7 Quick Takes Friday

This one is a bit all over the place….

1. We saw M and T a couple weeks ago. Not sure why I didn’t post about it but they are both doing great. I seriously could not believe how big T was. He is not crawling yet but has taken to rolling across the room at an amazing speed. I’m not sure how they are keeping up with him. M was hesitant with us at first and clung to her mom (which we took as a good sign). But after about ten minutes she decided she needed to to show us a bunch of stuff including all her Dora-themed toys (and there are many) and her new potty skills. We took a walk to the park by their house and had a great time playing and laughing. We should be seeing them again next week.

2. My friend, Marcia, is having a little baby boy in January and, along with her sister, I’m working on planning a shower. I’m finding myself distracted by all the fun options for baby showers theses days:

{1} A school themed shower for a teacher {2} An outdoor, fall woodland event {3} A nautical, modern shower {4} And my personal favorite, a Pat the Bunny shower

Inspirational but we’ll be going with something suited to the mom-to-be’s taste for our event.

3. Due to the lack of cable television and a great deal of cynicism, I’m pretty unaware of what is going on in the political world. I know, I know…there is an election next week! I kinda wish we were headed to the Rally to Restore Sanity tomorrow.

4. D and I have both been keeping up with the crisis in Haiti. I am a bit ashamed of how unaware we were until the earthquake last January. We keep up with the news through Real Hope for Haiti and the Livesay’s blog. Right now there is an opportunity to help malnourished children.

5. Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan put together a fantastic resource of how you can help orphaned and vulnerable children if you cannot adopt.

6. Poverty Unlocked is a podcast hosted by W (of Foster Parenting Podcast). She recently did an inspirational interview with Matt and Julie Kouri and Dawit Kassaye Woldeyohannes about how they are working with the orphan care crisis in Ethiopia.

7. D and I have completed our crazy month of school and work. We are officially waiting again for a new placement and hoping it will happen sometime next week. I’m spending the weekend “nesting” (again) while we wait for some new little ones. We are excited but please pray for the kid/kids who will be coming into our home from tough circumstances.

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday (on Saturday)

A few more thoughts & links from the conference….

1. There was so much to take in at the Together for Adoption conference but I left with a huge conviction and sense that I need to pray more for orphaned and vulnerable children and for what our role should be in caring for them. Dr. Susan Hills talked a lot about things she has prayed for over the last twenty years that are just now becoming reality. I’m confident that prayer is needed as much as all the programs and ideas and action.

2. This post did a great job of summarizing Robert Gelinas’ impromptu message he gave at the conference after one of the speakers was unable to come due to illness. It was pretty amazing for something he only had a few days notice. God is doing some amazing work through the local church in Colorado in the state’s foster care system. This message was especially inspiring for me.

3. I am participating in an online book club where we will be reading Dr. Karyn Purvis’ The Connected Child. I bought this book weeks before the conference. We don’t start for a few weeks so if you are interested in joining there is still time.

4. I was not at the breakout session lead by Tom Davis of Children’s Hope Chest but the story is so encouraging and amazing. In one hour, eighty people gave enough money to rescue six girls from sex trafficking. Go read about it.

5. November 7 is Orphan Sunday. Click the link to see what you church can do that day to draw awareness.

And for some non-related thoughts…

6. We spent a little extra time with my niece &  nephew this week to help out their parents a bit. Ellie (age 3) asked me to tell her a story about a princess yesterday. So, I told her a story about a princess who loved to read books and pray and share with others. Ellie seemed unimpressed and decided to finish up the story for me, “And then the prince came and they danced!”

She also asked me to tell her the story about her birthday. If you know me, you know I have just a bit of a soft spot for this story and have never told it without crying and yesterday was no exception. I’m guessing Ellie is probably done asking me for stories.

7. One last thing…GO GREEN!

*Hosted at Conversion Diary


7 Quick Takes Friday

Seven great things about this past week…

1. Sunday night we hung out with D’s sister, mom and her two perfect children (Have I mentioned I love my nieces & nephews?) It was fun to see the kids playing and having fun together. We ate pizza, played at the park and then made a run to the DQ. A lovely end to summer.

2. Monday morning we went out to breakfast with my dad. It was also time for T’s morning nap and when you gotta sleep, you gotta sleep.

Sucking his thumb & napping in the booth. Decided my lap was better after 15 minutes.

3. Tuesday after work D and I took a walk to a burger place not too far from out house. The weather was perfectly fall-like and we had a great conversation both ways. Marrying my best friend was a good decision.

4. Wednesday I worked a short day and then headed out to the mall to find shoes and accessories for a dress I’ll be wearing to a work function in late October. No luck with my goal but I did find a couple of cute (and cheap) necklaces at Forever 21.

5. Thursday morning I had breakfast with two friends. We talked about what was going on in our lives, prayed for each other and are now planning to read the New Testament by the end of year together. I’m way off track in my One Year Through the Bible plan (I’ve only made it through half of the Old Testament) but I think with the accountability I should be able to accomplish this new goal.

In addition to the encouraging morning I had with these two friends, I was blessed by this post by Ann Voskamp who is blogging through her trip to Guatemala with Compassion International. (Warning: be prepared to cry).

6. Today is my husbands 28th birthday! I let him open his present last night – Nutter Butters, Mint Milanos and a laptop sleeve for his new computer that will arrive next week (the laptop is from work, not from me). He is off to celebrate his birthday by speaking on a retreat for middle school students this weekend. Spending the weekend with dozens of tweens may sound like torture to some but that is D’s kind of fun.

7. D and I have had a lot of time together this week just the two of us (the kids are gone on a long visit with their birth mom). We have been together for seven years (and have know each other for almost fifteen). I’m still awestruck at how incredibly kind he is to people. It is not often you find someone who is authentically kind. I cannot help but think of D when reading Micah 6:8 and I’m so glad I get to witness his example.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

Total randomness…

1. I wanted to say something about Dr. Laura last week. I used to listen to her show. The more I listened to her, the more I disagreed and the angrier I got. After hearing the conversation with the caller that caused all the controversy last week, I’m really glad I stopped listening to her a long time ago. Anyway, this kid really says it all:


2. Maybe you like Dr. Laura but you don’t like what she said. Does this discredit her authority to you? She has written a lot of books that many people like. Last year, I had interaction with a well-known pastor that caused me to stop listening to his sermons and reading his books. I’m guessing I agree with him on the about 90% of things but this one thing really irked me. Maybe I’m too hard on people. I would hope people would grant me more grace than I’ve extended. Sometimes I’m really stingy and selective about forgiveness and mercy. Anyone else have this problem? It is probably time for me to reconsider my take on this guy.

3. We are working on a wall in our room to put pictures of all the kiddos that come into our lives through foster care. We are planning to do this on the wall opposite of our bed. It will have three picture ledges and I thought it would be nice to incorporate some verses. Thankfully, I have an incredibly talented friend who was able to work this out for us. Check out Heather’s new Etsy shop, pipe | up, for all your creativity needs.

4. We are working on a third verse for this project. D says it has to be something from the New Testament. Any suggestions?

5. D sent me this gem from Desiring God today. And I also really excited that I finally figured out how to post videos on the blog.


6. I stumbled on Joel Dewberry’s Modern Meadow line this week and think I’ve finally settled on some fabrics for bedding for the crib. Right now, the crib is in the blue room but it may move back to the yellow room at some point. I’m planning a double-sided crib skirt that can be rotated based on which room it is in at the time. Here are my favorites from the line:

7. I’m ready for the fall. I love jackets and sweaters and scarves. I bought a classic wardrobe staple with my Gap Groupon: a new jean jacket. Gap has their models wearing these jackets with jeans, which I find awkward. I’ve opted to wear it with a dress or khakis. Anyone else find anything fun with their Gap Groupon? There was not much that interested when I was in the store this week. The style there seems to have changed quite a bit.

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

I haven’t really updated on the kids lately, so here you go…

1. T is a very large 5 month old. Like somewhere in the 19 – 20 pound range. Everyone is always talking about percentiles with babies so that puts him in the 75th – 90th percentile range. He still spits up a lot (gross, I know). But D said the other day, “Can you imagine how big he would be if he didn’t spit up so much?”

2. M is learning more words everyday. She literally wakes up with new words. New words tend to get repeated over and over and over. Its adorable and, well, repetitive.

3. T is still on a pretty basic routine. He  wakes up, eats, “plays” and then naps. Morning naps are shorter now and he sleeps between 11 – 13 hours at night. “Playing” includes laying on a blanket, rolling over on a blanket, grabbing his feet, playing in the exersaucer, sitting in the Bumpo and, most importantly, putting his hands in his mouth. Once he has completed all these tasks, it is time for more sleep. It is quite the life.

4. M has handled D being away this week well. I was a bit worried, because “Dat” is her favorite person. Each morning, I wake up to her asking me “Where Dat?” and I explain that he is on a trip. She looks at me, smiles and says, “Where Dat?” If she is not asking for “Dat” she is asking for “Gam-Ma” and likes to make sure I know that “Gam-Ma” is at her “howse.” She is stringing 2 – 3 words together and I’m confident sentences are just around the corner for her. While her language may be slightly behind other kids her age, it is very clear that she is a very smart girl. While helping my mom with baking, M was able to separate all the cashews from a jar of mixed nuts after my mom showed her which ones they were. A little foodie in the making, I say.

5. T started eating solids last week. This is a decision I obsessed over and researched too much. There are about 7,389 different opinions on when babies should start eating solid food. This advice seemed to make the most sense to me and I’m loosely following this suggested schedule. This is probably the same thing I would have decided had I only done a fraction of the research. So, yeah, motherhood can kind of make you a paranoid nut.

6. M has two new favorite dolls, Millie & CiCi. She carries them around the house. They have their own chair at the table. And they are with her during her nap and at bedtime. She used to sleep with a big Dora doll but since Millie & CiCi came along, Dora has literally been put in a corner. Sorry, Dora.

7. Visits with their mom continue to go well. This week is their first two-night visit. Their mom has been overwhelmingly grateful and kind to us. I check in with her via text message while they are away and she usually emails me a summary of the visit after we pick them up. We are enjoying getting to know her and it is nice to see the kids getting more comfortable. From what we can tell, the transition is going well. I do feel a little lost when they are away but this is a transition time for us as well.

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I’m very thankful that God gave me a passion for foster care and adoption (and kids, in general, really). But that said, that passion for me can at some times turn into a total obsession to a point where I can’t think about much else. I sometimes worry that I talk about it too much and that I’m driving people crazy. It also makes me think that anything I read or take in should fall into these categories: foster care, adoption, orphans, attachment issues, trans-racial families or other related topics. My brain sometimes feels like it is going to burst with statistics and I even sometimes find myself browsing photo-listings of waiting children trying to figure out how to put a sibling set of six kids from Arkansas into our house. I’m feeling like I might need a bit of a break from all this information. And thus, the next six takes will be non-child/foster care/adoption related.

2. D and I enjoy watching Last Comic Standing which is usually on for a short time in the summer. We are totally through all the available seasons of Mad Men. We finished The Wire (D’s second time through). Nothing else we really want to watch is out of DVD yet. This really makes it sound like we watch a lot of TV but it is usually limited to an hour to a hour and a half at night after M is in bed and during T’s last feeding (usually around 11pm). I cannot really find anything else we want to watch right now but maybe that just means we should read some books. Last night we ended up watching the ridiculousness that is LeBron James which just made me annoyed and then totally bored.

3. Speaking of reading, I asked for suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. I picked up this one at the library this week but the next two on my list are The Help and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I’m excited for some lighter summer reading.

4. D and I have continued to read through the Bible this year as well. I’m about 10-15 days behind in my schedule but I think D has stayed on track with his. I’m giving myself until January 15, 2011 to finish, which I think is fair considering the craziness of our lives this year. Reading through the Bible this way has given me some insight into books I would like to study more in the future, specifically Job.

5. I purchased a mid-century-ish dresser on Craigslist this week for $30. I’m hoping to refinish it with a stain and add new knobs but that depends on the state it is in after I sand it down. If a new stain is not an option, I’ll probably paint it white and it will end up in one of the kids room’s. I’m going to follow the tutorial from Young House Love. And I will definitely be adding some fun liners to the drawers.

6. Last night we headed out to Toys R’ Us to pick up a birthday gift for our favorite, red-headed three year old girl. It was a little challenging for me because I wanted something that wasn’t covered in Disney Princesses.  Seriously, did you know there is a Disney Princess Baseball Bat. That doesn’t even make sense. I’m not completely against this stuff but I really do not like buying it. After I spent some time voicing my anti-Princess thoughts to D, we found something that I think will be a fun summer activity for our niece.

7. And now, a mini-Style Friday:

{1} Something to finish of the bathroom makeover (Red Poppy & Sunshine print) {2} This would look perfect on our bed & show off our Michigan Pride (Wool Felt Michigan pillow) {3} Something to add to the kid’s room (Peace Be Still print) {4} Pretty little things to wear with summer dresses (Carousel Earrings)

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

Writing a well thought out, coherent blog post is not very feasible lately. So, here are seven quick takes…

1. If you are friends with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you know that we have had some success this week using Supernanny’s Bedtime Method. You can read all about it at the link, but here is how we are doing it at our house.

  • We have a routine that involves the following: diaper change, lotion, pajamas, teeth brushing, reading two books (Bear Snores On & The Rhyme Bible Storybook), prayers, cuddles
  • Up until this week we have been staying in M’s room until she falls asleep. But sneaking out when she fell asleep was stressful and took a LONG time. We are sticking around for less than five minutes now.
  • When we leave, we give her a kiss and say goodnight. She starts crying.
  • She gets up and stands at the door. We go back in, tell her it is time to go to sleep, give her a hug, and lay her back down.
  • If she gets up again, we go in, firmly tell her it is time to go to sleep, quick hug and lay her back down.
  • Every time she gets up after that, we go in a lay her down without talking to her or making eye contact. This goes on until she stays in bed.

It has worked at bedtime wonderfully. The first night we went in 20 times, the second 2, a few nights only once and tonight 11 times. It work at nap time yesterday but not today at all. But because she didn’t nap, bedtime was an hour earlier. We are pretty happy with the progress even if we still have some tough times.

2. Speaking of sleeping, T sleeps like a champ. After his late evening feeding (10 pm – 11 pm), he is sleeping until around 5:30 am. When he wakes, he needs to be soothed but does not necessarily need to eat and we can usually get him to sleep another hour or so. Last night, he slept until 6:40 am. I think that is pretty good for an eight week old.

3. Thanks for all the suggestions on our last post. It is so nice to get some advice from those who have been there. Keep it coming!

4. Shout-0ut to my friend, Carrie, who lent me Gilmore Girls: Season One. I’ve been watching it while I feed T (which can take a while). I know lots of people who love this show and so far, I like it. Also, I’m enjoying re-living the early 2000s through the music, clothes and references in the show.

5. I’m sure you have heard about the child who was sent back to Russia by his American adoptive family. The whole story is so sad. I have so many questions for the family who sent him back and for the agency who did that adoption.  What is even more frustrating is all the reports coming out now on orphans from Eastern Europe having attachment disorders and/or fetal alcohol syndrome. Of course families need to be made aware of these risks and how to deal with them but I don’t feel like the media is helping out the orphans of Russian at all by emphasizing these possible challenges. The thing is that adoption is about the kids not the parents. For pro-life, Christians, especially, we must understand that despite a child’s challenges, they still deserve love and have a much better chance in life with a family than in an institution.  I am not saying this to be judgmental as I certainly do not know what it is like to raise a child who physically threatens you or your family.  But if we really think everyone deserves a chance at life, that has to extend past our views of what happens in the womb. Those are just my thoughts; I know it is an incredibly complicated issue.

6. Now to go totally off topic and be random, a friend made us dinner a few weeks ago and one of the sides was roasted carrots with pistachios. I ate them all. Seriously, I mean, I did not share them (I tried to give them to M but she is not a carrot fan). I’ve been googling “carrots and pistachios” and have found several recipes that I cannot wait to try.

7. I went to Trader Joe’s with T last Saturday and was overwhelmed by the attention he attracted. I can’t blame people because he is, in fact, the cutest baby on the planet, but it was a little shocking for my introverted-self. The cashier even offered to carry out my groceries for me.

We are really hoping to podcast soon. Really, I’m not just saying that. D is wrapping up his semester and it is at the top of our “to do list” next week. Thanks for all the prayers!

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

A special New Year’s Edition featuring some resolutions and a couple best of 2009 lists.

1. Resolution #1: Become parents & be good at it. The holidays are over, State of Michigan. Please finish our paperwork & give us a call. We’re ready.

2. Resolution #2: Read through the Bible (as mentioned by D on Wednesday). Several of the girls in our high school youth group have committed to reading through the Bible this year with me. I’ve tried this before and have never been successful but the accountability of several teenage girls should help me out. I’ve promised to reward them if they complete it by January 15, 2011 (giving us all a little room for error). I’m already starting to think of ways to celebrate this accomplishment. I have always struggled with making consistent time for Bible reading and I was inspired by Pastor JR Vassar this week to make it intentional in 2010.

3. Resolution #3: Eat at home. This resolution is two fold: one, we eat better when we eat at home and, two, we eat cheaper when we eat at home. I’m thinking #1 is going to help us out with this. And, although it is months away, I am excited about the CSA share we purchased that will provide us with fresh & local fruits and veggies each Saturday in the summer and fall.

4. Resolution #4: Read five books. Five is not a lot but I’m planning to be busy. The five on my list right now (many of which I have started but haven’t finished): Adopted for Life, Parenting with Love & Logic, Parenting the Hurt Child, Same Kind of Different as Me (I already have the full audio on my iPod), and The Color of Water.

5. Resolution #5: Become reacquainted with my elliptical machine and the 30 Day Shred. A very cliché resolution but a good one. In order for this to happen though, D needs to accomplish one of his resolutions (Completing the basement project).

6. Five resolutions is enough. I know my limits. How about a list? My top five favorite episodes of This American Life in 2009 were:

  • Switched at Birth: Two women find out mid-life they were switched at birth and that one of their mothers knew it all along (originally aired in 2008, but I heard it in 2009).
  • More is Less & Someone Else’s Money: Technically two episodes but they go together. An awesome explanation of the American health care system that will make you think.
  • Rest Stop: Stories of people passing through.
  • Fear of Sleep: A favorite mostly because of Mike Birbiglia’s sleepwalking story.
  • #1 Party School: A new favorite (just aired a couple weeks ago). A look into the social life that was going on all around me when I was in college.

If you don’t already, make it a resolution to list to This American Life in 2010. You won’t be disappointed.

7. My CD player broke in my car earlier this year so I started listening to the radio again. Thus, my top three musical guilty pleasures of 2009:

  • Party in the USA (Miley Cyrus) – I put my hands up, their playin’ my song…
  • All of Taylor Swift’s songs – If only there had been a Taylor Swift in 1998/1999. I could have completely avoided my Alanis/Fiona phase by emotionally rocking out in a less angry manner. Sorry for all of you who lived through that.
  • Single Ladies (Beyoncé) – I may or may not have spent some of the time D was in class trying to teach myself this dance. And I definitely did not figure it out. I just don’t have the rhythm.

And, on that note, Happy New Year!

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

These are all going to be adoption and foster care themed because that is what is on my mind right now. I’ll try to be brief.

1. Some part of the egress window is on backorder until November 10. I don’t even want to talk about it. It is no one’s fault; it just sucks. I’m going to call our licensing worker to see if there is anything we can do in the meantime to keep things rolling. Pray that it does not get delayed anymore, please.

2. Some people are going to need to see our lives as foster parents lived out before they come around to supporting us and I need to be okay with that. Some people may never come around and I need to be okay with that as well.

3. Something to think about: you would not imply to a person who comes to adoption through infertility that they are not a real parent. You probably should not imply or state this to someone who comes to adoption through a calling or by choice. It seems to be a cultural myth that pregnancy and child birth are necessary for bonding and maternal love.

4. Something I find myself praying for the kids and their birth parent(s) lately is: Lord, help me to see them as You do. My guess is all parents would benefit from this prayer at different points in their childrens lives.

5. I just listened to Pastor Joel’s sermon on parenting from a few weeks ago. One of his points about parenting was that it is stewardship, not ownership. Your kids belong to God, not you. Sometimes you are going to have to let them fail or get hurt and sometimes you are going to have to let them go.  So whether kids are with us or with birth parents or with a family member, it does not change to whom they belong.

6. On Wednesday, I was lecturing Marcia about letting go of her plans and resting in God’s plan, even if she does not like it or know all the details. It’s point number six and I’m still thinking about the egress window. Mmm, taste of my own medicine.

7. Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

*Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Two words: Emma Grace. How sweet is she?
DSC_1158Emma is the daughter of Jamie & Jen (they are our dear friends who happen to also be family) and was welcomed into the world early Monday morning. What a great way to start the week. I was able to visit her Monday night. She sneezed while I was holding her and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. We are thrilled to have a new member in the family.
2. Last Saturday, I finally was able to watch the Spartans. My emotions were all over the place and, needless to say, I was disappointed in the end. And mad at the quarter back. And then I read an article where he said this:
Football’s not my foundation. It’s not my identity. My faith is in Jesus Christ and he’s not changing anytime soon. I’ll keep trusting in him and in his plan and move on from here.
And then I felt guilty for being annoyed with him. But please, please beat Wisconsin this weekend.
3. In the spring, we decided to get rid of cable. It should be simple, right? Call the company and cancel your cable. But then we learned that we needed a home phone line (foster care policy) so we needed to call the company, cancel cable and have a home phone line installed. Then it just got complicated as we switched providers and then waited on some rebates. But as of this week, we are officially cable-TV free.
4. I’m needing inspiration for what will be our kid’s/kids’ room. I think I’ve decided not to paint it. It is a warm yellowy-gold right now and is my favorite color in the house. I think I can work with it and still make it feel like a fun, child-friendly space. I’m finding lots of inspiration here.
5. The conference I was at earlier this month had a representative from Bethany Christian Services there and at their table they had all this stuff about the MTV show 16 and Pregnant. I saw parts of it a few times when flipping the channels but, honestly, I stopped watching MTV around age twenty (thus making me very out of touch with what is popular in teen culture).
Something reminded me about the show and I went to MTV’s website where I was able to watch the full episode of Catelynn and Tyler, two 16 year-olds who had been together since seventh grade. Early in their pregnancy, they decided to place their baby for adoption (of course, MTV phrases it as “giving away” their baby). I was just in awe of this couple. Neither of them have stable home lives (Catelynn’s mom & Tyler’s dad are totally opposed to adoption) but make an incredibly selfless choice to place their child in a home that is more stable than what they can provide for her at this point in their lives. I would strongly encourage you to go watch this episode.
There were three things that really struck me. First of all, Tyler (the birth father), looks so incredibly young. He still has such a little kid face but you will be blown away by the maturity he has in this process. Secondly, Catelynn’s mother and Tyler’s father (who, by the way, are now married to each other) are so incredibly against the adoption. Even though Tyler’s father was absent for a great deal of his son’s life, he still thinks Tyler should “man up” and take care of his child. Catelynn’s mother buys a bassinet and puts it in her daughter’s room even after knowing that Catelynn and Tyler have chosen adoptive parents for their kid. It is so frustrating to watch them make an already difficult situation harder on their kids who are obviously making a selfless and amazing decision. Thirdly, the whole episode my heart was drawn to this couple who have in many ways had to grow up too fast because their parents put them in terrible situations. I wished that I could take care of them.
Sorry, that wasn’t very “quick.”
6. We had someone come to give us a quote on the egress window. I’m getting pretty excited because I think it is going to make our basement a much more enjoyable place. Just hoping the quote is not too much more than what we are expecting it to be.
7. Last night, Marcia and I talked on the phone for nearly two hours. And the only reason we stopped talking is because I wanted to watch a certain two-hour premier of a television show. Marcia, I know you read this now because I email it to you – COME BACK TO MICHIGAN. Seriously, think about it. There are no Coney Islands in Cincianatti.