Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can we have a garden????

Those pesky weeds!

A few of our plants

Reporting for duty!

Sarah's little plot

Sarah's been asking for weeks now if she could plant a garden. I've never had any experience with gardens, even though I really wanted to learn as a kid growing up. I remember saving up box tops and money to order the "greenhouse" from the Captain Crunch cereal box. I was so excited when it finally came. I did EVERYTHING right and in no time at all I had little plants. But, that was as far as it went. No one had any interest or time to help me plant them outside. So, that was the end of my garden experience:(

Now Dave LOVES to garden and has great success (usually) getting things to bloom and grow. So, Sarah and I talked with him and Dave was excited to help out.

This weekend, Home Depot, for the beginning of Earth Week, had a sale, buy-one-get-one free on their vegetable/fruit plants and seeds. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the store, the plants were really picked over. Sarah did come away with some tomato, cucumber, melon and various pepper plants. We also got some sunflower, radish, and bean seeds.

Dave took all of the kids and involved them in turning over the soil, building up the area, planting the plants and protecting them with netting from our friends the deer. The kids had fun but the most interested one is Sarah. She has checked the plants everyday and asks if she needs to water them or do anything to make sure they continue to grow. I'm so pleased to see her interest.

I sure hope we get a crop of SOMETHING so Sarah has some success. It sure would be nice to have her go pick some tomatoes and cucumber for our dinner salad to go along with the blackberries that grow wild in our yard! I'll keep you posted on the success of the garden!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Priceless Photos

Six years ago, on April 6, 2002, someone left my daughter, at the base of the Songtai Mountain in Wenzhou, China. That mountain is really a small hill. At the base of that hill sits a church and beside that building is a small market.

Today I came across some photos of that finding place. They were taken for us by a couple who has adopted several children from the same SWI (Wenzhou City Children's Social Welfare Institute). They had returned to China and the SWI for a visit and they offered to take photos for us. They are just priceless pieces of Grace's life.

I had the idea to make a collage of the photos, with one of Gracie in the middle. Lo and behold I had a frame, that I bought years ago, but never found any photos that I wanted to make a collage out of...until now!

I showed Gracie the photos and asked her if she knew what they were. She said no, she did not. We've shown them to her many times in the past but obviously she just was too young to process the information. After I put the pics in the collage Gracie asked if she could take it to school to show everyone.

When the other children saw the collage they all had questions about where they had been found. Matthew wanted to know where "Grace's chinese house was". He still does not have the understanding that he, Grace and Analiese were orphans. He takes what he has now and generalizes that he, and the girls, must have had the same things in China but he just doesn't remember what it looked like or who his parents were.

Grace, after being home almost six years, is asking some questions. The other day she asked how she got her birthday; how did the people in China know when she was born? We explained that they didn't know but the doctor made the best guess he could based on how many teeth she had, her size and whether she was walking and other things like that. Grace thought about that for a moment and announced, "I like my birthdate, it's close to summer but not so close that I can't celebrate at school." And that was the end of that conversation.

We will continue to talk about the children's beginnings and answer the questions as they are asked. Hopefully we can help the children make some sense out of what happened to them as babies and toddlers.

When I tucked Analiese into bed tonight she hugged me and said, "I'll always have your love". Yes Analiese, you will ALWAYS have my love.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Fun (Lots and lots)

What a busy Saturday! Our subdivision hosted their annual Easter Egg hunts and the kids had a great time! In the afternoon Dave took all the kids to the festivities. There were egg hunts (only Matthew and Analiese participated), face painting, sack races, egg races (Grace and Sarah have AWESOME control!) and lots of crafts (and food!). As Sarah exclaimed, "and it was all FREE!!!" Boy, little does she know.....
In the evening I took Sarah and Grace to the "night egg hunt". Wow was it exciting! There were about 30 kids and approximately 500 eggs! The big prize was the "golden egg" with $10 in it! Sarah and Grace were so anxious to get started. The ladies who organized the event instructed the kids to check their eggs because they wanted a photo of whomever found the coveted $10 egg.
As each child came back with their baskets they opened and checked each egg. When Grace and Sarah returned they excitedly said that Grace found an egg with $4 but no $10 egg. The organizers were getting concerned...had no one found the "golden egg?".
We said our thank you's and headed home. Once we got home the kids opened each of their eggs. Sarah yelled, "I have $5, no wait, I have $10!!! Mom you have to take me back, I found the $10 egg." So back in the car we went, and by the time we got up to the hunt the organizers had turned on the tennis court lights to help the remaining kids find the "$10 egg"!
When we walked up to the remaining crowd and announced, "here's the $10 egg finder"--everyone was so happy, well at least the adults were! Sarah got her photo taken for the website and back home we went!
As soon as the kids all got in to bed, that darn bunny arrived and filled up all of the kids baskets--we can't wait for the morning!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Zoo fun

Say cheese!

Happy Gracie

"Can I sit on him?"

So gentle

What a great planner Mom is!

All of my chicks in the nest, (including Bobert)!

All Aboard!

We had an ABSOLUTELY beautiful spring day today! The weather was warm, not a cloud in the sky and the wind was very slight. So, we went ahead with our plans to go to the zoo---as did EVERYONE else in Atlanta! I mean I expected a crowd but I did not expect what we encountered!

Today was the first that I drove to the zoo myself. It's a pretty easy drive but the traffic--where was everyone going at 10:30 on a Thursday morning????? When we finally got to the zoo, it was very apparent that we were not going to find a parking spot in the park.

One of the BIGGEST drawbacks to going to Zoo Atlanta is the lack of parking. It is just awful! Well, today every spot and I mean EVERY spot, both in the park and on the streets was taken. After I drove up, down and around the tiny streets looking for a spot to put my car I just threw up my hands, drove BACK into the park and parked my car on the grass next to a parking spot.

Go ahead, give me a ticket!

When we got to the entrance to the zoo, the line for tickets was long, how long you ask....I estimated about a 30 minute wait. When Sarah saw the line, she just groaned. Ah, what she didn't know was that Mom purchased a zoo membership on line the night before. Yes, yes, yes, to the members only line--no, not a line, but a person checking our tickets! That earned a "Super Mom" from my oldest daughter! (Me Beaming---you missed it!)

Once inside the zoo it was a ZOO because of all of the people. People with strollers, people with screaming children, people with no manners and just people! I decided that I was NOT going to stress out over the crowds and I did not! Sarah was in charge of the map and she directed us where to go. If we thought the line was too long we said, "we'll come back another day"!

When it was lunch time, we found a nice spot under a tree. Sarah and the kids automatically sat down on the ground. Oh but wait....Mom pulled out a NEAT SHEET (remember those blue things???) for all of us to sit on and stay clean. Oh boy, Sarah was so impressed she called me "Awesome Mom". (More beaming!).

After lunch we were able to go to the petting zoo--Matthew felt a sheep for the first time---and then we rode the train and the carousel. Unfortunately it was then time to head home. It really was a great day!

On the way to get the car, reality sunk in. I knew, just knew, I'd have a ticket on the windshield. I only hoped it wouldn't be too costly. Sure enough, walking through the parking lot, Sarah pointed out the police officer writing a ticket--to the car right behind where we were parked.

To our great surprise we did NOT have a ticket--YET!! All of us ran, yes ran to get into the car. I threw open the hatch and tryed to collapse the umbrella stroller. Only one problem, I didn't move my leg and the stroller was now collapsed AROUND my calf!!!

Oh, the policeman was walking toward me........I yanked the stroller off, threw it into the back of the van, jumped in and turned the car on. As I started to back up the policeman was right behind the van, placing the written ticket on the windshield of the car behind mine. He looked up but did not move out of the way.

That didn't deter me, I just backed up and pulled forward and off I went---ticketless and happy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Break Fun

He has HOW many teeth???

Celebrating no cavities!

Hold on, here we go!

Can someone PLEASE catch me??


Go already!

Hang On!

Piece of cake for our gymnast!

After two cold days, we even had snow flurries yesterday (I know!!), today was warm and sunny. After a visit to the dentist, we went to Steak and Shake for lunch and then to the park for some energy burning! It was a little windy and we didn't stay long as I was concerned about Gracie's asthma. With all of that pollen flying around I was sure that Grace would suffer later on.

We had a guest with us, Bobert the Whale shark! Sarah's assignment for her Venture class at school was to make a shark (BOBERT!) and then take him with her during spring break. We have an album that Sarah will put the photos in and then share with her class. The teachers are getting the class ready for the culminating event--dissecting an actual shark! Sarah's been looking forward to this for almost 4 years!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be even better--sunny, with less wind--and a temperature of 70-75 degrees! We are off to the zoo and a picnic--with Bobert of course!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Does the Tooth Fairy even have that much money????

Yesterday Analiese had a visit with her speech therapist and orthodontist at the Cranio-facial Clinic. They adjusted her obturator and it was (and is) amazing to hear her speech! They were able, with the help of the endoscope, to identify the gaps in the soft palate that the obturator was not covering (due to growth). They then added material to the appliance so that it covered the larger area.

Incredibly the amount of air that escapes is so minimal. Once again I am taken aback by the sweetness of Analiese's clear voice!

After the obturator was adjusted I expressed my concern that Analiese had a tooth emerging behind her baby teeth and not a single tooth was near loose. So, our awesome team leader, Dr. Riski, grabbed the dentist, Dr. Thomas, who then examined Analiese's mouth. The first thing he said was, "Analiese, only sharks can have two rows of teeth!" He ordered an x-ray and after conferring with the orthodontist he delivered the news.

"There is no soft way of saying this," Dr. Thomas said. "We need to remove 10, maybe 11 teeth."

"WHAT????" I croaked.

Dr. Thomas went on to explain that in all of his years of practicing he had NEVER seen a mouth quite like Analiese's. Seems that everything that is happening is just opposite of what normally occurs. Don't ask me what it is because it was so "dental talk" that the only thing I came away with was Analiese has a very crowded mouth and the only way to allow her adult teeth room to come in is to remove the baby teeth because they will never come out the normal way!

The plan is for 5 upper teeth and 5 lower teeth, all in the front, will be removed! Additionally, one of her molars, that we've had capped, is going to have to be "cut in half and recapped" to allow room for a new molar to come in. Right now it is coming in sideways because of the lack of space!

When Analiese heard the news she had two reactions, "WOW! I'm going to be rich" and "Can you pull them out quickly because I want to go home!" Oh, the innocence of my sweetheart!

The silver lining, and yes there always is one, is that they can wait until the summer to do the procedure. Of course it will have to be done under anesthesia in the OR but hopefully we won't have to spend the night. Though, Analiese did express excitement at the prospect of sleeping at the "hosibal" again!

Thank goodness, even after all of the surgical procedures she has had (close to a dozen), she still maintains a positive outlook on hospitals and doctors!

Analiese is just the most amazing child and the entire cranio-facial team at Scottish Rite concurs with me! I must have done SOMETHING right in my life for God to have chosen me to be her mother!!!