Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 : Laikyn's 1st Christmas!

This year we kicked off our family celebration on Friday with a trip to Santa Claus, Indiana to drive through the light display at Lake Rudolph. Laikyn snuggled in my lap and really enjoyed it all with lots of pointing and "ooh lights" coming from her mouth. At the end we went to the Christmas Village store to have our picture made with Santa. I completely expected to only have 2 kids in the pic as Laikyn has been terrified of him so far. As she stood in line and watched other babies be okay with him, she decided it was safe. She hopped right into his lap and made the cutest picture.The sweetest part was when Santa reminded the kids of the true meaning of Christmas. Mommy had fun shopping while daddy took the kids for cocoa, fudge, and giant cookies at the sweet shop.

On Saturday,we hosted my side of the family. We had 25 people present this year. Lisa and crew weren't able to come. It was a fun day as usual. The 13 kids had a blast together and got along very well which gave the adults lots of time to catch up. The kids had a gift exchange from drawing names while the adults played Dirty Santa. I started out with ear and nose trimmers, until Steve stole it from me! LOL! My final gift was lotion.

Sunday we started the day attending church. Kevin's family was able to join us since they stayed all night with dad. We had lunch at the Patio along with our pastor and his mom and sister. Sunday afternoon, we hosted Rob's side of the family. Another fun celebration, but hosting two days in a row wiped me out. I thought of Grandad's old saying, "The prettiest lights at Christmas are tail lights!" Lol!

Christmas Eve we woke up to notes from Chris Elf and Santa. He was nice enough to come early since Daddy had to work on Christmas Day! The kids each had a gift,new pjs and a stocking full of candy. He gave Laikyn board books, Jillian a jewelry box and Korbin got the Elf on a Shelf movie. Santa wanted him to be able to remember Chris Elf all year long! We were all set to open our family gifts when we discovered big bro was gone. He had been called into work early in the morning to make more fruit baskets! This is the store where he has worked through high school and half of college.He quit when he went to college, but they used him again for Christmas. We had to delay the kids for a couple of hours. We passed the time by making a big breakfast casserole. Grandad came by and ate with us. When Brandon got home, we finished our gift opening. Laikyn got a Minnie kitchen, big wheel, coat, Minnie guitar and puzzles. Korbin got a Leap pad Explorer, Twilight Turtle, books, and Wreck it Ralph figures (Grandad made him mad by calling them dolls). Jillian got a body pillow, iPod dock and case,UK clothes, books, and her favorite, a pogo stick. She is wicked on that thing! Brandon got cash!! Boring but needed! We finished the day with a trip to the nursing home with our church to have a service with the residents. Laikyn was eager to take their hands and blow kisses! I noticed that one resident in particular who didn't respond to anyone else, turned and looked right in Laikyn's eyes when she took her hand. So precious! The very young ministering to the elderly.

Today is Christmas Day and since dad had to work, we are being lazy and watching movies as well as playing with our toys. We are also waiting anxiously to see if we will have the snowfall that is forecasted for tonight into tomorrow. It has been a wonderful Christmas with much to be thankful for this year with the homecoming of our precious baby and most especially the gift of Jesus' presence in our lives each day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What If?

I think about it often when I look into the eyes of my beautiful daughters. What if we had said no? We struggled for years with the decision to adopt the first time out of fear and uncertainty. The decision for Laikyn came much easier, as we already knew the immense joy of adoption, but there were a few months that we struggled with the special needs label, fearful of an unknown medical condition. Now, loving each of them with a love I can't even explain, it brings me to tears to think we could have said no and missed all of this.What haunts me even more is that there are so many beautiful babies left behind. Joshua Zhong, the founder of the agency that handled Laikyn's adoption, said that most special needs kids are never adopted and end up leaving the orphanage to face a life on the streets with peddling, prostitution, and human trafficking being likely scenarios. There were over 200 special needs kids in Laikyns little orphanage and I will always look at her little picture album and wonder what happened to them. I know from the many people that have told me they have considered adoption, that most of the time, people do, for many reasons, say no. I always wonder if the tug they felt was God guiding them to a baby he had hand picked especially for them. I know From experience that Satan counters that tug with negativity, fear, and uncertainty in God's plan. I'm sure he rages when an orphan finds hope. It probably reminds him of the power we find in Christ when He adopts us as His own. One of the main concerns is usually the expense. The adoption tax credit has for years allowed families to experience a great reduction in adoption expenses and bring the total to a more reasonable amount. That credit is set to expire this year and adoption advocates believe it will cause many people with open and willing hearts to have to say no. There are now bills in both the house and senate to make the tax credit permanent and affordable. God commands us to care for orphans. I believe that supporting this bill is one way we can do that. It takes five minutes to create an account and sign. What if that five minutes provides hope for one of the most hopeless?

Monday, December 3, 2012

UL Neurologist visit

Today was Laikyns consultation for the her epilepsy diagnosis. We met with Dr. Anna Ehret who was very kind and informative. She told us basically what the pediatrician expected her to. She does not like to treat with the medicine Laikyn was on in China (Valproic Acid) due to the harmful side effects. She doesn't want to change her yet until we do more testing. Instead she ordered blood work so we can keep an eye on her liver. She is on a very small dose, so I'm hoping a few more months wont hurt. Since Laikyn had a slight abnormality in one of her CT scans in China, the first step is to do an MRI as soon as possible. Looks like the soonest they can get her in is January and it will be under sedation at Kosair Childrens Hospital. The next step will be an EEG after she turns three. It looks like at least June before this can be done. Her EEG in China was normal, so if this is the case again, we will begin to wean her off of the meds when that is established. If after testing, we determine she does have epilepsy, she will be switched to a safer medication at that time. The best part of the day was how great she did for her blood draw. They use a numbing spray at Kosair lab, so she didn't even know she was hurt until it was almost over! Awesome stuff! Just thankful to finally be started on finding some answers to such a strange medical situation! Praying that my girl is okay at the end of all this! I know God has had His hand on her each step of the way!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jillian's 11th birthday

Jillian found a great idea for a haunted hotel birthday this year in one of her magazines and I tried my best to deliver. We decorated the great room in spider webs, Halloween lights, creepy fabric and other Halloween decor. For food we served mummies in a blanket, apples with caramel dip, jackolantern veggies, a haunted house cake, and ghastly punch with an icy hand. We had more fun actually planning than anything. It made for some fun girl time. We had the guests dress in Halloween costumes as well. Everyone had a great time and the kids spent most of their time jumping on the trampoline. I have learned not to plan to many organized games with this crew since they prefer making their own fun. I wonder how many more cute little theme parties I will get to plan for her.It seems like I just turned around and ten years have passed! She is already wanting grown up gifts. This year was an iPod. She even paid for part with her saved money and had us give her cash to pay for the rest.  I think I prefer buying little toys and games! Glad she had a great day! She deserves it!

Fall Break 2012

Recap of our fun family time over fall break.
Monday- Rob and I took the kids to Owensboro and had lunch at Subway. After lunch Rob took L and K to Swim at the Hines Center while J and I went shopping for her 11 th birthday. She used her money she has saved plus her birthday money from us and bought an Apple iPod. We also found costumes and Halloween decor for her costume birthday party on Saturday. I just love shopping with my big girl! It reminds me of my marathon mall trips with my Aunt Sy when I was little! When we got home, I had the sweetest time watching Laikyn dress up in her new Minnie costume and play with her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Tuesday- Thanks to my friend Donelle we have lots of pumpkins this year. the kids spent the morning pumpkin painting. Korbin did a clown, Jilli did a UK spider and Laikyn did a big blob after her meltdown of not wanting me to teach her how to paint. After a timeout with mommy for an attitude adjustment, she came back and had a blast.
Wednesday- this morning the kids carved a pumpkin with Daddy. After lunch, we went to The Hines for some racquetball ( L and I played in the playroom) and to Orange Leaf for some Fro-yo. Jilli and I also ran over to the mall and found her a couple of Sunday dresses as well as a few more cool weather items for Laikyn. Tonight I finished decorating the family room for Jillibugs birthday party. Always having the week off before her birthday maybe means her party always looks a little more elaborate? Not that anyone is complaining. Love having an October child!

Thursday- Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to try out the new Smothers park on the river. It is amazing, but so spread out and huge that I was a little frightened of losing the kids. A great place to go as long as you are prepared to stay glued to your kids. The kids loved it.