Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We received a phone call on Friday, Dec 10 with a possible referral!

On Monday of that week we submitted our application for the waiting child program, and on Friday around lunchtime we had a phone interview to clarify our specific requests and answer any questions we had.

ONE HOUR LATER, we got the CALL!

He was on the shared referral system and not yet reserved for our family, and we were able to take the weekend to talk with doctors and pray and consider him for our family. On Monday the 13th we indicated to our agency that we wanted to pursue him, and by Thursday the 16th our electronic acceptance was submitted to China. On Thursday morning we also received an update with answers to questions we asked about him.

We are delighted to welcome Brendan into our family! (We are keeping his Chinese name as his middle name and can't post details until our dossier is officially accepted in China.) He is 4.5 and will turn 5 in June. His special need is called bilateral strabismus, which basically means he probably only needs glasses.

Today we received a BUNCH of new photos of Brendan, as the original ones we received were over a year old. SO CUTE! Can't wait to show you!

Next steps:
  • We just recently submitted our I-800A to USCIS and hope to receive the all-important paper from them by February.
  • We are working on certifying and authenticating the rest of our dossier so it's ready and waiting.
  • Once the USCIS paperwork is received and we notarize, certify, and authenticate it, our dossier will be ready to go to China...hopefully still in February.
  • Possible travel dates? August or September we think, though with adoption, all things are subject to change without prior notice.

Monday, November 29, 2010

T-shirt sale thru Dec 14

Hi friends!

From now to Dec 14, you can order our Simply Love China t-shirt for the low price of $20, including shipping! Do you have any Christmas gifts to purchase? Please consider one of our t-shirts, and your Christmas shopping will also help with our adoption expenses!


We are running very low on Women's M, but you can swap it with the men's version if you want. The men's shirts really could be worn unisex. Thanks for shopping!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paper pregnancy

Yes, we're still adopting. Sorry I haven't posted in a while! Once school started, I just have felt like my available time has disappeared! Add on that adoption training and paperwork...and two IV staff living with us this year...

We are STILL waiting for our homestudy to be completed. We started this in June! We thought it might be done in the next week or two, but we found out this week that some fingerprinting results we are waiting on will take an extra 4-6 weeks longer than we expected. So here's the new projected timeline:
  • Finish homestudy by end of November (4-6 week wait + meeting with SW + review copy
  • Homestudy signed off on at state level--done by Christmas (3 week wait at the moment)
  • (Meanwhile, finish gathering, notarizing, and certifying dossier documents.)
  • Homestudy submitted to USCIS by the beginning of January
  • When we submit to USCIS, we plan to fill out the waiting child application for our agency, and because of the age and gender we are requesting, we are expecting an immediate referral.
  • Also after USCIS is submitted, we will start filling out adoption grant applications.
  • Dossier to China by beginning of March
  • Travel possibly in June or July

All adoptions come with hiccups, delays, etc. For the most part, this latest hiccup has not been earth shattering (writing out the timeline was hard though!). Since we have been through this before, we know God is lining things up for us to get the little boy He has planned for us. It's hard to get too upset when we know how He has worked in the past. We're just trying to take one day at a time and stay close to the Word and to each other, watching and waiting.

We still have a bunch of Simply Love shirts left. You can see them here. I think the only size we have run out of is the women's medium, but the men's version is a nice alternative. I won't be ordering more until we can sell most of what we have in stock.

Please continue to pray for us: for our trust in the Lord to remain high, for our son to be cared for while he waits, and for few hiccups in the process.

First quarter update

Hi friends! It's been a while since I've posted...this is one of a few I have planned.

We are just finishing week 8 of school. We are enjoying the time spent together and much of the content. It's been hard to keep Iona happy, as I have not had the time to spend coming up with ideas for her from Before Five in a Row. I'm hoping to sit down with the material soon. So we've played around with spending schoolwork time at different times of the day.

Here's a rundown of how his subjects are going:

Bible--Aidan really likes his Old Testament Overview, although we are on course to finish this after only half a year instead of a full year. He loves drawing the Bible stories, so much that he prefers doing at least two pages a day instead of the one page planned in the schedule. We decided not to go ahead and get the New Testament version for spring, but just to work through another devotional once we finish. Aidan is also going to AWANA and memorizing verses there.

Writing--Writing with Ease is SUPER easy and we both really like it. The excerpts from literature have drawn us both to want to read the longer works, and we are keeping a list. :)

Spelling--Aidan likes Spelling Workout A a lot, and he can do large parts of the lessons on his own. While this is nice, I'm not yet sure how much he retains. This may be an area where we switch curriculum next year.

Reading--The Ordinary Parent's Guide is going much better this year than last. And Aidan is doing awesome at the readers we are working through. It's been fun to watch him pick up a random book and just start reading.

Grammar--First Language Lessons is also super easy. We are enjoying the topics in the book and Aidan is retaining it well.

Handwriting--Aidan is almost done with HWT already! Since he writes in most other subjects, we will wait on cursive until second grade.

Math--Saxon Math 2 is going much better than math last year. We are a little behind my original schedule, but we are making great headway. This year we are doing one minute math drills, and that is the hardest part for my little budding perfectionist.

History--SOTW1 is tons of fun. We love doing the projects together, although I don't think I'll be mummifying another chicken anytime soon. I've heard mummifying an apple is much easier... Aidan really looks forward to this subject.

Science--We decided to switch last minute to Astronomy, and it is going well. We've done some fun experiments, and Pete has done a bunch with Aidan as well.

Literature--This is one of my favorite subjects, of course, and Aidan loves to color or draw while I read aloud. Pete and I have pulled a few books from the lineup because of Aidan's tender heart, and we will revisit those at a later time. In general, the list we are working through has been fun.

Art and Music--Harmony Fine Arts is amazing. Aidan has made some neat art pieces when trying to copy some of the greats. The kids both love to dance around the kitchen to the classical music each week.

PE--We have continued with swim lessons this semester for both kids since Aidan was not ready by the end of the summer to stop without losing a ton of ground by next summer. He's picking up so well that we think he'll go back to taekwondo in the spring (and Iona to gymnastics).

We've been on some fun field trips as a family to a pumpkin farm and to see a Chinese orchestra.

We also decided to join a homeschool co-op, so every other Monday we spend the morning there. I work with Iona in the 2's and 3's class, and Aidan takes classes in Ancient Rome, PE, and Crafts. It's a nice break for us and it gives me some special time with Iona.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the year is going. I will be looking for ways to take us away from the kitchen table so much, as I feel we are spending too much time there, but otherwise things are lots of fun.

Monday, August 9, 2010

winner announced!

The winner of our giveaway in the t-shirt blitz is Melissa G! Thanks again to everyone who purchased a t-shirt or two to support our adoption.

We still have lots of t-shirts available. If you didn't get a chance to order, the store is still open. :)

Stay tuned for info about upcoming fundraisers. Iona and I are both sick right now, so I'll get to this as soon as I can.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

China Shirt Blitz and Giveaway!!

Hi friends!

Between now and August 7, we are having an adoption t-shirt blitz to raise money for our next adoption from China. The next payment we are trying to raise is $1800.

You can see the shirts here.

Shirts are $27 each and will be mailed 7-10 days after your order. I have an inventory on-hand of Men's and Women's sizes. As my inventory runs out, I will order in batches of 25 to save money. Feel free to write me a check or pay via Paypal. (If I don't have your size, please be patient as I collect orders for the next batch. I am willing to order youth sizes if there is enough interest.)

With each shirt you order, I will enter you in a giveaway for this handmade bear, Frazzle!

My Aunt Eva has made bears and dolls for as long as I can remember, and I have wonderful memories of the bear and doll clothes I received from her as a child.

Aunt Eva has offered her "bad hair day" bear, Frazzle, to us for this giveaway. Please visit her site to see the other dolls animals she has made! (Adoption peeps: she has just made a China doll for me to show my friends, and she's working on an Africa doll. Watch her site for these new ones!)

If you have already placed an order, please let me know if you would like to be entered for the giveaway!

Friday, July 9, 2010

First Grade Curriculum

I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but I'm finally getting a chance to sit down and do it.

For this next school year, I purchased Homeschool Tracker Plus to help me plan and organize school. It took a bit of time to get it started, but so far I really like it! I was able to download some lesson plans and tweak them, and creating my own lesson plans was pretty simple. I really like their online forums as well...I can even get a daily email of the topics discussed. This program should be useful for all the kids throughout their schooling.

I will say that we are following a classical model of schooling and we use The Well-Trained Mind for the basic structure of classes and curriculum, with some changes.

We will be using the following curriculum:
  • Bible--Grapevine's Level 2 Old Testament Overview
  • Language Arts: Writing--Writing with Ease Level 1. Thanks to the advice of a friend, I just bought the workbook and not the text. I also went to Peace Hill Press's site and downloaded the workbook pages so that I could print them off instead of copy them. If you do this, you still want to buy the workbook because it tells you what to do each day in addition to including the worksheets.
  • Language Arts: Spelling--Spelling Workout A and B
  • Language Arts: Reading--lessons 141-end of Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. We went through lessons 1-140 last year. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have necessarily stopped at lesson 140, but just stopped whereever we landed at the end of the school year (after 140 preferably). Susan Wise Bauer recommends getting at least to that lesson by the beginning of first grade. Finishing this won't take us the whole school year. We also will be supplementing with Sonlight's reader's list for first grade...we're using the Reader's 2 schedule. We already started with The Beginner's Bible a little this summer because Aidan has caught the reading bug.
  • Langauge Arts: Grammar--First Language Lessons 1
  • Language Arts: Handwriting--Handwriting Without Tears My Printing Book. We are not using the teacher's guide this year. I really think we COULD use a regular handwriting program this year since Aidan is doing so much better with his writing, but we opted to stay with the familiar and let him go through just the workbook at his own pace. He doesn't seem to need the extra activities for fine motor that the teacher's guide gives.
  • Math--Saxon Math 2. We had a difficult time by the end of Saxon Math 1. Math often brings tears in this house. We decided to stay with Saxon one more year at least and try to change things up a bit as far as what manipulatives to use. Aidan is excited to start math again, which is encouraging!
  • History--Story of the World 1: Ancient Times. I am super excited about this. We're actually starting history a couple of weeks early because there are so many chapters and because I want to beat the rush to the library for some of the supplementary books for each chapter. I also bought the workheet pack for level 1 on their site so I can just print out the worksheets I needed instead of copying them. I have an older edition of the workbook, and the pdfs are the newer edition and much nicer.
  • Science--Apologia's Zoology 1: Flying Animals of the 5th Day. I am excited that Apologia has now made Notebooking Journals for each of their elementary science books! We are looking forwarding to studying bugs and birds and such.
  • Literature--Sonlight's Read-Aloud books for first grade. I have collected all of these through Paperback Swap over the last year. I'm already starting to collect the 2nd grade books. We loved the books from last year. We are supplementing with books listed for first grade in WTM; these go with the history curriculum. We are also pulling a few from Ambleside Online's literature books.
  • Art and Music--Harmony Fine Arts First Grade. We're using the option 2 group in Art.
  • Health/Character--Generations of Virtue has a curriculum for Preschool-Grade 4, and we will gradually use that this year. I don't have any of the books, so I added them to my PBS wish list and will also check the library.

For PE, Aidan will continue with taekwondo. Over the summer both kids have been in swim lessons, and we will decide soon whether to keep them in it or not.

We also have the chance to join a local co-op, which meets once every 2 weeks for the morning. We just sent in our registration for it, so we're hoping to get our first choice of classes.

I also gathered together the worksheets for each subject that uses them for the whole year. I divided them into six-week groupings and then paperclipped each week's workheets. I store them in file folders for each set of six weeks. (So I have bible, history, math, and writing clipped together for each week.) I know we will get off of that pre-planned schedule, but I have all the stuff printed off and ready to go. I got the idea for this here, though we will not be saving the worksheets after the fact in this way like she mentions. Instead, we'll file them in 3-ring notebooks per WTM.

We're making a timeline this year!! I'm using Homeschool in the Woods Timeline CD and we'll make a timeline that includes history and bible combined. I made a test timeline myself this past week and I'm really glad I did!! I did it in 2 evenings for the whole year, and now I'll be going through and marking which figures go with which chapters. I did a notebook timeline, in case you want to try to do this too. I think when we don't have little ones, I will graduate to a wall timeline, but I'm afraid Iona might try to pull stuff off the wall right now.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Simply Love China shirts are here!

Our t-shirts have arrived!! Thank you to Kari for the design. :)

For men, we have M, L, and XL in stock. The shirt is a medium blue. The front says "Simply Love." in white letters. The back has an outline of China in blue.

For women, we have S, M, L, and XL in stock. The cut is slightly slimmer than the men's shirts. The shirt is black. The front says "Simply Love" in white letters. The back has an outline of China in pink.

If you would like a size other than the ones we have in stock, let me know. I will keep a list of who wants what size, and as soon as I have enough requests to place an order, I will. Please know that it may take a few weeks for you to receive your shirt because of this.

The cost for the shirts is $27 each.


Thanks so much for supporting us in this next adoption!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Changes come

It's been an emotional week here at our house.

We got a call from our agency on Tuesday and found out that Thailand is making major changes to their adoption program. They do not seem to be adopting out healthy children. Wait times are unpredictable.

We were encouraged to look into the China Waiting Child program. We did. Our hearts broke over the supposed "special needs" on that list of children. And we discovered the wait time for these kids is not as long as the healthy infant China program.

So we prayed. Cried. Prayed. Talked. Dreamed.

God seems to be directing us to adopt from this waiting child list. We can only adopt one at a time, but because we are interested in an older boy, it looks like we could get a referral very quickly.

When we originally chose our agency, we did so because they worked in Thailand. Now that we're adopting from China, we are planning to switch back to the agency who brought us to our daughter in Ethiopia. We lose our original application fee from the other agency, but we gain a familiar group of people. It feels like we're coming home.

We heard news today that our homestudy is going to be 3-5 months before it is ready to send in to USCIS. Our paperwork is on our social worker's desk, but 5 families are ahead of us. Once she finishes with it and does our training, it will take 6-12 weeks to get the approval of the one person in our state who needs to sign off on it.

It's hard to wait, but we are trusting the process, trusting that God will bring us directly to our son. We are encouraged and excited!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

God stories for Thailand...Counting Fish

So Friday afternoon I was SO discouraged when we received our agency packet. It was a whole bunch of paperwork to fill out and training to do and bills to pay, and it wasn't even our dossier stuff yet! I called our agency and asked some questions, but I'll have to speak with the person in charge this week to answer some of my specific questions. I was just simply overwhelmed. I totalled up what we owe at the moment and it was more than I thought, and I could not begin to figure out where that money was coming from.

This is how God answered when I cried out to Him:
  • Our church's missions weekend was this past weekend. Friday night was a jewelry party for Women at Risk International, a group that ministers to and helps rescue women and children involved in the slave trade around the world. I knew they worked in Thailand, which is why I really wanted to go. I had balanced our checkbook that afternoon and had no idea how we would even get through the month, but I really wanted to purchase something small to support them. I don't even wear much jewelry! I got there just as the consultants were finishing their sharing and the group prayed together. I got to talk with a consultant about their connections to Thailand, and then I just walked around, browsed, and chatted with my friends. I noticed one of the tables had some books, so I decided to buy two of those: Sold and Princess. While I waited for the line to go down, I just walked around and talked to other women from church. Later, while I was still waiting, a friend came up to me and said, "I think God told me He wants me to buy you something here. What would you like?" I was astounded! We talked about it for a minute and I showed her the books. She took them from me and walked away, saying, "I'm buying these for you." !!! (If you know me at all, you know how much I love books, too!!)
  • A few people came up to me and said they have things for us to sell at the garage sale. OK, more than a few, all since Friday.
  • Sunday morning, during worship, we sang two songs from Urbana 2000, which was the convention where we both felt called to cross-cultural adoption. We cried as we sang "Santo Eres Santo" and "Jesus Shall Reign." The guest speaker gave a wonderful sermon on missions as well.
  • Today, I sat down with that packet from our agency and actually filled the entire thing out! It really didn't take that long. I flagged a few things for Pete to sign and us to find out. We still need to do the training, but it felt great to get that done.
  • I got a hold of the person who will be printing our t-shirts and started the process on that. Hopefully in the next week or two we will be posting on both our blogs how you can order those shirts!
  • We got a phone call tonight from someone who has a lot to donate to our garage sale, including furniture! (I specifically told someone on the phone not an hour before that we did NOT have any furniture yet!)
  • Tonight I sat down to balance the checkbook with the statements we just received. I found a bank error in our favor that I need to call about tomorrow for about $71. (They sent a charge through 3 times instead of just once.) Then, I realized another error on our own end to the tune of almost $500!!

I was VERY encouraged by this post this afternoon, so we've decided to keep track of these instances for our adoption.

God, you are SO good!

It's the little things, you know?!

Friday, June 11, 2010


We are adopting again! This time we are going to Thailand for 1-2 children age 6 and under.

Adoption paperwork is heavily underway. We are about to turn in a stack to our homestudy agency on Monday. It's all completed and notarized and copied, but we just need one more piece in there. We sent in our application to our placing agency, and today we received the next packet from them along with the training we need to complete.

Along with the paperwork comes the bills!! Right now we owe $1000 + $2200 + $670 + $180 + $120. That's $4170!

Since we just paid off our credit card a couple of months ago, we are trying not to use it at all unless we have to for the adoption. So we are praying the money in!

We are having an adoption garage sale on July 1-3 to raise this money. Please let me know if you have anything to donate for the garage sale!!

We will also be selling t-shirts this time, and we're hoping to have a t-shirt table at the sale. I'll be posting a t-shirt blitz on the blog soon!

Please pray for us when you think of it. We're at the next few steps of a long journey, and we'll need you to hold us up!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Iona is 2!

Iona turned 2 in May! You can see some pics here and here. It was hard to get very good photos because she is always on the move!! She got a tutu that day and some doll accessories, and as soon as she got the tutu on she was off, pushing her baby in her stroller...umm...I mean running through the house behind the stroller!

She is so much fun these days. She says the funniest things! She speaks very well for her age, and she really loves to play with her brother and wrestle him. She can count to 10 and sometimes higher. She loves to help me with chores as well, which can be good and bad! Iona just started swim lessons, and it's all I can do to hold her back from jumping in. She is learning how to sit with her legs crossed on the side of the pool!! It's a hard thing for her! Once she gets in the water, she tries to copy her brother. She is even practicing now in the bathtub. :)

Happy birthday, my sweet baby!! You are getting SO big! You've grown so tall recently and are such a joy to be around! It's fun to watch you take in the world around you, whether you are scared or excited or in awe. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

PS--I'm planning school for Aidan in the fall, and this week I've been thinking about how to contain Iona while Aidan and I focus on schoolwork. I admit, at times I am terrified of what will happen! I know some people recommend having a box of toys specifically for school time, but I really don't know if that will work for her. I'd love to hear from some of my homeschooling friends about how they handle schooltime with a 2-year-old!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

so things have gotten a bit busy...

We're moved. We've been here just over a month. We love our new house!! The kids constantly want to go outside and play on the new swingset. They've made friends with the neighbors. We have to watch Iona closely because she likes to take herself right outside when the door is open!

95% of the boxes are unpacked. We're still finding the right place for everything. We've started a garage sale pile. :)

We have 3 weeks left of school. We'll finish the main subjects this week and then take the next 2 weeks to finish all the extras. I just went curriculum shopping for next year...so excited about what's coming in the mail over the next few weeks!! This may sound strange, but I absolutely love the challenge of planning out the school year. I'm going to try out a new program, so we'll see how it goes.

I am back at work 3 nights/week, but I'm hoping that will end soon. (It's a temp job, but reoccurs every few months.) I'd like to find some more editing clients this summer so I can make a bit more money for the time spent.

I finished judging a book award. I've done this one for a few years now and really enjoy it. This year it was a bit stressful with the move as well, but I managed to read 13 books in less than 3 months and still move to a new house. Ah!

The half marathon is next weekend. I hurt my knee last weekend while trying to run 8 miles. Umm...I should say I was trying to catch up on the training schedule...the longest I had gone before was 4.5. The knee seemed to heal after a few days of rest, ice, stretching, a short bike ride, and an hour-long Wii workout. I went out today for 2.5 miles and limped home. I am planning to call the doc in the morning and make sure I'm still good to go for 13.1 miles. Pete, however, has rocked the training schedule. And my sister is amazing as well. I hope I can keep up with them!!

These past few weeks I've been meditating on some "running" passages in the Bible and trying not to let my heart give up on this half marathon. Letting God change my heart and tune into His. Ouch. He's opening up the raw areas and working deep. Funny...I will be starting The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with Aidan this week, my favorite Narnia book, and I seem to remember this theme in the book. Hmmmmmm.

Still praying through the adoption details. Still waiting for tax returns so we can get started. We're hoping to at least start our home study soon.

Next week we're taking the family to St. Louis for a few days. We're going to the zoo and some museums. It's a celebration for being almost done with Kindergarten, and we'll be down there anyway...we're going with our best friends too!

Iona's birthday is coming up soon...I'll be sure to post pictures of her party...

Monday, March 15, 2010


We are moving in 10 days!! Pete and Aidan have both been sick and are almost over their colds. I'm smack in the middle of mine. Thankfully, Iona has been doing OK. She seemed a little congested today, but nothing too bad.

We are taking a 3-week break from homeschooling. Everyone is excited for this break, but packing and unpacking is keeping us busy. It's so nice that we can flex our school schedule with life! Once we return to schooling, we have about 6 weeks left until we're done for the school year. I have lots of fun, school-related things planned for the summer, and I'm REALLY looking forward to planning out Aidan's 1st grade year. I'm itching to get started now, but I need to get my new house unpacked first. :) I read an amazing article on 1 Cor 13 for homeschool moms today...

I have not been able to run now for almost a week. I am feeling woefully underprepared for this half marathon coming up...

Iona has been VERY curious lately, and the boxes everywhere add to it. A common phrase out of her mouth lately is "What's that?" Over and over. She discovered where I keep her "pretties"--her hair beads and other hair supplies and has been found, multiple times, with bags of beads open and "stirring" the beads with her beading tool. I finally had to put it up and out of reach. And tonight she was caught curiously examining food in the garbage...the stray pieces of carrot and cabbage that I shredded, and the eggs that had been cracked... Ick. She's also been wanting me to hold her and rock her like a baby...she pretends to "sleep" in my lap or next to me on the couch, covered with a blanket and thumb in mouth. So cute!

Aidan started AWANA a couple of weeks ago and is having a blast! He just got his vest and new book and is working hard on learning his verses. I can't wait until Iona can join him when she turns 3. He seems to be taking the move fine. He's excited about the new house and his new room and new swingset. He's expressed some sadness about leaving our house, especially his stick and rock collections. :)

T minus 10 days and counting...

considering homeschooling?

When I get interested in something, I read everything I can get my hands on to learn about it. When we decided to homeschool about a year ago, I spent spring and summer reading as much as I could--books, Web sites, magazines, etc. I wanted to pass along some of my favorite homeschool resources.

Books (get the most recent edition):

Helpful Sites and Blogs:

Favorite Curriculum Suppliers:

I also order directly from the company if needed.

My favorite tip is to place holds from home on library books you want. You can do this for books the library owns or on ILL books. When they are ready, the library will call! This has saved me SO much time!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

How He Loves

I have been running a bit lately, getting ready for this 1/2 marathon. I love to listen to worship music when I run--don't care so much about the tempo, but I just want some lyrics to think on as I pound the pavement.

Today I've been pondering some things with God and wrestling with Him over some idols, and this song came to mind. I LOVE running to David Crowder. LOVE LOVE LOVE his lyrics. Funny, I saw him live in Seattle and didn't think much of him at the time, but he's really grown on me. Some of his lyrics are really deep!


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Handwriting has been really hard for Aidan. He got glasses when he was 4, and it was amazing to see how well he could draw shapes after that!

This year for homeschool we decided to use Handwriting Without Tears for his handwriting curriculum. Can you believe we finished the kindergarten curriculum last week? Aidan has consistently wanted to move faster through the workbook than the "schedule," so I've let him. He loves to do the workbook page and then color the pictures.

Now that we're done, I have him writing his uppercase and lowercase alphabet on separate days as practice. For the other 2-3 days, we're working through book 1 of Draw Write Now. LOVE IT!! We're using HWT's Draw and Write Notebook to do the lessons.

I bought book 1 at the beginning of the school year because I thought it would be a fun activity book for Aidan since he LOVES art. I wasn't sure if writing the 4 short sentences for each lesson would be too much for him, but he is doing so awesome with the drawing and the writing. Today I let him color his drawings with colored pencils, and you would have thought I had given him the moon!

Yeah, my boy LOVES art. Any kind. We bought him a STACK of $.10 notebooks at the beginning of the school year and it was the best purchase! He has filled about 10 of them with his drawings...they started out as just ninja turtle after ninja turtle, and now he draws creatures he makes up, draws his toys while they model for him, and lots of picures of the family.

I think I'm going to buy the complete set of Draw Write Now books this summer and then sell this copy of book 1. We can work through them slowly over the summer and then when we finish our first grade HWT cirriculum early...

It's so amazing to see his progress in handwriting after all the specialists we've seen for his motor skills. God is so good, and Aidan is so determined! He is such a huge blessing.

Meanwhile, Iona has taken to drawing because she sees her beloved big brother doing it. She scribbles all over a paper and then says, "Ta-Da! Mommy, see!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

next adoption?

We've been getting really excited about starting another adoption this summer. Right now the short list includes Russia, Ethiopia, Thailand, and Swaziland. Not in that order.

Please pray for us as we pray through this huge decision! We hope to announce the news sometime this summer, after we move and settle in.

I just filled out a ton of paperwork to change our address for our foster care license. It doesn't end!!


We had an offer on our house in the afternoon after our open house. After going back and forth many times, we accepted a deal on Sunday morning!!

So we had our houses labeled 1, 2, and 3. While we were waiting for our house to sell, we had finally decided #1 was just too much money and out of our reach. Sunday afternoon we went to see #2 again. We were about to put an offer on it, but we were not at peace. It was a lot smaller than we remembered from the first showing. We went home and spent some time with our realtors, and we decided to go and see #3 again...of course we had to give the homeowners time to get out!! Finally, late afternoon, we went to see it again. WE LOVED IT!! We got to see it with the sun shining in the windows. We realized that once we took #1 out of the picture, this house looked a lot more appealing. We are very overwhelmed by God's grace, giving us the PERFECT house in so many different ways. Pictures are on Facebook.

We're still waiting to hear our close date. Our buyer wants in on March 15, but our seller would prefer to get out by March 30. Thankfully our realtors are working that all out. We have the basement almost completely packed.

The garage door turned out to be a relatively small fix, and our repairman was able to fix another problem with it at the same time. We're so thankful!!

We're taking a small break this week to go visit some adoption friends who are traveling nearby from MA. We're excited to see the Laughners again and anyone else who can come as well!

We had fun celebrating Valentine's Day this weekend with the kids. Aidan and Pete made sugar cookies with icing and got to use a bunch of fun cookie cutters. We gave the kids tiny boxes of chocolates. And tonight we had take and bake pizza for dinner. :)

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

sponsor a child

My friend Karen is organizing sponsors for a care center in Ethiopia. She only needs 5 more children sponsored!

We are sponsoring a 4-year-old boy named Zerubabel. He's the sweetest thing! He is in the back row of the picture on Karen's blog.

Be sure to read previous posts on her blog for more information on Kind Hearts, the care center.

Could God want to use you to care for orphans?

house hunting

Our house has officially been on the market for 8 days. We've had 9 showings, and we hear 5 people are VERY interested. We have an open house planned for Saturday morning.

We totally feel like we're back waiting for a referral!! Every time the phone rings my heart leaps, hoping it's our realtor saying she has 1 or more offers for us. She and I even chatted multiple times today. But we still wait.

Meanwhile, we have 3 houses we are very interested in. We could see ourselves happy in any of the three. And 2 others, just in case. We've listed all the pros and cons for each and have gone round and round about an order for them. But we can't move forward until we get an offer, and we are trying to wait until we make an offer to do our taxes (because of the $6500 tax credit we can get).

Did I mention 9 showings in 8 days? Our vacuum died at the beginning of the week. We do have a backup, but it's just a canister vacuum, the kind with the long hose. We need a new one. We've priced the one we want out, but we are trying to wait to see what kind of floors we'll have in the new place. Oh, and the area rugs we bought? They have black borders. That show all the dirt. No matter how long it's been since you've vacuumed.

So tonight, as we are preparing to leave the house for another showing, I hit the button on the garage door and then promptly backed into it. CRUNCH. After we finally left the house, we called our realtor so she could let the realtor coming tonight know we planned to fix it in case his client asked. We got home from our errands and I called our insurance agent and a local garage repair person, who just "happened" to be coming near our house tomorrow anyway. It makes me sick to think we might have to replace the whole door before we move, but we'll see.

We're trying to move a little faster in homeschooling so we can prepare to take 2-3 weeks off for the move. Aidan's having no problem with the change in pace...he's actually doing better in math and seems to enjoy learning to read a bit more. I've been putting off the science experiments having to do with bread rising because of the mess while we are trying to sell, but since we need to stick around tomorrow for the garage repairman, we just might attempt it. And he can zip his coat by himself now!! All that occupational therapy is paying off!!

I finally bought winter running gear tonight so I can start training for the half marathon. I think this means I actually need to get outside and run now. I plan to start next week. Pete is already running 4 miles. Makes me sick.

We had a little issue a few weeks ago of Iona taking off her clothes in bed and throwing everything, diaper and contents included, out of the crib. Thanks to suggestions made, the onesies are working! Iona is looking more and more like a little girl and is really trying to converse with us. Aidan and Iona seem to be getting along even better. He just loves to make her laugh and comfort her and hug her. She has been trying to delay bedtime by continuing to ask for another hug from Aidan. Tonight she asked, "Ina give Aida a hug?" So cute!!

I'll let you know what happens with the house!!