Thursday, July 31, 2008

Won't you please send in $1.00??????

My FAVORITE charity (and one that I am a volunteer with) is having a contest (see below for details) to promote the UNITY FUND. I would so love it if those of you who read my blog would take a moment to enter the contest and to also donate. The money will go DIRECTLY to those in need (Love Without Boundaries is a volunteer organization, go check them out:

To kick off the fund LWB is also having a $1 challenge , where they are challenging EVERYONE we know to pop $1 in the mail (LWB, 306 S. Bryant, Ste. C-145, Edmond, OK 73034). When you send in your $1.00 will you please make a note that you read about the fund/contest on my blog????

So, even if you can only afford the $1.00 to help kick off the fund every little bit will help!

So, in honor of Gracie, Analiese and Matthew, won't you drop your dollar in the mail??????

Thanks so much, Tina

MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008


Okay, we are TOTALLY stealing a fabulous idea from the Old Red Barn Co ( because we had so much fun entering and doing our own videos to try to win their quilt for our art auction. We lost….waahhh!

Starting TODAY, you have a chance to win a FABULOUSLY INCREDIBLE LWB PRIZE PACK in celebration of our Unity Fund launch. What is the Unity Fund, you ask? It is our new medical fund for impoverished families in China who cannot afford the life-saving medical procedures that their children need, in the hopes of keeping their families UNITED (hence the name) and actually preventing orphaned children. Yes, it is a big dream, but if we help even one more child stay with their family, that is beyond happiness for us. We are often approached by rural families who are desperate to help their children but who believe their only chance of healing them is to leave their child at an orphanage. We want to have a separate fund that we can use to bring HOPE to their lives, so that we can tell them immediately, “We know you love her, and yes we can help.” So in celebration of keeping families together, we are copying the contest held by the Old Red Barn Co and because we are busy people (ha ha) and want to save time, we are even copying their rules! Shameless we are!

First prize in this contest is an LWB prize pack, which includes:

A copy of our coffee table book, “Love’s Journey 2: The Red Thread”—a beautiful, hard cover book of over 250 pages with beautiful photos and stories about adoption.

PLUS a Red Thread Jewelry Set, valued at $125, which is SO BEAUTIFUL that you know you want it! Sterling silver, pearls, red silk cording…..did I mention BEAUTIFUL?!

PLUS one adult LWB t-shirt and one child’s LWB t-shirt.

PLUS (drum roll please because this is a biggie these days!) you will also win a FIFTY DOLLAR gas card to 7-Eleven donated by a friend of LWB!!! WOOHOO!! Free gas!!! Gas card! Gas card! Gas card!!! Okay, we admit that doesn’t exactly go with an LWB prize pack, but hey….we told you we were shameless and we want you to enter!

Total prize pack is worth over $250! Now that’s a fun contest, right?

Second prize will receive a Love’s Journey book, and third prize gets their choice of an adult or child’s LWB logo t-shirt.

All you have to do to enter and receive one chance in the drawing is email and say “I support helping rural children in need.” That will count as one entry!

You earn FIVE extra entries into the drawing if you post an entry about our contest in your blog and let us know.

You get FIFTY ENTRIES (yes 5-0) if you make a video on why families are wonderful (to go along with our Unity theme) and mention the words “Live With Hope, Love Without Boundaries” at least once. Post it on Youtube with the header “Love Without Boundaries Unity Fund.” Send us your name and the link so we can credit you 50 chances! Since we are having fun with this celebration, we are going to follow the same rules and say we need your video to make us smile at least once. We know kids always make us smile, so we know this won’t be any problem!

International supporters are also welcome to enter. The contest will end Friday, August 15th at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Get your comments in before then. We’ll announce the winner on Saturday, August 16th! The winner will be selected by random drawing.

We are also having a $1 challenge to kick off this fund, where we are challenging EVERYONE we know to pop $1 in the mail (LWB, 306 S. Bryant, Ste. C-145, Edmond, OK 73034) to help a rural child in need. Who needs an extra diet Coke today when you could put those four quarters in an envelope to save a life? Can we get 5,000 people to send in $1? We won’t know until we try. Spread the word! And enter our contest!

Let’s celebrate the joy of families as we launch this new fund to help those families in China truly in need.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Mommy, my belly hurts"

On Sunday late morning, after a Saturday sleepover, my sweet Grace complained of her belly hurting. Not knowing what she had eaten but assuming it was lots of sugar I told her to go lay down. After a few hours Grace ate some soup for lunch but really was not feeling much better.

We were supposed to go shopping but Grace told me she felt like she was going to "throw up". So I went without her. By dinner time my angel was not feeling any better. So, I decided to call the on-call nurse for our pediatrician. After describing the symptoms I was instructed to go to the nearest ER. Well, after the incident with Matthew I wanted to make sure we were not dealing with a "constipation issue".

Feeling pretty confident that the belly ache was not related to anything else off I headed with Grace to the pediatric ER only to be told to go home because Grace probably had the stomach virus that was going around. I certainly was not convinced as Grace was in so much pain and had vomited on the way into the ER.

The doctor dismissed my concerns and gave us a prescription for an anti-nausea and sent us on our way. Since it was Sunday we had one heck of a time finding a pharmacy open. Dave finally was able to get the medicine. Once we gave it to Grace it worked on the nausea but had absolutely no effect on the pain.

After several hours of laying in bed with Grace and realizing how serious her pain was I returned to the ER at about 3 AM. Finally they diagnosed her with appendicitis! It was horrible to watch my sweet baby in so much pain and vomiting during the catscan. I so just wanted someone to do SOMETHING to help her. Finally, at about 9:30 AM the hospital transported us, via ambulance, to the children's hospital so Grace could have surgery.

However, it wasn't until 2:00 PM on Monday that she had the surgery. Through the entire ordeal Grace was so brave and so stoic. The only time she really cried was when I explained that she was going to have surgery. She cried and cried and told me she was frightened. What a brave little girl she was!

The surgeon at the Children's hospital was just wonderful. She explained everything to us and made sure Grace was included! The major concern was wether Grace's appendix had burst.

Thank goodness it had not! However the appendix was gangerous so we had to really watch for infection. We spent Monday and Tuesday night in the hospital and received the BEST care possible! Grace really bounced back and we were able to leave the room to play in the game room, go to "summer camp" and meet the Atlanta Braves!

I so love Scottish RIte Hospital!!! They are so awesome and so child focused! Our surgeon was great and so were the nurses! Speaking of nurses, I finally got to meet a cyber-friend and someone who attends our First Fridays group! We missed her everytime we went for Analiese but this time we were able to spend some time together. It was wonderful to talk with her!

I cannot tell you how frightened I was for Grace. It is so frustrating to know that something is wrong with your child and not be able to do a darn thing about it! Grace came through the surgery with flying colors. Once she saw me, in recovery, she started to cry. Needless to say I quickly got into the bed with her and held her and did not let go for days. We slept together so she would know that I was within an arms reach.

Grace is doing well, being doted on by ALL of us and hopefully is on a non-stop road to recovery! The worst part is that she cannot do gymnastics or swimming for two weeks. Can I keep her busy enough where she doesn't miss those things????? I sure hope so. Please keep my angel in your prayers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Just another Saturday

Life moves at such a fast pace! We have been so busy lately running from one thing to another. Sarah attended 2 camps last week which culminated yesterday with performances. Our schedule was horrible! We had to be at one performance by 11:00, had lunch at 11:30, Sarah went to her second camp at 12:00 and I had to be back to get her by 2:00. I didn't want to drive all the way home only to have to turn right around, so we went to my office to see if I could get some things in order (I couldn't). So, back to the studio by 2:00, help with the older girls until 3:00, go home---BACK to the studio by 5:15 for two performances and out to dinner by 7:00! Back home, with a friend of Sarah's who spent the night (so it wasn't an early to bed evening).

Today was just as crazy. Not only did I need to catch up on some things that I ignored this past week, Grace had a birthday party (sleepover) and Sarah had a back-handspring clinic at the gym. Once again, we went from one thing to another!

Grace was so excited for the party, she was anxious all day! Doesn't she look beautiful? I cannot believe what a darling she is turning in to. How lucky am I?????

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Which ones look best?

**Update: The Disney frames are the favorites. Let us know which ones you like!

#1 Red Frames Matthew's fav!
#2 Brown Nine West Hmm....
#3 Revolution Kids An Asian Harry Potter?
#4 Another Disney Pair
#5 Disney Frames---Cute Huh?

Yesterday I took Matthew and Grace to get their eyes checked. Not because anyone seemed to be having a problem but just for a check-up (next week Sarah and Analiese go). So, imagine my surprise when during the exam Matthew could only see the REALLY LARGE letters. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the doctor informed me that Matthew had a pronounced "astigmatism" in one eye and the other eye also had an astigmatism, just not as bad.

The doctor wrote out a prescription, indicated that Matthew should wear his glasses all of the time, come back in a month and if his eyes had not "balanced" out then Matthew would have to wear a patch!

Seems that if we don't correct the weaker eye then it could be in danger of becoming even weaker! WOW! And Dave and I had no idea Matthew was having trouble seeing. Come to think of it, Matthew more than likely doesn't know he is having trouble seeing! Poor sweet boy. I don't think there is one part of his little body that works the way it is supposed to.

Anyway, today we went to try on glasses. We had a great time. Matthew was too funny. When we tried on the glasses, all of them had a sticker of some sort on the lens. When I would ask Matthew how the glasses felt he would complain, "I can't see with this (pointing to the label)." I then would explain that the label would be removed but he just shook his head. He was very anxious to look at himself in the mirror. He agreed to try on all of the glasses I handed him. Matthew especially liked the red ones until Dave told him that they were "girl" glasses.

We tried on quite a few frames and realized that something was going to have to be done to keep the glasses on Matthew's face. Because Matthew does not have a bridge on his nose, every pair of glasses slid right down!

We eventually chose a pair and think they make Matthew look very studious! Seriously, the glasses help take away some of the physical characteristics of his disorder and help him look more like an average 7 year old. Boy, God does work in mysterious ways.

We hope to have Matthew's glasses in a few days and will post a photo of the ones we chose. Until then, won't you vote for your favorite????

Get This - Survey Results -

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Celebrating Liz's Success!

Bragging Rights!
Liz, Mara, Sarah, Grace, Analiese and Matthew
Grandmom, Moms and Daughters
Granddad Matt and the Grandkids
Swimming, Anyone?
The Graduate, Liz
Uncle Tony, Mara, Sarah, Analiese and Grace
Me and my "baby" brother, Tony
Grandmom Eileen and Sarah
Dave and my Dad (Matt)

What fun we had visiting our family in Michigan! My niece, Liz, graduated from High School in May and we were able to drive up and attend her graduation party. What a blast it was!

Liz is my older sister's daughter. She was the first grandchild and the first to graduate. Come to think of it she has been the first for so many things--the trailblazer! Liz is a talented singer, actor, dancer, student and all around wonderful young lady. She has the most perfect voice and I cry every time I hear her sing. She was a member of her High School's drama club and participated in 8 different plays. The latest one was "Fame" in which she had the lead!

Liz also graduated with honors, I believe a 3.70 GPA. She is beautiful, responsible and all around wonderful. She is headed out into the world and will someday make her mark. I am so proud of her!!!

Liz is headed to Michigan State University next month. I am so excited for her. I remember going away to college and having some of the best times of my life!

We stayed at my sister's house and the kids just loved, "Aunt Margie"! I can only venture to guess why---could it be that she spoiled them? The pool and hot tub in the backyard helped, as did the ping pong table, and not to mention the wonderful party that was held in Liz's honor (with all of the candy and junk you could eat).

And it wasn't just "Aunt Margie" they loved. Sarah spent so much time with her older cousin Mara (Liz's sister). They share a love of dance and Mara is extremely talented (yes, both sisters!). Now that Sarah is 10 she feels almost as an equal to Mara, who is now 13. The best part is that Mara embraced Sarah and made her feel special. Of course, Granddad Matt and Grandmom Eileen doted on the kids as did Uncle Tony, who is still a kid himself!

I must share a funny Matthew story. For the party my sister labelled everything, from the food, to the bathrooms. Well the day of the party Matthew kept asking everyone how to spell the pet birds names. Once Margie told him how to spell their names (Cleo and Hillberry) Matthew asked her for a "stick". Fearing he was going to poke the birds, Margie asked, "a stick, what for?". Matthew then showed my sister his paper. He had written the birds names on them and on a separate paper he had drawn a picture of 2 birds. What he wanted to do was put the paper on the bird cage to "label" them. What he really wanted was a piece of tape! It was so cute (I wish I had taken a picture) to see the bird cage with the labels attached!

I always enjoy my time visiting my family. I hate that we live so far away. I miss out on so much, as do they with my children. It's so funny because growing up my sister and I argued, fought and swore that we would never like each other. When people would tell us that one day we would be best friends I could not imagine voluntarily spending time with her! Of course it all came true. I not only wish we could spend more time together, I wish that we lived closer!

The worst part was the drive to and from Michigan. The kids really did a great job. But, sitting in the car for over 700 miles is no fun for anyone, let alone a five year old who has a hard time sitting in one spot for 5 minutes. It was a hard trip but worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Today's Fun

We went to a local play place today: DACS Kids. It is a combination of inflatibles, climbing, guns that shoot soft balls and sand that you can dig in. Usually on Tuesdays we go to the free movies but after checking the movies and realizing that we had already seen both of the offerings I decided that a change of plans were in order.

I didn't tell the kids my plans. Instead I had them get ready to go to the library to return our books and videos. Unfortunately for me, I didn't plan ahead and bring socks...

Anyway, when we got to the play place, Sarah knew exactly what was happening. The other kids were just ecstatic. We had to buy socks ($1.50 a piece!!!) but it was well worth it.

Unfortunately, I didn't check the battery on the camera and it died after a few shots. We had a great time. But one thing that really concerned me was that Matthew spent the first 20 minutes collecting soft balls in a bag. When I called him aside to tell him to find something to play he really seemed at a loss. The other kids ran around: dug in the sand, played on the inflatables and climbed to their hearts content. Matthew just had NO idea of what to do. He seemed to be having fun so I tried to leave him alone.

After 2 hours the kids were ready to go. It was fun day and a nice diversion!

Tonight...packing is the focus. We leave for Michigan on Thursday and we are so excited to see everyone!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Keeping Busy

We've been having fun and enjoying the time together. Grace and Analiese have been to camp, we've done the movies, been to the pool and in a few days we'll leave for our trip to Michigan.

The kids, for the most part, keep each other occupied and get along well. Sarah, of course, is the director of all of the activities, whether it be making up dances, playing tag, diving and swimming or playing on the playground. Matthew goes along with anything and is a great sport about it all!

Matthew is really a very different kid these days. His language skills are amazing! His vocabulary is fantastic and according to the speech therapist, his sounds are very age appropriate! He hasn't had a major meltdown since I video taped the last one. Saturday night we watched Analiese's camp performance and as I tried to find the spot on the tape I happened across Matthew's temper tantrum that I taped. Well, Matthew yelled "no, no" and covered his eyes. He was ashamed for his brother Thomas to see him cry and kick. He told Thomas, "I don't do that no more." We'll see.....

I've been working with each of the kids on some skills for school and I feel so positive that Analiese is READY for kindergarten. She knows her letters, sounds, shapes and is doing prewriting. She can count to 100 and is learning how to count by 5's and 10's to 100. Now if I can just get her to sit still....

Sarah and I had our talk. It went very well and we had some really good laughs. She asked some great questions that weren't too hard to answer. Since then she comments or asks about things so we have a nice dialogue going. Dave isn't ready to be included and is glad that Sarah hasn't asked him anything---yet!

Sweet Grace is anxious to start gymnastics. We just signed her up today (and the others also). She wants to show off her skills and be better at something than anyone else! She loves to hear us tell her how naturally athletic she is and we praise her all of the time.

I'm starting to get the "put the brakes on" feeling I get every summer around this time. My vacation is flying by and I'm not looking forward to going back to work. I don't want the sleeping in until 8:00, working out, going to the pool (or maybe a movie) to end. At least not for a few more months....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth of July

Our fourth of July was just exhausting! We drove to spend the day with Dave's side of the family. We don't get together very much so it's always new for the kids. This time there were three (yes 3!!) new babies. The next generation is growing so quickly.

Dave comes from a large family--7 kids all together. Between them they have 20 children--Analiese is the youngest of all of these kids, the oldest is 38! So, the "kids" are now having children and between them they have 12 children (that is only from 6 of the kids--some of the others are not yet married!).

Needless to say it was a full house even though not everyone was there! The kids played and played and then played some more. Oh, not only did they play they ate and ate and ate, until they could eat no more! It was a fun day and we sure wish the kids could see their family more often.

As you can see from the photos, ALL of the kids crashed on the way home. The best part was that we had silence for the first time in HOURS! When we got home we set off some fireworks but the best was from our neighbor who puts on a pretty good amateur show!

This was Matthew's first fourth holiday and of course he doesn't yet understand how fortunate he is to be a US citizen. But he will, he will most certainly come to see how his life and future was changed that day in November, 2008 when he walked into that conference room in Fujian, China.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heaven has another angel

One of my adoptive Mommy friends received the worst news that a parent could get; her baby waiting for her in China passed away. The sweet little girl passed away last month and today my friend found out. For the past month she had been rushing around trying to get all of the paperwork needed to send over to China. She even received her "Permission to Adopt".

I don't have any of the details; my friend doesn't know much herself. I do know that she is hurting and needs as many prayers as possible. My friend did say that she so anticipated seeing her daughter's smile because the pictures she was given showed a very serious little girl; well now she knows that her baby is smiling.

The children in China have one more angel looking over them while they wait for their forever families. Please keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers.