Sunday, September 28, 2008


there are lessons that a mom is entitled to pass onto her children. lessons like to share your toys. or lesson to tie your shoe. or possibly lesson to finish your homework on time. but there are certain lessons that a mom has no clue that she should even teach her kids. i learned one of those lessons last week. let me set the stage......

3:30pm - preparing supper to put into the oven before the kids get home by 3:50pm. lydia wakes up .... i go get her only to find her with a stinky pants. do i quick change her (oh, by the way, there's no QUICK anything when it comes to changing lydie's diapers) or do i wait and finish putting together supper before the kids get home? i chose the latter. so here i am - finishing up the casserole with lydie at my feet .....smelling to high heaven. the kids get after another after another "lydie stinks mom!" "mom, i think lydia needs her diaper changed!" "MOM!!! she REALLY smells!!" you get the picture. (i did wonder to myself several times why no one OFFERED to change her pants since 3 of the 5 of them know how to....but that's going to be another lesson for another day).

i'm trying to hurry and finish with the meal so i won't have to hear about lydia's dirty pants anymore when all of the sudden i hear lydia at my feet....but more than that - i'm SMELLING lydia at my feet. this time - no stinky pants....oh, no......i smell this horrible smell of what may be an entire bottle of.................. FEBREEZE!!! what came out of my mouth next i NEVER thought i'd be saying "WHO FEBREEZED THEIR YOUNGER SISTER!!!!!" innocently one older brother stepped up to proudly say that he "took care of the dirty pants" - by emptying a 1/2 bottle of febreeze on her head!!!!! "WHAT possessed you???" "well, mom - she stunk...i made her smell better didn't i?" who could argue with that? (although, i don't know which is worse - a poopy pants or a child with a poopy pants and a febreeze bath!)

so....lesson number #485......don't ever, under no circumstances drench your younger sibling with febreeze - even if she has a poopy pants!!

lesson number to give your sister a bath!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It just dawned on me - many of you had seth moments too. if you would....if you're able and willing....could you share them with me? i LOVE hearing things about him that i didn't know he had said or did. could you help me keep him alive - just for a while longer? thanks ..... from a mom who wants to hang on for as long as i'm able.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


we have a seth trunk in the middle of our living room. it's a trunk with many things that remind us of seth. the kids occasionally put things in there for him - sometimes i find the funniest things (mostly pretty stones that they find that remind them of him). one of the most precious things in our seth trunk for me is his journal. we were given his journal from school that he had written in before he died. i love looking at his little handwriting - he HATED writing mind you....would have MUCH rather been outside playing basketball but he had to do his assignments too. the last entry he wrote were things he was thankful for "i am thankful that we have the bible. i am thankful for mom and dads. i'm thankful for God. i'm thankful for earth"

we've kept this journal in his trunk and have told the kids that whenever they have a memory of seth that they have to write them down. i've explained to them that i don't have alot of memories when i was 9,10,11,12,13 years old - i've forgotten much of that time in my life. i don't want them to be 30 something and look back on their brother and not have many memories of him. oh, i know that they'll never forget seth...but i don't want them to forget how he used to take his leftover food from his lunch box and put it in his locker box so he wouldn't get into trouble for not eating his entire lunch (to which we'd never know, that is, until we started smelling some awful rank stuff in the locker room coming from his locker box!) those are the things that make a brother a friend....i don't want them to lose their friend. so we tell them often write your memories of him down.

i was thinking about that today.....the things that i don't want to forget about our seth - those little things that i will always cherish.

-i want to remember when we were on vacation once and we were on a stony beach and of course he was looking for his precious agates. he ran up to me and had something in his hand. he shyly and quietly said to me "here mum...i love you". he ran away quickly before i was able to see what he gave me. i opened my hand and found this.....

it stays with me in my purse every day. it's one of the things that he gave to me that i will forever cherish

-i want to remember how he still would rock himself to sleep....reminding me of the start of his short life when he had to comfort himself in the orphanage - rocking himself to sleep.

-i want to remember his little smirk of a smile when we first brought him home

-i want to remember the first few nights when we brought him home. he, luke, and caleb were all in one room together. seth and caleb were on bunk beds (seth on bottom) and luke was in a toddler bed. we would find him asleep in bed with luke in his little bed - just trying to find something that was familiar to him.

-i want to remember how he would try and sneak up around me in the mornings - just to see if he could get me to jump.

-i want to remember how caleb taught him how to roller blade.

-i want to remember how he had such a little barrel chest. he had such a football body.

-i want to remember how his 3rd toe would always rest on top of all his other toes - not for the lack of us trying to straighten them back out! we think he must have been squished into too small shoes for the first 4 years of his life.

-i want to remember how he LOVED playing with his cousins. especially light sabers with kyle!

-i want to remember the time when he and i were in his room reading a book and he asked me "mum...God is in Heaven isn't He?" He sure is i replied to which he commented "how do I get there to be with Him?" i told him that all he has to do is ask. "i just gotta ask????" you just have to ask, honey. "i wanna, mum, i wanna" so in that brown cozy chair with him on the arm rest and me in the seat he folded his hands really tight and squinted his eyes super shut. he peeked out of his one eye and quietly asked "i just ask?" you just ask, seffers. after he said his beautiful little prayer i will NEVER forget his reaction. he opens his eyes and looks over at me with a look that a child has after he has just opened a Christmas gift and he so excitedly squeals to me "mum, i feel warm all over!!! i just know He just came in!!" (THAT is my one single most favorite memory of him)

-i want to remember how he loved playing basketball with his brothers and greg

-i want to remember how i would ALWAYS tell him to push up his glasses

-i want to remember in myrtle beach the last time we were there and i was trying to get a nice picture of him and he was just being goofy and i clicked one of my favorite pictures of him...

-i want to remember how he would spend hours searching for agates in the stony area in the back of our house (providentially we had never landscaped that area - we're turning that into our seth garden)

-i want to remember how it took him 1 year to tell us that he didn't like having his bedroom downstairs becuz it reminded him of the bathroom the caregivers put him into at the orphanage when he was naughty (they told him that there were monsters behind the square box on the wall and that if they made a noise or tried to get out the monsters would come and get him - terrible memories for him). we moved him to an upstairs bedroom that week.

-i want to remember how he desperately wanted a friend and was so excited when troy powney invited him over. "i finally have a friend mum!" ( i will forever be grateful to you for that pam!)

-i want to remember his last Sunday school Christmas program when he, grayden hoekwater, and tanner baker were the 3 wisemen and they had these beautifully made kings robes. when they were getting ready for the program one of the boys had the brilliant idea of taking his pants off (i wouldn't be surprised if it were seth's idea). so here were those 3 stinker boys running around with their robes on and no pants - beaming from ear to ear.

-i want to remember how we FORCED him to take one year of piano - THAT was a long year! he didn't like it at all....again, he'd MUCH rather have been outside playing basketball.

-i want to remember how he smelled.

-i want to remember how his fingernails were ALWAYS dirty - as any 10 year old little boy

-i want to remember how he and caleb would play football together in the front yard.

-i want to remember how it felt checking on him at night before going to bed myself and kissing him on the head.

i just want to remember our little boy - every little aspect of him. i don't want to forget what an amazing gift from God he was to us. i want to honor those 5 years we had him. i want God to be glorified in his life even after his death. i don't want to let go. i want him back. i want one last hug, one last kiss, one last laugh. but i have a hope....the reality that i WILL get more hugs, i WILL get more kisses, i WILL get more laughs. oh how i yearn for that day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


many of you have asked how it's been going with lydia. so i just wanted to update you a little on what she's been up to.....i watch our neice (emily) on fridays - she is also adopted from guatemala and is only 1 week older than lydie - i'm finding they are partners in crime. they locked me out of the house last week. i went into the garage for something and the screen door is closed when i come back - here these two little black haired, brown eyed beauties are on the other side just a gigglin'. i knew they were up to something but didn't know what until i tried the door - yup...locked - not a lock that i can use my key ....oh's the little black switch that emmie obviously knows how to push up and down - this time - up and locked! i can only see their heads at the window and here i am begging them to unlock the door - one knowing EXACTLY what i was asking and one having no clue but still laughing at her mama non the less. thankfully emmie finally unlocked the door (i wasn't too concerned since the slider was unlocked anyway) - true partners in crime!

the other things that lydie does in her spare time is try and put ben's shoes on her dolls - at least she's trying to put them on their feet and not on their heads or something!!! (although the picture looks like she's trying to put it on her ear)

trying on new accessories....

having her first ice cream cone.....

hanging out with ben.....

she has been doing so well. she just walks the circle around the main floor - oh about 3 dozen times a day! her eating is doing somewhat better depending on the day and her mood - she really is a little picky eater!! (no wonder she just got smaller and smaller in the orphanage!) she has no words yet but sure does make her wishes known!! we have early on from ottawa county coming out to evaluate her next week. hopefully we can get speech therapy, OT, and PT involved to help her catch up. we moved her into her own room (don't ask grace if she appreciated giving up her bedroom - NOT a happy day for her!) becuz of school schedules and such. she just seems like she's always been here! we are so blessed, so happy, and so in love with our new little girl!

Monday, September 15, 2008


oh the joys of the kids getting their pictures taken!! as much as i love the first day of school - i HATE picture day!! we have all the best intentions....set out the outfits the night before....take showers the night before so that hair doesn't go to school wet...get up early just in case of a wardrobe malfunction....but i can NEVER plan on every situation!

one woke up in an extremely bad mood - she will remain nameless (grace) - and NOTHING was working for her....especially her hair "it's all FUZZY!!!" well ...water it flat "i CAN'T use water - then it'll look WET!!" (of course it would - why didn't I think of that!) "this outfit doesn't look right!!! these jeans just don't look right with the shirt!" one will SEE the jeans in the picture. but they will see me NOW!! i then just let her figure her outfit/hairstyle out herself. she left at least with clothes on.

one woke up FINALLY! raced to get dressed and put on play clothes instead of his school clothes we laid out the night before. send him back upstairs....comes down with Sunday clothes back up and get the clothes we set out last night....comes down for the third time time with totally wrong clothes - AGAIN!!! WALK the child upstairs and find 3 outfits thrown all over the floor and missing the outfit we laid out....after 10min of searching we find it and that one is done.

one leaves for school perfectly fine. right combed.....good mood.....nothing in his teeth. pick him up at 11am (after his picture mind you) for a dr's appointment. he comes out running and the first thing i notice is this HUGE chain around his neck. you know the kind......the chains that gang members attach to their wallets, but our son uses it as a necklace instead!!!! it's big enough that he was already getting bruises around his neck from running and the chain bouncing up and down on his neck! "please, please, please tell me that you didn't wear that for your pictures!" "well.....yea, mom - don't you think it looks great??!?!?! i got it from the wow box at school since i've done so good lately!" (who could argue with THAT one?!?!)

and one tries so very hard to smile.....and it just turns into this grimace of a face. anyone remember the episode of Friends where chandler can't smile - no matter how hard he tries? yea, well......that would be our son, once again - nameless (andrew). no matter how many times he tries it just comes out like he's constipated or something. it's a face only a mom could love! combine that with his very needed orthodontia work - truly a face only a mom could love!

so picture day came and went.....bad hair, ugly clothes (or so the kids think), "fuzzy hair", gang chains, and bad smiles.....can we say .................... RETAKES!!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008


so has anyone ever felt that they may have traumatized their child ever? i think i may have last week! child - lydia......trauma from - a duck washcloth. i had lydie in the bath with all her toys - which she used to love to have in there with her. ben was in to and they were having so much fun just splashing each other (i actually had my 2nd shower of the day with them!) it is so fun to watch them together! night and day difference!!!! red hair - black hair......double chin - no chin.....rolls everywhere - skin and bones.....2 teeth - mouthful of teeth.....pot belly - no get the picture. anyway i was watching them play and then found a duck washcloth that is a puppet too. i was using the best duck voice i have and talking with them. initially they were having a ball with it, then it happened........lydia started pointing at the duck and the duck grabbed her fingers with it's beak. INSTANT HYSTERIA!!! i don't know if she ever had a run in with a duck in the orphanage or what, but i tell you what i've never seen a child freak out as quickly as that! she pushed herself to the back of the tub screaming and trying to get away from the washcloth as much as possible. she was shaking like a leaf!! so what would any good mom try and do? well of course try and show her that it's just a puppet. 2nd round of INSTANT HYSTERIA!!! that obviously didn't work at all. so after THROWING the blasted puppet out of the room to show her that it wasn't after her after all - i got her out of the tub just a-shiverin' (and not from being cold either!)

needless to say, she now can't have anything in the tub with her at all. another bath a few days later with no duck washcloth but just a few toys (including some rubber duckies) - she started to freak out that the other toys were coming toward her....hence the reason i think i've traumatized her for life!! so bath time is just bubble time - darn it....i miss doing my duck voice! it was pretty good if i don't say so myself! at least i got smiles out of her afterwards.......

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


for those of you who know me well you know that....... i LOVE the first day of school. i love everything about it - the kid's excitement (masked by them complaining about having to go), getting their backpacks packed, getting them breakfast, watching them wait anxiously for the bus, taking their pictures, and always my happy dance. i'll never forget last year when grace asked me "mom, could you just wait to do your happy dance until we're gone?" today i just don't have it in me. today there's just this overwhelming sadness that i just can't seem to shake. today i miss our seffers. my heart is just hurting and my heart wound feels as if it's broke full open and bleeding again.

i always get the kids on the bus and then hop into the van and meet them at school to take pictures of them with their friends. i can't seem to get myself to go today. i can't see seth's friends all together without him there shooting hoops until the first bell. i can't seem to make myself put on a happy face in front of the other moms/dads. i know that God has planned lydia coming home right now so that in part it wouldn't be so hard today. i just can't seem to be excited about lydia with everyone when on the inside i'm just wanting to cry out "don't you know that my heart is breaking here? don't you see that seth isn't here?" i'm sure (without a doubt) that people would remember, but i just can't put myself in a place where there's a chance that they won't. i just need to hide today - in a way honor seth. i just need him to know how much i miss him today. oh how i would have loved to take his picture this morning, instead i'll stay home and look at his last year's picture of his 1st day of school.

i miss his cute little smile. i miss his way of acting like he doesn't want a kiss from his mom but enjoying it immensly when i do get in there and give him a big slobbery one. i miss his hugs. i would give anything to break up a fight between him and luke or andrew at the bus stop. i miss him showing me his new tricks that involve basketball. i remember him showing me just weeks before he died how he was finally able to dribble through his legs - he was SO proud of that accomplishment (as was i). i miss his mischieveousness. you always knew when he was up to something no good! i know that he wasn't an angel - not by far, but he still was our special little guy. (he'd HATE being called little!) i just miss our seffers today.

but, God has given us so many gifts since He decided to take seth Home. so many gifts that it's just mind boggling. bringing us lydia at this this's not lost on us - God is still so much alive in our lives. having ben and watching him grow the way he is - and the absolute joy he has brought to all of us. giving us the other kids to watch and grow and raise. God is still good - all the time. and to know that He still loves me even when i focus on what i don't have anymore is so comforting. i can just picture Him here with me ...... crying right along with me....letting me be sad......waiting for me to crawl on His lap and wrap His arms around me. we have such a loving Father. He knows exactly this pain of losing a child.

so, even during this day of overwhelming sadness.....i have hope. wow. that ALONE is a gift. that ALONE is from God. never, never would i believed i could claim that promise after these last 10 months. praise God that He has allowed us to be able to do that. yes, my heart wound is bleeding......yes, my heart is heavy...... but i will NOT let that allow me to reject the love that our Father wants to lavish on us. He will once again heal my heart. I know He will, He's promised.... but for now - today - i just want our seth back.
1st day of got up (yes - ALL of them excited this year!!), backpacks were packed, breakfast was eaten, circle prayers said, bus stop waiting - finished, pictures taken........
happy dance?..... maybe next year.