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Monday, November 16, 2015

Beginning the Next Chapter of Our Lives

This weekend was a big one for us.  We signed a lease on a rental and moved everything out of storage and to our new place.  We still have some furniture and toys at our house in Phoenix, since that is staged to sell, but about 2/3 of our stuff is now settled.

Though I don't love the house and the rent is more than we were prepared to spend, it will work well for our family, and that is what counts.  
The kids had a lot of fun rediscovering their toys that were in storage and helping set up our house.  Conner's new room is huge and he is loving all the space.  The girls also go their play house back, which made them very happy!
Our rental house has beautiful mountain views.  I love that we can eat at the table and enjoy the scenery!
For now the kids and I will continue to travel back and forth from Phoenix to Tucson for the time being.  It's not fun but it works. We are staying mostly in Phoenix until 1) I go to India to pick up Deena or 2) This semester of homeschool co-op is over; whichever comes first.   We are trying to get settled in Tucson too, though, which is why we travel back and forth for now.  David is in Tucson most of the time working.  Our house hasn't sold yet (please pray it does before Deena comes home!) so the kids and I have a place to stay here in Phoenix, which is nice. 
There has been a lot of craziness between travel plans to bring Deena home, adoption paperwork, passport issues, selling our house, finding a rental, moving, and the rest of life.  I'm so thankful we are starting to get settled and are moving towards being together as a family again.  All that's left is to find a trundle bed for the girls, get Deena a carseat, sell our house, move the rest of our "stuff", and bring Deena HOME.  It's a big list, but I know God's got a plan for it all and find comfort in knowing that. 
Tonight I came home to a beautiful, thoughtful letter from an amazing friend who is very gifted at writing.  She sent the perfect reminder at the perfect time, and I am so thankful for the gift of her words.
Please continue to pray our house is in escrow before Deena comes home, for safe/smooth travels to and from India, for no seizures for Madi or any emergencies while I am in India, and for protection for Deenas mind and heart as her whole life gets thrown upside down. 

Madi Turns 7

On Wednesday Madi turned 7!  I cannot believe how big my "baby" is getting.  She is such an amazing, smart, spunky, joyful girl.  I am so blessed to be her mom!

We had Madi's birthday party early on October 30th.  Normally I wouldn't have it so early but we were needing to find a rental in Tucson and start moving.  I wanted to celebrate early so that her birthday didn't end up right in the middle of the craziness.  We had a costume party and it actually worked out great!  Madi had SO much fun!

On her actual birthday I let her chose where she wanted to go to dinner and she chose Panda Express.  She knows how to party ;).  She enjoyed her dinner and we topped it off with gluten free vegan donuts from Urban Cookies.  Yum! 
Here are some pictures from her special day (please excuse how blurry they are.  I couldn't find the charger to my regular camera

We made swords, did crafts, and did makeup, all per Madi's request

We had her party at the park this year since our house is up for sale

Even Hope joined us :)

Happy birthday beautiful girl!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Big Changes Headed Our Way

Well, it's officially official.  We are moving to Tucson for 2 years (or at least that is the current plan, but I have moved beyond the point of thinking I can plan anything ;)).

We found a rental.  It's quite a bit more than we were planning, but it has flat enough land to take walks and go on bike rides.  It does have a step down in a few places, but they can be easily ramped, and it's only a small half-step.  There's also a nook for homeschooling for me and a small extra room for guests, since my parents will have to stay at our house and help if one of the girls has a surgery.  There's also a nice sized yard for the kiddos.  Oh, and it's close to Sprouts, so I'm a happy girl.  I don't really like the house, but it will work, and that's what matters!

This Saturday a moving company is coming to move everything out of storage there.  The kids and I will stay here during the week to finish up at co-op and continue therapy.  We have enough furniture and beds in storage to make it livable, though, so that's nice. 

We received written orders of our adoption so that is moving forward quickly!  All that is left is to get her passport and bring her home.  It should be within the month and then I'm off to India! 

Everything is happening quickly and at once and feels a bit overwhelming right now.  Our house still isn't sold so we are praying it sells soon.  Having double payments until it does is going to be rough.

I will not be able to get a big van before D comes home, because we just aren't there financially, but I am sure it will all work out.   She probably will not use a wheelchair in the beginning anyhow, as I have to wait and take the time to teach her how to use it, how to listen, about dangers (like streets and cars) she hasn't experienced before, and things like that.  It should buy us a few months until we really need something bigger that will fit a 3rd wheelchair.   

Please be praying that Madi does not have any seizures while I am gone, for David as he cares for the kids (though Conner may come with me), for Deena as she goes through so many huge changes in her life, for safe travels, and for a smooth adjustment once she comes home.  Please also be praying for us as we leave our friends and family, move to Tucson, and adopt, all in one month.  There's never a dull moment around here!!

Thank you for all of your prayers and for

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Our Halloween Fun

Here are some cute pictures of the kiddos in this year's costumes.  I love seeing what they will pick every year!  One year I will make awesome wheelchair decorations for the girls too, but it seems each year is just so crazy it doesn't happen.  There's always next year, right?!?!?

They had SO much fun trick-or-treating. Madi was very serious about collecting all her treats and I think she got the most.  She kept telling everyone she loved candy and it worked; she got a ton!  They can't eat a good amount of their candy because of food allergies, but we limit candy anyway, so they are just super excited they got a bunch for free!

Madi picked a pink Power Ranger, Ramya picked a purple Angry Bird, and Conner picked Tron.  Aren't they cute?!?!?!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

So Much to Update!

Wow, life has been crazy!  I don't even know where I last left off!

Let's see...

Last I checked in we had just put our house on the market and ran away to California for our yearly vacation.  We had a blast!  Madi had an unexpected seizure on the beach so we got to tour Rady's Children's Hospital, but they were great and Madi was soon back to her normal self. We enjoyed pancakes at Richard Walker's Pancake house, spent lots of time at the beach, got to see both of my birth parents, and really enjoyed ourselves!


We also got a chance to Skype with Deena while we were in California, which was really amazing!  Ramya couldn't stop talking about how cool it was that she got to see her. 

When we got home life got crazy fast.  David left for Tucson to work more closely with his boss, we had appointments and therapies to catch up on from being gone, and of course we had to keep the house super spotless in case there was a showing.  Most of our days were (and still are) spent homeschooling at my parent's house, therapy at my parent's house, and then being gone the rest of the day as much as possible to keep our house spotless.  Our house still hasn't sold but we are trying to remain positive.  David and I both felt strongly that we should sell before Deena comes home and free up that equity, and we know just the right buyers will come along when the time is right.   Waiting is hard, but is teaching us a lot.
We got amazing news that our verbal orders were granted for our adoption.  What does that mean for us?  That means as soon as the written orders are received the orphanage can apply for Deena's passport.  That usually takes about 4 weeks.  Once the passport is received we are off to India!  So, basically, in about a month I will likely be in India bringing Deena home!  Madi's neurologist cleared Madi for travel to India but we still haven't decided what is the best thing to do.  It would be REALLY hard to bring all the kiddos to India, but they want to go so badly.  It's also REALLY expensive, and unless our house sells we do not have the money to take them.  For right now we wait, but we do need to decide soon as I need to apply for visas for whomever goes.  If we don't travel as a family, my friend Kariann will be traveling with me.
I think I also shared that after we had decided to list our house for sale David's boss asked us to relocate to Tucson, where he lives.  David has been there this month trying it out and it's going well.  They both feel like him being there will be important and helpful.  Not only will it help David get back in to the grove of trading, but he can also help his boss with projects and research.  David will also be able to work closely with his boss and will grow tremendously as a trader.  The plan right now is to move to Tucson for about 2 years and then re-evaluate. 
This weekend the kiddos and I trekked up to stay with David and look at rentals.  David is currently in a VRBO he rented for the month, but we need a long-term rental before Deena comes home.  This is proving to be quite difficult for us.  We need a place within about 10-15 minutes of his boss, just in case we have an emergency (aka Madi has a seizure) and I need him home quickly.  His boss lives in an area that is a lot more rugged than we are used to.  The homes are also quite a bit older and most have multiple steps up and steps down within the interior of the home.  When you add in the fact that we will soon have 4 kids, 3 wheelchairs, and I need an area to homeschool from, finding a home that is affordable is feeling next to impossible.  I was hoping I would leave feeling at peace, and instead I left feeling disappointed.  I truly believe in my heart that God is calling us to Tucson but the timing and the circumstances with Deena coming home soon and needing to get settled first are feeling quite overwhelming.  I keep telling myself that God has a plan and that all the details are already worked out so there is no reason to stress.  It's much easier said than done, but I am trying. 
I think those are all of our big updates for now.  We have some HUGE changes coming our way very, very quickly.  Please join us as we pray for buyers for our house, an affordable rental and Tucson that would work well for our family, safe travels to India, no seizures for Madi while I/we are gone, peace, and discernment.
Thank you for praying for our family and for walking our journey with us!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Great News Today!!!

Today we got to chat with our sweet gal in India.  It was so wonderful to get to see her smile and beautiful face!  We had already put the kiddos to bed before they called/skyped, but Conner and Ramya weren't quite asleep so we brought them out to say "hi".  Madi on the other hand was totally out and is a challenge to wake up, so she will have to chat with her next time.  This was the first time Conner and David got to see Deena, other than in pictures, and also the first time Ramya has gotten to see her and chat with her since we brought her home.  We were all very excited!!!

Mary, the director of the orphanage, also had great news for us.  She said that our adoption is complete and they are just waiting on written orders.  After they get written orders, they will apply for her passport.  It takes about a month for passport so it looks like we/I will likely travel in November!!  AH!  I'm so excited!

Please start praying for a safe trip, wisdom about who should go, and a smooth transition bringing her home. 


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Our Disney Day....

Yesterday was Disneyland and the kids had a BLAST!  Unfortunately we thought we would beat the crowd by going in September, but apparently we went on "Dapper Day" and it was crazy busy!  People had amazing costumes on and that was fun to see, but the crowd and waiting times, well, that part wasn't so fun.  We still got in most of our favorite rides, though, so I'm not complaining!
The girls had to start the day with the castle and princesses, of course.  Just after walking in to the castle area we were nabbed by a cast member.  They took us in a special side entrance and we got to see all of the princesses right away.  The girls were seriously in Heaven and it made the day so memorable for them.  They couldn't stop talking about it! 

Princess Mulan and Princess Tiana
Just look at those smiles....
At some point in time, Madi put down the pink fan you see above and lost it.  She was so upset.  We went to lost and found but they couldn't find it.  We filled out a report, though, because she was very concerned about it.  I called today and it had been turned in!  She was SO happy!  I really didn't think we would see it again and I'm so glad it showed up.
Conner's favorite part of Disneyland was, of course, the rides.  The girls went on quite a few, but their favorites are still it's a small world and teacups.  Conner, on the other hand, rode all the big rides and kept going back for more!
Why yes we did get matching Star Wars shirts....

Don't let her face fool you, she really did love the ride....
We met up with my Aunt and her granddaughter (my second cousin???).  Conner hit it off with her immediately and they were ride buddies the rest of the day
The girls loved the parades.  They were all new and the girls got so excited.  Madi blew kisses to all of the characters and they both danced throughout the performances.  The fireworks were, of course, amazing too.

This morning we woke up and ended our trip with a character breakfast at Storyteller's CafĂ©.  They were amazing about accommodating the kiddo's food allergies and they had so much fun getting to see the characters.  There was, of course, lots of dancing too.  Not a day goes by that we don't dance!  Even Conner was happy to see the characters, so I count that a success!
They brought the girls autographed photos from two princesses and told them the princesses had made them a special dessert.  They were super excited!  Conner was also very excited because they gave him their strawberries.

Disneyland can be a bit tricky to navigate when you have extra things to consider, but there are a few things that make it so much easier for us that we are very thankful for.
  1. There are bathrooms with cots in the nurses office to help with potty stuff and clothing changes.  They will even give you a disposable chuck if you ask for it.
  2. Each dining area offers gluten free options and will accommodate other allergies as well.  All you have to do is request to talk to a chef. 
  3. Although there have been many policy changes due to the misuse of accessibility lines and the such, the staff really does go out of their way to help assist you and make your park experience enjoyable. 
We had so much fun and cannot wait to go back next year as a family of 6!!