OUR STORIBOOK

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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!