"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, February 22, 2008

Excited is an understatement!

I think you must all realize how expensive 3 adoptions (and 1 failed one) in 3 years must be. So, what do you when you have no money left? You go on vacation, of course!!!

I am so very excited that my absolutely wonderful mother and my amazing sister have offered to babysit all the kids while Scott and I take off for 8 glorious nights on vacation this summer!

First on the itinerary? Our nation's capital. I have a few pictures of visiting Washington, D.C. with my parents when I was about 3 years old. I've never been back since. It's always somewhere I've wanted to go and we just knew that until the kids got older, unless we went alone, it's not something that they would appreciate! So, we're spending 3 days visiting not only museums, monuments and all that this awesome city has to offer, but we are also going to Chinatown there (which I love) and attending mass at the National Cathedral!

Next on our self-made tour we are heading up to Hershey Pennsylvania to spend the day at Hershey Park!! Another one of those places that I've always wanted to go to. Yes, the kids would probably enjoy this, but they are still too young for all of those thrill rides....and we're not! So, off we go! I do have some guilt about leaving Amanda behind, because I know she'd love it, but we have Disney right around the corner from us and she could goes on rides whenever we are there, and we don't. She's ok with the trip, because she considers the rest of it to be "too educational".
After spending the day at the Park and visiting Chocolate World (YUMM!!!) we will be heading a bit east to a little town called Lititz in Lancaster, another place that I've dreamed about going to for many years, but for some reason or another it's never happened. We found a beautiful, quaint and inviting bed and breakfast where we will be staying at. The day will be spent visiting the Amish Village and taking a buggy ride through miles of covered bridges and the Dutch countryside. Our hosts at the B & B will also be arranging a dinner for us at an Amish family's home, so we can experience true Amish home cooking and chatting with the family about their lifestyle and homelife.

The next morning, after we finish our scrumptious breakfast at the B & B, we head southwest to a teeny, and I mean teeny, town that we found. It's the most incredible place I have ever seen. A beautiful cabin in the mountains of West Virginia surrounded, by well, nothing! Yes! A secluded cabin in the wilderness where for 2 nights we will just be enveloped by God's beautiful creation. Nature at its best! A perfect way to end a vacation full of non-stop, touristy, sightseeing.

I spoke to the girl who runs this place and she mentioned that the population there is less than 400! There is only 1 grocery store in the entire county and it's about 10 miles away from the closest town, Franklin. This, I believe, will be my favorite part of the trip. There are no phones, no cell phones, no paved roads. Yes, there is running water and there is electricity. I'm not that adventurous. It's plain perfect!

I can just envision us sitting on the deck sipping coffe and watching the sunrise over those majestic mountains. We plan on also doing a lot of sitting outside by the fire-pit and watching the millions of stars that fill the night sky without a man-made sound within miles from us. One of our stops on this part of the trip will be a visit to Monongahela National Forest and stand atop the highest peak in West Viriginia, Spruce Knob. Lastly, we plan on getting lots of r & r and definitely sleeping late.....lots!!

Finally, on our last day, we will head to Baltimore, Maryland where we hope to meet some friends from the adoption world (Susan...it's a go!) for dinner before heading back early the next morning. I'm sure I'll be dying to see my little, and big, kiddos after all that time. But, we're really gonna try and make the best of having time for us alone and not make every conversation end up in talking about the kids.

Ily and Mom, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have no idea how much this means to us! Of course, to our Lord and Savior, thank you for blessing us with such the best family in the world and for providing for such special time for my sweetie and me!

If anyone has any suggestions or advice regarding the trip, I'd really love to hear from ya! By the way, did I mention that I am sooooooooooooo excited?!!!!

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Oh my goodness! I logged in tonight to find lots of questions and oodles of great info as to where to go and what to do! I'm soaking it all in like a sponge....so, please...keep it coming! The only problem now is that now I don't know how we're gonna fit it all in, because I want to do it all!

When I get back from our trip, I'm going to have to leave again to "fat farm"! Those that know me, know that I LOVE food! So, all of these restaurant suggestions are being taken very seriously! It seems like I'm gonna be eating 6-7 meals a day at this rate!

B. - I looked up the Shoo-fly pie....YUMMMMMERS! Sounds so delicious. It's definitely on the list!

A few of you asked when we are planning on going. Our flights are booked for the last week in July. I know....hot, hot, hot. But, we're coming from Florida, so it shouldn't be a big deal. Oh! If anyone knows of a great place to whitewater raft around the Franklin (WV) area, please let me know.

Also, some of you have emailed me asking if we could somehow stop and meet you. Lord knows I would absolutely love to...but, I think Scott would hang me from the nearest tree if I mention again about my "adoption friends" wanting to meet up. I personally think that he's afraid you may talk me into "just 1 more"...heh! If I were traveling alone, or with the kids, I'd definitely try and find the time and place to meet up with some of you. But, we're trying to keep this trip as close to a romantic, forget-about-the-kids-trip, as possible.

On a positive note, it's a reason for another trip to the area. B. and P. - My favorite city is NYC....so, I know for a fact that we'll be up there at some point, hopefully with the entire crew. You can count on us getting together when I do make it up there!

Also, someone asked about how concerned I was about Anna Grace's attachment and the fact that I will be gone for 9 days. Trust me, I've thought long and hard about it. By the time July rolls around, she'll have been home for over a year. One of my very soon upcoming posts will be about Anna Grace and her attachment. So check back sooon for that one in the next few days.

I will say that she's improved by leaps and bounds in that area, although we do continue to have setbacks every once in a while. I have succumb to the fact that it will definitely take her much longer than it took Kai to be completely attached and able to trust us. It's ok. We've got all the time in the world to wait for her for to feel completely secure. She'll eventually see that we are not going anywhere, and that neither is she. Again, that's another post.

I just wanted to pop in here quickly to say thank you for all of the suggestions, comments and emails I have received so far. I've made notes about all of them and my little file is growing quickly. Scott is incredibly impressed by the wealth of information that I have gathered from my bloggy buddies! You guys rock!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A little of this....a little of that.

STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! That's how I feel. Do you know what this is a picture of? My left foot! Sunday night, I had put the little one's to bed after a very busy day. Finally, after about 5 or 6 "GO TO SLEEP" shouts down the hall to them, silence formed and shortly afterwards, I could hear the sweet, harmonious sounds of their light snoring. Now, I could relax. That is, until the doorbell rang!

Amanda was coming home from her Dad's house and she rang the bell. I leaped out of my chair to make a mad dash to the door before she pushed the button again. All this so that my three little munchkins wouldn't wake up. Well, as I turned the corner, someone had a the audacity of putting a WALL in my way. My left foot slammed full-force into the wall. I stubbed my toe in a manner that I had never, ever done before. The pain blinded me for a second and my scream not only woke up Scott, who had gone to bed early, but woke up the 3 little ones. Don't ask me how, but I managed to make it to the door and unlock it before staring down at my foot. When I did, I was shocked to see that my 4th toe was now pointed in a totally not-supposed-to-be direction and the pain was shooting down into my entire foot. Scott wanted to go to the emergency room, but all I can think of was that I wanted to get to bed hoping it would all go away.

Fortunately, thanks to Presidents' Day, there was no school the next day. Scott had brought the little ones into my room before I got up and he left to work. It took just a couple of seconds before I was quickly awakened by little feet clammoring over me, and then the shocker was when one of them, (again the pain was too much for me to remember who) stepped on my foot and a piercing scream filled with pain hailed Amanda to come running. I looked at my foot and it was swollen so much that my attempts to wiggle my toes were futile, not to mention the huge bruising that covered the entire top of my foot.

Amanda gathered the troops as I called Scott and told him he had to take me to the E.R. For a brief moment, I tried walking on it to go to the bathroom, but the only result from my efforts were tears from the pain. I crawled to the bathroom, pulled myself up, did what I had to do and crawled back to bed.

Scott made it home and we were off to the emergency room where we sat for 3.5 hours before being seen. The end result was a severe break at the base of my fourth toe. The doctor informed me that nothing is done for broken toes except "a buddy tape", a post-surgery boot and crutches, then kindly sent me on my way. He reminded me that broken bones take 3-4 weeks to heal and that I should remain off of it for at least a week. HA! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I cried. This also ruined my hubby's sky diving escapade that was to be this weekend. He doesn't want to risk both of us having something broken. I understand his feelings and agree, but it still saddens me that it has to be postponed. I know he was so looking forward to it.

So, today, here I lay, surrounded by muffins, coffee, the remote control and my laptop while Scott takes over the helm. I have to admit that it has taken everything in my power not to get up to help him. He is awesome with the kids and could easily fill my shoes, but it's that "Mama" thing that doesn't stop reminding me that I'm supposed to be doing the dressing, feeding, etc. in their lives. After a pain pill that filled me with that warm, fuzzy feeling, I have resigned to the fact that soon enough I will be back to my job and that I will be beating myself up for not having taken advantage of the little break. No pun intended. Tomorrow he goes back to work, and so do I. So, please say a prayer for me, if you can. I'm not sure how I'm going to take Kai to school and walk with the 3 of them and crutches.

Going on to another topic. I haven't posted since Valentine's Day. It was a great day. My 3 little sweeties were all dressed in their Valentine attire and were filled with sugar to their (well, almost) heart's content. Did I tell you that all 3 are very sensitive to the effects of sugar? And that there is not a "crashing" afterwards? It's almost like it's injected into their blood system when they eat candy. Within minutes, their little mouths are non-stop talking, or whining, or crying, whichever comes first. This is followed by lots of active movement both in the arms and legs, even while sitting.

At the end of a great day, and seeing smiles from everyone when they got their candy and ballons, things settled down. I made dinner for the kids and they were off to bed so Mama and Daddy could celebrate their Valentine's Day.

Not sure if ya'll remember, but Adam had given us a gift certificate to Ruth Chris Steakhouse for Christmas. We made sure to ask if the certificate included babysitting service. It did! So, what a better night to take off then Valentine's day. Scott and I got all dressed up and off we went for an absolutely, scrumptious, classy steak dinner. Yummmm! It was perfect, both the food and the company. (Thank you, sweetie. You are my soul-mate and I just could not fathom life without you. It's Valentine's Day everyday for me. So sorry about the skydiving.)

I also wanted to share about our experience with our first asking for prayer request. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can go back and read this.

When we were driving to the restaurant, I reminded Scott about our new practice and he said yes, this time a little less emphatically. I understood his feelings because really, you are asking something so personal of a total stranger, but at the same time, you are offering the most powerful tool that anyone could be given....for free. Prayer. And most importantly, it brings glory to God.

We were seated within minutes and they took our drink order. I ordered a Ruth Chris Cosmopolitan, which by the way are delicious. No, I'm not a huge drinker, but I like to have a couple of drinks with hubby, especially during romantic, childless, dinners.

The waitress brought our drink order and took our meal orders. We had agreed to starve ourselves all day in order to make sure we would be really hungry for this delicious meal so when they brought out the just-baked, hot fresh bread, we woofed that down between sips of our drinks. By the time our meal arrived, my drink had vanished and I was ready for another one. I think this is the only thing I would change about the entire evening, but oh, well. It wasn't intentionally done.

What am I talking about? Let me explain. The waitress came back with our meals and placed the extremely hot 1800 degrees plate with our sizzling steaks before us. My sweet husband said to our waitress, "Mary. We are going to say grace now. Is there anything that we can pray for you for?" She stopped and smiled, with a bit baffled look and quickly said, "Yes! Can you please pray for my son, Daniel? That would mean so much!" My eyes watered that God would allows us the honor to be used by him to lift a stranger up in prayer. Scott quickly responded to her with a "consider it done!" She began walking away, and before I could stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I call out her name. She turns around, I'm sure expecting me to say something about Daniel or the prayer, and instead (this is where foot is completely inserted in mouth) I say, "Can I get another drink, please?" UGH! I said it and then wished I could have taken back the words. I look down with embarassment as I hear her say, "No problem."

She walks away and Scott, knowing me as he does, knows how I feel. I look at him and I said, "Pretty dumb of me, eh?" He says...."Nahhh....it makes me look like the religious one and you like the lush who asks for a drink while she's asking for prayer." We both laughed. Definitely one of those 'wanna get-away' moments. We proceeded to say grace and had a wonderful evening.

Since then, we've been out to eat two other times, both times asking for prayer requests, both times receiving petitions. I've even made mental notes of what the requests were and have added them to my daily growing lists of prayers.

I spoke to my sister a couple of days ago, who is vacationing in North Carolina this week and told her about our prayer request experience and she began doing it up there. She, too, has started the practice and has received prayer requests. How awesome would it be that this form of evangelization spread and that worldwide people would pray for each other? God is at definitely at work.

Here's a few pictures of the Bombardier Valentine's Day. Enjoy!

P.S. My ever positive husband reminded me that I should be thankful in all things. "It is very possible that something as minor as a broken toe could have prevented something much more horrible during Saturdays's scheduled sky diving." Very true. Thank you, Lord.

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