Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What a Week!

The past week has been a blur of events and last night as I lay in the comfort of my own bed, I thanked God that I don't have to walk this road alone, that He is always there, filling me with a peace that is not my own.
Martin's Dad has been in the hospital for the past 2 1/2 weeks.  We try to visit as often as we can, but this past week has been a complete fail in that department. It's hard to keep the kids occupied if and when they do join us.  Thank God for technology!
Then last week Sunday we got the news that my Grandma passed away.  It was something she spoke about.  She really wanted to go to heaven to see Jesus, her loved ones, and leave this world with all it's aches, pains, and sorrow.  Grandma was 95 and lived a full life, committed to her God.  I will be eternally grateful for the legacy she has left.


It was a tough decision to make, but after much juggling and contemplating, I decided to head the 947,234,275 miles to LaCrete, Alberta for her funeral. Thankfully my sister Kathy flew in from VA and joined me!  It's a beautiful drive, but very long, with literally hours of hardly seeing a living soul.  I literally clapped in joy when we reached Red Earth on our way home!  Odd, I know!  But it was sooo good to finally leave the stretch of trees, trees, and more trees!  (Apparently I'm not as much of a country girl as I thought I was! lol!)

Our time in LaCrete was brief, but well worth it!  I got to connect with cousins I hadn't seen in years.  All but 9 of Grandma's grandkids were at the funeral.  It was neat to reconnect with some of my cousins, and get to know some a bit better. I even had the privilege of meeting sweet Miss S!  She may not know it, but she touched my heart in a very profound way and I do consider her to be my cousin.  I guess that's the neat thing about's not necessarily defined only by blood, but more by connections and love. 
It's an odd feeling to know that I have lost yet another prayer warrior.  It really made me realize the importance of upholding one another in prayer.  So the challenge I am faced with is pray more often and fervently for those that I know, and for those that come into my life for only a brief moment.

Martin took time off of work to stay with our kids and to take them to the many appointments booked for that week.  Of coarse that would be the week where we had 3 appointments in 2 days!
Kathy and I stopped in Edmonton for night and spent a day shopping!  It was a wonderful way to unwind and spend time with my sis!
We arrived home in the late afternoon on Monday....exhausted!!  My anemia seriously kicked me in the backside!!  To those of you who think I should drink coffee...well, you would be very proud of me!!  I actually drank 1/2 a cup on the day of Grandma's funeral so that I could make it through the day.  The first few sips were disgusting!!  But after I added 4 sugar cubes and 2 creams, it was drinkable!  lol!
Tuesday morning arrived WAY too early!  Jackson had his ear surgery and was scheduled to arrive for 8am.  We sat and waited for 5 1/2 hours!  Poor Jackson went into shutdown mode.

I managed to get him to color for a bit, but then he started begging for food and water.  I decided to take him for a bit of a walk and managed to find a quieter room....

...and he promptly zonked out!

Martin had a dentist appointment and stopped by to see us and to visit his Dad, who is in the same hospital.  I'm so thankful that he did stop by.  Jackson visibly relaxed when Martin arrived!  :)

Thanks to our wonderful anesthesiologist, I was able to stay with Jackson until he was asleep.  He dozed off without a struggle and surgery proceeded as planned.  He was discharged around 6pm after sleeping the better part of the 3 1/2 hours following surgery. 
Today Jackson is doing well, all things considered.  He is still on Tylenol to control the pain.  This morning he had a rough patch and sobbed for awhile and eventually fell asleep as I rocked him!  And that rarely happens! 
I'm looking forward to regaining some energy in the next few days; to having Martin less stressed about all the work that is waiting for him (not to mention all the frantic phone calls of customers needing their work done yesterday!), and hopefully I can kick this runny nose/cold creeping up on me!...all before the craziness of next week arrives.
I'm trying not to think about another appointment and Malia's surgery next week...ugh!  Sometimes life is beyond crazy!  Having said that...we knew it would be crazy when we said "YES!" and we wouldn't change it for anything!!  (But that doesn't mean I can't dream of having a nanny!)  :)

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!