I've been a tad out of commission the last couple days. On Friday, I had some "very suspicious" moles removed from my leg. The doctor's words, not mine. I'm totally a wimp when it comes to all things medical, for me and for others, so I was a sweaty clammy mess before I even got into the waiting room. They were running fairly behind and I was glad I brought a book to get my mind off of the ticking clock. Once they got me in there, the nurse said they'd only be doing two moles. I was at once relieved and concerned. I mean, relieved cuz it sounded less alarming to only be having two moles removed. And concerned because I was under the impression that the doc was most concerned about a large cluster of three moles that had been under surveillance for the last three years. I thought those were why I was there.
Turns out we were both right. The first mole was a small, surfacey thing, gone with a sweep and a scrape. But. BUT. That cluster of moles I thought was three was actually one large mole that was sort of merged under the skin. Turns out, that merging went pretty deep. Turns out that I needed two layers of stitches. And repeated jabs of local anesthetic. THREE rounds of jabs of local anesthetic to be exact. Deeper each round to be really precise. Ugh. It's a good thing I reminded them of my allergy to vicryl sutures. That would be very, very uncomfortable to experience again. Whew. Averted an ugh on that one. Toward the end of the tortuous tugging and other such ridiculous imaginings going on inside my head, the doctor asked me twice if I was on an aspirin regimen or something. Seems they had a hard time getting me to stop bleeding. Double Ugh.
So, I've been sitting on the couch. A LOT. Watching cheese-y Christmas movies. Reading. Folding lots and lots of laundry. And sitting. And sitting some more. All while wearing pants with no outside seam. (Read, flannel pants.) The seam of all my favorite-est pants runs right through the tenderest spot of the incision. Which, by the way, is 2 inches long. And sporting five royal blue stitches.
All while my Holiday To Do list is growing. Multiplying like little cartoon rabbits, line by line on my notepad. Really, I see them, giggling and making more little to do's all over the paper. It's ridiculous, really. REALLY.
This is a really tough time to be laid up. Triple Ugh.
The other day, I was out for a majority of the day. Shaggy and Dr. D were doing school and hanging out here at home with Li'l Empress. When I'm gone like that, they have a variety of "tools" in their repertoire that they use to occupy her and help her stay busy so they can still do school work. However, Tuesday, Shaggy pulled a whole new trick out of his bag that turned out to be a HUGE hit!
It seems that the phone was quite busy that particular morning, and he fielded call after call while working on his Spanish lesson. Li'l Empress was quite disappointed that none of the calls were for her and she kept begging him to let her talk too. Instead of getting frustrated and bugged by her single-minded determination and tenacious persistence (like I likely would have been!), he let her hold the phone and told her to wait for the next call.
So she sat down and held the phone in her hands and told him she was "waaating dohn to wing." In fact, she got specific. She was waiting for Shaggy's good friends, "Dosh and Dakub to dall me."
He actually got quite a few minutes of peaceful study done while she sat and waited. AFTER he snapped this cute shot, that is.
How cute is that?
Then, Shaggy took his creativity to yet another whole level of greatness. He made a little arrangement with Dr. D to watch over Li'l E while he slipped away for a minute or two. THEN. Then he called our house phone from his cell phone and asked for Li'l E. She was ecstatic! The phone had rung and it was for HER!
She was positive it was Daddy on the phone and she spent the next few minutes filling "him" in on all the big happenings of her day. She chatted away, a mile a minute, with Shaggy/Daddy and couldn't wait to tell me all about her very own phone call when I got home for lunch.
No wonder Shaggy is her biggest hero these days. He really went above and beyond for this one. I'm so grateful for his tender, patient nurture over this little one. I am certain it is depositing and investing into her heart in ways that are utterly immeasurable.
Seriously, how cute is that?
*Edited to add: it seems that BOTH of my boys have some serious mush going on for their little sister. Turns out, it was actually Dr. D's idea for Shaggy to go upstairs and call Li'l E. Now, I'm sighing. The cute factor just soared!
I've always said I'm not much of a collector. "Too much to dust." "Too much to keep track of." And my personal fave: "I collect kids, isn't that enough?"
But this year while taking out the Christmas goodies and decking our halls with boughs of stuff, I discovered that I am indeed, gasp, a collector. Seems over the years I've developed quite a penchant for gathering snowmen to grace my mantle. Or my hearth. Or my walls. Oh, well, here. You can see for yourself all my little snowmen, spread all over the downstairs of our home!
This little guy adorns my bookshelf, right where
I can see him from my computer.
I smile each time I see his chubby little self.
This is my hospitable greeter, standing sentry at my door.
He's very skinny and I keep trying to fatten him up
with my Christmas cookies and candies to no avail.
He's hanging in the foyer, keeping my greeter
snowman company with a cheerful smile.
Look at the legs on this guy!
This cute little guy used to hang on my tree,
but I put him in the kitchen to keep me company
while I putter about my day.
I snagged these two from certain banishment to
the local G**dWill this summer at my neighbor's yard sale.
Aren't they charming, there on my mantle?
These two (with their darling pine tree friend) sit across the mantle.
I won them at a vicious rousing game of Christmas gift exchanges.
The other ladies hopefully still like me, even though I fought hard to
win this set back each time it was stolen exchanged away from me.
From the same yard sale this past summer,
this one has become my new favorite.
Although, I do try not to play favorites with my snowmen.
He's perched on my hearth, keeping us company
while we watch Christmas specials by the fire.
My sister sent me this little pair, after I'd admired it
at her house one year. They are so happy to flank the fireplace
with my other chubby buddy.
Wasn't that so sweet of her to share?
This rotund couple is sitting atop my stereo.
I can almost see them bopping around when
"I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas"
blasts through the speakers.
I can't for the life of me remember where I got this
snowman angel. But he sure is a cutie.
You can't see it from here, but when he's bumped
(or when the iPod is thumpin'!)
his little wings flutter on a spring. So cute.
Two years ago, I purchased new stockings for all the Gang
and picked snowmen for the kids. I didn't even consciously think about
it then, but I bought an extra one. You know, just in case.
So "Mei Mei" has a snowman stocking waiting in storage
for when she finally comes home to us.
Even my collection of Christmas pins contains at least one or two
snowmen. Oh. Wait. I also have a collection of Christmas pins.
I AM more of a collector than I thought. Huh. Who knew?
I was so wrong about myself. I stand corrected.
I am a collector.
We have snowman cups for the table every night.
Thank you, D*ll@r General.
Oh, and look. While I was taking pictures of all the snowmen
in the house, Baby BlueEyes pointed out that I even bought
snowmen plates for last week's holiday bazaar/bake sale at school.
I'm begining to think I'm obssessed...
And of course, the heart of our home, you know, the refrigerator
canNOT be left out of the fun. Check out my snowman magnet.
Holding up my December menus.
I'm starting to scare myself. But I just can't help it. I mean, have you ever seen a grumpy snowman? They're kinda like Tigger. Happy, cheery, bearers of smile and joy. Who DOESN'T feel better when they see these guys dotting the holiday landscapes? Mmm, that makes me think. I wonder what OUTDOOR decor I can come up with to make the neighbors smile.
Yesterday we immersed ourselves in Christmas festivities. We went to my sister's house for lunch and a cookie decorating party. There were cookies, sprinkles, frosting, more sprinkles, and creativity a'flowin!
They all started out looking like this.
A sugar cookie snowman with a top hat.
And they morphed into . . .
A pink confection complete with finger swipe
down the left side. Li'l Empress was just testing the frosting
for proper consistency, I'm sure.
Baby BlueEyes went with a sort of Sumo Wrestler look.
At least, that's what I think it might be..... None of us are really sure.
LadyBug's snowgirl is sportin' some designer duds, right down
to the purple floral trim around her gown.
It's no surprise that Dr. D was all Eagles all the time.
This homage to LeSean McCoy is carrying my
Gang's favorite kind of football.
No, not chocolate.... CAUGHT.
The entire clan agreed that this was by far the most disturbing
of all the entries to Saturday's decorating festivities.
Some sort of surfer dude rockin' the pink bikini. I don't know.
Usually Shaggy is so meticulous and artistic when decorating.
This makes me wonder if he's starting to crack under the pressure.
I can't believe how many pictures I took of the day.
It was fun to watch the kids (of all ages!)
put their creativity to their giant snowmen.
My brother was especially proud of his little leprachaun cookie.
Doesn't that smile creep you out a little?
My brother's smile, that is. Not the cookie's.
But for me, the most fun of all was watching those first bites.
She was so excited for that first bite - I could hardly get her
to wait till the camera reset after the last shot!
My niece cracked me up all day.
"One sprinkle for me, one for the cookie."
"One chocolate chip for me, one for my cookie."
That girl knows how to decorate a cookie!
Sumo dude didn't last long in Baby BlueEyes' hands.
Poor thing, he went head first.
When she finished that cookie, her eyes were watering.
Red hots ain't just a name, sweetie!
A grand time was had by all. Great memories, good food, holiday tunes,
and fun conversations. What more could a Momma want?!
I know everyone has their favorite charities to whom they give each year, but I felt really impressed to share this one with you today. As many of you know, we adopted our Li'l Empress through the wonderful services of Living Hope Adoption Agency. What most of you DON'T know is that the biggest reason that we felt led to choose this agency out of the tons we researched is their sister organization, called Living Hope International.
Living Hope International is a not-for-profit that intentionally and generously cares for those children in China who cannot be legally classified as "orphans," because they have known, living kin who claim them as family. This, by definition, also makes them unavailable for any international adoption program. Make no mistake, these family members usually still care very deeply for their young grandchildren, nieces, or nephews. They just do not have the resources to feed, house, or educate them. Instead, these children have been surrendered to the care of the various homes run by Living Hope International. They are taken in, provided for, loved lavishly, educated, and even given trade skills. They are equipped and prepared to enter Chinese society and be contributing adults who can care for themselves and their families. The staff who do all this live out their love and their faith in front of these kids every day. THEY ARE CHANGING HEARTS AND TRANSFORMING MINDS, through the power and the action of The Word.
Group picture of the kids, staff, us, and the other
family that traveled with us to adopt - from Sept. '08
Recently, we began a formal sponsorship of a young girl who grabbed my heart back in Sept. '08 at a visit to the Beijing home. Lois has never left my heart or my thoughts and I found myself ELATED to learn that she would be traveling with the Living Hope Angels when they came to the region this fall. This Living Hope Angels tour was a fund-raising and awareness campaign that gave us multiple opportunities to interact with Lois, (thanks to a great translator!) and to see the sweet spirit and bright mind that she possesses. As we observed this side of Living Hope International's ministry and mission in their homes, we obeyed the prompting of God to provide financial support that will allow Lois to continue to live in a home full of love and big, wide open doors of opportunity. Her picture is posted on our fridge, and now our whole family stops to look at it, remember the lovely girl that they finally all got to meet, and pray for her.
"Our" Lois, hugging me on the day we met.
She said to me, "I will not forget you."
And she burrowed into my heart that day.
I rarely talk about this kind of thing here on my blog, because I get that money and giving and charity are a very personal thing. But at this time of year, many folks are looking for additional ways to be generous. And I'm putting this in front of you, praying that the incredible blessings of wealth and freedom that we enjoy here in the U.S. and as children of our AWESOME FATHER might prompt someone to step out and give generously. It's a smaller, lesser-known charity, but it is doing big, amazing things in lives and hearts.
Classroom tours from our Sept. '08
visit to the Beijing home
Truthfully, it's changing our hearts and minds, too. The power of investing so tangibly in the life of another person - participating in their equipping and educating is something that I know is also investing in my own kids here at home.
I trust that you will check them out and prayerfully consider what you can do. Even if it's is just sharing the information with someone you know, someone who has a heart and a passion for China, it's something.
Ever since Li'l Empress started sleeping in her big girl bed last week, we've noticed a change in her sleeping habits. In her crib, she used to snuggle in on her belly, doggy under one arm and wubby under the other. Always tucked under the same arms, I might add. She'd start out with her little hiney wiggling around in the air and flatten out as I laid the blanket over her and tuck it around her for "cozy rosie."
However, all that has changed. With the placement of her bed and her pillow now at the opposite end of the room, she sleeps on her side or her back. (When she isn't sneaking out of bed to snitch books to "read," that is.) I suspect that it's because she likes to be able to see the door from her bed. This new habit of sleeping on her back has wreaked havoc on her hair. Yesterday, I posted on my F@cebook status that Baby BlueEyes hair always looks like he endured a series of "swirlies" in his dreams. But he's got NOTHIN' on this girl of mine.
And THIS is after she'd been up for a while.
After the forces of gravity had weighed down
the crown portion that was sticking
when she came downstairs!
Sigh. If this keeps up, she might NEVER have thick enough hair, heck ENOUGH hair AT ALL!, to do more than two little tiny piggies on the very top.
The Christmas Give-Away over at 5 Minutes for Mom has been extended till this Saturday, December 4th. How cool is that? It sure allows slacker moms like me a little bit of time to still get in on the fun... I'm always happy about extensions of deadlines, especially this time of year!
Head over here and join the fun. You can find all the rules and details to enter. And pick yourself up one of the cool buttons for the event, like the new one on my sidebar. You never know, you might win something really cool.
So here it is, my new digs. Same address, but we've taken it down to the studs and completely remodeled. And by "we" I totally mean Christie. Yeah, all I did was say "yes" and "Can we move that here?" and "Too green" and "Cool, can I maintain that awesomeness on my own?" You know, kinda like home improvement projects go around here at the Gang's actual house.
I love it here. And I hope you do too. If you are looking for a fresh new look and a brand new friend for life, head over to Bushel & a Peck Designs. Tell Miss Christie that The Gang's Momma sent you. She'll treat ya right!
I'll be back later with some Wordless Wednesday of Li'l Empress and her new big girl bed... Stay tuned, you won't want to miss the cuteness!
We're taking the next step in our adventure of crazy. Today, our mailman will get the privilege of joining in the journey to our next daughter. I feel elated. Scared. Joyful. But most of all, settled. This is right. This is the path that God has for Our Gang. Prayers for His Light to illuminate the path would be so appreciated.
LadyBug, Baby BlueEyes and I all laid hands on it and prayed over it before I let them run it to the mailbox. We prayed for God's hand to be on our little mei-mei, that He would hand-pick her for our family like He did for our Li'l Empress. That He would prepare us and her for our joining together as family. And that He would watch over her and this process and give us strength, patience, and wisdom along each step of the way. I must admit, watching them RUN to the mailbox together to drop it in and raise the flag was touching. They are so excited and I am confident that mei-mei will be regularly covered in their prayers.
. . .before I go enjoy the food and fun with my family for tomorrow's feast, that is. . .
I know I'm late to the game on this one, but so my whole last month goes..... But apparently there's a cool give-away going on over at Ni Hao Y'all. And you all know how much I love me some giveaways. Add to the fact that Miss Stefanie is spearheading the effort and I'm over that. Late, I know. But all over it now. :)
So, head over to her post today. Join in the fun. And tell her The Gang's Momma sent ya. Cuz she's not already scared enough of my stalker tendencies.