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

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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

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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

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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

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A Little Fun with a Cupcake

Mom, I’m cute, can I have a cupcake?IMG_2896I can’t believe it actually worked!!!!IMG_2902See Mom…I told you I could be even cuter with a cupcake!  IMG_2904MOM…I can smile too!  IMG_2913Mom…I got a cupcake….  IMG_2940Ah!!! The cupcake is talking to me!  IMG_2950I can fix this…  IMG_2951I can’t believe I am related to these people.  IMG_2926Mom, I will smile but not with a cupcake.  I have standards.
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A few 365 Pictures

CHANGE.  We finally did it, the girls got their ears pierced.   Jenna has flowers and Quinn has blue balls.  Now you don’t have to tell them apart, you just have to know what earrings they have since we can’t change the earrings for about 4 months.
IMG_2747CLEAN….my afternoon job.  Still from mom’s garden which were dug about 2 months ago.IMG_2769OUTSIDE….needless to say, we did not really venture outside this day.  IMG_2772FROM A LOW ANGLE.  IMG_2785IN BETWEEN…We took the girls skiing for the first time this past weekend.  I didn’t think they were ready, when we go sledding they last about 30 minutes before they complain they are too cold.  But we took them and they lasted a bit longer… 1h 30 mins.  Jenna said she liked it but does not want to go again.  Quinn said she did not like it at all.  Maybe it will go better next year.  Luke on the other hand is doing great…mostly controlled down black diamonds at 7 1/2 years old.  Ryan is starting to ski on his own too.  He did a few green ones but on the others we will put him on a dog leash so we can control his speed.  I think by the end of this season he will be on his own….at 5 years old….a bit crazy I think.  IMG_2809TEXTURE…Luke took this picture.  I think he did a good job.  IMG_2825

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone…..I know I am about 2 weeks late but better late then never.  Our Christmas break was insanely busy.  We seemed to be rushing off to one party after another.  With all of the parties, we had quite a few late nights so I was a little nervous getting our kids back to school schedules this week.  The first 2 days we made it.  Although Monday Ted woke up at 7:30 and we rushed to get 2 kids and Ted out the door in 20 minutes and the girls and me out the door for speech therapy in 1 hour.  Today we are a little closer to school schedules, only Ryan slept in (he actually woke up at 8:25) but it was a late start due to cold weather so no worries.  Hopefully the really cold weather will disappear because it is skiing weather.  We went once over break where Luke skied all on his own.  He fell once the first time down and by the end of the day he was picking which black diamonds he wanted to go down.   We only did the easier black diamonds because there were 2 we thought were a bit past our abilities…maybe by the end of the ski season this year.  Ryan skied the whole time on the dog leash so that Ted could control Ryan’s speed.  Ryan is good at balance, needs a lot of work on turning and hasn’t even started figuring out how to break but he is loving it.

Anyways, here are a few pictures of our Christmas break up North where there was some snow.  IMG_2609Jenna was more worried about what Quinn was getting than opening up her own stocking.IMG_2632 IMG_2665I asked Ryan for a smile……at least the faces he comes up with puts a smile on my face. IMG_2678The boys each got a sledding snowboard for Christmas, they were trying them out on over break.

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