That was a silly thing to think.
THE ADOPTION. We continue to wait for the final approval from China. In the meantime I asked for new pictures of Sara. Our last set of pictures were from May of 2013! Thankfully, we were sent two pictures of her. She looks strong and happy! These made us even more impatient to meet her.
We've decided to go to China with two American names for her to choose from, just in case she has trouble with pronunciation or doesn't like the name. So we'll offer her Sara or Sofie. I love both names. We're praying that she is being prepared for this tremendous change we are bringing to her life, and that we will be in tune to her needs and will be able to communicate despite the language barrier. Waiting is hard. But I think we have a badminton set somewhere . . .
TREK. Every four years our stake (a larger geographical area of our church made up of several smaller wards...we are in Yakima Stake 4th Ward) holds trek. Trek is a mini-reenactment of the Church's pioneer heritage. Specifically, reenacting crossing the plains with handcarts. Jacob and Maren are going, and Brandon and I were asked to be a "Ma & Pa". We will be assigned 9-10 kids from our stake to be our family and push/pull our handcart. Thank goodness. Because I'm still recovering from a ruptured disc, I won't be pushing OR pulling, but walking alongside, cheering the kids on and reminding them to drink water. It's a very rustic experience, and I'm pretty interested in how it will go. I like adventure, I like walking, and I love the outdoors. This will be four days. No showers. We're sleeping on tarps on the ground. No tents. I hope the mosquitoes like Brandon more. Brandon surprised me with a compact sleep pad and a little pillow so when I wake up in the morning I will be able to move. Not sure if that's cheating or not, but again, ruptured disc. Totally thoughtful of him. Our real kids will be with other Mas & Pas. Good luck, kids!
In preparation for this, I've made three pioneer bonnets (I helped Maren make hers), three skirts, three aprons, and one set of bloomers out of a pair of scrub pants. We were able to borrow some clothes, including vests for the boys, from my sister, Shelli (she and Trevor were on the food committee for their stake's trek, and their kids Tanner and Skylar went), and we found a few more shirts from Goodwill. That was a lot of hours of sewing/gathering, but we will definitely look the part. Jacob picked out his hat from Shopko. Au. Then. Tic.
Everything gets packed into our 5 gallon buckets.We each have ONE. Mas & Pas get to pack a tote with our cooking/camp gear. Food will be brought to us somewhat prepared when we make camp each night and every morning. We get to use a camp stove. Not sure we'll be building fires.
We will be crossing rivers. With a handcart. I'll let you know how that goes.
When I was little my favorite show was Little House on the Prairie, so I guess this is a chance to live a little fantasy, huh? Except . . . without the little house. Or the prairie, actually, since we'll be at the base of the Cascade mountains . . . hmmm. But I'll have a bonnet!
THE POOL. Our new house came with a ten-year old, 16' round, 4' deep above ground pool. With a very old pump. Since Brandon voted for getting rid of it, it's been my project to prove that it's a fun enough asset to our family summer to be worth keeping around. The jury is still out, but after many hours, some swears, some ingenuity, and lots of calls to my brother, Mike, who owns an above-ground pool, I think I have it sparkling, and practically taking care of itself. Kind of. But Maren and I, and occasionally Jacob, are really enjoying it as a way to keep cool in the hot weather. And Maren has discovered that she can get tan! We didn't know this, living in Cody most of her life. We've had the kids' friends and cousins over much more than we normally have in the summer because of the pool. Hearing the laughter and the splashing is great!
THE WRITING. I'm 2/3 of the way through my next LDS romance novel, called Let it Rain. I love it! I just need to finish it. I steal hours here and there and my biggest struggle is when I finally do get a nice writing stretch, I'm so tired!
My YA fantasy is on submission. Meaning I'm submitting it to agents and editors, hoping somebody likes it well enough to offer me a contract. This takes a lot of research (to find those who are looking for this genre) and following guidelines, as every agent/editor wants it sent differently. So I'm not attacking it like I should. Because of all the other things wanting my time and energy. But it is out right now, so that's something, right?
I dream of a week-long writing retreat. Someday.
MY BACK. Brandon and I have been dieting and I've lost 7 pounds. This has been a tremendous help to my back injury. I gained about twelve pounds with the oral steroid treatments and inability to exercise because of the pain. Plus the move and, well, ice cream. But as soon as we got to Yakima I started seeing my brother, who is my chiropractor, 3 times a week, and with his treatments I was able to start exercising again. I'm walking 1.5 miles in 30 minutes every day. Even hills! A lot of strengthening going on. Every little bit helps. It's not perfect. Like today, for some reason, my back feels like when you twist a rope over and over again and it starts knotting up on itself. Not so great today. But I'm still encouraged. And my pants fall down! But maybe that's not a good thing . . .
ELDER BRAEDEN JENSEN. Braeden is doing really well. Every Monday morning I wake up and grab my phone and look for his email. It's usually there. I'm touched and reassured by his continuing enthusiasm and awe he expresses for being able to be where he is and doing what he is doing. His humor, his growth, and his gratitude shine through in every letter. In agreement with the government there, we aren't allowed to post his letters or pictures, but he is doing well. He is in Estonia, speaking Russian, and loving the people there. He is also cooking! This is major. He is constantly in my prayers.
|We are allowed to post pictures of just him in non-descript places. |
So this is Elder Jensen in front of some water.
DOESN'T HE LOOK GREAT?!
AND FINALLY, CARLY.
Oh, this baby girl. I love being Gramma K.
I've spent way too much time on this post, but I'm choosing not to feel guilty. Blogging is communication, and I'm a writer. It's all practical. And a little fun. Especially that last picture. Super Carly.
We're taking time out on Monday to go kayaking on the Columbia River with my brother-in-law and sis-in-law Chris and Holly. I'm pretty dang excited.
Still keeping my head above water. Well, my nose, anyway. I've never been so busy. Good-things busy.