A little bit of sunshine!

17 Mar
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Zinnia, Mimi and Lainee are ready to go!

 

Last week we took the kids out of school for a couple days and said goodbye to this ridiculous weather!

3 days in FLORIDA!

AHHHH

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at the airport in Chicago. We had a snow storm early that morning and didn’t know we would actually be spending the entire day at Ohare because of our flight being delayed

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It was still actually a really fun day. The children were great. The older kids did their homework and the younger kids read. These girls love to read, I’m so glad.

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Luke’s favorite thing was to sit for hours and watch out the window. He said, “this is better then a TV show, mom!”  He kind of had a bad attitude about going to Florida.  I knew it was because he didn’t know what to expect and its his way of feeling in control. He does not do well with change. He had a blast and now his first Florida beach vacation is behind us.  Now he’ll know what to expect! 

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The flight was easy and our rental van was there waiting for us! It felt a little bit smaller then our big black one but it was fine. We hit some serious traffic on the way to the hotel. After a stop to the grocery store, and bags of food stuffed all over the children… we didn’t crash for the night until after midnight…

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homework at the airport.

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The next morning it was so fun to see outside! We hadn’t been able to see anything because we arrived so late the night before. We loved to just sit on the balcony. The girls all said, “green! i see green!” It did feel so good to be outside without being bundled up. This winter in Chicago has been so long.

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The children spent 3 perfect days playing outside in the pool and on the beach. It was quiet and relaxing now that everyone is getting older…and now that everyone can read!

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Luke is our weakest swimmer. He makes due. He loved the warm weather which he is used to back in Ethiopia. I think swimming is so good for kids with different sensory issues. He loves being in the water.

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hot tub!

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gigi and zinnia

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gigi and christopher

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our tricks drew quite a bit of attention from the others at the pool!

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yes, we let the children chicken fight in the pool. These are the teams

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the pool in the back of the hotel had a waterslide! The BEST part about it was that it was unmanned! NO attendant on duty :) No one yelling to “walk” or “wait”. It was so much fun for all the kids

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christopher with the little ladies

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jonah, jonah, jonah….I won’t show you later photos of him. Let’s just say he got a little too much sun. Yowch!

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the girls and their books

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the girls and their shells….sorting shells, finding shells, digging shells. It was great. Mimi is the best at finding shells. She’s pretty picky about the kind that she will collect…twirly only. Lainee and Zinnia and Luke are just excited to see any ole shell! Our “target” child on the feingold diet did awesome. It’s made a HUGE difference. I brought a lot of food from home for her to eat at breakfast and dinner then in the evenings we went out and it was pretty easy to get her a grilled piece of fish and a baked potato.

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Luke was fascinated with all the jelly fish that washed up on the shore the third morning. He had never seen anything like it! He was determined to pop one but had a hard time doing it.

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beautiful jelly fish

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mimi’s 3 best shells

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luke won’t eat fish, and we went to fish places every night. He usually got a burger and this night he was so excited about his sweet potato fries. He’s got some kind of issue with drinks that we are trying to figure out. He’s mildly obsessed with having a drink during meals, like worried about not having enough to drink. He usually drinks 4 cups of water real fast before his food comes then can’t eat his meal. We are lovingly workin’ on it.

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after dinner one night a guy on the dock was giving boat rides! It was interesting (because he was drinking rum) but the children loved it. He pointed out different “famous” peoples’ homes.

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our last nights’ dinner. The place was not our favorite. 3 days in florida was actually perfect. Just enough to get out of the cold and appreciate our own beds…

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the kids at the waterslide. a fabulous time. My heart was divided however, my grandma is dying. My mom flew home from California to be with my grandma in Michigan, they moved her to a hospice house. I got to FaceTime with my sweet grandma while I was in Florida and now she’s unresponsive. She mouthed, “i love you Laura! How you feelin’?” which is how she always greets her loved ones, wondering how they are doing…

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i hate that these photos are all so little….

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The mama and the papa. Thanks for a great family get-a-way, Chris! You are the best.

hey everybody!

28 Feb
solo and ensemble practice, girls got a 1!

solo and ensemble practice, girls got a 1!

the 4 boys from Mekele a few sundays ago at church. Luke, Titus, Sam, Joseph.  It is still so amazing to us that these friends from ethiopia were all able to be adopted to friends in our area.

the 4 boys from Mekele a few sundays ago at church. Luke, Titus, Sam, Joseph. It is still so amazing to us that these friends from ethiopia were all able to be adopted to friends in our area.

Titus and Luke.  It is so special to listen to them interact.  Laughing and laughing about funny things that had happened in ethiopia.  Their english is really coming along so nicely.  They are so cute.

Titus and Luke. It is so special to listen to them interact. Laughing and laughing about funny things that had happened in ethiopia. Their english is really coming along so nicely. They are so cute.

We have had record cold temps here.  The girls have been so excited to go to the lake to skate but its just been too cold! Lainee and Gigi

We have had record cold temps here. The girls have been so excited to go to the lake to skate but its just been too cold! Lainee and Gigi

March is gotcha month for these 2.  Time flies.  3 years the end of March these two great girls became forever-joneses

March is gotcha month for these 2. Time flies. 3 years the end of March these two great girls became forever-joneses

gelato date night

gelato date night, dad and geeg

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One of the highlights of the month for us was our NYC trip to be with Show Hope and to see SCC in concert at Carnegie Hall.  We went with 4 couples from Wheaton, it was a blast. I cried thru the concert.  It was so encouraging and refueling.  I whispered to Chris, "i'm so glad we are doing what we are doing".  Sometimes it takes getting out of the day to day to remember God's call on your life.

One of the highlights of the month for us was our NYC trip to be with Show Hope and to see SCC in concert at Carnegie Hall. We went with 4 couples from Wheaton, it was a blast. I cried thru the concert. It was so encouraging and refueling. I whispered to Chris, “i’m so glad we are doing what we are doing”. Sometimes it takes getting out of the day to day to remember God’s call on your life.

The following little video is Zinnia the day she received her role in the school musical.  She’s come so far.  What a miracle.

The following little video was taken last night at the musical.  Zinnia was front and center for this song.  I was just a little weepy.  ;)

mimi’s solo~  (grandparents: You can see Lainee with the grey bow in her hair behind mimi after she walks back to her spot.  I was glad all three girls were close to each other

Zinnia leaning over to watch Mimi do her part.  She was blocked from my view.

Zinnia leaning over to watch Mimi do her part. She was blocked from my view.

our infusion bay!

our transfusion bay at CDH, the girls and I look forward to blood days!

lots of this happening on the weekends between ball games....I cannot wait till the kids can play outside again!

lots of this happening on the weekends between ball games….I cannot wait till the kids can play outside again!

bulls game 2 mights ago with christopher and gigi. chris is such a goof ball, life would be far to serious without his fun.

bulls game 2 nights ago with christopher and gigi. chris is such a goof ball, life would be far to serious without his fun.

lainee got a hair chop. it's adorable.

lainee got a hair chop. it’s adorable.

gigi entered a bake contest at school to raise money for the child her class sponsors.  It was fun.  Barefoot contessa's lemon yogurt cake. (no I'm not expecting a baby)

gigi entered a bake contest at school to raise money for the child her class sponsors. It was fun. Barefoot contessa’s lemon yogurt cake.

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In other news~

We are continuing to us the feingold diet on our “target” child and are amazed at the result.  I strayed from it for a couple weeks and the walls came tumbling down.  I learned my lesson.

Gigi’s swim season just wrapped up, she did great!

Jonah and Christopher decided to run track this year.  The first meet is tomorrow.  This will take a backseat once the tennis team season gets going…when I drive  by the courts I cannot imagine how long its going to take to get all that snow off!  Opening day got pushed back to March 10 (i think the high temp predicted for that day is 25).

Luke continues to settle into life in a family.  He struggles with being organized at home and school.  It takes extra time and effort on my part to keep on top of his stuff.  I’ve got a chart system in place for him.  He’s a joy to me most of the time but I do see some “baggage”.  I started going though Karin Purvis’s video series on the “neurochemistry of fear”.  It describes my Luke to a T.  God has some healing to do and I’m usually thankful to be part of it; but at times I just wish he could gel with us a little more easily.

I remember after bringing home Lainee and Zinnia at ages 6 and 7 it took 2 full years for me to feel like I was a “normal” in life, like I had settled in and they weren’t so new.  I’m wondering if that feeling will take longer since Luke came home older (home at 10). God knows, one day at a time!

another snow day!!

28 Jan

Its been so cold here in Chicagoland

Schools were cancelled yesterday and today.

Giving us a long, long weekend!

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we made a big meal for our brother’s sleepover friends…

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took some of the children to Feed My Starving Children on one of our snow days

took some of the children to Feed My Starving Children on one of our snow days

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these three kept our group in near constant laughter.  They loved it.

these three kept our group in near constant laughter. They loved it.

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Oh Lainee!

Oh Lainee!  We are crazy about you!

Some of our other children were there, but I’m thinking maybe I should ask before putting them on the blog with the hair nets on…?

It looks like there are several Chinese kids with Thalassemia needing homes, families, healthcare.

So of them are in dire need of families because of the standard of care in China for thalassemia kids.

I would love to see some people in our area of Chicagoland adopt some of these precious children.

Their little photos are so sweet.  Lainee and Zinnia have truly paved the way for thalassemia healthcare here in Wheaton.

 It’s such a blessing to serve these girls.

Its something I’m praying about.

 

 

 

 

Happy birthday mimi!

26 Jan

Today My Mimi turned 9!
IMG_5469Here she is opening letters from her grandparents

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After Church we went out for brunch and brought our family presents.  Anyone who knows Mimi know she is a PENGUIN expert!  It seems like penguins are all over the place right now.

IMG_5468 IMG_5449 Christopher and LaineeIMG_5451

Mimi and her newest penguin.  She named him Mr. Penguini!IMG_5444  Good job gang!IMG_5446

We have a small travel sized etch-a-sketch but I knew mimi would be so excited with a larger one.  Have you ever had the pleasure of watching mimi on the etch-a-sketch???  Her mind is the most creative mind I know.  You would be in awe.  I love how God made her like that.IMG_5441

Mimi also has an INCREDIBLE imagination.  She loves to play pretend.  Dad wrapped up an old cell phone, she was thrilled!IMG_5439

She also asked for a scarf.  like fashion scarf, not winter weather scarf.  She was thrilled!IMG_5437

We love you Mimi. We are so excited to see the little girl God created you to be.  You add so much energy and excitement!!!

Happy Birthday!!IMG_5434

This is Luke’s basket ball team.  They are so cute and Luke is SO GOOD this year! Its a great confidence builder.IMG_5425

IMG_5423 Noah’s school team ended the season yesterday.  Mr. Clum is such a great principal and coach.  He has played such a positive role in Noah’s life.  We are so grateful. They made it to the semi finals!IMG_5415 TODAY everyone is “well”  (I’m a believer in tamiflu…wow. )IMG_5393 and here is Miss Lainee feeling so special in her “fakies”IMG_5400

Mimi's birthday cake~ She requested carrot cake.  YUM! (FG approved!)

Mimi’s birthday cake~ She requested carrot cake. YUM! (FG approved!)

Aside 21 Jan

Yesterday i ended up taking our zinnia to the ER because of a super high fever (105.4) because she has a port its important to make sure that its not iffectex when her fever spikes.  It was hard to do because i knew it would be long and drawnand her thalassemia would be confusing to the ER staff.  I knew in my heart it must be influenza.

But it ended up she got IV antibiotics ans fluid and an influenza diagnosis.

today we are back to the hemotology unit and both girls are getting transfused.  I wasnt sure that they would let zinnia be transfused, or on the unit because of her fever and the oncology kids. But, they wisked us back to a private area and we have our own little room. ImageIm feeling so thankful that zinnia can be transfused. I ImageImagehardly slept wondering what the staff here would say and do for us today.  Praise God.

Dad and boys are home late tonight.  Trying desperaty to keep a clean house. To keep the sick children away from the healthy children! Gigi took this photo this photo last night after lainee and mimi pleaded for a sleep over and i said “yes! No one is sleeping with zinnia tonight!”  They had so much fun!

19 Jan

up in the night with a sick child

and woke up to this (after taking one that read 104.6 and not believing it was accurate)….
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Made two trips to the convenient care today as another one took a plunge, don’t you hate that place?

I have this feeling that  this could be the beginning of a long, drawn-out ordeal if it passes through everyone.

But I could be wrong.

I had the nurse give me a flu shot.  She said, “a little too late mom….”

IMG_5369Can you tell that there is a cold, light sensitive little cutie under there?

I brought a few others with me on the second trip to get flu shots too…

just in case.

No school for us on MOnday or Tuesday, so the children can rest up.

TVs been on ALL day, babysitting while I run to clinic and walgreens, then clinic and walgreens…

meanwhile I’m getting great updates from dad and the boys out west on their ski trip…

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longest ski trip ever (did I say that?)

~

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17 Jan

Im so happy for Chris and our boys to be away together, doing their favorite thing! Praying its a refreshing time, a bonding time, relaxing (time away from some annoying siblings). Luke told me, “mom, i feel bad that you have to be the only parent this week, i will help you!” It was sweet. I miss the guys but Im enjoying being “fully into” the kids at home. No school Monday or Tuesday so my sister and her 5 are coming from Michigan for some cousin time! Isnt the photo in the powder beautiful???

new stuff ( and a little video)

16 Jan

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Lainee and Zinnia’s doctors in Wheaton and Chicago have nominated them for Make-a-Wish trips!!!

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I’ve had mixed emotions about it.  But, the rest of the family has NOT.  They are fully embracing the Make-a-wish experience.

The girls were interviewed and talked about wishes including princesses, dolphins, learning how to surf and meeting bethany hamilton.

It was cute and pleasant.  I guess my hang up is that as believers in Christ we don’t really wish for anything here on earth to the point of not feeling fulfilled unless that wish happens.  We hope in heaven, where no more suffering will be endured, no more blood transfusions and no more tears or hatred or human trafficking.  My second deal, and one that I cried over the next day, is the way that qualifying for Make-a-wish makes me feel about the girls health.  We kind of forget about it, until blood time comes around. And then I’m reminded of their fragility.  Life is short.  We don’t strive to be comfortable and “wishful-filled” here.  We strive for honoring Christ and sharing in His sufferings and sharing in His glory in heaven.

Anyways, that’s all I’ll say about that side of the Make-a-wish deal-ee-o.  Chris and the kids think I need to lighten up a little bit, so, yeah.

Trips are happening, for both of these special girls and our entire family. (more later)!

I took this picture because my mimi is so happy for her sisters and something about her make up would never be jealous about it, she’s just happy and excited with them.  I’m really proud of her.

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I took this photo to share a helpful tip for busy moms of boys who wear ties to school because of game day.  The black tie at Target, the one they have to where for choir?  yup.  Noah wears it pretty regularly on basketball game day.  Well, you can actually wash it and dry it and it still looks the same :) infact, you don’t even need to untie it! talk about a time saver!  just keep that ole tie right on the shirt!
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Lainee and zinnia have ear and eye appointments this week.  The medication pump that they have to sleep with can cause eye and ear damage.  I have been so late in getting them in for baseline appointments.
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I don’t have glasses and none of my other children do either.  I had never been to an eye doctor!IMG_5294

 It’s been obvious to us that Zinnia needs glasses.  And Lainee too has been complaining about her eyes (whenever zinnia does) ha hum.IMG_5296

 lainee got some cute “fake” glasses for her birthday in october, but they broke, she was really really hoping to need “real glasses”!IMG_5299

Zinnia went first and struggled and struggled to see letters on the wall, until they were BIG, then she could see them.  Not lainee, she kind of tried to stumble, worrying that maybe she wouldn’t need glasses!  But in the end, it was Zinnia who really needed glasses.  The doctor isn’t sure if this is due to her medication or not.

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these girls are such fun.  This is in the waiting room, I was trying to video them secretly.  Zinnia was the “teacher”.  IMG_5303

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When the girls were done with the doctor, the doctor asked them to leave the room and she asked me, “what’s their story??”  I shared a 3 minute version of adopting the girls with thalassemia 2.5 years ago, that they were friends in china etc.  When I was finished she sighed deeply and said, “well, brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it?”  (yes it do!)
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well, next we tried on glasses and it took 2 minutes to pick out her frames (not a lot of choices for her adorable little bridgeless nose).IMG_5315

meanwhile….little lainee is feeling increasingly jealous!  She was saying, loud so the eyeglass fitting lady could hear, “I don’t know why my mom won’t let me get glasses!?  I can’t even see!!”  hoping, just hoping that surely someone in the building would rescue her and put glasses on her face!IMG_5318

Lainee took this photo of zinnia in those little sunglasses they give you after the drops they put in your eyes make them sensitive, she’s so cute.  Off to school!IMG_5319

and zinnia took this one of miss grump, knitting miss grump.  I decided to hash it out with lainee a bit on a “mini date” last night.  We had a good talk and she seemed to have turned a corner attitude-wise.  She earned her mini date for good behavior at school.  She’s a chatty little thing, but learning how to be appropriate.  I’m encouraged.IMG_5328

the lady told us it would be 7-10 days for the glasses to be ready.  Zinnia was so disappointed.  Last night at bed she prayed earnestly, “Please please God, please can my glasses come tomorrow?”  I told her, “Zinnia!! not tomorrow!  She said 7-10 days!”  Then again this morning on the ride to school, “God please bring me my glasses today!”

So, you can imagine my excitement when I got an automatic message at 7:00pm that Zinnia’s glasses were ready!!!!  We headed right over as Zinnia said over and over “thank you God! thank youGod!”  yes, thank you, God!IMG_5335

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Zinnia was so cute, right away she was pointing and smiling and reading signs and saying, “oh!!  I can see that!! and that!! and that!!”IMG_5340

“no one touches zinnia’s glasses except Zinnia!”IMG_5341

burrrr

6 Jan

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School is cancelled today, my phone read -15, Neg.15!   when I awoke this morning.

Chris and the boys finished our skating rink on the sport court but the children have yet to skate on it!

He went to Play-it-again sports and purchased 12 pairs of skates, some pucks, sticks and 2 goals.  I’m guessing I’ll be the referee between girl time on the ice and boys’ time.

I went to get groceries last night and could hardly get the cart to our truck, pushing it through sludge.

We’ve watched lots of movies, played too much xbox, slept in until 10 and played lots of our favorite card game, POUNCE!

Not leaving the house today except for a doctor’s appointment for one the girls today, the College is closed so I won’t be taking the children to play at the gym.

Happy New Year blog-friends!

our gang of girls~

28 Dec

our three youngest girls run in a pack

they’ve enjoyed each and every hour together this christmas break:

snowmen, snow caves, dress up, wii, sledding, games

we giggle as we hear them play upstairs, “let’s pretend that we are all adopted to the same family and that we had blood tests and found out we are real sisters from china!”

The fighting is minimal if anything and easily resolved by themselves.

It’s been a great break so far

I stocked up on library books to bring up to Michigan, none have been cracked!

And, This new diet is a PLUS!  I’m a believer.  We have not had ONE incident with our challenging one. Image

We are continuing it indefinitely!

The girls have a club, the three of them…

found this the other day:

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Zinnia’s going thru Jesus Calling, looking up her verses…

 

 

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Little Lainee, our youngest, konked out during advent reading, most nights!  we love watching her drift off, eyes fluttering, siblings and mom snickering, “going, going, gone…..”shhhhhhh!

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We love you Lainee!