31 May 2009

I love this

This morning I had some quiet time in the kitchen to listen to music and make food. Those are wonderful times for me. I was listening to one of my long time favorite CDs and was struck again as I heard, "So come lose your life for a carpenter's son, for a madman who died for a dream," and it struck me that I can't imagine any way I'd rather live.

29 May 2009

the simple truth

After bedtime prayers the kids were discussing what Daddy can and can't do with his arm right now. Joshua's concluding statement was, "Daddy can't do the chicken dance."

28 May 2009

current health crisis

So Peter thought he had a clogged pore or something like that in his armpit, and it hurt. Then it got bigger. Then he couldn't lift his arm without intense pain. Then he started having tingly feelings, and he realized he better see the doctor. Last night she put him on an antibiotic and told him that if the redness spread, he should go straight to the ER. It did spread quite a bit, but it went from redness to pinkness. We weren't sure what to do, so he called the doctor this morning. She told him he could go sit in the ER behind all the critical cases and wait to have it drained or come see her 15 minutes later. It wasn't a hard choice. She numbed it, cut it open, drained lots of yuck, and packed it with gauze. He is supposed to let it ooze until Saturday and then go back to have it closed up. She put him on a second antibiotic and gave him a prescription for Vicodin in case over the counter pain killers aren't strong enough. In the meantime, he can't do a whole lot with him arm. Of course, it had to be the left one (he's a lefty), and we need to finish up the last of the work in Patience's new room before Sunday when Danny is moving in with us for part of the summer. You know, lots of hammering, drilling, reaching above your head, holding heavy doors. And evidently I'm not capable of doing much of the work even if I wanted to. Good times. Please feel free to pray for a quick and full recovery and lots of grace to get through the next few days.

26 May 2009

memorial day weekend

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend. Saturday the kids and I drove to Harrisburg for a family gathering while Peter and my brother Steve worked on Patience's new room. The kids had a great day, especially Garty who played with my grandfather and that green punch ball all afternoon. They had quite the game going. At one point my grandfather actually crawled under a table to sneak up on Garty and steal it. Sunday was a quieter day at home. Peter took the 2 oldest out to practice riding their bikes for a while in the afternoon, but that was about it. Monday we slept late, ate brunch, went to the zoo, picked out paint at Home Depot, and finally enjoyed a picnic and some running around at Valley Forge Park. Here are just a few pictures from our fun.




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13 May 2009

the best words I've ever heard

We've been in a phase of heavy duty attachment parenting in response to some issues we've been having with the kids. It gets exhausting to always make a big deal out of things that feel like they should be automatic, normal responses. I can't count how many times in the past week I've stopped and looked one of my kids in the eye to say, "Thank you so much for asking me for help. I really appreciate that you want my help." We have friends who would pay good money to have their kids stop asking for help for an hour! But a few minutes ago it all paid off. Joshua hugged me hard and said, "I love you, too, Mommy." It was all I could do not to cry all over him. Joshua is our only one who doesn't tell us he loves us. He told us a few times a while back, but neither of us have heard it for a very long time. When we say we love him, he usually looks away or laughs it off or tries to physically escape. He's written it in a note to Peter once or twice but never to me. It breaks my heart every night when we say goodnight, but we know we need to give him time and space to fully love and trust us. Tonight though I'm going to celebrate. It's a small victory in a long journey of overcoming all the pain and confusion of our kids' past. They're such happy kids that we sometimes forget how much they've endured and how it will shape them forever.

12 May 2009


Joshua may not be quite ready for a serious fishing trip with Grandpop and his Dunbar uncles. Poor fish. At least the kids had fun.

06 May 2009

aspiring Liberian

I looked up during dinner the other night to see Peter awkwardly gnawing on the end of a chicken drumstick in an effort to chew the end off and suck out the marrow. Sadly, he didn't have the skill mastered. After I finished laughing at him, he explained that he just wanted to see what all the excitement was. His conclusion was that eating chicken bones is overrated. What a lame American. He ended up throwing that entire bone in the trash. Joshua and Patience must be so ashamed of him.

05 May 2009

the light at the end of the tunnel

Recently quite a few people have asked about the Liberian family that we're helping to resettle and why I haven't blogged about how it's going. As I've considered the question, I've realized that it's simply because the experience has has been too difficult to talk about. I wouldn't even know where to start without sounding extremely discouraged and maddeningly frustrated all the time. We knew we were making a tremendously demanding commitment. We just never dreamed how complicated it would be. In addition to all the expected stresses of a family of 10 that was completely uprooted and starting over in a new country, this family has surprised us with some added complications. Our team has worked hard and been very supportive, but it's just been too much. I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. The worst part is that I've really lost my love and compassion for these people, which is not like me. They've been through some terrible stuff, and I no longer have the heart to care. I hate that. Our 4 month commitment is over in 5 weeks. We have significant concern about whether the family will be ready to stand on their own at that point, but I know that I need to be done. I can only pray that we have done everything we can to set them up for success and that there will be others who continue to surround them with love and support.

01 May 2009

good news

Garty's fever finally broke right before lunch today. It lasted a full 72 hours with absolutely no other significant symptoms. Tonight the pediatrician called to say both the throat and urine cultures came back negative, so we have no idea what was wrong. We're just so thankful that it wasn't kidney related. We're not happy that he takes 2 doses of blood pressure medication daily at his age, but we're thankful that he isn't facing any other problems yet with his disease. This week we had to face the dreaded thought always in the back of our minds that his disease could be progressing. Every month that goes by without new symptoms developing brings greater hope that he may never need a kidney transplant. However, we know that new concerns could arise without notice. Thanks to everyone for your love and prayers. Our kids have no idea how blessed they are to have so many people cheering them on, but we do.