Saturday, August 8, 2020

Family Beach Pictures & Shad's Party


Pictures are so important to me, especially as time goes on and kids grow up....

For many years I was not a very nostalgic person.  But as I grow older I began to  miss everything about the past.  In the past few months I've found myself really missing my "Boot Mama" my great aunt that raised me.  For most of my life I only looked forward to the future and didn't pay too much attention to the past.  The way I looked at it, there was nothing I could do about the past and I was too busy to think deeply about the it.  Now with one son grown and basically on his own & the second one leaving for college in a week, the past is a happier place for me!  Not that I'm not thrilled to see them pursue their dreams and have fun but I miss the simple days.  We had a great time for many years and we still have a great time but it's different  And it begins when they leave for college.... nothing is ever the same.  So knowing that in the back of my mind I get ready to watch another one leave.  Every day I think "this is the last time" for this or that.  Shad is a VERY strong willed kid believe me we have had our moments!  One of my close friends loves to tell me that I met my match and had to go to China to get a kid as stubborn as me LOL  She is right!  Despite that, I will miss him very much!  

Last weekend we had a combo Grad/Going Away to college/Birthday Party for Shad.

We rented out our local theater & surprised him :)  We watched Jurassic Park in comfort.  the theater is renting out it's smaller rooms.  It was great and we want to do it again.  

But this is what I see.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Beach Day


The hotel was so sweet and offered us a motorized beach didn't work too good for us.  Sam ended up having to walk and I ran along side of it guiding it... and it got stuck....
it's hard taking our little folks to the beach!

But once we are there.....

THIS!!!!  I love it so much!  Shad took all of these pictures

I love her sandy Florida girl feet!  Sarah is a beach girl!

And she know how to chill

My babies!

Today is the 17th anniversary of the day I found out I was  pregnant with Sam.  Remembering that day, way back then at our old house with just one child in it....  Little did I know what was about to happen to me and my family!  I credit Sam with every thing that has happened since that day.  Having him turned my world upside down in the best of ways!  Because of him our eyes were opened and we saw the need for families for special needs kids, especially internationally.    About a week after he was born I had an epiphany in the hospital corridor & determined I was not going to become bitter about Sam's disability-and back then I JUST thought he was blind and premature..... I was so innocent....  But Sam toughen me up!   And in dealing with his life I realized there were kids like him going through life without two parents holding them.....  Now we have 3 adopted kids, we've been involved in helping other families adopt, we've supported orphanages and ministries to children around the world and meet some amazing folks!  I look back and am grateful that God keep my heart soft as I grieved the child and family I thought I wanted.   ***** Theologically speaking I do not think God CAUSED Sam to be born with all his challenges, but we live in a fallen world and things happen.  God has been faithful to walk every single step with us and I am so grateful for that!  I've come to Know God in a way I never did before.  Before I did not need to depend on God but now I know my Help comes from Him....  I didn't need a Comforter.... but now I do.  Even the hope of heaven is so much brighter to me than before. 

So with thankfulness we celebrate the beginning of our relationship with Sam all those years ago :)  Thank God for keeping him safe through a terrible pregnancy and an early birth and all the complications that arose.  We love this boy so much!  And by the way he weighs in today at 95.6 pounds!  It has been so hard to get him to gain weight and we are proud of every ounce.  He is about where his endocrinologist wants him to be weight wise since he is only 4'10 and is done growing.  He was stuck around 82-83 pounds for a long time and we did worry.  We also had to deal with a gastrologist who wanted to put in a g-tube.  That was not going to happen!  Now the endocrinologist has written a letter explaining Sam's growth plates are finished and due to his chromosomal issues he is not going to grow any taller and the doctor does not want him to gain too much weight!  We have been feeding him more junky food than he has ever had before as we normally eat low fat.  For some reason it does not keep us as skinny as it kept him. LOL   We've even given him some soda since that's the only sweet thing he likes.  He hates cake or ice cream or candy so those obvious higher fat/calorie foods are no use to us.  He used to drink pedisure but we can't get him to drink it anymore.  He loves vegetables and we are so happy about that but it's hard to gain weight on veggies!  We've started putting butter on his food.  that's something we would normally never do but we were getting so worried about his weight.  Now we will back off and see if he can keep the weight up.....before anyone freaks we discussed his diet with several doctors!  They all wanted us to add fat and some sugars for now.  He has low cholesterol and there was no concern about it for short term

There are still more beach pictures to come:)  For years I kept up our photo this blog has replaced them  I'm 8 years behind on picture albums!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Beach 2020

Thank you all for all the prayers and well wishes for Sam.  He has recovered fully from surgery and we are so very very thankful!   I learned of another child with a tumor in roughly the same area as Sam's was, the family is friends with some of my family.  That little guy's tumor is malignant and my heart goes out to the family.  You can follow him at Rhet Cooper's miracle  as I read his journey, it brings back some of the possibilities that we were given about Sam.

Well to update on the family.... Steve graduated with his Master's in Human Services and is working full time as an assistant TV producer for a government agency.  (Broadcast was his BA degree)  Steve is also working part time for a church as their media person.  Shad graduated from High School (homeschool) 2 years early and is starting college in August in Arizona!  He has almost a full scholarship thanks to grants and 4 scholarships he has received!  Sam has been doing good.

Selah is doing ok but she has seen an increase in seizures!  We re concerned because she had never really had seizures until the last year or so.  It's being monitored and she has had some med increases

Sarah who has always been my healthiest and drama free child....has lost that title.  Last week at horse back therapy she passed out and fell off her horse.  Thankfully the therapist caught her.  I did not see it happen, by the time I got to her, she was coming around.  We go pretty far out in the country to ride so I drove her to the ER in Tampa rather than call an ambulance, I did't want her to be seen by someone who was not familiar with her situation.  There were so many extra things to worry about as I had Shad and Sam with me and they couldn't go in the ER and it was too hot for them to sit outside.  Thankfully Steve was able to meet me there and take them home and Jon came afterwards.  For the record there was only Sarah and one other child in the whole giant ER!  It was unreal and they worked very fast on her.  They determined that she had had a seizure as all her bloodwork CT scan and all tests came back normal.  It was early morning and she did not have any symptoms of a heat stroke either.  She was released ad we went back to see her neurologist (he follows her just because some of her diagnosis come with seizures as a possibility)   Her hour long EEG was normal so at this point we are waiting to see if it was a fluke or a real issue.  If she has another one she will be admitted for a 24 hour or longer EEG to try and catch one happening.

I will be quite honest, when it happened I was in shock, there was no concerns about her at all, it had been a regular I was trying to coordinate everything I just lost it.  In my heart I was afraid it was a brain tumor because she also had some issues with dragging her feet after we got her up.  Some kids from Ukraine end up presenting with various types of tumors because of Chernobyl.  On the way down to the hospital I spoke with her neurologist and he ordered everything to rule that out.  Thankfully he's known me for about 8 years and knows I don't freak out too much but I was petrified of a tumor.  I guess going through what we'd just gone through with Sam has me on edge!  Again I'm so grateful that it was no worse than it was!!!  So we watch our sweet girl and pray it was just a fluke that will never happen again.

Ironically the week before on our way back from our third day of horse back riding for that week Sarah and I were rear ended.   It really didn't mess up my van much but of course it was aggravating and stressful!

So living in Florida we are living our lives but being careful.  Our family takes Covid-19 serious (as we take every flu season or outbreak of illness)  We have lived in masks at times to protect the little kids, especially Sam when he was younger and so sickly.  Even a couple years ago Sam's ANC was down very low and we went on quarantined  per our doctor's order.  Jon still went to work but he stripped before he came in the house, the kids didn't go anywhere at all and we cleaned all the time.  I think I stayed home 8 weeks with him except quick trips to the grocery store alone.  So I've done this whole quarantine thingy for years off and on before it was acceptable.  But I'm pretty much in the middle of the road about all of this.  I have several friends who have had it (a few who are sick with it right now)  A close friend of mine lost her grandfather and uncle to it.  It's real but we also have to carefully live our lives.  While I have wore masks (even back when the authorities told us not to) I do not think it is a good idea to mandate masks.  I do like the idea that it is socially acceptable to wear a mask out -mainly because I used to feel stupid and like a drama queen for wearing them when I had to for Sam)  And probably masks should be required in doctor's offices and hospitals for ever from now on since that is where the sick folks go.... but some of this crap is getting out of hand!

I've always said be balanced- I've really seen in this past year I am in the middle of the road about so many things that I used to think I was extreme on LOL

So having said that...we went on vacation to the beach last weekend.  We took all our own food -most of it cooked and frozen so all I had to do was pop it in the oven.  We did not go out to eat once!  That is a HUGE accomplishment for me LOL  We also did some sandwiches and easy foods  Actually I did not even buy a Diet Pepsi LOL!  We stayed in an older hotel the Arvilla  it's a mom and pop hotel right on the beach.  We got a 1 bedroom suite that had a full kitchen and sleeps 6 ground level. .  The hotel door opens right out to the walkway so there were no halls or elevators to contend with.  Housecleaning only comes in if you want and the room is empty.  They were kind enough to allow us to bring in our dirty towels and bed-sheets and give us fresh ones.  I didn't mind that and thought it was a good idea.  The beach was amazing even though it was a bit of a walk ( hotel is on the beach but there are sand dunes so it's probably a 700 foot walk to the actual beach.  For most folks that would be no issue but we have the little kids so it was a bit of work for us.  But we always have that issue.  But the beach is sooooooo worth it to me!  Check them out and tell them the Clantons recommended them!  Maybe they'll give us a discount! 

The first day we got there it stormed which I love!  After it was safe (maybe)  I headed out to the beach.  I literally was the only person on the beach!  Maybe because I'm stupid but it was amazing!  I walked for about 4 miles before others started coming out.  But all in all there was not many people, Treasure Island is a family beach so it's never awfully crowded.  We've gone there several times and always loved it,

Having two photographers in the family I have an insane amount of pictures to share even cutting down lol  so I'm just going to share the first day in this blog.  Later I'll share the photo shot we did with the family.  I take room pictures before it gets trashed by my family!

The windows were divine!

Down near St John's pass

How is this boy going off to college in two weeks???????

Shad loves photography and videography

Later that night we walked the kids down the paved sidewalk for a couple of miles.

We wished this boardwalk was closer to our hotel

 On Friday our hard working oldest son could join us:)  I'll share those pictures later.  Maybe that will make me blog more!  I still can't believe people follow this blog.  Thank you for your prayers and support all these years!

Thursday, May 28, 2020



San had the tumor removed along with his tailbone last Monday!  He actually came home that day and did ok for a few days before he began having intense pain.  Now it seems we are through that phase thank God.  He still moves very gingerly & doesn't  really like to ride in the car at all  Today is the best he's felt and he rode in the car some-I did take him through McDonalds and that made him happy. 

We are beyond relieved as there was some very terrifying talk regarding the tumor.  i still don't have all the details but will next week when he goes for a follow up visit to the surgeon .  We know tht the tumor had began to grow on his tail bone and there was a vascular connection that is why they did the deeper surgery. 

What a scary experience.  Thank you for your prayers!