Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life Over Here

Funny how all the snails come out when you do yard work. We trimmed back all of our rose bushes and pulled all the weeds in our front yard.  I guess we disturbed a few of the snails' homes.
When Annalyn saw these two snails she asked to grab the camera.
"A Mama snail and her baby!"
With lots of slime trails decorating my front porch and walk way, I think I'll put down some snail bait.
Of course, a few of the kids want them around.
Awww, the joys of parenting.
Just now I noticed that Dennis' homework folder is still here.  Now he has two weeks worth of completed homework that we have forgotten to return.    
I wonder what his teacher thinks.  :(
A little note on Monday explaining my "oops"  tucked neatly inside his homework folder will have to suffice.
Unless of course, I forget to send it.  :)
Rachel is better.
She is back to eating everything-- even gum.
At first, I made her get rid of it since the doctor discouraged it.
But now, she can have it.
I have planted green beans in little egg carton thingies that I will transfer once they sprout.
I was at the nursery ready to buy tomato, cucumber, and strawberry plants.
Yes that means our planter box is ready to go!
The guy told me to wait a few more weeks until the last frost.
And I thought I was already late.
Thankfully, we still have time.

So excited to have a garden this year!
All is pretty great on the kid front. The huge storm that had been around for quite a while finally blew over a week and a half ago.
I'm only blogging about it now because I wanted to make sure it wasn't short lived.
Well a week is still a short time, but in parenting-- it can feel like a year.
On the Dennis front, I got the results from his allergy blood test.
Not good.
He is allergic to egg whites, wheat, and peanuts.
Egg whites are the highest-- wheat and peanut not very high at all.
Still processing the results.
I have so many questions.
He only began getting the eczema when we moved here to this desert climate.
Is there a correlation?
Can you develop an allergy over time after not being allergic for 4 years?
If he is mostly allergic to eggs, can I work on keeping just those out of his diet?
That doesn't seem too difficult.
I admit, the whole no wheat thing would be incredibly hard for our family.
I think Dennis would wilt away and die if I had to remove all wheat from his diet.
The peanut butter thing isn't too hard either.  I already have sunflower butter.
Will he grow out of this?
Is it really necessary to change his diet if the low dose cream (triamcinolone acetonide .025%) that I mix with baby lotion to put on his eczema has cleared up the problem?
The doctor said that Dennis can use this long term-- a pea like amount mixed with 5 times as much lotion lightly covering his problem areas.

Oh my.  So much to think about.

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Update

If you haven't been following along on our adoption blog, our dossier has been submitted.
If everything is okay with our paperwork, we will be invited to travel--hopefully in May!

Please check out our adoption blog if you would like to be a piece of the puzzle.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day to Day

After sleeping for a few hours, Rachel is feeling much better now. 
Next year, she gets to have her other two wisdom teeth pulled.  
This is Dennis' school picture.  Gosh, he looks amazing!  He is so handsome with his smile!
Looking back, he has come so far! 
Jonny is so rough on his jeans.  Patches won't even stay on. He is the same with shoes and socks. 
Drives. me. crazy.
The kids watched Kung Fu Panda after school today.
When Julia was making bread for dinner, she let Sveta and Jonny cut out shapes for their roll.
My friend Sherri told me about Cannon Creative Park.  I printed out pages to make a bridge.  Very cool!
I splurged on this new colander.  Finally we have something that's big enough to hold 3 pounds of pasta.
This week the kids are doing a unit study on the Mississippi River.  So of course we made Mississippi Mud Pie.
Making these pies made me think of "The Help" and Minnie's famous chocolate pie.
So rich and delicious we can't wait to make it again!

Rachel's Home

She's home.  Took only 20 minutes from the time I left the room till the time they wheeled her out.  I can't believe how quick her two wisdom teeth were pulled.
She's groggy.
She's emotional.
She was hurting.
After getting her to eat some jello, I gave her antibiotics and Vicodin for the pain.
Now she is sleeping.
Like a baby.
I took a picture. :)

Thanks for the prayers.
I think she is going to be okay.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So how's Rachel?

Rachel no longer has anemia!
Her hemoglobin is now 14.4.
Still, we are having a full lab work up done this morning to check for iron reserves and and other things but over all-- her health has improved!
She is still getting lots of headaches (3-4 a week that we thought would improve with more iron) so she will also be having a cat scan this month.
And tomorrow she will have 2 of her wisdom teeth pulled.
She is such a trooper though.
But, can you keep her in your prayers?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dennis' Perspective

Alex said tonight, "Why your legs red Dennis?" as I was getting the boys ready for bed.  I was putting cream on Dennis' legs.
"Stop! God made that way!"  was Dennis' response.  
He quickly turned to me and followed up with, "Why did God make me with eczema?  I don't like it."
I explained that sometimes things happen that I don't know the answer, but that it might just be that he is allergic to something.  I told him that he could ask God himself one day.
"Is there anything else that you don't like about yourself that you think God did?" I asked Dennis.
"No.  God made me perfect e'cept for my eczema,"  Dennis said matter-of-factly.
I love the mind of a child.

What Would You Do?

Dennis had his blood test today. 
He kept asking what the doctor was going to do and I lied to him.
I told Dennis that the doctor was going to test for allergies.
Technically it wasn't a doctor and technically I could have said shot or blood draw but I wanted to spare everyone from hearing loss-- so I lied like a bad Mommy.
(What would you have done?)

Today we have some friends coming to visit for a few days.  My friend Sherri and her 3 girls will be here  this evening.  Her 7 boys are at home with Dad.  I am so excited!  And so are the girls!
I even splurged and bought caramel coffee creamer since we will be up late!
Oooooo, girl fun!

Adam and Caleb were hired to do some work for a guy from church. 
What a nice opportunity to make some extra money this Spring break.

You can check out our adoption blog for another update.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Off This Week

The kids are on Spring Break.  I'm not sure when Spring Break stopped being at Easter, but it is what it is.  Actually the home schoolers have next week off, but we are taking this week off instead so all the kids could enjoy their time off together.  Rachel isn't though because she has school work due this week and that is just as well since she is having 2 of her wisdom teeth pulled next week anyway.

The kids are into playing card games right now--  specifically War and Battle Ship.
John is not home this evening and I still have a cough so I made a big pot of Top Ramen for dinner.  Galina was my helper.  She opened up all the packets for me.  For the 16 of us, fourteen packs of noodles was just about right.  And despite how crazy easy dinner was, the kids were still thankful.  
Afterwards we had Ranger Cookie ice-cream sandwiches.  That made the kids smile!
Rachel and her threek.
Annalyn is so photogenic!
Julia bought a Sponge Bob drawing game with her babysitting money.  The kids really enjoy playing it.  Galina has been playing solitaire-- another card game.  William is getting over being sick.
Dennis is still battling eczema.  We went to a new doctor this past Friday.  He ordered a blood test that will test for egg, milk, peanut, shellfish, soybean, strawberry, and wheat allergies.  He also gave us a new prescription of cream.  If the blood test comes back normal we will see a dermatologist next.  For the doctors it doesn't seem like a big deal, but I just can't stand to see him suffer.
The toilet paper on his knee is covering up his bloody wart.  It is about to come off so it is bleeding around the edge.  When he asked me what is going to happen to his wart, I told him it would fall off in a few days.  That crazy boy cried because he doesn't want to lose his wart.
The other day I picked up Super Master Mind from the thrift store.  Adam and I have been having so much fun playing it.  To continue our special one on one time today he went with me to run some errands.  After picking up prescriptions we got some ice-cream.  My boy is not so little anymore-- we talked about him taking the SATs in June and college.  

Gotta go-- Adam wants to play another game of Master Mind. :)

Our Exciting News!

Check out our adoption blog to read about our exciting news! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

One of A Kind

Dennis loves sweets!  He will eat a whole bowl of batter if we let him try! 
William loves fried potatoes.  He will peel 20 pounds of potatoes if I will fry them. 
The kids request Julia's banana muffins all the time.  She started the tradition of making a batch of mini muffins first so that everyone can taste test them while the big muffins bake.
Dennis plays by himself so well!  He especially loves anything having to do with cars.  Just a while earlier this rug was in his room and he dragged it down to the kitchen so he could play but still be with everyone else.
Anastasia is in the middle of a knitting project.
William loves being outdoors.  He makes up all sorts of "ball" games.
We let the dogs in the house on the rug by the back door.  It is a special treat for them to be inside. The other day I gave Dolly a haircut.  Sveta is still talking about it.
Dennis and Alex playing together before school. 
I made two kinds of Jello the other day.  I joked with Rachel about how cool I was by putting the orange Jello in the orange bowl and strawberry Jello in the pink bowl.  She wasn't very impressed.
Adam loves playing guitar.  He is a very gifted musician.
Today I met with our new potential family doctor.  I chose him because he is the only doctor that I found in our area that doesn't belong to a medical group.  He was nice and all-- but I didn't feel that click with him that I was hoping for.  I'm probably expecting too much.  Our last family doctor was so amazing-- he made the kids laugh, he was very supportive of adoption, he took what I said always into consideration, he was confident in his work, and his bedside manner was kind, friendly, laid back, and patient oriented. His whole staff always made me feel like each one of our kids was unique and special.  The kids loved him too.  I didn't realize until today that his office was comfortable too.  I have yet to find all these things in another family practice doctor.   This has bummed me out for sometime now.  The office I went to today is in a very upscale part of Redlands-- and while the office is very nice, it was a little too rich for my blood.  I felt like Dennis might break something. 
I wish this doctor thing wasn't such a big deal to me, but it is.
Lord, please give me peace about this whole doctor thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm thankful for Vic's Vapor Rub this morning.  I have this deep, persistent, lingering cough that makes my head pound.  It was really bad about 4 in the morning so I got up and lathered Vapor rub all over my chest and neck.  I was able to finally get some peace and rest for 2 1/2 hours.

Adam received an award at last night's school board meeting for scoring in the top 1% in the nation on a math test.  Based on his grades, he has also been asked to be a a Junior Honor Escort at Senior Graduation Night.  Way to go Adam! We are so proud of you!

Paul is attending a 2/3 grade combo class during the day.  He still has recess and lunch with his peers-- but is learning at his level.  Finally, he is making progress.  The main thing is that he is more confident and seems so much happier!

Our one daughter's behavior is in full swing this week again.  I showed some grace--- let her stay up an hour later one night, and John did the dishes for her another-- and it back fired.  All of a sudden she was demanding we lift all her consequences for prior behavior or else.  Sorry sweetie, it doesn't work that way.

Anastasia is sick.  She asks John and I to pray with her all the time.  She is so faithful.

Alex continues to have his ups and downs with school.  One day he will scream and kick and refuse to do work along with dragging his feet, knocking down chairs, chewing nails down to the quick, and eating slow if at all.  The next day he will have a great day at school, show no new evidence of feet dragging, eat all his lunch, and be very productive with his homework.  Most days are a struggle with him, but yesterday was a good one.  I  love those days!

Andrew is in baseball.  He is one of the pitchers.  It is neat to see him grow with each practice and game. I shocked the kids with how many goodies I bought for his games.  Instead of going to the snack bar and spending three times as much on snacks, I stocked up at the 99 cent store.

Thank you Lord for being with me.  Thank you for giving me strength when I had none.  Thank you for the hope I have in you.  Thank you for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my children.  Please give me even more patience, and help me to determine when holding my tongue will be better than arguing back.

Parenting in this last month has been very humbling.  No matter how strong I appear to be, I still feel like I am failing.  It is amazing how one or two children can make me feel so inadequate even though there are 13 that show evidence of beautiful fruit.  Shame on me.  It isn't about me.  I am realizing that I cannot control my kids' behavior 100%.  I can guide them, nurture them, pray for them, and be a role model, but that doesn't mean that they still won't go and do what pleases them.  Of course I want them to choose what is right, but I can't make them.  All I can do, is continue to be a stable, loving parent.
In the midst of all this, a few of my daughters have thrived as a result.  They used to have the same kind of attitude and behavior-- and now they see themselves in their sister as if they are watching a reality show.   They see what is going on and think back to when they were in our one daughter's shoes.  They side with me.  They see the craziness of it all and how certain behaviors are very destructive.  This is God at work always using our weakness for good.  He is so full of grace.
Hope all of you are having a great week with your kids!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Digest 25

Anonymous said...
what hotel did you stay at? we will be going to Disney for a week in March. Good luck to Alex
December 15, 2011 2:49 AM

We stayed at the Anaheim Desert Inn and Suites.  Right across from the main entrance and nestled between an IHOP and Dennys-- this hotel is perfectly located.  It biggest suite sleeps 10--  the largest I have been able to find so far.  My kids love the indoor pool.

Mark said...
Is Anna getting taller? She looks like she has grown over the past year.
Good luck to Alex.
December 15, 2011 1:18 PM

She is!  This past year she has grown a few inches. :)

prettybyrdie said...
Hi! I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now but have never commented before. Seeing your family around the Christmas tree made me wonder about something. How do you "do" Christmas? More specifically, how to you buy Christmas presents? Do you spend a certain amount on each child, give a certain number of gifts, etc? I only ask because I find Christmas shopping for my tiny family overwhelming and I was wondering how you manage it without things getting crazy expensive!
December 19, 2011 6:58 PM

Christmas is a time where we celebrate our Savior's birth.  We try to keep the focus on Him rather than gifts.  We usually try and do one big family gift with one individual gift for each child.   I buy gifts throughout the year when I run across something on sale so that the expense doesn't hit us all at once.  We average about $50 per child.  The kids enjoy shopping for each other at the dollar store so there is never a lack of gifts among siblings!

Expat Mom said...
Did you know you can make French toast with eggnog? Bet that would really go over well with your "banana milk" lovers. :D
We had Eggs Benedict for supper the other night (yay, pregnancy cravings) and my boys frequently ask for French Toast for supper, but I think they don't realize it's for breakfast, we've had it that often for dinner. Whoops.
December 22, 2011 11:38 AM

Sounds Yummy!  My daughter Annalyn would love it I bet!  She is my big eggnog drinker.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...
Do you LOVE having an extra driver in the house? Kassidy (who is only 12) is counting down the days, and I have to admit, the thought of having someone else available to run to the store for milk or something makes me a little bit giddy inside... though I'm sure that's not why SHE'S excited to drive! hahaha The kids are all getting so big!! :)
December 22, 2011 12:39 PM

I do love having an extra driver.  It has been a huge blessing.  He runs to the store for me all the time!

Courtney said...
I can't imagine how many eggs you guys go through! We go through about 4 dozen a week and there are only 8 of us. ;) I did want to mention that Costco may not have the best price on eggs. We have shopped around and at least at Sam's, the 15 dozen eggs run about $2 a dozen. I can usually get them on sale for much cheaper somewhere else ($1.29 this week at Walgreens). But I also know with your large family that you may not have time to chase deals. Sometimes it is way better to spend a few cents more and save the time and gas money for other, more important, family things! :)
January 8, 2012 11:27 AM

Recently I began buying the 15 dozen box at Costco.  It usually never lasts us longer than three weeks! 

Melissa said...
The 'new' Cheaper by the Dozen movie-turned-book, or the old version book? We own the old, original Cheaper by the Dozen movie, and it's quite fun to watch every now and then :)
January 13, 2012 4:24 PM

The kids read the old version.  Tonight we watched Cheaper By the Dozen part 2 and the two are so different.  I didn't realize that there was a movie of the old version-- that would be interesting to watch.  Thanks for mentioning it.

Anonymous said...
Congrats on your future new arrivals! I have one question, though: I remember you mentioning quite some time ago that you, John, and your kids all agreed that Adam should be your oldest child, and Dennis should be your youngest. I'm just curious: what changed?
January 18, 2012 5:46 PM

I guess this is the reason you never say never.  Now that Dennis is older and most of our kids are teenagers things changed.  Our hearts have been stirred-- nothing more nothing less.

Kelly said...
Do your kids have assigned seats at the table?
January 20, 2012 11:08 AM

No they don't have assigned seats but if they did I bet it would end a lot of the bickering. :) 

Bell said...
Hi, love your blog, just spent weeks reading everything from the very beginning to catch up. But why can't I see he photos from the first couple years you were blogging?
January 19, 2012 10:47 PM

I was so disappointed to have this happen.  In an attempt to free up storage space on my blog because Blogger was saying I was maxed out, I went and deleted all my earlier pictures.  A few days later I found that for a few dollars a year I could have more space than I know what to do with.  Oh well, live and learn-- but certainly no more picture deleting.

Sarah said...
Happy Birthday Annalyn!!!
This is purely just a curiousity question but I've always wondered if your children unintentionally (cause I know they would never do it on purpose) ever segregate themselves based on adopted v. biological? What got me thinking of this question is in one pic it looked like it was mostly composed of bio kids (plus Dennis) and then in another picture your adopted girls. Of course it also looks like girls v. boys! :)
(I'm not assuming anything because I figured this is just how it happened to turn out, with how tables are set ups, who gets their food first, who is closer to whom, etc.)
January 24, 2012 12:03 AM

Never really noticed this before.  I think it is more a girl verses boy thing since most of my girls were adopted. 

Shari said...
Hi Christine!
I taught my boys to read with the book "How To Teach Child to Read in 100 Days". It worked and was very easy.
I hope it is something that might encourage you.
January 25, 2012 10:05 PM

Thank you for the suggestion.  I went out and got the book from our homeschool resource center as soon as you mentioned it.  You are right-- it is an awesome book.  I did lesson one with Dennis and haven't picked it up since.  No excuse really other than being  busy with homeschool and doing his assigned homework.  I hope to work with him over the summer.

Kelly said...
Do your girls that are the same size share clothes or do you buy for each one and keep each separated? My three oldest boys are the same size but they do not share. Just curious how girls are about that sort of thing.
January 28, 2012 5:49 PM

My girls each have their own clothes.  They have their own drawers and for the most part have no problem distinguishing whose clothes is whose.  With that said, they are always trading and borrowing!  

Anonymous said...
How old is Galina's bio sister?
February 21, 2012 11:50 AM

She is 18.

Carol G said...
Annalyn reminds me a bit of Drew Barrymore in that photo! I really like her hair that way. She is a beautiful girl with a great smile!
February 21, 2012 1:05 PM

Thank you.  I keep telling her that she looks like Drew but she didn't believe me.  I showed her your comment and at least now she knows I am not crazy!

Anonymous said...
Can I bid on a sheet of cinnamon buns ;-) They look sooo good!
February 29, 2012 3:31 PM

Funny you should say that.  One Sunday after church Julia and I made cinnamon rolls and went around the neighborhood selling them.  We went out with 10 packages and came home with 7.  

SolaceMama said...
Happy Birthday Alex!
I just have to comment on Dennis. The picture above "J&A bought a round of dessert"? HIS EYE! He looks good! I am just in awe of what God, science and a lot of love can do for a person. :)
March 4, 2012 10:22 PM

Thank you!  I think so too!  He has come so far.  Now if only we could get his eczema under control.  I am taking him to a new doctor next week and hopefully an allergist and dermatologist soon after.  

cara said...
Where did you find the fabulous comforters? My son would love one.
March 5, 2012 8:23 AM

Got them from Walmart.  I have them shipped to the nearest store to save on shipping.

Tasha said...
Are you still going to publish the cookbook with the reader submissions?
What recipes are in this book?
March 7, 2012 7:20 AM

I hope so!  But that cookbook will have over 100 recipes and I just don't have the time right now.  The cookbook I made has 25 recipes that our family uses all the time.  Some of the recipes include apple crumb dessert, taco soup, lemon meringue pie, bread pudding, and easy chile verde.

Anonymous said...
I think the cook book is a great idea since your food always looks so wonderful. I can't donate or buy one though as I am a poor college student haha. I do wish you the best of luck though!!
Also, I have a question I was wondering if you could answer since it pertains to adoption and you have done that plenty of times and probably are very educated in it.
I am wondering if you have to be religious to adopt from another country, since all adoption blogs people seem to be highly religious. Could an atheist couple, or even just a spiritual but non religious church going family adopt?
March 7, 2012 5:42 PM

It is wonderful that you have questions about adoption.  I do not think you have to be religious to adopt from another country.   But for us, it is because of our relationship with Christ that we have chosen adoption.  If you would like to discuss this more, please feel free to email me. 

Rita from Spain said...
Oh Christine, get well soon....
YOU and everyone else! Being a MOm and being sick is AWFUL...
HOWEVER, I can not help say what? at the general anesthesia....perhaps it is common in the U.S....but they would never think of putting someone to sleep to pull a molar here! With just local novacaine, it is more enough....even for my 3 yr old...who unfortunately had to have one out...
just saying...
Anyway I hope that Rachel´s visit goes smoothly! Any dentist work is usually the pits!

Thanks Rita.  I am feeling better today.  As to the general anesthesia, I thought the same thing.  But Rachel's wisdom teeth are impacted and her mouth doesn't have room for them so this is the only way the dentist will pull them.  :(

March 8, 2012 12:54 AM
Why not call it just smiles, if you delete the trials blog posts. I am confused on why it was deleted, it was a very well written blog post that might have helped others.
By Anonymous on We're Sick at 8:34 AM

 Good point.  I am sorry.  Admittedly, I didn't talk with my daughter before I posted the blog post in question.  Out of respect, I removed it.   

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Post From the Couch

Warning-- this is a bare all post.  I'm not feeling well, and it has been a tough week with a few of the kids.  I am usually quick to share the smiles but reluctant to share the trials.  Well here they are.  Despite everything though, the Lord brings smiles.  I'll share them too.

I am laid up on the couch after doing the barest minimum this morning.  It was a rough night tossing and turning.  Who knew a fever could suck this bad.  Every time I cough I feel like my lungs are sunburned and someone is slapping them.  The less I talk and move around the less I cough.  Taking ibuprofen has added constipation to my list of ailments-- blah.  A trip to the grocery store needs to happen-- and I am so not looking forward to it.  The thought of breathing cold outside air and walking around is torture.

Actually, I just got back from the store with Sveta and Julia.  They were so helpful making the trip bearable.  On a whim I picked up some Birthday Cake Oreos at Julia's request.  After eating two my spirits are up.  Nothing like a sweet and yummy treat to make a girl feel better. :)  I highly recommend you get some!

If I would have sat down to share this a few days ago it probably would have been very different.  Things just look so much worse in the heat of the moment.   Just another life lesson.

Our one daughter who I wrote about last week has finally had a turn around, but let me back up a bit.

It had been a very hard week and a half with her, but the Lord is bigger.  I admit that I was getting discouraged, but our trials brought us all closer to Him and He is prevailing.  She had continued to be belligerent over the course of a week-- off and on.  If I just ignored her, she was rude.  If I approached her to talk things out, she was rude.  If I tried to have her sit somewhere else to do her schoolwork because she was disrupting the other girls she would refuse.  If I sent her to her room she would bang her head against the wall and sing as loud as she can so that we could still hear her downstairs.  She didn't want to do her schoolwork, and she had no self-control with what came out of her mouth.  She was digging herself in a hole and had no signs of wanting to stop.  It was only by God's stregth that I was calm enough for the both of us-- a smile in the midst of a trial.  Three years ago... I was more apt to match her bad attitude.


I took her to Costco with me only because I couldn't trust to leave her home with some of the others and I could sense that she needed me near even though she acted the opposite.  She walked very slowly behind us.  It's as if she enjoyed me turning around to check on her and ask her to catch up every few minutes.  Thankfully, John whose work is just up the street, found out that we were there after calling home to see how we were doing.  He met up with us to say hi!  The other kids welcomed him with big smiles, but not our one daughter.  He noticed that I had a bathing suit in the cart that looked like her size and asked about it.  Admittedly I felt like a fool for putting it in the cart-- who buys a disrespectful, belligerent daughter a new bathing suit?  Ooo- Ooo me!  My thinking was-- I wanted to show my daughter that despite her words and actions I was her mother no matter what and I planned on her still being my daughter come summer.  I wanted her to see that despite the way things currently were, I still thought of her, cared for her, and loved her.  Feeling foolish for putting the suit in the cart, I was tolerant of her disrespect towards me in the store.  Thankfully the Lord knew my weakness and sent my better half-- another smile confirming to our children that we are one in marriage.  Outside, John asked her when she was going to start being respectful towards me (us) and at that point she said when she felt like it which wasn't going to be anytime soon.  We finished loading up the van with groceries and parted ways.  John  took our one daughter for a drive to talk.  She of course sat in the very last row with him looking into the rear view mirror as they talked.  Picture it.  Eventually he came across a police station and pulled in.  She refused to get into the front seat so he joined her in the back to talk some more.  Her point of view was that everything was our fault.  She should be able to act however she wants, we give consequences, she acts out more in retaliation, but if we take back the consequences she will behave and act like nothing happened.  Rather than talking till he was blue in the face, he told her that if she hates her life with us so much and we were so mean and awful to her then she should get out and go stay here until she felt it was safe to come home.

We had never done anything like this before other than showing William pictures of burn victims when he had a fascination with fire.  John really had no clue if this would spark some sort of heart change.
But the rubber had met the road.  He was calling her bluff.  Enough was enough. 
They talked for a long time, and ultimately she chose home.
So they came home... with our daughter in the front seat next to him chatting away with her Daddy knowing that he loved her despite her previous behavior.
And though her apology to me didn't come instantly, it did come in her own timing.  And I was okay with that.  If she apologized to John she in essence apologized to me too because we are one.  Come time she approached me the words that flowed out of her mouth were her own-- when she was ready.  The snappiness in her voice was gone as was the anger in her eyes.

I knew that the wall was down.  And it was a relief to us both-- another smile.

I am the first to admit that I have been a softie so much that erasing consequences is expected all the time and when I didn't deliver she was disappointed to say the least.  This played a huge part in fueling her continued attitude for so many days and I explained to her how I had mistaken grace as taking away the whole consequence rather than following through with it but in a loving and patient way.    She could continue to be bitter and angry because she has to go to bed early or she could choose to feel good that she is honoring us by going to bed respectfully as long as she has to.  But I could not, would not lift the 7pm bedtime earlier than I said I would.  This time the consequences would stick, but it doesn't mean we love her any less. It was her choice how she wanted to process this.
One way would make her want to act out more as she resisted, the other way would bring her peace as she accepts the consequences of her actions.

She went to bed that night as a different child.  John went in to kiss her goodnight an hour later and she was actually asleep with a peaceful look on her face.  Since... she has been a gentler, happier, less sassy girl.  Not perfect, but who is?

Now.. from previous comments from others, we may appear to be full of wishful thinking.  And honestly, this may be short lived.  Only time will tell.  But we have told her that.  And she knows now that this is not about us.   This is about her accepting responsibility for her actions.  This is about her knowing and trusting that when I encourage and redirect her to focus on God and school and family it is not to ruin her life but to help her reach her full potential.  

And despite what she dishes out at times, we see the Lord's faithfulness.  We are not naive to think that this bridge cannot be crossed again, but we can see how the Lord walks this journey with us.

For John and I-- it has been transforming.  It is certainly not something we would choose to go through, yet the patience we are learning to exercise would not have come any other way.  I know she sees this in us, and it scares her as much as it brings her comfort.  On one had, she sees that she no longer has the control over us that she once did and on the other hand she has peaceful consistency in her life that she didn't have when she was younger.  This may take longer for her to adjust to than we thought, but we have time. 

Last night John had to work late.  I forgot that and was delaying dinner till he came home, but the kids  had youth group.  I remembered that he would be home after the kids left so we went ahead and sat down to eat without him.  One child was particularly eager to get dinner out of the way so they could go.  My prayer included our health and nice, uplifting conversation at the table.  We say to THINK before you speak.  Is it TRUTHFUL?  Is it HELPFUL?  Is it INSPIRING?  Is it NECESSARY?  Is it KIND?  If not, then please don't talk or choose different words. 

As kids gathered around the bar, my allowing more than the normal 3 or 4 at a time so that they could get their food sooner and get to church upset one of the kids.  Under his breath he called them idiots, but I heard.  I asked him to repeat what he said and reluctantly he confirmed that I heard right.

"Really?  You have that little self-control?  And you think that of your family?"  Needless to say, he was not allowed to go to youth group.   This did not make for a comfortable dinner.  Everyone was silent.  I certainly didn't feel good about what had happened, but as much as I wanted to be graceful and allow his apology to suffice, I couldn't.  This was not the first time, so obviously my letting it go without consequences had not worked.  He pleaded to let him go, but I stood firm all the while my one daughter watching.

Like I often do, I found myself thinking how hard this parenting thing is. 
Later, my son came to me to apologize for his behavior and for asking to go after I had said no.
Praise the Lord.
I thanked him for coming to me with such wisdom and humility.

Trusting in the Lord doesn't mean having our life plans laid out before us.  Actually, it is moment by moment that we walk with Him not knowing what lays before us but trusting that He will always be there.  I had no idea how my son would react, but I have faith that the Lord's plan is to grow us to be joyful, humble, patient, forgiving, honoring, and loving.  Had my son not come to me, I still had peace that I made the right parenting decision.  But, he did come to me, and that's what I choose to rejoice in.

I didn't become a Mom with the promise that everything would always be easy.  Each day brings new challenges, and just like my daughter, I can choose to be resentful that I am expected to go through them, or I can lean on the Lord and rest in His peace looking at each experience as a growth opportunity.

Awww, the smiles and trials of life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We're Sick

Alex woke up crying, "Mom!  Mommy! Mommy!" late Sunday night.  Needing to be changed... and running a fever I counted my blessings when he swallowed the fever reducing pill with ease avoiding an extra trip over to my bathroom in the middle of the night to get the chewables.  After a big glass of water, I tucked Alex back into bed and ran the diaper downstairs out to the trash on the side of the house.  As I tiptoed back up the stairs I heard, "Mom!  Mommy!" again.  He was sick with diarrhea and like I had first suspected it was going to be a long night.

That was how my week started, and like the domino effect, Dennis, Annalyn, and now myself are all sick.   No fun.  As Dennis' fever rose, I tried to give him some medicine to swallow-- but he wouldn't have it.  Poor guy couldn't swallow it and as the pill lost its coating and filled his mouth with a bitter taste it was so bad of me to laugh.  But it was funny!  And laughter at the moment was the best medicine.  I had him spit it out and gave him chewables instead-- which he was thankful for.

Today the kids' teacher came out and went over all their work.  She bought two pairs of earrings.  Later, I took Rachel and Anna to the dentist.  Praise the Lord neither of them had any cavities but Rachel needs her wisdom teeth pulled.  She is scheduled to have two of them pulled at the end of this month with general anesthesia.  It will be her first time getting put to sleep and she is a bit nervous. 

Now I'm off to bed in hopes that the extra sleep will do me well.  I hope the boys are well enough to go to school!  If they are still even a little bit sick I will keep them home.  The school is quick to call and insist that I come pick them up with just the slightest cough-- it is not worth going through the motions of sending them only to have to come and pick them up an hour later.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reed Family Cookbook Fundraiser

25 for 25!

Please check this out! Here is a cookbook I put together with 25 of our favorite family recipes that we make over and over.  From compote to cinnamon rolls to meatballs to apple crumb dessert this book has a little of everything.  
For $25 you will get a color printed, binded, 8 1/2 X 11 recipe book that is filled with our favorite recipes! Shipping included!
Please consider buying a cookbook.  All donations will go towards Doyle and Fischer's adoption.
Since I will be making these books as orders come in please allow seven days from the time you order.

Thank you!

Silent Auction Winners

The Silent Auction Has Ended!  The winners are posted below.  Thank you so much for bringing us closer to meeting the financial needs for this adoption.  You may be the winners of  this silent auction, but the real winners are Doyle and Fischer.  Soon they will be home with us. . .  orphans no more!  Please email me at if you bid and won one of the items below.

#1Bib -- $5 LizD

#2 Soft baby Book-- $10 Kristen

#3 Flannel Mickey Blanket -- $15 Nicole N

#4 necklace--$20 Catherine

#5 pink necklace-- $5 Emily

#6 necklace-- $5 Emily

#7 necklace and earrings-- $15 Sarah

#8 necklace and earring set $15 Maribeth

#9 necklace -- $10 Shari

#10 necklace-- $10 Robin's Nest

#11 green cuddlebug--  $20 Vivian Bowles

#12 red cuddlebug--  $25 Tanya B

#13 tote bag--  $10 GarolG

#14 Middle School Book-- $15 Maribeth

#15 (Just for Me Bible)--  $10 Maria G

#16 (Just for Me Friends) -- $10.00 Maria G

#18 redemption book--  $20 AllisonD

#20 collage-- $20 Votemom


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

Happy Birthday to Alex!
Today Alex turned seven years old!
This is his third birthday that we have celebrated with him but today is the first time that he said he is now a big big boy!
We surprised him with redecorating the boys' room.
For dinner we went to McDonald's with a big indoor playplace.
For a special treat, Alex and Dennis got happy meals.
Here is Julia and Anastasia looking radiantly beautiful!
Julia and Annalyn bought a round of desserts for everyone.  We sang happy birthday and then opened presents.

Alex loves King Kong.  King Kong is his favorite animal in the whole world.  He loves, loves, loves to watch the movie and will cry his eyes out each and every time King Kong dies.
So for his birthday, I found a small King Kong doll on Amazon that makes sounds.
Just like we all thought, Alex loved this present the most!  Here he is hugging it.
Alex wanted to blow out the candles before we sang Happy Birthday.
It only took 16 blows before all the candles were out!
Happy birthday Alex!
We love you!
You have come a long way!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Just in Time for St. Patrick's Day

Shamrock earrings!
Only $8!
Protect yourself.  Don't get pinched this St. Patrick's Day!
Just imagine.  Not only will you be partnering with us by helping with the adoption costs for two precious little boys, but you will also have something cute and green to wear for St. Patrick's Day!
Please email me if you would like a pair.
Order by March 14 to make sure you get them in time!