Thursday, July 24, 2014


Ok, first I want to ask, where has Summer gone?  Next week is August 1st and the last time I looked school just got out.  :-)  This summer has been VERY busy for us.

As my last few post showed, we went on the Disney Cruise right after school got out.  This is one of our favorite things to do as a family.  And it's a great get-away because we turn off all electronics so there are no distractions from the outside world.  :-)

A few days after we returned to normal life, Abby & Jadyn went to our old church's VBS. They had fun and loved seeing their old friends.  It was weird not volunteering there this year. I think this the first year in many that I did not volunteer.  The reason I did not volunteer was because on that Friday, Ethan & Hope were having surgery so I knew I could not commit to the entire week.

Surgery.  We chose to have Hope's bone graft and Ethan's P-Flap surgery on the same day.  I'm SO glad we did because we got it all out of the way.  They had the same recovery so even though it was hard, it was still easier getting it all done at the same time.  Ethan went first.  They were lengthening his palate.  While he was in surgery, we were in pre-op with Hope.  Hope was very nervous, but did very well.  About 30 minutes before she was to have surgery, they gave her some meds to calm her down.  They kicked in fast.  It was funny to watch her.  For Hope, they were taking bone from her hip and putting it in her upper jaw.  As soon as they wheeled Hope into the OR, we were paged that Ethan was ready for us.  And oh boy, he was MAD!  He was still drugged up but fighting hard.  They put the "no-no's" on him (arm restraints so he won't put his hands in his mouth).  He wanted NOTHING to do with them.  Finally we asked the nurse to take them off.  She agreed.  And as soon as they were off, he calmed down and rested.  His poor mouth was swollen and he was breathing differently.  It was so hard to see.  We were told he would have sleep apnea and would also snore now.  Boy were they right.  Ethan had to go to the ICU to monitor his breathing.  We went with him.  And waited for them to page us for Hope.  Hope was in surgery for a few hours.  They paged and I went down.  I did not know what to expect. This was her first surgery with us.  When I got to her, she was calm, and resting.  She was so sweet.  And very willing to let anyone help her.  We were told she would not be in ICU with Ethan, so that meant me & Bill would tag team between both rooms.  Hope was on the 7th floor, Ethan on the 5th floor. (or vice versa, I forgot already LOL).   That first night was hard.  Ethan cried a lot. We realized the morphine was upsetting his tummy.  Hope also had an upset tummy.  They slept on & off.  And did really well.  By morning, Ethan was ready to go.  He got energy back.  He started to drink.  Hope had gotten out of bed several times (with help) to go to the bathroom.  Honestly I was amazed at how well they both recovered.  By 2 PM the day after surgery, both were being discharged.  We were thrilled.
Before Surgery

Before Surgery

Hope with her Happy Pills

Ethan, day after surgery

Ethan & I got to take a walk around the ICU floor
Hope after surgery.  

6 days after surgery, we drove to Orlando to meet up with several families who have also adopted from Huainan, China. We have been planning this for a year.  Thankfully Hope was cleared to swim.  But she & Ethan were still on soft foods.  She was not happy about that. But did ok.  Maggie was so happy to see her old friends.  Hope was very nervous and she kept to herself a lot.  But I honestly think it did do some good for her.  It was a great weekend and we're already talking about the next reunion.  

Don't know if I posted this, but Tiff is now a working woman. :-) She is working at Chick Fil A. She is enjoying it and making a lot of new friends.  We are so happy for her.  

For 4th of July this year, we had our dear friends The Simpsons and our Pastor & family over for a cookout and swimming.  It was so nice to just sit and talk (and eat). We had so much fun.  The kids got along great.  And there were 12 of them here.  When it finally got dark, we did some fireworks. The kids loved it.  Until the nasty mosquito's came out.  :-(  We still had fun.  We made great memories. 

A very special surprise was getting together with our dear friends Kris, Bella & Josh.  It has been 3 years since we've seen them. Ethan was only 2 when they moved away.  And he & Josh as well as the girls got along great, just like they did years ago.  It was so fun to catch up and watch the kids play.  Bella spent the night and I honestly forgot she was even here.  We miss them terribly but was so glad for this reunion.  

7/11 meant FREE SLURPEES!  

We took the kids to Lowes for their kid project.  They made Turbo.  It was fun and they had a blast building it.  We loved that it was FREE.  :-)

Deidra & I had the privilege of leading the Missions class at VBS this year at Southside Baptist Church.  We had so much fun and Deidra did GREAT with leading (I helped since she's more experienced ha ha ha).  The kids seemed to really enjoy the class.  We talked about missionaries and what missions means and what a missionary does.  We talked about ways to help people. The kids really enjoyed it.  We collected an offering every day.  Monday the kids did not know and only $3 was raised.  But Tuesday-Friday they brought their offerings.  We averaged 60 kids at VBS and they blew us away with how generous they were.  All money will be going to New Hope Foundation which is part of Show Hope.  

Of course we could not leave out a couple of trips to Disney World.  We've taken a few day trips and then this week we spent 2 nights there.  It was SO hot and we remind ourselves why we don't like Disney in the summer.  But we still had fun and made great memories.  

This week Hope & Maggie went to youth camp with our church.  Hope has been begging to go ever since February.  This is Hope's first year going away.  Maggie went last year.  We were told they are doing great and having fun.  They come home tomorrow. We are excited to hear how their week went.  

And to finish this post, here is a picture of Ethan driving Jadyn around.  We were blessed by Ethan's best buddy Ian.  He gave Ethan his car.  Ethan loves it.  

A few more weeks.  Still a lot going on.  Ethan will be getting another set of ear tubes on August 1st. This will be his 5th set in 4 years.  :-(  Praying these stay in a little longer than the others.  Open Houses and meet & greets are coming up fast for school. The kids are ready to go back I think. Bill & I are ready too.  All 6 kids will be in school full time this year.  Yay!  We will have a Kindergartner, two 5th graders, two 8th graders and a sophomore in college.  I feel old. LOL  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day 1 of The Disney Dream: Leaving FL

Ok, so we took 989 photos, not counting the photos the kids took on their cameras.  I will not overload you with all of those pics.  :-)  

The first day was great.  We got there around 10:15 AM.  It was crowded. We got signed in.  We were originally in group 17 to board but they bumped us up to group 5.  Yahoo!   We boarded the ship, I dropped off the pillowcases we brought to get signed, and then we headed up to Deck 11 for lunch.  I have learned to just chill out (or try to) and let the kids get their own food. Because everyone else does that.  So we let the kids go and told them where to sit.  Hope came back with a good plate of food.  She sat down, and I caught her making weird, embarrassing faces in the window.  She was being silly, and then I informed her that people were on the other side trying to eat.  She felt silly.  I was embarrassed.  

After lunch we walked around the boat. We debated getting our suits on. I don't like changing in the bathrooms by the pool.  So we chose not to swim yet and get ice cream.  :-)  

Then we found the kids club (knew where that was but checked it out so we could take pictures) and then found the teen club.  Hope & Maggie were so excited.  They have their own pool area.  

It was then time to go to the room.  1:30 we had access to it.  We unpacked and tried to relax for a bit.  That didn't happen.  LOL  At 3:45 we went to the life boat drill.  We learned last time that where these rooms are, we get to evacuate to the Walt Disney Theater and SIT in comfy seats vs standing outside on the deck in a line.  (we are in 2 rooms this time 2 away from where we stayed in Feb).  

After the drill was time to Sail Away.  We made it to deck 12 and saw the show.  It's a lot of fun.  

It was now around 5:15.  Bill took the girls to the pool and Tiff, Ethan & I went to see the show The Golden Mickey's.  Ethan LOVES the live shows.  After the show, it was time for dinner.

We had the late dinner which I don't care for. But since we booked last minute that was all that was left.  Dinner starts at 8:15.  So late for us who are used to eating at 5.  :-)  Our servers were OK.  Not the best.  The drink guy never refilled our waters or sodas.  :-(  And it took FOREVER to be served. We told them we wanted the kids to be done by 9:15 so they could go to the club.  Only happened 1 night.  :-(  

Bill ended up taking the 3 to their club around 9:30. H & M went to their club at 9:15 (they can go on their own and leave on their own).  When we left the restaurant, we saw the professional photographer so I told Bill I wanted pics of just me & him.  We were laughing because the photographer was confusing Bill on how to sit etc.  It was hilarious.  

I picked up A, J & E around 10:30 I think.  Bill & Tiff went to see Captain America in the movie theater. And H & M came back around 11.  We all crashed.  

Life Boat Drill is AWESOME in the Walt Disney Theater. :-)

Hope put her pants on backwards