Thursday, September 25, 2008

Val's Award to Us - The Spreader of Love Award

Spreader of Love Award (200x240)

Thanks Val for this Award! 
This was given to both Bill and me way back in February! I am just glad that people read and enjoy our blog, but this was our first joint award so it's extra special.  I hope I can continue to spread Love, and that my love for my family shows through.

So, now that I can finally figure out how to post these awards, I can reply properly to them. Here are the rules, very simple.
Post this blurb and link below:
This blog has been awarded The Spreader of Love Award created by The Love Blog, for an outstanding demonstration of blogging love.
Nominate as many or as few as you feel you need to !
So, here are my nominations of blogs with lots of love shown in them.
2china4Ayla  They've been home with Ayla only two weeks less than we've been home with Acer, and have had some tough times to pull through.  She shows so much love for her three daughters in the pictures she takes and the care she puts into each entry.

Adopting William This blog truly shows how different SN children call to different parents who are open to God's word.  An incredible story.

Just Another Ordinary Miracle A blog of one family's search to find a new normal after the birth of their daughter.  The love and joy in daily life in these entries touches my heart.

Moving Mountains I love this blog because I never know what the entries will be about.  4 children, 3 SN, One adoption, a lot of crazy fun and love.

Throwing Starfish A blog from the other end of adoption, from the foster home in China.  A good read from the very beginning, you'll get caught up in the lives of the little ones in no time.  Thank you Amanda for following God's promptings.

Brief bit about Chunbin from her foster home

just to tell you that ChunBin is amazing, we had people from Scotland that came to record the kids and they recorded Chunbin on the climbing wall ( she was safe ) she did amazing, she was so strong, and kept climbing until the top. She is a sunshine....
You can see the new video we made , where Chunbin is quite often on it at the Bethel website.


Heather's note, Calliandra/Chunbin is the one saying 'Welcome to Bethel' at the very begining; then she's in braids with red puffs during the next singing bit. Now let's play - Where's Little Miss; leave me a comment and tell me one new place you see her. Don't tell me all, because then others won't have any to comment on.
Also, Bethel is a cause you can join on Facebook, let your friends know about this great place!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please pray

Our fundraising has slowed down and we need some inspiration.  We're about to send out a check for more than we've fundraised so far.  God Is GOOD, he has not let us spend any money on this adoption, he's provided it all.  All I can do is continue to go on faith that the rest will be provided and praise him for what he's done so far.

So, now I'm out of ideas; I need more. I am going to set up a table at Acer's school's Ladies Night, but that's in November.  So please pray for the finances and for my inspiration.  I know God will provide both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sharon's Award to me - Arte Y Pico Award

I want to thank Sharon for awarding me this, I'm not sure I deserve it as it appears to be about pictures and art and design, but I appreciate it. As this is the first time in 22 months that I've changed my background and I've just learned how to post pictures, I will take the award in the spirit of friendship and encouragement for me to do better.
So now, I'm supposed to award it to five others so I've chosen my five best picture takers or blog designers
Here are my choices:
Joey at The Village Voice not only takes great pictures, makes great collages of said pictures, she also adds quotes and RECIPES of lovely food.
Ang of My Life is My Playground has a funky blog with a great pictures. I love her sense of humor and her stories of her life.
Rob at China Wheelie is taking a break from traveling China on a recumbent trike. This blog is worth the read for the pictures he takes and his take on the small town cultures of different areas of China.
Tiffany at Bamboo Sprouts takes many pictures of her three great kids in her effort to get just the right one. I appreciate all the effort, as I just don't seem to have the talent to capture Acer's mood as she does her kids' moods.
Amy over at Catching Butterflies Two She is always keeping her blog design fresh and lovely. I like her writing style and her posts, but this is an artistic type award and she doesn't let you get bored looking at the same background. She adds cool quotes, movies, and keeps her blog looking sharp!
Click Here to learn the rules

Only Three weeks later and I remember to post about this one

Thursday the 4th was a very busy and exciting day for us.  Acer went off for his third day at school and then as soon as he came home on the bus, off we went.  A quick trip to our Social worker's office to pick up (hopefully) our last piece of paperwork for Calliandra's dossier, then to the Secretary of State office for 'The Great Seal' (can you hear the theme music that accompanies those words?).  

From there we headed up to meet a former English teacher of Calliandra's,  Chris Chesbro.  Chris has volunteered at Bethel and formed a bond with our daughter and her two best friends. Thanks to mutual friends, Chris and I have been in sporadic email contact.  He let me know that he would be in town and we made plans to meet.  Up until this point, I had no idea what exactly he did.  I found out, he's in charge of all Steven Curtis Chapman's 12 or more guitars, tuning them correctly for the different songs.

We met Chris at DTE  music theatre, an outdoor venue less than 5 miles from Bill's work.  Chris took Acer and me backstage during sound check.  It was very loud, but Acer was enthralled, especially with the drums.  I actually covered his ears with my hands while they played.  You could feel the music vibrating through your ribs and lungs though, don't think I've ever been that close to  raw music.  Chris showed us a few pictures he'd taken of Calliandra and then asked if Acer wanted to play the drums (Silly question).  Acer said yes, and then, a few minutes later asked me if he'd be playing with Drumsticks (drum and sticks are a double bonus).

The sound check died down and Chris asked Drummer Chris Kimmerer (of SONICFLOOD) if Acer could sit on his lap.  Chris K nicely said yes, and handed Acer his drumsticks.  I think he was rather amazed as Acer started tapping out a pretty decent beat.  If I were a drummer and someone handed me a three and a half year old blind child, I think I'd expect random flailing, not a beat, and not reaching out to find the cymbals with his drumsticks.  Steven Curtis Chapman (SCC from now on) was approaching, and Chris K said "He's going to play for you in Dallas next week".  I'd like to note that Acer looked appropriately cool with his Bono - esque goggles on, very rocking!

SCC then came over, extended his hand and introduced himself.  I expressed my sorrow for his loss (of daughter Maria in May), he asked when Acer had come home with us, and then we talked paperwork.  Because of his connection with Chris Chesbro, and because the Bethel Choir sang with SCC at one or more concerts in China, SCC knew exactly whom we were talking about.  He's adopted three girls from China himself, so he's very familiar with the paperwork involved with assembling a dossier.

Acer then happily climbed down off the drum stage, clutching a pair of Chris Kimmerer signature drumsticks.  Yes, Chris K. gave him his very own set, Acer was overjoyed.  As Acer was showing me them I asked him if he could 'Thomas Lang' them. Thomas Lang is one of our favorite Youtube drummers and his starts one video with a long set of drumstick tricks.  Chris K. looked surprised at this statement, obviously recognizing the name, and I explained that Acer listened to MANY drum videos and named Acer's main favorite, Tony Royster Jr.  Chris K. seemed impressed at this and said "he's really serious about this then" about Acer.  (Yes, Acer's serious, we envision drums coming home this winter as a combined Birthday/Christmas present.)  Chris K. Said he didn't have any videos on youtube, and I didn't find any, but I hope he gets some there soon, we'd like to see and listen to them.

We had to go then, and decided to travel up to see Bill and show him the new drumsticks.  Acer was so excited he kept hitting them together  all the way there - Thomas Lang - watch out!  It was too bad we couldn't stay to see the concert, it would have been great, but Thursday night is our night to talk to Calliandra and that rates higher in importance than the concert.

The pictures are of Chris Chesbro and Calliandra together in China.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Seven weeks later, I finally remember to blog about this.

The first weekend in August we went camping at a campground less than 1/2 hour away.  We haven't been camping with Acer before so it was an adventure.  We were meeting up with three other families from one of my yahoo groups.  These families all have children with Bilateral Anophthalmia or bilateral Micro opththalmia (no eyes or small eyes, Acer has small eyes).  Aside from that, we all drive 2005 or 2006 dodge/chrysler minivans (we didn't know that beforehand)  We started the weekend on Thursday and ended it Sunday afternoon.

Sherry and Karl arrived first and she was able to get 4 sites together and she'd also made signs saying White Cane Campers, the name of our group (we had to call ourselves something)  Sherry has 4 children and was able to bring three of them camping.  Her older two are boys of 6 and 10, the youngest at just under a year was Kyden.  Kyden is a little bit of a girl, but oh, did she like to move and crawl and explore, and eat grass!  We were constantly on the lookout for those little hands to grab grass and stuff it in her mouth.   I think she just liked the way it felt, and wanted to see what it tasted liked as another exploration sense, not as  desire for food.

Acer and  I arrived second,  Bill arrived after work.  I emptied the van, and put stuff close to where it was going to go, but needed Bill's help to set up the tent or screen tent.  To Acer's delight, there was a playground close by.  We spent quite a few hours there.  It was so hot I had to make sure to bring liquids that he would drink.  He can get playing so much he doesn't want to pause to re-hydrate.

Janet, Matt and their two sons arrived next.  Their oldest is 5, so he fit right in with Sherry's two. Wesley is such a cute little guy, at 2 1/2 he's the next oldest after Acer.  He's musically talented, he already sounds out songs on his mini grand piano and he has the amazing ability to sit, and balance his legs to they don't touch the grass, Killer Balance!

At this point we noticed that there was another trend among the families: On the way there the women, who'd met online, were telling their husbands about the group and quizzing them as to which child went with which parents!  The husbands wisely tried to remember as much as possible.

The rest of that day was mainly a hang out and get to know each other day.  I'd brought a lot of stuff from home to entertain the three older kids, it was easy to do because it was all packed in our wagon ready to go.  We'd had Bill's family reunion the weekend before, and so I'd just left the stuff in the wagon and we brought it all with us.  The lots were spacious enough that we were able to set up the ladder golf and the giant blow up soccer set no problem.  That night two of us had the usual camp site bandits hit our screen tents - Racoons!  They destroyed a little bit of food, but nothing major.  They totally ignored junk food, the least healthy stuff they went for was bread.  Just goes to show, animals can be wiser than humans!

Friday the three families went swimming at the little lake in the park, we were camping in a county park.  The water was really shallow and the fish were incredibly unafraid of people. Schools of 10-15 would come up and get really close to you if you stood still.  The other two families went back to camp, but Acer was going to play on the playground near the lake when I looked up at the sky.  The clouds were rolling in FAST and mean looking.  We zoomed home and secured our site.  I pulled everything away from the edges of the tent, Bill took down our screen tent and anything damageable went into Hiho.  In the midst of these preparations, the last family arrived and we were barely introduced before we were working like crazy to get their tent up before the storm hit.  A county sheriff actually drove through the camp making a get under cover announcement during all this chaos too.

Brandi and Scott and their little daughter Kayla had made it into their tent and then the skies opened up.  Kayla's the youngest of the group, by a whole three weeks.  I imagine she and Kyden will grow to be great pals in the future.  Scott actually had to get up early to go to work on Sat.  So we were really glad he was willing to make the effort to come out.  Kayla is the one whose birthday Acer went to just a couple weeks ago.

After the skies opened up on us, we sat in the HiHo and waited it out.  It wasn't too bad being in the car, we were warm, dry and safe.  A little but later, the skies cleared and all the families started poking their heads out.  We took inventory and made sure everything was okay.  As we were doing that, we could see a line of clouds coming in, despite sheriff's driving through and saying we were out of the storms.  These clouds were funky, they rolled over themselves as they travelled.  This translated into some decent sized hail hitting our heads a few minutes later. Note, Hail is formed when rain falls down, and then gets blown back up and freezes, repeated until it's heavy enough to fall through the wind.

We had a decent night's sleep, but Sherry and family's stuff got soaked and so they headed home (than heavens it was relatively close) and spent the night there.

Saturday, the park had a couple big events planned, hayride, corn roast and band.  the whole group went, but at different times.  We stayed later than the other families because there was a band playing.  This is the band where Acer first played on a real drum set, and the drummer even gave him a pair of real drumsticks.  You can see Acer drumming on garbage can and pole in an earlier post.

Sunday, we all basically just packed up and went home.  We were the last to go and the park sure looked lonely without the others.  All in all, storm and raccoons aside, we had a good time and are looking forward to seeing them all again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Family needing prayers

Room for at least one more is still in China and their daughter is still in the hospital.  Please keep praying, they are having to work within an established bureaucracy while fighting to do the best for their frightened daughter.  

I've put a link in the friends in blogland blogroll on the sidebar, you can check there for updates. Please let them know you're praying for them, at last count they had over 600 messages of support still to read.  These are helping bouy them up during this stressful time.
Heather BT

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Seven Years today we've been married, Eight years since our first date.  

The best eight years of my Life.  You've helped me realize dreams, You're my other half, my soul mate.  In so many ways it seems we've been together much longer, in so many others, like we've only just begun.  You blatantly humor me, let me snuggle with frozen, from working outside, butte and feet, and put up with my innumerable idiosyncrasies.  

Who knew that Mindy would be this right  when she said the 'You and Bowman would really get along' and blatantly stuck us together in  her wedding.  She's right and you are the most right part of my life.  

I love you rocks and rocks.


Urgent prayers need on behalf of a small child

There is a family in China right now whose child is desperately ill in the hospital.
Visit here to read the whole story, and join me in sending prayers up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Children's Hope Families

There's a new yahoo group CHI-families you can join.  I know all the others were shut down so this is a new one you can join.
Heather BT
Also, I've started a CHI SN one myself. go here to join.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Acer's Family day celebration

Okay, so I'm continuing in my quest for world photo domination.

I think I'm slowly getting better at this, and by the time Acer graduates from College,
The world will be mine..... Bwa Ha Ha Ha ha!!!!!!!

These are a couple pictures from my brother's phone that never got posted.
These are from back in May, when we celebrated Acer's Family Day.
We plan to always celebrate this as a bigger holiday than his December birthday (for a lot of reasons).
So.. here are a couple pictures of my favorite Little Man in one of the coolest t-shirt/hat combos ever!

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Little Miss's ever shorter hair!

In the few months that we've been talking, Calliandra's hair has been getting shorter and shorter. Here I've ever been practicing with a Barbie Head doll so I could do cool straight hair things and now, it's getting so short I don't know what there will be left for me to braid. Oh well, she's just so dern cute whatever length her hair is. These are snapshots taken during some of our Skype conversations.

And, A Big HUGE whew of relief. Last week our agency said that they WERE allowed to turn in our dossier and we don't have to switch. Thank you all for your prayers. While I never doubted the other agency's competency, I knew that CHI had dealt with Bethel before and would let us go there to pick her up and to meet her existing 'family'. This is good for closure and also for us to understand her life before us.
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The front Flower garden

Here's Acer next to my Hardy Hibiscus, Fireball. It's hardy throughout Michigan and can take it wet, even boggy wet.
Acer and my double daylilies
Acer and Plume Poppy leaves, Maclaya, smaller and more cut, and my Sea Kale leaves, Crambe, almost as large as his body.

Acer, Plume Poppy, and Herbstonne Rudbeckia

All my perennial plants in the front garden have to reach at least 4' tall. The Plume Poppy and Herbstonne reach at least 8'. On the other hand, my japanese maples and my evergreens are all dwarf ones, growing only an inch or so a year. I do like the unusual!
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This is Acer after his second day of school last week. He fell asleep on the bus home, as usual. I carried him off, up the stairs and put him on the bed. He folded up like this, still sleeping and didn't want to be moved. A few minutes later he had tucked himself under the blanket, but he didn't want me to do it for him.
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Kayla's First Birthday party

This was the First birthday party for our camping friend Kayla. It was at a local water park and Acer had a really good time, climbing all over everything, running through the sprinklers and playing drums with a couple yogurt cups. Acer is by no means the poster child for blind children, but Kayla's extended family now have a better idea of Kayla's potential. Some didn't even realize he was blind, I think this let them realize that she'll be a normal child, just one who can take out her eyes and hold them in her hand if she wants to! (no, Acer can't do that, he doesn't have any sort of artificial eyes but all the others in our camping group do).

We first met Kayla before Easter, when she and her two grandmothers were at the State Police Bomb Squad ticking egg presentation. She got the cutest onsie from them.

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Here are our cuties on the way from Target to Kohls.
They both behaved really well the whole day as they played. Acer was so tired from the paying and no nap that he actually fell asleep in the double stroller/cart at Kohls.

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This is our lovely old piano, with An acer and Jarvis duet in progress

Here are Acer and Jarvis just outside Target after lunch.
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Thanks Loads Guys!

Just wanted to give a big shout out to Tammy and Monica who've been fundraising for us in different ways, between the two they've raised almost $200.  Huge Thank you's from the Adopt a kid bunch.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I actually loaded these pictures myself.
Look out world, there's no stopping me now!
except, hmm, they aren't all there. I'll have to put my plans for world photo domination on hold for now. Sigh. Well, some are better than none. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A day of firsts, first day of school by himself, first bus ride

Today we all rolled out of bed extra early to make sure Acer was ready for school in time.  Yes, this night owl set of parents were up at 6 AM to get Acer fed, cleaned and dressed by 7:30.  Acer's morning routine is a mix of the both of us, I get up and do what I need to do and leave, Bill gets up and putters around for a while and then gets ready.  Acer gets up and gets down to business, it's just that he does it so slowly that it takes at least half an hour to eat half a cup of cereal.

So we were ready extremely early, 7:30 was no problem; the down side was that the bus which we'd originally been told was to arrive at 7:30 and then been told 7:45, didn't actually arrive until just after 8:00.  He's supposed to start school at 8:30 and it takes me 35 minutes in non rush hour traffic to get there.  Add in the fact that there were three middle school kids on the bus, all being dropped off at a different school along the way, means he arrived VERY late.  Oh well, it'll get straightened out soon enough.  The bus driver actually asked if he talked.  I sort of laughed and replied 'Lord yes, '  because the little man is not known for his silence!

Acer wanted Bill to hold him while we waited and then agreed that he was 'worried' about school, which translated into needing more holding time to reassure him.  We told him he was going to have a good day (we know how many toys are in that room, and playing is how little ones learn)

When the bus pulled up to drop him off, it was a different number than the bus number I'd been given.  I'm not sure what happened to that original bus, but he came home alright on the other, sleeping while belted into place.  Yes, the excitement of the day, plus playing on the 'curly' slide at school wore the little guy right out and he slept.  Interestingly enough he said HE took the teacher to the slide.  Not sure how his brain worked that out.  The teacher wrote a note and said he'd had a good day and that they'd worked on a calendar and he'd enjoyed feeling the dots.

Now, he's down for a nap, stomach filled with lovely grilled cheese bagel, happy with the thought of going outside to play after nap.  In the world of the Little Man, life is Good!

Bill will add pictures later