Springtime

Spring is here…well kind of.  Our kids have grown tired of the snow so we were all excited a few weeks ago when all of the snow melted.  We were able to play outside again.  IMG_3360 IMG_3376-2We went to the park .  IMG_3346 IMG_3333And then last Sunday happened.  We got snow again.  Surpisingly the kids were excited, they got to play in snow again….apparently they forgot we just had snow for the last 3 1/2 months.  They have been playing non-stop outside which is fine by me.  At least it is not really cold out.   IMG_3422

IMG_3415

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Last 2 weeks in pictures

There has not been too much happening around here that I want to post on my blog so I figured I would just post a few of my favorite pictures from the last couple of weeks just to let everyone know that we are still alive.

I have been trying to work on my food photography.  I have had a little success but there is a long ways to go.  I am to the point where I am ready to buy some props…..just to take pictures of my food.  I know, it sounds a bit crazy but just letting everyone Ted know there might be some random new dishes, trays, boards in our house soon.IMG_3187 IMG_3299 IMG_3319Over the span of a few days, I caught my kids doing their homework so what does a mom do but take their pictures while they are trying to concentrate on learning.  (If you notice there is one kid missing….yeah, that is my kid that only does his homework when he is good and ready to do it not when I ask him to get it done for the day.  Which means, he is doing his homework quickly right before bed when he is supposed to be getting ready for bed or quickly in the morning before he rushes out the door.  Every family has to have 1 like that right?)  IMG_3221Quinn was not happy that I was trying to work on photography when she was trying to count hence the get out of my face pouty lips above.  See how well I listened to her…  Jenna on the other hand seemed oblivious that I was taking her picture.  She apparently sticks her tongue out when she is concentrating really hard.  She fits into the family perfectly because Ryan and Ted do the same thing.
IMG_3208 IMG_3274-2Jenna and Quinn had a great time spring cleaning this past week and I was taking any help I could get.  IMG_3314Luke wanted a picture of his creating the other day so here it is….IMG_3286And I will leave you with one more….little Jenna….She loves getting her picture taken.  She is always asking to “picture me mom.”  So of course, I do.IMG_3278

Posted in 365 Photo Project, Home | Leave a comment

Chinese New Year

A few weeks ago China celebrated its New Year.  It is a very important time in the Chinese culture so we have tried to incorporate it into ours.  This year we started a few new traditions.  I set up times in each of my children’s classrooms to read some books about this special time and about how each year got named after the animals.  We also made some red envelopes filled with candy money to hand out to all of the students.  IMG_3108We did our usual huge Chinese feast where we invite a bunch of friends and family and eat supper together.  It takes me the whole day to make all the food and I am usually tired by the time everybody arrives but it is Chinese food and it is well worth it.  IMG_3119This year I had a friend come over and help me cook which was awesome.  We might have talked more than we cooked but we did get the food done before most of the people arrived this year so that is an improvement.  IMG_3139 For our menu, we had Chinese dumplings, shrimp lo mein, garlic broccoli, honey sesame chicken, spicy peanut spring rolls, and fresh-cut fruit.   Chinese culture teaches that each food has a meaning behind it and a reason for eating it.  For example noodles represent longevity so if you want a long life you need to eat these during the celebration.  Seeds like sesame seed will bring fertility (don’t worry I did not use too many of those).  If I remember correctly shrimp means lots of laughter in the coming year.  If you would have asked me the day of the celebration, I probably could have told you what most of the food meant but that was 3 weeks ago.   IMG_3160To finish out the meal I made sheep cupcakes for the year of the sheep.  It is the year both Ted and I were born.   IMG_3130It was a wonderful evening celebrating the New Year with friends and family, people who are willing to surround our girls with love and acceptance of their heritage.  IMG_3169

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Parenting

I know I have our Chinese New Year’s pictures to share but I thought I would discuss something else first.  Something that has been on my mind now for a while.

I know this is a public blog and what I write about today may seem like the wrong place to discuss this… too public…too out in the open but this is as much as a personal journal for me as it is a blog for you all to read.  Ted and I have been pretty open about our lives and our mistakes in hopes that in our failures we can show God’s love shining strong.  We don’t always get it right, God is still working on us.

I was reading an article from Focus on the Family today about disciplining your adoptive child.  I am not going to lie, it cut me like a knife straight to the heart.  Anyone who spends time with me knows that I am constantly talking about my struggles to parent Jenna and Quinn.  When do I push them?  When do I back off?  If I back off will they just give up like they have in the past?  Or will a break today bring success tomorrow?  It is hard because I expect them to be at Luke and Ryan’s level when they were that age but the truth is they are not.  I know, they talk about it during the training sessions that are required before you adopt….but yet I seem to forget it when we’re in battle-mode, during the power struggles between me and Jenna.  I can hear myself defending myself in front of Ted about how Jenna was purposely defying me and how unfortunately I acted out in anger.  After we get through the power struggles we return back to our normal happy selves, she seems happy and content so no worries.   IMG_0063

It is easy to see it that way but what if this article was right…what if Jenna is not trying to defy me, she is just trying to protect her small battered self.  This torn little scared girl in front of me doesn’t want to get hurt again so she tries to push me away so when I (in her mind) leave it won’t hurt as much.  I mean, how many times have I “tested” Ted to see if he was going to leave me too?  Or will he go against the norm these days and fight for me?  Will he stay and show me what unfailing love looks like?  Can he love me the way Jesus wants him to love me?  I can suddenly relate to Jenna when she is looking at me with her quivering lip screaming at me, when she is kicking, biting and hitting me and sadly to say I have not responded with love as God wanted me to…. I responded in anger, I got worked up, caught up in the raw emotions of the battle.   IMG_1391

I know I have made my fair share of mistakes parenting my children, adoptive and biological…nobody is perfect.  I have over-reacted, not had patience when needed, did not show grace and mercy during times when they needed.

I would love to hear Jesus tell me “Well done, good and faithful servant.” just as the master tells his servant in Matthew 25 but will I?  I have a really good friend who always talks about how God has given us our children to guard, to protect, to raise, to teach them His ways.  And every time she says that, I see my mistakes.  I see my failures.  I have prayed for patience more in these last 2 years than ever before.  I know I am getting better because times where I know I would have over-reacted before I am able to show grace.  I know I love my children unconditionally and no matter what happens I will always be there for them …BUT….. do they know that, do my actions show that.  Looking at Jenna’s quivering little lip while her toes are curled and her feet rubbing against each other makes me think she is still “testing” me to see will I act out in anger, push her away, toss her aside for something better/easier or will I go against the norm and react with love as Jesus intended us to do?  I pray that I can and will show this kind of love.  I am sure I will screw up, I won’t get it right every time but in time, I will get better and hopefully with a lot of grace, Jenna and Quinn will learn to trust and feel safe with us.  IMG_9643

Posted in Home | 2 Comments

A little sickness, a little boredom

We have not done much the last 2 weeks.  I have been feeling under the weather with a cough, stuffy nose and no energy.  Each kid has taken a day or two where they didn’t feel the best but they are not really sick either so we just have not done much.  We have been playing a lot of board games, music, and frogger on the Wii.  We have done a few things outside like playing a few games of hockey and watching some of the sleigh and cutter festive events.  Our only real news which isn’t really big but we rearranged our basement so that we could play soccer indoors easier…yeah….can you tell our youth group members are huge into soccer….at least nothing has broken yet.  Hopefully we will all start feeling better soon.IMG_3021 IMG_3046 IMG_3048 IMG_3061 IMG_3077 IMG_3091

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Catching up on 365 Pictures

These are all going to be a bit random but life has been busy lately and we have been all over the place.

A few weeks ago Ted and I went away for the weekend.  An awesome youth group member volunteered to watch our kids for a weekend as her Christmas present to us.  We decided to go to my old stomping grounds from college.  It was a great and relaxing weekend.  We went to the movies, visited the college, did a puzzle and went cross-country skiing on some of the trails I did about 15 years ago.  It was a bit cold but well worth it.  IMG_2793Sweet….can’t get sweeter than chocolate.  IMG_2856Chinese New Year is coming up in a few weeks and I had not learned any new Chinese recipes in the last year.  I really wanted to try my hand at Peking (Beijing) Duck with made from scratch mandarin pancakes before the new year so back in January I figured it was time to try.  It was not as hard and I thought it would be.  Everyone but Luke loved it so I guess it was a success.  IMG_2870 IMG_2882My hometown has a medallion search every winter.  They give 5 clues over 5 weeks.  Ted and I always thought it would be fun to search for the medallion but usually we find the clues after 4 have been published and the medallion found.  This year we remembered.  We went searching on Saturday after the second clue was published.  Sadly to say the medallion was found in that spot on Friday, the day before.  Oh well, the kids had fun looking all over the place and it was a good excuse to get outside and have some fun.  While we were looking for the medallion we found a lot of hiding places that the squirrels had left their nuts.  IMG_2966Last weekend we went downhill skiing with a few friends.  We were gone for 4 days.  I can’t ski well enough to take my camera with me down the hills but that didn’t stop me taking a quick picture over supper while playing Skip-Bo.  IMG_2979 A lot of people in my photography club are trying free lensing.  I decided to give it a try.  It is harder than I thought but kind of fun to try.  I basically took a picture with the lens in my hand and not attached to my camera.  It is supposed to give you a really weird slice of focus.  But it is really hard to get any focus.  IMG_2997And I will leave you with one of my favorite pictures I used for my monthly challenge.  It is hard being a snowman on a warm day.  IMG_2971

Posted in 365 Photo Project, Home | Leave a comment

Our Annual Cleft Palate Clinic Appointment

Last week Wednesday the girls and I left our house a little before 6 AM to go to their annual Cleft palate check-up.  It is where we meet with over 10 specialists ranging from ENT to oral surgery to orthodontists to audiology all in about 3 hours.  It is a very busy 3 hours….it is a little insane when you have 2 children going through the process let alone 2 children who are identical so the doctors don’t know which one they have seen and which one they need to see yet.  I made the mistake in 2012 (the first time there) of dressing the girls the same….never make that mistake again.  This year Jenna was in black and Quinn in white.  I label everything from their schedules, x-rays, dental equipment, mouth mirrors , etc. with the color they are wearing so the doctors don’t get too confused but there is always 1 or 2 that get it mixed up.

Over all, the girls are doing ok.  Jenna failed the hearing test yet again so we have more follow-ups with our local ENT and audiology.  We will know more in the beginning of February when they use a microscope to see if her ear tube is in her ear or did it fall out and her ear drum is perforated (they can see the tube in the ear they just can’t tell if it is in or not hence the microscope shoved down the ear).

Quinn has a mild but consistent velopharyngeal dysfunction with her short palate….which means air leaks into her nose when she talks….her palate is too short or is not functioning correctly.  In June we will take her back up to the clinic where they will do a nasendoscopy (shove a camera up her nose so they can look down on her soft palate).  We then have to get her to talk to see if the palate is functioning correctly.  Yeah..she has to talk with a camera up her nose…and they tell me it will probably hurt a bit.  If anyone has ideas on how to get a little girl to talk normally with a camera up her nose and no crying please let me know by June.

The other news is we had a CBCT scan of both girls heads (a 3D image) to see which teeth they have, which ones they are missing.  We found out that both girls have their front teeth coming in 90 degrees rotated (this will equal about 10 years of braces for both girls).  Quinn actually has 1 extra tooth right behind her front tooth that will have to get pulled but they are waiting to see if that tooth could maybe be used in place of her missing tooth.  I don’t quite understand how she can have a missing tooth and an extra tooth right next to each other but apparently Quinn has that.  Depending on the results which will come back next week we may be looking at bone grafting next year at the earliest.  If things come back differently, then we are still on for bone grafting when the girls are 7 or 8 to fix their dental ridge and hard palate.  Fun times….

And since I can’t have a post without at least 1 picture, here is Quinn.  If I am reading her face correctly, her face says “put that thing away and leave me alone.  I am doing a puzzle and will not smile at the camera today”.   So different then the cupcake pictures..well you win some and lose some.IMG_2961

Posted in Cleft lip and palate, Home | Leave a comment