Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Truth in Advertising?

It intrigues me to see what people put on their vehicles.

Today I saw a truck for a local business with this painted proudly on the side:

America and Service
is our
#1 Priority

Well, apparently grammar isn't your #1 priority... Can you really have TWO #1s? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

I personally would never put a bumper sticker on my car. Bumper stickers equate to immediate depreciation in my book. I do appreciate a good oneliner, however.

Currently my favorite bumper sticker (edited version) says:
Jesus Loves You.
Everyone Else Thinks You're a Jerk.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

40 days to Haiti.

No word on the job front for Brent.

And a friend of mine has 3 little boys ages 9, 7 and 6. He said the 6 year old (we'll call him "B") is the biggest handful because he's figured out how to tease and torment his older brothers! He's always "poking" someone to get their reaction.

My friend said the other day the older two started whining again - tell-tale sign that B was at it again. He said, "B! WHAT are you DOING?"

B's response?

"Having the time of my life!!"


You have to admire his honesty! It is fun to poke something and watch it squirm, right?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why It Doesn't Always Pay to Be Creative for Creative's Sake

I had a weird "remembery" today....

The year was 1978 and I was in kindergarten. For those of you that are younger than me, this was before they'd invented such things as washable crayons and markers that only write on certain surfaces. We used pipe cleaners and tissue paper as art supplies and we liked it that way. (anyone else remember making "hyacinths" for Mother's Day by twisting little squares of tissue paper around the end of your pencil and then gluing the little twists onto the page?)

My teacher was Mrs. Haskell. I remember her not being much taller than me - it's possible I was freakishly tall even then. I was always on the back row towards the center in the class pictures... but I digress.

At some point, sweet Mrs. Haskell (who seemed to be "grandma age" to me) decided to get "creative" with our art projects. She wanted us to branch out and explore our creativity, I suppose. It's also quite possible she was drunk.

That's the only logic explanation I have for why it suddenly seemed like a wonderful idea to her to give the class a very large container of bubble gum, and tell us to chew it up and then make "pictures" by stringing the chewed bubble gum into shapes across our papers.

You heard me right - she intentionally told a room full of five year olds to not only play with their food, but gave them permission to string slobbery, sticky, sugary, chewed bubble gum out into deliciously long strands while sitting in close proximity to the other children. And of course, we all complied. What 5 year old is going to say "no" to permission like that??

I'm not sure how many other girls ended up with so much gum in their hair that it had to be cut out, but I know I was one of the proud members of that list. It seems like it was Jennifer Talley's fault. She was stretching her pre-chewed gum with reckless abandon and a rather large wad of it ended up in my hair. I remember walking home from school that day with a lump o' chewed gum in my hair. It kinda grosses me out now just thinking about it. And yes, Mom tried all sorts of stuff to get it out and nothing worked. we ended up with a good trim to de-gum my hair.

I mean, seriously, what was Mrs. Haskell thinking?

Friday, April 25, 2008

How It All Began...

I had the opportunity to tell someone how Brent proposed to me the other day and I remembered that it really is a great story.

We met at a in the bishop's office at church. We were both in leadership positions at the time and so we had meetings together. He was the only one who "got" all my "witty banter".

Our first "date" (term used loosely) was when I invited him to a Halloween Party that a bunch of us were having. It was a "How to Host a Murder" Party so there happened to be 4 girls and 4 guys because that's how the game is set up. Brent loves to say that on our first date, Lori went out with another guy. It seems that I wasn't very clear to Brent that it was a group event and he was more than a little confused when I arrived to pick him up with another male friend. :)

It's also interesting that Brent never really asked me on a date. I asked him to come to that party, and then we went to a fireside with a bunch of people kind of spontaneously the next evening. The night after that I went over to his house and read him some bedtime stories (it's one of my mad skills). And after that, we were just always together.

Brent had season tickets to the symphony when we first met (he really is a Renaissance Man). I guess he probably did ask me to go to the symphony that night. It was December 11th and it was very cold. Brent was working as a baker (he makes European hearth breads and at one time trained with members of the US Baking Team. Did you KNOW there was a US Baking Team??) and so he worked horrible hours the first year or so of our lives. At any rate, my baker boy feel asleep during the concert. He was exhausted and I couldn't blame him.

I tried to get him to just let us go home after the concert but he kept insisting that "you can't come to Salt Lake in December and not stop by to see the Christmas Lights on Temple Square". It is quite a sight if you're ever in the area (or on this continent, for some of my other friends) in December.

At any rate, due to the temperature, we slipped into the Assembly Hall (one of the old buildings built by the pioneers) on Temple Square to get out of the cold. There was a choir performing some Christmas music in there. Christmas time on Temple Square is an event - and you can move around through these performing groups and displays and things as you'd like.

So there we are, standing at the back of this hall... lots of people either sitting on the benches or just standing to listen to the choir. I'm listening to the choir and looking around (I'm an avid people watcher) when suddenly, I see a familiar face in the crowd... and then two faces...

"Brent, there's my mom! And your mom! I didn't know they knew each other!" I said. (It was late, I was cold... cut me some slack). He looked at me like, "Come on, Lori. You're smart enough to figure this out." Then I noticed his sister there amongst the crowd as well. And she was holding a huge bouquet of flowers. And it all clicked with me and I knew what he'd planned.

There, in front of an Assembly Hall full of strangers and our moms and his sister, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He knew that it would be a special moment for these other women in our lives so he invited them to be there, which I still think is so sweet and thoughtful! His sister handed me the flowers and the ring was tied into the bow around the bouquet. There was also a note (which I saved of course) that said:

"There is no confection so sweet as joyful reunion."
From the first time we spoke it was as if our two souls had known each
other for eternity. As time progressed, the truth of this statement rang
clear. I know that the future will show that for us this quote is as true
as the Gospel. I love you and want for us to never have to reunite

He did well, no? It's a great memory. I'm grateful our moms and Trudi were able to be there. It's always meant a lot to me that he took the extra time to include them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And So It Goes...

I've been reprimanded for not updating my blog in a timely manner.

I have to say I can definitely tell a difference in how I feel this time around. With the trip to Haiti 47 days away, I'm cautious at best, and distant at worst.

About 2.5 years ago we had an adoption fall through about 30 minutes before we were supposed to pick up our daughter. We'd already met her and played with her and we'd redone her room... That was hard.

Then to lose Lexi and Nathan after "playing house" in Haiti for a week... that was devastating. I guess having an adoption fall through is like a miscarriage in the "conventional childbirth" world. But in both of our cases, we've loved and held and kissed and snuggled our kids before we lost them.

I know for Malot's sake, I need to focus on what we have. I'm positive that I'll feel more "in the moment" when we get to Haiti and meet him. Right now, I'm guarding.

This will be a different trip as Lexi was so very, very ill that we didn't do much physical play last time. Nathan was too little to be chased and swung around. That'll be right up Malot's alley.

47 days. And holding.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Request for Help from Our Agency and Orphanage

"Hope for the Little Angels of Haiti" is the name of our orphanage. The picture above is of a little boy in that orphanage, taken on our January trip. I received the below letter today from our agency.

April 17, 2008

Dear Friends of Hope for the Little Angels of Haiti,

We are writing this letter to ask for your help with the current situation in Haiti.

The United States Department of State issued a Travel warning on April 11, 2008.
( ) Here is part of that statement. “Protesters angered by high food prices filled the streets of Port-au-Prince, forcing businesses and schools to close. Demonstrations continue and have frequently turned violent with firing of weapons, rock throwing, tire-burning, erection of street barricades, and looting. The violence has forced most people to stay indoors and stranded others in isolated locations.”

Reading this paragraph is heart breaking, knowing that the people of Haiti have turned to violence because they are starving and cannot afford food. Please know that the children in the orphanage
At this time still have food to eat, but with prices of food on the rise it will be difficult to continue to buy food and supplies for the children. Most of you have already been involved in raising money and supplies for this sweet little orphanage and we are greatly appreciative of your efforts. We are just asking that everyone let your friends and family know that we are in
Immediate need of sending money to Haiti to help off set the cost of food.

Current food prices in Haiti:
1 50kg (110 lbs) of rice is 2000gds. ($52.28us)
1 50kg (110 lbs.) of beans is 3000gds ($78.43us)
1 bottle of cooking oil is 300gds ($7.84)

This gives you a little idea of the basic costs of food in Haiti. We are also asking families that will be going on the next couple of parent trips to bring these food items, along with formula and medicines such as children’s and infants Tylenol as your donations, of course all other donations are needed and will be gladly taken. We just want to be sure that the children have food to eat!

Donations are tax deductible and can be made out and sent to:

Wasatch International Adoptions
3577 Washington Blvd.
Ogden Ut. 84403

(Be sure to write food relief: Hope for the Little Angels of Haiti on your checks)


Nichole Hayden
Haiti Coordinator---Hope for the Little Angels of Haiti

Chareyl Moyes
Haiti Program Manager---Wasatch International Adoptions

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Words Do Not Suffice

I've been raised among heroes. My father is a veteran. My mom's brother was killed in Vietnam. I have grandpas who served in WWII.

My uncle Niel B. Riggs was a medic in Vietnam. He was killed by a sniper while trying to reach an injured soldier named Bobby Shelton. His name is two right of Niel's on the Wall.

Over the last year or so, my mom was able to develop a friendship with the men that served as medics with Niel. She has learned the specifics about how Niel was killed from these men. She's learned that it was only because of these men that Niel's body made it on a helicopter so it could begin the long trek home to be laid to rest in Provo, UT.

My mom was able to meet these men and some of their families this last year at about the 40th anniversary of Niel's death. Gilly, Doty and Goody (the Bobs) have become legends in our family. I'd say they'll never know what a gift it has been for my mom to be able to cry with people who knew Niel right up to the very end, but that's just it - They do know. They "get it" and they earned that understanding in ways that no man should ever have to face.

I got a voicemail from my mom the other day. She wanted me to know that one of these dear men just found out about the situation with Lexi and Nathan. He said, 'I don't know how much pull I've got with the Man Upstairs, but please know I'll be on my knees praying for them until this is resolved for your kids."

Words cannot express what it's like to find out that some of the noble and brave are praying for you and your little ones in Haiti.

Thank you, to the Bobs, for what you have done and are doing for our family.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Freakishly Tall

One good thing about being freakishly tall (as a dear friend who can get away with saying that refers to me) is that I can use every cabinet in my kitchen (including the bizarre little one above the fridge) without using a stool.

It is also nice to be able to help random strangers, like the woman who was literally jumping to try to get something off the top shelf at the grocery store yesterday. It makes you feel a bit like a superhero (sans cape) to swoop in and effortlessly pull down said stranded item "in a single bound."

Doesn't quite make up for not being able to buy things off the rack or having 3 feet of inseam, but it is nice nonetheless.

And a "good stuff" from today is realizing that because you have a garage, you don't have to scrape your windows when we get spring snows.

Oh, and JellyBelly Juicy Pear Jelly Beans.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And the 100th Post Is...

Weird. This is my 100th post. A LOT has happened in the last one hundred posts. We even have different kids than we did when I started. Sigh...

It's 54 days until we're in Haiti again. June 8th. We are hoping for peace and calm so that we can travel and meet Malot. Things have calmed down - the rioting stopped for now.

We've been told that it wasn't even safe for Harry to leave the orphanage to get food for the children during the last week. If he doesn't feel it's safe for us to travel when our trip arrives, then we'll cancel the trip. We just hope for the best.

On a completely random note....

Kohl, our little neighbor friend (he's 4) wanted Brent to "sleepover at Kohl's house" yesterday. Kohl suggested that he could "ask Lolo (that's me) when she gets home". It's interesting that, from Kohl's perspective, Lori is to Brent as Kohl's mommy is to Kohl. Hmmm... I may have to remember that. Apparently one of the benefits of being unemployed is that you get invited to all the cool parties!

And finally, I need to add to my Good Stuff list from yesterday. I'm adding:

Jeans. Bags that tear open and then reseal with a ziploc thingy. Having your 4 year old neighbor count you in his best friends.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Stuff

Brent. Adoption. Lexi, Nathan and Malot. Spring. Best friends. Good nicknames. The toll sticker that lets me drive to downtown in the Express Lane each day. Finishing something. Getting updates from Haiti. The Book of Mormon. Rain when the sun shines. Grape flavored things that taste like they smell. Finding money in your pocket. Digital cameras. A good book. Families. Music. Fruit Leather. Utah's mountains. International friends. Inside jokes. The Muppet Show. Heroes. Onomatopoeia. America. Modern medicine. Having employment. Air Conditioning. Little kid stories. A puppy's exuberance. Freedom. Memories. A husband who can do anything. Understanding. Hard work. The big picture. Having people post comments on your blog. Dreams where it suddenly makes perfect sense that you're... oh, say... a dental hygienist on roller skates. Laughing so hard your sides hurt.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


From today. Another article said "we've got a weird form of hunger here - there is food on the shelves but people can't afford to buy it."

Michelle reminded me that we were supposed to be in Haiti right now, but the trip was postponed until June. Now we're going to be there 60 days from now. If things don't calm down, gas prices drop, food to the people we may not be able to go and meet our son.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Hungry Haitians stormed the presidential palace Tuesday to demand the resignation of President Rene Preval over soaring food prices and U.N. peacekeepers battled rioters with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Rioters were chased away from the presidential palace but by late afternoon had left trails of destruction across Port-au-Prince. Concrete barricades and burned-out cars blocked streets, while windows were smashed and buildings set on fire from the capital's center up through its densely populated hills.

Outnumbered U.N. peacekeepers watched as people looted businesses near the presidential palace, not budging from the building's perimeter. Nearby, but out of sight of authorities, another group swarmed a slow-moving car and tried to drag its female driver out the window.

"We are hungry! He must go!" protesters shouted as they tried to break into the presidential palace by charging its chained gates with a rolling dumpster. Moments later, Brazilian soldiers in blue U.N. helmets arrived on jeeps and assault vehicles, firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters and forcing protesters away from the gates.

Food prices, which have risen 40 percent on average since mid-2007, are causing unrest around the world. But nowhere do they pose a greater threat to democracy than in Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries where in the best of times most people struggle to fill their bellies.

For months, Haitians have compared their hunger pains to "eating Clorox" because of the burning feeling in their stomachs. The most desperate have come to depend on a traditional hunger palliative of cookies made of dirt, vegetable oil and salt.

Riots broke out in the normally placid southern port of Les Cayes last week, quickly escalating as protesters tried to burn down a U.N. compound and leaving five people dead. The protests spread to other cities, and on Monday tens of thousands took to the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Preval, a soft-spoken leader backed by Washington, was at work in the palace during the protests, aides said. He has made no public statements since the riots began.

"I compare this situation to having a bucket full of gasoline and having some people around with a box of matches," said Preval adviser Patrick Elie. "As long as the two have a possibility to meet, you're going to have trouble."

The protesters also are demanding the departure of the 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers, whom they blame in part for rising food prices. The peacekeepers came to Haiti in 2004 to quell the chaos that followed the ouster of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

They helped usher in a democratic transition, but critics say both Preval and the international community have focused too much on political stability without helping to alleviate poverty. That could spell trouble not only for Preval, but for Haiti's fragile democracy as well.

Meanwhile, new customs procedures aimed at collecting revenues and stopping the flow of drugs has left tons of food rotting in ports, especially in the country's north. In a country where almost all food is imported, cargo traffic from Miami ground nearly to a halt, though shippers say intervention by Preval last month has improved the situation somewhat.

But the anger among everyday Haitians over food prices is real.

"The government of America sees that the kids of America are eating and going to school -- and that we Haitians are not
," said protester Frantz Pascal, 45. "For Haiti to move on, the high cost of living must go down."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

If Loving This Is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right!

I know it sounds weird, but fruit leather is like my crack cocaine. I LOVE the stuff. I don't eat chocolate - I come from a long line of chocolate addicts so I just don't eat it. But give me fruit leather or give me death. Bless the people at the Costco who decided to stock the "polygamist family pack" (as my sister calls the Costco-size of anything) of this tasty treat.

Unfortunately, more and more the liquid devil that is Diet Coke (with Lime or Vanilla) also tortures me. Its siren song calls to me. I don't actually have an IV for it, but does the thought that I've considered it a sign of anything? :)
I don't think there's anything wrong with the fruit leather, but I need to break free of the chains of (Diet) Coke addiction.

Maybe I'll start working on that tomorrow.

Probably not. :)

Brent is...

Spring is here although we keep getting snowfall as someone neglected to notify the weather that it' is SPRING.

Spring always makes me think of Brent - it's probably our favorite time of the year. Brent broke out the tiller and went all "blitzkreig" on the front flower beds yesterday. He's an expensive tiller, as some plants that I thought we were keeping inevitably fall victims to the front lines of Brent's war on untilled earth.

I don't write much about my husband, so I thought today was a good time to start.

Brent is....

....patient. He doesn't complain much about anything - EVER. When Brent says he needs to go to a doctor, you know he is probably close to death. But I'm not sure if that's the "not a complainer" part of him or the "hates the phone" part of him or the "this too shall pass" part of him.

...a kid magnet. Children - even total strangers' children - seem to be able to sense that Brent's heart is a large as his stature. They start climbing on him within minutes and he's more than happy to oblige. A week or so ago he spent a couple of hours out in the yard swinging around the little neighbor kids. I've heard about that from several moms. They love that their kids love and feel safe with Brent and that Brent loves their kids. He's always overly enthusiastic about playing with the kids. The last few times he's done this he's actually injured his neck - he has some permanent damage in there from something previously and it always flares up wickedly when he goes into "human junglegym-mode" but he always does it anyway. Our nieces love him
- our nephews were too grown up for that sort of thing by the time they joined our family.

...good for snuggling. There's something about his 6'4" frame that is just cozy. And if you don't believe me, ask my nieces.

This is a picture of Brent with one of our youngest nieces at my brother's wedding a few months ago. You can tell that a) they're both content, b) they've done this before and c) they stayed in this position for quite sometime.

...talented. He's got a vision for how he wants things to be in the house, the talent to "make it so" and the work ethic to complete it. He's made things like this:
in our backyard. The design for the arbor is all him - he dreamed it up, figured out how to make it work, and pretty much installed it while he had some time off from work. I came home and went, "Oh! We have a pretty arbor!" Same thing with the waterfall (pondless = childsafe). There are tiers and steps around it, all sorts of plants and trees - we have a beautiful yard. He designs it, plants and I weed it. That's the arrangement. And if you think I've got the short end of that stick, it's because you've never tried to plant a tree with a 300 lb root ball. THAT wasn't fun!

... a master chef and grillman. He has a reputation amongst our friends and neighbors for his cooking. When Brent touches something, it becomes greater than it thought it could be. No plain, ol' pancakes on his watch! No, they'll be cinnamon pecan pancakes. Or Mango pancakes. Not just plain chicken. It's cranberry almond chicken. He also makes artisan European hearth breads. He was a bread baker when we first met. And you haven't lived until you've had what the man can do to a tri-tip steak, grilled pears, or tilapia.

... a hard worker. He's done tile in half our family members homes or former homes. He helps with yards and moving and hardwood floors.

... organized. I needed him for that quality alone.

...a sports man. Loves golf, basketball, watching football and has even tried his hand a field hockey. We keep meaning to take up fencing but one or the other of us keeps getting injured, sick, hospitalized or sent on long business trips.

...quiet. He's tempered me over the years. I'm not sure how we met sometimes. But at least he asked and I said yes.

...loyal. Brent is fiercely loyal. He's also terribly reserved. Just because he won't pick up the phone doesn't mean he isn't aware and concerned and thinking about you.

He's going to be a great dad and I'm excited to see him in Haiti with Malot.

Brent is also interviewing tomorrow for a job that we're really, really, really interested in and one where he could really do well. Prayers, please!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

More Malot

Someone with our agency put this little page together for us.

I just love the picture on the right where he's smiling to himself (at least you can't see his whole face). He has some medicine on his ear, so that's what the white stuff is. And, our friend who was in Haiti with us had some info for us when she found out we were getting Malot. She said that Malot was one of her favorites in the orphanage and that he was one of the nicest boys there and was smiling the whole time. I guess that's the international adoption equivalent of a good parent-teacher conference where you find out your child is exceptionally bright and clever! He seems to be a very happy little boy. We're looking forward to getting more information on him and definitely looking forward to our June visit.

A shout out to MRO - I think what you're doing is very brave and I'm proud of you for taking control of your life, no matter what the comments might be. Know you're loved!

And finally, I started a new medication today - the only one the FDA has officially approved for my condition. There are points in your life when you've had it with medication and there are points in your life where you plead for something to take the physical pain away or at least take the edge off. Here's to hoping that this helps over the coming weeks as it builds up.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's A Boy!

We have a son! We're not giving up on Lexi and Nathan, but if we don't move forward we'll lose what we've done to this point. We're authorized with the government for multiple children, but we're just going to get one for now just in case things change with Lexi and Nathan. It's been over a month now and the orphanage hasn't heard any further update on them or heard from Bernadette.

All we know about Malot (pronounced 'ma-LOW') right now is that he's 3. And he has a wonderful smile and he likes to play with cars.

We'll get to meet him the first part of June when we go to Haiti again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pray for Sadie

Those of you who have been reading this for a bit know who Kohl is. Sadie is his little cousin.

She just turned five. This info is from the blog her parents are writing about her;

We received the heartbreaking news on Monday, March 3, that our sweet Sadie has brain cancer. In just this last week she had been complaining of headaches here and there, and would hold her neck when she would have these headaches. This "headache" would only last for seconds, but was enough to catch our attention. We had also noticed some changes in her speech and her balance when she walked. It seemed more pronounced over the weekend, so we took her to the doctor that Monday. After some different questions and checks, he ordered a CT scan of her brain/spine at Primary Childrens. We
headed up there, she did the scan, and they found a mass on her brain.

Later that night they did an MRI for more details, and through this test it was concluded she has what is called a high grade glioma tumor on her brain stem. Because of the sensitivity of the area, (the brain stem controls functions like mobility, speech, vision, respiratory, etc), and as the tumor has intertwined itself to the brain stem, surgery isn't an
option, and getting a biopsy to find out more about the tumor isn't an option.

They concluded it was malignant as one portion of the tumor seems to be moving more aggressively, and tissue around this area shows dead spots (called necrosis). So she has most likely has the tumor for awhile, but only now is having symptoms as a part of it has become more aggressive.

You can keep an eye on Sadie's progress here