Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Medical Update For Malia and Jackson

I've been meaning to give an update on the appointments Malia and Jackson had shortly before Christmas at the Cleft Clinic  They both had their appointments on the same day, which was awesome, but it made for a very long day with lots of information being sent my way.
Our appointment was from 9am till 2pm.  We spent the entire time in this little room...except for a few bathroom breaks and a quick dash to Starbucks.
Thankfully, I already knew what to expect so we were prepared.  I had packed a lunch and brought books, coloring books, markers and a few toys.  Usually we wait in the waiting room for all the various doctors.  The waiting room has toys for the kids to play with.  This time was different.  All the doctors came to see us in this room...and what a relief!  Both Malia and Jackson saw the ENT Specialist, Pediatrician, Dentist, and Speech Pathologist.  Malia also had some X rays done and met with the Plastic Surgeon, and Orthodontist. 

The longest wait time was about half an hour.  The rest of the time we only had a few minutes to eat before another doctor met with us.  In fact the kids ate their lunch while I was chatting with the Pediatrician!
Jackson will be having surgery on his right ear at the end of this month.  This is a day surgery where the ENT will be narrowing the excessively large hole in Jackson's ear.  This damage was caused from having too many untreated ear infections prior to arriving home.  Hopefully this will help his hearing improve, which should help his speech improve.
Malia will have 2 surgeries in February.  The first one will be to do a graft to cover the fistula in the roof of her mouth.  Originally the idea was to do a tongue graft, but our surgeon has decided a cheek graft is a better option.  I'm so thankful for that!  Basically what will happen is the surgeon will take a narrow, rope like graft from the inside of Malia's cheek and use it to cover the hole.  The rope like graft will remain attached to the inside cheek for 3 weeks to ensure a good graft.  At 3 weeks, Malia will have another surgery to simply sever this.  At this point we are being told to expect anywhere from a 1-5 day hospital stay for each surgery.  It depends on how things go.  My guess is that the first surgery will require a longer in hospital stay and the second a day.
At this point neither of our kids are aware that they will be having surgery.  It causes WAY too much stress for them to know too far in advance.  We will likely tell them several days in advance, so please DO NOT talk to them about their upcoming surgeries.  Thanks in advance.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Malia's 9th Birthday!

So I have to apologize to those of you who originally saw this post as a bunch of pictures.  For some odd reason Blogger had trouble saving my post, but then published it!  lol!
Malia recently celebrated her 9th Birthday!  It seems as though it was just a few short years ago that we met this insecure, terrified, but cheerful little 3 1/2 year old girl.
Malia never sucks her fingers and never did...except in the first week we met her! The look in her troubled face haunts me, but it also encourages me because we see how far she has come!

Malia discovered Saskatoon Berries shortly after coming home and still enjoys them!

 Malia's birthday falls between Christmas and New Year's and as always it's hard to plan for her birthday.  She always gets gifts...just like the other kids.  I really don't want her to feel that her birthday is less important just because it's during a very busy season. 
Malia got breakfast in bed (which she ended up eating at the kitchen table cause who wants to miss out on all that's happening?!?)  I baked a very simple cake of her choice and used one of the cool candles I bought in China. (Which caused my fragile cake to split open on one side! )

We happened to go to Montana's on Malia's birthday and much to her despair, she got to wear the big horns!  
Malia loves to use her imagination and play dress up.  She often tells her younger siblings what to say and do so that her imaginary playing turns out as she has planned.  Malia loves coloring, singing (often coming up with her own songs), and her favorite subject is Math.  Malia is one of the fastest little workers I have ever met.  If toys need to be cleaned up...she's the one we ask to help.  She loves having things in order and does an awesome job dusting and wiping walls...if she wants to! :) 
Malia is kind and diplomatic.  She loves to laugh and is often the first one to catch a dry joke!  She especially loves her Daddy...partly because he's not around as much to discipline and correct, and partly cause she's wiggled her way into his heart.  She loves to cuddle with her Daddy!
Malia will be having a few more surgeries in the near future.  She can hardly wait to have that nasty hole fixed so she doesn't get food stuck and so that she doesn't swallow all the nasty snotty junk!
Malia's favorite foods are kielke (now that's a good Mennonite girl!  lol!), pizza and Hot Pot (or any Chinese food!)
Malia weighs 58 lbs and is 4 ft 2 inches tall.  She's quite petite for her age and it's becoming an issue for her as her little sister catches up. 
I am incredibly grateful that we have the honor of being Malia's parents and that we get to watch her grow into a sweet young woman!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Enjoying the Moments

I am more determined than ever to record all the wonderful things in my life.  All the huge moments, all the small moments.  Mostly it's about the small moments...the moments that make up this thing called life.
So here goes...
Today I am enjoying the gently falling snow as I putter about taking down Christmas decorations.  The boys are dusting, the little kids are playing and my sweet hubby...well, he drew me away from my work with this song by Celine Dion.  How sweet a moment... to dance with my man (who rarely moves his feet! lol!) as the littlest 2 watch and absorb what true love is all about.
Thank you Lord for the wonder of this day!
And to all of you, my friends...take a moment to look around today and see the beauty in the moment.  If you wouldn't mind, I'd love to hear about the beautiful moments in your day too, cause it inspires me!  :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Adios 2014!

It is with great pleasure that I say goodbye to 2014!  Unfortunately, it was the worst year of my life!  And that is saying a lot.  We've had some really tough years, especially the last 5, but this one tops them all!  It was a year filled with heartache, brokenness, pain, grief, uncertainty, challenges, health issues, and decisions I never thought I would have to make. 
Having said that, it was also the year where I have grown the most and gained confidence in areas I didn't even know I needed more confidence.  It was a year where I repeatedly jumped in God's arms for comfort, strength, peace, and reassurance.  It was a year where my faith grew in leaps and bounds.  It was a year where God once again proved that He is my strength.
It was a year that taught us to take joy in the little things. It taught us to treasure the little moments with our kids...everything from their constant singing and chattering, to the dry teenage jokes.  We jelled as a family and drew strength from one another and encouraged one another. It was a year that taught us to be more grateful.
Some of the highlights were...
A visit from Owen and Kiannah
Swimming in our pool
A long gorgeous fall
A peaceful start to our homeschooling year
Our relaxing and wonderful trip to PEI
And a wonderful Christmas!
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!  God Bless!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014

 Before I share about our Christmas, I have to share a few more pictures of getting ready for Christmas. 

The kids helped make Nuts 'n Bolts and it was so much fun to have them participating.

They also helped with the chocolate cups. I can't wait till my girls are a little older and can help out more...I love having my kids in the kitchen!

I think this tree is the kid's favourite cause it has the train that actually drives!  Come to think of it, I think it's my favorite too!  It has all the homemade decorations going back to our first Christmas when we couldn't afford to buy any ornaments.  Makes me just a tad bit nostalgic!

Now on to our Christmas...

We had a most wonderful, relaxing and sweet Christmas!  We finally had a quiet Christmas at home again!  We opted to focus on our sweet little family; spending our time coloring, doing puzzles, playing games, watching movies, eating leftovers, munching on far too much junk food and simply enjoying each other!

Christmas Eve was spent at a candle lit service, followed by a supper of appetizers, opening a few gifts and a movie.  We put mattresses on the floor in the basement and all slept downstairs (except Alex cause he's too grown up?).  It's become somewhat of a tradition and the kids love it!  Amazingly, the kids slept very well and even slept in till 8:30...(except for Alex...who was up before 8! ;)!

Each year our kids get new pjs, a movie, a book and some munchies on Christmas Eve.  It's one of my all time favorite's practical, fun and yummy!

 Malia and Raina kept begging for dress up clothes with wigs.  All that pops into my mind each time I see them is...White Chicks?!?  Bahahaha!


I thank God that we had such a stress free, family focused Christmas!  It will certainly go down in history as being one of my most favorite Christmases ever!
And last, but not least...A belated Merry Christmas to you!  :)


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Prep 2014

Morgun and Malia finished their school work on the 13th of December, after working extra hard to catch up after taking all of September off.  We are officially caught up!  Whew!  So thankful to be caught up so that we can relax a bit in the new year.
The intent was to relax and enjoy doing some crafts, baking and decorating for Christmas.  We did some of each, but not as much as we had hoped due to a crazy number of appointments the week before Christmas (I'll post on that in the next week or so).  In spite of it all, we had a blast!
We decorated gingerbread men...

...with the end result making me laugh! 
Morgun and Jackson's cookies looked like a pair of psycho brothers!  lol!  What's the chance that they would use the same colors for the eyes?!?

We decorated a gingerbread house, (which I bought on clearance last year!).  I figured my kids don't eat the gingerbread anyhow and candy can't go bad.  I stuck it in the freezer and it worked perfectly!  And it was only 25 % of the usual cost!  Aren't I just the most thrifty Mennonite ever!?!  lol!

We painted wooden Christmas magnets and even convinced Alex and Martin to join us! 

We also made our annual Christmas ornament.  Once again I purchased the supplies at 50%-75% off!  
We also decorated the kids' Christmas trees, wrapped presents, baked numerous treats, and watched far too many Christmas movies.  It was exactly what we needed!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Raina's 5th Birthday!

My baby girl is 5!
Some days I feel like I've missed so much of her life, but I realize we have so much more to be grateful for!  We missed out on welcoming Raina's arrival back in 2009, but somehow November, 2009 will forever be etched in my heart! 
 I distinctly remember that in November of 2009, I felt this intense urgency that we had a child waiting for us in China.  It was a crazy thought.  Honestly, how could I really know that?  Not only that; Malia had only joined our family less than 4 months earlier.  There was no possible way to adopt again or even have a proposal for a child before the one year anniversary of bringing Malia home. 
 However, I knew!  I just knew that my baby was out there!
And God, in all His wonderful love for me, knew that for me to feel this in my heart, would be the sweetest possible gift He could give me!
Imagine our surprise when we got our proposal and this sweethearts birthday was in November!

 Raina's arrival in our family was bittersweet as we watched the only mama she had ever known grieve intensely. 
We grieved for her and promised to love this precious baby girl with all of our hearts! 
Our first moments with our Raina! :)


As the months passed, Raina learned to trust us and to love us in return.

Today, she is honestly the sweetest child I know.  She often tells me how pretty I am.  Tells me that I make the best meals.  She loves to tell her siblings that she loves them and makes them feel very special.  She loves to cuddle with her Daddy and loves to tell him he's handsome.
Raina loves horses!  She can hardly wait to have one of her own.  She is drawn to the horses at a carousel or even the horse statues at a museum.
She loves to color and do puzzles.  She loves all things princess and spends hours dressing up.
She loves to play with Jackson and keeps him entertained while I teach the older kids.  She loves to play with Malia and cook up a storm in their kitchen.
Raina is rarely grumpy. However, she is very insistent and begs and begs for things she wants.  It can be rather annoying, but for the most part she is a ray of sunshine!

 This year, Raina's birthday was a simple affair, with breakfast in bed...

...her favorite meal for supper...noodles with cream!  Yup!  That's all she wanted!  We added sausage and got her to pick a veggie, which was cooked peas!  She loves cooked peas!
Then her favorite part...the cake!  And the scariest part for her...the candle bought while I was in China last year!  It begins as this massive flame and then opens up with all the individual candles lit, turning like a carousel and playing "Happy Birthday!"


And last, but not least...presents!

Raina weighs approximately 45lbs and measures 42 1/2 inches.  She continues to wear glasses, although her eye sight is slowly getting better.

We love you Raina!