Wednesday, October 31, 2012

potty talk & other nonsense

I am beginning to think there is a conspiracy against me & my plans.  First, I am forced into potty training Kemeri before I am even close to being mentally prepared b/c of her surgery/location of incision.  In case you haven't read about it, it's been a loooong road.  We began back in June, but up until recently still struggled with at least one accident a day.  Ugh.  And then....

Da, da, da, daaaaa....DITROPAN!!!  I am a fan!  Ok, seriously, maybe too much coffee this morning, but for real this stuff has been such a help to sweet pea (no pun intended...definitely too much coffee, b/c now I'm getting stupid).  We had another urodynamics evaluation, & looks like Kemeri has a spastic bladder.  This med helps her bladder relax, which not only keeps every trip to the potty from being an emergency, but it also seems to be helping her to go longer between trips to the potty.  Yay!!!  Mama was beginning to think I was going to have to claim residency in the bathroom.

Oh, but wait.  Back to that conspiracy theory.  MY plan was to just relax & wait to do the potty thing with Kendi until after basketball season.  She just turned 2, so no hurry.  I figured by early spring, she would be good & ready.  But noooooo...Miss Thing decided about two months ago that she wanted to do "#2" on the potty.  She's actually pretty adamant about it.  At first, I thought this must be a fluke b/c this was the very last thing the other kids got figured out (you know, you get the pee-pee thing down pat but are constantly on red alert for the child hiding behind a chair to do business).  No fluke.  She's doing it & has proceeded to want to pee-pee on the pot, too.  Alrighty, then, looks like I may have to take up residency after all.  So, instead of waiting until AFTER basketball season, we are now doing this in the short window BEFORE the season starts in a couple weeks.  WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT GETTING THE MEMO ON MOM'S PLANS!?!? 

Speaking of my plans (good plans, I might add), listen to this nonsense:  You know my post about getting rid of the smartphones?  Joe headed out to take care of business & came home with my new phone...the iPhone.  What?!?  Turns out,  the "phone people" JUST came out with new plans (how convenient).  Originally, we had to have 2 plans b/c of the number of lines we needed, but *presto*, they just made it so we can all be on one plan that saves us a good deal of money, but going to just a regular old phone would save us...wait for extra $10.  In protest, I have not downloaded my email accounts to my phone.  I did, however, use it at the store the other night to pull up a recipe b/c I forgot to write down the ingredients. I am determined to find balance, people.

Another of MY plans has been to keep up my running outdoors through the winter.  And then Hurricane Sandy.  I am so thankful we are not dealing with anywhere near the stuff the people on the coast are, but we did have some pretty serious winds & the rain continues.  So, last night I headed to the rec center to do my 5 miles on the treadmill...NONSENSE, I tell you!  I was a mile in & wishing I had just gone outside to brave the elements.  I am grateful that I have options, but it's gonna have to be really bad outside for me to choose the treadmill again.  Yuck.

And my final bit of nonsense...Y'all have read this whole silly post & I don't even have a cutie patootie picture to share.  Sorry, they're all on my other phone.  The end.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

pumpkin yumminess

There are some things that are just worth repeating, & this is one of them.  I originally posted this over 3 years ago, so I thought it time to share again.  Seriously, people, easy, yummy, & I have converted many a pumpkin-hater with this one!  I do believe my family is most happy with me for whipping these up on this dreary day.


Beginning in September, the kids start saying, "It's almost time for Pumpkin Bars!" This is a FAVORITE treat that I began making years ago around the first of October through the holidays. They are super easy, & everybody seems to like them (hey, how can you not like something that is covered in cream cheese frosting!?!?). Enjoy!!


4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
16 oz. can pumpkin
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Beat eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Spread in ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar

Beat until smooth & spread over cooled pumpkin bars.

***Ok, so really, who uses 3 oz. of cream cheese?? So as not to leave the other 5 oz. to become moldy in the fridge, I throw the whole bar in & double the rest of the ingredients.  I find this method a much better use of ingredients. ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

trick or treat!

Confession:  I detest buying Halloween costumes.  Nice ones are super expensive, & even the "cheap" ones are still expensive.  When you have 9 children, you tend to use your clothing budget on...clothes, not one-time-use stuff, you know?

Next confession:  I procrastinate.  This past weekend, I realized it was crunch time since our community does Beggars' Night on the Thursday before Halloween (which is fine by me, b/c I do not celebrate Halloween...I consider this a fun dress-up time where we get to say hello to our neighbors & friends).  Anyway, that leads me to my final confession of this post:  I am not super creative, & I don't care to do much sewing (as in, I may or may not have fixed hems & such with a hot glue gun before).

In the end, I'm pretty happy with what we came up with & so were the kids!  I typically try to think of things we already have in our drawers, & build from there. 

For my little pirates...a $2.97 red satin pillow case was it.  Not only were they cute (did I mention it's not hard to muster some creativity when you're beginning with such cutie-patooties to begin with!?), but they were comfy for the hour we were walking the neighborhood AND best of all, they loved their outfits!

For my little fairies, I did spend a bit more on their wings/wands (they came in a set for a little more than $6 each), but everything else we already had.  I found them in the toy department vs. the costume section at the store.  I was happy with them b/c they are a bit nicer, & we can add them to the dress-up box for more play.

We had an absolutely gorgeous night for walking around our neighborhood.  Thankfully, Kaelee was able to walk with us (Daddy just had his gallbladder out, so he helped Kyler with passing out candy).  Kemeri & Kendi thought this whole getting candy in a bucket gig was pretty awesome!  Kendi became very enthusiastic when we approached neighbors sitting at the end of the driveway with goodies...she would get a running start & then jump stop with a very spunky "Hi!", which typically resulted in the neighbors giving her free reign to dig into the candy bowl.  Oy...Kemmy & Kendi looked like human claw machines by the end of the night!  Being 2 & cute has it's perks, I suppose. ;)

It was a fun night...I still need to post pics from Kendi & Kade's birthdays among some other things, but life has been happening!  Hope you are enjoying Fall as much as we have been!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Waiting

Over on "We Are Grafted In", readers have been invited to share their "waiting" stories.  This has come at an interesting time for me, because it was this time 6 years ago that we embarked on a journey that has kept us in waiting mode over & over, which has ultimately resulted in the transformation of our selves, our faith, & our family.

Joe & I have always loved children & had a heart for those without parents that could care for them.  In the Fall of 2006, we found ourselves taking steps on "those feelings" that God had planted in our hearts to bringing a child into our family through adoption.  Once our home study, training, & licensing was finished that December, we began the wait to be matched with an older child in the foster care system available for adoption.  That wait continued through two matches that fell through for reasons beyond our control.  It was so disappointing & frustrating.  You know, that "crying, I don't understand why this is taking so long, I don't want to do this anymore" kind of feeling.

As I look back in my journaling during this time (which I highly recommend for anyone so that you can look back & be AMAZED), I truly am amazed at how God was preparing our hearts.  In one entry, I wrote, "Lord, I do not know what the situation will be, but I ask that Joe & I would be secure in the knowledge that You do know & will equip us."  Many months later, we would find ourselves faced with circumstances never imagined...the need for a family to foster a newborn, premature little girl, only 2 days old at placement (did I mention we said we would NEVER do foster care?).

And so began a whole new phase of waiting that I, quite frankly, did not like.  It was gut wrenching, long, & HARD.  We didn't know from one week to the next whether she would be leaving or if she would be staying with us.  This went on for over 2 very emotionally long years, but the day came that she legally became our daughter.  In this time of waiting, I prayed & leaned on the Lord like I never have in my life.  I came to the realization very early on that no one on this earth could tell me how all this would turn out nor did I have one bit of control, but nothing was a surprise to Him.  So, daily I did my best to surrender, to trust, to learn, & to grow in this waiting.  Remember, I said I did my best, but I didn't say I did it gracefully!

But God.  I learned so very much about Him during this wait.  Even during the times I threw fits that could put the 2-yr-old tantrum to shame did not handle things gracefully, I realized God is the same.  He loved me even when I was weak, He taught me how to love others in spite of their human circumstances, He taught me where my strength & courage truly come from, & He taught me how to live in hope.  He taught me that faith & obedience are just plain messy sometimes, but He is there & wants to be the One to calm the inner storms of our hearts.

So, did I mention that this wait was hard? ;)  Yes, indeed, it was.  But you know what?  I AM SO THANKFUL!!!  Truly, with everything I have, I know that I know that I know that the Lord used this time of waiting to prepare me for the wild adventures He had in store for us (as well as new varieties of waiting!!).  Adventures that would have scared me once upon a time, but instead, we said, "Yes, Lord!" with a sense of confidence & anticipation that I know we would not have had if we had not had those two years of waiting in complete reliance on Him.  Again, I still don't always walk these paths gracefully, but His mercies are new every day, & I have the blessing of looking back at all He has done to gain the strength & courage to keep moving forward.

Just look at what the Lord has done in the past few years in His timing:

Worth the waiting?  Absolutely.  Without each unique set of waiting circumstances, we would not have found our way to the children that were already in our hearts that needed to be in our family, & we would have missed the opportunities to know Him more.

If you are visiting for the first time via We Are Grafted In, thanks so much for stopping by!  If you'd like to read more about each of our adoption testimonies (we have adopted through foster care, domestic private, from Ethiopia, & China Special Needs), here are some links:

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I know lots of folks think this day is cool since it won't be coming around again for 100 years.

Well, this day is super cool around here because it is this precious girl's 2nd birthday!!!

Oh, Kendi Hope, how we love, love, love you!!!

She is as snuggly as she is busy (which is very, very busy!).

We are not officially celebrating until Saturday, but Kaelee came by with fruit snacks, Reeses, necklaces, bracelets, & a new book (all her requests), which is a great warm-up.  Mommy will attempt to be on the ball Saturday & get some good pictures to share of our beautiful girl & her favorite peeps.  For now, this will have to do as I need to go clean the mascara off of her face.  Like I said, BUSY!

Monday, October 8, 2012

the race & loyalty, toddler style

Over the years, when I do something with Kearsten, it is typically something crazy unchartered territory.  This 5K we signed up for would be no exception.  We ran the Ethiopian Orphan Relief 5K on Saturday, & come to find out, it was a trail run, which I have never done, even in training.  A hilly trail run.  After a few days of rain.  And it was cold.

But WE DID IT!!!!!  It's been 6 years since I ran a race (yikes...where does the time go?!?), & truth be told, when we first got going all clustered with a bunch of other runners on a 3-ft-wide trail headed uphill, I wondered why in the world I thought this was a good idea.  But by the end, I remembered.  There's something very satisfying about pushing yourself mentally & physically & reaching that finish line.  Getting to enjoy the day with my girl & laugh every time we got out of the car b/c our legs were so incredibly stiff made the whole day extra awesome! 

In other weekend happenings, we decided to begin celebrating Kendi's upcoming 2nd birthday early with a trip to BuildaBear.  BIG FAIL.

After looking in every bin at the different options, we asked her what she liked.  Without hesitation, Miss Thing informed us that her Boo Bunny was in the car.  In other words, duh people, I am not interested in any of this fluff replacing my beloved Boo.  So we left.

I guess it's hard to argue with a girl that knows her mind & loves her Boo. :o)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

199 days

September 29, 2012 marked 6 months since Kemeri Abigail landed on American soil.  Since I was otherwise engaged that day, let's talk about today.  Today marks 199 days since Kemeri landed in my arms.

Oh, my goodness, how much this little one has been through.  I know it sounds cliche, but there are days I can't believe she's already been here this long, & other times that it seems she's been here forever.  She truly is one of the bravest people I know.  Just two months after having her world turned upside down, she went in for major surgery to detether her spinal cord & remove a fatty mass...Tough stuff.  We were there for a week.

That surgery seems to have made a world of difference in her walking.  She no longer trips every other step (& when I say trip, she was full out face-planting on many occasions).  We will be going soon for her follow-up MRI to see what it's looking like in there.  She has had many appointments, but she just keeps on smiling & is loved by her specialists.

Her fear of Ella is gone.  At any given moment you can find her with her arms wrapped around her neck or *ahem* sharing her dinner off of her fork.  Yep, they are tight.

She LOVES her siblings.  All of them.  But I love how she plays with her sisters & is game for trying new things, like helping make pizza.  Have I mentioned that she loves food?  I don't think I've found anything yet that she truly despises.  She definitely has favorites, but she's open to trying most things.

Just the other night, Kearsten & I decided to try some Thai peanut noodles from a local restaurant.  They were make your nose run spicey!  But guess who had three helpings without batting an eye?  This girl loves her some spicey food!!

I am thankful to be at this milestone.  As any adoptive parents know, it's not always easy.  It's a process of getting to know one another & earning her trust.  I can honestly say that in spite of everything (including potty training) in such a short time, her attachment seems to be coming right along with the whole family.  Her body is becoming healthy, her beautiful hair is growing, & her smile & giggle are contagious!  I can't wait to see what the next 199 days bring. :o)