Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TX - Here we come - Hat and all

This photo is just a glimpse at the near future, a little foreshadowing. The ugly faced cry has been avoided up until this point.
When Amie was in town visiting in September we agreed NOT to discuss Britt's departure. Any time someone brings it up I just request we not talk about it.
Tomorrow we are leaving at an ungodly hour to catch a flight to Dallas. We'll hop in a car and be in Waco by 11am. Once we're there Britt will get excited, she'll start making plans and signing official documents and I will look something like Hope did in this photo from 2003. I don't even care who sees me. We will be back in MN by Thursday night, hopefully I can pull myself together by then. But I doubt it.
Today Troy took Phoebe to get that eye thing checked out. I was going to go along but as we discussed what still needs to happen before tomorrow it became clear that dividing would be better.
We've not said much about Troy's condition ... Because who wants to read about horrible rash problems? Not you. Not me. But at this point it seems that prayers may be the best option for the poor guy and we're not sure anything else but the Lord's intervention will help him. Not that I want you to see it, but if you did see his rash, you would gasp. It is VERY bad looking and he is constantly itching. Two oral treatments and two topical treatments and still no relief. The problem is not only the itching. The problem is that we are married. Maybe that came out wrong. Being married is NOT the problem ... We like each other. The problem is, we have not slept in the same bed for 60 some days. We're like Ricky and Lucy, some sort of throwback to the 1950's and that is not really our thing.
We're not sure if they misdiagnosed him or what the deal is. He called the Travel Specialty, weird diseases clinic yesterday but they have not called back to get him an appointment yet. Please pray that it ends. He is understandably very sick of being uncomfortable. He also misses having a real bed. It is getting colder in MN so cuddling would be nice. The combination of being too busy to speak to one another at length, and not sharing a bed ... Well, it is leaving us feeling like we're sort of co-workers managing a business --- and not married people. Waaaah wah. Done whining now.
We're praying that Britt either LOVES or HATES the school tomorrow and that she has such clear peace about it that one way or the other she knows what to do. Troy and I are hopeful that there is one dormitory that allows parents to track their children with some version of GPS from abroad and know each time the child leaves the building or moves a muscle. If it exists, that is where she will live.

Monday, October 29, 2007

From "A Slice of Life To Go"

In The End
October 28th, 2007

Some time ago during one of my kids’ elementary school events I was walking the halls observing the latest student created art and literary projects displayed on the walls. One was by some third graders who were given the assignment to write about what they thought their future would look like. All were entertaining to read, yet a boy named Ryan penciled one that grabbed my attention.

“When I grow up I am going to be the world’s greatest hockey player. Then I will be a famous scientist, marry a perfect wife and have 5 kids. In the end, I will die.”

Being a strong believer in the value of a liberal arts education, I appreciated his understanding that he can indeed excel in both hockey and science. With the right approach he can transition his career from slap shots and body checks to titrations and electron microscopes. And I loved his innocent naiveté in believing that there exists such a creature as a “perfect wife” (or husband). A precocious kid like Ryan may be well on his way to accomplishing everything on his list, though someday that “have 5 kids” thing will require some serious co-operation from his perfect wife.

However it turns out for him, he nailed one truth to the wall.
“In the end, I will die.”

I can’t help but think if Ryan keeps that fresh in his head, everything that comes before the end will be rich for him.

When we acknowledge each day that there is an end to life on earth, it helps us live with a sense of purpose.

According to the actuarial table used by the United States Social Security Administration, my life expectancy extends another 33.28 years.


I can probably add several years for not being a smoker, a drinker or recreational drug user. And the family genetics indicate that 80 plus years is a good possibility. But my cholesterol and blood pressure are a little on the high side, I tend to worry too much and wherever I go I seem to be surrounded by crazy drivers. So it’s probably a wash. All things considered, if I escaped city traffic and moved to North Dakota, I could probably fire up a Cohiba, start drinking Guinness and still come out ahead. But I’m an average guy and the average 44-year old guy lives another 33.28 years.

I’ve never been good at math. But I can see the obvious. Statistically speaking, my life is more than half over. That in itself is sobering. Not that 44 is old. But it isn’t 34. Or 24. Or 12. It’s 44. I’m closer to the end than I am the beginning.

We’ve all heard or been posed the hypothetical question, “If you knew you only had a year to live, what would you do?” Such a question sends us rushing to prioritize. What’s worth my time? What’s not? What would I do more of? What would I do less of? What would I not do at all?
Of course, the follow up question is, “If there’s things you’d do more and less of if you knew you only had a year to live, why aren’t you living that way now?” Junk mail is junk mail, right? Opening it is a waste of time whether we have terminal cancer or have another 50 years on the planet. That the people in your life know you care about them is important all the time. So why wait for a tragedy to say “I love you”? Especially when telling them now will enrich the relationship for whatever time you have left?

The “what would you do if you knew you had a year to live” question is a healthy exercise if it reminds us to live with purpose. The danger lies in thinking the question is hypothetical. Because whatever the Social Security Administration’s actuarial table says about our life expectancy, there’s a more important statistic to keep in front of us.
1 out of 1…dies.

It’s just a matter of when.

There’s a difference between living with a sense of panic and living with a sense of urgency. The former is based in fear. The latter flows from confident purpose. God desires that we live with a sense of urgency because He created us for a purpose.

In Psalm 139 God tells us that He “had all our days written down in His book before there was yet one of them.” And in Ephesians 2:10 God says that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that He has prepared in advance that we should walk in them.” Simply put, we can live out each day knowing that God has our life in His hand. He has a plan for us. A life of good works that He has prepared for us to do. If we live fully each day, how much time we have left becomes irrelevant. Because all we can do is make the most of the time God grants us.

And He grants us one day at a time.

So whatever you’d do more of and less of, start doing it and not doing it. Live with a sense of urgency.

Thank God for writing all your days down in His book.
Then ask Him to help you make the most of this one called “today”.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12

Phase One Complete & Gotcha Day

We're not really sure how it happened ... but that room is only half as full as it was 72 hours ago. Woot. It's amazing how much easier it is to purge after not seeing things for two years. Lydia did a lot of resting, and was not too helpful. But Britt, Paige, Troy and I all sorted for most of 10 hours on Sunday.
This conversation took place over and over:
"Do I need this?"
"Have you needed it in the last two years?"
"Well then you probably don't need it ever."
"But, will I use it sometime in the future?"
"Has you life been empty and void of meaning without it?"
"Then you probably don't need it."
"Okay. You're probably right."

(Troy does not need his National Honor Society pins and memorabilia from 1991 & 1992 and I do not need every single piece of artwork that Britt or Paige ever made. We also don't really need 14 pairs of jeans in one size smaller and one size larger.) The two pack-rats of our family are Troy and Paige. We were all very proud of the moves they made to separate themselves from their stuff this weekend.

It feels good to have a handle on what is actually in the room. The Goodwill became familiar with our faces this weekend. We've had a few calls on the house, but no renter yet. Our current renter has another month left, we're praying that November brings the perfect new people and that they want to move in in December or by January 1.

Over the weekend Lydia's social security card and Birth Certificates came in the mail. We were able to go apply for her passport this morning. The logistics of taking a passport photo of a baby are just a little more difficult than you might imagine. The baby must have eyes open, be facing the camera straight on, and have a white background without any hand or assistance showing in the photo. The photo was captured by laying the white board on the floor, poking her to wake her up, holding her hands down at her side and timing it right ... before she turned her head to the side to look for milk. After all, the only reason she has to be awake is to eat. At three and a half weeks of age she feels like she needs to have more freedom to up and leave if she gets bored or disgusted with her surroundings. Being stuck in Minnesota feels very limiting to her. When she found out it will still be six to eight weeks before she can bail out of here, she threw a gigantic tantrum ... can you imagine waiting until you're ten weeks old to be able to travel abroad? The injustice. At least she is going to Texas on Wednesday to visit Baylor and make sure she agrees it is the place for Britt. That should serve to cure her of her itch to see more of the world. ;-) Britt is glad to have Lydia's input as well.
FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, Hope and Isaac became USA citizens when they landed in Miami and became official.

It is still one of the most surreal days of our lives. The same time that we landed in Miami and made the kids official, a boat of Haitians arrived on shore illegally. When we got to our hotel room, emotionally high (and drained,) we turned on our TV to see the live coverage. It was so sad to see the desperation of all the people running to hide to try and stay in the USA, and knowing that Hope and Isaac had just escaped ever feeling that desperate.

Tonight we're going out for pizza to celebrate the wonderful, exciting, and never boring five years with them. God is good.

Sunday, October 28, 2007



My wedding ring!
It WAS in a box, buried in that room ... inside a coffee mug filled with loose change, nails, and paperclips. Even if only 1/8th of the work is completed in that terrible room, yesterday was a success.
We're headed back there again today.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last year at this time, we were dealing with this ... seems like a loooong time ago to me.

Jamie and Sharon, just reading it and looking at all we did that week together makes us miss you both so much!!!!

This weekend I'll be alternating between sorting out a 10X11 room with boxes stacked almost to the ceiling and keeping the dairy business fully operational for Lydie B. Ike, Hope, Noah & Phoebes are all staying away from this room with capable baby-sitters. It will be easier to get rid of their stuff if they're not watching us do it. I hope to be able to finish by mid day Monday.
Here's to clear thinking and no emotional outbursts.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stealing Blog Material

I read this on the Providence Blog today, LOVED it ...

I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my God was speaking, My name is I AM. He paused. I waited. He continued. When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS. When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WILL BE. When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM.

Party Planning 101

There was a time in my life where I planned huge parties for a living. I often worked with five or six brides at one time and also dealt with multiple corporate parties and events all at once. I managed to remember everything and even found it boring and simple at times.

Yesterday, I stood in Party City and could not pick out a paper plate. The choices were vast. 8" or 10" clear, white, green or yellow would all work. Paper or plastic? I managed to choose a lovely clear plastic fork and brought my selection to the counter. As I stood thinking how stupid it was not just to decide on a plate and buy them, I notice the cart in front of me. That lady was buying a bunch of plastic cups. I consulted my list. No cups on the list. I had walked past them in the store, I have beverages planned for the grad party ... yet, the cups never made the written or mental list. Are we not supposed to improve at things as we get older? How does a person lose a skill like organization and planning?
This is a symptom of some greater problem. I am currently incapable of thinking straight and/or planning ahead. For example, on October 12th Hope came home from school, tossed her backpack in her room and then did not have school at all last week. This Monday, it occurred to me that I should check her backpack for notes. Sure enough, there were notes AND homework (no time to do it between 8:45am when I found it and 9:00am when they had to be to school) AND an invitation to a birthday party. FUN! An invite. I was excited for her. My excitement was short lived, the party had taken place two days earlier.

This is our life right now. A day late and a dollar short. Or, in this case two days late... and many cups short.

If you are coming to Britt's party next weekend, please BYORFWTD. (bring your own receptacle from which to drink) And if you wish to invite Hope (or any other child) to your home, don't assume that the parents will ever see the invitation, give us a call instead.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


For the first time in more than 20 months, we took our kids (6 of them) to a kid-type event. Shocking? Daring? Impressive? All of the above! There are not a lot of ECFE Community type parties in LaDigue. So, we mustered up all of our energy, bravery and might and headed into town. The decision was sealed once we saw that they did not charge a per person fee, but just $10 per family. They lost money on us. You know a Dutch person loves that.

It was called a "very un-scary Halloween party" and the costumes had to be "friendly." We happened to have the same costumes that Paige, Ike, Hope, and Noah wore in 2004 ... SCORE, everybody moved up to the next costume and we were in business. (Photo from 2004 below.) Lydia got nothing out of it. She was totally bored and unimpressed. But the other kids had fun, even Paige. Pounding golf tees into pumpkins is very very fun to three year old boys.
Posted by Picasa

Halloweenies of Yesteryear

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In the absence of blogging material ...

... Post photos.

Isaac and Hope late 2003

Phoebe today ...

Divide and ...

I would not call it "Divide and Conquer" -- it is more like, "Divide and do your very best to stay patient and loving and focused and not melt-down and not snap at your spouse." Not quite as catchy as 'divide and conquer,' but it works.
We're busy splitting up kids and trying to get everything done. It is amazing we're sort of pulling it off given the fact that I pretty much spend 21 hours a day feeding Lydia, who really likes to eat.
I am a milk-delivery system and nothing more.
Each day we wake up and say, "Okay, I will take this one to do this, you take that one here. Later when that one needs to nap you can go get this done and then after that if you could be here I could take this one over to see these two at their event. Then I will get home before you and I can get those ones ready for bed and then when you get home you can deal with that one thing with that kid." AAAAAGGGGHHHH.
I asked Britt last night if it bummed her out to look up into the stands and see her mother nursing her baby sister at a swim meet (covered up by a blanket mind you!) She said, "WHAT??, am I EIGHT or something!??? Of course not!"
This weekend we have an entire weekend with access to our home while the renter is closing on her new house out of town. The children are divided and we will spend every waking hour making piles to either, sell, give-away, or store. I am hoping this is the weekend that I find my wedding ring in that dreaded room. It also better be the weekend that something actually begins to resemble organized -- once and for all!
Yesterday the guys called from the mission to say they had no electricity. In all honesty, my initial reaction was, "Yeah, so - it is Haiti ... deal with it." Then I realized that if it were ME without electricity, I would call for help too. Such a jerky American I am sometimes. Troy managed to fix the problem over the phone and everyone was back in business quickly.
Britt found out she was accepted at her first choice school, we're scrambling to plan a two day trip there next week to try and get it all nailed down. She may be headed to Baylor to be a Bear ... time will tell I guess. Let the weeping and gnashing of teeth begin.
Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words. We appreciate it so much. Have a terrific day, the SUN is shining in MN. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Graduation Announcement

With thanks to God for His
leading in her life and education
we joyfully announce the
High School Graduation of our daughter

Brittany Rachelle

Please join us for a brief ceremony
on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 10:30 a.m.

Followed by a celebration
Open House 11am - 2pm
New Joy Church
12825 Tucker Road Rogers, Minnesota

If you are in the area on the 3rd, please stop by for a tiny, yet delicious, Ham Sandwich on us. We would love to have you! RSVP via email at TL7inHaiti@yahoo.com


Everyone is starting to get over their nasty colds. We're VERY tired of the snot and coughing. I especially enjoyed stocking up on every variety of cough medicine only to come home and turn on the news report that said, "Children's Cough Medicine being pulled from store shelves, proven not to help children under 6." I still say it works. And I happen to own a lot of it.

Troy has a Barry White voice, alternating with NO voice. It is very sexy.

We have nothing much to report today. Troy and Phoebe got in early this morning from Michigan. They went right to bed and are still sleeping. Thank you to all of you who helped him with Phoebe, welcomed them both, and showed them such amazing hospitality. He said he thought he had been properly exposed to a Dutch community now. He thought he had seen as many windmills as he could see when visiting my relatives; but that was proven to be untrue. He might change our last name to VanderLivesay just to fit in better next time. He was also really happy to meet a lot of spouses of many of the people we've met in Haiti. All spouses received high marks from him. :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

News Link

Haitian Slavery Uncovered in South Florida

Our experience with this topic:
Many, maybe most Haitians, don't find this to be a problem. Some of our employees grew up with a Restavek in their home. A few even have one now. When we suggest that this is a form of abuse and slavery they look at us like we're nuts. Changing a cultural mind-set is not easy ... and maybe not possible???????

I know there are a few Haitian readers, I would love to know what you think.

John Robert Cadet, mentioned in this story, wrote a memoir worth reading if you're interested in this topic. It is both heartbreaking and eye opening.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Feature Story


October 19, 2007

Staff Writer – B.True


Just three weeks after conquering multiple airports, countless security check-points, and Customs at Miami International; Super-Dad Troy Livesay, temporarily of Ham Lake, re-packed his bags and his daughter Phoebe and headed to Minneapolis St. Paul International to fly the friendly skies again today.

Passengers on the flight from MSP to GRR all smiled sweetly as they tried not to stare slack-jawed in amazement at how well Troy handled his 11 and a half month old daughter.

Lois Smith was quoted as saying, “That man is a machine. He seems to be totally unfazed by the large eleven month old strapped to his back. He handles his child, carry-on and coat as if he is built of steel.”

Another passenger noted, “He seems to be dealing with a bad rash and is constantly scratching as if insane, yet he still smiles and handles his active daughter with patience.” That same passenger speculated that Livesay carried some 75 pounds on his rashy body as he paced the concourses in order to keep Phoebe happy.

We caught up with Troy as he boarded the plane. When asked what motivates him, he said “I love my wife and I want her to stay as sane as she can be. A 2 week old nursing baby and a teething 11 month old baby just don’t mix.”

When asked what flying with his daughter had taught him, Troy said, “Well two things really. One, Sky Mall Magazine is not just for shopping, it is edible too. Phoebe loves the taste. And two; people who really liked you and even found you and your child cute prior to boarding the plane, can turn on you like that (snaps fingers for emphasis.)

To see Livesay in action, visit the Grand Rapids airport Friday or Monday. Troy also specializes in tiny little airplane bathroom diaper changes and ridiculously cramped seating entertainment of toddlers.

Thoughts from a year ago ...

This week as we think of the flood-relief that Lori, Licia, and Zach are trying to do ...
This post came to mind.
Thank you guys, for never giving up and maintaining that He is always enough.
You inspire us!

2/9th's of the Tribe Heading East

Troy and his side-kick Phoebe are headed to Michigan later today. Because Phoebe can fly for free on Troy's lap we (read: I) thought it might be better to split up the two babies between the two parents. Phoebe is very much bonded to Troy and quite honestly prefers him anyway.

They will be in the Grand Rapids area visiting a couple of churches. One of the churches is Lighthouse Community Church, a church that sends two or three teams to Haiti each year. We've been blessed by their visits. Troy is anxious to visit them on their turf this time.

Isaac, Hope and Noah are going to go spend Saturday with G & G Livesay ... leaving Britt, Paige, Lydia and I to have some time to do some college (& Haiti) shopping. I am planning to pretend the things we are buying are not really for Britt to take and move away with; denial is a wonderful and powerful tool that can be used for coping. I cannot leave a tool like that to sit unused.

Happy 34th Anniversary Mom and Dad Livesay!
(A photo of Troy and his younger brother Paul with their new baby girls.)

Tipap (one of the greatest guys in LaDigue) called us to check in yesterday. He said everything is going well at the mission. It was great to hear from him, he is such a good guy, we all miss him and Haiti.

We actually accomplished a few things on the list this week. Our house is advertised, Lydia has health insurance, the dock is out of the water, the front bushes are trimmed, some thank-yous were written ... all the kids still received three meals a day and are bathed and clothed.

Everybody (except Lydia and Paige) has a cold now, but that is a MN fall tradition and cannot be avoided. Lydia eats every two or two and a half hours around the clock, but she is a very mellow baby and easily goes back to sleep after her night-time feedings.

It's a slow news day. Nothing else to report. Have a great weekend!

~Tara for all of us

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Two week stats -
7 pounds 15 ounces
20.25 inches

Grandpa thought-
She looked too much like her daddy. ;-) Really, he is going to get over it ... he just wondered why this one could not look more Porterish and less Livesayish.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How do you like your eggs?

Dinner time around here is sort of ... sort of ...


I can get through an entire day, do the cleaning, laundry, diapers, playing, managing life sort of things ... I basically keep track of everyone and sort of know what is going on ... I make a great PB and J sandwich at lunch time.

Dinnertime is not so easy.

Tonight Isaac and Troy and I all wanted left-overs from some of the yummy meals people have made for us. Hope and Noah wanted eggs. Fine. Not a problem. Eggs are easy. Are eggs not easy? Yes. Of course eggs are easy.

The problem occurred when the stove (which by the way is easy to forget about when it is in a bedroom) was left and forgotten with eggs scrambling. The eggs were not so much scrambled as they were charred. I peeled off the black parts and tried to convince H and N that they were still edible. They disagreed and Peanut won the prize. She likes burned eggs.

We stuck with the breakfast theme and had cereal instead. It would be hard for me to wreck that. (And, for the record ... Phoebe has not yet tried to cook anything from her crib. If she did, I might promote her to dinner cook.)

Tomorrow Lydia is two weeks old and has her first check-up. If things go well Phoebe will get immunized for a few things and Hope, Isaac and Noah will all cooperate and act like angels while that happens. In the late afternoon we're all looking forward to introducing Lydia to her Papa Porter ... who is safely home and is no longer sitting in that Crane.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Things Random and Not So Interesting

MN is a dark and dreary place. We heard on the news last night that there has only been one day of no precipitation since October 1st. Seasonal-affective disorder is in high gear. ;-/ After months and months of sunny days in the Caribbean, the clouds here are getting old. We're all enjoying the 50 degree temps, the rain can go though!
Last night our home-church had a fun baby shower for Lydia & Phoebe. It was a great time, we were blessed by the thought and effort that went into it. Thank you NEW JOY FAMILY!

We're all sensing that God has us in a holding pattern of sorts. The number of unknowns and the variables seem only to increase. As in, He WANTS us to learn more about trusting - and wait on Him a bit.

Britt is getting anxious about not knowing where she will go to college yet. The school she MOST wants to hear from has not yet offered anything formally. So she must wait. We (Troy and I) have no idea what to do with all our stuff and our house (the last two years it has been rented furnished) and the resolution of that situation is probably more than a month or two away. For most people (us for sure), not knowing ... waiting ... uncertainty ... Well, it is all very uncomfortable.

For whatever reason it is where we are, and we're trying to be patient, obedient, and trusting. Some days we are very good at it, others it is pretty ugly.
It is clear that God wants us to trust Him with all of it and trust that His plan for us will be known to us when we need to know. And no sooner.

Here is the house that God needs to sell or rent ...
The emotional attachment is greater than I realized to a silly house, but it is the only home Troy and I ever bought together, all of our early family bonding with B and P took place here, it is where Hope and Ike came to live after our adoption was complete, Noah's only home ... etc, etc ... My Dad and Troy added an addition in the summer of 2003 -- tons of their own labor and planning went into it ... so the place has some sort of emotional hold on me.
Here are our favorite photos that Marcia took ... She does a lot of wedding photography, therefore kissing is her favorite suggestion. My favorite photo is at the bottom of the blog, after the last post. Troy says no kissing photos for a prayer card though.

We had Hope and Isaac's Kindergarten conference today. Their teacher adores them and is a bit sad thinking about them leaving in a couple of months. They are total opposites, she seems to have a grasp on each of their personality quirks. She said, "Isaac really wants to be a big brother and take care of Hope == but she is not having that." :) She also told us that she asked him if when he got back to Haiti, he might write her a letter. He said, "Sure, what letter?" I only cried once during the conferences, which I think is very respectable.
And, because I know Troy is not at all watching the blog much these days, I will share a little secret with you. Mr. "I think American television stinks" --- really likes to watch (and admits to being a bit preoccupied with) "Dancing with the Stars."Phoebe puked on Troy yesterday, but that seemed to be it. She has not shown signs of illness since then. She is about to cut her FOURTH tooth in about ten days though. She will have two top and two bottom by weeks end. No messing around with spacing this teething thing out.
Britt and Paige are heading into the last weeks of swim season. I LOVE swimming and enjoy watching them, but we're still sort of anxious to have one less thing to juggle ... we never brought the whole circus to a swim meet, we just never wanted to subject ourselves to so much speculation. As it is, some man looked at Lydia tonight and said, "That baby is 12 days old? You have a senior swimming? Well, you'll have kids living under your roof for 36 years at least!"
Thank you sir, for doing the math. Mighty good of you.
I did not fill him in on the other madness.
Love from dank, dreary Minnesota-

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Posting quickly so that slide show will go away and the music will not automatically come on anymore. That has to be getting annoying to you.

The weekend was USA full. We're pooped. Britt swam and swam and worked. Paige went horseback riding and hung out with friends and Grandma. Troy worked in our yard with his friend John at the house. Our renter ended up being home so I was off the hook and did not go through the storage room ... I did go stare at the room for a half hour ... wept for a few minutes, then picked out two big toys to take over to a garage sale to sell. Not so productive really.

Troy and I managed to get the five little kids to church this morning. We were only 17 minutes late. Nothing to be ashamed of for the first try at it.

We treated Tara, Hope, Ike, Noah, and Phoebe with preventative Scabies treatment. Paige and Britt have had almost zero exposure and are in chlorine everyday anyway. Lydia is too little. Poor Troy is still struggling, but the Dr. told him it would take time to officially go away even after the treatment with the oral medication. Friends from church took a risk on Troy and had us over for lunch today. THANK YOU Chamberlains!!! Even if they're Canadians, we love them. ;-)

I think now that she is a whopping 10 days old, I can go out on a limb and say that Lydia is going to be an easy baby. Phoebe is checking her out a little bit here and there. Today she threw a stuffed animal right on her face. It was a loving sisterly gesture.

The coming week is full of school, swimming, Dr appts for many, and Troy's trip to MI. We'll write if anything newsworthy happens.

Until then,

Tara for all

Friday, October 12, 2007

More Linking

I have no time to blog deep thoughts; although seeing the flooding in Haiti and hearing Zach talk about it (on the phone this morning) is enough to cause lots of deep thoughts ... so sad.

Until there is time, I am sending you elsewhere for new blog reading.

Hope and Phoebe are back with Tess for two days. You might remember Tess is coming to Haiti in January to live with us and be a missionary to us AND to Haiti. To help you keep it all straight, Tess is Marcia's daughter.

I laughed at her descriptions of her time with Hope and Phoebe last night. Here is the link to her blog.

Back to my list. We'll find you Monday or Tuesday.

More Flood News & Photos

Go here for Licia's blog post about the flood.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sad News in Haiti

We've talked about Rusty and Cheryl before, they run a orphange/mission called Cabaret Baptist Church, School and Children's Home. They are kind people, with a cool blog.

Rusty wrote to Troy tonight to share some bad news about a flood in Cabaret. Go here to see their story and photos.

For those of you who have been to Haiti and stayed with us, Cabaret is the last "bigger" town you go through on your way North on 1 before you get to the turn to LaDigue. When you go throught that crowded market right on 1, you are in Cabaret. It is about half way between Port and the LaDigue turnoff.

Terribly sad to see. We're praying for you and Cabaret, Rusty and Cheryl!

Marcia Erickson is a Saint

The photo shoot is over. No one is dead. That is what we call SUCCESS in these here parts. Marcia took tons of photos. We're just starting to go through a few hundred of them to see if we can find one where Noah is not picking his nose or Phoebe is not trying to get away.

If there are none like that, well then, these two photos are by far my favorites ... and we'll just go with this ... These were the first few taken just to figure out coloring and if we would want to go out in the sunlight.

(Thank You so much Marcia!!!!! We love you! And if I were guessing, I bet you said "Phoebe" 568 times in one hour, you probably need to find a way to take a nap now.)

Choice One - Noah picking nose, Britt looking annoyed, Mom looking distraught, Phoebe on the move.

Choice Two - Phoebe's butt

Mites and other Joys

Troy apparently has Scabies or, "some other mite." Lovely. He took some pills and they said in TWO WEEKS he should stop itching. Thank you Haiti for all you do for us. Give, give give - that's all you ever do. In the meantime he is sleeping on his own mattress on the floor and we have to wash all bedding in hot water every day. They told him not to hold the baby and that we should all treat ourselves preventatively with some of that Scabies cream. Then they said, "Just take your kids and wife to the Doctor to get them the prescriptions for the cream."

They have no idea what they are asking "Just take your kids to the Doctor" means a heck of a lot of rigmarole to people who - A. Have annoying high deductibles B. Have no doctor that they regularly see & C. Have a boat load of kids D. Have kids who have not been seen by USA Doctors in a few years, therefore USA Doctors won't do anything without doing a physical first ... they are essentially asking that we spend about $500 to get some scabies cream. We are of course trying to buck the system and find a way around it by getting one of our Doctor friends to call in a Rx for the cream for us.

The total chaos of Monday and Tuesday melted into something more manageable yesterday ... maybe we can handle this after all - time will tell I suppose. I am tempted to tell Hope and Isaac's teacher not to send them home with things that we will lose ... the parents are not organized enough to be trusted with the school districts library books, please don't send them with the children!!!!

Troy and I decided that our avoidance of things we need to do is going to come back and bite us in the rear. We sat down and made our 'To-Do' list yesterday. The problem with the list is that all things are four and five day projects. It is not a list that says:

  • go to post office
  • return at Target
  • pay bills
It says:

  • Figure out Lydia's insurance
  • Get Phoebe to immunization clinic
  • Get photos and write Advertisement for house rental
  • Go through and clean out storage room and shed at house
  • Decide what to sell
  • Sell
  • Mow, rake, fertilize, weed, trim trees and bushes ... make yard in Zimmerman look like someone cares a tiny bit about the place
  • Take the dock out (on a day that it is not 40 degrees)
  • Finish planning Britt's graduation party (food, program, etc, etc)
  • Write Thank-You's
  • Start writing letter to Supporters to be mailed in November
  • Get Troy's presentation ready for Michigan trip
  • pay bills, write to USF for Britt, sleep and eat and oh yeah ... try to pay attention to the seven children

So, we have the list. Does it make you feel as nauseous as it does us? Lydia should have been born three weeks ago so I would have the energy to tackle this now.

Graciously, friends from church provided us with meals for this whole week. Thank you Bogles, Foys, and Verwegs! You've saved us from a lot of peanut butter.

On top of this, we decided to torture ourselves with a family photo today. Our old photo that we used for a prayer card is two kids short. We ran out a few months ago. Since Troy is going to share about the mission and the work Lifeline does he needs to have one. Marcia Erickson is coming today to do family photos for us ... seven days after giving birth I am putting myself in front of a camera. Thankfully I have kids to put on my lap. Anyone who has gone for a family photo knows this is a few hours where you all try with all of your might, not to kill each other. You beg your children to hold still and not fall in the grass or mud until after the photos are done. You grit your teeth and try to be nice while you profusely sweat and try to hide your wet pits. It is a great time of making happy family memories.

Troy spoke with Peter yesterday. Things seem to be going fairly well at the mission. They worked out the food order for next month and caught up a bit. Peter is like the grown up Isaac. He is a glass half full guy, and like Amie Sexton said, the glass is not only half full -- it is BEAUTIFUL too. He is the kind of guy you look forward to talking to whenever you can.

Much Love from the Land of the List-

Tara for all of us

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

For Dad/Grandpa

My dad missed out on Lydia's arrival. We are all missing him a lot. I am posting one quick story for him that I know he'll like. Dad, today when Troy was down in St.Paul at the Doctor, he and Noah drove through that construction area in the 35E and 694 area. All of a sudden Noah says "Hey Dad, there's grandpa there's grandpa!" Troy was totally confused and said "What Noah? WHERE is Grandpa?" Noah said, "You said he was in the crane --- there he is!" :) I had no idea the kid EVER listened to anything we say ... I guess he proved me wrong.

Phoebe cut a tooth today. Her first one. It is on TOP ... I have never seen that before. Is that weird? We finally weighed her, she is 23 pounds of thighs. Her new nickname is "The Fridge." We're aiming for her to be an NFL linebacker someday.

And, yes we know we need to destroy the blog so she never sees how much fun we had at the expense of her thighs.

October 2003

We have access to all our old photos now. It has been fun to see how much Hope used to look like Phoebe (just a lot smaller). These photos are all B.N. (before Noah) -- then Noah arrived in 2004 and started some sort of ball rolling that led to a larger family then we planned. We all agree that in some way Noah is the permanent baby of this family. He requires BY FAR the most attention...the boy is high maintenance.

Today Hope and Ike are at school, Troy went to the Infectious Disease people to have a follow up appointment. He is still scratching like a mad-man and the rash issue has not gotten better. Hopefully they can figure that out today. He took Noah with him to lighten the load (read: removed the high maintenance child.)

Phoebe plays nicely on the floor and Lydia is doing the eat and sleep newborn routine. Our first night at home was much more eating then sleeping; as expected.

The nursing thing has caused quite interesting conversations between the boys. I am just hoping they are not discussing the finer points of breast feeding when they are out and about today. I'm betting Isaac has informed the entire Kindergarten class by now.

I am devoting all my energy to moving slowly to minimize incision pain and to producing the right amount of milk. This is proving to be no small task. Not to be outdone by the new baby, Peanut has been sick for two days ... meaning Britt started her day off with a bang by cleaning up dog-mess. Why did we bring the dog here????????

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