July 29, 2011

So what can you do?

It seems to me that everywhere I turn, people are getting and giving more and more rules about how to be good advocates for people in the third world.  In some ways, I think that this is really good.  The masses are being educated about how to help without being harmful.  We are learning to be mindful and respectful of culture, local economies, etc.  But on the flip side, I now have no idea of what to do. All I hear is that pretty much every single humanitarian act that people do, actually hurts more and creates more bad policy than if regular people just did nothing. It seems that the more I learn and the more that I study poverty, that there is really nothing left to do because it all seems wrong.

For instance, when we went to Congo, we took lots and lots of stuff.  In our bag of goods to take to the orphanage were clothes for the kids.  But now it seems that these kinds of things are the wrong things to do.  After all, textile mills are going under in the third world because so many impoverished countries are wearing American's hand-me-downs.  I get it.  I really do.  But I also wonder, how else were those specific kids going to get clothed? Or get shoes on their feet unless someone brought it to them?  Last time I checked, most orphanages didn't have a discretionary fund to buy new ensembles for the children in their care.

The same criticisms are said of Westerners visiting orphanages altogether.  The children are given little glimmers of attention by well meaning visitors.  They are given the opportunity for a meal or new beds are moved into the orphanage and then those visitors leave.  And then what?  It is being said that those things are damaging to the children and make it more difficult for them to make connections when they feel that everyone is transient.  I get that too.  I really do.  But don't those children still need a place to sleep and someone to love on them, if even for a moment?

And then there is the notion that all international adoptions are bad altogether.  The reason being that children are losing their culture and that by taking a child out of an impoverished country that we are once again showing our elitism.  We are robbing that child of the opportunity to be raised in his native country.  I get it.  I really do.  Adoption is loss. It's hard and messy and complicated.  I am ALL for family reunification and inter-country foster care.  But is it logical to think that every child that is in an orphanage right now will get a sponsor or a foster family in their native country?  Not really. So what should happen to the children that don't have a chance at care in their own country? I'm of the school of thought that adoption will always be necessary and that it is better for a child to have a home and a family (even if it is in another country) than to languish in an orphanage.  You can show me all the research and all the statistics, and I'm just not sure that I'll change my mind that adoption is a necessary part of the whole big picture (even if it is just a small part).

Short term mission trips are treated like the devil now.  We go into places with our American notions and often make a mess of things.  I understand that there are a lot of wrong ways to do short term missions.  But does that make them all bad?  I don't know.  I do know that my 16 year old heart was forever changed on a mission trip to Appalachia.  I have a transracial adoptive family and a heart for the poor because of seeds that were planted on a mission trip.  We probably did a lot of things wrong on that trip, but the connections made and the faith that deepened there were far reaching.  Are those things now going to have to go by the wayside for fear that we are screwing it up?

Sometimes I think that the more you know, the better you can be.  I know that I am going to come under fire for saying this, but when it comes to dealing with poverty and orphan care, sometimes I think that the more you know the only thing that happens is that you become stifled.  It's like being so afraid of saying something that isn't perfectly politically correct, that you can't say anything. It's seems that everywhere I look, the term "badvocacy" is being thrown around and those of us in the world who are doing the best we can are living in fear of being labeled as "badvocates". I know that for myself, I've stressed over this to no end.  My heart is all wrapped up in the Congo.  With your help, we've raised a lot of money to do "stuff" there.  Some of it has gone to feed kids who were literally starving to death.  But in all honesty, I can't raise enough money to sustain an entire orphanage with food for the next 15 years.  And I think that all the "research" coming out now is telling those of us who can't make a commitment for all of eternity, that our efforts are damaging.  We are hearing that we are leaving children "high and dry".  Y'all- that is pressure! I feel like in the world of helping impoverished countries, the experts are saying that if you can't be the world's most awesome humanitarian on the ground every single day building the exact right kinds of relationships from now until the end of time, that you should just stay away. 

I truly just don't know what to do with that. Where does that leave all the naked little ones that aren't being served?  What about the millions of hungry kids all over the world that aren't getting fed?  Maybe we can't do it all perfectly, but it seems to me that we should be able to do something! I've read several books about it and read lots of articles, but it just leaves me feeling like there aren't any clear cut answers.  I do know that there aren't enough of these "most awesome humanitarians" out there to get the job done alone.  But what are the rest of us supposed to be doing?  It seems that the laundry list of things that we aren't supposed to be doing when working overseas is growing exponentially while the suggestions for things that we can do is getting smaller and smaller.

I usually live by the phrase "when you know better, you do better".  But in these instances it seems that when you know better you can't do anything.  Am I the only one that is baffled by all this?

July 27, 2011

Vacation- Part 2

The second half of our vacation was pretty uneventful.  There was lots and lots of pool time.  And lots and lots of eating.  How can you not overindulge at an all inclusive resort?  It's one of life's biggest mysteries.  Especially when the food looks like this:



If I could do those kinds of things to food, I'd tattoo "food artist" to my forehead.  I was the awkward American taking pictures of everything that I ate just so I could look at it longer.

My poor husband nearly threw his arms off throwing kids in the pool.  Normally our kids have to do the pool with just mom while daddy works to support our slovenly ways, but on vacation, daddy is there to throw them entirely too far up into the air.





My little lady got her hair done up in these super cute braids.  She is looking SO old with her holey mouth and braided hair.


While Sadie preferred the pool, the boys had a great time looking for treasures in the ocean. 



I also told a massive lie while we were on vacation.  Our resort had a kids club which would normally be a major score, except that they would only take kids ages 5 and up.  We found that most of our resort comrades were getting their 4 year olds into the kids club so we took a gamble and took both Sadie and Noah there for a couple of hours while the rest of us took a nap.  They didn't question Noah on his age at all, they just welcomed him in.  But the last day on the beach, there was a snorkeling excursion that hubby and I wanted to do that we couldn't do with the kidlets.  I must have wanted to go super bad because I lost all my morals over it.  I marched my big kids into the kid's club and once they were in, I pushed Miles (my 23 pound 3 year old) right in behind them.  I was sweating with worry wondering if this was going to fly.  The sweet babysitter at the door looked at me and Miles a little quizzically and said, "How old is he?"  Before I could even think I blurted out, "He's 4 1/2.  He's really small.  From Africa."  and then I ran before they had the option of returning him.  I trucked it down to the beach for the snorkeling excursion just certain that God was going to smite me for my big whopper.  I braced myself for getting eaten by a shark or pierced through the heart by a stingray.  Ironically, none of those happened.  God must have known I needed a little kayaking/ snorkeling fun with my hubby because it was an awesome experience!  The reef we went to was the second largest in the world and we saw some of the most beautiful fish I've ever seen!  And when we picked up the kids they were all happily making bracelets with the kids club staff.  No harm no foul, but I was freaking out about my half truth.  Lucky for me, when you ask Miles how old he is, he says, "I'm seben." or "I'm six!"

All in all, it was such a great time with the family!  Except for one little mishap that involves a jaguar and the world's ugliest souvenir ever purchased, but that is a whole other story that will hopefully be told in the near future...


July 26, 2011

Get over there

So- there is a little adoption/orphan love giveaway going on right now on the Millions of Miles Facebook page.  You should check it out.  I'm just saying...  www.facebook.com/millionsofmilesblog

July 24, 2011

Re-Entry Randomness

A few little things...

1.  Re-entry into the real world is easier than I thought it would be.  Normally, I leave our suitcases on the floor and wait at least 2 weeks before emptying them.  Somehow I think that if I refuse to unpack that I'll magically stay on vacation.  This time, I took the bull by the horns and washed three suitcases full of dirty clothes yesterday.  This means that today I refuse to do anything but catch up on reality tv on the dvr and read a weeks worth of all my favorite blogs.  I should probably also go to the grocery since the only thing we have to eat in our house is rice and string cheese.  While I could probably live off that for weeks to come, the natives are getting restless about our food situation.

2.  This thing happened and I'm a wee bit excited about it.
BlogHer '11 Voice of the Year Honoree
The award is for my post about my cellulite and other such body issues.  So far, this is the best thing to come out of getting called fat on facebook!  Yee Haw!



3.  Our tax returns finally came in after 6 months of waiting.  For those of you waiting on the adoption tax credit: there is HOPE!  After two audits and a ridiculous amount of documentation, the money was finally deposited in our account.  Which means that tonight we bought a new bed.  No more sleeping on my parents half broken marital bed.  Thank you Jesus!  A bedroom remodel will now be in order since our current bedding fits a queen and we ordered a king (cause I don't like anyone touching me while I am sleeping!) 

4.  We are having a little mini reunion of the local-ish Mom's Retreat Gals this weekend for a pool party.  After much chatter back and forth about who refuses to wear a swimsuit in public, I somehow chimed in that I would do nekkid toe touches off of the diving board to help take the pressure off of the girls who don't want to wear a suit in public. My body is saggy and baggy like an elephant- surely, that must make you feel good about yourself, right?  I may or may not have also said that I would get vajazzled (or is vajeweling now the in thing?) for said toe touches.  We are all now in agreement that if gluing glitter and rhinestones to one's hoo-ha is part of all the MRG events that our husbands would probably let us get together a whole lot more often.

5.  The first batch of CARDS FOR CONGO cards is getting mailed out this week.  We only have about 50 sets left, so if you want some, you better get your order on!  Seriously- order them.  My kids will love you forever and so will the children in Congo who will be receiving your donations!

6.  I had two dreams this week that I gave birth to monster spawn.  I'm not sure what this means, but I don't think it's good. 

7.  I discovered that when one is on vacation, a mudslide by the pool is a sufficient breakfast.  I justified it by saying that it is just like iced coffee but with more chocolate and more kahlua. Yumma lumma ding dong.


8.  I also learned that the movie Home Alone is even funnier in Spanish.  Instead of saying ouch, the burglars say things like Aye! and to me that is hi-larious. 

9.  The transmission has been out on hubby's car for several months now.  The poor car has taken up permanent residence at the bottom of our driveway.  We are very KY redneck that way with our broken down cars.  He has been borrowing my Granny's truck for several months to get back and forth to work.   But now that the tax returns are in, it means that we have to go car shopping.  Shoot. Me. Now.  I think car shopping is almost as torturous as bathing suit shopping.

10.  Miles gulped copious amounts of water in Mexico.  I'm not sure what part of "DON'T DRINK THE WATER" he didn't understand, but his poor intestines are reeking havoc.  He has been telling everyone that he encounters that he has to poop.  Over and over again.  His record has totally gotten stuck on the "I have to poop" groove.  This is followed by the phrase, "I'm Miles.  I'm six.  High five." that was his standard answer to everything while we were on vacation.  And since the OCD in me is coming out and screaming at me that lists should stop at 10- I'm off to help hubby get the grass cut.  Oh the joy!

     

July 23, 2011

Vacation Part 1

We just got home last night from the best family vacation ever!  The older our kids get, the more fun it is to travel with them.  This trip was one that my husband earned through his job (seriously- if his company didn't allow him to earn trips, we probably wouldn't ever go anywhere!)  We spent a week in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  It was absolutely blissful.  We all slept in one room together and for the most part had the TV and the computer off for the whole week.  There is just something about being on vacation that melds a family together. 

I'm a little bit surprised that our children didn't grow gills.  They stayed in the pools (which were the MOST awesome pools I've ever seen) until their little bodies turned into raisins and their eyes were bloodshot from the chlorine.  Noah had been taking swimming lessons for a few weeks leading up to the trip and the boy just took off like a dolphin.  He could be the next Michael Phelps for all we know.  Miles also figured out how to swim this week.  He jumped in off the side and did this hula dance like shimmy all through the water to get where he wanted to go.  Those boys were totally fearless!  I'll bet they asked their daddy to throw them in the pool at least 100 times a day!





We went to go and see the Mayan Ruins at Telum one morning.  It was no less that 3000 degrees outside and our children started melting like wax statues within minutes.  Going to the ruins was our first time off of the resort.  The weirdest things started happening.  As we were walking to the entrance of the ruins a huge group of Spanish speaking tourists approached us and starting pulling Miles away from us.  I paniced, he paniced and they were relentless.  They kept pointing at him and saying, "Photo!  Photo!" while they tried to take him away from us.  I shooed them off like raccoons and we kept walking.  About a hundred yards later, the same thing happened again.  This time the people were saying something about pygmies and wanted their pictures made with our brown son.  It was getting out of control and Miles was terrified.  I picked him up and held him close and gave people the evil eye that got to close to him.  At one point I asked my husband if they thought that Miles was Emmanuel Lewis from Webster.  Tourists from all over were taking his picture from behind the bushes like they were paparazzi since I refused to let them take pictures with him.  I finally decided that my brown baby was the only brown baby in all of Mexico and thus a novelty.  Either way, it was weird and we all had to be on heightened alert to keep him from being baby snatched.  But the ruins were very cool! 





After the ruins, we went to the most amazing place I've ever been to!  It was this huge ocean playground.  We took all three kids snorkeling here for the first time.  Sadie was so brave!  She's often our kiddo who gets nervous and doesn't try new things, but she stuck her head right in and didn't even panic when a stingray swam right underneath her!  Noah and Miles couldn't figure out their snorkels, but Noah became a master at holding his breath so that he could see the underwater world.  And Miles- well, Miles was perfectly content to just float on top of the water and soak up the rays.  After snorkeling, we went innertubing down a river through a mangrove forest.  The big kids did a zip line into the ocean and I shocked all the littles by jumping off of a 25 foot cliff.  We really got our adventure on!  Unfortunately though, we didn't have our camera while we were having this huge adventure!



  Stay tuned for part 2 of our awesome Mexican vacation!  

July 18, 2011

Gaping Hole

A certain darling little girl finally lost her very first tooth! She is crazy proud of that big hole in her mouth :-)



 

July 14, 2011

Stuff

A little recap of things running around in my brain:

* My baby girl is about to lose her first tooth.  We thought that this day would never happen.  She is nearly eight years old and to our knowledge she was the only one in her class who still had all their baby teeth.  (A distinction that you so do NOT want to have when the tooth fairy is involved)  Anyway- this tooth is N to the asty.  It's dangling and hanging there in her mouth and she just can't bring herself to rip it out.  It doesn't help that she has the lowest pain tolerance of any kid I've ever seen.  So she's looking a little lopsided.  Still cute as all get out but that tooth has got to go!  (On the mono front- she's feeling a lot better, but is so tired.  We are spending lots and lots of time resting!)

check out that top right tooth.  Gives me the willies.
* I accidently picked up the wrong kind of tampons at the store.  The wrappers have things on them that say, "Push Yourself To The Limit" and "Take The Plunge!"  I have yet to figure out if this is meant to be encouragement for me or for the tampon. 

* The kids and I made strawberry shortcakes a few days ago.  They turned out sooooo beautiful that I just had to take a picture of it.  Yum!


*Miles has developed a preoccupation with his "boobies".  The breast obsession starts young in the male species.

* Y'all know that I love a great organization that is all about supporting orphans and adoptive families.  I've talked about  how much I love the SPOON foundation on here before and they've just published a new list of lab work that newly home kiddos should have once they are home (these are only nutrition related- other tests are also needed). It is an AWESOME resource. I so wish that we had had this list when Miles came home.  We are still dealing with the aftermath of extreme malnutrition.  I wonder if we'd have had some of these tests done if we could have intervened sooner.

* We got to spend a day this week with my bestie, Jessica.  She is such a breath of fresh air in my life.  Not to mention that she's drop dead gorgeous.  I've always heard that if you want to make yourself feel good, you should choose ugly friends- but she is just so dang nice that I put up with her long blonde beautiful hair and legs that go on for days that are sans cellulite!
  

* Noah has recreated this dino-navity over and over again this week.  "The dinosaurs just want to see the baby Jesus" he says.  Dude- if I was the baby Jesus, dinosaurs hovering over me would freak me all the way out.  But Noah has spent hours and hours making up these scenes.  It's been a great way for him to beat the 110 degree heat index.


* I bought something off of Craigslist this week.  The seller was making her first Craigslist sale and she was a nervous wreck.  I think she was completely convinced that she was going to be murdered during the transaction. We had only communicated by text so for all she knew, I could have been a 4000 pound man eating shark (cause sharks are great texters, you know).  Anyway- we met in a parking lot and she got out of her van and actually hugged me and thanked me for being a "normal" person.  *ha!*  She has no idea.

* On my day of babysitting this week, I was perusing a store and found a University of Kentucky shirt on the clearance rack.  Since that is our school and our team, I thought, "Score!  A UK shirt for $4.99!  I'm all over this!"  When I got home with said shirt, I realized that it has two different sleeves on it.  One sleeve is more capped, the other sleeve is more typical t-shirt. I made the decision that I am going to rock this shirt till it falls apart, different sleeves and all.  It's like my shirt has special needs and I'm going to wear it proudly!

* I'm having lots of guest posters next week.  Stay tuned for some really cool stuff! Ciao.

July 11, 2011

CARDS FOR CONGO!

The Terry kids have been hard at work on our next big fundraiser that we are calling CARDS FOR CONGO!  We are selling packs of greeting cards that my children lovingly painted and colored. These adorable note cards come in packs of 10 that consist of 8 different designs.  (We picked our two favorite designs and did a duplicate because they got tired of drawing!)

Each pack of 10 note cards will arrive wrapped up with a cute ribbon and 10 coordinating envelopes.  The cards are blank inside so that they can be used for any occasion. They will make perfect gifts or can be used to brighten a friend's day with a note of encouragement!




All proceeds from these cards will be used for various orphan care initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Your donations will help fund educational scholarships, fill the bellies of little ones and sponsor children and families.

Each pack costs $10.00 and includes shipping. (Shipping to Canada- please add $2)  You can pay for your cards using the button below. (Just donate in $10.00 increments) UPDATED: Because so many people were having trouble with the previous payment button, we are now using CHIP IN.  Feel free to buy multiple packs and don't forget to share this fundraiser with your friends and coworkers.
Order CARDS FOR CONGO here!





I have to give a shout out to my oldest two kiddos who thought of this fundraiser all by themselves.  With just a little bit of help, they got it going and have been peddling their goods around the neighborhood raising money for their little brother's birth country.  I'm so proud I could pop!  Thanks also to Renee at the UPS store in Shelbyville, KY for getting us a great deal on printing and to Lizzie Loo Photography for taking such cute snaps of our cards! You all rock!

July 09, 2011

Hell Cats, Mono, and Miles Dieudonne

Where to begin, where to begin?  I suppose it all started with the cats.  I am NOT an animal person.  I don't mind other people having and loving animals, but it's just not really my thing.  But my older kids love animals and so I don't want them to miss out on that experience.  This week one of our local kid's camps was closed and we had the privilege (read nightmare) of fostering two little kitties for 10 days.

Now, these things are ridiculously adorable.  I mean, look at them...
Cute right?  The kids loved them.  Even Miles loved them and Miles HATES animals.  (Looks like two months of intensive animal therapy has payed off!)

But then something happened.  The newness of having kitties wore off somewhere around day four.  Something else also happened around day 4.  These sweet, little, loving kitties turned into hell cats.  They took over the house.  The climbed on everything.  They scratched everything. They unrolled the toilet paper daily. And they pooped EVERYWHERE all day long.  And then we all started sneezing and itching and getting headaches and lo and behold, we realized that 80% of the Terry's are allergic to hell cats.  I started counting down the days until the kitties went back to camp, but the kids were still in love.  Until this weekend when they finally decided that they never wanted to clean out another litter box as long as they live.  This little experiment taught us that we are definitely NOT cat people.  We will miss cuddling these little kitties, but the rest of it... not so much.

Those pesky cat allergies went into a raging sinus infection for me.  I slept with Kleenex clogging up one nostril while fighting the urge to shoot Afrin up the other.  Then Miles started in with some sort of crazy sickness that made him continually spike a 103 degree fever.  Then Sadie got a sore throat and before long Noah was saying that every time he took a breath he wanted to puke.  We were a hot mess.  We all trekked it to the doctor this morning where we found out that Miles just has a virus but that Sadie actually has mono.  Mono.  Seriously.  Ugh.  Noah has "I made up wanting to puke when I breath because my brother and sister were getting so much attention for being sick" disease.  There is lots and lots of rest in our future.  Which means that we will probably have to forgo Bible School this week (darn) and will single handedly keep Redb*x in business. 

Killing time in the doctor's office. Right after this Miles realized that he could
spend huge chunks of time licking the mirror.

One positive of being in bed a lot?  Spending time talking to the littles while we rest together.  Here is a snippet of my latest chat with Miles.  I love it and his little clogged up nose voice.  (Just FYI- his middle name is Dieudonne which he was given at the orphanage in Congo)




July 07, 2011

Lessons From The Second Year

This week marks the end of my second year of blogging.  450+ posts later, I can't believe that I am still doing this.  Aside from my husband, I've never stuck with anything this long.  At times, it's been a chore.  At times, it has been a release.  And at times, the community that it has rallied has made me feel so proud, I could pop. (Hello!  Y'all donated over $10,000 on this little blog this year to kids in Congo and moms in Haiti- AWESOMENESS!)  And at times, it has been such a pure joy to have this to look back on and see the fun and cute things that my  kids have done.  I always wonder what it would be like if I stumbled upon diaries of my mother's deepest thoughts.  Even though it isn't always pretty- here it is for my children to look back on and hopefully understand their mother in ways that can't be learned any other way.  In so many ways- this blog is my gift to my children.  I want them to know how deeply they are loved and how deeply they enrich my life and give me purpose.  I also want them to be grounded in the reality that things are sometimes tough and the only way to get through it is to put on your big girl panties and muscle it out and then laugh about it later.  So let's take a stroll through the last year, shall we?

We celebrated!  We honored Miles as he turned two, Noah as he turned 4 and Sadie as she turned 7 (that's the one where I told the world how K-mart made me pregnant.  I also turned the dirty thirty and had a moment of panic over it.  I later recovered, but oh boy, did I panic!  We also celebrated the end of a great year in first grade for our Sadie bug.  Miles celebrated a year of being in our family and becoming a US citizen.  And Noah- well, Noah just celebrated every single day over something.  He truly is such a happy kid!  That hunk of a man that I call my husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.

We adjusted.  And adjusted and adjusted some more.  Some of us adjusted better than others.  I hit rock bottom mid summer last year.  It was the worst case of post adoption depression ever! (In my mind at least)  But after lots of reflection and bonding (and meds) and help from a huge team of therapists our family got to a place where we could thrive!  We tried to share lots of the things that we were learning as an adoptive family in hopes of helping other families understand what we were up against.  We talked a lot about attachmentattachment therapy, trauma, husbands and adoption reluctance, domestic vs. international adoption and supporting adoptive families.  We spoke at churches and conferences all over the place and loved every minute of sharing our story and the way that God has knit us together.  One of our favorite things about this whole crazy scene that is our life is talking to other families and encouraging them on their journey to adopt.

We traveled.  We are frugal people, but my how we love to travel.  It is our one major splurge in life and I never ever regret that we take trips as a family.  My kids are awesome travelers and they become these darling little explorer versions of themselves when we go on vacations.  This year I went to New York.  All. Alone. And stayed in a blissful state of aloneness for three whole days.  It was awesome.  We also took the kiddos and Papaw Johnny to the beach.  Then hubby and I went on our first trip as a twosome since we got married.  We rekindled the romance in Hawaii.  It was a busy travel year- but those memories of our trips and the time that we spent with our kids in an unplugged intentional way is invaluable to me.

Then there are the MRG's. (Mom's Retreat Girls) I had this idea to get a whole bunch of women together from the internet for a weekend retreat.  I had no idea if anyone would show up or how the whole thing would go. The first annual mother's retreat decended on Cincinnati for a weekend last October and what happened was nothing short of magic.  Those girls mean the world to me.  We are there for each other- cracking jokes, giving support, lifting each other up and having insane amounts of fun when we get together.  I sure do love those women! 

We took family pictures... twice and I love the precious memories that we now have on film.

We advocated for the fatherless in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  For us, our adoption was so much more than becoming a family.  It was about fighting for the rights of the children that we left behind and for the mothers that have to make the impossible choice to give their children a chance at life.  I tried my hardest to make sense of what I saw in Africa even though I couldn't really wrap my brain around how I was supposed to live in a world where the disparaging difference between the haves and the have nots is so great.  We lit candles on the bridge in honor of our son's birthmother.  We grieved over the babies that we connected with in Congo.  We became outraged at the ongoing attrocities in Congo. We begged people to get involved.  And with your help, we raised an insane amount of money to help care for orphans.  We celebrated the beauty and the resilience of the Congolese people- truly, there has never been a more beautiful, loving group of people that the people we love on in the DRC.

I found that I talked way too much about myself.  I did a follow up to my hundred things about me with a Megan 201 of 50 more ridiculous facts about me.  There were times that I struggled as a mom and wondered whether or not I should go back to work. I rolled with the punches when I got called fat. I gave birth to the world's largest burp.  I talked about my endless trips to Target a whole lot and also talked about my hatred problems with the laundry. I tried hard to find whatever semblance of balance I could. I laid down the law for my kids and gave my boys a special set of rules.

I talked about some tough stuff like race (and race again) and gay marriage. It sometimes drew some really mean criticisms, but that is part of it.  It also means that we no longer allow anonymous commenting :-)  I've heard that's how you know that you've arrived- when you start getting haters.  I'll take meanness as a good sign!

And we had FUN!  Oh my, we have had so much fun this year.  We've watched these tiny humans grow and develop such awesome personalities.  They kept me laughing all the time.  Children are some times the very best therapy that life has to offer.  One of my children cussed like a sailor while the other one wore a button to school promoting "hooch" health.  Noah's observations about life kept us all entertained.  He also learned about his own royal anatomy.  We had a couple of issues with boogers.  We separated fact from fiction and answered some of life's most plaguing questions. We celebrated Christmas with our kid's own brand of funny and Miles made a Thanksgiving video that melted my heart.

This is the stretch of the year where our family actually became a family.  We loved on each other and found the joys in the little things.  We reveled in the time that we got to spend together.  We could look back on our progress and feel good about where we were going and where we are at this very moment.  All in all, I call it a challenging year- but the very best year of our lives so far.  Sometimes growth hurts- but growth is AWESOME!  And the best... is still to come!
My favorite picture from the second year of blogging- September 2010



July 05, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

All I can say is WOW!  The response to the Kindle giveaway has blown my mind!  We had a record number of comments and lots of new commenters- which means that I've had lots of new blogs to read this week.  Thanks to all of you who left comments and shared the giveaway with your friends.  I know that you all wanted to win (and I want you ALL to win!) but sharing our blog with others has helped us spread the word about adoptions, and Congo and caring for the fatherless in the world.  For that, I am insanely grateful.  So- that being said...  the winner of the Kindle Giveaway is...  drum roll please... comment number 27...
     Sarah from Are We There Yet

I've gotten to "meet" some really cool people through the blogosphere, and Sarah is one that makes me so proud to be a part of the blogging community.  She uses her blog to advocate for orphans with Down Syndrome and she uses her Etsy shop to help adoptive families raise money for their adoptions.  Seriously- she's awesome like that.  So congrats to Sarah and thanks to everyone for playing along.  Perhaps we'll do it again sometime!

Happy Birthday, Miles!

Our baby boy legally turned three years old yesterday.  At times we've called him our freedom baby- but I think "firework" is more appropriate!  Miles has a smile that just lights up a room and as our dearest friends all came over to celebrate him- he was all smiles!

He woke up yesterday saying, "It's my bud day."  Darling Miles- I hope your birthday was magical.  You sure seemed like you had a blast with all your besties!

























ooohing and ahhhing over the fireworks!
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