November 29, 2009

Weekend Update

It seems like it's been a million years since I've done a real post. It's just pure laziness- because for days we haven't done a thing except wipe noses and fight allergies.

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. It was a perfect stress-free holiday- and that is a rarity around these parts! We had dinner at my Granny Sadie's house and then headed over to Kamron's family's for desserts. Kamron's grandmother is in the very advanced stages of Alzeimer's and is going downhill very fast. But she was actually awake and more alert that we had seen her in a long time and it was great to see that.

And aside from one itty bitty piece of my father in law's killer chocolate chip pecan pie (I know- I'm drooling just thinking about it) I have stuck to my diet like glue. And in case you are wondering- I am still shredding. It is day 13 of the 30 day shred and I have only missed 3 workouts. My muscles still cuss at me every time I do the video- but surely that must mean it's working. 2 weeks in and 5 pounds lost! Yippee! Noah LOVES doing the workouts. He's quite the little motivator. And he looks hysterical shadow boxing in his skivvies. All in all, he's turned out to be a pretty good workout partner, even if he does have a constant stream of snot coming out of his nose.



We've had a little more dog drama over the holiday weekend, which included a trip to the emergency animal hospital this morning. Our poor Emma was shaking like a leaf and couldn't breath. She was so messed up that she couldn't walk and was just acting really weird. We were convinced that something was really wrong with her. We had prepared ourselves for the worst. Maybe we've just seen Marley and Me one too many times, because we had convinced ourselves that her stomach had flipped or some other terrible thing. I drove her to the vet, thinking over the last seven years with our dog and how sad the children would be if something happened to their beloved Emma. But after being thoroughly checked out by the vet, we found out our crazy mutt was having...a panic attack. The vet had to sedate her just so she could breath. I swear, if that doesn't spell drama queen, I don't know what does. So now the beast is going to have to be tranquilized for a few days and put on a regular regimen of anti-anxiety meds. Seriously. I mean how stressful can being a dog really be? One plus out of the whole ordeal is that in her stupor, I was able to get Emma to stand still long enough to take some pictures of my Sadie and her doggie. Usually when I take pictures of the dog, there is just a big, yellow blur or I end up with only a tail in the pic.



Usually if we have issues with the kids, it is always with Noah. And while he has had his testy moments the last few days, the biggest drama was with Sadie on Saturday night. I have no idea what really happened to her, but girlfriend just fell apart. We were watching that heartbreaking UK game when Sadie came down from her bed just sobbing. The big time, uncontrollable kind. We kept asking her what was wrong. She just kept saying, "I'm afraid I'm gonna be in big trouble." Now I can count on one hand the number of times Sadie has ever been in trouble in her life, so I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. Turns out, Little Miss, pulled out or cut (we still can't make sense of it) a huge chunk of her eyelashes out. Really- she has a big bald patch. She was just hysterical about it, and for some reason, I couldn't stop laughing about it. My laughing was so bad and so completely inappropriate, Kamron had to send me out of the room to get myself together. She kept wanting to know if all her eyelashes would grow back in her sleep. Like in one night. Kamron asked her a few times, very sweetly, why she pulled them all out. She just kept saying through the sobs, "I couldn't help it. I just had to!" So Kamron asked her if she felt like she could stop doing it and she seriously said she didn't know if she could stop pulling them out or not. I was listening from the other room and I still couldn't get it together. The whole thing just seemed way to weird to me and I couldn't figure out, why in the world you would pull all your eyelashes out. Seems to me that it would hurt, pretty dang bad. Anyway- she finally promised that she wouldn't pull anymore out and we put her to bed on our floor with an ice pack on her eye for good measure. She is extremely embarrassed about it all, so if you see Sadie- do not bring this up! Just quietly observe the bald spot and go on with life! She said this morning that she was glad we were all too sick to go to church so no one would look at it.

Before all that happened, though, Sadie gave me a makeover- complete with hair, bright blue eyeshadow and a glamour shots session afterwards.


My dad came over to eat dinner and watch the 60 minutes special about the Congo. If you missed it- you can watch it HERE. He helped Sadie with her homework while Noah pestered them to death.


The kids decided that they needed to watch TV inside their own individual "boats"...

...and that this is the cool new way to eat lunch...



And that about does it for this edition of "Weekend Update." For Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, I'm Megan Terry. Goodnight.

P.S. Don't forget to get entered for the Pampered Chef Giveaway! I love giving stuff away. It is so much fun. So, make me happy and enter! (Yes- I am talking to YOU.)

November 27, 2009

BIG PAMPERED CHEF GIVEAWAY!!!

While every red-blooded American is out shopping on this Black Friday- I am ready to give something away... to YOU!

I LOVE Christmas! I mean, I really LOVE it! We have all kinds of traditions that make the holiday special, but one of my very favorites is getting the family around the kitchen table to make Christmas cookies. My mom did it with me as a kid, and I look forward to making Christmas cookies every year with my children. We crank up the Christmas music, mix all the dough, roll out the cookies, bake them and then decortate them. Then we load up all of our cookies on cute Christmas plates and take them around to all the neighbors. Okay- we eat a few of them, too.

So for this Black Friday giveaway, I want to give you everything you need to make your Christmas cookies. And it's the good stuff...Pampered Chef! Waaaaay back in the day, I used to be a Pampered Chef consultant because I loved using their products so much. I was an awful saleswoman, but boy did I get some really great stuff for my kitchen! My dear friend, Michele, is a consultant (and rockin' party hostess, by the way) and we teamed up to give you this Pampered Chef giveaway. So here's what you can win...

This awesome basket full of all the Pampered Chef products you'll need to make the best Christmas cookies ever!



Since I am not a good photographer or basket maker, I'll break down what's in this basket.

Pampered Chef Cookie Press


Pampered Chef mini measure-all cup


Pampered Chef Mini Serving Spatula (this is the one thing I use the very most in my kitchen. I think I have 5 of these because they are so darn handy!)

Pampered Chef Cinnamon Spice Blend (this makes the BEST snickerdoodles- I'll post my fave snickerdoodle recipe at the bottom of the post)


Plus- there are lots of sprinkles and cookie cutters in this basket too! Want to win this basket? Duh, of course you do! This giveaway is open to EVERYONE. Basically, if you are reading this blog for the first time or the 100th time, I'd love for you to enter! Entering is soooo easy- here's how:

HOW TO ENTER:


1. Go to the Pampered Chef Webpage by clicking HERE. Leave me a comment (by clicking "comments" below this post) telling me what your favorite Pampered Chef product is. Or if you've never used their products, you could tell me what you think you'd like best! See... it's that easy!

WANT TO EARN EXTRA ENTRIES?
2. To DOUBLE your chances, leave a comment AND become a follower (by clicking on the left sidebar) of this blog. Don't forget to tell me in your comment if you are a new follower or if you are already a follower

3. To TRIPLE your chances, leave a comment AND become a follower AND link me to your blog. (Again- tell me in your comment that you linked me!)

You have from now until Thursday, December 3rd at 7pm to get entered. At which time, I'll choose a winner at random from all of the entries. I'll post the winner after 7pm the same day! If you don't have a blog, don't forget to put your email address in your comment, so I can contact you if you win! Thanks for playing- GOOD LUCK!

And special thanks to my girl, Michele, for making this giveaway possible! She's the hostess with the mostest if you'd ever like to have a Pampered Chef party. The girl is super fun and would make your PC party a blast. (I should know- she threw my bachelorette party!) You can get in contact with her HERE for booking parties and ordering.
HOLIDAY SNICKERDOODLES


1 c. shortening
2 eggs
2 TBSP. cream of tarter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon (this is where your Pampered Chef cinnamon spice blend would come in handy!)

Blend together shortening, sugar and eggs. Add cream of tartar, baking soda and salt to flour. Add to creamed mixture. In a ziploc baggie mix the cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. of sugar. Take a spoonful of dough and roll into a ball. Put each ball into the Ziploc of cinnamon/ sugar mix and shake. Place coated dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

*Baker's hint: I think if you make larger dough balls (golf ball size), the cookies come out better because they are crispy on the outside, but still stay soft in the centers! When I make bigger cookies I add 2-3 minutes to the baking time.

November 25, 2009

Gratitude

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving." -W.T. Purkiser



Sadie and Noah, taken on Thanksgiving day last year.

November 24, 2009

They are precious in his sight

I have lots of babies on my mind this morning. This is the one I woke up thinking about this morning:

This little cutie is Xavian. He is the son of a sweet girl that I went to high school with. Xavian was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer (PNET) when he was just 2 months old. And today he is turning 1! What a miracle! In his short little year of life, he has endured brain surgery and four rounds of chemo therapy. And because this picture of him is just too cute not to share, here is Xavian in his "no hair day" hat.

I believe in the power of prayer. When I first learned of Xavian's cancer, I can remember praying with tears in my eyes (because that could be any one of our children) that God would just get this little boy to his first birthday. And now that day is here! And at the same time- I wonder why in the world I limited God like that? God has HUGE things in store for little Xavian. Xavian is scheduled for an MRI to check if he is cancer free on Dec. 1st. I know that you don't know this tiny guy, but his parents have HUGE hearts for God and their son needs your prayers. Please pray with me that Xavian's MRI results will show NO cancer! Then go and hug your children and thank God for their health and their precious, little lives. Happy 1st Birthday, Xavian! I am focusing my prayer warriors on you big guy! (If you'd like to follow Xavian's story, his awesome and beautiful mother keeps a great website of his progress http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/xavianbecketthall)

I am also thinking about the babies that came home from the DRC this week. They are all so cute I could just eat them with a spoon!




Miss Cloee






Gabriel






Chad






Giggling Ian





And, of course, I am always thinking about this little baby:





Hurry Home, Miles Dieudonne! We're waiting for you!




"'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:14-16

November 22, 2009

Missing Miles

We bought our first Christmas present today! And it was for sweet baby Miles! The whole family loaded up and went to Build A Bear and made Miles a bear. The kids have talked about doing this for months and were super excited that today was bear making day. They named Miles' new bear "Congo". We placed a little heart inside the bear that we had each made a wish on for our new baby boy. We recorded a sweet little message for him, so when you press Congo's hand it says "We love you baby Miles. See you soon!" in Sadie's sweet little voice. My hope is that when we give it to Miles in Africa, not only can he snuggle his new bear, but he can also get familiar with his siblings' voices before he comes home to meet them. They played their message over and over again in the car and talked about how they couldn't wait until Miles comes home. They talked about how they wished he could be home for Christmas and presents and all the excitement. I sat in the front seat with tears coming down, because I wish for all of those things too. And while I know that Christmas this year will be so magical with a 6 and 3 year old, I can't help but wish for my Miles, so many miles away, to be with us in person, not just in spirit.

So many people have asked us exactly where we are in the process now. We don't have too much longer to go. Last week our attorney told us that our adoption is "almost complete". Once it is considered complete, meaning that Miles is legally ours and we have all the accomanying documents that will get him into the US, Miles has to stay in the DRC for 30 days (stupid law) then we can bring him home. So most likely it will be January before that darling bundle of joy is in our arms. We filed our first papers on 4th of July weekend. So if everything goes as scheduled and we get to pick up Miles in January, our adoption from start to finish will have taken just 6 months. We could not be more thrilled with the whole thing. Please keep praying for the health and safety of our baby.


Here are some fun photos of Sadie, Noah and Congo.





November 21, 2009

Do they make a 12 step program for Twilight addicts?

Hello. My name is Megan and I am a twi-hard. Yep. I said it out loud. I joined the throngs of screaming 14 year olds to get my New Moon fix yesterday. I bought my tickets a week early and waited in line for 45 minutes to get into the theater. I sat there, monumentally older than everyone else there (except for my mom and BFF who went with me). And no lie, when Edward Cullen came up on the screen, girls screamed and panted. Outloud. Like idiots. Like the Beatles had entered the building. And when Jacob Black came up on screen, I just about screamed and panted. The only thing that stopped me was knowing that my mother would make fun of me for the rest of my life if I acted that way in public! If that boy was not seventeen, Kamron would have some serious competition. I know that our case worker reads this blog- so please Meredith, don't turn me in as a pedophile! I know that Jacob Black is just a teenager- but OMG, have you seen that kid?!?

Okay- now that I've made myself look a complete idiot and writen my most pointless blog post to date, I'm going to go put my kiddos to bed so I can dream about living in Fork, Washington with hot werewolves and vampires. I swear- if I was in high school again- I'd give Bella Swan a run for her money!

Me with my girl, Jess, showing our allegiances. It's great to have friends that are just as nerdy as me!

November 19, 2009

Life in Holland

I am a serious researcher. I always have been. Term papers were never a problem for me because I get obsessed to the point of madness when I want to learn about something. So when we learned about Noah's sensory processing disorder, I threw myself into researching and learning everything I could. But no matter how much research you do, nothing can prepared you for what it feels like to have a child with special needs. It feels hard. It feels like sometimes your heart is being ripped out of your chest. It feels like sometimes you want to find the nearest heavy object and throw it. It feels like you live on a different planet. And sometimes, it feels amazing and rewarding and feels like how parenting is supposed to feel. (For previous posts about Noah's SPD click HERE.) Noah is finally coming down off of a crazy, 10 day, out-of-whack, drive your mama crazy period. He seriously can not control the volume of his voice and the sound of him in the past week has just about made me blow my stack. He also decided around this same time that he can only tolerate sweatpants and pajamas. He absolutely will not tolerate underwear or jeans or turtlenecks or just about any other article of clothing. It makes him scream bloody murder. I felt like the biggest BI@*H when I was giving instructions to people who wanted to buy him clothes for his birthday. "No denim. Only fleece or jersey material. And it can't have elastic bands on the bottom of the legs, etc. etc." I realize that it makes me sound like a crazy, pushy mom, but I have to do what I think is best for my son. Yesterday he informed me, as he strutted naked all day, that he had "quit his clothes." And yet, I realize that because SPD is so misunderstood, many people look at Noah's crazy behaviors and quirks and think that he is this way because of a lack of "good parenting" or that we "just need to make him do what we want him to do." Believe me- if it was that easy, I would have done it by now! It is sometimes really hard for me to not get mad at him for things that he can not control. I know that Noah would not choose to be "different" if he could help it. But at times, I still lose it. I find myself wondering what our lives would be like without all the yelling and the meltdowns and the fights about putting on coats and clothes. Then I ran into a story that helped me put it into perspective. I saw this on another blog that I love (http://watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/) and I wanted to repost it because it just helped me tremendously to read it. I think that this story is so applicable to just about anyone who is a parent of a child who has any kind of special needs- be it RAD, SPD, ADHD, PTSD, cancer, diabetes or any other kind of thing that makes our kids unique. Because, even though it's a lot of work and it's a lot different than I anticipated, I've come to LOVE living in Holland.


WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

November 18, 2009

I have a juvenile delinquent, my fat is jiggling and other scary stories to tell in the dark

I picked up Noah from mother's day out yesterday and learned that my kid is a delinquent. I am never one of those parents who thinks "not my kid", because I've learned that with Noah, it usually is my kid. His whole class lost recess privileges for being disrespectful and not following directions. His teacher was so frustrated that she took all the toys out of his classroom, too. I am so totally proud of her for sticking to her guns! At 2 and 3 years old these kids are definitely old enough to know that you need to respect your teachers! So when I got Noah in the car, we had a serious talk. After all- my children may have their faults, but I will not allow them to be rude and disrespectful. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: What happened in school today?
Noah: We didn't get to go play in the gym.
Me: Why didn't you get to play in the gym?
Noah: Because Ms. Faye was disappointed in me.
Me: But why was Ms. Faye disappointed in you?
Noah: Because I wasn't being haved. (Behaved in the present tense- in case you don't speak 3 year old)
Me: Oh no. We can't misbehave at school. What were you doing to misbehave?
Noah: We were following on each other's necks.

So there you have it, folks. The first entry on his criminal record will read "Lost recess for following on other people's necks." Whatever the heck that is. And for some crazy reason, Noah is continually talking like he is reading a book today. As in: "Mom, can I have some chocolate milk, said Dora" or "I need to crawl under the bed, Boots asked." I know that he is a weirdo, but I love him!


As I previously mentioned, I started doing the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred workout. It. Was. Brutal. She didn't scream at me through the TV, though, and I was kind of hoping she would. I need someone to yell at me. Things like "Hey fatty! Your jeans won't button so give me 10 more!" or "Stop whining like a little girl! I don't care if your son pooped in his diaper 3 minutes into the workout and the air is toxic! Don't you dare stop this video to change him. Hold your breath and WORK!" So anyway- I got through the first workout and today I can hardly walk. It's the kind of sore that makes you have to hold onto the towel bar to pull yourself out of the tub. But I love it! I am on a quest to lose about 20 pounds (again). I swear, I have gained and lost these same 20 pounds so many times, I can't even count. This time, the candy corn did it to me. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how much candy corn I have eaten this fall. It would put you in a virtual diabetic coma. So I am back to counting weight watcher's points and doing the Jillian Michaels' hell workout to knock the jiggle out of my badonka donk. I'll let you know how it goes. And in case you have a bubble butt, too, and want to do it along with me, the video is only 10 bucks at Wally World. Waaaaay cheaper than joining a gym- and I am all about a bargain!

November 17, 2009

Happy Union!

As I type, four precious, little Congolese babies are making their way to the United States. They are coming home to be united with their forever families! Please pray for the safe travels of these little ones. Their names are Chad, Ian, Cloee and Gabriel. I pray that they will feel the full love of their new families and can transition easily into their new lives. I am also saying a prayer of thankgiving for our attorney, Jilma, with Our Family Adoptions, who works so hard to make these miracles happen.

I'd love to type more, as there are a million ideas swimming through my head, but I am on day one of Jillian Michael's 30 day shred and my arms are hurting so badly that it's painful to type! So far the score is: Jillian Michaels-1, me-0.

November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sadie

For my little Sadie-bug,

Happy Birthday, sweet-pea! Today you are 6! Sometimes you seem more like you are 26-not because of your attitude, but because you seem like an old soul. As dependent as your little brother is, you are equally as independent and always have been. You have such an intense focus and you aren't afraid to put in the time to have things turn out exactly as you want them. I might even go so far as to call you a perfectionist. You have been our "easy" child and I love you for it!

You are such a sweet and compassionate little girl. You recognize the hurt in others and do your best to help them. You are extremely sensitive and empathetic. You genuinely care about the needs of others. You are quick to compliment and slow to criticize. You make others feel so good about themselves and derive such a pure joy in making other people feel happy and loved. However, you are not a people pleaser. You have such a strong sense of right and wrong and are fiercely loyal to the people you love. You have a calm, quiet way about you that just seems to put everyone at ease.

You could color and paint for hours. You can usually be found at the kitchen table, working on some type of art project. You are so creative. You love to read and write and have a passion for words that makes your nerdy, book loving mama proud. You love food- just about anything will do, but some favorites of yours are lasagna, pancakes, green beans, and string cheese. Your favorite books right now are the Little House on the Prairie series, and I love snuggling up and reading them with you! At this current moment, you want to be either a veterinarian or a nail painter or a rock star when you grow up. Whatever you decide to do, I hope it makes you blissfully happy.

You love to play outside. This year you made lots of friends in the neighborhood. You are usually the one who orchestrates the games and group fun. You started school and are doing awesome at it. You had a bit of a rough start because you missed being home with us- but once you got going, you shot off like a rocket. Your dad and I are so proud of you!

You take such good care of your little brother and are over the moon thinking about getting another little brother in a couple of months. You are still holding out hope for a baby sister one day, though! You have such a beautiful smile and a cute, little giggle that can brighten up the whole room. You bring so much joy to my life. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful, compassionate daughter. You are amazing! I love you, sweet girl!


Doing what she does best...



Sadie and her besties

November 14, 2009

It Takes A Village

Sadie is turning 6 in a couple of days. She is at the age where she is beginning to have so many outside influences in her life. At first this really scared me. But as I look back on my life at some of the people who have influenced me, I realize that there are so many wonderful people out there who care about her that have great things to teach her- things that I never could!

I have been so lucky in my life to have such strong women around me to help me along the way. From the beginning, there has always been my mother. If you know my mom, she is in no way the touchy feely, talk-about-your-feelings kind of gal. But the lessons that I have learned from her have been invaluable. I have learned that a lot in life is just about showing up. My mother never missed a swim meet, school presentation or youth group activity. As a teenager, I am pretty sure that I didn't always want her there, but she came anyway. Only years later, do I realize the sacrifice that this was. You better believe that there were things she would rather have done than spend every weekend with my brother and me at swim meets all over the country. She's taught me that being a mother is about sacrificing for your children's happiness- because, after all, their happiness is a mother's ultimate happiness. She worked hard every day and still had dinner on the table every night- from scratch. She's shown me that life is what you want it to be. If you want something, you have to work hard for it. If you don't like something, you have to have the courage and the willingness to change it and see it through. My mom decided to go to college when she was in her 40's. I know that this was really scary for her, but she did it! And she did it well! She's the kind of mom who's okay with being a strong, silent helper. She's the kind of mom who shows up with a humidifier and a thermometer when your child is sick. She's taught me that it's okay to do what you think is right, even if everyone else thinks you're crazy! I love her for all these lessons and the million other things that she's taught me along the way. I hope that I can do this for my daughter.


My mom and me


My grandmothers have also had a major impact on my life. I know that Sadie's life is touched by them too. Sadie is lucky enough to still have a great-great grandmother and has ALL of her great-grandparents around and active in her life. (With our genes we may live to be 120!) My Granny Sadie (my mom's mom) instilled in me a deep faith and a compassion for others. Her house was a revolving door for missionaries and pastors from all over. She's the kind of woman you can just sit down and talk with for hours. And growing up- I did just that. She's not afraid to tell you what she thinks, even if it's going to hurt your feelings. She was so hands on, and is the glue that holds all of our family together. She's the kind of Granny that hosted all the cousin campouts, and took us to the creek, and took us fishing and just let us run and be kids. She let us make messes and get dirty. She taught me that faith and conviction are things that you live- not just things that you have. Her kitchen table was always covered with little postcards that she would send off to senators and CEO's pleading with them to have legislation and company standards that lined up with her beliefs. As a teenager, I thought this was a little crazy, but now I find myself doing the exact same thing. She's generous and has taught me that sometimes if you want to create change, you have to put your money where your mouth is. She has loved us grandchildren when we've done some really stupid things. Okay- my brother and I are the only grandchildren who've done stupid things, but she loved us right through it. I hope that I can pay it forward and make my daughter know that she is loved right through anything she'll ever do that's unloveable.


Me with Granny Sadie


My grandmother Daisy (my dad's mom) has shown me more about having a beautiful heart than anyone I have ever encountered. We've always called her Mamaw. I can honestly say that to this very day I have never once heard my Mamaw say one single negative thing about another person. Seriously. There is no one else on Earth that I can say this about. She sees the good in people and trusts them. She takes a chance on people and is such a beacon of light. When the world has turned it's back on you, Mamaw will give you another chance. And there is just something about the goodness that radiates out of her that makes you want to up your game when you are around her. I am sure that her heart has at times been troubled, after all we Baxter's have a tendancy to rouse a little trouble every now and then. But she never lets it show. She prays about it and turns it over to God. So many of us say that we do that, but we don't ever relinquish that control or worry. Mamaw has perfected that. I'll admit, when I was younger, I thought that it was kind of naive. But as I look at her now, I can appreciate just how deep her faith and love for people has to be to let go of that worry. My mamaw was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. She never once complained about chemo. Never once said "why me?" She was a pillar of strength. Men twice her size would have crumbled under the weight of it, but she still beamed goodness and hope. My mamaw is the kind of woman who spends all day, every day doing good for others and truly never expects anything in return. She has taught me so much about the kind of heart I want to have.


My Mamaw and my Sadie


And lastly, I have to mention my friend Annie G. who taught me something a couple of years ago that has completely changed the way that I am as a mother. She was casually talking one day about how her children were on loan to her from God. I'll never forget how struck I was by this notion. I had always thought of Sadie and Noah, and now Miles, as MY children. At that instant, it hit me that I had it all wrong. They are God's children and HE is letting me borrow them for a while. HE is trusting me with them- to raise them to know him and to be good people. It taught me that there is more to parenting than just getting them to adulthood. It is raising them and loving them as HE would do it- not me, but HIM through me.

Because I have been so blessed with such awesome, strong, loving women in my life; my hope is that I can use all the lessons they've taught me and pass those on to my own children. They have all of these women, plus countless others in their lives, too, to teach them when my own shortcomings as a mom fail me. After all, it truly takes a village, and I am so immensely grateful for the incredible village that they have!


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November 11, 2009

Taming the Beast

First of all- did you register for the BIG GIVEAWAY? Wait- you didn't? You mean, you read the post and didn't leave a comment to get in the drawing? (To leave a comment, click below the post where it says _# of comments. That will take you to the comment form) Since many readers seem to be unfamiliar with the idea of a giveaway, here's the skinny: It is not a gimmick. I really just want to give something away to say thank you for reading. Even if you are family or are a first time reader, you can still enter. Even if we don't know each other personally. Okay- there's my spill for the giveaway. Right now there are only 5 people entered so your chances of winning are great. So come on- help make my first giveaway a success. Please? Okay- enough whining on my part.

Both kiddos are home today because Sadie has pink eye. This is like a dream come true for her. She feels great but can't go to school. Win-win. So we are up to our eyeballs in craft projects this morning. Sadie is a crafting queen. She got lots of new artsy things at the family birthday party, so she is good to go for a while. She got a paint-it-yourself nativity set. We've been working on this for a few days. Sadie was gracious enough to let Noah help us paint it, so our set is looking really interesting so far. As of now we have a yellow camel with a black stripe down it's back (like a skunk), a red donkey, a red and purple star of Bethlehem and a fairly decent looking shepherd and a wise man. When we started painting the people, Sadie wondered what color the baby Jesus should be. She wondered if he should be "yellow" like us, or "brown" like Miles. So we decided on a bi-racial Jesus. This may be the most unconventional nativity ever created. I'll post a picture when we get it all finished.

We also had a great conversation with Sadie last night about smoking that had me in stitches. I know that she is only 5 and is not likely to pick up a cig anytime in the near future, but we live in Kentucky (where everybody smokes) and we just think it's never to early for a little preemptive anti-smoking campaign. Kamron was telling her how if anyone ever offers her a cigarette, even if it's a kid from our neighborhood, she should say no. We went through all the health risks, etc. However, evidently this is not going to be an issue for her. She told Kamron, "Daddy, I'll never ever smoke. I don't like to be that close to fire!" That's my girl!

We've had some crazy, unseasonably warm weather the last several days. We've been spending a lot of time outside soaking up the sunshine. We were even able to give our filthy, stinky dog a bath. This dog, though we LOVE her, is quite often the bane of my existance. Her name is Emma and she is a 7 year old yellow lab. We've had her since she was around 3 months old. We got her 5 months after we got married. My dad called me one day and said that he had gotten this dog and he couldn't keep it, and did we want it. Of course I wanted it. What newly married couple doesn't want a cute little puppy to make you feel like you're a little family? We had a tiny little house, but it had a fenced in back yard. So we brought home that little furball. On her first night with us, she ran away. Evidently that little bitty puppy took a flying leap off of the deck over the fence. Go figure? We put signs up all over the neighborhood and miraculously, someone returned her to us. That should have alerted us as a sign of times to come. That first week we knew we were in over our heads with a puppy who could get out of every crate, who's favorite activity was dancing in her own poop, and who ate everything in sight- drywall and plastic baggies included. After a few days with Emma we were both adament that in NO way were we at all wanting to have kids any time soon. After all, we couldn't even seem to handle a puppy. Well, that's the week that I quite unexpectedly got pregnant with Sadie. Surprise!



When Marley and Me came out, I could have sworn that they modeled Marley after our Emma. She is like the Forrest Gump of dogs. She smart enough to have some really great adventures, but too dumb to really function in the real world. She has escaped more times that I can even count. In our old neighborhood, all our neighbors called her Houdini. If you can picture it, we had a 6 foot solid wood privacy fence. Emma could jump it when she felt like going for a stroll through the neighborhood. We tried obedience school. We tried everything. But that dog just has a wild traveling hair up her butt. She got picked up and taken to the pound once. I am not sure what happened to her while she was there but she had to be put on anti-depressants and tranquilizers when she got home. That was a little embarrassing- standing in line at Walgreen's, waiting for my dog's anxiety meds. Emma also has really bad allergies. We pump her full of Benadryl sometimes to help her get some relief, but she still itches like crazy- her ears especially. She does this thing where she rubs her head on the ground (ears to the ground, big doggy butt sticking straight up in the air) and drags it like that all the way across the yard. She moans like a (insert what you're thinking here) while she's doing it. Yellow dog + green grass = permanently grass stained dog. Really- her whole head is grass stained down to the skin. The stain is so set in that it looks like our dog is going all Kermit the Frog.

When we moved to where we are now, we installed an underground fence. She has busted through many times, but for the most part, it keeps her at home. This past winter, we went to Mexico and my dad let Emma come and stay on his farm. We thought that this would be great for her. However, she ended up in Cincinnati- about 2 hours away. Seriously- this dog is a handful- but we love her and all her craziness. This weekend we realized that the batteries were dead to the underground fence. Unfortunately we realized this because Emma was gone. We did our usual drive around the community looking for her. We found her- her and all of her stinkiness. She smelled like she'd been rolling in dead animals. Don't think we're bad dog owners. We've made our best attempt, but some beasts just can't be contained! So- there's the long version of why our dog needed a bath! Oh the things we do for our kids and pets!

Since I haven't posted many pics of the kiddos lately, here are a few cute gratuitous kid photos.










Happy Hump Day, y'all! (And go register for the giveaway!)

November 08, 2009

Orphan Sunday

Today is National Orphan Sunday. This is the day that churches around the nation raise awareness and funds for the more than 140 million orphans worldwide. 140 million. It. Blows. My. Mind.

The contrast in my home today couldn't be more stark. Today we had a joint birthday party for Noah, who turned 3 last week, and Sadie, who turns 6 next week. Our kids hit the jackpot. They got lots of new toys, clothes, art supplies, etc. It is hard sometimes for me to know how to process this. I have a child that is half a world away who has nothing. And the two that live in my house want for nothing. Sometimes I feel so much guilt that comparatively we have so much when others have so little. I am working on this. I want to be able to enjoy the things that we have but also recognize that there is so much good that we can do for others with the things that we have.

And so, on this orphan Sunday, I find myself thinking of the children that we can help. I know that in this blog, I usually focus on the problems in Africa. I love Africa. I have a heart and a passion for Africa. A huge chunk of my heart lives there. But today, all I can seem to think about are the orphans in Haiti. I have never been to Haiti, and I am no expert, but a few months ago I was introduced to a story about 4 little boys in Haiti and an amazing medical program that I believe in 100%. There is a team on the ground in Haiti that is administering "Medica Mamba" for starving children that come into their rescue centers. Medica Mamba literally translates into "peanut butter medicine". Children are given this ready to administer Medica Mamba to help them put on weight and get nutrients and protein into their starving bodies. It is so hard to imagine not having food. In the United States we take for granted that food is readily available. We take for granted that their are programs out there that help to meet the needs of undernourished children. But in third world countries, food is a luxury. All to many children look like this:

These little boys are named Dieuvelet, Peterly, Jonny, and Gilderson. So many times we look at these photos and we say things like "Oh that's so terrible," or "It breaks my heart to see this." And while those things are true, the hurt in the world is too great for us to just "talk" about it. We have the power to do something. These 4 little boys made it to a rescue center where they were given Medika Mamba. Look at how it transformed their lives:

This is proof that change can happen. These little boys and the 140 million other orphans in the world don't need your pity. They need your help. And they need it right now.

I love the Real Hope for Haiti organization that runs the Medika Mamba program. They are putting their resources into saving the lives of starving children like Peterly and Jonny and countless others. I urge you to turn your pity into action. Go to their website by clicking HERE and donate to help them buy more Medika Mamba. Even if you can only give $5. Your $5 makes a huge difference in the life of a starving child. Don't let this orphan Sunday be just like every other Sunday. Make a difference. Please give.
http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/

November 05, 2009

Longing

I am thinking about this little boy even more than usual today...


We have known about baby Miles for almost a month now. I have done great with the wait so far, but it is starting to drag. Once I saw that face, he was instantly a part of our family. We are now incomplete without him at our house. The kids pray for him every night. When we sit down for a meal we ask that his belly will also be full and that he will be kept safe. Noah loves looking at his pictures. Sadie has told all of her friends she is getting a new little brother.

We are so ready for him to come home and be with us forever. Not ready in the sense that the crib is up, or the baby clothes washed, but in that our hearts are overflowing with love for him. We know so very little about Miles, but already I am so in love with him. I didn't really expect for that to happen so instantly, but it has. And today, especially, I am longing to have him here with me...

November 03, 2009

Ahhh...Romance

I realized this morning that everything I thought I loved about "romance" is all smoke and mirrors. When Kamron and I first started dating, we were so attached at the lip hip, it would make you sick. We were one giant cliche: candlelit dinners, walks at sunset, picnics in the park. Basically we were like the little highlight montage from a romantic comedy. And I LOVED it! I am such a sucker for romance. I am not sure why but we just don't do those things all that often, anymore. I mean, seriously, how practical is it to incorporate fire into the dinner routine when you have kids who are obsessed with blowing out candles? But while I think those things are great, I decided this morning that somewhere along the way, I've gotten a whole new, crazy, warped up view of romance.

Take this morning, for instance. We had something happen in this house that makes me know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that boy loves me. Five days ago, I saw a mouse. It was tiny. It may have even bordered on cute. But I freaked the heck out. I threw the kids in the car and trucked it to Walmart, pronto. I stocked up on traps and poison. Now usually, I am all for the ethical treatment of animals. Heck, I have even been a vegetarian at a few points in my life. But mice just get my germy, OCD phobias in a wad. Hence the poison. I'm pretty sure I would have called the ghostbusters if I thought they were available. I came home, set the traps, spread out the poison (WAY out of reach of small children, pets, etc.) and waited. And waited. And waited. Days went by and this little mouse tormented me. I refused to walk around the house without my shoes on. I was scared to open the cabinet doors. I would get in bed at night and nearly have panic attacks thinking that the mouse was going to crawl on me in my sleep. And now that you think I am completely nuts... This morning I dropped Sadie off at school, came home and sat down at the computer to check my email and there it was... That tiny little mouse in all his mousy glory was sitting in the middle of the floor. I started screaming and totally pulled an "I Love Lucy" move and jumped up on the chair and refused to get down. I kept staring at that mouse. It was barely moving. I was pretty sure he was almost in a poison induced coma, but I wasn't taking any chances. I was yelling for Kamron to come help me. And from out of the bedroom, in walks my knight in shining armor brandishing Noah's potty chair. In one fell swoop, he trapped that mouse under the potty chair and well, let's just say he took care of it.

Now- in my warped mind- that really spells love. Taking care of the situation when he knew I was too chicken to. And another thing that spells love- getting up with the kids. NOTHING warms my heart when the kids start running around on the weekend like those little words, "Just lay down, I'll take care of it."

Or changing a poopy diaper without me having to ask. Or ironing his own shirts. Or throwing in a load of laundry. Or saving the last Diet Pepsi for me. Or watching him read books to the kids. I am not sure when it happened. Maybe it's almost 10 years of being together or maybe it's two kids later. But I'm pretty sure I like this version of romance a whole lot more than the cliche.

November 02, 2009

All Treats, No Tricks

We had such a fun Halloween and a great 3rd birthday for Noah. Here are the cuties in their costumes. This is as good as it gets- you try getting a costume on a kid with sensory issues and see how smiley they are for the camera!



My little princess



Our neighbor left candy on the porch. If you look at Noah's face you can tell he thinks he's pulling a fast one on the schmuck who just left their candy laying there!



The neighborhood gang on their door-to-door campaign.



With Noah's birthday, came his graduation from First Steps, our state's early intervention program. We've come to love his therapist, Crystal, just like family. She's helped us understand our child and helped us navigate the waters when, at times I felt like throwing in the towel. We were so lucky to have her there for us. But now we can just get together for play dates instead of therapy, since she has the most adorable little boy! Thanks for everything, Crystal!

Noah and Crystal on the last day of therapy.

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