Friday, December 31, 2010

A Skatin' we go

Off we went rollerskating last night. A group outing with our church youth group. Pizza first, one ordered with sausage and NO cheese at all for our goofy kids who can't understand why we have pizza every time we have a group gathering:)

They got their bellies full then off we went in the 2 vans. I tried to get in the smaller van, I learned on Christmas caroling night that the big van was the "party van" and was to be avoided at all costs to my sanity.

Somehow even in the smaller van I ended up with 4 of my 6 with ME?? They were fairly tame until we were headed home when it was dark and Chloe got her hands on a camera so she proceeded to blind us all by snapping pictures then yelling at people because they couldn't keep their eyes open for her blinding flashes?? OIY, that girl.

We had a blast, it was Christian skate night so our group of 30 had the place pretty much to ourselves. Maybe 10 other people there. They played all Christian music.

I even strapped on skates, much to my children's amazement. Miss Kitty needed quite a bit of help. She was able to get regular skates for the first time, they had kiddie size 10 in them. Usually she is stuck with those terrible plastic ones.

She did say for the first time ever, her "special toe" hurt, at the end of the night. She has never had issue with any types of shoes but the skates do narrow toward the toes, so I guess this was the issue.

If you don't know us from her adoption she was Special Need because she has a larger than normal little toe on her left foot with 2 nails on that toe.
It's like an extra toe started to grow there but then stopped, not complete, so it blended into the toe there. It's VERY hard to even notice. We were a bit surprised this was considered a SN?? Her SN was us, we needed HER :)

Anyway, back to the skating, Chase must have fallen 20 or more times, he was having a blast and trying so hard, even with all the falls. Chance caught onto it right away and almost won the Limbo game even! He did really well. Chloe had been before and was fine. Camden as well,skated pretty good and Donovan, he fell but not too hard:)

On thing that always touches me is how courteous our children are. Chance went back and helped an older woman not with our group who fell down. He helped his twin up when she fell. Chase asked for his wallet, I asked if he wanted a drink, that I would get it. He refused to let me and went and bought 8 waters with his own money and handed them out to everyone around.

I don't know if Chance thought he was Casanova on the ride back to the church, he was having a good ol' time with Hannah beside him?? Little bit of a crush going on there, I believe. He thinks the sun rises and sets on Hannah. He knows we don't allow him to have a girlfriend, he's too young, so his puppy love is harmless at this point.

We got back to church, the kids all grabbed a slice of cold pizza for the ride home, and we all headed out. They were tired, sore, happy. They let me hug AND kiss all of them, so I knew they had a really good time:)

I just told Camden if he doesn't stop tattling he will grow a tail out of his butt (mom you started this by telling ME this as a kid so-- NO CALLS) and it was sooo funny when Chloe went to dad and said "you tell mom everything you grow tail out of your butt?"
Just another day in our nuthouse:)
Happy New Year to All. Can't wait to see what 2011 brings us!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Conversations

It never ceases to make me smile to have any conversation with Chloe. Even if she makes me mad. Because she still has what we call "Chinglish" although she has less of an accent on her words now but she says things so differently than we would.

Such as, she wanted to go to Hannah's today. She asked me last night. I said "I'll think about it." She told me this morning "Mother, will you PLEASE stop thinking?" She meant she wanted the answer, but I couldn't help but smile.

Chloe also tells me everything needs to be "open" which means turned on. She "opens" the TV. She came over and playfully called me "white chick" and then said "what that means?" I told her it's not really nice, it's making fun of me being white, to which she immediately said she was sorry and kissed me.

She said she heard it on TV and didn't know what it meant. I told her it might be better if she doesn't repeat things she hears unless she is asking what they mean if she doesn't know. And she she shakes her head and says "oh, that's good idea mother, how you get so smart?" Another smile, couldn't help it:)

We got busy today and cleared away the Christmas stuff inside. The tree is down. I love, love, love, how fast everything goes when we all work together. It was an HOUR, that's it!

All gone, away, sweeper run, dusting done. They are amazing helpers. They got all the boxes down, I unpacked, they packed in the Christmas stuff and back up to the attic (or garlic as Chloe calls it) and was gone. Phewww.

Chance is acting up today. He is angry he did not get to go to Hannah's. I told him he had to be nice to his siblings and behave. So far he has accused Camden of touching something of his, even when I told him he can't accuse people if he didn't SEE them do it. He is refusing to share anything with Camden, so I refused to share my games with him. And I told him why.

He is also having issues with understanding everything is not for him to touch. He has poor understanding of boundaries. I really can't stand taking him in a store, because he touches everything. When he was sitting at my desk on my computer last night, I pointed out to him it was~ 1. my computer 2. he didn't ask to touch it.

Every day we grow and we learn, each of us. Today was huge to show us all that we are a great team, we get a ton done together. And we might, just might get the sharing lesson in yet today, or maybe not. Either way we keep at it.

And laugh as we do 'cause we just can't help it. Like just now when I went to tell Chase "I needed to hug him" and he bit my arm coming around to him. I squealed (he didn't bite hard) and said "you BIT ME!" He was laughing by then and saying "you said eat my beef, so I bite you." I don't know how he got that out of what I said but I think he might just be messin' with his mama's head a little:)

Oh, BTW, we gave out gift tins this Christmas from our family, filled with nuts, of course. Sharing the wealth, from our nutty family to others- ha ha!

As they say, if the shoe fits----

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chicken Patties

Our children had their Sunday School Christmas party yesterday right after church service. And the 3 of them had filled out cards giving "ideas" as to what they wanted. They asked for spicy CHICKEN PATTIES. I knew people would think they were nuts, but that's really what they wanted. So we have now had chicken patties for lunch and supper. OIY. I hope they have gotten their fill.

Chloe, Chance, and Chase went to the party at their Sunday school teachers' house, Pat and her hubby "Boon." Now affectionately known as "Chicken PATty, and Chicken BONe. Yep, and their teachers find them amusing, they don't even mind the nicknames our kids have now branded them with.

Names are very hard for our kids to grasp. They can't seem to remember them, even if they are easy to pronounce. Such as PAT. So they make up a nickname, usually one related to FOOD, and they can remember that! Like "Chicken Patty."

I can't say enough how we have been blessed to have a wonderful church family. We have a small congregation, about 125 people, but they really are like family. They prayed and joined in as we followed the journey to our children. With amazement and joy, they celebrated our children's arrival with us.

And their support, their love, their prayers, have not ended. In fact, they have increased as we wade the new waters of blending the family. They have blessed us with total acceptance of our children, no matter their inability to speak English, their goofing off:)

Our kids have become comfortable within this family as they learn about our God and why we celebrate Him. It's been fun to watch them bond with others, their own age and all ages. They hand out bulletins each week, even though we aren't signed up to do it:) Just so they can see everyone and give the people they like, nicknames. We have Toad (Todd) Rose (Russ) Michael (Mike) Car-wash (Carla) if you get the drift. No one is safe from them:)

They enjoy church so much, when I told them the candlelight service was on Christmas Eve, Chase woke us up at 8 am, he was fully dressed, shoes on. READY. To go to church. I had to break it to him, church was in the EVENING, not the typical Sunday 9 am morning service.

Not many dull days around here, as you might guess:) The kids are playing with their Christmas loot and not fighting MUCH. A nice vacation so far, if I dare to write that!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!


N0 record breaking this Christmas. It was 17 longggg minutes till they were done, and not because they had too much stuff (although we are hugely blessed) it was because Chance was checking out everything he got in minute detail:) Yeah, we time them, just for fun.
The boys started out a little overwhelmed. Not really sure what to do, what was expected. But they got it pretty quickly. I heard 2 exclaims of "this was the BEST Christmas ever" (Kat and Camden) and they all were busy quickly with all the new toys and gadgets. Kat got a DSI and won't even put it down to go to the bathroom!

I have to post some of the funnier pictures of surprised and happy faces. Overall Santa did a good job and we received the nicest card, along with 2 dimes, one for me, one for dad, from our children. We were told "it was all they had" now how cute is that??? It was my favorite "gift" since it was bought with tons of LOVE.

Gosh, we are so overwhelmed ourselves, to see these precious kids here with us, siblings forever, having their first Christmas and seeing what it means, yet again today, to be a part of a wonderful Christian celebration and a part of our F-A-M-I-L-Y.
We feel so blessed this year:) We had a huge lunch and Chance made a point to come and thank us for the FOOD, not all the gifts, the food we had for lunch. Makes us really appreciate all we do have, living with this "boy of wonder" who really enjoys so much that we take for granted having.
Dad has a BIG basketball hoop to assemble, yeah, Santa left the job for him and the kids are bugging him to get it together so they can shoot hoops:) We hope everyone else had a wonderful and blessed day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's begun

Their Christmas break. Oh yeah. They woke up fighting. So I broke down and pulled out a surprise, a game card for their Ninte*do system with 67 games on it. New to them. MINE to keep, so there is no fighting over it. I've heard nothing but game playing since--phewww. If it can only last 11 days?

I have to laugh at my niece, she CLAIMS she will never buy a DS for HER boy, Mr. Jaxon, as she calls them "crack for kids." We'll just see about that when she needs a break, how fast she crumbles.

I got the reports back from the school on the boys. I am not thrilled. No special education needed. Are they NUTS? This does not mean they do not need ESL- and I think they are trying to bundle what they boys need under all ESL services but this is not going to get them caught up in math and sciences.

They both got very poor educations in Ch*na and need to be caught up as much as possible to their peers. They have the right to this. We will have a meeting right after the holiday break and I will be discussing this with the school. We also have the help of a college professor who is Ch*nese, she has graciously offered to help the school with teaching Chase, after she meets with him over this break and can determine what will help him best. She has been here for 23 years and helps all the of the local college students from Ch*na.

Dad and I already decided that we will be placing Chase in 9th grade after the holiday break. He knows this and seems to be looking forward to it, albeit a bit nervous. We decided this when we heard from the school last week that he does not have friends in the 8th grade and we realize he is older than most of these kids and he wants to have friends, he is lonely.

So thank God again for Hannah (Chloe's BFF) and her family, she has a sister in 9th grade, Abby, who is able and willing to assist Chase to move up to the 9th grade, as well as the school, since they agreed to place him where we want and are fine with him moving up after the break.

Abby is also around Chase with the church youth and he is comfortable with her, and most importantly, she is able to understand him. We are seeing that his English is very heavily accented and harder for others to pick up what he is saying which is frustrating for him as well as hindering him making friends.

I think it will be a positive move forward for him and am excited to see how it works out for him. We have a good school system, our children are their first true ESL students so we are charting unknown waters but they are willing to work with what we feel is best so far. It's a learning process for all involved and we keep working at it and changing things as needed.

For the time being we have 3 of the college students who are Ch*nese and decided not to go back for the holiday break so they will be here enjoying our holiday with us and are already making the kids happy by planning a huge Ch*nese meal this evening for them:) As well as helping Chase download stuff on his translator from their computer. 2 guys and a girl, which is a super combo for our 3 to pal around with.

I wanted to point out something that we realized when the kids were in trouble at the beginning of the week. They never once said they wanted to go BACK to the orphanage. They said the orphanage was "better than here." This was really interesting to me and showed us that they were using what they said to hurt us. They DON'T want to go back.

So something here must be good for them- even if they aren't willing to admit it. Gotta love teenagers, they are just so smart!

They are keeping us on our toes, just what we need to stay young and on top of things for the 2 that follow them:) Aren't they soooo thoughtful to do that?

I forgot to post the Christmas card pose we decided on. So here it is:)If you didn't get one from us, here you go and Merry Christmas from our crew:)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crossing the line


Yep, they did it. AGAIN. Chance to be exact and Chloe followed suit by agreeing with him.

He was watching a commercial for Chuck*e Cheese and said, " you no take me there, I not like here. I like orphanage better." And I said "oh REALLY." And Chloe chimed in with her complaint of the moment, not enough long sleeved shirts to suit her royal highness, so, yeah, the orphanage was a BETTER place.

Chase was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. Although he was clearly distressed when I went into another room away from the evil twins and cried. Then off the twins went to school. Chase had to stay home due to a "poo- poo problem" as he put it:(

Dad was quite hot when he heard what the twins had said- yet again. Yeah, they have said this before. Usually in reference to something they miss. Which we have NO problem with. They are going to miss things from their past.

BUT, as I spent the day stewing from their hurtful remark, I realized WHY I was so upset. Because they KNOW it will make us feel bad, as we try as hard as humanly possible to give them a good life, while teaching them to be a part of a family. Because we love them, they KNOW this.

You see, they only came off with this remark when they weren't getting their way about something. Something they want NOW- done for them as if they are the only people who matter in this house. Neither child has any NEED for the things they "think" they MUST have immediately and this is not acceptable to us.

So together, dad and I, decided to give them a little taste of their own medicine. We told them if either of them ever come off with that remark in that context again, they better be prepared to live as if they are back at the orphanage. Since we won't ever send them back, we'll be kind enough to make their lives as close as possible to what they had in the orphanage, which these are some of the things they have told us~

Going 3 weeks in same clothes, no bath, no washing the clothes. Being cold, not having enough blankets to keep warm, no heat in their bedrooms. 1 pair of shoes for a year, doesn't matter if they grew out of them, wore them out. Not enough food. No church, no karate, no staying at friends, going to school activities, etc. Sounds like a BLAST, huh?

I THINK we got our point across. And I made it clear to them, I KNEW they said this to hurt me because they weren't getting what they wanted right THEN. And I am not here to take that crap. That we believed they were the children God meant for us to have and we did so much to get them home, that they better stop and think about what they are saying about how BAD it is here. Really think.

I feel much better having figured them out and called them on it. I can recall being quite the naughty teen myself and throwing out statements I'm none to proud to own up to now. So I DO understand why they do it, but I also know it's not going to be tolerated. It really is a poison, making us wonder if we are giving them all they need to be part of our family, when in fact they are saying this out of pure selfishness. As teenagers are apt to do.

I have no doubt they will not use it again. Not in this manner. Chloe's eyes got bigger and bigger and Chance's head lower and lower as I ticked off the things that would occur to give them an orphanage atmosphere to live in HERE. They knew they crossed the line.

They pouted in their rooms all evening and still refuse to apologize this morning, the stubborn lil' turds. They get that stubbornness from their momma:) I still love them, stubbornness and all. This evening we were able to have a good talk with them and made sure they understood what we wanted from them and why, as well as how they made us feel and that we don't treat family that way.

You know I have never opened my heart or mind as big as I have for these 3. It's been such an experience and I do not doubt it will continue to be. Even with them saying something so nasty, I still love them and am thankful to be their mother. They need guidance and I am glad I am able to teach them as we share our lives, as we learn to love and care about each other.

Chase told Chloe he loved me, just out of the blue tonight... Chloe looked at me and said "Chase said he loves you." And I said "yeah, and I love him too." It's happening, slowly but surely:) becoming a bonded and caring family. Thank GOD for the learning as well as the wonderful moments. It's working because we have Him guiding us:)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crazy Busy


What a weekend! Friday night the kids were in the Live Nativity. Saturday morning they had Christmas program practice, then they made a ton of cookies. Saturday evening they were in the Live Nativity again.

This morning they did their Christmas program at church, which was very nice. They did a good job. It was really special to see the teens standing silently in front as a live Nativity as the pastor did his sermon.

Santa and his "helpers", one of whom happened to be our very own Donovan, visited this afternoon and handed out small treat bags to the kids.

This evening we went caroling to the shut-in folks and took them a plate of the cookies the kids had made for them. We had a wonderful time, it was funny when Chase said "they no good people, they not let us come in!" And we had to explain to him that we were there to sing, not to go in their homes to visit. The next few homes did invite us in, even though we were 30+ in numbers.

Miss Kitty, the forever love bug, wouldn't leave any house without hugging whomever we went to sing for. She was about froze by the time we were done, but she had a wonderful time.

As we all did. Tired, but happy, we are tonight. Hope everyone else had a good weekend as well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sugar and Spice

We went to see the teens play the starring roles in the Live Nativity, brrrr was it COLD. 20 degrees--- COLD. Freezing. COLD.

All of the kids did an amazing job. Betcha didn't have any idea Joseph was really Asian?? As well as an angel, and one of the shepherds? Yep, check 'em out:) Ha ha!

After the "show" we went inside for yummy cookies and warm cocoa. Miss Kitty was eating her cookies when I looked up and saw her lips covered in sugar.

It was so cute and since she is such a sweetie inside and out, I HAD to take a picture. Of course I did!

Camden was being ALL boy and trying to see how many cookies he could fit in his mouth at one time.

I spared you the picture of that and give you instead, one of his adorable smiles. He told me today he wishes it were December 24th tonight. Uhh, no- it's not.

Santa is not quite ready so he'll have to cut the big guy a break and wait a WHOLE week longer. Terrible, I know. Ahhh, the difficulty of waiting that whole 7 days till the big day is here. Camden is sure he can't possibly wait.
Santa KNOWS better:)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Playing Favorites?


A teacher of Chase's told me today that Chase said DAD is his favorite parent.

OHHH REALLY??????? Good thing I FEEL the LOVE or my feelings would be hurt.

Nope not me. Not a bit. WHY?? Because I LOVE seeing this precious child, son of ours, ENJOYING having a DAD. His very own dad.

He's such a joy, we are so thankful for him. Even if I'm NOT his most favorite, extra special, super bestest parent. I love him anyway. For sure:)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Momma's Lesson

I don't ever doubt God hears me. And sometimes I think He feels I need a lesson. Last night I got one such lesson. After being totally annoyed by my children and wishing for a break from them, I got one.

One I'd rather not have had. 3 1/2 hours of wait and worry in the ER with Miss Kitty. She had not been herself since she was sick last Sunday but over the course of the day yesterday she really seemed to be hurting. Complaining her belly really hurt.

As a mother who is a nurse, I am not one to panic but sometimes I also know more than I wish I knew, because I was really getting worried she had appendicitis. The pain coming and going, low grade fever, ongoing nausea but no vomiting since last Sunday.

She was so brave, they stuck her for blood twice, did an x-ray, and she didn't cry at all. Matter of fact, she made the lab tech laugh, while she stuck her, Kat went over the list of her brothers (since it was longer) and when asked who else was from Ch*na she said "I don't remember."
That made me laugh too, since I knew what she meant, they are just brothers and sisters to her, it's not important to us where they came from.

The diagnosis? Bladder infection. Caught before it became a kidney infection, so that was good. Also good, just medicine for a week, no surgery, no shots in her belly (what she was worried about).
Surprising to me, was the belly pain, but I was told it's common with younger girls who get bladder infections. This was a first for Kat, and seems odd as she tends to drink a ton of water.

She stayed home today and rested, I was glad to see her eat better and she did not have one complaint about her belly hurting. I'm so relieved to see her return to her "old self." I just knew in my gut that something was really wrong with her and I'm glad I took her in when I did.

Makes me thankful for all of my annoying kiddos, that they are healthy and able to annoy me. Lesson learned. Never hurts for any of us to have a lesson and to grow in learning:) Even momma.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Annoying

Tis' the season to be driven insane, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

And they're doin' it. FAST.

They started a few days ago, when Chance "upped the ante" when he went from using "your son" (since I say "well- that's YOU") when he comes to tattle on Camden, to "your BELLY son." Yep, I know, you are gasping in shock right along with me. Oh, that's right, I wasn't as surprised as I was M-A-D!

And I let the THREE of them know "that's IT." You have a choice to call Camden by his name or say "my brother" that's IT. No more "your son, belly son," or what ever insult they would've thought of next. And it goes for Kat as well. No "the daughter who was here first." (Yeah, I've heard that). Not going there anymore with you 3. Soooo done.

At first it was just a reference, we knew that, but they are getting English enough that they can understand when I tell them something is rude or not be said and this was crossing the line into insulting.

Next came Chase's love of "I don't care." That has been forbidden for good as of today when he has continued to misuse it to not listen and threw it out at me when he had about $1 in change missing and he immediately blamed Camden. And I told him, at least 5 kids were in his room this week, that he could NOT accuse someone without seeing the person doing it. That I was not going to tolerate the picking at Camden.

I told him straight up, "you got us as parents, you may be happy about that, but we came with children, including CAMDEN and you have to accept him as your brother. LIKE IT OR NOT." I pointed out Chance is in the room, yet he didn't accuse HIM of taking his money.

The last and final straw was Chloe's use of "cheaty and lying." While referring to anything that displeases her. Not always nice when you are sitting in church and tell her to move over for someone to join us and out she comes loudly with "YOU cheaty ME." Or saying we "LIED"over silly things that we DIDN'T lie about, it might have been due to plans changing, something that is out of our control.

Just so you don't think we are raising perfect children besides the trio, Donovan got out of hand last night toward Chase when the kids were in the teen room at church (20 kids) and someone put DONOVAN in charge, which went right to his head. We had our Sunday School class Christmas Party downstairs. He started bossing Chase which threw Chase into defensive mode so we had to address that.

Donovan wasn't getting that the teens were NOT going to behave like 14 and 15 year olds that had grown up in our family their whole lives. That we don't even think about their "number age" but more their maturity and are teaching them.

I could've laughed till I cried- had I started-- because as of now I've had to explain (again) to Donovan that the teens have orphanage behaviors and issues, and to the teens (numerous times) that Camden and Kat will not act like kids from an orphanage like the teens expect them to. Another reason to promote foster care, it'ssoooo important long term for children all over the world.

Then Chloe had to be reminded that she needs to think before she speaks, she's been a "real rip" as we say in these parts when some one's being a bit too spunky and crossing the line to downright rude. She made some comment about not liking her family, to which I was able to stay calm and say "Chloe, do you really mean that? Or is it something we talked about that you say without thinking and it's hurtful?"

She's continued on to work on my insanity by wanting a coat, she has $8 saved and wanted me to give her money to get a coat, which we have a rule of no buying stuff this close to Christmas, we never know what Santa is bringing so it's a no-go. She wouldn't let up on it, or anything, I was getting all questioned out. I told her she had surpassed her "questioning quota" of the day.

At this point it's barely 1 pm and I was worn out. DONE. So I sent Baba to the store, he was crazy enough to take everyone but Chase, who didn't want to go. I wasn't nice enough to tell him bad weather is predicted for tomorrow, meaning everyone in the county freaks out and heads to the store for milk and bread, as if they will not make it out to the store for a month, as well as it being one of two Saturdays left till Christmas which = total chaos at Walm*rt.

It took them quite awhile and I spent that free time taking a nice, long, undisturbed nap to recharge and be able to handle another go round with the crew. A call later to my BFF to dump on her how ANNOYING my children were being, since she understands that I love them to death, but sometimes they drive me NUTS.

Chance's NO- NO word? "ANNOYING." I'm sick of hearing it. Banned. He's such a love, he came to me last night and said " In Ch*na, I mean, how I be better here?" I told him, "stop saying everything is annoying, it's not nice, and be nicer to your brother, Camden. You can be friends." He said "okay, I start tomorrow." (It was bedtime) and today he really WAS better.

The kids did seem to get it that they were putting me on "overload" and since being fed their all time favorite "chicken patties" they are watching a Christmas movie and chillin'. Phewww. Sometimes I really have to take it hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute, but I am never doing any of it with out God.

None of it. I can't. Not one second. He keeps me going, He gives us the good times remember when these tough ones come up. He never leaves me when I am trying to teach children and I trust in Him to give me the words we need. These are His precious children that He has entrusted us with, so I know he is guiding us to raise them to adulthood.

Speaking of adulthood children-- one of our older boys is having some pretty major issues in his life right now, could we ask for prayers for him? I can't share more without compromising his privacy but it's a big storm he has to weather and we want to see him come through this intact and healthy.

We never stop loving them, no matter how big they get. Something I can tell Chance is starting to understand with him trying to pin me down as to when I will "stop bossing him." What age? And I assure him, we will be here for him, guiding him even when he becomes an adult. And if he considers it "bossing," well then, I guess he can just call me "Boss Momma." Ha ha!!

A day of baby steps, but still STEPS to move them forward. Lots of work, these 3 are, but it WORKS. They are worth it, so very worth it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Concert

The twins had a Christmas Concert tonight, they are in the chorus. So after we chased Chase out of the bathroom, I got to curl Chloe's thick hair, which is virtually impossible to get more than a little curl at the ends. Then Chance had to make sure HE was beautiful, as he said I was"so very nice" when I told him he was not allowed to leave home till he is 26:)

Then he figured out that he could be on his own at 18 legally, so I was being "too bossy" to keep him till he is 26. He's so fun, I love messing with him.

We get into some really odd conversations as you can tell. He was telling me I couldn't tell him who he could "love with his heart," to which I just laughed at him.

Chloe keeps describing everything as flavored, if something isn't flashy enough it "has no flavor". Not enough Christmas lights on a house, "no flavor." Not sure where she got that from. But we get the drift.

I finally, finally heard back through the local Representative's office that we have a Certificate of Citizenship coming our way, but only after we drive over 2 hours away to have him take an oath later this month.

WELL.....I happen to know that they are in error, he was a citizen the minute we touched down in the USA, wayyyyyy back in MAY! So another 2 phone calls, an e-mail and we are awaiting the answer as to why they are saying he needs to take an oath when he, in fact, does NOT. Just send the stupid paper already, will ya?

Pretty soon I will be hitting the same amount of time and effort on trying to get this one paper than I did on his whole adoption! Okay, maybe that's exaggerating just a little, but geeeeshhh.

I posted pictures of the Concert kiddos, I took pics while they were singing, as well as after, they were NOT thrilled (can you SEE how Miss Chloe shows her displeasure) that we refused the offer to stay and listen to the 7th and 8th grade band.

We had already endured the 6 th grade band playing the worst and slowest version of Feliz Navidad I have ever heard. It's supposed to be a happy song, upbeat, it was making me want to cry.

We declined being tortured, oops, I mean staying longer and headed out. Miss Kitty is better, but is still not completely up to par yet. She missed school again yesterday after going Tuesday, she had another set back. Not sure why.

Uh, BTW, that Chloe, well, she didn't like the WHOLE gang being on our Christmas card, talk about being a SNOT, she had to have me order cards for HER, with just HER on them. I didn't have enough of my cards to give her the 8 or so she wanted to send to certain people, so I ordered her 10 of her OWN cards. I'm betting the people who are graced with these cards are going to think- "wow, there's Chloe, but where are the rest of her family?" I just bet so.

I DID get a big "thank you mother" and a KISS for ordering the cards, might just have been worth the aggravation the boys are sure to give me:) I can just hear them as soon as they see HER cards, I swear they have "Mother, me wan one" down pat.

I can't even pretend I don't know what they are saying, not that I would EVER do that. Of course I wouldn't. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Camden has been very funny lately, he informs me one minute he does not believe in Santa anymore since " no one in fourth grade does." Then he asks, "do you think Santa has everything wrapped yet?" Wouldn't he like to know. I've heard Santa and his elves have been busy and that's ALL I'm gonna say about that.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Droppin" like flies

A bug and not the cuddly kind. Some type of germ started with Miss Kitty vomiting at church Sunday evening, heading on to me and Baba. As if we have TIME to be sick. Ick.

Sadly the bug has not chosen to hit the twins, sad because they are their perky, talkative selves and we are suffering headaches as well as nausea, so their usual excited, constant chatter has brought out evil thoughts. Like hoping they get the bug so we can talk non-stop to them and make them realize how horrible you feel and how annoying that is.

Knowing them, they'd just sleep it off, not paying a lick of attention to us anyway.

I've got their supper in the oven, I can hardly stand the smell, but they can't possibly go without eating because I have nausea, NO WAY.

I'm going back to bed. They can have it all. I'm sure they are THRILLED by that, more for them!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Child- like

As many of you know, Chase is the "oldest" of the sibling group we adopted, but not the oldest of their new family. As the oldest of the threesome, he had taken on responsibilities in the past that many adults would cringe at doing, even though he was a child of 7 or eight years old.

So when he came here I expected him to be the serious soul he is. At least most of the time. He has a surprisingly funny and silly side to him that I can rarely catch in photos.

Partly because it's usually very impromptu, and the camera is not handy, as well as him disliking his smile-- saying he has "no eyes" when he smiles.

I don't care if he has "no eyes," I think he has a smile that lights up his whole face. It's beautiful to see.
He was bringing another load of laundry up to our room and he dumped it out in a big pile. I teased him that it wasn't folded and was he "slacking?" So he decided to REALLY slack and laid down in our bed and pretended to sleep. Funny guy.

I figured it was fair game that his eyes were shut and I happen to know he is quite ticklish in certain places:) So I got and I got him GOOD.

I love times like this with him, seeing him laugh and have a good time, carrying on with us, just as a typical teen. I affectionately call him my "sonshine" and sing along to the "You are my Sunshine" song-- to which he says "I not you sonshine.- you stop sing." But he knows he IS:)

Not so funny was church today and the kids deciding to act like they were 5 year olds instead of teens, they were swapping seats, talking during prayer, goofing off, turning pages in their bibles LOUDLY and repeatedly. I was ready to bonk them a good one, I had to move between them and then we were heading home, they had planned to have chicken ( sadly to them- sans the HEAD or FEET) and potatoes. They wanted to make it.

I am fresh out of potatoes and oil so I was going to have to go to the store but when we headed out from church I informed them that children who do not behave in church do not get taken to the store to buy anything, they were getting spaghetti for lunch. They HATE spaghetti. And I told them, "Maybe you'll behave in church next time?"

I did make one concession for them, sausage in the sauce. They DO like that. (Hey it's MEAT, of course they like it)

Speaking of meat, they traded names in their Sunday School class. I hope all the parents of the kids that got our three's names KNOW our kids. They were to put down suggestions of what they wanted with a $10 limit. What did our 3 put?? Chicken PATTIES. Spicy, chicken patties. OIY!

IF they hadn't gained 13, 10 and 20 lbs since coming home I would be terribly embarrassed that they asked for FOOD, as if we don't feed them. BUT, as it is, the rest of us might not get food, but trust me, THEY DO. And lots of it:)

Just another Sunday gone by, only 20 days till that big day, I'm thankful to say Chase and Chance don't really understand the whole Santa thing, they seem to be getting "God." We are cool with that.

Jesus is the reason for the Season, without a doubt!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chance's challenge

I had conferences for the kids. Thankfully the ESL teacher was able to combine Chloe, Chase and Chance's into one, or I would have been running all over the place for 6 kids!

Camden is doing super. He is a solid, advanced reader. He is very popular with the other kids, very flexible with different personalities of other kids, very caring.

Kat is doing very well. Her teacher said she is advanced in reading, as well as math. The teacher said Kat is one of those students she will "never forget" in her career. That she is loving and kind to everyone as well as adorable.

Donovan made the honor roll, I STILL think it's a typo, since he typically does the least amount of work possible to pass. Matter of fact, if he spent as much time doing his work as he does figuring out how to get OUT of doing as much as possible, he'd be a straight "A" student. He's really something:)

Chloe is doing fantastic. She is incredibly bright, she is highly motivated to learn. She is being graded and is on the honor roll again this year, even though we are doing a pass/fail with her. She is so annoyingly committed to her homework, annoying because she will come home and want to do it immediately, and if I can't help her with whatever she gets irked at me.

She's just wants to learn soooo bad.

Chase's report was good as well. The ESL teacher said she actually saw the "light go on" the day he got it. That it just clicked for him and his English has taken off from there. He, as well, is very bright and motivated to learn, although he does NOT want to do homework if at all possible.

Chance. Well, totally different story for him. Not a surprise for me. We suspected something was not right when he could not use the dictionary we had in Ch*na. He would take it to Chase or Chloe. And it's in both languages. I wondered then if he was not able to read Ch*nese and why.

Turns out I was right, sadly, he cannot read or write much Ch*nese at all. He defers to the sibs to do it for him. So when he started working on English, I was expecting him not to catch on. I know he is bright, his social English came about quicker than Chase's. But he has some type of learning disability, I think it may be dyslexia. But he is being tested to see what the issue is.

He was soooo nervous about the conference. He kept saying "I in trouble, oh no." So when the teacher confirmed he is struggling big time, it's just not happening for him, I knew it was important for him to not be discouraged.

So when I came home I asked him " you doing your work, working hard?" He said "yes, Mother." I told him "I know and I am proud of you, you are doing your best." You should have seen his face. He isn't speechless often, but he was. He really expected me to be mad at him. But I thought, why would I be mad that he has a harder time learning? It's not his fault, and if we blame him and make him feel bad, what has that helped?

I did tell him I knew he has a harder time learning, not that he is not smart, he just needs to learn differently than Chloe or Chase and he may have to work harder than them to learn, but we will get him the help he needs.

He was so relieved. You could just see it.

His testing will be done soon, the school is using a Ch*nese speaking person to help them test him and figure out exactly what he will need.

In the meantime he is happy to go to school, he hasn't been discouraged and he remains our funny guy, always laughing, always singing. Just a sweet soul who needs teaching, but also loving guidance that we are thankful to be able to give him.

It's also deeply important to us to be supportive of him since he has told us stories of how he was treated at his school in Ch*na, he was in a different school than Chloe and Chase and he was picked on terribly. Hit, denied lunch, made fun of, and this done by teacher and classmates alike!
I can only thank God that this wonderful boy is here now, where he is liked in school, he is cherished at home. Where he can look to the future and know he will be only going forward, never, ever, back to that. Chance is named appropriately, he is getting the chance to do anything and everything with his life. Learning disability or not.

Now he's our SON and we sure do love him-- as is:)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Chat with Chloe

As the children had off school again yesterday, I decided it was a good time to tackle Miss Chloe. Not literally. But tackle her I did. Some issues we are going to be looking at for a long time to come, over and over. Things we "could" ignore"- which would be sooo much easier, but also wrong to do that.

So first I made a big paper heart. Then little hearts with all my kids names. And dad. First I asked her to come sit while we talked. And calmly explained to her that when I wanted to talk to her it was not always meaning she was in trouble. As well as, when I raise my voice, I am not always "mad" at her or anyone else, sometimes PEOPLE here don't listen when called and I have to get louder.

Once we got through that, I asked her if all the little name hearts fit in my heart. Yep, sure do with room to spare even! Then I asked her if I needed to kick anyone out of my heart to love her. Nope, sure don't. We talked about how I couldn't treat everyone the same, but that didn't mean I loved anyone MORE than someone else, just that different people need different love. They all stay in my heart. No matter what they do too.

Then we got into how I did not have an easy childhood and I really struggled with wanting my mother/daughter relationship to be different than mine was with my mom. And I have worked hard to do that, but I am also human and will make mistakes, hopefully Chloe will take those and say "I will do this different," when she is a mom. But that I always try my best and I want/ed to be her mom.

Next was the explanation how God gave me sons, even when I asked for daughters from the very first son. But that I needed to grow and learn before I could really be a good mom to girls. He even gave me Mal when we blended our family, that I could learn and grow in caring for her. She has taught me so much, and I love her dearly. Our home became what it is today, mainly due to issues Mal had with her other mom and needed our home to be a safe haven for her. And it made it a safe haven for not just her, but MANY children we have been blessed with.

When Chloe asked we touched on why sons are so important in Ch*na with them being responsible to take care of their aging parents, unlike here, where we have the freedom to love our children equally, male or female. And that I found boys easier to parent, but that doesn't mean I love them MORE.

And I pointed out that everyone was in my "heart" and no one's "heart" was any different. That God gave me all these children, some by birth, some by fostering, some by adopting, some blended, but that they all were MY children. That I didn't care HOW they came to me, they were MINE. Gifts. From God. And I was thankful for each one of them.

I told her we didn't adopt her, or Kat, or her brothers to "save them." We didn't adopt them to make us "look good." We adopted because we wanted to grow our family, and they needed a family, that God brought us together for a reason. I told her about how we found her, after adopting Kat, and fostering. That we had a "hole" between Camden who was 8 and Donovan who was 14 and we wanted to put an older child in there after we learned more about the plight of older children who did not get adopted from Ch*na. And we knew we were meant to look for an older child.

That we saw her picture and knew God wanted her to be our daughter, but another family was applying for her and we had to wait. That we considered other girls but we just knew SHE was the ONE. That days later the "other " family decided not to go forward, and that was fine, because we KNEW God wanted us to be her family. And that God KNEW about her brothers, how we would respond and that we WOULD go back and bring them home too. That maybe her brothers would have been lost to her forever if she had gotten that other family. But God had this all planned out. He KNEW how this needed to go for the three of them.

I explained to her that we didn't adopt them for them to come here -- we feed them, house them, get them schooling, and they go off, get a job and as soon as they turn 18 we say "okay see ya!" That we still parent and LOVE them for good. We aren't a "pit stop." We are forever. Their parents, their family, here for them no matter what. Accepting them 100% no matter how they came to be our children.

Next was telling her that some of her behaviors affected this whole family. Like little things she did to Camden and Kat. And that I knew she was jealous of them. But that she needed to understand that it wasn't their FAULT that they were here first, or a bio that looks just like me. And that believe it or not, Camden had actually complained that HE was the ONLY child here with no "other" mother or dad. That HE was jealous of HER. And I told her that hurting someone because they were here first or a bio, was not okay.

Chance, her nosey twin, listened in on most of the conversation, and I let him, figuring he could grasp the concept as well. And since he was sitting there, I told her to pick on HIM was not right either. That he is NOT her and Chase's CHILD to yell at, make fun of, to berate. That he is MY son and I would not allow that either. I would protect him and expect him to be treated as well as any of my other children. I KNOW it meant something to him because he hung his head and he cried. And she saw him crying.

I told Chloe I was talking to her about all this because-

1. she could understand me
2. she's been home almost 2 years and it was time we work on these issues
3. I understood she never had the mom figure she needed in her life and we are going to start working on some things she needs to learn that she never got to learn
4. she can make a huge difference since her brothers are looking to her to learn how to be a part of a family
5. she needs to start being a bigger part in making this family work how God means it to

I've seen a BIG change in her since our "chat." Because Chloe has huge holes in her life, one being no one was a "mother" to her until me. And she really doesn't know what that means sometimes. She doesn't KNOW how to be a daughter. And she has been telling me that she is having dreams over and over that she is "dumped" or"taken" from me. Sent back to Ch*na.

That's one of the big reasons I knew she needed this chat, she is working through the pain of never having a mom and now having one and not being sure what to DO with me. I know without a doubt she loves me, and she has a wonderful heart. I'm so glad God "paired" us up to give us what we both need. ( I told her that too:)

The boys still have some behaviors I'm not thrilled with, some of the same jealousy as their sis, but their acceptance and love of us, especially me, has clearly been easier for them. They had a favorite auntie they called "Mama"at the orphanage and she clearly treated them as her children.

They are miles ahead of Chloe in that department, they transferred that love to me. Easily. I am sure we will have "forever" issues for them, but I have no doubt how happy they are here.

So for now we continue to have a peaceful home, I feel so much better having tackled that with Chloe. She is such a precious child, and even though one might think, wow, she needed that talk? at age 14? Again, age is but a number, in this aspect, Chloe is much more like a 6 or 7 year old. It's a gap in her life, one she missed out on, so we go back, teach her what she missed to make her whole.

And I don't think she'll forget that big paper heart anytime soon. She and the other kids messed around with it all evening, it was fun to watch them. Mixing the "people" up, saying who was in their hearts, exclaiming about how big "my" heart was. Learning.

Oh, BTW, Chance kept his "I'm bored" to himself for his last day of vacation, too bad, I had a whole list of things I was going to put him to. What a shame, huh?

Another shame, flooding in our area and didn't these kids come trudging home early today. OIY. As if they haven't had enough of vacation. Really? I mean just LOOK what Chloe did to the poor baby Jaxon, yes, that's HIM in one of Kat's hats, doll clothes, and Chloe the guilty party for his pink- ness. He's gonna beat her up some day for that.

I did manage to trim hair on 2 more of the kiddos tonight, Chase and Chloe. Chloe decided to go for bangs. I was a bit scared of Chase's hair, had never cut it before since it is so straight there is not much leeway for goof ups. He also has the thickest hair I have ever seen, it was like cutting 3 kids hair instead of just one!

I did okay, he wanted it shorter up front so he hacked at it after I decided I was done and it looked good, so any complaints will be blamed on HIM:) Phewww, that leaves me off the hook:)