Friday, January 29, 2010


Have you met Maxim? If you have read this blog for any length of time then you have! :)

I just think he is sooooo cute! I just can't believe that no one has snapped him up yet. I've done my best to raise money for his adoption grant fund for about a year now. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who loves him and prays for him. :(

Apparently I'm not! I got word today that he now has $5000 in his grant fund!! WOW!!!

Would someone please go get him? He's been living in the institution for too long already. But, I believe that he can be restored and healed. I also believe that he would make a wonderful son.

Please, please pray that the family the Lord has in mind for him will be empowered to step forward very soon! Is it you?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My big (ish) news items!

This is not quite the dramatic intro that I had imagined, but it's not that big and plus I can't make you wait forever, can I?

I've been poking around for about 5 months looking for a paying job that would not interfere with my family responsibilities. I have some debt to retire and giving that I'm compelled to do. I thought that driving a school bus would be ideal but that whole process was a mess. I'm done with it.

Last Sunday I started working in the church nursery! I can't believe that I get to play with little kids and get paid for it. This is not the opportunity that I had in mind because it is only a few hours each week. But every little bit helps right?

That was the warm-up act. This is the main event: Introducing Ruby Jean's Raggy Jean Quilts!

This is a photo of the first raggy quilt I made. It's been washed a bazillion times and it is as pretty and soft and cozy as ever. I'm in the process of setting up and Etsy shop for RJ's RJQs. I'm making beautiful oversized raggy baby quilts from flannel and re-purposed denim.

I was hoping to have one ready to show you, but I'm still busy cutting up my very first batch of donated jeans. Yep, donated! I will use as much gifted material as possible because the proceeds of the sale of these baby quilts will go straight to Reece's Rainbow adoption grant funds.

I love creating. I love being at home with my family. I love giving to Reece's Rainbow. I'm so happy that I found a way to do all three.

So, hang with me. I plan to have some more photos to share soon. And, if you have some denim or flannel you would like to contribute, please leave me a comment with contact info. I will not publish your private information.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ralph had a great day today. His Rainbows teacher and speech therapist visited this morning. They really have great ears, because they were able to pick out new sounds that he is making. I don't know why but I don't generally notice until they point them out to me.

After Ralph's teachers left I had to hurry to pick up a quick lunch for him, Leroy and Ruby and drop them off at the church nursery. He had a great time eating lunch and playing with his friends at church.

Ralph enjoyed watching the president on TV to top off the day. I don't know who turned on the TV when we got home from AWANA, but I caught him paying very close attention and then standing and clapping every now and then!! Too funny.

The reason that I dropped the kids of at church at lunchtime was so that I could have lunch with my quilting friends. I just love these ladies. Can you believe that they, 11 or so of them, sang happy birthday to me in the middle of a packed Olive Garden?

I started going to quilting on Wednesday mornings because the county commission meeting was broadcast on PBS and Chipper was sad that he couldn't watch Sesame Street! So I took him to church to play with friends in the nursery while I learned to quilt.

That was almost 11 years ago! I don't get to attend quilting as much as I used to, but I still love to spend time with these dear friends. Here is a photo of the MCC quilt that our group donated in 2009:

Pretty huh? My hands were totally numb from my pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome, but I did do some of this quilting on this quilt last year. I hope to share some more quilting news with you very soon!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hair and teeth.

Ralph's appointment in Kansas City had to be cancelled. He had a fever last night and Ruby was just a mess this morning. She was pitifully sick, coughing and snotty. I took her to the doctor and it turns out that she has two very angry eardrums. No wonder she's been so unhappy. Poor sweetie.

I hope that we all perk up this week. Over the past few weeks we have dealt with a few kids here and there with mild ill health. You know, not 100% sick but not 100% well either. You can tell in these photos that Ralph is not 100%. Still cute, though!

Saturday was haircut day! Gotta lose that Vulcan vibe.
First time in the chair. What a big boy!
Ralph is just about "done" here, if you know what I mean!

He unloaded all the baby food. Now there is room for the baby!
He surprised his big brothers. They could hear him in the kitchen, but didn't know where he was! Priceless.
First time in the "car" cart. He only escaped 5 times.
Rose is a real snaggle-tooth today! It's driving me nuts. If this tooth is not gone by morning, I'm going to deal with it...if you know what I mean.
I tamed my mountain man the other day with my new hair straightener! Isn't he handsome?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Ralph has developed some other nice skills lately. He is working on jumping using a mini-trampoline. I found a fancy one with a bar and music and stuff on Amazon before Christmas but it just didn't fit into the budget. Can you say craigslist? Got a nearly new one for a ten-spot! All the kids love it. They get on with Ralph, hold his hands and show him how to bend his knees and jump. He's really getting it!

Another skill is walking backward. This is a skill, isn't it? I caught him being silly yesterday, giggling and walking backward. Too fun.

But the most useful skill he has recently developed and the skill that has me going bonkers is this: shaking his head "yes" and "no." He is using this skill quite a lot when it comes to food and drink, oh, and bedtime!

On another note, my carpet sucks. (I was a sucker for a too-good deal.) It looks like a dirty, old stray poodle mix. It was the most beautiful, shiny, soft, fluffy carpet once upon a time. But many children, a dog or two here and there plus three years have taken their toll.

I would so love to have some really high quality carpet in my front room. But I still have messy little children. And, come to think of it, messy big boys, too. I can't justify spending that kind of money when my heart is set on adoption.

On Thursday I finally went berserk when my dog would not quit barfing. He made spot after spot all over the place and he didn't even have the decency to lick it up! I ran down to the hardware store and rented a heavy duty carpet cleaner.

Have I mentioned how much I love this little hardware store? I had to run up there on Saturday because the dog (same bleepin' dog) broke his line and I needed to replace it right away. I pulled into the parking lot at 5:30pm, thinking that they were open until 6pm. But, no. The sign said closed.

I started to turn the car around when I saw a man inside waving his arms wildly. It was Tom, the owner. He was waving me inside! I parked the car and hurried inside, knowing that he was probably bone tired and ready to get home. He told me that he hates for anyone to have to drive into the city because he was closed. I told him that I would just as soon spend my money there anyway.

Where was I? Ah, the carpet. I worked on the living room for a couple of hours. It was just gross. Worse than I thought it would be. I was surprised at how much better it looks after a mediocre cleaning job. Not too bad.

So, back to Ralph. He has an appointment with his audiologist in Kansas City tomorrow afternoon, but tonight he is running a fever. We've been waiting for this visit for over a month, but I may have to cancel. Either way I'll have some sweet pictures to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We have mama!

Ralph has developed a habit of covering his mouth when he laughs. It's cute in a little geisha sort of way, but I have no idea where he got the idea. Does he have the self awareness to be bashful?

So here he is giggling. Of course I was trying to get a photo of his serious face. One of Ralph's brothers says that he looks like baby Spock since I trimmed his hair last week. Do you see it?

Ralph started to say mama last week! I didn't cry, but almost. He only says it when he is in his crib and he is crying to get out.

We have had the most incredible weather lately. Fog, fog, fog. Day in. Day out. Our part of the country is known for incessant wind and bone dry air in the winter months, so this was really hard to believe.

One morning the ice fog made the whole landscape a fairy land. Those spikes are ice crystals! I touched some and they disintegrated instantly, they were so delicate.

Freaky ice fog.

More Ralph for your viewing pleasure. No hands over the mouth this time! (Can you ignore the messy shirt? He IS eating.)

I got a lot of stuff going on right now. Some of I can share with you and some of it I cannot. Look for some exciting developments soon!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good news!

Dawn. Not always my favorite time of day. But, a view like this makes getting out of bed a little easier.
Ralph had a great visit to the cardiologist on Wednesday. For the first time ever, he walked in under his own power. He stood on the big scale and not the one with the baby seat. He stood by the wall for the nurse to measure his height instead of her using the measuring tape.

He let her take his blood pressure and pulse ox. He only ripped of an EKG probe twice...he's NOT a perfect angel! The echo was like a rodeo. I have to laugh when I think about how much wiggling and bucking he did. It is a wonder that any decent measurements were taken.

Apparently, the measurements were good enough for the doc. He would have taken us back to redo the echo himself if they weren't! His pulmonary pressures measured normal.

That's a word we don't hear around here all that often. It has a nice ring to it! We are cutting back on Ralph's heart meds over the next three months and then stopping them. He goes back for a recheck in six months.
You can take your pulmonary hypertension and shove it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One year ago...

A year ago, approximately.
It's hard to remember adjusting the cannula a thousand times each day. It is easy to forget all about changing tanks and tripping over tubes. It seems like a far off dream.

There is the one keyboard that Ralph has never destroyed!

I never knew about Pulmonary Hypertension before Ralph came along. Now I know more than I care to. When Ralph sees his cardiologist tomorrow I hope to hear that his PH is history. I hope to hear that he has grown out of it. He's been off of oxygen for nearly one year and has done well. The next step is weaning heart medications, IF his pressures look good tomorrow.

I've been disappointed before. But I never lose hope.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The days of our lives - Animal Hospital

I've had a ripped beaver on top of my refrigerator for a. long. time. His name is Sting-y. He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. He's been up there for safe-keeping because one claw was falling off.

Are you like me? When your kids come to you when their beloved stuffed pet has a little rip or tear, do you tell them you'll fix it when you get a chance and then stick it on the fridge and forget about it for six months or so? I didn't think so.

I had a little project going last night. I'm making more rice bags for friends with various aches and pains. Jordan brought me a little beany squirrel with a ripped foot and asked me if I could fix it. I just had to say yes.

Then I remembered Sting-y.

Before I knew what was happening many more injured animals had materialized and were lined up for surgery.

Here is the beloved beaver shortly after receiving his general anesthesia.

I was miraculously able to reattach this claw. I can only hope that it heals nicely or he will be facing amputation.

Here is one of my recovery room nurses caring for the squirrel after he woke up.

Sting-y and his boy. Together again.

We also cared for a puppy with a skull fracture and a lizard with 3rd degree burns. He needed extensive skin grafting and will have some very obvious scarring. Thomas was my OR nurse and helped me to place IV's and clean the room between cases.

What fun we had pretending to run an animal hospital! It was one of those rare nights when I actually believe that I'm a great mom.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cold Day

School was cancelled on Friday due to the cold.

The cold.

Yes, it was cold. Highs around 10F. However, we were the only school district in the area to cancel class. It's just weird. After getting the kids back in school after Christmas, I was looking forward to getting into a groove at home. I'll try again next week.

Ralph enjoys doing math facts with Jordan.

Perfect paper!

Ruby and Jordan having a "moment."

I like to bring her playpen out to the dining room window. The afternoon sun is so nice and warm. I'm also hoping that she'll get a good dose of Vitamin D to keep her healthy.
Today I cleaned out the fridge. Well, the worst of it anyway. I found this old bottle of champagne. We bought it for the millennium which means that it is 10 years old! I've been looking at it, shuffling it around, and knocking it over for 10 years! We even moved it over here from the old house.

Considering that it is the new year and all...and I didn't make any real resolutions or anything...I vowed today to stop procrastinating and stop waiting for a more special occasion and just drink the darn thing!
It is delicious and dry but I'm wishing now that I had invited someone over to help me! Dad won't help and the kids aren't allowed. If I'm not at church tomorrow morning, you'll know why!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Guess who?

Guess who was playing in the laundry pile? Yeah, there is a pile of clean laundry on the couch. Someday I'll have my folding counter installed in the laundry room and that will never happen again, *wink*.

Ralph decided that he would dress himself. Never mind that he was already dressed in sweatpants and a shirt. He added a dress, a sweater and a hat. It is hard to tell from the photo, but he is wearing a visor bandolier style!

He did a great job dressing himself! Also, I've begun to teach him to pose for the camera. Another necessary life skill, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back to normal? Ha!

The kids have gone back to school and I have the house back again! Hello normal!

Ralph is watching Signing Time. Ruby is crawling around. I have to keep a close eye on those two. Ralph thinks that Ruby likes him to sit on her!

There are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, bills to be paid, phone calls and emails to return. So naturally I'm blogging!

I've been halfway looking for a job for the past few months. Not halfway because I don't really want one, but because I'm not certain if it is what God wants me to do. I figured if I poke around and that it is what I'm supposed to be doing that something perfect would turn up. Nope.

The bus driving job would be perfect because I could take the children with me and I would have daytime working hours. But the transportation office keeps giving me the run around. They say they are going to call me for an interview but they never do. I think I don't want to work for an operation like that.

I'm thinking that if I can spare a few hours to leave the house to work that maybe I can find a few hours to work at home. I love making baby blankets and recycling old blue jeans. I bought a new cutting tool and mat. I was thinking of calling them Ruby Jean's baby jean quilts. Now I just need to carve out the time. I don't know if anyone would want then anyway.

So we are back to normal here. Kids in school, dad on the road, and me thinking and planning but never really making much progress.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Overboard on Ralph?

I can't help myself. This is just precious to me. Sorry if I went overboard!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you!

I've been out of town for a few days and my senses seem to be a little off. I cannot seem to grasp what day it is without thinking for a moment. I'm thinking this will resolve once the kids are back in school and dad is back on the road.

I was just telling dad the other day that this is going to be a great year. My heart is so full of love and plans and schemes. (Yep, I'm planning and scheming with my heart!) It is hard to know just what to do first.

The message in worship this morning was the first in a sermon series called the Amazing Race. Don't you just love that show? I would be perfect for it, by the way! Anyhow, I thought that was a great title for a sermon series because I've been thinking recently of my life as an amazing race. (Maybe this has something to do with my upcoming birthday?)

I have so many things on my bucket list!! And, I only have this one life to live!!! I'm feeling a huge sense of urgency. Honestly, though, the bucket list has changed drastically since Ralph came into my life. All the new things on the list seem so very important. Having a medically fragile child has opened my eyes (and heart) to many truly important things.

Speaking of medically fragile, Ralph is looking so good that I probably shouldn't be using that term anymore. He has an appointment with his cardio in a little over a week. He hasn't been seen for six months. I can't wait for him to walk into the office on his own. The team is going to be blown away!

I'm praying for good EKG and echo results. If everything looks good we might be able to start weaning some medication. Wouldn't that be great?

More photos soon. Promise!