Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Caution: deep waters ahead

Over the river and through the woods... in an hour we are headed to Grandma and Papa's house for Koproski Thanksgiving.  To say we are excited is definitely an understatement.  I thought I would make good use of these last few precious moments to sit with a cup of coffee in front of Good Morning America and blog.  Usually I run around like an idiot trying to clean my house.  Not today.  I'll do it when we get back.

It had been a few weeks since Steve and I had gone out on a date, so we called in the troops for babysitting and we headed out to dinner and a movie.  Vietnamese was our taste of the night.  9/10 spicy for me.  I could have used it a touch hotter to be honest. 

We then put on our big kid pants, passed the throngs of crowds waiting for Catching Fire and headed down the road less traveled.  We ducked into theatre 12 and saw 12 Years A Slave.  I'm not even sure how to describe this *based on a true story* film.

A free black man living in New York was kidnapped and taken down to New Orleans where he was sold into slavery.  It was brutal, graphic, gut wrenching.  There were certain flaws and critiques I have of the film, but over all it is a story our nation needs to see.  We need to sit in our seats and be forced to watch the sins of our country.  Feel the pain. Make internal adjustments.  I need to repent of my own sins of prejudice... daily.  I am deeply grieved by the depths of depravity that exist in the human soul. 

I found myself having a hard time falling asleep last night because my mind kept going back to the images.  Some may say it is Hollywood.  I say it is history.  I can't imagine how my African American seatmates experienced this movie so much more deeply than I, and for different reasons. 

I want to search my heart and my life and our country to see where am I (and the Church) are turning a blind eye to injustice?  To sin?  To racism?  I have some ideas.  I need to make some adjustments.  Deep thoughts heading into this week of *Thanksgiving.*  I have a lot to be thankful for, and although they do include comforts, they far exceed those.  At the top of the list is a Savior who has forgiven.  I need this forgiveness at the deepest fiber of my soul.  He has offered redemption.  Hope for change. 

And although I am thankful for my life, I want to make sure I am not resting in comfort.  I want to stay on a course of change for my heart and direction for my life and the life of my family in regard to hard things including issues of diversity, prejudice and racism. 

I am thankful for those who have gone before me and were brave to confront these issues.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Have a great holiday and count your blessings.  They abound!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

6 degrees of separation from Jenny Rapson

Two posts in two days, I's basically a miracle. This morning our family got up early and headed to the mall to walk in a shoeless 5k to help raise money for one of my favorite organizations, Shoes4theshoeless. (They have come two years in a row to my kids' school and given away over 300 pairs of shoes each time.  It's an amazing group founded and directed by a dear friend of mine.)

At the walk, I ran into several people I know.  One of them is a dear friend whom I've known since before Quinn came home from China.  Jenny and her cousin, Emily, are the authors of Mommin' It Up! and they are basically famous!  In addition to being famous and funny, they are some of the most generous, big hearted people I know.
Jenny and her family were part of our small group from church for many years.  When I received my cancer diagnosis, Jenny and Emily went into high gear.  They used their blogger fame to help our family raise the money we needed to hire a nanny while I was in treatment.  We were amazed and humbled by God's use of Mommin' It Up! and their readers to bless us and provide for us.
They are at it again, using their bloggy fame and influence to raise awareness for cancer with the help of Master Card. Check out this post, she was even kind enough to feature my cancer story on her famous blog!  Find out  how you can use your Master Card and as you spend this holiday season, you can kill two birds (or kill a bird and potentially save a cancer patient) with one stone.
It's good to know good people!  And Jenny and Emily are two of them. It would be awesome if you would click over and meet them too and when your done, take your Master Card and tell yourself (or your husband) it's all in the name of giving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blood is not thicker than... blood

This week has been eventful.  I guess every week is eventful in its own way.  Lately, we've been experiencing some unique challenges that may or may not be related to adoption.  These are the weeks I feel incredibly ill-equipped to be a parent.  Frankly, I don't know what the heck I'm doing.  Who let me be in charge?

Most days, Turner and Quinn are two peas in a pod.  Frick and Frack.  Oil and Water?

Quinn has been experiencing some misplaced anger.  (I have responded in turn.  Not some of my finer moments.)

Wednesday night we invited Steve's work team over for dinner.  15 people for dinner.  No big deal.  After 13 of the guests had arrived, Turner and Quinn went from Ninja moves to full out war.  I was not in the room (since I was preparing to serve dinner to 15 people) when I heard *the scream*.  Not the "I'm mad at you and I'm telling" scream but the "I'm bleeding from my face because you just knocked my tooth out of my face" kind of scream. 

Tables were turned and instead of Turner knocking the snot out of Quinn, Quinn had knocked a tooth out of Turner with a Nerf gun.  Nothing says, "Welcome to our house.  C'mon in and relax" like a quart of blood and a tooth on the floor.

If you have kids close in age (or not close in age because perhaps age does not matter) you've probably spent time as a referee rather than parent.  It's just hard to know how to sort out behaviors and emotions with an adopted child. 

There are other particular things going on that make me say, "*HELP*.  I am in deep waters here." It's nothing that screams emergency but a few things do say... "Lady... get yourself some help here!"  Yesterday, I put in an email to the Dr. that helped us out at the International Adoption department at Cincinnati Children's Hospital when Q first came home.  I'm hoping she can direct us to someone who specializes in talking to kids (or maybe more importantly, parents) about their feelings/behaviors.  I can't imagine the deep wounds consciously or unconsciously swirling around.

We have much to be thankful for.  There is lots of hope in our future. We just need to call in some re-enforcements because Mama doesn't know what the heck to do next.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Finding treasure, losing our minds

Our family spent Saturday afternoon doing something fun that we've never tried before.

Geo caching.

Have you heard of it?  It is basically a world-wide treasure hunt.  It was really fun, if not a bit of a crazy maker.

I downloaded the app several months ago, but we had never gotten around to taking an afternoon to try it out.  The idea is that you type in where you are and the app will give you coordinates to a *hidden treasure.*  People have hidden containers (literally) all over the world.  Now with smart phones it is very easy to do with kids, the app will give you where to go to find the treasure.

There are hard to find ones, easy to find ones, some in the city, lots hidden in metro parks etc.  We stuck to easy ones (although we only found 2 of the 4 we were looking for) and ones in the city.  In fact we found one 3 blocks from our house and one at the end of O's friend L's house.  Sometimes in the cache you will find trinkets.  There is usually a paper log where you are suppose to sign in and leave your name and the date of the find.  If there is a treasure in the container, you may take it, as long as you replace it with something at least the worth of the treasure you find.

My kids were in LOVE with this.  In fact they loved it so much they kept wanting to do "just one more."  Which would have been good, except we had already walked about 5 miles hunting around the city for the other four. We took O's good friend from school and it was a really fun activity for all of us to do.  It was extra fun because it was a beautiful day and got us out of the house and walking around our city. 

I have to say, the kids were pretty bummed that we couldn't find the other two.   Sometimes people don't put them back where they are suppose to be, others may find them not knowing they are cache or an animal may move it from where it is suppose to be.  So, my disclaimer is that you may lose your mind with this outing. Sometimes they are just plain hard to find.  (In fact, we are about to go back and try and find one of the two unfound treasures because I'm pretty sure we just over looked it.) 

Something else really fun about Geo caching, you can do it wherever you go.  If you are out of town, you just check in with the app and it will tell you where the nearest find is.  What is crazy is, all of a sudden there is this hidden world that is opened up to us that we never knew existed.  It's kind of fun to drive past the hidden cache in our neighborhood and feel like I'm an insider to a secret.

So, if you are looking for something fun to do on a date night, with your kids or in a new town that you're visiting, I would suggest downloading this fun activity; just be prepared to leave a little part of your mind with each hunt.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A genius idea

Two Ninjas and Albert Einstein in the house! 
What a fun year of trick or treating it was.  Our cousin, Nick, drove down from Columbus to join in the festivities and our good friends, Kristina and A.J. walked around with us too. 

Trick or treat was soggy but fun this year.  Lots of talk about postponing trick or treat around here. 


 Are you kidding me?  Back when I was little, we had to earn our candy!  I remember several years wearing a snow suit over my costume.  Not that it actually every snowed enough to warrant wearing a snow suit, but it was cold!  And no one ever dared mention a trick or treat postponement.

 And oh my word, I can't even imagine the bigger storm that would have hit my house if my sugar addicts had been asked to wait another day to collect their loot.  Have mercy!