Friday, March 26, 2010

Little Trip, Big Accomplishment

I have been avoiding going to the public library for months. I just didn't want to deal with children yelling (yes, in the library), then at checkout having a child climb on the desk while another one is crawling or rolling on the floor making moaning noises or a hand down the pants... So this is why library trips had become mommy only events. Go figure. But since returning from China, time has not been on my side and no library trips have happened. Fast forward six months to today I said something like this, "I would like to go to the post office. If you can conduct yourselves nicely AND do exactly as I say AND not run around AND hold my hand AND stay next to mommy (catching a theme here?) while we are at the post office, we can go to the library, but you have to be good there too." We went over this before we left the house and also before we piled out of the van at the post office. Mr. M only needed a little reminder in the post office (after we were waiting in line for a few minutes) and he really wasn't doing anything that I hadn't said he could, he was right next to me rolling his car on the floor, but I knew I had to keep a tight reign or else the car would go flying into or under something and he would be off.
So as we walk in the lady purchasing items and paying at the counter comments in a voice loud enough for ALL in the room to hear, "I'm sure glad I don't have that" and indicates toward us. God weighted down Elizabeth just enough to keep me from bounding over to her and throttling her (nicely of course). Instead I calmly replied, "But they are all blessings!" with a smile on my face. She in turn replies, "Of course they are, but still..." with a sarcastic tone. She continued commenting to the clerk about us or kids, because of the looks she threw our way, but we could no longer hear her comments, thankfully. I think if I had heard any more of her comments we would have left. We already hear, "All they all yours?!", "You have a BIG family!", "How do you handle it?!", "Well, I couldn't do it!" enough when we are out in public all together. I don't want any of my children to feel like they are a burden or in some other way a detractor from a "better" life. I really mean it, children are a blessing!
Back to the post office.. The gentleman in front of us didn't seem to mind our presence and by the time we got to the clerk she was congeenely smiling at us and even commented as we left, "I didn't even know they were down there." Speaking of Mr. M and Mr. T who had sat down on the carpet in front of the counter. I don't know if she was trying to be extra nice because of the other lady or if she really didn't see SIX people walk up to the counter. Anyway, this was the first time EVER that a child wasn't trying to climb the counter, press buttons, pull my clothes off trying to get my attention, yell, touch merchandise, or run away in YEARS! ~sigh of relief~ Thank you, God. We needed that. The library was slightly more turbulent, but considering the precident of previous visits- THEY WERE ANGELS. Even if Elizabeth was singing the whole time- we wanted her to be more verbal...~smile~. Now did we walk away with any books, no. But movies can be educational, right?! Gotta love Babar and Swiss Family Robinson.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What would happen...

...if Elizabeth really isn't hearing impaired?!? We will find out a definitive answer hopefully April 26th. Please pray that we do. Her vocabulary of jabbering noises is improving, but "up" is still her only spontaneous word.
...if Mr. M's RAD meant Redeemed And Delivered? I can pray that it will be so. God can turn what Satan has meant for evil into something very beautiful.
...if one family from each church in the US adopted a child in US foster care? There would be no orphans in this country.
...if I (or you) am willing to set aside my aspirations and focus on what God is calling me to do? The world would be changed.

Go and change the world!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Cost of Adoption

I have heard many people comment on how they want to adopt, but it is so expensive.... Well, we've tallied everything and ...(drum roll)... adopting Elizabeth cost us $1000. With the grants we received, the loan (that has now been repaid in full!) and the US adoption tax credit, our grand total seems fairly minimal to give a child a home that had only known an institution where at age two she was still receiving only bottles. Now the money we have spent on medical testing since she has been home has been substantial, but God again has provided for it.
This is not our first adoption and so though we are not proficient at it we have experienced foster care adoption and now international adoption.
The "real" things that adoption has cost is time (filling out paperwork), energy (a lot of emotions can get involved), effort (you have to make the effort to do the paperwork or to even wait), love (you have to make room in your heart to love even if you are not loved in return) and a willingness to sacrifice more of my time (and sleep) or whatever else is needed so that we can meet the child's needs.
Adoptions can cost from $1000 (domestic foster care) to $40,000 (some international programs). But if God is leading you, He will provide.
I am going to make the comments of this post private so that if you want an excel spreadsheet of all the grants and loans available for adoption that Mr. Incredible compiled you can send me your email and I will send it as an attachment. I have been unable to figure out how I can post it as of yet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Praise Him!

With our tax return Elizabeth is "free and clear". YES!

Dinner for Two, Anyone?

Well, I am a little tardy in bragging about Mr. Z and Mr. J, but better late than never, right?! I had to lay down yesterday afternoon to rest my knee. When I went to get up I was informed that I couldn't. I knew something was up, but we finally reached an agreement that I could be led with eyes closed down the stairs and out to the garage- had to get donations loaded for church garage sale. When Mr. Incredible arrived home we had the "grand" reveal. We found our coffee table covered with a tablecloth (a rarity at our house) moved into our "formal" dining area and shimmed up to table height using kids chairs, laundry baskets and puzzles. The menu consisted mostly of snack food and our standby of cheese burritos, but it was the thought that counted. They even prepared food for their younger siblings, cleaned up the the mess in the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher (even started it without being asked!!!). I felt so blessed that they came up with, executed and cleaned up their plan.
Now it did cost to eat at their restaurant, but they CLEANED UP, this is HUGE! I of course deducted the cost of the food, but they still made $6 to split. I think I made Mr. Incredible's jaw drop by giving up my miserly ways for the night (or at least a few minutes) and gladly paying them. I even made it to the garage sale to drop off the donations, picked up Saxon 8/7 and Alegebra 1 for $4 and made it home in time to give Elizabeth her bottle and rock her before bed. Whew!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Good Day

I finally got my staples out today!!!! And wouldn't you know Mr. Incredible insisted on taking me to the doctor!!!! I drove somewhere last night so I knew I could take myself, but that he wanted to be there to hold my hand...or maybe it was to hear the doctor list what my limitations still are so that he could "gently" remind me to not overdo it. Hmm. Well he was there and before we went to the orthopedic we were able to pick up our prescriptions (for glasses), pick out a pair each and place our order- been needing to be done for several months, if not years in his case. Not bad for 45 min. if I say so myself.
So after all that my head is pounding and he asks if there is anywhere else I want to go. After a brief pause, I say it would be REALLY nice to go to Starbucks for my favorite drink. And he took me! YES!!! Double Bonus!
When we got home and relieved our wonderful babysitter, our tax return was in the mail, 3 weeks earlier than planned! (long story there that I don't even fully understand) So we all pile in the car and this was the wonderful song that was playing as the kids are talking happily and Mr. Incredible is smiling and the sun was at just that perfect angle that makes everything shine in the afternoon sunlight. We made the deposit, picked up our glasses, indulged Mr. M in his request to stop by "the train store", and ate dinner out at Chick-fil-A. Blessed beyond measure tonight and maybe slightly energized from the caffeine, yummy! Life is beautiful.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Forever Family Day, Elizabeth!

It's hard to believe that it has been six months since you joined our family. You have grown physically, emotionally and developmentally. I am looking forward to when you start talking and share the reason for the silly faces you make.
We love you!
Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home and Recovering

Well, you just never know what God can do. The doctor did find lots of torn up cartilage, but my ACL is intact. Don't know if God did some healing, or all the shredded cartilage masked my ACL. Still adjusting to the not so extensive surgery. After a month of thinking one thing and preparing for that, it's been a bit mind boggling to switch gears (the mind numbing pain medication doesn't help either). I will find out next week what recovery will look like, but no leg brace as had been anticipated and no CPM machine to bend my knee, I get to do that all on my own! That should be a joy ;)
I was able to stay awake for the surgery and look at the monitor of what the scope saw and what the doctor did to my knee. It was really neat to see how intricately God made our bodies, we are truly knitted together in our mother's womb.
This morning at 4 am as my soon to come "incompacitation" (sp?) was hitting me I was counting my blessings. 5 beautiful children who are all well and succeeding in school. Mr. Incredible took time off to stay with me today. He has taken on the responsibility of children that aren't even "his" AND he enjoys them. He has set aside his plans to see that I could have my knee repaired in a timely manner instead of making me wait another month (in pain). This afternoon he said he was quite tired, but still planning on attending a rehearsal with Mr. Z to help him in his role of Tom Sawyer, what a man! When I asked why he was tired, he confessed to having been very stressed over my surgery (our last two baby deliveries had some scary moments), but this whole time he has set aside his fears to comfort me and reassure me.
I am so blessed. Thank you for all the prayers.

Into Surgery

Yes, I hijacked my wife's blog and she would not approve of me posting the picture.

She went into surgery about 9:30. The doctor expected 1 to 2 hours. The doctor said Jennifer may be able to watch on the monitor.

We appreciate your prayers.

Jennifer's Note: I made the nurses laugh when I commented on how hospital gowns are the world's greatest equalizer. It's hard to take yourself seriously when a cheek hanging out :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

12 hours and counting

Surgery is tomorrow morning, hmm, not much to say about that.

But the kids have been so nice, I haven't been able to take Advil for a week now and Tylenol just doesn't do the trick.

Anytime I make a noise, Mr. Z asks if I am dying. Not encouraging, but still very thoughtful, I think.

Mr. M came up with a great joke tonight. "Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it wanted to be cute!" This was on the way home from going through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A with chicken in hand. We had wanted to do something easy for dinner and give the kids a treat. So anyway, they got our order wrong and shorted us a fry. Mr. Incredible and I discuss whether to go back through the drive thru or one of us go in... We hear from the back, "don't go through the drive thru, it was very distressing!", Mr. M's impression of the experience. I have no idea how it was distressing, but we gladly didn't go through again after such great verbalization.

Three and a half hours left to eat and drink. Why do I feel the need to gorge myself? I know I will get to eat and drink again, but my brain is in overdrive telling me eat it all, drink it all TONIGHT!!! I am also looking at my unclean house in the mode of guests are coming!! I know they are not, but the thought of not being up to cleaning for a while makes me want to clean. However, my dear body is telling me sleep, rest, pamper your knee, tomorrow will be a long day. So in trying to be in tune with my body. I am off to rest in some manner for some length of time. Ohh, just to be able to take Advil again...

Monday, March 8, 2010

You know your a mom when...

-The task of showering with antibacterial soap for the three days prior to your surgery seems like an insurmountable obstacle. I haven't had showers on consecutive days in YEARS!!!! (with the exception of my trips to China)

-Everyone tells your child how cute they are and you are just some observer to this happening.

- People say you look tired even after a good night's sleep.

- You walk outside to go somewhere and realize that though the kids are dressed, shoes on and decent looking you haven't brushed your teeth, hair and still have your slippers on. Hasn't happened recently, but unfortunately has happened.

- You with your friends and when excusing yourself to go the restroom, you say, "I gotta go pee pee".

Thank you to all the happy birthday wishers. It was my best 25th birthday yet :)
Thank you to all for all your generous offers of help after surgery. I will let you know if we need anything.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We Voted, Bare Bums and All

Oh yeah, we just thought it would be a little challenging to vote with five kids in tow. Little did we know that after "the day" we've had with Mr. M would we end up being even further humbled as parents. The setup: Ran into someone we knew at voting, so I was chatting with them. I had left Mr. M sitting on a rug about 8 ft. behind me, between Mr. Incredible and myself. The crime: Well Mr. M wasn't content to stay on the rug and ran over to a corner of the room (which happened to be a school library) to play with The Cat in The Hat doll. Mr. Incredible already embarrassed that his son was being the most disruptive one in the room (there had already been prancing on a stage as we were signing in), well he walked over to Mr. M and proceeded to take him back to the line in which the rest of the family was waiting in. The inevitable: I finish up my conversation to see Mr. M's bare backside walking back to the line. Apparently Mr. Incredible was oblivious to the fact that Mr. M's pants had fallen down in the 20 ft. walk across the room. Well, at least he had on underwear is all I could say and then proceeded to laugh till I cried because of the absurdity of the situation, we still had to yet vote! Fortunately the others present were oblivious, didn't really care or shared in our "kids do the darndest things" moment. Oh the joy of parenthood!!! :)
P.S. Once Mr. Incredible recovered from mortification he joined in my mirth. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tom Sawyer is in the house!!!

Mr. Z was able to finally audition for our local children's theater company (I've been putting him off for at least a year now) and he got Tom Sawyer in the play Tom Sawyer, think he's gonna be a lead?!
Ah the joy of having a budding actor in our home.

Elizabeth is babbling about a lot of stuff now. In church yesterday she was determined to tell me about her nose and so we went to "our" ottoman in the foyer to listen to the service once again. However, during the Sunday school hour she did go to the two's class!!!! and seemed to do really well. Baby steps.

My surgery is scheduled for March 11th. Be in prayer that my knee will heal quickly.