Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Evelyn Style

Bad mom confession time.

Here’s how out-of-town birthdays go in our house. Its someone’s birthday. Someone special whom we love very much.  The good moms of the world see that on the calendar a week in advance (or even have such things memorized, how is that possible???) and go out and buy a gift or a lovely card and pop it in the mail so that it arrives it time for the special day. What does this mom do? I see it on the calendar the day of, tell my child it’s so-and-so’s birthday, and she proclaims that she wants to color them a picture. I then take photos of said picture and either send it via email, Facebook message, or blog post.

Today really is Grandpa Bruce’s birthday. Evelyn really did want to paint him a picture. Fabulous! We got out the table cloth, paints, and paint brushes and let her get her creative on. She was painting a really lovely picture too. Lots of different colors. Beautiful.

Then it was as though this little voice in her said, “What are you doing? You are Evelyn! You can’t possibly just sit and make a lovely picture like this.” So while I went to get the camera to take a photo of her work, her true self came out.

See these paint brushes? She really was using them first.

Then she decided to turn the picture into one giant purple finger-painted project.  Whatever.  

Then in true Evelyn form, she became a work of art as well.  Sigh.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My New Best Friend

I have a new best friend.  We've been spending a lot of time together lately and will continue to do so over the next couple of years.

No, it's not my camera that is refusing to not take an overexposed, blurry photograph right now.  It's my lovely breast pump.  Not what you were expecting to view this fine morning on my blog, eh?

I'm developing a love/hate relationship with this contraption.

So here's the deal.  I want to breastfeed our adopted baby.  But in order to do that I have to have a good milk supply.  Annabelle is still nursing 7-8 times a day, but also just started taking in a good amount of solid food.  I will continue to nurse her for at least another year, so the pumping takes on a couple purposes.

First, it keeps my supply up while she is taking in less milk as she takes in more solids.  Second, it builds a freezer stash in case I don't make enough milk as s/he gets older and we need to supplement.

So my freezer is going to slowly fill with boxes filled with bags of milk.  I pump about 8 extra ounces a day right now by pumping during both of Bella's naps and right before I go to bed for the night.

Sometimes I feel like mooing. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Actual Conversations At Our House

Me: Evelyn, you need to put on some clothes.
Evelyn: We have friends coming over?
Me: No, we don't just wear clothes when people are coming over.  Most people wear clothes all the time.
Evelyn: Oh.   
Resumes running around naked despite my efforts to continually put clothes on her for the remainder of the day.

Me: Evelyn, if you have to go brown poopy you need to do it in the potty upstairs.
Evelyn: Why?
Me: That's the rule.
Evelyn: Why?
Me: Remember yesterday when Bella found brown poopy in your potty and started eating it...
Yes, that really happened.

Evelyn: I need something.
Me: What do you need?
Evelyn: Something to eat.  I can't say it.
Me: You can't say it?
Evelyn: No.  I can't say it, but I want it.
Me: Show me what you want.
Evelyn: Shows me the pistachios.  I can't say that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Order Out, Updates, and Cuteness

I'm not going to lie, I love getting big orders for felt food.  They make me feel like we're getting closer to bringing our baby home.  This order is going out this week!

I've been emailing back and forth with our social worker and she thinks the rough draft of our home study will be done in a couple weeks.  We will then have to edit it for accuracy and send it back to her with the rest of our required documents.  Once she has all of that it won't take long at all to be finished up!

And because I think every good blog post has some cuteness in it, here you go.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Words To End Your Week

 From Live A Praying Life by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
The Potter is shaping your heart so that it is the container for His desires.  He is creating a masterpiece of His own design.  He is forming a vessel into which He will pour out His heart.
From Divided By Faith by Emerson and Smith
The inequality is expansive.  So expansive in fact that even if all homes and vehicles were taken from white Americans, they would still, on average, have greater net worth than black Americans.

From Generous Justice by Timothy Keller
When black people do things in a certain way, you say, "Well, that's your culture."  But when white people do things a certain way, you say, "That's just the right way to do things."  You don't realize you really have a culture.  You are blind to how many of your beliefs and practices are cultural.
We begin to see how, in so many ways, we made our cultural biases into moral principles and then judged people of other races as being inferior.

From The Journey by Katie
I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears. I bend over a big pot of stew and I bend to fold endless laundry and I bend over math books and spelling sentences and history quiz corrections. And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower.
Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blogs of Note

When I joined the ranks of adoption blogs at Circle of Moms in a race to be in the Top 25, I had no visions of actually making the Top 25.  I'm just happy to be in the top half of those listed. 

While perusing the list though, I found some amazing new blogs to follow.  The wisdom that some of these women share is truly enlightening.  I've started following blogs by moms who have adopted multiple times, those written by moms who have placed children for adoption, and those by adults who were adopted as children.  I love the multitude of perspectives it provides me as we start out on this journey.

Just this morning my heart felt so full as I thought about where we might be a year from now.  I truly feel that God gave our family a heart for adoption and has filled it to the brink with joy over the whole process.

One of the blogs I've really enjoyed is Storing Up Treasures.  This mom has 11 children (a combo of biological and adopted).  Eleven.  Some days having two rocks my world.  Ok, most days.

But anyway, on her blog she has a list of other blogging moms where I have found yet more blogs to follow.  And now Finding Mercy is going to get to be added to the list!  Excitement. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How To Get A Sick Toddler To Rest

Toddler wakes up at 11:00 p.m. with 103 degree fever.

Snuggle in bed until she falls back asleep.

Wakes up twice more.

Have daddy go sleep in her room.

She runs around during the day as though she is not sick despite the 101 degree fever she is sporting.

By late afternoon she seems visibly tired despite a relatively good nap and her fever is climbing.

Cut a hole out of the top of Annabelle's new car seat box, place a blanket inside, tell her it's a nest and she's a baby bird, and turn on Toy Story 3.


P.S. If you haven't seen it already, I added some new stuff to Finding Mercy.  If your little one likes to bake you will want to check it out! 

Baking Fun!

I have been so excited to add this set to my store. Your littles are going to love baking their own goodies with these new items!

First you have to start with your ingredients...

And turn out a beautiful cake! You can order it by the slice, or 6 slices combine together to make a whole cake.

But what fun is making a cake if you can't pretend to decorate it? This decorating kit includes a clear piping bag with "metal" tip and 3 colors of frosting!

All these items can be ordered as a set for a discounted price as well.

Pricing is found under the "Products" tab above.
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Two Viewpoints, Both Worry Me

This isn't a fluffy post.  If you came to see pictures of the girls, I apologize, but not really because I think this stuff is super important.  Also, as you read, realize that these are evolving viewpoints.  I haven't reached some pinnacle of racial understanding, nor do I judge others for where they are in understanding the complicated issues of race and culture in America.  And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post...

I hear two viewpoints on race relations, a lot.

The first is often exalted like it's progressive and really well informed.  It's expressed in a variety of ways, but they all essentially mean the same thing.
  • I'm colorblind.
  • Wouldn't it be great if we were just a colorless society?
  • A kid is a kid no matter what color they are!
  • It doesn't matter what color you are: black, white, brown, purple, green...
There is some truth there.  Kids are kids no matter what color they are.  And it would be great if we didn't look down on anyone because of their race or culture.  But that is a far cry from being colorless or colorblind.

Why is it that we are so afraid to accept the fact that there are a wide variety of colors and cultures that exist in our world?  It doesn't have to be a threatening thing.  In fact, it's part of God's design for humanity.  So no, it wouldn't be great for the world to be colorless.  That would be outside of God's plan.

Black and White culture in America are different.  They have some similarities, yes, but they have far different histories and traditions.  So while you may think it's great to be colorblind, you are denying entire people groups recognition of their culture and heritage.  That's not progressive.

People are not purple and green.  To act as though you have to accept and embrace people of unseen colors makes it sound as though you think the varieties of shades people come in is either an extreme thing you have embraced or that talking about the range of colors is somehow comical.

The second is one I mainly saw in college and still see in institutional settings such as schools and the workplace.  It goes something like this:

  • It's Black History Month!  Let's put up 3 posters of black people in the classroom and sing the praises of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • It's Thanksgiving so let's talk about Native Americans!  Look, they helped Pilgrims plant corn!
It's celebration without knowledge.  Blindly celebrating another nationality and culture does not equal knowledge or acceptance of.  In fact, I would say it's worse.  

I used to teach 8th grade.  I taught a 2 month unit on the history of the Civil Rights Movement in my English classes.  It was one of my favorite units to plan.  I worked in the inner-city (yes, Des Moines, Iowa has an inner-city), so I had a very racially and culturally diverse class.  We read speeches, studied historical accounts, put a giant timeline on the back wall of the classroom, and read novels from all different viewpoints.

To start the unit though, I first had students take a pre-test.  They had to answer some basic questions about history so that I knew where to start my instruction.

I had multiple students put that Martin Luther King, Jr. helped free the slaves.

Celebration without education at it's finest.  These students had probably celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at least every year they were in school.  What good did that do them? 

If you want to check this out for yourself, ask the average adult to draw a picture of a Native American how they would have looked in the 1700's.  Have them include the type of home they lived in and what daily life may look like.

What will you get?

A Native American, probably wearing feathers of some type, living in a teepee, and shooting a buffalo.  Across the board would be my guess.  Why?  Because that is what you were shown at Thanksgiving time every year of your childhood.

Celebration (although that's debatable if they were only talked about at Thanksgiving) without education.

For the record, not all Native Americans lived in teepees, or hunted buffalo.  In fact some built amazing houses chiseled out of rock and built into the landscape.  Amazing stuff.

There's a lot more work to be done in our world for true understanding and reconciliation to happen.  So where do you start?  I recommend a couple books and an excellent website, but that really is just a start.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum
     It really is a must read especially if you are a white family adopting trans-racially.  :)  It's all about racial identity formation and the author is quite explicit about what she believes whites can do to combat injustice in society.

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Emerson and Smith
     A group at our church is currently reading this together to discuss race in the context of the gospel.
     It's on raising children in a color struck world.  There are amazing posts on everything under the sun from how to teach your children to combat systemic and institutional racism to how to work through issues as a trans-racial family. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mother's Day, I Mean Memorial Weekend

We have a tradition for Mother's Day. We find somewhere fun outside to spend the afternoon as a family. I love it.

Unfortunately, this Mother's Day I was in Iowa while Scott was headed back to Kansas City. Hopefully this is not the new tradition.

So we celebrated Mother's Day over Memorial weekend and headed to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum and Sculpture Garden. We have wanted to walk around it since we moved here 3 years ago, but had never gotten around to it.

I've been meaning to put these up for a week now, but here's our adventures.

The famous, giant shuttle cocks. There are 4 of them throughout the park.

A actually managed to capture a picture of both girls smiling at the same time. Some kind of miracle I tell ya.

The newest sculpture to the garden that we call the giant tree.

I love where the old museum meets up with the new modern museum.

A view of the sculpture park from the museum steps.

More giant shuttlecocks!

Evelyn fondling the sculpture.

Oops....moving on....

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Custom for Granddaughters

I just finished three custom sets for my husband's assistant.  She has 4 granddaughters, (one who is too young for play food) ages 5, 2 1/2, and 2. 

They will be a surprise gift from grandma and hopefully very loved!

Finding Mercy Launch Party!

I'm so excited to finally share what I've been working on for a couple months now.  In an effort to help fund our adoption (and thanks to the lovely feedback I got from the raffle I hosted a couple months ago), I have decided to open my own little shop.

So head on over to to see what all there is to buy!

And we will say no more, "Our God" to the work of our hands.  
In YOU the orphan finds mercy.
Hosea 14:3

Washing Your Felt Food

Felt food is surprisingly durable.  Wool and wool blend felt is meant for heavy duty use.  That being said, you do have to be careful about rapid temperature change and heat or scrubbing it.  Heat makes wool shrink.  Scrubbing will make it pill.

So if your felt food gets messy beyond what can be brushed off (say for instance a cup of juice gets spilled on it or your toddler is potty training and it's not going so well) follow these steps.

1. BEFORE you get it wet, brush as much of the dirt, dust or dried whatever off as you can.

2. Fill a sink or bowl with 2 parts cool or cold water and 1 part vinegar.

3. Place said item in water and wait until it soaked, gently squeeze the air out if it is a stuffed item.

4. Gently press water out of felt without rubbing

5. Continue to squeeze like a sponge do not rub,  Repeat until spot is gone, you may soak the felt overnight if needed.

6. Air dry, felt may feel stiff at first but will regain its softness when played with for awhile.  DO NOT put your felt food in the dryer.  It will be done for!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Half Decade Hubs!

5 years!  Woot!

It really has been a crazy fun five years.  When we got married we were living in Des Moines, I was getting ready to do a semester of student teaching, and Scott was in law school.  I then graduated and got a job as an 8th grade teacher (total God thing huge blessing to be hired mid-year).  About a year later we got pregnant with Evelyn.  That May Scott graduated law school, got a job in Kansas City, we moved, he studied for a passed the bar, started his new job, and 2 weeks later we had our first daughter.  Now we have two darling little girls and are working on being paper pregnant for our third via domestic transracial adoption.  I told you it's been a crazy 5 years.

But I wouldn't want to have gone through all of it with anyone but my man.  I love him like crazy.

Here we are up in Iowa before a friend's wedding....

and here we are in the car acting like it's us that just got married.  Well, I'm pretending, Scott's just smiling.  He loves my weirdness. 

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby Fray and Big Life Lessons

Evelyn has never been inside a Toys 'R Us before.  Yesterday was a first for her.  I think her little mind was near explosion.  I had told her that we were going to a toy store to pick out a new baby doll for her and she was beyond thrilled.  

We walked up and down the aisles looking for the doll section.  Finally, we found it.  She wanted all of them.  She walked down the aisle saying, "I like this one, I like this one, I like this one...."  This girl loves being a mommy to her little babies.  

I pulled one down off the shelf that didn't have a bazillion accessories and asked her if she liked it.  She responded with an emphatic, "That's MY baby!"  Ok, then.  

We headed out with a very excited little girl who wanted it out of the package as soon as possible.  She also wanted to take her doll into the mall with her where we had to stop into a few stores.  No big deal, right?  Apparently I was wrong.  

I was given a very interesting glimpse into the inner workings of the minds around me though this little experience.  It's just a little girl and her beloved doll....right?  

Not so much.

Here's Evelyn with her new doll whom she has named Baby Fray. 

So here's what happened.

We walked in the door of the mall and the first people we saw were two black women in their 40's.  One of them looked at Evelyn clutching her doll while they rode in the stroller, looked up at me, and said, "wow" with a smile on her face and continued walking.  That one warmed my heart.

Most people paid little to no notice of Evelyn while she played with her doll.  This was more what I was expecting.

Then we walked into a women's clothing store.  I'm debating not going in that store again.  We walked in and were browsing around.  Then one of the store clerks saw Evelyn walking around singing to her baby.  She started laughing.  Not laughing as in, "oh isn't that sweet".  LAUGHING.  She stopped long enough to say, "Oh my goodness that little white girl has a BLACK baby doll!"  I was mortified.  And speechless.  

I responded with something lame like, "yep, she does." 

But it continued.  She then called her fellow employees over so that they could look at my daughter like she was some kind of spectacle.  My poor little sweetie just stood there clinging to her doll looking confused yet somewhat oblivious to what was transpiring.

The woman just kept commenting on how usually little girls play with dolls that look like them, wondering why she would want to play with a black doll, and assuming that I laughed really hard when this doll came into our possession.

I gathered my bearings, let the woman know that my daughter actually is the one that decided she wanted that particular doll, and that she regularly is around people of different races and skin tones, and that she loved the doll and that's all I cared about.  

Her response, "well I guess that's good."

I can't imagine someone would be this brazen when it is me not carrying a doll, but my child who looks different than me.  At least I hope they wouldn't.  But I won't ever be able to put it out of the realm of possible situations we will find ourselves in.

As far as Evelyn and baby Fray go, they are still very much mommy and baby.  Baby Fray slept in Evelyn's bed last night, and she was so excited to show her off to daddy this morning.  She was served breakfast with the family and hasn't left Evelyn's side all day.  Apparently Evelyn was unscathed by this woman and her insensitivity.