Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A not so rockin' robin...

(Ok, just from typing that title I know I'm going to have "Rockin' Robin" in my head all night long. Great...)

Do you ever have those little “tender mercies” moments? For instance, the milk jug falls out of the fridge and the lid just happens to be screwed on tightly for once and the milk doesn’t flood the floor like you thought it would? And you just look up to the heavens and whisper a very relieved “Thank-you!” And you really feel the Lord is watching out for you, even if it seems like a silly thing?

I have these moments about a million times a day.

(I also have at least a hundred when the milk does spill, but we’ll choose to ignore these for now.)

Today I was in the kitchen making banana bread when Parker came in and said, “Mom, I think I should tell you something that I promised not to tell.”

“Oh, yeah? Make sure you’re not betraying a confidence…”

“Well, would you want to know if Graci, Xander, and Jesi are keeping a sick bird in their room as a pet?”


After returning the poor robin outside, scrubbing hands, teaching them about getting sick from animals, and putting them in the baths for good measure (while giving up on the banana bread) I thought I had things under control.

Then I walked by the bathroom to see Xander standing in the tub, making an up and down motion with what looked like the handle of… the toilet plunger. As in, the toilet plunger was IN the bathtub!


I berated myself for keeping the plunger so close to the tub and was feeling a bit frustrated about my germ-filled day. (The sick bird was not my only messy encounter.)

As I got closer, I realized it was the handle of one of those long, bath scrub brushes. The toilet plunger was right where it should be-- by the side of the toilet, NOT in the tub. I giggled in relief.

A tender mercy, for sure. (:

PS. We'll keep you posted on the property!

Cross your fingers!

Thanks a million for the prayers and sweet thoughts. Something might be working out...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feeling a little bit sick...

Need. It’s a strong word and so often confused for “want.” Sometimes the difference between the two is so slight that it takes prayerful discernment to know which is which. It is something that we wrestle with a lot—as I’m sure you all do.

So to say I feel that we need a bigger home is something that I don’t say lightly. And I know that I could be wrong (I did say feel, not know. I do know that I want!) And it’s not because I’m worldly (at least, I think I’m not) but rather because I LOVE my children so much, and really feel it is in their best interest to have a little more space!

It’s something we have talked about since we moved here just under three years ago. At the time, we had four children. Now we have six, going on seven. Or (cough cough) maybe more…

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our home. It serves us well. I love our beautiful, fenced in back yard that the kiddos can play in. I love love love our neighbors! But having three boys share one small room is getting a little tight. And feeling like I want my kids to be out of the kitchen while I’m preparing dinner just because I’m getting claustrophobic isn’t my style. (Our kitchen is more apartment-sized.) And when you add the 5-6 neighbor children that are in and out on a daily basis, it can be a bit overwhelming.

We feel like that NOW, so how are we going to feel after we’ve added to our family AND the kiddos begin to turn into teenagers? (:

I know that most families throughout the world would give anything to have our home, so it seems selfish of me to even think about wanting anything more. And I promise you, I am so grateful for what we do have. But we do have some significant special needs. One example—two daughters who are blind and could benefit so much from a large playroom fitted to their specific abilities.

And so we have been window shopping for the last year or so! I say window shopping, because we knew we couldn’t afford to buy. But we’ve had so much fun looking around and dreaming, and hey—it’s a free date! As we’ve looked, we’ve realized what we want and what we don’t and have decided that for our particular family, building would be the best option.

Just a couple of months ago, we found IT. The PERFECT lot. We love it. A LOT. (Ha, ha). And we love it more each time we go there (which has gotten to be almost every day.) It has the most amazing view of the valley. It is on a culdesac—so wonderful when you have lots of kids and especially for those with special needs. It’s in a quiet neighborhood. The back of the lot backs up to a hill that is zoned as an area that cannot be built on, which not only provides lots of fun for the kiddos, but a gorgeous view that will never be hampered by someone building in back of us. Best of all, we feel so good about it when we pray.

I can’t tell you how much I love this place.

So much, in fact, that we decided to go out on a limb and see if we could get approved for financing. We knew it would be at least a couple of years before we could afford to build, but we just LOVE this place. (Have I mentioned that?) We have shopped around and feel like there is not a better place for our family. We were prepared to settle. We had visions of grandchildren exploring the hill. (:

So we were THRILLED to find out that we were actually approved for the loan!!

And DEVASTATED when we learned that that same day, someone else had put in an offer and it had been verbally accepted.

And THRILLED when the owners decided to put that offer on hold and give us a chance, as they loved our family and our story.

And THRILLED to find that our closing date was this coming Friday.

And THRILLED each time we drove there and realized what a blessing this lot could be for our family.

And DEVASTATED when today we received the appraisal from the bank. It has appraised for much less than the asking price. Over $100,000 less than what it appraised for last year. Gotta love this economy. It is so tough, because we do believe that their asking price is fair, considering the area, view, land in the back that cannot be built on, etc. And there are now TWO other offers from people who also think it’s fair and are willing to pay it. Even if it’s not FAIR, we like it enough that we still want it, but we cannot get financing for the full amount because the appraisal came in so low.

We’re just, oh… $40,000 short.

Leaving us feeling a little numb.

This lot that we have fallen in love with will likely not be ours.

So, if you don’t mind, say a little prayer that we will figure something out. Like, soon. As in, tonight.



Today we heard the very EXCITING news that our dossier is logged in to China, with an official LID of June 11!! Happy, happy day!

It was last summer that we first saw our sweet little Lexi’s picture on the waiting child page of our agency. It was in September that I again looked at her picture and felt that “something.” If you’ve read her story, you know that after discussion with Jeremy, we decided not to proceed with her adoption. We were just way too overwhelmed having recently returned with Xander. Then on January 6, that life-changing phone call from my honey that said, “Um, sweetie... I think we’re supposed to adopt that little girl.” Less than a month after that—pre-approval from China. (:

And now, mountains of paperwork later, here we are-- finally at that wonderful stage where we have done our part and just sit back and wait! Well, I don’t know that the actual WAITING is wonderful—but it feels so good to know that we’ve done everything we can do and it’s out of our hands. Now we wait for our LOA (letter of acceptance) and, following a few additional steps, TA (travel approval)! Which means… we are still on target for a Novemberish appearance in China—YAY!

Our sweet Lexi continues to have my heart! I cannot watch her videos without getting a big silly grin on my face. Her smile captivates me. I completely and utterly adore her!

We all do!!!

“And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” --Isaiah 42:16

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Perplexus Review

If you haven't purchased a Perplexus yet, look at the clip below. We don't know this kid, but he's pretty cute:)


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


It's a simple rule, really. Everyone gets to have ONE pair of shoes in the basket by the front door. The remainder of their shoes should go in their bedrooms.

Apparently, this is a difficult concept to understand, as the shoe basket typically looks like this:

My cute husband is the biggest culprit of all-- not so much because he has the most shoes as because he has the most massive shoes.

And no, this picture wasn't staged. (:


Monday, June 7, 2010

Belle... Her name suits her well!

I cannot get over the amazing people at Make-a-Wish! Tonight we were sitting in our living room ready to start our Family Home Evening. (For those unaware, this is something we do every Monday night. We include music, prayer, a lesson, an activity, and, of course, a treat!) Just as we were beginning, there was a knock at our door. Graci had the surprise of her life to find that Belle, as in THE Belle (the princess with the poofiest dress) had come to pay her a visit! In fact, we were all surprised!! I was scrambling to find my camera and Jer was plugging in the video camera. How do they pull this stuff off? Amazing.

Belle truly was beautiful, inside and out. She came with a little bear and a handwritten card that said,

“Your wish is granted, Graci! Now may all your wishes come true!! Hug this bear to be happy! Love, Belle”

She also gave Graci a beautiful poster proclamation stating “We hereby announce that Graci Green’s wish for a Disney Cruise will be granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah.”

I wish you could have seen the look on Graci’s face. Oh wait, you can!!

Princess Belle was accompanied by Terri and Kent (Graci’s wish granters) and they were all kind enough to come and visit with us in our home for almost an hour. Graci was full of questions:

“Where is your castle?”

“What does it look like?”

“Do you talk to Cinderella a lot?”

“Are Anastasia and Drizella nice now?”

“What is Prince Charming like?”

“How did you know how to spell my name?”

"Do you go to church?"

Belle had perfect answers to all of Graci’s questions and was the most gracious princess we’ve ever met. Also, she promised Graci that she would attend Graci’s post-wish party and bring all of her princess friends—amazing!

Jessica and Xander absolutely loved Belle. They of course had to show off the entire time she was there. (:

I even got my two older boys to take a picture with her. I told them they would thank me later. Afterwards they admitted she was pretty cute! (:

Magic, magic, magic.

I’m sure we’ll be talking about this for a long time…

Thanks again, Make-A-Wish. So grateful to be the blessed by your goodness.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Laugh, Cry, Try a Little Harder

A couple of weeks ago Christi and I encouraged Taylor to wear a vest to school. It was almost the end of May and it was freezing cold outside, so we figured it would be the last day of the school year when he might be willing to wear warm clothes. We, in our infinite wisdom, told him how handsome he looked. How the girls would think he was cute. How stylish he would be. What do you think?

All morning he insisted that it wouldn't work. He was embarrassed and had no desire to wear the vest. But mom and dad just KNEW he would be cool. WRONG. Several kids teased him to his face. One wasn't brave enough to do that and left him an anonymous note of disdain in his desk. Can you believe that? Kids can be so mean. And of course Christi and I were left to ponder on how little we know about grade-school fashion. We committed to each other to place more stock in the wisdom of our children going forward. Kind of reminds me of a line from a campaign speech for high school student body president many years ago...but that's another story:)

My dad came to stay with us for 9 days in May. The kids love it when Grandma and Grandpa Green come to town. Unfortunately this time Grandma couldn't make it, but the kids still had a ball with Grandpa. He timed his visit so he could hit a couple of baseball games, the pinewood derby and a school play. Grandpa at the pinewood derby has become a tradition. At Taylor's first derby, two year ago, Grandma and Grandpa just happened to be in town. Of course, most of my vast store of racing knowledge comes from my father, considering he guided me through three pinewood derby cars of my own. So we invited Grandpa Green to help us build Taylor's car. Taylor won 1st place that year, and a tradition was born. Last year my folks specifically scheduled a trip to coincide with the derby. Once again Grandpa helped (even more appreciated since I had TWO boys who needed cars!) Since Taylor had already won 1st place, we put most of our efforts into Parker's car. We did a good job on Taylor's car, but we really pulled out all the stops on Parker's. We worked diligently on the wheels and axles. We drilled holes in the sides of the wheels to decrease the rotational inertia that had to be overcome at the starting line. We polished the axles and the bore of the wheels. We sanded the wheels all the way to 600 grit wet sandpaper. We coned the hubs to decrease the surface area that would rub against the car body. Parker's car was awesome. Before we went to the derby, I promised Parker: "I don't know if you'll win first place, but I GUARANTEE you'll beat Taylor." Uh-oh. Taylor took 2nd and Parker took 3rd. Park was heartbroken-not because he didn't win it all, but because Taylor had beat him, even with all the extra work we put into Parker's car.

So this year I asked Taylor to do something really hard. Taylor is a super-competitive kid, but he also has a heart of gold. I asked him: "How did you feel the last couple of years when you won 1st and 2nd." "GREAT!" "Do you think other kids might like to feel that way?" "Yes." "So what would you think about not putting any effort into making your car fast this year?" I could see the disappointment in his eyes, but he sweetly agreed that it would be a good thing to do. We made it look cool, but we just slapped the wheels on and applied a little graphite. Parker, however, was still itching for first place!!! So we once again did everything we could to speed up his car.

Grandpa looks on.

Chill out, guys!

Don't mess with my big brother:)

Best Friends.

Taylor's Car.

Parker's Car (Middle-black and gold)

Taylor looks on.

Trying to look nonchalant.

Xander's pretty intense!

Awaiting the final results...

Parker wins 1st place!!!

So next year should be a pretty laid back experience:):):)

While he was here, my Dad read to the kids pretty much every day. He read the entire book "Ribsy" to Graci over the 9-day trip. But it was Xander and Jesi who couldn't get enough of Grandpa:

Also occurring while Grandpa was here: Graci's play where she was "White Woman 1" (see post on May 26 below:). Graci was mortified to have to do the Lindy Hop with a boy (he doesn't look much happier about it:):

She had one speaking part. The was dressed up as an old lady coming to support some civil rights protestors. She was supposed to say something like "keep it up." Graci does a great old woman impression. She had a cane and a hat and a sweater and looked really cute as she tottered on the stage with another "old woman." But when she took the mic to deliver her big part -- she lost it. The started cracking up. She couldn't keep a straight face. She brought the mic to her mouth time and time again, but could not do anything but giggle, giggle, GIGGLE. I know it's hard to believe, an 11-year-old girl and all, but it's true. Then she got so embarrassed she handed the mic to the other girl and did some kind of awkward kick-skip thing off the stage. Remember, she tottered on as a wobbly old woman, so the contrast was pretty stark. Anyway, the audience all got a kick out of it. As far as I was concerned, it made the whole hour and forty-five minute play worth watching. This is a picture of her high-stepping back off the stage with that goofy, embarrassed grin on her face:

My cousin Chelsea had a baby on Easter Sunday. We met darling Brynlee recently, and our kids fell in love! Jessica had to go get her baby Dora and feed her alongside Chelsea:)
Obviously Jesi enjoyed her hamburger that night:)

Graci, Jess and Xander with Grandpa Great (Christi's paternal grandfather), a World War II vet and American Legion member, on Memorial Day:

Taylor just finished section 1 of Perplexus...WITH HIS EYES CLOSED!

And finally, in this random, hodge-podge post...
Parker is very fashion-conscious. He is always concerned that his clothes match, that his hair is perfect and that he looks gooood! So tonight, I notice him at the bathroom mirror slicking his hair back, Pat Riley style. If it had been Taylor, I would have done a double take and asked him what in the world he was doing. But with Parker, I didn't even give it a second thought. Then several minutes later, he walks in like THIS:

Dress pants on, white shirt with cuffs and collar up and a sneer on his goateed face! Where does he come up with this stuff? I don't know what I would do without that kid!!!

To bring things full circle, Graci had an experience today that helped Christi and I see that although some kids are mean (eg. the vest-teasers), many, many are good, caring people that I am grateful my kids can associate with. Today Graci forgot her lunch. She didn't even think about calling home, so she was at the lunch table with nothing to eat. Jacob, the BOY sitting next to her (you should have seen Grace blush when she told us about this) asked her if she would like to share his. He gave her the entire chicken-wrap-main-dish from his school lunch. What a sweetheart! Thanks, Jake. As Graci was telling us, she said, in her cute little accent: "At first I was suspicious, 'cuz you know boys...they sometimes put poison in things!"

So for those of you who are still reading this rather lengthy post...My kids make me laugh. My kids make me cry. And my kids make me want to try a little harder (ok, maybe a lot harder) to be a good person and a good dad. Our url is very appropriate. I am a bona fide kid junkie. I have a lot of kids. And I have a good life.


Walk for Wishes

We are so humbled that Kent and Terri, Graci's wish granters, participated in "Walk for Wishes" in honor of our Graci. I am sharing (with his permission) a letter that Kent sent us:

"Dear Green Family,

This is what I sent to all of my friends and family who donated to my walk; I wanted you to have a copy and thank you again for sharing your experience so beautifully. I am certain it will touch others and grant them a glimpse into the magic and wonder of a child's dreams and wishes. I hope I presented your story well.

'I am writing to say “THANK YOU” once again for generously donating to my Walk for Wishes fundraising event and for supporting me and the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Utah. The walk of course was to raise money to grant the heartfelt wishes of Utah children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. This event alone brought in over $20,000 and I was the Top Individual Fundraiser, raising nearly $1,400!!!
It is incredible to witness what The Power of a Wish™ can do for these children and their families. For me, the walk was made much more meaningful and significant when I became a Wish Granter for an adorable 11 year old girl named Graci. She and her family are such incredible people and have humbled and inspired me more than I can express. Graci embodies and represents everything good and pure. Her beautiful smile lights up a room and your soul. Her sweet spirit immediately touches and lifts your spirit. Her strength motivates you to stand stronger. Her unshakable faith inspires you to place more trust in the Lord. Her story captures your heart. You cannot help but want to be a better person because of her.'"

Thank-you, Kent. You are the epitome of goodness. I wish you could have seen Graci's face as she looked at these pictures:

Perplexus Winners!

We did the very technical "let the kids pick five numbers between one and sixty-five."

And the lucky five are:

The Fowlers
Taylor Bunch

Thanks for entering our drawing! I have emails for the first three, but I need emails for Tonja and EMSFS-- so write to me at so I can be sure to get your address. If you didn't win, you know how to get one! ;)


--Christianne (: