Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolution? Do I Dare???

Yesterday was wonderful.  We finally went to church as a complete family for the first time since the beginning of October, when Chris was admitted to the hospital.  Everyone was finally well enough to go!  By the time Chris and I got everyone loaded up into the van, we were sweaty and exhausted.  We both just looked at each other and shook our heads.  No words necessary.  I guess our biggest battle that we decided not to fight was with Little G.  She grew very attached to a tiny box of humidifier filters that we bought Saturday night at the BX.  She got to hold them while we finished up our shopping and felt that they were hers.  She wanted to take them to church.  Just before it was time to go, we realized that she thought the box of humidifier filters was crackers so we were able to make an even trade with her.  Problem solved.  Also, she has started calling us "Mia" and "Chwis".  We try to ignore her but she just says it louder and louder.  What's odd is that we never call each other by our names... it's mostly "babe" between the two of us.  So I have no idea why she's using our real names.  Thank goodness that she's cute.  <wink>

We all enjoyed church.  By the time we dropped all of the kids off to their classes, I stepped into the bathroom to try to tame my rat's nest hair down because it looked as if I had stepped into the tropics.  The sermon was just what I needed to hear.  God is always on time, every time.  When we picked Little G up at her Sunday School class, she was standing at the door and yelled out, "Jesus!" when we asked if she had a good time, while holding a little paper star ornament that she had "cuttered" (colored).  Yep, I love being a mommy.

So... it's December 31st... the last day of an amazing year.  Should I make a New Year's Resolution?  Probably not, because I will not follow through.  However, I am planning to try to do something productive every single day, even if it's just to clean the kitchen sink.  We will be moving back to the states soon and I also want to declutter and get rid of things that we didn't even unpack here.  I'm tired of being weighted down by unnecessary junk.  So I guess my New Year's Resolution is to 1.  Do something productive outside of my usual line of housework every day for at least 5 minutes.  2.  Start going through unpacked boxes and getting rid of junk.  3.  I have Zumba for my Wii so I want to do that a few times per week.  I'm just dying to give my "across the street" neighbor some extra evening entertainment than our usual goofiness.  I think I will wear sweatbands and legwarmers, too.

But anyway, I'll leave you with our attempt at getting some pictures of the children before church.

Love and Hugs!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Say Raisins!"

I am amazed to say that for the first time in years, all of my children allowed me to sleep in until 9:00!  However, I am reminded that sleeping in is actually overrated and that I get headaches when I sleep in that late.  So it looks like I will be setting my alarm for 7:00 from now on!  I don't have time for headaches.  :-)

Lately, since Griffin's throat/toothbrush injury, I have noticed that some of his food fussiness has returned.  The oral surgeon gave him a clean bill of health but I'm certain, even though the doctor didn't mention this, that he is very bruised, even though the cut has healed.  So I imagine that it's still painful for him to swallow and he's just off course right now.  I am also noticing that he is "slobbering" a lot and he realizes that himself as well.  I can give him a napkin and he will wad it up in his hand and wipe his mouth with it throughout the day.  He's just not wanting to swallow all of his saliva and I really hope he overcomes that quickly.

But anyway...this morning, as I scraped the remainder of his scrambled eggs from his plate, he started fussing.  I asked him if he wanted raisins... and I said, "say RAAAAYYYYYY-sins" and he pulled his own little hand up and created a sign for raisins!  To be sure, I said it again and he did the same sign for it!  I went and got a box of raisins and asked him if he wanted them, and he signed it again!  I am so proud of him!  I know that he is fully connected with communication now.  He understands that words have power.  Praise God!  His sign is great, too, and I will encourage him to keep using his own little created sign for raisins.

My household is slowly overcoming the illnesses.  Big G's eye began to look better yesterday, Little G is still coughing and fussy but I think/pray that she will be better today, and Griffin is healing up nicely but has a little cold brewing, nothing too bad, though.  Looking forward to all of our family being well once again!!

Well, I hear Little G stirring over the baby monitor.  Deep breathe, here we go!

Love and Hugs!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas and Pictures!-Part 2

Part 2-

...and then around lunch we opened all of our gifts to one another and from our families.  Griffin sat in his papa's lap and I helped Little G.  They had a really good time, despite how bad they were all feeling.  Griffin's throat was a wreck, Little G was having a hard time breathing and sounded horribly congested, and Big G's eye was giving her fits.
(I was emailing pictures to my family as they were opening their gifts!  Next year, they can watch them open gifts in person!  Can't wait!)

A little later, the Osbornes, came over for our annual Christmas dinner.  Both of our families cooked our special family meal traditions and sat down to a wonderful dinner.  We had to use the table extender, a leaf?, to give us all enough room around our table.  It was great!  After the Osbornes left, we decided that Chris would take Little G to the ER.  Come to find out, she had the croup and they gave her one dose of steroids to give her some relief.  It did the trick!  Now it seems like she has a regular cold.

What are the Santa items that they scored this year?

Big G got a Barbie house and stocking stuffers.

Little G got an interactive kitchen and stocking stuffers.

Griffin got an interactive tool set and stocking stuffers.

Last night, I woke up to the sound of Griffin struggling to breathe.  I got up, brought him to my bed, and kept an eye on him all night long.  I just knew he was getting the croup, too... However, this morning he wasn't breathing like that at all.  I suppose he could be getting a regular cold.

Big G's eye was even worse this morning and Little G was incredibly grumpy and still not feeling well.  I knew we were going to be off to a bad start when the first word out of her mouth this morning was "See-wool-wool" (cereal) and I had none.  Not a single piece of cereal in this house.  She begged for cereal all day long and papa went to the grocery store after work, specifically for cereal.  Big G had to miss her ballet rehearsal for the 2nd performance of The Nutcracker and will more than likely miss the performance tomorrow night as well.  She's not going to be very happy about that at all!

But anyway, I wanted to write a more elaborate Christmas blog on how wonderfully exciting Christmas was for all of us but I just haven't had the time to do it.  <sigh>  I wish that my children had felt better...  I truly wanted to be able to take Griffin to his first Christmas Eve service at church but he wasn't feeling well at all.  Chris ended up taking Big G to service instead for a nice daddy/daughter date, which was very special.  They enjoyed their time together.  I wanted to give Griffin the best Christmas Eve ever because his life changed on Christmas Eve of 2008...That was the day that he was taken to the orphanage to live for the next 3 1/2 years.  However, he did get to experience the love of a mother as I rocked him to sleep in the recliner and slept by his side all night I suppose that it was his best Christmas Eve yet...Looking forward to many, many more!
(2 of Big G's best friends...the Copous twins!  Thank you, Denise, for the great pictures!)

Thanking my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for his amazing, beautiful gift of salvation... and praising God for my sweet family.  To God be the Glory!

Love and Hugs!  

PS.  Here are a few from Griffin's class party.  Notice Little G in the gray shirt and pigtails, enjoying circle time like a big girl, as I was keeping Griffin in his chair!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An AMAZING Christmas... Part 1

We had such a wonderful Christmas!

Even though Griffin was in the ER on Christmas eve...

Even though Little G was in the ER on Christmas day...

Even though Big G has some kind of eye infection going on...

So what happened?  

As I was delivering food to our friends, the Jepsons, Chris kept the little ones at home.  As he was preparing lunch, Griffin decided to get his toothbrush that was on a high shelf by the changing table.    Over what must have only been 5 minutes max, he climbed onto the couch, onto the back of the couch, onto the changing table, and then stood to reach the shelf where his toothbrush was.  When Chris spotted him, he tried his best to make it to him before Griffin turned and face planted on the changing table with the toothbrush in his mouth.  Blood.Everywhere.  Literally.  Chris called me in a panic and I rushed home right away, loaded him up, and took him to the ER.  Let me just say, this little boy was in extreme pain.  I have never heard him cry this much.  Broke our hearts.  The entire time we were in the ER (for 4 hours), he snuggled into me and would cry, then drift off to sleep, then cry, then drift off again.  The oral surgeon was called in and he said that he didn't feel that there was a need for any kind of treatment and that it should heal quickly.  It was an injury about a cm long at the back of his throat.  We went home and discovered that he refused to eat or drink.  To try to drink from a sippy cup was too painful for him since he had to use his throat muscles to pull the fluid out.  So I took a medicine dropper, laid him down, and got him to drink a very small amount.  I just knew that we would end up on IV fluids on Christmas day unless I could get him to drink more.  Food wasn't an option.  He refused and cried every time he would attempt to swallow.  I managed to get some jello in him.  That night, Griffin slept on a bean bag in the living room with me right by his side.  I couldn't rest at all in fear that his throat would swell.  Little did he know that as he was sleeping, Santa made his visit and delivered his Christmas gifts!  He didn't see a thing.  :-)  

When Griffin woke up, I carried him out of the living room so that we could gather the other children and have them go in together.  When we got Little G up, we noticed that her voice was practically gone.  Great.  As the day went on, she got worse.

We took our time on Christmas.  We let the kids enjoy their santa gifts, then around lunch we opened........

Actually, my kids need some mommy love and I just can't get this finished today!  I will finish it up tomorrow and post some pictures!

Love and Hugs!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

MawMaw's Birthday Presents to Griffin

So Griffin's birthday didn't go quite as I had hoped it would go.  After seeing how Griffin handled his PreK class party, we both decided to not have a party for him.  At his class party, he was very distracted by all of the noise and was pretty fussy.  I guess there was just too much activity going on for him.  So, we just gave him even more hugs and kisses and I think he's pretty happy!

So tonight, we did FaceTime with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law.  My mother sent a present to him and I let her watch him unwrap it.  I was pretty unsure of how it would go but he did so well!  He ripped the paper open and pulled out a new stuffed giraffe with a very long neck!  He absolutely loved it.  He got so wound up over it!  He banged that giraffe around, chewed on it, bonked me on the head with it, walked it around, laid on top of it, and after only having it a few minutes, broke it's poor little neck!  ha ha.  So when you stand it up, it's head lays on the floor.  Hilarious.  He loves it and took it to bed with him tonight.

Another amazing gift that my mother gave to Griffin brought tears to my eyes.  As you know, my father passed away in 2006 and my mother had ordered Griffin's name to be added to the back of  Daddy's head stone under "grandchildren".   It had been ordered for awhile and they actually showed up to engrave it on Griffin's birthday!  It's like a gift from my Daddy, too.  I love it.

I have been preparing my famous southern style dressing for our dear friends, the Jepsons, who are  home with their newly adopted, beautiful children!  Chris and I are preparing Christmas lunch for them tomorrow and I'm so looking forward to meeting their children!  Then on Christmas day, we are spending the day with our awesome friends, the Osbornes, for breakfast and dinner.  We are truly blessed to have amazing friends whom we can call family here in Germany.  So blessed.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!  Praising God for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, and His gift of eternal life.

Love and Hugs!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chris is Home!

So Chris made it home yesterday and it was so wonderful seeing him walk through that door!  However, it was back to the grind immediately for him.  "Hey, babe!  Welcome home!  Do you mind throwing that dirty diaper out in the trash for me?  Thank you!  We have to hurry because Griffin's Christmas party starts in an hour!  LET'S GO!  Oh, and I made you a popcorn shrimp sandwich!"

BUT...Chris had to spend the night at the hospital last night for a sleep study, so he wasn't able to spend much time with us.

This morning I could hear Griffin stirring in his crib so I knew he was about to wake up.  So as soon as I got Big G off for school, I went up to get him.  His room is completely dark because of the German rolladens that we use.  My eyes weren't adjusted to the dark like his were so I went to the edge of his crib and said good morning to him.  I couldn't see him so I reached my hand into the crib and instantly felt his little hand reach up to grab mine.  Then I could tell that he was smiling by the way the sound of his breath changed.  He stood up and used my hands to rub his head and then I asked him if he was all done.  He signed "all done" and we headed down stairs.  His little arms feel so wonderful around my neck.  This is new and I love it.

I sat him on his potty chair and he's really good at sitting there until I tell him that he can get up.  However, he's figured out a way to work the system!  If there's somewhere he wants to go, he will remain seated on the potty, and will scoot himself to his location of choice!  It's too funny!  If I leave the bathroom door open, he will scoot over and close it.  If I happen to leave the towel drawer open, he will scoot over and close it.  Anything that is out of place has to be put back into place or else he can't "focus".  It's really cute!

But anyway, Christmas break is here now and I'm looking forward to 2 weeks with my kids and hopefully some time to sleep in!  Therapies will go on as usual accept for OT because it falls on the holiday both weeks.  Looking forward to a couch date with the hubs tonight!

Love and Hugs!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Griffin!!!!

Our little boy is 4 years old!  I just can't believe it.  He's still the size of a 24 month old and so it's just hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he's 4!  He's such a big boy now.

I'm pretty sad that Chris couldn't make it here to celebrate his very first birthday with a family, but hopefully this is the last birthday that Chris will ever have to miss!  We plan to celebrate his birthday this weekend, so I will post pictures of our celebration and cake smash!  Looking forward to it!

Today was business as usual.  Speech therapies for the little ones this morning and OT for Little G.  Speech went great!  When we got to the hospital, I opened the van door and Griffin immediately signed "mommy".  Melt my heart!  This is the first time he has ever signed "mommy" without me having to prompt him.  The ST said that he did very well, however, she used a highchair today.  He was much more focused because of it and got a lot of participation from him.  A highchair is definitely the way to go for him.  He's still in the exploratory mode, wanting to see and touch everything when he enters a room.  He really does need to be contained!

I got to sit in on Little G's speech today.  (I will rotate every week.)  I love to watch her.  She is at an incredibly cute age and I love hearing her little voice.  It's just adorable to me and music to my ears.  She was tested today and I will get the results next week to see her actual progress.  She has changed so much in the past few months!

OT for Little G went great today!  She absolutely loves Thorston and I believe that he's making progress with her now.  I suppose it's because he gained her trust, but she is thrilled to see him every week.  He thinks it's hilarious that she can say his name.  Pretty good for a 2 year old!

Griffin got to have his favorite meal of pizza tonight for his birthday dinner.  Afterward, I gave him a turtle brownie.  I sat it on his tray, took 5 steps to get my camera, and he shoved the ENTIRE brownie in his mouth.  I debated digging it out of his mouth but decided to see if he could handle it, for fear of shoving it down his throat.  Yep!  He had to hold his hand over his mouth to keep most of it in, but he got it down very well!  Needless to say, I didn't get any pictures because I was on edge, ready to do the Heimlich!

Chris is on his way home!  However, he just informed me that his flight was delayed so he may miss his connecting flight.  <sigh>  I pray he can make it!  I have so much to do these next two days and I'm actually in a bind with scheduling.  I could sure use his help!  Praying he will be home at 0700!  Please, God, oh PLEASE!

Love and Hugs!

Monday, December 17, 2012

It is Official...

Chris's View-

So, the verdict is in... Permanent Retirement!

After a long hard fight, the board decided that there was enough evidence to convert the temporary retirement to a permanent retirement.  There are still some steps that have to be done, but the big part is taken care of.  I really feel I earned the benefits of a retirement across the nearly last 17 years, and it is nice that the military has acknowledged that my efforts were not in vain.

My mind has been racing since I found out about all the things that I have to complete now:

- Retirement planning
- Transition assistance classes
- Planning our move
- Finish my resume
- Weed out our belongings so we are not moving stuff we no longer need (yes, we still have stuff in boxes!)
- Try to decide what I want to be when I grow up
- Out-processing

This is just the tip of the iceberg too!

I do not know the exact retirement date yet.  They have a formula that they use to figure out the actual retirement date.  I am assuming that the date will be around April.  We are going to try to get to June though.  First & foremost, my work could really use me till then, but it would also make for a logical time to transition my family back to the states.

So, with all that said... anyone have some leads on jobs out there with a $65K+ per year salary!  LOL!

See ya'll later!

Goings On

Hey y'all!  Sorry for the lack of busy here.

Some highlights from the last few days:

Little G discovered how to empty the contents of my new lightweight vacuum and I don't even know how to do it.  While I was trying to figure it out, while the vacuum was turned upside down and in my face, Little G decided to turn the vac on and blew the rest of it's contents in my hair, eyes, and mouth.

I just had to pry two snowflake cookie cutters from Little G's wrists.

Many times a day, Little G will run back and forth from the front side of our house, through the kitchen, and back to the front side of the house, over and over again.  Griffin loves to watch this and will giggle every time she passes by.  Last night, I noticed that he was walking just as fast as he could back and forth across the living room.  I believe he's trying to act like his little sissy!

Big G was talking in her sleep last night and kept saying "cookies" over and over again.  It was pretty sweet!

Big G had 80s day today at school.  She asked me if I needed to google how people dressed back then.  Ha Ha.  I think I can remember.  As she stood before the dressing mirror this morning in her blue jean skirt, tights, legwarmers, pink converse, over sized sweatshirt, side ponytail with a scrunchy, she asked, "Are you sure this is how people dressed back then?"  Unfortunately, yes, it's how we dressed.

Little G told her OT this morning that she loved him, complete with his name!  "Torston, Ah bah du."  So sweet!

I had four hours to myself on Saturday, thanks to a friend who volunteered to babysit for me!  I finished my Christmas shopping and got a haircut!  Now if I could only get the "wisdom highlights" covered.

I have an amazing friend who is taking Big G to and from the bus stop for me so that I don't have to get the "Twinkies" loaded up so early in the morning.  My mornings are less stressful and I'm not as rushed.  She is a true blessing from above.

Griffin got his first shiner by slipping in the bathtub and hitting his eye on the soap holder.  I bought a bathmat that very day.

Friday night, as I tried to take a nap on the couch, Little G head butted me and broke my nose.  Yep, I heard it pop.

Just now, Little G found a pair of children's safety scissors of Big G's and as I was trying to get them out of her hands, she cut my finger!  I think they are much safer when they are put in a safe place.  <sigh>.

Oh well, I'm hoping to get some great news from the hubs today and praying that he can come home ASAP!  I fear there will be nothing left of me by the time he makes it home.  <wink>

Love and Hugs!

OH!  For those of you with children who have Ds, I ran into another mother in our community who has a son with Ds and asked her advice.  I am having a horrible time getting coats to fit my Griffin because of his short neck.  They just absolutely won't zip up and then the top of the coat is in his face.  She showed me her son's coat and I went right out and bought one.  It's a soft, thick coat, not the nylon, puffer kind.  You can fold the soft kind in around the neck so that it fits more like a "V" neck.  Working like a charm!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hugging My Kids Tightly

I just can't even wrap my mind around the school shootings that happened yesterday.  As a mother of 2 elementary students and one following closely in their footsteps, this hit a little too close to home.  I woke up at 6:00 am, burdened to pray for those families and for the safety of my own children.  I wanted to wake all 3 of my children up and hug them tightly.  They are so innocent, so sweet, so trusting, so beautifully made by a loving God.

Lord, please come quickly.  Please.

Praying for the families of those who lost loved ones.  My heart is breaking for you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Figuring Her Out... Kinda.

So... Little G and I have had two great days together!  We did a lot of running around yesterday to speech appointments and Occupational therapy and I realized at the end of the day that she was excellent!  I was too busy in the moment to realize it until Chris asked me at the end of the day how everything went.

For speech, the minute we got into the hospital, I let her out of the stroller and she ran/walked all the way to the clinic, which is a good little walk for a 2 year old!  Once we were there, I didn't make her get back into the stroller but we kept walking up and down the hallway until it was time for her appointment.  She spotted a lollipop tree in an office and she remembered that there was an open invitation to all of the children to stop by and get one.

She walked cautiously into the office and said, "I want, peese (please)."

The lady asked her, "are you finished with your appointment?"

She responded, "uh uh". (no)

She asked, "Are you being a good girl?"

Little G said, "uh uh". (no)  The lady laughed.

She said, "well, are you going to be a good girl at your appointment?"

Little G said, "uh uh". (no)

The lady told her that she was a good girl for being so honest and asked her if she would like to choose a purple sucker since she was wearing purple.  Little G walked right over and picked the purple one out all on her own!

For Occupational therapy, she was so excited!  She went into the room without me and actually closed the door all on her own.  Thorston gave me a shocked expression when she separated so easily from me.

This morning, she had her early intervention speech at our house.  We reviewed her goals and made new ones, focusing mainly on her behavior with Griffin and helping her to form her words more clearly so that I can understand her.  When I can't understand her, she gets even more frustrated.  I discussed how picky she is for meal times and how stressful it is on me.  I also explained that if I don't fix her a plate, she will eat better when she eats off of my plate.  I can put the same thing on a plate of her own and she won't eat it.  She will also eat food directly off of the stove in the kitchen but will refuse it when she's in her highchair.  We brainstormed a bit and decided that maybe she feels that Griffin is the "baby" and that she shouldn't be treated the same way as him.  Granted, Griffin is smaller than her and we have basically taken him back to the basics of toddlerhood.  It makes sense!  She suggested that I stop using the tray on her highchair and push her directly up to the table.  I'll try anything!

Later, Griffin had preK and had a great time.  (He actually brought home his first art project!)  I had put Little G down for a nap right before he got on the "vus" and she took a very quick one.  So once she woke up, I had about 2 1/2 hours of one on one time with her.  I didn't stress out about her lunch and gave her a fruit cup and a fruit pouch, along with one little triangle of sandwich.  Once she finished the fruit, we went to the living room and played.  I got in the boxes with her, played airplane, threw her around on the couch, and swaddled her tightly in a blankey...she was in heaven!  She absolutely loved having all of my attention.

After Big G got home from school, she asked to take Little G upstairs to play.  Her bedroom is like Disneyland to Little G.  She loves it!  So I told her to make sure that she came downstairs with Little G or call me and I will come get her when she's done.  Well, Little G was a little too fast.  She tried to tackle all of the stairs on her own, while wearing a long Snow White dress, and fell down about 6 steps!  I heard her making the way to the stairs and she started falling before I could stop her.  She sat up, said "uh oh", and let me carry her down the rest of the stairs.  She wasn't phased at all... no pain... no tears... my poor hypo-sensitive baby!  I had to check her all over to make sure she was ok and then she continued on with her craziness.

For dinner, I ordered pizza.  Pizza is not a hit with any of my children but I wanted the night off!  So when it arrived, I prepared their plates, put Little Gs plate on the table, and Little G knew exactly what was happening.  She crawled up into her booster, latched herself in, picked up the pizza, and started chowing down!  She was so excited to be sitting at the big table with us!  She ate 2 slices of pizza!  I'm still amazed.  So hopefully we are on to something!  She was very proud of herself and dinner was much more pleasant.

So with all of this being said, it seems that my Little G is trying to grow up and is becoming more and more independent!  She doesn't want to ride in a stroller anymore and sit in highchairs... she's a big girl now.  Bless her heart.

But anyway, it's been a great day!  I miss my hubby and I'll be glad for him to be home again.  Tomorrow will be a busy day but it will be a good day.  :-)


ps.  This is a test to see if my hubby is reading my blogs... I've been putting the skillets in the dishwasher.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Can't Think of a Title...So This is My Title.

Chris made it to San Antonio safely.

So much snow here!

Big G is getting sick.

The top drawer of the changing table is broken and driving me nuts.

Folded loads of laundry that will probably never be put away.

Living on leftovers.

Griffin is loving school!

Little G went down for a nap today at 0830.

I have taught Big G, Middle G, and Little G to use my lightweight vacuum cleaner.

AND...Little G is insisting on wearing a bike helmet when she eats.

Yes, I have tennis balls on the legs of my chairs to keep my landlord happy.  :-)  Otherwise she will come over with sticky little no skid things to put on the bottom of my chairs...

Survival mode, folks.  Survival mode. 

Love and Hugs!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Busy Week Ahead

Chris's View-

I am excited, nervous, scared, nostalgic, destroyed, humbled, and a host of other emotions all balled up into one man for this upcoming week.

Why so much?  Well, tomorrow morning I fly out of Ramstein headed to San Antonio, TX, for my formal medical board, to try to convince a group of Air Force personnel that I need to be permanently retired, not on this temporary retirement program.

Excited... it's finally happening after over 2 years of daily pain, and 2 cancelled boards due to my hospitalizations.

Nervous... flying, flying with pain, flying with pain and a crutch, facing a medical board, leaving my family, there are a host of reasons.

Scared... this meeting could very well determine my families future.

Nostalgic... this is where my Air Force life started nearly 17 years ago.  I know it has changed since I was there for BASIC training, but it's still the place this long, strange trip started.

Destroyed... either way, temporary or permanent retirement, this trip marks the end of my quest for a 20 year military career.  While yes, I'll get a retirement of some sort, I despise not achieving goals that I set my mind to.  It's fitting that my time in the military "ends" at the place it all started.  By "ends" I mean that the decision to end it will be made, I still have a little time back here in Germany before I will actually get out.

Humbled... by the outpouring of support and well wishes I have received through this process.  I have been overwhelmed by my leadership, co-workers, friends and family's response to this process.  Thank you all!

There are too many more feelings to list, but trust me, I could go on and on.  Please pray for Maria and the kids... the kids that they will behave & Maria's sanity!  LOL!  Pray for me for my travels.  Pray for the board for wisdom.  Thank you all!

See ya'll later!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Griffin's First Day of PreK

WHEW!  So you know what I said in my last post about how I thought that I had bought myself at least 10 days of extra time by waiting on transportation to be set up for Griffin to get to school?  Yeah, they emailed me yesterday afternoon and said that he is all set and the bus will pick him up the next day... which was TODAY.

So this morning, I got Big G on the bus and began getting everything ready for Griffin's first day.  I did ridiculous things.  I really did.  I sewed his mittens to a string that I could lace through his coat so that he wouldn't lose his mittens in the snow.  I stitched the liner down in his coat so that his teacher wouldn't have a hard time getting his coat on and off.  I wrote his name, address, and phone number on EVERYTHING that he took to school today in case he got lost...which is impossible...but still.  I put a luggage tag inside his coat with all of his information on it.  I put a luggage tag on his backpack.  I put extra lotion on his wind chapped face for extra protection.  Ridiculous, I tell you.

I got him all bundled up, grabbed my camera, and headed out the door 10 minutes early in order to get some pictures of him on his first day of school.  I opened the garage to find the van already waiting on us!  They were early.  So the assistant starting getting Griffin's seat ready and I asked if I could snap a picture while she was doing that.  I stood him up on the drive way and before I could step back to snap the shot, he turned around, I took the picture of him  anyway as he head planted in the snow on the concrete.  I stuffed my camera in my pocket, snatched him up, only to find him giggling.  I brushed the snow off of his entire body and put him in the van...and away they went.  As they drove away, I just stood there.  And stood.  And stood in the snow.  It was really starting to come down and that made me nervous, too.  By the time he got to school, the road conditions had gotten worse.  I held my breath the rest of the time until both of my "Eagles" got home.

So what did I do while Griffin was at school?  Since Little G was down for a nap, I had an awesome lunch of Peanut Butter Cups and chips and salsa, just because I needed comfort food, along with a tall glass of sweet tea...and I watched Days of Our Lives.  Little G woke up and then I realized that I was super tired and should have taken a nap.  So I got on the couch and she beat the tar out of me as I took a lousy 15 minute nap.  I awoke to her trying to pull one of my earrings out of my ear.  Enough.  It was finally time to go get Griffin off the bus...well, it's really a van...let's call it a "vus".  ok?  I put Little G in the ball pit and the vus was already outside.  I got him off of the vus and he was just as happy as could be!   I fixed them a snack as I waited for my friend to bring Big G home from the bus stop.  I waited and waited.  The bus driver made the determination to go another route because of the snow.  I guess he learned his lesson from a few days ago.  I made my babies some chocolate chip muffins and hot chocolate and felt like I had finally gotten it right!

Last night, Big G had her ballet performance as a reindeer in The Nutcracker.  She did such a great job and we are so proud of her.  She always has the biggest smile when she performs.  After stage rehearsal, she looked sad and I asked her what was wrong.  She said that she wished that she was the very last reindeer so that she could have an extra few minutes on the stage!  I love her!

Well, all of my children are safely tucked into their beds after a fun day and I'm about to snuggle up with the hubby on the couch for an episode of Duck Dynasty.

Goodnight, y'all!

So I guess I should have added that I had a spy on the other side waiting for Griffin to get off of the vus.  My friend drops her daughter off at the same time at PreK and she said that Griffin kept flopping backward as the teacher took him inside.  Yep, that's Griffin!  I'm certain he was examining all of the snowflakes falling out of the sky!

Also, why didn't I follow the vus to school?  That's a great question.  Honestly, I'm surprised that I didn't.  2 things.
1.  I don't like driving in the snow.
2.  Little G was asleep.  I have been jokingly saying that "nothing wakes my children and survives" with this attic fiasco that I have had going on for the past couple of months.  Well, that applies to me as well.  If I wake Little G up from a nap, I pay dearly for it.  I only do that in case of emergencies.  :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big G vs Wild...When Buses Get Stuck

So yesterday, we awoke to huge snowflakes falling out of the sky.  It was very beautiful but I was shocked that our base road conditions didn't reflect what I was seeing on the roads.  We got to the bus stop and noticed that the teenagers hadn't got on their bus yet, which was very unusual.  Big G's bus came and she loaded up and headed to school.  All of the moms (including me) were nervous when we saw the bus take the turn that leads down a huge hill.  I think all of our momma radars were kicking in because it was no time that one of the mothers contacted me to let me know that the bus had gotten stuck at the top of a hill in the snow.  To kill time, I went out and shoveled snow from the drive (German law) while another mother went to assess the situation.  By this time, the bus had been stuck for almost 2 hours!  Thankfully, my friend brought Big G home for me after having to jog through the snow for about 15 minutes in order to actually get to the bus...the traffic had gotten that backed up.

So once Big G had gotten home, it was almost lunch time.  So I called the school and told them that she couldn't get there.  The bus eventually made it but we decided to just have a snow day.  During lunch, she told me about her adventure and it was just hilarious.  2 of the highlights of her story was that the bus driver let them go out into the woods 2 by 2 for a potty break and that they got to eat snacks because they were hungry.  I can only imagine what that bus driver was going through with a bus load of elementary students.  I can just see them all panicking and going for their packed lunches as if they had been stranded for days, starving to death.  I want to gag to think of all of the 'yellow snow' that they were stomping through to find their perfect potty spot.  But anyway, we went outside to play at the park and had hot chocolate, until it was time for her ballet rehearsal.  Little G had her first serious snow time play experience and had a blast on the sleds!  It was a lot of fun!

Today was Griffin's IEP meeting!  Thankfully, I was able to get an extra spot at church for Mother's Day Out for Little G to attend today so that I could go to this meeting in peace!  Worked out perfectly.  I am very impressed with Griffin's schooling and everyone involved in his therapies at his school.  His teacher is awesome and I'm just so excited to get him started!  Well, he's super excited, I'm a bit hesitant because he's still so new to me and doesn't feel old enough to start school.  So we are going to wait until his bus transportation gets worked out before he starts.  That could take up to 10 days, so I bought us a little more time.  <smile>  It could actually stretch out until after the Christmas break and, to be honest, that's when I had initially thought he would be starting school anyway.  I'm very satisfied with the goals they have set for him and I can already tell that he's going to love every minute, accept for the sitting still part.

Yesterday, I told Chris that I felt that Griffin was about to have a breakthrough.  I can see that he has stepped it up a notch with songs and finger-play and it's almost like he's on the verge of doing something more.  And he did!  Last night, as he was sitting on my lap, he signed "Itsy Bitsy Spider".  So we did it again and again and again.  He always wants my hands on his arms, providing no help at all, but just touching him, and he will do the motions...or he wants to help me do the motions.  All of a sudden, as I was doing the motions, he started doing them along with me with no support!  We did the entire song and it was absolutely marvelous!  One of our happiest moments, I would say.  I could see the joy on his own face and that made my heart melt.  However, he only did that one time.  I'm hoping that he has realized that he can do these songs all by himself as I sing them, without my support.  So proud of him and he was very proud of himself!

Just a snippet of our past 2 days.  More later!

Love and Hugs!

Oh!  Thank you, Kelly, for the snow pictures!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Numbers Are In

Chris's View-

So, I finally finished my job, and the final tally is a bit surprising!

$29,158.88 Total Cost
16,957 Miles
4 Countries
1 Special Little Boy

It's pretty amazing to finally have the final tally, not to mention all the documents we will need come February when we file our income tax return for 2012!

Here's is a rough timeline:

August 3, 2011 - Ordered initial vital records
August 22, 2011 - Committed to our home study agency
August 29, 2011 - Committed to Griffin through Reece's Rainbow
September 2011 - Began compiling all documents
October 27, 2011 - Home study complete began compiling dossier documents
December 2011 - Missed holiday season cutoff by just a few days
January 2012 - Country changed paperwork drastically, back to the grind of completing documents again
February 2, 2012 - Complete dossier arrived in country
March 29, 2012 - Received travel dates
April 2, 2012 - Maria departed to take Little G to Mississippi
April 16, 2012 - Departed Germany for country
April 17, 2012 - Appointment to formally commit to Griffin in country
April 19, 2012 - We met our son!
May 18, 2012 - We passed court and are officially Griffin's forever family
May 19, 2012 - We head back to Germany
May 22, 2012 - Maria went to get Little G from Mississippi
May 27, 2012 - Chris's heads back after 10 day wait
May 28, 2012 - Maria & Little G get back to Germany & reunite Big & Little G
June 5, 2012 - Gotcha Day!!!!!
June 9, 2012 - Departed country for the good ole U S of A!
June 10, 2012 - Arrived in 'Merica and Griffin becomes a US citizen
June 11, 2012 - Obtained US Passport and began visits with families
June 15, 2012 - Departed US for Germany
June 16, 2012 - Homecoming, Mission Complete!

I think that about sums it up!  Now for some heartfelt, gushy stuff from Maria!  LOL!

See ya'll later!

Maria's View-

Honestly, what can I say?  I'm sitting here trying to figure what to actually write in order to express my feelings properly.  I don't think it's possible, but of course I will try.  <wink>

Is Griffin our son?  Absolutely 110% yes.  He's ours.  His pictured called out to me on Reece's Rainbow.  God lined this adoption up for us.  No doubt about it.  Everything I prayed for in a son, God provided to us through Griffin.  Right down to his birthday being on the 19th of the month, just like my biological children!  Yes, I prayed for that.  That was a "God Nod" for sure, my little extra treat.

Was he meant to be my son?  Honestly, no.  He was meant to be the son of his biological mother.  For whatever reason, she was not able or willing to care for him.  I have to say that I am tremendously thankful that she did not abort my son.  He is the most amazing, most precious little boy in the entire world.   She absolutely has no idea what she is missing out on and that makes me sad.  I appreciate her sacrifice because I'm certain that it wasn't an easy choice.  Or at least I don't think it was an easy choice for her... maybe it was.  I don't know any details at all and I'll probably never know...and that's ok.  I will be forever grateful to her for birthing this amazing little boy and giving him a chance.

A chance...

When we committed to Griffin, there was only $5.00 in his Reece's Rainbow grant.  There were other children on there with $1000s in their accounts.  So why didn't we choose one of those with a larger grant?  Because they weren't ours.  Hear me, I knew that I knew that I knew that I KNEW that he was meant to be ours.  I knew he was mine.  His ransom was costly.  Yes, ransom.  He was headed to a fate that that no little boy should be headed for.  A short life in an adult mental institution where food is kept at a minimum in order to keep their size small and manageable.  They are victims of horrible acts, horrible abuse, and sadly most will die shortly after they arrive.  Thinking about my sweet boy headed to these conditions makes me sick to my stomach.  My heart breaks for those who are in this situation right now.  Pray for them!  There are families for every one of these children!  Every single one.

Were we nervous and scared?  Of course we were!  This was life changing!  God kept whispering "go" and we kept inching forward.  "God, are you sure?"


"What if..."



"Go.  Trust me and go."

And so we went and I wouldn't change it for the world.  God doesn't make mistakes.

Where did the money come from?  Well, actually, it's amazing.  Up until yesterday, we were under the impression that our adoption cost exactly what we budgeted for $24,000, like down to the penny.  We shot for $27,000 just in case of extra funds or emergency money but we didn't make that goal.  We sold everything that we could live without.  We cut back on our food expenses, no dining out.  Every single place where we could cut a corner, we did.  So we are shocked to see that our adoption expenses added up to $29,000 when we didn't have $29,000 and yet it was there.  I still need to sit down and figure this one out because I'm floored.

But didn't God tell me to trust Him?

So many of you helped us get our little boy home.  You donated, you prayed, you encouraged us, you did whatever your heart felt led to do and we are forever grateful for you!  This lonely little boy whom no one wanted is loved by hundreds.  Maybe thousands!  He has sisters...a mommy and a papa...grandparents...aunts, uncles, great aunts and great uncles, cousins, and friends all around the world.  He is loved.

And he loves giraffes!  Who knew?  And sloppy joe sandwiches and tacos!  He loves to be bounced as high as possible on the couch!  He loves to sing and dance and he loves his precious little life!  Thank you, God, for this treasure!

Don't let numbers get in your way.  Trust me, it can seem overwhelming, but it is so possible.  The "things" in this life mean nothing.  Treasures on this earth will not last.  Life, love, family...that's where it's at.  My heart is full and I am blessed.

Matthew 6:19-21- "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Here are some links to pictures of precious children who have already been transferred.
Sonny...God bless him.  Can you see the difference?  Transferred.
Ralph...Has possibly been transferred.
Sergei...needs a mommy to kiss those bruises away.  Transferred. (with over $11,000 in his grant!)
Carina...A beautiful little girl facing transfer.
Addison...Transferred.  A mommy needs to grow her beautiful hair out again...
Gemma...Beautiful eyes!  Transferred.

My heart is breaking for this little boy.  I know he is in great need and is surely to be transferred soon because of his age.
Jared...Let's help him find a family!  I'm so excited to see that his grant has reached $277!
You are loved!

The list goes on and on.  There is a great need.

Hosea 13:3-  For in You the orphan finds mercy.

God bless them!