Monday, November 16, 2015


Zeke's latest fascination involved doubling numbers.  Not just easy ones either.  "28 + 28 = 56?"  "And 56 + 56 is 112?" "And 112  + 112 = 224?"  Silly boy!  I love watching his brain figuring out the why behind math and I love thinking about how he might use those skills in the future.

Isn't that one of the sweet joys of parenthood?  Sifting through all of the pieces of who are kids are and dreaming about their potentials.  Not their potential incomes or the potential brilliance of their IQs but their potential to learn, to be passionate about a topic, to use their gifts be it academic or relational or creative or a niche skill to bless others.  I think it's one of the ways those who are stuck in a parenting hard spot or who are left consumed by the monotony of life can find joy because joy is hope spilled over.  Watching our kids with hope for their futures swelling up in our hearts, anticipating how God is going to work in their hearts and minds, there's just something about that that I love.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Slow News Week

Sometimes, it just feels like too much effort to string together a coherent sentence and put it into writing.  So we'll go with pictures instead, the slightly boring variety, none too exciting but definitely a part of the every day around here.
Zeke created his own leaf pile for jumping.
Kai sort of helped.

Another one of Zeke's ideas:  ice hockey.
The ice was the puck.
He froze water in a cup and then popped it out for an instant puck.

No, it's not a "get along now" shirt.
Kenson thought that sharing a shirt with Kai was a great plan.
It did involve adult intervention to get out.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wise Words on National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month.  It seems like because of that there are more blog posts and articles about adoption floating around the Internet.  I happened to read two really good ones this week.  Both are short and worth the read in their entirety but some of the more compelling thoughts are as follows.

From Shannon Dingle, Should Adoption be the Church's Response to Abortion

"Perhaps you’re surprised by my answer, but hear me out. Adoption is not the opposite of abortion. Birth is. After a child is born, a variety of outcomes are possible, and adoption is only one."

"We’re being reductive if we act as if every abortion would have ended in adoption if the child had been born."

I really appreciated the idea that there is a third option for birth families:  parenting their child and that this requires us as a culture to value the life and needs of all, including that of the birth parents.

From Russell Moore, Don't Protect Yourself from Adoption
"We live in an era when commitments have become opportunities for narcissistic self-realization. "

"The angel Gabriel told our Lord’s mother that her bearing of Jesus was a sign of God’s favor on her (Lk. 1:30), and through the Spirit Elizabeth pronounced Mary to be “blessed” (1:41-42). The visionary Simeon, on the other hand, told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart (Lk. 235), as indeed it did (Jn. 19:26). Both the blessing and the pain were true for her, and in a very real sense are true for every mother, and for every father.  If you wish to avoid the risk or possibility of being hurt, do not adopt a child. Do not foster a child. Do not engage in ministry with orphans or with widows or with the sojourners or with the poor. Do not have children, in any way. Do not get married. Do not have any friendships. Hide under the bed, and hope for the best. Any human relationship brings with it the possibility of deep hurt. You can protect yourself from that possibility, but only by walling yourself off from love."

"We need a battalion of Christians ready to adopt, to foster, and to minister to orphans and to mothers in crisis. But that means real orphans, real women, real persons, real families—not idealized versions of what we think they should be. The gospel of adopting grace didn’t find us in a boutique nursery but in the war-zone of a stable, in the death-camp of a crucifixion field, in the graveyard of a borrowed tomb. That’s not a gospel that plays well on television, but it’s the only one we have.  Caring for orphans means, in a very real sense, joining them in their distress. I cannot tell you that won’t be risky. It could up-end your plans for yourself and your family altogether. It could wreck your life-plan. "
I really appreciated how he encourages people to think through their true feelings in regard to children and parenting.  It is very easy for every parent to want to have an easy child, a picket fence worthy family.  But that is not the reality of parenting, be it adoptive parenting or the plain old biological family.

Friday, October 30, 2015

So a shark, a turtle, a spider, and a school girl head out together...

No joke, no tricks, just treats, we hope!

Here are our four trick or treaters, attending our local college's Halloween event.

Kenson wanted to be a ninja turtle.  We used a roaster pan to make a shell which he helped me paint.

Used t-shirt plus jeans and a few fleece scraps

I tried to get him to make a ninja pose but he's too cool for that.

Conleigh originally wanted to be a mermaid.
Then she came home from Awana excited about an upcoming historical figure night, with a plan to be Ruby Bridges.
I asked her if she wanted to do that for Halloween and she was thrilled.
"Ruby Bridges has brown skin and I have brown skin!
Ruby Bridges has brown hair and I have brown hair!
It's perfect!"
We borrowed a school uniform from a friend and I found the polo, satchel, shoes, and cardigan at thrift stores.
I think she was a bit bummed that no one knew who she was supposed to be but that's alright.

Zeke was not a shark.
Audible gasps, I know.
He wanted to be a tarantula.
I found the pants and shirt at a thrift store then added some eyelash yarn to his legs.
He was over the moon that he could move his arms and make the other arms move
thanks to some nylon thread strung through all the arms.

When was the last time you saw a shark on a bike?
Kai borrowed Zeke's old shark costume, made from an old sweatshirt and some fleece.

I think they were making witches' broomsticks from peanut butter cups and pretzels.
Kai loved the project but ate the chocolate and returned the pretzels to the station.

Ghost bowling...way fuzzy but oh well.
There are always several games and activities in the basement of one of the buildings which when you trick or treat the dorm rooms upstairs in the multiple dorms, makes for an easy way to trick or treat.
 Perfect for a night like this Friday proved to be, dripping rain and cold.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kai update-How to turn off the light switch

Climbing is really a great hobby.  Yes, I know I had to go the ER because I pulled one of these stools down on myself a few months ago.  No, that doesn't influence any of my thinking today.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hidden Gem

Our local college's early childhood department invested in creating a nature playground in their "backyard."   I'd say in some ways it's a hidden gem because it doesn't always get a ton of use despite it being a pretty entertaining place to hang out.  It's the sort of place I would design if I ran a day care center and similar in a lot of ways to the elements I put in our own backyard space.  Sand and dirt, stumps used as stepping stones, piles of discarded sticks and trunks and wood to build with:  there's just something really engaging about those types of materials.  This week, I let Zeke take his bike and we walked over.  Such a small thing but he was so excited to pedal instead of walk.

There were lots of plastic animals hiding in the sand so Zeke's plan was to bury them all in one place.

Kai helped.

After they were all buried, you must make an "X" to mark the spot.

Playing the wooden xylophone

Gotta keep up


And a little bit of cheese!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to Make Baked Ravioli, High Altitude Version

D took his soccer team to a local college game last week.  Since his two assistant coaches live out of town and he asked them to stay in town to go to the game, he invited them over for supper before the game.  Zeke helped me make baked ravioli for the occasion..  For some reason, watching him help from his lofty perch on our dining room table bench made me chuckle.

It's really a super easy recipe, that is really yummy.  I don't do a ton of premade food items but this is one recipe that uses processed and convenience items that I really like.

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add 16 ounces of frozen ravioli and cook a few minutes, until the ravioli start to float.  While you are doing that, make the sauce by combining 2 cups of spaghetti sauce with 1/3 cup cream cheese in a saucepan.  Cook on the stovetop until the cream cheese is melted throughout the sauce.  Drain ravioli and place into a greased casserole dish or an 8 x 8 pan.  Top with sauce.  (You can add mozerella, parmesan, or another Italian cheese on top too.)  Bake for 20 minutes or so at 350.   An 8 x 8 pan would not feed us at all so this is also easily doubled.  (From DamnDelicious.)
And if nothing else, make it standing really high up, just so you can say you did.