Monday, August 9, 2010


I have been looking on craigslist lately at job opportunities. In case anyone from work reads this, not because I want to quit my job, but just trying to figure out if there is a way to work a few extra hours here and there in order to pay for all the many new expenses we are encountering with older children. Looks like all four kids are going to need braces. James's costs $5200.00 alone, and that is scaring me with the rest. Things could change, obviously, but Jason's mouth looks crowded. David's bite is off, and Sarah has been sucking her thumb for over five years now. The odds are in favor of braces. And then there's driver's ed and extra car insurance when James starts driving, which is around the corner, six months from tomorrow he will be sixteen. And then Jason will start in a few years, and there is college and athletics . . . you know, just stuff . . . lots of stuff!!!

By far the most "interesting" (for lack of another term) jobs I have seen posted are to become surrogate mothers or to donate eggs. I don't know if those posts are on Craigslist in Oklahoma, but they are certainly on there in CA. On top of that, shortly after we moved here, I met a nice woman who in passing mentioned that she had been a surrogate two or three times. I must have looked shocked because she went on to talk more about it, and it was interesting. The only time I heard of being a surrogate before that was in movies or in the tabloids. I guess I knew it was a real thing, but I had never thought about meeting someone who had actually done it. I think for some reason, I thought it was morally and ethically wrong, but as I talked to this woman, I learned that she was a Believer. She has great relationships with the mothers of the children and maintains some contact with at least one of the children, and the child has none of her genetic make-up. They used the biological mother's egg and biological father's sperm and implanted them into her. She was basically just the nest.

I walked away from that conversation with lots of thoughts and questions and not really sure what I thought about it. Just so you know, I was not and am not contemplating this for myself. I am certain that I could not do it (for a variety of reason . . . sadly one of them is that I am too old now!!!), but I have continued to contemplate whether or not I think it is "right". Scripturally, I don't think you can take a stance against it, unless you say that it is not the way God created things to be. But when you start with that, then there are a lot of things we do that go against the way God created them. You could take it to extreme and say God created me with a seizure disorder, so I shouldn't take medication, but I think we all probably agree that God created doctors and provided them with what they need to come up with ways to make my life livable. And I am so grateful for that!!!

But still, there is something unsettling about it to me. I'm not sure what. I am so curious what other people think. Personally I would have a really hard time donating an egg and knowing that there was someone that "belonged" to me out there, but many people give their babies up for adoption because of how much they love them, and I totally respect those women. I would have a hard time being a surrogate to another person's baby because I think it would be very difficult on my children. They get attached to babies in utero just like parents do. It would be a devastating loss for them. Not to mention, I don't know how I would part with the baby either. The other thing is that I am shocked at what they pay people to be a surrogate. Obviously they should pay medical expenses, and I guess there is wear and tear on the mother's body, but to me this seems like one of those things that if I was willing to do it, I would want to do it to be a blessing to someone who could not carry a child. If I am doing something for that reason, do I really want to be paid for it?

So, I'm just putting this out there, curious about what thoughts people have. It's one of those things I may never have thought of before moving to California. And who knows, maybe its not as uncommon in the Mid-West as I think.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I have a ton of pictures!!! They should tell the story of our fabulous week!!! It was truly amazing!!!

This is a picture of Morro Bay and Morro Rock off taken from the back of the house, outside of one of the many doors. Locking up at night was a lot different than locking any house I have ever lived in. There were at least 10 doors to the outside. That was Brent's job at the end of the night.

This is a picture taken at sunset out of the large windows on the back of the house . . . BEAUTIFUL!!!

This was a two mile hike we went on to the top of Mt. Valencia, 1367 feet, I think. Sarah hiked almost the whole way up . . . pretty impressive for such a small person. She was being so independent, it was scaring me at times.

Jason enjoyed walking with the young men and shooting photos!!! He loves the camera.

Here we are at about the half way point. It was bright, so we are all squinty, except for James, who is sporting those ridiculous looking aviator glasses. I have been enjoying teasing him about this fad!!!

The boys with Grandma Casselberry!!!

David made it up and back and didn't skip a beat . . . not shocking, though!!!

Brent and two of his boys, near the top!

"I MADE IT!!!"

Here we are!!! The whole group!!! The clouds moved in and it was very foggy. It was fun to explain to David and Sarah that we were actually "in" a cloud. It was nice and cool though, so we were grateful!!! Between the clouds and the ocean breezes, I think it was probably the most enjoyable hike I have ever been on . . .

. . . even on the way down, when Sarah was done walking. She went down most of the way on my shoulders. I didn't want Brent to carry her because of his back, and I didn't want anyone else to because I'm a mom, and there were parts that were very steep. I would have been a nervous wreck if someone else had been carrying her.

There was much exhaustion when we were finished. I love this picture!!!

One day Brent and I and Caroline took the kids into Morro Bay for several hours while all the young adults stayed at the house and chilled or worked. Caroline didn't stay long enough to ride the electric boat with us. We went all around the bay and out to the big rock. We saw seals and otters. And Jason was correct, we also saw jelly fish, large orange ones. Brent and I were not convinced that was what they were, but the guy back at the dock said they were in deed. Glad I wasn't swimming there!

This was my favorite activity . . . kayaking. Brent and I went a year ago and have wanted to take the older boys ever since. Brent wasn't able to go because of his back, so he stayed at home with David and Sarah. I was bummed that we didn't see all the sea life that Brent and I saw last year. Last year we saw dolphins and seals all over the place the whole time we were in the water. This time, we finally found seals the last 20 minutes or so that we were out. We had to go way out to see them, and we still didn't get as close as I hoped, but I was glad we saw something. Katie, Ryan, Becky and Adam didn't follow us out, but they were able to see a seal on the way back into shore. The other thing that was different from last year is that our (mine and Jason's and James's and Caroline's) kayaks tipped on our way into shore. A big wave caught us, and I thought James and Caroline were going to go on top of us. James and Caroline corrected and turned sideways, causing them to flip, and I lost control when I was turning to see if they were going to hit us. At least that's what I think happened. Jason was pretty scared, but we didn't get hurt at all, so I was thankful. Katie did get hit by one of the boats as she was trying to keep the waves from taking it back out to sea, but she was okay, especially compared to the group that came in behind us. The young lady in that group was bleeding like crazy!! I was thankful God protected us!!!

These are just some fun pictures hanging around the house!! I love the picture of Katie and Sarah, even though it is a little blurry.

We went to the beach one day with the Casselberry's, but I don't have any great pictures of that because it was so cold. On our last day, before returning home, we stopped again and flew a kite. The kids decided in the end to get in the water. David was soaked almost immediately before he got in his swimming suit. James followed with the boogie board. Jason used the skim board. I love the picture we caught of him with it still above the water. Sarah got into the water more than she ever has, but I didn't get any good pictures of her. David jumped into a game of volleyball with some older teens/young adults. I posted a picture on facebook. It was hilarious!

The whole week was just such an incredible blessing. We enjoyed our time as a family. We enjoyed our time with the Casselberry's and Mitchell's. It was great to get to know Adam a little more. We missed Johnny so much!!! And we were super bummed not to have some time with Meagan, Ryan's bride-to-be. We got to spend some time with Zach Weichbrodt as a bonus. We enjoyed sharing our lives, how God is working in each of us, the challenges we are experiencing, prayer needs that we have. We were surrounded by such amazing beauty that only God could have created: the ocean, mountains, plants, animals. We ate amazing food. We worked together cooking and cleaning. We walked and swam and relaxed in the hot tub. We just shared life!!! It was incredible!!!