Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Kids' Quotes

Destany --
Mommy: "Keandre, you can play with that for 5 more minutes, and then it's Destany's turn."
Destany:  "Can it be 7 more seconds?"
Mommy:  "Ummm, no."  (But nice try!)
Destany:  "Okaaaay."  (with great disappointment in her voice)

Brooklyn was choking and sputtering during her early morning feeding. 
Destany's thoughts: "Maybe you didn't chew your food enough last night, and too big of pieces are coming through!"

Keandre --
"When you see a bad guy, kick him in the tummy-ache!"

Keandre: "I’m going to change my name when I’m bigger."
Mommy: "Really?  What will you change it to?"
Keandre: "God."

"Mommy, I'm a puppy.  Can you be my grown-up?"

"A mark.  Gets.  Set.  5 - 2 - Go!"

"What that thing called that keeps rain off you?  Where'd they get that?!" ( umbrella, little desert boy!)

Mommy: "What should our behavior look like while we're shopping?"
Keandre: "Don't yell...and don't spank people."

Keandre's prayer one night while we stayed at a cousin's cabin:
"Thank you for the cabin.  Thank you for our life here.  Thank you for the trash truck."  (Which came and emptied a dumpster right in front of him!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

sweet, sweet baby

There is nothing quite like a new baby.  Brooklyn may be our fourth little one, but we will never get tired of this sweet baby stage.  We are smitten!  Andy and I often lay in bed gazing at her while she sleeps, kissing her little hands and face, and declaring her baby perfection.  We are living up every precious baby moment.  Children are such a blessing!

The Shubin Family

It has been such a privilege to support other families through the adoption process. It is incredible to watch as He provides, little by little, for their adoptions. I can’t wait to meet their new little ones some day. It will be so exciting!

The next family I’d like to introduce you to is the Shubin family. David and Erica lived in Phoenix when they adopted the first time, and I vividly remember meeting them, long before they adopted. They joined our local adoption group, and came to our first gathering at a local park. They longed to connect with other adoptive families. They were starting the adoption process and could not wait to have their son home! The stories of how God provided for Silas’ adoption are beautiful. I encourage you to check out their blog to read more.  Part One.  Part Two.  Part Three.  Part Four.

David and Erica just started a creative new fundraiser, as they wait to bring their daughter home. They are putting together a beautiful puzzle that will be formed as their adoption support comes in. Each person who donates $10 toward their adoption will have their name written on the back of a puzzle piece, and the puzzle will be framed in double-sided glass so they can talk with their daughter about her journey home and all the families who prayed and supported them through this time.  I love it!

Now, I’ll let Erica introduce their family….

"My husband, David, and I live in Florida and have four children. Nichol is 13, Skyler is almost 12, Olivia is 8, and Silas is 5. We adopted our youngest son, Silas, from Ethiopia just over 2 years ago. What started as an act of obedience to answer God's call to adopt, and an opportunity to round out our family (two boys and two girls), has turned into a heart-changing, life-changing process of refining us to realize that we have a home, we have the love of a heavenly Father who redeemed us, called us to love orphans and WHY NOT adopt again. We have asked the Lord to break us for the things that break His heart. He has called us once again to adopt. This time a daughter, a toddler girl to bring into our family to love and cherish forever. We didn't have to fund raise the first time. The Lord had a different season of refining for us. He called us to give up everything financially to pay for our adoption. We did exactly that. Going against everything the world says makes sense and it was the best money ever spent. Now, having very little to start another adoption, we have been called to fund raise and have others stand in this gap with us, to partner with us to raise a ransom to bring our daughter home. SHE is worth it. ALL of these kids are worth it. It's a humbling place to be, putting it out there, sharing the financial need in a public way and trusting that the Lord will provide every bit. HE is faithful."

"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

The Shubin's family blog can be found here: The Road Less Traveled.
If you feel led to give toward their adoption, you can receive a tax donation if you give through their church.  Check out their blog for more details...
Opportunities to support other adoptive families:
~Buy a beautiful pendant on Cate & Sean's blog.  I wrote about them here. (scroll down on that post)
~Purchase a custom dress or skirt through Poppy Dip.  I wrote about Sallee's family here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Puppy Puppy, Please!

Keandre is our resident puppy.  He has one of those stuffed animal backpacks with a 'leash' for Mommy or Daddy to hold, and it is one of his favorite possesions!  Of course, maybe that is because I have never put it on him and actually used it to keep track of him. 

We aquired this particular item when he found it at our favorite consignment store.  He dragged it all over the place until it was so filthy I offered to buy it before they could suggest that it was now my responsibility to purchase it.  That way I felt kind and gracious, you know? ;)  After all, it's not my fault they're floors were so dirty....

Keandre likes to put on his teddy backpack, complete with 'leash' and talk his big brother and sister into playing puppy with him.  If they are not available, he approaches me with his sad puppy-dog eyes (pun not intended) and says, "Mommy, no one is pulling me!"  Ah, sweet boy.  I will pull you. 

On the subject of puppies, I have to mention one of my favorite children's books, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee.  The illustrations are by Kadir Nelson.  Amazing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What would YOU bring?

We've been on a mission to downsize the number of belongings we own.  We are very aware that in this world, our possesions own us.  They distract us.  They require much of us -- our time, our money, and our devotion.  We talk often about how there are many people in the world who have only the bare necessities, and they do just fine and feel blessed!  And there are also those who have very little -- maybe not even a roof over their heads. 

Do we really need all this stuff?

We try to find creative ways to help this ongoing discussion feel relevant for our children.  Today, we discussed what we would take with us if we suddenly had to move away, and had only a few minutes to pack.  We could only take a few items each, and it was better if they were items that were very important to us, and not easily replaced.  While eating lunch and discussing our options, we each declared our top picks: 

Keandre, age 3
elephant & doggie (stuffed animals)
paci (his pacifier -- yes he is still addicted!)

Destany, age 5 3/4
pillow & favorite blankies
'pics of me with Mommy & Nichole' (her birthmother)

Lucas, age 7 1/2
pillow, blankie, and ducky (a fav stuffed animal)
bunny rabbit (the family pet)

computer (full of irreplaceable pictures!)
scrapbooks I've made for the kids
my wallet
(Lucas suggested I might want my cell phone.  Destany thought I might want some chocolate for the trip. :)

old pictures of family & friends (the non-digital ones)
computer hard drive (Good thought, honey.  Thanks!)

Before naming our items, we decided that we would each be able to purchase a few items when we arrived at our new home.  Here is what each person prioritized:

a puppy dog  (A new pet?  Hmmm....I'm not sure about that one!) 

cd player/radio
board games & puzzles
a puppy dog (she agrees with Keandre)

cd player/radio with a clock on it
a bunkbed from IKEA
a new fish and fishtank


a new bike (he's happy to leave his old one behind!)
a dishwasher (you think maybe he's afraid of living w/o one?!)

This conversation has been a great motivation to keep getting rid of stuff!  Today alone, we have compiled 10 paper grocery bags full of items to donate, plus a few bags to drop off at the consignment store.  And we have just begun!

Then, during rest time, Destany decided she has too many clothes and shoes.  She made a huge pile in the middle of her floor, and said she is giving them to our friend, Abby Tracy, who lives with and ministers to street children in Uganda.  Oh my.....what a blessing to see your child apply Biblical truths and hold loosely to her belongings!  (Anyone who knows her well knows she LOVES her clothes and shoes.  She is a little fashionista!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Is Love Colorblind?

Amy's blog entry on this topic is very well written, and definitely worth the few minutes it will take to read.  I think I will have to memorize this so I can better explain myself next time this comes up.  Oh, how I cringe when someone says they 'forget' that my children are black, or don't even see their color.  This is part of the beauty of who they are -- who God created them to be. 
Check out Part Two here.  Again, worth the read!  Please, please read.  This is reality.  This is truth. This is important for us all to understand.
Part Three -- posted on Amie & Tim's ministry blog
What kinds of conversations have you had about love, color, culture, and how we see each other?

Funny Friday

Keandre woke up all ready to help Daddy mow the lawn.  He thinks he's dressed like Daddy: wide-brimmed hat, protective glasses, and work boots.  Oh, how I love his creative sense of style!  He looks so serious because I pulled him away from his work, and he is anxious to get back to it! :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Destany's thoughts on Glee gum

Destany and Lucas are writing blogs now, too.  I figure we can call it home schooling. :) 

Here are a few of Destany's thoughts on Glee gum.

Here is Lucas' blog.  He says he is ready to start typing some of his own posts now.  Love it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

all natural gum

My kids love gum.  And I'd love to give it to them as a treat from time to time.  But it drives me crazy to see the list of ingredients on those gum packs at the grocery store!  So today I did a search for 'gum without artificial sweeteners'.  The first to catch my eye was Glee Gum.  Check it out at

When I mentioned it to the kids, they were so excited that I decided to pack up all four kiddos in the car and we trekked over to Sprouts to buy a few packs.  Yep, I was feeling pretty energetic today!  Our Sprouts had cinnamon, tangerine, and bubble gum flavor.  All were a hit with the kiddos, including Keandre, who promptly swallowed his but did better with subsequent tries.  I wasn't overly impressed, as it loses its flavor fairly quickly, but I won't be the one chewing it anyway.  As long as the kids give it a thumbs up -- which they did -- that's all we need! :) 

What do I love about this gum?  Great size, no artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, and it's 'green' -- made from sustainably harvested rainforest chicle.  To top it all off, it will look great in a gumball machine we have laying around that is currently full of marbles.  (Yeah, I'll admit that was not the best idea we've had.  Choking hazard, anyone?)

Here is a coupon for Buy One Get One Free boxes of Glee Gum.  To purchase it locally, go to Glee Gum's home page and search for a local store using your zip code.  We had several options within a mile from our home.  

For those of you with children dealing with sensory or attachment issues, check out Cate's blog post for an idea on using gum to help your child and encourage healthy bonding.  We will be using this idea in our family on rough days, along with healthy doses of loving affection and prayer, to help close the gap between us and our sweeties' hearts.  (Destany's OT said chewing gum will help her with her sensory issues, so that is an added plus!)


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Only for a Time (Keandre's story)

I have been avoiding this post for days now.  This one is a bit harder to write.  You see, we don't easily forget that Keandre is only ours for a time.  Keandre has life-threatening food allergies to dairy, eggs, and tree nuts, and has had two serious and potentially deadly reactions already, along with countless other less serious reactions.  We have to be very vigilant to keep him safe.

Keandre's first year was rough.  He struggled with asthma, reflux, and severe eczema.  We discovered his food allergies when at 3 - 4 months old he couldn't keep his formula down, and we couldn't find any formula on the market that he could tolerate -- even the prescription hypoallergenic ones.  Miraculously, he was able to drink donated breastmilk, and six amazing women who heard of our struggles offered to be on a special allergen-free diet in order to keep our sweetie fed.  

Keandre is doing much better now, having mostly outgrown his asthma and reflux.  But I liken the life-threatening food allergies to living with an unfenced swimming pool in your living room.  You know your child can swim, and that he knows to avoid unnecessary risks, but the danger is always there, and it is a part of your daily life.  That is just our reality, and we never know when the risks may change.   When Keandre was about two years old he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance after eating scrambled eggs at someone else's house.  He had not tested positive to an egg allergy, which made his reaction even scarier!

Beyond all of that....  When Keandre was nine months old, he came down with a stomach bug.  At least that is what we thought it was.  He was an easy-going kiddo, and we did not think much of it when he threw up off and on all day and was not interested in eating or drinking.  We loved on him and went on about our day.  But late that evening, I hesitated just a bit.  Keandre was usually better by evening when his tummy was upset and his reflux acted up, but he was not improving.  I decided to call the pediatrician, since he was not eating or drinking yet and I was concerned he could get dehydrated.  When I mentioned his puke was greenish, they said to take him straight to the emergency room. 

It still scares me to think that I assumed they were just playing it safe.  I really didn't want to go in....what if I hadn't?  I wanted to cuddle my baby at home and focus on slipping teaspoons of liquid into him.  I was sure he'd be much better by morning.  Thankfully, I took him in, just in case.  Just hours later, he had emergency surgery, which saved his life.  Keandre and I lived at the children's hospital for the next 5+ days while he recovered from intussesception.  Incredibly, he had shown no signs of pain beforehand, which is usually the reason a parent takes their child to the emergency room in time to prevent serious complications or death.  I was scared of his high pain tolerance after that...afraid we would miss signs of something else serious.  (It was not uncommon for me to take him in for a well check and find he had double ear infections!)  We were also reminded that it was only by God's grace that our son had survived.

Rarely does a day go by that I am not aware of what a gift this sweet little boy's presence is in our life.  He is amazing, and such a character.  A class clown in the making!  Delightful.  Thank you, Lord, for Keandre's presence in our family.  And thank you for every day he is with us.  Please continue to keep him safe, and give us the courage to trust You with his future.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Only for a Time (Destany's story)

We have not had such a dramatic and painful moment with Destany as we did during Lucas' birth.  Instead, we have faced little challenges along with way that have, at times, worn us very thin.  But we had a very special beginning with Destany that has brought great reassurance during challenging times. 

Destany came into our lives when she was just three days old.  We received a call from our adoption agency asking if we would like to share our profile with a young mom in the hospital.  Instantly we knew....we just KNEW that we were supposed to be available for this little one.  We could have had concerns about the situation, but instead felt only peace.  In fact, I felt immediately that she was our daughter, and I will never forget the incredible joy that coursed through me when the agency director called back a couple hours later and asked how soon we could get to the hospital.  Nichole had chosen us to parent her daughter, and just hours later we were home with our sweetie!

A couple days later, I was napping with Destany next to me in our bed.  Andy came in to wake me up, and I started to weep.  I was thinking about how we had prayed for Lucas during his whole pregnancy, and had so much support when we were expecting him.  It was heartbreaking to realize that Nichole did not have that, and I was grieving for her deeply.  And then Andy gently reminded me that WE were praying for Nichole...even though we didn't know her.  Over the next few minutes, as we talked about this, we realized that we had started the adoption process the week Destany was conceived, and had been praying for her, and her birth mother, since that time.  God, in His providence, matched us long before we ever knew it.  We may not share Destany's genes, but God made it clear long ago that He brought her to us and has a plan for her in our family. 

Oh, how we adore our little girl.  She is our daughter, through and through.  We are incredibly blessed!

God has also allowed a very meaningful long-term connection with Nichole and her two young sons.  They are such a sweet little family, and we can't imagine our lives without them in it!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Only for a Time (Lucas' story)

Lucas was my first experience with preterm labor.  I was 30 weeks along, and having mild contractions every 3 minutes. For weeks we worried and waited, hoping our sweetie would not come early.  Thankfully we made it full term!  But during the last minutes of delivery, something went wrong.  Lucas was in distress, and we had to get him out fast.   When he was born, he was blue and limp.  Our friend, Laura, was our L & D nurse.  She whisked him away and frantically worked to resucitate him.  There was no one to explain to us what was going on.  All we knew was they were yelling for me to push him out, and now the room was very quiet.  Andy and I clung to each other, wept quietly, and prayed.  A few minutes later Lucas was okay, but we will never forget those moments when we committed our son to God and 'gave' Him control....choosing to trust Him however He allowed things to turn out.

Lucas is such a delightful little boy.  He is sweet, compassionate, thoughtful, creative, and he loves being at home with us.  He loves home schooling, and continually comes up with new ideas of what he wants to learn more about....what happens after an oil spill, how a CD works, and so much more I can't remember right now.  He loves to learn! 

We cannot imagine our family without Lucas.  We are so blessed!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Only for a Time

How often do we really think about the fact that our children are only ours for a time....loaned to us by God, to raise for Him?  I know I'm guilty of getting complacent sometimes.  I get busy with life, with parenting, with relationships, and forget for a time why God has grown our family the way He has.  He sees each of our children as the right ones for our home, our life.  He has equipped us -- whether we feel like it or not -- to raise each of these precious blessings for Him.  To be Mommy and Daddy, to teach them about life, love, and most importantly, about Him. 

With each of our little ones, God has been gracious enough to give us opportunities to remember that He is in control, He has a plan for them, and He loves them even more than we do.  Over the next few days, I will post these stories about how God has reminded us that He has chosen us to parent these little ones, and He is ultimately (thankfully!) in charge of how our children turn out in life.

I'd love to hear your stories, too! 
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