Saturday, January 31

Ask away

Haven't done this it a little bit, so here's your chance to go right ahead and ask... Just be respectful please in your questions :)

I'll answer them over this next week...

Playtime!

This morning I finally captured Micah standing up on video! He's been doing it for a few weeks now but he usually does it when I'm RIGHT THERE so no opportunity to grab the camera. This morning as I was getting dressed I saw Brianna saying "UP!" to him and him standing up! I ran to grab my camera and through just a little prompting they were again playing this game. I LOVE to see how these two interact! They both love each other so much and it's obvious in their play together. :)



It wasn't too long ago that I took this very similar video of Kristopher and Brianna- when she first learned to stand up :)! Isn't it wonderful how sometimes the best 'therapists' are older- or younger- siblings? (July 2008)



Considering Micah is 8 months younger than Brianna and that he had 16 months of doing NOTHING, this is really a HUGE achievement for him!!!

It's been said many times that the best gift you can give a child with disabilities is a sibling. One to learn from and one to teach. Looks like my 3 with disabilities will have each other as well as a big brother to "learn from" and a little sibling to "teach" :)


And as a side note- TREES DON'T GIVE. My parents went citrus gleaning this morning and picked fruit that will be sent to homeless shelters (I think). Their last stop was my house and Kristopher and I went out to help them pick. Mom got at least one orange to the head and Kristopher a few near misses, but when I was scooting all the oranges that we'd knocked down to the ground into a pile I was the unfortunate one that walked right into a protruding branch. OW. Big tree. Hard branches. NO give!

Friday, January 30

Teeth grinding??

Not too long ago I remember posting how much Emma's grinding her teeth drove right to my bones and though I was "getting used to it" it's still a sound that makes my skin crawl. And after 'school' yesterday I heard her grind- about 2 seconds worth. It was then that I realized...

EMMA HASN'T BEEN GRINDING HER TEETH FOR WEEKS!! MAYBE MONTHS??

To say I'm relieved is nothing :) I'm SO HAPPY that she's moved past this!!! She still chews on bibs and will occasionally 'grind' on them, but she has not been grinding her 'bare' teeth for quite some time!!!!

It's almost 10:30

And all my children are in their PJ's watching cartoons. Well, the cartoons are ON anyway but Micah's more interested in the DVD case he got ahold of and Brianna is coloring on a piece of newspaper with a pencil- that has no point (it's new and hasn't been sharpened).

This morning around 7:15 Kristopher came in to our bedroom and let us know he wanted to play Leapster. So he settled in with his Leapster and it was another 20 minutes before we heard Brianna asking to get "UP UP". I went and got her, brought her to say good morning to Daddy, and she snuggled in for a few minutes then went to say 'hi' to Kristopher. He decided to take things into his own hands and they sat down at the kids' folding table in the dining room (I could see them from where I was laying) and K got out CheeseIts for breakfast :) The two sat and had a nice time all the while Kristopher prompting Brianna to say things like more, crackers, please, doggie (she visited too) and all done! Ok, so crackers aren't the most wonderful breakfast, but I enjoyed watching the two of them together :)

Eventually Micah woke up and started babbling so I got him and Emma up, everyone got clean diapers and a second chance at breakfast, and then on to playing and eventually cartoons.

I love days where we have ZERO plans during the day. Especially since today turned out to be cold and rainy!

Wednesday, January 28

Our Newest Adventure

About 3 weeks ago when Mike caught a bug and passed it to Brianna then to me I thought it was odd that they both were fine in 12 hours and yet on day 4 I was still very much under the weather. I finally caved and took a test...

Free Pregnancy Test

Looks like September we'll be welcoming Cornish #5!

(p.s., that's a stock photo, in case you're wondering...)

My goodness...

Emma's OT eval was this morning. It was pretty obvious without an eval that she would qualify, but the bureaucracy of the system left us sitting in a school 30 minutes away for an hour and a half this morning. Emma was her true self- refused to participate at all in the beginning then decided it wasn't so bad but continued to pretty much throw everything over her shoulder the remainder of the time. She was interested in a Disney board book and flipped through that a bit and also liked the pegs and peg board until she threw them too.

But... she officially qualifies... :) In July she scored at a 9 month level and today in "feeding" scored at 12 months 'with delays'. Considering she's gone from exclusively bottles to REAL food in the past 2 months I'm thinking this area she might progress rather well in... but of course there are big delays still. With OT skills she was at an 18 months with delays. Not too bad considering she did NOTHING just a year ago and has been through so much since coming home. I think that the OT doing the eval might have thought I'd be surprised to see these scores- but no, first off I realize these aren't an ACTUAL measurement, they're just an evaluation based on one day's approach in a new setting with a new person... Of course they're going to be low! I also know that Emma is nowhere near her ACTUAL age level because, goodness, she's nowhere near doing what other 6 year olds are doing- even those with Down syndrome.

She's making quick gains, she's healthy, she's happy, and her little personality is as strong as ever, so it doesn't bother me one bit to see what numbers they put next to her to show what she did for them one day.

It's actually the fact that it took 2 1/2 hours to do that makes me go **sigh** :) :)

Tuesday, January 27

Conversation with K

Me: You're not eating, what are you doing? Wait, noone's eating, Emma, you need to eat too.
Kristopher: Mom, don't call us You and Noone, we're Kristopher and Emma!

Busy days

On Monday- was that just yesterday?- my mom came over and kept M and E then I headed out to bring B to her preschool then to a different school to bring K. I swung back by the house to get my Garmin and off to find the new Social Security office. Seven months after I applied I still haven't gotten Micah's care- but I got Emma's 5 months ago. Something is amiss!

I found the office without any trouble and waited an hour and a half while passing most of the time with a friend from church that also happened to be there :) But at last I talked to someone and she found Micah in the system (eventually) then said he's stuck in "suspect". Seriously? A 2 year old is 'suspect'?? No, that's apparently not what that means, but somehow his paperwork hasn't been translated yet. Yes, this would be his birth certificate and the court decree. Ok, so the court decree is about 6 pages long... but it's the SAME PIECE OF PAPER AS EMMA'S! They had the same court! Anyway, It's good to know that his SS card wasn't stolen out of my mailbox or not delivered properly and, indeed, it hasn't been sent. The bad news is that we can't do our taxes until we have it! They assured me it'll probably be here by April. Gee... I applied in JULY! Hmm...

After getting home I pretty much turned around and went back out the door when my mom offered to continue to watch Emma and Micah while I picked up the other kids. So I ran and got Brianna and dropped her home since her school is closeby then left again to get Kristopher. Finally at about 12:45 I was home!

At 2 Emma's teacher comes over on Mondays for an hour and then at 3 Mike's mom came to keep the three younger kids and let them finish out naps while I took Emma to PT. This is the first time she's had PT immediately following "school" but she did really good with it! Just after 4 I got home in time to meet Mike in the driveway. He came in and finished his paper for school and ran back out for class. His mom headed home and we had dinner, playtime, and bed by 7:30.

Then I sat down with relief that this BUSY day was over! LOL At 8:30 I host a chat for parents adopting from Ukraine through Reece's Rainbow so I logged in on there until after 11! These moms (and DAD) were a hoot last night! Then it was time to get out clothes for the kids in the morning and go to bed myself. Just before midnight as I laid down I heard a strange sound in the monitor... That would be Micah- not breathing well...

Off to his bedroom to find he's really stuffy and is holding his breath a lot. Nasal syringe (he loves that ewwww), nebulizer, and then off to my bed with him for a while. I also put one of my socks over his hand because it's super-chapped from him sucking on it while he sleeps- like, the BACK of his fist, so weird... After a while and a few more suctions he was fine. Everything coming out was clear or barely colored. I also gave him a decongestant strip and by the time everything kicked in he was just fine. Thank God! I was thinking at the beginning we might be visiting the ER. It's so weird how just a stuffy congested nose- and JUST AT NIGHT- can be such a big thing to the little guy! He's definitely a nose-breather!

Finally at 12:30 I laid down and was asleep pretty fast! It was like the neverending day!

Of course at 6:15 when Brianna started crying I wasn't quite ready to deal with her but a snuggly spot between Mike and I seemed to do the trick. Around 6:45 I put her back in bed and 15 minutes later Kristopher was up. We sent him to go get dressed (yay that I'd gotten clothes out!) and laid there for another 20 minutes! Neither of us wanted to get out of bed this morning! Finally just before 7:30 we got up and Mike went to shower while I got all the others up and fed. I got my 5 minute COLD *ahem* shower LOL and Mike took off with Kristopher so he wouldnt be late. We weren't far behind and I brought Brianna and Micah to the church.

From there Emma and I stopped by Target to pick up a few essentials and then home for some relaxing :) Now I'm headed out to Publix to pick up some hot subs (yum, I hope!) and bring one up to Mike while I pick up the 3 kids from their classes, drop them back at my house and hopefully in their beds, and then head back up to the church for a meeting about the summer children's camp.

Normally this many appointments/meetings don't fall into such a short period of time, but maybe by Thursday(?) I'll have some time to relax a bit. Tomorrow morning Emma has an OT eval for the school system! (FINALLY!!) :)

I do have to say- my parents and inlaws have been WONDERFUL this week about volunteering to keep the kids so I can go here and there with one or two of them! And this weekend Mike and I are helping with a children's retreat (which kinda snuck up on us!).

Also, I'm excited to see Ilya's grant fund growing! Thank you to everyone that's contributed so far! We're a little less than a week in and have raised over $200! Even if that was the max amount of donations we were to get I would be pleased! But... there's 3 more weeks for you to donate and don't forget that you'll also be eligible for the give-away of "Count Us In" if you donate :)

Monday, January 26

Three more

Last night Mike ordered out from Panda Express. Thinking Emma would love it, I cut up some lo mein and put it on her tray. I was wrong. She looked at me like I'd put live worms down! (granted I'm pretty sure she's never seen or heard of a worm...)

I put two fork fulls in her mouth each with eager chewing and her pushing loose strands back in. Ok, so she DOES like it. I put her hand in. No go. She screams a bit and pulls back. A bit more convincing, I put her hand out again and help her pick up one little noodle. She gets it to her mouth. Chews. Good. Then the third time, she lets loose with an ALL OUT WAIL and continues screaming and throwing a fit for a good 3-4 minutes!

I took her out of the chair and into another (dark) room and sat her on my lap then she finally started to calm. About 10 minutes later I thought- why not? So I put her back in her highchair- lo mein on her tray- and walked away. Little booger. She ate every bite available and even the seconds I then offered. Strong willed much???

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kristopher loves our fridge phonics. Even though the little box that says the letter and sound needs new batteries, he loves to spell and read with them. A bit ago I made a ton of 3 letter words that all needed an 'a' in the middle of them. MAP, CAT RAN, etc... using up most of the alphabet letters and lining them up so you slide the 'a' down to make new words.

I finally showed this to Kristopher tonight and he read every word with the exception of JAY, which I have to say is a bit of a hard one for a 4 yr old to figure out. Then he started making his own words :) I love watching his little brain work!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's official, Micah's on the move! He's now able to get up to standing without any help or anything to lean on! He's also taken 1 then 2 steps together to get to Mom or Dad. Then, of course, he LEANS with his arms out and you hope you can catch him in time :) He's never actually close enough!

Today I stood in front of him and put my arms down and motioned for him to "come here". He sat at my feet and grinned at me. I did it again, 3 or 4 times, wanting to see if he would try to stand to get to my (out of reach) hands. Aparently not, but it was awful cute to see him look down at his own hands and do that same "come here" motion :) I gotta say, I fell for it and scooped him up :)

Brianna's speech

Brianna's speech has really come out a lot more lately. We used to hear "AAAHHHH" about everything, and then when prompted she'd use words and sign to tell us what she wanted/needed or was trying to tell us. In the morning she cried, when she was hungry she went to her highchair and... cried, and when someone was bothering her she... yep, cried.

Here's a little of what's changed in the past month or so:

When Brianna wakes up she says "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!!! UP! UP!" (and when he doesn't answer...) "Mommy! UP!! Mommy! UP!! Mommy!!!"

When she wants to eat she goes to the pantry, picks something out, then hands it to me and signs "open".

If Brianna's finished eating she asks for 'up'. Ok, so it should be down, and if we say "do you want down" we get a spoken and signed 'yes, down' but for some reason she thinks she needs 'up' until then.

A few minutes ago she spilled a bit of milk and went to the paper towel roll to get herself the rest of the towels on the roll a paper towel and cleaned up her spill then put it in the trash.

Unfortunately, the trash is also where finished bottles, bowls, and plates go. Who knew?

Sunday, January 25

Anyone know why

a child might just puke a few times in a row and then go on with life? No fever. Not tired. Generally refused a meal beforehand but no other irregular behavior. And it happens every 2-6 weeks...

When Mike checked on Brianna before going to bed last night he discovered a bit of vomit on her sheet next to her. Ew. So I picked her up and rocked her a minute while he changed the sheets (only to realize it was all in her hair and she needed a bath). Then she threw up three more times in a row while we sat on her bedroom floor. That was it. In the tub, off to bed, nothing else wrong. Today she got up and was fine all day. It was almost 2 weeks ago- on a Monday- that she came home from school, threw up that afternoon, then was fine the rest of the day and all day the next (tho I kept her out of school on Tues).

What's up with random throwing up??

(ps, if you're not feeling well to start with, sitting on the floor holding a child that's puking isn't the best idea, in case you're wondering...)

This week...

005 009

 

Doesn't that look relaxing?  Ahh... if only it was a novel he was reading instead of school work...

014 016

Yes, Micah climbed ho here on the overturned ottoman on his own and laid down on Brianna's lap.  She sat and rubbed his head and 'mothered' him... she loves the little (BIG) guy :)

001 010

This is what Boppy pillows are for after it's not used for nursing... and isn't Emma just so sweet with her legs crossed and her thumb in her mouth?  She definitely doesn't pass for almost 6 in that picture though...

004 005 006 007

Temperatures this week...

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Hi:
75°
Hi:
76°
Hi:
78°
Hi:
77°
Hi:
72°
Lo:
56°
Lo:
58°
Lo:
55°
Lo:
57°

Lo:
47°

 

I LOVE Florida :)

One year ago today... Nice to meet you, Goodbye

We met little Misha a year ago.  Now he's still there waiting.  We went on a 'chance' that we would be able to continue our adoption of Sasha, but in our hearts we knew that we were taking those photos and videos in order to send them on to his parents that were coming soon.

Ukraine 016   Ukraine 015

Last night those parents made it home to the US!  Unfortunately, as I posted before, they were unable to get Misha since he had been transferred away from the other child they had previously committed to.  We are so happy to see the Loux Family and the three children that God hand-picked for their family HOME and SAFE today!

For Misha, his family is hopefully coming soon.  There's a new button on my sidebar for their family.  Their last name is Malone and they're trying to bring home two boys.  Please pray for this family as they travel in the end of February!  Another family will be traveling in early February (Aiden's button is also on my sidebar).  A while back I posted that my first tow families to go through the entire process with me had been submitted and accepted- these are them!  I can't wait to see them home with their children!

A year ago today we also said 'goodbye' to Sasha.  We learned in the evening after meeting Misha that there was no way for us to continue our adoption of her.  Political forces in a small town were a difficult thing to recon with.

It's difficult to say "goodbye" to two children and the same day try to face what you must in the coming days and search out God's heart on what to do next.  To be sure three days ago that we knew our children and then to have to go on our knees back to God and say "WHY?" and "NOW WHAT?" to Him was something we'd never experienced to this extent.  After all, it was a Friday and by Monday we needed to be on the road and set-up with our next plan.  There's no wasting time when you're in a foreign country!

On Sunday, the day we made the final call that we would be going back to Kiev and petitioning the SDA for a second appointment, and that we'd be requesting two specific children- little Daria who looked to be near death and a boy named Simon who also has Ds.  As we thought these were to be our children, we dove into the Word to find the Peace that we know could only come from God.  Did we feel good and 'ok' about leaving Sasha?  Not even a little bit.  Did we feel 100% sure about our decision to pursue these other two children?  Mostly, but without any Heavenly Strike saying "yes".  In fact, Simon's paperwork wasn't ready and as you know we were given a blind referral for Micah instead.

Here is a journal that I never published from that time that shows how Magnificently God shows up and uses His Word to speak to us in times of sorrow, loss, and bewilderment:

Before going to bed I began to consider a name for our future children. The name we had for Sasha was Aleksa Faith. It is by faith that we stepped out to find her. The name for our son, unknown to us(but this would be Misha), was Dylan Jeremiah. Today we learned our new son’s nickname is Simon. We have decided that Simon will be his middle name as we have named each of our children with a strong Biblical middle name. For our girl, since it was Faith that brought us to Sasha, seemed appropriate to have the middle name of Hope. So I looked through my Bible's concordance for Hope. What is a verse to cling to for our little girl? Immediately the verse we know so well stood out to me. Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” How fitting.

Our little girl will not have a future without being adopted. But the lord has plans for her. Plans to give her hope and a future. Plans to prosper her and not to harm her. Plans to give her a family and love. And how neat that it stood out to me because of the name Jeremiah that precedes it (the name we intended for Misha's middle name).

That’s not all though. That’s just in the concordance. When I turned to Jeremiah 29 I began at the beginning of the letter. It was written by the prophet Jeremiah and “sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets, and all other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” It carries the words that the Lord has sent to the exiles. In verse seven it says something unusual though. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” In my study notes it says this “An unprecedented and unique concept in the ancient world; working toward and praying for the prosperity of one’s captors.”

It goes on in verse 10 to say that at the prescribed time He will come and fulfill His promise and bring them back. Then verse 11, plans to prosper, to give hope, to give a future. In verse 13 and 14 it says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

He will collect his children. He has a plan for them. And a plan for their captors as well…

In the end of verse 21, speaking of those who have spoken lies in His name, it says “I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.” Those that created stumbling blocks will be dealt with.

Thank you, God for teaching us to pray for the captors. Pray for those who persecute. Pray for the captors. Pray not just for a change in their heart, but for their prosperity. Because if they have peace and prosperity so will the captive.

I don’t know about you, but I never thought to pray prosperity on the ‘captor’ of Sasha’s orphanage. I didn’t think to pray peace. But it is true… if he has peace and prosperity, so then will Sasha. And in an economy where the need for money is a drive for so many inappropriate actions and decisions, prosperity may be just what some people need in order to be okay allowing change.

Tonight I ask you to pray for peace and prosperity on the director of Sasha’s orphanage.

I came across this journal entry about a week or two ago when looking for something else and wow, how much it helps me to see that God was with us in those dark days and giving us assurance for the days to come.  As you know, we did name Daria "Emma Hope" and on her button there on my sidebar the verse reads Jeremiah 29:11 :)  Micah's first name has a story as well, and Daniel was his birth-name which we kept as his Biblical middle name.

One year later, today is the day we first began our journey toward Emma, and another little child that we had to trust God on since we didn't know yet who it would be.  It's been quite a year!!

Saturday, January 24

Little Mommy: Baby Knows

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10355933

This is the baby doll that we got Brianna for her birthday.  She's very cute (and was on clearance for just under $20) and sings, talks, and in one setting also speaks the body parts in Spanish (we don't have it set there- we'll work on English and ASL for now ;) ).  She does say "I love you Mommy" so although I don't see any problem getting it for a little boy, the doll seems to think only girls will like her ;)

Also, her ABC song isn't actually the whole ABC song... she hums and makes noises in part of it instead of singing.  It's cute, yes, but I was a bit disappointed as I don't want Brianna to sing her ABC's that way :)

 

Thanks Stephanie!  Here's the boy version, but I found him at Amazon for $50! Yikes!

http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Little-Mommy-Interactive/dp/B001JSYJFY

Friday, January 23

Food for thought...

Isn't it interesting

How you can know MUCH about few things,
LITTLE about more things,
NOTHING about many things,
and God uses your MUCH to fill the LITTLE and NOTHING of others,
Your LITTLE to encourage those who know either MUCH or NOTHING,
and your NOTHING to shape your character and get you to listen to those with LITTLE or MUCH?

Still walking this road that I know God's placed me on and discovering my MUCH as well as learning new LITTLE each day and leaning on others for my NOTHING as I go.

A few days of 'stuff' :)

Yesterday after the normal morning runnings... I dropped off 3 kids at the church, took Emma with me for breakfast with my mom for my birthday then back to her house for her to fix E's sweater (which had a hole at a seam) and we were off to PT for Miss E before returning to the church to pick up the 3 there. Then home again and down for naps. Near the end of nap time E's teacher comes over 2 days a week and works with her so that was yesterday as well! By the time all that is done it's 3:00 and we had 2 1/2 hours to play and hang out and get ready for Grandma and Grandpa to come over and watch the kids!

Oh, and while I was at the church dropping the kids off in the morning I was putting Emma back in the car and buckling her in and turned back around to find a gift bag sitting in her wheelchair! Someone had come over and put it down and was nowhere to be seen in that short time frame... I later opened it to find a gift from a dear friend who teaches at the school. What a sweet thing for her to do :)

Mike and I went to Orlando to Macaroni Grill for dinner but after salad and bread (Mike had soup...) we were pretty full so we brought home a majority of our dinners along with a slice of chocolate cake (which came with my meal). Guess what we're having for dinner tonight... :) We got home around 9:30 and pretty much went straight to bed. There's no school Fridays so I didn't set out clothes, make bottles, make lunches, or anything! I was EXHAUSTED tho so glad to go to sleep a little early.

Today we had a nice lazy day around the house :) Kristopher got dressed first and then eventually Micah... and before lunch Emma and Brianna got clean clothes on (of course everyone had clean diapers when they got up...). I, however, stayed in my sweatpants and sweatshirt until after lunch when everyone was in bed and I could take a shower :) I got a nice surprise visit from my Aunt right at the end of lunch time and she didn't seem to care that I was still in pajamas :) She brought me by a new book by Beverly Lewis which I look forward to starting! I just finished a wonderful book by a new author (whose name slips my mind) 2 nights ago and was about to go searching again :)

Two of the kids went down for naps while my Aunt was here but Emma just sat and snuggled and bounced with her. I think they both enjoyed it! Kristopher, in the mean time, set up his entire Mickey Mouse crew on the coffee table in front of the TV and was acting out a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse tv episode with them while watching it on TV.

Mike's been really busy today and though we often get together for lunch on Fridays, he's had a network problem that's taken up ALL of his time today (as well as a few other days this week) but I'm hoping that it is solved this time and that he wont be pulling any more 3am nights at work anytie soon! Even tho I went to bed at a decent hour last night and we didn't do anything of consequence today I feel like taking a nap- or maybe just going to bed for the night NOW... it's 4:30, isn't that late enough?? I guess I'll wait at least until after dinner, though :) The kids do go down between 7-7:30 so I can't complain. I just have to talk myself into going to bed soon after they do!

Micah is getting very proficient at walking with very little support now! I'll hold under his elbows and he's just about ready to do it on his own! On Wednesday I held him a few steps from Mike and let go and he moved one foot toward Mike before sitting down. He's getting closer and more confident for sure!

Emma also discovered something fun today. She sat with her feet in front of her and her knees to her chest and would rock forward so her weight was on her feet and then put her hands down (kindof like a bear-crawl but with her knees tucked in) and lift her bottom about 2" off the ground as if she was going to stand up! She's really gotten a LOT stronger here recently and her PT is considering starting to use a walker with her soon to teach her how to support her own weight on an object and to work on reprogramming her brain on how to put one foot in front of another!

I saw a little guy at the PT office all suited up in the therasuit which is what they use for the intensive therapy that I hope to get Emma in to sometime in the near future and it is really neat! The little guy was proficiently walking using a walker and you could see where the suit was providing support for the muscle groups that he struggled with. What a wonderful thing for this little boy! I hope we can get Emma in the program soon!!

Brianna's speech teacher caught me after school on Wednesday and said she's beginning to participate in "circle time" more and is talking more and mimicing more as well. Then she told me Bria was immitating the sign for "open". Um... well, she's been signing open on her own for a long time. I guess it will take a bit of time for her to see the skills Bria already has in order to be able to build on new ones :) I'm glad Brianna's opening up more though! She's also VERY in to this baby doll she got for her birthday. When you clap the doll's hands together it says "these are my hands" then will do pat-a-cake or other hand games. She also says "this is my mouth" when you touch either hand to her mouth. She identifies six body parts and does other games and phrases too. She's really cute and all 3 of the older kids really like her. Brianna, however, is pushing her around the house in her baby stroller and loving it :)

Kristopher is doing better at home than he was before break but we're still at a loss for whether we're doing what's right for him or not. He's happy, everyone's happy, noone's hurting, and yet his teacher did mention to me on Thursday that she's noticed some of the behaviors I'd described to her. I don't know whether she's just now noticing them since she now knows about them or whether they're just now showing up at school. I'll keep a close eye on things. Kristopher is, in general, doing great though. I'm so proud of how he's learning to read and write! Right now he's playing a V-Smile game that I KNOW he wouldn't be able to do independently about 6 months ago. He's a quick little guy and I'm so proud of him!

That's all for now... Don't forget to Chip-in for Ilya and get a chance to win the give-away!

It's been one year since we met this smile

Ukraine 017 Ukraine 020

 

And we will never forget it.  The pain of knowing Sasha will likely never have a family able to adopt her still cuts deep, but we savor the time that God did give us with her.

Can you help change the future of this little guy?

Click Here

Thursday, January 22

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES-resolved ;)

In my attempt to 'fix' the blog layout because some people were having a hard time seeing it... I've managed to turn the text WHITE, which isn't readable. I guess this is a part of the Minima settings? Anyway, my TEXT COLOR says BLACK... so I've got to figure out why it's not actually black now...
hmm...

Edited- I found it in the HTML... it should be fixed now. Is the blog showing up 'correctly' to everyone now? (as far as fitting on the screen and such?

Wednesday, January 21

One Year ago on Jan 21st...

Mike and I had our SDA appointment in Ukraine. This was where we received our official referral for "Sasha", who we thought would be come our "Aleksa Faith". This next 2 weeks are filled with dates that reflect the changes of a year. It's with joy but not without grieving that we are at the place we are today.

Here's what I wrote on our private blog about the appointment (at this point in the process we hadn't announced yet that we had plans to adopt two children, and I kept a private blog that addressed details that I didn't feel we could post publicly as well as info about our second child):

Our SDA appointment went well! At first there was a problem because they said that the place Aleksa is said to be doesn't exist. They have no record of it. But after asking us again and again why we think she is in a place like this we told her (Julie, our SDA translator) that we believe that information came from Vorzel. So the psychologist called Vorzel and sure enough she is in such a place. They did have her file and we were able to see a picture of her at about 2 yrs old or so. I could be wrong. It was a decent picture and definitely resembled her.

We did ask for a second referral at the same time and had just one boy and one girl to choose from. Mike and I had already talked extensively about who we would request and although there was no picture we decided to go with the boy. He is at a different orphanage from Aleksa but nearby. I was trying so hard to pay attention to the details that they were asking of us that I didn't catch his name, I don't have any idea what he looks like, but I do know that he turned 4 in September (2003). (((Added in: We later found out his name is Misha and he had a family committed to him through Reece's Rainbow. We later withdrew our plans to adopt him with hopes his future family would be there soon. Well, now- Jan 2009- that family is in country and Misha has been transferred. He's still available (we think) but his committed family could not split themselves between orphanages. Now there is a THIRD family coming for Misha that has an appointment at the end of February. Pray he comes home!!)))

So PRAY that they find where Aleksa is and that we get her referral paperwork tonight or tomorrow please!!

And that this little boy- whoever he is is our son.

And pray that wherever Aleksa is that she is alive. That is a very real situation right now. Oleg (facilitator) isn't sure if that's why he can't get information. If she's here still we will find her though.

Thanks Lu!

For the "new look" for my birthday (and to celebrate Emma's!) :) Love it!

Something fun to announce tomorrow (um... you're probably reading it today, tho... LOL) and this background will stay up during that entire time period!

Random

Why do people drive 10 mph under the speed limit in the passing lane with a car next to them doing the same?

Why do people drive 20+mph under the speed limit on a 1-lane hwy? C'mon, the speed limit is 55, 30 is excessive!

Why is it that the body can be extremely tired and yet the mind won't go to sleep?

How is it that the night you're up all night on your own accord- your children all sleep well, yet when you're ready for a good night's rest- the kids are up every hour?

Tuesday, January 20

Inauguration Day

http://www.aroundthewaybooks.com/images/obama.champion.jpgToday as Barak Obama was sworn in I was doing what I  do every Tuesday at 12:00, picking up my kids from the church.  I hadn't paid much mind until Mike asked me to turn on the radio so he could listen while he sat with Emma and I got the kids.   It's not that I didn't want to hear the ceremony- more just that I hadn't thought about it being on the radio.

Anyway, I went and got the kids then returned to the car to just hear the ending poem and benediction.  The new President of the United States of America... Barak Obama.

I have to say that I'm not won over by the politics or social graces yet of our new president.  I do, however, have a lot of respect for him as he now holds a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.  I believe that God is in control.  More than anything else.  I know he's had times of blessing and times of, well, not, on different nations and that this IS a Biblical thing.  I hope- and PRAY- that God's hand of blessing will continue to be on our Nation and on the First Family.  I pray for Barak and Michelle and their daughters.  I pray for the Cabinet and all of the people making this country work up in DC. 

The US may be seeing big changes in the coming days- it's hard to know what's really going to happen since I haven't read or heard much on actual policy.  I'm sure it's out there somewhere, but I just haven't found it (or looked necessarily).  The few that I know about, admittedly, are those meeting the greatest opposition.  Like FOCA, for instance.

Yep, if I'm gonna hit 'em I might as well hit 'em all... Politics (check), Religion (check), let's see... FOCA would be... abortion.  Yep, I'm going there too.

FOCA stands for the Freedom Of Choice Act.  The act that President Obama promised Planned Parenthood would be his first act in Office.  There's one thing that I strongly believe and that is that every life is formed by God and deserves respect.  Even the one that hasn't been born yet.  Yep, even those with detectible 'disorders' (ha, ESPECIALLY them!), even those that are from unplanned pregnancies, even those that are being born to someone that can't afford to raise a baby.  I'm also a strong advocate for adoption in each of those cases if a parent cannot or does not desire to raise their child. Once conception happens, that's a BABY.  Babies have rights.  Or at least they should. 

What about Mom?  Well, in about 99% of the cases, mom was helpful in the 'becoming pregnant' part, and thus entrusted herself as the caretaker of a child for the first 9 months.  That other 1% of the time when this was not a choice by the mother, it was still a gift of God that a baby was formed.  It's not even that 1% that I'd argue about.

Here's what FOCA would do:

  • do away with state laws on parental involvement, on partial birth abortion, and on all other protections.
  • compel taxpayer funding of abortions.
  • force faith-based hospitals and healthcare facilities to perform abortions.

That last part, yes, you read it right, would force hospitals that are run by, say, the Catholic faith, to perform abortions.  Something directly contradictory to their belief system.  This alone could be catastrophic as Catholic Hospitals have said that they will close their doors if this is the case. 

I'm sure that many will disagree with me in this.  That's up to them to have their own opinions, after all this is one of the most highly debated topics and one of the most passionate topics of many people.  Do I judge someone that's had an abortion? ABSOLUTELY NOT.  In all honesty, I think most people that have had abortions have ben scared in to believing that that was really the "right" answer.  Often they are given incorrect or out of date information about their child's diagnosis or are told that this is their only option.  Sometimes they're scared and feel this is the only way 'out.'  In all honesty, I feel bad for those who have had that experience as I imagine it is a very painful experience for many years to come- if it ever subsides.

All that to say, in the coming days you can count on my prayers for President Obama, for the SUCCESS of his time in office, for the prosperity of him and his family and those who are surrounding him in office.  It's time to stand together and support our President, without losing sight to stand by our beliefs and convictions.  I pray, as well, that GOD will be glorified during his time in office.  

May God Bless America!

http://www.livingstonnj.org/usflag-b.jpg

Guess I should have clarified...

Thanks for the e-mails and suggestions for the kids below. For the record all are in state-custody and to my knowledge have families working toward their adoptions. The second child is not a citizen and her passport is not available. She was abandoned while in the US with her mother- status unknown. So that's where the hiccup comes in-- she's not a US citizen so it's an int'l adoption, yet there's nothing from her homecountry to show she is an orphan because... she wasn't- she was here with her mother. Weird weird situation.

I collected some info and sent it on to her SW so hopefully they will work something out and she'll be able to get a forever family. There is an immigration official involved already. Please pray that if there's someone in her homecountry 'missing her' they are able to find her, and that if not, she's able to be officially adopted here in the US!

Monday, January 19

I just got off the phone with the Department of Children and Families

and boy did we have a nice conversation! LOL It wasn't actually about me or my kids, which is always VERY much more appealing when talking with DCF :)

The worker has two caseloads dealing with citizenship from Eastern Europe and wanted to know some details about the citizenship of children adopted from Ukraine, post placement reports, and how to do a domestic adoption of a non-citizen.

The second one had me... If you have any info about these, please write me privately, I'd love to help this family! mkp1982@hotmail.com

Sunday, January 18

Today, January 18th, 2009- National Sanctity of Human Life Day!

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

"All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us."


"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being."

The rest of the article is found HERE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2009/01/20090115-1.html

Saturday, January 17

Dumb Bird!

Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart while I had just Emma with me and when we were leaving I started to pull out of the parking spot I noticed this:

001

So, this bird, sitting on my windshield, didn't fly away!  The bird didn't look injured but it was tucked away and warm and didn't want to move!

I pulled over to a different part of the parking lot and still it sat there.  So I started driving, REALLY slowly, and it stayed.

Without anything else I was willing to do (I don't touch birds!) I started to drive home.  30mph, 40mph, 45 mph... I stuck with that speed and let everyone going 55-60mph just go around me.  The bird hung on!  Finally I slowed to turn in to my subdivision and the bird just disappeared.  I guess it decided to fly off...

WEIRD!

So much to say, so little to tell

We've been pretty busy this week!  There's so much going on, but it's basically run-of-the-mill stuff, nothing too exciting to share.

On Monday and Tuesday I had my first two nights of 'home time' with the kids and Mike began his first sessions of his two classes.  He's hopeful that the new teacher for one class is going to make a big difference and thus his schedule will be do-able this semester.  It's only 8 weeks long... and one down already!  On this track he should have one more class this semester and one or two over the summer, then he's DONE!  He'll be graduating in August with his Master's in Organizational Leadership from Palm Beach Atlantic University.  He's taking his classes at a campus in Orlando though ;)

This was also Brianna's first full four days of school- except I kept her home on Tuesday since she threw up on Monday... so it didn't end up that way.   Since Monday is a holiday she won't have a 4 day week next week either!

Kristopher's been doing fairly well being back in school.  Yesterday every time he interacted with anyone they cried-- partly because they're little and don't TALK, but mostly because he wanted to take their toys, knock them down (not hard, but just so they weren't standing anymore...) or toss dress up clothes at them...  Needless to say he spent a good portion of the day going from MY SIDE to play, to his bedroom, to play, to his bedroom... ah... the discipline cycle.  We made other adjustments too, but it was a bit of a rough day.

Micah has recovered pretty well from whatever he had going on last weekend.  We know he aspirated and ended up with a horrible cough and congestion along with a low grade fever which we did breathing treatments, tylenol, etc. for.  But on Sunday his legs got a slight rash on them which we assumed was from the fever.  It lessened by Tuesday night (except right after warm baths of course) and by Thursday was just very faint.  Then during his bath today- a WEEK later- I noticed it on his arms too.  We'll monitor still, but with no other symptoms a rash on his extremities doesn't send me in to a panic- especially when I know he just was a little sick.  He's back to sleeping normal, eating normal, and his regular happy self so I'm not too concerned.  Plus, once again it's the weekend.  Why do kids show up with 'new stuff' on the weekends???

Emma is loving the idea of standing.  She doesn't like the braces much but they've obviously opened her world to a whole new idea of what it means to put weight on your feet and not bend your knees backward.  She's beginning to do this even without them on and we're hopeful that as she gets practice both ways she will get stronger and eventually bear weight on her legs without someone holding her legs from bending backward :)  Also, the new braces when bent to about 90 degrees are hitting one another in the back.  At first we didn't think it was a problem, but sure enough it's pinching her lower thigh a bit.  We can't do as many stand-sit exercises with the braces on unless we find a solution to this.  She's generally doing well with this concept though so we will keep practicing it without the braces on.

I'm hanging in there, been a busy week and is the start of MANY more, but the kids are good, the husband is good, so I am good :)  I'm ready to enjoy this 3 day weekend.  In fact, I'm still in my pajamas and it's 1:10.  Oh, wait, that's because I haven't had a minute to take a shower yet today ;)

Thursday, January 15

Last night Brianna found a snack

Micah had opened up the cupboard and pulled things out but then Mike picked him up and got him ready for bed. I walked by a few minutes later and said "why is this still on the floor if you told me Micah pulled it out?" Ah... well, my hands were full and I was getting Emma in bed so there it stayed again...

A few minutes later it was Brianna's turn for pajamas and I looked around to find her...

On the floor of the kitchen with a mouth full of marshmallows! LOL She really enjoyed them! She did need a BIG drink of milk after that, but I guess it's ok since she went to sleep all right :)

Wednesday, January 14

Thought for the day...

"Follow me, only as I follow Christ, and look to me only to see Him in me, because as flesh I fail and weakness abides, but in Christ perfection is evident."

There's nothing like waking up

to a large pile of

dog poop

on the family room floor.

Even better is when you have to get 3 kids up and dressed and fed around it because the person responsible for cleaning it up has already gotten in the shower on the other end of the house. Yes, I could have cleaned it up myself, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't an option. Nope. Not today.

Thankfully she chose the tile. Tomorrow night she's in her crate or the garage. No more free reign of the house for a while!

yuck.

Tuesday, January 13

Some pictures from yesterday...

Emma... wasn't really cooperative.  I said "smile" and she covered her face and pulled her hair... um... not exactly picture perfect...  But she did let me take one a few minutes later (right after taking a bite of food... don't MESS with meal times!!)

019012 

Brianna first handed me a cheezy grin.  And no, she's not growing a beard- she's had a runny nose and was biting her bottom lip so it's broken out in a rash.  It's being treated, but... there it is.  I like the second one without the cheezy grin :)

013014   

Micah wasn't feeling great- I took these yesterday.  He is still so very adorable though!!  He kept turning around and crawling away when I called him to take a pic!

028 029

Kristopher was eating cheese doritoes in the other room (so Brianna wouldn't beg for them!) but I caught him with a bit of 'extra' on his face.  So I sent him to the bathroom to wash his face and of course he thinks the girls' tub toy is a lot of fun on the counter.  Which is fine, because it doesn't work in the tub...  He's such a cute kid :)

015031

I'm not going to stop the blog...

I just wondered whether there was a way for the folks on facebook to see the blog FROM facebook :)

No worries Aunt Dot and Rita :) And... Thanks for reading along!

Facebook

Ok, so I've been registered with Facebook for a little bit now and I've generally figured my way around in there... um... in my spare time LOL. I am amazed at how many of YOU have found ME there, so thanks to everyone that looked me up and added me as a friend!

I have a question now... I'd like the blogging and facebook worlds to collide. Wouldn't that be fun? You know, not having two different sites that are 'kept up' with info about our family happenings? After all, there's no possible way that I'd really keep them both up! I'll add photos there occasionally... but otherwise I'm not so sure what else I'd do there.

But today Christina sent me something asking me to approve that she's really the author of her blog. That got me thinking! Then it of course asks "do you have a blog" and yes... yes I do... It asked me to choose a few people to say I'm really the author of the blog, so I sent those requests out and all of a sudden I notice that my 'wall' says I've joined the "Cornish Adoption Journey Blog Network". Um... is that what I did? Ok, guess so. It says after a blog has 10 people 'following it' they'll do an RSS feed (I think) to Facebook.

Long story short(er) will this mean that people will be able to read my blog on facebook? How does that work? Anyone know?

A lazy day home

I got everything ready last night so the kids could go to school, but after Brianna spent half the night awake- just AWAKE... I decided the little guys really had no reason to go to school today and Kristopher is the only one that went. Everyone was feeling fine going to bed and Micah slept through the night, but with Brianna awake so much I just decided it's best to have a day at home. I would hate to send them to the church then find out that tonight they're not feeling well again and now they could have passed it on to more kids.

It's supposed to be rainy and cool today so I think we'll play in the playroom and maybe watch a movie this morning. Keep it low-key. Hopefully tomorrow everyone will still be feeling better and Brianna will go back to school.

Somehow Brianna was just AWAKE last night! I was up with her from 1-2, Mike got up with her from 3-3:30, then I was up again from 4-5 with her. The last time I just laid in her room on the floor next to her bed and asked her to be quiet and lay down. She had her milk cup and was apparently thirst but kept sitting up and yelling over to Emma :). Sisterly love... except Emma was sleeping, which I repeatedly pointed out. Around 5 she finally fell asleep, I put a towel over where her milk had dripped, and I wandered back to bed.

I don't generally have a day with no plans, no shuttling, no therapies, no... nothing... but today Emma is the only one with an appointment and that's here at the house from 2-3. Otherwise the etire day is free and clear. I wonder what that's like? :)

Monday, January 12

And the puking begins...

Thankfully it's Brianna- not that I WANT her to throw up, but she seems to do so pretty regularly to purge her system and then is fine the next day, so here's hoping that's all she's got to do. Mike and I haven't been feeling on top of the world so I'm not surprised she's got a version of it too... Looks like Brianna's home with me tomorrow. I wonder how Micah will do tonight and if he'll go tomorrow. I'm leaning (hard) toward keeping him home, but he has been fine all day, he's eating fine (a change from the past 2 days) and other than a runny nose he seems back to himself. Oh, and no fever since last night. I think I'll still keep him home... but I'm not going to decide that until I go to bed tonight. If he really is fine, and has had 24 hours of fine, he can go... But I hate sending them right after being sick anyway...

What a perfect night for Mike to start back to school! Yikes! (there's only 1 hour 45 minutes until bed time, so I really shouldn't complain!)

EDITED-7:15pm

Brianna just had the one episode and laid around for a while then seemed happy enough to run from me (in the living room) to Emma (through the kitchen and in the family room) repeatedly screaming "mama mama" and "emma emma" while she did so... while I was on the phone long distance... with Kristopher close behind and imitating her. Yep, we know who was in charge of THAT exercise! LOL Here's hoping she's over the pukes and got it out of her system!! A relaxing evening with no neb treatments and no puking sounds absolutely lovely!!

"Because I shouldn't have to"

Kristen is a friend of mine who not only is a Christian and goes to church with us, but also is an awesome older sister to three sweet girls. One came along right about the time that my Brianna did and shares that extra little chromosome. I LOVE this family and wish we could spend more time together (we used to see each other weekly before I took on 2 more kiddos :) )... and keep promising myself I WILL initiate it soon! But for now, I wanted to share a neat blog post with you.

I hope you'll go on over and say 'hi' and read what Kristen has to say about not hiding your true self even if you can... "because I shouldn't have to".

Check it out and leave her a comment :)

http://randomartofkindness.blogspot.com/2009/01/favorite-quote-of-week.html

No tears, but plenty of boogers

I just dropped Brianna off at school this morning and there were no tears! I don't like to "sneak away" with her because it's not like she's going to just not notice I left. It will take 2 minutes, but then she'll be crying uncontrollably when she DOES realize I left and she'll cling even harder the next time, knowing that I had snuck away... So I went in to her room with her, waited for her to put away her lunch box, said good bye, gave her a kiss, and left while the teacher helped get her jacket off. YAY! I'm so glad that she seems okay staying today. Hopefully the day will go as good as last Wednesday and she'll start enjoying going. This morning as I was getting her dressed and reminding her several times during the morning that today was a school day her answer was always "no". Hopefully that tune will change!

Micah's still not up to his good old self. He's got a constant runny nose, and he's also very raspy and congested. It seems that around 6pm the last two nights he's gone from an 'ok' day to upset, crabby, runny nose, cough, fever, and refusing food. The last 2 days he ate lunch hen nothing until the middle of the night after that.

Last night, unfortunately, I also wasn't feeling great and as I prepared all the kids' stuff for school and putting away their laundry that had run several loads during the day I ended up being up pretty late. Mike hadn't felt well all day and went to bed early (before I started feeling bad). So I finished up and went to bed to be awoken about 2 hours later by Micah. I gave him a bottle (that I'm glad I'd had the thought to make before I went to bed) and stayed while he drank it. Then back to bed and he went back to sleep. It took about 30 minutes to do all of that and about 4 hours later we repeated this all. Another 30 minutes up... Then only one more hour to sleep before the entire house woke up. Needless to say, I'm tired today! Thankfully Mike and I are both feeling much better, though, and Micah seems pretty good again this morning- except plenty of boogers...

Sunday, January 11

Perfection, Obedience, Choice

I was sitting on Sunday morning watching PBS with the kids when a show that I've seen just a time or two came on.  "Martha Speaks" this morning was about a dog 'trainer' that claims to train the dog in just one day.  To make the dog go from wild and rambunctious to obedient and 'perfect'.  Of course the main character in the show, a dog that talks, figures out that the dogs are all being very robotic.  They're not blinking, acknowledging squirrels, or anything that dogs normally do.  They are, however, sitting still by their owner's side and hopping on one foot until they're told to stop. 

In the end, Martha finds out that the trainer is putting a microchip into the dogs' collars and that's making them obedient- not any training.  So Martha uses the microchip to get the trainer to tell what is happening (she puts it on him) and they remove all the chips from the dogs and have a community of rambunctious, but FUN dogs once again.

Why the cartoon recap?  I've thought on this subject a lot lately in regards to my children.   The idea that kids need the freedom to make choices- good ones and bad ones, to play, to be disobedient, to be loving, to learn by their mistakes, and to generally be themselves.  I don't require them to be perfect by any means.  I sincerely know that that's not only completely unreasonable, it's also not desirable.  They will have to make mistakes to learn and grow and gain character. 

Not only that, but God treats us- His children- with similar care.  Of course He guides us and has a perfect plan for each of our lives... but He knows that we are human (hey, He created us that way!) and that He gave us the freedom of choice.  WHY would God give us that same choice to mess up and to walk away from Him and His ways?  Why would He not only accept that we WILL make mistakes, but also created us that way to be able to... What was He thinking??? :)

Well, fortunately He makes it clear what He desires for us... He doesn't just want us to be obedient because we HAVE to- as if we've been programmed to follow directions and go through life in a series of robotic movements planned out to be perfect.  Instead, He wants us to be obedient because we WANT to be.  He doesn't want to force us to have a relationship with Him- he wants us to desire it.  He wants us to know that when we desire Him and live to walk in the ways that He leads us in to, that our lives will be the most fulfilling.  In the end, the rewards are eternal.

So... back to my kids?  A new perspective on child-rearing... one that I've had for some time, but it's always great to have that Sunday morning cartoon as a reminder...  If we desire to raise our children in a way that doesn't force them in to obedience, but leads them gently so they know that the path of obedience will be the most fulfilling... they will be more likely to follow in this way to their Heavenly Father- which, really, is my greatest desire for each of my children.  It far outweighs their obedience to ME.  It far outweighs my desire for them to excel academically, socially, physically, or in any other way.  And really- that "perfect" child... the robotic one that doesn't learn, grow, test, and have FUN... is that really who I desire my children to become?  Not even a little bit.

On the other hand, God doesn't just leave us to do our will and to struggle through life.  Not even a little bit.  His gentle hand guides us, but a firm hand often lets us know the consequences for our wrong choices as well.  We don't live without difficulties and these are often at the response of our unwillingness to listen or obey to what is right or good.

And sometimes... God takes us away from our comfort zone and asks us to do something which we don't see as fitting to 'our plans' and yet we need to follow with a blind faith.  As I struggle down my own path of obedience... and disobedience to our Heavenly Father and experience the Grace He gives as I fail each step along the way... I pray that will help me to continue to focus on the grace I should then have for my children as they, too, struggle in obedience- now in a parental realm and one day in a spiritual one as well.

I made it through the day

Complete with a 3am wake-up call to check on Micah, who otherwise slept through the night. I gave him a nebulizer treatment at 6:30 and 11 last night because he really sounded awful. I know kids are always worse sounding at night, but he refused all food after his bottle around noon and I'm sure you can guess that it is NOT like Micah to refuse food! He actually sounded pretty good when I checked on him overnight so I didn't wake him. His fever had been sitting around 100.9 yesterday and this morning he's back down to normal (he had Tylenol twice last night too...).

So, the kid who last night I thought might end up in the hospital ER today seems to be doing ok this morning and other than the green boogers I'd guess he was ok. He's already had a bottle at 6 and another half of a bottle a few minutes ago. His 18 food strike is officially up I believe :)

Unfortunately, Mike also woke up this morning and at 6am when Kristopher came in told me that he wasn't feeling well since last night either. I stayed up with Micah and put him in bed around midnight (he'd taken extra naps since he was sick) then finally got to go to sleep around 12:30. I don't even know when Mike came in so it had to have been after 1am. Last night after church he realized they needed to run another project before the service this morning. He got stuff set up while I ran to Wal Mart (thank goodness he can remote-connect from home!) then headed up there when I came back in the door at about 10pm.

I have to wonder if he's just completely and totally exhausted and that if a good day of sleep might do him some good to help him feel better. He starts his new classes tomorrow and Tuesday so he needs to get back on his feet today!

Sounds like the little ones have all finished breakfast. Here's to a nice relaxing day!!

Saturday, January 10

Shhh... hear that?

it's silence...

enjoying it...

for a minute...

(except of course the sound of the Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss... and crackers crunching... and the nebulizer going...)

When did the entire house fall apart?

When did Kristopher go back to taunting his mother?

When did Micah decide to scream if you put him down?

When did Brianna decide she doesn't like ANYTHING I give her for dinner?

Ok... so at least Emma's behaving...

Oh yeah, and when did Mike have to be at the church service early to get some things ready?

Of course... tonight... but to his defense he did tell me this earlier in the day when our children were the same ones we had last week and our home was not in such complete disarray... oh, and at that point we were all going to church. Now Micah's got a low grade fever and the kids and I are hanging at home...

When did having 4 kids seem easy? Oh yes, that was yesterday. Hoping it will be tomorrow too...!

Date night!

Believe it or not, Mike and I actually went out WITHOUT the kids last night :) We had a friend at church offer to watch the kids and we were quick to take her up on it :) She and her sister came at 6 and after deciding that Kristopher would, indeed, be allowed to stay. He'd had quite a difficult afternoon behavior wise and we weren't sure what we were going to do... but in the end our need to go out won so we left him with very specific instructions. He was to sit on the couch with his leapster for a set amount of time, then brush his teeth and go to his bed and read until the sitter came to tuck him in and turn out the light.

Each time he had a little bit of freedom yesterday he was into trouble, so this was a very unusual request we made. We don't generally give him something to "zone out on" for any longer length of time. He gets to play his Leapster first thing in the morning (at the gentle hour of 6am when everyone else in the house wants to be asleep) until it's time to get going for the day, and he can bring it in the car for trips. During playtime we want him to play with something other than a video game, even if it is educational.

So, it sounds like Kristopher was good and went down ok, and that the other kids were all right too. We knew we didn't have to worry about the kids and that they were in good hands too :)

After we left the house we headed to Orlando for dinner and a quick stop at a few shops. We got about 15 minutes into the 40 minute drive and all traffic stopped. We sat there for another hour moving VERY slowly and mostly sitting still. Yes, we were very late in getting anywhere. Yes, it was annoying sitting in the car for an hour in a half. Yes, the other drivers were especially annoying because they refused to merge and people kept driving up in to the front in order to merge, making everyone go slower (except them...). But no, I wouldn't have traded places with the people causing the backup for the world.

A tractor trailer had swerved (probably to avoid a car) and skidded and come in to oncoming traffic then jackknifed. The front end of the cab was REALLY smashed up, and I'm sure that whatever it hit was just torn apart. By the time we passed the accident there were no paramedics on the scene but it had to have happened hours before we got there. Whatever the second vehicle was had already been removed and they were attempting to move the jackknifed trailer. Regardless of the delay to us going out, I hope and pray that whoever was in that collision survived. It was right in front of a speedway where a lot of young people go on Friday nights to watch races.

When we finally did get to Orlando we decided on a quick dinner at Panera then walked across to look at some computer stuff at Best Buy. By that time we needed to head back home just in case there was still traffic. The entire accident scene was cleaned up and traffic was back up to speed though.

Even though we didn't exactly have the evening out that we had envisioned, we are so grateful for our friends offering to watch the kids so we could have this evening away. Even with an hour and a half in the car on the way there, it was still time without the kids that we got to just sit and talk.

THANK YOU ANNA AND BETHANY!!

Friday, January 9

7:15, 8:35

At 7:15 I fell asleep on the couch while we let the kids finish the last 5 minutes of a movie we rented. Mike was sitting next to me which is why I'd been able to lay down, but he watched the kids and it was fine. I did get up and brush teeth and get medicine down and put some of the kids down, but by 8:35 I was in my bed and ready to go back to sleep!

I can't say I slept straight through a wonderful sleep- because I was awake at 12:30, 2:30, 6, and pretty much every few minutes from 6-7:30 when I finally decided it was time to really get up, but I still had 11 hours that I was not up and going! I definitely needed that!

I also wanted to respond here to the comment below about the kids facing backward after a specific length where their feet touch the back of the seat. Though it is VERY TRUE that a child can break their femurs if they can reach the back seat of the car during a crash, it is also true that in the same impact, a child of questionable weight and/or strength could break their neck if forward facing. So... when the question is whether a child is at a high risk to break their legs or to break their neck, the choice is easy for me! Micah's not tall enough yet for that to be a concern with his legs, and Brianna may be but is borderline on weight so she's much safer backward still. I know each parent needs to make this decision for themselves but wanted to reply to it so that the knowledge that facing each direction has its risks and benefits in the case of an accident. The most important thing is to know that your child is in an appropriate carseat for their size and that the carseat is properly installed in the vehicle!

Thursday, January 8

JUST TIRED

Yeah, pretty much that's not new news, but it's beginning to catch up with me as today I've had a headache all afternoon. Tylenol doesn't seem to have helped-- yet. Still holding out hope tho!

Emma had PT today and unfortunately her new knee braces are causing a bit of pinching on the back of her thighs. Only when she bends her knees far enough for the calf and thigh braces to touch (which is right about 90 degrees). Even with leggings on under the braces it pinched. Looks like when I bring the braces back in for the REALLY SHARP points on one of them to be filed down I'll have to ask the orthotist whether he has any suggestions for the pinching. Other than not bending her knees that far...

Today was a beautiful day but we've stayed inside anyway. Not sure why-- except maybe my headache. Maybe we'll venture out for some outside playtime after dinner. Maybe I can talk Mike in to helping me move around the car seats in the van at the same time...

When we first brought Emma and Micah home they were 17 and 11 lbs and neither held their head up. For this reason we had both of them in backward facing car seats. I'm so thankful for our new van because though it's still a little difficult to get to Micah's seat (behind the driver, next to Kristopher's forward facing seat), it is nowhere near as difficult as it was to fit everyone in to the minivan!

Well, the time has now come for Emma to turn around and go forward facing. I held out as long as possible, but now it's necessary. She is about 30 lbs and has a very strong neck now. I talked to her PT today and she was completely fine with the transition. There are a few reasons we need to do this. The biggest reason is that we're trying to combat her hyper-extending her knees, yet in the car seat she props her legs on the seat back and bends her legs backward severely. The second reason is connected to that and that's due to her new knee braces. Since she hyper-extends so much the knee braces could be worn in the car to keep her from doing this. Unfortunately, getting her in the car with her knee braces on is VERY cramped. Her legs aren't super long but she is over 36" tall and since the braces only bend at the knee to 90 degrees, she doesn't really fit...

So... Emma, Micah, and Kristopher's car seats are all being moved! Maybe we'll move Brianna too just for fun. We do need to clean under each of their seats really good since they've had quite a bit of food in the car...

Right now Micah is behind the driver with Kristopher in the middle next to him. Then Brianna's behind Micah with Emma in the middle next to him. Three of them are still rear-facing. The new arrangement will have Kristopher behind the driver (he can climb in and buckle himself-- but with the last setup wouldn't be able to get around Micah's backward car seat to get in so he was in the middle), Emma in the middle next to Kristopher, and Brianna and Micah (both still rear facing) in the back.

Though Micah is big enough by weight standards and strong enough by neck strength standards, we're keeping him rear facing because there's no reason to turn him around yet and he's safer backward facing. Brianna is just 21 lbs and the minimum to turn around is 20 lbs. Plus, she has lower tone than Micah does and though she's pretty good with her neck strength there's also no reason to turn her around yet if she's safer backward facing.

Off to make dinner... leftover tater tot casserole for the adults and mac 'n cheese for the kids :)

Wednesday, January 7

Whew :)

Doctor called, K's urine is fine. Mommy's "don't stress" worked for the most part (for me... I mean, I know I couldn't change the results by that! LOL).

I picked up a HAPPY girl from pre-k today and she even went back in the classroom with me after I picked her up so I could look for her birth certificate... which somehow didn't make it home with me. Hmm... She went to sit at the table with the little ones eating lunch. Looks like she felt like she belonged ok!

That's all for tonight. I'm TIRED!

Yesterday's doctor visits. What IS a well check anyway?

Yesterday I took K and Brianna in for well visits.  K is slim, 33.5lbs and 42.5" which is around the 30 and 50th %.  Not too bad.  He got 4 shots ("kindergarten" shots, but we needed the physical updated for school so we did them now) and also a flu mist.  Poor kid did NOT like getting shots.  Freaked out before anything was even done... had to physically hold him down for the nurse to do them.  Wonder who he got that from... (nope, NOT me... or Mike! LOL)

Brianna is 21lbs 4 oz which is below the 5th% on the Ds chart.  She's 34" which is between 50 and 75% on the Ds chart for 36 months.  Scrawny little thing...  She also got 2 shots- one was a booster and her flu shot.

Kristopher had his hearing and vision checked and those were fine and both kids BP were good as well as their pulse.  All was going well...

Of course there's an "until."  There always seems to be an "until," doesn't there?

Until the doctor looked at the urinalysis results for Kristopher.  Hmm, someone marked Glucose +1.  The doctor left the room and asked the nurse if that was recorded right or a mistake.  Nope, it's right.  They did a quick finger prick for a blood glucose level and it was 90 so it was fine.  But it's still not right to have glucose in the urine.

So... they sent us off with orders to go right to the hospital for another urinalysis and theirs are done a little differently so we're hoping that it was a 'fluke' that K's showed glucose in the ped's office.  Always better to check on it then not... but hoping it's all just a fluke.

Our trip around town and back lasted a little over 4 hours by the time we had both physicals at the dr's office as well as the urinalysis at the hospital.  It did include a trip through McDonald's for a special treat of Happy meals because I had NO toys with me and had no idea how many hours we'd be sitting waiting for K's turn in the lab.  He was excited about the toy (and Brianna about the french fries...) and the wait at the hospital wasn't too bad after all.

Now we wait.  I imagine if there's still a problem we'll hear back soon.  If not, then in a week :)  That's generally the way it works, right?  If the second test shows the same, our ped will let us know where to go from there.  She did say it would require further testing if that's the case.  For now, though, he's at school, Brianna's at school, and two little people are playing sitting next to me on the floor :)

Screaming and fighting

That's how I just left Brianna at her first day of pre-k. I sure hope she decides she likes it there and warms up to it. I got there at about 2'til 8 (was told it "starts" at 8... guess they meant drop off starts then, but it's ok. I brought in diapers, and her bag with a change of clothes, got her paperwork all settled and then she refused to help put her backpack away, refused to help put her lunchbox away, and wasn't cooperative in walking in to the bathroom either.

When we finished up with paperwork, her teacher said "pick up your backpack" then took her hand and started walking to the cubbies--- but Brianna didn't know why she was holding a backpack (that she's never seen before LOL) or where she was being led or why... Hopefully as the day goes on they'll be a bit more descriptive of what she's supposed to do. For instance, "I'm going to show you where your cubby is, let's go put your backpack in", then she'd probably have been more agreeable. I did mention it, though I don't expect that her first day she's going to be really hapy about listening to someone she doesn't know. Moreso if she knows WHAT they're doing and isn't just led around though.

Rough start to the semester, but hopefully by this afternoon she'll be happier and enjoying herself! 1st days are supposed to be a little rough though, right? :) LOL

Here's some pic's from BEFORE we went inside :) (and she was still excited about her first day of school!)  Cheezy grin!
003 004

Tuesday, January 6

Our Christmas Miracle!

(See below for the Christmas reference :) ).

This morning I got a call from a VERY sweet woman in a position to make decisions... and she APPROVED US FOR COVERAGE FOR EMMA'S CONTINUED THERAPY!

Yes, this is our Chirstmas Miracle for our little Ukrainian girl (and yes, she's still Ukrainian not just by heritage but by citizenship too as Ukraine recognizes a dual citizenship until the age of 18-- at which time she can "choose" her citizenship... but that's not what we're talking about here is it? LOL)

Now... we continue to pray for a grant that I applied for which would fund a 3 week INTENSIVE therapy program for Emma which is supposed to accomplish what would typically be established over the course of a YEAR! What a gift this would be for our big girl, she has SO MUCH potential, but finances are holding us back as it is $4500 for this 3 week course.

In other news, Emma scared me really good by shoving too much food in her mouth and choking. I reached in and got what was visible, but she was still uncomfortable and not breathing quite right. I tried to give her a drink, no go. She was breathing, but obviously not RIGHT. I turned her upside down and hit her back a few times (infant Heimlich) and nothing... I put her back down, not sure she was REALLY choking... maybe just upset that she had? But I tried again... HARD. SOMETHING was wrong...

Sure enough, out comes a wad of bread almost the size of a golf ball. THAT wasn't in her mouth! YIKES! Though she wasn't interested in finishing lunch (understandably), she did sit with me a while and about gas me out (swallowed a good bit of air I'm guessing) and eventually decided she loves me again and snuggled with me a minute... then drank a bottle of milk.

I know she packs her mouth but I hadn't caught the first pieces going in that got lodged... I only noticed the bits she still had in her mouth. She hadn't choked before (not REALLY... tho we've had to stop her from packing her mouth already) and I guess we either have to STARE at her or give her only a bite or two at a time for now... SCARY!

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas! A very Merry Christmas to you all!

No, I'm not off my rocker (today). Tomorrow is the Orthodox Christmas celebrated in Eastern Europe!


This is one of many Christmas trees in Kiev! This one is in Independence Square. Another was near the Podol area where we stayed. I took a pic of the one by us being taken down! LOL

The "Holy Supper" is tonight, on Christmas Eve, and sometimes little bits of hay is on the table cloth as a reminder of the manger in Bethlehem.

The Holy Supper begins after a child sees the first star in the East- a symbol of the trek of the Wise Men. Families pray and a traditional Christmas greeting is given- "Chrystos rodyvsya!" or "Christ is born!" Family answers with "Slavite Yoho!" or "Let Us Glorify Him!"

Traditionally, families attend church on Christmas morning. Services sometimes start before midnight on Christmas Eve and are offered also on Christmas morning. It's customary, too, to have a spider decoration on the Christmas tree! And during the Christmas eve dinner angels deliver gifts beneath the Christmas tree.

So... a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!