Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Journey Officially Begins

Today we completed our preliminary application for the adoption process.   We have had an amazing week processing through stuff with God.  We've felt him almost silent since the fall and have been waiting for the "go", processing through fears, questions, etc.  Last week, my friend Emily posted to my surprise that they had just started the process to adopt their fourth child.  We had already decided on our country, Haiti, but have had some difficulty with what agency to work withfor the process.  Having three biological children is more than some agencies want to deal with, as it requires permission from the Haitian president.  Emily and her husband have adopted their first three domestically so imagine my utter surprise to read they are adopting a 4th internationally...through Haiti.  I was able to dialogue with her over email and explore the agency she is using.  It was like a door flung wide open and God said, "now, go...this is it!"  Tonight, we are filled with unspeakable excitement.

Our journey to parenthood with each of our first three children started with a + on a stick; this journey is starting with an application placed in an envelope.  The anticipation and excitement are the same.  Who is the little one God is preparing for our family?  What will he/she/they look like?  What will their gifts and talents be?  We know this journey is going to be a few bits longer than 9 months, but our hearts have already started to beat in deep, loving anticipation for the next member of our crazy clan.

Lebanese Dinner;)

The Lebanese Dinner went amazingly well.  I had a WONDERFUL time cooking.  It wasn't stressful (amazing what you can get done when there aren't kids underfoot;).  We enjoyed the company immensly and one of the couples that attended happens to live down the street from us (the adorable couple in the middle;) and was kind enough to send me a couple photos.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm 8 shades of crazy

Every fall Ava's school has an auction fundraiser.  It is a fun night and exciting to be apart of supporting the school.  This year I tried to think about what we could donate.  We don't own any vacation property, we aren't especially skilled and I didn't think anyone would bid on "take my kids for a day";)  I remembered last year, a chinese dinner going for a heck of a lot of money and realized cooking might just be my key to contributing.  Sheboygan has a small restaurant scene- a cool feature in a small town, but we lack diversity in cuisine and are limited ethnically.  I happen to be married to a hot Lebanese dude and I learned to make food to suit his fancy shortly after we were married.  The Lebanese do this cool thing called Mezze which is sort of like Tapas except 20-30 dishes are served.  Some people do it simutaneously, some divide it up from lightest to heaviest dishes, but the ambiance is the same.  Sit back and nibble a ton of different items, hot and cold, while chattin' with you friends or family.  So....I donated a Lebanese Mezze.

This weekend the family who bought it is cashin' in.  We just got back from vacation and are recovered from a stomach bug earlier in the week, so I have been trying to catch up and I don't want this to be a stressful thing.  I want to do it with joy because a)I like to cook and b)it was a choice to do it.  Still, I had to sit and get really organized on how I'll get all the cooking done (making so many dishes is an all day affair to say the least).  I also have to make a little jaunt down to chicago for the baked goods and some supplies I can't get here...this easily could lead to Ms. Control Freak feelin' stressed and out of control.  I am headed to Chicago tomorrow, have my kids spending the day with friends and am looking forward to the quiet car rides to continue to pray through some stuff God is doing in me this week.  The only glitch I kept coming across (because we have plans tomorrow night here) is when I'd get to the grocery store to get the items NOT at the Lebanese Market (Marc is out tonight and I had plans this morning, my kids nap in afternoon).  I was considering getting up at 5am and going when I thought, "Man, I wish we had Peapod in Sheboygan."  SO here is the crazy move that is making me delightfully happy- I ordered Peapod to deliver groceries to my sister's house in Chicago.  When I stop to drop off some stuff at her place in the morning, my groceries will have just been delivered.  Sure, I paid a $7 delivery fee, but boy did it make my life easier AND I have ordered Lamb from them before and I know it's good.  I was planning on a separate trip to the butcher here on Saturday morning and wondering what I'd do if they didn't have Lamb shoulder....cha ching.

Sure, I am crazy as heck to be ordering groceries to a place two 1/2 hours from my home, but also sort of brilliant, right?  I'm doing a happy dance;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


After the Disney Cruise, we drove over to Tampa to visit my Grandparents.  It is such a precious priviledge to visit with them and my Uncle's family.

Ava loves catching Gekkos much to my chagrin.;)  This little guy was actually pretty cute;) 

Chloe loves cleaning the pool! 

They have birds like crazy in the yard and we fed them enough bread to last them until we visit next year!

 My kids hanging with Grandpa
Phin would just crawl up and sit with Grandpa, unprompted.  He's a man's man and a cuddler;)

Ava and Grandma making cookies 

 My Granparents are just amazing...plain and simple.  I cherish every moment with them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cruisin' on Disney's Dream

February 12, my 35 birthday was supposed to be a blast.  We were set to board our first Disney Cruise.  About 5 am, Ava awoke in our hotel room and vomited in the toilet.  Yikes.  Plain toast for breakfast seemed fine...until 10am when we were getting in the car to drive to the port and she threw up again.  We laid our hands on Ava and prayed for healing and drove to the port, unsure of whether they would let us board.  We were set to meet our good friends on boards and texted them a heads up that they could quite possible be vacationing alone.  We were assessed by a nurse and since she was fever free we were allowed to board, but asked to stay out of kids areas until the evening and only if she was free of vomitting and diarrhea all day.  She had perked up completely by the time she was assessed and had no sign of any difficulty the rest of the day.  Fully tolerating lunch and dinner.

Once we were In the clear, we checked out the play area first thing....the lighted dance floor was an immediate hit for my monkeys;)

 Fun Bobbi is what we call this friend;)  She was as pleased as the kids to enter Andy's Playroom;)

 Chloe fell in love with the giant Ham piggy bank...couldn't stop dropping coins in his slot and watching them fall through;)

 Anyone who knows Phin knows he is Toy Story OBSESSED...

 He DAILY plays with his potato heads....he owns many and this Giant Mr. Potato Head had his heart soaring.

 Who doesn't love Mike Wazowski?

 We made sure to record our laughs and help power the ship;)

It had been such a crazy day, I almost forgot it was my birthday until they waiters started singing!

 A yummy chocolate mousse cake meant I got TWO desserts;)

The Disney rooms are HUGE compared to other ships.  The couch folds into a bed and the top bunk comes dowm from the ceiling;) 

The Princesses in the grand Atrium really seemed magical... 

Day one- ready to check out Nassau 

DIGGIN' the sunshine! 

The wood carvers were phenominal 

Marc and the kids outside the straw market 

Marc, Alan and three of five kids outside the ship.

 Who would have though when we met in Birth Class, we'd still be good friends almost 6 years later!!

Bobbi and I stayed on ship in Nassau with the little ones...here we are on the balcony, catching some sun while they slept;)

Bobbi and Alan on Day two at the beach 

We had three hours of adult time- do we look as giddy as we felt?! 

My favorite moments had this view.... 

Me and my man;)

After lunch we picked up our brood;) 

 This is the ocean...isn't it breathtakingly blue and clear?!

 Pirates Night...

The girls were INTO it;)


 Ava lost her second top tooth....this smile is so priceless!!!

Even on ship, the lines for "meeting" the characters are LONG....we waited over an hour to meet all the princes!

Phin was SMITTEN by Belle- adorable! 

Chloe and Connor don't stay still long enough to get a good photo- but they had so much fun together! 

On the last day we let Phin bring all his Toy Story toys down to Andy's Room for a visit- it was a magical moment- his imagination coming to life!

(Disney Cruise Tips-
We have a lot of advice for anyone else doing it with young kids.  The rooms are WONDERFUL- about twice the size of a normal cruise ship room.  The staff is so wonderful, as well, but sleeping an entire family in one room is not without difficulty.  We learned to stagger bedtimes and had it down pat by the fourth day;)  Being on the cruise ships schedule is difficult.  Dinner is at a set time and it is a LONG meal (granted with amazing food!).  It is pure misery when you have 5 kids under 5.  How we wish someone had told us room service was free and available.  On day 4, we learned this is what the "experienced" cruisers do with young kids (Disney doesn't offer the 24 hr. buffet other cruise lines do).  Finally, if you go with young kids, you'll be told in all your info. that you are limited to 10 hours of childcare for those under three.  You book it ahead of time.  What no one tells you, is as soon as you are on board, you can go to nursery and book additional hours.  We found out a bit late.  It would have been nice to book it on day one and cancel if we needed.  Had we known- we might of had an adult dinner or two.  They have two SMALL pools, they literally are JAM packed with people during the day at sea.  Stay on board during one of the other days and you can really enjoy the pools and water slides without swarms of people. ;)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where's Chloe??

I have been working on the post for a couple weeks...remarkable really since usually my posts are random ramblings of the moment;) Everyone keeps a blog for their own personal reasons. Mine is like a journal....things I want to remember, recall, cherish. This stage with Chloe, as frustrating as it may be at times, I want to remember. She is adorable. She is sneaky as can be and the most silent little hider I've ever had. Frequently, we will all be in a room when suddenly one of us notices that little Miss Chloe has silently departed the premisis. "Where's Chloe?" is almost always followed by finding her sitting among a mess- Queen of her Mischeif. Here are a few of the "Where's Chloe?" moments we've had the past couple weeks....

AYE....I know I'll miss this some day;)