Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snapshot: Spelling

Curly's spelling has a Mario flavor today.  (I did not interfere or help at all with these.  They were completely her idea.  I only snapped a picture.) I had no idea she could spell "reactor"!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Lately, Little Mister has been full of plans and ideas of his own.

"Daddy, how about we bake cookies, and while they're cooking, we go downstairs and play Super Mario Galaxy?"

If you know my Hubby at all, combining cookies and Super Mario Galaxy makes about the best night he can have with the kids.

Of course, he had to sneak in a little reading practice, making Curly read the whole recipe off the computer screen. She thought she was pretty hot stuff, and did not mind the spotlight one bit.

I'm not sure what the purpose of posing with the baking powder can was. I wasn't there.

Art photography? Checking the beater for... bugs? Kaleidoscope?

What were the rest of us doing? Well, the Bean was getting into something that wasn't his, as usual.

I was sewing two new Lowly Worm toys to replace the one from my own childhood that was falling apart.

Yes, we're finally all just about healthy again. The Bean still has some unidentified toxic goo emanating from his nose, and Mister and I have a bad cough. But overall, our schedule has picked back up, and we're all really glad to be better and enjoying the summer weather!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Something Tangible

Lately, I've been feeling discouraged about our adoption. I had hoped to be traveling by now; instead, we're still waiting to hear that her paperwork has been processed. I was chatting with a friend, who also happens to be an expectant adoptive mom, about how hard it was to wait. She asked me if I have put together my nursery and layette yet.

Part of me laughed. A nursery and layette for a three-year-old? But I realized she was right. Abi needs special things too: decorations and a blanket that is just for her.

My friend gave me a gentle scolding, and said that it would help me to bond also, to have something tangible to do while I wait.

So I went to Michael's and found some darling wooden letters and a little bee to adorn them. I had not planned to decorate in bees. As I looked at the little wooden bee, I realized, I have been calling her a little sing-song "Abi-bee" in my head for months. Of course bees!

I went next door to the fabric store with bees on the brain. All through the quilting section, and flannels, I looked with no success. There were ladybugs and butterflies, but no bees. The cheerful blonde employee noticed my nearsighted squinting at the rows of fabric and asked if she could help. Together, as we searched for bees, it came out that she is also and adoptive mom, and needed some encouragement about possibly adopting again. We shared stories, and at last found this darling fleece with bees on it.

Now, home again, I feel much less discouraged. I'm happily planning to sew bumblebees, and thinking about snuggling a sleepy little coconut-scented brown baby in the soft fleece, picturing her tiny fingers fidgeting with the fun border.

I'm so grateful for friends who understand, who come across my path and tell me that I need to decorate my baby's room. I'm grateful for strangers who are willing to share their stories and let me encourage them. Most of all, I'm grateful for bumblebee-printed fleece, and fun yellow edging!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cool Flower

I discovered this flower in my yard, amongst the climbing vines. It is so unique and pretty... I've never seen anything like it. But, I have no idea what it is.

It looks like five little calla lilies alternating with purple petals that stick out from between them.  The white parts have these long tails that hang down, but don't connect with the stem.  The flower is about the size of a half-dollar, and it is growing in this climbing vine that we have on the east side of our house.

Edited to Add: A friend on a forum identified it: Columbine! It's probably not growing on the vine, but is just growing next to it and got tangled together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Busytown Marathon

What do you do with three kids who all still have fevers?  Answer: A marathon of the new-to-us cartoon Busytown Mysteries.  (God bless the creators of Netflix Watch-it-now.)  The kids loved this show; even Bean would sit and watch parts of it.  I enjoyed it too, since I read plenty of Richard Scarry as a kid.  Curly had to go downstairs and find the dilapidated homemade "Lowly Worm" that lives in our stuffed animal bin.  Poor Lowly used to be carried around by the neck until his head nearly fell off when I was about three.

About halfway through the day, around episode ten or so, Curly discovered that she could correctly guess the plot of each episode.  For the rest of the day, she and Mister held earnest conclave about what they guessed to be the plot, and if they were right, they laughed like hyenas, congratulating one another and telling me in detail all about it, although I sat there through the whole thing watching it with them.

I'm glad to see a kids' cartoon that I actually enjoyed too, and it didn't have any hidden political agendas.  As a bonus, all of the cute cars around the town kept me and the kids playing a constant game of Where's Waldo as we looked for the carrot car, the doughnut car, etc.

I'm also pleased to discover that Lowly Worm is still my favorite character. He wears red Converse on his one foot.  You gotta admit, the guy's got class.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black Haircut




Edited to add: I had thought this post would be fairly self-explanatory, since Bean is black, but I got an anonymous comment on a post from two weeks ago asking if it was racist, which made me laugh. Apparently any time a white person mentions the word "black" we're being racist? Bwahahahaha!

Now, normally, I don't respond to anonymous comments, but this time, I decided to clarify, in case there are others out there who can't figure out how to put your comments on the right post. This was my first time doing a black-style haircut for my black son, and I was pleased with the result. It means no more or less than that. And, I may be biased, but I think he looks adorable. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Person...

Temp: 102.4
Energy Level: Limp Rag.

Temp: 101.7
Energy Level: Playing Unblock Me on iTouch

Temp: 98.6
Energy Level: Psionic Storm

Temp: 99-ish
Energy Level: Sheer Determination. Exercise makes you healthy again.

Temp: 96.7
Energy Level: Recovering, finally.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Different Father's Day Than Planned

Here's what we had planned:

Drive to Seattle last night, utilizing lots of car games and our portable DVD player. Once there, enjoy a nice hotel, dinner together and exploring downtown. Today, Saturday, the kids and I were going to the Pacific Science Center while Hubby enjoyed attending the Northwest Coffee Festival. We were going to meet friends for lunch, then maybe go to the Pike Street Market. Sunday, we wanted to visit some interesting church different from our own, and take our time on the six hour drive home.

Here's what we are doing:

Me: Laying in bed with a fever and the flu watching YouTube videos.
Hubby: Playing video games downstairs with the kids.
Little Mister: Coughing his head off but not acting sick.

Uhm, Happy Father's Day?

I think I'll take a raincheck on that. (Do they still do rainchecks any more or do I date myself?)

Over and out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Scenes From Kamiak

Sign that says Kamiak Butte County Park

Last evening, to enjoy to gorgeous June weather, Hubby and I took the kids out to Kamiak to hike the 1/2 mile trail, then to enjoy the playground for a bit. All of the kids had a ball running around in the woods, playing with sticks.

Although I have a bazillion pictures of Kamiak, I took the camera along because I knew the mellow, afternoon light would be perfect for shooting. I was right. I also played with the settings on the camera and the autofocus to attempt to capture kids in motion. I have not had a lot of success with this in the past, but I got a few good shots last night.

I like to capture candids and action, rather than having the kids pose, although Curly is always ready and willing for that! As a result, I have hundreds of photos on my hard drive of blurry little people running around. Thank goodness for digital photography!

Curly and Hubby also took a turn with the camera for a while, which means I got to be in a few shots, a rare occurrence. Curly loves photography, and I want to do more of it with her this year. I'd like to know more technical stuff to teach her, but maybe she can research techniques on her own as she gets older.

me, hubby and the boys climbing a wide trail

The boys sitting on a bench

the boys running up the trail ahead of us

Curly by a big rock

Hubby writing Mister's name in the dirt with a stick

Curly sitting on a fence looking out at the view

Hubby explaining tree rings to the kids

At the top

Curly in a tree

Hubby with the boys on a bench

view of our town from far away across the fields

This is our town, viewed from 20 miles or so across the wheat fields.

Little Mister going up a path

Bean on Daddy's shoulders

The boys playing with a tube slide

Little Mister going down a slide

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sort of News

Our email inbox has had steady news into it from our adoption agency.  Some is encouraging, some not so much.  To get the discouraging news out of the way first, we found out that we are delayed at least another two weeks while they make sure all of the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed for Abi's paperwork.  This puts us dangerously close to the deadline for the courts closing.  Intuition tells me that this is going to come right down to the wire.  I am not sure why God likes to do that... but He seems to.  Maybe it just appears to be that way to me who can't see His whole grand master plan.

Anyway, the good news was less personal to our case, but none the less encouraging.  Our agency had another case totally approved under the new, tighter regulations, and there was hardly a delay at all!  So we have hopes that our case will go as smoothly.

The other bit of encouragement was that our agency sent us the Travel Guidelines document!  I know its timing means nothing, but it's nonetheless true!  We are going, really and truly going.  I have a 24-page document (thank goodness for screen readers) sitting on my desktop, ready to tell me all about flying, and what shots I need, and how we'll work with a driver, and all sorts of stuff.  I feel like an absolutely clueless American, which shames me a bit, but I'm very, very excited to begin making plans.

We are so ready, not just to meet Abi, but to take in her country, her continent.  I want to see Africa, smell Africa, taste Africa.  I want to remember every second of her world, so that I will know her better.  I wonder what it will be like to meet her?  My meeting with Bean did not go at ALL like I imagined it would, so hers probably won't either, but I imagine a very emotional (on my part) and hesitant (on her part) interaction.  We'll see!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just Like The Big Kids

The bigger kids did a painting craft on Monday. I buy these little wooden crafts at Michael's for a dollar each, and the kids paint them in whatever creative mix of colors their hearts desire.

The Bean insisted that he be allowed to paint too.

Luckily, he is little enough that a tub of water was enough "painting" to satisfy him, and he soon had water all over the paper, the table, himself, and the floor.

Better water than paint.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lilac Vacation

We have a big lilac bush next to the driveway that's in full bloom right now. (It's late this year; usually it blooms in May.) I think if someone gave me a choice of vacation destinations, I'd go stand next to the lilac bush and just breathe in that heavenly smell for a week.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flashing Red, White and Blue Lights

Curly got a new pair of shoes at Ross this afternoon that flash when she walks.  Unfortunately, the colors bouncing off the walls remind me of something else.

It's much worse when she's in the back of the van.  At night.

Plan B

Curly suggested that we go to the swimming pool yesterday afternoon, the first warm day after weeks of rain. We dug our swimsuits out of the bottoms of our drawers, and raided the storage room downstairs for the swim toys.

We got to the pool and discovered a hose hooked to the nearby fire hydrant running into the pool as it filled. The bored young man behind the counter told me that the pool wouldn't be open until Thursday.

I had to return to my car and two woeful faces to tell them we would not be swimming after all. Secretly, I felt a little relieved, but after seeing their disappointment, I decided I needed to come up with something equally cool. I suggested a trip up to the woods instead.

They agreed enthusiastically, and we set off. Forty minutes later, we were up at McCrosky, our favorite place off the beaten track. We built a campfire with wood that the previous campers had abandoned, and roasted marshmallows and hot dogs. Curly took pictures. We all had a great time, which almost made up for the pool not being open.

Almost. Little Mister asked me approximately 47 times today which day the pool opened, as if maybe my answer would change if he asked hopefully enough. Personally, I preferred the woods, and I even got another article out of the experience, which will publish Tuesday. Flexibility is key.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I've expanded!

No, not my waistline, although that may be in danger after the amazing steak dinner Hubby whipped up last night.

I'm talking about writing. For those of you who follow my blog (hi Grandma!) I'm now also writing for a real, honest-to-goodness online magazine.

It's called Natural Family Today, and I loved it when I first read some of the great articles, written by real people who are interested in healthy living, like I am.

When I considered writing for them, my first thought was, I wonder if I'm granola enough? What if I slip up and mention that I eat Doritos* or something?

I had this imaginary conversation in my head one night between me and an actual serious Earthmuffin(TM) while I was waiting to fall asleep:

Earthmuffin: Prove that you're worthy to write articles about natural living.

Me: Uhm.... I recycle. We have curbside, and it's pretty easy.

Earthmuffin: Not only do I recycle and eat only organic produce, but I take 2-second showers, and use soap made from wildflowers. I grow all my own food.

Me: Well, errr, I walk a lot. That saves energy, right?

Earthmuffin: My carbon footprint is the size of a postage stamp. I live in a yurt made from my own hair.

Me: You win.

When I applied, though, Vanessa, the editor-in-chief was so welcoming and encouraging, she put me at ease. I'm the Frugal Living editor, which means I get to write about all of obsessive stuff I do making nifties out of old junk, a trait I inherited from Grandma Doris, who still uses old margarine tubs from 1978.

In my head, I'm composing articles about thrift stores and jeans quilts, and buying in bulk. My family wonders why I absentmindedly put pinto beans in the oatmeal.

Wish me luck as I embark on a new adventure in my writing career. I'm quite excited!

*Not the real name. Junk food name has been changed to protect the guilty (me).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Planets

This was totally self-initiated by Little Mister. He came upstairs with a backpack full of something, and, well, you'll have to watch the video to see what ensues. Classic Little Mister moment.

Quick Adoption Rules of Thumb

I have had several people ask me about adoption lately, or have said that they are thinking seriously about adopting. If this describes you or your family, I have to first say that I am thrilled! Adoption is amazing. Here are some things that I have learned along the way for you to think over, pray about, or chew on.

I wrote this on a Facebook group page earlier today, but also wanted to post it here and expand a little upon it.

Quick Adoption Rules of Thumb:

A. Put your marriage/current children's needs first. Be in absolute unity about what is right for your family. Follow God's leading.

I mean this with my whole heart. If your spouse is not on board, then this is NOT the right thing for your family. Period. If this is what God has for your family, He will put the way to go on the hearts of all of you. Listen to one another. Really, really listen. God gave you to one another as a safety net.

B. Best not to adopt out of birth order or older than your oldest current child. Especially if adopted child is SN or has behavior issues. Best not to artificially twin children.

There are cases where it works out fine, but as a rule of thumb, try to avoid it. It's common sense, really. And older child who has had enough trauma to lose his or her family is going to be emotionally or behaviorally needy. Wait until your family and current children are old enough to handle these needs.

C. Recognize that the adoption process has grief involved. Approach realistically and prayerfully. You are adopting not just a child, but a past, a birth family, a culture, etc.

When I first began the process, I saw this as a discouragement. Who wants to choose grief? Now, I don't see it that way at all. So, if this discourages you, put it on the back burner, and pull it out when you are ready.

D. Do your homework! Read lots of stories, talk to lots of people. Don't let the horror stories discourage you, but do learn from them. Get as much info as you can from as many sources as you can.

I did this. I read everything I could find on the internet or in books like The Complete Adoption Book. Of course, I came across a lot of information that was incomplete, inaccurate or discouraging, but given the choice to go back and do it again, I would. Knowledge is power!

E. Find a mentor, an adoptive family who has done the process you want to do who can encourage you and pray for you along the way.

I cannot stress this enough! My mentor, Niki, has gone before me, encouraged me, and most of all, let me call her up sobbing to pour out my emotions as I went through the process with our first adoption. She has six adopted kids and a HUGE heart for adoption, as well as a heart for helping other families to adopt. If I can pass on a tenth of the support and encouragement she has given me, I will have put some good into the world!

This cannot possibly cover everything, of course. But it is stuff I have learned along the way of many years involved in the process, and having our experiences and talking to many other adoptive families. God bless you and your family!

The Bench

We have this picturesque little children's bench in the back yard, left by the previous owners of the house. It sits back against the crumbling stone wall at the extreme end of the yard, and this year, wildflowers grew up all around it. I have been meaning to snap a picture for a month, but haven't gotten around to it.

Last night, Steph, my wonderful new Mother's Helper was taking the kids on a photography exploration, and she snapped a picture of the bench with her phone, then sent it to me. So in lieu of actually walking into my back yard myself and taking the picture, I'll borrow hers. I don't think she'll mind. :)

Lovely little backyard bench.