Thursday, December 29, 2011

Half the Sky

So, I'm going to give my 2 cents on Half the Sky. HTS worked in Sidney's orphanage. I can credit them with her ability to interact with Tom and I almost immediately, Sidney's ability to make eye contact, her smile by the 2nd day, her love of flowers, and things to numerous to count. They got her out of her crib and gave her interaction beyond what was possible for overworked nannies tending to too many babies. For that alone, I will continue to advocate for this particular organization. Giving is down this year, which means, they might have to stop working in at least one orphanage. I can't stand thinking about them pulling out of an orphanage. Click on their link to the right and read about their great work. I pray they find the resources necessary to continue doing great work.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve Travels

Friday night and Saturday were spent with Uncle Jason, Aunt Sarah, and Cousin Finn for my side of the family. It’s so much fun when your cousin agrees to play dress up with your new costumes. With the pirate hat he might pass for court jester instead of Snow White?


It's hard to believe Eli was in the same room. He was silent, devouring his new books. 


And before we left, we had a brief post Festivus celebration. 

Then, we were on to Grandma's house, closer to home. After two Christmases, the sugar starting having its way with Sidney.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Emerging From the Trenches

You did a great job Eli!
A stomach bug hit our house. I labeled it “swift and severe.” Tom is the last man standing. Luckily, before the bug hit, both kids participated in our church Christmas program. Notice Eli’s enthusiasm. I told him he was lucky to take a narrator’s role. He looked at me with a puzzled expression until he saw the boys in his Sunday School class dressed as angels. This particular performance was upstaged by the 3rd/4th grade Christmas pageant. As Eli stood in the choir, complete with a halo of tinsel, a bat emerged in the very tall ceilings of the church. As the performance went on, it continued diving closer and closer. 

This is the expression I get when the performance doesn't start until 7pm.

During all this illness, I’ve had lots of laptop time. I’m doing a lot of research on Sidney’s preschool picking and poking and touching and tackling. Yes, it’s partially her age, but a few red flags have been raised. It’s nothing difficult to work with, but she’s definitely sensory seeking. Given her past, it’s not surprising. Yes, it’s kid stuff, its common in kids who spent more than a year in an orphanage environment, and kids with the label….I’m willing myself to type this label….failure to thrive. As much as Sidney is the polar opposite of failure to thrive, her height and weight are the definition of failure to thrive. I look at her medical records long enough to acknowledge it’s there.

Thanks Grandma JeanJean for my cute outfit! The bike helmet was my own touch.

So, what can Tom and I do? Continue being consistent and continue working with her teacher. So, yes. Regular parenting stuff. With this consistency, comes frustration. I’m an honest person, and it’s not always easy when your child is picking and poking at classmates and her brother. I am hoping some down time over Christmas break without all the running eases things a bit.

So, I am off to my day of catching up. Gift wrapping, making a couple things, and looking at the dusting of snow that fell overnight. The kids are done with school, and the season is upon us.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Squeezing In A Blog

Both kids participated in the school Christmas program on Tuesday night. Sidney made her debut as a dove in the 3 year old live manger scene.  I was overjoyed to watch another of the moments I refer to as the “good stuff.”  It’s the stuff  that gives perspective to sitting in the waiting room during surgery or watching her struggle to understand her permanence in our family. Her performance was highlighted by getting clocked by the heavy stage curtain as it swept past her. Eli followed with the big kid program. It was enjoyable, because he didn’t baulk about it in the days leading up to the performance.  Of course, who could blame him after he was cast as a bell in our church Christmas program last year? An event which is sure to scar him for life. And as a side note, I would love to include some photos of Eli, but he is with his classmates, in the photos, so I can't post them.

In other family Christmas events, we celebrated with Tom’s parents and sister last weekend. We are a very blessed family. I might sound like a schmuck, but I truly enjoy giving more than receiving. Whenever I look around at the overabundance on Christmas, I can’t help but think about those who are truly without. Perhaps, this is because I read a very moving blog entry a couple of days ago. A missions group was in Africa. The person chronicling the journey discussed a trip to the local dump. People scavenged through refuse looking for bits of food. One of them had leprosy and was missing fingers. We are all born the same with the same heart, and we end up with such vastly different circumstances. The photos were like nothing I have ever seen. It puts so many of the issues we consider problems in our lives in to perspective. It makes completing my Christmas shopping a privilege and a joy.

Stepping off my soapbox, Tom’s schedule has slowed down considerably in the past couple of days. This allowed me to go caroling with Eli’s boy scout troop last night. It was rainy. In this part of the Midwest, we aren’t receiving any snow, and it’s warm and foggy. I’ll admit, I didn’t feel like going out again, wanting to stay where it was dry. Then, good Lutheran guilt kicked in. I started thinking about how much joy a couple of Christmas songs could give the residents. So, we went. Much to Eli’s chagrin, the parents also followed along and chimed in. Mr. Independent preferred mom didn’t come along. 

OK, I’m off to produce the family photo card. Yes, I’m a traditional girl. Cards and stamps please. There’s no other way.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Ramblings

I'm sneaking in a few minutes to update the blog. We are in a frenzy of holiday activities. Today, I finished up some holiday shopping and after the kids are in bed, this elf will be busy wrapping gifts for tomorrows Christmas with Tom's parents. But before I do, here's what we have been doing.

Tom so loves getting a real Christmas tree. I say that with every once of sarcasm I can muster. He loathes cutting down a real tree. Typically, we face subzero temperatures, however this year, it was warm and muddy. It automatically made the process shorter, because we couldn't access other parts of the tree farm on muddy roads. So, here is my loving husband in a torrid embrace with the Christmas tree. What a goof ball. 

While we visited, Sidney made a visit to the man in the red suit. She was unsure, but corageous. This is huge. Last year, she wasn't have anything to do with it, and we weren't about to coerce her into getting into a strangers lap. 

Then we came home, and Sidney "assisted" with putting up the Christmas tree stand. 

Once the stand was steady, we began decorating. But, not before the diva dove in front of the camera again.

Today, Eli and I busied ourselves making cake balls. Another pin completed off of p*nterest. This is the only photo I could capture. It's not that I don't try to put him into the blog. He evades the camera!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ok, I Get It

Sidney colored this picture. She turns 4 in March. Imagine our worry before travel, not knowing how well her hands functioned. Before and after surgery, there was the same kind of anxiety. Did things work better before we interfered with a surgical procedure? I dropped Sidney in the extended school care for a couple of hours while I tried to reign in the extra stuff I need to get done. I walked back in to see Sidney holding this picture. There are times Tom and I talk about thinking “ok God, I get it, I get it.” Today was another one of those moments.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A moment to blog....

Mom is vertical again and back to her normal chaotic pace. My strep throat is gone, but allow me a moment to whine. I remember it being miserable as a child. It is equally if not more miserable as an adult. I know I’m sick when Tom actually offers to care for me. Before you think I’m married to an insensitive man, I will say again, Tom is a wonderful husband, but he has no tolerance for any sort of whining during illness. Maybe it was seeing me huddled under two blankets, teeth chattering, and knowing I was still freezing that really sent him over the edge. It wasn’t pretty.  

Sneaking in a photo of Eli. He fights me every time.

After pulling myself out of bed, and facing my growing to do list, Sidney and I picked up her new shoes. Again, her limb difference is caused by fibular hemimelia. She obviously wears her shoes to school, and out and about, but it’s almost impossible to get her to wear her shoes at home. We have talked at great length with our orthopedist about the impact on her spine. He said she compensates well with her other foot. In addition, she doesn’t stay standing long. Like a normal kid, she’s up and down all the time. 

Speaking of shoes, I am in the midst of trying to get 90+ pair of flip flops and kid’s shoes to Des Moines. All the flip flops and shoes will go to an orphanage in Haiti. I started thinking about how many people wear flip flops in third world country’s. Cheap and a barrier between you and the ground. They can’t prevent disease, but it’s better than nothing. We function on such a different level of necessity in the United States. Which pair provides the most support, which pair is most stylish, which pair looks better. I am certain none of these questions will be on the mind of the people on the receiving end.  

I can’t stop thinking about the stories of the people who will wear the shoes. How did the earthquake impact their lives? Are all their family members still living? What happened to their home? Are they living in a tent? There’s so much devastation and lack of infrastructure to take care of the remaining chaos. I will never forget seeing a photo of Haiti about a year ago. There, amongst toppled buildings on either side of the street, people walked about like everything around them was normal. Obviously, nothing had changed since the day of the disaster, but they had to forage ahead despite the devastation all around them. And by now are the same buildings repaired? It saddens and angers me, but I know God has some lesson in all of this.