's concentrating, working hard, giving it her all. I'm so proud of her!

For most of her swim meets this summer her dad and I took turns attending with her. We did brave one meet with the whole family (another post for another day - tomorrow, maybe) cheering her on, but most of the time her dad or I took her.

I think Faith might enjoy writing on herself as much as swimming. If you're new to swim meets, this is how the kids keep up with which events they are swimming, which heat, which lane, and which stroke for each event. They also would draw all over themselves, much like a pep rally or crazy football fans do... she would typically put a Warren Waves (her team) on one shoulder, and "Eat my Bubbles" on the other.

She's already looking forward to being a part of swim team this summer, too. Already asking when it will start.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Have Mercy

Mercy is growing and her little personality is blooming... she's such a joy. Her favorite toys are clothes hampers and toothbrushes. Before you draw any conclusions, she has plenty of toys. She has baby dolls, lots of pull or push toys that make noise, light up, etc., etc. And she does play with those, too, just not nearly as much as clothes hampers and toothbrushes. Silly girl.

She'll get a hamper, push it around awhile. Load it with her blankie, paci, a book or two, then climb in. If she's lucky a bigger kid will give her a ride. They push her up and down the kitchen and living room... across the hard wood floor as if the hamper is a car or wagon. She'll often lay all the way down if it's one of the longer, rectangular hampers, and the kids act like she's in an ambulance. But if no one will indulge her in a ride, she'll just climb in and out, pack it down, dump it, pack it again, and push it around herself. Lately she's been using them as stools, too. She flips them over so that she can reach things I've purposely put OUT of her reach - the little monkey.

As for toothbrushes... I still don't get it. She just loves them. Maybe with an 8 member family she's witness to lots of brushing of teeth. And wants to join in? Like most babies with cell phones or remotes? Who knows.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

She's Sick

Mercy is out for the count, after being up all night with fever and vomiting. Poor Baby. Last time she did this, she got so dehydrated her heart rate skyrocketed and she became purply colored and ended up in the hospital for 5 days. So I'm not as laid back about her illness as I typically am with the others. I enjoyed cuddling with her while she clutched her blanket and cup and finally drifted off to sleep after a long night. Wanting to keep her in sight... I just left her there in the recliner for her nap.

We've had a nice morning, though... pancake breakfast with the kids on a sunny Sunday morning. Everyone is laying around, still in pj's, piles of blankets and pillows everywhere - enjoying a lazy day.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Once upon a time there was a beautiful, young, amazing mother who ever-so-sweetly told 3 of her little darlings that they could, indeed play outside... just please don't get in the mud.

And so, her 3 precious little ones hurriedly put on their rain boots and scurried outside to enjoy the sun. Of course, you know that these children ALWAYS obey. Like the good little children they are. The end. Or not.

Do you see the discarded boots in the background? Children make no sense.

While the sun was warm all was wonderful. They thought not listening was grand fun. And then, as the sun began to slip away, it was no longer warming their little bodies. Cold, and wet, they decided they wanted to come inside. Which, of course, they couldn't do until they were hosed down.

This last picture cracks me up. It's so telling. Grace and Charity are both realizing maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all. They also look a little confused, like is mom mad? am I in trouble? usually trouble and getting my picture made doesn't go together? Yet Blessing is just as happy as ever. Still oblivious to the fact that disobedience has consequences. Cold, miserable consequences.

Don't feel sorry for them. After the hosing (from which the screaming should have elicited a visit from DHS, or a concerned neighbor) they got a warm shower, footie fleece pj's, a hot bowl of taco soup, and hot chocolate. I want their life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lookin' Like a Fool

... with yo pants on tha ground!"

Yep, estrogen overload

What he said: "If you want to go, then go. Obviously I always want you with me. But I know you're here all day everyday without much chance to get out, and I want you to go if it's what you want."

What I heard/felt: "If you go, it means you don't want to be with me the way I want to be with you (and you should feel really crappy and guilty about that)."

Sheesh. Poor guy. He has to live with me. What am I saying? I have to live with myself. And I HAVE to hear all my thoughts. Any of you other ladies this crazy?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh, What I Would Give

Today is a BEAUTIFUL day, and so we loaded the wagon with water, skates, tissues (one very sniffly sickly daughter who still wanted to go), and Mercy. All 5 bigger girls climbed on their bikes and we walked/rode a couple of blocks down from our home to our church, which just so happens to have a huge empty parking lot with some sidewalks that serve as perfect ramping spots. The church also has a great jungle gym, and we spent the morning riding, playing, and chasing Mercy.

Mercy is the perfect age for the slide. Her little face said it all, such self-satisfaction with the ability to climb the ramp, go to the slide, sit, and come down all on her own. Such glee from the slippery slide... she'd zoom down and her laughter made my heart swell till I thought it would burst. I would love to take pictures, and share with you, but I can't find my camera. Wasn't too worried the first day or two, but by now I'm thinking it may be really gone. I'm so sad.

After some much needed vitamin D, my husband treated us to the ever-so-rare lunch out as a family. We enjoyed our lunch (and I enjoyed not having to fix or clean), and we headed back home. Oh what I would give to be able to accurately explain the chaos that ensued in the van. To have a way for you to actually hear what we were hearing.

As is very typical of our middlest girls, all 3 were humming and/or singing. Nothing obnoxious, just singing to themselves. Someone who shall remain nameless. or not. It was Hope. Was rather frumpily huffing over the noise. "Make them stop, Puh-leeese." Which I thought was rather intolerant of her. And so I made a great suggestion. Let's all sing different songs at the same time. On your mark. Get set. GO!!!!

Oh, my.

Could you hear us, Canada?

Ms. Grump covered her ears, but everyone else was participating. Even Mercy, tho with a rather confused look, was adding her voice to the mix. I got so tickled I peed in my pants. Yeah, about that... everyone who's had babies? or do I need to see a doctor?

Anyway, amid all my laughing, and the loud noise, my husband literally yells, "STOP!". The scary kind of yell. The kind that produces immediate silence. The kind that made me look for the person we just hit or were about to hit, because it had to be that bad.

Then, my crazy man comes in with the next line, "collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention..." and proceeds to rap. Um, ahem... He's white. and NOT that good. But it was HILARIOUS! All the kids busted out in ridiculous fashion. Like seriously, I'm wondering how they even know the song. How do they know how to do that sort of cheering and, "Hey, Ho, go dad" kind of thing. CRAZY!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


That's what Blessing and Grace call "therapy".

Between 4 hours in the car (2 hours one way -so worth it), double sessions, and lunch, therapy with Charity is an all day event. That's perfect, actually, because it gives us a day to ourselves. No sharing with 5 other girls. Total attention on her. And total enjoyment, too. She's more relaxed without being so worried a sibling might be getting more than she, or trying to control them, and therefore I, too, can quit trying to outwit her every second and just enjoy the beautiful child she is. We eat out... typically at our favorite, Pei Wei.... when weather permits we visit the park to chase the ducks and run off steam between sessions. We sing a thousand songs at the top of our lungs on the way there and back. Great, great days.

When I was a kid (ok, maybe as an adult, too), if someone mentioned to me they saw a therapist, I would've thought they were a few nuts shy of a cluster. Oh, I would respond with an ever-so-polite smile, appropriately, etc., but my head would be screaming, "NUTCASE!!". Yeah, I was stupid. But it's true.

All that to say I always had this sort of negative feeling or perspective about therapy. I've even been sort of guarded about sharing (you know, the whole cyber world doesn't count) with others the fact that we attend. So a few weeks ago when our therapist suggested we begin incorporating other siblings I was curious to how they would respond to needing to go to therapy, fully expecting to have lots of discussions and mold their attitude about it.

No. Turns out from their point of view, "fairapy" might as well be Disneyland. I mean really. You should of heard all the squealing and arguing over who gets to go first and excited chatter. Who knew?

So all but Mercy have had turns sharing our day with us, and all just LOVE fairapy. Like Grace has a meltdown every week cause it really isn't fair that Charity gets to go to fairapy and she doesn't. Poor baby. Sorry, kid, develop RAD or PTSD or something, then you can go. The child is seriously praying to be given RAD or something that needs help processing through so she can go to fairapy. **smirk, snort**

Don't you know some of our grown-up request sound about as ridiculous to God? Aren't you so glad He doesn't always give us what we ask for? Cause we totally don't get it, and He totally does. Ah, God is good.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not Me Monday

I am not posting a "Not Me Monday" on Friday. Just because I want to. Because I totally do not have writer's block at the moment.

I am not that hard pressed for something to post. I have 6 girls for crying out loud. And a crazy husband. Can't somebody provide me some material?

I did not buy a route 44 cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper. Because you know, I seriously have $3 to blow on a drink. And I seriously do not have heart palpitations or trouble sleeping after that much caffeine and sugar - even if said drink was consumed at 6:30 a.m.

I absolutely did not only have about 3 sips and then let that wonderfully evil thing go to waste. Gah! Kids are starving in other countries.

The cup did not stay in the cup holder in the van,... for, like a week or more (still full, liquid sloshing every big bump). You know, until it had mold in there.

Then, my Faith-ie pooh did not take a big fat gulp of it on day 8 or 9 or 15.

She also did not then roll down the window, and totally spew right out the side of the moving van. (Sorry to the folks in the green bug behind us)

And I absolutely DID NOT laugh my head off. Because, you know I'm a better mother than that. How inconsiderate could I be? NOT ME!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adoption Day 2

The very day after Charity's finalization 5 hours from our home, our family was due in court at a local courthouse for Mercy's finalization. There is no possible way typed words can get across the timing and miracle of it all. As deeply as I desired for Mercy's finalization, I prayed that hers would not be before Charity's. Charity had just waited so long. It needed to be her time. And she did not need to watch her family make another member permanent while she still teetered on that balance beam of "do I belong, too?" Can you imagine trying to celebrate Mercy's adoption with all the flare it deserves while another child STILL waits? We knew about Mercy's finalization weeks BEFORE Charity's. And my heart broke for her.

And then, with the snap of a finger (more like a breath from heaven), both dates were set, with Charity's FIRST. Wow. God just blows me away sometimes. Even with all the answering He's done over the years, I'm amazed again at His power, His faithfulness, and His willingness to give a desire, not a necessity, to me. to us. to Charity. Oh, how I love Him. And don't forget that this was just in time for Christmas. How much better does it get?

My husband and I diligently searched.. er, ahem, actually it was a little more like arguing and disagreeing.... for this little one a name. With our other born of the heart babies, we purposely kept at least part (almost all in Blessing's case) of their birth name. For Mercy, I suppose largely because we've had her since the day she came home from the hospital, I wanted the privilege of choosing her entire name. That shift in opinions about birth names also occurred after having a conversation with a very dear friend, now grown with children of her own, who was adopted. So, my hubby and I decided to part with her birth name and give her a complete new name. But then came the challenge of the name. Remember we already have 5 girls with names that start with "k". Most names I liked didn't start with "k", and my husband wasn't really going for it. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY liked Eden, to which he gave a big fat "no", tho I begged and whined over and over again. We finally agreed on Kole, but with such a masculine/non-traditional name I felt the other name should be very traditional, classy, and feminine. He threw out Olivia. Hannah. Elizabeth. Sarah. and Lydia. Arg. If the first name can't be one of those, Kole is out, too.

Then, the afore mentioned friend who sheds light on adoption for me from her point of view, came to visit with her kids. She made a suggestion. Hmmm.... sure enough, it fit. It fit well. It was one of those moments when my hubby and I looked at each other.... and ACTUALLY agreed. ;) And there was a dash to the computer to find out the meaning/origin. Some sites attribute it's origin to tropical or Hawaiian. But of course when I tell the story I choose to go with the sites who attribute it's origin to African. That pulls her heritage in, it's a "k" name, and it's beautiful. AND it actually means "from a beautiful place". Well, you can't get any more perfect than that. A gift right from God's own heart is certainly a beautiful place.

Here we are on the 2nd day, with Mercy's judge and adoption specialist:

And then we went bowling with friends and family and had great, greasy bowling alley food (it was GOOD), and a celebration cake, and laughed at crazy kids, adults trying to bowl, and my wonderfully hilarious grandmother (73 - who spent last week snow skiing i might add) who just could not accept a low score. A GREAT day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adoption Day

Our family with the judge:

The name:

The first name (pronounced uh-LEE-ah)is Hebrew for ascend or exalted, and we pray that is exactly what will happen: her little life will become God's shining glory, a story of his healing and love, a story that exalts Him, and lifts her. Her middle name is a piece of her birth name (the birth name had -lyn tacked on the end of it), and it's what she's been called since birth even though her given name was a little longer. That fits perfectly because all of my girls' names start with "k". Plus I do like to keep a part of what their birth moms have given them. I typically call her the double name, and Grace has followed suit. Most everyone else just sticks with the middle name. And that's perfect. If asked, Charity actually says she prefers a pet name, (ka - ty - bug). I think that's because no one has ever used it negatively. Smart girl!

I have so much to catch you up on with Charity. She has been officially diagnosed with RAD, now, and we are SO thankful to have a therapist who actually gives a flip, (yes we've had one that didn't), and who seems to know just how Charity's brain works. She doesn't let Charity get away with any of her manipulation games or lying or "forgetting" her manners or whining. She has high expectations and holds Charity to them. All the while genuinely loving her, caring for her, and helping me to do the same. Oh, I always loved, but with a RADish, love just isn't enough. Typical parenting doesn't work. And I'm so thankful we finally have a therapist who is working with our family! What a huge difference from this day when I totally took a nose dive and was about ready to give up.

On with the adoption day! Charity had said in therapy that she did not want to change her name. And her therapist and I both inferred that she actually just didn't want to be adopted. Armed with ideas from her therapist, Charity and I talked diligently, worked on her life book, helped her understand the process and what adoption really means, and worked at getting to the root of the problem. I gave her some options, like not changing anything but her last name. Nope. The last name was what she wanted to keep. Non-negotiable in my book. Finally one night as I was going over all that would happen at court, explaining to her what the judge would say and grant us a family, she said, "What if he says no?"

Can you hear her fear? That baby is no stranger to court. She knows what happens there. People leave. New people take you away. The judge just might say "no." So I bawled. Blown away by her fear and that she would share it with me. Oh, my sweet baby girl.

Charity's adoption happened in a little court house nearly 5 hours from our home, and since we had to be there at 9 a.m. we set out the day before and stayed in a hotel where the girls could swim. We spent the evening before swimming, celebrating, and loving our time together. At court Charity did not become obnoxious or over-the-top giggly or any of the things we typically see when she's nervous. She clung to her daddy who had told her so gently that he would not let anyone take her away, and that he would be right there with her the whole time (you know, when I couldn't stop crying and get it together to say anything in response to her fear). She did fabulous. Now Christmas is another story, but I was happy to watch her conquer a trip, and fear like that! Ah. mazing. We are so blessed to get to be her family and a part of her life!

Swim time:

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Work in Progress

As is my whole life. About a week ago I sat down and read over some of my old posts. And though I don't exactly have the itch to start back up again, I realized how I much of our lives I now don't have journaled! I loved reading back over and remembering things I would have completely forgotten had I not blogged about them... so... here we go, again.

So the most hilarious thing about the blog change is that that sweet baby girl in the header pictures is totally not mine. My computer incompetency has once again reared her ugly head, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to change those photos. But I'm working on it!

Meanwhile I have LOTS of catching up to do. So much has happened since my last post, much of it I hope to go back and post about, so one day my family and I can remember all that we were feeling and thinking and doing. For now, I'll just give you the quick version: We got a family for Christmas! We finalized Charity's adoption (I'll share her real new name, it's meaning, etc., later) on Dec 16th, and the very next day in a different county finalized Mercy's adoption (dido on the name, meaning, full story). Now everyone has the same last name, and these are officially sisters: