Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tomorrow is the the Day for Kennah-Bug

Tomorrow morning Mama and Thin-Mint head south for her pharyngeal flap surgery.
This will be Kennah's third procedure under anesthesia in her year home, and she handles it like a champion!

This procedure should allow Kennah to form 'pressure' sounds that she currently cannot.
It will likely lower the tone of her voice as well.
And it will cause her to snore :)
Ah well, it's all good.
Thank you for praying for Kennah-bug!

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Monday

And I choose joy!
I will praise my Father in Heaven!

I have no idea what this week holds, other than a scheduled surgery, a play-off determining football game and a whole lot of mundane stuff.
No matter what, I choose joy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Three weeks ago we sent a care package to Khloie ~ a photo album of her krazy family members and nuts and candy for the staff.  This morning we received pictures of her checking us out!

I am in love with this little peanut!

She's a little chunky monkey.  She'll fit right in :)

Look at that smile!  One of her medical special needs is strabismus (crossed eyes).
It's correctable, Mom.
We have a leading pediatric eye surgeon right here in our state!!

Hang on, baby girl, we're coming to bring you home!
Thank you, Ladybugs n Love, for all you do for waiting families and our precious Treasures!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random Update

I feel the need to blog, but the reality is that what I've been up to this week hardly seems blog worthy.  

By week's end, I will have traveled half a million miles, between doctor's appointments, work and Mom's Shuttle Service.
I will have disassembled and reassembled 450 car seats.  That revealed a whole new level of gross!
I will have stripped 125 beds.
I will have done a thousand loads of laundry.

That might be a slight exaggeration, but to say that my washer and dryer ran for 21 hours straight is no lie, since we had an outbreak of the nasty kind.

Saturday we took the youth group to the corn maze and had a blast! I love serving with this gal! 

And thank you, BG, for tending the zoo so we could enjoy the company of teens without tag-alongs - you rock!
Mr. Greenthumb finds himself right at home in a corn field :)

Somebody said jump, so I did.  Ouch!

Kasidi's therapist has wanted her to balance well enough to stand still, and she did it this week!  After a nano-second she said, "How about I walk?" :)

On Monday we had Kennah's pre-op appointment with her oral & facial surgeon.  Next Wednesday (halloween), he will do the pharyngeal flap as well as a lip revision.  She will have one overnight in ICU, but we should be released Thursday morning!

In other interesting happenings, our eldest landed a sweet post-college job!  The commute, however, required him to get a new-to-him car, and it's so stinkin' cool!  I begged him for 3 days to send pictures, and last night he did even better - made a walk-around video of his new ride.  Thank you, oh-awesome-son-of-mine!

And finally, we have yet another Thursday night football game, which totally throws me off kilter!  But if I'm not mistaken, this week's game will determine whether our guys make playoffs.  Now that will be something to blog about!

I hope your week is equally as exciting!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Thousand Pictures are Worth a Word ~

~ Finally!
~ Done!
~ Cut!
Trying to navigate this Krew into the same general direction proves to be quite frustrating comical!

We are a cluster...and an island.  And see Kennah levitate.  Wait, where is Kuyler?
What we need is some direction.
Let's just close our eyes and pray.  Kambry, look up...and forward.
 Gonna have to roll our sleeves up and do this thing.
 Get back over there, Kaeleb.
We are getting closer.
Nope, it's Kennah's turn.

It's official ~ she's melted!
 Now she's better...but Kaeleb is done!
Kolton thinks we need to fill the gap.

 Wow, there's Kambry's face!  But Kaeleb is still done.  Call it a wrap; this works!

 Then there's the jump.  Ready, set...set...set
Jump!  Or not!
Lest you think this only happens in groups.  Nay, nay.
At the mere mention of a boy's name, she crumbles.
 She giggles.
 She throws her head back.
 I think we are done here!
Thank you, Mr. Brad, for your patience with this ginormous Krew!
We've finally printed the pictures to update our wall of fame!!!
This is only a few of the many shots, but it's true ~
a thousand pictures are worth a word:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Trauma, Part IV ~ an analogy

Someone close to me, who shall remain un-named, shared this with me, and has given permission to pass it on.
If I can articulate it the way it was shared, maybe it will help us understand more clearly from our children's perspective.

Living as an orphan is kind of like being a quarter.
You are one of many.

And you get passed around from one hand to another.
You never know where you belong.
Sometimes you get bruised like a quarter gets worn.
It can leave your head and your heart spinning.
But there is hope.
Just like old worn quarters can be remade, so can we be made new...
...in JESUS!
And thanks to my forever family, I will no longer be passed around.
I have a new name in family and in Christ!

And all this mama can say is AMEN!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crock Pot Scalloped Taters ~ A Recipe

Okay, it was a hit so I will share, with the disclaimer that in my opinion you just can't beat scalloped potatoes from the oven, but in my quest to find more 'toss n' leave it' meals, this side dish is pretty spankin' good!

Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes
10 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, diced
16 slices thick cut bacon, uncooked and diced
4 cups shredded taco blend cheese
1 28 oz can cream of chicken soup
~Place half of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of crock.
~Top with half  of onion, cheese and bacon.
~Repeat layers.
~Top with cream of chicken soup.
~Cook on low of 8 to 10 hours.
Easy peezy!!!!
Be a hero!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Christmas Frenzy ~ Shopping With Purpose

My sweet friend Stacy is hosting Christmas Frenzy for the third year!
It's a one-stop shop for your Christmas shopping and a way to help families like ours who are fundraising to bring their Treasures home!  As Stacy says, it's a win-win.  You get to give a gift with a story.
By clicking on this link you will have access to many unique items perfect for gift giving.

As for our journey to Khloie, we are featuring four items at this time ~ 
By purchasing a Wild Olive Tee listed in the Adoption Fundraising Section and using our family code: JOHNSON704 upon checkout, you get a cool tee, and our family gets $10 toward our adoption!
Stacy's Jubilee's Jewel's has crafted this faith & hope pendant for us!  Your purchase of each pendant here, gives us $15 toward our adoption!
Our squeaky shoes can be found here!  They are adorable and ready for immediate shipping!
And finally, our very own adoption decals are available immediately as well!  Look on the side bar of our blog for the "Add to Cart" button!

Thank you for your prayerful support as we race to bring Khloie home!  May you be blessed and may the Lord be glorified!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kennah-Bug Update

Kennah had her ENT visit yesterday, and her tubes are open and her hearing is excellent!

This is amazing news, considering she could barely hear before surgery!

We have a pre-op visit in two weeks for her pharyngeal flap surgery. This will change her tone and allow her to form certain sounds she needs for language.

She is so brave!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wax n' Wain

I keep going back and forth as to whether I should make a sweet batch of holiday Kandles.

I'm thinking if I did, it would be only the two most popular scents: Buttercream Crunch and Pumpkin Pie Spice.
I love making them, and I know some of y'all love to have them.

The only down side is they are so costly to ship.
They would cost $12 + shipping (roughly $6)

I need some inspiration, so what do you think?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Approval Notice

Thank you, Jesus!!!

Soup n' Soap ~ 2 Recipes in a Day!

I've made my second batch of liquid laundry soap, and I really like it, so it's my duty to share :)
I make 1/2 of this recipe at a time, simply because I can store it easier.

Liquid Laundry Soap - Front or Top Load
4 Cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water.
Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water.  Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax.  Stir well until all powder is dissolved.  Fill bucket to top with more hot water.  Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
*hint* I continue to stir the soap occasionally to keep it from clumping.
Stir, and fill a used, clean laundry soap bottle 1/2 full of soap, then fill with hot water.  Shake before each use (the soap will gel).  (I store the remaining soap in ice cream containers)
You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons after soap cools.
Yield ~ Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons
Top Load ~ 5/8 cup per load (approx 180 loads)
Front Load ~ 1/4 cup per load (approx 640 loads)

I tried this new soup recipe and it was awesome!  Tweak it how you like!
*note* this is my double recipe so you may want to half it.

Lasagna Soup
3 lbs Italian Sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
12 cups chicken stock
16 oz of any short, thin type pasta (I used 2 bags from the Hispanic food section)
Salt and Pepper to taste
16 oz Ricotta cheese
1 cup Romano/Asiago grated cheese
4 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
In a large pot, brown sausage over medium heat, breaking into small pieces.  Cook sausage till done, then add onions and cook till softened.  Add garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.  Cook for an additional minute or 2.  Add the tomato paste and stir well to incorporate.  Add crushed tomatoes and chicken stock.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Next, add uncooked pasta and cook until al dante (only about 4 minutes).  Don't overcook or continue to simmer because pasta will become mushy.  Season with salt and pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the cheeses.
Pour soup into bowls and top with a handful of cheese mixture.

Whew, maybe I'll quit while I'm ahead :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

As Promised ~ A Recipe

This was a hit last night!
Know how I know?
The people didn't say, "Nice try, Mom."
The people said, "Let's have this more often!"
It's SO easy, and so yummy.  It's pretty rich though, just FYI.
So, as promised, here is the recipe for:

Beefy Onion Strudel
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups cooked beef tenderloin or
    (I used 2 packages of OM board cut deli meat, cubed)
4 slices provolone cheese
2 (8 oz) packages unbaked Pillsbury crescent roll dough
1 egg, well beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet, saute onions until tender and slightly browned.
Remove pan from heat and stir in flour very well.  Return to medium low heat and add Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, stirring well until blended and thickened.
Remove from heat and add beef.  Toss to coat.
Unroll 1 package of crescent roll dough.  Do not separate.  Arrange longest sides of dough across the width of a cookie sheet.  Repeat with the second package of dough, slightly overlapping the two packages of dough.  Use fingers to press the edges of the two pieces of dough together.
Spread the filling down the middle of the large piece of dough.  Top with cheese.  Using a knife, cut lines 1 1/2" apart down both sides of the dough that has not been covered with filling.
To form a 'braid", start at one end and lift one strip of dough from the right side of the beef mixture and lift it up and halfway across the beef mixture.  Repeat with a strip from the left side.
When the strips meet in the middle, slightly overlap them and press together.  Repeat until all strips have been braided together.
Brush beaten egg over top.
Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
Cut into 1 1/2" slices and serve.
Serves 10

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Just a Shout...

...of praise to the Father and thanks to His people!
Our last-minute, one-day garage sale, affectionately named Operation Treasure Transport, netted $1,221 to help bring Khloie home!!!
This would not have been possible without the orchestration of His hand and without your generosity.
Please join us in praising HIM!!!!

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 5, 2012

1302 Posts - How Exciting?!?

How exciting is that?  1302 blog posts?
Okay, that's not why I'm posting.
First, thank you to everyone who has donated the ginormous amount of items now organized, priced and ready to sell today beginning at 8.  You wouldn't believe all the stuff!
And a special thank you to April, because there is no way I could do this without you.  Your time and dedication to helping bring our Khloie is incredible.  Thank you, sweet friend!!!
In other news:
We have CIS APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!!
We will soon be Dossier To China!
Hang on, precious baby girl, we are working our way to you!
And speaking of work, I'd better get to the garage sale...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ChipIn for Airline Tickets

I wish we were booking tickets, but that time is not here yet.
Some have asked if we would keep a ChipIn up so they can contribute to our journey to Khloie, so we have posted a ChipIn specifically for airline tickets and travel related costs.  This is not a vacation, and we travel strictly economy.

God is so very good to provide for every need!

We are still pricing items given by generous friends for our garage sale this Friday.
It's going to be awesome!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trauma, Part III ~ The Unwelcome Guest

Trauma, I did not invite you into my home.  I didn’t even know you existed.  You surely caught me off guard and have momentarily changed who I am and who I want to be.  You, Trauma, will no longer rule my home.  You are not my child; you are a byproduct of his past, but you will not determine his future!  ~Connie~

*please remember my caveat ~ I am not an expert.  I am only sharing my understanding of the research I’ve read and the counsel given by those who are experts*

According to Heather Forbes and Bryan Post, there are only two primary emotions: love and fear.

Obviously, we know that love produces good things, but what are the manifestations of fear?

In our kiddos from hard places, their fear may present as anger, defiance, stealing, killing animals, setting fires, manipulation, self harm, lying, hoarding, gorging, screaming, arguing, etc.

To take a step back, when an infant or child is in need, he cries.  If that need is not met, and this happens repeatedly, the child eventually is conditioned to stop crying because he has learned it is to no avail.  The need is still there, the stress is still there, but the child has learned to suppress it.  (If you’ve ever stepped into an orphanage full of silent babies you know what I’m talking about.)  This results in a state of fear which will remain unless and until the child experiences trust, positive response, presence…over and over and over and over again.

As a parent, it can be so frustrating when our kiddos don’t ask for help or just say what they need. But when we consider the years of unmet needs and having to sooth themselves, we can begin to understand why it is difficult, or even impossible, for them to do so.  The child has never learned to appropriately deal with the state of stress, and since stress exists in every corner of our world, they find it hard to adapt and can easily become overstimulated.

If our kiddos have never had the opportunity to express, process or understand why certain things have happened to them, how can they express the pain?  They may not have the words or the feelings, so they express their pain through behaviors.  

In my personal experience, many everyday occurrences can cause a war zone, becoming an imaginary battle for survival for the child unable to adapt.  It may be a misinterpreted expression, a misunderstood word, a food served at dinnertime, a touch, a scent that stirs up a memory, a simple instruction.  Suddenly, the child feels threatened and responds from a place of fear. 

In our experience, this is where traditional parenting (child’s actions = consequences) may not work.  We are gradually trying to make the shift to a new kind of parenting…after 24 years of doing things one way.  It.is.hard.

It helps for me to understand that the manifestation of anger, disobedience and disrespect is actually rooted in fear.  It is not a calculated response.  It is a conditioned response, perhaps even an unconscious one.  The child who lives in a state of hypervigilance may easily be set off, even by things we don’t imagine or expect.  For us, the key is recognizing the fear and stopping the escalation. 

How can we do that?  

First is the recognition, and second is our response.  What could my child possibly be afraid of in this particular situation?  Does he feel threatened?  Unsafe?  What is he imagining the outcome will be?

Then comes our response.  Is my instruction too complicated?  Is my tone angry?  Could my presence be perceived as a threat in this situation?  Did I say something, even unintentionally or perhaps misunderstood, that arouses his/her self doubt?

Our response can make all the difference.  In our experience, this is not the time to ‘preach’.  It doesn’t work.  With ‘preaching’ comes ‘the look’.  The my-eyes-are-glazed-over-my-body-is-stiff-I’m-outa-here look.
So what is the response that brings healing?  We are still working on that, and I don’t feel properly equipped to share yet.  If you’ve tried a new parenting style that works and opens the door to positive change, I would be so grateful if you’d share it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Will it be This Week?

Our immigration approval, that is.
We were printed two weeks ago, found out my prints were once again unclassifiable and sent the required clearance, assigned an adjudicator last week...so all we need is our approval, signed sealed and delivered to Lifeline!
Once the approval is authenticated our dossier will be China bound!!

I stand in awe of God's goodness.
On Friday, we picked up our load of gorgeous mums, and we sold out on Saturday morning!
Today we are headed south to pick up a load of garage sale donations...and more mums. 

When we announced our garage sale last week, Kuyler mentioned it to his friends and they have gathered items to help bring his baby sister home!  Y'all, these are young men either still in college or just graduated from college, and they put their faith in action.  My heart rejoices at how our oldest son loves the Lord ~ when we told Kuyler we were adopting again, he sent a text to his prayer circle, and every day we received text messages of encouragement and Scripture from precious Brothers and Sisters we didn't even know!

Tomorrow we are sorting and marking the garage sale donations ~ thank you so much!!!!

Wednesday we don't have school so Kolton and Kooper will drive west to pick up yet another load of donated items!

Thursday we will haul everything to the home of dear friends who have willingly allowed us to invade their space for the purpose of our huge garage sales year after year!

Friday and Saturday, everything will GO to help Khloie COME home!

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