Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wed Jan 31

Kourtney's check up & Andrew's foot

Today was Kourtney's 1 week check up for the medicine she's begun to take (Concerta for ADHD).  She was on a very teeny dose to get her started & make sure she had no weird reactions to it.  Since she did ok on that, we're bumping her up to the next dose (which is where she'll stay if it works for her).  She'll start taking that tomorrow.  The first few days on the med, she did have a tummy ache...which developed into a nice excuse to get to leave the classroom every day, but I believe the tummy ache actually was over & done with on the 2nd day.

This evening, when we got home, Andrew got mad because the girls were singing in their bedroom.  (He was in his room & they were in theirs, all putting up laundry.)  Initially, he did the right thing & came to me to tell me their singing was bugging him.  They really weren't being loud or anything, but I told him he could shut (not slam) his bedroom door.  Later, Samuel went into the bedroom to work on his laundry & opened the door.  Uh oh---now he could hear them singing again.  I would've let them shut the door, but these 2 in a room with a closed door is not a good idea!  They'd have been swinging by the ceiling fan blades in 5 minutes' time.  Andrew stood in his doorway, screaming at the top of his lungs at the girls.  When the name calling & item throwing began, I intervened & talked to Andrew about how he *had to* calm down.  Getting that angry & furious is just not sensible for something so minor.  He told me he couldn't calm himself down & proceeded to kick the laundry basket, clench his jaw & fists, pace the floor with steam blowing out his ears, grasping at the fabric of his shirt & twisting/pulling it from his body as if he'd rip it off (picture the Hulk) & basically threw himself into a rage.  I told him again that he would have to calm down and relax before he hurt himself or someone else.  I pointed out that he could go over & sit beside the bed & pound his fists on the mattress if he needed to get out some anger, but I specifically said he could not kick anything else or call the other kids names.  He turned & went toward the bed, stopped just shy of it, pulled his foot back as far as he could & kicked the bed with all the force he could put into it. Immediately he fell to the floor holding his foot, crying in pain.  Well, silly.......if you put a hundred pounds of pressure into kicking a hard wooden bed, it's gonna hurt!!  My initial reaction was going to be anger that he was being defiant & continuing to take out his anger in a negative way.....but I think he punished himself enough by hurting his own foot.

After the screaming stopped (he becomes a major drama king when the tiniest pain is involved), it was time to eat supper & go to church.  He hopped around on one foot, even crawled through the house & tried to drag himself (like an Army crawl) at one point.  Talk about drama!  There are no bruises, it's not swollen, not red, I don't palpate a lump or anything, etc.  I'm sure it does hurt, but he's really milking it.

On the way to church, Sarah was humming (quietly) in the backseat.  He started screaming at her to stop, began opening & shutting (slamming) his Royal Rangers binder back & forth in anger and generally was throwing a wall-eyed fit.  I offered to pull over on the side of the road & let him get out to calm down (in the cold night air), but he didn't like that plan too much.  He announced that he was NOT going to church, would NOT be going inside the building when we got there, etc.  When we arrived, the first person he saw was his teacher---who asked why he was limping & he had to admit that he'd lost his temper & kicked a bed.

Miraculously, he walked just fine when I picked him up from church, but by the time we got home, he felt like he had to drag himself across the yard (yes, laying down on ground, dragging himself) because he was in 'so much pain'.

To make him happy, Savannah & I decided to offer to wrap his foot before he went to bed.  She got our her Missionettes first aid kit & wrapped his foot in a big long piece of gauze.  (Way to go, big sister!!!)  He loves that & feels very good about the healing of his foot now.  LOL!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Samuel funny

Samuel is home today because he's feeling bad.  On the way back home from dropping the other kids off @ school, he saw 2 dogs in a yard & commented on them.  After a few minutes of quiet, he said "ya know mom...there aren't many pimples left."
I sat there, trying to figure out what he was trying to say for a while, but finally had to ask what on earth he was talking about.  He repeated it -- "There aren't many pimples left."
"You know, PIMPLES.....those mean kind of dogs."
Then it hit me----PIT BULLS.  ha ha!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sun Jan 28

This week at work (Christian day care center), my boss read this verse to us.  It struck a chord, and while I couldn't put my finger on exactly why it hit me so deeply, I wrote down the reference for it & planned to study on it later.

I can't help but continually come back to it, think on it again & remember that God put me right here, right now, in this place, with all the people around me........for a reason.  Nothing in my life is a surprise to Him.  Thank you Jesus!  (& thank you Glenna, for sharing this)


Exodus 9:15-16

15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sweet update

Yesterday was Savannah's check up w/ Dr. S (her psychiatrist).  He checks on her every few months for her anxiety.  He saw her in March (right after A&K moved in) and up'd her medicine a little bit to help her deal w/ the changes going on at home.  He saw her in September & decided that she was doing pretty well, so he dropped her dose back down.  This was her first time back since then.  Since we're approaching the 1 year mark, he asked her for an update on what home is like now.  Her reply was fun to listen to.  She said:

"Well....Kourtney's sweet.  She's starting to act normal (ha ha...not sure what that means!) & she feels like a sister.  We have fun playing together.  Andrew & I still fight like cats & dogs sometimes, but that's how brothers & sisters are, ya know?  He's starting to feel like a brother, so I guess we'll fight, huh?"

The doc & I had a good time giggling at her responses.  The doc is very even-tempered and calm & cool all the time, so making him laugh is a pretty big deal.  I can't remember what else she said that was funny, but she had him cracking up & really enjoying her answers.

We're so pleased to see her finally getting to a point where things are levelling out for her--- no major highs & lows anxiety-wise.  It's great!  He was very proud of her progress and said we'd try to lower her med dosage again this summer & see how it goes.  The last time we tried was Sept 05 & it did not work at alllllllll.  We'll see if it does next time!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sad Sarah :(

 As you know, Sarah is my most gentle-spirited, tenderhearted one of the bunch.  She gets really shy & scared when new things are on the horizon.
Last year in Mother's Day Out, her teacher had to quit at the end of October--just a couple of months into the school year.  Since I taught the class right next door, I was the sub for her class about 1/2 of the year so that made it a little easier, but the constant transition/turmoil of not knowing who'd be the teacher each time she went made it hard.  We made it through the year & she was excited when she learned that Mrs. Page would be her Kindergarten teacher.  (She was also Savannah & Samuel's.)
Yesterday, that calm & stability all changed.  Mrs. Page sent home a note w/ all the students explaining that she's taken a new job & 2 weeks from Friday, she will be leaving.  Sarah's heartbroken.  We all love you, Mrs. Page!!
I know that the school will make this as easy as possible for the kids, so please pray with me that they are able to find someone who closely matches Mrs. Page's teaching style so that the kids will have an easier time transitioning.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I am such a sap.  Right after Lisa and then Kelly died last February I bought a CD for one particular song.  (Isn't that how it always goes?  Who buys a CD b/c they love every song on it?)  Anyway, this one song was on the radio one night when I went to the store & due to hearing it that one time, I knew I had to have the CD.  I've grown to love Natalie Grant & all the other songs on this CD, but this one still gets me every time I listen to it.

I bought it the night that Lisa died.  (For those who don't know, Lisa was one of my best friends & she died suddenly of complications from 2 rounds of Leukemia...on the day before Kelly died.)  I was so torn apart emotionally that this was my 'anthem'...the song that kept me connected to God for a little while.  I never walked away from Him, but this song kept reminding me that I was being "held" despite my not understand Lisa's death.

The next day, Kelly died.  Andrew & Kourtney lost their mother (and, in effect, their father..all in one day).  Kelly & I were not best friends, but we were family.  She was my sister in law and we loved each other.

I may never really understand why God chose to take Lisa & Kelly to Heaven so early in their lives.  I may never really grasp why 5 children had to lose their mothers in that 24 hours period.  I may never understand God's reasons for a lot of things....but I know that for the past year, I've been HELD.

I recently finished reading "90 Minutes in Heaven" and I couldn't help but smile & laugh as I read the author's description of his visit in Heaven.  I wasn't laughing at the story, but laughing in joy because I know that my two friends are in Heaven...and they experienced the things he saw.  I can't help but be anxious for the day when I walk through the gates of Heaven & run into the arms of My Jesus.  Until then, He's holding me....and He's holding Lisa & Kelly.

At "Women of Faith" this year, Natalie Grant was the featured singer.  When she sang this song, I sat in the crowd, crying my eyes out.  Probably no one around me understood why, but I don't care.  Later the same day, Nicole Johnson did her "Stepping into the Ring" skit and I bawled again.  Talk about a day of healing & cleansing!

Here are the lyrics to the song that has held me together frequently this year:

Held by Natalie Grant

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It's unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow.
The wise hand opens slowly to lilies of the valley ---
and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.


Two "sacred"s were torn from my life, but I've survived.  God is holding me.  Thank you, Jesus.


Wed Jan 24

Isn't it exciting to realize the depth & power of God's love?  To ponder the fact that He knew me, He knew my heart & my mind, He knew what I'd look like, how my personality would be and all the details of my life.....all before the creation of the world!  He's counted the hairs on my head, He knows the number of the grains of sand in all the world, He placed the stars in the sky & knows each one by name.  He set the earth on its axis & placed in in orbit.  He causes the sun to rise & the moon to shine at night....and somehow I still question things & worry.  My finite little brain can't even grasp that.  And try to grasp eternity?  Wow...that's entirely beyond the reach of my imagination!  God is so good!  He knows me by name, He calls me, He reaches down from Heaven & holds me up with His hands.
And somehow I still screw up, I still fall, I still disappoint Him.  My heart is vile & wicked.  But, somehow, my filthy, sinful self is something HE desires to have a relationship with!  This grace amazes me!
Please allow me to share a few scriptures that have hit home for me recently!  (Thank you, Melinda, for sharing these with me a few months ago when I was upset about something!  I've still got that email saved.)

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. (Psalm 91:14-16)

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27)

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10a)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Catching up on everyone else....

I realized lately that I haven't posted much about Savannah, Samuel, Kourtney & Sarah, so that is what this post will be devoted to!  :)
She's still our avid reader.  Tonight I went to a work dinner & the kids stayed @ the day care center.  When I came back, they kept oohhhing & ahhhing over the way Savannah had sat & read the ENTIRE time I was gone.  She took a big thick book from the school library to enjoy.  I swear, if you want to punish her, ground her from books!  That would be the ULTIMATE punishment for her!
The place where she had stitches is healing up really well.  You have to be underneath, looking up at her top lip to even notice where the stitches were.  She's been healthy & well since the tonsilectomy, too.
Larry & I have even noticed that her anxiety problems have seemed to "level off" lately.  She hasn't been having dramatic highs & lows like she used to.  Between counseling & the right level of medicine, she's handling things very well....and we're sooo glad about that!
I love that Savannah is getting older & still talks openly to me about *anything*.  She may not call me her best friend, but we have a very close relationship &  I ADORE that.  It may not always be that way, but while I've got it, I am cherishing it.  She still loves hugs, kisses, snuggling, reading together, sharing puzzle books, watching a movie on the couch with me.  She may be nearly as tall as me, but she's still my baby!
Samuel is doing great.  The poor kid is like his dad---he can't spell worth a flip & his handwriting is terrible, but he does well otherwise in school.  I'm going to see if I can find some handwriting tablets tomorrow & have him start practicing his handwriting at home more.  Although you can usually decipher what he's written, he needs to work on it!  He is really beginning to enjoy reading.  We got him several Nate the Great books for Christmas & he loves them.  He finished them all pretty quickly.  I think I'm going to go to the Scroll tomorrow and see what else I can find for little boys.  I know all about shorter chapter books for girls, but am still huntingfor good ones for boys.  (Note:  Mrs. Walker---I still have the Ready Freddy book you loaned us.  I haven't had time to read it yet, but will return it ASAP unless you need it sooner.)
Samuel is such a big ham, always cutting up & telling goofy stories.  Today he had to stay home from school because he got sick yesterday afternoon.  He said he felt "almost better" this morning, which means he'll milk it for attention and then goof off between pity sessions.  :)  He got out a couple of my big pots today & the beaters from my mixer & made a "band" (drums).  We sat in Larry's recliner & watched An Indian in the Cupboard together.  He's such a little snuggle bug!  When it was quiet time, he asked if he could snuggle in my bed.  (I'm such a sucker!)
Kourtney is the funniest kid.  Not funny in the comedian sort of way...just funny to observe & listen to.  Her random thoughts and funny conversations make her good entertainment.  She really is precious & has the most joyful attitude most of the time.  We recently found out she has ADHD & she started taking medicine for it today.  I'm anxious to see how she does, if it really makes a big difference for her or what.  I don't want to change her personality, but she does need help focusing & paying attention for more than 4 seconds at a time.  It's not uncommon to have a conversation that goes like this: 
"Kourtney?  Kourtney? your supper.....yes, that's a fork, no you don't need the ladel to eat your chicken....ok, you can have a hug, but you need to go back & sit down & eat, you can't go catch the squirrel in the street right now.......Kourtney, come back to the kitchen, it's suppertime.......Kourtney, why are you putting on your pajamas?.......No, you can't go outside right now.  Go eat your chicken.....Yes, I remember that episode of Spongebob......You already have a plate in front of you, remember?.....Sweetie, put the toy down & eat......Yes, we'll go to school tomorrow, but right now you need to eat supper."'s humorous to read, but boy does it wear on ya after a while!  :)
Kourtney is a lovebug, too.  She is always wanting hugs & kisses, always wanting to climb into my lap.  It's so sweet considering that the weekend the kids moved in, she wasn't real touchy-feely with me & it took a while for her to feel comfortable kissing me.  I love those sweet heart-melting moments.  :)  Tonight when I tucked her in, she said she wanted a kiss.  I leaned down to give her one & she grabbed my face & layed a big wet one on me.  But it wasn't just a was a long-term commitment.  LOL!  She held my head down to her face for a while before she backed up & burst into hysterical giggles.
Sarah holds a really special spot in my heart.  Not that the other kids don't, but Sarah has a neat little way of making everyone she's near feel loved.  When we found out I was pregnant w/ her (so soon after Samuel was born), I was devastated, shocked, overwhelmed...and terrified about having 2 babies under 1 yr old.  It took her arrival & subsequent very sick newborn stage for me to realize that while I hadn't planned her, God had nestled her deep within my heart (& my womb) on His behalf.  She's got the most gentle spirit, the most tender heart and the most loving, compassionate soul of any child I've ever met.  I'm continually thankful that God chose to let me be her mama.  I can't imagine life without Sarah.
Sarah is beginning to read a little!  It takes a while, but she loves writing "words" (usually just letters she puts together) and drawing pictures for everyone.  Every time we're going to visit someone or when she knows someone is coming over, she runs to get paper & crayons to draw something for them.  (Come to think of it, Savannah did the exact same thing at this age!!)
I'm including 2 pictures above of the boys.  I sent these out to family on Sunday.  On the serious picture, I labeled it "Fantasy".   The other one was labeled "Reality".  LOL!  Don't they look handsome?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

emotional weekend

This has been a rollercoaster-ish weekend, emotionally speaking, for me.  We didn't start it off well Friday morning.  The boys have tussled over things a few times, as boys do, but now & then, Andrew has really gone over the line & hurt Samuel or Savannah.  (He seems to be very gentle & loving w/ the younger 2 girls, though.)  On Friday morning, Andrew attacked Samuel over a toy.  The anger & rage went on for a while.  We dealt with it, priveleges were removed, and thankfully, Samuel wasn't seriously hurt.  We moved on....but the agressive/violent nature of the morning left me feeling sort of defeated.  I mean, about the time we feel like we've made a lot of progress, we get knocked off our feet & it's almost like we start all over forming relationships & bonds.
I felt like I was sort of walking around in a haze that morning, going over in my mind some really serious things I've seen in Andrew this past year....the serious anger issues, the rages he goes into now & then, his fascination with violence & gore, lying over everything under the sun, the sneaky behaviors, urinating on the floor intentionally, some pretty serious defiance issues ....the list goes on....
I sent out a prayer request that morning to a few close friends & our to our children's pastor.  I explained some of Andrew's most disturbing behaviors & asked for them to continue to pray for him.  One of my friends, who has become quite dear to me over the past few months replied with some information that I didn't really want to hear....but needed to hear.  (Thank you, Tammy.)
You see, children need stability.  We all know that & for most of our families, it's not an issue.  But for foster/adoptive kids who bounce around the system, or ones whose homes are in constant turmoil with frequent moves & questionable parenting, something sort of "shuts off" in the brain.  That "something" is the ability to form strong bonds & attachments to people & things.  Due to so much trauma & change & pain, they learn to defend themselves (emotionally) to protect against further hurt....and in turn lose the ability to really trust other people.  While protecting themself is ok, it can also be a bad thing later on when there is stability in their life.  There is a very WIDE spectrum to it, but there is actually a name for this--- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  You see, in some kids, it turns out just meaning that they have a hard time forming friendships & relationships later in life.  They're very guarded & shy and tend to have the stand-offish type of personality.  For others, on the far opposite end of the spectrum, it means they're destructive & violent --- the type of kids who burn down houses of people they don't like just for who torture animals, etc.  {I'm certainly not saying that we're fearing Andrew will 'snap' & burn down the house...just wanted to explain the 2 ends of the spectrum.}
My friend who replied to Friday's prayer request is an adoptive mom of 2 children.  One has severe RAD & she's been reading our journal & recognizing "symptoms" of RAD in things I've mentioned about Andrew.  She directed me to a website,, to see the "signs & symptoms" of RAD for myself.  Shockingly, of the 30ish symptoms listed, about 26 of them fit Andrew to a "T".  What's more, she began describing some of the issues she's dealt with over the years w/ her RAD child and it was amazing.  Things I'd never told her about Andrew were coming up in that email.
I'd read a fair amount about RAD in an email group I joined when they moved in (for parents of adopted older kids).  Many of the parents there deal with RAD in their adopted children and there is a lot of discussion in the group about it.  I hadn't really honed in on those conversations b/c I didn't think it applied to us, but I sure will now!  Gratefully, it wasn't a total shock to realize that Andrew most definately has some degree of RAD, but at the same time, it's scary.  While he hasn't been "officially" diagnosed, I'm certain that he would be classified as having RAD. There is no xray or blood test to find out if a child has RAD, and there is no pill or treatment program to "cure" it.  More than anything, it's a matter of parents/caregivers going to counseling & learning how to cope with it.
All this info is overwhelming & realizing that Andrew may be affected for his entire life by this is bothersome.  It means that he has trouble forming friendships & relationships with others.  He has a very deep-seated anger/temper issue that explodes rapidly when he feels like someone has violated him or his 'things'.  Unfortunately it also means that discipline is very difficult because there isn't much that he cares enough about to effect him---taking away priveleges or grounding him has little effect because he really has no attachment to the things that are taken away.  (The "I don't care" attitude comes into play here.)  There is a lot that RAD encompasses.  If you would like to read more about it, check the link above.  There's a ton of info there.
On the upside, I know that none of this comes as a surprise to my God.  He knew about all this long before A&K moved in.  He put us in a church where another family has dealt with RAD in their child and they have been supporting us along the way.  He put me into the email group where I've been learning about RAD along the way.  He made this abundantly clear to me now through a friend that sort of 'stumbled upon' my journal site & got in touch.  And ya know what?  He is a deliverer.  He is a Healer, a redeemer.  He is the Great Physician.  I know that with some counseling to help us understand RAD better and with the Lord on our side, we are going to be OK.  God is good...all the time....and all the time....God is good.
Today at church, we sang a new song that really hit home.  God surely made the worship leader choose that one for today *just for me*.  We only sang the chorus, but I decided to include all the lyrics.  Here are the words to it:

Mighty to Save

When everyone needs compassion,
And love that never fails,
Let mercy fall on me

When everyone needs forgiveness,
Kindness of the Saviour
The Hope of the nation

Saviour, He can move the mountain,
My God is mighty to save,
He is mighty to save
Forever author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything that i’d believe in
Now i surrender (and i surrender)


Shine a light in and let the whole world see
Singing, for the glory of the risen king
Jesus, Shine a light and let the whole world see
Singing for the glory of the risen king



Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday night funny

A funny story from tonight---
We were eating supper when Andrew asked for me to pass him the scissors so he could cut the "diagraph" off of his water bottle label.  When I asked what a diagraph was, he pointed out the "-ng" on the end of the  "drinkiNG water" on his bottle.  Still confused, Savannah & I asked again "What is a diagraph?".  He couldn't explain, but just knew this -ng was one.  While I was getting the scissors, I asked if he could tell me which of his teachers had taught him about diagraphs & asked again about what it was.
Samuel then pipes up & says "It's the thing inside your body---YOU KNOW....the DIAGRAPH inside the solar system in your body" (as if that was the dumbest question in the world!).
Now thoroughly tickled (& further confused!), I asked him (Samuel) where in the "solar system" of our bodies you'd find a diagraph.  Savannah is rolling in laughter & asked if he knew what the solar system is.  Samuel said, "Of course I do!  It's the bones that hold your body together!".
While Savannah peeled herself off the floor (where she was rolling around laughing), I told him that your skeleton holds your body together---not a solar system, and that we have a diaphragm inside our bodies, not a diagraph.  After hearing all that, he gave a shrug & began to laugh with us.
I still don't know what a diagraph is.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  (sorry...I had to say it!)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Some sweet moments

After the trauma of Saturday night, it's been cute to have a few really sweet moments in the past 24 hours.  Well, maybe not "sweet" necessarily, but just things that made me grin...and I figure they will make you smile, too.

You may remember that I mentioned Andrew being a hypochondriac.  He loves attention (positive or negative!) so anytime he so much as bumps into a wall, he'll whimper & cry like he's falling apart.  Saturday night when Savannah came home from the ER w/ her stitches, I took some digital pics to show my family via email.  Well...last night, Andrew slipped in the girls' room & scraped his leg on their dirty clothes box.  I told him to go lay down & I'd bring him an icebag (which seems to cure everything around here!).  When I had tucked in the girls & went for the icebag, he wasn't in his room.  I found him in my room---taking pictures of his leg w/ the digital camera.  (giggling)  I went in & helped him get a "good shot" before he was satisfied to go on to bed.

After sharing the cutest boy picture ever (see a few entries back), I need to share this one (above).  I went grocery shopping Friday night.  I usually get home pretty late & everyone's already in bed.  While I was putting up the groceries, Sarah came out & told me she'd had a bad dream.  I snuggled her for a few minutes then sent her back to bed.  Before I went to bed, I went to make sure everyone had covers on them & found her in Kourtney's bed.  It was so sweet to see them all cuddled up together.  They may fight like crazy some days, but they're usually sooo sweet to watch together.

With our kids, we usually require that they're in 1st grade (or older) before they spend the night away from home with a friend.  They've all spent the night with relatives & there have been special times when we broke the rule for some certain circumstance, but generally our rule is 1st grade or older.  Samuel is in the 1st grade this year.  Last night, a friend from church called & asked if Samuel would like to come over to spend the night.  I think he had already packed everything & was standing at the front door before I hung up the phone.  :)  Samuel loves his buddy Coleman!  Thanks for the invitation, guys!

The kids are out of school today & we are supposed to be getting ice & nasty weather...but so far, all we've got is a lot of rain.  Yuck!  Hopefully it'll stay calm around here today & the kids won't get mean & ugly before it's over.  We've been cooped up inside for a few days now due to the weather, so getting out would be good---but I don't see it happening.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sad night at the Reeves house

 Coco bit Savannah tonight, right beside her mouth.  I *think* she was just being playful & she got too rowdy, but whatever the case, Savannah is at the hospital getting stitches.  Before they left to go to the hospital, Larry called the K-9 officer & told them to come take Coco.  He put her out into the yard before he left so that they could get her without having to come into the house & upset the kids.  He felt like, if she could get this aggressive & hurt Savannah when she's just playing, he doesn't want to wait & risk what happens if she were to get mad & seriously injure one of us.  I asked him a couple of times if he was really sure about this and he was adament that this is what we would do.  I'm a little heartbroken since I know it was an accident, but I guess he's right.
When the police got here to pick her up, the officer told me that they will watch her for a couple of days & make sure she's not showing signs of aggression (i.e. Rabies) and assuming that she does not, they will train her to be a drug dog.  That makes me feel better, knowing that I'm not just handing her over to be euthanized.
Larry just called.  It took 4 stitches to close the bite.  Poor baby.  She was VERY freaked out when they left the house.  The sight of blood alone is enough to make her lose it but when Larry mentioned stitches, she really flipped out.  When they left, she was still bleeding pretty bad even with an ice compress.  The K-9 officer called Larry after they picked Coco up & asked him to come by the police dept on the way home so that he could take a picture of the bite.
The boys were sobbing & crying about Coco having to go.  The girls were less concerned about the dog than they were Savannah.  Sad night......

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life around here these days....

I wrote this to a friend this morning & realized after writing it that I'd pretty much summed up our lives these days.  I've had so many people question how "things" are going now that we're nearing the 1 year mark.  I guess this is my answer:
Life is finally beginning to settle down here.  I hate chaos & it makes me having things finally starting to feel "calm" is good.  We'll never be the same family we were before Feb 10, 2006, but that's ok.  In some ways that's a good thing---we've all had to learn hard life lessons & learn how to extend grace a little further.  We've all learned things we never would have learned without A&K moving in.  In some ways it's not so good, though...things are forever altered.  In many ways, I long for the days when I "just" had 3 kids.  Back then, I didn't have to worry about watching my tongue when I said something about a "bad guy" in jail.  Now days, I have to realize that many of those "bad guys" have a family and it hurts to hear someone say their relative is a horrible monster.  (Not that I ever worded it exactly like that, but you know what I mean.)  But then again, when the (bio) kids are all grown, they're going to look back & realize what a rich time this was in their lives---how much of a blessing it was to be able to give of their time & home to two kids who desperately needed a home and strong family.  I hope that A&K look back & remember this time in their lives with fondness, too.  Andrew & Kourtney are not "cure-able" in a lot of ways.  There are things that they have lived through that will never ever ever be erased from their minds/hearts and that shapes who they are.  However, I've seen them grow & change so much in the past year.  Life here is stretched & changed & altered, but we're alright.  We're moving on, we're moving forward, and God is covering us every step of the way.  We laugh a lot now.  We go places & enjoy the funny stares we get from people trying to figure out HOW I gave birth to 3 kids within 10 1/2 months.  It's always fun to see the people watch us enter a restaurant or doctor's office -- you can see them mentally counting & saying "How many kids do they have?".  LOL!  I get the "are they all yours?" question a lot these days.  If it's a stranger who doesn't really matter...I just say YES.  In fact, for some people who aren't strangers I just say yes.  Much easier than trying to tell the whole story. is beginning to resemble some sort of normal again, and I'm so glad.
Life really *is* beginning to fall into place.  We go out to eat, go to the movies, go to church & the park.  We have chores & bedtime routines & a dog to take care of.  We go visit relatives & go on vacation in the summer.  We swim & ride bikes & watch TV.  We live in southern smalltown America where our neighborhood is a little community all in itself and the kids (all of them!) love that.  Sure, we deal with medicines & counselors & psychologists now.  We've added to our lives jail visits & graveside tears & ADHD & lots and lots of noise.  I'm on email lists for older kid adoptions & we've read lots of books about parenting foster/adoptive kids.  Sibling fights & arguments over who sits where in the car are a daily battle here.  But that's life in our family.  Is it hard?  Heck yeah!  Are A&K still difficult to parent?  Holy moley, yes!  Do I regret bringing them into our home & wish we hadn't done it?  No way.  I would not be able to live with myself and I would forever worry & wonder about them had we not brought them home with us.  They may've grown in the belly of my sister in law, but they've been growing in my heart for years.  Having them under my roof has been challenging, but rewarding.  Like I said, it'll never be the same, but that's alright.  Two little smiling, giggling, teasing faces make it all worth it.
I love you, Andrew & Kourtney!  (and Savannah, Samuel & Sarah)  No matter where life may lead you, you will always be my babies.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Monday-doctor visits & Tues Jan 9

Savannah saw the ENT--she's fine & was released to go back to full speed.  Yippee!

Andrew's (very long!) visit with the eye doc went well.  They dilated his eyes---that was a fun wrestling match (eyeroll), but after that, things went well.  The doctor & I have a very good rapport after all of Savannah's years in his care, so he was able to speak in code, so to speak (in front of Andrew), and let me know that basically Andrew's vision problems are all in his head.  He kept asking me later "Why don't I get to get glasses?".  When I told him that the eye doctor said his eyes were fine, he sort of sighed like he was resigned to that fact & then he let it go.  He hasn't mentioned it again.  The funny thing is, after Savannah came home from having her tonsils removed, his throat was suddenly sore....and he kept bringing me the flashlight to check his tonsils.  Hmm...looks like we have a hypochondriac in the house.  :)

Thank you to all of you who wrote to tell me you'd pray for Coco today.  She did well.  My mom came by in the middle of the day & gave Coco her medicine (yes, the dog is taking medicine!) and checked on her for us.  She said she was fine when she came over.  When we got home this afternoon, she was sitting in the yard on a baseball glove, just basking in the sun....but she sure was happy to see us come home!  I'm so pleased with how she did.  I think we're going to go ahead & start putting her out every day (on the chain for now) & let her spend the days out in the yard & then bring her in when the kids get home and keep her in at night.  Eventually we'll go to leaving her out 24 hours a day.  Maybe doing this slowly will make it easier for her.  Thanks again for praying for the dog!  :)

The pic above was taken tonight (Tues).  I went to tuck in the boys tonight & they asked me to go get the camera b/c they wanted to take a "group" picture (the three of us).  I got it & they planned the pose.  This is what they came up with.  Isn't that the cutest thing ever?  Sorry that the angle is kinda weird---hard to hold the camera & get into the shot myself!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Sun PM update

This morning went well.  Everyone seemed comfortable.  The installation service went well.  We were sad to hear the announcement that our sweet Worship Pastor & his wife are leaving.  They have been called to a church in Alabama.  We sure will miss them, but certainly understand the calling on their lives.  God bless ya, guys!

Tomorrow morning, Savannah has her post-op visit w/ the ENT's nurse.  I'm sure that will go fine since she isn't really having any problems.  She's still sore & her ears are sensitive to noise, but other than that, she's fine.

Then tomorrow afternoon Andrew will go to the eye doctor.  He failed the school's vision screening, so he's going to see our beloved Dr. Hunter.  He's the doc who repaired Savannah's birth defect, and we've seen him at least annually ever since.  We really love him & can't wait to introduce him to a new member of the family.  Andrew will have his eyes dilated & the whole 9 yards, so we'll be there a while.  I'm anxious to see if he needs glasses.  If so, we'll go ahead & go pick them out right away & get them made asap.  Most of our family (actually, on both sides!) are near sighted, so it won't be a big surprise if he does need glasses.

God shared a few special scriptures with me today.  I've started a new book called 'Angel Behind the Rocking Chair'.  These were in this book.  The book is a compilation of "God stories"---you know, instances where cool things happen that can only be explained by saying "it's a God thing".  The author has a child with Down's Syndrome & she has experienced a plethora of "God stories" since his birth.  Anyway...onto the scriptures that hit me hard today:

He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.  Job 23:10

He existed before everything else began, and He holds all creation together.  Colossians 1:17

I will answer them before they even call to me.  While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead & answer their prayers.  Isaiah 65:24

When you go through deep waters and great troubles, I will be with you.  Isaiah 43:2

I hope they spoke to you, too.

Sun Jan 7

This morning, Larry is being installed into a new position---Outreach Pastor.  This is right up his alley & something he's excited & passionate about.  His mom & grandmother are coming to church this morning to see him installed into the new position.  It'll be a great morning!  I'm praying that my worship, and that of those around us, is not overwhelming to our relatives because our Sunday morning services tend to be quite loud & maybe a little shocking to someone who's not used to our church.  But at the same time, I don't want to hold back & not give God the praise He is due.  It's a balance to strike.  Please pray that we balance out well today.

And I know this is silly, but can you pray for our dog?  On Tuesday, the kids go back to school & I'll be working...which means that Coco will be tied outside by herself all day for the first time.  (Remember, we tried that on Thursday & the neighbor kids entertained the dog all day....but this time they'll be gone to school too, so there will not be anyone to entertain Coco.)  I know she's "just a dog" & she will adjust, but if you're an animal lover (or even just an animal-liker!), could you pray that she handles the transition well?  I will feel really guilty walking away from her as she yips & whimpers & cries in confusion.  I would really like to move her outside full time ASAP but I know that may still be a while before we can pull it off.  She's still small enough that she can slip under the chain link in a few places, so we can't leave her outside just yet.  Since she'll be tied up Tuesday, I'm not too worried about her getting out of the fence then.  Anyway, like I's a silly request, but please pray for Coco on Tuesday.  The kids would be crushed if she somehow got loose & ran away.

I better run...I hear screams from the living room.  Better go see who's strangling who.  :)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Sat Jan 6--prayer request

In late Sept 2002, Larry was hurt at work by a man high on drugs.  The man later went to prison for his assault on Larry--a public servant.  Although Larry's injuries were pretty big, and they required surgery & lots of time off to recover, in the end, all was well.  Larry went back to work and later led this man to the Lord via letters to his prison cell.  The guy has AIDS & has been paroled for health reasons now, but because Larry was willing to step outside his comfort zone, the man will see Jesus when he dies.

On that same day that Larry was injured, a friend of mine, Angie Bundy, fainted.  She found out later that day that she had a brain tumor.  She went through treatment & recovered fully.  God used that circumstance as a catalyst to throw her out into the world of prison ministry.

How amazing (isn't that how God usually works?) that He used 2 different circumstances to bring people to the Lord in prison.  Angie went on to build a beautiful ministry to prisons world-wide.  Larry went on to moving out of law enforcement and into full time ministry.

Now for the prayer request---Angie's cancer is back.  She is a fabulous Christian woman.  She is strong & courageous!  She's begun treatment again, but maintains her prison ministry in the middle of it all!  Praise God!

Please visit her site, sign her guestbook & read her journal.  I promise you will be blessed!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Friday Jan. 5

Hard to believe that we're only about 5 weeks (give or take) from the 1 year anniversary of Lisa & Kelly's deaths and then about 6 weeks from the anniversary of the kids moving in.  Boy how our lives have changed in the past year.  I'm working on writing up a piece on all the things that have changed.  I will share that when we are done.

I just wanted to share Sarah's dinnertime prayer tonight.  I was so sweet.  She prayed for our meal and then said "...and God, please heal daddy's back so he can bend over."  It was so cute!  She prayed for Savannah's throat to feel better, too.  But the way she worded the part about Larry tickled me.  So many of the kids prayers are simplistic, almost like they're just repeating a memorized prayer ('thank you for our supper, thank you for my family, amen') but this one actually sounded like she was talking to God...not just saying words that bounced off the ceiling as she said them.  I love hearing things like that.

Andrew got in trouble today for lying--again.  He's still really having trouble with anger (well, rather...fury) and lying.  We keep correcting, punishing & hoping that it will change.  Keep praying!

Pampered Puppy & Camp P.

Yesterday was to be my first day back to work since the holidays & the kids went to my sister's house for the day.  Her kids planned out a "camp itenerary" complete with a schedule of the day's events, broken down into boy activities & girl activities.  There was art time, reading time, outdoor play time, lunch, quiet time, etc.  They kids had a blast going to Camp P!  (P is their last initial)  They culminated their camp day experience with the construction & design of a very fancy gingerbread house.  :)  (See pics)

Also, yesterday was to be the dog's first day at home alone.  I didn't have the heart to leave her in the kennel after she'd spent 8 hours in there overnight.  It just seemed cruel!  We got a 40 ft. long cable/rope thing & decided she'd be outside for the day in the sun to play & snuggle in her dog house for the first time.  We got it all set up, put her food & water bowls into the dog house & then it happened.....we woke up to pouring rain.  Oh boy.  I still felt like it was not a very nice idea to leave her locked up all day, so we gave the leash to the neighbor kids & asked them to go over & play with her throughout the day, take her for a walk & just generally entertain her---if it stopped raining & they could go out.  They were very excited about that b/c they LOVE our little Coco. it turns out, they took her off the chain/rope about an hour after we left the house & she stayed INSIDE their house the rest of the day.  They gave her a bath, played with her, let her snooze in their laps.  It was like a spa day for the dog.  :)  She loved it.

Tuesday I will go back to work again & the kids all go back to school.  I have a feeling it'll be like a baby crying it out---she'll HAVE TO stay outside all day then, and she'll have to adjust to it!  She will whimper & whine & cry but sooner or later, I hope she gets that she has to just get over it.  (& hopefully it will not be raining that day!!!)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Tues Jan 2

Once again, I'm sorry that I'm not doing well on keeping up here.  If you want to check in on us, feel free to email me in between posts.

We made it through Christmas.  A&K did fine on Christmas morning.  Larry & I have felt, all along, that if the kids could just make it to the 1 year point (which is quickly approaching), and make it through all the major holidays of the year, things would get easier.  While things do continue to improve, it's also more evident that they're beginning to realize that this is long-term.  I mean, we've tried to convey that to them all along, but the longer they're here, the more they seem to really understand that...and I'm so glad.

There are still issues that we deal with daily & that probably won't just "poof" go away any time soon, but I have hope.  :)  It's so neat to see the progress they continue to make.  It's so much fun to watch kids grow & change.  I was just moving all of 2006's pictures to CDs today (to free up room on the computer) & it's just amazing how much all 5 kids have changed this year!  A&K especially!

God is so good....God is so good....God is so good, He's so good to me.  (Remember that song from VBS when we were kids?)  It's so true.  He is so good to me.

I love Him so....I love Him so....I love Him so.  He's so good to me.