Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Death of a Binky

This is how a binky looks by the time Elisabeth's done with it:

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She means business.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweet.

A Valentine's Day Review
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To: Mom
From: Elsa

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Some more Valentine's from Elsa...

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And for the girls...

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I LOVED the fact that Alexandra and Lorelai both instantly opened the
pages of their new books took in that lovely new-book smell.

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Elsa hasn't learned to appreciate the fine smell of a new book yet, but she will soon, no doubt.

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And the sweetest valentine of all:

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Love & Kisses

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Parable of the Spoon

I was in the kitchen this morning as Elsa was pouring herself a bowl of cereal. The dishwasher - which I ran the night before - had not yet been emptied so Elsa opened it and grabbed a spoon.

"Oh, this is still dirty." she said casually as she placed the spoon into the sink and grabbed another one from the dishwasher.

Still dirty?

Curious, I picked up the spoon and examined it. It was shining. So I called Elsa over and asked her to show me where it was dirty. She pointed to the tiniest water spot on the bottom left curve:

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[The 'dirty' spoon. See the water spot? Me either.]

Dirty?

I couldn't help but find the ironic humor in it. What a difference 15 months can make! Elsa went from a culture where they use their hands to eat each meal, to returning a spoon to the sink because of a water spot. 

I spent the morning thinking about how much she has learned and changed since she came here to America. Somewhere, sometime in the 15 months since we adopted her from Ethiopia, she learned the art of being critical. Because I can guarantee you she wasn't like that before she moved here. It stood out as a strong reminder that I need to be cautious of the example I set. I need not focus on the small imperfections, but rather on the big blessings. There will always be the good and the bad -  that's the way life is, plain and simple.  The beauty of it all comes in the fact that we can choose what to look for. Do we seek to find fault; to be offended; to continually be dissatisfied? Or do we choose to live with gratitude; to love and to serve; to be happy?

I vote we choose happiness.

So go grab a spoon and enjoy a bowl of cereal.




Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thank you, Insurance!!!

Remember the new fancy-schmancy, custom-made wheel chair that Elisabeth got back in December?

Well, they don't come cheap. Elisabeth's was in the ballpark of $7700.00 of which our insurance company agreed to pay 80%.

So yesterday the phone rang and it was the medical supply company that sold us the wheelchair. Here is what the lady on the other end of the phone told me:

"We wanted to let you know that your insurance company paid for the chair in full, so we are going to mail you a refund check."

???!!!!???!!!???!!!!

I could not believe my ears! 

Things like that just don't happen. 

I asked her over and over again...are you sure? 
To which she confirmed that yes, the chair was paid for.

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Best news ever!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seizures are Down, Smiles are Up!

Elisabeth has had a very good week.

Seizures have been minimal - I've probably only seen one or two a day. And - as always when she gets a break from seizures - I've seen her come to life.

She spends less time sleeping and more time playing and smiling.

She's even been sitting upright for long periods at a time.

It's miraculous.


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^ ^ ^ Check out those smiles! I miss them when they are away!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Scream, by golly!

The moment we walked in the door this afternoon, 
Elisabeth began screaming her head off. 

Not with frustration or anger, but with enthusiasm and gusto

She had a lot to say and she was gonna say it, by golly!

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I'm pretty sure Edvard Munch would love to paint a scream that spectacular!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

When your husband puts this on the wall of his very manly garage
you know he loves you:

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Moment in Time

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I love that this simple moment was caught forever. 

Elisabeth - sitting up - and playing with her favorite toy (binky in mouth, of course). 

Elsa, laying in front of the fire and working on her reading skills. 

And Brigitta, donning a pink sweater and patrolling the family room.

Life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Bit Peculiar

My favorite app on my phone is my Merriam-Webster dictionary. I love to look up words. And not just words I am unfamiliar with, but common, everyday words, too - because I wonder how they will define them.

Last night I used the word peculiar and it occurred to me that it is a delightful sounding word, one that I need to use more often.

Then I went to my Merriam-Webster app to see the official definition of peculiar.

Pe-cu-liar adjective: Not usual or normal.

I think maybe I'm peculiar.

I kind of hope I am.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Newsworthy

The video of Donald reacting to the Seahawks Super Bowl loss made the news in Seattle!


Post by KING 5.

There was one comment left on the post from a man stating he wished people put that kind of passion towards feeding the homeless, or curing cancer.

I immediately responded, telling him that last year Donald adopted an orphan from Ethiopia, so yeah, he does put that kind of passion towards feeding the homeless.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Elsa Lelise, Ballerina

So, we kind of did things a little backwards. Normally a child would take ballet class first and then perform in The Nutcracker. Not here. Elsa performed as a mouse in The Nutcracker last December having never taken a dance class.

But yesterday we remedied that.

I give to you, Elsa Lelise at her very first ballet class:

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I only stayed for the first ten minutes or so because I was holding Elisabeth in my arms (and taking pictures - you learn to multi-task real well when you have a child like Elisabeth), but in those quick ten minutes I must have thought, "Oh, I wish Seyba was here to see this!" about ten times. 

Seyba, Elsa's biological mother, is always in my thoughts. I am dedicated to giving Elsa the best childhood possible because Seyba is trusting me to do so. And I hope that even though she can't see Elsa as she grows and learns, that she can feel her in her heart and know that all is well.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why I Read

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Go Set a Watchman"

I'll never forget the moment that I found out there was a sequel to my beloved book, The Giver. It was like I had been given a great gift. Well, that happened again today - times ten thousand.

I just read that Harper Lee once wrote a sequel (in the 1950's) to To Kill a Mockingbird! And that book is going to be published this summer. I am in shock. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time. To read about Scout 20 years later...to have that story continue....wow. I am speechless.

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Why Did They Pass The Ball????"

When your team loses the Super Bowl in the last few seconds of the game:



I'll give him this....he's got passion.

12th 
Man

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Giggles are Back!

And just like that, she started laughing.

Seizures steal smiles and giggles away from Elisabeth a majority of the time, but it seems that once or twice a year she will wake up in a mood to laugh. Those moments of joy seem like pure magic to us. And her laugh - so infectious!

Have a listen...it gets really good around 0:40.



I love to   laugh. 
Loud and long and clear. 

-Bert from Mary Poppins.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alexandra, Spanish Tutor

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Before I ever had children, I knew I wanted them to be bilingual. The tricky thing was figuring out how to make that happened seeing as I only spoke English. A year or so before Alexandra began kindergarten I learned about a dual language program that our school district had implemented. Children in the program would receive half of their daily instruction in English and half in Spanish. I knew immediately that I wanted in. After passing a basic kindergarten preparedness exam, Alexandra was accepted into the program by luck of the draw. And because siblings get priority, this paved the way for Lorelai and Elsa.

Here we are seven years later and Alexandra is completely proficient in Spanish. And because of that she has been hired as a tutor for a 1st grader who is also in the dual language program. I watch with pride as she teaches this young girl. This is exactly what I wanted for my children. I wanted them to be bilingual because I knew it would provide for them opportunities and experiences as well as give them increased knowledge and understanding.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Busy. And busier.

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Lorelai Leigh, at the Rock n Roll Classic in Vancouver, WA this weekend.
Lately, life seems to be moving faster than I can keep up with it. Each and every day seems to be strategically choreographed, making sure that everyone gets to where they need to be. Alexandra is busy tutoring, working on the yearbook staff, studying guitar, and playing basketball. Lorelai is devoted to gymnastics, putting in 13 hours a week plus meets almost every weekend. Elsa is working hard at reading, getting quite proficient in English and Spanish. She is also practicing piano daily and dominating on her basketball team. Donald is busy with work as well as coaching a boys basketball team. And me? I've been at rehearsals constantly it seems.

Oh, and Elisabeth! She just comes along for the ride.

My point is, we are at that stage of parenting where there isn't much down time. I think when I was a young and dreaming of being a mother, this is the stage I was looking forward to the most. The part where I really saw my children discovering their talents.

And it's everything I hoped it would be.

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Lorelai had her best meet of the season thus far, scoring a personal best on beam!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Double Take

On the day the girls met in Ethiopia for the first time, 
Alexandra was wearing a blue shirt with a pair of yellow pants. 

That was 14 months ago.

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Yesterday, when Elsa came downstairs, what had she put on to wear? 
You guessed it, the same blue shirt and yellow pants. 

Isn't it crazy how much she has grown?

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Of course, she had to add an Elsa touch to it - so red boots it was. 
She is all about fashion.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Go Seahawks!!

If you drive by our house, you'll see the Guard Giraffe showing his team spirit.

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I admit that I am not a big football fan, but the Seahawks/Packers game yesterday was absolutely incredible. Unbelievable, even. At one point, when the game was almost over, I told Donald just to turn it off - why watch? A win was inconceivable.

And then bam! In the final moments of the game, 16 points!!!

Donald's reaction went like this:



Yes, he almost passed out.

And a few minutes later he was in tears. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elisabeth Sat Up!!!

By golly, look at that!!!

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Elisabeth hasn't sat upright and played for months and months. Goodness, it might even have been a year. The combination of seizures and a spine exceeding an 80 degree curve have made it simply too hard to balance. But yesterday, she sat herself right up and played with a toy for a solid five minutes!! 

It was nothing short of miraculous.

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Do you like her poncho? I am SO excited about it. It is nearly impossible to get Elisabeth's arms into winter coat sleeves due to her cerebral palsy. A year or so ago I saw a post somewhere about ponchos being the perfect solution for special needs children like Elisabeth. When I spotted this cable knit one at Old Navy I snatched it up in an instant. 

And it works better than I even imagined. 
When it's time to go out we just plop it over her head. 

Done. 

No more fussing with coat sleeves. 

Woohooo!!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scrubba Dubba in the Tubba

Because guinea pigs need baths, too.

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