Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Invaded - Again!!

The pirates returned yesterday afternoon for a brief visit. And this time they brought along their guitars. Now, I am not going to complain about the grating melodies that came out of the guitar but instead be grateful that my child was making music.

For all his stubborn and bull-headed tendencies I am completely in love with this boy! None of my children can exasperate me as quickly as this little man but what's life without some daily challenges?

As for the guitar - he walked down the stairs at 8:00 this morning strumming away!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lazy Days

Why is it that Sunday afternoon rolls around and everyone just seems a little lazy? At least that happens at our house. The church we attend has 5 different services to choose from since we have outgrown our facility. What I like about the different options is that sometimes we go on Saturday evenings so we have the whole day on Sunday to just relax and spend time together. We did actually get everyone up this morning and go to one of the earlier services (9:15) so we were home by 11:30. We had some lunch, lounged around and then ventured outside to the soggy yard. Actually, Mark took all the kiddos outside so I could work on the billing for last month. And here I sit blogging instead. (I am finished with the billing so.....)The kids always seem to enjoy going outside with daddy more than myself. Could it be because he lets them get as dirty as they possibly can and doesn't stop them? Today they are just playing in the left-over water from the rain last night and this morning. I tried to get a picture of Tristan's water logged pants but he kept running away.
And here is Eden eating a popsicle while perched on one of her favorite things - her daddy's mowers. I don't know why she likes the mowers so much but she is always climbing on them.
Notice the dark lever in front of her leg? Yeah...her mouth met that a few minutes after this picture was taken. A slight bloody lip but she didn't want anything to do with coming inside yet. Her hands look like little prunes from playing in the puddles.
For some reason this picture will not rotate for me. We were watching the wonderful Penn State game last night and Tristan fell asleep on the floor. It was priceless!
When I picked him up and carried him to bed he muttered only two things: "oh, my pillow" with a very contented sigh and "go eagles". We are training him real well.

This is my little boy after church today. I couldn't resist his blue eyes! And I can't figure out when his hair bleached out. Someone actually asked me if I put something in his hair to help it lighten. I'm sure my puzzled and slightly aghast look was the only answer they really needed.
On another note I stumbled onto a blog the other day that left me so, so excited! I was checking in on a family who just returned a few weeks ago with their little boy and just happened to click on one of the links on their sidebar. As I started reading I was blown away by this couples adoption story. So vastly different from ours. While ours was filled with a lot of ease in the transition and minor medical issues their journey was fraught with difficulties. And not just with the twins they brought home but also the three failed adoptions. As I read further my excitement grew. I suddenly realized I saw the husband at the embassy the day of my embassy appointment with Eden. I didn't personally talk with him but some other people that was in his group. Why I distinctly remember him is because I met a young Ethiopian man whose wife was pregnant with their second child and they were making arrangements for his wife to come to the states so she could receive adequate medical treatment. Their first child had died at 8 1/2 months in utero from preclampsia (I think) and they were very scared about the outcome of this pregnancy. Turns out the blog I stumbled onto is the couple who brought this Ethiopian man's wife home!! What a small, small world. I know this sounds somewhat jumbled and confused but suffice it to say I am delighted to know how things are going for this young woman (who just happens to be an Olympic runner for Ethiopia as well). The honesty of the adopting mother in her blogs is what initially grabbed me - it is just an added bonus that I have a small connection with them. If you have 30 minutes and would like to read their story just click on www.toliveloveandlaughtoday.blogspot.com It is well worth your time to read about their little babies. Just for a preview to peak your interest - when they arrived in Ethiopia to bring them home neither of the children weighed 10 pounds - at 22 months old!!!! They would have died within a week! Talk about the perfect timing of our Father!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Here is miss personality with her baby! She is becoming increasingly verbal which is shocking. Everything I have read would have led me to believe that her verbal skills may be delayed simply because she didn't have exposure to English before she was 10 months old. Well.....she is talking earlier than any of our boys and is very emphatic about most things. Two days ago she walked around the house with a very stern look on her face yelling, "don't, don't, don't" over and over. She also tells me when she has pooped now. She tells me "poppy" and points to her little bottom. She likes to sit on the potty seat and pretend she is going "poppy". I am taking this as a very positive sign since she will only be 16 months next week. She likes to tell me "no" when I ask her something or instruct her to do something. On the flip side she does tell me she loves me too and likes to give kisses. I look at her sometimes and am amazed that she has been with us 6 months already.
One morning this week she was enjoying taking care of her baby. She likes to feed the baby and of course stop to smile for me. Every time she sees the camera she gets out her biggest and best smile for me.
Tristan is extremely territorial lately and everything in this house belongs to him. Everything!! Here he is taking Eden's baby and she isn't happy about it. She goes right after him now and will full out tackle him to get back what he has taken.
All is well again and baby is being fed properly.
And apparently Tristan is very happy about the trauma he just caused on both Eden and the baby. This little guy is also beginning to initiate sitting on the potty but rarely leaves anything behind. This is okay though. I have never pushed any of my kids to use the potty but just kind of followed their lead. He has had hives on and off all week this week. I don't know if they are making him miserable or if he just doesn't like life all the much
right now. Wow!! Can this child scream. He has had so many time outs this week that the time out chair is getting a permanent dent in it. Here is Judah harvesting his pumpkins. He informed Shane that if he isn't going to help him very much than they will not split the money down the middle. He is a shrewd business man. We told Shane that that is how things work - you get paid for your work. Shane isn't nearly as interested in making money as Judah. Judah worked hard last year and again this year while raising his pumpkins. The pumpkins didn't do as well this year so he won't make as much loot. He has sold a few so far but we need to get working on his sales.
I think he only got somewhere around 30 pumpkins this year as opposed to his 50-60 last year. Oh well. It will still be a good amount of money for a 5 and 7 year old.
And I will leave you with a picture that I love. When I was a little girl I vividly remember laying in the sun spots on our living room floor on cold winter mornings. I just loved the warmth of the sun. Now...it wasn't particularly cold on this morning but the two munchkins each got a pillow and snuggled on the floor for a bit. They giggled and giggled - I guess they thought they were clever or cute. Or maybe both!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I've learned

What is a post without pictures, right? But I just have a quick moment and wanted to inform you of some things I have learned the past few days.

While folding laundry yesterday Shane was laughing. When I asked him about his giggling he told me that my underwear were funny because they had flowers. So...I told him since he likes them so much I would make sure to get him a few pairs of his own. He then told me that boys wear cool underwear, not beautiful underwear.

Today while playing football (again) Shane told me what a spiral throw meant. It means that the ball spy's where is is going and then rolls. Hmmmm...not quite but pretty creative. This weather and football season makes playing football almost a daily occurrence. Tristan walks around randomly chanting, "Go Eagles!!" It is especially cute when walking through Wal-mart!

I have some cute pictures to post one of these days. Maybe tomorrow. But for now the boys are all outside and probably waiting for more football or soccer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The past few days

Friday of last week I took the boys to a local cavern - Lincoln Caverns. They were so fascinated and amazed by everything we saw underground.
They were so quiet as the guide took us through the cave and explained things to us. But.....when she asked if they had any questions Judah just started chatting with her about all sorts of stuff. One of the things I love about these two boys is that they have no problem carrying on a conversation with adults and don't seem in anyway intimidated.
Saturday we went into my Mom's for the evening to hang out with our family and some extended family. I was making some dessert to take along and Tristan asked for the spatula. So...I gave it to him and soon Eden was begging too. He shared so nicely with her.

He would take a lick and then she would take a lick. There was a lot of giggling and messy faces but oh so sweet!!

Just a few minutes ago Shane came to me all serious and said, "Mom. Do you know why boys rule? It's because of Jesus and God." Say what??!! Apparently he got this very valid information from his cousin Riley. I love the things that seem so vitally important to little boys. Like power. And who is the strongest. And that they rule - I guess. Anyway, I better go and check to see how his kingdom is doing.

Oh. And we made yet another trip to the doctor this morning. Eden woke up with a high fever (102.2) and a very swollen gland again. At the beginning of July she had a very swollen gland that we were concerned may abscess but the antibiotics worked wonders. Well, now here we are again with the same lymph node or gland that is once again huge and swollen and causing these nice high fevers. Poor little girl just lays there with big sad eyes and wants snuggled. These are the times I am so, so glad she is home and can get the adequate snuggling time she needs.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Smooshed Thumb

Here are the boys earlier this week working hard at their schooling. They have been doing really good and I am quite proud of them. It is very rewarding for me to watch their progress.
Tristan got in on the action that day as well. He seems to be gaining an increasing awareness that he is like his brothers and he wants to be involved in everything they do. Judah and Shane do so well with him. They take him outside to play and try to involve him in things they are doing a few times a day. I love watching them interact.
Tristan stopped his coloring to give me a smile. So sweet!
Now, I must say this picture doesn't do the damage a whole lot of justice. Other than the fact that you can see Tristan's nail is askew. He got his finger pinched in a door at church on Sunday as we were leaving. It is a very heavy door and he somehow got his thumb pinched in the hinge side of the door. Today his thumb is looking very purple and I think he may be fighting an infection. The doctor gave him an antibiotic since it is really hard to keep it adequately cleaned. The doctor also thinks the tip is probably fractured but there isn't anything they can do. That would be our first fracture at this house. He tells pretty much anyone who will listen, "Boo-boo. And it closed." His version of the door closed and I got a boo-boo.

Oh...here's something funny. Judah came down the stairs two days ago and he was very teary. When we asked him what was wrong he said this: "I was working on something with my lego's and put a small piece in my mouth until I was ready to use it. I accidentally swallowed it. What is going to happen?" He was so worried and all we could do was laugh. We assured him that he will be fine and that he will in fact poop it out. Yesterday he came to me still worried and informed me that he is pretty sure it hasn't exited his body yet. And was I sure he would be all right?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Faces Never Forgotten

So often lately I see the children that I have filed away forever in my mind who remain in Ethiopia. Hoping that they one day will have a family again. Some of them will never have memories of their families. Children like Eden who were placed in homes as an infant. This little man comes to mind so, so often. What is his story? Has he been here long? Are his parents deceased or only unable to care for him? Does he have siblings at the orphanage with him? If he is orphaned does he hope everyday for his chance at family life again? These are the children that were painful to leave. He knows that his chances are slim. He watches the ages of children who leave and his is all too aware that more than likely he will finish growing up here and then embark on his own. Recently, I was reading an account of a family who have 10 children now. They adopted a sibling group from Ethiopia last year - 3 children. They returned to bring home another little girl they fell in love with while there last year. So...they now have four Ethiopian children. Two of them are HIV positive. Their story is amazing and moves me to tears so often when I read their blog. The point of me mentioning them is this: their one daughter just celebrated her 10th birthday. Sometime during the day the daughter came to her mother and said she needed to tell her something. You see...this little girls Ethiopian father new her chances of being adopted were going to be really slim if she revealed her real age so they lied. She was actually turning 13 - not 10. You know what her biggest fear was? That she would be deemed to old to sit on her daddy's lap. I kid you not. How horrible that kids need to lie in hopes of finding a home.
And then there is this little girl. I would return tomorrow and bring her home if it were possible.
And this little guy. I am pretty sure that after being in Ethiopia and seeing these children we could actually request specific information about them.
This is the age group that so often goes unnoticed. She captured my heart in a big way. Isn't she beautiful?
And just for kicks - I love this picture of Mark meeting his little girl. She has so rapidly become a daddy's girl. It is really quite shocking. She looks so tiny and vulnerable here. How much she has changed.

Anyway.....pray for the forgotten children of the world today. That God would be more real to them than the air they breathe.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Whipple Dam

There is a beautiful state park located about 1/2 hour from our home. We didn't make it there at all this summer simply because it seemed as though someone was always sick. This summer just disappeared. So....since we had beautiful and rather warm weather last week I packed the kids up one afternoon and made the trek to whipple dam. I figured they could swim, play in the sand and Mark could meet us there after he was done working. The plan worked beautifully!! We kind of had to ignore the yellow "caution-do not enter" tape and the "beach closed - no swimming" signs. I know, I know. Terrible example. The thing is the boys were completely oblivious to any wrong doing because they could swim to their hearts content. Surprisingly there were a lot of people there for a Thursday afternoon. But....where does one go to cool off when all the public pools are closed? Eden is a little fish. She has absolutely no fear of the water and will walk in really far, fall over and after we scoop her up she comes up laughing. She really doesn't care if she goes under. I have never had a child this young okay with being completely submerged. Makes me more than a little nervous!!! She was in the water before I could get her swimming suit on so she just got her clothes wet.
I love this little girl. She has added so much spice to our lives. Have I said lately that she is really, really feisty?!! We have seen her more than once running away from Tristan after he starts crying with an extremely guilty look on her face. Some kids are just so aware from such a young age.
I am amazed at how far Shane has come this summer. He is completely water safe at this point and would live in the water. He has a pretty proficient breaststroke.
And here is my Judah man! Also, very good at swimming and would also live in the water.
And then there is Tristan. Content to stick his feet in the water but much more concerned about climbing everything in sight. There are many stone walls and retaining walls at Whipple Dam. I had to retrieve him multiple times. Walking on a stone wall 4-5 feet above pavement isn't exactly a great idea. At least I don't think so.
Here he is again. The stone wall in the background is the wall I had to get him off of a few different times.
The bottom line is this: having added a fourth child to our life has forced me to relax a bit more. I am not so crazy vigilant about my house anymore and actually let the kids crawl into bed a lot of nights with dirty feet since they come in when it gets dark and it is too late for baths. I am learning that a little extra sand in the van is okay - especially after having hours of fun playing and exploring a place like Whipple Dam. Because really what is childhood about? Being a kid, living life, learning responsibility but also cutting loose and just enjoying today!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A few more wedding pics

We opted to leave these two little turkeys at home. We figured they would have much more fun at home and we would have a lot more fun at the wedding without them in tow. I called the babysitter at 7:30 to see how they were doing and this is what I heard: "They are both asleep already." What??? They never and I mean never go to bed at 7:30!! I was able to really enjoy the rest of the evening knowing they were asleep and kind of dreading the earlier wakeup time the next morning. Turns out they both slept until 8:00 the next am! Really weird....but wonderful!
This is another one of my favorite photos from the wedding. The girls were obviously getting tired of pictures. Here is Yuan a.k.a. Diana! I know her as Diana and will probably always call her Diana. She is so, so much fun! She used to live in the area and moved to Philly a little over three years ago. She is just starting law school and she is very urban mission minded. I love that about her. She is passionate about inner city kids especially.
All the sisters again. What is it like having five daughters? Seems a little scary to me.
Mark's mom is a psalmist and writes beautiful music. She is leaving an amazing legacy to her children and grandchildren. Her music is by far some of my favorite! She wrote a new song for the wedding out of Song of Songs 4 - the verse "You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride." It was the first time I heard the song and as always was moved to tears.
In other news we had our 6 month post placement yesterday for our little cherub. I cannot believe it is time for our second post-placement visit already. It went well and now we only have one more visit and report to submit. I am more in love with her all the time. Although I am not appreciating her stubbornness. She can be quite obstinate and would much rather ignore us than listen. Well...I hear fighting in the living room so I must run.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Christine and Eric's wedding

We had a wonderful, beautiful and very fun filled weekend. Weddings are always fun but especially when it happens to be someone in the family. We have been anticipating Christine's wedding for months now and we could hardly wait. The day couldn't have been more clear or beautiful! Here are Eric and Christine after saying their vows and taking communion. This wedding was one of the most beautiful I have been too. So sincere and just filled with the Father's love.
Right after the ceremony and they are waiting to greet their guests. Stealing a kiss! Christine is always gorgeous but she was the epitome of what you picture a bride looking like! I was going to try and get these pictures in some sort of order but was having a hard time keeping them straight in my head. So sorry about the hodge podge here.
Here is the very dapper and handsome ring bearer. But wait.......he just looks the part. He became quite obstinate and stubborn and refused to lower himself to any sort of spectacle for any one's viewing enjoyment. No amount of bribery or coercion was going to convince him to walk down that aisle.
Thank goodness his big brother has no problem being the center of attention. Judah very willingly stepped in and did the duty of ring bearer. He didn't match but he still looked sharp. I think this is my favorite picture from the whole wedding. I captured my boy so well in this picture. He looks like a young man and no longer like a boy. So, so handsome.
And the entourage of beauty begins. Again, these are out of order but oh well. This is Hannah.
All four girls. I missed getting a picture of the maid of honor because I was too busy snapping this picture of Mark's sisters. And I just realized I forgot to upload a picture of her. I have more pictures to post which I will do within the next few days. I will make sure she has her shining moment.
The beautiful bride and her father.
Another one of Christine.
All the girls getting ready. Oh...Diana is in this picture. She sure is a bundle of fun!
John & Ashley's little Jacqueline enjoying the ceremony.
Caleb enjoying the ceremony too.
Oh...the rest of the bridesmaids. What do you know. This is Grace!
And Joyce.
Mark and the boys.
Me and my boys! I love these little chumps.
Shane in his non-effective tux.
Mark with his mother. She looked lovely. It still amazes me that she has had eight children.
Judah beginning his trek down the aisle. Like I said, I will post more pictures in the days to come. But for now I need to start getting the boys to bed. The past few late nights have resulted in exceedingly grumpy boys.