Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Father & Son

Isaac absolutely loves being with Kyle. He helps Kyle mow, cut down branches, take out the trash, and whatever other manly chores there are to be done. Isaac watched Kyle putting one of bunk beds together and then jumped to the other end and started screwing together the nuts and bolts. He was never asked to help; he just loves doing whatever Kyle is doing - and he's quite good at it!
Kyle taught Isaac how to joke around and "You're kidding??" has become a frequented phrase at our house.
We have always wanted to have a son named Isaac. Our Isaac could be no more perfect of a son if he had been born to us. He's such a perfect fit in our family.

Just Plain Fun

While I was supposed to be cleaning my bathroom, the babies were playing with the box fan in my room. (We were dreading calling the A/C man, but it turned out to be a $28 part that needed replacing. God is so good to us:) ) Anyway, I couldn't stop myself from showing the babies how to talk into the fan. "D a n i e l , come to the dark side. I am not your fah thuh. . ." It was so funny.

My Chloe Girl

Chloe has graduated from baths to showers. She's officially a big girl now! To show off her new grown-upness, she wore her hooded towel like a Mommy, and tucked the hood in, so you can't see the bunny head. Isn't she funny? She was so giddy in the shower!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lydia's Lingo

Lydia is talking so much now! It's so fun to listen to her. When I get her up in the morning, we stand in front of the dresser mirror and smile at each other. I say, "Look it's Lydia and Mommy." She repeats: "Wedia and Mama."
Yesterday, I caught Misha (our cat) on my desk and I said, "Misha, that's my cup! Oh man, that's disgusting!" Lydia pointed her stubby finger in Misha's nose and said, "Misha, dat dusting!!"
She stared out the window this morning, pointing, and saying, "Swaining. Swaining, Mama." (It's raining.)
Every morning, Lydia wants seconds of her oatmeal. She asks for "more eyo," then nods her head up and down, up and down when I ask, "You want MORE?"
Each night, she gets a kiss from all her brothers and sisters, who love her like crazy. She smiles real big when I carry her to Daniel's crib. "Dadoo!," she says, and they give each other a big smack.
This little girl has us all wrapped around her little finger. She's so darn adorable!

Lydia put this mascara on all by herself!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It Runs in the Family

Three weeks ago, my mom "adopted" her good friend, Carmen, her 16-year old son, Jonathan, and their Maltese, Kilo. My mom, Nancy, met this precious Honduran immigrant, when she began housekeeping for the building where my mom worked. Nancy was very impressed with Carmen's strong work ethic. She worked hard and she was very punctual. Mom used to joke that you could set your watch by Carmen's arrival to work.
In August 2006, Carmen was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer. Stages III and IV are almost always fatal. This picture was taken before the chemo did its damage. When Carmen got so weak that she wasn't able to climb the stairs in her apartment, she and her son (and dog) moved in with Nancy and Don.
The chemo treatments took such a hard toll on her that she stopped taking them altogether. Her last treatment was May 21 and she was deathly sick for almost two weeks. Miraculously, she felt better upon arriving at her new home, and managed beautifully without any pain medication for two full weeks.
The whole family has lovingly adopted Carmen and Jonathan. Carmen and Jonathan plan to return to Honduras this summer so Jonathan can meet the grandparents he’s never known. This will be a heartbreaking event, as Carmen will not be able to return to the United States. We’ll all love on her for as long as God lets us. Praise Him that her next home will offer her a new body, no cancer, no pain, and no tears.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Have A Lot of Help

According to most Americans, if you have more than 2 kids, you must have a nanny or some other kind of hired help. (If all my kids were babies, I'd definitely agree.) I'm learning more and more just what all my sweeties are capable of - and how much they love to help. When they are helping, they feel important. They feel like a valuable part of the family. I love seeing the pride in their eyes when they are helping me do something.
This particular day, I supervised while the big kids took the reins of one of my high-maintenence meals. (High maintenence for me means lots of chopping; the crock-pot does all the cooking.) They were so proud of themselves, and of course I praised them up and down for their stellar work. Everyday since, they've donned their aprons and asked to help.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Our New Names

While the babies were napping, Elena, Isaac and I were unbraiding Maya's hair. Doing black hair is a bonding experience, I'm learning. We've had really good talks each time I've done it.
Today, we were talking about when the kids first came home. We reviewed all the details of the homecoming. Then we got to talking about their names. I asked Isaac if he remembered what "Isaac" means. He said (correctly): It means laughing, because I'm always laughing. I said: That's right, you're Laughing Isaac. Maya said: I love to talk. I should be Talking Maya. A good fit for her.
Taking a huge risk, I asked: So, what should my name be? (While they were thinking, I was sweating, thinking my character flaws were about to be exposed.) They unanimously came up with Reading Mama. Whew!
I started thinking about why that would be at the top of their impressions of me. Hmmmm. I read to them over breakfast, during school time, generally right after I put the babies down for nap, and then I read my own books during my downtime. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they'd come up with that.
A note of humor: they decided Lydia should be Happy Lydia because whenever she throws a fit, I ask: Can you be happy? and she nods and says "happy", while immediately drying up her tears. For some reason it's the magic word for stopping her in her tracks. I don't know why it works, but I'm thrilled to have discovered it. Perhaps "Fit-Throwing Lydia" would be more appropriate, but all her older siblings see her through rose-colored glasses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Chloe lost her second tooth this morning. She called Daddy and told him that even though it hurt, she didn't cry because she "had self-control". Perhaps we're really making headway in that area. Whew! (It has been a long time coming!)
Daniel's having his dental treatment tomorrow. By noon tomorrow, he'll have a whole new smile! Your prayers welcome.
We're finally getting landscaping in the front yard! It's a miracle. If anyone would like to donate a sprinkler system so we can keep it all alive. . .
Pedro has decided, with much consternation, to take a whopping 3 classes in the fall. So he should be able to graduate sometime before he turns 30. (Of course, he has no intention of moving out before then, so he may as well take his time. Pretty sure that's his thinking.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Latest Read

I've recently been re-reading "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti. (I read it the first time when I was in high school.) Luckily, since it's been so long all the suspense is still suspenseful. I can't put it down!
This has been a nice change for me. I'm always reading non-fiction (generally several at once) since I'm such an info junkie; the last time I read fiction was when we were on the plane to Chicago to pick up Maya, Isaac and Daniel. ("The Lights of 10th Street" by Shaunti Feldhahn and I can't recommend it highly enough.)
I've gotten so many flabbergasted looks when I tell someone: "I was just reading. . ." and they ask how I could possibly have time to read. You make time for the things you love. I love to read.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Dr. Jeckyl/ Miss Hyde

Earlier this week, we had our pastor and his wife over for dessert. Pastor Mike is a big fan of Lydia's, although we don't know why. Every Sunday, he flirts with her after church and every Sunday, she gives him a dead-pan look regardless of his attempts. I guess he likes a challenge.

While he was here, he asked about the pack n play in our living room. Kyle explained that it is my secret to homeschooling success. Lydia sits in the pack n play and watches a Baby Einstein or Signing Time video while I do seatwork with the big kids. Pastor Mike asked if Daniel sat in it with her. Kyle explained that Daniel would sit on the floor for the duration of the video, so he doesn't need it. However, sometimes Daniel asks to be put in the pack n play with Lydia. This doesn't last too long, we explained to him, as Lydia will start bullying Daniel before too long. Pastor was shocked!

Lydia has a Dr. Jeckyl/ Miss Hyde personality. She is goofy, energetic and bull-headed at home. In public, she is expressionless and still. I'm grateful that she doesn't throw fits in public like she does at home, but it makes me sad that others don't get to see the fun side of Lydia either.

Lydia isn't my easiest child (my 2 firstborn girls share that title), but she is so much fun to be around! She talks all the time, practicing her growing vocabulary as she comments on everything she sees. She is very aware of her status as baby of the family and uses the title to her full advantage. (Although she currently considers Daniel competition since he's the same size as she is.) When she is mad, she will definitely let you know! But it doesn't take much to entertain her and her laugh is very contagious!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

We Have A Winner!!!

The Clark Dental Contest has now officially ended and Maya Clark is the declared winner. Maya was born in the small country of Liberia, on the West African coast. Typical of other Liberian children, Maya grew up without adequate nutrition or good dental hygiene. Her new adoptive parents, Kyle and Ginger, were prepared for extensive dental treatment for Maya and her brothers, Isaac and Daniel, who are also now Americans by adoption. Daniel was the first to visit the dentist. He had 7 cavities. Isaac had only two cavities, much to the delight of his loving parents. Maya, however, beat them both. She has only 1 small cavity. Way to go, Maya! We are so proud of you and your beautiful smile.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pedro's Progress

Since I'm always blogging about the younger set, I figured I should say something about the other adult in our family. Pedro has been in our family for 2 years now! He works at Starbucks 25-35 hours/week and is in school part-time at the community college.
He is just beginning to go through the "finding yourself" phase of the teen years. He deserved a couple years of normal childhood before growing up.
He recently has discovered that not all families have chores and was quite frustrated by it. He kept telling us about his friends who don't do any cleaning or laundry. We explained that they are in for a tough transition to adulthood, but of course, that didn't satisfy him. Two weeks ago he went to New York to visit a friend. He came back complaining what a wreck his friend's apartment was. He looked around at the dirt and dust and said, "Who's chore is this? You need to clean up!" He told us how grateful he is for the training he received. (I didn't think kids said stuff like that until after they left the nest, so I was quite shocked by his humility!)
Several months ago, we gave him a budget so that he would know how to save money appropriately. (Spending comes quite easily for him.) Well, we never heard another word about it, so I wondered if he dismissed our advice. Yesterday, I asked him how much money he had in savings and he was able to tell me exactly what he had in his housing fund, education fund, and car repair fund. I was quite impressed!