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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy First Birthday Owen!


Happy Birthday Baby Boy!  I still cannot believe that you are one year old today!  Time flies by way to fast!

Here is the first time we saw each other’s faces.  Love at first sight : )


Your gorgeous Daddy enjoying you filling his arms. Seriously, is there anything better looking than a man that has totally fallen in love with his newborn?



Here we are snuggling during our first day together.  Apparently, you have aged me quite quickly, because in his picture I look about 15 years younger than I do today.


 
And here you are today!  We missed Livia, Parker, and Chad.  But still managed to have a good time.  We went to the Wonderlab.  Boy did you enjoy it!





We came home and swam and had some cupcakes with the Shellenbergers!   



You are such an absolute joy!  You smile and laugh more than anyone I have ever met!  You have a friendly outgoing personality.  But boy are you impatient!  You walk holding on to everything and will take a few steps on your own.  You love the pool!  You jump in and get very upset if we don't let you go underwater before we catch you.  You can say quite a few words. But Mama and Ninny are your favorite  :)

I love you so much Owen Charles Sullivan!  I thank God everyday for my littlest blessing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdoms



The wisdom my children and I learn with each other captured on camera.


When eating outdoors always look at your bite of food before it is placed in your mouth.  This little guy was found on Jamey’s plate as we were hosting a little dinner party.  




 I apologize the pics are out of focus.  This guy wouldn't stand still!  
And, Please ignore the dirty nails : )

I, of course, snatched it up and took it inside for a quick photo shoot.  This is what a Mommy of a boy who wants to be an entomologist does.  I wish Parker could have been here.  He would have loved to have seen it.  He also would have told us every fact there is to know about walking sticks.  But since he is in Florida, I had to use my trustworthy pal Google.  So here are some fun facts:


The walking stick has the ability to regenerate lost limbs.  How handy would this be?


A female can reproduce by herself, but will only produce other females.   Wow!  If this were true for humans, it could end all wars.  : )


Some species of walking sticks can squirt a fluid that will make their potential predators temporarily blind.  I am hoping that this does not include humans.  We like to play with walking sticks.  Maybe I need to research this fact a bit more!


Here are a few other creatures we have found around our house this past week. 


This little tree frog jumped on my shoe as I was watering flowers.  It stayed on my shoe the whole time I was outside! 




I know a lot of people get Frogs and Toads confused.  Here is some 
simple ways I tell them apart.
Frogs have wet skin and most have long hind legs for jumping. Some 
frogs can climb trees like this little tree frog.  You can tell by his sticky
toes!
Toads, on the other hand, have dry, warty skin. They are fatter, and
they have short hind legs. They may hop, but they stay close to the 
ground.
Oh, and FYI we have tested those myths over and over again.  If you 
kiss a frog it does NOT turn into a prince (Boo! Everyone could use a 
prince charming, right?)  and if you hold a toad you do NOT get warts!
Thank God!  Or we would be known as the Wart Family!



I swear he was posing for the camera (my phone) here!  Cute little guy!




But these guys….not so cute!


Don't worry these are harmless Wolf Spiders.  These are really harmless, because Shannon dived to the bottom of our pool to find these for the kiddos.  Apparently, Shannon loves my kids almost as much as I do : )

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saying Goodbye


In a few minutes I will wake my three oldest up and hand them over to some very loved family for the next 11 days!  They are heading on a trip to Florida!  They are so excited!  They cannot wait to play on the beach, snorkel, fish, eat sea food, etc.

I know they will be loved and spoiled.  But it is sooooo hard to say Goodbye.  Especially, for this long of time!  But, I am very excited for them! 

This is the first time Chad has ever been anywhere without me.  He is worried I am going to miss Chaddy  snuggles.  He is correct!  Chad gives the best kisses ever!  He keeps assuring me he will be back!  He has no reservations about going at all!  I am proud how far this little guy has come over time.  I think he is pretty proud too.  As he gives me such a proud face when he talks about going with the big kids to Florida.  Then he teases me that I really don't want him to go. I am praying that he has no attachment falls due to this trip.  And that he behaves like the little gentleman he can be!

Livia is always excited to go and do anything!  She is my social child!  She loves the beach!  No worries about her missing home to much, but I am really going to miss my only girl!

Parker is a big Mama’s boy.  He is in my bed, because he couldn’t sleep (and neither could his Mama).  He is so excited, but tears up when he thinks about being away from me.  He requested I video myself singing his night time song on his ipod.  This is true love I tell you!  I can not sing at all and will listen to that recording over and over!  He will have a bit of a hard time.  But did this trip last year and loved it!  Snorkeling and catching sharks while fishing on the beach at night is right up his alley!

I am not for sure how I will be.  I will cry after they leave and try not to tear up while we say our goodbyes.  Why is it so hard to say goodbye  even when it is something everyone is looking so forward to?  

I will then try to figure out what it is like to only care for two children!  Seriously, it is going to be so foreign to me!  I know I will probably have those moments of fear that I am missing a child (or two or three) when out in public.  I am hoping to do some special things for the little ones this week, maybe a trip to the Wonderlab and hopefully to the Zoo. I have a feeling I will surprisingly be busier with fewer kids.  Owen will be lost with Liv, Parker and Chad to play with him.  Ian is much more of a loner.   So, I will probably play a bit more on the floor with Owen and he will probably be attached to my hip when I'm up.


Mommy is going to miss you so much! You three are all so special!  Love you three to the stars and back!  (And yes, this does make me miss Chad's longer hair!)  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdoms

The wisdom me and my children learn with each other captured on camera.

Every little brother needs a big brother to teach them how to properly hold a crawdad.  

You can not hold it to hard, as you will squeeze it to death.  If you hold it to softly, it will be able to turn and pinch you!


Lucky for Chad he has just the expert crawdad catcher!  Parker can go to any creek and catch dozens in a few minutes!  I just have to share this older picture of him wearing his catches as earrings!


Although, crawdads are commonly sold for bait and food.  We simply want to catch them, study them and do a little photo shoot with them : )  


Great Job Chad!  


Monday, June 11, 2012

A Family Challenge!


There is this new thing out there that I am so excited about!  It is called FORGO (click on it and check it out!).  It is an easy app to download on your phone or you can access it on your computer.  FORGO is a nonprofit that helps raise money for nonprofits.  This month all the money is going to Our Family in Africa!!!  OFA is the wonderful nonprofit that helped us to adopt Chad and Ian and are continuing to do awesome work in the DRC for orphans.  This money is helping with startup costs of a wonderful new orphanage that we will be supporting!  And at this time all money is being matched!!!!!  My dear friend Carrie Wood does an excellent job explaining Forgo and sharing info and pics of this new orphanage.  Click HERE to read her blog post.

FORGO makes it so very easy for us.  It helps us realize that every decision, every purchase we make or NOT make can make an impact on others. With Forgo YOU can decide to skip desert and donate the cost of that desert.   YOU can decide to skip or make your own coffee and skip the Starbucks.  YOU can decide to make your own pizza instead of ordering from a restaurant.  YOU can decide to make a birthday cake instead of purchasing one.  The list goes on and on!

WE have decided as a family that for the rest of the month we will be having beans and rice for supper and Forgoing the normal cost of our supper.  I am so proud of my kiddos, especially the older two, for agreeing to do this.  We ate beans and rice for almost a month before we were able to bring Chad and Ian home.  This helped us think about how blessed we were to be able to eat.  And it helped us save money for all the formula we took to the Congo!   Beans and rice became a little old.  OK, maybe REALLY old!  We started adding anything that we could from our garden and of course the dollop of sour cream to add a little more variety!  You can click HERE to read about it.  But giving up our preferred dinner for children like these is an easy decision to make.





I am guessing we only have maybe $2 cost of beans and rice for supper each night for our family of seven!  I am averaging (maybe high average, but it is for the Congolese Orphans, right? ) we normally spend $30 on supper each night.  So, we are able to FORGO $196 this week!  And that $196 just got matched and turned in to $392!!!   AWESOME right?
 
So, I challenge you to do the same!  Replace your supper with beans and rice.  Try a night or two.  Or challenge your family and see if you can go the rest of June!

AND there are even more positives! On a more selfish note…this is a break from trying to decide what’s for dinner. It’s a break from cooking.  I can make a big pot of each and heat up individual servings every night.  And most importantly, it gives us a daily reminder of how blessed we are to be able to eat rice and beans while so many go to bed with hungry stomachs.  This is also a reminder of how important our daily decisions affect others. 


It also takes me back to the very anxious time period of our wait to hold Chad and Ian.  Knowing this little small supper was more than my children were eating daily was so hard. This was our prayer then and it will be this week too.



A cup of rice, a cup of wheat
For every hungry child to eat
And more we ask you, Lord above,
For every child, a home of love.



What will YOU Forgo?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Babies and Boobies


When I learned that Time magazine had a mother nursing her child on the cover, I was ecstatic!  I thought it would help to normalize breast feeding in a country that sadly sees propping a bottle up for a baby as the norm.  It pains me that it used to be the norm, until some big formula companies convinced us all otherwise.

I just think it is a miracle that I can produce milk and my babies can live off of that alone!  It amazes me still, even after I have breast fed all three children I gave birth to (still breastfeeding now).  I have breast fed way beyond the age society seems to be comfortable with.  It is hard to continue doing so with so little support.  But I will do anything that I know benefits both my children’s’ health and our attachment. 

I have also breast fed my 2+ year old adoptive child for the sole purpose of comfort.  This was the most amazing thing for my child with a big attachment disorder.  I would hate to think where we would be without it.  I have even breast fed a child that was not mine.  To me breast feeding is very normal.  But I step out my door or turn on the TV or look on my computer screen and I see society does not agree with me.

I really don’t understand all the negative comments about breast feeding past the newborn stage.  In most countries children are self-weaned, sometimes this is up to age 6.  It is natural.  It is not sexual.  God gave us breasts to breast feed.  Our media has sexualized the heck out our boobies and we have fallen hard for it. 

Most U.S. mothers don’t even meet the recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General that they skip infant formula and breast-feed exclusively for six months.   And those that do follow those guidelines are often questioned critically about it doing so. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breast-feeding up to a child’s second birthday “or beyond.” They also state, “It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer. There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding is harmful to mother or child.

So, there are only lots of positives for both the mother and the child when breastfeeding is extended past the US norm of 6 weeks.  But I guess because some of you all are uncomfortable with our “sexy boobies” we are suppose to stop.  No, I will never stop doing what is right for my children to make someone else feel more comfortable.

Ok, back to the TIME cover.  I am very saddened by it.  Instead of normalizing breast feeding they did anything but!  Who in the heck would ever stand their child on a stool and breast feed.  No, that is not normal!  And I guarantee most breastfeeding moms aren’t standing there all sexy doing so.  They are snuggling and enjoying their little one, not posing for a publicity stunt.

Breast feeding is a commitment to a child you love.  It is a beautiful bonding experience like no other.  If a mother, has made this commitment please support them.  All studies have shown that she is doing the best thing possible for her child. 

I don’t think there is anything sweeter than a breastfeeding baby.  I am hoping that one day it will AGAIN be the normal in society.  So, if you are around me, no I won’t leave the room, I won’t cover my babies head, I will try and be discrete, but yes you might get a glimpse of my breast (or my Ninny as Owen calls it).  I can guarantee there is nothing sexy about it!  I don’t do this to make people feel uncomfortable.  I believe the more people are around the beauty of it, the more comfortable they will become with it.  So, I wish TIME had posted some pictures like these: 


I am sure some are uncomfortable with the big engorged boobie, but most are probably comfortable with the fact this is a newborn breast feeding.


 Are you as comfortable with someone nursing at a public event?  
Say the Super Bowl Media Event .


What about nursing someone else's child?



What about nursing an adoptive son?  Transracial Nursing?


video

Mothering is the hardest job.  Let's support each other in our decisions to do what we believe is best for our beloved children!



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Responsibly Pestering You All

I know I have been pestering all of you to buy some goods to support a family who is adopting and a lot of you don't even know them.  I am sure you are wondering why?  Why am I making the effort to purchase, sell, and mail items?  Why do I keep bugging you?


Well, let me try to explain....


There are 147 MILLION reasons.  
There are an estimated 147 million orphans in the world today.  
147 million children that need to be fed
147 million children that need to be bathed
147 million children that need proper medical care
147 million children that need shelter
but most of these children just want one thing....to be loved.
147 million children that need a Mommy or a Daddy to hold them, to protect them, to keep them safe, to tell them everyday that they are loved.


As Christians, any one who believes in a God, as human beings, we are responsible for these children.  We can't stand by with the thought, "God is their Father and is always with them."  He might be.  But God works through us!  He has no physical hands to feed, bath, care, provide shelter, or to tuck a child in at night while whispering, "I love you and always will."  No, he needs us.  He needs us all to step us and take responsibility for these children.  


If only 7% of people who claim to be Christians would adopt or sponser a child, all 147 would be taken care of.  


All of you reading this, including myself, could adopt now.  We could save and raise enough money.  Yes, we would have to give up this 



 for 



 or this


for 



Okay, so most of us don't have the convertible, but you get my point.  We could all make sacrifices.  We could all adopt, but most of us are not.  I'm sure not all of us are called to adopt, yet many are, and are ignoring our calling.  


But we can still take responsibility for these children without becoming their Mommy or Daddy and we must.  One way is to support those willing to sacrifice all the things that we are taught in this society to be important.  We need to support those who are willing to step up to their calling and adopt a child in need.


Brian and Carrie Woods have done so over and over.  First, there was sweet little Grace (4 yrs old), then Haven (3yrs old), and then JoJo and Manny (both 1 yr old).  Several if not all of these children would most likely not be alive without them.  And now they are stepping up again, and adopting 8 month old twins.  Some of you might see this as irresponsible in this world.  Who could possibly properly care for SIX children?  (Well, I assure they can, and they will do a wonderful job.)  I see them being nothing but responsible to all of God's children.  


Of course, those of you who have adopted know that we are not the gift to our children, but they are the greatest gift God could have ever have given us.  With accepting this responsibility, Brian and Carrie are rewarded over and over each day.  As all of their beautiful children wake up happy to see their Mommy and Daddy, they are rewarded with smiles, hugs and kisses.  You see, as you add more members to a family, more and more love is created.  


But even knowing these rewards.  We are still frightened our life will change to much to act.


So for now, we can support those adopting. Support those who have adopted. Give monetary donations to a good nonprofit organization.  (I personally recommend Our Family in Africa).  Go on a mission trips to a third world countries.  Speak out.  And Pray.  Pray for all 147 million of these children.  Pray that those called to adopt will finally listen to their calling.  Pray that people will support them and help provide for the cost of getting these babies to their forever home.


So, the reason why I keep pestering you all...is because they are able to see beyond the fright that most of us have, they only see the love.  They are taking responsibility for the rest of their lives.  I think the least we could do is take the responsibilty to help get them home.


You can read more about Carrie and Brian and follow their journey by clicking on their names. If you would like to purchase an item or give a donation towards their adoption, and are not on FaceBook please just leave a message : )

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thanking God

So, I've been a little busy.  I hate that I haven't blogged about all the great things that have happened in my life.  But the truth is...
I just haven't the time or the energy.

Well, first of course I have to introduce little 
Owen Charles Sullivan.  
Born June 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm, 
weighing 8 pounds and 2 ounces, 20.5 inches long.




 Who has become not so little in the last two months. 
(Now close to 17 pounds!)


You all know that my pregnancy with Owen threw me for a loop.  I was expecting a little tiny black baby girl and ended up with a big white red headed baby!  But God has has given me a wonderful gift no matter the color.  I am so thankful to be able to nurse a little one again.  There is just nothing like it. 


When I first gave birth to Owen.  It was so strange.  I looked at him and thought he is so precious.  But....I didn't feel that immediate bond that I had felt with Liv and Parker.  I'm not for sure why.  It is most definitely there now and was shortly after.  I actually bonded much quicker to Chad and Ian.  I think this is because I had a pictures to look at every second of the day.  
They were more real to me.  

Owen has helped me see how calm and sweet my two wild ones can be.  
Chad and Ian are wonderful big brothers.  
They are so gentle.  
My only complaint to them is, 
"Owen has had enough kisses today."






The older two are so much help.  They love him so much.  They have a very special bond with him and even stronger bond with me because they were in the delivery room with me!  That is a whole other post in itself.  




Owen has made me realize again how blessed I am.  I hear him cry and I run to him and pick him up.  I simply say, "It's OK. Mama is here."  But this is what I am thinking, 
"Thank God I am here.  
Thank God I am able to take care of you.
Thank God I have the means to keep you.  
Thank God that I have the nutrition to have breast milk to feed you.  
Thank God I am able to hold you and love on you."  

Everyday now I think about Ian being the same age in an orphanage of over 100 kids and 1 caretaker.  I can't help but cry. What happened when he cried? Nothing.  I know there was no Mama there to pick him up.  There was no one to lovingly tell him it was OK.  There was no formula to feed him.





And poor Chad.  He had a Mama to take care of him and all of a sudden he was in a "Cave", as Chad calls the orphanage, with no one to feed or love him.  


How do you ever recover from that?  
How do you possibly as a parent make up for that?  
How do you deal with knowing your children have suffered so much?  
How do you deal with knowing there are so many other children out there suffering right now?  

It is all so much.

Then I see this and all I can do is Thank God that he has chosen me to a Mommy to all five of my children,
and pray that he will help me answer my questions,
that she will help me realize 
her plan for me and how I will help those children.



Monday, April 25, 2011

Words That Make You Go Hmmmm....

There are so many things that people have said lately to me that make me want go "Hmmmm......What the heck were you thinking!"   So, I decided to share a few.

* While at a restaurant Jamey and I were asked TWICE by two different people, "If we were going to keep them?", referring to Chad and Ian.   Hmmmm.....This is just rude!  Chad is 3 going on who knows what and he understands what you are saying!  

* As one of the above people were leaving he dropped a ten dollar bill on the table.  In response to our surprised looks, he said he really wanted us to have it.  Hmmmm.....Is this because he just offended us by asking if we were going to keep our children?

* I had someone approach me the other day and asked when my due date was.  I responded, "June 29th."  His eyes got real big and then he loudly stated,  "Wow!  You are already SO BIG!  Seriously, how big are you going to be by then!?!"   Hmmmm.......this guy is just lucky we were in a room full of witnesses.

* Last week we took Chad and Ian to an appointment with a pediatric surgeon.  The doctor comes in and reviews our paperwork, clearly stating we are their parents with the same last name.  Talks to us awhile, hears the boys call us mommy and daddy.  As she starts taking some notes she asks, "So, are the boys adopted?"  If you could have seen Jamey's face, I was trying hard not to laugh.  She explained that her children look very Asian like their father and people always assume that she adopted them from China.  So, I guess she didn't want to assume that we hadn't some how miraculously produced to very black babies!  Hmmmm......and she is going to possibly operate on my babies!

* Then there are the comments that have been made over and over by different people.  Usually, they are something like, "Wow!  When are you due?  You are going to have your hands so full.  You poor thing.  I just don't see how you can do it."   Hmmmm.......baby is coming whether you are comfortable with it or not!  How about some support : )

* "Where are you going to put all those kids?"  Is a common question.  Hmmmm.....We do not live in a mansion or anything, but we are blessed to have 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths.  I see nothing wrong with a two or three of the kids sharing a room.  

So suprise!  We are going to keep all FIVE of our children!  Yes, this is my third pregnancy and I am soon to be 35, so my belly is nice and stretched out!  We are just as excited about number 5 as we were with 1,2,3, and 4!  I guess God just made me crazy enough to believe that we can handle 5 kids!  

Yes, lucky for me that God has blessed me with humor, as I just have to laugh at the things most people say :)




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Helping Others Adopt

You all know how my heart is all wrapped around adoption.  And even though we can not adopt again at this time as many of you can not either, we can do something!  

I have some really great friends who are adopting!  I am so happy for them!  Dessica comes from a very large family and is a wonderful mother.  Not only are they adopting, they are adopting FOUR beautiful brothers!  How awesome is it that! These boys get to be adopted and stay together!  They are a member of our small group at church and we are helping them raise money for their adoption.  We have created a chipin account, so click below and donate any amount!  Please help bring these boys home.