Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Late Breaking News!

Guess who got his UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Passport today?

Josue Michel Mangine! (Known to you as Nico!)

Thank you God!

And mad props to the United States Postal Service and the US Passport Agency for getting it to us in LITERALLY 1 week.

The best $150 I ever spent

Today Nick and I went to the office of our apartment complex to officially give our notice that we're leaving. They had this deal where you can pay $150 and not have to clean your apartment before you leave-- includes them cleaning the carpets, the oven, all the bathroom stuff,the floors, the fridge, etc... And it guarantees you won't have any additional cleaning charges after you move out. (Except for anything above "normal wear and tear.")

Is that a good deal OR WHAT?

That will probably save us an entire day of cleaning.

Nick isn't convinced this is a good use of $150, but I AM.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Mother of the Year" Moment X 2

Today was yet another small dramatic event in the life and times of the Mangine five...

Three of us (me, Nick + Josiah) were not fully inoculated for the perils that might await us while residing in a third world country. So we hit the Department of Health's "Travel Clinic." (I say that very cavalierly when, in fact, it's not just something we did spur of the moment-- we had to make an appointment a month ago...) But I digress...

So, we went to get me the typhoid and the second Hep A shot. Nick needed typhoid and the FIRST Hep A shot. (Yes, we're slackers-- and our insurance has never covered this so we've waited until now, the worst possible time, to fit it in.) And Josiah needed a typhoid shot. The bigger kids were covered.

So we get there and find out that Josiah could NOT yet get a Typhoid vaccine because he is too little still. Dang-it. But he DID need a second Hep A shot and his second MMR. His first MMR was delayed because of the ole' egg allergy. He had to have it at his allergist and it was a long drawn-out process, which, in the end, was for naught, since he did not have a reaction. (One of those safe than sorry things I guess.) Welp, today we were not so lucky. As he DID have a reaction. Hives all over his chest and head in probably less than 2 minutes. But we weren't in a doctor's office, we were at the Department of Health, and guess who didn't have any Benadryl? Seriously? Yes. And I didn't have any either. I had changed diaper bags this morning and didn't really finish transferring everything over. Fortunately, they had a pharmacy downstairs and so I snatched Josiah up and ran downstairs and just butted in front of everyone in line (cause I am a shark like that-- but I honestly didn't care.)

Soon, Josiah's hives started clearing, but once we got home, he was just MISERABLE. Crying and screaming for over an hour. I tried giving him ibuprofen, thinking he was hurting from the shots. I tried letting him cry it out. I tried giving him a sippy cup of milk. And a pacifier. And his little lovey blanket. I tried holding him. Nothing worked. And I was getting a bit worried because he was SO crabby and I couldn't console him. Because I come by drama honestly, my mind of course went to the worst possible scenarios...

And then I remembered I never gave the boys any lunch. And so I gave Josiah some food. And then he was fine. Duh.

MOTY Moment #1: Not carrying Benadryl for my allergic son.
MOTY Moment #2: Forgetting to give my sons lunch.

Yep, I got it together.

Craigslist Items (again.)

I know you're probably getting sick of me and the dang craigslist postings. But sorry. Don't read on then. For like probably the next 2 weeks. Because I am going to be listing things everyday in hopes I can make more than I could at a yard sale. So far it has worked. It's kind of a lot of work for the money, but I am going to keep going with it, because when you're a stay-at-home-mom, there's not much you can do in terms of contributing to the financial income... so...

Here's the items for today. More later probably, but I will just update here on this post.

Karaoke Machine + CDs: $25
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/for/1097921997.html


Extra-wide baby gate: $15
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1098594748.html

Regular baby gate: $10- Sale pending
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1098595665.html


Hardwood filing cabinet: $20- sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/fuo/1098596777.html

Toybox : $25-sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1098606343.html

White bathroom shelf with drawer: $5-sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/hsh/1098626261.html

White bathroom cabinet: $10-sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/hsh/1098627874.html

Build a Bear Lot: $15- sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1098649722.html

Blocks: $7- sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1098653963.html

Big legos: $5- sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1098657929.html

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

I learned about THESE.

I promise you, this is a REAL thing-- TESTICULAR IMPLANTS FOR PETS! So that they can get fixed, keep their self-esteem and prevent anxiety/trauma.

If you check out the website, be sure to check out the gift shop. Cause you might want some neuticles earrings or something...

Wow.

This almost never happens to me, but I am speechless.

Me: Ask me how much we've made on Craigslist so far?

You: How much did you make selling stuff on Craigslist so far?

Me: Thanks for asking. FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN DOLLARS! ($518.00)

You: Wow. That's a lot.

Me: I know.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Repost of the campout rules

Theoretically, Nick is flying back in at about midnight tonight. Alth0ugh with what WRAL is calling, "very impressive amounts of rain" falling, I am having my doubts. He may be spending YET ANOTHER night in the freezing cold Miami airport.

As always, I hate being apart from him. It's particularly hard during this weird time of flux. I guess I am extra needy... (just what every man wants, huh?) I make no bones about it-- I am kind of a nightmare to live with I think. Yes, I do have redeeming qualities (I'd like to think.) But I am a nightmare.

I am getting off-topic.

So the big kids and I are having camp out without dad. Although Nia has made up his bed on the couch should he get back. We finished up the Barbie movie of the night-- tonight was "Swan Lake." Nico is seriously getting into these Barbie flicks and yeah, something just doesn't sit right about that. He started dancing Swan Lake tonight in perfect time with Barbie. I feel like I am robbing him of the joys of machine noises and screeching tires, superheros and potty humor. Call me sexist. I am fine with that. But I need to work on not letting Nia always strong-arm her brothers into HER pic and let them watch Cars every now and then. But that's basically it. The only real "boy" movie we own. The Mangine family is on a spending freeze because of our ridiculously high tax bill that we did not anticipate. (Yeah, btw-- the adoption tax credit is a FARCE if you're self-employed! Ask me about THAT someday.) So it looks like Barbie is going to win out more often than not...

Back to the topic at hand. Lately the campout rules have gotten a little bit lax. So tonight I wanted to remind them of the real, true, original rules. So I dug up this post from August of 2007, just two weeks after Nico came home.

So, in case any of you want to start your own camp out, here are the rules:
-no talking
-no singing
-no whispering
-no laughing
-no making any noise
-no standing
-no sitting
-no kneeling
-no kicking your feet all around
-no touching anything

Here is what you CAN do during camp out--
-Lie quietly in your bed and go to sleep.
OR, if you can't get to sleep--
-Lie still (quietly) until morning

It's really fun. :) And if they complain tell them "that's fine if you don't want to do campout."

"not my real dad"

That's what Nico told me about Nick today. He wasn't saying it in a mean or snotty way. Just as a matter of fact. I told him Nick IS, in fact, his real dad and he insisted I was not correct. When I asked where he thought his "real" dad was he said, "I don't know. Maybe Haiti."

Yikes. I thought we had several years before this business would start.

I am just really curious to know if someone said something to him or he just thought these thoughts all on his own.

But let me assure you all of this-- Nick IS Nico's "real" daddy.

More craigslist stuff

Ladder-SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/tls/1095936804.html

See Kai Run shoes:
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1095941899.html

Mei Tai style baby carrier-SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1095950431.html

Nia's bike-SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1095956301.html


Ride-on bouncy toy-SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1095960924.html

Ring sling:
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1095984880.html


Potty seat
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1095984880.html

Hip Carrier
http://raleigh.en.craigslist.org/bab/1095995275.html

Fold up Lego Table- sale pending
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1096003359.html

Baby "boat" with sunshade-- sale pending
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bab/1096008496.html

Friday, March 27, 2009

Really???

Tonight I chatted with my brother-in-law, Chris, who is in Haiti. Here's some pics he sent of Cite Soleil.




Then I read this article:
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268463,00.html

And I about barfed. Like literally I had a bit of bile rising in my throat.

Seriously folks? What is wrong with people?

So...

God really knows how to throw together an earth, eh?
http://www.oddee.com/item_96619.aspx

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Goodbye to Nana's house...


So I drove the kids out here to Manteo to Nana's house and all the cousins.
This I now know... I should not have attempted goodbye's of this magnitude without Nick nearby to pick up the pieces.

Here's my mom's and Gretchen's take on the whole deal:
http://grandmothersheartbeat.blogspot.com/2009/03/goodbyes-begin.html
http://domesticungoddess.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-sisters.html

Monday, March 23, 2009

$78

That's what we made selling things on Craigslist today.

woot woot.

oops! forgot to mention

the lamp
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/hsh/1087768686.html
BTW-- People who buy on Craigslist are vultures.

Items for sale.

So, we're starting to sell all our stuff. I am going to post all of the stuff I am selling on Craigslist here on the old blog.

Anyone is welcome to purchase things BUT, you need to come and get it. We can't be in charge of delivery.

Table/chairs... SOLD
(we love this table. we bought it from the Loomis's before they moved to England.)
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/fuo/1087699123.html

Wall shelf from Pottery Barn. (The Stoner's gave it to us as a housewarming gift when we bought our house!)-- SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/fuo/1087703074.html

"Rocking" chair- sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/fuo/1087757929.html

Corner cabinet- SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/fuo/1087764246.html

Blue book shelf- SOLD
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/fuo/1087775358.html

Fireplace screen
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/hsh/1087781578.html


Mirror- sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/hsh/1087785197.html

Curtains-sold
http://raleigh.craigslist.org/hsh/1087833963.html

$17,566

That's the amount we paid out of pocket for medical expenses (including medical insurance premiums) for 2008. (We're self-employed, can you tell?)

Interestingly, the only one of us who didn't have ANY prescriptions in 2008 was Nico. Hmmm... maybe there's something to the stereotype about Haitian immunity.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Parade (a week late)

Yes, the actual parade was a week late. It was postponed due to terrible weather last weekend. Here are the photo highlights:

Nia's highlight: the cotton candy

Nico's highlight: the cotton candy

A close second for Nico was snuggling Miss Pam:)

Josiah's highlight: having his ears covered up because he was scared of pretty much every sound

My highlight: The Helping Hand Mission-- these guys rock my socks off... they are always my highlight. I love a group where the big girls bring it. :)

This would have been Nick's highlight if he had come, since he likes jumping people and things.

And the most disturbing participant was this car holding 2 "princesses" (probably each about 4 years old... names/pics cropped so this is not too mean...) WHAT THE HECK? I know NC is a big pickle producer, but come on-- Mini Majestic NC Pickle Princess?

Friday, March 20, 2009

A sobering reminder

I blog a lot about the injustices occurring in Haiti.

Danny sent me this article.

When you're reading it, remember, this is a place less than 700 miles away from our borders. It's closer to me here in NC than the west coast of the US. And yet, somehow, 670 out of 100,000 women DIE in childbirth. In the US, that number is 11.

I love Paul Farmer's quote, "It’s never, ever going to work unless we say some things are not meant to be sold, and safe motherhood is one of them."

I often think about my own family. Probably my sister, Gretchen, would be dead if she had tried to deliver in Haiti. Possibly me. (Definitely Josiah-- without a doubt.)

When are we going to get it through our heads that THIS IS NOT OKAY?

I have to say, an excitement grows deep down in my belly when I think how INCREDIBLY gracious God is to me to allow me to continue my life in this place where I see redemption happening firsthand. I needed this reminder as I work through all the drama and loss of leaving my very comfortable, LOVED life here in the US. This is the place God has for us. I am sure of it.

An interview with the bigs

Asked my big kids these questions-- wrote down their answers exactly. Words in parenthesis are my thoughts.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Nico- Happy Birthday (?)
Nia- I love you

2. What makes mom happy?
Nico- to obey Jesus and God.
Nia- when I do something that she likes

3. What makes mom sad?
Nico- when Josiah spanks
Nia- disobeying

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Nico- obey Jesus God (?)
Nia- when she does funny things for me like says silly things

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Nico- a little baby
Nia- you never told me that yet

6. How old is your mom?
Nico- 6
Nia- I don’t know, maybe 33 (ouch, I will be 32 on April 2)

7. How tall is your mom?
Nico- big (thanks Nico)
Nia- 14 pounds

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Nico- go on a motorcycle
Nia- have some time out with her friends

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Nico- I don’t know
Nia- play with my brothers

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Nico- Because she loves daddy
Nia- Getting a job

11. What is your mom really good at?
Nico- Loving me
Nia- painting fingernails

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Nico- you no love daddy (wait, WHAT?)
Nia: taking a bath

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Nico- I don’t know
Nia: take care of us

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Nico- cereal and oatmeal
Nia: Haitian spaghetti (pasketti, actually)

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Nico- when I vacuum under the table
Nia: taking care of us

16. If your mom were on TV, who would she be?
Nico- Noggin
Nia- the mom

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Nico- clean with the big vacuum
Nia- not take a nap when the boys are napping

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Nico- I don’t know
Nia- we both have the same haircut (kind of)

19. How are you and your mom different?
Nico- I don’t know
Nia- We do not both have glasses

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Nico- I don’t know, I can’t think about it
Nia- when she cleans up for me

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Nico- go to the park (um, no)
Nia- going on dates with her friends

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Would JUST like to point out yet ANOTHER injustice when you adopt a child

So, I know I am on a theme of complaining about adoption... I don't hate adoption, on the contrary. Rather, I LOVE adoption. I just happen to think the process is incredibly BROKEN.

So today, I went to downtown Raleigh to FINALLY pick up a copy of Nico's (foreign) birth certificate. After a RE-adoption is completed, Vital Records has a copy of his birth certificate on file, which you can obtain copies of just like a regular old NC birth certificate.

So I went down there today (they had moved since the last time I went so I got incredibly lost for over an hour). I waited in line and filled out the form. When it was my turn I went up to get it, only guess who didn't have her license on her because Nick had it because of the rental car. THAT would be me. So guess who walked out WITHOUT the paper? Me, that's who.

So, I drove BACK to Cary to pick up my ID from Nick and then BACK to downtown Raleigh. Waited AGAIN. (At least this time I didn't get lost.) And when I went to check out the lady said, "That will be $45."

And I said, "Wait, the sign said it was $30."

And she said, "Oh, this is a foreign born birth certificate. That's an extra $15."

WHAT?! It's the SAME piece of paper, the same printer, the same ink, the same notary seal but it's $15 more????

Yup.

Is that messed up to anyone else?

In my next life

I am going to be an immigration attorney who specializes in international adoption.

I'd make a BOATLOAD of money, because I would be the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD WHO KNEW CONCLUSIVELY WHAT TO DO NEXT!

Eat your heart out AOL.

Today one of the aol headlines was about Caribbean spots only the locals know about...

Sure, there were some pretty places to visit-- but honestly the Sud-est region of Haiti beats the pants off it any day-- Jacmel, Cyvadier, Raymond, Bassin Bleu... come on... folks-- we'll be "suffering for the gospel" in pretty much the most beautiful place God ever created.


PS-- in case you've never seen this pic before, this is Nick jumping at Bassin Bleu.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thumb sucking update

I seriously don't know what to do.

Nia hadn't sucked her thumb in probably over a month. It seemed like we were done. It was over.

Now, ever since we're back from Colorado, she's sucking her thumb again.

WHAT THE HECK?

Logically, I know sometimes kids revert with the kinds of changes that our family is going through, but I really didn't really think it would happen with Nia for some reason. Nico? Yes. Josiah? Yes. Nia? No.

Just goes to show you never can tell...

Well, at least when she gets to Haiti she will stop-- all the kids there smack her hand when she sucks her thumb. Whether they know her or not. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why one-year-olds can't be trusted with pudding cups...

And I get made fun of for putting an indoor/outdoor carpet under my table. Who's laughing now? Well, not me. Because I am cleaning up pudding.

I rarely do this, BUT...

... you need to listen to THIS MESSAGE from Sunday...

Yowza!

Well done Steve.

Donation drive, Josiah's new hairdo and the pushup contest

Random thoughts...

The donation drive Kidspointe did for our move to Haiti wrapped up on Sunday. We have TONS of stuff at the church to go pick up. Here's a quick pic of us receiving some of the loot for the new family! Thanks everyone!

Josiah's gone spiky. It's pretty cute, huh?

Nick decided to teach the boys how to do push-ups on Sunday. It was pretty adorable. It then turned into a game where you rolled dice and had to do that many pushups. Then it morphed into Nick doing push ups with kids on his back... He was only able to do one with all three up there...


Monday, March 16, 2009

My new Bible, reason 579 why I am a dork

I got a new Bible before heading out to Colorado. I really like it. It's a parallel study Bible with the NIV and The Message.

I needed a new Bible, but I hate new Bibles.
2 reasons:

1. You can't find anything quickly anymore.
2. The gold paint on the edges. It makes the pages stick together.

Now, the only thing I can do about finding things more quickly is actually reading the Bible and getting used to it. But I did find a solution for the gold paint situation. I just spent the last 20 minutes opening EVERY page of the Bible so the pages don't stick.

All 2576 of them.

Now I can complete #1 without going batty.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The altitude in Colorado

KILLED me.

I was afraid I was going to have to turn myself in Brookhaven after I was huffing and puffing from just climbing one set of stairs. I was very relieved to know I could be relatively active (like not pass out while climbing the stairs in my three story apartment) once I got home. :)

In all seriousness, the diet has started again. This whole business of having three FULL meals a day (plus snacks) made for me was a bit indulgent. Back to the ole' grind. My goal this week is 4 times at the gym. And when I say I am going to the gym I mean to actually exercise, not just drink coffee, abuse the free childcare, and blog in the cafe.

Andrew was telling me that Colorado was a very "active" state and had the lowest incidence of obesity in the country. Well of course they do! The fat people can't even walk from the couch to the fridge without effort-- why the heck would they live there?

March 15, 2009 Update

To receive our updates via email, please visit this page on our website, and subscribe at the top (you will receive an email afterward that you must confirm to begin receiving the updates: http://www.haitianchildrenshome.org/mangine/updates.asp


March 15, 2009
Hello friends,

Thank you for your partnership with us in this amazing journey. We are seeing God more and more as we walk in His plan. Here's an update on our family... I will warn you-- it's pretty long! (photos at the end!)

We're back! We left MTI in Colorado on Friday at noon and got home in North Carolina after 2AM on Saturday morning. Suffice to say, it was a long day of travel with three little kids. I was thankful that our kids all slept on the last leg of the trip from Dallas back to Raleigh. Yesterday we all slept in until almost 10AM and tried to just take it easy and have a day of Sabbath as we (the kids especially) adjusted to being back in North Carolina.

I don't know how much to say about our 3 weeks at MTI. There's a large part of me that feels like I should keep a bit more tight-lipped with details to preserve the experience for others who I know will go after us as missionaries. So forgive me if it seems I am being vague as I describe what we did. The main thrust of the program was self-awareness; understanding who WE are so we can know how to adjust in the culture we will enter soon. There was a large focus on community-building and we covered topics like team building, moral purity, values, Sabbath, and the paradox of feelings we often live with in the mission field. We had very little idea as to how the program would impact us ahead of time. One of the things that was said was, "We're not trying to discourage you, we're trying to disillusion you." That happened. It was a challenge at times (most times) requiring us to do hard work. But we both feel the training was INVALUABLE. I simply cannot imagine us going to the field NOT having had that training.

One of the best parts of MTI was the program for our children. Our kids (even down to Josiah) were learning many of the same concepts that we were learning in their classes. It was a JOY to hear the same truths we were learning coming from their mouths at the end of the day. The staff does an amazing job of teaching the kids in fun ways that are age-appropriate. All five of us made great friends with the 20 adults and 21 children at the program-- 11 families in all going to 10 different countries all around the world.

We had weekends "off" of official training and we got to see more of the beautiful state of Colorado. The first weekend visited New Life church and then hit the Garden of the Gods. The second weekend we went up past Denver to visit our dear friend Andrew Brown. He hosted us very well and played the part of tour guide... taking us to visit the Flatirons as well as Rocky Mountain National Park. We also visited his church, Flatirons Community Church. Our whole family LOVES Andrew and it was a JOY to see him again. We made our first "real" goodbye when we left him, and it wasn't easy.

Now that we're back we have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it! In 43 days, we move to Haiti. Danny and Leann Pye (HCH Directors) have been doing a lot of leg work in Haiti getting ready for our move. They've secured housing in both Port Au Prince for our language training, and in Jacmel, where we will live until we are able to get housing built on the HCH land in Raymond. They've shopped around for vehicles, and this week are picking up our new truck! We're so thankful to them for their continued work on our behalf.

There's a lot to do here on the North Carolina side. Most notably, we have to pack, sell/give away all our stuff. And we need some help. Would you consider any of the following? If so, email nick at nick@haitianchildrenshome.org
  • We're having a large yard sale on April 11th, (at the flea market in Raleigh-- WE THINK!) We need help that day (help lugging everything out there and getting it set up, during the sale, and afterward taking everything left over to the Durham Rescue Mission) and in the days preceding it to get everything ready.
  • We will have an ongoing need for childcare on and off until we leave so we can pack. And more than just childcare, we need people to LOVE our children-- people who will play with them, and engage at their level. This move is hard on them, especially Nico, and we want them to KNOW that they are loved and cared for.
  • We need someone to help us organize/prioritize/inventory/weigh the stuff we're packing so we can have stuff sent with mission teams after we leave.
  • We still need to work on securing funding. We're over 90% of start-up funds and are over 80% of ongoing expenses. We're getting close, but still have some ground to cover! Haitian Children's Home is a non-profit, 501(c)3. More info here.

Please be in prayer for our family. Rather than give you a bullet list (that would be pages and pages long), I just ask that you pray as you feel lead.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
As we work towards our goodbyes here in the US, we anticipate with joy our hellos in Haiti. And we know we cannot do this without you.

Much love,
Nick, Gwenn, Nia, Nico and Josiah


Nico on the playground... MUCH time was spent here!

Nia and her new friend, Hannah

Nick and Gwenn up at Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park (Longs Peak in the Background.)

Our friend and host- Andrew Brown. (About to pelt one of us with a snowball.)

A big herd of elk we saw heading up the mountain...

Worshiping together on the last night.

The Mangine 5... Flatirons in the background.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Top 7 Reasons I am really loving Nick these days.

7. He does laundry. He's a better folder than I am. By far. And he does it without being asked (or told.)

6. He doesn't get jealous even though I do.

5. His stance on pickles. He never really liked pickles growing up. I, on the other hand, LOVE LOVE LOVE pickles. So he always gives me his pickles. Lately, after much encouraging (read: nagging) from me, he tried pickles again. And he kind of liked them. But he still gives me all his pickles.

4. He's got hilarious ideas. Like for instance, he just put sweet n low in his diet cherry limeade. Is that funny to anyone else?

3. His parenting style. He's SO the fun dad. Which drives me crazy at times because I like being the fun one. But that TOTALLY is not the case in parenting. Like for instance, right now he's AGAIN playing Billie Jean again on the keyboard while Nia dances like Michael Jackson.

2. He is cheap on himself so he can let me have things I want. Like pickles that cost $3.50 a jar. (See #5.)

1. He's the only one I have ever met who truly embraces my "vibrant" (as it was described to me recently) personality and all the drama (good and bad) that comes with it.

Declaring blog Amnesty for myself

I have almost 500 unread posts in my reader from being gone... I am marking them all as read. So if you are my friend and have posted something very informative, don't assume I know... ;)

2 family pics

from last weekend...

Bear Lake at Rocky Mtn. National Park

The Flatirons

Friday, March 13, 2009

heading out

we pull out in just 5 minutes. kind of surreal. my heart hurts as we make 41 more goodbyes. God has been faithful work on my heart even right up to the end ... I have a lot to chew on and so much more to learn. thanks be to God who is faithful even when I am not.

please pray for our LONG day of travel-- the next we several hours should be interesting .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not to brag, BUT...

... in case you were wondering the outcome of the highly competitive gaming this past weekend, take a little look at this:
I also won* Dutch Blitz. Which never happens because I have THE WORST hand-eye coordination of all of God's created beings... even those without opposable thumbs.
PS- Just in case you didn't know this--I love my husband and my husband loves me. I am a pretty lucky woman. Just saying.
* In full disclosure: I sort of won. Not REALLY, but I was leading at 100 points. Which is usually what we play to. And then I got greedy and insisted on going higher even though the guys were encouraging me to quit while I was ahead. But I didn't because I have far too much pride. And then I lost. BAD. But I initially won, and so I am going to call it a win. Nick and Andrew might disagree. What do you think guys-- who won?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All I ever really needed to know about God I learned through our adoption.

So, that's probably a stupid title. I don't want Christians to get their britches all up in a bunch thinking I am suggesting that we don't need the Bible, community, etc... But more and more I am finding that the truths that I REALLY need to know about God, I learn from Nico.

As you know, for the past 2+ weeks we've been away from "home." I put "home" in quotation marks because we've been trying to impress upon our kids that home is where your family is. With all of the transition coming up, I want them to KNOW that home is not a place, it is wherever you are when you're with your family. But I digress... (big surprise.)

Increasingly over the past 2 weeks, Nico's been having what Nick and I call "attachment incidents." They can be short or long-- but it's very clear to us... they are these small moments when we see the fragility in him that comes from the loss he's experienced in his young life. It happened a lot when he first came home and as we've been through so many changes lately, it's starting to happen again. Now, let me be sure to say this-- we have had GREAT attachment. It hasn't always been easy, but we've not had many of the "radical" issues that some have experienced. But every now and then, we have an incident. Sometimes it's just a passing terrified look on his face, sometimes it's extreme clingy-ness, sometimes it's a full-fledged tantrum. I have two other kids, so I know these things are all common in every kid-- biological or adopted. BUT... these incidents are different. They are not Nico's typical tantrums. Because of God's grace and wisdom, I feel like both Nick and I can recognize when this is happening very easily. Which is very important, because Nico needs a different kind of care during these times.

With my other kids (or even Nico during a normal tantrum), usually I just wait it out. I know that the child needs to calm her/himself before we can discuss it rationally. I sometimes send them to their room and tell them to come out when they are ready to change their attitude. But that strategy DOES NOT work when Nico is having one of these incidents. During these times, Nico needs to be close to us. But he hates being close to us during these times. So he will hit and scream and kick and say really, really mean things.

That's what happened this morning. He woke up feeling very fragile. He was kind of whimpering for about 20 minutes and started saying really mean things. Soon after this turned into a full-fledged tantrum and both Nick and I could see what was happening. So we took turns sitting with him and trying to show him that we loved him no matter how he fought us.

From all the adoption books, I knew how important it was to try to establish/hold eye contact, but Nico WOULD NOT do it. Any time I looked at his face he forcibly turned away and said, "NoMommy! No, I NOT do it!" I quietly whispered to him over and over that I loved him and asked him to look at my face. And he just wouldn't do it. And he was squirming and crying that he wanted to get down from my lap. I told him that I would let him down if he looked at my eyes. Somewhat begrudgingly, he agreed. He got down, calmed down a little, and turned around and looked at me, but only for a second. Then he looked away. And so again I asked him to look at my eyes. And he did, and then he turned away after another second. This happened over and over. And his face was contorted in pain. And finally I said, "Nico, honey, why won't you look at mommy's face?"

And he looked at me and said, "I can't."

And I said, "Why honey, why can't you look at my face?"

And he just burst into tears and said, "It's too hard." And then he ran into my arms and just sobbed. I just held him and held him and whispered over and over that I loved him. And he just cried and cried and held me.

And I couldn't help but think of the spiritual parallels. Like Nico, I am adopted. Not in a legal sense, but quite literally God called me out of my sin to be a part of His family. I too have my "attachment incidents"-- sometimes it's these moments of terror, sometimes I am extremely clingy, sometimes I have terrible tantrums where I say really, really mean, disobedient things. I kick and scream and refuse to look into the eyes of God. Because let's face it, when times are tough, it's hard to look into the eyes of God. It's hard to see and trust that he's got the best plan. We NEED to be near to Him, but we feel like we don't want to be near him. We've been so affected by loss that we are terrified to let ourselves believe that He is always going to be there for us. That He will never leave us. That there is NOTHING we could do to make Him love us less.

Thank you God for revealing your nature (and MY nature) to me through Nico.

Everything I REALLY needed to know about God I learned through our adoption.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ouch.

We just had one of our best weekends ever. The family went up to Boulder(ish) to visit Andrew in his part of town. We had soooo much fun... Just fyi-- we love Andrew... all five of us, but apparently the folks at the hotel think Nick REALLY loves Andrew. :) I have tons of pics but no working computer! Grrr... More on that later. But then it was time to go home and I felt like my heart was breaking as I made my first real goodbye. I cried almost all the way home. (1.5 hours)

Oh. My. Gosh. This is happening.

This hurts. A lot.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Divinely silent...

I have not been ignoring my blog on purpose. At the last minute before the trip I felt a prompting not to bring my computer.
And then Nick's computer crashed. So pretty sure updating is going to be fairly non-existant for a while.

It's weird not blogging all the time, but not bad weird.

Learning, growing, stretching, emptying, filling...

This place is amazing

Monday, March 2, 2009

A common thread.

It's interesting. At least two other mama's here at MTI have had serious medical situations with their children-- like they had kids who almost died.

I couldn't help but wonder today if God allows deep adversity in the hearts of the people he calls to prepare them to be more useful in the field...

Just a thought.

Could be wrong.

What do you think?