Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Our tree…


And part of our day…











Yes, I know some of us are missing from the pictures.  Emily sat next to me so I wouldn’t take her picture.  Hailey is in some shots but they are not attractive and she’d shoot me if I posted them.  :)  And me?  Well, I TAKE the pictures instead of being in them.  Works for me.

The dynamic duo doing some modeling:


Ryan’s new ‘muzzle’…er…ribbon.  He LOVED making everyone laugh out loud.


I think those might be Logan’s favorite gift.  It’s hard to get him to take the hat and mittens off.  Ryan’s set is red and grey.  The sets match their winter jackets, so now they’re fully ready for snow.  Bring it on!

No pictures of our time with the family—too many people to take good pictures.  18 people in the living room gets a bit cozy…so we skipped pics this year.  It was awesome having Brent home and some of Jim ‘s family in town.  Overall, Christmas was a delightful day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

out of the mouths of babes

“It’s COLD in there”

…says Logan, as he sticks his finger into a black olive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

bah humbug :\

Yeah, it’s a grumbly post.  Feel free to pass it up.  At least, consider yourself warned.  :)


Nothing on the calendar today.  That’s a good thing!  After all, I have some hats and mittens that need attention if they’re going to be ready for Christmas.  I am finding that it’s very hard to sew for the boys when they’re around.  (Not sure why I thought I’d be able to, quite frankly.  But that’s a whole other issue!)  Then there’s the whole “I need to get one more thing for her, and something for him, and oh!  I need to pick up something at that store for him and them.”  I HATE shopping! I knew there was a reason I usually swallow hard and do this all in a single weekend in late October or early November.  Now, because things were messed up this fall, I’m STILL trying to tie up the loose ends.  Ugh.  Next year?  It’s back to the power shopping weekend for me, for sure. 

Then there’s the actual celebration.  Who will be here, exactly?  Not sure.  How many am I feeding for Christmas dinner?  No idea!  Not exactly my idea of fun:  “Here, prep a meal for somewhere between 18 and 25 people.  Actually…it will probably be more than one meal.  And some/most of the guests might want/need to stay with you too.  Haven’t decided yet.  We should be able to let you know in time, but be prepared in case we just show up.”  Uh…sure.  Or not.  I am NOT Superwoman!!  (Yes, it’s the dysfunctional member of the extended family.  Makes me crazy.)

I’ve been hoping to get in a lunch with an old friend this week too, but between Christmas and the difficulty scheduling, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I’m bummed—been looking forward to it for some time—but I understand.  I’m still disappointed though…

Sounds like it’s time to turn on some good Christmas music, spend some time adjusting my focus, and getting prepared for the rest of the week.  It WILL be good…no matter what happens, what gets finished, or who comes (or doesn’t!).  Brent comes home on Thursday to spend Christmas here.  It will be the first Christmas with him at home since 2006!   He’s staying until Monday…and I can’t wait!     

Monday, December 20, 2010

a lightbulb moment

I have a child who LOVES to help.  He carries things for me and works alongside me willingly.  He runs upstairs or outside to fetch things without grumbling. He tries very hard to anticipate my every need.  He gets things out of cupboards and drawers to bring them to me before I ask.  Sometimes it’s irritating.   Today I snapped at him.  As soon as  I shut my mouth, I had this flash of insight:

Most women would give just about anything to have a husband who anticipates their every need and helps out willingly and cheerfully.  This child will be a wife’s dream come true when he’s old enough.

And I’m slowly destroying that very characteristic with my actions and my words.  What on earth is wrong with me???  

Time for an attitude adjustment, I guess.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

this child


…told me this afternoon that I was ‘the butcher!’  I was slicing chicken for dinner tonight (teriyaki) and out he comes with that question.  Oy!  Where does he come up with this stuff??  I love the creativity.  :)  First he wants to know why the chicken has no head and how it died, now he assumes I’m the butcher.    What a kid.  :)  Must be time for another visit to Tim’s farm…

Friday, December 17, 2010

a dilemma

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”  Col 3:12

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Gal 6:2

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Gal 6:9-10

So…the question becomes:  what does this look like in practice?

Generally, I don’t find these to be hard concepts to put into practice.  But, there is a needy person in our lives.  High maintenance, one might say.  Delightful, fun, funny…and needy.  VERY needy.  It seems that I regularly hear about how this person was there today or over there yesterday, seeking help for this thing or that issue.  Competent to do it with less help?  I think so.  Able to?  No, not really.

In this particular instance, I know the extended family reasonably well.  Have for many years…over 20, in fact.  My every dealing with the extended family has been pleasant and over time I have seen that the extended family is honest, hardworking, and forthright.  Highly respected in the community and at church, I have no reason to distrust their observations about the needy person.  The issue?  They have used words like ‘manipulative’ and ‘controlling’ and ‘conniving’ to describe my needy friend.

Where does that leave me?  How do I do as Scripture says and ‘do good to all people’ if she is using me (and others!) in a manipulative, controlling way?  Where’s the line between ‘doing good’ or ‘being helpful’ and ‘enabling?’   Is there a point where our compassion and bearing her burdens is more harmful than helpful?  What is the best kind of help in this situation?  How do we come alongside and support without being manipulated?  How do we kindly, gently, lovingly encourage/facilitate independence?  For the sake of the young children involved, is there a good way to teach coping skills that are not co-dependent?

It truly is a dilemma.  There are other, complicating factors, but the problem remains:  how much is enough?  What is too much? 

Any thoughts??

bonus time!

Earlier this week, this young lady


came and spent the night.  Her momma needed a place for her overnight since her sister was very ill, so she came here.  We loved having her, and I was very impressed—she slept ALL night in a strange place!  Wow!! None of mine would have ever done that.  Heck…some of mine still don’t sleep all night, even in their own beds, and they’re much older than 12 months!

More morning bath cuteness



My little guys were in heaven!  They adore having babies around and had a wonderful time ‘playing’ with her.  They loved watching her bath—were fascinated by the fact that she was in the kitchen sink!—and were very sad when she went back home.

Although I don’t want your sister to be ill, you are welcome here any time, sweet girl!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

and the fun continues

After we got the kitchen cleaned, the little guys visited with Hailey for a bit, then put on their jammies to go to bed.  Ryan emptied the trash, they brushed their teeth, and hopped on their beds.  I got upstairs just in time to see Ryan spring a leak.  Yep.  A bloody nose.  A good one!  So now that the kitchen laundry is washed, there are pjs and sheets and washcloths ready for the machine.  Oh…and a stuffed blue bunny.

Anything else feeling compelled to make a mess tonight??  I sure hope not!


Do you know what kind of mess it makes in your kitchen when the garbage disposal (full, of course, and running) decides that it doesn’t like hanging out under the sink so it just drops to the bottom of the cabinet???  With the water running.  Ugh.  Apple cores and meatloaf and squash guts everywhere.  Disposal water in my dishwasher detergent.  In the garbage bags.  In the cleaning supplies.  EVERYWHERE! 

yuck.  Yuck.  YUCK.  What a mess!  Fortunately, Jim has a plumber’s hat, so he put it on tonight.  Mess is cleaned up and disposal is back where it belongs.  Dishes are in the dishwasher.  Floor is scrubbed.  Again.  (I cleaned it yesterday, of course.)  Washing machine full of nasty grimy towels is running.

Guess I can be grateful it waited ‘til Jim was home, huh?   And that I don’t need ANOTHER new disposal.  This one is only about 9 months old.   Even icky clouds have silver linings.  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

it’s that time of year again

Ahhh…December.  Time for wintry weather, Christmas carols, and the delicious treats from the kitchen.  And, if you live at our house… number 1  

…it’s time for gallons and gallons and gallons of chili to be made!  High school basketball and the concessions stand are a significant part of our winters.

We love high school basketball here.  This is Hailey’s team her senior year, winning the state title at their classification (1A).  SO very fun to watch!!  Last year was the first year since 1996 we haven’t had a basketball player, but Emily was a cheerleader so we had ‘a reason’ to go watch.  This year?  Nope.  No players.  No cheerleaders.  But we’re not—I’M not—ready to leave it behind just yet.  So once again, I am helping in the concessions stand.  We sell hot dogs, chili dogs, baked potatoes (with or without chili) and chili by the bowl.  The little guys (who LOVE being in the kitchen at school!) and I help out as a labor of love for the girls and boys who play, and for my dear friend Ann who runs the concession stand.  In an average basketball season, I make about 15 gallons of chili.  This year, we’re trying something new and selling clam chowder too.

Back to my kitchen…the chili calls—first game of the season is tonight!!  There’s nothing quite like Christmas carols in the background and chili bubbling on the stove.  :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

some lessons don’t fade

(Or, never underestimate the power of candy…)

December 2008.  Logan’s been with us about 6 months and has recently turned 4.  Ryan’s still 3.  Logan’s command of English isn’t great due to his speech issues and Ryan is painfully shy.  We stop at Cash and Carry to pick up some coffee syrups on our way past.  When we get to the counter to check out, the checker offers the boys candy canes.  They smile and hold out their hands.  When reminded to say ‘thank you’ they both refuse—Ryan out of his timidity; Logan out of sheer stubbornness and refusal to allow us to ‘tell him what to do.’  I take the candy canes, place them back on the counter, and thank the man but let him know that if the boys aren’t able to be gracious, they may not have candy.  We leave dumbfounded clerks and customers behind, taking tearful boys with us.

Fast forward 2 years.  This afternoon I took the boys and the darling extra girl who is with us on Wednesdays and Thursdays to Cash and Carry.  As we’re driving up, Ryan says “If they want to give us a candy cane, we HAVE to say ‘thank you’ or Mommy will give them back.”   Logan immediately pipes up and says “Saying ‘yes please’ would be very nice don’t you think?  We should say that too!”

Wow.  That lesson apparently worked.  :)

imagine the possibilities

Calling All Men—It’s Time for War

Read this!  He’s far more eloquent than most, and he’s right on target.  Imagine what the world would be like if this war took place!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


At the breakfast table this morning.  I’m not sure what started the conversation, but this is where I picked it up…

Thing 1:  No, you DON’T know everything

Thing 2:  Yes I do!

Thing 1:  No you don’t.

Thing 2: I do!  (complete with a smack on the table…)

Thing 1:  Okay, fine.  Prove it.  What’s 5 + 5?

Thing 2: (triumphantly)  100!

Thing 1: (with a heavy sigh) No it’s not.  It’s 10.  I TOLD you that you didn’t know everything.

It was VERY hard to listen with a straight face.


Having suckers at the last volleyball tournament of the seasonDSC_0050


This is the same twosome that pitched a MAJOR fit on Friday when I told them that their sister was at a basektball game.  The immediate question?  “How come SHE gets to go watch and we don’t?  We had to go to ALL that volleyball just to get to basketball season and now you don’t take us?  Why??”  They were truly indignant.  After promising them that they could go to basketball this Friday, they cheered up.  Mostly.  Now they ask me EVERY morning if it’s time for basketball yet.  They can’t wait to go sit in the gym, watch the games, and help out in the concessions stand.   It’s a good thing we love high school basketball at our house!  :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

God’s favorite, again! :)

A couple of nights ago, we had a conversation at the dinner table about Christmas.  We talked about how the gifts have become a focus for the little guys, and how little they really need.  We decided that we’d like to start a new tradition, giving them ‘experiences’ to share instead.  Ryan LOVES basketball, so I spent some time trying to find tickets to something he and Daddy could do together.  Husky tickets are expensive, I discovered!  And the Harlem Globetrotters are coming to our area in February, but we weren’t sure whether Logan would enjoy it as well, and I’d love to go along.  Leaving Logan home with a sitter doesn’t seem right, so I hadn’t pursued it any further.

Tonight, we were surprised by a text from some friends.  Avid UW Husky fans, they have season tickets to both football and basketball.  They aren’t able to go to the basketball game tomorrow afternoon and wanted to know if we could use their tickets!  Needless to say, we jumped on that.  Unbeknownst to him, Ryan will have a HUGE afternoon tomorrow.  He and Jim will head up to UW to watch the Husky men take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

Once again, I am singing the “I am God’s favorite!” song.  How incredible!  Even little things—like tickets to basketball games—are not too hard or too inconsequential for Him.  With hearts full of rejoicing, I will send my twosome off to basketball.

Then I’m gonna work on coming up with a special ‘experience’ to share with Logan.   How will we see His blessing in that??

Monday, November 29, 2010

dream big

This morning Logan (age 6) announced that he wanted to be a doctor when he grows up.  After a long, sometimes circuitous conversation and several clarifying questions, I discovered this:

“I want to be a people doctor in the morning and a doggie doctor in the afternoons.”

I gave him a big hug and told him that it was a great idea and that he would have to work very hard to accomplish those dreams.  So…the challenge becomes how to get the child who cannot remember from one day to the next what sound the letter “B” makes or how to shape his mouth to pronounce the word ‘after’ prepared for such a gigantic undertaking.  Am I up for it?

Guess I’m gonna have to take it up a notch or two. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

a white Thanksgiving?

A first in my book!  Our November weather now…  snow

snow 2










I spent part of today sewing new fleece mittens for the boys.  Hadn’t intended to do it quite yet since they are supposed to be Christmas gifts, but didn’t anticipate snow in mid-November either.  The boys had a blast playing outside with Daddy, the sisters, and the next door neighbors.  No school in this weather!!  Not that we could get off our street anyway.

And yes, it was only a few weeks ago—3 to be exact—that we were blown away by the weather.  Then it was beyond gorgeous…in a different way!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

“I am God’s favorite!”

Well, the fridge really did die.  Friday morning.  But Thursday night I had the best experience…

I have a friend in Texas who frequently reminds us that she is God’s favorite.  Not in a proud, boastful way at all—it’s a simple expression of her quiet faith that God fulfills His promises to us.  It always makes me smile to hear it from her.  And, honestly, I have longed for opportunities to be God’s favorite too!  Who wouldn’t??

Anyway, I left Thursday evening intent on purchasing a new fridge.  We’ve been looking off and on over the last year, knowing that the one in the house was likely going to ‘go’ sometime sooner rather than later.  I spent Thursday afternoon comparison shopping online and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, how much it would cost, where to buy it, and when it could be delivered.  I drove down the hill grumbling a bit to God: “How is this going to work?  I NEED a new fridge, and the ones that I want either aren’t immediately available or they cost way too much or there are no open slots in the delivery schedules.  And we don’t have tons of available cash at the moment…   I have all this food that needs to be kept cold, God!  I can’t do this…”

Shouldn’t have worried.  After all, we serve a mighty God!  :)  I stopped at the first store and saw firsthand what I already knew—they didn’t have anything I wanted.  I went to a second store, knowing that I could always ‘fall back’ on the fridge I’d seen at Sears…and somehow figure out what to do with my food until it could be delivered.  I walked to the appliances, and found that they had one of the refrigerators on my list of good choices.  It was on sale…for nearly $800 less than I’d seen it other places!  Okay.  Now God’s got my attention.  I asked the salesman if it was available in white (my choice—my dishwasher and stove are relatively new, and white) and he told me that it was, but not until the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Hmmm… Well, I could always go with stainless, so I asked.  It was available!  The next open delivery slot, however, wasn’t until Tuesday Nov 23.  Not so good.  I asked if it was available from another store, or if another store would have an opening in the delivery schedule to bring it sooner.  I explained my dilemma.  He checked around and got us booked into one of the emergency delivery slots available the very next day!  Wow!!  The free delivery included free haul away of the old fridge.  Awesome!  Then came the best part:  the store was having a financing deal that was ideal.  Every single piece fell into place.

I drove home rejoicing in the fact that that night, I was God’s favorite!  His hand is all over the way things came together.  It was one of those occasions where His word is so very real.  I kept repeating Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

My new stainless steel french door fridge sits in the kitchen, a very real testament to God’s love and care.  I don’t have to go far now to see how much He loves me.  And, as a bonus, I have a very real reminder to pray for my friend in Texas.  That’s fun!  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I can usually find a bright side to frustrating situations, but I’m having trouble with this one.  Yesterday I took the boys and went to Costco to do our Thanksgiving shopping…so my refrigerator is VERY full.

I can tell you FOR SURE that it is NOT amusing to have the fridge go on the fritz the week before Thanksgiving.  Not full of food for the holiday.  Not when we’ve got things on the calendar.  Not when I have the pleasure (?) of taking 3 little bodies shopping for a new fridge.  Not.  Not!  NOT!!!

sigh.  Does it really matter?  Probably not.  My fridge sure doesn’t think so.  It’s definitely on the fritz.  So tomorrow or Saturday (hopefully it will hold out that long…) I will be purchasing a new refrigerator.  Not really what I want to do with my time and my money, but that’s okay.  The fridge I will be replacing is 17 years old.  And in all that time, I’ve never liked it much.  Maybe this time I’ll get one I like better.  Didn’t have as many choices then, that’s for sure.

Perhaps there’s a bright side after all.  :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

so much for that

One BIG reason it doesn’t pay for Mom to feel under the weather…

nap 2

…it’s awful hard to get in any ‘time off'!’

Ryan has strep throat.  Again.  (Still?)  Now Hailey has it too.  Who’s next?  Hopefully NOT me!  Of course, with a ‘rest’ (and I use that term VERY loosely!) like this, I’d say the odds are against me…

Friday, November 12, 2010

about now…

A snowstorm, a roaring fire, a good book (or 6 or 12!) and a supply of hot chocolate sounds so heavenly!  I think we all could use the slower pace that comes with the snow. 

Wishful thinking…

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

life lessons from my camera

I was in Pullman yesterday, visiting Emily. Had a wonderful visit, albeit far too short!  As I reviewed my pictures from this trip, I realized something.  My attempts at photography reinforce some everyday life lessons.

Lesson #1:  Quality comes in the context of quantity.

My camera is set for multiple frames per second, primarily because I take pictures at of my crew at various athletic events (and I never remember to reset it!).  When I downloaded the pictures from my trip off the camera, I realized that only when I had taken multiple shots of the same thing did I truly capture what I had hoped to.  Never was the first shot the one I liked best, and if I had only taken one, I wouldn’t have the ones I love.  Quality comes from quantity.  Just like in parenting—quality time with my children comes out of the quantity of time I spend.  I can have an ‘agenda’ for my time with them, but it rarely goes the way I want, and the best gems and most teachable moments are not ‘plan-able.’  So it should be in all our relationships:  quantity begets quality.  How else do we get to know others well except by spending time—lots of it—with them?   That lesson leads easily to the second one.

Lesson #2:  Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and into positions that feel awkward.

There was a picture I REALLY wanted to get this time.  It’s a cemetery, with a grain elevator and the gorgeous rolling hills of the Palouse in the background.  I found the road to the cemetery, but actually getting the shot I envisioned meant I had to get out of the car and walk a ways.  That wasn’t a problem…it was more that it felt awkward to be walking around the area near the cemetery in plain view of several roads with my camera.  And for the best picture, I probably needed to lay down in the grass!  Ugh.  So I didn’t take the picture.  Now I regret that.  I should have!  Just like life—sometimes building relationships means doing things that take us outside our comfort zone.  Typically, that’s not a bad thing.  Being stretched means growth, and growth is GOOD!  If I’m willing to step outside my comfort zone, I won’t regret missed opportunities.

Lesson #3:  The best pictures come when you’re not going 70 miles an hour!

Life is lived too fast these days.  Most of us agree on that.  I found, on this trip, that there were many occasions that I REALLY wanted a picture of this vista or that view, yet by the time I found a place to pull over, it was gone.  That’s the risk of going 70 miles an hour—you miss out on things.  Life works that way too.  How often do we find ourselves too busy for a cup of coffee with a friend?  How often do we lament the lack of time for relationships?  And yet…how much of what we fill our lives with is truly necessary?  Wouldn’t we all be better off living at least part of each day at a walking pace?  I told Jim that the next time I head to Pullman, I’m going exploring on a Vespa with my camera!  A red Vespa.  Seriously.  :)  It’s hard to capture the beauty that is there if you are moving so fast.  My sister has one, and maybe…just maybe…I’ll pack it in the Suburban and head east next spring.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?? 

I did take pictures this time.  They didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. But I learned some things about photography and about life. I’ll take it.   And I’ll leave you with these pictures, taken at Dusty, WA.  Population?  10.     Sounds like a lot slower pace to me.  :)




(And yes, the sky really looked like that!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

a totally strange day

Today was my birthday.  It was also a day of firsts.  Until now, I have never:

*had a birthday with 70° weather.  I’ve had snow.  I’ve had rain.  I’ve had fog and clouds and wind.  I’ve even had some occasional sun.  70°?  Never!   This was taken in the backyard this afternoon.


*mowed the lawn on my birthday.  Usually we’re quite finished mowing the lawn by November.  Not this year.

*worn jeans and a t-shirt outside without freezing.  Today?  No problem!  I also had the doors and windows open most of the day and the heat shut off!  Generally in November we’re shivering.  Too weird.

*seen raspberries with flowers and new fruit.  Yep.  Growing in the garden.  But they’re there…see??


*seen gorgeous blue skies, beautiful red, yellow and orange leaves, and fresh flowers on the roses, sweet peas, and pyracantha.  This year?  You guessed it…  In the last picture you can see the blue sky behind the sweet peas.  It was GORGEOUS here today!






*had pavlova for dessert.  We did tonight.  Usually in November it’s WAY too damp to make pavlova.  Not this year.

It was probably the strangest birthday ever…

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

completed event or ongoing process?

I am regularly asked if our little guys are adopted.  I don’t mind the question and I understand the intent, but I always wonder:  Is ‘adoption’ a term describing a legal event or is it a word used to describe an never-ending process?

My boys WERE adopted.  It was at one time an on-going process—the paper gathering and submission, the wait, the travel, the legal work.  That is over.  My boys ARE my children.  In the eyes of the law, they are Kassebaums now and forever.  And when people (well intentioned, I know) ask me if my boys ARE adopted, I used to answer “No, they were adopted.  We’re finished with the process.  Now they are ours.”   Why I stopped, I don’t know.  Watching Ryan this week, it’s maybe time to go back to that reply.

October 31 2005…Ryan’s adoption was final.  In a Chinese civil affairs office, we signed the paperwork, put our fingerprints (or in Ryan’s case, his handprint) on it, had everything notarized and translated, and it was finished.  Yang Fu Tao officially became, in that moment, Ryan Joseph FuTao Kassebaum.   His adjustment over the last 5 years has been mostly smooth.  He’s a delightful almost 6 year old who knows he is loved and wanted.  Somehow, though, every year in late October, our happy easygoing boy becomes a frightened clingy child.

This year was no different.  In many ways, it was the worst October ever.  Things here are busy.  Maybe busier than ever.  Jim’s been more committed this fall, with less time for the boys.  (He’s been the JV volleyball coach at Tori’s high school.)   He’s been dealing with several crises at work.  Brent’s had a tough fall.  Emily moved to college and Hailey is living at home and commuting to UW this fall, so we’ve been trying to adjust to a ‘new normal’ around here.  Nicholas (my nephew) has been very sick and in the hospital.  His treatment has opened the door to some discussions about heaven and death.  (Ryan and Logan know that Nick is very sick, that the doctors are doing their best to make him well, and that there is a chance that their cousin will go live with Jesus.  We haven’t seen any need to try and hide these things from them.  It is real.  It is a topic of conversation here. So they are aware, to the best of their understanding, how things are going.) As a result of all this, Ryan has been more clingy and weepy than  ever.

He has always struggled a bit with going to sleep.  He doesn’t like the dark.  He doesn’t like being upstairs when the rest of us are downstairs.  He wants Mommy with him.  Most of it isn’t a big deal, and 90+% of the year we give hugs and snuggles, promise to check back in 5 minutes, and he goes to sleep without further ado.  Not so in October.  As the month wears on, the sleep issues get worse.  By the end of the month, it’s really bad.  Every year.  But he’s never been able to verbalize well what he feels.  This year we heard new things.  Hard things.  Things like “Are you really coming back?”  “I am afraid you are going to leave me on the steps like my China mom.”  “I know you said you’d come back but I thought my China mom would come back too.  And she didn’t.”  It’s heartbreaking to see him in such pain and fear.

The night of Oct 30 was the worst.  He fussed and cried.  He screamed.  I held him for a long time.  He came downstairs and sat with us and cried.  We snuggled.  I ended up curling up with him in his bed and holding him most of the night.  He slept poorly—tossing and turning and crying out.  I was not looking forward to Oct 31, thinking that he would be so tired it would be another bad day.  Wrong!  He got up cheerfully.  He was pleasant all day.  He had a wonderful time trick or treating, then when bedtime came, he crawled in without a fuss and went right to sleep.  Last night was the same.  It’s like someone flipped a switch.  We’re grateful for the return to normal.

Each year, we work through another layer of the trauma associated with Ryan’s adoption.  Again, 90+% of the year it’s not even an issue.  This year was very hard, but I think we made major progress.  As I watch my boys, I think again that maybe it’s time to be pro-active about reminding them that their adoptions WERE and that they are forevermore Kassebaums.  Warts and all.  :)  We are here to stay. 

So, are my boys adopted?  No.  They were, but legal process is complete.  They are Kassebaums.  Always.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


trick or treating 2

trick or treating 5

They had fun.  Logan thinks Jake Locker is the greatest, so he wore his Jake Locker jersey and went trick or treating as a UW Husky football player.  Ryan couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be a soccer player or a basketball player, so his costume covered both—soccer shorts and shinguards, basketball shirt.  Good compromise.

And their pumpkins?  Well, Ryan chose a new idea for pumpkins around here.  His is the Washington pumpkin with eyes.  Logan went traditional…


All in all, a good night.  It was the first time I’ve taken kids out trick or treating in probably 12 years; it’s usually Jim’s job but he’s home sick.  I enjoyed walking through the neighborhood with Victoria and the boys but I’m not in a hurry to do it again any time soon.  Jim can be healthy next year and I’d be fine with staying home again. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

not as nice as last year

But incredibly gorgeous anyway!  The beauty of God’s creation (even in the rain) brings such peace.


The weather was not nice on Thursday on the ferry but I loved it nonetheless.  The boys had to wear warmer gear to ride up front (see these pictures of last year’s trip) but the excitement in their eyes was so much fun! 





As a bonus, our girls team beat Vashon Island!  They qualified for post-season play, so the season goes on.  Way to go, Warriors!! 

My girl




The ferry ride home gave me an opportunity to visit a bit with Victoria’s coach.  Amy is a great coach and an impressive young lady.  It was such fun to just chat!    I look forward to getting to know her better next year.

All in all, it was a perfect end for Thursday!