About Jodi

I am a wife and a mother of three, enjoying staying at home looking after my girls.

First Impressions

We are home from a week in Little Man’s country!  I really don’t know how people manage to blog their adoptions.  I spent the whole week in-country trying to piece together posts in my head to even begin to convey all that took place, and I can’t.  I just can’t.  I’m still not clear on when I’m allowed to freely share pictures of Little Man, or his name (he has one now!), so I will just have to tease you with photos of everything but him, and start at the beginning.

We arrived in the capital city last Sunday.  Wow, a week ago today.  Crazy.  We landed at about 2:30 and were immediately driven up to LM’s city about five hours to the north.  Our driver/facilitator/translator/moral support provider and all-around great person to have around was Eti.  And here I have to temporarily derail myself, being the name enthusiast that I am, to explain that Eti is *not* a name in LM’s country at all.  Her real name is Krystina (read: CRUST-ina, not KRIS-tina – this is also unusual and frequently misunderstood and mispronounced).  “Eti” was her first word, though not a word at all, and her mom began calling her that as a nickname.  And it stuck.  Was I glad I asked about her name?  Oh, yes, I was.


We slept for most of the drive, but the bits of scenery we saw in between were lovely.  I had braced myself for five hours of being hungry, sweaty and bursting for the potty, but to our pleasant surprise, we had a beautifully air-conditioned drive with frequent rest stops.  We arrived at our very fancy five-star hotel on the Danube at about 8:30, and, too sleepy for a proper dinner, ate some crackers and hit the hay.

View of the Danube from our Balcony

Monday morning, I woke up at 3, and there was no getting back to sleep.  I was meeting my son that day, and once my mind was switched on, there was no switching it back off.

We arrived at the orphanage a bit after nine, after a grand tour of Silistra and stopping for directions three times.   As soon as we opened the gate, we saw him through the window, watching and waiting for his “Mama ee Daddy”.  I lost it.  He was wearing the same orange shirt as in all the pictures we had ever seen of him (even though most of them were over a year old), and there he was, in the flesh.  Tears just came.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it together for our first meeting, but thankfully, we had to meet briefly with the director before being taken in to him, so I had a few minutes to pull myself together.

The director spoke endlessly about Little Man’s history and medical condition, and every few minutes Eti would give us a one-sentence synopsis.  Perhaps her job title of “translator” would have been better described as “summarizer” or “boiler-downer”.

Then it was time.  We were warned that he would probably cry.  I didn’t blame him.  I cannot even imagine being told at five years old that the two people you are about to meet, the ones who look funny and talk in jibberish, are going to take you away to a foreign country and be your parents.  I would cry, too.

And cry, he did, at first.  He hid himself behind his carers and howled.  They all whispered encouraging words, but he was not coming anywhere near us.  We waited, happy for him to come to us in his own time, until one of the workers asked if we had any toys with us.

Of course!  The bag of toys!  We pulled out his Build-A-Bear and the whole atmosphere changed.   He tentatively came over to us and took the bear, and as soon as he discovered the voice boxes in the paws, his apprehensive look changed to one of sheer joy, and we hardly saw any other expression from him for the next three days.

He delightedly pulled out each item we had brought for him: coloring books, a ball, a puzzle and a photo album of our family and home, taking each one around to each of his beloved carers to show them off.

Checking out his future home

We were so encouraged to see the warmth and love between the carers and the children in his group.  He and another girl with special needs are the only two older children in a group with 6 or 7 toddlers.  Because of their medical needs, they are able to receive better care there because the staff are all medically trained.  There is also a group of children with more severe special needs in the same orphanage, but Little Man benefits more from the activities and structure that the little (“normal”) ones get.  He is in an ideal situation, as these situations go.  Everyone loves him there.  Even gardeners and social workers and others who only drop in from time to time all knew his name and came over to us excitedly for him to introduce his “Mama ee Daddy”.

For our part, it was completely love at first sight.  He absolutely felt like our son the moment we saw him, even while he was sobbing and wanting nothing to do with us, but all the more once our attentions began being met with enormous, light-up-the-whole-room smiles.

More to come…

Easter Egg-stravaganza!

So I finally decided there was no way on earth I was ever going to get caught up on all of the Easter blogging I hoped to do, but it would be a shame not to document our Easter festivities at all.  Here’s a collection of photos from our egg-dying at Grandmom’s house on Easter Eve and egg hunting at Aunt Mary’s on Easter Sunday.

After all my fretting about losing sight of thr true meaning of Christmas a few months back, you’d think I’d have made a special effort to help the girls reflect on what is far and away, the more important holiday: Easter.   Somehow, amid visitors and juggling four girls, it just didn’t happen.  On Easter Sunday I was feeling discouraged that I had, by my silence, let the girls forget for this year that Easter isn’t all about bunnies and chocolate and eggs.  It isn’t just some metaphorical celebration of the new life that comes up all around us each spring.

And so, in a last ditch effort, the two big girls and I spent Resurrection Sunday (before the big egg hunt at Aunt Mary’s) trying to make Resurrection Cookies, as described in our church cookbook.  You can also find the recipe here, on a lovely site that I found by googling (I hope its author won’t mind a little linky love from a complete stranger…).  We also replaced the pecans with walnuts, and found that normal vinegar works just fine.

If  you are the kind of person who is already gathering ideas now for next Easter (which I, unfortunately, am not), I can thoroughly recommend that you follow the link and check this out.  The idea is that each ingredient and step of the process of making the cookies symbolizes a part of the story of Christ’s trial, death and resurrection, culminating in hollow meringue cookies symbolizing a glorious empty tomb.

I wanted to take pictures of the resulting cookies for you, but sadly, we hit a little roadblock in our quest for Resurrection Cookies.  I have no electric mixer.  My little handheld food processor, which I use mostly for pureeing my own baby food, seemed to be doing the trick ever so slowly, but then it got really hot and stopped working.  So I was left with only a tiny little whisk to get the job done with, and let me tell you, those stiff peaks are mighty elusive when you’re working with a tiny little whisk.  So, 45 minutes and *zero* stiff peaks later, I gave up and made our cookies out of slightly thick, gooey egg whites.  They were still yummy the next morning, but it took some persuading for the girls to see the “emptiness” of the tomb (“No, sweetie, you have to look behind the walnuts.”)

A few important lessons were learned:

  • An electric mixer really is an essential if you want to make meringues.  ( I had one is Scotland, but it wouldn’t have plugged in here, so I gave it away when we moved.)  What I want to know is, how on earth did someone discover, back in the olden days, that egg whites ever form stiff peaks and turn into meringues?  I think I’d have to be really, really bored to want to beat egg whites by hand for the required 3 hours or so that it apparently takes, just for something to do.
  • Watching someone beat eggs for 45 minutes is not that fun if you’re three, or even four and a half.  I released the girls after about ten minutes, and they popped back into the kitchen every few minutes to see if there was anything to be licked yet.  Sadly, no.
  • But most importantly, my girls really do seem to have hearts for learning about the Lord, and this was such an encouragement to me.  This activity provided such a great platform for reminding them how Christ suffered for them, for me, for the world, and how He gloriously conquered death once and for all – hallelujah!

We will definitely do it again next year.  But, umm, with an electric mixer.


They are a novelty around here, to be sure.  The moment the girls set eyes on their uncles Adrian and Nathan last week, I knew this one going to be one of the best weeks ever for them.  This is what we got up to.


Apparently a fan of newborns just like his big brother, Uncle Adrian gets acquainted with his new favorite girl.


At the Franklin Institute (You can feel... the fun!)

img_3341 img_3354


Uncle Nathan with the three big girls at our local nature center.


Matching Ampelmann shirts from Gran and Grandad's trip to Berlin last summer gave Pippa and Uncle Adrian a special bond.

Even our homeschooling was a little more lively for having boys around:

View this montage created at One True Media
Levers 4/14/09

Tonight the girls and I dropped the boys off at the airport, and the two big girls cried for five minutes straight as we drove away.  Then, for the rest of the journey home, Romilly would periodically sniffle, “But I don’t moant (want) the boys to leave.  I moant the boys to stay!”  And even Beatrix noticed their absence and asked, “boy-ee?” every so often.  It’s going to be a tough adjustment around here getting back to being a family of *just* six.  We miss you, boys.

Laid Up


This very unconvincing scowl is hiding Trevor’s sheer elation at having fractured his elbow on his way home from work on Thursday (okay, maybe not elation, but he’ll admit it’s had its silver lining.  Read on.)

He was riding his bike home from the house of the guy he carpools with and collided with a teenager playing basketball in the street about a block from our house.  (“I thought he would get out of the way!” is Trevor’s defense.)  The kid was fine, and Trevor dusted himself off, straightened his handlebars, put his chain back on, and rode home.   (Yeah, I know!)

He told us all what happened and showed us a nasty little abrasion on his hand, but neglected to mention that he couldn’t move his arm.   We ate dinner and went to Barnes & Noble for a “date night” with baby Junie while his parents got the girls to bed.  By 9:30 he was looking a little pale and conceded that a trip to the ER might be in order.

It wasn’t until I saw the triage nurse take his sweatshirt off that I really believed it was broken.  The pain looked pretty close to the worst contractions I’ve ever felt, and I’ve never seen my husband in pain like that.  Poor guy.  We spent about three hours at the hospital, but in the end, Trevor got the vindication he was looking for: the ER doc called it a fracture and sent him home in a splint.

Trevor’s been a very good patient, and now that he’s had the splint taken off and is just in a sling, he’s back to doing far more than he should be probably.  He’s healing quickly, and we’re thankful for that.  Here are some of the “perks”  of this situation, at least from Trevor’s point of view:

  • He got two “free” days off work while his parents were here.  He hadn’t planned on taking any.
  • He is signed off diaper duty for at least a week or so.  (Funny how he can still re-pot his tomato plants and make coffee with one hand, but he can’t change a diaper…)
  • He had never broken a bone before, and I’m pretty sure he feels like he’s joined an elite club now.
  • He got a shout-out in the sermon this week for the second week in a row (last week’s was about the accent).  He goes bright red every time, but he loves it really.  The sermon was from James, and about trials, so he was an obvious target.  (And do you know what he told me afterwards?  He said this was probably more of a trial for me than for him.  Isn’t that nice?  I do love this guy.)

In other news, Trevor’s parents went home last night (got there safely, we’re assuming?), and I am off to pick up his brothers at the airport in a little over two hours.  So the bloggy drought will probably continue for the next week of so, but rest assured it’s for the happiest sort of reason.

Oh Dear, What Is the Matter, Bea?



I should be writing a post about what a lovely time we’ve been having with Trevor’s parents while they’re visiting.  We are, truly.  But the only thing I can think about right now is how naptime has all gone horribly pear-shaped today, and I don’t know where I went wrong.

Having four little ones under five years old is actually not as bad as you might think… as long as everything goes exactly the way it’s supposed to.  As soon as someone needs to go potty at an unexpected location or wakes up early from a nap, it goes from peace to utter mayhem in a matter of minutes.  Today, the unspeakable nearly happened:  Beatrix *almost* refused to take a nap.

I say “almost”, because she is now (at 4:30 pm) *finally* fast asleep on the floor of my bedroom.  I know exactly where she is because I tried to sneak in and take a picture for you, but she ended up so right-up-against the door in her attempts to escape/persuade me to rescue her, that I couldn’t open it.  Apparently she can climb out of the crib now.  I know this because I put her back in it three times before I gave up and just left her alone.

I am not panicking.  She has a cold, and her routine has been a little wonky this week because of her Gran and Grandad visiting, so I’m not accepting that she could be considering dropping her nap at 20 months old.  She only dropped her morning nap about a month ago, so whether she likes it or not, naps are a part of her life for *at least* another year.

I am also not panicking because I was reminded of this verse while I was praying a few quick Please-let-her-go-to-sleep prayers in the thick of it all:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:17

God is faithful indeed.

Bloggy Bloggy Party Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

You know that awful dream where you realize you’re supposed to be somewhere an hour after you were supposed to be there, and then you have to try on every item of clothing in your wardrobe to find something appropriate (and that fits) to wear, and then you hop in your car and get horribly lost on your way there and never do actually arrive before the dream ends?  (No?  Just me?)  Well anyway, I feel like I’m living that dream.

Nobody told me this week was the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 over at 5 Minutes for Mom!!! I know I’ve been living under a rock since my new baby girl was born three weeks ago, but I really don’t know how I missed this.  I had so much fun at last year’s party that I decided, better late than never, and here I am!

If you’re here visiting from the party – welcome!  I am Jodi, a happily married stay-at-home mom to four lovely girls under the age of five.  I am a Christian, and I always hope that my blog is a blessing to those who read it.  Occasionally I manage to write deep thoughts about God, but a lot of the time, it’s just my wonderful if ordinary life around here.

Have a look around if you like, and let me know you stopped by!

(By the way, very sorry for the vague reference to this song in the title of my post.  It’s an occupational hazard of having small children that you get songs like this lodged in your brain so firmly that you can hardly think the word “party” without getting them stuck in your head for days.  Sorry if I’ve done the same to you now!)

Things You Maybe Didn’t Know About Juniper

juniper While our little Junebug is named after my great aunt June, whom I have called “Junie” since I was old enough to talk, we chose to give her the full name Juniper for a few reasons.  1.  We have a short and boring last name, and June just wasn’t doing anything with it.  2.  How would you like to be called June when your sisters names are Philippa, Romilly and Beatrix?  Wait, don’t answer that.  3. An evergreen shrub makes a better name for a February baby than a month of the summer. I think.

Since choosing her name, we have found out a few more interesting little tidbits about it, most of which have made us love it even more.

1.  The name Juniper is etymologically related to  lots of other more, umm… normal names.  Jennifer, Guinevere, Winifred (a great aunt of Trevor’s, as it happens), and Ginevra (middle name of one of my cabbage patch kids – who knew?) are all different forms of Juniper.  Juniper is, of course, the best of the bunch.

2.  Gin is made from Juniper berries.  Thanks very much to our dear missionary friend Jan for pointing this out to us when we told him this was the name we planned on using if we had a girl.  (This would be the one that doesn’t so much make us love the name more, but what are you going to do?)

3.  And then there’s this:

I shared that we were considering Juniper with my mom very early in the pregnancy, and she said (though she’ll deny this), “You can’t name a baby Juniper.  It’s a Donovan song.”

I expected upon googling to find some awful, trippy, drug-induced song that would deeply scar me and forever ruin the name.  (Maybe something more like this Donovan song, which Pippa now loves since we followed the YouTube link from the above. Weird.)

Anyway, no.  The lyrics to “Jennifer Juniper”, the song my mom thought we couldn’t possibly allow to be connected to our daughter, are as follows:

Jennifer Juniper lives upon the hill,
Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still.
Is she sleeping ? I don’t think so.
Is she breathing ? Yes, very low.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love ?

Jennifer Juniper, rides a dappled mare,
Jennifer Juniper, lilacs in her hair.
Is she dreaming ? Yes, I think so.
Is she pretty ? Yes, ever so.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love ?

I’m thinking of what it would be like if she loved me.
You know just lately this happy song it came along
And I like to somehow try and tell you.

Jennifer Juniper, hair of golden flax.
Jennifer Juniper longs for what she lacks.
Do you like her ? Yes, I do, Sir.
Would you love her ? Yes, I would, Sir.
Whatcha doing Jennifer, my love ?
Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper.

Jennifer Juniper vit sur la colline,
Jennifer Juniper assise trs tranquille.
Dort-elle ? Je ne crois pas.
Respire-t-elle ? Oui, mais tout bas.
Qu’est-ce que tu fais, Jenny mon amour ?
Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper.

Lovely, right?  I finally got around to  playing the song for Trevor a couple nights ago, and we’ve both been singing it to the baby ever since.  He’s even decided that someday when some boy asks him for permission to marry Junie, he will sing to him,”Do you like her?”  and if the response isn’t (also sung, of course) “Yes, I do, Sir” then he can hit the road.


Is she dreaming? Yes, I think so.


Is she pretty? Yes, ever so.


Whatcha doing, Juniper, my love?