Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Nightmares

Patrick woke up this morning, rubbed his eyes, looked at me with a wild, confused expression, then said, "I had the most horrible dream!  It was Halloween!  And it was raining!"

I expected him to go on, telling me about goblins and headless creatures, but that was his horrible dream. 


And, in our neck of the woods, Halloween often includes rain.  And the bummer about rain is that it usually means a shortened round of trick-or-treating (and therefore CANDY).

I am happy to report that the sky is blue!

How are my little goblins dressing up?

A couple of weeks ago we were in the car and Vu says, "For Halloween, I want to dress up like Daniel in the Bible.  Or God."

Ahhhh.  Isn't that just so sweet?  My heart did a little happy dance of Christian Mommy Pride.

Then Patrick says, "I want to be Scream!  Or the Grim Reaper!"

Christian Mommy Pride erased. 

After lots of changes, I think we are going to have Princess Jasmine (Rose), a ninja (Vu), and some kind of a headless-bad-guy-dude-all-dressed-in-black-with-a-big-ax (Guess-Who?).  Lizzy is also getting in on the fun because they dress up at her workplace.

Kim wants to go trick-or-treating but is having a hard time convincing her too-cool high-school friends that they are not too old (in my opinion, you are never too old!). 

Paul is having a last minute Halloween party.  Which means I need to go to the store.  Again.

And I have been informed that my kids will disown me if I hand out any more pencils, playdough, or stickers. I am only allowed to hand out candy. 

Guess I should put "candy" on the shopping list.

Oh, and we never carved our pumpkins, so add that to today's "must do" list.

It's looking like another fun Halloween!  Enjoy yours!  Eat a lot of candy!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Teenage Son

Did you notice that my weekend pics did not include any of my favorite teenage son, Paul?

He has been doing lots of this lately,

which resulted in this:

I'll save his pride and not post his picture, but he did a faceplant at the skate park.  Not pretty. 

Let's just say he looks all boy right now.  Luckily, he's healing up fine and nothing is broken.  He did finagle his way out of two days of school, so I think it was worth it for him!

This gave him lots of time with his best friend, his new cell phone, which he got for his birthday.

We celebrated up at the cabin, but I forgot the cake, so I had to get creative:

It's amazing what one can do with Oreo cookies, pudding snacks, marshmallows and candles.  Luckily, my laid-back boy didn't mind.

Boys are such a blast!  I love my boys and they always love their mama, even when they are teenagers! 

Paul is kick-in-the-pants funny, he is our social butterfly, a sports nut, a fisherman, a midnight cupboard raider, and an entertainer.  He is also a lover of giant ice cream cones. 

On e-How I recently saw a post on How to Understand Your Teenage Son.  Great advice! 


1 Make sure your son sees your emotions as they relate to him: love, approval, disapproval, happiness or encouragement. While his face may not betray any emotion, he does seek it from you.

2 Observe his sleeping and eating patterns. Many teenage boys overbook themselves with sports, school, work and a social life and do not get enough sleep. After infancy, this is the time of life when they need the most sleep.

3 Remember he is not a younger version of his father. He is not yet an adult. The teenage brain is not fully formed until late teen years and sometimes into the early twenties.

4 Communicate at the right time. Think about the times you had a good conversation, and look for trends. It might be in the car, after dinner, after school or in the flush of a team victory-not first thing in the morning.

5 Set boundaries. Teenage boys may chafe at rules, but they actually do need them and want them. Make sure they understand the boundaries, and emphasize safety and the law as reasons if your son challenges you.

6 Learn about the things that interest him. Television shows about wrestling or thriller movies may not be your thing, but they are his world. If nothing else, it gives you an opening topic of conversation.

7 Look at the world he lives in. He is working through his place in the world, trying to understand girls for the first time and dealing with school and other pressures. It's a lot to carry around.

Read more: How to Understand A Teenage Son"

I love you Paul!  You add so much joy to our family and our lives!  You are truly a blessing and you are forever loved!  Keep smiling--and keep wearing your helmet!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Will!

Happy 22nd birthday to Will!  You might be a big, strong, American soldier now; all grown up and even married to a beautiful girl,

but you will always be my Lil' Pumpkin! 

I was hoping we might be able to talk by phone today, so we could all sing you Happy Birthday, but I'm guessing the Army isn't all that into song and dance. 

I hope they at least let your field training include an extra special MRE of your choice!

I still remember the day you were born, just like it was yesterday.  You had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen, with a depth that could only be from Heaven.  Not only were you a beautiful baby, but you have always been a beautiful person--inside and out!

Family Picture 1990   (Will's on my lap)

I feel so blessed that out of all the mothers in the whole wide world, God chose me to be yours. 

Oh, how I love you!  I am so proud of you!

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week,emd im Pics

The weekrnd included a famcy fumdraising event annd fake nailz so now i cam''t type. 

Weekennd im pics:

Kim;s homecomimg:

Fun at ther pumpkin patch:

Appple pies:

And a teA partuy:

Hop[e you ahd a blessed weekeknd!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Hate Bad Mother Moments

Kim called me tonight.  Shouting with excitement, then crying.  They had won their first soccer game!

But her tears weren't happy tears, they were sad tears.

Why was she crying?  Because I didn't make it to her game.

I had full intentions of going, but in the midst of attending five school conferences and then taking the boys to hip-hop, my Energizer bunny ran out of steam (and did I mention that Hubby is out of town?).  It started to rain and the idea of sitting in the pouring rain with three children did not sound very appealing.  Nor did the drive since it wasn't a home game.  And have I ever mentioned that soccer isn't my favorite sport?

I told myself that it didn't really matter that much if I missed Kim's game.  As a freshman, she doesn't get much playing time anyway.  She wouldn't really care. 

But she did care, and it did matter.  A lot.  And because they were up by several goals, she played--a lot.  And I know it isn't just about her playing anyway--it's about her team.  It's about being there for her and her team and the sport she loves. 

As soon as she started to choke up on the phone, saying she wished I had been there, she tried to hide her tears and hung up.

When she got home she put on a happy face and said it was fine that I hadn't come.  She understood.  No big deal.

But I know it was a big deal.  She wanted me there.  And I wasn't.  And I know I can't be at every game of every child, but I could have been at this one. 

And it just makes me sad. 


I hate bad mother moments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family Favorites: The Rice Box

My kids have almost outgrown this.  Sigh.  But it has been loved for many years.

A plastic bin filled with steel-cut oats, rice, or lentils, 

Plus Micro Machines,

Equals many hours of happiness.

You can put down a bedsheet or plastic tablecloth for easy clean-up. 

Awesome rainy day fun!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anna Rose

Enjoying this beautiful song, on a beautiful day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Turnaround

Vu was having a bad day.  One of those days where everything seemed to be going wrong, similar to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. 

Vu came to me crying that not only was he having a terrible day, but he also had NOBODY to play with!  NOBODY!  (Probably because nobody wanted to play with a Mr. Grumpypants!)

On this day I had compassion for him.  He really did seem to be having one of those "No good, very bad days."  So unlike my Joyful Boy.

So I stopped cleaning the kitchen and we got out the blocks.  And we gathered the little Matchbox cars.

And soon, we had built an incredible castle that morphed from a car shop,

into a car museum.

From there we made an aircraft museum.

And then we added the racetrack.

I remember when Vu didn't know how to play.  He didn't understand how to create imaginary stories with concrete items. 

I marvel at how far my little boy has come.

And on this day, some special time with Mommy turned his terrible day into a terrific day!

And on this day, I was reminded of the joy I get when I choose to stop what I'm doing (which probably isn't that important anyway--especially in the scheme of things), and get down and play with my child. 

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  ~Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She Had So Many Children She Knew Just What To Do

While waiting in a doctor's office I picked up the book, I Love You Rituals.  What a wonderful resource for parents of young children--especially adoptive parents. 

One nursery rhyme especially stood out to me--I've never been a fan of the original, but love this version:

There was a wonderful woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she knew exactly what to do,
She fed them and hugged them and tucked them in bed,
"I love you, I love you" is what she said.

Enjoying a meal at our favorite restaurant in Guangzhou--
home of the famous KFP--
Kentucky Fried Pigeon!
(Patrick will be forever famous for coining the term!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tricks Of The Trade--OR--How To Talk A Husband Into Adopting

Several asked if my last post was an announcement.  It wasn't meant to be--tho with the new rule on re-using the dossier maybe it should be! 

If you've adopted from China in the last year and you are considering adopting again, look into it!

I am telling you people-EZZZYYYY PEEEEZZY! 

If only I could think of a new trick for the old fart.

I've already done the boy/boat switch.  You know? 

The one where you say all that paperwork and money is for a really amazing, super incredible, one-of-a-kind boat? 

And then later, you feign shock as to why your husband thought you said "boat" instead of "boy?" 

(It can be a little tricky explaining why fingerprints are needed for a "boat," but some husbands are gullible that way.) 

After the initial shock wore off, it turns out the man is extremely pleased with his little Vietnamese boat boy!

With Rose I used the "exchange student" trick.

The biggest challenge was explaining to Hubby why we had to go to China to bring her home.  I came up with the excuse that she was only ten and had never been on an airplane before--all true!

Fingerprints made more sense for an exchange student.  Writing all those checks was a little bit trickier. 

But the end result was a happy, smiling husband, and a wonderful new exchange student daughter.

As you can see, I'm running out of tricks. 

But being the creative genius that I am, I think I've come up with a new one!

The grill/girl switch.

You know those really fancy outdoor grills?

I'm thinking I can convince the old fart that we're going to China to get an amazing, beautiful, one-of-a-kind girl grill.

What do you think?  Will he go for it? 

Any ideas of how to pass off fingerprints once again? 

He's getting smarter by the kid, and he just might be onto all my tricks now.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Adopt Again?

A simple question, yet it can seem complicated to answer.

A question we have been asked with every adoption.

Why adopt? 

Why adopt again.

Rose--walking into the hotel, and her new life with her new family, on Adoption Day.

It's a question that is particularly asked in large families. 

Ask ten adoptive parents and you'll probably get ten different answers--"We wanted to give an orphan a home," "The Bible says to care for orphans and widows," "We didn't want our son to be the only boy," "We wanted a little girl."

While answers such as these can be part of the equation, they can never be the leading reason.  Or at least, they shouldn't be.

In our compassion to help vulnerable children, it would be easy to adopt for humanitarian reasons.  It would be easy to adopt for religious reasons.  It would be easy to fall in love with a face on a waiting child photolisting.  It would be easy to want to adopt again for many reasons.

But despite the many reasons to adopt, or to adopt again, there can only be one cornerstone.

We want another child.

Plain and simple. 

Another child to love and share laughter with. 

And another child to wake us up at midnight with a bad dream. 

Another child to teach, to dress up on Halloween, to share the wonder of nature, to snuggle with on a cold winter evening while watching the new Disney princess movie. 

And another child who throws fits in the middle of the grocery store, gets carsick on every vacation, and who wants to be picked up in church so he can "See over that fat lady!" and then, when you pick him up, trying to whisper that "fat" isn't a nice word, he yells out for all to hear (right in the middle of the prayer), "OWWWWCH!!!!!  YOU'RE SQUASHING MY PENIS!!!" 

We have to want another child.  No matter what.  To have and to hold from this day forward.  For better or worse.  In sickness and in health.  Forever and ever. 

Because our lives would feel empty without them. 

There can only be one cornerstone.

To the question of adopting again. 

Plain and simple.

Because we want another child.

Be Inspired!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preparing For Adopting An Older Child

Dawn Davenport, at Creating a Family, hosted a radio program today entitled, Preparing Yourself and Your Children for Adopting an Older Child from Abroad. 

There were some rockin' cool people on the show--see if you recognize any! 

There was also some crazy lady with a bunch of kids.  She reminded kinda reminded me of myself.  Except that my voice sounds much better.  And my answers would be more intelligent.  And my name is easier to pronounce.  Ann.  Ya know.  Eazzy Peeezzy.  At least, I think that's my name.  Maybe it's not my name. 

Maybe my cover has just been blown!  EEEE-GADS!  My cover has been blown! 

The paparazzi is probably going to arrive at any moment! 

Do I look fat in this? 

Enjoy the show, and go to the Creating a Family website for a ton of great resources and information!  (Mom, push the arrow below, then wait for several seconds as it loads :-)

Listen to internet radio with Creating a Family on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More School Year's Resolutions

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

My October resolution comes from Benjamin Franklin. 

For me, it's much easier said than done.  I'm a night owl who likes to stay up late.  And given the choice I would sleep in every . single . day.

Let me tell you.  It is not easy to sleep in with 40,000 children.  But I sure like to try. 

The problem lies in the fact that these 40,000 children all go to public school.  And public schools frown on tardiness. 

I was getting in the habit of hitting the snooze button a few too many times, then rushing around. 

I now get up 30 minutes earlier.  It's working.  Mornings are much calmer--and therefore much happier. 

Happy sleeping--and rising--to you all!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Please Pray For Joshua

Many of you helped Joshua come home. 

This morning he is having heart surgery

Please keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

School Year's Resolutions--A Healthier Lifestyle

Like New Year's resolutions, the beginning of the school year is always a great time to reflect. 

After reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to come up with a new resolution for each month of the year. And actually, because I can never do anything on a small scale, I decided to come up with one big and one small resolution.

My big resolution for September was family health.  My sister had some great thoughts on this topic with her post entitled, Lessons Learned in the Oncology Ward Infusion Room, lessons such as,

"Being sick (even though I haven’t even been truly sick) is extremely time consuming. I have spent more time at the doctor in the past 6 months than in all the 43 years before that I think!  I am going to remember how time consuming sickness is every time I think I don’t have time to go work out or I don’t have time to make a healthy dinner for the family, cut up that fruit, take those vitamins, or whatever."

Her post really started me thinking about life choices.  If my doctor told me I had to take heart medication I would, whereas if my doctor tells me eat healthy and exercise, I don't.  At least, not to the level I should.  In reality, the lack of a healthy lifestyle can lead to the need for heart medication. 

Like many moms, I neglect my own exercise and health needs.  My kids are involved in sports.  I'm not.  My kids are generally given healthy foods, but sometimes I'll grab a cookie and cup of coffee for myself.  For lunch!  The ironic thing is that this is the time in my life where I need my health the most!

I may not think I have time for exercise, but do I really want to skip it only to put in more time battling health problems later?  I may not think I want to spend more time/money on healthy food choices, but if I don't I will probably spend more time/money down the road on health care. 

September has been filled with many small changes that have led to a healthier lifestyle for our whole family.  I have been prioritizing exercise and can already feel looser pants!  I've been focusing on whole grains and keeping more fruits and vegetables (especially organic) for snacking.  I've spent more time in the kitchen, but the rewards will be worth it in the end. 

A family game of croquet

In fact, they already are.