Sunday, August 1, 2010

Anniversaries, Gotcha Day, Weddings, and Births

It's been a busy few weeks at our household.  We're exhausted but trying to get the best out of summer.
We recently got back from John's parents 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Washington state.  Not many couples make it that far anymore, healthy and happily married so kudos to Mom and Dad for that accomplishment.  It coincided with the Tri-cities hydroboat races.  I  never knew anything like that existed until I married John,  who grew up with them.  It was fun to see,  and now my kids have memories of the hotel as part of  Nana's and Papa's house.  Michael  told me today I'm going to Nana's and Papa's house and the hotel tomorrow.   He is so funny.  His memory is also incredible, as it was brought about  by looking at pictures I downloaded to my computer. He said I need to get on the plane tomorrow!   Phoebe doesn't seem to remember her experiences as well, although she remembered the wedding we went to today.  Funny what sticks in a girl's mind vs a boy's.  I definitely have a masculine boy and a feminine girl.  It's great fun to have their personalities like that! 

We also celebrated Michael's 3rd Gotcha day with us.  We can't believe it's been 3 years since this darling boy has changed our lives for the better. What a privilege it is to celebrate the day God entrusted him to our care.   He is sweet,  oh so sensitive(uncannily like his Dad, John),  has a great sense of humor,  and loves life and being a little boy.  He got to do it twice,  once at Papa and Nana's which was very special, and the other at home during his actual Gotcha Day.  His favorite part was opening presents and blowing out candles.  He can't get enough of that:)  We went to the Waterpark of America,  and he is also saying that he wants to go back.  We've been going there the past few years and he recalls it as "splash mountain and big, big, slides."  We took both he and Phoebe on the family raft and boy was that a hoot,  they both said the yellow raft was their favorite. 

Today we went to our nanny, Kim's wedding... She married her college sweetheart Jessie.  It was a beautiful wedding with a beautiful bride.  She loved my kids so that she made them feel very special during her celebration.  Sweet Michael said,  now don't leave me!  That is one thing that we know deeply affected him in his adoption.  He says to those he most loves,  DON'T LEAVE ME, in almost desperation.  He is finally putting words to feelings that he felt as a young baby.  It deeply affects both John and I as parents.  We reassured him that we would never leave him if we could help it.  But he keeps saying that whenever he feels insecure.  If only I could take away the pain he had experienced...

In the last two weeks we also welcomed a new cousin!  A little boy named Thomas!  My children were fascinated by him and Michael just loved holding him and of course wants to hold him all the time.  Both he and Phoebe were overjoyed that my sister told them,  they could be the boss of him!  Oh,  dear,  she doesn't know what she asked for...

Friday, July 30, 2010

50th Wedding anniversary

We'll see if this works. Here goes, it's the slideshow to John's parents 50th Wedding anniversary. It takes awhile to load and then you have to click through the pics. Sorry...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catching up!

Boy, how time flies when you are having fun. These last few months have been filled with the wonderful antics of my toddlers! They are getting to be so much fun, it's unbelievable what they are capable of. Mostly, they make me laugh. They say this is the terrible twos, and terrifying threes, and I see a bit of that, but for the most part, these are sweet days and they are absolutely delightful. They are home and not at preschool this summer, and for 3 more days, I have summer help. This year I don't think I'll be crying when she leaves. For me, it took at least 2 years of getting over myself, that my time isn't mine, and the most valuable and inmportant thing I have to do is to parent these 2 busy and bright children! This is the time of their lives that I'm going to have the most influence on how they turn out, and I've been convicted that I am the best one to do that. Influencing how a child reacts to new situations, how they deal with new people, and stresses in their life, it is a huge and humbling responsibility. Mom's brag time-for awhile I was worried that my kids would have something organic going on because of their unknown backgrounds with their adoption, ie developmental delays, autism or some autism spectrum disorder, processing disorders...I'm finally feeling relieved from those worries. No speech problems or delays, no echolalia-where they repeat everything you say, they have coherent, thought out speech and original thought patterns not copied from an adult or caregiver, they can sit still by themselves for extended periods of time, tell stories, they have creative independent play(I love this part and watching and listening to them), no obsessions, or unusual fears, particular ways to do things or have them done, or problems with strangers, even those not good with children, or new situations. They also at 2 & 3 are able to do 48 piece puzzles with some assistance, and 24 piece puzzles by themselves. They color within the lines, and know their letters by sight and the sounds they make. Still working on their numbers, but they can almost count to 20 by themselves. They can swim on their backs by themselves for 10 feet, and flip over and swim on their stomachs. They are currently are working on learning how to take breaths while swimming. They dive for their dive sticks, jump into the water and swim back to the edge by themselves. I always get strange looks from people because Phoebe is a peanut at 33 months wearing 18 month old clothes-she might make it to 2T by her birthday...
They say please and thank you, and they often say "I love you", freely and spontaneously!
They go on plane trips like pros probably making elite status by the end of the year...
What's funny is they know where we are going in the car and will tell me when I make a wrong turn...they also correct us, Mommy/Daddy, don't talk with your mouth full. John almost lost it the first time they did this to him, maybe they can change a habit?
Of course they have many things to work on, and their are still some issues from their adoption, but it's a good feeling after working with so many children to see my kids are absolutely normal and very bright!!!

We have had a great summer and it's going way too fast. I had a health scare but now am training for a half marathon with John...slow going! We've been to the zoo, swimming, the children's museum, and we're going to try camping in August! We just got back from the Families formed through International Adoption reunion in Virginia Beach. We are headed towards Washington state later this summer to go to Papa and Nana's 50th Wedding celebration. So now that I've written far too much, here are some pics to go along with this post.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's been awhile...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: at the park
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ep, we've been awhile. Life has been crazy busy but we are enjoying life! Here's just a clip of how the kids are coming along. My shy little boy who loves to sing, manages not to sing when put in front of a camera, but likes to with a little help!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Michael's Cast is off and utube video

Above is a utube video made in hopes of bringing 65 Kyrgyz orphans home. It is very near and dear to my heart as I know some of the families waiting. Please share far and wide. Michael is a part of this video:)

Michael got his cast off on Tuesday. He did pretty well considering. However, it will be an adjustment for him as he relearns how to use his foot. His foot is stiff and feels different because of the cast and also because his heel tendon was lengthened. He is relearning how to walk. Our hope is the muscles in his calf strengthen enough so that he does not require another surgery at around age 5 where they would actually have to move an anterior tendon to bring the foot straighter. We are hoping his heel will stabilize. Right now he is favoring his foot but is moving around albeit slowly It pains me to watch him but he is very independent and insists we not carry him. What a trooper!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cast pics and resuming activity

So here are promised cast photos. It was a busy few days trying to keep Michael still(ha), the best way was to put Michael in his carseat and drive somewhere with his foot propped up. Except for the fact that it was freezing rain and drizzle I would have done more of it. So we opted for more and more of Thomas the tank, don't spill the beans, and playdoh, along with a trip to the MOA amusement park and kiddie rides. Again, I can't thank Deb enough for taking care of Phoebe! I know mothering is tough with anyone that has a 2 year old, but even with the cast issues, it was almost like vacation taking care of one. I was much more patient, able to take time with Michael, and actually enjoyed his age group without feeling the pressure of having to meet the needs of another 2 year old, let alone the no boundary squabbling between the two. That's what drives me nuts. Yes, I know they will continue to fight, but at two, there is a certain mentality that doesn't tend toward peacemaking. It's all about ME!!! Now that I have them back it is nice to know the difference and to rethink how I have been parenting. I used to think twins would be great, but now all I have is empathy towards parents of multiples.

Enough about me, it was the sweetest thing when we picked up Phoebe from preschool. Michael missed her so much he went right up to Phoebe, grabbed her hand and led her to the car, holding her hand the entire way. It warmed my heart to see him so excited and delighted to see her! Phoebe must have missed him too since she actually allowed it, she doesn't like her hand to be held by Michael usually. So separation is a good thing for them but I was blessed to see how much they loved each other. Although it was nice being alone with Michael, I sure missed that little fireball!!

Michael is now almost back to normal activity. He is walking around
enjoying the noise his cast makes. And he is jumping on his trampoline. Yikes, not sure I'll tell the ortho wonder he is making Michael wear the cast longer than we originally thought, to our dismay. He keeps asking about a bath, and going swimming...I keep having to tell him later. He calls it his big OUWEE!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Club Foot revisited

Whew, glad the day is over with. Can't say it was the best experience but Michael did well during the surgery. We are so thankful to the many prayers said on behalf of Michael, and especially thankful for our friend Deb, who is watching Phoebe the next few days while we work with Michael. She is Phoebe's grandma, in every sense of the word.
Michael had his hamstring(heelcord) lengthened today. We hope it's a cure, but the ortho warned us that he may have to have another surgery if the heel doesn't stabilize on it's own and let his foot dorsiflex to a normal position. I'm not sure I'm quite up to another surgery, at least not in the near future. You would think I would think nothing of it as a nurse, but I've seen things go awry(why can't you forget those), and that's in normal, healthy, routine cases. I also dislike watching kids in pain, and while tolerable but painful working with most other children, my own just throws me for a loop. It might be in part that we worked so hard to get Michael, something a nonadoptive parent would never understand, but the fear of something happening was very stressful for me. Praise God he did well and is recovering nicely.
It was an early 430 am start to get to the hospital at 615 am. But it was nice to be the first case. We love our surgeon, he's brilliant, spent a year on the Clinton medical team, and even knows what Corregidor is and what it stands for. He took time to look at the pictures from our Philippines trip that I was putting in an album after the surgery. He also looked out for us. Our anesthesiologist of the morning was quite arrogant-making our experience less than it should have been. He came into our room without having read the chart(one of my pet peeves), routinely and without compassion explained everything to us, and without knowing what the surgeon was going to do(had he read the chart he may have figured it out), suggested we do a block post surgery for pain. Thank God our surgeon overheard, the first thing he said was, that is not necessary, and said he would speak to the anesthesiologist about it. Our surgeon said if it was his son, he wouldn't do it. John felt it was revenue enhancing, since it wasn't necessary yet he was pushing it, unfortunately, there are doctors like that. I was so ticked I lost it and when the nurse anesthestitist came in and asked if we spoke to the anesthesiologist, I calmly said, you mean that arrogant bastard? Oops, not one of my finer moments, comes from years of speaking my mind as a nurse. I used to get evaluations that said, "Genelene is a very direct communicator, as well as compassionate while efficient and highly skilled." I know, I need to work on this. And it is a very rare ocassion that I swear, in fact it has been years. Good thing John was around to keep me level, I think he is one of the best doctors around! As well as Michael's surgeon. The nurses must have caught wind of this because they were very nice to us. They let us come back to the surgery recovery room-the one before the rest of the world gets to see, much earlier than a nonhealthcare worker would, and Mom was the first person Michael really woke up to.
He doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain, but the cast will be a challenge these next few weeks. Michael was really funny, he didn't want to get into his shirt. It was his way of saying, not until you take the cast off. We had to distract him with a new Thomas the Tank engine, and tell him he had a surprise waiting at home so we could leave. Once awake, he also wasn't getting back into that bed without at home he seems to be adjusting fairly well, keeps talking about his cast, and saying he wants it removed.
I'll post pics tomorrow of him and his cast. I forgot to take any today.
Pre-op prep with a casted doll
Playdoh from the child-life specialist
Bubblegum Lipsmacker to make the mask more palatable
Michael did his own mask
615 am is waay too early! But we're glad you were happy, for a shortwhile anyway

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We LOVE Winter!!

Okay, not all the time but it has been absolutely beautiful here the past few days!! We took Michael out for his first cross country ski-he did fantastic! John and I were both impressed how he took to it, wasn't scared, didn't get frustrated but just wanted to do it! Skiiers were all smiles seeing him and very encouraging to him. We were able to work with Michael alone because Phoebe is trying out a new preschool to help me while Michael is in post op rehab... Today we went again and this time we took out our favorite shower present from a couple of years ago-the Chariot Carrier. We attached the skiis and away we went with 65 lbs of kiddos! It was a great, fun day and even Michael had to try it. We just love cross-country skiing and being outdoors, I couldn't believe how at 2 the kids still love that thing!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy and Blessed in the New Year

Okay, this will probably take me awhile to finish and most likely will be a long post. I have several things to work on plus I am dealing with major jetlag. We just got back from the Philippines on tues Jan 5th and it was an amazing trip, they are 14 hours ahead of our time zone. We went to visit my Dad's new home there and the kids just LOVED it. The new experiences were incredible for them and I must say, it is one of the most gratifying and satisfying feelings to watch your children experience, learn, and enjoy life. Especially when they are 2 and are soaking it all in! I can't say how much travel was so good for them and their development. I have to brag and say they did fantastic, the hardest part about the trip was of course, the plane ride! Adults hate it, can you imagine being 2 and liking it?
I packed them backpacks with lots of their favorite coloring characters, playdoh, dvd players, snacks, mini games like connect 4, and perfection, Thomas the tank engines, Elmo, and they loved their little backpacks and carrying them around! Although, Phoebe almost tipped over and turtled, the bag was so heavy, I regret to say I didn't get pics with them on their backs!
We are glad to be home, although we had a little blizzard here today on the 7th, and we had a major delay on our trip home. Seems like there was some intelligence that led the 747 we were flying home on from Japan to be run through major security checks. They scanned us, patted us down, looked through our wallets, and all our carryons, the kids even got scanned-Michael thought the scanner was so cool and followed directions implicitly! It was so cute but of course I was not allowed to photograph it. It caused us to be 45 minutes late to our first port of entry in Detroit, then customs took forever because the 747 had tons of luggage, so we missed our flight home by an hour. They rebooked us, but we had an unplanned 7 hour layover in Detroit. So we took short snoozes, including the kids and finally got home close to midnight on the 5th!
Anyway, to back track, we had a busy Christmas season trying to fit in celebrations here and battling with illness. After Thanksgiving, we got hit with a croup like virus that wiped us out for weeks and almost caused Michael to be hospitalized. We made a trip to the Urgent Care and the next morning at 5 am John said his son had to go the ER. He was breathing at a rate at 60 breaths per minute. Way, way too fast! Phoebe had the same virus, but didn't get hit as hard, I had the virus, and felt miserable and coughed up parts of my lung during the illness. Anyway, after the treatments of steroids, nebulizers, and an antibiotic for good measure, if Michael hadn't returned to normal breathing he would have been hospitalized. Thank the Lord he did! It took us 2 weeks to get through it and then it was almost Christmas! Yikes.
So we muddled through the Christmas season here, thankful that my kids were young enough not to remember my lame celebration of Christ's birth, missing Christmas Eve service because of a blizzard on top of it! We did have a feast of prime rib and king crab legs for our family celebration on the 22nd!
So we are home now and feeling happy and blessed despite all that is going on in the world. It is a very humbling feeling.
Anyway, I'd love to post more but I think I'll wait and just share photos, I know that's the part people love anyway!

Dad's house
Makiling Volcano from Dad's frontyard
My Mom's Parents
Grandparents houseWorld War II History
Island of Corrigedor