Monday, May 31, 2010

Charm School Drop Out

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I am at work today, and my blog is still catching up on events that occurred last week. On Wednesday Val and I braved the billion percent humidity at 9am and decided to get the kids out to the park and burn off some energy before nap time. The outfit Harper is wearing is one of my favorites. She got it for her birthday and I have been waiting for her to grow a little so it would fit! This outfit is also one of the reasons why I have to stay off Etsy forever lest I have to utter sentences like, "Emerson, I'm sorry it took mommy and daddy so long to get you out of that orphanage. We would have had the money sooner but we were buying overpriced ruffled onesies from Etsy."

After several attempts, I finally managed to get a picture showing all of the words. What I did not manage to do, was wipe the condensation off of the lens before I took the picture. Photoshop can only compensate so much for operator error!

Aidan had a great time playing cars with Joel (yes, Aidan's wearing his goggles at the park. Why is that weird?) and Harper joined in the fun too.

Harper had a very good talk with her new cousin Uriah about how much fun it is to sleep through the night.

But then she tried to lick him.

And rip his nose off.

Hope you and yours are having a wonderful Memorial Day, and I hope I see none of you in the ER today!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mural Mural On The Wall

Aidan has been working on his artwork lately. All over the back of the house, he has been working on his artwork. The little booger will innocently sneak out the back door, and I will think he is swinging or playing football, and he is instead coloring the bricks.
Do I need to tell you how long this summer is going to be if Aidan has already resorted to coloring the bricks? How on earth am I going to keep them entertained?
Chalk does wash off, right?

I've been getting periodic updates from Kentucky, where my boys are with my parents, Aunt Lindy and Uncle Andy, and a whole slew of my extended family, and needless to say, they are having a whole lot more fun there than they would be at our house this weekend.

So I guess Aidan's masterpiece will have to be continued next week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So Far Behind I May Never Catch Up

Hello there, blog. It's been 9 days, and I have missed you so. I would love to say I have missed you because I have been lying on a beach with my pedicured toes buried in the sand and my manicured hand holding something frozen with an umbrella in it, but, alas that is not the case. I have, however, spent many a long day holding hands, vomit bags, Foley catheters, IV catheters, medication, urine cups, EKG leads, CT contrast, AMBU bags, bedpans, warm blankets, wrist restraints and pretty much just working my tail off in the ER 7 of the last 9 days. I realize that this is some people's normal work schedule, but it is not mine. So between work and kids and church stuff, I. Am. Beat.

Here's what has been going on in my neck of the woods:

I co-hosted a baby shower for a friend of mine on Sunday and the entire church showed up. It was fun, because every room felt like it's own party. You could talk to people in the kitchen for a while, then move to the dining room and talk to 10 more people you hadn't seen yet. Then wander into the living room and look at cute baby stuff being passed around and talk to another 20 people. It may have only been 40 people or so, but we brought enough gifts that it just felt like the entire church was there. Harper's friend Ellie will be the best dressed little baby and have a Bumbo in every room of the house to sit in.

Dane won an award in PE yesterday. While I was helping an elderly gentleman with his catheter and hearing about how I look "just like his grand-daughter" (ew), Brandon made it through the cavity search at Dane's school security check in just in time to see him receive an end-of-year award for PE, of which only two were awarded in his class. Go Dane! And then he skipped the next 2 and a half days of school to road trip with his grandparents. We are nothing if not inconsistent.

Dane and Aidan left this morning on the first leg of their trip to Kentucky this weekend. In fact, Aidan was up at 5:30 this morning, fully dressed and ready to "ride a tractor in Kentucky". Know what's worse than Aidan being up at 5:30 in the morning? Me knowing that he is up at 5:30 in the morning. On my day off.

So Harper is alone for the next few days with her Mommy and Daddy, and I have been gently reminded that Harper is a bit high-maintenance when she doesn't have her doting brothers around. As in, she wants me to do the doting. All the time. Even when I'm folding laundry or eating dinner or in the bathroom, she has a very hard time understanding why I'm not holding her and letting her lick my chin and talk on my cell phone. I'll forgive her, only because she napped from 10:30 till 2:45 today and let me fall asleep on the couch during Law and Order, which I haven't done since Dane was a baby.

I have some more catching up to do, and several cute pictures to post, but they will have to come later on this week. But not tomorrow, because I have 12 more hours of convincing patients that no, their sunburn does not constitute a medical emergency.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On My Mind...

I've been thinking a lot about Emerson lately. Wondering what she is doing, if she is taking a nap, or eating, wondering what she plays with at the orphanage. I put a couple of big things in the mail today. One was a check for the balance of the country fee to our adoption agency. As of today, we have paid over $17,000 in adoption expenses, with about $10,000 for airfare, travel expenses, etc. still to pay. If you had told me a year ago that we would somehow be coming up with $17,000, I never would have believed it. But God is faithful, and we have had exactly the money we needed, at exactly the time we have needed it. It hasn't come easy, I have been working my tail off at any emergency room that will take me within a 40-mile radius. But we have been so grateful for God's provision.

We also sent a couple of things to the adoption agency that they will send on to Emerson. We have known for weeks that we could send a couple of things, and have stressed ourselves out over what exactly to send, it had to be perfect, and so on. Forgetting that she is a not-quite 3 year old who doesn't need us to impress her. We put together a little 4x6 photo album, with some pictures of our family and the house, and a few sheets of little stickers for her.

Brandon made a CD of himself singing a few songs, songs that don't make any logical sense to those outside of our little family, but songs that we find ourselves singing all the time. Night-night songs, "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes", "Why So Downcast Oh My Soul", "Jesus Loves Me", and a few other family classics. So now Emerson can look at our family photos, and listen to her Daddy sing a cappella in a language she doesn't understand. Maybe she'll recognize those crazy white people from the pictures when she comes home later this year.

Can't wait to see you, sweet girl.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Harper Camp

Attention parents:

Do you need a break for a few days? Are grandparents calling you, begging you to send your precious daughter to their house for a few days?

Look no farther, Harper Camp is open for business!

A few amenities your child can look forward to:

Duck feeding:

Hand holding:

Stick eating:

Bandaid getting:

Playing with the oven:

Playing with cousin Zane:

Hair bow freedom (this is why she always has a bow in her hair):
Bedtime for baby dolls:

Great-grandparent cuddling:
Tattoo flashing (I'm sorry Harper. It was your father):

Co-ed cousin baths:

Wrapping Pappy around your little finger:

Squirrel shooting out the kitchen window by Counselor Uncle Andy(please don't ask. You really don't want to know):
Welcome back, Harper girl! I'm so glad you're home!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Meet the Blogroll

(*Warning: this post turned out to be FOREVER LONG, and I should have broken it up into like 3 posts, but I didn't. Sorry.)

Anyone want to see more pictures of Dane in his goggles? What about Harper in a cute outfit? Or read one of Aidan's conversations and wonder why I don't drink more than I do? No? Then how about a trip down the sidebar. Let's meet the blogroll, shall we?

MckMama I don't know her in real life, but I love reading about people who live very different lives than I do and love Jesus big. She loves Jesus big. 90% of the time I love reading and checking out the pictures, and sometimes I feel like I'm eavesdropping on something that's none of my business.

Brandon's Bible Blog Hello, Hot Brandon my husband. Brandon studies several chapters of the Bible most days, and blogs his thoughts on such. He tends to not blog about our family, children, or post cute pictures of our daughter topless. He pretty much just sticks to Bible study. Not involved in a study of your own? Jump into this one.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman Is there anyone who does not read this blog? If not, start with Black Heels to Tractor Wheels from the beginning. A great story, it will take an entire naptime and then some to read, and it's being made into a movie next year. How cool is that? This week her blog is 4 years old, and she has been taking a trip down memory lane with some of her funniest posts. Enjoy. And please make her Crash Hot Potatoes.

The Chisam Trail Once upon a time when Brandon was in middle school (elementary school?) He had a friend named Matt. They were friends for years and years, and one time Matt set his arm hair on fire using a can of Aqua Net hairspray and had to jump into a swimming pool so he wouldn't lose an arm. Now Matt is in the Air Force and flies expensive airplanes and lives in Germany with his wife Carma and baby boy Easton. We love this family, and I secretly wish Matt would come fly planes in Houston so me and Carma could have play dates together and plan Easton and Harper's wedding. I like to read their blog and pretend that I, too, can hop into the car and be in Switzerland in 20 minutes.

Dill's Blog My cousin Dana married a boy named Bryan and they live in Kentucky now where he is a preacher and they have a cute baby boy. I never see them, except for the odd holiday where they come to Houston where Dana's mommy and daddy live and we stop by to see everyone and Harper plays with baby Asher while Aidan squirts hand sanitizer on our heads from the upstairs balcony.

Big Mama A funny lady who loves Jesus and lives in Texas and makes me laugh more often than not. I don't know her in real life either.

I Was Just Thinking... Mike Farra was Brandon's youth minister, and then Brandon worked as a youth intern under him for several years after he graduated. I love his perspective and thoroughly enjoy mooching wisdom via his blog. He's been writing about marriage on Tuesdays, and it's definitely worth the read. I miss Mike and Wanda, and they're pretty high on the list of People I Wish Lived Closer to Me.

BooMama Another funny lady who loves Jesus and I don't know her in real life either. I love reading about her family, and some of my favorite posts of hers involve her mother in law Marti!

Hathorn Highlights The Hathorn family goes to church with us, and I love them. They have two of the most well behaved children I have ever seen, and sometimes we trick-or-treat together on Halloween. Their daughter Shelby plays softball, and wears knee high socks with red flames shooting up them. These socks are almost cool enough to make me want to take up softball. And then I remember about all the sweating and lack of athletic ability of any kind, and I sit back down at the computer.

The Carvers Once upon a time, I grew up in another church and went to youth group every time the doors were open. And so did Lindsey and Cody. And then they got married and had a baby. A really cute baby. And Lindsey makes stuff and sews stuff and crafts stuff, and makes me want to go buy cute fabric and a sewing machine. Then I remember about all the time consuming, "detail-orientedness" that is required for sewing cute things, and it makes me happy that my friends and family sew so I don't have to.

Yellow Door Barn My uncle Tom and aunt Carol have a son. His name is Noah and he is a brilliant computer genius. So much of a brilliant computer genius that we usually don't even speak the same language. He knows a lot of computer words like "dos" and "matrix" and "internet", and I know a lot of words like "naptime" and "don't eat Legos" and "yes, you have to take a bath". He married a really cool chick Heidi, and now they live in Austin and ride bikes and grow things in the dirt that they then eat, and have goats and chickens. They use words like "animal husbandry" on their blog. I love reading about their adventures and their life, and I'm still mildly fascinated that the Thanksgiving turkey they ate on a Thursday was still alive on Tuesday. It makes me wish Kroger offered that as an option.

The Driskells Once upon a time, my dad went to college and had a friend called Wazzo. I'm pretty sure he has a real name, but he was Uncle Wazzo growing up. When I was in high school, I discovered that Uncle Wazzo had a daughter Kara who I still kind of want to be when I grow up. Kara's husband Len is a chaplain in the military and they live far away with their three beautiful daughters, and I love reading their blog and pretending that we're next door neighbors.

Family, Fibers, Flowers, and Fish My aunt Betsy knits. Like, all the time, super cute stuff like scarves, hats, socks, and sweaters. Cute, pink sweaters with duck buttons and a matching hat that looked so cute on Harper when she was a leetle baby. She's also capable of keeping things alive in her yard, and keeps me up to date with cute pictures of Harper's cousin (3rd cousin?) baby Mason.

Stars In Sky My friend Abby and her family go to church with me. She is lovely and sweet and wise. And she just had twins a couple of months ago, her 4th and 5th babies. Yes, she has 5 precious kiddos, and the oldest is Dane's age. She is super mom, and I can't wait to cuddle those babies in Sunday morning nursery when they get a smidgin bigger.

Revolution. Revival. Redemption. Emily, I miss you! Brandon and I know Emily from back in Brandon's youth intern days with Mike Farra's youth group in Lewisville. She is beautiful and creative and unique and so different than me, and when I read her blog I feel like I'm peeking into her brain just a little bit and I really wish she lived by me (or maybe I wish I lived by her, in Colorado) so I could hug her more. Every time I read Emily's blog, I say a prayer for her and her family. And I wish I had the guts to get a really cool looking tattoo.

The Ray Family Tommy Ray went to college with Brandon and taught us all how to talk just a little bit more country. A few years later, he married a ballerina from the church we all went to, and now they have a beautiful little girl and another baby on the way. When Kristin was pregnant with their daughter, Tommy told Brandon that he wished the baby was ugly so he would never have to worry about boys and dating. No such luck, Tommy Ray. Haylee is beautiful.

Holcomb Family Becky and her family are friends from my neck of the woods that we got to know at church. Her little girls are buddies with my boys, and Harper has been the recipient of lots of Holcomb hand-me-downs! I don't see Becky as much as I used to, and I love catching up with her adventures via her blog. And I'm more than a little jealous that she has met both Paula Deen and the Pioneer Woman.

My Kind of Wonderful Another local friend, I know Kay and her precious family from church also, and she has maybe the greatest laugh in the world . She tells great stories about her family, and frequents Chick Fil A often enough that they recognize her voice at the drive thru and know her order. One time she got to the window, got to chatting with the drive thru guy for several minutes, and eventually drove away forgetting to pay for her food. No worries, they just put it on her tab and she paid them the next time.

Mister and Doctor My cousin Jack in Kentucky married a girl Francie who I'm pretty sure has just always been in our family. I really want them to move to Houston, too, but I love reading about their life and their home and their world, so foreign to my day-to-day, but familiar a little bit because their town is where we have gone for family reunions since Jack and I were teeny tiny. And Francie is a PhD, which makes it a little hard for me to call her Francie, because if I had gone to school for that long, I would pretty much make even my grandmother call me Doctor.

Welcome to Sloanville My brother John, his wife Brandy, and plenty of pictures of my nephew Zane. Zane will be a big brother in July. Apparently my brother and I have a cousin who will soon be having a baby named Zelda, and I'm pretty sure John is disappointed that the name Zelda is now "taken". And I'm pretty sure Brandy is relieved. My brother's sense of humor may give you just the tiniest glimpse of life in the Sloan home growing up. We think weird things are funny. He loves his family, The Simpsons, and Baris pizza. Not always in that order.

Rocky Hernandez Another one of Brandon's college friends. I think this guy is great, and would love to have just the perfect girl to set him up with, but I got nothin'. Rocky and I once paced around my kitchen making chocolate chip cookies while talking about girl drama. Because some stories need cookies.

Wrapped in Pink Ribbons of Faith When Brandon and I went to NYC last year, Harper stayed with Ellen and her family for a few days. Ellen is another good friend from church, a breast cancer survivor, mother of two wonderful daughters that I want to steal sometimes, and sews beautiful, sentimental quilts that carry stories with them.

The Luedeckes Gary is on staff with Brandon at the church, and we have had the privilege of getting to know him and his bride Krissy these last couple of years. Gary and Krissy are also in the process of adopting a baby from Mongolia, and we pray for them and their growing family often. I love reading about their road trips and wishing I were a person that likes to camp in tents. But I just don't. Mandy needs a BED and an AIR CONDITIONER. (I just proofread this, and initially I typed "Magnolia" instead of "Mongolia". They are very different places.)

Hancock Monkeys Rebecca and her family are some of those people that if we go months and don't see each other, we don't skip a beat when we finally do. Humor is a must with the Hancock family, and Rebecca has on more than one occasion pretended to be hearing impaired, complete with faux sign language, to avoid awkward conversations with strangers. When the TXU man came knocking on the Hancock's door to try to get them to switch electricity providers, Rebecca tried to sell him electricity from their non-existent solar panels on the roof. They also may have brought Boone's Farm strawberry wine as a hostess gift to us one night last summer.

The Valdez's My sister in law Val, her State Trooper husband Izzy, and two of my three nephews. Val works as a middle school English teacher, and she is one of those few people who was put on this earth to be a middle school English teacher. Val just had a baby, and she never updates her blog because she lives in the boondocks and has dial up. But she does have one of those phones that is practically a computer, so I get to see cute pictures on Facebook of baby Uriah.

Tyler and Loralai Growing up one of my Grandmothers lived in Waco, and we would go visit her on the weekends and go to church with her on Sunday mornings and I had a friend at Bible class at my grandmother's church in Waco named Jennifer and we got along so well. Then I went to ACU 12 years later and discovered that Jennifer lived 4 doors down from me in the dorm and we still got along. Now she lives in Georgia with her preacher husband Drew and two cute kids and I haven't seen her in about 10 years and she still looks exactly. the. same.

cliff + andrea Cliff is another cousin who lives in Dallas with his darling wife Andrea. Cliff sells something to do with medical equipment (Cliff, every time I see you we talk about your job and I still can't remember what exactly it is) and Andrea is a speech pathologist (right Andrea?) and works with elementary school kids. Andrea's mom makes really pretty cookies, and one inexplicable weekend found Cliff, Andrea, and her mother at the Sloan table at my parents house with all of us sitting around telling stories that Andrea's mother could probably have gone her whole life without hearing.

Jefferson I'm pretty sure my friend Keri has stopped blogging (along with the following people on this list, since it's been around a year since the last update) but Keri is one of my church buddies, and her husband Sheldon is our Jr. High Minister, and is responsible for making Brandon's life a billion times easier for the last several years.

sunjane Another friend from Brandon's college days, Sunni. Her family lives in Corpus Christi and she also looks exactly the same today as she did 10 years ago. There was something in the water where Brandon went to college. No one he went to school with has aged.

McLife Velvet and her husband Scott (sidenote: Scott, Keri Jefferson, and Becky Holcomb, all of the sidebar, are all siblings). I'm pretty sure she has stopped blogging, since she last updated December 2008.

There are a couple other friends and family blogs that are private, and you need the super secret password to see, but you don't get to hear about those, because they are very private and very super secret.

Read my blog? Have a blog? Let me know so I can check it out!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Plant a Garden, by Aidan Cooper

Last week while I was at work, Brandon and the kids had a "daddy day" and planted a garden. I know this little garden is quite the envy of my cousins Noah and Heidi, and they have just been waiting for some how-to instructions from our crew. With only a little bribing by his mommy with the promise of miniature frozen pancakes, my Aidan Cooper wanted to give you his perspective, and teach all of you a lesson on how to build a garden:

I went to the store with Daddy to buy the garden stuff and they had all the stuff to make a garden grow. They had wood. That's all we gotted. And big nails and big screws. The nails are a hundred feet tall and they don't even fit in the garage and Daddy can carry the nails that are a hundred feet tall because Daddy is the strongest kid.

First, I put a little lines on the sides, then we put all the dirt in it, then Daddy got even more than me and he made all those lines in the dirt. Then he pushed all lines down in the garden when I was by the garden where the dirt was.

I only got to measure the wood and draw on it, I didn't get to cut on the wood. Daddy cut a little bit of it with his big crazy saw and he cut some of it with his saw. After Daddy cut the wood, then we made the garden and Daddy made the lines then he put the dirt in it and I took all the green stuff out of it. That's all I did. Me and Dane and Daddy put the plants in, and I got to put in the huge one.

The big tree that was there for so long and was so big and it became too far and crushed my whole house and we went to Uncle Tom and Aunt Carol and Jonathan's house. But now that's where the garden is. Where the big tree was.

I planted corn seeds and I don't know watermelon, cucumber, corn. My name is Aidan. That's all for today. See ya! I don't know which one is the watermelon. I think the first ones is corns and zucchinis. Watermelons are next. I don't like zucchinis. I want to draw! (This is how most conversations with Aidan go. Please pray for his teachers at school.)

We took a picture with Harper, Daddy took off her shirt because her shirt was too dirty when she ate-ed dinner. Then we swang and swang and swang. (Sidenote: I was mildly traumatized to come home and see about 40 pictures of my sweet little girl running around outside topless. And lets not even talk about the spears my boys are holding.)

Do not touch the garden, that's all for today. The garden needs all kinds of seeds, it needs sunshine and water. We put water on it with the hose so it can grow.

I hope we have all learned priceless lessons about garden-planting today. This is invaluable information from people who successfully grew 4 okras last year, only to learn that none of us are big okra fans.

Keep this in mind, because there's a slim chance that I might be trying to unload zucchini on you if a few months.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Unexpected Goodies

Is there anything better than checking the mail and finding a completely unexpected package for you with something pretty in it?

This actually happened to me more than once last week.

This girl scored some cutie outfits from her Aunt Deb:

Thanks Deb! Harper's favorite is this little number with the strawberry on the heinie.

Dane and Aidan will get to see their Aunt Deb, along with many more of my Kentucky people for a reunion in just a few weeks. They are going with my parents to help my great aunt celebrate her 90th birthday. Unfortunately, this mommy has to stay home that weekend and work in the ER. At this point in our adoption I can't afford to miss 30+ hours of work. Boo for me, but I'm also grateful that God is providing for our adoption by giving me the opportunity to work hard. It's something I do not take for granted.

And I got a treat in the mail just for me! Our friends Matt and Carma (and now Harper's new boyfriend Easton) have lived in Germany for several years now. Every now and then, when I've come back from hauling the kids around Wal-Mart and the most exciting part of my day was finding an old half-empty sippy cup under Harper's crib, I'll flip through their blog to read about their last-minute weekend ski trip in Switzerland. Or her impromptu shopping trip with the girlfriends to Poland.

Where she purchased this pretty piece of pottery and sent it to her friend Mandy. A beautiful dish that I will never, ever find under a piece of furniture, caked with week-old curdled milk. Thanks for sending me a little piece of Poland, Carma!

If the mail-goodies weren't enough, we saw Grammy and GranDoug this past weekend and were gifted unexpectedly yet again with goodies from their trip to Ireland. The boys got Ireland soccer gear:

And Harper got a couple of dresses, including this handmade beauty crafted from the fabrics used in her room:

True to form, I was scraping stuck-on Cheetos from this pretty dress by the end of the day. It's a glamourous life I do lead.

The only downside to this past weekend? Realizing that the days of "good pictures" of all five of us are over.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Dane reads everything he can get his hands on lately. Between that, and absorbing every tidbit of information he is learning at school these days, my eldest has become a veritable fount of random knowledge:

Mom, did you know that a brachiosaurus that has just hatched from his egg can drop a poop ball as big as Harper?

Mom, I learned what birth is. It means being born. Baby Uriah had some birth just a few days ago.
Mom, how many blowholes does a whale have? Did you ever see a whale? Have you ever been on a whale-watching boat? What kind of whale did you see?

Mom, did you know that insects have three parts? They have a head, thorax, and albumin. Or something like that. Abdomen. It's like albumin in an egg.

Mom, did you know that when mole rats get really hungry, they eat their own poop?

Does anyone else notice a theme here?

And yes, we have started swim team practice. Why do you ask?