August 28, 2010

Blog Makeover Giveaway!


Makeover Give-Away Is Over
(sniffle, boo...)
Winner will be announced Sept. 6th!

Ok, so since it's September in like, two more days...and since I heart Fall...I just can't wait another day. 

BLOG MAKEOVER anyone?  Whahoo!!!!  If you want to enter your blog for the chance to win a free makeover you'll need to complete the following three steps:

  1. Enter your name and Blog URL using the Mr. Linky box below
  2. Leave a comment on this post
  3. Now go post on your own blog and tell the world why you want to win this makeover.  Be sure to link back to this blog post.  I'll visit each of you and leave a comment!

Are you one of those people who says "I never win anything?" Well, let's not think like that...but since only ONE person can win the giveaway...guess what else I'm going to do?  

I'm offering a very special SALE over at Bushel & A Peck Designs for the month of know, back to school, harvest, fall, Halloween...all that stuff that's coming up...think of the possibilities!

If you need a blog makeover?  Want a blog makeover?  This is your SALE.  

I'm going to temporarily lower my makeover Full Bushel Package price to $45.00.  

GASP!  I KNOW!  From now until the end of September, you can place your order.  That means you have until September 30th to visit Bushel & A Peck Designs and complete the order form with payment.  Here's what you get for the price:

And then?  We're going to help others.  If you haven't heard about Amazima, then you simply must go HERE.  We're going to help these kids get the food and care they need to survive.  It's so hard to remember these travesties are still taking place around the world, but we CAN make a difference.  

So I will be taking 30% of all profits made in the month of September and donating it to Amazima Ministries.  That means, when you place your order for a Blog Makeover, you are getting a fun fresh new look, AND 30% of your money will go to an exceptionally good cause.  Being that my son is from Africa and was a tribal baby himself, it really touches a deep place in me to see children suffering on this level. 

Spread the word!  How many people can we get to help make a difference?! 

In the meantime - let's get this party started, right?!?  Enter to win!

Contest entry ends Friday, September 3rd.

August 24, 2010

Anatomy of a Pool Toss…

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So long summer…


Don’t try to talk me out of it.  Oh no.  It won’t work. 

Wanna know why?  Well, first because we are Sicky Sickville over here.  Both kids.  Down and out.  Miserable.  Drippy.  Whiny.  So I need something to make me feel optimistic – because being cooped up for a week with two little ones who are under the weather? Turns out has not been “it”.  Who knew.

Also?  Because we are in the last week of August, most of the kids are back in school, and I checked the weather and our heat wave is reported as officially over.  And today, for the first time in heaveknowshowlong, it was windy.  Windy, people.  And I was trying to, just for a moment, remember what that even felt like.  Because we had like 4 hours of Spring before jumping, nay, nose-diving right into a record summer of heat.  So hot it made the pool not really refreshing as much as like a hot bath. 

Also?  The stores have their Halloween costumes up.  Even the Disney Store.  Yes.  Yes they do.  Not that I’ve been in there looking at all the adorable stuff or spending time drooling over the candy bags or wandering into Pottery Barn Kids and drooling some more over the new decor for Fall.  No.  I wouldn’t do that.  Because it’s still August and all.  Ahem. 

But it’s coming.  I can feel it.  And I’m happy!

So happy that if you come back and see me?  You’re gonna get a chance to win a FREE BLOG MAKEOVER.  Yes, You!  And even if you don’t win - (but we won’t think like that) I have a great SPECIAL coming up that will make you want to slap your mama!  Snort.  Trust me!  That great price you’ve been waiting for to get a new look for your blog?  It’s coming…tell your friends. 

August 22, 2010

Mr. Fixit

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I’m gonna count on him to fix my car some day.  Or at least my broken heart when he leaves home for his own adventure.  Sob…I need a hankie.

Time is slipping away friends…he’ll be three in just 3 months.

Do you remember when he was just a tiny thing? 

*** Something really exciting coming up for Bushel & A Peck Designs – you have GOT to stick around to check it out – you will LOVE it!  And if you need a blog makeover – this is gonna be YOUR bargain! ***

August 20, 2010


Do you ever feel like you live your life in a bubble of Venti half-caf cappuccinos, car washes, and mall visits?  Errands and chores, trips to the grocery store to stock up, play-dates, and one day bleeding quickly into the next?

Sometimes I feel greatly convicted about the riches of my life.  The things I take for granted.  The way that I take them for granted.

Never more did I feel this than when we returned from Ethiopia and even from China. 

All about me.  All about what I want and need.  All about not being too inconvenienced.  

Gimme.  Gimme.  Gimme.  New houses.  New cars.  New clothes.  That's our culture.  I want this.  I want that.

We wouldn't know sacrifice if it came and smacked us all on the head.

We gave up cable last year as a way to save money.  We don't even have local channels.  Nothing.  Felt like this nice big "sacrifice" at the time.

You know what?  It's insignificant.  Completely insignificant.

What have we become when these things are out of sight and so out of mind?  What have we become to do nothing?

I'm convicted.  I'm burdened in my spirit.  It certainly makes me wonder what God would have my family do.

No more words.  Just go here.

The Journey

and here

The Hands and Feet

Philippians 2:4 ~ Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Proverbs 21:13 ~ Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

John 13:34-35 ~ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

August 19, 2010

First Movie – Toy Story 3

It was his first time to the theater, you see.  And I was worried – all kinds of variables playing out in my mind.  He’ll get bored.  He’ll want to get down or go out or make a fuss or meltdown.  All those worst-case scenarios.


He was amazing.  Nary a peep, or a fidget, or a whimper or a whine.  He was fabulous the entire time.  And fascinated. 

Oh, and his parents?  Totally and utterly ooey-gooey in love with him all over again.  And like two kids ourselves, all excited and bouncing and proud…seeing older kids melting down instead.  (sigh, double sigh)  The only words he uttered the entire time were “me see Buzz?” to which I said “soon!”  And then?  Just total amazement and 2-year old rapture at seeing his favorite characters on such a big screen.

Never mind the blurry pics…you get the gist.

I won’t even tell you how AB and I handled the end of the movie.  Ok I will.  Like a couple of cry-baby criers, that’s how. 

Meanwhile?  Our little boy is something else. 

August 13, 2010

Sending Love Home


Part of being an adoptive parent to me, means stacking the unknowns into a compartment and getting on with your life.  I think you have to, on some level, to function.  It’s impossible to live in the “what if’s”.  And sometimes, it’s so uncomfortable to think about where your child came from and what they’ll potentially face as adults.  Painful and heartbreaking.  Maybe they’ll be fine.  But maybe they’ll have a cavernous hole in their heart that having been abandoned might leave one with.  And how can we protect them from that?  It’s reality.  And nothing we can do will fix it.  Nothing can cure it.  Nothing can take it away.  It’s their road to walk, and their pain to learn to accept.


Still, sometimes I think about his Ethiopian parents.  About what they were feeling and thinking the day he was left by that river.  Did they cry?  Did they grieve? 

Sometimes I picture his mother, alive…and going through her daily routine.  Thinking of him.  Wondering what happened to him.  Or maybe knowing that he was taken to an orphanage.  Maybe that gives her comfort.  Maybe not.  Does she wonder about him, I ask myself?  Love him and long for him?  Cry for him…?  Pray for him?

What if he could go back and see these two people who gave him life?  Would I want that for him?  Would I be too scared to pursue that?  Even though I’m fairly certain it’s not a possibility…I think about it.

And I wonder, can we really understand the actions of those who leave their infants by a river?   Can we grieve over the circumstances that would lead them to make that decision?

Do we forgive them, because ultimately it meant we became parents to this amazing child, who would not be here, were it not for the choice they made that day?  Our greatest gain being his greatest loss.  Maybe it was their greatest loss as well? Can we accept that may be true also?

Can we absorb the reality of what that loss means to him?  Will mean to him as he grows older?

As one questions begets yet another, I have learned to accept some simple truths.  That Quint has two mothers.  Two fathers.  Two families.  Known or unknown…No amount of wanting him all to myself will ever change that fact.

That if given the chance, it would be a true miracle to meet and talk with his Ethiopian family.  To share this amazing son that God intended both of our families to know and love. 

There is so much fear in adoption.  Fear of the unknown.   Fear your child will be taken from you.  Fear the birthparents will return and want to reclaim your child…your baby…the one you have given your heart to and poured every ounce of yourself into.  And perhaps the reason why so many families pursue international adoption is the often times, removal of that fear – because so many of the children adopted have been abandoned without any information.  Thus removing the probability that your child will someday be taken “back”. 

But what if they just wanted to know he was loved?  What if fear was not present, but instead just the knowledge that two families love the same child?  One who brought the child into the world and one who will raise him.  What if I could give that to him?  Would I deny him that?

No, I couldn’t.  He deserves those answers, and he may never have them this side of heaven.

It certainly begs for me to look at my own insecurities.  Having no knowledge of his biological family leaves me with an open sore.  We live in the footprints of “I guess we’ll never know”.  And if that’s true…and if that’s the road that he will walk his entire life…never knowing if they loved him, or cared for him, or wanted to keep him…if that’s what we have to face – then we will.  And we’ll love him.  And be there for him.  And walk that pain and emptiness with him. 

But in the meantime…we’ll be sending love home to them.  Just in case.  Wherever they are.  Because we are part of each other.   All of us.  His mothers.  His fathers.  His families. 

Their son.  Our son. 

And we love him so, so very much. 

Sending love home to them…he’s well…he’s happy…he’s the light of our life. 

He’s loved.

Sending love home to Ethiopia…just in case they wonder about him, love him, miss him…grieve over him…

He’s loved…

About her hair…

No seriously…I think if she really wanted to, she could do like, a sassy head/shoulder flip and her hair would slowly and glamorously sway from one side to the other. 


And I’m not joking (most unfortunately) when I tell you all that she could possibly have more hair than I do.  Because I’m losing mine.  Day by unfortunate day.  Falling out like it’s heading south for the winter.  Because…well, I’m aging.  Heh.  Like everyone else.  Only, my hair is apparently on the fast track to a senior discount at Denny’s.
But I digress.

She has some serious hair, people.  Serious.  Seriously.


Isn’t she the cat’s meow?  I mean, I like totally want her hair.  GORGEOUS little girl. 

Friends, I have a daughter…(giggle…tee hee…giggle…tee hee) 

A daughter.  And I can do a whole post about her hair, cuz she’s a girl and I’m a girl.

Not like I waited five years or somethin’ to be able to type that sentence.

Dreamy sigh…

The Today’s

I had this whole wonderful post planned and ready to write, and now that I’m sitting here ready, but alas…slightly unwilling because I’m tired, I just can’t even remember what it was about now. 

There’s just a lot going on.  So much so, that here it was Thursday night, late…and I managed to remember that my only meager offering on the blog this week were some pictures from a month ago.  Well, that won’t do.  But I promise…school is about to start and so help me Lord in heaven, if everything doesn’t come down at once.  AB is ridiculously busy, trying to ease back into school work, all the while slowly pulling back from his summer job.  Only it’s not slow.  It’s still full-throttle.  And I’m cooking again.  Which kind of sums it up, does it not?

I mean, we are knee deep (and I’ll just say that figuratively so that you don’t puke) in potty-training our boy.  And he’s a trooper!  Only two accidents in as many days.  Not a bad scorecard for a 2 year old, eh?  And he’s motivated…so he’s really having fun with it.  Double score!  But the sitting…and the waiting…and the “checking” and the sitting.  The waiting.  It’s a disaster for me.  I just want to hurry it along because I’ve got things to do, you see.  But no.  We can’t.  We must sit and stare at each other for 15 minutes at a stretch.  And every few seconds we have to check, because we might have, but we’re not sure…but we might have.  I need a pillow in there.

And the princess?  She’s…well…she’s Miss Smarty.  Like cute…and adorable…and mimicking everything we do and say, right down to head nods and words and eye movements.  She’s sharp, that one.  And she’s got her Daddy wrapped around her cute little chubby fingers.  All ten tiny delicious digits.  And she knows how to cry on cue to make his heart melt and force him to pick her up and cuddle her until she’s smiling and giggling and resting her head on his strong shoulder.  And I envy her that charm.  Which faded for her mother with too many bills, laundry, chores, and life’s woes.  Yes, it’s true.  But then she smiles at me and says “mama” in her sweet little voice and I am reduced to a pile of goo and so I guess we are all a bit befuddled and bemused around her.  She has that way about her.

And she walks.  With a hand helping or without…she will try and try again and many times will make it across the room without a fall or a fumble.  I keep thinking how fast it is and how soon they will be asking for car keys and extra cash to go here and do this or that.  And the sadness comes creeping in and I have to give myself stern pep-talks to live in the here and the now and the today's, before they are gone and all I have are my many pictures and videos of what was yesterday.

Potty training, and long tired days.  Busy lives.  Here and there.  Whimpering toddlers who quiet when held by their Daddy’s.  The delicate precious tone of their tiny voices, so endearing and special.  Sweet little legs finding their own and naptime and snack time and all the many times in between.  Soon gone and gone too soon.

So I couldn’t remember what was so important to post about, but I think this will do just fine.

Enjoy your today's…every one of them


August 9, 2010

La Woods

While visiting La Cabin, we managed to wrangle all the “littles” into one place so I could take some pictures of them.  More like herding cats (mine..ahem)…but it turned out sweet and special.  Except that Quint was not into it.  At all.  And he’s two.  So there’s that.  And the one picture (no, literally…there is only one picture of just him) he “conceded” to – he has his back to me essentially.  Which kind of sums it all up for him, friends.  Me do it me-self, mommy.

But my niece, Princess Buttercup and my nephew, Prince Patience (because there wasn’t a more patient kid than him!!)?  They were like muah and another muah.  Love them…need to photograph them more.  They loved the camera and the camera-holder loved(s) them.  Next time, Lisa…

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August 7, 2010

Makeovers! Get your Blog Makeovers!

Now's the time to be thinking about a fresh new blog makeover...seasons are gonna change soon and the possibilities are endless...  Fall!?  Autumn?  Back to school?  New kiddos added to the header? Something classy?  Colorful?  Whatever strikes your fancy?

Visit me today over at Bushel & A Peck Designs for a new blog look. Click the image below to choose the perfect package for you! 

August 5, 2010

Summer Lovin’

Just wanted to share some of my favorite summer recipes with you…and I don’t cook.  But these are so easy and yummy and fun, you’ll say “thank ya kindly” from the bottom of your non-cooking heart…trust me!

Summertime Tomato Salsa
Makes 3 cups

5 med vine-ripened tomatoes 5 green onions, minced
1/2 tsp salt 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
2 tsp. minced cilantro 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil pepper & salt to taste

Core & dice tomatoes into medium bowl – add salt and let sit for 1.2 hour; pour off juice.  Add green onions, jalapeno pepper, & the rest of your ingredients.  Chill.  Serve with tacos, chicken, fish, steak…or sit happily and munch with chips.  You can’t eat just one.  No, you can’t.

The BEST Summer Potato Salad
Serves 10-12

7 large Idaho potatoes 7 eggs
2 cups mayo 1 3/4 c. minced red onion
3/4 c sweet pickle relish 3-4 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp. celery seed (don’t omit!) 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel potatoes, cut them in half & drop them into a large pot of boiling water.  Cook until fork tender.  Meanwhile, hard boil eggs.  Peel them, put them in a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher until they are the chunkiness you prefer.  Drain potatoes, cut them into bite sized pieces & add to bowl along with all other ingredients.  Stir gently and then chill.  Now dip your fork in and prepare to drift away into Potato Salad heaven…no really!

Fresh Corn Summer Salad
Makes 8 cups

6 ears of sweet corn 1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped 1 red onion, minced
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped 1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lime juice salt & pepper to taste

Cut the fresh corn off the cob and steam for 3-5 minutes in 1/4 cup of water.  Remove lid and cook, stirring, 2 min. more until the water evaporates.  Toss corn with all other ingredients & chill.  Serve with any grilled food or at any picnic…you will LOVE this fresh and fun summer dish.

August 3, 2010

Disparaging Love

I receive a monthly subscription to a popular parenting magazine.  Today, I was paging through the articles and came across the Question/Answer column.  You know, the one where the moms write in their parenting questions and receive witty answers to their problems? 

Only this one was different.  Heading the column was a question that blew me away.  But not nearly as much as the shocking “educated” response.

The question (paraphrased):  “I attend a mother’s group regularly, wherein the prominent topic of discussion is husband bashing.  Since I don’t have any real issues with my husband and he’s a good guy who really does a lot for me and our son, I’ve been unsure how to respond.  But I want to bond to these women, so sometimes I just make stuff up.  Is it wrong to do this to him, just to fit in?”

The answer (paraphrased):  “Dear Mom – I guess the “right”or “correct” thing to tell you is that you shouldn’t throw your husband under the bus, or pretend your marriage sucks just to fit in with the group – I would liken it to caving to 7th grade-type peer pressure.  But the truth is, in the real world – it’s fine to twist the truth for some adult conversation and female companionship.  I’m guessing a husband who is confident in what he contributes to the family, will be willing to take one for the team and won’t care if you’re slagging him to your girlfriends about leaving socks on the floor.”

So here’s what I’m going to say about this and you can have your say in my comments. 

I feel it goes without saying, but clearly disparaging your husband is inappropriate and wrong.  I know this, because I’ve done it.  And it has had sad and unfortunate consequences, that I have regretted deeply. 

I’m angry that this is the advice women are finding in a well known and popular parenting magazine. And we wonder why we have a failed marriage rate of 1 in 2?  What is more important than your relationship with your spouse?  Your relationship with your Maker.  Disagree if you like, but I believe firmly in God, spouse, children.  In that order.  And friends, you need to be taking sweet, loving care of those three.  As much as you possibly can.  This is your core.  This is where you live your life.  This is what matters the very most.  And it should.  And nurture that core more than anything else in your world.  That means at home and out and about with friends.  Nurture it.

20100725_16-sepiaI know firsthand how disrespectful behavior can hurt your spouse – and bad-mouthing your husband to a friend or a group of women does irreversible damage.  It’s not about letting steam out – it’s about painting a picture that sticks with those to whom you have blathered, long after you have moved on from your own grievances.  Over time, these people gain an image of your husband that is hard to repair.  When all you do is complain or berate – what impression are you leaving behind?

Why can we not be the exception?  Why, as women, can we not stand up and be the example?  Why is that so hard?  In a group of women slinging mud at what their husbands can’t do right – why are we not speaking up and building our spouses up?  None of us are perfect, so you don’t have to paint rainbows and butterflies.  But surely you can speak good words…kind words…about the person you married?

I am so sick to death of emasculated men in our society.  What have we done?  The whole, I am woman – hear me roar…blah!  Guess what?  I can list off 30 things that AB does better than me – and another 30 that I would prefer he do anyway.  And I can frequently be heard saying things like “because you’re the guy, that’s why!”   Why is it so terrible to have strengths as a woman and strengths as a man?  Did God not make us different?  Ok – whole nother’ post. 

I can’t speak for you – but I married a wonderful man.  Someone who works doubly hard to take care of our family, who loves me with a passion I still find hard to understand or accept all the time, who covers our children in love, kisses and affection every chance he can get.  A man who cooks amazing food for us to eat, takes care of our yard, our pets, and on and on…  He is not perfect, and neither am I.  But our commitment to love, honor, and cherish is firm.  Non-negotiable. 

I spent a good deal of the first four years we were married completely caught up in myself.  Selfishness was my Number #1.  AB was my #2.  Venting every chance I got and letting AB have it with both barrels when things were not up to my standards.  This was all before we had children – and my, what a difference a day makes.  Overnight, we were thrust into parenting on the other side of the world – and something clicked.  We really needed to find a way to partner up.  Be a team.  And a lot of it?  Was me.  Most of it, really.

Good things happened and many things changed with the responsibility of being parents.  But most of all?  I learned to stop running my mouth.  Not completely, because I still struggle with the typical nagging behavior I cannot seem to shake off.  On the other hand, I am loathe to disparage him – and I am very uncomfortable listening to others do this to their spouses.  It serves no purpose.  Any issue I have with AB, I should be taking up with him first and foremost.  Otherwise I am only hurting him, and myself.  Why oh why, would I want to hurt the one person who takes better care of me than any other?


Listen, about disparaging?  Not even to your parents or siblings, ladies.  Especially not.  That whole complaining to others.  Here’s what happens: you will have forgiven him and moved on, but your family, who love you and want to protect you, will long be offended and will not have forgotten.  Try cleaning up that mess…

Can I tell you something?  It’s hard work – but please take care of your spouse.  And if you think you already do?  Do more.  Live for the other person.  If you each live for the other, what a happy marriage you will have.  Speak kindly of each other.  Respect each other.  Listen.  Love. Be kind.  Use kind words.  Hug, hold, touch.  Be gentle.  Have fun.  Laugh. Serve one another.  Commit to love.  It’s a choice, you know?  Make the same choice every day. 

Every day  you wake up, I choose to love you today, no matter what comes. 

And for God’s sake…please don’t throw your husband under the bus to fit in.   Does that even need to be said?  Really?