Thursday, September 30, 2010

Losing it here...

I know. I'm insane.

I will attempt to blog each day of October in honor of Down Syndrome awareness month. I love a challenge, so I'll be blogging on Psalm68 each day of October as well!! Maybe I'll become known as an overachiever. snort!

My little tub.

Guess who else grew like a weed while I was gone?

Do you remember when she was a delicate, thin baby?
She really more closely resembles a tank lately. In fact she gets her legs stuck in the bars of her crib. She's a sweet little tub!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Very Veggie Ralphie!

Since I was gone for six weeks this summer I missed a lot. One of the things that happened while I was gone was this: Ralph grew up!

He's bigger, of course you know that kids grow like weeds in the summer time. But it is more than that. Suddenly, Ralph can walk in the grocery store and even help get items out of the cart at the checkout. Before, he would have been carried in and strictly confined to the shopping cart.

He pushes Zhen and Ruby on the swings out back, without being asked. He can climb the ladder on the slide all by himself. He's suddenly using the potty more often!!!

I wondered, is Ralph mature enough to handle an event like Veggie Tales Live? We were blessed with complementary tickets so I decided to find out last night.

I'm gonna brag a bit on my handsome little man...he did awesome! The parking lot was packed and the general admission seating was a little crazy, but we found some decent seats. The hardest part was waiting for the show to start. But once it did, we all had a great time!

There was clapping, waving, squealing and dancing going on in my lap. Ralph was very focused on the characters and the songs. After intermission, when the people in front of us left, I let him stand in front of me and he learned the moo-shu dance!!

It is hard to believe that Ralph could be any more fun to have around. And then, he gets to be more fun!! I'm so blessed to have this little boy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


We had so much fun yesterday!! The local Make-A-Wish chapter took a group of wish-kids and their families to meet the USAF Thunderbirds. What an adventure for me and eight children!

We were required to park and take a special bus onto the base. Can you imagine me single handedly putting eight children, two diaper bags, and two strollers on a bus? Thank God there were airmen on board to help out. Another airman handed me some little boxes on my way onto the bus. Ear protection. Great. More stuff to carry.

Once all the kids were safely off the bus and strapped into strollers they were handed treat bags stuffed with snacks and drinks. (more stuff to carry) I spent the next half hour trying to get, and keep, ear plugs in the babies ears. Ralph did great and left them in. Ruby kept taking hers out until I begged for some scissors to trim them down to fit better. Then she was fine. Theo wore the parts I trimmed off of Ruby's. Zhen...well guess. He freaked out and cried, so I spent the whole time holding him with his one ear buried in my chest and my hand covering his other. :)
Ralph had a great time walking around with Thomas, just like one of the big kids. He found an airman with a golf cart and a walkie talkie and then he climbed up into his lap! Ralph was really more impressed with pretend driving the golf cart than we was with the planes performing intricate death defying maneuvers. Whatever. He was happy!
After the Thunderbirds were done with their practice/private demonstration they came to greet our group. I had to chuckle a bit. The planes were parked about a football field away from us, but the crew was driven over in a nice 15 passenger van. Believe me, when I tell you I have an eye for 15 passenger vans!!
All the kids got pins and books signed by the whole crew. Even the flight surgeon and mechanics! They were all so friendly and bright. I'm very proud to have a group of men and women like this representing our country.
I've been to a few airshows, but this one was different. I can't quite put my finger on what the difference could be, but I had chills watching the fighters approaching us. Something about it seemed more real than ever before. I know that makes no sense. I cannot put it into words.
I'm really grateful for the Make-A-Wish foundation. I hope that you support them when you have the opportunity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blue made me see red.

I saw something that enraged me today. It wasn't something that couldn't be fixed so I didn't understand at first why it upset me so much.

Do you remember this?

A beautiful boy on a beautiful new playset!

Now imagine this beautiful new playset covered (COVERED) in figures drawn in bright blue sidewalk chalk!

So after I flipped out for a minute I handed over a bucket of water and some rags to a certain child of mine. The clean up was easy and Ralph's wish looks as good as new. Then I started to wonder why I was so upset.

Then it hit me.

When dad and I first arrived in our new boys' city in Ukraine we noticed some excavation going on at our bus stop. Everything there is done by hand so excavation means men with shovels and buckets. Every day at the bus stop we would see what progress had been made. Soon the excavation was done and then the concrete footings were installed. Concrete mixed by hand and placed using wheelbarrows.

As the days and weeks went by and my husband left for home I watched a beautiful red brick wall go up. The bricklayers worked with great care and before long the project was completed. It was a new covered bus stop! Now I didn't have to stand in the hot sun while waiting for the #54 bus to come along!

No joke. The very morning after this pretty new bus stop was finished this is what I found when I arrived at the bus stop:

(You can still see the dust from the bricklayers on the bench.)

How about that graffiti?
Ukraine is a beautiful country with fantastic people. This kind of thing just breaks my heart. Why? Why do beautiful things go to crap there? Graffiti is everywhere. There is an ugliness about the structures. I just don't understand it. I can't even put it into words.
I just know that is not the way I want to live. It is not the way I want my children to live. That is why I got so upset about the blue chalk. It took me back to an uglier place in my life. That's not what I want to remember about Ukraine.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ralph's wish

Ralph had an eventful summer. I can hardly believe how much he has grown and grown up!

Ralph's Make-a-Wish was granted while I was away. Does he look happy or what?

He had to help put it together. He's a hard little worker.

Finished!! WOW!!

All this boy wants to do is play outside. Now he has a safe place to have a ball!

Many thanks to the Kansas Chapter of Make-a-Wish and the generous volunteers who made this day possible.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Movin' on up!

Yesterday was move-up Sunday at church. The kids get to move up to the next grade level at Sunday school.

Ralph has moved up to the three year old class! He (and me too!) is so blessed to have a wonderful new buddy to help him navigate and "do" Sunday school. Our church likes to invite people to volunteer to help children with a variety of special needs during their Sunday school hour. It's a blessing for the children to fully participate. It's a blessing for the parents to have time to worship freely without worrying about their child. It's a blessing for the buddy to connect with a non-typical child.

Ralph's newest buddy is a sign interpreter at a local school district. How perfect is that? I spent a few minutes observing them before heading off to my own class. I know that she will insist that he uses his signs for words that he does not yet say. He doesn't say much just yet, but his speech IS improving. I'll bet he learns lots of new signs too!

Does your church have volunteers to assist children with special needs? I'd like to encourage you to find out. Did you know that many families with special needs children do not feel welcome in church? The parents and their children need the chance to learn, worship and fellowship just like everyone else.

My prayer is that when Zhen and Theo are ready to attend Sunday school there will be a buddy available for them, too. There is a need at FMBC for helpers to serve and care for children who need individual assistance. Consider if you might be willing to serve God in this very special way.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ready for school!

For the first time this week...

Ralph is ready for school on time. His backpack is hanging on the door. He has finished his lunch and has a clean face. Here he is looking out the front window, waiting for the bus to come.

Still waiting. Let's make a pretend phone call to the bus driver...and let's call daddy while we're at it.

Mommy had to make a real phone call to the school. You guessed it, no school today. :(
You could say I'm still trying to get with the program around here!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What? Where?

Not quite sure what happened around here while I was gone halfway around the world, but...

my house smells bad. Tell me I'm not the only one who has experienced this. You go on a trip and you come home and your house smells weird? It can't help that several children had multiple bouts of a stomach virus over the summer.

I'm working on dusting and cleaning the carpets this week. Thank you Debbie for loaning me your carpet cleaner!!

Also, why is there food splattered all over the walls? Was there a food fight or something? Don't worry, I will clean it up. Whenever I ask someone to wipe walls they end up taking the paint off too!

And, where is the baby bouncy seat? Where is the baby pool? How can these things get lost? Where is my sifter and pastry blender? Why is there milk in the fridge that expired in July? Inquiring minds want to know!

Theo had a doctor appointment yesterday. Zhen had one today. Tomorrow is free and clear, so I'll be working around the house all day. Just the way I like it! Boring!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Welcome back!

A few cool mornings ago when I walked out of the house I saw a large, amazing spider web on the corner of the house with a beautiful fat spider sitting in the middle. This tells me that summer is slipping away.

We experienced a crew change this summer. Our most experienced two boys have moved on and left home for college. We added two new rookies. You can read all about that at Psalm68.

We are so proud of our new boys, Theodore and Zhen. What a blessing we are to each other! Dad and I traveled to nearly the other side of the earth to redeem these beautiful boys. You be seeing and hearing much more about them in the near future.

No sooner had our new boys joined the crew when one of the boys was admitted to a hospital over 200 miles away from home. I found myself sleeping on a couch once again. We moved from one institution to another!

Now we are all home again. And though summer has slipped through my fingers, we are enjoying every last minute of it. I have the sunburn to prove it! I'm looking forward to whipping everyone back into shape around here, getting organized, and laying low for awhile.

Welcome back to Ralph and the Crew.