Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas at the Inmans

Big smile!

We tried 50 times to get us all looking at the camera. It wasn't happening.


C got her very own kitchen. Notice one sock, one bare foot. That's typical.

Not sure what's up with the hazy pics. It may have something to do with grubby paws playing with Mama's camera.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Scared of Santa?

We never dreamed that the idea of a big, fat man dressed in red entering our house via the chimney and rooting about would cause Caroline any distress. But apparently she didn't much like the idea and was fairly leery about coming downstairs.

Once she finally made it down the stairs, she forgot all about the jolly ol' elf and went to discovering all the treasures he brought her.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The basics of parenting - Chapter 1: food and water

You can't tell from these pics the amazing beauty we saw on our hike at Laurel Snow Wilderness last weekend. Nor can you see the teeth gnashing misery we endured at Caroline's hands (or, more accurately, her mouth). Normally, she's a breeze on long hikes, but we made two grave parenting mistakes -- one involving food (or lack thereof) and one involving water (too much).

This is C demonstrating how to use trekking poles -- approximately 5 minutes before meltdown #1 because we tried to delay lunchtime 'til we reached the ultimate view. In most of our outdoor adventures, we tend to inflict unnecessary suffering on ourselves searching for just the right lunch spot. It's usually worth the wait. This time it was not, as I learned when she screamed bloody murder 6 inches from my ear for 10 minutes. I finally ripped off her mitten and handed her a cheesestick. Who cares that it was cold and her fingers were bright red...

Me and C and Frosty -- post-cheesestick:

Notice: no mitten, despite the cold temps. She was having no part of Daddy putting them back on. Only "Mama do it!" But I couldn't with her on my back.

This smiling face is approximately 15 minutes before meltdown #2. Little did we know as we ate lunch on this beautiful pinnacle that C's feet -- layered with two pairs of Smartwool socks (one pair hers and one mine) and her signature Loch Ness Monster slippers -- were dangling in a puddle and slowly soaking her feet.
As we headed back down the mountain, she casually mentioned that her feet were cold. That's when I noticed, with horror, that they were soaked. She was wearing a layer of my socks pulled up to her knees, so I tried to move them around so the wet parts weren't touching her. We kept walking, weighing our options. I hadn't brought any extra socks, and she wasn't wearing shoes because none she had would fit over two layers of wool socks (stupid!).

Gradually, her complaining escalated into hysterical sobs (not in my ear anymore because Spence was carrying her), then blood-curdling screams I hadn't heard since she was an infant. I would have given anything to put a bucket over my head and scream at the top of my lungs, but I didn't have a bucket either. It was clearly not our finest parenting hour. Finally, my sensible hubby suggested giving C my dry socks and me putting on her wet ones, which worked beautifully.
And we were home free...with one tense moment passing a creepy guy near the trailhead. We both laughed about it later when we confessed how our minds were racing with visions of the unibomber and hillside strangler. Despite our tired feet, we made good time in the last 1/2 mile. We bundled in the warm truck and sipped hot chocolate (the one good thing I'd had the presence of mind to pack).

Monday, December 15, 2008

A couple of country bumpkins on a Sunday stroll

Sometimes the toddler experience is a lesson in parenthood that you don't fully grasp until later. Case in point: Caroline and I walked down the front steps of our porch, heading, I thought, for the car to go to church. I get to the car, fling all our stuff into the back seat, then turn to load her up. In the three-and-a-half seconds it takes me to get to the car, she has become a tiny black speck trekking across the yard toward the lower field.

She stops briefly as I yell for her to come back. The cat she was apparently fetching heeds my call and heads back toward the house.

Caroline does not. She turns and keeps heading for the river. I have no idea where she's going or why she's totally ignoring my shouts.

I can do nothing but chase her down, through weeds wet as a marsh and as high as her shoulders.

At church, I spend 10 minutes plucking stick-tights off my pants, to the amusement of several congregants, most of whom are city folk. My friend David, who lives in the boondocks near us and happens to be an expert in fish, bugs, birds, weeds and most all things environmental, informs me that the seed in a stick-tight is edible. So we stand in the worship hall and each eat one.
Now that tidbit might come in handy if I ever find myself stranded in a big field in danger of starving to death, but the true lesson learned was that a focused 2-year-old can cross the state line before you have time to lock the front door.
We're keeping our front door locked these days.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On the verge?

Two Bethany families got referrals today -- siblings (ages 5 and 2, I think) and an 8-month-old boy. We're so excited to see some action again on the referral front. It's been too long. There is some speculation that there are/were at least 3, maybe 4, more referrals coming. But we don't know who they are yet.

We're now 4th on the Bethany forum wait list (we could be a family or two lower than that since not everyone is on the forum), so there's a slim chance we could be in this group, but I'm not holding my breath. Oh, the rollercoaster of adoption.

Congrats to Kellie and Shan and family. Hoping for fast court dates.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Make a difference - sponsor a child

Yezelalem Minch is an orphanage in Addis Ababa. In addition to caring for older orphans, they have a number of community outreach programs, including a sponsorship program for children who may still live at home, many with a parent with HIV or other illness who is unable to provide all the care the child needs.

This is an unedited letter from Sami, the sponsorship coordinator at Yezelalem Minch, to Jayne, the U.S. coordinator for the program. It gives a glimpse into the sad situation of some of the kids and why YM needs sponsors!

Dear Jayne,
Have you heard about Leelt Degu? She is an 8 years old girl. She lives with her mother. Her father was dead. Now she is following her education. She is grade 2 student. They are living beside the road under plastic home, attached to someone’s fence, around Addis Ketema. The location by itself is very dangerous. Her mother is mentally ill. Before she almost lost her mind, she tried to sale candles, incense and other religious materials around orthodox churches. Now she cannot do that. Now they have no income. Leelt is also exposing to be attack or harm physically or mentally. She needs so much help and care. We visited her home and it is not a place to live. It is not a home at all. They have no bed, blanket, kitchen materials, food, no enough clothing, nothing. Currently, Leelt is getting help from Yezelalem Minch in many areas like education, health care and food. Thank you for taking Leelt’s case in to consideration.

Samuel Seyoum

In June, YM had 350 children being helped by the program; 87 of them still needed sponsors. Today, they have 50 children still needing sponsors and a very long waiting list of children who can't be admitted to the program until more sponsors are found.

Sponsorship of a YM child is $30/month (coordinated by Helps International Ministries) and covers school fees and supplies, schools uniforms, medical expenses, casual clothes, recreation and part of the family’s food.

If you're interested in sponsoring a child through YM, you can visit the HIM website or email the program coordinator, Jayne Morrison, directly at Tell her what gender and age child you'd like to sponsor (if you have a preference) and she will send you an electronic sponsorship packet with pictures of your child and tell you where to send your first check. You can also set up auto bank draft.

This amazing program is saving lives, providing nutrition, and allowing children to attend school who would otherwise have to work to support their families.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Christmas Story

This Sunday, I went on the hunt for a book about the Christmas story for Caroline. Digging through piles of "A Dora Christmas" and "Merry Christmas, Stinky Face," I found a Little Golden Book called "The Christmas Story." It had nice illustrations and seemed like a level she could understand, so I bought it.

Tonight, after a brief knock-down about what books we would read, I insisted we try something new and broke out The Christmas Story. I started out by reading exactly as it was written: The angel said, "You are blessed among women, for you shall have a son. He shall be called the Son of God and his kingdom shall never end."

Now I'm not sure how I thought she'd react, but she kept looking over the edge of the bed toward "Frosty the Snowman" and "Dora's Sweet Adventure."

So I tried a different approach and rewrote the story a bit: So these shepherds were in this big field, watching over their sheep to make sure they didn't run away. And this angel flew through the sky and scared them. But the angel said, "Don't be scared. I've got some good news for you...and the shepherds were so happy they decided to go see this baby Jesus..."

You'd have thought I just turned on Barney. She started asking, "Who are those guys, Mama?" So I said, "Those are three wise men (one, two, three) and they went to visit baby Jesus and took him some treats..."

And she said, "Like candy?"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend hike

After a late start associated with a minor horse emergency that resulted in stitches, we headed to Big South Fork for a 6.6-mile hike. We were all smiles at first...because our feet felt great.

Spence usually carries C's 27-pounds, but I volunteered today since he'd been sick and I needed the workout.

I sure got it.

The hike was full of huge rock houses.

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We ate lunch in a rock house.

C discovered her pockets to keep her hands warm.

Then Dad took over the last couple miles hauling Little C. Mama's feet were thankful.

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We let C hike that last stretch to the truck. She had fun tromping in the leaves.

She had the biggest smile of all when we got loaded back up, because her feet weren't screaming

It was a great day, and we returned to two happy horses and intact stitches. We were thankful for that!

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Delilah comes home

So Delilah arrived about noon on Thanksgiving Day. She got to meet Skip through the fence -- after he had done a little racing around the big field, arching his neck and prancing to show off.

They touched noses to check compatibility.

Then Delilah got to roam in her lot for a while.

The meeting was a little tense at first.

Then Delilah blew off Skip to have a little grass.

But he kept a constant eye on her to make sure she didn't try any funny business.

Then D and S went for a little ride around the farm. She's about as big around as a pencil, but she's going to be a great trail horse.

Welcome home, Delilah!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What're you doing?

This question gets a variety of answers in our house.

One day while I was in the kitchen and C was in her high chair, suspiciously quietly eating yogurt --
Me: Caroline, what're you doing?
Caroline: Making a mess.

One day while I was in the living room and C was in the kitchen, coughing repeatedly --
Me: Little C, what're you doing?
Caroline: Choking.

Last weekend, while we were driving home from Chattanooga, C was in her car seat "reading" a book. I noticed she'd had it in front of her face a really long time and hadn't turned the page in a while --
Me: C, what're you doing?
Caroline: Pooping.
Me: Oh Caroline, can you wait til we get to a potty? Can you hold it a few minutes?
Caroline: I can hold my horses, Mama.

PS. She did and we made it to the potty! Thank goodness we were 1/2 a mile from a rest stop.

Monday, November 24, 2008


On Thanksgiving Day, we will have a new addition to our family. Her name is Delilah and she's a 10-year-old racking horse mare with the softest coat and sweetest disposition. We weren't expecting to find the exact horse we wanted so soon, but Delilah seems to fit the bill. She's very gentle and low-key so Caroline can be around her; she's a great trail horse and she'll make a wonderful companion for Skipper.

I'll post better pictures once we go pick her up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It's taken me a week to be able to post this. We lost Cash, our sweet quarter horse, last week. It was sudden and unexpected, and it's really hard for me to even talk about. My only consolation is that he had a good life and he loved his buddy Skip (left).

You could always recognize him by the tornado on his forehead.

We're giving Skip special attention, and we hope he won't be alone for long. We plan to get another horse or pony sometime to be Skip's companion and perhaps suitable for Caroline as she gets older.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photo tagged

I was tagged by Theresa to post the 4th photo in the 4th file on my computer and describe it. Here it is. It was painted by my mother-in-law, "Mama Norma," who is a wonderful artist. I photographed it in January 2005. Maybe she will leave a comment with more details.

I couldn't resist posting a couple of her other pieces.

And one of the artist herself.

I tag Cindy, Kara, Kellie and Jill.