Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! From my family to yours!
See that ham of a little sister I have??? ;) --------------- ^^Right there^^

Today, I am soo very thankful for Ralph - our Christmas miracle!!
Theo was released on Saturday night, Ralph was on Christmas Eve. They are both home with their family today! Thank you JESUS!!!! 

And even with all the Christmas joy going around, at the same time my heart is heavy for those like Ethan, who still need a Christmas miracle. 

And for those who wait without families today, not knowing the magic of Christmas. 

And for the law that is supposed to be signed tomorrow, stopping ALL adoptions in Russia. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray against it - no matter what your view is on RR, Russia, or even adoption, this would be a TERRIBLE thing.

Merry Christmas Everyone!! I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating Christ's birth with your families!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Not in Kansas anymore.

PLEASE continue to pray for Ralphie and Theo, and their family, as they are still in the hospital and will be for awhile yet...

I'm home at last and safely, praise God! Got home to the house around 11am. Flight was uneventful, and so smooth for such a small plane!

But I'm not in Kansas anymore. And I miss "my KS family" already!!

I miss Ruby...

I miss Ralph...

I miss Zhen...

I miss Theo...

I miss Leroy...

I miss Rosie...

I miss Jordan...

I miss Thomas...

I miss Chipper...
(As a side note... I was showing my little brother Elijah these picture when I got home and telling him names, and when we got to this one, I told him that was Chipper. He signed 'chip' and has been signing it asking to see this picture since!
I miss Richard...
(He no longer lives at home, but he came home for Christmas a few days ago)
And I miss James and Stephanie...
Didn't get a picture with James... but here's me and Stephanie at 5 am this morning, both of us with very little sleep the past few days. Need I say more?
I miss their whole family and the adventure always going on at their house!

(I do NOT, however, miss these two or the 3 dogs... but the kids insisted I take a picture with them. Sorry to the pet lovers, but I'm not too fond of indoor pets. ;))

As a friend of mine wisely said (hope you don't mind I'm quoting you!) - "Experiences like this are great.  But they are also so, so hard.  I have never been so stretched as I am helping out an adoptive family.  And that's not a bad thing. " I couldn't agree more. I struggled and was stretched a LOT this trip. But I also wouldn't trade my experiences there for anything.

I have learned so much... not only about myself, and tips on managing a large family, but how to completely rely on Him who gives me strength. And I am soo thankful for that.

Thank you Nance family, for putting up with me for 3 weeks, and letting me fall crazy in love with your crazy (in a good way) family! Love you all and miss you!! ♥♥♥

Friday, December 21, 2012

God's Bigger Plan

God does indeed know what's best. Though we can not always see the whole plan, He does, and I saw a small example of that today. Ha... why did I actually think I was going to go home today? :)

The morning started early, the kids still had no idea mom was home. Dad had them all sit on the couch, and told them to close their eyes. Then he brought Mom out of of their room. It took them a few seconds for it to sink in who was here, but they were so excited! 

And then, a half hour later, I had to say my goodbyes. Then James I went to the hospital to say goodbye to Ralph. I managed to get through goodbyes without crying. Then off to the airport.

Turns out someone goofed somewhere along the line, and I wasn't on that flight, nor could I get out at all today.

God had it under control and wanted me to stay another day.

We headed over to the doctors office where Mommy had Theo. We got there just as they were requesting a bed for him over at the hospital. For the same reason as his brother. So off to the hospital. I walked Ralph around and around and around the hospital floor pushing his car and pulling his o2. Good exercise. ;P

Unfortunately, even though they just got Ralph and Theo moved into together, sometime in the next day, Ralph will be moved to Kansas City where they can care for him better.
Ralph and I today when we stopped by to say goodbye.
Tonight, I spent more time with the kids (it felt weird being back after I had already mentally left), and got to love on them a little bit more. I struggled to hold it together saying goodbye to them (I'll be gone long before they get up), and managed to wait till they were all in bed. My heart hurts to leave them and say goodbye, I'm going to miss them all soo soo much! Saying goodbye for the second time today just stunk.

So apparently God had more for me to do here today. :) I'm leaving not-so-bright, and EARLY tomorrow morning and hopefully this flight works! I have the boarding pass, so as long as it's not cancelled. I'll be home sometime before noon tomorrow, Lord willing.

So prayer requests for today:

  • Ralph and Theo, for complete healing and comfort while they are away from home and sick
  • Daddy, Mommy, Richie, Chipper, Grandma, and whoever else will be with the boys or the kids at home here in the next week
  • The rest of the kids, as Ralph (and whoever is with him) won't be home for Christmas
  • My flight tomorrow and safe travels too and from O'hare (3 hours... yikes)
Thank you friends!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


PLEASE PLEASE PRAY for Miss Selah and her family! She went downhill today.. :(


The kids were excited to wake up this morning and find snow on the ground! I was like "ya whatever, this amount of snow is nothing", but I guess it is for here! :)

We ended up going outside to play... it ended up 10 minutes at most, not counting the 45 minutes it took to get everyone ready. 

Have you ever tried to get everyone ready to go outside for the first time that winter (aka all the hats, mittens, and boots) in a house that you have no idea where any of it is?? Not the easiest. ;)
What we woke up to... 
Zhen took his mittens off and refused to put them back on, and started crying because his hands were cold... so he stayed outside 3 minutes before he went back in....
Of course I had to take some pictures to blog first of him outside. ;) Bad babysitter I am.
Ruby... adorable as ever.
Ruby and I... yes, I went outside in my PJ bottoms. Don't judge, they are warmer than any pants I have with me! I was feeling very fashionable.
Then Ruby decided something wasn't right (don't even remember what it was... something silly of course) so she went back in too.
This kid may seem gentle, but he throws a mean snowball!! Love him!
And the only picture I got of Rose.... I am seriously going to miss these kids sooo very much!!!
Theo stayed inside and Thomas gave him his breathing treatment... the two oldest boys were sleeping. Ahem. Ohh well, they'll have to get up and help tomorrow when I'm gone.

The kids will have surprise tomorrow when they wake up!! Yes, Mama is gonna be here in a couple hours!! They have no clue. They still think she might not be home until after Christmas. Soo excited to see the looks on their faces!

Ralph and Theo are about the same today. Not much new with them...

Prayers would also be appreciated for a ok flight for me tomorrow... I'm nervous as I'm very light headed and out of breath today (I would guess I should be on o2 as well, but that's obviously not optional right now), plus the weather doesn't help things. Safe travels for my mom as she drives down to O'Hare and as us and our fellow passenger drive back would be appreciated too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Not much has changed here... 

Ralph is still in the hospital, his sats drop into the 80's whenever his mask comes off. I guess he is supposed to get worse before he gets better. Right now we are looking at possibly Saturday for his release, but depends how he does over the next day or so. His history of pulmonary hypertension makes it all so much more complicated.

Theo has a diagnosis now - pneumonia. He is still home, on breathing treatments every 4 hours and on antibiotics. He is still feeling pretty miserable. Last night, he had a fever of almost 105, and after meds was cool before he fell asleep. Today he's been pretty steady at about 101. This is what he looks like most of the day:
He's not a fan of his breathing treatments, but he's slowing getting used to them....

Dad (James) is very tired after being with Ralph all night at the hospital the past few days. Please pray that the little sleep he gets is very restful, and God would sustain him and give him strength and endurance.

Mom (Stephanie) is going to try and come home tomorrow (shh don't tell the kids!) and be here Friday morning, but at this point it's not looking like she's going to be on time due to all the snow in Chicago. Please pray her flights are on time, she has no troubles with the whether, and for her hurting heart away from her sick babies until she gets home.

The oldest 2 boys and I are not feeling 100% (lack of sleep isn't helping much, silly breathing treatments), but hanging in there between watching the kids and spending some time with Ralph to give Dad a break.

The rest of the younger kids are healthy for the most part, just a little tired and cranky today. ;)

I was scheduled to fly home in about 6 hours, but because of the weather all the flight from here into Chicago are cancelled tomorrow, I'm staying here another day and now going home until Friday. Not a big deal, I'm glad to be here another day esp with all that's going on. (We would have originally schedules my flights for sometime this weekend, but prices were a lot higher! :P)

PLEASE PLEASE keep praying for Ralph!! Prayers for Theo, Dad, Mom, and the rest of us would also be appreciated too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pray for Ralphie!

Ralph is being transferred to the PICU because of his labored breathing... PLEASE PLEASE pray for him!!

Also pray for his big brother who is there with him, Theo, his dad who is currently with Theo at his chest x-ray (unless he went back to be with Ralph), and for his mama, whose heart is breaking not to be able to take care of him!

Thank you! I'll update as I know more... we just want this sweet boy back, healthy!!

Prayer Request....

Today (actually yesterday (Monday), since it's after midnight) James (who has the title of Dad around here) and I spent most of the day at the sitting doctor or the hospital. Good times... not.

The quick version is both Ralph and Theo are pretty sick, and Ralph is on the hospital at least overnight.

Long version: Theo had an appt first, and had a couple things he was tested for, most which came back negative. I don't think we have an official diagnosis on him, since his crest xray later on in the day got canceled due to being with Ralph elsewhere (keep reading). He has a fever going on day 7 or 8 now, a terrible cough, and his o2 sats are a bit low, but they stayed level after his breathing treatment, so he is home for now, with breathing treatments every 4 hours.

Ralph had an appt later on, with the same syntoms as Theo, but his o2 sats dropped after his breathing treatment, so not taking any chances with his history or pulmonary hypertension, he is now in the hospital overnight. I just got an update, and currently he is not holding his sats of 4 liters of oxygen. He probably has viral bronchitis or pneumonia.

He also can reinfect himself, with everything that goes in his mouth including fingers. So that explains why everyone got sick with the same things to quick. :( I think I will declare tomorrow cleaning day..... (Did I mention everyone is on Christmas break??)

PLEASE pray for healing for these two, and that no one else gets it this bad! And pray for Stephanie, who can't be with her babies when they are sick, and for James, who is understandably a bit stressed taking care of all the stuff Mom usually does. Thank you for your prayers!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sweet Theo....

Though being sick still, sweet Theo still manages to melt my heart with his precious smile and laugh.
I've found if I braid my hair, he doesn't pull it, he just tickles himself with it. :)

Speaking of being sick... there are only a few of the 11 of us here who are NOT sick with a fever, bad cough, sore throat, sinus stuff, etc... :( Prayers for health would be appreciated. I'm just soo very grateful it's not the flu, because the Dad does throw up just as well as I do. ;)

Also, please pray for Stephanie, that she would make the right decision whether to stay and miss Christmas, or come home and go back for a much longer time in January. Read more on her blog in this post.

Thank you for your prayers!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

one year later.

Today marks one year since the hardest day of my life.

It's been heavy on my heart the past few days since I knew it was coming up. And to be honest, I've been dreading today, because I knew it would be hard.

It has been; my heart has been hurting today.

Tonight, when we went to church for the Christmas program I asked God to give me a sign that it was ok, or comfort me somehow.

Being the never failing, loving God He is, He granted the favor I asked.

When we were singing Unspeakable Joy (by Chris Tomlin), He filled me with this peaceful, joyful assurance and reminded me that He was holding "my" baby in His hands, and that He knew the plans He had for Logan.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

And, to add to that, we drove past 'Logan's Roadhouse' on the way home. :)

Thank you Father, for being ever loving and faithful and for comforting me today.

Logan, today you hung in an honored spot on my neck, like you do many days.
love you sooo very much and I haven't forgotten you! Some day soon I'll come visit you! Love always, Sarah

Friday, December 14, 2012

More fun than a bucket of beans!

What, do you ask, is more fun that a bucket of beans?? A bucket of beans with 5 kids playing with it!
Mr. Ralphie... affectionately called Wreck-it-Ralph. ;)

Ruby - pretty princess!
Didn't get any pictures of this little man in the bucket, but he loved it too! Theo was home sick for the 3rd day in a row today with a fever. Poor baby.

You know what's a lot less fun than a bucket of beans?? Cleaning them up. :P I can assure you that  it was a lot messier than these pictures appear.

My camera is no longer MIA, so I had to take pictures to blog today. :)

Tonight a couple of us older kids and Dad went to see The Hobbit. Great movie! Not my favorite ever, but it was still good. Now I need to write 'see a popular movie on opening day' on my bucket list so I can cross it off. The line wasn't too bad, but who am I kidding? I don't even have a bucket list. ;)

Good night friends!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why Wouldn't I?

We're hanging in there! I'm feeling sooo much better (emotionally and physically) than I was at this point last week, so THANK YOU for your prayers! 

Could you PLEASE pray that everything gets worked out with Maxim's paperwork and Stephanie, and that those who need to sign papers would sign them so she can have court ASAP and come home in time for Christmas? Thank you!


Why wouldn't I travel so far, to where you are, to call you my own?

Why wouldn't I, when you were so lost, nameless and all alone?

When I saw your face, when I heard your cry, when I held you in my arms...

I said to myself, "Why, why wouldn't I?"

Listen to this beautiful song, Why Wouldn't I here.

Rachel and I saw Peder Eide at a Christian music festival a couple years ago, and of course loved Peder's music right away after he sang We Are Not Orphans (you have to push play at the bottom of the screen to hear this one). Later when I was looking for that song, I found Why Wouldn't I and loved that one too. Such beautiful songs about adoption, not only in the physical sense, but the spiritual too!

Here is the story behind Why Wouldn't I:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pied for Lilly and Owen!!

Remember this post??

Well guess what! Lilly has been over the $500 mark for awhile, but today Owen made it! His AT total now is..

They are both now over $500, so Rachel and I were pied. My little brother Elijah wanted pie on his face too, so he grabbed a handful and smeared it all over. :)

But guess what!! There's more!! Guess who else hit their AT goal today??? LILLY! She MADE HER ANGEL TREE GOAL OF $1000 thanks to a challenge that was set up!!

Do you want to see Michelle, the RR donations coordinator get pied?? Help us get Owen to $1000!! We only need about $500 more! That is soo doable!


Go here to visit Angel Tree!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tears of Joy...

Today, Selah flew back to Flordia, and her family will be there soon after their long drive. Selah went home (or at least in the same state) today... a milestone she wasn't expected to reach. Thank you Jesus!!!!!!

She is now at a rehab facility in Jaxsonville, FL, and her family will stay in a hotel nearby while she continues to recover and they can get their house set up to care for her. I am still in shock that this is actually happening... the date they were supposed to leave kept getting delayed, but it was all part of God's perfect timing.
Today is Jon's birthday... what a special birthday present!!
Keep following Selah's progress here on her Mommy's blog!

And the news story - http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/Selah-Clanton-Canal-Rescue-Strong-Memorial/u8cCRxscs0u1xvTqu0Ot0w.cspx?rss=1485

Monday, December 10, 2012

What's going on here.

Rose asked me today why I had blue under my eyes. Wondering myself I went to the bathroom to look, thinking it was marker or something. Nope. Not marker. Just dark circles from being tired. :)

I'll admit, during the day I often do feel like doing this...
He wanted cake. I told him no. Mr Stubborn refused to get up from the table because he still thought he would get some. :) I turned around a couple minutes later to find this. Being a good blogger, I of course took a picture before carrying him to bed.
I'm finding out sleep is over rated when you're a mother, or in my case, the fill-in mother. :)

In other news... things are going well here for the most part. 
~The weekend is over. 
~Day 1 of the school week down. 
~Didn't miss any buses. 
~Ruby is sick, with a fever on and off. 
~Theo isn't feeling the best, and had a really bad diaper day. He's has only had about 5 baths in the past few days. 
~I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Wouldn't be a proper trip for me without getting sick! Actually come to think of it, I didn't get sick in DC, but that's the only trip I can think of that I didn't. ;)
~Ruby swallowed a hard candy she got from Grandma on Saturday...it was only a few seconds before I got her to cough it up, but she did start turning purplish blue. Soo scary!!
~Dishes and laundry are usually done, though it's a never ending job for 11 people!!
~The house is still standing.
~They got a fair amount of snow yesterday at home. It was really weird to watch it on TV (Packer game, we are fairly close to Green Bay). No snow here, but it was 12 degrees this morning when I got the kids on the bus. Glad I brought my winter coat!
~I'm excited I get to cook lasagna tomorrow.
~I need to stop listing off random things to make my list longer.

We're hanging in there, I'm tired, but I'm loving these kids, and I'm soo thankful for this experience no matter how hard it may be at times!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Maxim and Adam

After 8 long years of waiting, Maxim met his mama today.
Thank you Jesus!! He is as adorable as ever and the his siblings can't wait to meet him! I am soo THRILLED he is finally going to come home to his family!!

He will be loved and cherished. He will be redeemed.

Read more about him here on Stephanie's blog.


Do you know who this is?? It's Adam.
He has a wonderful family who is working so hard to bring him home. Do you know who his family is? They are the same family who tried to bring my sweet Logan home!

Because they can't proceed with the adoption of Logan, they are working to bring sweet Adam home from a terrible institution. He is 5 years old and less than 17 pounds. He has hydrocephalus  and need medical care urgently.

Right there is a Hidden Treasures Auction going on for him. There are only a few hours left, please go and bid on some items to help bring him home! And you can visit his mama's blog right here!

Thank you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

the little things...

It's the little things like...
...an adorable pic with Ralph,
...Ruby showing me the bus book that we have read 50 times in the past few days,
...a little stinker pretending to sleep on my bed,
...a concert with Ruby in undies and two hats,
...Ralphie playing with his trucks,
...a bird Ralphie spotted,

...an "A" Ralphie found in the sky while waiting for the bus (do you see it??),
...Theo's adorable rare smile that is soo worth doing anything to see,

...watching Ralph play 'Sam the Fireman',
...finding 20 pictures on my camera of the room I'm staying in and a certain someone's leg, and realizing that the door to my room somehow got left open and I had my camera on my bed (Mr. Ralph, do you have anything to say about that?),

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...baking pumpkin muffins with Rose and Ruby and watching Ruby trying to get her mouth around the circumference,
...watching Rose and Ruby pose with their foil flowers,
...trying to take a pic of Theo that's not blurry because he loves the camera,
...trying to remember Zhen was being naughty when he flashes this killer smile,
...trying to get a good picture of us when Theo isn't staying away from the camera,
...and so much more that make me smile and remember to make happy memories and count my blessing even on when I struggle.