Thursday, February 28, 2013

SB Clinic

Well.............spent another morning sitting in a tiny room at Sanford Children's Specialty Hospital trying to entertain a 3 year old while the SB specialists at the clinic parade through our room.  They spend a whole 10 minutes with her, then we wait and wait 30-40 minutes for the next specialist.  I told the coordinating doctor that there has to be a better system, but they seem to think they have done a great thing by putting all the doctors in one place to reduce the number of appointments, so I'm guessing it won't change soon.

The final consensus is that we should wait for Quinn to have surgery until she is around 5-6 years old, unless she begins to show symptoms of tethered cord.  I have mixed feelings about the directive to wait- as she gets older, she will be more susceptible to comments that kids make about her bump (mylomeningecoele) and I don't want her to become self conscious about it or have her feelings hurt.  However, I am in no way anxious to have her go through surgery, and the neurologist says that it's easier to operate around all of those nerves if they are larger, so I know it's in her best interest to wait. 

However, we couldn't be more thrilled on how well she is doing and on her progress so far!  The ultrasound of her kidneys showed that they are healthy and not showing any damage, and as we all know in this household- THIS GIRL IS POTTY TRAINED!!  This is amazing, since we originally thought she would never be continent and that I would have to catheterize her daily.  She has grown 6 inches and gained 20 lbs, now losing 5 lbs (thank GOD!) Her diet is solid and her lactose intolerance isn't causing her as much grief as I had first thought it would.  Her foot positioning and walking is right on the mark, and she will not need AFOs or any type of bracing as originally thought. 

Truthfully, could we ask for any more good news? 

Then the OT and Early Childhood gals came in to test Quinn on her developmental milestones, and she blew us all away!  She is testing high in the 36-60 month range and she is just 38 months old, and considering she spent 2 years in an orphanage and had to learn a new language this past year, that is amazing to me.

 The fun part was watching her work the blocks- she was given 10 square blocks and shown to make a tower with them.  She got up to 9 blocks and on the 10th, her tower tipped over. She only needed to stack 9 of them all to pass that test, so she passed, and then she did something that astonished the therapist- she began to build a double tower with the blocks so it wouldn't fall over, using one tower to brace the other tower.

Crazy, right?  Of course, I commented that Quinn was clever, but I guess I wasn't sufficiently impressed for the therapist.

 The therapist turns to me and says "Do you see that?  That's AMAZING  for a 3 year old to have problem solving skills like that." Then, Quinn asked for more blocks, and she proceeded to build a foundation around the base of the tower to further strengthen it!

Yep, my daughter is going to be an architect when she grows up :-)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hands and Feet for Jan and Feb

Last year, I started a scrapbook called "Hands and Feet of Jesus".  I am using this to encourage my children (and myself!) to be mindful of making opportunities to help, donate, and do good whenever possible.  I began documenting these activities so that we can celebrate their efforts.  I told the kids that if we can scrapbook their extra curricular activities and sports awards, aren't our just as proud of our good works?

Truthfully, we've been alittle slow on the start since December, but hopefully we will find some substantial activities that we can work on as the year progresses.  Loren knows that I would love to include a Mission Trip some day, or work on a Habitat for Humanity house.  However, these days, with our busy kid-centered lives, it's hard to fit in those large time-committment projects.  Our projects were small these past two months, but we are hopeful that they were a blessing to someone.

  • Babysat 2 little boys for a single mom for 3 days when her sitter was sick, our treat :-) 
  • Submitted food to our local Food Pantry through Camille's class project.
  • Loren and I took our cattle trailer to Sioux Falls to pick up the new chairs for our church, unboxed and unloaded them, and set them up for our Annual Meeting.
  • Donated a carfull of outgrown clothes to Goodwill.
  • The kids collected all the pop tabs off of our pop cans collected to recycle, and are turning them in to Ronald McDonald House.
Bri playing violin for the nursing home residents.
  • Worked a shift at our local Food Pantry.
  • Provided respite for a single foster mom for her two boys for 4 days so she could have a break.
  • Donated all my extra kitchen items/pans to Goodwill.
  • Bri played violin at our area Nursing Home for the residents.
  • Luke, Loren and I worked shifts at last week's basketball tournament to raise money for our Little League baseball League and also for the High School basketball team.
Luke working the concession stand at the Luke Hansen Tournament
Matthew 5:16  "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Getting to know you~

Quinn has been home for a year now, and I can't believe how much she has changed and grown, and not just in size!  She has absolutely blossomed and we are seeing new facets to her personality every day and glimpses into the young lady she will become.

Here are a few things I have learned about her:

She is gentle and loving towards her parents, siblings and her baby dolls.

Rocking baby Qiao Qiao

That she is braver than I ever expected.

She insisted on doing a sparkler "by herself".  Made Mama very nervous!

She has a very musical side to her, and is really pushing me to be able to express this side.

She can already 'sing" her sister's violin pieces, and Quinn turns many toys into violins and bows,

She is smart as a whip.

As she was building houses, she was counting the blocks up to 10 with no mistakes.  Who taught her that?!

I expected a shy introverted child with institutional delays and possible attachment issues.  What a beautiful surprise this child has been!  She is a dynamo that loves fiercely and who establishes her place in this family by loving up to all of us with no excuses. 


Quinn- thank you for accepting us as your family and loving us with the fierceness that is you.   I thank God every day that he gave us the courage at our age to answer His call to adopt, and its a decision that I will always be so very proud of, as I am of you.

We love you so much!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Because I sometimes feel that the redundancy of my job (mom, housekeeper, chauffeur) would lull me into a daily feeling of intense boredom, I am always making lists. (OMG, don't you just love LISTS?!)

My lists have to do with either goals or tasks that I need to complete to give me a sense of accomplishment for the day.  Because let's be honest, and Phyllis Diller said it best- "Cleaning house when you have kids is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing". 
The discouragement of seeing my work undone every day; clean dishes now dirty, picked up house now a mess, prepared food now eaten, clean kids now a mess...has a way of undermining the good feelings I get from being a stay at home mom.

So, I keep a running Project List so that I can at least have a few goals that are somewhat permanent and so that I can see some progress. The A type personality in me just needs this, know what I mean?

Here is my current Project List for the next 3 months:

Spiritual:  I am participating in the B90X challenge of reading the Bible in 90 days, and some days this schedule is kicking my butt!  However, it helps me to have a plan, otherwise I would linger somewhere in the Old Testament and never find my way out!

1.  I am following the Unclutter your House yearly schedule, because I seriously needed to gain control over my dominion again.  After moving the house and adding 3 kids to the mix, somewhere  along the way I lost control of my home and I need to get it back.  This website provides monthly schedules and weekly emails that give me assignments that take about 15-30 minutes a day.  They are making a huge difference in how organized my house is, and for that, I am grateful.

2.  We are working on converting our Canning room into a bedroom for Quinn, so that requires alot of handyman activities on the weekend to move shelving from the Canning room to the mud room, texturing walls, resanding wood floors, etc... The goal is to get Quinn into her own room and out of ours. (love ya sweetie, but it's time :-)

3.  Get the Mud room completed and plumbing done so that I can use it this spring for seedling plantings and canning later in the summer.  This includes texturing and painting the walls, installing the sink/counter/stove, and finding storage for all the canning supplies and jars. Gotta get ready for all that good garden produce that I'll be harvesting!

Creative:  My goal is to complete 2 quilts before summer- we'll see how THAT goes!  I have started a pinwheel quilt using retro fabrics that I am loving-  I will post pics of it as it progresses.  Then once I know the colors for Quinns room, I will begin a quilt for her big girl bed.  So far, I'm leaning towards yellows.

Personal:  I know from talking with friends that my family already eats healthier than most, but we are going to take it up a notch and introduce a new level of healthy eating for my family.  A more vegetarian diet, getting rid of some of the unhealthy snacking, and removing as many unhealthy chemicals and additives that I can.  My main concern lately is all the aspertame that I'm getting in my Diet Coke, so I have resolved to drastically cut down my DC intake. It may just be what I give up for Lent this year. Even considering a Juicer to get a better hit from all those vegys. 

So, that's what I'm working on these days.  What projects are YOU working on?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Soaring like an Eagle

I know...sappy title, right?! 

Well, I would be remiss if I didn't brag about my teenage son every now and then, especially when he has something this prestigious happen in his life. 

On Sunday, he followed his father's footsteps in becoming an Eagle Scout from Troop 61.
And his father couldn't be prouder!

Loren was in a group of 5 scouts that got their Eagle Scout from the same troop one year, had the gym full of people, and they were on the local news for that accomplishment.  Our celebration was a tad bit smaller, but no less important.  Those that were there were special to Luke and helped him somehow in achieving his scouting awards. 

Good friends, good food, and a reason to celebrate- we don't need any more than that!

Bob and Mike putting on the Eagle Scout scarf
Putting the Eagle Scout pin on
I'm impressed that it's tradition for the mother to pin her son.  I guess they realize how much time, effort, urging, money, driving to events, and just lighting a fire under our sons it takes to get them to this level of scouting!  And BTW, I didn't stick him with the pin :-)

Luke and Loren put Mike in for a Scout Master award
Mike also received an award for being an Outstanding Scoutmaster, and he is!  It takes so much personal time and committment to head any kind of kids group, whether it's coaching a ball team or heading a scout troop. I have so much gratitude to those who are willing to sacrifice some of their personal time to lead and guide our children!

 And I love the philosophy taught to our scouts on the importance of community service and involvement. Loren and I are always trying to encourage our kids to participate in any possible community service projects they can, and we try to lead by example by doing our own "community service".  We have taught Sunday School for over 20 years, coached Peewee baseball teams for all of our kids, Loren has been a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for several years, I've done Cub Scouts and 4H, and we dive in on any community projects that we can.  Hoping that we are teaching by example.

Troop 61 members that were at the ceremony
(When did Luke get so much taller than me?)

Food and Family

All in all, it was one of those days when you see past the teenager that is always either sleeping or sitting in front of the tv, and I can see the man that he is becoming.  And I am encouraged by moments of sweetness, maturity, and compassion for others.  We only get 18 years to form and mold our children into the adults we want them to be, and there are many days when I feel I'm running out of time!  But days like this give me hope that we have our kids on the right path and that all our efforts are not in vain.

Yes, I am Superman!