Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness

I discovered this awesome site....Pinterest! I still can't pronounce it, but that doesn't matter. I came across this awesome idea. So, I quickly put our design team (Dan) to work! Here are our Random acts of christmas kindness cards. If you have any ideas of what our family could do during the 25 days of RACK, please comment! Happy RACK'ing!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

15, really??

How is it possible that we have a 15 year old? Seriously, can anyone 'splain that to me?? This girl is straight up goodness! She is such a giving, helpful soul! She is the best big sister any kid could ask for.We are blessed. Kenz took drivers training this summer. She's not too bad. She is working hard to save up money towards the purchase of a car. She's a hard worker and a great saver! Watch out world. This girl's on her way!!

Lame-Momma Summer

Bubba helped build a tower to the ceiling! A HUGE hit!
The best smile - EVER!
Silas with his buddy, Tess.

I was such a bad photo taker all summer. I have a few, but not nearly enough. Especially considering that in order to remember what we've done, I have to go through pictures. Oh well.

A short summer recap:

  • Spent one weekend at Camp Dearborn, where we very quickly discovered that Silas is too young for us to go to Camp Dearborn. Watch out next summer. We're all over that.
  • Spent Labor Day at a great lake house up north (thanks Mom and Dad!!). We quickly discovered (apparently long weekends are very eye-opening) that we can be excellent parents if we don't have to work, cook, or clean. It was a relaxing weekend all around. There was a beautiful porch with an incredible swing. It was the perfect amount of outside for me. I could get a cup of coffee and sit outside. Perfection!!
  • Spent lots of time playing referee. The boys have come SO far in their squabbles. They are starting to become friends and play together. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Silas is talking a TON. He's got a great sense of humor. He cracks Micah up all the time. He has this stern face that he makes at Micah when they are in their car seats. It's hilarious. I've tried to catch it on my phone several times, but I am trying to drive and all!
Perhaps Fall will afford us more time for pictures and blogging. I'm just sure of it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dancer girl

Sophie had her first dance recital ever last weekend. She was beyond excited. We were challenged by the request of her teacher to get her hair into this bun!! But, we did it! Sophie had a huge, cheesy, proud grin on her face through her entire dance. We were so proud of her and happy to see her enjoy herself so much!!

Quitting the FB

I've decided (again) to quit Facebook. I've been noticing that a couple things are happening for me:

1. I blog a lot less. I have my blog linked to FB, I blog and then wait to see if anyone will "like" it or what comments they might have. It becomes too narcissistic for me. I originally set up my blog as a "memory keeper" for me. I can't remember anything. So, I really want my blog to be something that I keep current and don't write for anyone else. To be fair, I keep it public because I really, really enjoy reading other people's blogs and being part of their world (or at least what they share on their blogs)

2. I read someone's post on someone else's wall and think...Wow, they are such good friends. Do I have relationships like that? and then the dangerous step...and does the world know it??

3. I read someone else's status about what they are doing for the Lord or in their ministry and I think - What am I doing? I wish I could be doing more.

So, I think I will save time and spend it thanking the Lord for where I am now and what He has called me to be doing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One month home

We've been home from China for one month (bet the title didn't give that away, huh?). It's been a whirlwind, really. I'm amazed at how well this little man has adjusted and become a part of the family. It is A LOT of work with these two little kids. Micah at 2 1/2 has a lot of energy and is a very sensitive soul. He cries alot. About everything. I love that little mug though. Silas is a crazy, dare devil with a large piece of accident prone thrown in there. We are pretty much constantly parenting one of the two of them. Silas is still getting rocked to sleep for nap and bedtime with a bottle. We aren't ready to cry it out just yet. He doesn't let Dan rock him to sleep yet. Dan isn't giving up though. He keeps trying. Silas keeps winning. I'm sure his day is coming. We are challenged with trying to make sure everyone is getting what they need. But we are still standing. That's something, right??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Choose your title

  • The no go horrible, good for nothing day
  • Are you FAAA-REAKING kidding me
  • Taking out the weakest member
  • and lastly...Mom's quote "This is why I didn't want to come!"
We went to tour a Buddist temple today...yada yada yada. Nothing much reportable. We then went to a factory where they make a lot of the traditional items from Inner Mongolia. We shopped for quite a while. Silas was a trooper! A lama at the temple had given him a small loaf of bread and he happily sat in the stroller (spoiler alert) eating his bread. We got some souvenirs and headed back to the hotel. We discovered that our room hadn't been cleaned, and when you live in a hotel room 24/7, it needs a good cleaning. We asked to have it cleaned and decided to take a walk to the store to get some chocolate, I mean milk for was all about Silas.

We got our milk and put Silas back in the stroller. We haven't been buckling him in because he loves to ride in it and we are stupid. HE FELL OUT OF THE STROLLER. ON HIS HEAD. He had a huge gaping, bleeding, meatly looking cut. The store owners came out and told us (I think) to come back in and got us kleenexes. The man signaled for me to follow him with Silas. We walked into what looked like a clinic or pharmacy. He couldn't find what he was looking for so we went into another building. In my head, I had a vision of them stitching up my kid in a foreign country and just decided to head back to the hotel for help. We asked the other American family at the hotel what they thought we should do. We all decided that stitches might be in order under normal circumstances, but that the trauma and uncertainty involved wasn't worth the possible trauma involved. We pulled out the medical kit that I brought and tried to put together some sort of workable solution.

We prayed. Mom went to the lobby and asked if they had a medical kit. The concierge came up with a big metal box with some stuff in it. I asked him if he was trained. "Me? No.First time." He applied betadine and this medicine and wrapped it up. It was just a horrible, horrible feeling. I didn't know how to comfort him well enough. This kid has experienced so much in a few days and it was just traumatic. It was also a bit scary because we are just vulnerable without language skills. So, when you see Silas with a huge scab or scar on his forehead, just know that happened on my watch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hohhot Day 1 and 2

We arrived at Hohhot without incident. Well, we don't do much without incident, but we arrived all in one piece.

I had been taking Ambien to help with the jet lag and sleeping issues and am certain that I was dealing with some pretty intense side effects. I was having really intense feelings of desperation and worry. It really was completely illogical. Anyway, that resulted in me not being able to sleep for more than about 15 mins of our first night here. Thank God, my Mom was feeling better and was able to carry the load for my sleep deprived self.

We met our guide at 9 am to do paperwork and make Silas officially ours. I had to do a short interview where I promised that Dan and I were going to care for him and not neglect or abandon him. Done!!

My mom and I decided to venture out with a map to try to find the "mall" where we could get some snacks. Those of you who know me and my directionally challenged tendencies should rest assured that is not a genetic trait! In spite of my mom's good map skills. We didn't take into account that there are no street signs and NO ONE speaks English. We did end up at the mall, which was 7 stories high and we had no idea where the groceries were located. We did find McDonald's! As a good American mom, I introduced Silas to his first happy meal. I ordered chicken nuggets with milk. The lady who spoke a little English said "you don't want milk, it's cold. I will give you a hot chocolate for him." I replied, "Milk is fine." She repeated. I repeated. She gave me chicken nuggets and a hot chocolate. My mom when up and exchanged the hot chocolate for milk. It was room temperature. Our guide told us that kids don't drink anything that is not hot. Silas liked the milk : ).

We had a restless night sleep. Silas slept like a champ. My mom and I would sleep a couple hours at most. We'd wake up watch a movie, read a book or listen to music and fall back asleep. Pretty sure our bodies just think it's a nap.

We went to the passport office today. Got some cute pics of Silas for his passport and stopped at the grocery store. Found some chocolate bars that might be our saving grace!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Silas at Shepherd's Field

It feels like we’ve lived a life time in the last 12 hours. Pretty sure that has to do with the lack of sleep. Silas went to bed around 9 and slept through the night (relatively) until 5 am. I was already up and Skyping with Dan and the kids when he woke up. We have spent more time in bed than out of it, but not nearly enough of that time asleep. Silas and my mom are napping now. Pray for my mom, if you think of it. She is having some stomach issues and seems to be hit pretty hard with jet lag.

We were able to go visit the “house” at Shepherd’s Field , where Silas lived. It is a big compound with gates around it with buildings that house different kids, offices, therapy center, dining hall and guest house (I am fully aware that something is grammatically incorrect with that sentence, I lack the wherewithal to discover what – if it makes it to the blog without Dan correcting it, it will be a miracle).

note from Dan: now why did she have to go there : )

Anyway… we walked into the house and all the ayis (nannies) start clambering and yelling for him. He was so cute and pulled at his shirt to show them that he had new clothes on. The ayis continued to compete for his attention and try to get him to come to them for quite a while. We saw the crib that he slept in. Note to Sophie (she’s a faithful reader, ya know): One of the ayi’s pulled out the blue bear that you sent to Silas so he can bring it back home to you! I will sleep with it every night : ) . I mentioned to the ayis that he hadn’t eaten lunch. They were happy to feed him some congee. I got to see his personality a little more over there, where he is more comfortable. He is very personable and perhaps a bit demanding – don’t get me wrong, that is celebrated by me. He will need that where he’s going : ). All the kids in the house were trying to hold him and play with him. It was reassuring to know that he won’t be overwhelmed by any of the goings on at our house. We are leaving here at 5:30pm Sunday night (5:30 am back home on Saturday) to drive the hour back to the airport and head to Hohhot, where bright and early tomorrow morning we will get the wheels rolling to bring this baby home. I’d do a countdown, but I am WAY too confused about what day it is there vs here and how many days till I come home. You’d be amazed at the brain power I use up trying to figure that out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Aimee's First (proxy) Post

...and by that, I mean she authored it ; )

Flight & Day One:

The flight was pretty uneventful for the most part. Mom and I both tried to take some Ambien to be able to sleep for a chunk of time. No go. We were both just really tired, but couldn’t sleep sitting up. It was a rough landing. But, all in all, it wasn’t horrible.

We went through customs without incident, got our bags and met our driver, who would take us to the Shepherds Field (the orphanage where Silas’ lives). The driver spoke no English at all, so we had no idea how long it would take to get to the orphanage. It took about an hour. When we did finally arrive, Silas was standing in the courtyard waiting for us. I pictured us pulling up and going to find him where he was busy engaging in everyday activity and observing him in his element for a while - didn’t go down that way. Sara, the coordinator, held him for about 5 minutes and then said, “okay, I’m gonna hand him over to you. There is a crib in your room.” So, there you have it. He cried for a very few minutes and then was pretty quiet, but not crying. He slept great. Mom and I were up every couple hours, but managed to make it until 5ish before I got up to try to get in touch with Dan and the kids. We were able to Skype this morning once before Silas got up and then again when he could join the fun. We’ve had a few smiles and some good interactions this morning already. He will come to me and put his hands up for me to hold him, which is good.

I’m still feeling pretty weepy and emotional about being here without my family. Praying that I can be in the moment and just enjoy here now and at the same time praying it goes by really fast!

The First Pic!!!

I figured I would put this one here. The rest of the pics will be on

The whole family got to Skype with Aimee before dinner (about 5:30am there). She was obviously up early, but Silas was still sleeping. Then she "called" us back about 6:00 and he was awake. I'm not sure he knew what to think. Sophie just kept making silly faces and "performing". He did crack a few smiles - he thought Micah was pretty funny.

Can't wait to talk to them is amazing!

We're Here!

Email from Aimee at 7:45am on Saturday:

We are at shepherds field. Silas was waiting at the gate for us when we got here. The co-ordinator handed him to me about 5 mins after that and said he is ours to care for : )

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Letter of Approval

We are officially approved by China to adopt Mr. Silas!! We were thrilled. Our approval came faster than they normally do! We are hoping for a speedy travel approval (prayerfully, we will have him in our arms by June at the latest) and then on to meet this adorable mug!! Those cheeks!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Sometimes I have moments where I can fall into the feeling that I've forced my older kids to sacrifice by adding little kids to our family. There are many things that we choose not to do in order to have a larger family. Disney isn't really in the budget. Quiet isn't in our near future. They are required to contribute more to household chores.

And then... there are moments like these...

I am literally frozen in my tracks...watching this bond. Her growing, maturing. Him being loved, taught, nurtured. Me - humbled. Sometimes (most times) the challenge provides growth.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How it starts

I found this in my gmail archives the other day...I found it really funny, because, was just about saving money....

and...the control we had over the timing...yeah, not so much : )

1:48 PM me: mary anne from whfc just sent me an email
if we get paper work post marked by tomorrow it saves us $400 over the course of the adoption. I am willing to work on it today
do you think it's worth it?
1:49 PM Dan: is there money involved in doing that?
1:50 PM me: $1600
Dan: whoa!
me: or $1750 after tomorrow
Dan: good to save money
me: then the next fee goes up a couple hundred too
1:51 PM Dan: originally, i thought it couldn't hurt to update the home study while audrey would be there because that would save money and would still give us the option to move forward
this will be a commitment that we're definitely in
not saying no...just now it's for real
1:52 PM me: ummmm
it's been real for me though
are you not there?
Dan: i was definitely getting there, but up until now, it seemed like i didn't need to "be there"
all the way
1:53 PM i want to do it
me: we still have control over the timing
we don't have to submit paperwork until we are ready
meaning home study
and CIS
1:54 PM Dan: do we need to send the $1600 in tomorrow?
me: ye[
Dan: can we post date the check :)
is this thing on?
1:55 PM i just flew in from vegas and boy are my arms tired
try the veal?
me: what is happening?
was that your way of saying that was a joke?
Dan: i put a :) after the post date comment
1:56 PM me: uh huh but then you did a stand up routine
1:57 PM Dan: because you didn't respond and then i said "is this thing on" know, like a comedian that doesn't get a laugh
me: you didn't even give me a minute to respond
Dan: how much work do you need to do on the paperwork?
is it an application?
me: okay anyway sounds like waiting is what you want to do
Dan: not necessarily
1:58 PM $1600 was just a little shock and like i said made it a firm commitment vs. let's keep going with little investment
1:59 PM can you get what you need done by tomorrow?
would i need to sign anything before work so it gets postmarked tomorrow?
2:02 PM me: i will have to print it
i haven't looked at it yet

10 minutes
2:13 PM me: you are cute
its mostly just signing your life away

Monday, February 21, 2011

and then there were 5

I have no idea why I haven't blogged about this yet, but, it's time!

I spend (and have for quite some time) looking at special needs lists and advocate blogs. We were in the process of doing paper work for a special needs China adoption. Our agency had a policy that they don't match you with a child until you have a LID (log-in-date) in China. I was fully on board with this policy - it translates to less time waiting for a specific child and more time just general waiting. The hard, hard waiting is when you are looking at a picture of an adorable child. This was the plan. Until....

I saw this face!
I first saw this adorable face on a blog where a lady was advocating for some kids in China. This sweet boy shares a birthday with me. I just felt connected to him somehow. We switched agencies to pursue this little man. This is only the very beginning of the story though...more later.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hearing Him

I was able to attend Created For Care in Georgia this weekend. Such a great time! One of the speakers talked about teaching our kids to hear from the Lord the way Samuel did. It's as simple as asking them to listen for what God is telling them when you read a Bible story. Our conversations have been a little abstract to say the least, but it's a great exercise for kids to know that God speak through His word.

My sister-in-law had back surgery a few weeks ago, so we've been able to have some extra hang time with cousins. So fun all snuggled up and reading together. We are reading the Jesus Story Book Bible for the second time through with Sophie. Every story points to Jesus and refers to Him as "the rescuer". I love this Bible! Micah just saw the picture of the Bible on Amazon and says "Bible. Bible. Daddy read Bible." That kid is awesome!

*It was clearly bedtime. The bags under my eyes speak for themselves.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Congratulations to our "Squares" Winners and a BIG thank you to everyone who played

Thanks again to everyone who played the Super Bowl squares game and contributed to the adoption fund. We are really blessed to have such great friends and family.

Below are the winners if anyone was curious.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Completed Squares

Thanks everyone for playing. Below are the completed squares.

Good luck!

Friday, January 28, 2011

SQUARES...this time it's SUPER!!!

It's the Big Game...the Super Showdown...the Fund-raising Phenom!

Super Bowl XLV. The Steelers going for their record setting 7th Championship vs. the Packers, the second oldest team in the NFL going for their 4th Super Bowl win.

The adoption of baby Silas is getting closer (hopefully around this summer). While we're excited, we also need to finalize the financial portion of the adoption. We had so much fun doing the Michigan vs. Michigan State Squares fund raiser, and we had a lot of great feedback on it as well. Most of all, we were so blessed by the funds that it raised to help with the adoption expenses. Here is a fun way to help raise funds, add a little extra interest to the game, and have a chance to win up to $500.

For those who don't know what "squares" is... It's simple really...and yet a little hard to explain. We will create a grid with 100 squares. Across the top, will be the Pittsburgh Steelers and 10 columns numbered 0-9 (randomly selected). Down the left side, will be the Green Bay Packers and 10 rows numbered 0-9 (randomly selected). For every $25 donation, your name will be randomly assigned to a square. That square will have a corresponding number at the top for the Steelers, and a corresponding number on the left for the Packers. See the grid below with the example names of Joe, Sue, Bob and Mary:
Based on the score at the end of each quarter of regulation time (for those non-football fans, there are 4 quarters in football), we will determine a winner for that quarter. That winner will receive $125, and will still have the chance to win in subsequent quarters - up to $500.

Looking at the above example, if the score at the end of the first quarter was Steelers 3 - Packers 0, Mary would be the winner because the Steelers score ended with 3 and the Packers ended with 0. Moving on, if the score at the end of the second quarter was Packers 7 - Steelers 3, Sue would win $125. If the score at the end of the third quarter was Steelers 10 - Packers 7, Bob would win $125. Finally, if the score at the end of the 4th quarter was Steelers 13 - Packers 7, Sue would actually win another $125.

Hopefully that makes sense. If you're ready for the fun, click the PayPal link below and donate $25 for every square you would like to purchase.