Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Turns out Bophie was tuckered out from all the horse wrangling she had been doing and decided to catch 'er some shut eye right there on the kitchen floor.
The only problem? She was wearing undies when she fell asleep. The dark pink on her pants lets me know bath time is coming earlier today...
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Turns out God has a sense of humor. We were in such a hurry for little Juliana and we had to wait, and wait, and wait. This time we wanted to wait, we wanted a little time, and it turns out that wasn't God's plan.
Monday afternoon, before we ever even received the full application, I got a call from our agency asking if we would consider a little boy they were trying to place. To say we were shocked, amazed, excited, apprehensive would only be the tip of the iceberg of emotions that have been filtering through our house these last few days. I had to respond to the woman and I couldn't do so intelligibly. I finally had to say, "Please forgive me. My mind is going faster than my mouth can talk."
We need your prayers. A boy with special needs so soon... We know if God wills this, it will all come together. We still need prayers. For now, we are going ahead with the paperwork at lightening speed. We are trying to get medical opinions, a home study done, and assembling more documents than one would think existed.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The simplest answer is that we were called to adoption-- we just were called to it. We knew we would adopt before we had any issues with infertility, but our struggles with infertility and miscarriage opened our hearts wider and more quickly. We still hope for more biological children, but we know more deeply how much children are truly a gift from God.
Throughout our adoption process there were so many times we saw the hand of God guiding us. There are so many little stories I could tell of situations where we knew God was opening doors for us. These were little indications that we were indeed called to adopt. Now that we have Juliana it is amazing to think of all the little details that came together to bring this particular child into our family.
Yes, I love my girls. I never felt like they were not enough. It is precisely because of the unmatched joy they bring our lives that I would desire to add more children to our family. There is more work, I am more frazzled, but the happiness grows exponentially. There is even happiness in the chaos. Each child has brought a new dynamic to our family. I am so privileged to be a part of each of their lives.
We are incredibly blessed. We have every need met and most wants are met as well. We don't worry about when our next meal will come, and while our clothes may not be the most fashionable, they are adequate. Our children are blessed with doting friends and family and there are many times I feel overrun with toys. We certainly have enough to share.
I don't want it to sound as though we have no concerns. We have a mortgage, and we worry about sending the girls to college. We would like to have more in our retirement, and there are many household projects we would love to tackle. Adoption has meant that we have to postpone household projects, some indefinitely. We have had to make do with some things that we would really like to trade in.
When it was all said and done, though, there was no project, no upgrade, no feelings of financial security that were going to match the joy a new child would bring our family. There was no toy that I could give my children that would be better than the love of a new sibling. When we realized this, there was no turning back.
I am busier than ever with four girls, but I can still offer arms to hold, a lap to cuddle on, and a heart to love. We know that our girls will have some sacrifices to make with a new sibling, but ask them if they want to make those sacrifices. Everyone of them will give you an emphatic yes. The joy of a new sibling, a new playmate, a lifelong friend is worth these sacrifices. If we let our children decide, we might adopt ten more!
I could go on and on about the many reasons adoption fit our family. I could talk about the joy Juliana has brought our family, how these three short months with her have melted away any of the anxieties about adoption I had while we waited for her. I could talk about how amazing God's plans are. I could go on and on and on (maybe I already have)...
It would all just be a long way of saying that last week we made some decisions and began the paper chase to bring home another little one.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Deciding they were still young, and it was their gift, I walked away. I knew I needed to let them paint. I also knew I had about 15 uninterrupted minutes to finish a project on the computer. As I am typing away, I hear this conversation:
Bear: "How much dark blue have you used?"
Banana: "Dark blue? I won't use dark blue, that's a Michigan color!"
That's my girl... That's.MY.girl.
Happy Easter Week!
We had an absolutely beautiful Easter Sunday! The girls woke extra early to hunt for baskets. Their excitement was contagious. Even Juliana was excited, she woke up all smiles. I couldn't help but to think how different her life is here. I am sure there was no merry-making occurring in her orphanage, but in our home merriment abounded.
I was convinced that this was finally the year I would stump dh. Every year I think I have the perfect hiding spot for his basket, and every year he finds it too quickly. I hid it in the underside of the recliner, up in the mechanism. There was no way he was going to find it. I had him too. Then my overly precocious six year old managed to move the chair and knock down some of the candy. When she went to clean it up (it was a baby choking hazard), she found my clever hiding spot and gave it away to dh... Note to self- next year tape down the basket and leave no loose candies!
Mass was the highlight of our day. It was beautifully full of spring flowers in contrast to the bareness of Good Friday, and the music was truly amazing. I lingered after Mass wanting to stay there all day to be with Our Lord. I wanted to surround myself with the joy of His resurrection. On our return, I was especially thankful for the lilies at home. It made our mantel a small replica of the altar at church. Banana said they were trumpets heralding the resurrection. She is right!
We also had a wonderful family dinner. Lots of good food, good company, and a fun Easter egg hunt.
Friday, April 10, 2009
In our contemplation of the Cross we discover the “sign of contradiction.” This is at the heart of the Paschal Mystery, the coming together of apparent opposites: suffering and healing, death and resurrection, defeat and victory, agony and glory.
And yet they are not really opposites. Self-giving is a necessary prerequisite for perfect freedom, and perfect freedom constitutes new life and glory.
I think one of the most powerful and mysterious lines in Mel Gibson’s popular movie, The Passion of the Christ, is when our Lord meets His dear Mother along the Way of the Cross, as she comes to His side when He falls, yet again, under the weight of the Cross. Looking into her compassionate and sorrowful eyes He tells her, “Don’t you see, Mother? I make all things new.” Now these words are not found in the Gospel, but are actually in the Book of the Apocalypse (21:5), and the filmmaker superimposes these words on the lips of Jesus for dramatic effect.
Nonetheless, the scene conveys a powerful and mysterious truth. Through humility and obedience to the will of God, we make all things new. The glory of Jesus, particularly in St. John’s Gospel, is the glory of obedience and self-giving. The glory of the Resurrection merely crowns the glory which Jesus had already obtained by His obedience to His Father’s will.
In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: “[Christ’s] crucifixion is His coronation; His coronation or kingship is His surrender of Himself to men.”
Full Text Here
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
First up is our bunny cake:
I found the instructions a few years ago on the Internet. Unfortunately, I don't remember where. I make the cake in two round cake pans. Layer them then cut them in half (this will make two bunnies). Then stand one half on its side and frost. Cut out a notch in the front to rest the ears. The ears are made from one large marshmallow cut on the bias and the cut end is dipped in sprinkles. The cheeks are another marshmallow cut in half vertically, there is another whole marshmallow used for the tail. The fur is made from toasted coconut, and the grass from colored coconut. This cake is now an Easter staple for us.
Last year I also found this cake in Taste of Home magazine. I think it would be more appropriate for a late summer cake, but one key ingredient is only available now-- yellow chick peeps. I only know one person who will actually eat those things (I have a crazy little sister), but they do make for a nice sunflower cake.
This year I am thinking of a few changes, although I seem to be short on the creativity gene. I would like to turn the bunny into a lamb. Any ideas how to do this? I am also thinking that we will skip the sunflower cake for Easter and do it later. Anyone know the shelf-life of peeps? I'm hoping to replace that with a cross shaped cake, or maybe a cheesecake. Any other good Easter dessert ideas?
UPDATE: I found that someone had googled Easter Cakes and found my blog, I love sitemeter. Deciding to look for inspiration, I took a quick look. I came across this blog entry and had a good laugh. I just had to share- http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/04/easterly-wind-is-blowing.html
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
This morning, I decided that since Juliana had been doing so much better with solid food I would try it again. The added bonus being that little container is no longer sitting in the dark recesses of my pantry. The result? Pretty much the same as last time. I put the spoon to her mouth, she gagged, then spit it all out. I repeat the process and soon she was beside herself and screaming in frustration.
I set the banana yogurt dessert aside so that Bophie (you remember how well she liked it) could have it after lunch. As Bophie was eating it, look who started yelling. Juliana has this cute num, num, num sound she makes when she wants something. In between her shouts she made that noise and stuck out her tongue for a bite. Bophie fed her a bite or two and she clearly wanted more.
So maybe it isn't the banana yogurt dessert. That stuff is yummy-- I guess it's just me.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Banana's take on the sign- Don't leave children playing in the street. Good advice.
Bear says that since we don't know what it means, we just have to wait to ask Juliana. Since she is from China, she'll know.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This year, dh was ready and he thought my recent lack of sleep would give him an advantage. He got up early this morning and took the older girls to Mass, then out for breakfast. During their outing he told them he was going to call me sometime this morning and play an April Fool's Day joke on me. He should know better than to divulge that sort of inside information to two chatty schoolgirls. It was barely 8:15 before they had spilled the beans.
I responded to them by telling them he would to try to get me to believe the van, which is currently in the repair shop (nothing like 3 days trapped in this house to get one feeling stir crazy), was going to cost an arm and a leg to fix. I know him too well... At 10:30 the call came and, as I am often reminding my family, I am always right. If I hadn't been so tired from only getting four hours sleep, I might have played along and gotten in my own April Fools Day fun.
It turns out the joke was on both of us. As I was talking to him, I noticed a big water spot in our formal living room. I ask him if he's noticed it and he wouldn't believe me. He thought I was trying to have my own fun. Imagine his disappointment when he came home and found there was no fooling on my part. Now there is a big hole in the front room and it looks like we are in for some master bathroom renovations sooner rather than later. How's that for an April Fool's Day?