Friday, September 28, 2007


I'm glad I just posted a "note to self" entry since I've got another heavy entry for you. But on this one, I need your help.

If you hadn't heard by now, Guatemalan adoptions that are in process are in trouble. If you want to know the details from the state department here's a link to the article they recently posted: and here's another article in response to the news:

You don't have to understand all the lingo or even what the Hague is to understand the bottom line. Basically all adoptions that aren't completed by Jan 1 will be stopped until further notice (if ever) while they get their act together on both the Guatemalan side and the US side. There is a desperate need for the system to be revamped (if you hadn't gathered that from our experience...) but to cut off all pending adoptions by a 'deadline' is ludicrous. According to the JCICS there's 5000 pending cases of children that have been referred to parents in the U.S., this means their biological parents have relinquished their parental rights, which leaves these children in a state of limbo. Please hear the urgency: This is a big deal and we can fight it.

Russ gave me the 'day off' today to work on some projects and I'm sitting in this cozy coffee shop completely unable to think straight. I've made the statement before that our adoption won't truly feel complete until Sharon, Bella, Irene, Melissa and Madi are home. Well, through the adoption cyberspace world, I've met the Wheelers (see blog link) who have barely started their process but are already so in love with their Guatemalan little girl and truly feel led by the Lord to adopt her. So on one hand a young couple is just sending off their primary paperwork and feels as though their heart is being juggled openly while the government figures out what they're doing. On the other hand you've got Sharon. She's been with Bella since she was 3 months old and is now almost a year and a half. Sharon has made countless sacrifices in order to live down there and raise her until the process completes. We also can look at Cheri, who's case has encountered the most insane roadblocks and should have been completed months ago.

These women are bonded with these children in ways only mothers can. They've "paid their dues" in the system and now the system threatens the worst. They simply just want to take their daughters home now, please.

Okay, here's the recommended ways you can help. The simplest is to follow this link and sign this online petition. If you're like me, you question the validity of any online petition, but what if it does make a difference? We need to at least take a shot at it. It's very simple and takes less than 30 seconds. So far there's only 6064 signatures. That's not enough, please add more!!

If you want to go one step further (PLEASE DO!!!!) here's a link to a list of sample letters you can send to your senators, congressmen, DOS, and UNICEF: (Thanks Cheri, for organizing these!)

And please get the word out! Pass this info on to those around you.

Even if you're not the type of person to sign online petitions or write to your congressmen, I beg of you to climb out of that box just this once. This is the United States, where people rising up and taking a stand has made a difference. Let's take advantage of the system we have in place for when things aren't the way they should be.

As each of you have fallen in love with our Eliot, please think of the 5000 faces just like his waiting to come home. As you stood by Russ and I supporting us through the arduous process, think of the families, just like us, that daily plead that their own country won't deny them their children.

I leave you with pics of babies that are waiting to hear what will happen to them. Hopefully one of their sweet faces will inspire you to take action...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Note to self 5...

Some bird droppings don't look like bird droppings. Some look like yummy blueberries. Good thing Dad was paying attention.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Soapbox #2: Have pack-n-play, will travel.

Disclaimer: this post is the one I've been working on. It still doesn't sound quite right and is probably harsh at some points. I'm not even sure I got my points across as I shifted from thought to thought. Sorry it's so long. Overall I wanted the other young moms, as well as myself, to be inspired, not convicted or defensive but we'll see..

I'm a mom now. So, is that it? What else goes on the planner? Is the tendency to forsake all other parts of your life once diapers show up? I know it's not just me. I know that our church struggles on many occasions and for many events at getting the young moms involved. What is that? There's a time span that should be allotted for a learning curve but at what point does your 'motherhood' become your hiding place?

Here's the fruit of the issue: I'm not serving anywhere. You know, service. Helping others and taking care of someone besides my family. I also dropped out of most everything I used to be involved in, church related or otherwise.

There was a conversation had this week about nursery at church. The woman in charge is having trouble getting moms to sign up for a shift. It's a whole hour. Yikes. A whole hour once a month and I get free childcare the rest of the time for it? Sounds like an ugly commitment. Or just a simple way to serve. Another event we have at our church coming up is the "Harvest Party", held for our community. We are the hosts, not the guests and yet I know they have trouble filling the slots for manning the booths each year, especially from the young families. After all, we're the ones with kids, isn't this our event? Hmmmm. I'm sure there are legitimate reasons for some families to not chip in but here's my problem: in our church it seems that the young families are the ones who receive a lot of the help, arguably more than many other subgroups. Yet it's this group that has become unwilling to serve and I've just slipped in along side them. Is that ironic to anyone else? At what ages will our kids be before we stop always taking and start giving, if ever?

This weekend we were at a college retreat with a campus ministry from Mizzou. (Yes, we took Eliot camping! More on that later...) While the kids were playing capture the flag, we got a chance to chat with the director of the ministry. When asked what his biggest struggle with this generation of kids was he replied that they are in a place of critical consumerism. They are there to be served, and very few are there to lend a hand or reach out. Most of them are Christians. If his ministry isn't providing enough for them, they move on to another one instead of chipping in some help. Where has the church gone wrong? Is it the church or is it a mindset that we parents have unintentionally instilled in the minds of our children. Would rejecting the plea to help out in the nursery one hour a month at church create an unsaid message to Eliot? Maybe. It certainly does to the nursery staff that work all week but serve anyway.

And while I'm up here on this soapbox: at our church we have lots of things offered for personal growth. For your marriage they have classes once a week for a short season. For women we have bible studies and a retreat once a year in the fall. At these events, there's very few young moms represented. Where are you? Do you not need to work on anything but motherhood during this time of life? At what point does 'life' stop because motherhood started?

There have been opportunities that have come up in the last few months for me and at times I've been hesitant to participate. Why? Because Eliot needs me. Of course he does, I'm his mom. However, that thought process could be taken too far. It can be taken to the "martyr" role pretty quickly, at least for me. And that, my friends, does NOT need to be nurtured.

What does this 'denying self at all times at all costs for the sake of your children' lifestyle lead to other than self-centered children? It has to affect your marriage, first of all. Secondly, your sanity. Aren't you exhausted? I am. Thirdly, I'm assuming, would be bitterness when your life is gone and your kids don't worship you anymore. Your personal needs didn't vanish the minute you held your first little one. Your child(ren) weren't meant to meet all your needs, and neither was your husband. You were created to desire more than that and ultimately to serve and therein glorify the Lord. Does raising Godly children glorify the Lord? Absolutely. Does taking a break once in awhile, even weekly, so that you can nurture other needs take away from that calling? I would say no, that it in fact would enhance your ability to raise your children. What opportunities are you and your family missing by hiding out in your house? Was our identity so wrapped up in our life before kids that we now struggle to know whom we are and so we just retreat backwards into motherhood, never to be seen again until soccer teams start?

Now, a couple of limitations of my rant: I'm a mom of one. I've only been a mom in the states for a couple months. My husband willingly shares responsibilities of parenthood, even in this young stage, and has the flexibility to do so. My child is pretty flexible in new situations and can adapt his schedule accordingly. That being said, I'm still concerned about this trend.

Please don't hear that Eliot's needs are secondary and that I just get to them whenever I'm not out being social. He's always a priority. Not just his immediate needs but also his needs down the road. Does he need to grow up with a mom who's made him the center of the universe so much so that she has very little of her own life or very little marriage left? Does he need to grow up in a house that sees the church as a place to be served or to serve (more than once a year, that is...)?

I'm not suggesting that a little slow down isn't necessary once diapers and bottles enter the picture. I just don't know why you have to quit everything until further notice. I'm also not suggesting you "do it all!" as the American culture can pressure us to do but there needs to be some balance.

There are moms out there that have broken this mold for me. I love seeing pics of my friend Erin who goes rock-climbing and hiking with her toddler. I cherish memories of hanging out with high school kids weekly as a young kid as my parents volunteered with the youth ministry. I love that my Arbonne teammates enjoy combining our informal meetings with play dates. I was encouraged watching Lisa bring Charlie to small group before we had Eliot and putting her to bed in a pack-n-play so that she and Jake could participate in something once a week for their marriage. I look up to my friend Amanda who runs the children's program at her church with her two kids in tow.

It all boils down to serving Jesus. Which, again, has some irony involved in that He "didn't come to be served but to serve." He didn't suggest the disciples wash his feet since he was the big chief, he insisted on washing theirs. There was no entitlement or "rights" in His walk here. While he had every right to come and be served, he denied that and chose to constantly serve and His disciples learned from walking along side Him. That's how I want Eliot to learn. Not just from me saying thank you to those who serve me but from walking along side me as I serve.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Soapbox #1

(This is not the soapbox I refered to yesterday, it's a new one! enjoy!)

Yesterday, my life was changed probably forever. Yes, it happened at the grocery store. I've been converted. From this day on, I will be one of 'those' people. I, Katie Mohr, will start using canvas bags. And until I buy them, I will reuse my thousands of plastic ones I get on a weekly basis from the friendly checkout baggers.

Here's what my load looked like today:
In the "Meat" bag was 3 items. 2 packs of chicken and 1 pack of bacon. The bacon, which is already sealed in plastic and packaged in cardboard had it's own plastic bag. This was on top of the large package of chicken. Then underneath was yet another bag containing the smaller package of chicken. Good thing those weren't touching or I may not be here to write this blog. 3 bags for 3 items. What?

In the "glass bottles" bag was the salsa as a free agent next to the brown bagged spaghetti sauce. Again, those glass bottles can be unpredictable, I'm comforted that my two tomato based products were kept individualized. 2 bags for 3 items. Getting better? Let's not jump to any conclusions.

Items special enough to be honored by it's own bag entirely: orange juice, whole milk, skim milk, 6-pack of soda, eggs, dishwasher detergent. Count it up folks, that's 6 bags for 6 items. Really???? Really?

My favorite was the 6-pack of Cream Soda that comes with a built in cardboard handle. This item got not one but TWO BAGS around it! 2 bags for 1 item. Errrrrrr.

The happy ending to the saga is that the sweet bagger deemed strawberries able to touch blueberries, bananas and even apricots. A sigh of relief was heard across the land.

It's no wonder our landfills are piling up. It's never been this bad. I remember when baggers started separating the chemical based items from the rest of the food and that was a big deal. Now it is clearly out of hand. Canvas bag seller-man, today is your lucky day.

Arbonne meeting?

This morning we had an "Arbonne meeting/play date" with my friends Julie and Nicole. Here's the work we got done:

Here's Eliot studying beforehand with his study buddy:

I've started two other posts this morning and just don't feel okay with them yet. I started off up on the soapbox and then climbed down and am just looking at it. Maybe tomorrow. I need to head to the grocery store.

Sidenote: last week at the store I was at the end of an aisle when I see someone walking across my aisle in my periferal vision. I am intently studying the kleenex options when I hear a lighthearted, "Oh!" which of course, gets my attention. I turned my head to see an elderly man stopped at our endcap with his pants around his ankles. Apparently he'd not secured his belt before heading to the store. He also found some humor in this and looked sheepishly around to see if anyone noticed. My eyes quickly darted back to the facial tissues. Oh, good times at the store. I wasn't aware they offered free shows during the day...

Monday, September 24, 2007

To blog or not to blog...

What did people do before blogs were created? It's become a sickness for me. In my 'time budget' I have to figure in time for blogging. Not just filling all of you chumps in on us (by the way, eliot cut two new teeth this weekend, we're up to 8) but reading all the blogs linked to mine. Not only do I try to keep up with all of those but there are a few that are linked to them that I keep up with also. It's out of control.

Back in March when Keri, Heather and Beth came for their visit to the 'mala, Beth suggested that I start a blog. Life was getting more and more tricky for Russ, my parents and in-laws and close friends. Lots of people wanted updates and details about the adoption and it was getting exhaustive for my family and friends to relay the same information over and over. People wanted to see pictures on a regular basis and I couldn't add enough emails to our shutterfly list. So, our blog was created. It has become a perfect solution. Now we can communicate and share Eliot with everyone everywhere.

I've had some surprising visitors to the blog. As you can see from the little map to the side, we have lots of international visits (hello to my new New Zealand friends!) as well as a bunch from the US. It's been healthy, almost theraputic, for me to share our story. God's story of what he's done through us. The most rewarding aspect so far has been to hear from a small handful of people that they have been encouraged to proceed with or begin the process of adoption after keeping up with our journey. How cool is God? Posting a blog sometimes feels like shouting from the rooftop that God is good.

I wondered if the only people who would keep reading after our return home would be the grandmas and sometimes I post with only them in mind, knowing their desire to daily see their little grandson. However, most of the time, whether it's at church or on the phone with a friend, we jump right into the daily happenings that they've already read about. I don't have to describe nearly as much anymore because most of our close friends and family still keep up with us this way. It's just so very handy.

So, good morning to you blog-hoppers. It was great meeting with you as you've had your daily or weekly dose of our blog. See you tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stay at home Mom...

A few signs I've observed about myself this week that point toward the new role of 'stay at home mom'. Maybe these are normal for you but they are new for me, especially all in one week:

* grocery shopping in the middle of the day
* Eliot stayed in his pj's all day until bath before bed
* I used the crockpot for dinner
* while grocery shopping in the middle of the day, I noticed that I've become the shopper that no one will stand behind in line until I'm almost checked out. My cart is too full.
* Most showers happen after 11 am, sometimes as late as 2 pm, sometimes not at all
* My house should be cleaner but in fact, it's gotten messier.
* I'm obsessed with the small appliances in the kitchen: the rice cooker, the quesadilla maker, the waffle maker, the coffee maker, the toaster, the tea maker, and the crock pot. Is that weird?

Obviously, nothing too deep this morning. Have a great weekend!

I'll leave you with a pic from this week of my silly child who's obsessed with putting on shoes..

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Am I really home? With my husband with my sweet little baby? Really? Have I really been with Eliot longer than he was in the womb? Already? I'm still not quite sure what to say to all that. God is good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

First for Eliot!

Three weeks ago, tickets arrived in the bundle of mail. Since then it's been a twinge of excitement in the back of my mind. There's only a couple weeks left in the Cardinal's season and I hadn't been to a game yet. This is highly unusual! Not to mention, being able to take Eliot to his first baseball game. When I woke up yesterday morning, I felt like a little kid.

This may happen a lot over the next year, but there's so many experiences I've been looking forward to for a long time. Taking our small family to Busch Stadium was one of those. So much so that when we walked through the hallway and into the stadium, I got a little teary. I think Russ was pretty excited also since he mentioned the phrase "your first game" about a hundred times on our way in. First he called his parents just to let them know we wouldn't be home tonight since we're taking him to...his first game. Then buying peanuts outside...for his first game. Then handing the lady our his first game. You get it. It was stinkin' cute, in a masculine, sporty kind of way, of course.

We went to the game "holding lightly not tightly" to the idea of staying through the whole thing. We just weren't sure what Eliot's endurance would be, especially given that it was a night game starting at 7:10 and his bed time is 8. So we went in hoping he'd at least make it a few innings. In the words of Russ, "Eliot outlasted 3 Cardinals pitchers!" In fact, he made it all the way to the 7th inning stretch! We were quite impressed with him. The people around us were good sports and kept laughing when it appeared as though Eliot was yelling at the players. He spent his evening like most other fans, yelling and eating. And, in case you were wondering, Busch Stadium does sell milk at the family pavilion.

Eliot began to fade in the 6th inning. He would cuddle up with Russ until the crowd reacted to something and then he would catch a second wind for the game. After that moment wore off, he'd go back to snuggle time.

And, of course, the ride home looked like this...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Saturday: Part 2

After Guat-Fest, this was the activity until we got to Forest Park for the annual Balloon Launch. We've enjoyed this St. Louis tradition before but there's an added excitement when I can share it with Eliot. While I've enjoyed aspects of life before, it's as if certain things went from Black and White to full color.

When we got home from Guatemala, our house was filled with balloons and this became one of his favorite words. It's rather cute how he pronounces it, emphasizing the 'L' sound by sticking out his tongue. So, we thought the balloon launch would just elate him. I really thought I'd hear "balloon" all afternoon. However, it was rather anti-climactic for us. We sat on Art Hill and watched the Energizer Bunny float over Forest Park but watching the sippy cup roll down the hill was a tad more interesting. I kept prompting him to say his "balloon", even sticking my tongue way out. Nothing. I got nothing.

Crawling down hill seemed dangerous and crawling back uphill to attack me seemed like the ultimate fun. Who cares about the balloons...

So, when Lisa and Jake called to invite us to ride in a paddleboat at the boathouse to watch the rest of the balloons, we scurried through Forest Park to get there. It was a silly and fun adventure taking two toddlers on a paddleboat. Picture two women bossing Jake, our paddler, around. One toddler grabbing wallets, phones, etc and teasingly holding them over the pond, the other toddler leaning down constantly to play in the oh-so-clean pond scum.

Eliot was not such a fan of the overwhelming life-vest.

Eliot seemed glad to have his neck back when we were done and we thanked Jake for working so hard to entertain us! The things we put our husbands through! =) After most of the balloons were gone, we stopped at the park on our way to the car. The kids did a little unwinding on the swings.

On the way home from a quick dinner with Jake and Lisa, we drove past a car dealership. Out of nowhere I hear, "Balloon" from the back seat. Turkey. There were balloons attached to a few of the cars. He pointed and oohed and aahed at the beautiful display. Turkey.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday: Part 1

Yes, you read that right. 'Guat Fest 07' Can you even believe it?! I am in love with this occasion! From my understanding, one of the moms who's adopted three boys from Guatemala arranges this get-together each year (possibly more, not sure of the details yet). Check this out:

(It's a little harder to find Eliot is this crowd, huh? he he he, he's the one close to the front with red shoes and a white shirt looking sleepy...)

Do you see this??? Does it make you cry or just me? All these sweet brown faces came from Guatemala and now live in the St. Louis area! AH! This kills me! There were over 40 adopted Guatemalans there ranging in ages from 6 months to 25 years old! What a celebration to hold!

This was, of course, the day that Eliot decided he didn't need a nap, so he was a little on the testy side but we had a great time. I've never seen so many soccer balls in my life! =) We met some really nice families that I'm hoping to see more often than once a year. It was such a blessing to chat with other families, especially those that had been to Antigua at least for a visit! I found myself a little desperate to hear of familiar places, like Santa Domingo.

There's a big group photo coming soon, but as we were sitting down for the pic, the lady sitting next to me asked me how old Eliot was. So, we started chatting and her son was sitting in her lap so I asked him how old he was, to which he replied, "I'm five. I'm from Guatemala." He was so proud of this that it made me tear up a little. I pray that we instill a pride for Eliot's country in him like this mom did for her son. In the meantime, he wasn't so happy being a fire-fighter...

But he got over it when a cute little Guatemalan girl came over and gave him a soccer ball...weird...

And to finish off this post: the sight that makes me squeeze Eliot possibly until his head pops off...Eliot in cozy clothes. Oh my...I can hardly stop from eating his little cheeks right off his little brown face. This is my new favorite pic of him. I just couldn't be more blessed!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Note to Self-4

At times, there is a small span of time between old diaper and fresh diaper. This is not the opportune moment to make your son laugh.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'd been warned...

How many times have I heard, "enjoy these times with your little one because they grow up faster than you think. Before you know it, they'll be off to college..." Well, it happened. Tuesday morning we loaded up the car and took Eliot to Mizzou. Since Eliot is teething, he decided to head back home instead of enrolling in classes. So we spent the day with my small group girls. It was a blessing to see them again since I'd only spent limited time with them since I've been home. I've been 'mentoring' these girls since they were in 8th grade so it's a blessing to see how they are growing up. It's odd, of course, to think that they used to need rides everywhere and had braces when they're now picking career paths and living independantly. I'm so proud of them!

(On the way to Mizzou...isn't this how most kids look as they head to college?)

(This may be the only time I'm okay with Eliot in an apartment with three girls...)

If you live in or around STL, you know that the weather has been insanely beautiful this week. It reminds me of the weather in Antigua, actually. Well, yesterday Eliot and I took advantage of our zoo membership and the sunny sky and met our friends, Nicole and AJ at the St. Louis Zoo. The animals also must have felt relief in the weather because they were crazy yesterday! We laughed a lot and the boys pointed and squeeled a lot!

(The boys were talking to the penguins)

(Nicole and AJ and an unsuspecting polar bear)


(Eliot making friends with a monkey he calls Daisy...weird...)


In other news, I haven't really updated anyone on "Project Eliot Walking". Many of you blog-followers know that he took steps over a month ago and because of our reaction, he decided it wasn't for him. Well, he had even quit standing on his own also. During our photo shoot with Jodie, he stood by himself for the first time in weeks. We kept a low profile but cheered him on. Then in Iowa over Labor Day weekend he took a few steps again between Russ and I. Then last week there was a night after dinner when he was acting like a complete spaz. He was crawl/running everywhere, tormenting the dogs, standing on his head every 5 seconds, etc. So, we decided to try and channel that energy into walking. We even tried to video it for you. He was so silly that he would walk but would then dramatically fall down and giggle to himself. The videos are useless because they really only show me laughing non-stop at my silly son. The next night we went to dinner at a friend's house and he got hyper again after dinner (I promise I'm not feeding him sugar!) so we tried again and he took 4-5 steps several times. The latest update is that last night Russ and I got on the floor with him again to see if he would walk and he repeatedly took between 7-12 steps between us!! He's so close!!! He even let go of me and took a few steps to get to the couch once! Hopefully soon we'll have a video for you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hind sight

Cooling temperatures (in STL that means 80's but I'll take it!), football season up and running, meeting at Starbucks with a couple friends while wearing a comfy grey hoody and drinking a peppermint latte, oh my dear friends....fall is coming. Being a native Michigander, this time of year is my favorite. It takes St. Louis a little longer to get to the true autumn weather but I still love it just as much. I love long sleeves, jeans and boots. I love pumpkin bread (katie B recipe, of course) and making an enormous pot of chili. Sleeping under a throw blanket on a Sunday afternoon watching football is officially on the schedule and this year it's 10X more amazing.

Besides the fact that this season was cut short for me last year as I moved to the land of eternal spring, this year I have a sweet little brown baby to cuddle with me. My heart is as full as my arms. I'm blessed beyond measure.

Yesterday Margie asked me if knowing what I know now if I'd do it again or choose an easier adoption, if I'd had the choice. Being home 2 months already, I can say that I wouldn't change a thing. Eliot is that amazing. If I had to deal with all that drama and make that degree of sacrifice, just to get this little chocolate chip, I would do it again without a doubt. Even not counting getting Eliot as the final reward, the experience was unmatchable. Even the pain. Had we been "scoopers" a year ago like originally planned, there's a lot that we would have missed out on. So I'm thankful. I'm a better mom, wife and friend because of it all and that's only a fraction of the fruit of this experience. The Lord was and is so good.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Catchy yet odd. That's the name we call ourselves. Our husbands play in the Fundamental Elements together and we are their "support system", hence: Fundees Undees.

Over Labor Day weekend we all headed to Iowa and spent the weekend together at the DeJaynes home. We had such a great time! I truly love and am completely entertained by this group of women. I know it's a rare thing that a group of guy friends (or co-workers or whatever you'd call the group of band guys) would have their wives get along so well. It just doesn't seem to work that well sometimes. We even started making plans for a weekend when we all take off for a road trip together and leave the kids with the guys. I'm not sure we'd be taking the band van but we'd figure it out! Many times when Russ asks if I'm going to a show or not, the first question I have is "Are any of the FundeesUndees going?" Not that the shows aren't fun, they're just that much more fun when the girls are all there.

I'm blessed to be apart of this silly group of girls! It's not an odd thing to chat with these women about what it's like to be a band wife. They get it. We're all on the same page with this and that's always a comfort. We offer to beat up fans that are trying to flirt with each other's husbands, we create signature dance moves to go with specific songs (not usually shown to the public), we each do what it takes so our husbands can pursue their dream together.

Anyway, I just wanted to brag on these girls a little and how proud I am to be a FundeeUndee!