Saturday, September 7, 2013

Korbins 8th Birthday

My Lil buddy turned 8 this week. His actual birthday was on a school day so Granny brought cookies for his class. He was so thrilled. Today we celebrated with a duck dynasty party. We had an edible image cake, a duck blind photo booth, a duck target game for the nerf gun, and camouflage decor with little rubber ducks floating in blue water as centerpieces. He loved it. Jillian and Korbin dressed as Willie and Si and even Gdad and Uncle Kev got into the spirit with their beards! We had lots of fun and great fellowship. Korbin got lots of Star Wars toys and duck dynasty shirts, even a talking Si doll.

Monday, July 8, 2013

June 28th, 2013 - Our 27th wedding anniversary

So this year, I just wanted a night away with all Thats been going on. We got 2 rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bowling Green and actually went with the whole family. Brandon stayed in one room with the kids and took them swimming while Dad and I had an anniversary dinner at Raffertys. It was very nice, but we were expecting a long leisurely time to chat and relax. We were seated immediately on walking in. Never had this happen on a weekend in Bowling Green! Then we had our food in ten minutes or less. We laughed and said we would just have to eat slow. Im sure if the kids had been there, it would have been a two hour, stressful ordeal. After dinner we met Kevin's family back at the hotel and chatted a while and then took all the kids to Orange Leaf. This was Grand Opening Day for our newest store, which was the second reason we chose to spend the weekend in Bowling Green. We had a lot of fun even though it was a part date and part family time. The kids all stayed in their own room through the night, even though poor Bran was traumatized by lAikyn and now says he never wants children. LOL We didn't hear a peep and had a nice restful night. Saturday, Daddy had to spend the day on marketing and brand awareness, so after lounging for the morning, he took us to Uncle Kevin and Aunt Jill's pool to spend the afternoon. The kids had a blast and I really enjoyed the sunshine and visit since I've been cooped up recovering all summer. Gay and Steve met us at Kevin's after swimming and we had another nice visit before heading back to Hawesville! So an unusual, but equally fun anniversary. We just bought a new van, so decided that we needed to not do gifts, but Rob is having my pictures framed, so that was an extra bonus!I can't believe we've been together since we were kids. Not something I recommend, but by Gods grace we made it. This year we've learned all about better or worse and sickness and health. There is nothing more romantic than the "better" of watching daddy bond with the child of your heart in a foreign country and there is nothing as tender as "worse" of your husband being willing to hold you up and wash your hair because you have no strength. I only pray that soon we are looking back on this experience as yet another testimony of Gods grace and mercy through trials of life! He definitely gave me the right person to see me through this situation!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy 1st Gotcha Day Laikyn 5/21

On this day last year, A kicking, screaming Mingzhu was placed in my arms. I loved her deeply through those first difficult moments and within minutes I was able to see a transformation take place as she calmed and began to respond to my hand running by rubbing my hand back. Still shaky, she accepted a treat from me and began to look at me. Soon we were playing together in the office play area. It was like a dream and as I look at her today, I'm still seeing that transformation happening. We've had a wonderful first year together but it
hasn't been without struggles. Like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon, the struggles of sleep disturbances and medical issues have made us stronger as a family. We have also created many beautiful memories over this first year together, watching her embrace all of the things she has never experienced like church, family trips, movie theaters, picnics, parties and holiday traditions. Her language is still coming along. She can almost always tell what she is wanting to say and get close enough that we can figure it out. In the car the other day, she kept repeating, "Bubba Himmy". We finally figured it was Bubba Hit me and she was so excited that Korbin got in trouble. Later she got a bottom swat for something and that turned into a half hour of reporting, "daddy himmy". Love that girl! Today we made sure we watched our China video with her. Nothing new since she watches them almost daily anyway. The plan is to celebrate by taking her to do a special activity and a fun restaurant over the next day or two.

5-23 We were able to celebrate today ! We started with a trip to Evansvilee Red Robin where Laikyn got a balloon, one of her favorites! Next we went over to the Build a Bear store where she picked out a kitty cat to stuff. I predicted that one as she always gets excited when she sees cats. We also had to put the sound in it since she is so good at saying meow. She gave the heart a loving kiss before putting it into her kitty. I asked what his name was and she said, "Meow"! Not sure why I didn't think of that one. We ended with a trip to the Orange Leaf in Evansville just to see how it compared to our store. It was a long day with only a short car nap, but she did great. I'm sure she had no idea what this gotcha day was all about, but I'm sure she will come to love it as much as big sis does. Poor Korbin was mad all day because he doesn't have a Gotcha day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jillian's 5th Grade Graduation

Today as Im preparing for this event, I can't help look back on her school career. She started school in tears every time there was too much noise in the gym to having to leave the class and go to PE and art to having a sub. She was only content when she was in her room with her regular teacher. She still thrives on organization, but is now the most confident young lady I know. Nothing much ruffles her feathers or upsets her. In the year book, she was voted most dedicated by her classmates. They nailed that one. She always does her homework first thing, usually before I leave my class in the afternoon. She always asks me to quiz her for tests, just to be sure that she is 100% ready. She even came home and practiced for the end of year fitness test. Having her as a student last year was wonderful for me. She even kept me on track when I had a sub or got sidetracked. She always reminded me if I had something to pick up for a special project. I called her my lil teachers aide. I wish I could keep her here at South Hancock with me forever, but then again I wouldn't want to miss all of the exciting things her future holds as she grows up. With Brandon, every milestone brought tears and sadness of him growing up. But Honestly, Im having just as much fun with Brandon now that he's an adult. The best is watching him finally figure out for himself some of the things I have told him for years. So tonight Im going to try to enjoy the moment rather than linger on our sweet moments of the past. I am just so proud of this little ladybug who has been my sidekick since day 1. She is not only smart and dedicated, but she is beautiful, helpful, obedient, organized, and has a very funny side as well. She loves God and family first and shows that in how she lives her life. Can't wait to honor her tonight by being at graduation. Since My surgery, she has prayed that God would make momma well enough to come and we're thankful He granted her request.

Now home from graduation and it was wonderful! Mrs Spindel's charge to them to be leaders instead of followers was great! This was her last graduation, which made it more special. Savannah Swihart led a touching prayer over her classmates future and Mrs. Spindel's retirement as well as a prayer of thanks for the school. The class sang Thank You for Beibg a Friendand Autumn Brown sang a song she wrote. Next awards were passed and Jillian had many. She had the All A honor roll award, Presidential Achievement award, Social Studies-award for highest average, and the physical fitness award. Im so proud of her and her work ethic! After diplomas were passed we watched a music video of their years in elementary. I have a copy for her scrapbook! It was a beautiful evening for a beautiful little lady. We let the kids run and get a quick piece of cake from the reception and then had to get Gdad home since it was passed his 7pm bedtime.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

This year was another special celebration of being a mom to my four blessings from God as well as my first Mother's day with Laikyn. On this day last year, we were packing for China and anticipating our new little miracle. I have been feeling strong enough to get out a little, so I was able to attend church with my crew and then eat at Chicagos with Robs family. Rob and the kids gave me a 4 strand Mother's bracelet with each child's name and birthstone. I LOVE IT! I also spent some time missing and thanking God for my own mom, who I lost way too soon, as well as my aunts who loved and cared for me like momma would have. I'm blessed to have had so many Godly women in my life. When I think of how my Aunt Sy lost her only child in childbirth, I wonder if our strong mother/ daughter connection came from the place of loss in both of our lives. It shows that God provides in the worst circumstances.! After lunch, the kids were very quiet while I took a long nap and then we spent the evening just visiting! Love these special days! I'm attaching a picture of my gift, and one of Laikyn just because its her first Mother's Day and one day she won't remember this, but I want her to look back and see how happy she was. The one we took of me with all the kids"accidentally" got deleted since Brando didn't think he looked as awesome as he should! Lol!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Locks of Love 3

Today Jillian Completed her 3rd Locks of Love Donation. The tangles had been worrying her for several weeks. So she decided now is the time. She is anxious to grow it back by October so she can use it as a duck dynasty beard for Halloween. I assured her we will find her a fake beard, so that satisfied her. She cracks me! One of a kind! She has received so many compliments! I thought Grandad would cry when he saw how old it made her look.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Saturday, March 9, was the day I had waited for, home at last. It took most of the day to get me ready, and finally left around 2:30. The trip was horrifying, with the bouncing leaving me extremely nauseous and sore. When we pulled in the driveway, I had to have Granny take the kids to the back room. I didn't want to come home crying, so I got myself together and got into bed where they each came in to visit. Of course they cheered me immediately! They had adorable welcome home posters to hang by my bed. Since being home,
I've had a few set backs with back pain and nausea as well as cold chills. We are now taking my temp every few hours to watch for any signs of infection. Laikyn also often forgets as I thought she would and whacks the belly. Overall, it's amazing how God has given me four very different children with different gifts. Brandon has been using his tech savvy to keep me in movies and playing his guitar for me. Most importanly, if I call at midnight, he will bring me a snowcone!!! :)
Korbin wants to learn about intestines
And has been using his body models and book to sit in here and ask me hundreds of questions, most of which are geared to make me laugh. Laikyn is my snuggle bug , just have to watch her quick little kickers. Makes me smile when she skips into the room to say hi mom.
Jillian does It all! Reads, holds my hand, long chats, errand girl! Rob has Been very faithful in my care! It's been hard for him to be away from them to and he left a few times just to reassure them. He forced me too walk, went on a night time heating pad expedition, bugged the nurses if they took to long, prayed with me each night when I couldn't pray for myself. He is always faithful!!

Looking back I know that I didn't do this on my own. I've never been been courageous or trusting. This happeded purely by Christ's grace. Altough the human hands are important, The Lord carried me through from the timing, to the Doctor, to the people and messages he allowed me receive at just the right time. I owe Jesus everything!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Home in Sight : March 8, 2013

Yesterday was hard with beginning solids and trying to manage pain orally rather than IV. Hydrocodone made sick, so they switched me to Percocet and although it makes me sleepy, it is much more helpful with managing the pain. I also still have dilaudid for breakthrough pain in between. Last night was much more restful and today I have just been trying to stay ahead of the pain as much as possible. Dr. G came in last night and said that we would finish my TPN today and get the drains out, then go home on Friday.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3, 2013

5:30 am...Usually I blog right before bed to reflect on the day. This morning I can't sleep, so I'm up trying to get my attitude adjusted for the upcoming day. Dealing with a little fear this morning as possible surgery is looming ahead tomorrow. I'm sure it's a God thing that my friend Sarah sent me a Max Lucado book about fear. As I read over part last night, I was reminded that fear corrodes our confidence in Gods goodness and is the opposite response of faith. So this morning, as Im tempted to give into fear, Im turning to Gods word, recalling all the other things in my life he has brought me through, and realizing that while fear is a natural physical response, I can let His courage control how I respond to the fear. Just my sermon to myself for the day... How can anyone get through this scary life without God's presence? John 14:1- Let not your heart be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.

Before noon today, Dr. G's associate came in and said that my surgery is scheduled for tomorrow at 12:30 pm. There is another one scheduled before mine, so it will depend on how it goes as to my running on time. I will have a colostomy with a temporary stoma and bag attached to my stomach. When they do that, I will have a j pouch also formed on the inside. The stoma will be temporary and when the j pouch heals, I will have a second surgery to reattach it. Usually it is 8-12 weeks between surgeries. Thats the facts I know at this point and I guess too much information can be overwhelming, so I might not ask a lot more questions at this point. Dont want to freak myself out any more than I already am. I do know that I'm a lot more ready for this than I would have been a few years ago. Just tired of being sick, worrying about when I will be sick next, or wondering if I can even eat out with my family without staying near a bathroom.

This afternoon , Granny brought L and K to visit. L sat in my lap and snuggled and played and ate lots of snacks. She seemed to be doing well. When daddy had to take her to the car, she stared at me so sadly and cried and clung. I know she doesn't understand, but it makes me sick to think of all she has been through and maybe feeling abandoned by me. I am praying so hard for my kids to be okay and that this situation won't cause them any more sadness. As Rob said, "God cared for her for the two years in china and He will care for her now." I will close tonight with a funny note. Last week, I gave Korbin a diagram of the digestive system so he could see where I was sick. Granny caught him on You Tube looking up colon surgery last night. I think he will end up being the Doctor that finally cures Colitis and Crohns!! God bless everyone tonight!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 2 , 2013

Today was very boring til the afternoon. I was so anxious to be at Jillian's academic team, that it was depressing to me. She and i worked so hard as a team all year. Rob gave me play by plays which was about to give me heart failure. We lost the quick recall, but 7 individual kids on SHES placed to go to regional on their written part of the test. Jillian took third place in math. So proud and thrilled. This was kind of our special thing this year as I helped coach and curled ip in bed with her late many nights, reviewing the volumes of material. Just wanted her to do her personal best and I believe she did. Later in the afternoon, The Swihart family came in with a bag of goodies for the kids and a nice visit. Love that family! next Aunt gay and Uncle Steve came for a visit. It took them over 5 hours in wreck traffic, so I know they love me! haha! About 8 when I thought the day was over, Jilli and Rob surprised me to spend the night! I am so blessed to have this wonderful set of family and Friends, but sometimes you grow closer in crisis and I felt that happen each time we bond together to help each other! Hope they know the blessings they are!!:)

Friday, March 1, 2013

3-1- 2013

Today I had an early visit from Brother Barry who has been a great encouragement! Later Brandon and Maggie came to visit for his 22nd birthday, so that cheered me greatly since it would be my first night alone. I also had calls from various friends until late at night with Vickey, Dad and Kevin. I didn't get as lonely as I thought.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Visit from the Wild Side

Tonight the hospital felt a little more like home as J and K hitched a ride to Louisville and are spending the night. Thankful for a room big enough for an air mattress and God allowing management to have the heart to let them stay. I am watching them drift to sleep and feeling I am almost home. Jillian was all smiles for the first time in this week, so it was worth allowing her to miss a day of school. She has snuggled and watched tv, told me all about her day. Korbin has been playing with a medical glove. LOL. adding some pics that are not my best look, but will be a treasured memory someday.

UL hospital stay February 28, 2013

Well the last time I went through this, I made Rob promise me that he would kill me before he let anyone ever put me on steroids again. I did put up a fight, but they said they would use a different kind of steroid. I see not one difference. I'm a train wreck, cant sleep and already losing feeling in my legs. Maybe it's the emotions, but I'm very unhappy with the nursing care here...very understaffed. In Owensboro, they checked on me often and usually returned with meds in 15 minutes. Here it's forever. They put a pic line in to replace the IV since I need a nutritional IV as Im not eating. It's now been 3 hours since they said they were coming. Enough complaining though. I am extremely happy that the room is large enough that Robs brother is bringing J and K to spend the night with us tonight. We got permission from the nurse, so I hope there's no issue. I wish My baby could be here, but she's too much for me right now :( Brandon will be 22 tomorrow, so I wish I could be with him too. The surgeons office called today and told me not to freak out, but they were putting me on the surgery schedule for Monday. It is tentative since she does want to see me before that decision is made. There is a chance if Im better, she will want me to get stronger a while before surgery. Her associate said its riskier to go into surgery in an emergency situation. I expressed that Im afraid if I wait, I'll end up back in the same shape. She assured me that would be taken into account. So now just waiting and pretending my ice chips are a big juicy filet mignon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crohn's Crisis Day 3 February 27, 2013

Just an update for family and friends. Blogging was therapy in China, so Im going to use it as such again. Miss my kids so much!! Last night was a long night of drinking the horrific Go Lytely (what a stupid name) to prep for my scope. I survived with meds by the time it started to make me so sick and crampy that I was about to die. They came to get me this morning at 8:15 for my procedure. Dr. Davis came in shortly and let me know that it was severe ulceration, but only in the Colon and not in the small intestine like he thought. He feels that he's done all he can do and decided to send me to Louisville to Dr. Galandiuk who is the surgical specialist who fixed my brother after a botched job in St. Louis. He thought it would be Friday before I would go, so we prepared for another treatment and blood transfusion which would be my third as they're having a hard time getting my hemoglobin rate to where it needs to be. Before we could start, Louisville called and said they wanted me tonight. It was two hours later before my discharge was ready so Rob went home to prep the kids while Kevin waited with me. I had a few minutes at home, but spent most of it with my sobbing JBug who is taking this all horribly! Since the day she was placed in my arms, that girl has been a clinger although her personality would never show it. I am heart broken she has to go through this again, but reminded her of Gods promises to us and that she would rather have a strong mom than a sick one. We finally left home about 6pm as it started to sleet and as we got up into Indiana, it turned to a blinding snow. We were driving 45 with trucks zooming passed us and 2 near accidents, but God delivered us to the steps about 8:30. I already had a room, but the desk mistakenly told us we had to wait in admissions in ER while they processed our paperwork. While Rob went to park the car, I had to sit in the middle of car wreck victims like I had never seen before and it sent me into a panic. Finally a hospital chaplain came by and sorted out where we needed to be, so we made it to our room. The room is nice and large. I have now seen the resident that works under Dr. G. They took 6 more units of blood to test and started an IV. Im now back on an ice chip diet. The are going to put in a central line tomorrow so they can run a nutritional fluid. Its after midnight here and I have my pain and nausea meds and Im waiting for everything to kick in so I can sleep a little. The events of the day have me a little stressed. I've come a long way compared to how stressed I would have been a few years ago. God knows how to build us in his own way. Tonight Im de-stressing through prayer and in that prayer I poured out my fears and distress over missing my kids. He reminded me of an abandoned baby named Ming Zhu that had to have surgery a short time ago, with no one to love and hold her little hand.I am so surrounded by love and support that I am overwhelmed. That has to give me courage. So, my prayer tonight is for peace for all of us as we reflect on all God has brought us through and to see ways this situation can bring glory to him.

Crohn's Crisis 2013

Last fall I started flaring between remicade treatments , and I kept hoping it would be a temporary thing.
This month the flare grew more serious than before until I was pale and extremely fatigued from losing blood. I taught school all week feeling bad and had my blood drawn Thursday, but my dr and nurse were out on Friday, so I stayed in bed miserable all weekend. Rob insisted on the ER on Monday morning and it was good because my blood was down to 8.6 with 12 being normal. I was admitted shortly after being given some nausea and pain meds. Then when I got to the room, I had to start prep for a CT scan. That came back showing a possible progression from my colon to where it connects to the small intestine. I was already leaning toward surgery since my blood test showed it was UC and not Crohns. A colostomy will cure UC but Crohns can continue to spread past the surgical site into other parts of the digestive system. Tonight, I just finished my colon prep. In a few hours we will do my scope and see what's going on. Im praying that I am a candidate for surgery and we can go ahead and end this. I know this is fully in Gods hand, so I believe he will intervene if surgery is not right for me. Most of all, I'm just thankful for the other three times he has brought me through this. Im stronger this time because of it. I'm also praying for my sad kids. They are just missing momma, especially Jillian who hates to go anywhere without her family. Praying Gods peace over them. I can make it through anything if I know they're fine. These times always make me appreciate what momma went through and her perspective in having to face dying and leaving behind her children. It must have taken great faith. "Even though my condition isn't terminal,It makes you feel like your dying at times," said my big brother who has walked this same road. I am going to close for tonight and update tomorrow after my scope with hopefully some idea about a plan of action.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Laikyn's Birthday

On Saturday the ninth, we celebrated Laikyns 3rd birthday. She had a wonderful day. The room was decorated in all things Minnie and as I brought her in, she said, "OOOOO Miniminimini Mou". We had mostly family in attendance with many aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandad. Donnelle and Colton also came since he and Laikyn play together so much at church. We started with a pizza party and then opened presents. Mommy and daddy got her a Minnie Trike, and several Minnie toys. She seemed to love it all. She yelled "mine" about her first few presents, so noted we need to work on that sharing concept a little more. Im sure it's harder when you've never really had things that belonged to you. After everyone left, she rode her trike most of the night and had a ball. It was a beautiful day and I was so happy to FINALLY share it with her!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Laikyns MRI

I haven't updated in a while on Laikyn Hope's progress. On January 15th, she had her MRI at Kosair. The reason behind this is that when she had her seizures at fifteen months, the hospital in China had done a CT scan and EEG. The CT scan showed slight enlargement of some part that I can't even pronounce. Our dr. Said it was still within normal range and no cause for concern. The neurologist felt we should do an MRI since there was some question about it. They weren't even sure a pediatric dr had read it, so there may not have even been anything irregular. We went up the night before and spent the night since she had to check in at 7:30. She was able to go right back and the nurse brought a sedative for me to give her orally. Within ten minutes she was very loopy but calm. They were able to insert her iV while I was talking to her. She didn't even notice. Soon, they took her for her procedure telling us she would be completely asleep shortly. About an hour later, they brought her back and left her asleep for almost another hour. I was able to just sit and watch her and thank God for her. When she woke up, she was confused and groggy but calm. They brought her a slushy which she wanted to eat by herself. Soon it was time to go and since the slushy was all melted, I took it from her. She proceeded to kick and scream for the next hour. They told us she would be irritable , but this was way beyond her normal tantrums.We went back to the hotel and tried to calm her, but as soon as we would, something else would just set her off again. Long day. She did sleep coming home from Louisville and woke in a little better mood. By the next day, she was back to normal. Two days later, the office called to let us know that her MRI was normal. No sign of any enlargement. Thanking God for the good results and the fact that I got to be there with her for this procedure. I always think about her being alone when she was little for her heart surgery and later seizures. So glad that we will face the future as a team! Next step is an EEG this summer. If that is normal, she will be able to come off of her medication.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013