November 28, 2011

she has returned

After four weeks of wheeling my four kids through the market to buy meat, bumping the stroller over chicken poop and corn husks, to bring the meat home and remove the hairs and blood clots myself, then chop and tenderize and slowcook until a meal could be on the table - Xiao Fu is back!!!

Bright's exact words were, "It's so nice to have a housekeeper again." 


In any case, there were tears and hugs and nods of understanding that crossed the language barrier as we welcomed our thinner, tanner, and wearier Xiao Fu yesterday morning.

Today she and I, with the help of charades and our trusty Chinese/English dictionary, talked about how the past four weeks have been for all of us.  I stood in awe of her iron faith as she spoke, and her raw pain as she cried.  Her hands were shaking as she leafed through our Chinese/English Bib1e, stopping when she came to Isaiah 48:10, which reads, "See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

And then we went our separate ways; she to scrub the toilets, and I to walk Bright and Zion through their math lessons.  All the while a feeling of praise lingered in the air, and in my heart I wondered at the rich and lovely and mysterious love of G0D. 

Welcome back, my helper, my teacher, my friend.

November 27, 2011

our 10th Christmas tree, in pictures

We have always had a real tree, even when that "tree" was a small succulent plant in the corner of our shoe-box-sized married housing apartment in seminary.
Circa 2004.  Notice the blue couch?  Had to sell it when we moved East.  So sad.
This year is no different, except that this year we put up our 10th real tree!  Ten Christmas trees, now that is something.  I guess we can no longer justify calling ourselves newlyweds.  Oh well, at least my husband still looks like this:
Now, due to the same cedar tree shortage we were up against last year, we had to buy another cone-shaped shrub, but it beats the heck out of hanging lights on something made of wire and plastic (no offense meant toward those of you who put up fake trees).

So yesterday, Daniel and the two older boys headed to the nursery.  It was a beautiful day, characteristic of our city this time of year.
The red clay that is IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the knees of jeans.
They found a tree, with this guy's help:
They loaded the tree into the back of the van, where two goof balls took a well-earned rest.
Once the tree was home, Daniel potted it in our living room, and then the decorating commenced.
Jubilee's first Christmas tree.
 And a picture of the mama, purely for the sake of posterity.
After it was all said and decorated, Daniel took a nap and I took a good look at what has become our life.  Four stockings hung by the entertainment center with care.  A gold star made by deaf women who were rescued from the streets of China and taught to sew.  Ten Christmases together, each one a little bit sweeter than the one before.

November 26, 2011

Two more minutes

The other day my dad, who just gets more handsome as his beard gets more white, said to me, "We know how the bonding process is going between you and Jubilee, but what about the bond with her brothers?"

So today I will highlight the bond between "The Toddlers," as we call them.  Everything he can do, she can do she can't...yes she can (reference to Annie Get Your Gun, which I saw once with my mother-in-law on Turner Classic Movies).  If he gets a scrape and needs a band aid, she needs a band aid for her "scrape," too.  If she gets to take her socks off, he immediately wants nothing more in all the world than to be barefooted.  They will both be walking along happily, until I pick one of them up.  Then the other one is no longer content to be walking.  Many tears ensue.  I usually have to crouch down and scoop them both on a knee for a moment until they are certain that I love them both very much.  She usually chooses the right knee, he the left.  Of course, they would prefer that I stand up and hold them, but I am not a professional body builder.  Brave alone ways as much as a medium-sized dog.

They quarrel some, but mostly play.  While Bright and Zion are attached at the hip, these two are, too.  They chase each other from one end of the apartment to the other.  They bring each other toys or treats that they think the other might like.  They even hold hands, unsolicited, for pictures in their Sunday best outside of McDonald's after Daddy preaches about Hannah longing for her Messiah to come.
And without fail, when told to put their toys down and come to the table, or to the bathtub, or to bed, they both look up at us with two fingers in the air and petition, almost in unison, "Two more minutes???"

November 25, 2011

cute, but no cigar

We ended up using a different family picture for the Christmas card, but this one, taken on Thanksgiving, at the Greene's apartment, moments before sitting down to make gluttons of ourselves, is kind of cute in its own way.

Jubilee never, ever smiles for the camera unless Daniel or I am holding it.  Consequently, all of our family pics display a little girl who seems to be saying, "Who dumped me with this crazy group of people?"  I promise, she is very happy with us.  You'll have to take my word for it.

I, myself, am thankful, thankful, thankful to be a part of this crazy group of people (or as the Heddens call us, the Rupp Trupp).

Zion unfolding

When he was born, Zion looked like a baby bird who had fallen from its nest.  We could see through his skin, which hung from his tiny bones in wrinkled, papery folds.  I held all four pounds of him (he was full-term, you remember) and I looked into his handsome face no bigger than an apple, wondering what wondrous thing he would grow into.

I am beginning to see.

Lately it has become clear that Zion loves art. He literally needs to create.

Today Zion begged, as he often does, to be allowed to paint.  I consented.  Out came the aprons and the old rags, and today a sturdy cardboard fan from Kaylee and Phom's wedding (printed on one side with the COOLEST love story ever; I figured they wouldn't mind).  Also today, Bright, who's giftings are heavily weighted in other departments, took to reading the back of the package of paints.

"Try combing for a great texture," he read.  "Mama, I'm going to do THAT." So off to the bathroom he went and when he returned he was carrying a comb.  Bright did comb his paint, for a second or two, and then he decided to move on to something else.  Zion, however, took that comb and went to town.

The finished product?  "Sunset," by Zion Rupp.
I am so looking forward to watching Zion unfold more and more.  That is a wonderful sunset, my treasured son!

November 23, 2011

a miraculous succession of days

This Thanksgiving, we are reminded that our days on this earth are numbered, and every hectic moment of life is a gift.

Every single moment.

Glory Danielle should not have lived more than a week.  Her birth defects include: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Double Outlet Right Ventricle, Atrioventricular Canal, and Heterotaxy, as well as esophageal atresia (the upper portion of her esophagus is not connected to her stomach), tracheophageal fistula, asplenia (she was born without a spleen), and bronchomalacia (her left lung is very underdeveloped and weak). 

And yet, she HAS lived more than a week.  She has lived for 16 months!  Her life, though short in our eyes, has been a miraculous succession of days, and every one of them a gift.

Now Glory is going on home-care, to be made as comfortable as possible.  There is nothing more the doctors can do for her.  

Let us not forget that all of our lives are short, shorter than we think, and all of our lives are a miraculous succession of days. 

How quickly we forget.

As I ate turkey and sweet potatoes today, celebrating all that G0D has given me, my heart was thankful for one thing above all else: today.  Another day on this earth, to love, to laugh, and to live.  Thank you, G0D, for the gift of Glory Danielle.

November 22, 2011

problem solved

I don't read parenting books.  They cause me to lose sleep.  Lists of ways I am failing miserably?  No thank you.

Our parenting style is two-fold.  1.) Fly By The Seat of Our Pants 2.) Do Whatever Allison Hilliard Tells Us To Do.

It's worked pretty well so far.  We've got some wonderful kids, if I do say so myself.

But getting back to not reading parenting books, there are times when I wish I did.  For example, our new daughter has been nervous at the dinner table since day-one.  We're not sure why.  Its as if the whole experience terrifies her (she'd make a poor first-impression on a date).  Lately she has taken to rubbing her hands through her hair in a frantic way - hands which are, of course, covered in peanut butter or pizza sauce or what-have-you.  By the time she gets down from the table, Jubilee resembles a model in a swanky hairstyle magazine.
Seeing her doing this was driving me BATTY.  I tried disciplining her for it, but it was for naught.  She wasn't defying me; she wasn't even aware of what she was doing.  We were getting nowhere, and both of us were a wreck by the time Daniel had poured himself his second glass of sweet tea.

So what a does a mom who doesn't read parenting books do in situations like this?  She steps into the other room to think, think, think.  Aha!  I'll tie a bandana around her head for mealtimes.  And that is exactly what I did.

Jubilee wasn't too sure what to make of it at first.
But within minutes we were all smiles, and mealtimes looked hopeful once again.
We were having such a good time, in fact, that Mr. Dimple wanted in on the fun.

Jubilee left the rag on her head for the entire meal, and even cried a little when I took it off and hung it on the back of her chair.



November 20, 2011

xie xie nimen! (thanks, y'all!)

The goal for our matching grant has been met, and then some!!  The grant will give us all the money that was raised, so we are ending up with a very nice help toward the remaining expenses of our adoption.  We praise G0D for his providing hand, and we thank YOU for your open hand.

We've tried hard to send thank-you notes to those of you who gave.  We've already sent out two mailings, and one more mailing will be on its way soon (mailing from here to there is a bit tricky).  For those of you who never end up with a thank-you note, please forgive our not being able to round up your address.  We know ALL of your names, though, and they are going in the baby book!  Jubilee Sue is tucked snugly into our family, to be loved and cared for forever, and many of you had a hand in that.  Thank you so much, and may you be blessed!

November 19, 2011

why I still bake cookies

I had a hot fudge sundae for lunch.  And a coke zero.

I need not tell you what kind of week I've had.

I will say this, however.  I came to a very important conclusion this week, and I came to it today (right before consuming the sundae). 
My kids are not me, nor are they extensions of me.

No one will ever be able to accuse me of going at parenting half-heartedly, of that I am certain.  And yet, will my children "turn out" perfectly, like cookies from dough made with room temperature butter and placed on a cool cookie sheet and pulled from the oven at exactly the right moment?  There is no way to tell.  In fact, unless you are a cookie-whisperer like my mother, the way our cookies turn out is completely out of our hands.  Thankfully, cookies are not exactly like children.  Thankfully, children have a loving and sovereign Father taking much better care of them than we are.  And thankfully, when it comes to cookies, I have a husband who'll happily eat the first dozen no matter what.  To be honest, Daniel is the only reason I still bake cookies. Being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to give up on the unpredictable little devils at the end of our first year of marriage.

"Please don't quit on them," he said to me back then, "I like them way too much."

November 17, 2011

November 16, 2011

three months later

Jubilee Rupp has been ours for 3 months now.  We joke that she is more like a butterfly than a child, flitting around, light-as-a-feather, landing on one of her brothers and delivering affection before flitting off to land on another brother, or her mama (that's me!) or her daddy, who she might just be a bit partial to.  For the longest time I think she thought Daniel was perfect, coming home each evening with a big smile and lots of love to give.  She is just now figuring out that he, too, will discipline her if he needs to, though anyone can see it nearly kills him.
She is also just figuring out that dolls can be fun, and that they aren't like other babies she has had to contend with.  They aren't going to cry, and they aren't going to take away any of the attention.  To my utter delight, her favorite doll is the one we brought along when we adopted her.   
She is not quite so bone-skinny (must be all the butter and sugar in her new American diet) and she is saying 3 and 4 word sentences in English.  She is a very verbal child, and sensitive to the feelings of others.  Pair those traits with her sweet disposition, her smarts, and the fact that she is...well, lets face it...ADORABLE, and we are two very smitten parents over here in East Asia, biting at the bit to get our daughter to America to show her off.  Wouldn't you? 

Happy 3-months, baby girl!  We love you to pieces!

November 13, 2011

being prepared for something

I could write about how home school is going.  I could tell you that if a word ends in "le", the last syllable grabs a consonant to go with it, and if the preceding syllable has a short vowel sound, it grabs a consonant, too.  That is why "apple" has a double p and "dabble" has a double b, while a word like "ladle" has only one d.  I tell ya, I wrote complicated papers on Shakespeare, and graduated with honors from the English department at Hope College, and yet I never learned this.  It turns out that our language has a method to its madness. Huh.

I could write about Brave feeling better, but I am a little tired of talking about my son's bowel movements.  I'm sure you are tired of reading about them.

I could write about my faith in CHR1ST, but I think I've been a bit too wide-open with my heart lately, and so I'll keep that to myself today.

I could update you on Glory, but there is nothing much to report.  No news is usually good news.  She fights for her life every day, and time passes faithfully, bringing new days behind it.  I could update you on Xiao Fu, but again, nothing to report.  Her brother fell into a crag and cracked his head on a rock.  He died instantly, and a piece of his little sister died, too.  We have not heard from her since.

Sometimes life is not like the word "apple" nor the word "idle."  Sometimes we come across a word that has no rule, and we just have to accept it.

So instead of sharing the world's best pumpkin bread recipe that I got from Chad and Kristy last year, and instead of writing about how wonderful my husband is, and instead of telling you that Daniel and I have decided to give our unplanned, 5th child (who we are bound to have in our 40s) the name "Bronco," I will quote a dear friend of mine and leave her name anonymous:

"The days are becoming so difficult.  We believers are being prepared for something."

November 12, 2011

overdue update

A thousand apologies for leaving our prayer warriors stuck on their knees for a few days.  Our internet here is spotty, and it picks the most inopportune times to choke out on us.  Almost the moment Daniel and Brave got home from Thailand, the internet stopped working.


The update is, they are home, and Brave is OK, though things looked pretty bleak on Friday.  The poor dude picked up ANOTHER virus while at the hospital, so he is sicky-sick right now again, and is having more digestive problems, on account of his lymph node swelling to fight this new bug.  It looks like this is our new life.  Wonderful.  At least we are keeping him hydrated this time and the urinating problem is staying away.

It boils down to this:  it is better to make 1-2 trips to Bangkok, Thailand each year to be hospitalized for complications from his over-active lymph node, than for him to have undergone intestinal surgery at 2, re-wiring him for the rest of his life.

There is a word in this language, "Mafan," and it means "trouble" in the pain-in-the-neck sort of way.  That's what this is.  Mafan.  Thankfully we are looking at nothing worse.  We contribute this victorious news to our Creator G0D, the Great Healer and Provider, and to all of your conversations with Him on Brave's behalf over the past the 8 days.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Sooooo, we are focusing now on getting back to "normal" life, and hoping for a good, long break from our friends on Ward 7.  Our couch at home is a much better spot.  Welcome home, Handsome Ransom.  Stick around for a while now, would ya?!

November 07, 2011

Iranian Nurse Practitioners and rota virus

The word from Bangkok is, Brave has a rash now on his cheeks, chest, and abdomen, which is a common sign that rota virus is dying out in his body.  Though he has been vaccinated for rota virus, children can still get it, it just doesn't kill them.  They are going to run a test on his stool tomorrow, more for curiosity sake, to see if that was how this started, leading to an enlarged lymph node, causing mesenteric lymphadenitis, causing severe dehydration, landing him in the hospital.  I don't doubt that this did start with rotavirus.  If it has a big fancy medical name, Brave is probably going to get it.

I still cry a lot, mainly now because our family is in two pieces, over the border, and it looks like it's going to be days and days before we are reunited.  The greatest piece of news of the weekend is, his urinating pain is gone, gone, gone.  I could eat a whole chocolate cake I'm so excited.  Thank you GOD, and thank you everyone for your prayers. 

While Daniel has been on his medical globe-trotting tour with my toddler, he has met some interesting folks.  Topping the charts is a group of male, Iranian nurse practitioners, who are peddling prosthetic limbs.  They helped my husband carry his bags, and gave him their business cards, saying, "If you are ever in Iran, call us, and we will help you."

"Hang on to those business cards," I told Daniel.  "You just never know."

November 06, 2011

a note from Daniel

Daniel emailed this note to our friends in our city, and I thought it was such GOOD news and so much more level-headed and first-hand than what I've been reporting, that I wanted to post it on the blog.

Hey Guys,

I’m just now getting to email so I wanted to update you on what’s happening and to say thanks to each one of you for helping out my family – really, I’m not sure if we could do this without the support you guys have given.

I’ll try to make it short – 2 things can happen when you’ve got a swollen lymph node on your intestine, the first is what happened last year, the second is what’s happening now.  I don’t know the name of the condition but it sounds like a city in Lord of the Rings.  Basically, he’s been really uncomfortable, and barely able to poop.  So uncomfortable that his appetite has been very low, which means he’s been getting almost no liquids from foods and has gotten dehydrated.  That’s why he’s had pain during urination and very little actual fluid – something which had initially concerned us a great deal. 

Now, he’s been on fluids since we’ve gotten here and he’s peeing a lot, he’s pooped twice and each one has happened with less pain.  The docs say from his stool samples and blood work that he probably got a viral infection in his intestine from something (i.e. China) and that’s what caused the node to swell up.  If the node will go down on his own as his body fights the infection, then he’ll get more comfortable and will not need surgery.  If they do not continue to go down, then they will re-evaluate.  This morning was a real low point in his overall state, but from about 11am until bedtime tonight he continually improved though still having some pain.

Hopefully tomorrow he will be even better – if that’s the case, then you could expect us back sometime in the middle of the week.  If he continues to have pain, and they re-run the ultrasound to find the node is still swollen, then I’m not sure what will happen.

Thanks again for your prayers!


my little gift

Docs are now saying mesenteric lymphadenitis. He has an enlarged lymph node on his intestine, the same one which caused intussuception last year, and that is the supposed culprit. This condition causes abdominal pain, and clears up on its own.  Problem is, this diagnosis does not explain his crotch pain or his difficulty peeing.  

Perhaps this mystery will never be solved.  At this point I don't care.  I just want Daniel to bring me a healthy baby boy at some point.  

For now, the three kids left in my care have been tucked in, I have shed so many tears my eyes are dry and burning, and the house needs desperate attention.  I think I'll go wash my dishes, since my dishwasher is not electric, but has two lovely brown hands, and those hands are still wringing with grief in a faraway village.

But before I put on the JJ Heller music and fill the sink with hot soapy water, I will leave you with this happy little story.  Let me first tell you that bonding between a mother and an adopted toddler daughter is...delicate, at best, and bumpy at worst.  We've had our struggles.  Tonight, however, I realized something brand new:  Jubilee is, among many other things, a little gift just for me.  As I sat on the edge of my bed after dinner, unloading tears to my precious L0RD, I heard the pit pat of little feet behind me.  I knew they weren't Bright's or Zion's, for I could hear their voices playing pretend in the living room, resilient amidst the pain and confusion going on in their world.  Such is the way with boys and men.  Resilient.  No, the little feet belonged to a future woman, one with silky black bangs and a soft voice.  She stopped at the edge of the bed.  

"Mommy sad?"  she asked lightly.
I nodded my head and opened an arm to her.  She crawled in, and laid her head against my sweatshirt.  
"I uv oo Mommy," she said.  
"Oh darlin," I said, and kissed her hair, "Mommy loves Jubilee."

She snuggled closer.  The boys continued to whir and crash and laugh in the other room.  In that moment, I realized that I have been given a forever hug, a forever listening ear, and forever warmth in my coldest hours.  My little gift. 

November 05, 2011

please help us solve this mystery

Our friend Roger told us recently that our life could be a reality TV show.  I am starting to think he's right.  What would we call it...hmmm.  "Daniel and Kayla's Chaos," perhaps.

So there are three pieces of good news.
1.) I am still a believer (in case my brutal honesty the other day freaked anybody out;) 
2.) Brave is able, eventually, to urinate (though it is very painful) and poop is happening too, though also very painfully.
3.) Kidney function test came back normal

There are three pieces of bad news.
1.) He is now acting more sick and tired, and the pain seems to be getting worse.
2.) They are still stumped.
3.) I am a nervous wreck.

If anyone is a doctor, or knows a doctor, who knows why my son would have the following symptoms, PLEASE comment.
-Started with diahrea
-Then loss of appetite, not wanting to drink
-Then two days of saying his tummy hurt, touching his lower abdomen and crotch
-Then crying when he pooped, and seemed backed up, but stool when he did poop was loose
-Then long periods without peeing, and screaming when he did pee
-Now tired-acting, still going long periods without peeing and pooping, crying in pain when either happens.  He is on fluids, and it seems to be getting worse.  Ruled out kidney problem and bacterial infection.  Doc saying severe dehydration, waiting and watching.  I'm not comfortable with that.  I know my kid, and this is not right. 

Please help us solve this mystery!  Thank you for your prayers.

waste disposal update

Talked to Daniel.  Brave is on fluids, ate soup, and is down now for the night.  The nurses on Ward 7 left the light on for him from his peanut incident, so he felt right at home.

Sheesh, that kid.

Anyway, a better look at his intestines left the docs almost ready to rule out his bum lymph node as the culprit this time.  The thought right now is that his waste-disposal systems haven't been functioning on account of severe dehydration.  Now that's weird.  It's not like he ever stopped drinking.  I mean, he did have diarrhea last week, but we live in East Asia - that's like noting that the wind blew.

Either way, a night on fluids should be very telling.  Usually when he's on fluids I have to change his diaper ever couple of hours.  Those Huggies set absorbency records on kids hooked up to IVs.  A dry diaper tomorrow morning would be scary, and very painful for him, at which point the docs would be extremely concerned.

They don't expect that.  They expect to get him back on his feet and out the door in a few days.  Whew.

Of course they'll run all the tests: stool, urine, blood, checking for proper kidney function, disease, and infection, but they don't expect to turn up anything.

Again, whew.

The litmus test will be his pain level.  If he is comfortable "down there" tomorrow, then we are in the clear.  If not, then we are all incredibly stumped.

I go to bed now with a heart much encouraged, and hoping to hear that Brave woke up soaked from his widows' peak to his little fat feet.

November 04, 2011

without a doubt

Have you ever doubted?  Have you ever wondered if all that you believe in is bunk?  If your answer is, "No, of course not!" then you either live your life completely at the epidermis, or you are in denial.

This morning was a low point for me.  Even with Daniel's parting words ringing in my ears, "You're job while I'm gone is not to think, but to trust," I was still so full of anxiety I could hardly see straight.  Worry played its seductive tune to every cell in my brain, until I found myself looking at the boys' natural history books and thinking, "What about the dinosaurs?  How can we explain that, really, in the context of Noah and his ark and all the rest?"

A few minutes down the road, after I failed Jubilee miserably, I retreated to the other room alone.  There I cried out to G0D.  "L0RD," I sobbed, "I am so afraid for Brave.  It is causing me to doubt, and to be mean, and to feel downright horrible.  Please, L0RD, give me a sign that you are here.  Remind me of where I've come with you.  Help!"

Next, I checked my email.  There was a note from my mom, saying that she was praying, and saying that she had read a verse in Psa1ms and was claiming it for me today.  Chapter 29, verse 11.  I read it and felt a little better.  It was nice to hear from my mom.

Then things got downright creepy. As I set about unpacking the box that Mandy just sent in the mail, I lifted out a lovely daily devotional by Sarah Young and, figuring it couldn't hurt, opened it to today's date.  The words were spot-on.  "This is a training opportunity," it read, "since I designed you for deep dependence on your Shepherd-King.  Challenging times wake you up and amplify your awareness of needing my help." (Jes_s Calling, p. 323).


I looked at the suggested verses at the bottom of the page.  There were four of them.  Four.  Single.  Verses.  Out of the whole entire Bib1e.  One of the verses was Psa1m 29:11.

The verse from my mom.

FREAKY?  Maybe a little.  G0D has a way of freaking us out from time to time.  I asked for a sign, didn't I?  Well, he delivered.  Does that explain the dinosaurs?  Uh, not really.  But who cares about extinct lizards when I have a G0D who cares for me that beautifully?

"The L0RD gives strength to his people; the L0RD blesses his people with peace." -Psa1m 29:11

Yes, He certainly does.  Without a doubt.

soliciting prayers for Brave (again)

Our little pumpkin is having problems with his pooper and his pee-er again.  Both are backed up and he is in pain, saying his "nummy hurts" and grabbing at himself.  Daniel waited all yesterday at the Yun Da hospital for an ultrasound, the results of which revealed Brave's problematic lymph node is once again enlarged.  This is probably causing his intestines to telescope, again, which is probably causing the pain, and backing up the waste.  Our American pediatrician here in town recommended heading back to Bangkok.  This time, the good doctors at Bumrungrad International might decide to remove that section of his intestines, so this stops happening.  Intricate surgery on the intestines of a 2 1/2 year-old does not thrill me.  To make matters worse, I couldn't tag along even if we had the money (which we don't) because Jubilee is still a Chinese citizen and even though Americans do not need visas to jaunt in and out of The Kingdom of Thailand (something about the king offering us a bunch of elephants to help us colonize the new world), Chinese citizens do.  We will apply for a Thai visa for Jubilee on Monday, but it will take at least two days for it to turn around.


So Daniel and brave Brave left on a jet plane early this morning.  Baby boy has an appointment with Dr. Sasithorn at 6:30 p.m.  I will update when I know anything.

Your prayers are being solicited because this time he is having trouble peeing.  That was not part of the equation last time, and urine retention is not a typical symptom of telescoping intestines (intussuception).  American docs here are stumped.  I am nervous.  Thanks SO much for praying.

It is amazing how fast we change gears, in this case from, "G0D Almighty, give me the strength I need to endure another day of whining and teaching little ones to share" to, in an instant, "G0D Almighty, please let my precious little shaver be OK."

There is nothing, NOTHING more valuable on this earth than one's children.  There is nothing that can scare the crap out of a girl faster than a baby with a health glitch.

I will keep you updated.

November 01, 2011

on a lighter note

While we wait to hear from Xiao Fu (Daniel is back home with us, by the way, and has almost recovered from his emotional, exhausting mountain/mourning road trip), I decided to post some of the lighter, happier details of our life.  

Jubilee's orphanage haircut is finally growing out.  Is it just me, or are we getting a glimpse into the future here?  She's a doll, that for sure.
I am excited to share that I have kept the "I birthed three babies in four years" weight off now for over a year!  I never thought I'd say it, being the wannabe foodie that I am, but smaller portion sizes as a lifestyle really ain't that bad.
Bright, who is just 6 1/2 years old, is reading at a 5th grade reading level (I promise I'm not exaggerating), and he reads with better inflection than me.  Zion, who is just 4 1/2 years old, is reading at a late kindergarten level.  We've got a couple of real bookworms here at Cambridge Garden 3-2-1202.
Brave Ransom eats more than almost everybody at the dinner table...that's something, right?
My grandmother, pictured here with my mom, turns 80 this week.  Happy Birthday, Grandma!  I love you.
And Daniel is doing a bang-up job raising our little men. Here they are fixing the desk chair that pops a screw every time I sit in it (so much for feeling good about my weight).
While Xiao Fu grieves, and while Glory fights, and while Jubilee grapples, and while Daniel shares The News day-in and day-out, and while I train up the children in the way they should go, there is One who is sovereign over it all.  It is His strength, in us, that keeps us keepin' on, and He is waiting for us on the other side of the finish line.