Friday, August 31, 2012

Heading Out

to do a little camping this weekend...
in this:

 with all of them:

The packing task alone for all 9 of us has me wanting a vacation from our vacation that hasn't even started yet. 

I have so far loaded mass quantities of deodorant on board.
This should be fun.
Catch ya on the flip side. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Call Me Julia.

Or June.
Because truly.
If I could spend each of my days in the kitchen whipping up homemade pies and delicious from scratch dinners for my family while wearing my pearls and my cute apron
I would.
I totally would.

Ok....well I'd also like to spend my days on the streets of Africa, or China or anywhere else for that matter loving on the un-loved,
but I also like the pie idea.

Meet June.
Hi June!
So it is with great excitement that I grabbed a hot cup of tea and my new favorite blanket from Costco and snuggled up to watch Julie & Julia on TV the other night.

Oh how I love that movie.
My favorite part is when she talks about making the beef bourguignonne.
I love the way she says it.
I love that I can't spell it.
I love the way she flings open the oven in great anticipation of what she has created.

So it is I.
with June in mind.
will be attempting the beef bourguignonne.

I don't have any idea how it will turn out.
I don't have any idea what half of the ingredients are...porcini mushrooms? Beurre manie?
but good golly I'm gonna give er a roll. 

Here's what I'm up against.

Beef Bourguignon Recipe

We are using shiitake mushrooms for the fresh mushrooms in this recipe, even though they are not traditionally used for this dish, because they are just so meaty and good. Feel free to use any fresh mushroom you'd like. If you don't have access to salt pork, you can use bacon, but simmer it first for 8 minutes in water, then drain and rinse, to remove its smokiness. A word on salt. Salt pork is salty. Be sparing with salt as you make this dish until the end, when you can adjust. Commercial beef stock is also salty, so you very well may have enough salt for the dish just from these two sources.


  • 6-8 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels
  • Salt
  • 10-12 shallots, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 2 large, peeled carrots, 1 chopped, 1 cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir, or other red wine
  • Beef Stock (low sodium), at least 1 cup, quite easily more
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 24 pearl onions, fresh or frozen
  • 1 lb fresh shiitake, cremini or button mushrooms
  • Beurre manie: 3 Tbsp flour blended with 2 Tbsp butter


1 If you are using them, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and allow them to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and chop coarsely. Pour the soaking water through a paper towel (to remove any dirt or debris) into a bowl and set aside.
2 In a large sauté pan, pour enough water to cover the bottom by about 1/8 inch. Over medium heat, cook the salt pork in the pan until the water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Once the water is gone, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook the salt pork until much of the fat has rendered out of it. Add a tablespoon of butter and continue to cook the salt pork unti the pieces are browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the salt pork pieces to a large Dutch oven or other large, thick-bottomed, lidded pot.
3 Increase the heat to medium-high. Working in batches so that you do not crowd the pan, brown the beef. Leaving space around each piece of sizzling meat ensures that it browns and does not steam. Don't move the pieces of beef in the pan until they get a good sear, then turn them so they can get browned on another side. Take your time. This will take 15-25 minutes, depending on how large a sauté pan you have. Once browned, remove the beef from the sauté pan and place in the Dutch oven with the salt pork.
4 When all the beef has browned, add the shallots, the one chopped carrot, and the chopped porcini mushrooms if using. Stir in the pot to remove any browned, stuck-on bits in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
5 Add the brandy and stir to combine. Boil down by half, then add the strained mushroom soaking water (if using). Scrape any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the sauté pan and pour the contents of the pan into the Dutch oven.
6 To the Dutch oven add the bottle of wine and enough beef stock to almost cover the beef; the beef pieces should be barely poking up out of the liquid. Add the parsley, bay leaves, thyme and cloves. Cover and bring to a bare simmer. After 1 hour, add the second carrot, peeled and cut into chunks of 1-2 inches. Continue cooking for another hour, or until the beef is tender.
7 Meanwhile, trim the tough stems off the shiitake, cremini, or button mushrooms and slice into 2-3 large pieces; small mushrooms leave whole. Prepare the pearl onions. Boil them in their skins for 4-5 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water. Slice the tips and root ends off the onions and slip off the outer skins.
8 When the beef is tender, use tongs to remove all the beef and the chunks of carrots; set aside in a bowl. Strain the contents of the Dutch oven through a fine-meshed sieve set over a medium pot. This will be the sauce. Boil the sauce down, tasting frequently. If it begins to taste too salty, turn off the heat. Otherwise, boil down until you have about 3 cups. Turn off the heat.
9 Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the mushrooms. Dry sauté the mushrooms over high heat, shaking the pan and stirring often, until they release their water, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pearl onions and 3 tablespoons butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle salt over the onions and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions begin to brown. Remove from heat.
10 Returning to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the beurre manie. Whisk in a third of the paste, wait for it to incorporate into the sauce, then add another third of the beurre manie, and so on. Do not let this boil, but allow it to simmer very gently for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy. Taste for salt and add some if needed.
11 To serve, coat the beef, carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions with the sauce and serve with potatoes, egg noodles or lots of crusty bread.
Yield: Serves 6-8

And while I'm at it, salted pork?
Where on earth do you get such a thing?
This cannot be a good sign of things to come.

So Julia and I will be in the kitchen for the foreseeable future.
Dominoe's will be on standby should this turn out in catastrophe.
But for now, my courage is in tact and this will be dinner.
I'll let you know how it turns out. 

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Phone Call From the Teacher

And it's only the second week of school.

A little bit about me: When my phone beeps with a new voice mail and I hear my son's teacher on the other end asking me to call her back it makes my insides flip flop, it makes me nervous and sweaty and it makes my mom brain fire on all cylinders.

What did he do?
Why didn't he tell me?
I should have seen this coming.
I should have met with her already and prepped her for some things,
like he will likely come out of the bathroom with his pants unzipped and unbuttoned.
And I should have assured her we are working on this.
And I should have reviewed with him 20 more times the rules of the classroom.
And reminded him not to pee all over the toilet seat
And oh good gracious what am I going to do now?
And I may have a teensy habit of overreacting. 

This is what a voicemail from the teacher does to me these days.
I. Am. Awesome.

So I take a breath.
And call her back.

And here is what I hear:

Best Teacher Ever: "I was interviewing Joshua today for a project and I was asking him things like, "What do you want to be when you grow up" "What's your favorite thing to do?"
And then I asked him, "If you could meet anyone who would it be"

to which she received this reply: 

Joshua: "I want to meet Jesus." "I want to meet Jesus in Heaven."

Best Teacher Ever: "What do you want to say to Jesus?"
....get your kleenex

Joshua: "I want to tell Him thank you for saving my life." 

And let the tears fall.

Bless her heart.
She.....who also loves Jesus by the way......struggled to keep it together in front of my sweet boy and his fellow classmates.

A boy who, at this time last year, was lying in an orphanage blue and dying never even having heard the name of the Lord.
Never having hope.
Never knowing love.
Never having life. 

Who is now proclaiming that out of everyone he could meet, he wants to meet HIM and thank HIM for saving his life.


Redemption is such a beautiful thing. 

Two words people:


You are the helper of the fatherless. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Psalms 10:14,17-18

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today We Address This:

26 degree curvature in the middle.
17 degrees at the base of his spine. 

That's Jason's actual image.

We finally got around to seeing the orthopedist today.
But first can I say that I had no idea about anything scoliosis related until recently.
Namely I had no idea that this tends to develop around adolescence.
I guess I figured that either you are born with it....or not.
But I was like wrong and stuff. 

So today we learned a lot.
Namely there is ummmmm....nothing we can do about it. 

His spine is not only curved but it is also twisted.
Jason's right shoulder blade sticks up and out of his back.
It's oddly weird to look at.

The curving will slow down and stop as soon as he is done growing....which should be soon apparently. He's 15 and 5'10.
The doctor was quite nice and very informative:
Can live a normal life.
Can play sports of any kind.
Has no precautions.
Won't affect his back later in life.

The only thing the doctor said he may not be able to do is

join the military. 

I'm sorry.
Could you repeat that?

After a bit of research it turns out he was wrong......and right.
Apparently the curvature in the thorasic region (the middle) has to be 30 degrees or higher to disqualify you from service.
Jason is so far at 26 degrees.

Not too big of a deal for Jason since he is not sure what he wants to do yet,
but here's what else we learned today,
it's genetic. 

And this child has wanted to go to the Air Force Academy since shortly after he emerged from my uterus.
Guess who's getting a chest xray soon.
We will probably get the twins checked out too and if they show signs they can take preventative measures's too late for Jason and Jordan.

We also learned today that Jason's children have an 85% chance of having scoliosis.
Hi curvy grandkids! Gma loves you!
Oddly, if Jason were a girl, his children would only have a 55% chance.

Chalk it all up to Adventures in Motherhood ~ The Things You Never Knew. 
Scoliosis 101: Check.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Because There Wasn't Enough Going On Around Here....

I decided to go back to school.

Social work degree meet Sonia.
Sonia, meet social work degree.

I mean come on,
7 kids
an active duty husband
and a full time student.

have no idea what I'm doing  got this.
I'm feeling very confident.

Your totally naive friend who tends to vastly overestimate her abilities.....

post script ~ My favorite part so far was buying school supplies.....for myself!
Pink polka dot notebook ~ check.
Pink folder ~ check. 
Purple feathery princess pen ~ check.....ok...not really. But trust me...I really wanted to buy it....I also really did not want to look like a complete dork with all the other students who are half my age. So I bought a regular boring pen. Boo.

post ` post script ~ My sweet friend Julee made this for me for my first day.

I heart her.

post ` post ` post script ~ Do people take notes anymore with real paper and real non-princess pens?
I have a vision that I am going to show up the first day and everyone else is going to open up their super sleek brand new laptops and tablets and I am going to be the only one there with real paper.
And then everyone is going to look at me,
and think how old I am
and ask me to bake them cookies because I remind them of their grandmother.
And that's just not how I wanted my first day to go down.

Ya know what...
this is a bad idea.
I quit.

The End.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

FAQ ~ Continued Continued

Q1: "I'm coming with an 8 year old post op heart boy in October. I think my biggest concern is language. How long did it take for your boys to understand you enough to get by ok. If you used a translator what kind was it?"

Ahhhh those translators.
I was all amped up about them before we traveled for the boys.
I did my research,
read the reviews,
scouted the latest and greatest,
payed $25 for and installed the best on my phone....

and then promptly never used it.

I guess my simple answer is:
Don't sweat it.
Charades are very effective and even better.....
8 year old's can charade right back at ya.

We did try the translator app once or twice but found it to be slow and not always precise.
For example,
"Do you want to go to the park?"
Quickly turned into:
"You park and dishwasher said the moose to the turtle."

I made that up.
But you get my drift.
They didn't work quite as well as I imagined and hoped they would.

Besides, some things are just universal and transcend language barriers.
Pointing works great,
pantomiming works wonders,
but for the heavy stuff or bigger conversations you need to have...
ya know....
like you are going to the hospital and they are going to cut your chest open to fix your best advice would be to make friends with someone who speaks Mandarin.

When Joshua came home a sweet friend of ours had called the local Chinese Christian Church and they met us at the hospital at 9pm that night he landed.
They rallied around him.
They loved on him.
They comforted him.
They cooked him some off the hook delicious Chinese food.
{Watching the nutritionist in the PICU trying to count calories and fat intake for foods that she had never even heard of before was rather comical. How many fat grams in a duck head would you say?}.
They did wonders for him.
Hi Guys! We miss you!
And I will never forget the love they poured out on him...heck on both us for that matter. I'm not sure I would have been able to even shower that entire month if not for them coming by everyday. 
And even if you aren't facing major surgery the first few days home,
make some friends......cautiously.
Much like I wouldn't want any English speaking stranger talking to my bio kids,
I didn't want just any Mandarin speaker talking to my newly adopted kids.
You won't know what they are saying and that can be....well....dangerous.
Find some Mandarin speakers who love Jesus as much as you do and who are committed to helping you grow and nurture the new relationship between you and your new kiddo.  

So bottom line, seek out some connections in your community that are trustworthy and throw the translators to the curb.

Q2: Have you figured out a solution to the socks??? Cuz if you have, I NEED TO HEAR IT! 

Oh goodness socks.
Thankfully our sock issue isn't an issue for us.
John, Jason and Jordan all wear the same brand/size so that's easy.
The twins wear the same size, different brand than the others so that's simple.
And the little one's all have microscopic feet so it is easy to determine which one's belong to them.

What I haven't figured out yet are the shoes.


I've done a post already about shoes a few months ago so I won't go into all that again but suffice it to say we have something like 27 pairs of shoes around here. 54 individual shoes without a place to call home. A pair of tennis shoes for each person, a pair of flip flops or crocs, baseball kleats, basketball shoes.....I'm tellin you. It's borderline ridiculous.

So this is me throwing that question right back at ya.
Heck do I do?

Our porch looks like something out of a bad episode of Hoarders....only instead of trash and 8 broken dishwashers I have piles and rows and rows and piles of s.h.o.e.s.

Help me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How Old is My Kid? ~ The Conclusion

well not conclusion per se...

More like
How Old is My Kid ~ The Resignation of the Issue.

My friend Megan
Hi Megan!
Reminded me on FB tonight that I never posted about the result of my Magnum PI investigation into figuring out how old Joey really is.

So here you go!
The answer:
Drumroll please......
The answer is.....

I have no stinkin idea. 

The End.

Magnum was way better at this than I am.

I checked his shot records that came with him.
And his first shots were about two months after he was found.

I checked the paperwork in his file that we photographed.
DOB 4/2/04 again and again.

I checked the newspaper article that he was in as an infant when the local news did a story on him getting his heart surgery.(It was the most his province had ever spent for an orphan to get a surgery of any kind. They even nicknamed him "$182,00" {yuan} (Only they say it in Chinese...which I don't know how to type.)
But I didn't catch the date at the top of the newspaper in my photo. Argh!

At some point I may go ahead with a bone age scan just for grins but I am honestly not going to put much stock in that at this point.
He's a heart baby.
He's Asian.
His nutrition status was significantly compromised
(must be why he's so "weird" huh Pat?)...sorry...that just kinda slipped out....ahem...
So there are a lot of factors that would make a bone age scan pretty much unreliable at this point.

I will have a convo with his dentist when we go back in a few months for his next cleaning and see what he thinks,

and when I get a minute {in 20 years or so} I'm going to check out the DNA testing that a few of you recommended.

But for now

he's 8.

Doesn't act 8.
Doesn't look 8.
He'll turn 9 in the 2nd grade.
He wears 3T shorts.
But in the abscence of any real proof to the contrary, I don't feel comfortable changing anything....for now.
And probably forever honestly.

I think there is a small window of time where I can realistically change his birth date without causing him emotional harm.
I can't look at him when he's 14 after all and say, ya know what buddy? We really think your only 11 so we are going to go with that now. Happy 11th Birthday!


So for now,
we go with either he is really 3 years old in this picture....

or the date on the camera is wrong.
Either way.....
he's Joey,
my maybe Chinese,
maybe Taiwanese son
who is 8. {maybe} {sigh}

In better news, we love him regardless.
And seriously....3T shorts are just plain cute!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Well That Was Almost Bad....

really bad.

This is what's new around here.

What the?

He is nearly 6ft tall.
He's a sophomore.
His feet are ginormous.
He can throw down a bowl or 12 of pasta like nobody's biness
And now
he drives.

He has been mastering his new skill recently.....
on base. 
Ya know,
25mph speed limit.
Controlled environment.
Little to no risk factors occurring here barring any pelicans that decide to fly in front of the vehicle.

We began with the largely uninhabited area of the base...
also known as the golf course.
Around and around and around and ahhhh-round we went.
And he was rockin it.
Stopping: Check.
Accelerating: Check.
Avoidance of palm trees, wildlife and utility poles: Check. Check. Check.

So last week we moved on to the rest of the base during after duty hours when the stoplights flash yellow and it's only him and 2 other people on the road.
Around and around and around we went.

Progressing, he then graduated to driving during populated times of day.
It's all an adventure.
So around and around and around and ahhhh-round we went.

Until today.
Today he drove us home from Jack's hockey practice off base.
Ya know.
In a real city.
With lots of real people.
And real cars driving next to you.
And speed limits that are a teensy bit higher than 25.

He did well.
Very well
very well until...

Until we approached the main gate coming back on base and he was trying to
  1. get his ID card out of his wallet, 
  2. roll down the window to give it to the guard 
  3. and....ya know...... 
  4. drive
all. at. the. same. time.

In case you were unaware,
15 year old boys are capable of doing roughly 1/2 to perhaps 1 thing at a time.
2 is unheard of.
3 is downright insanity.

You've seen these before yes?

Have you ever driven through one?

Well, mercifully we haven't either but letmetellya....
today we came about a foot away from doing so when he slams on the brakes and skids to a stop just before that arm said hello to the front bumper of my Suburban.

It was sudden.
It was slightly jarring.
And my nerves are still lying alongside the road

We {quite quickly} had a couple of nice police men right at the window.
They saw who was driving
proceeded to have a good laugh at his expense,
and regaled us with stories of their own initial driving experiences. 

Off base driving day 1.
I call that "success.?

I need a drink.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Have you seen this?

Pat Robertson vs. the Spirit of Adoption

I truly have no words for this man's ignorance.
So while I am searching for a thoughtful response I'll be taking care of my "weird" children and living out God's commandments to care for the least of these.

Un. Be. Lievable. 

Thank you Dr. Moore for telling it like Jesus would. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear Grown Up Jordan,

Dear Grown Up Jordan,

Right now you are 14.
You are funny,
you are bright,
and you are way taller than me.
You make this house a fun place to be.


You also make it noisy.

You particularly, of late, seem to enjoy wrestling excessively with your younger brothers

Let's see...
how shall I say this nicely...
this isn't working for me.

I know you think I'm a big kill joy when I ask you to stop hanging your brothers by their ankles and pretending you are going to drop them down the stairs at 8pm.
I know you don't realize that this causes huge rushes of adrenaline to course through their veins.
I know you don't know this instinctively activates their fight or flight response. 
I know they enjoy this.
I know you enjoy this.
However none of this is conducive to me trying to get 5 little boys to bed.


Help me Jordan.

I know I probably sound like a grumpy ole woman who won't let anyone have any fun at that time of day but dude...
your killin me.

So this is my letter to you.
I hope you'll read it one day when you too are in your mid-30's surrounded by children who won't go to sleep.
And then I hope you'll call me...
and tell me I was right.

I'm here bud,
patiently waiting by the phone.

All my love,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cigs in Prison.

Ok never did I think I would have a blog post with that title
but seriously Shelly?
Trading glue sticks like cigs in prison?


I am so grateful I am not alone in the school supply/school readiness and subsequent poverty area.
Thank you all for making me feel better with your $200 giant shoes
and 87 glue sticks
and fellow calculator purchases
and preschool payments
and reminders about college book costs...
never mind...
I'm highly resentful of those collegiate reminders.

So behold...
my dream come true.

I know it doesn't look like much but good gravy have you ever had 7 children doing homework and hearing,
"I need a new pencil!"
"I need crayons!"
"I need a ruler!"
"Where are the colored pencils?!"

This year...
twill be different.

I am bound.
And determined.
I am bound and determined 
that this year will be different. 

No more rifling through the junk drawer looking for a blue crayon,
no more searching the far reaches of their backpacks for a broken pencil that I can sharpen.
This. is. it.

Our reservoir stocked with extras.

Need a pencil?
No problem.
already sharpened!

Teacher says you need to bring in another red pen tomorrow?
Roger that.
Out of paper?
Okie dokie.
Divider tabs?
Index cards?
On it.
On it.
On it. 
I. Am. On. It.

Need Joe Montana to come with you for career day?
Got it.

Joe can't go.
But the binders and glue are available.

And then of course I would be remiss if I didn't introduce to you the coolest pencil case evah.

Oh Perry.
Your so extraordinary.

School year 2012/2013....

And hey...
if it lasts a week I'll be happy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Grand total of what you see here:


Seven hundred and twenty four dollars.
Otherwise known as

$120 required graphing calculator.
$153 AP Geography textbook
$ shoes for 4.....the only 4 that needed them. 
pencil cases.
colored pencils.

Still to buy:
1 pair of shoelaces,
1 pair of teenage basketball shoes,
and my sanity. 

Someone commiserate with me please.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Counseling Scheduled

and that appointment can't come soon enough.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Day in the Life.

I ran out of shampoo today.
So like any idiot resourceful person, I used the teenagers Old Spice Hair and Body Wash.
This was shall I say.....
not my best idea.
I've done this before...
also with disastrous results.
I apparently am an idiot not a first or third time learner. 
If anybody needs to find me today I'll be the girl with a hat on who smells like a boy wearing too much cologne.


Nearly everyday when I put my mascara on I end up jabbing myself in the eyeball with that stupid wand thingy.
This makes my eyes water.
And consequently makes my newly applied mascara run down my cheek.
This looks awesome.
So I start all over again.
Apply. Jab. Apply Jab. Apply ohnevermind.


Kid at the pool today was playing swimming races with Joey when he swam up next to me with a quizzical expression on his face and said , "You look American."


Makes me smile. Love that through our experiences kids at the pool, kids at the park, kids around our community are learning that families don't have to look alike to be family. But man alive sometimes it would be so great if I were a lovely Asian woman. I would love me some of that gorgeous hair.

Had a talk today with the boys about questions they may get/have gotten from other kids at school. Not surprisingly the question they apparently get the most was about where their "real mom" is. So we talked about some possible answers to those types of questions.
Ya know, answers that don't sound like something out of the UN, or a Hallmark card.
Or sound like we are hopping up on a soapbox to educate every 8 year old on the intricacies of adoptions, but we just talked about some nice, casual, real life answers to these types of questions. One's that will stem the tide of curiosity, yet not ostracize the rest of the school in a...don't ask them anything they will get offended type of way.

Up to now their English hasn't really been good enough to pick up on these comments and such made by other kids but now they do. So here we find ourselves delicately walking that line of protecting their own stories and explaining who the heck this white lady they hang out with is. Because really, just because they are adopted doesn't mean everyone needs to know their story.
Much like just because you aren't adopted doesn't mean I have the right to know if your mother had a C-section or if you came into the world the old fashioned way.
Tell me about your journey through the birth canal....was it scary?
Did you like living in utero?
Where was your real placenta? 
Your noggin is ginormous, how the heck did that work out?

While we are on the topic of things I don't understand let me throw in this:
Word verification on commenting on blogs.
What the?
I haven't ever turned that feature on in my comments and in two years I have never gotten a comment from a computer, or a robot, or spam. I so often read your blogs on my phone where typing letters I can barely see in that tiny box is nearly impossible. Is word verification really necessary? Someone, please enlighten me. Is there some mass influx of computers commenting on blogs with offers to buy little blue pills or somethin necessitating the use of the verification? Cuz I wanna be able to give a shout out to my peoples. And I promise I'm not a robot.


School starts for the teens in 13 days.
Ohmygoodness we are all ready.
They to study hard and get straight A's and ace the SAT
see their friends
and me to not have to feed them 22 hours out of each day.

I am in the beginning stages of searching for some kind of longer term(bout a month) mission opportunity for them next summer. They are both very interested in that but I am finding that there is just so much out there I'm having a hard time figuring it all out.
When your teenagers want to go serve for a summer you try your darnedest to not have to say no so search I shall. 
Suggestions anyone? My fellow teen momma's got any direction for me?


I watched synchronized swimming today with the boys. Girlfriends CRACK.ME.UP. Their athleticism is impressive, the music is happenin and I can't stop rewinding to watch the Spanish team do that flamingo dance thing.  I gotta get me a pair of nose clips and start practicing. Rio here I come.


There are a couple of sweet friends of mine fundraising to bring their daughters home. You could even win this: 
Ooooo lala
come to mama. 
You can enter that giveaway right here. 
And you can get your hands on some of these for those toddlers around your house.

Squeaky shoes!
I have never been able to be a part of the squeaky shoe phenomena...
cuz ya know...putting them on 7 year old boys the day after you meet would be....I imagine...frowned upon.
But you can!
And look!
There are even boy one's!!

So go here and here and please consider being a part of those precious girls journey home! 


John took all the boys to an NFL practice that is open to the public tonight.
Did you hear that?


Me neither.

The house is q.u.i.e.t.

I don't even know what to do with myself so I thought I'd sit down in front of my computer and talk to you all. I briefly thought about catching up on the housework but I shot that thought down and threatened it with it's life if it made that suggestion again. So instead it's here I sit. Surrounded by string cheese wrappers, wheat thin crumbs and a sink full of dishes that are mocking me with their stuck on grease.


Trying to figure out how.....nay....definitely, officially committing myself to go to the Created for Care conference in January. I. am. stoked. Who wants to come with me?
I promise I won't use the word "nay" in person.
"Sonia, want some more coffee?"


Alexis is working on a blog makeover for me.
I am ridiculously excited.
This blog began about two years ago when I didn't have a clue what I was doing,
could barely spell immigration,
thought DTC was an acronym for a new hip kind of soda,
and thought dossier was pronounced with an 'r' sound at the end.

I had no followers and 1 reader......uhhhh that'd be me.
Two years later I am thankful for each and every one of you that listen to my dribble and encourage me in my shortcomings and rejoice in our triumphs.
This community is one like no other and even though I feel like a total psychopath when I tell my real life friends stories and share prayer requests about some of my "blog friends", I carry on.
Because I feel like I really know so many of you.
And psychopaths gotta stick together.


Well, I think I'm going to go enjoy the quiet now.
I'm going to take a bath, eat some junk food, and curl up on the couch with the Olympics and my favorite blanket.
Nighty night.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Got Love?

...then there's some kiddos I want you to meet.
 So go ahead and hand over your heart right now....cuz they gonna steal it.

First up this little aspiring businessman.
2 years old

He is postop for Glenn procedures and has complete transposition of great arteries, VSD, and PV stenosis. Normal physical and mental development can speak in phrases of 1-2 words. He is able to walk holding onto handrails. 

Mr. Cutie Pants still does not have a family. 
4 years old.
Please. Someone. 

If he does not get on med's his HIV will progress into AIDS. 
He needs a family. 
He needs you. 
You can read his story right here. 

I'd also like you to meet Holly. 

Holly resides at New Day and is L.O.V.E.D. The staff there would love nothing more than for her to find a family of her own. 
You can read more about Holly right here! She's a sweetie!

And finally meet sweet "Warren". 

Sweetness just turned 2 and has CL/CP and blindness. 
When he wakes in the night, the ayi's have to tell him to stop singing and go back to sleep.
He waits until they are gone and starts singing again. :) LOVE that!
You can find more info about him right here. 
Tons of video and pictures available on this little man!

4 children.
Who need just 4 people willing to say yes. 
Could you be 1? 

If you would like more information on any of these kiddos just shoot me an email at

Friday, August 3, 2012

FAQ ~ Part Deux.

Q: How is Joshua doing, what is his health status? I think about him a lot.

A: Well, first let me say thank you.
That blows me away.
That. really Blows. Me. Away.
I am ever convinced that if not for the covering of prayer over that boy in the last year he would not be here today.
Going from this phone call to where we are now just a few months later still makes me boo-hoo.
And hoo and boo.  
And boo hoo hoo.
His experience has forever changed the way I look at life, death, and all those tiny moments in between. 

So to answer your question, he's doing fantastic! Fan-stinkin-tastic. If you were to see him on the street, at the playground, on the baseball field you would have no idea what he has been through.
Truly, no idea.

He looks, acts and almost runs now just like everybody else.
Ok.....well that's not exactly true.
He still puts his clothes on backwards and/or inside out nearly everyday,
has a nasty keloid scar, that I swear grows by the day, racing down the middle of his chest,
pees all over the toilet seat,
and thinks he can have chocolate cake for breakfast.
BUT, other than that...totally normal.
And hey, who doesn't want cake for breakfast?!

His scabs/scars/bites/whatever the heck that was, have healed on his legs.

His gait is remarkably improved. I can't remember if I ever shared this but the day after he landed in the US they did a head CT in the hospital to see if he had a stroke at some point due to his largely abnormal gait. I remember that time as a bit of a fog. He had just landed the day before, we had barely slept that first night in the hospital and I just couldn't for the life of me wrap my brain around the word, "stroke."
Heart yes.
Stroke? Heck to the no. 

I somewhat noticed the awkwardness of his gait when he got off the plane and walked to the bathroom at the airport and in truth I was probably making excuses for it in my head.
Long flight...
couldn't really stretch his legs at 30,000 feet....
but the doctors really noticed it. He would drag his left foot behind him when he walked. The CT scan was negative and that awkward walk is now gone, and he can almost run with a normal stride.

We head back to our favorite cardiologist and his incredible nurse in late September for his next checkup. But for now, we just wait.
Wait and live.
Live and wait.
At some point his new pulmonary valve will fail and it will need to be replaced. The valves can fail in a matter of a few months or a few years, there is just no way to know. His has been happily hanging out beating with his heart for exactly 10 months {today!} now.

He has a Contegra that looks a bit like this:

Jack just walked behind as I am posting this and says, "What's that? A potato stick?" Ha. Heart valve...potato stick. Whatevs.

"The Contegra pulmonary valved conduit is an animal jugular vein that contains a valve with three leaflets that are similar to a human heart valve. It’s designed to allow blood to flow freely from the heart’s right ventricle into the pulmonary arteries which lead to the lungs."

It's working beautifully for him. One of our main concerns is our transient lifestyle with the Air Force....I really, reeellllyy want the same cardiac team caring for him the second go round. They know him, they love him, they have cared for him since he was sick and blue with O2 sats at 60%. The thought of having to start over with a new team makes me shudder. So we hope and pray that God will make a way for us to be able to stay where we are for awhile....a good long while.
So that's the what's what on Joshua!

Q: So, do you ever say "kitchen is closed" for the night? I've tried that with my boys, and they just howl laugh at me:)
Do they have chores? or do you just like 'doing' for them?

A: Kitchen closed? Dude. I'm totally gonna try that.

But truthfully, though I don't ever say it, but I guess it's just sort of implied. I make frozen waffles and pour cereal cook breakfast, I cook lunch, I cook dinner and wash and chop some fruit throughout the day as snacks in between. But once the day is done.....thassit. And mercifully they are old enough to scavenge on their own in those late night hours when this momma is not cooking one more thing. Cereal makes a great filler for growing boys, as does hot sandwiches. We just got a Panini maker  recently and the teens are having a grand ole time loading it up with whatever filling they find. If you've got ever hungry teenagers roaming around your house load up on some good bread, meat, cheese and 1 panini maker. You can thank me later.

Chores, Chores, Chores? Yes. Yes. Yes!
They are all expected to keep their room decently clean and they each have a small daily chore. The twins load and unload the dishwasher, the teens take out the trash and recycling and the Asian Sensations take care of the play room.

We don't ask much of them as they do have a lot going on during the school year, so instead we stress that their current job is comprised of 3 things:
  1. Love the Lord, 
  2. Love your family 
  3. Do well in school.
That is where their focus should be. And if that means I go in and pick up 18 pairs of dirty socks strewn around the house and wipe toothpaste off the sink myself, sobeit. Taking care of this nest is my current high paying job, and it's one I {mostly} love.....sans cleaning toilets. Blech.

I will say/admit/confess that I do go in their rooms after they've left for school and make their beds, tidy up and vacuum.  I feel so much better when this house is clean and orderly and though they "clean" their rooms they don't mommy clean their rooms and with so many people living here it is important....and frankly essential to my ability to care for all of them, that things stay organized and clean.
I think that is what is makin me crazy these last two weeks of and mess e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
I feel like I can't catch up......ugh.

As far as allowance they get paid weekly the amount of the grade that they are in.

i.e. Jason is in 10th grade thus he gets $10/week.
Jordan $9 for 9th grade, the twins $5, and so on.
I find it to be a good reflection of the amount of money that suits their current wants & extravagant needs. $40/month is a good amount of money for a high school sophomore. $20/month is a good amount for a 10 year old boy. $8/month seems fitting for a 2nd grader. It seems to fit, it seems to work.

Additionally each of our kiddos has their own bank account. And each Sunday when they are paid their allowance, they have the option of putting some or all of it into savings.
Whatever they choose to save, we match. 
So, after tithing, if Jason for example, decides to keep $5 of his $10 allowance that week for spending money and save the other $5, we then kick in $5 of our own thus doubling his saving effort.
He saved $5,
we matched it,
so $10 goes into his account.
We have found this to be a great way of encouraging saving rather than spending and is building a long term bank account for them that they can use when they leave our home. Though we didn't ever attach an age or a time frame to their long term savings, they just know that it is untouchable to them right now. And somehow, that seems to work. They don't ask for it, but are instead thrilled to watch it grow.

So that's the what's what on how we roll around here.
More FAQ comin up tomorrow...
I'm going to tackle the "New Normal" question.
But first I am summoning the courage to answer that honestly.
I'm guessin honesty is what ya'll are here for.
So buckle up.
We gonna go.  

My monthly post is up on NHBO today. If you wanna check it out you can do that right here.
It's about Jacob's experience of finding out what an orphan is.......not my favorite evening but I am anxious to hear your feedback if you've had a similar experience.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I Have A Problem.

And I


This is where I store my sugar, flour and pancake mix:

I know...I know....I know...
I're shocked and dismayed that I don't make my pancake mix from scratch.
I too am horribly disappointed in my actions.

But nonetheless, this is where they lie in wait for me to whisk them into something brilliant something at least edible.

But here's the thing.

I don't know which is which.
It's been awhile....
a long while 
since I used them since I got in the habit of using what was in the pantry bags instead.
So now....a couple of months later.....I have no clue.

Anybody know how to tell the difference between straight up flour and pancake mix?
They look alike.
The talk alike.
They even walk alike.

They taste somewhat alike.....but even though I can tell a slight difference in taste I still can't tell which is which.

Help me people.