Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...

...It's been awhile.  Where to start.

Nate loved Halloween.  He dressed as Ironman.  He was so excited.  The first time he tried on his costume and looked at himself in the mirror he said, "Do you know who I really am?  I'm Ironman."

He and Collin went trick or treating.  Nate fell at one point, from running down the sidewalk too quickly, and tore a little hole in the knee of his Ironman costume.  When we returned home, he tried to put a Band-Aid on it, ('cause those always fix holes, right?)

The other big thing that happened in October was that Brent became a falconer.  He has his apprenctice license and he's learning everything about bird.  This is Igor, his Harris's Hawk.  He lives in our house.

Let me say that again.

We have a BIRD OF PREY in our house.

Brent built an enclosure for him in the basement (I call it the "hawk condo") but he spends his days in the backyard and his evenings in the family room with, well... the rest of the family.

Not exactly a cozy pet.  Brent works with him every day.  A big part of faloncry is working with the bird with lures and (gulp) raw meat (don't ask where he gets it.  I don't want to tell you about the starling trap in our backyard.) to improve the bird's natural hunting instincts.  It's been pretty crazy to watch Brent get to the point that he can walk down the road and get the bird to follow him, swooping along from housetop to treetop.  Brent's pretty excited about the bird and Nate thinks it's pretty awesome as well. 

Nate thinks everything is a falconer.  His toys play with hawks and falcons now.  Even the Hulk is getting in on the game.
It's been interesting to see Nate's reaction to this.  He likes to hold the bird and Brent even ordered him his own glove.

Other things haven't changed.  

If you've been reading for awhile, you may remember the videos we had from visiting Nathan in Haiti.  He's always been a snuggler, and even if we're in the same room and he's playing, he'll come over to get a hug at regular intervals.  He just needs that reassurance that you're still there and you still love him.  Lately, as he comes for his hug, I find myself marveling that my little boy in Haiti has become this great big boy with so many dreams and hopes and opinions and...

I love you, Little Man.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Prayers of the Children

May 2011
On the "I remember what it's like to be hungry" theme... here's a note from May 2011

Nate's prayer last night:
Tank you fruit snacks.
Tank you my blessings.
Tank you burritos.
Tank you another one burritos.

Friday, October 5, 2012


We've had a food drive in our area and the local Scouts came around to pick up anything you left on your porch for donation.

I sat Nate down and asked him if he remembered what it was like to be hungry in Haiti and if he remembered how it felt to not have enough to eat.  Then I asked him if he wanted to go to the store with me to pick out some things that we could give to people that didn't have enough to eat here in America.  He thought that was pretty cool and was excited to go to the store.

Long story getting shorter.... a few minutes later he came out from his room with his piggy bank and said, "Here, Mama... you can use this to buy food for the people".

Sweet, sweet Little Man.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sep 2011

Brent dropped Nate off for his first day of preschool.  On the way he said, "Miss Julie is going to teach you all sorts of things:  letters, counting, writing..."

Nate said, "and handstands??"

Apparently that was top on his list of "Things I Want to Learn".  Who knew??

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


May 2012
I was trying to get Nate to talk to me about this problem he's having with a little boy in his church class.  He didn't want to talk, but I kept trying different directions of questions.  I decided to switch it up and ask him about a boy he likes.  By that point, he was exasperated with me.  I said, "What do you think about J?" and he sighed loudly and said, "I don't know, Mama.... he has a beautiful face" (in a tone like, "what do I have to say to get you to leave me alone).

Old Stories...

Decided I need to catch up on some of the good stories that I've missed posting to this blog over the last couple of years.  Enjoy!

Nov 2011
Nate: "Mama, I want a new dragon toy."
Mama:  "Maybe you'll need to ask Santa for one for Christmas..."
Nate (walks to the closed window and yelled, "Santa!  I want a new dragon toy!" and then came back and said, "I asked him."

Hmmm... Mama must need to review her notes.  She seems to have missed something in the "Implementation" phase of the spirit of Christmas.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wedding jitters??

Nate:  "Mama, am I going to live in a different house someday?"
Mama: "Yes..."
N:  "Like when I get married.... then I'll live in a different house?"
M: "Yes..." (still wondering where this crazy train of thought is going)
N: "But what will I say to her??"
M:  "Um... say to whom?"
N: "My wife!  Do most people say, 'Will you marry me'?"

Sweet boy.... You are only five.  We'll worry about that in twenty something years, OK?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dissolving Bel Haiti

We're in the process of dissolving Bel Haiti.  We just don't have the resources to do what they need (manpower, financial or otherwise).

Haitian Roots has taken over the orphanage work.  Please consider supporting them here:  http://www.haitianroots.com/donate.php

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weddings Happen

 The West has been plagued by wildfires this summer.  Hundreds of homes have burned and it seems that every time we check the news another place in Utah is burning.

A week ago Friday, I got a call at about 3 in the afternoon from our friend, Jamie.  She was in tears.  Their daughter, Shantel, was married that morning, and the golf course clubhouse they'd booked for the reception was now in the Dump Fire fire zone and under evacuation.  She wondered if she could use our backyard as a new location for the reception.

"Coincidentally", a few weeks before, I'd asked Jamie at church how the wedding plans were coming.  As we chatted, she said, "You know, what?  At one point, Shan thought she wanted an outdoor reception and when we were talking about it, I kept wondering if we could use your backyard.  I know Brent always does such a good job on his yard." I said, 'We could have done that for you!  That would have been fun!" and we kinda moved on with our conversation.

Little did either of us know that Heavenly Father was planting a seed of an idea, so that in a few weeks, when fire was literally raging and Shan's big day seemed to be going up in smoke, she knew she could call me.

I called Brent and said, "Hey, we're gonna have a wedding in our backyard tonight, OK?" and he said, "Excuse me?" in a tone that made me think he was wondering if I'd started drinking.  I explained what had happened and he was pleased that they "liked his work" and would want to use his yard.

I stopped at Home Depot on the way home and bought a car load of flowers.  The guy at the checkout counter looked at my carts, looked at me (I must have looked stressed) and said, "What do you think you're doing?"  I explained we were moving a reception from the fire zone of the Dump Fire to our backyard and that I was going to get these planted in the next 3 hours.  He gave us a 10% discount and said, 'It's not much, but it's all I can do.  You tell the happy couple Home Depot wishes them well."

Neighbors showed up and helped us plant.  A neighbor, Layne Downs, had this amazing antique digger thing and he had trenches created for flowers before I could even get the flats laid out.


Miraculously, within 3.5 hours, we had a reception ready in the backyard!  People were calling guests to let them know of the new location; a table rental place had the right number of tables and could deliver them immediately; the original location was able to get their linens and decorations out of the fire zone and got them to us; canopies were rounded up; flowers planted and the ice sculptor located and redirected to our backyard.

And the guests found us.  The bride was glowing.  The wind died down.  Everything came together.

Congratulations, Shantel and Kai!  We're so happy we were able to help out!
Shan and Kai

Flowers were beautiful!

If you build it, they will come!

Nate was so patient.  He loved playing with all the new kids that showed up and he, of course, loved the food.  He commented a couple days later that we had "ten thousand people at our wedding at our yard."

Tired, but happy to help

The grooms cousins licking the ice sculpture as we cleaned up in the dark.

Ice sculpture held up awesome in the extreme heat.
One of my favorite moments, was later, as we were cleaning up.  Someone tied this bundle of balloons to Nate's wrist.  "Mama!" I heard him say.  I turned and saw his little arm stretched as high as he could reach, his eyes bright with wonder.  "Will these balloons carry me up to the ceiling of the night?"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweet, sweet little man

Mama's been insanely busy with work, work and school.

I need to write a couple of these things down before I forget them forever, so here's a quick post.

Nate's very shy.  He was in his preschool class for 6 months before he made a random comment and Miss Julie said another little boy exclaimed, "I didn't know that kid talked!"

He's had some troubles going to Primary class at church on Sundays.  He has some very... confident... kids in his class and it makes him uncomfortable to be around so much confident noise.  (how's that for being polite).  I was trying to feel him about about what was going on in Primary and it seemed that no matter how I asked the question, he'd respond with "I dunno."

 This mama is a project manager and business analyst by trade, so I'm used to getting at the root of a problem, so while we were doing something I started asking him questions from various angles, trying to get him to tell me how he felt about this situation.

All he'd answer with was. "I dunno... I dunno..." 

Finally I asked him about a boy that I knew he liked to be around.  By this point he was exasperated with me and just wanted me to STOP ASKING QUESTIONS.  So when I said, "What do you like about J?" Nate responded with, "(loud sigh)... I Don't Know, Mama... He has a beautiful face" (said in a tone like, "THERE.  I said something nice about him.  Now LEAVE ME ALONE.") 

So hard not to laugh.

Nate's also very worried about not having a sibling, lately.  He knows Mama's body doesn't make babies, but he knows that you can get children through adoption (obviously).  Here are a couple of the comments he's made lately:

"Mama, when you get a baby, its butt will stink,  but that's OK because I will love it."

"Mama, when you get a baby, make sure you get one that's afraid of the curvy slides so I can teach it not to be scared because I'll be the big brother."

This is why Mama calls him Sweetness....

Sunday, March 18, 2012


This last week we went to Disneyland with Aunt Tia and Colly.

It was so much fun and I'm so glad that we were able to go with them.  The boys definitely had more fun together than they would have had we taken separate trips.

The boys both got chipmunk hats and wore them the whole time.

They also seemed to have near-boundless energy, and were often running or dancing ahead of us in their chipmunk hats.

 Nate didn't really get into the whole Disney scene.  He kept asking why everything was fake or why everyone was wearing crazy costumes.  He did like the rides and being with his best buddy, though!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crud, Cute Stuff and More Crud...

So I went back to school in October.  Given that I"m the sole breadwinner, I feel a ton of pressure to ensure I can stay well employed.

School's been going OK but this research paper from hell is kicking my can.  Why did I pick a topic even remotely medical?  Because I'm an idiot, that's why.

Anyway, that's why I never post anymore.  Work, work, school, more work, school, oh and try to be a good Mom.  That's my life.
My son is the sweetest little man in the world.

I had a really rough day at work a few weeks ago.  I actually cried on the way home from work.  I never cry.  It's something that happens maybe once per year.

So I walked in the door and told Brent I'd had a crappy day and that I'd actually "cried all the way home" and then I went on with my evening.

Later that night Nate and I were brushing our teeth.  He said, "Mama, you cried today?"

I said, "Yup."

He said, "You was in you car?"

I said, 'Yup.  I just had a hard day at work."

He said, "You was by youself?"

I said, "Yes, it was just Mama in the car."

He said, "But I would be with you, Mama..." (with this sweet concerned look that I'd been alone in my moment of need).

Sweet boy had been thinking about that since he'd heard me say it and wished he could have been with me, even if it was just to provide moral support while I cried.
I've been debating for some months about whether or not to post about this.  That's why it's buried in another post.  We'll see who actually reads this far.

We've had some horrible things happen in Haiti in the last 6 months.

For starters, we actually had all our prayers answered and found a multi-millionaire whose goals were the same as ours who wanted to pay for everything for Bel Haiti.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  His first order of business was to get them out of the damaged, lousy building where they are in Petionville and out closer to the property. 

Lets just say when it came down to moving day, Harry wouldn't move.

And then lets just say that we lost our sponsor because Harry wasn't willing to work with him.  It's like the old saying goes, 'Beggars can't be choosers" and we can't blame him for moving on to find another Haitian orphanage that would help him reach his philanthropic goals. 

And then, the new year started and we found out that the Haitian Government is seizing our land. 

This is all the abridged version, but President Martelly wants anything worth anything to "help him reach his goals of educating all the children of Haiti" and after months of Haitian Roots negotiating in Haiti, it ended up that the President just didn't care what our goals where - he wants that land.  Shows it was a good spot, I guess.

The bright note is that at least they're going to pay us what we paid for it.

Brent's having a really hard time.  He's supposed to be focused on Bel Haiti full-time, but he kind of feels betrayed by Harry and Haiti right now.  He's pretty patient, but he doesn't forgive (easily) when you do cross him. 

So... I don't know what's happening in Haiti and with Bel Haiti.  We've had such a tight year anyway and then to lose the two good things we had going....

I know Harry's been reaching out to others for financial help, so I felt it was time we at least discussed the abridged version with our reading audience.

Once again, Haiti makes me grateful for what we have.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two Years...

Two years ago today was the longest day of my life after the longest two weeks of my life.

Two years ago yesterday was the day that I went to bed thinking that we were never going to get our kids out of Haiti, despite finding a plane and in spite of the good readers of this blog raising $10,000 for jet fuel in a day. 


You're part of the miracle.

Two years ago yesterday was the day the Haitian Prime Minister had disappeared and we just couldn't get the signature we needed for our babies to be on that plane and our plane HAD to depart.  Haiti's airport wasn't allowing layovers. 

Two years ago today was the day I woke up to find that God keeps His promises and that He never, ever cheats anyone and that I should never waste a second doubting. Never.

Two years ago today was the day that this blog received tens of thousands of hits as you all tried to "will" that miracle to happen by hitting F5 and refreshing the page.

Two years ago today was the day that Nate finally got on that plane and finally made it to America.

Two years ago today was the day that Chareyl, exhausted more than any woman should be, had to get on that plane and leave behind the last few children, who did all finally make it home within a few weeks.  Chareyl will always be who I want to be when I grown up.

All of that was on my mind this morning as I dressed my son for Church.  I asked him if he thought the hotel we'll stay at (in a few weeks when we go to California) will have a pool.  My sweet boy, remembering I don't know how to swim, put his hand on my arm and said, "Mama, just do what I do.  We have to go under the water, but you just watch my eyes and do what I show you.  And if you get scared, it's OK.  You can just climb out of the pool and I'll be there."

('Cause you know... his round of summer swimming lessons make him Michael Phelps.)

He's comforting me.

He's teaching me.

He's blessing me... daily.

My life hasn't been the same, thank the Good Lord, since that day two years ago, when my son finally made it through the Haitian paperwork and landed in Miami.

And I'm grateful every day for the blessing of being a Mama to this sweet little man who is fascinated with animals and concerned about others and wants to know if every character in every book we read has a family like him.

Thank you for your prayers and helping to make that miracle happen.

I thought you'd want to know you've changed lives.  And we're still grateful.

photo Mike Terry/Deseret News

photo Mike Terry/Deseret News

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Why caterpillars make racoons?"

He means "cocoon" (and I know they make chrysalises, but you try getting a 4 year old to say that)


Mama, When I grow up, can I be a turtle holder?
- A turtle holder?
-(exasperated sigh) You know... the guy what holds turtles!

(thanks... that cleared it right up for me.)
(also, remind me to tell your dad that we can't plan on you supporting us in our old age)


It finally snowed like 3 weeks after Christmas.  Nate was SO excited and ran to the window exclaiming "It's Christmas!"  He was sad to find out that it didn't mean it was Christmas again.

We spent 5 minutes getting him suited up for him to spent about 45 seconds in the skiff of snow before deciding the wind in his face was more than this Haitian wanted at the moment.


Nate was staring at me the other evening.  I asked him what was wrong.  With much joy he exclaimed, "Mama, those lines on your forehead look JUST LIKE train tracks!!"

He's so proud of me.

Then he walked over and used his finger to "choo-choo" across my brow.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Nate: "Mama, I'm smart?"

Mama:  "Yes, you are, Sweetness."

Nate: "But, Mama, what can I do with smart?"

Mama:  "Anything you can imagine, Sweetness.... anything you can imagine."