Monday, October 31, 2011

The Name Game!

Anyone who has been around these parts for a while knows that we have a certain set of "requirements" for naming our children.
  • An "A" name (either the name or the nickname starts with "A": Abigail, Hosanna (Anna), JohnAndrew)
  • A Family name (Grace, Faith, JohnAndrew Wesley)
  • A Biblical Name (Abigail Grace, Hosanna Faith, JohnAndrew)
We had some interesting guesses for JohnAndrew's name last year. Anyone want to make some guesses about #4's name? (Although, we know for sure one name we won't be using.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Quick Takes: As Seen on Facebook Edition

~ 1 ~
Puppy + Butt= Cuteness
The shirt says "Mommy's Big Guy"
What a doll. Even when he's running a fever.

~ 2 ~
I posed this question to my FB friends: Would you financially support the adoption of a friend who was using an agency that was known to be unethical? Thoughts?

~ 3 ~
Is adoption, by nature, a selfish endeavor? We want children. If we didn't want them, we wouldn't adopt. What do you think? This sums it up for me.

~ 4 ~

My husband got Gnome Soap-on-a-Rope for his birthday. He also got The Court Jester. Which made me laugh so hard (even thought I've seen it before) that my sides were hurting. I mean, they were hurting before that, but the movie made it worse. What's your favorite old-fashioned movie?

~ 5 ~
Would you do your monthly self breast exam if a hot guy reminded you each month? Watch and find out how to download the free app! (Warning: lots of hot, naked man chest.)

~ 6 ~
A Map of Ethical Adoption. Amen and Amen.

~ 7 ~
My man is from Central Pennsylvania. He can always eat potatoes.
(Also, I feel really cool for figuring out how to take a screen shot on my phone.)

So, what's up with you? And hey, be sure to like the blog on Facebook (see? over in the sidebar----->)

Thanks, as always, to Jen for hosting! Join the fun and do your own 7 Quick Takes. Be sure to link up over here!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tricks and Treats and Something to Eat


According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend nearly 7 billion dollars on Halloween stuff this year. Costumes, decorations, candy, pet costumes... it all adds up. We like our tricks and treats and Halloween is one of those times that really lets us all tap into our inner kid as we scheme up creative costumes and mischievous pranks.

Meanwhile, in some parts of the world, something truly terrifying is happening. Hundreds of thousands are suffering from famine, poverty, and disease. It's not one night of horror... it's the day in, day out reality of life in places like the Horn of Africa. I've shared about it before.

So, what I am wondering is this: will you make a donation for famine relief in the amount equal to your Halloween candy budget? $20 buys you a few bags of candy that are gone in hours when Trick-or-Treaters besiege your home dressed as goblins and ghouls. But in Africa, that same $20 can feed 40 starving families for a day, saving them from true a true monstrosity.

There are many worthy charities working around the globe to aid those most affected by famine, poverty, and disease. I am personally donating to the Horn of Africa famine relief through the International Rescue Committee.

You can also become involved in helping to prevent famine... because famine is man-made.

Sign the petition here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

John's Birthday Pictures:)

I wrote in this post that I would update with info about John's birthday surprise. Then my sister asked for me to post things separately, so here we are:)

John's "big" birthday surprise was when we brought in a huge cake and ice cream for him and his team! I worked with his secretary to create a "fake" appointment on his schedule so that he would be "trapped" in the conference room. Then we sent in the baby to interrupt the meeting:) It was really fun, and a total surprise for him! Of course, I didn't take a single picture. I am a big doofus.

That night, we had his favorite meal for dinner: his mom's baked macaroni and cheese!

Then he opened presents. And then, we didn't even eat cake (because we had it earlier in the day). But I think he had a good birthday anyway:)

Can you tell which gift Anna wrapped all by herself?

Somehow, both girls picked out the same card for Daddy!

Cursive writing:)

From the kids. Lego + Star Wars + DVD= perfect daddy/daughter afternoon:)

He's cute.

From me. John requested it so long ago that he forgot what he requested! So it was big surprise:)
Anyway, now with the boys' birthdays out of the way, we can calm down until Abigail's birthday... or #4s- whichever comes first!

Happy Birthday again, John!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Social Networking & Birth

When JohnAndrew was born, I think I posted a few updates on FB. I didn't Tweet then, so it wasn't so much of a thing for me. I did send quite a few text messages, though. 

A year later, I'm questioning how much I should allow social media to be involved in my birth process. Don't get me wrong... it's not that I'm shy (uh, did you read this or this?). It has nothing to do with the "distraction" of updating when I am in labor. It's not even that I consider birth a very private experience. 

It's more that I wonder how much of this process... labor, delivery, our first moments as a family of 6... should be shared, and how much should be saved, sacred to our family.

Here is why I want to consider live tweeting/FBing my birth:
  • Sharing real-life experiences of birth (the good, bad, and ugly) is important to normalizing the process of birth as a part of wellness, not an illness
  • Natural childbirth in the hospital is less common than in non-hospital settings. I want people to see how the natural childbirth process plays out in the hospital setting.
  • We are going to be sending text message updates to family and friends anyway... might as well share with everyone! Actually, tweeting/FBing might decrease the number of text messages we receive during the process
  • *I* won't actually be doing the tweeting/FBing... that will be all John. So it's really not any more difficult for me than NOT doing it.
  • John + labor + tweeting= funny typos
  • My "real time" experience of labor is often much different than my perception of labor. It will be nice to have the record in "real time" not just "labor time.
Here are my reservations:
  • John and I need to be on the same page about what we are sharing, when, and how. We currently are not (then again, we currently haven't really discussed it.)
  • John needs to feel comfortable with being the actual tweet-er
  • Not sure how much is appropriate to share
So, what would you do?

Leave a comment to let me know why you made your choice... and don't forget to make a guess about #4's gender, weight, and date of delivery over here!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Decorators Unite!

First, please don't mention this post to Abigail! It's a birthday surprise!

I took this picture in my bathroom, because it was the best light I could find without walking too far. Sigh.
When John was in India, he picked up this beautiful teal and gold silk bedding set. It has lovely detailing in light gold, honey gold, and bronze-gold, with black detailing as well on other pieces of the set. We decided to save it for Abigail, and re-do her room with this bedding for her birthday. She has no clue, but I am sure she is going to love it, not just because her room is the ugly poopy-brown color that is everywhere in my house and not just because she loves blue/teal, and not just because she loves things from other countries... but also because she recently told me she wishes her room were "cooler" so she could have other kids over.

Anyway, I am totally stoked about doing this for her birthday. There are only 2 problems:

  1. I can't really go out and do a bunch of browsing/shopping to find ideas and pick up the pieces we need 
  2. I am not so good at this decorating thing
So, that's where you come in, dear friends!

Can you help me get some ideas for what to do in her room? Here's what I'm thinking:

Abigail's room also functions as the guest room when family is in town, so anything we do in there should not be overly, uh, muchly. I want it to be "grown up" without thrusting her into teen-hood at the tender age of 9. Everything needs to be functional as her room is the choice play spot for the girls. 

We are getting her some new (to her) furniture. I was thinking black? She has a queen size bed, and will need a dresser and at least one nightstand, plus some sort of toy storage box (but not a "toy box" per se- something a little more sophisticated.) I would also consider a chair (where she can sit to read) if I found something at a reasonable price. I would not be opposed to painting current or newly acquired pieces, but I just don't think it's going to happen right now (unless you want to come do that for me?:)

I need to figure out what to do about paint and curtains (she has a huge window with blinds, but it's still so bright in there- especially when people are trying to sleep in.) Her carpet is new- a plain beige color. We aren't going to do much about that. She also could get a new lamp/lampshade for her nightstand and desk, although she generally uses her overhead light/fan fixture for lighting. I am thinking a few things to hang on the wall, but not too much. 

So, what do you think? Have any ideas? Hit me with some links and pictures!

Friday, October 21, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Pregnancy Cravings Edition

I have to say, while my pregnancy cravings with JohnAndrew were sometimes strange, they were more often simply unusual... things that I wouldn't normally want, like, or crave. With Abigail, I had fewer cravings, but again, they were unusual. This time around, I've been craving things that I like, but are not necessarily things I would crave or eat to excess. So here are a few... in no particular order!

~ 1 ~
Candy. Plain old junk food, grab at the gas station counter candy.


~ 2 ~
Cake. Mmmm.

I am normally more of a pie girl, but lately, cake has been right up my alley. 
Especially cake from Beagle Bagel Cafe or Primos Cafe

~ 3 ~
Here's a shocking one: Chocolate.
I know, I pretty much crave chocolate all the time, pregnant or not.
But this time, it's different. This time, I am craving things like this:

Instead of my normal dark chocolate, these have been hitting the spot.
Not that I would turn down dark chocolate.
I'm pregnant, not insane.

~ 4 ~
Deli Food

Every day for lunch? Yes, please!

~ 5 ~

Beef of any kind, really. Meatloaf, burgers, ribs.
But mostly steak.

~ 6 ~
Fruit. Lots and lots of fruit.

Mmm. The more tropical, the better.

~ 7 ~
Ethiopian Macchiato

Anyone who has had an Ethiopian macchiato knows that there is nothing like it in the US.
I want one. Oh, Kaldi's.

As always, thanks to Jen for hosting. Be sure do your own 7 Quick Takes and link up over here!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Almost 34 Weeks Bumpdate!

33 weeks, 4 days

Tomorrow I will hit the 34 week mark in my pregnancy! Woot!

The baby continues to be the picture of health. I continue to gain weight (sigh) although I am going to blame most of that on having my mom (and favorite cook) around the past 2 weeks. I feel as well as can be expected: some back pain, some problems with sleep, some heartburn.

Same 'ole, same 'ole, right? Well, I did get some good news from my OB! As long as everything continues to look good, I can take my last shot at the 36 week mark (11/4)! And at the 37 week mark (11/12), I am allowed off bed rest! (sign me up!) Of course, current studies still indicate that babies do best if the are 39 weeks gestation or greater, but I only carried Abigail to 37 weeks 1 day, and JA to 38 weeks, 1 day, so I'm not sure how well that will work out for me:)

I see my OB again on Monday, and will probably see her every week after that. We will probably repeat a growth/fluid scan at about 35-36 weeks because of the problems I had with Abigail's pregnancy, so maybe I will have some cute pictures for you soon!

And because no post is complete without a photo, here is JA making out with a football at his birthday party.

I love football! Tastes like pork!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Ignorance, &, OWS, and Ethics

If it was a Friday, this post would be done 7 quick takes style. But it's not Friday. And there aren't 7 takes. So here are some random thoughts in my head today.

When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View? by Scott Adams

If you are unwilling to correct the ignorance of others, you must be willing to accept it.

Agree or disagree?


We all wear many hats. Often, more than one at a time. So why is it that when it comes to adoptive parenting, I feel that because I struggle with attachment... because Anna struggles with attachment... it means I am not a good mother? a good person? Have you ever felt that way? Read this.

Photo by epicharmus
Occupy Wall Street. I will be the first to admit I really don't know a lot about the movement. I read the Wikipedia page, and it seemed to confirm to me that the movement really doesn't have any distinct goals... it's kind of a gathering of people with their own interpretations of what is important and what should be accomplished from this protesting. But I've seen a lot of "shares" on FB from people making statements about what OWS means to them. Sadly, a lot of these statements include the words "right" or "entitled" or "deserve."

One I recently saw was from a woman who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer and whose treatment was delayed by 3 months because of lack of health insurance. The comments following this post were amazing... so many people writing about how all Americans "deserve" health insurance. Now, don't get me wrong: I am sorry this woman had a delay in care because of financial issues, I am glad that is is getting the proper treatment for her cancer, and I would never wish for anyone to be refused care based on ability to pay. But let me tell you something: in this world, there are so many people who will never be diagnosed with cancer, let alone receive life-saving treatment, because of lack of ability to pay. Nothing made this more real to me than when I was in Ethiopia and watched a woman get hit by a car... and realized that without the ability to pay for care or without the generosity of the driver who hit her, she will not receive any care. Not even medicine to ease her pain.

You don't see that in America. We provide at least some level of care to all persons, without regard for their ability to pay. We have tons of systems in place that get our children vaccines, hearing and vision tests, and even things like cancer treatments and organ transplants... at no charge to the family. We don't "deserve" this care any more than other human beings around the world... or more accurately, they don't "deserve" to be deprived of care. And yet, there are people tweeting on their iPhone 4s from the OWS protests about what they "deserve"... what they are "entitled" to.... while things like this are going on in the world.

If you haven't seen it, Remy makes a thought-provoking statement in his "Protest Song."

I'm not saying that the greed and corruption in Wall Street and politics and everything else that is represented by the OWS protest aren't wrong... these things are wrong. But two thoughts remain: first, how is it that calling for more money from the rich (through higher taxes, etc) so that "the 99%" can have more          (healthcare, college education, organic food, whatever) is not greed (which, in my opinion, is pretty much the root of what is wrong with this country, at least with regard to the objections raised by the OWS protests) and is therefore different than the 1% wanting to keep their money so they can have more         ?; second, when are we, as the relatively wealthy in this world, going to wake up and realize how much we have, rather than focusing on what we don't have? (And I am just as guilty of doing this, believe me.)

I am so over people who use the "God called us" card to justify unethical adoptions. (Not everyone to this extreme.) Or those who believe that discussing the truth... meaning, that there are lots of unethical and illegal practices occurring in adoption... is somehow going against God. Or is un-Christianly. Or is going to somehow discourage people from adopting. Or means you hate orphans. Or hate God. Or torture baby bunnies and feed them to your children.

You know what the Bible says? "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32 NIV). If ever there was a reason to talk about, brainstorm, and assist others in discussing adoption ethics (and hopefully change things), it is because we are Christians- not in spite of it! In fact, Christians should be leading the way... blazing the way... for the discussion of adoption ethics and the hard, hard truths that come from examining the entire adoption system, not in the light of a consumer of adoption services, but in the light of someone who wants to stand before God without shame.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind today. What do you think?

What's on your mind today?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Birthday John!

Nothing says "studly" like a Winnie the Pooh party hat.

Today is my dear husband's birthday!

I have a few surprises planned for him (hard to do when you are on bed rest)... and will update this post later with "the big reveal" pictures.

But for now, let me just say how very proud I am of this man. It is no small thing to go from bachelor to married father of almost 4 in less than 4 years... and to have those changes come along with a major career step, a move across the country, and a change to sole provider. 

And yet, he has done it. And with a smile (at least most of the time.)

He got a set of ear-hair trimmers for his birthday from my mom. Even he thought it was funny:)

No one has a more ready laugh than John. No one is more ready to laugh at themselves than he is.

He is brilliant and makes novel and unique connections to the data in the world around him; he truly sees the world as no one else does. He marches dances to the beat of a different drummer... sometimes it's not the prettiest dance, but it is a dance that will change the world.

He expects a lot of people, but even more of himself. He holds me and our children to a high standard--- not because he is mean or a perfectionist, but because he knows that we can achieve it, and through achieving that high standard, we will improve ourselves, our family, and our world.

October 30, 2010

He likes babies. A lot. He didn't think he would, and then he held JohnAndrew for the first time and that notion was blown right out of the water. He is a committed Daddy. He doesn't always get things right, but he loves his kids and apologizes when he screws up. 

He sleeps on the couch without me asking and without complaint so that his snoring won't bother me.

He buys me pretty things, like Skittles, rice cookers, and iPads

He's pretty much a great guy. I like him. I love him. I'm glad to celebrate another year of his life.

JohnAndrew's 1st Birthday Party!

On Saturday, we celebrated JohnAndrew's first birthday! Mimi, Grandpa, Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Bentley joined us for a cookout, cake, ice cream, and presents. Nothing fancy, nothing homemade, but pretty good for planning it from my bed!

John felt strongly that he wanted a Winnie the Pooh cake. I wanted Mater. John won... this time.

We were holding his arms to keep him from grabbing at the candle in his cake.

Is that cake for me?

Where are you going with that? Come back with the cake!

Is that slice for me?

JA did manage to get his fingers into the frosting before the cake was cut and served... and before he was properly attired for first-cake eating!

I have no idea what was so confusing...

Note how much cake he has stuck to his hand!

The cake above his lips kind of looks like a handlebar mustache...

I have something on my face? Really?

You didn't think I could eat that whole thing, did you? Ha!

Licking the plate clean!

Sharing with Daddy

JohnAndrew also got a few presents... I won't bore you with the 700 pictures of him ripping wrapping paper, but here are 2 of my favorites.

When is it that babies learn that opening their mouths helps them concentrate?

With a toy hammer from Abigail, which he tried to use to open the present from Anna. It did not work, but he liked his "Thor" moment, nonetheless:)
A great time (and lots of sugar!) was had by all!

Happy Birthday, sweet boy. 
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