Wednesday, August 31, 2011

good byyyyye summer

Its that point of the year where Halloween stuff is coming out and heck, even some Christmas stuff, and I'm ready to replace my Sun and Sand Yankee Candle with a more seasonally appropriate Apple Cider or Cranberry Chutney. This year feels like summer flew by...its bitter sweet sending Big A back to school next week. Just one more year until she's in middle school, and thats tough to swallow.  She's so innocent, and the thought of throwing her into the Middle school with all those sweaty, hormonally imbalanced, bullying, clique-y  kids keeps me up at night.
I'm a social'd think I have more tolerance than the average parent for the variety of children and parents that cross my path. Its actually the opposite...I know what goes on in this town, I know what the kids are doing, and I dont want them near MY kid.  I know, I'm a total hypocrite.
Thankfully, at this stage of the game, she has a pretty good head on her shoulders. She's very open with me and tells me everything. Gosh, I hope it stays that way. She likes who she is, and I dont want some punk ever making her feel bad about it!! 
I can't shelter them forever. I know that. But I want to!! 



How did the time go by so fast???  

Friday, August 26, 2011

so, THATS how its done

So, I mentioned the 2011 VA EARTHQUAKE, and noticed my blog hits, like, tripled.  THATS the trick!!! Popular keywords=readers! HA! So readers, come forth with your search terms! Go ahead, google away!

VA Earthquake
Hurricane Irene
Golden Retriever
Back to school

Ok, people, come forth and comment!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who's been through two natural disasters in one week???

Raise your hand if you live in VA!! Whoo Hoo!!! ok, so technically the hurricane hasn't hit yet, but come on! We all know its gonna! So the earthquake...I hate to mock mother nature (see below), but (thankfully)this earthquake hasn't been two bad.  We've all been gently awoken each night since with aftershocks...and by gently awoken I mean startled within inches of our lives. But whatever, theres no real damage and its all good. Although, my office has some new cracks!! Real earthquake stuff!
 And just for kicks, this is a dear that was in my yard that got totally freaked by our garden gnome.  To be fair, he is intimidating with that pointy little hat.  I'm not gonna lie though, that gnome is my favorite thing in our yard!
 This is the new shirt I have in the shop, modeled by my friend's daughter. (Isn't she cuuuute??) I love finger suckin' babies (I've got two myself, ya know!). Despite the orthodontia work we will most likely face later, I love to see a sleepy little one with their fingers in their mouths!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My little people

I stayed up way too late last night reading and researching adoption-related stuff.  The only thing I'm going to say about it today is that there is a march on behalf of the orphans in the world in Washington DC on August 26. I REALLY want to go, but I'm not sure if I have someone to watch the little girls. I might could take Big A...she's old enough to appreciate the cause...but is it too much reality for an 8 year old? 
I'm putting a pin in that one, and will revisit it sometime in the next few days. Today, I just want to share pictures.  There is no rhyme or reason as to why I chose these...just flipping through some old files and found em!

This was Baby A at about 7 months. I LOOOOVED this picture of and used it on her first birthday invite. She was such a happy baby!

The one on the far left, thats my hubs! Look closely b/c he looks JUST like Middle A. In fact, when she saw that picture, she said, "Mom, why am I wearing boy clothes?!"

Baby A at the pumpkin patch

These are the baby bass we stocked our pond with when we first moved in. They are now HUGE..several pounds.  Its amazing how these little guys not only survived, but thrived in our pond.

Aforementioned pond

View of pond from other side of the property

Middle A, rocking it.

Big A at our favorite sunset spot...the tip of Captiva Island in Florida.

Big A, Baby A

Middle A kissing Baby A

Baby A "eating" yogurt.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Open your eyes

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."  Families are Forever 

I've been reading  this blog is heartbreaking (and entirely inspirational!!)  I first found this family's story on Five of My Own and I can not stop soaking in their story.  They have nine (I think) biological children and felt called to adopt after having a child with Down Syndrome.  You MUST read their story to understand what has happened since.  The severity of the conditions in Eastern European orphanages are horrific.  I've always known they weren't good...I've had a few families travel and come back with stories...but they buffered it for me.  Children are starving, dying, a way that you've probably never seen unless you've seen it yourself.  Its actually quite easy to come upon videos of these orphanages...I found this one in Serbia on You Tube...
This is the norm people!! Disabled children are shunned, hidden, and locked away.  They are tortured.  Children, beautiful little souls, are tortured for the mere fact they were born disabled. At the age of four or five, they are put into mental institutions with adults.

I'm new in this journey. Sure I've processed beaucoups of adoptions, but MY journey is just beginning. I dont know what to do...the needs are so great and SO vast.
I have been pouring over the listings at Reece's Rainbow daily.  These beautiful children...these few have been blessed because someone knows about them, someone is advocating for them, and someone wants them to find a home.  These are a select few!! There are millions and millions that NO ONE will ever speak for.  Theses children are just as real and precious as mine and yours...not just pictures or stories. They are lives, souls. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shoppy Stuff

So, my etsy shop, Owl Tree Designs, has been busy...although its been more through private orders than through the actual etsy site.  I'm trying to bring it more attention in the hopes that it will expand and I can use some of the earnings to help fund adoptions in some way.  I've spend a lot of time thinking of how best to use the money, and I think what I've found with the families I'm working with is the greatest need comes when a large lump sum is required to move forward.  My hope is that the adoption shirts will take off, and I can use half of that to go towards the fund.  Again, at the very prelimary phases of this...I've been looking into starting a non-profit to make it all legit, but its really confusing, and having three jobs already...I'm not sure I'm ready to take it on just yet.  But if by some miracle, this idea takes off, then I'll find a way to make it all happen.  This is what I have in there right now...some of it you've seen already, some of it is new. I love custom orders and working with people to create the perfect item!!

So, take a look, convo me, email me...and I'll be happy to create something for your little one!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Common sense

As a social worker, we're taught time and again not to be judgmental. Its hard because as individuals, we have our own histories, heritage and upbringing that have shaped who we are, just as our clients have theirs. That said, there are so many times when I just want to shake people, and scream "what are you doing???"  Children are not blessings to everyone, and unfortunately those who don't see them as the miracles they are can still procreate just as easily (and ironically sometimes moreso) then those who truly desire to love and cherish a child.
I have several cases right now that are testing my patience and ability to remain neutral.  At one point, I myself had received over 75 flea bites from a home where three innocent children were living. (Did you know people can be allergic to fleas??? They can...I'm on my third dose of predisone!). My point is, if you want to live in your own filth, go for it.  But when you have little lives that are dependent on you, that didnt ask to be brought into this world...well take care of them! I wouldn't let my dog in this house, let alone my children.  It just amazes (and horrifies) me that their personal standards are set so low. 
This family has three amazing little kids with the odds already stacked against them.  It just saddens me that this is their "normal."  The parents are so little invested in these kids that I've seen them eat food off the floor that was smashed and there for days. They drink soda so much that their little teeth are rotten. And of course, these kids too suffer from an innumerable amount of bug bites. 
So, I as a social worker, step in and provide "support" to mom and dad, when I really just want to smack them upside the head. We are on the cusp of removing these children from the home, an act I take very seriously.  Its just sad...the whole thing stinks. And its just a piece of my workload pie.  Pray for these kids, and for their parents to realize the impact they are having on thier entire lives. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ready to par-tay????

Big A has a birthday on the horizon, and in this family, we make birthdays a BIG deal. While I try to celebrate my children every day, their birthday is one day of the year where everyone can join in!  One of my most favorite party sites is Kara's Party Ideas  There are hundreds of themed parties, and thousands of ideas that you can make your own. I'm not sure if I'm using proper blog etiquette by just linking...are there rules about this stuff?? Regardless, check out the site! If you scroll down, all of the different parties are listed on the right hand side. Loves it!! Below are pictures of parties past...I like to put things on a stick...fruit, chicken, desserts...everything tastes better when its on a stick!

What you can't tell probably in this picture because its sideways, is that I had a candy bar at Baby A's last birthday and that was the goodie the kids got to take home. This was before I got my Awesome Camera so the pics are only so-so.

Monday, August 8, 2011


So, one of the reasons I married my dh was because he is so committed to his family. I've watched him interact with our elders, and he really cares what they have to say. He loves their stories, asks them questions, and genuinely wants to hear their answers. I love this about him. I personally have the attention span of a gnat. Sitting still and listening is not one of my best qualities. 
So, this past weekend, we drove 11 hours for a picnic with my grandmother. Yes, 11 hours...for a picnic.  It meant a lot to her and when a 90 year old asks you to do something... you do it.  It was great to see her!! My kids call her super grandma b/c they couldnt figure out what to call a great-grandmother. It fits her. At 90, she is a total rock star!! She lives on her own, drives herself everywhere, and even works at the airport. Awesome! My kids adore her and that just fills my heart. 
So, my husband didnt utter the first complaint about shuttling 3 kids 11 hours north, staying just one day, and shuttling them 11 hours back. He is a good man. Surprisingly, the littles were really good too!! They had a few squabbles here and there, but overall, were awesome little riders!
Some pics...
Middle A jumping from bed to bed in our hotel room.

Big A swimming at a cousin's house

Baby A sharing a glorious find in an ancient toy box

the crew with Super Grandma!

This was awaiting us when we got home!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

....chirping crickets....

Ok, so I know my family and friends read the blog, and stats indicate that someone is reading it, and I'd love to hear from you! Be the first to leave a comment and I'll put your picture up or something!!

So, you may have noticed that I've changed the name of said bloggy.  Here's why. The purpose of my writing on here hasn't yet been made clear to me.  For some, its just a family update. For others, I hope that one day it will become some kind of adoption go-to...I know a lot about adoption (you know, that whole 11 years experience thing), and I'd love to answer questions (for free dont even have to pay an application fee!)  :)  For now, its a place for me to vent, muse, and express my gratitude to God for the life we have here in this little part of the country. 
So, Almost.  I'm almost a great mom.  Most of the time, I think I'm pretty good at this parenting thing, but theres always room for improvement. We almost live on a farm...we've tried really really hard to raise a few animals and it just hasnt gone very well...yet! We almost make it to church every excuses other than sheer exhaustion.  We need to do better. My etsy shop is almost off the ground. I get a lot of private orders, but not as many online.

The point is...there is a lot of room for growth and improvement. I can do better, and we can do better as a family.  If I entitled the blog "Perfect." then I wouldnt really have much to write about. We live a chaotic but blessed life and I'm looking forward to sharing it! I follow a ton of other blogs and I find myself thinking, "wow, those moms really have it together!! All the time!!!" and its easy to forget that you can paint any image of yourself you want on the doesnt have to be true. I want to be relatable to people. I'm happy to share my blunders as well as triumphs...its not all about a perfectly decorated home, clean, cherubic well-mannered children (well, we strive for it, but its a work in progress), professionally photographed scenes from my day.

Just to prove my imperfection, here's a pipsqueak eating Jello on bread for breakfast. (Did I mention that I feed my kids good food, almost always??)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

stuffy stuff

So, I've long debated about how to introduce my family to the blogging world without putting them totally "out" there. I've read other blogs where people come up with cutesy names for the children or leave them out altogether. I think I've decided to go the easiest route...Big A, Middle A, and Little A.  Easy enough. I'm sure you'll be able to figure out who's who. :)
So, I'm decorating Big A's room, and need some advice. She wants horses in her room, but being all tweeny and stuff, I need to come up with something that isn't babyish but isnt too mature. I've already painted one wall a dark teal, and the other three a light tan. Looks awesome. But the horses...I was thinking black and white photos blown up to poster size. These are my options...I took them while she was at a riding lesson...let me know what you think!

This is for sure my favorite

And, while I was watering the plans the other day, I found these little guys staring back at me!!


Sunday was my birthday. I was not much in the mood for celebrating as I'm having a really really hard time with Oscar's death. Out here in the country, people don't seem to attach to animals the way we northerners do.  Whatever, I'm sad.
But, hubs and the kids tried to make it special anyways!! I had specifically said NOT to get me anything b/c I had gotten a really nice camera for Mother's Day, but I do very much appreciate their thoughtfulness.  Look at the pics and decide which gift was from the kids...