Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today is my first day of summer vacation! This is the first year, in so many I can't even count, that I've been able to walk away on the SCHEDULED last day of school. I worked very, very hard to make that happen because I did not want to take any time away from the kids.

Today I was able to sleep in (7:30) and not rush to be anywhere. I did meet for a while with the student I am doing home-based services with for the summer but it was so laid back that it really felt like having a nice visit.

We have lots planned for the next 9 weeks--camps, the beach, the pool, the library, the pool, relaxing, and of course, THE POOL! We love hanging at the pool and are so fortunate that we have one to play at.

It will take a couple of days for all of us to get into the "vacation" mode as we still have 2 dance recitals (and rehearsals) to finish up. But once this week is over, it is relaxation at its best!

Matthew doesn't quite understand "summer vacation" but I'm sure he will learn in a hurry. No schedules, lots of flexibility and not to mention tons of sun is something we all get used to in a hurry.

So, for those of you not as fortunate to have 9 weeks off---I'll be thinking of you as I decide, "what will we do today?!"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I have two Moms!

If you listen to your children you learn alot! The other day at dinner Matthew informed me that he was going, "To Tanner's House". Dave then jumped in to explain that Tanner's Mom had to call Matthew's Mom to work out a play date. Matthew responded, and surprised both Dave and I with, "I have two Moms." I agreed. And Matthew continued with, "I have a china mom who no want me." Again, I agreed.

Thoughtful for a moment, Matthew said, "I like that Mom."

Dave then chimed in with, "And you have a Mom who loves you with all of her heart."

Matthew continued with, "I want to call that (china) Mom, can I?" I told him that I didn't know who she was, no one knew who she was.

He then said, "Oh, why not?" I then tried to, as unemotional as possible, explain that his "china mom" left him at the hospital and didn't tell anyone who she was. Matthew's response? "OK".

He then stated, "I no want to go to Xiamen (city where he is from)"

I asked why. Matthew indicated, "They kick-a-me" and pantomimed being smacked.

I inquired if he listened and was a good boy. He told me, "no" they make me sit down and I scream.

Boy, oh boy, did that little boy shed so much light on the first months with him! He was just recreating what he did in China. However, the response he got was so MUCH different than what he got in China. He has learned so much since he has come home.

But...he has so far to go. Today we had several tantrums. We continue to have issues with Matthew not listening to what we ask him to do. He thinks that he can just do what he wants. Staying outside to play is a HUGE issue with him. He has a difficult time entertaining himself. It doesn't matter that we have EVERY toy under the sun as well as a great playground, complete with a climbing wall, for him to play with. He wants that electronic stuff!

Today I decided that I needed to set a standard for the summer (YES, Friday was the kids last day of school!). So, when Matthew came in from outside the first time, I warned him that he would lose going to the swimming pool if he didn't stay outside and play.

It wasn't 5 minutes later that I found Matthew upstairs in his room. I asked why he was there and he said, "I no want to play outside." I responded with, "then there is no swimming pool today."

Little did I know that that short statement would set off a HUGE tantrum. We had screaming, banging, crying and stomping of little boy feet. It was a replay of when Matthew first came home and did not get his way. All through today we had similar incidences when Matthew would ask if he could go to the pool. It was so hard.

But, when Dave took the girls to the pool, Matthew was fine. He just needed to be reassured that he could go the next day.

I know that there is a lesson in all of this somewhere for me. I've learned that Matthew is not easy to figure out, that at his age he has lots of higher level thinking going on and is making connections that I am not aware of until an incident happens. I can only say that God has lots more faith in my abilities as a Mom than I ever had!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Proud Parents!

Dave is wearing a saucer on his head!

Proud Graduates...can you tell them apart???

Beautiful Dancing Sisters!

WHAT is growing out of Matthew's head???

The tumbling Ladybugs (and Manbug)!

What a busy weekend we've had! May has always been a very busy month. But this year it is proving to be the craziest we've had in a while!

We started on Friday with dress rehearsal for Sarah, Grace and Analiese. Dave had to take them as I had volunteered to run the dance studio while everyone was at rehearsal. Dave was able to experience the madness that is usually left for me.

On Saturday morning William and Thomas graduated from high school! Yes, the twins are now college freshman. It is still unbelievable that they are that old. We are so proud of them! Thomas graduated with honors and William just missed it by a few points. Both of them are off to Georgia Tech to study engineering. Thomas is waiting for the fall and William is enrolling for the summer and will report June 14th! We are so glad they've chosen to stay in the dorms. They need a strong dose of independence. The world is out there and all they need to do is jump in with both feet. I sure hope they are brave enough.

Then, on Saturday afternoon we had recital rehearsal AGAIN. This time for Matthew, Analiese and Grace. It was just insane running from the graduation ceremony to take them all to practice. I missed the twins luncheon but Dave and Sarah were able to go.

Next, on Saturday night we had the recital for Sarah, Grace and Analiese. It was lots of fun for the girls, all three of them were able to perform in a tap number together. Both Sarah and Grace were helpers in Analiese's class. I can't tell you how sweet they looked. I, on the other hand, was stressed. As a "company" parent I have to work at least one of the recitals. I chose Saturday. Oh, boy, never again! Those little, itty-bitty's are tough to take for almost 3 hours! Give me the older girls any day!

Then, on Sunday we had another recital. This one was the tumbling recital for Matthew, Analiese and Grace. To be honest I really was a little worried about Matthew. He just had no experience in which to draw from for performing in front of 500 people. During the classes he has proven to be a good student, most of the time. But, he didn't always follow the group. Matthew's teacher was confident that he would do well. During the "ladybugs" performance, ALL of the Evans kids did a fabulous job. The crowd cheered so loud for Matthew; he was fabulous AND the only boy! I had so many people stop and comment about how well the kids did and they were amazed when I told them Matthew has only been home 6 months!

It has been a whirlwind weekend but one so full of emotion! All of our children are excelling in one way or another. We couldn't be prouder of each and everyone of them!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Miracles DO happen!

First let me say thank you all for your prayers! They are working! We went to the ENT the other day for a check-up for Matthew. I was prepared for the worst. First we had an initial exam by the ENT's assistant. She reviewed Matthew's file and indicated that the audiologist would check his hearing and determine the extent of Matthew's hearing loss. We talked a little about hearing impaired services for him.

So, off we went to the audiologist (OK so we waited an hour). During the exam I'm hearing the audiologist tell Matthew how well he was doing and watching her write things down. At the end of the exam, she exclaims, "He did SO WELL!" I then ask her how profound the hearing loss was. Puzzled, she responded, he has very little hearing loss. Of course, I said, "Are you sure???" She indicated she was.

So, back to the assistant we went (only waited 10 minutes). Once she looked at Matthew's audiogram she ran, yes I mean ran, to find the Doctor. The Doctor then came in and asked to exam Matthew under the microscope. Off we went. While looking under the microscope the Doctor exclaimed, "My God, I have NEVER seen anything like this". I asked, "What?" She explained that children she sees that have had the amount of damage and neglect in their ears, like Matthew, usually have to be closely monitored and suffer a significant amount of hearing loss.

Matthew??? The hole in his eardrum 2 weeks ago at surgery was 25% of his ear. Now? Only 5%! The Doctor was just blown away. We were sent away with a, "I want to see him in 6 months, keep doing what you are doing because his ears look GREAT!!!"

I credit all of this to the prayers we have sent up for Matthew! With Matthew's special need, he heals V-E-R-Y slowly but his ears seem to be on the healing fast-track! How happy we are!

Another miracle is that ALL of the children from Analiese's orphanage all SAFE! There were no injuries and the building sustained only "minor" damage. This orphanage is located VERY close to the epicenter of the quake. The guardian angels were working overtime for these children. Thank you all for praying so hard!

Analiese was very glad to hear the director, Mrs. Wu, was alive. She thinks of this woman as her "chinese mom" even though I've tried to explain to her that Mrs. Wu was just a caretaker. To Analiese, Mrs. Wu is the person who gave her love, took care of her and was there when she needed someone. Mom? I think so.

Monday, May 12, 2008

China Earthquake

It is with such deep sadness that I write this post. A major earthquake occurred in China yesterday and the worst hit area was in the city of Analiese's birth; Deyang, China, in the province of Sichuan. The little bits of news that I've been able to gather, the quake was a 7.9 and at least 10,000 people have died. In the city of Deyang, at least 5 schools were destroyed.
Analiese's orphanage is in that city and there are at least 50 children living there now. This is a very impoverished orphanage, no running water, no electricity and up until this past year very little nutrition. The orphanage itself is in very poor shape and I cannot imagine that it could withstand a 7.9 quake. I am so saddened to think of how desperate these people are now.
Dave and I donate monthly to a nutrition program for this orphanage through a wonderful organization (one in which I am an active volunteer for), Love Without Boundaries. This organization is made up of ONLY volunteers, such as myself, who donate their time and energy to help the orphans of China. The founder, Amy Eldridge, is an angel who works out of her home to run this non-profit organization. At the last audit, it was determined that only 3% of the money collected from donors goes to "administrative costs". The remainder, 97%, goes right to the orphanages and children in china.
I tell you about them because they have earthquake updates on their website as well as an area to donate money to help the victims. This is a post sent out:

Reports have been received of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake striking Sichuan
Province, China. Our heartfelt condolences are sent for lives lost and
damage incurred as a result of this disaster. While we know there was great
devastation and we are seeking further information from our China staff, we
will not know the extent of the damage for a period of time. All of us at
LWB are very concerned for the safety and well-being of all affected by this
disaster. We are currently working on assessing the situation as it relates
to the children in LWB programs and those orphanages impacted. We will
post updated information at . We are starting an
Earthquake Relief Fund to be able to provide immediate assistance. If you
are interested in contributing please go to and select 'Earthquake
Relief' as the category.

Thank you for your concern for those affected by this earthquake. We will
post more information as it becomes available.

IF you can, won't you please donate in honor of Analiese? Deyang was where she spent the first three years of her life. This is where she was loved and cared for by people who tried to give her what she needed. I am forever grateful for how much they loved Analiese as she an incredibly sweet, loving and generous little girl. She also makes an impact on everyone they come in contact with.

Please pray for the people of China, especially the children who don't have a Mommy or Daddy to comfort them. They need all that we can give.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Gracie!!

Our sweet Gracie is really seven years old!!! We have been so blessed to be her parents. What a wonderful celebration we had. Grace chose to have a "Diva" party at the dance studio where she dances. She was able to not only have fun but she was able to show off her skills. And what skills she has! Ms. Courtney, her teacher, and I were AMAZED at the leaps Grace was able to perform. Grace has so lived up to her name! As we opened each gift Grace was so thankful and excited. Of course the bathing suit from my sister is the EXACT bathing suit I chose for Grace....except in a different color! As different as sisters can be, Margie and I certainly have similar tastes in lots of things! Grace just loved the suit, especially the flip-flops that matched perfectly! Dave and I are so emotional about Grace's birthday. We realize that if Grace had stayed in the orphanage she would not have lived to see this birthday. Yes, she was classified as healthy but her asthma has proven to be something we must monitor on a daily basis. Would they have done that for her in China? Most likely not. And the world would have missed out on the most wonderful little girl! We just count our blessings each and every day for being chosen as her parents! God certainly blessed us when he sent us Gracie Fiezhen!!!
Grace has grown so much in the past five years! Even though we missed the first two years of her life, she has ALWAYS been with us, she has ALWAYS been our daughter and she has ALWAYS been in our hearts. We have watched her transform from the frightened, angry toddler that we met in Hangzhou, China to the sweet, even tempered, sweetheart that is our little girl.
All of those prayers I prayed WERE listened to. Grace is my daughter.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Chicken pox???!!

Yup, you read that right! We have chicken pox! Actually Sarah has chicken pox and we are praying that the other 3 do not come down with it (or is it them?). Yes, she's had the shot AND the booster shot. Sarah certainly seems to have a mild case with few blisters. Certainly not like when I was a child--I had them EVERYWHERE! As you can see from the photo she has a few on her abdomen, a few more on her back, none that we see today on her legs and the last few on her neck. She is itchy and just not feeling herself. We've taken Aveeno baths and Benedryl for the itching.

From what I read, the vaccine is 83-93% effective and if a child does get the "pox" then they have a pretty mild case. I also found out that it is 10-21 days for the first symptoms to show up once you've been exposed to the virus and the person is contagious for 1-2 days before the blisters erupt through 6-8 days after they are visible.

So, we have no way of knowing where Sarah was when she was exposed. However, we have a VERY good idea of how many kids she may have unknowingly transmitted the virus to--literally hundreds! She had the dance competition last week, has been at the dance studio all week and also to school.

Because there are not many of the blisters Sarah really did not become alarmed when she first saw them (a day or two ago). I saw them last night when I was helping Sarah get ready for her shower. Now that she is more "mature" I don't get to help with her bathing nearly as much as I used to (yes, I do miss it). I asked Sarah what the sores were and she responded, "Oh, I meant to tell you about these because they really itch". Right away I knew they were chicken pox. This morning I took Sarah over to our neighbor, who is a RN and she confirmed it. Dave gets to stay home as I only have 3 weeks (YEAH!!) left of school and have WAY too much to do.

So, if you and your children have been around my daughter, let me apologize in advance.....