Mother’s Day at the beach!

May 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Posted in family | Leave a comment

Last week P, Z, R and I got to hang out at the South Carolina coast with my parents and my oldest Megan.   Ahhhhhhhhhh…..  what a treat to be able to stick our toes in the sand, smell the salt air and listen to the birds calling above.   It was the perfect way to spend mother’s day!

And more than ever – I got to see (again) how very different my two sons really are.

  • Philip was afraid of the big pool.   Zach was afraid of the surf.
  • Philip was afraid of the dogs on the beach.  Zach was afraid of the bugs floating in the water.
  • Philip didn’t want to talk to anyone he didn’t know.   Zach (the politician) had to talk to everyone he met.
  • Philip didn’t want to get dirty so he wouldn’t actually sit on the sand, but instead, he squatted.   Zach  smashed the wet sand between his fat hands and smeared it all over himself.
  • Philip didn’t really want to get wet.   Zach jumped off the side of the pool with wild abandon.

So…. it took a while to figure out how to help each of them have a good time.    They were the perfect Oscar and Felix….. or maybe Jack Sprat and his chubby wife .

Luckily, there was a baby pool nearby, about as deep as their bath tub and that suited them both just fine.

Sand man

cautious and clean

boogie board delight

baby pool

shocked at the baby pool


me and dad

Z and Mama H

Last Mother’s Day ‎I was still catching my breath and was still staggered by all the reality of our adoption.  This mothers day (well, I’m still catching my breath!) ~ I’m in a groove.   This thing is our normal now and we are settled in.    It’s still exhausting but it feels so right.  Eternally grateful.

Hope your Mother’s Day was fantastic!

A great opportunity (served with a side of panic!)

April 27, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Posted in adoption resources, family, Prayer | 1 Comment

The Harding family is going to experience a first this Thursday morning.

Through a friend’s recommendation, we’re being interviewed by Charlene Israel of CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) as part of their coverage of this week’s Christian Alliance for Orphan’s Summit VI in the Minneapolis area.

Yes, I’m excited and a little freaked out.   Actually, kind-of a lot freaked out.

The film crew arrives early Thursday morning and will catch us in action as we get ready for our day.    Microphones will be attached and cameras will be rolling as we scurry and eat and get along with each other beautifully just like we always do.   (ahem)

They said, “Just be yourselves.”   So…. for the last few days we’ve been plotting how we’ll  ‘just be ourselves’.   It’s not as easy as you might think.

Anyway – we’ll keep you posted.   I have no idea what to expect but we are really pumped about having an opportunity to tell a little bit of our family’s story and, more importantly, to talk about one of our favorite topics ~ adoption!

Pray for us…. would ya?

mixed race families

April 17, 2010 at 7:40 am | Posted in adoption issues, family, race | Leave a comment

An old high school acquaintance recently looked me up to reconnect and to ask some questions about interracial adoption.   Here’s what he asked me to explain:

…… how will you approach the mixed race issue with your boys as you raise them?

Truth is, I wish I had more of a plan.    I wish I’d spent years living in a mixed race community or doing more to be aware of racial arrogance than just watching Roots or reading Martin Luther King Jr. speeches or enjoying Corina, Corina .

But, it is what it is.   At least for now.

What I AM trying to do is to celebrate Philip and Zach  ~  their history, their color, their ethnicity, their previous citizenship and their current citizenship.    I want to do the mixed race family thing well, but I think we’ll have to figure a lot of it out as it comes.

Sometimes I forget we’re ‘mixed race’.   I look at them and just see my sons.   Yep, they’re dark.   It’s their look.   Just like our other son looks pale with a shock of yellow hair on top.   When I see P & Z, I see expressions and personality and runny noses and long eyelashes and soggy diapers…. just baby stuff.        It’s not until we’re all out in all mall or a restaurant that I actually remember that we don’t all ‘match’.   And that’s only because as a conspicuous family, other people notice us and then I notice them noticing us.   And then I remember.   It’s a non-issue at home.   And it seems like a ‘others-issue’ when we’re out.  (Which is why we need to have intentionality about this in the first place.)

So, raising my boys as minority children in majority culture seems like the real question to respond to.

I’ll add to these thoughts over the next few days, but I’m wondering about you…..

What have some of you done to be more intentional about raising children in a mixed race family?   Anything?

Happy Spring!

April 11, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Posted in family | Leave a comment

what a big boy!

It’s soooooooooo good to finally get some spring around here!  We’ve all been outside in the last few days, doing yard work and re-discovering the swing set.   Simple pleasures!


March 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Posted in family, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

laundry waiting to be folded

I’ve not written anything in a while.   Mostly because I feel like I’m ‘supposed’ to say only happy and hopeful things here.      And recently, I’ve just decided to go with the Thumper philosophy of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” But……

Spring is here and that means mud.   It means the snow melts revealing a whole winter’s worth of dog poop scattered around the yard.   And speaking of poop, the cows down the road have been doing the same thing all winter and that warm spring wind blows it juuuuust right………..

It means projects, ball games, play practice, prom and academic fairs.   It means getting that college app mailed off for one kid, helping the other one with her (different) college registration day and helping another one plan the wedding that’s only 17 weeks away!   All while picking out a preschool and potty training too.    And no matter what time of year it is, life always means laundry.

Not that I don’t love my job here at home.   I work for the best people ever, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.   But sometimes I have a hard time feeling like I do it well.   I’ve subscribed to Southern Living and Traditional Home for way too long and that crazy standard of ‘beauty-and-peace-topped-off-with-homemade-pies’ is a big rub.    It contributes to an exhausting, uneasy feeling of failure that’s hard to shake.

But it’s not just those “Gone With the Wind-esque” magazines that get me.   I read other ‘mom blogs’ and some of these women are incredible.   They’re creative.   Some have craft ideas and field trip suggestions.   Others poetically draw my soul to the quiet whisper of God.    Some moms maybe even keep their kitchen floor clean and I’ll bet their roots don’t show.   In my fantasies, this is my life:


But in reality…… , this is more our style:

crammed, over-stuffed and choking

And, yes ~ I get freaked out by household clutter and rust stains in the sinks and JUNK in the garage.   And the roach I found munching on a whole bag of mini-marshmallows in my teenager’s bathroom drawer (?!?!)  just put me over the edge today.

Some days I can be pretty surly about it all.   But…. today, thanks to a friend’s facebook status, I got some serious Biblical comfort and perspective.    It pointed out Proverbs 14:4  [which, honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed before].   But – I’m tellin’ ya –  it was written for harried, overworked, slightly o.c.d. moms like myself who get easily mired up in the chaos.   It says:

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”

Now I know the analogy breaks down a little, but it still soothes this (sometimes) quivering soul.   This manger is NOT clean.   That’s for sure.   But all too often I lose sight of the reality that I’m in the middle of some truly abundant crops!    Of course my life isn’t perfect and tidy.

It’s a chaotic, holy mess.

Oh God – keep me aware of the crop and give me a heart to embrace the ox and all that comes with it as we bring in the harvest around here!

merciful balance

February 6, 2010 at 11:44 am | Posted in family | 2 Comments

  • brand new prescription glasses, warped and bent with a lens precariously hanging in the rim
  • the shredded pages of a favorite book lying on the floor – evidence of a lost battle with a toddler
  • pizza stains on the carpet after a forbidden feeding of the vulture-dog below the high chair
  • orange lips staining the upholstery and cheezits scattered throughout the house after a renegade raiding of the pantry
  • the surprise, yucky feeling of wet socks after stepping in the puddle of water poured from the dog’s dish
  • a brother wailing and holding his throbbing skull while the offender stands, guiltily still holding the heavy wooden block in his chubby hand
  • the pure inability to sit in a high chair without a 3 point harness secured
  • the walls and blinds behind the high chair spotted and thinly coated with spaghetti sauce and oatmeal
  • the new toy train, inoperable due to fat hands crushing the wheels against the floor with the full weight of a 30 pound body
  • the TV rendered useless due to fingers that willfully poke buttons until the poor appliance gives up the ghost
  • the dvd player shall rest in peace as well
  • the frightening THUD of a small person jumping off the dresser in the nursery, late at night — when little people should be asleep

and then…..

  • the soft patter of pajama clad feet, scuffling across the bedroom floor in the dark hours of the morning.
  • standing at the side of the bed saying nothing… and just the whites of his eyes visible in the shadowy room.
  • chubby thighs straining to climb into the bed next to mama.
  • snuggling down in the warm covers with stillness and affection.
  • quiet, sloppy kisses freely given.
  • even deep breathing as he dozes.

The awareness of his goodness restored.

Happy Birthday to Zach!

November 19, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Posted in family | 2 Comments

Zach is 2!!

Zach had a party tonight ~ a party to celebrate HIM!

He enjoyed every minute of it, from the cupcakes to the gifts!    Philip cried because he ‘wanted some birthday too’.     Luckily, Zach was happy to share his birthday.

big brother, Philip

Through the chaos…

October 30, 2009 at 10:05 am | Posted in devotional, family | 1 Comment

Isaiah 40:11

“… He gently leads those that have young.”

Today (like many days before) has been full of the unexpected.   Early this morning, I was awakened to the sound of Zachary escaping from his room.   Thankfully, his door creaks when it’s opened, so I jumped up out of a dead sleep and hurried to put him back in bed before he could find his way outside or float his bath toys in the toilet or eat the dog food — all realistic possibilities for this kid.

But as soon as I touched him, I realized it.   He’s SOAKED in urine.   Where is the diaper that can accomodate this boy’s output???   Once in the nursery, I could see in the dim sunrise that Philip was also awake so I leaned over to hug him and that’s when it became obvious that HE too was soaked!!   About 5 seconds later I realized that the sheets were wet, the mattresses were wet and, because Zach had decided to sit on the floor and play with his train set, the carpet was wet too.

Quickly I had two naked toddlers in front of me ready for a bath and a giant pile of stinking laundry bundled up to be washed.

I felt understandably gross so as we came into the bathroom, I went to wash my hands and then remembered…. the water in the sink was turned off since we’re replacing the faucet.   No big deal…. I’ll wash my hands in the tub.

Quickly, the boys were situated in their bath with toys bobbing all around them.

So I stepped into the kitchen, turning on the kettle for their instant oatmeal breakfast.  And there I saw the note left by my teenage daughter who’d already gone in early for school.

“Mom…. please wash my duvet and comforter ASAP.   The dog barfed on them.   Thanks!”

OK…. keep it together… keep it together.

I went back to the bathroom where the boys were happily splashing each other so I grabbed the pile of nasty laundry to drop it off in the laundry room.  There  I was greeted with the aforementioned dog-vomit pile of laundry.   So, I opened the washer lid to move the clean stuff into the dryer, but instead, I saw YESTERDAY’s white load floating helplessly in standing water.   Yep.   The washer’s broken.


What’s more, I realize that I’m scrunching up nose up from some other assaulting smell…… a dead mouse.   Not sure where he is, but his fragrance is unmistakable.

I’ll deal with the laundry room later and the dead mouse later.   I’ve got to rush back to P & Z.   They’re happy so I start pouring baking soda all over the mattresses to draw out the moisture and I start scrubbing the carpet with ammonia water and I open up the window to get some breathable air!!

The boys are singing and laughing and I poke my head into the bathroom just in time to see Zachary dumping the shampoo into the water and squishing the bar soap in his fat hands – coating them both in a gray, sticky film.

tub time

Within 20 minutes the whole caper was (mostly) under control and the guys were piled on my big bed watching Veggie Tales while I continued to manage the collateral damage from the morning.

boys in bed

Truth is:  I was rattled and rushed and one 20 minute episode of toddler insanity threatened to undo years of ‘spiritual maturity’.   But the other truth is:   God gently leads those with young.   And I’m in that group… again.

Things change from day to day around here, but ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never changes’.   Good thing.    I need the powerful ‘one-two punch’ of His gentle leading and His steadfast love to get me through each day.


As the day moved on, God’s gentle leading was more obvious.   Probably because my ‘chaos meter’ had returned to a more normal place, restoring my normal vision to see such things.    He was leading me gently as I taught spelling while making snacks for the crew .   He was leading me gently through the rain as we ran errands all over town.    He was leading me gently on a gray afternoon as we sipped hot chocolate and began our annual reading of “Stories of the Pilgrims”.   He was leading me gently to find the Ugandan birth certificates that I thought we’d lost.  (whew!)


In countless ways throughout each day, He is present in my mundane — leading me gently.


(Hat tip to my friend, Rachel for reminding me of this great verse!)

A kiddie pool provides LOADS of fun!

June 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Posted in family | 3 Comments



the youngest three

the youngest three

Philip 2


Babies have complete emotional freedom

May 31, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Posted in humor, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I don’t even remember what upset him now, but the intensity of his tears surprised us all so one of us ran for the camera. I know…. I know…. not the most sympathetic move.   But you have to admit, it’s a great shot!

I hardly know what would have to happen in my life to make me react like this.  It would be pretty severe, that’s for sure!

But babies have the freedom to express their feelings to the fullest and they never have to worry about what others think or whether or not the time or place is appropriate for such outbursts. Singing to the top of your lungs in Target is completely fine. Wailing when you don’t get a cookie in the library is also completely fine.    Sometimes I envy that.

a very sad Zach

a very sad Zach

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