Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another Update

We got another update on our sweet girl today. I have a feeling this is the "official" update before we travel. In it, we were given weight and height. She has 2 teeth and 10 feet (okay...that one read funny to me at first. Her feet are 10 cm., but it looked like she had 10 feet.)

Contrary to the last picture we received, upon which she was dubbed "Miss Sassypants" for the look of pure spunky attitude, this update said that she is rather introverted. I guess she will be a mystery that we'll be investigating for a long time!

We know her feeding and sleeping schedule, and the foods she likes to eat. This will be quite helpful. With Dayna, we knew nothing about parenting and gave her anything she'd eat. This led to some rather uncomfortable days in China for her and frightening days for us until her little system started to go again. Needless to say, we'll be sticking pretty close to this diet until we get her home and can SLOWLY introduce more.

We also received two more precious pictures. It does look like she's pretty steady on her feet and will probably be walking everywhere. Quite different from our experience with Dayna when she couldn't sit or even roll over on the day we met her.

Can't wait to start this adventure!

Hang on, little one...we're coming as soon as we can!

My Deliverer

As life continues to settle into a different pace and routine, I find myself still struggling with some unresolved issues. It seems baffling when people act in ways that just don't make sense. With my personality and sense of justice, I have a hard time letting go. Sometimes I feel that it's my job to make things right in the world. Or at least to get people to conform to my expectations. And so I want to resolve, resolve, resolve. Yet I'm finding that some situations or people need to just be left alone.

In our BSF study of Genesis this year, for some reason I've been thinking more about Lot. I never really paid that much attention to him before. He chose to live in opulence and comfort near the people of Sodom. And he was taken prisoner by warring kings. God sent Abraham to rescue Lot. You'd think Lot would have listened and gone with Abraham at that point. But no...he returned to Sodom. The next time around, God's warning was a lot more, well...destructive. Lot was saved, but by the skin of his teeth.

Which brings me back to my own stuff lately. My nature to resolve issues and confront injustice is rising up again. It's really hard for me to just let things go. I remember when Dan gave me a small rubber duck years ago to remind myself to just let it roll off my back. Easier said than done.

The question was asked recently what Sodom has God rescued me from that I keep returning to. That was a pretty obvious question as I was struggling with whether or not to deal with an organization with which my ties have been loosened.

And so, while it goes against the fiber of my being, and has ramifications that cause me to revert to my anxious nature, I am praying that God will give me the courage and faith to let Him handle this one. And whether I should hold those ties loosely or sever them altogether. (Because burning bridges does not seem wise at this point either.)

The last thing I want to do is to run back if this is a Sodom from which God has delivered me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Messages from Far Away

You may recall from my October posts that Dayna had her first heartbreaking goodbye. Her friend Katherine had lived in Lincoln for a year and had to return to her home in Harbin, China. You can read about this tough farewell here and here.

On Friday night, I received a call from a very strange number. I confess...I'm not used to receiving international calls. Katherine was up early on a Saturday morning and wanted to talk to Dayna! So the girls got on Skype and giggled and talked for over an hour. They were showing each other baby pictures, walking around their homes with the laptop so they could see where the other lived, showing each other their homework assignments, and generally catching up on the last 3 months. It did this mama's heart so much good to see this connection.

They repeated the whole thing on Saturday night as well! I'm so happy for my daughter that this friendship can continue over the miles.

Snow Day

The day started like any other day. I woke up early because I couldn't sleep. The wind was making funny noises and something kept scraping our roof. I remembered that we were supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow (a dusting) and looked out the window out of curiosity. One look at the neighbor's covered car, and I knew there would be no school today.

I let Dayna sleep. She woke up about an hour later than usual in a panic because "I'm late for school!!!!!" I told her to come to my room and look at something. She must have opened her shades because I then heard the most gleeful squeal of delight. She came bouncing into my room chanting "snow day, snow day!"

She promptly came up with an agenda for the day:
 First we snugle. Then we snugle. Next we watch somting while snugleing then we eat breakfast.

She also liked my suggestion of painting our nails with "yes, yes, super yes, triple yes, quadruple yes, quadruple suger on top yes!"

I rearranged her order a bit and opted for breakfast after the first round of "snugleing". I told her I would make a fancy breakfast for her. She wanted the "fanciest thing in the world" and requested grits. Yes. Grits.

We followed up with our current Netflix movie, "Dolphin Tale", which (according to Dayna) she LOVED and GAVE 5 STARS! (She was quite dramatic and adamant about her love for the movie and even requested it for her birthday.) You can see here that all of her friends decided to join our movie date as well.

She also wanted to make thumbprint cookies. This is one of the first times we've baked together where she did the measuring. I must say...the cookies were really tasty.

Sorry, no pictures of my stylin' lime green toenails or her pretty purple ones. But...altogether, it was a wonderful day to spend some one-on-one time before we add her little sister to the mix. It was attention she enjoyed.

Care Package

We recently sent off a care package to Annie. It was a while in the making, and while it may literally be on a slow boat to...well, you know...and we may get to Annie before her package, we thought we'd document what we sent.

Dayna has two identical starfish. One was a gift after surgery last year. The other she found at a garage sale and bought with her own money. Their names: Starlight and Starbright. After much deliberation, she chose to give Starbright to Annie. She'll bring Starlight with her to China so the girls can play together and Annie can make a connection with her sister.

There was a purpose behind every item we sent:
  • A new outfit (since she'll probably get a lot of gently used clothes)
  • The starfish to connect with her sister
  • A disposable camera so we can have a better idea of life in the orphan care center
  • A photo album with pictures of the three of us and her grandparents. The pictures are labeled in Chinese so the nannies can start identifying us as her parents, sister, grandparents, etc. (This was an effective tool for Dayna. About a year after she came home, she suddenly started calling Dan's dad "Ye Ye" which means "paternal grandfather." She would pull out her album and start saying his name in Chinese.)
  • A CD with recordings of each one of us reading to her and singing to her. (Another effective tool with great memories of when Dayna recognized my singing voice within hours of meeting us.)
  • A blanket embroidered with her Chinese name. (We'll have her English name added when we bring her home.) We slept with this blanket for several nights so it would pick up our scent. Another tool to help her recognize us.

 As quickly as we want to get to our girl, we do hope this gets to her first to help make her transition a little easier.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Getting Closer

As our travel dates get closer and closer, we have established an online travel journal for our trip to Annie. You can find it at Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Les Miserables

 Yes. I confess to being slightly obsessed with the story by Victor Hugo. It started innocently enough. As a graduate student in the School of Music, I was given two complimentary tickets each semester to events at the Lied Center in Lincoln. Because I was also required to attend a minimum of 10 concerts each semester, it was nice to occasionally use these tickets for something I wouldn't normally do (or at least something that wasn't required...which often makes it more enjoyable.)

One semester, the traveling Broadway show Les Miserables was coming to Lincoln. I'd never seen a musical, and I'd played excerpts of the music in high school and enjoyed what I played. So I went with a friend and sat mesmerized for several hours. The music. The acting. The story. Every part of it held me captive. I borrowed music from friends. I sang along. I was hooked. The friend who joined me knew of my newfound love of all things Les Mis and went together with his roommate to buy me the complete symphonic recording (3 CDs) of Les Miserables. That was the first gift my now husband ever bought me.

While student teaching, I got ahold of the abridged version of Hugo's book. The story offered even more details than the musical. More depth. More sin. More forgiveness. More redemption. While not theologically accurate, a wonderful picture of Christ.

Shortly after we got married, I saw that Les Mis was coming to Omaha. I scrimped and saved and bought box seat tickets for Dan's birthday. His parents threw in a night in a downtown hotel, and my folks sent us a gift card for dinner. I even worked things out with Dan's boss to be a little late to work the next day. It was one of those unforgettable events that we cannot often do. The musical once again delivered and I went home a very happy woman.

Since then, I have read the unabridged version of the book twice. The first time took me a year. The second took a summer. (If you're interested in reading it, I'd recommend the abridged...a lot less political commentary that has no relevance now.)

Then...horrors! Broadway discontinued Les Mis. It enjoyed a long run and garnered many fans. And then it was gone. I was left with memories, 3 CDs, and a very long book.

Apparently, the Broadway powers-that-be heard the cries of fans like myself and decided to bring it back. With new sets and slightly different music. And so, we scrimped and saved again and went to see the show when it came to Omaha two years ago. I truly wish I could get those hours (and those dollars) back. The music was so out of balance, the singing was meh, the tempos were way too fast, and the emotion was stripped from the story. Dan and I both walked out and felt like we'd lost Les Mis forever. 

We have since watched the 1998 film version (not a musical) with Liam Neeson. It was a great representation of some major plot points from the book that were left out of the musical. If musicals aren't really your thing, but you're interested in the story, I'd recommend this version.

So...I think I've made the point that I LOVE Les Miserables and have become somewhat picky about how it's portrayed. I wasn't sure if I should be happy or sad when I saw it was coming to the theater. I honestly didn't know if it was going to be a musical, a film, or what. (I know...I live with my head in the sand these days.) But after seeing the buzz on Facebook and realizing Hugh Jackman was in the movie (yes...I'm a Huge Hugh fan...not because he's pleasant to look at, but because he's a committed family man and great adoption advocate), I wanted to see if the hype was warranted.

So when Dayna was invited to spend the night with a friend, Dan splurged and took me to the movies. And while the singing was not what you'd expect on Broadway, it was full of angst and emotion. My heart soared and broke with the characters on the screen. Plot points that had been originally omitted from the musical were incorporated in the film. Several of the actors have played their roles in the stage version previously and did a fantastic job on the big screen. 

Dan & I both feel like Les Miserables has been restored to us, and we once again will have something to share with our kids when they get old enough to appreciate the story and music.

(Although, upon hearing some of the music, Dayna has written her own version:

Look down, look down, you're standing in your grave
Look down, look down, push a button on the microwave)

I've seen many comments about what a horribly depressing story it is. I just they know what Les Miserables translates to in English? And if you don't stick with the story to the end, you might miss the message of redemption, second chances, and forgiveness. Grace and mercy. Life is not pretty, but God is always there.

From convict
 To selling yourself to save your child
To child exploitation
To finding the love of a father
Being hunted
Fighting for your rights
Unrequited love
 Becoming a new man
To love and redemption

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

Dayna and her Daddy wanted to surprise me tonight. While I was at physical therapy, they were busy at work putting the crib together. I guess I need to figure out which box those crib sheets are in! All we're missing is an Annie to put in the crib.
Right now, Dayna's having her "lamp time"...those quiet moments to read in her room before she turns out the light. It was a bit unusual that she was reading out loud, so we peeked into her room, and this is what we saw:

Good thing she's practicing!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Half Full

Following up on my 50% entry...I spent several discouraging hours the day after my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon trying to find a physical therapist. Here in town, she only works 8-4. That means I would have to turn down work 3x/week for a 30-45 minute appointment. I started looking into Omaha, but only reached voice mails and "you've got the wrong location." With one last-ditch effort, I contacted a PT office in the town 8 miles east of us. He was able to get me in immediately and work around a substitute teacher's schedule.

I went to my first appointment to have him take mobility measurements. It seems my range of motion was extremely limited in every direction (which I knew...haven't been able to move my foot for 2 months, only wiggle my toes) and wasn't even static in one direction. So...he did a little bit of ultrasound and gave me some new exercises/stretches and showed me a new way to wrap my ankle. Not once did the PT mention a need for surgery, and in fact, told me multiple times that "we've got plenty of time to get this better before you go to China."

I woke up yesterday, and for the first time in 2 months, I COULD MOVE MY FOOT!!! (Yes, I know I'm yelling, but this is really, really, really, really exciting for me!) Yes...I can do ankle circles (small ones, but getting bigger), go up and down stairs, and even write the alphabet with my big toe (the exercise I've been trying, to no avail.)

Can't wait to see what my measurements are tomorrow. It seems I've taken so many steps backward with this injury, that this is a major leap forward.

Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


That's what I was told today by the orthopedic surgeon. I have a 50% chance that my ankle will heal on its own. This means I have a 50% chance that I'll need surgery. the glass half full or half empty?

I'm going to start physical therapy and do that for 3 weeks. It sounds like this will be the litmus test as to whether or not I can get over this on my own.

If looks like I'll need arthroscopic surgery where the doctor will have to micro-fracture my ankle. I'll be in a boot for about 4 weeks.

Not the end of the world, I know...but we're planning this "little" trip to China soon. One where hobbling around really isn't ideal. I have been told that if surgery is necessary, it can wait until we get home. (But mom on crutches juggling a toddler, diaper bag, etc....not an ideal picture there, either.) If surgery will be necessary, and we'll need to wait, I can get a cortizone shot in the ankle (ouch!) before we leave.

So...the options aren't looking all that great right now. There still is that 50% chance that it will get better on its own. I was also assured that if I put off treatment, it won't get any worse. There's also a good chance that I'll be able to run again someday.

I'm trying to look at the bright side, but prayers are appreciated. Thanks!