Monday, April 29, 2013


Our home was invaded by aliens this weekend.

Two little brown-eyed, brown-haired aliens to be exact.

And we allowed them to keep their newly built habitat up from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. It was a little tricky getting through our living room, which is really our primary living space.

But it was totally worth it to see these two play together so nicely all weekend.

I can't wait for Summer...but then again, our house may never be the same again!!!

West view
North view
South view
East view

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Charlie and Isaac

Today brought a very, very special reunion.

And I woke up this morning with a smile in anticipation of how our morning would unfold.

Where to begin...

I guess I'll start a few months back when I read a post on our Yahoo "Shanghai Adoptions" board. It was the post by a mother, named Cheylene, whose son was about to undergo open-heart surgery. She was requesting prayers for his upcoming surgery. The fact that her son was Charlie's age did not register at the time, but my radar went up instantly because her son, Isaac, is a heart baby. 

My radar always goes up for heart babies. 

And this child has the same heart condition as Daniel had--TOF (Tetralogy of Fallot).  I felt compelled to write back to this mom, immediately, to share another valuable network with her. For the past nine months, I have been part of a private group on Facebook consisting of all "heart moms," mothers of children with congenital heart defects. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I've learned from these amazing women, who are all tremendously dedicated mama bears. They are some of the kindest people I've ever met, without actually meeting them. They are a special group of moms, for sure, and I just knew inside that Isaac's mom belonged there, too. 

When she joined the heart group, Chey quickly posted a picture of Isaac on one of his recent hospital visits. In the backdrop of the photo, I noticed a sign that read "Miami Children's Hospital."  

Of all the crazy things, could this family be located right here in South Florida? 

Divine intervention. They live less than an hour away.

We chatted on Facebook and began to digest the fact that our sons are the same age, and from the same Social Welfare Institution in Shanghai. And when we started "doing the math," we speculated that they must've been together in the orphanage for about nine months.

Of course, then, I was just drooling to meet Isaac. But Chey, understandably, wanted to keep Isaac in a bubble before his open-heart surgery. I could totally relate, because I'd been the same way with Daniel before his surgery three years prior. We forged a plan to meet once Isaac was post-op and home from the hospital. His surgery came and went, and he literally blasted out of the hospital after a strong and notable recovery.

Today was our day. We decided to meet at a park halfway between our towns.

I must admit that it was a little emotional for me as Chey and her family approached the picnic area. I believe Chey felt it, too. How could we not?  I mean, our sons lived together, across the world, possibly in the very same room. And we are left to wonder...did they sense each others presence in lonely times?  Had they heard each others cries when a comforting touch was scarce?

The boys got along great. They shared and played together. Isaac's brothers, Ezra and Nathaniel came along, and they were great helpers on the playground. They were welcome assistants, given our desire, and our need, to share our journeys and compare notes. Chey and I had so much in common on so many levels.

Our boys, perhaps, knew each other long before they were a part of our lives and our families. There's a special bond between us, just based on that alone. It was pretty awesome.

We asked them if they knew each other in China, but our two barely-verbal sons remained silent. We just don't know those answers. And perhaps neither do they. Charlie's been home for two years now, so for these little guys, their time together in Shanghai is ancient history.

But whatever the case, I have a feeling that a deep, lasting friendship has been formed today between two moms...two sisters in Christ. And we plan to get our families together soon. 

These boys have a lot of catching up to do...


Monday, April 22, 2013

Bubba's Babes

Bubba and Grandpa headed back to California last weekend. They traveled by way of New Hampshire to pay my brother and his family a visit for a couple of weeks. We were, of course, sad to see them go, but they are coming back in September to be here for the kid's birthdays!

The last six months went by with the blink of an eye. I am so incredibly grateful to have their support, and the kids enjoyed so much quality time with them on this trip to Florida. Bubba and Grandpa always kindly offer themselves as our primary babysitters on the few occasions when Jimmy and I have plans. But on this trip, their time with Charlie was spent mostly during the week and allowed me to volunteer in Madi's classroom and Girl Scouts, do Juice Plus and book stuff, take Madi to baton lessons, or even to pick Madi up from school if Charlie was sleeping. It was a relief to have that reinforcement! It takes a village, and we're blessed with an exceptional village!

It's remarkable, really, that by the time they get close to leaving, Charlie's bond is so tight with Bubba that they are practically inseparable. They totally "get" each other.  He truly is Bubba's boy.  Sometimes I think he would gladly choose Bubba to care for him over me! And as I recall, Madi was the same way at that age.

On this trip, Charlie had his first sleepover...and his second...with Bubba and Grandpa!  On both occasions, he marched out the door with joy, accompanied by his backpack and his "beebee" (blanket). He never looked back. He knows true love when he sees it.

Bubba and Grandpa, we'll be counting the weeks until you come back home to Florida!  Thank God for Skype:)

Bath time
After Madi's baton performance
Downtown for the holidays
Happy Birthday, Bubba!
Bubba's birthday celebration
Fun at La Bamba
Making "parting gifts" for Bubba & Grandpa

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Duck Poo.

WARNING:  Proceed with caution.

This is one of those stories that probably shouldn't be recorded in writing, but I can't help wanting to  save it to share it with our son's girlfriend or significant other someday...

Last week, as we played in my Mom and Dad's backyard, we suddenly heard the sweet little voice of a neighbor child. A tiny blonde girl appeared at their fence, and smiled at Charlie. He grabbed the fence and smiled back at her.

"What's your name?"  she asked him with a giggle.


Charlie took a moment to formulate his response, and then, with a mischievous grin spread across his face, he answered,

"Duck poo!"

Ummm...excuse me?  Did my son just refer to himself as some sort of fowl excrement??  Did he really just say that out loud?

Yup. With pride, I might add.

And then there was silence again. We chuckled under our breath, even though we were slightly appalled. He is such a boy.

Thankfully, this little girl had been listening to us for a while in the yard. "No...your name is Charlie!" she quickly corrected him.

But what, one might ask, would even prompt our son to choose "Duck poo?" And sadly, there is an answer.  Or at least a clue...

A couple of weeks ago, our front walkway was the unfortunate target of animal guessed poop. Or supposed duck poop, anyway. We never actually saw it happen, but whatever the case, a duck took the blame for the crime scene.

Well, it was obviously there too long, because Charlie became all-too-accustomed to me saying, "Don't step in the duck poop, Charlie!" or "Watch out for that duck poop, kids!" and it was long enough for our son to decide that those two words had a nice ring to them.

And thus he coined himself "Duck Poo."

Actually, that's his nickname. The full version he'll give you is "Doc Doc (short for "doctor") Char Char (short for Charlie) Duck Poo Murphy."


The next time you see us, please don't "fuel the fire" so to speak...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013



Finally!  Our seven-and-a-half year old has lost a tooth!

Oh, dear friends, you have no idea...

How we've heard about this for two years now.

It started in Pre-K as some of the little ones began losing teeth. And then in Kindergarten.  And again in First grade.

For a good year, Madi's prayer requests have included, "And please let me have a loose tooth."

It was such a popular topic around here, that Charlie's been convinced, for months, that he has a loose tooth, too!

Madi's bottom front tooth started to wiggle before Christmas!  Yes, it's been that long. And right behind those two front teeth...two big ones started to take up space right behind them. We called the dentist only to be told "Let nature take it's course."  Advice that we liked hearing, but really?  It took almost four months for that tiny little joker to pop out (with Daddy's help, I must add)!

As a Mommy, I always viewed losing that first tooth as losing part of my baby. But the Good Lord had my back on this one, too, because I totally don't feel that way now, given her age. In fact, I've even been quite ready for tooth-losing-territory for some time, especially when I started to imagine a future orthodontist bill!

Last night, Madi quickly scribbled a note to the Tooth Fairy. It read:  "I really want to keep my tooth, but I want the prize, too!  How does that work?"

Well, I can tell you how it works. Her wish was granted!  She found a five dollar bill under her pillow, and the tooth was there, too!