Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Victor-isms...oh joy!

Victor had to have blood drawn and he had to fast before-hand. Afterward he was a little woozy and not himself so the nurses gave him apple juice and I suggested a Panera bagel. Victor's response? "Oh, I'm so excited I'm wagging my tail!"
And....Victor almost made the dental hygienist pee her pants when he told her that the fluoride treatment smelled like fecal matter.

Yes, those were his exact words.
Me: Hey, Victor, it's time to go to the potty and then we can get a snack.
Victor: I already did it every time today and I don't want to do it. I hate it. I really, really hate it. And it's annoying. And I don't want to do it. And I don't know why. (Continue in like manner for a few more minutes...)

At least he's using words?
"Hello, Wissewa, my lovely."
On the 4th of July, after a few firecrackers went off at the party (which he LOVED!)...
Victor: I'm going to be a firework-er when I grow up.
Eden: Do you mean a firefighter?
Victor: No, a firework-er. I'm going to go bang bang.
Me: Why do you like firecrackers and not dogs? Aren't firecrackers louder than dogs?
Victor: Cause they crack you up and dogs bark you up.
Victor: Mariana, are you brushing your teeth upstairs?
Mariana: Yes.
Victor: I thought you were going to brush them downstairs.
Mariana: No, I'm upstairs.
Victor: You're a tricky girl, aren't you?
and then after we all laughed...
Victor: I have a smile on my face. (Just in case we are the ones who can't see and need to know that he enjoyed the joke, too.)
At midnight...
Victor: Mom......Mom.....Mommmmmmmm....MMMMMOOOOOMMMMMMMM!
Me: Yes, Victor.
Victor: Mom, I'm so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so tired.
Me: That's because it's midnight. Now guess what? I'm so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so tired, too. Go to sleep.
After so many siblings, you'd think that there is no way Victor could come up with a novel excuse for getting out of bed after being tucked in, but he found a way.
Me: Victor, go back to bed. You don't need anything else.
Victor: I need my imaginary friends. I forgot to get them.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From cows to ducks

It's not easy to find a family activity that is enjoyable, relatable, and do-able for all age groups and ability levels. So we talk a lot about the world not revolving around you, working against the need to be entertained, getting out of it what you put into it, and sometimes, just taking one for the team. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Someday they will rise up and call me blessed.

I think.

In the meantime, with God's help I do what I can.

In 2004, Harrisburg was full of painted cows. We took the kids into the city for a walking tour of the cows and had a wonderful time goofing off, posing, taking photos, and just being together.
So, when I heard that the summer of 2017 brought ducks to the city, I thought this might be a nice family night.
I'm not sure any of us are into ducks and some of us aren't even city people, but just spending time together, chatting, making memories, and tracking down all the ducks should be bonding, right?

And whenever Dad makes you gather round for yet another photo, it's gotta be fun, right?

Great fun was had by most.

Try it. You might like it.

Monday, August 7, 2017


This was the Good Doctor's Facebook status yesterday. He's good with numbers and dates. He can tell you the date of our first date, our first kiss, and yes, our anniversary. I'm not so good at numbers but can usually remember the little details like where we were, what people were wearing, and what was said. The fact that the Good Doctor can remember both from our journey to McBIC, says a lot about that time period in our lives. The fact that the details are fuzzy for me, says even more.

Being a pastor's wife was never something I desired to be. Funny, because I can remember a time when we were dating that I looked at him at thought, "He's going to be a pastor someday." We were standing on the sidewalk outside of our dorms, talking I just looked up and new. (Details, right?) It's probably a good thing that my thoughts didn't connect to the next obvious realization: that continuing to date him would lead to me being the pastor's wife someday. I had seen and heard about a lot of churches and watched a lot of pastors get chewed up and spit out. I knew that many of them needed to work second jobs to raise a family. Later, when I taught in a Christian school, I saw their children come through my classroom and observed the effects of overworked and unavailable pastors on the lives of their children. Of course there are overworked and unavailable fathers in every profession but it seemed most unfortunate when it was the church that pulled their dads away. I watched these children leave my classroom and grow up, only to abandon the faith that pulled their fathers away from them. And I saw the effects on the wives of the pastors.

And then one day the Good Doctor dropped his bombshell. "I think I'm being called to be a pastor." If my memory is correct, he took me out to dinner to tell me this news, an attempt to butter me up first. He later admitted how scared he was to tell me. But he couldn't have known that his announcement would not come as a surprise.

Fast forward almost 10 years and here we were, interviewing at this church with the funny nickname, McBIC. The road here was long. And it was hard. It had been about a year since we first started to feel God nudging us to something else, six months since the Good Doctor had interviewed with his seminary professor's church in New Jersey. We thought that's where we were going but they later decided not to hire anyone, after the powers-that-be couldn't decide if the new hire should be the youth pastor or the children and youth pastor or the family pastor. So many events had transpired between that first interview and finding ourselves interviewing at McBIC that my faith that God could actually have a healthy church for us, in a good location, was pretty slim.

But it just takes the faith of a mustard seed, right?

McBIC has been good for our souls. For our faith journey. And for our prayer lives. For our children. For the King's Strings. For Mariana's acting career. For me. And we probably have only seen a few of the reasons why He needed to call us here. But that's enough. And we only need to be careful that we do not forget His deeds in the past. He was faithful then and He will be faithful in the future.

Monday, July 31, 2017

She's 17!

M turns 17 today. It's been an eventful year. Getting her driver's license. Getting into vo-tech. TPR. Celebrating 1 year in our home. Getting a job. Missions trip to the Bronx. And now just waiting for an adoption date. Bittersweet days. Days of joy. Mixed emotions.

When we celebrated 1 year, I asked her if she ever thought it would happen, she told me no. It had never happened in any of her other homes, why would this one be any different? On the other hand, she did say that she thought that if we could put up with Victor, maybe we would stick with her, too?

She told Victor this morning that she was 17. He wanted to know if she was still short. Then asked if she was old.

We celebrated with extended family yesterday, donuts this morning, and later we'll have her chosen dinner: chicken and waffles with peanut butter pie for dessert. But mostly she's just working today - the life of a working woman. Anyone want to stop at Subway to wish her happy birthday before 5PM today?

And for those who were wondering, as far as Victor is concerned, it was sugar free, dairy free, grain free donut holes all around!

That was easier than I thought it'd be!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another beach trip

Another Bauman-King beach vacation is in the books.

Another year of rides.

HopeAnne looks thrilled to chaperone the little kids, doesn't she?

Victor discovered The Whip, the kiddie version. He loved it!

HopeAnne braced the ferris wheel, her second attempt at a "big kid" ride. 
She feels so much braver now.

Another year of sand.

We enjoyed many concerts from the beat boxing legend, Victor.

Another year of crafts.

He took his painting very seriously.

Nadya focused on purple.

Emoji Pencil Jars!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Romeo and Juliet

To keep the noise in the beach house to a minimum, Mr. Victor and I went for a walk this morning. But I knew better. A walk would not just be a walk. So he came dressed for the water.

He told me that he needed to jump over the shells because I refused to carry him. He also told me that he likes the sand now but he used to hate it (one of his favorite words). Thank God for progress.
I was right. We made it no farther on our walk than straight in. And there we stayed.

When we were down in June the water was still cold so he didn't spend as much time in it as he usually does. Today, however, we won't be able to get him out. He jumped and splashed and fell and got back up. Oh, he also licked the water. Maybe he has a salt deficiency?

He told me he was going in his camper. I asked why his camper was full of water? He didn't know.

He said, "Come in the camper with me, Juliet." I asked, "Why am I Juliet?" He explained the obvious, "Because I am Romeo." But then he must have doubted because he asked, "Am I your Romeo?"

He's still calling me Juliet.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Halfway there

It's been 22 days on Victor's special diet. Not only do we have a new child but we are definitely gaining insights into what causes certain behaviors.

Seven days in, I woke up in a hotel room in New York after dropping Isaac off at music camp the day before. On my phone there was a text from the Good Doctor with this photo:

The Good Doctor found this half-eaten roll on the floor of Victor's room, along with a confession. Yes, Victor had eaten half of it and then for some reason, ditched the rest on the floor. In plain sight. The Good Doctor told me that he was already noticing more crankiness from Victor.

By the time I arrived home three hours later, Victor had moved beyond crankiness to animalistic and violent behaviors. He was banging things and when the items were removed he threw fits like we hadn't seen before. Definitely some of the worst behaviors we've seen. He threw a child's chair and broke it. He repeatedly lifted and banged a kitchen chair up and down. At one point, after I took away kitchen utensils that he was banging on the steps, he sat and rocked and screamed for several minutes, completely inconsolable.

After this episode, I sat on the floor and held him and asked, "Victor, do you remember that piece of bread you ate this morning?" "Yes," he replied. "Victor, that piece of bread is why you are acting like this." He thought a moment and announced, "It was sooooooooo yummy!"

Yummy it might have been but at supper I told the whole family in no uncertain terms that the next time someone leaves a banned substance in an easy-to-find-and-reach location, I would lock that person and Victor in a room together for the rest of the day so they would know what I went through today.*

Another day we were shocked to find Victor quietly sitting on the floor playing with play-doh. He had never initiated this kind of play on his own before. However, we are finding more and more that he can tolerate longer periods of creative play with toys such as Duplos, Bristle Blocks, and magnets. It isn't just banging all day, every day. The play-doh, however, needed to be confiscated when we found Victor sneaking bites of it. Homemade play-doh, after all, is made from flour. When asked what he was doing, Victor told us, "I NEED the salt!" Salt in play-doh, yes. Flour, no.

We have been pleased to find so many benefits of Victor's diet. The 8 hour round trip to pick Isaac up from camp resulted in just one episode of yelling and screaming instead of the continual screaming and defiance we've had on every other road trip. He snuggles more. Plays piano and drums more purposefully. Listens to story after story without repeated reminders to sit down. He sits down for a whole meal rather than spinning in the kitchen while we eat. He doesn't bump into things like a human pin-ball machine. Instead, he is able to calmly move from place-to-place.
Victor and Grandma Mary Ann reading together

And our picky eater is slowly trying new foods and finding new, approved foods to eat.

We're halfway there. In three weeks we can start to slowly reintroduce foods and see whether or not they affect his behavior. Thanks to that half a piece of roll episode, we already know that gluten is an issue. And after a few episodes of dairy ingestion, we also know that this is a trigger. We'll see what else we find.

Even Victor knows there is a difference. He talks about his special diet and comments on times he was mean and then how kind he is now. He has to feel so much better inside. The constant shopping and cooking are well worth the time investment.

Stay tuned...

*Note to all mandated reporters: This is a joke. I would not lock Victor and another child in a room for a day. I only said this to make the point that I never, ever again want to experience a day like that. We have not, and will not, lock children in their rooms. Ever. Even when they feed Victor banned foods. Even when they throw chairs at me.