Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Early celebration on Memorial Day
Now to Him who is able to do far more than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever, and ever. AMEN Ephesians 3:20 ESV

That is the core of my title for my blog. And today is my birthday! I did not know a year ago that I would be Mom to some of the most beautiful children in the world! I have tears in my eyes thinking of all that was given to me in a year, truly more than we could ask or imagine, and definitely more than I deserve.

In our adoption journey, we have met some of the most beautiful people God has created, not just the children, but the parents, and the caregivers, and the workers that have enabled us to have our family. It has been some of the most inspiring journeys in my life and one for which I am truly thankful. We travelled halfway around the world for such a privilege to bring our babies home. Our family is much larger than our immediate or biological family because of this.

It'll be a quiet day, although I did find out that my husband has a surprise dinner date for just him and I-guess it's not so much of a surprise:) We are going to go get some tomato plants and other garden veggies, even though it is a bit cool!

For this day I am quieted in spirit, truly happy, knowing the forgiveness of a Great God for all my shortcomings and wrongdoings, truly and definitely in a place I don't deserve-where it is more than I can ask or imagine!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day to Day and Orphans...

I'm having a hard time posting lately, been caught up in the day to day things-trying to keep up with 2 little ones, finally breaking down over the mess of the house I have. John had just finished working 7 days in a row, then the next day I find out because he was doing an extra shift just doing stress tests that he goes in hour early(even on the days he works at the ER) to have breakfast by himself in peace-I find this out because the HUC calls and tells me that his first stress test is cancelled, so I went to meet him for a breakfast date with the kids. He tells me, oh, I already had breakfast-and the waiter said, "back for the second round?" Now, I was pretty cool about it, why not-it would be great to have some time for yourself. Later, I fumed about it-wouldn't it be nice if, oh, I'm just going to take off so I can get time to myself-leave the kids to themselves and take care of them. We had already had this discussion as we have both worked for many years that it easier to go to work than to stay home and parent fulltime-why? because you are not on all the time, even at the busiest days at work, you have freedom to take down time, and you work at your pace and not at the pace of your childrens. This was not what I wanted to hear after a hard 7 straight days of parenting, picking up after company, and just overwhelmed with what I wished life would be. Organized, everything in it's proper place, dinner at the table at the right time, all my housework and outside work done, get my decorating ideas accomplished...yeah, an impossibility with two needing diapers, needing to be fed, and just played with, and a husband who is gone from either 7am-9pm or 4pm-8am on the days he works. Thank God, my husband told me his priority was not that our house was a palace, but a place where his kids and I were happy. That's why I love him soooo much. I had to help him swallow that, yes, picking up after himself would help help make me happy...so it's back to normal happy self, and letting go of the idols of surface things that I think would make me happy. It's good to know that the people I know with these well kept homes are often some of the most discontent people I know, and the happiest ones are those that just go with the flow. I have to find the right balance for myself and make sure my family is doing well, and that I feel like I can function optimally. Right now, the messy house is doing me in...day by day to meet my goals... maybe some quality sleep sometime...and a chance to eat breakfast, go the bathroom, and take a bath by myself:)
spring at last!
outfit from aunt Jackie
I like this green stuff!
yup, puppies go poopy too!
Let's get this show on the road!

I did find my camera however and can share the 1st outside spring pictures-the ones where my babies brought in the ticks. We also got a little surprise the other day. A kitty-who John almost ran over at the end of our driveway one night...he came in, then went to leave a bowl of milk for the little one. Well, that little one snuck into our garage, John went to open the door to the garage the next am, and I hear this loud meowing...he came in looking sheepish...the kitty must have snuck in as I found the bowl of milk today while sweeping out the garage...I went to look at this noisy thing and there was this teeny weeny ball of fur...the first thing I notice is that it has something wrong with it's eye, of course I felt so sorry for it that I immediately came in and said I'm taking her to the vet. So off I went. John and I decided it would be an outside cat...only to find out later that this poor little thing was only 2 1/2 weeks old, too young to be away from it's mother, we couldn't even tell if it was a boy or a girl, and I would have to stimulate it to help it pee and poop, and it should almost be bottle fed...so we are in a quandary...she can't be outside since we need to keep it warm, it still gets down to the 40's at night...we have to give her tlc or she'll pass away...so we have asked some of our cat loving friends if they might adopt this poor orphan...meanwhile we haven't named it...and of course are trying not to get attached...we are just softies I know it-we really aren't cat people and it doesn't help for my goal of a cleaner house...
Poor orphan kitty with conjunctivits
Phoebe meets kitty
please don't make me sneeze!
Michael says, are you kidding me?
We didn't teach her this, she did it herself and the kitty thought it was great...natural mommy...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reality, rashes, and Woodticks

Our special guy!!
Yup, it's woodtick season. Last night I awoke to this creepy crawly sensation on my leg!!! Yieiieeeeee!!!! I hate them, abhor, them, itch for hours after, and then I could't sleep till the wee hours of the morning. I wanted to strip the bed, vacuum, but I couldn't do it to my poor hubby who had to get up at 4 am...so I flushed that little bugger down the toilet and got about 2 hours sleep....where did it come from? Me or the dogs(yes, our furbabies sleep with us), it's finally outside weather here in Minnesota...or maybe from the clothes my dad in law brought into the house...(sorry Dad, I also found ticks in the office)...but after I changed the sheets I found another crawling on the bed, UGH!!!! Why do I feel like I'm camping inside the house? Anyway, everyone gets checked before getting into bed tonight!!!!

I also wanted to share the joys of parenting 2 under 14 months:) Yes, I love my babies, estatically delirously joyful about it and I'm so very glad it worked out this way-Irish twins-but I am very, very tired. They just don't quit those two. From taking each other's toys, screaming for attention, wanting to be held at the same time, double diaper blowouts, Mikey pounding his sister with "his" toys, I feel like my day is just feeding, picking up after them, and changing their diapers. So needless to say, not a lot gets done-sometimes I get to blog and read others, my little break from reality. I just basically try my best to play with them, love them, and make sure they appear reasonably clean...can't say my house is:) But we are such happy folk. Even when the brand new van gets a ding in the wheel well because some driver doesn't seem to know his own cars depth and decides to leave you a dent for a present in the parking lot. And yes, even having to forgive myself for leaving the van door open and driving into the garage-this is what sleep deprivation does), taking out a piece of the garage and putting a dent in the molding as well as scratches on my van...thank God our builder left some moulding and my hubby and Dad where able to fix it!! So just in case you thought having two beautiful kids was all fun and games(I know you didn't) I just wanted to share our very little trials. It pales in comparison to what others are going through, on the way to visit John today, I saw my neighbors house was burned. The garage looked demolished, the roof was gone, but part of the house still stands. I hope their dogs are okay as the kennels were part of the garage-those were still standing. I see this and I think, I have nothing to gripe about-I saw them weeping looking at it with the insurance adjustor...I have everything to be thankful for, even the ticks and my babies buggery noses. I hope to go help them somehow this weekend...

As for Phoebe & Michael, we got their lab results back from the IA doc. Michael passed with flying colors! A little sensitivity to the ppd he got(to be expected-he had the BCG and a ppd just 6 months ago) but otherwise he is good to go!!
Phoebe was negative for all the scary ones, HIV, Syphilis,Hep B, Hep C,no giardia or parasites, or TB!! Yeah! However, she is a little anemic and her iron studies showed she doesn't have much. So now she's on an iron supplement. Her TSH is high-it correlates with her low iron levels, and her thyroid is normal so that is good. We'll have to get her rechecked in about 4-6 weeks. She is positive for Helicobactor Pylori-the bacteria that causes ulcers and linked to gastric cancer-but since she is so young and asymptomatic, we'll just watch her rather than treat her. That is not surprising knowing that she came from an orphanage. The one thing that we really are working on however is her rash. We noticed when we got her she had these little bumps on her little diaper pee area. Both John and I were perplexed. It certainly didn't look like scabies which was the first thing John wanted me to look for when I was changing her at the orphanage. It remained pretty dormant until we got home. We though maybe it looked a little like the herpes simplex virus but it wasn't painful nor did it bother her so we weren't quite ready to give her that diagnosis. Our pediatrician looked at it and he thought it looked like bug bites. So we tried a little hydrocortisone, it didn't get any better. Then one day it decided to get a little more red..we had an appt with the IA doc and he said, not scabies, but maybe contact dermatitis or fungal. So he recommended some zinc oxide, new diapers(we already did that) and then try the antifungal. Well, after the zinc oxide, it decided to go full blown little bumps and red all over!! Trip to the dermatologist...well, keep the hydrocortisone creme and add another more broadspectrum antifungal than the OTC stuff we were using. Result? Not getting any worse now and so we wait and see. We have also let her go au natural for bedtime. I am washing her little waterproof pad and little shirt every day now just like cloth diapers to see if we can't stop this thing. I can believe that it is fungal-it was so warm in the baby house and there were so many clothes on her. So now we wait and see, I'll keep you posted, hopefully it'll go away...like those woodticks....oh great, it seems like I've misplaced my camera, I'll have to wait to post the outdoor photos till it reappears...
We'd snap a pic and then they would crawl off!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baby Dedication, Mom's Day and Papa & Nana come to town

Phoebe modeling her new outfit!
I love my new outfit!
This might be a long one so sit down, have a drink, and relax...
First I have to say that I have had a huge scare today. My first child(who is really my furbaby) Tazzie, decided to have an adventure of his own. I had just dropped off Papa and Nana at the airport and decided to go see my sister. Her kids had just been outside playing and came running to greet us. I usually bring my furbabies and kids to visit. We were in my sister's house and my little 4 lb dog Sydney came up to me with a funny look. For some reason it made me go check the back sliding door, it is often left open with her kids going inside and out. It was wide open...my heart started to race as my Tazzie is not car smart and they live by a busy road and some bad drivers like to tear down their road at 45 mph...I started sobbing as I became frantic looking and yelling his name..it took a few minutes of my yelling his name, my sister coming out with her kids holding my sobbing boy and helping me look. Luckily she wasn't hysterical and was able to see him down the street across the road...we were so blessed, a school bus had just raced by me and he was on the sidewalk not too far...but it made me thankful that he was not hurt and still my first furbaby...my little Sydney was a Lassie and came and told me something was amiss...I couldn't imagine life without my Taz nor the thought of him getting run over...he has been through so much with me...I also scalded my thigh, Miss P still likes her formula warm so we bring a thermos of hot water with us and I spilled it on my lap pouring it onto her bottle...what a day, I made it home safe at least...
Now for the title matter:)
My first Mom's Day was a hit! I could do that again many times!! My little babies gave me the gift of sleeping through Mother's Day brunch and we could sit and eat in peace! I have great, thoughtful children:) I didn't have to cook, my husband gave me the perfect card, and 2 begonia plants for my porch plantars as well as a reed diffuser! I just love him!! My sister also surprised me with a shawl and new water bottle, too much fun!! I got a nice soft robe from my inlaws and Michael likes it too! I do have to admit though that as a Mom, you are kind of too busy to really enjoy the day as I thought I would. It is much easier to dream about it from the other side:) I did think of my babies birth mothers however, and even though they don't celebrate in Kyrgyzstan, it still was a huge gift from them to me, and I prayed for them that day as well as cried a little.
I'm a Mom!!!
Then little Phoebe had her baby dedication. I love the way they do Baby Dedication so much at our church. So much so that I am going to share what they do.
The parents line up with their children to be dedicated and we stand in front of the congregation. The pastor does a little explanation of what we are doing and how much children mean to us, and then we answer this series of questions:
1) Do you recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God's blessing?
2) Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you all, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?
3) Do you pledge as parnets that, with God's fatherly help, you will bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?
4) Do you promise to provide, through God's blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children, looking ot your own Heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?
5) Do you promise, God helping you, tomake it your regular prayer that by God's grace your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life, and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?
Our congregation also says AMEN to these with us as we believe that as a children are not only cared for by their parents but by the fellowship of believers.
After these questions the pastor comes and gives our babies a blessing, we get a rose and certificate, and the pastor prays for us after each child's individual blessing. I put Michael's pictures also as he was dedicated last fall. It made for the icing on the cake for Mother's Day!
There were 8 babies dedicated during our service and 45 total in our church that day
Phoebe Rachel, together with your parents who love you dearly and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claim upon your life in the hope that you will belong wholly to the Lord, forever. And all the people said, "AMEN!"
Phoebe's Dedication Family
Trying to keep Michael quiet!
Michael's dedication-Sept 07
Michael Ermek, together with your parents who love you dearly and these people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claim upon your life in the hope that you will belong wholly to the Lord, forever. And all the people said, "AMEN!"
Michael's Dedication Family
I also included glimpses of Papa and Nana's visit, we were so lucky to have them here for Phoebe's special day and Mom's Day! WE love you!!!
The Collinghams minus me
We love Papa!
Phoebe loved this!
Papa rubbed her on his head and she giggled-a rare thing for our little girl!
Happy Birthday Nana!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

And the winner is...

The flower hat!
yes, we can play nice!!

So the results are in, the flower hat wins! There was a vote for every hat but the bucket hat which is actually my favorite!!! Oh well. Oops, and Michael's hat didn't get any either. Thought I'd share with you the agony of getting that picture of that favored hat. It's a good thing I figured out the burst feature of our camera, in order to salvage the squirmy worms face.

Today we brought the kids in for their international adoption clinic appointments. Dr Dana Johnson said both the kids looked fantastic. He was impressed by the gains Michael made in his growth. He is now 30 3/4 inches and 26 1/2 lbs at 14 months. He told us that he has found that the smartest kids were the ones who grew the most in the 1st six months homes, guess we better start saving for college...when he came to us at 5 months he was only 11.3 lbs and 23 inches! We're so proud of him. He said Phoebe was more developed than birth children, she wowed everyone. The only thing is surprise, surprise, she has a rash in her diaper area. He didn't think it was scabies, and he said it some type of contact rash, so back to zinc oxide...possibly some type of fungal so we'll just watch it...as far as measurements, she is now 15 lbs 4 oz and 25 1/4 inches. She was 12 1/2 lbs and 25 inches at the sos clinic in March. The OT called her the overachiever!

As far as the homefront we had a slight emergency last nite. But how thankful we are that we were home and I was right there when it happened. We built this house and moved in fall 2006 and the plumber didn't glue our hot water line to the master bath which is on the 2nd floor! Only by God's provision did this not happen while we out travelling the world but when I happened to be there. I heard and saw water coming out of our whirlpool tub face and couldn't believe it. There was a minor flood but we were able to wet vac the water, dry the floors, put fans up on the 1st and second floor so maybe we won't have to rip anything out, we pray so but are so humbled by a God who looks out for us. Even John was home! Right now would not be a good time to have construction with 2 little babies cruising around. Yeah, God!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The many hats of Phoebe

So one day when it was freezing cold outside last week, they said we were supposed to have snow yesterday but thank God we didn't, I got a wild hair and thought I'd try to get Phoebe to model her hats for me...I'll have to post how many shots it took to get the last one but that'll have to be later...
Anyway, take your vote and let me know which is your favorite. I think that maybe I like the hats more than Phoebe does but she is a good sport and generally wears them for me. She is such a sweet baby when she isn't vocalizing her dismay at things!
On the more serious side however, I've been thinking about Mother's Day. It took me 43 years to realize my dream of motherhood. Of course the first 3 didn't really count but 40 is alot of years. It made me think of all the women who have longed to be a mother for a very long time and either because of infertility, miscarriage, wanting to be married, or because they are stuck in the process of adopting, it still hasn't happened. This makes Mother's Day very, very painful, and very, very, lonely. As I look forward to celebrating my first real Mother's day- I can't really count last year even though I knew about Michael but he wasn't legally ours, and anything could have happened to prevent that-I want to say to those waiting who have visited my blog that I remember you, think of you, and pray for you! My heart has felt many of the emotions that you are feeling this week, and also more. I lost my biological Mom 8 years ago now and that along with the pain of being without a child in my arms was some of the most painful & solitary times of my life. I weep with you and anticipate with you. I trust in a God who knows what's best for you and that is the hope that kept me going during those days. May you be blessed with a lovely day, celebrating all the things you have in your life, and do not be discouraged, though the tears may flow at night, joy does come in the morning, however long it takes that morning to get there. May your cup be half full, and may you wear a smile on your face that day which beams with thankfulness that you have had a Mom to love you! Happy Mother's Day to you!!
Bucket hat
Kyrgyz Hat
Michael's hat
Kyrgyz beret(it has a matching purse and vest for when she gets bigger)
Stocking Hat
Sun hat
Matching Hat
Crocheted Hat
Flower Hat