Wednesday, March 30, 2011

His Birthday

Today was a big day for Jamie. I gave him my word that I wouldn't blog his age...but you can read the comments because everyone seems to know anyway!

Our celebrating started Tuesday night at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Why Tuesday? Because kids eat for free!

5 kids + free meals = we're there!

Yesterday was when we put up the birthday decorations and gave him his presents. Today was going to be a day of running here and there, and we wanted to sit back and enjoy watching him open his presents...'cause it was going to take a while.

First...his new tv. He chose this a while ago and we've already been using it.

But, we "wrapped it up" anyway just for fun.

Jamie and his crew!

When he got home this afternoon, we greeted him with a "Happy Birthday" song. Pretty funny since most of our kids can't sing all the right words yet, but they sure did try...loudly, too!

The first gift was from the kids. They got him a very funny card, and chipped in to pay for his concert ticket (where they're headed tonight). Kind of funny that the kids REALLY needed their allowance so they could "buy" Dad's ticket.

Then it was a homemade book entitled, "40 Things We Love About You, Dad." Did I just give away his age? Jamie read it several times last night, commenting on how it was the "little things" that they drew and wrote about, like wrestling in the livingroom, playing sports in the backyard, and going for icecream cones. They all had to show Dad which pages they drew!

Happy birthday, Honey...Dad...Daddy...Baba!

Next, a pair of kids' shoes. Really? No!

I sent out an email a while ago for friends and family to send Jamie a birthday card for this big day. But they had to send it to our friend's house so it would be a surprise. We put them all in the box and wrapped it in a shoe box. Jacob thought it was pretty funny that we "fooled" Dad into thinking he got a pair of shoes!

So, we sat for quite a while listening to Jamie read through his cards. He was really touched by all the cards and notes. He rec'd cards from around the world...Germany, Norway, Japan...he had a great time.

Of course, we had to have candle for each decade.

Jacob took this picture for me.

Guess who enjoyed the birthday cake the most?

I'll share a cool story later about the cards.

Back HERE, I told you about Laura’s story being published in the book, Praying Through Your Adoption, by Michele Cervone Scott.

It has since been released in hardcopy, as well as e-book through and kindle through I’ve had a chance to read the book over the past couple of weeks, and for me, it is the first book of its kind. There are many books that address the various aspects of adoption, but none that I’ve read that takes one step-by-step through the process…not logistically…but spiritually. It’s kind of like a how-to book for families seeking God’s will in their adoption.

I was given permission to share this interview with you.


For Michele Cervone Scott

Where are you from? I'm originally from Philadelphia. Now I live outside of Philadelphia with my husband and son.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I started writing poems and stories for fun, and I had a poem published in Highlights for Children as I child. As I got older, I enjoyed researching and writing papers in high school and college. But I never considered becoming a professional writer until I wrote Praying Through Your Adoption.

What inspired you to write Praying Through Your Adoption? Prayer has always been important to me. I turned to God in prayer during our infertility, and I had planned to pray through a pregnancy if that had been God's plan. While adopting our son from Russia, we experienced painful delays and obstacles, such as increased fees and additional paperwork. At a particularly low point in the adoption process, I participated in an online prayer vigil that directed me to pray for very specific aspects of adoption – from government officials to waiting children. I realized the power of prayer specifically in adoption and saw the need to help other families pray through their adoptions as well.

How did you come up with the title? Becoming an adoptive family is a process. First, you make decisions about the type of adoption and the age of child you wish to pursue. Then you work to become approved, educated, and prepared for welcoming and parenting this new child. Praying Through Your Adoption shows families how to rely on God and their faith through the entire journey of creating and nurturing their forever family.

What other life experiences shaped you to write this book? Wow, many life experiences influenced this book. Our infertility is probably the biggest since the longing and waiting for our son is a large portion of our story. But even getting laid-off right before our adoption, experiencing post-adoption depression, and dealing with special needs made me want to encourage others dealing with similar difficulties.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Retelling my experience with post-adoption depression was hard. After our difficult time becoming parents, I never imagined I'd feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed as a new mom. As much as I wanted to skip over that chapter in my life and in the book, I felt it was important to paint a realistic picture for prospective adoptive families. Thankfully, other adoptive families were willing to share their real-life joys and challenges in the book as well.

What's one of the most important things people need to know about adoption? One of my favorite quotes in the book is from the late Derek Loux, an adoptive father of and an advocate for orphans. He said, “My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can't even really appreciate or comprehend it.” Derek's words capture so much. There is loss, and, yes, there are sacrifices – financial and otherwise – in adoption. But the rewards for answering God's call to care for orphans are priceless.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I'm sure I learned a lot, but I was especially overwhelmed by the amount of transparency and support I received from the adoption community. The families featured in the book, in particular, poured out their hearts and souls. For some, telling their stories was pure celebration and thanksgiving to God. For others, it was probably a means for healing. I'm eternally grateful, and I think the readers will be, too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? With over 143 million orphans across the globe, I would love to see more families consider adoption. But I deeply respect the person who hears this interview or picks up this book and, for whatever reason, decides adoption is not right for them, I hope they would still consider providing prayer support and perhaps even financial support to families who are pursuing adoption.

For more information on Michele Cervone Scott and Praying Through Your Adoption, please visit

Now for the GIVEAWAY!

If you would like to win a copy of this book, leave a comment,

and I’ll draw the winner on Saturday!

Guess who...

is having a big day tomorrow??

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

I've been asked for this recipe, so I thought I'd share it here. It's not costly, and is very healthy. We all love it! I think I may have gotten it off someone else's blog, but I don't remember...
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
makes 8 servings
1 cup dry brown lentils
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teas. thyme
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teas. salt
1/4 teas. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
In saucepan, combine lentils, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain out water, remove bay leaf. Add remaining ingredients and serve room temperature. (We have eaten it warm, room temp., and cold...all good.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trip to Chicago

Road trip to Chicago!
We finally got an appointment to register Amarin's adoption with the Royal Thai Consulate in Chicago, so we took the whole family for this special time for Amarin. His adoption was already approved, but it's simply a formality to register it at the consulate.
So, we crammed as much as we could into 2 days.
First stop...Shed Aquarium.
Can you believe it was cheaper for us to buy a one year membership than a day pass for our family? Yeah...we're large now.
Oh, and by the way...
that little boy sitting next to Laura...not our son.
Just in case you thought we squeezed in one more adoption in the past couple of months.
But he sure is a cutie!
Laura's favorite part was playing in the kids' area water tables. She would have climbed in had we let her. The water was so cold...
...but I still had to drag her out of there!

Big brother, little sister...enjoying the beautiful fish tank.

Laura enjoyed the penguins, too.

And of course we had to return to the play area for some climbing and sliding.

Brothers...all in striped shirts. That really was not planned...

Wednesday morning, we headed to the Royal Thai Consulate. We were all dressed up, thinking this was going to be an official meeting.

Here we are, walking the streets of Chicago on our way to the consulate. We were so thankful for a warm, sunny day.

Amarin had his picture taken with the "king and queen."

Could they be any cuter?

Family photo

So, after about 45 minutes and two signatures, we were free to leave. No questions, nothing.
But Amarin still thought it was special, and that's all that mattered.

After, of course we had to head to a Thai restaurant. We were sooo happy to read on their menu that they had sweet sticky rice with mango. It is absolutely delicious! For the main courses, Amarin chose Pad Thai and fried rice...two of his favorites.

After a long night of keeping her two big brothers awake, well, Laura couldn't keep her eyes open. All night comedy tires a gal...and the rest of the family.

Jacob and Charlie loved the dessert, too. Jacob remembers eating it in Thailand. It was fun reminiscing about that trip. We'd love to go back someday...what a beautiful country.
Funny thing as we were walking out the restaurant doors. Two young gals were standing outside talking, and as we walked out, they smiled at first, and then one said, "Oh, they just keep coming!" Yep. Not the only comment we heard. "How many do you have? 5? Wow! You must have a lot of patience." Yeah, right. Ask my kids. "Are they all yours?" No...but they keep following me. I didn't really say that...

The day grew warmer and was very sunny. We walked a lot, saw a variety of architecture, heard a lot of sirens, passed by a ton of people, almost got run over a few times...great to visit, but I'm so not a city girl!

Jacob and Amarin by the river that the city turns green every St. Patrick's Day.

So, we're back home with tired children. Laura fell asleep at school today at the lunch table. Jenna and Charlie took much needed naps this morning and again in the afternoon, and we're all ready to head to bed a little early tonight. We did a lot of sight-seeing and van riding for two days. Little Jenna isn't quite up to so much stimulation yet and had a bit of a hard time in the van, but it really was a trip we had to make for Amarin. And all in all, it was a good one. The kids talk fondly about the Chicago style pizza they ate for dinner while watching storm stories on the weather channel. Can you tell our kids don't watch much tv? Other favorites were the consulate, Thai food, and eventually they say that they liked the aquarium. Glad to know it...we almost had to remortgage the house to get in!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Winner!

Adeye, my friend, you have a new book!!
I hope you and your family find it as inspiring as we have.
Drop me a note with your address, and I'll have it in the mail to you ASAP.
Everyone else, check back later this month for another book giveaway!

Giveaway - drawing today

Last chance to leave a message for my giveaway, Praying the Scriptures For Your Children, by Jodie Berndt. See a couple posts back if you need more info. I'll be drawing later this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Was this a good idea?

We moved Jenna into Laura's bedroom last weekend. Jenna and Charlie were just having too much fun and didn't seem to want to sleep!
So we thought...aha! We'll take care of this and put Jenna in Laura's room. Then Char will get his sleep, and the girls won't be talking and getting into mischief.
Guess they fooled us, didn't they?
Each night, the girls "chat" and giggle.

Hey, thanks for this arrangement, mama and baba. This is fun having a girly room!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It's a giveaway!
Give-aways are fun, and this has been a great book for Jamie and me as we navigate this journey of parenthood. Each child brings his or her own personality, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and triumphs. A friend lent me this book last summer and I read it from cover to cover. Now, when the need arises with our kids, we grab this book and use it to help us find a scripture verse to pray for them.
Here is a quote from the forward by Fern Nichols, founder and president of Moms In Touch International:
"I am thrilled to see how God has used Moms In Touch in Jodie's life. She states, 'The MITI tactic is to use the Bible itself - God's actual words. Because they come straight out of the Bible, they carry the full weight and power of God's word.' Faith in the word of God is the most powerful force there is. Those things we see as impossible mountains, in the lives of our children can be removed by praying the promises of Scripture - God's Word."
It doesn't matter how old your kids are, because there are verses for all ages, as well as real-life stories for encouragement.
If you would like a chance to have this book as my gift to you, leave a comment! Feel free to link this on your own blog or facebook so others can have a chance to comment, and I'll draw a name this Friday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

My "Steel Magnolias"

A few weeks ago, some friends and I got together to watch the movie, Steel Magnolias.
Do you remember it from the late 80s?
These gals and I have been wanting to watch this for a while, mostly because of the women's relationships in the movie.
You have this group of ladies...different ages...different personalities...different stages of life.
But they're all close friends...through thick and thin.
Well, we watched the movie and laughed at their quirks and cried when one dies. But what we marveled at was how they all came together for one another, especially for the mom when her daughter died. They were there, this group of women, to hold her up during this tough time. They loved...they were "doers."
Now for real life.
Last Friday, we got hit with a surprise icy 6:45 A.M...while people were driving to work and school. I'm tellin' ya...everything was covered within minutes with a sheet of ice. My windows, the driveway, our grill...everything. The elementary and middle schools were closed ASAP, but the high school remained open because students had already arrived before the icy rain hit.
Later that morning, I received an email from the school district that a 16 year old girl was killed in an auto accident on her way, with her younger sister, to high school.
It was so sad.
Then the next morning, I found out who the girl was...she went to our church, cared for Laura in the nursery, and was the niece (more like a daughter) of one of these good friends with whom we had shared the movie night. Now it just wasn't hit home.
So tonight, our group of gals that usually meet for our weekly small group/Bible study on Mondays, spent our evening at the funeral home. A group of gals of different ages...different personalities...different stages of life. In a circle of chairs in the back of the room, we laughed a bit, shared a bit, and were quiet...well, a little bit. There were some tears, but mostly we were just there...for the young gal whose life was so short, and for our friend who lost someone so dear. How thankful I am to have this group of "steel magnolias" in my life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who needs words?

This just happened tonight and it was so fun to watch.
Laura...our daughter who uses no speech to communicate with us,
and why should she?
She makes her point known just fine.
Jenna came into Laura's room tonight while I was putting on her jammies,
jumped up onto Laura's bed, and pretended to go to sleep...while giggling.
Laura kept turning away from me to keep an eye on Jenna.
And as soon as she could, she turned around and walked right toward her bed,
and stood there staring at Jenna.

As you can see, Jenna thinks this is funny. Laura had a smile, too, but
stayed right there on guard.
Then as soon as Jenna got off her pillow, Laura got right down onto her bed...
my turf, little sister. Back away...back slowly away...

No, we don't need words from this little one.
We rarely have to wonder what she's thinking!

First Haircut

Jenna's hair wasn't long, but it definitely needed a trim to even things out.
She seemed happy enough to hop into the chair.

And within the first few snips, we were seeing a difference.

Typical male, waiting for the girls to be done.
Note to self: pants are now too short. Bummer.

My turn next!

A smile for the hairdresser.

Tah-dah! A little less sideburns, more definite bangs...

Laura was next...she has a lot of hair!
It needed a good trim, too.
No after photo...she does not like getting her hair cut and she's not very
happy when she's done!
It's a bit shorter, and more healthy looking.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This & That

Dinner time. Jenna was "helping" Amarin with the refried beans on the night we were having nachos. The kitchen counter is where she likes to be when meals are being cooked.

On another night, Jenna helped me cook dinner. Because she helped, she got to stand up and take a bow for a lovely dinner. She thought this was pretty cool!

Blanket time. I love this idea, and glad I remembered having heard about it from a friend.
Since we've been home, school lessons have been a bit challenging to say the least.
The little ones are a tad bit noisy, and usually end up wanting the same matter how many may be in front of them. Trying to referee them while teaching the big boys was not my idea of an ideal school day.
So, blanket time has been instituted.
They both have their own blanket, a "slight" distance away from one another.
They have to stay on their blankets, with the toys that I have given them, for 1/2 hour, or until I give them the "all clear."
If they don't want to play with the toys I've chosen for them, they can sit quietly, or lie down & rest. What a difference and lessons are now back in full swing!

The "blues brothers" all went for an eye checkup.
Six healthy eyes! Yeah!!
And they even got cool sunglasses to wear home because the sun was
uncharacteristically shining that day.

Jacob's turn to help me make dinner and for the first time we wrapped grape leaves, with rice, feta cheese, and spices. They were sooooo good! And it gave us a good 45 minutes of Mom/Jacob chat time. Most of the time was spent unwrapping the leaves...they rip very easily!

The thankful jar.
A sweet friend led our small group/Bible study last night, and gave all of us colored marbles and glass jars. The idea is to fill the jars every day with the marble for every thing we're thankful for. Charlie is thankful for lots of things, and Jenna is just saying "thank you" right now as she puts them in the jar.