"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Big Unwrapping

Today we got to take off Victoria's casts. She gets new ones on Friday.

We celebrated with, what else, cookie dough. I really think cookie dough is highly unrecognized as a food group.

Victoria was excited at first.

But then, not so much.

No wonder her legs looked so big in the casts!

I'm not sure I noticed much of a change in her knees bending, but I guess it is going to take a lot of time.

She was glad to be free!

Don't worry Francesca, we're not forgetting about you!

In other exciting news, I just found out that we will be going to Texas for the girls' surgery October 24!!!! This is much sooner than we expected. Does anyone live near Dallas? I need to find someone who can watch Victoria on October 24th when Francesca has her cranial vault surgery. Francesca will be in the ICU, so Victoria won't be able to stay with us in the hospital. Victoria will have her cleft palate surgery on October 25th.

Monday, September 26, 2011

3 months

Thank you Theresa, for putting the video on my blog! For some reason, my brain has a deficit in the computer tech area! Francesca is walking everywhere!! I can't believe Franesca and Victoria have been home three months now!!!

Such an amazing difference!!! 3 months ago, Victoria was starving.

They were both so thin!!! 

Victoria still had bruises on her legs from the orphanage.

I actually thought that her jaw couldn't move and that she wasn't able smile. She just didn't have anything to smile about.

Now, she giggles and coos. She is so curious about everthing. She's hard to keep still, even in her casts!

Francesca would scream about everything!!! She was quite used to manipulating those around her. If I walked the wrong way, she would cry! She had kind of an artifical laugh.

Now, she openly hugs us and smiles peacefully.

She is such a sunshine!

Little Catherine has come a long way in three months too. She had quite an adjustment from being the youngest to being a big sister. She and Francesca are buddies now!

I am the luckiest mom ever!!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Some days my children are such sweet angels. Today was not one of those days. But, that's ok, because I have my ways to make them see the light. My son started the day off by complaining and arguing on the ride to school. On and on until I wanted to scream. So, I did. As he made his way into school, surrounded by his friends, I hollered through the window, "LOVE YOU ELLIOT, LOVE YOU - DID YOU HEAR ME, ELLIOT!!!!" I could see his neck turn red as he tried to hide amid the hysterical laughter.

I felt victorious, until our physical therapy appointment an hour later. Taking five children into a small room for an hour is my idea of a fun Friday. Everyone promised to be good, good, good.

This is how we ride.

Little Catherine was in a mood from the very beginning. One of her bossy, naggy, really loud and obnoxious kind of moods. I tried giving her my look of doom, but nothing would deter her. (She had to get four shots and she had her blood taken yesterday, for that she was good!)

Then, Isabella and Anastasia started arguing over some dumb baby toy and whose turn it was to use it. They kept interrupting me and the therapist. Their total devotion to the baby toy rendered them blind to my evil eye as well.

Meanwhile, poor Victoria was really having a hard time. She tries to be brave.

At the end of the session, the physical therapist politely suggested that maybe next time I should stay with my brats, I mean, kids, in the waiting room while she worked with Victoria. I wanted to hide under the therapy mat.

But, revenge is sweet. As we drove home, the little angels asked that we stop for a yummy fast food treat. I turned the radio up louder.

Later, they asked me to take them to the park. I just stared aimlessly out the window.

When they begged me to let them watch a movie, I snorted.

I thought I had made my point. But, of course not!

Later, I heard Isabella asking Anastasia, "What was wrong with mom today? She's acting weird, maybe she's sick?"

"Ya", Anastasia replied, "she probably needs a vitamin or something."

Will I ever win?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The First of Many

Today was a big day for Victoria. She got casts on her legs to stretch them so they will be able to bend. We will still go to Philly to see the specialist on Arthrogryposis, but for now, the physical therapist said it couldn't hurt to try.

The casting took about an hour and she screamed the whole time. Her left leg only has 25% bend in it and her right leg is at 40%. We're hoping to get to 90%, someday!

I worry that she sees me as the one who is doing all this to her. She hasn't been smiling as much and she won't look at me. Poor baby.

She can't sit up too much or the cast will press into her leg. She can't crawl either or the casts might slide down. Good times.

She got feet splints too. They are going to bend her feet downwards. Right now she bends them up.

The kids had fun decorating her casts. The physical therapist will remove them in a week and then we'll see if it helped.

We have to be careful how we carry her now. Since her hips are out of joint and the casts are heavy, the physical therapist said to hold her upright.

Victoria and I are totally exhausted after her big day.

Apparently, Catherine and Francesca are not!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Green and Red

So it's only 7 pm and my kids are in bed and I am eating cookie dough for dinner. That pretty much sums up my day.

I am trying to be more culinary, so I made chili today. Really, I had very good intentions. The only problem was that I got the chili powder and the cinnamon mixed up. It was some super sweet chili, but not surprisingly, the kids didn't seem to notice.

The kids are already planning what they want to be for Halloween. They decided to go as a group costume this year. I was thinking they could be three little kittens plus two, or maybe the five little "whatever I find at the thrift store" creation, but oh no!!! They had their own ideas. They have decided to be a Happy Meal. I am not kidding. Isabella will be the hamburger, Anastasia is going as the french fries, Catherine will be the drink and the babies.....are you ready for this......they are going to be the ketchup and mustard packets. Lucky for them I am such a crafty mom.....eeekkkkk!!! How the heck am I going to make fast food costumes!!!!

Catherine is really into doing crafts, so we made pumpkins. Jack-o-lanterns are sometimes blue, right?

This is Victoria's version of a wave, or maybe she's saying, "get all this yogurt off me!"

I was totally humiliated at Kroger today. My face is still red from the embarrassment. First, I noticed Victoria's dress was on backwards. As I lifted her out of the cart, she grabbed onto my shirt. She pulled really hard with those strong little fingers of hers and yanked my shirt down. Not just a little bit, way down!!! You would think the baggers would look politely away, but they all started laughing and pointing. I may have to move.

Tuesday will be better, right?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I woke this Saturday morning smelling like a coconut. Catherine was applying copious amounts of lotion to my face, so even though it was only 6:30, I decided I would be safer getting up. The kids wanted some Lucky Charms, so being the conscientious mom that I am, I swiftly ate all the marshmallows out of their bowls so they would have a healthy breakfast. One of these days they are going to catch on that that the picture on the outside of the box really is what is inside the box.

When we went outside, the air was cool. Anastasia said, "It smells like Halloween!" Oh no, the season is changing!!! I began to panic. I just figured out what everyone was going to wear for the summer!

No more simple summer dresses to just throw on. No more flip-flops. I was going to actually have to find socks that matched everyday for the kids to wear.

Not only do I dread sorting through piles and piles of clothes to see what could be passed down to the little ones, but I was going to have to figure out something quick for Anastasia and Isabella, who were shivering dramatically in the 70 degree air.

I had to face it, the time had come to go shopping with the kids. I guess I am kind of a weirdo, because I really don't like shopping that much. Isabella is really easy to please. She loved everything she tried on, whether it fit or not. Anastasia, unfortunately, takes after me, and is super picky. Everything has to be soft and totally perfect. She will not wear jeans at all. She doesn't like dresses much either. Pants are required to have an elastic waist. I think she must have tried on 50 pairs of pants and she only consented to get two pairs. Then, she was mad because Isabella got more than she did! UGGGGHHHH!!!!

The best thing I bought was this cool toy for a dollar at the thrift store!!! We'll see how long it takes for all the balls to get lost, but it was a big hit.

Anyone have any tips on how to keep kid's clothes organized?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Fashions

Looks like someone is following in my fashion footsteps!

Painting toes that are fused is so easy!!! I think Francesca's toes are the new Vogue.

CAtherine was pitching a fit today so I told her to stop screaming her head off. She was instantly quiet and she looked quite worried.
"Not my whole head, right?" she asked.

I think Isabella is going to teach Victoria to walk before the doctors can!

Remember our spider, Felix? He has abandoned his web and I can't find him anywhere. I am totally paranoid that he stalking me from the ceiling, ready to drop down on me at any moment. Such an ungrateful spider. Carol said Felix is probably off laying sacks of eggs somewhere. Now my whole body is beginning to feel itchy!!! How will I ever sleep tonight?!

Happy Friday everyone!!! Thank you all for your wonderful comments and support!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Much Ado about Nothing

Catherine has a certain flair for photography, don't you all think? Unfortunately, there were about a two hundred of these. She was particularly fascinated by the kitchen floor.

I have decided to go to Texas for Francesca's surgery. I couldn't even get the doctors here to call me back and I started thinking that if they can't even remember to call me, how can I trust them with my kid's skull!!! Victoria will have her cleft palate done too, but she will only need to be in the hospital for one night, while Francesca will be in the ICU for at least 3 days. The hospital said Victoria couldn't stay with me in the ICU, so my fabulous friend, Jen, who lives in Texas and has nine kids under the age of 7, has agreed to watch Victoria after her cleft palate surgery. I will be glad to get the surgeries over with, though I am dreading it too.

Both girls had visits at the opthamologist today. Kids with Aperts and Arthogryposis sometimes have eye issues, but their eyes are great!!! When Francesca has her skull surgery, the doctor will lift the corners of her eyes, which will keep her eyes from crossing when she looks down. They will also have to put stitches in her eyelids for a few weeks! Yuck!!

Victoria is so brave!

I love how Francesca is reading "Sport Illustrated" and Victoria is brushing her hair with a marker.

Victoria ate a new food today - eggs!!! She also ate an entire jar of Stage 3 babyfood. Our dog, Isaac, and Victoria have a symbiotic relationship. She feeds him and he cleans off her fingers.

My kids have started calling me very unique names. Catherine calls
me "O-ma".

Isabella has been calling me "gummy mummy" and Anastasia has always called me "llama mama". I'm hoping somehow these are compliments.

Francesca said "up' today and I swear, she sort of said, "I love you" and she tapped her heart.

The three musketeers

The big girls went to a friend's house for dinner, so I made muffins (you know the kind with the hard fake blueberry things that dissolve into delicous-ness) and eggs. We really had a nice time, just the four of us. Catherine gave Francesca an eggy hug and said, "I really love you Francesca, even when you scream".

Partners in crime.

What more could I ask for?!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Usually I try not to be too deep, but this is something that has been on my mind for a while. Several people have raised questions lately.

"Am I being unfair to my other kids by adopting Francesca and Victoria?"

"How will I be able to give them all enough attention?"

Well, it's true, I probably won't ever be able to give enough attention to them. I try, and I don't know about other people's kids, but my children seem want constant attention all day long, especially when I am on the phone, so that's kind of an impossible goal anyway. Also, I want my children to learn that life is not all about them; that life is about making a difference and helping others.

There may be times where they are bored waiting in a doctor's office. They may not be able to attend tumbling classes every week or have all the cool fancy clothes. They may have to be patient and learn to wait. If I am busy with one child, they will have to learn to help each other sometimes. I don't think this is a bad thing.

When you set about to do something important, it's not going to be easy.
If you don't ever set out to something that's difficult, then how can you learn to be strong and overcome things?

These are things you can't learn from having tons of expensive toys.

Some people, ok, lots of people, may think differently than me, and that's ok with me, but I have to do what I think is right. I can't live my life to please others.

I want my children to know how much I love them everyday, and I think they know that, even when I mess things up sometimes!!

So, ok, enough of the heavy stuff. Here's some random cuteness.

Bowls like colors of the Ukrainian flag!