Saturday, March 30, 2013

More retreat pics

 My neighbor and dear friend Carla, me, and another great gal I have really gotten to know lately: Sonia

Sonia and me

Adrianne and Claire -- two friends of mine on Base

The view from the Conference room

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Funnies

Isaac: "Mommy, I burped and it tasted like donuts. Does that sometimes happen that we eat something and then we burst and it tastes like that?"
Sidge: "Are we gonna watch a movie Mommy?"
Me: "No."
Sidge: "What are you watching?"
Me: "I'm just seeing if there is basketball is on."
Sidge: "You've always been doing that."
Me: "I know. It's March Madness. I like basketball."
Sidge: "Why?"
Me: "I just like to watch basketball."
Isaac: "Do you like to play basketball?"
Me: "I used to."
Isaac: "Why don't you play basketball anymore?"
Me: "Ummm ... cuz I'm a mommy now, I guess."

Abigail's new favorite activity

Take a look. Can you spot the new favorite hobby?

Crayon peeling!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Everybody's a ...

... hooker. That's what Sidge said while he was playing with his pirate "hook." "Everyone's a hooker!" Hmmm .... I hope not!

This Love (By Mandi Mapes)

Great lyrics on adoption (trying to find a good video to go with it.)

This is so for my little Isaac (who will turn 5 in just a few weeks!)

This Love by Mandi Mapes

I’ve never felt this way before
funny how you found you’re way to my door   
and suddenly my prayers are coming true
and these arms are not letting go of you

this love this love is the deep kind
you’re my baby, you’re my sunshine
I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan
and I’ll love you all of the time

our eyes are not quite the same shade
and your hair blows in the wind a different way 
but I am your mother and 
I love you just the same 
so I’ll take your hand honey 
and you can take my name

my heart has been redeemed,
adopted and now I know my Father
this grace that I’ve received 
I want to show you
I want to show you

this love this love is the deep kind
it hangs on through the storm and the sunshine
I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan
and I’ll love you all of the time

Shoulder & More

JB got good news from the doctors at Landstuhl in Germany. He does not need surgery on his shoulder. His rotator cuff has been injured but as long as he takes care of it, it won't need more done on it.

One of the things that impacts his shoulder greatly are the push-ups required of the military's physical fitness test. So for at least a year, he's supposed to "skip out" on those.

He is enjoying his time there with Shane and Linda, but we are excited to have him back home on Friday.

Connie has been here with me this week which is a great blessing. Yesterday, she helped me a ton in the morning as both Abigail and I had doctors appointments. Turns out Abigail has an ear infection. Her first one!

The boys only battled ear infections one time. They both got a double ear infection that was resistant to the first line of antibiotics. That was a less-than-ideal Christmas holiday with my grandparents.

Connie left yesterday afternoon to pet set for our friend Mianna so I was on my own last night. It was a great evening. Carla's boys came to play for awhile and then we went over there for dinner. I had everyone down by about 730p! (And I followed soon afterwards.)

I am looking forward to a MOPs field trip today and some time with my friend Jenn (and her daughter Rowynn) and Carla (and her boys) as we pass the windy/rainy weather inside.

As for me, the nausea has continued to dissipate. I don't feel back to myself yet, but the Lord is walking alongside me. I am especially paying attention to some of my old blogs that remind me to STAY IN THE MOMENT. I need not stress about tomorrow. I need to just take care of today! Here is one that really spoke to me!

Sometimes its hard

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paper Cranes

Last night I went over to my friend Mianna's house. She is busy making 1,000 paper cranes for a friend's wedding and a few gals came over to try and help her complete her project.

Origami. Never done origami. Not really a crafty person. But Mianna did say it was super easy.

Folks, I learned that I stink at Oragami.

At one point, I had to laugh though, because I said, "Now I know how people feel when I tell them that shooting a lay-up is super easy."

Every single one of the six gals there said, "What's a lay-up?"

(So obviously we all have our gifts. And mine is not Oragami.)

Monday, March 25, 2013


Not a real clear pic, but a picture nonetheless of the gals that I had the pleasure of attending the women's retreat with. I'm sure there will be more pics soon!

It's Monday now and it is ... raining ... again. Heavy rains and winds expected the entire week. I've never ever experienced weather like this island. The rains come and come and come and come! Yikes!

Women's Retreat

I had the opportunity to attend half of a women's retreat sponsored through the Chapel this past weekend. I am so blessed that I was able to go. The retreat was two nights, but I opted for just one night so as to not leave too much on JB right before he heads out of town. (He is going to Germany for a few nights to get his torn rotator cuff looked at.)

More on the women's retreat later. But how wonderful to hang with some current friends and meet some new ones -- all of us placed here together on this tiny island! I continue to have more and more good days and fewer and fewer days where I feel very sick Praise the Lord. My emotions are still in a hormonal flux, but I am praising the Lord for his continued presence.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Funnies

Sidge: "What is the highest number?"
JB: "There is no highest number."
Sidge: "Jackson said there is."
Isaac: "Jackson said it's a million."
JB: "Well it can go higher than a million. You can have a million and one and then a million and two."
Sidge: "Oh."
JB: "I think the largest number that has a name is a google.
Sidge: "Can I count to it?"
JB: "No, it would take you toolong. It would take you until you were an old man."
Isaac: "Well Daddy could do it. He's an old man."
When our friend Kris read the bottom of a toy to Sidge with all kinds of crazy words on it about where it was from, Sidge looked at her and said: "That does not compute."
Sidge: "Are vulture bad?"
Daddy: "No."
Isaac: "No, they just eat dead stuff."
Sidge: "Could they eat us?'
Daddy: "Only if you were dead. And if you were dead, you'd be in heaven."
Sidge: "Are there vultures in heaven?"
Isaac: "No."
Daddy: "There might be."
Sidge: "Have you ever been eaten by a vulture Daddy?"
Daddy: "No."
Sidge: "Because you wasn't dead?"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

All on his own!

A thrown military shirt on a chair? Put it on! (While it's still on the chair.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

The middle

I just received a link to a great blog post about "being in the middle." I feel like I am in the middle right now. I am having more and more good days as far nausea-goes. But I am still not feeling well consistently and am sort of "hovering" somewhere in the middle.

The author of the blog shared how:

The middle is the part most us don’t want to talk about. It’s not glamorous. It’s hard.

The middle is the reason most don’t finish.

But the middle is the secret to the joy that seems to elude us.

This is where love is born. . . right in the middle.

She goes on to say:

I have good news.

You’re in the middle. {Sometimes knowing exactly where you are on your God-sized adventure helps. It’s not that you’re in the wrong place, it’s just called the middle and it’s not what you thought it would be. So don’t turn around or give up.}

Click here to read the post in its entirety! I hope it ministers to you like it did to me. No need to turn around or give up. Keep going forward!

I went for a jog!

It was not really a jog. It was more of a short walk with some brief steps that resembled jogging. But to be able to do this is simply amazing. Praise the Lord! I continue to take one day at a time but am so hopeful that I am coming out of so many weeks of morning sickness!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jiu Jitsu

The boys decided to try a Jiu Jitsu class on Saturday at 2pm with their friend Jackson. (Thanks for letting us know Carla!) They seemed to really like it. The teachers were volunteers, the class was free, and it was incredibly well done. I was amazed  at how much the boys understood what they were being asked to do and tried to do.
Carla and her husband Mike took some pictures of the boys in their first class. I am hopeful that we'll be able to do this each week. I don't want to make the boys do it so I am hopeful that they will want to go again.
Love Jackson's smile there (and Isaac's toes working hard.)

Jackson always seems like he is not so sure this is a good idea!

One of the teachers helping Sidge get the proper hold.

Doing the "gorilla" warm-up. (Sidge on left, Isaac in yellow, and Jackson in front of Isaac.)

 Sidge using his "hooks" (feet) on Jackson.
 Jackson doing a move on Sidge while Isaac looks on.
 Learning how to do the butterfly stretch.
Sidge practicing with his teacher.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Yes, that is a donkey

Walked out of my friend Carla's house during a break in the intense rains. We see a huge pile of doo-doo in the front yard -- far beyond what any dog is capable of producing. We start to guess. A cow maybe? Later, Carla found the guilty party ... in action ... again! Apparently he was loose around the neighborhood for three days and had found his favorite spot to poop -- Mike & Carla's front yard! Only in the Azores.

More pics of Ethan and Eli

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rain, rain, rain

This is a picture from Porto Judeo ... just about 10 miles from Base (a few miles from our house). Our town (Porto Martins) has not been thoroughly impacted by the intense rains here but many of the small towns have. This is a very small island. Many of these people are struggling intensely with the economy (made all the worse by the news that the American Base is basically closing the summer we leave -- 2014). They are not able to handle these extra life events very well. Please pray that we as Americans can help them. And please pray that they see the Lord in the midst of the gray skies. It has basically rained non-stop since Monday, and more rain is forecast for today.

I've never lived somewhere where so much rain and wind has occupied life. It's a totally different experience!

Friday Funnies

Aunt Connie had told Sidge one day that I was a rock star. Later that day, JB found Isaac's, once again, missing blue bear and small dog, which he definitely needs to sleep at night. (They were hiding behind a door.)
Sidge: "Daddy you did such a good job finding those."
JB: "Thanks."
Sidge: "You are the number two rockstar."
JB: "Who is the number one rockstar?"
Sidge: "Well ... Mommy."
Me: "Are you tired Sidge?" (as I tucked him at night)
Sidge: "Yes, because I yawned."
Sidge: "Why do we have penises?"
Me: "Ummmm ...."
Sidge: "What does a penis do for us?"
Me: "We can go pee pee out of it."
Sidge: "Why do we have eye brows?"
Me: "Ummmm ..."
Sidge: "What do eye brows do for us?"
Me: "I really don't know."
Sidge: "Yeah. Maybe we should ask Daddy."
While Sidge was going to sleep last night he said:
Sidge: "When will I grow up?"
Me: "I hope not for a long time. I want you to stay my little boy."
Sidge: "But I can't help it. It just keeps happening."
Me: "I know."
Sidge: "Would you like me to stop growing up for a little bit?"
Me: "I would."
Sidge: "Okay."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

King David

I don't really believe in coincidences much. Especially not when it comes to scripture. Two friends sent me the same scripture this past week. King David wrote in Psalm 40:1-3: " I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

Is this the same David who had written in Psalm 22:1-2: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent."

It is!
My dear friend (who is reeling from the death of her brother as I write this) reminded me, when she sent me Psalm 22:1-2, "Now I know this is not encouraging, but I have a reason here. King David wrote this Psalm. I know you probably feel like the sickness is not getting better and that you cant go on like this. I know many have prayed for it to get better and it hasn't yet. I want you to know that when you feel down, when you feel hopeless, when you feel alone that its okay. King David felt the same, King David, God's chosen king for His people Israel. King David felt this way also, the King who would be in the lineage of our Lord and Savior. He felt forsaken, he obviously felt alone and his words say he felt like he couldnt go on. He wondered why God had not answered him. That is one of the hardest things. Gods timing is not hardly ever what we want it to be. We want everything now and that is not usually the way God works. David felt this and I know you do to, but know you are not alone. Know also that God didn't leave David and He always provided for him and He will you also."

I have had a few better days. The better days seem like they are growing Praise the Lord. But I still don't feel like Wendi. And I miss her! I question God sometimes. But so did King David.

And he was in the lineage of Christ!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Coloring in the rain

My boys didn't get "in" to coloring until we moved here to the Azores. I tried and tried to get them color. They just didn't want to. But in the last six months, Isaac has become obsessed with coloring. He loves it! He wants to color all the time. Sidge is really enjoying the coloring too although he doesn't usually last quite as long as Isaac. We are also doing a little bit of "homeschooling" with workbooks where we color and work on numbers and letters.

I have run out of ideas for what to do with all the papers they color! I hang up about half. The other half I have put in the "kindling" basket (of which Isaac will see and say, "Mom, this accidentally ended up the fireplace basket.")

Abigail, however, has taken to coloring way before her big brothers. She loves it. She's a maniac! She colors and colors, shows me the picture (like her brothers do so I can oooh and ahhhh and then returns to the coloring.)

We usually spend an hour a day or so coloring -- a great activity -- especially considering the abundance of rain and wind the island is facing right now!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't Waste Your Morning Sickness

Nearing fourteen weeks, I was praying I'd be coming out of this relentless sea of nausea by now. But the last few days have seemed to have gotten even harder.

I see God in this so much.
  • In a card I got from a friend on a day I really needed it. 
  • In dear friends wishing so badly they were pregnant and remembering what this means.
  • In the perspective I feel that I have gained.
  • In remembering that out of all of the embryos we tried to "implant" only 1 of 11 worked. This embryo is special.
My goal is to not waste this weeks (going on week 10 now) of sickness. I want to try to learn and grow during this time. But oh is that hard. I recently read a post entitled: Don't Waste Your Morning Sickness. John Piper has quite a way of putting things. One of my favorite books by him is called Don't Waste Your Life. He also wrote articles about not wasting your cancer. This blog post is a spin off of his writings.

You can read the whole post if you like, but here were some highlights that really ministered to me.
  • May I not waste my morning sickness by forgetting what it meant that Christ suffered to bring me life.
  • May I not waste my morning sickness by failing to use the increase of daily mercy that God shows me to increase in the mercy that I show to others.
  • May I not waste my morning sickness by reading more about pregnancy and how not to be sick, rather than reading God’s word and other books for spiritual edification.
  • May I not waste my morning sickness by taking comfort in ‘good days’ rather than taking comfort in Christ.
  • May I not waste my morning sickness by telling others of how I’m doing rather than telling them of how great Christ is.
God, help me to not waste my morning sickness...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Because of Isaac: Grant and Elizabeth

It was in 2010 that an idea was berthed in my heart. How could we help other couples experience the miracle of adoption like we had? We could raise money. We could start an organization named after our adopted son, Isaac.

We knew who we wanted the first couple to be. John's older sister Elizabeth and her husband Grant who had been married for nearly as long as we had with no children in their home. So we asked them. They said yes. And it began.

It's been three years and that vision has run its first full circle. Grant and Elizabeth drove home last night with twin boys: Ethan and Eli. Not just one little baby but two!

Thank you to all of you who helped us raise the $22,000 it took to bring these boys into their family forever. Thank you to the birthmother who picked Grant and Elizabeth to parent these two miracles.

Praise the Lord!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Beautiful day (and beautiful smiles)

Mother/Son Dance

I was hopeful that I would feel good enough to take the boys to the Mother/Son Dance on Base Saturday night. And I did.

I was bummed that my friend Carla (who was the one who first signed up) couldn't go. Her little boy Max fell at my house the other day and busted his two front teeth. I felt so bad! Not only that he did it at my house, on my watch, but that they couldn't go to the dance because of that. If you think of it, pray for little Max, that he will continue to heal and feel better.

A huge thank you to another friend, Sonia, who loaned us a little suit that we were able to split up and piece together to make two outfits for the boys. (Isaac took the shirt and vest & Sidge took the tie and pants). I realized we don't own dress shoes, but I think their tennis shoes worked just fine.

The dance started a bit late for four-year-olds: six-thirty, but the boys really enjoyed the floating lights and all the little boys running around like crazy men "dancing." I also thought that it was pretty cool that they assigned us seats and we were assigned with two people I have become good friends with: Sonia and her son Nathaniel and Claire and her two boys: Jacob and Gavin. A bit random that we all got to sit together.

I also absolutely thank the Lord that I felt good last night. I continue to have good and bad days. It seems that the good are outnumbering the bad more and more. Many times lately I am also just having bad mornings and then good second part of the days. I was so blessed that I was well enough to take them to an evening activity and enjoy it!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Friday Funnies

Isaac: "Mommy, what are those things on your wrists."
Me: "They are called sea bands."
Isaac: "What are they for?"
Me: "They are supposed to help me not feel sick from the baby."
Isaac: "I think you should put one of those on your belly instead."
Seeing it was raining, I asked JB to feed the dog. The boys usually do it but I just didn't have the energy to help them get their rainboots on and go outside etc. When JB said he would do it, Isaac said, "I'll do it."
Me: "Okay. But you'll need to put your boots on."
Isaac: (Realizing it was raining). "Oh forget it. I am not going out there."
Sidge: "I want to be Santa."
Isaac: "No, I want to be Santa."
Sidge: "I want to be Santa."
Isaac: "We can both be Santa."
Sidge: "No. Someone has to be the kid."
Sidge: "What does jump out of your skin mean?"
Sidge: "What do eye boogers do?"
Sidge: "Why don't planes have wings that flap like birds?"
While reading their superhero books:
Isaac: "There's the joker."
Sidge: "He jokes us."
Isaac: "No. He doesn't He hits us with a mallet."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Our Day in Learning

I am going to try ... here's day 1 ... to take some pictures of what we are doing each day. While I am not feeling good, writing and being on the computer make me a bit "sea sick" but I thought maybe I could take a few minutes, when I'm doing well, to take some pictures of our life and share them when I can. Days have been good or bad for me. (Sometimes it is a half day.) I am trying to take the time when I feel well, to really focus on something educational with the kids. My not-good time is usually just spent watching them play on their own. Unfortunately, reading books to them can add to me sea sickness so I don't get to do that as often as I would like.

One of the things I am trying to do every day is think of something new to "learn." This is for the boys and for Abigail. For instance:

 Here is Sidge helping Abigail with a block puzzle. She is actually getting pretty good at these.

Sidge did this Thomas puzzle completely by himself.

Today was the first day that Isaac did this entire spelling game by himself. (He ended up putting them all together.) He did not want to smile for this picture.)

Sidge and Abigail have really started to play together. Here they are playing under the table in the "train room."

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Can I do this?
Can you do this?
Simple statements that seem way harder to do than they are to say.
P.S. I am praising the Lord as during the last week I have had way more good days than bad days. Good days aren't perfect but I was able to help at the kids' Awana meeting last night and have some friends over on Monday. At thirteen weeks, I am really praying that I am coming out of the sickness!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Missing Turkey

I miss Turkey.

Not the country. Just the place. But not really the place. Maybe the people?

The thing is, if I went back to Turkey now, and entered the Base, it wouldn't feel anything like it did when I was there. It would be totally different.

That's because the people that were there aren't there anymore (at least most of them.)

Things have changed.

And I've realized, that's the nature of military life. We come and go and move and are expected to slide right into a "normal" life again.
  • Rana, my Turkish friend, moved to, of all places, Minnesota -- countries away from her family.
  • My friend Stebbs is in Baltimore living in the suburbs. Her husband works long hours at the Pentagon.
  • My friend Angelica is in Japan living on Base. Her husband is deployed until April.
  • Linda is in Germany living off-Base.
  • Sarahbee is in a new town in the Dakotas where there isn't even a Base to speak of.
  • Patty is still in Turkey, preparing to relocate to Tampa.
Everoyone is now "moved on" and trying to find their "new place." (And there are many more great people I am not listing.)

This is my third military move, and I've realized that I don't know if I am made for this life. People are coming and going so fast. Things are changing so fast. I'm only here for about 18 more months! How do you make a life for yourself knowing it's going to all change again soon?

I've met some wonderful people here. But I still feel like so many will leave. So many new ones will come in. And, this Base is closing the Summer of 2014 (or downsizing so significantly it will be totally different.) That's going to change everything as well!

How do you "lifers" do this? How do you keep saying hello and good bye all over again?

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. I thought I'd link back to a favorite post of my Dad doing sparklers with his two boys back when lived at Eglin. I love my Dad so much. I miss him so much. Happy birthday Dad. Thanks for being the greatest Dad in the whole world -- and especially thanks for being the greatest Papa in the whole world.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Friday Funnies

JB was introducing the kids to a new technician in his office.
JB: "This is Isaac, Sidge, and Abigail."
Tech: (To Sidge) "What is your sister's name?"
Sidge: "Abigail."
Tech: "What's her middle name?"
Sidge: "Kitsteiner."
JB: "No what is her middle name?"
Sidge: "Sweet pea."
I was putting a log in the fire so my back was to the room. Sidge said, "I've got to go potty." I said, "Okay!" over my shoulder. Because I didn't turn and look at him, he said, "It's Sidge. Sidge has to go potty."
Our Veggie Tales music CD has a spot where Larry says, "Get a load of this." Sidge asked what it meant, and I explained it. Later that night when JB came home, Sidge opened the door and said to him, "Get a load of this!" He didn't use it quite right, but it was cute to watch him try and say something he had learned that day.
Isaac called Old Mother Hubbard ... Old Mudder Hubbard.

So true!!!

Join me ...

... in prayer for our friends John & Becky who received some difficult adoption news this past wek. You can read her post explaining everything by clicking here. They thought they'd have their second son home already and know there are glitches being put in place that could delay and even prevent his homecoming.

Our God performs miracles. He performed a miracle once already cancelling John's deploymnent which was scheduled to fall at a very difficult time. I know He can take care of getting their little boy Jonah home.

Please join me in praying for this family. I can't wait to see the miracles God can do.

Progesterone and Estrace End

Last night I took my last oral dose of Estrace -- 2 tiny pills that I have taken three times a day since my transfer back on December 21.

Last night I also completed my progesterone protocol. Two suppositories ... three times a day that I have taken since my transfer back on December 21.


This means a few things.It means that I am leaving the first trimester. It means that the baby no longer needs the "fake form" of hormones required of women who do IVF (hormones that women who get pregnant produce on their own.) Instead, he/she is being fed fully by the placenta!

Praying that this little one continues to thrive and that the decrease in hormones and end of the first trimester brings an end to the morning sickness.