Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Memorial Box Monday

A friend of mine started "Memorial Box Monday" as a way to remember and share ways that God had worked in their lives. She has a Memorial Box and she puts a small item in the box to represent each story. I have really enjoyed reading her posts and I told her I would try to remember to do this on Monday's. Of course, I forgot--and just noticed that she had posted one on her blog. Some are current stories, some are from years ago. So, here is my Memorial Box Monday post--on Tuesday. :)

A little over two years ago, God whispered a name to me...Joy. I knew it was a name that He wanted us to use for a daughter someday. A month or so later, I came across a logo in Chinese and English that said, "Pure Joy." I printed it out and saved it, thinking it would be so cool to have a little girl whose name meant
'pure joy.'

For 18 months, I looked for 'Joy' and wondered where she was. I looked at many different countries but there was never a little one that God seemed to be pointing out to me. Then, as you know, this summer we heard about Kate. God moved mountains to get her home to us.

While we waited to hear if we would be allowed to adopt her, we started to think about a first name that would go with the middle name, "Joy." Several in our family loved the name, Katelyn. I got out the baby name book to see the meaning of the name, Katelyn.

It meant, 'pure.'

"Pure Joy"

I Heart Faces

While looking around on the Internet for advice on photography, I stumbled upon this fun blog. Each week they have a photo contest. I normally plan to just get inspired from the other entries (since many are professional and I am, uh...NOT). This week's contest, though, was a 'pouty kid face.' SaraGrace is so great at posing for the camera that I wanted to try to get a photo to enter in the contest. At first, she would try to pout and then crack up laughing, but after awhile she started to get annoyed that I was making her sit in the chair and I got a few shots of a real pout. Too funny! This is my entry for this week:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Trouble x Two

I was cooking dinner tonight when I realized with growing dread that Kate and Jake were no longer playing with the rest of the kids in the family room. I dropped everything and went to find them. Calling their names brought no response, which was a bad sign because it meant they were upstairs. There is nothing for them to do up there but get in trouble.

As I reached the top of the stairs, Jake came running out of my room to meet me with a cheesy I'm-so-cute-that-I'm-sure-you-don't-want-to-get-me-in-trouble smile. I turned him around to retrace his steps into the bathroom. Kate, who has not yet realized that you can try to schmooze your parents out of getting in trouble, was standing frozen at the scene of the crime. Scattered all over the floor were various items from the drawers and countertop. None of it was Jeff's. What's up with that? I smothered giggles when I saw some capsules that looked like one of the herbs I take sometimes. Kate was standing there with yellow powder all over her cheek and was wimpering. She had a look on her face that said, "I have the most vile taste in my mouth and I can't get rid of it!" The herb Kate had in her mouth was valerian. If you have ever smelled valerian, you would die laughing that she had it in her mouth. It is the foulest smelling stuff EVER! I can't imagine how bad it must have tasted. A fit punishment for getting into mommy's jewelry and hair stuff. I tried to get a picture of her, although she had kind of lost her grimace by the time I finished cleaning up the mess and meting out their punishment. You can still see some of the yellow junk on her face. I'm guessing she won't get into that again.

Neither one of them has ever done anything like that before. They are always stuck to me like glue. I guess I will have to baby proof my bathroom up to a higher level than it is currently.

On to other things, I was playing with Picnik the other night and it let me add some cool effects to my photos. Just thought I'd tell you in case you need to do any photo editing. It's free and easy to use. Here is a picture of Kate, first one is straight out of the camera, and second one is edited. We thought that Kate looked like this little doll of Jillian's so I took a picture of Kate holding it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Check out this God story!

My friends, Bill and Lynsay in China, just updated their blog with a way cool God story! Click here to read it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can you help?

My dear friends, Bill and Lynsay Lewis need our help! They live in China and have been asked to take in nine orphaned babies with special needs. They are excited to do this, but as you can imagine, they need many things. Please go check out their blog, Morning Star Project .

They have found a place to live that is big enough for all the babies, but they can only stay there for three months. They need to start renovating a building, which of course takes funding.

No donation is too small, so please prayerfully consider if God is calling you to make a difference in the lives of these precious ones.

Jeff and Jillian's 'Major Award"

If you know Jeff and I very well, you will know that we love to quote movie lines all the time. One of our favorite movies is "The Christmas Story." It has such great lines to quote. Every time someone in our family wins anything (however small and insignificant), we proclaim "____ has won a major award," in our best dad-in-that-movie voice.

Last night was the annual Awana Grand Prix pinewood derby race. Awana Club is a Wednesday night activity at church. Last year, Jillian's car didn't win but this year....drum roll please....she came in second place! Her design was a watermelon. Dad painted it red and Jillian put the finishing details on it.

Bummer about the blurry picture, but this is the only one I took of her car.

The trophies were on backorder, so no picture of the MAJOR AWARD. I think it's safe to say it won't be a leg lamp, though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Jake was sitting here in time-out, screaming his head off, and looked so comical in his Spongebob hat, that I grabbed the camera. When he saw it, he immediately stopped crying, wiped his tears, and flashed me a big, cheesy smile! The kid cracks me up!

Some people have asked how I have time to blog and I tell them that it's a matter of survival. First, I love to write, and second, I have to complete a few sentences in the course of a day. Completing sentences is an important skill to maintain when you are surrounded by toddlers all day. Jake and Zoey are in the habit of repeating everything we say to them, so having a 'conversation' with them goes like this:

Me: We need to get your socks.
Z or J: My thocks?
Me: Yes, your socks. And your shoes.
Z or J: My sthoes?
Me: Yes. And we need to change your diaper.
Z or J: dange my diapuh?
Me: Yes, you smell stinky.
Z or J: I tinky?
Me: Yes, you reek.
Z or J: I week?
Me: (Getting tired of repeating myself, I get a glint in my eye and decide to use words they can't pronounce, so that I can have something to laugh about) Yes, you smell disgusting.
Z or J: I mell dith-uh--thust--ttting?
Me: Yes, it's replusive.
Z or J: Ith poll - umm--thif
This is where I laugh my head off and think they are so adorably cute that I can't be annoyed with them.

Zoey and Kate have been picking up English words a lot quicker lately. They LOVE to pray and it's so cute! They HAVE to pray before they eat and before they go to bed--even for naps. They sound like this,

"DEAR GOD (loudly, with MUCH drama)
akf;sklfjadfkjadfskafkdf;kfjdkhadlgs;kdfafhdkjgdf (that's gobbly-gook that only God can understand)
AMEN!!! (with a flourish and a huge smile)"

They like to sing the first line of "Jesus Loves Me," and "Deep and Wide," which can be heard quite often when they are trying to fall asleep at night. They sing so sweetly and if noticed, will break into a huge grin. Last night, they were supposed to be asleep and I heard them giggling and laughing, so I went to check on them. They had their legs hanging out of their cribs, talking and playing with each other, so I turned the light on and took their picture.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Say it ain't so....


A few weeks ago, a note came home from school. Someone in Molly's class had lice. I didn't think much of it, although I checked her head. A week or so ago, another ominous note arrived. Another child had lice.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you?

Molly started complaining of an itchy head and upon checking it, discovered some unwelcome guests feasting off her scalp.

ARGH!!! Just shoot me now!

My brain--albiet quite mathematically challenged--began adding up the loads of laundry. All bedding. All clothing. All winter hats. All coats, winter and spring + 12 people = a really tired Mommy.

I then realized that the girls all use the same hair brush. Every day. And hair bows, barrettes, and headbands.

We put the hair brush in a boiling pot of water and thankfully, no little lice corpses rose to the top. We then checked all the girls' hair and they are all louse-free, even Jillian who sleeps in a double bed with Molly. I treated Jillian anyway, though.

I spent four hours this afternoon nit-picking. Yeah...I'm sure ya'll know that the lice eggs are called nits, and when you strain your eyes trying to see their tiny white deposits, you are nit-picking.

While Molly was lying on my lap getting nit-picked she said, "Mom, you are going on an egg hunt. You just get to do it before Easter!" That cracked me up--but I much prefer the egg hunts that end in chocolate.

On the upside, I DID get to spend four hours with my precious Molly lying on my lap and listening to her chatter. She told me several times that I was the best Mommy in the world and she was so happy that we adopted her. I love that girl! Another sweet moment was when Ryan found out that Molly had lice. He came over and rubbed his head on hers and said, "Molly, don't worry. If you have to get your head shaved, I'll shave mine, too." Molly glowed and didn't even notice the reference to getting her head shaved. ha.

Yes, I'll be checking his head, too.

Corrected Blog Link

It was brought to my attention that the blog link I gave you previously wasn't working. SORRY! Here is IS: and I will also post the actual address in case the link doesn't work. http://www.bakerssweets.blogspot.com/

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Mountain-moving God

I am so amazed and excited! Do you remember the little girl who was supposed to get adopted when we got Zoey and Kate? The one whose 'parents' decided not to adopt her? Well....God had been writing a wonderful story!

A friend emailed me the link to the blog of that little girl's new family!! You just have to go and read the story!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kate has a surgery date

Kate's doctor called today with a surgery date of April 13 and a decision on the type of surgery that will be performed.

The surgeon has decided to go with a full repair, rather than the single ventricle repair. Kate's heart is on the wrong side of her body, so a single-ventricle repair would not have been straight forward. The full repair still carries a slightly higher risk, but not enough to outweigh the benefit of it.

The doctor told me that she is 'very nervous about either surgery,' because Kate's heart condition is so complicated. However, she says that Kate's surgeon is very talented and she has confidence in his ability. Because Kate's case is so difficult, they are going to call a conference with the other 20 surgeons and cardiologists, to go over Kate's test results. They will discuss her case and give their recommendations to be sure that a full repair is the best way to go.

We are still waiting for the hospital staff to call back with all the details, but for now we have a date and will start working toward getting things set up for our family to cope with Kate being in the hospital for three weeks.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tithing is FUN!

Tithing sometimes conjures up unpleasant thoughts, but it really shouldn't. Years ago, Jeff and I decided to take the plunge and start tithing--even though our budget didn't make sense on paper. However, we were challenged by the verse in Malachi 3:10.
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

We decided that we would take God up on this challenge and see what would happen if we tithed at the beginning of the month. Would we run out of money, or would God provide? We found out that He is true to His word, and we didn't run out of money.

Over the years, we have found that God has blessed us in some unexpected ways and has 'poured out so much blessing' that we have been wowed by the things He has done. Here is an example:

When we got approved to adopt Zoey and Kate, we needed a few things. We needed a double stroller and actually, two double strollers would come in handy. We went to KidsRUs to check them out. The one I fell in love with was a jogger stroller. It rolled so smoothly and handled with ease. Unfortunately, it had a huge price tag. We left the store and I decided I would try to find a used one. I looked and looked. Nothing materialized. The lady at the consignment store said that they sell within hours of coming in. I prayed and asked God for a new double stroller (or two). Shortly after, a friend emailed me to say that her friend wanted to get rid of her double stroller. It was not a jogger, but it was a nice one. I was quite happy to get it and stopped praying for a jogger.

Today, I was talking to my neighbor and she mentioned that a friend of hers had a double jogger stroller that she was trying to get rid of. (!) I told her I would love one and she said she would check to see if her friend still had it. She told me that her friend had posted it on Facebook a week ago, so it was probably long gone.

An hour or so later, my neighbor pulled into our driveway. I went out to see what she needed and low and behold, she was unloading a beautiful, almost new double jogger stroller!! It has only been used about five times, and is nicer than the one we looked at in the store. She also brought a huge bag of kids clothes for Jake and Jordan. How fun! Many of the clothes were too small, so we get to pass them on to another friend who is in need. Cool!!

The kids had a ball pulling out all the clothes and trying them on. Lately, the three little kids have been doing an amusing Kung-fu move and saying, "Ta-Da!" It just cracks me up. I snapped this picture of them doing their 'move,' while wearing a strange assortment of the donated clothing.

The Tireless Trio

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Smell of Rain

I love the smell of rain. It means spring...it means flowers and green grass. It means I have to stay inside and listen to a bunch of kids fighting. Oh...yeah, that's the part I DON'T like!

It is colder today and rained briefly, so we are forced to abandon our hope of cavorting around the yard. Drat. I guess I'll have to stay inside and edit the photos from yesterday.

It was a beautiful day yesterday and we played outside all day. Well...the kids played and I took pictures (so technically, I was 'playing' too). I had thought that Kate and Zoey were keeping up pretty well with our other kids, but once outside, the differences began to be pretty evident. Kate's gross motor skills are pretty poor--even compared to Zoey. Zoey tries to run--bless her heart--but on the uneven ground in the yard, she had a bit of trouble. It didn't stop her from trying--it's just that the other kids ran much faster. This may change for both girls as they gain strength and get used to running around. It really doesn't matter because they all have a blast together (when they're not fighting over the toys!).

"With the cleverness of a chipmunk, I harvest my 'nuts.'"

"I was overwrought at the discovery that I had to give up "MY" swing to Zoey, to use the one next to it that is exactly the same. My mom's power of persuasion calmed me down and I am now happy to use the middle swing. I will not be using the swing on the far left, however, because well...that would rock my boat."

Seeing them sticking their heads out the windows causes the thought, "Cuckoo! Cuckoo! to spring to mind.

Big sister helped push the swings and squash all the creepy bugs in the playhouse.

My little monkey is afraid of heights, so he stays on the bottom rungs.

Relishing the freedom of running through the grass

We are still waiting and praying for news from the doctors at U of M regarding a decision and date for Kate's surgery. I am fighting fear and just asking God to help me trust Him. I guess the concern in the doctor's eyes kind of unnerved me a little. On one hand, open heart surgery is 'routine' these days...but on the other hand, open heart surgery is also a big risk.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Playin' outside

We have had some unseasonably warm weather to enjoy and we have all been playin' outside. We are so thankful to get out of the house, especially since we have been sick for so long.

Little Kate checks out big brother, Ryan's, truck

SaraGrace has some Eskimo kisses for Zoey

"I do all my own stunts."

"Great day...let's kick back and relax."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kate's Heart Cath

Daddy reads a book to Kate while we sit in the waiting room

Grandpa came for extra moral support

Little Kate came through her heart cath with flying colors. She was so brave. Although she didn't like being poked and prodded, she handled it pretty well until she had to get her first shot of Demerol, before the start of the procedure. They told us that she would get very sleepy. Ha.

They don't know Kate.

She was DETERMINED not to go to sleep. She was hyper-vigilent, eyes darting back and forth watching every person in the room. Her eyes would close, but then startle open with any noise or movement by anyone.

They had me carry her to the cath lab to lie her down on the table but she got hysterical. They said they needed to give her another medication and this one 'would put her out.' It was a syringe full of liquid that they had to put in her nose. Ugh. They said it was fast acting.

They don't know Kate.

She continued to be DETERMINED not to go to sleep. Her body was tense and she wrapped her arms and legs around me in a death grip.
Finally, they had to get out their 'big gun' medication to put her out. It was another shot in the leg, and Kate was screaming, "No...No..." I was crying along with her. I felt so sorry for my little fighter. I was beginning to have my doubts about her ever going to sleep, but thankfully, she DID finally go limp in my arms. Her eyes didn't close, though, which was very freaky. I layed her down on the bed and she looked so tiny lying there.

She was done in an hour and a half. They told us that she had to lie still for four hours so that her leg incision wouldn't bleed. (It was a very small incision, not needing a stitch, so she needed to be still to give it a chance to close.) I asked if she would be sedated because I know how restless she is. They told me that most kids are pretty sleepy and are content to lie in bed and watch TV.

They don't know Kate.

She was restless--back and forth between Mommy's arms and the bed...twisting and turning, and bringing back memories of our plane trip home from China with her. haha She did snuggle with me for the begininng of the four hours, but it didn't last long. By the end of the third hour, she was motioning for her clothes and wanting to get dressed and go home.

The doctor came to talk to us and said that she is now unsure that a full repair would be the best option for Kate. She does have two ventricles, but to do a full repair, they would have to totally change her blood flow in the upper chamber and lower chamber of heart, besides bridge a HUGE hole with a conduit. There were some other things, too, that I can't remember. So now, she is thinking that the surgery that leaves her with a single ventricle might be a better option.

The doctor will talk to the surgeon and see what his opinion is. If there is not a much bigger benefit to doing the full repair, the doctor is worried that it is not worth the risk. She said that it would be a very difficult surgery, and since Kate is a very good candidate for the single ventricle repair, it might not be much of an advantage to do the full repair. Her exact words were, "The full repair surgery is so complicated. I would feel terrible if something happened to her."

The doctor will call us next week and hopefully we will have a surgery date then. She is hoping for an April surgery date. If you would pray with us that the surgeon will have wisdom as he decides which surgery to do, we would appreciate it so much!

The first hour after the heart cath...still feeling sleepy.

She wanted to hold hands with Mommy...so sweet.

"As soon as I'm done with my snack, I want to go home!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One of those days...

Did you ever have one of those days where you felt like your brain stayed in bed while your body went running all over the place?

Ryan and I were going to drive to MSU, several hours away, so that he could receive an award--an FFA degree (FFA stands for Future Farmers of America). It is a big honor and I was so excited for him. So that we would know how to get to MSU, he came home with a map from his class. I should have listened to the inner voice that recommended that I print out a Google map to go with it. But of course, I ignored my inner voice.

I thought it would be a fun outing for SaraGrace and Jordan and also give Taylor a break to just babysit the three littlest ones. Apparently, the part of my brain that stayed in bed forgot how loooooong FFA award ceremonies are.

We all got in the car and were having a nice time talking, when all of a sudden, I started seeing signs for a city far past where we were supposed to be going. UGH. Our so-called map was incomplete (to put it nicely) so we couldn't even try to figure out where we were. Since I'm female, I immediately pulled off at the next exit to ASK for directions. (smile) Yep...we had gone 45 minutes past our exit. GROAN. Thankfully, we still had just enough time to get to the ceremony.

We made it--a tad stressed--but in time. The ceremony then went...count them...almost 3 hours...YES, three hours!! UGH! Poor SaraGrace and Jordan sat in a totally dark auditorium (so they couldn't even draw to amuse themselves) and listened to speech after speech. Finally our Ryan walked the stage and soon after, we were able to go home. I bought the little kids milkshakes for their good behavior.

Our Mom dragged us here for a NOT fun outing

How can my baby be this old? wah...

I laughed to Ryan about the possibility of it taking us an extra hour to get home if we ended up sailing past our exit. I shouldn't have laughed. After two hours, I realized we were again approaching a city that was 45 minutes past where we should have gotten off. ARGH!!!! How could it happen again?! I wasn't even talking on my cell phone! At least I would have had an excuse if I was talking to someone...but nooooo.... I am just brain dead. I don't normally have a hard time finding my way around so this was just a very weird day. Note to self...do NOT leave home without a map!

Poor Taylor had to babysit an extra two hours, and while I was gone....Jake pooped his back.

My Treasures

"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Isreal, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:3

Yesterday the kids had a day off school and I suddenly realized that it was sunny, (good lighting for pics) they were all home, and I needed to get a picture of all of them. Since Ryan will be leaving us for Nashville Auto Diesel College in July (sniff, sniff), these rare moments will become non-existant soon. There was only one problem. I had a half hour to get to a dental appointment and none of my treasures were wearing clothes that would look okay in a photo. I rushed upstairs to find black and while clothing--but alas...could only find white. Oh well.... This was the final result of about 15 minutes of them trying to hold this pose. Out of about 20 pictures, this was the only usable one. haha I'm not that thrilled with it, but it's beter than nothing. Hopefully when it warms up outside and gets green, they will allow me to try this again but it's difficult trying to find a time when they are all available.

Below are some of the duds...but they tell the story, so I like them for their silliness factor. Oh and by the way....Kate goes for her heart cath in the morning (Fri.), and we would so appreciate prayers for her. As you can see in the pictures, her color is not good and we would like to have her get her surgery as soon as possible. Thank you for praying with us!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zoey gets her new brace

Zoey's brace was ready for pick-up yesterday, so we made the trip to the orthotist. She is always so happy to go 'bye-bye' with Mommy.

There was a lot of down time while we waited for them to make adjustments to the brace, so Zoey amused herself with my cell phone.

All set to go shopping with her purse and cell phone!

Finally, the orthotist came back in with the finished leg brace. It has a panda on the back of it that lights up when she walks. Very cute. She wimpered a bit when he put the brace on her leg, but when she stood up to walk, she was all smiles. Although she still limps pretty badly, it is MUCH easier for her to walk. They built it up a bit, to help make up the difference in her leg lengths. They couldn't build it up to be even with her good leg, because her foot points downward. Having a foot pointing downward at the same level as the other leg would require her to swing her leg out sideways, rather than bringing it straight through in a normal gait. Not sure if that makes sense...but anyway...

When she realized that we were trying to help her walk better, she gave me the most beautiful smile of appreciation. It was so precious. She had this look on her face like, "I really get it that you are trying to help me and my heart is filling right up!" She was grinning from ear to ear. Tears pricked my eyes as I watched her walk and smile with such delight. When we got into the car, she hugged me tight and gave me another bright smile. Awww...my heart swelled. What a sweet little girl she is!

She is getting around pretty well, although it is definitely something she needs to grow accustomed to. My only complaint with the brace is that it is now hard for her to sit on the floor because she can hardly bend her leg. The brace is also rather cumbersome. So, it's great for walking but not so great for playing on the floor.

This is how her foot looks without the brace.

And this is how it looks with the brace. Much better!!

She is very proud of her brace and doesn't want anyone to touch it when she takes it off for nap and nighttime. Ryan got her up from her nap and he said that the first thing she did was point to her brace. I am really glad that she likes it and wants to wear it. We'll see if that lasts once summer is here and the brace makes her sweat. For now...it's all good!

Her siblings cluster around to see Zoey's new brace.

Zoey shows them her brace with the light up panda on it.