Wednesday, October 27, 2010

first extensions

I've been in a bit of a rut lately.  Normally I love doing Destany's hair.  It's a creative outlet, a way to love her and spend extra time with her.  We enjoy picking movies to watch together while I care for her beautiful curls, and then we talk about the relationships and situations in the movies, which leads to awesome discussions that we might not otherwise have.  We also sing together. :)  A recent favorite has been Meet Me in St. Louis, and the songs can be heard 'round our home day and night!  And not always in tune....

But recently, I've found myself stalling when it came time to re-do a style.  I'd ignore the frizzies, more noticeable by the day, because I didn't have any inspiration for a new style.  Until one night, way too late to start a new project like this.  Suddenly I wanted to try out yarn extensions.  (Check out Cate's blog here to see a couple Youtube videos and detailed instructions on how to do these.)  We popped in a movie, and I twisted away.  And twisted, and twisted, and twisted.  Three hours later -- partly because of the small sections, and partly because of my poor technique -- her new yarn extensions were in.  Success! 

I made the extensions only about an inch longer than her own hair.  The result is a head of beautiful two-stranded twists that look fuller and longer than usual, but still very natural for a six-year-old.

Destany prefers them down, so she can endlessly flip them over her shoulder and feel all grown up.  I prefer them pulled into a ponytail, with a couple hanging out.  I think it looks young and sporty, yet still cared for and beautiful.  We have been compromising, with a little of each. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

skinny jeans

If you're in need of a pair of skinny jeans, head on over to my brother's house.  His neighbor sells them.  Every single weekend.  And people go buy them.  Who'd have guessed?  The conveniences of living in certain neighborhoods.  Are you jealous yet? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

The 5K that wasn't.

Pretty cool sunglasses, huh?  Okay -- truth be told, they were the only
ones I could find that morning.  I'm not normally that cool. ;)

It all started with a 5:45am wake-up call.  Andy left long before us since he was working for my brother and sister-in-law at their plant sale.  (And not just any plant sale.  We're talking 3,000 plants, and free consultations by landscape architects/designers!)  I had planned ahead, but getting myself and four little ones out the door by 7am was still daunting.  We were only a few minutes late, which I considered an accomplishment. 

After a brief detour when we couldn't find the right entrance to the park, we rushed to get in line to register.  But things were moving slowly.  VERY VERY SLOWLY.  The poor mama who volunteers to plan the event did not have enough help.  The official starting time came and went, and there were still 10 or 15 people to check in.   The participants began to get restless. 

At 8:15am, we were still checking in and someone decided to signal the start of the 5K.  Those of you who have participated in an event like this know that starting just 3 minutes late puts you at a serious disadvantage.  Not one participant was in sight when we began.  Our motivation to catch up plummeted.  Just 5 minutes in, we came across a shady spot and the kiddos were already asking for a break. 

I realized the game plan needed to change.  The main point was to experience the community effort of supporting these brave and resilient women in Congo.  And finishing the race properly was not necessary to do that.  We took matters into our own hands, and set out to find the group. 

The kids were cracking up as we sprinted across an open field, turned a couple corners, cut through a parking lot, and soon spotted some runners.  Going against the flow, we confused a few people, but met our goal -- we found our friends.  The kids were suddenly full of motivation.  And speed!  They took off ahead and crossed the finish line a couple minutes ahead of us.  Morale was restored, and memories were made. 

Here, the obligatory picture to record the moment for all eternity.  Solange and Joseph were adopted from Congo last year, so this 5K has extra meaning for all who know them.  And Grace, their little sister, is one of Destany's best buds.  A huge thank you to those who made this experience possible for us! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

For Sale.....LOTS of cloth diapers!

We just listed TONS of cloth diapers on Craigslist.  After a lot of trial and error, we finally decided on our fav cloth diapers for Brooklyn.  And we're sure about it.  Really.  (I mean it this time.)

We were happy with the Mother-Ease cloth diapering system (small Sandy's, then One-Size diapers, w/ snap Air Flow covers) for our other children.  Unlike disposable diapers (admit it -- we all know it!) they were virtually leak proof.  Sooo helpful for breastfed babies, sick babies, and for those times when you forget that your child might need changed more than once in a blue moon.   

But this time around, I wanted to try out some other, cuter, varieties.  I went a little crazy while on bed rest.  I bought a little of everything, mostly on Diaperswappers.  And now that we've tried them out and picked our favorites, it's time to tell them goodbye.  Let me know if you want any!  If the post is from Oct. 14 or 15, is in Central Phoenix, and the pictures are taken on top of a blue sheet, they are ours. :)

Brooklyn wearing a Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket diaper and Bum Genius Organic AIO diaper.  We love that the outsides are the same -- same exact fit -- but the insides are different.  We use pockets overnight, so we can stuff them with as much absorbency as needed.  In the daytime, an All-In-One is perfect, or a Goodmama fitted diaper w/o a cover works well, too.  (Not pictured.) 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


phonics workbooks

self-directed projects

impromptu color-mixing

reading aloud

creative problem solving
(The caterpillar kept falling out of Brooklyn's hands, so he suspended it
 from the fire truck, just within her reach. :)

independent work

Keandre isn't in these pictures because he is usually too busy running circles around us and wreaking havoc on our mornings.  Oh, what a
busy boy he is! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Even a child with a healthy open adoption (meaning we enjoy regular contact with her birth family) will grieve as she understands her story better.  Destany has had periods of intense grieving off and on since she was three years old.  As she began to realize that the wonderful family she has now came only through the loss of her first family, she has had to grieve her idea of what that first family would have looked like and what her part would have been in it.

Grieving doesn't scare us.  And the fact that pain is inherently a part of adoption doesn't mean that adoptions should never occur.  Pain and sadness is a part of life.  We all experience losses, and learning to grieve well, and let others be a part of your pain, is  very important.  I wish our children who came to us through adoption didn't have to experience loss so early in life.  But that is adoption.  It is bittersweet.  I wish that their birth families didn't experience this loss either.  But sometimes that is just the way life is. 

Adoption has brought us together.  We will grieve the hard parts, and celebrate the amazing parts.  And we'll do it together.  All of us.....Destany, her Dad & I, and her birth mother, who has stayed true to her commitment to stay a part of her life.  God has taken us on this journey, and directed our steps along the way, and we are all stronger because of it. 

Today I was at a loss for how to help Destany process her sadness in a way that would empower her, and help her feel like there is a way through it.  As I prayed about it, a new thought came to mind.  She is old enough to write her own story!  We sat at the computer, and she told me what to write.  We only did the first two pages, and then she asked if she could write more tomorrow.  I printed those pages for her, and she pulled out the paints to illustrate them.  She was peaceful.  She sang while she painted.  And she was proud of the result.  I am, too!

Shared with Destany's permission. :)


I know, I've been a little quiet lately.  There just hasn't been a lot to share.  Unless you want to hear how hard our days have been lately, or about the discipline issues we're having.  About the anger rut two of my children seem to be stuck in.  Hard stuff.  Painful stuff.  And I haven't always handled it with the love and patience I like to think I have. 

It has been especially hard over the last 5 days because Andy has been gone from early morning until after dinner.  He was helping my brother and sister-in-law put on a huge plant sale (more on that later).  It's a busy weekend as he works 12 hour days alongside them.  Which means I've been on my own with the kids a lot....even though I've been at my wit's end with them. 

I've spent a lot of time praying, asking begging God to renew me, give me compassion and patience even when I'm exhausted.  It felt like He wasn't answering.  I felt powerless to pull us out of this ickiness.  Until late this morning, that is. 

I was talking with the kids about our last few days.  We were gathered in a circle on the living room floor, just hanging out, and I John 1:9 came to mind.  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  Oh, how I needed that reminder.  My kids, too.  We talked, we prayed together, we confessed our sins to God and each other.  And then we started over. 

Has it been happy-go-lucky, tulips and daffodils since then?  No way.  One child has been throwing up every half hour.  Another spent 20 minutes sobbing in my arms, grieving part of her adoption journey, and another is as mischevious as ever (although with a little more softness in his eyes).  But we're hanging in here.  God is giving me a little more of that elusive patience I've been longing for.  He's allowed me to see my children with fresh eyes, with a persevering love that will take what's given, and work with it.  I am so, so grateful. 

I've gotta go now.  I need to unpack that suitcase that I'd imagined in my mind.  And cancel the week-long stay at a plush resort that I dreamed up.  I'm going to stay right here, trusting that I can do this the rest of today.  And maybe tomorrow.  One crazy, painful, chaotic hour at  a time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

3 more days....

Keandre and his pal, Rosco, in Flagstaff last weekend. 
(Thanks for the amazing pic, Dad! :)

...until the kids and I do our first 5K -- The Run for Congo Women.  We can't wait!  We have done some great training walks in the last couple weeks, but haven't been out walk/jogging quite as much as we'd like.  In lieu of official training, I like to convince myself that our everyday lives are active enough to count for something.  After all, we run laps around the 'track' in our kitchen, and last night I paced the floor while Brooklyn's wee tummy settled.  (Darn reflux was hurtin' my babe!)  At least this will be a great starting point.  Ready or not, here we go!

(Check out this post if you want to know more, would like to join us, or want to lighten your wallet a little for a good cause. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Body Butter

 unrefined cocoa butter

Update, 11/02:  The company we order ingredients from has been out of shea butter for the last few weeks.  But they have finally restocked, and my order is on its way!  I can't wait to receive it and get started.

Wow!  I am blown away by the response to my post about selling the hair snaps.  They were all sold within 3 hours.  What a blessing!

I am considering selling homemade body butter next, as another way to bring in a little income while Andy continues to search for full time work.  I make body butter for our family a couple times a year, and it is does wonders for my kiddos' dry winter skin.  Our homemade body butter is equal parts organic unrefined cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil.  It smells like chocolate, and sometimes we add a few drops of orange essential oil and it smells like chocolate orange.  Yum!  The kids are practically edible after bathtime. 

If you might be interested in purchasing a tub of body butter, please leave me a comment here on my blog (no emails, please...they will get lost in my overflowing inbox!).  If it looks like there will be enough interest, I will figure out the size and cost and take pre-orders.

If you are interested in body butter that would NOT smell like chocolate, please let me know that, also.  I could use mango butter in place of the cocoa butter. 

Thanks so much for your support.  God is providing! :)

hair snaps for sale!

                                        'Just Basic' Heart Snaps

Update: Everything has sold!  Thanks for all your support.   I feel so encouraged today. :)

These hair snaps were a special part of my early days of doing hair.  I found them through an adoption hair care group, and over time I invested in quite a collection!  We use them at the ends of braids and twists.  They look great on their own, and we also use them to add beads.  They are much easier and quicker to use than the other methods of adding beads!

With almost two years of unemployment under our belts, we have decided to sell anything we have around the house that is no longer needed.  I am hoping to sell about half of my hair snap collection.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! :)

Flower Snaps
Set A:  38 snaps (10 purple, green, & pink; 8 teal)  $3.50
Set B:  38 snaps (10 purple, green, & pink; 8 teal)  $3.50
Set C:  38 snaps (10 purple, green, & pink; 8 teal)  $3.50
Set D:  38 snaps (10 purple, green, & pink; 8 teal)  $3.50
Set E:  30 snaps (10 purple, 11 green, 9 pink)        $2.75

Bold Ladybugs
Set A:  30 ladybugs (5 of each color)  $3.00
Set B:  25 ladybugs (5 of each color; no red)  $2.50

Set A:  30 dragonflies (5 of each color)  $3.00
Set B:  30 dragonflies (5 of each color)  $3.00

'Just Basic' Heart Snaps (for small twists or braids)
Set A:  35 heart snaps (5 of each color)  $3.50
Set B:  30 heart snaps (5 of each color; no blue)  $3.00

Tiny Flower Snaps (for small braids/twists) 
Set A:  60 snaps (15 of each: purple, green, blue, black) $4.00
Set B:  60 snaps (15 of each: purple, green, blue, black) $4.00
Set C: 35 snaps (black only)  $2.50
Set D: 35 snaps (black only)  $2.50

The Fine Print:
As with all products produced in bulk, these are not perfect. A few may be missing the little jewel or have crooked paint or faded dots, although I tried to sort those out.  Occasionally I have run across a snap that doesn't close correctly (I toss those). Many of these are brand new, so I am assuming they will work right.

Price is approx. 8 - 12 cents per snap, depending on size.
Please add $1.50 for shipping for the first two sets, and $.50 per set after that.

You can pay me by Paypal ( or cash/check if you are local. If paying by Paypal, please note exactly which snaps you are purchasing, and I will update the blog often. (First come, first served, according to when emails arrive. :)

gorgeous free hair
(lest you think I always did those fancy styles! :)

These snaps are so versatile!  They are even great to have around for big brothers who feel left out during hair time. :)

Thanks for looking! 
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