Monday, March 30, 2009

It Was Bound to Happen...

sooner or later.


Cupcake cut her hair!


It's not terrible. We can disguise it. We will live with it.

But, she decided to give herself a trim... on the right side... about chin length.

Pictures maybe tomorrow...if I can make myself take them.

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And Another Thing...

Just when I thought I could get on with life....

The pity party continues.

Friday night, I had a massive gall bladder attack. I laid in bed and cried and prayed. I did not want to wake people up and go to the ER. It started at midnight. At 2:30, Daddy rolled over and I told him what was going on. My plan was to make it until 4:00, and then call the in-laws to come over and watch the kids. But I managed to find a position that I was able to get some relief lying flat on my back with my arms above my head. I was able to sleep on and off until about 8:00 am. Then we put the wheels in motion to go to the ER. By the time we got to the ER at 10:00 am, the pain had subsided but was still persistent.

They ran some tests and came back to tell me that my gall bladder was full of stones. It could come out now or later. Well, since I'm already laid up and not driving for the next couple of weeks, and because my gut hurt and I already had an IV, we opted for now.

They admitted me and scheduled the surgery for first thing Sunday morning. Surgery went fine. They did it laproscopically.

The recovery has been painful...more painful than I expected. Sunday was miserable. Monday was no fun. Today, I am beginning to feel human again, but still having a lot of pain.

I am so ready to feel good again. Normal sounds so nice.

Blessings to you,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If It's Not One Thing...

It's another.

Time for my little pity party...

It's been rough around here lately, and I would like to record most of what we've lived through, so someday we can read this and laugh. I don't like to focus on the negative, but it's been hard not to. I will try to intersperse the blessings amongst the trials...

In the past six weeks...

The truck was totaled.
Nobody was hurt.
We have insurance.
Daddy got a newer car - a 2003 Nissan Altima. I really like it. :-)

I broke my ankle.
It didn't have to be set.
The ER experience was less than 2 hours.
My kids have learned to help out around the house a lot more.
Our church is taking very good care of us. :-)
I have good arm strength now.

Daddy's back began to act up for the first time in his life. It has continued to ache the whole time my ankle has been broken - probably exacerbated by stress.

We discovered Cupcake has cochlear malformations on both ears and may lose her hearing at any time.
She's had good hearing in one ear for 5 years already and is acquiring English.
We have an awesome Children's Hospital.

We've had major driver's license trauma that I am not allowed to elaborate on.
One of my children is a good driver, despite what some authorities say.

Everyone in the family has had the flu (one or two at a time), which involved days of fevers, congestion, sore throats, and coughing.
We're all better now.

In one five day period, all four of my kids were in the pediatricians office.
Our pediatrician is wonderful. They know us at the office.

Sugar had an emergency appendectomy.
All went well and we caught it early enough that it had not burst.
They have private rooms now.
They have much better couches for the guests to sleep on.
Sugar recovered quickly with no complications.

I got a bladder infection and the antibiotics are not working. It hurts to hobble.
My armpits don't seem quite as sore (from the crutches) now that I have abdominal pain.

And...just today...the car battery died while we were out.
Some nice men gave us a jump start and taught TE how to do that.
We made it home alive.

And through this all, I have wonderful in-laws that have driven us everywhere, sat in emergency and waiting rooms, watched Cupcake, fed the kids, did the laundry and cleaning, and just generally encouraged us. I'm so glad we have such a good relationship. Everybody should have in-laws like me.

God has never left us. I don't know what His purposes are, but I know He is here and He cares.

So that's enough of a pity party. Now that I've written it down, I can get on with life. :-)

Blessings to you,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beyond Consequences Live

Last Saturday was March 7. Sugar was recovering from surgery. We had planned on attending the Beyond Consequences Live Conference. Actually, we had been excited for quite a while...see this post. Anyway, as Friday wore on and I became more and more sure Sugar was heading into surgery, I began to grieve that I was going to miss my conference. :-( Call me selfish...

Several people tried to convince me that they could take care of Sugar just as well as me, and that I should go. But I'm the mom. I can't leave my poor baby after her first surgery.

So I sent Daddy to the conference.

Halfway through the morning, my best friend came up to the hospital with her daughter - Sugar's best friend. Sugar was so happy to have her friend. She was very perky and comfortable. My friend asked again if she could stay at the hospital and let me go to the conference. By the way, the conference was located kitty-corner across the highway from the hospital - literally five minutes away.

I asked Sugar what she thought....

"See ya, Mom. I'll be fine."

So I went. :-D

I got there about 11:15 am, grabbed a chair at the back of the room and a box to put my leg on. Everyone was very gracious to me, quietly getting me settled. I didn't get to hear much before the lunch break, because the Doctor called during rounds and talked to me about discharging Sugar.

At the lunch break, we grabbed something to-go, and headed back to the hospital to sign the discharge papers. We got back to the conference at 2:00. From 2:00 to 4:00, I gave my total attention to learning how to parent a child with a trauma history.

The conference was outstanding. First, I've read the book, Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control by Heather T. Forbes. It has the potential to be life changing if I can consistently implement what she says.

But the conference was such an encouragement to me. First of all, it was encouraging just to be in the room with so many others who are making an effort to help their kids with previous trauma experience. Mrs, Forbes is an engaging speaker with a vast knowledge of the issues. She did role plays, which actually show you what it looks like to parent this way. We watched videos, and with great insight, she showed us how to "listen" to a kid's behavior. She reminded us to remind ourselves of those "magic moments" in parenting, when we fall in love with this dear child all over again.

So, what did I learn?

I've read lots of attachment books, some better than others. What most of those books focus on is "This child has got to learn...". Truly, an adopted kid has to learn a whole new system, a whole new way of thinking, a whole new life. The trouble is, when you have lived through trauma, you live in a state of stress. When we are stressed out, logic goes out the window. Learning can't take place in this "stressed out state". At the moment of deepest distress, they just need you to be calm, be present, and listen. The teachable moments come later, when the child can accept the instruction.

I learned to listen to my children's behavior. Each kid is unique and this is going to take some time to really, really get to know what each kid is saying with his/her behavior.

I learned to embrace the hard times. In the hard times, that's when healing takes place, if I engage my kids and show them I care. If I can meet them in their deepest needs, they will trust me with their lives.

I learned what faces not to make. :-)

I was reminded of the power of "I'm sorry." and "I forgive you."

And so much more...

I wished I could have been there for the whole thing. I bought the DVD so I can at least watch it at home. This year, the conference is free if you have a copy of the book. If you are dealing with attachment/behavior issues, I recommend you look into reading the book and going to Beyond Consequences Live. I recommend both, even if you are a regular parent that finds yourself rolling your eyes and thinking "Hear we go again..." with some particular behavior.

There was no overt religious reference, but if I could sum it up in one sentence, it is a lesson in...

How would Jesus treat this child?

Blessings to you,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Appendicitis - The Long Story

Thursday evening, Sugar began complaining of a tummy ache. Friday morning, she woke up crying, groaning, and moaning. She can really be a drama queen, playing up her inflictions in order to get sympathy, but she was quietly crying, and the groans were more like little grunts - like she was just concentrating on getting through the pain. I was beginning to worry.

Sorry if this is TMI (Too Much Information)...

Then she threw up...not a wretching barf, like the stomach flu. She opened her mouth and it just blurped up.


When TE was her age, he did the exact same thing...and it was appendicitis!

We got her in to the doctor as soon as I could arrange care for the other kids and transportation. (I can't drive, because of my broken ankle.) (Childcare was Grandpa. Transportation was Grandma.) The doctor took a look at her, asked some questions, poked her belly and sent us over to another hospital, where the pediatric surgeons are.

We went to the lab for bloodwork, to confirm the diagnosis. We ended up waiting in the lab for an hour and a half. Finally, the pediatrician calls me and asks where we are. The surgeon is waiting for us. I tell her we are still waiting to register in the lab. Two seconds later, the phone rings at the front desk, they call our name, give me a new number, and tell me we're next. They apparently missed the big X in the STAT box. OOPS!

The blood draw went well and we were off to see the surgeon. By this time, the crutches were getting old, so I grabbed a wheelchair, but we let Sugar use it since it was such a long walk to the other end of the complex. Up at his office, he examined her. The blood test results came back slightly elevated, so he still was not 100% sure it was appendicitis. So he ordered a CT Scan for her ... at the other end of the hospital ... so now we have 2 wheelchairs. Wait and wait some more. Sugar is in pain and thirsty and hungry and tired and sore.

For the CT Scan, they must give her an IV. I mention that I don't watch because I faint at the sight of needles and blood. I hold Sugar's hand and look the other way. The first nurse tries and fails. They call in the pediatric expert and the nurse to hold Mommy's hand. :-) It was ugly. Not that I watched or anything. They tried twice more. The "Mommy nurse" was like a linebacker between me and my baby. She was very nice and all, but she was not letting me over there. It's a good thing. Finally, on the third try, after big prayers, tears, and a "C'MON" from Sugar, the vein opened up and they got it right. PHEW!

The CT Scan went fine. The results were immediate - and they rushed her to surgery. Thirty minutes later, she was wheeled away (approximately 4:00 pm). All went well. The appendix had not ruptured.

She was very groggy and sleepy until 4:00 am on Saturday. Then she popped up and asked when she could go home.

"Not yet, Honey, not yet."

She was bored for the next several hours, until her best friend came (as well as mine.)

She timed her attack just right. Saturday is the day "Zane" the therapeutic dog visits the pediatric floor. What a treat that was!

They released her about 2:00 on Saturday. She is doing pretty well with the recovery. She's a little tougher than I thought she was. I am so proud of the way she handled the whole thing.

That's my girl!

Blessings to you,

Saturday, March 7, 2009


YEP! You read that right! Sugar had an emergency appendectomy yesterday. We're home. Sugar is okay. We're wiped out.

Long story...maybe I'll tell you tomorrow.

Blessings to you,

Monday, March 2, 2009


Yesterday, we stood before our church and promised that we would do everything we could to bring Cupcake up in the ways of our Lord. We asked our church family to help with the job. They prayed for us.

It was the formal ceremony announcing what has already been happening for the last 3 years.

We have been waiting a long time for this day. We wanted Cupcake to understand what we were doing. We didn't want her to be freaked out or confused. I'm so glad we waited.

We have been coaching Cupcake for a couple of weeks now....

"We're going to stand up in the front of the church so everyone can see you."

"Pastor Randy will say your whole name."

"We want to tell everyone that God gave you to us."

"We want the whole church to know that God loves you forever, and so do we."

"The church wants to teach you to love Jesus."

"They are going to pray for us."

"It's a special day."

It was a special day. We walked into the service and the first song was "Everlasting God". That song was the theme song for our adoption. It ministered to us so many times while we were waiting...especially when things were uncertain. The first words are "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord." Then, when Cupcake came home, that was her first lullaby. On her 3rd day home, she crawled into my arms to take a bottle. I started singing. By the time she had been home a week, she was singing, "wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord." It was a healing balm for both of us. I still use this song to calm her and me down when life is uncertain.

After the service, I asked our music leader if he picked that song just for us. (He's a good friend and knows how much it means to me.) He said, "No. I had no idea she was getting dedicated this week when I picked the music. It was just a God thing."

How cool is that?


About a month ago, on the very morning that I called my pastor to talk with him about the dedication, I received this email from our dear friends, J and L. Now, understand that J and L were in the process to adopt Cupcake in 2005. The adoption fell through and they lost all contact with Cupcake. Eventually, they found us online and we have established a wonderful friendship. They have prayed for us and blessed us in so many ways. (JG is the daughter they eventually adopted from Guatemala.)

Hi Julie,
The Lord has put you guys on my heart so many times, and especially lately. I hope this note finds you all healthy and happy.
The Lord brought you guys to mind last Sunday during our music worship. JG was resting on J's shoulder, something about the way she looked to me, reminded me of Cupcake when we took her to the church adjacent to the Marriott.
Did I tell you this story? It was such a blessing and comfort to me, I hope it would be to you too. Cupcake and J and I were walking around the courtyard on a Sunday morning missing our church, our children and our worship, when we were sure we heard worship music from nearby. We were compelled to find this church and take Cupcake. Initially, we were told the church was meeting in the hotel but in fact it was meeting beside. It was scary, (but very thrilling, knowing we were compelled by God!) at first, to pass the men with the machine guns, to get to the service,but the Godly people worshiping put us at ease quickly. We sat down in the back, and just soaked in the sights and sounds and Spirit of worship. (I get the chills just thinking of it!!!) With in minutes, Cupcake was asleep on J's shoulder, so peaceful. Sometime into the service, the Elders and their wives went to the front and everyone began praying. We just prayed in our hearts and soaked in the other's prayers, not really knowing their words. As we were bowed, praying, an Elder and his wife came up to us and put their hands on us and began praying and praying, for some time. They were praying for the "nina" and the "familia" so passionately. We were filled with such peace for Cupcake----God had orchestrated this whole experience to bless Cupcake!! In a Guatemalan church and in our hearts we dedicated her to the Lord. Cupcake just slept through the whole service and Vivian, a new friend, walked us back to the hotel.
I realize now, this story is just as much, or more, your story, as ours! The family the Elders were praying for was yours and your little "nina". God had to go to such great extents to get us to go to the worship service and have the awesome experience of seeing Cupcake blessed!!!
I know you know God is helping you and your family and he has great plans for you all, but I thought you might be blessed to hear this story, your story of your blessing.
You are so dear to us!
Love, L and J (and gang)
Is God big, or what?

He is just as surely blessing J and L's familia and their nina as ours.

We have known from the beginning that Cupcake belongs to the Lord. He is doing mighty things in her life. We are just along for the ride.

Blessings to you,