Sunday, October 26, 2014

What if?

What if 5 years ago we wouldn’t have said yes to Shuang Shuang’s referral?

Where would this little one be?

Dang Shuang Shuang 10-27-09

Five years ago today our lives changed forever.

It was a rough start……


But after an hour (or so) of full blown thrashing around and screaming BOO (which equals NO in Chinese) this sad and angry little girl transformed into a totally different little girl.


But even though Shuang Shuang was smiling and bellying laughing now….she still needed to control the show.  Her whole life, as she knew it, was turned upside down on that “gotcha” moment.  She now was stuck with a red headed Mama with blue eyes and so she still needed to be in control of some thing's in her life, you could see it in her attitude even if we couldn’t understand what she was saying!

You could just tell there was an underlying distrust there.

But as she started to let her guard down she began to trust us.  Step by step. Moment by moment.


Being the little sister the boys all wanted she was totally totally doted on and loved.

(I can’t get over how young the boys look!)


Upon receiving her family on October 26th, 2009 she not only received a Mama and Baba, who were instantly in love with her, but she also got 3 big brothers who thought she was the cutest thing e.v.e.r.


She liked the play phone right away and she still grabs her Daddy’s phone every night when he gets home and messes around on it. She is my “electronics” girl.



We had a special time this afternoon looking through our pictures from our trip and reminiscing.  It is so hard to believe it has been 5 years since Lena became a part of our family.

In a lot of ways it seems like just yesterday.  But then some days it feels like she has always been a part of us.


It has been a joy to watch her grow and gain confidence from having a family who loves her.

She now has peace.  And security. 

Something all children should be able to have.

Everyone tells you that Chinese kids love congee.  It is a watery rice dish.  So I got Lena that the first time we went out as I thought she would  eat it up.



Just give me noodles mom!!!!!


And not much has changed from 2009.  She LOVES her noodles. 

So we had them for supper tonight and just felt so blessed that we have been called to parent this precious young lady.


Lena changed me.

She made me a better Mom.

She taught me be more compassionate and slow down and enjoy the little things of life.

She taught me that real love isn’t just a blood relation but something that is born in your heart.

She taught me that kids are resilient and that there are a lot more kids in need of forever families.

She tuaght me that even if a relationship gets off to a rocky start it can turn into something beautiful.


It is a joy and honor to have her call me Mom.


As she went to bed tonight she gave me a huge hug and told me, “Today was so special.”


Just like you sweetheart.  Just like you.

Friday, October 24, 2014

CP Sucks

We have a rule around here that you aren’t allowed to say something “sucks.”

It just doesn’t sound very nice coming out of a little girls mouth!

But with having big brothers (who aren’t perfect….can you believe that?!!?) you might still hear that word around here from time to time.

So why pick the title that I did???

Well, becuz this week I had a nice long chat with Miss Josie.


She has been moody and giving us (and her nurses and teachers) an attitude. You can just hear it in her tone of voice.

So I sat her down….and after she got through her bumbling, messy, not pretty cry fest she was actually able to put into words how she is feeling.

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(Now I still think that at least half of these issues are hormonal related. And the above picture was back from 2012….but the expressions haven’t changed.)

It boils down to: She is frustrated.

She is frustrated that her body doesn’t work the way the rest of ours do.

She is frustrated that school is getting hard and the things aren’t coming as “easy” as they were before.

(She is on a K level for math and a 1st grade level for reading to give you an idea of where she is at.)

But she tries soooo very hard. And she puts soooo much pressure on herself and hates when she gets things wrong.

So we talked about it and I told her that she shouldn’t get frustrated, that school is the place where she is to learn, if she knew everything she wouldn’t have to go to school.  (And since she loves school that made sense to her.)

And I told her that if she is frustrated she is to use her words and ask for help.  She should not start crying and giving people attitude.

She seemed to understand what I was trying to tell her.

And then I told her that if she gets really frustrated with her body that she should just say, “Having CP sucks.”

Becuz you know what?

It does.

So let’s just call it for what it is.

She smiled at that but then I reminded her that Jesus can heal her body.  But until He does we need to just keep plugging along and trying to accept these limitations.


It is really hard for her living with siblings that are all able-bodied.  She realizes and knows that her sisters have passed her in reading.  She knows that she just can’t do everything.  She wants to be able to run around with her sibs.  And some would say, “Well, just push her outside and let her watch.”

That is harder on her then if we have her do something she can do and enjoys doing.  (i.e. the ipad or building legos)

One part of this journey that is (very) hard is that everyone has an opinion or judges the way we do things.

Just this week her teacher flat out told me that she doesn’t agree with one of the decisions I made concerning Josie and the cafeteria line.

Well, you know what??

I’m her mom. So what I decide goes.

And then at Josie’s IEP meeting this week we were going over Josie’s goals and such (these meetings are so painful) and Mrs. Kline wanted to have Josie go to the “regular” 5th grade art class.  The whole “inclusion” idea.

Now imagine me sitting at a table with 3 therapists, a psychologist, Josie’s teacher and the SN coordinator from our home district….so lots of “experts” around little old Mom who doesn’t “know anything.”

Well. I kindly but boldly stated that I did not agree with this decision.  Josie already struggles with not being able to do what the other able-bodied kids are doing already.  She already puts so much pressure on herself and then for her to be pulled out of the class that she LOVES and can SHINE in to a class of “typical” 5th graders…that just wouldn't be helpful or good for Josie.

And you know what the “experts” said??

“Oh, wow, we didn’t think of it that way.”

“ That is a great point, I can see how it wouldn’t be healthy for her.”

“We agree with you, we will keep her in her lifeskill class fulltime.”

Why, thank you for agreeing with the woman who isn’t an “expert,” who doesn’t have the “degree” but just has some Mama instincts and some common sense to go along with it.

Still not everybody agrees with the decisions we make or the way we do things.

(And trust me, they let me know!)

But I know that I know that we make decisions and do things a certain way for the health of our WHOLE family unit. And also what is best for Josie.

For someone looking in from the outside it can look like Josie isn’t included in everything….and unfortunately it is impossible for her to be able to do everything the other kids can do. 

Is she sad that she can’t do it all?


It sucks.

But she knows that she gets to do different things and we make her special things, special.


And unfortunately it is something that she will have to come to terms with….

Unless God heals her soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just when I thought….

she couldn’t get any cuter.


She goes and gets her first puppy cut.


But getting all prettied up is tiring I guess…..


all she wants to do it sleep this afternoon.

I wish I could join her.  It is so dreary here.  55 degrees and rainy.

She is the needed sunshine in my days.

If you are local I would highly recommend Funky Pup Grooming in E-town.

Tiffany was very nice and Willow came home smelling soooo good.

She is getting lots of snuggles, which is pretty normal…..


‘cuz who can resist this face?

Monday, October 20, 2014


So guess whose birthday it is today?!!?!


This guy.

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Logan turned fourteen years old as of 7:55 am this morning!

He was born, at home, after many painful hours of labor.  He was “supposed” to be “easy” as Jared took just 2 pushes and was came out to greet the world.  Easy-peesy (as far as labors go!)

But Logan decided to greet the world coming out face first.  He wanted to see where he was going. And I’m sure he was wondering what the world he would now eat, in this brand new world, as he was leaving his comfortable little womb which has a direct feeding line attached to him.

This boy does like to eat.

And he loves pineapple.  So for his birthday cake he asked me to make a pineapple upside down cake.


I had never made one before. 

And guess what?!?! 

He didn’t like it!!! lol

It called for almond extract so I think he didn’t like that flavor.  But Steve loved it and I had made a back up chocolate cake dessert just in case the pineapple cake flopped!

We had a fun and special day just lovin’ on Logan and celebrating his day.

(We celebrated last evening as it was easier being a Sunday night.)

His G & G couldn’t come over since they are off tripping through the US of A.  They checked off an item on their bucket list.  They have now been to ALL 50 states!!!  We are ready for them to come home though!

But Grandma had his present waiting for him to open.  And he loved his new computer gaming mouse!

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It is pretty sweet having big brothers who now have paying jobs and get you sweet birthday gifts!

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Travis had gotten a new phone a few months ago and decided to give Logan his old iphone 4S.

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Logan was shocked!

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Now that calls for a hug!

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Too bad it is just a “glorified” ipod as we don’t get the boys a cellphone line until they are 16.  But he is having fun with it and can get some of the apps and games he has been wanting.

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Uncle Persy and Aunt Joy had come over to take some pictures with the boys so they stayed for the party then which was quite fun and we laughed a lot!

On August 22nd they celebrated their 5th year wedding anniversary.  And they decided it would be fun to do “re-do” their wedding photos.

It was a fun thing to do….albeit it SOOO cold out!


My goodness how the boys have grown in 5 years!!!!!



And to think we have have added 3 more kids since the wedding!!?!?


We actually had received Lena’s referral the day before Joy and Brandon’s wedding.  We were supposed to be at rehearsal but we just couldn’t as we had to decide if we were going to accept the referral of a sweet little girl named Dang Shuang Shuang.  It wasn’t Li Li’s file so had some processing to do…..

Dear Steven & Lynnea,

Here is the information on Dang Shuang Shuang.  She was born on February 5, 2006, and has cerebral anoxia and infant cerebral palsy. Please look over her information and let me know if you would like to consider adding her to your family.

Dang Shuang Shuang 1

Boy, am I glad we said YES! <3


Logan has such a tender heart.  He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

He is so sweet with his sisters and helps them a lot. 

He has really stepped up to the plate around here and has helped get the chores done, with Jared and Travis working and at school they just aren’t around as much to help.

And so Logan has been doing all the wood splitting, dishes and yard work, for the most part. And has done an amazing job.

It is no wonder he eats a lot.

He works a lot!

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And it is so hard for me to grasp that you will be 18 in four short years.

It just seems like yesterday you were snuggled on my nap, with your nuk, wanting to me to read Sheep in a Jeep again.  And again.

I love you sweetheart.

You will always be my little boy.  The one whom I prayed for and the one who God told me to name Jeremiah when I was bleeding and at risk of losing you during my pregnancy. It gave me comfort and peace and I knew God has a very special plan for your life!!!

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


Thursday, October 16, 2014

What my dog taught me today….

To be kind to those that annoy you.


I had caught Boomer “being kind” last week but today our nurse caught him and it melted both of our hearts.

Willow can still be (very) annoying.

(Albeit this week she has been on her best behavior and is more settled and not chewing everything in sight anymore!!! Knock on wood. Getting a puppy gate for the kitchen has helped too! Winking smile)

Boomer is very patient and tolerates her very well……but when she gets all excited and gets in his face he growls a little growl and then she rolls over on her back and submits.


But today when Boomer went to eat his lunch, he took a few pieces of his food and went over to Willow and dropped them right in front of her so she could have some.

(We have had to put Boomer’s food up on a pallet and 2 by 4’s as Willow kept sneaking his food. It is horrible looking but does the job!)

Then he went back and got a little more food in his mouth and went over to where Willow was and dropped some more for her.

It was the sweetest thing ever.

(I’m not kidding when I say he is THE perfect dog.)

After that Boomer went about finishing his meal as little dog was content and happy that he shared with her.

A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

And arriving at the destination of becoming best buddies shouldn’t be my goal for these two….it is the journey and memories being made getting there that counts.

“I’m still learning that the arrival is truly not the destination, that somehow the journey is the destination itself.”

Brandon Hatmaker in Interrupted.  If you want to be challenged and get even more messed up I encourage you to read this book. 

I’m guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Don’t let…..

the cuteness fool you.

She is rotten.


And getting into SO much trouble this week.


Of course I’m talking about Miss Willow.  Not Miss Ava.

Miss Ava is doing awesome. Smile

Willow on the other hand…Yes, I KNOW she is a puppy.

You don’t have to keep reminding me of it. (as everyone in my house is)

She chewed Ava’s shoe this week:


She also snuck into Josie’s room and stole our Nurse’s shoe and chewed it!!!!!

So if you are keeping track that would be TWO pair of shoes I’ve needed to replace this week alone.

She is under house arrest right now under she gets through this stage.


At least I hope it is a stage!

And of course I have gotten her MORE chewy toys.

Except Boomer promptly stole them and claimed them for himself!


Oh the life with a puppy.

It is a good thing she is cute.

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