Sunday, May 31, 2009

The End of One, the Beginning of Another

This, my 545th post on www.journeytojaden.blogspot.com, is my last on this blog.

But NOT however, my last! Far from it!

For a long time now, I've wanted to changed web pages. Because although I could change the title to my blog, I couldn't change the web address.

This blog started out to describe our journey to Jaden. It has since blossomed into our whole family's blog.

You can now follow us along at www.1familysjourney.blogspot.com

See you there!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

B-Day Recap


I decided I could look at my birthday yesterday as 1/2 full... or 1/2 empty. I went with 1/2 full!

Day started out grandly as I was able to take a shower (yes, now at times its the little things in life! showers are a little more tricky than they used to be). Ahh...I even treated myself to blow drying my hair and putting a smidge of gel in it.

Back in bed, my kiddos all came in to wish me a happy birthday with some really great cards and crafts. And of course, many hugs and kisses! And a very nice card from hubby.

Worn out. I decided to take a nap.

About an hour later 3 of my most awesome peeps stopped by for a b-day visit bringing cinnamon rolls and a butter braid (if you've never had them, sounds weird, but very good). Since I was feeling better than I had all week, I sat on the couch with my foot pillowed up and we visited for a good long time. Ahhh...wonderful.
Back to bed. Kaitlin fed me lunch in bed (I mean, really, how often does someone get lunch in bed on their bday?!?).
Was able to stay awake much more than previously. Checked facebook and had a gazillion happy bday wishes. (smile)
Another nap...
Brandy came home from work. Sat at the table with my leg propped and ate another great supper brought in from church friends. Used the ice cream dessert that they brought as cake with candles. Svanna just wouldn't have understood if I didn't have "cake" and candles! Kids helped me blow out all my candles (in reality didn't have enough in the house! LOL)
Ate some "cake." Did some surfing. Watched an Everybody Loves Raymond episode on dvd. Went to sleep about the time my bday was over (you can stay up late when you can take numerous naps during the day). Good day! Most relaxing, non-working bday I've had since I was a kid. Thanks everybody! It's definately 1/2 full. Or even 7/8s full!

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Haaaapy Biiiirthdaaay tooooo Meeeee"

Nope, the title would suggest I'm loopy, but no alcohol for this medicated girl! Oh, maybe the meds are making me loopy? Nah, I think we're past that, PTL!!


Overall, I had a good birthday. I was going to post pics with me and my cake, but the USB cord is by my desk in the dining room. My "babysitter," Kaitlin, who BTW is wonderful, went home since all the kiddos are asleep, and Brandy is at his class reunion. And I've found it extremely difficult (read--not happening) to carry something and manage crutches at the same time! When I'm up and off bed rest, I'm going to have to get me a fanny pack and a back pack to keep on my person. So, we'll save the pics and details for tomorrow when someone else can grab my USB cord. Although maybe I could hook it around??...nah...we'll wait.


Just for fun, whether you know or not, take the quiz on the sidebar and guess my age! Be nice or be naughty, it's up to you. I'll let you know later. And PUHLEEZE vote! I'm just lying on my bed, I do need some kind of entertainment. (smile)


God Bless! And thanks, Lord, for another year full of many many blessings!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Thursday

Hey all! Sorry to leave you with "monday's" post for a couple of days and not let you know that yesterday and today have been going much better.

The sun is shining! That's such a gift!

I read a post on someone else's blog the other day with a devotional about "being still." Ahhh....

It really hit home. It talked about not being where you wanted to be in your life, knowing that God was there--yet not knowing what His plan was in your circumstances.

Sounded vaguely familiar.

Lying in my bed is not where I want to be at the moment. But God is asking me to "be still, and know that HE is God."

I don't know what His plan is for this particular phase in my life. But truthfully, I don't ever know. Obviously life can change at any moment.

And I am blessed beyond measure!!!! I am in awe of how God provides for me and for my family. How He timed this. Yes, I'm sad that I won't be able to do all those summer things I wanted to do. No, I don't know how the summer is going to fit together. BUT...Brandy is done planting. Still busy, but not as bad. School's out, so there's no homework to deal with, and Shi and Sierra are around to help and entertain. Kaitlin, my niece, just graduated from high school Sunday and her job (thanks, Grandpa!) is willing to let her help us for as long as we need her. I was more physically fit than I have been before. We are now able to go places with Svanna, Gabe and Summer, so we're more mobile and more able to accept help from people.

Aside from timing...our church family and friends are AMAZING. I have meals brought in every day this past week and all next week. Friends continue to call and ask what they can do. Friends and family have helped with dance schedules, laundry, food, cleaning, grocery shopping, picking up comfy clothes for me, etc. Oh, and don't even get me started on all the prayers out there for us. Ball officially starts next week and I'm not worried about it. Even tho I don't know when I'll be able to drive. Now the dance recital does have me pausing with concern...but that will come together, too. It already is.

Yes, if I think about the entire summer...I get teary eyed.

But thinking about today...today is good. Pain is managed. I'm still really tired, but not totally exhausted. I'm relaxed. I'm content. And I'm provided for. Even though I've been in bed all day. I'm getting more alert. My kiddos come in and give me hugs. Kaitlin is doing a wonderful job. My hubby came home for lunch and I got a hug (and a kiss!) from him too.

God desires for me to "be still." I wanted that before this happened. This is not how I pictured it, hence the moments of frustration. Yet...

Today is a good day.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. !!!!!

Psalm 103:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name !!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's a Monday

A friend wrote on her facebook status that Tuesday this week is like Monday. Yep, I think so, too. In fact I'm hoping so, so that tomorrow will be much better. Although I have to say I haven't given up on today yet. (smile)

It's overcast and dreary. And I'm tired. Apparently I went a little woost with cutting back on my meds, cuz last night I was in some serious pain at times. Like bone pain. Like I'd rather deliver a baby pain. Yikes.

So, I'm trying to find a happy medium between loopy and dizzy vs. pain. So far today I hope I'm accomplishing that. But I'm tired, tired, tired.

I'm feeling a little down at the moment. My darling niece, Kaitlin, is watching the kids and taking care of the house and doing a really good job. But I've spent all morning in bed. I know! That's where I'm supposed to be. But tired/sleeping in bed most of the time.

But the reason I'm down is cuz of the kids.

I just spent about 20 minutes on the couch. The kids are cranky. Picking on each other. Tattling. Teary. Basically, they're down, too. And that makes me sad.

Shianne said it seems like she doesn't have a mom. And she said she won't have one all summer (a little drama, I know, as I explained that things will get better every week). But in a way, she has a point. She has a mom...just not the mom she's used to.

I feel like Svanna is already regressing attachment-wise. And Gabe.

So...

I'm down a bit.

BUT. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW that God has a plan. That all things will work out for good for those who love Him. And we do. So while I'm down, I'm not depressed. And I'm taking today for what it is...simply...today.

Kaitlin is feeding the kiddos and then they'll go outside to play. Tomorrow ball starts for Shi, Sierra and Svanna. I think that will get them going a bit.

Summer isn't looking at all like I anticipated. But I'm looking forward to finding out what God has in store. Cuz His plans are the best of all!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Little More Pain, a Lot More Brain

Ok, just thought you'd like to "get the picture"...



This was me, earlier today. Where I've been camped out most of today and yesterday, with brief visits to the couch. Foot/lower leg in a boot, resting on pillows. Bed rest is the name of the game. Our kiddos brought me a kitten to hold (from outside) as a distraction. It's now back outside. If you know me, you know I'm NOT a cat person, but who can resist a cute little kitten?
Here is my arsenal...or part of it, anyway. Kleenex...LAPTOP (thank you Lord! I can stay connected!) art from my kids, cards from my kids, land line, cell phone and there are various stuffed animals given to me by my kids that you can't quite see on the pillow...very necessary for recovery I'm told. Oh and that air thing I'm supposed to breathe deeply in every once in a while so I don't get pneumonia (from being under anesthetic). That's on my left side. On my right side is my clock, hand sanitizer (much easier than washing hands with crutches), my water, and of course, my crutches. Get the picture? This is where I am right now, except not on Facebook, as above, instead on Blogger. Typing my ramblings from me to you.
Last night went MUCH better than the night before. Brandy and I both slept much better. His sleep, is of course, contingent on my sleep. Woke up feeling really pretty good. But it didn't take long and I was feeling not good at all. Lightheaded, dizzy, sick to my stomach, and extremely tired. So I went back to sleep.

I, of course, also had the itchies from the pain meds, and drum roll pleeeeeeease, another lovely side effect of, ahem, being stopped up. So have been taking some softeners for that.

For a week or so had been planning on a low key park picnic for Memorial Day with some friends. Well, the way I was feeling and since I really shouldn't be out (even tho Stacy and Rich brought me a lovely lounge chair) the kids had a picnic in our backyard. I slept in bed some more and some more. At times Stacy visited with me in my bedroom. Another slumber party perhaps? (smile) But at one point I was so tired that it felt like I had to think in order to breathe.
An I had this incredible fog on my brain...I had to really think to even know what day it was.
Hmmm...we decided I was maybe getting to much pain meds in my system. Ah-ha.
So, I didn't take my noon dose. My idea had been to keep on top of it. It's important to stay ahead of the pain.
But I decided...a lot more brain was worth a little more pain...and that's what I got!
I'm still a little fuzzy. I took 1/2 of my noon dose around 4 pm. And just now again I took another 1/2 dose cuz...uhmmm...yes...it's starting to hurt. And swell because I thought I could tripod it with my crutches and pause for a couple of minutes to view all the food in my kitchen. And well, close your ears/eyes because TMI (too much information), the softeners are working too well when combined with milk of magnesia and so I've been making more trips to the potty room. And now we've started a little of something else to combat that. Hopefully by tomorrow all will be normal in that department! LOL!

Anyway, kids are doing well. They had fun playing with friends today. Last night Brandy picked up Tye and Jaden from our friends (they stayed there 2 nights) so it was good to see them again. I'm feeling a bit unsure of my place right now. But Brandy assures me I'm right where I'm supposed to be, on the bed, foot up. I'm pretty relaxed, although that could diminish once my brain is fully functioning. So prayers for peace about not being with my kids more are much appreciated.
People have been so wonderful!! Christian community is some awesome. If there's one thing I've already learned from this is that. Wow. If it rains tonight, Brandy is taking the day off tomorrow. If not, my niece, Kaitlin, is coming over to "run the household of kiddos" while I stay in bed. Hopefully next week I'll be able to commendere it myself via crutches.
Had to leave you with a couple of cute pics of Sierra and Svanna and one of the kittens...and I'm off to sleep.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hanging in There

Hey all, thanks so much for the nice comments. I haven't been able to check all of my email yet. I'm on bed rest and haven't been on my computer. I'm using Brandy's laptop. I'm tired as all get-out and doped up, but it feels good to be online.

Quite a story to tell. Amazing how I can see God's hand at work in this. I still don't understand what His goal is in having me laid up for so long, but can surely tell He's here with me.

Went to a city about 50 miles away to a center called CNOS Friday morning. I was told I was scheduled for surgery by the local ER doctor the night before, but they had to review my x-rays first, etc.

Filled out the paperwork, and met with a nurse practitioner at CNOS. She said that yes, I needed surgery, and she was going to try her best to schedule it, but with the holiday weekend they were pretty busy.

She came back--no luck. I talked with her and she tried to talk with the drs again--no luck. The best she could do is to set me up for a consultation Tuesday and surgery Wednesday.

NO WAY!! I was in a ton of pain. My bone wasn't even lined up with itself. My ankle was out of wack because some ligaments were torn. And they wanted me to go home and not have surgery until WEDNESDAY?!? Like 5 days?? With 7 kids at home?

Well, I didn't get mad at her (she was quite nice and apologetic) but I did tell her that we would have to try somewhere else. She did set the appointment up, but sent the xrays back with us saying she would just tell them that we'd bring them back on Tuesday for the consult. When in reality I wanted them for another hospital/doctor.

We left. Praise the Lord Brandy was able to get a hold of the ER doctor from the night before. He was NOT impressed. He said to head towards another hospital in that city, he was going to try to pull some strings. And he did! I need to send that guy a thank you!

Let's just say we went in the back door. We went to that hospital's ER. We waited in an ER room for about 2 hours, but then they got us into a real hospital room, set up for surgery. And get this...with a CNOS surgeon that we had been told was booked! A good one, too, I was told. God was with us. There was just no way I could have/should have waited that long.

Once up there you could tell they were sneaking me in between other surgeries cuz the nurses were told to hurry. They had a heck of a time with my iv. Apparently I have tough skin (too much sun as a child?) and veins that roll and then burst. Finally the 4th spot was the charm, and a smaller gauge needle. I have the bruises to prove that it was tough!

It's kinda a scary thing going into surgery. I've had surgeries before, but it's been a while. I now understand even more why my kids were scared when they had to go in.

I'm in this really cold room, they put an oxygen mask on me that I swear wasn't quite working yet (breathe what air?!? there isn't any in here?!) and then put me under with this tube of white stuff in my iv that burned like heck. My iv was in my right hand. It burned halfway up to my elbow and then I was out.

I woke up in recovery, but unfortunately I didn't come out of anesthesia very well. I got somewhat of an anxiety attack. Started hyperventilating and shivering like a crazy person, even though I was no longer cold. So they gave me a bunch of stuff that made me relax...and get pretty loopy!

The doctor came in and talked to me for just a minute. Brandy explained it more to me the next day when I wasn't so loopy.

Basically...it was worse than they thought. I have a plate on the outside of my left ankle with 4 little screws in it. These should be with me the rest of my life. The hope was that once that bone was secure (the little bone on the back of my ankle only has a fracture) my ligaments would pull my ankle back over into place. But they were too torn to do so. So...they put in two longer screws to pull the two bones together until the ligaments can heal. In 3 or 4 months I'll have another surgery to have them removed. Not exactly what I wanted to hear.

Can you believe I did all this stepping on a toy?!? I mean, how many times haven't I stepped on toys before?!? You just never know. Now if anyone else can come up with a cooler story for me to tell...I'm all ears! You now, running a marathon, skiing in Vale, something like that. (smile)

The surgery lasted about 45 minutes, but I was in recovery quite a while because I was having a hard time with the anxiety, etc. Weird. Never had that before. But finally got to go back and see my wonderful hubby who was waiting for me.

We learned before surgery that I would be spending the night at the hospital. We had decided Brandy needed to go home to be with the kids. Especially Svanna, Gabe and Summer who didn't quite understand what was going on, and needed the reassurance of Dad.

Have I mentioned before what awesome friends I have? My friend, Brenda, was spending the weekend at their families' cabin by a lake for Memorial weekend. She offered, and we took her up on it, to take the Tye and Jaden with them. Brenda's boy, Mitchell, is Jaden's age and they love to play. Brenda's nephew, Brandon, was also there and he's Tye's age. And Tye loves to play with him. That would cut down on the chaos at our house a bit, especially since Gabe and Jaden like to fight (like brothers do) over toys and such.

And then, after I get out of surgery, I discover that my friend, Suzanne, has offered to spend the night in the hospital with me. When Brandy told me I was very close to tears. I wanted to say, no, you don't have to do that. But it sounded so wonderful not to be alone. So I said, yes.

It was so great having Suz there. For the company. For the little things you don't want to bug a nurse about...like another blanket, or readjust the pillows under my foot, etc. Or someone to talk to when you're both up at 3 am. We teased that we were having a sleepover.

She left the next morning. Shortly thereafter Brandy came. My wonderful Mom-in-law, Kay, had stayed with the kids all day/night Friday until Brandy got home, and Saturday morning. But she had hip replacement surgery not that long ago, and we have quite a few kiddos. So Brandy told her she was leaving at noon on Saturday. My friend, Sara, had offered to come back again to watch the kids. But so had my friend, Stacy (told you I had a lot of friends! Isn't God awesome!?!) and our "new kids" know Stacy a little better (we'll have to have you over more often, Sara!) so Rich and Stacy came Saturday afternoon.

Svanna had the hardest time, Stacy said. Which was evident cuz she didn't play much...she worked. Which is so like her when she's upset. Apparently Friday, Svanna and Kay did all the laundry and picked up the house. Saturday, too, she cleaned. Even took it upon herself to clean the garage.

Summer was upset, too. She wears a pull-up at night but rarely has accidents at nap time. But she went 1 and 2 in bed for Stacy. That was a first. Poor peanut.

Anyway, Saturday we got home about 5:45 pm. While in the hospital, a church friend called and said she was setting up meals to be brought in for the entire next week. She came to our house with the first one shortly after we arrived home. Thanks so much, Kari!! We live about 20 miles from church, so most everyone will have to drive a ways to bring them over. Wow. I don't know what to say!!! She brought a schedule of who's bringing what, when. Also, other friends with grads this weekend with leftovers brought food as well.

Last night was quite rough. I woke Brandy up at least 5 times for help. It hurt quite a bit, and the medication makes me tired, plus I'm weak so even with my crutches right now I need help getting to the bathroom.

The meds are wonderful! However narcotics can make you itch, so this morning I took a Benadryl. I had also taken one at the hospital. Helps with the itch but boy oh boy does it knock me out! So I might not do that again.

My "forecast" as I know it is this. The first week pretty much bed rest except for meals and potty breaks. The next week I can be up a bit more, the way I understand it. Two weeks from now I have a drs appointment and will find out more. But it sounds like 6 to 8 weeks of no weight on it (crutches) and after that a walking boot. I have a boot right now, which is much nicer than a cast in my opinion. But it's not for walkin'.

Prayer requests. First that my kiddos understand. Svanna was so happy to see me home. She said, "Svanna sad, now Svanna happy" when I got home. But today she doesn't understand why I'm in bed all day. Also that Shianne doesn't take too much upon herself being the oldest. Second, that I can take one day at a time. If I look to my summer it doesn't look at all like I expected it too, and that's quite discouraging. How do I take my kids to ball (can't drive for who knows how long and it starts Wednesday), how do we go to the pool? etc etc. Inch by inch, life's a cinch, yard by yard, life is hard. I gotta take it one day at a time, relying on God. Third, that I don't get discouraged, period. Fourth, for my awesome hubby working hard and trying to take care of me. And of course, fifth, for a faster recovery than anticipated.

Well, I must be waking up cuz I just wrote one HUGE post!! Thanks again for your prayers. God bless and thanks so much for everything.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bummer Dude

Up late, going to bed soon...relaxing a bit.

Walked across the living room floor about 7 pm tonight. Shianne was making everyone's favorite...mac and cheese. I wanted something else and decided to be healthier, so made a spinach salad. Since we weren't sitting down for a formal dinner (Brandy wasn't feeling well, part of the reason, Mom was tired so Shi was cooking, another part) I decided, in all my wisdom, to sit at the computer and check my mail while I ate.

The kids were playing very nicely right in my path with a bunch of toys. They played together so great today.

I stepped between the toys while looking at my salad, apparently.

I stepped on one.

My ankle twisted to the side. I couldn't catch myself. The salad flew. Going down I heard a "pop."

Brandy said I screamed. I remember saying, "Brandy, get over here! It's bad."

It burned.

I hoped I was being a wus (don't know how to spell that). Doubted it cuz I usually have a pretty high pain tolerance. But hoped.

I cried. I called out to God.

This can't happen, Lord!! Please, God!

Brandy got a pillow to put under it. It was hurting worse and worse.

My kids were scared. Shianne and Sierra said they'd never seen Mom cry before. I do cry. Just not in front of them, apparently.

Svanna hurt. She cried.

I got braver. I smiled. I gave them hugs (from the floor). I said Mom was ok.

Still upset, but ok. Not sure if I cried because of the pain--that was part of it--or because I can't be laid up. I have 7 kids 10 and under. They need me.

Decided we needed to go in to the ER. A friend came over for a bit (thanks, Sara!!) and then Brandy's folks came to watch the kids.

It hurt like crazy while we were there. Still hoping it really wasn't that bad. Never even sprained my ankle before, so maybe that was it. Was starting to swell, but not too bad.

X-rays.

Broken ankle. Two places. Separated ligament. Surgery tomorrow.

I cried.

I let myself feel sorry for myself for a bit. Brandy tried to encourage me, and I said, give me a minute. I need to cry. After I few minutes I said, ok, now tell me it's gonna be ok.

They stabilized it. That hurt. On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being giving birth naturally...we were pretty close to 10.

But then the gave me a shot of something really good. I'm doing ok now. Gave me some drugs, too.

God has a plan. He's not sharing it with me yet. Hope He will someday. Resting in the fact that He's in control. Already talked with 3 friends on the phone who all prayed with me. God is good.

Update after surgery!

JOYS

  • Svanna showing lots of compassion for Tye after he stepped on a tak a couple days ago. Genuine compassion. Warmed my heart!
  • Gabe learning to say please and excuse me with a cute smile.
  • Gabe not always shouting.
  • Svanna enjoying Sunday School, and me getting to hear about it from a friend.
  • Summer having very few tantrums.
  • Summer radiating joy.
  • Watching Tye go from hanging on Mom's leg and crying going into dance at the beginning of the year...to running in by himself and waving to me with a smile at the end of the year.
  • Sierra learning how to be a really good sister.
  • Shianne stepping out of her comfort zone.
  • Experiencing first hand how much my friends care about me, and amazed at how they go out of their way to help me while we adjust.
  • Kids imagining...together...

6 Week Stretch

Here I go again...using the birth vs adoption analogy.

I've experienced this myself, and heard it about others regarding breastfeeding.

I remember before I had kids. I was NOT going to breastfeed. For reasons that only took vanity into consideration. Let's just say I didn't have much and I didn't want to lose it! (smile)

But I had my first close friend that had a baby. And she breastfed. And I learned all about it and why it was a good thing. She nursed for 6 weeks. Then she hit quite a really rough spot and switched to the bottle. I thought...Six weeks, if I can make it six weeks that would be great. I'll strive for six weeks.

What I found out later...and what is true for many people...is that it's quite common to hit a rough spot at 6-7 weeks. Typically babies go through a growth spurt and your milk has to catch up. You feel like you don't have enough milk. You had previously felt that you finally got this nursing thing figured out. That breastfeeding was working for both you and the baby, and then WHAM! What happened?!? Now it's hard again?!? Really hard?!? I must be doing something wrong...or maybe I just don't produce enough milk?!? Maybe it's time to switch to the bottle.

Here comes the adoption analogy.

I don't know if there's a six week stretch...but I'm feeling that way.

Don't worry...no plans to stop loving. =)

I feel like...well...like I'm failing in some areas. Now, don't flood me with comments saying I'm not...really I know I'm not failing. But I FEEL like it.

It probably started last weekend. Why? We had the joy of having head lice at our house. Ugh ugh ugh! I know, it's almost like a stepping stone in the parenting journey. Most everybody gets it sometime in their life. It doesn't mean your not clean...it just happens.

But can you say YUCK YUCK YUCK?!? I mean this is worse than collecting poop samples!

It's easier to deal with the washing of the hair with the special shampoo and using those little combs then washing EVERYTHING!!

But we're through it and I feel like we got the little buggers.

But since that, I feel behind. Like I can't catch up. Not just with laundry, with everything. Like I'm not doing it right.

This morning Sierra had no short sleeve shirts and had to borrow one of Shianne's (at least she had underwear). Now, I'm generally behind on laundry, even before we had 7 kids, so this happens every once in a while. But this past week it's happening all the time. I was already behind on laundry before I had to wash all the bedding, rugs, coats, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals...etc.

And, Sierra couldn't find her homework. It may or may not have been her fault. See..the house looked like a tornado came through this morning. Maybe it was here. Maybe I threw it away with a pile of papers that wasn't needed anymore. Or maybe Sierra lost it. Lost homework has happened before...just I've been sidetracked and it's happened a lot lately that papers get lost or homework doesn't get finished. Only today was the last full day of school. And that meant she'd have to spend one of her last recesses inside doing it over. (Side note, after school she was in a good mood and said it didn't take her very long.)

Homeschooling. Not happening at the moment. Ok, being too hard on myself here. But not happening as I thought it would. Too many other life skills to learn. For example, today. Gabe and Svanna did get some computer time with the English software I bought (they love it, it's games and such). But otherwise...nada. Yesterday...not much either. Yesterday was just too blame crazy. Today--the kids were playing good together. I mean...together. Either Tye and Svanna or Tye and Gabe were playing pretend together. That's new. That's a life skill that I couldn't interrupt. Imagination games. Important, right? But yet I feel guilty that I should have snuck it in. Instead of sneaking in that little nap after Gabe's tantrum and holding session. I'll never truly be able to homeschool unless I have consistency. That brings up another area.

Routine. Kids, especially newly adopted kids, thrive on routine. Routine has always been hard for me. I know it's important and I want it. Kinda like I know I should eat 5 fruits and veggies a day. But I don't. Why don't I just buckle down? Am I missing an incredible opportunity here? I start a routine...then I drift off. It's hard for me.

Ok. There you have it. My analog of the six week stretch. Breastfeeding vs. adoption.

The good news? I breastfeed all three of my bio kids for 11-13 months. I made it through the 6 week stretch! I'll make it through this one, too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mom's Day Recap

Last Sunday we decided Mother's Day would be a good day to introduce the kids to our church.


Aren't they a great looking group? (smile) Doesn't get any cuter!!
Apparently Summer was practicing for church...

The service went quite well with the kids. We headed out a little earlier than we used to, figuring we'd need a whole pew! Well, actually, since we have quite a few little bums in our family, we won't need a whole pew for a while yet. We talked about it earlier, and followed through with our plan to sit down fairly quickly after arriving so that the kids wouldn't be overwhelmed with people. After the service we did the same, and we skipped Sunday School. The kids sat really nicely during the service. However it probably helped that Gabe and Summer we're quite taken back (scared?) by it all. Halfway through the service they warmed up a bit and started acting a bit more like kids. So we'll see what tomorrow brings!!

To celebrate Mom's Day we took the kids to a zoo about 50 miles away. I had to laugh. They were running a special on memberships. The sign said your family membership will be paid for in just 2.5 visits! Nope. Let's try 1.5 visits. LOL! Never expected we'd have a zoo membership, but if 1/2 of us go again it will be paid for.

The zoo also has a very nice museum. Here are some indoor pics...

Poor Shi put her purse down when getting some "food" at the petting zoo and realized it about 5 minutes later. It was gone. She was so upset! (haven't all women been there before?) But thankfully someone had just taken it to visitor services. Whew!


The double stroller worked great! Aren't they cute in there?

"Hey hey we're the Monkeys..." The monkeys and the tigers were the favorites of the day.


It was a very nice day. And the weather was absolutely beautiful!! Although with 7 kiddos on an outing, there weren't very many times where at least one wasn't upset about something. But then again, this was a big day for Svanna, Gabe and Summer...and they did SO well! Everyone did. It was wonderful that we got to spend the day together. A great Mom's Day gift!

Monday, May 11, 2009

How's it Going? Really?

Man, that's a loaded question! A hard one to answer. A friend, Shondra, (also my stylist, who called wondering why we weren't at our scheduled hair appointments...eek!) asked me that question tonight. I get asked that a lot. And sometimes, even to those who really want to know, I give the "pat" answer to. Maybe cuz it's a loaded question...not so easy to answer. Unless you have an hour to discuss it. Unless I have loads of time to really explain. Unless I can even put it into words.

Cuz how can I really explain...

  • That even with all they've gone through...all my kids are, well, kids?

  • That even though I love them with everything in me, sometimes I just don't love them like I should?

  • That one minute everything is going good, and the next everything/everybody falls apart?

  • That even though spring planting hasn't been going on that long...being a Mom without a Dad is very very hard?

  • The happiness of two 3 year olds running around naked before bedtime or a bath? =)

  • The already closeness of two sisters the same age...who love being "twins"?

  • The tension between the oldest in the family and a girl who used to be the oldest in the family? Can you say "pecking order"?

  • Figuring out who really is in the wrong when you can't understand 3/4s of the story?

  • How tiring it is trying to figure out what your kids really want you to know, and keep trying to tell you either in their native tongue or through charades?

  • Being a referee all day long?

  • Holding. Time ins. Yes, I refused to do them and then in exasperation (I guess?) started doing them. How do I explain that even though I'm holding a child fighting me with everything in him, in the long run it has helped him so much emotionally? It has helped him bond with me more?

  • Just how exhausting, mentally and physically, time-ins are? Especially when there are sometimes 3+ a day?

  • How wonderful it feels when the child with the most time-ins actually has a time-in without fighting against you?

  • Being awestruck at the awesomeness of this family that God put together from 3 different worlds?

  • The joy in a smile? In a tight hug? In an "I love you, Mom"?

  • The joy in seeing the kids who are used to being here longer, being patient with the kids who aren't so used to it, and with a mom who's quite tired at times?

  • How proud I am of every single one of my kids?

  • How proud I am of my husband, who's developing a patience I've never seen in him before?

  • How even though every week is better, I'm more tired, so I'm leaning on God harder and harder (He's holding me up most days, I'm betting)?

  • How right now I'm collecting 9 "samples" of poop for the doctor?

  • How it's hard to chose what things we can go to and what things we can't?

  • How even though I lay in bed many times missing my old life...I wouldn't give up a single one of my kids? Not for all the money in the world? or energy?

  • How aside from wishing we were further into the adjustment and English language, I wouldn't change a thing? If I could do it all over again I would?

  • How I'm successfully fighting off PAD (post adoption depression) this time (Praise the Lord!!!!!!!) thanks to working with a physical trainer who pushes me to my limits?

  • How do I explain that I am NOT doing this...that GOD is? No matter what people think? And that YOU TOO can do whatever God calls you to do? That I'm a prime example that He doesn't call the equipped but equips the called?
Keep asking. I love it that you ask. Although I do ask that you not be offended if I give you my pat answer. Cuz how do I explain all of this? But I feel loved when you ask truly wanting to know and caring.

I'm going to end with a quote from Nicole Johnson (you can find her at freshbrewedlife.com) that I read yesterday that totally resonated with me:

"The truth is, motherhood's the hardest thing I've ever done. I've never been more tired in my life, I've never felt less like myself--and yet, I've never loved anything more."

You tell it, Sister!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

To all the Moms I love...

Happy Mom's Day to my Mom. Mom, growing up I always knew I was loved. And you made sure I knew about Jesus. How great is that?! Thank you.

Happy Mom's Day to my Mom-in-Law. You are always there to support us, to help us when you can. Thank you so much.

Happy Mom's Day to my friends. You are always there for me. Each one of you brings something special to my life. Your support for me sustains me.

Happy Mom's Day to my kid's birth moms...

Thank you for giving them life. For choosing life.

Thank you for the risks you took to give them a better life.

Thank you for sustaining them while you could.

Thank you for the sacrifice you made. Despite the incredible heartache, the sadness, the grief you went through and are still going through.

Thank you for the privilege of letting me be their Mom.

I pray for you. That the Lord blesses you. And that I can thank you properly in Heaven someday.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

In China


I had a little chat with Jaden (just 3) at bedtime last night while we were rocking.

It's good to talk about a child's adoption story when they're young, so its just a part of them. Nothing surprising later in life. Jaden knows he was in China and Mom and Dad came to get him. We probably don't talk about it as often as we should. But, for example, my screensaver rotates pictures. When a picture of China, or Jaden in China comes up, oftentimes he points and says, "China!" And then we'll say something like, yes, Jaden was in China, etc.


But lately he's been talking in fuller sentences. It's so cute. Especially his prayers at night. WAY stinkin' cute.


So we're rocking and talking. I tell him I'm soooo glad that God told us where to get him in China. That we wanted him to be here with us so badly. That we're so glad he's with us now. How we waited for him. Jaden was 16 months old when he came home. I asked him if he was waiting for us in China...
.
.
.
"I miss you," he said.
.
.
.
.
Oh my. Wow. Love you, buddy. What an awesome God we serve.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ethiopia, Part III

[written from the guest house in Ethiopia, words in brackets from May 7]
[Side note: we met our kids one month ago yesterday...]
April 5, 2009 Part II
We met...
We have our kids !!!! They are of course, even more beautiful and wonderful than video could ever show. I am now watching them take a nap. I’m not sure if Svanna is sleeping or just being very obedient, but Gabe and Summer are definitely sleeping.

They came to the guesthouse about 11 am this morning with Haile [our agency rep in Ethiopia]. No pomp or "to do". They just drove up and came in the house. Svanna immediately came to me and gave me a big hug. Brandy was either hugging Summer or Gabe, I’m not sure. It was too surreal, like it was happening to someone else.

After the hugs, Svanna pulled some presents for us out of her bag. She put a bracelet on me and on Brandy. Then a necklace (Brandy’s didn’t fit). She gave pens to Gabe and he gave them to us. And keychains to Summer and she sort of gave them to us. Then we took pictures.

Rebekke [adoptive Mom], and her sister, Vanessa, came at the same time. They took some pictures and video for us.

Looking back, I wonder how long Svanna had been thinking about what she would do when she met us. I’m betting she had it all planned out. What a little sweetheart. Someday I hope she tells me what she was thinking before and as we met.

Then, kind of bad timing because we had only been with the kids 5 or 10 minutes, Yaby’s parents [our Ethiopian friend from the local college in the States] and “sister” came to visit. That was wonderful as well. I wish we could have been more focused on them, but they understood. We had said Sunday because we were originally told we wouldn’t get our kids until Monday, but then they asked us if we’d like our kids sooner. Of course we said YES!

Yaby’s parents of course wanted to know how Yaby was. We told her how well she was doing. She looks good, she’s eating well, she has many friends. Her Mom cried. I think she was also sad that we didn’t bring a picture of her, or a letter from her, even though she emails and sends them [email] pictures all the time. Her Dad said, you know, she’s her mother, it’s been 2 and a half years since she left. I can only imagine. We gave them presents from Yaby, and she did have a sticky note telling them she loved them. I think they had hoped we could go to their house with them, but it was obvious it wouldn’t work since the kids just arrived.

Yaby’s father is going back to work out in the country tomorrow, but we are hoping to get together with her mother and possibly go to their house later this week.

After they left we just spent time with the kids. We had brought coloring books and a few toys.

Bubbles were a great idea, the kids loved them. You could tell they’ve had them before because they knew how to blow them out. Even little Summer.

A minute ago I was watching three little angels sleep. [From the first nap through awhile home, Gabe always slept on his stomach, face down, generally with blankets over his head. He cried a little, and I tried to comfort him. At the time I assumed it was because of everything that was going on. Now that I know him better I'm pretty sure it was because he had to take a nap!
The first nap Svanna quickly---trying so hard to make a good impression--laid down, and Summer snuck in fast as close to her as possible. They put the blanket over their heads. Svanna often stills falls asleep with covers over her head. I wonder if this is a custom, or just something their family did, or possibly to keep insects away while sleeping? Someday I hope Svanna can explain it to me.]

Now Gabe and Svanna went downstairs with Brandy for a coffee ceremony, while I’m watching Summer sleep. [I ended up going to the lobby/living room area shortly after writing because they called me to say they were waiting for me. Coffee ceremonies are a big part of Ethiopian culture. I'm not sure what the grass is about. I asked about before we left for Ethiopia, and didn't really get an answer, except that it's tradition. I should have asked while we were there, but I was too overwhelmed I guess to think about it. I was told earlier that if your rich in Ethiopia, you have fake grass. First they heat the coffee beans over a fire pit of sorts. Then they pass around the beans for everyone to smell. Then they make the very dark coffee and serve it to everyone. It was very bitter. Of course I don't like coffee so I wouldn't be the one to ask! It is also common to serve popcorn during the ceremony. Oftentimes incense is burned. The whole ceremony takes a little while, an hour or so.]

Svanna has pictures of her birth mother in her photobook. She put them in with the family pictures we sent them. What a HUGE blessing!!! I am so grateful that the kids have those. Wow.

Going through the photo book, Svanna told me the names of her siblings, our kids back home. She got the pronunciations fairly close, except for Tye. The easiest one! =) While coloring she showed me that she knew the names of all her colors (in English). Later on she counted to 20 for me [in English]. I think she is trying her hardest to make a good impression. I wish she knew she didn’t have to. But it will take time for her to know that.

It’s great being here because we have an outdoor enclosed/protected courtyard where the kids can play. Wonderful. And the people here are wonderful as well.
[Reading this, now, I'm surprised I didn't put it in words how it felt to meet the kids for the first time. I think because I didn't know how to put it in words. And honestly, I still don't. Let's just say it made my heart swell...]