Thursday, May 21, 2009
Little Lindsey has been bonding and attaching fairly well to her new family, but there's been a few very serious health complications. Yesterday, little Lindsey was admitted to the hospital and today's update looks like it's pretty serious again. Please, take a moment to pray for this family and for a miraculous, complete healing for little Lindsey. They are weary, sad and fearful. They need the love of the Body of Christ and the support of our prayers.
Blogoversary, to me!
(It was officially on May 17th, but it was also a Sunday. And I was chillin' and recuperating from LadyBug's big 10th birthday girly extravaganza and missed the date. More on that in another post.)
Wow, what a two years it's been! We've re-modeled and re-decorated all but one room and two bathrooms in our house. We've re-landscaped our entire front yard. We're navigating the parenting of not one, but now 2, junior highers with little or no visible scarring. We're surviving the orientation to the tween years with minimal hair pulling (mine). I'm bearing up under the transition of my littlest guy becoming a big boy and being in school all day. The Boss has increased and changed job responsibilities multiple times. And we've added Li'l Empress to our crazy, happy gang. Whew. I'm exhausted :)
I have a lot of new readers in the two years since I started "The Gang's All Here!" A lot has happened in our lives. I've grown and changed and learned. I had this great brainstorm, and thought it'd be fun for you if I were to post some pics of my little gang from May '07 and now, from May '09. So you can see for yourselves how much we've all grown. Except, we didn't have a digital camera in May of 2007. And I since I was practically comatose on the couch most of the day, I didn't capture them on this 17th either. So for the closest I could get, here's some pics of late summer '07. And some recent pics from this April. That'll have to do. Okay with you?! Good, cuz with all the drama and craziness going on around her, it's all I got.
Shaggy, Dr. D, LadyBug, and Baby BlueEyes
So little and so sweet!
Dr. D, Baby BlueEyes, Li'l Empress on
Shaggy's lap, and LadyBug
Still so sweet, now more numerous,
and certainly growing up too quickly.
So, dear readers, thanks for a fantabulistic two years. I've had a great run and I'm already looking forward to where the coming year takes us. I've always got lots going on in this little head of mine to share with you all - finding the time to get it all out of my head is becoming the catch I'm up against daily. Thanks for reading, thanks for coming back and thanks for the friendships!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I had no idea she knew how to do this.
How cute are my stick-figure daughters?!
Friday, May 15, 2009
This story was particularly beautiful. Head over to read it, but grab a tissue before you get there. You will need it.
Did you know that May is National Foster Care Month? For many families, this organization is a perfect way to go about building their families. There are many, many more beautiful stories here, if you are interested. Maybe God is calling you to "change a lifetime."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
But the buzz here at The Gang's house has been all about the upcoming Night at the Museum sequel. Each of us has our own reason for loving the original, but each of us is equally agreed that this is the summer's "must see" movie for The Gang. We don't go to the theater often as a family. I think the last movie we all saw together in the theater was Charlotte's Web, back in 2006. Really. Sad, I know. We're just too choosey. And too cheap. Yes, I said it. We're cheap. Frugal. Miserly. Whatever.
This is one movie that might actually get us to the local theater for an afternoon of giggles and guffaws together. Notice I said afternoon. Yeah, taking 7 folks to the movie theater these days just about equals a car payment. So I'm cheap. I've already acknowledged that. Whatever.
I might even chip in for popcorn!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Top TEN Things
that I love about LadyBug:
- She is joyful and exuberant about her life. She wakes up with a smile EVERY DAY!
- That smile lights up our rooms and changes the atmosphere in a flash!
- She has a caring, nurturing spirit about her. I can already tell she's gonna be a fantastic mommy.
- Her sense of humor and silliness brightens our day. Her antics and silly words make us laugh.
- She is a wonderful, loving sister to all her siblings.
- There is a tenderness, an innocence if you will, about her that stirs my heart.
- She loves to jam to my country music with me!
- I love that she is easily pleased and very grateful for so many things.
- She is a very hard worker and eager to please.
- She loves Jesus, has become very quick to repent, and desires to be like Him.
Thank you, Lord for our lovely LadyBug.
I rejoice that she is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside. Thank you for who you are creating her to be as you grow her. Thank you for the covering and protection You have over her life. May she always be as tender and sweet in Your Presence as she is today. Thank you for the miracle and the blessing that she is to The Gang and all who are privileged to know her.
And thank you, Father,
for the honor of parenting this sweet girl.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Once The Boss, Shaggy, and Dr. D returned from church, I got to spend some time wandering around my local K*hl's all alone. I returned to the amazing smell of dark chocolate brownies baking in the oven. And vases of my pretties placed strategically throughout the downstairs. The rest of the day can be summed up in these pictures.
Friday, May 8, 2009
We had a pool catastrophe last week. We've been trying to clean it, repair some stuff and get it ready for swimming season and in the process of that the liner basically blew out. Ironic on several fronts: first, we were pretty excited about starting the preparations and repairs so early. Normally, we're so busy in the spring that the pool kinda gets jammed into a semi-free weekend, and other things end up being eliminated or moved around on the calendar. Secondly, we were feeling positive about the possibility of squeaking another year or two out of our liner after we researched how to take care of some of the problems we had at the end of the swimming season last fall. Finally, we've been feeling good about our finances as of late. The adoption and several other unexpected issues have made things really tight around here for a while and we were starting to see some "flexibility" coming down the pike. Not so much anymore. I submit to you the evidence.
I'm choosing to believe that this entire event will force further reliance on the provision of the Lord and trust in His ways. I've been forcing myself to "just keep praisin'" as I said in a recent F*ceb@ok status. (I sing it to myself in Dory's singsong voice. Without the swimming. Obviously.)
On a more pleasant note, spring field trips are beginning. The Boss and LadyBug are in the city today, taking in the historic sites with the whole grade. It was so precious to me that The Boss volunteered to go and was so excited about it. (Here's a close to live action shot, uploaded by The Boss just for me!) LadyBug has just been beaming all week, and assured Daddy that she would be "totally fine" with strolling down the city streets hand-in-hand with her dear ole' Dad. I'm so blessed to have such an involved, "present" and loving Daddy for my children. Next week, he heads to a local amusement park for "Physics Day" with Shaggy. I doubt that there will be much hand-holding, but sharing the day hanging upside down on roller coasters is great father-son bonding if there ever was any, don't you agree?!
I'm thinking it's pretty sacrificial of me to give these chaperoning opportunities to The Boss, don't you? I mean, I'm giving up long rides on noisy school buses, hoards of chattering little ones, and hurling jr. highers who've overdone it on roller coasters and carnival food. THAT's love, I tell ya. True love.
Li'l Empress is astounding us with her progress and her growth. She's fully into the toddler testing stages. As I've said before, she's redefining our definition of a strong-willed child. But she's so darned engaging and cute that I'm not minding it terribly much. I also suspect that the little battles mean less to me, all these years later, and I'm enjoying the stages more than I let myself (or the kids for that matter!) in years past. I'm far choosier over what battles I'll push back with her. There's lots of fun new things she says and understands. That kind of stuff deserves it's own post, so I'll work on those thoughts and share them soon.
Finally, I'm wrestling with an internal dilemma. Last night, Dr. D asked if he could just hang at home today. My immediate, fun-mom response was, "SURE! I'd love to have you home to hang out with me and Li'l Empress." Immediately on the heels of that exclamation came my little rules-follower self, whispering that it would be inappropriate to allow him to stay home for no good reason. That he's already missed a lot of school with his bout of extreme strep this winter. That it's not very honoring of the authorities over him at school to let him just "skip." He went to school. Part of me is kicking myself for not taking the opportunity to meet him where he was at. I know he's pretty burned out with the pace at school right now. But the other part of me is kicking myself for even allowing the thought that responsibilities like school could or should be ditched so easily. And a teensy weensy part of me is just plain ticked that I didn't let myself be Fun Mom, consequences be d*&#%d . . . This mothering is a tough gig.
So, there's just a tiny peek into the randomness of my life this week. The sun is FINALLY out, Elboh is singing in the family room to Li'l Empress (Oh, how I love this Elboh stage of life!), and I believe that there's another cup of coffee calling my name in the kitchen. Have a great weekend, dear readers. I know I plan to.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
After I got the gang all off to their respective buses, I threw in a load of laundry, reheated my coffee for like the 6th time and whipped up a version of these tasty morsels of health and goodness. My favorite thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Today's treat was Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins. My second favorite thing is how easy it is. Finally, my third favorite thing about this recipe is that no matter how stale the cereal, it turns out amazing muffins. Every. single. time. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!
In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I got the original recipe from cooks.com. It's been so modified and changed up for our health needs and taste preferences, that I can't honestly remember what is still original. But I just needed to make sure you knew it isn't original to my little brain.
The Best Bran Muffins
1 1/4 c. bran cereal (think All Bran or Bran buds, not flakes)
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 c. brown sugar, not packed
1 egg (or 1/4 c. egg substitute)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. applesauce
- In bowl, pour milk over cereal and stir. Allow cereal to moisten while you work on other steps.
- In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except cereal. (If adding raisins, oats, chips, or nuts, lightly toss them in dry ingredients as well.)
- In bowl of cereal and milk, add egg, vanilla and applesauce. Mix well.
- Slowly add wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients and fold in JUST till all the mixture is moistened.
- Scoop into greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 for about 22 minutes. Should yield 1 dozen medium sized muffins.
Modifications I make as the mood strikes me:
(The above recipe is the "bare bones" version)
- Sometimes I do 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat
- I often add 2 small apples, peeled and chopped
- I love to add 1 c. dry oats. This requires an additional 1/4 c. applesauce
- My kids love it when I throw in 1 c. chocolate chips.
- I also have been known to add 1 c. raisins or craisins
- I especially love this with 1 c. of coarsely chopped nuts (any kind is yummy!)
- I like to add 2 tsp. of cinnamon, or 2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
- Once I added a ton of orange zest (didn't measure!) with the craisins
- Go ahead, go crazy and add all the "stuff" - I've done it before and they're super hearty and really tasty!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation exists to raise awareness about the condition, foster research about the syndrome and provides extremely valuable support and information to CdLS families. It is also the best place on the web to learn about CdLS. From their website:
CdLS is a congenital syndrome, meaning it is present from birth. Most of the signs and symptoms may be recognized at birth or shortly thereafter. A child need not demonstrate each and every sign or symptom for the diagnosis to be made.
As with other syndromes, individuals with CdLS strongly resemble one another. Common characteristics include: low birthweight (often under five pounds), slow growth and small stature, and small head size (microcephaly). Typical facial features include thin eyebrows which frequently meet at midline (synophrys), long eyelashes, short upturned nose and thin, downturned lips.
Other frequent findings include excessive body hair (hirsutism), small hands and feet, partial joining of the second and third toes, incurved fifth fingers, gastroesophageal reflux, seizures, heart defects, cleft palate, bowel abnormalities, feeding difficulties, and developmental delay. Limb differences, including missing limbs or portions of limbs, usually fingers, hands or forearms, are also found in some individuals.
Friday, May 1, 2009
This year is the first year that it's yielded
more than a couple little blooms.
They are the most fragrant of my collection.
It's been a great producer since the very first season.
I love the crisp purity of the blooms.
These bloom a bit later, and the flowers are
a deep, dark purple.
I searched for these for a long time.
Ironically, I finally found them at my favorite nursery
back in my old town.
After I'd lived here for a year.
With a store credit and a major coupon,
I was able to buy two!
And now I have mementos from
my lovely times at Ashcombe's, too.
My Miss Kim miniature bush hasn't bloomed yet.
She's ready, just hanging in there for some
bright sunny afternoon to bless me with her beauty.
I'll be sure to share the joy when it happens.