Monday, May 26, 2008


There is a wonderful post here.

Please check it out. There is also a great article written by The Tennessean here.

I have always had tremendous respect for the Chapman family. As members of the adoption community they are tireless promoters of adoption and family. They have donated countless dollars to help others adopt. They live their lives as examples for others.

Please check out Shaohannah's Hope website. If you feel led to donate you may do so at Maria's Miracle Fund.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Footsteps in the Sand

With all of the recent tragedies I have been thinking. My time spent reflecting on the earthquakes in China, tornadoes in the US and the death of Maria Sue Chapman brought a story I have heard several times to mind. I am sure many, if not all, of you have heard this... but I just wanted to share.

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him
he looked back, at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The LORD replied:
"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you,
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
Author unknown

Ummm.... ewwwww... gross

Okay... just for the record... I HATE POTTY TRAINING! Whew, I feel better already.

For the life of me I can not understand how children can be completely potty trained for pee and struggle miserably with poop.

Yes, this is one of THOSE posts. If you aren't up for the gross, stinky truth... click away now.

My lovely daughter is truly fully potty trained for pee. She is the supreme potty pee'er in our house! She has not had wet panties in a LONG, LONG time. We are so proud of her. She struggles with the gross counter part. We do not push. We are patient. We even allow her to put on a Pull Up if the experience becomes stressful.

Last week Miss M needed to go number 2. We asked her if we could put her on the potty. The answer was a resounding NO. She told us she was going to put on a Pull Up.

Insert side comment here: (heh) Okay, yes I realize this is our third child and she is two years old... but we trusted her... we believed her that she was going to put on a Pull Up. (heavy sigh)

Madeline retired to her room and closed the door. About 5 minutes later we heard screaming... I mean... screaming like someone was in her room with her pulling her toenails out one by one screaming. Jerry and I ran to her room.

hmmm... the door was locked. I use the little pokey thing we keep up over every door on the outside in case of accidental locking in... open the door to find....

Okay... if you are squeamish... this is your last warning.

Madeline was standing right inside the door, naked from the waist down with one foot in the air..... both feet were COVERED in poop. There was poop all over the room. There was poop by her bed, under her shoes (we are thinking she put the shoes over the poop to hide it) There were little poopy footsteps all over the room and up the changing table. She had poop totally impacted between her toes. The Pull Up Madeline was going to put on was sitting on the floor clean as clean can be.

I carried her to the bathroom. Jerry held her over the toilet as I lovingly gave her feet swirlys in the toilet trying to break loose some of the offending matter stuck to her feet, up her back, all over her clothes... and.... in her HAIR! I don't know how no one threw up during all of this. Seriously, I think we could have called in a HazMat team!! It was disgusting.

Once the cleaning process on Madeline was underway Jerry headed into the disaster zone to start the clean up. It took me over 20 minutes to get Madeline clean enough to put her in the shower. When I finally did get her in I realized that I now had poop on my shirt, arm and other various places.

I am telling you... this was the grossest thing we have encountered thus far.

We think Madeline was going to put on the pull up and had an accident.... once the floodgates opened she couldn't stop it and proceeded to wander around the room pooping. The changing table mess was one of her attempts at clean up. There were many wipes scattered around the area.

I truly wanted to force her back into diapers!

Today, she pooped on the toilet. She just dropped her drawers, climbed on up and did her business like a trooper. When she was done she promptly told me... "Madeline no poop on feet."

That's my girl!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008



NASHVILLE, TN...5/21/08... At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Chapman family during this terrible time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Little Zachary ~

Little Zachary was doing very badly in math.
His parents had tried everything... tutors,
mentors, flash cards, Special learning centers. In short, everything they could think of to help his math.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, they took
Zachary down and enrolled him in the local Catholic school. After the first day, little Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn't even kiss his mother Hello. Instead, he went straight to his room and started studying. Books and papers were spread out all over the room and little Zachary was hard at work.

His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner. To her shock, the minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time, he was back
Hitting the books as hard as before. This went on for some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what made all the difference

Finally, little Zachary brought home his report card. He quietly laid it on the table, went up to his room and hit the books. With great trepidation, his Mom looked at it and to her gr eat surprise,
Little Zachary got an 'A' in math. She could no longer hold her curiosity.

She went to his room and said, 'Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?' Little Zachary looked at her and shook his head, no. 'Well, then,' she replied,
Was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms?' WHAT WAS IT ALREADY?'

Little Zachary looked at her and said, 'Well, on the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they weren't fooling around.'

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finding My Way

You know, sometimes when we feel like we know exactly where we are headed we end up someplace entirely different. Lately that is how I have been feeling. Maybe I am just coming down from the tumultous April. Maybe I am just gearing up to finish out the school year. Maybe I am just ready to be home with my babies. I am not sure exactly what it is.. but life has just been rather unexpected.

April was a very difficult month. It started off with Riley having surgery. Two weeks later two of my uncles died within 24 hours of each other. A week later my father had surgery. With all of the work I missed I went into an unpaid status. This was not expected... at all. Life just happened.

Riley has been working hard in school. He is learning to read. His Math skills are plugging right along. He is starting to write meaningful sentences. Tonight it took him 3 hours to complete 10 simple Math problems. He would do everything BUT his homework. I tried to have him leave it so we could go back to it later with a fresh attitude. NOPE. He was not having that. I tried to take things away from him to "motivate" him to work. NOPE. He even went so far as to ERASE the answers he had. I have no clue what was going on. I was in no mood for these games. This was not expected. It was also a big pain in the booty!

Madeline has decided to no longer let us know when she goes number 2 in her pull up. She has decided to take off the offensive pull up and HIDE it! We have to find it by the scent. This was not expected.

Oh yeah... I think I am entering menopause early. That may sound like a good thing but MAN the symptoms I have stink! (I won't bore you with the yucky details.) So... off to another girly doctor visit this year. This was not expected.

I have been filling my calendar with Summer appointments. I have been trying to come up with activities to keep us all busy and therefore not ready to throttle each other. We have zoo tickets, museum tickets, football camp and swimming. Things are actually coming together with ease. This was not expected.

I know life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Usually that is what I embrace. Lately.. I am hoping for a more tortoise approach to life... slow and steady. Maybe I am getting old. Maybe I am tired. Maybe I just want to enjoy where life is right now... I think that is it. Life is quick. I really want to just take a stroll, smell the roses and enjoy the minute. That is going to be my goal for the Summer. Enjoy every minute whether it is expected or unexpected.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquakes in China

If you are a prayerful person, please consider praying for all of those effected by the terrible earthquake in China. The devastation is immense.

If you would like to make a donation to the earthquake relief, please consider using Half the Sky or Love Without Boundaries. Make sure you note that your donation is for the earthquake relief effort. Both of these organizations do tremendous work in China on a daily basis.

Riley and Madeline are not from the areas effected by the earthquake, but there are many, many orphanages... some of which still have the children outside due to aftershocks.

Please feel free to visit the Rumor Queen's blog at:

She is doing an amazing job with updates from agencies as well as people in China. (You may need to scroll down to get to the updates.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

4 Years

Four years ago yesterday Riley was placed in our arms. Where has the time gone??

4 years ago Riley was a frightened little boy. Today he is happy, rambunctious and full of love.

4 years ago Riley was still taking 5 bottles a day and had limited exposure to "real" food. Today he will eat just about anything from spicy salsa to pickles to calamari.

4 years ago Riley was silent. Today he talks our ears off!! He is loud, expressive and quite opinionated.

4 years ago Riley saw us as strangers. Today he came running in my room, threw his arms around me yelling, "Happy Mother's Day!"

Adopting Riley is one of the best things we have ever done. We didn't adopt him to save a child or to make a difference in the world. We adopted Riley because we wanted to add another child to our family to love. Biology was NOT our friend. We were selfish.. so we adopted. Now we know that Riley was always destined by God to be our baby. Many people will not agree with that statement, but we know it to be true.

Through our greatest struggles in life came our greatest blessings. I believe that somehow, some way... the same came true for Riley's birth mother.

Her greatest tragedy is our blessing. It is strange but true.

I think about Riley's birthmother often. I stand before the night sky and talk to her. I thank her for the gift of her son. I firmly believe that she loved him. The way he was left.. the place, the circumstances... tell me that this was an act of love to save her son. I wish her pain did not have to happen. I am grateful for the choice she made... to save her son's life. To bring him to the hospital...

She left a note. She loved him. In a strange way I understand the void left in her heart.. having lost several babies myself.. (yes, in a different way.. but still not easy or forgettable.) If I could have her hear one of the messages I speak to the sky it would be that Bao is happy, healthy, smart and strong. He has a good heart. He is open to love and to be loved. He will always know the love of China and that he WAS left to be found in a safe and loving place.

Riley, Bao Bao... we love you.

Happy 4th Riley Day!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Only 19 days of school left. That means I only have 21 days of work left until I get to stay home with my babies!! I can't wait!!! I love being home during the Summer with my kids. It is what gets me through the school year.

Come on Summer Break! I am ready for you!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


James is finishing up his last few weeks in elementary school. I am in awe. Where did the time go? How have we gone from battling infertility, being told we would never have a biological child to this???? Wow!!

James had his last Chorus concert last night. He is training the 4th graders to take over the school news show. He is finishing up his run as a Safety Patrol. We had a 5th grade trip to the middle school yesterday where they were given guided tours of the school by 8th graders. It was surreal seeing my first baby walk through the halls of a school he will soon attend without me there.

I have been very lucky to have had James with me for the past 6 years. Being an elementary school teacher has given me the opportunity to have my kids with me daily once they hit school age. James and I have not been separated for 6 YEARS!! Now, it is time to watch him move on.

When we were over at my parent's home on Sunday, Jerry and I decided to measure James. My parents had been commenting on how he looked taller every time they see him. Well, my baby is 5'4 1/2" at 11 years old!! He is wearing size 16 pants!! This clothing issue is blowing my mind. The next move is into... gulp, the Men's Department!! (I think I need to start breathing into a paper bag!!!) How can that be?? James is one of the tallest kids in school. Actually, I can only think of one other child who may be taller.. and he is a year older than James. What happened to those cute little baby boy outfits with trucks and sports equipment on the shirt?? I am no longer allowed to shop for James without him present since I seem to pick out all of the wrong things. (Ummm... when did my laid back guy get picky??) I truly am unsure how we got to this point!

James will be taking 3 periods of Gifted courses next year as well as Advanced Math. Jerry and I have decided that he did NOT inherit his intellect from either one of us. He has signed up for beginning band. I am dreading the practice time with a new instrument at home. I am thinking this is a good activity to do outside? - at the grandparents? - ummm... someplace, any place but at home???? We aren't sure which instrument he will be playing but I am hoping for something quiet... like.. umm... the triangle???? (Does anyone know how much it costs to sound proof an 11 year olds bedroom?? heh)

I love my big boy so much. He is kind, loving... still a Mama's boy. He is conscientioius, caring and true to his word. I know we have given him the skills he needs to move forward. I know he is ready. I know he will find success and happiness.

I just don't know if I will ever get over my baby growing up. My first miracle is doing just what I always wanted him to do.. and worried about him doing.. he is growing up.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!!

Happy Birthday dear Dad!!

Happy Birthday to you!!

Today is my father's 66th birthday! He golfed. He ate cake. He was sang to many, many times. He is healthy and happy. It is a great day!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Big Success

I was in charge of planning our school-wide spaghetti dinner. I have spent many, many hours over the past two months getting this thing organized. I did everything for this event. We even presold tickets. So, going in to the dinner last night we had sold 174 meals. My principal said she thought we may end up with about 250 total. In our initial conversations she had said to plan for 300. I planned for 450. (I had this big fear of running out of food.)

Sooo... from about 10 minutes before we were due to start serving the line started. It was unbelieveable!! The line was so long. I couldn't believe it. We, literally served food non-stop up until the time of the scheduled ending of the dinner. It ws crazy! I could not wait to find out how many meals we served and how much money we raised. I was inside the kitchen all night so I had no way of knowing how sales were going. I just had to try to guess based on the line.

Our grand total was: 385 meals!! We raised over $1600!!! I can't believe it!!! Never in a million years did I think that would happen. A nice extra, also, was that I planned for over 400 people so all of the volunteers got to eat for free at the end of the night! We ended up serving 35 volunteers, too.

The sales and money were exciting, but I have to tell you the most thrilling part of the entire event. Everytime I asked someone to help with something last night... even the yucky tasks like washing dishes and sweeping... everyone, I mean EVERYONE stepped up happily and willingly to help. I couldn't believe it. No one ran for cover when they saw me approach. No one complained. Everyone was positive and perky... ready and willing. It was fantastic!!

I have never planned something like this before. Honestly, it is a ton of work. I am so relieved and happy. It was a huge success... and to think that I did this is amazing. As silly as it sounds, I am proud of myself.

I never want to eat spaghetti again in my life!! hahaha.... That stuff causes insurmountable stress!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008



Do you think the kids will sleep in?

No? Me neither... but at least we won't have to get up and go!