Monday, January 30, 2012

Grocery Store Conversations

While some of you will find this humorous I am simply writing this out so I can remember this grocery shopping trip forever! The vast range of topics while shopping with a little girl is quite astounding! And the energy with which she shops is also astounding!

I don't even know if I would classify Eden's chatter as a conversation as it was pretty much one sided. I may or may not have caught a glimpse of what Mark must feel like on any given day. Lots of chatter and equally as many topics! It went something like this:

Eden: "I think Hannah is going to look so cute when she gets married. Do you think I will go to the wedding?"
Me: "Of course! We will all go to the wedding to see Aunt Hannah get married."
Eden: "Someday a big boy will want to marry me and give me a ring. Where do you think I will live when I get married? And then I will have a baby. Where do you think I will live when I have a baby?" The questions kept coming in rapid succession and I have forgotten them unfortunately.

We saw a beautiful African American woman at the store who was really done up nice! Eden kept looking at her when we would pass her and I wondered what she was thinking. Didn't have to wait too long.

Eden: "I like how she shakes her butt when she walks."
Me: "Huh?"
Eden: "Well her butt is pretty big and when she walks it shakes!" Complete with hand motions showing me just how large she thought her backside was. I really tried to avoid her in the remaining aisles in hopes that Eden would keep her opinions quiet. Although it was all I could do to not laugh out loud.

Eden: "That guy is really old. He can't even stand up straight." Lord have mercy and just get me out of the store already.

Eden: "God created everything! And He lives in our hearts, right? Jesus is God's Son, right? And Jesus is also a present for us, right?"

Eden: "I can't wait to go to Hannah's wedding! I will give her a hug there. "

And then she came home and informed her brothers that they would be going to Aunt Hannah's wedding. And so we talked about weddings again for a very long time. She has been to one wedding and it left a huge impression on her. Watching her Aunt Hannah get married will be a huge deal to her!

I know I am forgetting a lot of things but the main thing to her was Aunt Hannah's wedding! Which is quite a while from now so I am sure we are going to rapidly reach the point where it is no longer that endearing to talk about wedding stuff! We also stopped at the doctor for him to recheck her. Her lungs sound crystal clear and her ears are good! Pneumonia and infections are gone! Woohoo!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Birthdays and More

The first order of business is letting you all know we are up and running again at this house. It was hands down two of the craziest weeks we have had in a long time. And quite possible ranks as the craziest two weeks of all time! Within 4 days this week we had the following: Judah in the ER all night with a virus that seemed to center on his liver. Shane diagnosed with asthma so the medicine regimen has begun and we are already seeing results. Thank you Jesus! Tristan with zero appetite and an ear infection. Eden with a raging double ear infection as well as pneumonia. Heidi with just fever and crabbiness! Judah's liver enzyme levels are back to normal (whoot), Eden seems to be much better and overall order seems to be returning. We have spent quite a bit of quality time with the doctor this week with a few more appointments over the next week and a half to follow up with Eden and Shane. So thankful at this point for medicine that has helped us all recover relatively unscathed!

We celebrated a birthday in the midst of everyone being sick which is always fun! This is Shane's last year in the single digits. We can all shed a tear over the fact that my boys seem to be turning into young men right in front of my eyes! Shane has had some attitude issues lately which we are hoping he is reserving for us and not his teacher or classmates at school. I told him today I am about to sit on him in hopes that all his internal frustrations and attitudes will leave him in one giant fart as I squeeze the air out of him! He told me he hopes it stinks. I assured him that if it smells at all like his stinky attitude lately it will not disappoint in the smell category! Someone help!!
He chose his favorite past time of bowling for his birthday date with Mark and I. We took him out for dinner and then to the lanes for a couple of games. I chose to sit the games out and watch this time since a majority of that day I had been in the bathroom spending quality time with the toilet. He refused to cooperate with my attempts at photographing his date so I have nothing but a few blurry pictures as he dodged the camera! He is still my sweet boy who loves to snuggle on the couch! He is an absolute treasure and a young man who has the tenderest of hearts that we pray continues to be soft and pliable in the Father's hands!
And then there is Heidi who is determined to dress herself most days in the most interesting of combinations. On Monday when I took her to the doctor she chose to wear leopard print pants with blue/yellow striped shorts over top of them. I am past the point of caring what people really think of how my children are dressed. Then I went to Target a few days later and realized that mix-matched prints and colors is the new thing! Heidi is on top of her game after all! She is cutting edge and I just didn't know.
Sisters! If only they always hugged and looked this sweet. Wouldn't that be nice?
Have I said lately how much I love having little girls? This little lady is almost enough to make you rethink your position on having more children. Except for the antagonistic streak that seems to fuel her interactions with her siblings. She is a hand full at this stage of her little life.
We are doing well and enjoying the strange weather this winter. Although I find my heart already yearning for spring. I watched the birds in our yard this morning and could almost feel spring. I know we have a lot of winter to endure yet but before long my kids will be running out the door in their bare feet to run free! I am dreaming of my garden, getting my hands in the soil, hanging laundry on the line, throwing frisbee, breathing deep and being energized by the newness of life that comes with spring!
My confession of the day is this: an almost suffocating desire to breathe in the beautiful Ethiopian air! Maybe it is knowing my mother is going to be there within 2 weeks with my brother. Maybe it is feeling an undeniable stirring that we may have another child in that beautiful land. More than anything it is a desire to experience again the simplicity of living life without all the stuff that clutters and consumes my life. Unless you have experienced the beauty that comes from people who have nothing yet smile in the face of uncertainty you cannot grasp how simply we can live and still be fulfilled! Stuff, things, homes, clothes, latest fashion.....none of it is lasting. People, relationships, children.....this is where life is found! I just love the people of Ethiopia and cannot wait to return. I have this feeling it will be sooner rather than later.
It really hit me again on Sunday morning as Judah and I were leaving the hospital and we saw the big old news vans in the parking lot. I knew Joe Paterno was on the brink of death and almost a stone's throw away from the hospital is the huge stadium that was built in large part due to his commitment to his players and the university. The reality was so vivid to me in that moment. He has left an amazing legacy and impacted more people than can be counted. The huge stadium is testament to his work. And this is cliche' and we have heard it a million times. But it all stayed here as he left this world for eternity. When we stand before God it is not about what we have managed to amass. It is all about how we have loved others, given to others and served them! May I be found faithful on my day of passing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sick House

Normally we sail through winter dodging the major flu bugs and illnesses that seem to make their rounds. We have our occasional ear infection and a smattering of colds but nothing that warrants too many doctor visits. We have been to the doctor so much lately that yesterday the doctor joked with me about us having our own personal room with pictures of the kids faces on the different colored flags outside the door. He said we wouldn't even have to call to make an appointment. Just come in, pick out which kid needed to be checked, flip out their flag and wait for him to come in.

There has been so much sickness in this house over the past week that I can't even remember the timeline of things anymore. Suffice it to say that I am getting quite tired. I will highlight the main things. The three younger ones started with high fevers about 10 days ago. The fever only lasted for a little over 24 hours but they also got awful, gross looking sores on their tongues. The sores made it difficult and nearly impossible to eat. About the time they all started seeming better Mark got hit with a nasty flu bug. Or so we thought. Today is day 7 for him and it is the first day that he has felt even a tinge of energy. Throw in 2 different snow storms in the middle of Mark not feeling well and he was pretty run down.

Thursday of last week Judah started running fever and having diarrhea. By Saturday night he was having severe stomach pains that were waking him up. I was waiting for Mark to get home from plowing (he had left at 4:00 that morning) and about the time he got home Judah vomited a lot! His pain continued even after the huge puke fest so I loaded him up and headed to the ER at 11:00. We arrived back home at 6:15 Sunday morning. Fun times pulling an all nighter at the ER in their uncomfortable chairs. After having numerous tests to rule out appendicitis they found that his liver enzymes were very elevated. They didn't ever tell me what levels they were at. They just said they were alarmingly high! Awesome, right? He had a full Hep panel done and we got the results back today! Everything was negative!! So thankful. He will be rechecked tomorrow by the pediatrician and have blood work done to see how his liver is functioning. What they have concluded is he had a bad virus that attacked and inflamed his liver. He was also very dehydrated from such severe diarrhea so he had iv's during his hospital visit. He seems to be on the mend and is in school today! So very grateful he is doing better.

Rewind to yesterday. Heidi had a recheck on her ears since she had an ear infection a month ago. We sure do love the doctor!! Sunday night Eden and Tristan were both crying about their ears so it was decided they should also be checked. Tristan is a breath away from a double ear infection. We will watch him and if his fever gets higher than 101 I am going to call the doctor and he will just call in a script for him. He has a possible sinus infection too.

Eden was bouncing off the floors and walls quite literally while in the exam room. She didn't look an ounce of sick. I felt slightly crazy telling the doctor she had been crying the night before about her ear. She had just been in to see him a little over a week ago for a follow-up appointment after her asthma diagnosis a month ago. We walked out of the doctor's office yesterday with a little girl, who according to him and the help of some x-rays, had a raging double ear infection and significant pneumonia! Oh my goodness!! I almost cancelled her appointment because she didn't look remotely sick. He looked equally as dumb founded after checking her.

Those are some of the highlights. Today I am running a low grade fever which doesn't surprise me at all!! There hasn't been an abundance of sleep for me over the past week. I am the only one that has come through things relatively unscathed which is only God's grace! I do think we are through the worst of it and are on the upside of things. Although Shane is home today with a low grade fever and stomach pains. I thought he was over his sickness!

The doctor told me yesterday that for a mom of 5 sick kids and 1 sick husband I was remarkably cool, calm and collected. I told him that at 5:30 Sunday morning in the ER I so badly wanted to cry. I was so very tired and knew in that moment that I could either laugh or cry at the situation. I chose to laugh at the absurdity of it all. I may still end up crying at some point but up until now I have literally felt sustained by God's grace! Cannot say thank you enough to all who have offered to help in whatever way we need help! It is so encouraging to see the Body at work!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Good Mix

We have been battling fevers, colds and a strange virus that produces sores on tongues for the past week. Now the flu bug seems to have hit the main man of the house much to my dismay. There are always bright moments in the midst of the yuck. And my bright moment has been Tristan's fascination with the whole phenomenon of puking. I guess it has been so long since someone has had the pukes that he doesn't really know what it is. He has been wanting to watch his dad vomit which I have strongly advised against. He wants to know what puke looks like. (his words not mine) He seems to prefer the word puke to the more socially acceptable word vomit.

On to the more fun parts of life and things I am thankful for:

* thankful that Judah, Shane and I have dodged the fever, flu and ugly tongue sores so far.

* kind of in shock that I have a child old enough to be seeing an orthodontist for a consultation.

* I love that my littlest guy comes to tell me that he just did a "God bless you."

* the excitement that is building on the eve of Shane's birthday. Everyone loves birthdays around here even when it isn't their own.

* hearing Eden say tonight that she wishes she were a boy and brown so that she could just get haircuts and not have to get her hair combed. (I think she likes being brown)

* God's provision in so many ways but especially in friendships

* thankful for friends who invite our loud and crazy crew to their house and act like we are normal. (we have seriously had like 5 invites recently)

* looking forward to a date night soon with my hubby thanks to the kindness of friends who have offered to watch our kids for us (this has happened before too)

So much to be thankful for and right now the main thing that I am thankful for is 5 children asleep in their beds and 1 husband asleep in his bed. And I think I will opt for the couch in hopes that I will avoid his lovely illness.

And lastly, tonight I pulled out a bad of Cheetos for Shane since he specifically asked for them for his birthday. I was planning on the kids snacking on them while we played Clue. I opened them, ate a few (or a few handfuls), put them on the table and then wanted to puke. Notice the theme here. Apparently we have a mouse in the downstairs pantry area that decided to chew a hole through the bag and help themselves. Unfortunately I was oblivious to this little rodents snack until I had eaten some. So gross!!! I will be buying a brand new bag for a happy and then suddenly disappointed boy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


(This picture is 1 1/2 years old but one of my favorites!)

From the time I was a young girl I thought having twins would be wonderful. Clearly this was before I really understood how much work is involved with taking care of a baby. Fast forward quite a few years and I was experiencing pregnancy for the first time. We found ourselves in the doctors office one afternoon looking at an ultrasound screen and saw two little babies on the screen. I was shocked and elated! A week later we said good-bye to those two little ones. Miscarriage is a tricky road to navigate. And the pain was even greater as I had thought my dream of having twins was going to come true.
Fast forward 12 years and I have two sets of twins! Let me explain. In so many ways Tristan and Eden operate as twins. They are inseparable and spend most waking moments together. Sure there is fighting. But there is also plenty of laughter and play between the two of them. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would have two so close in age when we started our adoption process. They are only 2-3 months apart even though their birthdays say otherwise.
Tonight they are having a sleep over in the girls room. This is becoming the routine around here. Eden usually makes a bed with blankets on the floor next to Tristan's bed and they have a sleep over. Tonight they wanted to do something different so he is tucked in between the girls beds. I may even end up sleeping in their room tonight since Heidi is running a fever and I am sure she will want me to sleep with her at some point. Which means over half the family will be in one bedroom tonight!! Who needs extra bedrooms?
I tell these two that they are twins just born six years apart. They too are pretty inseparable. Most nights as I tuck Shane in bed Heidi climbs in to snuggle with him.
She misses her Shane so very much while he is gone at school! When she sees him get off the bus she starts waving and calling for him! He gets the sweetest smile every time he sees her frantic waves.
Turns out I have blessed with twins more than once! Just a bit more unconventional. But blessed none the less!

Monday, January 9, 2012

4 Years Ago Today...... the first I knew of this sweet babe's life. I remember every detail so vividly. Hard to believe we are celebrating this 4 year anniversary! I made sure to tell Eden the significance of today, take her hands and thank God for protecting her and preserving her life! She promptly apologized for "talking ugly" to me today for which I forgave her. Progress people!

My life has been changed far more than I could ever have imagined by Eden! And I am grateful for every single lesson I have learned. Feeling very blessed today!