Thursday, January 31, 2013


...I so wanted to write a post today but I missed my sweet spot of silence. On the flipside I did make potato soup for dinner, played with the girls in the back yard, and watched an episode of Midsomer Murders.

But now the house is filled with noise and Ebee Baby and I should probably go remind SnapDragon that we are home and he should put his book down long enough to get out of the car and into the house.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting Down Low -- Sunday Snapshot

I know I like the composition better of a photo if I get down low to take it.  The problem is that outside right now that means I get really dirty and inside... tells my subject: "Time to climb on Mommy!" 
No matter how far away she is.

And since she is moving and getting closer, it makes focusing difficult until she is too close to actually focus on at all.
But who doesn't love their daughter running to them?  Plus time for a group shot, right?
Okay, not so right.  (I have one where we are in focus, but Oak says I have crazy eyes in it and Sweet Pea looks like she is trying to escape.)

So let's set-up the other camera and see if we can capture what our play looks like.   That'll work, right?
 Except, Major Awesome's camera on that cool tripod trumps climbing on Mommy who is lying on the floor.
It is a good thing to learn how to get down low for the shot now before you are 18 months old.  That is better than Mommy's idea for a portrait together.
I guess we won't call it Major Awesome's camera, or even Oak's camera, or the Point and is now officially Sweet Pea's camera...though it will still be primarily used by Oak and Cedar. 
Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, January 24, 2013

May 15th - Trip to the Park

I have been missing China recently, so rather than finishing Christmas I've been looking at photos from China.  May 15th was our last full day in China, and while a part of me wanted to stay longer, a larger piece was anxious to get home to Sunflower and SnapDragon and start our life together as a family of 6.

Like most days in China we started the morning at the hotel buffet.  Sweet Pea didn't sit or know how to put cheerios into her mouth on her own, but by this day she was feeding herself like a champ.  I don't know if she just hadn't had the chance to learn before or if she was coming out of her shell and starting to use skills she already had.  Either way it made eating with her a little easier.
Then the kids rested while Oak packed and I went to the pool to help my friend with her 3 year old.  They wanted to go swimming, but everytime J saw the pool she would become very frightened.  It was still a no go.

But we couldn't spend our last day in China doing nothing and our guide was insistant that we must go see the park with the 5 Goat Statue.   So we went.  And for those who skim my posts for pictures, here they come...

The park was across the street, but thankfully there was a tunnel under the street we could follow...we just had to figure out which staircase to take back up to get where we wanted to go.  
Don't think small little tunnel hard to get lost in...there was a 7-eleven or two in there.  Thankfully the signs were very clear.
J was much more willing to move forward if she was holding two people's hands.  Notice no baby in the tunnel...that is because she was on my back.  Carrying her on the back instead of the front was a lot easier if not quite as good for bonding.  She liked it more and it was cooler for both of us which was a huge plus since it was 100 degrees out.  Plus it left me free to actually use my camera--the real reason I like site-seeing.
So we got to the park and it was very pretty.  Our guide had said the statue was right inside the entrance we were going in...just go up some stairs.  So we went up the first set of stairs we saw.
 It kept going up and up and on and on.  Until finally...

...there was a pavilion with lots of benches and shade and people and...
 ...fascinating caterpillars which a man took from us and squashed.  The path also branched out several different directions, all more stairs, some up, some down...we took one going down back into the park, found a large main path again, a map, and followed it to another set of stairs.  Is this it?  Is the goat statue in here?
No.  I'll let you read what this was, if you wish.

Oak went up stairs inside the monument.  Sweet Pea, Huckleberry, and I waited in the coolness of the bottom floor.  Did I mention it was 200 degrees out?

So we continued our search.
It really was lovely.  A lush garden in the middle of a large city.
At times you could get glimpses of the outside world.
But most of the time it was just nature and old brick.
We walked along this wall for quite awhile, then down a set of steps...and back along the otherside.
Clearly this wall and nature had coexisted for a long time.
A long part of the wall was lined with these trees and root systems...and to give you an idea of size, that is Huckleberry in the above photo.
Oh!  A snack stand.  That meant ice cream and much more expensive than the cokes we would buy at the grocery store, but oh so refreshing...even if not always cold.  We should have not been stingy and bought one at every stand.  It was 300 degrees out.
I did not envy this woman her job of sweeping the steps, but the end of our trek was in sight.
Oak said, "No.  A picture of the sign is not enough.  Must go up stairs..."
But first a little bubble time to cheer up the new daughters...or maybe me.  At this point we had been walking over an hour and 20 minutes and while Sweet Pea was still content on my back, my back was not so content.
Last set...he promised.  As if he knew where we were!  First I bought some souvineers in the row of gift shops.  Bargaining?  No energy, just let me buy some bracelets and Huckleberry some postcards.
But finally, we climbed.  We saw.  We rested.  I took a lot of pictures of it from every angle...should have bought the postcard.
I sat on a similar curb until I turned and saw this bug.  With Sweet Pea on my back it would have been only a couple of inches from her feet. 
Okay.  My SD card is full, Sweet Pea is done riding, and it is 600 degrees out.  Let's go back to the hotel.  Luckily our route had taken us in a huge circle (remember the pond in the beginning?  We went around it) so we were not far from the entrance we came in.  Apparently our guide had said "stairs to the right" not left.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Call

A year ago today, we got the call that China had matched us with a child.  I still remember the excitement, the writing the notes down on a confidential piece of paper that I wasn't supposed to use for notes, and spending the day on the phone and e-mail telling the world.
Sweet Pea, June 2012
We were excited, but nothing really prepared us for the amazing, fun little girl that she is.  

Happy Referral Day, Sweet Pea!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday

Sunflower came home yesterday and said there was a new King in her school.

"A new King?  Do you mean a kid?"

"No.  A King.  And it was his birthday.
I think his name is Lewis or something."

"Do you mean Martin Luther King, Jr.?"

"Yes.  That's it.  I haven't met him yet."

No, Sweetie, I'd imagine you hadn't met him yet.  I guess that means President's Day is in February.  I really should be able to keep those straight.  Maybe I need to go back to preschool.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sometimes Feelings Don't Reflect Your Beliefs

I try not to be political here...or actually in real life either.  I tend to talk religion enough, I wouldn't have any friends if I talked politics, too.  However, I am working on a post about the need for reform and ethical adoption practices...just don't know exactly how to phrase it yet.

But, knowing I'm not political, do not take this as a post reflecting my actual view of the politics it touches on.

Right now I'm really annoyed with the military.  Generically I see so many people suffering and families struggling and falling apart because of military service the difficulties inherent in being separated for long periods, the pain of war and other undisclosed reasons.  

Personally, my friend lost her husband, another struggles with her husband's severe PTSD, and my brother met his wife...well, let's not go there.

Also, it sent Major Awesome to Korea.  Now that will be a grand adventure for him, so maybe I am more jealous of his adventure than sad, but still :(

And then yesterday, a friend told me her husband got orders Monday for Texas...not Fort Hood, another one near San Antonio.  Her husband will be a drill instructor and spend 12 weeks learning how to be mean.  Sigh.  I will miss her and her family.  Our church small group will miss them.  Their youngest is the same age as my Sweet Pea.  And I worry for their future, whether it is my right to or not.

But mostly I will miss her bright smile and cheerful, "Hello, Miss Cedar!"  Well, we have until August.  Better make the most of it.

Wittle People Wednesday

Due to our pediatrician's advice, we stopped giving Sweet Pea a bottle in the hopes of getting her body mass index into a more healthy range.  She didn't seem to regret the transition at all, though I'll still slip her a 4 ounce bottle every once in awhile (less than once a day) in order to get some cuddle time or if she has had a particularly fussy day.

So I'd thought she was slimming down some until yesterday's playtime in the yard.

I guess I'd better get her back in for her height and weight check, though I don't know what he can recommend.  She eats reasonable portions for a toddler baby and is very active.  But I do want to do what is good for her.  Hard to imagine that a year ago we did not yet know she existed, and now I cannot remember or want life without her.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

New SideBar Button

Nobody should adopt that doesn't actively want to be a parent and add a child to their family.  After all being a parent makes you very aware of how selfish you are...for some that makes them less selfish.  For me, it means I have to confess more often.

So that is what I tell myself.  I don't want a fifth child.  Our family is just about perfect.  Why mess with it?  But I do want to adopt again.  Maybe.  Someday.  But definitely not right now.

If we adopted again it would be through China's waiting child program, not the program we adopted Sweet Pea through.  I'm open to foster care here in the US, but Oak says for him it is China.

But, no.  Not now.  Possibly not ever.  My husband has always wanted 9 or 10 kids.  We compromised at 4 when we got married.  Somedays we wonder at that 4.  

So what is my point?  Ummm, I don't think you should adopt to rescue a child, but there are children who need families.  And I believe there are families and people who need children.* 

And my internet friend has put together a list of lists of the children who are waiting in China.  These are children who have already been separated from their original families.  Some with medical needs that need more care than an orphanage...or children's welfare institute in China...can provide.  All whose largest need is for a family to call their own.

Click on the button below or on my sidebar to see those lists.
China's Waiting Children (from Ordinary Miracles & The Crazy 9)
If you dare.  Because children are a lot of work, but once you fall in love with one, the rewards outnumber every dirty diaper no matter how selfish you think you are.

*I realize this oversimplifies the complications involved in pursuing adoption such as the uncertainty, the agonizing wait, the potential for corruption in the process, the abysmal reasons for the need in the first place, etc. etc.  but at the same time, it does all boil down to this, too.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Once Again Getting to Know Him

Somedays I wish the sermons at my church were deeper, more like the seminary lectures we got at our last church.  Somedays I wish the worship would draw me in more and give me goosebumps at the power of the God I worship.  Sometimes that happens, but more often I'm just trying to figure out the tune to yet another new song.

But one thing I have learned in my 30 odd years as a Christian, my pastor and church are not responsible for my spiritual growth.  God is and He always has something to teach me and tell me.  I just have to show up.

So when my pastor talks about being "All-in" for Christ I ignore his advice to join the church, be baptized, and start serving in a ministry.  Those things I can already cross off.  Instead I ask God, what would show You that this year I am "All-on."

It didn't surprise me when the answer was "spend time with Me, sit at My feet and listen and learn.  I have things for you this year, ways for you to grow and become more like Me, but it can only happen if you know me."

It didn't surprise me because while last year was about the awesome reassurance that God knows me, every little piece of me, and still loves me enough to send His son, the last few months He has been reminding me that I've been coasting on my knowledge of Him.

No one would say, "oh, it is okay that I never see my husband now or spend time talking with him.  We spent all our time together when were dating and that first year or so of marriage.  We know each other and so everything is good."  Time is important in any relationship; especially our relationship with God.    

And the easiest, clearest way to get to know God?  Read His word where He pours out His heart and personality for me to know Him.

So for the last few months I have been sporadically following a reading plan and using the SOAP method of daily devotions.  SOAP stands for Study, Observation, Application, and Prayer.  The reading plan I am following has me read a long chunk of scripture, several chapters at least, then choose a short passage from it that stands out.  Then take that smaller passage, spend time in observing it (ie make a list about what it says or asking who, what, why ?'s), then ask God how can this apply to me and my life, then pray for His help to actually accomplish whatever goal His word gave you...including the thanking Him, praising Him, and just basking in His presence.

But it is a new year and sporadically isn't enough.  I don't believe in making New Year Resolutions because I figure if I need a resolution to get myself to do it, I won't actually do it for long, but this year is the year I am going to make it through the entire Bible again.  Something I haven't accomplished since before kids.  I'm not going to succeed because of some commitment I've made that will trail way.

No.  I'll do it because I need Jesus.  I need Him to fill the empty places in my heart, to light up the dark regions, and to transform me.  I need this to protect my marriage and my family and so I start to radiate Jesus in all that I do.  Then I won't need to badger my friends and family into going to church and reading their Bible.  They will see Jesus and want greater intimacy with Him because of seeing Him in me.  They desire His presence for themselves.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am currently on track with this year's reading plan though I did read Friday and Saturday's chapters on Sunday.  I really should have read on may have helped me with my grumps.  So okay.  I am fully committed and yet likely to fail at times.  I am so thankful for God's grace.  Now I can go read my Jordan novel.  The dishes can wait, but Jesus shouldn't have to.