Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last Birthday Until Summer!

Well it finally happened. Micah is taller than me. He achieved this feat about a year ahead of Kyle. He is so proud that he is taller than me! He also now has bigger feet than Jeremy! Sunday, February 17th was Micah's twelfth birthday. Sunday birthdays are difficult. It is so hard to make it special since Jeremy leaves the house by 6am and usually doesn't get home until 1pm. Of course, we all leave again for evening church around 5pm. 
He was just a little excited to begin opening his gifts!
This was an XBox game that Grandma and Pap Kaminski got for him!
Because Micah is such an easy-going kiddo.......his cake of choice is always the same. He loves a round yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing. I can do that!! Happy birthday sweet boy! Monday was Micah's birthday supper. All of my kids get to choose the meal they wish for Mamma to make. Micah chose my fried chicken and all the fixings. I love you and I'm proud of the young man you are growing to be. Follow in your dad's footsteps and let the Lord guide your way.

I have not posted for a week because things got a little too busy here. Jeremy and I have spent may hours researching new health insurance. Oh my! It would be safe to say information overload! I honestly sort of abandoned that decision and Jeremy dealt with it. This has been quite the experience. We are thankful for a man from our church, David, who found us better private health insurance. This company will not refuse to cover me due to my chronic sinus problems. Although it is major medical coverage, it is better than nothing at all.

We also had to find new home owners insurance. Our home owners insurance decided that the one claim paid out over a year ago was just too much. We had lightening strike our air conditioner. It had to be replaced. Now they are denying continuance of coverage. Once again David came to our rescue. He recommended a broker who was able to get us the best quote for home owners and automobile insurance. Kind of stinks since we never filed a single claim to our previous insurance in seventeen years. But that didn't matter. Now we are paying higher rates on both. Just doesn't seem like there is any protection for the consumer.

On a lighter note, here are a few more pictures of life in our house recently. 

Here is the tiniest Asgardian! (Believe it or not I knew how to spell that!)
I have  realized with three older brothers and an older sister heavily influenced by those very same brothers and father....I have given up. I will not have any girly girls in this house.
I also do not believe I will ever have a clean house ever again. 
These types of antics are pretty normal at our house. Micah was teaching Mariah the proper technique for push-ups. Notice the lack of cleanliness!
Then God gives me this bit of peace.....pure white snow! How beautiful! I love snow. I am a true northerner at heart.

I cannot resist but to show this cute picture of the birthday boy and Mariah. I'm so blessed that our older four kids have accepted this sweet girl into our home with open arms. They love her deeply! You can see it in their faces. 
Once again, we head to Indianapolis this coming week. Mariah has another surgery on Thursday. This is out-patient surgery and should not last nearly as long as her previous surgery. We are hoping for some good news but we leave it all in God's hands.

I have a few sick kids here this week, well four to be exact. Our nebulizer is back out and being used by Micah and Ben. Ben is on additional medicines for his asthma and his pulmonologist has called with great concern. I think his concern was greater than mine. Ben was at his pediatrician's office this week and we are watching him closely.

Ben started physical therapy this week as well for neck pain and back pain that he has been experiencing for almost three years. His x-ray showed a slight curvature of his spine. We also have a neurosurgery appointment for him coming up. I just want him to be pain-free from normal activities.

Psalm 46:1-3  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.       Selah

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Life From My Toddler's Perspective

I had this picture posted on Facebook but wanted to include it here as well. Mariah had her very first sled ride this week. If you can see the grin on her face you know how much fun she had.

I wanted to go ahead and write a light-hearted post. I began to think of how unique life must be for a toddler. I realized if I don't write it down now I would surely forget! I wanted to share some of the spunk that Mariah has brought to our life.

Here are some examples of how Mariah sees life:

* It is perfectly acceptable to pick your nose then give the boogies to the closest person.

* If no one is near by, it is perfectly acceptable to eat your boogies....YUCK!!!

* Toilet paper is not meant to be left on the roll. Redecorating is a must.
* It does not matter that Mommy tells me every single night not to touch the medicine bottle, I still will try to grab it first.

* It is normal to lick the lotion that Mommy puts on me after my bath.

* There is nothing wrong with drinking the bath water.

* The red button on the remote control is meant to be pushed, all the time!

* The vacuum cleaner is a riding toy.

* Mommy's piano is a jungle gym.

* Every door in the house needs to be closed at all times.

* The toaster is my personal toy.

* It does not matter that my medicine is given three times a day, I still act as though it is a complete surprise every single time and try to reject the applesauce laced with my medicine.

* Sometimes for no reason at all, I will fight being strapped in my car seat.....just because I can. Interestingly, this only happens with Daddy.

* Mittens are not needed in the snow.
* Shoes and socks are are purely for "decorating" the floor of our van.

* It makes no sense that Mommy cannot fold clothes with me sitting on top of the clothes she is trying to fold.

* I do not have to allow Daddy to brush my teeth.....Mommy will!

* Today I will be afraid of Pete on Mickey Mouse Club, but tomorrow he is hilarious.

* Mommy's dishwasher door is meant to be a bench for me.

* There is no need to pick up any toys and put them away.

* Every picture frame in the house is meant to be placed on the floor and stepped on. Thus, breaking the glass.

* I will bow on request, but only for Daddy or the kids.

* Every computer screen is meant to be touched.

* There is nothing wrong with liking the idea of going somewhere yet being miserable on the way there and the entire time at the event.

* Occasionally, I will lock myself in the basement and Daddy won't be able to find the key. He will have to try and sweetly talk me into unlocking the door. Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

* I don't understand why Daddy constantly tells me that he "Never Loses" when I am being a bit stubborn. I didn't realize this was a contest. For the record, sometimes I do win.

* Even if I hate what you are doing to me, I will thank you when you are done! This includes all doctors and nurses.

* My Daddy speaks fake Mandarin to me and I pretend to understand.

* When I see pictures of myself in China, I refer to myself as Ping Ping. However, when I see pictures of myself since coming home I refer to myself as Yi yi ah (Mariah).

* Telling the water and Batman tub toys "night night", and every other inanimate object within site, is perfectly normal.

* Peas are the perfect size to fit up my nose.

Just thought you would enjoy the laughter that Mariah has brought into our lives. We love it!!! She is a blessing to us!

Jeremiah 1:17   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Birthday Celebration......Again!

December held three birthdays, Christmas, and our anniversary. Wow! Our poor bank account! Combine that with the expense of a recent international adoption, a surgery out of town and living in a hotel and hospital for a week, and finally two January birthdays.......we need a little break. We did not think too much about the planning of things. Now what if I shared with you that we still have a February birthday in two weeks from today? What in the world were we thinking?

That being said, we love our winter babies! Our sweet oldest son turned fourteen just three days after my birthday. He was the best birthday present that year! 

As you can see in the picture, Kyle is now several inches taller than me. He has really grown this past year. For any of you that know him, you can vouch for me when I say how sweet he is. Kyle has a heart of gold. He has such a compassionate heart. Let me share a few more pictures before I elaborate on my sweet Kyle.
Mariah pulled Kyle's gifts right up and propped her feet right up on the gifts! She really thought they were for her. Kyle did not want us to move her away.
Mariah evidently thought that if she offered Kyle some sweet kisses, it would all work out to her benefit.
And it worked! She got to open more gifts. My sweet Kyle allowed her to open his gifts. She did have to be reminded a few times that this was not her birthday and not her gifts. 
She just loves him! So I had to snap a picture. I have to say that Kyle really loves her too. 
I joked with Kyle and told him this is how it all started. Just the three of us! We didn't know much about raising a baby. I worked full-time and got home from work late. It was pretty normal for Kyle to stay up until I got home around 10pm. When I was called out on alarm calls, Jeremy, Kyle, and I would pile in the car at 3am and drive to Montgomery Wards for me to walk through the store with the Parkersburg police. Only to find that someone left a fan on and the fan triggered the alarm system. 

As I already said, Kyle is really a great kid. He is a great student, loves to read, loves to play his trumpet, loves everything Star Wars, loves Lord of the Rings, loves C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, loves to help, and loves video games. That would probably be his downfall. He LOVES video games. We really limit the time he is allowed though, and he is okay with that. 

Kyle stands at an easy five feet, six inches tall. That is a full four and a half inches taller than mom! He is as skinny as Jeremy was at that age. He is not a huge eater (we save that title for Micah). 

This past year was a year of a lot of changes for him. Kyle got a new little sister. Kyle now sports multi-color braces and glasses. We all notice how Kyle's voice cracks without warning. He is growing up too fast.

Why are we so blessed to be the parents to such a great kid? We really count it a privilege to raise a new generation of boys. What a responsibility we have been entrusted! We do not take this lightly. We work hard to teach our boys about the Lord, right from wrong, to treat all people with respect, to look into the eyes of those they speak with, to treat females with respect, that chivalry is not dead, that it is very important to work hard to earn a living, and that the career they pursue truly only matters to the Lord. Because if they are not doing what the Lord wants, they will not be truly happy. It is not an easy job but our boys have sweet spirits. 

Mariah is doing well. She still is recovering from her recent surgery. We are able to keep her pain mostly under control with Tylenol and Motrin. We have difficult times but we expect that considering her surgery.

One of the unknowns with her surgery has nothing to do with the surgery itself. Jeremy and I were very concerned how the surgery would take a toll on Mariah emotionally. I was torn over waiting or moving ahead. Emotionally, Mariah (as many orphans) has been fragile. Her transition to our family has been tough. The orphanage behaviors sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. 

She has come a very long way but with surgery often means....regression. I was not sure my heart was able to handle that rejection. I have poured my heart into her emotional well-being. She needed it. She still needs it. To regress would be devastating to me. There, I put it in words. I admit that my motives are purely selfish. I knew that this was the best thing for her, so we had to trust that the Lord would protect her little heart and hold it for us. I pleaded with God to just hold her little heart and comfort her in a way that I was not able. And guess what......He did!

We have both seen an even bigger difference in Mariah's disposition. I believe during those relentless visits from nurses, doctors, and hospital staff when I jumped to her bedside in a clumsy attempt to comfort her, she realized this crazy lady is not going anywhere......I was permanent. I have no way of knowing what is going through her head but she runs to me countless times to protect her from her siblings as they chase her. She searches for me constantly. She maybe even prefers me to do a few things for her. I get many, many hugs, kisses, and clear preferential treatment to many things. Sorry Jeremy but don't worry, she still loves you and often times prefers you. After all, you are a lot more fun than me. So, why did I worry? Because I am human and weak. She is doing great and we have seen very little regression.

One of my adoption friends also sent me a special package this week. There was no name on the card but Annette revealed the secret on my Facebook page. How sweet was that? She sent a package with chocolates and specialty tea with a brewer. Oh how I have enjoyed that already! Thank you Annette!!!
You may remember me requesting prayer for the Tucker family. Well, the Tuckers traveled to China in August with the intention of bringing home their son Ethan. He happened to live in Mariah's orphanage. We were able to sneak and get a few pictures of him during our visit in June. Unfortunately, Ethan got very sick and the Tuckers left China without their sweet boy. 

While it was heartbreaking for them, they pursued Ethan. He had heart surgery in China and was recovering when they received their referral for their next child (they had been waiting over 5 years for this referral). Tim and Kristen were blessed to travel to China to get both children. Ethan and Reese came home just a couple of weeks ago. Both of their children were from Mariah's province.

Kristen saw a comment I made that I wished I had picked up a tea pot from that province. Jiangsu is known for their clay teapots. Well, Kristen picked up a teapot for Mariah and sent it to us this past weekend. Thank you Kristen!
I have a "China" shelf in the hutch in my dining room. The doll behind the tea pot to the right is the Jiangsu doll. This was a doll that represents her province.
Here is another peak at the "China" shelf. The tea set is one that my mom got for me. She made the purchase at a store in Nanjing. I think she was watching and noticed that I was not buying anything. As usual, I was concerned about money. We still had another week to spend in China and I didn't want to spend the money. Sure enough, I never picked one up. Mom gave this to me a couple of months ago! 

Jeremy and I have the most giving, unselfish parents I know. They would all give us the shirts off their backs with out question. I pray that Jeremy and I can be such a blessing to our children. Thank you for the examples you have set before Jeremy and me, Mom and Dad Bash and Mom and Dad Kaminski!