Monday, January 27, 2014

Alayna's Birthday

It's hard to believe 9 years have already gone by! I was excited to have a baby girl, but to watch her grow and develop into a wonderful, beautiful young's truly a gift!! We enjoyed our extra 2 hours this morning before school and like every birthday I told her about what 'this day' was like 9 years ago...she LOVES hearing about her 'birth-day' and I'm blessed to share it with her and even more blessed to be her mom.  I love you SO much Alayna!

 She loves rollerblading and since she got a new pair at Christmas she decided a rollerskating party would be fun.  She wanted to only have a few friends come (sadly one got sick that afternoon and couldn't come) and it turned out to be a fun night celebrating!

Monday, January 20, 2014

5 Kids...

Last Wednesday we got a few calls and emails asking if we'd be willing to take in an emergency 'relocation' of a 13 month old boy and a 2.5 year old girl.  We initially said we could take 1 child, but not both.  The kids are quite bonded (as are most siblings) and so they were trying to keep them together.  I imagined my kids being split up and asked Dan how he felt about helping in the short term.  He called the social worker and said we'd take them for 2 nights so they could have more time to find another family.  Here we are 6 night later and we're still a family of 7!  The kids are totally adorable! 

Friends of ours are in the licensing process and so if they were willing to take 2 placements once they were licensed we decided we'd be willing to keep them together until then.  Foster homes in the area are so full that for most families (including ours) taking 2 kids so close in age is a stretch.  We're stretching...  Our friends look forward to having them in their home and are finishing their paperwork and then will begin home visits.  We're hoping within about a month to have them moved to a home that will work  more long term. 

Our kids have been great about squishing together in the back to make room for 2 car seats in the middle seats of the van...the boys have a pack n play added into their room while Alayna is once again sharing her room.  She's always willing and excited about having someone in her room, but for the boys it's more of a stretch.  Thankfully they haven't complained and they have been great with the kids.

I have to say 0 to 1 kid was a big adjustment, 1 to 2 kids was doable, 2 to 3 kids didn't seem too overwhelming most of the time...we've had 4 kids quite consistently over the last 2 years...but 5 kids...if we always had 5 kids there would definitely be some things about our life that would have to change to make it more conducive to 5 kids.  We'd be willing if that was the case, but I'm thankful that it isn't right now!! :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sweet Syd

This girl will always have a special place in our hearts as well as in our home. She comes to visit each month and it's been great to continue our relationship with her.  We love you sweet Sydney!

Family Fun...Amidst A Dr Appt

Since we needed to go to the cities for Alayna's appt we decided to make the most of it and take some time away as a family...  To say that my kids enjoy swimming would be an understatement!!

A little pizza action after swimming

 Getting ready to swim...again...the next morning before her appt.

Christmas In Kindred

I found the pics!!  Ok, you probably don't really care, but someday when I print another book of blog posts I'll be thankful to include some pics.  I realized I forgot to look on the SD card of our NEW camera!!

Seth enjoying a new dinosaur

 this is my "I just woke up and already the paparazzi is working?" 
-- paparazzi, a.k.a. my husband after we got a new camera!

 Alayna & Seth enjoying time outside with their cousins playing in the snow

 Josiah was out with 'the guys' hunting for some wild turkeys they saw out the window

 a little xbox dance action

proof that I was the 'no fun, sick girl' part of the weekend

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Alayna's Appointment

Alayna has had hip pain for about 5+ months.  She doesn't complain about it very often, but I know that it's constantly there.  Sometimes it bothers her more than others, but for the most part it's a consistent ache. 

We've tried a number of natural options as well as Dr recommended options and nothing seemed to change/affect it.  So after seeing our regular Dr, 2 orthopedic Dr's and having an MRI here in town we were referred to Gillette Children's Hospital in the cities.  After the sadness of saying goodbye to our most recent placement we decided to make a mini family getaway out of her appointment.  We stayed in a hotel 2 nights at a wonderful rate thanks to Dan's brother and the kids enjoyed lots of swimming and just all around relaxation.  

We spent the entire day on Monday at the hospital where she had her appt and they tried to aspirate the fluid from her hip (which was no longer there so they didn't get anything) and they also gave her a fluid filled MRI and took her blood.  All the blood tests came back normal and since the fluid from the first MRI was no longer present they couldn't test that...they did however see a cyst in her hip area with this other MRI they used.  She was sedated for all these procedures (as a mom, watching them sedate your child is NOT high on my list of favorite things...neither is waiting while they do the procedures!!) and she handled the entire day like a TOTAL rockstar!!  The cyst they found was nothing to worry about, but because of the location removing it could do more harm than good.  Since the pain is constant but manageable we're taking a 'wait and see' approach.  If it gets worse we will find other options, but I'm praying that in time it gets smaller and God just completely takes it away.  If that's not His will...then I trust He will give us wisdom as to what our next steps should be.

Here was our 'family bed' at the hotel...Alayna LOVED being sandwiched in the middle!

The boys did crafts, played Xbox and then played on these fun gaming TV's while they waited.  I'm thankful the children's hospital was filled with options for them because it was a long day and they had fun together while they waited and I'm thankful it was one less thing for Dan and I to think about that day.


Not surprising, December was filled with Christmas!!  We had a wonderful  month celebrating Christ's birth with our family as well as with extended family.  Since we celebrated once in November, that meant we had 3 celebrations left.

Here are some pictures from our celebration with my side of the family...
the number of bracelets this girl has made is exponential and she never gets sick of it!

  He loves wearing this hat and I love when he wears it. :)
He got some fun 'boy' toys and they have gotten plenty of use!
 Legos, legos and more legos...he loves using the kits, but he also has had a lot of fun using the parts to make his own creations with the motors and gears he has...I have no idea how he does it!

 Jonathan Park cd's are a MAJOR hit in our home.  All the kids love listening to them, but Josiah and Alayna could sit in their rooms and listen all day long and listen to them over and over and over again.  If you have kids similar in age I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!

Next up was Christmas at home.  We love our family day of celebrating.  It's relaxed and low key and all about spending time together.

 In the summer she loves to roller blade and listen to her mp3 player (usually listening to Jonathan Park), but she's outgrown her other roller blades.  She tried them our in the kitchen and she can't wait to use them daily when the weather cooperates!
Both boys got these helicoptor balls and they had a blast flying them together :)

Lastly, we said good-bye to baby 'C' in December as well.  It was heartbreaking to see him go, but I trust that it was the best decision for him.  We could have kept him longer, but in the end I knew he would be moved to live with his half siblings (they were adopted by a family a few years ago).  Though selfishly I would love to have kept him longer...I also loved him enough to want him to transition and attach to his 'new family' as quickly as possible.  He, along with 'S' and 'K' will always have a special place in our heart.

We did have one last Christmas with Dan's side again and I'm sure there are some pictures somewhere, but honestly...I'm not sure if I personally took any.  Between the sadness of saying goodbye to baby 'C' that day and then coming down with the 24 hour flu bug after were not high on my list.  It was a healing weekend with family and the kids as usual had a blast with their grandparents and cousins!!

Way to go Josiah!

I want to be able to look back and I want the kids to be able to look back and hopefully see how God used them and their attitudes at school to be an example for their teachers and classmates.  Josiah received a postcard in the mail from one of his teachers as well as this certificate from a different teacher.  We are super proud of you Josiah...with or without these.  Receiving these in the mail is confirmation of what we know to be true about you!  We love you!