"Tell your children of Him, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation." Joel 1:3

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tyler's awards Day

Yesterday, the 8th graders had an awards ceremony during school in the church where they recognize kids in all aspects of school. 
I was very proud of Tyler for receiving 2 awards.  One for excellence in Math.
And another given to kids who show an interest in reading and love of books with higher reading levels and various topics on a regular basis. 
He (and, frankly, I) was a little surprised he wasn't recognized for his leadership in Band.  That is probably the one I would have bet money on before hand.  I asked him if he was disappointed about that one and he said he was.  He knows he does a really good job and has been section leader for 3 of his 4 years of playing....but he said, rather matter of fact, "it's probably cuz I never practice."  
Um, yeah.  Sometimes there's a downside to something coming easy to you. 
All in all, I was very proud of him and all his accomplishments.  He's a really good kid. 
Oh, and one thing that made me almost as proud as if he had won it himself.......The boy that won the award for being an example of Christianity in his school was his best friend.   I'm so happy about that because it means he is choosing good friends.  This boy, along with his other best friend (these three are tight), are all going to the same High School this fall too so that makes me very happy.  I really pray that he continues to choose wisely the company he will keep during the next 4 years.
Congratulation Tyler!  You are a great kid and, better yet, a wonderful son.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Never judge a book by it's cover

Tonight, Jay and I made a trip to Costco for our upcoming camping trip.
Afterwards we headed to Applebees where we had a gift card to spend on some half-off appetizers. 
About 10 minutes after we sat down, a large group of about 15 teenagers walked in and were quickly seated at the table right next to our booth. 
As I saw them ALL pass by, one by one, I looked at Jay and said, "oh brother".  
Ya know, like "great, now we have a table full of loud, obnoxious teens next to us."
That really sounds terrible now as I write it.....it didn't feel that way at the time.  Hmm.....
We continued on with our order and conversation.....pretty much forgetting about the teens next to us, as they were just pretty quiet and having some normal conversations between them all.
We saw them all order and about 15 minutes later receive their food. 
One by one, they waited until all were served before anyone started in. 
"That's polite of them."  I thought  "waiting like that for everyone to get their food before they eat their own"
As soon as the last plate was placed on the table....
and the server walked away....
all 15 heads bowed down....
and all 30 hands folded at the table.....
and they prayed. 

That moment gave me immense hope for our future
and the potential for my kids to find good friends like these teens obviously had.......

.....and it taught me a very valueable lesson.

Trying again...and again...and again....

In the spirit of the upcoming summer season, I've decided it's time, once again, to get serious about getting healthy.
I just finished watching the Biggest Loser Finale and was crying through most of it. Just seeing the difference in these contestants and the way their smiles have changed from when they started losing weight....
....made me want to be there
In a big way.
So, at the risk of failing...yet again...and doing in front of anyone reading this...again....I'm re-starting my diet blog.
I never got rid of it...just gave it a break for a while.
Okay, so it was a year.
Sheesh...I just think if I had stuck with it....where I could be right now.
But....I digress.
It's gotta be better to start over again...and again...and again...well you get the picture...than to never try again.
I know this is a cop-out, but I am starting after we get home from camping this Memorial weekend.
Not because I want to be able to eat everything possible....
Okay, maybe that is why.
But really I am hoping to use some quiet time in those few days to make some serious menu plans and snack idea lists.
I plan to make it a family affair.
I know Tyler wants to change some things before heading off to High School this fall....
And I know Jay could use some changes himself.
We all could.
Below is the button that will bring you to my healthy eating blog. I'll restart it on Tues. but you can check up on what I started last year.
I just did and I was surprised at how well I really was doing for those couple weeks.
I am determined to do better this year and stick with it.

P.S. I am eating a Hostess Ho Ho while I write this. Is that bad?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Baseball games

For the first time, Timmy decided to play baseball this spring. He has been playing on the school's team for about 2 mos. and really loves it.
At first, all I could think of is how it was just one more thing to have going on....but considering we aren't in the midst of any other sports right now, it's been pretty low key.
They've had several games and practices rained out, but all considered they've done pretty good.
They started tournament playoffs last week and have their last game tomorrow. It will be for 3rd place.....not bad.
Tim has really come a long way with his playing since the season began. Hitting still remains his biggest challenge, but he's getting better.
This past week he really stood out in the outfield. Three different innings came to an end because of him getting the 3rd out.
Once was with bases loaded and a fly ball to left field that Timmy caught, forcing the other team to waste their chance to bring in all those runners.
The second was a line drive straight for him that he lunged for and caught just before it hit the ground. Very exciting.
And thirdly, he stopped a ground ball and made a perfect throw to first base to get the guy out.
I was so happy with just one of those plays....but three...??
He was so excited and it was really good for him to have some moments like that. We've really enjoyed the season and are looking forward to him playing again next spring.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Faces

A face can tell a thousand words.
A person can be perfectly quiet and yet, just by looking at their face, you can tell what they're thinking....
....how their feeling.
Livi's face continues to tell a story every day that we have her.
She can't tell us how she's feeling.....
....but we see it in her eyes
A perfect snapshot of her heart
From fear and uncertainty.....

To the beginning of trust......
From the confusion of not knowing what's happening to her.....
To healing and understanding......
....about the smiles of happiness that lay ahead.

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, May 20, 2011

Olivia talking

This is a video I caught of Olivia talking to me. Tanner was clearing the table after breakfast and took her milk cup from her spot. She was trying to tell me about it....like she was tattling on him. It was so cute, I had to get it on video.
She tries, but just can't seem to form the words.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Today makes 9 days since Olivia had her lip surgery. It's amazing how well kids just bounce back and you'd never know she was even hurting.
She's been doing really well. Eating, talking up a storm(nothing new that we understand yet), and healing has all gone great. She seems to be having fun with her voice these days. She is always jibber-jabbering about something, even when she's just playing on her own...more than she ever did before. It's like she's having fun seeing what new sounds she can make now with her new lip. Very cute.
We had our check up with the surgeon yesterday morning who agreed that it looks great and is healing nicely. Much to my surprise, we even went ahead and got her next surgery for her palate scheduled. It will be on July 11th. That one will be a little more difficult for her as it is much more invasive than just the lip. That part I am not looking forward to...but it will be nice to get it done and start to get working on her speech.
Just when I thought we were good and all was well, we were at Timmy's baseball game last night and that bubble burst. The game was going long, almost 2 hours, and she was just fine the whole time. Playing and running around. Tanner sat her down and went about 2 feet in front of her to rolled a basketball to her. Just as it got to her, she looked down and WHAM....right in the mouth. I saw the whole thing and it happened in an instant. As soon as I picked her up, she was bleeding quite heavily from her incision under the middle part of her nose. CRAP! I quick went to one of the other moms for reinforcement to see if she had a tissue. She went digging and about 3 other moms quick handed me some. There was blood on my shirt, on her shirt, all over her mouth, nose, chin....everywhere. She was screaming and Tanner felt horrible.
Thankfully, the game was just ending so we were able to get home where I could get it cleaned up enough to see what really happened. I gave her a quick bath and tried to wash it as best as I could. It wasn't that it was terrible, but the skin at that part did open up and was bulging out some. I decided to call the nurse line at the hospital where she had it repaired. I just wasn't sure if they would need to stitch it again or not.
Long story short, she called our Dr. and he said they really wouldn't do anything at this point...just put come ice on it and try and bandage it down with antibiotic cream. We ended up getting some butterfly bandages and so hopefully it will come back into place and heal well. What a crazy night. All this in between Tim's game that went way over on time and then having to quick get home, change, bathe her, call Dr., and get back to school or Tyler's band concert. I swear, I think the phrase "when it rains, it pours" was invented for us.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Finding her voice


less than 48 hours after having her lip surgery....

and able to put both lips together for the first time in her life.....

Olivia called me mama.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Surgery Success

Yesterday, May 9th, was Olivia's surgery to repair her cleft lip. 
We arrived at the hospital at 11am for her 12:45 surgery. 
She was in by 12:30 and done by 1:45. 
They let me walk her in to the operating room and hold her while they put her to sleep.  I just assumed that she would struggle for a bit when they put the mask on her, but she didn't at all.  In fact, when the dr. came near her with it, she leaned forward and let him without one complaint.  They gave her some nitrus first to relax her as she layed against me, then the medicine to put her to sleep.  It happened very quickly at that point and they took her from me to lay her on the table.  That part was hard to watch.  It was hard to walk out of there and leave her looking so tiny on that big bed, and so vulnerable to what we were doing to her. 
Then we waited.....and prayed. 
It didn't take long for the first surgeon, who was putting tubes in her ears, to come out and say he was done.  This meant the next doctor was now starting on her lip.  It was strange to think about what she would look like when she was finished. 
When the surgery was done, we got to go into the recovery room.
On the way there, the nurse told us 3 things....
...that she was awake
...that she looked amazing
...and that she was "P.O'd" (that's "pissed off", in case you weren't sure)
Our first reaction was utter amazement. We could not get over how different she looked. It's just unbelievable what a difference an hour can make.
She reached for us right away and so I picked her up and started to rock her.
We stayed in recovery for about a half hour until let us go up to her room she would stay overnight in.
Once there, Jay held her for at least an hour as she went back and forth between being awake and upset and asleep. They had her on some morphine, so she was pretty out of it for a while.
By about 2 hours, post-op, she was really starting to look a little better. She just didn't look so foggy and she let me lay in bed with her and put on an Elmo movie, which she loved. She even laughed at one part...that was huge.
As the evening went on, she got more and more like herself.  She ate an entire plate of mac n' cheese, applesauce, and some yogurt.  That was great.  She even took some milk from a sippy cup....wrapping her whole mouth around it for the first time.  Very cool to see.
 Jason had to leave at about 5:15 to go to Tyler's National Junior Honor's Society Ceremony, but he came back afterwards with Cindy and the boys. They were so excited to see her. It was fun to see their faces as they saw her for the first time.
Tony said he was a little "freaked out"...and Tyler got light-headed and had to sit for a bit...but otherwise, it was all love. I think just the blood and all made them a little nervous.
She stayed close to Jay and I for a while, but ventured off the bed when her baby cousin Ben showed up with Pat and Lindsey. They brought her a Dora bath doll that flaps it's tail in the water. She will have a lot of fun with that.
The night went well. I was able to sleep on a pull out chair by her bed side. She slept good except when the nurse kept coming in to check her vitals every 2 hours. That woke both of us up, but luckily she would always fall back to sleep.
She was discharged by 10:15 this morning and has been noticeably happy to be home. She must have wondered what the heck was going on and where the heck we were. She looks even more amazing today as she did yesterday and I know it will only continue to get better and better as it heals. I'm so excited for her.

The morning of her surgery....

PLaying in the waiting room.....

Getting her blood pressure taken....

A bed was ready just for her....

More toys while we wait...

She got to pick out a scented chapstick....
We smelled all the different kinds before picking....
Picking out some new toys.....
Found one......
First post-op pictures.....
watching Elmo in bed.....
Her brothers come for a visit....

Playing with her new doll from Pat and Lindsey.....
Our first hospital family picture....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Livi's night before.....

Last night when the boys said goodnight to Olivia, they knew that it would be the last time they saw their sister with her cleft lip open.
We are heading to the hospital at 11am today for a 12:45pm surgery to repair her lip.
We took video and pictures last night to have as our momento of how she once looked.
We've all gotten so used to it in the past 2 mos. It will be strange to see her all fixed up.
I feel bad for her that she has to go through this. It's hard because we cant' explain to her what's happening. But I'm also very excited for this new point in her life.
She will be even more beautiful than she already is.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Choosing Life

This Mother's Day is more special than usual.
Sure, I have all my plans for sitting around and being waited on.
But today I'm grateful to 2 woman who I've never even met.
My nephew, Ben, and our little Olivia were able to join our families and become our children because 2 women chose life when they didn't have to.
One from America and one from China..both places where, unfortunately, it would have been very easy for them to not carry these precious lives.
What a gift.
One of these mothers can start to find peace with her decision to give her son a better life because she knows the family that adopted him.
One gave up her child in secret, never knowing what her fate would be...only praying it would be more than she could give her. I pray for her and that she is able to sense her little girl's smiles and laughter, love and happiness...and feel peace in her decision.
What an awesome gift they gave.

I think about my mother in law and how she found herself pregnant at 17 in 1971. I wonder....had it been only 2 years later, would there have been someone pressuring her into not choosing life.
Just imagine if that had happened.
I wouldn't have my wonderful husband....a man who I have no doubt God had big plans for from the moment he was conceived.
God knew there would be a Tyler, Timmy, Trae, Tony, and Tanner from this baby growing in his mama 39 yrs ago.
If he hadn't been born, they wouldn't even exist....except in the eyes and heart of God, who had planned on their lives through Jason. Does He cry for all the babies that could have been from all the parents that never were?

So this is what today is really about..right.
Not how we, as moms, can get pampered and spoiled...although I'll take every bit of it.....
At it's core, it's about thanking your mom for life....or thanking your mom for adopting you and choosing YOUR life.
Every life is precious
Every life is planned
Every life is wanted by someone
Every life is a gift from God
Who are we to not give that life a chance

Happy Mother's Day to all who chose to do just that
What a beautiful day.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Timmy

On May 5th...Cinco De Mayo....My Timmy turned 12.

Wow, just to say that amazes me. 
I was just getting the hang of Tyler being a teenager...

and now I'm on my way to having two.
Every year at his birthday, I'm reminded of how wonderfully special he is.

I remember his birth so clearly and the absolute joy he instantly caused

He has always been my warm hearted boy.

The one who cried at every Livi milestone during our adoption...including telling the boys we were going to adopt, telling them we got matched, and seeing them at the airport coming home from China.

He's good at sports...wrestling and football are at the top of his list.

He loves fishing and biking and camping
His favorite thing for dinner is pasta with shrimp

He has the thickest head of hair in the bunch and takes the most time combing it after a shower

He is a great big brother and loves his new little sister

He is a bit of an debater and will argue that the sky is blue
.....I wonder where he gets that from.....

He's kind and respectful at school and makes people laugh

He's a really great artist

He blushes when he's embarrassed

 He's known now as Tim to his friends...but he will ALWAYS be Timmy to me

And he hugs his mama whenever we're in the same room
How can you not be in love with that.

Happy Birthday to my Timmy Fimmy Cocoa Pop.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My sweet boys

My boys have a knack for making me smile. 
Sometimes without even realizing I need it....they say just the right thing. 
I've always said they are very affectionate and protective of their mama....
so maybe they sense when something they say will offset some of the stupid things other people say.

These are just a few of the things that people have said to me about our adoption and about Livi.

Before adopting....
"Are you sure you want to do that?"
"What......5 isn't enough?"
"Want that girl, huh?" 
   -I know that one doesn't sound that bad, but I've really gotten sick of it after hearing it about a million times-
"Kept trying for a girl, huh"
    -Um...no, we kept trying for a child

Since we brought her home....
"You adopted when you already have 5.....wow, I hope they have a return policy?"
    -and this chick wasn't even smiling when she said it
"Is she yours or did you adopt her?" 
"Finally got your girl, huh?" 
   -I know...not terrible...but again...a million times...every.single.day.  ugh
It makes me feel like I wasn't happy to complete with my boys and that makes me feel very defensive of them and has made me really hate that comment.
"How much did she cost" (store clerk....they always have the most interesting comments)
    -um, she was marked down on sale....yep, we got a good deal on her.  She's like a little bargain baby.
And then there was the store clerk who, as soon as we got the the checkout, kept saying...."Oh, poor baby....poor, poor baby.....oh, that poor thing....." 
About 25 times during the whole checkout process. 
I finally said, "She's not a poor baby...she's a very happy, healthy baby and she'll be just fine". 
To which she replied..."Oh, I know...but poor, poor baby"
Oh, brother. 

This is what I hear at home from my boys.....and it makes me forgot all those
stupid comments.  Why are kids smarter than some adults?

When Tyler found out she was scheduled to get her lip surgery done...
"aw, I'm gonna miss it.  It's like a part of her" 

Trae, the other night as we are all sitting in the family room getting a kick out of something silly she was doing...
"how did we get so lucky to get her?"

Tanner, when he came in from outside and left her out there with dad and his other brothers...
"mom, she was so sad that I was leaving her....it's because she just loves me so much"
He's always saying how she's so cute and how much he loves her.  And this is the kid that everyone was wondering if he'd be jealous.....nope.

Those are just a few of the things that come to mind. 
There are so many times, daily, that they all say how much they love her. 
They hate to see her cry. 
They fight over who's next to hug and kiss her goodnight. 
Anyone who ever teases her or, God forbid, decides to date her will have to get through them first.
She is so lucky to have such sweet brothers.....
 ....and I'm so lucky to have my beautiful boys.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Easter

Okay, so I'm a week late.  I've been so terrible about getting on my blog lately.  Lots to do around here and, truth be told, it's garage sale season so that has taken priority these days.  I never drive by a good garage sale.

Anyway...getting back....Last week was Easter and it was not only Livi's first Easter with US, it was her first Easter EVER. 
She's had a lot of "firsts" in the past 6 weeks and it's been fun to have a front row seat to each and every one. 

It doesn't take her long to get the hang of things that are new and fun. 

I wonder what she must think when we do things like coloring Easter eggs. 

 The Easter Bunny knew she couldn't really tackle the traditional candy in the baskets, so he brought her the movie, Tangled. 

 Our annual picture on the steps before the kids get to come downstairs.
 She was so excited!

 And loved finding all the colorful eggs in all their hiding spots.  The Easter Bunny made sure to make some easy to find for her.

 We were all decked out in our Easter best.  Coordinated and all....much to Tyler's chagrin.   

 Time for Grandma's annual Easter egg hunt outside.  Thankfully the weather was nice enough.