Saturday, January 30, 2010

Heart to heart

Here's a little heart talk for anyone wanting reference :)

I answer heart questions on the RR group pretty frequently and someone tonight asked if I had something written up describing the different heart conditions. Nope... I rewrite it every time!

So here's a little "from a mom's view" (not a doctor!) explanation of the different heart defects that I'm most familiar with!

Please feel free to post any additional information about other heart defects or clarifications in the comments!

My Brianna had an AV Canal and an additional ASD and VSD.
Emma had an AV Canal, a PFO, a PDA, and has PH.

The heart has 4 chambers, two on the left and two on the right. The top two chambers are referred to as the atrium and the bottom as the venricles. The solid wall between the left and right sides is called the septum. A valve on each side of the center wall separates the top and bottom chambers.

An AV Canal (atrioventricular canal) is also called an AVSD (atrioventricular septal defect) or an CAVC (complete atrioventricular canal). This is a combination of multiple defects. It includes a hole between the top two chambers of the heart (atrial) the bottom two chambers of the heart (ventricular) and the septum is the dividing wall. This also affects the valves on each side of the heart and is known as "a hole in the center of the heart".

Emma's AV canal was allowing 40% of her blood that had already been through the lungs to go back through the lungs. This severely overloaded the lungs and caused pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure) to develop over time. That is what PH refers to and she still has this. It will likely never go away since it was untreated for so long.

The ASD that Brianna had was just an additional atrial septal defect which was a hole between the upper chambers of the heart, and the VSD was between the lower chambers, ventricular septal defect.

Emma had a PFO which is also called an 'oval window' in some of the kids listed on RR. Patent Foramen Ovale. Patent means "open" and the Foramen Ovale is an opening that is used while an infant is in utero to bypass the lungs with some of the blood. It generally closes within 48 hours after birth and in 75% of the cases at least by age 3. But still 25% of the adult population (not just Ds, everyone!) has theirs open still and doesn't even know it. Risk factors to having this stay open includes the possibility of blood clots forming in the opening and causing strokes. If a person has a stroke this is one of the things they may check for. If it is found to be open then they may do a cath lab procedure to close it. It may or may not have been the cause of the stroke, but it doesn't hurt to make sure it won't cause the next one!

Emma also had a PDA which is a patent ductus arteriosis. Patent, again, meaning open, and the ductus arteriosis is another opening used in utero. Again, it should close on its own within about 48 hours after birth but can be closed in the cath lab if necessary.

An AV Canal always requires surgery. There is also a "partial" av canal which, depending on its complexity, may or may not require surgery but generally does.

So... that's my kids anyway :)

A little something different

Here you go... your opportunity to ask :)

I'm inviting my husband... and my son... to answer questions!

If you have questions you'd like to ask of either of them, now's your chance! I often get asked what they like/dislike/ how I talked my husband into adopting (I didn't! LOL). And so here's a chance for you to ask them, and I've gotten their 'ok' that they will answer honestly. I will retain my right to censor what I ask my 5 yr old for you, but all reasonable questions I'll ask him.

I'll leave this open for a week or so. Ask away!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So what would you do

if you smacked the outside of your thumb REALLY hard on a table.

And it hurt.

And swelled.

And you iced it.

Swelling went down, but still puffy.

And... lumpy.

And then a part of your thumb was just... numb.

For hours.


Like... 48 and counting?

Right on the part of the outside side of my thumb at my knuckle. Sortof where the spacebar hits :).


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Moving and shakng

Lynae has mastered a few new tricks! On the 12th she went to the dr for her 4 month checkup and after Dr. R asked me if she was rolling over yet and I said "she's close", she then laid her down and there she went, right over! Since then Lynae has mastered rolling both ways and loves to play on the floor in the midst of whatever's going on. She's wanting to be UP all the time now and not laid down in our arms anymore!

Just this afternoon she got her knees up under her and rocked then smacked her head on the rug. She didn't like that quite so much, but then she did it again- and again (then I rescued her LOL).

Lynae's also discovered her feet and likes to grab them. She found out about them in the bath the other night and now there's no staying dry when bathing her! She loves to splash and play in the tub.

I'd love to post photos, even a video, but I've misplaced my camera! It's been missing a week and a little bit and I have no idea where it may be.

Brianna thinks that Lynae is just the best toy ever now. She now rotates through ALL the kids as her best buddy of the minute. Lynae gets told "no no no" regularly for sucking on her hand, or taking out her pacifier, but Brianna's even learned how to give Lynae back her pacifier (gently!). She also has been playing pretend with Kristopher quite a bit and spending time with Emma and Micah too. Brianna has also learned that she can't put her face right up by Lynae. Nature's consequence-- gravity. Hair is in baby's reach, baby pulls hair! Don't put your face by her! :)

Lots of fun things happening around here lately! I hope I can find my camera soon!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Micah's back!

He's back, and it's so great to see him really feeling better and showing his true self again! His whiney little spirit that prevailed the last few months is GONE!

Last night he got a bath and then I decided I was going to buzz his head. Believe it or not... he looked around my bathroom mirrors and was so excited to be in there! Then I turned on the buzzer, let him feel it and... he didn't freak out! In fact, he loved it!! This is a 180 from just 2 haircuts ago (and the reason his hair got so long this time!). Then he got to go back in the tub when the girls were done so that was even better! He LOVES the tub.

Micah now has 3 words he's saying regularly- Bye bye (more like bah bah), Go go go go go go, and baby (said bay BEEE). He's also signing shoes and sicks, more, all done, and waving bye bye (with his thumb tucked in LOL). We had him self-feeding on Friday and he ate a majority of a bowl of yogurt with the help of a spoon, his fists, and of course his tongue licking everything. He also got a yogurt facial and hair treatment. It's good for the skin like a milk bath, right?

Now... to work on getting him back into school-- SAFELY. There are several concerns we've had in the past that I've talked with his teacher about and they've "made due" in the room to take care of them. He is safe. But it is NOT easy and he is not participating as much as he can/should be. So I've drafted a nice little letter asking for an IEP meeing to have a 1:1 with him. Some of my concerns:
  • Safety in the classroom- he'll walk out doors, climbs the stairs to the sink
  • Safety in hallways and playground- needs a hand held at all times in halls and will walk right off raised platforms at the playground
  • Redirect his licking behavior which has caused him to miss a LOT of school
  • Feed him and work on self-feeding skills
  • Sit with him and redirect to help him sit and participate in circle and reading times- right now he wanders a lot
  • Watch his liquid intake- he's aspirated once this school year already
  • Help address his behavior of taking off his shoes and socks continuously
  • Overall help Micah to participate in the learning environment with his peers in an appropriate way, supporting him so he can be safe and function in the classroom.
Now to await an IEP meeting.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The BEST Birthday Gift!



(we pray this is the end of the sickies in our home!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Just an update--

For now, he's home. I kept him home all week. He's now been out 2 1/2 weeks total. He's been WELL for one week. Here's hoping it lasts. If I haven't heard from anyone by Tuesday to schedule his surgery I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Can't exactly send him to school to get sick again! In fact, I'm not sure that even after his surgery he can go back. Obviously his licking and putting things in his mouth, etc. are having a big effect on his health in the classroom. Lots of germs, lots of sickness. But seriously, being THAT SICK for THAT LONG isn't something that's just normal "first time in school" ickeys.

Now I'm looking at the ONE thing that can keep him SAFE in school and that the licking and mouthing are only small parts of... I'm going to try to get Micah a 1:1 aide in the classroom.

Aside from getting sick, he will also get others sick if his behaviors continue. It's not a medical fragility issue. It's a behavior that needs to be worked with. And there's no way for 2 aides to be able to do that with 12 children in the classroom that ALL need their attention. They cannot walk around with Micah and keep his tongue off of everything or keep his hands and toys out of his mouth. In addition to that, he also needs to be fed, diapers changed, and walking anywhere someone must hold his hand or he either stops walking or wanders off. If the door is open he might just walk through it and leave.

He's a good kid. A smart little guy when he lets us know that he 'gets' things. But for safety and function in the classroom, he really needs more 1:1 than the teachers in the room can physically provide all the time.

We'll see how this goes... (any advice?)


I made FOUR trips home today while trying to renew my driver's license.

Thankfully I'd dropped Micah off with my mom and only had Lynae along for the ride (and she slept through it in her carseat!).

First I went by the house to grab my book and a hairbrush. Essentials for a new license, don't you think? Then I drove away and realized I had read something about needing a marriage cert, so I went back again. Grabbed that. Already had my passport, SS card, old license, a proof of residency, my application and my appointment card.

I got there 10 min before my appointment and was told... I need TWO proofs of residency. ANYTHING... bills, bank statements, anything. Just needs to have my address.

No problem, drove home, grabbed our electric bill. It's in Mike's name, but I have the handy marriage license and off we go.

No go. Must be in *my* name.

I don't have much in my name!

AGAIN I went home. This is now trip #4. It's 30 minutes PAST my appointment time now and if I go back I just knew they were going to make me wait in the line that when I arrived the first time was non-existent. I found a bank statement. *whew*

So I did what any patient sweet loving person would do...

I checked in online and made an appointment for 25 minutes from then! :)

Back to the license bureau and to the front of the line of 20+ people (a great feeling tho I felt bad for them) and at the end of the day I have a new license and a new photo (not too bad either!) and it's done for another 8 years.

I also changed my house water bill over to my name. MY name. So now there's something in my name! LOL But it had been under my dad's because I never got down to the city hall with our trustee deed in order to change it over in the last... fourteen months... little while.

And after all that I picked up 3 kids from school and went to Wal-Mart for a few things. Fun times. It was a 15+ trip (how many times I was asked if they're ALL mine) and was more exhausting because of the other people in the store than it was because of my children!

You would think there was a hurricane headed for us by the amount of people there were in Wal-mart today too!

Home, dinner, baths, medicine, teeth brushed, and to bed. A quick evening but a productive day once again.

I will have to write about Kristopher's birthday present for me another time... for now I'm sleepy :)


That's all I have to say about my day for now.

Renewing your driver's license might just rate up there with the paperwork involved in an international adoption now.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Productive day!

Today after I dropped the three oldest kids at school, Micah, Lynae, Michael, and I went down to the Sheriff's office and had our local checks run and our fingerprints made. Then I went to the tag agency and renewed our van tags for 2 years. Now I can forget next year :) Then on to my parents' house where I borrowed their computer and made an appointment to renew my driver's license in the morning. Also got all our background check paperwork arranged and enveloped and stamped and ready for signatures and to be put in the mail! Before heading home I went by the church and got Mike to sign the last 2 papers and we had the one notarized that needed that.

When I got home with the kids, I finished up our documents and put them out in the mailbox :)

Then it was lunch, naps, picking up the kids, and then a busy afternoon! But hey- our background checks are all done!


Is waaaaaaaaaaaaay overrated.

And if you don't know what I'm talking about, be GLAD!

I'm very tired of Interpol. And forms for it. MANY forms for it.

And if you're one of my adoptive parents and haven't gotten TODAY'S form... check your inbox again.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When did they get so big??

Brianna is doing great toilet training. She then went in the guest room where we keep the "supervised" toys and played in the huge rice bin. And cleaned up after herself! (mostly!).

Kristopher made a huge tower with Legos and when told to put them back in the bag he dumped it, put his 'creation' inside, then filled it with the loose pieces. Yes, he's 6 and this shouldn't surprise me but he just all the sudden is SO BIG!

Emma ate dinner with her fork and was a proper little princess and even climbed up in our SW's wife's lap during their visit and made friends with her. How is it she's so friendly and CLEAN all the sudden?

Micah? He's a mess :) But we love him anyway. He's had 2 steps backward this last 2 weeks but poor kid can't cut a break with the sickness and is going to blossom when he's well!
(ENT today- scheduling tonsils and adenoids to come out!).

And Lynae is smiling, happy, laughing, sitting in the Bumbo type seats, and just being cute all the time :)

Off to MAPP classes tonight...

Monday, January 18, 2010

We're approved!

Our homestudy was tonight and all went well. We are now approved- pending background checks- to adopt up to two children from the US.

Now on to other things... like figuring out what God's up to with this whole adoption process...

Sunday, January 17, 2010


72, breezy, clear skies, and perfect. This is January in Florida.

Lynae, Kristopher, Michael and I are outside while Emma, Micah, and Brianna are resting. Kristopher's on his bike, Michael's on the roof taking down the Christmas lights, and Lynae's hanging out in her little bed next to me.

Loving Wifi.

Loving Florida :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Singin for Daddy

A whole lot of cute :)

The next round of prayers...

I received a note today with the deadline that our homestudy must be COMPLETE by. Not a problem as far as our agency is concerned, but the background checks all must be back by then. This is different from the former time line that was happening next week... it was moved.

So if we are to submit for the little guy that caught our eye, please pray with us that our homestudy will be finalized before then!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just to clarify...

My friend and myself are both still very strong advocates for the adoption and "rescue" of children with Down syndrome abroad. When we say that we cannot advocate for them and ignore those in our backyards, we say it because we ARE advocating for those abroad but we will not simultaneously ignore those around us as well. As we look at the awful conditions abroad and such high eeds there, we also recognize that when a child comes up that is right here and we can help them out, we will not turn down that opportunity or say it is any less need than those abroad.

ALL children deserve a home and a family. ALL children deserve love.

In case you wondered... (which I'm pretty sure you didn't, because you all know how passionate I am about those little RR sweethearts making it home before they end up in mental institutions..)

What's up?

A very wise friend of ours said something to me that really did a great job of summing up Mike's and my feelings about orphans. She said "I can't advocate for the adoption of children with special needs abroad- specifically those with Down syndrome- and ignore a child in my own back yard that's also living in the "system". "

You see, as much as there is a HUGE need for international adoption, there is definitely a need for adoption here within the US as well. When we started our adoption of Emma and Micah, we fully intended to do a domestic adoption. Then we learned a few things and we also felt strongly called to Ukraine. What we learned was that US born infants with Down syndrome are usually pretty 'easy' to place and there is a waiting list of up to 200 families at a time wanting to adopt an infant with Ds! This is WONDERFUL!!! Also, there are not often children in the US Foster System with Ds. It just isn't something that you come across too often. And of course we learned of the fate of the children abroad.

So we went to Ukraine, we brought home the children God brought into our lives, we came home, had another baby and here we are. God has FIRMLY closed the door for international adoption for our family and we do not even qualify at this time according to US guidelines. But the knowledge that we continue to advocate for the adoption of children with Ds and other special needs continues to make me think and wonder--- who is there in my back yard??

We did NOT intend to add to our family quite this quickly... in fact I'm kind of surprised how open we both are to it with Lynae being just 4 months old. But we both feel confirmation that we should continue to put one foot in front of the other until God closes the doors.

Tomorrow we will start the state-mandated MAPP classes in order to pursue a domestic adoption through the FL foster care system. We actually decided this several days ago and took that step.

God's working in all different ways, though, and yesterday He asked us not to let money get in the way of what He is asking us to do. And when we said YES, we meant YES. You see, there's a child that is available and that caught our eye just a few days after we told God yes. After Mike was in Kenya (ok, so he caught MY eye LOL). We went forward with inquiries and determined that we believe he would be a good fit in our family and both Michael and I said that we don't feel there's any reason to say "no".

Just a few days ago we were told we needed to have private representation at this upcoming meeting to even see whether we would be chosen to parent this child. Private representation = $$. And we have NO IDEA whether we will be chosen or not-- there are several other people that have put their homestudies into the pot as well.

There's only one reason we wouldn't pursue this child. Money. If we don't pursue this child, our entire adoption would likely be at no cost to us. If we do, it will cost a pretty significant amount (for us-- no comparison to international costs though!). So do we step forward and get a private homestudy? Or do we 'pass' since it's nowhere near a sure thing and assume that God has someone else for this child... and someone else for our family? The only difference is whether we put in the money.

Since the only thing that was stopping us was money, that decision took no time at all. We will not allow money to make our decisions for us! And so... I called to schedule our homestudy. A private one. Which we will pay for. And guess what?

God happened.

Our social worker gave us a significant discount because he believes in what we're doing. We said YES. God took care of it. Well, part of it anyway... and there's no doubt He'll care for the rest!

Then today. What about the prayer request today?? There was a time period in there that another "thing" happened which had the potential to stop us from pursuing this child again. And we accepted that if the answer was yes, then we would continue forward. And if it was no, then we would continue with the classes and homestudy, but knowing that we would not be getting that child. A very TIGHT time frame was put on us to get the homestudy visit in because this child will be matched soon and we need to be represented at that specific meeting.

So I called our social worker.

I got a call back when I was out.

I returned their call.

Then I waited 2 hours and called them again :) A classic case of phone tag. Who ever said patience was a strong point of mine? LOL

And Monday night is our homestudy visit.

God Prevails. That was our wide open door.

Do we feel secure that this specific child is who God has for us? Not entirely. We would be thrilled if it is. But if it is not, we know that God has used him as the catalyst that got us walking through the doors that He opened for us.

We don't know where this is going. We won't pretend to have the answers.

But we are excited to see what God has next, and we are following with open arms... open eyes... open hearts.

Please continue to keep us in prayer as we learn what God's plans are for our family and how He intends to use this situation. The best things in life have always been the ones that God laid out for us!

WIDE open

Just in case you were wondering... :)

Prayers please!

Ever feel like when you're going the right direction, all the doors open but every OTHER area of your life comes under attack? That's how I feel right now.

I'd very much appreciate your prayers, especially in the next few hours as another door will either swing wide or close shut. Details to come I promise! THANKS!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guess what!!

Well... Saturday evening Micah came down with a rash on his trunk and the rash all over his cheeks and chin was getting worse. And it's pretty bad on his hands too. So I called the doctor to see what she wanted me to do-- likely it's a reaction to the medication he's on.

She and I talked through it and basically said we really WANT to keep him on this anti because it's the LAST anti that we can try for him to get rid of the Strep. So unless it gets REALLY bad, she wanted to try to keep him on it. I agree. She did say she wanted him to come in today to retest for Strep and see if it's even working. Because if it's not... no reason to keep him on it if he's possibly reacting to it.

So in we went. And guess what? MICAH TESTED NEGATIVE FOR STREP!!!!!!!! Which she said means he is NOT a carrier, or even during treatment he should test positive. Poor kid is still pretty miserable. But-- he's not testing positive, so the antibiotic IS WORKING!

And you can tell it's working because... he has the most disgusting poops possible. Sometimes 3-4 times a day. Oh. Yes. Fun.

Anyway, it's great to know he may kill it off, and we have notes in to the ENT to try to get an appointment quickly to be able to get his tonsils out before he catches something else. I already pulled him out of school at least this week and depending on when we might be able to get him in to the ENT and scheduled for surgery, we may be taking him out of school for longer.

In the mean time we'll just be thankful for disposable diapers, Lysol, Bleach, and fans :)

Tomorrow Brianna goes in for her 4 yr checkup and Lynae for her 4 month checkup. That will make 4 appointments between 3 kids in 6 days.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Oh Yes, it's SNOWING

Crazy crazy crazy weather...
The only place it's "stuck" is on the top of our pool enclosure.

What'd ya know?

I just got off Skype with Mike! He has been in Kenya ALL YEAR LOL. They left on the 31st and will be home SOON :)

And wow, God moving is right. I knew He would... I just didn't know what it might be! And now little things have opened up that have caught his attention in Kenya. And of course life hasn't stopped here either! But it's been an exceptionally busy week with God's fingerprints all over it.

Thank you for everyone that has been praying for us this week and a half with Michael away. We serve a mighty and awesome God!! Please continue to pray that He would make our paths straight and we would know the directions that He wants us to go. For now we are taking one step at a time towards the goals he seems to have set in front of us, and we await His directions and ask him to securely close any doors that we're not supposed to walk through.

I love being in the fold of what God has for us. It's so exciting to see what His plans are and to know very clearly that He is working in, around, and through us on a regular basis.

Many people (who knew that Mike was leaving) have asked who is coming to stay with me while he's gone. Well... no one. Not because there's no one that would come. Not because people hadn't offered to help. But because I knew this was going to be an exceptionally special time for me and the kids to have so much 'down time' and flexibility in what we do! We had 4 days home before the kids went back to school then 4 days of school and now we're back to another weekend. And we have had a BALL! We've explored all the kids' Christmas presents, played their new games and old games, we've done tumbling on the porch mats, we've been to the zoo, we met up with two different friends traveling through, and then the unexpected- we were in a high speed car accident, a trip to the collision center, a doctor's visit, a pharmacy trip, and those lovely 2am wake-up calls since Micah's not feeling well.

I have enjoyed this time with the kids! And I can't wait for Michael to be back home too :) Just the difference in routine was enough for it to feel 'different' around here and I've used that to be able to do some things differently than we 'normally' do.

It's been a time where I've enjoyed the kids and while they're awake and going I've been able to be right in there with them. And when they're sleeping... I've been pretty busy making lunches, getting out 6 layers of clothes for each of them, getting shoes and backpacks and jackets ready for the next day, cleaning up the rooms that had been 'attacked' during the day, doing laundry, dishes, and putting them away, and of course keeping up with my Reece's Rainbow families and enjoying a little "social" time for myself with them :).

My parents and Michael's have helped where we needed it- they came to Give Kids the World with me and were a GREAT help which let me really be able to enjoy the trip and have a nice time getting to know the family that was visiting. Mike's mom came for Emma's therapy appointment yesterday, which I ended up canceling since Micah was so sick. Instead she brought Kristopher to her house for a playdate then picked up my pizza order :). That night my mom came after the kids were in bed so I could run to the pharmacy and pick up Micah's meds and probiotics. And yesterday my mom did the drop off/pickup for Emma and Kristopher for school so I didn't have to get all 5 kids out the door for 2 of them to stay. All of that was much appreciated! And those little helps here and there have made the week go much smoother. So many others have offered help, and maybe in a week we'll take someone up on an evening of babysitting so Mike and I can have another night out :)

Keep those prayers coming... we appreciate them so much! And this isn't a "short road" that we're traveling. God is laying out plans for months, maybe years, in our midst and we are excited to see Him moving! As always, when we really know what those plans are... we will share :D

Friday, January 08, 2010

H2 blockers and Antibiotics?

I've gotten a few comments saying not to take reflux meds with antibiotics... But I've looked around at many different websites for both the med that Micah's on and for the anti and at several drug interaction sites and find nothing that says not to do it together. I'd separate them, but seriously we're talking about giving meds five times a day then. And I don't do meds 2x a day very well. Much less 3 (which is what we're doing now). So... FIVE???

If I really cannot give them together... I won't, but ohhhhhhh myyy.... Can anyone find info that says I shouldn't give an H2 blocker with an anti??

The IDSC for Life!

One of the organizations that I just LOVE is the IDSC for Life! The International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life :) It is not just an international organization for Down syndrome awareness and support, but the ONLY one that has a PRO-LIFE STANCE and does not hide under the blanket of choice or indifference.

THANK YOU to the IDSC for their work! And here's a little New Year's video from them :)


Happy New Year from the IDSC For Life from IDSC For Life on Vimeo.

Ah… and treatment begins

Micah’s the culprit.  He woke up the night before last sounding like he had a little of a chesty cough… So I gave him a breathing treatment and he went back to bed and slept fine.  Got up fine, happy, nothing ‘off’.  He didn’t drink his bottle but that happens pretty regularly and doesn’t mean he’s sick, so he went to school.

After going to the collision center and finding out what needs to be fixed on my car, I got a phone call saying he was asleep on the floor and wouldn’t get up or participate in anything.  So I went and got him.  And we went straight to the doctor. 

So yes, he has strep.  Again?  Probably STILL.  Poor kid is miserable :(.  He went from sleepyish and a runny nose to having a fever and being whiney.  He slept from 3 yesterday when I got home with the kids from school until 8:00 this morning.  I woke him up a time or two for diaper changes, pajamas, medicine, or a bottle… but otherwise he just slept!

He’s now on the 5th med we’ve tried for this.  He was on one anti, then a different one, then the first one again, then a third one, then the second one again, then he had this added med a the end of the antibiotic that is a “textbook suggestion” to getting rid of the Strep.  And now, a fifth med for his 6th treatment since August.

And the best part… this one doesn’t just cause the upset stomach that most anti’s cause.  This one is supposed to cause “severe upset”.  Lovely.  So the doctor suggested a probiotic powder to go with it.

Now we have a new med routine! How fun! LOL.  Seriously, I HATE that he is sick.  HATE IT because he feels bad, and because he can’t just go play like he should be able to, and because he is quarantined from the other kids, and because the other kids keep catching it too, and then they ALL feel miserable, and I’m pretty sure Mike and I have each had it too, and because if Lynae was to catch it that would be really bad, and because the girls’ hearts don’t need Strep as it can cause trouble for them… and… and… and… BUT.  There’s nothing we can do outside of what we’re already doing (and yes, I’ve called the ENT and the ped has sent a fax letting them know the urgency that as SOON as he’s well he needs them out before catching this again!).  So we have to make light of it just a little.  The “new normal” it seems… to have meds 3x/day with a different variety at each sitting.

Crushed toddler vitamin, probiotic powder, reflux med, and antibiotic with breakfast.  Antibiotic with lunch.  Reflux med and antibiotic with dinner.

If only the one constant thing—the antibiotic—didn’t taste SO DARN NASTY.

But hey, nothing an added teaspoon of chocolate syrup can’t help.  Yes, I, the person that doesn’t give the kids much sugar at all and thinks even chocolate milk with sugar-free chocolate is a treat, am giving Micah almost a full teaspoon of chocolate syrup 3x/day.  But he took his medicine MUCH BETTER when I did it that way! And c’mon, if he’s already miserable, why not give him a little something GOOD rather than just choking nasty stuff down his throat? (Plus when he does gag on it and everything I always wonder how much he’s aspirating in the mean time…)

Ok, enough drug talk.  Now it’s time for added intervention.

Here’s what I’ve got going:

  • Lysol or bleach spray to ALL the toys, his crib, the baby gates, door handles, glass doors, bathtub, and pretty much everything he’s ever touched.
  • Throwing away toothbrush and rinsing in HOT water after every use.
  • Using ‘junior’ toothpaste instead of infant paste (kills off some germs!).
  • Hand sanitizer, hand sanitizer, hand sanitizer, antibacterial hand soap, separate wash clothes, tissues galore, more hand sanitizer, and more hand soap.
  • Changing bed sheets, keeping diapers closed up tight (and lysoled and hand sanitized…), wiping down the changing table.
  • BIG TIME getting on him for ANY licking or putting ANYTHING in his mouth that isn’t allowed.
  • “No touching” rule for the kids with each other.  Yes, seriously!  You can play together, but we’re not hugging and wrestling and playing hands-on.
  • Big time getting on the kids to cover a cough.
  • Vitamins and immunity boosters for all the kids (Micah can’t take the immunity boosters bc I can’t crush them though).

I’m sure there’s more… but that’s ok if you suggest something I already do!  So… what are your suggestions??  Other than moving.  Or the month of anti’s for the entire family.  Neither of those is really practical :)

Oh, and I am seriously considering pulling Micah out of school until his tonsils are taken out.  Just not sure that it will help.  We will see….

Our birthday zoo trip!

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That’s wild FL right there! DSCN7220

There’s a bald eagle behind her

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Car Seat Replacements?

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), I don't need to replace any carseats :) I brought the van in for a collision review and they will replace the bumper and the crank-mechanism for the spare tire. $850ish. Need to call the guy's insurance today to set up for it to be fixed. Aside from my neck being a bit sore, everyone is fine. No airbags deployed, and the kids didn't even realize that anything had happened until I told them :)

NHTSA Logo - This page is 508 compliant

Child Restraint Re-use After Minor Crashes

NHTSA Position

  • NHTSA recommends that child safety seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.

  • NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.

  • Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;

    • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;

    • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;

    • The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND

    • There is no visible damage to the safety seat

  • Clarifying the need for child seat replacement will reduce the number of children unnecessarily riding without a child safety seat while a replacement seat is being acquired, and the number of children who will have to ride without a child seat if a seat were discarded and not replaced. The clarification will also reduce the financial burden of unnecessary replacement.


  • Recent studies demonstrate that child safety seats can withstand minor crash impacts without any documented degradation in subsequent performance.

  • The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ( ICBC ) subjected nine new and used child seats restraining 3-year-old dummies to a series of 50 consecutive 15 km/h sled tests into a 40% offset barrier. Three seats were inspected visually; no damage was apparent as a result of the impacts. Three seats underwent x-ray inspection; no damage was detected. Three seats were tested in accordance with Canadian federal standards (CMVSS 213) and were found to be in compliance with all standards.

  • ICBC performed four vehicle crash tests at 48 and 64 km/h, with two child seats restraining 3-year-old dummies in each vehicle. Each seat was subjected to multiple impacts and visually inspected. Defects were noted and the seats were re-tested. Seats always performed as well in subsequent tests as they did in the first test.

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performed 30 mph vehicle crash tests with dummies from six months to three years in a variety of child restraint systems (CRSs). Most seats sustained minor damage (e.g., frayed webbing, small cracks in the hard plastic shell, strain-whitening on the plastic shell or chest clip) but all dummies remained well secured by the restraints. Four of the damaged seats were subjected to three additional 30 mph crash tests. Although additional minor damage was observed in subsequent tests, the seats met all federal standards.

  • The agency searched for, but was unable to find any cases in which a child safety seats were damaged in a minor crash (as defined in NHTSA Position).


The agency is committed to maintaining policies that are science-based and data-driven. Stakeholders with data that address post crash re-use of child safety seats are encouraged to provide this information to the agency.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


When I load 5 kids into the car to drive them to school... it will feel like 19 degrees.

Thursday we will see near 60 as a high- then cold again for another week.

This is a more extreme winter than "usual" for this time of year, but since it generally only lasts a few weeks at a time, I can handle it.

I think.

(it's in the mid-high 70's in Nairobi)

Decisions decisions

I know they're coming! We just don't know what they are yet.

A week? or so ago we said YES. To whatever God has. No stipulations. Nothing held back. HIS will. The last few days have been interesting, feeling around to know whether things that cross our plate are the next thing that God has for us.

And yet I don't even know what things have crossed Mike's plate this last few days.

I know Mike will be telling me all the things that came across his plate very soon. I wonder what they might be. And I pray. Because we've already said yes. To whatever God has. No stipulations. Nothing held back. HIS will.

Tonight I sat here thinking... during our adoption of Emma and Micah we held strong and fast to one thing, and that one thing helped us to make the best decisions of our lives and to follow God no matter what. Andrea got tired of me saying it, I'm sure, because she'd tell me something and my response was usually the same :)

We cannot make decisions based on money.

But you see... it's not that I had this idea that money was going to fall from nowhere and fill my pockets. It wasn't that I thought God was going to have strangers (or even friends or family) walk up and hand us every penny to make these WILD things happen. I just knew that even if we lived in debt and scraped to get by, that if we were following God then it was fine. Even if He didn't provide the money.

But He did.

And we were faithful in spending money where we needed to- and NOT spending money where we did NOT need to. But we didn't let money make decisions for us.

We live this out pretty much daily around here. We're very careful of our spending and we have never been in need. We have nice things that are more necessities and we forgo things that are not. Have we had times where we couldn't do something we wanted to because of money? Sure! Regularly! But we've never gone without what we need. Our children have never gone without what they need. And if you walked into our home and looked around, every thing you saw would be evidence of God's provision for our family. Our home is furnished in hand-me-downs, garage-sale finds, and gifts. And for that we are grateful. We have been blessed beyond measure and could not ask for a better home to raise our family in or a better community of support and love that surrounds us. Really, the stuff doesn't matter.

There's another decision that Mike and I made a long time ago. Not only do we not allow money to make our decisions, but we also don't let fear.

No we don't step into things without knowing what we're (generally) getting ourselves into, but we cannot let the unknown stop us from following God. If we did-- we wouldn't have Emma and Micah. No way, no how. There was so much fear in their adoption... but we also had a peace that was overwhelming. And to be overwhelmed by both fear and peace at the same time is kind of a weird thing, but it's true.

I spent several nights in Ukraine crying out to God asking him WHAT He was doing!! But I knew that HE was in control. And I was so very not.

So now we've said YES. Again. To... we're not sure what. We said yes with nothing on the horizon. And things are starting to appear that we're looking at from afar wondering if that's what God has for us next. And we're stepping out bit by bit. Knowing that God will either open a door for us to be sure He's leading us, or He will close it off and secure it firmly :). And then another thing will show on the horizon I'm sure.

Mike and I are unified in following Christ, in raising our family to honor Him, and to honor one another. And as long as those three things remain intact, I can think of no better place to be.

But of course I wonder what decisions are coming up. And what He's doing. And what things Mike's going to tell me about soon. Because God doesn't work in just one place at a time! I'm sure He's stirring up things everywhere.

And yes, this was a bit of an ambiguous post, and when I figure out what I'm talking about, I'll be sure to fill you in too :)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Back to it

Tomorrow it's back to school. I have REALLY enjoyed this Christmas break! I don't want to send the kids back to school :( But tomorrow it's time...

Lunches are packed, clothes are set out, breakfast is ready to go, backpacks are (mostly) by the front door and (mostly) packed, and jackets are set out.

And sweaters.

And undershirts.

My GOODNESS, it's going to feel like TWENTY ONE degrees when I send the kids out to school in the morning. This is FLORIDA. We don't OWN big coats! So layers it will be.

An undershirt and a sweater or sweatshirt and their "cool weather" jacket. And tights for the girls. Under their jeans. And hats. Do I have hats?

Because when 68 feels cold and the kids wear a sweater in the house... 21 is unbearable!

And yet they'll survive. As will I.

Hopefully without getting sick going from 21 outside to 79 inside. (why is it they crank the heat THAT MUCH when everyone is bundled up for the cold weather?)

And the results of the RR Angel Tree are...

Grab This Button

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The memorable birthday

It's not what I was thinking when I wanted to have a memorable birthday for Brianna. I was really thinking that the ZOO would be the memorable part! We were given a year's membership to the local zoo for Christmas from my sister. So I set out with the 5 kids to enjoy this adventure. We spent about 3 hours there. Saw all kinds of neat animals. Brianna walked the entire time and loved looking at and signing all the animals. Emma sat forward in the stroller and was engaged and looked at a lot of the animals! Kristopher ran and played and was NICE to everyone and enjoyed himself. Micah stayed AWAKE and looked at all the different animals and reached for every fence so he could have a closer look. And Lynae slept most of the time and only fussed for a pacifier occasionally.

It was a high of 51 today... a pretty cold day for central FL. But we really had a GREAT TIME at the zoo! Even with 5:1 :)

Then... we got on the Interstate to come home and I was rear ended. Going about 74 mph. The guy that hit me had to have been going in the 90s. He bumped HARD. And his car reflected that! Mine, thankfully, is a true tank. Only a few scratches on the bumper. Everyone is fine, thankfully! I changed lanes when this guy was about 1/2-3/4 of a mile away and he must not have been paying any attention. He claims to have slammed on the brakes (obviously a while after I'd changed lanes!) and he still may have totaled his car. It wasn't drivable. I will say, he was very nice about it all. But... he still hit my car with 5 kids in it going 90 mph. And I was NOT a happy camper.

A call to FHP and about 30 minutes later and I was on my way with an accident report saying damage to my car is around $1000 and he was charged with the accident.

I'm VERY thankful that no one was hurt! It could have been REALLY bad if I had even been in our other van. I'm thankful for my tank!

God is good... all the time!

I have some pictures from the zoo trip before my battery died :0) Will try to post those after the kids are in bed tonight!

Meet ups!

One of the fun things about living near Orlando is that lots of people visit here :)  And I have had the pleasure of meeting so many families who I’d previously known only in the world of the Internet.  Until I meet someone in “real life” I feel like I know them but they’re pseudo friends.  You know, pretend ones that are kind of like real people since we’d never actually MET!

On Friday my parents accompanied me and the kids to Give Kids the World to meet Lou and Stewart, proud parents of twenty.  With them were their 5 youngest for their newest daughter’s Make a Wish trip!  Mattea was adopted from Ukraine almost a year ago and has the same heart defect that Emma had, but she was older when adopted and not able to have the surgery.  Thankfully she’s in MUCH better shape than Emma was and she has a good long life ahead of her with two loving parents and lots of siblings!

Here we are with our Ukrainian sweethearts (and little “Bubs” that was checking his dad out pretty well! LOL



The very next day we were blessed by another set of company!


Cathy is currently adopting a little sweetheart and is one of the families I’ve had the privilege of helping through the process.  She and her husband Tully and son Evan came and spent an hour or so with us while they were driving up the Florida coast. 


Our boys hit it off pretty good too!  Evan is a year younger than Kristopher but he sure held his own just fine and the boys enjoyed chasing each other all over the house :)

It was so nice to meet both of these sweet families (somehow Tully avoided all the pictures… hmm) and getting to know them a little better!

Happy Birthday Brianna!!

Happy Fourth Birthday Sweetheart!

I can't wait to see what this year brings for you. You've outgrown the toddler stage and you're officially a little preschooler in mind and spirit (but that tiny little body of yours is still trying to keep up :) ). Your daddy and I are so proud of you and love you very much!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Daddy, daddy...

Brianna curled up in my lap on the couch after nap today. I was watching something on the computer. She was captivated by the music, the dancing. She sat and watched... then she got up close and wanted her daddy. And she cried for him.

What I was watching- that she couldn't have known or understand- was the memorial service for Derek Loux. A missionary, a musician, a daddy. The service closed as his young daughter danced to "I will miss you" in front of his casket. And Brianna watched... then cried for her daddy.

Mike's in Kenya right now on a mission trip. Brianna's missing him today. But, Lord willing, he will be back. My heart just breaks for Renee and her children. Derek was at a missions training conference when his friend's car hit black ice, flipped, and he was killed. The world lost a mighty warrior, a Father gained his son into Heaven. But those of us touched by his heart will never forget the impact that Derek had on us.

To Renee and family, Tracie and John and the kids... your husband, brother, daddy, and friend is rejoicing in the arms of our Jesus and smiling upon the wonderful people who continue to carry his mission here on Earth. May God bless you and help you to feel even more of His comforting arms wrapped around you today and always.