Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Well, today was interesting. Olivia has been laying on the couch all day recooping and had an awesome naptime. Olivia seems to be fine which is great, but I feel like I keep "waiting" ... waiting for another round, waiting for her to say she's shaking, waiting for doctors... oh those doctors sometimes...

Finally at 11:30 this morning I called the nurse with out neuro doctor. She said they had just finished talking and had decided to have Olivia do an overnight EEG next week. Ummm... WHAT!? I say why wasn't this done last night then when we were there?! She said that they agreed and our doctor doesn't understand why she wasn't admitted. Then why didn't he CALL them and TELL them that!? She went on to say that they did up her meds yesterday, right? I said, no, nothing was decided and we were told to wait. I asked what an overnight EEG would mean and was told that I would need to bring her in between 11 and 2pm depending on their schedule (remember over an hour drive on our part too) and then stay with her overnight. SO, I took yesterday off work, today off work, an EEG could have been done last night but wasn't, so in addition to the day off I already have next Thursday for Liam's neuro appt I would need to take two MORE days off!!!??? I was almost crying on the phone.

Don't get me wrong... I will do whatever it takes to help Olivia! BUT, each day I take off is one less sick day I have to use for "regular" sicknesses which usually use up ALL my sick days, PLUS this year I'm trying to save days to use for our adoption. Which means essentially MORE money.

She said she'd talk to the doctor again and see...

Half an hour later she called back to say that they would just go ahead and (slightly) increase her meds back to what they had been and then just continue with the "regular" EEG that was already scheduled for her next Thursday at the kids' appt.

So it's back to school and work tomorrow. My friend who watches Liam said she could get Olivia if needed. Because that's my fear, that it will all start up again tomorrow...

Times like these, we could all use some kisses from Spiderman...

And lots of prayers...

*** Update ***

Around 5 tonight Olivia was sitting in the kitchen and said her legs were "starting again." I sent her to her bed to lay down - that connection is weird to me - and five minutes later she was fine again. Then about 6 they started once again and are still going strong 2 hours later. She needed help walking to the bathroom and can barely get her feet to move under her. I sent her to bed hoping the sleep will help (she isn't well rested at night due to her seizure activity in the brain). Praying!
Monday, September 27, 2010


Olivia's legs did not improve since the incidents on Friday and Saturday. Sunday at lunch her legs became numb/asleep again and lasted about an hour, but then at dinner it started once again (all four times happened at the dining table???!!!) and this time did not go away. She could walk, with assistance only, and was scared. I just wanted to get to Monday morning when her neuro "people" would be in and could hopefully help and figure this out.

I checked on her a couple times during the night (I could not sleep!) and she called to me once to help her, yes help her, walk to the bathroom. Scary to see your 9 year old barely able to walk, undress, or dress herself.

BUT this morning when I heard her call for me to help her again at 5:30, she couldn't move most of her body, not just her legs. She couldn't walk even assisted and I literally carried her to the bathroom, had to help her undress to go, and she was scared, which scared me more. This is when being single is hardest. I called one friend, Liam's day care provider, to see if she was up (almost 6) not knowing she turns her cell off at night. Then called another friend who I know has a baby :) and she answered. I explained what was going on and asked if I could drop off the boys to take Olivia to ER. I didn't want to wait any longer. She said of course, to bring them in PJs, and not to worry she'd handle it. I woke the boys, Braeden was my big helper and understood right away what was going on. We got out the door pretty quickly, dropped the boys, and went to ER.

We got checked in and sorted out and they ordered blood work to test for Potassium levels and a CAT scan. I figured what they were checking for in the CAT scan, but didn't want to ask in front of Olivia, and didn't really want to voice it aloud myself anyway. The tests came back showing everything was fine (with those tests). They could obviously see we weren't "making this up" as I had to carry her across the ER to use the bathroom, but there was nothing more they felt they could do and wanted us to call Olivia's docs in Chicago.

We arrived there around 6:30 and left at about 8:30am. On the way home we drove through for breakfast and made calls to Chicago doctors. By nine it was decided that I was to bring Olivia to University of Chicago's ER. OK. The feeling was that her neuro doc could give her IV seizure meds and if there was a positive reaction they'd know it was due to seizure activity. There was also the possibility of her being admitted and doing a nighttime EEG. But they definitely wanted her at the ER.

We left home a little after 9, stopped for gas, and made it there by 10:30am.

We were admitted pretty quickly... to sit and wait... They ran blood tests eventually, but never came to tell us what for or if they received results. I had brought the results from our local hospital as well as the CD/DVD of the CAT scan, both of those sat on the table and never were looked at. The doctor told me he spoke with neuro 4 times to come talk to us and finally about 3 pm someone did. 3 pm! She asked all the questions I had already told the neuro people that morning, checked out Olivia who by then was doing well but told her that when she stood her legs felt somewhat numb again, and left to "confer" and make a plan. Finally at 5, with no food and starving, someone who must have been "high up" in neurology along with the one who spoke with us and two others, came to talk to me.

He said he didn't know why our doctor had reduced Olivia's Keppra last spring/summer because he had never heard of that causing low neutrophil levels which is why her HIV docs wanted it reduced. They said it was that med or one of her HIV meds and I got the feeling they wanted that one and not theirs "tested". I had not been happy with that decision. But they had reduced it and added Topomax. I was now being told that it shouldn't have been reduced, that this person who seemed very knowledgeable didn't know of any reports stating Keppra could cause that, that she could easily go up to 500mg per dose for her size when she is now getting 250 and 375 mg, and that he would have added a different med other than Topomax. He continued to say that since she was doing well they were going to send us home, he was going to talk to our neuro doc and our infectious disease docs the next day and get things figured out. Sounded to me as though he wants the Keppra increased and feels this is seizure related.

There was no IV of seizure meds, no EEG, and all this to my opinion could have been done the first couple hours we were there. :(

BUT the kicker! Maybe five minutes after we left, as we were getting food (SO HUNGRY!), Olivia freaked out that her legs were starting again. My thought - this was the first time she has SAT all day, she's been laying in a bed all day and is now sitting. She was SITTING each time. Only thing I can relate it to. By the time we picked up Braeden and got home to get ready for bed she could barely undress/dress herself. I left Liam at my friend's for the night in case I needed to go somewhere quickly, but figured Braeden would be worried and needed to see us, and he would be easier to help if I needed to take Olivia somewhere quickly.

So now she sleeps. I am awake worried once again, thinking I hear her call or fall or ... I wrote lesson plans for tomorrow and emailed them to a friend. I called in a sub. I made Braeden's school lunch. I'm praying for sleep, for REST, for healing... for answers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some Updates

Braeden - Upon doing a little research, and I know I have MUCH to learn, I've seen things about Bipolar that make me think he is NOT. I've also seen things about how rages can happen in children with severe ADHD and that stimulant based meds, which his is, can make these even worse and more pronounced. Prior to his starting meds, he would, on occasion, have times where he would yell and say some fairly mean things including how he was going to run away, to myself or a caretaker. These lasted usually 15-20 minutes and were controllable.

Of course in the moment of his more recent rages I really didn't put two and two together, but my dad helped with that as we were talking the other day and he talked of Braeden's couple of rage/tantrums he had with them while we were in FL this summer. What is happening now is similar, but now lasts 1-3 HOURS, are MUCH more verbally aggressive, and are now also physically aggressive. In addition, perhaps because his meds DO work in that they help him focus and "lose" much of the let out of energy we are used to seeing in him nonstop, I wonder if it's not bottled up so to speak and coming out in these times of rage.

I have also read from other parents how sometimes milk allergies show up as "wildness" and overwhelming energy and how dyes can affect certain children. I am going to leave dyes alone for now and try not giving him milk this week to see what happens. Certainly can't hurt, and if we stumble upon something positive all the better. I did stop his meds today and am calling Monday to see if we can get in or just get his meds switched to something non-stimulant based.

Olivia - We had another leg incident this morning. This time instead of it lasting 3-4 minutes, it was over 20!!! I called her contact in the neuro dept and left a message. I know she won't get it until Monday and decided that if we had another long time again I would call an on-call worker. I don't think there's anything they'd do anyway except bring her in for an EEG this week possibly. Since our appt is scheduled for Oct 7 I'm not sure now if they'll wait or ask to see her sooner. If sooner I may see if they could get Liam in too so we wouldn't have to take two days off work, but I will do whatever needs to be done!

And I'll leave you with a cute picture... Percy came to my school the last couple hours of the day one day this week. When I stopped at Liam's day care to pick him up I brought Percy in to "visit" and Liam HAD to be "the helper" and walk him out! It was too cute! :) They all love him so much!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010


We could use some prayers right now. Lots going on seemingly all at once.

The puppy is absolutely wonderful! He is doing so well! But he is a puppy and does require home time and letting out time and cleaning up poop time. :) He's great though!

Braeden's rages have continued. One bad day last week at church and a really really rough night at home last night. I can handle the tantrums and rages, but the things coming out of his mouth hit straight to the heart. I tried "holding" him last night in a type of restraint technique but it wasn't working and progressed to a full out restraint until he could control himself. He was facing away from me and tears were just silently streaming down my cheeks as I listened to the words he was yelling at me. It hit hard. I "know" it's not personal in that moment, I "get" that it's coming from somewhere else, but it's hard. Hard and ugly and not the "Oh aren't you wonderful" mothering moment so many think you have because you're a "sainted adoptive parent", nope, this is reality.

But the hardest of all was tonight at dinner. Way "back when" when Olivia's seizures began, it started with one or both of her legs basically "falling asleep." She couldn't move them. It was almost always at night and/or when she was extremely tired, so even though I tried talking to her doctors about it, they passed it off as psychological due to her past. I thought different but there wasn't much to do at that point. Then her "fall out of bed full out shaking" seizure hit and there it was, laid out plain as day. We set up a neuro appt asap and before we were even home they called in a prescription due to her results and not wanting to wait. Since then she has been seizure free. But this past summer her seizure med was slightly reduced and another added due to low neutrophil counts, possibly caused by that or one of her other meds. Tonight at dinner her legs were shaking and then fell asleep for 3-4 minutes. She was scared to death poor thing. I just stayed by her and talked to her about how she was fine and not hurt and it would pass. She couldn't feel me tickling the bottoms of her feet or pinching her feet or calves. Scary. Especially because she knows what this led to last time. We have a neuro appt already on Oct 7 so I'll call Mon but I doubt they'll have us come early unless she were to have a full out seizure.

As I said, we could really use your added prayers. Thank you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Date Night

Last night was date night with Liam and I...

He chose a local buffet restaurant for dinner, but had to stop to "ride" the horse on the way in (mom had NO quarters!). :) Then he followed in Braeden's tradition of giving horses a "treat" on the way off. :)

He loves buffets and being able to choose his dinner!

And for dessert... he chose a bowl of cheese and a piece of cake, not to be confused with cheesecake!!! He had maybe one bite of the cake, and ate all the cheese! That boy LOVES his cheese! He would pick that everyday over almost anything else! :)

We had a great time, thanks for being my date Liam!!!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Braeden overheard me talking to Liam last night and just now he put his arm around Liam and said, "Liam, why did you draw in mom's Bible?" Liam started giggling and then saw Braeden WASN'T laughing with him. Braeden asked again, "Liam why did you draw in mom's Bible?!" This time Liam mumbled a response and said, "Won't do again."

I love how seriously he (sometimes) takes his role as older brother! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today is Olivia's "Gotcha Day"! In adoption-speak, that's the day that a child's adoption was finalized, and the "anniversary" thereafter.

Three years ago today, my Miss Olivia was a 6 year old little girl, who had lived with me for over 3 years, and who was excited to become a part of our forever family. She even decided to choose a new name for herself, and Olivia it was! I did (coerce) talk her into keeping her given first name as her middle name. I was perfectly happy keeping her original name, and made sure she knew that, but I did talk to her about the option and she choose over and over again when I'd bring it up, to change her name.

On the day of her adoption, we went, as was then "tradition" to a picture place and "splurged" (for us anyway) on a large set of photos and a "trilogy" frame...

Hers still hangs above her bed and I love looking at it each night when I tuck her in and say goodnight...

Many adoptive families make a really big Ta-Do over this day. We don't, but we do make note of it and celebrate the joining of that child into our family. As has also now become tradition, we have donuts for breakfast on the child's gotcha day and start the day on a positive note with remembrances. Today we went out for donuts before school, quite the excitement! :) And amazingly, Olivia had THREE donuts!

Braeden had two donuts AND four donut holes!

And Liam had one donut and one donut hole. :) (Love his "big eyes.")

A great way to remember our forming of our family!!! :)
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Auction Winners

And now I understand more of why people make it clear to list an email along with a bid! :) LOL

The following people won each auction and I'm so excited for them, they're getting a great book and tshirt set! I sent comments and notes to each, but either way be sure to touch base with me and I can let you know how to pay and get your address to package up your items. :)

Set One... Cami $15

Set Two... Sarah Abrahams $20

Set Three... Laurie $20

Our New Addition

Will post some better pics later, but these will have to suffice for now... After months of searching pounds and listings of dogs needing homes, and having some pretty specific criteria (small, low shed, good with kids, etc...) we finally found one last Saturday at a local humane society. Of course when we went back on Sunday... it already had a family... :(

A good friend told me on Thursday that she was going to be driving Friday night to a small ranch about 4 hours from us where they raise a few horses, chihuahuas, and chinese cresteds. They had two male chihuahuas, one female, and one male part chihuahua/part chinese crested that they were trying to find families for. My friend had been wanting a chihuahua for years and upon finding this place where they keep the puppies with family and kids and are very reasonable (same as the pound), she was going to get one of the male chihuahuas and asked that I check out their site to see if I would be interested in one for our family.

I was NOT wanting a puppy, BUT we hadn't found any olders that would work, and if we gated off the up and down stairs and bedrooms, we have all hard flooring on the first floor, and I have a few months or more before our new arrival so I did have time for some training. SO, we checked out their website and just fell IN LOVE with this "referral picture." :)

This was "Butch" on their site and he is part Chihuahua and part Chinese Crested. My friend spoke with the owner and they were fine with her picking up the puppy for us and bringing him here. She said he was very playful and loved on everyone. She said she thought he'd be perfect. I agreed. :) So my friend and three of her kids (without knowing why they were going and where) took off yesterday and arrived last night.

These were two shots they texted me from their hotel...

After many many discussions and ideas of names for our little guy, the kids finally decided on the name Percy (Jackson) from the Percy of the Lightning Thief books. They are thrilled beyond belief and as of about 3:30 this afternoon, we were one dog richer in our lives...
(Photos by photobooth for now...)

We're excited to get to know you Percy, and mom's praying for an easy transition and training! :) Happy "Gotcha Day" to you!

Ends Today!!!!

Our auction ends TODAY so be sure to bid for one of the three tshirt/book sets! Set one and two have Large shirts and set three has an XLarge. All three have the same book along with the shirt...

Stay Tuned

... for some big news in our household later today ... we have a new addition heading our way who will be here later this afternoon ... stay tuned! :)


Some new things going on in our household lately. God has been doing some work in us in such good and wonderful ways!

Prayers have really been helping at school lately. Even though we have FAR to go, I've seen improvements in my students. More than anything, in them just being a little more independent and confident than they were a few weeks ago. Like I said, far to go, but improvements none the less. :)

Braeden went to see his doctor Monday and I discussed some of the rough patches we've had. He thinks it's just him "coming off" the meds and added a third dosage during the afternoon. So instead on one half pill in the morning and one half pill at lunch, he now is also getting a half pill after school. This has been a crazy week and he had a sitter last night so that I could go to dinner and our school's open house with Olivia. He did well, his first day of the new dose, but I had also rented a favorite red*box movie for the boys which kept him entertained the whole time I was gone, so still unsure which played a bigger role. :) Tonight we go to church and I'm nervous since we've been out the past two nights. That's a lot for him, but praying he does well.

Last Wednesday we began our church's Wednesday night activities and I'm LOVING the study/small group I've become involved in!!! It's called D*I*V*A*S of the Divine and is just what I've been needing so far. A great way to get connected more to people in my church (it's a HUGE church and I'm actually very shy and introverted until I get to know people, maybe why blogging is easy for me???) :) We have quite a diverse group as well, from a Freshman at our Christian college, to older more seasoned women. Some single, some married, some parents, some childless, and I love it! Each week you get a different accountability partner whom you are to call for ten minutes (at least) and answer three questions to each other. My partner this week and I had our first call Monday night. I had met this woman at the meeting to just talk about the two studies being offered this semester and we got along well. The call was simply God. We had SO MUCH in common it was extremely "cool." No other word fits! :) While she is quite a bit older than me, we are both teachers, both "alone" without a husband, both moms, both with similar upbringings and such similar answers to why we began this study, what we fear in our lives, what we want to do and become. It was great to have that connection the first week. It was just what I needed to help feel connected to this group and God is great at knowing what we need isn't He!? :) Tonight is our second "meeting" and I am looking forward to it tremendously.

My big check was sent off to my adoption agency and I am awaiting the completion of my homestudy still.

Olivia is doing GREAT in school, though it's still been a transition getting back into the routine of homework and balance. She learned a lesson last week about not putting things off (hopefully) and it's those times that are so hard for me as both mom and a teacher to not get on her constantly, but I want her to learn to do it because she wants to do it and get it done and not have the consequences at school. Her teacher is a good friend of mine which is both good and bad. :)

Yesterday Olivia said that her arms were shaking for a period of time. If you don't remember, her seizures began when her legs would fall asleep as if they were paralyzed and eventually led to a full blown shaking seizure. They have always been at night (she actually only had two full seizures prior to starting her meds) but I did notify her teacher to alert me if things like this happen just so I can make note and pass it on to her doctors, in case. We go see the neurologist for both her and Liam on Oct 7 so I will wait and discuss it then.

Since beginning my Bible study last week I've also been trying a few other things to find some "special" kid time now that school is going full swing again. I love being with them so much in the summer and miss time with them while I'm working and they're in school, so I'm doing a few things this year to help that time of "getting to know" my kids as we go through our crazy year. First and foremost we are taking time each morning to pray together as a family. Maybe some of you are saying to yourselves, "You mean you never did this before?" And to that I say, yes we have, but it's not all the time and it's sporadic. Each morning when we are getting ready to head out the door our "magical" time to shoot for is 7:30. That is the time when my cell phone alarm goes off for Braeden to take his medicine. We were then leaving and really were 5-10 minutes early for where we needed to be. So we are now using those 5-10 minutes and praying. It's been SUCH a great way to focus our day instead of just rushing and out the door we go. I start the prayer and then one child prays as well, giving them the floor for the day so to speak. I love showing them through my example some of what we can bring to God either in prayer or petition and I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing what they are going to pray about each day.

Another thing we're going to try is family movie nights on Friday nights. (Course since I have no date life!) Just kidding! Each Friday we have been getting pizza or something take out and renting a Red*box to share together after dinner. Two weeks ago was Cam*p Rock Two which aired on Friday so we used that as our movie, and this coming Friday a semi-local drive-in movie theater is showing The Wizard of Oz, so I think we're going to do that as long as the weather holds.

Finally, we're going to be bringing back having a sitter come twice a month for a few hours. One of these times will be for me to go out with a friend and the other will be to take one of the kids for a one on one time. Since Braeden and Olivia's schools had their open houses this week, B on Mon and O on Tues, I used those as "date nights" so Liam will get one next week it looks like. I'm hoping that these things, though small by themselves, will add up to some good memories for the kids as we navigate this year of work/school/and the preparation for our adoption.

Speaking of adoption, we're still working on fundraising for our next big fee chunk that will be due in a while. We have some great necklaces left for sale at the top under the header, and new items will be added soon. You can get a creative and fun, even seasonal if you'd like, blog makeover through the link on the left. Some awesome coffee for sale that nets us $5 for each bag sold in another link on the left. And, be sure to check out our auction of three GREAT tshirts and the book Red Letters!!! Auction ends SATURDAY!
Set One in our auction

Cracking Me Up

Braeden is a never-ending flow of things to say. Often sensitive things based on feelings that someone is hurt or hurting. Sometimes quite educated things about words or life. And occasionally, those hilarious kid-only things that you just have to chuckle at! Yesterday he gave us one of the sensitive/educated ones and another hilarious one this morning...

Last night I picked up Liam from the home day care he's at while we're all at school. Braeden and Olivia were waiting in the car, and when we got there Liam HAD to show them the scratch on his neck. Immediately Braeden asked him, "Liam what happened, how did your neck get scratched?"

Liam: "*P* did it." (his friend at day care)

Braeden: "Liam, you need to forgive your friend." and "Liam, he's your friend, forgive him!" and "Liam, just forgive your best friend." and "Liam tomorrow you need to tell him you forgive him."

I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. Braeden went on and on for about 15-20 minutes, with Liam saying no each time. :) The teacher/mom in me wanted so much to turn around and say, "Braeden, maybe you should remember that sometime when you're so upset with someone." But the mom/keeper of my children's hearts in me said nothing and allowed my kids to minister to one another. I loved what I was hearing. Olivia even got in on it at one point trying to explain to Liam that what Braeden was saying was that tomorrow he should go to day care and forgive *P* for what happened.

What a moment!

Then this morning, a funny thing from Braeden.

Out of the blue... Braeden said, "Mom, will *K*'s name go away?"

And, sadly enough I knew EXACTLY what he was talking about right away. I said, "Yes, Braeden."

Braeden: "When we get married *K*'s last name will go away?"

LOL Me: "Yes Braeden."

I was dying inside! He is HOOKED on the idea that my friend's daughter and he and are going to someday be married. Hilarious!!! And how or why he ever thought to ask about her last name changing is beyond me - so funny!

Love that boy!
Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lovin' the Free Stuff

Now that we are staying here and not moving, I've been unpacking all the things that were packed up to de-clutter the house while it was up for sale. I'm finally done. :) I've also been looking around the house to see what we need or what would be nice to do with the house to finish making it truly our home. I have some great ideas for practically free decorations right now to "fill" up some empty space in our living room, but waiting for time to actually make them (as if I have time... we'll see... ) :)

One thing I've wanted to do but had put off to see if we ended up moving was to get the kids embroidered towels and a new shower curtain for our (one and only!) bathroom. After talking about this with my mom the other day she said she had always wanted to get the kids embroidered towels, but other things always came up and they just hadn't, and that they would love to get those for the kids for Christmas. I was so excited! (Silly I know, but that's awesome!!!) I had seen some great ones just the day before (which is why it was on my mind while I spoke with her) in a catalog along with a shower curtain.

On a side note, a few weeks ago I found out from my credit card company that Six* Flags and C*hase were discontinuing their "relationship." I have had a Six* Flags card for some time now, and had some of my monthly bills put on this so that I would just pay that one bill instead of cell, cable, etc. (It isn't used otherwise unless I know I'm paying it off the next month.) Plus, those "purchases" then netted me points which I used each summer to take the kids to our Six* Flags basically free each year. I always had enough points the past few years to get tickets and food vouchers, so that all I paid was gas and parking... so GREAT! But now they were ending and I had to switch my card, so I opted for a Disne*y one instead. I don't think the points will add up as quickly, but seeing as we don't go to Disne*y (more than a day anyway) often, I figured it was better than nothing.

I remembered that upon using my new Disne*y card for the first time I'd be given a $50 credit to my account, so I decided to "splurge" on the shower curtain, which then ended up FREE and I still have credit on my account as well! I know, not a major thing, but as I'm really cutting back on purchases right now to save as much money as possible ourselves for the adoption, it was a big deal to me and fun to get. Love how it looks, and can't wait to see all the coordinating towels hanging on the adjacent wall!!! The boys have navy towels with green letters and the girls, yes girls, have green towels with navy letters. :)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Goings On

Braeden had a wonderful night last night at church... I was nervous to the core. I had written out a note to his teachers (our Wednesday night programming for the year began last night... this is our first time trying it, they used to go to bed too early and I really want to be in a small group, plus the kids' programming sounded really great for this year). I explained in the note a little about his ADHD and new meds, ideas to hopefully help, and my prayers that things would go well. I want them to know I am working on his behavior and it's not that I'm dropping him off to "get away" from him and let someone else "deal." He did well and I was so glad. Not so good tonight however.

Tonight we began our every other Thursday night with a sitter school year "routine." I began this a couple years ago as a way to take a few nights to myself and a few nights to take kids out by themselves one at a time for some quality time together. Our wonderful, Christian, local college attending, sitter is back from the summer and tonight we began with mom's night out. Next week Braeden and Olivia have their back to school parent nights so they will have individual "dates" then. I had originally planned to go out with a friend to dinner and a movie but she ended up unable to go, so I went solo. Got a little shopping in and then went to a movie. Halfway through I was texted that our sitter was having NO control over Braeden. I left (which was really ok since I was not thrilled with the movie) and got home shortly after. I could tell she was frazzled and felt for her! :( Braeden came and apologized without prompting. Part of the problem was that not only was he being obstinate, but Liam was following suit in a big way. They got a stern talking to, Braeden was genuinely sorry, Liam cried because I said I was going to "tell Papa and Grammy" :), and they went to bed in separate areas of the house. Braeden will be doing some jobs around the house this weekend to "pay" mom back for the movie she missed. :)

On BETTER and BRIGHTER news... Yesterday I received notice that I am officially approved for the Hong Kong program! Our second app was officially approved! They also sent the forms and instructions to begin paperwork for filing our I800a, basically asking the government to allow us to adopt a foreign-born child. I won't be able to file yet, as my home study needs to be finished and approved by our state, but then I can send it in! Once that's approved I can begin to inquire on any children on the waiting child list! (Currently there aren't any that I feel God is directing us towards, so I am not in a rush and know it will all happen in HIS time, not mine!) Of course, the approval letter was also the letter asking for that next big chunk of our fee. :) I'll be sending it in this weekend and although I "have" it, technically I'll be taking out $700 from our (VERY small) college fund for the kids, so will be needing to replace that asap. $700 isn't bad though and I know God can fill that up soon! :)

Also, school... amazingly the SECOND I left the room to "test" one with Dibels, the other six somehow decided they could do EVERY little thing they know I don't "allow" even though our social worker and my assistant were there with them. They both told me they just couldn't believe how blatant it was! BUT, we also saw real progress with a lot of the kids today. God heard those prayers!!! One student who I don't think knew how to even use paper, who couldn't write his own first name under three inches tall and all over the paper, today sat down with me for Math and wrote his name at the top corner of his paper in around a half inch tall space with no problem whatsoever. Sounds like nothing, but for him a HUGE gain! And another one who is so incredibly stubborn she won't answer me AT ALL if she doesn't feel like it, not even to say "I don't know" to something so I have no idea what she knows or is learning at times, and will only usually look at my face instead of the sight word I'm trying to get her to work at sounding out, kept her face on the sight word cards and not me and at least tried each word no matter what, an INCREDIBLE step for her! And, my one student who is quite large, who is my fifth grader and has done "gross motor" (exercise DVDs :) ) with me for two years and is ALWAYS complaining and being lazy and not "doing" it, worked his tush off for me today (seriously it's like 15-20 min of little kids Tae Bo!) and did it without complaining! I was SO PROUD of them! Even with all the annoying card changes! :) LOL Thanks for the prayers!

Remember: Our small auction ends next Saturday, the 18th, so be sure to bid for one of the three tshirt/book sets! Set one and two have Large shirts and set three has an XLarge. All three have the same book along with the shirt...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Thank you thank you thank you for all of the wonderful prayers and comments I've gotten today. Although I can't get on blogs at work, each of your comments came through my email and the few times I was able to check email today they made me smile and gave me renewed hope. :)

Tonight I came home to find an email in my inbox from my adoption agency. In it was my official Hong Kong adoption application acceptance letter and the documents needed to begin paperwork to file my I800a. Wow! (Of course along with that comes my next chunk of change that's due - $4,000 plus the money needed for the I800a when I send that in - which I think is $670?) And while I have ALMOST all of this money (SO blessed!!!) I am still a bit short. I'm awaiting a check from my recent etsy fundraiser and once that comes in, I will still need approximately $1400. I have big hopes that this will come in SOON! God has been SO very good!

Remember, you can purchase coffee from the link on the left, a handmade necklace from the link above, under the header, or get a great blog design! Also, I still have three sets of a tshirt and the book "Red Letters" up for auction below!!!

Again, thanks so very very much for your prayers and support!
Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Some Rough Ones...

Well, to add on to our list of prayer requests, we've been having some rough times here...

Braeden began his ADHD meds about two weeks ago. And while he is still doing well during the days both at school and at home. We've had some explosive, not at all fun, never seen before, behaviors and attitudes from him the last few nights. Saturday night was horrible with a capital H. Tonight was pretty bad too, but not quite as much. And while he's had "issues" with attitude in the past, especially directed at others, he's never been like this. I can't help thinking it's med related, actually maybe I'm really hoping it's med related, because if it is then hopefully that means we can do something to change it relatively quickly and painlessly. Cuz I don't know how much of this I can "take." We go to see his doctor Monday and I'm counting the days. I'm praying he will listen to what I have to say and have something to offer up in the way of a starting point to help.

Because on top of things at home, work is tough right now. Very tough, which makes coming home and "dealing" with behaviors all the more difficult.

My class this year is hard. I teach special education. I love teaching. For my first seven years of teaching I taught "higher" functioning (for the most part) learning disabled kiddos between fifth and eighth grade. I absolutely loved seeing that "got it" moment, being a teacher who was able to challenge my students and have high expectations, helping them to see what they COULD do rather than what they couldn't. And I saw many of them push their way out of special education, my ultimate goal as a special ed teacher. To not "keep" them status quo and just shuffle along, but push them to give their all, encourage them to WANT to succeed, and to help them do just that. Whether that be getting back into a regular ed class or just being the best they could be in a special ed class, but doing THEIR BEST.

Three years ago I was put into a different position, and our district was in the transition process of incorporating RtI and "keeping" more and more students in the regular ed class setting as long as possible, trying as many instructional strategies as possible to teach them there rather than pull them out. I am all for it. I still think more is needed, but one day at a time, they are starting to see what I'm (and others) are saying and it's coming around... I think.

Anyway, my new class was not completely severe and profound, which I've taught in summer school previously, but was closer to that in many ways. "My" kids are very low. I teach 3rd-5th graders most of whom can't read, don't know their alphabet, can't tie their shoes, etc. They can't take our state tests but rather take an alternate assessment, which is still difficult for some of them. The past three years have been a challenge, but I've still seen much growth which is such a blessing. I've seen kids who came to me not understanding what it meant to add just 1 to a number, leave me being able to add multiple digits with carrying, and working on multiplication. Kids who came to me not being able to spell or read the word "of" leave me reading at a late first, early second, grade level and spelling words associated with that reading ability. I've had kids who didn't think they could do anything, come to realize they could do lots, and begin to believe in themselves. And I've had kids where my biggest obstacle has been the parents. Getting the parents to believe that I wasn't challenging their children beyond what they could do, but that I had high expectations because I believed that they could fulfill these, and they did all that and more.

But this year... wow... I'm struggling. My assistant and I have two students with us that we've had in the past. One in fifth grade (his third year with us) and one in fourth (her second year with us). We were originally to have a third again this year, but they moved over the summer, which proved to be a huge blessing as two others we were supposed to get as incoming third graders also moved. We were to be getting 7 new third graders, but instead got 5. And I'm very glad that we had three move over the summer, because it's hard. Pure and simple.

Transitioning five to our class in the first place is rough. In our district we have three schools: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. We then share the high school with a couple other elementary districts and they are a separate district unto themselves. So the kids I get in third grade are making the jump from a K-2 building to a 3-5 building. That is hard enough for most "regular" ed third graders, but take kids out of a CLASS that is K-2, where they're in with barely 5 year olds, sitting together at tables instead of desks, having their breakfasts and lunches opened and being helped and enabled and doing all together, to a building where they are now in a 3-5 class and we are expecting much more independence, it's quite a transition for them.

Then to thrown in how very low these kiddos are and how out of my element I feel right now and I'm about drowning. I feel like we go go go and I'm not real sure what we've accomplished by the end of the day. Most of these kiddos, I'm not even sure HOW to teach them. We can go over and over something "simple" where I'm basically giving them the answer and having them repeat it and then I'll ask them again and they have NO CLUE. Simple things, like basic rhyming (a pre-reading skill) and then trying to think of a word that rhymes with "pen" and I finally tell them... either "ten" or "den" and I ask again what rhymes with pen and they tell me nest. or house. or... (I'm not kidding or exaggerating). I'm at a loss. We worked on clapping syllables of words and upon clapping once for "book" I asked, "Great, now how many claps was that?!" and got back "Um, three?"

And then they ask us to fill out our grades online and we're looking at sending home report cards in what will seem like tomorrow and I'm at a loss. How do you "Grade" this? Truly?! To me, my class needs to have either a report card that is basically their individual IEP goals and how they are doing working toward those, or a checklist of basic goals and behaviors and whether they can do them or not. But not grades. My supervisor suggested pass/fail. But how do you pass or fail a student who can't do it. Period. Or doesn't want to try. Or has a family who expects nothing of them so they're not used to meeting expectations. I feel like if I give them a grade, I'm giving a pass or fail to their disability, to their family, to their past teachers, but not to their learning. Maybe, hopefully, they could be graded on things later in the year, but NOT now. So they know five shapes. They came to me knowing those. I've told them that "this" is an octagon six hundred times. I've shown them stop signs outside and had them trace the eight sides and ... and yet when I say not two seconds later "What's this shape?" They can't tell me. How do you grade that?

So I'm struggling. Big time. And what I wrote probably doesn't even make much sense as I'm not very coherent to myself these days in some of my thought processes. And yet, I'm trying to find ways to encorporate God even more into our days. Knowing that my focus, my kids' focus, our day, needs to be more centered on Him, and not me, not us. So today we began a time of prayer that will hopefully carry over into every day. We have five-ten minutes time that was "empty" before. And now I know why. And God is showing me ways to "fill it up" that are meaningful and not wasteful. That will hopefully help my patience and maybe refocus some of our frustrations. And get our day started on the right foot.

And we pray, pray, pray... because that's what He taught us...
Monday, September 06, 2010

Call to Prayer

Linny at A Place Called Simplicity has once again sent out a call to link to her blog.... this time in prayer for the orphan. Love it! We could definitely use prayer in our adoption journey. I'm sure there will be many more requests as we go, but for now we're praying for finances. We are so close to having enough for our next fee "chunk" that is to be sent the next week or so. And then... I'm trying not to look too far down the path. Money is coming, but these next two chunks are the biggies and we're in need of raising it. I give God the glory because He's done wonders already! Your prayers will definitely help!
Saturday, September 04, 2010

Zoo Day

Finally a break in our HOT HOT HOT weather lately! We took full advantage and met up with some good friends for time at the zoo...

Friday, September 03, 2010


Set three is the third Red Letters paperback book by Tom Davis...

and the size extra large hope for Africa tshirt...


Set two is another Red Letters paperback by Tom Davis...

and a second size Large tshirt...


The first set is for one Red Letters paperback by Tom Davis...

and one size Large hope for Africa tshirt...

Going Once, Going Twice... SOLD!?

I have three awesome sets up for auction to help our next fundraising phase! Please bid by putting your bid in a comment under the corresponding post (I will list each separately although they're almost identical.) I would love it if you could pass this on through your blog, facebook, etc.

A great online blogger friend donated three tshirts to our adoption fundraising goals and I had three books that never got to their originally intended "receivers" a while back, so I will be putting up one tshirt and one book together as a set to be auctioned together.

Up first, the book, Red Letters by Tom Davis. If you have not already read this book, it is a MUST read! It's amazing!

Here's the product description...

In many Bibles, Christ's words are set apart with a red font. It should be obvious, but this distinction helps remind us that when God becomes Man and that Man speaks - it's probably something we cannot afford to miss. So why doesn't the Church take these "red letters" to heart? Why aren't we doing more to be Christ's hands and feet to the poor, the disenfranchised, the weary, the ill, the fatherless, the prisoners? It's all there - in red letters. Why has the Church shirked its responsibilities, leaving the work to be done by governments, rock stars, and celebrities? The Gospel wasn't only meant to be read - it was meant to be lived. From the HIV crisis in Africa to a single abused and lonely child in Russia, the Church must seize the opportunity to serve with a radical, reckless abandon. Author Tom Davis offers both challenge, encouragement, and resources to get involved in an increasingly interconnected, desperate modern world.

Tom Davis is an author, consultant, and the president of Children's HopeChest (www.hopechest.org) a Christian-based child advocacy organization helping orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa. His first book, the self-published Fields of the Fatherless has sold over 60,000 copies. Tom holds a Business and Pastoral Ministry degree from Dallas Baptist University and a Master's Degree in Theology from Criswell College

I have three softcovers of Red Letters. If you have read it or already own it, what a wonderful gift and/or special something to pass on to someone in your life.

And finally the tshirts...

These AMAZING hope/Africa tshirts are so great!!! I am so appreciative of Annie from Adding Members! Thank you thank you thank you for your donation! Each shirt is on a light yellow tshirt. Two are size large and one is extra large. I simply love the design!!!

Since these items are already "here", every penny will be going straight into our adoption fund! There will be an additional cost of $2.50 for shipping added on once the auction is over. Please consider one of these sets for yourself, a friend who is beginning an adoption, two loved ones... they are truly awesome! :) Good luck!!! Each set will be posted separately...

This auction will end on Saturday, September 18... happy bidding!
Thursday, September 02, 2010


There are moments during my day... moments where my breath is caught... wondering if I have a little girl already in the world somewhere... a little girl in need or soon to be in need of a family... a little girl I already love with my heart though I've never seen her picture, never heard her laugh, never learned her name... and on days like that I can't wait to add yet another initial to my beloved necklace...


A super HUGE thanks to all of you who helped make our etsy fundraiser such a smashing success yesterday!

We brought in a whopping $310!!!! Wow!!! God is so good! That's $310 we didn't have two days ago and brings us that much closer to our goal!

Our next chunk of fees is due within a couple weeks and we are SO CLOSE to meeting the amount needed!

Be sure to stop by our necklace page under our header, grab up some coffee, ask about a blog redesign, or wait patiently until I post some awesome homemade tshirts soon, real soon!!!

Thanks again!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Need to start on your Christmas shopping?

Have a birthday coming up for that someone that's always hard to buy for?

Blessed with a great teacher in your children's lives?

Today only, you can purchase an AMAZING necklace at Sarah's Treasure Box on etsy AND $5 of EVERY necklace purchased will go toward our adoption!!! The best part is, her necklaces only cost between $8 and $12 to start with!!! And $5 of that price goes back to us! They have lots of great glass pendants - some with decorator designs, some with witty sayings and slogans. My "I'm Paper Pregnant: Adoption in Progress" necklace came from Sarah and I LOVE it so much!!! There are also some great bottlecap necklaces that even young girls would love to receive! I know Olivia would love one!

Please just jump over and take a look! Can't hurt to look, right!? :)

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Blog Archive

What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources

Other Awesome Blogs

Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you