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April 29, 2009

Chicken Pox!!

Josie's napping and I can share our latest health issue. Yes. You read that correctly, Josie's napping, I'm home and it's in the middle of a work day. Did you know you can get the chicken pox even with the vaccine?

I noticed last night when giving Josie a bath that she had developed little red dots all over her stomach and back. I hadn't switched detergent, soap or lotion recently, but was still hoping it wasn't anything significant. Our family doctor confirmed that Josie has chicken pox and needs to be out of daycare the remainder of the week. Nothing like juggling full-time work with a sick child...sigh.

On a happier note, a firetruck visited Josie's daycare last week. I'm so glad they shared pictures with us.

Anyone else ready for the weekend already? I'm still dreaming about that plane ticket to Tahiti.

April 27, 2009

Tender Tea...A Fun Mother's Day Gift (and refrigerator updates)

My mother received this gift at Christmas from me, and it would be perfect for any special lady who enjoys a cup of tea.

Supplies needed:

Box of tea bags

Step 1. Open up a box of tea and pull out the individual tea bag envelops.

Step 2. Unseal each tea bag envelop and carefully pull out the tea bag.

Step 3. Take a bunch of pictures and cut them to fit onto the paper that is attached to the tea bag string. My printer actually has a photo ID function which allowed me to print them off quickly in smaller size which I then cut apart.

Step 4. Attach a picture to the tea bag string with glue or tape and then place the tea bag back in the original envelop (this is the most time consuming part).

Step 5. Repeat steps 1 - 4. Get the kids involved in this project. They might not be able to take apart of the envelops without ripping them, but they can help with assembling and taping the pictures.

Don't you think this is a great gift? What a fun way to start out each morning seeing a special loved ones face over a cup of tea!

For my adoptive Mommies who enjoy Jasmine tea, my favorite online store is Pearl River. Their prices are amazing (100 bags for $3.25). I've enjoyed this brand for the last five years. I love everything on Pearl River's website. Heck, I might just need to pick out a few new things for myself for Mother's Day!

PS. Our refrigerator woes have been solved. Chris used his belt sander and it now fits in between our cupboards. My kitchen has a nice layer of sawdust EVERYWHERE, but we can keep the beautiful refrigerator. Way to go, Chris!!

April 25, 2009

The weekend that almost wasn't...

Ever have one of those weekends...

My job is so stressful right now and it’s not going to let up anytime soon. I literally got through last week because of my approaching weekend and it tanked in "almost" every way possible. Sigh.

1. Rain, rain and more rain. It was in the 80s and sunny on Friday while I was stuck in a building at work!!! Where did all that wonderful warm sunny weather go for Saturday and Sunday? We had thunderstorms and down pours all weekend long. Sigh.

2. My dear husband ordered a new refrigerator (it's quite lovely) and when it was delivered on Saturday it didn't fit. Sigh.

3. Wood chipper woes. Chris rented a wood chipper and after a few hours into ear-deafening noise, it completely stopped working. Between you and me, I didn't mind that it stopped working. The thing scared the HECK out of me. I kept picturing him losing a finger of limb in that nasty machine. I can't imagine our horrible rain helped the situation. Chris is thinking he needs to have a HUGE brush/wood burning party instead of attempting the wood chipper again. I'm not sure which is more dangerous now???

In other happier news...

I did manage to escape to the Allegan Antique Market on Sunday with my mother. The rain made it interesting, but I did walk away with a few purchases.

Josie practiced using scissors this weekend. We're noticing that all fine motor skills are now done with her left hand. Prior to surgery on her right hand in December, she used both hands equally. She was so proud of her scissor skills, that she sat in her high chair for an hour cutting paper. Too cute.

While Josie was napping on Saturday I started working on a mock-up airline ticket party invitation for Emma's 11th birthday. She's going to have a tropical-themed party and each girl will get an airline ticket and passport. I swear if I could ever chose another career that paid as well as information technology, it would be for party planning. I love planning decorations, party favors, invitations...etc. Stay tuned for future posts on Emma's party preparations.

In the mean time, I think I need to purchase a real plane ticket and escape to Bora Bora...

April 24, 2009

Fun Fotos Friday

Spring has officially arrived in West Michigan!! It registered 84 degrees on my van as I was driving home from work and I can actually see tiny leaf buds on the trees. Emma was even able to cut enough chives from our herb garden to put in our baked potatoes for dinner. Yummy.

This picture was taken on Thursday where Josie's daycare had all kinds of special activities that day. Josie was so proud to show me her special rainbow makeup.

We've been soaking up the sunshine since we got home from work and look forward to spending more time outside this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

April 23, 2009

What a fantastic weekend...

It was unusually warm for West Michigan this weekend nd I loved every second of it. I could have gone without the rain on Sunday, but I'm not complaining. At least it wasn't snowing!!

Chris was super productive with his wood chipper on Saturday (scare me NOW). I couldn't watch. I was worried he was going to cut off a limb or finger during his 24 hour rental period.

Emma had a two hour soccer session on Saturday and Josie spent most of that time running along the side of the field wishing she could join her big sister.

Best of all, I had such a great day on Sunday scouring for finds among the antique dealers in Allegan. It’s so therapeutic for me to get away and just decompress. My job is so stressful right now and it’s not going to let up anytime soon. I need these bits of escape every now and then.

April 21, 2009

Andrew, Being Two & Antiquing

The Beckering family returned home from China Wednesday night. I can't tell you how exciting it was to be at the airport to greet them. He's just as handsome in person as he's been in all their pictures on their blog. He's precious. I can't wait for Josie to meet him someday. Emma already has him marrying Josie...hee hee.

Speaking of Josie, she's been showing all the signs of being a two year old. She's in that fiercely independent stage and throws a complete tantrum/meltdown when she senses we are doing something for her, that she could have done herself.

Chris and I have gotten really good at redirecting her meltdowns, but her bedtime tantrums have me at my wits end. I don't like spending 90+minutes wrestling her to screaming butt to bed. It's heart-breaking and annoying all at the same time. She needs another prayer. Another story. Another song. Another hug..etc. She's started storing all kinds of objects in her bed at night. She needs several books, her fisher-price little people, ten or more stuffed animals, and at least two of her snuggle blankets near her pillow. Chris and I have agreed neither of us are going back to our original routine of laying down with her, letting her fall asleep and sneaking out. We did that for nine months and it finally stopped after she recovered from her hand surgery in January.

Any thoughts? Chris is still the master at getting her to bed, but I'd love to have a night without tears.

On a completely different subject, one of my favorite extra curricular activities starts back up this weekend. The Allegan Antiques Market (which features over 400 vendors) is happening this Sunday. Woo hoo! The antique market opens in April and runs through September and is scheduled the last Sunday of every month. Chris has already promised that I could sneak off Sunday if I watched the girls all day on Saturday so that he can use the wood chipper. Sounds like a fair trade (hee hee). I'm soooo ready for the weekend!!!

April 20, 2009

Josie's 1 Year Heart Surgery Anniversary

In a few days, we will be celebrating Josie's 1 year anniversary of her open-heart surgery. On 4/23/08 our lives were forever changed. No more blue lips, blue toes, or blue fingers. No more panting or becoming winded from something as simple as eating. No more watching Josie squat to relieve the pressure on her heart or spin around in bed trying to catch her breath.

As I've shared in earlier blogging posts, our experience with Josie in the hospital wasn't pleasant. When she was out of ICU and awake, she was wild with fear. We'd only been home from China from three weeks and she was terrifed. She refused to sleep in her hospital bed (unless she was completely sedated) and so I would sit up all night in a chair with pillows propped under my arms holding her surrounded by medical equipment and staff checking on her vitals every 30 minutes. I have a whole new respect for the doctors and nurses who did everything they could to treat Josie and make her comfortable. They were an amazing group of people. We love Mott Children's Hospital!!

At some point, Josie will need a valve replacement, but the timeline is sketchy and we aren't letting it consume us. Overall, we couldn’t be more pleased with her progress and diagnosis. She is truly not the same little girl that we received in Nanchang, China on March 16, 2008.

People tell us how lucky she is all the time. I do understand why they say that and I know that on some level it may be true (she would not received the medical care she deserved if she were to stay in China) but we adopted her because we wanted to add this beautiful little girl to our family. We are the "lucky" ones.

As I reflect on Josie's year open-heart surgery anniversary, I can't help but think of another Mother who continues to sit at her daughter's side in PICU watching her sweet little girl recover from heart surgery. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. You can find their blog here or at the top of my blog. If you visit their site, please leave a comment letting them know you are thinking of them. I remember how important it was while I was in the hospital, to not feel alone. Our blog and email kept me sane.

Hope your week is off to a great start. Let me know what you've been up to!!

April 18, 2009

Easter Do OVER!

Last Sunday, Josie was struggling with a very high fever and our big Easter egg hunt at my parents funeral home suddenly couldn't include the girls. Although we never made it back to the funeral home (I know it sounds like a strange place for an egg hunt but it's all very tastefully done) we decided to try it outside at our house.

It was a HUGE hit with Miss Josie. I think those colorful plastic eggs just might have to stick around a few more weeks because she couldn't get enough of it. I love her enthusiasm for new things. I hope she continues to enjoy LIFE this much.

The girls recently got new spring trims at the beauty salon. Doesn't Emma look ever so stylish? I don't remember looking quite this glamorous in fifth grade (hee hee).

In honor of the upcoming earth day on April 22nd, here's another easy art project that recycles artwork. Using Josie's lovely fingerprint paintings, we've crafted flowers.


Construction paper and any child's fingerpaints or drawings
Pipe cleaners
Flower cookie cutter
Paper Brad
Three hole punch

Step 1: Trace your flower cookie cutter onto construction paper or any of your child's drawings. We used Josie's fingerpaint prints and pastel construction paper.

Step 2: Cut out the flower shapes and stack three different shapes on top of each other.

Step 3. Punch a hole in the center of the flowers and push the paper brad through the center of the flower and curl the edges of the flower to give it some dimension.

Step 4. Glue a pipe cleaner to the back of the flower.

Step 5. Repeat steps 1-4 and enjoy your bouquet of flowers.

We filled a favorite vase with our paper flowers and combined them with a few silk roses too. This bouquet of flowers would even be a nice gift for Mother's day for Grandma or a favorite Aunt. Don't forget, Mother's Day is May 10th...which is not too far off. Happy crafting!!

April 17, 2009

Random Cuteness

I'm home sick from work today. I have officially caught the Josie crud which is lots of coughing, no voice, and a fever. I never miss work (unless the girls are sick) and I'm a horrible patient. I'm still in my pjs and checking work email. The digital camera was sitting out and I thought I should clean off the memory card while I have the computer fired up.

Here are a bunch of random pictures from the last month:

Josie loves pounding her wooden pegs into this thing. I think we have a future construction worker on our hands. So far, she hasn't smashed any fingers.

Emma started theater classes at our local Civic Theater. She doesn't know a single person in her acting class but is really excited about it. We think she's very brave.

Another picture of Josie modeling her Easter hat. Perhaps we can try wearing her Easter outfit this weekend. Knock on wood, let's hope everyone is healthy enough to attend mass this Sunday.

Go Detroit Tigers!! We're ready for a better season!!

Here's one of my favorite videos. It's of the girls dancing in their lovely ballet tulle skirts. You can see in the video just how much Josie still adores her big sister.

Here's to a healthier weekend!!

PS. Please continue to pray for this family. They have a long road ahead of them. Their little Kate may be in Cardiology Unit for up to seven weeks. They have adopted multiple children from China and Guatemala. Their blog is both inspiring and fascinating. I'm feeling a special connection to this family. We're very close to celebrating our 1 year year anniversary of Josie's open heart surgery. This family is at the same hospital with the same staff that Josie had last April. It's bittersweet to review all their joys and struggles with open-heart surgery. It's certainly a life-changing experience and I'd do it all over again.

April 15, 2009

Spring Weather & Prayer Request

Could it be possibly spring in West Michigan!! It's suppose to be in the 60s on Thursday and Friday. Bring it on!!!

Emma started outdoor soccer practice back up again this week. We need warm weather for those fun outdoor 90 minute practices and Saturday morning games. Come on warm weather!!

Josie brought home a handcrafted paper kite from daycare today.

They glued scraps of paper onto a triangle. Isn't it cute!! This kite is going to work with me tomorrow. My office bulletin board is filled with all kinds of lovely artwork.

Yesterday, I discovered a blog (thanks Tammy) that has me constantly checking back for progress reports. It belongs to a family who adopted a little girl from China with a very complicated heart condition. She has gone through surgery at the very same hospital with the exact same staff where Josie had her open-heart surgery. This family needs prayer. Please take a few minutes and pray for Kate's full recovery and for strength for her parents. You can find their blog here. I will always have a special place for heart children. This little girl is such a trooper. Her feisty spirit reminds me of Josie during her hospitalization last April.