Saturday, October 31, 2009

We have always been thankful for churches that provide fun alternatives to trick or treating. Tonight we were invited to the Fall Festival Celebration put on by my sister's church. It is also the church we attended up until two years ago so we were able to catch up with several old friends. There were hay rides, horseback riding, a costume parade, a bonfire, S'mores, and of course lots of candy. It was really fun, and it was great to catch up with old friends. Amazing how big everyone else's kids seemed after not seeing them for so long.

Here are some pictures of the kids in their costumes.

Originally Hope wanted to be a Mama Hen with baby chicks. She even helped me put the little nest together and make all the little chicks. But once she saw how cute Ava looked as Little Bo Peep she changed her mind and the girls traded costumes. They wear the same size now after all, and Ava didn't care a bit.

(Note to self: Never ever ever ever ever ever.....ever ever ever....ever ever ever ever ever ever ever again make another chicken costume.)

Ava's chicken talons kept getting run over by the stroller wheels and for some reason I thought I should tell you that.

Can anyone guess who Simeon is?

And how about Liesel and Jude?

And just because he was SO adorable, I have to post a photo of my foster nephew, K, dressed as a little skunk. From a distance, and with K. turned the other way around, it really looked like my dad was carrying an actual skunk. It was a little freaky. I have to say, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed carrying this cute little stinker around tonight. His presence is welcome anytime.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spirit Week and a front yard carousel

This week is Spirit Week for my kids. They think it's really cool that they get to 'dress up' every day this week.

You know, it's things like Pajama Day, Mismatched Socks Day, Turn your Clothes Inside-Out Day, Crazy Hair Day........

It occurred to me maybe they're excited because they'll be re-living their homeschooling days again!

On a side note, did you know I have never liked typing LOL, because in reality, I am not a LOL kind of person. And I certainly do not ROFLOL. So from now on when I refer to something I think is funny I will write: LOI....Laughing on the inside.

I had a few minutes to kill today on my way to pick up Ava from school and I ended up driving around the surrounding neighborhood just for the heck of it. I took this photo with my cell phone to show the kids a house with a little carousel in the yard. How cute and clever is that. With a quarter slot and everything.
I guess I decided there is really no reason to change the password after all. So I just switched it back to the old password. Sorry for the confusion. Please let me know you were there by leaving a comment. Please?

More adoption stuff

I posted an adoption update on my other blog (you can click the Our Pearl of Africa link to the right to get there)....

It is password protected, and the password has changed. If you are interested in seeing it you'll have to send me an email to get the new password. Email is

Thanks to those who have stood with us for the continued prayers and encouragement.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I really enjoyed reading all the comments on yesterday's post about how we tend to avoid making conversation about characteristics in people that are unique and different. I found the responses very interesting. Be sure to go back and read if you didn't have a chance.

I met a girl once with one blue eye and one green eye. I was absolutely fascinated with this, and I thought it was beautiful and interesting. Instead of telling her this, I pretended I didn't notice it, for fear of offending her. I wish now I would have told her how beautiful and fascinating I thought it was.

I meant to mention too in that last post, only because I have been asked a few times recently, about how I care for Ava's scalp. I really don't do much of anything. I shave it maybe once a week, just because there are a few stray strands that still grow here and there. She has lost much, much more hair even since I first shaved it a few months ago. And if we're going to be out much I put sunscreen on it. It's sad she has gotten several cuts and scrapes and now has a couple of little scars on her head. :( I have read that alopecia comes and goes, so who knows, maybe we will all know the Ava with hair again someday.

Here is a picture for you....This is my 91 year old grandmother (on the right) who lives in Reedley, CA who is being introduced for the first time (by my mom on the left) to the world of blogging. :) My dad sent me this picture today of Grandma reading my blog. How cute. I love that lady. Both ladies actually. Wish they didn't each live over 1,000 miles two different directions. :(

Friday, October 23, 2009

A little bald girl

Just curious...If you didn't know our family, and you were to see us in public, would you feel awkward talking to us because our daughter has no hair? Would you feel like you couldn't acknowledge that for fear of hurting our feelings or upsetting us? Or what would your rationale be for not mentioning it?

I am asking this because when we are in public, Ava gets stares and we get questions ALL the time from little kids...I mean seriously, all the time.

Yet I think I can count on one hand the number of adult strangers who have even acknowledged the fact. (And most of those were on our trip to Missouri. Maybe Missourians are more outgoing than Oklahomans?)

Take the little boy in the striped shirt for example. When I asked him if Ava could ride on the merry-go-round with him, he said, "Sure! Does she have cancer?" I answered that no, she didn't have cancer, she has a condition called alopecia that keeps her head from being able to grow hair. He said, "Oh, that's like cancer though, right?" :) I LOVE innocent questions like this.

I stood in Hobby Lobby today and had a 10 minute conversation with a woman who wanted to talk all about Ava and Down Syndrome, since she has a 50 yr. old sister with Down Syndrome. But, as I expected, because she was an adult, the question didn't come up about Ava's head. Many times I mention it anyway, just because I know people are wondering, but today I let her talk and talk, wondering if she would ever ask. And she didn't. :)

I admit, I have always been one to not ask personal questions such as this as well. After all that would be rude, right? But having this 'special' little girl in my life has made me see things differently. Now I prefer people wouldn't pretend to not notice, I would prefer people not just feel sorry or wonder, but to openly acknowledge her unique qualities. I don't mind answering questions and sharing her story. Every person in our family is very proud of Ava, and we think she is still just as beautiful without hair as she ever was with it.

I will say this....having a bald child has had some benefits. We have had our meals paid for in restaurants by random strangers on more than one occasion. We get occasional discounts and moved up to the head of the line. On occasions like that maybe it's best people not ask. ;)

I have been experimenting with some changes in her diet, just because it would make sense that her diet must have changed dramatically after joining our family, and maybe that is the reason for such dramatic hair loss. I reasoned that sugar and gluten were probably not something she had much of for the first four years of her life. Remember she drank broth, vegetables and rice pureed in her bottle.

For the last two months I cut all sugar out of her diet. When that didn't make a bit of difference we gave in on the sugar and last week we started her on a gluten free diet. There is absolutely no guarantee it will make a difference at all, but I feel like I owe it to her to do whatever I can.

For your enjoyment, here is my beautiful bald girl without eyebrows....

And just for fun, a picture of the beautiful eyebrows uni-brow that I miss so much.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Help a boy with a heart of gold

You've heard me talk about our dear friends the Koens, who moved back to their home country of South Africa after vowing many years ago after becoming U.S. citizens that they would never go back. Our family witnessed a transformation in their hearts as God called them to leave a prestigious job in America, a nice home, all the comforts of life, and many friends to go back;

this time not to the affluent white neighborhood where they previously lived, but across the bridge to the shanty towns, or slums of the country to minister God's hope and love to the dying and destitute, and break the bonds of racism which is so prevalent there.

I am copying this email from their oldest son Josh age 13, (above, can you guess which one he is?) hopeful that some of you would like to help him out:

Hi everyone,

It's Josh. I'm sure allot of you are wondering why I am emailing you, especially after I haven't emailed allot in you in a long time. This email is not about me at all. This email is about some of the nicest people I have ever met. These people live in a shack. They have no electricity, no plumbing, and not many clothes. These are the people I spend my day with. There are 3 people, but I will mention all the details later. I am asking for a miracle. I am needing $5,000 to build a house for these three people by Christmas. This house will have (3) bedrooms, (3) showers (each in the sepeate room), a living room, and a kitchen. The interior wall will made out of dry-wall. The exterior will be brick.Everything will be solar powered. This house will be the best thing that has ever happened to these people. These people tell me stories of when it rains how they would hold there walls together so there house doesn't fall down, and about how everything gets wet. I mean you guys live in a nice warm cozy house with air-con and heaters. These people have nothing, yet they are the nicest people I have ever met, and there's always a smile their face. Yet we worry about what kind of phone we have and what we wear and who we hang out with. I am asking YOU to give to build this house. Don't think just because you are kids you can't make a difference, you can change the lives of these people! I know $5,000 seems like so much money but we can do it. I have given all my $522.42 to help build this house and we need $4,488.58 more. We can only do this with your help. Each person who donates money will have their name on a plaque inside the house (but that shouldn't be the reason for you donation).I will be starting a blog about the people who will live inside the house and the progress of the donations. I will update the blog everyday as soon as money starts to come in. And I will post pictures about the progress of the house. And when the day comes, I will record them walking through the doors of their new house. And have each of them thank you for your donation, and send the video back to you guys. Please tell all your friends, parents, uncles, sisters, brothers, aunts, grandparents, great grand parents, etc. to donate! All you have to do is go to and click on "Ways To Give" and scroll down and click on "Online Donations" then label the amount of money you are giving. Under "Project Allocation" label "Josh's Christmas Home", then all your credit card details (you may want to ask your parents to help). And don't feel nervous about typing in you credit card details, we have a secure server so that nothing will go wrong. And this is my promise to you, "That any money you donate with ONLY go toward building the home for the three people and NOTHING else. And that I will start a blog updating it everyday, and I will tell you in full detail about the three people you are building the house for and everything else I labeled in the post". I can only do this with your support. Even if you don't donate, maybe you can go around collecting money from neighbors or do a car wash or something! The reason I'm asking all this is because I feel so strongly in my heart that these people should not be in the living condition they are. And by the way you can call my house, here in South Africa and pay the local fee in the US, I still have the same number (918-398-xxxx) Remember to please ask your parents to donate also! Together we will make a difference!!!!!

"Thanks every one for your support,


P.S if you have any questions please feel free to email or call. But please call before 3 P.M your time (I am 6hour ahead)!

I am off to donate right now!!! Please consider helping this wonderful young man with a heart of gold. Can you believe he gave all of his savings...$522. We LOVE these people, they are the real deal...............

Halloween Pumpkin Massacre -

Here is some real good Fall entertainment for you....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Potty training

Have I mentioned that Ava is potty training? I don't know that I would have thought to do it, but her teachers at The Little Lighthouse have been working with her and have reported she is picking it up like a pro. I decided to continue at home so I pulled the potty chair out of the attic over the weekend. She went every day for 3 days in a row. Woo hoo Ava!

I took this picture with my cell phone camera on Sunday after she SIGNED potty on our way out the door after church...

(Lest you think she has grown to be a giant, this is the extra-miniature potty in the 2-year old class at church.)

It's so fun to unravel the toilet paper off the roll isn't it?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our adoption status

I have sat down to blog about five times about what is happening with our adoption, and every time either I end up in tears, or I change my mind at the last minute. This morning I hit post and then went back and deleted it. I forgot that the post still shows up in google reader, so some of you were still able to see it. :)

For those who didn't, I'll try again now.

We have put our adoption on hold while we are trying to figure out whether the children we are adopting are truly orphans or whether their families would be better served by staying intact through a family sponsorship program. It has come to our attention that many Ethiopian families are putting their children up for adoption because of poverty, and we have thought long and hard about this concept. I know that if I were a mother who was struggling to feed my children, I would hope that before someone paid $30,000-$35,000 to adopt my children, they would first offer to help me keep and feed and educate my children. And when a mother relinquishes her children because of poverty, and the children are adopted out to the United States, who then feeds and cares for the mother left behind?

These are some of the things we have been thinking about and praying about for the last few weeks. We are trying to work with our agency to get answers to some of the questions we have been asking for weeks, and we are asking our agency to allow us to proceed through another agency who will help us investigate the reasons the children were relinquished just recently from living, healthy parents. There are many not-so-pretty details to this story that I will leave out for now but that is the general summary.

We have fully committed to these children no matter what. We would still love to make them Urbans if indeed they are unwanted, abandoned, or have been abused in any way. But if we find out the mothers truly love them, we hope to offer our support in another way, even if that means being life-long sponsors and pen pals.

Please keep the children and their Ethiopian families in your prayers as we try to engage our agency's cooperation to try to find what is truly best for them. We do not have much control over some of these things but we believe the Lord is on their side and will help us find the best way to help them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My dad sent me some photos this morning. I love that about my dad. He is always going through his photos and scanning things and organizing them into photo files, and sending them to people. Thanks Dad.

I have to admit I stared at this picture for quite a bit, trying to remember what it was like to not worry whether I put my bloomers on that morning, wonder how many calories were in a cupcake, or what that cupcake was going to do to my already chubby thighs.

Those were the days, weren't they?

And this one I'm thinking about submitting to Awkward Family Photos.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three blue bowties

Sometimes when I need to spend some time reading the Bible, make an uninterrupted phone call, or have myself a good long cry, I put a DVD on in the living room for the kids, then lock myself into the bedroom for a bit. Any moms out there relate?

On Friday I was doing a combination of the above......when I heard a big thud and a scream coming from the living room.........Ouch!

From what I can gather Hope was trying to stand on the chair to turn the volume up or down, and she fell forward and hit her head on the TV armoire.

My good friend and neighbor was a good sport and took Ava with her to the eye doctor (Thank you Delahne!) while I took Hope to go get stitched up. I made the mistake of saying the word 'stitches' in front of her and she became hysterical. I pulled the doctor aside and told him to do what he needed to do, but I advised him that if he could somehow let her think she wasn't getting stitches, that it would go much better for him, for me, and for everybody else.

So the nice doctor came in and announced that there was no need for stitches, only a couple of "bow-ties" were necessary. Like a perfect angel she laid on the table and allowed the doctor to tie the necessary bow-ties.

Don't bow-ties look adorable on her?

And have I ever mentioned how much I love these big brown eyes???

As you might have guessed we are still running up against quite a few snags in our adoption process, thus all the door locking and tears.....Some of you have noticed that my Pearl of Africa blog is now private. I don't quite have the words yet to tell all that is going on, but I will soon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So much for having an "outside" farm cat to keep the mice away!

Monday, October 5, 2009

For the past two weeks I've been trying to act like everything is fine and dandy on this blog, but the truth is we are facing some pretty major obstacles right now related to our adoption. Spiritual warfare like I have never experienced. We could really use some prayers. Please pray for peace and wisdom, clear answers, and particularly for safety and justice for our kids. I cannot give details right now, but praying that this week brings some clear answers and some very good news. Thank you for believing this with us.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ava can say 'cow'

I had to share this video. This girl cracks me up!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

I have had this book ever since I first became a mom, a foster mom that is.....13 years ago. I've read many parenting books but I have to say this is my all time favorite (Shepherding a Child's Heart is a close second).

Maybe it's the easy-to-read cartoon pictures, I don't know why, I just love this book! I refer back to it over and over for practical tips to win all the arguments instill morals and character in my children.

This morning Hope and I had a run-in. She told me she didn't want to go with me to take out the trash. Then she changed her mind after I left. When I came back she was hysterical, crying, thrashing, saying why don't I listen to her, and on and on. Wanting to argue that it was her choice, but remembering the book, I said:

"You really wish you could have come with me, huh?"

Next thing I know she had crawled up on my lap and was kissing me saying I'm the best momma in the world. Seriously. This stuff works. If you are a parent I think you will really like this book.

Just because it makes me smile..........