Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let the Rough-Housing Begin!

Maria's View-

So we got a call from Dr. F and Griffin's neck x-ray is completely normal, along with some thyroid labs.  Hooray!  This little boy LOVES to be tossed around on the couch, thrown into the air, hung upside down, etc.  We have done these things to him very gently, unlike what we do for Little G (she LOVES it, the harder the impact, the more she loves it, which goes along with her hyposensitivity issues).  I can see it all over Griffin's face that he wants to participate so badly!  Well, once he wakes up from his nap, he's in for it. :-)  Enjoy!!


These kids sure know how to destroy a house and we start over every single day.

I love how he tucks his hands behind his head when we slide him around on the couch!
This is the look he gives when he wants to play or when he's mischievous.

This is the bounce after the landing!

Griffin was on Cloud 9 tonight since he finally got to play just like his sisters.  Finally.  He loved every minute!  This is definitely something for him to look forward to every evening. 

I love my family! 

Goodnight from Germany!

Chris's View-

It amazes me how much we rely on computers these days.

We are the 99%... the 99% who leverage technology in everyday lives.  They are the 1%... the 1% who refuse to use these gadgets that are "supposed" to make our lives easier.  Where am I going with this?

Well, the non-secure network was mostly down at work today.  It was like a ghost town!  I, being handcuffed to my workstation due to what I do on a daily basis, noticed that the noise level was drastically reduced.  Yes, there was a change of command on base, so that took some people, but everyone else, with a lack of ability to accomplish their everyday work, decided to go enjoy the outdoors... which really stinks since I work in a concrete hole... no windows.  I used to work in a control tower with 13 big, beautiful windows, and the best view on base.  Transitioning to this work center was rough, as I really like being able to see the beauty of God around me.

Anyway, the network came up right before I was leaving work, so thankful for the guys I work with, because without them, my day would have been longer than it was.  Without the Internet though, I really found out who was a "fact checker" and who knew what they were talking about in a conversation!  Some people, who seemed really well read on the hot topics of the day, were almost impossible to talk to since they could not jump on that big, ole information super-highway, to derive "their view" from Glen Beck or the Drudge Report or Perez Hilton.  There were others who really shined on this front though.

It is pretty amazing at how much emphasis we have put on being connected.  For example, not by any choice of my own... I am forced by the military, I was unable to work on the performance reports that I have due on my troops because they reside online.  I could not check my personnel record as it is online too.  I could not look at my pay stub, yep, it's online too.  So much of my life is online.  It's scary in a way.  Think how bad it would be if Y2K would have really happened like they said and everything would have went down, all data lost.  Man, life would be miserable for many folks.

See ya'll later!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chris Found a New Hobby

Maria's View-

Poor dude. I feel so bad for him. Every single time he trips, slips, falls, plays, he will end up with a busted lip. It never fails. If he falls and starts to cry, I immediately know that he has busted his lip again without even looking at him. His front teeth are so crooked that they form a 'V' shape, so the outer edges of his front teeth are like little knives aimed right at his lips. You would never know his teeth were like that because his adorable chubby upper lip keeps you from seeing them, even when he smiles! But anyway, he took it upon himself this morning to just get up and walk (so proud of him), and wouldn't you know, he took a nose dive to the floor. I had Little G on the changing table so I couldn't rush over to him. He was crying and when he finally sat up, he had blood all over his mouth and it's the same spot over and over again.

I am so blessed with friends who are helping me out with getting Gracie to and from Vacation Bible School this week! One friend is taking her, the other one is bringing her out to the van for me to keep me from having to fight the crowd with a double stroller. Thanks, y'all!

I also have another wonderful friend who brought me some Red Velvet Cupcakes, homemade caramel apple dip, and some spinach dip this morning. Thanks, friend!!

Big G had a great time at VBS! She is in the same class with all of her friends so she is really enjoying herself.

Little G had her speech therapist (SP) over today.  She spoke with an occupational therapist (who will be coming out to see Little G soon) and based on all of Little G's symptoms, she is definitely hyposensitive.  So we are trying to focus on what may make her actually FEEL.  She can crash her head into a table, fall off the couch on her face, drop something on her foot, and you would never know it.  She doesn't feel it like we do.  This explains why I never know she has raging double ear infections or kidney infections, because she doesn't feel or maybe she just doesn't recognize the sensation as pain.  So we are trying to figure out this little cutie and find out what works for her.   She is also putting in a referral for medical speech therapy in addition to what Early Intervention will provide.  (Griffin will need this as well.)

After dinner tonight, I have a person coming over to teach me how to bind my quilt that I made 3 years ago! I'm so excited. It's so pretty (to me, lol) and I really want to use it, so I'm looking forward to finishing it up and passing it on to one of my girlies one day.  Next, I will be whipping up some more Giraffe Meats!  GM#2 is on it's last leg.   Then, I will work on a crib quilt for Little G that I set out to make while I was pregnant with her.   Love gettin' my sew on!  ;-)

Have a good evening, y'all!

Chris's View-

So I am a flip-flopper, I admit it.
I have bounced back and forth between hobbies but have never really found one that I felt suited me... that was until today.  I was at work and due to the nature of my job, I get to stare at news feeds from CNN & Fox News.  On CNN, I saw a clip from the Olympics that really caught my attention.  I don't listen to the stories usually, so when I grab my headset to listen to a story, it's a pretty catching thing.  This one was a recap of the 10 Meter Air Pistol matches at the Olympics.  Now, I don't remember who said it, but I read a quote that the Olympics makes people display so much Nationalism, that they will follow an obscure sport so in depth that it makes you wonder why they don't follow it for the next 4 years!  I am one of those guys... I will route for the uppity looking dude in the top hat during Dressage like he's my own brother out there going for an Olympic gold!  I will sit there and pretend that I know all the rules for field hockey.  I will get extremely mad when one of our water polo players calls for a foul and the ref doesn't see it our way!!  I will yell at my TV when one of our girls scores a goal and will shout "ka" right along side the 16 year old table tennis phenom!  But the 10 Meter Air Pistol event, while one of those obscure sports that not many people pay attention to except for every 4 years in the Summer, but I was in awe of these guys & girls.

For those who missed it.  These folks are shooting a pellet, pretty similar to the pellet guns that most of ya'll shot as a kid, at a target that is just under 7" x 7".  The center "10 Point" scoring section is tiny folks... smaller than a dime, so at 10 meters, it's smaller than a pin head.  This is pure skill!  No scopes, just open sights from 33 feet away, one handed.  It's a pretty impressive feat.  One of the things I read after seeing this clip, was that a guy taught a non-pro shooter in about 8 weeks to shoot as an expert in a 60 shot format.  Now, I'm not claiming I could go that fast, but I like to shoot.  There is something about it that calms me.  I can take the time to focus and shoot... there is something primal about it.

It's metal and wood.  It's gunpowder and explosions.  It's bullets (okay... pellets) and targets.  It's competition and one-up-manship.  It's all the things I like, but the average person can set up a range to shoot air pistol at their own home in way less than a day.  It's good too, cause there is only a small initial cost (unless you are buying a Olympic caliber pistol) and then it's like $9 for 500 shots.  That's pretty cheap for a hobby consumable.

I found myself gravitating back to Google searches for air pistol stuff this afternoon... so, it looks like I may have found a new hobby.  I have to look into what I have to do in Germany first though.

See ya'll later!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Big G Accepted Christ As Her Savior!!!!!!

I am so THRILLED to announce that my oldest daughter has accepted Christ as her Savior!  She has been asking a lot of questions lately, and 2 nights ago, we had a long discussion about Jesus in her bedroom.  This morning, she told me that she prayed last night and invited Jesus into her heart!  (one of the most beautiful phrases that I have ever heard in my life!)  I approached the situation gently, asking her questions, just to make sure she was doing it for the right reasons and that she had a good understanding of what this actually means... Our family believes that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, by accepting Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

This is the dialogue that we had, the Gospel through the words of a 7 year old.

What does it mean to invite Jesus into your heart?  "It means that you are a Christian and need to get baptized."

Why did you invite Jesus into your heart?  "Because He died on the cross for our sins."

What are sins?  "Bad things that you think and do."

Why did Jesus die on the cross for your sins?  "Because He loves me and He wants me to go to Heaven."

Where is the place that non-believers go?  "hell, which is down in the ground."  But you understand that according to God's Word, He sent Jesus to earth to die for us so that no one should have to go to hell...that by choosing to follow Him, they can have everlasting life...

Who is in Heaven?  "God, Jesus, and Paw-Paw, and my doggy Scooter"  (I hope she's right about Scooter!! I would love to see that little sweetie again! ;-)

What do you have to do now that you are a Christian?  "Try not to sin, pray to God and ask forgiveness when I do sin, tell people about Jesus."

You do know that it's impossible to live a sin-free life, right?  We can strive to do that every single day but it's very important to recognize the times that we do sin and try to never do them again.  Do you understand that?  "yep!"

What do you tell people about Jesus?  "That He died on the cross so that He could save us, because He loves us.  He was risen on the 3rd day by God."

What else do you want people to know about your relationship with Jesus?   "He's loving and He's my friend."

Who is the devil?  "He was a serpent in the Garden of Eden. He told Eve to eat from the tree when God told her not to."

So is he good or bad?  "very bad"

What can the devil try to do to you?  "make me do bad things"

Who can help you when the devil tries to make you do bad things?  "God, ask Him to help me make good choices."

So we are going to pray together tonight and make sure she truly understands the seriousness of this decision and then we will celebrate!  I'm so proud of my daughter!  1 down, 2 more to go!!!!  Praise God!  I think the greatest joy a parent can have is knowing that their children will go to Heaven. 

Romans 10:9-  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Welcome to the Kingdom, sweet daughter!!! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Day in Frankfurt

Maria's View-

We had a wonderful time in Frankfurt today!  We had the pleasure of meeting another family who is on their way to adopt two little boys.  We have been chatting with this family for months now so it was pretty awesome to meet them in person!  They chose to have a long layover in Germany so that they could take advantage of the sightseeing. 

We had a wonderful lunch at a pretty awesome restaurant and dude had his first flammkuchen ever!  It's a paper thin pizza style dish with ham and onions.  Delicious!  We sat outside and dined and I think the little ones did so much better outdoors than they would have indoors.  They were on their best behavior!  So proud of them!

I'm going to leave all of the history/touristy stuff for Chris to tell you about! 

But anyway, after a few hours of visiting with our friends, the sky opened up and flooded all around us.  We found shelter under a covered restaurant seating area until Chris could bring the van to us to pick us up.  It was a short visit, but the little ones were done for the day and in need of naps.  But the quality time was great!  I wish them well on their adoption journey and will be praying for them continuously! 

The real Griffin is starting to emerge!  Today, while out and about, he was pretty relaxed!  He was content to sit in the double (side by side) stroller and sing/do Itsy Bitsy Spider over and over again...and even reached over and pulled Little G's pigtail a couple of times!  Before I knew it, Little G was repaying the favor.  And once, someone took Griffin's shoe and sock off and I haven't figured out if it was Little G or Griffin but thankfully we noticed before we walked away!

Something cute-Dude has come a long way with his food frustration.  When we first got him home, doing the 'airplane' with food was torture and we quickly learned that we couldn't do that.  Now, he will actually make the engine sound and will have a playful smile on his face as he's waiting on the food to 'land'.  Doing the 'airplane' with tooth brushing is helping a lot, too. 

Would I adopt this little boy all over again?  YES! YES! YES!  He blends into our family quite well!  We are adjusting and learning as we go, just as we would if we added another biological baby to the family!  Adoption is such beautiful thing. 

Love and Hugs!!!

Chris's View-

Today, I got to get back in to tour guide mode!

I really like it when I get to research a place and then give a mini-tour to people.  I have been told many times that I would make a great tour guide.  I would love it, but thanks to the internet, tour guides, unless you live in a historical area like D.C. or Europe, are becoming a dying breed.

This morning we got up and headed to Frankfurt to meet a family that is adopting from the same country that we did.  They had an extended layover, so we told them that we would show them around and go to lunch.  We got there at just the right time and Maria & the kiddos met them, while I found a place to park the van, since the garage I wanted to park in was closed for renovations.  When we met back up, we did our introductions and off we went.  This was neat because Maria & I haven't seen anything, other than the airport, in Frankfurt either.

We started with the Frankfurt Cathedral or Frankfurter Dom in German.  Without even knowing until I did my research, this cathedral holds special significance to us.  This is the apostle Bartholomew's cathedral.  Bartholomew was also known as Nathaniel... like our adopted son!  This cathedral is where every king of Germany was voted into power.  Once it was time to be crowned, the procession was moved to the central alter, that is said to house the head of Saint Bartholomew... it's their religion, I get it, but that's a little creepy!  This is not the original cathedral though... remember your history... this place took 6 bombardments during WWII, and the Romberg, which was the governmental seat of Frankfurt, sits a mere stone's throw from the steps of the Dom.  The whole area was a massive target, and the cathedral was acceptable collateral damage during those raids.

After visiting the cathedral, we walked, albeit the long way (sorry ya'll), to a lunch place called Cafe Hauptwache.  This cafe is the remodeled main prison, and sits in a walk platz that was having a couple interesting activities today.  First, there was some sort of Italian cultural festival taking place.  The Italians dancing and singing were not the crazy bit though... it was also Occupy Frankfurt rally day!  Awesome... just our luck.  I figured we'd do our best to blend and avoid them... more on that in a second though.  The Cafe Hauptwache is on top of a subway station, and used to be the main prison for the more high profile prisoners.  After Frankfurt was absorbed by Prussia, the Hauptwache was closed down.  Luck for us!  It is now a cafe, know for their Tarte Flambee, or what we have come to know as Flammkucken!  Yummy!  For those of you who don't know, Flammkucken is an ultra thin crust (like the thickness of a butter knife blade) pizza type thing, but instead of tomato sauce, they use creme fraiche, ham & onions, then cooked in a wood fired oven.  Yes, it's as good as it sounds, and yes, we had this.  We also had some German style potatoes that were fantastic!  The place, despite being in a very touristy area (just off the square where the Hauptwache sits is the largest shopping area in Frankfurt), the prices were very reasonable, and the portion sizes were large.  Highly recommend this place if you are in the area!

Once we were done eating, we headed for a very short walk to the Eschenheimer Turm.  This is one of the original gates that marked the entrance to the town of Frankfurt... I guess it would be more appropriate to say the old city-state of Frankfurt.  We are talking 1300-1400s here.  It is original and was not destroyed during WWII, so it is really a national treasure for the city.  To get there, it was literally a 5 minute walk from the cafe, or it should have been.  We had to push through the Occupy Frankfurt 99%.  Yeah, same agenda as the Occupy stuff in the states as far as we could tell, we just couldn't understand a word they said.  We did see quite a few people in the Anonymous mask though.  The gate was built in two phases.  The original was simply the square base.  Later, the architect of the Frankfurt Cathedral came in and built the round tower on top of the base.  You could walk to the top of the tower, but I don't think my knees could handle the 328 old stone stairs!  Not to mention, a double stroller tackles stairs about as good as my wore out knees do!  It is interesting to see this place set against the modern backdrop of glass covered skyscrapers... this was the skyscraper of it's day.  Oh yeah, there is a cafe in the bottom of the gate now.  Would have been nice if was left in an unaltered state.  As we were getting to the gate, it started raining.  After talking with the family for a few minutes, I decided it'd be best to go get the van and to make our way home.

It was great day out with the family, met some great people, had some great food, and saw some great sights.  Got home had some great chicken kabobs, then watched some Olympics with Big G... I love the Olympics... GO USA!

See ya'll later!

Friday, July 27, 2012


I'm running behind tonight but I thought I would share with you some super cute things that Griffin has done today.

I asked him after lunch today if he was all done.  He threw his hands up in the air and signed 'all done'.  No hesitation!  He doesn't do this one regularly yet but I'm sure he will very soon!

At bath time, he discovered that he could lay himself down in the tub.  He LOVED it.  I would gently drag him through the water, doing my best to avoid making a tsunami.  He wanted to do it over and over again.  In the middle of all of this, he would start doing the motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider.  So we would have to stop and sing it each time.

After we were done with bath time, he had a lot of energy and his mood was off the chart so I took advantage of it and kept him up longer than his bedtime.  I tossed him around on the couch a good bit to try to get some of the trapped water out of his ears...then we practiced walking.  He is doing so well and it seems like he wants to practice!  He will only walk to me now, so I have to pick him up and carry him back to Chris or Big G, so that he can walk back to me.  About midway a few times, he would feel the need to do Itsy Bitsy Spider.  He walked so much that his knees started buckling.  I thought he would stop but he would force himself to keep going.  I picked him up and rocked him for a bit but he wriggled out of my arms and started dancing. 

Chris and Big G went to his work and Big G got to watch her papa receive the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for all of his volunteer work around the community.  Big G was proud of her papa, for sure.  Afterwards, they spend some time at the pool for a while. 

Little G was sweet today.  She gave lots of hugs to her siblings and I got a lot of snuggle time with her.  She usually doesn't slow down long enough for me to be able to do that.  It was so nice!

Tomorrow, we are meeting an adopting family in Frankfurt on their layover as they make their way to adopt their children!  We are going to go sightseeing.  Looking forward to meeting them! 

More tomorrow!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How You Know You Love Somebody

Maria's View- 

Today has been SO busy!  The day started off with Griffin and Chris going to the Pediatrician at 0715.  I was going to get up early and help him out but I was OUT.  I stumbled out of bed around 0650 and they were already gone.  <sad face>.   I actually got a great shower, painted my toe nails, brushed my hair while the girl Gs slept.  It was pretty nice!  Once the girls were awake, I fixed their breakfast and then snuggled with them.  It was nice to be able to give Little G some one on one time.  She definitely needs it from time to time and she was in a great and loving mood! 

Chris said that the pediatric appt went well.  She checked him over again and said that he looked good.  He is 21 1/2 pounds so we are still under the orphanage weight.  I don't see how because this little boy eats like there is no tomorrow!  She also insisted on putting in a Physical Therapy Referral because she thinks he needs it, (and he really does), but Dr. F (the behavioral specialist) doesn't want to overwhelm him with too much.  He wants to start with occupational therapy and then go from there.  So I am going to wait and talk to him before we go with PT simply because Dr. F is looking at it from every angle, not just from a physical health perspective, but from an emotional and mental one as well. 

Griffin had his cervical spine, flexion and extension xrays, to make sure his neck is strong and healthy.  He also had the very last of his labwork done today.  We will have to wait for the results but I think we are wrapping up our initial testing phase!  He has had so much blood drawn. 

We have our first occupational therapy (OT) appt schedule for Sept. 3, yep on Labor Day, off base.  We are looking forward to getting him started! 

But anyway, they got home at 10:30, and then I had to leave for an appt.   I kissed him on the forehead a few times while Chris was changing his diaper and left.  I didn't get back home until noon and he was down for his afternoon nap.  I promised Big G that I would take her to the pool and to the BX so we had to leave again at 2:30 while he was still sleeping.  I met someone at 3:00 to buy a used gated play yard to put around our TV to keep a certain little boy away from it.  We stayed out until 7:00, enjoying our time at the pool, bx, and dinner with our friends, Elena and CJ.  While we were doing all of these things, I kept thinking about Griffin and how much I missed him.  I hoped to myself that he may possibly still be awake when we got home but he was already tucked into bed.   It's so different now.  I have loved him from the very beginning, but as I have gotten to know him, my love has grown so much, just as my love grew for my girls after they were born.  When they were born, I instantly loved them, just as I instantly loved Griffin...but my love started growing and growing and growing! So yeah, I missed my little dude today.  A lot. To the point that my arms ached for him.  I guess that's how you know you love somebody, right?  Well, I certainly love him!


Now that I have gotten to know Griffin better, I can definitely tell a difference in how he acts at home and how he acts in public.  He acts more like the orphan we once knew when he's out and about.  When he's at home with us, he opens up, smiles so much, laughs, and plays.  It's almost like he draws himself back in when he's in public.  We really don't take him out a lot, except for the occasional visit at a friend's home, or trips to the doctor's office.  I worry about how his 3 night stay in the hospital will affect him next month.  One of us will be by his side the entire time and we are going to beg to get him out of there asap.

But anyway, I had great quality time with Little G this morning, a fun time with Big G this evening, and I will get my snuggles on with Griffin at 0630 tomorrow morning(which is his usual time to wake up)!

Sorry, this post may be a bit scattered but Big G is talking my ear off as I type this up!  I can't think straight!

More tomorrow!

Love and Hugs!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Signing Independently!

Maria's View-

HOORAY!  This morning, Griffin started signing 'more' independently without the need of my hands being anywhere near him!  It is so nice to have my hands free!  Meal time went by so much faster, too.  He went from needing the support last night at dinner to not needing my support at all this morning.  YAY!  I love witnessing all of this progress!

So I decided to step it up a notch with his food issues since he has taken this step forward.  I think, more than anything, that the sound of a spoon scraping a bowl or plate is what sets him off.  Not the taste of the food, not the smells, not the sight...it's the sound.  I remember how it sounded at their meal time.  We never got to watch, but there were quite a few days where the nanny would come out to us, motion that he needed to eat and that it would be a few minutes before he would be brought out to us.  So Chris and I would stand there and wait in the next room.  They were fed soup in a coffee mug with a metal spoon.  There was a lot of clanging and scraping of that spoon.  If I remember it clearly, I know he can!  So I need to desensitize him to that sound.  I have been trying to be very quiet when I get his food into his spoon, being very careful to not make any scraping sounds.  Very hard to do.  So today, I made constant scraping sounds with his spoon on his plate while showing him throughout his whole meal that the food was there and plentiful, and I even added raisins to his plate once the scrambled eggs ran low.  When he would get upset, I reminded him to sign 'more' and then immediately give it to him once he signed it.  At the beginning, it was hard on him and he cried real tears.  I kept it up though, showing him the food, and once he signed 'more' again, he calmed down, realized that the food wasn't coming to an end, and then the scrapes didn't even phase him.  We ate for about 20 mins like this and he did extremely well.  I'm sure that the scrapes will be a huge trigger for him for a long time, but I hope that by hearing them and seeing that the scraping sound doesn't mean that the food is over, will help him.  He has proven to me that he is an incredibly strong boy and I know that we will overcome this!  He has a family who loves him and will provide for his every need plus some!  He will never go hungry again.

I have a climber on my hands.  If I turn my back for a split second, Little G takes advantage of that moment and will climb on top of the changing table.  So stressful!  Chris and I are going to have to figure out a solution tonight.  Griffin keeps messing with our tv/electronics so we are buying a play yard to put around all of that tomorrow.  My house is going to be baby-proofed and adult-proofed before long!  I feel like an Olympic hurdler with all of the baby gates that I have to navigate through!

Okay...so, non-adoption/kid related...why in the world am I stuck with getting acne at 30 something years old?!?  NO FAIR!!!  I managed to make it 28 years without acne and when I turned 29, it has become a constant battle.  Any pointers?  It's all fine and good when I'm on daily antibiotics but once they are gone, it starts back up.  I'm doing everything that I know to do along with advice from the dermatologist.  I'm fed up.  If you have anything to share, please do!  I wonder if diet has anything to do with it.  If Griffin has Celiac Disease, we will be changing our entire diet soon, probably.  Maybe that will help.

But anyway, looking forward to a play date today at the park!  It's actually warm outside today so we are going to enjoy it!  Acne and all. :-)

PM Update-  Griffin played so well at the park!  He loves the springy see-saws.  This little boy loves to be roughed up!  I was bouncing him pretty high on it and he turned into 'giggly bits'.  Love it!

He has signed 'more' for every single bite of food that he has had today without any prompting and has also signed 'more' for more play time a couple of times today. 

He has also started showing me how he wants me to play with him.  I do a few things that involve bouncing him around on the couch and he will turn his body into the position that I need him in for whichever game he wants to play.  I love his communication skills!  They are only going to get better and better.

On the Little G front- She is just as active as always.  Nothing slows her down, but I am assuming that she is much better than yesterday. 

Tomorrow is Griffin's 1 month follow up with his pediatrician!  I'll let you know how it goes!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New Look!

Thank you so much to Carter's mommy for giving our blog a new look!  I love it!  I kept the blue and green because, not only is it my favorite color combo, it's the exact colors that Griffin was wearing in the picture that stole my heart!  I asked for stars because I am constantly drawing them, if there is a pen and paper around, there is going to be stars  on it, just ask the people I live with!  All I had to do to get this new look was to donate to a child waiting for a family.  I chose this little guy.  And I'll choose him again and again and again.  He is in desperate need of a family.  I know the family who met him (personal friends of ours) and he is desperate in the worst way possible.  If you would like more information on him, please contact me!   If you can find a way to donate, please do.  Larger grants help a lot, so every dollar will add up!  Let's work together to find this little boy a home!

Little G is doing pretty good today.  She rarely ever expresses pain so I'm not too sure how she is actually feeling...but it appears that she may be on the mend.  I noticed that she is pulling on one of her ears today.  She had her follow up pediatric appt today and the doctor said that she has a double ear infection and it appears that one of her tubes is already falling out. (was placed in late March)  The other appears to be blocked by wax or the infection.  Her big toe is still pretty bad but should get better with the antibiotic.  The doctor said that we will treat it twice if it flares back up, and then the 3rd time will result in removal of the nail.  I had no idea that toddlers could get ingrown toe nails!  Poor little girl.  Her rash is more than likely a viral rash caused by the sore throat that the doctor discovered.  So it appears that she has 3-4 different things going on.  No fever, though! (knock on wood)

Chris is under the weather with a sinus cold.  He is currently passed out on the couch.  Poor guy.  Hopefully he will feel better ASAP.  One more work day for him before he has days off.

On the Griffin front, he has started doing the hand motions for "Itsy Bitsy Spider" all by himself!  He loves to do it and he initiates it.  I also noticed that he is choosing to walk over crawling sometimes!  Yesterday, I asked him if he wanted a bath and he stood up and walked to me!  Today, I asked if he was hungry, and again, he stood up and walked.  He is getting so brave!

I'm having a hard time with sippy cups.  I had the most similar sippy cup possible mailed to us and he doesn't like them at all.  However, he has no choice but to learn to use these cups!  I only have one of the kind that he uses (it came from his birth country) and I haven't been able to find any like it stateside or here in Germany.  I think his birth country is just behind the times because I use to use his favorite sippy cup with Big G over 6 years ago and the ones that I had mailed look to be a new model of the same kind.  My plan is to only offer him the new sippy cups during the day and give him his old one at night to make sure that he hydrates.

I took a walk with Big G today and I just can't believe that she will be in the 2nd grade.  When we moved here, she hadn't even started 4 year old PreK yet!  The years are going by way too fast!  Our village is extremely busy with traffic and we live on the main road.  On our walk, I let her guide the way, including crossing the busiest intersection.  She did so well!  It took us about 10 minutes to cross that intersection but she did it perfectly.  I never let her walk by herself but if she ever has to do it, at least I will know that she will be safe and vigilant.   Did I just say vigilant?  Yes, I did. :-)  Thanks, AFN (American Forces Network, our 'cable')!

But anyway, steaks and mashed potatoes tonight!  YUMMO.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Good Days and Not So Good Days

Maria's View-

So yeah, about my title, I'm so blessed to say that we haven't had any bad days with Griffin.  He does very well on a day to day basis.  But today, he has had a lot of food frustration.  I'm not sure why but it seems to be almost gone on some days and back full force on others.  Time will take care of the issue, I'm sure, so until then we will press on!

He starts off so well, signs 'more', very well, but something will just snap.  I can literally have the bite of food about to go into his mouth and he will just melt down.  I immediately put the food back on the plate, hoping that he will learn that screaming will not produce food for him, calmness will.  I won't put food in his mouth when he is screaming because I don't want him to get choked but I also don't want to reward the screams.  So I will wait until he is calm, ask him if he wants more food, he will sign 'more', and then I will let him have it.  Breaks my heart to see him struggle so much!  He has started rejecting certain foods now, which I am just thrilled over!   If he doesn't want a certain food, he will just push it calmly away with his hands.  So the screaming isn't related to not liking a food, it seems.

He did the cutest thing today.  I was sitting in the recliner and I had just rocked Little G while Griffin was laying in the middle of the floor.  He was playing with his bus and I called his name out, nothing.  Asked him to come to me, nothing.  I started singing his special rocking chair song that I made up just for him and he immediately jumped up on all fours and crawled over to be rocked.  He has selective hearing and a big streak of stubbornness!

Little G woke up with a painful, swollen big toe and I have no clue what is wrong with it.  She is even limping!  Since she has such a high tolerance to pain, she may have hurt it while playing yesterday and never made a sound.  I made a doctor's appt for her tomorrow and will get her checked out.  Bless her heart.    (An update on this, I typed this up around 1100 and it's 1800 now, Chris is on the way to the ER with her.  She now has a rash from head to toe and her toe is even worse.  Wondering if something bit her!)

By the way, be on the lookout for our blog makeover!  It will happen soon.  We had one of our adoption friends create something for us and in exchange, we have donated to one of our favorite RR kids!  I'll share more on this later!

But anyway, the speech therapist will be here any minute for Little G.  I better run!

Love and Hugs!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

As If It Were Yesterday...

I have been thinking a lot lately about Griffin's orphanage and it feels so much like we were there only yesterday.  I can still feel the breeze, smell the soup cooking in the kitchen, remember the exact thoughts I was thinking as I made my walk from the orphanage gate to the groupa door each day, still see the 3 little boys that moved to the edge of their playpen so that they could see us each day as we waited for our Griffin to be brought to us.  I'm not sure I will ever forget.  I'm not sure that it will ever start to fade.  I'm not sure that I ever want it to...because these reminders motivate me to help, to raise awareness, to find a way to change a child's life. 

I honestly don't have the words right now... just the memories that haunt me, inspire me, motivate me each day.

Ollie...sweet Ollie.  One day your family will find you.  Until then, I will pray continously for you.  And for the others who are there, waiting... I will pray for you, too.  Our Heavenly Father loves you.

Every child deserves a family.  No matter their needs.  No matter their condition.  No matter how many chromosomes they have.  Every child needs a mommy and a daddy.

Could you be that family?

Would I do this all over again, knowing then what I know now?  Absolutely.  No doubt about it.  Griffin is ours.

Is it hard?   Yeah, sometimes, but I never expected it to be easy!  I honestly have a harder time with Little G!

Does he fit in?  Yep.  As we figure him out, he is blending in more and more every day! 

Questions?  Please ask!

If you feel that God is calling you to adopt, listen.  Trust me, listen. 

Then obey...

Then go!

God doesn't make mistakes. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Having Papa Around...

Maria's View-

Today has gotten off to a fabulous start!  Dude started yelling in his crib at 0745 and Chris got up to take care of him.  You would think that I would sleep in, but nope, I stumbled out of bed 5 minutes later.  I guess I was just so tired because I caught myself just before I barged into Little G's bedroom!  I don't know what I was thinking!  (and I've done this before.)  Anyway, as I type this, it's 1000 and Little G is STILL asleep!  woo-hoo!!  When she sleeps in, it allows for me to have a little one on one time with Griffin, which is so helpful.

Chris had already started feeding Griffin a scrambled egg when I made it down stairs.  I went over to say good morning to him and he gave me the biggest smile!  I went into the kitchen and decided to whip up some waffles and every time I would step out of view, he would let out a screech.  I would pop back into view and wave and he would wave back at me!  After the waffles were made, I snuggled with the dude for awhile, sang songs, rocked him in the recliner, tickled him until he was exhausted!  It made me wonder if he ever got tickled in the orphanage.  Probably not.  He loves it, though!  After about 45 minutes of our recliner time, we practiced our walking.  He gave us the most steps ever!  I would say that he was giving around 8-10 steps!  But what was so amazing to us is this:
I propped him against the couch and walked way out from him.  He would begin walking.  He would stop for balance and if he fell too soon, he would get up on all 4s and back crawl to the couch again so that he could upright himself and begin again!  If he fell about midway, he would would get up on all 4s and stand on his own.  Before falling, he would always stop and try to find his balance.   He never gave up.  He always finished it, even if he was only about 2 steps from me, he would stand and walk the rest of the way.  He is such a determined little boy!  Honestly, I think he was showing off for his Papa! :-)  It's nice to have him around all day long.  If Griffin would find the confidence to do so (I think he will very soon), he could be walking all of the time.   I LOVE MY FAMILY!

Seems that Griffin has found his voice with the toothbrush.  Oh my word.  He use to give us zero problems when we would brush his teeth.  Now, he pitches a huge fit!  It all began when I started letting him attempt to brush his own teeth.  HMMMM...I've created a monster.  LOL.  So now he has his own toothbrush while I brush his teeth with a different toothbrush.  However, he still pitches a huge fit.  Another battle that Mommy will win!  He may as well surrender now.

So I colored my hair and actually straightened it today.  Amazing what a little time can do in a day!   I was shocked at how long my hair actually is when it's straight.  And wouldn't you know it would rain today.  So I will be all frizzy headed in about an hour.  But anyway... 

Have a great Saturday, y'all!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

To Sign or Not To Sign, It's No Longer a Question...

Maria's View -

So... I have a moment to actually explain my mixed feelings on sign language.  I think it's a great way to communicate but I have had many opinions from parents of children with Down syndrome, some encourage it, some don't.  So I'm definitely listening!

I have two little ones under the same roof with the same, yet very different needs.  Communication.  They are both struggling to communicate.  Little G was a late speaker.  At 21 months old, I still stretch to say that she can say 8 words, and those words do not sound the way they should, due to the fact that she couldn't hear correctly most of her life.  She uses a few signs to communicate her needs but I am finding that she has stopped trying to speak for those words that she knows how to sign.  Now our speech therapist is trying to use her hands on Little G's mouth to help her recognize how she should form words with her lips.  What does Little G do with that information?  She thinks that the speech therapist's motions towards her mouth is actually a different way to sign.  For example, Little G knows how to sign 'open'.  She pronounces it "goon-ka".  The speech therapist has started putting her fingers around Little Gs mouth in a way to try to pucker her lips up to form the 'o' sound, and them closes them down, to form the 'pen'.  Little G now thinks the correct sign is what the speech therapist is now doing with her lips.  So when she wants something opened, she doesn't attempt to say it, she just does the motions with her fingers of what the speech therapist does with her mouth.  Confusing, I know.  I know no better way to explain it!  lol.

However, Giffin is different, but still the same.  They both get extremely frustrated because they can't communicate their needs well!  With Little G, I need to focus less with signs and more with the words.  So to dive in with sign language with Griffin is going to include Little G as well.  No way around it!  BUT, Griffin needs sign language.  The difference is night and day with meal times now that he can simply sign 'more'.  That tells me so much about him.  I'm going to move forward with signing for now and just keep it simple with 'more', 'play', 'all done', and 'drink'.    Those signs seems to do well for Little G.

So, we will just see how it goes!  :-) 

Both of the little ones are picking up on each other's ways.  For instance, Little G has always held her highchair tray in place so that I can't take her out of the highchair.  Griffin is doing that now.  These kids are so funny!  Mommy is stronger, much, much stronger.  I will win! :-)

Griffin has started a game with his bib.  Kind of drives me nuts, but the joy on his face when he does this totally cancels that out.  I use the bibs that pull over his head like shirts.  He will pull it off, wad it up, and throw it on the floor.  I will pick it up, say 'no no no!' and hold it out to where he will have to stick his head back through all on his own.  Well, he loves this and he succeeds at getting it back on mostly on his own!  Then he will grin ear to ear, tuck the bib down so that it's not on the tray, and go for the next bite.  If I don't catch him quickly enough, he will rip his bib back off, and repeat, over and over and over again.   I love that his personality is shining through!  He's got some mischief in him!

Today is the last class for Big G's tennis lessons and then I'm taking her out for a late lunch with friends!  I hope the rain holds off so that the class will actually happen!


Chris's View -

It’s funny how one single quote can have such a dramatic impact in your life.
Many times throughout my military career, and no doubt many of ya’ll out there have experienced something similar to what happened to me a few days ago.  It amazes me how someone who says so little can resonate so deeply.  While talking over some military issues with my First Sergeant, he provided me the following quote:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education alone will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

I do not know who originally uttered these words, but isn’t it true on so many levels?  It applies to every single thing in life.  Without persistence and determination to follow God’s will for our lives, our little Dude would not have a forever family.  Without determination, we would not have been able to persevere through the trials we faced through our journey, and the journey still ahead.
See, these are gifts that God gives to some people.  In our situation, I think God blessed me with persistence (ask Maria and she’ll probably use a different word, most likely stubborn, but I guess it’s a matter of perspective on that one, LOL!) and he blessed Maria with determination… so we had to work together to come to our end… or rather, together, we were the means to God’s end state. 
We could have all the parenting skills (talent) in the world and still not have made this adoption work, nor would it be a guarantee that our family would be able to handle the adoption as the future becomes the present.
We could be as smart as any man or woman (genius) in the world and still not have succeeded in the adoption process or be able to keep our family stable into the future.
We could read every book in print (education) about parenting adopted children, or children with Down syndrome, or family psychology, etc., and our family might still be as dysfunctional as the next.
See, these things alone could not have helped us endure the trials we faced on our adoption road, nor will they ensure a smooth road as we travel forward.  Persistence and determination though, while they will not smooth the road we traveled and are yet to travel, they make sure, no matter what trials we may face, we ultimately know that God will get us through it.  These gifts ensure we can roll with the punches, and God knows he can trust us to navigate the hills & valleys, smooth roads & rough, to get to the end state he has pointed us toward.
See ya’ll later!

A Special Bonus -

Since ya'll are such loyal followers of our blog, we wanted to give ya'll something a little extra today.  As many know, we found our Middle G through a ministry called Reece's Rainbow.  They are always doing awareness campaigns to bring more attention to the needs of special needs children who are suffering through life in an orphanage or institution.  They have been very successful in being a catalyst to getting many children adopted and into forever families across the years.  Maria was surfing their site not to long ago and found that they had started a new awareness campaign, called It Makes a Difference to This One.  It is based on this story:

Did you notice?  The top left corner of the story?  Yup yup!  Finn!  Griffin's Reece's Rainbow name is the first name on the awareness campaign artwork!  Yes, we are proud parents, but more so, we are praying that this awareness campaign will be the most successful of all time!  Every child deserves a forever family, and as Reece's Rainbow says, every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Developmental Pediatric Appt

Maria's View-

Our appt with Griffin's Developmental Specialist was awesome!  I love this doctor!  He was just amazing.  He began by actually coming to the waiting room to get us and introduced himself before we even stood to go back with him.  He took us to the tech who did all of Griffin's measurements and weight and then she took us back to Dr. F.  His office was awesome and I could see that Griffin couldn't wait to get up and explore.  He immediately started observing Griffin and said that he was amazed at what he was seeing compared to what he expected (with orphanage delays on top of Ds).  He got down on Griffin's level and played with him while all decked out in his BDU's.  He engaged him in toys, played Patty Cake, tossed him into the air, watched him walk, crawl, explore, redirected him, and was just so kindhearted.  What I really appreciated the most was that he treated him like he would have treated our biological children.  He treated us as if we were completely normal for adopting this little boy.  No "what were you thinking?", No "you've got a long road ahead of you", No, "why did you want to adopt him?" Just nothing but a desire to do the best he can for our son.

So we went to the appt with a list of questions and for 1 1/2 hours, he answered them all, and added his thoughts and concerns.  First of all, he wants to take things slow for Griffin's sake.  I really appreciate that because that's the way we feel as well.  He wants us to start Occupational Therapy.   He feels that since Little G is in speech, that I can use those techniques to help Griffin on my own, until he goes to Preschool.  He feels that since he picked up on signing 'more' so quickly, that it may be a good idea to teach him more signs.  I have mixed feelings about that but as of right now, he's not even really attempting to form words.  Signing would be better than nothing.

He also wants him to start Preschool as soon as possible.  I have mixed feelings about this as well since we are dealing with bonding.  He has worked with families who have adopted and he still feels that Griffin is a great candidate for PreK.  We have to enroll him and then he has to be evaluated/tested to make sure he qualifies (he does), and then he will be able to start.  So it may not be until October/November before he is placed in a classroom.  That's fine with me!  That will just give him some extra time at home for bonding.  In PreK, he will receive even more therapy, to include physical, occupational, and speech therapies.  It is 4 days a week for 2 1/2 hours per day.

He wants us to go ahead with the GI study to test for Celiac Disease, ophthalmology to see if he should be wearing glasses and to possibly get his tear ducts stinted, endocrinology just to make sure his thyroid is okay (precautionary), have his hearing checked, and that may be just about it.  He was pretty amazed by how healthy he is!  Also, another precautionary thing is that we will get in a cervical spine x-ray to check for atlantoaxial or occipitoatlantal instability.  We need to make sure his neck is strong so that we can get him into football ASAP!  :-)

As far as the shape of his head goes, he doesn't feel that there is anything that we can do to help that unless we take him to surgery.  They would have to sculpt his head with bone grafts and plates so we don't feel that it would be in his best interest.  We were hoping that he could be fitted for helmets but he has passed the age of that (he thinks), so he will double check with the right department to make sure.

We have no idea why he was running fever because his ears and throat checked out fine.  He said that he is very susceptible to catching things because of the sheltered life he has lived in the orphanage.  He basically lived in a bubble...when a child got sick, they quarantined the sick child to cut back on exposure to the groupas.  So we will probably be seeing a lot of this.

We will go register him for school tomorrow and get that ball rolling.  I can't believe that I already need to buy him a backpack and a lunch box!!  He's too tiny for school!

On the home front, we are noticing that Griffin is turning away certain food!  This is huge!  When he had his fever the other night and refused food, I noticed that he was not signing 'more'.  I even tried to make him sign it, just thinking that he may not have felt well enough to deal with the signs, but that wasn't the case!  He wasn't signing 'more' because he didn't want more!  He made the connection.  It's not just a motion to him, it means what it means!  He is communicating.  I am so proud of him! 

He also got his first haircut today!  And it didn't go so well!  Apparently, they only did scissor cuts in the orphanage. :-/  So we had to hold him down some.  He did sit well every now and then but he wasn't happy about it at all.  If we can't find a barber to do just a scissor cut, we may have a very shaggy-headed boy running around. :-)

But anyway, today was very insightful and I feel that Griffin is in extremely great hands with Dr. F.  He was very knowledgeable and if he didn't know the answer to one of our questions, he wrote it down, and will get back to us on it.  BTW, Dr. F noticed that Chris was wearing his USM jersey and told us that he was the Behavioral specialist there around 2006!  Pretty awesome!  SMTTT! :-)

As we were leaving, he said that he felt that Griffin would have everything he needs at this base and that he is excited to see how far he will go in 2 months time!  He said that he is also going to put us in contact with another family who has a child with Ds about the same size and age as Griffin.  I'm pretty excited about that.

Chris is about to take Big G to the pool and I'm about to crash on the couch with the little ones.  (BTW, it's cold outside today!)

Hope y'all are having a great day!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Doing Better!

Maria's View-

I had the privilege of sharing my thoughts with a friend today on what it's like to have children.  It really got me to thinking a lot about what kind of mother I am and what kind of mother I strive to be.  I really needed this conversation!  It makes me want to step it up even more.  So thank you, friend!  I can talk about my children all day and all night! :-)  Here is a little of my side of the conversation and I added a bit as I have reflected on the conversation throughout the day:

I thought my life was awesome without kids... I was so wrong. I had no idea just how much more awesome life is WITH kids. There is something so refreshing about seeing the world all over again through the eyes of your child. You teach them everything they know because they start out as a blank canvas. There is no person on this planet that will love you the way your child loves you... and it's so unconditional, the way love always should be. Having children changes everything, for the best.  The world could crumble around me but when my children crawl into my lap, nothing else matter.  They love me.  They need me.  They give my life so much more purpose.  I focus on living my life for God, but also living it as a mother... I am no longer in the equation at all.

When I'm 70 years old, I hope that my future looks like this, Lord willing:  The hubs and I sitting on the front porch in our porch swing with our children hanging out with us...and our grandchildren running around the yard. I hope, I wish, I pray!!!   Family is a blessing...Family is where it's at!  The world will fade away, but families are there to stay.

What is your legacy? I want to leave a legacy behind that means something.   I may not always get it right and I may make mistakes along the way, but what did I do with those mistakes?  How did I change my ways?   How did I make it right?   What am I leaving behind for my children to learn from?   What their lives are revolving around right now is unconditional love.  By teaching them about God's unconditional love and by loving them unconditionally myself, I hope that I am teaching them that love is real, it exists, and if you have love in your life and you love others unconditionally, life is awesome, and it is! 

So yeah, I'm gonna do better... I am doing better!

As for someone else who's doing better, Griffin has had no fever today!  I gave him another dose of Tylenol at midnight and then didn't have to give him any more after that.  I honestly have no idea what is wrong with him.  He will see his behavioral/developmental specialist tomorrow who is a pediatrician so I'm going to see if he will investigate for me.  I'm suspecting an ear or throat issue.  He keeps putting his hands to his mouth a lot, like he's wanting something or trying to tell me something.  I can't, for the life of me, see enough of his throat to tell if it's even red.  But by being that his fever is gone, I know he must be recovering. 

He did the sweetest thing tonight!  After practicing his walking, I gave him a sippy cup of diluted juice in the living room and then walked away to get some stuff done.  He finished his juice and cruised over to Chris to hand him the empty sippy cup!  What a sweetheart! 

By the way, my friend mailed me some bells so I can start making more Giraffe Meats again!  Yeah!!!  I'll get started on them this week!

I'll keep y'all updated on tomorrow's appointment! 

Thank you for praying for our little dude!

Love and Hugs!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Fever

Well, I could tell that Griffin was being a little more quiet than normal.  His nose has been a bit stuffier for the past 2 days as well so I had a feeling he was getting sick.  Sure enough, this evening he started running a fever.  I'm guessing that the stuffy nose may be a symptom but honestly, he's always a bit stuffy.  His temp only got up to 101 but I went ahead and gave him Tylenol.  Griffin refused his dinner and cried when I tried to get him to taste the food.  Very unlike him, as you well know!  I ended up getting a Buddy fruit pouch and a box of raisins in him, along with a sippy cup of juice.  First fevers are always kind of scary.  We will check him through the night and take him to the ER if we need to.

Isn't he just the cutest little guy?  He is the best snuggler ever!

Today was a huge day in the life of my BFF!  She and her husband went to court today and adopted a little boy who also has Ds.  I will post the link to their blog once they are able to go public again!  This little boy is absolutely adorable and we are all looking forward to meeting him in person!  Can't wait!  We have already determined that Griffin and Cooper will be best friends!  :-)

But anyway, please pray for our little dude.  Also, my BFF just told me that their newly adopted son is running a fever as well.  Please send up some prayers for them as well!  They have a lot of paper chasing and medical appts before they fly home.  I really hope that this is just a quick little cold for both of them.  Thank you so much!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012


We are so proud of our little dude!  He did 3 new things today!

1.  When I was holding him in the recliner this morning, Little G wanted to be held.  So I stood Griffin up at the book basket, thinking he would entertain himself with the books while I held her.   WRONG!  He immediately protested when I put him down!  And then he turned around and cruised back to me with his arms outstretched!  He wanted me! :-)

2.  Big G made her way to the recliner and sat next to me.  She asked to hold Griffin so I sat him on her lap.  Immediately, Griffin started inching his way back over to where he was fully sitting in my lap again!  Yeah!!!

3.  He refused Cheerios!  He wouldn't feed them to himself and he wouldn't let me feed him.  He threw them off of his highchair.  This is huge!  Definitely progress! 

Every single day, Griffin is coming into his own little person.  No more little orphanage robot.  He is developing his personality and I just love it!  After the little ones were awake this morning, they had already succeeded in throwing toys all over the place.

Little G loves for me to cradle her like a baby, and then start swinging her hard to the rhythm of 1-2-3 and then I toss her onto the couch.  She is hyposensitive, therefore she loves to be rough housed.  Well, I have been noticing that Griffin has been watching intently.  The first time I did that to him (gently of course), he didn't like it.  I have eased him into it and now he loves it!  He throws his hands up in the air in an excited kind of way and if I don't immediately scoop him up for a repeat, he will protest.  He is so much fun!  (and so much lighter than Little G!)

He has discovered how to undock our little robot vacuum that I have nicknamed "Precious" and then he crawls after it.  Today, he blocked it into a corner.  Little G despises it and hides when she hears it kick on.  He is such a brave and curious little boy!

But anyway, lots of fun going on here and I am so blessed to have my 3 children!  Children are definitely a blessing from God.  From the words of my sweet daddy who has gone on to be with the Lord, "my life became complete when God gave me my 3 children!" I couldn't agree more.

Love and Hugs!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

He Signs 'More'!

So it only took 30 minutes to teach our son how to sign 'more' and it has made his meal times so much easier for him.  His food frustration has decreased drastically!  In the video, you will see that he wants to have my hands on his arms before he signs.  However, I'm not doing anything for him other than providing him the support that he wants.  My hands are not controlling his signing at all.  I hope to have him signing independently soon!  You will also notice that he grabs my hand after he signs because he wants to keep me close.  He is so adorable!  He is super excited in this video and I'm glad I captured it!

So proud of my sweet boy!

Enjoy!! (I just realized that it didn't load well and with our slow internet connection here in Germany it took us an hour to upload this!  I'll reload it tomorrow!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Relaxing Saturday

Mom's View-

This morning, Griffin decided to wake up at 0530!!  That's a bit too early for me, so we both stumbled down stairs and had some scrambled eggs.  Then we spent some quality time in the recliner together.  He loves to be rocked and I love to rock him. :-)  Once the hubs was up, I asked him if he wanted to go to the flea market and he was like, "not really", so I jumped in the shower and snuck out of the house at 0800 this morning!  Amazing.   I love going to the flea market on base and I managed to buy Big G 2 dress up costumes and 5 sweaters for a whopping $7.50.  Yeah!  So Big G has spent the day looking like a medieval princess.

Big G's friend, CJ came over to play while his mother did some moving, so we went over to the park and had a great time playing.  All of the kids loved the slide, and Griffin and Little G could do it all on their own!  All I had to do was boost them up to the platform and away they went!

This evening, as I was changing Little G's diaper at the changing table, hubs was holding Griffin in the recliner.  I saw that he was watching me, so I yelled out, "HEY, GRIFFIN!"  He got the hugest smile on his face and literally jumped out of the recliner towards me.  Chris caught him by the leg!  I'd say that's progress!  What an angel.

But anyway, I'll leave you with some pictures of our day!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Love and Hugs!

Okay, so maybe I enjoyed the slide, too!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Celebrity Status

I just don't get it.  Celebrities are just people who are doing their job in the public eye.  I have never been one to get all 'star struck'... although, I would love to meet Dolly Parton...but if I ran into her, I would just say, "Hey, how's it going?  I love 'Islands in the Stream'.  And Dollywood.  Did you really live on ketchup soup before you were famous?  Would you like to meet 3 of the most awesome kids in the world?"  but anyway... what I'm getting at is this:

Seeing your child in a single picture for several months and then meeting him in person...yeah, I was 'star struck'.

At the orphanage, I remember sitting on the bench in front of the play shed that we normally let Griffin play in and thinking, "wow...it's him.  It's really him.  The little boy in the picture.  He's right here in front of me.  I can actually touch him.  He smiled at ME!" 

While at the airport in New Orleans, Chris and Griffin met a couple of men from the cast of Swamp People. Here's the blog post on that. As you know, we love that show, but the first thing that I thought when Chris told me that they got the chance to meet him was, "what did they say to Griffin?  Were they kind to my son?" My next thought was, "wow, those guys just met my son. They are so blessed!" Because, yeah, my son is just that amazing to me. My little star. :-)  (and for the record, they were extremely kind)

Why are people so caught up in Hollywood?  What is the importance in it?  Pictures, posters, magazines, gossip, dying to know what's going on with this celebrity or that one.  Even though I could care less about meeting a celebrity, I love watching E T, so I'm preaching to myself here...but if you can get interested in a celebrity, what about shifting your interest into this little guy!  He was on my list of possible children to adopt.  Sad to have to say that, but yes, we had a list of children that we prayed over, and Ollie was on that list.  I have prayed over his picture numerous days, just as long as I have been committed to my Griffin.  He's definitely worth your attention!  I was so blessed to be in his presence for many days and the first time I physically laid eyes on him, my heart started pounding.  I was so excited and just wanted to rush over and meet him!   He is absolutely amazing and handsome.   The nanny let me shake his hand!  He smiled at me.  Yeah, and I was 'star struck' once again.  I wish I could have brought him home, too.  But he belongs to someone, some day.  He has a family out there somewhere but they just haven't found him yet.  I hope that he doesn't have to wait as long as Griffin did.  For every year that a child spends in an orphanage, it can take 6 months to recover from it.  So with Griffin, we are looking at 18 months of recovery and then we will see who the 'real' Griffin is.  From what I see of Griffin, though, and Ollie, is that they are both pretty amazing, as is!  Thankfully, these 2 boys have been in a good orphanage, and I saw first hand that Ollie had a nanny who seemed to genuinely care for him.  Praise God for that.

And speaking of God...He's at the top of my list of 'celebrities' that I can't wait to meet...along with Jesus...John the Baptist...and pretty much everyone in the bible...martyrs and missionaries, those who have given their lives for Christ.  That's where it's at, y'all.   Yeah, I'm doing a little soul cleaning and I don't think I'll be watching E T anymore. :-)  Convicted.

And speaking of being convicted, yeah, God is getting me good on not being in His Word as much as I should.  So I am making the commitment to read in Proverbs every day.  Example, if it's July 13, I will read Proverbs 13.  And as my friend suggested, if I can read more, I will read Psalm 13...and if I have even more time, I will read Psalm 113.  See the pattern?  The next day, I will move on to Proverbs 14, etc.  Want to join along?  I am going to read it to Big G over breakfast every morning.  I'm also going to try to start memorizing a new bible verse every week.  I'll start posting the verse on here so that you can join along in memorization, if you would like!

On a Griffin note, he has gained back 2 lbs of healthy weight!  He had dropped down to 20 lbs soon after getting him home, but it was because he was so impacted.  But now, he is back up to 22 lbs and filling out his PJ's nicely tonight! :-)

But anyway, thanks for following along with us and supporting us through this stressful but exciting time in our lives.  Our little boy is doing amazingly well and fitting right in.  Only God can do that.  He is pretty amazing.

Love and Hugs!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Maria's View- 

This morning, Chris took Big G to Drama camp and also took Griffin to his Cardiology appointment.  I stayed at home with Little G because she recently had a stomach virus and I want to keep her close for a few more days.  I'll let Chris share the details with you on how the Cardio. went!  It's great news, though!

An amazing thing happened today.  For lunch, I chopped up chicken breast, a cheese stick, and a nectarine for the little ones' lunches.  Griffin would eat everything off of the spoon, but when I got a phone call, I placed a piece of cheese on his high chair so that I could keep him happy, and he threw it across the room!  Do you understand how amazing this is?!  He chose to NOT eat something.  I couldn't even hear what the nurse was telling me on the phone, I was so shocked!  I put a piece on the spoon and gave it to him, and he opened his mouth for me to shovel it in.  I didn't, because I was still experimenting.  I backed the spoon off, he didn't protest, so I dropped the cheese onto the high chair tray, and he picked it up and threw it across the room.  AWESOME!  No cheese for my dude.  So proud of him!  So, if I'm spoon feeding him, he feels the need to eat every bite.  If he has a choice, he doesn't feel the need. 

About the nurse that called me, I bet you are wondering, right?  Well, she called to tell us that Griffin's endoscopy procedure is scheduled for July 26 to test for Celiac Disease.  I'm pretty anxious about this and looking forward to it, too.  I want him to feel great and if he has Celiac, I'm sure that the food we are giving him doesn't make him feel so great.  However, we can't change his diet now because it will throw the test off.  So we are in a holding pattern until we get some answers.

But anyway, that's about all I've got for today!  It's a rainy, chilly day here in Germany and I miss the warmth!  Chris is off through Saturday and I have a friend coming over to take a walk with me tonight if the weather holds out.  Looking forward to it!

Enjoy your Thursday!!

Chris's View-

Yeah, we thought the GI appointment was scheduled for the 26th, but more on that later.

This morning, I had to hit the ground running.  I got up and did my thing, while Maria got the two eldest G's ready.  I dropped Big G off at her drama camp, then me & Middle G took off to find the hospital in K-town where his appointment was.  The hospital was tucked back in a residential area and if I wouldn't have had a GPS, I'm sure I would've never found the place.  Parking was a hassle at first, till I found the tiny spaced parking garage... but then again, all European parking spots are small.  I finally got parked and found where I was supposed to go.

Everyone there was AMAZING!  I so wish our military health care providers were this good!  We got to see the head of the Pediatric Department, plus he's a Cardiologist, so that is awesome!  We got settled in the first room and they hooked him up for an EKG (or is it an EEG?) and the nurse explained that he needed to be still for 10 seconds... uh... yeah... that's not happening!  LOL!  He was all over the place.  Finally I had to basically straddle him to keep him still.  She finally told me that he was finished and to just put his shirt back on and wait in the hallway for a second.

Literally, within seconds, we were called into the doctor's room.  He had the over bed heater on for Griffin and it was nice & comfy in there... a little too toasty after awhile though.  Griffin sat contently on the bed, eating a box of raisins.  He really likes his raisins, let me tell you!  The doctor came in and examined him, moving joints, listening to his heart & breathing, squeezing on his head... wait a second... this isn't just a normal cardiology referral, this guy ACTUALLY CARES!  Wow!  He did a full up exam, asked in-depth questions, even questioning why he is taking the medicine he is on for his latent Tb when he has a clean x-ray.  He was great & Griffin seemed to really respond to him.

Next, he pulled out the ultrasound machine.  Griffin wasn't having any of that!  Well, until the doctor handed me this little electronic, light-up toy that simply drew Griffin in.  He was mesmerized by this toy.  He was able to do whatever check he wanted to, as long as I was running that toy.  He checked out his heart and said, "For his stature, his heart is pristinely perfect."  EXCELLENT!  There is no septum issues, no valve issues, no flow issues, no holes, no murmurs, no irregularities, nothing!  Awesome... so now, let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief!

So, I bring Griffin home & go back to get Gracie & brought her back home.  While I was home dropping Griffin off & eating lunch, Maria got the call that we have to take Griffin to the Pediatric clinic at the base to get an MRSA swab done.  This is a standard thing that is required for any overnight procedures at German hospitals.  This tests for a type of staph infection that is antibiotic resistant.  Oh yeah, this pertains to his GI referral that we thought was scheduled for the 26th.  Well, I took Griffin to the base, dropped off some papers, got the swab done, and was waiting to speak to the doctor about a separate issue when Griffin decided to melt down.  It was honestly the worst he has acted out that was not over food.

After the doctor saw us, I walked down to the TRICARE office to get a copy of the authorization to go to Homburg teaching hospital, where his GI appointment was scheduled, since we got told we had the appointment date.  I ask at the counter, nope... not there.  So, I ask to speak with the TRICARE representative who has been working the case.  She called me back and apologized that the appointment still wasn't scheduled.  We have been working on trying to get this appointment scheduled for well over a week now.  So, not being ready is not the answer I was looking to hear.  So, she called the hospital with me sitting there.  I guess they still didn't want to schedule it until they got the results from the MRSA swab, but they went ahead & scheduled it for the 19th... wait... didn't they tell Maria the 26th?!?!?  Something is going on.  Not to mention, Griffin has his developmental peds appointment that morning.  She said it was the only thing available until mid-August.  Unsat in my book!  We have been waiting on this forever now.  Next, she floored me!

This next piece of info literally kicked me in the junk, then spit in my eyes while I was down.  Wait for it... we could not stay with him in the hospital unless we pay out of pocket for it... an estimated $200 at the very least, that is not claimable or reimbursable by TRICARE!  Okay, you have got to be joking me!  This is a 3 year old child, who was just brought here from an orphanage.  He would instantly think we left him in another orphanage, thus resulting in the possible regression of every bit of progress we have made since we got him home and a complete loss of trust.  Not to mention, this will damage us too, as we are all still going through the bonding process.  I told her I need to know who to file a complaint with, since I cannot believe TRICARE will not cover this expense, being as I have no other option but to pay the fee out of pocket, since the base GI clinic will only see patients that are 18 or older. 
Then she tells me that he would check in on the 19th between 10 & 11 am.  He would be pre-opped that day, then the next, he would get his procedure, then they would observe him overnight, then he'd get to go home the next day... if there are no complications.  Wait a second, he's getting a scope shoved down his throat and biopsy taken to check why his celiac markers were elevated, not getting a heart bypass!  I get it, and I am glad they are trying to protect my child, and I could totally buy a one-night stay, but not 3 days and 2 nights.  That's overkill, and possible insurance fraud in my opinion.  Even the pediatrician at the base hospital thinks it's too long. 

A little upset, I asked if we were locked in to using the Homburg teaching hospital.  She said that she could try to check at the hospital I used for his cardiology appointment.  Sure enough we can, but they are going to require the same stay, and they will charge us to stay with him in that hospital too.  At least I know the caliber of the doctor who will be doing the procedure... the head of the pediatric department, who is also a cardiologist, who I guess can also do a scope & biopsy, who has experience with my son, who genuinely cares, who is a kind man, & one of the best physicians I have met in 35 years... we are going to have to suck it up on this one.

See ya'll later!