Friday, May 30, 2008

The Next Wave

Yesterday after dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to see Yahoo! Groups posts of more referrals with our agency! An infant boy and an infant girl were referred to two very happy families!!

For those keeping track, this puts us 2nd in the waiting line, and 1st in line for an infant boy! (as far as we know!)

We are eagerly waiting for the phone to ring today... (PLEASE, GOD!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Bless the Rains Down in Africa...

They had heavy rain today in Addis Ababa! This is wonderful news and an answer to prayer as their water levels are low. Believe it or not, the low water levels are directly affecting families trying to adopt. Addis is having black outs to conserve energy because their electricity is generated at the hydro-electric plant. So, without enough water, there isn't enough energy, and computers, faxes, telephones, and whatever are not available all day, every day keeping paperwork from getting where it should go.

No news for us today...

Here is a link to a free download of a beautiful song from Sovereign Grace Music. (Click on the album cover to the left.)

I Have a Shelter

I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven

© 2008 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP) (Admin. By Integrity’s Hosanna! Music) Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)(Admin. By Integrity’s Praise! Music)

Happy Birthday, Marty/Mom/Grandma!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Life in Perspective...

Since Chapman family's tragedy Wednesday evening, I am viewing our wait differently. It really put things into perspective. The time with our children is totally in God's control, and our the length of our wait isn't really important. I have decided not to have a hissy-fit. We will get our wonderful news SOON! (Keep praying!)

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chapman family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Transition Stage of Labor

This week the 7-month mark since our dossier was shipped to Ethiopia came and went. We were told that we could expect our referral in 4-7 months our paperwork was finished when we signed up for the program, so we are a bit discouraged to say the least... *sigh*

On the up side, we can see that God is preparing us to receive our referral

  • He used the church service on Mother's Day to prepare our hearts
  • He is providing the large amount of money that it will require to bring our child(ren) home
This is exhausting and frustrating, but we know that the end *must* be near at this point.

Today, I was talking to my friend LJ who equated where I am emotionally with the transition stage of childbirth! (from Birthing Naturally website)

Transition is generally the shortest part of labor, lasting 15 minutes to half an hour on average. However, this is also the most intense part of labor for many women. Some women find that being reminded that they are in transition increases their ability to handle the intensity.

The major emotional marker for this stage is giving up. It is in this part of labor that most women ask for medication. This is unfortunate since the shortness of this stage of labor may cause the mother to be pushing before she has received any medical pain relief. When physical signs indicate transition, it may be best to hold out, handling the contractions as best as possible.

Physical signs of transition include shaking or trembling which may resemble shivering or could be stronger. Nausea and vomiting are also common signs. In addition to these, some women will feel hot and cold flashes or have cold sweats. Other women may begin burping or hiccuping as the body prepares.

Another physical sign is the inability to relax or be comfortable. A woman who was handling labor well may suddenly find that she has no idea what to do and nothing is comfortable any more. At this point, it is the job of her coach or labor partner to assist her into various positions in an attempt to find the one that will keep her most comfortable.

Transition is the time when the mother is the most emotionally needy as well. Some women need constant reassurance that they are ok and the baby is fine. This may be due to the overall "giving up" and feeling that she is out of control. Most women will respond well to positive encouragements and some require no special consideration other than giving them the physical and emotional space to labor.

The "giving up" or feeling out of control may be recognized by comments the mother makes. It is not uncommon for a mother to say, "I can't do this," or "I need something." Recognize that this is not the mother asking for medication, but for help. She can no longer handle the labor the way she has been, and she needs to do something different.

Please, keep us in your prayers. We would really like to get our son's case through court before the courts close in early August. Thanks.

JAM Session '08!

Yesterday, we opened up the JAM Factory for production! (For those who don't know, we refer to Jeremy, Annika, and Marissa as "JAM.") After William came home from church, (we all went to service Saturday night) we lathered up in sun-block and headed out to the country to pick our favorite...STRAWBERRIES! We ended up with 5 buckets full which weighed between 4-5 pounds each!

Mom and Dad tag team the washing, stemming, mashing, cooking, and pouring. We've got it down to a science.

Marissa was more than happy to label the tops with "08" for us. She'd giggle each time one sealed and popped when she touched them! She also helped mash the strawberries. Jeremy and Annika just picked and ate the berries. They weren't much help with the jam!

Here is our bountiful harvest! We made 3 double batches of jam and 1 double batch of syrup for waffles and pancakes!! YUM-O!! If you would like our recipe, buy a box of "Sure-Jell!" (We have had no luck with the liquid, so we stick with the powder in the box.)

(Our photo of the jars is inspired by our friend, Penelope!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Last Soccer Saturday!

Yesterday, both Jeremy & Marissa had their last soccer games of the season. This has been a really fun time for all of us.

It all started at 8:30 AM (again) with Jeremy's Team Dynamo. He played full back for most of the game. He did some of his trademark roaring at the other team, and Dynamo won in the end. (Not because of the roaring!)

After their game, Coach Steve and Coach Seth had an awards ceremony for the team. Jeremy received awards for being part of the "Frozen 8." The 8 players who played that first week when it was freezing with gale winds got this! He and two others also won "loudest players!" Each boy, was presented with a special, personalized trophy, (read the inscription!) and the coaches took turns saying nice things about the players and their game. It was super nice.

Thank-you Coach Steve & Coach Seth for a wonderful season!

Marissa was a "Lady Penguin." It was amazing to watch the little girls figure out the game of soccer. They really had it going on by the last few games! They were excited to win their last game!

This is what was left of her team by the last game. Some aspects of this season were disappointing, but Marissa had fun. Good thing they only needed 5 girls to play.

After soccer, we went to swim team kick-off! Here we go...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What the Heck is a Toilet Phone?

I have had a couple of people ask me over the years what I mean by a "toilet phone". This is basically a kitchen sink sprayer that is hooked up to the water supply line of the toilet. The name comes from a friend of mine from Spain who says they are quite common there and even have a name. He also told me that his boys thought it was "indispensable for protecting your position" (I'll leave that to your imagination). I will tell you that it is indispensable for cloth diapering. If you have no interest on cloth diapers, toilet phones, and home repair projects, you might as well stop reading now.

I was all ready to send these notes to Penelope (who has two in cloth diapers!) when I realized that It would be easier on both of us if I just posted this. My apologies for taking so long to get this done. I will begin with the disclaimer that I am no plumber, and there is likely a better way to do this, but this worked for me. I have had at least one friend try this and it did not work.

I got all the parts I needed at Lowe's Home Improvement. Basically, I grabbed a kitchen sink sprayer and fit parts together until it worked. First up is a simple T connector. This goes in-line with the current water supply connection to your toilet (shown below). Also, in the picture, you can see a white tube coming off the left. This is a 12" piece of pipe that is sold to use for a Freezer water supply -- but it fits here too. If you have the grey tubing like I do, you will have to cut it off to make it shorter so it fits in the T. This is the point of no return. If you cut this piece too short, you will have to replace it before the toilet will flush (Don't say I didn't warn you).

Next up is the really complicated part (if there is a complicated part here). The freezer supply line has to connect to the kitchen sprayer (in Grey below). There are actually two pieces here, but it looks like one. The first piece is a "size converter" (note the use of technical terms). It fits onto the kitchen sprayer line and converts the screw to a smaller size so it fits into the "male-to-male" connector. The male-to-male connector is then screwed into the freezer supply line.

That's it! The white you can see on the brass fittings is simple plumbers (Teflon) tape. Put this on all the joints.

Good Luck, and I hope it works for you. We have been using ours with only minor leaks for about 9 years now. Like I said, the one other person I tried to tell how to do this had everything go well until he pulled the trigger and the water came flooding out of the brass fittings. If you have trouble following what I did, get the T connector, and the kitchen sprayer, then find the expert in the plumbing section at Lowe's and say "I need this to fit into this" and hold up your parts. They are usually pretty helpful about that.

I would also love to hear your comments. If there is any interest, I will beef this up a bit and add some details.

NOTE FROM SUSAN: This is very handy for filling the dog's water bowl that sits next to the potty! She loves her fresh water!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Not to Be Outdone...

When I posted Annika's artwork last week, Marissa immediately ran to the school room and created a blog-worthy piece to share.

This is a drawing of William and me picking up our children in Ethiopia. We are the light-skinned figures to the right of the page. The purple-clothed figure is the woman at the transition home, and she is handing us our son who is wearing red. The ever-hopeful Marissa has also included a pink girl just in case they decide to let us have a girl too!

Marissa is 7 and loves to draw! I think she'll be some sort of artist and a wonderful mother someday!

This is just a funny... Tonight at dinner, I actually had to say, "Get that bread stick out of your arm pit!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all you mothers. We had a full day today. Susan's mom came over and went to Church with us. Fortunately, Susan's friend gave me the head's up to take tissues since Karl sang When Love Takes You In. We also had a very emotional service including an amazing story of adoption and reunion and an update on the life changing work being done by ICDI in partner with our church in the Central African Republic (CAR).

After church, Susan's mom and her sister's family joined us for a nice Lunch and some presents and the cousins played together. It was a house full, but I put all the kids to work helping get things ready. Even the little ones each got a job, and Scott was an excellent Sous chef and in charge of drinks and dessert. Lunch was Filet Mignon, broccoli, corn, rolls and baked potatoes. Dessert was Angel Food cake with fresh strawberries and Cool Whip -- Yum!

Friday, May 9, 2008

SEEK Family Night & Field Trip!

Yesterday, was our last day of home school co-op. It is a relief, but we are sad that we will miss a lot of our friends over the summer. To end the semester, we have Family Night where the dads and grandparents come to see what the children have learned. Marissa nailed her lines describing the function on the brain and was the cutest mouse ever in her drama class! Jeremy did a great job with his introduction to the Jewish holiday, Purim, and we got to see his notebook full of animal drawings! Great job, guys! Annika declared the night, "BOR-ING!"

Today, our home school group went to Fox Hollow Farms where we learned about hydroponic farming, bees, beef, and fowl. Barry & Sherry Penland were great with the kids. Farmer Barry is very passionate about his livelihood, so he was an enthusiastic tour guide! The kids all got to pick a cup full of very yummy strawberries, and we bought some beef jerky and farm fresh eggs. We had omelets for dinner, and they were very tasty!

(Those are strawberries growing hydroponically in the background.)

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Art by Annika

Our girls are very artsy. Here are a couple of the masterpieces that Annika presented to me this afternoon...

This first piece is called "Roller Coaster."

This is Mama (me), "Baby Ethiopia," and Dada. Mama is shaking out a pee-pee-poo-poo diaper. The lines coming out of the diaper are the contents!

Annika is 4 years-old and her work is available for purchase through our home gallery.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Awana is Over!!

Grandma & Grandpa came the weekend for a visit and to attend the Awana awards. This afternoon while William cooked on the Big Green Egg, Grandpa pushed Annika on the "Orbitron" while William and Jeremy pounded Grandma and Marissa in a game of Baggo.

This was the first and last year for all three children in Awana. Jeremy was awarded the Truth & Training Book 3 award and the Timothy award for finishing the 4th and final book in the T&T program. Marissa earned her Hiker book award, and Annika also received an award for finishing her Cubbies book. We are very proud of each of them.

After the award presentation, there was a carnival for the kids. They ate lots of sugar and had fun.

We love Awana, but we are happy that it is finished for the year!

Grandpa & Grandma are leaving in the morning. We had a nice time with them. Hope to see you *soon* when we leave to get our baby!