...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What's Going On?? Adoption Update...

Many of you have asked, and probably even more have wondered, what's going on with the Dassow's and their adoption?  The quick 'n' dirty version is on the sidebar.  Continue on for the more detailed account!

The latest, biggest news is that we're near the end of putting together our dossier!  WHAT is a "dossier"?  Complements of Wiktionary:


  • DOSS-EE-AY ; 'do' as in dot, 'ss' as in hiss, 'ee' as in wee, 'ay' as in day: DOt,hiSS-wEE-dAY; DOSS-EE-AY


From French, see below


dossier (plural dossiers)
  1. A collection of papers and/or other sources, containing detailed information about a particular person or subject, together with a synopsis of their content. 

This stack of papers has taken months of effort, quite a bit of the green stuff, and more than a little patience.  I am one of those strange people that like paperwork, and yet this was a stretch for me.  The biggest challenge was all the waiting to secure documents.  There was nothing we could do to speed things along...we just...had...to wait.   I must admit, however, that when I express-mailed that puppy off to our agency this morning, I admired how official it all looked, complete with rivets and beautiful seals from three states.  And just for the record, the Wisconsin State-Certification seals are rockin'.

Tomorrow, assuming they give momentary grace on the $698 we are currently short on our dossier fee, our agency will do their second review of our documents, bundle them together into a single document, and express-mail it on to Washington D.C.  It will be sent to a courier there, whom we pay to walk it down into the Department of State to be authenticated.  After that step is properly accomplished, it will be walked down to the Ethiopian Embassy for a second authentication.  This process could take about three weeks.

When the above process is finished, our dossier will be returned to our agency, processed in their office, and then sent on to their in-country coordinator.  We will wait...and wait...and wait upon God's perfect timing...to be matched to our child(ren.)

In the meantime, what are we doing?  We're living a full, wonderful, blessed life.

We're learning much about our future child's birth culture.

We're giving thanks for God's provision, while working on saving and stashing more green stuff.  We've still got a long way to go where this is concerned.  Good thing my Papa owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Always looking for creative ways to continue fundraising.  I'm currently in the painting-cool shirts-business!  These make great gifts, and are yours for a minimum donation of $15 (shameless plug.)

 And, last but certainly not least, we're continuing to pray for and to dream about this little person across the world. Because, even though we've not yet met him or her or them, we miss them.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Grab Yours!

 We're launching a new fundraising effort.  Adoption takes money, and lots of it.  All proceeds from these t-shirts will be added to our fund to bring Baby Dassow home.

The shirts are hand-painted by yours truly, and so each are unique....not unlike the uniqueness of each of the estimated 5 MILLION orphans who live in the country we're adopting from.

These shirts would make excellent gifts!  Wouldn't it be awesome, to tell your recipients that the beautiful, hand-painted shirt they're receiving is helping to give a child a loving family?

The minimum donation per shirt is $15.00.  At present, I have adult medium and large available. I am happy to take orders for specific sizes and quantities of shirts.  I will also happily mail shirts out for a small postage fee.

Please comment below, message me on e-mail, or message me on facebook if you'd like to donate to our fund by purchasing shirts.  Thanks!

Friday, November 02, 2012

She Has a Limit...Even if Involuntary

Boyland is on the heels of the stomach flu, which has been on the heels of a two-week illness for this mama.  Exhausted from waking several times to empty puke buckets, and still experiencing the last (hopefully) nagging symptoms from my own latest illness, I am feeling nearly the best I've felt in...months! 

This past year has been difficult for me physically...and mentally.  Nothing major, and yet majorly life-impacting.  So many wonderful moments have been had in this precious family of mine, though there had been a heavy cloud hanging over me, making it difficult to truly enjoy.  I have enjoyed life....it's just the simplest things had been a struggle.  The simple tasks of our daily rhythm had left me completely taxed, feeling as though I were running a deficit that could never be reduced.

Numerous times I've tried to ascertain what was going on with me.  I thought it was just "a new normal" of sorts, having completed a pregnancy in my *ahem* older child-bearing years, and having completed the nursing year with my little guy.  As he weaned and I began sleeping through nights, and I still felt cruddy, I realized that wasn't it.  Then I thought we just had too much going on.  I began striking things off the calendar like a mad woman, until there was nothing left to strike off.  I still could barely pull myself out of bed in the morning, and the tears still welled up several times every day.  There were so many things I wanted to do...simple things with my boys, things around our home, things to help out neighbors and friends.  I felt powerless.

Since May, I've struggled with repeated illness.  Not just a few days of a cold here and there, but infections that knocked me flat-out for a couple weeks at a time.  They would hit me every three to five weeks.  I did everything I could think of to strengthen my constitution--eating extremely healthily, disciplining myself with an earlier bedtime, taking various supplements, praying for health and wisdom.  It seemed I was doing everything, and it wasn't good enough. 

Finally, I felt the nudge to be proactive and see my doctor during one of my non-ill windows.  I'm SO glad I did.  After two doctor's opinions and a ton of lab testing, we got the information that helped get me on-track.  Turns out I had been fighting Strep chronically, despite several antibiotic treatments.  I also was fighting re-activated Mono infection (I had Mono in high school and the virus never leaves the body, just lies dormant unless you become extremely worn-down.)  To top it off, I was hypothyroid, which wreaks all sorts of havoc on the body, including depressing the immune system.

When my doctor called me with my test results, I cried.  I cried because I finally saw there was a reason for feeling so bad, and I cried because I saw hope for feeling better.

Within a few days of being on an antibiotic to kick out the remainder of the Strep, and being on a thyroid med, I was in tears again....because I felt like a completely different person.  Jessica was back.  It wasn't until I began to feel good, that I realized the extent to which I'd felt so terrible, and that it had been that way for a long, long, long time.

Any of you who know me, know that I'm not a medicine-taker.  I took a little Ibuprofen after my last couple births, and that was a big deal to me.  Whenever I've been on antibiotics, which unfortunately has been a lot over the last year, it's been because I've been direly ill.  I'm more what you'd call...an "herbs 'n' spices-type o' gal.  I can see, however, the blessing modern medicine is when it is truly needed.  I am SO thankful for antibiotics when they are needed, and I am SO thankful for this thyroid medicine.  I hope I won't need to take it forever, but I'm so thankful it's available for me to help strengthen my body at this time.

Why am I taking the time to articulate all this?  I don't know.  Maybe for my own remembrance-sake.  Maybe so I'll remember God's faithfulness, and that He chooses to let us walk through difficulty for certain seasons.  As I've been going through this trial, I've been remembering that nothing can touch me that has not passed His approval.  That's a hard one to swallow at times, but it is truth.  Because I know God's character, I am assured that He is good, and He is good, ALL the time.  If He's allowing me to have a hard time, there's a very good reason for it.  I don't need to know the reason why (although I would really like to know sometimes.)  His plans for me are good, and His plans for me are to prosper me and give me hope and a future.

One thing that I've learned, and I'm trying to really grasp and not let go of, is that I do have a limit.  I tend to think I can "do it all," and I even enjoy the thrill of "pulling it all off."  However, my life should not be defined by what I do, it should be defined by who I am.  When I'm so busy doing, I'm most likely missing out on just being.  I am after all, a human "being," not a human "doing."  (Not sure where I heard that, but I like it.)  Who I am, miraculously, is an imperfect-yet-spotless-in-His-eyes daughter of the King and Creator of the Universe.  I can rest in that.  There are tasks appointed to me, by Him, for each day He chooses to give me breath.  That is not dependent upon how I'm feeling on any particular day.  Whatever a day has in store for me, if I am just "being" His daughter, I can count on Him directing my tasks.

Nearly all the days this past year that I've been sick, and there have been many, the biggest goal of mine was to get through the day as self-preserving as possible, so I could get to bed as early as possible, with the hope that in the morning I'd feel a little bit better so I could get on with doing life.  What a waste.  How selfish.  This last month or so, I've been trying to focus on the fact that even if I'm flat-out in bed sick, there are tasks for me to fulfill in those days that only I can fulfill.  Could it be that the things I thought were so important to get done were not my appointed tasks for those days?  Maybe all these sick days have been allowed so that I would remember my greatest task is to, like Mary, sit at the feet of Jesus.

As a mommy, there are five little sets of Jesus' feet for me to be sitting at.  If I take time to focus in on one of these little ones--to sit on the floor and put a puzzle together with them even though there are scads of housework and paperwork to do, for example--I am sitting at the very feet of my LORD.


It is good and right for us to give thanks in everything, even in sick days.  Not so easy, but good and right.  There are lessons to be learned and goodness to be had in the trials, or they wouldn't be allowed to be a part of our story. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

At Risk of Turning Into a Food Blog (!)

Several people have asked me how to make homemade yogurt, and several times I've said, "I'll post about it."  Time to make good on that good intention!

I learned this crock pot recipe a little over a year ago, and have been making our yogurt every week since.  It's so delicious and economical, and it's SO easy to make.

I make a gallon at a time.  We're big yogurt-eaters, and go through that amount in about a week.  Before I began making yogurt, we would buy a "large," $6 container of organic yogurt every two weeks or so, for a treat.  We used up the large container in one sitting, and everyone was still asking if they could have more.  I used to buy vanilla-flavored.  Of course, any flavored yogurt contains sugar.

When I learned this recipe, I told my boys I was going to be making our yogurt, and that if they'd learn to adjust their taste buds to PLAIN yogurt, they would be able to eat it whenever they wanted.  Any non-restricted snack is a big deal for my hearty-eaters, and so they were eager to give it a try.  The first time they tried it, they definitely noticed the difference in taste from flavored to plain.  Motivated by the prospect of unlimited yogurt, they continued to try it.  It didn't take long at all for all of our taste buds to adjust.  We love it, and enjoy it often.  It does my mama-heart good to see my boys eating healthful, cultured food nearly every day. 

  • Pour desired amount of milk into crock pot.  Use good-quality, WHOLE milk.  I like locally-produced Havermeister milk.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours.
  • Shut heat off and let sit covered for 3 hours.
  • Take a cup of the heated milk and mix with 1/2 cup or so of your starter.  (Begin with a whole, organic, plain variety.  After that, you'll be able to use the end of your last batch for starter.)  
  • Pour the mixture back into the crock pot, and mix in thoroughly.
  • Cover crock pot and place a couple of thick towels over it to hold the heat in.
  • Let sit 12 hours 

DONE!  Seriously, that's it.  Refrigerate and enjoy often.  As I mentioned, I make a gallon at a time.  A gallon of delicious, fresh yogurt costs us less than $6.