Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the other side

Well folks, we are on the other side. Of course it didn't go off without a hitch but they were relatively small hitches in the big scheme of things and most people didn't even realize there were hitches. R and JT are husband and wife. T had a little speech to deliver when he handed over "the key to R's heart". Apparently he had something planned out but he choked up and just said, "JT, I've guarded R's heart for 19 years and now I'm turning that over to you," and handed him the little key. I think everyone teared up at least a little.

J did well in his part as the ring bearer and helping the flower girl get down the aisle. They both did well and J told me later that even though he was itchy and wanted to scratch, he just stood still. Too cute.

I'm exhausted, the house is a wreck, but it is so nice to be on the other side. I'll post pics as soon as I can.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hi everyone. I want to take a moment of calm in the chaos of life to wish you all a Merry Christmas. We are incredibly busy with Christmas and wedding plans and festivities. I don't expect to be blogging much until we reach the other side (of the wedding). I have divided my life into two categories, things which need to be done before the wedding and things which can wait.

We went to church yesterday at my brother's church with all 13 of us. Us five, JT, my parents, my brother's four and nephew's fiance. It was a nice time. And then we had our family Christmas that evening. J's favorite gift so far is a nerf gun with velcro "ammo" that sticks to a vest that you wear. It seems to be a favorite among all the boys, young and old. Between what we saved on gifts and what we all managed to chip in we had nearly a thousand dollars to give away. We enjoyed doing that and are already looking towards next year.

While I was getting ready for church yesterday morning the only voice I could hear was coming from J. No real surprise there but when I got out to the kitchen he bounced up to me and said, "I am drinking coffee!!" Oh yeah, like he needs coffee. With sugar. We had been working on the wedding favor boxes the night before and there was a bowl with some pretty white candy in it on the table. He asked what it was and I told him it was candy. He hovered over it until I asked him if he wanted one. He popped one in his mouth and then asked if it would turn his brain to mush. What?!? We told him no but he held his head and moaned and then spit the candy out. Now, about a month ago or so, I told him in passing that if he watched too much tv his brain would turn to mush. He continued to hold his head and started crying and saying that his brain was turned to mush. The only thing we can figure is that he got a coffee/sugar rush headache about the time he popped the candy into his mouth. He was quite serious about it but we all just cracked up. I think we eventually convinced him that his brain was not mush. Too funny.

I think we have all the Christmas and wedding shopping done. I think. I know there are a few more things to get but we may have to do without because I've about had it with the whole shopping thing. Blech!

I also think my shoulder may be slightly better. I think. The other side of my neck is sore from the sling but it may be helping the shoulder. I'll let you know on the other side.

J's basketball team won another game Saturday. They are 5 and 0 for the season.

J got a game and a can of gloopy black stuff for Christmas from a boy in his class. He was quite thrilled with it all the rest of the day on Friday. I don't think he has touched it since then. Come to think of it, I should probably question him as to it's whereabouts. I'd hate to find it ground into some carpet in some part of the house. He tried to get everyone to touch it. He also slimed it over his hand and I took a pic. Lovely, isn't it?

Ah yes. The finished product. I think someone asked for a pic. I don't even know for sure but here it is anyway. The ones with the green lining are for the groomsmen and the other ones are for J and the ushers.

R's books have been selling well to friends and family around here. We'll have to order more soon. If you'd like to order one you can email her at

J has been asking every day when we are going to make cut out cookies. I guess I better get off the computer and go stir up some cookie dough with my one handed self. Merry Christmas. See you on the other side.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Two "J'isms"

Because I'm at a point in my life where I have to write things down while I'm thinking of them or I forget, I have a couple of "J'isms" that I need to write down quick.

You know the "see you later alligator, after while crocodile" thing? J hasn't been able to get all of that yet and usually says, "See you later, crocodile."

At halloween time he learned, trick or treat-smell my feet-give me something good to eat. Not because we went trick or treating but because he heard it at school, I'm sure. Now that it's the Christmas season he has heard, jingle bells, batman smells, robin laid an egg. Yes, he heard that one from his mother. But his rendition is, "Jingle bells, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat." That is his own creation.

Not to be outdone, his 16yo sister just followed us home with her bright lights on most of the time-shining in her daddy's eyes. When told not to have the brights on when following someone she said, "But the low brights are not bright enough and I can't see." Low brights. Isn't that an oxymoron?

Firsts, lasts and other news

JT is here! Lord willing and the creek don't rise there will be a wedding next weekend. He looks good. He has filled out quite a bit and it looks good on him. They are getting the marriage license today. Neither one of them has slept much in the last 36 hours. I haven't seen his leg but he seems to be moving just fine. Thanks for the prayers for healing.

J had his first school Christmas party this morning. He has been in really good moods most of the time but last night he was begging me to "make one more baby". He really wants a little sister. Then he asked about a friend of his from the O and if we could adopt him and he could be his brother. I told him it took 4 years to get him here and they'd be grown by the time his friend got here. Then the tears came. I just loved on him and validated his feelings.

I have made my last vest. If they don't fit, too bad. I have also packed my last school lunch for '09 and have gotten J up for school for the last time of '09. Woo hoo!

I went to the chiro this morning. My shoulder has been sore for about 6 weeks. Cutting down the Christmas tree and sewing all the vests has not helped at all. He said it's probably a separated shoulder, only it's the type one where it hasn't actually separated, it's just pulled. He recommended a sling, resting it, and bio freeze. I'm having a heck of a time undressing myself. T is more than happy to help.

J continues to crack us up all. the. time. We went out to eat the other night and he excused himself to run around the corner and then peek out. We asked him what he was doing and he announced, "I'm farting." Just today he was doing the I've got to pee dance and saying ow, ow. I asked him what was wrong and he said he had to use the bafroom. I told him to go and he ran off to use it and we heard him saying, "Ahh, dat feel better." He takes the English language very literally which is always good for a laugh. Oh, his class went to the Christmas Carol 3D. We've taken him to the drive in but it was his first time in a theater. Plus it was 3D. Apparently his popcorn went everywhere at the first thing that looked like it was coming at him. To see him re-enact it is quite funny.

His RA teacher at church gave each of the boys a walmart gift card. It was burning a hole in his pocket and we had to get shoes, pants and shirt for the wedding so he took the card with him and after we got the clothes picked out T and J started off towards the toy section hand in hand. Awww, melt my heart. I caught up with them and J was having a hard time deciding what he wanted. There are so many choices and he just isn't used to making so many. He finally decided on gum, a book, and a toy. He did a good job and came in just under $10 with 17 cents to spare. He told me I could have what was left on the card.

I was telling my sister in law the other day how J kept saying time moves faster in America. He truly thought that our clocks move faster here. He said he would get home from school and boom, it was time to eat. Then he'd do homework and watch a little tv and boom, it was time for bed. I tried to assure him that the clocks move the same here as they do in Haiti. He was not convinced. SIL thought that was really something that a young child recognizes the much faster pace of life here. She said, the child speaks truth.

Well, we're off to a little "coming home" party for JT. If you haven't watched the Livesays Christmas video, take a look. And don't forget that you can order one of R's books too. Just email

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas giving

I'm still processing my emotions from when I picked J up 3 1/2 months ago to finally, after a four year wait, bring him home. I had come to take him home and say hello to a new life. I was so happy. His birth mom came to say good-bye. Her heart was broken. How do you process that?

As J has been home he has given little glimpses of his life before he knew us. This is a resilient child. We feel like his mother gave him life, twice. Once by giving birth and once by choosing adoption for him. I've honestly struggled over the years about how I felt about his birth mom. I've wondered why she chose adoption for him and if it was a selfish decision or a self-less decision. From what we've been able to piece together, it was completely self-less. I have great respect for this woman who set her own feelings aside and did what she had to do to protect her child and hopefully give him a better life. Her heart was breaking as she sat there on the couch, the three of us, and said good-bye to her son. There are no words for these feelings.

There are just not a lot of options for women and children in Haiti. There is no welfare system. There are no safe houses. Jobs are scarce and jobs for untrained women with children are pretty much nonexistent.

There are some people who are trying to make a difference in the lives of the women and children in Haiti. These are real people whom I have met and spent time with. I stayed with the Livesay family my last night in Haiti after I had spent the month of January down there with J. It was exactly what I needed and God used them to minister to me. It was nice to feel "normal". Hope kept me entertained just talking to me. And then we went to the McHoul's house for dinner and fellowship. It was just what I needed. John and Beth are warm and inviting. The Buxmans and another family (I'm sorry I can't remember your names, how awful is that?) were there too and I really felt welcomed.

While we (J, a friend and I) were there to pick J up we stayed with the people who had been house parents for J for about 9 months. Shelley and Corrigan are wonderful people who are living and working in Haiti to make a difference and to keep families together. They strive to find ways to help empower Haitians to make a living to support their families whether they are men or women.

For Christmas this year my SIL felt led to just give smaller gifts and use the rest of the money that would have been spent and pooling it together to give to different charities that were on our hearts. We've really gotten into it and have enjoyed doing this. If you have done something similar and are wondering where it should go, I can personally vouch for each of these ministries. I've watched the Heartline women's group in session. I've heard Paige (at 14 years old) translate for the women's group. I've seen the sewing machines and have touched the purses of Haitian Creations. I've watched the women do bead work at the Apparent Project. I've met some of the women who are trying to earn money to keep their families intact. I've met a mom whose heart was broken as she said good-bye to her son. Please consider these as you give this Christmas. Or buy someone a gift from these ministries. Here are links for you to read more about each ministry. (Be sure to watch their Christmas video) (Several people are running a marathon to raise money for Heartline Women's ministry.) Check them all out. Thanks!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Still here

We're still here, and still incredibly busy. Lots of stuff in my head. Lots. And way too much activity to process it all. I'm still sewing vests for the wedding. Sigh...I'm glad to do them but I'll be very glad when they are done.

Still have Christmas gifts to buy. Sigh...

JT still has cellulitis but it didn't get to his bone, thank God. He will still get recycled in the advance training stuff because of his hospitalization but it's just 6 weeks. Lord willing, he'll be home for "Christmas exodus" on Friday. And for the wedding a week and two days after that. And Lord willing, we'll be ready for it.

T is still having trouble with his foot that continues to stump the doc. Blood work is okay. They are sending him to a podiatrist.

J had a good, bad, and then okay weekend. He isn't responding well when told to do something, at home or at school. They are working on it at school and he's doing better there. He earned a "time out" from tv, videos, and video games for today and it really upset him. TV seems to be the key to his heart right now. The problem is he is equating "grounding" with us not loving him. We're working through it. He sewed a pillow that he is quite proud of during his tv break. He also played with toys in his room, by himself. That's huge as he hasn't been willing to do much in his room by himself.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Post #401, pics, growth, prayer

We're still asking for prayer for R's fiance, "JT", as he is having a bone scan of some sort done today to see if the staph infection has reached to the bone in his leg. Please pray for healing for him and that he can come home as planned during Christmas so they can have their Dec. 27th wedding, as planned.

We measured and weighed J the other day. When he came home 3 months ago he was 4'9" and weighed 70 pounds. Now he is 4' 9 1/2" and weighs 76 pounds. He hasn't gained that much in height but he has filled out a little. I think most of his weight gain is in muscle. When he first came home he couldn't ride his bike up the little hill in the driveway. Now he can make it fine. He swam a lot at first too and that put some muscle on him. He's also playing basketball now too. His endurance has gotten better just in the time that he's been playing.

Now for some pics. They are in chronological order picking up from where I left off the last time I posted pics. We wanted a design or something on the edge of each of the spiral stairs because it was so hard to differentiate the individual steps. I bought some stencils but when I tried them on practice pieces they didn't work so well. I finally decided to free hand the gifts of the Spirit. I used polyshades to get a darker finish so they would stand out and mixed sand in it to help prevent sliding. Here is a pic of the finished product. I'm pleased with how they turned out.

The kids and I were home the other day when we heard a crash and the dogs went crazy. A huge tree limb fell on Elvis and dented his roof. Poor Elvis. T popped the dents right out with no problem.

J's first snow! He loved it. The first thing we showed him was how to get clean snow in a cup to make a snow slushy.

The first thing he wanted to do was to throw a snowball.

It was beautiful and stuck to everything.

J did a little sledding. Wait til it really snows and we can pull him in the sled behind the horse or take him to Uncle C's place and sled down their hill.
I snapped this in the driveway on the way to work. And yes, these pics were all taken using the toothpick as a shutter button.

J had another first last night. He participated in his school Christmas program. Their class read a story and J did his part, with some help, but he did it. This is at home after the program. He was so proud of his dress clothes and the tie that his daddy let him borrow. The boy likes to dress up. Then he likes to ask if he looks "gorgeous". Hmmm.

Well, that's it for post #401. Oh wait, no it's not. R's books are in. They are $16 each plus shipping (which we have no idea how much it is but we're working on it-in our spare time) and you can order one by emailing It is a novel of 268 pages about a man, a woman and a horse. I haven't read the newest version but I'm getting ready to.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Please pray

It's me again. R heard from JT today and he's not doing so good again. They will do a bone scan we think on Wed. to see if the infection has gotten into the bone. He's depressed, she's depressed and they are not sure how the Dec. 27th wedding is looking. I told R that she was going to have to trust that it would work out exactly the way God wanted it to. She asked me if I knew how hard that was. Uh, yeah. Or, uh, YEAH!! 4 years of waiting? I know how it feels. We're praying for healing for JT, that he can come home for Christmas and peace for both of them. This is my 400th post and was supposed to be full of pics and celebration but instead it's full of prayer request. Hopefully post #401 will be full of pics and celebration. Thanks for praying!

We're still here

We're still alive and well, just very busy. It snowed Sat. J's first snow. He was beside himself with excitement, like 6:30am, knocking on the bedroom door excited. When he found out that he had snow boots and snow pants he was even more excited, if that was possible. More on that and some pics later.

J's basketball team won both of their games on Sat. They are 3 and 0. I still don't think he "gets" all the rules and stuff, but he loves being part of the team and is learning a lot. He gets right out there and plays.

A's dance recital is coming up. She is loving having a car to drive and will look for a job in Jan. She's doing all right in school but struggling with "proofs" in her geometry class.

R's plans are coming along. We think that JT's staph infection is better but it looks like he'll be "recycled" at least to some degree. Communication from him is spotty at best. Pray for him. R's books should be here soon and we'll set up a way to order them. She's doing okay at school but not as well as she'd like. Obviously her mind is on other things.

T's foot got the weird blister thing with all the swelling and itching for the third time now. We have no real idea what it is and that's very frustrating.

I'll post pics when I can. I've been busy making Christmas treats, sourdough bread, and vests for the wedding. All of us girls (mom, the girls and I) got together yesterday and had a vest cutting out party of sorts. We got the first one cut out and realized that we didn't have any interfacing. Sigh...we scrounged up enough to make a child sized one for J but after all that, it's awfully small. Huge sigh...and so it goes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Why does everything break at once? Our dishwasher is still leaving some white residue on just about everything. It's better than it was but still not great. The microwave has been on the fritz for a while now. It beeps at any given time for no apparent reason and will cut off in the middle of cooking something. The vacuum wouldn't stand up on it's own anymore so I bought a new one and it didn't work well at all so I took it back. I dropped the camera at J's basketball game and it came all apart. T managed to put it back together and we could use it with a thumb tack but the telephoto wouldn't work and it wouldn't review the pics. Plus, T had to replace the clutch in the Jeep.

I was watching a few cameras on ebay last night until I balanced the checkbook. Things are tight. And you know that's when everything needs repairs. I explained how tight things were to T and he fixed the old vacuum, with a spring. Then he took the camera apart and cleaned all the contacts and now everything works but the button for taking a pic is still missing so we are using a matchstick to press the button. Yes, we are taking pics using a match stick. How funny is that? We're going to look under the bleachers on Wed and see if we can find the button. T never ceases to amaze me and necessity really is the mother of all inventions.

So here are some pics that I took, either with the thumb tack or the match stick, so you can see some of the craziness going on around here. A friend brought J an early Christmas gift. He and T spent like 2 hours putting it together and here is J with the finished product.

Sanomae still loves the warm laundry but she has also spent a lot of time sitting on our bed and watching the leaves fall from the trees. It's quite funny.

Because R is collecting things for her own home and because she's been showered with gifts, we have two households in one right now. Things are tight in the checkbook and things are tight in the house too. Plus, J will be moving downstairs once R moves out and there is no way that the furniture from his room will make it down the circular steps (we put it up there before the steps went in) so we are having to get new stuff for him too. This is J's new our bathroom.

Here is a sampling of R's stuff, in our office/music room.

Boxes in the living room.

And in the dining area.

Oh, and here is the New Year's Eve fodder, I mean the precious little Christmas tree that J and I found. R likes it. A and T, not so much. It fits really well in the living room, don't you think?