Friday, June 27, 2008


Well, I've been involved in ANOTHER fainting episode! Some of you may recall, last year at the dance studio, I helped with a woman who fainted. She fractured her skull and has had lingering health issues related and unrelated to the fainting.

So, tonight we are out with the kids at a pizza buffet, after Grace's performance for her summer camp. Dave suddenly jumped up and screamed, "Oh my God"! I jumped to look, expecting to see one of our children. But, it wasn't one of our children. Dave was already out of his chair and over to a woman who had passed out. By the time I arrived I heard the woman say she was OK, But physically she was NOT!. Dave allowed her to walk away. DOWN she went. Thank goodness she did not hit her head. It was like she suddenly lost control of her bones; she just crumpled.

By this time our kids were mesmorized. I immediately asked the woman, who was as confused as anyone I've ever seen, "are you diabetic?", "Do you have a heart condition?". She was not only confused she was sweating and she was clamy. Her husband and her son had no idea what to do. Neither did the restaurant staff for that matter. Dave had to instruct them to call 911 and I had to insist on a cold rag with ice.

This poor woman kept insisting she had to go to the bathroom. Her husband took her after she requested I accompany her. There was NO WAY I could do that. The poor woman could not walk and I could not support her weight! So, into the bathroom they went. We waited for the ambulance, the woman continued to be cold an calmy and because she had free choice, she chose to NOT go to the hospital when the EMS arrived. Instead, she hobbled out of the restaurant with her husband and son supporting her.

When we were waiting for the ambulance she said to me, "I wish you had not called 911." I told her that the embarrassment was temporary but the health issue could be forever. It didn't seem to matter. The EMS guys thanked me but sadly informed me that she chose to go home.

I sure hope this woman gets past her emotions and sees her doctor. It just isn't right for a 51 year old woman to pass out, not remember it and sweat and feel cold. SOMETHING is going on!

Somehow I feel the Lord is preparing me for something. It was so amazing that NO-ONE else in the restaurant rushed in to help this woman. That was the scariest thing... On the way home Sarah asked so many questions and I so tried to teach her that the most important thing was to stay calm.

Sarah said to me, "Mom, I heard you ask if she was diabetic or if she had any health issues"
Then Sarah said, "I heard you tell her how important it was to relax until the ambulance got there, I saw her husband and he had tears in his eyes. He didn't know what to do."

I am SO glad that my actions are speaking so much louder than my words. Thank you Jesus for giving me the courage to not panic. My children have learned how important it is to help others and to keep a calm, cool head. I sure hope that I can make emergencies less frightening to them!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Birds, the Bees and BABIES!

The time has come for "The Talk" with Sarah. At 10 years old she is asking some very specific questions. She is questioning the answers I've given her in the past and wondering "how can that be??"!

Up until now she has been satisfied with, "Babies grow in Mommy's belly", "Married people have babies because they love each other", "Mommies have eggs and Daddies have sperm and together they make a baby", and "God sends babies".

I'm now getting questions like:

Sarah: "How do 16 year olds get pregnant if they aren't married?"
Me: "Umm, because they are irresponsible."
Sarah: "Oh, God says because you are irresponsible, I"m giving you a BABY?"
Me: "It's more complicated than that. When your sisters are not with us we'll talk about it".

And yet another:

Sarah: "How does the baby get in Mommy's belly?"
Me: "God"
Sarah: "I know God sends the baby but how does the egg and the sperm get together?"
Me: "Another complicated answer, let's take some time alone and talk about it."
Sarah: "OK"

So now I'm planning on our mother/daughter talk. When we arrived home from the beach I watched a Dr. Phil episode that I had taped....."How to talk with your kids about Sex!" How timely, how informative, how heaven-sent! Dr. Phil's guest was John Chirban, who authored a book, "What's Love Got to Do With It: Talking With Your Kids About Sex"..

During the show, taped segments of Dr. Chirban talking to tweens, pre-teens and teens about how much communication they've had with their parents regarding sex. It was interesting to hear their responses. Many of the kids said they wanted to have more information from their parents but that their parents were not comfortable discussing it. The parents of the kids readily agreed that they were uncomfortable because THEIR parents never had the talk with them!

I so can relate to that! My parents NEVER spoke to me about sex. All of my information came from my older sister, friends and books! I so want my children to feel comfortable coming to me (and Dave) when they have questions. I've always tried to give the kids just the right amount of information for their age about sexuality, babies and their bodies. Several years ago, I gave Sarah the book, "The Care and Keeping of Me".

She was able to look at it whenever she wanted and we discussed the things she read. I've talked with her about puberty and the changes her body will go through. The time has come to move the discussion up to a more advanced level. So, I've purchased a couple of books:

Growing Up: It's a Girl Thing" by Mavis Jukes

"What's Love Got to Do With It: Talking With Your Kids About Sex" by John T. Chirban

"The Feelings Book: The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions (American Girl)" by Norm Bendell;

"A Smart Girls Guide to Friendship Troubles" by Patti Kelley Criswell

As soon as they arrive, hopefully today, I'll sit down and have that Mother/Daughter talk. I sure hope I'm prepared for all of the questions she'll have. Poor Dave just thinks Sarah is way too young to find out about these things....just wait until she asks HIM a question!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Chance to Help

Many of us in the adoption community mourned along with the Chapman family when their terrible family tragedy struck last month. We wanted to do something, anything to show our support to a family that has been so involved in the China adoption community and has touched each of us in so many different ways.

I've just received this email from Lynn Fillmore at Angel Covers giving us a way to honor Maria Chapman as well as allowing us to support the orphans left in China. Please read below and consider giving $10.00 to purchase a bouncer in Maria's honor!

On May 21, 2008 tragedy struck the Chapman family in which young Maria
Chapman died . But through this tragedy, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth
Chapman continue to think of the many orphans in China. In order to let
the world show how much they loved Maria, Angel Covers has been asked to
accept donations in honor of Maria for baby bouncers. These bouncers
will provide hours of interaction and fun to the babies cared for at the
Shaohannah’s Hope Healing Home (SHHH), a new project in China, of the
Chapman’s organization.

Because of a partnership between the Chapman’s and Dr. Joyce and Robin
Hill, this 60,000 sq ft facility will care for 128 medically fragile
infants and toddlers . One hundred baby bouncers are needed for SHHH in
order to help provide these babies with the best care possible.

Maria was a beautiful little girl with a huge smile and contagious
laugh. Please help us spread her joy for life to the children of SHHH.
Only $10 purchases one of these bouncers and will bring countless hours
of happiness to these needy children. Please feel free to pass this post
along to any groups you'd like. We want to provide as many bouncers as


Sunday, June 22, 2008

What a great week!

We had a fantastic vacation week in Panama City, Florida! We enjoyed the resort, Splash, with the lazy river, the pools and the water park area. The beach was great even though the water wasn't the best. Except for the last day we were there, the water was full of algae, from what scientist refer to as the "Dead Zone". It was just plain gross! We were able to find some clear parts but for the most part the kids would get green slime on them when they went into the water. Did that stop them? Heck no!

We did some fishing and sweet Grace caught 4 fish! Two she caught with no bait at all! Sarah caught 2 and Matthew and Analiese just had fun! It was the first time we had fished and the kids definitely want to go again. It was exciting when we got to see the dolphins swimming up close to us!

We went to Seaside, where the movie Truman was filmed, for dinner. Years ago, when Sarah was 18 months old, we went and Dave took a photo of Sarah and I sitting in some chairs. We tried to recreate the picture but could not convince Dave of the exact setting. So....I'll post the original with the recreation and you can see how much Sarah has grown and how OLD I've become!

We spent several nights out on the beach looking for crabs! They were much, much bigger than the ones we saw last year at the Atlantic coast beach. Matthew chased a small crab, caught it and held it in his hands. I kept telling him it was going to bite him, but he wanted to hold it and take it home! Good thing for the crab that I made Matthew throw it back onto the sand.

Analiese spent lots of time practicing her swimming, as did Matthew. Analiese is just about ready to get rid of her floaty, but Matthew needs a little more time. They both should be ready by the end of the summer.

Once again, we had a fun, fun time with the Brown's. Maya and Analiese are just the best buds and two peas in a pod! They not only are from the same geographic area in China, they look alike, act alike and have the same sensitive souls. Sarah and Conner are best buds who do not miss a minute to be together. They pick up immediately where they left off months ago. They can play in the pool, in the ocean, build in the sand or pretend to be chefs and never get bored. I sure hope this friendship lasts a long time!

Kira, on the other hand, is an old soul. She so wants to be part of the older girls (10 and 7!). She is definitely a diva in training! It was great to see Aly after about two years. She was a great help with the kids and fun to be with. I sure hope she enjoyed being with the "old folks" for a couple of days.

And then there is Nancy. It is always great to spend time relaxing with her. We like the same things and find it very easy to talk about nothing, everything and lots in between! Our spouses are alike in many ways and get along as well. We've been sharing beach vacations for about 3 years now and I can see many, many more in our future!

The week went by too quickly and now we are home. Oh, it's nice to sleep in my bed and cuddle with my cats but I sure do miss the sound of the waves waking me up each morning!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Florida, here we come!

We leave for a week at the beach tomorrow morning! The break couldn't come at a better time. Our upstairs air-condition unit went out 2 days ago. We think it got hit by the lightening during one of the storms that blew through here. The good thing is that we have a unit for downstairs which wasn't affected. The bad news is that the bedrooms were 92 degrees last night so all of us (except Dave) slept on the family room floor. OUCH, at 3:30 AM I went upstairs to join Dave, as our bedroom had finally cooled down with the windows open.

I'm ready for a week of sun, sand, fun, relaxation and socializing with our friends from St. Louis. The condo we are staying at looks like a lot of fun for all of us; there is a small water park, a lazy river to float in, poolside movies, a game room with 2 bowling lanes, a work out room that overlooks the ocean and is right on the beach. We bought some fishing rods to take with us and Dave will attempt to take all of the kids fishing!

This will be Matthew's first trip to the beach. The girls have tried to tell him what to expect but he doesn't have any idea what he is in for! How fun it will be to watch his sense of wonder! We may have missed out on some of Matthew's firsts but we sure are enjoying the ones we get to experience!

We also will celebrate Sarah's 10th birthday as well as Father's Day while in Florida. Sarah was born so close to Father's Day but this year is special because her birthday falls on the same day we honor her Daddy. I know how wonderful it is to share your special day with one of your children as I got to share Mother's Day this year with Grace's birthday! We'll have lots to do this week but will enjoy every busy moment!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

AHA, my lightbulb moment!

I took the kids to a movie today, Evan Almighty, and never expected to get the insight that I did! Boy does God use any vehicle that he can. I'm forever praying for "patience" in dealing with the children, especially Matthew. There are days when I just feel like I'm a terrible Mom because I do more correcting than complimenting and then I wonder WHY God has not answered my prayers for more patience.

In the movie, "God" (Morgan Freeman) asks the wife if she believes that when someone prays for patience that God gives them patience? God's answer? "No, I give them more experiences to help them learn patience."

Well, there you have it! All of my prayers for patience have certainly been answered! I've been given lots and lots of experiences in which my patience has been tested. I just haven't realized that these experiences have been the answer to my prayers! I mean I realized that Analiese was sent to me to help me stop being so judgemental of other parents. You know, "how could they let that child wear that?", "can they not control that child?", "haven't they taught that child any manners?" Before Analiese I used all of those statements and MEANT each one! Now that I have a "free-thinker, out-of-the box" child of my own I very RARELY comment on anyone else's parenting abilities!

Somehow I just missed the purpose of all of the "patience trying" experiences that I've had since Matthew has joined our family. The more I prayed for patience the more situations I found myself in. One of my beliefs is that God drops little pebbles on you to get your attention. When you don't "get" the message the pebbles become rocks and then the rocks become boulders. I think I got my boulder today!

Monday, June 9, 2008

See you in a year!

Matthew's Heart!

That's what the cardiologist said to us today! Another echocardiogram was done on Matthew today and after reviewing the photos the doctor had good news and not so good news. The not so good news is that the fistula in Matthew's heart is still there. The good news is that, after six months, the cardiologist was able to determine that the hole is not in one of the heart's chambers but in the heart itself. If the fistula was in one of the chambers, as originally thought, then there would have been more concerns, possible surgery. But because it is not, we are cleared to come back in a year!

Now, we still have to monitor Matthew and he still needs to have antibiotics before any dental work or any surgeries, but his heart is in pretty good shape. I asked the doctor if Matthew was more than likely born with the heart issue and he quickly answered, "yes, it is congenital". This is just one more piece of information we now have on our son.

Once again, more proof that we don't always get the child we expect! When we adopt, just as when we give birth, we have to be prepared for ANYTHING, not just what is written on the scant medical report given to us by the CCAA (for China). We have been surprised, with all three of our chidren from China, with additional medical concerns. Grace has severe asthma, Analiese has burn scars and Matthew has a heart condition.

I ask myself if I had been given this information prior to accepting the referrals for my kids would I have gone through with the adoptions? With Grace probably not because we were just not at the "special needs" place yet. We only wanted a healthy child. And if we hadn't gotten Grace I'm not so sure there would have been an Analiese or a Matthew. Grace is wonderful and because of her we jumped right into a second adoption with Analiese!

I go right back to my belief that God's plan is such a good plan. He knows how much to give us and when to give it to us. The amazing thing is that we had looked at a file of a little boy with a heart condition before. We consulted with a cardiologist and he was so very positive about this child's condition. We ultimately realized that boy was not our son and returned his file (he has since come home and is VERY healthy with an extra digit on his hand that was not disclosed!) but I wondered if he was put in our path to understand and get comfortable with heart issues. God does work in such mysterious ways!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


We spent the morning at the pediatrician's office. Grace woke up Monday morning with pink eye. Dave, not realizing, just put some visine into her eyes. When he woke me up and told me, I pulled out the pink eye drops and started using them immediately. On Tuesday, after not only seeing no improvement, but a rash on Gracie's face, I decided to get her to the doctor.

So, this AM off we went (yes, Mom and ALL four children!). We did not see our regular pediatrician but another in the practice. He is a chinese man with the patience of Job. He looked at Grace, immediately confirmed pink eye, but indicated that infection was out of control and he would need to give a stronger drop as well as oral antibiotics. The rash on her face was another story. He didn't feel it was related to the pink eye. So...I lift up Sarah's shirt and show him the rash that Sarah has had for a month (that I thought was chicken pox, but the PA said it was just a "virus").

Well Dr. Luk took one look at the rash and immediately looked into Sarah's mouth and announced that the rash she had was "Guttate Psorasis" which flares up with strep throat. A look into Sarah's mouth showed a VERY red and inflamed throat (with no pain says Sarah) and a quick swab confirmed the diagnosis!

So, the rash that Sarah has had for a month was caused by untreated strep! I am so frustrated because in my heart and in my gut I've never trusted PA's with diagnosing ANYTHING! Oh, I think they are good if you have something common that you just need medicine for. But for the "what the HECK is this" they are useless.

I feel horrible, I feel terrible that I've let Sarah be SICK for an entire month! Today we started on the oral antibiotics and a steroid topical creme to help the rash. Hopefully we will see a HUGE improvement in a couple of days.

So, for now, no pool, no activities because the girls are sick. I took out the blow-up pool this afternoon so Analiese and Matthew could swim. Hopefully tomorrow we can get to the big pool. We are out of school, now isn't the time to be SICK!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wisdom shared from my Father

My Dad shares lots of emails that he receives. Some are too darn funny, others are political and then there are the ones that are full of wisdom. In many of those messages he sends, I find parts of him. Parts that I see in myself and parts that I hope to impart to my children. My Dad is a great man, full of knowledge, humor and a love for his family. Some of those characteristics I've inherited and others I'll work my whole life and never get close to being where he is.

For not being able to pick who your Dad is gonna be, I sure hit the jackpot! Enjoy the thoughts he's shared!


A Birth Certificate shows that we were born

A Death Certificate shows that we died

Pictures show that we lived!

Have a seat . . . Relax . . . And read this slowly.

I believe ..... That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they
do love each other.

I believe... That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I believe .... That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe.... That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe .... That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe ..... That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe..... That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe .... That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I believe ..... That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe .. That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe .... That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe.... That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe..... That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe..... That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe... That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe..... That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've

I believe..... That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...... That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe...... That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible
for who we become.

I Believe ....... That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I believe . .... Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...... That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe...... That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will
find the strength to help.

I believe...... That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe ..... That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe.... That you should send this to all of the people that you believe in. I just did.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.