Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Mr. Workman and I were discussing tonight (well, this morning), how our measuring of a good Christmas has changed through the years.  We mused that Christmas used to be measured by things like....how good the gifts were, how tasty the food was, and how much fun the gatherings were.  It amazes us that we now measure Christmas by things like how much time we got to spend doing fun holiday stuff with the kids, having resources to have good gifts for each child, and getting to share the Biblical Christmas story with our children.  By the current measuring stick we had an amazing Christmas! 

Serious Christmas celebrations started with a get together at my parents home on Thursday.  Then Friday night, my folks came to visit and as is traditional we opened gifts after dinner.  As part of this tradition, dinner is take out and usually pizza.  This year it was pizza, pasta and bread sticks.  Then after dinner we rearranged the family room furniture and passed out gifts.  We usually start with the youngest and go to the oldest, but this year we skipped Nate until after Grace because he was being so good watching everyone else. 

The twins seemed confused at first, but after a few packages, they were ready to play and it was hard to keep them busy opening more while Grand-dad and Dad assembled and added batteries to toys.  The race track, that I almost didn't buy for them, surprised me by being the twins and Matt's favorite toy.  Matt got a "Cozy Coup" car and wanted to take it outside to play immediately.  He was pretty disappointed when we told him no because it is dark and very cold. 

Matt was our most excited child and he kept asking, "Mine?"  When we said yes, he would smile so big.  David was our next most excited and he was definitely the easiest to photograph.  He knows the "drill" and was facing me as he opened most of his gifts.  Jon obviously didn't realize that he was included too because when Corrine brought him his first gift, well...he almost leaped out of his chair!  Jon loved everything!  I had picked out two awesome toys for him that had buttons that he can reach and press.  Jon approves of my choices and has played with them non-stop.

Vanessa got a doll and lots of clothes including a fuzzy pink sweater, which she hugged when she opened the box.  It was very cute!  Hannah's favorite gift was a pair of super soft, fuzzy socks that Grace had gotten for her.  Corrine loved it all and Grace got an unusually large gift...a laptop!  She thought we had wrapped her Christmas in my old laptop box so she did not realize that she actually got a laptop until she reached in the box.  Great fun!

Nate opened his gifts last, after the other kids, and he was more interested in Jon's toys and the ribbon than in his gifts.  However, by Christmas morning he was ready to play with his too. 

Christmas Day was filled with kids playing with new toys, watching new movies and sharing a huge turkey dinner.  What a great celebration!

Luke 2:4-14

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rain on my parade

No matter how rarely it happens, it happens too often.  It causes a dull hurt that I usually avoid to coming rushing forward into full consciousness with great pain.  When I was in high school, there was a grocery store that I avoided because this seemed to happen a lot when I went there to shop.  What am I talking about?  Well let me tell you what happened this time and then my pain may make more sense.

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, Mr. Workman and I were attending a church Christmas dinner at a buffet style restaurant.  The kids were excited and Vanessa used her walker from the parking lot to the back meeting room which was a LONG walk.  We were all excited for her.  Our whole church group clapped, whistled and cheered as she walked into the banquet room.  Each of them have prayed and shared in the journey with us with all our kids so they know what a big step has occurred for Vanessa.  Christmas cards and well wishes were exchanged along with enjoying a great meal with great conversation and laughter.  It was a great day!

Then we gathered our crew and were making our way to the front doors.  It was indeed like a parade!  Daddy with Nate and his oxygen, Corrine with the twins in their stroller, David with Matt & Hannah, Grace with Jon, and finally me with Vanessa all traveling together in a line to the front door.  Then an older gentleman stopped me and told me that he went to an amazing church and he offered me a business card for the church.  I recognized the church.  I explained to the man that I was glad he had a great church and we have a great church too, in fact we had just finished a wonderful meal with our church family.  He looked disappointed, and walked away. 

Then this gentleman somehow cut around the tables and stopped Mr. Workman.  He began with the same introduction and Mr. Workman gave him the same response that I had.  The gentleman responded shaking the business card, "Listen I had cancer, this pastor prayed and the cancer is gone...something to think about with the crew you have."  Mr. Workman took the card, smiled and walked on....BUT there IT was AGAIN! 

It is so frustrating and hurtful that apparently some people believe we would be better, happier people if everyone could, walk, talk, see, hear and be "normal".   Even more frustrating is the failure of this man of faith to recognize the healing that we have already enjoyed.  We have experienced many miracles in our family and Daddy was carrying one HUGE miracle...Nate!  Furthermore, these miracles were performed by God, not by our pastor.  Sure our pastor and church anointed with oil and prayed, but God did the work.

As a mom, these "faith healers" are even more hurtful to me than when they just try to "heal" me.  Like any mom, I think my kids are about perfect and for anyone to suggest that they would be better another way is a BIG insult.  I know one thing for sure and that is that the Lord has given my kids (or will give them) everything they need to complete His plan for their life...I don't want them waiting on some pastor to try to give them something that God in His Divine plan knew was not needed. 

Illness needs healing, like Nate's heart and lungs.  Conditions like Downs Syndrome and cerebral palsy are a part of who the person is...just like hair or eye color.  To pray for healing would be like praying for eye color to change (or bigger boobs like the cartoon).  Many times people have prayed for my limbs to be "restored", and then they have told me that it didn't happen due to my lack of faith.  When I told them that I just prayed that they would grow another arm and it didn't happen so they may have faith issues too, then these same people say I'm mocking them and God.  In an attempt to avoid appearing to mock God, I now just pray that God will give them manners and teach them gently about faith. 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. --Psalms 139:14

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. --James 5:14,15

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.--Philippians 4:19

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Buzz....

The upcoming Christmas celebration has our house buzzing!  The kids are so excited. We are so excited!  BUT the volume is unbelievable!  Ed's parents gives us money each year to buy the kids gifts from them.  My parents do most of their own shopping, but I help with part of it, especially for ones like Jon and Hannah.  Then I shop from us.  As the piles of presents grow so does the curiosity of the kids.  However, they have all done well to leave the presents alone, except for one....Baby Nate!  He can reach one stack in our bedroom and as soon as I put him on the floor (no matter where) he crawls as fast as he can for our room and that stack of presents. 

I'm behind on getting Christmas cards out due to a Mr. Workman turning off the power during an update and corrupting the file with our Christmas DVD.  Hopefully, by the end of this week, Christmas cards and DVDs will be in the mail.  It has been stressful making a whole year's worth of video in a couple weeks.  Everyone will just have to be understanding that this year's DVD will not be the usual style or quality, but there will be a DVD!

This week we will also start the beginning of making Christmas goodies.  The kids are all excited, especially Corrine and David who are my two main kitchen helpers.  We have our groceries and they are ready to mix, bake, and most importantly TASTE all the treats.

This coming Sunday is the Christmas program and there is still many preparations to be made for it!  In fact, I'm a bit overwhelmed thinking about it since our kids made up a majority of the cast!

I've been looking for some elves to come help me and the older kids get the Christmas tree up this year.  So far I haven't found any elves, but hopefully yet this week.  Mr. Workman works every weekend until Christmas due to debate tournaments so he won't be able to help decorate until right before Christmas, and I hate to say, "Honey, now that your vacation is finally here, I've got a few thousand things for you to do..lets start with the tree."  We did agree that this year we would skip the outdoor decorating and some of the "not baby proof" upstairs decorations like the foyer tree and my snowmen collection.  But the upstairs ledge is lined with poinsettias as is the table (15 in all) and some of my favorite wall hangings are up so it definitely looks like Christmas.

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day;
their old familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet the word repeat
of peace on earth, good-will to men!"--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Yesterday was such an emotional day....I have not cried that much in a long time and for such a variety of reasons! 

First tears of my day came from news that a 10 year old with schizencephaly (same condition as Vanessa) had passed away overnight after a sudden acute complication/illness.  His mother is a part of a group of moms who all have kids with this rare congenital brain malformation.  We all communicate regularly with each other so even though we live hundreds and even thousands of miles apart we feel a close bond.  We can share things that most people wouldn't understand because other people would still be asking what schizencephaly is/if it can be fixed/etc.  We share fears, victories, ideas and most importantly we share a hope that the specialist don't usually have for our children.  Hope is probably our strongest bond, but this year the group has also shared grieving...too much grieving for one year.  Tears had just flowed for a beautiful angel in October, but now again so close to Christmas.

The second tears of my day came as I updated Nate's Caringbridge.  It has been 1 year since his open heart surgery.  I re-read entries from a year ago causing tears and prayers of thanksgiving.  It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the surgery.  So many milestones...1st tooth, crawling, sitting, more teeth, pulling up, babbling, and growing to double his pre-surgery weight and over 9" in height!  So many sicknesses...bronchiolitis, fevers, ear infections, pneumonias and with the support of praying friend, Nate fighting it all off!  I don't know if I have mentioned it lately, but he is one of the sweetest babies in the world!  Nate is such a blessing to our family!
Out to see the movie "Tangled"

The last tears of the day were brought by Vanessa.  She did something ordinary for most folks, but extraordinary for her.  Something that has been a goal of mine for her.  She went out to do something in the community without her wheelchair, without being carried...she went to a movie using only her walker!  I know the irony of a wheelchair-using mom having the closely held goal of her child walking, but you have to remember that I was able to walk from about age 2 to 7 with a brace and then from age 8 to 17 with a prosthesis.  I know the freedom that being able to stand and walk without physical assistance will bring to Vanessa.  Our next goal is to go to Wal-Mart with her walker to buy some clothes, but we will probably wait until after the holidays.  She needs more time to build up her endurance and she currently has me worried that she is having some new seizure activity.  Please keep her in your prayers as we get a new EEG after the holidays.  I'm praying that I'm just an overly anxious mom and that she is not having seizures.  She is such an amazing kid!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Below is a list of some of my favorite quotes and such about adoption.  It seemed like a great way to end November.

"A Birthmother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart"--Skye Hardwick

For finding you mother,
There's one certain test.
You must look for the creature
Who loves you the best.--- David Kirk (Little Miss Spider)

KISSES IN THE WIND (The Waiting Child's Lullaby)
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
--- © Pamela Durkota, written for Josh

Some definitions:
Natural Child: Any child who is not artificial.
Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary.
Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else's child.
Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.
By Rita Laws

If you have a favorite too, feel free to post it as a comment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

What a fun, busy day!  Mr. Workman got up (let me sleep) and started the rolls and the turkey so when I got up I was actually feeling pretty rested.  Of course, we had all the trimmings, 2 types of stuffing, noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy, salads, cranberry sauce, and pies.  As is our tradition, before we ate 
A picture taken by Grace as we were getting the
table set to eat.  We get asked a lot,
"How big is your table?"
The answer: 120" long with 5 chairs,
one adaptive feeding chair, &
2 benches.
we each said one thing that we were thankful for this year. 
  • I said "living in a safe place" (thinking of Haiti and drought stricken west Africa ). 
  • Mr. Workman said "health"
  • David said "turkey"
  • Corrine said "family"
  • Vanessa said "sisters"
  • Matt said "poppy" (grand-dad). 
  • Hannah said "mac n cheese"
  • Jon just smiled big, and
  • Grace who went last said "that this activity is over so we can eat"! 
With that Mr. Workman prayed, and we ate A LOT of great food!  After dinner, there was football to watch and some movies for those who weren't interested in football.

Then after everyone was in bed, Mr. Workman and I planned the morning shopping trip for Christmas bargains.  Unfortunately, even with the best planning, I only got about 30% of our list....I'm afraid I have a lot of shopping ahead of me!  However, I did get one great bargain at Office Depot.  It was a 4-in-1 office machine for $29, which I really needed since the kids accidentally knocked my fax machine onto the ceramic tile floor.  This was a surprise buy that I had not seen in the ad, but it will be put to immediate use!

As another nice surprise, Mr. Workman and I got breakfast together at Cracker Barrel!  Just us (and the 1200 other people with the same idea)...it was crowded, but it was SO nice.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving's Past

In 2006, we had just moved into our current home and we were still in disbelief and amazement that God had helped us in finding an affordable house that was perfect for our needs...BUT we also wondered what God had in store for us next because obviously this house was too big for our family in 2006!  We had applied to adopt David and Vanessa and we were waiting for the paperwork to be complete, but we knew even they wouldn't fill this house.

In 2007, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving without my brother Daniel.  He had passed away in May of 2007, only days after being taken to the ER and a colloid cyst discovered on his brain.  We were all still adjusting to the changes and absence that this had brought to our lives.  Plus we were watching David and Vanessa continue to grow up in photos while we continued to wait for their adoptions to be complete.
In 2008, David and Vanessa celebrated their first Thanksgiving in our home.  Both had been here long enough for their English skills to be fairly good, and they understood when we went around the table and took turns listing something for which we are thankful.  Vanessa said "mom" and pointed to me as my heart melted.  David answered quickly and confidently, "refrig-errr'-lators" and went on to explain that you put food in them and it waits for you there....so there is always food.  From a child who had known so much physical hunger, that statement of thanksgiving was profoundly insightful!  A few weeks after Thanksgiving, Mr. Workman and I would make the prayerfully-considered decision to apply to adopt Jon whom we had met while in Haiti.

Then last year's Thanksgiving was over shadowed by the unknown.  Baby Nate and Vanessa were both having surgery in December and Nate was so sick and I was so exhausted by his round the clock feeding schedule...it really didn't fully seem like Thanksgiving.  We had a big meal and family came, but I fell asleep when I stretched out on the bed for a minute.  Ultimately I missed most of that afternoon.  Jon's adoption process was on hold due to issues in Haiti and we were doubting when and if he could join our family.

Mark (left) and Luke (right) at my mom's house tonight
just after their huge meal.

This year Jon is home.  PLUS Mark, Luke and Matt joined our family with him and they are all experiencing their first Thanksgiving with us.  None of them understand that they now have a FOREVER family and forever a place to gather with people who love them every Thanksgiving, but I understand and am so blessed!  They all  loved the busy crowded atmosphere at my mom's tonight with lots of family and friends ready to give them lots of attention and food!  I am constantly amazed at God's goodness to our family. 

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.--Psalms 136:1 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Preparations

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays although I have always found it a bit odd that it arrives during the least financially abundant times of the year in our household.  Thanksgiving coincides with the October medical bills from meeting our annual health insurance deductibles, the property tax bills, and my business' insurances.  However, maybe this is how it should be since it focuses us on all our blessings, not just material ones. Faith, family, friends, love, health, happiness, and being together top my thankfulness list.  I'm also thankful for wonderful people from church who brought us a turkey with lots of trimmings including fresh fruit and a gold fish (long story, but David is impressed....the fish is even front and center in the photo below).  What a blessing! 

In the mist of getting Thanksgiving preparations started, our hot water heater started acting up.  I was thinking that I'd have to wait to get it fixed until after Thanksgiving, but a friend came and fixed it today!   I was so happy! 

As of last night the cooking and meal prep has begun!  We are having Thanksgiving with my parents and family on Wednesday.  Since I am a highly committed cook (sarcasm), I signed up to bring the crudités.  However, I also put together a cheese tray and made some Chex snack mix. 

Then on Thursday, we will be home for our own family meal with friends.  It is good that we will be home because right now the weatherman is saying that there is a chance of snow on Thursday.  This year's is Jon, Matt, Mark and Luke's first Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

International Orphans

Today there are estimated to be over
143 million orphans in the world.

How many is 143 million?

If you had these orphans hold hands in a line, you would see over 1,700 orphans per mile.  If you were to follow that line of orphans holding hands, driving 60 mph, you could drive 24 hours a day seeing 1,700 orphans every mile, hour after hour, day after day without stopping for over two months, and you would still see orphans holding hands.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

US Adoption

In the United States:
  • Of the more than 500,000 children living in foster care, 129,000 cannot return to their families and are waiting to be adopted. Among these children:
    • Males outnumber females.
    • African American children are disproportionately represented.
    • Nearly two-thirds are age six or older.
  • The average length of stay in foster care for children awaiting adoption is 44 months.
  • More than 41 percent spend two to five years in foster care.
  • Nearly 20 percent are trapped in foster care for five years or more.

Focus on the Family president and chief executive Jim Daly said.
"I was one of those kids — a kid that doesn't have a mom and dad. I was never adopted, but I was very appreciative of the people who came along to mentor me.“
"If my Bible math is right, God reminds us 47 times to take care of widows and orphans. This country has something like 300,000 churches and 130,000 orphans. The math is pretty simple."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month and November 7th was Orphan Sunday so there has been a lot of emphasis and information on adoption in the media.  As part of this media coverage there has been a "sour" note in some of the coverage.  This "sour" note  is the idea that international adoption is "un-American" adoption option.   I would like to clean up these myths from my perspective.  However, before I get started I want to make one TRUTH clear--Neither international nor domestic adoption is right or wrong or better or worse.  It doesn't matter where an orphan comes from, if God calls you to meet a child's need in the form of adoption, then you have a responsibility to answer God's call...its not about being American.  Its about being a Christian.

Myth #1:  Adopting kids from the United States is the "American" thing to do.  Adopting internationally brings new "burdens" to the United States.

A reader's comment clipped from the
Joplin Globe online edition
      Right now the United States has many strong "anti-illegal immigration" beliefs and I think this often gets confused with adoption issues.  When a child is adopted from another country, that child's parents must seek permission for their child to enter the United States and become a citizen.  As part of gaining permission, the parents must prove the child was an orphan, prove the adoption is complete and show that they have the income to meet the child's needs without welfare and verify that no other child in their home is receiving welfare. 

    For Mr. Workman and I, adoption was not about nationality, it was about being called to adopt.  We tried domestic adoption and each time were told no.  We were told no on our first international attempt too, but God used all those "no's" to bring us to the child that He had for us.  We never considered what others would think of her nationality or race.  We loved her from the first picture and we knew we were supposed to bring her home. 
Myth #2:  Internationally adopted kids have less "problems" than kids available in the United States.

    Warning:  I'm about to be rudely blunt!  If you are looking for a child with less "problems" to adopt, then you need to be adopting a pet and not a kid.  All kids have "problems" no matter if adopted or by birth and it is the job of parents to help the child with the problems that they face as they grow.

    Now truthfully some childhood experiences of trauma, abuse, starvation, abandonment and neglect place scars on kids that only certain parents are ready to pray their way through.  No matter if adopting in the United States or internationally their are kids with all different backgrounds and families need to consider which backgrounds can be handled in their home.  Some kids should be an only child and others should be the youngest or other with a single mom, but these issues are not unique to a country.  These issues are unique to the child.

Myth #3:  International adoption has less requirements and less oversight than domestic adoptions.

    Each country has different amounts of oversight and different kinds of oversight.  Some might argue that the HIV, syphilis and TB tests that we had to have for Haiti is more oversight than the United States.  Others would think the fact we got to pick our social worker to be less oversight.  The bottom line is ALL adoptions have a home study by a licensed professional which will include proof of marriage, income, expenses, mental stability and explanation of the home environment. 

Myth #4:  International orphans are not "really" orphans...their parents just cannot afford them. 

   This is a newer myth that comes largely from international aid groups who are trying to use orphans as a reason to leverage large amounts of money from the UN and countries like the US.  One group recently suggested that it could empty orphanages by offering families cash to take the children home, and I suspect that they are correct.  Extended family members and strangers would show up to claim their cash and their orphan, but I cannot let my mind think what would happen to that child next.

   Adoptive families must be a part of making sure their child's family was offered humanitarian aid and resources to keep the child.  Plus the adoptive family needs to check that the story of how the child became an orphan is true.  Parents should get the opportunity to meet the remaining members of the child's family and others who have been a part of the child's life.

Myth #5:  People who adopt internationally are just "showing off" and trying to be "trendy". 

   Oh, Brad and Angelina, you have supposedly made international adoption "cool".  (Shaking my head)

    Warning: I'm about to be rudely blunt AGAIN! If you are looking for a child to make you "cool", then you need to be adopting a pet and not a kid AND you need to go all out on the pet.  You should buy a purse for it to be carried in, and a diamond studded collar is not out of the question...just stay away from kids.

So this month, I'll be sharing some adoption facts and figures in my blogs...some international and some domestic because I don't know what God is calling you to do.  If you have questions about adoption in general or about our family's adoption experiences, please feel free to email me.  I'll try to answer your questions or get someone who can answer, if your questions are not within my expertise.
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were
slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us
as his very own children.--Galatians 4:5 NLT

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"After Mine Own Heart"

My first picture of David.  Someday he'll be
a grown man, but I'll still see this little boy.
I didn't even know his name and despite
knowing I shouldn't , I fell in love with this
little face that greeted me on my first visit
to the COTP web site. So I called Daddy to the
computer and we emailed COTP immediately.

Not long ago David asked me what his name meant. I reminded him about David in the Bible.  David said questioningly, "he killed some monsters and I get his name".  I reminded him, "Giants, not monsters" and  I explained to David that God had said Bible-David was a a man after His own heart.  (David, a typically 7 year old, said that sounded gross.)  I went on and explained it meant that Bible-David had a desire to love the same things that God loved.  David declared that his name was "cool", and he wanted to know if Bible-David ever killed any dinosaurs....oh, the theologically conversations that I could only have with a 7 year old boy!
On October 28th, I had a long day.  I left the house at 4:00am headed to St. Louis Children's Hospital for Jon's appointment.  Grace and David decided to come along since there was no school and they knew it would get them at least one restaurant meal.  The appointment and testing went slowly and we finally got home around 7pm...after 2 McD stops and one White Castle stop.  So at 7pm, the celebration of it being Hannah's 11th birthday got started.  After lots of celebrating, we started the bath line, put babies to bed and started the nightly routine.  

However, David in his usual quiet way, slipped up on my lap and said that "he wanted to say that prayer telling God that he loves Him and wants to live by His rules and be forgiven for his sins."  So we talked about what that prayer meant.  I asked him questions and he asked me some.  Finally, as David insisted that he was ready, we got Daddy to join us and David said his prayer.  He told us that he would tell the pastor on Sunday, but this was Thursday so we waited to see if he would be brave enough to go up and tell the pastor.

On Saturday David reminded us that he needed us to go to church the next day because he needed to tell the pastor and everyone about his prayer.  On Sunday as soon as he verified it was time, he took Daddy with him up to the front of the church to talk to the pastor!  ....Now Grace & Corrine were "saved" young and both waited a bit to be baptized so I figured David would wait too especially since he is very frightened of going under water...But he said he was ready to show people his decision by being baptized.  So on Sunday, my sweet little David was baptized.   

I've watched the Lord, reach out to David and answer his prayers in real ways so David would know God had heard him...I will always smile at David praying so earnestly for a baby brother (and I was trying to prepared David for a bigger kid since we had started Jon's adoption process) and rather suddenly we got Nate.  Then he started praying nightly for more baby brothers and God brought him more baby brothers!

Its my prayer that God will continue to reach out to David to help him and us as we try to disciple him in the truths of living a Christlike-life of obedience and service to God...Lord knows we are going to need LOTS of help...as I can hear the questions already..."Did Jesus kill any dinosaurs?"....Only our David. 

 the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and
the LORD hath commanded him [to be] captain over his people,
because thou hast not kept [that]
which the LORD commanded thee.--I Samuel 13:14b

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a
sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to
thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the
armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.--1 Samuel 17:45
(cooler than a dinosaur if you ask me...)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nate & Jon

Daddy, Nate & US Senate Candidate Roy Blunt

Nate came home from the hospital on Tuesday and it has been a busy week since he got home due to frequent medications and breathing treatments.  Nate had some problems with a steroid that the doctor had prescribed at the hospital, but our pediatrician took him off that medication and he has been continuing to improve.  He had really good days yesterday and today.  Yesterday we had family pictures taken at the pumpkin patch at Manning Farm and Nate loved being outside with his Oxygen off.  In fact, Nate fought us about his Oxygen the rest of the evening. 

Then today was Nate's 2nd birthday! We took him to a meet and greet for Roy Blunt (running for US Senate) and Billy Long (running for US Congress). Then we took Nate (dressed as a frog) and all his brothers and sisters to a couple Trunk or Treats this evening.  We got  home and we were ready to do presents and cake, BUT Nate fell asleep!  So cake and presents will have to wait until tomorrow!  Right now Nate is curled up with daddy, asleep on my side of the bed and breathing so easy, which is such a relief after being so congested and sick.

Jon the giraffe

On Thursday, Jon had his final procedure and x-ray contrast study on his stomach.  He did very well during this last step which was painful.  So far he has needed some pain meds at night when we start the overnight continuous feeding, but during the day he has not had any pain.  He started hurting when we were taking pictures yesterday so I don't think there will be many pictures of Jon, except in group pictures that were taken before he started hurting.  Tonight most of the swelling was gone, and Jon (dressed as a giraffe) loved going Trunk or Treating AND LOVED eating his candy when we got home!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Relaxed weekend?

Our Weekend Away:
Nate had a rough week last week with his congestion getting worse, but Wednesday the doctor gave him an antibiotic shot and he started improving.  Therefore, reluctantly Mr. Workman and I decided to keep our plans to go to the Lake of the Ozarks for our weekend away.  Friday evening and Saturday morning we attended a conference.  Friday night we had an enjoyable dinner out.  Then Saturday afternoon we had drove to Windsor, Missouri to see a friend of mine from high school and to speak at a contemporary service at the church she attends. (See picture.)  It was great to see Amy and remember some fun times.  I remember a slumber party in about 8th or 9th grade where Amy created a whole new phobia for me by explaining that she practiced kissing so she would not be a "sloppy kisser" and others chimed in that they did too.  I had never been concerned about such thing, UNTIL then!  It is fun remembering the "crazy" stuff that concerned us girls!

Nate's "Bug":
Nate's cold "bug" stayed about the same while we were gone overnight, but Sunday morning his fever was difficult to get down, his heart rate was staying too high for too long and his oxygen saturation's started dropping.  When his breathing didn't improve after a nebulizer treatment, we headed to the ER in Springfield.  The chest xray when we got there showed pneumonia in both lungs so they admitted him to start IV antibiotics.  However, so far they have been unable to get an IV started so in the morning the doctor will assess and try again or consider a central line or a picc line.

I am so worried about Nate since it is so early in the year to already have a cold turn into pneumonia.  This could make for a long winter.  I'm trusting that my prayers and those of our friends can turn this around so that because it is so early in the year for pneumonia, then Nate has time for a full recovery before the toughest respiratory-winter months.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Slideshow Video

This is a slideshow that I use when public speaking about our family.  Please follow the link to see it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Feeling pushed...

It was a very busy week last week.  I tried to do a weeks worth of work before Wednesday.  Then Nate had surgery in Little Rock on Wednesday.  I had packed a mountain of projects, but forgot my laptop cord so my big plans for achievement got smaller!  (Plus the flu shot that I got on Tuesday, had me feeling a bit sickly too.)

Hannah got sick at school Thursday and said her head was hurting.  Thursday night Nate & I got home late and Nate had a very rough night.  So I started Friday at the pediatrician with Nate and Hannah.  Then Mr. Workman had debate all weekend so it was me with all the kids while Nate was needing lots of one-on-one care.  So I did what any realistic mom would do.....kept the sick ones medicated (David joined the sick group Saturday) and I ordered pizza, bribed the older ones to get them to help more, encouraged watching movies and let them play outside as much as they would.

Finally today I pulled ahead of the piles of work and sick kids.  I went grocery shopping this afternoon and made Creole beans & rice with chicken sauce.  Mr. Workman made two pumpkin pies per Hannah's request.  Then this evening I let the older kids make Carmel apples.  They seemed to really have fun making them.  This is the first year that I have been brave enough to let them dip their own apples so they thought they were big stuff.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nate's Gotcha Day

Today we celebrated Nate's First Gotcha Day. It was great to remember and be thankful for all the protection, guidance and provision that God has given Nate and our family during the past year. It has been such a blessing to watch doors close and doors open as we prayed and sought God's plan.

I truly can understand where in the 2nd chapter of Luke, it is mentioned twice that Mary kept all these things in her heart and pondered them. Certainly Mary had more to keep & ponder, in fact I cannot imagine how full of joy and thanksgiving her heart must have been. I know I will always rejoice when remembering certain things that I know only God could do for Nate. Specifically, I remember and am in awe of God's workings in the following:

  • my feeling at peace when the doctor and nurse practitioner in St. Louis explained that comfort may be all we could offer Nate since repair surgery would be risky, expensive and long term recovery too difficult to support in Haiti; I was amazed at the time (and still now) at the extra measure of faith that God provided to me. I never doubted that God had other plans.

  • witnessing so many people taking a personal interest in Nate...some people who I had just met because of Nate and many more who I had never met prayed for us, financially helped with Nate's care, and in one case rescued me (a week after we met) when my car broke down and drove us the rest of the way to the hospital and in time to still have the procedure done!

  • having gas be provided or just "show up" in my tank when the budget was its tightest.

  • a stranger calling, introducing herself and helping us open the door to care in Little Rock.

  • having an Oxygen tank malfunction and needing a replacement while outside our company's service area and watching Nate's story soften the spiritual heart of man who we would never have met otherwise.

  • due to congestion, ending up back in the same ER that Nate visited on his 1st morning in our home, and having the same doctors stopping to see if it really was the same baby...they listened and marvel at his repaired heart....I couldn't help, but think this was God taking a victory lap! It still makes me smile!

Since Nate's arrival, I have had more of what the world calls "dumb luck" such as car beak downs, flats, financial stresses, financial surprises, changed plans and general inconveniences than in the last couple decades. However, with each situation, I saw God directing our paths, touching not just our life, but the lives of others. As our 14 year old daughter Grace would say, "Nate is one special dude". It is my honor to be his mom.

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.--Matthew 19:14

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well.--Psalms 139:14

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Giving Up.....

I gave up something today that I never thought I would....it involved giving up some pride, some control, some perfectionism, some mommy guilt and some money, but I think this "giving up" is for the best.

I have always provided the kids' home medical care and I have always felt that was my job as their mom. I felt it encouraged bonding/trust and assured quality of care. If the doctors said drop a tube down their nose, then I did it; cath this, bandage that, inject this, pack that, suction this, nebulize that....no matter what was needed or when (round the clock), I learned it and I did it. Likewise, Grace, Corrine & David each have even learned parts of care routines from putting on Vanessa's braces to adjusting the settings on Hannah's cochlear implant processor.

BUT I have decided that it is time to rethink and re-prioritize how and when I am encouraging bonding. Specifically, I realized that almost 100% of my interactions with Jon involved his care....feedings, diaper changes, stretches, bathing, dressing, bandage changes, breathing treatments, medications, feeding tube problems, etc. Plus a great deal of Grace & Corrine's interactions with Jon involve care too. Very little of Jon & my relationship is just loving on each other and doing things like curling up in the big rocker with a snugly blanket to read or watch TV or going outside to blow bubbles. SO I hired a NURSE and an aide....yes, I did....well, and our insurance company did too. However, for a few hours a week a nurse will come and an aid will come and help with Jon's care AND a couple hours of Nate's care.

My hope is that this will give me more uninterrupted time with each of the other kids and make my time with Jon and Nate less about suctioning and more about hugging, holding, playing and just enjoying each other. I really feel convinced that this "giving up" may help avoid problems in the future for all our kids. The kids and I will each continue helping each other and having responsibilities, but hopefully we can focus more on the responsibilities of caring for the mind and soul...and less on the body.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit
before a fall.--Proverbs 16:18

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it.--Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today is Mr. Workman & my 12th Wedding Anniversary. As we reflected on our 12 years last night at dinner, it was an amazingly long list of accomplishments, challenges, and changes.

We started our marriage by selling my house and moving to a new town for me to take a dream job. We couldn't find a suitable place to buy so we rented an old, small (wheelchair friendly) duplex in a retirement community in Joplin for 8 months. During that time, Mr. Workman had trouble finding decent employment in Joplin and was driving 80 miles a day back to Springfield to work. After 8 months, Mr. Workman had a terrible job in Joplin and a previously unsuitable house that we had seen 8 months before started looking more suitable.

We bought that small house and soon Mr. Workman decided to go back to school to be a teacher. Corrine was born the day he took his teacher exam (the Praxis). We built a storage shed. Then we tried to adopt from Korea & had it end in a heart breaking "no" because of my disability. Soon we converted the garage into a family room. Then we were told about Hannah & 9 months later, we traveled to Ecuador for 3 weeks to finalize the adoption, which ended up costing several thousand more than we had been told so we refinanced the house and brought home the greatest blessing and the greatest challenge to our marriage that we have had to-date.

Hannah had lots of needs for the first year. She needed around the clock supervision, lots of instruction, therapies, medical procedures and most of all tons of patience! The financial strains, balancing the time at work vs the time at the doctor/therapies, the endless fits as Hannah tried to tell us about her willful, 3 year old opinions and the struggles to get the school to provide the specialists that she needed to learn to read Braille, to use a cane for mobility and to teach her sign language/tadoma; all took their toll. As a result, I can honestly say that we let Hannah's first year in our home be the darkest time for our marriage...we were sleep deprived, short on patience and taking no time for ourselves...we were doing EVERYTHING right for Hannah, except possibly the most important thing: protecting our marriage and the stability of our home.

We finally pulled ourselves together and got our priorities in order. Hannah started making big strides and and so did our marriage...we bought a bigger house, we faced unemployment and re-employment, and three years later we were ready to adopt again, and as it would turn out again, and again and again........However, we had learned from Hannah many important things including that keeping our relationship to each other nurtured is key to our being available to serve God's purposes for our family...especially when it currently includes three terrific 1 year olds and one very demanding, incredibly adorable 3 year old, who it turns out is not so different than Hannah was at that same age.

12 years ago: I was "in" love with my new husband's looks, mannerisms, interests and love for me. I did not yet really recognize or compliment his strengths and weaknesses nor did I understand the depth of his character and devotion. The first 6 years of our marriage was tough as we learned to truly love each other. The past 6 years have had their trials, but I wouldn't have wanted to go through them with anyone other than Mr. Workman.

If our relationship was likened to a boat on a stormy sea, then the first 6 years were spent trying to "put up with" the annoyance of the waves and the last 6 years were spent enjoying the security of being in the storm together. I cannot imagine a better boat than our relationship or a better Captain than Mr. Workman and am thankful that my Captain knows my God and is depending on Him, as I depend on him.

Today I am loving and appreciating an incredible father to our children, a patient partner, a great listener, a soft spoken and sincere counselor, a giving provider, a Christ-lead leader, an amazing lover, a most-devoted best friend, and (at times) my biggest annoyance. I wouldn't want life any other way.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Some people have a dream house...I have a "dream" grocery store....keep in mind that I shop weekly and one time a month I spend 3 to 4 hours in the grocery store and exit with 3 to 4 carts full.

Here are the details of my dream grocery store:
  • The grocery store would install cup holders on each cart and offer Rt 44 Sonic drinks (for non-US readers, this is a 44 oz drink with awesome crushed ice) as I arrive.
  • They would allow me to fax in my orders for the items that I buy one or more cases of and have the cases waiting for me.
  • They would have "St. Louis-style" carts...okay, so I have no idea of the carts "real name", but ones like in the picture to the left...with a high shallow basket, room for cases to stack below and the front is hinged so everything in the basket just gets slid onto the checkout conveyor belt. (For readers who don't know me personally, I use a wheelchair and dangling over a cart to try to reach the items at bottom of a typical deep basket is no fun.)
  • Any aisle with items over 50 pounds each (ie. dog food) would have a button to press call for assistance.
  • A pouch with see thru pockets should be on the cart to hold grocery lists and coupons being used.
  • When its time for carryout, the carryout person will arrive before the ice cream melts.

I use coupons and generally save 20% with coupons each shopping trip. I organize them by the order that the items are from the front of Wal-Mart grocery to the back (rather than by category). Even when I shop places other than Wal-Mart, I find this arrangement works well.

NOW, for what everyone seems to want to know...where do I get my coupons?

  1. web site of frequently purchased brands such as Betty Crocker and Cascade,
  2. online newspaper coupons,
  3. Boxtops for Education,
  4. couponmom,
  5. ebay to purchase coupons for specific favorite products,
  6. newspapers and magazines
  7. friends and family.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Folate Deficiency

Jon has now been on Deplin for folate deficiency for a month now. I saw some improvements at first and in the last week I have seem more strength and more movements.
It is hard to tell if these newest improvements are the folate or perhaps the improved nutrition now that he is getting Isosource formula through his tube. Either way I think the specialists are getting Jon's needs figured out and we are heading down the right path.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Many people ask me, "How do you feed them all?" I am always unsure if they mean how to we afford it OR how we physically put food on the spoon and in the mouths of 4 kids who cannot yet feed themselves OR how we get it cooked OR how we get it from the pan to their plates. In this blog I'm going to talk about the food budget. Next time I'll talk about shopping; and later cooking.

In a typical month, I spend $600 on food & $300 more on cleaning supplies, baby food, wipes, bottle liners, formula and diapers. I budget $1000, but usually spend $900 by the time I use the ads, coupons and/or coast along out of the pantry if there aren't any good deals. I do make up a menu, but I don't insist we follow it exact so we mix up the days and meals based on what the kids want.

I clip coupons, print online coupons, buy coupons on ebay, match the coupons with advertised sale items for more impact. This usually saves 20% of the total receipt. We shop at the farmers market for seasonal bargains. I know when certain store items will be at their lowest prices and I buy enough for the year. Some examples are the following:
  • apple sauce will soon be at its lowest price
  • In November-pumpkin, broth, au gratin potatoes, boxed stuffing, cranberry juice, and green beans
  • In December-flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and summer sausage
  • In January-Cheez Whiz, Velveeta, chips, pretzels, soda pop and soup
  • In February-laundry soap and dishwasher liquid
  • In March-cabbage, ham and some paper products
  • In April-diapers, wipes, and baby food
  • In May-chicken, paper products, chips, soda pop and fruit juice
  • In August-canned pastas and soups, pasta, pasta sauce, ice cream, pizza rolls, mac n cheese, frozen pizzas, snack crackers, popcorn (and even though its not a food...this is when underwear is cheapest!)

When I do the BIG shopping trip, I try to do so the third week of the month, when the sales are usually most impressive.

Lastly, I have a very small container garden to supply our lettuce in the Spring and Tomatoes and Peppers and Herb in the Summer and Fall. Friends and family give us samplings out of their gardens too. A few friends and family bless us with meat from butchering from their farm or hunting.

I have some pet peeve BUDGET BUSTERS when I shop which include the following:
  • Being asked to send monthly snacks to school for 22 to 24 kids that must be individually wrapped and not homemade (and without nuts)...I do this for 3 classes. We don't eat convenience items like that in our home so I resent being asked to donate something that is usually outside of our budget and lifestyle...if we need snacks at home, they come in a jumbo bag or I make them.

  • Food allergies: I am often forced to buy higher priced brands due to allergies and sensitivities in our family. By the time I get no MSG, no milk and no citric acid, then the top brands tend to be the only option.

  • Deals like Angel Food Ministries can be BIG budget busters. We only order 1 or 2 times a year and usually it is near the holidays for the cases of fruit. I do not generally order because the packages are loaded with one time convenience foods, and meats that we may not be able to use due to it having bones, being too tough or too spicy.

  • Single frozen items are a waste for us.....I end up opening small package after small package so I buy jumbo family size or commercial sizes, split it in 1/2 and store it.
Today's after school snack is an affordable easy treat. Corrine helped me today. The recipe is from my great aunt Wanita.

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats

1. Add the first four ingredients (through the cocoa powder) to a 4-quart saucepan.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute. (If you don't get a good boil for 1 minute,
then the sugar doesn't fully dissolve and the cookie are kind of gritty.)
3. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats.
5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.
6. Let cool until set.
Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies or bars

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God.--I Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now what was I doing?

"Now....what was I doing?" would best describe the last couple days. For some reason, the minutes since Sunday would best be counted by the number of interruptions to my interruptions. Some people probably think this is how everyday is at our house...but thankfully...no.

Time is typically marked by
who is awake,
who is napping,
who gets meds,
who gets fed,
who gets to color,
who wants to sing,
who wants to read a book,
who wants a hug,
who has homework,
who needs a diaper change,
and who will let momma go do some work in her office.

We follow an orderly schedule. Things may not always happen at the same time each day due to therapies, music lessons, home school co-op, sports and visitors, but the order of activities stays about the same.

I think a variety of things have us a bit off from our usual flow.
One big one is grandma was here last week and the kids are ALWAYS more demanding when grandma is here or has just been here.
A second one is a new house is being built next door on the lot that we were going to buy. The older kids are grieving the loss of space for soccer, flying kites and such. (I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed too. We had been saving to pay cash rather than finance, but we thought that the seller knew that we would get financing if needed to keep it from being sold!) BUT is like I told Grace, God knows our needs and meets our needs....apparently we just "thought" we needed that lot...God knows best.

However, the builder shows NO AWARENESS of having so many children close by as he works. The foundation is only 15 feet off our property line. I asked the builder to put up a construction zone fence for Hannah's safety, but he says its my job to watch my own kids....I agree with him completely, but it only takes a moment for an accident to happen especially when a child cannot see and does not hear well. Ed says we will see about having the last 35' on that side of the yard fenced and hopefully we can get it done quickly....I've always thought dogs should be fenced in and NOT children, but trying to track who is inside, who is outside and where are they in the yard is a full time job....everything else is an interruption!

The Lord IS my Shepherd; I shall NOT want. --Psalm 23:1

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nate, Hannah & the universe

I was VERY disappointed today to learn that in Stephen Hawking's latest book, The Grand Design, Hawking and his co-author are claiming, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

So many people look to science for answers that it saddens me to think how many of them will avoid or skip spiritual exploration because they will accept Hawking's claim as truth. It must be pointed out that Hawking did not say that there is no God. Nor did he say that there is no need for man to have a relationship with God, but these messages are implied.

It would be hard to live in our home and not acknowledge an Almighty God who is reaching out to help us. Nate shouldn't have lived to make it out of Haiti, let alone long enough to have a successful repair of his heart. Hannah survived being born pre-mature in the jungle with conditions that should have required thousands of dollars of NICU care, but she survived and through amazing provisions came to live at our home at age 3 1/2. Hannah experienced the equivalent of winning the lottery 7 or 8 times by the time that she was 4 years old! It is hard to explain these types of "luck" without considering the reality God's provision in their lives.

A friend once stated to me that I had "saved" Hannah and Nate, but she is very wrong. Their critical hours of need occurred before I knew of their existence and in circumstances where only God could meet their needs.

So while Hawking writes, "Spontaneous creation is the reason....why we exist". I think he needs to consider, "what is the reason we survive?" If he could see what I've seen, then he would reconsider "why we exist" too.

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap,
or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? --Matthew 6:26
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. --1 Peter 5:7

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, Monday

After last Monday, I was actually a bit fearful of today....BUT it was totally calm & organized! Hopefully it is not a calm before the mid-week storm! My caffeine and I are hitting tomorrow morning running because I have a ton to get done this week.

Great class tonight...For fun, I showed the old standby clip Did You Know? at the end of a section on training and development and as usual, it really sparked some discussion of the changing times!

It was a good Monday! Individual violin class tomorrow....I cannot wait to see what Corrine adds to squeak....umm, I mean practice this week. Its SO fun to see her loving violin, but there is a downside to having a motivated beginner in our home!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I think we have been robbed.....seriously, about 3 hours ago it was Friday and they kids were getting home from school and NOW it is almost Monday morning! How can this be?! It was the first weekend after school started for everyone and I had been looking forward to it all week...and then just POOF! Its GONE!

Truly, I know I went grocery shopping, ran some errands, took a nap, went to church.....that is about all. Luckily, Saturday I did get some great time in with Ed. He went with me and helped me with a small job for work and then we went to dinner...just the two of us (and Nate sitting in his car seat on the table). We had a great time! Nate had a great time too and obviously thought he was pretty special to get to come along....mom and dad all to himself; too bad it was just because he is too sick right now with an respiratory infection to be with a baby sitter.

Today we visited the Methodist Church in Monett that helped purchase the fuel for our trip to Miami to get Mark, Luke & Jon after the earthquake in Haiti. Our pilot for the trip (Andrew Zahn) is a member of the church. We took all the kids, and the babies LOVED all the attention. It was such a nice service and a fellowship dinner followed. They insisted we go through line to eat first; it takes us FOREVER to fix every one's plates so they are not only generous, but patient too! Plus Andrew's parents came for the dinner so it was nice to see his dad Frank again and to meet his mom. AND we got to meet the famous Zurich (Andrew's son) and Zurich's mom Carrie...our trip was so sudden that we had used Zurich's car seats, boppy, and some toys for the trip so it was neat to meet our littlest lender. (See photo from the trip to the right with Zurich's car seats and Frank helping feed babies.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bugs...& Pretzels

We are apparently having our first bug of the school year already. Matt got the sniffles first, then Nate & Corrine & finally someone shared with me. So now I've got the germ-X, lysol and anti-bacterial soap to try to stop this crude before it gets to anyone else. Its like my own mini-war.

Nate has me worried as he tries to fight this cold bug. He is on antibiotics and seems to be holding his own, but he is not improving yet. I'm praying this is just a passing thing because it is too soon to start the winter respiratory illness fight.

Jon had a part of his stomach removed during his surgery last week. It was sent to pathology and some infections (yeap...more "bugs") were discovered so he just started three new medications and we now have an appointment with a gastroenterologist. So far the meds don't upset his stomach, but all combined it is a LOT of medication.

I'm happy to report that the rest of the week has been much calmer than Monday. Today even included some singing, book reading to the babies and....of course, no day would be complete without an argument with insurance.

Today I made Spicy Pretzels for our after school snack...as always it was a hit. I got the recipe from some of my MBA students. The recipe is as follows:

1 lb. off brand pretzels (1 package)--Name brands don't seem to work as well
¾ Cup Oil
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. lemon pepper

Mix ingredients together and pour over pretzels (I use 1 gallon Ziplock bag and just flip them). Stir or mix every 10-15 minutes until pretzels appear mostly dry (about an hour will do).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

¡Los Lunes! (On Mondays!)

Today was a circus and I got pushed from one ring to another all day! It started with the usual 5:00am wake-up and school routine while hooking/unhooking Jon & Nate's feeding pumps & getting meds. However, a clip that is needed to make the pump work fell off Jon's pump making it unusable!

Then after I dropped Matt at preschool, I took the twins for their 18 month check-ups. Luke has grown just over 3" & Mark was 4" taller which was very impressive. The doctor thinks there bowed legs will straighten on their own so that was encouraging. The boys were a hoot to take out today with all their new words and babbling!

I got a BIG COFFEE, then dropped some papers off at the school and headed home where the lazy susan had broken in the kitchen; I started a roast for supper in the crock pot; scheduled Corrine's violin lesson; called AGAIN about Jon's feed pump and then the new speech therapist was arriving. On her heals, came the medical supplier with a new pump with the wrong bags. Then I fed Jon. Then about 5 calls scheduling appointments and checking on insurance pre-approvals. Then the twin woke up from their naps in time for therapy. Then the medical supplier came back to service Nate's Oxygen concentrator. Then the FedEx guy. Then I drew up feeds & meds for the afternoon and evening. Then medical supplier came back again with bags......

Then it was time to head to Branson to teach class....and I finally got some peace as I drove! AND PEOPLE WONDER HOW I FIND TIME TO TEACH??!! I LOVE my family, BUT I LOVE teaching too ESPECIALLY ON MONDAYS!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Last Week...

What a busy week! Grandma had not been to visit for about two months so she came Sunday night to help out this week.

The morning started early with surveying a 2 mile nature trail for work. Followed by therapies for Jon at the Rehab building, making final preps for school to start tomorrow & then going to teach college class in Branson (for me) and in Parsons, KS (for Ed). AND THE DISHWASHER STOPPED WORKING.....UGH!

I got home from Branson at 12:30am last night & Ed left with Jon at 2am! Nate is still having problems with fever and higher than normal heart rate so between getting him meds, resetting alarms and getting Ed out the door....well, morning came VERY early. Plus it was the dash to get kids to their first day of school! We did it & on time! I got Hannah off to 4th grade and David & Vanessa off to 1st grade.

Matt started preschool (2 mornings a week) this morning. While he is there, they will do his therapies so it will save me from running so much. I will take Matt, but he will ride a bus home. He was ready to play with the kids and separated from me much easier than I thought he would...mixed blessing since I want him to be well-bonded, but also confident in new situations. The teacher gave him a small backpack and he is in love with it all....the teacher, the kids, the bus (which he calls "the buts") and the BACKPACK!

In the afternoon our new housekeeper had her first "solo". Of course with mom here, I'm not sure it was very "solo"... but she survived mom's "how to clean" instructions and said she would see us tomorrow when she left...so we know she is long suffering. :)

Everyone got home with good reports on their first day. Jon's surgery was a bit more involved than expected due to some damage from his first feeding tube, but he is resting well tonight in the PICU.

Oh, morning was scheduled too early for me today! I was up from 1:30 to 4:30am with Nate having problems, fussing and needing care. Luke joined us from 2 to 2:30 am for some unknown reason. Thankfully Grace was a major help getting kids around and out the door. I took Matt to preschool & he was ready to GO! He had his backpack and shoes on at 6:05am and was standing at the door. Grandma had to help convince him to get dressed in something besides pajamas!

The new housekeeper came back this morning! I came home from getting Matt to school, made some calls, loaded up the crock pot to make Curried Chickpeas for supper, got the babies down for a nap and crashed in bed!

Jon is more uncomfortable today and is having some nausea so they are not going to start feeding him until tomorrow.

Another rough night with Nate, but better than the night before. After I got the kids off to school, Matt realized that he did not get to go to school today too so I enjoyed the first of many BIG fits. Nate and I headed to his check up this morning. He weighed 19 pounds 7 ounces so his meds will probably need adjusted by the cardiologist. Nate has an ear infection from teething as we thought and the doctor counted 5 teeth trying to break through.

The dishwasher repair guy got the new door latch in and fixed the dishwasher....yes! $94....ugh! I got another afternoon nap while the babies napped...yes! Then while we slept, the guy who has volunteered to help with our lawn this summer came and his crew did another awesome job! I think our yard looks better each visit! Such a blessing!

This afternoon I made some calls...one to get Matt in preschool 4 days a week. Then we had a big supper tonight of turkey roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, noodles, green beans with new potatoes, french bread and carrot cake....I've been avoiding using the oven due to the heat, but it was time for a REAL supper!

Ed reports that he is not cut out for hospital living and that the hospital started feeding Jon through the new tube. He said they are starting very slow, but Jon is tolerating it and seems more comfortable today.

More fits from Matt as the kids went to school and he didn't. I went to Hannah's IEP meeting with Matt at 8am. Not a busy day so I worked on organizing my desk , getting ready for class Monday night & getting ready for Grace & Corrine's homeschooling that starts Monday. Corrine started some schoolwork today because she is so anxious for 4th grade.

Ed called at 1pm and said that Jon did so well overnight and with his morning feed that he gets to come home this evening instead of in the morning. I then got to hustle to get Jon's feeding pump and supplies delivered early. The supplier delivered an old basic pump without the programming features that I need for Jon, and it requires the bag to hang well over my reach. However, it and a timer will work for the weekend. This looks like a supplier doing some profit taking, but hopefully looks are deceiving and we can get a real pump like Nate's on Monday.

Ed got home with Jon who was ready for me to hold him and kiss on him. Jon was full of smiles! So good to see him happy after such a rough week!

Next week: Ed starts school at the high school. Corrine starts violin lessons, and I take Vanessa to St. Louis Children's.