Mina’s 1st competition…

Mina had her 1st competition this weekend.  She was so stinkin’ nervous, but still managed to pull out placement in 3 out of 4 events.  She was awesome.  I can’t wait to see her in the Apple Classic in September.  Now that she has 1 competition under her belt, I know she will only continue to get better and less nervous!

We ordered a disc of images which should arrive in the mail sometime this week.  Can’t wait to get them, I will post them as soon as they are here.  We have already seen them and they are great.   Can’t wait to share them with you!!

For now, here are a couple of shots pre-competition and post awards!!!

 

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Me and Collier

My sweet friend, Rachel, challenged me to be in at least 1 picture a month that I post on FB, twitter, my blog, etc.  So, here is my August picture!!  Collier and I right before his bedtime.  Love our time together at night, just me, Emory and Collier….always great snuggles and kisses right before bed!!

 

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Emmy’s latest hospital visits…

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Smiling for the haters…

I think that I have written about this topic before, but it’s one that I feel like needs to be broached again!  Thanks to my sweet friend, Jessica, for letting me vent to her last night.  Sometimes, it just makes you feel better to get it off your chest, ya know?  She also gave me another perspective on this same issue that I thought I would bring up as well!!

So, here goes my blog vent session…

As many of you know, we have had a long week with Emmy.  She had several specialist appointments this week, as well as an MRI and an MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography).  She also had an X-ray of her right leg, which has been causing lots of pain lately.  Her hemoc (hematology/oncology) doctors wanted to make sure there was no infection in her femur or fibula/tibula.  So, after 7 appointments this week just for Emmy, we are flat worn out.  Praying that she doesn’t spike a fever today, because that means another hospital admission to rule out underlying infections.

As you see Emmy’s sickle cell causes a lot of issues, it causes us to spend a lot of time in the hospital and in doctor’s offices; it causes us to be away from our other kiddos when she is sick, etc.   Emmy’s illness is a lot of work, a lot of worry and a lot of questioning myself about whether or not I am doing it all right???

Once again, a little background on Emmy’s adoption story…we adopted Emmy at 3 weeks old, we knew when she was 1 week old that she would be ours.  We knew she had tested positive for Sickle Cell Anemia (AKA SCD).  We knew that there was a huge possibility that we would spend a lot of time in the hospital with a sick child.  We researched sickle cell, and talked to our pediatrician A LOT about what SCD is, what it meant for her life span, her quality of life, etc.  We knew that having a child with sickle cell COULD change our day to day life.  We also knew that some sickle patients do really well, and have no symptoms, we prayed for that to be Emmy’s case.  Unfortunately, that is not Emmy’s case.  Emmy has SS the most severe form of SCD.  It means that her hemoglobin is too low and that she is always anemic.  It means that her organs have to work a lot harder to pump her blood through her body, it means that her red blood cells live 1/3 of the time of a healthy child, it means that she is immune-suppressed and that an infection could be fatal.  Every fever could be life threatening and is treated as such. We are taught to feel her spleen daily, and make sure that it is not swelling.  We have strong painkillers always on hand for her pain crises, sometimes they help, and sometimes they don’t.  SCD is a nasty, painful, awful disease, all by itself.

Emmy doesn’t just have SCD.   Emmy now has a secondary issue, one that we are in the process of trying to diagnose.  A disease that is affecting the mylenation process in her brain, and at times has caused tremors, ataxia, etc.  We had no idea about this secondary issue until February of this year, when she was 13 months old.  The ataxia was so severe that she was unable to walk.  It was sudden and it was scary.

That brings me to the whole point of this post….smiling for the haters.  I talked to my friend Jessica last night, and explained that I am tired, worried, frustrated, annoyed, discouraged, mad, sad, etc.  I told her these things because a) I knew she would let me vent, b) I knew she wouldn’t say, “You chose this, Courtney.  You knew she was sick when you adopted her. You chose this life for you and your family, Courtney.  You asked for this.”  Hopefully, you are appalled and you are thinking, “someone has said that to you?”   Yes, someone has, actually more than one person.  I have also talked to other adoptive parents with children with special needs and they hear the same things.  People think that because we were obedient to the Lord and adopted the orphans that HE ordained for our families that we don’t have a right to vent, to feel sad, angry, burdened, we don’t have a right to ask for help, we don’t have a right to be mad, or to complain every now and then.   So, I smile…I have let these people allow me to believe that they are right.  I shouldn’t complain, I knew what I was getting into.  I smile for all the people that say negative things to us about our adoption choices.  I smile so that I can’t be criticized.

Truth be told….I am mad, sad, discouraged and angry.  I hate that Emmy has to go through all of this, and that I can’t fix it.  I hate that when she is sick, that our focus is on her and our other kiddos and their activities sometimes fall to the wayside.  I hate that when she is sick, I want to be 2 places at once, and I can’t.  I hate when she is sick, that our whole life is flipped upside down.  I HATE ALL THOSE THINGS!

I love Emmy.  I love her heart, her personality, her spunk, her stylishness (even when she dresses herself), I love her sassy attitude, I love that she has become quite the diva.  I LOVE HER!  We CHOSE her.  I would choose her again every day of the week.  I have no regrets.

I pray that the people, who say things like this, don’t know how hurtful those words can be.  I pray that those people just let those statements fly out of their mouths before realizing it.  If they truly meant what they said, I feel sorry for them.  Those people are missing out on some of the greatest blessings the Lord has to offer.  God never said that this life would be easy, that if we would follow Him that HE would only call us to take care of the healthy orphans.

Jessica also informed me as they were going through the adoption process, that people would say similar things to her.  Jess’ adoption was far from simple….when hearing about some of her struggles, people would say, “that’s what happens when you adopt.”  Really?

People also say things like, ‘with adoption, you just never know what you are going to get…” and “I just couldn’t adopt a child not knowing their medical and social background, that child could grow up to be a serial killer.”  Really, people?  Most serial killers were not adopted; their biological parents raised them.

A little side note for you guys, when people make stupid comments like, “you never know what you are going to get???”  my husband wants to scream, “Yeah, we might accidentally get an idiot for a child, then again your parents had you biologically and they still got an idiot….clearly, there are no guarantees.”  Mind you, he hasn’t ever really said that to anyone, but have thought that on many occasions.

I know most people really do mean well, but you have to think before you speak.  You have to consider the feelings of others before making ignorant statements.

So, that was my vent…that was my moment to whine a little.  I am not one to ask for a lot of help, I am little prideful that way.  It’s something I have had to work on a lot over the last 19 months.  Emmy’s SCD has required me to swallow my pride and let people help me, however, when I ask for help, I am opening up myself for criticism from the haters.  That has been very difficult for me!!

So, for now, I will vent and whine to my true friends, and keep smiling for all you haters!!!

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My heart….

This post is going to have 3 parts.  The first is a blog that the Lord really used to speak to me, then 2 parts about what I got from it!!  This is a long one!!

Part 1:  Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)

by Rachel Jankovic | July 14, 2011

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”

She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It’s Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of “Loving the Little Years” and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

 

 

Part 2:  I love how God can use someone you haven’t seen or talked to in forever to encourage you and remind you of His plan for your life.  God did that on Sunday for me.  Emory and I recently started attending a new church, one that is much closer to our home.  I am sure most of you know how difficult it is to uproot your family from a church you are so invested in, and make a change. It is a change we have been discussing for over a year, and finally felt as if God was saying now is the time….Do it now.  So, we spent the summer visiting this new church, participating in their VBS and learning our way around a new building and new classes.  The kids have adapted very well.  They have friends from school and extra-curricular activities that are in their Sunday School class and they love it.  That is why we made the move.  We did it for them, so they would have friends at church that they also went to school with.  As most of you know, it is harder as adults, it is hard to get plugged into a new class, make friends, etc.  That’s where we are though, trying to find a new Sunday school class, new friends, etc.  We know several families that attend this new church, in fact, 5 of them live in our neighborhood, and 3 others have adopted through Faithful Adoption Consultants.  It’s not like we don’t know anyone….but, still it is hard.

 

Last Sunday, after Sunday School, we ran into a couple that we haven’t seen in quite some time….it was such a divine appointment, and I am sure she has no idea that I feel that way.  She has no idea that God used her Sunday morning in a mighty way.  She probably has no idea that God spoke to me through her.

 

So, I’ll back up just a bit…..As you all know, we have 6 children 8 and under.  We own 2 businesses and stay very busy between church involvement, kiddos schedules and work.  Lately, I have felt very alone.  I have had many pity parties for myself.  Allowing Satan to whisper in my ear things like, “Noone gets you and your family, noone wants to be friends with someone with 6 little kiddos, you don’t have time for friends, etc, etc.”  I have believed those lies, and I have felt very isolated because of them.  The truth is that just like the blog above, this is my calling.  The Lord has called me to be a mother to 6 beautiful children.  He has called me to invest myself into them, to lay my life, my wants and desires down for them.  He has called me to give up friendships, and activities that I once enjoyed, so that I can invest in them.

 

On Sunday, I ran into an old friend. She basically said everything the blog above says, and she said it 48 hours before the Lord allowed me to read the blog above.  She told me of her feelings of isolation and loneliness, and her desire for more friendships, but that God gently reminded her that this is the season of life that she is in.  This is the time when she needs to pour into her children, love on them, teach them, disciple them, etc.  This is a crucial time in the lives of her children, and this is her purpose.

 

Now, you may be thinking, OF COURSE IT IS!!  But, for me…that was a revelation.  It wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know, but a new perspective about how I was feeling.  It instantly gave me a new outlook, a new way to look at the season of life that I am in.

 

So, the post above was another way of God reiterating to me, that this is where HE has put me, that it’s okay not to have friends that I hang out with, that doesn’t make me weird or unlikeable, and that is what I needed reassurance of.  I needed to be reminded of my purpose.

 

I can very much relate to the writer in the 1st paragraph, when she tells of her 2 year old telling her that her hands are full.  We often get similar statements when we walk into public places with 6 children.  We also get many other comments, some nicer than others.  I feel very confident that our answers have honored our children, and always given them value and self worth, but this brought to my attention the need to make sure that my answers always do.  That when people suggest that my hands are full, that I tell them YES, they are full of 6 beautiful, happy, smart children.  To tell them that I couldn’t imagine my hands with anything else in them!   I need to make sure not to give an answer for those people to hear in order to brush them off, but give an answer for my kids to hear in order to encourage them!  We want our children to know that God called us to be their parents, that He called us to have 6 kids and that He has chosen each one of them for THIS family. We want our kids to see that we always have the attitude that the Lord has blessed us with the privilege of being parents to 6 of His children.

 

Part 3:  The last thing that really spoke to me in this post was in the last section.  I realized that I am guilty of not always doing things joyfully.  The Lord really convicted me of the attitude in which I choose to do things.  I want to make sure that my children see me helping them with homework, cleaning, cooking, etc with a joyful heart.  That helping them, and doing things for them is not a nuisance, but a privilege.

 

I know this post was incredibly long, and for that I apologize.  I just wanted to share my heart, in case anyone else is feeling the same way I was.  The Lord has given me such a peace since Sunday, and I am so grateful.  I felt like I needed to share it!!

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The Whole Bunch

Good Grief!  I cannot believe it is already August 10th!  Where did the summer go?  We are already 1 week into our school year, and back into routine.  While I hate when school starts back, I do love the routine that it provides us.  I definitely miss my oldest 3 though, while they are gone.

Let me catch you up a bit, since it’s been months since my last post.  I am sure you are dying to know all that has transpired in the Lott home.  BAHAHA!  You have probably lost sleep over it, haven’t you?

Well, let’s start with Emory and I this time.  We are crazy busy.   Emory is still working in sales here in Atlanta, and I am still running the day to day duties of Faithful Adoption Consultants.  Not sure how exactly we find time for each other, but we do.  It’s funny, 6 kiddos later and we are more in love than ever.  We have so much on our plates, we don’t have any time to disagree or fight, it’s fabulous!

Mina just started the 3rd grade.  She is back at her old school after much debating about whether or not to home school this year.  We had really contemplated it, seeing as how she is so involved in gymnastics, and we wanted to take a little off her plate.  However, home schooling her would add a huge, possibly unbearable load to my plate, so we decided on the regular school route.  She’s excited.  She likes her teacher, and hates all the homework that 3rd grade offers.  She is as beautiful as they come, and just as sweet.  This girl is the whole package, we are so proud of her, and who she is becoming.  She has her 1st meet of the competitive season this weekend, and we can’t wait to watch her.  I will definitely post pics this weekend!!

Aidan and Michael have become quite the pair, so I figured I would lump them together.  They are both in 1st grade, and we requested that they be in the same class this year.  Poor teacher!  No, not really.  They get along great, and really do have different friends, and we felt like it would be better for both of them to be together this year.  Aidan is 6 ½ and Michael just turned 6.  I can’t believe how fast these kiddos are growing up.  It amazes me.  They will be starting fall ball soon, and we will once again be spending all of our time at the ball field.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.  It is so fun to see them learn and grow, and find things that they enjoy!!

Carson….where to even begin.  He is my little tornado.  He is the child that gives me a run for my money.  He talks non-stop and asks lots of questions.  He is always learning, and always keeping me on my toes.  I love it.  He has grown up so much since having Collier.  I guess he is settling into his role of being a BIG BROTHER to Emmy and Collier.  He loves it.  He and Emmy are best buds, and definitely keep each other entertained.  He is starting 3-year-old preschool at our church on the 23rd.  I can’t wait and neither can he.   It will be so good for him, he loves school and has missed it over the past 9 months.  All he talks about is meeting his teacher and making friends.   While he is my wildest one, he may be the sweetest.  He is such a little lover, and so kind hearted.  He loves to be a helper, and definitely responds well to lots of praise.  He is such a cutie!

Emmy Faith…..my sweet baby isn’t a baby!  She is 19 months old.  WOW!  Where did the time go?  Feels like yesterday that we were picking her up, I can’t believe she is walking, running, talking, sassing, etc.  Oh, and the sassing…she is a sassy pants for sure.  She is quite the little diva.  Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Health wise she is doing well.  I am almost scared to type that, in fear, of her suddenly coming down with something.  We haven’t had an admission since February.  She will have another brain MRI at the end of month, and we are praying that the white disease on her brain has not progressed.  She has been a little delayed as far as speech and some motor skills, but all in all, she really seems to be a normal 19 month old.  So much so, that it is hard to believe she has ever been sick a day in her life….that’s the sneaky part of sickle cell disease though, you don’t appear sick, until you are.  I can’t believe how big she has gotten.  Like Carson, she loves to help.  Her job is to always throw away peepee diapers when we change Collier.  She takes this job very seriously, and waits not so patiently for us to hand off the diaper to her, and then she takes off toward the trash can.  She then claps for herself as she screams, YAY!!  Love it!!  She is saying at least 25 words or so, and can sign more than that.  She loves sign, which I love, and hope that we can continue to teach and encourage sign with her and the other 5 as well!!

Last, but not least….my sweet Collier.  He is 8 ½ months old, and already into everything.  He is crawling now, and has made it his life goal to keep up with Emmy and Carson.  He isn’t real into baby food at all, but loves everything we are eating.  His favorites are mashed potatoes, mac n’cheese, and chicken fingers.   He loves goldfish and puffs and we can’t seem to give him enough, he is always searching for more.  He is quite the chunk.  He is a little over 18 pounds now.  He sleeps from about 8p-8:30 a every night, and loves to nap at least 2-3 times a day!  He is such a good napper.  Love our fat little guy, and I cannot believe we are fast approaching the 9 month mark!!

That’s everyone….an update on the whole Lott crew!

Pics coming soon!!

 

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My heart…

My kiddos are my heart!   I love these guys so stinkin’ much!  Thank you, Lord, for these 6 precious blessings!!

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