Saturday, October 29, 2011

Owliver's Birthday Celebration!

Cousin Henry, in attendance!

October is packed full of happy fun times for our family! Our first son, Oliver was born 6 years ago. (HOW does time fly so fast!?!?!?) We celebrated that marvelous birth with family and a most important cousin Henry! Henry and Oliver have made a pact to attend each other's birthday parties for life! :) This is a bit of a feat since they do not live near each other!

Being in school now, I wanted to send a special birthday treat that he would remember. I still remember my own Kindergarten birthday cupcakes! I got the idea online for these cute owl cupcakes:

It was fun to figure out which candies to use for the eyes and beaks! I used Oreos and Junior Mints for the eyes, Mike and Ikes for the beaks and piped the ears and feathers on with a chocolate buttercream icing.

So then on his actual birthday cake for his party:

What fun it is to celebrate this precious boy!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord,”
                                                                             Psalm 127:3

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Decide to GAIN weight for Christmas?!?!

With P90X creator Tony Horton at the Diamond
Beachbody Coach Gala party in LA
As many people know, I am proud to be a Beachbody Coach. I just LOVE it! However, due to our adoption process and going independently, I've not been able to focus on it intensely.

And I've learned that adopting a child is VERY SIMILAR to having a birth is thrown completely out of whack and regular workouts are a distant memory! I've heard it said that adopting an older child is just like having a newborn except that they don't lay down for a nap every 2-3 hours! RIGHT!!

Granted I didn't gain that dreaded pregnancy weight this time, but I have really struggled to get time to workout as I had so regularly done before.

So... I decided to jump back in with a Fitness Challenge that will stretch across the holidays like a big blanket of snow! I mean really--how many of us actually WANT to gain that  5-10 pounds that are SOOOOO easy to pick up during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years?

Do you know that if you do not decide to lose weight during the holidays you will actually gain it? So if you do nothing, you are in effect deciding to gain weight for Christmas!!!! Hey, please pass the fudge. ;)

Think about what it would be like to hit New Year's Eve and realize, "I AM ALREADY LIVING LIKE I WANT TO," and your only resolution to be "keep it up?"

Not possible? Hmmmm. I think you can do it!

So, that's where this challenge is going to come in!! :)

I am offering to coach FIVE people over the holidays and into the New Year (to Grandmother's house we go!). We will develop a community of encouragement and accountability all striving to improve our health TOGETHER. This is a beta test group so there are going to be some requirements so we can get good results.

What are the requirements?

*You must be committed for 90 days. That stretch will look like mid-November through mid-February.

*You need to drink Shakeology daily. And we are hoping for that awesome new TROPICAL vegan flavor to come out in the first quarter of 2012!!!

*You must commit to a Beachbody program. Nearly all programs are 6 days a week of exercise. Some are 5. The daily time commitment is usually 45 - 60 minutes.

*You must be on Facebook. The reason for this requirement is that I want to have all of us in a private group together where we can build relationships, encourage and stay accountable.

*I will recommend that people log their nutrition into an online fitness app like MyFitnessPal. We can all "friend" each other there and stay accountable that way too!

Now for some good news!

On November 1, 2011 Beachbody will release the "Challenge Packs" which include:
* a home direct order of Shakeology,
*a fitness program of your choice,
* 1 free month of the Beachbody Club (The Club includes an awesome meal planner and other great weight loss/fitness related tools).

There are three packs to choose from but since they have not been officially released, I cannot post which fitness programs are in which pack. However, the prices are in the neighborhood of $160 for the beginning programs up to $205 for the more advanced programs. Each pack will come with free shipping and will also save on the whole cost from $25-$45 (than if you ordered Shakeology and the fitness program separately). :)

If this sounds like something  you are ready to COMMIT to...then add a comment to this post and let me know. I will not publish your comments. Supply me with an email and if we aren't already Facebook friends, then request me or give me your page in the comment and I'll look you up.

I'm excited to see who God brings together for this challenge and I'm ready to kick myself back into gear after our adoption!

Holiday weight gain? Not me!! Not YOU! ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let's PARTY...small style!

Party time!!!

(Although our original plans to have a huge celebration in our home town with family and friends had to be cancelled due to illness, we delighted in having the seven of us together for a little soiree of our own!)

For whom you may ask???

This child we have loved on for 6 weeks in our home.

This child who a year ago had a much much bleaker outlook on life.

This child who went dazed and confused into an orphanage with 49 other lost children...relearning life and wondering what would be next.

This child whom God matched to our family.

This child for whom we did a heroic paper chase and YOU joined in the effort to help us bring him home.

This child whom we've fallen head over heels for.
(and you will too when you meet him!)

The monkey cake (he is always telling me he is my little monkey!) and the pizza, the ice cream and the laughter around the table were priceless.
These boys are just loving their BROTHERHOOD!!!
All the party-goers had a great time! (If you know Zora, you note the location of her red ball!) ;)

The singing...
The candle blowing...
The cheering!!!

The cake cutting... (I LOVE that he requested the monkey's smile...right in the MIDDLE! :))

The dancing!
The presents... (Wait, what are presents??? LEARNING QUICKLY that presents are FUN!!!!!)

                                                   The happy hugs...

And the one final question....

When can we do this again????

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life as a swirl cake

I never even think to buy marble cake mix. But there is some little munchkin who did because when I got home from the store last week and unloaded groceries, there it sat on my counter.

"Hmmm. I never put that in my cart! But...

                                            I could use that for Zebby's birthday cake," I thought.

Funny how things like that happen.

So fast forward to today...see here for why life is so crazy...and I'm preparing his cake for the oven.

But as I mixed the marble cake up...I realized what a demonstration this is about adoption.

We are the pan of yellow cake mix, he is the chocolate mix being added in.

(Did I say please forgive the silliness of this analogy yet? Please do. We are more than yellow and chocolate cake flavors, I know.)

As I plopped down the chocolate on top of the yellow, I realized that this is what life still feels like...nearly 6 weeks in.

But as I took the knife and swirled it together a beautiful pattern emerged.

The cake didn't blend into one solid murky color, each maintained their individual colors and flavors.

And it was beautiful.

That is what our goal as a family is: to blend together into a beautiful, multicultural, harmonious unit. Not color blind, but celebrating each person's uniqueness and contribution to the whole.

We'll get there. 

                       Some day.

Life in the unexpected

Life comes at you hard sometimes...blowing all your plans out of the water. That was the story this week. We had planned to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary as well as Zareb's first birthday with us (birthday number 3) and his adoption with family and friends, but all of that is getting shelved for the sake of sick children.

And they are everywhere around here.

Not anything unusual in a relatively large family, but exhausting none the less.

Donning hospital duds!
It began with Oliver. Pass over to Darrah Kate...whose body took it and turned it into croup that left her desperate for air.

Thus the afternoon trip to the ER for an emergency breathing treatment. This worked well last year when this happened, and we expected to be home in a matter of hours. Sadly, her case of croup this year was far more severe and we ended up staying in the hospital longer.

Longer as in 3 DAYS.


Not exactly on the plans for the week!

It occurred to me after she was getting better to grab some pics and video to she really appears quite pleasant and not-so-desperate as you might envision. Trust me, she needed to be there. But that little buoyant personality shines through no matter what the circumstances! :)

Eating like a toddler queen--when she finally got her appetite back!

One of 14 breathing treatments...

Transportation around the floor...perfect for lulling to sleep!

And because she's so incredibly adorable (we think so!) I leave you with a video shot on day two...

We are so incredibly thankful for good healthcare and insurance that makes these days a little less stressful than they might otherwise be.

Now to get the intestinal bug out of the other children...

Pass the bucket.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We are his and HE is ours!

 Today we adopted our son in an Ohio court of law! It was a bit crazy, both littles were running around and Zeb was making racket with the heater in the courtroom and would NOT sit quietly. We had a fair amount of interaction with the judge and I was hoping that he would not find us unfit parents who could not control our new son!

All wiggles aside, the judge ruled in favor of us being a family FOREVER. What an awesome thing!!!

Contrast this to our hearing in the High Court of Uganda...our little man slept soundly (even snored!) on my lap! And the hearing was considerably longer there!

We are so proud to show you our picture!

I love the smile on Oliver--he seems to know that this was a big deal and that Zareb became his brother today. That's a REAL smile...not a squeezy-cheesy face! (And we did bring our whole daughter Jensi, not just her head!)

Praise God for His GOOD, PLEASING and PERFECT will placing this Ugandan treasure into our family!!!!!




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

O the things he says...and says and says!

As with all of my children, I love to write down the cute things they say. I keep little books of them and we love to go back and read them and laugh our silly heads off.

With Zareb, it's really no different. Well, maybe a little bit. The things he says, he often repeats them 5-20 times in a row. I was a little unsure if this was simply deepening his grasp on the English language (he is bilingual--for now) or what was going on. Sure enough, I learned that his repeating phrases that require my affirmation or answer over and over again is a way of connecting with me. It is a common thing among children with traumatic pasts or children who have lived in orphanages.

I am learning to be patient.

I am learning to smile and softly answer, "Yes, mommy is sitting down," for the 20th time in a row.

I am learning that it is his way of connecting deeper with me. Seeing me as his primary caregiver. (Remember, in an orphanage of 50 children, there are only hired workers and volunteers (God bless them ALL!) and they are only present in his life for certain hours before another set of people come in and take over.)

He often will tell me the obvious. But he forms it as a question.

"Are you buckling me in?" 

"Yes, I am buckling you in."

"Are you buckling me in?"

"Yes, I am buckling you in."

X 20!

Now, there are times when his phrase will stop my heart in it's tracks.

Like this one, spoken at random times (when he's full of love?):

"No mo offanage!" (that's "No more orphanage" if you don't speak Zareb!)

You hear that repeated about 20 times and you start to remember what all this hard work is for...and you smile and cherish that sweet little one.

Another common thing he does is repeat things he hears me say (yikes, right?!). One he's latched on to is:

"Mommy, I so pwoud of you!" (proud)

He'll pull that one out of thin air and at times where I am at my wit's end. I truly hear the voice of God speak to me through his little high pitched Ugandan accent.  I hear God say, "You are doing exactly what I called you to do. Hang in there. This is serving Me."

Today as I was snuggling him and kissing his toes I said something I don't usually. I said,

"I love your feet-sies." (Okay, it was weird.)

You know what i heard back?

"Oh Mommy, I love your feces!" Complete with looks of great love and waiting for me to affirm him!

Um..."Mommy loves your FEET, Zareb! Your feet!"

"Yes! I love your feces, Mommy!"

x 20!

...and one just has to laugh! We got one for the books! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family Picture Day!

So thankful for a friendly request from our church to get a picture of us all SEVEN together! We had taken the above picture for the header...but I must say, it's quite a bit easier to get pictures of your feet than your faces! ;)

First the end product (that you'll see in other parts of this blog most likely!):

Here's a few favorites from the session we had this weekend:

These kids are all in school! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!??!?!

The two I get to keep at home!

Almost had everyone looking here...
A runner up for the final shot...but lack of posing ("let's just hug") made for odd hands in odd places. (and yes, we were our own photographers...we had the fun of smiling and laughing at grandparents who danced behind the camera to get littles to look and smile! Thanks Mom and Dad!)

All 5 loves of my heart! 

Totally saved my favorite for last! Isn't this just awesome?!?!

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