23 January 2016


Christmas was good. As was New Year's. And now the red and green and twinkle lights in shopping malls are being replaced by red and gold and firecrackers as we move into Chinese New Year season.

**My crutch enabler pb&j maker Au Pair (like a nanny, but more French sounding) Stephanie returned as planned to the US in December. So my plan of attack for still getting things done around here mostly included making my kids step-up their helping game.

In those rare moments when I have time to have a train of thought that pushes past the next to-do items on my daily routine, I tend to think about the moment I'm in compared to the moments similar to it, that passed months (or years) ago.

"Wow, 6 months ago Ivy wasn't big enough to take her plate and cup to the sink after a meal. She looks like such a big little girl when she does it!"

I love when I see progress. I am amazed at time passing and relish that my children are growing and learning and changing. Lately I've been wondering if I need to concentrate more on things I can do to purposefully grow as well.

Cheering on a 2 year old using her chubby peanut butter covered fingers while she flushes the toilet and telling my 4 year old "You can do it!" as she concentrates on not sucking her thumb has made me wonder where I'm to go as, in just a few weeks, I finish off year 35. (As in I will turn 35. You don't count it 'til you've completed it. In most countries at least.)

Where's the progress in my life? What can I learn to do? To stop doing?

My kids? Some of its easy to see...

Like this one here now has FOUR top teeth. Including the middle ones.
When our Ira Bear smiles he doesn't show his top teeth. Hence the mom grab on the face.
He can also pull to standing and cruises around everything. (but this picture is funnier)

And this one here? (Meaning, Ivy)
Has been potty training for 24 days now and only wet the bed 4 times. We go all-out on potty training here at the Rivers household.

Mama ain't buying no more diapers. Ya gotta learn kid.  And this little girl is holding her own in the toilet game.

Was there an incident in the produce section by the bananas? Maybe.
But have the expensive imported Skittles worked wonders otherwise? Absolutely.

Anyone who is just realizing that maybe their 4 year old daughter is sensory seeking, raise your hand.
{raises hand}
It's really just with food, and maybe there's something cultural to it, but progress is being made in getting this one to use utensils when she eats. (unless its french fries, nuggets, roti, pizza, or the like).
Slow painful progress, but she's trying. (I think) (and really, I'm trying to grow my hair out. I promise I didn't not learn my lesson in 3rd grade when I got bangs cut. It's a phase I hope to soon grow past!)

If you want to see a Star Student, feast your eyes...
This one here has been "consistently excelling in all he does." And if you think for a second that a piece of paper with a star on it is on par with "My child was student of the week...." bumper stickers back in the day (do they still have those?)  Then you would be overlooking him nearly mastering the "TH" sound in speech therapy, learning to READ, trying out the butterfly stroke in swimming, cleaning his own bathroom, AND making an effort to put others first at the dinner table. (Heaven help me when everybody wants to go first!) He can also count to 100. Boom. Proud as punch, I am. And he is too. Rightly so.

Progress in droves for this one (again, not the Daddy one, though I do adore him).
Isaac has been stretching his helpful legs lately. This kid has been working on calming himself down and also on what it means to be a contributing member of his family. Do I miss Au Pair Stephanie? YES! (hello, adult conversation all day!) But the trade to teach this one how to clean his own bathroom and make the garden beds look nice by weeding them has been worth the effort. He's so proud of himself and doesn't shy away from the hard work. Also a Star Student since the new year started "for being principled with the quality of work he produces in class."

I'm grateful for all I see in those around me and I want to be encouraged by it in more than just a "that's great for them!" sort of way.

Why not me?

I'm looking intently at what will progress in my life in 2016. Yes, new challenges in motherhood count as progress. But aside from the motherhood and marriage parts, I'm asking myself, "By December, what progress will I see?"

I'm a bit slow on the whole New Year's resolution thing. But I come 'round. And as a Christian I'm trying to see what sorts of things God is doing around me or placing in my heart. Even if on the surface they don't seem like "purely religious" ventures. If the Lord has gifted or enabled me to do something, I want to receive the opportunity as being from him and then do it as unto him.

So when the occasional long quiet moment occurs the list of possibilities starts:
Try something new sewing? What if this is the year I start a big heirloom worthy project?

Go back to school? Online programs? What would I like to learn? Doctor? Social worker? Business? Teacher? (nah, probably not teacher)
More Language study? A different language? I've always wanted to learn Chinese. French sounds so fun. But maybe I need Spanish?
Start something that flows from my faith in God? Bible study? Outreach to refugees?

Add a new cooking technique? Maybe get Julia Child's French cooking book? What if in 5 years I'm like a chef or something?
Start writing a book? Adoption related? Adventure fiction? Adoption adventure fiction?
Start that Booster club at school? Bring Cheerleading to my corner of Southeast Asia?

Sure, these moments are tempered with poopy diapers, (It's now 18 months until we will be done with diapers for FOREVER. But who's counting?)  practicing spelling words, and teaching proper spoon holding instead of eating sweet potato casserole with fingers.

But I think... "If I just pick one. And really try it. I wonder...." 

Hope your 2016 is off and running! 

**child in the photo on the far left is not ours. He's a neighbor and classmate of Isaac's. Clarification in case you thought you missed something REALLY big since the last blogpost.

06 November 2015

In a flash





A short recap and through careful examination of the photos, one would gather that,
1. We finalized Ira's adoption
2. We moved back to Malaysia
3. School has started back
4. Life keeps going

We've had an Au Pair, Stephanie (from Canada via Georgia), living with us since August and I STILL haven't found the time to update the blog. Apparently adding ONE child to the mix is enough to take away all of the extra time and more. But I'm a story teller and I couldn't stay away from this place forever. I've got some good ones you haven't heard and there's ones we haven't gotten to yet. So keep coming back, mkay? And I will too. (Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye... wow...that's way more morbid when you type it out than when we used to say it on the playground. Still though, I'm back.)

29 April 2015

The Final Fundraiser before Finalization

***This Fundraiser is now Closed. Thanks to everyone who bought a tshirt!***

We will be finalizing Ira's adoption sometime in June. It miiiiight be the beginning of June or it might be the end.  We find out for sure soon.

This will be the end of our fundraising.
It won't be the end of us paying fees, but once we move back overseas it'll be really hard to fundraise.

So here it is... your last chance to get yourself an awesome tshirt or tank!

And because who doesn't love accessories... my friend Melanie has offered to give us 100% of the profit from a Jamberry's Nail Wrap party. Wouldn't cute red polka dots go with your fantastic new red tee?
Just follow the link and be sure to choose "Rivers Party" at checkout. If you order within the next couple of days, the wraps will be at your door by Mother's Day! Just the little extra for all the moms in your life!

We ship! Internationally too!

Leave a comment to order a Tshirt. Follow the link to order some Jamberry's.

Here's us in the first round of shirts. (On Easter...thus the eggs in the grass...)

Again, leave a comment to order yours!

28 April 2015

Our First Month with Ira Sebastien

  Ira Sebastien Rivers
March 27, 2015
7lbs 5oz, 20.5 inches

Just gonna go ahead and pull the "I've got a newborn in the house..." card and say I'm actually doing good- nay, I'm actually surpassing expectations- and getting a blog post up.

It's been one month and I've been awake for most of it.

But little man is awesome, and he WILL (so help me) get his days and nights back in order and me and my pillow shall meet again.

Excepting 1-5am, Ira has proven to be quite the perfect 5th child. He has dealt with the onslaught of affection that his sister Ivy has unleashed upon him like a deep rooted oak tree in a hurricane. Though if he could speak, he'd probably voice a complaint about the general noise-level of the older 4 i's. Alas, he's silent on the matter.

We will write more later about the hospital experience with him.

For now, we can't emphasize enough the strength, maturity, courage, and sweetness of his birth mother.  I will die for my children and if she and I took the situation to a grand jury, I think they would pick her as having the greater love. In situations like these, it's not the absence of love that a woman places her child with others, it's quite the opposite. We are happy to tell him all his life that he has never been without love. Aside from God himself caring for this sweet one, He arranged Ira's life to never have a lapse in affection.
And can I just say his dimples are almost too much?

I have hoped as each of mine has been placed in my arms that there would be a tiny bit of skin tacked down on at least one side in such a way as to melt every passerby in the universe. And yet I waited.

i1? i2?  i3?  i4?  Nada.  i5 has brought to our gene pool the most perfect set of dimples my eyes will see in a lifetime.
(when he starts smiling in the next couple weeks, there will be no end to the dimple pics)

 This month, Mr. Ira also tallied up the greatest number of "likes" and "comments" our facebook account has ever seen in a photo. Our Mighty Man owned it like a boss.

He also wins the "Largest baby feet" of any Rivers kid. They're not chubby yet, but there was never any hope for those tiny newborn socks.  So far 6 month socks are all that will stay on.

Here is his one month photo with his Chocolate Moose. Plus a glimpse of the dimples.
(so appropriate for our little Haitian I can't handle it)

We are blessed indeed. Though it's costing more and more to go out to dinner these days, I can't help but feel rich. The goodness of God is tangible when this one wraps those fingers around mine.