Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Trust Anyone Under 3 Foot Tall

It has been a long day here, preceded by a long week.

In short, Evelyn has been a tyrant.  I have never cleaned up more messes made by her in my life (well, except for when she was potty-training).

To start though, as you read about all these fab-u-lous messes, you may be wondering how in the world she was able to do these things with me in the house.

Evelyn in very independent.  And I love it.  From the time she was a baby, I have always let her play independently when she wanted to.  She can play upstairs on her own if she wants to.  She can play in the backyard by herself when it's warm if she wants to. She usually stays on the main floor though wandering around being all kinds of creative.  I love stealing a glance at her making up stories and games for herself.  She doesn't do these things if I'm in the room with her.  That, and I hate the idea of helicopter parenting.  It's just not my thing to hover over my kids all day.

You, my lovely readers, are welcome to disagree with me on this one.  And you'll probably have less messes to clean up.  I'm questioning this philosophy myself today.

Here's a summary of our week:

Monday - dumped a whole plate of scrambled eggs all over the living room rug so that Bella could share them with her.  Have you ever tried to clean smooshed eggs out of carpet?  It's a new kind of fun.

Tuesday - She had a friend over and the two of them wandered upstairs.  The friend's mother and I headed up there after a little while to see what they had found to entertain themselves with.  The answer: water, lotion, soap, and lipstick all over the bathroom.  Awesomeness.

Wednesday - She decided she wanted to play with eggs.  So she got REAL EGGS out of the fridge and began cracking and cooking them in her kitchen.  This was followed later by dumping a bottle of kombucha all over the same kitchen set (some made it in the intended pot) because she wanted to make it like mommy does.

Thursday - The day started with the finding of a Sharpie.  She colored her feet and hands with it.  Not that big of a deal all things considered.  She later found the same Sharpie on the table.  She colored her magnets, a Leap Frog toy, her monitor, her horses, the rug, and her fabric chair.  I'm not sure what I would do without Google in attempting to figure out how in the world to clean it off of that many surfaces.

While getting Bella up from her morning nap I came downstairs to find her squirting water out of the wipes solution bottle all over a wooden puzzle.  She knows that bottle is off limits.

While cleaning up that mess and changing Bella's diaper, she went in the kitchen and emptied the completely full salt shaker all over her kitchen set.  No joke.

While I was vacuuming that up she went back in the living room and was shaking water out of a sippy cup all over the living room.  I'm not kidding you, I was completely losing it by this point.

We had a heart-to-heart about making messes.  I thought we had a breakthrough.  She happily spent the next hour playing with Bella while I made a batch of yogurt.

I have my hair in a ponytail today though and she decided she wanted one too.  She headed upstairs to get a rubberband.  I reminded her not to make any messes or get into mommy's stuff.  A minute (literally) later she wasn't back downstairs, so I headed up to check on what was going on.

My bottle of hair cream was squirted all over a rubbermaid container and into the bathtub.  The whole bottle.  I kid you not.  I lost it.  She got to sit on a chair watching me as I cleaned it all up and tried to keep the volume of my voice down while I explained that this was NOT OK.

Thankfully at this point it was time for lunch and nap.  I fed her and we headed upstairs amidst her telling me she wasn't tired.  I responded, "I don't care Evelyn.  Mommy is tired and needs a break, you WILL take a nap."

She is now soundly sleeping and I may or may not be eating a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Trip to Children's Mercy

We took Evelyn to see a pediatric gastroenterologist and Children's Mercy yesterday.  There is something really weird about seeing your child with a hospital bracelet on.  Disconcerting to say the least.

Anyway, it went well.  I was super nervous about it because I don't like having to take my kids to the doctor. 

She looked at Evelyn's growth charts, pictures of her belly after she eats gluten, pictures of her rashes, her allergy results, and genetic tests.  She concluded that Evelyn probably does indeed have Celiac disease. 

I say probably because there are only a few ways to confirm it 100%.  The best way to test for it is to eat gluten for 6-8 weeks on a daily basis, be put under general anesthesia, and have a biopsy of your small intestine taken out.  When Evelyn eats gluten she's a mess.  Horrible, painful, blistering rash.  No sleep.  Extremely agitated by life.  Potty accidents all over the house.  Anyone want to sign their 2-year-old up for that?  No thanks.

The doctor is going to check with the head of dermatology at the hospital though to see if we could just biopsy her rash to get a for sure answer.  That would mean having her eat gluten for just a couple days instead of weeks.  It will make for a LONG couple days (and nights), but just may do it if dermatology thinks they could give us a definitive answer.

The rash is the give-away for Evelyn that we're looking at Celiac.  The doctor said if would have let it get a little worse we could have printed the pictures in a textbook. 

We will know by the end of this week or early next week whether dermatology will be able to help us or not. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Feeling Out of Shape???

Full disclosure: I'm writing this post while munching out of a bag of chips. 

This has nothing to do with my staying in shape abilities though, thankfully.  And I have no fitness tips for you.

But, if you are wanting to get in shape, live in the KC area, and have no idea how to start, I do have a great opportunity for you!

My friend Tara is a personal trainer (and a rocking one at that).  I swear that she could get anyone's butt in gear if given the opportunity. 

In her sweetness she has offered to help us with our adoption efforts as well.  She will be taking on 5 clients that are referred to her via me, or this blog, or my lovely readers, and donate the proceeds to our adoption!!  Yay!

It is $45 for a single session or she will do a special of three sessions for $99.

Send an email my way or comment on this post and I will get you in touch with her!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brazilian Fish Stew

I've long said that I don't like fish.  And I don't.  The fishy taste really grosses me out.  So other than a time on our honeymoon where Scott tricked me into eating a bite of it (don't listen to his version of the story, it's gets more far-fetched every time I hear it), I haven't ever really eaten it. 

I want to like fish though.  So I'm trying.  I can now handle a little bit of salmon on a salad with lots of other flavors and tilapia.  For this stew I used tilapia, but you really could use any other fish you like...if you're one of those people that like fish. 

Brazilian Fish Stew

  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 4 T lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 filets of tilapia cut into 1 inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 2 bell peppers, cored and sliced (I used one orange and one yellow)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coat fish in marinade and let sit for about 2 hours.

Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Add a layer of sliced onions, a layer of peppers, and a layer of tomatoes.  Place fish pieces on top of this.  Cover with another layer of onions, peppers, then tomatoes.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the cilantro over the top.  Shake up your can of coconut milk then open and pour over the layers.  Drizzle a few more tablespoons of olive oil over the top.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice.

This is my modified version, the original recipe can be found on

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Half Birthday Evelyn!

My crazy little girl is now 2 1/2.

I was just commenting to Scott the other day that she is starting to look more and more like a little girl and less and less like a toddler.  

Height: 2 feet 11.25 inches
Weight: 27 lbs. 10 oz.
Clothing Size - 2T for bottoms, 2T or 3T for tops
Teeth: All four of her 2-year molars have broken through!

New Things: Staying dry overnight most of the time, peddling her tricycle, trying to jump high enough to touch the moon, having enough hair for a ponytail, getting to play in the backyard by herself (it's fenced in), and discovering Calliou and Dinosaur Train on PBS.

Favorites: Monkey shirt and jammies, going to Iowa, her cousins, yogurt with raisins, horses, dinosaurs, kissing Bella, taking baths, and chocolate chips.

Things She's Learned: She loves animals and knows the names of a ton of them (from cows and geese to owls and lemurs), all of the basic colors, can count to 9, and can sing her own version of the alphabet. Her interest in learning letters is a new thing over the last month, before that she couldn't have cared less when I tried to show her what different letters were. Now she suddenly has decided she wants to learn what they are, what sound they make, and how to write them. Right now she will tell you E is for Evelyn, M is for mommy, and the letter T (??) and can pick those three out from her letter magnets.

We have our first appointment with the pediatric gastroenterologist and a nutritionist for Evelyn next week so that we can hopefully find some ways to help her with her Celiac issues. I'll be sure to update with what happens!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I am privileged

I am privileged.

Those of you who read this blog have gained an insight into the extraordinary woman who I am honored call my wife. You know that she fears God and loves others. You can see the joy that her role as a wife and mother brings. You witness her ingenuity and skill. You experience her struggles. In knowing a woman of such splendor, if only in part, you are also privileged.

And if you are privileged, though you share in my beloved's life in part, how privileged am I? For I have been forever placed at her right hand - leading, learning, loving, and being loved. Humbly, I have been blessed to share in Elizabeth's life in a way no one else ever has or will. Amongst creation, I alone am privileged to share in the innermost joys, hopes, sorrows, and fears of a woman so lovely. I alone am privileged with such intimate knowledge of how my dearest wife's life is being redeemed year by year and day by day.

The undeserved and complete access I have been given is received with uncontrollable joy.

Elizabeth, you captivate me. I cherish each moment we share together - no matter how great or small, joyful or sorrowful, silly or serious. I am warmed by the love we share, and I continue to be amazed as you are graciously revealed to me. It is a privilege to walk with you anew each day.

I am privileged.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In the Mail

opOur application to Children's Hope International is in the mail!!!

I wasn't going to blog about it, but then it became an adventure, so I thought I would let you all laugh with (at) me.

I had to include 7 non-professional pictures with our application. Two of just me and Scott, one of the girls, one of the outside of our house, and three of different rooms inside our house.

The only of those that was easy was the one of the outside of our house, because I already had one saved on the computer.

Apparently Scott and I hardly EVER take pictures of just the two of us. I had to scrounge around forever to find two. The first is actually one of my favorites from Meredith's wedding.

The second one that I had to resign myself to sending in is me big and pregnant with fat face. And don't try to tell me that I don't look fat. Clearly there is an extra layer of padding encircling my face.

I thought finding a picture of the girls together would be easy. But heaven forbid they both try to look normal and smiling in a picture at the same time. I would have sent in the one that's at the top of the blog, but the incredibly talented Sarah Franczyk took it this fall when we did family photos (i.e. it's professional). So here's the one I picked. 2-year-olds aren't expected to look normal in pictures, right?

I won't post the ones of our house, but I will let you know that it took me two days in order to have three rooms clean enough to photograph. I'm not a house keeper, it's not my gift. Besides, when you have 2 kids I don't think your house should be clean all the time. Unless you're my sister Mel, and then you have some freakish ability to always have your house spotless despite utter chaos (she has 4 boys ages 6 and under).

Anyway, so onto my story. I had to run up to Walgreens this morning to pick up these pictures. So, Evelyn and I were all ready to go so that as soon as Bella woke up from her morning snooze we could run over there, pick up the pictures, have my passport photo taken, and pick up a big envelope to mail the application in.

We make it up there, I get my photo taken, and tell the employee that I am going to go pick up a couple things then come back to pick up the finished product. When I return he hasn't finished it. Why you ask? Because apparently it is more important to sell energy drinks to 3 different Walgreens employees than it is to finish my passport photo. Not bitter. Just impatient.

We finally get home with all our things in hand and I see the mailman making the rounds on our street. I rush inside, double check the pictures, put everything in the envelope, put three stamps on it just in case, tape it shut, and run back out.... he's moved on to the next block. I also have to add that while I'm doing this Evelyn is screaming, "Ah-belle trying to eat my brown poopy!!!" No joke. I tell her to move it so that Bella can't reach it. Rockstar mom moment, I know. So Evelyn is carrying her entire potty seat (full of both the brown and yellow variety) around the dining room to keep it away from Bella and I am trying to not envision her tripping and spilling it all over.

Back to the mailman. I can see him halfway down our block. So what do I do? I run after him. I'm yelling, "SIR! SIR!" No response. I persist. Finally I make it all the way down our block (I'm not a runner, so it seemed really far, ok?). I walk up to him and realize he's listening to something and now I'm REALLY hoping "he" didn't hear me. Why? Because he is a she. Oops. In my defense she had super short hair.

The application is in the mail though. And I returned to find the potty still safely in the potty seat.

The end.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking for a Doula???

If you are I have a wonderful option for you.

My friend Shannon Carter
has offered to help us in a BIG way. In fact, it makes me tear up when I think about our awesome friends who make these kinds of offers to us.

Shannon used to work at a local birth center in Kansas City as a doula. She now stays home with her three beautiful boys while still offering doula services to local moms and training to be a midwife.

She let me know that she would offer doula services to one expectant family at no cost to her. Instead, you would donate her usual fee ($400) to our adoption fund. (Insert tears here).

If you would like her to be the doula at your upcoming birth, please let me know! Just shoot me an email or comment on this post and I will get you in touch with Shannon.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

We had a meeting with our social worker on Friday (we loooove her) to discuss what we should do in terms of the adoption. She works with both the international agency and the domestic agency that we would go through depending on where we end up adopting fabulous is that???

Anyways, here's the plan. We are going to start the E******* process. It's where our hearts are. We don't know how long the process will take. If the slow downs continue, it could take 3-4 years to bring a baby home. If they pick back up to where they were, it would only take 18-24 months.

IF a few months down the road as everything becomes more clear we realize that it will be more like 3-4 years before we bring our bitty home, we will start a concurrent domestic adoption through a local non-profit Christian crisis pregnancy center.

The domestic wait time is about 2 years through this organization. BUT, because we are looking to adopt an African American child, it would probably be less. That part makes me sad. :(

Overall though, we are excited!!! Our application paperwork is almost complete and will be sent in Monday's mail. Then we will get to start the homestudy process.

I will be posting soon about a couple amazing friends of mine who have offered to help us with fund-raising in a BIG way.

Thank you all for your support as we go through this.

Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Months

Our Bella is 7 months old!

and so stinking cute.
Sister love, as always. Thanks for the great smile Evelyn.
Me: Evelyn, does Bella wrinkle her nose when she smiles.
Evelyn: Uh-huh. Like dis.
Helping daddy.

Weight: 18 lbs. 5 ounces

Favorite things: eating, crawling, and finding things to pull herself up on.

She still only has 2 teeth, but I'm pretty sure another is in the works.

Sleep: Takes two naps a day (9am and 1 pm) and goes down for the night at 7. Sometimes she likes to wake up really early in the morning to play with daddy. She makes up for it by hanging out with mom once or twice a night though. She has a favorite blanket that she likes to cuddle while she nurses before bed. When you lay her down she reaches up for it while she waits for you to lay it over her. She usually grabs a handful of it and tucks it in tight. Soooo cute.

Clothing: Wears 6-12 month or 9-12 month clothing. She's on the largest rise on her cloth diapers as well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crafting Gifts

I've been posting a lot on adoption lately, but I promise, there are other things going on in our lives right now as well. :)

Evelyn turns 3... in about 6 months. But I've already started plotting her birthday gifts. I decided to give her a primarily homemade birthday. She's getting her very own little grocery store. I have shelves and storage bins bought, but now I want to make play food for her. It's quite the undertaking, thus the need to start in March.

I'm making all the goodness out of wool felt. So far I only have a couple grocery sacks....

and some crackers.

I'm obsessed with those little crackers. They are tedious to make as it's all hand sewing, but the cuteness is just too much!!!

They are photographed on my fabric cutting board. The grid is 1" squares to give you an idea of their actual size.

My goal is to make another grocery sack and 6 more crackers. Then I need to make some kind of box for the crackers. I also want to make a bag of chips, a whole chicken (crazy, I know), and some pasta.

I will post some more pictures when I accomplish some other things. It takes me about 15 minutes to make a single cracker though, so it might be a while.

Oh yes, and if these things intrigue you and you think your little one would have fun with them stay tuned. I may be selling some of my little creations to fund-raise for our home study. Well never mind that whole "not about adoption" thing at the beginning...

Up in the Air

I'm trying hard to keep my focus and heart where they need to be in terms of the adoption. Every time I read something about the upheaval in the E***** adoption system I am either encouraged that we will be able to move forward or discouraged that it just may not be possible for us.

The one constant in this though is that my first and foremost concern is that orphans are cared for.

There are a lot of tales of corruption coming from E******* right now. They are trying to get it fixed. They are trying to make it right. That is the most important thing.

On Friday we have a meeting with our representative/social worker with the agency to discuss all this. We will then decide whether we can move forward with E*******. It may be that we need to walk away for a little while (from E******* adoption, not adoption in general). It pains me to think of that, but again, my higher priority is making sure orphans are properly cared for, not that I get to bring one home to snuggle.

I could ramble on about my thoughts on all this for a while, but I will spare you all. Please keep praying for us that we would know what is best.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Step

That's adoption paperwork. Our adoption paperwork.

It's a huge first step to a lifelong dream of mine to provide a home and family for an orphan. Scott and I have been talking about adoption for years now and we decided that now is the time to move forward.

And now to start answering the questions that I'm sure people will want to know...

Where are you adopting from?

Why E*******?
E******* has a great program right now. You can adopt a child under 12 months old without waiting years and years. Also, they have no in-country formal adoption system. If a child is orphaned, they are generally an orphan for life if there is no immediate family to take them in. Unfortunately, their lifespan is also quite short in that case. There just isn't the kind of structure needed to provide for orphaned children. They rely on international adoption right now to help care for these babies.

What agency are you using?
Children's Hope International. They are based out of St. Louis, but have a Kansas City representative that we are able to work with and meet in person.

What age child will you adopt?
We will request a baby under 12 months old, and in all likelihood, the child we bring home will be around 6 months old.

Will you request a boy or a girl?
We won't request a certain gender, but boys tend to be more available so it is more likely that we will end up with a son.

How long until you bring the baby home?
It will be about 18-24 months from now that we will return from our second trip to Ethiopia with our child.

What's the next step?
Once we finish our application to our agency (which may take a little bit because we have to request doctor's letters and such) we will set up our home study and begin parent education (we have complete 10 hours of it). During this time we will also begin fund-raising.

How much will it cost?
All said and done, including our homestudy, agency fees, referral fees, travel, visas and such, it will be approximately $24,000.

What will you do to pay for it?
Besides saving every spare penny we can find in the budget, I plan on having a garage sale, selling some homemade things, raffling off some services that friends are willing to donate, etc. I will also be applying for any grants I can find that we qualify for.