Team Tate On The Road Again

One thing all of our training we took before adopting Tate and Eliza did not tell me is how good adoptive Mamas of medically fragile children become at holding their breath.

Today Blake, Tate and I headed to Madison for Tate’s six month check with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

This, for sure, is the one appointment I hold my breath the longest!

We had an early start, but not as early as we do sometimes.

My heart was in two places today, as Eliza was still not back on her feet yesterday, and when I checked on her in the early hours of the morning she still had a low grade fever.

Thankful I know my big kiddos can run this place better than I can and love on their younger siblings with gentle sacrificial hearts as well.

Blake and I took one of our new tablets to Florida with us and spent an evening there researching educational apps to buy and load onto them.

These tablets were a blessing and we will use them for medical days always, but I am still not sure how comfortable I am making them a normal part of the kiddos precious time they have.

There is something about them running around the farm, using their imagination, and not staring at a screen!

I will say, though, there was something about seeing Tate use the phonics app in the van and hearing him sound out phonetical sounds.

I still think our precious boy needs speech therapy!

I may need to tackle securing yet another evaluation sometime soon!

After traveling home from Florida for a whole day on Sunday, our trip to Madison early this morning seemed short and fast!

Since it is only 20 some degrees outside with gusting winds, Blake dropped Tate and I at the door of the doctor’s office.

Tate was weighed and measured and I am THRILLED to say this tiny tornado has gained another pound!!

Man, how I fight for each ounce!

The resident came in first and talked to us and then we waited for the surgeon.

Tate loves looking at the pictures of his bones.

I love pouring affirmations over him as he does, how he is fearfully and wonderfully made JUST the way God wanted him to be!

The surgeon arrived, and I started holding my breath.

He measured, and remeasured, and remeasured those films.

He was talking to his resident the whole time, which was filling Blake and I with knowledge too.

Then he finally spun around and gave us the great news that Tate’s curvature has NOT changed.


The room filled with all the air in my body!

If Tate’s curvature remains STABLE, then we WAIT and WATCH.

The surgeon then began to tell us what he eventually thinks would be a good starting place for Tate when he does need intervention.

He would remove two hemivertebrae that are at the base of Tate’s curve.

He described those hemivertebrae as like having a rock the size of an adult fist sitting underneath your computer keyboard, which puts your computer keyboard at quite a tilt.

Removing them, and placing screws and one rod there instead, will allow Tate to be straighter.

My question was about the invasiveness of this surgery.

His response was that just this week he was doing surgery with CT imaging as his guide.


That means little openings with long tools to reach inside and CT imaging to guide those tools as they work.

He also said that he was building a team of surgeons RIGHT NOW that would be able to do AMAZING things for someone like Tate who is such a complicated case.

Yes, Lord, Yes.

Blake and I have to LOVE a surgeon who is not ok with status quo.

Who wants to make things BETTER.

SO, our prayer will continue to be that the Lord will see fit to keep Tate stable, so no intervention is needed.

As Tate grows, this is less likely, from our surgeon’s perspective, so our prayers will also be for this team of amazing surgeons to grow in wisdom, knowledge and experience.

In the mean time, Tate does not need to be checked again by this doctor for ONE YEAR!!

I could not have imagined a better report from today.

We headed to Chipotle for lunch, because that is what Tate wanted.

We ate lunch, and enjoyed listening to our Chinese cherub tell us ALL sorts of things.

It always seems that when we have big medical days, Tate talks a lot about his foster sister and brothers from China.

He talked about them a lot yesterday and today.

You can only imagine my heart.

Then it was time for the ride back home.

Big medical days are exhausting, on all accounts!

You all, thank you.

Thank you for caring about our family enough to read this.

Thank you for caring about Tate enough to pray for him!

I received so many messages of encouragement of those that were praying.

You are a HUGE part of Team Tate!


We couldn’t do this without you.

Bless you.

Each and every one of you.

Our Crazy Life

Our week so far this week has been all about another serious illness.

The winter of 2016-2017 will be remembered for sure!

Usually one, two or three of us will only slightly get a bug that comes by and the rest will not.

Not this year!

At least we are not throwing up this time.

The fevers are high, and the coughs are fierce though.

Especially for this sweet baby.

I took that photo at the doctor yesterday – day five of the fever for Eliza.

And I posted this on Instagram after we were finally back home.

That summed up yesterday pretty well.

Today we have more standing than are not, and Eliza seems some better too!

Praise the Lord!

Now lets talk about this dimply boy.

I cannot believe how it has snuck up on us, but tomorrow Tate has an appointment with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Madison for his six month check.

We have been praying about this appointment!

The words this surgeon says could change our world in such huge ways.

I cannot imagine having decisions like this doctor must make!

So thankful that Jesus knows!

We pray for the Lord to guide Tate’s doctors!

To give Tate’s doctors wisdom!

If you feel led to pray with us, we would be ever so grateful!

It is our hope and greatest prayer that tomorrow we will hear that word we love – STABLE.

*Tate is complaining now and again of pain in his back and legs. Can you pray with us about this as well?

Our Get Away

Every year for our anniversary Blake and I go on a little trip together!

In years past, we have driven about an hour to two hours away and spent several nights in a larger city.

I LOVED these weekends away and have always looked forward to them each year!

This year Blake wanted to go somewhere farther away, and somewhere warm.

We planned our trip, booked our tickets, hotel and rental car only seven days before we left.

Last Wednesday morning we drove to Minneapolis and hopped on a plane to Ft. Myers, Florida.

Before I add one photo or say anything else, let me just say Blake has set a pretty high bar for all our anniversary get aways from here on out!!

Right after I finished my time with Jesus Wednesday morning, I looked at the weather.

Well, well!!

The weather here in Wisconsin –

and the weather where we were headed!

They were having a cold spell, believe it or not!

Around 8:30 a.m. we hugged and hugged and hugged these precious ones, promised to Skype with them later, and headed out the door.

We took Addie’s car to the cities.

My poor hubby had a VERY quiet date on the three hour ride there – because I slept the ENTIRE way.


It has been beyond CRAZY around here – in my defense.

The plane was full.

We did not get to sit together.

But that’s ok, because I slept most of the plane ride too!

I did manage to get this photo as we headed into Ft. Myers.

Our first photo on the ground!

Right outside the baggage claim.

Here is one very well rested gal and her handsome man.

I was clear excited to get our car and figure out where we were staying!

Gotta love technology.

Our suite was in Naples and it was perfect.

Clean! Bright! Big! With windows that opened.

Our time together was FABULOUS.

We stayed up late.

We slept in.

We moseyed.

On the beach.

For hours.

Blake swam in the ocean.

I watched.

We gawked at all of the beautiful homes near the beach.

A modest smaller home was for sale.

For three million dollars.

You did not read that wrong.

We remembered all of the faces we saw in Eliza’s orphanage that we visited in China.

And thought about what three million dollars could do for those children.

We watched the sunset.

On the beach.


The first night from the sand.

The second night from the pier.

We talked non-stop.

We dreamed.

Not about when we will be 90 years old and sitting in rocking chairs.

But about this year.

This month.

We reflected on ALL the amazing things God has been doing for us.

We ate delicious food.

We drank coffee whenever we wanted.

Hot or cold.

And green juices.

And smoothies!

Oh my, the smoothies!

We spent time in prayer.

We talked about hard things and cried.

We laid in lounge chairs by the pool.

And swam.

And we noticed over and over and over again that we actually could feel our own hearts beating.

Have you been still enough to notice that recently?

I would highly recommend it.

We shopped.

At beautiful outdoor malls.

That had ponds.

With fish and turtles in them.

We wrote down our goals.

For our marriage, our children, and our family.

We held hands non-stop.

We searched out, found, and shopped at some amazing Organic Markets.

Which is where we got most of our delicious food.

We planned school for next year.

We talked on Skype with all the kiddos.

Twice a day.

We drove around in the convertible we rented.

Always with the top down.

We made promises.

To Jesus.

To each other.

One of them was to not let another whole year go by before we are still enough to feel our own hearts beating.

And then on Sunday at lunch time we boarded a plane that was headed home.

We were both beside ourselves excited to get home to our kiddos!

We are SO refreshed, recharged, encouraged, and connected.

And more in love than we were when we left, which seems impossible!

Florida was so, so good to us!

I am blessed beyond measure to have a husband who also sees the huge importance of investing in our marriage!

This family starts with Jesus.

And then goes to Blake and I.

And then the children!

We must keep it in the right order!!

I cannot wait to see what our 29th anniversary, Lord willing, will bring!

The memories from our 28th anniversary trip are already tucked deep into our hearts!

Thank you, honey, for the great anniversary get away!

Happy Birthday, Eliza Claire!!

Please sit down!

I have something unbelievable to say!

Yesterday our sweet baby Eliza Claire turned FIVE years old!

I do not know how that happened.

She was JUST two.

To keep with tradition, we let Eliza choose a meal and a dessert!

What five year old chooses sauteed kale, bacon wrapped asparagus, baked chicken, cubed sweet potatoes, and cranberry applesauce?

We all were very glad she did! It was yummy!!

We have not seen our four favorite people in MUCH TOO LONG!

SO thankful that we are ALL well now!

Clyde’s baby sister was here too! I have a beautiful photo of her that I will add to this post someday when things are finalized!

After that yummy meal, Eliza opened her gifts.

We had a horse themed birthday!

For our horse crazy girl!

After Eliza opened all her gifts, she gave me a huge hug.

And then went around the room and gave everyone else a huge hug too.

Don’t miss what I just wrote there!


And we do not take hugs for granted ONE BIT!

We put Eliza’s new horse shirt and horse necklace on right away!

Some boys got busy and helped Eliza build her horse lego set!

Then we had chocolate waffles, strawberries, ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream for dessert!

Eliza always picks chocolate and strawberries for dessert!

Her Mama LOVES that!

We sang to our sweet baby –

and without any directions, Eliza blew all five candles out with one blow!

I think this was our best birthday bash yet!!

Eliza enjoyed it SO much!

Eliza seems SO grown up!

We are holding on tight!

Time does not stand still!

Stay little, sweet baby.

We LOVE YOU SO MUCH, Eliza Claire!!

Happy Birthday to you!!!