Monday, December 27, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

December has been extremely busy for us. We started the month by celebrating Emma's 9th birthday. It is so hard to believe that she is nine. She is growing up way too fast and turning into a beautiful, loving, young lady. We are so proud of her. She is a great big sister and is so excited to have Keliah joining our family. I don't think a day goes by that she doesn't talk about her.

This year Emma celebrated her birthday at DeBrand's Chocolatier. DeBrand's is an internationally known company and is famous for their wonderful chocolate. We are so lucky to have them right here in our city. Anyway, Emma invited all the girls in her class for a tour of how their chocolate is made complete with samples. Once the tour was over, instead of cake, the girls were able to pick something from their candy counter while Emma opened her gifts. All the girls had a great time and were nice and sugared up by the time their parents came to pick them up.

The next day we got together with Matt's family to make kiekels. This is some sort of Swedish doughnut made out of potato dough. We make these and Christmas cookies every year. It is tradition to eat kiekels Christmas morning. Jaxon and Drew had alot of fun helping with the cooking and decorating. They even proved they were definitely a part of our family by liking the kiekels (I along with most of the others married into the family do not like them, however, all the kids do).

Drew got a little "sprinkle happy."

The weekend after that, Matt's cousin got married and Drew and Gabe were the ring barrers. They were absolutely adorable in their little tuxes and did a fantastic job.

The wedding was absolutely beautiful and the bride was even more beautiful. Instead of giving favors away to their guests, they had carriage rides that took their guests through town to see the Christmas lights. They even had Santa arrive as a special treat for the kids. As you can see, he was a huge hit. Drew was completely amazed. From the moment he walked through the door, Drew followed him around and just stared. It was so cute.

Finally Christmas came and all the kids were ready and as excited as ever. Christmas Eve we spent with my mom, sister, her husband, and my niece. This year they all decided to stay over night so they were also here for Christmas morning which made for and exciting time opening gifts. Actually, it was alot of fun despite the fact that our living room looked like a toy store exploded in it. All the kids were more than happy with their gifts from Santa and other family members. Later in the day we went to Matt's parent's for Christmas where we had a wonderful lunch and the kids opened more gifts.

Jaxon was so excited to get his very own iPod. He has been asking for one but we have been telling him he wasn't going to get it. I really don't think he expected it.

This was Emma's big gift this year. I am usually not one for stuffed animals, but as soon as I saw this Old English Sheep Dog, I knew this was "the" gift for her. Ever since we had to give Sadie away, Emma has been the one to really take it the hardest. There are days when she will just start crying and when you ask her what is wrong, she says she misses Sadie. As the other kids were busy opening their gifts, she laid on the dog for the longest time and even shed a few tears. It was definitely enough to break my heart.

One of the things Blake asked for was a blender he could use to make smoothies in. He was pretty excited when he opened this. He has made quite a few smoothies for everyone and they are really good.

One of my projects this year was to make matching aprons for Matt's mom and Emma. Those two have a special bond and love doing everything together including baking. So, I quickly whipped up these two aprons and I think they were a hit.

This train set has been a part of Matt's familes for a few generations. It is so cool to see them play with this year after year.

As for Drew, he is doing really well. He has bounced back from his surgery very quickly. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday morning and was in quite a bit of pain. He took his pain medicine through Tuesday evening, night and one dose on Wednesday morning and has had nothing since. He has about a 4-5 inch incision across his abdomen and it doesn't seem to phase him at all. Honestly, I was kind of looking forward to a little "down time," but Drew surprised us all with how quickly he recovered. He continues to do well and will go back for his post op check in a couple of weeks.

So, as 2010 draws to an end, we have so much to be thankful for and are blessed beyond measure. Although we hit a few hurdles along the way, the end result is that we are all happy, healthy, and together. We look forward to 2011 for many reasons, and cannot wait to see what the next year will bring us.

Happy New Year from our family to yours.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Well, after a long, tiring, emotional day, we are finally settled into our room. Drew is sleeping soundly and is just as sweet as can be. Unfortunately, I forgot the cable to download pictures from my camera, so no pics this time.

The surgery took about three hours and there was good news and not so good news. The good news is that Drew does not have a catheter because he did not need anything in that area repaired. Praise God! Honestly, I just felt terrible thinking that he may have a catheter over Christmas. So, as far as that goes, all is great.

Now, for the "missing jewel" (as his doctors refer to it). After a small incision was made with no success of finding it, a larger incision was made across his lower abdomen and it was found. Because of the size and location, it had to be removed. Because of it having to be removed, it fertility rate is very, very low. In fact, the doctor does not think he will be able to have children the "normal" way. Honestly, this news did not really affect me the way I think the doctors and nurses thought it would. As the doctor was giving me the news that Drew may never be able to have children of his own, I just kept thinking, "okay, no big deal, there are other ways of having children."

Overall, Drew will lead as normal a life any other boy. The important things are that he is happy, healthy, and has a family that absolutely adores him.

Thank you all for you thoughts, prayers, and comments. Please continue to pray that he heals quickly. Knowing Drew, he is not going to like being "down" for long:)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prayers, Please

I know, I know, I have been really bad at updating the blog, but things here have been crazy busy. Now that my final are over and the kids are out of school for Christmas break I am hoping to update the blog more as well as get some much needed cleaning, organizing, and sewing done around here.

For now though, I am asking for prayers for Drew. He is going in for surgery tomorrow afternoon. Right now there are alot of unknowns as far as how long and exactly what they will be doing. They will be repairing a small hole from the previous hypospadias surgery that was done in China. His doctor does not seem concerned about this at all. His biggest concern is the undescended testicle. During one of his recent visits the doctor was unable to feel it and is concerned it may be higher (much higher) up in his abdomen. If this is the case, the testicle will most likely be removed leaving him with only about a 40% chance of being able to have children later. The doctor will not know exactly what he is going to do until he starts the surgery. We are hoping he is able to locate the testicle laproscopicly so Drew will not have an incision. Either way, because of the hypospadias repair, he will come home on Tuesday and will have a catheter for 5 days or so.

Please keep Drew in your prayers over the next few days that all goes well and he has a speedy recovery. I am hoping to update the bog if possible.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black and White Wednesday ~ Happy Birthday

Wow, it seems like forever since I participated in Lisa's Black and White Wednesday. I have finally got my act together (at least for today) and decided to post something today, as it is a bittersweet day for us...

Half way around the world there is a little girl who is turning 9 today. Will she celebrate? Will someone sing happy birthday to her as she blows out the candles on a cake? Will she make a wish as she blows out the candles? Does she even know it is her birthday? These are all the thoughts I have going through my head today. Our plan was to be have a cake delivered to her today along with a letter introducing ourselves to her as her new family. We were going to send a care package with pictures, an outfit, and a few other trinkets to let her know we are thinking about her. Unfortunately, none of that has happened.

Keliah is from a very small orphanage in Shandong Province and we are having a hard time finding out if she is able to receive anything. Honestly, we are not even certain any other child has been adopted from her orphanage. We do know that she was only one of two (from the Dezhou City SWI) that attended the Journey of Hope program. I have been searching for a Yahoo group of other adoptive parents from her orphanage with no success.

So, we have someone in China checking to see what the heal is and if we can send something to her. I just want her to know that in less than a year she will have a forever family with many brothers and sisters just like she wants.

But for today, all we can do is think about her, pray for her, and continue to work as hard and fast to get everything done so we can travel to bring her home.

Happy Birthday sweet girl. This WILL be your LAST birthday alone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

And yes, I will be one of these people...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The "D" Word

No, not that word, but in all honesty, I wish that were what this post was about. These last few days have been quite the whirlwind at our house. We found out on Wednesday that Blake has Type 1 Diabetes. To say we are shocked would be an understatement.

So, here's how it all came about. Last Monday Blake was getting ready to leave for school and said he felt like he was going to be sick. Within seconds, he was puking all over my bedroom floor. Without even hesitating, I just told him to go ahead and go back to bed and I would call the school. He spent most of the day in bed but was feeling better by early afternoon. He was able to eat and drink with no problems and actually seemed to feel a little better after he ate. I just chalked it up as being a "bug."

Tuesday he seemed fine and went to school but just after lunch he called and said he wasn't feeling well again. I talked to the nurse and she said he didn't look so good so she suggested he come home. As soon as he walked in the door, he grabbed a bottle of water and went up to his room where he slept until the other kids came home from school.

By dinner time he seemed to be feeling better so again, I thought it was just a "bug." By the time Matt came home, Blake was feeling much better so of course Matt thought maybe Blake was trying to get out of something at school (normally Blake does not like to miss school) or was just overly tired from being up all night long going to the bathroom because he was drinking so much water lately. I did explain to Matt that the nurse called and sent him home and that I didn't think Blake was faking it.

Later that night after the kids went to bed Matt came in and told me to read something adn that we needed to get Blake to the doctor right away. He had googled insulin which took him to a site all about diabetes. As soon as I saw the symptoms, I thought of everything that was going on with Blake or things that he has complained about recently.

Increased thirst and frequent urination
Weight loss (Matt had just mentioned how skinny Blake was looking)
Blurred vision (the week before last Blake was complaining about not being able to see)
Extreme hunger

Even though he had all they symptoms, I still didn't think that is what he had so by morning I had actually forgotten about it until Blake came down looking yellow and saying he had really bad stomach cramps. I left him here to take Mylee to school and called the doctor who said they could get him in around 9. So I came home, picked him up and off we went for what I thought was just going to be a "he just a a virus, give it a couple of days and he will be fine" visit.

We explained to the doctor what was going on and he went ahead and sent us to the lab. While we waited for the results, I could hear the nurses on the phone talking with someone about extremely high levels. Then, the doctor walked in, shut the door, and asked that Drew turn off the game he was playing. I knew this was not going to be good news. The diagnosis, Type 1 Diabetes. He started off by saying that he didn't know how Blake was able to walk into the -office because his blood sugar was so high. A normal level is between 70-120, Blake's were over 500! He said that usually when a kid comes in with numbers that high, they are being carried in or are immediately admitted to the hospital.

At this point we were told to drop everything because we were being sent to an Endroconologist and he would start insulin that day. So, I called Matt, he left work, came home made arrangements for our kids, had the daycare kids picked up and Blake, Matt and I were off to the hospital here in town. Blake had more labs done and then we sat for over 4 house listening to a nurse tell us about Diabetes, and how we were going to manage this. Basically until Blake gets leveled out, he is checking his blood sugar at least 4 times a day by pricking his finger. He also has to have insulin shots 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime). The biggest change is going to be his diet. Protein is going to be his new best friend and he is only allowed to have at least 330 grams of carbohydrates in a day. What he eats and how much is very important. Everything has to be measured and counted if it has any carbs in it. He can have as much protein as he wants, but he also has to balance his proteins and carbs out throughout the day. For now we are keeping a record of his blood sugar, carb intake, and how much insulin he gets (his insulin amount depends on what his blood sugar is) and then we have to call that into the doctor every morning so they can decide what needs to be upped or lowered.

This is what Blake uses to check his blood sugar.

These are his insulin pens. The blue one is used throughout the day and the gray one is the long lasting one that he takes before bed.

For now we are still trying to come to terms with all of this. For the most part Blake is doing really well. At first he was upset because he didn't think he was going to be able to play football or eat anything "good" ever again. Luckily, he can and will continue to do anything he wants. He can also eat anything as long as he stays within his allotted carbs for that meal or snack. We have been told that he will probably go through some depression and grieving as he tried to understand everything. I think right now the biggest thing is all the attention he is getting. He wanted to hang out with his friends this weekend, but as soon as he hear there were going to be girls there, he declined. He said he didn't want to deal with the girls so he would rather not go. Apparently the girls may have felt sorry for him and he said he just didn't want to deal with it (we will see if that is how he feels in a couple of years).

I think school is going to be his biggest adjustment for now. He has to really watch what he eats at school, and pay attention to his body and how he feels. He also has to take his blood sugar and give himself an insulin shot at lunch everyday. I am anxious for him to get home today so I can see how everything went.

We have had an enormous amount of information given to us and now we are trying to sort through it all and learn as much as we can about Diabetes so Blake can live as normal a life as possible. We would appreciate any and all prayers for Blake right now and his transition to his new lifestyle.