Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Speaking of trampolines...

When we moved to our new house a while back we didn't quite get everything. From the old house to the new is less than 1 mile, so we didn't really need a truck. We just took the seats out of the van and that worked great. But, we never moved the trampoline and playhouse. They were just too big and too hard to take apart.
We finally moved it over last Friday. Here's how:

The little kids were so excited that they have done nothing else but play on it since then. The tow truck driver said he will never forget the look on their faces when he pulled up - priceless! They moved the playhouse, too. I even took Ralph out to play on it last night. You never saw such a happy baby! We would have spent more time out back, but I thought the mosquitos might carry him away.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Little dood.

As I am driving down the road today after taking Wesley to work, I hear Rose and Leroy explaining to Jordan how to play the new game they made up on the trampoline. I'm listening to them explain a game that my older kids would have played years ago and they called it playing babies back then! Nowadays I guess the game is called 'little dude!'

They all agree to play 'little dude' when they get home. Jordan says, "Dude? How do you spell that?"

Rose begins to sound the word out loud, "Dude...starts with d. Oooo sound...that's oo. D! D-oo-d spells dude!"

I'm still driving but struggling not to laugh out loud! I don't correct her. After all, I WAS eavesdropping!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

And the winner is...

Kate Goshorn! Thanks to everyone who participated, $230 was raised for Oleg's grant fund. Keep praying that someone will step up and committ to adopting him. And just wait 'til you see what I'm giving away in October!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last Thursday Chipper turned 13 years old! Wow! He was the sweetest baby, all smiles and grins. My grandmother swore that she should pinch him to make sure he knew how to cry. He is the only one of our children born in Arizona.

Being our third child, everyone assumed that we were 'done.' I guess we bought into that, too, because I sold a lot of baby things after he outgrew them. It's funny to look back now, knowing what the Lord had in store for us!

At age 3, Chipper was a very bright little boy who couldn't understand why his older brothers could go to school, but he could not. He was begging to go. He was really ready! I was disappointed that the preschools close to home were not academic but eventually I was able to find a Montessori program for him 30 minutes from our house.

Now my sweet baby is 13 and in 7th grade. He was recently invited to take the ACT or SAT tests, his choice, because he scored so well on his school's latest round of testing. He is playing on the school's 'A' football team, even though he has never played before this year. He spent much of his birthday weekend at deer camp last week. I think he is growing up rather nicely!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Waiting Child

Our family had such a crazy, busy weekend that I'm still recovering! I'll share more about that later. But, I wanted to share this poem with you all. It is a fact that a child over the age of two has very little chance of being adopted. Enjoy the poem and consider that the quilt raffle for Oleg ends in a couple of days.

The Waiting Child by Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with her
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby,yet
Inside I'm aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you chose this time was me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I'm buried in paper. Can you believe that I'm still trying to get our insurance company to pay for several claims that are over a year old? Can you believe that I've called them repeatedly they say they will research the matter and call me back, and never call me back? You can?

We never had a bit of trouble with insurance before Ralph was born. Now everything seems to be a battle. Could it be that, knowing I'm buried in paper, they are playing games? You know, a 'let's see what we can get away with' kind of game.

The hospital is still negotiating with them over a supposedly experimental treatment from May/June 2007. Nitric? For pulmonary hypertension? Hardly experimental. We are talking big bucks here...not something anyone wants hanging over their head for over a year.

The latest outrage is that they have begun holding me responsible for two $25 co-pays each time we visit the cardiologist. One for the doctor visit and another for the echo that is done during the doctor visit!!

Oh, here is a funny one! I get accident information request forms quite often for doctor visits. I guess the insurance company wants to make certain that no one else is responsible or legally liable for an injury before they will pay. I got a request for Jordan for July 8, 2008. I can't even remember taking him to the doctor that day so I called the office to see if they could refresh my memory. Turns out, now I remember, that I took him in for a tick bite! It looked particularly nasty, with red rings around it. Tell me, though, how a tick bite can be mistaken for an accidental injury!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday

Where's Thomas?


Ralph's OK

Ralph is OK. He really is fine during the day, but he goes downhill at night. The doc said probably a sinus infection and I have to agree. The drainage makes his throat feel yucky and that's why he doesn't want to drink.

She also said there is no reason that she can see for nosebleeds and it must be from the suctioning. She would like us to have a humidifier on the O2 machine. Since the home health company refused my request for this last month, she is going to call personally. Nice doctor! We'll see how it turns out.

Scary. Weak stomach? Don't read.

Ralph has been very congested at night. His nose gets so stuffy that the O2 doesn't really do any good. I use saline drops and a booger sucker before and after bedtime and naps. Last night I was sucking his nose out on one side when both sides started bleeding! And not just a little bit, either. Big dumb mommy!

He started coughing and sneezing little droplets all over me. I was so afraid that he was swallowing a lot of blood and may throw up, but he didn't. After about 10 minutes it was nearly done bleeding and I put him to bed. Of course, I couldn't put the monitor on since he was wide awake. Of course, he kept pulling his cannula off all night long.

I'm not sure if the nosebleed was caused by a sinus infection or what, but I know that him taking aspirin probably didn't help. I have a call in to the doctor this morning. I hope they call back soon and let me know if they want me to bring him in. He is really snotty this morning, but I'm afraid to do anything other than wipe his nose!

Update - Wow, the nurse just called back! I only left a message 20 minutes ago. They want me to bring Ralph in later this morning. Great. I'm going to get hit up for money when I walk in the door! My insurance company is dragging it's feet these days, and I don't blame the docs for wanting to get paid.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My budding artist

My oldest son, Wesley, is an expert at taking care of Ralph. He was my main sitter all last school year. I can normally expect Wesley to play with Ralph and work on PT while I'm gone. He actually taught Ralph to draw on the doodle board before his first birthday. I thought that was pretty smart!

Friday, September 12, 2008

More pictures of Oleg

Oleg has a great smile! Imagine how happy he would be with a real
mommy and daddy to love him.

He looks very busy, don't you think?
He is working hard at playing!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let me introduce you!

Let me introduce you to Oleg! What a darling boy, don't you agree? Oleg is 3 1/2 years old and is waiting for a forever family in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. He also has Down Syndrome. For this reason, he will most likely be sent away to a mental institution by the age of 4. Then he will no longer be available for adoption. These children are viewed as outcasts with no ability to learn or be functional members of society. They languish in mental institutions, hidden away from the world in shame. We need to help find a home for him quickly!

Since I am not able to adopt a child at this time, I've chosen to sponsor Oleg's adoption grant fund. The cost of adoption ranges from $10,000 to $30,000. To help defray these costs for adoptive families, each child on the Reece's Rainbow website is eligible for sponsorship - donations from individuals, businesses, churches, and organizations - towards the cost of that child's adoption.

To kick off sponsorship of Oleg's grant fund I will be offering a beautiful, brand new, hand-crafted baby quilt. You truly can change the course of a child's life by helping adoptive families afford the costs of international adoption. For each $5 donation, your name will be entered into a drawing and one name will be randomly chosen to receive this special quilt. Use the Chip In widget above and purchase as many $5 chances as you like!

This bright, colorful baby quilt was machine pieced by my dear friend Bonnie. It was then lovingly hand quilted by my friend Jodi's mother. It measures approximately 38 X 38 inches. This precious work of art was donated by the quilters of First Mennonite Brethren Church in Wichita, KS. These ladies have a reputation for making fine quilts. This would make the perfect shower gift for either a baby boy or a baby girl.
The fabrics were pre-washed, machine pieced and then hand quilted. Can you see these perfect, tiny stitches in the picture below? Wow!
Hey all my bloggy friends! Would you mind spreading the word?

Special Exposure Wednesday

What is better than chewing on a pizza crust?

How about chewing on a sloppy wet sock?!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

AmEx Members Project

Well, thanks to all the people who voted for Reece's Rainbow, they ended up being #24 most popular project and the #2 most talked about! However, they were not chosen as a finalist. Meredith explains:

In case you're somewhat following this one, Reece's Rainbow's "Save
an Orphan with Down syndrome" project was #24 when the voting
closed in the first round. The top 25 were posted today. AmEx called
Andrea twice to get info from her for her write-up as at one point we
were #16. Unfortunately, though she expected to have the RR project
in the top 25, it is not. There are other criteria other than just votes
that they went by, but we were surprised nonetheless. We're glad,
though, for the exposure it's been given up to this point and hopeful
that maybe a few people have heard about RR for the first time and
may continue to spread the word or even donate or adopt a child
themselves!As a preparation for the AmEx "big reveal" a page was
designed with photos of 100 waiting children with Ds from all over
the world. Click on over to see all the little doll faces!


On November 1 another similar page will be revealed at the beginning
of the "Christmas Angel Tree" which is a donation drive over the
holidays and a great way to give a gift to someone important to you.
A small donation (there is a minimum for the ornament) will have an
ornament with the photo of the child you sponsored sent to you or the
person it was done for. It's a great gift for therapists, grandmas that
don't really want ANYTHING, teachers, and even staff parties! What
an honor to have money donated toward bringing an orphan home
done in your name! Anyway, more on that later :)Here's the link for
the photo page:

Posted by Meredith at 9/09/2008 10:13:00 PM

Kids - who can figure?

I have borrowed a little walk behind toy from a
friend, at the request of Ralph's PT. Ralph will pull himself up and stand behind it. He will push it, too, but his feet stay planted! The cart rolls and he ends up falling on his face!

I then borrowed another walk behind toy, at the request of Ralph's PT. This one looks like a truck and has three sides, so it is very stable. He will pull himself up and stand holding on to one side. He will not, however, push it on his own. When I try to help him, he just sits down!

Sunday, while I was working on supper, Ralph made his way into the dining room. He say next to a chair and grabbed it. He pushed and pulled on it, sliding it on the floor like he always does. Then - he apparently pulled himself up. I'm not really paying attention because I'm cooking, right?

Suddenly I'm aware that I can hear the chair sliding across the dining room floor. I look and see that he is still standing - and PUSHING THE CHAIR!!! Really TAKING STEPS!!!

I would have tried this months ago, but I tend to think inside the box. Ralph does not.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago we made a big gamble. At the time, we were a family of 9 living in a 3 bedroom/1bath home. We were starting to feel pretty cramped. I know bigger families have made do with less square footage, but we were dreaming of a larger house anyway!

Our sleeping arrangements were a little strange with four children in one bedroom, two in another, a baby and all the toys in the third. My husband and I had converted the family room into our bedroom/office/storage room with everyone's dressers. We couldn't imaging putting the house on the market to sell with arrangements like this. So we gambled.

We started construction on a new house in August 2006. We found a builder, a longtime friend, who worked wonders for us. We got to see and pay every invoice ourselves so we were able to keep our costs down. Here are Rose and Leroy on the day the basement was dug. We walked over there from the old house. Can you believe how they have grown?!

Shortly after construction started we found that we were expecting a baby in May. What a wonderful gift...a new house and a new baby to go with it! Our plan was to move into the new house and take several months to clean and fix up the old house to sell. No problem, right?

The weather in Fall 2006 was great for construction. Very dry. The next photo shows most of the framing done about a month after the basement was dug. Most everything happened according to schedule and we moved in on December 22, 2006. Just in time for a happy Christmas.

We worked on the old house occasionally that Winter. But, not much. James was travelling a lot. I was teaching. He would have time off after the baby came and school was out. We would finish up the old house in May.

When Ralph was born a couple of weeks early, in April, the bottom fell out of our world. I slept at home maybe 3 times over the next 7 weeks. I couldn't bear to leave the hospital. I HAD to know what was going on at all times. I found that they like to do things while mom is not around, like intubating and extubating and such. James took care of everything else at home and managed to keep working to an extent.

This "old house" has been hanging over our heads ever since. I have had many wonderful people come to help over the last year - roofing, painting, cleaning, yard work. I can't thank them enough. But, we could never get it finished enough to put on the market.

Now here is exciting news - we hope to have a sales contract on the house this week!! An acquaintance of ours has rental property in the area. He didn't know that our house was available until we ran into him last week. He walked through the house with his wife the next day and they offered to buy it!

Here is the best part - he has people who fix things. He is going to bring in his own people to finish the little piddly things that we didn't. We don't have to work at the old house anymore and we don't have to feel guilty about it.

OK, we don't have the contract yet. I guess there is still room for something to go wrong. I'm a bit of a pessimist anymore. Would you hold us up in prayer, that the sale will not fall through and that we can find a trustworthy professional to look over the contract for us and that we would be relieved of the burden of two house payments?

I know, we gambled. And it didn't go as planned. But here we are, very thankful for all the blessings in our life. Things go wrong. Things go right. Praise the Lord.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one who is weary of reading and hearing " Down's baby", "Down Syndrome child", "Down Syndrome baby" and such? I know it rolls off of the tongue easily, but that doesn't make it right. Or am I just too sensitive? It takes a little more effort to say child with Down Syndrome. It takes a little less to simply say baby Trig!

If baby Trig Palin had leukemia, God forbid, would the media refer to him as a "cancer baby?" I guess we are used to putting people into little boxes right off the bat. Then we don't have to deal with them or get to know them any better. That is what happens when we define others by their diagnosis.

Am I turning into a Political Correctness cop? Eeegads! I see PC language as lying to avoid the possibility of offense...like changing Baa Baa Black Sheep to Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep. Redic! I just would like to hear an acknowledgement of humanity before I hear the slapping of a label. It's called people first language and it makes a lot of sense if you actually think before you speak.

(Just so you know, my husband thinks I'm just too sensitive.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday

This is a couple of months old, but I love this picture! Ralph does indeed still fit in the kitchen sink at 17 months of age. He is a big splasher, as you can see. We still have problems with the cannula dragging that one ear down. Any ideas?