One more step complete

February 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Posted in adoption process | 1 Comment

A couple of days ago we loaded up the boys and headed to a McDonald’s on the north side of town.   There we met our social worker for our very last visit!  We talked about the transition we’ve all made and the boys’ health and behavior.   We rejoiced to tell her that our parasite reports all came back clean this time!  (woo hoo!!)     She asked questions about their diet and their moods and their sleeping habits and their siblings.    In the end, everything looks good.   Our three month residency requirement is almost complete and the final social worker report represents the ‘next to last’ step in our process.

Adoption takes months (sometimes years) and for us, the end is almost in sight!    Once we have this report, we can go before a judge to present all our paperwork and have this familial reality turned into a legal reality!

Then our boys will officially be ‘our boys’ and can become American citizen as well.   Quite a day to look forward to.

Below is a little snapshot video of daily life we thought you’d enjoy – listen closely for some sweet snoring!

long nights

February 21, 2009 at 7:51 am | Posted in family | 1 Comment

Why is it that the babies have to wake up every two hours all night long when Daddy is out of town?    It wouldn’t be so bad if I could manage to make myself go to bed at a decent hour.   But when night finally comes I find myself loving the solitude and I’m jealous for some time to do whatever I want to do.    These days, most of my waking hours are completely packed with serving Philip and Zachery and there is no time for anything else.   No time, that is, until after 8pm.    When baby bedtime rolls around, a smart woman would wrap up the day for herself and pack in as many bread crumbs of sleep as possible.     Instead I find myself still up past midnight.   Fooling around – clinging to tiny, leftover bits of a day that’s not defined by children.

Did you ever notice how your prayer life really increases after about the 4th time of getting up in the middle of the night ?   “Oh Lord….. if you’ll just make them sleep……”   — the negotiating and pleading begins.

I finally brought Zach into the bed with me to keep him from waking Philip.   I insisted that he lie still on the pillow next to me and slowly his breathing changed and he relaxed.   Lying there next to him, I couldn’t decide if I was irritated that he’d woken me up yet again or if I was experiencing complete bliss with our temples touching and his sweet baby breath on my cheek,  steady in the dark.

The irony of having little kids later in life is that I can no longer get back to sleep as easily as I did in my 20’s!   So, here I am, at 6:30am, after only a few hours of very interrupted sleep – totally awake.    Of course, both of them are now resting peacefully.

If I were braver, I’d get a picture of the sleeping ninjas…. but you’ll just have to take my word for it that they’re pretty cute when they finally close those big brown eyes.

Maybe tonight I’ll go to bed be earlier.

you know what they say about all good things…

February 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Posted in family | 1 Comment

Sad to say, our precious tea pot has given up the ghost.   It’s not expensive china and it’s not an heirloom from Grandma.   (It was probably just from TJ Maxx.)   But the reason we’re sad to loose this particular teapot is because it’s become a symbol of our regular tea-time.

Years ago (I don’t even remember why we started this, actually) we began a tradition in this marriage called tea-time.   Simply put, Tague and I have breakfast and linger over a pot of freshly brewed tea every morning that he is in our home.    Since he travels, there are far too many mornings where we can’t start the day together talking through recent events or scheming about the future.    So, to make up for lost time and to purposefully work at staying ‘together’ in a lifestyle that could drift us apart, we lean on tea-time.

Now, we love our kids, but they are not invited.    I remember what it was like training our kids who are now older to play somewhere else or to watch Barney  ‘because mommy and daddy are having tea time’.    It took some determination to preserve those moments for ourselves!

When we started out, we had a tiny little pot that we’d gotten on a beach vacation together.   It only held 2 cups of tea, but that seemed ok at the time.   As  our enjoyment of this tradition (our tolerance for caffeine) grew we graduated to another pot.    The one in the picture above holds almost 8 cups and has served us well over the past 15 years.

Lately we’ve noticed that it’s really hard to accomplish tea-time.    Our laptops sometimes find their way to the table and distract us from even making eye contact.   They’ve become a couple of rude guests and we need to let them know that they’re not invited either.      Philip and Zach play pretty well nearby, but we’d forgotten how many little squished fingers or head bumps or ‘ownership issues’ over matchbox cars can arise in just a short time.   Honestly – we don’t seem to have time for more than that little 2-cup pot anymore!     And I’ve been tempted to pull it out of the china closet and just make do.

But tea-time’s been an anchor in our relationship.   It has the flavor of ‘date night’ and the administrative benefits of a business meeting and a morning devotional all in one.   While we have become tea snobs in a sense (no bourgeois tea bags, thank you!) it isn’t about the tea.  It’s about something steady in an ever changing marriage and family.   It’s about providing a framework where friendship can thrive and trust can be built and laughter can be shared.      Many mornings it’s simply a safe place for sorrow or frustration.

So, something in me thinks that maybe I should just head back to TJ’s in search of a new giant, non-dribbling, secure-lid, stays-hot, perfect pot for those tea-times yet to come.   Even though they say all good things must come to an end,  we’ve decided:  not THIS good thing!

Readers – what do you do to keep you and your spouse connected?


February 19, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Posted in family | Leave a comment

three years old!

Yesterday marked a first.

A first birthday party for Philip!!    He turned 3 years old and we celebrated HIM with one of his favorite meals (lasagna), gifts, and chocolate cake.      He watched Haley’s birthday in December, Kelsey’s birthday in January, and Joseph’s birthday last week, so he’s had some time to observe what these things are.   But yesterday was all about Philip!    He had no trouble being the “Birthday Prince”, as his crown said, and opened all his packages like an old pro.

It was amazing to see him laugh and giggle and enjoy his night.     Even though all the presents had his name on them, we feel like the ones who got the real gift.

Here he is saying ‘cheese!’ for the camera. –

the birthday boy!

the birthday boy!

And in his new ‘motorcar’.

Milk shakes!

February 17, 2009 at 12:17 am | Posted in family | 1 Comment
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It’s fun to introduce the boys to new things.   Today, Kelsey  made strawberry smoothies and gave each of them a cup full to enjoy.   They both blinked when they got their first REALLY cold slurp, but then went after it!  Philip drank his in his usual careful, tidy style.   Zach (the mac) just dove in – also typical!

Philip's smoothie

Zach's smoothie

Ships passing in the night…

February 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Posted in family, humor | Leave a comment

Life in the Harding household is, well in a word, busy.  Very busy.  Our bigger kids have been tremendous helpers with Philip and Zachery but we are their parents and primary care givers and our bigger kids have to go to school.  This leaves my wife home alone with the boys a good bit and when we do actually get some time together, it seems very short and fleeting.  We were chatting about it and decided it was like a scene in one of our favorite movies, “Lady Hawke.”   In it, Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer are in love, but cursed to only see each other as night transitions into day and day into night.  After the transition, Rutger Hauer becomes a wolf at night and Michelle Pfeiffer becomes a hawk by day.  While our transition moments are not quite as dramatic, the first 2 minutes of this video illustrate how we feel some times.  Enjoy!

House Arrest

February 12, 2009 at 10:45 am | Posted in adoption issues, family | 2 Comments

Sometimes the image above is representative of how I feel – minus the pretty little black pumps.   (I don’t know why anyone enduring home confinement would wear heels!   Some days I don’t even see the point in getting out of my jammies!)

Philip and Zachary are doing great.      Every day brings more and more assimilation for them.   Little things like Philip expanding his tolerance for new menu items and Zachary’s skin clearing up mark big changes from where we were only a few short months ago.

But, to be honest, I’d forgotten how quiet and how lonely it can be at home all day long.    One of our cars lives at the airport a lot of the time and the other one lives at the high school.  The result is that I’m here all day without any departure plans.   I keep trying to refrain from using words like stranded, but that shoe does seem to fit.

I find myself spending way too much time on Facebook, trying to create the illusion of a social life that really doesn’t exist.    Or browsing on Craig’s List for things I’ll never buy, just to feel like I’m ‘out there’.    On days like these, I need to remind myself of some truths:

  1. This is what blessing looks like.
  2. God chose this path for Philip and for Zach AND for me.   Since God is for me, this is for my good.
  3. These long days at home are foundational in equipping them with the emotional security they will need to draw from for the rest of their lives.
  4. Even though it isn’t enough for me to be at home all day with only babies for company, God is enough.
  5. This is only temporary.

Below are some shots of last week when the three of us broke our leash and went to the sunny south for some much needed R&R.   Things like this help keep me balanced (translated: ‘sane’).

at the zoo with Grandparents

at the zoo with Grandparents



Surprised by macaroni

Surprised by macaroni

enjoying the warmth of the South!

enjoying the warmth of the South!

Kitchen “Help”

February 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Posted in family, humor | 1 Comment

This picture demonstrates what is commonly referred to as “being underfoot.” This is a very common occurrence in the Harding household these days and both Zachery (pictured) and Philip are expert practitioners of “being underfoot.” Now under normal circumstances, this is cute and fun to have them that close, but in the kitchen with all of its quick moving, high traffic combined with hazards hidden to our small boys (hot things, sharp things, etc.) this could be a “recipe” for disaster (sorry about the pun, it just fit). So we indulge the boys some by letting them be close as they want, sometimes we distract them with a toy, and sometimes their older siblings are employed to spend some time with them away from the kitchen.

The most notable drawback of the situation in the photo is that Dad’s breakfast is being delayed! But I was willing to overlook it because Zach is so stinking cute.

helping in the kitchen is hard work

helping in the kitchen is hard work

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