Friday, April 30, 2010

I Want a Divorce...

...from my husband's kidneys.

Just the kidneys.

Mostly the left one.

We spent the morning at the ER again yesterday.  Apparently he had more stones queued up in his kidney.  They didn't mention that to us until we went back in and then it was like, "Oh, yeah... there were others in your kidney on that CT scan the other week".

Not that we could have done anything about it.  I guess sometimes knowing isn't half the battle.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Deseret News cont.

There is a nice little video that Mike Terry crafted that goes along with the story. Mike spent several days as well in Haiti documenting what happened. He also was at the airport when we were leaving and stayed in Miami while everyone picked up their kids. Most of the great photos from Miami and at the PAP airport were his.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Haitian adoptees keep the story alive for some Utahns

By Elizabeth Stuart
Deseret News

LEHI — Burly and bald, Brent Rosenlof looks gruff behind a no-nonsense goatee, but he trails his 2-year-old son like a well-trained puppy. 

Kitchen. Living room. Bedroom. Repeat.

"Nathan's pretty much the center of our lives these days," Rosenlof said, scooping up the 24-pound toddler and tossing him, happily squealing, into the air. It's clear the big man would have it no other way. 

Three months ago, Nathan, left homeless by a 7.0 earthquake that rocked his Haiti orphanage, was sleeping on the concrete in a country made so desperate that some child-care workers reported being robbed by armed gunmen. Rosenlof and his wife, Lori, held their breath as the little boy, whom they had been trying to adopt since his birth, secured refugee status, was strapped into a charter plane and joined them in their Lehi home.

Since then, about 1,000 Haitian children, whose parents had filed adoption applications before the Jan. 12 quake, have been flown to the United States. Around 3,000 children — some orphaned before the quake, some during — remain in temporary shelters in the rubble-strewn country. 

In Utah, Nathan is getting healthier by the day. His belly, protruding bloated from the top of his too-big cargo pants, is one of the few remaining indicators of his deprived past. Now that he's done two rounds of antibiotics and gotten most of the parasites out of his system, Nathan, once a lethargic, clingy baby, is an ever-moving tornado zigzagging through the house, small toy car in hand.

The family couldn't be happier — at least, that's what the Rosenlofs know they ought to report.

In reality, the Rosenlofs are still pacing, tormented by the damage done to a country they have come to call their "second home." Sometime during the "two years of hell" the couple spent wading through paperwork, trying to rescue little Nathan from an orphanage with too many children and not enough rice, they fell inexplicably, head-over-heels in love with desperately poor, crime-riddled Haiti. She gets tears in her eyes holding her little boy in her arms, but, Lori Rosenlof said, "Nathan is such a minor, minor part of this deal. There was much to be done before the earthquake. There's even more now." 

So, in between teaching Nathan important English phrases like "I love you" and keeping the perpetually hungry boy supplied with avocados, the Rosenlofs are gathering support to help the children still in Haiti. Other Utah parents, connected to the island nation through their own little bundles of joy, are rallying to their cause.

"My family may not be all Haitian by blood, but we're pure Haitian by heart," said Shannon Cox, a Riverdale mother of four. Her 5-year-old son Andre, as she explains it, "just happened to be born in a Haitian orphanage."

During the adoption process, Cox started the nonprofit Haitian Roots, which provides scholarships so children can attend school. The nonprofit, along with the Rosenlofs' nonprofit, Hope for Little Angels of Haiti, is making plans to build a school, a boarding home and an orphanage facility.

"I've been to slums, I've been to Third World countries," Cox said. "Haiti makes them all look like paradise. I can't take away one child and forget about everyone else who's left behind."

David Aitken, an Eagle Mountain businessman who welcomed home three little Haitians in January, has persuaded his place of employment, HIT Web Design, to donate $4,000 a month to support the endeavor. Other parents are collecting items for a charity yard sale. 

Last week, parents collected enough money to purchase a plot of land. They've hired the University of Utah and a non-profit architecture firm to draw up the plans. Constructions set to start in early June.

"My kids are safe, but that doesn't stop our responsibility to take care of those who can't take care of themselves," Aitken says. "Those children have nothing."
In the meantime, Utah's adoptive parents, a tightly knit group pulled together by common experience, are trying to savor the good moments.
Brent Rosenlof, who has taken a leave from work to play "stay at home dad," is already sharing one of his favorite pastimes — professional sports — with the little boy. Nathan recently attended his first Jazz game. Lori Rosenlof is busy teaching the 2-year-old about the wonders of grocery shopping ("he just kept grabbing food and putting it in the cart," she said) and figuring out his favorite foods. Right now, she said, "It's avocados. Weird, I know."

Nathan himself is busy enjoying having two grown adults wrapped around his itty-bitty finger.

"Bijou!" he tells his parents (and anyone else who will listen), offering his dimpled cheek up expectantly. That's the Creole word, his doting mother explains, for "kisses."

She gladly obliges.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Because Anything that Will Keep This From Happening Is Worth It...

I promise, I'm not a media whore.

We interviewed tonight with the Deseret News (thanks, Elizabeth!) for an article running on Friday.

We've also had reporters and cameramen from Fox 13 and KSL come by an interview us in the last week for pieces they're doing on Haiti or international adoption that will air in May or June.

I promise, we're not actively seeking this out.  We try to keep low key about the events.  I mean, I didn't even do a blog post a couple weeks ago when some people from that Oprah lady's show called us.  We obviously, didn't do her show - yet but it may be a possibility.  (They were trying to gather some information for a piece they were considering doing on Haitian adoptions so they talked to us and to Chareyl.  We'll see.)

I know some of the other families that have recently brought children home are hesitant to do interviews and I totally get that.  If Nathan was older or could talk, we'd feel differently as well. 

I'm sure the neighbors (who don't know us that well but have seen cars emblazoned with the logos of the local stations in our driveway) are starting to wonder if we're running a meth house or something.  It's generally not a good thing when the news are always around, right?

I feel like we have an obligation to keep Haiti on the minds of the people around us.  We do have the nonprofit that we have to keep on people's minds, so we bring that up (even if they want to talk about international adoption, they end up hearing about Hope)  :)

Even if it freaks out the neighbors - even if people get sick of hearing from the Rosenlofs - I feel like we have an obligation to keep Haiti and her people on the minds of those around us. 

Because anything - ANYTHING - that could possibly keep this from happening:

is worth it to us!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Big Announcement

Many of you have been wondering what is up with Hope.

For a lot of reasons that I won't go into in this forum, we cannot continue to work with the current orphanage of Hope for Little Angels of Haiti.  For a lot of other reasons that I also won't go into we cannot keep using that name for fundraising and for our non-profit efforts in Haiti. 

We're not done in Haiti.  We're not done helping orphans.  We're not done trying to make things better. 

We've submitted the paperwork for a new "DBA" and we should have the state's approval back in the next few days.  As soon as that's in my hot little hands, we'll announce the new name and the new logo.

I can, however, tell you what the plans are.

I'd say it was a teaser to hold you over, but this is awesome stuff.  There will be official press releases soon.  But I figure not everyone who supports the org reads this blog and not everyone who reads this blog supports the non-profit, etc, etc. 

Here's the beef.

We've joined forces with Haitian Roots.  We're both still independent non-profit organizations, but we've realized that we have a lot in common with our goals and that both organizations can work well in partnership.

We've combined resources and purchased a nice-sized, multi-acre plot of land in the Haitian countryside.  More on the miracles there later. 

On that land, we will be building a school that will serve 150 children, a boarding home and an orphanage facility to support 50 children. It will be on enough land that they will be able to have chickens for food and income as well as vegetable gardens.  We have some contacts that we trust and know well that are running things on the ground.  The purchase of the land just happened this last week.

Shannon calls it a "Children's Village."  I love that name.   I think of it as a compound, but in a very "non-Waco" sort of way. 

Some of the children that Haitian Roots is sending to school were orphaned during the earthquake.  They're all in the care of a friend of ours down there.  Right now they're all living in tents in the backyard of an orphanage that was damaged during the quake.  It is for this reason that we'll have boarding at the new Children's Village.

See, we don't want to go through this again.  We don't want our people to starve.  We don't want them to be entirely dependent on foreign resources. We want a place where the people in the village can learn skills and learn a way to support their families - even if it's through raising vegetables for resale.  We want a place where the children have room to run and play - which they never did at the last orphanage.  It had a tiny cement spot barely big enough for 2 cars.  For all 68 kids.  We're not doing that again.

I'm happy to report that we've teamed up with the awesome people at  They work with the architecture students at the U of U and they have taken on our project.  They will be studying the list of needs we gave them, the local building materials, the building methods, the land, etc and they will be designing our Children's Village.

We still have a lot of fund raising to do.  We have buildings to build and a facility to develop.  Some of our friends have hooked up again with Todd and Erin of B89.7 and they will be doing some amazing fund raising for us in 2 weeks at their annual Yard Sale.  Watch for more information on that. 

We firmly believe that life is what you make it.  And we're hoping to make a brighter life, a brighter future for Haiti - even if we have to do it one child at a time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moving On

I firmly believe that Bank of America is run by criminals.

We made an offer on this house (the one we're currently in) last JULY. We sold our last home in October and made arrangements to move into this one because the bank kept saying that they should be ready to close our offer "within the next month".

They said that again.

And again.

And again.

Now, mind you, the man that owns this house hasn't paid THEM his mortgage payment since December.... of 2008.


We've been living here, paying HIM rent since the end of October.

I know, I know... we should have not paid him either. But two wrongs don't make a right. We wouldn't have felt right about not paying SOMEONE while living here. Pretty sweet deal for him, huh? He's been renting this place and not paying on it for a long time (there were renters in it before us). He'll have to deal (at some point) with his own dishonesty.

Oh... AND he didn't pay the utilities. We happened to find that out last month before they turned off the utilities. We had to catch up 4 months worth of utility payments. Then we had them all moved to our name.

Yeah, we're getting the shaft on this one.

So, needless to say, when it became apparent that the bank was not going to close on this property in time for us to get the tax credit, we said, "We're moving on".

For those in the area, we're moving back down to the Lehi South Stake area. We'll be in the North Lake I Ward.

We're excited to be back down among the people we've known and loved for the last 8+ years.

I'm very sad about not getting this house. The neighbors have been so fabulous to us, particularly during all the stuff trying to get Brent and Nathan home from Haiti.

And I love this house... particularly the stairs. And the kitchen. And the master suite.

But, apparently it wasn't meant to be.

The house we're moving to is a pretty normal, average house. It's a rambler, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.  But, it has half an acre. Brent will be happy in the yard for years on this one. Click here if you don't recall the awesome things he did on our .22 acres at the last house.

We did our walk through on the new house this last week.  We'll close this next week.  And then we'll be done.  No more rent that's going to nowhere.   No more "shaft". 

We'll be in a place where we can put up a fence and grass and let Nathan run around in the yard.  Can't wait for THAT part.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Drunk with Laughter

This clip was taken the same day. Brent and Nathan played soccer in the entryway for about 20 minutes and Nathan laughed his head off the whole time.

I've edited this down so you have a good view of this handsome man and a good sample of his awesome laughter.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's a Boo Day

I've had this little clip for several weeks now.  I think it was taken March 3rd.

I wanted to share with you how cute it is when Nathan sings his favorite song.

We figured out shortly after he arrived home that he already knew some American pop songs.  Brent said when he was in Haiti last, every tap-tap had Beyonce's "Single Ladies" blaring. (It is a catchy song.)   That's one of the ones that Nathan knows.

His favorite, though, is's "It's a New Day" from the last election.  You can find the actual song here.

Nathan LOVES this song.  He calls it "Boo Day" because that's how "New Day" comes out when he says it.

It's a tough call for him -do I want to watch Handy Manny or do I want to watch "Boo Day"...

Oh, to have the troubles of a 2 year old...

Sorry that it moves around a lot - it's hard to keep a video camera trained on a 2 year old!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

6-9 month shorts and a 2T shirt

This poor kid is too skinny for his own good.  It's a good thing "shorts" weather is coming because the pants that fit him around the waist are WAAY too short.  The ones that fit in length are so baggy that we could probably put Collin in there with him!

I never thought I'd have a two-year old who bursts into tears if I won't let him eat more than one avocado (or "tadotado" as he calls them) at a sitting, but that's what he does. 

Aren't 2 year olds supposed to cry if you MAKE them eat green things??

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear Nathan,

I picked you up this morning to bury you in hugs before I had to leave for work and I could swear that you had grown taller overnight.

I think you're getting bigger, Little Man.

I swung you around and said, 'Not bigger!  You need to stay my little baby forever!" and then you tried to repeat what I said because that's just what you do right now and the way you said, "No bigger baby ever!" made me laugh.

But I do think you're taller and it scares me just a little because I JUST got you and I NEED MORE TIME.

I need the years we lost.

The years when you were in Haiti and I was here and the Haitian government didn't want to process papers so you could come home.

The years that I didn't know if you were OK and you didn't know if anyone cared and we both could have answered each others concerns but the governments wouldn't let us be together yet.

I need to rock you through your infancy and nuzzle your little neck as you start to crawl and swing you around as you chase me when you learn to walk.

We lost that, you and I.  But I want you to know that doesn't make us any less "one" than if we'd had it.

I can still snuggle you and wrap you up in my arms and relish the way you just seem to fit tucked into my shoulder.

I don't even mind the superbly toxic Chambers of Haitian Secrets that are your "stinky butts" (as Papa's taught you to call your dirty diapers).  I'll change them for a few more years if you'll just promise me that you won't grow up yet.

You are such a joy, Little Man.  You are a silly, wacky, busy, happy, stubborn, temper-ridden ball of goodness.  And I can't believe you're mine.

I have to admit that I am constantly in awe of you.  Sometimes I find myself staring at you and wondering how in the world you came to be and why I'm so blessed to get to be your Mama and if I'll ever get over marveling at how amazing you are.

This evening, I told one of my coworkers I needed to head home so I could see my son.

I don't think you'll ever know how amazing it is to me that I HAVE A SON.

You've done for me something that I couldn't do - you made me a Mommy.  I know that sounds silly and that no one can really make themselves a Mommy, but that's what I mean.

Things just didn't work.  And the doctors didn't know why and we didn't know why and I didn't know if I'd ever be a Mommy but you did and Heavenly Father did.

Now I know that I wasn't a Mommy yet because I needed that ache in my heart to grow and grow to where it carried me to you, clear across the country and over the water to the tiny island where you were... sitting... in a boring stuffy house that only had 3 bedrooms but had 68 kids and not enough not enough not enough.

"'Not enough' what?" you ask.

"Anything...Not enough anything."  Not enough room.  Not enough beds.  Not enough toys.  Not enough food.  Not enough love.

And then the earth moved and the buildings fell and hearts changed and they let us bring you home.

I love when we're playing on the floor together, both making "car noises" and driving your trucks, and you look up at me with the most vibrant, sparkling smile that seems to say, "Mama... this is the best day ever!"

I adore that crooked grin you get when something you were trying to do finally works and you're trying to pretend that you're not amazed yourself that it finally came together so you're trying to suppress the grin that is bursting to break out. Your "modesty" makes me giggle.

Today Papa taught you how to say, "Hello, baby.  What's your sign?" and then you called me at work to share your new pickup line.  I love the little inflection in your voice when you say, "Hel-low, BAY-bee", trying to imitate Papa's "fake sexy voice".

I chuckle that you think you can get out of going to bed by pretending the thing you need more than anything else in the world is a hug from Mama RIGHT THEN.

I'm so on to you, Little Man.

Of course, you'll still get the hug because you've been through horrible things and you've been on such a tiring journey to get to this place where you have your own room and you actually HAVE a bed.

We learned this last week of some of the other horrors that you and your friends from the O had to endure and I can't believe you're all sane.  You're strong, Little Man.  You're stronger than Mama, but Mama won't tell you that.

It's one of the rules, I think.  The Mamas are supposed to pretend like they're fine and not that their hearts are breaking over what you've already endured.  And I don't know what I can ever do that will be enough to make up for what you've had to live through.

But having you home... that's enough.

Just don't grow up yet.  I'm not ready.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Romancing the Stone

Brent and I are having a bit of an argument.

He thinks that, when he's in excruciating pain from a kidney stone, I should somehow whip out some amazing supernatural driving skills and fly through traffic a bad "Starksy and Hutch" car chase scene.

I, on the other hand, think it would be very bad for us to get in an accident and possibly kill ourselves (or someone else), while I'm trying to rush him to the Emergency Room.  I keep picturing myself arrested and telling the judge, "But Your Honor, my husband had a KIDNEY STONE."  I don't think it would help me avoid time in the slammer.

Do I break traffic laws while we're going to the ER?

You betcha!

Do I use the emergency shoulder lane to pass all the cars waiting in line to turn at the light and weave my very large Dodge Magnum through traffic like a fighter pilot dodging (no pun intended) enemy fire?

No. No, I do not.


Because, my friends, I suck at driving.  I admit it.  I hate it.  I've been in an accident... or two.  Possibly three - but I wasn't driving for the third one.  I would much, much rather not do it at all.  To the point that I'll put off errands of any type to avoid driving.

Two adults with no kids at home can go a LONG time between runs to the grocery store, by the way.

I drive a good distance to work every day so I'm kind of numb to it now but I really hate it.  The very sound of a road trip makes me want to cough up a hairball.  There's nothing appealing to me about long periods of time behind the wheel - no matter the destination.

So, needless to say, both times that I had to run Brent to the ER yesterday there were some... firm words... exchanged between us. 

This stone is a "little" one, compared to some in the past.  I really pray he can pass it without surgical intervention like the last few.

Sorry that you're hurting, Brent.  And I'm sorry I suck at driving.  But at least we're all alive.

Nathan, by the way, was VERY patient with us and all the hours spent at the hospital yesterday.  He did tell me multiple times that we were "All Done" but he really did pretty well for a 2 yr old that has no idea what's going on or why Mom doesn't want him to run in this beautiful, wide open hallways that echo.  Thank you for being a good kid, Nathan.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Aunt TiTi's family invited us to come over for the extended family Easter Egg hunt and dinner at Mom Simpson's house.

I've known Tia for almost 20 years.  Her older brother was one of the guys I hung out with in High School.  And, her older sister was Brent's first girlfriend.  I guess you could say we go "way back". 

Mom Simpson hides plastic eggs all over their half acre yard.  HUNDREDS of them.  Over 500 eggs this year in her backyard.  They're strategically hidden by height so the older you are the higher off the ground you're required to look when hunting for hidden eggs.

She also hides bananas.  Three for each grandkid.  They're easir for the little ones to spot and healthier for them all to eat.  Plus, if they miss one, they don't smell bad when they rot.  :)

She gave each kid a basket and announced there were enough eggs for each get to get 33 (plus their three bananas) and they were off.

 Nathan and Collin caught on quickly to how this game worked.  They had a great time.
The older kids helped them out and Nathan was quite happy to let them find them for him.  Too much running on those little legs.
They searched high and low and basically had a grand time.

Collin is MUCH better at sharing and taking turns than Mr. N.  He's also freakishly strong for his size.
All the candy was new to Nathan.  He really likes Sixlets and Smarties.  Good to know!

Then everyone moved to the Garage (was converted to a dining room for the occasion because it's the only place big enough to seat everyone) and we had a fabulous dinner.

Thanks, Mom and Dad Simpson and family for inviting us and making us feel like family.  We had a great evening. 
(and thanks, Toria, for the pictures!)

It was a PERFECT first Easter for Mr. Nathan!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Grandpa Keith

My grandfather was laid to rest on Saturday.  Nathan did really well (my dad said it wasn't an option for us - Nathan was coming!  He had too many extended family members that he wanted to meet his new Haitian grandson).  He did try to grab the microphone a bit when I said the opening prayer for the services (he kinda has this "thing" where he screams if I leave him) and there was a solemn moment at the cemetary when they were unloading the casket from the hearse and Nathan suddenly noticed the hearse and how shiny it was and started yelling, "Mama!  Mama!  Machin!  Machin!" but other than that he was a trooper.

I come from a large family and everyone wanted to hear him say "El Camino" (and he usually obliged them).

My Uncle Scott did a fabulous job on the eulogy.  He shared some great stories from Grandpa's childhood growing up in a tiny little speck of a farming town... like the time there was a squirrel living in the walls of their farmhouse and Grandpa shot it with his BB gun but he just wounded it so it ran back inside the wall to die there.  I guess the stench was pretty unbearable for awhile there.

There was also a story about the year Grandpa received a gopher trap for his birthday - it's a different world, folks!

We'll miss you, Grandpa.  Thank you for being a "good grandpa".

Friday, April 2, 2010

Scenes that I've Seen

Saw a truck on the freeway the other day that was advertising its business in lawn care.  The side of the truck said,  
"Lawn Gevity"
and I had to give them points for creativity.

However, the best thing I've seen lately on the side of a truck was for an excavating company.  Across the tail gate of the truck in large, shiny font it said:
 "All Our Hoes Are Legal"

 That may be the best really bad marketing line I've ever read.  Good times... Good times...

And then the other day the guys went to lunch and I stayed back.  When they returned they informed us that they'd seen Lance described as a Street Urchin Darth Vader sitting on the side of the road with a sign that said, "Rebels destroyed my Death Star.  Please Help."  I guess there are internet pictures of these sorts of Beggin' Vaders going round the web.  But, really.... "Street Urchin Darth Vader" could be a great name for an album....

My son loves to be with me.  He'll fall asleep in his bed, but then he comes in to my bed at some point (usually around 4) and stays there the rest of the night.  He likes me to sit by him if he's eating.  He likes to sit on me if he's resting.  He likes to follow me into the bathroom if I'm having a little toilet time.

I figure we might as well work on building some skills while we're there.  I'm trying to get him started on a stand-up comedy routine.  So far, his attempt to repeat and say, "So... how many of you are from out of town?" needs some work.  It will probably be quite some time before we try to bring his bathroom stand up to a urinal near you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thank You to Geralynn and the boys!

My mommy blogger friend, Geralynn, who lives in North Dakota and has adopted children herself (two of hers are beautiful sons from Haiti) sent a toy in the mail to Nathan.  It an awesome set of wooden trucks that can also be put together like puzzles.  The perfect size for little sweet chubby two year old fingers.  He LOVES his new Machins!
He's figured out they will stack different ways and that they can all make the "VROOM" sound he loves so much.  My mom-in-law stopped by that afternoon with her 3 childhood girlfriends.  She wanted them to meet her newest grandson and of course, Nathan had to show them all the parts of all the Machins.  It was quite cute... this little man holding up part after part and saying, "Machin!" and these sweet grandmas just thinking it was wonderful. 
Thank you, thank you for your thoughtfulness.  He LOVES the trucks!