26 September, 2014

gotta love the mess

The definition of fingerpaint is an ooey-gooey mess, if you don't get it all the up to your elbows then you are doing it wrong! The delight is certainly not in the outcome, which is almost always a very wet smear of brown all over.


23 September, 2014


When the idea of adopting was brand new to us, Cody and I didn't know much at all what we were doing or thinking in terms of a plan. We narrowed it down to China... pretty quickly and without a whole lot of information.  I can just say that I believe we were lead by God to this country to find our children. With some time and help from incredible people along the way we learned about China's "waiting child program" which is adopting a child with some form of a medical need.

Honestly, it did take some time to become comfortable with this idea.  We live in a society that's initial question to someone who's just had a baby is "is it healthy?"  That is now a little pet peeve of mine... but I know that's something I would have thought before.

There are a LOT of misconceptions about orphaned children from China, the most common one being that  in China they only want to have a "boy" and they want him to be "perfect." So not true.  We have people look puzzled at Ian and say, "I didn't think you could adopt a boy from China." There are so many boys that need a family.

The families who "give" their children up for adoption are thinking in terms of survival. Here in the States the word "survival" doesn't really resonate with too many of us. In most cases  families in China cannot afford the treatment for their children, or possibly cannot afford the fee to have a baby (out of wedlock mothers have a fee of $30,000 USD). They are trapped and desperate, and given a choice I believe they would choose differently. This was never something they planned. I can not even begin to understanding the amount of heart-wrenching sorrow and loss the parents feel. My heart mourns for these mothers—the mothers of my children.

China's health care is not like ours is here; all medical care is paid for up front. Babies there don't get prenatal care. A mother here would most likely know if her child had a medical problem even before he/she was born. In China most babies are not born in a hospital. And if your precious child is born with a heart condition (or other medical need) the parents have to pay upfront for their child to be seen by a doctor and for any surgeries that need to be done. For these families that is simply impossible; they just do not make enough money. We talked with our guide a lot while we were in China and she did her best to explain it to us. It all boiled down to survival...  a household in China is almost always Grandparents and Children, all relying on the income of the children.  Our guide explained how most people live in fear of getting sick and wiping out all of the money that the whole family is depending on.

So out of desperation families do the hardest thing imaginable, and give their child up, in hopes that their child will be able to get medical treatment through the orphanage or a family that adopts them. I can not even begin to imagine the DEVASTATION involved to make this decision;  choose hope, choose responsibility, but lose your child in order to get them the care they need.

So all that to say, I get a little emotional realizing what it means to get our children medical help.

Looking at Ian you would never know he had anything medically different. Ian was born with anal atresia and esophageal fistula.

Yesterday we sat in a hospital room with Ian while he got ready to have some more tests done. This is the second set of tests under anesthesia we have had done in a little under a month's time. We are getting answers. If you've followed the blog you know that Jovie had a severe heart defect and she had her corrective surgery in April. (Besides a few scars you would never know she had a heart defect now!)  And now Ian will need to have one or more surgeries in the following months.

Our prayer is that this surgery is successful at giving Ian the ability to have continence (basically there aren't muscles there to hold his poop in... I know it's not the most pleasant thing we are talking about, but hey, everyone poops! I want you to understand exactly what this means for him. Right now he is 3 1/2 and in diapers, no big deal, but as he gets older this gets increasingly more rough for him. Socially this is important.) The doctors don't know if they can improve his situation but are sure going to try... the plan is to move some of his muscles around and improving his chances to being able to hold "it" in.  We believe in the power of prayer and we do ask for your prayer that Ian would have this surgery and it would give him the full control and the ability to keep from a lifetime of bowel management.

During all these tests they have found other small abnormalities; the most concerning find is a fatty tumor on Ian's spine. It could be nothing to worry about... and I tell myself not to worry until we know more. We have been referred to a neurologist to see if he will need surgery to remove it.

There is a lot going on here... we are finding answers and that does make it easier. Will you pray with us for Ian, please?

21 September, 2014

Marietta Streetfair + a little scooter fun

 People ask me from time to time what it's like going from one to three kids and in the beginning it was rough. We were all making the adjustment... Ian and Jovie were figuring out what family even was and who these crazies were that called themselves "mommy" and "daddy". Mae most certainly had to adjust to sharing her world and well I didn't even know how the heck I was going to even leave the house again. It has almost been 8 months now... and if you are wondering why you see a lot more blog posts it's because you are seeing us finally start to stir from the long hibernation.

I feel myself ... but with even more fun to be had. Truly life with this bunch is a wild adventure (and Cody got me a new camera to help fuel my creative drive and capture our crazy family.)

 Saturday was such a fun day, it feels like fall. I love it when the weather starts cooling off and spending the whole day outside just releases all the stress from the week. Open windows and doors will do a lot for your soul. (:

After we got home we spent the rest of the evening in the driveway. I got a beer, and folding chair and Cody and I just sat back for some of the best entertainment.

Ian is a wild man on the scooter... we watched him get up to crazy speeds and whiz by us; always with the most serious face.  
I should have known that Cody would not be able to just sit and watch for long. His middle name is FUN. What would we do without him? 
 It was a perfect day. I remember back when I swore I never wanted kids... yeah, I said that adamantly. I loved being a graphic designer, loved my husband and didn't think there could be anything better. We dreamed of traveling, just the two of us, and talked about how we'd be in Greece while all our friends were home with their children.

Oh how very wrong I was, I wouldn't trade these days for anything in this world. Every day with these my children gives me more pleasure than anything I could have imagined. I'd take being able to sit right here in my driveway with these little ones over travels to Greece any day... God knew best.

19 September, 2014

National Pirate Day (free Krispy Kreme)

So did you even know there was a National Pirate Day? Apparently, September 19th is the big day for pirates everywhere... My three scalawags were all about it, especially when they heard donuts were involved. Krispy Kreme is giving free donuts away to anyone that talks like a pirate and a DOZEN free donuts to those fully dressed in pirate attire. So that just makes my Friday a whole lot more exciting and delicious!

After a little sugar rush the girls were cracking me up... 
looks like sugar doesn't have the same affect on Ian.

It's not too late to celebrate National Pirate Day too. (; 

15 September, 2014

Pickin Time

Today is my birthday!! I'm thirty-four today (: 
I just love birthdays.

The fun part of having a Monday birthday is that I got to celebrate all weekend! 
I think birthdays should be birthweeks, don't you?

I got a day of apple pickin with my nearest and dearest yesterday. 
I have discovered my happy place. Apple trees.

To sum up our afternoon — as we were leaving Mae said "I want to stay here forever." 

Me too. 

A photographer was there taking pictures while we were at the orchard and these pictures of our family ended up in his article.  Thank you Jonathan Phillips for the feature!

13 September, 2014

dragonboat races

Today was the Dragonboat Festival that we love going to with our friends... this was our third year.  If you want to  look back to 2013 and 2012. Geez Mae has grown up and it's fun that this was Jovie and Ian's first time.


I'm stunned each year that we've come by how H.O.T. it is here... we melt every year and swear it couldn't get any hotter. These precious black haired beauties are melting.

Our girls were so excited about these "Chinese Princesses". They are so beautiful but also so sweet and came by to talk and hug the kids. 

The dragonboat races go on all morning and then at noon there's a big show! It starts off by the lighting of tons of firecrackers (those are not the pretty kind in the sky; but the really loud kind that just smoke.) This scared Jovie Ming to pieces and I don't think Ian much liked it either. Jovie stayed clung to me almost through the whole show, afraid they might do that some more. 

My favorite part is the dragon dance - how did these guys get this job? 

It was a whole lot of fun but we went and took cold showers and napped in the cool air conditioning. What is it about the sun that can wipe you out? Next year we will be prepared for the heat!

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