Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


The surgeon told D that 99% of Boxer Fractures happen from someone punching something.  The way he fell on the back of his hand in the gym mimicked a fist hitting a wall.  The back of his hand is black and blue.  

Most of the time this injury results in a need for surgery BUT because he's 12 and still growing, his bone will straighten out enough as he continues growing.  Usually men or older teens get this kind of injury from punching a wall and end up with hardware in their hand. He is a very lucky boy; we walked out with a nice red cast.

Waiting for the surgeon

D spent the weekend a little loopy on pain meds.  He managed to play Minecraft on his iPod though.

And Wy has been an endless source of entertainment.

We see the surgeon Wednesday to find out the verdict on the hand!  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

SOL pep rally fail

I got a call from the school nurse at 3:15pm yesterday letting me know D came to the office saying his hand hurt.  She said his pinky was a little swollen so she gave him some ice and sent him to the bus.

D got off the bus with the ice, in obvious pain, saying he got tripped while dancing at the SOL pep rally in the gym and landed on his hand.

I have four brothers who have broken bones and needed stitches.  I broke a finger running into a swing set at night, and was in a cast after a soccer accident.  I suspected when I looked at his hand that it was broken.

We went to the ER where they sent him straight to X-ray.  As soon as it flashed up on the screen I said, "oooooh geez. That's not supposed to look like that is it."  The tech wouldn't tell me for sure but I texted my husband and said, "It looks bad."  

The doctor came in and I was right.  Bone snapped and twisted right behind his right pinky.  We got referred to a hand surgeon.  D is in a cast to his elbow.  We got home around midnight.  

I emailed the school and opted him out of SOL testing because he can't use his right hand at all.  Irony huh?  A rally to get kids excited about a pointless, stress inducing, standardized test that none of them want to take, and my kid broke his hand so badly he can't write. (Obviously I'm not a fan of SOL tests but that is another post.)    

After he got casted he asked for something to drink.  He said he was an 8 on the pain scale when we walked in but he never cried.  I didn't tell him yet that he's probably having surgery next week.  I'll wait till we meet with the surgeon but that X-Ray was nasty :(  We got sent home with a prescription for a narcotic that he cannot take and go to school.  Sooo… looks like we're in for a fun week.

This coming week I have two appointments to determine if will be allowed up off of bed rest.  This really couldn't have come at a worse time, but we'll roll with it.  Please pray for both D and I.  I think we'll dub April "The month we met our deductible."  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

M Walking One Year Post SPML Surgery

I took these videos tonight to send to Dr. Nuzzo in NJ.  I want his input on bracing for M.  She's outgrown the custom orthotics he prescribed for her last year, and wowwwweeee she's doing great without them too!  She's not wearing AFOs in these videos!

In the first one she is doing her best to "run."  She wants to run so badly!  She's proven so many people wrong that said "She'd never…" so I just know she WILL run one day.

In this video I asked her to go slower.  The control she has going up the hill and back down is really incredible.  She could not walk like that before surgery.  Giving her the ability to play more freely and be more independent outside was my main goal of the surgery.

If you want to see "before" videos, there are some on my youtube account or you can click the labels on the side to bring up older posts related to the same topics.

Laundry Is a Life Skill

I finally trained one to do laundry.

W properly loaded and started the washer and then properly dried the clothes!  Life skills are important to start early on :)

To his future wife: you're welcome.

Breakfast at Our House

Some mornings we have a few eggs.  

We raise our own ducks and chickens so this time of year we have plenty!

Yes, they ate them all AND bacon AND biscuits.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break

Just a few pictures from our spring break.  Several of the kids spent spring break with Phillip's mother to allow me to remain on bed rest, so I didn't get many pictures.

Minecraft Junkies

Planting their greenhouses

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sneaky Therapy

M got a child size rake for Easter.  She loves having her own little tools to play with.  She raked leaves into piles for hours in the yard without even realizing how much work she was doing on balance, visual discrimination, core strength, and coordination.  Due to her attachment and trauma issues, I try very hard to find sneaky ways of doing therapy!  She thought it was fun so this was definitely a win!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Adaptive Hair Dryer

M likes to dry her hair, but since her right arm is affected by her Cerebral Palsy and standing in place for a long time is also difficult, she had resorted to sitting on the floor.  I found this hair dryer stand on amazon and it works great!  She can sit on a chair next to it and dry her hair :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

So, I've been confined to "modified bed rest" after an ultrasound revealed an issue.  I'm on week two of couch sitting, and I am officially going nuts.  I really do not love watching more than a few shows on TV and I've resorted to downloading books on psychology to try to engage my mind in something more interesting than the sunshine outside and all the things that I typically would be doing.

This sitting time has definitely given me plenty of time to chill out.  I'm not allowed to attend IEP meetings (doctor's orders) because I'm not allowed to get my heart rate or blood pressure up at.all.  I couldn't even read through evals anymore without having my heart race and my palms sweat, so I know this is the right call.  But this was hard to let go of!  I have attended every meeting for my kids from the get go with the exception of one I missed because Wy was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital.  It got my heart rate up just thinking about NOT being able to attend meetings through the end of the year.  I cried.  But I had to let it go.  When it came down to it, there was no choice.

One thing I've realized after two weeks of mandated relaxing and the inability to attend meetings is that I didn't even realize how wired I was.  Someone dropped a cup in the kitchen the other day and it startled me, but what I noticed was that I didn't immediately get that surge of heart pounding "fight or flight" adrenaline that used to come.

I get calls from the school weekly.  Every single time, I'd see the number and immediately get hit with a megadose of adrenaline that would leave me feeling shaky, breathless, and wound up for hours afterwards even if the call wasn't a big deal!  A few days ago I got a call from the school and I actually managed to answer it without feeling this way.  I hung up and felt…normal?

On Friday, my husband was off so we picked the kids up a little early from school.  As soon as we walked up to the door to buzz the intercom, I got hit with it.

Heart pounding.  
Shaking.  Sweating.  
Instantly I felt sick to my stomach and had to sit down.
I very nearly threw up in the lobby (that doesn't have a trash can or access to a bathroom!)  

This is what I had been dealing with and didn't even realize how bad it was until I had a break from it.  This feeling got worse because we have been requesting for graded tests to be sent home with some of our kids so we could see how they were doing, and the teachers are denying this request.  Friday was W's last day at school because, for many reasons (that I won't even get into), we made the decision not to send him back after spring break.  We wanted his completed work from writing class.  They won't allow parents back to the classrooms with their children, so we had to send him back, twice, to ask for it.  The teacher refused.  Oh I was so upset and trying so hard not to be!  It was so rude.  We're the parents and we can ask for his records, but we were kept locked out of the school in the lobby, and denied our son's work that we have every legal right to ask for.  I hate how everything has to turn into me threatening legal action because we really just wanted his completed writing papers because HE wanted to show us his work.

The way our son was treated and the lack of respect we were shown as his parents just cemented the decision to pull him out for us.  The school reminds me more of a prison camp that wants to hide what they're doing rather than a fun educational environment that wants to include parents.  You know those stories about how the Nazis would "dress up" a Jewish ghetto and then allow reporters in to show them how well they treated the Jews?  But as soon as the press left, it was back to the Nazis we read about in history?  Yeah.  While a harsh comparison (yes I know but that's what came to mind), that is what my kids' school reminds me of, and I am not the only parent that feels this way.  We're welcome on their terms, but keep the freak out if we show up unannounced, and woe be unto the parent who walks their child back to class during a holiday event even with a visitor pass.  I'm all for safety measures, but they know who I am.

At least now I have one less child to stress over, and I think this whole forced hiatus from school induced stress has given me some real clarity on what we need to do with the kids next year.  The kids are off on Spring Break this week and I am so relieved.  Isn't that weird?  Its less stressful to have 6 kids out of school than AT SCHOOL.    

What makes me sad is that despite the issues we've had, there are a few really great teachers there that do care for my kids.  After dealing with so many indifferent teachers and staff, its easy to pick out the ones that care.  I find myself wishing that I could hire my pick of one or two teachers, remodel my basement, and build my own little school for my kids.  That is completely unrealistic of course, but I've always had impossible out of the box dreams…

Right now though I am stuck on the couch with my crazy dreams being reminded to just "Breathe in. Breathe Out."  But I can dream...


Easter in pictures

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the day crowds welcome Jesus, shouting "hosanna!"
Monday was the day Jesus spent flipping tables over in the temple.
Friday they crucified him.
Sunday He rose again.

Jesus had a busy week.  We celebrate it as Easter.

Easter has always held a special place in my heart.  Holy week always captivated me.  How could people go from admiring Jesus to crucifying him in less than one week?

But LOOK what God did.  It didn't end on Friday.  Sunday came and with it, redemption.

I've always taken great care to dress the kids up in suits and pretty dresses for Easter.  My dad always bought me and my mother an orchid (in happier times before they divorced) to wear to church.  I looked forward to that orchid all year long.  I cannot remember ever once in my 30 years missing an Easter Sunday at church.

But this year we will.

This year we have no church.

I have spent the last 17 months "flipping tables" for my children and it has cost us our church.

It hurts.  It hurts so badly.

I don't know why its hitting me so hard here at Easter.
I have no reason to buy my sons suits.  
I have no reason to buy M a pretty new dress.

The pain is deeper than that, but this is where I feel it the most.

I feel like somehow in the fight for my children's future, I've failed.

I lost what I always held so dear.

How did we go from stepping out in faith to do the impossible, fundraising enough to adopt our boys, giving them a new hope and a future, only to end up with no church for them to grow up in?

Is this our Friday?
Why is Sunday taking so long?

It feels dark and lonely here.


Holding onto our beliefs
Like a child holds to its father
It's like we're trying so hard to breathe
With our heads underneath the water

Keep trying to find the balance
Of our love and our convictions
'Cause we know that life in You
Moves far beyond religion

We know, we know, we know, we know
That nothing else even matters but love

Whoa, we keep trying to find a way
Whoa, to come together
Whoa, Lord, take these fears away

And make us one, one, one, whoa
Lord, make us one, one, one, Lord, make us one

We are the face of Christ
In a world of shadows
Is it God's love we're fighting for
Or our denomination's ego?

We got to let go of pride
Embrace the idea of difference
Make unity our calling
And move within forgiveness

We know, we know, we know, we know
That nothing else even matters but love

Whoa, we keep trying to find a way
Whoa, to come together
Whoa, Lord, take these fears away

And make us one, one, one, whoa
Lord, make us one, one, one, Lord, make us one

Imagine what could be, imagine what could change
If love was all that really mattered
Would the light of Christ finally shine through
Me and you?

Holding onto our beliefs
Like a child holds to its father
It's like we're trying so hard to breathe
With our heads underneath the water


We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson