Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Still Here

Doing school at Meme and Papa's house
I'm still at my mother's and posting to the blog is not a priority, but right now both my parents and Claire are napping and the kids are still doing their school work so I have a minute. My mother sleeps most of the day....though she did feel well enough to follow her Tiger (Woods that is) at his tournament this afternoon. At least for a little while! Her obsession is beyond me, but it transcends the pain of two broken vertebrae!
Anyway. Claire has been out of sorts since we got here. She asks everyday if we are going home. This is the first time she has acted like that, and I don't know if her problem is seeing my mother, in her nightgown all day laying on the couch, or if it's just a new twist in her personality. She is, after all, 3! BOY is she 3! Yesterday, she accidentally knocked a cup to the floor. I asked her to pick it up and put it on the table. Claire does. not. take. correction. So she burst into tears. I remained calm. A few minutes later, she was in time-out because she refused to do what she was asked. After her short stint in time-out I took her back to the scene of the accident and again asked her to pick up the cup. This is the time at which she choose to focus on her latest obsession......"why?".
Me: "Pick up the cup, Claire"
Claire: "Why?" (crying)
Me: "Because you knocked it over and you need to pick it up now."
Claire: "Why?" (still crying)
Me: "Because I said so." (yes, I know what you are thinking)
Claire: "Why?" (screaming and crying as if I have mortally wounded her)
Great. This is not going so well. Ten minutes later she has the cup in her hands (only because I walked her over to it and put her hands on it), but she refuses to put it on the table. She stood at the table, holding the cup....resting her hand ON the table, but refusing to set the cup on it.....FOR 30 MINUTES Y'ALL.
It was school time so the other kids and I were at the table. If I told her to put the cup on the table, she burst into tears and cried out "why?". If I so much as glanced her way, she burst into tears. When we finished school I told her I was going to make dinner and she could put the cup on the table when she wanted and then come tell me. I walked away. THEN she decided to put the cup on the table. The other kids were still there and they started whoopin' and hollerin' for her....but that just upset her again. I scooped her up and thanked her for obeying. CAN YOU SAY STUBBORN??????
Okay, this is a first for me. I've had spirited kids. Noah electrocuted himself before he was 18 months old! Need I say more? But, I've never had a toddler as stubborn as Claire is shooting for! The biggest problem....besides the fact that she is too darned that she is too darned cute.!

Monday, March 23, 2009


No, not my bank account....wait....well, maybe so. Yes, my camera...but I'm not really still stuck on that. Okay, maybe a little bit. But, I finally narrowed it down and I will have my new camera by the weekend! Unfortunately, having to spend money on another digital, throw in your purse and go camera, will hinder my plans for getting a digital SLR anytime soon. Oh, well. I gotta have a throw in your purse and go...'cause I gotta take pictures....everywhere! Those photography classes that I don't have time for anyway, will just have to wait! Not that I'm a great photographer....I just like taking pictures. I need help in the "being good at it" department!

Sunday morning Bible study. We couldn't go to Church because Claire was running a temperature. So we collected the children and had us some home church! I missed the sermon...and the praise band...and the hugs from friends, but how often can you say you went to church in your pjs...and never even left your bed!

No this post is about my mother. I shared on Saturday that she fell and hurt her back. Well, she did more than that. She fractured 2 vertebrae! So, the kids and I are packing up and heading that way tomorrow. My mom is in a lot of pain right now. They will not do surgery but want her to wear a brace and stay doped up on pain pills. If she heals this way it is probably the better way to go...but, in the mean time she is in A LOT of pain...did I already mention that? Pray for her and pray for us. Pray that I can be helpful while keeping my kids from bugging the bejebbers out of her! We will stay until Saturday to give my Dad a break from his nursing duties and let him go to work if he needs/wants too. That is one of the perks of homeschooling! I can pick up to go and school will come with us! The kids really love that part too. Who am I kidding? No one really, but this is my blog so I can say it if I want too!

That would be my Dad and Mom with Isabel after one of her dance recitals a few years ago.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bringing Katelynn Home

When we traveled to China last year, we had the pleasure and honor of traveling with with eight other families that had the same goal. To bring home their new children! Some, you may have met from links in my blog, like YoYo's Mama, Kate and Mia whose picture appears in blog posts from a visit we had last summer. Others I have been able to keep up with through occasional emails. Only a few seem to have fallen off our radar. But, we have a bond with most of these people because we went through something awesome, and we went through it together.

While I admit that I am closer to some families than others, I often find myself wondering about all of them. I want to know how the children are doing. How the Mommas and Daddies are fairing. I want to follow their journey as they navigate through life together. I want to compare it to our journey with Claire. After all, I can't measure this against what I already knew. This is way different on so many levels!

One family that we have kept up with via the net, is the Corkern family. Doug and Sue were with us in Beijing and then left to get their 8 year old son, Cole. We met back up with them 6 days later in Guangzhou. Cole was a bundle of energy! He broke his new parents in and good! But, Doug and Sue were in for the long haul and they were not about to give up. We heard from them shortly after they got home and found that Cole was doing very well once he settled in and realized that this family was forever!

Adoption is chaotic. Period. The thought of adopting an older child can be down right terrifying to many. I think it takes a special brand of parent to adopt an older child....just like I think it takes a special teacher to teach at the middle school level! :) Older children have pasts and many have deep scars from their lives before. There are so many unknowns with any adoption, but so many more with the adoption of an older child. Like, do they even want to be adopted and leave behind everything they've known? Some don't. Countless do. And many will languish in orphanages because it is so hard for us to say we will take a chance on an older child.

I personally was afraid to commit to a child much older than two because I was afraid of the language issue.... and the bonding issue..... and all kinds of other issues I could hide behind. Wouldn't it be easier to get a young child, a baby even and raise it from the start? Wouldn't it be easier if she didn't know much Chinese, then she could just learn English? Wouldn't it be easier if she hadn't lived in China long enough to form memories? Less messy, you know. Blah, blah, blah. The fact is, these older children want the same things we know the babies need. They want a place to call home. They want a Mom and a Dad. They want to belong.

After watching the families in our group that were being united with their older children, I could see how I had missed the boat with that one. These children bonded very similarly to the younger children. They learned the language just as fast as Claire did, and folks, she mastered it in under three months! They, Cole, Kate and Gia, are all thriving in their forever families! Oh of course, I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that they went home with families that wanted and felt called to the older children.

And, I was amazed to learn that Doug and Sue are doing it again!!! Less than a year after bringing Cole home, they have found a thirteen year old girl in China who desperately wants a family. Doug and Sue Corkern are going to give it to her!

When Doug and Sue were in China to adopt Cole, they met their daughter Katelynn. Of course they had no way of knowing that she would one day be calling them Mama and Baba!

"We met this young lady in May 2008 when we visited our new son’s orphanage. She is a good friend of Cole’s so we had an opportunity to speak with her about her dream of belonging to a permanent family. I will tell you that when we met her the first thing we noticed was her smile and how she brightened the room when she walked in. She has a joyful spirit and a gentle way about her which captured our hearts."

Katelynn was left at birth but found and raised by one family for 3 years and then passed to another family and raised by them for another 7 years! Two years ago, she was relinquished to the police to be taken to an orphanage so she could receive a proper education and medical care. "Because she had no formal adoption relationship with her foster parents, she had no file at the police station; therefore she could only study in a school which provided education for migrant workers’ children on temporary bases. In China, a citizen must be registered in order to receive an education and health care within their province. "

Doug and Sue are our friends now...whether they like it or not! Like I said, there's this bond. So, I feel the need to get their story out there. They need prayers. Prayers for Katelynn. Prayers for this journey. Prayers for the financial needs they have so they can bring Katelynn home! If you can help in any way, click on Katelynn's beautiful face down there and it will take you to a site with even more information, that is accepting donations for them! Above all, pray!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On borrowed....

Camera? Yes, this blog is on borrowed camera! I still don't have one. Mine isn't really worth fixing and I haven't bought a new one yet. Who knew there were so many choices!?!? Now I officially know where Isabel get her indecisiveness! I have checked all manner of reviews on different cameras and narrowed it down to a couple....but can't seem to make that final decision. Oh, well. Maybe tomorrow. But today's post is complements of my in-laws, who loaned me their camera to show you this.
And can't you see all that wonderful natural light coming in through my beauteous enormous winder (that's southern for window, people....except I don't actually talk like that) !!!

Paul replaced the sliding glass door that I HATED, with this lovely french door! Our missing cabinets are still not in. They are supposed to be here on Thursday. We'll see. They said that last week! But, we have plenty to do to keep us busy. Including TAKING CARE OF ANOTHER SICK KID! Seriously, people. Parker had it for 3 days, Noah had it for two about the time Parker got over it, Isabel was sick for one day while Parker had it and then got it again when both boys were well and I thought it was over. Claire never got it. Everyone has been well for 5 days! Then today when I got her up from her nap.....yep, 100.2 temp. If we miss church again it will be the 4th Sunday in a row!!!! I feel like such a heathen.

Isn't that just the saddest thing you have ever seen????

And, I know it's not Wednesday but this next thing can't wait for the Prayer Meetin'. My mother has fallen, which she does a good bit these days. But, this time she has messed up her back. I spoke with her on Friday night and she was popping left over pain pills and staying on the couch. She says she can barely walk and feels like everything inside hurts! She hasn't been to the doctor or hospital...that I know of. But, I'm usually the last to find out if she does go. Daddy will call me when it's all over. Which reminds me, I better get off here and go call to check on her!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sometimes, Life Happens

Sorry about missing the Prayer Meetin' yesterday. I did actually stop by Significant Source to read it. I just didn't get to join in. Sometimes life happens. Yesterday was one of those days. After having sick children for 2 1/2 weeks, we finally had a day when everyone was feeling normal....well, as normal as these kids get! But, I had a dentist appointment in the morning. Just a little filling. I returned home with one side of my face swollen like a chipmunk cheek and bruised!! Never seen anything like it. It's still swollen today. And bruised. Anyway, we had to get a bunch of school work done yesterday, because the kids have missed so much lately. Funny thing about the kids school and me being on the computer....they don't get so much done if I'm knee deep in a blog post. So......

I was going to make it up to you by posting a bunch of really cute spring pictures from yesterday afternoon. The kids and I were outside and Claire was blowing bubbles. Like I said, cute! BUT....when I went to download them, I discovered that my camera is broken. Did you hear me? MY CAMERA IS BROKEN! I have the kind that the lens comes out when you turn it on. It is stuck half out and half in and won't budge! It won't turn on for more than a second and then turns itself off. Yes, I changed the batteries.

I don't know if you realize it or not, but my camera is a very important part of it's attached. I don't go a day without snapping at least one picture! I'm not having a good day here, people!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


At least someone found a way to enjoy the holes in our kitchen re-model! I wonder what she's going to do when we fill those holes with the cabinets that are supposed to be there???

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This is NOT your childhood!

I don't know if you noticed or not, but all through the kitchen re-model posts, my niece kept leaving comments to the effect that I was ripping her childhood out of my house and putting it to the road! Oh dear. Don't think a teenager could be that sentimental? *sigh* See for yourself...

"EEHHHH!!!!! What do you think you are doing to my house!!! Those are my childhood memories you just ripped out of my heart and off the wall! Thanks a lot! I see where the love is in this family!"

Her words...I'm not making this up. If that isn't enough to convince you, how 'bout this....

"You really need to stop showing me pictures of my house all in pieces. Now the pieces are beside the road to be picked up Tuesday and taken away, never to be seen again. ....I didn't even get to say goodbye. :::("

I hopeI'm sure some most of that was just posturing from an over-dramatic a slightly theatrical teenager! However, I need her to know that that trash pile up there....yeah, it is so not her childhood!!!!

This is your childhood, Brianna!

Days and days spent playing at the beach with cousins!

This is NOT your childhood!
Ewwww, not even close, girl!

This camping trip we took you on to Cherokee.....THAT is your childhood!

Brianna, Lizzie and Brooke
"swimming" in my yard
That is your childhood!

Water Parks

Fun and Games!

Camping trips
That is your childhood!
This is NOT!

When I moved away from home, I started a tradition of having my niece, Brooke, come to Charleston every summer. Thank you Jennifer and Mark, for letting her come each year! Fast forward a few years, and my other sister has a baby too. Brianna. Can't leave her out! Then I have my own kids, but my sisters each have another one too. Megan and Christian. "The tradition" has now taken on a life of it's own, and no one can be left out of it! They won't allow it. The kids start talking about coming as soon as the new year's calendar is put up. So, since she was almost 2, Brianna has been carted down here to spend one or two, sometimes more, weeks with us in Charleston. Now she comes with her younger Brother, Christian in tow, thankyouverymuch, Amy and Charles! The older girls swear that they will keep coming even after they get married. YIKES!
Brooke, Brianna and Lizzie
These times in the summer turned these girls into some very close knit cousins. They are all so different and yet, share so many childhood memories!
Our summers are absolutely wild a little crazy, this is true. And, all my friends, not to mention my family, think I'm bonkers I have a lot of patience. I'm not sure the kids would agree, but whatever! I wouldn't trade this time with these kids for anything in the world....not even a bubble bath! We have made so many memories and I know that these kids will always have a place in their hearts for Charleston.

This is childhood! This is memory making, fun having, silly acting, 10 people in one house cramming, game playing, going places, loud noise making CHILDHOOD! And, don't you forget it!

See you in June!

Friday, March 13, 2009

What do you do.....

when your kids have been sick all week? Not all the kids, and only some have been sick some of the time, and others at other times. Does that make sense? Clear as mud? But, even though they have had the flu, my children rarely get so sick that they just want to lay around.

We got a puzzle to work. The boys really seem to enjoy this....they got that from me. Paul HATES puzzles! Noah is working it with a 102 degree temperature!

Claire is keeping busy with her computer, under the table!

The boys did a lot of reading.

Claire did not get sick at all and Isabel only had it for 24 hours. The biggest challenge has been keeping Claire occupied all day, every day this week!

The boys are feeling better. Still working that puzzle too!

They have been cooped up in this house all week and now they are all stir crazy! The beautiful weather we had this week, seems to have left town now, and it's overcast and chilly again. So much for letting them out to run around for a while! Plus my house is still a disaster area from the construction last week. That construction dust gets on EVERYTHING, and it is not easy to get up either. I dust a room and a day later there is a fine layer covering everything right back up! In the words of my niece, Grrrrrrrr!

And, this is the "mountain of shame", as Paul calls it! My weekly laundry. I got it washed and dried, but, the folding got put off! So I dumped it all on my bed this morning. Now I will HAVE to fold it....or sleep on the floor! Sleeping on the floor doesn't sound as bad as it should right now! Wow we need a vacation!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Over at Significant Source...

there's a Prayer Meetin' goin on and you should join us! As always, SS has a great message for the day. I left my prayer request and I'm checking back later to see if anyone needs our prayers! Click the link if you want to join in too.

Our house has been in upheaval for a few weeks now and it seems it won't be getting better anytime soon. That I can deal with. We need prayers for health. Parker got the flu, from a Wal-Mart shopping cart I'm sure, and now it has passed to Noah. Parker survived the flu, but now has a full blown ear infection. Isabel and Claire are fine....for now.

Pitiful boy!

Looking for another way....

to give?

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Monday, March 9, 2009


We are going to take a reprieve from the home improvement posts for a few weeks. It isn't like anything exciting is going to go on before then anyway! So, today is a day for a little cuteness!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Un-Extreme Home Makeover: Phase II, Part 3

Murphy's Law states that if anything can go wrong, it will. Yesterday was Murphy's day. He ruled around here. Let me see.....where do I start? Saturday began well. Reinforcements arrived to help Paul put in the cabinets..... and that is pretty much where the good part ends!

Here we have a dear family friend, Jeff, then Paul, his Uncle Dave and his Dad, Glen. The "A" team! These guys came in and saved the day, people! There is no way we could have done this alone.

Shortly after Paul got his posse all assembled in the kitchen, they realized they had a big problem. The worst kind of kitchen-cabinet-installation-problem you can have....a measurement problem. That is not the kind of problem you want to have after the cabinets have been delivered.

This is when some of you will say, "I told you so". Don't be too hasty! I assure you, we measured more than thrice. Yes, if we'd paid another $1000+ to have Lowes come and install the cabinets, we also could have had them do the measurements, and this would not have happened. But, neither would the kitchen at that rate! The actual measurements weren't the problem. The measurements were accurate. The ending point of the measurements, inside the window frame or outside the frame, was the issue. Apparently, someone misunderstood us or we misunderstood them, when taking this measurement. See, we have a window above our sink. It looks into another room, rather than our backyard, but whatever! It's an odd house, folks. Remember the upstairs hall that looks into the kitchen?!?! Anyway, with the cabinets we ordered, based on a measurement from the wall to the window (not the frame), the sink base doesn't center under the window!!??!! It would be off by 6 inches. 6 inches may not sound like a lot, but it looks....well, wrong! It took a couple of phone calls to Lowes for Paul to sort out what had happened and what needed to happen. But, the gist is that three of the cabinets went back to Lowes last night and three more, of different sizes, were ordered...with a rush. They will be here in, oh......2 to 4 weeks! There are 3 holes in my kitchen until then! And, we can't have the counter top template made to order the counters until the rest of the cabinets are installed. Wait, it gets better........

The team figuring out that this isn't working.

Here is one hole where a cabinet should be.
And, here are the other two holes, one on top and one on bottom.

Please take no notice of the mess on the old counter tops. This is a construction zone!

After doing all they could to rectify that situation, the guys forged ahead. A little to quickly. They went to great pains to install the refrigerator box and overhead cabinet. It was flush. It was level. It was even shimmed off the ground exactly, so the tile flooring can be slipped in and installed under it instead of around it! was too high. Way too high. They failed to realize that the box sides were made to be cut down for 36 inch cabinets or used as is for 42 inch cabinets. A mistake anybody could have made (except a professional, I'm sure). No one even noticed until they measured 18 inches up from where the counters go and started to install the cabinet next to it. The whole thing had to come down, be cut to size, and put back up!

Okay, am I the only one that sees a problem here?

Ahhhh, my heroes fix the problem!

Then there was the whole problem of the sink. Well, the base cabinet was right and they had no problem putting it in. But. You knew there'd be a but, didn't you? When Paul tried to turn the water back on, there was no hot water. The valve under the sink wasn't working. So he took it apart and fixed it. Then it wouldn't stop working!!! It just ran and ran. So, the valve has to be replaced...that part wasn't in the plans.

See the "happy plumber"? Okay, not so much!

It was "National Lampoons Kitchen Remodel", y'all! Thank goodness, everyone involved in this had a good sense of humor. Not like some people, that might have thrown his golf club when things went know who you are. Not to mention, Parker has run a fever since Thursday, a bike fell out of the garage ceiling onto Paul, the cat scratched Isabel in the eye....I'm going to stop there. If I go on, I might have to take one of my mother-in-law's pills and go to bed!

We ended the day by finishing the painting. Why didn't we finish it before? Well, besides the fact that it took us until 3:00 in the morning to do what we already did, we couldn't figure out how to get the edges done all the way up in that second story corner! We finally had to borrow a special ladder from our neighbor and put that on top of the scaffolding. Then Paul balanced at the top of the ladder while using a paint brush, taped to a handle, with me on the scaffolding with him to dip the brush when he needed paint and his mother down below, refusing to watch! That seems safe, right???!

Just kidding about the pill! I'm looking on the bright side. Where is the bright side you ask? My kitchen has a window! That's really bright!!!! My kitchen has most of it's cabinets and they are B-eautious! And big. Way bigger than my other teeny cabinets. My kitchen is painted! Painted! If you only knew how much I loathed the color and "flatness" of the other paint, you might understand why this is exciting to me! Did I mention that I have a weird sensory aversion to flat wall paint, and hate to touch it? Plus, that stuff won't come clean when you wash it. It was awful! I LOVE my new "satin" painted walls! I love the color! I love the feel! And, I have new lighting.

Lovely new lighting!!!!
This is over the kitchen.

This is over the dining area!

Another reason, not to sweat the small stuff!

Just for cuteness sake, I had to slip this picture in. Look!!!! Piggy tails! Her hair is finally long enough for some fun stuff!