July 29, 2012

Do you want to see the twins???

I bet everyone is tired of seeing pictures like this of the twins:
Well that is about to end...today!!!! :)  I have probably been more cautious than necessary about posting their pictures, but the wait period is over and has been over since June after our last finalization court date. So prepare for some pictures of the twins, learning their names, and what country they are from!
Let me start by catching everyone up....

I have mostly good news and just a bit of bad news....so I think I'll get the bad part out of the way.

On Friday, Robertson woke up with a fever. :(  It is, of course, making me nervous because that is how his Guillain-Barre started....with a fever and no other immediate symptoms.  I took him in to the family doctor and she didn't notice any neurological involvement, so we are waiting and watching carefully.  I called yesterday evening to speak to the neurologist on call.  Every time Robertson's advil wears off, the fever is still spiking and I wanted to see if the neurologist would be concerned about what is going on due to the Guillain-Barre.  Oh my goodness, I'm so thankful that the neurologist we got in the hospital was *not* the one that I just spoke to!

She merely offered that if I gave him tylenol, as well as advil, that his fever would "go away".  Ummmm, I don't think that quite *solves* the problem. :(  Only when I continued to explain that he recently had Guillain-Barre and I wanted to be sure that we weren't missing something etc did she finally say that if he still had a fever today that we could bring him back to urgent care....UGH!

Okay....the *good* news!!!!  And, there is a lot of it! First of all, Robertson's vision is finally getting better!  When you hold your finger closer to him, he is seeing only one finger!  If you hold the finger further away, he still sees double but he is truly and *finally* making progress after a long stall of no progress at all.   I can't even begin to explain how happy that makes me!  His eyes are tracking much much better as well so they don't even really look crossed anymore.  If this horrible fever would go away, I could truly begin to relax and celebrate....

Next bit of good things.....as far as the twins!  So much has been going on in our household lately that I forgot to do something that I absolutely intended to do.  Twenty days after the last court date marked the last bit of waiting for the finalization of their adoption....what does that mean?  Well, we are not yet done entirely with the adoption until the third trip which is coming in just a couple of weeks.

But, that trip is just to allow their immigration into the United States.

The beautiful country of *Latvia* granted us permission to adopt and after no one contested the adoption during the wait period....we can all dance around......

We are rejoicing that they are legally our children! :)

Yes, I know....they are beautiful children, inside and out!!!!

Can you imagine the two of them being split up?  I absolutely cannot!!!
Announcing "officially" the adoption of Ilya and Katerina (Kate) into our family!!!!!!!!!

Last Friday,  we decided to make a very spontaneous trip to the beach.  We *needed* it sooo badly!  We had not been to the beach to camp as a family for about three years due to caring for our grandmother until she passed away last year (see this link for our memorial slide show from a year ago....I just watched it and still got teary :(

Anyway, early Saturday we got ready.....well, actually........we kind of spontaneously threw things in our van and headed out.

And, off we drove towards San Francisco...

And, eventually, we made it to Half Moon Bay!

It was so BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

Eleanor loved it!!!

Kate loved it!!!!!
Ilya loved it!!!

Robertson loved it!!!

Amelia loved it!!!!!

Emily loved it!!!

Mary loved it!!!

Maria loved it!!!

And, when *all* of the children are happy....guess who else is happy too!!!!

We were all so focused on heading to the beach for the twins to experience the Pacific Ocean for the first time, that we never thought about the fact that camping was a completely new concept that was even more foreign to them!

We set up our tent next to the porta potty....I know, it sounds ridiculous.... but for a family of many children and a mom with a weak stomach, coupled with the fact that no one else wants to camp there....it just seemed ideal! :)

So, Ilya kept looking around strangely at the other tents and then at ours...and asked "What you doing???"  I explained that we were setting up our tent and that we would be sleeping in there that night.  He paused for awhile and then looked back at me and said...."WHY???" in a tone that could only be translated as "are you crazy?!?"

Ha ha, it was a good question!!!  Oh well, he got over it quickly and decided that he actually liked the idea of camping!

As did Eleanor, once she found the doggie door!

Kate thought it was a pretty fun idea too!
Another brand new concept for the little ones....SMORES!!!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention where we were camping!  Since our trip was so spontaneous, we didn't have a reservation at the state park.  We were hoping there might be a last minute no show, but when we arrived, we realized that wasn't likely....the parking lot for day use was even closed because it was full!

So, I was thankful that I had taken some time to research other options and we headed down the road to the  Cameron's Pub and Inn.  

It may not be immediately obvious that they offer tent camping as well as RV parking but they do and it was a lot of fun.  The place is set up like an old English Pub but it is family friendly and the food is wonderful!

And, they have quirky English decorations all throughout the property......

Ilya trying to look like a mean pirate!
Kate trying to look scared! :)

Uh Oh!  Amelia is in some serious trouble now!

He's a natural!  He went right into this pose!
And, so we spent our last day at the beach....a long leisurely day of playing and resting and just enjoying the ocean......

Emily made friends and saved a little shrimp!

If you weren't sure before.....now you will know that the twins *loved* the ocean! :)

And, while you chuckling at how cute the twins are...how about a little further entertainment compliments of my darling husband, who decided to get a picture of me while I was taking this video of the twins!

Now you're sure to be laughing...you're welcome! :D

July 20, 2012

Getting to the meaning of my daughter's upcoming wedding....

Our daughter is officially getting married in the beginning of September!
 It has been suggested that perhaps she is being selfish for not delaying the wedding considering all that is happening with our family.  I will admit that we *have* considered delaying.  However, Lauren prayed about it and felt strongly that we should continue forward.  I am so proud of her and I really don't care about being overwhelmed by it all....I will try to explain why....

I have been more emotional lately and it feels significant to me because I can literally go *years* without a tear....

I barely got misty at my wedding.....

and I have never cried at any of my children's births....I just get right to caring for them, studying them, and falling in love with them.

Well, that is not entirely true.  I did cry at my stillborn daughter's birth.

My husband has cried each and every time we have had a new baby, he cried at our wedding, and he is easily moved by a touching spiritual story.

So, I guess I have even felt that I wasn't showing enough emotion in the past.  The emotion is definitely there but I work pretty hard to keep it well beneath the surface.

But, this last year has created a very different person in me.  I re-posted the pictures of our little Kate Margaret's hand because I think it is important to understand where I am mentally right now....

The loss of our daughter was rare and unexplained.  It came out of the blue sky...literally.  I was a happy mother, nearly seven months pregnant one moment....and then I went to bed like any other day of any other pregnancy.

At 4am, I woke up with a horrific headache unlike anything I had ever had before.  Despite going to the ER, no cause for the headache was determined and no one checked on our baby.  Two days later, amidst my continuing and searing headache, our little one passed away in utero.

That moment forever changed something inside of me.  Things that only happen to other people, had happened to us.  Something that was rare that is discussed in insignificant statistics, had happened to us.

Words like "unlikely", "unusual", or "rare" now suggested risk to me rather than something benign as it used to.

So Robertson's recent illness of Guillain-Barre likely ignited more worry and fear than it would have gotten out of my former self that would have said "oh, everything will be just fine...it always is"  My brain rapidly registers that "everything isn't always fine....."

Don't get me wrong, I know that ultimately when we are with God and looking back on our lives, I do believe that we will understand, with much more clarity, the trials that we have been through.  But, in the moment, I know how it feels when your mind says, "everything is NOT okay!"

So, I will bring this to the present day....we were just told that Robertson's test for the Miller Fisher variant of Guillain-Barre was very strongly positive.

 The test just came back a few days ago and I will describe the results in the best of my, non-medical background, kind of way.

A normal test result would be 100 or lower.  Robertson's test result was 12,000!!!  The neurologist stated that it showed the aggressive nature of his illness and the rapid onset.  It confirmed in my mind that if he had not been diagnosed as quickly as he was (if not for the healing blessing, the prayers of so many, and the expertise of the neurologist) our little boy would have quickly been on life support....or worse.

When we were at the opthamologist's office and we discussed the illness and the fact that he still has double vision, I mentioned that his voice had sounded high like he was sucking helium out of a balloon.  He nodded and said that it made sense as the Miller Fisher variant works on the face/head first and it is a progressive paralysis.  He stated very simply..."his vocal cords were becoming paralyzed."

Those two new pieces of knowledge...the absolute verification of having the Miller-Fisher variant of GBS and what had been so rapidly happening to his body (including his vocal cords) *really* got to me.

Robertson and I walked over to Burger King after the appointment....he had the dark glasses on from having his eyes dilated and with one look at him......it absolutely took everything in me to choke back the tears.

I made the grave mistake recently to research a bit more on Guillain-Barre and found a case where a young man did experience a recurrence of symptoms nine months after his first incident (very rare...but then again, it all is!).  It was mentioned that the first incident was well treated by IVIG but it failed to work at all for the second incident.  The young man was put on life support as it progressed and then he lost his life.

Needless to say, I am back to not researching and just watching Robertson carefully and praying.

So, how do I pull this around to marriage?

Not only do I not think that Lauren is being selfish, I firmly believe that the wedding is divinely inspired.  It is *exactly* what we need right now!  We need to celebrate, bond, and come together as a family to rejoice.  It is my plan to do whatever we can to create a wedding with tradition, meaning, and an extra measure of fun....if we don't succeed?  Well, then it will be fun -ny and we will laugh about it and still rejoice in their marriage!

Look at the picture Mary recently took in the walnut orchard next to our house!  Did I mention that we are doing the reception at our home?

Here we go with wedding planning and in just a few more weeks, the last trip for the adoption!!!!!