Showing posts from August, 2009

A house is a house for them...

God has plans for us all, if we choose to follow Him, and there are few families we've met who have been so faithful in following God's calling in their lives as this family. The "ChipIn" link above is a chance to help them buy a bank-owned house that will hold this amazing family.Now that seems like a pretty good investment to us.

What do your children do on Saturday afternoon?

Mine like to go garbage picking...riding their bikes up and down the alleys looking to see if anyone is getting rid of anything good. Our neighborhood is rather affluent, so the chances of finding something interesting are fairly high. Here is what A. and P. found and M. and B. dragged home:

Everyone is very excited because they have been wanting a basketball hoop for a while. Our backyard, inexplicably, has a large cement pad at the back of it and it will be perfect for playing. (And, yes, M. asked the owners of the house where A. and P. found it before they dragged it off.) Good thing I picked up that 25 cent basketball at a rummage sale last year.

A small parenting success

It's been raining here for the past two days, and while we need the rain, it would be nice if some children could go outside. It also doesn't help that I am in the middle of redoing schedules and chores to get ready for the new school year, because it means we're not really on any type of schedule at all. Earlier in the week, this was fine. D and TM spent a couple days playing imaginary games for hours on end, either outside or up in the 3rd floor playroom. They were so busy that I had to go check to make sure they were OK every now and then. But its hard to sustain that level of play for too many days in a row, and some boys have been at very loose ends. This is harder on TM than on D. I often call TM my Border Collie. Like a Border Collie, he is extremely bright and extremely energetic and if all that energy and intelligence is not harnessed in a productive way, well, let's just say it isn't pretty. When this happens, I often lose my patience (what little I posse…

My recent reading list

I've been asked what I was reading while I was nursing babies and everyone else was down at the beach. I'm afraid by telling you, I will also be revealing exactly how compulsive I actually am. I tend to get interested in something and am not satisfied until I have either completely mastered it (the board game Othello, for instance) or until I've read everything I can get my hands on. Recently my obsession has been child development and here's what I've read in the past week or two:

The House of Make-Believe: Play and the Developing Imagination by Dorothy and Jerome Singer

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child by Alissa Quart

The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children by David Elkind

and I'm currently halfway through:

Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans are more Confident, Assertive, Entitled -- and m…


I think I have mentioned before how much my family likes pie. Any kind of pie, served at any time of day will make them happy. Tonight they hit the pie jackpot. Not only did I make beef pot pies for dinner, but there was peach pie for dessert. I didn't use to make pot pie very often. It's a lot of work to prepare the meat and vegetables for the filling, make the white sauce, make the crust, and then put it all together. But then I came up with a way to short-cut at least some of it. I started keeping two freezer bags in my freezer in which I put my odds and ends leftovers. For instance, if there is one chicken leg left after dinner, I'll take the meat from the bone and put it in the freezer for meat. Or, instead of trying to convince someone to eat the last serving of green beans, I'll put the beans in the freezer bag for vegetables. Eventually, I'll have enough saved to make the filling for 3 or four pot pies. It's then easy to make the white sauce and pie cru…

Locks of Love

Yesterday, M. decided she was tired of her hair and wanted to get it cut. She decided to donate 12 inches to Locks of Love and get a free haircut at the same time.

Before Cutting the ponytail

After the ponytail is cut off

12 inches of hair

The new 'do from the back and

from the front.


Catchy title, huh? Do you remember last summer when K. ended up in the hospital with a bacterial infection? The doctors finally settled on a recurrence of the scabies infection he had when we first met him, although the skin scratch test was negative and no one else in the family had any symptoms. I think the mystery is solved. The is a little known skin disease called acropustulosis which can come as a result of having scabies. The symptoms sound exactly like what K. has off and on. An adoptive mother, who is also a doctor, is trying to do a study on it, because though it is relatively unknown, it seems many internationally adopted children have it. The following is from Laurie Good, the doctor doing the study. If you are interested in taking her survey, please be aware that she will only leave it up for another couple of weeks.

I am an adoptive parent of 2 awesome little boys from Vietnam, one of whom has had continual outbreaks from a disease called acropustulosis. I am also a medic…

Pictures from the beach

J.'s aunt and uncle have a summer home on Lake Michigan to which they graciously invite us each year. We enjoyed time on the beach...

and picking blueberries...

We actually took home 4 1/2 buckets. They are pesticide-free and I paid less than $40 for all of them.

Buckets still seem to leave K. a bit confused as to their purpose.

The babies are more alert and smiling...



The sky chair is very relaxing, until, that is,

it falls down because the old rope broke.

Frresh corn is always good...

and games are fun.

And when one gets tired of all those things, there's always dune grass in which to decorate your little brother.

Thanks for the great weekend Aunt G. and Uncle W.!

We're back

We've returned from our vacation at the beach in Michigan. The trip was relaxing and fun, plus we had terrific beach weather. Though, I, personally didn't see the beach much. It was just a bit too sunny and windy for the babies so we stayed up at the house and they nursed and I read. And for me, it's hard to beat a vacation where all I can do is read. (I brought plenty of books.) The babies did do great on both car rides; only crying a little bit and then only when hungry. The worst part of the trip was K.'s incredible exploding diaper on the way home, necessitating a stop for cleaning. Due, no doubt, to the vast number of blueberries he consumed over the weekend as a result of our blueberry picking.

I have lots of pictures which I'll post when I have a longer moment. That would be after we get unpacked and organized and some laundry conquered and...

Mystery solved!...with a moral

I found the suits! They were in the pile of laundry that had piled up over the past couple of days. I'm so glad I found them before I went out and bought new ones. The moral of the story? Never trust children's "looking" abilities. I should know this. At least once a day, someone loses something and can't find it anywhere. Yes, the child assures me, I have looked everywhere and it can't be found. This is often said with a tone that could possible imply that the item is so precious, that I, as caring mother, should have done a better job of keeping track of it. When I go to look, 9 times out of 10, I can immediately put my hands on the lost object merely by lifting things up and looking underneath. So why, why, why, did I think that these same children would be capable of sifting through a pile of dirty laundry and actually finding something?

But one more mystery remains. I know that I hung those suits on the line and did not take them off. J. didn&…

Very curious

We have a slight mystery on our hands. A couple of days ago, I hung some towels and swimsuits on our clothesline to dry because they had been left outside during an overnight rainstorm. I kind of forgot about them then, very occasionally thinking I should bring them in. Then yesterday, when everyone was getting ready to go to the beach, P. and TM couldn't find their suits. The suits weren't on the line, weren't in their dressers, weren't in the laundry...they just weren't anywhere. P. and TM did have second suits to wear, but neither of them was happy about having to wear them. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that they were two of the three suits I had hung up. A.'s was still there, but the others were gone, leaving empty clothespins in their place.

So here's the mystery: I don't think they blew off, because I hung them properly and the wind just hadn't been that strong. And A.'s was still there, which I didn't…

Home again, home again

J., B., and M. all made it home safe and sound this past weekend and a good time was had by all at their various destinations. Those of us at home survived the week remarkably well, in no small part due to the help of my parents. My inner sheepdog is content.

We are still in summer vacation mode here, though some of the older children have continued to work on various math curriculum's. We won't 'officially' start our school routine until after Labor Day. But as much as I hate to say good-bye to summer, I'm finding myself having to think about the school year. There is music for the children's choir to choose, schedules for our family to rework, unit studies to think about, and a history co-op to plan. (Though like last year, we have yet to have our feast to celebrate our study of the middle ages. We're hoping to get to it in early September.) I can't believe I will have two high schoolers this year: M. will be a Jr. and B. will be a Freshman. …

Yesterday started off well enough..

the babies had a pediatrician appointment. They are doing well and gaining weight, although compared with my previous babies, these two are little peanuts. But coming home from the pediatrician, there was some wood in the middle of the road which I couldn't avoid, but thought I had managed to drive over so it was between the tires. I was so convinced of this that I didn't think anything else about it. That is until I get a call from my mom later on that day.

She and my dad had driven off in the car to go get some take-out for dinner. When they arrived at their destination, they discovered that one of the tires was completely flat. We have AAA, so I thought it would simply be a matter of calling and having someone come out and change the tire for them. But that would have been far too simple. It turns out that AAA benefits only follow the card holder, not the card holder's car. This is great if I happen to have trouble with a borrowed car, but not so great if someon…

Thank goodness for grandparents...or piano, take-out, and fun

My parents arrived in town on Friday afternoon. While my dad had met the babies already, my mom saw them for the first time. The reason she delayed so much was that this is the week where I have no big helpers. J. and B. left before the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to go canoeing in the Boundary Waters with the Boy Scouts. M. left at a more reasonable time on Saturday morning to go with our church's youth group for a mission trip to Birmingham, Alabama. Which was leaving me with 7 children, 11 and under. It wasn't the 5 older ones I was worried about, but mainly the two babies. So my parents to the rescue! I'm not sure I would survive this week without them. They have been great at helping to hold babies, especially at night when they both feel the need to nurse. All the time. And when they're not nursing, they are crying. All the time. The hours of 8pm to midnight are not my favorite ones these days. But to make up for it, they have started to smil…