Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Blue House

We arrived back to CO on Monday morning.

We drove for 20 hours. Rick drove the whole way.

The winds were very strong, our truck was very heavy laden, and it snowed for the last several hours of our drive.

At one point, he thought we may need to stop somewhere overnight.

Thankfully, we were able to make it through and get home.

The drive was filled with movie watching, breathing treatments, bathroom breaks, and even some fighting at various points.

As we pulled into the driveway, Laila screamed, "My blue house, my blue house!"

We were all relieved to arrive. Our beds felt so good last night.

Today the kids headed back to school, Rick headed back to work, and I am overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.

I told Rick that today is like a big "slap in the face" of reality. There is no easing back in.

I have to remind myself that new mantra I am proclaiming, "What HAS to be done today?"

So far, this is what I have accomplished:
-got the 3 big kids to school(Sam is staying home sick).
-returned an item to Target.
-went to the bank.
-shopped at Wal-mart(after that one, I was ready to come home and go to bed!).
-fed the 3 little ones lunch.
-cleaned my kitchen.
-went through the mail from while we were gone.
-2 loads of laundry.

I HAVE to focus on what I have done, not what still needs to be done. That has to be how I live my life.

I am processing a lot in my heart from our trip. I can't fully articulate it.

God did more in me than I think I realized at the time.

Hopefully, I will be able to share soon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

He's Home

Isaiah was released from the hospital this morning.

Thanksgiving was so much quieter yesterday at my parents' house without him. That was sad.

My side of the family didn't get to enjoy him and his passionate personality.

We were able to celebrate today as a family together with the Clapp relatives.

I am so glad we ALL got to be a part of that.

The next few days will be pretty intense. He has 'round the clock treatments and medicines to take in order to keep him from going back into the hospital again.

We bought a converter tonight for the nebulizer so we can give him his breathing treatments while we travel back to CO on Sunday/Monday.

That should be fun. : )

I can honestly say I have never spent Thanksgiving in a hospital before, and I have never done breathing treatments in a vehicle before.

We're all about firsts around here. Hopefully, these things will not become a part of our yearly traditions list that I have so lovingly created.

Pics of our week are coming. I have just decided they will be compiled in one or two big posts.

The big kids are having a sleepover with cousins at their Grandma's(Rick's mom) house tonight.
She has 15 grandchildren. 11 of them are spending the night. Hopefully, everyone will still be alive by morning, including Grandma.

I asked her to take pics for me. Those should be exciting.

We are exhausted!! Sleep time!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Update on Little Man

Last night was a long, hard night. Isaiah's breathing improved so much from when he took him in, but the night was filled with activity. There were breathing treatments and regular temperature checks from the nurse. He had to go back on oxygen in the middle of the night. At 12:30, we had to change all the sheets on his bed after an accident. His pulse/ox monitor kept coming off of his finger which caused alarms to go off all night long. I laid in the bed with him all night.

At about 4:30 in the morning, I gave up the fight for me to sleep. I actually opened my eyes to see Isaiah looking right at me. I said, "What are you thinking about?" His answer, "I'm thinking about how special you are." Well if that doesn't melt your heart, I don't know what does. I held him for a while and then we decided to turn on the lights and look for something to watch on TV.
Happy Thanksgiving
See the turkey Webkinz that Grammy brought him.
The doctor arrived around 9:45 AM. At first it seemed as though we were going to be released. Then, she listened to his chest. He was still wheezing badly. She just didn't feel that it was wise to release him in that condition. So, we get to spend another night in the hospital!! Good times!!
I just had to get a picture in his cute little gown
Aunt Kimberly came to visit
Papa came to visit
Brothers and sisters came to visit
Rick let me come home about 10:30 to get a shower and eat lunch with my family. He stayed with Isaiah.
Rick and Isaiah's Thanksgiving Meal
Isaiah was thrilled to have chicken nuggets and french fries for his meal!!
I relieved Rick of his duties at 2:30 so he could come to the house to watch the Cowboys game and get some yummy Thanksgiving food. Isaiah and I took a short nap together. I held him and evidently, his pullup leaked. I woke up soaking wet in my jeans. YUCK! I had to wait another 3 hours before I could leave and change. That was gross!
While Rick was gone, Uncle Rob and Aunt Tonia visited
Elaine and her daddy visited this evening.
Isaiah has definitely perked up. He was his usual comedic self during their visit.
Rick returned to stay with Isaiah overnight tonight. I so need sleep. I am exhausted. I hope he gets released tomorrow. We are supposed to celebrate Thanksgiving with Rick's family tomorrow afternoon

It was not the Thanksgiving I expected. Nonetheless, I am ever so thankful for all the blessings in my life. Even in the midst of this hospital craziness, I can see so much to be thankful for.

I will share pics from our Thanksgiving meal at my parents' house soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

Isaiah has been battling breathing issues since we arrived in KY. We did breathing treatments for a few days, and he seemed to be better. It felt like we had avoided a hospital visit. This morning was a different story. He woke up coughing and wheezing heavily. We did a breathing treatment with no results. We headed to Urgent Care. His pulse ox was 87-89(should be in the 90s). His heart rate was extremely high, fluctuating between 150-190. His respirations were also very high ranging from 50-70. They immediately sent me to the ER.

They got us right in and started working feverishly on him. It was pretty scary. Finally they got him stable. They drew blood, gave him steroids, breathing treatments, put him on oxygen, and kept him on monitors.
He was not happy about being at the hospital
While he was in the ER, Cody, Lauren, Abby, and Sam came to see him. It was emotional for them to see him in the hospital. It warmed my heart to see them care so much for their little brother.
His breathing mask was a chicken!!
That was so appropriate since chickens are his favorite.
After about 5 hours, they got us to a room. All of the nurses on the peds floor immediately fell in love with him. He won over every one of their hearts. He has been treated like a king. They got him snacks, juice, stickers galore, and a little stuffed bear that he named, "George."
When he discovered that we were not going home, he was pretty upset. So, I told him that we get to have a sleepover. Rick rented Toy Story 3 for us and brought us some popcorn. Instant movie night!!
When they brought us his dinner, it had all of his favorites: PB & J, mac n' cheese, french fries, banana, and ice cream. He ate very little of it, but it made him feel special to have his favorites available.

We had a moment today that broke my heart. As we were heading to urgent care, he said to me, "Mom, are you going to leave me there?" I said, "No, sweetie, I will not leave you." It made me feel so sad to think that he even had to worry about that. We know that he had breathing issues when he was in Africa. We also know that many children are at the hospital by themselves there. He may have had an instance where he experienced that and is remembering it. Either way, I am thankful that he is with us now, and I get the privilege of staying with him in the hospital.
I got in his bed with him.
He cuddled up to me and said, "Mom, I love you."
He is very affectionate, but says the "I love you" words very sparingly.
They mean so much to me when he does say them, because I know that he means it.
He had lots of visitors:
Uncle Brian and Aunt Ashley
Of course Daddy was here lots
Grammy came and brought him a Webkinz Turkey and balloon.
When he saw it, he said, "I love it so much!!"
Tonight, I get to sleep with him in his hospital bed. We will see how that goes. I am a light sleeper. I am expecting the 'round the clock noises and interruptions to complicate things. Hopefully a nap on Thanksgiving day will be an option.

Being in the hospital in KY is inconvenient, but it is nice to have our family around. It is good to have them visit and also have them to help with the other kids. I believe this will be a solidifying experience for him as he experiences the love and care of his extended family. That was one of my prayers for him as we came on this trip.

We are hopeful that we will go home tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Either way, I feel very relieved that we are here, and he is getting the care that he needs. I told him tonight that lots of people are praying for him. He said, "Really?" He gets it, and every experience like this that he has is part of the healing process for him as he works through the pain that he has experienced in his life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

KY for Thanksgiving

We arrived in my hometown of Glasgow, KY in record time for our family of 8.

It only took us 18 1/2 straight hours. Rick drove the whole way.

The drive was pretty normal, but eventful all at the same time.

The hardest part was getting out of town.

We grabbed some food to go at Chick-fil-a before we left. Isaiah felt the need to tell the woman walking in front of us to the bathroom that she has a big booty. Truly a proud moment for me(sarcasm).

Then, a quick stop at Wal-mart for some Redbox movies and a few last minute items.

We started heading out of town at 1:00 PM Mountain Time.

The trip started with much drama in our truck. Problems with our DVD player caused frustrations to run high. Finally, it was resolved.

There was some usual sibling fighting throughout the drive. I always say that we have more drama than a Broadway musical!!

We arrived at 8:30 AM Central time.

Rick headed straight to bed.

The kids were very excited to find bathrobes and Zhu Zhu Pets awaiting each of them on their beds at Grammy's house.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing. We visited Grandma in the evening.

Isaiah is having breathing issues. Thankfully, I brought his nebulizer. Hopefully it won't last long. I hate going to the doctor when we are out-of-town.

We are looking forward to the slow pace that life is here. We are looking forward to visiting with family and friends.

Our lives over the last 2 months have a been quite a whirlwind. This really is just what we need in our lives right now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lower Expectations

I used to really try to make my house spotless when we left for trips.

It is so nice to come home to a clean house after being away.

Not so much anymore.

We are leaving tomorrow for KY.

At this point, my goal is to get out of here with what we need and without any casualties from the process of packing.

There is really no point in coming home to a clean house anyway.

The minute we unload the truck upon our return, it is a total disaster.

I'm growing.

I am lowering my expectations.

I am breathing deeply right now.

I am hungry because there is no food left in this house!!

Tomorrow, we leave. We get a break from our everyday routines.

Life will still be chaotic. It will just be chaotic with different scenery and family around us.

I'll take that for a few days.


I have to say that my conversation with Isaiah yesterday really shook me to the core.

I have felt so sad and unsettled.

I have been parenting for over 12 years, but this whole adoption thing and the issues that accompany it are a whole new ballgame for me.

As an adoptive parent, there are underlying emotions to consider in parenting.

I tend to question myself a lot. I tend to wonder if certain behaviors are more than they appear.

Is he acting this way because he is an active, stubborn, passionate 3-year old, or does it have some connection to the fact that he is adopted, and he is expressing that pain right now?

I will never regret our decision, but at times, I hurt so deeply for the pain that my children will have to experience as the result of being adopted.

It is another example of a fallen world. A world where no child should have to be without parents.

In a perfect world our children would be raised by their biological parents. For Isaiah and Laila, that is not what happened.

I am so thankful for all of your encouraging comments. They really have ministered to me.

Thank you for joining us in this journey. Thank you for carrying this pain with us. Thank you for loving our kids so deeply.

I woke up early this morning, and God ministered to me through His Word.

In my current Bible reading, I was ready for Matthew 18. Verses 1-14 jumped off the page at me. You can read them here.

I was amazed that God had these verses for me on this day. He is in control. He spoke to me deeply about my calling to shepherd Isaiah and Laila.

There are many more questions that will come up. Some of you have given me some great tips on how to answer those questions. Keep the tips coming.

When it is all said and done, God has a plan. He has a plan for Isaiah and Laila. He has a plan for our family.

This sadness that I am experiencing is part of His plan to help me love my children well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It Happened

I knew this day would come.

I hoped it would be longer before it did.

But, it is here, and now we move forward in it.

It is painful, sad, and emotional.

Nobody ever said it would be easy.

In a perfect world, this would not be an issue.

But, it is, and we embrace the pain mixed with gratefulness that it surfaces in our hearts.

I am in tears writing this post.

Before nap time, I was getting Isaiah and Laila ready for bed.

I have made it a point to really talk a lot about how we are alike and how we are different over the last year and a half.

I have done this because I knew this day would come.

I have also done it in front of Isaiah and Laila with our biological children so that they would see there are differences and similarities there as well.

I pointed to Isaiah's belly button and said, "Isaiah, your belly button is an outy." Then I pointed to mine and said, "My belly button is an inny."

He looked at me and in a really sad voice said, "Why don't we match?"

I said, "What do you mean?" (I didn't want to make more of this than it was, but something in his voice told me he wasn't talking about his belly button.)

He answered, "I am brown and you are white. Why can't I match you?" He then started crying, really hard.

My heart was broken right at that moment once again for all the pain this little boy, my son, has already endured. He has lost his birth mom. He has moved across the world. He is a part of a family that look different from him.

It saddens me because I know that pain is not over.

When I look at him, I don't see his brown skin. I see my animated, passionate son. I see the miracles that God did to bring him to our family. I remember how God placed him on my heart 6 months before I even knew that he existed.

Others will not see the same thing. Some will automatically make judgements about him just by looking at his skin. Some will make judgements about him just by looking at our family.

Why does it have to be this way? How do I walk through this with him?

I so want to handle this perfectly, but yet I know I will make mistakes.

I believe God will use Isaiah's story in amazing ways. Actually, He already has.

I am sad that he has to go through the pain once again, and again, and again.

I pray for my son.

I pray that God will give me great wisdom as we journey through this challenge.

This is a conversation that we will have over and over.

I hugged him. I told him how much I love him and how beautiful I think his skin is. I told him all the ways that we are alike. I told him how thankful I am that he is my son.

I hope he feels it deep down inside where he needs to.

Now, I think I am pretty much a mess for the rest of today.

He is napping. He probably won't even remember this conversation when he wakes up. He will be more concerned about what snack he is going to have.

I won't forget it for the rest of my life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Silly Randomness

I have several things from last week to share. They are totally unrelated with some silliness mixed in.
Laila and Isaiah seeing Daddy's new "office"(it's really a desk)
As long as there are jelly beans, Isaiah and Laila don't really care.
We met some friends at Chick-fil-a.
Between the 4 families there were 4 different African countries represented!!
This was just too cute not to share
Cody and Lauren were in a silly mood with their hair. This was the result:
Wouldn't he make a cute Who from Whoville?
Elvis - "Thank you, thank you very much!
Abby had an icee. As she was drinking, she looked down and saw this:
That girl loves Africa. She thought this was so cool.
Lauren decided to use sponge rollers.
The results were frightening.
Needless to say, she wet those bangs and started over!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I had to share this story with you about what Isaiah said today.

We were at Wal-mart.

We walked past the Sporting Goods section.

He saw a display case with guns in it.

Isaiah: "Ooh, look, Mommy, guns."

Me: "Yes, Isaiah, I see them.

Isaiah: "Can we buy one?"(with excitement and wonder in his voice)

Me: "No, Isaiah, we can't buy a gun today."

Isaiah: "Oh, their not on sale?"

That really made me laugh. He never really questioned that we weren't buying a gun because a 3 year old doesn't need a gun. He just assumed it was because they weren't on sale.

That made me smile. I am so glad I am instilling in him that we spend our money wisely.

Now, maybe we should work on the children armed with guns issue!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cleaning Woes

I like a clean house. No, I REALLY like a clean house.

It makes me feel relaxed and peaceful and happy. That is what I want my home to be, a place of relaxation.

The last time it felt like that was when it was on the market, but even then, there was a stress element of not really being able to "live" in our house comfortably. Nevermind, it wasn't peaceful then either.

I remember in the earlier days of our marriage and even when we had a couple of kids being able to clean the whole house and have ALL clean at once.

That was so nice. That is my dream these days.

I am realizing that is impossible in my current situation.

I can work all day long, but while I am working there is a combination of 2-6 children somewhere else in the house messing it up.

I tell Rick they are sabotaging me. He reminds me that they are just being kids. Yeah, right, whatever!

For the last 2 weeks, I have been very diligent and purposeful in staying home, working on our house, spending time with my kids, and cooking.

Even though I have put in all this effort, I find myself constantly frustrated with the condition of our house.

As a result, I end my day feeling defeated and like all of my efforts are in vain.

I feel guilty for not doing enough. I feel discouraged that it is never done. I feel like a failure.

Enough of that!! That is no way to live. I am refusing to go there. If I go there without realizing it, I am not going to stay long.

I have a lot on my plate. I never give myself credit for what I accomplished or even take the time to enjoy my accomplishments.

It is always, "That is done, but look at all the other stuff I didn't do."

Remember that phrase I am saying each day, "What HAS to be done today?" Anything else should be a bonus that I feel proud for accomplishing.

Today my focus is Rick's and my bedroom and bathroom. I think it will take me most of the day to do it well.

When it is all done, I am going to bask in the cleanliness of it. Maybe I should just stay in there the rest of the day without any interruptions.

Then, I will not be bombarded with the messes around the rest of my house and the message they speak telling me I am not good enough.

Can anyone out there relate?

Monday, November 8, 2010


I made this recipe tonight. I got it from my friend, Hosanna. It was absolutely too easy and yummy not to share. Let me know if you try it out and what you think.

I did add one thing. I caramelized some onions and added them to each sandwich. Delectable!!

French Dip
(for the crock pot)
Yields: 8 servings

3 lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed
2 c. water
½ c soy sauce
1 t. rosemary
1 t. thyme
1 t. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3-4 peppercorns
8 French rolls, split

Place roast in crock pot. Add all seasonings. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until tender. Remove meat from broth; shred with forks and keep warm. Strain broth; skim off fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve beef on rolls.


Feeling really overwhelmed today.

So much to do in this house.

Even when I work, I don't really see the progress.

The only way I am going to grasp what I have accomplished, is to write about it.

-The clothing sorting is complete!!!! No more clothing mountains in my house, at least not that need to be sorted. Putting the clean laundry away is another story.

-2 kids' bedrooms are decluttered and cleaned.

-I am cooking dinner again tonight!!(4th time in a week)

-I have nursed all 6 children back to health. Abby is experiencing some relief from her headaches after some techniques given to her from her dad and daily use of the neti pot.

-I did my grocery shopping yesterday. If my plan succeeds, I will not have to do anymore shopping before we leave for KY next week!

-I am using this afternoon to get my kitchen clean.

Okay, now I feel a little better. It is all about perspective for me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Swazi Style

I wanted Isaiah and Laila to have some clothing in one of the traditional Swazi fabrics. While in the country, it was hard to find clothing at the markets that would fit properly so with the help of some friends, we made it happen(by "we" I mean they did all the work, and I put the clothes on the kids). Amber searched the markets throughout her summer there, looking for the blue patterned fabric that we see so often on the Swazi people. Holly, then took that fabric and made these clothes for Isaiah and Laila. Here they are:
I love this pose!
Handsome boy!
Pretty girl!
Swazi Siblings!
I still ask myself every day how I got the cutest kids
in all of Africa as my son and daughter!
Thank you Amber and Holly. We love you!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


There were many titles that I considered for this post like, "Hallelujah! " "Too Good To Be True," "Potty in the U.S.A.," and even "It Is Not Supposed To Be This Easy."

I have hesitated to write this post because I was afraid I would jinx myself. Do you remember the post about the Poop Fest that Isaiah and Laila had exactly 11 days ago. As horrible as that day was, it actually was the beginning of something beautiful.

Laila has been very resistant to the idea of potty training. I gave her some Princess Tiana panties for her 2nd Bday. When she realized what they were, she threw them across the room in anger. She didn't want to have anything to do with them. Any time going potty had been mentioned to her over the last few months, she would grumpily shout, "No!" I just have not had the energy to engage it so I kind of put January in my mind as the time to really go for it.

When I have potty trained the other 5 children, it is quite the ordeal. I use the "Toilet Training In Less Than A Day" method. It is quick and intense. When they were actually ready, all of my kids have potty trained within a week of introducing it. My girls actually did it in 2 days. It requires that I basically devote a week of my time to focus solely on potty training with that particular child. I have supplies that I have to get together like treats, a baby doll, potty seat, underwear, etc.

I feel like I can officially say that Laila is potty trained!!!!!!(I can't put enough exclamation points to fully express my delight). But, I really can't take credit. I have not had to work very hard at all on this one, and it was quite surprising.

Let's go back to that horrid day of the Poop Fest. When the big kids came home from school, I told them all about the ordeal. Lauren immediately went to Laila and said, "Laila, are you ready to be a big girl and use the potty and wear your Princess Tiana panties?" Laila responded with a fervent, "YES!" Lauren took her to the potty and Laila proceeded to poop and pee!! It was AMAZING!!

11 days later, she has continued potty training herself. We have had 5 days without accidents even including adventures outside the house. She has made it through shopping trips, at someone else's house, and even at church. I can't even believe this. I am so glad to have this done. It was so easy and my girls were such a big help.
Laila's first time on the potty.
Lauren entertained her by letting her comb her hair.
She is now so proud of her Princess Tiana Panties
We have lots of fun potty songs we sing. She ASKS to go potty. It really is a beautiful thing. I also get to save money in my grocery budget now.

She is still wearing diapers at night and during nap. She wasn't thrilled about that, but once again, Lauren to the rescue. She came up with the idea that we could put her diaper on and then put her panties over the diaper. That has worked perfectly, and Laila still thinks she is wearing her panties.

This is a huge milestone!! It feels so good to have it done. I never imagined it would be so easy this time!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hallowing, A.K.A. Halloween

When my older kids were younger, they called "Halloween," "Hallowing" so that is what we affectionately call Oct. 31 each year. They LOVE getting dressed up and going trick 0r treating. It is so much fun to get together with friends for this big event.

Presenting our crazy crew of "Hallowingers"
Sam as Yoda
Cody as a football player
Abby as a monkey zookeeper
Isaiah as Woody the Cowboy
Laila as a puppy dog complete with barking sound effects
Lauren as a soccer player
Our crazy crew
We actually did more than just dress up. We went to the Fowlers' house, had some yummy gumbo, salad and cookies, then went out to explore the neighborhood.

Isaiah and Laila had a blast. Isaiah felt the need to have a discussion with each person at their door. After every house, Laila would run to her daddy and say, "I got treats, Daddy."

All the big boys went out together on their own!! That was big stuff for them. I think the favorite treat handed out at one of the houses was sodas.

The girls went out with the little ones and once the little ones were tired, we took them out again. We couldn't find the house with the sodas which was a huge disappointment to them.

The kids love to come back to the house together, pour out all of their candies, organize them and begin the trading. They get rid of the stuff they don't want or can't have(Cody can't have gluten) and get some they like instead. Along the way, they even slip mom and dad a few of their favorite pieces.

When the evening was all said and done, we had 6 pumpkins full of candy!!! We are pacing ourselves. After a week, I usually have them pick out their 10 favorite pieces of what is left and we get rid of the rest in some way.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday, House!!

On Sat. night, we celebrated our house. We moved into this house 7 years ago. I kind of thought that we would not be celebrating this house again since we had it on the market this year, but God had other plans for us. We see His Hand now in our house not selling. This house continues to be a blessing in our lives, and God has used it in so many ways to provide for us. So, for now, we continue to celebrate the Big Blue House on Oct. 30th!
Our celebration started with dinner out at Cracker Barrel
Isaiah told Rick recently, "Daddy, I want to be just like you!"
That was a huge milestone in their relationship.
Cody is determined to win the "Peg Game."
Checkers for Abby and Sam.
Laila and "Yoyipop"(Lollipop)
After we eat out, our tradition is to come home, watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," carve pumpkins, and eat roasted pumpkin seeds.
Carving pumpkins is serious business around here.
Everyone gets a turn in scooping out the seeds and gunk!
When the TV is on, Isaiah is mesmerized.
There was total chaos going on around him, but he was focused on Charlie Brown!
Each year, we work together on a design.
Then, Rick does the carving.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Half Salted, Half Cinnamon Sugar
Isaiah had a pumpkin from church that Lauren carved. She carved her name and Isaiah's name.
Abby had a pumpkin from school. She carved the shape of Africa in it.
The big one was the family pumpkin.
It was a great night. We are so thankful for the blessing of a home. We have made a lot of memories in this place!!