Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Blessings

Easter, Our Savior has RISEN!  Such a special day we celebrate as we are blessed to have God in our lives and to be so very loved by Him.  And you are too!!!

Lots of pictures of the busy-ness. Keeping Titus BUSY, these kiddos of mine are, luckily he comes from a family with 10 children because he's keeping up the pace well.  Since he has arrived we have --

Had a surprise party

Roller skated

Hid and hunted eggs twice

Lunch out at the kids favorite Chinese buffet

Colored eggs

Easter basket hunting

Church Easter program

Easter lunch and the fun of chopping up a tree for Grandma (Chance was thrilled to do this)

Up next, mountain biking....... then?

 Who knows?

All kinds of fun we are having/ getting in to:)

Poor guy will need to go home and sleep for days to recover from his week here....



 




 I'll leave you with the pictures to enjoy and our wishes for your families that you have a lovely Easter Day. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Surprise

And yes, it's another kiddo.  


Just for the record, he's not ours to keep.  But WOW, do we love this guy.  

Child o' my heart--- first one I ever got to meet in person, I prayed and prayed for this (now) young man to be CHOSEN.  

And he was!  A great, loving family he got, only they live in.... Washington STATE.  Yep, and we are in..... Pennsylvania. 

So far away:(

BUT----- today, this young man arrived after saving his money for months to pay for his own plane ticket to visit our teens, his former orphanage buddies. 

They haven't seen each other since they were all adopted, 3, 4 and 5 years now.

AND it was SOOOO much fun to keep this visit a surprise, showing up with him at the kids' youth group for a surprise reunion and party for these precious teens.

I'm pretty sure Chance hasn't stopped smiling yet, they certainly aren't sleeping yet, I can hear them chatting away as if he will be gone tomorrow.

 Nope, we have the pleasure of his company for the next week. Yep, a whole week to catch up, enjoy,and  reminisce. 

We've already heard many stories of things they did, mostly Chance and Titus, they were best friends and it's amazing the things they remember and are sharing with us.

And for those who will wonder, yes, he's a blondie like Phoebe. And Phoebe didn't know what to think of him. She's not met someone like herself, Chinese, but blond, but Chinese!  It was quite funny to see her reaction.

Haven't these kiddos all GROWN?  (Sorry, no picture of Chase, Chance, Chloe and Titus all together from China)

Welcome, Titus, it's gonna be a fantastic week, I am sure. (They are STILL laughing,and oh, what a JOYFUL sound-- even if it's now wayyyyyy past bedtime:)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Work and Play

It's been a busy week in our part of the world. It's really starting to feel like spring is here and what does that mean?  Projects, of course.

Dad and the boys worked all week on a new sidewalk. It looks nice, although it's still not completely done, it's going to need lined with smaller paver blocks to keep it in place.  It's circles, 4 blocks together make one big circle. Neat looking.

I, on the other hand, headed to the attic. Yes, the dreaded chore. 2 1/2 years after we moved we still had unpacked boxes of stuff. And I mean STUFF. Stuff that I looked at and thought "WHY?" Why did I bother to pack it, why didn't I throw it away, why did I think I needed it?  Cause we downsized/simplified a lot when we moved in, thus I do not want to bring this "clutter" in to the house.

So after a HUGE pile of donated clothes went, and a HUGE pile of "trash" happened, the attic is much less full.  Hubby has some stuff to go through, once I got through all the stuff he came and said "Wow, my stuff looks bigger."   Ha ha hubs,  IT IS. Bigger than the other stuff now.


I worked with Chloe, I love, love, love working with Chloe. She's great at organizing. She doesn't PLAY with things we are going through. She's tireless. When I ask for something she gets it QUICK. And she's an EXCELLENT stink bug collector. Yep.

Any ideas on how to rid ourselves of those buggers would be totally welcome. Disgusting things. We put them in a sealed bag, didn't smush any of them yet they stunk anyway:((

Thankfully we do not get them in the house often, but they sure have decided they like the attic. And by attic, I mean the space above the garage, so it's probably why we don't get them in the house, it's not heated out there and most of them were dead.

I can't-stand-the-gross- things. They need to go live somewhere else. They get in everything. And they STINK, of course. Stinky, stink bugs. YUCK.

What I did find that made me happy--- hubby's leather jacket (been looking for that since we moved).  Fun pictures, of all the kids from years and years ago.

I had to kick Kat and Camden out of the attic, sadly they thought it was playtime with everything being sorted and then when I told them that wasn't going to happen they started bickering with each other:(   I didn't think it was gonna work with Kat when she came up and said "Wow, this looks like an episode of Hoard*r's."   Since we have MUCH less stuff than that, I was less than amused with her.  Such ATTITUDE for someone so small in size. Hummmm.

More good stuff I found---a  bunch of clothes that will fit the younger girls this summer and next fall:)  I even found 6 or 7 shirts I had bought for $1 on clearance (brand new!!) and they are perfect for Kat and Phoebe for the summer.  It was almost like shopping again- ha ha.

When Chloe was adopted she was a tiny size 10/12  (at age 13!) and that's where the girls are heading now.  Paisley remains in size 8 girl bottoms, 10/12 tops. So it was super to find so many items of that size.

Once we were all done, I headed to the shower and hubby headed off with 5 kids and the clothes to donate, they stopped off on the way home  and loaded up on fixings for a camp fire supper. WOW.  

What a super idea--- it was a gorgeous day out and perfect ending to our day of work. Easy, yummy, fun, the teens LOVE to play in fire--- I've never seen kids so fascinated with fire from the time we met them. At least now we can sit back and know they won't set themselves on fire...........

Our doggies and the kitty cat joined the picnic, we always laugh at our cat, she's got the maddest facial expressions, she's really so mellow 90% of the time it's funny that she looks so MAD/ disgusted when she's really not. (at least we don't think she is:)

So we've had our first cook out and s'mores of the year. The attic is clean and sidewalk almost done.

 A good start to the spring, I do believe:) 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's a cell...........

And it's still not a jail cell (MOM).  Nope another cake. Remember Paisley's cell cake last year? Well, follow up with a brother a grade behind and guess what he had for an assignment this year?

Although I'm pretty sure he ATE most of the candy meant for the cake, *might* have even fudged mom and dad about what all candy he needed for this cake because he had me get some, then dad get some MORE...... and he was eating an awful lot of those "leftovers" while laughing, and it just seemed, well----- FISHY.

And I don't mean little red gummy fish either CAMDEN.  Keeping my eye on you SONshine. Yes, I am.

I also noted the remains of the cake looked suspiciously as if it had been used for a FOOD FIGHT..... along with some remains in a certain someone's hair. No phone calls from school YET, so whatever happened to it apparently was not enough to warrant a call home.  I didn't ASK, don't want to know.......

Chance came home with a funny looking dude, no, not his brother Chase. (Can you believe he let me take this picture of him?)

A fake head/part body dude that he carried around saying "Anyone know CPR around here?" I *thought* about pretending otherwise, since I am a nurse after all, but apparently it didn't occur to him that I would have training to save a life via CPR?

Once I fessed up he came and showed me his "technique." OIY.  I told him I was gonna be mad when he broke all my ribs if I ever collapse and they let him do CPR on me.  Don't worry (MOM) he was NOT offended, matter of fact he was laughing so hard he could hardly do the CPR.

I've been trying to figure out what Chloe wants from me.

She said "Mom, I want something." And I said "Don't we all?" 

 And she said "Yeah, but I'm your daughter, you wanted me and I came and I became your daughter like you wanted, so I think I should get things I want." 

 As she's smiling her beautiful smile the whole time she is claiming this.

And I said to her, "I became your mother because you wanted a mother and maybe I should get things too?"  That made her laugh and reply "But I'm a kid, I have things I want to have." 

She's working up to asking for something, probably won't be anything too big or crazy but that's my Chloe, she's testing the waters before she leaps:)

 Gosh, I love that girl... she makes me smile.  I DID note that she didn't say "I NEED things."

It's funny but I have been noticing lately how different/ far the kids have come. From being unable to know how to ask for something, to thinking they were being denied things they SHOULD have, to understanding life is NOT a fairy tale, and what is reasonable to even ask for. 

Some huge issues with adopting teens can be the feelings on the part of not just US, as parents, but other kids, other adults thinking our kids "SHOULD" have/be doing things that are normally considered with their ages.  When in, fact, our kids have 2 ages.  Their number age and their maturity age.  And we have to go by the MATURITY age.

It's not an insult to our children. No way. It's a PROTECTION for them.  Because they are NOT a typical 16, 17, 19 year old young person. I almost feel like I should say "this is Chloe, she's 17/ 15."  Because that's where she is.  And it's really okay, because firstly ages were guessed in China.  So there's no way to know for sure she is 17. 

The lack of life experiences, common sense not being fostered in orphanage care, delays from orphanage care, the adjustment to a new culture/language/parents/home/foods/schools--- even time home--- all these things factor in to where their maturity lies.

And yes, they are "catching up."  They have come very far from when we first met all of them.

It's interesting to see Paisley right about where Chloe was at almost 2 years home with us.

 And Chloe much further ahead, home 5 years. It shows us we are on the right road with them even when it is HARD to explain  to others. 

We get things like---"She's 16, oh, will she be driving soon?"  Now my answer will not reflect what runs through my brain because I say "Oh, she's not ready yet, she needs better English to take the test."  Meaning she needs more time.

My brain is thinking "People ARE YOU CLUELESS?  Would you put a 9 year old behind the wheel of a car?" Do you want to be on the road with a child who says, "Just run them over" when someone is going too slow?

(Disclaimer-- this is ALL of them, I'm not fingering out just the one who happens to be 16 now and not saying it to "put any of them down" it's just the fact of the adjustments and difficulties of being adopted as a teen.) 

It's tough when they *think* because the other kids have this or that, that they shouldn't have it too. One thing that does help with this, along with just being SOOOO much better for our kids was placing them so much lower in school.  Yes, I totally get that schools want to place a 16 year old in 10th or 11th grade.  Ours is in 8th grade. And she fits there just right.

It's not going to do anything but HELP her and the others to have EXTRA school time.  You see, we started at square one, not a lick of English for any of them. And it's a struggle for ANY of them to "catch up."

  So adding on school years for them to get an education base is a WIN/WIN.

Anyway-- here's some more pictures of Paisley, doing one of her favorite things- reading a book.

This is her favorite chair too, she "hangs out" in it most every day, in the afternoons it had the sun shining right in on her, thus it's probably the "warmest seat in the house." For her arthritis, this is a GOOD place to be, in the warm:)

And Chance, again, looking like he's up to something:)

He's not. Just sorting out pencils, dad brought home  2 packs of 10 pencils and there are 7 children here, how many should each person GET?  

I fixed that issue--- I take the "extras", that way no one can get upset that someone else "got more than them."

The bean counting again------ taking stock, making sure no one else is gettin' ahead.

SIGHHHHHHH. 

Don't worry (MOM) we are used to it.

 It doesn't make us toooooo crazy:)   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brrrrrrr

We can hardly believe that it really is spring here.

It's COLD!  Low tonight of 20 with wind chills making it feel much, much colder. Brrrr.

We are so thankful for a warm home:) Cause this is what it looked like last evening 'round here! 

So not only did MOM visit, but I figured out how to get info to post on the blog. 

Chloe was standing at the window and said "Are my eyes going funny or are there little white things coming down out there?"

I said "It's snowing Chloe, so there's nothing wrong with your eyes, but you are so funny and I am going to blog that."  It's called FAIR WARNING and I gave it.  


 I then went around with my camera and said "Gotta blog......give me smiles!


Okay, so they didn't smile very much. And they are doing B-O-R-I-N-G things, like homework, making some kind of paper project, taking out the garbage.  But they were warned.

So it's fair game.  At least that's my story
and I'm sticking to it.


Chance said "Doing homework and have no clue what the answers are!" When told I was looking for things to blog about.


The only "Non cooperative one?"  Camden.  I have a picture of him covered over completely by his bed blankets and he said I can't even post that.

 As if you all want to see his bed blankets and the big lump of him under them? 

 I don't think so.  I mean, really?

So we will go on to more interesting ones, Paisley, who was making some paper thingy. I don't know what it was supposed to be but it was big and colorful. She worked a long time on it.

And just for you Sherri (Zeke's mom) an update on this teen treasure. She's doing very well.  She's never been a "big talker" but it's funny how much she talks with Phoebe, patiently handling the numerous questions that Phoebe has. 

Paisley went to see "Son of God" with their youth group (God's Not Dead was sold out but they are going to see it next)  and I heard her telling Phoebe all about it carefully explaining who Jesus was and how He fits in with God and our lives today.

I hear some of the neatest stuff sometimes. I often like to just sit back and LISTEN to my children as they talk to each other, and even to me. Just listen to what they have to say. More often than not I am either---

Amused.
Impressed.
Surprised.

Once in a while ANNOYED, when wrong information is being told to younger siblings or teasing is happening. They are normal kids after all.  But most of the time it's really interesting to hear them tell of past times, or things they have learned since adopted.

Paisley came from a better funded orphanage than the other teens so often I hear "Hey, we never got that."  But even when she speaks of her orphanage life it's still eye opening. 

So they celebrated birthdays-- yes, but as a group.  "Everyone with an October Birthday, here's cake".  No gifts, no hugs, no real celebration of your birth:(

It's just not the same.  Not the same as YOUR OWN cake (even if they don't like cake!) and YOUR OWN gifts.

 Celebrating YOU were born.  No orphanage celebration is as good as being HOME......... being in a family where you know you belong, are loved, are one of US for our adopted kiddos.

And I have to say not only for Paisley but Phoebe as well, they know they are HOME. They know we are happy to have them be our daughters. Sisters.  They are cherished and wanted.

Health wise Paisley is doing as good as can be expected.  The long, cold winter has not be easy on her.  She is stiff. She aches every single day. Yet, she does not complain. 

 She keeps on, keeping on.  Her arthritis is under control, as best it can be. There's no fixing the damage previously done to her bones.

She walks up our lane from the bus each day and I bet you can guess who walks with her........ Yep, Phoebe. 

 Those two are like peas in a pod.  Close.  Phoebe adores Paisley but also worries about her and watches out for her too. They give each other encouragement and are a sweet joy to see together.

Sweet sisters.  Precious kiddos.  Blessings. Each and every one of them:) 

 And Sherri-- please know that Paisley was so happy you gave Zeke a wonderful family--- hugs, from us to you and your family. We think of you often and pray for you. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Birthday Girl!

It was a big day around here yesterday.

 Phoebe's 10th birthday!!

She was very excited, although we learned from Gotcha Day  Anniversary back in Jan. that she needed a low key celebration and realistic expectations.

 We did that and it went VERY well.

Hot dogs and french fries for supper. Cupcakes, ice cream and presents rounded out the party.

She was thrilled to get a doll and outfits to match, just like Kat's. 

 Someone NOT-SO-THRILLED-- Kat. Yep, the green eyed monster of envy hit big time with some snotty remarks and looks:(  Had to tell her to knock it off or go to her room.

Just lovin' this 10 year old girls drama and phases. Yes, I am.  (NOT)

No one was going to curb Phoebe's enthusiasm, thankfully--- she remained mostly oblivious to the jealous evil looks going her way and just enjoyed a day about HER. Whoooo hooooo!

Phoebe Girl LOVES attention.  She kept asking "Aren't you gonna take a picture?" Even when I already had:) Can't use a flash with her so she can't tell when I had taken a picture.

So here's the pictures of the fun.  Enjoy them as we did sharing this very special day with our wonderful treasure, Phoebe. 

Happy 10th Birthday Sweetie, you are sooo very loved!!

Update--  Here the girls are today.  Green eyed envy monster is gone, they are now enjoying having matching dresses for them and their dolls. PHEWWWW! And so goes the life and times of 10 year old girls:)

  My dear friend Anita made these (and the jammies) and did a fabulous job----  Thanks so much Anita!! 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Teen Attitude

Well, normally I would be posting away, never going more than a few days with out updating you all on this fun and exciting crew of mine.

But something odd has happened.  They are growing up.  They have begun to lodge complaints about---

Standing for pictures
Me posting their pictures
Me posting ANYTHING about THEM

Leaving me with the weather to discuss and there's only so much of that to report.
Till it gets B-O-R-I-N-G.

A certain someone (Camden) was even POINTING at me and telling me about the last picture I posted of him, therefore making me show him who is the boss and posting the pictures of him complaining for you all to see. See what I am up against??

Scary little redheaded dude, and yes, he's still (barely) shorter than me. His feet are bigger. But I'm still taller (for now). Can't say he takes after anyone or I'd have to be giving up some personal info, ha ha.

So I'm left posting  (sorry fuzzy) pictures of this---- a chair. A paisley printed chair. Funny, huh? PAISLEY print:)

The kids and dad (I had worked night shift and had to sleep) went twice for work days of longgggggg hours to re cover over 100 of these chairs at church.  They had some terribly stained blue fabric on them, which was probably pretty at some point but had seen better days. 

I forgot to get a "before pic"--- sorry. But the finished ones look fantastic and the kids were such great helpers, I had 6 different people come to me and tell me what awesome workers they are.

"Don't complain. Hard workers. Didn't stop. Worked hard. Amazing work ethic" were the things I was told.  I did ask if they were sure they had the right kids- ha ha.

Just JOKING children o' mine that read my blog.  OIY, I've gotta watch out.

Seriously they were a big help and the chairs got done in time for a fundraiser (a senior project for another youth member) which was last night and there was a great turn out for it. The fundraiser benefits drilling wells in Africa for villages and enough money was raised for 31 people to have clean water!!

We also helped recently with a spaghetti dinner. I cooked the spaghetti and was laughing when the person running it said he thought 7 lbs was "enough" to start, I told him we brought our kids and I make 3 lbs just for us at home.  We added 2 more pounds "to start" then ended up cooking 12 lbs with very little left over. There was actually more garlic bread left than spaghetti.

We helped set up, tear down and clean up. Many hands make work light--- is totally true.  There's so many of us and the kids really are very helpful so it takes much less time to get things done. And they like spaghetti, one of the few things they ALL like.

Proof positive they are growing up--- Miss Kitty.  This picture just stunned me with her beauty but also how grown up she looks!  She decided instead of cutting her hair to grow out her bangs.  And it makes her look more like her older sisters, at least I think so.

Ahh, my babies. Getting bigger and bigger. Tying my hands to what I can and can't share with you........  I'll be waiting for your visit MOM to straighten them out:)