Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Simple things: a bath

We took this inflatable duck tub to Ethiopia to bathe Taye in (they only have sinks or showers there). We brought it home and kept using it so we could bathe him separately from everyone else in case he had any parasites/rashes/bugs, etc. Good thing we did because he tested positive for giardia. Until he has enough negative tests, we will continue to bathe him in the duck. (This involves thoroughly sanitizing his ducky tub, bath toys, and the bathtub every time we give him a bath)

Ducky tub

The most challenging part of bathing Taye is taking good care of his hair. First we lather with “Dark and Lovely” shampoo.

Next we have to comb or pick through his hair to try to get out tangles or snarls.

pick/comb out snarls
Apparently we need to lather once more (I think it feels good to rub his head after all the pulling from combing out his super gnarly curls)

lather a little more, apparently
Rinse. (He really IS smiling here—just another of Taye’s “funny faces”)

Oh, it's not THAT bad!
Next up: Product!

We “schmear” this kid with lotion from heat to toe. Literally.

covered in lotion
Pick through the hair yet again.

I do it myself!
Rub on some “Africa’s Best” hair oil.

Rub on some Africa's Best hair oil
Then we goof off a little bit. Mommy cannot WAIT until he can pull off the pick-in-hair look!

Pick in hair
Finally, we are “all done”!

lookin' good, but not done...yet...

…and I’m exhausted.

Thankfully we only have to do the bathing/hair washing part twice a week.

Friday, February 06, 2009

In the words of Liz Lemon...

I want to go to there.

From now on, you can meet me at

Thursday, February 05, 2009

That's better

Oh my, this is much better. I think I wasn't writing as much because it was very hard to read the highlighter yellow print on the electric purple background I had previously chosen for my blog.

I'm not thrilled with this template yet, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Having everything go from from top left to bottom right has definitely made me feel a lot more balanced.

I'd love to have Dan get me all designered up so my blog better reflects who I am, but he's one busy guy.

Hopefully I'll get more up here soon. Doing lots of thinking about rebuke and correction, the phenomenon that is Facebook, and some pretty crazy stuff that's happened to us recently.

Alas, Thursday night TV is beckoning and I need some brain-mushing to happen to help assuage my headache. And just plain entertain and relax me.

Then a few more chapters of Suite Fran├žaise, and off to la-la land before working the Auto Show tomorrow.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Book Review: This is Your Brain on Joy

This Is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin [Product Image]

I just finished reading This Is Your Brain on Joy: A Revolutionary Program for Balancing Mood, Restoring Brain Health, and Nurturing Spiritual Growth.

I was surprised that I looked forward to reading more about my brain each night. Written so that a non-medical person can understand the brain, its functioning, and how it relates to behavior, you are led on a virtual tour of your brain complete with photos of brain scans showing what normal brain function in each area looks like as well as what abnormal function looks like as well.

I appreciated the humor, science, medicine, research, and the applicable sections in each chapter which recommended how you and your physician can best help you overcome brain function challenges using nutrition, supplements, medication, scripture meditation, aromatherapy, exercise, music therapy, cinema therapy (lists of movies) as well as listing additional resources for further reading and study.

I was reminded that taking care of my body and charge of my health is within my own reach. That understanding brain function is becoming more and more understandable. That things like anger, ADD, depression, and anxiety are brain illnesses that are easily treated and that medication is not the sole option for treatment.

Although there was a lot of talk about the SPECT scans (SPECT = Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography), it was balanced with other forms of evaluation and therapies.

I have re-started taking Omega-3 fish oil tablets, downing handfuls of fresh blueberries, ensuring plenty of "good fats" in my diet, trying to rest more, remain hydrated, not depend on caffeine so much, and know that exercise would really give me a boost but one step at a time is about all I can do.

On a final note, I loved the raised imagery on the cover.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Our kids are cute

(1) Liam bouncing at Elliot's birthday party
(2) Elli trying on a size 6 dress with wishful thinking
(3) Addi and a cupcake at Elliot's birthday party

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Something new--making flour tortillas

Flour tortilla recipe (makes 8)
  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose or bread flour, cake flour should be avoided)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 11/2 tsps salt

I mixed all the ingredients in my KitchenAid using the pastry paddle 'til it was a nice stretchy ball of dough.

Then I divided the dough into eight round-ish balls.

While heating up the heaviest frying pan I own over medium heat (Rachael Ray always says have the pan waiting for you, not the other way around) I began rolling out the tortillas. (Note: the heavier the pan the easier it is to control the heat. A cast iron fry pan would be ideal for making tortillas.)

Sprinkle some flour onto the counter or use a Silpat mat and roll out each ball of dough into a flat circle about 6 inches in diameter. Don't worry if they're not perfectly circular.

Picture 021

Place your tortilla directly into the frying pan. You don't need to add any oil to the pan, they won't stick.

When you see bubbles popping up all over the top of the tortilla, it's done.

Picture 022

Take it off the heat and cover with a clean dishtowel as you repeat the process.

You don't need to cook the tortillas on both sides as they're so thin they'll cook through from the bottom. Cooking on only one side will make a better tortilla.

I filled ours with shredded beef (leftover from a pot roast), a "secret sauce", then topped with cheese.

Picture 024

As you can see, they were a huge hit with Dan and I. If I had offered the kids the ingredients separately and allowed them to make their own, they might have been more apt to eat them.

Picture 025
I think the entire process was 15 minutes start to finish. I told a friend I was going to try tweaking the recipe to add some healthier flour, and up the amount of water while reducing the amount of shortening.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

slight differences

Today the girls got weighed and measured. I was shocked that only 5 pounds and 5 inches separate them. They are 18 months apart in age, but so very close in size. Will they be "sharing" clothes soon? Fighting over them?

New Sunglasses...

Ellison Jennaye, currently 4 yrs and 2 months old
32 pounds 39 inches
Wears size 4T or 5T size 9 1/2 or 10 shoe

She's telling some story!

Addison Mabel currently 2 years 9 months old
27 pounds 34 inches
Wears size 2T (tightly) or 3T size 7 1/2 or 8 shoe

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today was a good day

Today was a good day. For like a gazillion reasons.

I got to work at a car seat check. It's awesome to be in a fire station, to just walk in and somehow "belong" there. To work with other volunteers from all vocations from hospital and social workers to police and fire department volunteers. I sported an Ada Bible Church T-shirt since everyone else wears a T-shirt advertising their workplace. I hope I did Jesus and ABC proud today. I love helping people, making kids safe, making them laugh, holding little kids while parents and caregivers learn something new. I try to send love and good vibes to each person I come into contact with, because most of the people who stop in probably don't get a whole lot of either.

Our dishwasher got fixed today thanks to a service-based social network site our church has set up called, "The Common". Not having to pay out our ear for a plumber's services is a HUGE thank you Lord. We've been hand-washing dishes for about 6 months now, so having the dishwasher back is just a gift. (We do, however, need to get a water softener. Research forthcoming...)

We found out that we moved up 2 slots on the waiting list for our adoption. We are now officially # 5.

I got my first bag of clothes and shoes donated for the Michigan Moms sale today. So excited! I've had a good handful of friends and acquaintances happily express their willingness to share a bag of clothes or goods, make some brand-new stuff that we can add to the sale, donate proceeds from a home-show, or use contacts to request items from artisans that can give goods we can sell. I love it.

Dan made dinner tonight and it was fabulous. Pot roast and the best ever blueberry muffins. I ate 3 muffins. Oh, so good. I am so thankful for him having a flexible schedule that allows me to do the car seat safety thing.

We're planning to cook and take dinner to my brother and sister-in-law's apartment tomorrow night. A totally fun and free night out. My kids cannot wait to see "an apartment" and eat dinner and Uncle G and Aunt Kara's house.

There's more, but I've got to wind down. I need more days like today. They just bolster my spirit.

Thursday night TV will be on shortly. What a TREAT!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Car seat check Thursday Jan 22

Grand Rapids Safe Kids Car Seat Check
Come see me in action, but more importantly make sure your kids are safe in your vehicle.

January 22, 2009

Noon-3:30pm (no appointment is necessary)

Grand Rapids Fire Department (2541 Kalamazoo St. SE - between Alger and Kalamazoo) Call 391-7233 with questions.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Creative entrepreneurialism for a good cause

I have purchased a table at the West Michigan Mom's sale(which is like a giant, winter, indoor garage sale) so that I can sell extra clothes, toys, and whatever else I find in the basement, kids' rooms etc. My goal is lofty. I've heard that other sellers have made up to $800 at these sales before. I have my hopes set on making $1,000.

I KNOW we don't have enough stuff to sell to reach that goal on our own, but I'm hoping you and I might be able to mutually help each other out without you having to dig into your wallet or crack your checkbook.

If you have gently used baby/children’s clothing (up to size 8), toys, baby gear, baby/toddler furniture, and maternity items that you are no longer using that are just sitting in boxes and bags taking up space in your home, I would be happy to take them off your hands and add them to my sale items.

If you would like to make or purchase items to donate to this sale, even better. I will take anything. I will even pick up items if you are local.

Thank you for helping us make it possible to handle some unexpected expenses without going into debt. Thanks in advance for the trash bags full of clothes, cardboard boxes of toys and games you will give, and especially for the lovingly-made items I know some of you are capable of making that will bring in good $ at this sale.

The sale takes place Saturday, March 28 at 9am at the DeltaPlex Arena, so I will need anything you are donating by Saturday, March 21 so I can sort and price items.

Thank you so much for your generosity and supporting us in this really exciting journey.

You can e-mail me at for our address to drop-off or send donations to.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Christmas pics--part 2

Addison waiting so patiently for the "go ahead and open" directive--her puppy dog eyes got a ".
Liam LOVES to build, so TinkerToys were perfect for him

His amazement when he opened "I can't believe I got the robot I always wanted" was something we will never forget. (Especially since I had gently tried to encourage him not to get his hopes up because of the amount of $$ it cost--Grandma and Poppie walked into a DEAL that was truly heaven sent!)

Hooray for kindergarten and writing skills--writing a letter to Santa listing which cookie each child had hand-picked for him.
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Elli opens her Hannah Montanna Kaeraoke machine.

We had to take this picture about 5 times--either one of us blinked, had "fat face" or our smile looked silly. This was the best of the worst.

The boys building and Addi opening her new pal Elmo!

Grandma Scott's birthday (Christmas Eve)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I can't say much about this photo except that I was so proud of myself for coming up with this clever little cake for a little boy who was a true surprise to his new family that loves him very, very much. (And that I was very bummed that the lettering oozed because I had done such a good job of replicating the font, oh well!)
And that adoption is awesome.
And that mommies who adopt deserve meals too... (hint, hint everyone when my time rolls around...)

Adoption update: a call to prayer

Dan wrote this blog post last night after I attended an emergency meeting at our adoption agency. I thought I'd share our latest adoption challenge with you so you can be supporting us in prayer.
8:35PM Dan: Did you make it?
8:38PM Jenna: Just in time
8:45PM Jenna: This
is not good.
8:55PM Dan: Yikes! Money?
8:56PM Jenna: Yup 2 to 3 grand
extra fees
8:57PM Dan: Wow
8:57PM Jenna: Yeah
9:18PM Jenna: 1000 due
Feb 1
9:19PM Dan: 4 what? At least we have it
9:21PM Jenna: Just because
they need money. Extra 250 to 500 quarterly
9:22PM Jenna: We are their
9:24PM Dan: That’s what I was just about to write.

Over the course of an hour tonight, Jenna let me in on what was happening at the waiting families’ meeting at our adoption agency tonight. As you have read, it wasn’t exactly the news we wanted to hear at this point in our adoption journey.

I’m not sure that I ever thought of the economy affecting something like adoption. Yet it does. In the past several months, adoption agencies all over the country have had to close their doors even with waiting families in the wings. Internationally wait times are longer. There are plenty of children that need a home, but there are also governments that are greedy and corrupt.

In adoption, a lot of the costs are handled up front: application fees, home studies, payments for dossiers, etc. But once you start waiting, you don’t pay anything more until you accept a referral. At this point, you pay the rest.

When families are waiting for two and three years, at some point they reach a milestone at which they pay nothing for a long time, which under normal circumstances isn’t usually an issue because usually agencies are cyclical, a family is finished as a family is waiting as another is coming into the system. However, in our economy, people need to eat and pay for shelter, clothing, much less make major financial commitments like international adoption. I think you see where I’m going with this. Adoption agencies aren’t making any money because people aren’t adopting and those that are have paid everything they will pay for a long time.

The cycle is broken.

Agencies can’t afford to stay open while families wait.
Agencies (perhaps more than people who make stupid billion dollar business decisions) need a bailout.

And now the question becomes, “What do we do?”

The answer is obvious. We continue the journey.

Just because the adoption will cost more, doesn’t mean that God has taken away the calling. Everything up to this point has been so easy, and this will not be hard. This is where real trust comes into play… and prayer. The more we wait, the more we pay. So YOU can help and pray that we move up in line as quickly as possible. Pray that we will receive our referral in the next two months. We know it could happen, and it would save us a decent amount of cash.

It’s crazy. I don’t know his name. I don’t know what he looks like. But he already has a place in my heart and a stocking for the mantle. We’re so close that I can see him sitting on the couch in front of me as I write this. And yeah, he’s not going away. He’s coming home. I don’t care what it takes; I’m bringing him home.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why we don't

Why don't I write a book? I'm not really sure. I think because I think there are so many other people with much more training in writing, experience in writing, raw talent, and discipline than me out there. People who actually have something to say. A platform, an interesting story, an imaginary world that begs to be discovered.

Dan writes in his journal every single night. And blogs almost daily. When he blogs it comes out seemingly effortless. Effusive--as if it just bubbled out and landed on the keyboard packaged and ready to go. Beautifully.
I'm so busy voraciously reading, selfishly gobbling up other people's words that I don't want to use my reading time or energy to sweat out a draft. I'm choosing to call it "research" for now.

Plus I'm not sure what I'd write about. There's no way I could do fiction. I'm creativly impaired. I would probably decide that my main character would be a female then be stuck for months on giving her a name. So then I'd change my main character to being a male and the same dilemma would happen. Or I'd sit and wonder if I could write from a male's perspective not being one myself.
Once I decided and started to write the first line, I'd get totally distracted thinking about a title. And what I'd want the cover to look like. Do I want a photograph? Illustration or painting? What colors would I want. And most importantly, which font would I choose? Where would I pose for my author head-shot for the back flap? What would I wear and how would I do my hair? Would I smile or try to look artistic and focused?

See, there's just no chance of me getting anything written on this poor book.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Dan



it looks


on you

(Hope I look this good when I'm your age...)

I've loved you since even before I met you. Heidi Jo made you sound way too good to be true, but you're all that and more. Keep it comin', cause I'm lovin' what you're givin'.

And for grins, here's a photo of the "Super Dan" cake my kids and I made for the birthday boy.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Book Review: Rex: A mother, Her Autistic child, and the music that transformed their lives

Rex: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music that Transformed Their Lives
By Cathleen Lewis
I ordered this book from Thomas Nelson to review knowing it might not be the easiest book to read, but I am always up for a challenge and wanted to learn more about the world of autism.
I was transfixed by Rex's story. Narrated by his plucky mother, Cathleen, she shares the blow-by-blow details of Rex's life from a week before his birth up to the time of printing. I appreciated her understandable mix of scientific and medical terminology while relating everything into comprehendable language so that anyone would feel comfortable reading this book.
Most poingnant to me were Rex's experiences in education. How little "the system" works for children with disabilities, and how much parental interaction and collaboration is necessary to actually carry out individualized and specialized education. I adored Cathleen's ferocity when it came to Rex's care and education. Not allowing him to be isolated or exploited because of his extraordinary talents or limiting abilities.
If you know someone with a child who is blind, autistic, disabled or simply different in even the slightest way, this book would be a tremendous resource to share with a parent. Rather than simply listing all the negatives and struggles (which, believe me, she shares them all very frankly) there is a beautiful balance of positivity and the grace Rex and his mom have fallen heir to despite the challenging cards they have been dealt.
I could barely put this book down. It touched me very deeply and gave me an education without the experience. Personally, I was thrilled to read that when at the very bottom, Cathleen found peace in a church building, and a friend and ally in God.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas fun: Part 1

Girls in the truck

Elli posing with HSM 3 clothing

Liam at his class party

Kids by the Scott's Christmas tree

Dan putting up our Charlie Brown tree

Liam in the Mighty Loader

Elli in here element--ON STAGE!

Addi (also known as A-Lo--'cause she got some junk...)