Saturday, April 27, 2013

Must Read For Adoptive Parents!

Realistic Expectations The First Year Home is an amazing compilation of helpful articles for adoptive parents and it is FREE from EMK Press.

Did you hear that?  FREE!!!

And free is a very good price!

It includes one of my all-time favorite advice from Deborah Gray, Top Ten Tips for Successful First Year Parenting, plus over 20 other articles on attachment, dealing with anger and power struggles, overcoming sleep issues, and help for parent burn-out.

Did I mention it's FREE!!!

It is great reading for beyond the first year too.  I loved 10 Keys to Healing Trauma in the Adopted Child, by Bryan Post, and I've been practicing it with great results. 

Affection Prescription 10-20-10

"Give a child 10 minutes of quality time and attention first thing in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening.  Following this prescription of time has proven to have a great impact on the most negative  behavior." 

Just click on the link above, scroll down, and download the pdf.

This should be required reading for all adoptive parents.  Yes, it's that good.  And FREE! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Poetry Night

Mei Mei recently celebrated her school poetry night. 

I often feel teary eyed at children's events and this was no exception.  I cannot believe how far this little girl has come in just one year!

Last year at this time I couldn't even imagine her in a classroom, let alone standing up in front of an audience reciting a poem from memory!  Amazing! 

The Little Turtle
By Vachel Lindsay
There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.
He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Do You Feed All Those Kids? Classic Chicken Pot Pie

Hubby's been out of town, so that calls for easy-meals (including make-your-own-bowl-of-cereal-for dinner), lots of Disney movies, and plenty of bed-partners, both on the bed and on the floor.

It also calls for chicken pot pie since it's a family favorite (minus the big daddy-o!).   

This recipe is a drop-dead-gorgeous-palate-lovers-delight, from my sister Amber.  It makes one pie, so double for two.  It calls for store-bought pie crust (hello easy!), but if you feel like torturing yourself make homemade crust, which is especially yummy!

Classic Chicken Pot Pie

1 (15oz) package Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
1/3 C. butter
1/3 C. four
1/3 C. onion (I use onion powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
2/3 C. milk
2-3 C. cooked chicken
2 1/2 C. frozen mixed vegetables

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare pie crust and place in pie pan.  In medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion, cook 2 minutes or until tender.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended, stirring constantly.  Gradually stir in broth and milk, cook, stirring constantly until bubbly and thickened.  Add chicken and vegetables, mix well.  Spoon into crust, place second crust on top, flute edges together, cut slits in several places on top crust.  Bake 425 for 28-38 minutes, until crust is golden.  Eat and enjoy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Patrick's Weather Forecast

Someday, I will have to make a book of Patrick's quotable quotes.  Maybe I'll title it, Patrick's Quotable Quotes.  That's catchy, huh?  And creative? 

A couple days ago I went to class and there was beautiful sun.  SUN!  I had on a short-sleeve shirt and sandals.  It was LOVELY!  We soak up the sun in this part of the world like a Chinese noodle soaks up soy sauce!

Did you like that little analogy?  I made that up all my myself.  Can you tell?
Compare and contrast
PNW woman : sun   as   Chinese noodle : soy sauce

But I digress.

As I came out of the social work building it was pouring rain and COLD.  Ugh!  I had no jacket!  And of course I didn't have an umbrella because nobody in the Pacific Northwest uses them--go figure!  So, I did the mom-jog to my car (parked on the other side of campus because it's cheaper!), while simultaneously trying to balance my backpack over my head.  It wasn't pretty. 

Patrick's latest quotable quote rang out loud and clear through my mind:

"There's no such thing as bad weather. There's just such thing as being inappropriately dressed."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Warning: The Following Post Contains Graphic Images

Kim went to her post-op today.  She is still struggling with headaches, but the doctor said it's normal and we have to remember she is only two weeks post surgery. 

I am so, so thankful to be on this side of the operating room and to hear her laugh and see her smile! 

I had promised some war wounds for those perverts out there who love blood and gore.

You know who you are.

If you do not love blood and gore you might just want to leave this blog while you still can. 

Go ahead.  I don't blame you.

And for you other weirdos . . .

Tell me, do you think this nurse might need some additional training in placing an IV?

Ouch!  That is FIVE pokes later peoples!  Luckily, she was already under anesthesia. 

On a cool note tho, when she went to the emergency room they had this quick-burst-shot-thing that instantly numbed the skin.  Or at least it was supposed to.  Kim wasn't so sure.

Anyhoo.  On to what you all really want to see.

The war wound.

Yup.  I warned you.  It isn't pretty, but she will have a great scar to brag about if she decides to put her hair up in pony tails.

We will now move on to posts beyond hospitals, surgical suites, and the ER! 

Updates on the other kiddos and a new life quote by Patrick, along with crazy thoughts and blurry thinking and random pictures.  Like this.  I do not even know what this is supposed to be, but apparently it was picture-worthy since it ended up on my phone. 

Any guesses?  I know, I know.  It looks like a penis to me to! 

What?  You weren't thinking that?  I guess that's just one more example of my perverted mind . . . doesn't it make you wonder how I have any friends at all?  I'm glad you are all my friends.  Even if you only exist in the blog-o-sphere!

I love you all!  Thanks again for the love, support and prayers these past few weeks!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Part 2 : Please God!

Kim is slowly improving, but also suffering some challenging headaches.  Hoping those go away soon. 

Back to when she had to go to the ER:

As we drove back to the hospital I was SO mad!  Mad because I didn't think she was ready to be released from the hospital in the first place.  Mad because she had to keep suffering.  I didn't understand why this had to be so hard?  Even as we drove, Kim asked me why this was happening? I couldn't give her an answer.  After a long pause, I simply said we just had to trust that there was a reason.

I was worried that once we got to the ER they would keep Kim in the waiting room for a long time.  I haven't had to take my kids to the ER very often, but it always includes a wait.  I pulled into the ER no-parking-drop-off zone, grabbed a wheelchair and took her to the front counter, explaining the situation. I planned on moving my car out of the no-parking zone as soon as she was settled in the waiting room--which was FULL of people.

Instead of waiting, we were immediately taken back to a room.  A nurse came in and started taking vitals, hooking her up to monitors.  Another nurse walked in and the first nurse looked over, giving her a long stare--the kind that makes the observer know something is wrong.  The first nurse casually asked if I knew what Kim's resting heart rate normally was?  Yes, I did, because I had just spent three days in the hospital seeing "90" on the monitor. 

I looked at the current monitor.  50.  Dipping into the 40s.

At this point, things moved quickly!  Doctors came in.  An IV attempted.  Questions asked.  An MRI release quickly filled out.  Medications looked at. 

I didn't ask questions.  I just kept moving out of the way as more people came in.  They simply explained they needed to make sure everything was okay at the surgical site.  They were calm--yet not.  One asked me if her face always drooped a little on one side?  HUH?  I didn't see a droop!  It was SCARY!  Within five minutes we were heading to the back elevators to get an MRI.  Previously, I had been allowed to be with Kim for her MRIs, but not this time.  I gave her a kiss and watched the giant white door slowly click shut.

At this point I was terrified!  I called Hubby and told him the situation.  Lizzy had just come home so he was able to leave right away.  I paced.  And paced.  I prayed. I worried about stupid things like my car being towed, because I hadn't yet had the chance to move it.  I paced.  I checked my watch.  I prayed. 

The medical team said it would be a quick MRI.  Five minutes.  I paced.  Prayed a simple please God, please. Checked my watch.  Ten.  Fifteen.  Twenty.

Please God.  Let her be okay.  Please God.  Please.  I can't take losing another child.  I know I haven't been the best mother.  I know I don't take my kids to church every Sunday.  I know I don't listen to you. I fail.  I don't pray enough.  I don't read my Bible enough.  I get frustrated with your plan and want to live by my own plan. 

Twenty-five.  Thirty.  Thirty-five. Pacing, pacing, in a long hallow hospital corridor. 

Please God.  I beg you.  Let her be okay. 

Forty.  Forty-five.

I'll do anything.

And my next thought was Really?  ANYTHING?  Am I really open to accepting God's will, whatever it might be?  Am I?  Even if it means losing another child?   

And I couldn't answer myself, but strangely, I did feel peace.  Whatever happened, I knew God would be with me.  I knew I wouldn't be alone.  And I knew I wasn't in control.  At all. 

The white doors mechanically moved back open.  Nurses pushing forward the rolling stretcher. Kim still yellow-pale.  No explanation of the delay.  No results.  Silence as the wheels jammed on turns and bedrails clanged against elevator doors. 

Back to the ER where an IV was successful inserted, just as Hubby arrived.  Hugs of relief.  Looks of fear.  Bags of clear fluid flowing into thirsty veins. Please God.  Please.  The neurosurgeon arriving at 2am with a smile, saying the MRI looked good!  

Thank you God!  Thank-you-a-million-times-thank-you! 

Sitting in the dark.  One parent on each side.  Beeping monitors with numbers finally rising.  Never a complete understanding of what had happened.  Simply thankful.

Thank you God!  A million times THANK YOU!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mom-dar OR Why My Sister Is Smarter Than A Neurosurgeon

Kim is now home and SO much better.  For the first time since coming out of surgery she isn't nauseous.  Praise God!

Mother's Day 2012 

Last night was one of those scary, slow-motion, downward-spiral-real-life memories. 

Honestly, Kim was starting to go downhill Wednesday. She began vomiting again before they released her from the hospital, but it was subtle and I knew the second day after surgery is usually the worst!  We hoped that once we got home she would go into full recovery mode.  But my Mom-dar antennae went up. 

Instead, she slowly but surely got worse.  More nausea.  More vomiting.  Less interaction.  I called the doctor's office Thursday morning and was told all this was common.  All the usually advice on how to handle vomiting.  No worries.

But my Mom-dar was really going off.  Something did worry me.  And as I type this I am reminded that calls to the nurse don't often bring me needed results.  I think my laid-back nature works against me and by the time I call with a concern, I really should be making an appointment. 

The younger kids had an evening school event they were excited to attend.  I have been trying to keep their lives as normal as possible through all the recent stress, so I took them while Hubby stayed home with Kim. 

When I returned I could tell Kim wasn't doing well.  She was vomiting up everything, even small amounts of water.  She couldn't keep her medications down.  She was becoming more despondent, not even texting!  I knew then things were not good.  But she really didn't want to go to the hospital.  Nurses always have a really hard time finding a vein for her IV, so it just adds to her anxiety.  In my heart I knew she needed to go. 

I called the after-hours neurosurgeon.  She was hesitant to tell us to go to the ER.  She tried to reassure me that vomiting is common after neurosurgery.  And honestly, while Kim had some signs of dehydration, she didn't have many.  I questioned my Mom-dar. 

What popped into my mind was the good dehydration advice my sister Amber once gave me.

If a child can't get up and walk across the room you've got a problem. 

Houston.  We had a problem.  Kim was woozy, weak, and vomiting ever more frequently.  By that point, even Kim was ready to go to the hospital.  We gathered up our still unpacked hospital bags and helped her out to the car.

Stay-tuned for Part 2: Making Deals With God

Not on the Discharge Plan

Poor Kim is back in the hospital!  She came home Wednesday night but kept having problems with nausea and vomiting and became dehydrated.  After IV fluids she is doing much better--just staying in the hospital to make sure things are going in the right direction.

Please keep praying for our sweet Kim!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Kim continues to improve bit by bit.  She isn't eating or drinking much, and is still struggling with nausea, but she did sit up in a chair! We are thankful to God that our little girl is recovering!

Balloons and candy from special school staff
As a funny, two people have already told us that when Kim comes home we need to protect her head from "sibling interactions" and buy her a helmet!

I was thinking a helmet and then yellow police tape wrapped in a wide berth around the couch!

In other news, I realize my life is truly pathetic.

Why?  Because I am enjoying sitting in the hospital.  Sitting.  And reading.  And blogging.  And reading.  And sitting. (Kim sleeps A LOT due to medication--which just leads me to read, blog and sit more.)

And did I mention there is a Starbucks in the lobby? 

Yep, pathetic.  But ready to get back home to all the chaos--and ready for Kim to get on the fast-track to recovery.  Thank you again for all your prayers!  Please keep praying for her nausea to completely subside and for healing. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 2

Small steps to improvement--two IVs and catheter out--still struggling with nausea.

No pictures of the battle wound yet--her neck is still too stiff to sit up.  Moving out of ICU this afternoon.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Is God A Parking Lot Attendant?

I'm sitting at Children's Hospital late at night.  Despite the beepings and busyness it is quiet.  I see so many sick children here--with injuries and cancer, broken bodies and broken spirits.  The very core of my soul cries WHY?

Kim is doing okay.  She's still struggling with nausea, but sleeping lots.  One time she woke up confused, mumbling, "Why does my head hurt?"

I will make sure I tease her about that when she is fully alert.

As I sit here I am reminded of the day I couldn't find a parking spot.  What better time to share the story?

Is God A Parking Lot Attendant?

I had come up to visit my dad.  He was at the Veteran's Hospital, which is connected to the Children's Hospital via two long skybridges.  I can see the other hospital out my window right now.

I came up on my lunch break, so I didn't have a lot of time.  I searched and searched for a parking spot at the Veteran's hospital, becoming more and more frustrated!  Nothing!  Round and round the parking garage I drove.  Mumbling under my breath, nervously checking my watch, and realizing I would have an ever shorter visit with my dad! 

In irritation I ranted, "Really God?  Can't You at least help me with a parking spot?"

In exasperation I finally drove clear around to the Children's Hospital and parked.  It meant would have to make my way through Children's and go across the two skybridges to get over to see dad!

I continued my apparent one-way conversation with God, when suddenly I was hit with an answer. 

Maybe God has a reason for me to be at Children's? Maybe He has something He wants me to do?  Someone He wants me to meet?

I was on the lookout the entire walk over to the Veteran's Hospital.  I didn't see anyone I knew or anyone who seemed to need my help.  Nobody needed CPR or even so much as a band-aid.  A mystery.  I enjoyed a short, but sweet, visit with my dad then headed back the way I came. 

As I stepped onto the first skybridge a thought occurred to me.  Maybe God just needs me to smile at people along the way.  Maybe God just needs me to encourage someone.

All along the corridors, hallways, elevators and bridges I smiled at everyone. I made eye contact with the mother holding her crying baby and gave her a knowing nod.  I told the little girl in the elevator that I liked her sparkly Hello Kitty Purse--she grinned.  I said a prayer for the bald mom in the wheelchair surrounded by a husband and six young sons in cowboy hats (I pray for her still).  

I'll never know for sure if God really planned this lesson in disguise.  But I'm glad I learned it.  I'm striving to ask "Why?" less, and to say, "Here I am," more. 

I'm a slow learner, but I have a very patient teacher. 

Out of Surgery

Out of surgery.  Doctor said it went fantastic.  Praise God!  She's in recovery--unfortunately having problems with nausea, but doing well.  Thank you for all the prayers--please keep them coming and pray her nausea will subside.  She is going in for a CT scan now and then will go to ICU for the night.  We so, SO appreciate all your prayers. 


I woke up early this morning to these profound words,

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."

Trust.  I realize more and more how hard that is. 

Kim is now in surgery.  As we waited in pre-op she was calm.  Yet nervous.  We shared lots of laughter--including looking through photos on my phone.

Good times people.  Good times.  Ready for more good times.

Waiting . . . Praying . . . Waiting . . . Praying.