Friday, December 31, 2010

Coughing, Congestion, Nausea, & Tears...

...yeah, that was our Christmas this year. It was rough, to say the least! We had three separate bouts of colds in December as well as stomach flu. 

Then, on December 23, I noticed our elderly dog, Ben, wasn't looking good. His immune system, liver & eyes had been failing for some time, but he had been fairly stable on his multiple medications. His eyes looked really bad though & my vet decided to conference with a canine specialist. We got in to his office the next morning (Christmas Eve) with Ben looking even worse. His left eye had developed an ulcer overnight & was blood red. I felt physically sick at how he looked & must be feeling.  He was still his sweet self with tail wagging & kisses for me. Oh my breaking heart! After lengthy discussions with my vet & his staff, I made the wrenching decision to let my sweet boy fall asleep forever and leave his pain behind. (There were just no good treatment options left: only medical band aids that would just prolong his experience.) If you are not a dog person you will not relate to my anguish, but if you are, you will know that Ben was a much loved, dear old friend who had traveled all over N. America with us & who had been my "demo-dog" for 4-H demonstrations on pet/child safety, as well as visits to mentally handicapped adults & Senior Citizens. . We are all feeling his loss in a huge way.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hmmmm......


I thought this looked a bit odd until Nathan told me that he had pushed & pulled until he was sitting under Juneau. 
He just really wanted to hold her on his lap! 

Thank you sweet Juneau for being so patient with the boys, the cat, & all the other dogs that come & stay with us!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making Bread & Cheesy Grins



 The boys learned how to make bread with their Nana last week. They had a lot of fun and it was delicious! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookie Party!




It's tradition at our house to have a cookie decorating party or two with friends every Christmas. The kids love decorating with food & doing lots of sampling. 


This is what Nathan's spot at the table looked like when he was finished. He was all about the sprinkles! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Things I Hear Them Say...

The boys were watching a child's cartoon. A character warned, "Watch out for a booby trap!" 

Nathan, who is unaware of such things but thought it was a neat sounding word, kept yelling (he LOVES to yell), "Watch out for the booby trap!" 

Luke finally muttered, "Why can't they call it a "leg" trap or something?"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wisdom

The other day a sidewalk salesman tried to sell us something. Mark commented to me that, 

"They asked us because we look wealthy Mom." 

Me: "How do we look wealthy?"

Mark: "We have lots of kids!" 

How right you are my son. How very right you are! 

Life Lately


Luke dressed up in his Dad's clothes! 



Being silly for the camera. Nathan is out of his brace as of today, by the way, after a good report from the Specialist. Yay!  


 Happy boy helping Nana make cranberry sauce.


Mark admiring Papa's work in our bedroom. (My Dad is building us closets and a window seat as an early Christmas present & they are turning out great!) I'll post a picture of the finished project.

Monday, November 22, 2010

One Year Ago




 A friend of mine sent me this cute picture of her girls & my boys, taken about one year ago. And then that family photo is also about that old. It's been sweet memories for me to look at them & see how much the boys have grown, how far we have all come as a family. We've had our share of "bumps" along the way, but I really think we've had a very good first year together. It is so much more FUN having three kids versus one! The house is full of noisy but happy kids (usually) & I love it, chaos & all.

On a totally different note, the beloved Grandparents have arrived & the boys are LOVING all the TLC! Pictures coming...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thankful

Have you ever had a prayer answered that you never actually prayed out loud? Maybe you never completely articulated your need to God but He listened to what your heart was crying out for anyway? 

I have been weary & overwhelmed for some time now. I am still functioning alright but my mind & emotions are weary. The stressful year & a half of the adoption process & the first year of us all working very hard to adjust to being a new & improved family of five have taken a toll on me & I have felt my definite need for some HELP! (John is a very helpful husband but he does have a full time job after all.)

Well, my parents had been planning to come visit us from Canada for Christmas. We'd all been so looking forward to their visit. They had even sent us money to purchase a camper for them so they would have their own little place to stay right next to our house.  I wasn't sure how long they would stay but was hoping for a month. 

Imagine my surprise when my Mom asked me how I would feel about them staying "a little longer", meaning ... ALL WINTER! They are planning to come down here to help out around the house, assist with home school & generally love on us. The boys are going to shine with all the Grandparent-style TLC & really benefit from some extra one-on-one in home school. We get to be their "ministry" all winter! :)

I am utterly thankful! 



 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More Silliness...



"You've got such cute chubby cheeks!"

(That's what the boys were trying to do anyway, but somehow Nathan ended up looking like he was about to throw up!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Teepees & Wigwams


We are learning about the American Indians in school right now & the boys & I have created these miniature versions. I am loving the hands-on learning in our curriculum. I think the boys are enjoying most of it & are going to retain what they learn rather than just memorizing for tests & then forgetting it all. At least that's my hope!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Little Patient


Here's Nathan (& brothers) with his sling & figure-eight brace on. He's doing fine with all of it & continues to experience only minimal discomfort. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nathan's Shoulder

The other night, our little Nathan somehow got his foot stuck in a soccer net & pulled the whole heavy goal down on top of himself! We are incredibly thankful he wasn't hit in the head, (Thank You God for Your angels!) but he was hit on the shoulder & his collar bone was broken. Ouch! :(

After seeing several doctors, he now is in a sling as well as a figure eight brace that wraps around his shoulders & pulls them back so that the bones are in the right position to heal. The sling is for a week. The brace is for up to six weeks!! 


So far he doesn't seem to be in much pain at all (although I am giving him pain meds just in case) & is possibly even enjoying all the extra attention. He needs help dressing, brushing teeth, fastening seat belt etc. 


Pictures to follow...

 

Monday, October 25, 2010

These Days

So...these days I mostly just post pictures. There's a reason for that. I am tired. I need all my brain cells for each day & have few left for blog writing or much else creative.

It's been nearly 13 months since we became a new family of five & we have come a loooooong way! Really! But, the truth is we still have a long way to go. 

I keep considering writing in more detail what issues we deal with daily but I just can't. Some Moms do & I appreciate that. Reading their stories helps to encourage me so much! But I just can't seem to let myself cross that line of confidentiality regarding my kids. (If you are a Mom needing encouragement just contact me personally & we'll talk privately.  :) Anyhow, please know that we do need your prayers & encouragement, that we are fighting daily for our precious kids - for their healing, for restoration. Our friends & family's love & hugs have meant A LOT to us! We do need & appreciate you so much! 

On the flip side, (or maybe the crazy side?!) guess what? We are hoping we'll be able to adopt again! Yeah, really! It won't be any time soon - our kids need all of us right now. But maybe in the next few years....?

Yes, it is soooooooooo hard! It is crazy frustrating! It is exhausting! It does break my heart! It does sometimes turn me into a whimpering puddle of goo on the floor! 

But............there's nothing else I'd rather pour out my life into, than the lives of the precious children God brings into my life. 


So, please love on us! We need it! Please pray for us! We need it! Please rejoice with us! We are so thankful we get to be a part of our kids' lives! 


(Does that all make sense?)



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recent Back Yard Sighting


I had to laugh recently, when I looked out to check on the boys & saw this scene. It was a 90 degree day & the clothing choices were "interesting". One was in nothing but underwear & rubber boots & the other was in long sleeves & thick fleece pants! 
"Yay" for individuality & "Ugh" for fashion sense! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friends


"Ben", our 11+ year old Pit Bull mix & "Tirian", our 3 month old Siamese. I love unexpected friendships!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More FFD ("Forever Family Day")





I finally got my pictures loaded... We had a great day hiking all together. There were lots of wild ponies & it was perfect weather. 



 We decided to keep celebrating on Sunday, so we all packed up & went to the Fair. Luke's "monster with wings" was there on display (see above.)




We got to meet various farm animals & were excited to see that our chickens had done really well with lots of first & second place ribbons!


I love this shot I got of Nathan.


The Fair wouldn't be complete without the racing piglets! :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Forever Family Day - Fun Stuff


We all love hiking, so one of the things we did on our "FFD" weekend was to go hiking with some good friends. It was a gorgeous day up on the Appalachian Trail - one of our favorite hiking spots. 

I have many more pictures to upload but my computer is not in the mood, apparently. I'll try again later.  


Saturday, October 2, 2010

The BIG Day

Today is a really special day for us. Can you guess what it might be?
It's our very first ever:



FOREVER FAMILY DAY!! 
 
 


It's been exactly one today year since we had a special ceremony at Beacon House. All the children gathered around the five of us & prayed, sometimes tearfully, for our family. It was a joyful, sweet & also heart breaking time. Great joy for us & great sadness for all the dear ones still without families. 

It was the first day we were able to take Luke & Nathan back to our house in Accra. We all slept in the same room that night & I remember lying awake like a Mom of a brand new infant, listening for every sigh & movement. Joy - deep, thankful joy. 

We're going to "party" all weekend, as I told the boys, so I'll try to get some good pictures to post. Today includes Luke's soccer game & a family hike on the Appalachian Trail.  Tomorrow - the Fair! Big fun! :) 


 

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Tirian "






I really wasn't looking for another pet (honest!). My friend needed a home for this cutie pie Siamese kitten though & I fell in love... John didn't think it was a great idea at first but then he told me to go for it. He explained that he had been thinking about how he could save up $ to buy me gold or diamonds but that he realized what I really wanted was a cat! So...do I have a wise, kind & cool husband, or what?! :)

We named Tirian after the brave & good Prince in CS. Lewis' Narnia stories. He is a nice blend of sweet & feisty - a cuddler with me & tough enough to be great with the boys. 

Our dogs are adjusting pretty well to him. Ben is fascinated with him & follows him around wearing a goofy doggie smile. Juneau is afraid of him! She is only  70lb heavier than him, after all! :)