Monday, December 29, 2008

My Sweet Nephew

I have to brag on my sweet nephew and post some photos of him. His name is Pete and he is almost 15 months old and is TOO CUTE!!!!!!!!! Here are some of his cute little antics and a photo of my sister Heather and her husband Peter. There are even more adorable photos of him on their website Sorry for the shameless brag, but I'm just a proud auntie!

Please Pray for this Special Family

Click on the photo above to go to the website for the Riggs family. Their little Abby was adopted from Guatemala and has leukemia. She is currently in treatment, and they received the sad news that she has a rare genetic profile which makes her at high risk for fatal complications from chemo treatments. We all know that God can heal this child, so please join me in prayer for her complete healing.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Great Video for Hockey Parents

I LOVE this!!! It's so true, and it applies to any parent who has a child playing sports.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

At Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI

Olivia checking out a nutcracker

3 of the 4 kiddos at Bronner's (Abby did not want to be in the picture)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had our annual Christmas Eve visit to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. and the kids loved it as usual. We love going there on Christmas Eve because it isn't terribly crowded and there is no better place to get in the "Christmas mood" than Bronners! Here is their website in case you have never been: Bronner's Christmas Wonderland Then we went to my parents' house in the evening to do our family gifts after church and have a Christmas Eve dinner. The kids got new Christmas jammies from Grandma Bettie and changed into them as soon as we got home to get ready for Santa's arrival. The girls went right to bed, but Mason had a hard time falling asleep, he finally fell sound asleep at 10:30pm so Santa could come! ;) Then at 2:30am I heard a "WHOA!!! AWESOME!!!! WE WERE REALLY GOOD KIDS!" coming from downstairs in the family room. David went down and let Mason look at the wrapped gifts for about 5 minutes and then told him we had to go back to sleep and couldn't open gifts until morning! (Can you imagine opening gifts at 2:30am?) We finally made it until about 7:30am, and then we all got up to open the gifts. The pictures we took that morning turned out really dark and blurry for some reason, but I will post a few anyway. The kids had all day to play with their new treasures, then at dinner time we headed back over to my parents' house for the HUGE extended family Christmas (about 45 people). The kids draw names for gifts and it is a madhouse when my Dad plays Santa and passes out the gifts. We got home at about 9:30 and everyone (including mommy and daddy) was ready for bed! It was a very fun and lively Christmas at the Weiss house this year.....hope yours was happy too!

All ready in our Christmas jammies

Kids and wrapping paper EVERYWHERE

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas portraits

We survived having the kids' Christmas portraits taken for our Christmas cards. Anyone who has more than one child knows what I mean by "survived"! We are SO BLESSED that my sister in law Angie is a phenomenal photographer....she can work magic and takes the most beautiful pictures! Her website is I thought I would post a couple of my favorites here. Keep in mind that Olivia had cut her own bangs (yikes)a couple of weeks ago, Emma was running around like a wild woman so her beautiful hairdo was pretty much shot, and Mason was just trying to corral everyone the whole time. So, considering that, I think the pictures turned out great! Pretty cute kids, if I do say so myself! ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hockey weekend!

This weekend Mason's hockey team competed in the Regional Silver Sticks Tournament. The boys played 4 games, making it into the Semifinals, where they lost to the team that ended up winning the whole tournament. The tournament took place about an hour and a half away from home, so we did alot of driving back and forth and ate alot of McDonalds (blah!) The boys did a great job, and we are having a really fun season so far. We have a great group of parents, the boys are all buddies, the coaches work well's really nice this year! If you don't live up North in "hockey world" it's kind of hard to explain the world of travel hockey! Mason LOVES to play hockey, he had a hockey stick in his hands even before he was walking (he got a Little Tykes hockey set for his first birthday and it went from there). I think he would honestly play hockey almost all day if given the opportunity! So while travel hockey can be brutal and some people think we're nuts to spend so much time at the rink (either at practice or at games) we know our son is doing something he truly loves, and we are having a great time too! Here are a couple of photos of Mason "in action"!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prayers for Abby

Hi All! I am asking for prayers for our oldest daughter Abby, who is
9 years old. Most of you know that Abby is autistic. She is
nonverbal, and communicates mostly with gestures and pointing. She is
a very sweet, smart, and gentle girl. Abby has always had feeding
issues, she has never in her life chewed any solid foods. I have
pureed her food ever since we FINALLY got off baby food only a couple
of years ago. If I do not puree the food completely (meaning no
chunks at all) she gags and vomits. She also refuses to drink, and
fortunately she gets tons of liquids in her pureed foods and is never
dehydrated. In the last 4 or 5 months she has progressively stopped
eating her usual foods, and has been down to eating only pureed mashed
potatoes and green beans. She literally would eat about 8 bowls of
this a day, and that was it. But about two months ago, she got a
stomach virus and since that time has really not been the same. She
has had days where she would not eat a bite, and has had chronic
diarrhea. She is now down to 43 lbs, and we are needing to do
something. We have always kind of "walked the line" of needing a
feeding tube for Abby, but she would usually eat such a good variety
of foods and was growing, albeit slowly. She has dropped 10 lbs in
the last 6 months, and is not healthy. We saw a pediatric
gastroenterologist today at University of Michigan. Abby has tested
negative for any parasites, she does not have Celiac disease, she has
very healthy blood counts (which is so hard to believe based on her
restricted diet!) but she persistently has pain and diarrhea,
terrible gas and weight loss. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic to
address any bacterial overgrowth that may be in her intestine, and we
are praying that will help the diarrhea. The gas is likely caused by
her pathological aerophagia, which is her compulsive air swallowing.
Abby will wake up with a flat stomach, but she immediately begins
compulsively gulping air (it sounds like she is holding her breath and
swallowing, then she lets out a big "taaaaaaaaa" and breathes out the
air). Her stomach will blow up like a balloon and is hard as a rock.
I mean her stomach gets HUGE.....which of course causes excessive
belching and gas and pain, and aggravates the feeding issue because
her brain thinks she is full when her stomach is so stretched. The
doctor feels we need to consult with a surgeon about a feeding tube
for Abby. For one thing, she will get adequate nutrition, and we can
also let out all the air from her belly through the button on her
belly, alleviating that discomfort. I agree that this is what we
should do, but it's a very hard step and I am not looking forward to
it. Please say a prayer for Abby and for us as we learn about this
feeding tube stuff.....yet another club I get to join (kind of like
joining a sorority you didn't pledge for, lol) I know I will be able
to handle it...I've handled her seizures, I've handled her gagging on
food and pureeing mashed potatoes for what seems like 150 times a
day....but right at the moment it feels like a very scary thing. I am
NOT a good medical person, I get easily grossed out, but I will do
anything to help Abby get better....she is now officially "failure to
thrive" and that is one diagnosis that can evoke some major mommy
guilt! Thanks for your prayers!

To All The Moms of Special Needs Children

Thoughts of a Mom

By Maureen K. Higgins

Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I've searched
you out every day. I've looked for you on the Internet, on
playgrounds and in grocery stores. I've become an expert at
identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger than you ever
wanted to be. Your words ring experience, experience you culled with
your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the
expectations of this world. You are my "sisters."

Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite
sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were
chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately,
some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse
membership, but to no avail.

We were initiated in neurologist' s offices and NICU units, in
obstetrician' s offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds.
We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations,
evaluations, blood tests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.

All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We
were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our
newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute
everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it
often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire
lives changed. Something wasn't quite right. Then we found ourselves
mothers of children with special needs.

We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our
children's special needs. Some of our children undergo chemotherapy.
Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some
are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a
different world.

We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children's needs
are not as "special" as our child's. We have mutual respect and
empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever
materials we could find. We know "the" specialists in the field. We
know "the" neurologists, "the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, "the"
treatments. We know "the" tests that need to be done, we know "the"
degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while
our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could
become board certified in neurology, endocrinology, and psychiatry.

We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get
what our children need to survive, and to flourish. We have
prevailed upon the State to include augmentative communication
devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our
children with cerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance
companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive
equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued
municipalities to have our children properly classified so they
could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their

We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that
means walking away from it.

We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during "tantrums" and
gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person
behind us on line.

We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-
meaning strangers.

We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs
complaining about chicken pox and ear infections.

We have learned that many of our closest friends can't understand
what it's like to be in our sorority, and don't even want to try.

We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley's "A Trip To
Holland" and Erma Bombeck's "The Special Mother." We keep them by
our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours.

We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our
physically handicapped children to the neighbors' front doors on
Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the
words, "trick or treat." We have accepted that our children with
sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We
have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our
words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving.
We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the
while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of
our family.

We've gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how
we'd make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not
sure how we did it.

We've mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine
in Italy. We've mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has
required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first
visited the travel agent. And we've mourned because we left for the
airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

22 Shopping Days Left......

And I have one gift purchased. Those of you who know me are SHOCKED by that statement, because one of my very favorite things to do is Christmas shopping. I didn't even get to venture out on "Black Friday" this favorite shopping day!!!!!!!!! I am not prepared this year...I hope I won't be up until 2am on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts. I really love Christmas, but the commercial part of it is ALOT of work for moms!!!!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!

Emma and Olivia "snow sliding"

We had our first snow day today.....I'm not sure exactly how much snow we got, but it was alot and it fell pretty much all night, so no school for David or the kids! The kids had tons of fun playing out in the snow, I did boring "mom" stuff like laundry and cleaning. I was only able to catch a few photos of Emma and Olivia out in the snow, Mason was in the driveway playing "snow hockey" alot and I didn't get any pictures of that. Anyway, winter is officially HERE!!!!!!!!

Emma making a snow angel

"It's WAY too cold out here."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, my Grandma Rosy, my sister and her husband Peter and little baby Pete, my brother and his wife Angie and their 3 kiddos and then all my crew. Lots of yummy food and lots of noisy kind of Thanksgiving!

Happy Birthday, Olivia Mei!

Our Olivia Mei turned 4 years old on November 25th! She is so precious and has made so many strides since coming into our family 17 months ago. She is working hard on mastering the English language, and she receives Speech therapy two times a week at her preschool. She is my little "velcro girl" and is pretty much attached to my hip all day long. We are still really working on her separation anxiety issues, but it is very understandable. A child who spent the first 2 1/2 years of her life without a mommy is going to cling for dear life to the mommy she FINALLY gets to keep! I know eventually she will feel secure in the knowledge that I always come back and that I will not ever abandon her, it will just take time. I'm so proud of her for all she has endured, all she has overcome, and for her amazing courage. We are so blessed to have her in our family!