Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Birthday Fun

Today we celebrated Jazmine's 7th birthday!

In honor of her 7th birthday, I want to list 7 things we love about Jazmine...

1 - She's gorgeous!! People tell her and me all the time how pretty she is. After the first day of school here, she came home and told me that everyone told her she looks like a princess.

2 - I love how excited she gets when she's opening a present. Not only is she excited for what she's getting, she is very enthusiastic about saying thank you. It's very cute and endearing.

3 - She is a MAJOR daddy's girl!! I think most kids go to their mom for bed time cuddles and to be tucked in, but not so with her. Brad is definitely her top choice.

4 - She can be very helpful. Especially with her siblings.

5 - She can make friends anywhere anytime. Other kids seem to be attracted to her. Anytime I take her anywhere, if there's another kid there, she'll know their name and be playing with them even before 5 minutes pass.

6 - She has a very active imagination! She can come up with elaborate imagined stories. She often does this while she's in time-out. Not sure she's learning the lesson she was sent to time-out for, but hey at least she'll never be bored, right?

7 - I get to call her my daughter! I feel so blessed that we were able to adopt her. She has and still is teaching me so much. I am learning so many things through her that I don't think I ever could have learned otherwise. She's been through a lot of heartache and pain in her life and struggles to show her anguish in ways adult would deem appropriate. Although it can be difficult to understand some of her actions and what she is trying to communicate, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to help her heal. I feel I have already learned so much in the process and hope and pray that I continue to learn more so I can help this sweet girl realize her amazing potential and grow up to be the stalwart daughter of God that she is.

Happy Birthday Jazz!!

We love you!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Rae Rae!!

It's my sister's birthday!
(Meet Rachel)

We LOVE Rae Rae sooo much!
She is the meat of our family sandwich,
sitting perfectly in the the middle of all of us siblings.
There are 4 older than her and 4 younger than her.

Today is her birthday,
and for her birthday we are introducing her to
this handsome young fellow

(SnowDog the SnowMan) - per Brad

We found him in our back yard this morning.
He told us he came per Rae Rae's request of a snowman.
He wants to wish her a happy birthday,
and I think he even said he'd like to go out on a date with her.

There is one big concern weighing on his mind though.
You see Rae Rae is extremely HOT!!
And Mr. Snowman just might be put in perilous danger around such dramatic heat.
However, after hearing about her total awesomeness and after being shown a picture of her amazingness,
he is more than willing to take the risk.

So Rae Rae,
your presence is requested at the
Porter residence

Seriously, we're not kidding.
You BETTER come!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Baby Update - 26 weeks

I've had a few requests for pictures of my baby bump.
This is me at 26 weeks - next week I'll be at 6 months!
I can't believe I only have 3 months left, it seems to be going so fast.

After the first trimester passed, my doctor in Arizona didn't seem to be all that concerned with the baby's safety. He treated me like a regular patient other than having to take the extra supplements to offset the gene I carry that causes my blood to clot, which in turn causes the blood supply to the baby to stop.

The doctors here though, kind of freaked out when they saw my history.
It kind of took me by surprise when they told me they wanted me to see a perinatologist (doctor for high risks pregnancies), have frequent doctor visits, and use all the high tech medical machinery.
After thinking about it, I guess I can see their concern.
9 pregnancies and no live births does look kind of bad, doesn't it.

I feel pretty confident that 9th time is the charm for me though.
I strongly feel that I was supposed to adopt the 4 I have before this one was supposed to to come to our family.

Now I've had tons more lab/blood work done,
and a really cool ultra-sound.
They checked for EVERYTHING!

  • cleft lip
  • Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects
  • Down Syndrome
  • heart function
  • blood flow to and from the heart
  • stomach and bladder function
  • amniotic fluid
  • diaphragm and breathing
  • brain growth
  • growth of all her limbs
  • placenta and chord placement
  • veins and arteries in the umbilical cord
  • they even checked her toes and how many joints her fingers had!
I'm happy to say that EVERYTHING checked out perfectly!

Oh, and she is for sure a girl.

She weighed in at one ounce under 2 pounds.
Here's our little miracle's profile.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kiana turns 9!

Kiana, my oldest, turned 9 today!! It feels so crazy for me to have a 9 year old! 2 years ago I was getting worried about getting too old before I had kids and now here I am at 27 years old with a 9 year old.

For her birthday, I made her a carrot cake (a little selfish - my favorite) with cream cheese frosting. Then, my mom came over and helped write her name on the cake.

She probably got the loudest, most wild rendition of "Happy Birthday" ever from her siblings. They were quite excited about celebrating this day with her.I sure do LOVE this girl!

In honor of Kiana turning 9, I wanted to write 9 things I LOVE about her.

1 - She has a big gorgeous grin that she sports about 95% of the time.

2 - She loves to please people and WANTS to do what is right.

3 - After people meet her and get to know her (especially teachers and therapists) they fall in love with her and try to attribute how well she is doing to her living in our home. If only that were true. I think people with such celestial spirits as her just come that way.

4 - She's a fighter with a determined spirit!
She doesn't let her physical disabilities get in her way. Although some things are more difficult for her to do, she takes so much pride in learning how to things for herself. Because the right side of her body has partial paralysis she often falls while she's walking or attempting to run. Nine out of 10 times after a fall, her reaction is her normal grin and a giggle, then she gets right back up and keeps on walking.

5 - She is a people person and people are attracted to her.
Her Cerebral Palsy effects her ability to produce speech but in no way does she let that slow her down in her efforts to communicate. When someone is around who knows sign language she excitedly tells them story after story. And if the person she's communicating with doesn't know sign, she amazes me with her ability to express herself. She is so creative and quick she can almost always get her point across.

6 - She is accepting of her lot in life.
There have been times she has felt overwhelmed with with how difficult everyday tasks can be for her. Things such as getting dresses, showering, enduring hours and hours of therapy, manipulating things with one hand instead of two, getting hurt after a bad fall and the frustration that comes with her limitations with communication. She has cried on my shoulder several times telling me that she just wants to be able to talk, or use her right hand, or have 2 strong legs. She asks me why she is the way she is.
I tell her that Heavenly Father made her. I tell her she IS the perfect Kiana because Heavenly Father doesn't make mistakes. He has a purpose for her being like she is. People are inspired by her and by all she can accomplish. I tell her that her spirit is SO pure. That she has a gift and ability to see into and love people like no one else I know. I tell her how blessed I am to have such a wonderful person as her in my home to remind me how to be happy no matter what we are called to endure.
She gives herself just a short time to mourn, to let herself get frustrated and then, she's over it. She is genuinly a happy person inside and out and doesn't let the hardships of the Earth overpower who her spirit is.

7 - She is HAPPY!
She has endured more in her short 9 years on Earth than most people ever will - neglect and abuse, multiple moves in foster care, not knowing what was going on, where she was or what to expect, not being able to express herself in the midst of all this turmoil and confusion (it's been just in the last 2 years that she's learned sign language), and all of her physical challenges on top of all that. Still she is one of the happiest people anyone will ever meet.
Did I mention that she inspires me?!

8 - Not only does she want to do the right thing and make good choices, she wants other people to as well. She is the ultimate example for her younger siblings, always trying to lead them in the right direction and prevent them from breaking the rules.

9 - She is MY daughter!
I LOVE that I get to call her my daughter. I hardly feel worthy of raising such a pure, sweet, heavenly spirit. I think she will teach me FAR more than I'll ever be able to teach her.

Happy Birthday, Kiana.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

South Dakota Living

We made it!
After nearly 3 days of driving,
we got to our new house
(to see more pictures of the house click HERE)

I was surprised at how quickly we were able to get everything unpacked and put away.
I'm even more amazed at the vasts amounts of space I have. Our last house felt overcrowded and packed full, this one still looks like no one lives here even with all our stuff in it.

I had a friend come over the other day. She commented, "Oh, so you JUST moved in huh? There's nothing in here!"
Ha ha. Only everything we own.

A few days after we got here we woke up to snow. The kids were more than thrilled. This was their very first experience with snow ever.
So they and Brad headed out to the back yard and entertained themselves for hours.
Jazmine was flying!

After she figured out how to sit on the sled, Kiana had a lot of fun too.
A few mornings later we woke up to about 7 or 8 deer wandering around our house.
I'm still so amazed that I look out my windows to see pine trees, snow and deer!
Coming from Mesa, Arizona, I feel like I'm staying in a cabin.
It's beautiful and I love it!
Although we didn't have a ton to unpack and put away, it did keep me very busy for several days and short cat naps (or dog naps in my case) offered nice breaks in the day.