Sunday, October 27, 2013

Long Overdue Update/Huge progress

Well Chris retired and I thought life would slow down. WRONG! Life is going at warp speed.
Isaac is making tremendous strides. He can now eat everything! Remember the 12 month old who came home not eating solid foods? His fine motor skill of the pincer grasp has been improving to (finally) the point of self feeding. This is such a huge thing because he used to screech for us to either feed him or place snacks in his mouth. Not great if you are dining out. He is also CRAWLING!
Isaac has been receiving physical therapy once a week and it is paying off.
He is expressive and engaging with us. His nystagmus is so slight, I barely notice his eyes moving. he makes good eye contact and is becoming attached to us. He no longer is the blank baby who would let anyone hold him. He now knows his mama, daddy, big sissy and brother, and won't let anyone else hold him. He delights in Ellie's constant chatter and crawls to catch up with her.
The only thing we've noticed is his reaction to strange places. He doesn't like the Sunday School nursery room and cries a lot.  Perhaps it reminds him of the orphanage? One thing I've learned about early trauma is I do not want to further compound or impede attachment or have negative pathways made stronger in his brain.  I sing in the church choir, so it's a bit of a juggling act on Sunday mornings. In a year or so when he is more verbal and understanding of his surroundings  we will look back on this crazy time and it hopefully will have flown by. For now we must keep squeaks and squeals to a minimum in worship!

I recently upgraded to a new camera and am trying to improve my photography skills. I'm sharing a few pics of Ellie taken last week.

Since life is so crazy I am going to leave you with a few videos which document all of Isaac's progress.

September making progress


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Poop diaries!

I really feel like I should start this post by saying:
"This post brought to you by Clorox wipes,Clorox Cleanup,Johnson's Vanilla Oatmeal Baby Wash, Huggies wipes and Hello Kitty Band-aids!"

Poop is my life! Before we began again with round two of little ones, I was constantly cleaning up messes from our dogs. (Side note: anyone want a 11 year old Shih tzu with one bad eye?)

Ellie re-ancted the following scene from the movie "Bridesmaids" last week.

She's completely potty trained but still getting the hang of the "window" she has between feeling the urge and getting to the toilet! Sunday she was swimming with Summer and a few of Summer's friends. Summer called out for me to take her potty because she said Ellie told her she "had to poop." Ellie proceed to have a small tantrum as most three year olds do when being removed from a pool. By the time I had gotten her up the stairs she had an accident! I went into zombie mode, cleaning up her, the floor, rinsing her suit and putting her in a new swimsuit.No. Big. Deal. Poop is my life.

Zombie mode was activated again today when Isaac had a huge blow out at lunch. I carried him upstairs placed him in the tub and proceeded to strip him down and give him a bath, after wiping him down with wipes to avoid chummed waters! As the water was running, I noticed there was blood all over the floor next to the tub. I went into panic mode! It was only then I realized I was the one bleeding! Apparently I had cut my foot and since I was in zombie mode I hadn't even noticed. So with the baby in the tub, I fumbled for the only band aids I could safely find...Ellie's Hello Kitty band aids! Bleeding stopped, I finished the baby bubble bath. Isaac must have been thinking to himself during lunch how cool it would be to get a pre nap bath. Knowing his mommy oh so well he knew he had to come up with a fool proof way to get himself into the vanilla oatmeal goodness! Clean baby in tow I returned downstairs to inspect the high chair. I had already started a load of poopy laundry and was hoping since it was a front blow out I wouldn't have to dismantle the pad from the chair. Can I just say it was brilliant of  Graco to put BROWN straps on a high chair??? So ten Clorox wipes later the high chair straps were clean. Back up to the tub I went where I cleaned it with Clorox Clean up spray.

Whew! I am tired!
Two babies are peacefully napping and I am having Golden Double stuff oreos for lunch! I deserve it, right?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Funny Little Guy!

Apparently Mommy's favorite show NBC's Law&Order SVU has had an impact on Isaac! Last night I discovered when the theme song played he stopped what he was doing and listened intently. I was a little hesitant to tell his physical therapist about it this morning, but when Isaac resisted some of his therapies I suggested playing the theme song. I really wanted to try out my theory to see if I was correct. She sat him on a big horse to exercise his muscles and improve his balance. He cried, a lot! Then I played the theme from my phone and he calmly sat. I really wished it had been "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" as I don't quite know this therapist yet, and it was a little embarrassing trying to explain why he was so familiar to the song!
What can I say? I like repetition. I'd rather watch a familiar show than new stuff. Of course Direct TV, Hulu and Netflix make it nice because I can fast forward through gory and scary stuff if Ellie is around.
I've developed quite a crush on Chris Meloni and dream of more children named Elliot and Olivia. Okay not really, just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention!
So here is a cute video for the day. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photo Shoot Part 2


Photo shoot!

Inspired by the post on Living Locurto I had to try this out! I love how the pics turned out even though I had to bribe her with Pez and a new toy out of Isaac's closet. So worth it! Would love to write more but my friend Jill hijacked my day which is awesome!

Friday, August 23, 2013

A vessel

Being a vessel for God is an amazing thing. Two years ago I met someone who ended up becoming a huge part of my life. I met another mom whose life intersected with mine by such design I don't consider it an accident. At the time they were struggling in their adoption process. There were many roadblocks in their journey, something I had not experienced and I was eager for her to have the same joyful experience as mine. I am just going to say this because it's my blog and I can!

I'm talking about International Adoption. Specifically China. My agency is amazing! Can I shout it from the rooftops? My agency is a vessel for God. They are bringing children home to loving families and they are efficient, caring, personal, and professional doing it.

My friend decided to switch to our agency, and now a year later occasionally introduces me to friends as "the reason we have our daughter", to which I shake my head. God just used me. He placed me and gave me just the right obnoxious voice. He gets all the credit and glory of this amazing little girl and her family.

Recently I have been given the opportunity to advocate again for my agency. I cannot wait for the story to be written, to look back and be blessed by again being part of such a great story. I am not worthy of such blessings yet I am given them anyway.

Please pray for the child whose story God has already written, and who's family is waiting not being able to see the full picture but walking in faith just the same.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Time for an update

Big kids are back to school! Summer is a senior and Wyatt a freshman. Last week I was in a bit of a manic phase. Pinterst was my friend and I was obsessed with my "new year's" resolution. I am happy to report despite going a mile a minute, I did manage to do all things on my "resolution" wish list. (See photos below)
Drama queen!
Isaac is doing great! We started vision and physical therapy. He is eating more and more solid table foods, although last night's Mexican enchiladas might have been a mistake! Blowout number two occurred on the brown rug, again. Isaac can now sit unassisted, can go from sitting to his belly, can scoot or crawl backwards, and roll over both ways. He is a blankie baby! He loves cuddling a blankie as he drifts off to sleep in my arms. He sleeps all the way through the night, only waking on occasion.

Ellie is going great as well.  She's fully potty trained! Woo hoo, only one kid in diapers! Ellie is eager to learn and is practicing her letters. She loves pretending being a rockstar and a pirate! She also loves running around sans clothes in only her undies. She is such a silly girl and so fun to watch flourish.


Monday, August 5, 2013

My New Year start

Fresh starts. New beginnings. Most people think of these things occurring in January. Not me. My fresh starts have always been in August when school starts. From as far back as I can remember, around fifth grade, I always vowed the school year would be a better year for me. I was a crappy student. I would always have all this hope for the new school year. There I would be with shiny new school supplies, fresh crisp notebooks and a resolution to keep everything "perfect." A few weeks into the fall I would already have messed up. Perhaps it was a few broken crayons or maybe some sloppy handwriting, and then all bets were off. I guess I was an all or nothing kid. Once a few things were messy, I was hopeless and there I would be a disorganized train-wreck, yet every summer I vowed to get it together.

Fast forward to adulthood and most of my friends would call me super organized. I am I suppose,but there just seems to be a vision in my head of what fall should look like. Each summer since the big kids started school I would imagine the fall as "perfect." I would have everything in order, I would have snacks waiting for the kids when they came home, every meal would be planned, I would be this crafty organized super mom. It's yet to happen and yet I still dream. I still  in July look towards a beautiful fall full of crisp fall air, yummy fall meals, a perfectly ordered house, a mom who can give full attention to her kids, school needs, appointments, clean the house and sail blissfully into the Christmas holiday where the transition from perfect fall to perfect holiday season complete with amazing Christmas crafts, decorations, home made cookies and gifts is a seamless transition.

Why do I do this? Why? It is impossible to be this person and yet I still wistfully dream. This year I dream of structured time with Ellie to do preschool things (we've decided not to send her this year at three), I dream of a stocked freezer full of delicious meals, (okay so I have made progress in this area) I dream of a clean organized home, time for fitness, better quiet time with my bible, and oh yeah...a shower DAILY complete with perfect hair! 
Did I mention I also need to be perfect on the the first day or else it's all down hill?
School starts next week for the big kids. Will this finally be "my year?"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vision Appointment!

Today was the day we have been waiting for since bringing Isaac home. What would a doctor tell us his vision would be? I cannot tell you how fortunate we are to live near a top pediatric hospital. Our doctor has been following the big kids for years. Summer had eye surgery when she was five and Wyatt has worn corrective lenses since he was three. I had even consulted with our doctor at one of the big kid's visits and shown him Isaac's photo. He confirmed what I had already researched about kiddos with albinism. He was more than likely legally blind and we could secure services because of this legal definition. The term "legally blind" is just that...a legal definition for services and aids for those who are blind or have low vision.
So as Isaac has been home for over a month, we had already begun securing vision services through the Illinois early intervention program. A group, Delta Gamma is who provides vision therapy and aids to parents with children who have vision issues will be providing services for Isaac. Because Isaac had a diagnosis of albinism, he already qualified to receive services. These services are covered by our insurance and a monthly payment based on income and family size. GO FAMILY OF SIX!!!
The therapist from Delta Gamma has already evaluated him and her awesome outlook and disposition left me with no doubts Isaac will live a normal life.He will receive therapy twice a month for vision, and once a week for physical therapy to catch him up from his time spent in a crib in the orphanage.
Today the eye doctor didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Isaac has 20/200 vision that is not correctable due to the fact several components in his eyes did not develop properly due to his having albinism. (Please see the FAQ about Albinism tab at top of blog)
For two years now God has been preparing me for all of this, I knew all the "facts" about albinism and had done my homework so I was not surprised or scared.

I was thrilled the doctor said his nystagmus (eye shaking or movement) was "pretty stinkin' good", meaning it will be easier to focus.
He also told us at this time Isaac did not have any need for corrective lenses, meaning I won't have to put glasses on his pretty handsome face. Whew!
So we've had great doctors reviews so far. Neurosurgeon, Pediatrician, and now Eye specialist.

Isaac will never drive or be an astronaut, we know this. His future however, being a child of God with a loving family is unlimited. I am excited to see what he will amaze us with next.
He's already doing things he couldn't do when evaluated a few weeks ago. He's now sitting unsupported, rolling over, army crawling, and recognizing me and other family members. He is eating SO much better and now uses a cry to indicate he wants "more" of something.
He will sit patiently and play with his toys, and is content to be rocked to sleep. What a perfect joy this child is.
Chris writes so much more eloquently than I do, below is a copy of one of his recent Facebook posts.

While rocking Isaac to sleep for his nap, I couldn't help being overcome with awe by our awesome God! Isaac was smiling as I rocked him, I wondered, how many times had he been rocked to sleep in China. What must Isaac be thinking, was his heart bursting with love like mine. As he fell asleep a look of content came over him. Did he feel safe I wondered, did he now know this was his home, that I was his daddy. It sounds crazy, but holding him made me feel safe, there was no other place I was supposed to be but right there in that bedroom holding my son. I was following God's plan, I had been the one who was rescued, I was in my Father's arms, I had been adopted into God's perfect family. If you haven't experienced a similar feeling in your life, please, allow Jesus Christ into your heart, allow yourself to be rescued. If you have experienced this in your life, please prayerfully consider sharing it with an orphan, or, helping an orphan find a home.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Red Thread Sessions/Homecoming Pictures

I cannot thank Sarah at Fresh Blend Media for the most awesome pictures of Isaac's homecoming!
I found Sarah on Red Thread Sessions website
She not only photographed beautiful photographs of me meeting Isaac for the first time, but donated her time, and gave me all the photographs at no cost. She also remained flexible when the date and time of the flights changed. Sarah is such a generous person she even refused my dad's offer to pay for her parking at the airport!

Below are some of the amazing photos she took from Isaac's homecoming on June 12, 2013