Showing posts from November, 2015

So very thankful

We are back from our Thanksgiving vacation and unpacked and the laundry is even under control. It was wonderful having everyone together for several days. It was also pretty darn blissful completely ignoring the computer for four days. Well, blissful that is until I finally did turn it back on only to have to slog through over 200 emails. But, I digress. As usual.
I'm always interested to know how other people celebrate holidays, so I thought I would share a bit of what our Thanksgiving is often like. We often travel to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where J.'s aunt and uncle live and we were joined by two of J.'s sisters and their families. We were a crowd of 25 for the holiday. We all departed on Wednesday, well, all of us that is except B. We did a little car trading before we left and 11 of us rode in the van and B. stuck around for another day and drove himself on Thursday morning. It's tough when you have a Wednesday night class that was not cancelled.
Thursday morning wa…

Boy, this makes me uncomfortable

If you know me in real life, then you know I really do not care to be the center of attention. You also may know that watching myself on video is something I just don't do. My children's choir appeared on TV one year and I had to be part of an interview that was part of it. To this day I still have not watched it. I just can't. This is all to preface the extreme level of discomfort I have in the rest of this post. The only thing that is allowing me to push past my reticence is a need to bring my daughter home.

As you know, R. has a grant that is paying for her adoption. Since we were already able to get to China, it has allowed us to bring Y. home as well. God is good, and every time we have needed to come up with funds for the next set of expenses, money has been there. (Thank you to my dear friends. You know who you are.) Since we should be hearing that we have Travel Approval some time in early December, and plan on travelling in January, I need to be honest. There are …

So really what you are telling me is that large families are not welcome here

Going to doctor's appointments is just a normal part of our week, and because of the various needs of various children, we see a lot of different doctors. I have it pretty much down to a science of where to park and what vehicle I need to park there. Some offices have a great parking situation and others not so much. Some involve low ceiling-ed parking garages that our little sedan barely seems to fit in and others have wide open parking lots. I've learned which car I need to drive to which appointment and J. and I plan ahead accordingly, constantly switching cars. As much as I like to drive the little sedan, it also means that it will be a day where we cannot all go together as a group since we don't fit. It's pretty much a first world problem and not one I spend thinking too much time about.

Well, until this morning.

H. and head out to her quarterly eye doctor appointment in the van. This office is in a suburb and has no parking garage. I have never thought twice abo…

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

It's that time of year again when I feel as though I have entered my own special version of The Monster at the End of the Book. I'm sure you know this book, it stars loveable, furry, old Grover and my children love it just as much as I did as a child. (Usually I don't go so much for licensed character "books", but this is an exception.)

In this version, though, Christmas is at the end of the book. It's not a bad thing in and of itself, but my problem is with the speed with which we speed towards it. So here I am, doing my lovable, furry, old Grover imitation and am pleading with you to please, please, please, do not turn another page.

If you do turn another page, please, please, please do it very, very slowly.

And then I look at my to-do list for the rest of the this week and realize, not only did you turn a page, you turned it quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I am a bit worried that you tore it right out of the book. We don't do that here. We should pa…


A rare moment when Gretel is not trying to pester Midnight and Midnight is not swiping a claw at Gretel's nose. I'm happy to report that Gretel continues to be on the mend and the anti-biotics seem to be working. Each day she is bouncier and bouncier.

How about some good news?

And it's really, really good news.

So, you remember Peter, right? Well, I am beyond excited to tell you he has a family working to bring him home! Even better, I know the family and think it is a fantastic match. I love God. But, as you should also know, adoption is expensive. Here is a great chance to help this family bring Peter home in a timely manner. Even a small amount will help.

If I have done it right, if you click on the image, it should take you to his You Caring site. But because I don't trust my computer abilities, use this link if it doesn't work.

That is one less child to find a permanent family, which is terrific. Really, really terrific. Yet there are so many more children waiting and waiting for someone to see their humanity through their list of diagnoses. Please don't forget little Gracie.

Isn't she a sweetheart? This little peanut is already 10 years old. She has cerebral palsy which affects her legs. You do all know that cerebral palsy is a sta…

The ongoing saga of Gretel the dog

It seems that Gretel's goal in life is to see how many times she can visit the emergency vet clinic. Evidently, the emergency surgery she needed as a puppy to put her back together was not enough, because this time, she decided to be sick enough to be admitted for the entire weekend. And it only gets crossed off her bucket list if it happens on a weekend, I might add.

I had mentioned last week that we were a little concerned about how Gretel was acting, and hoping that it was just a case of her having overdone it playing sled dog. Well, she didn't really improve that much over the next couple of days and by Friday afternoon, one of her favorite people walked in the house and she didn't get up and bark obnoxiously at her. This was very odd. And Gretel had stopped eating. Very, very odd. And then TM threw a crumb of food for her to catch. She missed it (not odd), but then left it lying there on the floor a mere inches from her mouth. We called a made a vet appointment for Mo…

Motives and Unity

I have a pretty interesting news feed on Facebook. Interesting as in, it's enough to give a person whiplash when reading. Evidently I know people across a wide spectrum of society and often the opinion posted by one is followed by a second post of exactly the opposite opinion. The juxtaposition often makes me giggle and other members of my family have commented on exactly the same thing. To top it off, I like these people who are posting in my news feed, even though they are very different in their outlook on life.

Having a diverse group of friends and acquaintances also highlights something less than amusing. We Christians (and really this post is directed to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ) are not terribly good at differing opinions. We are so quick to assume less-than-positive motives to our family on the other side of the spectrum.

I understand the difficulties. I am pretty conservative in most of my views, both political and theological. (I hope that doesn't com…

Well, that was messy

I'm spending my afternoon filling out DS-260 forms and dealing with GUZ numbers in the list of interminable steps that have to be done to make the US Immigration Department and US Consulate happy. Thus, I am not going to be able to write the long and thoughtful post about red cups that I was planning. You'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Instead, I'll share this picture.

I'm sure you have no idea what K. is doing. Well, we have been studying arctic animals. It's cold in the arctic, so those animals have lots of blubber to help keep them warm. We were pretending we had blubber. Using some instructions I found when I was planning school, we did that, and made a mess.

Pretty much, each child put on a disposable plastic glove, covered their hand in cheap vegetable shortening, I then wrapped said hand in plastic wrap, and then they put their hand in the ice water. It actually worked pretty well and for the children who were able to cover their hand in shortening the best…

That's life

Sometimes life is a little yuckier than you would like and that doesn't make for terribly nice blog posts. But even in the middle of the yuck, there are still good things to be found. Such as...

L, G. and K. formed a band and gave us a concert this afternoon. K. was playing (and I use that term loosely) piano, G. was on drums, and L. was guitar and vocals. (Her guitar was the little played 'unitar', which is actually a stick unicorn turned upside-down. There was a good attendance at their concert, since L. convinced everyone, including TM and P. to attend. I hope she uses these powers for good later in life.Gretel has taken it as a personal affront every time Midnight tried to use something inappropriate as a scratching post. Midnight starts to scratch and Gretel's hackles go up and she lets out a rather menacing growl. It's enough to stop the cat, but she never does anything more. I appreciate that.Gretel is also feeling a little under the weather today and I'm…


M. messaged me the other day and said, "So, if you're ever needing something blog to about, you could share my tumbler page." Hint, hint.

Well, I think today qualifies so here it is: Flying Tadpole Creations. Be sure to look at the video of the bird mask with the hinged jaw that she just made. This is what she does when, for the first time in weeks, she is home without a deadline for a show opening hanging over her head.

And since we're sharing, you could also read my newest article at, 3 Ways to Help Kids from Hard Places Succeed in a Homeschool Setting. You could even share it... and then my little tiny paycheck would be a little less tiny. Thanks.

Museum day

We spent the morning at The Field Museum to see the Mastodons and Mammoths exhibit because it will be closing in January. It was a lot of fun. There was a huge amount of hands-on activities... mammoth and mastodon models to pet, trunks to manipulate, little bull mammoths that could fight together. There were also some videos that were very well done as a part of the exhibit as well. And the best part, in my opinion? There were none of those ridiculous push-button displays which are supposed to teach a child something, but in my experience, the only thing they teach a child is to push a button. I've never seen anyone use them for their intended purpose, only to push the button (at random and fairly quickly) and watch the result and then run on to the next thing. The interactive displays were actually interactive rather than button pushing. Thus, no button pushing happened... mine or the exhibits!

And here is my random mammoth fact for the day. Did you know, at the time when the gre…

Dear New Adoptive Mom,

Congratulations on your new little person. I am always happy to know that a child has a permanent family. I am also glad that so far your transition has been easy. That's great. I would not wish a difficult transition on anyone. It is hard on the parents and harder on the child. But in reality, two weeks is still a pretty short period of time. I've been at this for over nine years now, and have earned more experience than I ever wanted. It hasn't been an easy day today, so maybe it is my own fatigue and fear showing, but I'd like to share some of that experience with you.

Resiliency and an easy transition are not the same thing. According to the Mayo Clinic, resiliency is "adapting to adversity." It is the "ability to roll with the punches. When stress, or adversity, or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief, and pain, but you're able to keep functioning -- both physically and psychologically." At two weeks into this adventure, all yo…

Street signs

Yesterday was H.'s day to come with me to the grocery store. On the way there, I hear her saying something out loud. It sounded like, "Ssss.... tttt.... oooo... p. St... ooo... p. Stop. The red sign says, 'Stop'!" I agree that it says stop and tell her she did a good job of reading. At another stoplight, I hear her sounding words out again and she reads, "Park in rear." We had to talk a little about what that meant, but she read it.

I have taught 6 children to read and am on numbers 7 through 10. I have learned that the moment when the child becomes aware of the printed world which surrounds them, and believes that they can actually read the words in that printed world, that we are one significant step closer to that child actually reading.

I have no idea what H.'s future holds for her, but this is a very encouraging sign.

Costumes 2015 plus a very merry unbirthday

First, costumes from Saturday. We only had four dressing up this year, which seemed... odd. Bizarrely easy and odd. 
L., K. and G.
Plus H.
G. was a little black ninja.
I made the hood and J. made the ninja swords. 
L. was The Brave Cowboy
She needed (with L, it is always need, not want) a two-holster belt and pistols. The pistols are rubber band guns (no one has lost an eye yet) and I made the holsters.
K. was a lion. I made this costume for P. years and years ago.

H. was a cat. A cat with ears. No, she did not want a tail. No, she did not want whiskers. Yes, she did want candy. It's hard being both 13 and 5 at the same time.
Here is Gretel. She is calm. She is not barking. She didn't have to start out in her crate. It is hard for her to keep up the calm, non-barkingness when people keep coming to the door. The evening did not turn out to be as fun for her as she had hoped.
TM also turned 13 this weekend. Birthdays are hard. Birthdays are harder when they come with Halloween …