Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mini Laps

Mini Laps was a huge success! $280,000 was raised, I think (?). Thanks again to ALL of you who donated and supported Ava. She did great. Although at one point she decided she was done pulling her little pink wagon with a piggy inside, and her teacher Brooke had to carry it the rest of the way.

Not only did she walk all the way around the track, but she stopped to say hello to an admiring fan. :) Both are miracles in my book.

Way to go, Ava!
There were SO many cute and creative floats and costumes. I wasn't able to snap photos of all of them but here are a few:

When this little boy, who is visually impaired, walked around the track, they asked the crowd to withhold their cheers. He had to listen to his teacher's instructions to know which way to go. What an applause he received when he crossed the finish line though!
A live pony, wow!
It's a corn stalk!

This little boy just got prosthetic legs last week! He showed off his newly acquired walking skills. Sweet boy. He is in Ava's class.

A crop duster! How creative! Who in the world comes up with these kinds of ideas? This boy is non-verbal and has no use of his arms or his legs....BUT he can maneuver his wheelchair by himself, by turning his head. He can also communicate by directing his eyes towards words on a computer screen. Technology has been good to this boy and his family.

A silo. Oh my goodness.

Is she cute or what?

Fall has arrived.
Love the braids.
This little girl inspires me.
A cute little lamb. Oh me oh my....
Little John Deere raced across the finish line and clapped for himself. ha

Beautiful girl. She has come so far even from last year's Mini Laps.
This little boy is in Ava's class too, and quite a cutie! Love the gardening gloves hanging out of his pocket.

And here is Ava with her teacher Miss Brooke. We are sure going to miss this place next year. :(

Do normal families have shoes in their wreaths?

Or only those with sociopathic tendencies?
You know what is funny is that we have been looking for this shoe for days, and have been walking past this wreath in my entry for the same number of days, and none of us noticed the shoe. Then my sister came over last week and said, "Did you know there is a shoe in your wreath?"

Um, yeah. Doesn't it look pretty?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thanks you guys for being so nice to me. Thanks for understanding our family and our "sick" sense of humor. By the way YES I do know that ponies is the plural of pony. I didn't mark it wrong on the paper because I asked him while I was grading how do you spell ponies and he spelled it properly.  Besides he had spelled it right in a previous question, so I knew he knew it, and I let it slide. I did point it out to him though. That's what we homeschool moms do sometimes because it's not fun to see too many red marks on your page. When you post your photos and stories on the internet sometimes you are taking a risk that everyone is really going to know whether your kids can spell (or you can spell for that matter), whether you grade properly, whether you keep your house clean, buckle your car seats properly,  or whether  your family has sociopathic tendencies......etc.

:) I guess I'm a risk taker that way.

Anyway....I've been working on this post for 3 days but have had so many interruptions. I guess that is what I signed up for when I decided to have seven kids.

I told you we had an appointment with the pediatric dentist/oral surgeon on Monday. It went a little different than I expected.

Zoya turned out to be quite the celebrity in the dental office. Apparently none of the staff, not even either of the dentists, had ever seen an unrepaired cleft palate on a child this old. Zoya ended up showing every tech, receptionist, hygienist, and dentist the roof of her mouth, and several photos and notes were taken. Who knew an open cleft was such a novelty? I didn't.

Everybody was fascinated.

The dentist was so happy. Zoya proved his theory about cleft repair and how if done later, it benefits the craniofacial development.

He feels that, from a craniofacial point of view anyway, it is better to leave the cleft open in childhood so that the jaw and the bones can develop properly. He said that when the cleft is repaired during infancy, which it is 99.99%  of the time, the upper jaw cannot grow and therefore the upper jaw stays smaller than the lower jaw. I couldn't picture this at all and they couldn't provide photos to 'prove' it. But everybody who saw it agreed that her teeth and jaws looked beautiful and "normal" for a child who had not had cleft surgery.

Now he told me to google pictures to see what he was talking about, and honestly I couldn't find any. So if anybody knows what he means and has pictures to prove it, I would love to see it for myself. He is recommending waiting a few more years to do the surgery. He feels that a prosthetic palate (I just made this name up, I really don't know what I'm talking about) would help her be able to learn to eat better and talk, and then once she is fully developed, say, as a teenager, we could have it repaired.

Now, this is just the dentist's opinion. We have not consulted with the speech therapist or the surgeon. Something tells me they would have a different opinion. From what I understand, she would benefit socially and speech wise by repairing it ASAP, but she would benefit appearance wise (normal facial bone development) by waiting. I guess we have to decide which we feel would be more important to her. Like I said I have never actually seen a person with a cleft palate repair to know any different.

I'm open to any thoughts or suggestions about this. Like I said, this was not what I was expecting to hear, especially after so many commenters suggested repairing the cleft ASAP.

Zoya is very proud of her beautiful smile and her cleft. She doesn't hesitate to show it to anybody. So, if you are interested, here are some photos of her beautiful smile.
I never noticed the scar on her chin until I looked closely at this photo. Or is that chocolate?
See how her upper and lower teeth align perfectly? According to the dentist if she had gotten the cleft repair early, the upper jaw would be much narrower and she would have a significant underbite.
How I love this girl. Isn't she beautiful?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is appropriate?

It fascinates me that what is innocent and funny to one person, is completely inappropriate and sick to another. It was pointed out to me by a random blog commenter that a joke about a pony being used as target practice is not funny at all and in fact, is "sick". Let me copy the comment here:
Yeah, looks like you're raising a sociopath. A propensity toward animal cruelty is among the most common signs of antisocial personality disorder and other ailments. Yeah. Totally not funny. That's actually really sick.

Ellen, It so happens that my children have indeed used the pony as target practice. Yes, the pony has been shot at with orange foam cylinders from a Nerf gun. Somebody call animal protective services...quick! In fact every person in our family and even the dog has been struck with Nerf pellets, because that is one of the ways we like to have fun around here. What struck me as funny about the answer was that it was not meant to be funny at all, but an honest answer from a boy......a good hearted boy I might add, who happens to love his Nerf gun. AND his animals.

What is also funny to me is that the person who thought it inappropriate for me to joke about my boy's honest and, in my opinion, funny answer to a question about ponies, found it appropriate to call my child "a sociopath with a propensity toward animal cruelty".


Anyway, please accept my sincerest apologies if I offended anyone by posting the pony story. I just thought you might like to have a glimpse into a day in the life of a homeschool mom of boys. Knowing my boys well, I personally thought it was cute. Please do not worry. Our animals are safe. Well except for the chickens that were eaten by the dog. Oh and the rabbit that was eaten by the dog as well. Wait, we did have to dispose of the rooster who was attacking our littlest children every time they went to the barn to collect the eggs. But otherwise everyone on the farm is alive and well. And happy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mini Laps

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the last day to donate to Mini Laps. Donations must be in before 4:00pm in order for Ava to receive 'credit'.

This is the last time I'll ask....

Donate here

Thanks to ALL who have donated!! We are so blessed to know such nice people! And blessed to be a part of such a wonderful ministry. Thank you, thank you.

Wrong answer

This made me laugh. I thought I'd share.

Dare I say which of my children wrote this? Or is it obvious? (You might need to click to enlarge).

Monday, September 20, 2010

a few more pictures....

I found a few more pictures of our trip that I thought were sweet or funny.

Hope carrying Zoya across the rocks to spare her feet. Even though she was barefoot herself. :)

This is always a fun pose. And this photo solved the mystery of where all the rocks in my van came from. Look closely in Hope's shirt.

John thought he was being funny. har har

I don't brag enough about this boy. He insisted on pushing the kids around SDC with Zoya on his shoulders. Several times this past weekend I went to buckle the kids in their seats only to find out that he had beat me to it. One of the moms from our homeschool group approached me last week and said Simeon had gone out of his way to make her son feel special and accepted. And I was so proud. As stubborn and strong willed as he can be sometimes, he really does have a heart of gold.

And I'm including this just cause I thought it was kind of funny.

Happy Birthday Son.

Today is Joseph's sixth birthday. I always get emotional on my adopted kids' birthdays. Do you? I guess on the one hand you're so glad they're alive and they're here, and on the other hand you realize they had to lose everything that was important to them to get here. And I can't help but remember in my thoughts and prayers the birth parents, who chose to go on with their lives...without him...I wonder what it is like for them, every year when September 20th rolls around. Surely they must miss him terribly.

And then I think about what would have been if it were not for adoption. Today, his sixth birthday would have been the day that they would have packed up his file and transferred him to the mental institution. He would have spent the rest of his life locked up in a prison. But instead he is here, celebrating with us.

Does your mind work like this too?

BUT he is here with us, it's his birthday, and he is loved!

The boys decorated the cake this time.

Can you tell what it is? ;)

He certainly did not understand what to do with birthday candles. This birthday experience taught us that we need to work on fire safety basics.

As I suspected he was just as happy with the wrapping paper as he was with the presents. To my Type A blog readers, please do not distress that we used Christmas paper to wrap the presents in. I don't care, Joseph didn't care, and neither should you! He just ripped it into shreds anyway.

He loves music and this guitar was a big hit.

And this was John's gift.....HA! HA! I love it!

Of course we went straight outside, way past bedtime, to try it out.

If that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what does.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a doctor's visit and a family getaway

Thanks so much for all the helpful responses to my questions about cleft palate repair. I feel much more educated and prepared now. I will keep you all updated about what the team says about Zoya's cleft palate.

Well we broke every rule in the adoption handbook and over-stimulated, over-exerted and over-sugared our newly adopted children this weekend. But they loved it! We had a followup appointment in Little Rock on Thursday and we decided to take the school kids out of school and go as a family. Fifteen minutes before we had to leave John said Hey-you know what-Why don't I just take off work tomorrow and we'll make a little family vacation out of it. We both flew through the house throwing things in suitcases and then carried sleepy children to their carseats at the crack of dawn. All went well at the doctor, then we stopped by to see the Lorraines for about an hour or so. Thanks Lorraines for having us!

One of the things I've always loved about my husband is that he will spontaneously pull the car over to enjoy the scenery. Here he saw a riverbank of rocks and thought the kids would have fun throwing rocks in the Buffalo River.
They did.

Jude found a rock shaped like the state of Oklahoma.

Liesel found a rock with a fossil.

Hope found a rock that looks like a quartz, she said. I have no idea where she learned the word quartz but it was not from me.

Simeon only cares about rocks that make a big splash. And of course Joseph doesn't care about rocks at all. You know what he loved. And yes he did get in!

It was our first attempt at going to Silver Dollar City as a family of 9. For as "normal" as I feel, we sure get a lot of double takes and gawks and stares! One of my more sensitive children noticed it too, and we decided next year we're going to have t-shirts made that say:
 "Stare if you think our family is awesome!"

Poor Zoya was too short for almost every ride.

But she can still milk the cow.....

.....and ride the Froggies with Liesel, Joseph and Ava. Over and over. And over. And over. Did I mention having a person with Down Syndrome in your family (or two) means you can bypass the long lines?

Here is a cute story. I was people watching as I love to do. This little boy innocently hollered out to his mother that he saw Santa walking by. His mortified mother shushed him but Santa stopped, knelt down, lifted his glasses and started to talk to the little boy. I was too far away to eavesdrop. I wonder what he said. How sweet is that! I couldn't resist taking a photo and was secretly hoping one of my kids would call him Santa too, just so that I could meet him! :)
I have really good  news! Zoya has gained a pound! Well 9/10 of a pound to be precise but close enough! The dietician said she is 12 pounds away from actually plotting on the growth chart! How tiny is that! But one pound is progress and the doctor and dietician both were very pleased. I am not sure how she did it, but she did and we are proud! And thanks to my friend Melanie and her mom, Zoya will have some pants that actually fit her this winter, without having to use safety pins and rubber bands to cinch the waist like she had to do at the orphanage. They came over today and took measurements and are going to be making her some pants that fit the length and waist at the same time. I'm quite sure this will be a first for little Zoya. Thanks Melanie and Mrs. Fisher!

Oh, and I almost forgot! On our way back through Springfield we met up with the Heflins for a late dinner of mexican food. I stole a couple of photos from her blog. As always it was great to see them. I am so crazy about little Addy! (who wanted Simeon to hold her.) :)

Oh my goodness I look like I've been traveling and hauling children around all day, while Cammie beside me looks so fresh and beautiful and youthful, ha! You shouldn't do that Cammie! Thanks ya'll for meeting us!