Wednesday, December 23, 2009

bible in 90 days

I KNEW there was something else I wanted to blog about earlier, but I couldn't remember when I actually sat down to write.

I've recently started reading this blog, and she's been talking about a bible reading plan that reads through the entire bible in 90 days--Jan 1-March 31. I signed up on this site to do it. I'm not getting their bible, but I'll just use mine, use their reading plan (under "listen while you read"), and listen to the weekly lessons online ("hear weekly lessons").

It's a huge task. I know I can't do it on my own. Anyone want to join me?

lots of updates

I wrote earlier that I had gotten a part-time job. Well, they never did call me in to work, and then I received a letter that there had been budget cuts with the client and I may or may not call in. But I am welcome to get put on the list for the next job coming in the spring. Ugh. Thankfully, I did get a surprise editing job that brought in a nice chunk of money and made me realize how much I missed that. I updated my editing Web site and hope this next week to work on some editing tests in hopes of getting more work. I just love going to a coffee shop in the evening and working.

We tried out Stolen Moments Menu Planning this month, and we ended up scrapping our meal plans partway through the month because we didn't like a lot of the recipes and we were looking to go over budget for groceries. The good thing is that we did find some fun recipes and we've been eating out less. And we discovered the freedom in planning all three meals each day instead of just dinners. I've been doing it on my own and it's going well. It's nice to not have to think when it's time to cook--I just look at my list and see what the plan is. I plan and shop once a week.

We finished the 2nd quarter of homeschooling yesterday. We're all pretty excited for a break, though I'm curious to see Aidan's response by the time we get ready to come back. Today I tried out a Bible curriculum I'm thinking about for next year with Aidan, and he LOVED it. It's a combo of Bible and art, which he loves. He was able to process and discuss the passage well and kept saying how fun it was. And he had fun using colored pencils. :) I also asked him a lot of questions about how homeschooling is going and what we could do better or differently, and that was really helpful. We'll be making a few changes in the spring. Overall, we are all loving it.

Perhaps the biggest news is that we are hoping to get our house on the market by Feb 1 to try and take advantage of the current homeowner's tax credit (we would need a contract on another house by the end of April). We would need to sell our house first, so we'll see how it goes. We are praying for God to orchestrate all the details, because they just boggle our minds. First up, next week we are going to start removing carpet in the hallway and living room. Pete is off work all next week, so we're taking advantage of that. And he has a short list of little things to repair as well. It should be loud and dusty around here until we get that done.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

taekwondo and hair

Today Aidan earned his orange striped belt in taekwondo!! You can see pictures posted in the flickr album. He performed his kibon, broke a board, sparred, and then got his belt. It was super fun to watch him, although Iona got bored after a while.

This morning I "did" Iona's hair for the first time! Pictures are up on flickr. I didn't think it was long enough, but the ladies I talked with at Aldi last week assured me it was. So today I gave her a bath, put product in her hair, and then started with coils. So cute!! She loved getting to eat gummies while I was doing it. Her hair is still pretty short in the back and it's not staying in the best right there, but the rest is really fun. I don't know why I waited so long!!

Before I did the coils, I watched the videos on Shuruba to see what I was doing, and I was encouraged that the age of one of the "models" was close to Iona, with the same length of hair. After I did her hair, I ordered my first beads and snaps and beader and rubber bands. :) I'm looking forward to trying flat twists and some of the other styles with the beads and snaps.

I also wanted to point out the flickr photos of my new nephew, Gavin! I am leaving soon to take the train up to my sister's house for a couple of days to help her sleep with a newborn in the house. Her hubbie RJ just went back to work, so I'm going to come and help with cooking and cleaning and cuddling with little Gavin while she rests. I'm excited to get a "break" from here, but I know I'll be busy there too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We've been trying to pay off debt for a while now, and we decided a few weeks ago that I really needed to get a part-time job to help things go a bit faster. We want to move next summer and we want to adopt again, so now every time we want to spend money, we (try to) ask ourselves if it's worth more than a new house or an adoption. We'll see if that helps us curb the excess.

I got a temporary job last week scoring standardized tests. I will be scoring the composition portion at the high school level. It'll last a couple of months, and I have my resume out at a few other places for when that is done. If they like me, I could be called back for future projects. I think it will be fun. I'll be working three evenings during the week and then Saturday afternoons.

I read about Stolen Moments Menu Planning on Money Saving Mom's site. Since I didn't win her giveaway for a free year of this service, we signed up tonight for one month with MSM's discount (good through the end of the month). I already coupon, menu plan, and shop sales, but I'm excited to see how this might help us. I've been feeling in a rut for a while with breakfasts and lunches, so I signed up for her Complete Plan for this first month. Since I will have less time home while I am working, we thought it was the perfect time to try this out. I'll let you know how it goes!

I also recently bought Owlhaven's Family Feasts for $75 a Week. She includes some Ethiopian and Korean recipes, two of my favorite cuisines. And I LOVE almost all the recipe ideas in the book. I'm excited to try many of them out. Owlhaven is a fellow adoptive mom!

Aidan turns 6!!

My miracle baby turned 6 this past Saturday. Pete put our Flickr photos on my blog, so just go to the album for Aidan's 6th birthday party and you can see the fun.

We celebrated with grandpa and a few friends at Chuck E Cheese. We didn't do their birthday package, but we just ordered some food, brought our own cake, and just played. Aidan wanted his icing ninja turtle green, and we gave his mini turtles a bath before we used them as cake toppers. His friends Kiri and Atticus came with their families and played with us there. Aidan got some LEGO sets, a bunch of games, some books, some turtle figures, and a fun Wolverine-like claw that makes noise--he calls it his Shredder claw. Grandpa came to the house after the party and stayed most of the afternoon, helping Aidan play with his toys and just hanging out.

For dinner he asked for hot dogs and mac and cheese, and then we watched Monster's vs. Aliens together.

It was a nice, relaxing birthday (except when I was literally CHASING Iona through Chuck E Cheese), and I didn't even have to clean!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

the voiceless

So last week I found out I have the flu. We think H1N1, but I was never tested. I've been sick for almost a week now, with no sign of being near done yet. Fever has been gone since Wednesday, thankfully, but yesterday I woke up with no voice.

I never realized how much I like to talk!

So Pete challenged me today with the question: so what is God teaching you through this?

I feel like I have so much swimming in my mind since that question. This is my attempt to record and make sense:

  • the orphan--so many have no voice!! 143 million!!

  • Orphan Sunday is next weekend. I've been praying for orphans, for people to adopt, for parents who are sick or make difficult decisions, for finances to come through for friends who are adopting.
  • Some friends are going on a trip with Children's Hopechest to Ethiopia. Read more about their trip here. Consider a donation! Did you know that $15 will feed one Ethiopian child for a month?
  • What is God calling us to do? We know that adopting Iona has been one of the greatest joys God has given us. She is such a fighter. In Ethiopia, 1 in 5 kiddos die before age 5. In calling us to adopt her, God gave her LIFE!! And God opened our eyes to a bigger picture of His love.
  • I've been in a women's bible study at church on the book of Proverbs. God has been challenging me with these passages:

Prov 15:1--A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Prov 15:4--The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Prov 29:11--Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.

I've really been thinking about and trying to watch the way I speak to my kids. Not yelling. Choosing words that give life and don't crush them. Encouraging them lots. Loosing my voice has made me sit back and think through that more, thinking about what I would say if I could, whispering words to them that make a difference.

  • I've also been pondering God's voice in Scripture. God's powerful voice to create. What God's voice sounded like to his people. The people who raised their voices to God. How God speaks into the lives of his people. So much to think about.
  • It's been really hard for me to not kiss my kiddos on the lips (for fear of spreading my illness), read them stories, etc.
  • I'm slightly stressed that we're behind in homeschooling, but we're really only a few days to a week behind in certain subjects. I can't start up again until I can speak.
  • I've been praying my voice is back by Tuesday, when Pete leaves on a business trip for the rest of the week. Please pray!!
  • I've wrestled with how many times I've wanted to say random things to Pete and I can't. How much do I speak words that are meaningless? Are my words lifting him up or tearing him down?

Please pray that I can continue to make sense of all this and what God wants to teach me. And please pray I LEARN it this time!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

trade as one

sick, sick, sick

Right before we went apple picking, the kids got sick and got put on antibiotics. Congestion but no fever. They both finished their meds and were not better. So another 10 days of meds went by. Our doc even said we could do a second round of the second med if we wanted to make sure it was cleared up. We decided not to, even if they were still sick. They seem fine now, although today they were both coughing just a little. They finished their meds today.

I, on the other hand, have an unconfirmed case of swine flu. Boo. All day on Monday I was feeling a little off, and it just got worse as the day went on. By evening I was achy and my throat was scratchy. In the middle of the night I ran a fever. Tuesday Pete thankfully stayed home with the kids while I was in bed all day. Aidan was supposed to have a field trip, but it got canceled because the leader's family was sick. I finally went to Prompt Care in the afternoon in my pajamas. (This should tell you how bad I felt--I would NEVER do this otherwise!) After a 1.5 hour wait, they agreed that it was most likely H1N1 and that I would be better in 5-7 days.

Pete went back to work this morning and I parented from the couch most of the day. He came home at lunch and did a little school with Aidan. (Tuesday Aidan was happy there was no school, but by today he really wanted to "do school.") I think they might do some more tonight after taekwondo.

Pete has a conference to go to next week, so please pray with us that 1) I feel better soon, 2) the kids don't get it from me, and 3) Pete doesn't get it. We have sanitized the house and are continuing to do so when we can.

Thanks to good friends who have offered to bring us dinner this week. Looking forward to gondolas tonight.

apple picking

Earlier this month we went apple picking with the Treat family. We were SO excited to finally meet them after lots of conversations online and on the phone. Erica's kids are each about one year older than ours, and Eben and Aidan got along smashingly. :) Iona and Abel are from the same transition home in Ethiopia.

We played in the kid area at Curtis Orchard for awhile, had lunch in the cafe, and then went apple picking. It was very crowded that day and a little muddy, but we had a really good time with them and the kids did wonderfully. Since the Treats are living nearby for the next year, we hope to do more with them. They are also homeschooling using the Well-Trained Mind, like us. I heard lots of fun stories of what I have to look forward to with Aidan for next year. As we were getting ready to go, there was a little accident with Pete's bounced on the concrete. His nice camera. Thankfully the Lord spared it and it still works.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


In early September we took a family vacation to Branson for the AWAA Ethiopia reunion. How special it was to put faces with names and people with blogs!! We were gone almost a week and were able to meet many dear friends face to face for the first time!!

Next year's reunion will be in Nashville. We really hope we can make it to that one midst moving into a new house and all.

Above are photos from day 1. Will get the rest up soon...

Monday, September 14, 2009

new Apologia title coming out

I'm really excited about a new Apologia title coming out called Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. It's one of Jeannie Fulbright's elementary science texts, due out next semester.

Aidan has been asking a lot of "how does my body work" questions lately. Yesterday, it was "how did God use my body to heal my owie?"

We're not planning to start using the Exploring Creation series until next year, and I already have three of them on my bookshelf that we bought used, but I am excited about this one coming out for a few reasons--Aidan's interest and my desire to stay with the series until he gets into the junior high texts. Right now I think I have Astronomy and Zoology 1 and 2 here. But even if we don't use Anatomy and Physiology next year, it would be nice to have a text like that one here to help answer his questions in a way that honors God's glorious handiwork in our bodies.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

the many words of Iona

Iona has a ton of words now, and I just wanted to document what she can say at 15.5 months old. I may be adding to this as I think of more.

all done (signs and says)
more (signs)
please (signs)
Aidan (sounds like ada)
yuck (sounds like uck)
shakes her head yes and no
hot dog (this is what she calls most foods)
be-bo (belly button)
muah (kiss)
have that?

readoption day

With our lawyer.

Our family.

With the judge.

On Monday we were able to finally readopt Iona! She came to the US as a resident alien though she was legally our daughter. The readoption process allowed us to legally change her name and made her a US citizen. We'll get an IL birth certificate with our names and her new name on it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I loved this post.

Aidan is a total boy. His dress up bin is half-full of nothing but weapons--discards from friends' collections, clearance Halloween costume parts, an old jump rope, and even weapons made out of paper towel and wrapping paper rolls and just rolled up construction paper taped together. He loves to go in the basement and fight with swords any time we will do it with him. He's even gotten his sister in on the action--she can wield a sword, at 15 months old, with the best of them. She just laughs and laughs! Aidan loves to take his swords outside and run around the yard fighting imaginary enemies. We don't let him play with guns, although he did acquire a small water gun from somewhere.

Sometimes his obsession with Ninja Turtles is irritating--instead of drawing a picture about the Sunday School lesson at church he wants to draw a turtle and his matching weapon. He even has notebooks full of them. But, as one of the SS teachers always reminds me, this is who God made him to be.

I pray that he will be a man who fights for honor justice and truth and will know how to wield the Word of God so that he falls more in love with Jesus each day. And I pray God will give him unique eyes to see the spiritual warfare happening around him and fight through prayer, surrendered to Jesus.

And I hope to even teach him a little about the artists the Ninja Turtles were named after. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


These were taken on Aidan's first day of school.

Me and Iona with Kristen Lunceford and Selah in the Chicago suburbs.

My mouth waters just looking at this plate. This was our Ethiopian meal in Evanston on Sunday.

Danielle Black and Selah, me and Iona, and Karen Bowman and Natalie. I love how the moms look excited and the kids couldn't care less.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

first week

We've completed our first week of homeschooling. Whew!

We fell "behind" in the middle of the week due to a last-minute field trip to Sugar Grove Nature Center, but by the end of Friday we were almost completely "caught up." Not that it really matters, especially this early in the year. Some of my highlights this week were seeing Aidan "get it" with writing some of his numbers and watching his excitement when we did a few science experiments.

Iona gained 3 lbs and 2 inches in the last 3 months. And the doc confirmed she's getting her molars. That explains a lot from this week. But she was a real trooper with the homeschooling goings-on around here...I even got her to sit at the table and eat a snack and play with some small toys for quite a while when we did art yesterday. We do a lot of the school time when she is sleeping, but she enjoyed watching the art process.

Yesterday we watched Randy and Amy's daughter Kiri for the morning as we thought Amy might be having her baby, but alas, no go. It was really a good situation all around, but we just want to meet the new little princess. Even with our visitor for the morning, we got SO much school done yesterday and had a ton of fun with it.

This afternoon we're going up to Chicago for a whirlwind trip. Tonight we're having Chicago pizza with the Luncefords. Tomorrow for lunch we will be in Racine, WI for a baby shower for my second cousin, also known as a big family reunion on my mom's side where everyone will get to meet Iona. Then for dinner we'll be back in the suburbs for an Ethiopian dinner with the Bowmans and Blacks. Then back home that night. We're excited to see our friends again. Today is also our 11-year anniversary, and while this will be a fun family trip to celebrate, I think we'll do a date night by ourselves sometime soon. :)

I'll try to post pictures next time...

Monday, August 10, 2009


So I'm back at it again. Early this year I started running and after two months I ran my first (and only) 5K. I came in second to last, but I finished. I had big plans to run a half-marathon by this time this year, but after the 5K I stopped. All forms of exercise. Done.

This summer I've dabbled a bit with walking and running, and thanks to my friend KP, I decided this week to start the Couch to 5K program. Don't know if I'll do another 5K this year, but at least it breaks down the running into manageable chunks.

So Saturday night I went for a 30-minute walk. Sunday night (it was a HOT one!) I did my first couch to 5K walk/run for 30 minutes. Then tonight I walked with a friend for an hour. The plan is to try to get out every night for a short time. If I set certain days to go work out, I always find an excuse. I hope this way I will actually do it most of the time.

My legs are SORE tonight. But it's really nice to get out of the house without kids...I usually listen to a talk or music on my iPod. It's a nice break. Hopefully I'll finally be able to lose the last of my Aidan baby weight.

Just watch, I'll do all of this and then we'll get pregnant again...

That would be nice!

first day of school--kindergarten

Today we started homeschooling Aidan. It went remarkably well! I think I learned a lot as well. I felt like we rushed through this morning...I think I was really concerned with how to fit everything in and how long each subject would take. All and all, we were done in 1.5 hours, but we split that up a bit. I hope I will be a little more relaxed tomorrow! But we both had fun, and I even got to play with his playmobil castle with him a bit before Iona woke up. I'll post photos sometime soon...

I was disciplining ALL day though. I think both kids had time outs before 9 am. Iona melted down all day, though. She even took 2 naps. I finally determined she must be teething something awful...she was drooling MUCH more than usual and was very clingy and crabby. We go for her 15-month appointment this week, so I wonder if we'll discover more teeth by then, or maybe the beginnings of molars...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

referralversary and cloth diapers

One year ago today we got "the call." We had waited 9 months and 5 days for our referral. It was such a happy day here! Iona was almost 3 months old in these photos.

Iona's getting so big!! Almost 15 months old now.

She is outgrowing some of her cloth diapers (just the ones that are sized S-M-L; most of them are one-size), so today I took the kids to my favorite local diaper store to make a purchase. Fun!

We got two more one-size diapers and three size large diapers. One for nighttime and four for day. And we got a really fun wet-and-dry bag in pink swirl. Now I don't have to carry the big diaper bag everywhere! And maybe I can go more than two days between washes...we'll see.

In Iona's diaper wardrobe are: Swaddlebees, Blueberry (including a couple minkys), Knicker Nappies, and Tiny Tush. Tee Hee!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Big Curriculum Clean-Out

I am taking part in a slew of giveaways through a homeschool blog I read. From Aug 2-Aug 15, many homeschool moms will be giving away gently used homeschool resources. What a great deal for newbie homeschool moms like myself!!

Please click here for more information. You can enter her giveaways and then see who is linked in the comments section for even more from other readers.

Let me know if you win anything!! I'll let you know if I win too. And maybe I'll find more fun homeschool blogs to read!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

our family's favorite books

This is one of Iona's absolute favorite books:

The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton.

I was going to post a pic, but alas, it's out of print!!

Iona laughs and laughs when we read this or other Boynton books. Be bo!!

We are super excited that Mo Willems has a new Elephant and Piggie book out, called Elephants Cannot Dance! We adore ALL of his books--Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny, Naked Mole Rat, and Leonardo are all part of our family. And Time to Pee! is a classic. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

some fun links

We enjoyed sitting around the computer and looking through these this morning...

Last week at a local park we got to see a turtle laying eggs. We went home and looked up videos on you tube of turtles laying eggs, and we laughed and laughed at this video.

Like legos? We adored the use of legos here and here.

Aidan is the family inventor, and it was so neat for him to see what can be done with drawing and inventions and some of his favorite toys.

Friday, July 24, 2009

until next summer...

So it's been an AGONIZING few days as we've been hashing and rehashing the whole move idea.

Here's what we've decided:
  • We are not putting our home on the market until somewhere in April-June 2010.
  • Our goal is to try to pay off as much debt as possible between now and then (more on that later). By then we should only be a month or a few away from "debt-free except the house."
  • We are lowering our price range for a new place to one where we can afford a 15-year loan. This is totally doable where we live and we would still get a lot of house. We would be done with house payments by the time Iona started college.
  • We are going to work on the home improvements our realtor suggested we make between now and then. We've already fixed one small thing, but we still need to get a new vanity for the main bathroom and...the big up the carpet in the living room and hallway and refinish all the hardwood upstairs.

Have any of you had hardwood floors refinished? How do your small children do with the wood versus carpet? We may wait on this part until closer to the move, but we'd love to know what you think. We're collecting estimates like they are baseball cards. One guy today "forgot to write down" our appointment at 8 am this morning. I told him he lost the job. Boo. We seriously have had someone here (or supposed to be here) at 8 am for the past few mornings. And we have someone coming Monday guessed it...8 am.

So I've decided to apply at the local community college for a teaching job...English Comp. Part-time--just one class to start with. This would seriously help with our debt reduction plan. And it sounds like I just might like it!! Please pray--they are hiring a number of new English Comp teachers. The whole thing is a God thing. Long story. I was able to get my transcripts today, and tonight I'm working on my curriculum vitae and cover letter.

I'm pretty darn excited. About all of it.

For now, we're having fun driving around and dreaming big.

Monday, July 20, 2009

house hunting?

So we went out again tonight to drive around and look at neighborhoods. It's been a common activity for our family lately. I think the kids are getting bored with it. And Aidan is NOT happy about leaving the only house he has ever known.

Yes, we are more seriously considering a move to a larger house in town. With a fence.

I'm waiting for our realitor to call us back so we can have our initial discussion. We've narrowed it down to some very specific areas of town. We're hoping Pete can still bike to work, but we know we may have to break down and buy a second car if we find the right house. We're going to try our hardest, though.

We also called a local roofing company and are getting an estimate on Thursday for a new roof. Then we'll talk to our realitor about what we NEED to do before it goes on the market. We discovered we MAY NOT need to get a new fridge and oven/range...they still have more years than we thought. But we want to see what else should do to the place.

We've been looking at the house hunting Web sites at local houses for sale, driving around and picking up sheets out in front of certain houses for sale, and figuring out what we can afford. It's exciting and scary at the same time.

I'm not looking forward to packing. Or keeping the house ready to show. But we're praying God will go above and beyond our best effort and smooth out the way before us. (Or redirect us quickly.)

We would love to pay off debt first. But that could be a couple of years. And we're hoping to get pregnant sometime soon. And we need a fence.

Time to pray again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

children's music

Our library's summer reading program tonight had a FREE concert with Jim Gill. We found one of his CDs at the library a few weeks ago and we've really enjoyed dancing around the house and singing along. We were SO excited that he performed a bunch of songs from that CD at the "family room concert."

LOVE IT! If you haven't heard of him, please look for his music at your local library or music store. Did I say he's also an author? He performed "A Song Opera" for the crowd tonight, and it was hilarious. Even Iona got into it!

We're a little picky about our kid music around here. Ok, we're music snobs to some extent. Jim's music is just pure fun.

He reminds us in many ways of Dan Zanes, who is a big family favorite.

We let Aidan pick out one CD and got Jim to autograph it for Aidan and Iona. So fun!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

teeth and taekwondo

Iona seems to be getting more teeth coming in. I can't seem to tell where they are coming, but she's chewing on her hand and drooling buckets. And she's started BITING. Never went through that with Aidan. She's been wrestling on the floor with Aidan and biting him on the back. He runs around with wet spots on the back of his shirt. She has only hurt him one time, but now, of course, we are on the lookout for it more. She did bite me once today, but she learned pretty quickly that it wasn't appropriate. Thanks to a friend's suggestion, I gave her some crunchy food with dinner. She got to try a frosted mini wheat and thought it was amazing!

She also is learning to climb on the furniture. She can climb on the chair with no problem--we've had to move some of the things we kept out of her reach over there. She can ALMOST get on the couch and gets REALLY mad if we don't help.

On the plus side, she has learned to say "hug" and "hi" recently. She'll go around and say hi over and over again--so cute! And she will come up to us and hug and kiss us pretty often. She and Aidan play together so well for the most part. She hates to see Aidan in time out--she tries to either sit with him and hug him when he's crying or keep peeking at him.

Aidan has been taking taekwondo at this wonderful local gym. This Saturday he will be testing to move up to the next belt--white with a yellow stripe. He has to do the star form and also will get to break a board. It's so neat to see him progress in this. He loves it so much because he gets to be like the ninja turtles. He's really growing in his coordination. We are so excited for him! We've also had Iona in a mommy-and-me gymnastics class and she is doing very well in there. I think she's the littlest one, but she amazes us with what she can do there. We think we're going to keep her in it through the school year to give her some one-on-one time with us.

We're gearing up for school starting in a couple of weeks around here. I can't believe the summer is going so fast! We haven't spent as much time this year in the water or at the park, but it's been hard with Iona's 2-nap schedule. As of this week, I lay her down for an hour in the morning but she usually doesn't sleep. It's good for her to have some time by herself, though. But what's nice now is that if we have something going on in the morning, we can go out and do that and not interrupt the nap-she-never-takes in the morning. And when school starts, I'll have an hour of uninterrupted time with Aidan to work.

We talked with Aidan tonight a little about how school may not always be in the morning for us. On certain days, when we have something big happening that day, school may be in the afternoon or evening or not at all. He had a rough time with that info, but by the end he seemed to come around. We've learned he needs to be mentally prepared for changes like that...just like his mommy! We specifically mentioned the day we readopt Iona, which will happen in the morning. On that day we'll probably do some school in the afternoon. Or skip it. We'll see.

Speaking of homeschooling, I just came across this WONDERFUL site, and I'm excited to dig into it more.

We're starting to get the itch for a bigger house. We need a fenced yard for our kids--living on the corner next to train tracks with no fence isn't the most ideal, although after visiting Ethiopia we are so blessed and thankful for what we have. We're also looking for more bedrooms as we think of adding to our family. We'd like to pay off debt first and put on a new roof and maybe fix a couple of other things around here, but we'll see what happens. We had talked about moving away from the area at one point, but we have no leads at the moment. I guess we'll see what God wants to show us when He is good and ready for us to move.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

please pray

We're praying for adoption friends Jason and Erica Reed this weekend.
They were supposed to pick up their daughter in Ethiopia in just a couple of weeks. Please join us in prayer for them.

Other families in our adoption program are also facing huge health issues with their children in Ethiopia. Please pray also for the Lane and Tapper families.

And our friend Kim just had a horrid experience with racism. I know we will probably face this at some point, but we haven't had it this rough yet.

God, please comfort all my friends who are hurting. We know you can heal and redeem. We trust you even when we don't understand.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My strong Iona

When we first picked up Iona from Ethiopia, we knew she was a strong little one. Very malnourished (11 lbs at 6 months old), but very strong. She was crawling, pulling up, and holding her own bottle. We thought we would be bringing home a little blob of a baby, but we had to babyproof immediately. By 9 months old she was walking. This last month she did some other amazing things--my little gingerbread baby.

Iona is now 1 week shy of 14 months old. This is what she did tonight.

I think I see a crib tent or some sleep sacks in our near future.

At least she's not doing this:

Friday, July 3, 2009

library photos

We completed the library reading program this last week and went to the library to claim our prizes. Aidan was delighted that the theme this year was on wild animals. Here, he got to meet the gorilla statue in the library.

Here is Aidan with the snake at the library.

And here, Aidan told us he was the gorilla's baby. We laughed so hard!

family time

It was so nice to have Pete home today with no major agenda on our schedule!

We decided to take the kids after naps today to our local zoo. We got there just in time to see the big cats get fed. We saw the sun bears, gibbons, leopard, and tiger get their dinner. So cool. We walked around the zoo until closing time and then went over to the nearby playground and sprinkler park. The kids were in their regular clothes, but they sure didn't mind! We took off Iona's shorts and let her run around in her onesie and cloth diaper. She boldly walked up to the sprinkler area, got her feet wet, and then slowly walked toward the sprinkler itself. What a surprise!! She immediately ran toward daddy with her arms up and a look of "what the heck!" Her princess side came out--not wanting to be a part of it at all. However, she watched for a while and then got back down and did it all over again. :)

Aidan boldly ran right in the middle of the sprinklers and got soaked, laughing wildly. What a change from a few years ago! He would have never done that when he was younger. He went back and forth between the playground and the sprinklers. And for the first time, when I announced that it was time to go home and eat dinner, the little stinker ran away from me right into the water! Let's just say we had a little talk about that on the way home...

I feel guilty that this was the first time this summer that we've gone to one of the local, FREE sprinkler parks. I think we'll be back soon. Maybe even this next week.

On another random note, I just finished reading Lisa Samson's Embrace Me. It's by far the best Christian fiction I have read this year. And that is saying something. Wow. Highly recommended!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Aidan's bug friend

Remember yesterday's post about Aidan and his fly friend?

The madness continues.

We have spent the last 1/2 hour here in the house chatting about his fly friend. I found a dead fly and threw him away, and Aidan was really upset that it might be his little bug friend. I told him there was probably plenty of other bug friends in the house after the garage sale today. We talked about the chance that Raphael, his fly, might die or disappear, but if that happens he could always find another fly. The new fly could be Raphael II. Aidan thought he would name it Leonardo. I asked him how he would tell his multiple fly friends apart, and he said they would wear headbands that were different colors!! Now the boy wants to make headbands for his fly friends and hand it to them so they can put them on.

Oh brother.

I think we need a pet. And not a fly, either.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

garage sale and update

So I've been quiet because I've been getting ready for a garage sale this week. Today wasn't as busy as I expected at the sale--I think the heat is keeping people away. We'll see how things go tomorrow and Saturday. We're hoping to get enough money to get these shelves from IKEA for our homeschooling supplies. We have some other things on our wish list, but we'll see what happens. :)

There were so many funny conversations with the kids today. Aidan is just hilarious! Pete posted about it here in today's post. We've told him he can have the money from the toys of his that sell at the sale. He's excited about getting to buy new things, but he's coming out to the garage every few minutes asking if his things have sold. Then he's either sad because they haven't or sad because they have.

All this going in and out has given us a nice family of flies in the house. Aidan caught one between his fingers today and brought it into Iona's bedroom to show her, letting it fly away. He named it Raphael. Nice. It's not the first time he's caught flies in his hand.

We went to see a presentation this week given by Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria. It was here in town thanks to the library reading program. They had a toad, a skunk, a snapping turtle, an albino snake, and an owl to present to the kids. Aidan's favorites were the snake and the turtle. Of course. Exactly the ones momma DIDN'T like. The snapping turtles mouth still gives me nightmares.

We've enjoyed having Pete home this week from work. Iona got strep throat earlier this week and had a very high fever, but she's doing much better. We've been doing some fun free activities around town this week. On Sunday Pete is DJing a wedding up by my dad's, so we're going up with him and I'll take the kids to visit a friend. We may even get to go to IKEA to get the shelves...we'll see.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

used curriculum sale bargains

I just had to post the deals I got this morning at our local homeschool curriculum sale:

The Light at Tern Rock
The Hundred Dresses
A Grain of Rice
The Apple and the Arrow
In Grandma's Attic
Five True Dog Stories
Mr. Popper's Penguins
James and the Giant Peach
What Your First Grader Needs to Know
What Your Second Grader Needs to Know
Usborne Children's World Cookbook
Usborne First Book of America
Geography Songs
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
Exploring Creation with Astronomy
The Story of the World Book One: Ancient Times (text and activity book)
Saxon 2 Teacher's Manual

Total Cost: $71.50. What a steal!!

I didn't need much for this coming year, but I found a bunch of the read-alouds I'm using. I did find a bunch of my curriculum for next year and after.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dancing Children

OK, Aidan WAS wearing his seatbelt, but the stinker, we think, stuck it behind him when we weren't looking. Looks like we'll be having a little discussion about it in the morning...

The Many Faces of Iona

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gingerbread Baby

I just read this book to Iona tonight for bedtime and it perfectly describes my little munchkin.

"I am the Gingerbread Baby. I am quick. I am fast. I am clever. I am smart. No one can catch me!"

Today we moved Iona's changing pad down to the floor off of the dresser because there's been too many times this week alone where she has been about to take a flying leap off of the dresser. 13 months old! She would also try to climb off the dresser feet or head first, slowly, as if I wouldn't notice.

Then tonight, at dinner, she stood up in her high chair WHILE BUCKLED IN. Thankfully we were sitting right there! The high chair is now in storage and the booster seat has joined our table. At least it's not as far for her to fall if she tries that again. Whew!

Yesterday she turned the laundry basket upside-down and climbed up top and stood up! She's also a HANDFUL when we go outside and play.

Maybe I just don't remember it well, but Aidan was not a daredevil like Iona is. I know, I know, every kid is different, but we're not used to this yet!

Monday, June 15, 2009

15-year reunion and vomit

Last week I found out a group of my friends from high school were getting together in Naperville for dinner on Sunday night. I haven't seen them since high school and only recently reconnected with them on Facebook. One friend was going to be in town from Seattle, and the rest live in the Chicago suburbs. Pete and I decided to take the family up there to see my friends again.

We left home around 4 pm Sunday and got to the restaurant just before 6. We were supposed to meet at Lou Malnati's, but plans changed at the last minute and we went to Giordano's for Chicago-style pizza. Yum! It was SO nice to see everyone again!! This was the crowd that, through their friendship, led me to Christ way back in the day. We hung out with everyone until about 8:45, when we left to drive home. I'm so glad we reconnected in person, and I hope I can stay in touch with them better!
On the way home, Pete looked back at Iona and discovered she had thrown up on herself and the carseat. Ugh. We drove a few more miles to an exit with a gas station and had to buy paper towels and more wipes to clean up the mess the best we could on the road. Thankfully, I had brought ANOTHER change of clothes. (We had the outfit she was in, pjs, and a spare outfit. We had put the kids in pjs when we left the restaurant, and Iona threw up all over those.) We think she just ate too much and the food was a bit rich for her--at least it smelled like Chicago pizza! We finally got home at 11, put the kids in bed (after changing Iona AGAIN since her clothes were wet from the wet carseat), and I spent the next 30 minutes taking off the carseat cover to wash and cleaning out all the crevices. Ick. You know you're a mom when you can touch your child's vomit. We realized this was the first time we've had to clean up vomit for our daughter! I'm sure there will be other times...

She seemed ok today and has had no fever, so I think she just ate too much. We were thankful that the mess was pretty contained. It could have been much worse.

This is the first time I've posted photos on my blog, and they posted out of order. The first one is Aidan's ninja pose. He doesn't like to take normal photos anymore. :) The second one is me and Iona just before she got sick. The poor girl's diaper was soaking wet and leaking onto my shirt at that moment. The third picture is of us and the girls. Our trip was SO worth it to see you all again!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Desire by Phil Wickham

OK, this is my third night in a row of not sleeping. I couldn't get this song out of my head. Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

what is God up to?

So, the night I started this blog, I was up until 4 am. Couldn't sleep. That doesn't usually happen to me. Granted, my mind can run and I can take forever to fall asleep (whereas all Pete has to do is roll over), but I never am up that late. Unless I have a crying or sick child. Or when I was in college.

Last night, even with the little sleep from the night before, I was up with Pete until at least 12:30. Granted, I got a 2-hour nap that afternoon, but still. I should have been exhausted. But we were listening to the expositor series from when God first pricked our hearts about adoption, way back in 2000. You can listen to the same one here. Pastor Ken Fong was speaking about God's adoption of us into His family. We both wept as he brought out his daughter and shared with her how she was pre-loved by them.

Little did we know, almost 10 years ago, that our adoption story would be similar to the Fongs. Infertility, for many years. A long wait. We laughed as we heard him reference Tim Keller. We had no idea who he was back then. Our church uses his material all the time!

We DO know that God is pricking our hearts again for another adoption. We don't know when. We don't know where. But we know that just as He pre-loved us, we are pre-loving another child. It's a holy mystery. We prayed together for clarity last night. And we're praying we can enjoy this moment of waiting to see what the next step is.

Because He first loved us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

curriculum for 09/10

So Aidan wants to homeschool starting this summer, but I've decided not to start it formally until fall. This summer we're just casually working though workbooks and participating at both local library reading programs. We signed up Aidan for a class at the zoo that will meet 3 times over the summer. He will even get to interact with a real-live wild animal! We're part of a co-op this month with the homeschool group from our church, where Aidan is learning about art, birds, and poetry. And Aidan's in taekwondo. Sounds like a full summer to me!!

Anyone who knows me knows that when I get interested in something, I research it to death. I think I lived and breathed homeschool books and Web sites for a good couple of months. I talked with lots of friends who homeschool. And I finally came down to these options for grade K:

So here's some questions for you veteran homeschoolers:

  1. What do you use for a literature component in the early grades if you don't use Sonlight?

  2. What do you use for a Bible component in the early years?

We're all itching to get started. It was a happy day today when the mailman dropped off some boxes from amazon! Pete won a $100 gc to amazon through a contest at work, and I had gotten a $5 gc from Swagbucks, so we were able to order some last few things there for free! And I actually got most of our books here and by having an Usborne book party.

why we are homeschooling

Pete and I decided to homeschool Aidan in the fall for his kindergarten year, thanks to this post. There are a lot of reasons:
  • wanting to be a large part of Aidan's learning--both in what he is learning and in his excitement over the material
  • wanting to teach him how to think critically--I don't feel like I learned this so well in school
  • wanting to make learning a lifestyle for our family, not just something that happens in a certain chunk of time
  • wanting to see his heart be captivated by God's world
  • wanting to help him catch up with some of his delays one-on-one instead of the small bits of time he got in the public school (though we LOVE his teachers from last year!!)
  • wanting to learn with him

I'm posting this here more for me, as I want something to look back on when things get hard.

We don't know if we'll do this all the way through his schooling, but at this point we are planning on it. I'm pretty excited about teaching him to read and some of the subject matter in the later years as well.

The above-linked post was the one that God used to get my attention about homeschooling. I've looked into it in the past (I wrote a paper on it in college and also wrote a book review on this book). I even got to interview Susan Card about the book. But at the time it was just a curious thing that others did.

Pete and I have always planned to send our kids to public school. We'd love to use a private school but, at this point, there's no way we can afford it. So when I read Ann's post, I was shocked at my reaction. I was shaking and couldn't stop reading it over and over and thinking about it. I finally sent the post to Pete and asked him to pray that weekend. We went on a date night (already planned) a few days later, and that's when we started talking about it. I was astounded that Pete was VERY supportive!! We did have some concerns, which we spent the next few weeks researching. We came to the conclusion that homeschooling was the best option for our family at this time.

The funny thing? I asked Aidan about what he thought about it after we made the decision, and he wanted to start right away!!

How God Provided for Our Adoption Expenses

In March 2007 we applied with our adoption agency, AWAA, to adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia. We had no idea how we were going to pay for it at all, but each time a payment was due we had the money. Here are some of the ways God provided:

  • Both Pete and I received extra side jobs (mostly freelance)--this helped especially with the smaller amounts due

  • We received a matching grant from Life International, now Lifesong For Orphans, and in total raised over $9000 thanks to the gifts of friends and family.

  • We read this book and got inspired to go down to one car. We sold both cars and bought a van.

  • We received a grant from the Lydia Fund.

  • We made use of the Adoption Tax Credit, which we received after the adoption was complete.

  • We received a no-interest loan from the ABBA Fund.

  • We took out bank loans and used our credit card to help with expenses until we received the tax credit.

  • We held 2 garage sales with item donations from people in our church and raised over $1000.

We are so incredibly blessed to see how God provided for this adoption. How will he provide for the next one?


I suppose you're wondering about why I chose this title. Maybe you're not. I feel compelled to share anyway.

One of my absolute favorite bands is Over the Rhine. I got engaged to their music, I gave birth to their music, and I've danced many nights with my love to their music. Their songs make me cry, contemplate life and love, dance, and worship the King. I think we own every album. We try to see them live any chance we get. Simply amazing.

Nursery rhymes by firelight is a line from one of their songs, My Love is a Fever. One of my favorite OtR songs, I might add.

It also hints at children's literature, poetry, parenting, homeschooling, contemplation. All passions of mine. Thanks, dear one, for the idea. You know me so well.

What do I title this?

I've resisted this whole blog thing for years, but my husband is making me. No, not really, but he's strongly encouraging this new venture.

I don't know what to write. Ever felt that way?

I have a lot swimming in my head right now. I can't sleep. It's 1:15 am. The kids are asleep. I should be too.

I can't sleep when my mind is racing.

Thoughts of the last hour and a half:
  • when to adopt again and from where
  • the desire to get pregnant again and how that all fits in
  • the need for a house with a fenced yard and more bedrooms than our little ranch if we have more kids
  • the things we need to do to our current house before we move
  • the desire to exercise and lose weight but the seeming lack of time to do this
  • how much time I waste every day
  • the desire to journal more (hoping to practice some of these things here in this blog)

So here's hoping and praying I can keep up this new habit. I'm excited to write again. I pray it's worth reading.

I'm always telling Aidan to ask "help please" when he wants help instead of demanding it. God, help please!! I need your wisdom and peace!