Monday, May 30, 2011

Thumb Sucking

When Ella was about 6 months old I started to notice her thumb finding its way to her mouth a little too often and tried to pull it out and insert a paci instead. But I also knew that when she was asleep in the night and her paci was gone there was no way for me to keep her thumb out of her mouth. 8 years later and after so much pleading, I am sad to say that thumb is still in her mouth. I have watched her suck her thumb when she is tired and going to bed or taking a nap. I have watched her such her thumb when she is watching movies or television shows. I have watched her suck her thumb when she is bored and there is nothing else to do. All of these are times I am ready for the thumb to be gone. But I have watched her suck her thumb when she is anxious, stressed or sad. These are times that it breaks my heart to have to break this habit...but it is necessary. Ella's mouth has been completely misshapen because of this habit. I am tired of family asking her when her top teeth will grow in. THEY HAVE BEEN IN FOR A LONG TIME!!!!
Ella told me she is sad to lose her bunny teeth. haha!

This past year we have undergone some big changes and the thumb was Ella's one security. There was no way I was going to change that. Now that we have arrived, settled into life and school, and things are going is time to say goodbye to the thumb. So today we saw an orthodontist. She was wonderful. She looked at Ella's teeth all of 2 minutes before recommending treatment. She told us we could order a universal mouth guard on the internet to break the habit for about $50ish. Or she could take impressions of her teeth and have a retainer made to fit her mouth that would have a piece that will prevent Ella's thumb from fitting in her mouth comfortably. It would also pull her top teeth down and squeeze them back together. This is the option we chose. We decided it would be best all the way around. Of course she did say that in a few years Ella will need more orthodontics done but for now I am pleased to get this going. We did impressions today and next Monday she will get her new purple retainer. She has to wear it at least 12 hours a day...and especially at night and during tv watching. Hooray for modern medicine!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ella's 8!!!

So a little over 10 years ago James asked me to marry him. In that time, I have graduated from college, had 2 babies, changed ministries 3 times, moved 3 times (not counting the several moves last year), became a mom to numerous teenage girls, became foster parents, watched my oldest start school and  ask Jesus into her heart and be baptized by her daddy, experienced the devastation of a our church fire, stood next to my sister as she married the man of her dreams and become a mom, experienced the death of 3 of James grandparents and my last great grandma, traveled to many countries, and said goodbye to our friends and families and moved our family to a foreign country. WOW!!! This time has flown by!!! So why am I starting a blog about Ella's birthday by focusing on the past 10 years? Because 10 years from now Ella will be 18 and graduating from high school. If these 10 years passed by so quickly how fast will the next 10 years go? I am trying to enjoy each day with Ella...although I am ready to be past the awkward elementary stage! But all too soon she will move out and I will so miss her!

Ok enough of tears...let's talk about birthday parties! This is obviously our first party here in Poland. It took us a long time to come up with a plan. Initially she wanted a party at the indoor water park...but that turned into a bigger deal so we scrapped it. Plan 2...a bowling party. However when we checked on that you had to be 10. Great so now what? We saw a movie poster that said Kung Fu Panda 2 came out the day before her birthday...PERFECT!!!! It also meant little need for Polish conversation. We went to the movie and shared a HUGE bucket of popcorn. After the movie we had cake, presents and sang Happy Birthday in Polish and English. She had 4 little girls from school that were absolutely precious as well as 2 other M kids from America. We had a great party and Ella had a great time. Here are few pictures to enjoy.

My sweet 8 year old.

Ella with her friends from left-right: Macie, Iwonka, Natalka, Kaleb, Ella, Hania, Maja, Arin

After the movie

Cake time.  
This is Sto Lat...the Polish Happy Birthday song.

We decided on Friday that Ella had not had much down time since coming home from Green School and it was becoming obvious through her behavior. I decided I would keep her home from school for just a day of nothing. We had language in the morning so I was going to send Macie to school and let Ella read or watch movies and then we would start baking cakes and make icing together before Macie got home from school. Well Friday morning our teacher called and cancelled our class...that never happens so we took it as a sign from God. We decided to have our family birthday time with Ella and keep Macie home from school. We had gotten Ella rollerblades (Rolki in Polish) and got everyone else some too so we could all play together. We let her open them and then headed out to the park and taught the girls to skate. We had a great day!!! Thank you God for the day off!
Macie chose the game Piggy Pop for Ella. I think she chose it as much for herself as for Ella.

Ella and Macie can be sweet sisters. I wish it was more often!

Macie's new blades

Ella's new blades.

Such a great smile! I love you Ella!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Italy and Guilt

View from the Hotel Regina where we stayed
This past week James and I were able to spend the week on Lake Como in Italy. It was amazingly beautiful. James and I love to travel. We love to travel alone. We love to travel with friends. We love to travel with our kids. And we love to drive to our destinations as well. We love to see new places and the history of those places. We are not ones to just go and sit around the pool at the hotel or even just sit on the beach. We want to do stuff. When we knew we were moving to Poland one of our big things was that we wanted to experience Europe as much as we can. We KNOW we are here for ministry but we also have a unique opportunity to travel to countries we wouldn't otherwise be able to.

Sun didn't cooperate but we are cute!

Three of our teammate couples have or will be taking quick trips to Italy without children. We just go here and I didn't expect us to do the same anytime soon but our amazing team leader made an offer to watch Macie for us while Ella and her older 2 were at Green School. So I started looking into travels and found cheap airfare to Milan, Italy. We booked our trip for 3 nights and found a nice hotel thanks to other team members that had stayed their before. We were actually a couple hours north of Milan by train so rather than run ourselves ragged trying to see everything we could, as we would normally do, we would just hang around the lake area. It was perfect. We had such a restful time. We enjoyed each others company and good food.

The streets are so narrow!
So nice to wear summer clothes!
Guilt...I left my children 4 months into coming on the field. Was that ok? Do we look like we are slacking because we are already getting away? Ugh!! There were several hangs up that happened before we left. 1)We couldn't rent a car because we didn't have a credit card...we did great with trains and buses. No problem after all. 2)As we are waiting for the kids to board the buses before Green School Ella threw up all over the ground. Really? What do we do? Is she sick? Is she nervous. Aagh! It was agonizing. Our friends were very sweet and encouraged us to go on and they would keep Ella if she needed to come home...she was fine and never got sick again. But I worried quite a bit. 3)My carry on luggage that should have been free cost about $50 to check because the gate girl said it wouldn't fit. Grr!!...on the way home I prayed that it would pass by someone else's problem. Saved $50. I missed my kids like crazy and was ready to have come home yesterday. We had a great time but I am not in need of a get away without my kids for a while.
A street of shops in Bellagio.

Arriving in Bellagio

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ella Bella

When we found out 3 months into our marriage we were going to have a baby I had mixed emotions. I wanted to have a baby and be a mom but we had barely had time alone to be married. But this is what we had. I was then so afraid that we would have a boy. Everyone I knew was having girls so I just figured we would have a boy. I prayed and prayed that God would give us girl and He did. She was my pride and joy. Everyday she had a dress on and a bow on her head...since she had no hair. She and I did everything together. She has been so laid back since the day she was born. She was not in a hurry for anything and was content to just sit with or without toys. She was so great. She loves God. I love finding her reading her Bible alone.  She will walk into a room full of people she does not know and join right in...never shy. If only I could be that bold. She is so generous and kind and loving. Someone could be horribly mean to her and then say one nice thing to her and she will see that positive and give them another chance. She will share everything with others and will give away winning a game if it makes someone else happy. I just love her! Here are some pics of her.

Macie Lou

Oh my little Macie. She has been drama since the day she was born into this world. She cried for the first several months of her life. (I could seriously understand how babies could get shaken baby syndrome.) She is defiant and likes to push every boundary. She will put one toe over the edge of the line just to see what happens. She has to know for herself why something is not ok. BUT...she is so funny! Everyday is comical, even when you are so frustrated with her. Lately it has to do with her attire and hair. She likes to fix her own hair...and, for a 4 year old, does a decent job. She also likes to pick out her own clothes. If we choose her outfits it is ALWAYS a battle. Her hair has to be fixed just right. If her pony tail is too high or the bow isn't just right there will be tears. But then she makes crazy comments and silly faces and you forget about her drama. Here are some pics of her...some of outfits, some of faces. Enjoy her!

I am not sure about this face.

Holding on to PJs that are too small and need to be given away.

Desperately wanting these pjs.

Kite Day

We got a surprise in the mail the week of Easter from my grandparents. It came in a box about 2.5 feet tall and slender. We had no idea what to expect when we opened it. KITES!!! And these were not cheapy kites. They were great! So on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday the weather was beautiful and we took 2 kites to an amazing park we have (one of several great parks!) and flew kites. When we got there though, Macie decided she didn't want to fly one so she and I had a photo shoot while Ella and James flew kites. It was a great day!

So if you put the "thing" on the end of your camera lens to block sun but don't zoom the lens this is the effect you get. Oops!

Ella practicing hand stands.

Discussing the option of playing Hide and Go "TO" Seek.