Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Kids' Quotes

"Hi!"  (complete with super-cute wave with her right hand)
"Ah-duh" (with baby sign)

Keandre: "Mommy, I did Brooklyn's hair for you. She looks pretty now!"
Mom: "With Vaseline?!? Oh, my."

"How old am I now?  Four?  (Pause.)  Where did the 3 go???" 

K: "Can I open my presents now?"  (every 5 minutes)
Mom: "Keandre, I'm just trying to keep everyone alive right now."
K: "Well, I'm just trying to keep everyone opening my presents right now!"

"Mom, if I'm going to be snug as a bug in a hug, you'll need to hug me."
After a big hug, "Now I'm definitely snug as a bug in a hug!" 

"Mom, who is this card for?"
Kiara: "Me, it's a birthday coupon."
"Phew!  I cannot handle any more birthday invitations!"

"My mane is crazy today!"  (free hair day, which she loves!)

"All I can think of to do to get warm is hide underneath a big box.  It's the most like a blanket."  (the blankets were in the wash)

"Can someone please come get Brooklyn?!?  She's attacking me!"

"Brooklyn feels hungry."  (Me: "Oh yeah?")  "Yes, I picked her up and her tummy feels empty.  She feels hungry."

The only thing holding up this post was the need for a new pic of the kids. But since our camera disappeared the middle of March, I had to give up. There will be a new pic next month, I promise. We're giving in and buying new camera.  Yippee! :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prayers for Keandre (updated 3x)


We'd appreciate prayers for Keandre tomorrow.  His reflux has been terrible lately, and medication has not resolved the issue or prevented the pain and vomiting that he has suffered from since he was only a few months old.  We'll be spending the day at the local Children's Hospital, and at 11am he is scheduled for an upper endoscopy.  We're praying that his doctor will have answers for us soon.

When I told Keandre tonight that his doctor is going to put a tiny camera inside him to take pictures and see what's going on in there, he thought that was hilarious!  "A camera?  In my tummy?!?"  Ah, I love preschoolers. :)


Monday afternoon update:  We are home from the hospital.  Keandre's doctor met with us for quite a while to discuss the results.  Unfortunately, he didn't have good news for us.  Keandre has a lot of inflammation and damage in his esophagus.  It is likely that he has Eosinophilic Esophagitus (EE).  We will know for sure in a few days, when his biopsy results are in.  It's a bit too much to explain right now, so I'll do a new post when we know more.  For now, we are resting and thankful to be home again. 

Thank you for all your prayers and support.  The journey is far from over, but we are trusting God has a plan for our sweetie and will guide us through it all.

A big thank you to Sarah, Katrina, and Catherine for your help with Brooklyn, Destany, & Lucas.  They had a wonderful time with you!
Keandre drove a hummer through the hospital to the room where he had the procedure.  He was smiling SO big.  He couldn't believe he got to do that.  We couldn't either! ;)

He was FAST!  Nurses and doctors were jumping out of the way to avoid getting hit.  Andy & I couldn't stop laughing.

He crashed a few times.  We noticed that the walls and doors all have sheets of metal to protect them.  Now we know why.

Keandre and his doctor, in the recovery room after he woke up.  Keandre says about Dr. S., "I like how he talks.  He talks funny!"  (Dr. S. is from Ghana.)

We feel blessed, and incredibly thankful that we have wonderful doctors taking care of Keandre!


Wed. night Update:  Keandre is having a very rough week so far.  We covet your continued prayers.  He typically has a 2 - 4 days per week where is vomits a few times, and struggles with coughing and gagging.  Well, we are now taking it to a new level.  Monday after the procedure he ate just fine, and he quickly made up for the morning of fasting.  But then yesterday (Tues.) he threw up so many times I lost count.  He tried eating several times, and was successful in keeping food down only one time -- a whopping 1/2 cup of applesauce.  It was a difficult day, and heartbreaking for us to watch him suffer like this.  Today was a little better, but he is still coughing and gagging regularly.  He will be sleeping in our room indefinitely, as he wakes up coughing/gagging and struggling to breath normal.  The poor little guy is exhausted. 

The doctor has us giving him the Prevacid and Zantac still, but it's not helping.  We are waiting for news on the biopsies as well as news on whether there is more we can do to help him.

Friday morning Update: Thank you for your continued prayers.  Thursday Keandre was a little better, and today he is MUCH better!  He is still coughing and gagging occasionally, but he is eating well and keeping most of it down.  We are still waiting for test results.

First Annual BOHO Farmers'/Flea Market


Brand new to owning chickens, we decided to join in the fun at the local Tour de Coops this past December.  What a blast!  Our second-to-last stop was an incredible urban farm in Central Phoenix, called Boho Farm + Home.  Caroline and David were so kind, and they chatted with us for quite a while about their chickens, fruit trees and square foot gardens, and sustainable gardening in the city.  Our kiddos loved running around their lush green yard, playing with the chickens, and dreaming with us about how we'd like to make our own backyard just a little more like theirs.  (You can see Destany and Keandre with Caroline here.)

Well, long story short, they are hosting a farmer's market/flea market at their house this Saturday, and we are going to be selling our body/hair butters there!  I am excited and a bit nervous.

Now I'm praying that I will have time this week to make 8 - 10 batches of body butter.  (That in itself is time-consuming labor of love.)  Plus I'll need to do a huge batch of sweet orange and peppermint chapsticks.  And print up cards with our info on them.  And plan how to set up our booth.

I think I'll do that during my free time this week....while home schooling, caring for my family and home, and visiting with Andy's family, who will be in town this week.  Now, where did I put my Superwoman outfit???

If you'd like to stop by the Market, here is the address:

Boho Farm and Home
(Caroline & David Van Slyke)
4617 N. 39th Street
Phoenix, AZ  85018

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Small Steps on Our Journey - review & giveaway!


Rachel, a friend from church, has a blog called Small Steps on Our Journey.  It is dedicated to recording their journey to improving their health and reducing their impact on the environment. 

This week, Rachel reviewed our body & hair butter, and she combined the review with a giveaway!  The drawing will be on Friday night, April 8.  You can check it out here. :)

first egg!


One of several escapees deposited this little surprise in our backyard 'pile-of-things-to-deal-with-and-get-rid-of', and we found it while cleaning up out there this afternoon.  (Please tell me we're not the only ones with such pile! ;)

I suppose it's time to rustle up some nexting boxes.  Any ideas for nesting boxes on a budget?  Looks like we need to act fast unless we want them to think our 'pile' is fair game!

Friday, March 25, 2011

keyword search

I must live under a rock.  Or maybe I'm just really busy with my kids. 

It took me long enough, but I recently discovered that Blogspot keeps stats on my blog (and yours, too, if you have one).  At the bottom of one of the pages, there is a list of key words/phrases used to find your blog.  Today, someone found our blog using these key words:

'help little kiara with her hair'.

Incidentally, I really could use some help with my hair.  Anyone?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Dad's Thoughts...


I just had to post this.  It is one Dad's perspective on how God convicted him to be available as an adoptive dad when he was initially quite reluctant. 

David & Erica were in our local adoption group before moving to Florida.  I'm excited to share that God blessed them with the $30,000+ needed for this adoption (legal fees, agency fees, travel, orphanage donations, etc.), and they are in Ethiopia right now, waiting for the final document needed to bring their daughter home.

It has been a long year, full of faith lessons, tears, fatigue, and confirmation that God would provide in His timing.  And He did.  (He funds what He favors! :)

When they adopted Silas, God asked them to give up everything to bring their son home.  It was hard, but they did it.  Huge financial sacrifices.  They would be the first to say it was well worth it.

This time, He asked them to humble themselves and ask others to come alongside them to help bring their daughter home.  They obeyed.  He blessed.  Precious Zahra will be home soon!

To follow their journey to child number five, check out their family blog here.

ps - Although I think it's clear that God calls all of us to care for orphans, adoption is not the only way to care.  How is He calling you to care? :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Have I ever told you about.....?

Two of our sweeties can be rather challenging.*

One precious child struggles, at the heart level, to fully trust us to meet needs, to be safe and trustworthy, to love no matter what.  There is a deep need to control the surrounding environment.  It is hard.

Another is strong-willed.  Desiring to keep us on our toes.  Arguing with pretty much everything we say.  Delightful, I know.  We choose to believe it's a stage. :)

When our kiddos were a little younger, there were days that I called my mom, in tears, fearing deeply that I may not be able to help my child's heart heal.  I was anxious about the depth of the battle.  I longed to love without conflict, yet unsure of how to do that. 

Cue the hallelujah chorus.

My mom, experienced Mama that she is (four kids in six years!), gave us one of the best parenting tips ever.  It takes the distraction tactic to a new level.  It helps avoid those silly little battles that don't need to happen.  It has saved many a morning around here when one child seemed determined to sabotage the day for everyone.  And here is how it works.  (Yes, I am sharing this little gem for free! ;)

Mama:  "Hey sweetie, it's time to go to the bathroom.  We're leaving soon."
Child:  "I don't need to go!"
Mama:  "That's okay.  You don't have to go -- you just need to try."
Child:  "I don't want to!  I already went a while ago."
(You can see where this is going, right?  Ugh.  Been there, done that.  Not getting anywhere that way.)

Let's try this again....

Mama: "Hey sweetie, it's time to go to the bathroom. We're leaving soon."
Child: "I don't need to go!"
Mama:  "Hey, have I ever told you about ANTEATERS?  Can you believe there is a type of animal that actually eats bugs?  Crazy, huh.  Are you hungry for ants?  I bet I could catch some for our morning snack.  Ha, ha, ha...."

Meanwhile, Mom takes the child by the hand and nonchalantly walks toward the bathroom while filling the child in on the amazing anteater.  Getting there, she helps the child onto the potty, and keeps on talking.  Child cooperates.  Child does not seem to notice that s/he has been had.  Or child does not care, and chooses to bask in the positive (rather than negative!) attention. 

AMAZING.  Life-changing for us.  I dare you to try it! 

This also works with getting shoes on, cleaning up toys (hand the child toys to toss into the tub while you chat), getting in the bathtub, etc.  The main trick is to be calm, keep it interesting, and keep on talking, engaging them as you go along.  And don't talk about the battle they just tried to start.  Just keep on going.  (Deal with those heart issues when your child is in a better mood.  I promise, your conversation will be much more effective that way!)

My problem was Mommy Brain.  You know....that tiny little issue where formerly intelligent women struggle to string two coherant thoughts together.  I loved this idea, but wondered how in the world I'd put it into practice on the days when I really needed it.  Those days when I'm wiped out, tired of the battles, and just trying to keep it together. 

Again, my Mom came through for me.  The alphabet.  Come on -- tell me you didn't wonder why in the world I started with Anteaters.  When I use this tactic, I start with the letter A and quickly scan through.  The first semi-intriguing topic that pops into my head is the one I go with.  Alligators?  The beach?  Falling stars?  You betcha. 

Okay, now it's your turn.  Try this out, and tell me how it goes.  If you love it, I'll pass along the thank-yous to my Mom. :)

And please feel free to share your sanity saver parenting tips, too!  Goodness knows we can all use new ideas from time to time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Did you know that a terribly stressful and conflicted pregnancy can change the way a child's brain develops? Our bodies are so intricately designed! Although healing truly is possible, it does not happen overnight, and it takes some pretty intentional parenting. More on that another day.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One More


We really are going to name the rabbits.  And announce the winners.  And send out little prizes.'ll be soon.

In the meantime, our farmyard is growing.  We've been busy with a new little one.  A very tiny baby rabbit (who, incidentally, also needs a name).

According to our postage scale, she weighs all of 3.1 ounces.  My brother, Ian, is a landscape architect.  He found her in a client's garden last week.  The client was quite happy to have him take her away.

She has found a home at our house (for now).  We feed her raw cows' milk from a medicine dropper, a little grass from outside, and lots of organic veggies from our local CSA.  (She gets first dibs on the greens that end up in our compost -- usually the tops of purple carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes, etc.)

We were told it's hard to care for a tiny 1.5 - 2 week old bunny, but she is thriving! 

She's very skittish, even after a week of being fed by hand.  She truly is a 'wild' rabbit.  It has been interesting to see the difference between domesticated rabbits and this baby cottontail. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh, so easy.

Want to support our adoption fund while shopping for something fun for yourself?  Check out these links! 

We earn a 15% commission through Chunky Bling.  Their necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches are beautiful! 

Beaded Watches

At Kelly's Closet we earn 5% on all orders through our button.  Kelly's Closet does not just sell cloth diapering supplies.  They also sell baby carriers, bedding, swimming gear, laundry detergent, skin care products, nursing supplies, and Mama care items. 

Truly Pure & Natural also sends 15% our way.  I recently blogged about them here and here.  Awesome company.

Our body & hair butter is now sold through Curly Is Cuter.  Check out Rachel's beads and beaders, snaps & barrettes, hair & skin care products, etc.  She has a huge assortment for sale, and you can do all that shopping from the comfort of your own home. Watch out -- don't get addicted to the hair bling! :)

Curly is Cuter

If you want to grab our button and spread the word about our fundraisers, the html code is on our blog home page.

Andy, Kiara, & Family

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you, thank you for supporting our adoption fund!  It is humbling to see how many of you are supporting our efforts to bring home our baby.  Family, friends, acquiantances, and people we have never even met.  It is such confirmation of God's call for us to be available for one more precious child.  Even now, He is paving the way for him/her to be joined to us. 

Work is picking up for Andy, and if all goes well he will be able to fully support our family again in the next few months.  As soon as we are off partial unemployment, we will be ready to be presented to expectant Mamas through our local Christian agency.  We are so excited! 
(If you need a licensed architect for your home addition or other project, please let us know. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spicy African Stew


Charleen, a friend at church, shared this recipe with me after a potluck at our community group.  I couldn't wait to make it!  Absolutely delicious.  It did not last long at our house. :)

(Click on picture to see recipe.)

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