Sunday, February 28, 2010


So this thing that is "black hair" is simply amazing. Ryan and I watched "Good Hair" last night, a documentary that Chris Rock did for HBO I think. Being a pale skinned woman, I never had any idea of what women of color go through to get their hair to look like they want it to. The documentary focused on the relaxing procedure, different hair products ranging from weaves and extensions, and the beauticians that make hair look good. Ryan and I spent most of the time with our mouths hanging open in awe of the money spent and the time involved.

After watching the show, I felt for our little Grace. Wow, I don't think I have ever felt so unqualified as a mother. Kay's hair is no problem. We have our system down. Grace, on the other hand, this will be a learning process for sure. I knew that this would be an issue (me and her hair) but I didn't think it would be such a difficult one to master.

So today (after some styling product opinions were given) I headed down to Sally Beauty Supply and searched the ethnic hair aisle. Of course, this Sally's didn't have any of the products that were recommended. Thank goodness there were two lovely ladies already doing some shopping. I asked for some help and they did just that. I now have two new products to try on Grace. Her hair is really starting to grow and is looking a bit unkept even though she always has a cute little bow on her head. I also think that her hair is really dry. I put on a conditioner each day but it is just not doing the trick. I am hoping that the new hair butter and luxury conditioner will soften her luscious locks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I was looking around on AWAA's website while watching women's figure skating this evening and stumbled upon something... as of January 2010, AWAA has a new adoption program in BRAZIL.

Here are a few tidbits... Brazil is located in South America and is the largest country on this continent. It is the 5th largest geographical country and the 5th most populate country in the world. It is a country on the rise economically and is the site of the Olympic games in 2016.

Now for the hard stuff...
There are almost 4 millions orphans in Brazil. Most of them live as "street children." Almost half of all the street children will die before the age of 18. There are child-trafficking and drug problems that begin early. Families are forced to survive using their children as a way to bring finances into their home in this way.

Click here to see the requirements, costs, travel for the Brazil program with AWAA. The cost is about average for international adoption. The time seems relatively quick. I am glad to see another country program opening so that these kids can have homes!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This thing called Lent

It has been only a few years (maybe 5) of me learning about the time that is called Lent. The Church of Christ where I grew up did not participate in this season, at least I don't remember ever learning or talking about it. However, our church did celebrate Easter complete with a new dress, tights, bonnet and of course a basket full of sweets.

The afore mentioned season of Lent is upon us once again. Lent is the 40 day period before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday which was last Wednesday and ends on the day before Easter.

When I googled Lent this is the definition that was brought up:
"Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. All churches that have a continuous history extending before AD 1500 observe Lent. The ancient church that wrote, collected, canonized, and propagated the New Testament also observed Lent, believing it to be a commandment from the apostles."

There are different ways that churches and/or Christians celebrate the Lent season. Some fast, don't eat meat on certain days, give up either a food, a hobby, or a bad habit. Christians do this to give up something like Jesus gave up for us. Of course, our sacrifice could never ever compare to His but for me, it does make me think more about Jesus especially when that craving is hitting hard.

This year for Lent I gave up sweets (desserts and other delectable items) as well as my treasured Diet Coke. These are two things that I have every day and really enjoy whenever I have the pleasure of partaking in them. Why did I choose to give these up? Because I know it will be hard. It will be hard to say no to sweets. It will be hard to not have a (more like 2-3) diet coke every day. I know that it still doesn't even come close to comparing to what my Savior did for me but it is a way for me to sacrifice something. In times of desperation when I am really wanting a morsel of chocolate or to have those carbonated bubbles tickle my tongue, I will pray. I will pray for God to remind me of how little my sacrifice is. How Jesus' sacrifice was the ultimate. He gave His life for me! How I need Him more than anything else in my life. For this, I can surely do without sugar and a processed drink.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicago, Oprah and a Rainbow

Last week I had the chance to have some girl time, sit about 5 feet from Oprah, eat some yummy food and meet Rebecca of the Furry Rainbow. After the fall that was full of waiting to find out who our child was and the winter that has been full of snow and family, it was a much needed getaway. I knew that I was going to have a good time (good friends + good food + good weather + good shopping = fun).

One definite highlight of the trip was getting to meet Rebecca. We found each other in the Rwandan blog world and have been on the same path. We worked through paperwork, sat on conference calls, received approval letters and then received our referrals all together. All of this while we blog stalked, emailed and tried to calculate when all of the good news would be sent our way! Unfortunately, the Furrs were not able to travel with us (Smiths, Bowers and Spores). They were about a week behind us. So you can imagine my joy when I was able to meet her in person and give her a big hug! We sat and talked about our families, our Rwandan babies, our experiences and just regular life. It was a wonderful time and I can't wait to meet up with her again, next time with our families in tow!

Oprah Note: The taping that my friends and I attended will air on Wednesday, February 24. One friend and I are in the front row to Oprah's left. I have a very pink jacket on. It is just the 2 of us on the FRONT ROW! Our other friends are just 2 rows back in green and turquoise blue respectively.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Turn

Ryan made it home from his mission trip to Mexico. The trip was a huge success and we are all so glad to have him home! Less than 2 days after him returning, I am going to Chicago. I applied for Oprah tickets in January and got them (insert totally shocked reaction here!). I never thought that I would get selected in the ticket lottery. So myself and 3 great friends are heading out tomorrow to sweet home Chicago.

I am really hoping to meet up with the Rebecca from The Furry Rainbow. Her family was in Rwanda just a few days after us. We really hoped that we would travel together but it just wasn't meant to be. So I can't wait to meet her and her family!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pics from the park

Can you see the joy on her face...shines right through the dimple!

Wanted so badly to climb the rock wall. Too hard for a 2 year old though.

Sisters. G doesn't like for me to take her picture that is why she seems as though she is in pain.

My handsome boy. And yes he has his baseball gloves on. Getting ready for the season.

Fun down the slide.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It happened today

I was wondering how long it would take. How long it would take for us to get "the question." Well almost 2 months after we got home, someone asked it. We were at a local park today. Grace's first park playground experience. The air was filled with her laughing and squealing. The big kids had a great time helping her navigate the big metal structure and all of the slides. She even got to swing for a bit which she loved.

Then this little girl started to follow us. She started talking to Kaylee. She asked "is that your mom?" Kaylee said yes. Then she asked "is that your little sister?" Kaylee said yes. Then she asked the question that I knew was coming... "why does she have brown skin and you have white skin?" Kaylee said "because we adopted her from Rwanda." The little girl was somewhat satisfied with Kay's answer. We then moved on to another area of the playground as Kay was wanting to do the bars. The little girl followed us. She asked me "where did you get her from?" I told her Africa. She asked "did you have to go t0 Africa to get her?" I said "yes, we went to Africa and it was really fun." She then asked "where are her real parents?" I said "we are her real parents." The little girl looked at me puzzled. She then asked again "where are her real parents?" I repeated "we are her real parents." I guess the little girl was fine with my answer this time because her next question was "was there an earthquake were she came from?" I said "no, she is not from the country that had the earthquake." Grace then wanted to go swing so we were off.

I knew that this question would come. I knew that someone would wonder why we looked different from Grace and be brave enough to ask it. This brave soul came in the form of a 9 year old little girl.

After we got in the car, I talked to the kids about what had happened. I told them that this would not be the last time that someone would ask them this question. We talked about how we can respond to these types of questions. It was a lesson for the kids as well as for me. Preparing ourselves for a life of questions that deal with skin color. To us it does not matter, what color skin that we have. We wouldn't trade Grace's skin color for anything. It is who she is. She is brown and we are a light peachy color. God made her this way. God made us this way. God made US a family.

Today was Cannon's last wrestling match of the season. Since Ryan is missioning in Mexico, I got the pleasure of taking C to weigh-in at dark o'thirty. Man, was this an experience. I have never been in a room that was so full of pre-pubescent as well as in-smack-dab-of-the-middle-of puberty boys. The room had an odor that was a mix of smelly feet and outside boy smell. Ew.

Most of the boys seemed to be around 12 to 14 years old and there I was with my 6 year old (talk about akward). He seemed so small in the room full of almost men. He shed his clothes (all except his singlet which is a whole different story on why this was chosen for wrestlers to wear) got in line with the kids who were 2-3 feet taller than he was and made his way up to the scale. He didn't go over his alloted weight so off we were to McDonald's to pack it back on.

As we left the weigh in room I had a flash forward to what Cannon will be like in just a few short years. I imagine him being taller, more muscles and unfortunately hairier. This hair is unfortunate because he already is pretty hairy (gets it from his Uncle Jim). I hope that he stays sweet and loving like he is now. Don't get me wrong, he is ornery and inappropriate at times but if he is in a cuddle mood he is as sweet as he can be. He loves to be loved on. I am okay with that.

This was Cannon's first year to wrestle so the "W" column isn't as full as the "L" column. He tried his best though and wrestled hard. We have told him that as long as he is aggressive and really tries, we will be proud of him no matter if he wins or looses. He gave it his best effort today but we came home after his 2 losses. I enjoyed watching him this season. Wrestling is a sport that I do not know much about. When I think about that, there are probably a hundred reasons why I wasn't educated on this sport.

Cannon giving me a goofy smile in between his matches.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Valentine

May 1998 * our wedding

My Valentine is hundreds of miles away this year. He is serving as His hands and feet in Piedras Negras, Mexico. It is in Mexico where he loves to be. He feels whole there. A complete soul who is right where he wants to be.

This journey that we have been on for quite some time led Ryan to Mexico over two years ago. He fell in love on his first trip. From the missionaries to the residents of Piedra Angular to the citizens of Piedras Negras, he is in love with Mexico.

Last fall we had a decision to make. This decision was whether or not we would move our family to live in this place that he loves so much. This decision was very hard as we both felt like we would indeed move here someday but now was just not the time.

So my love is where he loves to be. I am forever grateful that He has lead us on this path and that we have decided to let Him lead. I am glad that my heart yearns to be there with him and on the next trip we all will be there together. Happy Valentine's Day from Stillwater to Piedras.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Life is full of questions. Daily questions like: what should I wear? what should I have for breakfast? what to make for dinner? Then there are long term questions like: what will the kids be when they grow up? when does our future look like? what will I look like when I am old?

There are lots of questions floating around in my head at any given moment. Today there are questions of what if? and when? Unfortunately, I do not know the answers to these hovering questions. So, I pray. I pray to Him because He is the only one who can take the pressure of the questions away. I give it to Him because he can handle it. I give it to Him because he knows the answers.

I rejoice in the fact that He is there for me. I know that not everyone chooses Him. I wait patiently (kind of) for the answers. I feel relief as I move forward with my daily duties of mom, wife, friend, laundress, short-order cook, taxi cab. What a blessing today is. What a blessing we have in Him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


While waiting for Grace, I carefully prepared things for her. We made sure our house was ready and even purchased a few things for her. One of my favorite finds was the softest little monkey that I was for sure she would just love. I purchased this monkey for Grace, Christmas 2008. (I purchased this monkey not knowing who our child was yet) When packing for Rwanda, I made sure to include the monkey in my luggage that was overflowing.

Once we were with Grace, I gave her the monkey at a nap time. She said no to the monkey. I laid it by her delicately and she threw the monkey across the bed. Throughout our trip, she never bonded with that sweet little monkey, much to my dismay. So now that monkey sits on her shelf.

I thought for sure that the above mentioned monkey would be a great lovey for my little girl. Since she did not like it nearly as much as I did, I started to wonder what, if anything, she would bond too. The item(s) that she chose to bond to is somewhat comical. From the moment we saw this at the store, she wanted it instantly! She rarely goes a day without being with her lovey.

Here is her lovey...
A hot pink pair of fur lined boots from mama's favorite store, Target. These boots zip up the side too which is a fun little touch. Grace wears the boots at some point everyday. Regardless of what she is wearing, she will put them on and does not enjoy taking them off. If she doesn't have on her prized possession, she will say "shoes on?" and if I say yes, she makes a mad dash to go find them and put them on her little feet!

Last week, we got a package in the mail. This package contained a challenger for Grace's affection. I thought I was just purchasing rain/snow boots. Little did I know that I was putting the pink furry lined very warm boots on the back shelf. As soon as I opened the box, Grace's eyes lit up (because of course she was looking right over my shoulder to see what in the world I was doing). I pulled out a pair of bright yellow Croc boots. She instantly said "shoes on" and demanded that I put the shiny new boots on her feet. See the picture below that was taken just moments after Grace made the switch.
Grace now wears the yellow boots everywhere we go. Right now as I am typing, she has the left boot on the right foot. She can put them on by herself and I am not about to tell her she has them on the wrong foot. It makes me laugh that Grace's choice for a lovey is boots whether it be pink fur lined that zip up the side or yellow plastic. She is definitely her own person and I am enjoying getting to know who she is.

Monday, February 1, 2010

13 Days

There is only 13 days until Valentine's Day! What would be a great gift for your Valentine? Thanda Zulu jewelry of course! This is a great organization that is very close to Ryan and I's heart. Jewelry purchases help a community in South Africa. South African women make the jewelry by hand so every piece is unique. All of the proceeds from the jewelry go back to the South African community to support orphans and other vulnerable children at the Thanda After-School project. I have several pieces of this jewelry and it is just beautiful! Very wearable and very affordable. Go take a look at Same day shipping means you will get it in time to give to your Valentine!