Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let's Brush Our Teeth

Here we have a typical group of toddlers brushing their teeth before bedtime:Clearly they are enjoying themselves. The toothpaste is "Sparkle Fun Flavor". Wow, who wouldn't like the taste of that?
Sometimes they need a little help from Dad:

Dad makes sure every tiny tooth gets scrubbed clean.
But hold on a minute, why did Kiki stop brushing her teeth? What's that little girl up to?

Let's take a closer look:

Hmm...seems Kiki doesn't want to leave Brad out of the nightly ritual. I'm sure he appreciates it. Dogs like "Sparkle Fun Flavor", too you know!
(In case you are wondering, the dog did NOT lick or in any way touch the toothbrush with his mouth.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

One Year and One Hope

Today marks two significant milestones for our family. It is one year since the placement of Joe and Daniel in our home, and it is the end of the 90-day window in which Kiki's relatives can intervene on her behalf.

Most people probably wonder how we ended up with three children so close in age. We originally agreed to take the boys after we were told Kiki was only going to be a temporary placement. We figured we could handle all three if it was just for a few weeks. We could have asked that Kiki go to another foster home, but we were already too attached to her and we knew there was still a slim chance she would become available for adoption. During the next several months that tiny hope grew, and yet at times it also diminished greatly.

The day the boys arrived I remember looking out the window, seeing the CPS workers taking them out of the car, and thinking how unreal it was that these little boys were just taken from their grandparents' home and would now be living with us. When they came inside our house Joe cried a little bit and Daniel smiled at me. I remember giving Joe a sippy cup with milk and some blocks to play with. He wasn't too interested in the milk, but he liked the blocks. That night I went to Wal-Mart to buy clothes for the boys because all they came with were the outfits they were wearing. (It still boggles my mind that they didn't come with any other clothes or even any toys.) I took Kiki with me (she was only a month old) and Billy stayed home with the boys. It was a cold night. I cried as I pushed the cart into the store because I was heartbroken about Kiki having to leave us and I was terrified at the thought of taking care of all three children together in the meantime. It was late, I was overwhelmed, and I was questioning our decision to take the boys.

Back then we were drowning in diapers and formula and sleepless nights. Today we are still drowning in diapers, but now we have toddlers and laughter and tantrums and silliness. Our lives have settled into a manageable and yes, enjoyable routine. Through it all God has been guiding us and leading us to fully trust in His will for our family. For that we are humbly thankful. We continue to pray and trust and hope that our little Kiki will soon officially become little sister to Joe and Daniel.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You know you've spent too much time on the computer when . . .

. . . you accidentally call your son "Google".

True story.

(I'm sorry, Daniel!)

Back to "Normal"

After 36 hours of freedom, yesterday I was back to having a $6,000 medical device attached to me 24/7. Sunday night my insulin pump decided to stop working. This has happened before, but it's always a bit panic-inducing because, well, I kind of need it to control my diabetes. But after a quick call to the manufacturer a replacement was shipped out and was in my hands Tuesday morning. In the meantime, I got to pick up and hold my children without worry that they would kick the pump off of my waist, I didn't have to worry about them playing with the pump itself or chewing on the tubing as they so enjoy doing, and I could wake up in the morning without the tubing wrapped all the way around my body as happens from time to time. Freedom!! Oh yeah, I did have to give myself pesky insulin shots all day and my glucose readings were a roller coaster of highs and lows. So, I guess it wasn't really freedom after all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

1000 Babies

Today our friends Naomi and Micah came over to play! This is what it looks like when there are 1000 Babies in your home:
Everyone had a great time playing, dancing, and eating snacks together. Can you believe I even happened to have a high chair and/or booster seat for everyone? I can't. But I did.

Thanks for coming over, Naomi and Micah!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Geekums is one of our nicknames for Kiki, so if you hear us calling her "Geek", know that we are not insulting her. Geekums evolved from Keekums which evolved from Kiki which evolved from her real name. She picked up the nickname "Kia" at church and at home she is also known as "Little Mama".This little girl brings more joy than I ever thought possible into our home. She pats and hugs the boys when they are sad, rips her diaper off and runs through the house when she's feeling mischievous, and dances every time she hears music. (Her signature move is bouncing up and down on her knees with one arm outstretched in front and the other arm behind her.) She's loud, she's tough, she's a sweetheart. You can always tell when Kiki wants a little extra love because she holds you so tight and clings even tighter if you try to set her down.

Little Geekums, we love you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Danimal

The Danimal is one sweet little guy! I know, I know, he looks mighty fierce in this picture. You're wondering, "How does she handle his ferociousness?" The truth is, most days you can find Daniel quietly puttering about the house with his hands tucked behind his back, and if you happen to catch his eye he'll bestow upon you one precious little smile. He loves to climb onto chairs, the coffee table, and the back of the sofa. (Our sofa is not up against a wall so I am constantly running to pull him down before he falls over the back of it. The dog beds are on the other side so at least he will have a bit of a cushion should he tumble over.) Much to my relief, Dan has taken an interest in books and will bring one to me to read to him several times a day. He loves to watch Humpty Dumpty and Baa Baa Black Sheep videos on YouTube. Taking a cue from his sister, Daniel has begun dancing to music and recently learned how difficult it is to walk after you've endlessly spun yourself around in a circle. I can't wait to see what he learns next!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Another Step Closer...

Today was another Permanency Planning meeting for Kiki, and the goal is adoption by us! Yay! We figured this would happen, but we were nervous beforehand because there are always nagging doubts about what could happen. I had some sleeplessness last night pondering the awful idea of Kiki being taken from us. We still have about two weeks left in the 90-day window in which Kiki's biological family can intervene, and then it's up to her caseworker to start submitting the paperwork to get the adoption process rolling. Ideally we would finalize the adoption before the end of the year, but that's probably being a little too optimistic. But if we hadn't been even just a little hopeful about Kiki when we first welcomed her into our home, we wouldn't be where we are today. It's only by the grace of God that we have been able to do this, and each day I am in awe of how much He has blessed our family with our three beautiful little children!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Play Set

After weeks of talking about it, we finally bought the kids a major outdoor toy. We lucked out because it was even on sale. The play set has a basketball hoop, slide, and a "rock wall" to climb. On one side there are holes to kick a soccer ball and to throw a football through.

After watching the kids play for a few minutes, we made the following observations: Kiki is the best at "shooting" baskets, Dan's strength is climbing, and Joe is good at kicking and throwing. I wonder if we have any future athletes among us? (Other than rhythmic gymnasts, of course.)

But of course you know they had more fun playing with the box:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Joe Update

Last week Joe had his re-evaluation for Early Childhood Intervention services. We knew he would continue to qualify because he is still behind in speech. He rarely attempts any words without prompting, other than "ma-ma", "da-da", "ap-pa" (for apple and pumpkin), and "mmm" for "more". When asked to repeat a word he usually says "da" for everything. I admit it is starting to worry me a lot more than it used to. He's been living with us for almost a year and I expected a lot more progress by now. I feel bad for Joe because I know he must have so many things he wants to share with us but cannot communicate those ideas. The good news is that his therapists said cognitively he is at or above where he should be for his age. During the evaluation I was amazed at how quickly he completed most of the tasks, several of which were skills we've never worked on directly. He also seems to learn new tasks fairly quickly.

Joe is a great helper around the house. He is always eager to put his empty cups in the sink, throw trash in the trash can, put away his clothes, and clean up his toys. He has started giving spontaneous hugs to Daniel and Kiki and will comfort them when they cry. Joe loves books and the other day we caught him "reading" out loud, even though it was just a bunch of babble. He's a great little guy and I thank God for giving him to us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hope and Change

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Biting Truth

We seem to be having a rash of biting incidents lately, with Kiki being the main culprit. If you look closely at this picture you can see her teeth marks on Joe's face. It's been several days and the marks are still there.

However, twice now Joe has come to me showing a bite mark on his arm. Today when it happened I asked him who did it and he pointed to Daniel. I hadn't heard any crying from Joe, so I became suspicious. I examined the bite mark and noticed at least 5 or 6 teeth marks in a row. Neither Dan nor Kiki has this many teeth in a row. Therefore, I concluded the bite was self-inflicted. I'm no expert on child psychology, but I assume at this age Joe didn't do it to get his brother in trouble but rather to get attention. It worked.

Let's Go to the Zoo

This past Saturday morning we decided to pack up and head to the zoo. After some initial confusion about what time it was, we made it out of the door by 11:00 which is several hours earlier than we normally manage on Saturdays. (We slept late and blamed it on the time change but then a couple of hours later when our cell phones and TV clocks still had the "old" time we remembered the time didn't change Friday night, but Saturday night. Duh.)

Anywho, the zoo was surprisingly uncrowded for a perfect weekend day, I think because everyone had gone to the "Zoo Boo" on Thursday and Friday. Joe was able to enjoy the animals more now that he's a little older, and we even got Dan and Kiki to look at some. Joe was a little frightened at the lion exhibit because one lion got a little testy with the other and let out a menacing growl. He also did not like the rhinocerous. Billy and I did not like the fact that once you walked down to the elephant exhibit, you had quite a hike back uphill to get out because of the construction on the new Africa exhibit. Dan did not like the fact that as his mother was trying to guide the stroller down a steep incline in a narrow passageway he stuck his arm out and it got scraped up.

We didn't take many pictures, but here are a couple from the prarie dog exhibit: