Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Birthday "Boys"


These guys.  My "BOYS."  Really young men now, but will they ever stop being "my boys"?  NOPE. 

Pretty sure not:)

Both these guys celebrated birthdays-- Derrik is 30 today-- How in the world did that happen? 

Just so you know, I was a teen mom, so I'm not claiming any old age around here.  Jay turned 29!

Was thrilled to be a momma, even through the hard times of being a teen mom. Both these guys were huge blessings and I am so proud to be their mom.

Happy, Happy Birthday BOYS!!

 Love you both tons!

And  seriously, you need to let mom get some newer pictures of her "older kids"-- really!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

There's a guy around here who is so very worthy of honor today---DAD!   

He's such a wonderful father to all of our kiddos and its really special to me that he is such a great dad. I didn't have a dad growing up due to him working away and dying when I was young, so I missed out on a lot. 

Which makes it even more precious to see this easy-going, always pleasant daddy-o (as some like to call him for fun) being such a great influence/ guide/ teacher of our large crew. 

Over the years of our lives he has taught me so much about a Father's love, even helping me to understand my Heavenly Father's unending love for me. 

Yes, daddy here is quite the amazing and wonderful guy. He is very, very loved:)

We (as in, ME too!) went on a hike for Father's Day, Dad's choice:)

Happy Father's Day to the best dad in the world!! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Open Wide

So we have done a few of the "summer appointments" that I squeeze around my working schedule this summer time. 

So far most have revolved around teeth. Children's teeth. Cleaning and appointment for Paisley to have a filling replaced. 

Next was Camden, to get him set up for these--- BRACES. Yep, one front tooth overlapping another was a sure sign we were headed here. He's our second one to need, Malaree is a few years done now with hers.

 KAT looks to be next, all the others were blessed with straight teeth. (Yeah!!) She will probably get hers about the time Camden is done with his. 

So far he only has them on top to start and he's in quite a bit of pain today after getting them on yesterday. Poor guy.

We've had other, not-so-fun stuff happening. On the way home from dentist, flat tire.

Hubby rescued me so I still hold my record of never changing a flat except in high school in drivers ed when the teacher picked on me about "needing to know" because I said "Call someone" when he asked me what I would do if I got a flat. Just want him to know my way WORKED just fine Mr. Driver's Ed dude.  

So there. Hubby said I must have run over a piece of metal somewhere. $4 to fix it (Thank you God) tire wasn't ruined. 

We had a water leak, this was much worse, our pipes are enclosed in the ceiling, the finished, textured ceiling. There's now holes in that ceiling :( A water main that was not supposed to leak at 3.5 years old, the plumber who put it in came and found a defect in the pipe so he is looking in to getting our repairs covered due to it being defective.  

We are praying that's the case and very thankful hubby caught the issue right away. It was a slow leak and is drying up now that it's all fixed. 

Word from Chloe is she is doing well. Arrived safely obviously. Having a good time, successful vacation Bible school round one under her belt. 

It's been stinking hot. Like unbearable and yes, I get to complain because I do not complain when we are knee deep (or worse) in snow:) After many years of no air conditioning in our upstairs I am so very thankful for whole house air conditioning. Wow is it a huge difference.

That's our mid-June happenings. So far:) 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

School is out

School year is over. Which means that for the first time in 25 years I will not have any child going to elementary school this fall. Weird. 

I guess they have to all grow up eventually but  25 years is a longggggg time and a lot of kids:) For now though we have 6 kiddos  home on summer vacation. 

And so far I've heard "I'm bored"and assigned a bathroom cleaning to that one. Many "what are we going to eat, can I eat yet, etc. "

Yes, the kids seem to think eating is entertaining and they have to have guidelines so they aren't eating me out of house and home.

It's an adjustment to have them home and (honestly) not be annoyed when they eat my lunch (did that yesterday) and complaining they are bored as if I will plan daily entertainment for them all. (I do not) 

But there's also good stuff too, hearing them giggle over a movie they are watching, lots of help on grocery runs, the pets getting tons of attention (Kat is brushing the cat right now) and getting to spend time with the kiddos I don't normally have. By the time they go back to school I will miss them:)

The "Big girls" have lots going on. Paisley had her second infusion of her new med. She went for the injections of her joints under sedation and did well.

 Had her first stay ever in Ronald McDonald house and loved it. It's too soon to really know if the new med is working to bring her arthritis under control again. But there's lots of hope that it will:)

Chloe will be leaving Monday. GASP!!!   

I'm soooo not ready. She's heading out for a month long mission trip. I was going to post more about it to allow fundraising but God totally provided funding so she's packing and set to go. A whole month!

Gonna miss that girl, although she's been so busy for the last few weeks I've gotten good practice on missing her:( 

Poor Camden, he wasn't feeling well and laid around on the couch most of the day, not sure exactly what his issue was because he declared he was hungry for pancakes and ate 10 of them? Obviously no illness that killed his appetite:)

Guess he's getting full for when his teeth hurt from the braces he's getting on soon. Yep, his teeth are so crooked and he has an underbite that needs to be fixed now.

He's only #2 for braces, surprisingly out of so many. Mal was our other one and Kat is a "maybe".

Our flowers are all planted for the season and we have had our first rose appear of the summer. Isn't it pretty? 

After so many months buried under snow, we rejoice as we see the wonderful gift that having 4 so-very-different seasons brings. So many beautiful things God has given us:)

And so begins our summer 2015!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not Enough

I think one of the hardest things we moms face when adopting older kiddos is realizing first off that it's really, really hard work. Worth it, yes, but HARD.

Hard in ways you never expected it to be. First is that when you receive your new teen/ tween, honestly MOST of the time it's NOT love at first sight.  It's more of a "mistrust" really on both sides.

They mistrust us because they don't know what to expect and we mistrust them because, well, we don't know what to expect. A slim (and I mean SLIM) file on a child does NOT give you much to go on.

And I think often this is where we start that "Am I enough?" 

Do I have what it takes to weather this, to tackle the lack of language, to start from scratch with a teen with none of my language?  Will this "ruin" our nice, cozy family? Will we ever be the same?

No, you will NOT.  You will be better off, no matter the road you get with this new person, your new son or daughter. Because very often what adoption means to US is that WE learn and grow right along with our new teen.

Grace. Tolerance. Patience. Unconditional love. Acceptance.

Sometimes REALLY HARD to give/ have these things. When you are knee deep in issues and you/your child is bawling you may not feel ANY of those feelings. This is when it creeps in--- the question??? AM I ENOUGH?

Funny thing is-- God NEVER makes mistakes. EVER.  So if you are one of the many new /seasoned parents of adopted teens/tweens I want you to understand one thing---


WE ALL WONDER THIS.  At some point when we are usually overwhelmed we wonder.  ARE WE ENOUGH? 

And your answer is-- YES!!!!! YES, you ARE.  You will survive your trip to adopt, you will not die of jet lag, you will  "get the hang" of their mangled  English/ Chinglish efforts. You will learn their dislikes and likes.

You may lose family, friends, because they "don't understand" or accept your family.

BUT you GAIN a whole community out there of "Adoptive Families" that I can ASSURE YOU that you will be accepted. It's a glance in a restaurant, both of your families with very obvious Chinese kiddos:) And you know that look because it's on your face too:)

With our adoptions we have wondered " Are we enough?"  There have been tough times with certain kids. We want to fret and worry about how far they AREN'T getting.  But.......... again, IT IS ENOUGH.

It's God's timing in their lives. They are HIS. He's got them covered and He showed us each and every one of these precious 6 to be ours. So we KNOW they are in the right family and we aren't willing to "go there"--- we ARE ENOUGH.

It's never better that ANY OF THEM remained orphans.  EVER.

Even our tough ones, it's not fun having kiddos with attachment issues. It's just not. BUT-- who better to parent them than folks who have done it before?  We know the issues. We aren't perfect at all but our motto is not to ever give up on them. Not going to happen even with crap behaviors.

So, are you doubting if YOU are ENOUGH?  Stop it. Right now.  Because you ARE.  God is with you and can guide you just like He does us. 

Take the blessing God has given you of your precious teen/ tween and be THANKFUL for it. No matter how hard today was. Because it really is a blessing. They can drive you nuts in one minute and the next make you crumble with heartache for them. They are an amazingly brave, strong, beautiful individual that will change your life.

And you get the honor of being their parent:) 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Paisley's 3 year Gotcha!

Guess who has been with us a WHOLE 3 years today? 
This "surprise" addition, added to the folds of our family.  A tiny, but mighty in personality girl, our Paisley. 
 
She's almost 18 now, still as tiny as ever. Although I feel you can see the maturity in the pictures. And the happiness:)












From the round (steroid caused) face to a slimmer (off steroids) her, she  has changed quite a bit even if she isn't gonna grow any taller.  



She carries a heavy load of hurt on that tiny frame, some that we can not fix. But rarely a complaint is heard.






I'll never forget when she first came and we weren't real sure what she could/ could not do. 

The other kids were going off on bikes. Asked her if she could ride a bike. Of COURSE, she said. 











Down our hill she went and right over the handlebars.  Scared us all! 

She never tried that again...... and we know her mobility limitations much, much better.

Wouldn't dream of handing her a bike NOW:))









She's a pretty typical teen, she likes to do her nails, watch TV.  She likes to sit on the porches in the sun which feels good on her joints.

She quiet and content with life:)







She's on the honor roll and works very hard in school.

She's pretty much caught up to nearly grade level work which means she's really smart because that's almost unheard of for how long she's been in America.





That's our girl...... Happy Gotcha Day to her. 

 We couldn't love you more!  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Off my rocker

Now I've went and done it...... I'm off my rocker.
See----My Mother's Day gift from the kiddos.

No grandkids in sight, not ready to be "old" so I'm just gonna enjoy it and not take it too seriously. But for now, I'm off that rocker. 

It was an uneventful  Mother's Day, which is always good when you have 12 kids. For sure:)

Lots I have to catch up on too-  Gotcha Day for the boys-- 5 years!!!  Monday was the day. Kept it pretty low key, they don't think it's a "big deal" now that they are young men, but hey, these 2 guys are miracles in our lives:) 

I didn't get to see Chase or get his latest picture. I'm sure if he hears I'm trying to get pictures he will probably not visit on purpose. Such great kids I have......

Paisley had a very lengthy rheumatologist appointment this week. Not good.  Not at all.

Not only does she say NOTHING, she just sits there and smiles:(  It's very frustrating as she needs to (at almost 18) take some responsibility for reporting anything that feels "off." 

And she does not. I can usually tell she has slowed down, but I don't always know which joint it is bugging her. The only joint that appears to be unaffected is her JAW. Seriously, every other joint in her shoulders, elbows, neck, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, toes.  All affected, some worse than others.

 So the med we were forced to try due to insurance is not working. The other med the doctor wants to do, insurance does not allow injections of it till patient is 18, months away for Paisley.

So we are arranging an overnight at Hershey to have rheumatologist inject multiple joints under a light sedation.

 She wants to do so many she's not willing to do them without sedation.  Then the next morning (can't get the same day as of now) do the new med infusion since it has to be done first time in hospital and then done locally for the next few months until she turns 18 and can have injections.

We are very thankful there is another med to try, we haven't run out of options for her care yet. That's a huge blessing.


Phoebe and Kat had "Day Of Celebration" at the end of the week.  I prayed and prayed for RAIN. 

God was not amused by me and we had the hottest day so far this year.  Okay God, I'll behave now that I roasted and nearly melted away.

School can't provide someone to watch over the sun exposure of an entire day outside for Phoebe so I take canopy with sun wall, sunscreen, umbrella, hat, water spray in cooler, water, lunch, I even had chilled chap stick:)

I was the "hit" of the day of her friends and teachers with the chilled spray water. It was just so stinkin' HOT.

I didn't get a picture of Kat there, she seemed to be avoiding me as much as possible this year? 

 Not sure what that was about.... guess I am becoming "embarrassing?"  Uh huh.

Oh well, I'm trying to get my "yearly picture" of each kid in front of my blooming lilac bush, so far I've tried 3 times and I still need 4 kids to redo.

SIGH....... and they think they have it hard just showing up outside dressed??

Happy Mother's Day to ALL!!