Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A year ago...

Today, I pinned Alice to the floor and chewed on her belly.  What an amazing thing to do with a baby.  It accomplishes two wonderful things at once:
  1. Makes her of the best sounds in the world.
  2. I get to feel her soft, soft skin.
A year ago, I was unsure this would ever happen.

A year ago, I was drowning in paperwork.

A year ago, I was clinging to God's will that He wanted us to go down this road.

A year ago, she was trapped in an orphanage.

A year ago, she had no future. 

A year ago, she had NO idea that having 3 older sisters and 2 older brothers was this much fun. 

A year ago, I had no idea that having 6 children was this much fun.

Friday, August 19, 2011

All Done!

Miss Alice had her surgery yesterday.  She was a champ!  We arrived at the hospital at 6:15, just like we were told.  And we waited for an hour to have our pre-op interview.

Playing while waiting, waiting, waiting...

They asked the same questions as the other day.  Then we went in another room.  And they asked the same questions as the other day.

In "holding" waiting, waiting, waiting...
Her hospital gown.  It also had shorts.  I'm thinking when she's 8 she should fit into it!
Then we went into "holding."  We were "held" for another hour.  She fell asleep.  I almost finished the book I was reading.  Erin read a good chunk of his.

They finally came and got her to take her back for surgery.  I hurried to find food.  I was HUNGRY!  A fruit bowl and rice crispy treat later (breakfast of champions, I tell ya!) I hurried back for Erin to have a turn.  Almost as soon as he left, they called me up to the front.  They were done!  I called him on the phone and he rushed back.

When I got to her side 3 nurses where standing over her.  I was afraid something was wrong.  Nope, they all thought she was SO cute.  One of them asked if they could take her home.  I smiled and said something cute, I think.  I just wanted to hold my baby.  She was awake and chewing on everything.

They taped her eyes down.  That's why they look bruised.
They let me give her a bottle.  She was hungry too!

The doctor came by to talk to us about how the surgery went.

She said...there was NO fluid behind her left ear and only a little bit behind her right ear.  I just sat there, stunned.  Why did we do this, then? I thought.  Why did we subject her to surgery for nothing? I thought.

Good thing Erin was there, because I had stopped listening to her.  But she went on to say that now when she fails her next hearing test we'll know for sure that it isn't because of fluids.  The only way to know for sure was this surgery.

I don't know how I feel about it all still.  It seems rather extreme.  But, I'm trying not to focus on that and let time tell.

She came home super hyper.  She didn't stop moving all day!  But, she is doing really great.  Like nothing happened.

Thank you for prayers and kind words.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First USA surgery...

Sweet Ali girl is having tubes put in her ears tomorrow morning.  After failing 3, yes you read that right 3, hearing tests I finally found an ENT that would put tubes in my baby.  The first 2 doctors were "uncomfortable" operating on her because of her having Down Syndrome.  So, here we are 5 months after I first started trying to make this's happening.

The surgery coordinator called to ask some questions.  Was she full term?  Don't know.

Has she ever had surgery?  One that we know of.

Was that surgery done at Texas Children's?  No, in Ukraine.  Pause.

Was she adopted?  I can't tell you how much I wanted to say "no."  But, I didn't.

Is is up-to-date on her vaccines?  Beats me.

Is there anything in your religion or culture that pertains to surgery that the doctor should know about?  Um, just don't kill her.  That got me a chuckle from the lady.  Ma'am, it's a 15 minute surgery.  She'll be just fine.  Well, I thought, you asked!

Her surgery is scheduled for 8:15 in the morning.  I'm so excited to see what sort of difference this makes in our sweet girl, if any.  I know she can hear.  I hope this makes her hear clearer and softer sounds.

Although, in all honestly, there aren't many clear and/or soft sounds in our house.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hi...My name is Alice

And I have decided that naps are for suckers.  Since I'm not a sucker, I'm not going to take them any more.  So, even though I may sit and cry, I'm not tired.  I may yawn and rub my eyes.  But don't lay me down for a nap.  I won't take one.  Unless I have speech therapy this afternoon.  Then I shall fall asleep mere minutes before Aunt Laura comes and when you wake me for our session...let's just say I'm gonna make everyone unhappy.

I've also decided I can feed myself mashed potatoes.  I am not sure that getting it all inside my mouth is a high priority.  So, maybe...maybe not.

And I think that folded clothes are put on this earth for my enjoyment.  And it brings me joy to toss them on the floor.

And I had my first hair cut.  I think I make this cut look gooooooood!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

50 Yard Line

I know that having a big family means that things happen in a super-size fashion.  I mean, that simply makes sense.  Until you are the manager of such a family and the one that has a seat on the 50-yd the middle of the field...when you don't play football...and they just snapped the ball.

Last Monday started out normal.  Up at 5:50.  Kids up at 6.  (It's important to get up before the kids when you have a big family.)  Breakfast at 7.

Lizzie started not feeling so great.  She asked to lay down for a while.  Fine.  Sweet thing.  Go rest.  Mommy has got everything under control.  At 11:00 I'm not feeling so great.  Morning sickness.  By this point Lizzie has started throwing up and running a fever.

I feed everyone lunch.  Proud of myself for doing so with as much morning sickness as I was feeling.  By 1:00 I'm laying on the couch with Lizzie begging the Lord to take me home.  Fever and other terrible things going on in my body.  When your stomach hurts it is just simply unfair to have a baby doing trampoline tricks on it all day.  Just sayin'.

So, my sweet Mary is taking care of Lizzie and I.  The youngest 2 were napping and I'm not sure where the middle 2 were.  I didn't care as long as they weren't bothering me.

By 3:00 Mary was sick.  So, the 3 care givers of the family are sick and taking turns laying on the couch.

Tuesday, the 3 of us are better but just achy from being so achy.  Erin took the 3 youngest to grandma's for the morning so we could rest and Charlotte, the 9 year old, took care of us.  I was down for the entire day.  I think being pregnant made it hit me the hardest.  Or I'm a big baby.  I'm ok with either.

Wednesday, I had  fooled myself into thinking that was a fluke thing and we were going to have a great week.  Attending the finalization of a domestic adoption, 50th birthday party, Grandpa and Grandma's birthday party were all on the schedule for the weekend.

Thursday, Charlotte comes downstairs and says, "Mama, look at all these spots."  Now, I know that many of the mothers reading this are either laughing or their stomachs have dropped.

Chicken pox.

They didn't look like normal chicken pox (we've had it here before so I know what they look like.)  So, I called a friend to come look. She did and said she didn't know what they were, but they didn't look like chicken pox.  I then made an appt with the doctor.  Remember all the things I had on the schedule?  I didn't want to cancel them if I didn't have to.

Spent 3 hours at the doctor's office waiting room.  When I went to the front desk and reminded them that we were there to have the chicken pox looked at and that the longer we sat in the waiting room the more children were being exposed, we were seen within 30 minutes.  She said they didn't look like chicken pox, but she didn't know what else they could be.  Lay low and see if she gets worse.  Great.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday skipped all the events on the schedule.  It made us all sad, but being home with everyone was sweet.  Henry and Alice still haven't gotten any spots...yet.

Monday, yesterday, I'm thinking we are back on track.  Weird week last week, but this week is new and improved.

After lunch Henry started throwing up.  On the carpet.  Everything in his stomach that he's ever eaten.  In his entire life.

So, Mary cleans him up and I stare at the carpet.  Shop vac!  After I finish vacuuming up the ... stuff... I realize that the shop vac has a vent that blows air as it's sucking up.  And the vent is pointed at the fireplace.  And that the fireplace should have been cleaned out months ago.  And now there is ash ALL over the living room.

I simply stood there for a minute or two.

Then, I put the shop vac away and scrubbed the carpet.  Then I dusted the living room.

That evening Henry threw up as he was playing with the Legos.  Gross.

Today he was running a fever.

This morning Lizzie woke up with hives all over her arms and neck.  Emotional stress?  Nope.  An allergic reaction to the heat.  Nice try, Sweetie, you still have to go outside and clean up after the dog.

Again there are those mothers that are dying laughing right now and those that simply feel sorry for me.  You know who you are.

I laughed.  I have told and retold these stories so that I can hear others laugh too.  Did it make the situation different?  Nope.  Did it make how I looked at the situation different?  Yep.

So, don't feel sorry for me...laugh!  And share some mothering stories that either make people laugh or feel sorry for you.  It'll make me feel like I'm not the only one on the 50-yd line.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about Ali's freedom.  It's been 6 months since we took her out of the orphanage for the first and last time.  She's not the same little, blank baby we took out of there.

She's free from care takers that took care of her, but didn't love her...we love her so much.

She's free from a diet that barely kept her alive...we work very hard every day to feed her good food.  AND she's starting to eat something more solid than baby food.  To God be the glory!

She's free from SO many layers of clothing...this summer she's often wearing a diaper only.

She's free to crawl into the kitchen where all the action is...not just around a large play pen all day.

She's free to be loved on by 2 brothers and 3 sisters....with them often fighting over whose turn it is to kiss her.

She's free to laugh...and she does, a beautiful belly laugh.  Usually at Thomas.  When she hits him.

She's free to smile so hard her eyes have developed crow's feet.

She's free to have an opinion.  And don't think that just because she is little and has Down Syndrome that she doesn't have an opinion.  Cause she does.  And she's loud about it.  very loud.

She's free to play and chew on things besides the crib bars.

She's free to hear the gospel taught in her home most every night.

She's free to hear Who made her and what He did for her.

And I have freedoms too...

I'm free to call her my daughter...I no longer think of her as adopted.

I'm free to help others with fundraising...not having to worry about our own.

I'm free to delight in her gaining weight and not worry about how little she is.

I'm free to get all warm and fuzzy when I think of her as a big sister.

I'm free to forget that she has Down Syndrome...which I often do...she's just Alice.  

But, all my true freedoms were bought for me...

I'm free from guilt...I've been washed white by the blood of my savior.

I'm free from the threat of hell...I've been given a one-way ticket out of here and it was through no works of my own.

I'm free from the bondage of redeemer paid my debts in full.

Just like Alice was taken from the orphanage never to look back, Jesus carried me in his arms out of the only life I had ever known.  I was blank.  I was and still am a sinner.  He brought me into his world of love, compassion and grace.  I didn't ask for it.  I didn't deserve it.  I didn't work for it.  And believe me, there is not a more special-needs Christian than I am.  Yet, God adopted me into his family to share in the inheritance of Christ.  Just saying that gives me goose-bumps.

If the Lord hasn't saved you yet, call out to him.  Repent of your sins and beg for mercy.  I pray that the Lord will give you freedom, too.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A baby in need

Not my baby.  But another mother's baby.  She's Victoria.  She was adopted and taken straight from the airport to the hospital.  She is in desperate need of prayers, money, prayers, help and most importantly...prayers.  Please get the word out.  Please pray for this family.  Here's their blog address so you can read the back story and get updates.

Sweet Victoria

She is currently in the Children's Hospital of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

She needs help.  So does her family.

Shelly Burman, who just finished going through the same nightmare with their daughter Carrington, has volunteered to organize people to help the Ferrones through her Carrington's Courage blog. 

If you live in the Atlanta area and can help- please contact Shelly through that blog and let her know what you can do to help. 

If you don't live in the Atlanta area - then consider helping the family out financially.  They could definitely use every single donation made at this point. 

There is a chip-in on Carrington's Courage.

Please pray for this family.  I can't imagine what it would be like to have to go from the airport NOT home, but the hospital!  I wish I could do more, but I can pray.  I can tell others.  I can pray.  So can you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Girl

I made a birthday hat for Alice.  Her birthday isn't until October.  I 'm not worried that I ruined the surprise.

Alice and I flew to Amarillo to watch a couple of graduations.  She was unimpressed.

Silly Mommy.  Baby gates are for sitting!

I can't tell if she liked licking the dryer because it was warm or shiny.  
She did the same thing to the dishwasher.  And with 6 kids the dryer and dishwasher are always warm and running!

She has a Captain and Tineal thing going this day.  I took at least 25 pictures.  Each one blurry.

She loves music.  And she loves Lizzie.

Some days she is in the best mood and we just soak it in.  Some days she is full of attitude and we just survive until nap time.  It's weird.  I know she doesn't have my DNA, but she sure does act like her mama!  

We have one more specialist (yet another ENT) then we are done with specialist...well, now we'll be doing the 6 month check up thing.  But, no "new" doctors.

We are still working on eating food more solid than puree.  Some days I feel like I'll be feeding her forever.  And some days...well, I always feel like I'm going to be feeding her forever.

But, she's my girl.  I love her like crazy.  And because my life is a musical (a song for every occasion) I had to help you have this song in your head the rest of the day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A plea for help...

So, I don't post in, like, forever.  Then I go and ask you to give money.  Yep, that's the way I roll these days.

A dear, dear family is adopting 3 little ones from the country Alice was born in.  3!  I can't even wrap my brain around that one!  They were approved for 3 and decided 3 is what they were coming home with.

This family also happens to live in my town, so we've been able to visit and talk face-to-face.  I'm hoping to get to do much more of that when they get home.

They are a little short with the money side of things.  Can you help?  Here's her blog "Let's Fill the Van!".  How cute is that blog title?  These kiddos they are bringing home will fill their big white passenger van!  Amazing.

Also, please pass the word.  The more people that see this the better.  And pray.  Pray, pray, pray.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Then and today

Miss Alice has been changing and growing so fast!  Don't believe me?  Take a look...

Picture taken in Feb.

Picture taken in April
Hasn't she grown?  Look she no longer fits in the kitchen sink!

Look how tiny she looked in the baby seat then...
and how she looks now!

Plus, look at all her hair!  I can't get over how long it has gotten.  We are having fun with the bows and pigtails.  And that's on her face all day long!  She has become the happiest, sweetest little girl.  

But, here's the part that warms this mama's heart to boiling...she isn't like that for every one.  Just us!  AND, while she'll still go into anyone's arms, if she sees me she starts trying to get to me!

She's developed an opinion.  She will let you know if she likes something or not.  And it's very, very clear.  My mother-in-law asked if I was sure I didn't give birth to her.  I guess Alice and I have a lot in common.

We are working with a speech therapist on feeding issues.  This therapist happens to LOVE Alice because a)this girl is lovable and b)she's Alice's aunt!   Alice still will not eat anything with texture.  She will gobble down purees but not much beyond that.  Gobble down a tablespoon during a feeding, that is.  She's still not a huge eater, but we have made some major steps.

Laura, aunt, speech therapist, and an Alice fan.
I like that picture of Aunt Laura feeding Alice because it shows off that sweet, round tummy.

We are so in love with this little one.  But, lest you think life has been all roses, having a new baby and expecting a new baby has been tough.  Trying to keep up with all the appointments and not having a brain cell in my head or the energy to get out of the house has been difficult.

But, I've hit the beloved 2nd trimester and I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel...I'm only nauseous until noon instead of all day.  I am able to stay awake until 9 pm, instead of 7.  We were able to hear the little one's heartbeat yesterday.  That is just about the sweetest sound on earth, next to a child's giggle of course.

And Miss Alice has been giving us more and more of those every day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Exactly, where have I been, you ask....

Yep, been pretty green for a while!  I have entered the 2nd trimester and I'm praying the all day nausea will be replaced with lots of energy.

Alice is amazing and changing every day!  I'll get some pics up soon as I get my face out of the toilet and my tired body off the couch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Failed one test...passed another

Alice had a hearing test done this morning.

Her speech/feeding therapist (did I mention she's another beloved aunt?) suggested she have her hearing checked.  Sometimes when you call out Alice's name, she turns first time.  Sometimes the world can be falling around her and she doesn't even blink.  So, I agreed it would be a good idea to have it checked out.

Plus, we've done so many other doctors, what's a few more, right?

Well, I don't understand everything, but basically she failed the hearing test and has mild hearing loss.  She's got fluid build-up being her ear drums.  We are going to go back in 2 weeks after some effort to drain the ears to repeat the test.

I wasn't worried as I waited for them to come back with the results.  I knew something was up, though.  I was trying to imagine life with a child that will have issues with impulse control who can't hear me tell her no.  More than that, I was sad.  Would she ever hear me?  Would she hear giggles?  Would this be one more thing that would set her apart from...well, everyone else?

We adopted her knowing she had special needs.  I know she's different from my other children because of that.  She is adored and treasured.  But, it made me sad to think she would have another hill to climb.

I have no idea what the next few months will tell us with her hearing.  But, this I DO know.  God made her the way He wanted her to be.  He created her and gave her to me.  He has a purpose for this.

The other test...

Well, I'm the one that passed that test...actually, it was more of a positive/negative thing.

As in...the pregnancy test was positive!  Alice is going to be a big sister!  Baby #7 is due in mid-November.

I was a little shocked.  Usually, when my babies are 2 we are expecting in the next few months.  Henry turned 2 in December.  I should have been expecting it.  But I expected it to happen when Alice turned 2.  I know it sounds crazy.  But, she's the baby and that's how my brain works.

So, Alice will turn 2 in October.  And I'll have 2 two year olds.  The baby is due in November.  And Henry turns 3 in December.

Maybe I should change the name of the blog to "Blessings Coming out my Ears!" or "The day the Laundry took over" or "Grateful".

Friday, April 1, 2011

Doctor appointments take, like, 1000!

When I told my beloved sister-in-law that we were considering adopting a special needs child she asked me if I had considered how many doctor/therapy appointments we would be adding to our schedule.  Now, understand, I had 5 children and we only had the twice a year dentist and endocrinologist.  How could that stop us?  She agreed, but just wanted me to think about it. I appreciated the wise council.  But, I was naive.  How difficult could a few extra appointments be? 

Oh. My. Goodness.  I am worn out!

Tuesday my oldest, Lizzie, had a quick dental appointment that I almost missed because I had forgotten about it.

Wednesday all 6 children had dental cleanings.  Yep, all 6.  They cleared the whole hour just for us.  Charlotte has to have a tooth extracted.  Mary will get the privilege of having lots and lots of braces in the future.  Lizzie is getting her braces next month or so.  Thomas and Henry looked great.  H was so adorable.  The ladies in the office were impressed with his 2 year old cuteness.  I always am.  Alice even got a looking over.  He said she looked great and to bring her back when all of her teeth came in.  Since she's cut 6 since we've come home, I'm guessing next month?

Thursday is our normal day of violin and harp lessons and grocery store.  And a nice long nap for mommy.

Then, the mother of all days, Friday.  No milk to make breakfast.  So the kids ate bananas.  I drank a smoothie.  We made it out of the house by 8:45 (we were shooting for 8:30).  We went to the Museum of Natural Science.  So did 4 separate school districts of children.  So, as we dodged the other children I explained about creationism (amid a few evil eyes from the teachers).  As I tried to keep teachers from assuming my kids belonged with their kids, we learned about chemistry.

After about 2 1/2 hours of all that torture our field trip, I was ready for lunch.  We had a picnic outside.  My favorite part of the day.  Charlotte held Alice on the blanket.  I was laying down with both Henry and Thomas laying on me.  Lizzie and Mary sat near us.  The weather was perfect.  What a beautiful day.

From there we went to another doctor's appointment.  Charlotte has Hashimoto's thyroiditis.  An autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism.  We head down to the medical center every 6 months or so.  Well, in God's providence, it appears that so does Alice.  It's very common in Down's so I'm told.  Whatever.  I'm already well researched in it.  Bring it on!

Alice will have to be on meds just like Charlotte.  Well, at least I know what to expect.  Except the meds didn't make Charlotte any more hyper than usual (praise the Lord!  Any more energy and that girl could light our house!).  But, will they make Alice hyper?  She is the squrimiest baby already.  We'll see I guess.

Back to the appointments.

Monday both Lizzie and Charlotte will have teeth extracted AND then both Charlie and Alice have to have blood drawn to check their thyroid levels.

Sorry, I had to lay down for a bit.  I got a little light headed looking at all that.

I adore Alice more than words can say.  I think she is one of the prettiest babies we've ever had.  She can charm the stripes off a zebra.  But, let me tell ya.  I am pooped from running her all over town!  I think we're slowing down a bit.  I mean, really?  How many more doctors are there out there?  Right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I know, I know....

It's been, like, forever since I've posted.  I have no good reason.  I have a reason, I'm just saying it's not a good reason.

Here goes...I never found the time to upload the pictures of Alice's cardiologist appointment.

There.  That's it.  It's been over a month and that's the best I could come up with.

So, here's the update:

Her cardiology appointment went well.  He said that she had one hole in heart at birth that was repaired around the age of 6 months (not 3 days like we were told in the orphanage.)  It was a good repair and he didn't need to see us again for 6 months.

Now, was that so hard?

She's started to sit up.  She's started to crawl.  And she's cut 6 teeth since we've come home.  I have pictures, lots of pictures.  But, in true Emily fashion I haven't taken them off the camera.  But, I simply couldn't wait any longer.  The guilt of not updating was starting to effect my daily routine. (That means I wasn't reading my favorite blogs because I felt bad.  I know, I've got issues.)

Whew!  I feel 10 pounds lighter!  I think I'll reward myself with a snack.  Hopefully, I will feel free to update more often...and with pictures.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Madam Blueberry

I thought Alice would love to eat frozen blueberries...why not?

She liked the taste, but hated the cold.  She would pick them up (fine motor skills) and then toss or throw them because of the cold.

She even tried to eat them without touching them.

After she was nice and blue I decided to give her a sink bath.  You know, when you are too tired to walk all the way upstairs to give the kid a bath in the tub so you spend just as long cleaning the sink and give them a bath there?  But, after doing this, it may be our go-to place for baths...she fits!

After this picture I heard Henry behind me saying he wanted a bath.  Sure, I said.  I turned around and he was naked in the middle of the kitchen!

So, although he SO doesn't fit, he got a sink bath, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This week in pictures

I had no idea it had been so long since I wrote a post!

We are doing great!  The week's highlights...and low lights...

  • Alice's first ever holiday at home...Valentine's Day was spent at the Doctor's office.  Alice and Henry both had bad coughs and fevers on Sunday.  I'm not a run to-the-doctor-at-every-sniffle kind of mom.  I'm more of an if-I-ignore-you-being-sick-will-you-get-better kind of mom (or I use homeopathy and oils to treat them at home...after all doctors' offices are where sick people hang out)  But since I know nothing about her being sick and her heart, etc, I didn't feel comfortable treating her at home.  The doctor said that Henry had bronchitis and was close enough to pnenomia that it warranted an antibiotic and a nebulizer.  She was impressed that we didn't already have one of those.  I told her we rarely get sick.  Alice had a bit of an ear infection and because she's medically "fragile" she's on an antibiotic too. 
  • At the doctor's office Alice was weighed and she is now up to 13 pounds 15 ounces!  She's gained 15 ounces in the time we've been home.  I'm proud of that.  I'm not sure if that's good enough, though.
  • Also, her thyroid is going to need treatment from a pediatric endo.  We head there in April.  (So, if you're counting...she's had 2 pedi appointments, 1 cardiologist appt in March, endo in April and pt evaluation in March.  Yeah, I know!)
  • Her certificate of citizenship arrived today!  It has the cutest picture on it.  I will try to post it later.
  • Yesterday, I applied for her SSN.  I have to be honest...I am SO done with paperwork.  I don't want to look at any of it!  That's why it's taken me this long to get everything done.  I still have to register her with the consulate.  I will attempt to do that next week.
  • I got sick this week too.  So did Thomas.  That means we've been eating canned soup and laundry has plied up.  But, the Lord blessed me with daughters that are wonderful at taking care of us.  That is also the reason that blogging has not been a priority.  Sick babies is draining then add a sick mama...spells rough seas in the household.
Alice is really starting to bond to us, I think.  Today, she smiled at me when I picked her up.  She cried when I put her down.  She's very serious and doesn't smile very often so these little smiles are like gold!  Her hair is growing and is shiny.  Her skin is soft and glowing.  We can no longer see her ribs, her hip bones or most of her back bones.  That alone is a huge blessing.

We just can't get enough of this little girl.  I wonder if you can tell that by the amount of "baby" stuff in the living room...bouncy seat, exersaucer, pack 'n play, bumbo seat, texture balls, jungle crawl mat...This is, of course, in addition to the "stuff" already in the living room for everyone else.  I like to pride myself in not needing much for babies.

I think the Lord is really working on my pride issue.  I used to pride myself in my humbleness.  I realize now I may have been going about this all wrong.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Say my name...

Look who responded to her name today...

I know it's not a very exciting picture, but I was calling her name and she turned to find me!  This mama couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Check this out!!!!

So, I'm surfing through some of my favorite adoption blogs and one of them has the neatest "button" to advertise Reece's Rainbow and Down Syndrome adoptions.  "You know," I thought, "I need a new button because we are no longer fundraising."  The old one transfered to our family site for donations.

So, I click the button and start scrolling through the website.  This one is cute, what else is there?  I love the wording on that one..."Everyone deserves the blessing of a Down Syndrome child."  That one is so sweet, what else is there?

GASP!!  I start laughing and crying!  Why?  Take a look to the right?  See the button I found?  It's me and Alice!!  My sweet girl.  That picture was taken on our first trip to meet Alice in her orphanage.  I love that picture.  Such joy on both our faces.  It's funny, now though, because she's really a serious young lady.  Smiles are given only after she deems you worthy.  Or you show her your hand.  She loves hands.

You can put this button on your blog, or any of the other buttons that Reece's Rainbow has created, to advertise the very important work they are doing.  I promise I won't be offended if you choose not to use "ours."  I am thrilled to get the word out.

Alice is such a wonderful blessing to our family.  I can't imagine our life without her.  I melt every time I look at her.  We dote on her and fight over her.  I'm crazy about her and couldn't imagine her ever in an asylum.

As I sit and type this, I have her in my Moby wrap.  Snug and secure, listening to my heart.  She has her own people now.  And they will do the same thing over and over and over again if it means she will give them the littlest of smiles.  Often, she does better than that.  She gives a full belly laugh.

She was the least of these.

And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."  Matthew 25:40

Now, she's a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece.  Hopefully one day, saint.  And we're the lucky ones.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bathing Beauties

Alice loves taking does Henry.  Now, they get to take one together!  We call it multi-tasking.  They call it fun.

Ok, look closely...see the newly formed roll next to her armpit?  I've never been more proud of a fat roll.

Yes, he needs a, I'm not going to give him one just yet.  I like his curls.

Flying Superman!!!  Or as H calls him, "Good Guy"

This week has already gone so much better!!!  I realized that I can't slip back into the "old" routine of 5 kids.  I need a new routine to include baby #6.  So, we've loosened up our mornings.  We've added in more "subjects", but we're not in such a hurry to get it done by 1.  Yes, that means that some kids were doing music practice at 9 pm last night.  Oh well.  Mommy was nicer during the day.  They got to sit and give Alice a bottle or read to Henry during the day.  What's better than that?

Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm not gonna lie...

It's been a tough week.  We started back to school this week.  We've been doing a "light" school since June and a "no" school since November.  I was starting to feel guilty about the children's lack of, we jumped in with both feet Monday morning.

Maybe we should have aimed for the kiddie pool and not the Olympic pool on Day 1.  We had melt downs, temper tantrums, sobbing in the corner, torn papers, broken pencils...and that was just me!  I started thinking I should be getting up earlier to get more done without the children.  But I think any earlier than 5 is just wrong.  Tell me I'm not the only one that thinks that.

Alice was great.  She just goes with the flow.  Praise the Lord!  The 2 year old, not so much.  He had a hard time getting back into the swing of things.  He got in trouble, trouble, trouble.  He doesn't mind Alice.  In fact, he want me to hold her and him at the same time.  And if she's on the floor, he's on the floor.  Of course, if you'll look at the picture...he's not alway appropriate with how he plays with her.  The rest of the kids, well, were grateful to be back in a routine and had missed school...weird...but nice.

Yep, using her as a foot stool.  And yes, she's chewing on a book.  We're starting reading early.
But, he really does love her.  And, yes, we do sometimes put clothes on him.

By Wednesday, things were getting a bit better and by Thursday we had a great day.  Of course, we didn't do school, but whatever.  Henry is getting better and not quite so naughty.  Well, as not quite so naughty as a sinner and 2 year old can be.

We have some family coming in tonight so we have to clean and do school today.  But, I'm not worried.  I feel like we can do this today.  It is only 7 am.  We'll see if I'm still this optimistic at 5 this afternoon.

Alice's blood test came back and her thyroid levels were high.  So we repeated the test with a broader panel. Thyroid issues are common in Down Syndrome, so this didn't completely surprise us.  Also, we have a daughter with an autoimmune hypothyroid.  It's no sweat.  But, here's the really neat part to my little rabbit trail...the techs that drew her blood were the same that drew it last time.  They were impressed with how much more alert she is and how much stronger.  It made this mamma's heart sing!

Isn't she beautiful?  Picture taken by Lizzie.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Grandparent's job

My folks came the past weekend to meet their newest grandchild.  They flew from Amarillo.  My plan was to meet them at the airport and surprise them with all 7 of us waiting.

Except I forgot how long it takes us to get out of the house these days.  We were running late and I got a text from the airport saying the plane was delayed.  Whew! I thought.  I ran around like a crazy woman trying to get everyone going  encourage the troops and get us all in the big new van (more about that later).  As we are heading down the road, my dad calls to tell me they've landed.  I'm still 20 minutes away!  Ok, plan B.  They decide to get lunch while they wait.  I try to drive faster safer to get us there quicker.

When we got there I called my dad and said we're coming in!  (after all, I have a new double stroller I have been DYING to use)  He says, I would hate for you to get everyone out.  Nope, Dad, I've got plan B.  So, I unload all of us and we head in.

Greeting Grandma and Grandpa
We had a wonderful weekend.  It was over too quick.  Although I told my parents it was time for them to go home because every time my sweet son needed a "talking to" he would grin like crazy and wouldn't quit looking at know, like "please don't think less of me!"  But, they thought it was charming...isn't that the job of a grandparent?

Getting ready for church...I forgot to say, "Look at mommy!"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Mary Poppins

We took Alice to a pediatric surgeon this morning.  I had Erin come along because it is better for me to have a second set of ears when talking to doctors about my children.  The office wanted a copy of our court decree and her birth certificate.  Ok, I said, but they're not in English.  So, they made a copy of them.  Whatever.

The doctor was quite impressed with our little one.  He said she doesn't have a hernia, just a weak spot that will heal on it's own!  And that whatever we've been doing since we got her has cleared up some bowel issues and to keep it up. (insert happy dance and a bit of pride)  He just delighted in her and told us how glad he was that we have her.

He said she was like Mary Poppins...practically perfect in every way.  I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Homecoming Queen

We arrived to about 50 people waiting for us.  It was wonderful!  We had a professional photographer (and dear family friend) come to take pictures.  I wanted to enjoy the people and family and not have to worry about remembering to take pictures.  She also came back to the house, trying to capture pictures of the children meeting Alice for the first time.  Alice was so impressed with it all, she fell sound asleep and slept the rest of the evening until 4 am.  Here are a few of what she captured at the airport.
All of our Houston family in the elevator...they all fit!

Our awaiting public...look at all those signs!
When we got out of immigration, our children ran up and met us.  They were so excited to see us, they gave us all their posters and took Alice from me.  I didn't see her again until we left the airport!

Meeting Grandma for the first time...see Charlotte's hand?  She followed Alice every where.  Charlotte is in almost every least part of her!

Alice was exhausted.  She just let everyone hold her and kiss on her.  Never made a sound.  And she was passed around and around and around.  Bless her heart.  Everyone had prayed so hard for her and helped us through the whole process.  It was like she belonged to all of us.

My father-in-law gathered us all together for a time a prayer and praise.

We have had such a wonderful time since being home.  Alice has really enjoyed all the attention she's gotten with 3 older sisters and 2 older brothers.  Erin and I have to schedule time to hold her! 

I took her to our pediatrician on Thursday (the day after we came home.)  The doctor asked for her medical history.  Um, she had heart surgery....yeah, that's all I know.  She ordered a ton of tests...blood, urine, and a stool sample (still haven't figured out how to get that one!)  Alice also has a good sized hernia.  We meet with the pediatric surgeon on Thursday morning.  And the pediatric cardiologist  in March.  And physical therapy sometime in there.  

She sleeps great.  She fusses sometimes, but not very much.  Some of that is due to the orphanage.  She learned that no one would answer her why bother?  We are training her that we will be there for her.

I can't believe we've had her for 2 weeks now!  She's starting to fill out, praise the Lord!  Where her stomach used to fall in, it now is wonderfully round.  Her hair is growing and shining.  Her face is starting to fill out and she smiles now when we reach for her.  She's such a delight to us all!

It's amazing to me what love and care can do for a child.  2 weeks.  I can't wait to see how much she'll blossom and grow from here.  

I love to be able to tell strangers what the Lord has allowed us to here.  I haven't taken her out much.  But, when I do, I tell everyone that stands still long enough to hear Alice's tale.  It is such a beautiful story.  It is our story, the story of our redemption.