2.28.2011

Full Weekend

We had a full, but really enjoyable weekend packed to the gills with family and friends both new and old.

Saturday kicked off with a visit from my new friend and her daughter who will also be getting a lower limb prosthetic. She has been home from her international adoption just a few months (like us) and we found each other through a Yahoo group for parents who have adopted children with limb differences. It has been a wonderful connection! I look forward to sharing our adventures in this new season of life with them.


Later that evening we went to a fantasy football league potluck to crown this year's champ. Good food, good friends, heart conversations. Late night.

Sunday morning was church. Sweet on so many levels. I'll share one of those levels in another post either tonight or tomorrow.

After church, we headed out to Kevin's parent's house. It is a beautiful 2 hour drive and extra special because all of my kiddos got to come and see their Pap and Grandma, as well as, their great aunt! This was Lily's first meeting with her and it was a special treat for us!

Great-aunt is in the grey, Grandma in the red.

The beautiful weather and acreage cried out for a whiffle ball game.
Aaron running the bases...
Ally on base...
Gorgeous Emma...aka pitcher
Slugger...Anna Grace
Home Run!
Lily and Pap watching the action...
Can't tell you how blessed I felt yesterday! Love seeing so much family together!

After a great big family dinner, we headed home to the tune of I'm-so-exhausted-I've-hit-the stage-of-uncontrollable-giggles...for 2 hours. Somehow invoking a silence rule only makes it harder to not giggle.

I think we'll all take naps today!

In Him,

2.25.2011

Tree Silhouettes

This is a tell myself the truth post.

What do I mean by that?

Well, we are a homeschooling family. That means I am a homeschooling mom (duh!).

Wrapped up in that simple statement of the obvious is a boatload of...stuff. In that boatload of stuff is a heavy load of Am-I-Accomplishing-Anything Complex.

As I stood in my kitchen at 4pm this afternoon with school still going on even for the youngest ones, my mind sat in that part of the boat. For awhile. My self-imposed "extras" checklist had too many blanks for my comfort level and I was mourning a week of not meeting my own standards.

Thankfully, that's when the Holy Spirit spoke some Truth.

Who created my schedule? Me.

Who can flex my schedule? Me...and the Lord.

Did we really not accomplish anything? No.

And then He took me to Tuesday. We actually did a science & art combo! Thankfully, I have the evidence with which to remind myself.

Next, He reminded me that art project or no art project, I am His and He directs my steps even if they are not the steps I would have necessarily chosen for my self.

LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23

Aaahh!

So here is what we did Tuesday afternoon...Tree Silhouettes recommended by Barb at Handbook of Nature Study. The actual project is explained here.








In Him,

2.23.2011

A Second Casting

About 1 1/2 weeks ago, we had gone for a routine prosthetic check-up which our Physical Therapist was able to attend. It was Lily's happiest appointment up to that point and was exciting for me because both the prosthetists and her PT were very surprised and much excited about her progress.

What does progress look like at this stage for her?

Standing upright (no bending at the waist) with either her tummy or back to something like a wall, couch, or bench.

Not only were they thrilled with her ability to do this, but they were also impressed with the length of time for which she could stand (many minutes). While there, Lily's PT was able to ask her questions and address a concern she has with Lily's right foot...Pronation. In mama's terms: her right foot does not have much of an arch and rolls inward. They were all in agreement that our little Lily is quite pronated on her right foot and that, left unaided, will end up having knee and ankle issues in the future.

Alas, there is a solution! A brace...the technical name is SMO. As this is another piece of medical equipment, we needed Lily's orthopedist to approve and write an order for it. He did...thankfully without having to see her again...and so this past Monday we returned to have her right foot casted for her foot brace.

Yes, casted.

As you may remember from the socket casting, Lily was the picture of misery the last time. So, you can imagine my excitement going into this appointment. They assured me it would go faster this go around. Well, that was at least one thing to look forward to other than it being done!

I wondered who the lucky "caster" would be this time. Poor Miss Mary has suffered for casting Lily's left leg and is only now starting to get back into Lily's good graces. Would she go for a second attempt or let Mr. Don enjoy the chorus of cries?

Neither.

This time they brought in a very nice father of 2 whom we have never seen before to do the dirty work while everyone else watched.

So what do you think her reaction was to that?

If I thought more than 3 people were reading this (and 2 of them already know the answer!), I'd be tempted to do a poll and post the results tomorrow. But, since, it seems kind of silly to post a 1-0 poll, I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

And the results are....
no tears for rolling the pant leg up

still smiling even when she saw blue gloves...
laughed for foot tickling...

no tears or screaming for the sock & yellow-tubey thing...

(fiberglass wrapping getting wet)the wrapping commences and...

no tears...only curious watching!
Wrapped and ready to harden in a flexed position.

Hey! This isn't so bad!
Wait a minute...
How did you say you are going to get this thing off?
Scissors and a...utility knife?!!

Oh, Mom can't watch that!

After only a few minutes...it was all done and off...
with not one single tear!
On to picking out the colors...the sisters took care of that!
the end result...
a cute little cast without one little bit of crying!

We go back March 11th to try on the brace and, hopefully, bring it home! The girls picked out mostly pink colors, although it won't be too visible as it will usually be covered by her shoe and pants (until summer).

We were so surprised...and relieved...that Lily did so well. Truly an answer to prayer. Kevin and the girls had been praying she would do better this time...and, boy, did she ever! She was only curious this time. What a praise!

Oh, and must give kudos to Emma, my sweet photographer. She did an awesome job!

In Him,

2.19.2011

So What's With All the Videos?

Have I just been taking a week (2 weeks?) off from typing?

Or is there purpose behind 3 video posts in a row?

110% purposeful.

A few weeks ago I made a passing comment about Kevin & I having hosted an Orphan Care and Adoption Informational Meeting with another family from our church. We are the only 2 adoptive families (that we know of) in our church. Oooh...correction...there is one family whose children are now all adults. So, 3 of us (that we know of!).

To say our hearts and those of our friends' are burdened for our family in Christ...okay...all believers...to know the blessing of orphan care is an understatement. Not only do we ache for them to experience the blessing of serving Jesus Himself (remember 'whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me?'), but our hearts are broken and breaking for every orphan. Burdened for every child who long for parents to:

love them forever and always,

never leave them,

to kiss their boo-boos,

hold their hands,

sing them Happy Birthday,

cheer for their triumphs,

comfort them in their losses,

arbitrate their sibling squabbles,

teach them their ABCs,

tickle their toes,

brush their hair,

pray over them at night,

sing to them,

read to them,

cherish them,

celebrate all of their firsts,

lead them to Jesus.

Yet, we know that the only way these children will receive what their hearts desire is if someone moves on their behalf.

So many people think the only way to help an orphan is to adopt. This is a great way...the ultimate way...but far from the only way.

Until we began our adoption process, we had virtually no knowledge of the orphan crisis or the ways in which the body of Christ is called to support. We were ignorant. Not because we couldn't care or because we were unwilling...but because no one had told us. Maybe James 1:27 should have been enough to get our "rears in gear" to investigate, but somehow it didn't. It wasn't until the Lord brought us the facts combined with the Truth in His Word that we began to be burdened to the point where inaction was no longer an option. We did not seek out the info, I believe He brought it to us.

As I look at my fellow believers, I must admit there have been numerous times that anger and frustration has stirred in me at the lack of action on behalf of the orphan that I see. Lyrics to Casting Crowns song, "If we are the Body" have often come to mind.

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?

And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them
There is a way?

But then the Lord speaks to my heart and reminds me that we were in the same place until He showed us the faces and laid out His call.

Without information, without guidance they won't know. His heart beats in the chests of His children. He is a God of compassion Who calls Himself the Father of the Fatherless. If His children hear, know, see how to help, I believe His Spirit will stir them to move. He said to our 2 families: SPEAK that they might know!

So, at the end of January, on a Monday night, we spoke. All 4 of us. Each of us sharing a tiny piece of how the Lord has led us in the area of orphan care.

These last 3 videos...and the doozy...the one I will post tomorrow...were part of that evening.

If you have watched the last 3 videos, then you have seen some of the ways in which you can support orphans. If you didn't...you can do it now! My hope is to walk through these one by one over the next few weeks (with a few personal posts sprinkled in!).

If the Lord stirs you to move...will you share it with me? Just leave me a comment below.

And get ready for tomorrow's video post. Bring the tissues...

In Him,

2.07.2011

Bag Lady

Improvements?


We are seeing them already.

Last week's PT work primarily involved standing, standing, and more standing. Facing the couch, facing an adjustable bench we got from the the Physical Therapist, standing with her back to the couch or the wall, or simply standing in her walker.

The most important of these was to get her standing facing out from the couch. In any position where she faces in, she has a tendency to stick her little hiney out. It's just easier for her since her left leg is still not pointing down when resting (due to the muscle contracture there).

Saturday it seemed like her tolerance for standing as well as her ability to stay standing and balanced...on her own...just took off. She didn't tire as quickly and was able to face outward for several minutes...unsupported...and enjoy it!

What a leap!

After all the pictures of Lily crying recently, I just couldn't wait to post the smiling ones!


We quickly discovered that one of Lily's favorite things to do while standing is play with her bags of liners, straps and socks!

Take out.
Put in.
Drop on the floor and point for Mommy to pick up.
Begin all over again.

It's my new favorite game! I think I'll call it Bag Lady.



In Him,

2.06.2011

Shorter

Lily has had her prosthetic leg for 10 days now. For the first few days we were supposed to be wearing the leg for about 45 minutes a day and then checking Lily's skin for redness and rubbing.


By Saturday (the day after we got it), I knew we would need to go back for an adjustment. First of all, in certain positions Lily seemed to cry in pain...like something was pinching her skin. Secondly, after we removed the leg she had an area of redness that, eventhough, it faded after 15 or 20 minutes, indicated to me that the inside top edge of the socket was the source of her discomfort.
So, Wednesday we returned to the prosthetists and they ended up taking about 3/4" out of the red portion of the leg. Check out the difference in the red section from the photo above to the photo below!




What a difference!

She is able not only to stand more comfortably, but also more easily now.

Since Wednesday, Lily has been wearing the leg for approximately an hour at a time with very little pinkness on her skin. Her demeanor is much improved as well. Something about Mommy putting on the leg is much more appealing to her. She's even bringing me the liner and velcro and indicating that she wants me to put the leg on!

We saw another major improvements yesterday...but Superbowl dinner is calling, so I will save that for tomorrow!

Here is a picture from last Sunday...my oldest and youngest together.

In Him,

2.05.2011

Getting a Leg Up...or On

As a follow-up to all of those pictures yesterday, I thought I'd post a video of us putting the leg on to make the description of the process a little more clear.

Just don't look at my face.

I forgot that I didn't have any make-up on when Emma & I made the video.

Yikes!






In Him,

2.04.2011

LOTS of Pictures from Last Friday's Appointment

Warning!

This post contains an insane number of pictures.

But there's a bonus prize for those who view them all! Um, okay, not really.

So here it goes...

All the girls with Lily's new baby doll...

The sweet doll Lily received as a gift for getting her prosthesis.
She has a socket, too!
See it on her leg?

Once again, Lily realizes the present was simply a front for something else...
Putting on the shoe? Always a sign that something is up!
It's the put your hand inside your leg trick!
Emma...modeling for us the latest in prosthetic legs!Hoping that watching Anna Grace wear the liner will make Lily want to, too.
No such luck.

We did get it on, though...as you can see below.

Donning the Leg 101
1) After putting on the liner, we velcro on a Y-shaped strap
2) Feed the strap through the hole on the socket. Not so easy on such a small socket.
3) Pull the leg on.

4) Thread through the buckle at the top of the socket and velcro down.
Time to STAND!!!
Next, she went for a roll in the gait trainer/super-walker.

Now, to do some assisted walking...
Rear view...
Now, for the not-so-fun part...bearing weight on the prosthetic leg.Checking fit & hip alignment...
Feeling for hip bones (how's that for a technical term!)...

Have to end with some happy pictures...

Miss Mary hands Lily another gift...a custom-made bag to hold her doll,
doll blanket, liners, velcro, socks, shoes, and leg!


The photographer gets in the picture!

Next time I will update you on our progress with the leg...

In Him,