leah's love

Leah is a mama's girl. She often chooses to hang out when me when we are in groups with other kids. These two photos show a fun progression of her affection and her goofy humor. She makes me laugh everyday.


the update

Chad was laid off in April. From May until August he did various side jobs for our church, including remodeling a building for a new thrift store in Fayetteville. Our church offered him a job as a manager at this store. A couple of weeks ago he decided to accept the offer and we are now employed again! I immediately became excited about start the adoption process again. We were on hold the entire summer -- from Memorial Day until Labor Day. I decided I'd call our agency, Gladney, on Tuesday after Labor Day, with the news. Tuesday came and I felt weird. I decided to take a pregnancy test before calling. The test was positive. We are pregnant!

I was shocked into tears at the sight of the positive pregnancy test. I told Chad and his response was a surprised smile, "This is good news." he said with emotion. His positive statement brought me from tears to joy in a matter of minutes. I was sad about the adopted baby. I have been waiting for him for almost a year now. At the same time, we have been ready for another baby for a long time. We didn't expect it to happen this way, though!

I am due around May 10, which seems like a really long time away. The other night Melody asked, "Mommy, will we have to wait 30 years for this baby to get here?" Having a 4 year old in the process with us is fun. She talks about the baby all of the time. We gather she is thinking about the new baby nonstop! She even dreams about the baby. The other day we were talking about girl names. She said she liked the name Flower. I explained there are many flower names people use for girl names. Rose, Daisy, Lily, etc.

She said, "I know what we can do. We will write down all of the flower names. Then we can spread them all over the couch in rows. Then me and you and Daddy will look at them together and decide what to name the baby!"

I finally called Gladney to tell them the news. Our caseworker, Jessica, was amazing. In fact, she knows just how I feel because she got pregnant while in the adoption process as well. Gladney's guidelines state that we are not able to pursue adoption while pregnant. I am okay with this because I cannot imagine doing both pregnancy and adoption at the same time! We will be able to start the adoption again when this new baby is six months old, if we choose. For now that is our tentative plan.

For now I will leave you with a photo of Melody, Leah and myself. A sweet friend of ours, Hope, did a photo shoot in July. I have outtles of pictures to share with you over the next few weeks.


swim lessons 09

This was our fourth year to have swim lessons. Even still, the week wore me out! Swim lessons are a lot of work. I like the sun. I like the water. I like being with my kids. I like leaving the house. Put it all together, and you get one tired mama and two tired kids. Maybe its the long list of things to remember... swim diapers, sunblock, water, snacks, towels, changes of clothes, regular diapers, hair up, swim buoy, goggles... Forget one and things start to unravel quickly. Like the day Leah pooped hugely in her swim diaper 20 minutes into our water-baby lesson. (I was in the water with her.) Changing that diaper was like trying to clean up an oil spill. Impossible. Swim diapers are great, but can someone please invent a way to make it less of a mess when they POOP in them?

Here's Melody using the kick board with her teacher, Heather Fedosky. We've known the Fedosky's for five years now. (!) They go to our church and I was delighted to discover Heather was Mel's teacher.

Mel jumping off the diving board! I have to admit, I was very excited and proud. I clapped and squealed each time she jumped. I remember the first summer I jumped off a diving board. What a thrill! I love her smile in the picture.

Leah and I sitting in the shade during Mel's lesson. This was Melody's first year to be in a lane class. There were four kids in her class and two teachers.

Here are Heather and Melody posing after the last class on Friday. Melody has started using a posed smile; gotta love those.


lil' brother graduated!

My brother, Chris, graduated from John Brown University last month. It was a happy day. He studied Construction Management (same as Chad) and worked hard to put himself through school. He amazed me by the small amounts of sleep he tortured himself with. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning a lot my freshman year, but after that I got at least six hours a night most of the time. Not Chris. I think 3am was his typical bedtime. I have no idea how he did it. He's in Colorado working at a camp this summer, and we are missing him. His weekly visits were our excuse/reason to make homemade chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis. Congrats Christopher!

Here's the whole happy family.

This is Jim Caldwell, the main Construction Prof at JBU. Jim has been a great friend to Chad since we graduated 10 years ago. I rarely see Chad laugh as often and as hard as when he is interacting with Jim Caldwell. You can see Chris is laughing also.

After the ceremony my dad took the family out to Shogun's in Fayetteville. (Thanks Dad!) Melody and Leah used chopsticks for the first time. Goldfish snacks. Do they eat those in China?


visiting illinois

One good thing about being unemployed is that we have a lot of free time. Last month we spent ten days in Illinois with Chad's family. During the trip we visited Grandpa Randy and Grandma Cindy twice. They live on a farm that has been in Chad's family for several generations. Chad and Chelsea spent many summer weeks here during their childhood. Daily trips to Dairy Queen are tradition around these parts.

Chad found a 50+ year old tricycle in the barn. It was his mom's when she was little! Here's Melody coming down the lane.

Leah liked chasing Mel in a circle.

Chad decided to help Leah have more fun. She didn't agree with his idea.

We also spent time with Chad's dad.
Here his he is with the girls...



It's always difficult to know how to start a post after not writing for awhile. The update on us is lengthy, but I don't have much energy for blogging right now. I haven't even done much emailing lately, which is crazy for me. Chad was laid off in April. His work is in residential construction and the small company he worked for did not have one contract. He had worked there for one year and one week.

Initially I hoped he would find another job and our adoption would move forward without incident. After several weeks of job searching, I contacted Gladney to inform them of our unemployed status. Our caseworker, Jessica, gently informed me our case has been put on hold until we are employed again. She was sensitive and compassionate. I was glad she told me the news on the phone instead of in an email.

We were at week 9 on the waitlist. Before being put on hold, Wednesdays were exciting for me. Wednesday, March 18th was the day we were put on the waitlist. Every Wednesday since then I've flipped to the next week in my mind. I would tell friends and family, "Today marks week 5!" Now Wednesdays are really hard. I cried through the would-be-week-10-Wednesday. Then last week, it was the non-week-11. I'm dreading this Wednesday because week 12 would be a milestone (three months!). Its just hard to watch the weeks click by.

So far Chad hasn't had any luck in the job search. Staying in Arkansas is our first choice, but we are willing to relocate even though it would mean an updated homestudy and more paperwork. We are especially interested in St Louis because its closer to his family.

Despite the rough aspects of our circumstances, we've been having a great time together as a family. Having Chad home is so nice. The girls love it and so do I. We went camping in late April. It was a highlight of Melody's four year old life. She said, "I wish we weren't camp outting for two days. I wish we were camp outting for ten days!" We camped at the Buffalo River near Ponca, Arkansas. We hiked the Lost Valley Trail. The girls walked almost the whole way. Toward the end I put Leah in the Ergo. She was instantly asleep on my back, her legs swinging limply at the knees in sway with my walk. They ate smores both nights with gooey delight. Night time was unlucky. They didn't sleep much, leaving us exhausted by the end of the trip. We might have stayed a third night if they slept better. It was a wonderful mid week trip though. April is the prefect time to camp in Arkansas.


six weeks waiting

Today marks 6 weeks of being on the wait list. It's still flying by. I think about our little babe nonstop. He is already part of our family even though we haven't met him yet. Chad and I pray for him often. If we're matched with a baby older than 12 months we could get a referral as soon as July. If he is little bitty it could be closer to October/November. Either way is really fine with us; we're confident that God has just the right baby chosen for our family. His age and when we get him is part of God's plan too.


ice cream

Every other week Chad and I help teach Mel's class at church. Today I cut out shapes of food items for tomorrow's craft. The lesson is about God's provision during famine, so we are going to glue food items to paper plates. One food item is ice cream cones. Leah liked them so I gave her one to play with. She instantly started licking the paper and saying "Mmmmm."


two weeks of waiting

We've been on the wait list for two weeks now. If the weeks fly by this quickly, we'll have our referral in no time. I assume time will begin to crawl when we near the end of summer. I already think of our boy all of the time. Sometimes the thoughts of him make me smile or laugh. Other times I tear up instantly. I wonder about his circumstances and pray for him. He may or may not be born. Either way, God knows this little person who is meant to be part of our family. I'm thankful to be able to trust in the Lord during the wait.

Another fun fact about waiting...
We are no longer at the very bottom of the unofficial wait list, which I've been stalking regularly since March 18th.


crazy hair & big cookies

Last Friday at our weekly playgroup we celebrated Gillian's 2nd birthday. Gilly's mom, Kristin, is the queen of birthday fun. She did a m&m theme for the party. The kids were sent home with a bag o goodies including these amazingly huge m&m cookies on a stick. Melody asked to eat her cookie 1000 times that day. I repeatedly said, "No, you can have it tomorrow...."

The next morning she ran from her room, still half asleep, and said, CAN I HAVE MY COOKIE NOW? Immediately after breakfast the girls sat happily in front of a movie and ate their treats.

Thanks Kristin!


wait listed!

We are officially on The Gladney Wait List for a baby boy!

We were put on the list on March 18. The average wait for a referral right now is 6.5 months. This means we might get matched to a baby around October 1. (We won't travel for another few months after that.)

I woke up on Thursday morning with great peace in my heart. I laid awake for a hour, soaking in thoughts of the adoption. I am in awe of what God is doing. I have been drawn to adoption and in love with orphans for a long long time, but the fact that we're actually doing this is amazing to me. Thursday morning's hour of reflection was about wrapping my thoughts around the fact that adoption is really happening for us. I feel blessed and elated, just like I did when we were pregnant with Melody and Leah. It truly is God's doing, not ours.

Thanks be to God.


a good read

Yesterday I received a book in our mailbox. (It has been a good mail week... first our CIS Approval and then a book!) A few days ago I ordered this book. It is written by Josh and Amy Bottomly who are famous in the Ethiopian Blog Adoption World.

Late last night, when the house was finally quiet, I curled up in the leather chair by the fire and began reading From Ashes To Africa. Every 15 pages or so I'd peak at the clock and tell myself, "Go to bed!" I kept reading. Finally at 1:15am I reluctantly set the bright book on the side table. I finished the book today during nap time.

I like this story because it deals with relevant stuff. The ups and downs of marriage. The pain and confusion of infertility. The vast difference between the United States and Africa. The bond of Christians across the globe. The beauty of children. The gritty truths of poverty. The pages trade voices between Josh and Amy. It is neat to see their individual sides of the story. Josh and Amy are honest and funny in their story telling.

Above all, I love the end of this book. If only every story could end with such a wonderful conclusion.


said by melody...

Tonight I was standing at the stove heating up soup for dinner.
Mel was at the nearby table coloring. Out of nowhere she said,

"I'm just a looser."

I nonchalantly replied, "Why do you say that?"
Worried mommy-thoughts swirled in my head.

Mel said, "Because I loose things."


CIS Approval!

Today we received our CIS Approval (Citizenship and Immigration Services)! This marks the end of our adoption paperwork process, one of the biggest undertakings of my life so far.

funny moment

Today Melody and Leah were playing in the other room. I heard Mel ask Leah to get something for her. Mel explained where it was, "Leah, it's by the pink thing.... right there.... no not that.... in the middle.... do you see it?" They went on and on like that for about five minutes! Mel never got frustrated. Then they started this:

Leah: "Dat?" (that)
Mel: "No."
Leah: "Dat?"
Mel: "No."
Leah: "Dat?"
Mel: "No."
Leah: "Dat?"
Mel: "No."
Leah: "Dat?"
Mel: "No."
Leah: "Dat?"
Mel: "No."

They probably did this 55 times.
Then I heard,

Leah, "Dat?
Mel, "YES!!! Good job! Leah you are good at learning things."


leah's funny faces

Leah is a funny girl. Recently I have captured some faces that give a peak into her quirky personality. She has a subtle nature about her that sneaks out when she is feeling feisty.

This pucker thing is her newest face. She makes this face when she is in trouble. I'll say her name with a strong, low, serious tone. The next thing I know, she is tilting her head and sticking her lips out as far as they can go. It is really difficult to keep a straight face and follow through with consistency blah, blah, blah.

I call this one her quirky Mona Lisa smile. I wonder what she is thinking.

The girls have always enjoyed bubble baths. Recently we took bubble baths to a new level by using our jacuzzi tub. Once the water/bubbles are above the jets we turn them on and Voila! there are a million trillion bubbles. We got a little carried away...

Everything is great fun until mommy starts laughing at you too much. I think it hurt her feelings. I understand though.... she is just like me. Feisty and sensitive; not an easy combo. Poor baby.


the aftermath of melody's bad hair day

Here are some photos of Melody's haircut after her scissor experiment. The first one is a mug shot taken before bedtime the day of the whole incident. The second was taken a few days later at Vance and Harmony's wedding reception. I'm slowly getting used to it.


melody's bad hair day

Today is a day I won't forget. I was doing my own thing this morning... taking a shower, etc. The girls were watching a DVD, like they usually do each morning when I take a shower. I walked into the living room where they were and noticed a big chunk of Mel's hair on the couch. I looked at her with a startled expression and said, "DID YOU CUT YOUR HAIR!???" Her response was nonchalant, "Yeah, I wanted a short cut. I tried to get it everywhere." She succeeded at both of these. Her short cut was like a mullet on one side of her face. As Ellen pointed out later, the short cut was also very emo. A pair of skinny jeans and some skull art on her shoes would have finished the look nicely. (What's up the all the skulls?! Any other moms creeped out by this?)

We headed to Walmart for a haircut. Melody seemed pleased with herself. She is always vying for control of our days. Today she won. We were going to stay home all day working on the house and laundry. I'll post pictures of the new do tomorrow...



We had our homestudy on Monday. This is a big step in the adoption process. A social worker came to our house for three and a half hours. We sat in the clean living room with water, coffee and a muffin each. It was like a combination of job interview and counseling session. We were asked about our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a couple. Other questions were, "How do you cope with stress?" "How do you discipline your kids and why?" "How will you deal with racism that may be directed at your children?" Heavy duty stuff.

At the end of the homestudy, the social worker toured the house. Each room was tidy for this reason. Usually when I host something, the main sections of the house look great but one or two of the bedrooms take the brunt of the junk. Preparing for someone to see the every room is a challenge for a person like me. I am slowly working toward a place for every thing and every thing has a place. (We sang a horrible song with those words when I was growing up.... maybe that's why I have a problem with this concept?)

Now that the homestudy is behind us, I'm back on the paperwork fast track. It might sound crazy, but I'm looking forward to the just waiting part of the process. Once we finish this paperwork, the steps after that involve a lot of waiting. During the waiting I hope to read about Ethiopia and attachment, continue with freelance, and enjoy 2009!