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…it’s been a while since I’ve posted!  But in all fairness, it’s been a crazy week here with Peter’s entire family visiting. It’s been like a seven-day-long family reunion — sun up to sun down (and way later some nights… these guys like to party!)

I also realize it’s been even longer since I’ve posted anything thoughtful or contemplative…  But, never fear — I’m pretty sure I’ve still got “contemplative and thoughtful” in me… (ha! 🙂  It’s just gonna take a while longer to get the thoughts I’ve had lately formulated into readable posts…  I think you may have to tolerate some looonnng photo posts first, because I’ve certainly been snap-happy lately! — but I’ll try to get some thoughts down later for all my serious, contemplative, thoughtful readers (yes, you know who you are!!)  

 I’ll start with some photos from this last week with the G family.  It’s been as crazy and chaotic as one would imagine (if you know the family at all!) — but also a lot of fun. 

Besides all the snapshots this week, I also managed to get a few “official” shots since it’s been years since we’ve taken any — and the family is growing all the time! Amazingly enough, we actually got a decent group picture with everyone looking at the camera at the same time!  (Although, note the three kids in the front — all with hands near their noses!! KIDS!!!! )

I love this picture of Peter and his brothers.  His oldest brother lives close, and we spend a lot of time with his family, but we don’t see his other two brothers very often.  Drew is finishing up school this year (we’ll soon have a licensed chiropractor in the family!)  Dan is in the military and just returned from Iraq. 

Drew and his lady-friend, Danielle, graciously let me “practice” with my new lens — we had a fun, spontaneous photo shoot one afternoon.  They are such a cute couple.  It was the family’s first time meeting Danielle and she is awesome!  We had a great time getting to know her.

Dan and his wife, Channelle, also let me use them as a practice target for my lens.  Wahoo!  I loved having all these cute couples around to shoot!  It’s a WHOLE lot easier taking pictures of willing adults than squirrely kids!  🙂

Case in point: getting a picture of all the cousins together was rather difficult!  It took the promise of popsicles to end up with this one… 

The rest of the pictures looked something like this… (notice the MAJOR frown on Henry’s face!!!)

The kids always have such a great time playing together.  They are really, really blessed to live so close to each other (all of Peter’s nieces and nephews live near us.)   Here are a few of my favorite, random snap-shots of the kids…

 

 

We had a croquet tournament on Memorial Day.  Peter set up a crazy, obstacle-filled course — which he then dominated, of course!  Oh well, it was fun anyway…

 

We also hiked down to the river on Memorial Day and climbed the clay cliffs.  Most of you know that Peter and I grew up together — so that also means that I grew up with Peter’s brothers — it was great fun reminiscing about all the crazy things we used to do down at the river.  We practically lived down there during the summers when we were all in high school.  We did some pretty crazy things back then (we were invincible teenagers, right??? 🙂 )

The guys tried to re-live some of the memories by attemping to roll this boulder down to the river.  (Yes, that was one of the things they used to do when we were young and had time on our hands… 🙂 ) Thankfully these old men didn’t throw their backs out… although I guess Drew DID bring his chiropractic table, so at least he would have gotten a little practice if they did!

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I feel so fortuante to have married into such an awesome, loving family.  They are some of the least judgemental and most warm, welcoming people I know.  I feel blessed to have grown up with the people who eventually became my brothers and sisters through marriage. 

I feel really blessed that I don’t just like, but actually deeply love my in-laws!!

 

I love the way this shot turned out.  This is the playhouse at Grandma’s (right next door.)  Whenever we’re outside and Jo disappears, I can usually find her over in the playhouse.  The old apple tree is just gorgeous this time of the year and adds to the idyllic setting… Makes me want to “play” house, too!   

Alrighty people, I could use your help.  I’m working on setting up the RLC mall (for Red Letters Campaign) and I could use any leads you have for great online stores and/or products that support humanitarian efforts in developing countries (i.e. Africa Bags, Saint’s Coffee, Missy’s candles, etc…)  I have found quite a few great sites — but I KNOW there must be more out there!

The goal is to have a large variety of stores and products in one easy location so people can shop and make a difference through their purchases.  I am super-excited about this project — especially because it goes hand in hand with the work Peter and I have been doing on getting a site going for African items and micro-loans.  I was thrilled when Angel handed this project my way and I’m hoping to get enough leads in the next couple weeks to be able to get the site up and running, so please, bombard me with e-mails! 🙂  My addy is: sunfreckled @ gmail.com (minus the spaces of course… 🙂 

 We took the kids to Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle last week while we were there for Henry’s appointment.  They had a BLAST!  (And so did we, for that matter!) 

 So many fun animals to see.

  

 

I had a bit of a scare this evening.  I had an accident and ended up hitting my head so hard that I actually knocked myself out.  It was all very traumatic for the kids… here’s mom laying flat out on the floor in tears (it hurt like the DICKENS!! You should see the golf ball-sized bump on the top of my head!)  But mostly I was worried about my neck (all that EMS training drilled into my head…)  There had been considerable force compressing my neck down and I wasn’t too sure if I should be moving. 

So while Peter was checking me out and on the phone with our friendly neighborhood paramedic, Joanna was watching it all, quite upset.

She finally asked Peter in a very, very serious and sad little voice,

Do I have to buy a new mommy now???”

Oh my! 

The new photo in my header is really significant to me… so I thought I would share the reason why.  Do you remember my post last fall about the gazillion tulip bulbs I was planting? 

Well, they are in full bloom now.

I planted them with the anticipation that my son would be home to see them. 

And he is!!

It seemed to me while planting them that the wait from bulb to bloom would be excrutiatingly long.  It signified the wait for Henry.  But true to character, the time passed… the seasons changed… the waiting ended — and even though it seemed like forever then, it seems like only a breath ago now.   

The funny thing is, the little hands that I longed to bring home can’t keep themselves off the tulip heads!  Aaaahhh!!  My ‘hope realized’ is a menace in the garden. 

But what a sweet, sweet menace!!

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This post was written with a silent prayer for all of you still waiting to bring your kids home.  May your hopes be realized soon.

I wanted to share something that I am really, really excited about.  My crazy, adventure-loving blogger buddy, Angel, along with her husband and a couple of friends, have started a great new organization: RED LETTERS CAMPAIGN.  Many of you have heard of or read the book Red Letters, by Tom Davis — this campaign is a practical way for you and me to get involved.  There’s a lot more to it as well — they’re just getting started and have a ton of ideas for the future!  And if you know Angel at all, you KNOW it’s going to be extreme and awesome.  This lady is a mover and a shaker with a HUGELY compassionate heart to be Jesus’ hands and feet on the earth.  I just love her.

So go now, and check it out!  Spend a few minutes poking around the site and be sure to check back often because there’s more to come.  Better yet, sign up to be a adoption journalist and join the blogger network! 

Well, the second opinion ended up echoing the first.  After reviewing the MRI scans and examining Henry, the Neurosurgeon doesn’t think that any of the cysts are operable at this time.  He wants us to get another series of MRIs taken in three months to monitor their size and any growth — particularly the one in Henry’s C-spine.  He also said that there must have been an injury to the brachial plexus nerves at birth because everything points to that as the cause of his non-functioning arm.  He agreed with the neurologist we saw in Spokane — there isn’t anything medically to be done about Henry’s arm.  Unless the Lord heals him, he will never regain the use of it.  Of course, we’re totally up for that and we’re praying that way! 

So that’s that.  I am actually relieved to be able to bring closure to the waiting and wondering.  Unanswered diagnostic questions are difficult to live with month after month.  My heart goes out to families who search for conclusive answers for years.  It’s a relief to be able to shut the door and move on.  I kind of feel like we’ve been frozen in a place of ever-searching and never-discovering. There is so much more to Henry than all this diagnostic rhetoric that he is completely oblivious to at his age anyway. He’s a fighter and a champ.  Nothing is going to hold him back — not a brain disorder, not a bum arm, NOTHING! 

I’m also looking forward to jumping back into some areas that have been set to the side during this season.  I’ve been so focused on the medical end of things… now I can jump back in and rekindle some thoughts and ideas that have just been waiting.   Maybe I’ll finally get to finish the zillion half-written posts that I’ve started over the last few months as well!

Anyway, thanks so much for the comments and the encouragement.  I know it doesn’t seem like much to write a couple of sentences, but really, it’s meant the world to me.  I feel like I’ve been able to process everything and I am grateful for the closure at this point.  I am continually blown away by the Lord’s goodness to us.  We don’t deserve any of it.  We brought Henry home really not knowing anything — and even though it’s been a bit of a ride… now we know.  We KNOW what’s going on and we know what the next steps are.  That’s a huge blessing. 

We’re headed to Seattle again today for one more appointment for Henry.  This is a second opinion appointment with a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital.  It’s really a miracle that Henry got a meeting with this surgeon on such short notice.  He actually created this appointment’s time slot specifically for Henry since he is leaving later in the week for several months teaching in Japan.  He wanted to see Henry before he left and we are so, so grateful. 

It can be hard to keep track of all the medical jargon… so here’s a quick refresher:  The second part of Henry’s recent diagnosis was the series of cysts in his brain and spine.  We were given the first opinion that there really isn’t anything to be done about them at this point; but we’re following up on it because one of the doctors that Henry saw months ago in Seattle thinks there could be another condition causing the series of cysts (and that it could be surgically treatable.)  He referred us to the neurosurgeon that we will be seeing later today.

Anyway, we would really appreciate prayer for this appointment. This is kind of like the last strand of hope we have that any part of Henry’s condition is treatable — or that he’ll ever be able to use his left arm.  This appointment is a big one — we need to hear someone else’s opinion about the cysts and we’re praying that this second opinion will give some unexpected hope. 

Thanks!

Here’s some video of Henry walking.  It was taken right before bedtime last week, so he is a little more wobbly than usual.  There’s a little bit of him talking on his “phone” before the walking part… such a funny kid.  🙂

 

A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

Photography Website:

Contact Me:

sunfreckled@gmail.com
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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