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This hairstyle is super fun and easy. Ballerina was loving the curly look the next day. I actually thought the knots themselves were cute..... LOL. She wanted me to take them out before church though. I knotted her hair while it was dry. If you do this wet, it may not dry in time. I find that hair that is wound pretty think does not dry in the innermost parts in just one night. The method for the knots is really simple. Grab a section of hair and start twisting it till it starts to twist on itself. Then wrap them up and secure with an elastic. Easy peasy. I did them in an alternating pattern. Next time, I'll not part her hair in the center of her head, it gave an interesting look after that needed to be fixed a bit. Ballerina's hair went frizzy pretty quick since it was a rainy day. Also, if you work a bit of styling gel or mouse into the dry hair before knotting it, it will hold better.
Now, this may be the overly anal cosmetologist in me, but as you can see, I rolled the knots in the hairline smaller and the ones in the crown area bigger. This is because naturally curly hair will have tighter curls in the hairline and I wanted to mimic natural growth patterns. What can I say..... I like things to be authentic... LOL (>_<)*\
That is not necessary to achieve an adorable look.
Today we reached a milestone. When I offered my son 'num-nums' at nap time, he declined. Said, "no, thank-you". I felt a mixture of pride and sadness. Pride for his growing independence, sadness for his growing independence... I'm noticing that we are entering new territory now. For so long, I've identified myself in parenting terms. "Baby wearer." "Co-sleeper." "Cloth diaper-er." I had my son in the Ergo a few weeks ago and I noticed that it fits us differently these days. It doesn't come up so high on his back anymore. I have a harder time wearing him for a full day now. He wants to "walk please". He asks to ride in the stroller. It's new and different for me. He is (mostly) sleeping through the night and falling asleep holding my hand instead of nursing down. He'll hold my hand till he's drowsy, and then he says "ni-night" and rolls over. Yesterday, when I left for church without him, (he has a cold) he waved and said "bye bye" instead of crying as I leave. In many ways, he's becoming a 'big' boy. He uses the potty now, no more diapers. He pretty much made that choice on his own. He asked me to use the potty once and never looked back after that first time. Cloth diapering became a bit of a hobby for me, and that phase is suddenly over. It's surprising how fast it happened. It's surprising how fast it's all happening. It's funny. You can be totally aware that it's coming, but it still catches you off guard when it happens. I look back fondly on his 'baby' phase, but I'm also looking forward to what's to come next. We're gonna try to hold off on making another baby for now.... with the adoption happening and everything. I'm looking forward to a bit of a break from being depended on to the level that you are with a baby. As women, we have so many titles. I've been so consumed with 'Mommy' for some time now, that I've lost track of some of the others. This is totally understandable and normal when you have little ones, but I'm looking forward to taking the time in between kids to enjoy some of the others. Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend.... ect. Or even, Chef, Musician, Writer, Seamstress, Cosmetologist, Small business owner.... I'm going to use this time to re-discover "Me". I'm looking forward to the things this next year will bring me. I'm looking forward to seeing what amazing things the Lord is gonna do. My recently married sister just found out she is gonna have a baby. She (like me) found herself with child after only a few months of marriage. It's such an amazing journey that she is starting out on. The world will never again look the same as it does now. I pray that she cherishes this special time with her hubs, establishes easy to stick to routines, enjoys and cares for her changing body, and gives herself completely to loving and caring for her hubby. Once that first baby comes, the husband has to forever share his wife. Make those months together count! Babies are the ultimate enhancement of life, but they come with lifestyle changes. Wife and Mother are high callings that the Lord places on one's life. If you are serving your husband and nurturing you child/ren, you are in a ministry! The mom's group, nursery, youth, worship team, and coffee cart are secondary. I know all too well that the phase of highest dependency is only temporary- over before you know it. The time in their lives that you are their source of everything is so short compared to how much of their lives they will spend getting advice, food, comfort, entertainment and acceptance from this world. They'll get their advice from Dr, Laura and their food from Del Taco, so pour everything you have into them and pray that they remember the foundation that has been laid when they reach adolescence.
So yes, I'm moving into a new phase with my youngest, a phase that allows for a bit more wiggle room on my end, but it's just a short breather before I dig into the trenches again. We'll bring our adopted son home and start working on giving him all those things that young babies get- things he missed out on in an orphanage. Eventually, we hope to have another baby as well.... and then I can re-visit all my beautiful cloth diapers ;) In the meantime, I'm gonna make my man a nice dinner. I'm gonna pick my dusty guitar back up. I'm gonna cut someone's hair. I'm gonna read a book that isn't about parenting. I'm gonna have coffee with my dad. I'm gonna sit down at my sewing machine. And if I'm lucky, I'll nurse my son down to sleep.
OH, MOTHERS OF YOUNG CHILDREN, I BOW BEFORE YOU IN REVERENCE. YOUR WORK IS MOST HOLY. YOU ARE FASHIONING THE DESTINIES OF IMMORTAL SOULS. THE POWERS FOLDED UP IN THE LITTLE ONES THAT YOU HUSHED TO SLEEP IN YOUR BOSOMS LAST NIGHT, ARE POWERS THAT SHALL EXIST FOREVER. YOU ARE PREPARING THEM FOR THEIR IMMORTAL DESTINY AND INFLUENCE. BE FAITHFUL. TAKE UP YOUR SACRED BURDEN REVERENTLY. BE SURE THAT YOUR LIFE IS SWEET AND CLEAN.--JR MILLER
Joshua and I have felt the Lord lay it upon our hearts that now is the time for us to pursue adoption. For many of you, this will seem sudden or out of the blue. Not for us though. We have been quietly praying for some time now. For the sake of everyone's emotions, we chose to keep it quiet until we felt we had an answer from the Lord. We have come to that place now and we are eagerly looking forward to the journey ahead. The first thing we would like to share is a bit of information about the boy the Lord has placed in our hearts. Backstory: As I watched some dear friends go through their adoption journey, the Lord really spoke to my heart saying, 'Pay attention. This will be you'. Josh and I always loosely talked about adopting, but the "plan" was to adopt a baby domestically once we were done having our own biological kids. I felt like lately though, the Lord was opening my heart and mind to the possibility of something different. As we began praying about it, we felt our hearts really open to the idea of adopting, as they say, "out of birth order". (Meaning a child older than your youngest.) After we became comfortable with that idea, the Lord showed me this:
He broke my heart for these "least of these".
I began doing some research and started reading the blogs of families that have adopted HIV+ children and what their day to day life is like. I was absolutely shocked to realize how doable it is. There was one waiting child profile that I came across very early on in my research. I was instantly struck by how much he resembled my own kids. There was, however, no information about him on that particular listing. Only a country. Russia. I prayed for the little guy, but didn't think there was anything I could do about him at that time.
A couple weeks later, while attending a church event, the topic of orphans was once again brought up. The ministry that we were attending an event with was talking about how their ministry proceeds go to sponsoring and caring for orphans all over the world.
Josh and I left that service feeling even more certain that the Lord was preparing our hearts for adoption. And particularly of someone who would otherwise have little hope. We felt the Lord soften our hearts to the idea of an older child. We were no longer afraid of the idea of someone with HIV. Several days later, while viewing the website that our friends found their son through, I saw that same little boy again. This time I was much more prepared for the idea of adopting him. We started praying to determine if the Lord would have us to move forward, and open up communication with the agency. The Lord showed me this verse in Psalm. "God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy." Psalm 68:6. Jesus is the Father to the fatherless and are we not called to be imitators of Him? For this reason, Josh and I have decided to "take the plunge". I know there are questions in your minds, so I will do my best to answer the most common ones.
Q~ Who is this boy? What can you tell us about him?
A~ We know him as "Ross". Is that his actual name? Dunno. He is 5 years old, turning 6 in Feb. He is indeed HIV+. He does NOT have AIDS. We do not know if he was surrendered, abandoned or orphaned by the death of his mother. He is currently in an orphanage, but we don't know how long until he would be transferred to a 'boarding institution'. His chances of being adopted in his home country are minimal due to his age and medical status. I have attached his photo.
Q~How will his HIV affect your life, and the health of your other kids? Aren't you concerned they could get it?
A~ There is a ton of false information about the disease out there. Having HIV does not mean he will die young, he is not sickly, and he does not have AIDS. Many people don't understand the difference between HIV and AIDS. AIDS is a complication of untreated HIV. If the HIV is treated properly, AIDS does not happen. The treatment of HIV includes the following:
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). It is a virus that attacks the immune system.
Over time, and without treatment, HIV gradually destroys the body's defenses against disease, leaving it vulnerable to many infections and cancers that do not normally develop.
Even without treatment, some people living with HIV have no symptoms; some have mild health problems, while others have severe health problems associated with AIDS.
AIDS is a late stage of HIV disease. By the time of an AIDS diagnosis, HIV has already seriously damaged the body's immune system. Often, a person living with AIDS will already have had life-threatening infections or cancers.
It usually takes 10 years or more for an HIV infection to turn into AIDS. However, anti-HIV medications can radically interfere with HIV’s destruction of the immune system and lengthen a person’s life expectancy. With proper treatment, some people now living with HIV may never develop AIDS and can live a normal life span. Studies suggest that starting treatment early in the course of infection can significantly improve long-term treatment success. Ross has been on treatment since his diagnosis. I'm not sure if it was at birth or not.
There is now a wide range of HIV medications available to people in the United States that fall into six different categories according to the method by which they interfere with HIV reproducing itself in the body. The range of medications is important, because to be effective the drugs must be taken in combination with others in order to attack the virus from many different points in the replication process. This is often called, “combination therapy,” on an HIV “regimen.” Although no singular regimen can cure HIV, they are able, by and large, to prevent further damage to your body once you start taking them. The most important thing about therapy is “adherence,” or taking your medications everyday as they’re prescribed. The better your treatment adherence, the better your chances for living a long and healthy life on treatment.
The following "bodily fluids" are NOT infectious:
Recent studies offer evidence and raise questions about the role of antiretroviral medications in curbing the spread of HIV. This means that even if there was exposure to the virus from a person on consistent treatment, the chances of passing it on are low. There has NEVER been a case of it being transmitted between family members without there being drug or sexual abuse present. There are three ways it can be spread. Sexual contact, sharing of needles, and mother to child through breast milk. So to answer the question of being concerned for the health of my other kids..... NO. I am not concerned. Knowledge is power.
Take a moment to watch this video:
Q~ Why international adoption when there are so many kids in need stateside?
A~ This answer is simple. Jesus loves each child the same. His love has no borders. We feel that He placed Ross in our hearts and where he is located is secondary in importance. He knows what He's doing and we trust that He is leading us with a specific purpose. Russia, China, Africa, America..... Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight. Our time living abroad gave us hearts for the WORLD and opened our eyes to the fact that there are needs everywhere, not just in our own backyard. We're globally minded, what can we say? :)
Q~ Isn't adoption expensive? How will you afford it?
A~ The estimated cost is under 25K. 25K is a huge number, but when you consider that the tax credit for special needs adoption is 10k, you're looking at 15K dollars. This is a large number, but we are trusting in the Lord to provide the funds necessary. We will be fundraising and applying for grants through several organizations. We will keep you all posted as to what fundraisers we will be doing and when. We have one adoption account set up and the Lord put in on the heart of a perfect stranger to donate to it. This man who does not know us at all, has gifted us with our first 50 dollars. Praise the Lord! Our family page can be viewed here:
We believe that we will see miracles. Be on the lookout for them with us!
So in conclusion for now, we invite you to pray with us. Pray for us. Pray for Ross. Ask questions, get answers, journey with us as we climb aboard what promises to be an adventurous ride. The prize at the end is surely worth it.
I juiced a pomegranate today. It was tricky. First, I seeded it using this method.
The next step was the tricky one. Here's a close up of the seeds themselves.
As you can see, inside each one is a white 'pit'. These are awfully bitter. You can't just blend the whole seed or your juice will be excessively bitter. I put them in my bullet one tablespoon at a time and gave them a couple pulses. This was just enough to get the juice out without cutting into that pit. Next, I placed a strainer over a jar and strained the juice out, giving the seeds a gentle pressing with the back of a spoon. This got the last of the juice out and the strainer caught all the pits and pulp pieces. I did this to all the seeds and it yielded about one cup of juice. Then I took a couple blueberries and threw them in and ran THAT in the bullet. The result was some fresh, yummy juice. Now I'm off to make a smoothie with some of it. I think I'll use the leftover guts to make some pomegranate bath salt. I'll let you know how it turns out!
Last week, we had some new friends over. They have kids around the same ages as ours, so we all had a great time hangin' out. I made this super yummy carrot ginger soup in the crockpot and roasted a chicken. After we ate, we decided to get our craft on and decorate some gingerbread houses. Let me tell you!!!! That was so much fun. It was chaotic, but we all had a great time. Imagine telling a two year old that the candy is for decorating, not for eating.... LOL.
It was a super fun and blessed evening. And now our kitchen is decorated with gingerbread houses!
In honor of World AIDS day, I thought I would post this video. This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart these days. Pray for the orphans with HIV in the world. Pray that the Lord will raise up people to adopt and care for them. Pray that the love of Jesus for these kids would be poured out in an amazing way. Pray about what you can do to help.
"God places the lonely in families he sets the prisoners free.." Psalm 68:6