Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh so sweet...

Today was such a special day. Since daddy took big sister to visit a friend, I got to spend the day with Lilyann. She is such a joy. Here she is signing "thank you". She amazes me because she's not even two yet, but she will say thank you at the appropiate times! She is so loving. Today we had fun playing, singing songs, and tickling each other. She loves it when I sing any song to her, and she furiously signs "please" over and over again when I stop singing. She is very animated. She is making great progress in the area of attachment too! The other day I took the girls out to lunch. At the checkout counter, there were a few adults waving and doting over her. She turned and grabbed my leg and squeezed as hard as she could then looked up at me and said "up"! This is a great sign. She is still very friendly and loves to interact with people, but she is learning more about safe boundaries and to stick with her mama!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our new little boy!

Here's the picture of the new little boy goat, Cocoa, I promised to show ya! Isn't he handsome? He is actually a very stubborn little guy. The girl, Buttercup, is much calmer, and easygoing. They are both so much fun to have around!! I want more goats!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I am sitting here thinking about what my answering machine said when I got home tonight from work. It was a call from our local dept. of social services. We are licensed foster parents. We have been for a year, but we have never taken a placement due to our adoption of Lilyann in China. We recently had a visit from our foster-adopt social worker. She was so nice. She said she had taken our name off of all the lists when we got back from China since we needed that time to bond with her. Since we are now ready to take kids for respite care, our name is back on the list. I should have known our next call wouldn't be for respite. Back when were first licensed almost a year ago, we stated we could only do respite, and our first call was for a newborn baby boy, in the hospital, waiting for a placement, and possible adoption. We couldn't do it, as we had just recieved our referral from China, and we were busy getting prepared. We prayed he would find a family soon.

This time, the call was different. It was the same older man that calls with the warm friendly voice, who does not pressure, and is very respectful no matter what your answer is. He is so kind, and I can only imagine the situations he sees everyday. Today the message he left was in regards to a baby under the age of one. An infant. An infant who at this very moment is in a major hospital in a big city. People are only transferred to this hospital if they have significant injuries. This infant child is there due to abuse. This child needs a home, a home to be loved, and nurtured in. A healing home. I honestly cannot comprehend how someone could hurt an infant, or a child of any age for that matter. My heart is sick.

When we were first licensed last year, I remember reading a blog that was written by a foster parent. I remember her saying that doing foster care has changed her so much. She talked about all the babies she had cared for over the years with various injuries and broken bones from abuse, and how that affected her. At that moment I began to realize how very prevalent this is in our society, in our country, in our state, in our city, and every other city in the US. That reality hit home here tonight. It is not just the cases that make the local news. Most aren't publicized. It is not just the boy with shaken baby syndrome at work. It is happening all the time, everywhere. Tonight a baby who is hurt, lost and alone, needs a home.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Finally, a farm!

About 14 years ago we purchased our home. It was an old farmhouse, partially surrounded by an orchard, with a huge barn, and lots and lots of big trees all around it. It was our dream home at that time. We were newly married, and had lots of time and energy to work on fixing it up. It was a long process. The home came with almost 2 acres of land, and keeping that up is a job! We hoped to have a small farm of some sort, mostly for our children to enjoy. I pictured a little petting zoo, where the kids could go out and enjoy themselves with the animals every day while gathering farm fresh eggs from the chickens. Well, it has taken a long time to get here. We have changed some of our desires for our little farm. One of which is goats. Here is one of our newest additions. She is a baby nigerian dwarf goat, named Buttercup. I really like the miniature breeds of animals, and this size is more managable for small children. I also like the idea of milking, and nigerians are very good for that. My husbands idea of having goats is for weed control. So, we will also be getting a few more goats to help with that. They will all be pets, and will come to be very loved by all of us here, I am sure.

I hope to post more soon about what we are up to around the farm here. Painting our house took 3 summers to complete, so I will post some pictures of it. We have been working hard to get things in order, and we have some big, and little projects coming up. Oh, and check back to see a picture of our other baby goat soon!! We are having so much fun with them, and it is finally starting to feel like a real farm around here!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We love books!!!

Lilyann loves to read books. She will often grab a book, climb up on the couch, and sit there and read in babytalk. It is sooo cute! She also brings me books regularly to read to her, and she loves to sit in my lap, and point to things. She looks up at me with a huge smile on her face, as if to say this is the greatest thing ever!!!
Miranda will sit and read with Lilyann also. She is such a good big sister. She loves to read also! All this school year, I would find her reading on her own in her room. I am so proud of her! I have always loved books, in fact I can't get enough of them! I do not read anything fictional either. How could I, when there is just so much to learn and glean from books! I have a huge stack of books to read on various topics right now, from cooking, to prayer, to homeschooling, and more. There are just so many good books out there, with so much wonderful information, I just can't get enough!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Do you have an elephant in your neighborhood?

We do!!! This is how close we got, and the best picture we could get of it. A real live elephant right in the backyard of a neighbor! Apparently it was staying there briefly, while awaiting the next carnival job.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Urgent prayers needed...

If you haven't yet heard, a tragedy has just occured in the family of Steven Curtis Chapman. You can read about it here

Their youngest daughter, who was adopted from China, has just been killed in an accident in their driveway. Their teenage son was driving the vehicle that killed her. I cannot comprehend the pain they are going through.

I can say that I know people who have been through something almost exactly like this. A few years ago some friends of ours lost their youngest daughter, then a year and a half old, when her teenage uncle accidentally ran over her in their driveway. They were a strong christian family, and she was the youngest of 7 kids. It was a funeral I will never forget, as I watched this family mourn, but with their faith intact, and the uncle was one of the men that assisted in carrying her casket. I was stunned, as I am now, and I pray that God's perfect peace will cover the Chapman family during this most difficult time.

Sad, but sweet...

Back in March, when Lilyann was in the hospital with pneumonia, her nurse informed us that she was also in the process of adopting from China. She had a log in date of 2/06, and they (CCAA, China center of adoption affairs) are now matching people with log in dates of 1/06, however it is taking forever, as the CCAA is only matching a few days at a time now...and the regular China adoption program has slowed drastically. Anyway, just the other day, that nurse contacted us, and gave us all of these things! These were all items she had purchased over time for her daughter to be. She informed us that they will no longer be adopting. She appeared sad. She did not say why they were not able to continue with their adoption plans. I feel for them, and also really wonder how they came so close to their daughter, and had to quit their pursuit. It was so kind of her to donate these items to us.

Saturday, May 17, 2008 best job ever!!!

Yes, even though I have worked in healthcare, in a career I have loved for many years, I can now tell you that being a mother is the best job ever! This photo was just taken on mother's day. I love it. Lilyann has just learned to "smile" for cameras, and this is the face we always get now. It is so funny!

I haven't always felt this way, in fact, six and a half years ago when Miranda was born my husband actually said I could quit my job and become a stay at home mom. My response?? No, way! How could you suggest such a thing, you must be kidding!! I felt that I had worked much too hard for my degree and I was not going to waste it by quitting. God has done a huge work in me, because now, if my husband were to suggest that same thing, my response would be very different. I would see it as the greatest privelege to have the opportunity to spend every day at home with the children God has given me. I work 2 days (20 hrs.) per week. Even this seems like far too much time to be away from them now. My heart is rooted in the home now, where before, I believe it was rooted in my work. I still love helping people, and working with families at such a wonderful place, but my heart is at home.

How do I know this? I love being home...and all that it stands for. I now cherish every moment I have at home with my family. I now understand what it means to be a keeper of the home (Titus 2). I actually love doing housework now, and cooking for my family is something I now look at as an awesome responsibility, as I am always trying to learn more about how to cook healthy delicious meals for them! I try to limit outings and stay home as much as possible. In today's society this is almost impossible, but it is something I strive for all the time. I limit extra curriculur activities to put our children in as well, when most people are running around day and night trying to make it to that next group, practice, or meeting. My goal is to create a simplistic lifestyle, but one where children flourish with natural activities such as gardening, raising animals, and creative activities such as crafts, art, and creating with your hands, (sewing, knitting, baking, etc.). These are all centered in and around the home. Right now we are working on the barn, and on a new outside playhouse. We have tree swings, and lots of outdoor play activities available. Every day we go outside, do some chores, but mostly play.

Most people were shocked when they first heard that my husband and I were both going to work part time. We chose to do this almost 7 yrs ago, (after I refused to quit my job) so that our children would never have to be in childcare. No one around us thought we could do it. Family members even discouraged us to make this shift to be more family centered! There were sacrifices that we made financially, but this is incomparable to the time we have had with our children. It is so worth it. Many people don't realize that this is possible. There may be some major or minor adjustments that you would need to make, but it can be done. Two full time working parents does not have to be the norm. We could never go back to that. If we can make this work, I believe many others can as well.

So there you have it! My best job ever! Mothering!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mothering, part 2

As a teen, I discovered my mom was having an affair. At that moment I confronted her, only to hear lies. Through a private investigator, we all had proof, and later we all watched, as my mom moved her stuff out of the house. It was at that moment, that, what I knew to be family was now over.

Through this situation, I learned how much I needed God. God, in His faithfulfulness, met me, and I knew in my heart He would always be there for me, as long as I walked and trusted in Him.

A few years later I got married. Mothering was far from my mind at that point. I entered the working world, as well as carried the load of a college student. I picked a career that I learned to love. Occupational therapy. School was hard for me, but with this career choice came a lot of hands on work, creative classes, and time out in the field working in a variety of clinical settings. This was the part I loved! I loved helping people. I got to spend time in nursing homes, schools for the profoundly delayed, state mental hospitals, public schools, child care settings and hospitals. It was an adventure! During my last year of school, I also worked a part time job at a group home for chronically mentally ill adults. This was interesting, challenging, yet disturbing at the same time. I finally graduated, and chose an area to specialize in: pediatrics. That very year, a brand new facility opened in our city. It was the first of it's kind. With a collaboration of many agencies, an all encompassing pediatric center for children with special health care needs was born. I landed a job there. It was definately a dream come true. I loved my job from day one!!! I had the privlege of working closely with families and children with a wide range of special needs. It was never boring. I got to "play" with kids all day...and I got paid for it! Of course, the "play" was very specialized, and targeted whatever goal the child had, but we always had fun! I felt so thankful and blessed to have a job I could go to every day that I absolutely love, and still do!!

I have another job too! It's one I love even more!!! I can't wait to tell you about it in my next post!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


In honor of mother's day, I decided I would take this week to write my thoughts on mothering, what it means to me, how God has changed me, and what He is currently doing in my life!

Today is tuesday, and I am in the middle of "mothering" right now, so I expect this first post may be short. The baby just went down for her nap, so I have a few moments, while my 6 yr. old works on her art project.

I didn't come from a home where mothering was something my mother cherished. I wouldn't say I came from a home where nurturing was present at all, in fact. I had a mother, and a father, and a brother. I went to public school, hung out with friends, and had a pretty typical upbringing. I attended church very infrequently, but came to know the Lord at the age of 18, when in a sort of desperate situation, I cried out to God, and He met me right where I was. If there ever was a situation where God could take something bad and make something good out of it, that was it.

Stay tuned...part 2 is coming soon!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I remember my Mother's prayers, and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.

-Abraham Lincoln

Monday, May 5, 2008

6 months with you!!!

Lilyann, 6 months ago today, far away in China, you were handed to me by your nanny. You were sleeping, so peaceful, and sweet. I felt so much love for you, even in that moment.
You came home with us, to a brand new life. At 16 mos. of age, you were so little and you just liked to sit and play quietly with your cups. You could not walk, talk, or eat yet.
This was the first bite you took of something solid. It took lots of coaxing, and demonstrations on my part, and you finally trusted me enough to take that first bite. You knew right then and there that this food thing was something good!
You are such a little love bug. You give me kisses all the time. You love to be snuggled, and you love to sit on my lap and read books. You are also very loud now! You make yourself well known everywhere you go! You are a unique and special child, with your own little sparkle!
You are a ham! You do silly things like this! You don't mind getting messy! You love baths and bubbles! You make us smile and laugh daily! We can't believe how much you have grown and blossomed in just 6 months! We love you baby girl! Keep smiling that darling smile of yours! We are so thankful to God for bringing you into our lives!!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Spring treasures...

We have begun the big "barn cleaning", and let me tell you, it is the most digusting job I have ever done. So, I thought about doing a before and after picture of our barn project, but decided it was just too unpleasant, so instead I will share some of the more delightful spring photos I have. I just love this new "window" bird feeder we have. When the birds finally got hungry enough, and brave enough, they started landing in it and staying for awhile. Our dining room table sits right in front of this window, so we get an up close and personal nature study right there at dinner.
Here's a closer view. The finches have now turned a bright golden yellow, this photo was taken a few weeks back.
We also hung our hummingbird feeder out on our front porch. Now we just wait for that first hummingbird sighting!
We have many different types of daffodils around, but this is my favorite!
I have this old pie safe sitting on an old farm table out on the patio. Inside there are some antique garden tools, and this old fabric bowl. I was surprised to find that Miranda's kitten, Winter, has decided that this is her new bed!
My tulips are blooming this week! They are my all time favorite flower! I hope to get out there and cut some to bring inside. We have had a busier than usual shedule lately. I hope to just sit back and relax next week, and take in the sounds and sights of spring.