Wednesday, December 28, 2011

how r u?

Our daughter Rachel got an Ipod for her birthday from Grandma and Grandpa.  Now she texts with her Daddy-- all the time.  I think it would be safe to say-- she now has a new favorite pastime. :)  What I am afraid of is how it will hinder her writing and spelling.* How r u?  I don't know about you-- but that bugs me!  Oh well, I guess I just have to get over it! 

Today was a good day for doctor appointments.  I prepared to spend 3 plus hours at the neurosurgeons office today (like last time) but we were out in a half hour.  Alex had his stitches removed and has the okay from the doctor to resume all normal activity! Later I took Dennis to the occularist.  The previous eye mold was a great fit, so he went ahead and painted the eye.  Now he will make the actual prosthetic eye that Dennis will wear by taking the previous eye mold and pouring a new one with the painted blue eye inside it to give it depth instead of just being painted on like his current prosthetic eye.  That means one more appointment next week-- but then we should be done.  I can't wait to see it!

*R U reading this Rachel?  :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Thoughts

I can hardly believe it.  Here I am... finally sitting with my very own laptop up in my bedroom that I got for Christmas... Alex and Dennis watching Connie the Cow... and I don't know what to write.

I am supposed to be working on writing my book, but I am still running a few things in my head.  Besides, I thought I would warm up by doing a blog post.  Ha, ha.  And I have nothing.

Well actually, I have lots, but if I shared them all-- it would hardly make sense I bet.  But I'll try.

First off, I am conflicted with feelings of sadness, guilt, and disappointment about my last post concerning the family looking for a new family for their son.  I am sad because this is just one of many that I hear about weekly.  I in no way encourage a family to disrupt-- in fact I have offended a handful of families for encouraging them to keep on parenting as if they haven't tried hard enough.  I feel guilty for publishing the negative comments with the ounce of hope that the negativity might change the family's mind.  I feel additional guilt for taking down the post before the adoptive family meant to be his new family may have had the chance to read it.  I am disappointed that so many people can be so harsh towards these parents without actually offering any sort of solution.  If you feel so passionate about what they are doing, why don't you step up to adopt this child?  Your passion could be channeled into something so much more productive besides saying such mean things about this family.

The house feels empty.  Adam, Rachel, and Julia hitched a ride with Grandma and Grandpa up north to visit with some old friends and family.  Annalyn and Anastasia went to Aunt Tanya's house for a few days because they have never gone before.  With a total of five kids gone, the house just seems so much quieter.

Today I took Alex in for a check-up with our primary doctor.  With her in agreement that his incision looks great, I came home and called the neurosurgeon to squeeze Alex in before the New Year.   Thankfully they got him in tomorrow.  If not, he would not have been able to return to school next week without the doctor's okay. 

Galina had her other three cavitites filled today (not as many shots this time) and then we ran over to Kohls to use the Kohl's bucks I earned two weeks ago.  I was able to buy a couple pairs of jeans for one of the boys, a birthday present, and a couple of t-shirts.

Tomorrow I take Dennis back to the occularist.   This will be the third time in as many weeks-- I hope it is his last.  As much as I like the occularist, I don't want to keep visiting him weekly! :)

The company John's works for was recently acquired by a another company.  This means our insurance is about to change.  Thankfully John and I sat down last night and filled out everything online.  Here's to hoping the transition with insurance billing goes well!

In a few days John and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary!  I am looking forward to spending the evening with him.  It is our tradition to discuss what we are going to do in the new year. 



Monday, December 26, 2011

She's 16!

Happy birthday Rachel!
You are growing up too fast! I thought I could put off this day for a bit longer, but no, you are 16 now! 
It is a blessing to be a part of your life.  You are growing into quite an amazing young woman!
We made mint cupcakes.
Just like always, Dennis positioned himself to help blow out the candles.
Even Alex made sure he was helpful blowing out the candle!
Over the summer, Sasha made Rachel a shelf  (he is going to school to be a cabinet maker) for Rachel.  He bought her this picture frame too.  I brought them home in my suitcase and held onto them until now.
It was a nice present to Rachel which made her smile.
Happy 16th birthday Rachel!
WE LOVE YOU!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!  What a glorious day! Much to celebrate-- so be joyous!
Last night we attended a Christmas Eve service at church and then came home and had a simple dinner.
We played Rumikub, and Budget and watched a movie. 
When the kids went to bed, I got to work making this video of our trip to Disneyland since it was our *big* Christmas present this year.


Then I worked on stockings.  This is what the kids woke up to in the morning.  What is really nice is that most of the presents were things that they bought each other!
Stockings filled with candy, gum, lotion, erasers, feather hairclips, flashlights, mechanical pencils, jerky, and socks were well received.
Rachel opening her stocking.
The boys opening theirs.
The first thing we did was put the Disneyland video on.  Paul got very grumpy. "Awww, why we have to watch movie right now?"  He was very happy to open his stocking!
The living room was orderly chaos if that makes any sense.  It was fun taking turns watching everyone open their gifts.   We went nice and slow-- to make the morning last.
Anna got a shirt that you can color!
Dennis is in heaven.  His plan was to stay in these new pajamas all day.  I bursted his bubble when I made him change back into his clothes.   There was no way I was going to let him get chocolate pie on his brand new white jammies!  If I know my son though, he will be changing right back into his jammies after he is done eating!
Aunt Tanya gave us some Christmas money.  The boys really wanted a ramp so John and Grandpa went with them to buy some wood.  They came home and got to work. Today they finished it.  What a great gift!  The boys think we have the coolest skateboard park in our neighborhood!  I bet they are right!  Even Caleb is outside skating.
Grandma and Julia working on Suduku.
For Christmas our kids got a group gift-- a heavy duty pencil sharpener (our last one broke) with a case of pencils!  Okay, so it is more practical and useful than creative and fun.  But do you expect from a gal who asked for cups for Christmas? :)
This machine rocks!

Thank you Lord for my awesome family!  Thank you that we get to celebrate your son's birth and receive the greatest gift of all! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Ring Pop Club

Jonny bought ring pops at the dollar store.  When the older kids went to church, he busted out the candy.
I love it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cookie Time

It is sort of tradition around here.  We bake cookies during Christmas break.
Then we decorate them.
I made the frosting because it just tastes better.
As soon as Alex was done decorating his cookie he asked if he could eat it!
Same with Dennis!
The older kids have a few friends over.  I smiled when I saw the kids hanging out.
I quickly grabbed my camera.
I am enjoying the teen years despite the occasional lip I get from them.
Earlier in the day just Caleb and I went out to run a few errands.  I had the pleasure of taking him Christmas shopping for a certain someone special.  I enjoyed it very much.
It is moments like these that make parenting totally worth it. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Too Funny

I was out grocery shopping with a few of the kids yesterday.  I passed the egg nog and asked if any of the kids like it.  Galina said she does.  So I bought a small carton.
I already knew that Annalyn loves it!
Probably as much as I love her hair!

Isn't she quite the actress?  Drunk on egg nog.
Hey, wait a minute.  I don't think egg nog has alcohol. :)

Dennis was in a timeout next to me in the kitchen.
He wrapped himself in this rug.
That's as weird as calling egg nog, banana milk-- which he also does.
Dennis now begs, "Please pour banana milk in my cup!"

I made cinnamon french toast for dinner the other day.
It made me think back to my younger days when my Mom would make breakfast for dinner so I ran to get some rubber bands so I could put my hair in little girl braids.
Cute, huh?

The boys found these blocks in one of our homeschool bins.  They have been keeping them busy...
when they are not fighting over computer time to play Wizards 101 or some car racing game.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last night there was some serious drama happening with the girls.  I am so embarrassed and sad for them, that I won't even blog the details.
Thankfully, I think my words hit home and as I went around and checked on the kids one last time, a few of them had already made up.  Because hearts are still tender I'm sure, I made sure to include it in our lunch prayer.
Speaking of prayer, I have been praying with the four middle boys.  Last night I was going to just skip it because I had gifts to wrap, but Andrew came to my room.
"Mom... Paul was talking about praying and so I think it is a good idea if you come to our room and do it with us."
~~big smile~~
Oh how they blessed me right then and there.

Back on Monday I made up a chore list with dollar amounts like
clean outside fridge $3.50
wipe down both tea kettles $.50
clean out both eating utensil drawers $1.00
organize all boys' toys $3.50

The kids were excited to earn some extra spending money since we do not give an allowance.  I was excited to not have bored children for a few hours and to have some extra things done around the house.
So of course, the kids wanted to spend it at the dollar store to buy Christmas gifts as soon as I handed out the money.
But who was going to take them?
I could, but the kids didn't necessarily want me seeing what they bought.
So they begged Adam.  And he asked for a buck for his services. :)  I obliged.
But poor guy ended up having to take the van because one extra kid wanted to go.
Though Adam can drive the van, he hates it.
So the great Mom that I am helped him back the van out of the garage by using arm motions and loud beeping noises. :)
Thanks Adam for being a great sport!

Can you Give One Month?

**UPDATE** Silly me.  I forgot to mention that he is 14 1/2 years old. 

It always pains me to receive an email about a struggling adoptive family.  It is hard to not want to try and fix it when I honestly don't know what is going on inside the four walls of their home.  I can tell them to persevere... and trust me I do-- but there comes a point when all I can do is try to help.

Today, I am reaching out on the adoptive family's behalf to ask if you might be willing to open your heart and home this Christmas season.  I know the timing could not be worse... trust me we were with respite child this time last year--  but God has an amazing way of working things out.  He was originally born in Russia, here now for over 5 years (maybe 6 or 7).  He has been with his current family for 3 years.  Things were going well or so the parents thought... until they realized that their son had formed an unhealthy relationship towards the Mom.  This child can and does behave very well around others... underneath he struggles with stealing and pornography.

Would you be willing to take this boy in immediately for one month of respite?  After the one month, things will be evaluated to see if they can reunite as a family.  He can be on home study for the few weeks following Christmas break.  He is not violent.  The family is willing to pay living expenses for that month.

I am not willing to go into further details here, so if you are interested, please email.

Thank you so much.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

Last weekend we decorated our Christmas tree.  Though the kids only got a few ornaments each to hang up, they still had fun.  
After the tree was finished we had fun taking family pictures.
This has been a tradition for the last two years and Rachel especially loves it.
John is pretending to bite Annalyn's ear to see if she could focus on the picture.
I'd say she did pretty well.
 Jonny and Andrew making funny faces.
This Christmas is pretty special.  It marks one year of Galina being with us, except this year it is as our daughter, not just a girl we were doing respite for. :)
John can be so goofy.  As if they can actually dance. ;)
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home!

We are home!
Alex was finally released from the hospital around three this afternoon.  He walked out. :)
Here is a picture from the first night after surgery.
Told you he was all smiles despite all that he had just went through.
The next night, John brought homemade cards that the kids had made.  Dennis made five or six and John read them all to Alex phonetically which had him laughing uncontrollably.
"I sss mh pa y y y."
Try reading that.
Or this.
"D d bi ddd aa i ttt."
Alex enjoyed it so much that he asked John to read them over and over.

Alex is doing okay. He has heightened sensation in his legs that causes extreme sensitivity to pressure, touch, or gravity when he stands.  This is the biggest thing that Alex is complaining about. 
Not this.
What a trooper!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hopefully Only One More Day

Alex has had a much better day.  John came mid morning so that I could come home to be with the other kids.  He is spending the night and hopefully coming home with Alex tomorrow afternoon.  Alex's fever is down, he hasn't vomited all day, and he seems to be in less pain.  Now all he has to do is sit up and walk in the morning and he will be able to come home!

Easier said than done but if anyone can do it-- Alex can!

I was able to do a bit more Christmas shopping today.  The girls helped me wrap a few of the gifts.  We had soft tacos for dinner.  The kids told me that the house had been quiet and boring with me gone.  "You know Mom... without all your yelling," Julia teased me.  I smiled.  She said, "Just kidding.  It's just that you are the woman of this house and when you are not here, it feels empty."

I feel the love. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

An Alex update

I'm typing from Alex's hospital room because John and Julia brought a laptop.

Going back to yesterday.
When Alex and I got to the hospital yesterday morning the first thing I was told was how our surgeon was never on time.  Imagine my surprise when they took Alex back for surgery a half hour early.  I had to smile when I got a page an hour later that they were starting the surgery. :)

The surgery went well, the incision looks good.  Yesterday Alex seemed to be making excellent progress.  John's work is only five minutes from the hospital so he has popped in a couple of times to see Alex and relieve me so that I could take a walk around the hospital. 

Even when John and Rachel came last night, Alex seemed to be doing well.  But that didn't last long.  Before midnight he vomited up his oral meds-- so I asked for Tylenol suppositories.  Too bad all his other meds can't be given this way as well.   It was a restless night... Alex began a low grade fever, his whole body seems tense.  I slept next to him just so I could keep rubbing his tummy for comfort.  Didn't realize how hot it can actually be sleeping next to a little heater. :)  In the morning he was complaining of a headache and a sore neck.   He was put back on IV fluids because he throws up everything.

Funny thing is we can still make him laugh.  He gets in a smile in between the pain.  Still, I had the doctor paged because my Mama radar senses something is not quite right.

John and Julia are visiting now.  The neurosurgeon just left.  Alex has a squishy pocket on his back that is incredibly sensitive and causes great pain.  It could be air or fluid.  He could have aseptic meningitis, hydrocephalus, or absolutely nothing.  The doctor will be back in the morning to check on him. 

The earliest Alex can come home is Sunday afternoon, but now I am not so sure.  One minute he cries to go home, the next he is happy snuggling and watching Spongebob. 

The nurses have been very nice-- all I have been referred to as is Mom. :)

Thank you for the prayers.  Alex is a trooper!

I want to leave with you one quote from the book "When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box" by John Ortberg. 

"Every time someone says yes to God, the world changes a little.  But sometimes people say no.  Every time you say no to God, you change a little.  Your heart gets a little harder.  Your spirit dies a little.  Your addiction to comfort gets a little stronger."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Those *Extra* Disneyland Photos












P.S.  Alex goes in bright and early for surgery.  Please keep him in your prayers.  I am nervous and excited at the same time!  The doctor says there is a 35% chance that Alex's walking, bladder and bowel control, and paralysis could improve with this surgery with 5% chance of him going the opposite direction.  There is 60% chance that he'll stay the same.  I take that as 95% that he will do great!