Last year while in Guatemala, our family (Russ) was asked to help build bunk beds for a family whose children attend the school we worked with. The day was also spent with a neighbor boy, a squishy cute 3 year old with whom Eliot shared his toys all day. Including a handful of matchbox cars. At the end of the day I asked Eliot if he wanted to give one of his cars to his new little friend. His reaction was to cling, CLING to his backpack full of toys as if it were his oxygen tank.
Startled by his reaction, I reminded him of the basketloads of cars waiting for him at home. It was no consolation. He could only see those within his grasp. As a mom, I didn't love seeing the 6 year old version of selfishness and/or materialism no matter how "developmentally appropriate" it was. At that moment it became clear that he'd learned sharing as a tolerance instead of as generosity.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. As Russ was designing Eliot's amazing birthday party invitations I had an idea, knowing we were headed to Guatemala the day after the party. I ran it by Eliot.
"Hey El, what if instead of your friends bringing you gifts (since you'll be getting plenty of gifts from your family), they bring new matchbox cars for you to give away in Guatemala?" He was *sort of* on board.
(Sidenote: we were inviting his whole class (plus more), of which is pretty diverse socio-economically. We were going to say "No gifts" in case the expectation to bring one would keep anyone away. This party would not have been a gift revenue source either way.)
Upon revisiting the idea multiple times since that first convo, this is what he heard: "Your friends will give you new cars. You'll pick the ones you don't like and give them away." OR "Your friends will give you new cars and you will give away your old cars." We kept reminding him of the original plan.
The invitations went out. The night before the party I asked Sandra (MIL) and Russ if they thought Eliot understood what was going to happen with the cars. The party came. We partied like it was 1999. The party ended. We gathered all the bags in the living room. We held our breath, waiting to see if there would be any tension as Eliot opened 116 brand new cars. 116 brand new cars. He'd never seen a collection that big or shiny ever. And they were all sitting in his living room.
After a lot of "Look at this one, guys!" and "Woah, red is my favorite color!" and of course, "Look at the spoiler on this one!" they were all opened and put into columns.
He looked them all over and said, "I can't wait for the Guatemalans to see these!"
And then I wept.
When Russ asked, "Well Eliot, what do you think?" Eliot asked if he could maybe keep 2. Russ offered to buy two extra before the trip to replace the 2 he wanted and Eliot was content.
And then I wept. Again.
Eliot wheeled his small suitcase through the airport proudly, laughing at the xray machine showing an entire carry-on full of cars. The day came. We headed to Guatemala City and met with a new ministry. We brought out the two bags and told Eliot it was finally time. We started down one walkway and saw a few kids. Eliot carefully chose cars for them. One little girl paused, looked closely at her pink car. Her eyes widened, a smile broke out across her face and she took off running yelling, "MAMA!" Eliot looked at me and smiled.
And then I wept.
It took about .4 seconds for word to spread through the neighborhood that someone was handing out cars. Sweet kids came from every doorway and every alley. Eliot happily passed out every single car and was disappointed when he ran out.
Did this whole experience teach him generosity like we'd hoped? We have no idea. Did he come home and immediately start giving everything away? No. In fact he had get used to sharing with a certain 2 year old again. But our hope is in the seeds planted.
We wanted him to feel it. To feel generous. To wish he had more to give away. To experience joy through sacrifice.
We have no idea what we're doing as parents the majority of the time. I've tried outsourcing the development of my kid's character but no dice. The problem is that "more is caught than taught" so while we work hard to provide experiences like this, it really comes back to what they're seeing is us on a regular basis. I've got some work to do.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
In the last week:
I made dinner. A few times.
I volunteered at E's school.
I tamed the fro.
I helped loosen a tooth.
I read chapter books.
I read board books.
I took pictures.
I made cookies.
I explained to Eliot that the 80s were not about dressing like clowns, it was a style.
I held slugs, rollie pollies, ants and worms.
I broke up fights.
I dreamed of escaping. All by myself.
I grocery shopped.
I wiped noses with my bare hands.
I forced myself to stay in the 'parent section' of the baseball field as I watched my first grader fight back tears after getting out at first.
I watched Cars for the 900th time.
I bought organic food. And also Cheetos.
I argued about homework.
I spent too much time on my phone.
I administered antibiotics.
I wondered about biological children.
I paid a babysitter instead of buying a new top.
I planned two birthday events.
I didn't sew anything. Or do any craft projects.
I packed lunch.
I lost my patience.
I made appointments for annual check-ups.
I prayed for birth moms as we approach mothers day and both boys birthdays.
I made both boys cry. A few times. For not giving in to what they want vs. what they need. But also because I was mean.
I hid in the bathroom.
I hid in my car.
I hid in the basement.
I made Eliot try asparagus.
I overreacted. A few times.
I dreamed of adding more children.
I was consistent. Until I was inconsistent.
I cleaned ears and flossed teeth.
I grieved our miscarriage.
I did laundry, dishes and sweeping.
I didn't vacuum.
I cursed the day PowerRangers decided to make a television show.
I dated my husband.
I prayed over them, with them and for them.
I sang to them. And then stopped when Eliot asked me not to.
I took a lot of deep breaths.
I dreaded the day they each realize their loss of their birth families.
I thanked God for letting me be their mom. A few times.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
There's lots to share about my weekend at Summit9 in Nashville but had to share what happened when I got home!
Upon walking in the house, Eliot asked me to close my eyes and walked me to the living room, where I saw this!
(The sign says "Happy Mothers Day!")
It's worth noting that this is only the second television we've bought in our 17 years together. Also? If you keep up with our Instagrams you've seen screen shots of our last TV and the lack of the full picture...
It's just so fancy I don't know what to do with myself. So I've started drinking tea. (That's what fancy people do. duh.)
Sunday, May 5, 2013
This year, The Journey – Tower Grove will be rolling out a series of services and resources called “FORM.” Our purpose with FORM is to provide a variety of worship experiences, designed to assist in spiritual formation & personal growth.
Our first FORM event will be held on Thursday, May 9 at 7:00pm at REBER PLACE (formerly the Luminary), and will be a lament service for families experiencing infertility.
For many couples, growing a family can be a long and difficult (sometimes impossible) process. Our hope is to create space within this service to help couples ask hard questions, wrestle with doubts, fears, and brokenness, and ultimately find hope in Christ, who promises to draw near to us in our sufferings.
If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulty having children, we encourage you to attend this service.
Posted by Katie at 9:28 AM
Sunday, April 28, 2013
This week we went to the dentist. Eliot was due for a cleaning and had three adult teeth sneaking in behind his baby teeth, heading toward shark-ism. Most kids his age have between 20-24 teeth. He has 27. Our little overachiever.
Later that night? This happened.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—"the stone of help"—for he said, "Up to this point the Lord has helped us!" —1 Samuel 7:12
I don't know if people notice this when they come over. I don't think anyone has ever asked. I don't know what made us start it. Not sure where the idea came from, but we have an Ebenezer.
Each rock was picked up at a meaningful location to represent a meaningful time in our marriage/life. Together they sit in a vase on our mantle, a constant reminder of pivotal moments or seasons where the Lord brought us through something.
2003: Three large flat dark gray stones- from a five year anniversary trip to Seattle/Portland. Celebrating "we made it 5 years!" Two young immature selfish people managed life together for five years. Thanks to God.
2007: Large volcanic rock- From Guatemala. Celebrating the completion of Eliot's adoption and the ending of all the trials that came along with that.
2007: Two stones; one small shiny and sweet. The other rough and underwhelming.- In STL, we went through a Marriage Camp with our church. Leading the camp was Deb and all of her wisdom. She used a kids science toy Rock Tumbler as an illustration of what marriage does (or should do).
2008: Small, smooth dark gray-Cancun, Mexico. Ten year anniversary trip! We made it! Ten years! We still like each other!
2011: Large white rock- STL, from Children's Home Society, to celebrate Desmond joining our family!
2012: Another volcanic rock- from fifth Guatemalan mission trip. God proving over and over that He's always doing more than one thing at a time.
2013: Small, round orangey rock- From Augusta, GA spring break trip as a family. Celebrating a season of rest.
We have so much to be grateful for over the last 15 years. God is, and always has been, good.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
—Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Monday, April 8, 2013
Yesterday I ran my 5th half marathon.
Which is impressive because I still don't consider myself a runner. Not sure when that will happen.
I had three realizations from this run: (Four: if you count the classy idea of using my shirt as a kleenex)
First: The oh-so-hilly course took us through St. Louis University campus. Through that part of the course there were tons of college kid spectators, what with their SLU gear, quick metabolisms and Starbucks cups. I thought about college-me and what she would say if I told her that 36-year-old me was completing her FIFTH HALF MARATHON. She was very impressed. We were both pretty proud.
Secondly: Running for Erin and Bob's adoption made me notice what other people were running for. Clean water programs, Leukemia foundations, Cultural Leadership, etc. I really liked running for a purpose. If I ever run another it will be for someone besides myself. While the first four were a great accomplishment, this one meant more.
Thirdly: Our roomie agreed to bring the boys downtown to see me since Russ was at church. This was a big deal to me. We see Russ perform literally every week at church, where Eliot is often seen giving an unabashed thumbs up from the front row. We cheer weekly for Eliot during swim practice, homework completion, reading and t-ball. And, lets be honest, we cheer Dez on for just about everything he does. But yesterday? My boys were all really proud of me. They were cheering me on. Eliot was convinced I ran as fast as a cheetah. Which is totally accurate. If you remove most of the cheetah's legs.
A huge thanks to all my pledgers! My team alone raised almost $250. Still waiting to hear about the other runners fundraising totals!
Monday, April 1, 2013
Remember this post? Well, the race is less than a week away. You have FIVE DAYS to get your pledge emailed to me. (You pay after the race.) Here's the details:
You have three options:
1. Pledge $X.XX/mile of the RACE. (13.1 miles) i.e. $1/mile= $13.10, $10/mile would be $131.00 or anything in between or more or less.
2. Pledge a set amount.
3. Pledge nothing but run it yourself on my "team" and gather pledges from your peeps.
Here's where your entertainment comes in:
If I collectively raise:
$200: I'll wear silly socks
$500: I'll wear silly socks and a tutu.
$1000: I'll wear silly socks, a tutu, and something silly on my head
$2000: I'll wear a full costume of the donor's choice (there will be a vote) (appropriate choices only, duh.)
Contact me ASAP to join in the fun! katie l mohr @ g mail.
I hate to break it to you but we're only committed up to silly socks...(I'm only counting my pledges, not anyone on my team...)
I'm also selling these sweet little numbers at $10/each. Every penny you send me for the race or the bracelets GOES TO THE HANSELS ADOPTION!
Posted by Katie at 9:46 AM
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
We did it! We flew south for spring break! Augusta, GA or bust! We spent the week with our dear friends, Bob and Margie who moved last summer. It was the perfect vacation.
I tried not to double up pics from our Instagram feeds and here. Feel free to follow us on IG for a daily snapshot. KatieLMohr and Allpurposecracker.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
When a good friend says, "How are you guys doing?" these days, I can honestly answer "Great!". It's weird.
Our world is always full of things to be thankful for but for the last 7 years, there's been a lot of unrest. A lot of risks. A lot of adventures. A lot of hard decisions. A lot of hard conversations. We've had successful adoptions, unsuccessful adoptions, offers that never panned out, a return into infertility, starting jobs, ending jobs, moved back into the city, planted a church, switched to a different church, had close friends move away, started and ended bands and businesses. So...yeah, a lot of unrest.
Within the last year we finalized Dez's adoption, Eliot's IEP was set and he is killing first grade, and Russ was offered his dream job.
We've lived with huge question marks overarching our lives for so long that it feels unfamiliar to have them all answered.
When I taught 4th grade we spent 30 seconds of one social studies unit talking about farming practices in the middle ages (my class was nothing but gripping, I tell you. Edge of your seat kinda stuff.) That was the first time I'd ever heard of fallow fields. We didn't have a lot of those in the 'burbs of Detroit. If you look at the handy graphic I stole from the Internets, you'll see a visual on what I mean. Farmers would leave a designated section of their land unseeded or dormant between planting seasons. That allowed the soil to regenerate its mineral base, keeping the soil healthy and ready for the next planting season.
True story. Bet you didn't know you'd get an agricultural lesson outta me today, huh?
That's where we are. After the last 7 years (number of completion, anyone?) we're set in a fallow season as a family. It feels unfamiliar. The temptation is to stir something up. I hear stories of people fostering. Of people adopting. Of people starting businesses or buying new homes. We feel weird not doing anything risky or uncomfortable. We're not "in the game". We're on the bench.
Being in this season is giving us (me) a chance to catch up on things I've been attempting to fit in to the rest of our crazy life. It's given us a chance to start tying some loose ends that have just dangled for years. Things on the back burner are now actually receiving some attention.
I'm trying to be a good steward of this time so that when it's over, we are healthy and ready for the next planting season. Cuz, I mean, there's still room on our couch...