Friday, February 24, 2012


Friday already? I'm linking up with Gypsy Mama and, in her words, writing like we believe we can fly...

Today's topic: grit.


There was this movie my grandfather used to like. I think it was called "True Women" or something. It was about pioneer women, crossing the prairies in covered wagons. I think. I was pretty young at the time. But anyway, those women, those ones who marched West with their belongings in a wagon and their babies and rifles in their arms, they had grit.

Women in classic literature have it. Jo March, Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls (again with the pioneer women), the good stories come from women with guts. To live a story, to walk that road, to cross the plains...that takes grit. Maybe, maybe to wash the dishes again, to carry the baby all day long, to homeschool, to cook dinner when inspiration is absent...maybe that takes a different form of grit. Until Jeremy decides we ought to walk out west with some horses and barrels of flour and jerky, I suppose I'll practice grit the way that is before me now. And maybe that's really how character is really formed after all.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Zoo Day!

Last Saturday, Jeremy was working and it was one of those days. So I did what anybody would do: a spontaneous zoo trip. Chris and Liz and Penny joined us (so glad they could!). We hadn't been to the zoo since this:And now we're this:

It was a beautiful day and the zoo was really not that crowded for a Saturday. We all had a blast, especially Laina. She dominated the petting zoo. No fear at all, for a little girl who was smaller than the goats. The boys took their grooming jobs very seriously.

(looking at the meerkats)

(I love this picture! Thanks Liz!)

(Liz and Laina--picture by Cory)

(Cory--picture by Laina!)
I love these kids!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Waiting

I'm guest-blogging today over at Kim Van Brunt's blog {Honestly} Adoption about the long wait before we brought Laina home:

I was unprepared for the weight of it: the absolute, soul-crushing burden of what I felt as I waited for my child. I knew it would be hard; I imagined what I thought I would feel with a daughter on the other side of the world, but I had no idea just how heavy it would be...

Click here for the rest...

Monday, February 20, 2012

This Little Girl...

...has been with us now longer than she was without us. That makes us all very happy.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I'm joining Gypsy Mama today for five minutes of unedited writing bliss...or something like that. Today's topic: delight.

It's delight I see on his face when his daddy tells him yes, I will play outside with you.

It's delight in her eyes when he tickles her and repeats her favorite phrase, "go, go GOP!" after her a hundred times.

It's delight when he plays drums with them, pillow fights, wrestles. It's delight in the Saturday morning Looney Tunes, and the banana bread he makes with them. Who wants to do the dry ingredients this time? Who wants to mash the bananas?

It's delight on his daddy's face when he reads his new words. It's delight in his daddy's eyes when he goes down to the study to show him the picture he made. It's delight on his face when hers lights up at the sight of him.

My children delight in their father, and he delights in them. I am blessed. They remind me daily of the delight my Father sings over me, and of the delight I feel when I run to Him at the end of a long day. At home in delight.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Iain's Eye View

It's always entertaining when the curtains lift a bit and I can see some of how my kiddos interpret the world. What they think, how they think, what they see, it's always just a bit different than I see. Case in point: they have this movie they really like: Scamper. There's this one tiny line that I would never even notice. It's said by a character who isn't even really in the main story, and it's said during a part with some action. The boys ask me why they say on the movie: "In estass-a-lous gagoose." What?!? They want to know what it means. Um, I have no idea. But the boys remember the phrase and say it all the time. Last time they watched Scamper, I told them to tell me when that part comes on. I had to rewind it to get to the exact moment when a sailor says, "Tie down the loose cargos!"

Enjoy for a moment seeing the world through Iain's eyes and camera lens. All of these pictures he took in our backyard. Comments, of course, by the artist.

(That one, I was trying to take me smaller, but I just couldn't.)

(I thought it was nice to have three grown-ups on the same table. Allie's note: Mom posted this one on FB, and it's getting a ton of comments. Everyone likes this one!)

(I like that because you see the bushes and you see in the far distance, you see the table with the grown-ups that we typed about earlier.)

(This one I took because I like trees and I like fences.)

(I took it by aiming the lens up at another house. Allie's note: he took this one through the fence at the neighbor's house. A future in PI work?)

(I thought it was nice in case we move away, just to know what our house looked like, in case I forget.)

(I think it's fun to look at rocks that are a little bit chipped off. I took it because I like seeing rocks. Isaiah was there because I just tried to take a picture of only the rocks, but I couldn't because Isaiah was in the picture. But I still like it.)

(This one I took because I like looking at balls. And I like to see them snapped in a grassy place, because I like the look of grass, and the colors.)

(This one I took because I love Laina and her silliness.)

(This one I like because it has swampy water and it has rocks, and I like rocks. In case we move away, I would still know what it was like to look at that pond. Allie's note: we're not moving. Not sure where all this talk is coming from!)

(This one I took because I like seeing things from up close.)

(I took this one because I like bottoms of trees, and I don't get to see many. I was thinking that it's good to see it because you --meaning Allie-- like that tree! But we don't like it because it prickles us. Soon it will become a grown-up pine tree, and it's little pokey things will be too up-high for us to reach anymore.)

(I was thinking that it would be a good thing, just Laina and Mom.)

(This one I thought, "Hmm, Isaiah's a very good guy to take pictures of.")

(This one I was thinking it would be cool to take a picture of the inside of bushes, so that grown-ups could know what it's like to be inside bushes. It's all branchy and twiggy, and you can get poked by the twigs.)

(I think it's cool to see pebbles of tiny dust that has been chunked.)

(I like to see blue sky and trees.)

(I saw Isaiah smiling, and I think it's good for a smile picture.)

(I like sand in the sandbox.)

(I thought it was nice to have that tree because I like it. It's very a good tree to look at, and it's a good tree for knocking leaves down, and I like it for knocking leaves down.)

(I took it because I like letters, and Vs are a fun letter to take, and it's trees that make the Vs!)

(This one I took because it's interesting to look at, isn't it?)

(I took that one because it's fun to take a picture of babies together.)

(I like Laina the silliness baby, and she was smiling!)

(That one, I tried to take it small, but I took it big. I wanted to take a picture of myself, 'cause it's funny.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Silly Ones

Recent funnies. Yes, they are repeats from FB, but I don't want to lose them.

Iain and Cory call small boats "dungies." I snicker and don't correct them. It's just too funny.

Batman talking to the Samurai horse via Iain: Let's make some headcheese for the long winter ahead. Let's butcher them. It's butchering time!

One night as I was putting the boys to bed, I was trying to explain to them what happens when God forgives us: He cleanses us from sin. My imperfect analogy was that it's like we're rolling around int he mud, and God sprays us with a hose to clean us off. Iain says, "Yeah, the Hose of Grace." Good job, Iain. I think he's got it. The Cory pipes up. "Yeah, Jesus throws the Mud of Mercy at us." Umm...the mud is supposed to be sin, but okay. Mud of Mercy it is.

Iain: This car smells like basil.
Cory: Yes, it does. We must be in basil soup. (Thinks for a minute.) Probably basil is falling from the sky. (Yes, that's the most logical explanation, kiddo.)

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Laina Update

It's official. She's not a baby anymore. She's a full-blown toddler now, into everything, zany and hilarious. Nine months ago, she couldn't sit up. Now she can't sit still.
She talks non-stop. She repeats everything we say, and while I know it's not possible for her to have a Rwandan accent (since she wasn't talking when she came home), she does say "b'ways" for boys and "buh'toon" for button. (I have no idea if you'll be able to get the sounds I'm trying to type out there. Oh well.)

She climbs on everything and has no fear. She loves walking on tippy-toes, which is absolutely adorable. She tries so hard to jump but never gets off the ground.

She loves girly clothes but will not keep headbands on or bows in her hair. She carries around her baby (a gift from Uncle Phil and Aunt Kelly) and calls her Anna. She doesn't eat any baby food anymore (yay!) but still takes three bottles at night and one right before nap time. And yes, she's still getting up at least twice a night. Sigh.
She knows where ears, eyes, hair, mouth, and nose are, and says the words as she touches them. Yesterday she surprised me by showing me her knees when I asked her. She is an incredibly picky eater, although we're not letting her get away with it. Mealtimes are loud and long.

She has a quick, bright smile. She makes a happy face and sad face on command. She calls Nona "Wo-wa" and sometimes "Wo-wo-wa" although she knows how to make N sounds. She calls herself "Naina." She loves to call out the names of her family members over and over like a little chant or song. "G-ory! Een! Mama! Dada! Naina!" Cory's name is her favorite.
She loves playing "Bon-ko!" or Bronco, with her daddy. Sometimes she tackles her brothers to the ground just for fun. She's a tough cookie.

When she has a cold, it goes straight to her chest and she has a horrible cough that makes me cringe (from her pneumonia in Rwanda?). She cries the biggest crocodile tears you've ever seen (even the nurses at the pediatrician commented on them!).
She loves her cousins and her brothers. Loves them. As well as her buddies Ben and Hannah.
From left: Penny, Addie, Iain, Laina, Cory, and Isaiah.
This may be the ONLY picture we have of the "greats" with no tears present! (at Cory's birthday party)

She gives great hugs and pats your back while she does it. And she gives kisses. She is incredibly cheerful, friendly, and outgoing, but (thankfully) well attached to her parents. She still hangs with me all the time, unless she is with Jeremy. We just recently left her with Jenna for the first time, and with Nona twice. Other then that, she's my sidekick.
She loves reading books, especially Dr. Seuss's Alphabet Book, which she calls "A-B!" She knows most of it by heart.
She's precious, funny, a total ham, dramatic, and beautiful! She's almost nineteen months old, and busy all the time. She is our sweet girl.

Friday, February 03, 2012


I'm trying something new today. I'm linking up with Gypsy Mama in her Five Minute Friday. Simply, I will write for five minutes flat without editing or backtracking--today's topic is Real.


The beginning of the year brings out a flurry of New Year's Resolutions. I admit, I make them too. But it seems to me that they are a defeating way to start because they almost never stick, and you get to the point of almost not expecting them to. They do not bring real change. It makes me wince to read stuff like, "I'm really going to start exercising this year," or "I'm going to try harder to blog every day." Real change isn't happening, despite best intentions--mine and, it seems, most people's.

So what can effect real change? Change of habits, change of mindset, progress toward being who I want to be and where I want to be? The power of the Holy Spirit. Discipline. Habit. Starting small and building. Real change is long-term, long obedience in the same direction, vision for the future. If I want to exercise, it has to be for bigger reasons than looking good. If I want to blog more often, it has to be for more than upping my following. His glory in my health, His glory in my words. His will in my life (and me healthy enough to embrace it). His will in my writing (and me honing my craft by disciplined practice).

Real change.


Okay, that was way harder than I expected, more rambling than I wanted, and I went a little over the five minutes. It's hard to write something short with a point when you start with no idea where you're going. I don't even know if that made sense or said anything worth while at all. This is hard, putting unedited words out there for the world to read. Yikes. Okay, publishing. :)

(By the way, the whole blogging more thing is not one of my resolutions. It's just all I could think of at the moment, so if you don't see more blog posts from me, you know why!)