Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blessings for Today

651. Knowing that your writing has made a small difference in someone else's life
652. Being stuck in a very boring meeting...which allowed me the time I needed to clean out my email inbox...I hadn't done it since April of 2010!
653. Another pediatrician appointment...our fifth in the last month with this doctor alone. I am very thankful for a pediatrician that we all love!
654. Piper is gaining weight! Her ADHD medication causes her to lose weight if we're not careful. She gained a pound and a half in the last 10 days. Good news!
655. Sunny's current fever is not strep or the flu, just a virus!
656. Pepper finished the 1st grade Sparks curriculum in Awana tonight! That means he's on to extra challenges, and I think memorizing Psalm 1 is the first one.
657. A yummy Mexican dinner out with friends
658. Antics of our fluffy, beautiful kitty, Pixie. She makes me smile every day, especially when (like right now) she is curled up in a basket on top of our kitchen cabinets. Ack! She's so cute!
659. Five kids who wanted to go to bed. WHAT? When does that ever happen?
660. A generous gift from a faithful ministry partner. It covers our plane tickets to our staff conference this summer. That's HUGE!
661. The realization that adoptive moms can get postpartum depression, too.
662. The golden phrase: "Name it to tame it."
663. That identifying the source of a problem can make such a huge difference in how you view the problem...and how you view yourself
664. Knowing that this is only temporary!!!
665. Our YMCA membership that allows me to take good care of my body. Because goodness knows I need more strength and good health than ever before!
666. That God wins in the end! Take that, satan!
667. An encouraging email from my friend Ivanna this morning.
668. New photos of my four, gorgeous daughters on my living room wall
669. That the kids' pediatrician has decided to remove Bubbles' tonsils and adenoids. It should solve the snoring/runny nose/nasal voice problems she has.
670. Stepping on the scale this morning and seeing that my hours spent on the exercise bike at the Y are paying off. Oh yeah!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Daytona 500 Perfection!

641. A wonderful day with Snapper yesterday, just the two of us, at the Daytona 500!

642. That we got to meet and talk to our favorite driver, Jimmie Johnson!

643. That during the Q&A session with Jimmie, Snapper was chosen to ask him a question! The question: "Do you always get butterflies in your tummy before you race?" His answer: "Yes! I always get butterflies, but they are worse than usual today because it is the first race of the season, and I'll be pack racing for the first time in the new Gen 6 car. And this is the Daytona 500! I really want to win this thing." She's holding the microphone and talking to him in this photo.

644. When Jimmie came around autographing the Lowe's 48 cars that the kids had built while waiting for Jimmie to arrive, he said to Snapper, "That was a great question you asked me, Sweetie!" She was thrilled!

645. He signed my Daytona 500 ticket, too, even though he was only supposed to be signing the kids' cars. He did it for Snapper.

646. Kid sized Jimmie shirts on sale at the Team 48 hauler...$8, regular price $18!!!

647. The goofy, happy drunk guy who was sitting behind us...he was absolutely entertaining, and solidified Snapper's decision never to drink. LOL!!!
648. Snapper's absolute delight throughout the race. "Mommy, the cars are so loud that my whole body can hear them!!! I feel so alive!"

649: JIMMIE WON THE RACE!!! Could the day have been any more perfect for my girl and me?
650. Coming home to an email from our tax lady informing us that we're getting a large tax return this year! Seeing as how we've owed at least $1800 the last two years, getting money back is a huge deal!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Smiling This Morning

631. That the occupational therapist our pediatrician recommended takes the girls' insurance
632. The the sleep study clinic was able to get Bubbles in for her sleep study this coming Monday
633. That Sunny's therapy (for social/emotional developmental delays) starts today!
634. For five kids ready for school on time without prodding from me!
635. That Bubbles felt secure enough in our relationship to come crawl in bed with me when she had a nightmare, and then fell asleep in my arms and stayed there for 3 hours! This is progress, folks!
636. That after only 5 days of the love-based parenting I learned at my conference this weekend, we're seeing signs of progress with Sunny
637. Gluten free steel cut oats for breakfast
638. 4th place for car design (Sparks) for Pepper, 1st place for car design (Sparks) for Bubbles, and 3rd place for car design (T&T) for Snapper in last night's Awana Grand Prix!!! Matt won 2nd place for design in the Trek/Journey/Leaders division, but he bowed out and let his award go to a kid.
639. A martial arts studio in town that offers classes at such low rates that Snapper, Pepper, and Bubbles can take classes for a grand total of $80 per month! $80 total, not per kid! That's up to three classes per week! It's a donor funded Christian ministry with outreach as the goal. Prayer and Bible study are part of the classes. I love it!
640. Two teachers who are excellent communicators!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Special Needs

611. The Empowered to Connect conference. It's a MUST for all foster and adoptive parents. Yes, even if you adopted a newborn baby. Life begins at conception, not at birth, and by the time that baby enters the world, he or she has already experienced nine months of life. And losing that first mommy--even at birth--is a trauma. I speak as one who knows.
612. Words of truth about what my children have been through
613. Words of hope for their future
614. Practical strategies for helping them
615. The introduction of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) into my vocabulary--for my three adopted girls. (I already know Snapper has it, but it manifests itself differently in her than it does in the others, so I didn't see it before).
616. That tons of information is easily accessible at my fingertips, thanks to the internet
617. For a husband who steps up to the plate when I can't do it
618. For evidence that Sunny's attachment to Daddy is gaining strength by the day
619. The promise of cheeseburger soup on this cold day (It's currently 36 degrees, and peeps, that's COLD for Florida!)
620. My Barnes & Noble gift card, which is going to buy a highly recommended book on SPD.
621. A pediatrician who really listens to me
622. A pediatrician who cares about my kids and is willing to take plenty of time with us to help us get to the bottom of the issues
623. An official SPD diagnosis today for all three of my adopted kiddos
624. A referral to a child psychologist and an occupational therapist who will help us meet our girls' needs
625. For the great enjoyment I get from my part-time job (all 10 hours per month of it)
626. That Piper wrote a book today! She actually sat down and wrote a short story all by herself!
627. That Bubbles felt safe enough to disclose some new information to me tonight
628. That when I told her that she is safe with me and that I will do anything to help her heal and move forward, I looked in her eyes and saw for the first time that she believes me.
629. That none of my girls' special needs caught God by surprise. Even though no one knew the extent of their needs before they were placed with us, God knew.
630. That God will give me what I need to parent them, and that I have a strong community of supportive friends who will pray for us and help meet practical needs for our family as well. SO BLESSED WE ARE!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Break from Thankful

But not really. Of course I am thankful that my husband is such an incredible father to our four little girls and one little boy. Tonight he got to beau our three big girls to the Father/Daughter dance at their school. I'm uncomfortable posting photos of our adopted girls on my blog, since their birth family is not safe and the blog is public. I wish I could, though, because my girls are gorgeous and I am dying to show them off. I can post a photo of Snapper in her finery, though. When she came walking out into the back yard, I told her to sit down and shut up and quit getting so gorgeous and old. I can't believe my little girl will be graduating from 5th grade in three short months. Where, oh where, have the years gone?

Valentine's Week

601. For the creative ability to make 95 cute Valentines for the kids to exchange with their friends at school parties
602. That the marshmallow lollipops I made came out great and were tasty, even if I did forget to take a picture of them.
603. For really, really helps sore muscles.
604. Sweet words from Sunny this morning: "Who needs comfty clothes when they've got you for a momma! I'll just wear you today, Mommy."
605. Sunny put all 26 letters of the alphabet in correct order, all by herself!!! She has her teachers fooled into thinking she's academically low, but I know better!
606. A really awesome bargain on Matt's Valentine's Day gift, which makes it all the sweeter. He and I both love a good deal on high quality stuff! It was a {desperately needed} $50 wallet for $16, by the way.
607. A phone call from my Daddy I love that man!
608. My sweet niece Alexandria. She celebrated her 6th birthday yesterday. I hate living 3,000 miles away.
609. That EMDR therapy brings up good memories of the happy times Piper has had with our family, not just the bad memories of her birth family
610. Piper finished her first Awana book on Wednesday night!

Monday, February 11, 2013

This Gets Easier!

When I started this project, I thought I would never be able to come up with 1,000 things to be thankful for. Wrong! It gets easier and easier! My eyes are wide open to the daily things. Thank you, God, for Your love and blessings.

591. When the ADHD medication begins to work
592. A serious change--for the better--in your child's handwriting, thanks to a regulated brain
593. The same child--who usually has the attention span of a flea--independently reading a whole Dr. Suess book, just because she wanted to. I can not emphasize what a huge deal this is!!!
594. Three kids in bed at 7:00. One on time, two in trouble. I love early bedtime as a consequence because it is helpful for them. The two offending parties were both sound asleep by 7:05. Clearly they needed the rest and will have a much happier day tomorrow. They'll also be able to make wiser choices because they are rested.
595. The opportunity to photograph one of my best friends' new baby today. He's so precious!

596. Snapper getting really into her social studies research party. She's studying a specific pioneer who settled in our hometown in California and was instrumental in the development of that city. She was randomly assigned this person, and she was thrilled to find out our family has close ties to some of this history! She's so into her project!
597. Seeing Bubbles learning to play by herself. For so long she was completely reliant on others for her fun. She is playing Memory with herself right now. She has two different personas for the game. It is hilarious to hear her!
598. My husband's unfailing love. He's such a gem. I know I post about him a lot, but it's for good reason. I love that man!
599. A 95% on a spelling test for Bubbles! This girl works HARD and earns every B that she manages to get. An A on her weakest subject area is worthy of a slush date at Sonic for Mommy and Little Girl!
600. 7 months with our girls!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


"Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death." --PubMed Health

PTSD is a close, personal friend of one of my adopted daughters. She received this diagnosis yesterday. For this little girl, PTSD manifests itself in the unwanted reliving of the events that caused such awful trauma. Now that I know what is going on, I am able to look back at the last several months and see the fingerprints of PTSD all over her. Sometimes she gets giddy and babbles nonsense. Sometimes she zones out. Sometimes she loses track of time and space so severely that she will have no memory of a 20-30 minute block of time. She can eat a meal and seriously not remember eating. Sometimes she will just sit and mindlessly giggle. She will do this when no one is in the room with her, and if you ask her what is so funny, she doesn't even realize she is giggling. It happened more frequently in the first 4 months that she was with us. It has dropped off at home, but she still zones out and goes to her "quiet place" at school. We're seeing connections between her episodes and things that are overwhelming or stressful.

She told me yesterday what it is like to be her. 

It is scary, Mommy. The memories are close to me all the time. They come to me whenever they want--I can't control them. It's really scary, Mommy. When the memories come, they are like there's a t.v. in my head. I have to watch (it) all the way and I can't turn it off. I don't want to see (it) again, so I have to go to my quiet place until (it) is over. Sometimes I have to make noise so I can't hear (it). I'm so tired of this, Mommy. I'm tired of being scared. I'm tired of waiting for those bad things to take over my brain. I will do whatever it takes to get rid of the pain and make the memories stop hurting.

My heart aches over this beautiful, sweet, precious child who has experienced such horrific things in her life. I ache when I think of the constant, nagging memories that disrupt the safety and balance of her world. I don't know what I would do if I ever came face to face with the people responsible for her trauma. She is beginning a very intense course of therapy--her decision--to help her heal.

581. A wonderful therapist who has vast experience in helping young children deal with this specific type of trauma

582. A little girl who is willing and ready to struggle through the pain of dealing with the abuse and neglect that is causing her this pain, because she knows dealing with it honestly will bring healing
583. Loyal friends who can be counted on to pray faithfully, even without knowing any specifics of the situation.
584. The guidance team at school and our daughter's teacher who are so completely on board with us
585. The solid 504 Accommodation Plan we put in place yesterday to meet her needs in the classroom
586. The healing love of Jesus, which is able to conquer all things. Even PTSD.
587. Beautiful weather for Snapper's swim meet today
588. The best meet she has ever had! Five personal best times, three new time cuts, and the podium in three of her five events!!! Not bad considering there were 60 swimmers in her age group!
589. Five cheerful, willing helpers who knocked out their housework chores in one hour today!
590. My husband, whose simple question: "What can I do to help you today?" made my day!

Check out those muscles in her back and shoulders!!! She was warming up her streamline for her 100 IM.

Discovering she made the podium in 50 Breaststroke, 50 Backstroke, and 100 IM.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blessings Everywhere I Look!

561. A three-hour phone conversation with my sister
562. The anticipation of becoming an auntie again in June (my sister's first baby is due then)
563. Making Valentines with Sunny, who is still sick. Strep throat on top of the flu.
564. Antibiotics
565. Getting bitten by the cleaning bug today, and doing a whole lot of housework
566. Clorox wipes (to disinfect all the surfaces in our house)
567. Dressers and closets full of clean laundry
568. A great, encouraging conference with Bubbles' teacher
569. A relieving conference with Piper's teacher
570. My crock pot
571. A check filled with love from a dear friend who couldn't really afford it. It came at just the right time.
572. The anticipation of Sunny's 5th birthday
573. My kids memorizing Scripture, and retaining it!
574. Bubbles applying Scripture to her own life
575. That the three older girls have decided they are tired of mess
576. The contract the three of them wrote and signed with each other this morning, promising to work together to keep their room neat and pretty (YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
577. Piper's heart responsive (no longer hard) to discipline
578. Constant Comment tea
579. Curious George, Sunny's favorite!
580. A really encouraging email from a friend who is willing to help me tread some scary, unknown waters with one of my girls

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Better Day

551. A broken fever!
552. Sunny gets to go back to school tomorrow
553. She said she missed her teacher today...a good sign in the realm of attachment
554. The fun of making matching dresses for Piper and her American Girl doll today
555. Another big secret off Piper's chest. It was painful for her to tell me, and gut wrenching for me to hear, but she feels a whole lot better for having told it.
556. A therapist who is highly experienced and trained in addressing the issues Piper disclosed to me. There is help for her and help for me, and we start addressing it on Friday.
557. A spontaneous apology from Sunny. She's showing signs of beginning to develop empathy and moral awareness! Another hugely encouraging thing in the healing process for my adopted girls!
558. Our new YMCA membership!!!
559. Cheerleading class for Piper and Art class for Sunny at the YMCA...for no extra fees!
560. Taco Tuesday at Del Taco. Our family of 7 ate dinner for $8.00 tonight! You can't beat that!

Monday, February 4, 2013

On the Mend

541. For the children's hospital in our town. It was empty when I took Sunny in at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. Her fever was 105.2.
542. Attentive doctors and caring nurses
543. That it was Influenza A, not something worse
544. For a sensible sick child
545. Her willingness to take long naps and drink fluids like a champ, even though she felt awful
546. The flood of friends asking if we needed help
547. That she sleeps like a rock through the night, even though she is horribly sick
548. Our DVR and a great collection of movies to keep the sickie occupied
549. That she seemed to take an upswing this afternoon, with a lower fever, interest in food, and wanting to get up and play
550. The gymnastics scholarship that was given to our family by our local gym! All of my kids have been given free gymnastics classes for the rest of the year, no strings attached! Why? Because the coach who owns the gym loves our story and adores our kids. She just wanted to bless us and lighten our load.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bummer Day

Some days it's just plain old hard to find things to be thankful. Today is one of those days. It's time to put on my God-vision and look at things from a different perspective. I will find 20 things to be thankful for today because I need a reality check.

521. Snapper--though she didn't meet her goal of finishing her cross country race on the podium--was the 3rd place 10-year-old girl from her school, and placed 17th overall. Not bad considering there are 15 10-year-old girls from our school, and about 60 total. She ran a mile in 6:35. This is great, if the mile is accurate. The host school said it was an exact mile, but I'm a little skeptical. That's a pretty quick mile for a 10-year-old...
522. Finding a gas station that hadn't raised its prices yet
523. That my kids were super messy this week. I know, that sounds totally weird to say! But messy kids mean more chores for them on Saturdays, and a lighter load for me.
524. That the house is fresh and clean (except for the carpet because our vacuum bag burst), even if the cleaning took 5 hours (slow moving kids)
525. That Sunny's body chose to get sick this week, which is a quiet, low-key week with no plans
526. A solid, 3-hour nap for Sunny
527. She initiated the nap. This never happens, folks!
528. That no one was in our Dodge Caravan when the tractor hit it...
529. That the fruit harvesting company responsible for {most likely} totaling our van has insurance
530. That it was our old Caravan that got munched, not our newer Odyssey
531. That the mechanic who was working on our Odyssey's power steering was able to finish his repairs today and deliver the van to our house, since we couldn't drive out to pick it up
532. That all three of my adopted girls are asking for help in shedding pain from the past and are ready to move forward
533. Bubbles asking me to embroider "I love you" on the new blanket I made for her as a visible reminder of how much I love her
534. Children's Motrin
535. Having a Domino's Pizza right down the street for nights when I have used up my every last ounce of energy cleaning and policing and nursing
536. Knowing that the clean house speaks my husband's love language, and the hard work doesn't go unappreciated
537. The reassuring knowledge that God already knew that today would be hard, and that He is with me when I'm struggling
538. Phineas and Ferb. My kids love to watch it on Saturday evenings.
539. My dishwasher
540. Physical fatigue. It increases my chances of sleeping well tonight.