Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mid Autumn Moon Festival and October Birthdays begin

We couldn't see the "blood" moon because of the clouds but it was no less special that Mid Autumn Moon time was here.

I had the moon cakes all ready. No trying to make them for me this year, they were purchased at a local Asian store where the lady who rang up my purchases was given the story of our kiddos. 

Not something I usually share randomly but when I told her I couldn't read the sign in Chinese of pricing for the moon cakes but my kids could (none  of the kids were with me, wanted them to be a surprise) she wanted to know how that was.

And she said she had thought about adopting a child herself. I just love when God plants a seed :)

So we had our kumquat, green tea and orange moon cakes. YUM.

Next was the first birthday girl of October, there's FOUR of us birthday girls this crazy month of October as well as a wedding anniversary (WHY NOT? I said as we planned that) for us. 

Crazy, I tell ya.  I didn't even factor in football and field hockey would be up and running within October as well. But as we always do, we manage.

Paisley was the birthday girl up first, if you were wondering.  18.  Yep, I know, hard to believe. She's still (and will always be) the size of a 9 year old. I do believe her face is maturing though, but that might just be because I know she is 18.

Most people don't believe it. In a way that's good for her, because the maturity is not there.  Just isn't caught up yet and may never be. It's part of older child adoption, the endless "catching up" that never quite gets there.

Add in any issues of any kind-- attachment, physical, learning, intellectual delay--- even just orphanage care for so many years and you are going to see this lack of maturity for a long, long time.

Even so, there's a ton of good within this child/ now called adult and she had lots of room to grow. We love her unconditionally and now can show her that even though we are not legally required to take care of her any longer, we will be continuing to take care of her.

Sounds kinda weird huh? But seriously, this is a HUGE way to show her what being a part of this family means.

 She will continue to receive the care and love that she needs when we do not HAVE TO do it.  It was a big eye opener for Chase when we continued to love and care for him though some really rough waters even after he was 18.

Paisley has been making more effort to increase her strength lately, and we are thrilled to see her doing more.

A monumental birthday for our precious Paisley girl. 

18 years old.  WOW. She's an amazing person, stoic and strong in so many ways.

We love her and hope she enjoyed her 18th birthday celebration!! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Paying the Piper

Who made up that phrase anyway? Paying the piper?

I guess it doesn't matter. What matters is we have a child who is now paying this unknown "piper."

I mentioned before that Paisley was refusing to move all summer.  Flat out refused. Was told she had to be moving. Shown the huge example of her very own family getting healthier by moving.

Yesterday's doctor visit was time to face the music.

She has lost 8 lbs of MUSCLE.  She's barely walking. She is swollen and actively inflamed in multiple joints.

Her (lack of) action over the summer made the injections done in late May null and void because she should have been moving the joints injected to get the maximum benefit of those injections:(

It was quite painful to hear what all her stubbornness has caused. The doctor and her nurse were very kind but also very frank with Paisley. Told her she is going to have pain. She's not going to ever be totally healed. And no one knows why she has this issue of arthritis but she DOES have it.

And she's got to take care of her own health as best she can to preserve her ability to walk. Thank God for school because it's helped with forcing her walk and gain back a slight amount of mobility. 

It becomes even more difficult when you add in the attachment/ emotional issues and the fact that we will see her turn 18 in a few weeks but is functioning at a much lower mentality.  Creates all kinds of issues because she's expected to be responsible for her own health decisions/ needs when she is 18. YIKES.

She was asked if she was willing to go inpatient because her doctor wants to inject her joints, start a new med infusion ( that she can only get once 18 years old due to insurance approval) and then make her do physical therapy in a rehab type setting to get maximum benefit for her.

She did agree. And they want to work on some of the emotional baggage she's got from being in chronic pain. Depression is very clearly a factor for her. The problem has been ongoing as to getting her any help because she refuses to talk about anything. And there has to be some willingness on her part to want to work on any of her issues.

We've walked this road of stubborn/ emotional growth stunted/ attachment difficulties before (sigh) and aren't surprised to see this.
 We live with the difficulties daily and continue on with her care and loving her through God's grace.

It's sometimes the road we must walk with an older adopted child. It does not mean she's a "bad person" or that she's not a blessing. She most certainly is a very special and treasured part of this family and is given unconditional love :) 

We  want what is best for her and would love to see her get more mobile to be able to enjoy something we got to do this past weekend. UPRISE 2015.

At Shippensburg PA, multiple Christian bands over 2 days (stayed at my brother's) while grandma stayed here with the ones who didn't go. (THANKS  again, grandma) We had a blast.

It was hot, yes, but to see 15,000 people in the first day  (last year was 10,000 the whole 2 day event) worshiping God  through a favorite venue of everyone in our family ----MUSIC, was AMAZING.

It was really special. And Paisley loves music so it would be so much fun for her to be able to go to a gathering such as Uprise.  Hopefully it can be an incentive for her and we can see that happen next year.

Always we will pray for and we WILL have HOPE for the best for our precious girl:)

Will you please add her to your prayers as well for her health, mind and body and her upcoming treatment plan? 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Camden is 15!

This past week was Camden' s birthday! He's 15 ....So hard to believe. 

Phoebe asked him on his birthday morn if he was "sure" it was his birthday, hmm, yes. He was sure.

Guess when you have kiddos that don't know for sure of birth dates, that's what questions get asked even of the bio kids? 

 I am pretty sure she knows he's not Chinese or was ever an orphan?

Camden is a great big brother and little brother to all though, no matter how he's become their brother, through birth or adoption. 

We had delicious ice cream cake, of course. His is different from the others with chocolate chip cookies crumbled in the middle layer.

I've heard Kat already requesting mini M&M' s for hers next month. 

 This year brought amazing growth to Camden, he's got contacts for the first time, although he only uses them for football because he prefers glasses. He's gotten braces on. He grew taller than me. 

 My redheaded boy growing up too fast. Couldn't love him more, he's a very special dude:)
 Happy 15 th Birthday Camden, our precious SONShine!! 

Someone else growing up way too fast-- Chloe.  She's got her first car.

YIKES world, watch OUT!  Ha ha!  She's thrilled to be a car owner. 
Although when her and dad came to pick me up from work HE was driving. To "check everything out." 
 But then we stopped to show her how to pump gas and not put diesel fuel in her car-- she told me to drive it the rest of the way home-- you know, to "try it out." 
Might be a TINY bit scared of her new-to-her wheels?

Guess she has time to get used to them:)

Between football (Camden) and field hockey (Chloe)  it's been a whirlwind of practices, games and washing stinky sports equipment.

 It will be helpful to have Chloe able to drive if needed.

Halfway through September already, leaves are starting to turn colors and fall.......

Monday, September 7, 2015

First week in

First week of school has passed right by. And I have heard surprisingly LITTLE.

 This is a GOOD thing.... No complaints, concerns,  the fears of the "unknown" have been eased.

No one has gone to school and been sucked in to a black hole never to return from it.

We only had one issue we could have done without... Paisley fell and hit her head. She was trying to get through a door and someone who was trying to be kind pushed the door for her without them realizing (or her) that she was leaning heavily on the door and it threw her off balance. 

 A big goose egg knot on her head, trip home early from school and she's just fine. I can't believe she only hit her head, but are we ever so thankful she did only hit her head and not break a hip or something much worse. 

 Speaking of her hip, it was quite sore this week... totally for an unnecessary reason. I was so mad!

We saw a new doctor in our regular doctor's practice and she didn't realize (??)  from me lifting Paisley to the exam table or me telling her she has arthritis all over or seeing her moving that her hip could not, would not, bend up and she tried to MAKE it. Yikes. 

I was saying "She can't do that!" And Paisley was crying out before she stopped (too late!)  And ended up in tears which says a TON because we only see that when she is really really hurting.

We won't be going back to see that doctor again:(  We will just stick with the one who knows us....

We tried to go to a field hockey game for Chloe but it got stormed out. We did get to see a scrimmage for football for Camden. 

 Now that Chloe has gotten her DRIVER'S LICENSE,  she is    (drum roll)........ getting a CAR!  Seriously.  She's excited/ scared, Chance is jealous and stating he wants a job.  Overheard him asking Chloe for help to apply for local jobs:)

Really praying Chloe can drive safely this winter. She is extremely cautious.

Chance is a bit less cautious aka reckless, but he's renewing his permit.  He drove once and thought he would be ready to test? Uh, no.  

Everyone enjoyed the long weekend, holiday break even though I had to work today. We cooked out early:)

Hubby and I went on a hike yesterday, couldn't get any of the kids interested in going? 

 We hiked over 7 miles, got lost, but I was still thrilled to be able to go on a 7 mile HIKE.  So pretty, peaceful and I kept up with hubs!

Back to school tomorrow they go, I'm so thankful they are settled in quickly and fairly painlessly this school year. 

They all seem to be doing well and are liking their teachers/ schedules and handling all the new changes of schools/ classes well:)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

School begins

How in the world did this come so fast? SCHOOL YEAR 2015-2016

Two Seniors- Chloe and Chance

Sophomore -- Paisley

Freshman-- Camden

And the last 2 of our 12 children are SIXTH GRADERS this year. Yes, indeed. Look how grown up they all look!! 

For the FIRST TIME in 25 YEARS there is no child of ours in elementary schools.

WOW.  The kiddos all leave at the same time and come home basically at the same time.

There's football and field hockey this year so 2 stay after for their sports.

The Middle School transition was not an easy one for Phoebe. She was taken to the school previously a couple of times to acclimate herself to the size of school, how she would get around, to ease her fears.

It didn't really work. Come orientation night last week, they sent parents to cafeteria and new 6th graders to auditorium and gave them their first glimpse of their schedules.  Not a wise decision-- at all.

No accommodations made for Phoebe meant she could not even SEE her tiny printed schedule, Kat was scheduled WITH her which I had made very clear was NOT to be.

The girls have struggled to get along.  No secret there.  They do not do well together.  Phoebe wants Kat to do things for her she should do herself.  Kat gets mad being dumped on and becomes snotty toward Phoebe. It's just not healthy for either girl.

So after orientation I went off to work night shift and emailed vision instructor about the schedule print size, the guidance counselor about the schedules, and the ESL teacher about the schedules. 

When I got home in the am, left messages for principal and director of student services about schedules.

Let's just say it wasn't going to be "let go."  So by the time I slept and got up I had a return call and schedule was changed to new team for Kat. 

Phoebe and Kat both were rescheduled a tour of the school for yesterday. 

 There were 3 girls being considered for "buddies" for Phoebe, mainly to get her to the correct classes that they are headed to anyway.

I think it will go well. Not 1 buddy with her all the time because Phoebe tends to be "needy" and sometimes overwhelming people with those needs. So more than 1 buddy will ease that issue and not have her relying too much on any one girl. We hope.

The vision teacher was to be at school for this morning to make sure Phoebe does ok.  Phoebe has known her for years and is very comfortable with her.

We met up with 2 of the "buddy"  girls yesterday at our personal tour of the school which made Phoebe even more comfortable.

  And Kat got to see where her new classes were going to be. And the ESL teacher had made Phoebe larger print schedules in an easier format for Phoebe to follow.

Before the tour yesterday I also met with Director of Student Services to update Paisley's accommodations.

Paisley has not done well health wise over the summer:(

And we have figured out a big reason why she declines every summer when most arthritic people do better from the warm temps and getting out more.......

Paisley refused to move. Even as we enjoyed better health from all our walking  and she saw this all summer. Even when her nurse mother told her she needed to be walking every single day..... she laid in bed and refused to walk anymore than she HAD to and deeply affected her mobility.

 It made me terribly sad, but as I told her doctor, she's nearly 18 and I can't force her.

So we determined it would be better for her to go to school via van.  The bus steps are just too high for her to do herself and we can't expect ( although they would do this if they can) her siblings to hoist her in and out of the bus. The bigger kids aren't always ON the bus to do that.

We also got in place wheelchair use allowed if she wears out today and for the first few weeks, till we see how she does.  I am really hoping to see her gain some strength as she HAS to walk each day in school because we do not want her wheelchair bound before she HAS to be. 

It's a shame the stubbornness can't be channeled in to something HEALTHY, huh?  But hoping to see her "forced movement" throughout the school day improve her mobility soon. In the meantime we make accommodations to try to make her school days be the best they can be for her as well.

So what am I doing with all this "time" I have today?  After the van got Paisley (I lifted her in) I took off for a 4 mile walk..... yep, I did. Enjoyed it too.

Can't wait for my treadmill to arrive next week--- yes, it's going to be a necessity since we get snowed in quite often and if you don't believe me look back at last winter's posts. Not going to be risking it out in THAT. 

I DID fall last weekend. The kids were sooo funny. It was just dad and I but when they saw my "boo boos" they asked if he pushed me?  Crazy kids.  Of course he didn't. 

 But I did tease him that he didn't catch me either...... not nice because he couldn't have. I slipped off the edge of the road and my foot twisted.

Couldn't recover and down I went. I was soooo worried when I first started walking that I would fall and get hurt.

I'm not the most coordinated person:)  But I scraped an elbow, the knee too. Bruised a hip.  Got up, shook off and continued for 3 more miles.... and I am fine. Was happy to know I can fall and it didn't stop me.

So one less worry off my mind, because I survived my first fall and am no worse off.  Still not risking walking in ice/ snow conditions. Just so you know MOM.......

Did you see who is BACK?? Mr. Chance! Arrived YESTERDAY, just in time for school, nothing like the last minute, huh? 

He greeted me with open arms to hug me. Gosh, he's just the sweetest kid.  Such a blessing. Glad he's not too old to hug his momma still. 

Hope you read that Donovan...... not buying that you are too old to hug me!!

I'm betting this year will fly by, Chance is already talking about graduation party, etc... oh goodness, I'm just not ready for that to happen YET.  Guess I don't get a choice, they are all growing up:)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Hubby is 50!!

Happy Birthday to him.  Just the greatest guy I know, a wonderful father, hubby and all around great guy.

He's the rock of this family, always caring and kind.  Has a TON of patience (I'm sooo jealous:)

He's been walking with me more recently, I really enjoy my time walking with him beside me.  And he's lost 10 lbs so far!

We had a cookout with just family-- yes, that's a party right there, I know. 

We did the cookout and had ice cream cake which has become a total favorite of all around here.

Dad got a new and bigger TV from all the kids, they chipped (with help from mom to arrange it) and he was very happy. I got him some other stuff from me.

We are so very blessed to have this guy in our lives, and we are ALL very thankful for him:)

Oh, and got the late "birthday pic" of Chloe and Chance together. So I added that to this birthday post.

Happy Birthday to hubby, 50 looks GREAT on you!!!

 Love you so much:)

We haven't started school yet, almost there-- lots to update on that so I'll save that for the next post......

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Family Gatherings

First it was a family reunion. Those are always fun, seeing  folks we don't usually see often. This was hubby's side of the family. Only sad thing was many less people this year:(

On a happier note, we got to see our Chance--he came with Uncle Mark and then was gone again. Staying to help/work with Uncle till right before school starts.  I think he may have grown taller? Chance, that is, not Uncle Mark:)

Doesn't hubby and his bro look a lot alike? They had the same haircuts this year too. 

Our other family gathering was our local fair. We thought the kids would be a little more excited about going. Hmmmm. They ended up getting food, each picked their favorites. Monkey bread, hot sausage, popcorn, cotton candy, just to name a few of the yummy things they decided on. 

Chloe pushed Paisley in her chair, she sure isn't slowwww  going for anyone to see anything. Girl has one speed and it's fast! We were too slow for her looking around and she had to circle back many times to find us again. 

Apparently the kiddos enjoyed my picture taking efforts of them and their fair foods, I mean do they not look thrilled, or WHAT? 

We have done most all of the dreaded school shopping.  I tormented myself this weekend and took Chloe, Kat, Phoebe and Camden to finish up the needed items.

 Chloe is the one I dread (Kat and Camden are close seconds) taking shopping. She's incredibly picky. Although I was able to pick out 3 pairs of pants for her without her along previously and got them right (size and preference) which was some kind of miracle. 

We got her shoes (3 stores to get the ones she wanted) and  tops ( 2 stores). Kat and Phoebe each got 2 tops, I had bought them all the other stuff (socks, pants shoes, under things, school supplies)  previously. They didn't need many tops because they do have a big tub of hand me downs that are perfect for them to get through the year. 

Paisley hasn't grown and won't so she got new shoes, a few tops and socks, she has tons of clothes since the two younger girls recently outgrew her size so she is overloaded on clothes. 

So in less than 2 weeks we will start another school year. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around having no one in elementary school this fall for the first time in 25 years. Yes, that long. 

Football practice has started and field hockey practices begin this week. 

Other news---Chloe passed her drivers test. Yeah her!! Now she's looking for a cheap car. Her driving could be a huge help with all the practices and her job.

Chase also passed his test the week after Chloe. Chance says he's not ready to test yet. They were all very cautious about driving/ testing which is just fine with us. 

No recklessness needed. 

Camden and Chloe were asked about working for someone, they worked together to dig a 65 foot ditch that was 18 inches deep. They did such a good job the person's neighbor hired them to pull weeds for her!

The kids  were very happy, they enjoy making money but also keeping busy.  Usually Chance is our guy hired out since he's a very hard worker and very strong. But hubby told the guy we had a 2nd crew because Chance wasn't home:) 

That's what we have been up to,  that and lots of walking too. Of course:)