Sunday, August 30, 2009

7-10 Days in Numbers game this week. Doane vs. Jamestown. D and Kenson went together. Doane's mascot is a tiger so D said everytime the announcer would say anything about the Tigers, Kenson would roar. Nice... the times I have attempted to stretch a quilt top. 3 is the number of times I have failed and ended up with all sorts of puckers and bumps. I'm almost at my wit's end with it.

4...more weeks was the verdict on D's cast, down to 3 now.

30...pre-schoolers in the class I subbed for on Friday. Felt more like 300. There were 15 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon so thankfully I didn't have 30 all at once. But wow! Subbing in preschool is hard for me anyway and subbing during the first few weeks of school when the kids are still crying for their parents and have no idea about the rules or procedures is sheer insanity. I didn't shake or injure any children so we'll count that as a success! probably the number of single twists I put in Kenson's hair on Wednesday. I didn't count them as I was going but I'm estimating now. If things go well with them, I think we'll let them loc. I'll post pictures of our progress if that's what we decide.

More than 200...dollars was the cost of fixing our brakes this week. I hate car repairs but the alternative of no brakes isn't very appealing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm a Big Boy Now

On the plus side, in the last few weeks, Kenson has made some big strides in being a "big boy." There are lots of things that are still hard for him to physically do and I'm never quite sure why that is. Is it because he just hasn't had enough practice doing them? Is it because he's a bit behind in fine motor or gross motor skills? Is it because he likes being babied and wants someone to help him? Is it because he has a low tolerance for being frustrated and just gives up or gets mad? I suppose it's probably a combination of all of those things. This week, especially, his frustration level was super low with lots of temper tantrums.

But highlights this week include:

-Actually pedaling our trike down the sidewalk. He still needed help to get over the parts where grass had overgrown the cracks or where the sidewalk was uneven. But he actually had the pedaling part figured out. And he so doesn't remember to pedal and steer which means I need to help with that. And he's terrified of riding into the street so if he gets too close, he's sure to tell me about it. ("Don't do that!" or "Otay" which is his way of saying "Other way.")

-Doing the bathroom routine all by himself with no help or reminders. (Pants down, pants up, wiping, cleaning the seat, flushing, and washing hands) He has struggled for the longest time with getting his pants up. I think a lot of that is that he likes to be babied; he rarely is excited to get dressed on his own, unlike most toddlers/preschoolers.

-Is an eager beaver when it comes to helping me and now helps unload the dishwasher and puts away the salad plates, his plastic plates, and the bowls. He has done a great job of putting them in their spots and having him help me has helped turn that chore into not such a drudgery for me. He also can bring down his laundry from his bedroom, all by himself.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From the Pits of Motherhood (err, I mean the depths)

The last three days have felt like the pits around here. I don't quite know why. I have felt impatient. Kenson has seemed difficult. Not a good combination. Just a few tidbits from the pits...

-I had to say, "Quit blowing in the toilet," not once but at least three times (Don't worry, he had only peed in it so I only had to be concerned about waves of pee rather than sailboats of poop.)

-Kenson has decided he wants to pee standing up. Okay, I can live with it, especially since he thinks cleaning up the pee is sort of fun. That was until I realized he know is trying to pee in a circle around the top of the toilet so he gets to wipe up a lot of pee rather than just a little.

-Keeping with the potty theme, we have had multiple potty accidents. Yesterday, he managed to get both couches wet. That quickly reduced the number of available seats in the living room.

-And in general, non bodily fluid related news, Kenson has just been moody, disobedient, and full of tears and wails.

There is lots going on here since D started back to work and I've been out of the house a couple of days the last two weeks as well. He's only been at the sitter's for 2-3 hours at a time and has loved going but part of me thinks maybe some of this stuff is because of the changes in schedule. (That and the fact that he is a 3 year old boy!) He's still cute as ever and his smile always makes me grin. But it's been wearing on me and my patience is a bit thin. D cooked supper tonight which was wonderful. I took advantage of that and managed to take a bath without a child in the same room as me. Woo hoo for a super hubby!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deep Freeze

Our school has a special place for computer documents you want to save forever. It is called Deep Freeze. I think there's a reason for this: based upon my own simple experiments, anything that gets put in a regular old, store my food deep freeze often gets kept forever too. That said, I've been reorganizing and cleaning out my freezer space. Mostly because I have no more room to put things and I need the room. S

o out came all sorts of goodies including the frozen shredded zucchini that has been hanging out in there for over a year. I also still have apples from my folks to use up so that meant I looked for something that I could make that would use both the zucchini and the apples. I settled on Blueberry Zucchini Bread and Zucchini Apple Bread. I did use applesauce in place of 1/2 of the oil in the first one as well as 1/2 Splenda and 1/2 sugar to save on calories and fat. The other recipe is already lightened up with applesauce but I again used part Spenda with the sugar. I also omitted the pecans because D doesn't like nuts all that well and the nuts just add calories and fat. I haven't made either one of these recipes before. The zucchini apple combo was great and the blueberry bread is still baking so the jury is still out on that one.

But now the real conundrum: the extra loaves have to back in my freezer and probably take up more room than the frozen zucchini did.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Imagination Nation

I so love getting to watch Kenson play each day. His imagination has just grown by leaps and bounds since he came home. It is so interesting (and funny) to watch. So here's a few random pics and stories from the week.
Riding a cock a doodle. (We don't say chicken or rooster; it's a cock a doodle.) I don't know if he thought the fringe looked like feathers or what but it was a rooster. And then it started eating me. I'm not sure why. Maybe I looked like a cinch bug or something. (Highly possible if I haven't really gotten ready yet.)

This is Kenson and his friends watching the "toccer boys." They were apparently playing in a soccer game because Kenson kept saying things like "Dood job!" and "No, no!" (Makes me a little nervous about having such a parrot sit next to me at the soccer games. I don't think I say things that are inappropriate but I'm a little concerned that maybe what I say is less than flattering.)

Kenson often "goes" places. Usually he is going to the post office. He loves bringing me mail. Today, though, after the post office, he went to the "tore"...dressed like this:

For the record he was purchasing eggs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Conleigh Tidbits

Through the grapevine, I did get just a few tidbits about Conleigh, as observed by a volunteer who was at HCH a while back. Since I don't have any new photos or any other process news to share, I'll share those tidbits instead.

When the volunteer arrived, Conliegh came marching up to her and held out her hand. (Somewhat suprising as while opinionated, Conleigh has always taken a while to warm up to new people.)

Julie (another HCH girlie who is Conleigh's age) and Conleigh got 2 small plastic chairs and were setting them one behind the other. Then Julie got a lid and turned it upside down beside the chairs. She sits down on the back chair and Conleigh sits
in the front one. Julie pretends to swipe her hands in the lid and then
gently rubs Conleighs hair! Being careful to go only the one way. She
repeated this many times and then they traded places! (Good to know that SOMEBODY in this house will know what they are doing when it comes to hair!)

Today Julie lined up the Mega blocks just so on a chair and nobody was to touch them. Then she would hand them to Conliegh who set them neatly on the bench. Then Conleigh would SMASH them off and the process would begin again. (Ahh, toddler destruction!)

This morning I looked out the window and down on the sidewalk were Daniel, Joseph, Linda, Conleigh and Julie.They had found a puddle on the sidewalk and were having the time of their lives. Julie plopped down in it and then waved her arms or fingers through it. For 5 two year olds it was great! (Puddles are such fun!)

In other Conleigh news, we just sent another document to the director of I*ESR, in hopes of getting our file released from this office. We have been in this one office for 11 months now. Apparently, since we have no bio kids, I*ESR is assuming we are infertile. Since we are not 35 which is the by the book age requirement for Haitian adoptions, I*ESR would like us to document our infertility and then sign us out as an exception to the law because of our infertility. In reality, none of this makes any sense so please don't write me and tell me how silly it all is. Trust me! After 11 months of no movement, I have a pretty good idea of how ridiculous it is to not approve us. Anyway, our processor has been trying to use our prior I*ESR approval and file number to get them to budge but they have been unwilling to release our file. So we wrote a letter to I*ESR clarifying why we want to adopt and why we chose Haiti, all while nicely saying how silly it is to refuse someone based on being too young when they were approved less than 2 years ago. Anyway, that said, I'm asking my friends and family to commit to praying for Conleigh's dossier as much as possible for the next two weeks. If you can pray every day, that would be great. I believe that perhaps in these two weeks, while our letter is being delivered, the director's heart may be changed by the prayers of many. I believe God will bring Conleigh home at a time that is right for her heart, for Kenson's heart, and for Mama and Papa's heart. But this Mama's heart would prefer sooner...

Monday, August 17, 2009

My day in pictures

I actually went to school and worked today! (For the first time since Kenson came home.) Today, I helped administer reading tests. Just for a few hours. Tomorrow, same thing. I am hoping to sub a few days a week throughout the year so this has been a good time to break in my friend, Heather, who is going to be watching Kenson when I'm working. She has two twin boys who are a week older than Kenson which means 3 3 year old boys. She said she's up to the challenge and if anyone is, it's her. She's laid back and calm, all about letting kids be kids while following common practices of decency and courtesy. Kenson has now stayed with her twice while I went other places and has loved each experience. They live on a farm so there's dirt and swings and a trampoline and goats and corn and farm equipment and all sorts of things that little boys love.

Apples. Currently, the bane of my existance! Not really but when we were home last weekend, Kenson and my dad picked a five gallon bucket full of apples for us to take home. I was very excited about it. And then the apples came home. And I realized I would have to do something with them. Applesauce was on my list but I don't have an apple peeler so I have to do all of them by hand and I don't think my wrist and fingers can manage all of them by myself. I did get about 1/4 of the way through the bucket and got 4 jars of yummy cinnamon applesauce canned today. I was planning to freeze a lot of them but my mom said they were kind of soft for pies/apple crisp which is what I would freeze them for. So I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest.

Getting my needle and thread ready to go. A few ladies from school are starting a sewing group and I am excited to go! We're meeting in the home of one of the ladies tomorrow night for the first time. I have so many projects that need worked on. And I get to get out and chit chat with some lovely girls. I probably sound like an overeager teenager but in the last 6 months my opportunities for girl time have been limited. So tonight, I need to plan what I'm going to take to work on. So many unfinished projects, so little time.

God and Me-Incongrous Praying

I'm still doing a study on prayer, mostly because I've been struggling with feeling like my prayers and my beliefs about God's character aren't in line. Incongruent. Out of sync. Nonrepresentative. It's like my continued praying for Conleigh's adoption doesn't mesh with my beliefs about Who God is.

I think everybody has those moments. Like when you believe in your heart that God is a fair God who is full of perfect justice, yet your own prayers for justice seem to be unmet. Or when you believe in your heart that God is full of compassion, gentle in Spirit, and that He hurts deeply right alongside His children. But in real life, you see certain situations where God's loving kindness seems to be on back order, somehow absent. Or when you believe God to be omnipotent, more powerful than earthly rulers or spiritual forces. Yet again and again, lowly people and evildoers seem to reign.

I don't doubt for a moment that my beliefs about God's character are correct. It's the waiting for those beliefs to align with my circumstances that is troubling. That last sentence is a bit of a misstatement. God has not abdicated His character for even one moment of time. He is Who He says He is in all situations. It's just that our view of what that will look like, in relationship to specific situations is skewed by our humanness. In my life, it's hard not to think that if God were really fair, He wouldn't let Conleigh's file be detained. If God were really kind, He would know that an orphanage is not a place for a child to live any longer than necessary. If God were really powerful, He would simply rearrange the circumstances that are preventing our file from being signed out.

That's when I decided to study prayer, because prayer was becoming such a problem. I was frustrated by praying prayers that pointed out all sorts of incongruency between Who God is and Who I want Him to be. For a quite a while, I've been praying the same prayer about Conleigh. And truth be told, praying that same prayer is getting old. But not praying about it would make me feel guilty. How to I juxtapose my frustrations about unanswered prayers against a relentless faith in God's ability to answer my prayers? And at what point is a simple prayer and a simple faith enough that I should leave well enough alone and simply let God work His plan in His way?

I've really been wanting to stop praying. As in, "this isn't doing any good so let's just stop." But this week, the Scripture I read all dealt with continuing to pray in faith. Colossians 1:9-10 Continued to pray....all the while you will learn to know God better and better. 1 Thess. 5:17 Pray continually.

This week, God said, "Enough. Stop praying about Conleigh's release from IBESR. Other people are praying for that. Pray for her homecoming and transition." In other words, stop fixating on the incongruencies and letting those things that seem true in moment keep you from praying. Instead, spend time focusing on something yet to come, an event that is all about God's faithfulness.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Developmental Stuff

When we went in for Kenson's 3 year old check up and some vaccinations, they asked a bunch of questions related to child development, mostly to help you gauge your child's growth and kind of as a prescreening for early intervention services. Anyway, those questions got me thinking about the developmental tasks Kenson can and can't do. And what better place to write them down for my record keeping than on our blog!

Can do:
Pretty consistently counts to 4, knows other number names, he used to count everything 2, 5, 8 but now it's 1, 2, 3, 4

Knows color names but doesn't correctly attach them to colors, if you ask him what color something is, he always says a color name but it's rarely the right color

Recognizes that letters exist, the other day he pointed at a K on my shirt and told me it was K for Kenson, often points out letters on signs, is doing much better at holding books right side up, pretends to read often but prefers to be read to

Constantly plays using his imagination, pretends to be animals, watches pretend soccer games, directs his toys to go to specific places like the post office and church, such a change from when he first came home and just played but with no purpose

Says most things in sentences or phrases, usually 3 words at a time, sometimes 4 words, it seems like he is daily uses new words

Things we're still working on:

Gross motor skills-he is a bit behind in gross motor skills, most of this is fear based or lack of understanding of how his body works, jumping off of things is finally not scary, he is hesitant to climb on things that look high or unsteady, we've made great progress though as when he first came home he needed help on the stairs, was scared to climb on playground equipment, wouldn't swing in a park swing, and never jumped even just to jump forward, still haven't figured out how to pedal a tricycle yet

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Haitian Adoption Delays

As many of you know, we waited 2 years for Kenson to come home. Now with Conleigh's adoption, I am afraid to say that we may be waiting even longer than 2 years. As many of you know, we are currently stuck in the office which approves families for Haitian adoptions. We are being held there because we are now too young to adopt from Haiti. I know, we were old enough with Kenson but now we're not. It makes no sense. It's all connected to Haitian adoption laws being old and outdated. They were approved in 1974. The laws set the requirements at being 35, married ten years, and having no biological children. Because these laws are so limited, the Haitian officials who process adoptions essentially reinvent the laws to allow children to be adopted. Over time, there have been generally accepted practices which allowed us to be approved the first time around. Now, there is more scrutiny from UNICEF. Now, different officials are in different offices and have changed the practices. Haiti needs new, updated adoption laws. New laws have been in the works for probably 18 months now. Drafts have been written. But nothing has been done to ratify the draft. And some say, the draft should be rewritten to better help children. Regardless of if you approve of the draft, something needs to be done as Haitian adoptions are crawling along. An children's advocacy group is requesting that concerned citizens band together over the next three days to contact a variety of government entities who can help institute change. I would ask for you to consider contacting someone from this site. Not only might it help bring Conleigh home, but it would beneift many other adoptive families be united with their children. And it would help orphanages better serve children. Many orphanages turn away children on a daily basis because they are full, stretched to the limit by lengthy adoptions that keep children in their care longer than if the adoptions were completed in a more timely way. Don't get me wrong: this is not about making speedy adoptions. Adoptions should take some time. Research should be done to insure birth parents really intend to make adoption plans for their children. But two or three years is too long for children to wait.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More birthday photos

Blowing out the candles with a little help from some spit

Unwrapping a new loader from Aunt Sheree and Uncle Tim

Uncle Jared brought a treasure trove of outdoor toys

Jared's gifts included included balloons and a pump

Uncle Jared should be a Project Runway Designer...Brenna models his latest creation

Derek goes on the warpath with his balloon weapons
We seriously had a great time.
Kenson was thrilled to death to be the center of attention.
He woke up the following two mornings, not even asking to eat,
but instead saying "Play" and making a beeline for the new toys.
He was so overjoyed with all of the new things that were just for him.
I suppose when it's your first experience with such things it is probably quite euphoric.
Thanks to my cousin, Alissa, for the great photos!
We took our own, but yours are better!
Must be that fancy smancy camera!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh How We've Grown!

Kenson went in for his 3 year old check up today. He is now 42 inches tall and 36 pounds. That means he has grown 6 inches in 6 months and gained 3 pounds. The height things is just ridiculous. I knew he had grown a lot but that's just nuts. At any rate, he's tall and lean, lots of muscle and hardly any fat.

In other developmental news, Kenson's new favorite saying is "Don't do that!" You can imagine how handy that saying is to have in your 3 year old repertoire.

Friday, August 7, 2009

3 Years Ago Today

3 years ago today...
We celebrated 7 years of marriage.

3 years ago today...
We spent our first full day back in the States after returning from a short term mission trip to Peru, doing sport centered street evangelism.

3 years ago today...
A missionary was speaking at our church about their ministry in Haiti.

3 years ago today...
We started praying about serving in Haiti on a mission trip.

3 years ago today minus one day...
Our little boy was born.

Believing in God ordained coincidences....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Choo Choo Trains and Candles

Happy Third Birthday, Kenson!

More Choo Choo Trains and Candles

How sweet to finally celebrate a birthday all together, as a family.

We started out by celebrating early with some Whoopie Pies and candles, all at Great Grandma Larsen's house.

Today is the actual event with a party planned at Grandma's and Grandpa's. Grandma 2, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all on the way. The choo choo train cake has been prayed over multiple times. (Not by me but by Kenson as part of his mealtime thanks.) It's now complete with an engine, log car, coal car, and car transporter. (Uncle Daniel, thanks for the cars!) At any rate, let this shindig commence!

Free Fun at Trago Park

When D and I were staying at a hotel in Lincoln for the FCA Marriage Enrichment Weekend, I read through the little magazine that the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce had assembled for hotel room viewing. After reading it, I actually learned something. Lincoln has a free playground/sprayground! A sprayground is a playground full of sprinklers. What fun! And it's free!

We've been meaning to go for a while now but finally got there on Tuesday. What a great park. There is green picnic space on the outside edges, regular playground equipment like a slide and swings, some unusual things like personal sit and spins, and a large sprinkler area with hopping water, disappearing water, and assorted sprayers. Perfect for a hot day and again, totally free.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Have I ever told you that my husband is one giant child? (I do mean that in a good way.) Last Sunday, he went over to another coach's house to watch a soccer game with a bunch of the soccer boys. He called me after, saying he was going to stay in and play soccer with the boys for a while. When he got home, he was sporting a swollen and bruised right hand. One of the boys hip checked him into a fence, twisting his fingers backwards and causing him to land on his hand when he fell. After a couple of days of it not improving, he went to the doctor and learned he had broken a bone in the top of his hand. So my right handed husband is now wearing a cast on his right hand and is hoping it will be off soon so that he doesn't have too many days of teaching in a cast.

Our town was having their annual summer festival this weekend so we went to a parade on Sunday where one of the floats was handing out koozies. Kenson pulled it out when we got back home and somehow figured out how to make it look like a cast. (I'm sure I'm biased but I thought it was pretty clever.) So here's my two boys, both of whom have probably met their insurance deductibles for the year, one because of parasites and another because of broken bones.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

God and Me-Prayer

As I shared a bit yesterday, I have been struggling with Conleigh's adoption. We have been stuck in one place for over 10 months and I am fearful it will soon turn into over a year. I've also been missing my mother-in-law as of late. I think that's because Kenson has just turned into such a fun little guy and there are many times where I think she would get such a kick out of him. It's just sad to know she's missing those joys.

Anyway, those hurts in my heart have left me wrestling a bit with God. Some times when people hear those words they think of a knock down drag out fight, one where someone rages against the Almighty, shaking an angry fist toward the heavens while curses fly. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that because I believe our honest emotions are very honoring to God. But that's not where I am.

I've been wrestling alright but more in a way that's reminiscent of the all night event that featured the Old Testament Jacob and God. In that passage, it talks about how Jacob had no choice but to wrestle the angel of God because God would not let go of Jacob. That's kind of how I feel. Not like I'm doubting or in danger of losing faith. Not like I'm pushing God away or whacking God in the knees in some desperate attempt to be rid of Him. No, it's more like God has seen my hurt and questions and has latched on to me in some holy way, tripping me up, pinning me down, and making me seek the truth about Him.

So that's where I am. A truth seeking mode. I need to get to the root of what prayer is all about and what God feels about unanswered prayer. So for the last few weeks I've been doing a concordance based study, looking up references to prayer. I've been exploring the chapter that each reference has been buried in. I've been doing a lot of unattractive, kind of homely looking praying and writing in my journal. I usually pray very systematic prayers that follow the Lord's Prayer or a fairly set pattern or praise and requests but lately my heart and mind haven't been able to pray like that. What's surfaced has been raggedy and roughly hewn, demanding and full of discontent. I haven't liked my prayers or words. In fact, if someone tore out a page and just read it, I'm not even sure if he could tell they were prayers. But to me, that's what they are. The proof of my wrestling. The proof of my relationship with my God. The proof that my God will take any kind of communication that connects me to Him.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I don't write very much about Conleigh because there's really not much to write. And right now, what there is to tell is just depressing and frustrating. We are still in IBE*R, the same office we have been in since September 08. A new director took over the office last year and has implemented some changes in how files will be dealt with. She is apparently not signing out files for people who are under 35 and have no biological children unless they have proof of infertility. She requested documentation of our infertility a few months back to which our processor clarified that we are not infertile, just pursuing adoption. That did not work so our processor decided to try to use our previous Haitian adoption as leverage in gaining our files release. That has not worked either and IBE*R is continuing to press for proof of infertility. I feel like we're caught in some awful game of Telephone, where people are continually repeating the same things over and over and no progress is being made. 10 months in one office is crazy. While I didn't expect this adoption to be painfree, I certainly didn't think we would have trouble in this office. For pity sake, this office previously approved us for adoption and has allowed us to take a child out of their country and into our home. It is illogical and unreasonable to not approve us now. But my thoughts on logic and reason have nothing to do with how government officials choose to process adoptions.

It has also been hard for me because with Kenson coming home, at times, it has felt like there is a big disconnect between us and Conleigh's adoption. We've been focused on other things, which truth be told, was part of our plan. "Let's alleviate the wait by overlapping it with Kenson's transition time," we thought. We also only get pictures occasionally so I think that makes the wait different as well. We haven't had any new pictures of Conleigh since May and I'm feeling due for something new.

And I've also felt like there has been a big disconnect between us and our support system. With Kenson's adoption, people were constantly asking about it, praying over it, investing in it. With Conleigh, not so much. I had someone at church say to me something along the lines of "We need to do better because now that Kenson is home, it's as if we've forgotten you still have a child waiting." Our small group, which really upholds us, has been out of reach as we've been off for the summer and then were not able to attend in the springtime because Kenson had just come home.

I guess I've just felt isolated in Conleigh's process. D and I don't talk about it as much as we did Kenson's, mostly because Kenson is home and life is busy. But lately, all of this has been catching up to me. I've been struggling with the lack of progress and feeling like I'm treading water in the ocean, all alone. I know I'm not, there are plenty of other families wishing their kiddos were home. And there are plenty of friends and family around me that are alongside of us. I think it's just hard to share when all you ever have to share is negative or a lack of progress. Hoping to reverse that trend soon...