Friday, May 30, 2008


This morning I have been thinking about milestones. I think the reason I started contemplating it is because Mark and I have reached our 10th year of marriage which is a big deal!! Ten years is a long time and so much has changed in our lives from that day a decade ago. Many milestones have been reached and celebrated. But what defines a milestone? Depending on your dreams and your personality I think it looks different for everyone. For some it is finishing their degree. For others it is taking the trip they have dreamt about for so long. For some it is arriving in that 3rd world country to help implement the life changing water purification system they designed. For some it may be their favorite football team won the superbowl. For still others it may be watching your adult child making the better of two choices. For some it may be finally holding your child in your arms for the first time.

At our house lately we have celebrated some very fun milestones. Eden's giardia is finally gone!!! You have no idea how wonderful this is. She still greats me every morning with a beautiful poop but at least I am not changing bedding and clothing multiple times a day! So....the parasite has left. Woohoo!!

Tristan has slept the past three nights all night!! This is resulting in a mother that is a little more rested which is always a wonderful commodity. Having a grumpy mom is not what any of my children asked for but sadly they have gotten on quite a few days lately. So lets hear it for sleeping children!!!

Shane learned how to ride his bike really well this week. The first day he learned to ride he rode his bike almost continuously. The next morning he went right out, hopped on his bike and took off. Very soon after he came into the house with a silly look on his face. Seems all his riding on the previous day resulted in a very sore behind! We had a good laugh and decided to give his butt a rest for a day or two. This morning he must be all healed since he has been riding for the past hour - and it is only 9:30.

Judah's milestone is he finished first grade two weeks ago. He worked really hard at doubling up his workload for a while so he could finish early. He did an amazing job on his work. He doesn't exactly enjoy his school work but learning is not difficult for him. I am switching some things up next year and implementing some new curriculum's to see if we find something a little more fun for him. So, we will have a little guy in kindergarten and one in second grade. Hard to believe.

And that brings us to our anniversary. A lot can happen over the course of 10 years. Take for instance four children!! Starting a business that has done way, way better than we ever imagined. Adopting our beautiful daughter. Falling in love with each of our children and most importantly staying in love with each other. We have been incredibly blessed with a full life!! And so today we say thank you. Thank you to our Father who has given us this love for each other, who has entrusted these four wonderful children to us and who loves us with a love that has no end. I am so grateful for that love!

(I know that posts without pictures are boring - I will have plenty after this weekend)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Random Ramblings

Brace yourself folks. I am feeling somewhat chatty right now so this could get long and boring. I think I am feeling energized by the nice spring weather and also that my two little people are sleeping at the same time. For me this brings a small dose of freedom!! On the homefront today the boys and the neighbor girl have been busy saving and nurturing a pesky baby starling. Now, any other time a bird is around Judah likes to shoot at them. If the bird happens to be in the cat's mouth or too small to fly he then has to save them. I think he is finally giving up when Tiger has caught one. I think the boys have witnessed Tiger killing three birds this week. Pretty impressive considering the cat has no front claws.
Here is Lauren holding the bird. I think they decided to name him flappy. Pretty original, don't you think? Judah got out the old bunny cage and they have a bowl of worms, a bowl of bird seed and a bowl of water in the cage with the bird. As well as a bright blue plastic hanger for the bird to perch himself on. Overall they have been very creative and he seems to be doing well. The mother bird isn't too happy though. The alternative to the kids taking care of the bird would be Tiger taking care of him. If only we could communicate with the mother bird to let her know. There was one instance this morning where Lauren left crying because Judah said something about shooting a bird - he claims he meant a different bird. Anyway....she was quite sad.

Which brings me to this: Lauren moved into our neighbors apartment with her parents sometime during the winter. She is a sweet little thing and the three of them play really well together. Three isn't usually a real good number when it comes to playing but somehow they all get along pretty well. The problem is this: Lauren is at our house ALL the time. And I mean ALL the time!! We have never met her parents yet she spends hours a day here. She will come over at 4:00 after school and stay until 9:00 when we tell her the boys have to get in bed. She is starved for attention and it breaks my heart. We are definitely going to have to implement some boundaries this summer. I am just not sure yet what we need to do. Obviously she is lacking something and she seems to be finding life here. The only thing that kind of bothers me is that she comes in the house whenever and helps herself to drinks and sometimes snacks. I don't mean to complain but I am still getting used to mothering 4 children. Her presence here switches up the dynamics but all in all we enjoy having her around. I just want to shake her parents and say, "What parents let their nine year old daughter spend hours in someones house without meeting the family?" She is such easy prey for someone. Ahhh!!!! Why don't her parents care enough to come meet us? And why don't they check on her at least once during the evening? Somedays I want to tell her to go home and then other days I can relax a little more. I keep saying to Mark, "What if in 10 years she says that this summer was the best summer of her life. What if me giving her a drink, asking her how school was, wiping her tears when she is upset and just being interested in her awakens something inside of her. I don't want to judge her parents simply based on this but I will admit they will have a hard time digging themselves out of the hole I have already dug for them. Isn't that terrible? Judgement is such a harsh and unfair assessment usually. I just want to love her and speak life to her during this summer.

What else - I have the garden almost completely planted. The strawberries are blooming, the raspberries are growing good, the onions are peaking out of the ground and I just got my green beans, lima beans, peas, broccoli, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes planted. I am soaking our watermelon and pumpkins seeds. I love gardening! It brings me a lot of enjoyment. Of course if I had to garden in order to survive I may view it a little differently. In the summer we eat a lot of fresh food - this is why I enjoy summer so much.

I also planted some gerber daisies that we are growing for Mark's sisters wedding. She is having most of the flowers done professionally but wanted her bridesmaids to carry bouquets of gerber daisies. So.....we are hoping to grow them for her. I think I am going to go and spend some time in the sunshine now since the "Babies" are sleeping. They are so sweet by way. Especially when they take knockout naps!! I love that!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

One More Thing

Obviously I'm sure most of you who read this blog know we had the privilege and honor of meeting Steven Curtis Chapman in our journey to bringing Eden home. Our hearts are so sad at the immense loss they suffered yesterday in the death of their little Maria. Their hearts for adoption and orphan care are incredible and this doesn't make any earthly sense. They are people just like you and me and they carry an incredible burden to care for the forgotten children of the world. They have helped over 1700 families bring home their children. Eden is one of them!! I look at her everyday and am so, so grateful that she is no longer nameless and faceless. We are forever grateful to this family for loving the orphans of the world. May God bring rest, recovery and peace to this amazing family.

Hannah's Home!!

Mark's sister Hannah was in Spain for this past semester. We missed her so, so much. She not only works for Mark during the summer she also enjoys spending time in our home. Well....I think all his sisters enjoy spending time here. I think our sweet children are what really lure them here but I like to think we aren't all that bad either. Hannah arrived into the airport Sunday morning and they all came over in the afternoon to have pizza and just hang out. Shane kept asking how many more minutes until Hannah gets here? I really wish he would have asked in hours - somehow 180 minutes sounds like forever. Here is Joyce and Eden. Joyce just finished up her freshman year at Juniata. Even though Juniata is only 30 minutes from us we still didn't see her very often. So it was like getting two of Mark's sisters back.
Here is Eden meeting Hannah for the very first time. Nothing but smiles from the little peanut.
Eden and Tristan on the trampoline. Notice Tristan trying to do a cartwheel. He watches his brothers do flips all the time. I am assuming this is his version of a flip.
Me, Christine, Hannah, Joyce and Hannah's friend Sam. Well...she is really a friend to all of us but we wouldn't know her without her friendship with Hannah. I am so blessed by having married into this family. Now I have two incredible families!!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Breakfast at our house has settled into a nice routine. The older two boys get the bowls and spoons out and usually get their own cereal. I of course get the younger two their cereal, oatmeal or granola. And Eden has her morning bottle. After everyone has full bellies I then get my breakfast of choice. The picture above is indicative of what happens next. Two little munchkins descend on me as though their very life depends on the nourishment I hold in my hands. This morning they somehow cornered me and I had to surrender by slumping to the floor in defeat. So....the rotation goes something like this: Tristan gets a bite, Eden gets and bite and hopefully I can get a bite before Tristan starts asking for more. When the bottom of the bowl appears there is usually some very vehement protesting even though this is their second round of food within 30 minutes. Now, I must say I am really putting myself out there. Here I am for all the world to see with bed head, puffy eyes and dark circles to boot. Oh well - the kids are pretty cute. And just so you know I am very much aware of the cluttered counters and the few cheerios on the floor. Judah and Shane decided to get in on the photo shoot. Notice that Eden could care less about the camera. Food!!!! I don't know if it is the parasite, actual hunger or if she went without food long enough at some point that her body subconsciously tells her to eat when there is food within reach. I know this is common among children from third world countries. Even the little ones that have no tangible memory. Their body just responds to food because it remembers not having what it needed at some point. I guess we will see how this plays out. For now she loves, loves food!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sunny Days

Yesterday, while Eden slept I took Tristan outside for a while so he could do his most favorite thing. Jump on the trampoline! He is becoming quite proficient at jumping and then pulling his legs up to bounce on his butt. My favorite thing about the whole activity is what the static from the trampoline does to his curly hair. And also hearing him yell with excitement!
Here he is mid-jump with his tongue sticking out. I love his little nose!
After a good bounce one must sit and contemplate life for a spell. I enjoy this little guy so much! Especially when he is feeling well. He is not too fun to be around when he is sick - he makes sure we all know how he is feeling. I had to take him back to the Doctor Saturday. His tonsillitis had cleared up but his ears were still infected. So....another round of stinky antibiotics. But at least he is feeling better and beginning to get back to his normal sleeping patterns. Which is just getting up once a night and then crawling into bed with me sometime around 6:00 to snuggle and doze. I love those early morning times with him. I just said to Mark the other day that I wonder when those times with Judah and Shane stopped. I know we still snuggled and talked in the morning when I was pregnant with Tristan but it must have stopped shortly after he was born. Makes me sad that those days are over with the other two boys.
Judah and Shane playing in the backyard yesterday under our big maple tree.

After a good hefty rain we get a rather large puddle behind our maple tree. This lot is actually our neighbors but she lets the boys play there. There are obviously some drainage issues on her back property but it makes things fun for the boys. They took out their playmobile pirate ships, noahs ark and any other boat they could find to play in the water. Very muddy and gross! But apparently fun.
Some fun things I overheard yesterday:
Shane uttered these words while playing and wrestling with Eden: "You are gorgeous!" and "Ouch! You kicked me in the crotch. Did you know that crotch is another word for penis?" Uh...I highly doubt Eden knows what you are talking about but thanks for helping with her education.
Shane and Judah talking while I am feeding Eden:
Judah - "Man!! She sure does eat a lot! Maybe she is storing up for the winter."
Shane - "Yeah! I bet she is going to migrate."
Me thinking to myself - "I think he meant hibernate."
Judah after playing outside: "My brain, blood vessels and heart are saying they need energy and I trust them." After a drink of cold water - "My heart says he got his energy back."
Yes, we do have fun times around here. Sorry there aren't any new pictures of Eden. I will get some posted real soon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Lure of Disney World

So, my children think they just have to go to Disney World! Not next year but as soon as possible. We keep telling them we will make sure we go to Disney but we would really like to wait until Tristan and Eden are old enough to remember the trip. But that will take forever!!!! We were driving in the van last night and the boys were talking about all sorts of things. Of course Disney World eventually became part of the conversation. They had seen a commercial in the past so they started spouting the entire commercial to me. You can stay in a castle, in Cinderellas suite, yada yada and it costs $1,600 for the whole week. The boys decided they would help pay for the trip. They are going to grow pumpkins again and maybe they could grow a really big one to sell for $100. Shane had the idea of selling our house. What?!! I asked him, "Where exactly are we going to live upon returning home from Cinderalla's suite?" Hmmmm....hadn't thought that far. He was only thinking of self-gratification. For some reason going to Disney World with two babies doesn't seem all that fun to me. They think it would be fantastic!!! Maybe if they have to push the stroller and change the poopy diapers I will consider it. Why would Cinderalla's suite even appeal to them? They are so against girly things. Commercials will do strange things - even to staunch boy paraphernalia advocates!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pirate Invasion

We had some really cute pirates that converged on our backyard today and proceeded to float around for a while. Fighting the bad guys (aren't pirates the bad guys?), doing a lot of yelling and most importantly not fighting each other. The weather is beautiful and the boys were inside complaining they didn't have anything to do. Judah had all his school work finished by lunch time which is pretty typical so I was beginning to think the day was going to get interesting if they didn't find something to do. I gave them quite a few different ideas and for some reason pirates resonated within them today!! they are!!
Shane wielding his sword. He must be a really kind pirate because in almost every picture he was grinning!!
Judah was trying to act annoyed at having his picture taken.
The pirate ship in all its splendor!! They brought out blankets from their beds and the girly flags that welcomed Eden home at the airport. Their pirate image could use some improvement.
Eden getting in on the action a bit!!
Whoops!! Same pirate ship photo. Oh well.
Judah with his tough guy face and Shane with his warm fuzzy face!!
Eden doing her favorite thing outside - swinging!!
And Tristan sitting in the stroller day dreaming. I don't know why he wanted to be in the stroller since he is against confinement of any kind. So before the day is over the pirates will have to set sail. But while they are here I feel very safe and protected. I'm sure they will be in soon to pillage and plunder the cupboards and fridge.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Highlights of our first month and a few extra pictures

We have officially been home one month and a day! This little character has been in our arms now for five weeks. I must admit it seems as though she has been here forever. I can hardly remember what life was like before she arrived. Her personality emerged almost immediately after arriving home. She is like a little light that just meanders around the house. She is super busy and active which is a lot of work now but the high energy matches the rest of the kiddos. I just need to work on getting my high energy back. I am convinced that if I could get uninterrupted sleep for a week that I would have energy to bottle and ship to those of you who would need some extra.
Some of the highlights since we have been home: Eden has gotten three new teeth and hasn't complained once. (Is she for real?) She has gained two pounds in the first three weeks even with giardia. She has slept all night, every night, except for one night. Even though she was cutting teeth, had an ear infection and a parasite. Her hair is growing into an unruly mop of curls that I don't really know how to tame. She has succeeded in making everyone fall in love with her on first time meetings. She hardly ever cries, smiles easily and has a great belly laugh. She has brought a whole new dimension to our family and we are forever grateful that God created her for us!!
We were at my brother Steve and his wife Sharon's home on Sunday with the rest of my family. This was Steve holding Eden for the first time.

Eden and her cousin Riley. This is not the greatest picture of Eden but it shows Riley's black eyes and nose off pretty nicely. She had a little "run in" with a doorway. The dress Eden is wearing is compliments of Steve & Sharon. Riley was anxious to see Eden wearing it so we had to do an almost immediate wardrobe change.
Uncle Mike giving four wheeler rides. Now....before some of you hyperventilate he was driving very slowly and cautiously. If I was taking pictures there was no hysteria involved. Wyatt is walking at the back of the four wheeler hidden by the willow tree. Cassie, Avery, Chase, Levi and Tyler are all riding.
Judah at home having a silly string battle with uncle Lamar. And yes, my children do have drawers full of shirts. As soon as it is relatively warm they think they need to run around in "their tan" as they call it. Fancy way of saying partially naked.
Another silly string picture. Overall we are loving spring - the warmer weather the more consistent sunshine, spending time with family and adjusting to life with four children.