Monday, September 29, 2008

Closer & Closer

Last week we sent our Dossier to DC to be authenticated by the Secretary of State and then the Ethiopian Embassy. It will be returned to our adoption agency. We have to send them a check for the balance of what we owe them (which is a LOT).

We found out that the NC State Department of Health and Human resources sent our paperwork to the wrong INS office. They were kind enough to give us a call and honestly explain what happened. That's a rarity in life - people taking responsibility for errors. So we'll have to wait longer to have our fingerprints done. Thankfully that won't hold up the other paperwork. The fingerprint approval meets up with the dossier in Ethiopia somehow.

After the adoption agency receives our dossier, they send it to Ethiopia to be translated and submitted to the court system there...then we wait. The court system has been closed for about 2 months, so our dossier will be put into the pile of cases waiting for the system to start chugging along again.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Hiding in Plain sight.

I read through so many blogs; blogs of people who have visited us; blogs of people a lot like us and some not like us. What I've found in too many of them is people hiding in plain sight. Some go so far as to not say their names or even use initials. They leave out where they live, where they're from, what they do or anything remotely able to identify themselves. Our own daughter doesn't want to be specifically identified on our blog. If we do it is to be only by her first initial (the same goes for those of our grandchildren). When she and her husband posted pictures of their son's t-ball practice they blurred out the names on their little t-shirts. So I went back and scrubbed their names out. What's next, blur out all of the faces like they do on Cops (not that I watch Cops, mind you!)

Sad. I'm sad that we live in that kind of world. I'm also perplexed as to what I feel I should do. Should I go back through all my posts and "scrub" them of all of our names? How do I share the wonderfulness of where I live without telling people where I live. How do I share about the wonderful people in my lives? Or should I rely on God, who says He is my protector and will always be with me? If I "scrub" up, I feel like I'm telling God that He can't protect me. If I just go on as usual, I feel like I'm thumbing my nose at the whoevers out there that are plaguing our world so much that we all run and hide from them. I feel like I'm challenging them to a duel. They have such a strangle hold on this world that we have to tell our stories and change the names to protect the innocent.

There's right and there's wrong. We all have rights, etc. But, as I once heard, "The right of right of way doesn't mean a thing until after you get out of the hospital."

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A quiet moment at home (notice no one is watching the TV)

WE have been called-

Mark 9:35-38 Reads...35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

Juan and I have been called to adopt. We know this, both of us in different ways see what God wants us to be doing. Sometimes people that we know, and some of our family- really do not understand. But when God asks you to do something, He gives you the strength, love and the want/will to it.

It is because of this call that we have been abundantly blessed with each of our children at home today. Looking at my children that are at home- I am the most blessed mother-- they are four of the most loving, generous and beautiful children I have ever seen. Dylan was too young to remember his life before coming home to us and the other three often tell us bits and pieces of things they experienced in their past life in Ethiopia. A past that seemed absent of hope. A past that was nearly void of nutrition. A past that was void of a parent's love.

Three of our four at home have come to know Jesus as their own personal Savior since they have come home- That says it all for me- WE are doing what Jesus wants us to do--

I feel like the luckiest Mom on earth and sometimes can't understand why people find it so odd we continue to bring more children home. We are not following our will, but the calling He has placed on our lives to love each of the children He has brought into our home. God is using each of them in a special way. God is building traits in each of our children that will be used for His glory as they grow-up. God is building traits in us as their parents that could only come from having each of the children He has blessed us with. God has shown me personally that all things are possible with Him. There is no way I could do this without His grace, joy and love daily.

Being a bit older than the average mother of kids that are 7, 9, 13,and 15 soon to add an 8, another 9 and an 11 year old -- It is hard work, and I do get tired- doing laundry, make meals, clean-up with them. -- only God can pull this off! Not everyone is called to have a large family. Not everyone is called to be a parent. Not everyone is called to adopt. But when you hear your calling to "go", GO! It will not only bless those whom you are called to serve, but it will bless you.

Every one of us is called to help the orphans and widows. We are called to take care of each other and be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. How will they know we are His? They will know by how we love one another.

Guatemala has closed its doors to all US adoptions and there are thousands of children who will not have the opportunity to live in an orphanage, or a forever family, let alone live to see the age of 2. This breaks our hearts; especially after seeing the reality of life for those in villages where children walk the streets without shoes, dirty, eating scraps they found in the trash and knowing there is no clean water within miles of their homes.

Compassion International is help that is being brought to the villages for the forgotten children. There is hope and through organizations like this we can all make a difference in a child's life - one child at a time. I pray you will consider sponsoring a child in Guatemala.

There are over 4.3 million orphans in Ethiopia today.
Jesus loves the little children of the world...

The total number of orphans worldwide is projected to reach 44 million by 2010

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 24:19-21 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

Psalm 10:18 To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

Psalm 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless;Do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice. Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

Zechariah 7:10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’

I hope as I continue to share all that God has done for our family through the lives of the children He brought to us, that your heart is touched and you begin to ask the Lord how you can be used for His glory to help the forgotten children around the world today!

I used a lot of this from my friend Jill, but it is truly the cry of my heart- and the personal facts of of our family and children. I am pleading that the body of Christ comes together to help.


Pam for all of the Johnsons - here and on their way here......

Things I've learned in this journey

  • Patience is not a gift - it is a by-product of going and growing through life's experiences

  • Each of our adoptions has been for different reasons, and I couldn't figure out why, until I realized that it was because we were growing closer to understanding God's heart more and more. (Not even close to being there, but closer than we were before)

  • I have less fear with each adoption, not more - Jesus helps me overcome them little by little.

  • Once I settled on the fact that we will never have any money, it was easier to surrender it all up and just let God do the worrying about it. If He's not worried, I'm not worried. If He starts worrying, than we all have something to worry about.

  • Adoption is not for everyone. Every part of the body is needed, and not all can be the mouth or the ear. No part is more important than the other. But all the parts need to help each other in order for the whole body to work successfully.

  • Pride is a real creature that has to be fought daily. I have to fight mine every minute.

  • Once you get past the fears, you can imagine yourself doing anything. Pam's already talking about more kids. Is she crazy?!? No, just past the fear. Scary, huh?

  • I don't love my chosen kids any more or any less than my biological kids. I love them all differently for different reasons. I still don't understand that yet, but I realize it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I found that You Tube on someone else's Ehtiopian Adoption blog. This song blows me away, because it tells my heart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Continuing on...(Part 4)

After a couple of days of sight seeing in Beijing, we split up into groups going to different parts of China where our children lived (close, but not to the actual cities/towns). DJ was from the Hunan Province in a city called Lodi (I'm not sure of the spelling) it was about a 5-6 hour drive away.

The trip from Beijing to Guango was short, thankfully. The most memorable part was watching the people who were obviously taking a plane ride for the first time. Seats were not assigned, so when we headed to the plan people ran to the plane in rush. Maybe they figured there were more people than seats. Then it was a struggle for the flight attendants to get everyone buckled in. The people were either unable or unwilling to comply. Once the plane started down the run way a bunch jumped up from their seats and ran to windows to watch the the takeoff. The flight attendants had to yell out for them to keep their seats (I'm assuming since it was all in Mandarin).

Well, we get to Guango, get to our hotel and we get Fujian Lo, that night. He was all ours. Ton's more paperwork, a trip to another city for more processing and then home. I've mentioned a lot of this in previous posts.

DJ was a very happy little toddler; and he's still a very happy little boy. His limited environment made for interesting times when we first got home. He'd never seen grass before and was afraid to step on it in fear that it would be like the water at the pool - he'd sink right through it. He screamed the first few times we put him in a car seat. We had to ween him from having the TV on all the time. The hardest thing was getting him to eat anything other than rice, egg, and noodles.

We had our granddaughter spend the summer with us, the following summer and that was a God send. He idolized this "big girl" and would do whatever she did, ate what she ate, watched what she watched. She was the big girl on campus, so whatever she wanted and said was gold for him. By the end of the summer, he had expanded his diet choices 50 fold.

But, the following summer, she had a rude awakening. DJ had been with us for two years by then, and when she tried to assert her superiority over him, she got serious push back. It was HIS house now and he wasn't playing second fiddle to some girl who didn't live there. It was hilarious. When she tried to commandeer Grandma's time or attention or choices, DJ objected. She said, "Well she's MY grandma!" To which DJ proudly responds, "Yeah, but she's MY MOM!" We could only smile and say to ourselves, "Yup, we're a family."

More later.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Continuing Our Original Story...(Part 3)

We continued our adoption process which included changing some of our paper work to include older children because our original set had infants to 2yrs. Within the next year my job moved us from Louisville KY to Cedar Rapids Iowa to Charlotte North Carolina. I was working for an insurance company at the time. By the time we finally got our notice that we were to go pick up our new son in China I had lost that job just a few weeks before our flight.

Imagine the stress of that - a baby coming, a major trip half way around the world, and no job! Well, as a silver lining, I did get to spend some extended quality time with Pam and DJwhen we got home. We spent 3 weeks in China. We saw the Great Wall, Tianamen Square, The Summer Palace, a pearl factory, a silk embroidery factory, a couple of museums, and tourist shops galore. Unfortunately we didn't have a digital camera back then so all of our pictures in in books or frames around the house. I would love to share them here.

The Great Wall was more amazing in real life, of course. What's not apparent are the steps you walk up and down along the tops of the wall. There are a gazillion of them and they're not uniform in size so you can't set a rhythm. The rises range from only a few inches to around 2 feet with no rhyme of reason as to what the one step will be after the other. I considered myself rather fit (not an athlete by any stretch mind you), but I was absolutely exhausted by the time we got back to the bus.

Going around doing all the tourist stuff was fun. As you walked around there were plenty of people selling their wares. Mostly tourist trap stuff like cheap toys, tissues, post card and the like, but hey it's an honest living. We learned a lesson in that if you didn't want to be swarmed with vendors, you had to ignore the first person who approached you. You couldn't even acknowledge that he/she was there. If you so much as looked down to see what was in their hands, you were pegged as interested and 20 others would run over and they all pressed in with their stuff in hand. One person in our party thought it would be funny to tell one of the vendors that I had lots of money and wanted to buy something. He pointed at me and I was swarmed like ants on a dead grasshopper. All I could do was scream over their heads and hands, "I'm gonna get you for this!!" It was hilarious.

More later...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Step Closer!!

Yesterday we received one the the greatest pieces of mail that Prospective International Adoptive Parents want to see - the copy of the letter to the INS saying that our family is approved to adopt! This comes from the Department of Social Services and says that we've done all that we need to do to "prove" that we're prepared to take in these children.

Now we send up our dossier into CWA, our adoption agency, to proof the file for errors and omissions. From there we send it up to the State Department in DC and then directly over to the Ethiopian Embassy in DC. From there it goes back to CWA, who sends it over to Ethiopia. We've been tentatively told that we could be looking at mid-December!!
Merry Christmas!!
This was their first Christmas with us. We'd had them with us only 5 months by then. We were living in Ft. Mill South Carolina.

Last night Pam and I were talking about that prospect and we know that we shouldn't put too much stock in a date because nothing ever goes according to schedule. But, I'm thinking about the possibility of having them here for their first Christmas and all the other kids being off for Christmas break (not Winter break, to be politically incorrect). They would have the two weeks to spend all day with each other without the interuption of the school schedule. Of course that would give them an interesting outlook on what life is like in America - is it Christmas all year round here? :o)

Pray people, pray!

To continue (Part 2)

But to continue...

While we were living in KY, we began looking into adopting a child. We were fairly certain that we didn't want an infant, though we wouldn't have turned one down. We first looked into the state run foster/adoption services. There are so, so many children in this system. What tore our hearts more than anything was to see so many older teens looking for forever families. There were kids as old as 17 who have probably been languishing in the system for years.

After going through the processes, and actually applying to adopt children, it never seemed to work out. Several times we had gotten to the stage of being considered among several parents, and another set of parents were chosen. Our age was a factor that we had to get used to. A couple of times, we were even given the opportunity to adopt through a private agency and the birth mothers either chose to keep their children (We pray that this was even a greater blessing for the child) or chose a younger couple.

After a few of these heart wrenching episodes, we decided to pursue international adoption.There are trade-offs for everything. The paperwork is about the same volume or more than foster/adoption, though each country has its on criteria. The cost can be significantly higher and each country has their own costs. After much prayer and looking at the criteria, costs, and length of processes for each country, we settled on China. One other country's system turned us down because we were a bi-racial couple. (Can you believe that?).

We found A Helping Hand, an international adoption agency in Lexington KY. We then began the "Paper Dragon". Wow it absolutely boggles the mind the amount of paperwork and the amount of hassle it takes. You have to provide a thorough background, which for us was a little involved because we'd moved around so much in our adult lives. You do a home study which combines, the background, character references, job references, financial status, health history and status, and self evaluation. Then a social worker visits with us at our home and at their office a couple of times. They then put together a report and give their opinion on our viability as parents. All this paper work must be signed, counter signed, notarized, and then sealed by the Secretary of State. (I'm sure Condolessa Rice is sitting down signing all these documents - NOT. Rubber stamped).

Because we were adopting from China, we were assured that we would be adopting a girl and we asked for child as young as available. Everyone takes it for granted that a Chinese adoption will be a girl because it seems about 95% of the orphans are girls. As a lesson in culture, it is not that the Chinese value girls less, it's because they have no retirement system like we do here in the States. It is the responsibility of the child to care for their parents. If you are only allowed one child - as is the law currently throughout most of China - and that child is a daughter, she will grow, marry and live with her husband. He will care for his parents, but will be ill prepared to care for hers as well. So the parents want a son - to care for them in their old age. That's the general sense of it.

One week we visited family in the DC area. It just so happens that it was on 9/11 when we returned. Yes, that 9/11. Because Pam and I happened to be listening to CD's the whole way we knew nothing about it until later. There were a bunch of phone messages on our machine when we got home that afternoon. We had apparently gone around DC not too long before the one plane crashed into the Pentagon. There were frantic voices asking about our safety and well being. We were clueless; probably a good thing at the time. We had thought it was odd that the flag at the KFC headquarters was at half staff. When we got home our water was off and I saw some men working in the street so I went out to ask how long it would be. Outside one of the trucks I overhead a radio announcer say something to the effect of " one has claimed responsibility for the attack". I went home and turned on the TV. When I saw the image of the plane going into one of the Trade Towers, I thought it was just a commercial for some stupid movie. That was until I figured out the video was on every channel and they kept showing it over and over. We figured out that at time that this happened, we were probably somewhere new Quantico. So ten years from now when people ask "where were you when..?", we can shiver in the thought that we just missed being eye witnesses.

When we picked up our mail at the post office that day, we received a letter from A Helping Hand that included a photo list of Waiting Children. These children were those that the agency was trying to strum the heartstrings of adopting parents. They are generally older and/or had medical problems of some sort. In the adoption world, healthy babies are first choice. As Pam and I were looking over the pictures of these little ones, we saw this little cherub with the cutest tiny pout and we both instantly pointed at him -him! FujianLo, a little boy about 2 years old. He was born with a cleft palate. We found out that he'd had the first surgery to close the lip by a Surgeon from Operation Smile. (More about that later) We thought that he was so cute, and the letter had been sitting in the post office for so long, he was probably already "taken". We called A Helping Hand the next day anyway. God is great!! He had not been chosen yet and we told them that he was ours now.

To be continued.....................

Monday, September 15, 2008

Re posting from our original blog post
(Part 1)
We thought that is would be a nice idea to tell some of our story- the before!!

So, Here goes.......

We're reluctantly being pulled into the 21st Century with all the other Bloggers.
I'm sure that many families out there that consider themselves and their lives unusual and are using the Blogging media as a therapeutic release. What can it hurt, right? This first post will be a bit lengthy, but how else does one start a story, but to begin with the beginning and that takes a bit.So what makes us think that we are so "unusual" that others would be interested in reading about our lives and our thoughts?

Our family is made of an African-American husband/father (Juan), a Caucasian wife/mother(Pam), one Chinese son(DJ), and a set of one son and two daughters from Ethiopia. Those are just the children at home.

Pam has two daughters , both of whom are adults with their own children. So that's nine children between us.Juan was born and raised an Army brat, had his own Air Force career and is now an accountant. Pam was born and raised in Upstate New York and is now an accountant. We know, the epitome of excitement, huh?

We're actually not your run of the mill shy and reserved accountant types, we sort of just fell into these roles over a course of adventure or misadventure.As mentioned before, we've both been previously married but we technically didn't bring kids into the mix because they were either already adults or living with the ex. We met at work 11 years ago. Actually Pam interviewed me for a job and the rest is history in the making. When our relationship developed to the point of talking marriage I told Pam that I wanted children to be part of our lives. Hers were adults and mine lived half a nation a way, so that left a few options to explore. Giving birth to them was already out for both of us; so that left adoption and or foster parenting. We prayed about it and felt that adoption would be the best for our lives and for the children who would come into it.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The past 2 weeks for me have been extremely frustrating. I am not one of those people that think that the devil is behind every tree, bush etc., but I do strongly believe that Satan is alive and well in this world trying to make every Christian fall. And fall hard. He wants to totally ruin our testimony and our lives. The thing is I have read to the end of the Book and we WIN- It has still been a hard couple of weeks.

I know that my God is on the throne in my heart and in Heaven, and I know that as His child, He is rooting for me to make the right choices. I am so glad that He is on my side.

We have started a 40 days of prayer at church about a week and a half ago. And I am praying for 15 minutes (above my normal quiet time) along with the rest of the body of believers. So there is prayer going on all 24 hours each day for the 40 days. I see this commitment as a direct correlation to the frustrating 2 weeks! When we are serious for God, Satan is seriously busy around our lives. I am so thankful for the blood of Jesus and that Satan is no longer in control of my life. He does however mess around it...

Several things for our adoption have taken a lot longer than I had planned. And we found out that there is an extra step in the paperwork that was not there for the last adoption, or the first adoption for that matter!! I want my new babies here, not there going hungry. (babies, 8,9 and 12!) This extra step may be as quick as 2 weeks, but most likely more like 2 months...

Another area of frustration for me has been getting the kids and myself back into the school routine. Each child has an extra after school "thing". For a couple of the kids it is everyday, good for them, bad for mom, and the other 2 the classes meet just one time a week. It is getting better each day, but by the time we get it all down pat it will probably be Thanksgiving break!

I guess my most frustrating part of my life is my weight issue. I have been watching my weight, in my case watching it go up- This summer, I have been very careful, and have been working on staying the same weight or losing some and it has been slow going and very frustrating. This 40 days of prayer has been good for me- It is making me stop at that time of day- and focus on the Lord. It is making me more mindful of the needs at the church. It has given me a great time of worship after the prayer time that I didn't take daily before, and it is refreshing for that time!

I am praying that the frustrating things will go easier in the next days. Thank you blog family and readers for your prayer support of us and the whole adoption process. Blessings...p

Post-Hurrican Hannah

Well, we made it. Of course that didn't take a lot of effort on our part. By the time it got here, it was just a windy day on the beach. We were getting waves crashing over our bulkhead 5 feet high. Not bad, however, we did lose about 5 feet of our pier at one spot and about 5 or more at another. It actually didn't start raining until Saturday morning and the wind came in around 9-10am. It stayed around all day, and was completely blown out by the end of the day.

We all need to pray for the people in the Gulf Coast as they prepare for IKE. He doesn't appear to me a nice guy and Texas is working on evacuations.
Interesting tidbit. Some years ago, I learned that hurricanes bring warm water and air over from the African region and sweep it up to the north of us. If we didn't have them, the water would freeze all the way down the coast to maybe Florida or something. Interesting.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hurricanes are coming

This was on a stormy day. If you look close you'll see two ducks at the end of the pier, trying to take refuge. The dark border at the top is the Mainland across the sound from us.

This was taken from our bedroom, I love waking up to that everyday.

DJ and JJ playing in the sound during the summer. We have a HUGE pool, it has to be about 2 miles to the other side. ;o)

The Please pray for all of us residents along the coast. Hannah and her boyfriend Ike are barreling toward the coastline. The people who have lived here on the OBX all of their lives are poo pooing Hannah, but are looking at Ike as a more serious threat. After Hannah goes through, I'm seriously considering boarding up for Ike. With our house only about 50 feet from the water, we foresee the possibility of water damage. But, we're sound side, so that may be some saving grace - I hope.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Baby is growing up.

Yesterday I signed the parental consent form for my baby to take driver's ed classes that start next week. Next week! It was just two years ago we were standing in the living room singing "Head, shoulders, knees and toes", to teach them English! Next thing I know we'll be filling out her cap and gown order form. Stop the world, it is spinning WAY too fast.

Random Memories from Ethiopia

Random memory:

Addis Ababa is a city of over 4 million people. It has very little by way of public transportation, like subways or trolleys. They do have full sized buses, which I don't recall seeing, and minibuses. On the one day we arranged to travel about Addis, we went with one of the young men working at the foster home as our guide/interpreter, Musfin (whom LJ had a crush on). We traveled the same way most everyone else does, by minibus. A minibus is basically a minivan that have been converted to accommodate a few more people than would be comfortable here in the US. They travel along fixed routes and stops like city buses. The minibus has a driver, who has a partner who rides along hanging out the window calling out to people on the street. Now, I'm not sure if he's calling out his route, his fare or both. To save time, you pay after you get in and underway. The ride is relatively cheap and they cram in as many as 9 or 10 people - no seat belts or a/c, of course.

Musfin took us from bus to bus across town and back. You get to see the real life of Addis this way. The city is fast paced, dirty, yet very friendly. That day we went to the Mercato, a huge sprawling market place with hundreds and hundreds of little shops selling everything from apple to zippers. We were looking for clothes for the children, so that's what we concentrated on. Row after row, isle after isle of little shops (some only 5-6 feet wide) crammed with merchandise. None of the merchandise were price marked, so that meant negotiating. Musfin handled that for us. He wasn't treated too kindly because the merchants knew we were filthy rich Americans who should just pay what they wanted. I guess they figured he was some kind of traitor to them. Ever so often he had to tell us to move on because groups of men would congregate near us and were looking suspicious. Musfin understood what dangers that could entail and didn't want us to get robbed or worse.

We got a few items that day, just to tide us over for clothes until we got home. When we went out the next time, we hired a taxi for the day. It was a lot easier and less time consuming. It afforded us the ability to buy large items we wanted to bring home.

More memories from China

Random memory:

The worse incident was when I learned that Montezuma's Revenge has jurisdiction in China as well. We were forewarned not to drink the water. Don't brush your teeth in it, don't drink anything with ice or drink any water from opened bottles. We were OK with that. It was inconvenient, but we handled it...for the most part.

One day I had occasion to meet the hotel manager in the lobby of the hotel we were staying in, in Guongo. He was a very gracious gentleman, who thanked me for being part of the group who were adopting children from his country. In the conversation he asked what room I was in, I didn't think much of it and went on my way after the conversation. The next day there was a huge basket of fruit delivered to our room. Gorgeous! Well, yours truly took a pear and without further adieu washed it in the bathroom sink, dried it with a towel and ate said pear.

Montezuma visited me ALL NIGHT LONG! We're talking evacuation from both ends of the victim, at rapid and consistent intervals. "Sick as a dog" doesn't half cover it. "Sick as a dying dog, who's been hit by a truck and then kicked in the gut" would more closely describe it. I stayed in bed the entire next day and a half (between trips to the bathroom) and was only moments from succumbing to Pam's plea to call a doctor. (Shutter the thought - A man calling a doctor? What would all the fellas in the "We don't need no stinkin doctor", Fraternity say?). It finally subsided and we went on as usual...for the most part.

Lesson learned.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ok, I'll let you stay a little longer

I have this little running joke that I share with the kids. Every time they say, or do something cute and/or funny I tell them that they can stay another couple of weeks, but if they don't come up with something good...they're out on their ears!

I mean really, if it weren't for the silly, funny, and cute things kids do and say we'd be hard pressed to explain why we keep the little cherubs around.

Prime example: One cool summer evening last year, we were sitting out on the deck of the last house we lived in (For one reason or other, we have moved around rather frequently, compared to other families). We were enjoying a God glorious sunset over the sound. The kids were quiet and we were all enthralled with the evening sights and sounds.

I remarked to Pam, "You know people pay good money to come here and do what we're doing right now. And, we get to do this anytime we want. It doesn't get much better than this."

AJ, our middle one asked, "Dad, how long are we going to live here?" She's already gotten used to the idea that we don't live anywhere too long; I'm hoping and praying that we don't make a life of moving around. I grew up an Army brat and then had an Air Force career. I lived in 13 states and 3 foreign countries, so far.

I respond, "Well, Lord willing, we'll be here a long while. I love it here."

DJ, pipes up, "Who's Lord Willy?"

You gotta love it! We all share a good laugh! After I explain who "Lord Willy" is or isn't, as it were, I tell DJ he can stay another couple weeks or so.

Another example. Last night we're watching the TV Guide channel looking for something interesting to watch. At the time, they're doing something like "25 hottest male actors ever", or something like that. Well, Hugh what's his name, who plays Dr. House was listed. Pam has a actor crush on him, "Yeah! He's a hunk!"

AJ says, "Ewww, He's not that good looking, he's old!" When we ask her how old did she think he was, she responds, "Like 70 or something!"

Do you remember how when you were a teen, and you thought anybody over 30 was heading for the old folks home? We all laugh and talk about how kids don't have a clue on how to estimate ages of people.

So I tell her, "OK, you can stay a little longer."

When I say that to the kids we get a little banter going bank and forth about how they'll gladly leave and take my car or move to their friends houses or whatever. Then I say they can only take the clothes they bought with their own money earned away from the house - which doesn't leave much.

Kids, Can't live with them, can't live without them...Right?