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Life with Poppy

Well, Poppy is amazing.  And we have been slowly spoiling her.  She loves it, so do we, our just right puzzle piece finally at home.  She bursts with joy and expression, she melts into arms, smiles and dances through tile hallways and through our lives. We are crazy about her.  All the strangers love her, all the wild, rackous boys get more chill around her.  Penelope means weaver, and it was her most perfect name–weaving us with her little threads that radiate out of her.  Each one of us is stronger because of her.

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She has five people ready to give her anything she wants and needs–we literally can’t not.  She’s too sweet, too cute, her smile giving us cavities.

The boys toss her whatever toy she wants, even if it’s their favorite, a moment of shock on their faces if they see her even beginning to be upset.  They scold each other if their behavior is anything but accommodating.  They have taken on their roles as protectors, even emotionally.   Finley sings her lullabies until my heart explodes with his sweet crackly baby voice and she giggles and looks at him expressively through the corner of her eyes.  The boys have grown up a lot since she has come home, much more mature.  Elijah is quite the nurturer, I think I’ve always known that, he loves to tuck in stuff animals and speaks to them with an impossibly soft, kind voice, but now I get to see it with his baby sister.  One night, they even put themselves to bed, and fall asleep while I rocked her, which is like sweet nectar from the Gods and something I thought I’d never see until they were in college.  Finley in particular seems to be thriving with her presence, so grown up, so kind, his eyes and heart soften when he sees her, this big boy, conscience of his actions, where a toddler used to be.  She actually likes him the best of all the siblings so far, they have a special bond.

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There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.

But, our Elijah had a very rough transition for about two weeks, tough not being the baby anymore, tough when your routine is off.   SO ROUGH!  Transition is hard when your new life, your routine feels like it’s what saved your life, and then there’s something new, but he’s transitioning.  No matter what, Elijah has a heart of gold, a child with a heart to help above all else.

“I can’t find my…”

“I help you mama!!”

“Sister needs her…”

“I’ll get it!” and he dashes off without a second thought, just wants to help.

Today, she pointed at his lunch, and handed it to her after just a moment.

During his rough weeks, (rough) we signed him up for a behavioral analysis at Rady’s, “Sure!”  the lady told me.  “Our next opening is…let’s see, oh here, July….2016.”

“Um…what?  Are you kidding?  Is there some kind of cancellation list?”

“Yeah, but people don’t usually cancel, so….”

A couple day later Andrew was on the phone with our “insurance,” Medi-Share, and they always ask if we need prayer at the end which seems so out of context, but that day Andrew asked for prayer for Elijah, so she did.  And that afternoon Rady’s called us and had good news, they moved up to December, of this year even.  And now that he’s back to his old self, I am still glad we have that date in the books, and we wouldn’t have if he hadn’t had his hard week–All for the Good, everything, even the hard stuff has it’s reasons.  Now I am thankful for that rough patch.

Poppy is a big fan of smoothies.  I am not a fan at all of Pediasure, so I made my own recipe that she liked, and it has slowly evolved over time.


She eats about one new food a day and tosses her head to the side dramatically to other new foods, OR holds the food up to her mouth like play food, not actually touching her lips, but she pretends to eat it, good chewing like we practice, staring into our eyes waiting for how impressed we are going to be, like, “Look how fly I am, mom!!  Look at these chewing skills!”  We’re like, “Girl, you’re lucky you’re so cute right now,” and we don’t push it.


This yellow tomato plant is insane.  We could pick triple this much everyday for months, and it keeps producing.  Perfect after nap snack.





So far, she loves baked yams, tomatoes, soup, bananas, oatmeal, bacon, chicken, sushi, butternut squash, she had her first sandwich today…

As her palate expands, we aren’t worried.  Sometimes she turns up her nose to things, and Andrew will be like, “Oh just wait girl, your mom will get you to like it soon enough.”  Haha, I have very high expectations with food, I see it more like a choice of appreciation and don’t believe in picky eaters… I am sure I am in the minority–or crazy.  But, I have my tricks that work.

We can put WHATEVER we want into her smoothies and she looooves them.  I’ll try to share the recipe soon for DIY healthy ‘pediasure.’  I made the mistake of giving that to Elijah when he first came home, and it was so sticky sweet that nothing else was appetizing to him and it was hard transitioning him to solid food.

She loves crock pot food, we put a monster zucchini from the garden in it with some chicken and spices.

She was indifferent.


All the kids like their morning smoothies.



She has no sensory aversions.

Elijah’s all, “Must be nice…”

We did an art project after learning about Jackson Pollock, one of the best, in my opinion, artists to teach children about, so easy to replicate.  “Fine art,” I told them.

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She flies through miles stones so quickly, I can’t keep track.  She started feeding herself, became stable on her legs, can now dress herself…  She embraces life, learning and her family, which is why she is so quick to catch on.

Studies show that moms with 4 kids are less stressed than moms with 3 kids…so far we believe it.  After our transition with Elijah, we feel good, things don’t stress us out.

Maria has had her best summer ever.  Ever.

Maria is so kind, humble and trustworthy.  SO full of joy, she just loves little things in life.  This month she started taking tennis lessons near our home and loves them.  She has these teachers, they look like they are from the 70s, husband and wife.  So tan.  So encouraging, so cute. They let her stay for the kids lesson and adult lesson, so she gets 4 hours a week of tennis.


This week we rented Pollyanna and A Little Princess from the library, and those are the movies she gets most excited about.  She learned to crochet and we discovered the Khan academy.

When she got home from camp, we were talking about God and love, and people in need.  We talked about her Compassion child in India who is her same age.  I told her that it is possible send them extra money and they can buy utensils, bowls, food, shoes for school.  I told her that a little bit of money here could go so far there.  She said she wanted to earn money for Konada, so we thought up being a mothers helper.  She charges $3 an hour to be home and play play play with the kids while the mom can get things done.  She’s done it three days this week, and she LOVES IT!  “That was so fun,” she told me after the first day.  The moms love her too because she is strict on manners, long on fun– dress up, tea parties, soccer outside.  She has already made $69 for Konada!  Isn’t that amazing!  Maria and I are blown away that our idea is working so well, and helping all these moms, too.  Today while we were driving she told me, “Why wouldn’t I do this when it’s so fun, and it changes the life for Konada and her family, it’s a good way to use my time.”

Oh girl, stop.  I can’t even.  Kids can change lives.

Let’s see, que mas?  Summer is the best season.


I think with most adoptions, you try to slow down and let the kids chill at home for a while, but that’s just not the way things have been going here.  Fourth Child, she’s a sport.

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This girl loves her mama.  So much, just always and forever, no replacements.  If I thought I was getting ready for dinner, I was wrong, as she brings me the baby carrier and dances pointing to it.  I just think about how hard I had to work to get Elijah to tolerate touch, let alone be rocked and cuddled and I feel so thankful, and muscular since I probably don’t have to work out now that she’s always in my arms.

Why not.  She’s the 4th child, these stages go so fast, and you can’t spoil a child with love.




Tonight while eating out after dropping off Maria at tennis Finley told me, “Can we go?  I’m bored.”  I had never heard him say that before.

“Finley, we don’t say that word,” I told him.  “It’s not the world’s job to entertain you, it’s your job to find joy in this world.  We don’t say the word bored.”

“Ok mama,” he told me nodding.  I don’t want to play the ‘bored’ game and want to nip it in the bud now.

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Well, there is my update for now.  There are hard things too, Finley moved in with bunkbeds with Maria, so during nap time on the weekends, Maria, Andrew and I are all hanging in the living room since all the bedrooms are taken up–but, really, I can’t even complain about that.  I’m thankful they all nap at the same time and us being together is good.  Once I banished them all outside so I could sleep and they read under the avocado trees.

The ease of her transition feels like a gift.  We were ready, prepared to do the hard work, the same hard work we did with Maria and Elijah, rocking, feeding malnourished bodies, hitting the sensory issues or attachment issues hard…but, so far, she has just slipped into life, leaving more mature, caring and responsible boys in her wake and giving us all someone to adore together.

God cares about us, he knows the desires of our heart.  When He calls us to obedience, it can be so scary, I remember complaining about not having orange juice, but only He can fulfill our deepest hearts desires in ways we weren’t even consciously aware of.  Only Him.  Follow Him, wherever he leads.

Some things are better than orange juice.

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God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.          // Eph.3.20



So, let me know if you have any Poppy questions, or questions about life, or adoption, or adjustment.  Happy to share and answer, ask away!

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“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.” 
― Shauna Niequist


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  • Pat Spencer August 13, 2015, 4:26 pm

    I can see those 3 littles being best friends for life! Amazing to see how in a good orphanage the children with love are better off. Enjoy soon you will be looking at them asking where are my babies!

  • Alicia August 13, 2015, 5:30 pm

    Love this so much. I love your response to boredom! My daughter just started saying that too. I wish that Maria was closer to us. I’d love to have a mother’s helper!

    • tinyteam August 25, 2015, 1:17 pm

      She would LOVE that!

  • Tasha August 13, 2015, 6:17 pm

    There are only a handful of blogs in my reader that truly are a joy to read and yours is one of them! Thank you for sharing how God works in your life & being a testimony to the amazing things that happen in life when you say “yes” to Him.
    Also, I would pay triple to have Maria as a mothers helper! And I can’t wait for your pediasure hack recipe & I really need to get stricter about the picky eating with both Rylin & my husband!

  • Kelly August 14, 2015, 7:47 am

    I’m stealing that advice on being ‘bored’!

  • kate August 14, 2015, 2:48 pm

    Have you…
    B-been creative?
    O- outside play?
    R- read a book?
    E- exercised 20 minutes?
    D- done something helpful?

    • Janelle August 18, 2015, 9:26 pm

      Oh, this is so great!

  • Evanne August 14, 2015, 4:06 pm

    Do you have any resources or ideas for how you are going to address her hair in the future? Being black and having been adopted by a white family myself, I know it will be a learning experience! 😉

    • tinyteam August 25, 2015, 1:19 pm

      Yes, we have some books, and friends who have adopted kids with natural hair, it’s definitely a learning curve so far! It’s still too short for braids, but eventually! In the meantime, we just let it be natural, or sometimes do pig tails 🙂

  • Holly August 17, 2015, 5:38 am

    I look forward to a new post from you. I enjoy your “live life simply” attitude. You and your sweet family help to put life in perspective, we don’t need “things” we need “love”. I appreciate that reminder from you every time I read your posts. Thank you for bringing joy to my life as I follow you on your journey.

    • tinyteam August 25, 2015, 1:34 pm

      Awww, thank you so much for saying that, that’s very encouraging to me. <3

  • Kisha August 17, 2015, 10:25 am

    I am loving it all, especially the food and “bored” attitude. We do that as well. I cannot wait to get to Ethiopia and see my girl, you’ve definitely given us a peek. Poppy is adorbs!

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