Thursday, April 10, 2014

Last Day of Therapy


HOORAY!!!

Today was our last day of therapy ---


We might need more this summer 

BUT
for now -- WE ARE DONE!!

She has made amazing progress!!


We still will do exercises at home daily ---

BUT

We CAN DO IT!!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, JM!


Happy 13th Birthday, JM!!

Our handsome 2nd child :)

WOW -- We have another teenager in the house!

JM is such a great kid.
He has such an easy going spirit.
He LOVES watching sports --
ESPECIALLY
Football and baseball 
Yet, basketball is pretty great, too.
I'm amazed at all the stats that stay in his brain!

He LOVES to play video games -- 
He LOVES to read -- although, in our house the more you read the more minutes you earn to play games;)

He does work around the house -- and is learning more and more at the farm.
He loves youth group and is excited about the ministry trip this summer.
He is an excellent academic student!
He is still playing the trumpet and is excited about learning how to play the guitar this year.

JM picked out his menu for his 13th birthday:

My parents joined us for his special dinner -- my brother arrived right after the photo ;)

**meatballs and noodles -- gluten-free
**fried sweet potatoes with onions
**pineapple
**salad with strawberries, pecans and feta cheese
with
**a basketball, gluten-free, chocolate cake for dessert

YUMMY!
My kids do have good taste -- for sure!

He had a nice time opening gifts
AND
He got exactly what he wanted PLUS!

 A new wallet!


A new BIBLE -- which he asked for :)

Ski goggles -- that he asked me for about 110 x's in the last couple of weeks!

We finished off the evening eating the delicious cake!



My son, I pray God pours out HIS riches blessing upon you!  I pray for wisdom to make good choices at school and in your personal life; I pray that God blesses you with amazing friends; I pray God protects you from the enemy; AND I pray that you love God more and more everyday!
I LOVE YOU, MY SON!
   

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, MD!!!


Happy Birthday to our oldest!!

I really can't believe I have a 17 year old.


OF COURSE -- I love this kid to the moon and back!!!

MD is fun AND crazy!
He does know when to turn it off -- thankfully ;)
He is an amazing helper both at home and on the farm.
He actually loves doing BOTH!
He is AMAZING in the kitchen.
There are actually some dinners the kids would rather MD cook!
He is a GREAT brother --
Yes, he can be a complete tease 
YET
ALL 3 girls ADORE him.
JM, too -- at least most of the time ;)
He even happily helps me taxi kids around -- even to violin lessons!


He does tend to be our homebody child ---

BUT

This year he decided to try something new.  He tried out for the varsity baseball team.
Yes, he played baseball through middle school but took a few years off.
He decided to give it a shot -- Well, he made it!
He is working hard to get back in shape and 'remember' everything.


Picture taken by Christi Marsh

ALTHOUGH

The best part is MD loves GOD and is not ashamed.
He LOVES worship team in the youth group.
He loves ministry trips -- this year he is going to Puerto Rico.
He has a magnetic joyful personality and an heart for those less fortunate -- 

His new Bible from Other nanny and pa -- yes, he asked for one.

I feel blessed to be his mom -- I thank God daily for allowing me to be his mom.

Even though we have 3 birthdays and a Gotcha Day celebration in the month of March, we do take time to celebrate EACH child individually.

MD's celebration was on Sunday.

MD picked the menu:
**Fish -- on the grill with wonderful spices
**red potatoes with summer squash, onions and zucchini all rolled into foil and slow baked in the oven
**a nice salad with strawberries, pecans and feta cheese
**Cheese cake for dessert drizzled with homemade caramel

Dinner time.

Yes, I made it.

It was delicious.  He said it reminded him of summer ;)

We had a nice time of opening gifts.

A new case for his Surface 2 tablet -- 
and 
a movie

 A new shirt -- He has this goofy face because he is teased at school for having so much orange AND mom goes and buys him ANOTHER shirt with orange -- I did not know someone had just said, "I bet you're going to get something orange!"
Hey, I thought it was his favorite color!

Cards are a big deal to MD -- My brother got him a perfect card that made him laugh hysterically -- although, my mom gave him something VERY serious -- MD reads it in the right 'voices' which makes it VERY comical for us!

FINALLY,

We finished off the afternoon with the yummy dessert I had to make TWICE.

First time around -- YUCK!  The girls ate the crust -- the only thing that was any good.

For some reason the first time it did not work -- I have NEVER had this happen to my cheesecake.  The second one was made VERY early Sunday morning and it turned out WONDERFUL!


Happy Birthday my son!
I pray God's richest blessings on you this next year.
I pray for good health, protection from the enemy, clarity to make wise decisions especially during your senior year in high school, great opportunities, and for you to be surrounded with great friends.




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, BaJabs


Happy Birthday, BaJabs!

Her new birthday outfit -- she LOVES her jeans ;)

Everyday I look at this girl I just marvel at how far she has come!!
She is growing into an absolutely beautiful girl!

She is growing so much!
Her smile lights up a room!
She is by far the quietest of our children.
BUT
She can certainly be fierce -- and at times that can definitely be her weakness.

She is doing GREAT in school.  This year things have just clicked with her and she is soaring academically!  She is at grade level or slightly above on everything -- what a praise!

She is making friends and enjoying being at school.  He last report card even stated she is a bit chatty at times -- WOW!

She loves playing dolls, she loves being outside and she loves painting.

BaJabs is BY FAR our pickiest eater, as well --
SO -- of course, she planned her birthday meal:

**chicken curry with noodles
**pineapple
**salad with strawberries
with
**a purple, gluten-free butterfly cake for dessert

YUMMY!

Our wonderful meal with family!

She enjoyed opening her gifts -- she was all smiles!

Loving this time!

Unfortunately, American Girl did not get me Isabelle in time -- yes, I even paid extra --

The PICTURE of her gift --

I WAS SO BUMMED -

but

she was so unbelievably understanding
AND
Yes, it came the next day!!  She LOVED IT!

She LOVED her birthstone necklace from nanny 


SO -- BEAUTIFUL!
AND

Her new painting -- stuff.


We finished the evening by eating the delicious cake!


I think this is precious -- while we were singing to her she sang along :)

My dearest and youngest daughter, I pray God pours out His richest blessings on you this next year.  I pray for good health AND no surgeries.  I pray for wisdom in making good choices and remembering your part on the T.E.A.M!  I pray God protects you from the enemy and that God becomes more and more important to you in your life!
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy #2 Gotcha Day -- Elizabeth


Happy 2nd Gotcha Day -- Elizabeth!!

WOW!!

We have been blessed to have this little girl for 2 years

AND

Amazingly, she has accomplished SO much!

We adopted Elizabeth when she was 7 1/2 years old.
She was a scared little girl on day #1!

The ladies from the orphanage just handed her to me.

I think she cried for an hour straight -- 
she kept moaning in Chinese, "I want to go back to the orphanage."

She is crying -- and I just keep talking calmly to her and smiling -- my heart was breaking for her.  I knew she was just so scared.  I cried later-- alone!

It was about the sadness thing I'd ever heard!!
MD was with us and after about 40 minutes he had to walk away because he was so emotional. 
It was really a very hard day!

Walking out to the bus -- she was finally ok with us -- really the ipad won her over!

You can read all about that first day here:

Kind of got a smile once on the bus.

We arrived home 9 days later ON MD's birthday.
She had bonded so well with Matt, MD and I
BUT she was not so sure about everyone else.
She actually threw a temper tantrum in the airport.

 Leaving Hong Kong!

Arriving in Michigan.  Look at how sweet BaJabs and My Darling look!!  Elizabeth was NOT PLEASE with them.

BUT

By the next morning we had a new girl --
REALLY thanks to My Darling and BaJabs.
They are amazing sisters!!!

This was actually first thing in the morning!  Already checking out the dress-up clothes.

In the last two years Elizabeth had 5 surgeries.  YES, there is still more coming!
She learned to swim.
She speaks FLUENT English -- yes, she has a bit of an accent BUT I LOVE it!!!
She had NEVER been in school before coming to the U.S.A. and even though she is in 2nd grade for year #2 she is making amazing progress.  
She can read.
Her handwriting is amazing -- yes, with only a total of 5 fingers --
She is LOUD -- FUN -- and CRAZY!!!
She has made great friends.

AND

God has given this girl the MOST AMAZING spirit.
The surgeries alone have been difficult. 
This girl does NOT complain!!!
Well, ONCE -- "Mom, I can't cuddle with you in this big cast!"
BUT
Really, she is full of smiles 90% of the time.

Love this smile!

We are so thankful God led us to find Elizabeth -- YES, she is a child I found -- and FELL IN LOVE WITH!

This is the very first picture I ever saw of Elizabeth!  My heart melted at her smile!

God blessed our family with her -- she brings happiness and joy daily!
She makes us giggle with her words and attempt at jokes.
She AMAZES us with her perseverance and creativity on HOW to do things!
She as an attitude bigger than life at times -- BUT this will get her far.
She also has a soft heart -- she cares about her friends still left at the orphanage -- and yes, I've heard many stories about them. BUT she is also soft to what God wants of her --

We celebrated this day she entered our life!

All of us dress in our Chinese clothes and jewelry.

We had a wonderful Chinese meal and just celebrate Elizabeth!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Elizabeth Update


A quick update on our wonderful patient!

She is doing GREAT at school!

All of her friends, teachers and assistants have been UNBELIEVABLE and oh, so helpful!

She had her 12 week post-op appointment this week.
She was so nervous Dr. F would say she still needs to stay in the wheelchair.

Thankfully -- he gave her the GO AHEAD to walk.

AND
Elizabeth's first time standing on both legs in 12 weeks.  Yes, it is a bit weak but doing oh, so good!

She WOULD NOT GET BACK IN THAT WHEELCHAIR!!
"I'm done with that thing," she said.

Thankfully, pool therapy has been going great and building up the muscles so her body could hold her up.



She needs to continue therapy -- pool, gym and OT for her hands.
She canNOT go out for recess or to the gym at school for another 6 weeks.
The bone growth on the hip is right on target BUT
She is still at high-risk for fractures
SO
NO RISK TAKING ;)

Again, this girl is AMAZING!!
She has definitely made this HARD experience JOYFUL!


Friday, February 21, 2014

MORE snow!


YEP --- MORE SNOW!

At the farm

Roads drifting closed not too far from our house.

Can you believe it???

MORE and MORE -- it keeps coming!

The HUGE snow blower that came in to open one of the roads that was drifted shut.

I DO NOT like driving in it ---

THANKFULLY--this is NOT me stuck -- Matt is helping someone out.

BUT

I still feel it is beautiful!

I LOVE all of the snow on the trees!

Of course it again has allowed for a few more snow days.

The boys had to spend a little more time on the roof -- shoveling.

They also surprised me with a HUGE snowman --

Matt and MD's snowman!

ON THE ROOF!


Yep, on the roof -- at least it is a beautiful day ;)

The boys have LOVED being able to go skiing more this year than in the past.

Skiing with family and friends at Caberfae.

Well, spring is creeping towards us --- ALTHOUGH, I'm sure there is more snow a'comin!

JM and BaJabs all ready to go out and play in the snow.