"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

Sunday, November 27, 2011

IPAD 2 giveaway

If the ski vacation was not your thing, maybe an IPAD 2 would interest you?  This family is doing such a giveaway and I'm sure they would be blessed by your donation to help bring their child home - and get yourself a chance at an IPAD!  Go check it out:  IPAD 2

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a great visit (too short though!) with family.  Still working on that computer to download pictures.....

Friday, November 4, 2011

And the WINNER is......

Grand prize: Boyne Vacation for 10 is lucky number 228!!

2nd prize: $100 Apple store gift card - number 98

3rd prize: the adorable pettiskirts - number 22.  And they are going to a home with 2 adorable girls in just the right sizes, how about that?!! 

I've already contacted the lucky winners and we truly appreciate everyone who so generously participated in our giveaway! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 days left!!

Two days left to enter the vacation giveaway!!  See the details here:  Vacation giveaway!

Your help will be helping us bring "D" home in early 2012

Will she not just fit right in with her two big sisters??

And, there was silliness:
And the, I'm all done.......

I'm thankful the family I've been blessed with!  Thanks for your support!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Because we said yes....

we are wishing our Little J a VERY happy 2nd birthday!!!  Can't even imagine you not a part of our family, you crack us up daily.  Your vocabulary is incredible, using words like because and actually appropriately, saying things like "move back out of my way momma" at the playground and "I'm talkin to you" when I guess I am not listening too closely!  You definitely are "spirited" (aka strong willed or sometimes downright stubborn but this will keep you out of trouble when you are a teenager)!  We love you so and feel so blessed to be called mom, dad and big sis!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My "special needs"

As Tim and I made the decision to complete this adoption, that we started in 2008, through the waiting child program, it’s a rather uncomfortable feeling deciding what “special needs” we would consider.  I happened to come across this blog and she captured the feeling and thoughts so well, that I am stealing her post and modifying it slightly (and just for disclosure, I did ask her if I could copy it).

Here is what she discovered and I so totally agree with:  there was no "special need" on any listing that outdid my own "special needs." So, it would only be fair for any prospective adoptive child to be given the same information on this possible mother with full disclosure of all imperfections.

My file would read something like this:
She goes by the name "Karen." She is considered an "older parent" (way over the age of 40) although there are no grants available. Should you choose her, it is with the understanding that by the time you are in middle school, others will think she is your grandmother.

She needs reading glasses to read you a bedtime story and may not be able to stand upright after sitting Indian style at a tea party.

She has many well-meaning behaviors that may cause extreme irritation. For example, she will take millions of photos of you but has no actual photography skills. You will have to put up with her arranging and rearranging, the auto-flashing and shutter-clicking, but you'll only have out-of-focus pics with your eyes closed to show for your patience.

Small toys not put away will mysteriously disappear. She can't stand "happy meal" items that didn't make anyone happy and you should note that these items are quickly donated or discarded.

She will sing you lullabies in spite of the fact that she cannot carry a tune.

She will want to dress you until you go to college. This may not be an issue in the early years, but by the time you are a teen, you will be wondering if you can escape through the air-conditioning vents of the dressing room during a shopping trip gone bad.

She will occasionally go freaky with the food she serves--going gluten-free, low-sugar, wholly whole wheat, and completely organic. You may try to trade up lunch items at school but no one will want a protein bar that tastes like cardboard in exchange for their Little Debbie snack cake. And then there are moments that she passes a Krispy Kreme establishment and the "hot donuts" sign is on. You should not call her a hypocrite if you'd like to partake of the white-flour, sugar-glazed manna that she is about to inhale.

She will often seem completely unfair. There will be movies and music and TV shows that everyone is allowed to see and hear, and you will be the ONLY one not watching/listening. If you ask why, she will simply respond with "Not Philippians 4:8 standards." ("Whatever things are good, pure, lovely, think on these things. . . .")

You will be fine if you need this mom to provide help in proofing papers, some simple math, a common sense answer, but you will up a creek without a scientific calculator if you need math help past the 6th grade, science help, history help…...you get the idea.

She is a strong advocate for enjoying God's creation. She will pull over on the side of the road to behold a sunset, a rainbow, or wildflowers growing among asphalt. She will make everyone stop what they are doing to hear the birds singing outside and make you watch butterflies instead of TV. She will insist that you run outside at night to marvel at the stars and require that everyone pose for a picture with the first flower of springtime (which will no doubt capture you not smiling and cut off part of your head).

She has only a few specialties that she makes, lasagna, tuna noodle casserole, goulash, chili and chocolate chip cookies.  Thankfully she does very little of the cooking.

She absolutely cannot handle whining or pouting. If there are words/sounds/looks that even hint at ungratefulness, you will be forced to select an item from her "consequence jar." On this little slip of paper, you will read your consequence (for example, wiping down baseboards and window blinds) for attempting to voice your concern. It's her sick way of teaching you a lesson while having you do a chore that she hates to do herself.

She suffers from Broken Record Syndrome. For example, you will hear phrases such as "good behavior equals privileges, bad behavior equals consequences" repeated till you think your ears are going to be permanently damaged.

She suffers from pre-menopausal mush brain, meaning she will not remember what she told you yesterday (which may sometimes work in your favor).
No matter how hard she tries, she will never understand what it feels like to be taken from your home country, to lose the only family and friends you have ever known, to have to learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, and acquire a taste for new food.
She will often feel overwhelmed in caring for your physical and emotional needs and wonder if she will ever be the mother you deserve. She won't understand that some days you need special care and other days you just want to be treated like everyone else.

Sometimes she gets tired, sometimes she feels stress, sometimes she loses her patience, sometimes she says things that she wishes she could take back.

She is a sinner, in need of a Savior, living in a fallen world, raising children who are sinners, in need of a Savior, living in a fallen world. And this means that she is flawed, that she will make mistakes, that she will need forgiveness.

And this is why she often feels so unworthy to be the mother of two precious children God has already entrusted her with and why she is so grateful that He is bringing you to our family.
Waiting for you........

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BIGGER week!

More success for Little J, she stayed dry all day at daycare!  Since she turns two on Monday, I'm not sure I will actually follow through and put her in big girl undies, but the next weekend we have home I think the time has come! 

I'm done with my crutches so my knee is progressing well.  Flexion is already to 110 degrees! 

And on Monday, we requested the honor to become the parents of these sweet cheeks:

I knew when I saw them she would fit right in.  It never happens how you are expecting, but she is clearly the cutie pie for us and God has made it as clear as Lake Superior!  We are super excited and can't wait to bring her home!!  How can anyone be so blessed to have three girls with such kissable cheeks?!

That means our Vacation giveaway will be helping us bring mei mei home early next year!!  There is still time to enter and with this unexpected development, we're going to extend the drawing deadline to 11/3!

Remember, the grand prize is Christmas at Boyne Mountain!!
2nd prize:  $100 gift card to the Apple Store
3rd prize:  Two adorable pettiskirts, donated by Dreamspun Shop.  Size 3-5 and size 6-8

Check out the pettiskirts, modeled by none other than Big J and Little J!

The girls will be very sad to see the skirts leave but we hope their new home will enjoy them so much!  Perhaps Santa will remember how much fun they had modeling them.....
Just as a reminder, you donation of:
$10 = 1 Entry
$25 = 4 Entries
$50 = 10 Entries
$75 = 17 Entries
$100 = 25 Entries

And if you feel led to give more:

For a Donation of:
$125 = 35 Entries
$150 = 50 Entries
$175 = 70 Entries
$200 = 100 Entries
And the name of the newest kissable, chubby cheeked cutie pie??  Go ahead and guess!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Big Week!

But with no pictures, crud!  Our computer seems to be too full of pictures to download anymore off the camera and double crud cause I've got some cute ones! 

This week's big news, Little J went number two on her potty!!!  No, didn't take pictures of that event, but lots of cheering.  She is doing much better with the potty at daycare than at home, I've been telling her when she turns two that the diapers come off and on with the big girl undies!  She already picked out some Minnie Mouse ones.  I would totally love for her to be out of pull ups by the time the next one comes home and I am confident that will happen - whew! 

The last bit of big news, I'm having ACL reconstruction tomorrow.  I've managed to do everything I've wanted over the last 19 years since I actually tore the darn thing and the lateral meniscus but over Memorial weekend, oops, wrong foot plant and movement and I tore the medial meniscus!  No sense in just having the surgeon take care of the new meniscus tear so it's all getting done.  Maybe this was a good thing since today they even do the  reconstruction through the arthroscope and outpatient......amazing!  19 years ago they would have left me with a big long scar and a day or two in the hospital, now I'll just have a few more hole punctures to go with the ones from 19 years ago!  If you're the praying type, I'd appreciate prayers for the surgeon and anesthesiologist - like that they get a good night's sleep and they are on top of their game tomorrow!  Many thanks!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A BIG week!!

While I am a week late in posting about the big week we had, here it is.  Big J started kindergarten on Aug 30th:
She AND mom did great, no tears from either of us!  And still just as happy at the end of the day!
And it is great that her good, good friend, "J" from her daycare/preschool is also in her class.  Aren't they the cutest?
(Do you love the peace out backpack?)
And on the second day of kindergarten, Big J turned FIVE!
(the shirt is from Pitter Patter Art - also the girls birthday shirts from last year that they are wearing in the post right before this are also from there, and we all have our Africa tees from this site too!  Very talented young lady!)
She was most excited at opening this gift.......
uh huh....corn on the cob holders!  After the initial thrill of those wore off, I think she has enjoyed these the most:
first thing in the morning......
She practiced inside on the carpet for a couple days and then when she went outside with them, she did fantastic!  She will be having a lot of fun with them, better see where mine are hiding in the basement!

Little J took all the present unwrapping in, observing closely, so she will know what to do next month:

So a very happy birthday to Big J!  This girl amazes me all the time.  She is so loving, smart, funny, compassionate and spunky!  We love her so!  She is the best big sister and is so fantastic with Little J. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our little character

Our little entertainer, Little J, has had a couple good ones.  Yesterday morning as I was trying to get out the door to leave for work, Big J said wait, I have something for you, and she ran back to her bedroom and came back with about 60 cents that she took out of her money cup to give me for being the best mom ever (thanks Big J!).  Little J observed all this and not to be outdone, said, "wait, I have sumting for you" and she ran back towards the bedrooms.  While she was gone I said to Big J, I bet she is going to take your money and give it to me.  We had a little chuckle.  Lo and behold, Little J came running back and said, "dis is for you" and she handed me, yes, coins from Big J's money cup!  Oh my laughter all around!

And today while I was back in our bedroom, Little J came in and was drinking from Big J's water canteen.  And I know of course that she clearly knows it is Big J's.  I said, why are you drinking from Big J's canteen?  Well wasn't it obvious mom?  She said to me, "becuz I am tursty".  Well ok then!  22 months old, I am in big trouble!
And the newest member of the family, no, no referral yet, stayed tuned in September or October for THAT exciting news!  Big J has been bugging us since Abby died to get another cat.  I've vacillated a lot on that, thinking it would be good for our remaining cat but then thinking he couldn't adjust (he is a classic scaredy cat, the girls never get a chance to get too close to him, but he did LOVE snuggling with both Ellie and Abby when they were alive).  So, here is Samantha.......
And of course, Big J is so happy, and thankfully, Paris only gave a small hiss the first night, I think he sees how this can be good for him too!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Vacation GIVEAWAY!!

We are Very Excited to Announce our Vacation Give Away!!!

If you don’t know us, we’re Tim and Karen and we have two fantastic little girls, Big J - almost 5 and Little J - almost 2.  Little J was born in Ethiopia and came forever home in February 2010 at 4 months old.  When we knew we were being called to adopt Little J from Ethiopia, we were already in a long line to adopt from Ch * na (since 2008).  We weren’t thinking two adoptions but God had other plans for us, you can read more about that here.  Since we didn’t know our family would grow through adoption we hadn’t financially planned for two international adoptions so we’re trying to get creative.   This give away is to help us raise money towards the remaining $15,000 we need to bring “di di” (little brother) or “mei mei” (little sister) home likely in March or April of 2012.  They say there are an estimated 143 million orphans in the world and that if just 7% of Christians in the world brought home just one orphan, every single orphan in the world would have a home!  We know adoption may not be right for every family, but every family could do something to help bring an orphan home!  We would be so appreciative that even if you do not want to enter the giveaway, would you please spread the word to your family or friends (email, facebook, blog, etc) that might enjoy a week of snow and skiing by sharing my blog address.   If you have donated and blog or post on facebook about our give away, please leave me a comment with a link to your post and you will get an additional entry!

This give away is for a 6 day, 5 night Stay at Mountain Run at Boyne in Boyne Falls, Michigan, December 25th through December 30th – see the picture of the confirmation (if you don’t want to check in on the 25th, no problem, check in on the 26th!).  Boyne Mountain is one of the premier ski resorts in Michigan, but not to worry if you are not a skier, there is lots to do!  This is a fully equipped condo with ski-in, ski-out access, an outdoor heated pool and hot tub, an exercise room and so much more.  

It has 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, Living Room/Dining Room Combo, Fully Equipped Kitchen, and a Washer and Dryer.  The condo sleeps 10 comfortably.  Mountain Run offers daily activities should you choose (we made hand puppets and did the scavenger hunt last year!), or you can swim in the heated outdoor pool (the kids LOVE this) and watch the skiers coming down the slopes.  There is also an indoor water park on the property – great for ALL ages!  ** IMPORTANT NOTE: Minimum age for check-in: 21 (so if you are not 21, the vacation cannot be put in your name but must be in the name of someone in your group that is and who has valid ID to confirm)

You can read more about Mountain Run at Boyne here:  http://www.bluegreenrentals.com/landing/hotel-deals-in-michigan-mountain-run.aspx   

Entries into the giveaway will end at midnight October 9th November 3, 2011 and there will be a Drawing for the Winner on October 10th, 2011 – Little J’s birthday UPDATED TO NOVEMBER 4th!!!  The drawing will be done with Random Sequence Generator at Random.org.  Please click on the Donation Button on the top right side bar of this blog to donate.  Donation uses Pay-Pal and All transactions are secure!!!  I will email you back your number(s) for the drawing.
For a Donation of:
$10 = 1 Entry
$25 = 4 Entries
$50 = 10 Entries
$75 = 17 Entries
$100 = 25 Entries

And if you feel led to give more:

For a Donation of:
$125 = 35 Entries
$150 = 50 Entries
$175 = 70 Entries
$200 = 100 Entries
Will you help us move?

2nd prize:  $100 gift card to the Apple Store
3rd prize:  Two adorable pettiskirts (adorable children not included!), donated by Dreamspun Shop.  Size 3-5 and size 6-8.  

Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christmas in July!

I know I can't really complain too much about Michigan weather, since for the most part it suits me just right, but it has been pretty miserable hot for a looooonnnngggggg stretch, I'm talking mid 90's and what feels like 100% humidity, SO, I am perfectly happy thinking about Christmas and yes, SNOW, in July!

If you want to think about your Christmas plans, please come back this weekend to find out how you can be the winner of a 6 day, 5 night stay at Mountain Run at Boyne, right on Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, Michigan!  And you can take your entire family and then some, up to TEN people!

And, I'll try to catch up our activities, lets see after spring break, Big J did Little Learners Soccer (those pics are on my phone) and then she did t-ball - yep, fighting the boy for the ball, she got it - and yep, in her skirt, HA!

Easter, right?  They had to find about 6 eggs, each which contained a clue to find the next egg which led to the baskets - fun!
Then Mother's day
Then graduation open houses:
Including their cousins graduating from high school:
and their cousin graduating from college - sorry she didn't make the picture here but is in the family reunion pics at the end!
For Big J, kindergarten visit day which resulted in these:
Big J attended her first birthday parties for two of her best friends, this is "E"
The first fourth of July for them both - not a bit sleepy!
We surprised Grandma and Aunt June at coffee on their birthday
And when it has been hot.......
A few days at the lake with Tim's sister and kids
And just last weekend, my family reunion (dad's side).  One of my 3 brothers was there, small attendance this year but fun nonetheless!

(we'll call this one above for Father's day too!)

and then just two silly, sweet, funny girls:

We are so blessed!