Monday, March 23, 2015

Celebrating Changes

We've had a lot going on around here.

Changes. All of them seem to be good too.  First we decided to change rooms for the 4 girls.  Now, understand, this does NOT come lightly.  We probably have some world record for the number of times we have changed out rooms for kids between the old house and this one. Between fostering and adopting it's happened A LOT.

 Matter of fact, few of the bedrooms are even painted in colors that wouldn't suit EITHER a boy or a girl and all the carpeting is neutral. 

We did that for a reason.  If we see a situation is not working out for the best of any child we can "mix things up" to find a better fit.  And as more and more time has gone by with the 2 younger girls not getting along, playing tricks (sometimes mean and dirty) on each other, creating as much trouble as possible for EACH OTHER, it became time to evaluate the best way to separate them.

It made me sad, quite frankly because as all mothers wish and dream our children will all get along wonderfully, we thought Kat would be a good example for Phoebe to follow and Phoebe would be happy to have a sister to follow the lead from.  WELL...... that's happened some. But some NOT.

Some of the immaturity, jealousy, competitive stuff was just, quite frankly, out of hand.

So we started at the beginning of the week and had to move mattresses, some furniture (we did not have to move beds this time-- phewwww!) and a ton of belongings for each girl to a "new to them" space.

Chloe was the least displeased. But for the good of the family we had to do it.  She ended up bunking in the biggest room with Paisley. For which I think it will do a world of good for her to be bunked with Chloe.  She also needs guidance from an older, well adjusted sister.  And that will happen now.

Kat went to Chloe's old room. Phoebe to Paisley's old room. Both rooms upstairs and on opposite ends of the house, but both within hearing range of parents. Which is already making huge impacts on the fighting/picking/ nonsense. Because so much less is able to be "pulled" when they have no NEED to be in the other one's room.  And if they want to play they certainly can, in a common area, also where eyeballs are seeing them.

Now, we are seeing HUGE leaps of progress from Phoebe. Because Kat was truly treating Phoebe like a sister... meaning she was picking on her, pulling tricks, only Phoebe isn't at Kat's level of maturity and she was ending up the "loser" in all the games which caused her to get mad, yell and more often than not, get in trouble.  NOT GOOD.

AND-----There's no more 50 times a day hearing "Kaaaaaaaatttttttttt stop!"  Right there made it worth everything!!!

Funny enough, we have had more trouble keeping them OUT of each other's new rooms than anything-- they do love each other and want to play with each other. It just has to be in a HEALTHY way. And now we can monitor that. So for now it's a WIN/WIN for all.

Other things we are celebrating changes of ---Miss Phoebe!! Another year older:)

Yep, on Friday she turned 11.  She woke up and found out there was a 2 hour delay that quickly turned in to a cancelled day of school.

 First day of spring and 6 inches of snow.  And we could hear birds happily chirping, even with the big snow fall.  So odd!

Phoebe was very happy it was her birthday and she dressed up in one of her fanciest dresses ALL day.  Even with no where to go:)

I knew she was disappointed to not get to go to school, so I curled her hair in anticipation for her Birthday Party that evening.  I had even made her an ice cream cake, she doesn't like regular cake so I learned another mom trick for ice cream loving/cake hating kids.  Making a homemade ice cream cake. She was thrilled.

She was very happy with all of her gifts, she got some MONEY, some clothes, a journal, a big body pillow.  She did so well with the whole "big day"-- that's a huge improvement of her behaviors, not melting down either before, during or after her birthday. She's growing so very much.

Such a lovely person she is. Just so special. We had her IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting this week which is to make sure all modifications are being made for her visual issues at school. Her cane instructor said he had to tell me what she said when she met him the first time.  "Do you know Jesus?"  Yes, that's our Phoebe. Jesus/ God means the WORLD to her.  She wants to be sure everyone knows Him.  She's a wonderful child of God and I am sure He is as proud of her preciousness as we are.

We also (told ya I get busy so don't worry if I can't find time to blog!) had Phoebe's low vision evaluation done. This was to make sure she is using the best devices for her visual needs. 

And although sometimes it's actually a little weird to be the "poster mom" of adoption from China ( you adoptive moms know what I mean) I've gotten a promise from the doc who did her evaluation that she will pray for guidance if adoption is for HER family.

She was very taken by Phoebe, she just has this way about her that draws people in.  An innocence and sweetness that can't be denied:)) 

So when I told her (of course I did!)  about adopting older kids and the NEED out there, she was very interested.  I figure if God wants to use this precious girl to get others on board to adopt then I certainly can't hinder that:)

The only changes we got from the low vision evaluation is that it's better for Phoebe to read WITHOUT glasses, up close.  Not enlarged. Not for tons of reading BUT for every day stuff, reading a menu, looking at a box for ingredients..... her glasses help her see distances and they don't help (actually they make it worse) for her trying to see up close.

So doc recommended she take them off to read close and it's not hurting her eyes. It's actually stuff she will do as an independent adult so it's teaching her how to handle life in the real world because as she said-- "No one is going to be following her around enlarging print for her." Which is true. And magnification is actually harder for her to see with the glasses on.

This made sense to us but was the first time it was mentioned to us. So it was an interesting appointment all around.

The  only other news I have is kids are sharing colds it seems-- Camden, Kat and Phoebe so far. No one sick enough to stay home or anything. Just colds, sneezing, runny noses. Phoebe was funny when she came to me this morning and said "Uh, I sneezed and for the first time EVER there was so much it landed on my jacket, should I still wear it?" 

Um, NO. How about we just wash that first, ok?  That's what's been happening around here with us, snot and all. 

 Sorry for grossing ya out:( 

Friday, March 13, 2015

30 hour Famine

Guess it was a good thing the teens stuffed their bellies with dumplings because they decided to participate in a 30 HOUR famine with proceeds going to a mission trip.

None of the children were told they HAD to do it, in fact it bugs me to see them go without food when I know this has been a sore place for them in the past.

Just another reason they are amazing people to me:) When they decide on their own to do such a caring act it just reminds me how far they have come and what great people they are.

Lots to tell ya about the elusive Mr. Camden.  Today was Pi/Pie Day.  He made a shirt with fabric paints about Pie (in front) and Pi (in back) and took in cookies (round) for Pi/Pie day.

Yesterday he dressed up as the football team does each Thursday. Goodness is he growing in to such a TALL and handsome young man. Do not worry (MOM) that is not his bag to leave home already, it's a bag of chips for snack he "had to have."

He's really super good at that " I NEED for tomorrow---a white shirt, fabric paint" and it's 6:30 pm.  At least I was near a store, waiting to pick up Chloe from work.

This week also brought Camden new glasses ordered AND......... contact lens!  Yep, I told him he "had to" because last year football did not go well with non breakage of glasses and the sport goggle glasses he got that were not supposed to fog up, they FOGGED UP.

So I told him he's got to do the contacts if only for football. He doesn't like the contacts so far, but he's getting more used to them. I wouldn't be surprised if he decides he likes them better than glasses eventually but either way at least we have the sport playing issue resolved.

Oh, I just gotta tell you this one.  You know that darn ELF that lives here?  (No, not that ELF on a sh-lf) but the ROTTEN elf that lives here and does ALL the nasty things that NOBODY here could possibly do?

Well, apparently yesterday he got kicked to the curb and I believe he is off pouting somewhere.  BECAUSE--- I came home from a long day of work, had to run to store for Camden's stuff, waited to pick up Chloe then as my tired butt came in my door I, as in ME--- was accused of "breaking" off a shelf in the fridge door. 

 The claim I heard was that because I "had a soda for work" (yeah, one little 16 oz soda) in that shelf that it MUST have been the cause of said broken shelf. This shelf is deep enough and strong enough to hold 2 gallon jugs of MILK.  (not that we use them for that)

Ummm.  Here's the ONLY problem with this scenario.  When I left for work the shelf was PERFECTLY fine.  In the fridge.  When I got home, the shelf was sans all the stuff in it and on the counter.  The children DID NOT come home to find that shelf on the floor. SOMEONE opened the fridge and that shelf SOMEHOW became broken and empty on the counter.

It's a MYSTERY I tell ya.  I think the kids might be wiser to bring back their "elf friend" because I would be more likely to believe he did it than KNOWING it wasn't me.  Nice try kids. I'm not falling for it......

Our weather has been a HUGE topic around here, A WHOLE WEEK, no snow, no school delays, cancellations, nothing. Even SUNSHINE--- some serious Vitamin D showed up in the form of DAYS of warmth (ok so 50 degrees isn't sweltering but we are calling that WARM)  and most of our snow melted away.

Catching up on appointments cancelled (even multiple times) because of weather. And thankful we can get out not worrying about snow coming like last week when CPR class had to be excused early to get us home safely.

Don't be concerned, I passed:) I can save a life. If needed. I just can't save shelves from my children.  Oh well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Little Dumplings

I feel the need to add on to my last post some info you all probably know but I'm gonna write it anyway.

Every single one of our children is a gift from God. We feel extremely honored that God chose us, ordinary, broken people for parenting the special ones brought to us via adoption.

NONE of the issues that we see with them are anything we ALONE can handle. God equipped us when He asked us to go for them. And we did, and He is with us guiding our family.

We have not-one-regret. NONE.  Would we change any of their paths?  Of course--- if we could make every child we parent that was called "ORPHAN" before never be an orphan at all, we would do it. 

EVEN if it meant we never got to parent them. Us adopting them is second best------ yes, I said it. SECOND best. First being they never became orphans.

But this is not their reality. And for older kids/ any orphaned child from ANY country, it's better to have an adoptive family than NO FAMILY. I liken it to the not-so-great childhood I had.

Do I wish I didn't have a difficult childhood?  Well, of course, BUT.......although I do NOT believe God allows any child to suffer I do know that much of what I went through equipped me to parent children from hard places. I know the fear. The hurt. The difficult time trusting people that I still struggle with.

So often God uses people who never thought they were worthy for amazing things. That's how I feel, unworthy of the gift of our children. I wouldn't change ONE THING about them, although it does bother me to see them struggle I cling to the fact that Father may need them to be strong to use them in ways I can't even fathom.

Each one of my children are people I am proud of. Proud to know. Proud to be called "Mom" by them. They have grown ME in ways I needed and am happy to be "stronger" in. My faith in God.  HUGE leaps because the struggles with the kids has taken me to hard (for me) places. Trust (again) in Him. Had to happen.  Couldn't do this without Him.

Started out very selfishly adopting to add a little girl to our family and instead He took me asking Him to use me how He wanted to show me His broken heart over the older orphans. Again, no regrets. 

 He led us through 5 more adoptions. Attachment struggles. The ongoing hard road of raising these precious ones.  Helping a ton of people "behind the scenes" who are struggling/ need support.

There's no boredom in my life. There's no wondering if I should be "doing more." There's a mission field right in my home.  Not everyone is set up to be a missionary and travel.  Here's the way to bring the mission to you:)

What I am saying is, YES-- adoption is beautiful, broken, hard, wonderful, a tremendous blessing.  And YES, children need to be adopted. THEY DO. And yes, older children are amazing treasures worth everything to bring home and raise.

Even the ones afraid to let us love them, the fear they will "lose us too" based on their not receiving basic timely care as infants and learning not to rely on anyone.  THEY NEED TO BE LOVED. And here, they are loved and will always be loved. We are here for them always.

Ok, done being all gushy on ya---- so the "dump-ling" title that's not the kids?  It's dumplings, real homemade dumplings. 

 Ohhhhh. YUM.  Chloe and I were both off Sunday and we decided to break out the pork. Well, she wanted hamburger too, which I thought was totally gross to put in dumplings, but we did it. (I only ate the pork ones:)

We made a bunch, cooked some in broth, fried some, and chowed down. They were so good!  They are a favorite of ALL the kids. Since we were snowed in AGAIN, it was the perfect day to do some cooking after church. Paisley's cheek is full of dumplings, not swelled up:)

We are SURE (you read it here) that spring is indeed, coming. Even though we have another storm (ice) going on today and another one coming tomorrow night (3-6 inches of snow so far is the prediction) but I can tell you on good authority SPRING IS COMING.

You know how I know???  SKUNKS.  Yep.  The skunks don't come out till spring is coming and we have seen a number of dead skunks (and smelled them) on the roads locally. 

 We always laugh when we smell that and everyone goes "OOHHHHH, gross!"  All except Chance, who has always told us that the skunk smells like------- Chinese food?  Seriously!

Not sure who was cooking for him but I've never been able to "recreate" anything remotely like it for him. (thank goodness, huh?)

We had a delivery Sunday--- a new washer. Yeah, wasn't thrilled but the old one died. Not like I don't use it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 But it made me smile because usually every appliance you have dies while you are adopting and I recall quite a few "dying" on us while we were in process so it was a sweet memory. (NO, MOM, we are not adopting-- do not call.)

So we are eating dumplings and washing clothes.... big news, I know.(ha ha)  Sorry that's life around here, just normal family stuff:)  

Friday, February 27, 2015

Older Child Adoption and RAD

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)  We've seen it with all of the kids in some manner or other.  Some of ours have very few RAD behaviors. Some have quite a few. We have lived/live it and it does get better over time. But it's a reality not many people want to share because we all wish for rainbows and lollipops in our older child adoptions.

I am more of a "down to earth, give me reality so I can go in prepared" kinda gal:)

So here it is. 

According to Nancy Th*mas in her book When Love Is Not Enough, there are 23 symptoms that RAD children can exhibit. The child needs to have more than half the symptoms to be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. They are as follows:

  1. Superficially engaging & charming. This helps them to manipulate and triangulate.
  2. Lack of eye contact on parent’s terms. They avoid eye contact unless they are lying, then they make excellent eye contact.
  3. Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers. They don’t have appropriate “stranger danger” when they’re little.When they get older, they will hug and befriend anyone they think they can get on their side against their mother.
  4. Not affectionate on Parents’ terms (not cuddly). They give stiff hugs.
  5. Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone).
  6. Cruelty to animals. Pets in the home of a RAD child are an “endangered species”.
  7. Lying about the obvious (crazy lying). It’s a hobby for these kids, and they’re extremely good at it.
  8. Stealing. They have no conscience, so if they want something they’ll take it. Plus, it makes them feel powerful.
  9. No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive).
  10. Learning lags. They are constantly in an agitated, emotional state. They want to do things their own way, and they think the teacher doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
  11. Lack of cause and effect thinking. This part of the brain doesn’t function in the RAD child. Normal parenting methods such as star charts don’t work for them!
  12. Lack of conscience. It’s all about them – they don’t have the ability to care about others.
  13. Abnormal eating patterns. They frequently starve or gorge themselves.
  14. Poor peer relationships. They don’t have many friends because other kids don’t want to put up with their lack of conscience, need to be in control, and cruelty to others. Without help, this will plague them for their entire life.
  15. Preoccupation with fire.
  16. Preoccupation with blood and gore.
  17. Persistent nonsense questions and chatter. Nancy Th*mas says that normal people talk for two reasons: to communicate thoughts or feelings. RAD kiddos talk for three reasons: to interrupt, make noise, or control.
  18. Inappropriately demanding and clingy. Usually to get something they want.
  19. Abnormal speech patterns. They don’t speak clearly. They aren’t interested in learning good communication skills.
  20. Triangulation of adults. This is very common! Having adults united on one team is very threatening to children who don’t trust. In order to be in control, they divide and conquer by pitting one adult against another. This can be father against mother, grandmother against mother, teacher against parents, family friends against parents, and counselor against parents. They’ll triangulate anybody they can!
  21. False allegations of abuse. This is a bad one – how do you prove you did not do something?
  22. Presumptive entitlement issues. They think they deserve whatever they want, and it’s always something. This leads to draining their parent’s energy.
  23. Parents appear hostile and angry. This is very sad, and people that don’t have RAD kids don’t understand this. The more the parent loves the child, the more pain the child dishes out to get them to stop. The child had his heart broken as an infant, and he believes that love hurts. They do whatever they can not to be loved – they don’t use the parents love to grow emotionally strong. Parents are basically abused in their own home.

We are very thankful that we do not have anyone who is worse case scenario. In a way it's tough to have just some of the behaviors (not as hard as having worse case though) because oftentimes the behaviors aren't seen by others as RAD behaviors. Even we were not sure of what we were seeing when we had our first child present with some of the behaviors.

I think the hardest thing is the day to day grind of dealing with the behaviors. Dealing with them over and over, the SAME behaviors. We've noticed a few things with the ones with more of RAD behaviors as well-----

Extremely slow progress.   And I MEAN SLOW.  The immaturity seems to stall with them as well. At varying places, mostly much, much lower than their number age and as time goes by their slow creeping immaturity/progress is more and more apparent the older they get.

Others expect once they have been home "A few years," which all of ours have been now, that they will be near to catching up with their peers. And it's not always happening nor is much progress being seen. What is cute at 6 months home and 5-6 years behind in immaturity is NOT as cute 2-3 years home and still 5-6 years behind in maturity as they are now 2-3 years OLDER as well.

The biggest thing we have is firstly- a united front.  Mom and Dad on the same page. This was hard to come by at first. As with most RAD kiddos, due to the lost of trust in the nurturing figure (mother) they needed as babies, they do not want me, MOM to love them because that means they could lose me if they trust me. So therefore their behaviors are aimed at ME.

When we first encountered this many years ago we were blown away. Seriously.  And we looked at what WE were doing/ not doing that was causing the behaviors.  Only to come to learn there was NOTHING we were doing/not doing.  This is NOT the parents fault. This is not even the CHILD'S fault.  This is the damage done to a child denied timely basic care as infants.

So we have a code around here. Gonna share it with you adults:)  We call it PARTY TIME. (I told ya we cling to our sense of humor like nobody's business to remain sane:)  And what it means to hubby and me is "someone is showing/doing/ behaving in a negative (RAD) manner."  Because it was really hard for hubby to get clued in to what was happening IN OUR OWN FAMILY.  The behaviors aimed at me and me alone--- disrespect. Silent treatment. Rudeness. Refusal to sit near me, denying me affection readily given to dad.

Sometimes it's STILL hard for him to "catch" these behaviors, they are THAT subtle.  Yes, they are.  And there's major "sucking up" to dad to manipulate and triangulate.  We can NOT allow that.  So any "party" alert means just that--- someone is acting out even if the person they are doing it to doesn't realize it. 

It takes a TON of effort. Patience. Grace. Unconditional love. It takes mom being mentally "beaten up" and support (I have GREAT supportive friends and places to vent/ share with families struggling with this as well) as well as taking a ton of crap not just from my children at times but also from well meaning people who only see our charming and lovely children.

They have no clue the behaviors or even reasoning behind the issues. And that's fine. I don't worry too much about that because my children are much more than just some behavioral issues. They are great kids. They are worth keeping on with them.

Our faith in God has been HUGE to help us. Guide us. Strengthen us when the battle makes us weary. He gave us these kiddos and He makes NO mistakes. We trust in Him to be with us, to help us and to show us the way to best help every one of our kids that will benefit them and guide them on to be emotionally healthy adults.

And around here, we try to avoid "Party time"--- we joke about being at the "party" too long, being tired of the "party." We tell each other "Welcome to the party."  We make a joke when it's a total bummer to see a behavior again and again and well.... AGAIN.  Because it helps us to not take stuff too seriously and be swept up in the behaviors therefore not enjoying the GOOD of this family. And there's TONS OF GOOD.  Lots and lots of it.

I know that others are living with their own "party" with their kiddos. I wish it weren't true but I know it is true.  Hopefully most of you can say you've never been invited to the "party" we are at.

But if you are part of your own private party I am here to tell you that you are not alone and to try to help with how we have coped.  How we continue on and how worth it our precious treasures are.  And for our kiddos, well, they get our love if they want it or not.

Nothing they do, and I mean NOTHING will cause us to stop loving them and doing all we can to help them heal.  Love, love, LOVE all of them:))

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

6 years ago

It's such a wonderful thing to say we have had our Chloe girl another year.

SIX years ago (Monday) I was in China signing papers and so excited to finally meet our newest teen treasure.

Never imagined that she would blow me away in so many more ways than just her sweetness and amazing bravery to trust me to come with me.

Yes, those added guys, her brothers were a huge shock. Of course. But even with that whole story unfolding I could see what a special person this girl was.

We were able to connect even with the lack of language, laughing and joking some, her ordering duck and making sure they brought out the whole head on a platter to freak me out (it did) and then laughed her head off at my very obvious disgust.

Monday was her official anniversary and we were able to go out to supper with everyone (except Chase who had to work) to the kids' favorite Chinese buffet. The weather cooperated and she was off work too---YEAH!!!

I forgot my camera though:(  So you get old pics from last week.

We did some shopping too, exchanged pants Camden didn't like (pickier than the girls I tell ya!) and the sales girl assured me that guys are wayyyy more picky about their jeans than girls. Hummm.

We had time to do some shopping and got another dress and a really cool pants outfit for Chloe, she cracked me up when she said she didn't think I would let her wear the dress pants to church because I said they were "funky" but I meant "funky good" not "funky bad." 

They are really cute. She looks really good in most everything anyway and I've told her many times God doesn't mind what she wears to church as long as she's there.  

 I might have to rethink the "guys are pickier" because she rejected many dresses (as did I) for too short, tried on and rejected 3 dresses (too low in neckline she said). But we came home with 2 new outfits:)

Our gift to Chloe for Gotcha Day Anniversary this year was to pay for her passport renewal in anticipation of her mission trip. We don't usually spend as much but we are helping her out because it is a mission trip and we are so happy she feels led to do this.

So how did the girls' haircuts go over?  Kat is really happy with hers. So is Paisley. Kat said some kids at school said it didn't look like her.

It does make her look more grown up, which she is growing up fast. She is so much more than just her hair and I think she is seeing that the benefits of shorter hair is very easy to care for and worth it.

Paisley made some progress lately. Might sound silly but for her to ask for anything is difficult. Relying on US, her parents to provide because she asks for something.

We have been working on this for a very long time. And baby steps later she is asking for her shots each week and telling me before her pills run out each month. This is huge for her. Because it's very easy for her to just go along expecting things to be done when in fact she needs to acknowledge a part in it.

Someone "Having a part in things?" That Chance, still always asking if there's anything he can do for us, goodness, I wonder how we lived before we had our Chance here. Keeps us laughing too, tonight I asked why the dog wouldn't stay out of the fire pit?

I knew Chance had burned some papers/boxes but didn't think there was FOOD involved in that. Come to learn that while burning the papers he got the idea to "cook" (in 6 inches of snow, mind you) some leftover ham (his favorite food) and obviously dropped some leftover ham in the fire pit. So there was my answer.

He was kind enough to make chicken on the grill, he did it in shorts and a tee shirt on a day we had 15 degree temps and snow squalls. It was calm when I sent him out to cook for the chicken fajitas I was making for supper. Dad thought I was nuts when he came home and it was blowing snow like crazy and there's Chance dressed like it's a summer day cooking on the grill! I told him I did ask him to grill BEFORE it was blowing snow like that. I did NOT tell him it was okay to do it in shorts and a tee.

Hubby saw Chase at church tonight and he told him he took his driver's test last week, he did good but bumped a cone trying to park with the truck he was using (his landlord's/friend) so he didn't pass but hopefully will next time. His landlord has turned out to be a wonderful mentor/friend and seems to be helping him with things he was too stubborn unwilling to listen to us about. You know that whole "I know it all" teen attitude?? Yep.

Chloe is struggling with her driving lessons. Sadly she has nystagmus and although it is barely noticeable when you are around her it's causing her great issue with driving. Till she tilts her head to get a focal point the vehicle has moved on (obviously) and she's not doing well. She's also very nervous which isn't helping her either. Any pointers on helping her with the nystagmus issue anyone has send them my way, will ya? Cause she wants to be able to drive.

Phoebe got herself in some trouble--- sadly when Kat arrived home with her new hairdo Phoebe laughed at her:(  Yes, we still struggle with jealousy and not nice/inappropriate laughing with 2 years under our belts with her.

Many behaviors we still see/ work on with her are immaturity. Stomping-- yes, she weighs the least but sounds like an elephant going through the house. Laughing at inappropriate things/times. Sometimes this is nervousness, sometimes it's meanness/ attention seeking. Lots of work with her still, but as always, she has come a long way and is totally worth the work to get her where she needs to be.

Some great improvements-- her learning levels are good, she's very book smart. The million and one questioning (only for attention ) has lessened greatly.

 She's learned to put her own clothes away, help sort clothes, pick her own outfits (even matching them well) and do her own hair every day. Her "zoning out" due to visual issues is much, much less often.

I find it helpful to point out the progress so that the focus is not always on the negative---it's an ongoing work even as things get easier the longer the kids are home but tolerance and a good sense of humor goes a very long way when dealing with the kiddos no matter what the issue is, that has always held true for our family.

All in all we are doing well and we are hanging on knowing there's less than a month till SPRING! We will be warm eventually:)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Xin Nian Kwai Le! Happy Chinese New Year!

Xin Nian Kwai Le!

 Happy Chinese New Year! 

Year of the Sheep.

Who all are "sheep"  in this family?  ME:)  Malaree, and Kat. Yep, we are.
We went out to our New Year celebration last week again due to weather we were unable to go as far to the kids favorite China buffet place:(
Let me explain this weather thing-- COLD. COLD and COLDER.  Wind. snow, ice. Last Friday was to be a half day make up snow day. CANCELLED. Monday was a make up snow day--- 2 hour delay.
Tuesday was to be a half day make up day-- ended up being a full day because of Friday being cancelled and we still ended up with 2 hr delay.  Wed, full day of school.

Thursday, 2 hour delay. Today CANCELLED. That's ONE FULL DAY of school in an entire week.  Not sure the kids are learning ANYTHING.
Since they were off today and Chloe still had to work-- we went on errands. Freezing day to errand run but it needed done. Passports (hers and mine expired) pictures done and new passports applied for.
Paisley's blood work done. Praying the results are okay on those, this weather is taking a toll on her:(
Kat got a library card, wow was she ever happy. Her very own, that is.  She was thrilled.
THEN......... we did something really super crazy.  CRAZY I tell ya.

WE did it. IT.

THE HAIRCUT.  Actually Paisley decided to do it too, and Phoebe got in on the action as well.  Even Camden got a haircut. Kat has 21 inches of hair to DONATE!! Paisley 12 inches. Phoebe's wasn't long enough to donate.
No tears were shed, I did tell Kat if she cries about the hair being gone it will be another 8 1/2 years till she gets another haircut. SHE LIKES IT, and she looks GOOD.
  Paisley too, as does Phoebe. I'm so stinking excited that there won't be hair everywhere, no more ponytail of hair in food dishes, hair taking on a life of it's own in drains, tubs, on the floors.

I did tell Kat that it grows back so if she didn't like it then at least it will grow back.  BUT 8 1/2 YEARS of never cutting the hair!!!  I'm really glad she likes it:)

Paisley too, looking quite snazzy and older with her new "do."

Chloe wasn't ready to get her hair cut, it's almost long enough to donate but she had to be at work and we really didn't have time to do another cut.

I did take Paisley and Kat to a salon since I wanted to be sure they were getting enough cut off donate and it was fun to have them get a salon cut.

 Usually I do the snipping, I did Phoebe and Camden's but they were just trims and I never really have claimed to be a hairdresser:) Just a thrifty mom who has saved a ton on haircuts for many children over the years.

Last evening I had supper with my oldest son, soon to be 30, Derrik.  After our nice meal, just dad, him and I, when I was dropping him off at his home, he told me that he doesn't say this but that he wanted me and dad to know he appreciated how we raised him, that he was grateful to us and was glad dad and I were together. Ummm. I asked him if he was dying?

He assured me he is not. I asked if he was sure. He said yes and laughed, hugged me and went on his way.  He said he just wanted us to know it:) 

WOW. I guess age is creeping up on him, because usually we don't hear too much of that "grateful stuff" and figure it's par for the course of raising kids/teens.

 Of which we have many.  Just typical that they tend to be self centered, even when they are great kids.  (Don't call mom and tell me that wasn't nice to blog)

So that's what's happening in this part of the cold, snowy, world. Less hair and more snow. Somehow that just seems..... wrong. 

Don't worry, no one is freezing here:) Even with much, much, less hair.  And Spring does eventually HAVE to come.  No matter what that groundhog said. 

Just gotta hang on a few more weeks/snowstorms.......


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Trip

Plane tickets have been purchased. Yes they have.

To WHERE?  Not gonna say YET, but it's a senior project of a lifetime, I would have to say. (It's not China)

Chloe girl approached us months ago about this, making her senior trip with her BFF a MISSION TRIP.  Sounded like a really neat but somewhat complicated ordeal.

But with friends in many far places, we have (hopefully) as safe a place as possible, as safe plan of travel as possible, and a very excited daughter.

Since she started working she has saved all her pay toward this trip. She's very thrifty and hasn't spent money hoping this could all work out. We are helping out with some of the costs so her way will be paid.

She also has to get a new passport since she was on a child passport (only good for 5 years) and it's gonna be 5 years soon since we got the boys (can you believe that? I can't!) and she got her first American passport.

They will be going with a responsible adult (not me, not that I am not responsible (ha ha), I can't take off that much work) who can take work time off to go with them and the opportunity to donate will be presented later for any who wish to help with supplies they are trying to take for this trip.

We feel so proud of our Chloe.  But also scared, I won't lie about that.  Because the last time she did a mission trip she had been home just 2 years and it was very hard on ME. I missed her terribly.

I will say she has gotten so much more independent since then, so I am hoping that gets me through when this trip comes up which will be in a few months (summertime) and I am sure will be here before I am ever ready for it:)

I posted an old picture of her--- because she's hardly able to stand still for me to catch her in a picture and she just looks so grown up here. And she is. Growing up so much. 

She is gifted, smart, caring, kind and someone we are very pleased and amazed that for almost 6 years now we have called her our daughter.

More details to come later:)