Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Term 'Catching Up'

I've begun to hate the term 'catching up.' The reason? In order to catch up, the one behind must move/develop at a significantly faster pace. For example, two cars left the garage at the same time. Car 1 can travel at 60 mph and Car 2 has some engine trouble and can only travel at 30 mph. Car 1 reached the 60 mile mark in one hour, and is still driving, but Car 2 is only at the 30 mile mark. In order for Car 2 to catch up to Car 1, Car 2 must travel FASTER than Car 1.

So for my child of 13.5 yrs. to catch up to her peer group in, say, 7 years. She will have to gain 16 years worth of development in those 7 years. Unless she reaches a point of accelerated learning and development, it's just not going to happen. The big question is, can my child reach a level of learning and understanding and the capacity to process and gain from experiences that will lead to this acceleration in learning or will she always be behind her peers? Can she learn enough to get by in a socially appropriate and responsible way?

The other questions I'm wresting with are:

How do you teach a child how to think?
How do you teach them to WANT to think?
How do you teach them that they NEED to think?

One of the blog posts in the suggested blog I mentioned in my last post hit the nail on the head when she said that the "glitch" brain doesn't recognize a problem, so there isn't anything to solve.

It's extremely interesting and frightening to see my 2.5 yr. old surpass my 15, 13 and 10 yr. olds in many things. They notice it, too. One doctor pointed out that this would happen, but I didn't think if would happen so quickly. It's truly astonishing how much learning happens in infancy and toddlerhood that gives a human being knowledge that they use for the rest of their lives.

Thank You

I appreciate the suggestions of a different approach by the commenters in my previous post. I've been studying my child closely since reading them, trying to see if this could be it, hoping it could be it, but, with all her other issues, I'm very sure this isn't the case.

She does speak English in statements well enough to be understood by anyone and she talks non-stop, morning until night, so she's a pro at conversation. Her questions are phrased more in keeping with Chinese grammar, but I recognize that and know it's normal. This is a child with a cognitive disability for sure. What I'm discovering is that her that her disability is more broad, affecting more areas, than I thought. We've started the testing and there's more to come, but it's glaringly apparent. What I do think, though, is that she might have been born perfectly healthy, or with what would have amounted to a tiny learning disorder that she could have worked through in a loving home with parental support, but that the institutional environment, neglect, poor nutrition, and abuse, made it far more serious as neuro pathways just didn't develop, and high stress cortisol levels caused the brain to physically form differently, all of which is well-documented in adoption literature.

There is so much about her that isn't appropriate to share on this blog. Astonishing things. It's all adding up.

There is good news, though. She has learned a lot since I've had her and she's continuing to learn. Progress is being made, however slowly. I think that with a greater, more specific understanding of her current level of function and disabilities, and her learning style, I can better tailor her lessons and the way I interact with her to decrease frustration and increase the enjoyment of learning and add services that she may benefit from.

Like all parents, I want what is best for my daughter. Many parents can attest that it's like wading through a sea of desperation seeking answers, when we can't figure out what's going on with our children and their first 11.75 years is a mystery never to be unraveled. I still cannot find out exactly how many years of school my daughter has had, and at what level.

Please keep the positive suggestions and comments coming! I've learned so much from many of you in the online community. You are a valuable resource and an important part of my "village." I truly believe the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Learning Curve

Tonight we had a GREAT example of how Blossom fails to make connections. We were on our way home from church where the teen girls had their weekly activity, which was making hummus to sell for a fundraiser for camp this summer. Blossom asked, "Mommy, when you were a teenage girl, did you go to camp?"

I answered, "When I was that age, I lived in Japan and went to church there. I don't know where the girls camp was or anything about it, so I didn't go, but the other girls at church went."

A few minutes later, Blossom asked, "Are there churches in Japan?" (But is was more like, "Is Japan area have church?)

So, once again, I pointed out to her how she can learn by listening to others carefully and remembering what they say and had her repeat back to me what I said about living in Japan and attending church there.

Who is Who?

It has been awhile since I've explained who is who and how old they are. Left to right they are:

Sissy (15.5 yrs. old)
Blossom (13.5 yrs. old)
Jie Jie (10 yrs. old)
Apple (2.5 yrs. old)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day Pt. 2

I didn't get out to hang my flag until after twelve o'clock, then I couldn't find a good place to attach the hardware for the flag pole, so I started trying to fastening it to a dead tree, but the wood was too hard and I was trying with a regular screwdriver and not an electric drill. My friend, who is a fireman at the station directly across the street came over to help, and came up with a great idea using the tree stump, but instead of using the hardware, he wanted to drill a large hole directly into the trunk. First, I insisted that we cut off all the dead branches which turned out to be quite a huge task, but cleaned up the area so nicely. Then, my friend drilled a large hole directly into the trunk, creating what he dubbed "The Organic Flag Pole." What I liked most about it is that I could see the flag from inside my house each time I walked down the arbor hallway. My outside lights just happen to be very near, almost shining directly on the flag, so it would be perfectly appropriate to keep the flag out after dark, too, if I wanted to.

There were more branches than this, and it took the girls and I several hours and a trip to the store to buy a chain saw to cut them all up and get them into our green-waste bin. We filled it completely, with very little air spaces. My fireman friend came back to give me a quick lesson on using the chain saw, then I was buzzing my way through all the thick branches which are now neatly piled on our firewood pile.

Working together with my girls, even in 98 degree heat, was good family time and we finished out day by taking the first swim of the season in our pool. The girls picked up right where they left off last year with their water skills, which I'm very happy about. Apple absolutely loved the water and watching her sisters play. Last summer, she was a skinny little thing and the water was too cold for her and she cried. Now, 5 pounds heavier, she seemed to really enjoy cooling off and playing around. I didn't get her head wound wet, despite the safety of the chlorine, but that didn't stop us at all from having a good time.

Happy Memorial Day

It's noon and our day began with Blossom forgetting to use deodorant and it's already 88 degrees and she's got B.O. so I had to send her back to the bathroom to toilet herself properly. This, after she didn't brush her teeth properly, if at all, last night and got another lesson in the importance of good hygiene.

And the two older girls STILL can't tell the washing machine from the dryer.

Jie Jie put on her same filthy clothes from yesterday, including socks and undies, and didn't obey the rules of her special need hygienic care. And she lied to me about it. She doesn't even realize that there is no possible way to get away with lying about her special need hygienic care because it's so very obvious.

It's so very, very discouraging.

At least I only had to go through two boxes to find the hardware to put my flag up. Some might say to forget such trivialities in the midst of parenting my kids, but it's these little things that keep me participating in adult life outside my children, something all moms need.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Thank you, Anonymous. I'd love to talk with you on the phone or at least email you. My email link is in my profile. I'll pray for your family for sure.

I think you are correct in that there does seem to be a window of learning. I know that neurologically, a child between 3-6 years old has the best chance of recovery after any type of brain injury. Infants usually do poorly and for older children it depends on the nature and location of the injury. That said, I'm amazed to see the development of my 2.5 yr. old compared to my older girls. She has already passed them up in so many ways. By the time she's 5, she's going to be light-years ahead.

Some examples:

She imitates with purpose everything from her body position to her actions. Today at church, she took her toy baby bottle and shook it and looked at the bottom of it, shook it and looked at it several times before feeding her doll. I do this with her bottles. I shake them to mix the formula and look at the bottom to make sure all the formula chunks are mixed in.

She always comes over to watch me tend Henry. She squats down like I do, pets him very, very, very gently (even with her casts!), watching him getting his medicine, watches him go to his litter box. When he's finished, she's finished.

Her timing with human interactions is impeccable. She's like an old soul in a young body and I know she'll be highly capable and responsible. Her non-verbal cues and responses to people is just perfect. It's hard to describe but even when I brush her teeth, she opens her mouth and tilts her head correctly to cooperate in the most efficient way. I had to teach my two oldest how to position their head, mouth and tongue so that I could brush their teeth.

The book Parenting the Hurt Child describes it best, I think. As babies, our children never had interaction. They didn't learn that crying led to care, that crying for food would bring food and a full tummy, they didn't learn about soft things because their cribs had plywood for a mattress, they didn't learn to look around their world because their world was a plain ceiling. As a result, they didn't form normal neuro pathways, or "learning hooks" to "hook" other bits of knowledge onto. Now, when knowledge comes into their brains, it doesn't have a "hook" so it floats around, never finding relevance, and if often then forgotten. An example is a baby who cries due to hunger and gets milk. Later, being hungry leads to milk and puree, then soft chewable foods. Soon, the child I chewing all kinds of things, developing preferences, starts to help dish out and prepare the food, learns where it comes from, etc... By the time a child is 7-8 yrs. old they have a ton of information about the hunger-food relationship, cold vs. frozen food, meat, veggies, fruits, etc... My 15 yr. old thought that meat was a vegetable. It's not just the language, though that's part of it, it's mostly her perception of the context in which I use the word "vegetables."

How can I teach Blossom to use a microwave when she can't learn plastic from metal?

How do I teach her and Sissy to look around their world with awareness. They seem to see in tunnel vision. How do I get it across to them that most of what an individual learns is from watching others or other means of vicarious exposure, but basically comes from experiences of some kind of another. They believe my mom and teachers taught me every single thing I know. I've told them that I learn from reading books, from all the people I see in my life, even if I don't speak with them, I learn from movies, from prayer, trial and error, experimenting with ideas of my own, etc... They miss so much. It's so sad.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Time for an Update on the Girls

This is a very hard post to type because it's none too pretty. Life around here has been HARD! Now that my girls have learned English and we're more settled into our new home with our new little one, certain things have become glaringly apparent. My girls have learning disabilities. To what extent is yet unknown since the testing has only just begun, but I have a feeling they are going to turn out to be extensive. On top of this, I'm fighting Kaiser every step of the way to get local care for my children. We have been sent to two different locations for care, each three hours a away (6 hours round trip) when there is a state-of-the-art children's hospital only 20 minutes up the road from us here. There have been mistakes with typing my baby's blood wrong, typos on my phone number so specialists couldn't reach us, a specialist referral to cardiology meant for another child that was in my child's name and many, many more. Most pressing is the fact that Apple doesn't have skin where she should due to that MRSA infection that I'm sure started out as just a little bumped head that got infected and then inoculated with MRSA during her hand surgery hospital stay. Here's the reality:

Now you all know I handled turning those screws and for those who know me personally, you know what I can do medically, but seeing the distractors where there should be skin leaves me feeling sick because her skull is right there, too. Undoubtedly, they need to come out, but where and how is another issue. One doctor says she can do it, the local surgeon, but she wants to assume all care, meaning do the anterior cranial remodel this fall, but she's not as qualified or experienced as the Kaiser surgeon, so I don't want her to assume all care, just get those things out of Apple's head. But, she also shaves "everything." I can't allow Apple's head to be shaved. She cannot wear hats because she overheats tremendously and her head is too big to get a child's size so the adult brims are WAY to huge on her. We live where it's regularly over 100 degrees every day of summer and Aperts Syndrome causes Apple to sweat PROFUSELY. Dehydration is always an issue for her. Imagine a nice freshly healing incision covered in buckets of sweat. Yes, I can keep her in the house, but her hair grows so slowly that she'll never see sun all summer long and she still has to ride in the car, and we all know that babies in carseats sweat no matter how high we turn on the AC.

She is going to begin speech therapy. She only says three or four words and not very clearly: done and down, which sound the same, nite-nite, hi, up-of and yay. She doesn't even say mama, though I've heard her, but it was babbling in her crib early on and while crying. At 2.5 yrs. it's time to get some help. Of course, Kaiser gave us the referral for speech back in Jan. but it never got processed, so I had to mention that in my formal complaint, too.

Apple learned to walk in Feb. and has progressed well ever since, despite having fused toes and foot bones and being in full length casts on both arms for a month. She learned to go up the stairs on her play slide properly today and slide down on her own. She can hold on to something and step into her pants. She's delightful and imitates me and the girls, learning very quickly just as a healthy toddler should.

Jie Jie just had an extensive speech evaluation and the results are vindicating for me since I've been saying for over two years that something is very wrong with her receptive and expressive language skills. To qualify for Kaiser to pay for speech therapy, the cumulative score on the evaluation must be 7% or less. Jie Jie's score was -0.1% Yes, she got a negative score. Some of the areas tested at the level of a 4.5 yr. old. I did cry. At least it explains why Jie Jie's English hasn't progressed in over a year and why she's struggling with her school work (K and 1st grade still) and why she's having some serious behavioral issues at home pertaining to her daily health care, why she doesn't know any songs and why she can't remember what she's learned in Sunday School.

On the positive side, she's wonderful with her baby sister and truly enjoys playing with Apple and helping take care of her.

I've requested formal evaluations for all three older girls by the school district, but I've been told that with their backgrounds, there is no way to get an accurate result of a real learning disability (being behind isn't a learning disability) and since they've never seen kids "like mine," meaning with their backgrounds, none of the three school psychologists I spoke with have much of an idea what will happen regardless of the test results, but they all recommend I take the girls for testing at the Regional Center.

Blossom has been very difficult lately. She refuses to try, skimps and cheats on anything she can get away with, from PT to chores to school work, wants all the rewards and privileges her sisters earn through hard work and good behavior, but she also struggles academically. She loves to read, but she can't seem to use the knowledge she gains and she stills counts on her fingers doing 1st grade math. She can't sound out words (she memorizes them) and can't spell or even come close to spelling phonically. Jie Jie has the same problem. Most of all, Blossom doesn't seem to be able to understand cause and effect or know what's going on socially. She's very social and chats with anyone, finds a "friend" easily, but doesn't see what the social group is doing and often moves through it doing her own thing.

Blossom's most obvious talent is that she likes to sing and can really carry a tune. Her English isn't good enough yet to really show how talented she is, but I'm hoping she'll always like to sing and be interested in choir and performing. She would love to perform and be applauded and get to bow and receive flowers, etc...

Today I asked the girls to write a simple story - about anything at all. Jie Jie wrote instructions on how to take care of a baby, instead of a story. Here's some of what she wrote, which was all lined out and unorganized with arrows pointing where some sentences should go, a sentence on each line rather than in a paragraph, etc...:

"How we teccare the baby. We nede to feed the baby food. We nede to tege the baby how to woke. We to put the baby for a nep. Do you like baby? yes. The ed."

Remember, she reads well at nearly 2nd grade level, yet this is her writing and spelling. Here's a translation: We take care of the baby. We need to feed the baby food. We need to teach the baby how to walk. We need to put the baby down for a nap. Do you like babies? Yes. The End.

A same from Blossom, who, of the three, did write something most like a story:

..."and I say. can I play with you gus, they said yes I can play with They, and we playhitg and see and we aslso play monok brak, and we go to fried hoses sweing..."

She meant: "and I asked, "Can I play with you guys?" They said, yes, I can play with them. We played hide and seek and we also played on the monkey bars, then we went to our friend's house to swing."

This is from Sissy's work:

"Iast (Last isn't spelled with an L, but with a capital I) year we went to China audop. My liltt sister, she was 1 years oldd. also she had shosis need. nexsday we went to office do pepr, we wait at office. nexsday we ride airplan 18 hur I in airpanl watching move and sleep eat. and be reding go home."

Translation: "Last year we went to China to adopt my little sister. She was one year old and also has a special need. The next day we went to the office to do paperwork. We had to wait at the office. The next day we rode in an airplane for 18 hours. In the airplane, I watched a movie, slept and ate, then got ready to go home."

Most concerning to me isn't the bad spelling, it's the fact that she spelled the same words differently each time, such as airplan and airpanl and went and wen and enph and enpht for elephant. Other animals included tige for tiger and garamol which I can't figure out. She should have been able to spell paper with an A since we've covered long and short vowel sounds many, many, many times.

One of the things Blossom did recently really blew my mind. She didn't kiss me good night so I went into her room to find out why. She asked, "How did you know?" I didn't say anything, wondering if she was joking. "Who told you, mommy?" I asked, "Who told me what?" "Who told you I didn't kiss you good night?"

My mind was reeling, but I controlled my impulse to fall on the floor and cry and said, "My eyes didn't see you come into the room and my cheek didn't feel your lips kiss me."

Blossom said, "You're so smart, Mommy!" Then I went into the other room and cried. Surely, surely, she can't be that unable at 13.5 yrs. old?

Then, last night I said to Sissy, "Go take your pill and tell Jie Jie to take her pill, too." These are the same words I say every single night. Every night, the girls get out their pills and swallow them. Last night we were going out to dinner. I get into the car and what do I see, two bottles of pills sticking out of the diaper bag. What's this, I ask. Sissy replied, "You said take my pill." I asked, "When I say take your pill, what do you do?" She said, "Put it in my mouth." I asked, "Then why didn't you do that tonight when I said take your pill, when that's what you always do?" She answered, "I think, TAKE it." Meaning, take it with her to the restaurant.

Sissy does her chores well and without being asked. She has learned to express her anger clearly and in a positive way when she needs to, such as when Blossom is being a pesky little sister and teasing in a mean way. She still doesn't know how to take advantage of everything I've provided for her to contribute to her personal growth. She's amazed at all one of her friends can do, who was adopted after she was. When I pointed out that I offered her the very same things and she wouldn't have anything to do with it, she suddenly had that "ah hah" moment and teared up. Sissy is very good with Apple, too. She is truly trying to make a success of her life.

I think the biggest intellectual disadvantage Sissy and Blossom have had is that they were not taught or allowed to think in China. I have to tell them what to do and how to do it every day. If they've done their chores and all the things they need to do, they don't do anything. Well, Blossom as least will start to play, but Sissy doesn't do much at all. I did buy her a kit to make bracelets out of rubber bands and she really like it, but she doesn't do much else, despite all manner of things at her fingertips that would add to her personal growth in a large variety of ways. We have toys, crafts, physical fitness stuff, a piano, cd players with tons of music, basketball hoop, badminton, jump ropes, trampolines, skates, bikes and the list goes on and on and on... I had to teach them how to explore the yard and play in our mini "forest." I still have to remind them to stay out of the street.

One can look at these things with humor and say, "All kids are like that. They all do things like this sometimes." Yes, I know they do, but my girls do things like this all the time and I'm very, very concerned. At first, I chalked it up to not knowing the language. Now I know that it's far more serious. Please pray for us as we navigate what lies ahead!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do You Get Any Exercise?

Exercise? What's that? Oh, I remember, in another life I used to fence 16 hours a week and was fit and trim and strong and flexible. After that stopped, I walked. Miles and miles, at least 2 per day, pushing my daycare kids in my quad stroller. Then I became a mom. I adapted to include Jie Jie and Sissy and Blossom. Then we moved and the house and surgeries, etc... swallowed me up.

Did I mention that there aren't any sidewalks in my new neighborhood? How about that it was 108 degrees almost every day last summer? I know I've mentioned the repairs on the house sucking the life out of me.

Well, I finally had enough. I needed to get some exercise and fresh air and feel the sunshine so I started walking the neighborhood last Monday. Sometimes I'm walking on the street and sometimes on the dirt. There are cars coming by and big ant hills, but I'm pushing Apple in her stroller and having a merry old time going, "Ahhhhhh!" the entire way. I walked twice today because I didn't get out yesterday. Once I begin doing daycare again, it will fit right in with taking the kids on a morning walk in the quad strollers.

When did I find time? I made it. This morning I went out after breakfast while the big girls were doing the dishes and then again with three of the girls after dinner. I finally reached a point in everything where I have to include some "taking care of me" time for health and sanity.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Henry Update

My wonder boy has continued to recover. He's now up to 6.5 pounds and gaining steadily. His missing fur has nearly all grown back and he's enjoying laying around like a cat again stretched out on his side or curled into a tiny ball. His muscles are regaining tone and he's starting to climb and jump more. I have to be careful right now with the heat. It's been over 100 degrees here and he can't drink enough water to stay hydrated so I give him sub-Q fluids as needed. Now that he's stronger, he fights me a bit and jumps away and off the needle. I hate having to stick him more than once since cats can get skin reactions and cancer at injection sites quite readily, but I've discovered that since he can breathe now, I can use a towel to wrap him and restrain him a little and that worked last night.

He can tell time perfectly in 2 and 4 hour increments, depending on his feeding schedule. It's amazing how he can do this. He's still not totally like he used to be, but he's getting there!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Special Day for Special Kids

A large business in our community sponsors a huge event every year for children with special needs and their families. We went and it was very fun as well as inspiring. As the girls become more and more aware of what their special needs are and how they are different and the same, they have more feelings about body image, etc... This has been very hard for Jie Jie lately, who has decided that she's not going make good choices and decisions right now. She will not explain and I don't even know if she can, but she said it is what she's decided, regardless of the consequences. I've been asking opinions on this from "experts" and other parents and it seems that it's a normal phase, though an awful one.

Anyway, at this event, there were rescue helicopters and various emergency vehicles, bounce houses, horses to ride, lunch and more and all of it was free. It was a very fun family day for us, something we've needed!

Blossom, Sissy and Apple rode on a horse for the first time very. Blossom won't pet a wriggling 4 week old puppy, but she'll pet and ride a horse. I can't figure that one out. Apple wasn't thrilled, so I rode with her. She felt much better about it after going around the tree. I think she's going to like once she understands it. This group is all donation-based, so I'm going to get the girls involved as riding is great therapy and they all need posture and core work. I think they can learn to ride in exchange for some stall cleaning and horse brushing and will enjoy it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day - Cats Can Blow Their Noses

Strange title for a post, but I'm living life in the moment. As I prepared to type my Mother's Day post, I heard the strangest noises coming from the other room and there was my little Henry, thick, but clear, mucus dripping from his nose and a large sticky stringy glop in front of him. He continued to blow his nose, just like we do, expelling all manner of yuck. I did what I'd do for one of my kids and grabbed a tissue and between me wiping and him licking, we got it under control, though he continued to cough and blow for about 5 minutes before getting his airway clear. I don't have a fascination with mucus. Really. But I am amazed at what Henry is going through to heal. I am overwhelmed with awe at the strength of my little Henry as he continues to recover. He inspires me. Yes, I'm inspired by a little cat. He is the perfect example of strength, hope, bravery and perseverance. And, he weighs over 6 pounds now!

As for my children, we didn't celebrate Mother's Day in the traditional way. No cards. No breakfast in bed. No flowers. If I had a husband orchestrating it all, that'd be different, but I needed a day of rest, so it was church, fast food and a typical day working - yes on Sunday, unfortunately - sorting out Jie Jie's clothes that she's out-grown, some of which were still in a packing box. Did I mention that I'm still unpacking after nearly a year in our new house?

Why did I sort clothes today? Because I'm going to lose a day this week, really more days, over the next two weeks, as we head into medical mode. It's that time of year where Jie Jie's 6 and 12 month checks happen as well as Apple's post-cast check out-of-town. I'm also doing three post-adoption updates and so much more as I prepare the house for work. Apple is also having some complications due to the hardware still being in her head so we are getting some second opinions on some things. Through it all, Kaiser has been making more mistakes, life-threatening ones, for example, a referral to a cardiologist for Jie Jie turned up in my mailbox. Apparently, she's having heart palpitations. This, of course, is news to me. The reality is that some other child has been walking around for months with heart palpitations and needed the referral, not Jie Jie, but because Kaiser made a typo on our phone number, it took months for the referral to catch up to us and for me to notify someone that a mistake was made. This typo also held up Jie Jie's real referrals.

Blossom wandered out several minutes ago saying she couldn't sleep because she's thinking hard about behaving well tomorrow. Good. I'm glad that's on her mind. She's had three good days in a row after falling off the wagon for the last two weeks. Sissy has been trying hard today, too, after a rough day yesterday. Jie Jie began the day by lying to me, but improved as the day went on. Apple is getting her two-year molars and is having fitful nights, and her days are filled with two year-old rebellion at having to do OT and PT and a mommy who is trying to get her to talk. Believe me, this little girl can roll her eyes like you can't believe and absolutely will refuse to move a single muscle unless she wants to! But through it all, a mom said to me today at church to remember that loving kids, especially when they often don't seem to love me back, is Christ-like love. Mother's love their kids no matter what the kids do, even when it's very hurtful behavior to themselves and me. We must not expect them to love us in return, though we hope they do. Christ doesn't expect us to love Him in return for what He did for us, but He hopes we will. This gave me some much-needed strength on this day that celebrates motherhood when in my home mother and mothering is something that's still very new and often confusing to my children. Sometimes it's hard to remember that my two oldest haven't even reached the two year home mark and that my baby hasn't even been home a year yet. We are still very new family and still finding our way.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Little Apple Fashion Show

A busy baby in one of the outfits sent waaaaay back when we still had Secret Pals. Remember those days? 6-7 YEARS ago!

A sweet Gymboree twill overall and onesie with a sunflower collar made by mommy.

Soft yellow floral romper made by mommy from a Japanese pattern magazine back in the mid 1990s "for the day when I'd have a daughter."

Little bear overalls, hand embroidered, also made by mommy from a Japanese pattern magazine back a long time ago.

I'm glad I did so much sewing "back in the day" because I certainly don't have the time or energy to do it now.

Doing What Cats Do

Yes, this is Henry today!!!


Henry is recovering very well now. He's going to be on antibiotics for another month and supplemental fluids every few days, but he's gained 1.5 pounds - yes, POUNDS - and he's feeling more energetic each day. He now weighs 5.5 pounds and he's gaining well. He's also not thrown up in over 24 hours for the first time since March! He looks so much more comfortable now and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps all night long, back on his Boppy, not in the survival position he's had to be in for so long in order to breathe.

So, he grooms well, can make jumps of about 2 feet, he can trot to his food, he purrs and purrs, and he's generally acting like a cat should. My other cats are also greeting him now and licking him and have seemed to realize he's back in the land of the living. He's going to be on two antibiotics for another month, I still feed him 6 times a day and give him sub-Q fluids every few days. I also still give him digestive enzymes and probiotics. I'm so happy for him that he's finally feeling better!

Just about 2 weeks ago with Brother.

My "Skinny Kidney Bean" is what I called him since I could easily feel his little kidneys.

Getting up more lung junk, but it's so much less yucky than last week.

Today, getting some love from Merlin, who is a very fluffy cat.

A nice round tummy and looking so comfortable!

Minus a little fur on the muzzle, nose and front paws, but it's coming back.

Look at the juicy fat and muscle coming back on to these bones!