Category Archives: Family

Reminiscing

Since we are coming up on the one year anniversary of having Rachel in our family, I have been reminiscing about the year and all of the changes we’ve been through. We are still adjusting, but it is SO MUCH EASIER than it was back in January and February. Every person in our family has come a long way. But no one has come as far as Rachel. She amazes me!

God is so good! He has been so gracious to us during this year. One thing I have come to be most thankful for is His timing. Rachel pretty much jumped right in our family and just took off while our heads were still spinning. She had a few moments of grief early on. But it seems that she has begun to have spells of grieving more and more as reality sets in that this family is for good. And maybe she is feeling safe enough to share her sadness with us. God has been so gracious in letting us have the first part of the year to deal in large part with our own adjustments. Now I am in a place where I feel that motherly protectiveness of her so that I can be who she needs to comfort her during her grief.

Several weeks ago Rachel and I went shopping together. I was trying to buy some stocking stuffers along with other items. With the boys I have always been able to shop for small Christmas items while they are with me. They don’t notice a thing. Rachel, on the other hand, does not miss a thing. (I also never had problems hiding gifts before she came along. She finds everything.) So I was a bit frustrated already that I couldn’t get my stocking shopping done. Then we’ve had the ongoing, “I want that for Christmas,” from Rachel every time she sees a toy commercial on tv or something in the store she likes. Yesterday she told me, “Mom, I want some Skechers.” She’s six! So we’ve been talking for weeks about how you don’t get everything you want for Christmas. You just get a few things that you want. This particular morning Rachel kept saying, “I want this for Christmas,” til I could not stand it anymore. I had already asked her several times to stop asking for things, but I finally snapped.  And I snapped at her as we were checking out.

In the car on the way home, she was quiet and pouty. She has the pouty bottom lip thing down. 😉  When we got home, I went about my business. A few minutes later she came to find me and hugged me sobbing and saying, “Mom, I just want to say I’m sorry for saying, ‘I want that for Christmas.'” She was truly heart-broken. I just held her and talked to her. She lay in my arms letting out heart-wrenching sobs for about 10 minutes. Somehow I just knew that this was not only about the whole store incident. It was much deeper.

Then one night this week I went to a concert (to hear Todd Agnew!) with some friends. Tommy told me that while I was gone Titus told him that Rachel said that she was going to climb out the window. She came to Tommy crying and saying, ” I don’t want to be in this family anymore.” When he asked her why, she said, “Because I always get in trouble.” Then she sat beside Tommy and cried and cried.

She does get in trouble a lot for not listening (she’s usually talking 🙂 ). But, for the most, part she has really come a long way. She really doesn’t need correcting much more than the boys. She does seem to have a skewed view of things. She’s always asking why Titus and Caleb get to do such and such. Then I point out to her that she already had a snack, or she got to go to the store with me yesterday. I wonder how long the whole jealousy thing is going to last.

Recently I looked back at some photos of our Gotcha Day. It just struck me how terrified this child was. I’ve mentioned before that now that I know her I realize that she gets extremely hyper when she’s nervous. That day she must have been terrified. I remember watching her and thinking, “This child never stops moving or talking.” When I think of all that she’s been through in her life and then this HUGE change to a completely new life, I am just in awe of this beautiful girl child.

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Filed under Adoption, Family

Flower Girl

Rachel was the flower girl in the wedding of a dear friend this past Saturday. Laura is the children’s librarian at our library, and we have become very close friends. I have had the honor of praying with her multiple times as her relationship with Eric developed. So it was so wonderful to get to be a part of this special day. And it was truly one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve been too.

This is Laura and Rachel at the rehearsal dinner.

During the rehearsal Rachel asked, “When they gonna say ‘Kiss the bride’?” This is her first wedding, so I have no idea where she heard that before. But it was good for keeping her still during the wedding. I told her that she had to watch close or she would miss when they said “Kiss the bride.”

Here is Miss Priss eating a hamburger in the dressing room before we took photos.

Rachel loved hanging out with the bridesmaids all day and made many new friends. I know it’s supposedly not healthy for adopted kids to be too friendly with other people. I feel like she’s attached to us fine-she keeps up with where we are all the time and knows that she belongs with us. We are still working on not being too affectionate with people you just met. But this child is very far on the extrovert end of the scale. She’s always going to make friends wherever she goes.

The lovely bride

This is what Rachel did for most of the reception except for the few moments that she sat down to eat a bite. Dance!

She made friends with some other girls who were dancing.

I wish I had gotten a better photo of this one. The father and mother of the bride asked Rachel to dance with them. So sweet!

My handsome men:

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Caleb

Titus

Eli and Tommy

Rachel with the bride and groom

This is my favorite! Rachel eating a plate of strawberries at the reception.

We also went in the rain and cold on our annual quest for the perfect Christmas tree at Longview Tree Farm. This is our 11th year to get a tree there. Every year the owner says it is his last year. We are really going to be sad when he finally does close down. We’ve grown rather fond of our visits with him every year.

Rachel, Titus and Caleb. Eli opted to stay dry and warm in the car.

Making our gingerbread house

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Catch-up/Medical Update

Here’s a long overdue update and photos from this spring.

Phoebe and Titus–sometimes Phoebe is Titus’ favorite dog and sometimes it’s Molly

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Rachel has gotten used to the dogs. She likes them best when they are lying down being still. Molly who is now humongous still scares her sometimes. Phoebe’s getting lots of attention from Rachel & Titus.

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I finally managed to get my Easter stuff down from the attic the Wednesday before Easter. Caleb showed Rachel how to hide Easter eggs and hunt for them in the living room. Then Rachel wanted to hide the eggs for Caleb to find. She hid them in the exact same spots he did. 🙂 Rachel kept saying “Again, again.” They took turns hiding eggs until Caleb finally said he was tired of it.

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Eli decided that he was too old to hunt eggs this year, but he still enjoys dyeing eggs.

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Caleb

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Rachel’s first time to dye Easter eggs

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Titus

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Rachel on Easter morning

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Most of my mom’s family lives near us. Their two big holidays are Thanksgiving and Easter. My Aunt Nancy kindly lets us gather at her home to celebrate. Here are photos of Rachel and Titus hunting Easter eggs.

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Rachel enjoying some girl time with some third cousins.

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Now for what has been occupying much of our time the past couple of months…BASEBALL! Here’s, Caleb, my future star. 🙂 He’s amazing to watch!

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This was Titus’ first year to play t-ball, and he has absolutely LOVED every minute of it! It’s so much fun to watch him mimic his big brother’s moves!

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I love this one!

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Now some hospital photos. Rachel climbing on a sleepy Daddy. “Why did we have to be here so early?”

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Playing while we wait

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Rachel cuddling with Mommy

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Post-heart cath:  A groggy girl having her first ever popsicle! Now she asks all day long, “Can I have a popsicle?”

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“Finally, my kind of food!”

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There’s that sweet smile!

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This is just a photo I snapped one day when Rachel, Caleb, and Titus were playing cowboys. “Let’s see, I have my pirate hat, my gun, and my sparkly Christmas purse.”

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Even though this one didn’t turn out great, I love it! Titus and Rachel are either driving each other nuts or are like two peas in a pod. Here they are lying in Rachel’s bed under a princes blanket while Rachel watches Titus play gameboy.

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We scheduled Rachel’s surgery several weeks ago, but I’m just getting around to posting. The doctors met and decided to continue with what they started in China. So she will have the Fontan procedure. The cardiologist did say that because of her unique anatomy the surgeon will have to use “artistic license” on how he does the Fontan once he gets in and sees exactly how everything looks because according to the cardiologist her “aorta is humongous and right in the middle”. After I got off the phone with the doctor and called Tommy to tell him everything, Tommy said, “Did he really say ‘humongous’? He thought that was funny “medical terminology”. 🙂

A few days later the surgeon’s office called, and we scheduled surgery for Tuesday, July 14th. We will have to be at the hospital at noon on the 13th. They are planning to do surgery first thing in the morning. Rachel will be in CICU for two days. Then most likely she will be moved to a room. The nurse said to expect to spend a total of 5-7 days in the hospital.

I greatly appreciate any prayers lifted up during the weeks prior to surgery for us and for the people caring for Rachel and most especially the surgeon. I know that I will probably be a nervous wreck when the time comes, but for now I just feel at peace. I feel like the doctors know what they are doing and that it will all work out fine. More importantly, I know that God is in control.

Soon to come, a birthday post. 🙂

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The Zoo, A Funeral, A Birthday Party

Whew! It’s been a crazy few weeks! I’ve been trying to update the blog once a week, but it’s been nearly impossible to get on the computer much the past few weeks.

On April 25th the six of us went to Memphis to meet up with a dear old nursing school friend of mine and her family. Serena and I have kept in touch over the years through Christmas cards, occasional e-mails and occasional phone calls, but we figured out that it has been nine years since we’ve seen each other. It was so great to get to visit with her, see how her oldest daughter has grown into a beautiful young lady, and to meet her youngest daughter. We both agreed that it felt like we picked up where we left off. We had lunch and then went to the Memphis zoo. The dads were awesome! They took over watching the kiddos so that Serena and I could visit. Thanks, Rick and Tommy! Rachel was excited about the zoo, and she hit it off with Serena’s three-year-old daughter.

Zoo photos (not the greatest, forgot camera battery so these are iphone photos):

Love this photo of Eli! YOU ARE SO COOL!

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Rachel watching panda eat bamboo

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Titus

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Titus, Tommy, and Rachel on the carousel

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Rachel and her new friend

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Eli and Tommy being silly

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We were already planning to spend the night at Tommy’s mom’s about an hour from Memphis and were planning to visit his dad also. But throughout the day we were at the zoo, we kept getting phone calls that his dad was in the hospital and was not doing well at all. Tommy’s parents are in their 80s. His dad has been in assisted-living for several years, his mind and health have declined, and he was just recently moved to a nursing home. He has been going downhill for years and been in the hospital several times when he was not expected to live. But somehow he always pulled through. So for years Tommy has realized that each time he saw his dad could be the last.

We continued our day at the zoo and had supper with Serena and family before traveling to Middleton. Tommy dropped the kids and I off at his mom’s house and went on to the hospital where he and his oldest sister spent the night. At this point his dad is in ICU with pneumonia and sepsis from ruptured bowel. They were told that his body was shutting down. Not knowing how long his dad would hang on, Tommy picked the kids and I up the next afternoon and took us home planning to get his car and head back to Tennessee. But as he was about to leave home, he received a call from his middle sister saying that his dad had gone into respiratory failure and died.

We sat down and told the boys. Sweet, sweet Titus grinned really big and said, “HEAVEN!” Oh, the faith of a child. 🙂 He had told me a few days before that he had a dream while he was sleeping about heaven and that it was lots of fun. One night I was reading the Bible story of Eli and Samuel to Titus and Rachel. We talked about God speaking to us in our hearts. Titus said, “I know! He talks to me!”

On Friday Tommy returned to help with the funeral arrangements. The kids and I went up to Tennessee early Saturday morning to attend the visitation and funeral. Rachel charmed everyone there. She was able to meet many of her relatives, including Tommy’s three sisters and one of her cousins on his side of the family.

Neat thing about Rachel’s name. Through all of my pregnancies “Rachel” was always our girl name partly because we like Bible names and partly because one of Tommy’s favorite aunts was named Rachel. Aunt Rachel died a while back, but her daughters were thrilled to meet our “Rachel”.

The funeral service was short but quite moving. Tommy’s dad was an alcoholic when Tommy was younger, so life was pretty rough during Tommy’s growing-up years. But for many, many years later in life he was very active in Alcoholics Anonymous. Tommy would occasionally have people tell him how much his dad had meant to them in their own recovery.

The minister who performed the funeral service was a very young man who had met Tommy’s dad through AA. Tommy’s dad drove him to AA meetings for two years while his license was revoked. Over that time they became close friends. The young minister shared how people would see them together and think that Mr. Stewart was his grandfather. He shared that it was strange for someone his age to have an 80-year-old man as a best friend but that is what Mr. Stewart was to him.

The graveside service was very moving as Tommy’s dad served in the Marines during World War II. Two Marines were present. One played “Taps”. Then they folded the flag on Mr. Stewart’s casket and presented it to Tommy. They said, “This is presented to you on behalf of a grateful nation in honor of your loved one who fought to defend her.” It was so touching. Then one of the Marines was so kind. He came up to Tommy afterward and asked if he could refold the flag because this was his first time to do this. He did not get the edges as crisp as he wanted, and he wanted to get it right.

After spending some time visiting family at Tommy’s mother’s house, we headed home because my sister and her girls were in town to meet Rachel for the first time. Her girls are 6, 4, and 1 1/2. They have been dying to meet Rachel. As soon as we pulled in the driveway at my mom’s house, they came running out to greet us. Nora Blayre, the youngest, and Rachel almost immediately got into an argument over a doll. Eliza who’s four played babies with Rachel. Odd to me because Rachel never plays with her multitude of baby dolls at home. I guess she just needs to be around girls some. And Mary Carsen, the oldest, was so great about explaining things to Rachel. Rachel had fun playing with Mary Carsen and Eliza in the bathtub.

My sister took more photos than I did, and I haven’t gotten them from her yet. But here are some.

Nora Blayre, Rachel, and Eliza having a tea party in Rachel’s room

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Much time was spent playing with/traumatizing Granny’s kittens during the weekend. Here’s Eliza holding one.

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Titus, Caleb and Mary Carsen playing in the mud

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Rachel and Aunt Christy

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We had planned to spend the night at my mom’s to see them as much as we could since they were leaving the next afternoon. But Caleb, our daredevil who had to get stitches twice within three months when he was five, was playing on Granny’s exercise machine and broke off half of his permanent front tooth exposing the nerve. Caleb’s a tough cookie, but he was in a tremendous amount of pain. We couldn’t get in touch with our pediatric dentist. But we talked to two dentists (one is Tommy’s brother-in-law) who both said that if the nerve was exposed Caleb would need a root canal. So Monday morning early we were at the dentist’s office expecting the worst. But a new dentist in the office we go to said that she wanted to try something. She did some things to encourage the nerve to heal itself and reattached his tooth. Only time will tell if it is healing successfully, but so far so good. If he begins to have problems with it, he will need a root canal.

As far as things with Rachel, since we hit the two month mark, things are starting to feel more normal. I have been working hard to have a daily routine. She is slowly learning what is expected of her during our school time–mainly to play quietly while I work with the boys. She likes to do her school too and asks me when she can have school. I’m not doing a whole lot with her right now–some pretty basic workbooks with drawing, cutting and gluing and reading lots of books. I figure what she needs most is time to play and just be a kid for a while. She and Titus have been spending lots of time outside since the weather has been so lovely. She has gained five pounds since we’ve been home and grown 1/2 inch. She still loves to eat!

Rachel and Mom

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Yes, we are absolutely rotten! This is the first family photo we’ve taken since we’ve been home.

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Last Sunday my darling Caleb turned nine! He had a sleepover on Friday night. It was a combined party for Caleb and his best friend Robert. They were born eleven days apart. Robert’s mom and I think they were friends before they were even born. They are soul mates. I really think that they will always be friends no matter where life takes them. I am so thankful that Caleb already has a friend like Robert in his life.

Caleb and Robert blowing out their candles

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Best buddies!

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Caleb is a warrior at heart. He is the most competitive of my three competitive boys. He is passionate. Whatever he feels, he feels strongly. Whenever Caleb is happy, he is a delight to be around and loves to make anyone who is upset laugh by his clowning. 🙂 Whenever he is unhappy, he makes us all miserable. 😦 He is frequently a defender of his brothers and now Rachel whenever they are in trouble with Tommy or me. He is daring, not afraid of anything, exulting in danger. When he was a baby, he went from crawling to running and climbing on anything he could find to climb. He was perpetually covered with bruises, scrapes, and bumps on his head. I have written before about how he is a natural athlete. He was just made to move and is beautiful to watch. And on the ball field, you better watch out, because he is intense. He was the only kid on his team who took t-ball seriously. I am very much looking forward to seeing what God is going to do with his passionate heart and his talents. Whatever it is, I know that the journey there will be thrilling.

Caleb and Mom

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Caleb with Molly (four months old!). She is going to be HUGE!

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At our house we are so excited that it’s baseball season again!

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I love to garden! Each spring I take the kids to pick out flowers and plant a pot of their own. Here are Rachel and Titus preparing to plant their flowers.

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My boys usually spend Friday nights with my mom. Rachel always wants to go with them. She frequently packs her suitcase on her own and tries to go. Then she’s disappointed when I tell her that she cannot. I’m partly worried about my mom handling all four of the kids, and I partly have felt that Rachel’s not ready to spend the night away.

The Friday night of Caleb’s birthday sleepover I decided that this would be a good time for Rachel to stay at Granny’s. It would get her out of the boys’ hair, and she and Granny could have some one-on-one time. She had a blast! Note: my mom is a perfect and typical grandmother. She lets the kids do almost anything they want and will do whatever they want with them. Granny said that Rachel kept pointing to the floor at her house saying, “HuiHui stay Wai Po’s.” (Wai Po= grandmother). They made cookies, went to Wal-Mart to get candy, rings, and a Barbie, and who knows what else they did. Rachel was excited to get home though. I heard her before she even got to the door yelling, “MOM! MOM! MOM!”

Granny and Rachel

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Rachel loves to put stickers all over her face and her body. Here she is in the car last Sunday on the way home from church.

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Her brothers told her to put all of the stickers over her mouth, so she did.

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I HOPE EVERYONE HAS A JOYOUS RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

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Spring Break

We took our spring break from school last week. It was so nice to just relax, do some spring cleaning, and enjoy being outside.

Here are some photos. The first are of Rachel in some new girly pajamas that my aunt sent to her. She loves them!

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“Move, Didi(little brother)! This is my photo shoot!”

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Being silly!

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Rachel LOVES to help me in the kitchen. Here she is kneading some bread.

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One of the biggest changes in our household since the addition of Rachel has been the amount of arguing. I guess I just took for granted how well the boys all got along. They would play for hours together without a single argument. Of course, they do argue from time to time like all siblings do. Now I feel like I’m running interference much of the day. It became most clear last week when we were not having school.

Here is a rare moment when all four are playing together WITHOUT ARGUING.

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I love this photo of Titus!

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Rachel getting good and dirty!

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Caleb in the sand

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Eli’s dirty hands

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Another realization that has taken a while to come is that Rachel cannot handle everything that Titus can. I try so hard to treat them the same since they are so close in age. But emotionally Rachel is much younger, so she is not able to handle everything that Titus can. For example, Titus can walk beside me in the store without grabbing things, crying for things, and running away. But Rachel cannot do that yet, so I put her in the buggy like I did with the boys when they were younger. It’s rather confusing since she is older (by one month). But it has been nice realizing that it’s okay to set different boundaries for them since they are such different ages emotionally.

Two funny stories I meant to write last week but was without internet.

A few weeks ago on a warm afternoon Caleb and Titus wanted to have a water balloon/water gun fight. They put on swimsuits, and, of course, Rachel wanted to join them. So I put on her swimsuit also. They played awhile and had lots of fun. Then the boys decided to change into dry clothes. Well, I guess Rachel was tired of her wet suit also. But instead of going inside to change into dry clothes, she just took her swimsuit off and continued playing outside until Caleb came and told me.

Then last week Titus and Rachel t00k a bubble bath in our whirlpool tub. At the end of the bath they were still covered with bubbles after draining the water out, so Tommy put them in the shower to rinse them off. This was Rachel’s first time in our shower. She immediately pointed to the drain, said, “Potty!” and squatted while Tommy is yelling, “NO! NO! NO!” I guess it reminded her of a Chinese squatty potty. 🙂

Bubble bath photos

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At Home 7 Weeks

Continue prayers for sweet little YouYou. She went home from the hospital Wednesday only to be readmitted to CICU Friday with pneumonia. You can follow her progress at the link to the left.

I also want to share a link to a post by an adoptive mom. We met Rebecca and Andy on our flight to China. We ran into them several times in Guangzhou and have enjoyed keeping up with them. Rebecca is refreshingly honest in this post about struggling with not feeling the same sort of love toward her newest son as she does toward her bio kids. I encourage anyone who is considering adoption or is in the process to read this. I read so much in preparation for our adoption. But most of the reading is geared toward how the adoptive children are feeling. I wish I been prepared beforehand about how adoptive parents struggle as well.

I can hardly believe that it has been two months since we met our little spitfire. It’s kind of strange, hard days seem as if they will never end. But now suddenly we’ve been home 7 weeks! Rachel has come a long way even though we still have a way to go.

Here are a few photos from the past couple of weeks.
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Rachel the day we went to the adoption clinic. I can never seem to remember to take photos during our visit.
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Caleb giving Rachel a piggy-back ride
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This week was rather hard. The social worker at the International Adoption Clinic told me to expect it to be two steps forward one step back. This week has been a one step back kind of week. Not so much for Rachel but for me. I really can’t say that her behavior is any worse, but she just especially got on my nerves this week. It seemed like every time I turned around she was screaming at her brothers about something or they were mad at her for pestering them. Then just her CONSTANT need for attention is maddening at times! She will repeat things over and over and over until I acknowledge her. Such as “All done” when a tv show is over. Sometimes I ignore her hoping that she will get it, that I heard her but don’t really care to acknowledge her statement. Other times I try to explain that I heard her the first time and that she doesn’t have to repeat things over and over and over. It is most aggravating when I am trying to school the boys.

Whenever I was reading to the boys the past few days, I would give her colors and paper so that she would have something to do. It seemed like she interrupted us about every 30 seconds. So we began working on teaching her that it’s time to be quiet and if she has something important to say to tap Mommy on the arm and wait. Oh, that’s the other annoying thing, she cannot wait at all. She seems to know that meaning of “wait” and will repeat it when I ask her to, but a few seconds later she’s asking me for the same thing. So glad next week is Spring Break!

Last night, Rachel, Tommy and I went out for Mexican. She kept whining for food even though she was thoroughly enjoying the chips and salsa and enjoying repeatedly pointing out to us that she was only dipping each chip one time (something we were working on). So I told her we were practicing waiting.

We are also trying to teach her the meaning of annoying, so that we can correct her when she is being annoying which is quite often. Poor child, she is learning so much all at once. But, honestly, these are things that we are trying to teach her so that we can be around her without pulling our hair out and so that others can stand being around her. Most people haven’t been around her long enough to really be bothered, but a few friends have been around enough to see her annoying side.

I am frequently reminded of my friend who shared that she felt like she was constantly disciplining/correcting one of her children more than the others. When she would call her mother in distress over spending so much time working with this child, her mother said, “You’re just making it so that the rest of us can stand to be around her.” That’s what I keep reminding myself.

I asked my adopting-older-kids online group for advice this week, and let me tell you this group has been a life saver for me. I love how everyone is so honest about how very hard it is the first few months with an older child. They just keep reassuring me that in six months, eight months, twelve months, I will have a totally different child. They also keep reassuring me that the feelings of love will come. Many share how they had to fake it for months or even the first year.

I am beginning to understand that adopting an older child is very different from adopting an infant or a very young toddler. I am sure that they are both challenging in different ways. But integrating a child who has been through so many years of difficult life, who has developed ways of coping with these difficulties, and already has many ingrained habits and personality quirks is quite a challenge. I guess it’s a trade-off for not having to do diapers again. 🙂

Monday Rachel and I finally went to have her lab work drawn at a lab 30 minutes from us that our insurance covers (long story). That was quite a traumatic experience. She began crying as soon as they took us back to draw the blood. I held her in my lap and held one arm reassuring her constantly with my face right beside her ear, while one lady held her other arm, and another lady stuck her. Even with the three of us, Rachel was bouncing up and down just enough to knock the needle out of place, so we went to arm number two. Luckily, they were able to get enough blood with the second stick.

Afterward we went to Wal-Mart for a treat since she had such a traumatic morning. She chose a Barbie with puppies. She loves puppies as long as they are not real. She’s still a little scared of our puppies. But she sometimes imitates Titus who most days pretends he’s a baby puppy who needs to snuggle up next to his mommy. Of course, she only had to change her mind about a dozen times before she settled on the Barbie. There’s always something even more delightful on the next aisle. Then for an additional treat we went to get her a “hambobo”.

I can’t remember if I shared about my trip to the doctor last week. I had a doctor’s appointment about an hour away. I took Rachel with me and took a friend to help out with her in the waiting room (always a LOOOONG wait at this doctor). Afterwards we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I have no idea how Rachel knew that this was a chicken place, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot she began yelling, “No! No! Hambobo! Hambobo!” We ate chicken anyway. But I thought it was funny that she seemed to know they didn’t have hamburgers.

The boys are still doing great with Rachel. Titus had a rough couple of weeks at first. But now he just amazes me. One minute he is screaming mad at Rachel and the next he’s trying to get her to play. But with the rain today, the three youngest kids were fighting a lot. It works out great that my boys usually spend Friday night at my mom’s because by the end of the week I think they are ready for time away from Rachel. When they come home, they are able to handle her better.

I did enjoy getting to spend some time with just Rachel last night. I am enjoying her more during the rare moments that it’s just me and her. I like getting to baby her, play with her, and read books together. One of the most frustrating parts of my day is trying to find time to do the things with her that I did with my boys when they were young. (One of the things attachment experts encourage is taking children back by treating them as if they were much younger because emotionally they are.) I want to be able to do these things more, but life just feels too demanding to make time for these things as often as I would like. I just pray that God will take what I am able to offer Rachel and use it to help fill the hole in her heart.

I have begun to enjoy some of the benefits of having a girl even though Rachel is not a very girly girl. (She likes pretty clothes, but she really doesn’t like playing with dolls too much. She loves playing with her brothers’ guns and Star Wars guys. Tommy and I even think she moves like a boy.) But last week I rediscovered the joys of playing beauty shop! She LOVES to do my hair, and I LOVE for her to brush and play with my hair.

While having blood drawn this week, I promised her that we would paint her toenails like Mommy’s when we got home. So I painted her fingernails and toenails. She loved it. She shows them to me multiple times a day and keeps asking me to paint them again since she’s chewed some of the polish off of her fingernails.

Rachel after I polished her nails
rachel-fingernails

Rachel after we did each other’s hair last night
rachel-hair

In other news, (**TRUMPET BLAST**) my husband FINALLY purchased our new tv after the tree fell on our house last August and our tv/electronic equipment got wet. Tommy LOVES to shop for items like this. He spends hours and hours and days and weeks pouring over reviews, searching for the best deals, and waiting and waiting and waiting because next month they just might have come down a few bucks on the price. (Can you tell this drives me crazy?! I consider my time as valuable even though I am not paid for my work.) But I did encourage him to get the tv he really wants because we have always had old hand-me-down or discounted display models. So he has been dreaming of a really nice tv for years.

When our 50″ plasma (I think?–Tommy’s going to be really perturbed that I don’t know what we got.) arrived this week, Titus had a blast playing in the gigantic box it came in. He kept walking in and out of the box declaring what a great space rocket he could make with this box and how much fun he was going to have in it. After about ten minutes of him reveling in his wondrous box, he looked over at the tv and said, “THAT’S A BIG TV!”

Titus playing in his exciting new toy
titus

Titus and Rachel designing their rocket
rachel-and-titus

Unfortunately, we’re having some problems with the tv and are most likely going to have to send it back and get another. 😦 Of course, after waiting this long, what’s a couple more weeks.

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The Newest Member of Our Family (Yes, we are officially INSANE!)

A few weeks ago our family consisted of my husband, myself, our three sons, two very old cats, two young and obnoxious Bassett hounds, and, of course, Rachel will become a part of family shortly. Several months ago our middle son, the passionate animal lover, began campaigning for his OWN dog for Christmas. When we got the Bassett hounds two years ago we tried to pretend Shadow, the boy, was his. But they are really both mine, and they act like mine even though Caleb plays with them more than anyone else.

After much prayer and discussion between Tommy and me, we began searching for the perfect dog for Caleb. So two days before Christmas we got her, a golden retriever puppy. Here’s Molly!

molly-sleeping

molly

She’s still just a baby, so she sleeps alot. Caleb has been super mommy taking care of her. This is my active child who loves to move, but for most of the past week he has been sitting down holding Molly while she sleeps. We have offered to watch her so that he could play with his visiting cousins, but he refused. My mom said that this is the calmest that she’s ever seen Caleb.

caleb-and-molly2

Here she is curled up around Caleb’s neck. She slept beside him for the first few days until we were awakened at 6am one morning with Titus screaming, “SHE POOPED! SHE POOPED!” Molly had pooped in their bed, and Titus had managed to stick his hand in it. So now Molly is sleeping in a small crate on the end of their bed.

caleb-and-molly-sleeping

Molly is absolutely precious! So far she is perfect! We are crazy for adding a dog to our family, but Caleb is just a child who needs his own dog. Although he has two brothers, he is always in need of someone to play with. Caleb loves running and playing outside. Eli only goes out when forced to preferring to read or computer indoors. And Titus, our opinionated five-year-old, although he loves to play outside is not very cooperative when playing with Caleb. Titus likes to make up his own games with his own rules and is quite content to have his outdoor adventures alone. So I’m hoping that Caleb will have the precious companionship of Molly for many years to come.

Now, does anyone want two Bassett hounds?

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Filed under Christmas, Family