Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scariest thing this Halloween...

No internet service! Eek! Pictures and further inconsequential ramblings coming soon...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Check out this month's Catholic Carnival!

You absolutely must visit KT Cat at The Scratching Post who hosts this month's carnival. I do believe it is a combination of two of my favorite things-cats and Catholicism. I wonder if KT is a fan of Cat Chat? Hmmm...Either way, the carnival presents interesting commentary (including one from yours truly) on the Catholic faith and The Scratching Post is a cleverly written stop for all blog readers.
Couple of Links

Michelle, at Dei Gratia, has been updating her blog with some of her families' Advent/Thanksgiving traditions. She has a bunch of great ideas you can check out, but be sure you don't miss the Blessing Box and the Blessing Mix. These are two super ideas that I've never heard of before.

Anyone have any other great suggestions for what your family does to celebrate Thanksgiving? (I'm going to re-ask the same question about Advent once I get our family traditions all sorted out in my mind, perhaps after Halloween is finished!)

Also, for those of you who live in the Chicagoland area, Dr. Ray Guarendi is coming to speak at our parish on November 12th at 7pm. There is no cost for the event, but a free will offering will be collected. He is a psychologist specializing in family/children and has a wonderful "no-nonsense" approach to problem solving. He is also the father of 10 adopted children, many of whom have special needs. You can hear some of his wisdom here and read more about him here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dance Practice

With Halloween only two days away, it's crunch time for costume design. We're really in pretty good shape considering past Halloweens.

I won't even mention the year a certain child, who insisted he wanted to be a football player until 10:07 am on October 31st; which led to a last minute run to the mall for a dinosaur costume (size small) on clearance for $4.99. Lucky for him, he was our only child at the time.

I also won't mention the year another child, who needed a specific princess costume (lovingly provided by Grandma and Grandpa for the lone granddaughter of the day), refused to set one single sparkly pink slipper out the front door on Halloween night.

This year, everyone has a costume. Everyone *appears* to be on board with going out for trick-or-treating. And, with six kids to disguise, any last minute costume changes will involve a sheet, scissors and a diagram of Charlie Brown's first costume. There's only one last detail. It involves The Boy, moon boots, a curly wig, wire-rimmed reading glasses and the learning of this dance:

Any interesting Halloween costumes out there?
Perfect Gift

On this day, last year, I was on pins and needles for news about our Embassy date and travel plans to Ethiopia to add two new blessings to our family. There wasn't a better gift out there and God knew it. (Not even at Talbots!) This year, I waited again for news. But the waiting was different.

Today, the one who gave me my first birthday gift-the gift of life, received news that all her biopsy testing had come back normal! Thank you, God for another year and another perfect gift.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Accidental Adoption

Not surprisingly, we've witnessed some bewildered people and heard some jaw-dropping things as we've shared our decision (Really, we had to do it...The neighbor's dog was very clear when he said we had to...) to adopt again and add to our six-pack.

One that made me chuckle to myself was, "Did you mean for this to happen?" I shared it with my husband (ever the quick-witted) who retorted, "No, our adoption birth control didn't work and now we're stuck."

Just a warning for those of you not practicing safe adoption.

Read on to find out just how it happens...

Have you ever noticed that you hear all the time about "accidental" pregnancies, but never about couples who experience "accidental" adoptions?

Can you imagine:

Honey, sit down. I have some news for you.

What is it?

Well, I don't know how to say this, so I'll just come out with it. I went out to the mailbox today and ... well, we got an I-171H.

A what?!? An I-171H? As in, we're going to have a(nother) baby?!?

It looks that way.

But how? We've been so careful! I put away all the blank I-600A forms. Didn't you hide our homestudy update?

Of course I did. But don't forget, there was that one night...

What night? (pauses) Ohhh, that night. But it was only once. We were just messing around. I didn't print clearly. I didn't even use ink! (pauses again) But it was kind of fun.


It was, wasn't it? I'll never forget how cute you looked getting your fingerprints.

So now we've got our I-171H, eh? But that doesn't always mean you'll adopt, does it? I mean, shouldn't you see the agency or something, make sure everything's okay?

I already did.


I'm five documents along.

Five documents! And they're all notarized, certified and
authenticated okay?

Just great. There was one small scare when the agency couldn't see the Notary's middle initial, but it showed up just fine under the magnifying glass.

Thank God. And you, honey? Are you feeling okay?

I'm feeling fine. As long as I know you're happy about this.

Happy? I'm thrilled! It's always a shock at first when something like this happens, but of course I'm happy.

Don't say I didn't warn you.
Weekend Outlook

The outlook for this weekend calls for a girls-only Halloween party with a smattering of pumpkin picking and carving. This will be followed by a choir appearance early Sunday morning wrapped up with a good ol' fashioned church breakfast. In between, we're predicting lots of laughter, cooking and consuming of fall goodies, and late night chats with our out of town guest!

Blogging is expected to be light throughout. Have a great weekend!
Prayers needed

We received a phone call yesterday that an individual at The Boy's school has contracted the MRSA or "superbug" that has been plaguing schools across the country. Please pray for complete healing for this individual and for the health and safety of the others in the school.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love's sake. Amen.

Saint Augustine

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


After a hectic past few days, I finally find myself alone at the computer for a few moments to share the details of our latest adoption plans--or at least the details known to us right now, which at this point are fairly scarce. But anyway, here goes...

First, many of you know that our two adopted children came home from the beautiful country of Ethiopia almost a year ago! We had talked about adopting again and were already dreaming up fantasy scenes where we (we-meaning the Captain with a few older kids as co-pilots) would return to Ethiopia, bring our 9 year old Ethiopian daughter back to her homeland, soak up the smell of roasting coffee beans, eat lots of injera and wat, and linger for a few days in a place where the daily, the mundane elicit God's awesome presence. Just as our fantasy began to catch up with the reality of starting an application, we were dealt a devastating blow. Some of you may remember me mourning our loss of an opportunity to return to Ethiopia to adopt again.

As noted, I had emailed our agency director to receive information about beginning another adoption. And as noted, the same stinking day the news broke on the Ethiopian government limiting the number of children living in a prospective adoptive family's home.

What was not noted, (perhaps due to a tendency to guard my hand-and heart- closely in all matters of a family nature) was the response we received. We would be allowed to get in under the wire and be placed "on the list". We would simply get our initial application underway quickly and once that was complete we could move at our own pace with the rest of the process. What wonderful news!

So, we waited for our application...and waited...and re-requested it...and waited...and re-requested it again...and waited some more. Finally, it was mid-summer and nothing had appeared. We began to think that perhaps, as is often the case, God had different plans for us. Feeling that whatever happened, God knew knows who our child(ren) will be and we would trust Him on this one. Father knows best, if you will. So, we requested information on a different country again mentioning that we had still not received an application. We waited...and (I'm not kidding) nothing-nada-zip-zilch-zero. Perhaps we thought, another adoption is not in our plans right now, perhaps never. We decided to let it rest.

As you know, however, when God puts something on your heart it never really is put to rest until you have His peace about it. So, around the beginning of September, I began informally polling families whom I knew were in the process to adopt again. Did THEY get an application, I wondered? Or was there some kind of secret gumdrop pass that the second-timers got to use that I was unaware of? The answer was very clear-we needed an application and we needed it quickly. So in late September/early October, I gathered our winding trail of email correspondence and resent it--all of it--to our agency director asking, for the sake of our sanity, if we were or were NOT "on the list" and if so, did we need an application?

She quickly responded and asked, "Do you meant to tell me that you have NEVER gotten the application?" Even more quickly, I responded, "Yes!" She was so extremely gracious (just one of the many reasons we are with the same agency again) and within 24 hours we had our application-as well as three follow-up emails ensuring that it had arrived.

To date, for those who like a checklist: our homestudy has been re-done. Our application has been accepted. Our adoption processing contract arrived a few days ago. Shortly, our dossier paperwork will arrive and we'll begin that process again. And as for a referral or specifics about our newest ark member(s)-well, we've left a lot of those lines blank and will wait for God to fill them in for us. Although, sometime next year, that fantasy trip back to Addis looks like it will become a reality.

Many times, during the past six months, it would have been easy to become discouraged, to doubt, to fear or to question our calling. But our last adoption taught me something. This process has little to do with having all our paperwork ready, fingerprints checked or papers notarized, racing to a deadline we think we should make. It has everything to do, however, with simply being where God needs us when He calls us to act.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Do you have any plans?

Ever the inveterate planner, I was trumped by my four year old the other day in the car.

It could have been the fact that it was 7:30 AM and there were six wide awake children in the car I was auto-piloting to school, or it could be that I have given birth to someone who has already "out-planned" me.

CB had been sitting in the back talking with N about playing dentist after the big kids were all at school. (While she has a healthy, okay-perhaps slightly unhealthy, fear of dentists and doctors; she LOVES to pretend to be those very same things.) Overhearing her, The Boy decided to get into the conversation and perhaps antagonize the pre-schooler a little bit.

The Boy (to CB): Hey, CB, are you going to play dentist later?

CB: Yes.

The Boy: Maybe you'll even BE a dentist when you grow up?

CB: No!

The Boy: No?! Well, why not?

CB: Because, she announced decisively, I have other plans!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jury's still out on this one

The other night The Boy alerted me to a program on TLC featuring a large family. He suggested that I might like it and since he hadn't watched the whole show, he presumed that perhaps some (or all) of the children were adopted.

Well, as the Captain and I (okay, so the main flipper was not so much me) flipped back and forth between sports telecasts (see, I told you I didn't have the remote...) we happened upon the show.

I'd tell you the name, but you'll just have to click on the link-because truth be told, the mother frightens me a little and I'm not sure I want to be one of her google search results.

Needless to say, I only meant to watch for a few minutes to learn more about the family but a combination of disgust, disbelief and the occasional moments of great compassion, I watched the whole entire show. And I'm still not sure what the point of it is.

It is not about an adoptive family.

It is not about the joys and sorrows of fertility drugs and multiple births.

It is also not an ode to the joys and sorrows of life with a large family (or a family of any size for that matter.)

Honestly, I'm not sure what it is about. There were moments when it seemed as though perhaps a demo tape for the Supernanny show had accidentally been aired. There were other moments when I was waiting for the camera to flashback to Oprah or Dr. Phil and their live studio audiences waiting to help this couple work out their issues on national TV. Perhaps it was a contest to see if any person in real life could possibly be more OCD than Adrian Monk (This mother of 8 children 6 and under washes her kitchen floor-on her hands and knees-three times a day.)

Their life is not for my judgement, (although I guess I've already done that, huh?), but it is just one more program under the guise of reality television that allows/requires/eggs on people to act in ways that show them at their worst, while most of the good gets left on the editing room floor. I am fairly certain that raising 8 kids is no walk in the park. I can be 100 percent sure that raising 6 is hard; and that try as we might, the Captain and I and our Ark crew get things wrong just as often as we get them right, which is why you have not and will not see us on the next big reality show. But I can assuredly say that we have more good times than bad, more happiness than sadness, and more love than we deserve on most days. And if I'm not mistaken, and we dug around on the cutting room floor, I bet we'd find that their family does too.

So, what's your take? Has anyone else seen this show? Or am I tuning into something that's now playing in repeats on Nick at Nite...

Friday, October 19, 2007


This message comes from our parish's youth minister via fellow parents at our school:

"I was just informed that the Beacon news could not find any parents who would be against allowing their child to have an abortion without their knowledge. If you have 5 minutes today, please call the Beacon News at 630-844-5845 and ask for Andre Salles to voice your opposition to concealing abortions from the parents of underage children."

I thought this was worth passing on to concerned parents (both native to Aurora and elsewhere) who would be opposed to a no-consent abortion for their daughter. I'm sure there are one or two of us out there...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hey mom, are you looking for something?

I know it is a fear of many moms that in their heroic efforts at mothering they will lose themselves, the woman who they were, (as Claire Huxtable said) "before the children". I would suggest that in our journey as women who are also mothers that we haven't lost ourselves, but merely undergoing a metamorphosis into the fullness of the woman God has called us to be. Perhaps different from the woman we once were, in thoughts or actions or dress size (ahem); no less of the woman we once knew-but more of her. And no, this is not a reference to aforementioned dress size.

American Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, has a beautiful reflection on this thought:

Ultimately, the only way I can be myself is to become identified with Him in whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence.
Therefore, there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend; to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him, I will find myself and if I find my true self, I will find Him.

Where in the world have the ark readers (and writer) gone?

You can check my other post about where I've been, but if you're wondering about the Cluster Maps widget in the sidebar; my email tells me that one year is up and the previous year's readers have had their little red dots safely tucked away in a cozy archive somewhere in cyberspace.
So very, very tired

Is it just me or is there a pseudo-first-trimester-esque exhaustion that accompanies the start of a new adoption?

Based on the last few days on the Ark, I'd have to say, emphatically, YES.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Worth the read

"Pre-natal tests target children like Lucy and doctors apologize when
children like Lucy are born. Lucy is a child the world would choose not to
have. Foolish, foolish world.

She will never do all the things that typical kids do. That's what the
experts say. What they fail to mention is all that she will do..."

Head over to The Vietnamese Ladybug to read the rest of this touching story and then when you're finished, keep the tissues handy and head over to hear Becky's heartfelt words about her special boy.

H/T to Jena for sharing this one. And to Becky for writing such a beautiful response.
Jimmy Doesn't Like It

This old Seinfeld episode is the first thing that pops into my head each time CB uses the third person to talk about herself.

Would it be too much to hope that any future references on the Ark NOT involve her pinky toe, low talkers, the Soup Nazi or Farbman furnishings.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin Picking Pilgrimage

The two littlest ones and I traveled with CB for her first ever school field trip.

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, here is the link to the pumpkin patch. Just a little of my opinion inserted here, however, there were quite a few more scary than cute things at this farm. I think the attempt was made to appeal to a wide age-group, but I'm not sure there was ANY target audience who would have appreciated everything here. Check it out yourself on their website.

Friday, October 12, 2007

You can't fence out truth

but apparently Dominick's grocery, along with their sneakiest new neighbor wish to believe that it can. Read more about this here.

And since we're talking about businesses...I just have to add this link from Praying for Grace.

Did you all know about this? I had NO idea, but I'm just sickened by it.

Here is the quote from LDI:

The Boycott List (see above) includes a section called Dishonorable Mention, which lists seemingly innocuous nonprofit organizations that are involved with Planned Parenthood or otherwise active in the Culture of Death. Among the groups included are Outward Bound West, American Automobile Association (AAA), Kaiser Permanente, American Cancer Society, Dr. Phil Foundation, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Camp Fire, Girl Scouts, Kiwanis Club, Rotary International, March of Dimes, Lions Club, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Diabetes Association, and the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA). Involvement ranges from donating funds to pro-abortion groups (or allowing affiliates to do so), supporting anti-life causes, allowing pro-abortion groups access to membership, adopting an official pro-abortion policy position, and so forth.
Prayers for World Peace

The ladies over at View from the Pews have started an initiative to encourage prayers for peace in our world. To get involved, simply commit to a prayer once a week (any day will do) on your blog. As the Boy was studying this prayer last night, here's our prayer for peace from the Ark:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
-St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trick or Treat and UNICEF

Do you remember those little boxes given out around Halloween time to raise money for UNICEF? I don't even know if they still use them. I haven't seen a single one of my children bring one home from school in over 8 years of schooling.

I know you're asking yourself where is she going with this UNICEF thing...well, here it is-

Author Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle has a link to an informative article about UNICEF sponsoring an initiative supporting legal abortion in the developing world.

As mother to a child, whose birth mother was in poor health, I can only imagine that her condition would have been cause for UNICEF to offer her a "safe abortion" option. My heart breaks when I think about the heroic choice she made to give life to her son, while her own life slipped away; giving me the privilege and responsibility of parenting him in this life while she waits for him in the next.

This was forwarded on to me from my MIL from a close friend of the family who has been involved in pro-life activities in the Fox Valley area for decades. Please remember this family and their baby soon to be born in your prayers:

I need to share a prayer request and a blessing with you. As I was out at Pl*nned P*renthood praying today, a quiet Mexican couple came and stood alone opposite the building where there was a huge celebration going on inside. Many big shots from PP, as well as Steven Trombley, the CEO and all the personnel were having a huge party. There was even valet parking. I mean it was a huge celebration for them!
Anyway, this couple (who we later found out were George and Guadeloupe - who is 9 months pregnant) came and knelt on the pavement and prayed quietly and both cried for what will be going on inside the Abortion Fortress beginning tomorrow morning. I have never seen such a somber witness to Jesus' love before. All of us who were there to stand for life and pray for the babies and their mommies and the workers, felt privileged to witness this precious sight. Guadeloupe knelt on the hard pavement in the bitter cold wind with only a light sweater (until one of the workers went to her car and found a small blanket to drape over her, and something for her to kneel on). Nine month pregnant Guadeloupe and her husband George knelt and prayed and cried for an hour. We prayed for them and their precious baby.Then they quietly rose and left and said they will be back. We embraced and thanked them for their sacrifice of time and comfort to come and be that witness that the PP workers would not - no could not-look at. They all turned their backs on Guadeloupe because they could not bear to look upon the glory of God that was around that couple.
Please pray for this precious couple and their baby who is soon to be born. I personally cannot wait to go out and see what God will do next.
Please consider signing up to pray for one hour at the clinic this Friday. God truly meets us there.
Breakfast Debate

This morning as I prepared breakfast for my three little ones, and changed Baby T's diaper, and washed my hands so many times the skin nearly fell off, my cooking skills were called into question by CB.

CB: I will have toast. (five seconds later) Where is my toast? Is it ready yet?

Me: It's still in the toaster.

CB: In the toaster? CB doesn't want it in the toaster. (Her sudden switch to the third person when referring to herself is as baffling as it is annoying and warrants a subsequent post at a later time.)

Me: But you wanted toast?!

CB: Yes, but not in the TOASTER.

I'd better go pull out the Joy of Cooking and check the recipe again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fruits of our Labors

Since I felt it was equally important to share with my children not only the joys of journeying to the farm to pluck (and perhaps even taste!) your own ripe apples off their branches, but also the joys of cooking with the harvest; I now present to you the plethora of apple products cooked up on the ark over the last week.

Caramel Apples

The girls used this recipe. Be careful, though, there were a few minor hot caramel related injuries.

An old family favorite from our German neighbor at my childhood home is for Apple Crumb Pie. There is no simpler recipe that has such a sweet result or such a delicious crumb topping and when vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is added this dessert could take any other fall favorite hands down.

In a bowl, combine:
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. flour
3/4 t. cinnamon
8-10 (or more) sliced tart apples

Pour mixture into an unbaked 9" pie crust (I used frozen store bought ones) making sure apples are "heaped" in a pile.

1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar (I like a mixture of brown and white sugars)
1/4 c. butter
Mix together until crumbly. Spread over apples.

Place pie(s) on a cookie sheet (unless you are particularly fond of the smell of burning sugar) and bake at 400F for 45-50 mins.

If it begins to brown too much on top before finished, cover loosely with a foil tent.

And for my own enjoyment, this year I decided, why stop at traditional applesauce when with just a little more cooking, I could have apple butter; which I'm hearing goes very well with pancakes. Here's the recipe I used (including the canning instructions).

To those of you who live locally, kindly humor me and act surprised when you receive a basket with pancake mix and apple butter this Christmas...

Amazingly enough, I STILL have a peck of apples left. Any other great apple recipes to share?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pregnancy Q & A's

Sent to me by my MIL, who is mom to 11, some of these just made me laugh right out loud!

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.

And I thought I was just drawing...

You can take the Draw-a-House test to see just what your drawing reveals about your personality, too...Here's what mine said:

You are sensitive and indecisive at times. You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You love your house and family. You are a gifted artist as well. Once you have a problem, you need a friend with you. Your life is always full of changes. You are very tidy person. There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. Your life is always full of changes.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You have a strong personality and you like to command, influence and control people.

You added a flower into your drawing. The flower signifies that you long for love. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You don't think much about yourself.

Take the test here.
Help wanted!

Another one of our dedicated moms from church is helping to coordinate sidewalk counselors and prayer partners for the Aurora Pl*nned P*renthood site. Volunteers will receive training.
If you feel called to minister to abortion-bound women in this way, please leave me a comment below or email me for additional information.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How'd You Get There From Here-Part VIII

Before you read this, make sure you read this (Our Referral-Part I)-if you haven't already.

"I've got a couple of kiddos here I'd like to talk to you about..." had me cautiously optimistic. I then knew for certain that this was not a call about the fund raising efforts we were contemplating.
As our agency's director spoke, I began to recognize the baby boy and his older sister she was calling about. I waited until she paused and then informed her that we had already looked into this particular pair of siblings, but that the baby had tested positive for Hepatitis C. As my hopes for a referral began to fade, I explained how we had consulted with multiple medical professionals and the verdict was clear-our family and Hepatitis C was a bad match at this time. There was silence on the other end of the phone for what seemed like a long time. Faintly, I could hear her shuffling papers on her end of the phone and then she responded, "You're right. He did test positive for Hepatitis C, but he's been retested and he doesn't have it."

I must admit at this point, as God whispered again, I remained a skeptical mortal.

How can someone just *lose* Hepatitis C, the way I routinely lose my cell phone? I wondered aloud. She seemed a bit uncertain herself, but insisted that it was true and again asked if we were interested. As she waited for my response, I considered my four children playing in the other room. We had committed ourselves to an adoption which would not jeopardize them in any way, but had promised to be open to God's hand throughout the process. Finally, I told her we would like to see the referral, but would need to have our adoption doctor review the medical records. She agreed and almost instantly, the file sat in my email in-box. My visiting friends rushed in to see the pictures and scan the description of the brother and sister who, for the second time in 3 months, had found their way into our home. Everything looked great, but the menace of the original Hep C diagnosis still lingered. As nap time approached, and my visitors left, I forwarded the referral to my husband at work; where he, in turn, faxed a copy of the medical file to the adoption doctor. Then, we waited. When he finally called after dinner that night, he explained the possibilities:
  • First, the lab made a mistake. One of the tests could be wrong, but in his opinion, knowing the caliber of the lab which was used, he believed it was unlikely.
  • Second, the baby had tested positive for Hep C at the first test because his tiny, new baby self still contained antibodies from his birth mother, and the test will react to any antibodies-even those of the birth mother. (This is the same phenomenon which people find in testing babies under 18 mos. for HIV, which is why a special PCR test is used to determine if the baby is actually testing positive for the HIV virus, rather than just noting a positive reaction to antibodies still present from the birth mother.)
  • Third, the baby had "converted" from positive to negative, which, the doctor explained, was possible but unlikely as this is usually seen in older patients.
Whichever the reason, he believed that it would be best to repeat the test to confirm the diagnosis. We called our agency, who agreed to the testing, but informed us that it could take a week or so to even get the baby scheduled for the next round of testing AND then another week or so to have the results in our hands. While we wanted an answer quickly, we were confident in this plan and decided to go forward with it. Luckily, we had a weekend trip planned to St. Louis, which would provide a much needed distraction.

Friday morning, the Ark started rolling south on I-55 headed for the Gateway Arch. We had a marvelous time in St. Louis (Ed. Note: If you're looking for a Midwestern weekend trip--this was a fabulous, family friendly, low-cost city). On our way home, we had decided to stop and pay a visit to the magnificent grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. We wound our way around to the Main Shrine and Amphitheater, where as CB and N napped in the cool of the car, the Captain and I took turns visiting the Rosary Courts where we found rows of devotional candles and cards for prayer requests.

I watched as the the Boy and B returned to the car with their Dad. As he hopped in the driver's seat, he handed me a small card and said emphatically that I should go and light a candle and deposit our prayer request. The request leaving, for once and for all, the referral we sought in God's hands. We prayed that God would bring peace to our family and to the children whose file we reviewed regardless of the outcome. Then, we headed back north on the interstate, to await the results of the Hep C retest over the coming weeks.

Monday morning, after the Captain had left for work, but while the children still slept (I know, a miracle silence on the ark in and of itself); I headed to an early morning rendezvous with my computer. To my great surprise, there was a message from our adoption agency. Trying not to get my hopes up, I opened it and found the test results-the ones that were supposed to take nearly two weeks to arrive-were in our hands after one weekend.

And that baby who was tested? What were his results you ask? Why they were negative, of course; and he and his older sister are now sleeping peacefully in their beds a floor above me as I type. The negative test results shouldn't have surprised us. From the beginning God whispered to us that they were our children, if only it didn't take us so long to hear Him.
Respect Life Sunday 2007

Since 1972 the Catholic bishops in the United States have set aside the first Sunday in October as Respect Life Sunday. On October 7, Catholics will again pray for – and renew their resolve to bring about – a culture of life and an end to the killing of innocent human beings, especially those who are vulnerable due to their age, size, health or dependency.
from the USCCB Statement For Respect Life Sunday 2007

The statement is well written and highlights many of the Church's contemporary concerns with our societal leanings against a culture of life: abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, etc... My only disappointment is that it neglects to showcase one of the choices that celebrate life-one that's near and dear to my heart-adoption.

So in addition to praying for the assaults on life listed above, let's also pray for an increase in pro-life families who accept the call to adopt and for the children who wait for them. No child should be without a family.

You can read the full text of the statement here.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

You know you're old when...

the little girl you used to babysit for adds you to Facebook. Okay, Becky H., your crusty old babysitter is in.
Here's Why...

each and every single life deserves a chance.

May Jesus and hold this family tightly and may His loving Mother wrap her mantle around them. And may all of us be touched by the longing for our heavenly home that this tiny soul briefly brought to our world.
Book Review

Children's book author, Jillian Curtis, has written an engaging picture book for young readers. The Little Prince and the Magic Wand features a boy prince on a quest for magic. He encounters a variety of forest friends on his journey, who help him to discover the magic he seeks--in a most unlikely place. Beautifully illustrated, this book would definitely please any young (or old!) lover of fairy tales! Read more about the book here or contact the author to order a signed copy for your favorite little prince or princess.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Grand Opening!

This won't come as a shock to people who are familiar with our adoption agency, but for those who don't know, they have just done a *remodel* of their online Ethiopian store. It is a wonderful resource for families with children from Ethiopia. There are children's books, books written in English and Amharic, adorable Ethiopian clothes (check out the traditional baby boy outfit! Could it BE any cuter?!) And, as if that wasn't enough, they will be adding merchandise to the store based on feedback from adoptive families! So, if you're in need of something Ethiopian-or are just looking for a unique place to do some early Christmas shopping (and help the children still waiting for forever families)-be sure to stop by and check this site out.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

The children have been looking forward to this feast day for some time now. They've been talking about our tradition for this day over the past year. Last year, since our parish's "pet blessing" was held at 7:30 pm (bedtime for our youngest kids) we did our research and found that we could hold our own blessing ceremony here on the ark. You would think, with the ark reference, that might take a considerable amount of time; however, last year we only had two cats to bless and one of them hid so we couldn't find her at the time. (Should the feast day suddenly include blessing all the children in the house, well then, the ceremony could become a little more lengthy.)

There is a little apprehension on the part of the parents this year. The cat we did manage to find and bless last year, disappeared less than a week after its blessing! So this year, we'll bless our remaining cat and lift up a special intention for St. Francis to deliver straight to Jesus-that He help our lone feline stick around a little longer.

Here is the prayer we used:

For all animals:

Blessed are you, Lord God,
maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
you called forth fish in the sea,
birds in the air and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless this animal.
By the power of your love,
enable it to live according to your plan.
May we always praise you
for all your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.

For more information on St. Francis of Assisi, click here. For some cool e-cards for this feast day click here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


the arrival of our newest niece, born this morning, weighing in at 6lbs 9oz (the exact same size as our N) and a long drink of water at 22 1/2 inches! Praise God for a safe delivery for mom and baby!
Does it make me a nerd?

to interrupt my day by taking a quiz to find out what kind of a nerd I am? says I'm an Uber Cool Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Apparently, it does not.


This morning entails running out the door asap, but have no fear there are a couple of things I've been meaning to post here.

For starters, I've got some pictures of our weekend at the farm, where we introduced H to the joys of pick-your-own fruit (and the importance of a good apple-cider donut).

Then, I really didn't intend to let this cliff hanger go on forever, so I'll be looking to tell the "rest of the story".

And finally, some new stuff is brewing on the ark. The details for this one can't quite be shared yet, but hopefully we'll have something to divulge shortly. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

ABCs and 123s

We have a little game we play in our house, which my parent's played with my siblings and I, to help survive bath time hair washes with minimal drama. Once their hair is wet, we are able to really lather up their little heads by playing "Guess what letter I've made?" Last night CB decided to help.

CB: Can I try one? (proceeding to etch what appears to be a lower case 'a' on her sister's soapy head)

N: Is it a 'c'?

CB: No.

N: Is it an 'o'?

CB: No. Come know this one.

N: Oh wait, now I know what it is(sitting up proudly)---ELEPHANT!

Unreserved, both CB and I began to laugh, until CB stopped and looked at N very seriously and said, "Not an elephant, silly, remember-these are NUMBERS!"

Perhaps it's time for a unit review.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Don't forget...

who it is that we serve. Our God is a mighty God and His faithfulness is real. With the opening of the Pl*nned P*renthood clinic in Aurora tomorrow morning, it would appear to many that the game is over.
Take comfort in God's living word, found in Sacred Scripture:

"I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For last night there stood by me an angel of God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, 'Do not be afraid...indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told." Acts 27: 22-25

Continue to keep our nation and the city of Aurora, Illinois in particular, in your prayers. Below is a beautiful Litany in Response to Abortion by Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests for Life.

There is more work to be done because the story's not over yet, not for those who believe.


By Fr. Frank Pavone

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father, Creator of the world, have mercy on us. RESPONSE: Have mercy on us!

God the Son, through whom all things were made,

God the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life,

Lord Jesus, the Beginning and the End,

Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,

Lord Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,

Lord Jesus, Eternal Word of Life,

Lord Jesus, living in the womb of the Virgin Mary,

Lord Jesus, Lover of the poor and weak,

Lord Jesus, Defender of the helpless,

Lord Jesus, Bread of Life,

For every sin against life,

For the sin of abortion,

For the daily killing of innocent babies,

For the bloodshed throughout our land,

For the silent screams of Your children,

For the killing of Your future disciples,

For the exploitation of women by abortion,

For the silence of Your people,

For the apathy of Your people,

For the co-operation of Your people in this tragedy,

For our pre-born brothers and sisters killed by abortion, RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

For our pre-born brothers and sisters threatened by abortion,

For our brothers and sisters who have survived abortion,

For mothers who have had abortions,

For mothers tempted to have abortions,

For mothers pressured to have abortions,

For mothers who have refused to have abortions,

For the fathers of aborted babies,

For the families of aborted babies,

For the families of those tempted to have abortions

For abortionists,

For all who assist and cooperate in abortions,

For doctors and nurses, that they may nurture life,

For government leaders, that they may defend life,

For the clergy, that they may speak up for life,

For the pro-life movement,

For those who speak, write, and work to end abortion,

For those who help provide alternatives to abortion…

For those who promote adoption,

For national and local pro-life groups,

For unity in the pro-life movement,

For courage and perseverance in pro-life work,

For those who suffer ridicule and rejection for their stand for life,

For those imprisoned for defending life,

For those who have been injured and mistreated for defending life,

For legal professionals,

For courts and judges,

For police officers,

For educators,

For media professionals,

In thanksgiving for the babies saved from abortion,

In thanksgiving for the mothers saved and healed from abortion,

In thanksgiving for the former abortion providers who have become pro-life,

In thanksgiving for all those who take a stand against abortion,

In thanksgiving for the call to be part of the pro-life movement,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us,

O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Let us Pray

Almighty and ever-living God, You have created all things through Your Son Jesus Christ. He trampled the power of death by His Paschal Mystery. May all who acknowledge You promote the sacredness of life and always serve You faithfully, through the same Christ our Lord.


Renaissance (Wo)Man

From our own HA Mom's Group...speaking at the Aurora City Council Meeting last week. Way to go, Elizabeth!

Mathetes Award

(Ed. note to my eldest son: read the award carefully, using phonics if necessary, for it is the Mathetes not the Math-letes award, as you might have thought.)

Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, you mention and provide links for (1)this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God) and, (2) the person that awarded it to you.

Thank you, Barbara, for choosing me to be a part of the incredible women you selected. I am truly humbled to be counted among them.

To narrow down, to only five the people, those whom I view as disciples is difficult as there are many more than 5 out there. In the spirit of the award, however, here are my five:

Becky at Wild At Heart Family

Margaret at Minnesota Mom

Mary at Owlhaven

Dawn at Holy Angels Mom's Group (who should just go ahead and bring the Mom's Group online already-because I know that she has nothing better to do with her time...)

and Katie at The Foo Hath Said (which would be the name of her blog if she would only start one...c'mon, you know you want to)

These women live their faith out in a quiet, humble way that draws people to them, while at the same time, keeping their focus on Christ and His ways.

Consider yourselves tagged!

Therese at Aussie Coffee Shop sent this my way. I'm going to do my homework before I take the quiz, however, as I don't know some of the sites referenced here...

Here's a fun quiz made up especially for bloggers. The rules are easy. Just post the quiz on your blog and answer the questions, then pass it on to five other bloggers, and link to them in your post. Be sure to link back to the one who sent it to you.

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?

I have never had the experience of attending the TLM. We just spoke about it at our couple's scripture study last week and only one of us had ever been. I think it would be good to experience it at least once as I have only ever been to the NO.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?


3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?

Roman Catholic.

4. Are you a comment junkie?

I think the comments are what makes writing and reading along on blogs such fun! There are days where the comments are like my own little life line to the adult world, so they are much appreciated and make blogging seem less like a journal entry and more like a conversation.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?

Usually, sometimes I forget, but I do try to go back-especially if I've asked a question and am hoping to hear an answer!

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?

No. I don't think that really does much to further any dialog between writer and reader.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?

I really love the Catholic Mothers Online one that I am on, there are so many great Catholic Christian moms on there who share my faith and vocation as mother.

8. Which blog is the first one you check?

Usually mine.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?

A couple of my blogging friends I met before they were bloggers! I think it would be fun to meet other bloggers-especially the ones who adopted through the same agency as us!

10. What are you reading?

For Couple's Scripture Study-Catholic and Christian by Dr. Alan Schreck
For Women's Scripture Study-Courageous Virtue by Stacy Mitch
For Pure Enjoyment-Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?

Not to my's where my homework comes in...

If it has, who do you think
Father Tim really is?

Time to hit the books and find out...

Thanks, Therese! And to anyone else, leave a note in the comments and let me know if you're playing!

***UPDATE***Okay, I checked the link for SOV2 and am still not sure what they are. If you have a chance go see for yourself and let me know what you think.
And as for Fr. Tim's identity...he's either a really devout Catholic or he's an insane lunatic waiting to be beamed onto a kinder, gentler planet. I guess only time (or he) will tell.