Monday, January 31, 2011

Need A Little Sun!

Off to NYC in a few days. But here I am wishing for a bit of California sunshine!
Emily, Shaelee and Mom are spending next weekend in Connecticut with Nancy and her family, and connecting with a few more China travel friends. I hear it is going to be cold!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vincent 5 years

For those of you who know Vincent, this smile is one 5 years in the making. Our friend Mary, brought this wonderful poster to Vincent last week, and he was grinning from ear to ear. Mostly I love the smile, I love the kind thoughts from the S's, and I am beginning to see a son that we could have only imagined 5 years ago.

When Vincent was adopted from "Asia", Ralph and I knew the first day that something was very wrong. We whispered in the bathroom that first evening in the Hotel wondering what we were going to do. I remember Ralph saying, "we'll do the best that we can for him." We were prepared for a small and institutionalized child, but we knew from his slight smile, and quarter sized wrists, and lack of communication that there was something more.

Through the months, the layers began to unfold. He didn't eat, couldn't keep more than about 300 calories a day down. He was beyond lethargic. It took us 6 months and countless Doctors to finally find the right specialist. He was placed in the hospital and an NG tube was inserted. His first night on the feeding tube he could only tolerate 30 ML an hour (2 tablespoons)! We believe that he was most likely force fed in his home country to be kept alive. Even now, 5 years later, he refuses to eat more than a few tablespoons. His learned behavior, that if he ate, it would all come back up, still very much in the back of his mind. His stomach is long since healed, the learned behaviors still to overcome. He spent a year in intensive feeding therapy, to no avail.

He was also very far behind his peers in school. We were so encouraged that even with the NG tube he was not teased by many of his classmates. His first 3 years were plagued with fits and anger, thankfully all at home. We stopped going out, stopped seeing friends, we kept it all to ourselves. We had the most amazing support network with family and with our social worker however; and we learned a lot from the internet. Those years were so hard. Ralph would always say, this isn't his fault, and we can get through this. IEPs were navigated with the help of work friends and special Aunts and Pa Pa. Mom is not quiet or shy and lacks serious patience, which worked to our advantage when we needed to get quick answers.

Vincent is still working through his feeding issues, but at least he can drink a can of Ensure and nibble on a little food. He actually loves candy, popcorn, ice cream and steak. A good start to a child who wouldn't touch anything. He is active, happier now than he has ever been. Still, we have a long way to go, and most of his nutrition is still delivered at night.

About a month ago Vincent was put on new meds for his ADHD. A lower dosage and one that was in pill formula. The transformation has been beyond amazing. We started getting emails from his teacher and his resource teachers, that he could focus, that he was participating and that he was learning. Even his classmates have noticed. Within a few weeks he had learned his math facts for addition, subtraction, and multiplication. He hated to work that hard, it wasn't so much fun, but he beamed when he realized what he could do. He no longer needed that part of his IEP.

Which brings me to the point of this post. His first report card came out about 2 weeks ago. From really no grades at all, this little boy had 2 A's several B's and a few C's. I sent his report card to a few cherished friends( thank you Diana and Mary) and his 2 awesome Aunts. Tears rolled down my face, and Mr Ralph was as beside himself as I was. Sibling celebration was intense! And last week, Ms Mary brought this wonderful poster to our boy. I loved that she would do this for him, and he was so proud of the extra attention. That positive reinforcement goes a long way.

Vincent has been blessed with people who love him, support him and will never give up on helping this little boy be all that he can be. We have been blessed to be a part of watching this special boy become the child that he was meant to be.
SO proud of you Vincent, you ROCK!

In case you can't read it, here is what that awesome poster said:
your grades are marvelous and mega "m and M's" great.
You really surprised me to "reece's" pieces.
You were just playing "twix" on all those "nerds" and "airheads".
They didn't know what a smarty pants you are!!!
I'm full of smiles and "snickers" because all those A's and B's were sure "whoppers."
I'd fly to the "Milky Way" to see you do it again!!!'
Hugs and "Kisses",

We have been blessed to watch a most amazing transformation. We are grateful to family, friends and God. We love you Vincent!
PS all that candy is gone (:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weekend Buzz

This weekend was our quick trip to Utah for Claire's meet. She placed 2nd. An 8 hour car ride with 5 children each way, surprisingly not too bad! Claire kept her eyes closed and music on to drown out the lively little C's commentary. (She will be none too happy that I posted that picture, but I couldn't resist) We had a really nice family weekend. Dad insisted that we stop by Hoover Dam, and do the tour. The kid's loved it, and loved being outside for a few hours. The weather was beautiful, and the company of our children was both enlightening and charming.
Our favorite comment of the day came from Vincent, who told his smallest sister, "if you do things over and over, and keep trying. That's how you learn." How many times has he heard his parents say that? He really was listening.

I should add that the sad picture of Emily is because Mom wouldn't let her poke her head through the railing. Mom is very afraid of heights, and the further from the rail the kids stood, the happier I was. Sorry Emily, just keeping you safe pretty girl.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Emily

Emily is 8 today. I was reading a favorite blog yesterday, and it talked very eloquently about freezing time. I sometimes wish I could freeze all of my kids just like they are, adorable and loving, and all happily at home. I cannot believe how quickly 8 years has gone by. Seems like yesterday that we met Emily in LA and saw those beautiful dimples for the first time. She is such a sweet and loving soul. Her smile lights up our world. Thank you to everyone who could share the day with her, and to her Grandparents, Aunt Carrie, and others who were thinking of Emily today! We had so much fun, feeding the ducks, riding the train, enjoying a family picnic, a bbq for dinner, and Daddy's homemade cake to celebrate a very special girl. Happy Birthday Emily Kim Sabrina C....
We love you so much! Thank you for sparkling up our world!

A special thank you to Claire who redid the entire Blessed with 5 blog today! Love our creative teen....She also took most of these pictures.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit

I received this from a very dear friend, she has adopted our family and every year sends us a Chinese New Year's update. Thanks T!

Hi everyone -
Chinese New Year will take place on February 3rd this year and as my family and I are getting geared up for this celebration, I wanted to share with you some practices that we do
every year to get ready for it:

* Start the new year on the right foot - Having a clean house is a must , throw away any unnecessary clutter. Pay all the bills so that you are on track; and Plan out fun activities for the first 10 days of the New Year.
* Ensuring that you will not "need" anything in the new year (especially the first 10 days) - this includes a full tank of gas, a full pantry and refrigerator, and a stock pile of necessities (like toothpaste, paper towels, etc)
* Buy a new canister of salt, any kind will suffice - Salt is considered the essential spice of life so bringing a new and full container will keep your year fulfilled.
* Things to avoid for the first 10 days as these may follow you for the rest of the year - Stress, bitter or excessive spicy foods, procrastination, confrontations or negative thoughts.
* Best Direction - it is believed that you and your loved ones will be blessed in the new year if you start off the year in the right direction. The direction changes as the year dictates and for the year of the Rabbit: True North and the best times to pursue this direction are Midnight - 2 am and 5 am - 6 am of February 3rd.

General Prediction for The Year of the Rabbit
Sandwiched between two of the most turbulent and unpredictable Animal signs. the Rabbit brings a year similar to the eye of the storm. This is the time of recuperation, a year in which to sooth the nerves and catch your breath. This is not the year in which to force issues, as all efforts will fall upon stony ground and melt in the heat of the sun. But it is time for negotiation, for diplomatic relations, and reaching settlements and mutual agreements. The year focuses on women and their interests: children and the family, food and welfare, home and domestic security become salient issues. Medical advances will be made and the arts will be prominent feature on the agenda.
Among the events, discoveries and inventions brought in Rabbit years are: the first talking movie, theory of relativity, nylon stockings, and the first woman to climb Mount Everest.
Happy New Years to You and Yours,

Quinn was born in the Year of the Rabbit.
People born in this year are articulate, talented and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom loose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig and Dog.
(I found this piece on the internet)

Friday, January 7, 2011

I need a bone Mom!

A little over a week ago, Ms Shaelee comes right up to me and asks me for a "bone."
I am totally confused, keep asking her what does she mean, trying to figure out what she is trying to tell me. I still remain totally confused, but she keeps at it.
I keep asking her, "what is a bone?"
She tells me that her friend "Ruby has a bone."
Finally in desperation she uses her fingers to push back her hair, and tells me again that she needs a bone.
Ahhh, finally I get it!
Shaelee wants a BOW!!!
I didn't know how hard Bows were to find. I was able to get these 2 at Nordstroms. I have 7 more on order.
So, I guess this is the new Shaelee hair style, and I think that those cutie pie bangs are gone for good.
Thank you Claire for taking these pictures of you little sister.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Please say a prayer for Katie Cramer

Please pray for the family of Katie Cramer. Katie is from Guangxi province in China. (like our daughter Claire) She is 16 years old and has leukemia. Claire was tested and wanted to be a donor for a bone marrow transplant this summer as did her friend Hannah...
She was not a match nor was Hannah.
Katie is loosing her battle.
I have no words beyond prayer, and thankful that my Guangxi girl is healthy.
I am still so saddened for this special family.
Please pray for Katie and her family.
You can google Katie's blog, or find it on Rumor Queen. Thank you MCK.
While we do not personnaly know this family, we have followed their blog for quite some time. The faith that this family has is an inspiration.

updated 1/8
Katie's blog posted that she was home with the Lord January 6th.
This young lady so touched my heart.