Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Real Mom's Don't Let Teens Use Their Cell Phones

A few weeks ago we went to the beach. The Teen had purchased himself a brand new phone and was playing with it while we frolicked in the sand.

A while later I noticed that he and Jeff were up to something.
They were laughing hysterically and pointing phones in the direction of a spectacle up the beach.

And then I noticed that the Teen was playing with my phone.
It would seem that the camera on my phone was better than his or something.

When I checked on the source of their hilarity they told me that there was a guy sitting there who was um...rather large...and looked as if he was wearing a sweater.
Except it was his hair.

I rolled my eyes.
It was what could be expected by a juvenile teen.
And it WAS kinda funny.

Later I noticed that there were about 5 or 6 photos of said man on my phone.

The following morning I received a call.
A very odd call.

It went something like this:
Me: Hello?
Unknown (older female) person: Who am I talking to?
Me: What?
UP: Who is this?
Me: Who am I talking to? {thinking....how rude is this person?!}
UP: Who am I talking to?

{Yes...this conversation actually occurred.} Sigh....

Me: Who are you wanting to speak to?

UP: Is this your phone?

Me: Yes.

UP: {using her angry voice} I received an obscene photo texted to me from your phone of a nude man on a beach.

Me: WHAT?!!!!

UP: Yes. I don't appreciate it AT ALL!!! I'm considering contacting the authorities.

Me: {Thinking mean thoughts about my teen} I am SO SORRY. My son was playing with my phone yesterday. I assure you that I would not send you an obscene photo. I am a 40+ woman with children!

UP: {calming down slightly} Oh. Well. {insert huffing} I can hear that you have children. {For once I was glad that they were being obnoxiously loud when I was on the phone}

Me: {wanting to say, "Oh yes! Lots and lots of them!!} I am so sorry. I will definitely be speaking to my son.

{Insert me wanting to pinch his little head off because I am thinking that he chose some random phone number to text the photo to. And I am also envisioning the news headlines..."Mom of 10, leading double life, found to be texting creepy photos to strangers." }

We finally hung up when I was reasonably sure she would not be contacting the authorities. I began plotting how I would punish my son.

When he got home, I asked him if he had sent a text from my phone while at the beach. He said, "Yes, I sent the picture from your phone to mine but I never got it."

Me: Yeah. {I think I should get some credit here because I refrained from saying something snotty like, "Yeah, genius. Do you think you might have typed in an incorrect phone number?} You just got your phone--did you possibly type the number wrong when you sent 'yourself' the photo?

Teen: I don't know. Maybe.

Me: Well...I just got a call from a very irate woman who says that *I* sent her an obscene photo of a naked man on a beach. {For the record, the man was NOT naked...it's just that he was sitting down and his swim suit was riding fashionably low.}

Teen: {Looking sheepish} Oh. Let me recheck my number.

The mystery was solved when we realized that the Teen had transposed two numbers and had sent the hideous photo to some poor {now traumatized} older woman who thought she was being targeted in some devious scam.


I love being a mom.

And I love my teen. I can't wait until I have a house full of them.
Let's see....
Next year = 2 teens
In two years = 3 teens
In three years = back down to 2
In four years = still 2
In five years = 3
In six years = 4
In seven years = 5
In eight years = 7 teens living in our house {that is the year I am making my official reservation at the nut house}

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So long, lovely locks!

SaraGrace has been growing her hair out for about a year so that she could donate it to a place that would make a wig for a child with cancer.

Well, today was the day!

We had waited until it was long enough so that she wouldn't look like a boy when we cut it, so she has a cute little bob.

She was very brave, although toward the end she said, "I feel like I'm going to cry."
But she didn't.

And thankfully, she loves her new hairdo and has been skipping around the house all evening telling me how much she likes it.

Second thoughts...

Snip, snip...

No turning back now...

Molly helped out by taking photos and Jillian helped me measure and rubber band the hair.

SaraGrace's new look! I love it! It matches her bouncy personality.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Amazing Story of God's Provision!

A little drama has been playing out for Ryan and Dani the past few weeks. They need paperwork proving they are actually married before the Army can update their status. The marriage license wasn't enough. They had to have proof that they actually got married. That means that Ryan is still getting paid as a single guy, and Dani cannot get an ID or get on base by herself.

They needed a marriage certificate, which is generated after the wedding takes place.

Those of us in the adoption community know all about the fun of getting one of those. {Grrrr....} It's a pesky piece of paper that the government needs for official business and it has to have the State Seal on it.

We also know how fun it can be to retrieve said piece of paper when government employees don't give a rip about getting it to us.

Each time Dani called the Country Clerk she was told that the paperwork had not arrived from the church, verifying that the marriage took place. Well...that was odd. It was sent the Monday after the wedding. How long could it possibly take to get there? Hmmm???

After two weeks of waiting, my dad decided to go down to the Judge's office this morning where the certificates are processed. He asked for prayer and we all prayed for favor with the officials he would see.
{Let's just say, we didn't have high expectations for their willingness to go above and beyond for this situation.}
We knew it would take prayer and we asked God to intervene.

My dad called me this morning during VBS. {Oh yes...it's VBS week and today's theme was...get this..."God hears us when we call."}

He was laughing.
That was a good sign.

Then he said, 'Karin! You won't believe this! I have the certificate in my hot little hands! God did a total miracle in there today!"

He went on to tell me that when he arrived at the Judge's office, the Judge was actually standing there at the door.
{As opposed to in his office or anywhere else in the large suite of offices.}

The judge looked at him, shook his hand and seemed to recognize him. My parents had attended the court proceedings for my sisters' kids when they were adopted, and this judge had presided over the case. He remembered my dad!
{Out of all the people he sees on a daily basis...}
He asked if my dad was there for another adoption. My dad said no, that he was there because he was having trouble getting a marriage certificate.

The judge said, "Really? Tell me about it."

OK...let's just pause for a moment. This guy is a very well known judge in that city. It's a very LARGE city. He's a busy man. He could have said, "Oh...the marriage division is one floor down. Have a nice day."

But no.
He listened as my dad explained the situation and when he heard that Ryan was a military guy, he said he was going to personally walk my dad downstairs and get everything sorted out! On the way, he wanted to know all about Ryan.

Once downstairs, he told the marriage clerks to process the paperwork right away.
They couldn't find it.

The judge continued to stand there, rather than instructing the staff to help and then leaving. {Who does that?}

It eventually became obvious that the paperwork was permanently missing. At that point, the judge said, "Look. I'm the judge. The pastor who did the ceremony is here. This young man is military and we are going to get this done TODAY. Generate a new one and give him the certificate!"

He waited until the certificate was in my dad's hands and then turned and thanked my dad for Ryan's service!

OK, let's recap.

Busy, important Judge's don't just stand at the door greeting people and asking them about their personal lives--and then LISTENING.
They don't personally take someone over to the clerk's office and instruct the staff to prioritize and process paperwork.
They don't stick around to make sure paperwork is found.
They don't stick around long enough to realize that the paperwork needs to be recreated.
They don't turn and thank YOU for YOUR grandson's service after they have gone way above and beyond the call of duty for you.

If the judge had not accompanied my dad to the marriage division, he probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere with them. The paperwork wasn't there. He could have asked them to generate it but it's doubtful they would have. Who knows how long this little saga would have continued?

But God!!
It is so exciting when we get to see God orchestrate an event like that! It was as if the Judge was standing there waiting for my dad to arrive so that he could give him the royal treatment.

God is always orchestrating our lives but often we don't get to see it--or we don't understand what He is doing. I love it when He lets us see it as it is happening!

So keep on praying for everything you need! God always answers our prayers but sometimes He really likes to blow our little minds! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meeting a Special Friend

Last Thursday we had a fun outing to Boston to meet a special friend. Zoey's BFF from her orphanage was going to be in town with her family. We had never met but her mom and I had corresponded online since before our girls were adopted.

Her daughter, Abby, has memories of the orphanage and had originally asked her new mom and dad to adopt Zoey because Zoey was her best friend. How precious! At the time, we were already in process to bring Zoey home, so they were able to assure Abby that her little friend would soon have a family of her very own.

We met at the beach. It had been in the 90's all week.
But not on Thursday.
It was in the 70's.
With gale force winds.
That put the wind chill around what? 65? ugh.

But we are tough, right?
We CAN enjoy ourselves.
Shivering? Pshaw.
Spitting out sand? Pshaw.

After two hours, we got our lunch.
Pizza seemed like a good choice.
One child set her plate down and it flipped over.
Then one child put his plate down to go grab a drink and nimbly kicked sand onto his pizza.
After several of the kids had pizza covered with sand, we decided that we had put up with enough sand in our faces and headed to McDonalds.

Zoey and Abby had fun--although it took Zoey a little while to warm up. They were just getting comfortable with each other when we had to head home.

Sorry...not many pics because of the blowing sand. Not good to get that into camera gears.
Abby brought Zoey a necklace. It was one that matched hers. One said "Best" and other said, "Friend." Zoey is fingering her necklace in this photo. She's been wearing it ever since.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wah! Jake is Five.

Wah! My little man is five. I want him to stay little forever.

He's been counting down the days to his birthday and was so excited when the day finally came. Jillian decorated his cake and he asked to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant for dinner.
Once there, he ordered fish and fries. Go figure.

Happy Birthday, my sparkly-eyed Jakey!

Picnik collage

Monday, July 11, 2011

Catch-up Post

First, an update on little guy, Tommy. We saw him today and he is doing very well! He is already out of PICU and although tired, he looked amazingly alert and healthy. Thank you, Jesus. He will have to stay in the hospital until his chest tubes stop draining large amounts of fluid, though.


And now for a recap of our day of swimming while we were visiting old friends the week of Ryan and Dani's wedding. We had no sooner walked into the pool area and were setting down our stuff when we heard a loud splash. We whirled around to see that Miss Zoey had dived into the pool with no life jacket. Good grief! She was bobbing up and under and pretty much panicking. Neither Jeff nor I had swimsuits on. Jeff started unloading his phone and wallet from his pockets so he could go in and get her. Somehow, she bobbed over close enough for him to reach in and grab her without going in.

Despite her exciting beginning, Zoey had no qualms about going back in the water.

Picnik collage_pool

SaraGrace and my sweet neice, Brittany.
I LOVE swimming!
My swimming is more low key but I still have fun.

"Jake...you got like three feet of air that time!"

"And you got your face wet...wow."
"That's right! I'm ninja at this swimming thing."

Jake had a scare when he dove {sort of} into his tube only to have it go over, putting his face under the tube, stuck underwater. YIKES! Thankfully, we saw it happen and grabbed him. He told everyone later that he drowned three times.

The princess tries to get some air.

And gets a nice splash, thank you very much!

After Zoey swam awhile with her leg on, the socks became quite heavy so she decided to try swimming without it. She mostly likes jumping in--which meant she had to hop over to the side first.

Getting into position...

The crouch...

She hurtles through space and time...
{OK...I know that is a slight exaggeration}

Love the tightly closed eyes and look of intensity!


The teenager was there but he gets all cranky when I take photos of him and post them on the blog, so I will use all of my will-power and not post any.

Thank you, Susie, we had a wonderful time swimming with you in your pool!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Please pray for a little guy...

...who is having a heart surgery similar to Katie's today. His mom is a childhood friend of mine and her little boy, Tommy, was adopted from China. He is having surgery at Boston Children's today at noon. It's a very complicated surgery and he needs prayer.

His family lives in Washington state and will be here for several weeks. It's costly for them and a friend has set up a Chip In to help with expenses.

His mom's blog is: Our Many Blessings where you can go for updates.

Please pray for this sweet little guy!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Thankful Heart

As I savor the sweet memories made last week, I can only say that I am so thankful for all the blessings God rained down on us.

Thankful for family and friends who stepped in to help to give Ryan and Dani a wonderful wedding.
Thankful for our friends, Mark and Margie who allowed us to use their beautiful property for the reception.
Thankful to Dean and Barb who provided gorgeous flowers.
Thankful to my parents' friends who spent all day preparing and serving food in 95 degree heat.
Thankful that although it did rain, it only shortened the wedding reception by two hours.

The flu...ahhh...yes. That was special.
A few of our kids had gotten a stomach bug over the past few weeks and I ended up getting it the day of the rehearsal. I made it to the Thursday rehearsal but missed the dinner, swimming and fireworks that night. I was feeling fine by Friday night. Friday morning, Ryan was sick but felt pretty good by that night. Our big fear was that the Bride would be sick on Saturday, but thankfully she wasn't. She started to feel a bit unwell by the end of the reception but it's hard to say if it was flu or exhaustion.

There was one very special person who DID have the flu that day, though. :( Dani has been living with a very special couple and the wife, Regina, had helped Dani with all the wedding plans. She sent me a text Saturday morning telling me she was deathly sick and I thought she was joking. Sadly, she was not. She missed the wedding and the reception. She had a much more virulent strain than we did. I am still just so sad for her.

So anyway....the wedding. It was sunny, hot and humid. As in 95 degrees and humid. The girls met at the church to get their hair done, which was very fun to watch.
Picnik collage_girls

Pre-wedding photos:

Peeking through the blinds to watch the guests arrive.
SaraGrace admires her new big sister

And then it was time for all of us to get ready to walk down the aisle. We were all milling around when suddenly the music cuing the Grandma's and Mom's started. I looked at Jeff and noticed he had gotten teary eyed. I asked if he was okay and he said, "It's starting. Our Ryan is getting married."

{My pictures inside the church are very dark and grainy because I do not have the flash equipment needed to do the job correctly.}

As Ryan got his first glimpse of Dani, he teared up which made the rest of us tear up as well.

Jeff patted Dani's hand as they stood at the doorway and then they started their walk up the aisle.

I should have focused on Ryan rather than my dad...but you can still see the expression on Ryan's face as Dani stood in front of him.

My dad married them which was so special. He talked about how Ryan was his first grandchild and that he had been given the privilege of explaining to Dani how to become a Christian and to baptize her.
You may kiss the bride!

Post-wedding posed shots. I couldn't fit everyone in so Taylor isn't in this photo. Drat.
Grandparent photos

Taylor using the down time to check his messages.

Then it was off to the reception. It was held in a beautiful setting that was owned by friends of ours who were kind enough to let us use it.

So fun to see sweet Emma again! She was one of 'my' babies when I was a foster care coordinator for Love Without Boundaries and it was amazing when God brought her home to a dear friend.
Molly reconnects with her special friend, Shali.
Jeff's mom and sister...love this picture of them!

Jordan and his bestest buddy who drove all the way from Alabama to see him attend the wedding.

Ryan's version of the Royal wave...and our version of a beautiful horse-drawn carriage.

Mother/Son dance... I love that boy!

The last time they danced was in China when Jillian was six months old. Where has the time gone?

Jeff's brother and wife, Laurie
My parents
Jeff's parents
Time to throw the garter
The two Amigo's wait for....um..."What are we doing here?"
Jordan was the surprised recipient

Jeff and his sister

Dollar dance...my girls all paid their dollar to dance with Ryan, although some of them chickened out. Not SaraGrace...she is all about being a princess and going to the ball.

Love these sweet shots of Ryan dancing with his Grandma

Dancing with Dani--so fun!
My boys...it makes a mother proud. ha.
Ryan dancing with his sisters
The whole group dancing thing really caught on...
And then there were my crazy friends... :)
Jake dances with Mama. Notice the little tongue hanging out. {I think my brother took this pic. He took several and now I can't remember which ones he took and which ones I took. So, Mark...if I am not crediting you...so sorry.}
Love the look on SaraGrace's face as she dances with her Daddy {taken by my brother, I think}

Ok--I know I took this one since Mark is in it...with his beautiful wife, Meredith.

The reception had to be cut short by a storm rolling in. Thankfully, we were warned in time to get everything put away and taken down before it hit. It was incredibly hot and humid, so we all were sweating buckets but we had lots of water and just made the best of it. We had so much fun and are so thankful for everyone who helped make it happen.