Sunday, December 20, 2009

Since I've been gone oh so long...

I'll post a cute picture of my kids!

I'm stealing this phrase from a fellow blogger who also has taken a long break from her blog:

"Is it just me or does the first blog post following a long break require all kinds of painful thinking, rethinking, writing, rewriting, and then a final oh-well-ing?"

Thanks, Cathy, that's totally how I'm feeling!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


"Now to find his aunt Lovie a birthday present so he could ask her a few questions. The gift was necessary. Among Hayeses, present-giving was both incessant and evanescent;

mounds of gifts were exchanged on every known ceremonial occasion, and it had long been clear to Raleigh that the contents mattered less than the ritual of (sloppily) wrapping and (rapidly) unwrapping as
many little surprise packages as possible.

His daughters, genetically infected, were always disappointed when on their birthday he presented each of them with "one really nice thing." In the continual family potlatch, merchandise rotated, season to season, Hayes to Hayes, without memory, as handy objects lying about junk-jammed houses were offered up, with bright paper slapped round them as "little surprises."

For Valentine's Day, Reba was likely to give Lovie the same brass figurine of an elf under a toadstool that Little Em had given Reba for passing her realtor's exam. There was no true Hayes who would not rather open a surprise grabbing of junk than dollar bills wrapped in wax paper. "

Handling Sin
by Michael Malone
pp 149-150
May your gift giving experience be very much unlike the above quote.
The only thing I appreciate about this passage is the writing style. I read it a couple of times over because I just really liked the way the author described this whole process! Great writing, Mr. Malone. And after meditating on the writing, I stopped and pondered my gift giving with my daughters and with my friends. Gosh, I even had one of those "gasp! Is this describing ME?" moments for a second, but quickly agreed with myself that No, it's not.
Gift giving and Gift getting is not my ultimate love language, but I do usually take care in wrapping a gift (only use bags when at a baby-shower and the mom-to-be has a thousand and one gifts to unwrap). I do appreciate a well wrapped gift when presented and will always comment as sometimes the wrapping and the card are more my favorite than the gift itself! I'm just funny that way.
The gift itself is a hard one for me to purchase. I'm not too terribly creative and sometimes pull my hair out trying to find "the thing" that best describes my desires to say Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas to that particular person. It actually drives me bananas, to tell you the truth. Yeah, again, I'm just funny that way.
Alright, I'm going to end this post rather abruptly, I know, but I'm starting to ramble and long posts scare people and I'll lose readers. Plus, my husband just brought me a bowl of ice cream and it's starting to melt.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In the spirit of the holiday... is my oldest showing her thankfulness for her math homework.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 18, 2009 = Portland

This is my twin sister, Jenny and Me. Don't we look exactly alike? Not. I'm not even sure we're really twins. Okay, I'm pretty sure we are due to that whole 'she came out of my mother 7 minutes after I did' thing.

Anyway, here we are in my 8 passenger SUV headed to visit my little sister, Abby. Jenny is Abby's doula. On Wednesday, November 18th, we got the call that Abby was in labor! Since it is November and there are mountain ranges to cross, and Jenny is 5+ pregnant, she gladly accepted a suggestion that we go pick her up and travel together.

We rotated who had to ( I mean GOT to) sit by kids, who drove, who slept, etc. There was always 2 adults in front, 2 adults in the middle, and the kids shifted around as kids are wont to do. Especially since this was our itinerary:

Portland to Redmond = 3 hours
Redmond to La Grande = 5 hours
Pit stops and drive-thrus added 1 hour
Grand total: 9 hours one way.

Then we woke at 6am and did the whole thing again in reverse.
Seriously, 18 hours of driving in about a day and a half.

Say ME if you have the best traveling kids in the whole wide world!

ME! I do! I do! I do!

All four kids (my three plus my nephew whom my wonderful parents are lovingly raising) were sooooo good the entire time! No tears, no complaining, no puking. They played barbies, soldier, coloring, iPoding, and car games

absolutely fabulously.

Here is a picture of my cute parents in the front seat. I know...they don't look old enough to be who they are. You know, grandparents of 11 Gkids!

And finally, though we missed the actual birth because my little sister is a mean birther (determined and a power-pusher), we made it to La Grande and met my newest nephew!

Get ready, you're gonna love his name:

Portland Blaze Lenon

Proud mommy.
Tiny infant son: 5lbs 12 oz

Happy sisters.

Happy Grammy.

3 generations.

Happy Grampy.

Back at the hotel we put the kids to bed and convened outside in the hallway for chatting, crosswording, pizza eating bonding.
Conversations are different when we're not crammed in a car breathing each others breath and listening to children make up jokes.

Sadly, due to the H1N1 hospital rules, children under the age of 18 are not allowed inside. So Mason, proud big brother, was not allowed to meet his little pal.
So the next morning at 6:45am, as the snow fell, Mase waved from the parking lot up to his 1 day old brother and tired mother. Bittersweet.
Welcome to the world, Portland Blaze. You have so much love surrounding you by this family, it's beyond belief. It's powerful.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A date with Amy

Amy and I went out on Saturday, just the two of us. Husband took Yolanta and Katie to the beach for the whole day...everyone had fun.
The first place Amy and I went was Starbucks. We each got a Chai Vanilla Latte and I'm mad at myself for not taking a picture of the two of us sitting there like girlfriends chatting the morning away over our drinks.

Amy and I have been painting pottery for years. It's one of her favorite things to do and we used to do it several times a year before the girls got home. We introduced it to Yolanta and Katie and they love it, too! So Amy and I decided to go again on our date.

We painted a bowl and she picked out all the colors and design... we were supposed to share the painting part of it, too, but somehow she ended up doing most of it (which of course was how I wanted it!)

I love her concentration on her rainbow stripes.

Look how long her hair is!
And look how OLD she looks!
She's only 8 and she's a small 8...but in this pictures she seems 10 or 12.

Cute smiles.

We then went to the mall. She's a natural shopper, this girl is!
This is her current favorite store: Claire's.

Admiring how she looks in the mirror. Especially with her newly pierced ears!

Yes, we bought the hat. Who could say no to this girl?
Then we had lunch at her food court restaurant of choice: Panda Express. Amy was born on the wrong continent I'm sure because she could eat Asian food evey day!
Then we went and had free samples of See's Candy and I love that the first thing she said was "Can we buy some for my sisters?"
So we did.

Now brace yourself....

Look how looooonnnnngggg her hair is!
She wanted a change and despite the fact I asked her 1,842 times "Are you SUUUURE???" she wanted to chop it.

She wanted ME to chop MINE, too. I was really close to agreeing, you guys. I mean, I really contemplated it. But I just am not ready. And if you're not ready to make a drastic change, don't do it!
(Right Hillory?)

This was the initial WHACK that the stylist did before washing it. I actually like it THIS length as it looks very cute on her. But no, Amy wanted to keep cutting. Sheesh!

Such a grown up feeling to get your hair washed by a professional, eh?

This picture is my favorite. Why? Because she looks exactly like me, here, when I was 8.
Right mom?

Amy specifically used the words A-Line when talking with the stylist. She even said "I don't want a bob."
She must hear me talking about hair styles enough to have picked up the correct lingo!

Oh my gosh. Her face!
{me kissing screen}

So short in back! And just look at that face. Total genuine smile. She loves it.

Stopping by that fancy dress store in the mall -- just for fun.
"Oooh, I like this one."
"Where would you go if you had this dress on?"
"Which dress looks best with short hair?"

She is such a sweet and tender hearted girl.
I love her beyond measure.
She is a lover of God, a lover of people, a lover of books and a lover of goodness. She knows Jesus personally and has a maturity that surprises me daily.
She's emotional and deep. But at the same time silly and spunky.
The way she has embraced the adoption and made Yolanta and Katie feel loved-- moves me.
The relationships she forms with her sisters, her mother, her father and her friends are genuine and meaningful.

Joy is her middle name and she brings it, makes it, inspires it and shares it.

What a treasure she is. Thank you, God, for the gift of my daughter Amy Joy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Letters to Soldiers on Vetran's Day

My girls attend AWANA and a couple weeks ago they were asked to write letters to soldiers and bring them back the following week to be mailed out to the troops.

I reminded the girls of their assignment and a little while later they returned to me with these letters. I was on the phone with my mom at the time and read them aloud to her and it brought tears to her eyes.

Indeed, I pray these letters brings hope to the brave soldiers fighting for peace, justice and freedom in this war-torn world.

The pictures do not do justice (because I took them with my phone instead of my camera).
I'll write it out for you (complete with misspellings).

This first one is from Yolanta.
It reads:
Dear soldiers i hope you wont get hurt i hope that you win.

(with a million little hearts everywhere)

This second one is from Amy.
It reads:

Dear Soldier.
How are you?
Thank you for fighting for america! I am sure you are srong, brave, fathful. I pray you win.
Amy Joy Penn
(With a big heart surrounded by little hearts.

Sooo wonderful.
Sooo tender.
Sooo adorable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 on the Tenth

It's Ten on the Tenth!

I started this last month from this here bloggy friend.


1. There are soooooo many blog posts I want to write that I find myself avoiding my blog. Does that make sense to anyone but me?

2. I want to hold Sarah's twins. There are bizarre phenomenons that happen in the lives of twins and I get this fuzzy neat feeling whenever I'm with them. Don't forget people, I am a twin!

3. Homeschooling my children is easy. But only when it's not hard. Much of the time it is hard. But that's only when it's not easy. I'm not sure what's more challenging: educating my children now that they are getting smarter and smarter and require considerably more than "The opposite game" or "Can you find the letter E?" Or perhaps it's getting harder because I now have three children instead of one child. And they all three have a different learning style and they are all at three different academic stages.

4. The love of my life, much of you know it's name as COFFEE, is starting to betray me. Is it my age? Is it too much of a good thing? My menstral cramps seem more severe when I drink caffeine, and my stomach seems more sensitive to the acidic wonderfulness. I've been drowning in tea as of late to test my suspicions.

5. Thanksgiving will be held at my house this year. It was a crazy idea that swept over me 2 days ago and now I feel a little scrambley. Confident and excited with a hint of frantic panic not far from my nerves.

6. Husband and I went to bed at midnight last night and found ourselves talking in the dark till 2:00am. Tears and laughter, prayer and hand-holding. I don't care how tired I was today, it was worth every second.

7. We might, just might, be putting our house on the market. It's in the early stages of still thinking about it, and we don't even know where we would go if it sold. But I'm feeling the winds of change blowing and it was confirmed with a peace of being willing to let go of my beloved house that I know you all know how much I love.

8. Last week I had the opportunity to hang out with 2 new lady friends. One came over to my house all afternoon and she was intrigued about the life and experiences of an adoptive family. So either I freaked her out or sparked a serious interest. We'll see. The other friend I went over to HER house for the afternoon and turns out we have lots in common and will probably grow to be fast friends. I'm excited to see where both these new friendships are headed.

9. I have zero upper body strength. I can do, quite literally, three push-ups. Sakes alive I'm weak! My long time ago friend but current facebook friend Sarah B sent me a link to go for the Hundred Push-Up Training Plan. Think I'll start that...tomorrow.

10. I'm off to take a bubble bath and read a book. Doesn't that sound divine!?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hearing is NOT overrated.

Remember this post about the fact that I have elf ears, and then later I determined that I had elephant ears? Funny, it was almost exactly one year ago.

Well apparently only the outside of my ears are big.

Let me back up...

I have a cold right now. I've had it for a week or so. Coughing, headache, sinus-y issues. Nothing I can't handle. Until Saturday, Halloween.

My ear plugged up. And I mean REALLY plugged up. I'm sure anyone who saw me walking around must have thought I was on a self-prescribed jaw exercise regime -- or that I was trying to catch flies. I kept opening my mouth and pulling on my earlobe trying to unplug my ear.

It never unplugged and sound was diminishing.

Sunday morning I felt completely deaf in my right ear and started to have visions of me wearing a hearing aid and learning ASL.

Plus I still had this nasty cold where I lost my voice and had a dry cough every 90 seconds.

My mother-in-law was educated in the medical field and instructed me to go see an Ear Nose and Throat doctor right away before I permanently lost my hearing.

I took her advice and called first thing Monday morning. Of the 3 that were covered by my insurance and in my close-ish vicinity, the soonest I could get in was today, Tuesday morning at 9:30am. Thanks, Rachey, for watching my girls.

The ENT started looking around in there and decided to flush my ear to clean it. He used an ice-pick and hammer and it made me cry out in pain! So he switched to a toothpick and just kept jabbing away. He finally used a needle to scrape and finish the job.

Okay, so these are not the technical medical terminology for the instruments, but that's what it FELT like. Seriously, I had tears running down my cheeks it hurt so bad.

Apparently I have teeny-tiny ear canals.

The good doc said he has never seen such tiny ear canals on an adult before and had to use pediatric instruments! Looking at the degree on the wall, he's been doing this for 13 years. In 13 years I'm the first adult patient needing kid tools? I must be really special. Specially deformed.

Turns out I also have (and I quote) a shelf in my ear that blocks part of the canal. I'm having a hard time even visualizing that. A shelf? Are there books on it?

So with the combo of having wee ear canals, a shelf and mucus flowing through my sinuses from this cold, my ear was easily plugged up and blocked with lovely (disgusting) debris. Utter deafness.

I can't begin to tell you how bad it hurt to remove it. The water flush felt okay, if not super loud and a lot like a tidal wave in my head, but the scraping literally made me cry like a girl. And gave me a headache.

I'm on prescription ear drops to help my ear heal from all the scraping and avoid infection. Though my ear hurts a bit, I CAN HEAR! In fact, when I started talking to the doctor in the operating room---okay, doctor's office---I sounded funny even to myself because I could hear my voice from both ears! And there was no muffely sound accompanied by it. Fabulous!

Don't stick a Q-tip in your ear by the way.
And if you have miniture ear canals, I'll be seeing you at the ENT for the recommended twice yearly flushing. We can get coffee afterwards.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

We're not huge Halloween fans around here...avoiding witches and ghosts and all things scary.
Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, lovely, admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.

We do not sacrifice our children or try to summon the dead. eesh.

Deuteronomy 18: 10-12
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or consults the dead. Anyone who does these is detestable to the Lord.

We do, however, carve pumpkins, dress up in happy costumes and head to the Harvest party at church!

Amy dressed as a cheerleader (which I can totally see her being when she's older), Yolanta as Sharpay (from Highschool Musical) and Katie was a princess (of course).

Doesn't Yolanta look JUST LIKE her?


All in all it was a fun holiday, except that I was SICK. Still am, actually. So I didn't get to go to the harvest party at church but I hear it was pretty awesome. Husband took the girls and they came home pumped up on sugar, bags full of candy and laughing their little heads off.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Have you ever had one of those days, where you woke up thinking about your grandpa because he died exactly one year ago?

I have. It's today.

Also, we attended a funeral today. So that made me think about him even more.

And then I read a blog post of a lady who was in the process of adopting a baby girl from Haiti, but the baby died before the adoption was finalized - one year ago today. So I left a comment that maybe her baby was sitting on my grandpa's knee while Jesus told them a story.

I love you Grandpa. I miss you.
I love you Grandma, and I'm sorry your husband is gone.
I love you dad, and I'm sorry your hero and best pal is gone.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4