I am a God and family lov'in stay at home mom to 6. We live in rural Ohio in a 100 yr old farm house. I have one wonderful husband (Ryan) and 6 amazing kids. Leah is 12, Logan is 8, Madeline is 4, Anna is 3, Gideon is 3 and our newest addition, Asher, is 8 months. We have been blessed by both birth and adoption and we love the unique way that each child has been gifted to us. Besides God and family, I really enjoy working with my hands and anything involved crafts/sewing/cooking. I try to live frugally. Please enjoy our blog!
I am a Christian SAHM to my 5 wonderful kids. I have been married for 12 years to a man that I love more and more every day. I homeschool my two oldest and my days are usually spent just trying to keep up. I am passionate about my God and my family. Right now were happily pursuing our son from Ethiopia.
I wanted to take a moment to explain how Ryan and I came to our decision to adopt again.....
While we were going through the adoption of Anna and Gee we very much considered that "it" for us. 5 was a good number and we agreed on that. About month or so after Gee came home I mentioned to Ryan that I thought it would be cool to do it again. You should have seen the look he shot me. As amazing as our adoption experience was, the previous 3 or 4 years had been pretty rough on us. We had to work harder than the norm to build our family and we were both exhausted. So, after bringing it up a few times over a few months, we decided to pray about it.
We prayed about the possibility for 7 or 8 months before any decision was even made. It seemed like every time Ryan and I would discuss it, we'd hit a brick wall in some way or another. After a while I started to think that it just wasn't going to happen. Adoption is obviously a major decision and I 100% believe that Ryan and I both needed to feel God move us that way or we ought not do it. Well, pretty much "ought not doing it" became where we were at and I just decided we needed to be done with it and accept it was not going to happen. Well, about a week after that conclusion was made, Ryan came up to me and said "he was really considering adopting again." I tried not to get my hopes up, but that was really cool. From then on out it just seemed our conversations led more toward another adoption than away.
We have had some big issues to consider, but we finally got to the spot where we were ready to dive in. To be honest, I sit here amazed we are even at this point. It is a beautiful thing to arrive in this spot, where I feel like both Ryan and I 100% want this. We are just so excited!
Ok, this is totally unrelated to our big adoption news, and I will post about that later, but.....
The three little ones were watching some cartoons this morning and it was on Nogin (pretty much the only cartoon station we watch). Well, Nogin does this little blip about Barack Obama All. The. Time. About how he is the first AA President and how historic that is and then it goes in to what kind of music, food, etc. he likes. Well, this morning our dish reception got briefly interrupted and it "paused" the T.V. during the Obama blip. I walked in and Madeline said "Brock Bama Broken." Hmmmmm, I think I have a wise 3 year.......
Well, Ryan and I have some exciting news to share for those who actually still check in on us here ............
We are adopting again! I don't have the time to go into all the details right now, but we are excited! We are headed to Ethiopia this time. Right now we are pulling together our massive piles of paperwork and we hope to have all that done in the next 6 to 8 weeks.
In the near future I will add some more details about how we got to this point and what kid of process we are looking at.
For now though, you know more than most of the people we know in real life. :)
We took Gee to the Dr. today for a well child visit and I was pretty happy with his stats. His weight (fully clothed) was 26.6 lbs. That's not too bad and it put him right at the 10th percentile for weight. I can take that. I was happy with his weight, but I was very pleasantly surprised with his height. I know he has gotten taller, but he is in the 60th percentile for height. It was a pretty accurate height check also. He had very low profile shoes on and I even thought the nurse was measuring him a little short when she was actually doing it. Our Dr. agrees that Gee probably has some sort of food intolerance/sensitivity due to his frequent, nasty smelling poop, but that is a very hard thing to figure out and sense he seems to be growing well, I think we are just going to continue watching it.
Ahhh, my little man Gee. He really is growing up. He was so good for the Dr. today. I remember when he use to whine when he even saw a Dr. He let the Dr. check all he needed to check and even almost smiled a few times. Which reminds me..... Gee does the cutest little "I am not going to smile," smile. He can be so stubborn, but you can just tell he wants to smile sometimes, but won't for whatever reason. That is what he was doing today. So cute!
Actually, she is trilingual (is that a word) if you count the dozen or so words she knows in Spanish. Anyways, she speak English and Annerish. Anna talks A LOT. I can understand probably 80% of what she says, but that other 20% has me baffled. That poor girl, I will have to ask her over and over again to repeat herself and then I still usually can't get it. Well, it seems now that Madeline has become her interpreter of sorts. Now Madeline will chime in and say "no mommy she wants X." This is happening more and more and it is just funny to watch. It is also very sweet to see my girls so close!
A potty update....... Gee is doing not too bad. To be honest, I have had to run lots of errands the last couple days, so we haven't been all that focused on it. While when been home he's only had one big accident and he has pee'd on the potty a few different times. So, all in all he is doing good. It is way to early to tell if he knows he needs to sit on the potty BEFORE he actually goes, but at least he's not afraid of the potty. And, he is learning how being a big boy works.
So Gee is my only one not potty trained yet. I feel pretty fortunate that my other 4 were pretty "easy." I hate to use that word because I all too quickly remember the times when I unknowingly stepped in a puddle of pee or had to clean up poop smear. I have had my share of messes (i.e. see last post). In hindsight though, things went pretty good. Right now Gideon is the only one draining our budget of diaper/pull up money. :)
At one time I would have stressed about having a 2 1/2 yr old that cared nothing about using the potty. I stressed a lot when Leah was small, I stressed a little with Logan but then I came to realize that I was working way too hard at it. I think I had gotten caught up in the whole idea that people are just lazy if their 2 yr old cannot completely go diaper free. A little judgemental, I know. Now I am more laid back about it. I really do try and look for signs that the kids are ready first. Fortunately all the kids have done really well and have all been trained (through the night and all) by 2 1/2 ish. I guess Gee is the exception to that rule.
I am still not seeing the "signs" I would like to see with Gee to get him started. Although, he is seeming to know when he poo's better. I am just sooooo tired of the poop. No exaggeration, Ryan and I have probably changed 3 to 4 poopie diapers a day for the last week and a half. That is NOT normal (but I will not go there). That fact and the fact that he is "old enough" to be using a potty, has prompted me to get our little potty chair out and give it a try. We now have a potty station for him, all prepped with reading material and a jar of M & M's. I took his diaper off about an hour ago and I am going to sit him on it every 20 minutes or so. We will see how it goes. I hope he is more ready than I am thinking. I am going to give it a few days and if at the end of that time I have cleaned up more poo and pee than I care to mention, back to diapers it is. I will try to not feel like a failure and move on with life.
So the kids have not been sleeping all that great. Fevers are gone, but the coughs and runny noses are still there. Well, by 12:30 this afternoon I was ready to put the little ones to bed. They were ready also. Or so I thought. Madeline and Gee went right to sleep (which is not normal, so they had to be tired).
Anna has been a little testy these last few days. She's been feeling pretty good, but she has just been kind of a spitfire. Being purposely naughty and doing the opposite of what I tell her to do. She has been in time out a lot. So, I put all the kids down and tuck them in and kind of forget about them. Leah, Logan and I were doing some cleaning and we had music going. At about 2:30 or so I hear a loud "thud" from upstairs. Immediately I think "Anna." She has been known to goof around in her room a little before nap time, to which she always gets punished. But my goodness, it was over 2 hours since I laid her down. So I get to the top of the stairs and I immediately see that her door is shut. She hates her door shut when she is sleeping, she only closes it when she is playing and doesn't want to be seen. So, I open my door and the first thing I notice is that the room smells terrible. Then I see Anna, standing on her bed with no pants or underwear on (she went to bed with them). Upon closer inspection, I see poop smeared all over her sheets. It was very clear that she had not napped. She has torn out every single toy in the room and had arranged them all around her bed. Apparently she decided to play and didn't know what to do with herself when she had to go potty because she was suppose to be asleep. Anna has been very successfully potty trained for over 6 months now (nights too). She rarely has an accident. Also, which is probably the only humor I found in all this (and only now as I am reflecting) was that Anna tried to hide the evidence. Her very poopy underwear were hidden in the bottom over her doll crib with all their dress up clothes thrown on top and a bunch of toys. I guess she thought I'd miss the poop smeared everywhere, the stinch and a half naked Anna.
What a mess. My disinfectants got a workout and the poop infested clothes/sheets/blankets are awaiting their turn at the washer. Anna, well, Anna is kind of a sad little girl right now because she is lying on a bare mattress supposidly "taking a nap." To top it all off, I have been upstairs twice this writing this post to take toys away from her that she has gotten out of bed to get. What is her deal? Oiy.
Well, I am off to go and see if she is actually obeying yet and staying in her bed. Wish me luck!
So life has pretty much gotten back to normal, which I like. Saturday we celebrated my Grandma's 8oth birthday. We had a big party for her and she was so surprised (a tuckered) by all the family and friends that travelled in. It was a good time. The kids seemed to have fun. Most of the afternoon was spent running around like hooligans. What kid wouldn't have fun doing that? Leah did Gideon's hair and he ended up with a fauxhawk. It was so stinking cute! We may have to do that again.
We have had some sort of bug going through the kids. Leah was sick a couple weeks ago, with a very high fever and just lying around and sleeping. Then it seems Maddie got it a few days ago and then Annie came down with it on Monday. It seems like it is all a little different for them. Leah didn't really have much of a cold, just the headache, high fever and achiness. Madeline said her legs hurt, plus she had a fever (not near as high as Leah's), along with sneezing and some coughing. I thought Madeline was over it over the weekend, but she had a fever again yesterday and was complaining about her legs again. She is also being a bear, oh my, she is a whiney mess. Anna had a high fever Monday and just kind of laid around. She was quite pathetic, but now she is doing much better and it eating and acting pretty normal.
I have got to say, Anna is the best little sick thing ever. Even when her fever was 103.5, she was smiling at us and trying to be silly. Anna has kind of become my breath of fresh air. She is still the queen of drama (the girl should seriously be an actress), but she is just such an easy person to be around. She is full of energy and happiness and I can always count on her for a smile or a silly dance. Anna is still extremely perceptive of everything. Directions, a hard to see star, her sister from across the church foyer. I call her my little eagle eye.
Anna is starting to say some of the funniest/cutest stuff. Like right now her and Gideon are eating breakfast right behind me. They are carrying on and Anna's new phrase is "ha ha." I am sorry to say, but it is from the "Simpson's". No, we do not watch the "Simpson's" nor do we let the kids watch it. However, back in the high school days, we were know to watch an episode or two and I guess some of the phrases have lingered. So, now my 2 yr old runs around telling the other kids "ha ha" in the appropriate voice. While I am a little appalled that she does it, I more so find it totally hilarious. Let's see, Anna also says prayers with us, which is just precious. Right now she is really into wearing little sleeveless undershirts under her clothes. After her bath the other day I stuck one on her and she said "perfect!" :) :) So cute! Oh yeah, this morning I told her and Madeline to go upstairs and wake up their sleepy head brothers. Anna goes upstairs into their room and says "wake up, wake up, buenos dias, wake up." It was soooo cute. I love that she uses a little bit of Spanish. Yes, thank you Dora the Explorer. The only Spanish that I actively work with them on is counting from 1 to 10. But I encourage them to use any new words they pick up or any of the few words they already know.
As for Gideon, he is doing pretty good. He has avoided being sick, he just has a cough. He has yet to start gaining much weight, but at this point I guess that is just going to be his way. He is growing, just not all that fast. He acts healthy, so that is the important thing. He still has poo issues. Like over the weekend Ryan and I probably changed a dozen poopie diapers (no exaggeration). They were all stinky and nasty also. Ugh..... I am so tired of poop! At some point we are going to potty train him. He just seems to not care at all about whether he or poopie or wet, or about using the potty. I guess I am just dreading the battle. I usually like to get a feel from the kids first that they are ready to start learning. I don't get that from Gee, but maybe I'd be surprised if I started trying.
Gideon is developing into the quirkiest little guys. Not in a bad way at all, but in a funny way. He has this laugh/cackle that will make even the most somber person smile. Something will tickle him and he will just break out cackling. It is very loud and extremely funny. It usually comes in fits also. He could be cackling about something for minutes at a time. All Ryan and I can do it look at each other and laugh. Gee is a very scrappy little dude and he is FAST. Oh my, I never going to be able to keep up with him. The other day, the three little ones were walking around like crabs, I swear Gee could walk like a crab as fast as he could walk normally. Gee talks a lot and I really haven't noticed much delay in either of our two Guatlings at this point when it comes to speech. Gee is a little more selective with his words than Anna, but they are both doing so well.
All in all, life is good, normal. Our days are spent homeschooling, running around a bit, and just doing all the things you'd expect us to be doing.
Last night at church (we go to church on Sat. evenings) we had our Madeline, Anna and Gideon dedicated to the Lord. We do not believe in baptizing babies, but we do believe in publicly committing ourselves to raising our children to love the Lord. We recognize that each of our kids have their own free will and ultimately it will be their decision to choose God or not. Ryan and I though, will do everything in our power to raise our children to know God and to have a personal relationship with him. Prayerfully, they will desire God and will accept Him into their hearts and then at some point being baptized will come into play. But, that will also be their own decision.
Now that our little theology lesson is over, last night was really a nice time. We go to the same church Ryan's family goes to. His siblings also had some of their children dedicated. So, we had all four of the siblings on stage with 8 out of the 12 grandkids up there. We also all had some family there, so we were quite a large group. We all went out to eat afterwards, which was a little chaotic, but still fun. The food was really yummy and all in all it was a good time. I left the evening feeling grateful for family and friends, but mostly I felt a deep sense of joy for our five beautiful blessings that God has entrusted us with. May we do him proud!
You know I have been thinking a lot lately about our adoptions. We first looked in to adopting in 2003. At that point we were experiencing secondary infertility and we really wanted to grow our family. We felt blessed to have experienced to two great pregnancies and births and we were ready to embark on a new journey to complete our family. At that point it was a means to an end. Sure, we liked the idea of giving a child a home that did not have one, but honestly, we just wanted more kids. Over the last 5 to 6 years though, adoption has become much more to me than that.
From a practical standpoint, it was our means to complete our family. From an emotional standpoint, well, words can't even describe the beauty of the experience. We have been through a lot to get our family to where it is today. All five of my kids are a beautiful gift from God and I deeply treasure the way each of them came into our lives. That being said, on an emotional level, our adoption experience has far exceeded my expectations. I knew Ryan and I would love and accept any adopted child as our own, but to actually watch that process happen is amazing.
Every day I witness 3 little ones playing together and loving one another as if it had always been. I see two big kids melt when Anna cries or Gee falls down. I see a little boy completely enamored with a daddy that I have no doubt he thinks the world revolves around. I see all these beautiful things and I then I think, a year and a half ago we were nothing to these two children. Now they are our lives, we are their lives. It truly overwhelms me.
Over time a new aspect of adoption has sprung in me and that is the spiritual aspect. Of course it is a good thing to take in an orphan, but I never really paid attention to how much the Bible really says about orphans. Over and over again God calls us to be instruments of justice for orphans and to care for them. Isaiah tells us to "Learn to do right, seek justice, encouraged the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." This is just one of many verses I found. I don't mean to sound preachy, but I really feel like part of God's heart is caring for orphans. I guess I just feel so blessed to be able to love and raise two of those fatherless that God cares so much about. And really it affects me more than that. I think adoption is something I am pretty passionate about now. Not for us to necessarily go out and adopt more kids, but I think a seed has been planted in me. It is hard to explain, but I am hopeful that at some point in my life I can use this passion in a way that will please God.
You know, as I sit and type this post, I am just amazed at what God has done in our lives over the past few years. This time, almost 4 years ago, was probably about the lowest point in my life. We had just gotten back from Russia without our twins and my heart was broken. It had been a rough couple years before that, but that was a pretty severe blow. Soon after we got home we did some high tech infertility treatments and were able to get pregnant. By early March we were told that our new found pregnancy would end in miscarriage. To be honest, at this point I thought God had completely forgotten I existed (there's some weak faith for you). I was so bitter with him. Well, that miscarriage became our little Madeline and when she was a year old we found our Anna and Gee and you know the rest. I still have no clue why God allowed us to experience the losses we endured, but I am finally to a place where I don't have to know. God never abandoned me and I can honestly say I am a stronger and better person having been through those struggles. Praise God for allowing me to see this side and praise Him even more for bringing me through this with a newfound passion.
Something happened in Florida that I want to publicly praise God for. We stayed at two different houses while there and they both had pools. That is very typical for the houses in that area. So, we spend lots of time by the pool, even if we are not swimming. I am a weinie about being cold, so when it is 70 something outside, I do not get in. The kids however would swim if it were in the 50's. The four oldest do great in the water. Last summer Madeline and Anna mastered swimming by themselves with just arm swimmies on. At first I was scared, then I became very proud that at 2 years old they were doing that by themselves. So the two little girls did lots of swimming with just their swimmies and we just kept a close eye one them. The pool was not that big, so that was pretty easy. Well, one day we did not see Anna. Ryan and I asked each other and neither saw her. All of the sudden we see Anne flapping her arms with only one swimmie on, swimming to the side of the pool. It was obvious she had been under (the little ones couldn't touch anywhere in the pool, but the steps) the water and had brought herself back up and swam to the side of the pool with one swimmie. I got to her just as she was reaching the side. The poor thing was panicked and I pulled her out and cuddled her. I was petrified at first, but then I was so proud of her. She did an amazing job and God really protected her.
In general, the kids are just doing so beautifully. We still have a few minor issues. Anna still wakes up 4 or 5 times a month yelling out, like she is having a nightmare. Gideon is having pretty major bath issues and he has for a few months now. He hates having the water poured over his head. He will literally scream and panic every time. He did better his last bath, but I had to go extremely slow, hold his hand and talk him through every step. Once his hair is washed he is happy and enjoys the rest of the bath. It is crazy because he will start to audibly whine when I even mention a bath and he gets real sullen until the hair washing is done.
Speaking of Gideon, he is still very much a daddy's boy. I know he loves his mama, but when daddy is around he doesn't really care to go to anyone else. He still pretty much prefers men. He goes to them more easily. Gee still is not gaining weight very fast at all. Way too slowly for my tastes, but the Dr.'s say he is fine, so we will just leave it at that. He acts healthy, so that's whats important I guess. His is moody though. Probably my moodiest kid yet. If he is tired, he gets very grumpy and irritable. He is the same way if his feelings get hurt, like if he gets scolded. He is just funny because sometimes he can be goofy and be ok with people egging him on watching him, but then sometimes he gets all quiet and doesn't want people to pay a bit of attention to him. It is strange.
I still plan to add pics from Florida, but they need to loaded when Ryan is home off of his laptop. So maybe this weekend? Anyways, until later......
Oh, I hate that I am not getting to blog as much as I would like. So, how fast can I type, as we are leaving in like 10 minutes to run and get dinner (no kids, woohoo).
Anyways, here is a very short version of life the last month. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY.
Ha ha, you know I can't say anything that short. :)
I was busier than I think I have ever been the two weeks before Christmas. Like couldn't sleep, out of my wits busy. I am not sure how things got so out of hand, but they did. We left for Florida the day after Christmas and we just got back Sunday night. I have been reclaiming my house this week and I think I am winning. I think I will be sweeping up pine needles from our very dead tree until next Christmas.
Florida was super great. It was however very sickly. We had pink eye, throwing up, a UTI, cough and colds and ear infections, all in one week. I think I spent over 18 hours in hospitals and pharmacies in the last 3 weeks. We seriously do not have that much sickness in a year around here. Yuck!
Well, my 10 minutes is up (guess I am a slow typer, although I did get the crescents out of the oven!). I will blog more later with pictures. I just didn't want you all to think I forgot about you all!