Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Family Time...

at the zoo.

 Watch how excited Sammy gets over family pictures:

 He he he!
 The amazing Hope:
 Sammy's first ride on a carousel:

 Celebrating Daniel being 3!

Thank you, Pappy and Nanny, for blessing us with zoo passes! We had a wonderful time with you!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Looking grown up!

Cherish at church camp day:

When did she grow up?! It feels like 2-3 years ago I was changing her diapers!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Preacher Andrew

Andrew, age 6, is not a talker. Never has been. So, when he speaks, we listen.

Tonight Andrew said: "I see God like this: He is the man holding the fishing pole and fishing in the water. Jesus is the fishing pole and the hook that God sent down to earth. The water is the earth. Jesus is the hook that gets the fish and draws them up out of the water. The fish are alive. The fish are people. Jesus lifts them up to God and heaven. If the fish are roasted, then they are the ones that go to hell. The fish that go to heaven are the fish that are put in the fish bowl."

Derek and I just looked at each other in wonder and shock.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The climbers!

During nap time today, Daniel took it upon himself to teach Samuel--my climber--how to climb over the top of his crib. It was my ONLY safe place for him!!!!!

When Sammy got up and began climbing over the top of the rail, nap time ended. Ugh!

I was so thankful for that crib--and it's confinement!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Daniel is 3!!
Happy Birthday, Arshardee*!!!

Special thanks to Mrs. Kong, our Chinese teacher, who surprised us with a cake and "3" candle today when she came for the children's language lesson. How sweet and thoughtful!! Thank you, Mrs. Kong!

*Arshardee is Daniel's nickname. Around January he began saying, "Arshardee", and we kept repeating it after him to "engage in conversation". Over the months, it just stuck, and "Arshardee" became Daniel's nickname. Shortly thereafter, in dawned on Cherish that he may have been saying, "I sorry" with his limited language. We aren't sure, but it was just so cute how it brought a smile to his face each time we said it, so we just kept saying it. Perhaps he was simply happy we were apologizing??? ;)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day

We love election day! What a day of energy!

Derek and I voted last week, because we didn't want to be caught in a situation where sickness or work would prevent us from voting.

Here's a quick snapshot of our assistants before we went in to vote:

Today we held an election during school. Each family member got one vote. The babies' votes counted just as strongly as everyone else's--because a vote is a vote regardless of whether a citizen is informed or not.

This drove Cherish crazy!!! She kept saying is wasn't fair that the ones who didn't understand could vote and count just like the ones who completely understood what was going on.

Welcome to America.

So, we had three Presidential Candidates from which to choose:
Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Donald Duck

Derek, who is working a 16-hour shift, cast his vote via Absentee Ballot (i.e. text message). The children and I took turns behind a partition to secretly vote.


After each person voted, he/she folded his/her ballot and put it in a lantern to be counted when voting was complete. It turns out someone liked voting so much, he/she got an extra ballot and voted twice. (Again, welcome to America.)

The family (i.e. the "State") has a declared winner, and now we will see if our "State" will have its nominee win the presidential election.

By the way, it turns out Donald Duck got two votes! One of those votes came from Hope, who says she believes he would make a fun president. J

The babies' votes were counted by what name they colored on. It was perfectly legal. *wink*

So, the three oldest and I have been watching the elections on TV, and the children have been sitting on the edge of their seats. Actually, Cherish has been bouncing up and down from nerves.

What a race! Right now it is so close.

Strangely enough, this day has turned out to be enjoyable. We have done our part (voting and praying), and now we watch and see what will happen.

God is completely sovereign. In that is my confidence and peace.

So, on to watching how Florida will vote....

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Diarrhea and slippers

Life has been so busy and full. We've been trying to keep up with the children's appointments, classes, and outings, but it's been difficult. This week I was praying for help as I tried to manage all the "jobs" I have--taking care of sick babies, homeschooling the children, cleaning the house, making meals, cleaning messes, doing the laundry, getting children to classes, keeping Sammy safe (who is a climber and can be up on top of a table in less than 6 seconds--without knowing how to get down), etc. I specifically prayed for a laundry helper. With two little boys with constant diarrhea (seems to be PTSD), there can be a lot of laundry.

Guess what?

My mom came for a visit and stayed for a little over two days. During that time, she did the laundry--without knowing about my prayer, listened to my two first graders read their reading assignments, and did the dishes over and over again. What a sweet presence!

On Friday as the last load of laundry was being washed, I sat down for the first time in a while to check my e-mail. In a matter of seconds, Sammy fell on a toy that went into his mouth and hurt the back of his throat. I quickly scooped him up and ran to get him an ice cold drink. As I was about to give him the drink, I smelled something like rotten milk. While the baby was screaming, I unscrewed his cup to smell the milk. It was perfectly fine. Then, I realized what the smell was. It was diarrhea. It was all over him and me!

I ran to the bathroom with Sammy, got his clothes off, and quickly got him in the tub to begin the clean up process. After he was clean, secure, and drinking his milk in the tub, I quickly cleaned up myself and threw on a new shirt. Then, I gave our clothes a quick scrub, finished Sammy's bath, got him dressed, got Hope out the door for dance, and got her to the studio with just minutes to spare.

As I was getting out of the van at the studio, I realized I was still in my slippers/house shoes. Ugh! I walked Hope into the studio and quickly disappeared back to the van. Derek--who was working a 16-hour shift--had asked me to pick him up some needed items for his diabetes, so I had to go to WalMart in slippers!!! With a shirt that I had thrown on after mine had been soiled with diarrhea--which I failed miserable to match to my pants--and slippers on, I.was.a.sight!

I retrieved the needed items, checked out at the self-check-out center (since the lines were 2-3 customers deep), scanned and threw my items into the cart and into the van as quickly as I could, and made it back to pick up Hope 10 minutes late. LATE! I was late!

I felt horrible as I walked in to get Hope. I immediately saw Hope with her teacher. Mrs. Alexis was standing guard, watching over Hope. Mrs. Alexis simply smiled and reassured me it was OK. Hope, however, kept asking me to never leave her again.

I got back to the van and cried.


I am imperfect and walking a difficult path right now. However, it is the calling I have been given and wouldn't want it any other way. At the same time, it is hard. I won't deny it.

But, when I get to experience the grace and kindness of so many fellow Believers, my heart and soul are refreshed.

Therefore, I would like to say: "Thank you for being 'Jesus with skin on'. God bless you all!" 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Updates continued

First of all, I want to give a huge "Thank You!" to my support group who has uplifted me during this transition time home. You all have encouraged me with your gifts of love, time, prayers, and presence. I have been so blessed to have you all in my life!

The last two weeks have been filled with homeschooling, doctor appointments, flu vaccinations, dental appointments for all the children, appointments with two surgeons, an appointment with an audiologist, writing Hope's "3-year Post-Adoption Report", applying for Daniel's "Recognition of Foreign Adoption".... The list goes on and on.

And yet, I have time to sit and write this update, because I have had help and encouragement. Thank you!

As a summary, Samuel has been sick since probably the beginning of the year. His ear drums and adenoids have been so incredibly infected for such a long time that the infections are resistant to antibiotics. In addition, his ear drums are so impacted that Samuel is hearing-impaired--hopefully only temporarily.

So, on December 9th Samuel will have tubes put in his ears, three-fourths of his adenoids blasted away, and another surgeon will be doing other repair work that needs to be addressed at that same time. Two surgeons working together to allow Sammy to undergo anesthesia only once. We are so thankful!

December 9th will be the day after Samuel turns 2. Since he has never had a birthday party, and since he will not be eating regular food for two weeks after surgery, we are planning to make his birthday extra special!

 "Little guy, you also have a support group that loves you beyond what words can express! We are looking forward to the day you are feeling well again." 

Sunday, October 30, 2016


The cute, safe kid.
Now we know why he walks like he's drunk sometimes--those pesky ears! I feel much better with him in his helmet when he's out playing on his car, etc.

❤ Love him! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sammy Update, Part II

We were able to visit the ENT at his office, and I just want to say: "What an amazingly wonderful man!" He met us with a smile, a hand shake, and took time to show the children the fish tank and other things in the waiting room to keep them busy.

After a day full of surgeries, the doctor acted as fresh as if we were his very first patients, and he acted like he had all day just for us! (He even sat down in the waiting room to talk to the children!!!!)

The doctor looked at Sammy's ears, and yes, they were/are both full of fluids. The ear drums are so packed with mucus, that there was no movement on the Tympanogram. However, since Sammy has been on meds for months, the infection is not currently active. The dried blood in his ear canals tells the doctor that the infection has been lingering a lot longer than a couple of months.

And, since Sammy has been on medications, they have kept the infection in check (i.e. no fever...). Therefore, all medications have stopped over the weekend to see what happens.

If Sammy spikes a fever while off the antibiotics, the doctor said he'd meet Sammy in the operating room. If the fever stays away, on Tuesday Sammy will meet with the audiologist and then with the doctor again.

At that point, if the infection has turned active once again, the doctor will cut an incision in each ear drum to release the fluids for the time. Then surgery will be planned to put tubes in (and to check the adenoids).

For now, we watch for a spike in temperature.

Side note: You'd hardly know Sammy was sick or in pain. The boy acts easy-going and smiles a lot. Gotta love the little guy .

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Samuel Update, Part I

Sammy has been sick since we received him. His files from China said that he was continually sick, so we have no idea how long our little guy has been suffering.

Even though he was on Chinese medication when we received him, continued on medication until we got home, and took three antibiotics back-to-back here in the States, Samuel still has an ear infection!

Today when we went for our fourth visit to the doctor, she said both his ears look horrible (bulging, infected eardrums). Since the surgeons' office was closed by the time our visit with the doctor was over, tomorrow the doctor will push to get Sammy in to see the ENT specialist.

Not only is Samuel in pain from his ears, he has terrible chest congestion that sounds like asthma. His breathing is not responding well to Albuterol, so he will have his adenoids checked as well.

Albuterol 3-4 times a day is beginning to wear on the little guy,
but thankfully he likes watching the Mother Goose Club during his treatments.

Hoping to have some answers--and relief--soon.

In the meantime, I am so completely enjoying his hugs, kisses, and singing. Samuel initiates hugs and kisses (!!!), and he sings to me!!!!!!! We have "our" song that he now sings to me, and I join in.

I used to sing "God Made Me" to him, but now he sings the song to me in his Chenglish, and it is so, so, so, so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a precious gift our Samuel is!!!!!!!

❤ "Thank You, Jesus, for Samuel!!!!" 


Friday morning update:

The doctor spends Fridays at the hospital in surgery. Today, after he is finished with all his surgeries, he will head to the office to meet with Sammy. It'll be some time after 4 p.m. We'd love your prayers for the doctor to have wisdom. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Family Down Time

After the hurricane came barreling through, and we had a chance to clean up our yard, we headed out of town for some rest (and to celebrate my birthday). We went to visit my sister and her family, and it felt so good to be free from stress for a while!

All these were caught by Cherish:

While we were together, my sister Michele took me out to eat a couple of times. She spoiled me!


Then on my birthday, Derek took us all to the Bass Pro Shop:

Free-standing elevator!

(Underwater theme)

I had no idea the Bass Pro Shop could be so fun!!

Then it was time for pizza and ice cream cake--yum!



"Thanks, everyone, for making my birthday so special, and thanks, Winder Family, for making our time away so relaxing!!!!! You are such great hosts!!!"