Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miscellaneous Update

After Moriah's Dr. appointment, we
checked out the new American Girl
Doll store in Denver. Kimberly kept
saying, "Why didn't they put this in
a few years ago?? Moriah loved the
Bitty Baby section. (Andy's mom went
with us.)

We went to the Broadmoor with Andy's folks
for a Mother's Day dinner. I am so blessed to be
called "mom" by these four.

Lip stick girl. She knows she is allowed to
use this clear one.

Looking at flowers from our tree.

The grass is green now and the flowering tree in the front yard is in full bloom. It still seems cold to me, though; even this morning our furnace was running steadily. I had the fireplace on this week as a few snow flurries flew through the air. That is spring in Colorado! The weather never stops my boys from playing outside. They have been using their super-soaker squirt guns even when they have to have a coat on!

We are nearing the end of our school year. I have been reflecting on how far we've come. There are some goals that we have not met, but all of us have grown in many ways this year, so I am thankful. Both of the boys have made huge strides in math and language arts. Kimberly has almost finished her year of on-line school. She has gained a great deal of independence. We have worked really hard and we are so ready for a break.

Moriah is finding out that she is not in charge of the household. She was so mellow during the first year and a half that we had her that I was beginning to wonder if she would ever go through that defiant toddler stage. I didn't need to wonder for long. She is definitely trying to be more independent and is testing lots of limits. I remember with all of the children that the defiance increases with the vocabulary, and that has certainly been true for her. She is talking a lot now. We love the funny things she says. She puts an "um" on the end of a lot of words. Such as "read a book-um" or "have a snack-um." She has also learned lots of words from the older kids. "Dat is totawy awethom (totally awesome) "

We had our typical three month x-rays and appointment with the surgeon to check on Moriah's back last week. We were happy to find out that the curve in her spine has not progressed. Our physical therapist is convinced it's because of all the work we've been doing to strengthen the muscles in her back. We will go to Denver again next month to meet with a group of doctors who are traveling here from all over to see patients. They are all amazingly accomplished pediatric orthopedists, so we feel honored that they will look at our girl. This is the first time that Moriah has had the vocabulary to express her feelings about this whole routine. When we came home, I was looking at some x-ray pictures on the computer and she said, "That Mei-Mei's back. That scary! I don't like those pictures!" We just try to remind her that God made her just right and that we love her very much.

A couple of weeks ago, Andy's great-aunt Ruth died at the age of 93. She died at home peacefully resting in her easy chair. Even though she had suffered in recent years with heart problems, she was able to stay fairly active right until the end. Her mind also stayed very sharp. We went with Andy's parents just about a year ago to visit her. How thankful we are now that we did that! The kids loved meeting her. We will always remember laughing with her about the man who tried to ask her out on a date at the gas station. He was in his 60's and he was a little shocked when she told him she was in her 90's! She took us to Salvation Army where she loved to shop. She was a spunky, funny delightful, kind, generous woman who will be missed very much.

I have been thinking about how the pressures of the normal routine are used by God to refine me as much as some big trial. Just being faithful in the daily stuff is hard sometimes. But every time I cry out to the Lord, He answers with renewed energy and strength...not my own, but His. With that thought, I'd better get this day started. Homeschooling and laundry await!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Precious moments seem to come and go through the course of every ordinary day. How often it is easier for me to focus on my worries or frustrations rather than treasuring these moments for what they are: gifts from God.

As I type Moriah is snuggled on my lap...still her favorite place to nap. Someday, she'll be too big to snuggle here. So I will treasure this today. The lunch dishes still sit. The laundry isn't done. The school books are still all over the table. But I want to treasure this moment.

Another moment to treasure (or at least to laugh about) happened yesterday when we were in the car. Caleb has a Beetles song on his i-pod. So he asked me, "when were the Beetles popular?" I answered that they were popular about the time that I was born, or maybe a little before. "Really?" he said, "I didn't think they were that maybe they were popular about the time you and Dad met." It's funny to hear their perspective of time.

One more moment that I am holding in my heart today: Last night Josiah was reading Moriah a book about Chinese New Year. The words were a little hard for him, but he was really trying to read it with expression. It was cute and she was loving every minute of it. Both of my boys need a real reason to read. I love that Josiah is starting to see that it is fun to read and not just a school assignment.

Yesterday a woman at Moriah's physical therapy asked about our family. She said, "Those three all look like they go together, that one looks a little different, and none of them look like you!" Kimberly thought it was a little offensive, but I knew she didn't mean to be rude. And I felt happy to explain that "those three" don't look like me, even though they're biologically mine, because of their handsome half-Chinese father, and that "this one" is mine by adoption. I am so blessed by all of them.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birthdays and Other Daily Blessings

Kimberly's slumber party friends with the ugly
cake that I made. It tasted good...but it sure
looked terrible.

Moriah is Picasso in the making! She stuck
with this project for close to an hour.

Happy Third Birthday, Moriah!!

It has been such a long time since I have made time to post some pictures. We are all still alive...and thriving at that. December flew by in a blur. January is gone, too. On to February!!

Some recent highlights: we celebrated Moriah's Birthday on February 2nd. It was fun because she was so excited about everything this year. She had been talking about her Birthday for days. "Mei Mei presents?" "Mei Mei Balloons?" She loved being the center of attention. We made a simple flower cake and hung balloons. My parents came over to share the evening with us. The only bad part of the day was that Josiah was sick with a bad cold. He lay wrapped in a blanket on the couch through the whole evening. You know he is sick when he doesn't even want cake and ice cream! Due to his sickness, Andy's parents opted to celebrate with Moriah another day. We have decided to get a boquet of flowers each year to honor Moriah's birth parents and all of those who cared for her before she was ours. She doesn't really understand it now, but we hope someday that it will be meaningful to her.

Way back in December, we took a quick trip with Moriah to Shriner's hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. We wanted to get another opinion about her spine. The doctor we saw is world renowned for spine care for kids. He was kind, humble and gracious. He felt that we should stick with the surgeon in Denver and confirmed that it is ok to wait awhile for surgery if we keep careful track of her spine with frequent x-rays. After traveling in snow going to Salt Lake and coming home, the idea of staying in Denver for her care was quite appealing. We felt very good about our trip and the confirmation that it gave us. So, last week we returned to the surgeon in Denver for x-rays. It was good to talk with him again. He was glad that we went to Salt Lake and talked with us some more about the various specialists who have looked at Moriah's case and all of their opinions. The good news from the x-rays was that her spine is mostly unchanged since October. We are hopeful that it will continue to progress slowly (or not at all!) and that we can continue to postpone surgery. The physical therapists has been working so hard with her. She is using muscles in her back that have really improved her appearance and flexibility. Another area of growth this time was that she was absolutely silly while they were trying to take the x-rays. In the past, she has been very flat-faced and distant. It made it easy to take pictures, but showed me that she was anxious and uncomfortable. This time, she kept giggling and wiggling. The x-rays were more challenging, but it illustrates how much more comfortable she is becoming in all kinds of different situations. So we will press on with therapy and x-rays every 3-4 months for now.

Kimberly celebrated her twelfth birthday on December 28th. This year she decided to have a New Year's Eve slumber party to celebrate. We got lots of poppers and confetti and sparkling cider which the girls enjoyed at midnight. We had fun snack-type foods and the girl's did a craft and watched a movie. They all had a great time...though cleaning up the confetti from the yard the next morning wasn't so fun! Kimberly is blessed with really nice friends from church. They are always a delight to have around.

We are pressing on with school for the older kids. This is a hard time of year to stay motivated. We have been at it for a long time, but we still have a long way to go! The boys and I are enjoying our study of botany this year, but talking about flowers and trees sure makes me eager for spring! We have decided that Kimberly's current method of school (on-line school) is not the best fit for her. We are looking into other options for her for next year. She longs for more direct instruction from expert teachers and more time with peers. Currently, she is on the waiting list for a classical charter school.

The boys have become lego experts. They used to need Andy to help them with complicated creations...but not any more! They have recently built about 17 sets of legos between the two of them. (All of them gifts for Christmas). The challenge now is how to store these large creations without letting them get broken. We have a medieval village, a large crane, several star wars ships, a plane, a fire truck, a semi truck with a race car...perhaps we have some future engineers on our hands.

Even the monotony of the routine is a blessing when I remember that God is sovereign over all of our days. The discipline of staying positive and focused in the ordinary is a process of Spiritual growth for all of us. It's not that life is dull around here...four kids make that impossible! We are always laughing (or crying) about something! We are thankful for the good gifts the Lord gives us each day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Out of the Mouth of Babes

This was a comment that was shared on in response to an unkind comment that was made toward their newly-adopted daughter from China. I loved this response and thought it was worth sharing. We have received a few insensitive comments ourselves toward Moriah. I hope that I am able to prepare her to respond with wisdom in those situations.

The family who writes on a place called simplicity truly have an amazing story. We met the father at one of our adoption classes while we were waiting for Moriah. It is a wonderful story of God's faithfulness through very difficult trials.

Our daughter Abby has a physical disability since she had brain surgery at 3. We have had to teach her from the very beginning how to handle questions from people. I didn't realize how much we had prepared her until about a year after her surgery and we were on her make a wish trip to Disney. We were actually visiting Universal that day, and it was VERY hot, and being with a make a wish kid we got to skip the line and go to straight to the front of a ride. The people had obviously been waiting a long time, and the man who was first in line was none to pleased. You can't see her disability unless she is walking, etc. and she was 4 and in a stroller. He started cursing loudly and talking about how unfair it was that we got to cut because their was nothing wrong with anybody in our group. My tiny little 4 yo stood up, put her good hand on her hip and said (with speech difficulty - couldn't say r), "I am on my make a wish twip. I had bwain surgery and work real hard for my body to work. My bwain is bwoken, but yours is just mean and wude - and you shouldn't say those words." The rest of the line clapped, but that man turned bright red, and had to walk away. We saw him in the park later and he apologized.