Thursday, August 30, 2012

There's a Hole in the Wall & Our Katrina Story

SOOOOO.  One of my little ones put a hole in our wall and I'm not sure which one is the guiltiest, but one of them definitely is.  Apparently, someone knocked a toy into it and made the tiniest hole that has slowly grown over the past month to about the size of a nickle.  Well, I caught Griffin with is xylophone stick sticking it into that hole.  I took it away from him and told him 'no'.  I have never noticed him messing with it anymore, unless he is very sneaky.  Well, a few days ago, Little G brought me a CHUNK OF SHEETROCK, making the hole large enough to put my fist into it.  <sigh>  Now to explain it to our landlord.

Chris went over and got him last night and he came into our living room (he doesn't speak English), and he immediately started shaking his head and said "oh!"  He got down on all fours and examined the hole very closely, ha ha, and then motioned with his hands 'short' as in height and then said 'boy'.  We nodded our heads and then he chuckled a little.  WHEW!  I'm glad he thought it was funny.  And I'm assuming he immediately thought it was Griffin simply because we've never had damage like this before he came into the picture.  However, Little G is very destructive so he really has no idea.  So is Griffin more guilty than Little G?  doubt it.

Big G has her first cheer practice last night and had a blast!  I think she wasn't expecting it to be fun and was a little too nervous about it.  She was all smiles from the 1st minute.  She learned 5 cheers and got her cute cheer uniform.  Afterwards, she and I had a mommy/daughter date to the food court for dinner...and then to the BX to buy her some shoes and sweats for cheer.  We are so excited to watch her cheer at her first game in September.

But anyway, I'm so glad to hear that all of my friends and family are safe from the hurricane down south.  So thankful that it wasn't any worse than what it was.  Hurricane Katrina was just horrible.  Would you like to know our story? I wasn't planning on blogging about this at all, but here it is.  Chris, Big G, and I were living in CA, and my dad was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Big G and I were making monthly trips to MS to visit my dad until our humanitarian move got approved.  Big G was only 3 months old when we landed in MS one week before Katrina hit.  What a week to choose, right?  I remember sitting in the recliner at my parent's home watching the news as the hurricane tracker centered up right through our city.  Talk about scary.  We stocked up on water, filled our tubs and sinks up with water, filled up a couple of gas cans, but that's about it.  Then we just waited.

That morning, I woke up and looked out the window to see strong winds causing our bench swings to flip backwards, leaves were everywhere.  As the hurricane got closer, we started seeing bits of shingles snap across the sky.  The sky reminded me of watching a tv show plagued with static.  I remember rocking my tiny little Big G in the recliner that I had turned toward the window and I had my eye on a tall pine that was leaning to the side.  I thought to myself that if I sat there long enough that I would probably see it fall.  I drifted off and woke up to find it on the ground.

Since all of the shingles were being ripped off of the roof, it started leaking.  My dad was so sick but he would suggest that my brother would do things to try to keep damage from getting worse.  I remember at one point, my dad made his way out to the back porch to see what damage was happening to our timber.  I held a towel around his shoulders to try to keep the rain from blowing in on him, and then I assisted him back inside.  The sheer agony on his face from not being able to do anything to protect his land and home, along with the pain he was feeling from not being able to receive his chemo treatment that day was just too much for him.  My brother and I went into the attic to try to collect water that was leaking through the roof, just to ease his mind.  Honestly, there was just nothing we could do.  My dad was getting worse and needed his chemo treatment but no hospital would agree to give it to him under these circumstances.

Once the storm had passed, my mother attempted to take my daddy to 2 local hospitals, neither able to help him due to the power outage and the type of treatment he needed.  My brave mother took matters into her own hands and decided to drive him 80 miles north to Jackson, MS in order to get him the help he needed.  She had a rough drive ahead due to fallen trees and debris.  At one point, she actually had to drive through a golf course.  But they made it and my dad was safely in a hospital and out of the 100+ degree heat.

My brother, sister, and I, along with our Big G and niece, Ky, hunkered down at home, deciding what we should do.  My brother, the awesome man  he is, dove right in with helping to remove fallen trees, tarping roofs, etc.  A family friend of ours helped my brother tarp our own house.  By the end of the next few days, my brother would practically collapse in exhaustion from all of the hard work.  I remember taking his filthy gasoline infused clothing and hand washing them in rain water in an old ice chest. 

It started to become very obvious to us that we did not stock enough water or diapers for our girls.  My sister and I had to drive until we found a gas station that had enough water for us to buy.  Talk about stressful!  Gas lines were hours long and if you didn't have enough gas in your car to make your way through the line, then you were out of luck.  We had a generator and would use that periodically to cool off with A/C.  Our poor baby girls were so hot and sweaty with diaper rashes that continued to get worse.   People were starting to get desperate and causing them to do horrible things to others over bags of ice and gas.  It was scary to actually go to sleep at night for fear of what someone may try to break in and do.  We pulled mattresses into the living room and practically slept in shifts.

I stayed for 3 days after Katrina and once Jackson Airport reopened, Chris had my tickets changed.  My brother, sister, and I, along with our girls, loaded up and made the trip to see our daddy in the hospital before they took me to the airport.  It was so good to see him doing much better than when he was at home, but it was so painful to leave under all of the circumstances. 

I kept myself together until Chris picked me up at the airport and we were driving home... and then I lost it.  I cried for my daddy, more than anything, pleading with God to heal him... I prayed for safety for my family... I cried that I was so far away from them.  And when I got home, I noticed a half-full bottle of water on my nightstand that I had a very hard time throwing away.  Water was just that valuable to me.

But anyway, Big G has no idea what she endured at such a young age.  She has no idea the fear that Chris had for us as we were stuck in the direct path of that horrible storm...and the waiting...and not having a way to communicate to let him know we were okay.  God protected us... He provided for us.  And I pray that our country never experiences anything like that ever again.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big G's First Day of 2nd Grade/Griffin's Dental

Yesterday was a great day for our Big G.  She had a blast in 2nd grade, so much that she didn't want to come home!  I enjoyed school in my younger years but not like that.   She said that she made a new friend and that her favorite part of the day was spelling.  I just can't believe she is already in 2nd grade.  When we first arrived in Germany, she was finishing up 3s PreK!  I just can't believe it.  Time just needs to slow down.

Gracie picked her 'back to school' outfit and she chose the dress that she wore from the pictures on the last blog post.  She is such a girlie girl!  Loves dresses but I have always despised I really don't get it!  I just love her.  She has such a sweet heart and kind spirit, loving to her brother and sister, even though her sister always wants to pull her hair.  I just love everything about her.

Yesterday, Griffin did 2 firsts!  First off, he gave me a REAL hug!  He hugged me a few times during the day and let me tell you, those hugs are amazing!  Complete with back patting, rubbing my hair, and jibber jabber as if he's soothing me.  I love it.  I had goosebumps that lasted a good 5 minutes after the first hug he gave me! 

Secondly, Griffin can stop the bathtub drain!  I gave him a long bath last night for some extra play time and when I felt that bath time should come to an end, I twisted the knob to let the water out.  These German tubs are different in that the knob to let water out is about as big as my palm and pretty hard to turn!  The second that he heard the water start to leave, he scooted down to the drain, put his little hand on the knob, which was just a tiny bit larger than the knob, and was able to grip it just enough to stop the drain.  He then scooted back to his normal place in the tub and continued to play.  We did this over and over again because I just thought it was super cute! 

Something funny that Little G did the other day...she has gotten pretty good at blowing her nose, which I think is pretty amazing for someone so young!  About 2 days ago, Griffin received a gift in the mail and it was clothing.  I thought Little G was just admiring everything he got, but she picked up Griffin's new pair of jeans and blew her nose all over them before I could stop her!  haha.  She seriously cracks me up. 

Lately, Little G has been sleeping odd hours so she misses at least one, sometimes two meals.  So what I have been doing is fixing her plate and covering it with foil.  She LOVES this.  The second she notices it on her tray, her eyes get huge with excitement and she starts pointing and saying "yessssss", so I will put her in her high chair and let her rip the foil off.  I promise, she enjoys this more than opening gifts under a Christmas tree!  haha.  Makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

So Griffin had his dental cleaning today and did great!  Well, Chris took him, so I'm not sure the extent of his tears but Chris said he did well and only bit the dentist a few times.  haha.  She said that his dental hygiene is excellent and to keep doing what we are doing.   yeah!  So apparently, his teeth were brushed pretty well in the orphanage, unless his teeth are made of steel!  Chris texted this picture to me of Griffin before his appointment.  Apparently the dentist let him open up the drawers in her office to break the ice and he grabbed a handful of toothbrushes and tried to make his escape!  Chris said that once he was away from the dentist, he threw them up in the air and laughed hysterically.   Funny!

Big G is on the way to her dentist now with her Papa, while I watch the little ones.  I'm pretty sure she will do well, too!  Little G and Griffin are down for a nap and I'm about to take one, too!

I guess that's enough rambling for today.  Have a good one, y'all!  And to my family and friends down south, please stay safe in the storm!  My prayers are with y'all!  <<<HUGS>>>

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Funny to me/Pictures

Chris's View-

This month has been pretty great!

Since we got back after completing the adoption, we had not been able to make it back to church.  I have been working every Sunday until this month.  This month though, we have got to go to church every Sunday morning.  It's nice being back in God's house, and it's good to get "fed" with the congregation again.  Yes, while I know we are supposed to pray & study on our own when we cannot make it to church, it is good to be back in the fellowship of believers again.

Some pretty cool things have happened regarding church, even while we were out on our initial visit to Griffin's country.  I found a DVD that I spoke about before, called IndoctriNATION.  It's a documentary about the state of the American education system in regards to Christianity, and basically details the history of removal of Christianity from the classrooms.  Well, right before we left to go get Griffin, our new pastor arrived to the church, and low & behold, he is in the documentary!  I brought it up to him and he was surprised.  I delivered the DVD to him today to see his cameo.  He told me a little about what he thought it might be.

For about 4 years, a group within the Southern Baptist Convention felt that it was time for families to remove their children from the public schools, and switch to either private, Christian schools, or even better, home schooling.  He was on the opposite side of this view, and each of the 4 years, he voiced his stance on the floor at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting.  I told him that that was exactly what the DVD was showing.  Look at us... getting God's Word from a movie star!  LOL!

The funniest thing happened this morning when I dropped off the littles at Sunday School.  Little G walked in by herself for the first time ever... not a tear, not one ounce of hesitation.  She flung the gate opened and announced her presence!  It was very diva & so unlike her... yes, she acts like a diva sometimes, hence the nickname Diva Dee, but she would NEVER dream of doing this!  She was a champ this morning though.  I walked Griffin in and stood him by the toys he normally plays with.  As I stood back up, the lady who was over the class today asked, "Is this the Solomon twins?"  I replied, "Nope."  She looked at me funny and asked, "Solomon?  Right?"  "Yes, but they are not twins, Little G is 2 (almost), and Griffin is 3."  It made me laugh.  We knew we would get this some.  What made it funny was the look on the lady's face.  She was sure they were twins.  They are close in size... uh, no, not really, Little G is a full head taller than Griffin is.  I don't think they look anything alike, but I guess both of these things are not requirements to be twins.  I think what may have prompted the twins comment is our doing.  We have matching back packs for them... well, by matching I mean they are the same style.  Little G's is Disney Princesses, and are Griffin's is Batman.  I guess it could also have something to with them being in the same class, which I guess is uncommon for siblings, unless they are twins.  Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny.

About two weeks ago, we did summer pictures of the kids at Nanstein Castle ruins in Landstuhl.  It will be the last time for a while that we do pictures of our own kids!  It is so stressful & the kids just want to be held by us and it was extremely hard to get any pictures.  Little G put on her best Diva impersonation, but we got at least a few good ones!  LOL!  Griffin was very inquisitive, and continued his mellow manner.  Big G is growing so fast & is becoming more & more beautiful as the years pass.  It's hard to believe that she starts 2nd Grade tomorrow!  Does anyone know where the brakes are to keep this kid from growing up too fast?!?!?!

Enjoy the pics... see ya'll later!

Maria's View-

Okay, y'all may or may not know that I do photography, mostly as a hobby.  I have never in my life had a family give me more grief and stress than photographing my own!  haha.  I don't even try to tackle our family portraits anymore and will pay our photographer to do some great autumn pictures of us in October.  So excited about that! 

As I was working with the pictures last night, I couldn't help but laugh at all of Little G's faces and personalities.  I knew when I was taking them, that even though she was screaming her brains out, I would love them.  And I do.  Very much.  I posted a couple of funny ones, too.

Love and Hugs!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Little Monkey

So, I have a little escape artist on my hands.  2 to be exact.  I have practically gated the entire perimeter of my living room with two of those big play yards, joined to make one huge one, in order to keep Griffin away from the electronics and curtains, and to also keep them in the living room where everything is 100% Griffin-proofed.  Little G isn't too bad with things but Griffin loves to explore everything. 

Occasionally,  Big G someone will 'accidently' leave the gate open and before long, out comes Little G running full force and Griffin toddling through like a monkey, with his arms up in the air, swaying back and forth with his straight-legged monkey walk.  He even sounds like a monkey by squeaking out "ah ah ah!"  So cute.  When I round them back up, they are quite disappointed, but it has to be done.  Little G will no doubt make her way to the kitchen to beg for a snack, even though she has had plenty to eat, and Griffin will go straight to the Roomba.

Yesterday, I was standing on the freedom side of the gate, and called for Griffin.  As I waited for him to toddle on over, iCarly caught my attention.  So as I was standing there watching that, with my hands placed on the gate, Griffin had finally reached me.  Instead of scooping him up like I normally do, I continued to watch another minute of iCarly (yeah, ok, Swamp People are on break right now and iCarly is my latest guilty pleasure, thanks to Big G), I felt his little hand on mine.  I glanced down at him to see what he was going to do, and he lifted my hand up and placed it on the gate handle.  Let me tell you, this little boy doesn't miss ANYTHING.  He is incredibly smart and I absolutely love watching him reveal his brilliantness to me.  (is that even a word?)

Little G is feeling much better...I'd say her tummy is 100% back on track.  However, for the past 4 days, this little girl has taken 6 hour naps!  Yes, you read that right, 6 HOUR naps!  If she keeps this up, I'll call the nurse at our Pediatric clinic (she's on speed dial these days) and ask them to give her a check up.  She loves her naps because she still gets her pacifier during that time, but she doesn't love naps THAT much!  I'll give her a few more days to see if she goes back to her regular 2 hour nap.  (and yes, she is still going right back to sleep at her normal 7:30 bedtime!)

Griffin had an issue 2 days ago where he lost all desire to sign 'more' for his food for the day.  Signing 'more' shows me how strong his desire is to eat.  If he really loves something or is very hungry, his signing is powerful.  If the food is ok or not his favorite, he will weakly sign it...I just knew he was getting sick, but nothing ever presented itself.  He seems to be back on track now, too.  And just so you know, this little dude was pounding his fists together today for Mac and Cheese!  Finally, I have someone who will enjoy Mac and Cheese with me!  Yeah!  Oh!!  Ovaltine and warm milk is a huge hit with Griffin!  He drank 2 cup fulls this morning! 

Big G starts school on Monday!  She is so excited!  We found out who her teacher is going to be and we are thrilled!  Her kindergarten teacher is now teaching 2nd grade and she is going to be in her class again!  We are both excited!  I really liked her a lot and I am excited to see if I can volunteer in her classroom this year, since I was unable to do much during kindergarten due to the birth of Little G.  Big G picked her outfit out all by herself and she's ready to go...especially now that she knows and loves her teacher!  

But anyway, we're wrapping summer up this weekend.  I took Big G and her friend to see an onstage performance of Pinkalicious and it was a lot of fun.  Tonight, we are going to the school to check out her classroom list to see if any of her friends are in her class.  Tomorrow, church and family time.

Love and Hugs!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Okay God... Fill 'er Up!

Chris's View-

So, Maria said she has discussed this before, but it is totally worth a re-attack!

Last night we had dinner at Frijole's Mexican Restaurant at Vogelweh.  Wednesday is Kid's Night, so they get to eat free, plus I get an Air Force Club Member discount, plus I got a punch on our card to get money back... yes, we be thrifty!  LOL!  We love having dinner with the Copous family.  They, along with other families that we have met across the course of our nearly 4 years here, are our German family.  We don't know what we'd do without them!  They complete our European experience!

The Copous family is a larger family, there's Papa Joe & his wife, their oldest son, and the twins.  We all hit it off real well, and honestly, we consider their kids, our kids.  Additionally, they brought a neighbor's child (okay, she was a tween? I guess).  Anyway, as I sat there, feeding Little G, I glanced down the table, which ran the length of the restaurant, and felt content!  It was chaos, but it was a loving-chaos... one that you can live with, and be comfortable in, and desire.  There were 12 people at our table.  It was awesome!  It was better than a work party, more like a family reunion!  Especially when topics of discussion are about "normal" families!  LOL!

Okay, I'm getting to the point.  We bought a van, a Toyota Swagger Wagon (LOL!), when I came home from Korea.  We got asked why, since it was just me, Maria & Big G at that time.  We bought our van for God to fill 'er up!  We knew we wanted a big family... honestly, I would love to have a dozen!  I know that sometimes those wants are not what God gives us though.  We felt God was preparing us for more children though, so we bought the van preparing for rain.

I just lost some of ya'll.  "Huh... preparing for rain?" you ask, "Don't you mean children, Chris?"  Yes, of course I mean children, but that was a quote from one of my favorite Christian movies, Facing the Giants... it's also a great football movie!  It's more than that though... it's a good swift kick in the pants for many of us.  I watch it religiously (pun intended) and am always recharged by it's message.  In the movie, a story is relayed of two farmers who needed rain for their crops.  One farmer did nothing, while the other farmer placed his worries & cares in God's hands while showing faith that God would deliver the rain they so desperately needed.

After miscarriages, I was unsure if we'd have another child.  It really takes it's toll on the psyche.  I know I felt it weighing heavy on me, and I know it was 100 times worse for Maria.  Deep down inside, I knew God was not finished with us yet.  We prepared our field for rain... we bought our van on faith, knowing God would fill it up, in His way & His time. Then came Little G, then Middle G!  Now we are nearly full in our van, and never again will I question if God will provide for my family!

Several times we have sat trying to figure out how to go visit places around Europe with our friend's families... with our German family.  That is what hit me last night... while we may not be able to travel all together without renting a tour bus, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

May have to watch Facing the Giants tonight... who's with me?!?!?!

See ya'll later!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Holiday Park

So yesterday, we loaded up and took our kids, along with a friend's kid, to Holiday Park here in Germany.  We left at 0900 and arrived around 10:20.  The German kids are back in school so it was pretty wait at any of the rides.  Once we arrived, I covered the kids in sunscreen and we headed in.  It didn't take long for me to find out that Griffin was having issues with his eyes, even though I was very careful to not get the sunscreen in them.  Apparently, when he started sweating, it ran into his eyes, or either he rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand.  We spent the next 2 hours trying to get him some relief by washing them out, wiping his eyes, blowing in them, etc.  He has extremely sensitive eyes, so much that if I use a wipe on them, he will wake up with his eyes gooked up the next morning.  I felt so bad for him! 

We started off our rides with a grasshopper ride that Little G shouldn't have been able to ride on.  They measured her at the gate and she was about 2 inches too short.  So I picked her up to get out of the line and she started screaming.  So the guy let her ride anyway.  Whew!

After that ride, we quickly discovered that the little ones were pretty much too short for every ride.  <sigh>  However, we found one frog ride that both of the little ones could ride without problems.  They LOVED it!  Of course I didn't have my camera on me so I managed to get an iphone shot of Griffin on his first ride.  Super cute!

So Little G was melting down right along with Griffin for the first 2 hours of the park.  I think she was just overstimulated and hot...she wanted to ride more rides and she just couldn't.  By the time we got out of the kid section, we decided to go ahead and sit down for lunch.  I had packed PBJ sandwiches to save a bit of money.  They were huge hits for everyone but Little G.  She refused to eat them, so the melting down continued.  Then Griffin refused to drink, which is really bad since it was so hot outside.   We decided to keep moving and go to the next section of the park for the bigger rides.  Eventually, Griffin chose to drink, so I was able to stop worrying about that.

Chris and I took turns riding roller coasters with the big kids and it was a lot of fun.  However, my Big G has a sensitive stomach and she fought motion sickness and fear the entire time.  But she really wanted to give the rides a shot, so I have to hand it to her for trying! 

There really weren't too many rides, but we were able to ride a farris wheel type ride with all of the kids.  The breeze felt so great!  Afterwards, we let the kids get green watermelon slushies and to my surprise, Griffin loved it!  He has issues with drinking anything cold, so I was shocked that he even gave it a shot!

We decided to call it a day around 3:00.  The little ones were ready for naps and the heat had drained all of us.  I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to do this before school starts back next week!  It's very rare that we have a free day without an appt for Griffin or Little G. 

Looking forward to the next time!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pucker Up, Buttercup!

Today, we took the kids to Holiday Park here in Germany.  We had a great day!  However, I'm so exhausted!  Tomorrow, I will blog and post pictures of our fun at the park!

I just couldn't wait to let you know about this, though.  Last night, I was rocking Griffin in the recliner like I always do.  He sits on my lap and faces me.  I kept noticing that he was poking his lips out at me and I thought he was just being silly... I started doing it back to him and got pretty close to his face, when he lifted his head up high enough and he kissed me on my forehead!  (which is how I always kiss him).  A few minutes later, he did it again!  Melt my heart!  What a sweet little boy.  He has been doing those fish lips for awhile and I never made the connection until he took it upon himself to connect with ME! 

If you have a moment, please lift my Little G up in prayer.  She has been dealing with tummy issues and I thought she was completely better but it seems that she is having diarrhea again.  She drank a lot of juice today since I took juice boxes to the amusement park.  So that may be why her diarrhea has gotten worse.  But anyway, please pray for her!  Thank you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Initiating Playtime

I LOVE how Griffin is initiating playtime.  I'm just so proud of him!  Today, during lunch, he intentionally stuck his 2 soothing fingers into his mouth, made total eye contact with me, and I saw the corner of his mouth turn up into a smile.  I cut my crazy eyes at him and then he threw his hand out of his mouth and tried to put it in my hand.  Usually, when he puts his fingers in his mouth, I take it out and say "no, no, no!"... well, he enjoys that a lot, it seems, because he's considering that playing.  He did that a few times during lunch.  And let me add, he is playing during FOOD TIME.  This is huge!  He is happy when he eats now.  Huge victory.  So stinkin' proud of him.

So as far as food frustration goes, it seems that he only fusses when plates are removed from the table.  I intentionally scrapped the bottom of his fruit cup today and got no reaction from him.  I really want to try oatmeal again to see what kind of reaction I get.  I think that will tell the tale on how far he has come since that food seems to be a huge trigger for him.

Yesterday, after church, we took Griffin to Chilis for the first time on base!  He loved it!  He snacked on chips until our food arrived.  He turned around a few times to greet the other customers and they smiled and waved at him.  Very sweet.  When our food arrived, he ate a cheese quesadilla very calmly and signed 'more' for every bite.  The server kept coming by, asking if she could remove things from our table and finally I just had to tell her that Griffin will scream bloody murder to see the chip basket go and I think it's best to wait until we are gone.  She finally understood.  Might I add, the server also dumped honey mustard sauce on him and sat my bowl of soup right in front of him.  tsk tsk.  Griff didn't seem to mind, though.  Little G was on her best behavior, too!

I have been working with Griffin on signing 'please'.  He has caught on like a champ!  I took food out of the equation and started making him sign please before each song we would sing together.  He takes my hands and uses them to do the motion of the song he wants to do.  His choices are Itsy Bitsy Spider, his orphanage song, Griffity Dut-ka, or Rock Rock Rock the Griffin.  He cycles through all of these all on his own and when he chooses, I'll say something like, "oh, Griffin wants to do Rock the Griffin, please?" and then he will sign 'please'.  And away we go.  He's so smart!  I think that we have only spent a total of around 1 hour of time across 3 days or so on learning this new sign. 

Little G is on the mend.  I am still unsure if she has had a stomach virus.  If so, it wasn't a bad one at all, but her appetite is just gone.   For about 4 days, Griff ran a low grade fever but nothing ever presented itself.  Praying that my littles get well soon!

Love and Hugs!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How Routines Change

We had a request, so I figured I (Chris) would get on here, I mean, since I know ya'll have missed me, and talk about how my routine differs from Maria's when we have the kids by ourselves.

So, for starters, contrary to what Maria may tell everyone ( :P ), Griffin's a Papa's boy.  We share a special bond, I think, since I was the one who he was forced to rely on first.  June 5th was when I took him out of the orphanage for good, and from that point till the Saturday before Father's Day, it was me and him... well, aside from the friends and family we were around.  I have no idea if this clicks inside his sweet little noggin', but I really like to think that he remembers that special day... the day God gave him his family.

When it's just me & the kiddos, Big G tries her best to play momma.  It's really sweet, and Little G plays right into her for this role.  For whatever reason, Little G doesn't really want me when Maria leaves.  She wants her momma, and there is nothing that will take her momma's place!  I know we have had babysitters who have said a cookie works, but I can't force myself to bribe my baby like that.  Plus, we don't give into Griffin when he screams, so in all fairness, I cannot give in to Little G when she gets in full on Diva mode!  When she gets like this, she has started turning to her big sissy for hugs and comfort.  Now, don't get me wrong, it's not every time Maria leaves.  I have found that if Little G wakes up and Maria has left, she's fine.  If Maria can sneak out without her knowing for a little while, she does good too.  When she melts down, she melts down!  For example, she cried for like 2 hours the other night.  Not just crying, screaming crying.  I tried everything to calm her, but she wasn't having any of it!  I thing it actually caused her to get a little sick... she wound up throwing up after I put her in bed.  We think it was a combination of the crying & a stomach virus that seems to be lurking around our house.  :(

One of the things that I think is such an insight into how Griffin was raised in the baby house is that he will sit there and stare at her when she gets like this.  I know he is taking it all in too... learning what he sees.  If I breakdown and give her a cookie or whatever, he'll expect a cookie when he throws a tantrum.  It's interesting to see though, the crying doesn't seem to stress him out or anything.  He's as cool as a cucumber (yeah... Chris 1992 called & they want their slang saying back!  Lol!).  Anyway, he's still content exploring the living room, trying to pull over the lamps, tearing up books & papers, etc.

When it comes time for food, he's usually pretty content with me.  It's the girls who have the food issues around here!  Lol!  Big G & Little G both are very picky eaters... Griffin eats whatever you shovel into his mouth.  There are only a very few things that we have found that he doesn't eat.  The big chore comes when it's meal time and it's me with the kids.  I have been trying to teach Little G to use a spoon independently, so I am always cooking something that is sticky for her to practice with... mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, etc.  It never seems like my hands stop.  I have both kids pulled close to me in their high-chairs, then I will give one kid a bite of food off their plate, put it down, grab the other plate, give the other kid a bite, then repeat.  It's like a workout, twisting & turning.  I can't leave the plates on the high-chair tray for Griffin or he will power eat everything on the plate.  By power eat, I mean cram every bit of it in his mouth!  Lol!  I'm sure (read I hope) he will one day learn that his food isn't going to run away or get eaten by anyone else.  He doesn't deserve to live life like this.

When it comes time for play, with Maria, he loves Itsy Bitsy Spider... for HOURS!  With me, he expects to be thrown up in the air & tickled.  He knows I tickle feet, so if he is in a "giggly-bits" mood (one where he just wants to laugh) he'll actually put his feet in my hands.  For those of ya'll who have been following for awhile, you know my aversion to feet.  I will tickle feet, but beyond that, I am anti-feet!  Yes, while I think of Griffin as my son 100%, as much as any biological child, it doesn't change my aversion to the nastiest body part!  He desires, more than anything from me I think, to be thrown as high in the air as possible!  He loves it and will squeal with sheer delight when I throw him in the air!  He will get the biggest smile and throws his arms either way out or brings them directly to his face without covering his eyes.  Admittedly, I have nearly fumbled him once, but he immediately laughed it off and was ready to go back into the sky, to slip the surly bonds of Earth as J.G. Magee's old poem says.  (Look up High Flight by J.G. Magee if you've never read it... wonderful poem!)

When it comes time for bath & bed, he's as calm as can be.  I am still amazed that he can stay awake, sometimes till midnight or later, playing contently & somewhat quietly in his crib that we put him in between 7:30-8:00, yet still be up at 7:00-8:00 in the morning ready to go again!  He can stay up past me!  I'm spent at 8:00!  Lol!  He loves bath time and usually washes the bathroom for us with his bath water!  My favorite part is right after I get him back to the changing table to get him dressed.  His hair will be slightly wet and messy... he's so cute at that point!  I think he has learned the bedtime routine.  He seems to be expecting each step of the routine and knows it's time to go to bed after we get him clothed & teeth brushed & medicined up.  He doesn't fight it, though he will buck a little when we go to put him in the crib, but we think that's because he has gotten used to us throwing him into his crib... a little last second rough-housing before bed.  I'm sure he wants more, but we have left it at one to avoid starting an additional step in our nightly wind down gig.

Well, I hope this fulfilled the request.  If not, ask some specific questions and I will try my best to answer them!

See ya'll later!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Endoscopy Results are In!

So last night, the German doc gave me a call with the results from Griffin's endoscopy procedure to test for Celiac Disease.  Well, it's inconclusive.  <sigh>

The results show that he has an abundance of H. pylori and that can be the cause of the inflammation that they found in his duodenum.  His lab work is still showing that Celiac is a huge possibility but until we cure the inflammation from the H. pylori, we won't know for sure.  They want to retest him in 1 year.  That's a pretty long wait but we will be patient.  We were told to continue him on a normal diet and he will be given a medication for the H. pylori. 

As for the bone age study that they insisted on doing at the shows that his bone age is 2 to 2 1/2 years old instead of 3 1/2 years.  The doctor said that malnutrition may be the cause of this since we have a pretty good record of his birth.  This shouldn't change anything.

So as of right now, we are waiting on this German doc (who was pretty awesome, btw), to type up a letter, snail mail it to our pediatric clinic, wait for translation and review by Griffin's doctor, and then we can discuss his plan of action.

I have discovered that Griffin will drink milk if I put a tiny bit of chocolate syrup or cocoa in it.  All he has been drinking is diluted juice, so this is a small victory for us.  I'm not a fan of adding chocolate but I really feel that he needs milk, so we will keep it up!  I actually thought about adding Ovaltine instead of syrup so that he can at least get some vitamins or whatever Ovaltine has in it.  So I will take a look at that the next time we hit the commissary.

Little G has a stomach bug that started last night at bedtime.  It hasn't been a bad one, yet.  She isn't eating much, though, and that's so unlike her.  Griffin has been super fussy today which is totally unlike him.  He is normally a very peaceful little boy but every time I put him down, he will cry and fuss.  He's also very quick to get upset today if I'm not doing exactly what he wants. (which kind of cracks me up a bit.)  So I took advantage of this moment and started teaching him to sign 'please'.  I have introduced this one to him but I'm going to step it up a notch now.  So while I was rocking him and doing songs, I would make him sign 'please' before we started the song again.  (otherwise, he would start fussing)  It helped a lot, mainly because it was a distraction and I was still doing something with his hands...but I could feel him take the lead and rub his own chest to sign it.  Pretty proud of him!!!

I am noticing that his 12 month shirts are getting tighter and his belly is poking out the bottom!  He is still holding strong at 22 lbs, though.  I was telling Chris that he just looks older and bigger now!  I put a pair of 18 month shorts on him yesterday and he walked right out of them...So we still need 12 months on the bottom and 18 months on the top.

Tomorrow, Chris will blog about his routine with Griffin when I have to be out and about.  A blog friend would like to know more about how Griffin responds to others feeding him (thanks, friend!).  He does very well with both of us.  If he gets fussy with one of us, sometimes the other can step in and he will regroup and continue eating (this has only happened 2 times since having him home).  We've only had one babysitter for him since having him home and I fed him before I left, and instructed her to only give him a box of raisins and goldfish for snack.  Those are 2 snacks that we can spread out on his tray and he will safely and slowly feed himself.  We will continue to feed him between the 2 of us until we work through most of his food issues.  We are doing our best to prevent the need for anyone else to have to feed him a meal right now.  We want him to look to us for food and he's just not there yet.  He will take food from anyone, anywhere, no doubt about it.  He will try to eat rocks, wood chips, leaves, you name it.  We have to watch him like a hawk!  But honestly, this is all trial and error.  We don't know if we are doing everything exactly right but it seems to be working well for him.  Thank you for asking!  Questions are very welcome!

More tomorrow! :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Figuring This Dude Out...

I admit that when we got Griffin home, those first few days were tense, simply because I just didn't know him.  I have had the privilege and honor of doing so for the past 2 1/2 months.  It's amazing what I have discovered in this short amount of time.

I push him to express exactly what he wants.  So I hesitate a lot just to see if he will step it up and express himself in some way.  Here are some things that I have discovered about him. 

He is always the first to rise out of my 3 children.  He calls out for me.  Just an "ugh!  ugh!" sound.  When I go to get him, I make no motion to scoop him up.  I place my hands on the crib rail and he will pick my hands up and place them on his ribs so that I will pick him up. 

We make our way down stairs and I will put him on the changing table to change his diaper.  I usually have to untwist all of his clothes and free his arms from the tangled madness he's made of his clothing overnight.  Once he's free, he will start patting his diaper.  That one kind of started out of the blue, then I realized that I pat his diaper where the tabs stick once I have strapped them into place.  He's just doing what I do! 

During meal time (our biggest struggle), he has finally started expressing his likes and dislikes.  He was actually doing this from the beginning but I just didn't know what to watch for.  If he doesn't like a food, but will tolerate it, he will take one hand and brush it down from nose to chin when he eats.  If he absolutely hates it, he will throw it off the high chair, if he loves or likes it, he will sign 'more'.  If he doesn't sign 'more' for anything, I can safely assume that he is sick and not feeling well. 

After the meal is over, he knows that I will get a wet paper towel to clean him up.  If I start with his hands and wipe them clean first, then move to his mouth, he's fine.  If I wipe his mouth first, he will cry.  Hands first, mouth last, and I will get a smile most of the time! 
He HATES to have his temp taken.  I can use the forehead thermometer with no problems.  But if I take out the under arm thermometer, he will start fussing the second it gets into sight.  Makes me think that he had his temp taken regularly this way in the orphanage.

If I need to check on him during the night, I have used a flashlight in the past.  Every single time that we have used a flash light to check on him, he will literally wake up from a dead sleep and jump out of his skin.  (we don't directly shine it on him either).  Makes me think that he was checked regularly in the orphanage during the night with a flashlight... Makes me wonder what happened if he was awake when he was checked on... So now, I will use the light of my phone because it is much softer and doesn't disturb him like a flashlight does.

With brushing his teeth, he was fine with that when he first came home.  Now he will put up quite a fuss.  Trial and error, I learned that if his toothbrush is blue, he will let me brush his teeth with little to no fussing.  If it's a different color, good luck!

He loves music, just like Little G.  They both have music in them and respond so well to it.  I made a song up for Griffin while he was in the orphanage.  It goes to the tune of Zippity Do Da-except I changed it to Griff-ity Dut-ka (one of his bio names).  Well, we were singing it yesterday and I made up some hand motions right on the spot for him to learn.  I was showing him how to do the motions (just clapping and waving hands over and over), and with my hands on his, I felt him guiding ME into the next motions.  He picked up the motions after being shown one time!  He's crazy smart!

Another orphanage thing that Chris use to do, he would point to Griffin's nose and say 'NOSEEEEEE!' in a crazy voice, from the very beginning.  I had asked him why he did that and he said that when he returned on the 10 day wait to get him, he wanted to do something that may trigger a memory for Griffin, just in case he couldn't make the connection.  Well, we still do that to him, and yesterday, I said "NOSEEEEEE!" and started to touch my finger to his nose, and he met me half way by bringing his nose to my finger.  Crazy, I know, but he has learned a body part in English!  I think it's great. :-)

I have always kissed him on his forehead.  A few days ago, I was making my kissy fish lips at him and he leaned his face in until his forehead was on my lips.  Precious.

I gave him my big hug arms but never brought them in to squeeze him.  I left them in an open circle around him.  He leaned to the side until he was touching one of my arms, trying to complete the hug.  Love it.

I have figured out his crazy looking 'play more' mischievous look.  If he gives this certain look, it is his ultimate 'I'm having a blast, more, more, more!' look.  It is absolutely adorable and it cracks me up.  He also gives that look when he wants one of us to start rough-housing with him. 

I thought that he was starting to protest nap time and bed time by buckling his back when I was putting him in the crib.  I learned that he wasn't protesting, but that he wants me to drop him into the crib because he likes the bounce of it.  He giggles when I drop him and throws his hands up in that crazy way that he does... so I give him a few bounces and then leave.  He may or may not nap, but he's content to have his quiet time and play with his giraffe rattle. 

Some things that I still haven't figured out yet-
How to help him learn to feed himself by taking bites of a banana or piece of bread, without stuffing the entire thing in his mouth.  He will literally stuff an entire piece of bread in his mouth within a few seconds.  I have to pinch it up and spread the pieces all over his high chair.

The chomping and grinding of his teeth... he doesn't want to use chew tubes or teething rings or anything that may relieve the need for him to do that.  He will chew on GM but not enough to remove that need to chomp and grind.

And of course, the food frustration... all I can do is help him to learn that food is always available.  He never wants to stop eating and I believe that he would eat until he exploded if I gave him the chance.  He has never expressed that he has had enough food or shown me any sign that he is full.  If I tip a bowl up, it triggers tears because he knows that the food is almost gone.  If he hears a spoon scrape a plate, he cries out.  If a dish is removed from the table, tears.  There is such a strong fear in him that he will never get fed again.  I pray every day that God will remove this fear from him.
He's coming a long way in such a short time.  Lots of fun stuff happening here!  Looking forward to our future discoveries with him!

More tomorrow!  :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Wonder...

Just thinking...

When we were at the orphanage, Griffin never chewed on his thumbs in our presence.  We had to leave him there for the 10 day wait.  When Chris returned to get him, he had chewed his thumbs so badly that there were deep gashes in them.  I'm guessing that he knew that something was different when we stopped visiting.  I'm assuming that he missed us...and that breaks my heart.  I believe the holes in his thumbs proved that he did, along with the fingernail marks on his forehead, and bruises on his cheeks.  Once he was home, he stopped chewing his thumbs.  It took about 3 weeks for them to heal.

I wonder what he thought/felt when we brought him home?  I wonder what was going through his mind?  We took him away from everything familiar...everything he has ever known.

I hope he loves it here.  I hope he feels our love and knows that we will do anything for him.  I hope that he has a beautiful life, now that he actually has the chance to have one.

We love him.  We are so thankful that God brought him into our lives...and blessed.  So very blessed.

I keep thinking...what if we hadn't gone through with this?  What if we'd given up on all of that hard paperwork...given up on the expense of adoption?   My mind travels back to that orphanage and I picture him being transported from playpen, to crib, to play shed (if he's lucky), and back to the crib.  His permanently misshaped head has proven that he has spent the majority of his life in his crib.  And then I realize that he's safe now, but Ollie isn't... Ollie is still there.  Waiting.

Adopting a child with Down syndrome has truly been a blessing to us. 

We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Praying for you, sweet Ollie!   I can hardly wait for you to bless a family with your sweet presence!! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Little of This...And a Little of That...

Hey y'all!  Sorry for the lack of post yesterday night.  We had a great Sunday!  We made it to early service at church and was only a little late.  Big G told us before we went that she wanted to walk the aisle and make her public profession of faith in front of the congregation!  She is so brave!  So she went to "big church" with us and did just that!  When the proper time came, I asked her if she really wanted to go, she said yes, so we held her hand and she led the way.  When she got to the youth pastor, she told him that she accepted Christ into her heart, he prayed with her, and then the pastor announced her decision to the congregation and everyone congratulated her.  So very proud of her!

We let Big G decide where we would have lunch and then we did a little shopping...dude's 2nd time to go to the BX.  All 3 children did so well!  However, Griffin decided to yank on Little G's pigtails throughout our shopping spree and she didn't like that at all.  I also noticed that he would use Giraffe Meat to bonk on her head whenever he got the chance.  It was actually pretty funny but I didn't let him know that.  I even saw a few shoppers laughing. 

Last night, Chris could not find the stapler for the life of him and it was driving him nuts.  I knew that it' was in one of the drawers in my shelf and I told him that, but I didn't tell him the correct one to look in.  So after the kids went to bed, I reorganized everything.  Felt good!  And I found the stapler.  :-)  I'll chip away at everything one night at a time!  I would have kept going but Chris gave up on me and didn't want to dig around in storage for some things that I was needing.  I forgive him.

Today, I had to run a few errands while Chris kept the kiddos for me.  I picked up referrals for both of the little ones for occupational therapy.  They will be seeing the same one so that is very helpful!  I also picked up the cardiology report for Griffin from his trip to the cardiologist and read it.  This doctor was so awesome.  His report was so positive for Griffin and I really appreciated that.  He called him bright, interested, engaging, healthy, etc. and actually thanked our facility for giving him the privilege for allowing Griffin to be his patient.  That's what I'm talking about!  Thank you, German cardiologist. 

The speech therapist will be over any minute for Little G, and afterwards, we are going to take the kids out and do some pictures of them.  I do photography for a hobby and my children are my favorite subjects!  I'll post them once I have worked them up.  Hoping that the rain holds off.

So I received a blessing today.  I prayed over the weekend if I should enroll Little G in Mother's Day Out and I came to the decision that I should, simply because she needs to be around other little ones who may actually help her speech.  I sat and spoke with the director for a good 20 mins and updated her on everything.  Told her that Griffin was going to school every day except Wed., which is MDO day.  And since he doesn't have an MDO slot, it's not actually MDO for me.  Right before I left, she informed me that she was considering making an extra MDO class on Friday, so that would actually put Little G in MDO while Griffin is at preschool!  YES!  Now, if it truly works out, I will have a time for myself if I need to make an appt or grocery shop!  AND, our Wednesdays will be free so now I will probably be able to use that day for therapies for the little ones.  Love it.  Thank you, God, for working this out for me!  

More tomorrow!  :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Maria's View-

So as many of you know by now, my biggest struggle is time.  Time to get things done, time to spend with everyone in my family equally, time to read bed time stories, time to clean the house, time to organize, to fix my hair, time to rest, you get the idea... So I sat down at my computer today, convicted, because yeah, time to read the bible is lumped into that list as well.  <sigh>  I did a search for 'scripture on time management'.  I got several good verses but the very last scripture that was on that list was this, and it spoke to me...  Galatians 4:3-5- "In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."  There's that A word again.  Adoption.  

I had a friend over today and she babysat for me so that I could go to a cheerleading meeting for my Big G.  A TOTAL waste of TIME!  The meeting was off to a very late start because the head guy wasn't even there yet.  Then every bit of information that was given could have easily been typed up into a 1 page email.  Why am I complaining?  I had an opportunity to actually sit down and rest.  I was given time to just relax, but yet I complained and couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I looked at my friend as I was sitting around my table with all 3 of my children, along with her child, whom I love as if he were my own, and said jokingly, "it seems that all I do is sit around this table and feed my kids!" Literally, it seems that I am constantly feeding them because it's important to get those snacks in for Griffin's sake.   They all pleasantly chowed down on their favorite meal of chicken and applesauce.  I was spending time with all of my children in that moment equally, which is something that I complain that I never get to do.  Isn't that what I want?  Yep!

Time to get things done?  Well, I have time to get a lot of things done during nap times... but I usually let that time pass me by.  My problem, my fault.

Time to fix my hair?  Well, I would rather sleep.  LOL.  And by the way, I have an appt on Aug. 14 to do something about that!  Yeah!  Which shall also be my time to rest.

I'm given a lot of time.  God has given me plenty of opportunities to get things done, I just refuse to see it as it is because it's not necessarily in ways that I want my time to be spent. 

Do you remember when I locked Little G into the van in the parking lot on base a few days ago?   I didn't really go into it very much because I was just so disappointed in myself.  I will tell you why.  I had been at the bank and the subject of adoption came up.  She had asked me about my adoption because of our old adoption account that she noticed.  She asked me how it went and what it involved.  We had a nice little conversation and I had the great opportunity to give our testimony of how God had changed my husband's heart toward special needs adoption...and that God is very capable of changing her husband's heart as well... I walked away and felt the need to go back and give her a prayer card of our adoption that included our blog.  I thought to myself that it would be a good resource for her and she could look at our blog if she felt led to.  However, I told myself that I didn't have time to walk all the way back inside because I needed to get Big G from VBS and had one more errand to run.  Well, I truly believe in that moment that God was speaking to me, to turn around and give her the card.  I didn't.  I marched right out to my van and locked Little G inside for about 20-25 minutes.  If I had only been obedient, I'm sure that I would have never locked her in the van.  The extra 5 minutes that it would have taken to walk the card back in, had turned into almost 30 minutes of wasted time, panic, and embarrassment.  Lesson learned, God!  I hear You loud and clear!  Time...if it's not spent glorifying God and working it for His Kingdom, what good is it?  The next time I go to the bank, she will be getting one of my cards!  <smile> 

So this coming week, I will be reflecting on my time and how I spend it.  I will also be reflecting on this verse above for everything that it means.  This will be my memory verse this week.  Care to join me? 

Time to feed the kids a snack!

Love and Hugs!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Papa to the Rescue!

Today has been a good day.  I have come to realize the fact that every day will be hectic in some way, shape, or form.  I embrace it.   Our day started with a friend taking Big G to VBS for me.  What a relief!  Griffin was awake at 7:00, so I rushed and got ready for the day, got Big G up, and rushed down stairs to get him an egg scrambled, and then got him from his crib.  All smiles.  He is so happy when I get him out of that crib.

Once Big G was off to VBS, dude and I got the chance to snuggle and play until Little G woke up.  Since she woke up at 10:00 (yeah, I'm still shocked that she slept so late), I decided to go ahead and fix lunch for the little ones.  I bought some Southwestern Egg rolls yesterday and I thought I would give those a try with them, so I fixed 3 for them to share and about 4 for myself.  I also sliced up an apple for their side dish, and Little G also had some banana since she skipped breakfast.  Well, needless to say, they gobbled them down!  I had planned for each of them to have 1 1/2 egg rolls each, but instead I ended up with 1 1/2 for myself and they gobbled down the rest of it!  Little G has learned to blow her nose and before I knew it, I felt something fly into my hair... yep, it was piece of egg roll.  Not exactly sure where it came from, whether it was her mouth or her nose but there was definitely egg roll in my hair.  Pretty gross... I'm just keeping it real, y'all!  

So I managed to get the kids fed and happy, then went to the bathroom to the egg roll out of my hair.  I was looking at myself in the mirror and told myself, "what has happened to you?!"  LOL.  My hair is just a frizzy mess, my new acne treatment has left my face all dry, which does nothing for make up, and make up does nothing for me... LOL.  HMMMMM.... I've been rethinking my decision to let my hair grow out.  I think it's time for a new shorter cut.  Something has gotta change (and the world breathes a collective sigh of relief!)  So, I just wiped the egg rolls out of my hair, loaded up the little ones, and headed out to get Big G from VBS. 

In my mind, I decided to put both of the little ones in Mother's Day Out together at the church on Wednesdays.  Little G already had a spot so I spoke with the director today and she has no availability for Griffin.  I felt that this would be a good step towards PreK for Griffin when he starts going in Oct/Nov.  Oh well.  I guess things just don't always work out the way I'd like for them to.  I asked for her to put Griffin on the waiting list but now I'm in the position of deciding if it's even worth taking Little G to MDO if Griffin can't go.  At best, I would only have 1 1/2 hours of quality time with Griffin if I take Little G to MDO, but I already have that because she sleeps in most mornings.  <sigh>  Bummer.  I have until Monday to decide if Little G is going to go.

Meet Giraffe Rattle .  It seems that this little boy is destined to love giraffes.  This giraffe was given in a donation of items to Griffin before he came home.  I was going through everything and found it...threw it in the wash...and put it in his crib one day.  He fell for it immediately and loves it at bed time.  So I took it to the hospital along with Giraffe Meat and rotated them to give him some entertainment.  Well,  I was looking for it for nap time today and it was nowhere to be found.  I realized that we had somehow left it at the hospital.  Chris immediately got on the phone and called the hospital, found someone who could speak enough English to understand what we were talking about, and they kept it in a safe place!  As I type this, Giraffe Rattle is on his way home. :-)  Papa to the rescue!   Chris took this picture G.R. on his ride home to be reunited with his favorite boy.  :-)

But anyway, Big G had a blast at VBS and her summer activities are officially over... Tomorrow is the parent meeting for cheerleading... Ballet will start back up in September... and I would love to get her back into swim lessons.  Since it's at an indoor pool, I usually sign her up for winter lessons.

No results yet from Griffin's tests... not exactly sure when we will hear anything.

Oh!  Griffin got his 2nd haircut today and did much better!  Scissor cut first, clippers last.  Worked much better!   I plan to take all of the kiddos out for some portraits this week!

More tomorrow!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 3 in the Hospital-We are Home!

Maria's View-

Hi y'all!  Sorry for the lack of blog post last night.  No wifi at the hospital.  So yesterday, they managed to bump Griffin's endo procedure to 11:00.  He did amazingly well without food because of the IV, Praise God for that.  I did not want him to feel like he was suffering or being neglected. 

I woke up yesterday to find that Little G had been sick to her stomach, so naturally I thought she had a stomach bug.  I watched her all morning and nothing else happened so I guess she just had an upset tummy!  So relieved because I needed to relieve Chris and see my baby boy before his procedure.  Little G and I got there around 10:45 and he was lounging in his crib.  I walked over to him (he hadn't seem me in a little over 24 hours by this point) and held my arms out to him.  He came over to me and I picked him up.  He immediately started doing the motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider, ha ha... so at the very least, I'm the lady who performs his favorite song and he remembered me. :-)

We got there just in time because they took him down for his procedure at 11:00.  They had him for 2 hours before bringing him back to the room.  During this time, Little G and I had to go outside to get rid of her crazy energy!  She played pretty hard, rolling down hills, picking leaves off of the shrubs, running up and down the sidewalk, etc.  Makes me miss living in the country!  My kids at least need a yard to play in and our German house does not have that.  <sigh>


Dude slept for about 2 hours after they brought him to his room.   He woke up all croaky sounding due to the throat irritation from the scope so I asked if he could have his juice (very diluted juice at that.)  They said no, that juice was too strong for him, so they brought him tea.  And of course, he wouldn't drink any of it.  So they gave in and let him have his juice and he drank every drop.  He is so picky about his drinks!  After they saw that he did well with liquids, they brought his late lunch tray.  Ham slice, cheese slice, and broth.  He ate every bite and was signing 'more' like crazy!  A few hours later, they brought his dinner tray, and he ate every bite of that as well!  It was more like a chunk of bologna, cheese slice, cucumber salad.  He ate all of that as well, except for the salad.   Bed time rolled around and he was not tired at all.  He did sleep off and on but I kept hearing him tossing and turning, sucking on his fingers, chomping his teeth, etc.  I got up one time at 4:00AM to change his diaper and put some pants on him in case he was chilly.  He refuses to sleep with a blanket!  Around 7:00AM, he was ready for breakfast so they brought his tray soon after that and it was another bologna chunk!  However, this time, he wasn't that excited about it.  I had to get him started with his crescent roll and yogurt and then I got him to eat the bologna and cheese.  Time drug by because we were only waiting on them to release us.  The doctor came by (looking to be about 20 years old, lol) and said that he did well during the procedure and that there were no results to report at this time, except that he is very anemic.  He also explained that this could explain his small stature.  I explained to him that I really didn't think that he was fed meat at the orphanage so he said to just make sure he's getting it in his diet now and see if it improves.  I'll talk to his PCM about a multi-vitamin or something soon.  Around 2:00, they set us free!  Both of the little ones are down for naps and I'm about to snuggle up with Big G to ask her about her little life and VBS. 

I hope to find out results soon!  I'll let y'all know as soon as I do!

Love and Hugs!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 1 of Hospital Stay

Hey y'all!  Nothing really to report, other than lots of pre-op appts.  I have been taking care of the girls while Chris has been at the hospital with Griffin.

They are giving him IV fluids with sugars to help with the hunger that he will start feeling tomorrow since they are not doing his procedure until 1:00 in the afternoon!!!  They told Chris that they will try to work him in sooner but that he needs to be ready, therefore no foods after midnight.  Poor little sweetie!   I will trade off with him in the morning or right after the procedure, depending on how tired Chris is. 

I had a total mom fail moment today... I had to run errands this morning (with a migraine) and as I was wrapping everything up so that I could go get Big G from bible school, I left my keys beside the car seat while I was strapping Little G in.  I heard the lock click automatically right as I let go of the door and realized instantly that my keys were still on the seat!  Little G was in the van with my keys!  I didn't panic but I just kind of froze for a minute... Chris couldn't help me out, he was admitting Griffin during that time.  The nearest locksmith was going to take at least 30 mins to show up.  I called the police station on base and they directed me to the fire dept. and they came out and opened the van up for me.  (Thankfully, my phone was in my pocket!)  Little G was just fine (she was in the van for about 20 mins or so) and when the fireman opened up her door, Little G yelled out, "uh oh!"  LOL.  Yep.  Definitely an uh-oh moment for mommy.   I have trained myself to keep my keys in my pocket for this very reason because my van will just randomly lock the doors.  I've always been extremely cautious of this and wouldn't you know, the one day that I lay the keys on the seat, Big G wouldn't be in the van to unlock the doors for me.  Lesson learned.  I really appreciate the fire dept.!!!

On a medical note- We are having his procedure done off base at a German hospital.  The doctor insisted on doing a bone age hand x-ray study to determine if he is really 3 years old, even though we have his birth certificate.  I'm not exactly sure why they would need to prove this in order to do his endoscopy because a 20 lb child would have to be medicated and treated like a 20 lb child, right?

But anyway, please say a prayer for our little boy whenever he crosses your mind!  Hopefully the IV will help his hunger...and prayerfully he will do wonderfully during the procedure.

Thank you so much!!!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Tomorrow Begins Griffin's Hospital Stay...

Maria's View-

Here's the schedule...
Tuesday-check in at 0800 for preop...Chris and Griffin will stay overnight. (makes zero sense)
Wednesday-endoscopy procedure (not sure what time yet)...I will stay overnight.

Griffin will be admitted for an upper GI endoscopy procedure where they will confirm Celiac Disease... (his referral paperwork states "to confirm"... I guess they want to confirm it because his blood work was off the chart positive for Celiac.) 

Griffin has never been sedated before so please pray that he will do well and also that he will NOT have Celiac Disease! 

On a sweet note-  Griffin has gotten so use to me kissing his forehead that he will actually lean his forehead in when I start making my kissing sounds.  PRECIOUS!

On a Little G note-  The speech therapist was here today and she got her to say 'mouse'!  Well, it came out 'mou' and she only said it once, but it's progress!  :-)  

Sorry to keep this short and sweet but I have to get my guys packed up for their hospital stay and I also have an episode of Army Wives waiting on me! 

I'll keep y'all updated!!

Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

To Church as a Family!!!

Maria's View-

So as many of you know, Griffin's first church service was in MS with Chris' side of the family while they were finishing up paperwork in the US.  But today, we were finally able to go to church as a complete family here in Germany!  It was awesome to be back in God's House.

Chris had to work today from 12-6 so we went to the early service and we did amazingly well getting out of the house on time...actually with time to spare!  We decided to put our little ones in the same Sunday School nursery class so that they could be together.  Chris had to take Little G directly into the room because she was already starting to cry and the teacher had her hands full with 2 other little ones who were wanting their mommies.  Chris gave me the look to make a mad dash for it just as I noticed Griffin standing up in the middle of the room, just as handsome as he could be, made eye contact with me, and then growled.  ha ha.  I would have loved to have gotten a picture of that but I needed to get out of Little G's sight.   I took Big G upstairs to her class, which is basically Children's Church.   

Chris and I made our way to the sanctuary for church service and realized that we were going to be able to participate in the Lord's Supper on our first Sunday back!  What a blessing.  So not only did we examine our hearts and ask forgiveness for our sins before participating in the Lord's Supper, we enjoyed a sermon based on Hebrews 5:12-"You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word.  You are like babies who need milk, and can not eat solid food."

So this is what is so awesome about actually going to church.  Yes, you can learn a lot on your own, but there's just something about being in God's House that opens your eyes and hearts up to so much more!  As I was sitting there with the combination of asking forgiveness (for the Lord's supper) and realizing that I should be doing so much more as a Christian (Hebrews 5:12) this random thought came to my mind.  If Jesus and Satan were both standing before me, who would I run to?  Who would I choose?  And then I immediately told myself, "Jesus, of course!"... but then a strong conviction came over me... In our day to day lives, in our day to day thoughts and actions, who do we really choose?  In that thought that you are thinking?  Or that action that should never happen?  Or the temper that flares?  Or the feelings we hurt?  WHO are we choosing?  If you put it in terms of putting Satan or Jesus on your thought or action, who do you normally choose?   Thank you, God.  I needed that!   It's so good to be back! 

At the end of church service, we headed down the hall to gather up our children.  Some parents had already started picking up their little ones so that got Little G upset so we heard her crying all the way down the hall.  Griffin was standing at the baby gate and went right to Chris, just as happy as could be.  I went upstairs to get Big G and away we went!  I wish that Chris didn't have to work today but he had to do some adjusting on his schedule so that he could have Tuesday-Thursday off for Griffin's procedure this week.  We are also holding off on Big G walking the aisle at church and making her public profession of faith so that we can take our time so that Chris won't have to rush or miss out on anything.  She is ready, though!

Bible school at FBC starts this week and Gracie is so excited about it!  It's going to be very difficult getting her to and from there with Griffin's stay in the hospital but we are going to do our best.  Please pray for Griffin this week.  He is having his endoscopy procedure to confirm Celiac Disease.  I'm not aware of any sedation that he has ever had so please pray that he has no reaction to the sedation and that he doesn't regress with being away from home for 2 nights.  One of us will be with him at all times (except during the procedure), but I can definitely tell that he is different when he's not at home. 

I love y'all!  Thank you for your love, support, and prayers.   Have a great Sunday!

Chris's View-

Today was awesome being back in church!

The church had two interns over the summer... one was the pastor's son and the other was his son's roommate from theological college.  It was great seeing some young guys on fire for the Lord and wanting to teach the congregation.  It was pretty neat because each of the interns and then the pastor took a part of the sermon and delivered it.  It kind of reminded me how Maria and I had two preachers marry us.

Afterward, we were some of the first people out of the sanctuary so we could get through the crowd and get the kids.  Pastor Goforth... appropriately named, I must say!... stopped us to shake our hands.  This is the first real interaction we have had with him since he took over at Faith.  There is nothing wrong, he just took over right as we were packing to head to get Griffin.  Anyway, while I was off picking Griffin up... 2 MONTHS TODAY I BROKE HIM OUT OF THE PRISON OF ORPHANAGE LIFE!!!!!... I found a documentary that peaked my interest.

I like documentaries... they teach and entertain.  Admittedly, it's all about content.  This documentary is called IndoctriNATION.  It's all about public education and religion in America.  I bought a copy and had it shipped to the house while I was away.  When I got home, and things settled down a bit, I watched it, and there he was, Pastor Goforth!  I will be adding this to the list of things too coincidental to be a coincidence!  I told him about it and he seemed pretty shocked, so I told him I'd bring him the DVD to borrow.  The video below talks about the documentary.

Anyway, like I said, 2 months today since I took our son out of the orphanage.  How drastically his & our lives have changed forever!  Can't wait to celebrate his first anniversary of Gotcha Day!

See ya'll later!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

This and That

Sorry for my lack of post last night!  My Big G was rushed home to me with a BAD nosebleed.  She has never had one before so we were trying to determine why and if we should go to the ER.  On top of that, I have been feeling kind of bad with sinus stuff.  Blah.  Today, Big G seems to be just fine so I guess it was just a one time thing, hopefully!  Poor thing, she was hanging out with her twin friends and I was just about to go meet them for bowling when they called and said that they needed to bring her straight home.  I can surely understand why and I'm so glad they took such great care of her!

So it seems that Griffin has figured out that when he signs 'more' the correct way, and if I'm not looking at him while he's doing it, I miss it!  So he has started clapping 'more' to get my attention instead.  I let it go for awhile but I have decided that we probably shouldn't support that because I'm not exactly sure how long he will have to use sign language, so I don't want him clapping for food when he's older!  :-)  So I say 'no' when he does it and then I will show him the correct way, and he usually repeats it the correct way.   He's so smart!  I am also starting to feel that he is understanding a lot of what I say now, so I think he's learning English pretty quickly!

He has started doing this thing that is absolutely adorable!  I ask him if he wants a high five and normally he will do it perfectly.  However, sometimes he will get his mischievious look on his face and then put both of his hands against mine for his high five, but he will tickle my palm with his fingers.  Then he will put on a cheesy smile from ear to ear.  Even Chris commented on how cute it is!  With advice from a friend, we have decided to let a high five be his reward system while he is at school instead of hugs and love so that he can seperate love as coming from us and not his teachers.  So we are practicing. :-)

I am doing my best to teach him and get him excited over Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  He gets upset, though, and wants his Itsy Bitsy Spider.  Little G is wanting Twinkle, though, so we have to go back and forth between the two a lot. 

Tonight, dude turned down his dinner!  Grilled chicken kabobs with bellpepper and onion.  The last time we had this, he gobbled it down!  I LOVE when he turns away food.  I consider it progress!

Anyway, tomorrow, we are going to church as a complete family for the first time!  So excited!  I have missed it so much.  I'm on the fence with putting Griffin in a class with Little G, or keeping him with us throughout the church service.  If I decide to take him to the class, I will leave instruction to give no cuddles, to just supply his needs and give him high fives.  He can have a lot of fun, though, and I think he will enjoy being with the other children.  He may also make it easier for Little G because she still deals with seperation anxiety.  We will see how it goes!

More tomorrow!

Love and Hugs!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Giraffe Meat #3

So today, I FINALLY sat down and whipped Griffin up another Giraffe Meat!  I have a few people who would like one for their little ones so I am going to make a batch with some extras to have on hand!  Griffin LOVED his new GM.  He has been slightly grumpy today because I think he is catching a cold, but his mood improved instantly when I put this new one in his hands.  So cute!  GM already needs a bath too... He 'fed' him some bananas.  :-)

I made Little G one, too!  Actually, Griffin's GM#2 is actually Little G's first one.  Chris was desperate for a new one in case he couldn't get GM#1 from the orphanage on the return trip after the 10 day wait.  I didn't have time to actually make him a new one so I gave him Little G's.  Worked out perfectly!  Little G isn't as fond of them as Griffin is. 

Griffin is walking so well now!  I would say that he is walking 99% of the time!  That's pretty awesome, considering that when he arrived home toward the middle of June, he was only taking 3 steps!   He is very unstable though and it doesn't take much for him to fall.  Little G takes advantage of that by "bumping" into him when he starts to get on her nerves.   Such a stinker!   He is continuing to build more muscle in his legs and hips so he will be walking like a pro in no time!  

One more day of VBS for Big G!  She is having a great time... She had a play date with her twin friends after VBS today and had a blast.   (This was crazy hair day)

On an aggravating note, my hubby's truck got vandalized overnight.  It was parked at the mechanic's shop in the parking lot.  Somebody busted the passenger window but didn't steal anything.  Just meanness, I guess.  Sad. 

But anyway, time to snuggle up with Big G and the hubs for a little movie time.

Love and Hugs!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Over and Over and Over Again...

I was gone most of the day today... Chris was off work so he stayed home with the little ones while I took Big G to VBS.  During VBS, I hung out with my friend until it was over and had a great time!  After I picked her up, Big G and I had lunch together.  I love my one on one time with my oldest.

When we got home, I relieved Chris so that he could hit the gym and the little ones were down for naps.  I finally went up and got them out of their cribs at 5:00!  Papa must have worn them out because they never sleep that late.  When I got Griffin out of his crib, I kept stepping on something in his bedroom.  We keep it extremely dark upstairs during nap times so I flipped a light on and found that he had emptied one of his drawers of all of the clothing.  They were everywhere!   His shirt that he had been wearing was MIA, too.  I couldn't find it for the life of me.  So when Chris got home, he moved Griff's crib away from the drawers and found his shirt in a different drawer.  lol.  He was busy!

We had snack time and then I took them to the recliner for some lovin'.  Griffin was insisting on Itsy Bitsy Spider over and over again.  Of course I would do it, but occasionally I would have to stop and do something for Little G.  He has started protesting now when I stop!  He literally wants me to sing it all day, every day.  Sorry, dude.   We will still sing it a lot, but it won't be all day long.  He needs to start loving some other songs!  Seriously.

Today is the first time that Little G has taken me by the hand and led me back to the living room.  Usually she would just immediately start to fuss if I was unable to read her mind.  So I consider this progress!  She led me to the living room, said, "Baby", picked up her stuffed dog, made sounds like she was counting to 3, and tossed the dog onto the couch, the way that we do for them during our rough-housing.  Too cute! 

Tonight, we had a dinner/tea party in Big G's room and I had a delicious bowl of Penguin soup, waffles, corn, ice cream, cookies, and coffee.  I watched Little G play and this is the first time I have ever noticed her pretending to eat.  It was adorable!  Griff picked up a fake cookie and really tried to eat it...once he discovered it was not real, he threw it across the room. :-)

But anyway, it's been another great day!  It seems that Griffin has gotten much more comfortable around us and is being a typical toddler in some ways!  He's finding his way through that orphanage fog! I think it's great that he was "pitching a fit" for his favorite song. 

More tomorrow! 

Goodnight. :-)