Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Piper's 1st Halloween home

Tinkerbell in her Squeaky shoes (a very big hit, those squeaky shoes), The Island Princess, and Spiderweb man
Ready to roll....

We wondered what Piper would think of this whole trick or treating deal. After her first house, she completely had the hang of it and loved every minute. She loved getting dressed up and going to the doors. Ella quickly trained Piper to put her candy in Ella's pumpkin.

Piper loved waving at everyone and saying "bye-bye!"

We had planned on going to a Family Fun Fest type deal, but earlier today decided to just stay home and trick or treat and I'm so glad we did. We got to meet some new neighbors and visit with ones we knew. It was just right for the kids, while not being too crazy for us parents. The kids also enjoyed handing out candy at our door when we returned.

Hunter was actually the one who pooped out first this time. I think he fell asleep walking up the stairs to bed.

And the most amazing thing about tonight: Ella did not complain one. single. time. about her legs hurting - a Halloween miracle if I ever heard one. Lip gloss can do wondrous things for an Island Princess.
I'm too cool to smile.
Put it right in here, Piper, I'll "hold" it for you...
Hmmm...where did all my candy go?
The Dora toothbrush is workin overtime tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our weekend, in pictures (it's much quieter this way)

Our pretty pumpkin

neighborhood party, Ella ended up being the "Pass the Pumpkin" champion
Saturday at Grandma's b-day party, scooping out pumpkins with cousins

See my new teeth!
Where's Piper?

Friday, October 26, 2007

A great read...

God's Mission: Adoption
by Max Lucado

When we come to Christ, God not only forgives us, he also adopts us. Through a dramatic series of events, we go from condemned orphans with no hope to adopted children with no fear. Here is how it happens. You come before the judgment seat of God full of rebellion and mistakes. Because of his justice he cannot dismiss your sin, but because of his love he cannot dismiss you. So, in an act which stunned the heavens, he punished himself on the cross for your sins. God’s justice and love are equally honored. And you, God’s creation, are forgiven. But the story doesn’t end with God’s forgiveness.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15–16 NASB).

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4–5 NASB).

It would be enough if God just cleansed your name, but he does more. He gives you his name. It would be enough if God just set you free, but he does more. He takes you home. He takes you home to the Great House of God.

Adoptive parents understand this more than anyone. I certainly don’t mean to offend any biological parents—I’m one myself. We biological parents know well the earnest longing to have a child. But in many cases our cribs were filled easily. We decided to have a child and a child came. In fact, sometimes the child came with no decision. I’ve heard of unplanned pregnancies, but I’ve never heard of an unplanned adoption.

That’s why adoptive parents understand God’s passion to adopt us. They know what it means to feel an empty space inside. They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future. If anybody understands God’s ardor for his children, it’s someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us.
God has adopted you. God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.

From The Great House of GodCopyright (W Publishing Group, 1997) Max Lucado

We live next door to Martha Stewart

After a party full of creative games and treats, this is what the kids came home with.

Our neighbor decided to throw a little last minute Halloween party. I figured it might include dressing up and maybe decorating some pumpkin cookies or something. Well, this party would put even Martha to shame. Lest you think she bought those cupcakes or little ghosts on brooms, no mam, made each one herself. The kids bobbed for apples, wrapped dads up in toilet paper, danced to "Thriller", ate a plateful of Halloween themed snacks, played pin the nose on the pumpkin, and made their own haunted houses. And that's just the part that I witnessed, I had to run home and put Piper to sleep. Piper danced the entire time. Something about seeing her having so much fun dancing to "Thriller", cracked me up.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today I am grateful

Beautiful day -
joy in my heart, kids at school, Piper taking a long nap, 2 loads of laundry going, floors swept, bathroom cleaned, Monk and Neagle on the CD player...
I needed this time today, time for quiet thoughts and time to pray, time to reflect and time plan, time to take a breath, and remember why I do all that I do, and time to ask God if I'm on the right track.

Lord, I needed this time so very much, only you know how much. Thank you for these few hours, I accept them as a sweet gift straight from your hands.

I think it may be impossible to listen to this song and not feel happy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Good Day

Today was a good day. We woke up to temperatures 25 degrees cooler than the day before. My mom came over to play with Ella and Piper while I took Hunter to have allergy testing done.

Hunter commented on the way to school, after his doctor's appointment, how much fun we'd had together this morning. I had to agree. Sounds strange that we had fun while he got about 40 pricks on his back, but we really did. Turns out he's allergic to quite a bit, and we are to do a 2 week elimination diet where he doesn't eat wheat, corn, milk, oats, or soy. Oh, he's going to love this! Oh, and peanut butter, he's allergic to peanuts - the very food I send EVERYDAY with him to school for lunch. It's not a severe allergy, but I probably shouldn't be feeding it to him on a daily basis.

We picked up Hunter from school and went straight to Madeleine's b-day party at the ice skating rink. Madeliene was born almost exactly 9 months before Hunter. I've watched her grow up along with Hunter, and have shared this parenting journey with her mama, Linda. Scott, me, Linda, and her husband Greg were all friends in Singles Sunday School class, way back when. Way back before we were married, before kids, before our first houses, and then our next houses. To say that we've shared a lot together would be the understatement of the decade. Linda and I talk on the phone several times a week and solve most of the worlds problems each time. Now, if we could only solve our own, maybe we wouldn't have to talk so much!

I kind of had a "moment" seeing Hunter and Madeleine out on the ice, working really hard to not fall! Could it be? Could all this time really have passed? I don't know why, but I distinctly recall, and I have the worst memory, being in the elevator in the hospital, with my little gift in hand, going up to see Linda and Greg, and of course Madeleine right after her birth. I remember being so excited to see her. I remember being glad that I could feel so excited, while still feeling the sting of our two miscarriages. I had no idea at the time, but I was almost 2 weeks pregnant with Hunter that day.

Ella's take away from the day, (remember she just turned 5) "Mommy, I'm going to have my birthday party at THE ICE SKATING RINK!" moment of realization, then, "I mean I'm going to have my eight year old b-day party at THE ICE SKATING RINK. This is going to be hard to remember. Mommy, you have to remember with me!" So, because I have such a bad memory, let's review and record it here...her six year old party- dress up party, seven year old party-THE ZONE, eight year old party-ICE SKATING. I'm glad we have that settled.

All that to say, today was a good day.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My New Favorite Thing

Did you know that you can watch Beth Moore online through the Life Today website? I just discovered this, and am just tickled to death that I can listen to her where ever my laptop will take me.
She's on every Wednesday, but it comes on at 8:00 am here, and well, that's just not going to work for me, probably ever, because I am doing about 500 other things at that time of day. And...I know this is shocking, but we don't have TiVo. I am shocked about this myself.

So, go here, and enjoy! I especially enjoyed the "Times of Intensive Care" series.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Pumpkin Workout

When Piper sets her mind to something, she works and works until she gets it done. For some unknown reason, she decided it was time to move that pumpkin, and that she did!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


People ask me in different ways, some direct, some not so direct, how the bonding is going with Piper. I understand the question, I used to wonder with others I knew who had adopted. I wondered what they felt like toward their child, did they have to work at loving them "the same" as their bio kids.

All I know is our experience, and I do know it's different with different people.

There are no words, but that won't stop me! There are no words to describe how we feel towards Piper, and what her life has meant to our family. She simply stole our hearts on February 26, 2007, found a comfy spot, and settled in to stay. I cannot imagine not having her for my daughter (tears are dropping by the dozen now).

Each day, I just enjoy her so much. With her, every little milestone is so sweet. The first time she kissed us, the first time she hugged us, really hugged us, her calling our names, her happiness at seeing us, her joining in a game a chase or hide and seek, her discovering the backyard, and on it goes.

I can confidently say that she loves us. We are her family. She knows that, and me knowing that she knows that, gives me unspeakable joy.

When we pull in the garage after being gone somewhere, I say to Piper, "We're home!". Today, Hunter and Ella were at school and Piper and I had just a great day together. We pulled in the garage, and out of the back seat I hear her sweet little voice, "home".

Moments like that do me in. The sweetness just overtakes me. Knowing that she has a home, and we get to be her family, that I get to be her mommy - it is one of the greatest pleasures I've ever known.

So, to answer that question about bonding and attachment, it is going great, I can't imagine it being any better really. She is ours. We are hers. Both Scott and I are totally, completely in love with our little Piper Grace, and there is an added element of gratefulness that we get to be her parents, and gratefulness that God chose us to bless in such a sweet way.

We worried that Hunter and Ella would be jealous of the attention Piper would get. We worried about a lot of things that just haven't come to be. I do wonder if God knew what we would go through with my dad this summer and just chose to just take care of all that for us. Hunter and Ella love Piper more than I could have ever imagined. They do sometimes fight over her, who gets to do things for her, whose name she called first, etc.., but she is 100% their sister. One of the biggest surprises along the way is seeing the joy they experience in having Piper. I didn't anticipate how this experience would change them, and in only a positive way.

No matter how long Scott is gone on business, Piper talks about him everyday (dada, dada), and is always so excited when he comes home. Everyday that Scott was gone, I could tell he really missed her and wanted to know every detail about what she was up to.

Our family would be so different without Piper. I don't like thinking of that option. She makes us so much better than we were before - each one of us.

Someday I'll try to put into words how Piper has enlarged our family's view of the world and our place in it. Hunter especially has been greatly impacted. He's always trying to figure out what he's going to be when he grows up. Because of Piper, Hunter now wants to be a missionary/adventure guide in either Africa or China. I see God working in him as he sorts through Piper's experience. It's so interesting to hear Hunter and Ella talk about adopting someday, and hear them refer to China in their everyday conversations and imaginary adventures.

Piper is a living, walking, climbing, talking means of God's grace to us. Sometimes someone will say something about what a great thing we did in adopting Piper. I want to say, "NO, no, you don't understand, it's not like that, it's God that's done a great thing in letting us be her family and leading us to this life changing experience."

For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, good times and bad... our hearts are forever joined. Piper is home, and we are family.

I love October!

I love mid October, for all of the reasons most people do - the cooler temperatures, the vibrant colors, the whispers of holidays that are just around the corner. But on the top of my list is the end of ragweed season!
It's so liberating for me! I am going to do something I don't do very often, if ever...share an excerpt from my beloved journal.

Here goes:
Sunday 9-23-07 (In the thick of ragweed season)
"...still recovering from severe allergy attack yesterday after being at an unbelievably warm soccer game. I am spent, completely and totally spent. Ragweed allergy should have been one of the plagues in the bible. My nose is a constant itchy, dripping, throbbing irritant. If I go outside at all, the irritation multiplies x10. Need new air filters after all of the dust from the wood floors (S is out of town at this point), but can't stand the thought of taking 3 kids outside to get them. A trip to Walmart right now might set me over the edge, but I'm sure we'll go today."

I then go on and on some more about how much I miss Scott, and need a break from being needed so much, and end with this prayer:

"I am asking you, by faith, Lord,
to come and be my rest.
Be my contentment.
Be my comfort.
Be my satisfaction."

The month of September was a really hard one this year for us. Scott, who used to never travel, was gone most of the month. He works for a defense contractor and they were on a huge proposal. The other night we were at the dinner table and Ella decided she would go around the table a give each person a compliment. When she got to Scott, she said "I love you daddy, because you go to work and bring the money home to us!" (love that girl)

It feels good to all be back under one roof. It feels great to know that Ragweed 2007 is just about over and I can breathe in fresh air again to my heart's content!

Courage to Change

I've been struggling lately. On the outside you'd never know it. When I really need to figure something out, I work on a project, usually something that involves painting or redecorating. So from the outside, you'd someone "happily" working on a project, being productive and creative. Something about that process of making something, allows me to really work through issues of the heart. It's something I've just discovered about myself in the last 8 years or so.

I can distinctly remember the first time I had the conscious thought that doing some sort of work with my hands would help me emotionally. It was after my first miscarriage and I was undone. Emotionally, in the lowest place I knew. After the initial shock wore off, all I could think about was painting my laundry room. I remember thinking how weird that was to me, and that it must be a form of denial. But the urge got so strong, that I finally went a bought a can of green paint and went to work. I can remember being in that tiny 6'x6' room-painting and crying, painting and crying. It became a part of my healing, and though we've since moved, I can see that color of bright apple green like it is right in front of me now. It is burned into my mind as a part of that whole experience. And so my love affair with paint and doing and creating began.

I could fill up a book with the details of all of my projects and what was going on inside while I was doing them. Some of them were just for fun, but many of them have a real meaning attached for me.

Soon, I hope, I will be able to put in words the swirling thoughts and feelings I am sifting through right now as I redecorate my dining room (for under $200, mind you). I think a lot of what's going on with me right now has to do with integrating all that I've experienced in the last 9 months, and realizing how it has all changed me. I think I've been trying to make life get back to normal. But I am realizing I need a new normal.

Going to China changed me. Adopting Piper changed me. Enlarging my view of God and His world and plan has changed me. Learning that my dad has cancer has changed me. Watching him suffer this summer has changed me.

For a person who values sameness and stability, that is a lot of change...change I think I am ready to embrace. Got to go paint some frames while Piper is still sleeping...


Friday, October 12, 2007

The Zone

Hallelujah, Amen, Praise the Lord - I have survived 13 days with no husband and 3 kids!!! He just called and he is driving home from the airport RIGHT NOW! It's been so hard not complaining about how hard it's been, but for obvious reasons, I didn't think it would be smart to broadcast it from here.

We miss him when he's gone, it's just not the same without him. And the kids have come to appreciate that, well, mommy just does better with some breaks.

While he was flying home, we spent our last hours without him at a lovely birthday party at The Zone. As we were walking into the party, Hunter asked why they called it The Zone. I didn't have an answer for him then. But 2.5 hours later as we exited "The Zone", leaving behind at least 500 screaming, sugar coated children, I had an answer for him. (In my head) Hunter, my dear, they call it The Zone because it is the HELL ZONE, The Zone from Hell, that's why it's called The Zone.

And after we settled the issue of whether I would allow Hunter and Ella to eat their treats from their goodie bags on the way home (can you guess?), Ella (who had her 5 year old bday party 3 weeks ago) says, "After I turn 6 and have my dress up party, then for my 7 year old birthday party, I'm going to have it at THE ZONE!!!"


The noise, the NOISE, the tokens, the tickets, the lights, THE NOISE, the sugar coated children, twitching from the lights, feverishly trying to "win" tickets, MORE tickets, so we can stand in line to feed the tickets, ONE by ONE, into tiny little slot, to get a receipt, to take to the counter to "win", what?, a green plastic twirling thingy, perfect for hitting your sister in the head with as she plans her party after her next party at THE ZONE.

I think I might need a little break about right now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Not by might, not by power...

I followed this family's blog as their 2nd daughter was born and then died a little over a week later. Go here for their latest post. Something about being in those deep waters of suffering I suppose, but her words ring with authenticity.

Ella has an idea! Clear the room!

Because this really serves as our family scrapbook of sorts, I feel I must record this little gem, courtesy of Ella.

I was getting Ella set up to play a game on the computer, asking her which game she wanted to play during her computer time.

Anyone who knows Ella, knows that she doesn't do anything quickly.

So I sat there, and waited, and waited, and waited, as she weighed her options.

After a brief moment of silence, in all of her delicate-flower daintiness, how do I say this, she tooted, and rather loudly.

With out missing a beat, she smiled and said "That means I have an idea!!!!"

So, of course, this is now the family joke that we just can't get enough of. Many conversations of who in the family has the best, biggest "ideas". I think Piper is winning right now for the most "ideas".

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Because nothing says "Fall" like melting in our tank tops at the Pumpkin Patch....more pictures!

Piper and the Pumpkins

Piper tried out all of the pumpkins to see how well they sat. "Look mama, just my size!"

Our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Yo, baby!

Kissy face is not real discerning at this point.

This is what happens when you attempt to force your child to take a cute picture with a heavy pumpkin.
I believe one of the first pictures I posted on this blog was taken at this pumpkin patch last year. I clearly remember being there, thinking, hoping that next year our baby girl would be with us. And here she is, kissing the goats, and sitting on pumpkins, in all of her pure Piper cuteness.