Saturday, January 30, 2010

Say Yes.

This post by my blogland friend Bethany got me thinking even more about where life (Joseph, nursing career, homeschooling, etc.) is taking our family, and what can we all do to help those less fortunate? Then I found this post here:

She Laughs at the Days: The Secret To an Extraordinary Life? Say Yes

Could it really be that simple? Just wait, and say yes (which is often the most difficult thing to do really) when God asks us to do something?

A simple yes, has led to some pretty extraordinary things.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Need some motivation? every day like you're the most influential player on the team...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I love this song...

...the boy that I loved may not have been my hero, but the same is not true of the man he became...

Our Marney Girl, AKA, "Laura Ingalls"

I love this girl...

(The terrific 2's)

She is a free spirit, strong willed, and smart. Not always an easy combination to parent, but never boring. She has given us a run for our money on more than one occasion, and also given us some of our funniest family memories.

(The ever present blanket)

She is kind and caring. Always willing to look out for the little ones. She carries them everywhere. I know she will be Joseph's best friend, and fiercest protector.

She climbs trees better than any boy I've seen, and prefers to be barefoot. She remembers everything she hears, verbatim, and is happy to remind you what you said 2 days ago, just in case you forgot.

(Our sweet girl)

Marney is about to turn 9. We look forward to celebrating her birthday. Madeline is making her cake, and we are having a small gathering of family at our house.

Her latest obsession is anything having to do with "Little House on the Prairie." Marney has read and/or listened to every book in the "Little House" series, and wants to learn to play the fiddle like Pa. She has been wearing her "Laura" dress around for weeks, yes, even in public. Hopefully this phase will pass, but if she goes off to college and is recruited by the Branch Davidian, we cannot say we had no warning.

She is asking for a new "Laura" dress and apron, a Charlotte doll, and books about Laura's life for her birthday.

Today on our visit to the library we found the DVD's of the television series, and drug them home. The girls are very excited to watch them. (and to finally get a little TV time).

I would love to be able to see the picture of the Ingalls family that Marney has conjured up in her imagination after all the reading/listening she has done. I hoped that seeing the characters on TV did not ruin this for her, as it often can.

Commentary so far...

"That doesn't look anything like Laura. Look at her teeth! Laura had straight teeth." Ummmm, probably not, but I won't burst her bubble.

"She didn't really like Johnny Johnson, the real Laura wouldn't be so interested in boys."

...I really, really love this girl.

Monday, January 25, 2010

American History, One Minute at a Time

American provides a snippet of American history each day. Good conversation starters, here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Blog

I'm excited to announce that my sister has decided to make her blog open to the public! She is the busy Mother of 6 children whom she home educates, and an adoption advocate (our inspiration!). Check out her beautiful family!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cute website..

Ed has many free art activities for children.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back on the Wagon

I fell off the eat right/exercise more wagon briefly. But for good reason (all my excuses are good ones, but this one is really good). I was studying for, and taking my boards. The last step to becoming an RN. It was very nerve wracking, but it's over. I PASSED! Yeah! Its official, I'm an RN, a real nurse! Frightening I know. Finding a job will be my next trick, stay tuned.

Life can go on now. Monday morning brought me back to reality, back to counting points and working out. Good times.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Adoption Opportunity

Can you post this on your blog?

There is a sibling group of 3 boys from the caribbean (St Vincent) available. They are 6.5, 5 & 4 and are currently in foster care. They can contact me for further information.

A book which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last. A book which is not worth reading at age 50 is not worth reading at age 10. C.S. Lewis

E-mail me at and I can connect you to my sister.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Loved You First

A conversation I overheard beween a women and her ill elderly mother...

Women: "Goodnight Mom, I'm going home. I'll see you in the morning, I love you."

Mother: "Goodnight dear, and remember, I loved you first."

It took my breath away. I think it is the sweetest thing I have ever heard anyone say, and so true.

It makes me think about a Mother rocking her baby and how that baby has no idea how much she is loved. I also think about God's love for us. How he loved us first, no matter what.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Could Maddy Curtis be the next American Idol?

I am so excited to see that Maddy Curtis made it through to hollywood!

I've been following her mother's blog, mommylife, for probably a year and a half now. Barbara Curtis is the mother of 12 children, 9 bio, 3 by adoption. 4 of her children have Ds. After her son Johnny was born with Ds, they went on to Adopt 3 boys with DS. Maddy and Johnny are very close in age, and grew up pretty much as twins.

Barbara blogs about conservative politics, has authored several books about parenting the Montessouri way, and is a huge advocate for people with Ds. I e-mailed her shortly after we committed to Joseph, and she sent a nice response and asked me to send pictures when we get him home.

Barbara commented over the summer that they had driven to Boston so Maddy could tryout, but was unable to say any more than that. Those of us who follow her blog have been dying to hear how things turned out. The Mommylife blog is now mysteriously "under construction," are they in Hollywood already? I don't know, but I am so excited to follow Maddy's journey. I've never voted before in all the years we have enjoyed the show, but I will be voting for Maddy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Long Awaited Writing Program Begins

The girls hard at work

I ordered a writing program for the girls some time ago. They have been really excited to start, well Madeline has at least. Marney could take it or leave it.

The program is called Institute for Excellence in Writing, and consists of DVD lessons for the girls, a huge training program for me, follow up lesson plans, and online support. This is the reason that we are starting it now, there has just been no time for me to sit down and learn everything I need to learn. Now that I have the time, I am really motivated to make this work and help the girls become good writers.

Writing is an area that I really feel my education is lacking (obviously!). Even though I went through a public school system with a great reputation, at 17 years old, I did not feel prepared for all the writing assignments required of a college student. In fact spending 4 (OK, 5) years in college (I have a BS in Dietetics-heavy on the science for a reason!) writing papers only gave me a phobia of writing, it did nothing to improve my skills. Which is why I still write like I talk, and chose only to go back to school if it meant very minimal writing. I'll take drug dosage calculations, memorizing medication side effects, and pathophysiology any day over writing a paper! I'm in a position now with both of my degrees to start working on my masters, but my fear of writing makes me cringe at the thought of taking that next step. But hey, we all have our strengths and graduate with holes in our education no matter what.

However, I really want to do everything I can to make sure my kids do not struggle with writing. I think that if they are able to write well, without too much effort, they will have a lifelong advantage. So, finally we begin. Hopefully we will all learn a lot!

Friday, January 8, 2010

running log day 4

45 minutes...3.2 miles!

7 min. walking warm up, 33 min. running, 5 min. cool down.

Day 2 of counting points!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This one's for my girls

I added the "Annie" gadget at the left to end a disagreement between the girls and I. Still not great at this whole blogging thing, I can't figure out how to make the whole thing show up.

It is so much fun that they are interested in some of the same things that I was as a little girl. First was Little House on the (excuse me while I use the dictionary feature on my laptop to look this next word up) Prairie, why is that word so hard to spell? Now they are loving the movie "Annie" and all the songs in it. I remember my Mom taking my sister and I to see the play when it came to Detroit in the 80's. We had a record (had to explain to the girls what a record is/was) of the sound track from the play, and used to play it over and over again singing at the top of our lungs. Now my girls are doing the same thing, only they now have them movie and get to watch it over and over again.

They have been singing "It's a Hard Not Life" all day today, so I finally said, "I think it is actually, It's the Hard Knock Life" No, that doesn't sound right, they said. So what did we do to find out the actual lyrics? Google it , of course! Enjoy!

New Year's Eve

We celebrated both Leah's 4th birthday and New Years Eve, at our house this year. I was lot's of fun. The two new Dunlap's fit in very well, we are so glad to have them in our family.

Grandpa and Madeline.

Jacob liked the frosting on Leah's birthday cupcakes.

Sarah is enjoying her role as big sister to Anna.

The birthday girl!

Opening presents. I think Leah is in there somewhere.

running log day 3...slight setback

Sunday, 40 minutes on the treadmill.

Monday and Tuesday were days off, Marney and Owen are not feeling well.

This is the first time since early fall 2008 anyone has been sick around here. Isn't that amazing? Over a year of excellent health. After years of Owen's reflux/aspiration/respiratory issues, it sure is nice to have 3 healthy kids. Believe me I am counting my blessing here at home, but desperately wanting to get Joseph the medical attention he needs. It sounds like he is in fact having reflux issues, and I remember vividly how miserable Owen was. It is so frustrating knowing that one little pill a day could make all the difference for him, but he is not getting it. He looks happy and healthy in the pics and video we receive monthly, but I wonder how he is sleeping and if there is anyone to comfort him if he wakes up in pain.

I'm pretty sure I will drive myself crazy with this kind of thinking. I love and look forward to our monthly updates, but it would almost be easier not to know certain things.

Finally, Christmas pics

We had a wonderful Christmas this year, it was very relaxed and downsized. After all the craziness of nursing school, it was so nice to focus on the kids and enjoy the holiday. They knew there would not be as much under the tree this year, because everything extra is going to our adoption fund. They were more than fine with that. They were able to enjoy the gifts they did get, and more able to focus on the true reason for the season. Each gift was more thought out, making them more special. No returns or exchanges this year!

Madeline loved her new robe.

Owen was really excited to receive this boat, he has had his eye on it for quite a while.

Marney wearing her snuggie, she really wanted one. Funny girl. Here she is opening the gift that Santa left under the tree for Joseph.

Mommy and Owen putting his boat together.

Owen received this really cool crane from Grammy and Poppa.

Super excited Marney.

Love Madeline's face here, can't remember what she was opening, but it must have been good.

All three kids said at some point that this was the best Christmas ever, and I agree. Although I suspect next Christmas when Joseph is home, is going to be pretty special.
Have I mentioned how much I love my kids?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

running log day 2...

I'm on a roll, 2.5 more miles today, this time inside at my Mom's on her new treadmill. Even I cannot brave 15 degrees. My lungs are still recovering from yesterday, Jim and I sounded like smokers coughing all night last night. Hopefully there was no permanent damage done.

My legs are a little sore today, but it actually feels good, I shall continue.

On a side note, my hair obsessed son just told me I should get a bump-it, cause it'll "bump your hair up Mom." Not sure what to think about this boy, other than he really needs a brother!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dog poop on my shoe (running log, day 1)

Like most Americans, I awoke this morning full of motivation to start the new year off right, and get back into shape.

I used to run quite a bit (think college days, the first time, circa 1994) then life happened, as you can see from the previous post. I have managed to fit exercise in here and there at times, but have not been as consistent as I need to be. It was easier when I had the time and money to go to the gym, but I have neither of those luxuries now. So Jim and I have both made the commitment to fitting in time to run (outside, for free!) either together or take turns. He is motivated by the fact that he is starting back to Tae Kwon Do next week after many, many years away. I am motivate by the fact that as much as I have tried, I can not longer blame my dryer for shrinking my clothes.

Our first trip out Jim 2.5 miles - 26 min. Me 2.5 miles - 30 min. (eek!)

Despite a slight case of exercise/cold air induced asthma and dog poop on my shoe (I managed to find the only fresh pile for miles). I feel pretty good. Gotta love the great outdoors!

Also, I must apologize to the nice folks in downtown trying to enjoy their lunch. Hope my huffing, puffing, snot nosed (and possibly some drool at that point) self did not ruin your appetite as I "ran" by.

P.S. Shovel your sidewalks people!!! Not everyone in Michigan hibernates, and I can't afford a broken ankle.

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2010, a new decade, and all the adventures it will bring...may this coming decade be even more of a blessing than the previous one.

Thinking back on the past decade is slightly mind numbing, but in a good way...

In 2000 we moved our little family of 3 into our 2nd home.

In 2001 Marney was born, bringing endless joy (and lots of laughs) to our expanding family.

In 2002 we sold our little home, and moved to a slightly bigger one in Saline.

2003 was full of keeping up with two little girls, gardening, and home remodeling.

In 2004 Owen joined our family and two weeks later our house went up for sale, we were on the move again. Jim's "secure" career in the automotive industry was suddenly uncertain.

2005 was a year of major transition, with jobs in the auto industry being lost left and right, we made the decision to accept a job out of state. We sold our home in Michigan and moved to Vermont.

2006 began with us enjoying life in Vermont, making awesome new friends, but missing home. Not to worry though, it would not be a quiet year. The second half of that year would find us back home in Michigan where we belong, but now missing Vermont and the life we established there. We learned that life is full of difficult choices, but choosing family is always the right one.

2007 brought another life transition, I went from being a stay at home Mom to full time student, and working part time. Jim started a new job, thankfully not in the auto industry, this would prove to be a very good move, as even harder times were ahead for the big 3 and Detroit. When the "recession" hit, surprising many, we felt like it had already happened to us, and took it in stride.

In 2008 along with everything else going on in our busy life, we made the decision to educate our children at home. This has above and beyond been the best decision we ever made for our family. It has changed us all in too many ways to describe.

2009 In March we said "yes!" when God asked us to commit to a child in need. In November we lost Grandpa, and in December I graduated from nursing school.

As we enter a new decade, and a new chapter in our lives, I hope we are a little wiser and a little less restless. I hope we always remember that when we are faced with a choice that we always choose family. We can't wait to get Joseph home, and see what direction in our lives this special little boy will take us.

(Madeline was a little miffed that I did not include 1999 in this post, I tried to explain that it is a summary of the last decade, not our entire life. Didn't work. So here you go honey. 1999 was the year that our Madeline was born. She took us from being a couple to being a family, and has been a source of joy for almost 11 years now. We are truly blessed that God chose us to be her parents.)

May your new year be blessed!