Tuesday, September 30, 2008


**I've added a poll about babysitting wages to the right.**

For those of you with kiddos...how often do you have date nights?

And for any of you...what's your favorite date night destination? I'm looking for some creative (and inexpensive) ideas!

Also for anyone...what is the going rate for babysitters these days (we live in the Midwest)? We rarely hire outside of the family and when we do, I never know how much to pay. When I ask the sitters, I'm usually told that whatever is fine. So I'm curious (if you're willing to share) what hourly rate (or range or you can e-mail me :)) you pay and if there are variables that change that rate. At this point, Titus goes with us wherever we go, so we leave two. I think I just want to not worry about underpaying and to know what a reasonable regular rate is. Thanks, dear readers, for your help!


When discussing what the boys wanted to be for trick-or-treating, Patrick looked at me and said sincerely, "I want to be you, Mommy." My heart completely melted as he clarified that it was indeed me (not just any Mommy) that he wanted to be - he wants to wear glasses like mine (I usually wear contacts but wasn't at that moment), carry a cup of water like me, and wear my shirt. I nearly cried because it was just so sweet and he has maintained for over 24 hours that he wants to be me. He also suggested that Calvin could be Titus. :) Calvin did not agree to that and said he would like to be a sheep. :) We are looking forward to hopefully spending that evening with some of our cousins!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mortifying Moment

On Friday, Andrew needed to work late and since the boys and I were already downtown for Calvin's speech therapy, we decided to meet him for dinner at the mall. I needed to buy a couple things for Ty and a few baby gifts. We enjoyed dinner - it was the food court, the company was the most enjoyable :) and then headed to Children's Place. (On a side note - this is my absolute favorite place to buy clothes for the kids...the prices are usually pretty good, the sales are great, and the quality is excellent - especially on jeans and pants!)

I did most of the shopping while Andrew entertained C & P - Titus slept in the stroller. Did I mention that I love this store? :) It took me a little bit to make gift decisions but finally we all made our way to the counter. I had a couple of questions about some items and after the clerk checked on them, she started ringing up our purchases. The boys were playing by the counter and Calvin let me know that he needed to go to the bathroom, I asked if he could wait a minute (he usually can), and I think he said yes. The boys went back to goofing off... About 30 seconds later, Andrew and I look over in horror as Calvin says, "I go potty." Yep, big puddles (yep, plural!) in front of the counter at Children's Place, a soaking wet boy and a brother playing in it, playing in it. I truly wanted the floor to open up and swallow us all. I was mortified. Andrew immediately stopped Patrick from the puddle play, I quickly paid while trying desperately to explain to the lady what happened. It went something like this:

Me: I am so sorry. My son just had an accident.
Clerk: It's okay, we'll take care of it.
Me: No, I mean, there's pee all over your floor...
Clerk: Really, it's okay. We'll clean it up.

What a kind lady - perhaps she could sense my utter horror at what had just happened. Anyway, I gave her a grateful look and hurried our crew out of the store. Andrew was practically laughing at how incredibly embarrassed I was - he manages to see the humor when I sometimes can't which is a good thing. :)

I know that part of the moral of the story is to not make a kid wait...but we do have a proven track record with Calvin - if he says he can wait, he usually can. He just doesn't have accidents very often at all so this was definitely out of the ordinary - thankfully I had clean and dry stuff in the car. I'm sure it won't be the last mortifying moment but my goodness, it was a doozy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dinner...Again :)

We are still fighting illness (mostly me) and Andrew is still working a lot of hours so meals are happening but I've not attempted any of the new recipes I'd hoped to. Oh well, such is the season of life right now. I think this will be a tried-and-true week though I still really want the Asian wraps so I'll tentatively plan them in since I have all the ingredients. :) Our pantry and refigerator are stocked so hopefully no grocery shopping this week - yay! Here is the plan (always subject to change :)):

Amy's Asian Wraps, Fruit
Irish Colcannon, Fruit
Lentil Soup, Salad, Bread
Black Beans & Rice, Salad
Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Peas, Fruit

I think that's about it...orgjunkie has many more menu plans and recipes! Hope you have a great week and that your family enjoys wonderful time around the table.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Needing a Dress...

I need help. :) Any ideas on where to find a dress? I would really like a new dress to wear for my brother's wedding (in two weeks). The process of shopping for one has not been fun...I've been looking for a few months and just haven't found one that works.

Here is what I'm looking for:
- cocktail length
- sleeveless, short sleeve, or 3/4 length sleeves (I would consider strapless if I had a shrug to wear with it)
- any color but black, white, or red - I would really like something blue or green
- preferrably not too bold of a print
- $75 or less ($50 or less would be even better!) is my budget

Here are some of my complaints about the dresses I've tried - I don't like the fabric, it doesn't fit right, it's not flattering, it's frumpy, it's too casual or too dressy, it's the wrong color or price... I might consider a skirt and top but I would really prefer a dress. I'm just not much of a shopper and have been so frustrated trying to find one... Any advice?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cloth Diapering

Remember how I said I was going to do cloth diapers...well, I really am. :) I haven't yet, mostly because I didn't get them ordered before Ty was born and the past few weeks have been super crazy and we've been constantly on the go. But all the disposables we've used is horrifying - the waste and the cost is insane! I know I had two in them before but I think at this stage, Ty uses as much in one day as the two of them combined and they were older so we used them for less months. I do not regret that decision - going from 0 to 2 kids was enough of an adjustment. :)

After researching and asking lots of questions, Bumgenius 3.0 is the chosen cloth diaper. I think we will like them! The initial investment will be a bit hefty but we should be able to use them for a long while and the savings from using disposables will be huge! I swore I would never go the cloth diaper route (and I do not judge anyone for choosing not to!!!) but with a husband that's an environmental attorney and the cost of formula alone, it is necessary. And they really have come such a long way from when I was helping with my younger sibs - at least that's what I'm telling myself...

I'll let you know how it goes...I'm not a purist...we'll still use some disposables when we are out. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I think we have continued to battle some kind of virus which has made most of us just not feel the best. Titus has had a rough couple of nights - restless and up more frequently than usual which of course means we are even more exhausted than usual. He also has projectile spit-up more than I thought he possibly could after two feedings today. I'm hoping that's the end of that...it wasn't the first time but it was exceptionally awful. So laundry is in, nipples and pacifiers are boiled, and Ty is getting a little extra TLC. He is getting bigger (though still wearing newborn size and just starting into the 3 month stuff :)) and more alert all the time and is such a sweetie. He loves being held and he loves interacting with people which pleases Calvin and Patrick. Patrick always suggests that we take Ty with us when we go anywhere (as if we'd leave him! :)) and Calvin gives him so many kisses, rubs his head, and makes sure he is okay. It's adorable!

Today I went raspberry picking and froze them (only a few pounds), shopped for wedding gifts, made dinner, and cleaned the kitchen. I think I have felt more energetic this evening than I've felt since Ty's birth. I'm hopeful we are on the upward swing of routine etc. And I'm hoping that in the next several weeks Ty will start sleeping through the night... :) That's it around here - rather boring. Tomorrow we are planning to visit Great-Grandma J. (providing we are well enough) and I have a bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law. Andrew is swamped at work which is keeping him working long hours - we miss him but I'm so grateful for his work that provides and his commitment to doing his work well!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mommy Brain

At 10:25 tonight, I realized that I had rescheduled Calvin's speech therapy for 4 p.m. today. Yeah, I totally and completely spaced it - we were definitely not there. It's disconcerting to me that I didn't even remember until I happened to see an e-mail I had written on Friday to our therapist (thankfully she is also a personal acquaintance and is very kind).

I can only blame it on mommy brain - I'm exhausted and evidently thinking and remembering is not my strong suit. So let me just apologize ahead of time - if I forget something we scheduled, please don't hold it against me. And if we currently have plans, you might want to e-mail me. I'm going to have to dig out my calendar and get back to recording everything. Ugh. I'm so embarrassed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Favorite Dinners!

I started menu planning about a year ago and it has truly been one of the single most effective things at helping me stay more organized about meals. We eat better, I'm not stressed, our budget has improved, and I have a chance to be more creative.

This week was overall good but the kids were sick so I never made it for my grocery shopping and Andrew had to work late a couple of nights. The new recipes didn't happen but we did still manage to have meals every night - most of them planned - though by the end of the week I was getting a little desperate as I pulled things out of the pantry and freezer. :) So here's the plan for this week:

Lentil Soup with a Curry Crema and Lentil Crackers, Pear & Apple Romaine Salad
Amy's Asian Lettuce Wraps, Fruit Salad
Taco Soup, Cucumber Salad, Applesauce or Apple Slices
Sweet 'n Tangy Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans or Broccoli, Rolls
Pizza, Veggies & Dip, Sliced Fruit

We will be at a wedding next weekend and we have at least one or two nights this week that one of us will be gone so I think this will do it! The first two are new recipes and the last three are family favorites...especially the Sweet 'n Tangy Pot Roast! It is sooo good and super easy! You can find more of our family favorites on my recipe blog.

Check out orgjunkie.com for more menu plans and favorite family recipes! Have a wonderful week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Patrick's Birthday Pics - Way Overdue!

Click to play Patrick's 3rd B-day
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I'm so late posting these but better late than never! Patrick had a great birthday (the family party was Aug. 3) and we are so blessed to be his parents!

All in a Day's Work

Some days it's an accomplishment just for the kids to have on actual outfits, me to be showered & dressed, and every one to be fed...but I wouldn't trade my life for anything...

My Little Men

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I was planning to accomplish many things today including grocery shopping (I've only managed Costco this week) but instead I am home with a sick little boy. I knew he wasn't feeling good when I told him he wouldn't be able to go to school today and he was fine with it. :) Ty also had his one month appointment this morning and got another clean bill of health - he is 9lbs. 3 oz. and 21 inches long. My mom graciously stayed with the sickie. Honestly, it's been kind of nice not to have to be out much (though I'm sorry for the reason). We just really hit the ground running when Ty joined the family.

I've been working on home organization...how we manage to have things scattered everywhere, I'll never know. I feel like I'm constantly de-cluttering yet never catching up. :) Last night I tackled our room and today I've worked on the play room. So I'm off to rest a bit myself before all my boys are up and needing attention. :) This coming weekend will be our only weekend that is not full of commitments for probably a month so I'm trying to get things ready for us to seriously clean, de-junk, and donate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I will never forget the phone call we received in early June of 2006. We had a referral for a baby boy. He was 6 months old and he would be ours - our first child! We were thrilled - we couldn't wait for our meeting to receive his information but even more, we couldn't wait to see a picture of the little boy we longed to bring home. It had been a hard journey to parenthood - so much emotion and loss but this, this would be a great joy at the end of grief.

We arrived at our appointment and waited eagerly. The director of our agency brought us to her office and began telling us about this little boy. We fell a little in love right away. But then she showed us his picture - 2 of them and we fell in love more than a little. He was perfect and beautiful. We picked a name and told all of our friends and family. We made so many copies of the pictures and just gazed at them. We couldn't wait for the day we would bring him home as our son.

In late July, we received a very different phone call. It was a phone call saying that the boy we were going to make our son, the boy we had fallen in love with, the child that would fulfill our dreams of parenthood would not be ours. It was a devastating blow. We had pictures, we had a name, we planned for this child. They were sorry, they said but there was nothing that could be done. We wept more than I knew possible. Letting people know was the worst. The feeling of loss was intense. We had already experienced so much grief - how could we possibly handle more?

We may never understand why God had us go through that but we certainly know that the children He has brought into our lives are the ones that He intended for us. We cannot imagine it any other way. And we love them more than we knew possible. They are our own.

Loss is common in the infertility and adoption world (well, really everywhere) - dashed dreams, hopes that come crashing down, disappointment, and extreme grief. In acknowledging our tremendous loss, I pray that you will know me better. Is there risk in adoption? Absolutely. But we truly believe in the sovereignty of God - we know He has a reason for our suffering and we know that His perfect plan is the best for us. The process, no matter how painful, was a necessary part of our journey. Almost every adoptive parent I know has experienced loss - a birthmom changing her mind (sometimes several), a lost referral, a country closed down, an agency failing them...it's common. But nearly all of them choose to focus on the joy of the journey.

But we all remember those lost ones. We remember the pain. We remember the child that found another home. We remember. We carry those children in our hearts forever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How We Try to Eat Frugally

**First, Ty turned 1 month yesterday and I posted some adorable (IMHO :)) 1 month pictures on the boys' blog and facebook (in his album). Feel free to check out our newest little bundle of joy - we can't believe he's a month already!**

I'm absolutely not an expert on this topic but thought I would offer just a few things that we do to eat for less. This not about couponing or CVSing - I'm not doing either at the moment. These are other things that work for us when I don't have the time or energy to go to 4 stores, clip coupons, and thoroughly plan shopping trips.

1) Eat Vegetarian 1-2 times per week minimum. I know that this does not work for everyone but we love it! We eat beans, eggs, or a vegetable pizza or stir-fry, cheese ravioli or whatever else we have.

2) Check clearance produce and grocery items. Most stores have this and I've scored some great things for 1/2 off or more - cheese, cereal, canned items, produce that is still very useable... My favorite finds are often in the specialty cheese cases and the health food areas.

3) Menu Plan. This should probably be #1. It makes me buy less and use what I do buy. I post it on my blog because it inspires me and because it keeps me accountable. I have been regularly menu planning for about a year and it has really helped!

4) Buy in bulk. We buy a share of a cow and we have a Costco membership. If you can afford to buy larger quantities (and have the storage space), you can often get better deals. We have a separate freezer and a pantry to store "extras".

5) Check ads. Before I shop, I usually check the ads to see which store (or which two stores) have the best deals on things that I know I need (usually produce and dairy). I then head to those stores.

6) Be flexible. Sometimes what I plan on our menu doesn't happen because the ingredients are not on sale or are just too expensive. I may stand in the store and dream up something else or else I substitute an equivelant ingredient.

7) Have a garden. Obviously this one is seasonal for us but we do save a fair amount of money buy planting our own vegetables. They are cheap, delicious, fresh, and nutritious. We have varying amounts of success but we are determined to continue gardening.

8) Keep things basic. We certainly enjoy some gourmet ingredients but for our every day fare, I try to keep things simpler. It usually costs less. I really consider if a gourmet item (like a spice) is something I will use more than just once.

9) Don't make more than you will eat. We do eat leftovers some (Andrew loves them for work!) but a problem I've had and am still working on is making too much food and then it goes to waste. Don't ever hesitate to halve a recipe or freeze leftovers (it they will freeze okay). It's much better to do that than have the expense of wasted food.

10) Cook from scratch. I make most of the things our family eats from scratch - though I haven't ventured into the world of homemade bread, yet. I do buy things like canned tomatoes and beans - those are my convenience foods. :)

I think those are the main things. :) I joined the farm delivery this week - to start next week! I'll let you know if it is one of the things that saves us money! I love to cook and bake - sharing food with family and friends is one of my favorite activities. And I break all of these personal guidelines for a really great recipe or special event. Bringing people together around the table is what food is all about to me so I can only take frugality to a certain point. :) I'm sure I could do ALOT better and I truly would if that is what was required of us.

What do you do to cut back on eating expenses?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ty is 1 Month!

These are absolutely a few of my very favorite pictures of the last month! We are so blessed to have this little guy in our lives and family. We have his first post-placement tomorrow night!

This Day

I updated the boys' blog with what was going on 2 years ago today...it was a day we will never, ever forget. :) Also of note for today...Titus is one month old (it's already going too fast) and it's my Grandma's birthday! Wow, the 15th of September is a big day in our family!

Remembering Two Years Ago!

**Post orginally published September 16, 2006 with photos added - little did we know that exactly 23 months to the day, we would meet our third little boy. It's been an awesome (though not always an easy) journey.**

What a draining 24 hours!! We arrived at our hotel at 9:45 a.m. yesterday and had a chance to shower, eat a little, and take a nap. At 3:45, we were picked up and taken to the department of education for our interview.

We waited for awhile in a tiny room and then all of us (the 3 families, translator, driver/attorney) were taken into a large room with 2 women and a man seated behind a desk and table. They welcomed us and then started right in with the questions. They wanted to know about us: where we are from, jobs, family, why Kazakhstan, etc. Andrew and I started the group. We answered the questions (they especially liked my teeth!) and then were asked what type of child we would like to adopt. We stated that we would like to adopt 2 boys between the age of 6 months and 24 months, one needing surgery. They told us no. They said we could only adopt 2 siblings. Then they said that our paperwork only said one. We sat in stunned silence as they moved on to the next lady. They began to interview her and then stopped and came back to us. The social worker and the other female interviewer were talking back and forth. They asked if we would be interested in a child with a cleft. We said yes! They told us that they thought that would be good since I’m a dentist. :) They said the paperwork was not fixed but they would make a call a try to get it fixed. We went from shock and sadness to thrilled in a matter of minutes! It’s still not for sure but we trust it will work out.

After the interview they took us to the baby houses. Yes, this is still Friday! We were very surprised to be able to meet the boys the same day we arrived. We also were super tired which made this day tough and long. We were so excited to see them but had been going for so many hours.

We met a 14 month old first and he cried the whole time we were there. Today was better; he is still shy and cries a little and is afraid of Andrew but he was observing everything. He did not want any of our toys (or any toys at all!). He only wanted me to stand and hold him and really liked me to sing to him. He seems healthy and is a big boy! He is gorgeous. The 12 month clothes we brought fit great.

We met the boy with a cleft at the 2nd baby house. He was happy to see us and very responsive. He has the chicken pox right now – they treat it with a grass green medication that looks like magic marker. So they brought him in with green spots all over his head! It didn’t matter…he is still beautiful. He is extremely tiny. The 12 month clothes are too big. He seems very alert and bright but is just really small. They said he is healthy - just the cleft. He was just as happy today and loved playing with the toys!

We will be visiting each of them for 1 ½ hours/day. We were hoping to see each of them 2x’s/day but instead it will a longer visit 1x/day. Tonight we will see the first boy again – that will not be our normal schedule but we feel like continuity is crucial for him. So this morning, we saw both, tonight we will see him, tomorrow we will see him 10-11:30 and the boy with a cleft from 5-6:30. Please pray that this time with them will be building good family bonds. I can’t imagine how scary it must be for them. I don’t think either of us had thought about that very much. Please pray for us – it is so exciting but also overwhelming! We have a long road ahead of us. We are delighted to see God’s work and provision. Keep in touch – we love getting all the messages.

More Wedding Pics

I'm quite disappointed that I didn't get very many photos taken - especially that I missed getting a picture of the adorable ring bearers (my sons :)) and a good picture of the bride and groom. I'm looking forward to seeing all the professional ones!

The Bride getting beautified. :) Not that she needed it!

Rebecca, bridesmaid and seamstress extraordinaire, altering a couple of dresses.

Liz getting ready for the big day. Lots of laughs created wonderful memories and a fairly relaxed morning.

Cool & calm - she looked gorgeous!

Her cute shoes and the bottom of the stunning gown (designed and made by Rebecca).

Her hair minus the veil that she wore for the ceremony.

Goofing off and making sure we didn't faint from hunger! :)
My sister and me - I was so honored to stand up with her!

All the girls.

Mother of the Bride - my mom - doesn't she look so elegant and pretty?!

Sienna, the sweet flower girl! She is now Steph's neice. Her mom carried her down the aisle - it was beautiful!

My boys (when they tried their suits on at home a week ago :)) so excited about their role! They did awesome!

This is the only picture I have of the happy couple (stolen from Michelle :)). Cutting the cake!

Stunning flowers!

The superhero favors with their faces on the tag!

That's about it. I wish I had more! My favorite memory of the day was the prayer circle we had with the bridesmaids, bride, and flower girl's mom - there wasn't a dry eye. It was meaningful and special. It was just such a fun day filled with memory making, commitment, and celebration. I'm so happy for Jeremy & Stephanie! Four more weeks until my brother's wedding!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Sister Wed

My sisters, my friends...
My beautiful sister has found her Prince for her Happily-Ever-After.
Here is the toast I was honored to give:
Stephanie and I dreamed about our weddings from the time we were little girls. We poured over the big J.C. Penney catalogs taking turns picking out our favorites on each page. I wanted a different pastel color for each bridesmaid and she was much more sensible – limiting her choice to just one or two colors. I think we can all be happy that weddings are not planned at the ripe old ages of 8 and 10. But we truly couldn’t wait for it to be our turn and I am so honored to stand here with her today – she has met her Prince Charming.

Stephanie is not only my sister but one of my very best friends. We’ve enjoyed playing piano duets, acting in plays, sharing Chinese food, watching Friends, staying up half the night talking or scrapbooking, road-tripping, and countless other memories. We’ve seen each other at our best and at our worst and I count myself blessed to be her sister.

I’ll never forget her casual, “I’ve been out with this guy a couple of times…” The girl who swore she wouldn’t meet anyone at work was being wooed by none other than a co-worker. I couldn’t wait to meet Jeremy! In the months that followed, it became clear that these two brought out the best in each other. They had many similar interests like books but also introduced each other to new things. When Jeremy proposed via comic book – it couldn’t have been more perfect. And like a good man, he told Stephanie that she better call me first!
My only complaint, Jeremy, is that you are taking her away! But really, I wish you both much joy and happiness. May your love grow deeper as you serve the Lord better together than you ever could have apart. I love you both and I couldn’t be happier for two such wonderful people – welcome to the family, Jeremy! So, please raise your glasses to Mr. & Mrs. E.
Look for more pictures and account to follow tomorrow or the next day... :)

Dinner Time

We had a very full week! We had a wonderful weekend participating in and witnessing the marriage of my sister and now brother-in-law. It was a beautiful wedding!

Thursday I ended up making chili, fruit & nut brie, cornbread, homemade applesauce, and peach cobbler for my family. Most of the later part of the week was consumed with making and packaging wedding favors. I made (with some help from my mom and youngest sister) molasses crinkle cookies. They are a family favorite and a huge favorite of Steph, the bride. :) It was a suprise for her. Our other sister (I have three :)) designed the tags with a comic book theme - a favorite of the groom and integral in his proposal to my sister. They turned out great but were extremely time consuming! I think we made about 220 favors and there were maybe 30 left.

This week will hopefully be a little more laid back. I'm hoping to try a new recipe or two and get back to some cooking! I'm also hoping to make a trip out to the raspberry patch to pick some for the freezer - I'll probably get some apples at the same time. So here's the plan for this week in no particular order.

- Chicken Fajitas, Applesauce
- Meatball subs, Corn on the Cob, Fruit Salad
- Amy's Asian Lettuce Wraps (I'll probably use chicken since that's what I have), Fruit
- Black Beans & Rice, Vanilla or Plain Yogurt w/Fruit
- Vegetarian Pizza, Veggies & Dip, Fruit
- Lentil Soup with a Curry Crema and Lentil Crackers , Salad

The lettuce wraps and lentil soup are new recipes this week! I'm starting to get into the mood for soups so I'll probably try to make at least one every week...we'll see. Lentils are one of our favorite legumes so this seemed like a good soup to start with. :) Well, that's about it from here! I'm feeling inspired this week so let's hope it lasts. Check out orgjunkie.com for many more menu plans!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Excitment & Exhaustion

This is a quick one just to say...I have much to write but absolutely no time. :) This has been one of the craziest weeks where pretty much NOTHING has gone as planned. I'm running on virtually no sleep between a newborn and the many things going on. Menu planning has been a life saver this week! So, when the exciting events of this weekend are over, I'll be back to tell you about our adventures. My sister is moving away after her wedding and I'm feeling sad - trying not to dwell on it but still...I'm going to miss her! I'm sure the reality of it will sink in next week.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

He Has Stolen Our Hearts...


I can't help but gaze at our newest little guy and feel overwhelmed. I cannot believe that God has chosen him to be a part of our family. We look forward and hope for the day his adoption will be finalized (we currently have no idea when that will be). But we feel so blessed. We are amazed to see the way he came to be with us and we have seen God leading each step of the way. It's hard to believe that we have three beautiful boys and we are thankful. I'll try and post a picture later...our new camera is just a little more challenging to upload or at least I haven't gotten the hang of it yet. :)

Today we are going to a local orchard for a preschool field trip. I know it will be a wonderful time. Calvin thanks me regularly for letting him go to school (it's adorable!) and Patrick can't stop smiling when we talk about it. I love that they have a chance to verbalize what they have been doing during our hours apart. I'll try to take some pictures of the field trip! I can't wait for fresh apples...maybe an apple pie will be in the plans sometime soon. Fall is one of my favorite seasons - apples, pumpkins, and soup pretty much sum it up. :)

Well, I'm off. I have lunches to pack and kids to ready. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 08, 2008

My Soap Box

I need to write about this for a few reasons (and there are probably many more!):
1) This is a pivotal issue in the current political arena.
2) I am pro-life and passionate about adoption.
3) I long for adoption to be seen as more than an answer to infertility.

I'm often puzzled by the number of pro-life people but the lack of adoptive parents. I've seen people carry signs that say Adoption: the Loving Option and I want to ask - but will you welcome a child not biologically related into your family? Are you willing to step up to the plate and love a child as your own? I recently heard that there are only 24,000 unrelated (as in not step parent) adoptions in our country each year (that includes domestic and international adoptions) and I was horrified. After checking into it myself, I think that estimate is a maybe a bit low but the problem remains. How can we offer adoption as the solution to abortion when there are way, way more abortions every year?

I don't mean to step on any toes here and I recognize that not everyone is called to adopt or to be foster parents. But I do have to encourage you to search your hearts...if you feel so strongly about abortion, Roe v. Wade, and the pro-life movement, then you may need to do more than carry a sign or write or speak about it. Your conviction may require you to open your hearts, home and life to a child. A child whose birthparents couldn't care for them, birthparents who did choose to give life, birthparents who did make a pro-life decision and birthparents who want to choose a better life for their child.

Anyway, I just feel concerned that adoption is often given as the answer to abortion but there is a lack of people willing to actually follow through and provide homes - there is especially a need for minority, bi-racial and special needs children. There are grants, programs, and many people qualify for an $11,000 tax credit that all help to lessen the cost of adoption (the #1 reason I hear for not adopting). And truly, if God calls you to adopt, will He not provide a way? Yes, it may involve sacrifice, less of the luxuries we enjoy but the reward is great!

So I will step off my soap box for the moment but I will leave you with these final thoughts - If abortion is outlawed, where will all these children go? Who will care for them? 24,000 (or even 100,000) adoptive families is most definitely not enough.

**UPDATED: We have adopted internationally and are in process of adopting domestically and we love both! I do not think one is superior to the other...you have to go where God is leading you and that will look different for every family. There are children EVERYWHERE who need loving families and homes.
My point in this post is that we need to not just say abortion should be abolished but we need to be ready and willing to act on that conviction.**

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Crazy Week Meal Plan

I'm back (not that you missed my menu plans :)). After three weeks of not cooking, I'm almost ready to get back into the groove. We are adjusting to life with three children and it's great! We've had some very gracious people provide some meals which has been wonderful. We are more exhausted than we ever remember but we are loving having three boys.
This week will be crazy! My sister is getting married on Saturday so this week will be filled with preparations thus a menu plan will be absolutely necessary. :) I'm going to do it by day this week because I think it will help me to do a better job of providing meals for our family.
MONDAY - Hamburger Corn Casserole (from a friend), Salad, Pears (I will be out with my sisters)
TUESDAY - Bean Burritos, Tortilla Chips, Grapes (I will be getting my hair done)
WEDNESDAY - Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Chips, Carrots & Peppers, Fruit
THURSDAY - Hot dogs & Grilled Chicken, Veggies & Dip, Fruit, Cookies (my family will be here for dinner - my mom is making & decorating the wedding cake at their house)
FRIDAY - Rehearsal Dinner (we are all involved in the wedding except the baby :))
SATURDAY - a.m. - Blueberry Muffins, Egg Casserole (we may have out of town company)
p.m. - leftovers after the wedding if we're hungry :)
SUNDAY - Brunch
I may make a batch of chili and we might actually have that on Thursday instead or have it on Saturday. It's a crazy enough week that I made a schedule for our household. We will be gone some part of every day - I think we will crash by the end of next weekend! So that's the plan! Thanks to Laura for hosting every week. Have a wonderful and blessed week!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Random Tidbits & Thoughts

Titus weighed in at a whopping 7 lbs. 8 1/2 oz. today! Surprised us and the doctor. He got a great report! I made sure and asked if they had any formula coupons and they gave me not only coupons but four cans of formula. What a blessing! Ty is on Similac Sensitive and it seems to be working out - he's gaining weight and not feeling yucky. So we are sticking with it for now.

Andrew is on the board with Adoptions of Indiana and they have their annual golf outing today. So he is spending the day at the fundraiser - I think he was taking pictures of the golfers and had various other responsibilities. Tony Dungy is the speaker this evening at the dinner so he is definitely looking forward to that! :)

On a completely unrelated note, a couple of friends have mentioned a local farm delivery service for groceries and I'm pretty seriously considering giving it a try. The food is mostly organic and a lot of it is locally grown and produced. It's a year-round service and is delivered for free to your door every week or every other week ($35 minimum). They have a fruit and vegetable bin that's $35 and then you can add other things like eggs, bread, milk, pasta, meat etc. I'm not big on grocery shopping, I like to support local business, and I try to incorporate as much natural and organic food into our diet as I can. I'm thinking this might be a great solution to the rising food costs...if only to make me use what's delivered and to lessen my trips to the grocery store where I'm tempted to buy things we don't necessarily need. If we go this route, I'll probably try every other week and see how it goes. I can menu plan around what is delivered and add other items based on what the plan is. :) Anyway, I spent some time researching it this morning and was impressed - it's a little different than a CSA.

Do any of you use this type of service? I just can't imagine how wonderful it must be to have groceries delivered to your door. My goal would be to stick with mostly pantry staples at the grocery store and limit trips to 1-2 times/month. We'll see...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Has Anyone Else Noticed?

I went to the store last night for a couple of things and couldn't help but think that grocery prices are escalating. I'm going to have to get back to couponing and menu planning! Our dollars just don't stretch as far these days.

We are exhausted but doing well. :) Nights are...interesting. I may have written before but we have a child that sleep walks nightly - sometimes multiple times a night. It may or may not coincide with feeding Ty. So we are up and down a lot. Hopefully all of that will get better - although it may be awhile before the sleep walking is outgrown. Thankfully all three boys tend to nap at the same time in the afternoon so that's my rest time, too. Sadly, naps for the boys are getting shorter. I think they are going to have to learn to have quiet reading time even if they don't sleep.

The boys have been begging for a trip to the zoo so maybe Friday or Saturday we will venture out. Ty has a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning - he's almost 3 weeks old! He is such a joy and we are all delighted to have him in our family!