Recovering

We are a little over month out since Rae’s brain surgery to alleviate or reduce her seizures. She is doing well. All of her stitches are gone, and now we are just watching her hair grow back and her scar to fade.  Her hair is not growing fast enough for her, so she just keeps wearing her hats. She does not want anyone to see her hair or her scar. After any type of brain surgery, recovery will be slow.  She and her brain get tired easily. We are doing school, but it is slow. We are going at her pace and not pushing her too much.  She is good at telling us when it has been too much.  We can usually tell the next day.  There are some memory deficits, but we are working on recovering those.  The doctors told us this is normal. I am having to slow my walking down with her. I am used to walking quickly to get where we are going, but she will remind me that if she goes to fast she gets dizzy.  She is also taking stairs carefully still.

One thing she was happy to be doing again is playing her clarinet and going back to band.  It does make her a little dizzy, but she is wanting to start practicing again.  She is also singing up a storm.

As far as results from the surgery, we will not fully know anything for 6 months or more.  They will not start reducing any meds for a while.  Things we do know – she is happier (other than normal pre-teen angst), giggles because she thinks Hannah is funny, and eating like crazy.  She has not had any seizures since the surgery – PTL! She is able to read longer without stops or “blips” from her brain.  Her Lego ability has not been deterred either.

We are so thankful and praise God for how well her recovery is going. We just keep waiting to see how well she continues to improve and will progress.

Feliz Navidad 2016

Our family would like to wish you the very merriest of Christmas. God has blessed us more than we deserved. It has been an interesting year for the Dear family.  We have traveled across the South a couple of times to see family and to have a little vacation time.  We entered our 12th year of homeschooling this school year. The older girls split their time between homeschool classes, classes at the local high school, and college classes for Hannah.  I am thankful that Hannah can drive herself to her classes.

Here are a few highlights from our family this year:

Noel is in his 11th year as senior pastor of FBC Heath. God is blessing our church and looking forward to the new year. He is also half way through having is doctorate degree from Southern Seminary.  I am very proud of how far he has come in his education, and we can’t wait to see him walk across that stage one day.

Hannah is a senior in high school this year.  She was co-captain of Granville High School girls tennis team and also earned her varsity letter playing first doubles. She is still excelling academically having been inducted to Cum Laude Society at GHS as well.  She is busy with her all of her classes and as well as working on all her college applications. She is excited to be accepted into one of her college choices – University of South Carolina. Hannah is still active in her musical pursuits of piano, flute(where she made district honors band), piccolo, marimba ensemble, jazz band, homeschool band, and steel drums.  Another activity Hannah is pursuing is journalism. She is the new editor of the school paper, and has had several articles published on their website as well as in print form.  One big this she has coming up is the Ohio Distinguished Young Woman scholarship competition in February.  She is representing Licking County and is very excited for this opportunity. It is just hard to believe we will be planning her graduation party soon.

Emily is a sophomore.  She just recently got her driving permit and will beginning to drive – watch out! She is keeping us busy with all of her bands.  She still loves playing her trumpet and is becoming quite accomplished with it.  She is currently playing in two bands – Granville High School Symphonic band (3rd chair) and homeschool band(1st chair). As if these two were not enough, she is in the jazz band for both Granville and the homeschool jazz band. Like Hannah she is in the steel drum band as well too.  As a result of her love for music she has been accepted into two honor bands this year – Ohio University and Cedarville University.  Currently she is working diligently on her trumpet solo she is taking to solo & ensemble this January.   In addition to all the music, she is also on the GHS girls tennis team this year as well.  She got a lot of playing time this year in singles and doubles and earned her varsity letter as well.  She would also like it to be noted that she did challenge up to and make 2nd chair in band, but because of a minor technicality she is still at 3rd. She is happy at 3rd though. One other exciting thing Emily was part of this year was spending 6 weeks of her summer with the IMB’s Endeavor program serving in Southern Mexico.  She really loved her time there serving God and ministering to the local people. She is hoping to go back this next year.

Rae is still making great strides in her reading and math.  She still works with a reading specialist and math tutor. She may complain about having to go, but she looks forward to Fridays with her friends there. She has really developed a love for science and looks forward to her little science co-op.  She is also enjoying her art co-op with Ms. Lynd and Ms. Krumm.  She is quite the artist and loves to draw manga characters.  This school year she was able to start beginner band.  Rae is learning the clarinet and is doing really well.  She has had a challenging year medically with the increase of her seizures.  This month she had epilepsy surgery to help reduce or eliminate her seizures. Everything went well, and we are happy to be home recovering.  We are thankful for how well everything went and praise God for it.  It will be at least 6 months before we will begin knowing how effective the surgery was.  That had to be the scariest day with any of our children. She went back around 7:30 am and we saw her at 6:00pm.

I have had quite a busy year between homeschooling, photography, and doing the farmer’s market.  HER Baking Co or also know as “cinnamon roll lady” had another great season at our local farmer’s market with many repeat and new customers.  I was blessed to have several weeks where I sold out.  I am teaching art again to our teens in our homeschool group. It has been a great year with a smaller group where we have been able to focus on making art as well as art and music appreciation.  Like my girls, I am still involved in our homeschool band playing the clarinet as well as our adult steel drum band, Pandamonium.  We are all looking forward to going to Virginia Beach in May to an international competition. I am still accompanying different people and choirs as well as still playing on the praise band at church.

This year we have learned to trust God more, and that He is bigger than anything we can ever imagine.  We praise Him for all things great and small.  He is truly a Good, Good Father.  We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and that you experience the joy of this season and seek Christ more in the coming new year.  

Hello

Should I sing the Adele song? I know it has been so long since I have posted, but I just haven’t found the time or been motivated to. We are doing well and ready to take on our summer. I thought last summer was strange with our sabbatical, but this summer may top it. Our family will not be all together for 7 weeks this summer.

This summer Emily will be spending 40 days in Oaxaca, Mexico with the IMB Endeavor program. She will train in NYC for 5 days before flying to Mexico to help the Zapotec people in the mountains of Southern Mexico. She will be sharing the love of Christ with the people as well as encouraging the current believers. God has provided much of the funding for her trip, and we can’t wait to see what God will do through her and the team. Thank you to all who has support her. Please pray for her and her team as the prepare. Pray that her team will bond together and be effective.

Hannah will have a busy summer as well. This summer she will be working on getting her college applications ready to submit this fall. That is her main focus this summer, and I can’t believe it is time for that already.  She is also doing some traveling. She is one of the girls representing Licking Co. American Legion at Buckeye Girls State. She is looking forward to meeting many other girls from all over the state and to participate in a mock government for a week at Mt. Union. She is also getting to go back to Super Summer at Cedarville. It is her 3rd year to go, and it has been one of her highlights of each summer. I’m excited about it as well, because I am going for the first time as well as a family leader. We are also going together on our church’s youth group mission trip as well to Cleveland. I am looking forward to spending these two weeks with Hannah. Hannah is also one of the captains of the tennis team, so she will be busy running some practices before the season starts in August.

Rae’s summer is a little less busy. She is hoping to get to play some tennis and do some swimming. She is only a little excited about getting to go to summer camp. She was accepted to the Flying Horse Farm Camp for Hematology/Oncology Week. She has not been away for a camp like this, but it should be very good for her and very fun. It is not far from where we live, so if there was a problem we would not be far away.

I will try to keep y’all updated on Emily’s trip as well as our other adventures.  Here’s to a great summer!

Hello there…

I know I have been a little absent around here, but I just have not been able to think of what to write about.  We have not done anything too exciting. Here is a quick list of what has been going on with us.

1. high school band concert  – It was Emily’s first concert with Granville High School. They did an awesome job, and we are looking forward to the next one.

2. last week of this session for the little one’s swimming lessons.

3. hematology appointment for the little one – standard appointment with nothing new to report. numbers are good.

4. pain clinic for Hannah – not too encouraging but I did make her happy with a strawberry & creme frappuccino.

5. Friday night fun with the little one – they big girls were at teen night and we took the little one out for dinner and games.  we tried a new food for us – guacamole. i know, we really liked it.

6. Emily and I were back at the farmer’s market. She had been off because of various commitments and I took off for the little one’s birthday.  We had a good week. Emily learned that granola sells quick at the market.

7. Hannah was inducted into the National Honor’s Society. She was not sure if she would make, but she was very excited that she did.

2015-10-06 10.56.38

I picked up these shoes for a steal this week. They remind me of shoes my dad use to where when I was a kid. It was a sweet memory.

2015-10-05 20.20.54

Emily in her dress she was so excited to wear at her band concert.

 

 

TeamIMPACT

The last time we were at Children’s for a treatment, the social worker mentioned to me about Team Impact. She wanted to know if she could nominate Rae for the program.  Team Impact matches children with terminal or chronic conditions with college teams in a sport they love or wish they could play.  I didn’t know if we would get accepted or even be matched.

A fews weeks ago the organization called me to get more info on Rae and what she likes and enjoys doing.  I was not sure if they would find a college that would want to partner with them.  A little over a week ago they called me and told me that the Denison women’s tennis team would love to have Rae as a “member” of their team and to partner with Team Impact.  We were excited since we already knew a member of the team.

I am not sure if all the publicity stuff is done, but we did go watch the team’s first home match last week and cheer the BigRed on to a victory.  Rae got to meet the coach and several of the team members.  The girls gave Rae a couple of t-shirts as well.  They are looking forward to getting to know Rae thru different things. She is also looking forward to being on the court with them and hitting a few balls.

Thank you Team Impact for what you do to help kids get their minds off of their illness.

2015-10-05 15.30.08

 

Happy Birthday Little One

It is hard to believe that the little one is now in double digits. It was just yesterday that we were waiting to travel to China to get her.  She has come so far in the last 4 years of new experiences. Birthdays have been one of them.  We do not believe she has even known what a birthday was before she was in our family.  Her first one with us was a little hard to explain, but here we are almost 4 years later, and she has fully embraced what it is.  She knows when all of our birthdays are, and she especially looks forward to planning hers out.

This year was a big one – turning 10.  She planned out what all she wanted to do for her birthday. She wanted waffles with fruit, her and her sisters to put on a My Little Pony show, cake pops, dumplings and spicy noodles. Her birthday was originally on a crazy busy day, but thanks to the Lord and some bad weather – we were able to make it all work out.  We had a day of celebrating her. It was fun watching her truly embrace her birthday and enjoy unwrapping her presents.

2015-10-03 18.47.14-1

enjoying her pink cake pops

2015-10-02 08.58.31

the weekend kicked off picking Asian pears @ Lynd Fruit Farm

2015-10-04 20.31.15

getting some new friends from Build-a-Bear

 

First Day of Homeschool 2015-16

Wednesday was the first day of Dear’s Homeschool for Girls.  We were going to start the day before, but an expected medical issue came up and we had to delay the start.  One of the perks of homeschooling is that you don’t have to worry about what you are going to wear or rushing out the door or buying all the school supplies.  It is almost like any normal day – get up breakfast but instead of goofing around – we started school.  It was a little slow going, but we started back into the groove.  I had been working on getting rid of clutter and cleaning up the schoolroom for us to start this week.

I had not finished everyone’s lesson plans, but we were going to start – ready or not.  Not every subject was starting, but we had a nice start. I am excited about this new year.  I will have 2 in high school and 1 in elementary.  Hannah is somewhat self-motivated and get her stuff done and we just have to double check and keep her motivated.  With Emily, we have to keep her focused on task which we have had to do since she was little. Rae just wonders why she has to do all of this and why she is not doing the same thing her sisters did when they were her age.  She is a different kind of learner, and so many things have changed since they were in 4th grade.

I asked them all the same question about the new year. What subject are they looking forward to? Favorite school activity? Least favorite?

Hannah – She is looking forward to her AP English 12 class. She loves reading and writing and this was easy for her.  Favorite activity that she currently is enjoying is tennis. She is not looking to some of her college classes where she has to drive to multiple places.

Emily – Now being in high school (YIKES!!) she is looking forward to her Spanish and Writing class. As far as activities it is drama because she moves up to the high school homeschool drama group. Her least favorite, which has been the same every year, math (Algebra 1)

Rae – She is excited about learning Astronomy and starting tennis back up. She is not looking forward to history. While taking this pic she also informed me she doesn’t like school at all.

firstdayofschool082615

Keeping it real for what it is like to take pictures with these 3. Life in our school.

 

My prayer for our new year is that we do everything for His Glory. We strive to always do our best even when it is hard. I also pray we will not get caught up in the busyness of the world around us, and we focus on what is important and do what God has called us to do.

Hears to a new year – may it be the best one yet!!

 

10 Years

When you saw the title, you think – celebrating marriage or birthday? No. Ten years ago our family moved to Ohio.  It is kind of strange how I remember when we moved here, but it was the same time Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. We moved out of AL before the hurricane hit the coast.

the girls were so little when we moved here

10 years ago – the girls were so little when we moved here

Moving out of the South was a big change for us.  We had been married for 10 years and had 2 girls.  We had spent all of our lives in the South, but God chose to move us out of comfort zone.  While many may be scared of moving to a totally different area, we were not.  It was new adventure for us. The girls actually thought we were moving to Idaho or Iowa.  They had never really heard of Ohio till we came here.

We started talking with our church in the spring of that year, but we did not tell our girls because it would be hard for them to understand.  We had to be a little creative in how we told them, especially because they were getting to ride on an airplane for the first time to come to Ohio to visit with the church. They had never been part of a church move before.  In our last church move I was pregnant with Hannah.  They only knew Alabama and their friends there.

In the last 10 years we have been thru a many things – good and not so good.  Some of my favorites –

  • CFE – Finding this wonderful homeschool group has been the best thing. All of the parents and kids in the group mean a great deal to us and our girls. So many memories and experiences we have had and done.
  • Our church – They are a wonderful group of people who love us, pray for us, and miss us when we are away. It has been truly amazing to do life with the people of our church. We love you!
  • Blessings – I could write multiple posts on the blessings God has given our family, but God has really been so good to us more than we deserve.
  • Adoption – God chose to truly burden our hearts about after we moved here. It was truly one of the best blessings we have had outside giving birth to our two girls.
  • Travel – Living in almost the middle of the country, we can get to many fun locations easily.  We have been able to see some new and exciting areas we would not have been able to do if we didn’t follow God’s leadership to move here. If we didn’t drive to some of these locations, flying was often cheap and easy.

The past 10 years have been really great. We have often said that we could spend the rest of our lives here if God so chooses.  The downside of living here is that our girls have not been able to grow up around their grandparents and extended family.  That is one thing many ministers’ families have to deal with.  It comes with choosing to follow God’s leading and go where He wants you to go.

Our family has grown in so many ways over the past 10 years. We are looking forward to the next 10 or more years.

The Suburban Gardner

We ventured into 4H again this year and one of the things we were doing as a group was to try our hand at gardening. Many in the group already were, but we were newbies. I have a brown thumb, and hubby turns his nose up to any plants that come to our home. For our group project we were to prepare a meal from locally grown foods.  The little one has been begging to grow tomatoes, so I obliged her this year. This past spring we looked at what pots we had, because we did not have a place to put anything in the ground.  While on the internet we saw these pod seed packs where all you had to do was put them in the pot – easy peasy.

We picked a day and headed to the store to get our pods and seeds. We purchased 2 kinds of tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, basil, peppers, onions, and spinach.  We actually started our jalapenos and spinach from seeds in a small shelf greenhouse.  It was fun to watch it come in.

After Mother’s Day here in Ohio is when we can put our seeds and seedlings in the ground.  It was very fun getting everything planted. Now the hard part started – the waiting.  Our first vegetable that came is was the spinach. We were able to harvest enough for a couple of meals.  It was very exciting to eat something we started from seeds.

As of this week we have more and more getting ready.  We are very excited to see the tomatoes and jalapenos almost ready for salsa.  Emily has really enjoyed taking care of our little suburban garden.  She is already planning for next year.  We are definitely looking forward to eating them all.

2015-03-21 13.45.18

our supplies

2015-04-09 09.17.59-1

our window greenhouse seedlings

2015-06-06 15.17.05-1

it’s growing

2015-08-05 10.05.12

Rae’s cherry tomatoes

2015-08-05 10.04.35

Emily’s tomatoes

2015-08-05 10.04.13

jalapenos