Monday, January 30, 2017

Hello 2017 (?!?!)

Time is flying by at warp speed.

J is Kindergarten bound and is 5 going on 35. We affectionately call him "Tiny Fidel" or "Baby Mussolini" because he dictates our family with an iron fist. Who knew someone so small could effect the climate of an entire family system? C even bends to his every want and need.

After 3 months of VPK his teacher remarked on his Kindergarten readiness test that he could go to Kindergarten tomorrow and be successful. He aced the exam short of one question. He didn't know what a Hockey team was. He identified the "team" but didn't understand why a football team would wear silly masks and carry sticks. We live in Florida. Why would he know about Hockey?
He's lost two teeth, which sent me to google "is it normal when a barely 5 year old looses teeth?!?!"

C is almost 9 years old. We are getting ready to celebrate his 6th (!!!!) Russia day/adoption day! How did this even happen??? 3rd grade has been a real challenge for C. Reading chapter books, taking long tests... These stationary activities do not jive with an ADHD kid. He wants to run, climb, dance, jump... pretty much everything but sit.

He is so smart. Like, let me take this vacuum cleaner apart and re-assemble it. Let me build this 10,000 piece lego set. We recently visited SC after being gone for over three years. As we drove along he remembered where to turn to get to Walmart. How to get to our old house. (That we still own 4 years later, btw. long story. Someday we may retire to that house) Which is just fine with me. I miss seasons. And the vibe of the South. And our friends. But Florida has grown on me. We're settled here. We have lovely friends and a great church. We're slowly hitting our stride. It's nice to drive a few hours and be with family instead of a full day of driving. The boys get to KNOW their grandparents. We're not just twice a year visitors.

And we get to go to Disney. A LOT. It's kinda our thing. ;)

Both boys are happy, healthy and thriving. Mom and Dad are just along for the ride. We were married 17 years this month. I've know Chad longer than I haven't known him. He is the love of my life. It's nice to know we'll be together forever. We still get along. Laugh at each others silliness and/or awkwardness. And in our house, there is plenty of that to go around.

Big C has gone back to school for his masters. We have a contest every semester of who in the family can get better grades. So far, its a tie. His youth group saw a lot of challenges this year with a death of one of our students. 2016 was a hard year for the kids.

I'm still working at the church part time in children's ministry, planning MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and leading ladies group. And laundry. So much laundry.

So, talk to you again in a year? Probably not joking.....

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


I wrote this devotional for our mom's group and thought I would share the ramblings of my heart. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

During service our Pastor spoke about the fear of loneliness. He said that loneliness is an epidemic that effects 60 million Americans. I immediately leaned over to Chad and said “I have the opposite problem- I want to be alone and no one ever leaves me alone” He looked a little hurt and I immediately retracted- “I want to be alone with you….I mean….I mean…just away from being someone’s mom, just for a night. I mean….” And then I laughed nervously and said just kidding. So that got me thinking about my knee jerk reaction, as a mom, am I actually really lonely?

I have found motherhood to be the conundrum of loneliness. You have no choice  but to be surrounded by people at all times. One of my facebook friends posted “I use to want it all and now I just want to go to the bathroom alone.” How many times have you heard your name called in the last 24 hours? You are the least lonely person on the planet. You are wanted, loved and needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…Yet….motherhood is lonely. Isolating.

We isolate ourselves with these restless natives we call our children. A lot of times instead of going to church it’s just easier to stay home. Think about tonight. How many schedules did you tweak, adjust and rearrange just to get here? Sometimes its just easier to be alone. I remember speaking of my fellow adoptive moms after her son came home from Russia. She had to stop going to her mom’s play date group because of some of his undesirable behaviors. I remember her saying that she felt the other moms were judging her because of his aggressiveness. Were they judging her? Maybe. Was she just isolating herself because she felt inadequate? Most likely. We get broken in our loneliness.

Lets go back to our bible verse. A cord of three is not easily broken. By being here tonight you are reinforcing that cord. Binding together with other moms breaks the feeling of loneliness. More specifically, binding together with non-judgmental moms that have walked this path before or are walking the exact same path now breaks the cycle of loneliness. Moms that have survived epic public meltdowns, teenagers flunking out of school, getting mixed up in the wrong crowd, first dates, first heartbreaks, potty training. Seeking support and (solicited!) advice fortifies our lifelines. Furthermore, taking time for yourself and enjoying self-inflicted solitude (what I was poorly conveying to my husband) is a good thing too.

Most importantly, that cord is three fold. You, your support system (hopefully that will be Re:Fresh) and first and foremost with Christ. He is the thread that holds us together when we are stretched to the breaking point. He is our grace when we feel like we are failing as a parent. He is our joy when we are running late, can’t find anyone’s shoes and someone spills grape juice on the carpet. He is our comfort when we just want to cry. He’s the one at the end of an exhausting day you can run to with your burdens and shortcomings. He is the one cheering you on at the finish line when it’s all said and done saying “Well done my good and faithful servant”. Well done my good and faithful MOM servant. I know you. You are the one with the cold dinner. The one folding a mountain of laundry. The one cleaning up the barf. From the kids, the dog, everyone. You are the one on your knees at 2am praying for a son that has turned his back on the church. You are the one going without so that your kids are happy and healthy. Your husband left so you are mom and dad. You are the one that doesn't know where the next meal is coming from, but there it is being served on your table. You are the one praying feverishly for your children, your spouse. I know you. And I love you.  

So maybe you’re feeling lonely while puzzling over the fact that you are NEVER, EVER alone. Take courage mom, and walk away tonight knowing you are never alone. We are here to pick you up and most importantly, Christ is here eternally to forge a precious thread that will never be broken.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


I just gave someone my blog address for "light" adoption reading. I noticed that it's sadly out of date and depressing.
If it were a house it would say "Keep Out" and have broken windows and weeds growing all over it.
But I don't think people read blogs anymore....
But I will never pull the plug on it till someone pries it from my dead lifeless fingers. It's my excuse for not keeping baby books, that and its a perfect little time capsule of our stories. Where we shouted from the rooftops when we met Charlie and whispered in the darkness when we thought we lost him. Where we experienced an earthquake and learned of a baby brother. It's sadness and perfection all rolled up into 581 ramblings of this crazy woman who is now crazier with a seven and three year old in the house.
So, hello blogsphere. I'm just checking in!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Build a Bear Workshop

Well since I have KIDS I qualified for an awesome treat from Build a Bear Workshop! Recently I joined an awesome site called Smiley 360. Where you "qualify" for missions to test free products. And by qualifying I mean they make sure if you're testing cat food you actually have cats and things like that.We got to go and make a new Super Hero Bear for free! How cool is that? Of course, big brother could not bring himself to adhere to the rules, so he insisted on an Army Guy bear. Well, since we were paying for his- I figured I'd let it slide. But it ended up being soooo cute!
If you'd like to sign up for Smiley 360 follow the link HERE and do it! It's free and I've gotten to test some pretty cool things- soccer equipment, beauty products, cleaning supplies, medication, vitamins....anyway.... I think this free gift from Build a Bear takes the cake!
Oh and HERE is a coupon for $5 off $25 they're sharing with you! Yay!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Well this is embarrassing....

I've been MIA since February. In my defense, February was like 5 seconds ago. Now it's June. Ooops. I keep thinking I need to pull the plug on this little blog. But I.JUST.CANT.DO.IT.
It's like a documentation of parenthood and the beginning of something monumental and I just can't bring myself to hit the delete button. So here I am, limping along.
Since February I've finished up work in the special needs middle school for the summer. Jack has "graduated" nursery school, Charlie has passed Kindergarten! My silent little Russian that barely uttered a sound until his third birthday is now reading books at grade level. 
He turned six in March and we "tricked" him into staying at a Disney Hotel for his birthday instead of having a lame "friend party" Hahaha. He had so much fun he said he wanted to do it every year. Parent score. Is it just me or is there nothing worse than a kids birthday party?
Chad is starting the next step in his ministry and has begun candidacy in the United Methodist Church. We have a four year plan. I like plans. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Last week Jack woke up screaming in pain from his nap, clutching the back of his head, arching his back absolutely howling. Of course we rush him to the emergency room. There is something about taking your 2.5 year olds clothes off and replacing it with a tiny hospital gown that makes a parent die inside. Nothing else matters but finding out what is wrong and praying to God that it can be fixed.
One minute your planning dinner, the next minute your watching your baby move in and out of a CT machine. It was a nice little reminder that life is so, so, so, so fragile and we take so much for granted. Turns out he had a severe stiff neck. Three days later, he's still nursing it along. But praise God, it was fixed.
Ok, since I probably won't update this blog until October...lets just be honest here....Here's whats on the horizon for us this summer:
E the Intern (Chad's ministry intern) is living in an RV in our driveway. It's a really nice RV, so we're still one step above the Beverly Hillbillies.
Chad will be gone most of the summer so we're planning lots of fun trips and visits to the Grands.
My sister is getting married and I am the Chief Bridesmaid (I cannot be called a "Matron" under any circumstance) The boys are supposedly bearing the rings. We'll see about that.
I've convinced Chad into taking a cruise with me. It was really hard to talk him into taking a kid free trip full of sleeping, eating and island hopping. NOT! are some super cute pictures to apologize for not updating the blog as I should.

Friday, February 21, 2014

2012 Photo Book

When I stopped scrapbooking, I told myself that I'd just create one nice photobook a year. Riiiight.....So, here we are in 2014 and I've finally managed to finish 2012. Better late than never, right? But it is really nice to look back and see how much they've grown!
Click here to view this photo book larger
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Three Years!

Time goes by in such a blur....I can't believe three years ago we were FINALLY liberating our tiny little boy from his orphanage.
Yuri picked us up in his yellow bus for the last grueling ride to Idritsa, down snowy roads and through abandoned towns. If I think about it, I can still feel my frozen feet against the floor, the psychedelic van seat coverings, the strange smell of the wiper fluid de-icing the cracked windshield. The soft murmur of Russian talk radio on his radio.
Yuri's Bus
I spent a lot of time looking at these seats!
For two years we had dreamed about this moment. For two weeks we had driven 2 1/2 hours each way to visit this shy little fellow who couldn't stand to be in the same room as us. We were unwelcome in his life and he made sure we knew that at every opportunity. We were so afraid that he would never warm to us. That we would always be strangers and never "Mama" and "Papa".
On the afternoon of February 7, 2011 the ladies charged with his care, ushered us into the "visiting room" and began to strip him naked. He was brought into that place with nothing and would leave with nothing. With lightning speed, they placed the three layers of clothes we brought on him. Six hands at once, pulling, lacing, tying him into his homecoming attire. One woman frowned and asked if that was all we brought. I'm convinced that in Russia, no matter how many layers you have on its one too few in the eyes of the Babushkas.
He was ushered downstairs to Dr. Anna's office. Dr. Anna who had known him since he was three months old, Dr. Anna who was the closest thing to a mother that he had known in his three short years. She knelt beside him and looked him in the eye. She started telling him where he was going and that he needed to "be a good boy for his Mama and Papa". I wondered how many times she had given this speech and if she felt any particular fondness to Charlie above all the others.
She was the only one that held the keys to his past. When we had first met almost a year prior on our first visit, she recited dates and milestones without ever referencing his file in her hands. She told us how his birthmother had made a treacherous journey (much as we did while visiting) roughly every 6 months to "refresh" her relinquishment. Anna said she wanted to make sure there was no question that he needed a family. She didn't want a technicality to stand in the way of Charlie's eligibility on the database. That speaks volumes to me about her love for Charlie. When his birthmother learned of the fact Charlie would be adopted by Americans, she updated her relinquishment that she felt this was in his best interest. When the Russian adoption world seemed to be against the Americans, his birthmother did everything in her power to squelch any doubt that living in the United States with a mother and father was the best possible thing that could happen to the son she had given birth to.
Dr. Anna gave him one last piece of Russian chocolate (his favorite kind) and sent us on our way. Charlie crying, the good doctor crying, all the ladies crying (accept that big cranky one) and us.....looking at each other like "Are they REALLY going to let us leave with him? What's the catch?" I promise you, until we touched down on American soil, I just KNEW someone was going to re-neg and come chasing us down to take him back.
We loaded that crying baby into Yuri's van and he clung tightly to me for the first time. He only cried until we left the gravel driveway and then fell promptly asleep on my chest.
In that moment, I became a mom. Wow.
Be a good boy.....

One last goodbye....
Our Boy!