Friday, February 26, 2010

Foto Friday - Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Tiger (2 weeks late!). Here are some pictures of our Lunar New Year celebration with our adoption group. Sorry about the pictures of Alyssa's face - the lighting wasn't good. This is her first year with her very own hanbok and she was so proud of it. It's a little large, but that's O.K. because then it will fit her for a few years. They aren't cheap! Despite the expression on her face, she really did have a wonderful time!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Good Medical Care

Well, this week has been everything it was advertised to be and more. But I really can't complain. We have such wonderful medical care here in the U.S. If Jonalyn had stayed in the Philippines, she wouldn't have been able to receive the treatment that she's getting. If she'd come home to a country with socialized medicine (no political views here, I promise), she would have had to wait forever for her care. As it is, I was able to get her into see the PT within a week or two after our doctor's appointment, which only took a week or two to get. And a week after our initial appointment with the PT, we started therapy.

So, what have I learned this week? Well, not only are Jonalyn's femurs turned, and thus everything else down the leg, but the back bone in her heel is curved. This causes her arches to collapse, causing her to walk on the inside of her foot, which isn't very stable. The PT is recommending that Jonalyn get orthodics for her shoes, and possibly a small brace for her ankles to give her stability. Her hip muscles and some of the muscles in her feet are very weak. They've been working on strengthening exercises for her and have given some exercises for us to work on at home.

I love this therapy place. The therapists are wonderful and relate very well to Jonalyn. She doesn't want to leave because she's having so much fun. The therapist we had yesterday sat with me for 30 minutes, explaining everything to me in detail. I finally understand what's going on. I also learned that we won't do both strapping and taping, but one or the other. With the strapping, she'll need to wear shorts or a belt to anchor the straps. This will interfere with going to the restroom. With the tape, we'll need to make sure she doesn't peel it off and we'll have to change it every few days. So now we have to decide which we are going to do. None of this is guaranteed to move her bones. Because she is 7 1/2, her bones aren't as pliable as a younger child's and may well not move. But it's worth a try since our only other option is surgery. I'm all for giving the least invasive procedure a chance!

So that's where we stand right now. We have three weeks of therapy left. Three weeks of running around, getting kids where they need to go when they need to be there, three weeks of trying to cook healthy meals even though I'm not home! And to top it all off, Brian's retainer broke, so we need to run to the orthodontist today. So much for grocery shopping!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This and That

I missed my Simple Woman's Daybook again this week, much to my chagrin, but I spent the better part of the day sick in bed - headache, sore throat, cough, congestion, and, from the chills and sweats I had, most likely a fever.

Anyway, you all don't want to hear about that. I have so much on my heart and mind, but I can't share any of it publicly. If you would, please say a prayer for our family.

Jonalyn starts therapy this afternoon. Our life will be crazy for the next month, but I think if we all pitch in we can survive this season. It is so important to get her legs straightened out.

I'll have some pictures to share one of these days, but we went to the Museum of Sci*nce and Industry in Chicago on Friday. Brian wasn't happy about having to get up early on a day off, but we ended up having a very nice time. Alyssa especially enjoyed the exhibits and the hands-on things they had for her to do. Even Jonalyn got into the act, though she didn't understand what she was doing or why. She loved the big train and the airplane hanging from the ceiling. We also got to try out her large size stroller - it worked great! It folds and unfolds just like an umbrella stroller, but it's much sturdier. It's also a breeze to push, which Alyssa did most of the day.

And that's about all the rambling I'll do for today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Foto Friday - Brian's Birthday

Come on, turning 15 can't be all that bad.

O.K. Maybe it isn't all terrible.

Then again, maybe it is.

I just remembered that I'm only 6 months away from being able to get my temps!

Happy birthday to my wonderful son.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Sunshine

I haven't written a Thankful Thursday in a long time. I don't know why - I just haven't. But there is so much in my life to be thankful for. I need to take this time to remind myself of all the blessings the Lord has showered on me.

Today I am thankful for sunshine. Seems silly, I know, but it is really important. And if you've ever survived a northern winter, you'll know how we rejoice over sunshine. The sky is perfectly blue today. Right now I don't even see a jet contrail marring it's unbroken surface. The light is reflecting off of the snow, so brightly you can't look at it for long without being temporarily blinded. February sun is much stronger than December sun. It really makes a difference in the temperature of your car and your home. The dog and the cat sleep in the weirdest places, just so they can be in that one little spot of sun on the floor. Sometimes I'll stand at the window for a while, not doing anything, soaking up as much vitamin D as I possibly can. And a February sun hints at the wonderful promise of coming spring.

God is good. God is gracious. God is faithful. He sends us the sun.

Now I'm going to move into that sliver of light slanting across the recliner.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jonalyn's PT appointment

I didn't do my Simple Woman's Daybook this week because Monday was a crazy day. Jonalyn had an appointment at a special therapy clinic about 40 minutes from our home to address the way her toes turn in. This is a problem we noticed more than a year ago, but our CP doctor assured us that a lot of kids intoe and they grow out of it. The trouble is that Jonalyn's intoeing has gotten worse to the point where she now trips over her own feet and falls frequently. One of these times she's really going to hurt herself. The therapist was great and recognized right away that Jonalyn couldn't do the tests designed for kids her age. She related well to Jonalyn on Jonalyn's cognitive level. She took quite a few measurements and found that Jonalyn's hip muscles are very weak. So, as soon as our insurance approves the visits, we will have therapy twice a week for a month to learn about the strapping and taping. The straps are long, stretch velcro strips that wrap around her legs. The therapist talked about taping her feet, though the doctor spoke about taping her butt cheeks together to turn those bones out. The therapist also mentioned that Jonalyn might need orthodics in her shoes. All of that to be determined.

I LOVED the clinic. It is devoted just to therapy and looks like they specialize in kids. There are a ton of therapy rooms. We were in the small gym, with lots of gait trainers and even a treadmill in front of a mirror. Jonalyn wanted to climb on that. They also have a big gym with steps and slides and a ball pit. The neatest thing, though, was the trampoline. Jonalyn and the therapist walked across the floor. I noticed the color changed from green to gray but didn't think anything of it until the therapist told Jonalyn to jump. It was a tramp. Right in the floor! I want one of those in our house!!

Our lives are about to get much busier, but Jonalyn needs to be able to walk without falling, so this is important. And if the strapping and taping don't work, she'll need some pretty major surgery and we'd like to avoid that if at all possible. Pray with us that she'll soon but walking better and safer.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Foto Friday - Jonalyn's scrapbook

Before we were able to get Jonalyn, we sent her a small scrapbook so she could get to know her new family and see where she would be living. We even sent her a picture of snow so she would know what that was all about. I'm glad we took pictures because she "loved" the book to death. One of my projects is to redo the book.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Weekend

Last Friday was my dad's 75th birthday and we planned a BIG surprise for him. On the morning of his birthday, my mom got him up, told him he was going somewhere and he needed to be ready to go with his coat and shoes on. Surprise! We were the ones who picked him up. Where were we going? We didn't tell him, but he got an idea when he saw we were headed toward Milwaukee. Yes! We took him to the public museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. He was so excited! And it was a great exhibit. In the first section, they gave a historical background to the scrolls, complete with a Roman's soldier's pay stub, perfume bottles like Mary Magdelene used to anoint Jesus, and a stone box holding the bones of the son of Simon of Cyrene. Gave me shivers. Another area went over how the scrolls were found and pieced together. In another section they had a replica of the only complete scroll they found - the book of Isaiah. They couldn't transport that scroll, but the replica is so good it's difficult to tell the difference from the real scroll. Then we got to see the real pieces of the scrolls. Very cool - Genesis, Deuteronomy, Song of Solomon, etc. My dad tried but couldn't read the ancient handwriting. Then there were some newer manuscripts, not part of the scrolls, and my dad could read those better. It is remarkable how God has preserved his word, in tact, down through the centuries. Not a word has been lost. What a great God we serve! Finally there was a room with all kinds of Bibles, including a page from the Guttenburg Bible, finishing up with a hand illuminated Bible a group in St. Paul is expecting to finish next year. It was stunning. We had a wonderful day. My dad said it was one of his best birthdays. He's had a few, so that was saying something. We were so pleased we were able to surprise him and give him a memorable birthday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 8, 2010

Outside my window...light snow falling. It had been the powdered sugar kind, but now it's big flakes. A big storm is expected tonight and tomorrow. 10-14". Let's hope so!

I am thinking...about how fast I have to type to get this done before I have to leave!

I am thankful for...a wonderful weekend. More about that in a later post.

From the learning rooms...Alyssa has an art class this morning. Not sure when we'll fit in some school. It looks like it's going to be one of those weeks.

From the kitchen...shrimp spaghetti. It's quick and easy, only a few ingredients, but really good.

I am creating...lots of scrapbook pages. Getting ready for an all-day crop party in March.

I am wearing...jeans, a white turtleneck, a purple sweater, my slippers, but no afghan today.

I am reading...Beneath a Harvest Sky by Tracie Peterson. I'm trying to learn how to savor books, a chapter a night. We'll see how long that will last!

I am hoping...that the roads stay clear today but that we can't go anywhere tomorrow.

I am praying...for all my dear friends and the various trials they have in their lives.

I am take Alyssa to art class in just a few minutes.

Around the house...quite messy because I wasn't home most of the weekend. If I don't go anywhere tomorrow, I'll have to tackle it.

I am hearing...the furnace, my computer humming.

One of my favorite things...a pretty snow. It looks so beautiful falling and so nice on the ground.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Jonalyn has an appointment at the CP clinic today for her turned-in feet, work, the Olympics start on Friday!!! (big party planned with Alyssa for the opening ceremonies.)

Here is picture thought I am sharing: The art museum in Milwaukee. We took this picture on our trip there on New Year's Eve. It's so beautiful. It's supposed to look like a sailing ship, perfect because it's right on the lake shore.

To see other daybooks go to the the Simple Woman. Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Foto Friday - Disn*y Cruise

Four years ago we took the trip of a lifetime. We were pampered from the moment we arrived at the airport until the moment we stepped off the plane at home. It was perfect. I loved every moment of it and the kids had a great time. We said it would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but I hope we can go again. Very soon!

Trunk B*y, St. J*hn's, U.S. Virgin Islands. We went snorkeling here for the first time and were hooked. Pure paradise.

Shopping on the French side of St. M*rtin. A wee bit windy, but wonderful.

Well, these pictures aren't in order, but here are the kids swimming in Trunk B*y. Who's missing? She was still in the Philippines.

The kids' first time in the ocean on the Dutch side of St. Maart*n. The water was wonderful!

We stood in line for an hour to see the princesses. Mulan was Alyssa's favorite. She said, "She looks just like me!"

Chilling out on board. We spent lots of time just relaxing. Doug has a towel over his legs so he doesn't get sunburned. What a problem to have!

Ally dressed up for dinner! And the food was really good, too. Our wait staff was so attentive to us and learned what we liked. They did a great job with my dairy-free diet, even making me a special dessert on the last night because there was nothing else I could have. I ordered everything ahead of time so they could make it special for me. What service!

A character breakfast was included with our cruise. It was a great way to see all the characters without having to stand in line!

On Disn*y's private island, Cast*way Cay. The day started out chilly and cloudy, but once the sun came out, it was gorgeous. I had a massage on the ocean in the morning. Heaven.

At Cast*way Cay with out ship in the background. The boys went snorkeling here (the water was too cold for the girls - I think the water in the B*hama's is colder), bicycling (poor Alyssa pedaled with all her might, but she was a trooper and made it!) and played in the water. We also had a BBQ on the beach for lunch. Calg*n, take me there!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Random Thoughts

My internet has been on and off lately, but it's on now, so I'll see if I can get this to post. So, bear with my ramblings.

Jonalyn had her IEP meeting last week. It went well and I think we're all on the same page, which is good. I hope she gets a good numbers of hours in with her special ed teacher. The aides she has do seem to be doing a good job with her. I like her therapists. Motivation is sometimes a problem with her, but for the most part she works hard and likes school, which is great. So she'll be in 1st grade next year. Most of her work will have to be modified since she is only operating at a 3 year old level. She'll have time with the special ed teacher, the OT and the speech therapist. We're waiting for our visit to the CP clinic next week to see if she'll need more PT. That's another post.

Now, switching gears completely - what were they thinking???!!! I'm talking about that group from the U.S. trying to get children out of Haiti illegally. It angers and saddens me no end. Haiti is closed to adoptions right now, with the exception of those who already had referrals. They are giving emergency refugee status to these kids now and getting them home. But everything else is closed. And I applaud the Haitian government for that. They need to be very, very careful about black market and under the table adoptions now. These idiots who tried an illegal method of getting the children out only hurt the chances for other orphans to get a good, loving home. If people continue to pull stunts like this, adoptions may be shut down for a long time. Maybe even permanently. Please, please, if you want to help Haiti's orphans, please, please do it legally. Don't jeopardize their chances at a having a family of their own.

Stepping down from my soap box now. That's my sermon for today ;) Told you these were random thoughts. But I'll stop here, let that sink in, and see if my internet is working enough for me to get this posted.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 1, 2010

Outside my window...cloudy, dreary, not terribly cold, not terribly warm. We're supposed to get a little bit of snow tonight. The swing set and the camper in the back yard look awfully lonely.

I am thinking...about how I'm going to get in some exercise this week. I might go for a swim this afternoon. I'll think about it.

I am thankful for...nothing eventful or monumental going on in my life right now.

From the learning's pitiful, but we haven't started school yet this morning. Things keep getting in the way. And it's going to be a busy week with school squeezed into the few free moments.

From the kitchen...homemade perrogi. I love them. My mother talks about the ones my grandmother made. These are on the lighter side. And I promise to only have a few.

I am creating...chapter 13 in my book. Well, it's already created, but it needs to be edited. And boy, does it need to be edited. I have to move scenes around and try to get them to fit into my time line.

I am wearing...jeans, a white turtleneck, a red hoodie, and yes, again, my blue slippers with an afghan around my shoulders.

I am reading..."Bad Heiress Day" by Allie Pleiter. It's one I've wanted to read for a while. O.K., so I know I don't have time to read anything, but I gave into temptation at the library on Saturday.

I am knee feels better so I can walk the dog. She's getting that restless, pent-up feeling everyone gets around here this time of year.

I am praying...for all of my children and for their spiritual conditions. More than anything else, I want them to love the Lord.

I am the grocery story while Alyssa is at piano lessons. They have some good specials this week that I want to take advantage of.

Around the house...still pretty clean from the weekend. I need to make my bed, but otherwise it's not too bad. If only it could stay that way!

I am hearing...the furnace running. Always a good thing!

One of my favorite things...a good book. If only I could spend my days doing nothing but reading. And if it could be reading on a beach somewhere tropical with a glass of iced tea in my hand, that would be ideal!

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have a busy week in work getting out the annual report for church. Alyssa has her yearly check-up at the doctor on Thursday. Thursday night Doug & I are going out to dinner with friends of his from work and then to see a comedian. Friday is my dad's 75th birthday and we are taking him to Milwaukee to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the public museum. I can't wait. Shhh, it's a secret. Busy, busy week but hopefully a fun one, too.

Here is picture thought I am sharing: My birthday a couple of weeks ago. This is my parent's house. And don't we all look thrilled!!

To see other daybooks go to the the Simple Woman. Enjoy!