Archive for December, 2010

A Coming New Year

A single red maple leaf lies in a water-covere...

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New Year.  A new year.  A new beginning.  Out with the old, and in with the new.  Turning over a new leaf.  Turning over a dozen new leaves.  Change.  Improvement.  Goals.  Hopes.  Plans.  Wishes.

I’m thinking . . . .  I’m planning . . . .

I hesitate to put it here because there is a level of accountability here.  From you, my friends.  But accountability is good.

Thinking of the new year.  Thinking of things that I want to change and things that I want to be different.

I won’t call them New Year’s Resolutions because I’m a little against them . . . they never stick.  Instead, I’m thinking of them as goals and wishes.  That will work.

In 2011, I want to have fun.  I want to play.  The fullness and sometimes heaviness of “my plate” has taken a level of fun out of my life.  I’m happy, and I’m joyful, but I don’t always have fun.  Everything we do and everything we plan, we first have to send it through the Chloe filter and the Zippy filter to see if it’s appropriate for us or not.  Those filters tend to sometimes dampen the fun.  I’m not complaining; just being real.  I love my life, and I think you know that, but there are lots of things we don’t do because of having kids with special needs.  Of course, it will remain true that we can’t do some things, but when we can and do do things, I want to have fun at them!  I want to laugh more.  I don’t know exactly what “more fun” will look like, but I’ll figure it out.  🙂

In 2011, I want to make quality time with my kids a big priority.  I am oftentimes reminded when I look at my kids — Elliot, especially — that they are growing up fast.  Elliot will be 12 this year.  I want to make sure that my relationship with him is strong and true and enjoyable.  I think bonding now will help in the teenage years.  Anyone else a little wary of teen years?  I want to have great teen years with Elliot and Zach so whatever I need to do now, I want to do it.  I think I have good relationships with both of my boys, but I want to really treasure them both this year.  Does that make sense?

In 2011, I want to treasure my husband more, too.  Life gets so busy.  Life’s stresses get in the way.  The kids get in the way.  So often, I have nothing left of myself for Paul.  I want my actions and my schedule to show that he’s #1.  I want to treasure him so he knows how important he is to me.

In 2011, I want to be more organized.  This includes my housekeeping, my business, my schedule, my everything.  I am a wreck.  Really.  I’m a train wreck.  My bedroom depicts my life — it is out of control.  I oftentimes put on a good front, but just a peek at my bedroom will tell all.  So I would love for this year to be the year that even my bedroom is organized.  This will take a lot of work and determination and changing, but I want it to happen.  Wish me luck on this one!

In 2011, I want to feed my family more healthy meals.  Getting my life more organized will certainly help with this one.  But lately I have fallen into such a rut of feeding my family quick, convenience foods.  And if it’s not quick, convenience foods, then it’s unhealthy food anyway.  Paul would certainly appreciate more nutrition as he tries to vamp up his running, and my kids need to be eating more healthfully.  I may start slowly on this. . . or I might just jump right in and cause all kinds of shock.  We’ll see.  But be patient with me — habits die hard!

I could go on and on, but I will keep it to those 5 and try to stay focused on them.

Now I’m struggling with whether or not I should make a plan to accomplish those things or if I should just go for it — seems like I should make a plan, but is that the FUN thing to do? 😉  Oh, me.  I’m a mess.

Ok.  So here’s to 2011 — My Fun Year of Organized, Healthful Family Time!

Startling . . . Saddening. . .

As an adoptive mom, I am also strongly pro-life.  I strive for this blog to stay away from politics because a political blog is not what I write.  Yet, as an adoptive mom . . . a privileged adoptive mom (meaning only that adoption is a privilege) . . . I must mention the prevailing sadness of the report I just learned about.

Planned Parenthood recently released its annual financial report, and its numbers are staggering.  My heart is heavy and sad for the aborted babies and the hurting mothers — both the mothers who chose the abortion and the mothers who today aren’t holding an adopted child because of abortion.

  • Planned Parenthood received $363 million in government grants and contracts — our tax dollars — from 2008 to 2009 alone.
  • During this same time period, Planned Parenthood destroyed the lives of 324,008 unborn babies and wounded that many mothers.
  • While aborting 324,008 babies, Planned Parenthood made just 9,433 adoption referrals.

If you are a woman who has had an abortion and is hurting — physically or emotionally — I pray that you will find healing in Jesus Christ, who is ready to accept you as you are and love you deeply.  I pray that you will be comforted.  The point of this post is not to condemn you or point you out.  My post is only meant to be an outcry . . . an outcry for the many tiny lives destroyed before they even began.

And they were destroyed at tax payer expense.

We should all be outraged.

Instead of standing on a big soapbox and rallying the troops for political discussion and battle, I just set out a plea.  A plea for adoption as the first choice in an unplanned pregnancy.  Give the innocent baby a chance at a real life.  And give a waiting couple the experience of a lifetime — adopting a beautiful newborn baby.

(Numbers and statistics quoted from Susan B. Anthony List)


Frosted Flakes previous designed box

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Zachary has an anxiety disorder.  Things upset him that don’t upset other kids.  And he “gets stuck” on something and worries about it constantly and talks about it often — multiple times a day.  He sometimes worries about things that are worth being cautious about. . . but certainly nothing to worry about.  Paul and I then “get stuck” with him and spend time assuring him that he will be okay.

When his medication is regulated, he can think about things, be cautious, have a conversation much on the same level as a kid with no anxiety.  But currently he is in need of a medication increase, I think, so he is stuck into worrying.  Right now he worries about choking on something and dying.

If he eats a cracker for a snack, he needs to know whether or not he can choke and die on a cracker.  If he is swallowing his pills, he needs to know if he can die by choking on medicine.  He has worried about choking while drinking water and dying.  Bread… , jelly… , ice cream… , coke… , egg nog, french fries . . . literally everything he’s put in his mouth for the last few weeks.  We’ve had countless conversations about dying by choking.

This particular anxiety started when he had a cold a few weeks ago.  His throat felt weird — maybe it was a sore throat, maybe he had drainage in his throat, I’m not sure.  But his throat felt weird and he thought he was choking and dying.  He was scared to go to sleep when his throat felt that way for fear that he would die in his sleep.  The look of fear in his wild, wide eyes was pathetic.  This went on for several nights during his cold.

Then when his throat went back to normal, the anxiety and the fear stuck around and still haunts him.  He can’t eat a meal or have a drink without needing to know if he’s in danger of dying.

The trick is — I mean besides not just shaking him and screaming, “I promise you will NOT die from choking on Frosted Flakes!!” — The real trick is to validate his concerns so I don’t belittle him or dismiss his true fears and at the same time try to rid him of any undue worry and stress.

Poor little guy doesn’t need to worry about choking and dying.  He needs to be able to eat a meal and not worry about choking.

Zach is a very medicated child.  The meds which address his anxiety disorder are Trileptal (a seizure med also used for a mood stabilizer – Zach takes it for both) and Prozac (an anti-depressant/ anti-anxiety med).  This combo seems to work well for Zach with not many side effects.  Psyche drugs are so tricky, and the successful combo is different for everyone.  It is often a hit and miss game until the doc finally lands on a winning combo of medicines.  Psyche drugs can be really ugly, but when they work, they can be miracle workers!

Soon we will see his psychiatrist who will adjust Zach’s medicine which will probably solve the problem for a while. . . at least until his next issue, anyway.  Meanwhile, Paul and I will continue to assure Zachary that he’s not going to choke and die today.

“No worries, Baby.  You’re fine.  I promise.”

Christmas Fun!

I can’t let another day go by without sharing a few Christmas photos with you.  We had a great Christmas and are enjoying our break from school and responsibilities!


I got a sweater that I love and some great slipper / flip-flops.

Paul got a handful of gift cards to spend — restaurants and a running store.

Elliot got a new 16-speed bike, an MP3 player, roller blades, and a hippity hop.

Zach got 2 Nerf shields with knives, a Dairy Queen Blizzard Maker, and Alvin, Simon, and Theodore pals.

Chloe got Dance Star Mickey!

Here are some photos of our morning.  There are wonderful cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents in the photos, too.  🙂  Elliot got a Cuponk game, and there are a few photos of us doing some crazy ball shots.

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Here’s a video — several minutes long — of the kids first coming downstairs and seeing their loot, Chloe’s first moments with Mickey — a Love Affair! — , and Zippy already complaining that he didn’t get what he wanted.  🙂

How ’bout you?  Did you get everything you wanted?  I hope so.  🙂

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday, Chloe!

I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since my little snow angel was born in the middle of a Michigan blizzard, barely missing Christmas day.

You are my hero and my inspiration.  Your ability to make me laugh and cry all at the same moment still amazes me.  I celebrate with you on all of your accomplishments.  I am so proud of the things you have learned to do and so proud of the things you are still learning.  I am so moved by the number of hearts your sweet spirit has touched and changed — you are a very special child.  Your little quirks make me laugh and smile — I love that I understand them completely and that I’m not surprised by them!

You are one terrific kid.  You are my favorite girl in the world!  And I love you so much that it makes my heart hurt a little.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Christmas Letter 2010

Merry Christmas!

Anyone else amazed that another year has come and gone?  Time really flies when you’re having fun!

Paul is still running, running, running!  He amazes us with his stamina and passion for running.  He ran several marathons and a couple of 50 mile races this year.  His blog can be found here.  He is certainly our hero as we cheer him on while eating hotdogs and funnel cakes on the sidelines!  🙂  He works at Fidelity Investments and is thankful to be working a regular dayshift this year.

Kelly has had another busy year of PTA and therapies with the kids.  She has been enjoying her blog and the friends she has made through it.  A big change this year has been the business endeavor of Halle Joy (– a brand new company selling inspired handbags and jewelry.  Kelly is staying very busy as a director and ambassador for Halle Joy.

Elliot is in 6th grade this year.  While he is still at the elementary school, he is enjoying taking PreAP courses.  He played soccer and basketball this year and is looking forward to playing them both again.  He is in the youth group at church and continues to grow in his relationship with the Lord.  He is a remarkable young man — smart and kind and discerning.

Zachary is in 4th grade.  While he struggles with the difficult workload, he remains so positive about school and strives to please his teachers.  He is a joy — a constant joyful energy, in fact.  Well, maybe not always joyful, but he sure is a funny kid!  We are constantly laughing out loud at things he says.  He played basketball this year and looks forward to starting up again in January — but he would like to switch teams since he’s afraid they’ll lose all their games again this year!  He was baptized this year after trusting God as His Savior.  He is truly a delightful young boy.

Chloe is in 2nd grade and is at our neighborhood school with the boys this year.  It has been quite a struggle to make sure school is meeting all of Chloe’s needs, but it seems that everyone is working towards Chloe’s success.  She remains a funny, determined, happy little girl.  She loves music and can often be found dancing in her bedroom.  God continues to work miracles in her little body, and we are so thankful He shares her with us.

The photo below is from our summer vacation this year.  We had the amazing privilege to travel to Hawaii with Paul’s family to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

We pray God’s blessings to be real to you this holiday season and in 2011.

Christmas Break

House decorated for Christmas. Jeffreys Bay, E...

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The kids and I are loving Christmas break!

Christmas carols!  Advent!  Parties!  Christmas presents and Christmas lights!  Anticipation!  Counting down the days!  Excitement!

No homework!  No school!  No catching the bus!  No early mornings!  No tutoring!  No testing!  No assignments!

We love it!  And we needed it!

Hopefully I will fill you in on what fun we’ve been having later, but for now a story from funny Zach.  🙂

After leaving a Christmas party, we drove around for a short time and looked at some Christmas lights.  There is a nearby neighborhood (Diamond Loch) that does a great job with their lights.  It is a small neighborhood so just about the time the kids have reached their limit and are just about to start crying with boredom or frustration, we’re done!  Perfect!

There are a couple of houses in that neighborhood that have synchronized their lights to music and have bought a radio station broadcast for the month.  Sitting in front of the house, tuning your radio to the station, you get a fun light show.  I must admit that I don’t like this year’s music / lights show as much as last year’s, but it’s still very impressive to see.

As we pulled up into the cul-de-sac of the light show house, we told the kids to look and to watch.  The boys watched for a couple of milliseconds and then went back to their business — playing their Nintendo ds and laughing together.

A few minutes later while Paul and I and Chloe were still watching the show, Zippy unbuckled and came up front.  He watched the show for a minute.

“Are those lights going with the radio?” he asked, a little bit interested.


“Are they going with our radio?” he wanted to know.


He watched it for a few seconds.

“Is that why we’re staring at it?” was his question.

Um, yes.  That’s why we’re staring at it.  And I’m guessing you’re unimpressed.  🙂

Funny.  We decided just to move on and make our way home.

Just another Christmas memory to share together.  🙂

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