Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Here's a confession for ya'll. I've been cranky lately. Not just KIND OF cranky, but really QUITE cranky. If in doubt, ask my hubby and he'll confirm this statement :) WHY you might (naively) ask? Oh...let me TELL you why!! Ooops. Sorry. I didn't mean to yell at ya'll. By the way, did I mention the recent crankiness? Okay. Here's why!

  • Too much time on my hands & knees pleading for my son to identify the EXACT location of his latest potty-training accident.

  • Too many hour-long meals where I find myself repeating (with decreasing amounts of patience)..."Chew & swallow. Come ON already. Chew & swallow."

  • Too many nights of coughing fits disrupting sleep -- the X-man's & my own.

  • Too many temper tantrums between the bookshelves @ the library, the aisles of the grocery store, the lobby of the YMCA, the...INSERT MOST ANY PUBLIC PLACE.

  • Too many loads of laundry (see afore mentioned 'accidents') in combination with a snotty nose being wiped repeatedly with the sleeve of one little boy's shirt.

  • Too many conversations (otherwise identified as yelling matches) beginning with "Alexander! What are you doing? I told you NOT to do that!" followed by my contrite son's apology, "I know. We don't do that. I know, mom."
Seriously, sometimes I think I might just lose my mind. Seriously, folks! Argh! I want to close this post with some profound thought or magical 'attitude adjustment' equation. But you know what? Got nothing. No quick fix. No epiphany on how to make things better tomorrow. Except this one thought that keeps rolling around my head, "...when he came to the end of himself..." a paraphrase of the text in Luke 15 which tells of the account of the prodigal son. A few verses later that text reads, "...the younger son got up and started back to his father." I acknowledge that I, too, have come to the end of myself. Here it is, the wee hours of the morning and I am awake wondering how to fix the ugliness of the past few days. How to protect the coming days from being filled with crankiness & impatience & a repeat of the former days. And I realize, the only way for that to occur is if I, like the prodigal son, get up & start back towards MY Father. The One who is always patient, always compassionate, always forgiving, always waiting for a wayward child to return. So. Maybe I won't lose my mind. Maybe I will attempt instead to simply set my mind on Him.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Springtime Yardwork

So, last week on a semi-warm (read: not frigid!) day, Alexander decided it was time to get a jumpstart on some springtime yardwork. And thus, he began his preparations for doing some 'daddy-work'.

Frogger boots. CHECK.
Daddy's ten-sizes-too-big gloves. CHECK.
Fav Jacket (insert 3-yr old rolling eyes, "It's not a sweatshirt, mom. It's a jacket!"). CHECK.

First he lugged a broken branch from the neighbors yard into our own -- thanks, buddy!

Then he decided it was time to remove the last remaining snow off the grass. It's been bugging him all winter long that Blake has been clearing the driveway onto HIS grass. Alas, his restoration of the backyard was interrupted by the dreaded naptime. Oh well, there'll be more work for another day.

Request: Pray for Ethiopia Adoptions

We have many friends who are in various stages of adopting Ethiopian children into their families. Because we continue to be email recepients of our adoption agency (CHSFS) who helped us bring Xander home, we have been hearing & reading much in the past week about DRAMATIC changes taking place within the Ethiopian program.

In a nutshell, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs has created a plan (which went into effect on March 10th, 2011) which calls for the processing of only five adoption cases per work day; a 90% decrease which by the numbers means a reduction from processing over 4000 adoptions per year to less than 500! For those children who are currently institutionalized and legally available for adoption, the Ministry's plan will increase their time in institutions for up to 7-years! The Joint Council of International Children's Services calls the Ministry’s plan tragic, unnecessary and a disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the adoption process, failing to reflect the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption.

My heart is breaking at the thought of so many orphans/children left for so long without forever families. If interested, you can read more about this issue & sign the Joint Council Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children petition by clicking HERE.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Xanders Newest 'Crush'...

So, we've been spending a lot of time with two of Alexander's bestest girlfriends lately, Alea and Maille.

While Alea and the X-man continue their love-hate relationship, only in agreement in NOT wanting to share with one another :) my little guy is definitely smitten with the youngest of the the duo.

He LOVES to hold baby Maille and when she starts 'expressing her displeasure/discomfort' shouts at me authoritatively, "Don't take my baby! No, mom. Don't take my baby...(and then, while sweetly patting her tummy)...It's okay, Maille. It's okay."

Here's my best attempt at a picture of Xander with his newest heartthrob. Maille looks a wee-bit scared but I assure you, she's in good hands :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can You Guess Who? headed to swimming lessons on a dreary, rainy morning?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ahh...Tapioca Pudding!

Hamburgers. American (imitation) cheese slices. Hand-sliced dill pickles. Just a little bit of mustard. And tapioca pudding. A meal combination I remember fondly from my grandma Z's formica-topped kitchen table.
I recently purchased some seed pearl tapioca at an Amish store in Arthur, IL and have revived the comforting goodness of homemade tapioca pudding. I'm not certain this is exactly how grandma made hers (or my mom, who has kept the tradition alive) but I think they'd both enjoy the creamy goodness (recipe compliments of I hope you do, too.

3 cups milk, divided
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
2 extra-large eggs YOLKS, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

Pour 3/4 cup of milk into a medium-sized thick-bottomed pot. Add the tapioca and soak for 60-minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks, salt, sugar and remaining milk. Scrape the vanilla bean along its length with a knife and add bean 'paste' along with the bean itself to the pot. NOTE: If you are using vanilla extract, stir it in at the very end, after the pudding is completely cooked.
Over medium heat slowly bring the mixture just barely to a boil, stirring all along (about 15-minutes). Reduce the heat and let the mixture fall to a simmer; keep it here until the tpioca is fully cooked (another 10-20 minutes). The tapioca will tell you when it is ready; beads will swell up and become almost entirely translucent. The custardy part of pudding will thicken dramatically as well. CRITICAL! Keep stirring to avoid dreaded scorching.
Remove from heat and let cool just a bit. I like this best when served warm, but is still delicious cold as well. Serves 4-6. Or, if you're open to real honesty. Blake & I can finish this off in one evening! :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Will Exalt You...

I recently completed a group Bible Study which included a unique activity. The author, Beth Moore, unwrapped the words of Paslm 30:1-3 and 11-12 asking us [the study participant] to fill in the gaps with our own words/life experiences. It was an exercise similar to the idea of 'praying Scripture' and it impacted my heart to think very personally about my life intertwined within the words of David (author of the Psalm) and within the holy words of Scripture. Should you be interested in completing the exercise yourself, here are the words, and the gaps, as an outline to offer praise to God.

I will exalt You, O Lord, for You _________________________ and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to You for help and You _________________________. O Lord, You brought me up from the grave; you spared me from _________________. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with _______________ that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you praise forever.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thought for the Day

These words were found etched on a prison wall in a Nazi concentration camp.

"I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I do not feel it.
I believe in God, even when He is silent."

No one knows if the individual who etched these words [a prisoner] survived the unimaginable days within the camp but this I believe. An individual who possesed such faith is surely, at this very moment, walking the streets of heaven. May we follow in his/her footsteps.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Look Who's THREE!

Alexander officially turned three sometime between 11:59 and 12:01 today (or is it yesterday)? As if there's not enough confusion with having two moms (a birthmom & a forever mom) and being born in one country (Ethiopia) and living in another (US), it is just plain strange not to have a birthday that appears on the calendar. But alas... all that is forgotten when not only one but BOTH sets of grandparents come over AND bring grandpa & grandma-great, too!

It was a heart-prayer while waiting to be matched with a child that we would get to celebrate our child's first brithday TOGETHER as a family and Sunday we celebrated our little guy's THIRD birthday with a party. And family and presents and cake and birthday candles and all that good stuff, too!