Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Long and Loaded Mish-Mash!

AAAGGHH! I am so behind. Bad, Blogger! BAD!! I will try to recap as quickly as possible so you won't have to read too much!! Hmm, me tell a short story....good luck!

My Mom had a swallow test and she is improving!!! She is now eating some soft food, graduating slowly to some other foods and still on the feeding tube. We are reducing the amount of food that she gets in the tube. She had an appointment with the oncologist and he said he could NOT be HAPPIER with how well she is doing. She has gained 11 lbs. in a month!! YEAH!!

Also on the family front, my sister, Janie, flew in from San Diego last Thursday and we have been working our tails off to get my parents' house ready to sell. She estimates that we have done a month's worth of work in a week. (Likewise this is a week's worth of posts in ONE!) Purging and painting. The Goodwill will be able to fill a good portion of their store with the items we have donated! I head over when I get off of work every night and we have been staying until about 11:00. I was dreading this project whenever I thought about it, but it is TIME!! I never thought I would be ready for them to move out of this house. They have lived there since 1979!! A lot of history!
My nephew, Matt, has also been a tremendous help! He is fast AND skilled!! :)

On Memorial Day, my brother and his family were on their way back from visiting people in WI and on the way to his in-laws in IA, so we all met at my sister's house in Frederic. This way we could have 4 out of the 5 siblings together and we were able to celebrate my Mom's birthday! AND she got to EAT the ice cream!!

This may seem like a big family, but 16 people (including our 3 children) are not pictured!

Sadly our nearly 15 year old kitty, Nika, took her last breath today. It was really hard. We knew we needed to let her go, but she went on her own, thankfully. Poor thing. We got her as a little teeny kitten in July of 1993. She was a feisty, annoying little stinker, but she was ours! Our orange kitty keeps walking through the house, something he has done when one of our dogs has died (we have adopted 5 dogs over the past 13 years, one of which was 12 when we got him, another who was 8).

With this random collection of what's been goin' on, I had to include a picture of June, our coonhound, caught being naughty. She's just lucky she's cute! That is garbage from the kitchen can collected in her favorite napping spot (!?).

Recently, our program director for Haiti was there adopting her son! She was gracious enough to take some gifts to the children and some pictures for us. Here are Patricia and Philippe looking at the photos and letters we sent. I know I am biased, but aren't they beautiful? Please pray for Philippe as he is still recovering from malnutrition.

Well, that is my week in review! Possibly the most crammed post I have ever done!! Foody Friday has to wait until we get my folks' house on the market, sorry, T.O.!! :) As it is I am losing PRECIOUS beauty sleep to complete THIS post!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sad News from the Chapman Family

From Steven Curtis Chapman's web site:

    Maria Sue Chapman Dies in Accident at Family Home

    NASHVILLE, TN (5/21/08) - At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman, was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family's six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

    More than five years ago, Chapman and his wife MaryBeth founded The Shaohannah's Hope Ministry after bringing their first adopted daughter, Shaohannah, home from China. The ministry's goal is to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption, and has provided grants to over 1700 families wishing to adopt orphans from around the world.
The Chapmans have been an inspiration to us and thousands of other adopting parents. Please remember them in your prayers.

(Left to right Will Franklin, Maria, Steven, Shaoey, Mary Beth, Stevey Joy, Caleb and Emily)

UPDATE: The Chapmans have a special blog post, "In Memory of Maria."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Family Visiting

It has been a fun but busy few days with my brother and his family here from Texas. They are on a break from language school where they are learning Spanish as they prepare for a camping ministry in Mexico. They were also here for my niece's graduation from college.

They were a great help to my parents as we are starting to get their house ready to sell. My sister, Janie, flies in this Thursday and we are going to be painting and painting and did I mention painting? :)

Doesn't my Mama look great? She is coming along so well. We are still praying that she can heal even more so that she doesn't have to stay on the feeding tube. She has a swallow test on Thursday so please pray for that!

Thanks Paul, Roxanne and kids for all you did while you were here!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Chor-us of Snor-es

My orange cat snores nightly. My brown dog never snores. My white husband has his moments. Well, Saturday morning, we had a chorus of snores going on. I woke up to all three snoring in such a musical amalgamation that, even though my eyes were still glued shut and my body was still sleeping, I had a huge smile on my face. Even though it woke me up, I knew that this was one of those little simple pleasures in life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

But Really...

Or Maybe...


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Figured It Out!!

Hitting Interstate 26

Today marks 26 months since we were logged in to China's system. So, we are officially 26 months into our 6-8 month wait! And I am officially 32 months pregnant! Look pretty good for that, don't I? HAHA! I don't know if we would have still decided to adopt from China back in 2005 if we knew Olivia wouldn't come home until 2009, so it is a good thing that God is in charge and gave us the peace in our hearts about this decision.

Some People's Idea of a Happy Mother's Day

Sorry. I couldn't resist calling attention to this bizarre campaign concept:

Anyone else find this ironic?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sad News From China

I'm sure you've all heard the news from China:

    One of the worst earthquakes in decades struck central China on Monday, killing nearly 9,000 people, trapping about 900 students under the rubble of their school and causing a toxic chemical leak, state media reported.

    The 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated a hilly region of small cities and towns in Sichuan and nearby provinces. The official Xinhua News Agency said 8,533 people died in Sichuan alone and dozens of other deaths were reported in surrounding areas.

    Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan county in Sichuan province after the quake, raising fears the overall death toll could increase sharply.

    State media said a chemical plant in Shifang city had cratered, burying hundreds of people and spilling more than 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia from the site.

    The earthquake sent thousands of people rushing out of buildings and into the streets hundreds of miles away in Beijing and Shanghai. The temblor was felt as far away as Vietnam and Thailand.

    (Read the full story here.)
We lift up these people in prayer.

There are many orphanages in the Sichuan Province. We already wonder all the time, "Is Olivia born yet?" and wonder where in China she may be. But now we start to think, could our baby have been in that earthquake? What about all of our friends waiting for their babies to come home?

We have found that the world seems smaller since we decided to adopt. Like during the food riots in Haiti, and now the earthquake in China, we are more aware of world news, and it hits home and touches our hearts more deeply.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reasons Why This is a HAPPY Mother's Day!

MY MOM!!! A home health nurse came by and went over everything with us and she kept looking through the records and looking at my Mom and repeated, "You are just a MIRACLE!" We know it is amazing that my Mom is still alive, and we are so grateful that, for some or maybe many, reasons, the Lord spared her. This is the best Mother's Day gift! The fact that she is HOME for Mother's Day is the icing on the cake! The prayers are that her throat can heal so she can EAT some of that cake! :)

My Dad is an expert on the feeding tube already, and I am an expert on her meds, so we are working it all out - and I am thankful that they live close so I can "buzz over" quickly.

Another reason this is a good Mother's Day is that we have our kids, Philippe and Patricia. We of course are so excited to get word from China about Olivia, but having our Haitian kids' pictures and knowing they know about us has made us feel more positive and hopeful, so this Mother's Day is happier for me than the past two were.
The last reason is that I was brought yummy tea in bed in a new mug from hubby. It is red with black polka dots and has a ladybug teabag holder (in the Chinese adoption community, ladybugs are a sign of "good luck").

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, but especially my fellow adopting moms whose arms are empty today. Hugs to all if I could!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Ok, so I figure that if my niece Jenny can have Monday Madness, Wordless Wednesday, and Foody Friday, I can have Sarcastic Saturday.

Here we go.

"Wait a minute, are you saying I am going to be BUSY when I have three kids? REALLY? So I am going to be 'one busy mama'. Huh! That never occurred to me!"

"Why, YES!! We are adopting three different kids from two different countries because we want to be like Brad and Angelina!"

"YES! We are also adopting because it is TRENDY!! We are just shallow enough to do this. It has nothing to do with wanting to have children or believing that the Lord has called us to adopt. We just want to follow the trends."

"Yes! We are adopting from foreign countries because we don't care about the kids in our own foster system. So now ya know."

Friday, May 09, 2008

Foody Friday: Veggie Tales

If your kids won't eat their vegetables, maybe you can get them to try something else:

Here's the same concept, only these folks, as Emeril might say, kicked it up a notch:

In keeping with today's vegetable theme, here's chef Keith Snow from showing you how to make a grilled veggie sandwich:

See y'all next week!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Free at LAST!

Both my parents have faced such challenges these days!! My Dad just finished with radiation for prostate cancer, and my Mom, well, YOU KNOW!! It has been exactly TWO MONTHS since she started getting sick. But she got to GO HOME today!! I waited to blog until it actually happened just in case! Here she is with her nurses, aides and doc. I just had to focus on her face here, though! Doesn't she look so happy!? I love her cheesy grin!
Tonight we went on a walk - I was SO excited to do that - and what gorgeous weather we had. We stopped next door to see her favorite neighbors, Sharon and Todd. Hi guys!! We love you! Sharon and Todd have been so good to my folks over the years and they are just GREAT neighbors. They were so happy to see Mom! Sharon kept jumping up and down and clapping! :O)
Mama is still improving so much, but unfortunately she still can't swallow properly and is stuck with a feeding tube and ice chips. They sent her home with about 4,000 prescriptions, so I was glad I paid attention a little bit in school so I could sort it all out (with the help of Lee and my Dad). Add to that sorting the generic names with the real names, etc, and I felt a little bug-eyed there for a smidge! All the meds have to be crushed and given in water through the feeding tube so we are getting quite skilled in nursing!! Whew! We got all the meds ready to go for my Dad to administer in the morning so he should be good. I will be going back over there for a while in the evenings (when the feeding starts and meds are administered) until the routine is down! I would rather go there than any hospital!!

THANK YOU again for all the prayers, cards, calls, emails, hugs and lovin'. We all appreciate it so much! Please continue praying for this last hurdle! SWALLOWING! And how about none of y'all take that for granted today!? How often do you thank the Lord that you can SWALLOW? Actually, stick your tongue between your lips and see if you can still swallow! That is one of her homework assignments. I could hardly do it at first, but now, no problem! She will still have out-patient therapy for her throat four times a week. We trust and pray that she will improve so that she doesn't have to remain on a feeding tube for life. GOD BLESS!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Weekend Update

I just spent the most wonderful weekend with my BFF (for those living under a rock, that's Best Friend Forever). Jenny, my niece, came over at about 1:30 yesterday afternoon with her kids and left tonight at about 7:30. Lee was out of town on Saturday for the 10,000 Lakes Division Barbershop competition where his chorus, The Great Northern Union, took the division championship! Jenny's husband, Matt, was also out of town. Jenny helped me clean my house which was a wonderful gift. Visiting my Mama so much and then being sick myself the past two weeks, my house has been very neglected. There were dust bunnies that could have passed for full-fledged critters!

This afternoon we picked up my Mama from the hospital and we went to the Goodwill and a garage sale. Yes! That is her standing on her own and walking around!! She is really improving but we still need her to get her swallowing mechanism working better. Isaac fell asleep in the car on the way so he finished his nap in the cart! :)

After we dropped my Mom off, we went back to our house for dinner. The girls had a great time playing outside. They love to follow Abby around the yard, and the feeling is mutual. They all three get along really well! (June got a little too excited and was relegated to her "room". Come on, is anyone surprised?)

Isaac got a little lawnmower at the garage sale and I took a little video of that, but for some reason it won't upload. Will post later. This is another video I took of Uncle Lee tickling Isaac and Isaac signing "more". It was the perfect ending for the day.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Foody Friday - Desserts!!

Here we go - Foody Friday! Yes, I did say that I am not a very good cook, but folks, I sure can LAYER! Here is one of my staples for any party. Easy Peasy. ALWAYS a hit. I love it when I go up to get my dish at the end of a party and mine is the only one scraped clean.

The TRIFLE. You can buy a trifle dish at Target, Linens and Things, etc. You can't go wrong. I will start with the Triple Berry Trifle.
You can use pound cake or angel food cake. I always use angel food cake and just rip it all up into chunks.

Use whatever berries you want. In the winter, I use a couple of packages of frozen berries - strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. In the summer, I use fresh berries.

You can make some fancy custard if you like more work, but what I do is buy cool whip and a container of pre-made vanilla pudding. I mix the two together. People have asked me for the recipe of my "custard" - haha.

Layer all of these ingredients - cake, puddin', berries; cake, puddin', berries. If I have it, I drizzle strawberry extract on the cake layers before putting the puddin' on. That is it. Save some of the puddin' mix for and some of your prettiest berries for the top. If you have mint in your garden, throw some of that on the top, too. Hey, I can't cook, but I can embellish! If you buy the angel food cake already made at the store this is even easier to make and if you forgot you had to bring something to that potluck, this throws together really fast, too.

Ok, now on to the Oreo Chocolate Trifle. A different kind of YUM.
Make a chocolate cake. If you like mocha flavored stuff, replace the water in the cake with coffee. You can also drizzle coffee on the cake a little, too. Or don't.

After the cake has cooled, rip it all up.

So this is how hard this one is. Cake, chocolate puddin', cool whip, crushed Oreo cookies; cake, chocolate puddin', cool whip, crushed Oreo cookies, etc. (or really, whatever order you like). If you don't have cool whip it is just as good without, but I think it is prettier with it in there. Save some of the Oreo crumble for the top. You can replace Oreo with Heath toffee chips (sold like chocolate chips now), peanut butter cups, or whatever floats your boat!

Yum! Yum! Enjoy!

Mama Update

Mom had a "swallow study" done this morning and she has improved, so this is an answer to prayer. It wasn't a perfect test, but it was better. She is still on a feeding tube because the muscles in her throat are not working properly as a result of the ventilator tube and trach that were necessary at the time.

We are still asking for prayer that she continues to heal so that she can go back to regular food. If this doesn't heal, she will have to remain on a feeding tube for life. Thank you for your prayers and please keep 'em coming.
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