Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Quick Reasons to Be a Bad Blogger

1) Citizenship Paperwork—Andrew and Jadon were eligible to apply for US citizenship based on my parentage, but putting in an application for adopted children from outside the US proved to be a complex process. Finally, however, on Monday, November 21, 2011, an official in Bedford, NH interviewed us and presented the boys with certificates of citizenship. (He said he was thankful for our case because it actually taught him something!) I am just thankful that this final paperwork hurdle is done!

Andrew and Jadon crossing the border to the USA, anticipating their citizenship interview

And that leads me to my next point…

2) Thanksgiving—After leaving New Hampshire (where we stayed with an amazing AWAA adoptive family with four similarly-aged kids and really cool parents—Thanks, Steigers!), we were able to travel on to Pennsylvania for American Thanksgiving with my family. This was a special time for all! Much love to Gramma and Pappy!

The Tapper and Steiger kids: fast friends

(Too much excitement to get many pictures with Gramma and Pappy!)

3) Mike’s Comprehensive Exams—While we were gone, Mike wrote Part 1 of his PhD exams, and then he completed Part 2—an oral defense—today! His hard work paid off as he did very well (HOORAY, DADDY!), and the other five Tappers also worked hard to give Daddy all the time and space required for this big accomplishment.

Perhaps all that brain-work puts stress on the scalp? Notice any similarities appearing here?

On a much less exciting note…

4) Tonsillitis—Abby’s got it. Again. Ugh. She ends up with throat infections every 6-8 weeks. This has been going on for about 2 years. She has finally been approved for a tonsillectomy, but there is a waiting list. In the meantime, we continue to deal with nuisance sicknesses.

Back to the good stuff…

5) Advent—We love this time of year! At this point, my children really cherish traditions (especially Andrew, perhaps because he is still making sure he understands his place and how things work here)…and I appreciate that they care about these things. Planning and getting things together does take some extra time, though. We have already been lighting our Advent Wreath during family meals and have cut and decorated our Christmas tree. We are also using a Jesse Tree devotional to walk through the Biblical story as we journey toward Christmas.

Looking for a Christmas tree!

So that’s the extras that have put blogging on a bit of a back burner the last couple weeks. Sorry! Now, hopefully, we can get back to “normal” again!

What do you mean this isn't normal??!!!??

Monday, November 14, 2011

Les Livres du Lundi

Admittedly, my reading this week has not been particularly deep. I did, however, complete my first French chapter book: “Alerte a la ferme!” by Soraya Benhaddad. Reading in French is still quite a stretch for me, so even this easy reader contained quite a few unfamiliar words and phrases. Despite my limitations, I understood the general plot of a new mother hen, quick—at first--to dismiss the kind advances of the other farm animals in favor of her own motherly instincts, who learns the hard way that it takes more than just herself to take care of her young.

Jadon could not determine just one pick of the week, so, today, we have The Top Three of the Week! I have to say I agree—he has found three great reads!

First, “Nicolas, where have you been?” tells the engrossing tale of a young mouse who sets off to best the birds at berry-hunting, only to be both captured and then cared for by other birds. Its simple story-telling and pictures really captured Jadon’s attention, and he got the implicit message of peace-making and mutual understanding. Jadon put it this way: “He was actually thinking to tell them that the birds ARE nice.”

Next, “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” by Karen Beaumont is a hilarious and capricious look at one boy’s obsession with painting. The rhyming text and progressive storyline allows children to finish the phrase with the next body part to be (gasp!) painted. Jadon says, “It’s so funny! The pictures make me giggle. I especially like when he says, ‘What?!?’” (Which is, of course, in place of terminology for the backside body part that would rhyme with that word….)

Finally, Jadon found the classic “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey to be a “surprise” hit. I say “surprise” because, when we first brought the bag of library books home, Jadon could hardly be convinced to open this one’s cover. But once we did, he loved the story. This is his take on this favorite: “I like it since it’s funny. All the ducklings rhyme. At first, I didn’t like it because the pictures weren’t coloured. I didn’t realize it was gonna be cool, and they were gonna find an island.”

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Did You Do With Your Jack-o-lantern?

Following the example of a neighbor friend whose delicious-looking/smelling pumpkin muffins provided ample motivation, I cooked up our jack-o-lanterns this year. Why had I never thought of doing this before?

I was able to cut two jack-o-lanterns (into four or five pieces each) and squeeze the pumpkin parts into our large electric roaster oven. I let them roast for a couple hours until they were very soft. Then I scraped the flesh from the skin and mashed it in a large bowl. I repeated the process with our remaining two jack-o-lanterns.

This gave me A LOT of pumpkin puree! It was definitely time to pull out some favorite pumpkin recipes. This week, we've had Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake, Wild Mushroom and Pumpkin Risotto, and Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars (modified with dairy-free substitutes, of course!).

Meanwhile, there was still A LOT of pumpkin puree! After a little of investigative web-hunting, I decided to use my silicone muffin cups to make frozen half-cup portions of pumpkin for future use. (I call these my pumpkin pucks because, removed from the cups and stored in the freezer, they look like a bunch of orange hockey pucks!) I think I have about 24 cups of pumpkin in my freezer, and I am excited to keep exploring our pumpkin potential!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Les Livres du Lundi

This week, I finished a collection of refugee interviews called "Children of War" by Deborah Ellis. This was a sobering read, giving voice to the terrible experiences of child refugees from Iraq who are currently living in either Jordan or Canada. I was reminded how often I take safety and privacy and choice and a peaceful, quiet neighborhood for granted.

I also started a few other (diverse) reads. "Invisible Chains" by Benjamin Perrin explores human trafficking in Canada. "Unbroken Covenant with God" is an autobiography of Ethiopian church leader Markina Meja. "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas asks how reframing marriage as, primarily, a holiness journey rather than a happiness provider might transform how we approach life and marriage. I think I've got a lot of ground to cover with these!

Jadon's Pick of the week is "Flags of the World" by Sylvie Bednar. If you don't know, Jadon has a significant appreciation for all things geographical. He is fascinated by globes and maps. (I once took him into a store on Wellington in Ottawa called World of Maps, and he was in his glory--would have stayed for hours, I'm sure!) He loves to find the 2 (!) pages in this book devoted to the Ethiopian flag and to compare and contrast the colours and patterns of all the different flags.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One of THOSE Days...

It started off with scrambling to put together lunches, having completely scorched the forgotten pasta that had been the planned main course for the lunchboxes. Then there was the late morning trip to the basement freezer that revealed a slightly dislodged electrical plug--and a lot of unusable food.

Fortunately, I have my daily encouragement from Abby in the form of notes and crafty creations, fashioned during free time at school. Today, she brought home the very cute family portrait below. (Note the greeting: Mom you oer the best Mom in the hol wrld.)

(This note came a few days ago. Here's my translation for those of you who may not be proficient in "Kid-ish:" "Mom, You are a very nice Mom and a good sharer and a very! very! nice! Mom!")
Moreover, I read in Revelation this morning about the church at Philadelphia...about how they kept God's word--even in weakness--and didn't deny His name; about how they were called to "hold on to what you have" as God's love for them was displayed and their patient endurance was evident. This also reminded me of a phrase from Scripture that I discovered this summer: "Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience" (1 Timothy 1:16, emphasis mine). I find it very compelling to consider that if I am truly in Christ, then, in some way, I must have access to such incredible, limitless patience. I am without excuse for impatience or self-pity. It seems to me that it is only a matter of leaning into Him well. In any case, these Scriptures were also good words on which to meditate today.

Our Trick-or-Treaters

Once upon a time, a solar system, cat, dog, and Superman went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was a walk with a purpose. Indeed, they came home with enough treats to live sugar-crazed ever after (or at least until 2012.)