Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ministry Launch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can not begin to tell you how excited I am about this weekend. It started with a dream my sister, Kelly, and I had, then realizing it was deposited in us by God as our "calling", then God giving us 7 other amazing Godly women to walk along side us with a passion for restoration and setting women free, walking us through our own heart and dealing with each of us personally and now 5 years later he says "go"! I have tears as I type this our dream, our calling for God Almighty is going to become a reality this weekend! We will be putting on our first women's retreat! We felt God said, small and intimate. We found a beautiful retreat center that we didn't even know was here locally, tucked away from our world yet close and the lodge the women will be staying in held 22 women....that was our number and God filled it with the 22 women he hand picked for this first retreat put on by our ministry "Oaks of Righteousness", our cry that these women stand tall as mighty oaks of righteousness as display of the Lords glory and splendor" - Isaiah 61. Below are some pictures of our team (minus one who could not be there for the photo shots)

So those of you reading this I ask for your prayers, I can not wait for tomorrow. Pray I stay out of the way and as John the Baptist said in the book of John....more of you God less of me! Pray for freedom for these women and that they encounter God this weekend on our first retreat titled "The Garden of the Heart". May the ladies encounter Jesus as they walk the garden of their heart.

For more information check out our website you can read more about the ministry, contribute financially, with your prayers or even attend our next retreat October 12-14, 2012.

The Easter Bunny Was A Hit!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Olivia's MRI Update

Well Olivia did great today. She was a little out of it when they took her so she did okay. She teared up when they got her in the room and we weren’t coming, but was quickly put to sleep. Crazy thing is (well no God thing is) the anesthesiologist she had was a Chinese women who when she saw Grace was so excited she was Chinese. Isn’t that funny? Not only that but we were told she is rarely in there, she works the more high profile serious surgeries in OR!!! We also have a friend in town who is a great radiologist (blessed!) he met us there and when saw we hd her said she is great, still couldn’t believe we got her!

The procedure took about 2 hours and 15 minutes, the MRI done of her brain and total spine. Our radioligist and friend had the neuro specialist that has a focus with pediatrics to watch her MRI on screen as was comign through. She had great care.

Our friend, Jon even returned as she was finishing up to give us an update. Olivia was a little teary when we got back there but easily consoled by me (nice thing is I wondered remember if she would let anyone console and tend to her, but she wanted momma!) yea! We were out of there quickly. We did have to carry here, and after home she couldn’t stand or walk without falling. But she ate soup, napped and has woken up great mood, and walking fine. Yeah again! God really had us covered!

As for report here is what we know
1. The ventricles that are around the brain are enlarged – meaning she does have hydrocephalus (this was a confirmation of the known)
2. There was no fluid leaking from the ventricles – this is a praise report! Don’t’ know if as a preventive neurosurgeon will want to put a shunt in her, or just monitor her and only shunt if fluid begins to appear. (the second is what I hope for)
3. The frontal lobe softening focus – this was just where they see they went in and drained the fluid from one of the ventricles. Not an issue or concern. Done in good location (praise report!)
4. Corpus callosum maldevelopment – this is where the nerves connecting two hemispheres of the brain. All looked good, just thinner on the top as they move up the nerve highway, but not a real issue or any affect to her (praise again!)
5. Spina Bifida – yes she has it – we knew this, and if I heard right it appears she had a tethered cord (something we needed to see if she had because if so would need to be surgically repaired) she did have (focus on did) already corrected looks like when did spina bifida surgery. No real alarms here either. (praise again)

So the real news, story, any surgeries, red flags, things to watch for, limitations with all this come when we meet with the neurosurgeon next month. But for now we rest in all we have to give praise for! Thanks for your prayers ladies!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Fun Day at Great Wolfe Lodge!

The kids were out of school today so we decided to go to Great Wolfe Lodge. The boys have been (Jonathon actually works there as a Lifeguard) but the girls have not been yet. Unfortunately christian did not get to go because he had baseball practice so we missed him.

My sweet girls
with their big brother Logan
I definitely have two very different girls. Olivia my more sensitive, reserved, cautious, tender and sweet , my one who is still taking in this new world around her and overwhelmed by all life has for her..sometimes that brings smiles ear to ear and sometimes that brings her doing a lot of "watching" or even fear with a death grip to whoever has hold of her at the time. She did not like water in her face or on her head. The biggest slides she could do we didn't even approach, the medium slide she had not part of, the smaller too she did, but even one of those she spun from her bottom to belly and went under at the bottom and I had to pull her up. She was only in a foot of water she could have just stood but that never entered her mind, just fear. I scooped her up and loved her and she felt safe again, but was not going on that slide for sure. She did however really enjoy the big slides that she could do with me, that was because we were in a tube together not in the water, and she had a hold of me..gotta love my girl that is all girl...I am balancing being gentle with pushing her to embrace life a little more fully and breaking through that fear. I love it when she steps out and steps out and what once scared her now puts a smile on her face.
Hummm, I think i will just touch from here, not to close
Now this is my speed mom, I like this little things in the ground that squirt water up
and sitting on them is kinda fun too
my sweet girl with the infamous Chinese peace sign
She cracks me up...ok let me explain this face. When Olivia would get upset with me when I talk to her she rolls her eyes back in her head to keep from crying, when i make her look at me the tears come. When she is happy we tease her about this, and say what does Olivia do with her eyes when she is mad at mommy and then she rolls her eyes and laughs, and recently she has started popping the lip too....she was doing it here to be silly.
She did enjoy the jet skis too
Now as you can see from the shot above my Grace is not about the frills and just embraces life with little fear, I am always hearing "come on Olivia" and usually Olivia will follow her, which has been great pulling her out. Grace loves to run and play and is just a barrel of fun, she is a tough little cookie, but also has a sweet side too and is very good with her big sister, often just giving her a hug or a kiss and saying I love my sister Olivia, which Olivia just smiles big! This slide above is the one Olivia would not tackle.
The slide is the one Olivia did once and one time only after the spin under water...wondering if Olivia ever been to a pool before, think it all was like omg so fun, omg overwhelmed!
the jet skis
This slide they both enjoyed
Logan we saw only a little bit he was off on all the big slides most of the time. Jonathon hung with me and the girls like a good big brother and would watch Grace for me to take Olivia on the big slides she really liked.
Logan and Olivia, see the grip she has on him in the wave pool
At the edge of the wave pool, look at Grace pulling her out there
Fun day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Staying Busy

We celebrated yet another birthday this week, this time it was my new nephew Liam's. It was held at Romp and Roll and the kids had a blast.

Happy 2nd birthday Liam!
Olivia having a blast!
And Grace loved it too
The kids had dentist appointments too and Olivia did great on her first visit and no caviities for her either! Grace on the other hand gave them a run for their money and the did a very short cleaning since took 2 of us to hold her down. One she is a fireball, but two this girl has great fear about anyone coming toward her mouth like that with the lymphangioma on her tongue, I can't say I blame her.
And as usual basebal baseball baseball, we have two playing one high school ball so keeps our week nights busy with games and another tournament ball which has those weekends full.
Kids just ended 3rd quarter at school so taking a deep breath and break from school Monday for teachers work day before they crank out the final quarter of the year.
Olivia continues to do great and every week her English is better and better! She is a smart little cookie.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Overdue Photos and Update

I know I know I have heard you all loud and clear - how is it going and where are the photos? Well we have been home for 2 weeks and 2 days now and in some ways it seems like Olivia has been with us much longer and in other ways well it has taken me some time to get myself caught up to sit down and blog.

After being home for 4 days I started trying to work some again (from home only about 15 hours a week but still my gosh who would have thought 15 hours would have been tough to get in, but it is! ), and catch up around the house and with the kids and mail - my gosh you can build up a pile of paperwork in two weeks, then their is adjusting with our new daughter of course and my first retreat we are putting on in 2 more weeks (yes I started a ministry last year putting on women's retreats and first one is in two weeks). So coming up for air well has been a bit hard.

But I know what you really want to hear is how is Olivia? Well she is doing incredibly well. The boys adore her and she adores them! She still loves her daddy and she and I are making great strides, she actually likes me now too! Her and Grace get along so well. They really compliment each other well, but yes Grace runs the show, wonder how long Olivia will let that happen. Olivia is more laid back and sensitve, Grace my tough fire ball. Olivia loves anything girly - dolls, bows, clothes, shoes - Grace still could care less - she would rather be playing with cars and dinosaurs and although likes to match her hair bows would be just fine in jeans and tennis shoes or her flip flops.. They are so fun to watch and really like they will be great friends. They really do love each other and have bonded so well.

Ninety percent of the time Olivia is all smiles, so easy going, laughing, just melts your heart and so full of joy and excitment about her new world. She takes it all in. But there are still times here and there where she will randomly break into tears. This was frustrating at first with the communciation barrier and I couldn't figure the triggers. I mean she woudl be playing fine and I would say something encourging and she would just start to cry or if I pushed and made her use her English words she would cry (if her brothers or daddy were around because they are the softeys that would just let her grunt for as long as she wants...uhhh negative). Google translate has helped some but sometimes I still dont think she is following me in that. So after both of us upset and frustrated in these moments and prayer (an essential) I decided no more askign what is wrong (until her english is better) just pick her up, love her and redirect and that is working well. These don't happen often but they do happen and honestly I see it as a sign we are safe enough now for her to cry. Her whole word has changed and that is overwhelming, I cna't imagine what her 5 year old mind is thinking and I don't know if she could articulate it even if she could speak. So I chose to love her right where she is at. Pray for us here. It seems the times where she will cry randomly have occured so far only when it has just been me and her home and I was doing something when she was in a room alone and I re-entered to check on her. I think it is the being still with her thoughts. Normally she is too busy playing with Grace or her brothers or she and I are out running errands and doing things together, she is to busy to think about everything she is too busy embracing it. It is important she can be alone with her thoughts and be okay, but this will take time. She is teaching me that is for sure, I am gonna have to learn to soften for this little sensitive one and she is gonna have to learn to toughen a little as well, we will be good for each other!

So you asked about her language? She has done phenominal. I can not tell you how impressed I have been at how much she has learned She is so smart. She is so eager to learn. She amazes me!

You also asked about eating? Well first few days I wondered if it would be rough going, but now she is doing great, and eats really well, so glad!

So the weather here has been gorgeous. We really have had no winter. Wiht temperatures in the 70's and 80's it has been shorts and tshirts and enjoying the outdoors. From bike and scooter rides, to bubbles and sidewalk chalk to swings, slides and trampolines. This girl loves it all!

Olivia learned to ride the bike after about 10 minutes!
Grace zoomed ahead on the scooter
So much fun together
lots of bubbles
how can you not love that face?
Both in the Chinese squat. Okay so this is typical. Grace blowing bubbles at Olivia, check out Olivia's face.
She is still like "ewww, don't " Grace still blows and pays her appeal to stop no attention , come on this is fun she is thinkng
Okay if she isn't gonna stop maybe I should embrace this, toughen up a little, might actually be fun - yes that is a smile as she reaches to touch the bubbles

and yes that is down right laughter - this is how this little girl is growing - Grace is so good to stretch her and Olivia is so good to Grace and teachng her to come in touch with her tender side
Checking out the flyers
Yes Olivia loves to right her name
Christian came home from baseball and Olivia ran to his arms! She loves her brothers
I love this picture - it speaks so much about the love these two have for each other
Christian playing for high school team now. Yes Olivia knows all about baseball already and has already been to several games and cheers from the sidelines
Christian has been hitting so good this season!
it is so much fun to watch, he loves the sport and we love to watch him
Of course Grace brings the cars to the ball field
The girls calling for Christian at the fence to the dug out.....gotta love it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Olivia's First Pediatrican Appointment

Olivia did fabulous today at her first peditrician appointment. She can tend to be shy sometimes so I was hoping she would show her true personality and she did just that! She blew the doctor away with how well she has transitioned (thanks again Donna at Eagles Wing for all your help with that!). She is like a sponge picking up so much and learning so quickly even her English is coming along a rapid speed, so proud!

Olivia is in the 25% for both height and weight. She is my little bit! She has short little legs, actually she and Grace's leg length is about the same. Longer torso.

This little girl whimpered and a single tear came down her checks as they took 5 viles of blood and did another tb test, that was it! You could tell she was trying so hard to be strong (and she is my little sensitive one) but she stood strong today and I was so proud!

She will soon be schedule for an MRI. Luckly we have a friend who is a great radiologist in town and he will do this for us. He specializes more in her area of need which is a great plus.

But for now, doctor honestly said her hydrocephalus had to be very minor or fluid come in from prior surgery on back and some fluid released or something. He said it is crazy, her head is normal size and the fluid was drained back in 2007 so 4-1/2 years ago. Praise GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

He also said her scar was pretty typical from spina bifida a little rougher job but ok pretty text book though in terms of location and look for "severe" spina bifida. Noramlly scar is lower at tail bone for minor cases that don't affect walking or bathroom abilities. He said he would have said what she is doing is impossible by looking at scar, but yet obviously look at her it is possible. He was blown away, he said almost easier for me to believe she had a tumor there removed rather than spina bifida (though we know not true) based on her abilities. She jumped for him, got up from squat (and even that impressed him that she didn't use her hands and total leg strength) and he said she has normal range of motion and elasticity, strength etc in her legs....Praise GOD!!!!

My friends it looks like I am blessed to have two miracles as daughters......God is good, all the time! Amen!

Friday, March 2, 2012

We Are Home

It is so good to be home!!!! Here are some photos of our welcome home at the airport. It was a great way to come home after a long journey home. The girls did great on the flight (especially considering 1) the captain was 2 hours late arriving and we sat on the plane at the gate in Hong Kong for 2 hours!!!! and 2) the plane we had was older so no individual tvs!!!!) Lucky even though we were 2 hours late and should have missed our connection our flight from Chicago was running late too so we were able to connect home only an hour late. Thanks to my mom and dad, Kelly and my nieces and nephews, my bestest Kelly and Paula and her kiddos for making our welcome home so special! I am still in awe of how Olivia did seeing everyone. She was well prepared and skyping helped - she knew her family! Enjoy the photos!