Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Mouse in the House

Last night I walked through the dining area and saw Tigger, one of our cats, holding a mouse in her mouth. Tigger is a hunter, often leaving "dinner" on our doorstep, so I assumed she had made her way into the house with this mouse. Maybe since I always turned down her offerings, she had decided to bring the mouse straight to the stove- she did make it into the house with a bird once.

I called Jamie to come in and deal with the cat, and then realized this mouse was NOT dead, and had NOT been brought in from the outside--Tigger had just caught it in the kitchen. And then it got loose. I think mice are cute, when outside far from my home, or when I am watching them sing in Cinderella. In my house however, they are a dirty menace to my food and I do not appreciate hearing them in the attic or finding their teeth marks on food packages occasionally.

Now I yelled to Jamie what was going on, and he came out quickly, along with Zach and Xander. The cat was chasing the mouse, and the mouse ran under the hutch. So I'm kneeling on the edge of the rug watching while Jamie and the boys are using a broom and hockey stick to flush Mouse out towards Tigger. Instead, Mouse decided to come out and run towards me. Naturally, I shrieked. After much back and forth, Mouse ran into the living room. Dante watched him run across the floor, and I am surprised my running narrative on Mouse's location did not wake up Micah and Amelia. At one point I told Jamie if I'm going to shriek I might as well stand on a chair, but that was just for fun. (Snakes make me stand on things, mice in my house just make me shriek.)

Eventually Mouse was cornered, and dispatched. Nikita did not fully appreciate the need to end its life and let Dad know her feelings. Really though, I think blunt force trauma to the head was much better than being thrown outside to freeze, or letting Tigger have at him again would really have been merciless of us.

And as I type, Jamie is at the store buying some mouse traps...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Real Heroes

"I want a hero: an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one"

-Lord Byron

What is a hero and where do they come from? All around us in society we are subjected to king makers who try to dictate to us who our heroes should be. The media has become adept at this. There is a TV show (American Idol) that is devoted to making a hero for the role model starved masses. A presidential election was recently won based on the idea that you can make someone a hero, before they do anything real to deserve it, and vault them to the highest office in the land. These media created heroes are not real or deserving of the adulation they receive. Where do you get a real one?

The real heroes are ones that are not looking for it. They are doing what they think is right, but those actions are heroic because they are a dramatic break from the norm. They are an example of people thinking of others and working in the interest of those less able to do so. It is counter to the focus on "me" and instead focuses on "you" in true Christlike fashion.

Our older children, Alexander, Zachary and Nikita are heroes in this very real sense. They would never look at it that way, but they are heroes to their three younger, adopted siblings. Amelia, Micah and Dante, all look up to them in this way, because the older ones are always acting on their behalf. They are close friends, all six of them, and the younger ones appreciate the older ones as role models and just cool people that they want to be like.

What the younger ones want is someone to be with them, to play with them, to meet their needs, to put up with their nonsense and to unconditionally love them. Alexander, Zachary and Nikita all do those things and in the process demonstrate what a true hero should be. Take a look at these pictures and you'll see what I mean.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 2 On My Own

Zach and Nik should be on their way home, and Alexander is off to Springfield again.

When I went down into the basement to wash a load of laundry, I discovered a load in the washer waiting to be dried, AND a load in the dryer waiting to be folded. One hour later I am folding laundry at the table while Amelia and Micah play nicely upstairs.

As I headed to the closet to hang Jamie's shirts, I saw that "playing nicely" meant taking all the clothes out of Amelia's dresser and piling them on Micah while he lays on her bed. So much for my efforts to fold everything neatly. I told her to put all of her clothes away and continued hanging t-shirts. This time when I came out of the closet she was just finishing up pushing a pile of clothes under her bed. Again I told her to put them all away neatly, and went downstairs to stir the chili.

Maybe I should have known better and actually put the clothes away with her. Not five minutes later I hear Micah: "ow ow ow, Meli-ahhh!" And then they came downstairs. Amelia saying, "oh pretty" and Micah wearing her pink jumper. It wouldn't have been so funny if he was not so proud of how good he looked. I resisted the urge to take a picture and just changed him back into his boy clothes.

And now I think they are brushing each other's teeth, again, so my five minute computer break is done! (When are my three wonderful teens getting home??)

Update: While I was folding the third load of laundry, Dante removed every wipe from the diaper wipe box--- one by one. After I put them all back in, I gave Dante a bowl of Ritz crackers. He decided to make them bite-sized by dumping them on the newly vacuumed floor and wacking the pile a few times with his toy. If I was organized enough to keep a log of his daily activities I would have to write him down for problem solving and fine motor skills practice!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All Alone

Today my three teens left me. Nik and Zach went up to New Hampshire for an overnight trip with Poppy, and Alexander spent the day in Springfield with friends helping to set up for a railroad hobby show.

Nik was undecided about whether she should go. She said she didn't think she should leave me alone with the three little ones. Could I handle it? I said of course I can handle it, "I'm the Mom". It would have been more effective if I had put on a cape and had my hair blowing back as I said it, but she did decide to go without any special effects needed.

It really was very sweet of her. However, it isn't like the little ones are much trouble. Sure it can be interesting when Micah climbs on the counter to get a snack for himself, or Amelia finds a plastic hammer, takes off our wall hangings, and bangs in the nails. Especially when these two things happen at the same time. While I am giving Dante his morning bath.

We had fun together this morning, and we are all still here. Amelia was actually pretty cute. She and Micah went through the circular again and I heard them discussing french fries. Then she came to me and said "You, Amelia, Micah, and Dante go shopping". She pointed at each as she said our names, and she said and signed "shopping". And she wasn't asking, she was telling. What struck me is that she knew we all had to go. I do not normally take everyone shopping, just her. But she knew we could not leave Micah and Dante behind so she decided we would all go.

However, I might be capable of many things, but taking the three of them food shopping on a cold January day was not something that I was going to attempt. So we watched Curious George instead.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter in New England

I love Winter here in New England. There is nothing like a fresh snowfall, going sledding, and coming in to hot cocoa and cookies. It really is a wonderful time.

I just think winter should only last for two months. That's it: December and January. The 31st winter is done. I would love to wake up to 75 degrees on February 1st. If the good Lord had asked my opinion regarding the weather that would have been my advice. 75 and sunny February 1st through November 30th. Some good thunderstorms and gentle rainfalls here and there; I might even concede that July and August would be better at 80 degrees. But for winter--- two months and then it has been enough. I should remember that "the Father up above is looking down in love" and be careful what I say regarding His lack of asking for my opinions!

So I sent the kids outside to play in the snow, since it will be gone in 10 days. (or not) I did not bundle up Dante because I only took him out for a few minutes-- mostly so he would be in a picture. Unfortunately for me and my slippers, Dante decided that he loves the snow. We were out for about 10 minutes while he kicked at the snow. (His hands stayed quite warm since I was holding them to walk him.) Wow was he mad when I brought him in!

Alexander is holding Dante for me to take a photo.

I yelled "hey!" and then took a pic when they all looked at me. Nik and Zach no longer appreciate having their pictures taken so I was desperate!

Nikita acting like I am the papparazzi.

Micah and Amelia are fighting over a ladel to use on the snow fort. Zach saved the day and gave Micah a shovel.

Amelia and Zach working on a snow fort.

Micah shoveling the yard.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Alexander!!!

Today my eldest is fifteen years old. I cannot believe I have a child that old! He is such a blessing to this family.

Dante and Alexander have a special relationship. Here are a few pictures:
These ones are two years ago, just after Dante came home.

In this recent photo, Dante is giving Alexander some pointers on the PSP.

When Alexander was born 15 years ago, Jamie and I had been married for not quite 2 years. We were living in a one bedroom apartment that was part of a complex in Hamlin, New York. The high that day was -2 degrees. Yes, negative two was the high!

Jamie: At the time we drove a Geo Metro and we had to defrost the starter by dangling a hair dryer out of the second story window. When I was leaving the hospital after Alexander was born, I was afraid the car would not start (he was born at St. Mary's in Rochester, New York; Zachary was born there 15 months later). Fortunately, Jesus (and Mary?) intervened because a hair dryer in the parking garage was not an option!

I never imagined that 15 years later we would be "expecting" our seventh child and living in Massachusetts. We have come a long way from our little one bedroom one baby life, and I look forward to what the Lord has in store for our whole family in the future.

Here is a picture I took this morning while Dante was in the bath. Yep, it is a picture out the bathroom window...but what a beautiful photo it is of a morning after a fresh snowfall. And the temperature was already in the 20's...thankfully much warmer than 15 years ago!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dad's Haircut

Amelia decided Dad needed a haircut.

First she put him in the haircut chair and gave him a cape to catch the hair.

Next time I'll have to remind her to use the stool.

Now for a few snips. Amelia would have preferred some real scissors, but settled for the two finger method.

And finally, a little clean up with the trimmers. You'll just have to imagine her sound effects.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Adoption Update

We have received word that our adoption is just waiting for the hearing in Taiwan! It will probably occur in late February or early March, with travel in April. We have been praying for travel in March or April, so this is wonderful news for us!

Now we have to decide if we will try another fundraiser to cut down on adoption debt, or just use most of the Lifesong for Orphans adoption loan we have been offered. Our expenses still are plane tickets, hotel and food, in country travel, miscellaneous fees (visa, medical...), and country fee.

Jamie thinks we should take Amelia with us to Taiwan when we go to get Sunny. I think it is good because she will miss us and could be difficult while we are gone. I also think it might not be good because she will be so exhausted from the time change and new surroundings that it could drain our energy in Taiwan. We also do not have a US passport for Amelia, and getting one could take some extra effort. And there is the extra expense of her plane ticket. On the plus side again, she and Sunny could really hit it off and that would help Sunny adjust to us. Definitely some praying to be done about this decision. The four boys are definitely staying home, and Nikita is definitely going, we just have to decide about Amelia.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How Are the Kids?

It is winter in New England, how does anyone think the kids are? Micah has an ear infection, Amelia has a sinus infection, Zachary has stomach issues (to put it politely, he has a lack of fiber in his diet- not really a winter thing though), and Dante has "the snots" as one of my co-workers likes to refer to the common cold. Nikita and Xander are just fine!

When I am asked that question by well meaning people, I can in all honesty say the kids are doing pretty well though. Every issue listed above will run its course and they will be fine. I am thankful their current issues are really minor. Yes, I am sure Micah would rather not have an earache and Amelia could do without the gallon of mucous in her sinuses, but they are certainly not lacking in energy or a zest for life!

What I could do without is this freezing weather!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I often do not even get to around to posting twice in one week, and here we are at two in one day. Amelia was really good today, though, and she has earned a post!

Thursday is when one of the local grocery stores has their circular in the paper, and Amelia loves to go through and look at all the food. Anyone sitting at the table is asked repeatedly to stop and look at it with her. So this morning, in my attempts to keep her focusing on something, I decided we would make a list and shop. We went through the paper and cut out a few items that we needed, and pasted them onto a blank piece of paper. There were a few yummy looking items that I had to veto going on her list. Then I put it on a clipboard and went out to clear the inch of icy snow off the van. She was so excited she came out in her sneakers and shirtsleeves to go!

Once we were all set and properly dressed, off to Big Y we went. Amelia enjoyed carrying her shopping list and putting the items in the cart. It helped her to not just start throwing things in-- we matched each item to the picture on her list. She was great!

One Month

Today it has been one month since our paperwork arrived back in Taiwan. There was a flurry of activity at the end of November, beginning of December when we received the paperwork-- the "hurry up" part, and now we are in the "and wait" portion of our adoption.

As Amelia stands next to me now leaning her head on my shoulder, I am reminded that the wait will end, and just as Amelia is home, Sunny will be home soon too. In the meantime, I am reading about attachment, we are praying for her daily, and we are attempting to learn some mandarin. Good golly I can only imagine how much we are botching the pronunciation!

Here's another picture of Sunny from the batch we were given in November. It was taken back in June.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chinese Dragon

First of all, Zach is feeling much better, and Jamie only had to check for eggs once. I joked that if Jamie likes it so much, he can do it every day. To which Zach said, "But then what would I do??" I guess he does take his job seriously. Maybe I should ask Jamie to take over the blog since his posts are so profound.

Anyhow, I have pictures of our Chinese Dragon in the making! Our church's Christian Life Committee, of which I am a part, is planning a Chinese New Year's Party with a missions emphasis. We do something each year during Winter Break, and this year it is something very near and dear to me- talking about China. We have crafts, games, missionary stories, and chopsticks for snack time. I have taken it upon myself to make an extra decoration for the party, and the girls have been helping me construct a paper mache dragon.

Amelia was not too sure she liked the feel of the flour mixture on her hands. She washed her hands several times during the first layer.

The body is done, although it looks like a worm at this point.

For the mouth, I have used an old egg carton craft from Zachary's younger days. Even with the scales along the back, it still looks like a cross between a duck and a worm.

Legs, and the beginnings of some color! Nikita helped with painting the eyes.

Zachary brought Pip in, and she willingly stood on some posterboard for me to trace her feet. I thanked her with a slice of fruitcake.
I have all the tissue squares cut, and soon Nik and I will begin filling in our dragon!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Egg!

The farmer of the house is sick. Yes, Zachary is unavailable for his flock of five chickens and thus it falls to someone else to take up his responsibilities while he is recovering. Who will it be? Dad? Yes, the torch has been handed over, quite temporarily mind you, to the least qualified person in the house. Fish are no problem. Chickens are another matter. I have never had to do this before because Zachary takes his work seriously. Now I am watering chickens (not quite like plants for you novices out there) and feeding them. They are intense eaters and can eat a lot considering they do it one grain at a time. I went out with Amelia and they were eating out of her hand. Others go to a petting zoo, we go to the side of the yard.

One of the duties of the farmer is to check for eggs. I also had never done this, and it is a rather awesome experience. There was in fact one egg. The small brown egg was as smooth as can be. Wow! What a miracle of creation is represented by this process that no doubt occurs billions of times a day on this planet. I look at the egg and my thought can be summed up like this: "A fool says in his heart, there is no God." That fool should be a farmer for a day.