Friday, April 27, 2007

Idol Gives Back

I don't know if any of you watched Idol Gives Back the other night but it was incredible. We don't watch much American Idol but we both had an interest in this special. I watched with tears streaming down my face. I have much more to say about poverty, orphans, AIDS etc. and wrote a long entry about it and promptly lost it before posting (yeah, I was not a happy camper). Anyway, I'll write more on this another day - they are topics very near to my heart.

What a Happy Guy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

2's and Such...

Yep, we've hit the 2's. Today we went to the Children's Museum and Calvin threw no less than 3 fits. By fits, I mean threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming and crying. Nice. All of them were because he wasn't getting his way.

I cannot wait for the boys to start talking - I know they will never stop but at least I'll know what they want or what is bothering them! We've tried some baby sign language but with little success - perhaps 3 languages in less than 2 years was a bit overwhelming. Anyway, Patrick has started screeching about everything. He screeches and cries if he isn't getting his way and screeches if he want anything - even if he's happy. Ugh. Hopefully it will pass soon.

They are both sweeties but a handful and they make me very tired by the end of the day. All the hugs and kisses do tend to make up for the tough days. And I have to say, they are obedient for the most part which is a big blessing.

Weird Mail

This week, we received a mailing at our house but it was not addressed to us. It was addressed to my Dad - Duane J. Judd at our mailing address. Yeah, I'm pretty sure the government is tracking us. :) How else would the credit card company know where I live and that my maiden name was Judd and who my dad is? Yikes! Pretty strange.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nuclear Iran

I just read an article in Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College, entitled “Nuclear Iran?” by Victor Davis Hanson. It was an excellent article, which I would highly recommend to all, but two points especially struck me. First, in response to arguments that we should back off and not worry about Iran getting the bomb (such as “Israel has the bomb, so why not Iran?” or, “Pakistan got the bomb and we’re okay,” or even “Iran has promised to use its reactors for peaceful purposes, so why should we be so upset?”), Hanson makes several excellent arguments, but one stands out:

First, any country that seeks “peaceful” nuclear power at the same time it is completely self-sufficient in energy production is de facto suspect. Iran has enough natural gas to meet its clean electrical generation needs for two centuries. The only rationale for its multi-billion-dollar program of building nuclear reactors—and for its spending billions more to hide and decentralize them—is to obtain weapons.

I can understand why some country totally devoid of any energy resources would want to build nuclear reactors, but it’s illogical that a country brimming with all the energy resources it can use would spend billions of dollars to get another one. The only reason Iran would conceivably want nuclear reactors is for weapons purposes. Second, in his solutions, Hanson makes the following points – which serve both as a warning to Iran and a somewhat unnerving source of hope for the West:

In conclusion, let me offer a more ominous note of warning. Israel is not free from its own passions, and there will be no second Holocaust. It is past time for Iranian leaders to snap out of their pseudo-trances and recognize that some Western countries are not only far more powerful than Iran, but in certain situations and under particular circumstances can be just as driven by memory, history—and, yes, a certain craziness as well.

The same goes for the United States. The Iranians, like bin Laden, imagine an antithetical caricature—which, like all caricatures, has some truth in it—whereby we materialistic Westerners love life too much to die, while the pious Islamic youths they send to kill us with suicide bombs love death too much to live. But what the Iranian theocrats, like the al-Qaedists, never fully fathom is that if the American people conclude that their freedom and existence are at stake, they are capable of conjuring up things far more frightening than anything in the 7th-century brain of Mr. Ahmadinejad. The barbarity of the nightmares at Antietam, Verdun, Dresden and Hiroshima prove that well enough. In short, there are consequences to the rhetoric of Armageddon.

So far the Iranian leader has posed as someone 90 percent crazy and ten percent sane, hoping that in response we would fear his overt madness, grant concessions, and delicately appeal to his small reservoir of reason. But he should understand that if his Western enemies appear 90 percent of the time as children of the Enlightenment, they are still suffused with vestigial traces of the emotional and unpredictable. And military history shows that the irrational ten percent of the Western mind is a lot scarier in the end than anything Islamic fanaticism has to offer.

I had never thought about it before, but the West has definitely exhibited that “certain craziness” before. I think that Hanson is correct that it is still there (though I’m sure some might disagree), but I hope there is no reason for that craziness to appear!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday, Calvin!

What a privilege to celebrate Calvin's birthday with him. We learned about Calvin when he was just over 1 year old and so we didn't get to celebrate his 1st birthday with him. We decided to make up for that this year!

We had a Curious George birthday party for him yesterday. His very favorite book is Curious George and his favorite color is still yellow so we combined all of that to celebrate his special day. He maybe didn't fully get it but he had a great time playing with friends, opening presents, and eating cake. :)
The sandbox was a huge hit!
The cute Curious George cake my Mom made.
Blowing out the candle...kinda. :)
Enjoying Cake!

We are so blessed to have such a wonderful son. We remember his birthmom especially this weekend and pray God's blessing on her. She has given us a gift and we will be forever grateful to her for choosing to give Calvin life. We are so glad he is a part of our family - he brings us lots of joy. We have enjoyed watching him develop over the past almost 8 months and we look forward to seeing him grow and change over the next months and years.

Boxes are awesome fun!

Pefecting his golf swing with a little help from Uncle Elliot.

God bless you, Calvin. May you know God's love and grace as you grow. We love you more than we even knew possible. You are a good big brother to Patrick. You are a brave and courageous little boy. You are a delight to us and you have added so much to our family. We love your laugh, your smile, and your twinkling eyes. We really just love YOU so much!

The birthday boy and his brother Saturday morning before the party.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Of Smashed Cockroaches (really only one)

I was working intently at my desk yesterday when a coworker came in, a little breathless. “Would you do something for me?” she asked. “Sure,” I said. It turns out a huge cockroach had invaded our offices and startled her! Now, I haven’t seen many cockroaches, but this was by far the largest I have ever seen. She was not exaggerating when she gestured with her fingers how big it was – at least one and a half to two inches long!

My first stomp missed, and the ‘roach took off moving faster than I could imagine. My second stomp was well aimed, however (I used a little Kentucky windage, which proved helpful) and SPLAT! What a mess. It stuck to the bottom of my shoe, and guts went everywhere. Yuck!

After cleaning up, I walked back to my office, thinking – well, that’s my good deed for the day. I wonder how I should bill my time for that?!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Further Calvin Update

We saw the cardiologist today and Calvin had an EKG and another chest x-ray. We rejoice to report that he does not need surgery. He will live a normal life without the repair! We are thrilled - we did not expect that from what we had been told by the pediatrician and what we had read. So great news for Calvin - one surgery crossed off the list!

He was quite the charmer today. We have been to Riley Outpatient Center many times so he's pretty used to it and today he decided to wave at everyone...I mean everyone!!! He loves riding on the elevator and felt so big walking beside me, holding my hand. Every time we got off the elevator, he would turn around and wave at everyone still on it. Very outgoing - he made many friends! We are so glad he isn't scared of doctors and hospitals.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Horror

I stumbled across the sickening news late mid-morning – a gunman had gone on a shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus, killing multiple people. Tonight it is being reported that at least thirty-three are dead.

As noted above, there is much that is beautiful and intriguing in our world. But the events of today remind us that there is much evil, too. My heart goes out to the families of all the victims. I am very thankful for the reports that the churches and some of the college ministries on campus are actively reaching out to the hurting, physically and emotionally.

This is one of those times that it is hard to know what to say to those who question where God is in all of this. It is hard evening knowing how to pray. How good it is that we can pray through the Spirit, who helps us in our weakness, and who Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Surgical Update

We posted an update on Calvin's surgeries on the boys' blog. Thanks to the many of you who have asked and are praying.

Calvin Update

Many of you have asked about Calvin's surgery so I thought I would give an update. We switched surgeons for a number of reasons but mainly because he left the surgical team at Riley. We met our new surgeon at the end of January and have been waiting ever since for the paperwork to go through and the insurance to pre-authorize the surgery. We have been on the phone to our insurance company as well as the surgeon's office but to no avail. We just have to wait.

In the mean time, Calvin has been diagnosed with ASD (Atrial Septal Defect). It is a fairly minor heart defect (basically a small hole between the atrial chambers) but will likely require surgery at some point. We understand that this can now be done laproscopically as opposed to open heart and that it may not be done until he is a little older. We meet with a pediatric cardiologist next week and will have more of an idea of what will be required after that. At this point, we do not need to change his level of activity or anything else - a good thing for a very active almost 2 year old!

The defect was found because of his heart murmur. We were not completely surprised - when we consulted with an International Adoption Specialist and talked with our pediatricians, we were told that heart problems are not unusual in children with clefts. We do, however, feel bad that Calvin has to go through so much. He is a trooper! We are incredibly thankful for the doctors that are providing thorough and excellent care.

We trust that God's timing for the surgeries will be perfect and that He will provide the necessary resources for those surgeries. We covet your prayers as we try to patiently wait. Calvin is an amazing blessing chosen by God for our family and we are grateful we have the opportunity to care for him! He brings so much joy to our lives every single day!

Patrick is doing well. He has no known medical issues at this time and is growing like crazy! We are so delighted to see the love and comraderie the boys have for each other. Patrick has also become increasingly affectionate towards Andrew and me (lots of hugs and kisses!). It is a constant joy! We are so blessed to have two such wonderful children. God is good and we are continually reminded that His plan is perfect. He has given us two gifts, the desire of our hearts, and we are thankful!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Well, you would think with that title I might have something interesting to say. Instead it means that I am utterly lacking in writing inspiration. It seems that I'm busy enough to miss some of the interesting things around me. Hmm, wonder why...maybe because even while writing this short post I had to break up a fight and take away the object of the fighting. :) I'm not sure if very many people read our blogs anymore but if you do, I hope you'll keep reading even when inspiration is hard to come by. For now, I can't help but post a couple of pictures. We've reserved pictures mainly for the boys blog but with the Runaway post below inadvertenly being posted on this blog I think I'll add to it.

Easter in Pictures

Here are pictures from Easter. The boys had a wonderful time (though cold!) hunting Easter eggs. They also enjoyed their Easter baskets. We were sick on Sunday and didn't make it to church so we don't have any pictures of the boys all dressed up but we'll make up for it another week.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Weekend

It was a full, wonderful, and yet restful Easter weekend. Daddy was home with the boys all day on Friday (see a cute, funny little post about Calvin the almost-runaway here, mistakenly posted on our other blog), almost all day Saturday, and all day yesterday. After a very full week, everyone was thankful for some down time and rest and family time.

Lots of great photos were taken – the boys’ first Easter egg hunt, and “opening” their Easter egg baskets, and some shots of the boys “dancing” in their carseats, as described below :) Hopefully we’ll get them up soon.

Friday, April 06, 2007

On the Almost Runaway

This morning I was home with the boys. It was a delight, as (almost) always :)

For the first time, Calvin tried to “run away.” He packed many of his Duplo blocks into a grocery bag and trudged toward the front door. Upon reaching the entryway, he turned and looked at me, smiled, and waved. Then he reached for the door.

Unfortunately for Calvin’s plans (but happily for me), his little adventure stopped there. He couldn’t reach the door knob. So he paced the area, waving to me occasionally, and kept trying to reach door. He never could. It was as if he expected the door to swing open any minute so he could walk out.

Patrick joined his brother in the reaching part, as this photo shows, but he wasn’t much help. Either Patrick planned on traveling light or was only helping Calvin leave, for he didn’t go through any of the preparations Calvin did.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

On the Chicago Coyote

Growing up, I was very frightened of coyotes and wolves. We could hear the howl of coyotes on our family farm when I was little and when we visited my grandparents’ farm. My most vivid, terrifying nightmare as a child was of a coyote jumping up onto a ledge and looking in a large picture window of our house!

Despite all that, I don’t remember ever seeing one up close, despite living on a farm for the first five years of my life and periodic visits thereafter. Ironically, Chicago residents and visitors today had a storefront (or closer) view when a year-old male coyote strolled into a Quiznos and settled in the drinks cooler. (Yes, in the cooler!) He remained in that spot, watching and being watched, for almost an hour until animal control dragged him out.

Contrary to my childhood impression, the video clip on our evening news of this coyote portrayed him as cute, friendly, and almost harmless. While I’m sure caution was appropriate, the degree of force used to subdue and remove him appeared to be unnecessary. But I guess they're taking good care of him, and have named him Adrian.

I understand that coyote sightings and encounters in Chicago are not all that uncommon (see stories above and this report from several years ago), although Quiznos visits such as this one are more unusual.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dyson giveaway

I just came across a blog offering a Dyson giveaway. I thought I'd sign up, perhaps win, and surprise Alaina with it. But part of the deal is that you have to link to their blog and to Dyson, so Alaina, now you know! :{ To everyone else, I’m sorry to make you read this. Oh wait, I guess you don’t have to. And whatever you do, don’t sign up yourself! :)