just a week in moldova

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care package of birthday gifts from grandma and grandpa ducky:

i really love having girls:

birthday morning shopping with my four year old:

(i’m pretty sure she looks like me in that last picture!)

happy four years of you

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We named her Addysen Grace Klein Burtt {but we call her Addy or Addy Grace}


I believe I saw the name “Addison” written somewhere and liked it but wanted it to have “Addy” in it instead so we changed the spelling on our own. I have always liked “e” more than “o.” Yup, her mama is just that weird.


Grace is from 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~
And He said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


We gave her the name Klein, which is my maiden name. Maybe we weren’t thinking about that, because I see a lot of the Klein stubbornness coming out these days!


She was twelve days late as you can read about here.


She turned one here.


I am positive I remember blogging about her two year old birthday. Sure I was pregnant and it was the day after Thanksgiving and our little foster guy had just been moved and we had lots of out-of-town family staying with us. But I swear I blogged about it. Crazy much? I found this recap blog, stolen from my sis, Cacey. Half way down you will see Thanksgving dinner, our Disneyland trip and Addy’s Elmo party with her little group of bffs. I guess I need to face the music and realize that the year I was pregnant and puking while parenting double two year olds, I forgot to write a birthday post for my oldest daughter. Hopefully she will recover. Good thing her middle name is Grace, right?


She turned three here and I blogged about it oh thank goodness.


And now my baby is four.




One. Two. Three. Four.




She has had quite a year. Last fall and winter, she was a pretty average toddler with not a care in the world. But this year she has moved around the world, started learning a second language, attended a kindergarten in that foreign language, started to read and much more.


She’s my tender heart, brilliantly smart, dramatic, compassionate, kinesthetic-learner, grace-extending baby girl.


She has humbled me, sanctified me, confused me and angered me. Yet I love her more today than the day I first laid eyes on her.


She is my buddy when I am lonely as can be. She is my shopping partner when there’s no one else. She has seen me cry more than anyone else this past year. She holds my hand because she loves to be close.


She wants to be a princess, a pirate, a ballerina and doctor some day. Not or. All.


She also still loves Yo Gabba Gabba. Some habits just don’t die. Enjoy. ♥


what {they} wore yesterday

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i could never do any sort of “what you wore” blogging – – it just isn’t that exciting. however, i think i could for my kids. addy and mercy are blessed with gifts, hand-me-downs and everything else possible when it comes to clothing!


in these pictures, addy is wearing a pair of 2t oneil jeans that she got for her 2nd birthday but were pretty stinking big until recently. she is also wearing her 3rd birthday yo gabba gabba shoes from her auntie, a sweatshirt we bought from some grocery store in canada last year (it has a maple leaf on the sign? yeah descriptive, i know!), a scarf made by another auntie and a beanie i picked up on clearnace ($2!) at claires in the mall (weird, i know).


mercy is wearing overpriced gap skinny jeans that we bought during a wardrobe malfunction of addy’s in santa barbara (circa 2010), a pair of what might be considered the “striderite” shoe of moldova (but it isn’t true), a sweatshirt from the second hand here in chisinau, a scarf from another second hand here and a beanie made by the foofa-buying auntie.


jasmine is making an occasional appearance thanks to grandma ducky and christmas last year. we were trying to distract mercy to stand still.


i obviously have too much fun getting my kids dressed every day. i can’t help it – – when you have princesses, they need their wardrobes carefully selected, ha!


august in an overload of pictures {mostly from my iphone}

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august: cooler than june and july. some warm days, others quite chilly. mercy and addy each had a cold {again}. neither have really grown {shocker!}. addy seems to be staying around the 30# mark {since her third birthday last november!} and mercy might forever weight 18#. both are maybe a 1/2 inch taller. we had two holidays {independence day and language day} plus a lot of fun family fridays. all in all, a great month!


looking ahead to september: grammie, spencer, emma and auntie cacey!!!

dancin’ fools.

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the girls love a ‘dance party’ that’s for sure! we now own three cds of yo gabba gabba and they both have favorite songs. yo gabba gabba has managed to work its way into our life whether or not we like it. but who can complain? music has a way of working wonders on our kids. i don’t know why “just try it, you’ll like it” works the way it does. and i am forever grateful for “don’t bite your friends.” so really, i have no room to complain.


to addy, everything has a little yo gabba gabba in it. while walking home from the store yesterday,
me: i can’t reach it. maybe daddy can some back and reach it.
addy: because he’s tall and friendly?
me: what?
addy: you know, daddy is tall and friendly and i’m pink and happy.
me: oh really?
addy: and you like to have fun.
me: mercy?
addy: oh mama, she’s the little green one.
(if you are curious, listen to the theme song.)


and now i bring you, a little high five dance party…

laughter really is medicine

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we watched a toddler cartoon where a shaggy dog swallows an alarm clock and runs around yelling, “ajutorrrrrr! ajutorrrrr!” basically he is running around yelling, “help!” the best part is that he rolls his r’s supper silly and long. today i discovered that mercy and addy die in laughter if i mimic a shaggy dog yelling “ajutor.” of course it only worked if i also roll my r’s extra long and silly.


you’re welcome.


feel free to laugh with the girls.


or to simply laugh at me yelling “help” multiple times.


i’m pretty sure our neighbors were wondering what the heck was going on. let’s just hope they don’t call the police on christian!


best quilt yet.

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i never really knew tracey while i attended simpson. there isn’t any reason why – – we just lived in different dorms mostly, had different friends, different classes…you get the picture. i did know who she was because i think one year we lived in the same dorm, different floors. and i remember one cool thing about her – – she has the best laugh. how cool is it to be known by your contagious, completely happy laugh. yeah.


but anyway, since graduating college, i have been blessed to be a part of a moms group on facebook and have reconnected with simpson moms that i am now closer with then when i attended simpson! it has been a blessing especially with living in a new country, far away from friends and family.


if i could buy this quilt, i would. but since i can’t, you probably should. i mean it. someone i know should own this quilt so i can keep on pretending i own it. haha.


seriously though, this is my friend tracey’s quilting blog. quilting is her sanity like sewing or taking pictures is mine. we all need something that tells us, “we are still smart, still have brains, even though our hobbies right now include snotty noses and dirty diapers.”


check out her quilting blog and be uh-mazed.


then buy this baby quilt that completely redefines “gender neutral.”


mama said there’d be days like this…

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{image from here}


last week i was chatting with my mom. just about stuff. life. kids. you know, that mother/daughter stuff. i was a little sad, struggling. i think at one point, i said to my mom, “i dunno mom. i don’t even get on pinterest very much. it makes me depressed to see all the things i don’t have time for.”


she sighed and said, “oh sweetie, i remember those days.”


we went on to chat about other things but after she went to bed (much too late, but that’s another story) i started thinking about what she had said.


and vaguely, ever so vaguely i remembered a few mental images of chaos.


you see, i am a perfectionist. yet i am an optimist. maybe these two don’t typically mesh but i would argue that these two traits sum up the largest part of my personality.


and because i am an optimistic perfectionist, i not only
1, remember a perfect childhood
2, think i need to achieve that same childhood for my own children


the optimistic perfectionist in me always thinks i can do more. do better. try it again and get it perfect this time.


the optimistic perfectionist in me wants my children to have every experience on every single person’s bucket list while maintaining a spotless home, learning a foreign language and cooking raw organic meals in an eastern european country. (okay fine, maybe even i can see a few unrealistic expectations in this paragraph. maybe.)


it’s a strength in a way. it’s the part of me that began every year as a teacher, truly believing that every child in my classroom had the ability to earn a good grade in math.


but it’s a hindrance sometimes also.


it has the potential to cause me to miss out on the little things.


some people need to be challenged to stop talking and start doing. they need to be told “you don’t know if you will have a tomorrow so stop talking about tomorrow and just do it.”


i actually don’t need that pep-talk, thanks to my optimistic perfectionist streak. i already am living every day in case there is no tomorrow. the fact of the matter is, there probably will be a tomorrow. i don’t mean this in any blasphemous way. some of you out there are going to identify with me. there will probably be a tomorrow. i will probably still have a washing machine capable of washing laundry tomorrow. i will probably have a mop capable of mopping floors tomorrow. i will probably have a tomorrow full of romanian language books and church calenders and emails to answer and snotty noses to wipe and yet another leaky bag of milk in the bottom of the fridge (someone please tell me why it is impossible to buy a bag of milk without a hole in it).


or that dust bunny under my sofa.


or that unorganized cabinet in my room.


and then the memory came back of how my mom would print things out before printing was cool and tape them right on the walls of our house. or the fridge. or the mirror.


i remembered one that said, “will it really matter in eternity?” i’ve been meaning to ask if she remembers why she stuck it up there. was she also obsessed with dirty dishes and stinky laundry?? was there actually a day when my perfect mother was so overwhelmed with things to get accomplished she also couldn’t bear to browse through the pinterest of the 1980’s and 1990’s?


i tried wrapping my mind around it. could my mother have also been over-worked, under-slept, worrying about the perfect childhood for her children, always trying to do a little more or do it a little better?


but how in the world do i have such perfect childhood memories?


and i found myself speechless.


what are my kids going to remember?


so today, when i was planning on doing laundry and prepping some dinners, i sat on the floor and read mini phonics books with addy. (and i was strangely weirded out that my three year old can read things like “cat sat on a mat” which she does NOT get from me. i learned to read at seven or eight, truth be told.) and then we did crafts. really cool ones.


and right now, i am not studying language. i am writing a blog. and playing a put-the-marker-in-the-cup game with my nap-boycotting thirteen month old.


cause actually, i think those things might matter in eternity.


p.s. thanks mom, for the perfect childhood and yet another life lesson from afar!


adoption loss.

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Last month, our good friends experienced the loss of an adoption. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be there with them, even though not physically (the internet is a precious gift to a missionary). What I didn’t expect was how quickly the pain and emotions of my own adoption loss could come back. It has officially been two years and my loss has had resolution and healing yet I found myself remembering every single detail.


I guess what I realized is that time doesn’t really change anything. They are and always will be your children. Time just makes it a little better.


I am not sure why I feel compelled to write this blog post right now, but for the past two weeks it has been on my heart, trying to get out. So here goes a few thoughts about adoption loss.


Adoption loss is real. I am not trying to elicit some sympathy or guilt from anyone. But just like there are many people that don’t understand the mystery of adoption yet, there are even more people that don’t understand adoption loss.


The pain is real.


When you conceive a biological child, you start to fall in love with them while they are in your womb. You try and help daddy fall in love with them too, by having him feel baby kicks, read to baby, talk to baby. Baby is born and you hold them in your arms and you know you are supposed to love them and die for them. The bond is amazing.


The bond of adoption is similar yet different. We weren’t pregnant this time. We met our girls after Thanksgiving and less than three weeks later they were living with us, three kids, five million duffel bags and a whole ‘lotta other baggage. The bond comes a little slower, but it comes. As you fight for your child, prepare for your child, make a new road for your child – – before you know it, you love them and you would die for them, just like a biological child.


When a mother and a father lose a baby in the womb, the grief is there. The loss is there. The pain is there. When a baby dies after birth, the pain feels unbearable, the loss is real.


When an adoption fails – – it feels like your child has died.


It doesn’t matter why the adoption has failed. Please don’t get caught up in the reasoning. Sometimes adoptions fail because the court decides to change things. Sometimes the adoption fails because the birth parent gets their act together. Sometimes the adoption fails because the adoptive parents realize they aren’t capable of continuing the adoption.


It doesn’t matter why or how the adoption fails.


What matters is that it fails.


And it hurts.


It hurts like death and loss and grief and more. You can’t think about tomorrow, you don’t know how to get through today. You don’t understand why the Lord had you fight for that child or those children and then take them away. You had built a dream that included these children forever in your home and part of your family.


It makes absolutely no sense.


And you have to grieve just like the mother that loses her baby while in her womb. Or the mother that gives birth to her baby only to have her baby live for an hour. Or the mother that loses her child to some disease at a young age.


The bottom line is, the grief is still the same and the loss is still the same.


So why write a blog post about it?


To educate, I guess.


Please understand that when someone experiences an adoption loss, they are in fact grieving the death of a child to a certain extent. They are going through all the normal stages of grief. Please don’t try and say, “it is better this way. What if…” If someone lost a biological child, I highly doubt the choice of comfort would be, “it is better this way.”


Don’t try and figure out why. You don’t need to know why the adoption failed. If and when we are ready, we will tell you. We don’t need any answers or solutions or feedback. Treat it like it is…the loss of our children. Just be there and comfort…listen…hug.


I hope this blog post is encouraging, not depressing. If you know someone that has experienced adoption loss, be there! Don’t stress about what to say. You don’t need to say anything. Just be a friend because that is the most powerful thing you have to offer right now.


AAAANNNDDDDD that’s the end of my soapbox. Speaking of always being a mama, my oldest two daughters turn 7 and 9 this month. When I became their mama, they were only 4 and 6. Amazing, isn’t it? ♥


mercy+iphone {what didn’t get blogged about in june and july}

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and of course, mercy’s vocabulary that i can think of right now. it pretty much cracks up us.
dada (mostly she is imforming me of where in the house he is at all times)
mama (actually this just means, stop everything you are doing and hold me)
ahhhd-eh-eh (addy)
dohhhhhhh (sarah)
doh dat (this means open the computer and summon sarah somehow :-p)
pahhhh (bye in romanian)
gog (dog)
gat (cat)
ap (apa is water in romanian)
ba (sippy cup)
dat (with lots of finger pointing means “give me that” or “i want that”)
guck (yuck which is trash)
babba (i confess, it is yo gabba gabba…normally that means turn the yo gabba gabba dance songs on)
nahn (it can mean simply “no” but it also represents not, never, or any negative type response)
nanuh (banana)
doodit (basically this means, do not assist her because she wants to do it)
hottttt (anything she is not allowed to touch, from the stove to my cup of coffee to the fan)
offffff (take {whatever she is pointing to} off, typically her shoes or socks)
gake (take {whatever she is holding} away)
aaaahhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnn! (turn the music/tv/iphone on)
numnumnum! (feed me at this very moment)

mama and me

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mercy is a mama’s girl. every day i fall in love with her a little more. she seems so shy to others, but this is my goofy baby girl in the comfort of her own home. we call these funny faces and kissies. ♥