April 2016

Let’s see….. here are some photos from April of this year!

Jordan at the Shriner's Orthopedist where we learned he has hip displaysia. MRI is this Thursday.

Jordan at the Shriner’s Orthopedist where we learned he has hip displaysia. MRI is this Thursday.

Where the girls are now taking classes on Wenesdays!

Where the girls are now taking classes once a week!

Anna and Maggie are taking elective classes once a week at a local program. We just started and I think we’ll keep it up next year. Anna’s taking art, American Girl history, a nature class and lego physics! Maggie is taking piano, art, gardening and legos. Twice now, I have been able to just drop them off and go next door and volunteer in Jordan’s classroom. I love volunteering in there!

This is the OHSU CDRC "gym" in Portland. Jordan was here for a wheelchair appointment. He still benefits from being in a stroller at times (so he doesn't run into traffic, helps him go with us even when he's tired, keeps him safe, etc.) . Anyway, we haven't heard yet if the wheelchair will be covered by insurance, but if it is, we'll be getting one! I'm excited! (Large stroller-wheelchairs are expensive!)

This is the OHSU CDRC “gym” in Portland. Jordan was here for a wheelchair appointment. He still benefits from being in a stroller at times (so he doesn’t run into traffic, helps him go with us even when he’s tired, keeps him safe, etc.) . Anyway, we haven’t heard yet if the wheelchair will be covered by insurance, but if it is, we’ll be getting one! I’m excited! (Large stroller-wheelchairs are expensive!)

I love what my kids get up to when they do things on their own.

I love what my kids get up to when they do things on their own.

I consider this my most successful day in the entire year of homeschooling. There were no books. We went to the park, went on a 3-mile hike and practiced good attitudes, kind behavior, learned about how rocks turn smoother in the water, identified plants and generally had a good day.

I consider this my most successful day in the entire year of homeschooling. There were no books. We went to the park, went on a 3-mile hike and practiced good attitudes, kind behavior, learned about how rocks turn smoother in the water, identified plants and generally had a good day.

Anna took things a step further and made rubbings of many kinds of leaves.

Anna took things a step further and made rubbings of many kinds of leaves.

These goofballs have sticks on their heads that are like antlers.

These goofballs have sticks on their heads that are like antlers.

Goofy goofballs.

Goofy goofballs.

We took the meandering, climb on the rocks version of the hike.

We took the meandering, climb on the rocks version of the hike.

And sat on all the benches. And played in the creek.

And sat on all the benches. And played in the creek.

Back home.... this is what happens wherever there are heater vents on chilly mornings.

Back home…. this is what happens wherever there are heater vents on chilly mornings.

Oh.my.goodness.gracious. Maggie cracks me up! Maggie came downstairs shivering.... went to the living room and changed into her Princess Anna dress, then went and sat on the heater vent and went INSIDE the dress where it was warm. LOL

Oh.my.goodness.gracious. Maggie cracks me up! Maggie came downstairs shivering…. went to the living room and changed into her Princess Anna dress, then went and sat on the heater vent and went INSIDE the dress where it was warm. LOL

Random guinea pig picture. Or as Brian calls them, furry, squeaking potatoes.

Random guinea pig picture. Or as Brian calls them, furry, squeaking potatoes.

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More from March

I often go through day to day thinking of how much is not getting done. I see the messes on the floor, the tall grass in the yard, the unfinished projects and the chores I need to do. I’m glad I’ve taken some pictures, though. Because they show me a different story. They show me the highlights, the successes and the things I want to treasure. Here’s a stack of those pictures from March.

One of the reasons I love having a family goal (To care for orphans) is that when I am feeling the pressure from too many things too do, too many opportunities to decide between, I can use the main family goal to help me prioritize. The lawn being gorgeous is not a high priority. Keeping the kids in a bunch of programs is not a high priority. I don’t know… but it helps.

Our giant dog, Ruby, is not much of a handful. Unless you count her shedding.

Our giant dog, Ruby, is not much of a handful. Unless you count her shedding.

When Brian works from home, he makes really good use of his fifteen minute breaks. He is master of the power nap.

When Brian works from home, he makes really good use of his fifteen minute breaks. He is master of the power nap.

There are so many things I love about this picture...

There are so many things I love about this picture…


My mom and dad together. My daughter snuggled up with my dad. All of us at a Heart Change workshop Sunday morning supporting my Mom. <3

Anna's swimming lessons - she got quite good and is able to swim on her own in the water.

Anna’s swimming lessons – she got quite good and is able to swim on her own in the water.

Maggie in her swimming lessons! She swam without a floatie in deep water for the first time in this class. She can swim without help from one place to another, so long as they aren't too far apart.

Maggie in her swimming lessons! She swam without a floatie in deep water for the first time in this class. She can swim without help from one place to another, so long as they aren’t too far apart.


Sadly, I don’t have a great video of Maggie’s lesson.

Carolyn was just adorable in the little kid class. She was very hesitant at the beginning, but by the end, she trusted her teacher to help her float on her back (ears in the water!) and jumped into her arms (even letting her head dunk under the water sometimes!). The teacher was kind and predictable... exactly what she needed.

Carolyn was just adorable in the little kid class. She was very hesitant at the beginning, but by the end, she trusted her teacher to help her float on her back (ears in the water!) and jumped into her arms (even letting her head dunk under the water sometimes!). The teacher was kind and predictable… exactly what she needed.

What school often looks like at our house. This is Maggie playing a speed math game, I think.

What school often looks like at our house. This is Maggie playing a speed math game, I think.

I love it when Jordan shows an interest in the dogs beyond their tails. He doesn't often, which is why I took this picture!

I love it when Jordan shows an interest in the dogs beyond their tails. He doesn’t often, which is why I took this picture!

Oh my gorgeous girls and their beautiful baby cousin!

Oh my gorgeous girls and their beautiful baby cousin!

Ohhhhhhh, my heart.

Ohhhhhhh, my heart.

My heart!

My heart!

Here's my mommy holding my sister's littlest bundle.

Here’s my mommy holding my sister’s littlest bundle.

They were doing ballet or gymnastics "class." I don't remember.

They were doing ballet or gymnastics “class.” I don’t remember.

Joanna, my favorite therapy friend and Jordan's OT. She is convincing Jordan that he really can touch food and put it in his mouth and eat things he's not comfortable with.

Joanna, my favorite therapy friend and Jordan’s OT. She is convincing Jordan that he really can touch food and put it in his mouth and eat things he’s not comfortable with.

Go Jordan! Yeah!

Go Jordan! Yeah!

We were both chuckling after the plate licking.

We were both chuckling after the plate licking.

Hanging out in the indoor playground while the other girls are swimming. Usually, Jordan was not with me, but when he was, he did really well at the noisy indoor playground!  For him, that means he played appropriately some of the time, avoided screaming or inappropriate behavior most of the time, and lasted quite a long time before becoming overstimulated. It was exhausting, but it was successful.

Hanging out in the indoor playground while the other girls are swimming. Usually, Jordan was not with me, but when he was, he did really well at the noisy indoor playground! For him, that means he played appropriately some of the time, avoided screaming or inappropriate behavior most of the time, and lasted quite a long time before becoming overstimulated. It was exhausting, but it was successful.

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Kittens and Birthdays

We went through the training to be able to foster cats with kittens from the Humane Society. (They can’t adopt out kittens until they’re old enough to be spayed/neutered.) Our first kitty was a super sweet mama, friendly and calm and good with her kittens. We only got to keep them a few weeks, though, because one of the kittens was getting pushed off and wasn’t growing. She needed somebody to sit with her and help her nurse multiple times a day and I couldn’t do it. Thankfully, somebody else from the foster group was able to take them in and help. All the kittens were just starting to move around and be playful when they moved, so I’m looking forward to taking in another batch of kittens sometime this summer.

This is our newborn kitten cave in the giant master bathtub with Maggie sitting beside it.

This is our newborn kitten cave in the giant master bathtub with Maggie sitting beside it.

Here is the first batch of kittens we've fostered and their sweet mama.

Here is the first batch of kittens we’ve fostered and their sweet mama.

Carolyn is very good with animals, despite being only 3 years old. I think it's her more deliberate and predictable behavior. She was adorable.

Carolyn is very good with animals, despite being only 3 years old. I think it’s her more deliberate and predictable behavior. She was adorable.

The kittens:

Anna celebrated her ninth birthday this year! On Easter Sunday, we had a small birthday celebration with some family. I can’t believe how big she is. I’m very proud of my first big little girl.

Happy ninth birthday, Anna!

Happy ninth birthday, Anna!

So grown up.

So grown up.

They are all in their Easter dresses.

They are all in their Easter dresses.

Roller blades!

Roller blades!

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Excitement

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Over the last few months, we have been reevaluating our family choices and goals. We tried to remember our five and ten year goals that we made early in marriage (we celebrated our eleventh anniversary this spring.). As Mom and Dad moved back home from Uganda, we have, as a family, been discussing what each of our “missions” might be. That seemed impossible to narrow down, but I think we’ve done it.

The primary mission for our family is to care for orphans. We have internal family goals as well, but this is specifically our family’s mission to the world. God placed it in our hearts before our marriage and that passion has not lessened with time. Being Jordan’s Mom, Dad, and sisters is part of that mission. Supporting other adoptive and foster families through friendship, counsel, prayer, babysitting and respite care is part of it. Supporting orphan care organizations financially is part of it. Supporting families that might otherwise fall apart without help is part of it (thinking of impoverished families who can’t afford to care for their children without aid, such as World Vision children). As specific as caring for orphans is as a mission, it has broad possibilities for application. And I’m excited.

I’m excited that we have a mission. A goal. Something to aim at, to strive for. I’m excited to have introduced it to the kids. I love broadening their world and seeing them embrace the new information and grow. I’m so proud of them.

Tonight we went around the table and tried to decide what some things we can do are. Being Jordan’s family came up. Praying came up. And sending money to an orphanage or other orphan-care organization came up. We made a goal of saving up as much as we could by Christmas! We got out a big jar and we all raided our purses and wallets and put our bills and dollars in.

I’m excited.

We’re going to try and think up some fundraisers to help us raise some more money. We’re especially looking for things that we can do together. Our first idea is to take some of the scrapbooking paper we have and write Scripture or inspirational quotes on it in calligraphy. Or I can do calligraphy on regular paper and the kids can decorate it. The idea was to have something inexpensive to mail so that we can sell these things very cheap. We’re putting quarters and dollars into this jar. Please let me know if you also want to contribute and how!

A very good beginning!

A very good beginning!

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Orthopedist Appointment for Jordan

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K – right now I’m in wide-eyed, don’t panic mode. Then I will get into research mode. Then we’ll figure out what the best thing to do is.

Long story short: We went to the Down Syndrome clinic last month for a check-in and check-up and got some good general feedback. At the very end, the PT (physical therapist) noticed Jordan’s hips were really loose. More than she expected or something. She looked more, she called other people over and we got a referral to an orthopedist next door at Shriner’s. This morning was that appointment.

They talked with me, looked Jordan over, had him run up and down the hall and pushed and pulled his legs, feeling his hips especially. Even I could see his right hip klunk in and out of joint (without pain from Jordan). We took xrays of his hips and his c-spine. Don’t really know how the c-spine xray is related (at all) but he wanted it done and I have been putting that off so we did it too. Jordan was pretty scared the whole appointment, but was a trooper and did really well considering I couldn’t explain to him that the xray machine was taking a picture and wasn’t going to chase him down and poke him or something. I was a little wrong though.

His spine xray showed all is well in the spot that can be too loose in people with Down Syndrome. Between the hip xray and the physical examination, though, the doctor recommended treatment to fix his hip joints. This treatment… is not pretty. It involves breaking and resetting his pelvis and his femurs, shortening his ligaments, 4+ days in the hospital and a spica cast for 8 weeks, which goes from waist to ankles with a hole for a diaper. That’s followed by PT and a prayer that it was successful.

Steps now are a MRI to get a better visual on his hip joint (the x-ray didn’t show enough). Then another consult. Then I will take that stuff and get a second opinion, because this does not sound like a good idea to me. No kidding, right?

So now you can freak out and pray with me while I go to my peeps and get more information. I need more input about: what happens if we don’t do it? (loss of mobility? pain?) How successful is it likely to be? Do we have alternatives? Etc.

A spica cast.

A spica cast.

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