Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Feet

We have several sets of very happy feet here today. Dance lessons for the week are complete, and the music for recital was posted on the website. Daddy successfully downloaded it and made a CD, and a frightening amount of noise was coming from the playroom as they practiced their dances. They didn't even bother to move the laundry they were folding...just danced over the top of it! I realized that we have thirteen costume changes in all this year, which is pretty scary as I used to have three or four! All six tap, four do ballet, and one does jazz/hip hop. It will make for a very busy six weeks or so, what with competition and recital. But it's really no worse than if they played a sport. It all comes to a crashing end the day after recital, and then we know summer is truly here. In our town, there is a summer festival, and usually the children from the dance studio perform in the fire hall as part of the festivities. It's so funny to see them all together again after weeks of vacation, and no one ever remembers the steps!

My only bit of sad nostalgia is that their big sis isn't dancing with them this year. But she'll come and cheer for them. I also miss their Celtic dancing. The four girls have no idea what it is, but they sure think their big sister looks pretty in the pictures...and why are the boys all in BLACK? I would so dearly love to see them all up there stomping next year, enjoying their adopted Irish heritage! They all were so excited on Saint Patrick's Day to discover that "We're Irish now!?!" Big sis says she'll even dance with them next year if they do Celtic. Boy, they could generate some fine noise with all seven of them up there! I'm not sure if I can survive the practicing!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hair Wars

Well the hair wars seem to be over to some degree. Thanks for all of your kind and helpful comments. I would like to note that no one here has an EXPENSIVE hair wrap, so the destruction of "do-rags" is not a financial issue. Thank goodness. Actually we have found cheapies from Walmart that work great. They last for about six weeks, at which time they start getting a bit raggedy and need think disposable. Our younger two daughters have NEVER had a hair incident. We tie them on at bedtime, and take them off in the morning. Their hair styles last at least twice as long as their older sisters' styles do. They have never had a rip, broken string, or a "slip off" during the night. The older two on the other hand... oh me, oh my! Because this is how it goes. We tie them on and send them to bed, reminding them that they need to leave the darned things alone. Period. Anything else is disobedience. But they go in their room, and in the privacy of their beds they untie, and retie, and untie, and retie. Then the strings get knotted or broken, which gives them an excuse to get up and bug us two hours after they were sent to bed.

Here are the new rules. Why didn't I do this sooner? I will go to Walmart and buy everyone a new sleep cap. I will mark each one clearly. Each girl can do whatever she likes with it. She can let Mom tie it on at bedtime and leave it alone. She can tie and retie it twenty-five times a night in her bed. She can fill it up with stuffed animals and call it a nest (yes, this has been done). BUT, if you mess it up you can figure out how to fix it yourself, or do without until Mom passes out the next round of new ones. Hair products and styles will be dispensed the same way. In other words...if you don't take care of your hair and it gets dry and messy, this is not Mom's problem. Mom has provided the opportunity to have beautiful hair...expensive hair products, fun hair toys, do-rags to sleep in, and hours and hours of time spent braiding and twisting. The thing is, this is ALL at Mom's expense...both financially and time wise. So until these four little girls take over both the expense and responsibility for their own hair care (and I pray they will, sooner or later!), they may have to learn some hard lessons about how their inability to obey, or their need to control ends up costing them a bit in the long run.

We had a discussion today about one tip I received about using ladies stockings. They agreed that they had done this on occasion in past foster homes. Then they recalled how one foster Mom used to put a pair of panties on their head to keep their hair nice. This brought lots of laughter, and an agreement that the sleep caps were "way nicer than underwear"! Both older daughters have assured us that if only we will give them new caps they will show us how well they can take care of their hair. "Give us a chance to prove ourselves!" So a trip to Walmart is in order, and they will be off and running, trying to prove to Mom that they too can keep their hair and their do-rag nice. Everything's a competition! Sometimes it works to our advantage!

The Last of the Hair

Thursday, April 19, 2007

...and again...

Child number two just came out of her room with a ripped head wrap. Just had to try and see if she could get away with what her sister had not. Lied straight up about it, because she would love nothing more than to be able to gloat over her sister taking a consequence when she had pulled the scam off. Mom and Dad did not play. She admitted her lie and went to bed with a naked head. I guess it's too much that Mom spent about six hours today doing something nice for them. Pretty much what I can expect whenever I put myself out to be nice, that they will crap on it. Seems to go with this territory.

Hair we go again...

It seems that everything is a control battle. Everything. One of our dear daughters (the one with the star on her head) has been giving us grief about her satin head wrap at night. This is a necessary item to preserve complex hair styles and keep their hair from breaking and drying out. So all four get one tied on before bed every night. Mom or Dad ties it, because inevitably the children tie them too tight (and they rip) or too loose (and they fall off). Except for one daughter, this is no problem. This one daughter persists in untying and retying every night, resulting in an excuse to get up in crisis because "my head wrap tore". Night after night we find ourselves repairing and retying the darned thing.

Tonight I just decided to let her make her own poor choice and live with it. It is particularly easy to mete out fair and logical consequences as two other sisters got their hair washed and braided today. I just told her calmly that she could sleep without a head wrap, since she clearly did not want hers as she kept ruining it. But that she would not be receiving any more hair care than her in extra hair product for what will be a very dry head, or another several hours of my time to braid and rebraid her hair, which will look ratty in about a day. This will be a grueling consequence as this child covets the time I spend on anyone else's hair, in a jealous and almost pathological way. To have to live with a dry, messy head while her sisters have well groomed ones will be a horrible cross to bear.

So now she is wailing and keeping everyone up. But her "twin" brother is doing the same at the other end of the house, because he was sent to bed early for mouthing off at Dad.

And More Hair (one more to go!)

More Hair

Hair Products

Carol's Daughter Hair Products... far, so good.
(Still waiting for the hair toys)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On a heavy and even more expensive note...

We are under snow again... nearly a foot of the wet, heavy kind. The storm also produced high winds. A large branch from our pine tree landed on our neighbor's brand new car. Thankfully we have insurance, but the deductible is very high. Very high. So we will end up having to figure out how to make this work. I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach. I know I shouldn't worry about it, but the bills have never piled up so fast before. But it's another busy day. I'll try not to think about it for the present.

Monday, April 16, 2007

On a lighter and more expensive note...

Well, it's official. I must be crazy. I adopted four AA girls. People have been looking at me funny for awhile now, but now I am firmly convinced. Any person who voluntarily signs up for this hair care job is certifiably crazy. I am pulling my own hair out in frustration. Each child's hair is different in texture and kind, and is in a different state of disrepair. One child has hair that is so "burnt" by chemicals that it is breaking and falling out in gobs, no matter how tenderly I handle it. On top of this, we live in an area with very little racial diversity. As a result, there is very little to be found in the way of quality hair care products or cool hair toys for girls. So I broke down and broke the bank, and ordered a bunch of stuff online. I read some pretty enthusiastic reviews of products on some of the adoption blogs. I nearly choked on my hairbrush when I saw the prices. There was this really cool stuff called "Curly Pudding"...that I wanted to order just because the name was so awesome. I don't know if I could have stopped myself from tasting it. But was $38-58 a tub, plus shipping. After looking THAT up, the other stuff looked like a bargain in comparison. And if I promised to break the bank, they would give me free shipping. I also ordered a massive amount of adorable hair toys, as they also promised me a bargain if I got one of everything. So you see, this frugal soul really HAS lost it! I am hoping and praying that the right stuff will give me what it takes to whip these dried out, fuzzy heads into shape. Really...I don't think it's me. I can part and braid with the best of them. OK. Maybe with the best of the beginners. But I don't stink. I'm just a bit slow. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Why Scraps by Nobody?

As more and more of our friends and family check in here, I thought I would write a bit about how I came upon our title for this blog. Perhaps some folks think I just have a horrible self esteem, and don't think anything I write is worth reading. Well, the title has nothing to do with my self esteem, and I'll leave it up to all of you to decide if you want to use some of your own time to read this. I actually borrowed the title from one of my personal inspirations. First, I find myself amazed and inspired by Elisabeth Elliot...missionary, writer, and just an incredibly brilliant Christian woman. If any of you have read through my personal profile, you will see that a book by Elliot is listed as one of my favorites. It seems shallow to call it a "favorite" a movie I enjoy, or chocolate. In fact, "A Chance to Die" is one of those rare books that has impacted the way I think and believe. It is the biography of Amy Carmichael, who became a missionary to India over a century ago. I cannot begin to explain the impact these two women have had on lives, or the face of missions in general... I'll leave you to read it for yourself. Here is the short form.

Amy Carmichael traveled to India as a young woman, with a desire to teach and evangelize people who were living in a darkness she could barely comprehend as a Victorian lady. Although her heart was for a traveling teaching ministry, God broke her heart for the children sold into temple prostitution. As she began to rescue children out of this horror, her new ministry was born. As she collected children from all over India, she needed a place to put them, and workers to care for them, and most of all, people to pray, and give to their many needs. Dohnavur Fellowship still exists today, though it is run entirely by native Indian workers. Amy Carmichael dedicated her entire life to her "family" at the fellowship, never returning to England, but dying in India as an invalid, after years of caring for her children.

"Scraps by Nobody" was the name of one of her newsletters home to a select circle of loved ones, who were committed to pray ceaselessly for the ministry at Dohnavur Fellowship. It was her desire to present their needs in a realistic way, without the desire to entertain and titillate the reader with glamorous stories of foreign, exotic lands, or missionary conquest and adventure. Likewise, it was not a plea for funds, but simply for prayer, that God who could supply every need, would make their way clear. In Amy's mind, her "scraps" were not important for the purpose of making herself known, or of making someone on the receiving end feel important. They were just bits, offered up to God, to use as He willed.

In the near future, we will be sharing some of our pressing needs. We hope that you will pray ceaselessly that God who is able to supply all of our needs, will make our way clear. We also hope and pray that our "Scraps" will help you to understand how you may have a part in this ministry to damaged children, to which God has clearly called our family.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Daddy, Mamma! Soapy and me saw the polyester woodpecker in the woods today!"

Baby LaLa--age 11