Cole, Alex, & Anna Grace

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I love this song because the beginning if it reminds me of what our schedule is like with 3 kids. If you want to listen to it, you will need to click on the "pause" button on my music in the right side bar. I feel like I don't get a chance to even sit down for a minute some days unless it is behind the wheel of the car or sitting with one of the boys working on a project or other homework assignment. Don't get me wrong, I love our crazy busy life and everything that goes into it, but I am more than ready for spring break and the chance to spend some time at home- oh wait...we already have dentists appointments, 2 family Easters, church, preparations for Alex's and Anna Grace's upcoming birthdays, and a camping trip during spring break. So, maybe spring break will not be relaxing, but at least I don't have to go to work. So hear is a glimpse of our week: Sunday is church, housework, and grocery shopping. I do a lot of couponing so Sunday is usually my day to try and save money. Monday is soccer with Alex. He has either a practice or a game on Monday nights.
Tuesday is preschool in the mornings and dance in the afternoons for Anna Grace. Sorry I don't have pictures of ballet, but I will try and post some soon. She looks forward to her dance class all week and looks adorable in her tutu! Wednesday is Awanas at church. All 3 kids go and they have to learn bible verses and complete activities throughout the week to prepare. These pictures are of "Crazy Sun Glasses Night" at Awanas.
...and these pictures are of "Twins Night" at Awanas. Anna Grace was excited to get to dress alike with her friend, Omi.
Thursday is preschool for Anna Grace in the morning again and then tennis in the afternoon for Cole. Cole just started taking tennis a few months ago and he is really enjoying it.
Friday is.....nothing!!! A night to relax or run errands. Saturday is soccer for Alex and then yard work, projects with the kids, and housework. We try to find a fun family activity that we can all do together.
Throw in a doctor appointment, birthday party, or school event and we are running all week. Plus, the boys usually have quite a bit of homework to complete each night. Alex won an award at school for showing leadership in the classroom.
While I was at the school watching Alex get his award, I caught Cole outside taking down the flag as part of his duties as one of the Patrols.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the activities, homework, and everything that goes into raising 3 kids, but Mike and I feel that they each need an activity plus church in order to give them a chance to explore new skills and interests. We hope that we have balanced their time with structured activities and time to play in the yard with the neighbors.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On the mend

I don't have any pictures to post this time; you probably would not want to see pictures of what we have been through anyways. It all started a week and a half ago when Cole got off the school bus on a Wednesday afternoon with a very pale face and a low grade fever.  The first thing that he said to me was, "I feel awful."  He then explained that multiple kids from his class had been to the nurse's office during the day and all of them had been sent home running a fever.  He said that he did not want to get sent home because he wanted to take the social studies test.  Ugh.   I appreciate that he worries about his grades, but there is a time that you just need to go home.  So, Cole ran a fever all the next day and the next day.  I just thought that it was virus because the fever was low and he had a cough, headache, runny nose, and sore throat to go along with it.  Over half of his class was out with the same symptoms.  We kept Cole in his room watching movies on the portable DVD player so that he would stay away from Alex and Anna Grace.  Finally, on Saturday evening, Alex and Anna Grace developed the same symptoms.  I was supposed to substitute in Anna Grace's Sunday School class the next morning, but we planned a trip to a walk-in doctor's office instead.  On Sunday morning, we found out that Cole and Alex had strep and Anna Grace had a sinus infection but was going to be treated for strep.  After forking out over $300, we got antibiotics and a steriod for the coughs for all 3 kids.

I stayed home from work on Monday to be sure that the antibiotics would kick in, but by mid-afternoon, Mike came home also running a fever.  The kids were still coughing like crazy and Mike's fever was high.  Mike went to the doctor's office 2 times over the next few days and was finally diagnosed with the flu.  The kids were well enough to go to school, but we did not want to have Anna Grace's nanny in the house taking care of Anna Grace with flu germs floating around.  Thankfully, they were able to go to Megan's apartment for the week, but it meant that I had to get Anna Grace ready each morning on top of getting myself and the boys ready for school.  This is a really busy time of the year for me at work because I have meetings and paperwork due on all of my special education students.  I always work extra hours during this time of year.  So, on top of doing all of the cooking, driving kids to nightly afterschool activities, homework, and housework, I was working either at home or in my classroom late into the night.  I slept on the sofa and tried to keep Mike comfortable in the bedroom so that he would not spred flu germs throughout the rest of the house. He would laugh at me from the bed as I would reach my arm into the room wiping down the door frame and knob with Clorox wipes. I Cloroxed the whole kitchen each evening because he had to go in there to get food during the day when I was at work. 

Finally, on Friday night, I was exhausted, but Mike seemed to be getting better.  I had been sleeping on the sofa for 5 days and ached all over.  I was having sinus problems from the pollen and had lost my voice several times during the week and was more than ready for everyone to get well.   I was looking forward to a hair appointment Saturday morning.  Mike thought he would be well enough to take all 3 kids to Alex's soccer practice and I was finally going to get some "Mommy-time."  That was when Anna Grace woke me up at midnight sitting her bed covered in vomit.  I stripped her pjs off her and put her on the potty because she was also having diarrhea.  All that I could think of while I was Cloroxing her bed and walls was that we had made it through strep, sinus infection, cough, laryngitis, and the flu and now we were starting in with a stomach virus.  I wanted to cry.  After I got her cleaned up and back into clean sheets, I moved my blankets and pillow into the extra bed in her room and prepared for a night of battling vomit.  Thankfully, she slept and was fine for rest of the night, but I woke up every time she moved thinking that she was going to be sick again. 

The next morning, I was heartbroken when I had to call and cancel my hair appointment.  All I could think of while I at least tried to shave my legs for the first time in a week was my disappointment over not getting to go to the salon. Then, I started to feel guilty.  I don't know how families function when they are dealing with a long-term illness.  That could have been us when we made the decision to adopt a child with a heart defect.  I was feeling disappointed over not going to get my hair done and exhausted from just a week and a half of illness, but a lot of people are dealing with a lot worse.  Just this week, one of the moms in my neighborhood lost her fight with a long-term illness and her precious children had to watch their mother lose all of her body functions.  We could be dealing with a lot worse and I should feel grateful that everyone is finally on the mend in our family.

Now, it is Sunday night and all of the sheets are freshly washed, bath mats have been laundered, and the house is scrubbed.  The week ahead will be incredibly busy with activities for the kids each night, but it will seem like a breeze compared to last week when I did not have Mike by my side to make decisions about the kids and deal with dinner.  I am truly grateful to have healthy kids and a wonderful husband back by my side to tackle the week ahead.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daddy's Helper

I have not posted much about my sweet Alex lately, so I thought I would do a blogpost about how he always seems to be right by Mike's side whenever there is work to be done. 
He was so excited about the new garden that Mike was planning that he spent most of an entire Saturday helping set up these new boxes for the raised garden that we are planning (Thanks Uncle Jerry for these great boxes!!) 

Mike had a load of "fertilizer" delivered from a local dairy farm and Alex spent an evening outside with Mike filling the garden boxes shovel by shovel.  (Just wanted to apologize to the neighbors about the bad odor!!)  :-)

Another project that Mike has been working on is making pinwheels to use as decorations for Anna Grace's birthday party.  Her birthday is not until May, but if you know me, you know that I am a "planner!"  The weather was really yucky most of last weekend, so we decided to start working on the 2 dozen homemade pinwheels that will add a splash of color to the yard for the party. 

Of course, Alex was right by Mike's side as he painted, drilled holes, and started to assemble the pinwheels. 
Alex is a sweet, sometimes goofy, easy-going kind of kid that loves spending time with his family.   

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year...again

Last weekend we celebrated Chinese New Year with the Asian mentor students at the local university. We always look forward to this celebration because we get a chance to learn more about Chinese culture and visit with other families who have adopted from China.
The students did a great job of planning activities to get the kids involved this year. They had tables set up with different art activities for the kids to do. The kids made paper flowers...
origami (Cole's favorite)...
paper dragons, Chinese caligraphy... and they even got their faces painted.
The students always plan performances for us to watch, and this year was no different. They danced, sang, played different Asian musical instruments, and even performed skits complete with a dragon!
And since it was the Year of the Dragon, my mom and I made another dragon cake...only this one was bigger than the one my mom made for our family Chinese New Year celebration. The night ended with us lighting the candles to make the dragon "breathe fire" and all of the kids got to blow them out!   
Thank you so much to all of the students in the Asian mentoring program for making this an exciting night for our family!!