God is. Archives

Our number 2. Joe.

When he was little, maybe 5, Joe wanted more than anything to be a superhero.  He switched between Superman and Spiderman and when he started to jump off things to see if he could fly or swing from a web, I decided it was time for a conversation. When I told him he couldn’t actually become a superhero, it was just pretend, he broke down in tears and told me that he thought he already was one.  Realizing that I had just broken his heart with that news made me unbelievably sad but he quickly moved on to believing he was actually Link and everything I said to him suddenly made sense.

(picture of Joe dressed as link to be added as soon as I locate it because it is awesome.)

Joe is 18 now and while he has not given up on his dreams of being a superhero, he has certainly reevaluated what that dream will look like in the real world and is working on a criminal psychology degree so he can help put the bad guys away and save the streets of Pensacola from madness and mayhem.

12

He also has this huge heart and a compassion that most people don’t get to see.  I wish I could predict the next time he was going to sit on the side of the street with a homeless man so I could get a picture without him knowing. He brings them food, breaks bread with them, and gets their stories. He sees their needs, individually, and does what he can to provide.

And he loves his siblings.

31705980720_d5b5d8fa06_o (1)

He’s a very serious person but that doesn’t stop him from playing with the littles just about every day. He asks them questions and gets silly with them.

IMG_20160727_160420671

He encourages them.

IMG_1213

And cares deeply for them.

DSC_0252 (1)

He invests time with the older siblings because relationships are important to him.

IMG_3971

They are important to him.

IMG_4009 (1)

Joe takes advice very seriously and while he doesn’t always agree with his father and me, he considers what we say and holds our opinions in the highest regard. He meets with our pastor on a regular basis to ask questions and gain a better understanding of The Word. He wants to do life right and is constantly working to create good habits, meet goals, and learn more.

31271447533_6668d34d86_o

I am so proud of the son he is and the man he is becoming.

DSC_0302

And I cannot wait to see what his future has in store for him.

31949664321_82d752c0ec_o

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

It’s odd to me that even though it is super easy to lure Kait is over here (food) I never can seem to get her in a picture with the younger three girls.

DSC_0720

I’ve also realized that I take way more pictures of Lanie than I do anybody else.  I think that is partly because she’s the baby and we’ve always had more pictures of the babies than the older kids, and partly because of her rough start and me not wanting to take any moment for granted.

And any pictures I do take of the older kids quite often involve them holding Lanie.

DSC_0252 (1)

Because I love how they love her.

DSC_0373

And I want to keep these moments forever.

DSC_0632

Because they are so, so good.

DSC_0374

If only I could stop and really live in every moment.

DSC_0570

DSC_0491

Somebody get me a pause button. Quick.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

My dad had this mug made for me 22 years ago when my oldest child was just a baby.

DSC_0831

It’s lasted through many military moves and 100’s of cups of coffee and many kids drinking hot cocoa. The picture on the mug of Kait at less than a day old has faded but that child has grown and flourished and is now well into adulthood and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my daughter.

At 22 she’s managed to wrangle herself a training job at NFCU, teaching employees how to do mortgages and helping them keep up with the ever change laws and regulations.  She has her own place and a dog and a cat and a guy who is over here all the time because he is very serious about her.

16708169_408327879504469_6109836414607075319_n

She loves her family and even though she doesn’t live here with us anymore she manages to visit us numerous times each week and spends every Sunday hanging out with us even when there is no football game to watch and that is really saying something.

31240215314_b401eeb2fe_o (1)

I’ve always said that Kait and I have our differences but the further into adulthood she gets, the more we talk openly with each other, the more I realize that we are quite similar and our differences aren’t really all that big or numerous.

31240009774_380d53fd28_o

She is delightful and funny and has such a child-like silliness that keeps us all smiling.

31706057710_632eda85cd_o

And she knows how to have fun and helps us to not take ourselves so seriously all the time.

31270786793_82e666edd7_o

Just being around her makes me spew coffee out of my nose.

32064230075_04dde904f0_o

And being her mom has made me a better person.

31240623514_9623736d81_o

I could go on and on about this girl but Lanie is getting hungry so I’ve got to abruptly stop writing and get this blog post up because if I don’t publish it right away I’ll forget about it and it will get lost.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Perfect Chaos.

I think my perfect sleep hours would be 9:30 pm to 5:00 am. I’d sleep undisturbed and wake feeling completely rested and ready for a new day.
I would get up while the house was still quiet and actually drink an entire cup of coffee without having to reheat it 4 times and write a complete blog post and update my bullet journal.
I imagine I’d have thoughts. Real, uninterrupted thoughts. The kind of thoughts that adults have when they’re adulting. Thoughts about the meaning of life and foreign heads of state and who on earth invented algebra because I’d like to have a talk with them.

At around 7:30 my kids would one-by-one begin to make their way out of their rooms. We’d talk about dreams while we eat bacon for breakfast and then get our day started.

Reality, however, has 10-month-old Lanie falling asleep after midnight and waking up between 8 or 9 so when I get up for the day chaos has already set in.

Maggie is wearing her tights as pants and her shirt is on inside out and backwards and she is trying to get the last bit of oatmeal powder out of a used oatmeal packet she found in the trash can. Then I step in a half-wiped up orange juice spill while trying to clean a glob of something off the front of the dishwasher because my teenage sons started a ninja fight while making some breakfast. And while attempting to get the morning sorted out I misplace my fresh cup of delicious hot coffee which totally defeats the purpose of brewing it in the first place and who on earth thought it was a good idea to put a pull up in the washing machine?

And I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

But then.
The boys argue over who gets to hold Lanie first and she is all smiles with them fawning all over her and my heart melts at how much they love her. Lucy reminds me again how much she missed me all night while she was sleeping and Maggie says the blessing and she thanks God that Joe (her oldest brother) gets to come visit so often (he lives here) and somebody finds my coffee in the microwave because I had forgotten that I had reheated it just as Joe walks in from his early morning shift at the coffee shop with a white chocolate mocha all for me.

And we all laugh.

And I’m reminded that in the chaos, life is so good. So worth all of the sticky and smelly and accidentally washed pull ups.

Once my kids put an entire package of bacon in the pantry instead of the fridge and we didn’t find it for days and had to throw the whole thing out and I think if we could make it through that, we can make it through anything.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

adoptionawarenessGrowing up I clearly recall my home being a safe place, my safe place. If there is anything of more value to a child than a feeling of safety and security in a loving home, I don’t know what it is. I look back on my childhood and feel overwhelmingly thankful that my parents gave us a sheltered childhood.  We were nourished and taught good and right things and never lacked for anything and when the teenager that lived two houses down was irresponsibly sighting his rifle before going hunting the next day and I was sure his intention was to kill me…
I instinctively knew where to run for safety.

In the 27 hours of classes we were required to take to become approved to adopt through foster care here in Florida, I learned that every child in the foster care system has been through a traumatic experience that has cost them any hope of feeling that kind of safety. The vast majority of them have been either forcibly removed from their homes or given up voluntarily by one or both parents.  It leaves them feeling vulnerable and alone. The ultimate betrayal – turned away by the people who were supposed to instinctively long to protect them.

I have learned what kind of abuses take place and what effect that can have on a child. I learned that it is usually bad. Really bad.

I have learned that we, individually and as a society, have gotten far too comfortable with their cries.
Deafening. Silent. Raw. Hidden. Heartbroken.

I have learned that I can’t do that anymore.
And I have learned that sometimes all you can do is pray.

I have learned that there is a lot of fear in adopting a broken child and a lot of thought and consideration has to go into it before a challenge like that should be taken on.
And I have learned that no matter how much thought and consideration you give it there is no way to prepare yourself.

I have learned that the system that has been put in place to facilitate the best possible outcome for both adopter and adoptee is broken. I’ve learned that quite often, out of an understandable desperation to find children a home, the people in charge, the experts, will break the most essential of those rules and set everybody up for failure. Because there aren’t enough foster homes. Because the kids are close to being too old to place. Because they might have a disability that is just beginning to show and it’s RIGHTNOW or possibly never.

And that’s when failure happens.  And everybody is to blame but nobody is at fault because the real failure is not doing anything at all and nobody involved can be accused of that.

I have learned that it is hopeless.

And I have learned that there is hope.


 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

31 for 21 Day 19. Sometimes rough.

Things were hard for me for a while.  I didn’t even realize how hard until I was able to look back on the last year with the clarity of hindsight. And while I’m not happy with my then attitude and how I felt about things 10 months ago, I am glad that my now attitude reflects so much growth and a new understanding about life.  Things are different now. Things are good.

But I still find myself having rough days and there are always appointments to make and therapies to try and wild thoughts of what could still go wrong because one little extra chromosome can wreak so much havoc.

Therapy appointments, and weigh-ins, and blood work, and why is she sweating, and NOBODY MOVE SHE JUST LOST A CONTACT, and what the heck is T3 and TSH, and getting her to take those disgusting vitamins, and holy hound dogs petechia = leukemia does my baby have cancer?

And her eyes.  I can get so sad about her eyes.

Sometimes I feel so down about Lanie’s aphakia and I’m sad that I even know what that word means.  I feel sad that she has to wear contacts or glasses to have any kind of useful vision and, while I don’t know what either of those things feel like, I can imagine it to be uncomfortable at times, especially for a baby who can’t adjust her glasses or let me know when her contacts need cleaning.  She can’t tell me when her contacts are dry or itchy, or if her glasses are hurting her head, or if she just needs a break for a little while.

wp-1476910170597.jpg

I feel sad that she has to wear contacts or glasses all the time. All. The. Time.
And that this will go on indefinitely and she may be a teenager before she can get her implants.

I feel bad that I can’t know for sure what her vision is like.  Are the contacts blurry? Could we be doing more to help her see?

wp-1476909944826.jpg

Lanie’s ophthalmologist sometimes needs to do extensive eye exams that make her sad.

And that makes me sad.

I have to remind myself often, as Dr. Mickler firmly told me on the morning of her first surgery when she was just 7 weeks old and I was asking a million questions that he had already answered at her appointment, that the alternative to this would be complete blindness.

And what sometimes feels so frustrating is actually a miracle. Something to be thankful for.

wp-1476910399771.jpg

And that, clearly, she is not blind now.

wp-1476920541509.jpg

She sees us and she smiles.

wp-1476914409668.jpg

And that is really good stuff.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Happy Independence Day, ‘Muricans! 

oldflagI don’t think many people, especially our younger generation, really appreciate what it means to be a citizen of the United States.  I was born in Rhode Island. Do you realize what kind of blessing that is?  What kind of gift it is to be born into the best country in the entire world? A country people risk everything, including their lives trying to get into?

Yes. The United States has its issues.  It’s a giant relationship and we have a lot of work to do but when you think about it, all of the best relationships in our lives require work and patience and care.

It’s July 4th, people.  Let our celebration of freedom mean something. Tell your kids what our independence means for them. Make a vow to teach them to love this country; their country. The only way to heal our nation is for the next generation to care enough to protect it.
People died for America. For us.  Take it seriously.

But, also, laugh.
And light a sparkler or something.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

My 3 month old wears contacts.

I don’t have many pictures of Lanie, and I only have one of myself with her and it really isn’t a good picture at all and it was taken with a smart phone in the hospital right before Lanie’s first surgery so everything was just weird.  I am unbelievably sad about this and really disappointed that I’ve missed recording so much of these first 3 months, but Kait’s camera is broken and I’m just not the photographic genius I always wanted to be.  I do take pictures, but they always turn out fair to awful.  I’m just saying this to let you know that I’m desperate so even though these pictures aren’t the best, I tried.

Lanie got her contacts last Monday and her brain is slowly learning to take all those new images and turn them into something.  I can see the daily progression in her eye control, her neck strength, and her attempts to communicate with us.  I’ve also noticed that she is beginning to associate sounds with the thing or person making those sounds.

wp-1466179301415.jpg

It is truly astonishing how necessary vision is to a child’s development. Her ophthalmologist told us that she was essentially blind before her cataracts were removed, with zero vision in her left eye and only some light and maybe some color vision in her right eye.  Nothing useful.  Then, after her surgeries, he said she could see but without focusing power everything was just a blur of shapes and colors.  So this past week everything has been brand new for her and I really love all the smiling she does now.

wp-1466390465369.jpg

It’s really crazy that my 3 month old wears contacts.  Seriously, people that learn this cannot wrap their minds around it.  It really is a gift though because her glasses, which are still being made because it takes at least two weeks to create the lenses she needs, are THISTHICK and I think it would be disappointing to not be able to see her eyes very well as they light up when she learns new things.

Her contacts are pretty thick too, but they don’t detract from her eyes at all.  If you look closely you may be able to see the contacts in this picture.

img_20160618_130026171-picsay.jpg

She really does have the prettiest eyes.

Other than her eyes her health appears to be very good.  I still nurse her often but I also pump about 12 oz a day and add whole powdered goats milk to it to boost the fat and calories she’s taking in and she is finally gaining weight the way she’s supposed to. It is still a lot of work to make sure she is eating enough each day but it has definitely been worth it to see her get a little meat on her bones.  I’m hoping in a month or so I’ll be able to start weening her off the bottles and just nurse her normally.

FYI if you are ever find yourself needing to boost your baby’s caloric intake – I added formula to her milk in the beginning because that’s what her pediatrician recommended.  That turned out to be hard on her tummy and I started looking for alternative ways to boost her calories.  I came up with the idea of adding powdered goat’s milk after reading that many moms who cannot breastfeed are using goat’s milk as a base to make a better formula because it is easily digestible.  I chose powder because I wanted to boost the vitamin rich breast milk she already ate, not add more liquid.  I decided to add one scoop of it (I think it works out to be two tablespoons) to each 4 oz bottle of breast milk.  It took her a few days to get used to it but she does very well on it now.

She’s rolling over all the time now. She started rolling over from front to back at about 2 weeks, and has been rolling over from back to front from about 2 months.  She even rolls over when she’s swaddled.  It scared me to see her face down without her arms free to help her lift herself up so I’m not swaddling her anymore.

She’s doing so much better than we had hoped for and at her appointment today Dr. Mickler said he doesn’t need to look at her eyes until September. He’ll test for glaucoma then so please pray she’s one of the few who does not have that problem.

I can’t think of anymore updates to give so that’ll be it for now.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Done

Lanie’s right eye surgery to remove her cataract is finished. She did so well.

image

She’s much more interested in getting the eye shield off of her face this go round though so that might be a challenge. It’s amazing how much growth can happen in just two weeks. When she had her left eye done we had no concerns about her rubbing her eye. This time is much different. She’s got opinions about it.

We’re now on our way home and in hoping to get a nap before Lanie’s post-op eye appointment this afternoon.

I’ll write later.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Waiting

We’re in the waiting room at the surgical center. Lanie is having the cataract in her right eye removed and the tear duct in her left eye opened.

This wasn’t scheduled until yesterday afternoon. We knew it would be done within the next few weeks but didn’t realize it would be scheduled with such short notice. It kind of left me with little time to worry and fret so it worked for me.

For some reason I’m more nervous about this surgery than I was when she had the left eye done two weeks ago. She didn’t seem bothered at all though.

image

She slept and smiled, and smiled and slept.

I’ll post later on with an update.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 Page 1 of 4  1  2  3  4 »