Friday, November 30, 2012

In The Hundreds Now

101. The funny things my kids say
102. Cheeseburger soup leftovers that made awesome lunches for three days
103. This wonderful baby girl kitty, Pixie, who brings so much joy to my life

104. A fun afternoon making 30 Christmas ornaments for my nieces, nephews, and the other special kiddos in my life
105. The AMAZING NEWS that my mother-in-law is going to fly out from Washington to go to court with us when we finalize our adoption!!!
106. Photo calendars by Shutterfly
107. My pillow. It makes every night better.
108. That Sunny's injuries were very minor after she decided to put my razor in her mouth like a lollipop...(why in the world would anybody do that?)
109. Hearing from a long-time ministry partner of our, with her request to get together with us when they come to Florida in January!
110. The first genuine apology and tears of remorse that we've ever had from Sunny!!! (This one is so huge it should count for three things I'm thankful for!!!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

God Provides

91. A check in the mail from a foundation in Washington. They specifically asked that we use the generous sum to buy Christmas gift for the kids.
92. A second check from the same foundation, designated for adoption expenses. How appropriate, with our finalization trip coming up!
93. An email from our old landlord in California, asking if our girls would like handmade sweaters for American Girl dolls as a Christmas gift. How perfect, since Piper and Bubbles are getting American Girl dolls for Christmas!
94. Three large boxes of high quality, gently used clothing for the kids--from three different people
95. A $1500 check for our ministry from a couple we met once a long time ago and haven't heard from in three years!
96. An email from our adoption specialist in Arkansas informing us that she thinks she can get the state to pay our airfare so we don't have to drive up for the finalization!
97. The possibility of a quick trip to Washington DC to visit Matt's grandpa who is going there for 3 weeks at Christmastime
98. Pepper's teacher who knows exactly how to meet his need for intellectual challenge
99. $50 worth of Nintendo DS games on sale for $22
100. Peppermint ice cream!!!

And for good measure, A REALLY AWESOME RECIPE for Cheeseburger Soup. I found the recipe on Pinterest. It sounded awesome so I gave it a try. It was awesome! All five of my kids devoured it. Three had seconds; two had thirds! Do you know how rare it is to find a meal that our whole family really likes?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Decorating Thankful

71. My dad's godmother, Jeanette, who gave me a beautiful ornament for Christmas every year of my childhood.
72. The nativity my grandparents brought to me from Portugal when I was 6
73. My Willow Tree nativity, given to me by my whole extended family 4 years ago
74. My Jimmie Johnson Christmas tree. I've been collecting #48 ornaments for 6 years and the little tree is looking better.
75. For Hashbrown casserole, a family tradition for decorating dinner for the last 12 years
76. The pine trees by our lake, which furnished the pinecones for my front door decorations

77. A fresh Christmas tree this year instead of artificial
78. A 6-hour playlist of Christmas music favorites--old favorites (Evie and Steve Green) and new favorites (Jennifer Paige)
79. Seven stockings to hang instead of four
80. New LED lights for our roof (I think they are hideous, but as Matt says, we're not the ones looking at the outside of our house, and they'll save us $300 over the months of November and December)
81. My Christmas dishes, a gift from Matt three years ago
82. My mom's Christmas runner that graced my childhood table for many years
83. Ornaments with Bubbles', Piper's and Sunny's real names on them. The store even had the correct spellings, which I wasn't expecting.
84. The wonder and delight as the three girls hung their own ornaments on the Christmas tree
85. Cinnamon candles
86. The olive wood camels that my grandparents purchased in Bethlehem. The camels were in Granny's living room for all my childhood Christmases. Now they are marching proudly across my bookcase in the living room.
87. Silver ball ornaments, on sale at JoAnn's, adding the sparkle my tree has been lacking for the last several years
88. 24 Christmas books, wrapped and waiting under the tree. We'll open and read one each night, starting December 1.
89. The advent calendar I made last year. Each day contains a fun, family activity. Some are simple (drink hot chocolate before bed); some are elaborate (make Christmas treats to deliver to the neighbors). 
90. The peace and joy that well up within me during this season. My heart is well-basted in thanks to the Lord for who He is and what He has done for me. I'm prepared to go all out in our celebration of His birth for this next month.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cute Kids

This morning Sunny came to my bedroom door and shouted that Pepper is copying her.
Pepper's reply: "Of course I am! I'm pretending to be a copycat!"

One of Piper's chores today is cleaning the toilets. When I told her, she started clapping her hands and jumping up and down, saying, "Oh goodie! Cleaning toilets is my favorite chore because it is so much fun!"

Piper is still getting used to the wildlife here in Florida. The other day we were driving along and she saw a Sandhill Crane. Those beautiful birds stand about 4 feet tall. They are gray with long, sharp bills and red throats. Piper saw one and said, "WOW!!! That's the biggest woodpecker I've ever seen!!!"

61. Our friends Curt and Tracie, faithful and wonderful. We got to spend Thanksgiving with them.
62. A turkey soaked for 12 hours in brine. YUM!
63. Eggnog cream pie with gluten free crust
64. Black Friday bargains! I got Snapper's big gift--black leather boots--for $9. The regular price was $54.99!
65. Jennifer Paige's new Christmas album, Holiday. Sweet and beautiful, and the perfect way to kick off the season.
66. Children who do a good job on chores
67. My new velour pants, another Black Friday bargain
68. A whole month of celebrating the birth of Jesus
69. A beautiful family Christmas photo
70. Two of my three new daughters telling me yesterday that they are more thankful for Daddy and me than they have ever been for anything else in their lives.

Life is definitely sweet right now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! It promises to be a beautiful day here in Florida. Our previous Thanksgivings here have been on the warm side, making it difficult to feel like Thanksgiving. Not this year! It is 52 degrees and sunny. We're spending the day with our dearest friends here, Curt and Tracie. The food and company will be fabulous! I am so blessed, and I have so much for which to be thankful!

41. Hot coffee
42. My warm, gray robe
43. Fuzzy socks
44. Miss Bubbles scratching Daddy's back on the couch this morning
45. Sunny going peacefully to bed last night without a fight. We've been in nap time and bedtime battle mode for the last week, so this is a really big deal.
46. Snuggles in bed with Sunny this morning
47. Hearing these words from her for the first time, also a really big deal: "I'm thankful for you, Momma, and I am ready to become part of this family."
48. Our wonderful friends Curt and Tracie, who are such a special part of our lives.
49. Friends--Curt and Tracie and several more--who are our family here
50. Our church family
51. Christmas music coming on in our house in 12 hours!
52. Indoor plumbing (especially in the middle of the night)
53. Facebook, which helps keep me connected with my friends and family all across the country
54. Pre-made gluten free pie crust, which is saving me quite a bit of time and effort
55. Our annual passes to SeaWorld
56. The anticipation of decorating for Christmas, starting tomorrow
57. My new nephew, Roman. I wish he didn't live 3000 miles away because I'm dying to hold him!
58. My computer
59. The love of my extended family which reaches me all the way from California, Oregon and Washington
60. The rich memories of Thanksgivings past. They are punctuated with love and tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

21. The financial ability to go to the grocery store today and fill my refrigerator, pantry, and freezer with enough healthy food to last my family for 2 weeks
22. Spectacular fall weather for Thanksgiving
23. Beautiful haircuts for my beautiful girls
24. Two sisters (joined by adoption) snuggling in the armchair, watching a movie together
25. Buttered popcorn and cold milk
26. My crock pot
27. Buy 1 get 2 free coupons
28. My wonderful, delightful step-mom who has been a blessing in my life for the past 9 years
29. Technology that helps me connect with my family, even though they all live at least 3000 miles away
30. A comfortable bed with a memory foam mattress topper
31. The gluten-free bakery that sells delicious bread to a store in our town
32. Snapper's 3/4 inch of growth and 4 pounds of weight gain in the last 6 weeks: a tremendous victory for a child that has extreme difficulty keeping on weight
33. A pediatrician who specializes in ADHD (for 2 of my kids), is an adoptive father, and was willing to take Medicaid just so our adopted girls could be his patients
34. My best friend in all the world, Noel. She sees the ugliest parts of my heart but still loves me
35. The wonderful sport of swimming, that has had such a big impact on Snapper
36. New living room furniture, a gift from our manager's mother
37. My velour lounge pants
39. Jimmie Johnson (#48) specifically
40. My camera, the captor of memories

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


For the last three weeks I have participated in my friend Chance's thankfulness challenge. I have posted on Facebook each day three things I'm thankful for. It has been a really good thing for me because so often I take the blessings in my life for granted. Starting each day by listing three things for which I'm thankful has put my life back into perspective. I have so very much to thankful for.

For the last 9 months about 98% of my blogging effort has gone into my adoption blog. Due to the high risk involved in our adoption, I have not felt free to post much here. My other blog is password protected, and is only frequented by about 50 friends and family members. I have poured my heart out there. Because of the intensity of that blog, this poor blog has been sorely neglected. After the substance of the other blog, everything here feels empty and fluffy. Because this blog is in its 5th year and so many people read it, I don't want to abandon it. But it is time for it serve a new purpose.

I follow another adoption blog in which the blogger posted 1000 things for which she was thankful in one year. Because I love the perspective I've gained during this month of thankfulness, I am going to take the 1000 Gifts challenge on this blog. I will continue my in-depth posts on my other blog.

Without further ado, 1000 Gifts. 1000 things for which I am thankful.

1. Jesus, my Lord and Savior. He saved me from me and transformed my life.
2. My husband, Matt
3. 11 1/2 years of happy, satisfying marriage
4. Snapper, my firstborn child, grown in my body. 10 years of Snapper, filling my life with laughter, sweetness, and excitement.
5. Bubbles, my second-born daughter, grown in my heart. I have gotten only 5 months out of her 8 years, and we are making up for lost time. She inspires me, delights me, and brings me joy.
6. Piper, my third-born daughter, grown in my heart. Her willingness to serve lightens my load, and her sweet kisses melt me. While she is so young in some ways, in other ways she greatly surpasses her 6 years.
7. Pepper, my only son, grown in my body. 6 years of Pepper, bringing humor and laughter to our home, and turning me into a puddle of mush on the floor with his sweet tenderness and concern for others.
8. Sunny, my fourth-born girl and my littlest baby, grown in my heart. This little one is swiftly closing in on 5 years old, and daily I regret not getting to be her mommy from her first day. This child is the refining child who is building a great deal of character in my life, and teaching me to trust God in new ways. I adore her generous hugs, her husky voice, and the way she brightens up the room.
9. My lovely home
10. The beauty of the neighborhood we live in
11. Giant oaks trees, covered in Spanish moss
12. Our amazing neighborhood school where our four big kids go
13. The Christian preschool that Sunny attends
14. Seven teachers who genuinely love my kids (Snapper and Sunny each have two teachers)
15. My wonderful, reliable Honda Odyssey
16. My dear daddy, Jim. He worked hard to provide for our family so my sister and I could enjoy the most charmed childhood ever.
17. My beloved mommy, Lotte, a resident of Heaven. She devoted her life to my sister and me, and I thank her for each day and the knowledge of her unconditional love.
18. The privilege of being in full-time ministry
19. The 30 pounds I have lost since July!
20. Adoption

Friday, November 16, 2012

Exciting Day!

Our friend Hernan has spent the last several months in the Middle East serving with the Air Force. His wife and three kids are in our life group at church, which makes them an extension of our family. Hernan is coming home today! And we get the incredible privilege of accompanying his wife and oldest daughter to the airport to meet him. (He's surprising his two younger kids at school this afternoon). Most of the people in our life group are coming to the airport. We're taking banners and flags and balloons to surprise him and give him a true hero's welcome. I'm taking Snapper out of school for this special occasion because she has prayed faithfully for Hernan and his family while he has been gone.

I am so overwhelmed with emotion right now. I'm tracking his flight on The tears keep spilling over. We leave for the airport in 20 minutes and I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!

Welcome home, dear Hernan. We are so thankful for the sacrifice you and your family have made on our behalf. We love you! Thank you, Lord, for bringing him home safe and sound.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fellowship of Frazzled Moms

Yesterday I picked up Sunny from her Pre-K. The lobby of the church was filled with other mom who were there to pick up their kids. Many of them carried babies or pushed toddlers in strollers. Some--obviously home schoolers, due to the ages of the kids and the time of day--had their older kids with them. As I stood and waited for class to get out, I looked at the other moms. I began to notice some funny things. I quickly determined that being a mom to young kids earns you membership in the Fellowship of Frazzled Moms.

  • The mom with the baby on her hip and toddler in hand....she was wearing one pink shoe and one orange shoe. The shades of pink and orange were close enough that it was not a difficult mistake for her to make. But she was obviously wearing unmatched shoes.
  • The mom who came in with her baby in a jogging stroller...she was sweaty. Really sweaty. She was obviously wearing thong underwear. It was obvious because of the sweat outline against her light gray bike shorts.
  • The mom who was talking a mile a minute on her phone...she had a pair of sunglasses on her eyes and a pair of sunglasses on her head.
  • The grandma who emerged from the restroom pushing a toddler in a stroller...she must not be used to having a toddler in the restroom with her. She must have hurried in the restroom because her skirt was tucked into the back of her pantyhose. Yes, I told her. Yes, the thanked me. Profusely.
  • The mom with the three school-aged kids...her homeschooling was interrupted at Pre-K pick-up time and she rushed her kids out the door to get the Pre-K child. I know this because she was wearing leopard print pumps with her gray sweatpants and red t-shirt. And she had a pencil stuck in her ponytail. And all three of her big kids were reading books as they walked in.
  • The mom with the crying toddler...I think she was going somewhere important because she was dressed up in dress slacks and a fancy, sheer blouse. Either she has no sense of propriety, or she was having a forgetful day, because she was not wearing a cami under the blouse. It was completely see-through in the back and on the sides. I could read the tattoo on her shoulder, and clearly see how her bra fit. No, I did not tell her.
  • The dad with the two toddlers...he noticed that the lady forgot her cami, too. I *almost* went over to stomp on his foot
  • The mom with the baby in the infant carrier...she was definitely having a frazzled day. She was frantically digging through her purse, looking for her keys. After watching her for a few seconds, I realized that her keys were in her hand that was holding the purse. Yes, I told her. Yes, she thanked me...but she was really embarrassed. I told her not to be embarrassed, that all of us have days like that. We all know how it feels to be frazzled.
As if to prove my point, when Sunny and I walked back out to the car, I realized that I had left my car door wide open...