Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Miracle?
Follow the link, click on "medium" and watch!

I remember seeing this video when we were waiting for Piper Grace and being very touched by it. I just watched it for the first time since we've been home with her, and, well, wow. As I hear Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth and their son describe what adoption has meant to their family, it means so much more to me. At the very end, SCC describes the thing that hits him the hardest when thinking about their experience & it is the very thing that runs through my mind on a daily basis...he just says it much better than I can express it.

He doesn't go into the background of their adoptions on this video, but we've heard them tell about how they came to adopt and it's a pretty neat story. Their daughter Emily started praying that her parents would have a heart for adoption and be open to adopting, but for years they gently told her that was not going to happen. Their family supported other families in the process, but SCC and MaryBeth had already decided their family was complete. Along the way, something in their hearts shifted and they decided they were open to praying about it. They have now adopted 3 little girls from China. I so appreciate Mary Beth's description of her feelings that we saw in a different video. She describes the process she went through and all of her fears about following where she thought God was leading.

You cannot tell me that God does not perform miracles in our day. It is a miracle each time one of his children walks through their fear and follows Him. It is a miracle how He spoke to our hearts and created a new family. It is a miracle that, by His grace, our Piper Grace traveled halfway around the world to find a family and bring such joy and beauty to our lives.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trust me on this...

resist the urge to throw caution to the wind and play an impromptu game of tag with your kiddos while wearing your tall pink flowery flip flops. Not only will you look the complete fool, but about 3 hours later, your body will hate you, hate you in places you didn't know existed.
Trust me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I just had to let the people who are praying for my dad know that today was a good day. As of this moment, he's not connected to any tubes - no pain pump, no oxygen, and has been taking walks down the halls of his floor. Pray that his oxygen stays up and that he doesn't get Judy for his nurse again(wink).
These little victories are good.

Monday, May 28, 2007

So, how are you doing?

I have a lot of wonderful friends who are asking me this question and the answer eludes me. It is just hard to sum it up in a few succinct words. My heart is hurting, yet I am comforted. There are difficult moments and sweet moments. The reality of life has swooped down and seems to have taken residence in the pit of my stomach. I know that God will never leave or forsake my dad and that He will be the strength my dad needs. Honestly, I know someday we will all be able to say "It is well with my soul", but here and now, it doesn't always feel that way. I suppose that's where faith comes in.

My dad is still in the hospital. He had to have a blood transfusion yesterday and is still on oxygen. Those are some things to be praying about. At some point, and maybe he's already reached it, he's going to decide he wants out of that hospital room. I pray he'd be able to go home soon. My mom has been sleeping there every night on a fold out chair. My brother and I take turns going up there so she can go home for a bit. I look forward to when it's my "turn" to go up there and just sit in the room with my dad. It's my turn now...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's the simple things in life...

You are a good end table, full of strength and goodness, and almost always a remote control or two. I love you end table.
I can lean on you and you never tip over on top of me, unlike the evil endtable on the other side of the room. No, you are my favorite, I will have no others.
You supply me with the best this life has to offer...remotes, beautiful, sleek, buttony remotes.
Oh, how I love thee!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dad update: Today was better than yesterday...progress. They got my dad's pain under control last night and he is feeling better. His spirits are remarkably high today. I know people are praying for him and I am just so grateful for that. My dad has such an honest, steady strength that he puts everyone else at ease. I don't mean the kind of strength that pretends everything is just fine when it isn't. I mean the kind of strength that can honestly call it like it is and face the truth. He is funny and smart. I feel like the luckiest daughter in the world to have him for my dad. He really wouldn't like me going on and on about him, he'd say I was ruining his reputation. But, I am so proud of him and my mom for so many reasons, but seeing how they have walked through the last few weeks has been such a gift.

Keep praying...for healing and encouragement

I am so grateful that God brought Piper Grace home before all of this hit. She is such a bright ray of sunshine as we watch her grow and blossom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's 11:30 pm and I just got home from the hospital. After 3.5 hours in surgery the surgeon came out to tell us that unfortunately he was not able to get the tumor like we had all hoped. Because he worked so hard, my dad has a lot of healing to do and is in a lot of pain. Even through his pain, is cracking jokes and instructing my mom to go home and feed his cat. I can't tell you how much I love my dad. I am so proud of him and wish I could take this from him. Oh, how my heart is hurting right now.
Please join me in praying that he would heal quickly and be free from this intense pain. He needs to get well before he can start chemo and radiation.
I've gotten many kind messages today and I so appreciate them. Keep praying.
I love you, Dad.

Monday, May 21, 2007

In China now...

I've been following this blog and they just met their baby. It just makes my heart leap every time.

Rolly Pollies, the Tooth Fairy, and Lysol

Searching for rolly pollies, "I will not let this darn dress slow me down!"
"I found some good ones over here yesterday."
My favorite 6 year old & his toothless grin
Grandma, the proud graduate, Papa
A bit distracted during the prayer (I know, what was I doing taking a picture during the prayer, I just couldn't help myself)
So where have I been? Last week ended with another graduation and cookie reception, followed by a weekend of Lysoling every square inch of our house in a desperate attempt to contain the stomach virus that took over the men of our family. Hunter was hit especially hard with high fever, stomach ache, headache...the whole shebang. He is home again this morning, super sad that he is missing his end of the year party. He did manage to get his front tooth out last night and has a new smile this morning. I LOVE the look, and am beginning to drive him crazy making him say words like "scissors" and "slurpies".
So far the girls have been spared, and I am praying hard that we won't get the monster virus.
Piper continues to thrive and share her joy. She has started to have a sense of humor. Before she would make us smile and laugh with her cuteness, but now she is starting to do things on purpose. She will "hide" from me and when I "find" her she snorts and laughs like she just can't get over herself. Her big thing now is to find little gems off of the floor (rolly pollies, dirt, etc.), put them in her mouth, find me and then stick out her tongue to show me her latest find, beaming with pride.
My dad is having surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon. Please pray that it goes well and he has a quick recovery. The surgeon will not know what he can do until he can actually see what the situation is in surgery. Pray for my mom too, as I know this is hard on her too.
Life is fragile and we have to take the moments of joy and contentment that we are given. This verse keeps coming to my mind over and over. I think someone is trying to tell me somthing:
Philippians 4:12-14
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."
Oprah has her secret and Paul has his, I think I'll go with Paul. I am so glad Paul uses the word "learned". It tells me he had to work at it, like me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yep, that's our boy!

Ella, Grandma, Papa and Daddy waiting for the show to begin
Playing the all important letter G in the Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony

Our Hunter is a Kindergarten graduate! My favorite part of the ceremony was hearing them sing "1st Grade, 1st Grade" to the tune of "New York, New York". "Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it...First Grade, First Grade!"
Our firstborn, we are so proud of you! You are not only smart, but a hard worker with a heart of gold. We can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I really wish I had some inspiring Mother's Day type something to say tonight, but I am tired, the good kind of tired, the kind of tired you get when you've done some good liv'n. Extra points to my hubby who gave me a just right Mother's Day. I really loved this day.
To my mom, my mom in law, and all my mom and moms in waiting friends, thank you for sharing your lives with me. That's what its all about.
This Mother's Day, I am just thankful, thankful for the moms in my life. Thankful for the 3 little munchkins that call me Mom. I am full of mama love tonight... that mushy, soft, baby shampoo kind of love, that only comes from being a Mom.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Famous Tap Dancer Strawberry Shortcake sets the record straight

Ella, Hannah, Bwooke, Kaitlyn has finally come up with the perfect name. Obviously she does not have an agent, or she would've known the power of a name like Cher or Prince. For those keeping track, she would now like to be referred to as her real name...
Famous Tap Dancer Strawberry Shortcake.
Don't worry about not remembering it all when speaking to her, she will correct you if you mess it up. Trust me on this.
For all you child psychologists, don't worry, she told me she still wants to be Ella, just not all the time.

Deal or No Deal? DEAL!!!

So the week we left for China someone posted to our yahoo group that we should buy Nestle brand formula b/c our babies were getting Nestle in the orphanage through a charity called Love Without Boundaries. During one of my 500 trips to Target that week, someone was completely blocking the aisle I wanted to go down so I had to turn my overflowing cart around and take a detour. As I passed by the end cap, I caught this vision out of the "tip of my eye" as Ella says, Nestle Good Start Supreme! It was on clearance. I couldn't believe my good fortune, could it be? A regular can costs about $23.00, but this was no regular can, it had 25% MORE. The clearance sticker said $11.26! My mind raced with all of the reasons it could be on clearance...laced with rat poison, manufactured in 1983, proven to cause sleeplessness. I took it up to the front and asked the manager. She informed me that they were changing the packaging and so they were trying to get rid of the old packaging, same stuff, new package. I could barely contain my joy as ran back to the end cap. I bought $75 worth, which seemed like a lot at that time. I just used the last sweet scoop of this precious find. We are now paying, get the tissues, REGULAR PRICE.

The doctor wants PG to stay on formula for a little longer than usual just to be sure she gets everything she needs. I'm all for it, but how I will miss opening the extra big, more than half off cans. It gave me a thrill everytime.

And the winner of Best Bed Head goes to...

Number of different directions: 10
Height of tallest hair: 10
Overall disorderliness 10

Perfect Score!

We couldn't be prouder.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Can you stand the cuteness?

Well, we bit the bullet and did it again, just 48 hours after our first failed attempt at picture taking. We got a few good ones and I am one happy momma. I can't make them appear any larger and that is such a shame b/c this one just has to be seen BIG to enjoy all of the cuteness. These are the pearls we got for Piper while we were in China. Shhhh, don't tell her, we are saving them to give her when she gets married so that she will have something from China. I just love that we will have this picture of her with them.

Hannah is soooo last week...

Introducing...Kaitlyn, the teacher/sometimes Kaitlyn the girl

A few weeks ago Ella was insisting that we need to change Piper's name to Hannah because that was her real name. She called her Hannah and wanted us to also. Then it hit her, "why waste a wonderful name like Hannah on my sister? I will be Hannah!" Ella informed me that this summer I needed to teach her how to write the name Hannah because when she turned 5, she would change her name to Hannah. After a few days of this, she realized that Hannah starts with and H and so does Hunter. That was just too close to her brother's name for comfort. So after much thought and consulting with her stuffed doggies, she decided Brooke (pronounced Bwooke) was a much better choice. Bwooke it was, she would be Bwooke when she turned 5.

So, the other day on the way home from preschool Ella says "Guess what mommy!"
"What, Ella, I mean Hannah, I mean Bwooke?"
"Kaitlyn wore my sandals all day!"
"Mommy, can I get a purple lunch box with ponies on it?"
"Let me guess, Kaitlyn has a purple lunch box with ponies."
"How did you know that???"

I was smelling a name change coming on. Sure enough by dinner time...
"Ella, would you like milk or water with your dinner?"
"Are you forgetting something, Mommy?"
"You cannot have orange juice with dinner."
Total exasperation, "My name IS NOT Ella, it's KAITLYN, I am a teacher/girl and my name is Kaitlyn!"

Apparently Kaitlyn is a very good organizer and has a lot of power over the other "girls" that are in our house this morning. She has been very busy telling everyone - Sarah, Kaitlyn (the other one), Abby, Molly, and Ella what to do and how to organize their school supplies.

I just hope "Kaitlyn" likes to eat her veggies and take long naps...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Perfect Picture, that wasn't

These pics were taken as a little experiment to see how easy it is to get Piper to smile. I said "peek a boo" and this is what I got. I am not ready to out my favorite photo place yet, I will give them one more chance...

I am starting feel like maybe I shouldn't leave the house for a while. Ever go through times when things just don't seem to be going your way? At least there's Job. Compared to Job, my measly little problems are, well, just measly (literally). Things started going downhill the week Piper got the Measles. That same day we learned my dad had a suspicious spot on his lung. Suddenly the measles didn't seem like such a big deal.

That was a Friday. The next Monday Hunter's class took a field trip to a zoo I had never heard of in small town Northwest of where we live. My plan was to meet them at the zoo with Piper and Ella in tow. We live in a small town, so when I turned onto the main road I was pleasantly surprised to see our 3 school buses full of kiddos on the way to the field trip. I could just follow the buses and get there at the same time as Hunter, and would not take the chance of getting lost. I hopped in the line of parents following the buses and off we went. For the first 30 minutes, we took the route I expected, but then we turned onto a very small highway out in the middle of nowhere. "Great!", I thought, I would've never known to take this road, I'm glad I followed the buses. The trip was supposed to take about 55 minutes, so after about 20 more minutes we turned on a main highway that I was familiar with, but we were going South instead of North, like I thought we were supposed to. After about 10 minutes of thinking the first bus would realize his mistake and turn us all around, he turned onto a different small highway and weaved around until I was completely turned around...another shortcut I thought, so I followed along. Somewhere along the way, the thought occurred to me that I could be following the wrong buses. I called the school secretary, and no, no one else was going on a field trip today. So, I followed. Eventually the buses turned into a large, fenced in building and I saw the sign. We had made it! Unfortunately, not to the zoo, we were at the place where money is made...what? Apparently the fourth graders were learning how money was made the same day the Kindergartners were going to the zoo. I could have cried at that moment, but I had to figure out where I was first. I started making calls, but quickly realized my battery on my cell phone was on its last ounce of power. Eventually Hunter's teacher called and I figured out that I was about 50 miles south of the zoo. We made it there...just in time for lunch. I don't want to admit this but, I missed my turn on the way home and it took us an extra 40 minutes to get home.

The rest of the week was full of mishaps, none of which are worthy of mention here.

I was really hoping things would turn around this week, but it's not looking that way...yet.

Yesterday, I got up with an extra few ounces of energy and thought that it was a good day to take the kids to get their photo taken after school. I spent the day picking out their clothes, ironing everything, and making sure I had the timing just right so everyone would be happy, well fed and awake. Our appointment was at 4:00. We arrived at 3:35 ready to go. Well, by 4:45 we were still waiting. Piper had used up all her smiles and good cheer, and by the time it was our turn, she was having none of it. The lady taking the photos was pitiful. Her main trick to getting a 12 month old to look at her and smile, was to say "smile" and tell her "no" when she tried to crawl away. The manager kept apologizing to me and eventually brought over a hand written coupon for 20% off and 2 free 8x10's and suggested I make another appointment and request someone different. The "photographer" kept trying to convince me Piper was smiling. I kid you not, she looked like she was making a diaper in the pictures. It was almost funny. Almost.

Anyone still reading at this point, thank you. I feel better now that I've shared. I love this blog. I can get out my frustrations and pretend someone is reading along, it really does make me feel better! Life in denial land has it's perks.

My dad went to the surgeon yesterday. He wants to try to get the tumor out. He said it will be tricky. My dad has to run everything by the oncologist, but it sounds like the surgery may happen soon. As always, prayers are greatly appreciated.

So this morning, I was laying on the floor thinking how today is a new day, quoting bible verses to myself about "His mercies are new every morning" when out of no where, Piper crawled up behind my head and before I even knew she was there, she had her tiny little finger stuck all the way up my nose. Not a fun way to realize it was time to trim her fingernails. A major nose bleed ensued.

Well, I've got to deal with the trail of ants Ella just found going from the back door, all the way up to the kitchen table... Ants have always fascinated me. How do they know what a wonderland of crumbs existed on the other side of our back door? I am serious about this, how do they know???

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Quote from John Piper's article "Don't Waste Your Cancer":
"How on earth can heartache coexist with love, joy, peace, and an indestructible sense of life purpose? In the inner logic of faith, this makes perfect sense. In fact, because you have hope, you may feel the sufferings of this life more keenly: grief upon grief. In contrast, the grieving that has no hope often chooses denial or escape or busyness because it can't face reality without becoming distraught. In Christ, you know what's at stake, and so you keenly feel the wrong of this fallen world. You don't take pain and death for granted. You love what is good and hate what it evil. After all, you follow in the image of a "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief"."

I've been avoiding writing because I do not want to write the following words: My daddy has lung cancer. Piper's, Ella's and Hunter's Papa has a tumor in his lung. He is 66 years old and each one of us has a very deep love for him. We do not want him to go through this, yet here we are. Next week he should find out his treatment options. We are praying for his complete healing. I am finding that there just aren't a lot of words.

I remember hearing Tim Keller quote Tolkien saying something like - "God will someday make everything sad come untrue, but somehow the suffering will make our eternal glory and joy even greater for having been through it." Keller went on to say that somehow, through the cross, we can see that God will enhance our joy, through our suffering. It will be more glorious for having once been wrong and bad.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Kutless - Strong Tower

One of my current favorites...

Tired, no not me!

Miss P woke up really early this morning. Way too early. By 7:45 this morning I caught her getting all snuggly on the floor, so of course I ran and got my camera. She looked too cute, with her diaper bottom sticking all up. She heard the click of the camera and was sitting up, all smiles in the matter of a second, like "I wasn't sleeping, me, no I am wide awake...see?" The time between these two photos is about 2 seconds.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A whisper started our journey
Yet with no spoken word
A whisper tugged upon our hearts
Instead of being heard
Your family is not quite complete
There is yet another
A precious child that waits
For a father and mother
Another tiny hand to hold
A child to embrace
Another priceless little smile
A reminder of God's grace
A whisper offered us faith
As we asked, "Who? When? and Where?"
Our searching paths found direction
As we whispered back in prayer
Her little hand you're soon to hold
A reminder of God's grace
Thank you Lord, for all you've done
And all that you will do
Thank you for whispering to our hearts
I have a child for you

By: Todd and Leslie Merrill
It's referral day for families waiting for their babies from China! I read this poem on someone's website today. The pictures of the babies will start posting this afternoon and tomorrow. If you want to see some precious miracles follow the links on .

She said it!!!

When you are the third child, your bath takes place in the kitchen sink while your mommy unloads the dishwasher. It's really a beautiful thing. I get something done while Piper has fun and gets clean. I know she will outgrow the sink soon, but while she is a little peanut, it just doesn't get much easier. Well, while she was in her sinky spot yesterday, I was on the phone with my mom, and she said it! She looked right at me, waved and said "mama!" with a big grin on her face. Then, just to be sure I heard her, she said it again, still waving at me. I've been feelin the love from her in an extra special way for a few days. She has always been loving, but just more so lately. She is spotaneously giving Scott and me "kisses". You can see her planning it as she opens her mouth wide and then bobs her face to our cheek. She is so proud of herself each time she does it, and it just melts my already mushy heart.

Celebrating Piper Grace

So last weekend some wonderful, fabulous friends of mine got together and threw the most special celebration of Piper. It was just perfect and Piper seemed to have a wonderful time being the center of attention. Everyone brought squares of fabric and a verse or hope for Piper that will made into a "100 Good Wishes Quilt", which I had read about on other people's websites. It is a tradition in China, and I am so excited that Piper will have this gift of love from all of the people who have prayed for her and welcomed her. Anyone out there that wants to send me a square of fabric, email me or leave it in the comments and I will ask Shannon to send you the specifics via email. We need more squares!!! I would love to have a square from every person who prayed for her along the way. I can just picture her really treasuring her quilt, especially when she has her own children. My mom was able to find some fabric from a Holly Hobby dress that she made for me when I was little, way to go mom!

To Linda, Michelle, Shannon, Brooke, and Rachel...every detail was so special, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys!