You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2007.

Yes, I’m still here!¬† ūüôā¬† This time of the year is always so busy — but a really good kind of busy.¬† Family members fly in from around the country and we celebrate multiple birthdays and enjoy the whole week leading up to Thanksgiving (and of course, Thanksgiving Day itself! ūüôā¬† I am really grateful for my family this week… and I am really grateful that I love my family-in-law so much as well!

I’ve been working on a bit of a side project the last couple weeks to raise more funds for the adoption… I decided to offer a “traveling” photo op¬†for moms that would rather not take all their kids into a studio, but still want holiday pics to send to family and friends.¬† I’ve been able to take¬†some fun shots of¬†some precious kids (without time restraints, which is very helpful when the kids are not cooperating — which is about half the time!! ūüôā ) I’m certainly not a professional, but I enjoy it and I am getting better… (and lovin’ it!)¬† Taking photos of kids¬†is always unpredictable, but very rewarding.¬† I got permission from¬†this little doll’s¬†mom to post¬†this picture because I loved the way¬†it turned out…¬†¬†she is such a sweetheart! (She was actually one of the un-cooperative ones — but you wouldn’t know it from this shot!)

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So between this and that, we’ve been busy.¬† We still haven’t had any snow yet this year… verryyy unusual!¬† I am actually not missing it.¬† I like the way the landscape looks covered in white (plus it hides all the mess until summer! ūüôā ) but I do NOT like driving in the stuff — yuck!

I’ll leave you with a¬†funny new “Jo-ism”¬†— anything that smells kind of¬†weird these days she deems to be “stunky” — which, I guess, is a logical comination¬†of stinky and stunk!¬† ūüôā¬†

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“Outgoing, playful and tiny, Henry is a fun baby. He’s very rewarding to interact with, and is obviously very smart, but he has strong opinions about some things and is quite stubborn when it comes to food.

Henry has a hyper personality. He wiggles, writhes, and is especially expressive with his right arm. He points, waves, and weaves his arms up and down and around, as if it is his own sign language. Henry likes “rough” play like being “tossed” in the air and spun around in the walker. He giggles with delight when he’s plopped on the bed and enjoys almost fast, exciting games.
Henry is very chatty and will definetly be a talker. He can say “mama” though he probably doesn’t know what it means. Henry does very well with imitating noises and sounds that people make. He’s learning how to kiss and has already perfected lip smacking. He chuckles a lot and thinks it’s funny when people imitate him.¬†

Henry loves to play with toys and likes to sit on the carpet with the toy basket in front of him. His favorite items are things that are brightly colored or make a lot of noise when he bangs them on the ground. He usually has to empty the whole basket and often will be entertained for 20-30 minutes just playing with his toys.

Henry is doing great in his foster home and is very secure and loved. The whole family, as well as Martha (the household help), participates in his care, but Henry still knows who the mother is. He is especially close to his foster mom, but does well interacting with the other members of the family. Henry is however extremely shy of strangers and is especially afraid of men he doesn’t know. He will break down into dramatic tears and wails, and not stop until the stranger is out of sight. He does fine with children and a lot of women, but is generally afraid of new faces. During outings Henry is fine if no one comes up to him and talks to him directly.

Developmentally Henry has come a long way since being brought into foster care. At first he could only sit, but now he is able to scoot around on his tummy (he ends up kind of going in circles because of his arm), scoot a little on his bottom, and walk in the walker. He has even attempted pulling himself to a standing position beside the couch using his right arm (unsuccessfully). His real strength is seen in his mobility in the walker. Henry is now running all over the house, in and out of rooms, all by himself in the walker. The walker has done wonders for his legs, which are so much more muscular, strong, and mobile than before. His left arm has shown no improvement, but he is starting to wiggle his fingers a little more. His arm and hand is rubbed and massaged periodically throughout the day. Before Henry was able to wiggle is thumb, but recently he his tight grip has relaxed just a little, and he is wiggling a few of his fingers. He still doesn’t seem to know his other arm even exists, but at least his fingers are moving a little.

Henry is normally a happy baby, but you can always tell when he’s tired or hungry since he starts to get fussy and break down over little things. During these times he falls apart easily, but he has the very good quality of recovering fast.

Henry is an extremely fussy eater. He recently decided bottles were for babies, and since he is well over a year old, he should be taking all his nourishment from a spoon or a sipper cup. So right now he is eating formula with flavored baby cereal mixed in, as well as small servings of mashed table foods. Sometimes he acts like he doesn’t want to eat, even when it is well passed his mealtime, so the spoon or cup has to be forced in his mouth before he will realize that he really is hungry (often through barred teeth). Even though Henry has just grown his first set of molars, he still does not know how to chew. He likes to try a lot of feeds but sometimes gags in tiny pieces. If he is in a bad mood he will have gag intentionally on any food he’s given. Henry is offered a large variety of foods, but unfortunately he remains a difficult baby to feed. Lucky for him his foster mom is very persistent and patient. The one thing Henry always takes willingly is water. He likes drinking water from his sippy cup between meals.

Henry is on a great sleeping schedule. He goes to bed at about 9:00 and often sleeps through the night. He recently stopped getting up for another feeding at midnight , but still occasionally wakes up in the night hungry. He sleeps until about 7:00 to 7:30 in the morning. During the day he takes one afternoon nap from about 12:00 to 2:30 .

Henry is still very small for his age, but is in good health (he has not been sick since he was brought into foster care). He wears size 6-month clothes, size 2 diapers, and size 2 shoes.”

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Jo had a very girly birthday party yesterday.¬† (Thanks for all your birthday party tips, by the way, they were very helpful!!) It was loads of fun and I think that overall it was¬†a success.¬† (Only a few tears fell — but with this many little girls, it was a minor miracle that only a few of them cried!!)

Here are¬†some of my favorite¬†snapshots from the party… I love taking pictures of kids!

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The face painting was a hit… Although I really didn’t know what I was doing!

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I think she liked it… I couldn’t quite tell.¬† Is that a smile or a grimace??

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So Joanna turned three today (the 11th.)¬† I can’t believe it’s been three years already!¬†It has gone by as quickly as veteran mommies told me it would!¬† I am just trying to savor every minute — another blink of the eyes and she’ll be turning ten!!…

This¬†day¬†three years ago sure changed our lives!¬† People tried to tell us how much¬†things would change after having a kid… but I don’t think we fully¬†believed them.¬† Boy, were we wrong!¬† I can hardly remember what it was like¬†“before” —¬†but I wouldn’t trade this “after” for anything!¬† It has been pure joy.¬†¬†Not always¬†easy!!… but pure joy!¬†¬†

Jo was born at 4:45 in the afternoon after a relatively easy labor (Ha!¬†I can say that now!¬†¬†I remember the first time I heard¬†Peter tell someone how “easy”¬†Jo’s delivery¬†had¬†been — I wanted to¬†punch him!!!¬†ūüôā¬† We were¬†actually kind of¬†surprised when the doctor announced “it’s a girl!”¬† We hadn’t had an ultrasound to discover the baby’s gender, but we were both pretty convinced that we were having a boy!¬† It was a wonderful surprise, though.¬†

Joanna was born with the darkest little (and perfectly arched) eyebrows!¬† It was the first thing I noticed when I saw her.¬† She really looked like a little girl — she had very dainty features.¬† We hadn’t fully decided on a name for her, but as soon as we saw her we knew she was “Joanna” (God is gracious.)

We stayed overnight in the hospital and then left for home in the morning.¬† I remember being absolutely amazed when we walked out of the hospital carrying¬†a tiny little¬†person with us — it was one of the strangest feelings I’ve ever had… all of a sudden we were solely responsible for¬†a little life!¬† Yikes!¬† I just kept thinking that someone was going to stop us and make us take a class or sign a waiver or¬†something first… but they didn’t — they just let us take her home!¬†

Those first few days home were so full of wonder and discovery.¬† We were the typical over-paranoid first-time parents!¬† We kept the house at about¬†ninety degrees (poor Peter!!) and we would wake up every few minutes during the night to poke her and make sure she was still breathing.¬† We played music for her all¬†the time¬†and freaked out about the silliest little things!!¬† But, wow… what an incredibly special time.¬† I would just stare at her, totally mesmerized by her tiny little eyebrows and button nose.¬†¬† I’ll always remember those first few days… so much wonder and amazement at the miracle of life.¬† Gee, ¬†it really is a miracle, isn’t it?!?!¬†

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Tiny little person!

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…and three years later, looking so grown-up in her birthday dress (she¬†was telling everyone at church today that she was wearing her “birthday suit!”¬† I kept correcting her and explaining that¬†one’s “birthday suit” is actually wearing nothing at all! ūüôā )

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I love you Joanna Faith!  Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

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Just a couple funny¬†communication stories…

A¬†few days ago,¬†I was putting away laundry upstairs in¬†my room and Jo was playing on¬†the bed.¬† I was kind of talking to myself and kind of talking to her as I was looking around the room trying to figure out the best layout for Henry’s crib and dresser (he will be staying in our room for at least¬†the few first months.)¬† We already have¬†a crib set up for Henry because we moved Jo’s to¬†our room after¬†she transitioned to a bed, but we still need to get¬†him a¬†dresser.¬† I said something about “needing to find¬†a dresser for Henry…”¬† Jo stopped playing and looked up at me with a puzzled look that quickly changed to one of revelation.¬† She said “Just a minute, Mama, I’ll go get¬†a dresser for Henry!”¬† and she hopped off the bed and ran into her room intent on retrieving something she had in mind.¬† I had to laugh at her determination¬†—¬†but I¬†was rather curious about what she was going to bring me (I was thinking maybe she would grab the little dresser from her dollhouse.)¬† But, no…¬† She obviously¬†didn’t quite understand what I was saying because she came back into my room proudly bearing her favorite little balloon-print red dress¬†with a big ol’ smile on her face.¬† She said excitedly, “Here you go, Mama, here’s¬†a dresser for Henry!!”¬† Heehee…¬†After¬†I stopped laughing I¬†had to explain that first of all, boys don’t normally wear dresses and second, I was talking about an item of furniture, not clothing!¬†

Another¬†funny¬†one came up in a conversation with Ahmad.¬† We were talking about the rainy season in Liberia and how intense the pouring rain can be.¬† He said that sometimes it rains so hard that “the rain will embarrass you¬†so you can’t go out in it to walk to work.”¬†¬† I had to stop him and ask him to repeat himself because I didn’t think that I heard him correctly, but he used the same word again.¬† I thought it was such a funny use of the word “embarrass.”¬† I guess it makes sense in that context because¬†the rain is¬†keeping you from doing something, which is sort of how we use the word… just not¬†in that¬†particular context.¬†¬†It’s¬†yet another “Liberianism.”¬† ūüôā¬† We are enjoying learning a little Liberian¬†English from him…¬† and I love listening to him talk on the phone¬†with his family back home.¬† It is¬†very hard to understand, though.¬† He is from the Mandingo tribe, so he speaks a combination of Mandingo and Liberian English¬†with them.¬† If I listen really hard I can make out a word or two — but for the most part it is like a completely foreign language.¬† Ahmad does a great job speaking “American” English with us… he is very easy to understand for the most part.¬† There are times when we totally miss each other, and he is repeating his word over and over and we are repeating our word over and over until finally the lights go on and we all realize that we are actually saying the same word!¬† That’s very funny… but thankfully it doesn’t happen¬†too often¬†and we¬†are generally able to carry on¬†long conversations without language frustration.¬† He is a¬†fantastic storyteller and I am glad we can understand him to hear his stories.¬† I love the way he uses props to help make his point.¬† I don’t know if that is a common Liberian trait, or if it is just Ahmad, but it’s really funny.¬† Glasses of water on the table become buildings and the salt and pepper shakers become fire trucks!¬† ūüôā

The news from Liberia today through our adoption agency was not so good.¬†¬†Apparently¬†the U.S. Consulate in Monrovia¬†has changed things again and has decided to reduce the number of adoption-related visas processed each week.¬† This means that the wait for¬†Henry’s visa¬†just got longer… much longer…¬†than we¬†were¬†expecting yesterday.¬† (Currently she has been scheduling enough appointments to get two or three families from our agency through each week.¬† Now it will be down to only enough appointaments to process one family per week.¬† This creates quite a backlog of families caught in the bottleneck of finalized adoptions waiting on visas.)¬†

So, needless to say, I am a little discouraged… as are many, many other families who are anxiously awaiting their visa appointments.¬†¬†Peter¬†and I¬†had been hoping to be able to travel¬†in January to bring Henry home, but if things¬†don’t change, it will¬†be much later than that.¬† I am frustrated because I¬†really want to bring my¬†son home, but I also just feel terrible for the families who were hoping to travel this month and who are soooo close to bringing their kids home.¬† They are really feeling the sting of disappointment right now…¬†

Anyway, we would certainly appreciate your prayers for this whole situation.  Thanks.

Ughh… Daylight Saving Time is over, so it’s dark¬†by 5:00.¬† In another month it will be getting dark by¬†4:00!!!¬† That’s still afternoon!!¬† — I’m trying to adjust… but it crept up on me today!¬† I guess it means more time inside on the computer!!¬† ūüėČ

On a more positive note, we had a good, busy weekend with a wonderful Church Harvest Party on Saturday and our community’s “Christmas” trade show where¬†various artists/craftspeople had pieces of work for sale or display to generate interest for the upcoming holiday season.¬† Peter¬†made a gorgeous¬†dining table (in the long “harvest” table design) out of rustic alder and it turned out beautifully.¬† He distressed it a little and then scraped the top to make it look like hand-hewn planks.¬† Between that and the joints, it had¬†such a great old look to it. ¬†We sold it right away and had a lot of other interest, so hopefully we will get a few more Christmas orders.¬† I was really looking forward to giving him a hand with it in the shop last week because I love working on furniture… but I ended up being too busy trying to finish up some earring designs.¬† I had a lot of interest in my jewelry as well, so all in all, it was a good trade show.¬† (It’s nice having it over, though.)¬†

Here are a few pics of the table… so if you know anyone that might be interested in one, let us know!!¬† (All proceeds go toward the “Henry Fund” ūüôā )

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My jewelry website is still¬†not quite¬†finished.¬† It takes a lot more than I realized to get a commerce site up and going (and looking halfway decent! ūüôā¬†Hopefully it’ll be finished next week…

Jo’s birthday is¬†next Sunday (the 11th.)¬† And let me tell you, I am not going to get away with a small¬†birthday party like I did¬†last year for her second birthday.¬†¬†I guess by the time you turn three you¬†are very¬†aware of what a birthday party should look like!!… so it’s balloons and streamers and a house-full of little girls for us!¬† ūüôā¬†¬†¬†My sister-in-law¬†always throws great parties and bakes¬†these incredibly creative works-of-art birthday cakes for her kids… it’s a little intimidating thinking about¬†following her¬†legacy.¬† I didn’t grow up celebrating birthdays (actually, we didn’t celebrate any holidays until I was in my teens¬†— but that’s a story in itself!) so I am really an amateur when it comes to putting together a three-year-old’s birthday party.¬† I am open to any and ALL suggestions!!¬† ūüôā

My sister is flying up from Portland to spend a couple days at my parent’s this week, so Joanna and I are making the two hour drive to Spokane tonight.¬† (It’ll be late when we pull in, but I drive better at night than early in the morning!)¬† We are going to¬†stay with them¬†for a couple days and then come back¬†home on Thursday or Friday.¬† I am REALLY excited about getting to see my sis again.¬† I miss her like crazy!!

Okay I just have to close with this funny picture I took of Jo a little while ago.¬† I looked over at her and she was standing like this, with her hands in her pockets!¬† I’m not sure where she learned to do that, but¬†itwas sure cute!

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A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

Photography Website:

Contact Me:

sunfreckled@gmail.com
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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