Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcome Zachary!

Please join us in welcoming to the world Zachary David MacDonald!

What everyone really wants to see (first pictures) are available at http://pix.tazman.net/v/Zachary/.

Please continue to pray for us, as Zachary was admitted to the NICU this evening with respiratory distress, likely due to fluid in the lungs that was not cleared at birth. If so, this is not uncommon with C-Section deliveries and should clear up in a day or so with close monitoring. As a precaution they are also running panels for various infections and lung underdevelopment, however. In any case, we are told it shouldn't be a big deal, other than the fact that he isn't staying with us, but please pray for a speedy resolution and our mental state since this pregnancy has been a long road that never seems to end.

Dan

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A picture to strike fear into the heart of any parent of twins! :)


Shot at night under less than ideal circumstances, so it may take a closer look to notice that there are TWO car seats on the other side of the infant carrier. Amazingly they all fit! Of course, Baby Mac may not have any ears left after whichever brother is in the middle yanks at them, and in our test drive the boys were already quibbling over who gets to sit in the middle. It's great fun to watch the boys climb up to (my) chest height to get into their car seats.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A peek inside

One of the coolest things about seeing the high risk doctor (2x a week!) is getting to have 4-D ultrasounds at no additional cost. Our sonographers have been trying for weeks to get a shot of the face of our baby, with no luck. We have good ones of the boys parts, a few pictures of the top of his head, and even a 4-D image of his foot from last week. But today, we got lucky! Baby No-Name graced us with a quick shot of his face. No, not his whole face, and yes, there is a hand and a leg in the way...but we didn't care! Take a look for yourself.

31 weeks, 4 days
38 days until full term
59 days until my due date



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our First Drum

The boys got a new drum last night. I don't think I need to say anything else.
video


video

Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog Carnival III: Adoption Photos

The writer's over at Grown In My Heart are hosting another adoption carnival this week and I decided to play along! Here's what we're supposed to do:

Carnival III: Photos of Adoption. What is your most treasured adoption photo (or two)? Block out faces if you have to, find a scanner, or simply tell us about it if you can’t post it. We do understand that. Adversely, if you don’t have one, tell us why you don’t.

Yeah, I couldn't decide on just one picture, so you get to see a few! I think all of these are on our Adoption Blog, but I don't think they were ever shared here. It was fun to go back over all the pictures we took when we were in Vietnam in 2007, but I knew even before looking at the photos which ones were my favorites.

This is one of several photos we received as part of our referral. I love it because it was the first tangible thing we had to link us to our children. I love that one shirt has the word "boys" on it, just in case you didn't know they were boys (and trust me, we knew!) and that the other shirt is pink. What you don't know about this photo is I had to crop it to make it acceptable for public viewing. I guess everyone wanted to make sure we knew 100% that Matthew and Nicholas were boys. :-)

Referral Picture: Matthew-left, Nicholas-right.

The next photo is one we took when we walked into their room at the orphanage. Their caretakers had dressed them the same, and put them in the same cradle so we would be able to see them together as soon as we walked in the door. Those outfits are one of two things we have from their time at the orphange. Although they never wore the hats or the onesies after this day, I have saved them to give to them when they become adults.

I honestly have no idea who's who in this photo.

The next two photos were taken just a few minutes after we arrived at our hotel. Dan took a ton of pictures the whole time we were in Vietnam, but the two below remain two of my favorites.


Nicholas


Matthew

The last image was made by our dear friend Aimee while we were still in Vietnam. The three pictures above (not including the referral picture) were the ones we sent via e-mail to friends and family. Aimee took those three photos and created a baby announcement for us. Although we never sent announcements in the mail to anyone (who has time with twins???), it is also a favorite of mine, and one we shared via the internet.

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You've Been Boo'd!

The air is cool the season fall
Soon Halloween will come to all
The spooks are after things to do
In fact, a spook brought this to you
"BOO" is a shield from the witching hour
Just hang it up and watch its power
On your front door is where it works
It wards off spooks and scary jerks
The treats that came with crypted note
Are yours to keep, enjoy them both
The power comes when friends like you
Will copy this and make it two
Then others here among our friends
Will give warm fuzzies that do not end
We'll all have smiles upon our face
No one will know who "BOO'ed" whose place
Just two short days to work your spell
Or a big zap will strike your tail
And don't forget a nifty treat,
Like something cute or something sweet
Please join the fun, let's really hear it
And spread some "BOO's" and Halloween spirit.


Happy Almost Halloweeen to you! I hope you get Boo'd, too! And if you haven't, start the tradition in your own neighborhood, just like someone did in ours. Click here to find out how to do it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Anniversary

All of my life Ihave dreamed that somehow love would find me
Now I can't believe you're standing here
If beauty is all in the eye of the beholder then I
Wish you could see the love for you that lives in me

And you would know you have my heart
If you could see what I see
That a treasure is what you are
If you could see what I see
Created to be the only one for me
If you could see what I see


It's all of the light and the grace
your belief in me drives me to say
that I promise you
A faithful love, forever true

If you could see...
Then you'd understand
Why I fall down to my knees
And I pray my love will be worthy of
The One who gave His life so our love could be

If you could see what I see

You're created to be
The perfect one for me
If you could see what i see

If beauty is all in the eye
of the beholder then I am beholding...
true beauty

Happy EIGHT Years, Dan. I love you!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blog Carnival: What No One Told Me About Adoption

The writers over at Grown In My Heart wrote an article with the same title as above, and invited everyone to add their own thoughts. I've been thinking about this article for a while now, not knowing exactly what to say. The first several months of our lives as adoptive parents are such a blur to me...it was all we could do to keep up with two babies, even with all the help we had.

I believe our adoption agency did a great job preparing us to be adoptive parents. We were required to take several parenting classes before we could submit our dossier to Vietnam. We had several meetings with our social worker, who was an adoptive mom herself, and she was a wealth of information. Our agency responded quickly with answers to any questions we had. All in all, they provided us with a great support system, which left us feeling prepared. But even with that great support system from our agency, our family and our friends, there were still some things I was not prepared for. Here are just a few thoughts...

1. No one told me I would have a full on panic attack in the middle of Babies-R-Us while trying to work on our baby registry. We're talking chest pains, tingling left arm, I thought I was having a heart attack panic attack. When this happened, I had no idea I was stressed! I thought I was going with the flow and pretty at ease. Obviously not!

2. No one told me that my children would not sleep through the night until they were 15 months old. Although sleep routines were formed easily, we fed them every three hours all night long for months.

3. To piggy back on the previous one, no one told me to expect my children to be malnourished.

4. No one told me about eczema.

5. No one told me how much support I would need. Even though I did a lot of things on my own with the boys, I had no idea I would need and want help at night. (Thanks for all the months of taking the night shift, Mom!)

6. No one told me how quickly my children would be accepted into our family and circle of friends. I knew people would love them because they were ours, but even now when I overhear someone talking about the boys, I know they are loved because of who they are, not just who their parents are.

7. No one told me how much I would crave adult interaction. Just two months after our adoption was complete, I joined a Bible study and became a board member of the local twins club. I loved my boys, but I missed my old life. These two groups helped me find a little balance in my life, and I think have made me a better mom.

8. No one told me there were actually cute boy clothes out there, and how long my children would stay in one size! And no one told me how much fun I would have shopping for said clothes.

9. No one told me how much I would love each stage of their lives, and how much I wouldn't miss the newborn stage. I always thought I would be saddened to miss out on those first few weeks of a baby's life, but I didn't. I have loved watching them grow and change and learn. It has been an amazing experience, and I learn right along with them.

**10. No one told me how difficult it would be to get social security cards for our children.

**11. No one told me what a pain health insurance would be.

12. No one told me how adorable footed pajamas are!

13. No one told me how much I would love making baby food.

14. No one told me how much deeper in love I would fall with Dan as I watch him be a dad.

15. In short, no one told me how amazing life would be with two sweet little boys from Vietnam.

**Please note, our issues with SSA and health insurance have more to do with the fact that we adopted twins and less to do with the fact that they are adopted. :-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Recipes!

I decided last month to get all of my recipes organized and in one place. I haven't added much to it since September, mostly because I don't do any cooking/baking these days. But I think the collection has a pretty good start. Feel free to check it out. Hopefully I will begin updating it a little more often in the coming months... :-)


http://macdonaldrecipes.blogspot.com


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Drum Roll....

Every where I go (not that I go many places these days) I get asked about the baby. You know the question I'm talking about, because you've been asked, done the asking or both!

"What are you having?"

I knew the question was coming three weeks ago when Dan and I went in for what most people refer to as "the big ultrasound". "The big ultrasound" is what those people who have normal, uncomplicated pregnancies have around the 20 week mark to have measurements done on the baby (a growth scan). This is often the only ultrasound women have, and it's usually where you find out what the gender of your baby is. Anyway, "the big ultrasound" for me is just part of the monthly routine. I have a growth scan done once every four weeks, so the ultrasound is really no "big" deal to me.

When we went in three weeks ago, our ultrasound techs were pretty sure they knew the gender, but since no one was 100%, we had Dr. Risky do a quick check. He was able to get some very clear images of our baby's private parts, and when we asked him if he was 100% sure, he said, "If this baby is a girl, I will give you your money back." (And trust me, if he's wrong, we will be RICH people!)

So, the consensus is in. And even though when people really started hounding me what the question, "What are you having?", and I slyly answered "A baby!" instead of telling them what they wanted to know, the time has come to tell everyone...

IT'S A BOY!

Yes, it appears that Dan and I will be parents to three wild and crazy boys. Whee!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm so embarrased

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I finally got the pictures from the boys' birthday party processed and uploaded. Their birthday was only 8 months ago... :(

Anyway, you can find them (and other pictures as I get caught up) at http://pix.tazman.net/.

Friday, September 4, 2009

...and we have a winner!

So, I'm totally lame and didn't realize that I would need to create an account and pay to use random.org's generator, which would give me to cool looking winner. If you've been participating on other blogs with giveaways, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Since I wasn't in a position to pay to use random.org's paid features (I must be the last person on the planet without a paypal account!), I had to do the next best thing.

So, without further ado, here are pictures (yes, taken by my digital camera and then uploaded to my computer) of the winning number. The fantastic bibs, blankets & coffee cozy go to...
Congratulations Mary Kate of Our Journey!

You're my winner! Please e-mail me at twins@tazman.net with your contact information and your winnings will be shipped right out!

Thanks to everyone who has played along with me, and huge thanks to Andrea for donating such a wonderful prize. Don't forget to check out her blog and shop at her Etsy shop. :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Picture Time!

I know some people come to read our family blog just to see pictures. And after more ultrasounds than I can count for this baby, we finally have a half way decent picture to share. :-) Unfortunately the scanner is attached to a server that isn't working right now, so the best I can offer is a photograph of our latest ultrasound. But that's better than nothing, right?


This little one moved around so much today (a complete opposite of the last appointment, where s/he was sleeping) that our tech had a hard time getting any pictures. We were thankful she was able to get most of the measurements done, and happy she was able to capture even this picture. This baby likes to turn over and lay on its belly, with only its back showing. Silly baby.

One day I'll post a little more about this pregnancy, and what we are doing for prenatal care. You won't believe it.

It's Giveaway Day!

Just a couple of days ago I gave everyone a sneak peek at my first giveaway, but today I am unveiling the whole thing! Without further ado, here are pictures of the giveaway!

Above you see two pairs of beautifully made baby blankets and bibs.

The blankets are called "Bye Bye Baby Retro Giraffe Blanky" and are approximately 31''x30''. They have a cotton woven giraffe front with super, SUPER soft maroon minky on the back, and an edging of a yellow and brown cotton woven. The bibs are made with Alexander Henry's Bangle Dot fabric and backed with either brown or yellow cotton woven fabric. An inner layer has been added for additional stability and absorbency. The bibs have adjustable poly resins snaps, suitable for infants all the way through the toddler years. Check out the next photo for a little treat especially for Mom!


See the awesome coffee cozy? It's just for you, Mom!

The coffee cozy is made with Alexander Henry's Bangle Dot fabric, backed with a brown cotton woven fabric and has a inner layer of a specialty material specifically made to prevent heat/cold from move through it. The cozy closes by poly resin snaps, and is adjustable, suitable for use with Starbucks Grande, Venti, Iced Grande, and Iced Venti cups.

I might be a little biased, but I think this is a pretty amazing giveaway! Andrea does beautiful work, and you can check out her Etsy shop here: Little Lollipoptree.

And now, how the giveaway works...

1. Start by leaving a comment here and that will get you one entry!
2. If you Tweet the link to the giveaway, you can get another entry. Just comment again with a link to the Tweet.
3. Why don't you jump over the Andrea's Etsy shop and take a quick look. Comment here and tell me what your favorite item is for one more entry.

The contest will run until tomorrow, September 4th, at 8pm Eastern Time. I will use random.org to tell me wins this amazing giveaway, and will be in touch to get your information to mail you your prize.

Have fun playing along with all the bloggers at the End of Summer Blog Party!



Monday, August 31, 2009

My First Giveaway-A Sneak Peek

On September 3-4, 2009, I will be participating in the End Of The Summer Blog Party
over at the Multiples and More Blog Network. I'm super excited about it, and have been working hard to have my own giveaway at the party!

Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I have had the chance to reconnect with my old high school friend Andrea, and she had graciously offered an amazing package of goodies to the lucky winner. On top of making beautiful bibs, blankets, and even clothing, she is a mom of two adorable girls and is going to school to become a doctor! For now, Andrea has re-opened her store, this time on Etsy, and you can take a look at some of her handiwork. Check it out here.

Below is a sneak peek of what will be in my giveaway later this week. Included in the giveaway will be two gorgeous blankets, two adorable bibs, and a surprise for Mom (you will see it when you come back on September 3 &4 to participate in the giveaway).

Don't you just love the colors? If my boys weren't too big for blankets and bibs, I would want this for myself! Oh, and for you mom's of twins (or even two kiddos), each blanket has a different color border and each bib has a different color backing, to help you know which one belongs to which kid!

Come back Thursday and Friday this week and play along both here on my blog, and at the Multiples And More blog! You might just win something amazing!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Day of School

Tuesday, August 18, was Nicholas and Matthew's first day of preschool. They were so excited to go, and talked about school for weeks before starting. On Monday, they went to meet their teacher, Ms. Poteat, and after meeting their teacher they were off to the store to buy backpacks and lunch boxes.

They will go to preschool two days a week, on Mondays and Tuesdays. They scored the teacher who is a little wild and crazy and likes to do lots of arts & crafts and generally get messy. I think they will be in heaven as the year progresses! Their school day lasts from 9am-1pm, and they get a snack and lunch.

Below are a few pictures we took before they headed off for their first day.

Matthew - left, Nicholas - right

New backpacks!

Showing off their new lunchboxes.

Getting ready to walk out the door for their first day of school.


They can't wait until next Monday, when they can return to "cool", as they call it. :-)

Surprise!

Dan and I have a little news to share, and I've found a couple of pictures that will help us.

We found out in May that Matthew and Nicholas
will be Big Brothers, because I'm...
I'm due in...

In other words,
Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

So now you know!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Chess Cake - A recipe

Did you know yesterday was National Cheesecake Day? If you did, then you might have known you could go to The Cheesecake Factory and get any slice of cheesecake for half the regular price. If I'd been feeling a little better, I might have taken advantage of the great deal, and gotten myself a slice of Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake. But alas, I was in bed much of the day getting over a stomach bug. What does this have to do with a recipe for Chess Cake? Keep reading...

Prior to knowing I was going to spend Wednesday and Thursday sick with a bug, my Thursday girls were coming to my house for Bible study. My mom made a dessert for me to share with the group, and brought it over last night. By the time she arrived, I had already canceled with the girls in an effort to keep them well. But my mom gave me the dessert anyway, so I could enjoy it when I felt a little better. Imagine my surprise when I cut myself a small square of it and took a couple of bites, and immediately started feeling better! The theory is the sugar in Chess Cake helped me feel better, but whatever it was, I'll take it.

I had a conversation with one of my Thursday girls via Instant Messanger yesterday and we were talking about Chess Cake. She asked me if I was mispelling Cheesecake, and I said, "Nope!". She wanted to know what it was, so I started Googling it and came up with a couple of recipes that were close to the one our family uses and even a picture. She declared it good enough to come over and try, even though she had to brave possibly getting sick from me. After the long conversation I had with Anne about this cake, and a couple of inquiries from others about what exactly it is, I felt like I just had to share the recipe (and a picture from the Internet) with you.

Chess Cake

Crust:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Grease 9x13 pan. Mix together cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup melted butter. Pat the crust down into pan. (This will not be runny like cake batter, and even stiffer than brownie batter.) In another bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Blend in powdered sugar. Pour over crust mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes. Refrigerate.



If you make this, please share a piece with me! :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Safe Start/Transition Swimming Lessons

Last month the boys finished up another refresher course at the YMCA with SafeStart. We have been so blessed to have such an amazing instructor these last two refreshers, and the boys have grown by leaps and bounds in their swimming ability. They did so well, in fact, that their instructor recommended that we go ahead and start with transition lessons, taught by one of the swim team coaches at the YMCA. As a bonus, their SafeStart instructor taught them how to wear a mask and snorkel. She said they did so well we could take them our snorkeling! Who knew a two year old could learn how to snorkel. It's very cool.

SafeStart is all about a baby or young child surviving if he or she were to fall into a body of water. It teaches a child how to turn on to their back, get their breath, and turn over to get to the side of a pool. The most important part of the lesson is teaching the child not to freak out when falling in, but to get oriented, get on their back and wait for help. The boys have mastered this skill, and while we reinforce what they have learned at SafeStart, we will most likely have one more refresher course before Christmas.

Their transition class is really neat. It's two-three kids with one instructor and she works with each child individually, teaching them basic swimming strokes. They are also learning how to power down to the bottom of the pool to get a toy and then push off the bottom to resurface for air. The boys are having a blast. Last week, their instructor said they were doing so well on their backs that she was going to teach them elementary backstroke. If they can do it, she will ahve taught them the basics of two strokes: freestyle and elementary backstroke. I think what I like most about their transition lessons is they get to swim with a skilled instructor twice a week and while she is teaching them new skills all the time, she is still reinforcing all of the necessary survival skills they learned in SafeStart.

Matthew with a mask and snorkel!

Matthew swimming


Nicholas with a mask and snorkel!

Nicholas swimming

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Second Familiversary!

Today marks the second anniversary of Matthew and Nicholas' adoption day. Yep, two years ago today we were in Vung Tau meeting our children for the first time. Although it's only been two years, it feels like we've been a family forever!

If you're new to the blog, please feel free to check out posts from our adoption blog here. The link will take you the archive for June 2007, and chronicles day to day life from Dan's perspective while we were in Vietnam. If you want to read the whole thing from start to finish, feel free to do so. We had an amazing time with our adoption process. The blog can be found at http://vn-and-back.blogspot.com

We managed to get a couple of pictures this afternoon, so here you go! Oh, and one quick note about their shirts. We bought these while we were in Vietnam. I bought them a little big, so they'd have them to wear a couple of years down the road. They are large enough that hopefully they will get to wear them again next year! :-) The dragon on the shirt is embroidered, and while I don't remember what I paid for them, I promise you it wasn't more than $5 at the most, and the design is beautiful.

Happy to celebrate our Familiversary!

Starting to calm down a little bit...

Matthew (Vinh) - Left, Nicholas (Thanh) - Right

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chopsticks!

Two videos of the boys using chopsticks for the first time. I bet they are better at using them than most people! :-)


video
Matthew


video
Nicholas

Swimming Lessons, Spring 2009

Below are a few videos (just 5-7 seconds each) of Matthew at his swimming lessons last week.


video

video


video

Monday, May 18, 2009

MOTHERS

Real Mothers don't eat quiche;

They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils

Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,

Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough

Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what

The vacuum just sucked up.

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'

And get their answer when a little
Voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth

Is not measured by height or years or grade...

It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who's Who Revealed!

Thanks to all who played the guessing game from our Easter picture below! Some of you were right and some of you were wrong. :-) So...who's who?

Nicholas - Left, Matthew - Right

So, were you right or wrong?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multiples and More - Giveaway

A couple of the girls from my twins club have started a networking group/blog called Multiples and More. It's pretty fun read and they are always doing fun things like reviews of products and giveaways. And who doesn't like a giveaway? I've seen several giveaways that would have been super fun to win, but this one is by far my favorite! You can check out their giveaway for a new Bondi Band here.

A Bondi Band looks like a pretty versatile headband that you can wear different ways. I'd love to get my hands on one and check it out. These days I spend most of my time trying to keep my hair out of my face and eyes, and with summer coming and getting back into a regular gym routine, the quickest, easiest way to keep my hair back the better!

Here's to hoping I win the giveaway. But even if I don't, I think I'll buy myself a couple of these!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Easter 2009

Last year at Easter I took the boys to The Picture People and had their very first professional photo session. We got some pretty decent pictures out of the session, and even bought some of them. The one below is what I considered to be our "Easter Photo".

Matthew - Left, Nicholas - Right

I had every intention of taking them back to The Picture People, maybe even recreating the shot above, and getting an Easter Photo for 2009. Yeah, that did not happen. Dan and I have both gotten very involved in our church especially over the last year. I found myself spending a lot of time working on various tasks for our church's Easter service/outreach event, and I just couldn't seem to make the time to get it done. Between Dan's travel schedule, meetings at church, shopping for the Easter service, and volunteering at the food bank, I was happy just getting to take the boys to the park! I had no interest in carving out space in our very tight schedule to drive across town for photos.

Thankfully my dad was able to get a few shots of the boys in their Easter outfits, and he even got them on Easter Sunday. Here are just a few of the pictures of our sweet boys.


Nicholas

Matthew

Not back to back, but side by side. And smiling to boot! There's
not much more that you can ask from two year olds!
Can you guess which one is which? I'll tell you another day! :-)

Happy Easter 2009. Yes, a bit late, but I don't mind. I'm getting used to being late.

Tips for Mom's and Dad's

I read an article on one of the Orlando Sentinel blogs today, Moms at Work, that I found quite interesting. I wanted to take a moment and share it with anyone who reads our family blog.

Dr. Laura's top five things to make you a successful stay-at-home-mom (SAHM):

1. Work with husband to create a team spirit that doesn't pit you against each other.
2. Get support from like-minded women, and stay away from those who would try to diminish your choice to stay home.
3. Don't focus on chores, errands, etc. Allow fluidity in the day to enjoy your children and other aspects of your home life.
4. Even on the most annoying day, count your blessings. Think of the joys and pleasures of that day, and resist complaining to your husband when he comes home.
5. Be sure to tell your husband everyday that you appreciate his hard work to support your family.

Dr. Laura gave some tips to Dads so they can be supportive of their wives:

1. Work hard for your family, without fishing for compliments or complaining.
2. Find something to compliment your wife on every night, even if you are tired from the day. Don't complain over small things like dishes in the sink -- nothing is more important than the love your wife is giving to you and your children by being at home.
3. Treat your wife as "your woman," not just the mother of your children. Rub her feet, cuddle with her.. and yes, find time for sex.
4. Take every public opportunity to brag about your wife and kids. Show her how proud you are of her efforts at home.
5. Give her a break from being a SAHM. Make sure she gets "girl time" and "alone time." Just like you need to recharge from work, she needs a break from her role as full-time homemaker.

I'm still digesting the tips, so I am going to refrain from writing any more tonight. But I will share my thoughts on them in the next couple of days. What do YOU think about what Dr. Laura has to say?

Edited to add: This, in no way, is an endorsement of Dr. Laura. Just so we're clear. :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Butterflies

The MacDonald house has a pretty pathetic butterfly garden, but it has been a huge hit this spring. When I say pathetic, I mean we have a bunch of milkweed (still in pots because it gets eaten so quickly we have to replace it all the time), and a few penta plants in our garden area.

Since we are considering an addition to our house in the near future (square footage, people, not two little feet), we haven't ripped out the existing plants and gone full steam ahead with our plan to turn the garden outside our living room into a full blown butterfly smorgasbord. However, we definitely wanted to encourage the butterflies to come to our house, and come they have!

Two weeks ago I counted over 36 monarch caterpillars on our six little milkweed plants. I made an emergency food run during nap time one day to replinish the stash, because we didn't want to lose any caterpillars. I even had the guy at Palmer's take off the hitchiker caterpillars because we didn't want any more mouths to feed. They've all gone to chrysalis and since come out and flown away, but apparently they have decided to have babies. See?

The little white things on the leaves above are just three of the many, many eggs I counted earlier today when we were out playing with the butterflies. It appears that a run to Palmer's will be in order again in just a few days.

At the top of the most prominent leaf in this picture is a very tiny monarch caterpillar. It's just about a centimeter long. This photo makes him look huge! Earlier today he was still an egg, and after naps today I checked again, and there was this little guy. He will quickly eat me out of house and home.

This is what the flowers of Milkweed look like. We don't get to see them too often, especially when we have 36 very hungry caterpillars to feed. Seriously, Monarch caterpillars will eat every part of a Milkweed plant, including the flowers (which the Monarch butterfly drinks necter from) to the seed pods (necessary for producing more Milkweed). One would think that caterpillars would be a little less agressive with the plant that nourishes them as butterflies and tries to repopulate the earth so it can grow new plants for its offspring.

So, yes, a trip to Palmer's is in our near future. Although we can't offer much for the butterflies as far as variety because we are constrained by space, they seem very happy to live in our garden. We have spent hours out there with the caterpillars, holding them and watching them eat, grow, turn to chrysalis and then butterfly. The boys have learned so much about butterflies this spring. It's been a great experience!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Faith Restored

I received an e-mail last Monday from the pastor's wife at our church. She asked if Dan and I would be willing to share a little bit of our story on Easter Sunday in the form of a cardboard testimony. I had just seen this kind of thing done the weekend before when I went to Tres Dias. I responded pretty quickly and said we would be happy to participate. E-mails between Kelly and I happened, Dan came in and offered his opinion, and our wording was set.

We've never been particularly reserved when it comes to sharing about our journey to parenthood, and how we endured much tragedy before we were blessed with the adoption of Nicholas and Matthew in 2007. Since our pregnancy losses have been the "big deal" in our lives, and the one obstacle in our faith walk, it probably won't be a surprise to anyone that our cardboard testimony reflected that.

Honestly, once I sent Kelly the verbiage of our sign(s), I didn't think about it again. I went about the rest of the week, keeping busy with the boys, preparing for my other roles at church on Easter weekend, and generally going out my daily life. It wasn't until Saturday, when Dan and I were handed our signs, and we stood backstage that I even remembered what we were doing in the service tomorrow. Even in that moment it didn't seem like a big deal.

And then we did our first run-through.

Really, I was good with that. It was no big deal. Hold a sign, walk across the stage, attach sign to velcro. But the second run-through wasn't easy. That's the one that got to me. I admit, I started crying. Dan started crying. We stood off stage, looked at the picture we helped create, hugged one another and sang along with the final words of the song..."O Praise the one who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead". In that moment, everything was just as it should be.

Yes, we still have four babies in heaven.

No, that's not what we wanted.

But we have been blessed beyond measure before, during and since those sad, sad days. And in moments like Saturday evening, I am reminded again of the deep love of our Savior, our parents, our friends and most of all, our children...the precious ones we are privileged to parent on earth, and the beautiful ones who are waiting for us in heaven.

Yes, our faith was shattered, and yes, our faith has been restored. Sharing our story on Sunday morning allowed us to take another step toward healing.

The signs we held on Easter Sunday, 2009.

Video to follow in another post. :-)


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Makes my heart melt...


Seriously, is there anything sweeter than kids holding hands?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Magic Kingdom with Stellan

My last blog entry was all about taking time to just be with my kids, knowing that each moment is precious. MckMama has learned that lesson, and taught it not only to me, but to so many others all over the world. When Stellan was first diagnosed with heart problems, she was only 20 weeks pregnant. In an effort to get his name out there so people would know him and be able to pray for him, she started something called Stellan's Gallery. In the gallery are pictures from all over the world with his name in them. MckMama wanted Stellan to see the world. Since he's been sick these last few weeks, she has resurrected his gallery and asked people to take Stellan with them. So....
Nicholas, Matthew and I took Stellan to Magic Kingdom with us. Here's what Stellan looked like today.

Nicholas and Matthew wanted their picture taken with Stellan, so I obliged, and had it shot in front of the castle.

Mary Poppins wanted in on the Stellan action.


So did Chip & Dale. I wish I'd had a video recorder with me because Chip communicated with me in sign language that he loves Stellan.

Pluto got a shot in, too!

One last shot with a statue of Mickey before leaving.



Tomorrow the whole family is going back to Disney (not sure which park we'll go to yet) and we're taking Stellan for an encore visit. One of my twin mama friends from GOMOTT took Stellan with her to Animal Kingdom. He did a quick clothing change before heading over, but it looks like he had a pretty amazing time with Amanda, Lani and all the kids. You can check out their pictures at Amanda's blog here.