Thursday, January 31, 2008


Favorite Foto Friday? I thought I'd give it a whirl. So much peer pressure in blog land to dictate what I do with my fotos on Fridays...It's probably a nice change though from the latest posts. Where is Eliot? you may be asking. Well, these won't help, they're from last year! Enjoy!

Kristy, the cook in the bed and breakfast where we lived for the first 4 months, knit Eliot and Solei sweaters for Christmas! She was so super sweet and made my transition into motherhood easier. It would have been great if she spoke English but I guess you can't have everything?

Eliot had a few trims before we got him but never a full-on haircut. So, at the age of 8 months, Eliot got a haircut from Dad. You can see E's excitement...

He's pretty stinkin' cute with or without all that hair!

By the way, we're getting snow, snow, snow, and we all have the day off tomorrow, so be looking for "Mayan in the snowstorm" pics! Coming soon!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Since my last post, I've gotten quite a response from you guys, especially from private emails sharing your struggles. Some are on the exact same journey, some with a different journey but the same questions. Whether it's a baby you desire, or a job, house, spouse, dog, good health, whatever you fill the blank in with, you have the same questions. Now that we've all acknowledged that we're on the same page I feel like we all just gave a big sigh and said, "that feels good to get that off my chest," and now we're all sitting around awkwardly saying "now what?" Unless a new job fell in your lap or you discovered Mr.right in the last few days, you still have questions. I know the only new thing in my belly is a new protein bar, so that leaves the need for an action step/follow-up of some sort.

First of all, getting past the feelings of guilt that I desire more after all the blessings that I have, I remember where the desire for more children came from. (Again, fill in blank there, desire for ____). Unless I'm totally off-base, God put it there, and he did so for a reason. This wasn't some 'bait and switch' and He is not a bully. Therefore, hope rises. And as hope rises, patience sets in.

Secondly, I'm constantly reminded of a Nooma video I've seen several times. It kills me without fail, even thinking about it. It's called Rain and the main character is taking a walk with his son in a carrier backpack through the forest. Halfway into their walk it begins to downpour. The baby begins freaking out and the dad is racing back through the forest to get him to dry shelter. Meanwhile the baby is clutching his father as if life depended on it. The father knows the rain won't hurt the baby and is touched by the intimacy of the situation. The baby is angry and refuses to be comforted but instead presses into his father for his comfort...Anyone got the connection yet? It's a powerful video if you haven't seen it, it's worth a little research.

So, our action step? So far for me, it's to press in. Press in until it makes sense. The more I press in, the more content I am with His plan. The bigger the question, the harder I press in. I have heard that sometimes the Lord will use that which is closest to your heart to bring you closer to Him. I think He's figured me out. This week is better. I've got a little piece of the whole "peace that passes all understanding," even after finding out that 2 more friends are pregnant. (yeah, 19! anyone want to donate to our baby shower gift fund? yikes.) The Lord is up to something and as with Eliot and every other blessing, He'll reveal it when it's time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Life after adoption

Over the last week (possibly two weeks if you ask Russ) I've been having a whine-fest. Unfortunately it's not the kind with grapes and yummy cheese. Through processing all my 'feelings' I've come to some conclusions that have moved me out of whine-fest mode. Some of this post might be too personal for blogland, but there's a crowd of women who are regular readers that are in (or will be) in the same boat, so I'm just going to lay it on the table.

The issue? Pregnancy. No, we're not. We've been home 6 months and have so much on our proverbial plates that the subject hasn't come up a whole lot. Baby #2 has just been a conversation topic when there's a cute kid on TV or an adoption story that is captivating. However, our environment won't let up. In our different circles of friends there are 17 people that are pregnant. How do I ignore that? I simply can not get away from it. Not to mention that while I sit and tutor for 10 hours a week, the picture window we sit at faces a Pregnancy Resource Center so I get to watch people going in and out all day. I am fearful of knowing what's in the little brown bag they leave with. And on top of that,a lot of my friends from Guate have started (and some almost done with) the process for their second child.

One realization that I've come to is the difference between my longing to be a mother and my longing to be able to conceive. Up until this time, I didn't know they were different and I felt a little guilty, with a dash of greediness, that I still desired to be pregnant at some time. The dissonance between enjoying motherhood with Eliot and desiring even more wasn't settling well with me. After processing all that happened with our adoption, it was an odd thing to realize that we were still in the category labeled "infertile". I kinda forgot.

There have been times that I have gotten so self-absorbed in my own pity-party that I've lost sight of who is taking care of me. If I viewed Eliot as our plan B then I can throw a tantrum that I'm without a bun in the oven, let alone any dough in the house. HOWEVER (yes, caps were needed to emphasize the enormity of the transition) Russ and I firmly believe that E-man was God's Plan A for us. If I deviate from this truth even for a second, I'm bombarded with reasons to feel sorry for myself and become ultra sensitive to everything around me. If I set up camp with this truth, the blessings that have been so freely given start to get more vibrant.

I guess no matter what it is, if you look around and see that the Lord freely gives and yet you don't have, you start to question. I don't want to equate the Lord's goodness with the tangibles around me but it's a struggle for me. I want to complain, I want to be sad and frustrated and yet I want to learn contentment and move on. I want to understand the Lord and trust His plan.

Meanwhile, Plan A has a really stinky diaper so I need to wrap this up.

Some practicles:

*Pregnancy is a miracle and I'm blessed by all the new life around me! Please don't hear what I'm not saying in this post! I can't wait til all these little ones are running around with Eliot! So many new friends!

*And for those of you who haven't been told yet, a word of advice: don't ever tell people who have adopted that now they are sure to get pregnant, no matter who you know that it really happened to. You may have just given a "back-handed compliment" as the guy on the radio says. You do not know where their heart is and you may just be rubbing salt in a very raw wound. A simple "congratulations" will do just fine.

*There are those around us, in our same circles, who also haven't been able to conceive yet. It goes without saying that this time is hard for them. Pray for miracles, pray for peace, pray for trust and faith, and pray for guidance. The whole infertility and adoption world can offer many options and be overwhelming to a couple that just simply wants a child.

***P.S. I hope that this post isn't offensive to anyone. On one hand I'm trying to be honest with those that share my struggle and on the other hand raise a little awareness for those that are oblivious.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Feeling neglected?

Our 'plate' is a little stockpiled right now. Russ and I have been taking turns going out of town for starters. Russ with the band, me with Arbonne. I have a post in my head about my trip. Coming soon. But in other news...

House update: Russ, as it turns out, is more than just eye candy, he's also quite handy around the house. Our list is done other than some very minor things that could be done in a nanosecond. For the last month/two months I've been continually surprised as the list got shorter and shorter. The projects that seemed unrealistic for us to complete were all of the sudden done by 'the rock star with a tool belt' and his trusty henchmen.

No, it's not on the market yet, but we'll let you know when that happens! In the meantime, we live in a pretty nice place. It's a little like the whole, "all dressed up and no where to go" cliche.

Eliot update:
he's starting to get a little chatty. Up to this point, he's not had a large spoken vocabulary. But now it seems that each day he's speaking up a little more. In the last couple weeks he's added: cracker, Pablo (one of the Backyardigans), bee, moon,a version of banana, Oww (when he gets hurt) and Buddy (Marge and Bob's dog). This is progress! His new favorite game is chase. He thinks the dogs chase him all day even though they may just be walking from one room to the other. He will sign "more" and pull on my arm until I get up and chase him around the coffee table while he squeals and balls his hands into fists in the air!

Church Plant Update: We have started our leadership meetings once a week. The actual church won't start for months but there's more decisions to make than many of us realized. Several couples have cemented their plans to move to the city. Two couples are already there and another is moving this weekend. Two more are moving next month. Woo-hoo!

That's it for now, there's plenty more coming when I'm not struggling to stay awake!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Eliot's Baptism

I've been putting this off only because I wanted to give it adequate time, and we were waiting on additional pictures that we didn't have yet. Anyway, this experience was pretty emotional for Russ and I. During this whole process there were three moments that if I thought about them for 2 seconds, I would be full of tears. The first two were getting out of PGN and walking off the airplane into STL. The third was getting Eliot baptized.

The only reason we waited until now to do it was scheduling. It was important for us that both sides of our families were able to be there so we delayed it until we'd been home 5 months. So, on December 9th, Eliot was baptized in front of family and friends. Our dear friend and pastor, Mike Werk, was the officiant. That worked out very well since Eliot knows him and is so comfortable with him already. Most children baptized at our church are infants and sometimes the transfer from parents to pastor doesn't go that well, so we were excited that E knew Mike!

While Mike spoke of the connection between 'adoption as sons' and baptism, Eliot got pretty squirmy. Toddlers aren't super excited to be held for too long when there's room to roam! Then it occurred to him that there was a bowl of water next to us. Out came, "Agua, Agua, Agua" with his cute little finger pointing to it and lunging forward to go play in it. When the time came for Mike to take him, he was happy to be even closer to the bowl of water and when Mike baptized him with the three handfuls of water, Eliot just grinned. Everyone clapped and laughed, which distracted him from the bowl for a few minutes.

The tradition at our church, which I cherish, is that the pastor will then walk the baby down the aisle for people to see and touch and offer blessings. Eliot loved it. He seems quite comfortable being the center of attention, especially while people are blessing him! For Russ and I, this time was very special. Our family, both biological and church-related, was truly the body of Christ to us during this process. They were as much a part of this experience as anyone and it blessed us to the very core to see them standing and offering blessings to our son. There was even a small group that came in from Sunday School classes just to be apart of it! This was one of those moments where I'm reminded of Mary's "treasuring these things in her heart".

On the way back down the aisle, Eliot again saw the bowl of water and began his baby sign language "more, more, more" and coupled it with saying "Agua, Agua, Agua". What can you do with that? He kills me.

The Lord is good. He is faithful to complete what he has started. He has blessed us far beyond what we could have imagined. I pray that we are able to raise E in a way that truly honors the Lord.

E was allowed to play on the drum set before service...

Eliot playing peek-a-boo with Beth before church

Pastor Mike and Beth!

My boys in their Sunday Best!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Russ here.

Remember that episode of friends where Joey and Chandler invented "Fireball"? Well, there's some truth to that storyline. Guys do this. Even 30 year old guys. Just ask Mike Werkheiser about the many games we invented in N. Ireland over the last two
summers, or ask Slaps and all of the "Elders" who carry on the high-impact sport of "Gentlemen's Ball."

We are discovering every day that Eliot is 100% DUDE. He's such a boy. He has an imaginative way of transforming all of his toys into make-shift sports equipment or some sort of tool to use in his ongoing wrestling matches with the dogs. He climbs everything: Sammie's crate, his high chair, EVERYTHING. He's perfectly content just repeatedly beating the sidewalk with a stick. Yesterday he even turned a colander and a serving spoon into a helmet and a club. He loves to have balls thrown at him 'til he falls down, he growls all day long, he's discovered how to make himself burp (and thinks it's hilarious), and the other day at breakfast I caught him scooting a waffle square around on his tray while making "vroom" noises as if he were playing with one of his cars. He's not even two. Matt Blazer, Eliot is truly "Wild at Heart."

So just like Joey and Chandler, Eliot and I spent the better part of the day on Monday inventing a new game. We call it "Ball Pit." (Keep in mind, since he could sit up, he has always LOVED to play ball.) Here's how you play:

1. Gather a bunch of balls (any kind) from all over the house. In this case, we used 10.
2. Player 1 (Eliot) positions himself inside a laundry basket.
3. Pile all of the balls into the basket on top of Player 1.

4. Player 2 (defense) stands outside the basket.
5. On "GO!", Player 1 begins flailing his arms about, throwing balls in every direction as quickly as possible, while Player 2 scrambles to gather the balls and throw them back inside the basket faster than Player 1 can empty it.

Eliot literally did this for 45 minutes straight without missing a beat, screaming and laughing the entire time. At his request, we played several more times throughout the day, and the next.... and the next. It's a favorite new past time. When he's finished he just kicks back and sits in the laundry basket full of balls and hangs out for a while. What other sport allows you to just chill in your own private ball pit and throw balls at another dude? It's pretty much the best game ever. Now we just have to find a laundry basket big enough for us to switch sides.

Eat your heart out, Chuck E. Cheese. Our ball pit rules.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We've been duped...

The moment of truth came today at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the vacuum repair place. Russ and I have not had good luck with vacuums in our married life. We've been through too many already. We've never had a lot of carpet so we've been able to get by. We had a "good" vacuum that came highly recommended by the experts for our price range. It lasted a year. Then we saved up for our second "good" vacuum and got it in a snappy green color with a cool handle. It lasted for about 4 months. Yep, 4 months. We do have two dogs but really????? I secretly was convinced that it was Russ's fault since it died while I was in Guate.

Then I took a trip to the vacuum repair store. We've been borrowing a friend's while they were out of town for awhile so it was time to fix our "new" one. Ya know, the "good" one. When I began to explain what happened to our cute little vacuum the repair man got a little smirk. He cut me off and asked me to look to my right. There was the line of identical vacuums to ours, just other colors. He started to tell me the story about each one and that none of them lasted a year.

At that moment, the truth came trickling out of his mouth. Bagless vacuums are your enemy, no matter the brand. Even (cover your ears, Heather and Ryan) the fancy ones like Dyson. He said that Bagless was technology from 100 years ago and that most of the efforts in vacuum technology over the last few decades have been in bagged ones. He compared it to using a trash can without a bag, it's possible and great that you don't have to buy trash bags, but then you've got other issues. He said vacuum companies have started treating this product like an electronic instead of a small appliance and make more of a profit off of a cute vacuum vs. a good quality one.

For less than $100, he claimed that I could get a vacuum that would last for years. plural. We've been duped, friends.

**I write this not to bore you or that we have nothing else going on, just as a foreshadowing of the post I hope to write one day containing a picture of me with my new bag-filled vacuum.

And just to entertain you after my boring blah:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Note to self....9

When teaching your toddler how to eat with utensils while simultaneously getting your house ready to sell, hold off on serving spaghetti.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dear Eliot,

I am overwhelmed at the events of this week. You have officially been home 6 months now. We met today with our social worker, S, for our post-adoption follow-up visit. Before she came over, your dad mentioned how interesting it is that when we met with her the first time it was this time two years ago. You weren't even born yet. Meeting with S was the first step in making our decision to come find you real. If she would have told us that it would be two years before this visit, I would have been pretty disappointed but I'm doing okay.

S asked us to describe your disposition. Your dad and I looked at each other and laughed. We both answered "silly." To which you grinned with half-eyes as if to agree. You are our delight, little man. Going over our journey with her brought tears to my eyes several times. She kept saying how special it was that you and I got to be together through all that. We pulled out the picture of your biological family for her to see out of the safe. She was impressed that we kept it there. It hadn't even occurred to me to put it any where else. It's part of your story and it needs to be protected. Dad even said it felt a little sacred.

Mommy's friend, Z, came to her classroom a couple years ago with a letter she'd written to her son from Russia when they'd been home 6 months. I remember reading it and thinking how amazing it must feel to be done. home. a family. I remember wondering when I would get to write my child a letter on the same occasion and here I am. My dear little Chapin, I promise to work as hard to raise you as I did to get you. You are a gift that I asked for, prayed for, cried for and fought for. I know the Lord has entrusted you into our hands and we do not take this lightly.

Before your dad and I go to bed each night we sneak into your room. Since you've already been asleep for a couple hours, you have always kicked your blanket off. We use the excuse that you need a blanket but we really just want to go see you one more time. Sometimes I am just so overwhelmed. It's hard to put into words what happens in my heart by simply looking at your sweet little brown face.

We love you with all our hearts,
Te Amo, Mijo,


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bloggers Beware!

Yes, I have picked a new layout. A new year, a new you? I don't know, I just saw the cute background on Emily's site and got blogger envy. However, it was at the expense of all my links! I had a couple minutes today to add a few that were in my cookies but will relink (is that a word?) the rest over the weekend. I apologize to those of you who use my page as your link to others. The gatekeeper has failed you in efforts to be cuter. I will figure out what a widget is and why mine have all left me! Add that to my goals for 2008!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goal update

* I'm up to 425 pts toward our Cancun trip! I only need 3500 pts for us both to go for free. Yikes. It's a start?

*While working on my book a few months ago, a friend forwarded me some emails that I'd written to her while in Guate. Those have helped immensely in jogging my memory. If you have an archived inbox and we emailed back and forth during that time, could you forward me those you still have? I'm making progress!

*And I'll leave you with more pics from a year ago
Speaking of goals, we found a restaurant called MonoLoco in Antigua that had multiple TV's showing all the New Year's Day football games! We spent the day there (yep, the whole day!) with Bridgette, Tom, and Adam and Shelly, Paul and Ana. It felt a little like we were at home!

Eliot supporting the Rams!

Eliot's first picture of him sitting up by himself! Russ was there to see it!

Also last January, we hiked up to the cross on the mountain over looking Antigua. It was beautiful but the hike kinda kicked our butts! Possibly the result of too many MonoLoco Nachos!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Should we worry?

*The last few times we've gotten packages from the UPS, they reek of smoke.

*I can "test my sexiness" on facebook now. Finally!

*There were bloody fingerprints on our junk mail last Wednesday.

*Friends went to a casino for a silly night out and on their way out saw a family getting settled. The parents were heading inside and the children were all set up in the minivan with a DVD playing.

*The National news this morning spent more time on Britney Spears than the Iowa Caucuses.

*PGN in Guatemala has announced that they will not process any new adoption cases (or current ones that get previos) that are not registered with the "Central Authority" in Guate. This is disturbing in that the Central Authority does not exist.

*Before Christmas a friend was in a store where they were collecting items for "Toys for Tots". He overheard a little boy asking his mom why they would need to buy toys for kids when Santa always brings the toys. His mom replied that Santa can't find poor people's homes so regular people have to help. Wow.

*On the news last night they stated that the average presidential candidate spends at least $200 per vote when it's all said and done. Maybe I'll skip voting and give my $200 to Erin to fix her treadmill.

"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you." Luke 12:25-31

I'm glad God is in charge of this mess!

Friday, January 4, 2008

And it was truly magical...

The Magic House experienced on a school field trip as the teacher is quite a bit different from taking my crazy little man. He had a GREAT time there and it may have to be a regular stop for us in the future. Lisa and Charlotte invited us to go and Charlotte was a great hostess, showing Eliot where to go and what to do. Enjoy the pics!

Does he not look like a little bachelor picking out his groceries with his collar popped and messy khakis? He kills me.

This makes me laugh! They have a kids news TV studio. Eliot and Charlie sat on the stools and giggled as they threw the papers on the floor. They liked seeing themselves on TV, though! So cute!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Shameless Promoting 2

If you were one of those who made a NYR to take better care of your health, you may be interested in my shameless promotion! I started sending out a newletter of sorts to let my clients know what the Arbonne specials are for the month. Here's January's deals:

Specials from Arbonne:
*In January, save 20% on the Go Easy! Protein Shake, available for only $21.20, regularly $26.50, while supplies last. Flavors available: Chocolate, Vanilla, and Chai Latte. (That means if you have the 35% discount, it's only $11.93!)

*Qualify to purchase the Figure 8 Daily Detox Tea, regularly $14, for only $6 with every $75 order increment in January.

Specials from me!

* To help you with any New Year's Resolutions you may have made formally or just mentally, I'm offering BUY ONE/GET ONE FREE on any Figure 8, Bio-Nutria, or Nutritional Hybrid products.

Thanks everyone! Email me if you want to place an order! (

Shameless Promoting

So, if you're like most people, you woke up this morning and thought, "I wonder how I can support the Mohr family this month..." Well, I have a couple ideas for you! "How convenient!" you say, "What are they?"

1. Russ's Band has a show at the Pageant in St. Louis on the 18th. Here's why you should go: it's free and open to all ages at one of the coolest venues in the STL. You do need a ticket but FE has more than enough to hand out. You just might want to get a few for you and yours... Here's the skinny:

*Here are some important details:
- The show is only free if you have a ticket!
- The show is open to all ages
- There is a $5 surcharge for minors
- If you do not have a ticket, you can still attend the show for a $5 cover charge

- If you personally know any FE band member, the best way to acquire tickets is through them.
- We will be sending out a list of sites in St. Louis City/County and in Greenville/Hillsboro, IL where you will be able to pick up tickets for the show. Those sites will be confirmed this weekend.
- Any other questions, email us directly at
- Tickets are FREE and you can have as many as you want!!!! Invite all your friends, coworkers, classmates, postal workers, fire chiefs, and bus boys.

Oh, and here's a fancy poster to further lure you in...

So, that's #1. The second is coming soon after I take Eliot to the Magic House!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Two Eliot Mohr's?

How I wish this meant that Eliot had a twin that we've been rotating in and out to surprise you all one day but that's not quite it. For those who like to blog-hop, there's a new link I added a few weeks ago listed as "The other Elliot Moore". A family from TN is currently in Guatemala on a pick-up trip for their son, Elliot and their last name is Moore! How fun! It just plain delights me!

I've been keeping up with their blog over the last several weeks and been surprised how much it pulls on my heart strings to read their posts. To read sentences about bringing Elliot home from Guate and getting to hold him again after so long, oh brother, it just about kills me.

So, congrats to my cyber-blogland friends, as you reunite with your little chocolate chip today and begin another chapter. Hopefully our Eliots will be friends in real life one day!

A Sloth's view of New Year's

Yes, I feel like a sloth. All the talk of Resolutions and the constant media reminder of losing weight, etc, is like a jab of a hot iron fire stoker screaming "Move sloth, Move!!". The heaviness of my mental list of what things I should be doing better or more often is as weighty as Russ's boots on Eliot. This time of year is exciting when viewed as a fresh start. However, it's supposed to make you want to hit the ground running with all your new energy, right? So, what if I feel like hitting the ground and lying down for a bit? My brain is going about 80 mph and my body gets a little more cynical with each idea for a NYR (New Year's Resolution). There's so much expectation attached to each idea and then a feeling of failure when it's January 2nd and none of them have gotten started yet. Hence, my resolve to slothland.

So, instead, I'm making a list of goals to be done by 2009. That's a tad more achievable for me. It gives me a nice window of time to work! Here's a few of the highlights:

*Earn the Arbonne trip to Cancun for Russ and I (if your NYR was to take better care of your skin, you could help me with this one!)

*Sell this house and buy a new one while purging a ton of 'stuff' in the meantime

*Finish my book

That's it. That's where I'm leaving it. Yes, I want to pray more, read my Bible more, workout more, eat less yucky/yummy stuff, read more, increase my vocabulary, watch less TV, cook more, clean more, organize more, meet new people, keep up with old friends, hug Russ and Eliot more, drink more water, have company over more, etc. Maybe some will happen but maybe they won't, I'm not going to stress over it. Trying to attain all these is too big for me. I'd rather take off the Russ-sized boots and choose the ones that actually fit me.