Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Weekend

It did not take us long to learn, the newest members of our family do much better when we stick around the home front. They are getting over their fear of animals and embracing the western life style.

Zoe and her Grandma spent the weekend turning a corner of one of our sheds into an art studio. Tyler had a full weekend dirt biking and hanging out with friends, but we made him spend some time with the family today. He had no complaints and was sure to make his time with us "quality."

Clay is loving teaching Rance how to rope from on top of the horse after putting in the last five years teaching him from the ground. Trigg and Ivor have a blast watching and clap and cheer at all the right times.

Tyler built us a fire in the pit tonight and we ended our weekend roasting marshmallows.

We are so blessed to live in this area, this state and especially this country. We are grateful to all the men and women who have fought and are fighting to make it the country it is. We are not a godless nation. We were built on the foundation of the teachings of Jesus, which makes this a wonderful place to be.

China was wonderful in many ways. At the end of our adoption trip I was visiting with another mom and she made a good point. The thing that is missing in China is Jesus. Even though many Americans are not self proclaimed Christians, Christianity is our foundation. It is in our culture to be kind, respectful and considerate. There were many wonderful people in China, but if you step in a buffet line, you are going to get pushed. If you walk down the street, you are going to get honked at, several times. If you visit the Pearl River you may see some one relieving them self publicly into it, while others swim nearby, and I don't just mean potty. People will stare at you, openly, for long periods of time (especially if you are white, carrying a Chinese baby, or two). They are not mean, just different.

I am proud to be an American. I feel so blessed to have the resources and ability to add to my family through adoption. I love it that we can go half way around the world, scoop up two little children, and bring them to a place that will allow to grow and thrive. Trigg and Ivor have enriched our lives in so many ways, already.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rance Turns Five!!!

To know Rance is to love him. Like any kiddo he has his moments, but overall, he is a very lovable guy. The Lord blessed us with him five years ago, today.

He came into the world a healthy 7 lb 4 oz, 18.5 inch sweet baby boy. He grew like a weed and by the time he was 4 months, he weighed 14 lb! We had a chunky little monkey on our hands.

Then at 7 months old, he got some immunizations, and things went down hill from there. The night of the shots his leg looked terrible. It was swollen and blotchy. He did not feel well. The saddest part of this story is, it was a year before he felt good again.

After multiple visits to the doctor and naturopath, it was concluded; this child cannot handle immunizations. Pneumoccal prevnar is the shot we believe had the effect, but we will not be taking our chances.

We hit bottom one summer day when he was a year old and now weighing only 15 lbs. We had spent the morning in the doctor office watching them attempt to draw blood for the 4th time, from our dehydrated, weak, crying child. I left that day with an exhausted, scared baby, and I was in worse shape then him. We went strait home. As I was walking in the door, the phone was already ringing. It was the doctor, letting us know we needed to turn around and bring him back in. His white blood cell count was 24,000. Not good. Diseases like cancer swarmed my mind.

He went through two sets of injected antibiotics, and was still not much better. We were new Christians. The thought crossed my mind (which now I believe was the Holy Spirit) to have him put on a prayer list, and annointed with oil. I had recently heard a sermon about this.

James 5:14 says this:

Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.'

It was after this, we began to see healing in our son.

This my friends, was our first, real testimony as Christians. I can look back now and see the Lord working in my life long before, and I know He continues to carry us, each one of us.

To this day, you can still see the blotchy patches where the shots were given.

We feel so blessed our sweet boy is healthy and full of energy! I am grateful for the healing Jesus does in us, and for each day he allows me to be his mama.

Happy Birthday my brown eyed boy. I love you to the moon and back!



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Country Kids

Trigg and Ivor seem to like it out here. Each day they get more used to the animals and they respond to coming home, like it is home. They still have some bug they brought with them, but after seeing the doctor today, we feel better about that. With the stress they have been through and now all the new allergens they are being exposed to, it's not surprising it still lingers.

Rance is doing better every day with his new role. He frequently comments on how smart the twins are and how proud of them he is. He will help to distribute food to their trays and when the give us the sign for "more," he will remark, "Mom, they are good boys, really good boys!" He is learning to be a bit more gentle and know his limits when picking them up. They love him and know when he is around, he is out to have a good time.

Zoe is so incredibly helpful. I honestly do not know what I would do without her. She is eager to take care of them and she absolutely adores them both. She is growing up faster than I ever imagined and I beam at the little lady she is becoming.

Tyler, well he is just BUSY. He is very much into the outdoors, so summer time tends to steal him away from us. He checks in frequently and the kids adore him. We have a baby monitor down stairs. One evening he was down there with the babies. Thanks to the monitor, I over heard him say in the cutest little baby voice, "Why do you boys like me so much? Well, I like you too!" I happen to know they were following him everywhere he went, waiting for him to turn and chase them. Once he does, the giggles fill the whole house.

I sometimes cannot wrap my mind around how blessed I am to have such great kids. I say this not out of arrogance, but because it is true. I am do grateful to God for each one of these blessings. They enrich my life so much.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Swinging Into Our New Normal

Life is so busy! We are trying to find our new normal around here. Typing with two chunky monkeys on my lap is proving difficult, but I am dying to get some photos uploaded since we have been home!

We have had Trigg and Ivor for over three weeks! It feels like we have known them forever. They are adjusting really well. Last night, they BOTH slept through the night. It is tricky knowing when to scoop them up and cuddlet them so they know they are safe, and when to let them fuss a bit, rubbing their back so they will get more rest. We see so many signs of their comfort level rising. It has been so fun witnessing many firsts.

~first time they felt grass on their fat little feet
~first time to drink a cold liquid
~first time to see animals
~first picnic
~first time on a horse
~first walk on a river trail
~first time tucked unto bed by their own mommy

and many more...

Now, I won't tell you it has been all easy-peasy. There have been some tough times. The nights were really hard in the first week. Our insurance has been the pits to deal with. There's a heck of a lot more laundry and this mommy wishes she had a couple more set of hands. Thank the Lord for my mom, who has been a faithful helper and the many amazing people who have showed up with food.

It has been an adjustment adding two more, especially for Rance. We are learning how to nurture these two small people while continuing to make sure all of our other children know how important they are. For now, there is absolutely no time to just "do nothing." If the babies are sleeping, I try my hardest to focus on Rance and Zoe. When they are all in bed, I make sure to check in with Tyler, trying to keep up with our usual talks. Tyler has one day left as a junior. I am not ready for him to be off on his own, so I cherish each moment I have with him while he is still under my roof.

Zoe had a play shortly after we returned home. As it turned out, the play time had changed while we were in China, and we didn't know. We showed up just as it was getting over. Thankfully, we got her there early (I assumed for a last rehersal) and she did a great job. Our friend taped it, and we hope to get that soon, but we still had some heavy dissapointment to deal with.

Rance learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels in under an hour. We loaded up and headed to town to put his new skills to use. Trigg and Ivor loved cruising along behing him in the stroller.

Softball is started for Tyler and we will attended the first game last night. The twins do great out and about, as long as no one tries to hold them, but we have kept our outings to a minimum. Carseats are a new thing too and they are getting better about those as well. They love, love, love, to be outside, so they are fitting in quite nicely around here!

More pics soon...for some reason, they are not uploading consistantly!



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Counting the hours...

We are down to hours now. It's almost 9:00 p.m. And we leave the hotel at 9:30 a.m. in the morning to go meet our new family members at a government office. I still can't believe it is here.

The flight was rough. Zoe's ear has been bothering her since we got here and this flight really got her. Our China Air pilot, ascended and descended far more quickly than we are used to. She is feeling much better now though.

We arrived around lunchtime and ate at a noodle bar, while our new guide, Yisha met with us to go over what we needed for tomorrow and answer any questions we may have. Another awesome couple joined our group today. They are from Colorado Springs, and they actually lived in China. Chase, the new daddy, speaks the language. Pretty handy guy to have around! He bought the kids pineapple on a stick today from a street vender. So cool!

The people here are much taller than what we have been seeing. We are told the Chinese from this province tend to be bigger people. Interesting...

Tonight we visited Walmart. Let's just say, it was nothing like a Walmart back home. It had many levels. Everything here goes up, not out. They had dried, hung assorted animals for your purchase. They had a lady handing out samples on every corner. I went to the pharmacy and got Zoe antibiotic ear drops, just on case. They cost me about 50 cents. However, the baby products all tend to run close to what we would pay in the states.

Next post should be pretty exciting!



We are home!

We got home Saturday. We were greeted by family and friends with signs and all. It was a beautiful moment. The boys survived 26 hours of travel with only about 5 hours sleep each. The other kids did so good, it was as if on the way back they just knew what to expect and buckled down and took it like champs. We are currently on night 5 at home and in survival mode. They have a tough time sleeping at night. They wake each other up, which is hard. We play musical beds and fill bottles frequently. We are very anxious to get to a point where I am at least getting 6 hours asleep a night. Clay had to go right back to work and Tyler had to jump back into school. On day 3 of being home poor Tyler had to take his A.C.T. He is such a trooper. Rance is having a little bit of a hard time losing so much of my focus. Thanks to grandparents he is getting some one on one. The twins are very scared of our dogs and trying to figure out their new surroundings, and taking 99 percent of my time. I find myself missing the other kids. Zoe is amazing. She kicks in and helps so much, studies her play lines on her own, which she has the lead part and performs in just two days for. I am hopeful once the jet lag passes, we get rested and the baby boys get more comfortable, we can find our new normal. Even on little sleep these little guys are so sweet and happy. They love to be outside and I have included some pictures of them in their new life.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hot, Humid, Kinda Bummer Day at the Safari

We have heard how great the Safari is so we thought we would give it a shot. It was neat, the way the animals are just roaming about. We saw kangaroos, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers and bears, zebras, monkeys and even some pandas, to name a few. We discovered Ivor is really scared of all furry things. The kids paid 30 yuan to feed a tiger cub and when they walked in to do this, Ivor started crying out of concern for them. It was really sweet. We watched an awesome elephant show, what did not understand a word the announcer said, haha.

Now for the bummer part...

It was hotter than Haiti with 95 percent humidity. There were 20 million people there. If we paused or sat down we were surrounded by staring people taking photos and last but certainly not least Nana (my mom) had her wallet stollen right out of her purse. We were packed in a wide hallway, unorganized line trying to get to the pandas. Suddenly people really started pushing and shoving. We now believe that was a distraction while they unzipped her bag and swiped her wallet. She had about $100 US as well as all her credit cards and I.D. Not nice.

We did manage to make it back to the hotel safe and sound, praising God for that. We had a somewhat wild taxi driver. I think they all are. We ordered pizza in, got the boys bathed and they are sound asleep! It's 7:30 p.m. here. We are wearing them out. We are going to take it easy on everyone tomorrow. I will work on getting some pics up soon.

Pray for my mom if you think about it. It's nerve racking to think of your wallet floating around in dishonest hands. Not to mention the feeling of being violated when you have it stolen right off your body.