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We’ve moved!

March 1, 2010

Well, I finally decided it’s time to move the blog. I just started getting some comments from people I don’t know, and it started to worry me. I want our story to be out there for those to follow, and I want our family and friends to be able to find us… but that also means the creepers will be able to find us, too. So, I hav moved our blog to an address that DOES NOT include our last name, and I’ve tried to clear all posts of any truly personal information. I didn’t want to password protect our blog, because I love the people I’ve met through blogging… but I wanted to make things a little safer for our beautiful kiddos. We would love for you to join us over at http://lovingourgivenlife.wordpress.com/. All the posts from this site are there, plus a couple of new ones… just to entice you into visiting. Please bookmark this page, as it’s where we’ll be doing all of our posting from now on! See you there!

Letter to an old… companion

February 15, 2010

Dear morning sickness,

I thought you had left me for good. I hadn’t seen or heard from you in days, and I thought you had decided to move on. After all, we’ve spent the last 18 weeks together. Maybe there is somewhere else you needed to be.

However, as you came rushing back this morning, I was reminded of your loyalty. You are my trusty companion. Just when I think you are nowhere to be found, you quietly sneak up on me and remind me of your presence. You will not leave me – you will stay until this 40 week run is complete. You are nothing if not committed. You always finish the job.

Since we only have a scant 12-14 weeks left together, you probably think we need to try and get in some real quality time. Since we will not be together again after Cerise arrives, you’ll want us to take this time to appreciate each other. However, I don’t want you to feel you need to stay ’til then on my account. While it might be hard to say goodbye, we both know the end is coming. Maybe we should just make a clean break. As always, I leave that decision up to you.

Please don’t worry about me. I will somehow get by without you. Remember, while you’ll be gone in just a few weeks, I will have a new little person to cuddle and love – and just like last time, I will forget about the trials you and I had and find joy in the new little human being who will now be the one keeping me up – instead of you. She will make sure I have trouble sleeping, and I’m sure she (along with her brother and sister) will keep me from eating at the right time of day. The three of them will make it difficult to leave the house, just as you have – and they will certainly remind me that our house is full enough for the time-being, just as you’ve done these past few weeks.

In case you do decide to go, I need to thank you for your companionship. You are with me even when I think I am alone. You make sure I don’t gain too much weight during pregnancy, and you let me know early on that there is a little person growing safely inside me. You remind me that Cerise is still doing well, and I appreciate your candidness. Thank you for your steady, reassuring presence. You have changed the way I think of pregnancy forever. I will never forget you, or your profound effect on me and those who live with me. Your impression is lasting.

No regrets,
Allison

Haircut

February 8, 2010

Sometimes I decide I have more skill than I actually do.

I decide I don’t want to pay anyone to cut my kids’ hair. I mean, how hard can it be? Well, there is a reason to pay someone who has been trained to do this kind of work.

Actually, the haircuts didn’t turn out too badly this time. I mean, you might think we had SOME trouble since I had to do Colton’s twice (on two separate days) but it ended up looking OK. In fact, he got compliments on how good he looked!

This, however, was the first time I’ve cut Kennison’s hair. I see Colton’s hair as being a more forgiving canvas, since it has curl to it that can pretty much hide my mistakes. Kennison’s hair is STICK STRAIGHT. There is no forgiveness. Well, I gave it my best shot… and it actually turned out! I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that her hair is always pulled up, so even if it’s NOT straight, it would be hard to tell…

Anyway, for this hair cutting experience, we put a sheet down on the floor in front of the TV. We put each kid in a booster seat watching Barney, and I go to work. Colton went first. Inbetween the haircuts, we had a dance party, because these kids cannot hear the “Here We Go” song from Barney without showing off their moves.

(We always strip down to our diapers/underwear for haircuts, so please pardon the nakedness…)

Friedrich Family Playdate

February 7, 2010

Back in January, we had a playdate where all of the Friedrichs of the newest generation were able to get together and play. It was so much fun! We are all rarely in the same place at the same time, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to spend time with one another!

Adopted for Life . . . and in Death

February 5, 2010

“Arno was inseparable from Mr. Penguin. The little Haitian boy was almost three years old, and the plush penguin with the word “love” inscribed upon it was his most treasured object. The orphan and his penguin were always seen together.

The boy had been given the penguin just after his birth. A Dutch couple was in the process of adopting him almost from the start of his life — they had been matched to him when he was only two months old. The penguin represented a promise.

The process of adoption took two years — the length of time considered adequate to determine that no living relatives might claim him. According to official estimates, there were over 50,000 parentless orphans in Haiti before the earthquake came and orphaned many thousands more.

Richard and Rowena Pet were the young Dutch couple who wanted so badly to be Arno’s mother and father. They had struggled with infertility for years before deciding to adopt. As they awaited the adoption of Arno, Rowena became pregnant. Last August she gave birth to Jim, who was left in the care of relatives as Richard and Rowena flew to Haiti in January to claim Arno and complete the adoption process.

The story of Arno’s adoption is movingly told by reporter David Charter of The Times [London]. As he reported, “Arno was shy at first but within 30 minutes of meeting his adoptive parents he reached for Rowena’s hand and took the Dutch couple on a tour of the orphanage in Port-au-Prince where he had spent most of his short life. He began to call them Mummy and Daddy.”

Richard had shared their joy with a friend in an e-mail:

“We got to the orphanage feeling a bit strange. We went around a corner and immediately saw Arno walking towards us. He was OK until he was about half a meter away, but then he panicked. The woman from the orphanage helped out and half an hour later he took Rowena’s hand for the first time. I’m sorry but I can’t help crying at the moment as I type this. Arno has been showing us everything in the orphanage. He showed us an old car they have for the children to play on. He was holding a birthday card we sent for his second birthday.”

According to Charter, adoptive parents often stay at the Hotel Villa Therese in the Pétionville district of Port-au-Prince. That is where Richard and Rowena took Arno. That is where they were when the earthquake came. And that is where they died together.

David Charter tells the story, with comments by Chris Spaansen, the friend to whom Richard had sent the e-mail:

Dutch TV cameras were on hand during the frantic search by an international rescue team with members from the Netherlands, Britain and Canada. . . . Lying there amid the rubble was the unmistakable blue and yellow toy bird, Mr Penguin, marked with the word “Love”, that went everywhere with Arno. “That toy helped them to make their first contact with the little boy. It had a really special place in the family. It was a very emotional moment for all of us,” Spaansen says.

Then this:

What the cameras did not show were the three bodies, found intertwined together, as if Rowena and Richard had tried to put protective arms around Arno as the masonry began to fall. The disaster cruelly destroyed the new family, creating its own orphan back in the Netherlands. Jim, just five months old, will be brought up by Rowena’s sister, who already has her own three-year-old boy.

The bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet were taken to the Netherlands together, just as they had been found together in the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese. They had been a family for a few hours, but a family all the same. Arno had a tragically short life, but he ended that life in the arms of a mother and a father.

Who can read this account without heartbreak . . . and a heart warmed? Is there a heart so cold that it does not feel the pathos of this report, and sense the sentiment of this family’s tragedy? At the same time, this is not a tragedy in the classic sense. The love of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet transcends tragedy. That is why The Times published this report, and why it stays with you so long after you read it.

Of course, for the Christian there is far more to this story. In the story of Arno Pet we find a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians:

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 4:4-7]

Adoption is perhaps the most powerful depiction of the Gospel found in the Bible. We are all orphans, born under the curse of sin. By the sheer grace and mercy of God, those who come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are adopted as sons. Redeemed sinners are adopted as sons “through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise and glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” [Ephesians 1:5-6]

Arno Pet began life as an orphan, but he ended life as a son. He was abandoned at his birth, but he died in the arms of his parents. He did not die as Arno, he died as Arno Pet.

In the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese the film crew found the bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet. In that same rubble, we find a picture of the Gospel of Christ. He who has eyes to see, let him see.”

via Adopted for Life . . . and in Death.

Look at the twins!

February 4, 2010

On Tuesday, Colton and I headed to George Owens Nature Park for a special Groundhog’s Day program while Kennison was in preschool. We met Jack, Charlie, Miss J, and Mr. E there (along with their mommies!) and had fun listening to a groundhog story, meeting a groundhog puppet, and doing some craft activities. The kids colored and glued a groundhog together, then stuck him through a paper cup to make it look like he was coming out of his hole. Then came the REAL treat – each child was given a chocolate-frosted cupcake and a bag of goodies to create a groundhog. There were two blue m&ms for eyes, a brown m&m for a nose, two mini vanilla wafers for ears, and two mini marshmallows for teeth. It was pretty cute when it was all put together… but YOU try to convince 4 2-year-olds to patiently create a groundhog cupcake when all they really want to do is eat the individual pieces!

Tori and I (without knowing) dressed Colton and Jack in their coordinating gray MonkeyStitch turtlenecks that Tori made the boys for the Superbowl this weekend. There have been many times when just one of us has been out with the boys and people stop and ask if they are twins. Well, when we dress them alike, I guess we’re asking for it – but no one mentioned it to us on this outing! I can see why people would think Colton and Jack are twins – they are very similar in size, and certainly have a family resemblance. Here are some pictures from our adventures at George Owens. Enjoy!

Angela’s Banana Bread

February 4, 2010

You know how things from your childhood always taste better than they do in the present? Doesn’t that happen to anyone? It does to me. Anyway, I love the banana bread my mom makes. I cannot enjoy anyone else’s banana bread, because it doesn’t taste as good as my mom’s recipe.

Before getting married, my sisters-in-law threw me a surprise shower where all of the guests brought recipes to share with me. They each brought two cooking recipes and their own recipe for a good marriage. My sister (only 22 at the time) did not really have any recipes to share, so she took a couple from my mom – a green dessert, which is FABULOUS (I can post that later) and my mom’s banana bread. However, the banana bread did not have a name. As I understand it, Angela asked my mom where the recipe came from, and my mom told her that Gram (my mom’s mother) had baked the same bread. (I don’t remember where Gram originally got the recipe.) Since Angela was the one providing the recipe, she named it Angela’s banana bread. While not really fair, because she did not adjust the recipe in any way and is basically taking credit for something she did not do, it is still the best banana bread in the world, and I thought you might appreciate the recipe.

Angela’s Banana Bread

2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 C. shortening
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe mashed bananas
1 Tbsp. vinegar + milk to make 1/2 cup
1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional – I never use them)

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. I bake ours at 325 degrees because our oven runs hot.

This is wonderful! I think you’ll really enjoy it if you give it a chance…

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