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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's so hard waiting!

Our first homestudy is Saturday (the first of 4) and I am so nervous and excited!  I think the hardest thing about adoption is the wait.  I just want to know if sweet Manasa will get to be ours.  I know that if we get her, it will be even harder to wait for her, but at least I can start sending her photos and little goodies.  Conner has decided we need to adopt a boy, a girl, and a baby.  This is down from 3 boys and 2 girls (not including himself and Madi, which would put us up to 7 kids!), so I'll take it :).  He is pretty suck on a boy, a girl, and a baby.  I don't think he realizes the baby would be a baby, but ALSO a boy or girl, he he.  He does make a good point, though.  If we adopt a boy, a girl, and a baby, they can play in our grass.  I guess that's what it boils down to, right?  Adopting children so they can play in your grass?  Gotta love that little guy, he is quite the little thinker! 

Please keep us in your prayers this week :).

Enjoying our grass

We have really been enjoying our grass.  We had a slight mishap with over watering it, and therefore watering our dirt and street too, but short of that, we've been spending a lot of time runnning and playing in it.  Today we decided to have a picnic outside.  The weather is getting warm but it is still enjoyable.  We do not have a playset yet, but are working on that.  We are still waiting for the handicap accessible matting the grass grows through to be delivered as well.  All in due time :). 

In other news, I'm glad to say Madi's poo is back to normal.  When you have a kiddo with spina bifida, you worry a lot about poo and if they are getting constipated or not.  Lots of kiddos with spina bifida do not feel the pressure when they have to go.  Others feel the pressure but cannot push well enough to get cleared out on there own.  Lots of kiddos go on bowel management programs.  We do not do a bowel management program yet, so I have to watch her closely.  We were out of town for the weekend visiting family and ate more processed foods than normal.  Then Madi's papa fed her cheese noodles.  We all went gluten, dairy, wheat, and peanut free a while back, so Madi hasn't had food like that for a while.  It lead to lots of tummy aches and constipation, which is just no fun.  After lots of beans and a morning with little sleep and lots of nursing, I am happy to say all is flowing well again in the Veprek household.  Today Conner was dancing around showing Madi how to push by making silly faces, and Madi was laughing hysterically (which helps her push).  I was wondering to myself, "do other famillies do this too?"  Probably not, but that's ok. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Too cute not to share

Tonight we were on a walk before bed.  When we were almost home, our neighbor boy was in his car, with his music up loud enough for all to hear, shouting the 'f' word and screaming with his friends.  Gotta love it (insert sarcasm here).  Anyhow, Conner asked what the noise was.  David told him it was teenagers.  Conner asked...

"Daddy, do teenagers only come out at night?"

Ha!  Yup, kiddo, you pretty much got that right :)

Woooo Hooooo!

Pictures to come later but WE HAVE GRASS and it is beautiful!!  We can't run on it quite yet (though we let Conner have a little run anyway), but it looks awesome!  Today I ordered this to help make the entire area wheel chair and HKFO accessible and to protect the roots of the grass.  This way, the entire surface is usable to Madi, but it's also affordable.  We were looking at a rubberized surface and they are just way too expensive (we're talking over $20,000 just under the playground area alone!!).  The mesh cost about $1,500 including shipping and the metal pins needed to install it, which may seem like a lot, but when you compare it to other options, it is very, very cheap.  It feels so awesome to finally see it all coming to fruition.  Now to find a playground :).

Just realized I took a picture on my phone to send to David when he was at work, so I do have a picture, though it's a crummy one.  You can't see all of the grass, but I'll post more pictures in a bit that show the part around the corner that you cannot see in this one...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let there be SOD!

I went out to do dishes and heard the truck pull up that was delivering our sod!  It was 10:00 at night and I was in my pajamas, so I stayed in until the truck left.  After it left, though, I ran out back like a kid in a candy store!  WOOO HOOO!  Tomorrow my dad and his crew come to lay it on the ground.  I couldn't be more excited!  I've been wanting a slip-and-slide, for the kids, of course, for so long.  This is going to be an awesome summer!  Off to order our matting for on top of the grass.....

Oh, and another funny, really quick.  Two days ago, I was outside with the kids working on organizing garage sale goodies.  Conner asked to go inside to go potty, and since David was working from home, I told him sure.  I was just about to go check on him when he came back carrying a bag of bagels (homemade gluten and dairy free) that he took out of the freezer and heated IN the bag all by himself.  I guess he pushed the learning tower over to the microwave.  He told me he just pushed one minute so they would not get too hot.  He was also carrying a kid's knife (like a little kid's butter knife that they use when they help me cook) and David's peanutbutter (Conner eats homemade cashew butter).  He told me he made us lunch.  HA!  My little man is growing up!  I couldn't believe he did all that by himself, and was also a little blown away that he could.  It's a great example of why I do not leave my kids alone for any amount of time :).

Loving Our Amtryke, a Few Funnies, and a Few Updates

The weather has been beautiful outside so we have been spending as much time as we can enjoying it.  Madilynn has been really loving her Amtryke and, in fact, loves it so much sometimes she refuses to get out of it to eat, so I have to set up a make-shift table on the chair.  If I have to put away laundry, I pop her in and push her around with me.  Because her feet cycle when I push her or she uses the hand petals, it is amazing for her circulation.  I had to take a picture because it's just too cute!  In this picture I had tried to take her out and had already taken off her shoes and unstrapped her, but I put her back in when she started breaking down, which is why her feet are undone.  Normally her feet are strapped in as well.

And a few recent funnies from our house....

Me- Madi, how old are you?
Madi- (holds up 5 fingers and shouts) 3!
Me- Madi, you are not 3, you are 2.
Madi- No!  Madi 3!
Great, she's already trying to be older than she really is! 

#2- I was roasting a chicken on the rotisserie.  I already feel morbid enough while I do this and don't enjoy.  Then you add in Madi shouting, "Mmmmm, baby chicken!  YUM!  Baby chicken!  Cute chicken!" as I do it.  After I took it out to serve, I was cutting it in pieces and Conner kept pretending to make it talk saying "Ouch!  You are cutting me!  I don't like this!".  Thanks for the help, kiddos ;). 

- We get our grass in TOMORROW!
- Our first homestudy is in two weeks!  I guess we need 4 because we are trying for International.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's DONE!

Our initial adoption paperwork, doctor's visits, autobiographies, fingerprints, and everything else we needed to do to start the process is finished and officially in the mail!  I was hoping it would not take so long, but when you have to stay up at night, after picking up the house and doing dishes, to write your autobiography, it takes a while.  And when you have a husband that hides funny things for you to find in his autobiography, just to see if you are really reading it, it takes a while.  Yes, David, I know I was no good at clarinet in 6th grade.  Thank you. 

In other news, our garage is filling up with goodies to sell at our big sale in April.  We have been SO blessed and so many people have given to us.  It is absolutely amazing and touching.  There is so much stuff, I know we will end up doing multiple sales.  I might actually do one the week before and one the week after.  I plan to save everything that does not sell and do another garage sale (or two or three) when it cools down in the fall, then a few more before we get to bring our child home, whichever child that may be.  We are still pursuing Manasa, the one year old in India, but I know she may not be the child God has for us, so we are trying to be open.  It is really sweet to hear David pray for her, though, and it's impressive that it is without any prompting.  I know she is on his heart, as she is on all of ours.

And now for some amazing news......  Our homestudy will be $1,250 to Oasis.  Then, if (I'm afraid to say when, I'm not sure why.  I feel like I will jinx it which is silly since I don't believe in that sort of thing) we pass our homestudy, we will immediately need $890 for Immigration fees, as well as $6,000 for Oasis fees.  Well.... our tax refund was pretty much exactly what we needed for these fees!!!!  We will still need plenty more, as the fees are around $22,000 and there is travel on top of that, but WOW, that is an amazing start!  If anyone wants to look at the fees, they can be viewed here though they do not include fees to Oasis, fees for a private lawyer to finalize everything, fees for doctor's visits and other things you need to get cleared, travel, and a few other things.

Thank you for sharing our journey with us.  Hopefully I will have updates soon!

I know I'm pretty, even when I'm covered with sauce!

Mom! You didn't tell me you were going to show this picture to my girlfriends when I'm older!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A note for all parents new to spina bifida and wondering what it is like....

For those of you wondering what spina bifida will look like for your child.....












Have hope.

Spina bifida isn't the end of a life, it's the beginning of an amazing one.

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 14, 2011

A backyard update

My dad called me the other day ready to start our backyard.  That's when I froze.  We had all of these amazing backyard plans to make the backyard usable for the kiddos.  We had money saved up for the backyard.  I had worried and fretted and spent countless hours on planning the backyard.  But then, we started our adoption process, and I forgot about the backyard.  I was not sure if we should still work on our backyard, even though we had the money saved for it, as we are now trying to pay for an adoption.  While the backyard wouldn't take away from the adoption, it is money that could add to the adoption.  Decisions, decisions. 

After much thought, I decided we'd at least get grass in and the covering that makes the grass wheelchair accessible, even if we do not get a play structure (though two very wonderful and generous family members have offered to help us with that part, so that would hopefully not be too much extra expense), so that our backyard is more usable.  We are very fortunate to have a nice pool that the previous owners put in before they, sadly, lost the house, which I am very thankful for (not that they lost it, I hate that we got an amazing deal at their expense, just that they put in a nice pool).  The rest of the backyard, though, is all rocks.  Big, sharp, pointy, crappy rocks.  The dog plays fetch and comes back with torn up paws.  He digs in the rocks and cuts his nose up.  Madi cannot crawl or walk in her HKFOs out there because the rocks are big and sharp.  They are hot and miserable in the summer.  I hate them.  The summer is almost upon us and I want the kids to be able to play on a cool surface, run (or ride ;)) through the sprinklers, and be able to enjoy the grass beneath their feet.  Once I start homeschooling, I want them to be able to play without having to drive to a park.  We have been talking about our backyard plans with the kids, taking them to playground stores, and they (mainly Conner) have been asking about it a lot.  We cut corners, had garage sales, and saved and saved and saved for this project.  But the truth of the matter is, I feel selfish.  When you compare something optional (grass in the backyard) with something as huge as adopting a child, it just seems.... selfish!  I was really, really struggling!

When we found out we were getting a tax refund that would pay for our home study, as well as the next two big chunks of fees we have to pay to Wacap after our home study is approved (fingers crossed!), we decided to go ahead with the backyard.  God has provided abundantly so far, and I believe He will continue.  Hopefully we will have three precious children to be able to enjoy it!  I'm not sure if this is the right decision, but I pray it is.  I will share a few pictures of our backyard progress, but first, I had to share a few sweet stories...

- Conner told me he really wanted to go to the snow.  I told him that would be a lot of fun and that we can try to drive up next winter to see it.  He told me that first we need to go and get "the little girl that needs a family" so that she could see it too.  He said she would really like to see the snow and that we should bring her and be her family.  Oh, dear child, I wish it was just that easy!

- David was talking to the tax guy and telling him why we were needing to know if we will be getting a refund.  He told her he was hoping to use the money towards adopting his daughter.  It made my heart melt.

And a verse that has been in my mind and on my heart a lot lately...

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." - Matthew 18:5

Our backyard before....

And our work in progress...

My dad is a general contractor and is heading up the project for us.  The kids are LOVING having him around in the morning.  They wake up asking for him!  It is also amazing to be able to get such a great deal on things and it helps SO SO SO much!

Digging out the rocks

Hauling away the rocks... 3 dump truck loads full!  There was SO much rock!

Conner got a ride

Digging footings for a retaining wall

 Leveling the ground

My dad hard at work

Madi loves the wubble (shovel)

Monday, March 7, 2011

God is amazing!

I have been hemming and hawing with this adoption paperwork.  All we need to do is finish our 4-10 page autobiographies and we are DONE with all of our paperwork to start the home study process.  I've been really bad about working on mine, though, because I needed to wait to find out if we would owe on taxes before I took the money out of savings to pay for the home study, and since I'm a procrastinator, in my mind, I had time.  I've been saying that it will be awesome if we don't owe, but amazing if we get enough back to cover the home study.  We don't have our final refund number yet, but looking at roughly what we will get we'll have enough for the home study, enough to put up the little retaining wall in our backyard so we can put in grass, and still have some left over for the next few chunks of adoption fees!!!  AH!!!  I was so excited I had to call my mom and tell her.  It is so reassuring and I feel like God is telling us, "Hey, you were stressed about $1,200, and look, I already had a plan for that, and then some, so stop that worrying already!"

Conner is quite the creative boy ;)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Trip to the Children's Museum and a Video of Madi Walking

This morning we went to the Children's Museum with Hope Kids.  We had an awesome time and Madi was VERY excited to meet Ezra, an adorable little girl that lives locally, has spina bifida, and also has a very cool pink 'zoom' chair.  They were very cute together. 

I had been debating if we should bring Madi's HKFOs or wheelchair, and ended up deciding on HKFOs.  I'm glad I did.  There was a lot she could stand up and play with and she was very very motivated to walk.  She wanted to walk everywhere!  She is getting really fast.  I had to take a video just to show her off.  I had asked Ron to take off part of her HKFOs in the back I felt she didn't need, which he did, and she has a better range of motion and is able to take much higher and longer steps.  Here are some pictures, as well as a video of her walking. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It feels so real now

First off, a few pictures, because I love showing off my cute kids :)

 Conner's huge bubble, and look who is inside!  Ok, maybe not, but it looks like it!

Did I mention Madi is 2???  Yup, that means if you turn your back, she undoes an ENTIRE roll of paper towels.

Today we visited with some dear friends that we love very much.  They just had an adorable little boy, and of course, I HAD to get my hands on him.  We brought them dinner, a little baby gift, visited, and had a few laughs.  While they were there, they surprised us with something very thoughtful and amazing.... a gift/donation for our adoption fund!  It's our first monetary gift (many thoughtful and generous people have been giving us things for our garage sale), and it just made it feel so much more real.  It was really awesome!   It was then that it hit me; we have people behind us who love us, support us, and want to help out because they know we will be an amazing family to another child.  And, let me tell you, THAT is a great thing to know and feel!  We feel so loved today! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Little Miss

Little Miss is two.  I know, I know, she's been two for quite some time now.  What I mean is, Little miss is two.  She knows (most of the time) exactly what she wants, how she wants it, where she wants it, and, occasionally, why she wants it.  She is still nursing, though it is not very often any more, which makes me a bit sad (not because I think I'll miss it, but because I know how much good it does for her and I worry about constipation and the such once she stops).  She is developing such a little personality and it is really awesome to watch.  She tells jokes, then makes sure to tell you "I funny", just in case you missed it.  We are working on asking, not demanding, and she is getting pretty good at saying "please".  She is also great at "thank you" and has an "I love you" that will melt your heart.  So, without further ado, here are some updated pictures, as well as some updates, on little miss:

Madi, Cousin Micah, and Conner

Madi being her silly self

Messy play at it's finest

A trip to the Science Center with Hope Kids

Here dad, this peach is healthy, you eat it.  I want the donut.

Such a little helper

Working hard and playing a little too

Madi's HKFO adjustment.  I had the back cut wayyyyy down because it gets in the way.  She is doing great without that portion of her HKFOs, but at our next adjustment, I want Ron to lob off the top sides too.  She needs the support around her lower torso, but not up her back.  Ideally I'd like her to be able to sit in her car seat with her HKFOs on so that we are not always doing the in and out thing, and also to encourage her to stay in them and use them while we are out.  If we cut off the top sides, this should be totally doable.  Right now I cannot get her positioned in a way I feel is safe because the top part sticks out.  Oh, and they look loose because I haven't been using the top Velcro to get her used to not having it, but also so that she can sit in them better.

We love the learning tower!

Making gluten-free, dairy free bagels and "cream cheese"

Bean time.... dad's favorite time ;)

Poor little guy got an abscessed molar that had to come out.  He spent a few hours sleeping on my like this afterwards as the dentist didn't want him laying down flat, and Conner just needed mommy.  He's such a lovey 4 year old!  I have to keep myself strong for Madi (and hopefully Manasa ;)) so this is good practice.

We are rushing to get everything in line for our home study.  We got fingerprinted on Monday and, of course, Conner had to get "fingerprinted" too.  The lady that did our prints was such a good sport and did Conner's prints for him too.  He is very excited for our upcoming adoption (fingers crossed!!) and has promised to be helpful and a good big brother.