Friday, June 24, 2011

Who are the poor?

Really enjoyed reading this post  on who are the poor.  Basic jist-we are called to the poor, the least of these, but who exactly is that?  The poor in Haiti look dramatically different than the poor in America; does this mean one is more important?  Should we make a distinction when we consider how to invest our time, talent, and treasures?  And is there a need to serve them differently?  How do we recognize the poor in America?  Are they really poor?  I also liked what was said about Christians making a distinction between the poor and the lost.  We should frame our worldview from an eternal perspective, one that treats each person as a soul that needs to find a resting place for eternity.  But not all lost are poor and not all poor are lost.  So how does this influence us?   Do we have a tendency to lump them together and assume that if we work with the poor, we are working with the lost?  Or that because we have a friend who is lost that we have now served the poor?  Just loved the thoughts that the post encouraged especially when I consider the community I grew up in, the community where I live now, and my job as a teacher in that community.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What to do when you are the ethics whistleblower (or when you're sitting on the sideline while others blow the whistle)

Yesterday, I shared a link on the ethics of adoption, specifically in Haiti.  In that link, Tara mentions the difficulty that arises when a family feels that an orphanage director or an organization is not being ethical.  To blow the whistle means to stick out your neck and risk jepordizing your adoption.  Often adoption leaves people feeling like the orphanage staff/administration holds all the cards and that if you as a parent question them or speak negatively of them, then they will shut down your adoption.  When you as a family do start voicing your concerns, you indirectly influence what happens with tens maybe hundreds of other families and their adoptions.  Obviously, those other families will have some hard thinking of their own to do and for all families, it is a scary time when people become concerned that their children will end up being stuck in an orphanage forever and/or their adoption monies will be lost.  It is an emotionally charged thing, and it can be very hard to think objectively when you are in the middle of a situation where a family/families are raising concerns about things like orphanage care, financial mismanagement, or the actual adoptability of the children in the orphanages.  Speaking from my own experience with such a time, I walked away from that time feeling many things specifically in regards to how to manage concerns regarding the ethics of an orphanage.

1.  I am not on a side so don't assume that if I don't automatically agree with you that I am against you.  Don't assume that I want you to be quiet and don't assume that I haven't done a lot of critical thinking about the issue at hand.  And don't assume that I believe everything is hunky doory.

2.  There is an appropriate way to handle concerns.  I know there is not a manual for airing concerns in relation to adoption concerns.  That said, in the situation we were involved with, I had concerns about how the issues raised were addressed.  A petition with concerns from a list of parents was presented to the board of the group we were working with.  Not all families who worked with the group were advised of the petition nor were all families given the opportunity to discuss it or even read it before it was presented to the board.  The very day it was presented to the board, this petition was posted on line in a very public forum, in a place where the board would probably be unable to rebutt it due to the membership requirements of said forum.  Even if the board had been able to join this forum, posting it before the board even had a chance to respond left a bad taste in my mouth.  Also, the petition had a variety of concerns some of which were major items, some of which were comparatively insignificant.  In short, in my opinion, a petition like that should stick to the major items and leave those things that are more trivial for another time.  The online barrrage of negativity, often opinion based concerns came across as one sided and full of anger.  While I am not denying that people may have had a reason to be angry, I don't think the Internet is the right forum for that.  I am a fact based person.  I want there to be facts not so and so told me that this happened to so and so or after connecting a bunch of dots, this is what I think happened.  (And if you signed the position or were angry about all that went on, don't think I am angry with you.  I'm not.  I'm just saying that it was very hard for me to hear the concerns due to the way the petition was handled.)

3.  When there is a crisis related to an orphanage's integrity, it can be very easy for people to feel betrayed by the director/staff.  Those feelings of betrayal bring out very big feelings and consequently, it can be very easy for those affected by that to have the equivalent of emotional vomit.  I know that might be a bit harsh.  I'm not saying it because I am trying to be mean.  I'm just saying that women especially have a tendency to verbally process what is happening to them and that this issue, especially when it involves feelings of betrayal by a friend or trusted person, can lead to some major mouth before brain disease.  While I don't think people should be shushed or told to not rock the boat, I do think people who need to verbalize what is going on need to do so in appropriate ways that does it's best to refrain from gossip, slander, and outright meanness and instead sticks to the facts.  Saying the group lied to you is not a fact.  Explaining what was said to you is.  Saying a group abused your child is not a fact.  Explaining exactly what your child said happened is.  I know that sounds like I'm splitting hairs.  But the reality in those situations and in many others, there can be subtle differences in what is said that make a huge difference.  For example, early on in Kenson's adoption, the orphanage director at the time told us he had a heart defect and thought he would qualify for a medical visa.  She told us this for several months.  Then, out of the blue, she said that the pediatrician had visited and no longer thought he would qualify.  We were crushed because we had thought that he would be getting to come to our house much earlier due to this and because she just quickly shared the news as if it would have no consequence to us.  It would have been very tempting to say "she lied to us and said Kenson would get a medical visa."  The reality is she probably used poor judgement in saying anything to us but I have no proof that she lied.  There was no tangible benefit to her telling us that information and then changing plans.  We paid no extra money and the orphanage gained nothing.  By explaining the situation rather than saying it was a lie, the situation appears in a different light.

4.  At the time all the hoopla was going on with the group we were working with, my mother in law had just be diagnosed with a terminal illness.  I did not have the mental or emotional strength to get into the middle of what was going on.  After talking with my parents, D and I decided the best course of action was to take a "wait and see" attitude.  Truth always has a way of being found out, one way or another.  To be honest, this worked best for us.  We did not personally have evidence of anything and the information we were receiving from the concerned parties was so laced with opinion and circumstantial type items, that it was very hard for us to sort out exactly what was true and what was not.  Obviously, if we had personal knowledge, information that we directly witnessed, we might have acted differently.

5.  Truth can be a relative thing, especially when you are talking about a country thousands of miles away.  Whenever there are discrepencies that I personally have not witnessed, I usually try not to believe 100% of what anyone else says.  Instead, I tend to believe that the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.  (It's like witnessing a car accident.  Almost every person has a bit different take on exactly what happened.  No one is necessarily lying; it's that everyone is viewing it from a different perspective.)  When you talk about situations between orphanages and adoptive parents, every person brings different experiences and expectations to the table.  When something goes awry, those experiences and expectations impact that person's interpretation of what is going on.  Realizing that probably no "side" is giving a 100% accurate picture of what is actually going on is important.  Were there things that were not okay?   Yes.  Where there things that perhaps got blown out of proportion because it was an emotionally charged situation?  Yes.  Do I think they have taken some steps towards remedying some of the issues?  Yes.  (Including a change in the leadership, using an agency as a middle man between adoptive parents and the orphanage/director, and having an American missionary working in Haiti instead of the orphanage being run completely by Haitian staff.)  Do I think they have completely solved every problem they have had?  Probably not.

I know all of that probably makes it seem like I probably sided with the group in question.  If so refer to item number one, "I'm not on a side."  I just know in our situation, the way things were conducted made it very hard for us to hear the group putting forth the concerns.  So maybe what I'm mostly saying is that if you have concerns, you can go a long way towards making headway by doing your best to be above reproach and to act in a professional manner.  By all means rock the boat.  But think carefully about how you want to rock it.  A tsunami rocks a boat but so does a simple push.  And that if you are in the middle of something but are not sure where to place your allegiance, that maybe you don't have to pick a side but that instead you can advocate for reform from a position of neutrality.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More orphanages? More adoptions? More support for families in crisis?

Tara shared a thought provoking post, one that anyone involved in orphan care or adoption really ought to read.  I think it is designed to leave you with more questions than answers and that's okay.   Adoptions and ethics are a hard topic and there are no pat answers.  There are lots of simple truths like "kids need to have food" but not lots of simple answers.  Reading Tara's post, there were many things I wanted to say.  And like Tara, I kind of felt like if I wrote it down, it would head down some weird, windy twisty turny road of random thoughts.  That said, I walked away with these thoughts.

Do places like Haiti really need more orphanages?  That's actually one I feel feel pretty confident about.  Haiti does not necessarily need more orphanages.  (I am not saying that no one should ever start a new orphanage there, just that to say it is flawed to think that if Haiti could build enough orphanages, the orphan problem would be solved.  It is equally as flawed to think that if we could just find all of those children families, it would solve the orphan crisis.)  There are hundreds maybe even over a thousand orphanages in Haiti.  What Haiti needs is a system that encourage families to stay together and embraces orphanage care only as a last resort, a system that does not promote dependency on orphanages for food, education, or child care.  (Right now, many orphanages operate feeding and schooling programs.  While those things are good, there is an aspect of that which promotes dependency on orphanages and encourages parents to place their children simply so the parent can ensure their children have food and an education.)  Obviously, just stopping those types of programs would be wrong.  It would leave a hole in the services that many families desperately need.  But there is a need for orphanages, feeding programs, and schools to set visions that decrease dependence and promote independence.

Haiti also needs a government system in place that can adequately serve families.  Right now, one of the major issues Haiti faces in terms of orphan care is that there is an inefficient child welfare system that has a hard time monitoring cases of child abuse and is not able to adequately monitor orphanage care.  Many orphanages in Haiti, while well meaning, are literally hellholes where kids are lucky to get one meal a day, where kids sleep on the floor without mattresses, and where kids have literally only the raggedy clothes on their backs.  And of course, there are plenty of places where they are in it for the money, hoping to make a buck or two from any place they can while claiming to be caring for children.

And that doesn't even begin to cover the abuse that occurs within orphanages.  I am not defending any orphanage but even within the best orphanages, I would say the chances of abuse are high.  You are taking kids from a variety of backgrounds and placing them into a chaotic situation.  (Even the best orphanages are chaotic in a sense.  There is not the one on one connections made like within a family and anytime you have more than a handful of kids in one place, you are creating chaos.)  Chaotic situations lend themselves to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.  Add in the dimension that the kids are all coming from somewhere and even if every staff member is amazing and does not abuse, there is a chance that a child who was abused before he/she entered orphanage care will become an abuser.  To be honest, as a public school teacher, I am amazed that our fairly structured American school systems do not have more instances of inappropriate sexual abuse perpetrated from child to child.  The bathrooms alone provide multiple opportunities each day for a previously abused child to have inappropriate contact with someone.  And I can personally share how I have had a child display inappropriate sexual behavior to an entrie class of children right in front of my eyes.  That's in a public school system with well trained adult and with kids who go home at night.  When you figure that most of the staff in an orphanage have no formal training and have to monitor kids 24/7 including night time hours, it can be very difficult to keep abuse from happening.  (I am not saying that this excuses orphanages; orphanages who know abuse is going on have an obligation to stop it.  I'm just saying that even the most vigilant of place will probably deal with some type of abuse.)  Right now, I'm guessing the government agency that oversees all of this would be hardpressed to explain how they are educating orphanages as to how to prevent abuse and I'm fairly certain that very little is done to deal with orphanage staff who are abusive.  (It would also be interesting to know what standards this agency has in place to evaluate orphanage care and to help train and educate orphanages on the best ways of providing childcare while promoting the insolvency of families.)

Within Haiti, an effective child welfare system would also need to deal head on with the cultural institution of resteveks, in which a family allows their child to "stay with" another family.  However, most of these situations are nothing more than child slavery.  (One can see how trying to encourage in country foster care/adoption could be a huge problem when this is such a widely accepted practice.)

And the Haitian government would also need to find an effective system for eliminating corruption among its officials who govern adoption as well as within the processors/lawyers/orphanage staff who work on adoption.  Unfortunately, adoption means lots of money and when you infuse mass amounts of money into a country like Haiti, corruption and greed will be very hard to root out.  I don't know that I have a lot of good answers on how to ensure ethical and fair adoptions.  I also wonder how those same standards apply to domestic adoptions which are literally big business in a lot of ways.  (Think $20 to $30 thousand dollars for one adoption.  I've never done a domestic adoption and do not believe they should be free, but I have real concerns about where all of the money goes.)  And that doesn't even take into account our foster care system which we all know is barely functioning.    The real question is how do you put such systems into effect in Haiti when our first world country has difficulty.  I know some would like to see a central agency begin processing the applications for families who want to adopt and then assigning those files to specific, approved orphanages.  In theory, it sounds great.  In practice, there are several countries who already follow this practice and this seems to have significantly slowed down the process to adopt.  I don't know what the solution is.

And to be honest, I don't have a lot of good ideas for eliminating the basest of corruption that is just money centered.  There is also corruption that exists that is kind of of a purer type, the kind that really believes it is doing the right thing, even if it means breaking a few rules.  That's the part that is the hardest for me to sort out, especially in a country like Haiti where rules often seem very fluid.  What do you do with a parent who agrees to place their child for adoption, then gets mad at someone and refuses to attend the final interview that will release their child to a new life?  What do you do with the child who desperately needs medical care and might qualify for a medical visa?  Should you place them in potential adoptive placement knowing that they are technically required to come back to their home country to finish an adoption but hope they will be allowed to stay with their host family?  I am not saying I have the answers to those questions; I really don't.  I've never been in that situation and have never had to decide what to do.  I just know it's not always black and white.  Real Hope for Haiti just posted a variety of situations that they have been faced with in the last few days.  One can easily see how it could be tempting to just say "well place those kids for adoption" and how easily it could be to doubt that choice or vice versa to just say "give those families some money" and then doubt that choice.  Really what is probably most necessary is for people who are in those positions where they have to make ethical decisions to constantly be evaluating their positions, for those individuals to continue to think critically about how they are involved in the ethics of adoption/orphan care.

**The other day, after writing this, I sat down with another adoptive mom, one who adopted domestically, and our conversation included some of this.  One of the things I think we both felt was that what makes adoption so messy is that it is situational.  What is best for one family/birth mom/child is not always what is best for the other.  Because of that, it means this isn't always a "right" way to do things.  (I know Tara is saying that we need to be evaluating what are basic "right" ways of operating.  I'm not saying that isn't an important conversation.  Just that it could be entirely possible to embrace groups that work in ways that seem to operate in opposite ways.  We personally support Real Hope for Haiti which leans much more towards a family preservation philosophy.  Yet we also support an orphanage that does not allow families to leave their children in their care unless the family agrees to place for adoption.  (Generally speaking...they do make exceptions but as a general practice, they have decided that they cannot be a place that allows parents to drop off and pick up children at their convenience.)  So perhaps that's the biggest take away.  To evaluate but to also to consider how there isn't always one right answer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Plan B dad still has cancer.  The doctor originally thought they removed most/all of it when they took out the mass.  They had said there might be some in the lining of the colon.  (Check for yes.)  And apparently there is also some in the lymph nodes.  So it looks like after his digestive tract heals up, he will have to do some form chemo/radiation.  At least I am kind of feeling like my joy was not situational.  (Per the previous post.)  I'm of course sad and disappointed about those results but I have slid on into the pity party of "why me?"  Well, maybe I visited there but it was just a brief moment.  As with anything, I'm sure I'll return.  Hopefully, not for a while.

For your inner super hero

Kenson, after tying a blanket around his neck to be a super hero:  "What dis called?"

Me:  "A cape."

"Why he need a cape?"

"So he can fly."

"But I can't fly with my cape."

"I know.  It's just pretend.  It's fun to imagine in your head that you can fly."

"Oh.  How do you do that."

"Well it's up to you to decide.  Maybe spin around or go outside on the swing and pretend you're flying."


A few minute later, "Okay I spinned around and I'm still not flying.  Why won't it work?"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Really, God?

From two Thursdays ago...
For the first time in my life (at least that I can really remember), I have started to struggle with feeling like God is giving me the short end of the stick.  In general, I am a pretty Pollannaish person.  When it comes to big picture thinking, I can look past heartache and see how whatever is happening is not unique to me, that everyone has crappy stuff happen in life and that it is not about God singling me out just for kicks.

To be quite honest, the last five years of my life contain more drama than I would really like .  Two international adoptions, one major natural disaster, the terminal illness of my dear mother in law, the sudden death of my husband's grandfather, and the somewhat expected death of my grandmother.  More recently, as my husband's grandmother's health declined, we've stepped into a more involved role in her life and ultimately have spent the last month walking beside her as she passed away.  My husband's dad ended up in the hospital while all of this was going on with blood clots and while okay now, it certainly added to the stress at the time.  All of those things were done with my kids in absentia as D and I spent a lot of time about 2 1/2 hours away from our home.  (Insert a big sigh from me for added stress.) 

And in all of that, I've really managed to not get to crabby at God about it.  I hated my mother in law's death and kind of had a bit of a pow wow with God about it several months after her passing, but during the thick of it, I was too consumed by the moment to really think too much.  And afterwards, His answer to me about it was decisively quick, leaving me no room for conversation.  And with Conleigh's adoption, being stuck in one office for over 15 months was maddening.  So maddening that I had a bit of a prayer crisis about it mostly because praying seemed like a mute point.  But God of course used that to teach me how prayer is more about the process than the end result.  And I seemed to understand how the situation was more about an inefficient government than about a God who was out to get me.

This week though my dad had a cancerous mass removed from his colon.  And for some reason, the question of "really, God?" came almost immediately.  "Isn't it enough that we've been dealing with major sickness for the last month?"  "Isn't enough that my mother in law died at a young age from cancer?"  I'm not sure why, perhaps just emotional fatigue, perhaps just my human heart is finally letting it's guard down a bit.  I got lost in it all, caught up with that feeling of why is God choosing to do this to me.  And that is where I think most people who doubt God's goodness get stuck.  It's not that asking that question is wrong.  It's that people stop in to visit God with that question and never leave.  They cannot get past that question.  It festers and burns.  They pick at it like a bad scab but never let it heal.  And the gaping hole that was left in their lives by some unforseen tragedy continues to gape and ooze and bleed.  And as I said before, I don't think I've ever really gone down that road.  Until this week.  I'm not sure where I am with all of that.  I don't doubt God's goodness for a moment.  And I don't believe that the things that happen in this life that are painful are born of God.  Instead I believe they are a result of sinful people who mess things up with their choices or the work of a crafty devil who triest to deceive us into hating God.  But I am a bit weary of it all and am finding myself wishing that God's Sovereign hand would intervene a bit.  And I think I'm a bit ticked that it hasn't.

From today...
My "really, God?" moment seems to have passed.  Probably more related to the fact that the doctors think they have removed all the cancer than my heart really processing it.  I dislike that I am probably connecting comfort with the care of God because I don't believe that God shows His love for us by making us comfortable.  And I dislike that I am letting my joy be a bit situational because I believe that joy is not about our circumstances.  But I am thankful to not be sitting under a dark cloud of emotion.  And I am thankful that the drama seems to have subsided although my dad still has a ways to go before he feels back to normal and before my mom will be able to get back to her normal routine.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Love me some adoption based regression!

Okay, maybe that's a bit of a question mark but at least that's what it feels like. 

I have one who transitioned home very seamlessly.  Aside from a few major melt downs ie 45-60 minute tantrums, this child just adjusted to a completely new life with few glitches.  However, for some reason, within the last 3 or 4 months, it seems like we are getting to experience some of the emotion that perhaps that child didn't process the first time around.  Lengthy tantrums with a fairly heavy dose of anger that includes hitting at grown ups and being defiant. 

I know, I know, sounds like regular toddlerish stuff.  But it is all very out of character for this child.  It just feels like there is an anger in there that is more than just "I'm mad because I didn't get my way." 

Tonight's bedtime brought on one of those moments.  While reading Curious George Goes to the Hospital for the billionth time, one child kept moving all over the bed and not watching the story.  When I asked that child to stop and not spin in a circle, the other child immediately spun in a circle right next to me.  (Not a huge deal but lately both of my kids have struggled with obeying the first time.  Heck, I'd even go with obeying the second or third time but right now it seems like we are lucky if there is a response at all.)  That said, I sent the second spinner to his/her room.  Bring on the tears and yelling and pouting and flailing. 

I finished the story with the other child, sang with the other child, and then joined child two who had stopped for a few moments but then started right back up.  The child was still angry so I offered up some suggestions on how to deal with the anger appropriately like using a pillow to throw/hit or talking to God about it.   I let this child sort that part out and when I came back a few minutes later, the child was having a pillow fight with the floor.  (At least that was a good choice.) 

The child said he/she was ready to talk tso into bed for some cudddling and talking about 1. the anger and 2. the disobedience that occurred with the book.  As we started with the anger part, I covered all my adoption bases and headed down the "sometimes I wonder if when you are mad at this mama, your anger gets all mixed up and that sometimes you feel angry at your Haiti Mama too." 


More adoption talk. 

"And I wonder if sometimes you are mad because it feels like your Haiti Mama left you at the orphanage." 

More sobs. 

"And sometimes I wonder if you are mad because your Haiti Mama isn't here." 

More sobs. 

"And sometimes I wonder if when you get angry over other things if that anger you have at your Haiti Mama gets all mixed up inside." 

Intense sobs and big sloppy tears from the mama in the room. 

"You know, I think your Haiti Mama loved you a lot even if it doesn't feel like it." 

Quiet and then, "Why she leave me, if she loved me?" 

And now into the nitty gritty, the hard parts that just sucketh like no other.  "Well, she didn't have very many choices.  One choice was to take you to a place where there was food and where you would be safe.  The other choice was to keep you with her and not have enough food to feed you and then be worried you might get sick or die." 

Given our current family situation with the death of D's grandma, the death part sparked the curiousity. 

"Die?  What you mean?" 

And so we went, down the adoption road, the one that I as a parent tread so lightly on, hoping I guessed right at to how the emotions and experiences of my kids are either tied to the events of today or the shadows of the past.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Braid Locs in Box Braids

A few weeks ago in Walmart, Conleigh saw a girl who was probably ten or so with box braids that kind of stuck up in a funky sort of way.  (Those of you who know box braids know just what I mean.)  She instantly said, "I like that hair!"  I asked her if it looked like Haiti hair since a lot of the time the kids have their hair in some form of box braids there.   She said "yes" but who knows if that's really what she thinks or not?  Anyway, it's now been dubbed Haiti hair so this week I set out to put her braid locs in box braids.  It's all pretty much pre parted due to the way the braid locs are put in.  So it didn't take too terrible long to put them in.  (Probably less than an hour and we've had them in for four days now and should be able to get probably two to three more days before I try a braid out with them.)  Since the box braids are actually braided braids, they have a different look to them than regular box braids.  All sealed off with a lot of white daisy snaps/barrettes which she loves hearing as they click clack when she shakes her head or tips her head backwards.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wisdom from Kenson

"Squirrels can bite.  They can think your hand is a nut!"

While eating corn on the cob, after being told the center part was called the cob..."This is corn.  And it's on a cob!  That's why they call it corn on a cob!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Matching Mondays

Jana and Daniel-2 and 3 year old siblings in Eastern Europe, one is HIV positive, one is not

14 month old Daniel-in Haiti, we seriously considered looking at accepting a referral for him but a variety of factors related to finances and the Haitian rules regarding ages made it seem too risky for us, perhaps another family is a better match, Heather Breems is the contact person

HIV is a disease that most people are uneducated on.  Most people in the U.S. think of Ryan White and an always fatal illness.  They also think of how easily it might be transmitted.  The reality is that information is outdated.  HIV is now a chronic, but manageable illness akin to (or according to some doctors even more manageable than) diabetes.  There has only been one case of HIV being transmitted among family members via normal household type activities in the years since they've started tracking that data.  Visit Project Hopeful  or more info.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Loving the vintage toys!

With the passing of D's grandma comes the inevitable cleaning out of her house.  D and his brother are the only remaining family members and since his brother was back from Boise, we spent the two or three days before her funeral going through the house.  Aside from the $2, 000 plus we found in assorted places around the house ie both bathrooms and the kitchen, all in loose change, we scored a couple of great vintage finds for the kids.   How fun are these?
Love this little embroidered apron that I'm guessing belonged to D's mom. 
Cute, cute, cute! 
Perfect for playing in the kitchen.

I'm also in love with this handmade doll highchair. 
The back has the initials M.E.C. so it was D's grandma's when she was little, so from the thirties. 
The baby dolls of the house are very appreciative!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Warning for Conleigh's Future Friends

Oh my dear little Conleigh!  She is probably way too much like me.  I suppose that means that it is easy for me to pinpoint her faults because a lot of them are things I see in myself.  I find myself constantly challenged to not describe her with terms that have a slightly negative vibe to them.  Anyway, I digress...
This week perhaps my favorite line from her showcases her personality.  She is stubborn and determined and too smart for her own good.  (See how all of those tend towards the negative?  It can be so hard to see the flip side of those things as tenacious and resilient, witty, quick thinking, and unlikely to be swayed.) 

Anyway, to set the tone, one should probably know that I often tell my kids they can do all sorts of things when they are bigger.  I do so in an attempt to divert a tantrum that is stemming from me telling them no, they can't do something by telling them they can do it when they are 18.  (Or whatever age seems appropriate.) 

So it often goes like this.  "No, you can't eat in the living room.  But you can when you are 18."  (Stole that one from one of my dear friend's mom.  As a teen, I always thought Kate's living room rule was lame; now I see it's value.)

 "No, you can't have ice cream for breakfast.  But you sure can when you are 18." 

"No you can't wear your swimming suit over your sweat pants, with your tutu, cowboy boots, and cowboy hat to Walmart.  But maybe when you're 18." 

Conleigh though determined to beat me at my own game. 

Yesterday, I caught her enjoying a mid afternoon snack right out out of the ever handy Nostril Cafe.  When I told her to stop, she quickly replied, "When I get big, I will eat my boogers!" 

Okay, my dear. 

You win. 

You can certainly pick your nose and eat it at any point you'd like once you get bigger. 

I'll start preparing your future prom date so he will at least be expecting it.

I Need a List-How about one for my books?

I have to say that I have been waiting for "normal" life for the past oh, let's say four months.  Apparently, God had other plans.  Between soccer starting and soccer being in full swing and soccer ending and D's grandma getting sick and passing away, the last 3-4 months have been a dizzying mess.  I am craving a schedule but alas, summer is here so it will be a hodgepodge of one week of this schedule and one one of another.  All in all, I am currently feeling the compulsion to make lists.  Lots of them.  Because I'm pretty sure having lists indicates that I'm still in control of life.  (Yes, that's how I roll=tightly clenching the bits of control between my fingers.)

I could of course make some productive lists like what our weekly schedule is or a to do list but I'll save that for another time.  Instead, I'll share some of the things I've been reading or hope to read soon.

I found an old copy of this at our local thrift store and have been slowly eating away at it.  So very interesting.  Did you know that the all but one of the astronauts on the first Apollo mission were first borns?  Or that oftentimes car salesmen are last borns?  I'm not sure how concrete the science is but the antedotal evidence is just crazy.

This isn't actually the version I'm reading but close enough.  Again, something I've been gnawing away at.  The copy I have is an old copy that once again, came to me via the local thrift store.  I have never read Sherlock Holmes but have been meaning to so when I saw it at the store, it was 50 cents well spent.  I am a mystery fan as well as historical fiction.  And the Victorian period just fascinates me.  So I'm a happy camper with this find.  (And did you know that Sherlock Holmes loved herion?  Or maybe it was cocaine?  It's been a few weeks since I read it but I loved reading that little detail which is one of those things where the author had no idea of how that would appear in the context of the 21st century.)

Hate to say it but again a thrift store book.  (Different thrift store than the previous two though.)  Only picked it up because I know there's a bit of a hullaballoo surrounding Rob Bell's latest book on heaven.  Haven't actually read it but am interested to read his thoughts on how Christians might live in fresh, radical ways.

This was actually what I was supposed to have finished for my Facebook Bible study group.  However, life interupted and I am about 2/3 done.  It's been an okay book.  I love books that challenge you to live your life to it's fullest which i what this book's main objective is.  I think it's been more a subtle reminder than a bold slap in the face.  Perhaps this week I will get back into my quiet time routine.  The last 3 weeks have amounted to about zippo time spent alone with God in any really concentrated way.  Of course I've prayed and listened to Christian radio but I have not gotten around to any serious time with the Lord lately.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

*Today, Kenson and Conleigh invented a new language.  I have no idea what they are calling it but they've been running around all day talking in some form of babbling that sounds a bit like baby talk.  One will talk, the other will answer and you can tell it's an answer via the inflection and non verbals.  Not sure what to think about that one...thoughts of my high school study hall keep running through my mind.  (My cousins and I all spoke "gibberish" and used it to our advantage in a shared study hall.   We also invented the "Morse Code" of knocking on the table.  Poor Mrs. Brass...I'm sure she was glad to see us go!)

*Kenson told me at supper that his tummy was getting very big because he had a baby in there.  Let's hope not!  (Of course, he also wanted to know today how babies get back in their mama's v*gin*'s so...)

*A funeral with two four year olds is interesting.  My favorite questions?  At the funeral home, Kenson wanted to know if Great-Grandma was there and upon hearing yes, he quickly said with eyes wide as could be, "This is heaven?"  And after attending the graveside service, as we were leaving the church Kenson asked where Great-Grandma's head was.  Apparently he was quite concerned that she might be buried without it.