Thanks for stopping by! We were a family of three, until we added one more (cat, that is), making us a family of four. In 2012, we added four more...one husband, two girls, and a dog. We have a full plate as a party of eight!

Adoption, blended families, pets, school, running...it's all here. Pull up a chair and read a while. After you do, please leave a little comment love! It makes me happy...and y'all know...if Momma is happy, then everyone is happy...at least at our house!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do You Like Apples?

I've been hearing a lot about one girl in Gloria's class who is really getting on G's nerves--fussing at her, saying things that aren't very nice.  They have a history, so it doesn't surprise me.  I think the problem is that they are more alike than either of them would ever dare admit!

Anyway, I told Gloria a few days ago about my principal telling a group of girls that instead of lashing back at the person who is saying something "mean" to instead ask the offender "Do you like apples?"  It's an attempt to change the topic, diffuse the situation, or make the other person laugh.  Gloria thought it sounded odd (so did I, in all honesty).  But said she might try it.

Well...
today she tried it
And...
"Momma, it WORKED!  I asked her if she likes apples.  She said yes.  I said okay and walked away.  It was GREAT!"

Proud of My Girl!

Gloria was so saddened by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  After seeing it on television several times, she told me that she just couldn't watch it any more because it made her sad.  One night at dinner later that weekend she asked me if she could email the head of lower school at her school...she wanted to ask him if they could collect money to help the people of Japan.  I didn't know where she came up with that idea, but I told her that was fine with me.


So, she sat down at my computer and worked very hard to type her email...



Dear Mr.L***,
This week I saw what happened to Japan with the earthquake and the tsunami. I felt sorry for them and wanted to help I also wanted to help because someone at our church has her family living in Japan.So the other day I was looking through my Highlights magazine and in it there was a article about a boy raising money at his school for Haiti when they had the earthquake there. He raised  a little over $380. So I would like  to do the same but for Japan. So if I may I would like to do the same.THANKS!

Thank you again
Sincerely,
Gloria ******

It was her spring break, but she spent the week at all day after school care (BORING!) and saw Mr. L one morning.  He told her that he had gotten her email and needed to talk to someone else to see what the school was planning to do.  The next day, she got an email in reply...

Dear Gloria,
Thank you for your enthusiastic offer to help the victims of Japan’s recent tragedy.  Our 6th grade girls are leading the effort for the school to raise funds for the American Red Cross.  I would love for you to be our point person for the Lower School, Gloria.  When the 6th grade girls come to present the project to the classes next week, you could join them and be a part of this campaign.  The girls will be working on this when everyone returns to school next week and I will follow up with you on ways you can help. 

Thank you, Gloria, for expressing your desire to be involved, and for your leadership in this service project! 

C******* C***
Community Service Coordinator

Can I tell you that Gloria was THRILLED that she was going to get to help!  Last week she got to meet with the sixth grade girls as they planned their presentations and she got to go with a small group to some of the lower school classes to talk about the project.  

And now, every time she finds a stray coin, she puts it in a baggie that she is taking to school as her contribution.

I'm so proud of her precious little heart and her caring for others.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

She Got Mail!

Gloria gets all the fun mail...party invitations, magazines, packages from my mom.
And she LOVES to get mail.
It makes her day.

All I ever get is bills.
And junk mail.
And more bills.
You know how it is.

So she was thrilled to get a package this week. 

 

And in that package was...

a pillow case with horses all over it. 
(Hannah Cat is curiously looking on...plotting her next nap on Gloria's pillow, I'm sure.)


And matching spring dresses for Gloria and her doll.


Gloria says "THANK YOU, MAGGIE!!!"


Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tidbits of This and That

  • Yesterday afternoon, Gloria informed me from the back seat of the car that she will be going to college in ten, yes 10, years.  GULP!  She's funny because she thinks things through out loud, so next was "I wonder how they decide who can go to what college.  But I know one thing is for sure...I better not get a letter from Alabama.  If I do, I will decline the instant I open it.  They better not send me a letter like that!  I'll only accept a letter from Auburn!  Or Vanderbilt, if Momma says I have to go there."  How could I not laugh out loud?  I mean really...how does she know the word "decline"???  
  • Hannah Cat is sitting on my lap while I type this.  She's trying to steal my straw out of my Chick-fil-a cup.  (She loves to play with straws until she loses them under the stove or refrigerator.)  So I'm alternately typing and catching my cup before it hits the floor.  Fun times.
  • Chick-fil-a sandwiches are good, but they are even better when they are free!  :)  Loved that coupon from the value pack thingy that comes in the mail.
  • Gloria's second soccer game was this morning.  It wasn't as bad as the last one...But it was cold and rainy.  Last time, it was cold.  This time it was cold and raining.  What's in store for next week?  Snow???
  • We had a couple of warm days this week.  Warm enough for sandals instead of the usual choice of black flats, black patent leather flats, or loafers.  I left my flip flops out the other day and Screamer chewed them up.  Seriously, there are teeth marks all over them.  They are two years old though, and I was going to probably get some new ones this year anyway, but still...cats aren't supposed to chew shoes!  That's a dog's job!
  • Paper cuts HURT!
  • Looking forward to a four day work week next week.  Teacher workday on Friday!  Yay!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Mundane and the URGENT

I could write about my first attempt at making homemade refried black beans tonight.

But I'm not.

I could write about my second grader who couldn't find the class wiki, so he googled me..."and now I know how old you are!"

But not tonight.

I could write about the storm last night and how Screamer really panicked over it.

But I won't.

There are plenty of mundane things going on that I might blog about tonight.

But there are more urgent stories to share.

One is about Kirill.  You can click his name to read about him.  This little boy is being denied a family because he isn't "typical."  He is in an orphanage in Russia and he has Down Syndrome.  He has a family who loves him and wants to adopt him.  But the judge has denied their application based on his "medical institution" and says he is better off spending his life in an institution.  Instead of in the arms of a loving mother and father?!?!

IMG_0039.jpg



Another is Carrington.  Again, just click her name to read more.  This little girl was recently adopted from an orphanage in Eastern Europe.  Three years old, she weighs just 11 pounds.  She is currently in the hospital fighting for her life.




These children and families need our prayers.

Desperately.

And so do the countless other little children who are still living in situations such as this.

Pray without ceasing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

She Said What?!?!? And What Should I Have Said???

While discussing "the a word" with a group of friends a few weeks ago, another mother was listening in on our conversation from across the room.  Four of the five ladies in the group were adoptive mothers--international, domestic, and foster care adoptions were all represented.  We were puzzling over why someone might take the stance of "adopted" being a negative label for her children.  Suddenly, the listener addressed me with the following comment...

I just don't get why you or anyone else would go pay all that money to adopt a baby from another country when there are all those free black babies right here.  I mean, you were already adopting outside of your race any way.  So why not get one of the free black babies that are already here?

And I guess, just to make sure I heard her, she repeated herself.

Talk about a conversation stopper!

I think I must have looked like a goldfish...
eyes bulging out,
mouth opening and closing,
no words coming out.
Speechless.
Stunned.
Flabbergasted.

But, she didn't really want an answer.  That became quickly and abundantly clear.  Her one-sided tirade continued for a while, with no chance to get a word in edgewise.   The other moms bent busily back over the quilt they were working on and I returned to filing and organizing some student work.

It's been almost a month since that comment, but it still floors me when I think about it.

First of all, there's no such thing as "free"--there are homestudy fees, fingerprint fees, background check fees, attorney fees, court costs, agency fees...the list goes one.  I'm sure I left something out.

Second of all, do you even know my child???  She may not have been born from my body, but she couldn't be more like me than I already am.  It's spooky sometimes.  I know that I was drawn to Guatemala for a reason, and that was because my daughter was there.  Period.

I still don't know what I should have said, even if I had been able to think of it "in the moment."  I don't think it would have mattered what I said.  Her mind was made up, although in a sadly misguided way.

What would you have said if you were me?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Happens When Your Daughter Gets Your Camera

I was clicking through the pictures on my camera this afternoon and found some that I didn't recognize.  Gloria laughed and told me that she took them.  Have a look...


"But Momma, it was such a pretty flower petal lying there on the sidewalk!"

Don't know where she found this one!

Pansies from a neighbor's flower pot.

Screamer, on his leash, enjoying the warm spring sunshine.

Showing her true colors!  ;)




Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The "A" Word

No, not that "a" word!

Try again.  Another "a" word.

Auburn, you say?
Nope.
Not this time, anyway.  ;)

And not that other "A" word either.
You know, the one that is Auburn's rival.
Yeah, that one.
But, like I said...that's not it.

It's a word I never would have thought of as "the A word."
But evidently some people do.

Adoption.
Or adopted.

"The A word?"
Really?
Are you serious?

They say it's a label.
So is "soccer mom"
or "girl"
or "Christian"
or "private school student"
or "second grade teacher"
or, or, or...the list could go on.
Everything is a label, in some way.

And to "not use the A word" with my child...isn't that denying how we became a family?  Or making it seem taboo or something not to be spoken of?  I know if I had told Gloria simply "You were born in Guatemala" that would not have been enough.  The questions I would have to evade or continue to answer only half way would have been along the lines of "Then how did I get here?"  and "Why don't I live there now?"  And without "I adopted you, to be my daughter and part of my family, forever" there would never be a completely truthful answer.

Yes, there are children who struggle with being adopted.
Mine is one of them right now.
Even so, she doesn't think of it as a bad word or something negative.  It's just a fact of her life.

By grace, we have all been adopted into the family of God.
And by God's grace, I am also able to proudly wear the label "Momma," so given to me by my precious daughter.

Who just happens to have been adopted.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bed Time?

I usually aim for an 8:00 bed time.

For Gloria, not me--
although that sure would be nice.
5 a.m. comes awfully early some days.

Anyway...

Tonight's conversation went something like this:

G:  Momma, can my bed time be 9:00 when I'm 13?
Me:  Sure.
G:  Yessssssssss! (accompanied by the requisite hand motion)

A few seconds later...

G:  How about when I'm 10?  Can my bedtime be 8:30 when I'm 10?
Me:  I think we can arrange that.
G:  Oh yeah!

Then...

G:  How about when I'm 9 my bed time can be 8:15.
Me:  Sounds ok to me.
G:  Oh yeah!  Oh yeah!  8:15 bed time when I am 9!

This whole line of questions and answers continued and she's got her bed times planned out from now until she turns 21.

I think she decided on 10:00 when she is 16 and 11:00 when she is 21.

And, I think I will save this for her to remind her of our agreement some day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Soccer Saturday

Today was our first soccer game, not only of the season, but E-V-E-R.

Someone was very excited to find out on Friday that they had *purple* jerseys!
And socks!
Which look great with pink and black cleats!  ;)


So, on her very first soccer game of her entire life,
When it was 46 degrees on a bright sunny morning,
And after only two practices
(where they ran around and kicked the ball but didn't really talk about how to actually PLAY the game)
Guess what position Gloria got to play...


Goalie!
Yep...
Goalie.

To say she didn't have a clue...
would be almost 100% accurate.
And she agrees with that statement.

She knew she needed to stop the ball.
She just didn't know what to do to make that happen.
Mostly, she tried to kick it away.
And she successfully blocked two goals that way.
What she didn't know was that she could put her hands on it.
(But she does now!) 
And she missed...ahem...quite a few goals because of that.

Poor thing.  She came off the field after the first half trying so hard not to cry.
But recovered quickly when she found out that Mr. Greg had come to see her play!


Another player got to play goalie for the second half.
The rules are that every player has to play that position for half of a game.
(Which means she has three and a half more games before having to play goalie again...
insert sigh of relief here)

Her team is all eight year olds in the under 10 division.
There are only 9 of them.
Only 6 of them were there today.
There must be 6 players on the field at all times.
Which means all of them played the entire game.
That's 40 minutes of chasing the other team who controlled the ball active play.

I was proud of her for hanging in there and trying so hard
Even though she didn't really know what to do.

This afternoon, she wanted to go to the park.
She took her soccer ball with us.
She played on the playground for a little while.
And then spent most of the next hour practicing her soccer skills.
We practiced blocking goals, kicking, and dribbling.
She thinks she's more ready for the next game.
We'll keep practicing though.


Does this look like the face of someone who played a really tough soccer game this morning?



Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Random Thoughts From a Tired Momma

Truly random

You've been warned!  :)


  • It cost me $45.46 to get gas this afternoon.  And that was just for 3/4 of a tank!  That's more than it used to cost to fill up the van!  Ugh!  Double ugh!
  • I have been both "Mean Momma" and "The Best Momma in the Whole World" all in one afternoon.  The "mean" designation was over homework.  To Miss G, "help" means "just tell me the answer" and I wasn't complying with that directive.  But then I made our own pancake supper at home using the new-ish gluten free Bisquick.  That made all things right in the 8 year old's world.
  • I'm tired.  Really tired.  Have been for over a week now.  
  • Just finished making a Tres Leches Cake for Gloria to take to school for their heritage celebration.  The whipped cream is made.  Will spread it in the morning.
  • Discovered over the weekend that two of her Guatemala dresses still fit.  And a third one is just right to be considered a tunic.  Need to find some leggings to match it.  I'm so glad she can still wear these.  I really thought she had outgrown them.  She's happier than I am about it and will be wearing one for the above-mentioned heritage celebration tomorrow.
  • It was light as I was driving to work at 6:30 this morning.  Really!  I much prefer driving to work to in the light of a new day instead of by the light of the nighttime moon.
  • Random dinner question the other night from Gloria to me:  If you could travel anywhere you wanted to, where would it be?  I told her I would like to travel to China and we discussed why.  Her answer was Guatemala.  No surprises there.
  • Then she changed it...What if you could travel anywhere you wanted to in any time period you wanted?  Before I had a chance to answer, she went on to tell me that she would like to visit Ancient Egypt or else the early Mayan civilization.  I haven't come up with my answer yet.
  • Went to the library to return 2 books I had been reading.  Left with 13 new ones for Gloria--and quite an interesting assortment of fiction and non-fiction, novels and picture books.
  • Have I mentioned that I'm tired???
  • At a stand-still on the thesis.  Yes, again.  I had to return my books to the seminary library again.  Will wait a week and request some new ones.  I think my Lenten discipline might be to spend 30 minutes a day working on this thing.  I've GOT to get it done.  Ugh, again!
  • Screamer (AKA Bad Cat) seems to be mellowing a bit.  Hannah Cat still hates him though.  She has been quite mean to him lately.  
  • Right now both cats are curled up under my feet.  Usually HC is in my lap with her head and front paws resting on my left elbow.  That makes it hard to type!
  • I'm tired, so I'm stopping now.
  • Did you know this is my 200th blog post?  Is that a milestone?  Who knows.  I'm too tired to think about it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring is Bursting Out All Over

I love this time of year.

I love how the trees go from this....

to this...

seemingly over night.



Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring Cleaning

For some reason, last Saturday I decided that I would clean out one room each weekend this month and get rid of the junk that is hiding in the dark corners of the cabinets and closets, under beds and in boxes.

I've had enough!
It feels like the walls are closing in on me.

Or maybe it's all the stuff.

Either way, I can't take it any more.

Last Saturday I attacked the kitchen.  I still have one cabinet left in there, but it's mostly play dough and sidewalk chalk...I think...

Today, Gloria's room was our target.

It was bad.

It took us about 7 hours, including a trip to Goodwill.

I was going to take a picture of what it looked like after we took e-v-e-r-y... l-a-s-t...t-h-i-n-g out of her closet...

But it was awful!!!
Really awful!!!
I couldn't bear to digitize that moment.
It's seared in my mind as it is, and that's enough for me, thank you very much.

Two kitchen-sized bags of garbage,
two more garbage bags of clothes (a few things were mine that had been in her closet for...I don't know how long),
a large laundry basket,
and the cats' favorite cardboard box...

That's what filled my car when we left for the neighborhood trash compacter and Goodwill.

We refueled with some yummy Qdoba for a late lunch and got back to work.

Filled up another bag of garbage and another bag for Goodwill, rearranged furniture, organized doll clothes.

We're worn out!

Now for the one decision I couldn't make...

What do I do with these...

Two years of Highlights and Ranger Rick.  Three years of National Geographic for Kids.

Show books from some of the shows we've been to.  
I could probably take the magazines to school and use them in my classroom.

But the show books...I know we don't need them any more.  You can't tell from the picture, but they are quite "loved."  And they represent memories.  And it hurts my heart to think about putting them in the recycling bin.

But they are just collecting dust on the bottom shelf of her bedside table and she doesn't care what I do with them...

What to do???

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Report Card Day

Today was report card day for someone in this house.  She was pretty worried about my parent-teacher conference this afternoon.  Don't know what that was all about, but it was kind of funny.

I have to admit that parent-teacher conferences are not my favorite part of my job...

And I like being on the parent side of the table even less.

I remember my first one when she was in TK...I was shaking so badly and seriously thought I was going to throw up on my way to the school.

It's hard being a parent and a teacher.
I'm not allowed to be the teacher at home. (Guess who made that rule...)
And I'm fine with that.
Although there are times when I have to bite my tongue...
"If you would just do it MY way..." doesn't work.
She gets so torn between her loyalty to her momma and her loyalty to her teacher..."But Mrs. T said to do it THIS way..."

So back to today...

The thing about this year's teacher is that she and I are on the same page about Miss G.

The. Same. Page.

And it makes Gloria N-U-T-S.
Absolutely N-U-T-S.

"Gloria, why don't you slow down and reread that book."
"Ooooohhhh  Mommaaaaaa!!!  That's what Mrs. T. said!"

"Gloria, maybe you should try a different genre of books.  Stretch your horizons a little bit."
"Mrs. T. said that, too.  I don't want to."

So when I read the following today, there were no surprises.
And of course, I can read between the lines and know exactly what Mrs. T. was *really* saying!  :)
(The italicized parts are what her teacher said.  The regular print is my own commentary.  Just in case you couldn't figure that out.)

Gloria is having a great year in second grade!  Her enthusiasm continues to brighten the room each day.  Gloria strives to do her best in every subject.  She enjoys getting everything correct and can get frustrated when things don't go perfectly on the first try.  (REALLY???!!!???  I had no idea!  HA!!!)  Gloria is encouraged to slow down when completing her work, focusing on the purpose and enjoyment of assignments and literature.  (I had that exact same conversation with her two nights ago, met with much protest, moaning, and groaning!  "I can't slow down.  It's just how I read!  But then I miss questions on my comprehension tests."  "So slow down."  "But I can't slow down...")  Gloria will be encouraged to try new books and genres that may be outside of her comfort zone.  (You mean like the books I brought home from MY classroom for her--biographies and non-fiction, something other than Ramona, Fudge, Pony Pals, Nancy Drew...???)  In math, she continues to enjoy new concepts, and is learning to ask questions when something appears difficult.  (HA!!  Not at home!  Can you say "total meltdown"???)  She enjoys helping her friends understand mathematical concepts as well.  (Not sure that's a good idea if she's struggling as much as she claims she is...)  In social studies and science, Gloria loves asking questions and finding the answers through research.  She is a naturally inquisitive student!  I enjoy having Gloria in my class this year.


Of course I am very proud of her.  Don't get me wrong.  I just love it that her teacher sees what I see and comments on it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seven Years Ago Today...

I was in Guatemala with my parents.  I was handed this little girl...


Who has grown into this big girl...



Who decided she needed to clown around in front of the camera tonight...





Close up shots...




Screamer wasn't very interested in a photo shoot tonight...



Not only did she steal my heart that day, she also stole my chocolate cake at dinner.  In honor of that, I made a chocolate mousse cake this afternoon.  She got her own slice, which meant I got MY own slice.  
No cake stealing tonight!  :)




Seven years.  It has gone by in a flash.  I find myself struggling to remember sometimes.  Where has that little girl gone?  She's still there in pictures and videos.  But she's growing up.  Turning into a young lady before my very eyes.

Seven years.  This is the child that the embassy doctor said was "experiencing serious developmental delays." ( I didn't know that until I *finally* received that elusive immigration packet a couple of years ago after several requests.  Imagine my surprise to read that.)  She wasn't walking, or even pulling up, at that point.  And crawling...not so much.  Talking...very little.  The crawling came quickly once we were home.  The walking took another six months. The talking...we used a lot of baby sign language until she decided to talk.  And she hasn't stopped talking ever since! Guess I'll never really know what that was all about.

Seven years.  Seven years of ups and downs, highs and lows, trials and triumphs.  This parenting thing is h-a-r-d!

There are so many thoughts swirling around in my head, I can't seem to straighten them out.  Maybe they will turn into their own blog posts in the days to come.

Seven years ago, a family began...our little family of two, mother and daughter.  Seven years ago, an extended family grew--there was a new granddaughter, niece, cousin.  Seven years ago, life as I knew it changed completely and forever.  Seven years ago, I was not the person I am today.  And neither was Gloria.  We have both grown and learned so much, individually and together.

Seven years ago, I had no idea I could love someone so much.  Or what it was like to have the love of a child in my life.

Happy Gotcha' Day, my little Glo-bug!