Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bodily Functions

I have said before that Eden loves, loves to antagonize. Two of her brothers in particular always respond with just the correct amount of frustration to encourage her further. It starts very early in the morning - usually sometime shortly after 6:30 and continues throughout the day. It is almost funny if you wouldn't have to deal with it day in and day out. But oh my!!! It makes me tired.

Now, I am going preface this part by divulging that we aren't overly cautious about the words our children say. We have never used "code" words for body parts. That is why Eden and Tristan have lengthy conversations about her not having a penis. We have never called farts nicer things like toot, stinker or fluffer. They are what they are - farts!

So, Eden's new favorite way to antagonize Tristan follows along something like this:

Eden: I farted!

Tristan: Did you fart in my face? (usually asked from at least 5 feet away)

Eden: Yes! (with her classic mischievous grin)

Tristan: Mom!! Eden farted in my face!! (at decibel levels you would not believe followed by immense amounts of wailing/screaming/gnashing of teeth!!)

Seriously....this happens everyday. And sometimes more than once a day. Every time they are not even close to being able to touch each other. And every time I have to laugh because I think it is so funny!

And if you think I am a terrible mom for letting my little children say fart than I invite you to come spend a week at my house and you will realize that I really have other more important things to worry about right now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Face of An Addict

This is the face of a cereal addict who is being denied his next fix! He would eat "breakest" for every meal. It doesn't matter what kind of cereal. He will eat sugary cereals but is just as fine eating bland fiber cereals. He just likes cereal! And since he has a slight obsession with letters and numbers if he doesn't have 3 bowls of "breakest" every day the above happens. I usually oblige him with three bowls in the morning. I just give him the equivalent of one bowl spread out over three bowls. Yesterday though he only had two bowls and his world was not ok. It is almost humorous unless you are the mother listening to the child wail for 30 minutes straight. He does his best to convince us he is near death without his 3 bowls of breakest.
Never to be upstaged or outdone Miss E needed her picture taken as well. If you think of us would you pray for some breakthrough with her? Someday I will take the time to share these difficult days with her. I am serious though. Please let me know if you are willing to pray so I can send you an email with a bit more specifics. It would help me tremendously knowing I have people praying for us on a daily basis through this season.

Our friends, the Subletts came to spend the evening on Saturday. The kids had a rip-roaring good time. Complete with all out boxing matches (notice the gloves), dressing up in power ranger costumes, hide and seek and who knows what else. We finally got to meet dear Annabelle who has now been home for 3 weeks. She is boisterous, hilarious and we had plenty of laughs! After they left both Judah and Shane said they wished Annabelle were their sister! So cute! We enjoy the moments we get to spend with their family.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Facing My Fears

There is this part of me that few people know. My husband knows this part better than anyone. It is the part of me that has had to battle deep levels of fear that could have the capacity to cripple me. I have found so much freedom in the past 5 years but found that as I approached my last birthday that I was resisting this year coming up. The age 32 somehow for me seemed like a bad year and if I could make it through this year than great! Let me explain.

My earliest memories of childhood revolve around fear! Nightmares more frequent than I can explain. Reoccurring nightmares of being kidnapped. I was always being pursued, always almost getting away, waking up in a panic! I hated going to bed. I would sleep with my windows locked, would check under my bed multiple times, would lay awake fearing sleep itself because of the nightmares that would follow. I thought it was normal so I never divulged just how scared I was. My mother new I had nightmares because I would run to her and crawl in bed with her. But I don't know that I would reveal the nature of the dreams.

My other big fear as a child (as though being tormented and convinced I was going to be kidnapped wasn't enough) was fire. I was sure our house would catch on fire while we slept and I would wake up in time to know what was happening but not enough time to escape.

I have a few reasons I think I dealt so hugely with fear but the biggest one was my father was gone a lot of nights for his job. I vividly remember wondering who would protect us if something happened. I knew in my little heart and mind that was a job of a father but I sure didn't feel safe. I would assure myself that my brothers would keep me safe. That they had guns in their rooms so if someone tried to take me I was sure they would come to my rescue. Now, I also know there are many parents who work night shift and there children are unscathed by it. I really had no relationship with my father so I never heard words of reassurance from him. I felt very vulnerable.

So...I was plagued as a child. Fast forward to when I started having my own children. I would wake up at night convinced that someone was in our house. I would wake Mark up, he would trek downstairs to check for me and come back to let me know there was no one there. In my defense the first house we bought had some issues. It really did. We came home one night, our locked door was open, we heard very distinct footsteps upstairs, Mark had me get the kids outside, called the cops and there was no one in our house. We had numerous experiences like that and I was never so glad to move as when we bought a different house.

About 6 years ago I was done with dealing with fear. I had had enough! I realized it was robbing my joy and my life. I started confronting it head on! I armed myself with very specific scriptures and ventured into the fight. I just realized recently how much freedom I have found!! When Mark is gone now at night I fall into bed and fall fast asleep. Before I would have been awake most of the night frozen in fear! I flew to Ethiopia by myself and I hate flying!!

Back to the age of 32. As my birthday drew near I knew I had another hurdle to jump. To find victory over. My mother had breast cancer when I was a young child. Her sister and her brother have also had to have surgery for breast cancer. She has had two aunts that died from breast cancer. There is a lot of it in my family!! So...the odds are a little higher for my sisters and I. My mother was in her mid-forties when she was diagnosed. So why did 32 seem so ominous to me?

I knew two different women who were diagnosed with cancer at age 32 and neither of them are on this earth anymore. My best friend from childhood lost her mother to breast cancer. She was one of the women diagnosed at age 32. I know the deep, deep impact it has had on her family loosing her mother. I will not share her story because it is personal and not mine to share. I just know that the thought of dying while I have young children is terrifying to me! I was privileged to be in her wedding this past summer and I was so aware of the fact that her mother wasn't there. How much more aware was she? I am in tears as I type this because I cannot imagine the loss on both ends. Her loss and her mothers loss. How proud her mother would be to see her beautiful children!

So, as 32 drew closer and closer I found myself with a knot in my stomach. I realize that I still have far to go in my battle with fear. I don't want to fear death so much that I miss living with abandonment now! I don't want to fear the loss of any of my children so much that I keep a tight reign on them and stifle them. I want to live in freedom! With abandon! I want to live in such a way that no matter when I leave this earth I know that I have truly lived!

Just this past week after nearly loosing an aunt in childbirth I once again had to stare in the face of mortality. In the midst of uncertainty I realized that I have been 32 now for nearly 3 months and haven't once thought about impending doom! I am so grateful! And I am incredibly grateful for God's grace in preserving the life of my aunt so she can raise her beautiful daughter!

I am finding peace. I have found enormous freedom! And I am so thankful. Because living life is much better than fearing life!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Still Around

I am still here and I am still very much alive and kicking. I have started some posts, gotten interrupted and they have remained unfinished. By the time I get to the end of my day I just don't feel like I have the mental energy to focus enough to make sense out of what is whirling around within me. And then I start typing run on sentences and lose what little grammer skills that I have.

I am hoping that tomorrow I will have some quiet moments. Wishful thinking for sure.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Snow and A Birthday

I couldn't resist taking a picture of these beautiful pine trees that line our driveway! The snow we received was exquisite but meant that Mark was gone a lot for the past week. The boys love playing in the snow together. Until someone unkowingly throws a snowball with a stone in it. That just ruins all the fun!
On Friday my son turned a whopping 9 years old! I remember so vividly the night he was born! I was so shocked at how dark he was! My very first comment upon his arrival to Mark was "people are going to think he is not your son!" He was just beautiful with his head of dark hair.
Judah said to me recently, "You are the best mom. Even though we have our problems." I told him thank you, turned around and continued working in the kitchen. I mulled over that comment for a while. It is true. We have a somewhat tumultuous relationship at times. We have had a season of being "in the thick of it" with him. There just seemed to be this inner struggle in him. Like he was trying to figure out if it was still ok to be sensitive towards me. There was a lot of attitude, some backtalk - typical behaviours but it was making my heart ache. Something happened over the past two weeks though. I feel like I have my boy back. Even Mark mentioned the tenderness he was noticing in Judah.
One of my favorite stories within the past few months involving Judah was his attempt at trying to convince us to let him watch a movie that we felt had some inappropriate content for him. We had not personally watched the movie so we were going on reviews we had read. He was doing his best to assure us that if there was inappropriate language that he would not say any of it. He said, "Mom, mom. I won't say any bad words. I promise. Like....just let me demonstrate. I am only demonstrating. I would not say, "I will kick your a**" (keeping in PG folks) or I would not say "What the hell."
I must have had a somewhat shocked look on my face because he rapidly assured me once again that he was only demonstrating. I thanked him for choosing to speak appropriately but also told him that he was still not going to be watching said movie. Mark and I had the hardest time not laughing. He was being so sincere and trying to win his argument but to no avail.
Then a few weeks later he was telling me about the presidential report he was doing. He chose to do a report on Harry Truman. We were sitting on the couch one evening and he told Mark and I that he had no idea when he picked Harry Truman that he had a bad nickname. We asked him what the nickname was and he said, "It is what the hell Harry." But on his report he wrote what the heck harry! If you want to see his 10 second speal you can go to and he will be on the home page. His principal called me last week to tell me he was featured on the website. He was pretty excited!
This picture is highly prized! Judah and Eden have such a love/hate relationship. She antagonizes him almost constantly. Or as he says, "She is boogering me again!" It starts at the breakfast table and picks up again as soon as he walks through the door after school. She gets such a grand reaction from him! Capturing this moment was priceless.
Every night when Eden goes to sleep she wants hugs from the "guys". So they go to her room and give her their mandatory hugs. The funny thing is though that Judah is becoming a little softer towards her and no longer gives her reluctant stiff hugs. They are becoming more gentle and seem to have some meaning to them. I am really glad Eden had the pink gloves since everything else she was wearing used to be the boys. Is that horrible?
The kids in the snow pile that their dad plowed for them.
Notice Eden leaning into Judah? I know she adores him but cannot help picking on him. Oh the dynamics of children and their differing personalities! Such fun!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


There is something about a crisp, clean snow that speaks serenity to my heart. Is is pure and untarnished. At least if it falls outside a home without children. At our house the snow becomes trampled in no time. Our poor forecasters said we could expect somewhere around 7 inches and we ended up with 14 inches!! I took these pictures in the evening when the sun had made an appearance after the storm clouds blew away.
I wish I could take a picture that would do justice to this big old tree. I have taken so many pictures but they never adequately capture the feelings this tree invokes in me. I know that sounds crazy! But this tree makes me happy! I look our living room window to this huge stately oak and it brings a smile to my face. The way the branches reach out it looks like big arms. In the summer when the kids are out and playing in the shadow of this tree I can't help but think of the verse in Psalm 91 that speaks of dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty. I am in no way comparing the Almighty to a tree - the massiveness of this tree, the shadow that it casts, the way it seems to protect my children - it just gives me a picture of what I must look like when I abide in Him. I can live unfettered, without worry if I just rest in His shadow!

A pine tree that is feeling the weight of the snow. Bent over, bowed, see another analogy. I see myself in so much of God's creation.
The boys have been enjoying this snow even though they find it challenging to walk through it. Eden has been begging to go outside but I keep telling her when her daddy comes home then she can go out. Poor little thing. I know what will happen though. She will not be able to walk and will stand there yelling. So hopefully Mark will make it home this afternoon to take her out. He left here on Friday night somewhere around midnight, pulled in early this morning (Sunday) at 1:30, slept a few hours and then went back out. Turns out it takes a very long time to clear 14 inches of snow. I am not complaining......I am extremely grateful we didn't get the 2 1/2 feet of snow that some folks received.

Does this picture need any explanation? Where else can you find a little girls bed with princess and the frog sheets peeking out, a beautiful handmade quilt from grandma with a play rifle sitting on top of it? I walked into Eden's room the other day, saw this and had to get the camera. Not every little girl has this on her bed! And I promise I did not stage the perfect little amount of sheets sticking out or the stuffed animal under the gun.

Having a little fun in the living room with the blankets from their beds. It was a lot of fun and a lot of clean up for the momma!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pray People Pray

I have been reading and been watching what has been happening with the Ugandan adoption process. Head over to for some details. My heart is breaking for families that are split up and separated right now because they are legal guardians to their children but our government and the Canadian government are halting their visas. This is huge!!

About a month ago I talked with an adoption agency and the director of their Ethiopian program informed me that she is urging people who are desiring to adopt to move on it! She said she is seeing similar warning signs as she has seen in the past with countries such as Guatemala and Vietnam who closed things down. I thought maybe it was a scare tactic on her part to get us started on the adoption process but as I have been watching things unfold in Uganda for the past few months I am starting to wonder if she is right??

Today I am praying for these families. For perserverance. And I am also praying for the governments involved! Will you join me??

Monday, February 1, 2010

Longing, Dreaming

I cannot explain the longing that churns inside of me. A longing to return to the beautiful country of Ethiopia. To throw open the windows to let the warm morning sun stream in after a night of sleep. Walking out onto the porch and sitting in the sun while I wrote in my journal. Having the guesthouse dogs meander by. Watching the tortoise's plod across the yard. Having the fresh squeezed orange juice. Drinking the freshly roasted coffee. Hearing the beeping of the horn alerting me that my ride was there to retrieve me. Going through the gates at the guesthouse and out into the city. Seeing the beautiful children in their school uniforms walking in large numbers to school.

I have had two very distinct dreams over the past few months. In the first dream our adoption agency called to inform us that Eden's half-brother had been relinquished. In the dream I cried and cried. I was so overwhelmed.

The second dream happened a few weeks later. Mark, myself and Judah were in Addis Ababa. We were in some sort of market and then at the airport getting ready to leave. It was so incredibly vivid!! I can still remember every detail.

Who knows - maybe our agency will call with news of Eden's brother and we will be in Addis with Judah.

Time will tell.......