Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Picture Blog

I have a few pics to download of the kids from last week. This blog post will be few words - many pictures!

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

Pure Bliss!
Laura helped pick out a bouquet of flowers from Grandma's funeral
for us to take home

Angie & Cousin Isabel ("Issy" - age 6)

Laura & Cousin Abby (age 11) with the bouquet of flowers they picked for our family to take home.

Angie & Issy dancing (notice Angie's flower?)
Laura on the way home from Grandma's Funeral Day - she exemplified what we all felt...exhaustion!

Thank you to those of you who left comments and were praying for our family. It was an exhausting and emotionally draining week. It feels good to get back into a regular routine this week. We rest in the knowledge that Grandma's feet are walking on streets of gold! The kids did well with processing the death. They asked many questions and seemed to understand. They grieved. They rejoiced too as we spoke of Grandma in heaven. It seems they are really beginning to grasp the truth of God's Word.

Robert did a wonderful job eulogizing his grandmother with perfect words. The day of her funeral was cold and rainy. But as the pastor pointed out - the rain shouldn't signify tears or sorrow, but NEW LIFE as he urged us to rejoice in the NEW LIFE Grandma has in heaven.

Thanks again! I hope to be back on a 'regular' posting schedule this week!

Monday, April 21, 2008

June 1929 - April 18, 2008

Grandma Helen passed away on Friday afternoon. We learned from the doctor that her stroke was massive - so massive that the swelling in her brain had caused irreversible damage that would make sustaining life impossible. What a blow that was to hear! At that point the family decided to invoke a DNR 'Do Not Resuscitate' order in the event that she went into another cardiac arrest or something - which the doctor felt was imminent. The doctor said at that time that he did not believe that she would last the day - even attached to the machines that were breathing and pumping her heart for her. Though if she did and time went on the next tough choice would be whether or not to remove her from the machines. However, true to Grandma's form, she saved all of us the difficulty of making that choice. Mid-afternoon on Friday she went into another cardiac arrest. Much of her family was at her bedside in her final moments.

It was sad to see a Grandma who was so vibrant and lively just a couple days before be gone in the blink of our eyes. But yet we know that is how Grandma would have wanted it. We know she is dancing on the streets of gold right now with her Maker! We've had some good conversations with the children as we envision what Grandma might be doing right now in heaven. That has really helped all of us keep perspective in the midst of our sadness.

Grandma's wake & funeral are scheduled for Thursday night and Friday morning so we have a busy week ahead of us. Pray for Robert as he helps the family with the details and as he prepares his eulogy speech for the funeral.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and other practical help (thanks babysitters!) - we are thankful to have a strong supportive bunch around us!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Update on Great Grandma

After the doctors were able to stabilize great grandma at the hospital they were able to start the diagnostic process to find out what was going on with her little body. We've discovered that she had major congestive heart failure. A couple of valves that she had a bypass on 6 years ago had failed. Right now her heart is functioning at only a 1/3 of the capacity it was before. However the doctor felt that was repairable and recoverable.

The CAT scan she had later in the day didn't have as promising a diagnosis. In addition to her major heart failure, she experienced a massive stroke. From the CAT scan it appears her brain has suffered extensive damage - to the point that if she survives the next few days, she may not be able to walk, talk, or handle any daily functions on her own any more. At this point she is showing total listlessness on her right side. She is heavily sedated and breathing and heart machines are doing much of the work for her - though she is doing some breathing on her own and as mentioned before her heart is at about 30% functioning on its own.

Overnight her vitals didn't change much - for the worse or the better. It will be a waiting game for the next few days I think to see how her body begins to respond. We are praying for a couple things.

1 - We know our God is a God of miracles. We are praying that if God chooses to, that He would show his glory through miraculously healing Grandma.

2 - But if He doesn't, we pray that all will hold fast to the truth that God is God and He holds Grandma in His hands. We pray that if it is time for her to go Home, that he would take her home peacefully.

Thank you for your prayers - we feel them and are grateful.

I also have to give a major shout out to our friends the Lee's. They came in and pinch hit for us last night when we got the call about Grandma's stroke. They took the kids for the evening - and the ended up staying overnight! Our kids love playing at the Lee's house. Jake is around John's age and Laura & Rachel are in the same grade. Tracie & Boyd are great with the kids too - and it was awesome for us to spend some devoted time with family members and grandma last night. THANK YOU!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Please Pray for Great-Grandma

Just a quick post. We got a call this morning that Robert's grandma was rushed to the hospital with breathing troubles. She is 79 years old and has definitely been a beloved 'mom' to Robert all his life. He just texted me from the hospital. Things are not looking good. I'm just getting Angie ready to head out there.

Please pray for Grandma Helen and the doctors. Pray for Robert, his sister Emily and Robert's dad, as well as the rest of the family. Grandma - known by her nickname growing up 'Toughie' - is loved by many.

I will update later - thanks for your prayers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

PJ's Birthday Party!

Last Monday was PJ's birthday! PJ is our loveable now-2-years-old dog! He's transitioned GREAT to the 3 newest members of his pack, and though he weighs more than ANY of them, he's gentle, appropriately protective of them and a great companion for us all! Since the first week of being home with the kids they were asking us when PJ's birthday was. We don't really know because PJ was found by a shelter as a puppy and we 'adopted' him when he was roughly six months old. PJ's vet gave him an estimated birthdate of April 7, 2006, but that could be off by a few days or weeks! However I told the kids his birthday was April 7th, and as we got closer to April the kids kept saying that PJ's birthday was coming up! So kind of on the spur of the moment I decided it would be fun for us to have a little birthday party for PJ! Daddy had to work last Monday night and a visitor we were expecting ended up sick, but we actually had a lot of fun the four (5 of us if you count PJ) of us with PJ's party. We made a special "meat" cupcake for PJ, complete with a dollop of whipped cream on top and 2 candles! Sounds disgusting, yes, but PJ thought it was GREAT! We also gave PJ presents that the kids lovingly wrapped in gift bags we had around the house. We sang Happy Birthday and Feliz Cumpleanos and Laura made a special sign for the wall. The kids even had birthday hats and blowers that I found in a stash of mine...though PJ was quite apprehensive of the blowers! Here's some pics of the special day!

PJ & Laura withthe meat cupcake, Laura's birthday sign and the lineup of presents in the corner. PJ even got a special hat!

The kids enjoyed celebrating PJ!

Juancho & PJ before PJ opened his present...PJ is looking a little like 'deer-in-headlights' here...I'm sure he was wondering what the heck was going on!

Juancho's gifts to PJ - a cheese stick & a new toothbrush!

Laura thought it was pretty funny that PJ kept trying to 'peek' in her bag!

PJ got a tug-of-war rope from Laura (made from two holey socks tied together!)

Angie loved PJ's party too!

Angie gave PJ a brush & comb (nevermind that they are the ones we've had since we got him) and oh yeah, a kiss!
On an another note, please keep the following prayer requests in mind...
**For little Naomi as she recovers from a bout with RSV
**For dear friends of ours that just experienced a traumatic loss
**For our friend L who desires to grow closer in his relationship with God
**For my niece Ashley who will be entering her 5th month of pregnancy soon
**For little Martin Eligio born without complications yesterday and his Mom & Dad
**For our friend E who has been battling illness
**For me to figure out a way to get my life, home and structure/schedule is under control! (it's really stressing me out!)


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Juancho & the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Hair Day

This post has been percolating in my head for a while...just haven't had the time to post it. Sunday night Juancho & I had a "bonding experience". Not the kind I hope and pray for, not the kind that I plan and prepare for, but a bonding experience nonetheless!

See, Juancho's hair had been getting long...it grows fast! And he was asking to get it cut. At first we thought Saturday morning might work...but no, Robert & Juancho went to show houses for real estate instead (something they LOVE to do together) and the girls and I met a friend to go shopping for a bridal shower. Saturday afternoon was out too since Mami was gone to the bridal shower and Papi was manning the fort with all 3. Sunday ended up pretty busy too...we had our Post-Adoption group after church and after that Robert ran to do some real estate stuff and I took the kids to the mall...Alvin and the Chipmunks were putting on a show to promote their new movie! I didn't care too much about the show, but it was a free event on a rather chilly Sunday so I thought it would be a good chance to entertain the kids with little effort on my part! I was secretly thinking that after the show we could dart into Cost Cutters and get Juancho's hair cut.

Laura & Juancho thought it was pretty cool that they all posed in front of a green screen but the picture came out with the Alvin & the Chipmunks background! Angie on the other hand wasn't so thrilled about it!

BUT...do you know what happens to a 3 year old when they are 2 hours overdue for their nap? Meltdown City! Yep, Angie was not so happy and was pretty vocal about it too! I decided we wouldn't subject a salon full of unsuspecting visitors to that concert! So we went home, got the monster down for her nap and Juancho made his first complaint about not getting his hair cut all weekend. The complaints continued through supper, and though my husband warned me NOT to (truly sorry honey!), I thought "well, I could just trim it up a little bit..."

Juancho all draped up and combed out, ready for the now infamous haircut!


Actually, the trimming started off quite good! We don't have hair trimmers, so I used scissor and my intent was really just to cut it enough so he didn't feel it was in his eyes and he felt he got a haircut. Then we'd take him in during the week for the professional job. And the haircut I did looked pretty good...at first. Then I realized that the hair around his ears was a little shaggy and at the hairline at his neck. So I ran upstairs and got Papi's shaver - I've used it before on Robert to do the very same thing...trim around the ears and neck. No problem, right? WRONG!

I didn't realize that trimming around the ears tickles. Until Juancho leaned into the trimmers as I was trimming to indicate that it tickled...and as a result cut a four inch long swath of hair from the top of his ear diagonally toward the middle of the back of his head. And I mean really cut it. This trimmer had no guard of 1, 2 or 3. It was a 0. That path shaved in his head was nearly gone! I audibly gasped. Laura wanted to know what was up. I tried to hide it from her, but to no avail. She alerted Juancho to the disturbance in his hair and I cheerfully said 'Don't worry honey, Mami will fix it!'. Um...I had no idea what I was doing! But I did try to fix it. I cut and cut and trimmed and trimmed - hoping to make it even, hoping to carve a style out of it all. But about the time I got to this point I really was lost. Do I stop? Do I keep going? The barber shops were all closed - it was after 7:00 pm on a Sunday night. I kept going...maybe I shouldn't have...would it have made a difference?

This is where I stopped and thought 'What on earth am I doing?' (a little late, I might add...)

The rock in the pit of my stomach kept growing. What would Robert say? He had told me not to even try this after all. What would Juancho say...he was still happily sitting in the chair watching the movie, fairly unaware of the hack job Mami was doing on his hair. He eventually had to go to the bathroom though. And of course he looked in the mirror...and the tears began. They lasted for about 10 minutes. I apologized, and then tried to help by showing him pictures of famous people with buzz cuts. I focused on David Beckham since he's a famous soccer player! That seemed to help him calm down. By the end of the night before he went to bed he was teasing me. As I cut his fingernails he said "Well, at least you can cut SOME things good, Mami!".

This pic was taken post-tears but pre-fix! If you look closely you can tell how the hair is patchy and varying lengths! But Angie & PJ (and all of us!) love him anyway, regardless of his hairstyle!

Even after it was shaved down to practically nothing, there were some areas that were thicker and longer and some that were shorter. It made it seem he had some sort of hair disease that caused his hair to fall off and grow back in patches. Not good for a fourth grader! So he went into school an hour late on Monday. I sheepishly took him to the barber shop the next morning for a fix it job. They did great, but man it was short! We also popped into Wal-Mart and found two baseball caps - one for $1 and one for $3 (love bargains!). Even though he can't wear them at school, they are on him almost the rest of the time at home!

He was mostly concerned about possibly being teased. I gave him full permission to blame it on me...and I'm sure he has! :) I also dropped an e-mail to his teacher to give her a heads up on what happened and let her know to contact me if she witnessed any trouble with teasing. Turns out one of Juancho's friends came to school Monday mornining with a shaved head too - he had a similar experience! God was looking out for dear Juancho! Teasing has not been a problem either.

Personally, though I wouldn't have chosen the short buzz cut for him, I still think he is quite handsome. I compliment him all the time on his perfectly round head. Plus I think the lack of hair makes his handsome eyes and gorgeous smile pop out even more! He's not sold on that though! The barber told him his hair would grow out long enough that it would seem like a regular style within a couple weeks. Juancho is counting down the day for that to happen!

This is post-fix-it. I love this pic! Right after I took it though, Juancho realized he didn't have his hat on and made me take another one with his hat on!

Meanwhile...Mami will not be making any efforts to do ANY hair cutting on dear old Juancho's hair...EVER! :)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bikes & Kites and other Spring Stuff!

Hi All! First of all, thanks to those of you who left such encouraging and supportive comments to my previous post. It had been a couple of tough days of being a Mami and I think I was feeling overwhelmed with it at that moment. Feeling much better now...and much more capable of being a good Mami, despite my imperfections! :)

Well, dare I say it? I believe Spring is in the midst of 'springing' here in MN! You can never be 100% sure until May - we've been known to get freak snowstorms in late April...however I think it is here! I've seen several robins and yesterday the temps topped out at nearly 60 degrees! Woo hoo!

Last weekend was a nice spring weekend and the kids got bikes and kites! Saturday was a perfectly windy day for kite-flying...and we quickly learned that John is quite masterful at flying kites!

The kids have ridden their new bikes nearly every day since we got them (except on Monday, which was the last snowfall of the season (I hope!) and 6 inches of snow fell throughout the day...its all gone now though!). Both John and Laura are good riders and they behave well - following the rules of where they can and cannot go on their bikes, always wearing their helmets and watching for cars. So far so good! I've included a few pics!

Daredevil John - it's hard to tell b/c this picture is dark, but John is showing me his special 'trick' which involves him peddaling super fast, then standing on his bike seat as he rides the bike around the drive. At least he has a helmet on!

Laura's kite was not exactly cooperative...

John was a master at his 'jet' kite and got it soaring pretty high!

Angie wasn't quite sure what to do with the kite at first...

But pretty soon she had it up and flying!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Who Is The Child Here?

Okay Mami's out there...this newbie Mami needs some support, encouragement and maybe a little assurance that I am a "normal, un-perfect Mami"...

I've been a Mami now for ALMOST five month (can it be that long already?) and though I grew up in a large family, babysat a TON (was even a nanny for 18 months - full time!) AND have worked with at-risk, at times disrespectful and often challenging teens for over 6 years - some days I feel like such a novice at being a Mom!

I want to do things right - from my demeanor with my family, to our style of discipline, to how I keep our house, to the nutrition in our home, to raising our children with Christian spiritual guidance to putting my children and husband first to never letting my selfishness creep in to any of the above. And as I look at the list of who I want to be and what I want to excel in as a wife and mom, I KNOW that I fail at that every day.

Some days I go to bed thinking that while I still wasn't quite perfect, I hit the mark pretty good that day on who I want to be as a wife and Mami. But other days - like yesterday - I went to bed thinking that I missed the mark in many ways! I think the one that bothers me the most is when I forget about having patience and grace and get immediately 'hooked' when my child misbehaves or my husband's innocent comment about something I took personally suddenly causes me to react like a child. Then I'm quick to raise my voice or show frustration in my demeanor to my husband or the children, wanting at that moment only what would benefit ME - not what is the best for my children/husband. Nearly always after a selfish moment (or hour or day) like that I always culminate with feeling guilty at my attitude or behavior...who is the child here anyway?! Then my mind spirals into worrying that a raised voice or a biting comment or even an extended time out (as much for my benefit as for the child!) will cause irreperable damage to my child's psyche! :) (not that we're talking anything major here in case you've begun to worry...more just me worrying myself to the nth degree about the consequences or damage from every perceived parental mistake I make...which are many!)

So Mami's of my blog-o-sphere...leave a comment if you feel led...I'd love to hear if I am way out in left field (I'll find a professional to guide me back to home base) or a normal newbie Mami trying to figure it all out (and get used to sharing my time, resources and home with 3 new & wonderful additions). Also, if you have any time-tested suggestions for how to keep from getting 'hooked' and keeping an even-keel demeanor instead even when your child has done something for the 400th time that they KNOW they shouldn't...I would appreciate comments of that nature as well!

I've also put a banner on the side of my blog called Motivation for Moms. I saw it on someone elses blog and mostly put it on my blog for myself (there I go being selfish again...) :) but you may find it encouraging and helpful too!