Monday, February 24, 2014

Ear Piercing!

I am taking a breather after a hectic week last week. We had a birthday, two orthodontist appointments (which took forever), and two kids had physicals on Friday. 

Selah insisted I take a photo of my flowers from Jeremy. They are beautiful!
In one year Micah grew 4 1/2 inches and gained 10 pounds! He is thirteen and a whopping 5' 6" tall. He is on target to be right around six feet tall. That is quite tall for our family! He just began his third phase of orthodontic treatment. He has had a palate expander and a set of traditional braces. This past week he began the final phase.

Ben also had his physical on Friday. He also grew beautifully! His growth hormone injections are working so well. He grew 4 inches since last year. We left the appointment only to get a phone call later. They are concerned about Ben's heart. He has a very unique murmur. We were made aware of this when Ben was a few months old. We are scheduled for an echocardiogram this week. I fully expect the results to be fine but they are not comfortable with not investigating further.

Mariah should have had speech this past Friday however, our speech therapist called and cancelled. It was a very difficult situation. The principal of our middle school passed away last weekend. The funeral for him was on Friday and our speech therapist was filling in for teachers who were attending his funeral. He was only 48 years old. My prayers go out to his wife and children. 

Our weeks here have fallen into a nice routine. I think we have figured out somewhat of a schedule for all six kiddos. As long as I can keep Mariah out of the glitter in our school room, we can manage.

Selah has begun school. I would love to tell you how thrilled she is but I'm not sure exactly how she feels. She breezes through math but is not thrilled to be learning botany or early American History. She is working with negative numbers right now in Pre-Algebra. I imagine she will breeze through the first several lessons easily.

I snapped a photo of the girls in their matching jammies. Sorry for the poor quality but I do not believe they would have volunteered on their own.
The night of the 12th we realized that Selah wanted something. She was hanging around when the other kids went to bed. But she just kept saying, "No! Nothing!" We just sent her to bed. The next night she was doing the same but finally came to me and gave me my goodnight hug and gave an extra squeeze. Then this was our chat.

Selah: "Goodnight, Mom."

Secretly I wanted to jump and scream but I did not. I smiled and made a big deal about it as she walked out of the room. I was on cloud nine!

I could not wait to tell Jeremy. Then I saw him come into the living room and he was smiling. I knew she also had done the same with him. But.....she called me "mom" before she called Jeremy "dad". This was very intentional on her part. She knew it made us so happy! She still mostly doesn't call us anything but she often refers to us as "mom" and "dad". I'll take it!

The next night the following was our conversation:

Selah: "Will you listen to me?" 

Me: "Well, of course I will! What is it honey?"

Selah: "I just needed to thank you for teaching me my math. I really need to thank you for things you do for me."

Me: "Selah, I love teaching you! You are such a smart girl and you make it easy. I love you."

Selah: "Okay! I go now!" 

Off she went to bed! I realized again that we have lived such a pampered life in comparison. I did have tears in my eyes as I realized the significance of what just happened. I keep telling Jeremy that it is all about the perspective.

Then on Saturday morning I stayed in bed just a little later than the rest of the family. I had a terribly sore muscle in my back. Specifically, the muscle that runs from my shoulder down around my right shoulder blade. Ugh! It was so sore. I texted Jeremy a simple, "I love you!" He replied the same.

Then I got a text from his iPad that sounded a little strange for Jeremy. I immediately recognized it was Selah.  Highlighted is Selah's text. Mine is the other.




I love you too!

Thank you for your love

You and dad

Thank very much

I cannot begin to tell you how much this means and how huge this is! We definitely did not expect this from her. 

She has such a great disposition! She knows that this coming week is my mom's birthday and she felt that we needed to make a trip to Pittsburgh to visit mom for her birthday.

We had taken her the evening before to get her ears pierced.
And go!
She seems to really like having them pierced. She chose a pair of star-shaped earrings. They sale was for 2 pair. The second pair she really wanted was a pair that was a cross. Obviously she understands what is important to us. Now she can admire her very own earrings!


This past weekend we had some great friends make jambalaya! They are originally from Louisana and make the best jambalaya. They knew that Selah likes spicy food. Oh this was yummy! Robert and Billie......Thank you!
We are blessed beyond what we could ever imagine!

She shared with us tonight that her last orphanage in China was home to 801 orphans. If we were independently wealthy........

Please pray for the Lord to reveal His will and for more people to step forward and commit to adopt. We cannot begin to express how blessed we are to be chosen twice now to go down this path.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Monday officially marked the day that we now have three teenagers in the house.  Micah has reached that special day. He is so proud that he is almost as tall as Daddy! He sure is tall. Keep in mind this is coming from a 5' 2" tall mom. I am a little amazed at the difference in just one year. Check out last year's birthday picture below!
As is our tradition (credit given to my sister for the idea), Jeremy took Micah to his birthday breakfast while I took Mariah to the hospital for her routine labs. 

I left the house before 7am. I guess I do not understand why there was only one person to register everyone. I withheld Mariah's morning meds in order to get an accurate result. I almost had to leave before her labs were drawn. We had about 12 minutes left before I would have no choice but give her the meds. We waited for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Mariah never even cried. they drew four tubes of blood. They missed her vein and had to move the needle around and she was a trooper. She never cried and I only heard an ever so slight whimper.

We have spent a lot of time playing in the snow this winter. Well, not me but the kids. Mariah gets so excited at the prospect of going out.I love this photo that Jeremy shot of her. I wish I knew what she was thinking. So sweet!
More fun in the snow with a couple of new sleds.
Micah enjoys being outside as well. He would probably shovel driveways all day long. He truly loves to shovel.
Our sweet boy! My special name for him is Mikey. We all used to call him that but a few years ago he told everyone that I was the only one allowed to use that name. I love it!

Why can we not just press the slow motion button and live life that way sometimes? We are on our knees for our boys as they approach these difficult years. We pray that we seek God's face every single day and pray for wisdom.  We want to always be the parents that love unconditionally but with wisdom. We want to raise boys of courage with a God-fearing love for Him. When I jokingly told him he had to move next door when he gets married he smiled and said, "I don't know mom. I'll move wherever God wants me to go." Ahhhhh.....that is exactly what I pray for!

Micah has such a sweet heart. He loves to please. Micah certainly has a special place in his heart for Mommy and I am not ashamed to admit that. He is quick to give me a hug, or several, every single day. He loves that he is so much taller than me. He is a fierce competitor and hates to lose....ever!

While opening his gifts he had a little "helper".
We always take a photo of all of the kids together. You'll notice that our youngest was missing for this photo. She was having a tough time.
I love being mom to all of these kids and the one missing in this photo! 

We pretty much constitute a party with just our family alone. I told Jeremy that shopping at the grocery store is funny now. We buy the largest size of everything! It is good to know that Doritos come in a party size bag now! I am that lady at the grocery store that no one wants to stand behind in the check out. My cart is always overflowing and each week I find it a challenge to try and fit everything back into the same cart. Usually I amaze myself and make it work! I can pack a mean grocery cart and car trunk!

Micah was thrilled to get a new pair of snow bibs and two new pair of jeans since he will not stop growing! He got a Lego set and wallet as well.

I love sharing these special days with the kids. Each of the kids choose their birthday dinner. Micah chose my baked chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and rolls. Selah and Rebecca baked his cake. Selah and I made the frosting and iced it. It was a pretty great day together celebrating Micah's 13 years!

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.  
Psalms 127:3

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Joy Unspeakable!

It has been a couple of weeks since I blogged and I have desperately wanted to make the time but I simply have not.

We have had such a beautiful snowy winter. On Monday, February 3rd, we woke up to a very unexpected 9 inches of snow! It was beautiful but that makes our WV roads very dangerous. Jeremy braved the weather and went in to work. The kids earned a snow day and spent hours outside playing. Ben would live out there if we allowed.
He then was so happy to finally be Mariah's "favorite". She desperately wanted to go out and play. Ben was her ticket!
After all, he is so much fun!
Micah was playing then decided a few neighbors needed shoveled out.
And or course.....Kyle wanted to help as well.
We convinced Selah to go ahead out. We have to remind her that she will stay warm in her snow gear.
Becca also loves to be outside. And it suits her well.
Our past two weeks have consisted of more tests and labs for our Selah. I took her down to the hospital for her labs. She needed and EKG, several x-rays, and blood work. 

We started with the blood work.......and it stopped there. On the 15th tube of blood poor Selah passed out. She was out for quite some time. They actually asked me to call my husband in to help with her. Twenty-five minutes later she was awake and we headed out the door with only her blood work completed. Every ounce of color drained from her sweet face. She came home and slept for a good part of the day. We did return the next morning for the remaining tests.

As school began for the week I noticed Selah seemed bored. This is quite common for kids from orphanages. They are not used to "free-time". These kiddos enjoy a very busy schedule. I decided that we needed to have some schooling for her. It is pretty safe to say that she will do just fine. She is excellent in math. I did notice that the only things I have found so far that she is confused with is writing of a quotient as a remainder. She uses decimals. The other confusion is with some of the Roman Numerals. Other than that her addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are stellar!

She participates in Science as we are learning about Botany. We plan to dissect a flower this week after learning about germination, angiosperms, and gymnosperms. I love how she picks up on so much. We are not fooled! 

I went grocery shopping last Friday and Selah wanted to come. I think she does not like me going places alone. On the way there she began talking. She asked me if I remembered our conversation from the evening before. Of course I did! She said to me, "You remember last night? How we talked?" I said I did. She then said,"What can I call you?" 

Oh my! She is really trying to see what feels right. She still does not address us as anything. But I do believe it is coming soon! There is so much confusion in her little heart. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for her to call me "Mom" or "Momma". Rebecca also tries to get her to call me that. In fact, I guess Selah has called me that when speaking to Rebecca about me on three occasions. It has never been loud enough for me to even hear. But it is coming!

Our trip home from church this past Sunday also proved interesting. Once again we got unexpected snow. The roads were beyond horrible.
We made it home safely even though the road were not touched in many places. As I posted on Facebook this past week I am so thankful that my dad taught me to drive on bad roads. He took me out countless times and taught me when to put the car in neutral, D2, or to pump the brakes on vehicles without anti-lock brakes. He actually taught me to drive on my mom's Oldsmobile Omega, which was a stick shift. I drove that car for several years!

I have noticed something happening in our home. I believe that Jeremy does not like this at all. Take a look for yourselves!
This actually happened a few months ago. I don't believe Micah is far behind.
This, however, may take some time!
Life in our house is quite interesting. There is a very heavy male influence. Our poor Frozen Infinity figures are being attacked by some dinosaurs.
Selah seems to really enjoy cooking. She loves to watch Food Network. So I have decided to work with her in the kitchen. I love that she is like a sponge. Tonight I was reminded what her life has been like. As she was mixing the ingredients for our salmon rub, she asked me who taught me to cook. I felt sad yet honored that God chose me to be her mom. I get to teach her to cook and clean among many other things. She loves to help set the table. Tonight I watched her teach Mariah where the silverware goes and how to fold the napkins. It is humbling for sure.

She and Rebecca wanted to help bake some chocolate chip cookies. Again, this was the first time that Selah ever baked anything in the kitchen.
The cookies were yummy!

We have such an amazing new daughter. She seems to be loving life. She is opening up with us and sharing a little about her life. One interesting tidbit we learned is that her middle school in China was school to 3,000 students! She was in boarding school there and had 6 roommates. It seems that these girls liked to stay up past "lights out" and use a flashlight to complete their Chinese homework. She giggles about it.

She did her own laundry. She is quite amazed that I fold all the laundry here. The kids sort and wash and dry laundry but I fold. She has asked many times why they don't take care of their own. She has grown up too fast.

Selah also does not understand why American women take their husband's last name as their own. In China the woman keeps her last name and the couple's children take the father's last name.

We have also learned that many words are difficult for her to differentiate. For instance shirt, short and shot all sound the same to her. Also, kids sounds like cats. And boss sounds like box. We laugh a lot! 

She is an amazing speller. When in trouble, we spell things out in English. Just today we were talking about the stars in the night sky. I had to spell it because she was unsure what I meant.

Mariah was promoted to her own bedroom this weekend. She now sleeps in a big bed. She had absolutely no trouble! I was a little hurt that she was so great about it. However, it really speaks volumes how far she has come. 

Here is just one more example of the heavy male influence in our home.
This photo was taken today. Mariah insisted on wearing that helmet outside over her tossle hat (notice my Pittsburgh influence in that word) in the snow!

I am amazed that God chose for us to parent each of our kids. Selah has brought a perspective to our home that was foreign to us. We are watching God work in Selah's heart.

Just last week we were studying about seeds in Science. Selah later asked me how a seed got everything it needed already inside. I simply told her that is how God created it. She looked at me strangely and asked again. I explained yet again how God created plants and seeds. She just took it all in. Honestly I think she was a bit annoyed with my answer.

Our sweet newest daughter truly is perfect for our family. She and Rebecca are best friends. It is so sweet to watch them together. We look at our life and are amazed to see how our obedience to God's direction has brought us such joy. It is pure joy! Joy unspeakable!!!!