Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Humor

H/T Rhonda via email

A man is walking home alone late one foggy night...
when behind him he hears:


Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.


Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him



He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him. However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping on his heels, the terrified man runs. :


Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps. With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door--bumping and clapping toward him.

The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!

Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...


(hopefully you're ready for this!!!)

The coffin stops.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preparing for All Saints Day

Here is a lovely link to Pflaum Gospel Weekly's Family Pages. It has a host of online resources such as reproducible activities (for preschool, K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-8 and a family prayer service(including a litany of the saints). Be sure to stop by and check it out before you even start carving those pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I knew it...I Knew It...I KNEW IT!

You know how people sometimes adopt only to find themselves pregnant as soon as the adoption is final...

Well, here on the Ark, we like to be unconventional. Around here, we don't get positive pregnancy tests when our adoption is complete. Oooohh noooo. Instead we turn up a bumper crop of these positive tests.

Can I help it if we march to our own drummer?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Prompted This?

Heard by four year old Naomi in a ladies' restroom in Chicago: "Mommy, I've decided to listen to everything that you and Daddy tell me to do."

Did the earth change its axis? Are dogs friends with cats? Or is it possible my incessant nagging repeated reminders are actually sinking in?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bad Coins

This is a warning from the Canadian government to its people, but I thought we might be careful about candy from China as well. Also, if you know anyone in Canada , please inform them of this dangerous candy. Happy All Hallows Eve!

H/T Jenny via email

Every now and then, a warning circulated in email proves to be the real deal. Such is the case with this warning about Pirate's Gold Chocolate Coins sold at Costco and other locations throughout Canada. You can read the full story here at
New Hero

Driving back from my favorite corner store, Naomi, Mr. T and I were singing along to our Patriotic American songs cd when we found ourselves stopped at a red light. Sitting in the left turn lane, I watched as the cars to my right streamed past making their turns on red. I noticed, perhaps out of some paranoid sense, that the drivers all seemed to be staring at our vehicle and then trying to peer through the window. Finally, my fears were realized when a middle-agish sort of man in an SUV like mine motioned wildly for me to roll down my window. Dumbstruck, I rolled it down.

"Did you know you have a box of chalk on your bumper?" he inquired.

Of course I do, I wanted to reply, I have seven children.

But instead, I politely answered, "Oh no! I had no idea. Hopefully, I'll make it back home without losing it."

This good Samaritan took a brief look up at the still red light and slipped his car into park before jumping out and rescuing the runaway chalk box on my bumper. He proudly handed it to me through the open window, hopped back in his car and drove away.

Look out, Bagger Guy! I think you've been replaced.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Celebrating Grandpa's Birthday Edition

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Column

You can read my new column at the Beacon-News today: One Voice, One Song, One World.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Vote for Life

For those of you who will be voting in the state of Illinois this November, you can find out how the candidates stack up with respect to issues such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and related topics courtesy of Illinois Citizens for Life.

And while we're talking about life today, tomorrow pro-lifer across the world will NOT be talking about it...on purpose! See for yourselves. Will you be silent?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Doesn't It Always Figure?

When I wake early needing the stillness and absolute quiet of the Ark before dawn, my children are all awake by 6:00 am?


When we have an important appointment to be at and I need everyone awake, fed and dressed early, they all sleep in until 8:00am?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Coming Up For Air

Saturday mornings--at least for now--seem to be my quiet time. Granted, there is peace and quiet around here in the evenings, but there always seems to be so much to do...preparing lessons, running out to the store--alone!, meal planning, housework catch-up (now there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one!), column writing and, of course, sleeping!
For now, if Saturday mornings are all I get for blogging, I'll take it; knowing that this too shall pass. A few important updates to share:

  • We had our first post-placement visit and it went very well, even though Baby Girl decided to have a messy diaper right in the middle of it all! Our case worker wondered what our *intentions* regarding adoption were and we told her that we had no plans in the near future to adopt again. (I have to admit that just writing that out loud scares me. I know how God feels about me and my plans!) However, she seemed relieved because of the number of children we have and that whole snafu with DCFS approving our homestudy and getting an exception for this adoption and yada yada yada. The whole thing still leaves a sour taste in my mouth and presently, I simply don't have any additional energy to direct towards fighting it.
  • The Captain took Baby Girl for her labwork and although we found out that she needs one MORE vial of blood still, the one they drew that day went off without a hitch! Praise God! And...more of a praise even still...ALL of her blood work results thus far have come back normal!
  • Speaking of medical results, we also finally got in to see the ENT. He's the same ENT who helped us with Hannah's hearing loss and with Mr. T's tubes in his ears. When he examined her, he found both of her ears to no longer be actively infected, but to be full of fluid. So, she's on allergy meds and nasal spray to try and clear that up. More importantly though, we were looking for information on the *special need* that allowed us to adopt her in the first place. In Ethiopia, she was diagnosed--by observation--with a floppy airway, something which is not uncommon and children typically grow out of by their second birthday. In the first year, however, it can cause multiple breathing problems and failure to thrive symptoms. But in the US, this diagnosis is made by scoping the throat to actually see what the airway looks like. And when our ENT examined her, he felt that she was not showing signs of that diagnosis, but that her problems seemed to be centered more in her sinuses and ears. He ordered several xrays and they called us with the results this week. It seems that the funny Darth-Vaderesque breathing she makes is not being caused by her airway, but from a pair of extremely enlarged adenoids, which is totally manageable! We have a follow-up exam in November to do a re-check on her ears and create a plan of attack. Once again, The Captain and I have been privileged to see God's hand at work here. Without the original diagnosis in Ethiopia, she would probably not have been on the "special needs" list, which would have made her ineligible for us to adopt due to our family size. As The Captain said, this one just slipped through the cracks so that she could join our family. Otherwise, she would have been scooped up in no time. God has been so very good to us.
  • Speaking of God's goodness to us, I have to publicly thank all of you who have sent meals (or coordinated sending meals!) our way over these last few weeks. It has been a godsend and I'm not sure how it is I will ever be able to thank you all enough. Just know that I've been singing some serious praises for you all. We love you and God loves you more.
  • In other news, Mr. T seems to be coming out of his Baby Sister funk little by little. He actually sits and plays with her every once in a while now.
  • As for homeschool, I've been fairly silent about it what with everything else going on, but I have been so pleased with the girls' progress thus far. We are only a couple of weeks away from the end of the first quarter and so far so good. We've been able to do some wonderful projects and are enjoying reading real literature together. I'll try to share more about this sometime.
Most of all, however, is that through all of this the Devil has not prevailed. And there were many times when he tried. But my God is bigger, stronger and tougher than ever and He has drawn us closer to Him than we might have thought possible. And for that, I am grateful.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tell Me How You Really Feel

I made the decision (whether wise or foolish only time will tell) to jump right back into school the Monday after Baby Girl was home. If it makes you think I am any less insane (it does for me!) I scaled back on some of the typically robust plans that come from my out-on-parole teacher's mind after its long time in the slammer.
I justified my decision by rationalizing that if we waited too long to start back up we'd become complacent. My home would be full of children whiling away their days lounging around the house while their brains turned to mush faster than an old jack o' lantern. So, we began. And it was fine, I guess. We accomplished all of our work, but it didn't happen at the scheduled times or in the designated areas as is typical of our school day. In fact, many of our lessons took place on the family room floor this week, where I doled out vocabulary for Caddie Woodlawn or read aloud from Hattie Big Sky while trying to keep the baby from orally inspecting ever speck on the floor---of which there seemed many.
One day, out of habit, we found ourselves on the family room floor sans baby. Just Beulah, Hannah and myself along with Mr. (he's no longer the baby) T. As we worked, Mr. T walked around giving a weary eye to the baby's things. He walked from Bumbo seat to excersaucer, from empty bottle to Dr. Boudreaux's you-know-what paste. His scowl grew deeper and deeper as he made his rounds. Finally, little face drawn up in a sullen knot, his circuit completed at my side, he announced, "Mommy, my no like that Baby Girl."
My poor little guy. The stark reality of his situation had finally hit him. No longer the baby of the house, his territory had been usurped by this interloping vomit queen, who didn't smell too good most of the time, and cried more than most of us he felt necessary. I did what any mom would have done and picked him up, cuddling his toddler-sized form in my arms-marveling at how much bigger he suddenly seemed to me--and reassured him that he was still mommy's little boy. Turning his big brown eyes upward, he smiled and asked for a fruit snack. The moment had passed. But for me, it was an important lesson from my littlest man. It was his actions that gave me permission to feel the adjustment. To know that things were--again--changing on the Ark and that we were all trying to figure out our place in this new normal. And it would sometimes be hard...or confusing...or uncertain...but when the dust settles, the important familiar things will be there still. Steady and unchanging. Held by the hand of my most loving Parent.
Adoption By The Numbers

1 baby it took to completely turn the Ark on its ear.
2 infected ears Baby Girl has.
3 calls from the nurse trying to decipher her shot record dates written using the Ethiopian calendar. "What do you mean it's just beginning 2001 in Ethiopia? They have how many months each year?"
4 feet distance champion in the projectile vomiting category.
5 trips to the doctor.
6 older siblings at her beck and call.
7 children on the Ark...and the biblical number for completion or spiritual perfection. Who knew?
8 prescriptions filled.
9 sticks for the blood draw...and still one more tube to collect. Sigh.
10 wonderful days that The Captain worked from home during.
11 extra loads of baby laundry
12 hours of sleep each night...for her-not for me!
13 months old according to the paperwork.
14 days happier and more complete than we were two weeks ago!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Monkey See, Monkey Do Edition

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.
New Column

You can read my new column at the Beacon-News today: It Takes A Village...Especially in Adoption.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not Forever...

Just for now.

Thank you, my dear friends, for your kind words of support. I wanted to assure you all that I haven't completely jumped ship. This adoption is just taking more adjustment time than I had scheduled (Okay, God, I can hear You laughing...).

This particular baby has been--shall we say--not as easy as our last adopted baby PLUS a multitude of minor health issues. (As someone who is pro-life, I should not be surprised to learn that God's way is not always the easy one. But I hadn't considered just how much physical work goes into putting my money where my mouth is.) When I started adding up the time it now takes to do the "usual" laundry, meals, cleaning, chauffeuring (which Pat is doing most of now, but goes back to work next week!), writing my column, homeschooling, bible study, etc...I just had to cut back a little until we get ourselves on an even keel again. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later!

I'll be back! Possibly even tomorrow with the link to this week's column...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Something's Gotta Give

And, after some time alone with God, I clearly heard His voice saying that this blog (at least for now) did not make the short list.

For some strange reason, God has chosen the Ark to entrust His precious daughter, aka our Baby Girl. This new arrangement is full of new and uncharted territory that we are learning again to lean heavily on God to chart our course.

So, until He says otherwise, I'll be working deep within the bowels of the ship, forging ahead through stormy seas, and waiting for our first port of call.

If you haven't had a chance to sign our virtual baby book, please don't forget to do so. I've read and been so grateful for each and every note, prayer and blessing bestowed upon our darling daughter.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Post-Rant Adjustment

Thanks for all of your nice comments, emails and phone calls---and dinners from equally rant-worthy folks. How blessed I am and how much God has already (and continues to) provide for me.
We are coping with an additional pneumonia diagnosis courtesy of the chest x-ray. We have both of our specialist appointments scheduled over the next two weeks. And we'll be making a return trip for bloodwork on Monday. Even the stool sampling is coming along nicely. (How could I not keep you all fully informed? ;-))
I do have a deadline later today, but perhaps I'll be able to sneak back on and share some of the more humorous and touching adjustment stories later today.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The One Where I Come Undone

Today's doctor appointment left us with more appointments (ent and orthopedist) a stool sample, chest xray, and many vials of blood plus a tb test. He confirmed the chicken pox diagnosis and announced a bonus ear infection. Then, after changing her antibiotic (to something called cedifnir?) I arrived at the pharmacy to find that the insurance couldn't locate her in their files. And, The Captain is just not feeling well, despite his antibiotic. He actually took his own temp today if that is any indication of how he's feeling. Almost everyone is asleep now, and I am in desperate need of a trip to the grocery. We are out of such novelty items as milk, bread, eggs and juice. Then, I am coming home to crash. I need all my strength to return to the doctor's office tomorrow to do the blood draw that they couldn't do (after two BIG sticks!) today.

I think I feel a pity party coming on. The invitations will be in the mail.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Homecoming Edition

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.