Saturday, February 27, 2010

Are we...?

A couple of nights ago at the dinner table, out of the blue Taylor says:

"All right everyone...we're going to have a vote. Are we more like the average family...or a zoo?

It was a split decision:)


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Doctor appointments scheduled for March:

Dentist: Christianne
Optometrist: Jer, Christi, Taylor, Parker, Graci, Jessica, Xander
Kindergarten physical: Xander
H1N1 booster: Parker, Jessica, Xander, Elli
Neurologist: Graci
Geneticist: Jesi
ENT Pre-surgery appointment: Christi
ENT surgery: Christi
ENT post-op: Christi
Cardiac exercise stress test: Graci
Physicals: Parker, Taylor, Graci, Jessica, Elli
Urology surgery: Xander

That’s a total of 21 doctor appointments, not counting the H1N1 shots (we’ll just walk in and do those all together). Seven of these will take place in the hospital. There is also a 99.9% chance that we’ll find ourselves in the office for something that will come up between now and the end of the month.

Health insurance, WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and if you haven’t read the previous two posts by Jeremy, do so. I laughed out loud.


PS: An update on Graci: We finally heard from Graci's cardiologist. She will be starting oxygen tomorrow. She will likely continue nighttime oxygen for the rest of her life. He also said it wouldn't be a bad idea to get her to use it during the day when we can. The surgery confirmed pulmonary hypertension and showed that oxygen somewhat lowered the pressure on her heart. It also showed that there was no "easy fix" as far as surgery goes. She'll be returning for a exercise/stress test to see if we need to be more aggressive than oxygen for now. At this point, we're still unsure about what her prognosis is as far as life expectancy, etc. Basically, we didn't hear anything we weren't already aware of. Thank-you for your continued prayers for her!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh, That's Why!

This is a conversation I just had with Parker. I will spare you the details, but you'll get the basic idea...
Me: Why isn't there a sheet on your bed?
Parker: You guys haven't put a new one on since Elli pooped on it.
Me: I thought she pooped on the bottom bunk!
Parker: Oh yeah. She puked on this one.

I'm telling you, we need a reality show:)

Bedtime Rituals

Almost every night, I read to Jesi and Xander and then tuck them in. After that I read to Taylor, Parker and Graci from a chapter book. (We're 3 chapters into Anne of Green Gables right now, and they are LOVING it.) So tonight, I'm on my own. Christi is at the church with the young women. Since I'm on my own, it took longer than usual to get the younger kids down. And of course, they kept popping right back up for quite awhile. But finally, I was able to settle in to reading to the older ones. Five minutes into it, we hear a door open. Then Jesi yells down the hall, "I JUST HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!" "Ok Jess. No problem." I continue to read. From the bathroom, we hear Jesi singing quite loudly. Nothing you would recognize, just one of her many "compositions." She takes quite some time, but I finally hear the toilet flush and the sink going, followed by the opening of the door. I continue to read. No sounds. More reading. Suddenly, (and she must have been waiting at the edge of the hallway for some time) she practically jumps out and announces, in her never-subtle style, "DAD...[CENSORED]...!!!" The other kids start to chuckle and then burst into full guffaws when they look at the pained, twisted scrunching my face is going through as I contemplate where this might be going. Can't we just wait to deal with this until mom comes home??? "So what should I do?" I ask. As quick as a wink she responds..."Make it better! What do you think?" So I stand up to rummage through our medicine stuff to see if we have any Desitin, but the ever vigilant creatures that are our children saw an opportunity to pounce. "Dad, can I make myself more scrambled eggs?" (Taylor) "Dad, I want a fried egg!" (Parker) "Hey, I want some mashed potatoes and steak that are in the refrigerator cuz they are going to go bad tomorrow anyway!" (Graci) "Can I have some scrambled eggs, too?" (Jesi)

We were supposed to be winding down. I was within minutes of tucking in the older kids and having a few precious minutes to myself. Now we were locked into a cooking marathon that was sure to take at least 30 minutes by the time everything wound down. It's not like we starve these kids. Christi had made a great spaghetti dinner which we had finished a mere 2 hours earlier. But my kids seem to be like little tornados, inhaling anything edible that comes within 20 feet of them. So, here we are, the kids are cooking. I have semi-escaped to record this post. Of course every 90 seconds another child comes in to hover over me and ask what I'm doing, can they read it, do we have any more salt, should I use the big skillet if I'm cooking five eggs, where are my glasses, etc.

If anyone knows the producers of Jon and Kate, I guarantee we could provide a MUCH more entertaining show!!!:)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Graci Kate

Graci is home. She has a really bad cough that seems to be getting worse. She also claims she can't breathe as well today. Not sure if it's from the cough or the surgery. Other than that, she is doing alright and we are glad to have her home. She was not happy after waking up from the four-hour surgery. It's so difficult when you are still under the effects of anesthesia, your mouth is dry, and you are very uncomfortable. She was pretty miserable at first, but cheered up significantly when she saw that her teachers had delivered her a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers-- thank-you, wonderful teachers!! She felt so special and wanted to carry them by herself last night as she was wheeled out to the car. (: My day in the hospital was actually very nice. It was good to have so much one-on-one with my Grace. Jeremy was only there for a short time, as he had to work and get Xander to his appointment with a vascular surgeon at the University of Utah hospital. Busy day, yes!

Just to clarify-- we do not know much about the results of her surgery. Her cardiologists are both out of town, and we are waiting for them to review the findings and give us their opinions on what she is facing and what to do next. So we will keep you updated...


PS-- Have I mentioned lately that Xander is about the cutest thing in the whole wide world?!!! Man, we love that little guy!

Move over, Nate!

Jesi just came in with a picture she had drawn of her and her friend Elliott. She said, “This is what I imagine my life to be with Elliott. Cause he is always in my head. Oh, see (closing her eyes) he’s coming into my head right now!” She then starts to sing, “Oh, Elliott, you are my friend. And I love you really much. Really much. Really much. Cause I will always have you in my heart. Oh, Elliott. Cause we both love each other really much. Really much. Oh, Elliott.”


Friday, February 19, 2010

Can I Whine?

Just a little bit? You guys are my friends, right? And if I annoy you, you can just x-out of the window you're reading this in. First of all, I know we are so blessed. I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's. I mean that in all sincerity. I have the perfect wife for me. I have the perfect kids for me. I have the perfect family for me. I have been blessed with an unbelievable job. Our importing business is growing at a crazy rate. I have an understanding and testimony of the the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My life is amazing.

So now for my whine.:) This was supposed to be our valentine's weekend. I arranged over a month in advance for my in-laws to come up and stay with the kids overnight. I made reservations at a restaurant and Bed and Breakfast. I did all of this without Christi knowing, and then told her a few days before Valentine's Day. We were both so excited for a night away:) Of course there was never any question that Graci's surgery would take precedence over anything else, but it was out of the blue, and we only found out the middle of last week that today would be the day. We have wonderful insurance and tremendous healthcare providers and I can't stress enough how grateful I am to be Graci's dad, but I must admit that I'm missing our would-be getaway.

On the other hand, the only reason I even have time to sit here and quietly type away at the computer is because of a wonderful friend who was thoughtful enough to invite our five other kids to dinner. And insist that I leave them there without me. That I needed an hour to myself at home. The quiet is nice. It is not a frequent thing around here:) Thanks so much, Amara! (And thanks so much to you, too, Linda! It truly is the thought that counts.)

Christi and I went to Hawaii in 2003. It was amazing. Since then, we've had a lot of trips with the kids (and a lot of trips to go GET the kids:). I like to tell her: "Honey, I'm sure we'll have an extended getaway, just the two of us, again. I believe I may be free in the fall of 2027:)

I love my family so much! This morning at 5:55am, Jesi came in and took her usual place between Christi and me in the bed. She actually prefers me:) She cuddled up close and I moved away for a little more room. She cuddled up close again and I moved away...until I was literally on the edge of the bed and knew I wouldn't get any sleep. So I got up and went to play basketball with the group of slightly insane guys who are at the church at 6am, 3 days a week. It was fun.

When I got back home, Jesi was still laying in our bed, mostly asleep. I gazed at her in awe for a moment, and then her eyelids fluttered. Through the tiny slits, she could see that I was looking at her, and she got that perfect, sweet, loving grin on her face that those of you who know her know quite well. I laid down next to her--and she absolutely THREW her arms around me and gave me an unbelievably wonderful hug. I would (and do) give up a lifetime of Hawaiian getaways for moments like these. By the way, did I tell you that I have six kids? I get these moments times SIX. How lucky am I?


Graci Recovering

Hi Everyone:

Thanks for all of your concern about Graci. I just wanted to give you a quick update. She is out of surgery and is doing well in the recovery room. They anticipate that she will come home at about 8pm tonight. I saw her for a few minutes at the hospital. She was very thirsty, tired and needing mom! For now, all we know is that Graci will be on oxygen during the nights going forward. As we get more information, we will keep you updated. Thanks for the prayers. This is a special little girl who has had an amazing impact on the lives of many, many people here in America (let alone those she impacted in China). She is in the Lord's hands.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

So thankful...

For all of you wonderful friends and family who are fasting and/or praying for Graci tomorrow, we want to say thank-you!! It means so much to us and to her. Grace acts all embarrassed when I tell people she is having surgery, but I can tell from her face that she is secretly LOVING all the attention. (:

The surgery itself is fairly minor. They will do it in the cath lab and will go through veins in her legs. She has had this done three times before, though it looks like this one will be a bit lengthier. She'll be admitted into the hospital at 9:00, with a surgery time of 10:30. Surgery should last anywhere from 2-4 hours. They have a room reserved for her to stay the night, but there is a great chance that she will come home tomorrow. Like I said, the surgery isn't very major. What is major is the outcome of the surgery. It will determine exactly what we are facing with her.

So, again-- a big giant thank-you. I will for sure keep you posted on how things go.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

She wriggled her way into our hearts...

First of all, if you haven't read the previous post concerning Graci, be sure to do so.


When I wrote the “Do you know what I know” post, it seems that even I didn’t know what I know. (: I had felt so earnest in my heart—completely convicted in the knowledge that someone out there needed to hear my feelings about adoption. A little ironic that we were the ones that needed to hear what I had to say…

So are you ready to hear the story? Or do you just want to see a picture??!!!

Go ahead, scroll on down and see her beautiful face. Then come back up and hear how one special little girl has found her home.

It started back in September. Yes, just a few weeks after coming home from China with our Xander. I had no right to be checking the waiting child list! Still, when I was looking up post adoption info on our agency's site, I couldn’t help but peek at the kids who were waiting. There she was, a little four-year-old girl (now five) whom I had seen before. But this time, it was different. I had “that feeling.” I opened up her profile and read about this sweetheart, blind and abandoned at birth, and my heart was just doing flip-flops. I tried to convince myself that it was because she reminded me so much of Elli, not because she was OURS, but I couldn’t deny that the Spirit was whispering something to my heart. Later that day, I was out on the trampoline with Elli when—you guessed it—a ladybug flew inside the net and landed right next to me. (If you haven’t followed our blogs, ladybugs are a symbol of luck in the adoption community and seem to show up on every important day of our adoption journeys.)

I had a talk with Jeremy.

He was so sweet. He even cried when he saw her picture and said he was so glad that I was the kind of person who would open my heart to her. He told me how much he loved me. And then he told me I was off my rocker.

Or something like that.

Basically, he said no. And I admit that I was very relieved. It seemed that there was no way that it could be right for us. After all, we had just come home from China! We had SIX kids!! We were already barely keeping our heads above water!!!

And I can promise you, that when I wrote my adoption post in November, the thought hadn’t even remotely crossed my mind that I was writing it for us. Jeremy didn’t either. Though he did cry when he read it, and we talked about how grateful we were for the things we knew and the ways adoption had changed our lives. And that was that.

Until a few weeks ago... That’s when we were sitting at Elli’s IEP meeting. There we were, Jeremy, myself, and four of the WONDERFUL women who give of their hearts and expertise each preschool day. Elli was in a corner of the room, jumping and playing with the toys. Jeremy thought to himself how grateful he was for the wonderful resources we had to help Elli. For all the help that these women were giving her. And he looked over at Elli and thought how her blindness wasn’t really an issue—it was her cognitive delays that were so hard to deal with. And then the thought entered his mind, “There is a little girl in China who is just blind.”

And he knew.

He describes it as a triangle being formed that day between him, and her, and God. That perhaps more than with any of our other children, he KNEW she was meant to be ours. He couldn’t remember what she looked like, how old she was—nothing except that he loved her.

And so later that day I got a phone call. (: (Usually it’s the other way around.) I was overwhelmed (I had long since given up the idea of adopting her—though I will admit I kept thinking about that ladybug) but looked up her file. As it turns out, that VERY day, her file had been marked to be returned to China. This happens when nobody shows interest in a child over a period of several months, and the agency is forced to return their file. Sometimes these files are sent to another agency, and sometimes they are kept in China and the children are deemed “unadoptable.” So it’s no coincidence that Jeremy had his experience on the day that he did.

I must say that I was worried that our agency would think we were crazy when I called and asked them to hold on to that file for just a few more days! It meant the world to me that they were so thrilled and supportive of us considering her. It gave me assurance that maybe I could do this crazy thing. It didn’t take long—just a few days of fasting and prayer before I knew what Jeremy knew.

That she is ours.

That all of my concerns had been answered by myself in my blog entry! That I needed to let go of my fears and embrace the blessing that our Heavenly Father was placing in our lives. The blessing of another beautiful little China doll. Who happens to have a birthday right in between Xander’s and Elli’s, making, ahem… THREE in kindergarten next year. You know, cause we always wanted triplets. Or not. (:

Telling our children was such a sweet experience. We have always asked for their input in our adoptions. We took each of them to dinner with us, individually, over the next couple of weeks to tell them about this little girl and see what they thought. Each responded so beautifully and selflessly. I just fell more in love with my kiddos!! My favorite response was from Xander, who jumped up and down, laughing and saying in his cute Chinese accent, “YAY! More family for my family!”


And that, folks, is exactly how I feel—more family for my family!!! YAY!!!!

Here she is…

Dang Ling You.

Surname, the same as Elli and Xander's. Given name the same as Graci's middle name in Chinese. Fun!

And as soon as I figure out how to do it, I will post some VIDEO we have of her. This little girl’s smile lights up the screen!

We’re thinking “Alexis” as a first name, and calling her “Lexi.” That way it’s close to Alexander (Xander) since they’re so close in age and we’re keeping the traditional ending for our girls’ names. What do you think???

Oh, and as far as timing—it’s looking like November-ish. Just as we were receiving the bad news about Graci, we were receiving good news—pre-approval—from China. Oh, the roller-coaster of our life!


Happy Love Day!!

Jeremy and I had a nice date planned last night, but it fell through when we both were battling headaches. I was feeling a little sorry for myself, but then we were awakened this morning bright and early with breakfast in bed and a Happy Valentine’s Day song. We weren’t expecting it, and I was just so overcome with love for our wonderful kids. Throughout the day we continued to see little acts of kindness from them. Parker let me stay in bed while he got Elli up, fed her, and put her in the bath. He also made Xander a fried egg sandwich (Parker’s specialty). Pretty good for a nine-year-old! Taylor worked for over two hours on the cutest treasure hunt for the other kids. The treasure—pictures and love notes for them. (: One example:

Xander shared his candy with everyone in the family. He also was so good to be quiet this afternoon and let us have a nap. Elli always makes us smile with her little songs—you cannot listen to her sing and not feel the pure love of Christ she exudes. Jessica showed us a powerful example of love tonight. We were playing a board game and she was sitting on Jeremy’s lap. His leg got sore, and he told her she needed to get off. For some reason, it broke her little heart, and she walked off sobbing. A couple of minutes later, she came back into the kitchen with red puffy eyes carrying drinks for Jeremy and me. This sparked a great conversation about how to act when someone hurts our feelings. We decided as a family that for one week, every time someone does something to us that makes us sad or upset we are going to turn around and serve them. Good job, Jesi!

And finally, Graci and her Achievement Days girls sang “Where Love Is” in Sacrament meeting today. It was the best Valentine. She looked so so beautiful and smiled during the whole song. She was just glowing. There was a line in the song, “the happiness we feel when love has found us” that brought tears to my eyes. I thought of how far she has come in the last couple of years. She has evolved into such a beautiful young woman. She is responsible and thoughtful and caring. Most importantly, I feel that she has finally found her place in our family—she is secure in our love and happy in our home. We love her beyond words. She has blessed us in so many ways.

With that, I am so burdened to share that her health is not as good as we want it to be. It seems that Graci has recently developed pulmonary hypertension. In simple terms, the arteries in her lungs have narrowed and hardened, making her heart work too hard to get blood to her lungs. The past couple of weeks have brought an EKG, ECHO, and a cardiac MRI. This Friday, she will undergo surgery in the cath lab. They will be trying some different medications and seeing how her heart responds to them. The results of the surgery will be pivotal in knowing what exactly we are facing here. Even though I have tried to not worry until we know more, I can’t help but feel the wind has been knocked out of me and I am left gasping for air. We were not expecting this. We also found out this week that she has cervical stenosis and will need to be seen by the top neurosurgeon at Primary Children’s.

We need this little girl with us, so please, know that we would love your prayers. One of my friends offered to fast for her on Friday. I loved that idea, and would invite any of you who feel so inclined to join our fast. It would obviously mean the world to us, as she means the world to us.

With the storm always comes a rainbow, and we are so happy to share with you some very very exciting news! It deserves a post of it’s own—and I’m going to work on it right now so Teri will still like me!! Check back soon!

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Random tid-bits about our family:


Takes off his wedding ring to weigh himself. You know, in case its HALF AN OUNCE makes a difference.

Played “Zero the Hero” this week in Jesi’s kindergarten class. Her teacher said he was “phenomenol.”

Loves shrimp tacos. Possibly more than he loves me.


Has more doctors than she has fingers, including several cardiologists, an orthopedist, and, most recently, a neurosurgeon.

Loves money. Will do almost anything for money. (This comes in very handy for me.)

Sleeps with 2 pillows, 6 blankets and 24 stuffed animals.


Is found nearly every morning on the floor, huddled over the heating vent, with a blanket completely covering him—sound asleep. (He does this after waking up in the morning to use the bathroom.)

Has the team record for number of shots made in a row during practice—24!! (The previous record was 5!)

Eats as much as most adults. Or elephants. For example, I sent in his school lunch a ham sandwich, drink, bag of chips, a big orange, carrot sticks, and two large cookies. He came home and said, “Mom, can you start sending bigger lunches?”


Will be a great husband—he always notices if I’ve changed my hair, clothes, or even eye-shadow, and constantly comes up and hugs me “just because.”

Puts ketchup on his tacos (a Nelson thing).

Does not like to sleep in.


Went on her daddy date last night. Approached Jeremy right before, took his hand and asked demurely, “Are you ready to go on a date with such a beautiful girl?” Later told me she had a crush on Daddy.

Likes to take a purse of “stuff” wherever she goes.

Is not afraid to speak her mind. She was unhappy I was leaving the other day to go to the store. She said (not in her princess voice) “I am very very frustrated at you, Mommy. I am very angry. And the angry is not going to go away. There is nothing that will make the angry go away.” As it turns out, playing dress-up with Graci made the angry go away. Instantly.


Is singing “Frosty the Snowman” at the top of her lungs as I type this.

Will sit on the potty and “go” about 75% of the time. Will also “go” various other places. For example, yesterday when I went to get her up in the morning, she had taken off her jammies and diaper and had somehow (still can’t figure out how she possibly did it) climbed up into the windowsill and was squatting on it, playing in a puddle of urine.

Says “chocolate ball” probably about 50,000 times a day. (She fell in love with these at my parents house over the holidays.)


Found the haircutting scissors and decided to try them out. Ended up looking like top pic. Wasn't happy when Mom gave him a buzz. Best friend Annie (whom he has a bit of a crush on) told him she liked his new haircut. Was immediately VERY happy with the buzz.

Bursts into tears if you so much as raise an eyebrow at him.

Has superpowers of various sorts. I never knows when I will be turned into a dragon, or a frog, or made to disappear.

Good to be back in the blogging world. Thanks so much for sending postcards to Jesi. I think she’s received 5-6, and in her words, “The gingerbread really really loves me. More than anyone else in my class. He loves Sawyer too, but not quite as much as me.” (:

Oh, and get ready to fall in love…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Postcards are still welcomed:)

We've had a few people ask if Jesi's class still wants postcards from different places. (See the entry Run, Run...below). Yes, the class would still love to get postcards through the end of March. The address is:

Jessica Green
Mrs. Proud's AM Kindergarten Providence Hall
4795 W Mt. Ogden Peak Dr
Herriman, UT 84096



Saturday, February 6, 2010

I have no idea what to write...

But it has been so long, I just needed to put something in here. Christi is reading over my shoulder and thinks I'm an idiot for saying I don't know what to write. She says there are a thousand things to write about. I guess I'm just too wiped out from the virus I've been battling for the last couple of days to think straight.

The older boys are both playing basketball and I'm their coach:) Parker's team is 7-0. Parker is an absolute animal on the court. He is almost unstoppable. One of the moms on our team asked "Was he born with a basketball in his hands?" I responded, "It really doesn't matter what kind of ball it is. If you put it in Parker's hands, good things happen:)"

Taylor's team started out 0-2 and then went on a 5-game winning streak and is now 5-2. They've been playing together for 3 years and do very well. Taylor is a GREAT shooter. He's spent hours practicing his shot, and it really shows when he's playing.

Being a dad is very tiring, but it is the most WONDERFUL job in the world:)