Monday, January 31, 2011

Noisy boys

What is it about the sound Lego's being picked through out of a big container that sets your teeth on edge and your head pounding?

Or is that Chance, my son, the King of Ornery? I'm not sure which one is worse tonight. Chance came home from school and I gave them the option to go to brother Derrik's and get paid $10 each (him and Chloe chose to go) to do all his dishes. Yeah, got some L-A-Z-Y going on with that older boy.

Once Chance got back I was working on taking down the numerous photos of our family in our hallway. WELL.... Chloe was more than happy to help, barking out orders at her brothers so well she makes a momma proud:) "Get more newspapers, get the tape, get up here, carry this, carry that." That girl can delegate, that's for sure.

I managed to get it done even though Chance claimed he couldn't figure out how the tape dispenser worked (he was PLAYING with it the other day and seemed to figure out how to WASTE a bunch of tape THEN) and next I told him to sweep.
More moaning and groaning ensued, yeah, he acts like he can't possibly do ONE more thing to help. I told him to "knock it off". I got that done, then was getting out all the nails, when I finished he took the hammer and was pulling nails where I didn't want him to. Had to tell him to "knock it off again." Then I filled (yeah, you all are just wondering how many jobs I can do, I know it!) the holes with spackle, and sanded them.

As I am doing this, goofball, oh, I mean, Chance is going along trying to make holes for me to have more to do! I got done and he was driving me bonkers, yelling over the sweeper Chloe was using in her room, and he just happened to be right by my ear. Another "Chance KNOCK IT OFF."

Finally he got his snack, after asking me for the 100th time would we have school tomorrow because we are getting another bad storm which has already started. Then he declared he was going to bed. I sighed and said "ahhhh, peace." Spoke too soon though because Mr. Smarty Pants, comes down with tape on his mouth and thinks he's just too cute for words. I told him "good keep that on there!"
And he said "Oh MOTHER, I can't help but talk, 'cause I Ch*nese boy and that's how me is." Uhh, huh. Must have forgotten he came with brother---- the one who is QUIET. Except for now, Chase is digging his heart out in the Lego bin helping Camden (reading this right-- CAMDEN) with a school project. Saying "black, yes or no. Red, yes or no." WHOOO HOOOO. Getting along. like BROTHERS. Makes a momma wanna cry.

I guess I'll take the noise, just to see this:)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Who needs a lesson?

I've been wanting to share with you all how Chase has been doing with switching him to High School. We actually tweaked both of the boys' schedules to include more instruction as Chase wanted and Chance didn't want but needed. Chance has 1 class in the high school and some of his one on one ESL time there. Chase is full time High school.

This would be the change after I flipped out in the meeting about their needs not being met, per the LAWS and LAWS were being broken. So after scrambling ensued to make the crazy redheaded mother happy, the boys started these new schedules.
So far the one teacher who used to be the Life skills teacher has been fantastic. He went around and spoke to all the teachers and kids that would have the boys in their classes. And the teachers as well as the kids have embraced the boys.

But I learned that sometimes the kids are just fine with helping someone new and different, but sadly ADULTS can be worse than the kids! What happened was Chase, jumped over a table in the lunchroom. (yeah, so not cool.) So later the Assist. Principal saw CHANCE in the hall with his English teacher and he told him not to jump over tables. The teacher pointed out he had the wrong boy. And this is when this adult said "well, it doesn't matter, they need to be kept under control."

Let's just say, the red hair flared when I heard this. My children are not animals. Nor are they interchangeable. GRRRRR.

So I made a phone call to this man and pointed out his error. Told him he owed my son, CHANCE, an apology. And he acted kinda of smart with me. He told me he didn't know how to communicate with them?? Uhh, trying SPEAKING? I told him the boys looked very different, and he told me he had never seen them together. Which I found out later was a LIE.

I wondered if he realized these boys were my sons, ya know they don't really LOOK like me or anything, but he confirmed that he did NOT know, and he is the dude who calls me all the time about Donovan the King of Detention. I was glad he didn't realize so he wasn't influenced by Donovan's behavior, that was good. But he obviously has an issue with our sons, which is NOT good.

I explained to him that these boys have only been home 8 months from living in an orphanage and they may do things (like jump over tables) and they don't do anything to TRY to offend or misbehave. This would not have been corrected in an orphanage, most likely and we were working with them to understand this is not acceptable. But that he can speak directly to them, they understand quite well, but to get the RIGHT boy when doing so.

After I e-mailed the ESL teacher and learning she HAD introduced both boys to this guy weeks before, I was not too pleased to learn he lied to me. The ESL teacher was appalled at the behavior of this guy as well and I decided to call the principal. I explained to him what happened. And I told him this-- Our children were treated terribly in Ch*na by teachers and students. They do not deserve to be lumped together, treated like they are stupid by an adult in a school HERE.

And that I do not want people looking at them as the boys that used to orphans from an orphanage, they are our SONS. But that staff should have some understanding, or seek some if they don't know who the boys are or why they are in the school. I should not have to call and tell different staff their story over and over so they have a better understanding of who these children are and why they may do things they shouldn't. That I will not tolerate the "mistaken identity" issue because they both happen to be Ch*nese. It's narrow minded and hurtful.

I'm NOT asking my sons be coddled. We very sternly told Chase he was NEVER to jump over tables again. He could NOT do that here. But I will insist that they be RESPECTED. I won't back down on that one. Don't care who you are. I got the "we are new to this and doing the best we can" speech AGAIN, kinda tired of that one.

But I'm sure word of the angry (AGAIN) red headed momma will get around and they know me quite well from my other children, so they know I won't back down. I will fight for my son's rights.

I was amused when the Principal asked how many more (kids) we had to come, and I got to say Chloe, Camden and Kat would all be headed there eventually. He said he didn't realize we still had some to come besides Chloe, yeah, not gettin' rid of me anytime soon. Sorry to ruin his day. Okay, not really sorry, they had ruined MINE.

The joys of schooling our new children. I can say Chase is very happy, he seems so much more comfortable with the older kids, and I think it was a great move for him to progress.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Comfortable?

Ya ever wonder how kids can be comfortable in some of the crazy things they find to do with themselves when they have a day off of school?

For example-- this?
I don't know about being comfie but she sure is CUTE:)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby, It's cold outside

There's something wrong with my children. They tell me they were cold at the orphanage. Very cold. No heat in their sleeping dorms. 5 blankets and still cold. 2 of them actually have damaged tissue on their ears that will NEVER heal from being frozen.

So wouldn't you think once here, they would be thrilled to have coats, gloves, hats, warm house, blankets, etc. Ya think? Well not these goofballs that we are living with. Yesterday it was MINUS degrees out. And I said "put on coats, gloves." Well.... there came that look again, you know the one, like I grew a horn, was speaking Greek, hey, weren't we already HERE?

Chase said something about looking "goofy." To which a good mother, which I try to be, replied "You look goofy with NO coat on, not WITH a coat." When they arrived home Chance had his coat tied around his waist. Isn't he just the smartest little TURD.
Yeah, I informed him tied around the waist doesn't count as ON. Boy, was he unhappy.

Too bad. Not watching kids who have decent clothes for the weather NOT wear those clothes, for stupid reasons. Yeah, I said it. STUPID.

The kids stayed for Homework Help after school. And it didn't hurt any of them, even that pouter Chloe. She did just fine. I guess she thought she would need more information and instead of asking things like "how long is it, what do we do, who is picking us up, etc." She chose to POUT. For 2 days. I just don't respond to pouting and hopefully she sees it gets her NOTHING.

Chloe informed me she is Student of the Month for next month at her school. Silly girl had to ask me what this meant:) She had no idea. But it's a good thing, she is so determined when it comes to school, she has been graded with her classmates for over a year when she is really supposed to be a pass/ fail but she refuses to allow the teachers to NOT grade her.
It's been so cold here, even the dog doesn't want to go out. I have been staying in and keeping warm. Doing more cleaning and clearing, today I scrubbed the tub till my wrist ached. No fun, but needed. It's certainly not going to be easy to keep the house in "showing condition" with 8 people living here. OIY.

No school delays this week so far, but we are predicted a snow storm coming in tomorrow night. The kids are already asking if they will have off because of snow, as if I can predict weather along with all my other talents- ha ha.

They'll just have to wait and see. Like the rest of us:)
Update--- last week, SNOW- 2 hour delay. Minus degree weather- went to school regular time ~~I seriously wondered if the "call off person" overslept??
TODAY- not a thing happening outside-- SCHOOL CLOSED??
Yippee yeah, I'm home with 9 children. Yep, extras today even. Just GREAT. Bonding time galore. (yeah right)
Good thing that tub is clean---- Calgon take me awayyyyyyyyyyyy

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weirdos?

Our pastor said today that we need to accept people from all walks of life, that none of us are better than others. He then jokes ( as he does often) to go hang out with "weirdos" this afternoon. So what does Chase do but turn around and look at Donovan! I told Chase, "He didn't mean your brother, stop it!"


We took Donovan, the eternal optimist (NOT), to see the house. Now, child of mine is almost 17 and claiming he is "moving out the second he turns 18" (yeah, yeah they all SAY that till they turn 18 then seem to have a HUGE memory loss about making this statement repeatedly since they were 16 and they end up hanging out much longer than 18) but he was less than thrilled the house needed "fixed up." He doesn't see the dream. Oh well. It's our adventure and he will get used to the idea.

Chloe is MAD at us. Angry, pouting. What did we do? Signed her up for homework help with her brothers, twice a week for now, so the college students can come to the school to work with the boys and they will get extra instruction as well as her getting her homework done. Hannah, her BFF, even said she will stay with Chloe.

I am not sure WHY she is mad about it. But she is. I told her "too bad" she's going to it. It won't hurt her. For someone who wants her homework done the second she comes home, I'm surprised she is not wanting to go. Maybe if she gets her pouting done and gives us a reasonable excuse that she doesn't want to go, we'll consider that, but as long as she pouts that will get her, well, NOTHING.

You'll never guess who I got pictures of. That weirdo, I mean wonderful, Donovan!! How did I do this?? Well, first he was in an accident last week, got new glasses since some how in the accident his glasses went missing. Anyhoo, I wanted pictures of him in his new glasses. He refused. Here's how I got them.

I got a call from school, AGAIN this week. Our wonderful Aspie (Asperger's) boy got himself detention AGAIN. My number, sadly has been memorized by the assistant principal. He calls me and says "Hey Vickie, it's Brian."
And I know exactly why he is calling. Donovan has issues, mostly with social skills, reading people's faces and tones. He argues and doesn't know when to stop and SHUT UP. One teacher in particular, has had Donovan as his student for 2 years in a row. And he's had it. Donovan will argue the smallest thing and he just won't stop.

I understand this teacher's frustration level and I feel sorry for him. I really do. Because I, as well, can hit my level of what I can take from Donovan when he starts that arguing and won't stop. I offered to send my pretty blue duct tape for use as needed to school:) But alas, they said "no thanks, we aren't allowed to use that." Bummer.(No, MOM I have never duct taped his mouth- YET )

So instead he has 2 detentions which I follow up with grounded from everything- TV, radio, computer, going anywhere. Because this is about the 6th time this YEAR he has gotten detention.

So what does this have to do with the picture?? Well, I said if I got the picture I would let him have back computer, just for a short time. And he went for it. He had been grounded for 3 days already from everything so he was getting pretty bored. Camden and Kitty tried real hard to show him how to smile pretty for momma, but he has issues with that-- he says he has to be "having fun" to smile. OIY.

Have I said lately how much I LOVE teenagers?? I mean really, what's not to love about them?
I do have to share how thoughtful my son Chance is, we were at the store and the guy in front of us in the check out line, he bent over to empty his cart, and EISHHH, his uh-um, crack was showing. Chance said to me, "oh, mother," as he tried to cover my eyes:) It was sooo funny. My boys know this grosses me out, I don't want to see it and he was going to be sure to keep me from it:) If we were into "name calling" we *could* label this dude a "weirdo" if you ask me. But then we wouldn't have learned a thing in church today and I don't encourage that, even when grossed out:)
That's pretty much our week. How was yours?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another day, another delay

Yep, another 2 hr delay today. The kids were SURE they weren't going to have school and stayed up much later than they usually do. They played cards, Camden, Donovan, Chance and Chloe. I'm not sure who won, but I heard a ton of yelling. (FUN, not bad)

I went to school today, I was asked to do a presentation about Ch*na. Of how children are treated as orphans. I did this last year for our daughter Malaree's gifted class, it's not a "stand up front presentation." But more of a laid back, sit around on chairs and couches in the gifted room and chat. Makes it so much easier to speak, especially about things so close to my heart.

It went well and as I went to leave, who do I run into but MY SONS:) There they were coming down the hall with their English teacher. I grabbed Chance and put him in a head lock and rubbed his hair. (don't worry, no other kids were around- I knew if there were other kids in the hall to pretend I didn't know my own kids)

He said "Hey, don't mess up my hair." Oops. Sorry. Chase just looked cautious but was open enough to say "What you doin' here?" I knew they BOTH were thinking they were in trouble, because that's what they think anytime I go to school. Their teacher introduced herself. Chase went on to tell me the bus was 15 min late that morning, and Donovan was telling them to go back home.

I told him "he was smart to NOT listen to Donovan." When they got home, as well as dad, I said to dad, "guess who I ran into at school today and they yelled mom, MOM, it's my MOM!!" And then I said, "Oh, not my sons, that's right, they pretended they didn't even know who I was." And they laughed, but I could also see them take note, that they should have told their teacher who I was, not let her introduce herself as I had to do with her. She said she "figured" I must be their mom from the head lock:)

Later Chance was talking to me about having to kiss and hug, that it was "gross" and he didn't want to do that. I told him his girlfriend would be very unhappy if he didn't tell her he loves her and hug and kiss her every single day. I asked him how was someone supposed to know he loves them? Like me? How do I know?

His answer? When we came back to Ch*na to get him, he loved me from that minute on.

Is that sweet or what? I *could* have asked him why he was such a turd for me then in Ch*na, but I didn't want to spoil the moment so I just let it go and just enjoyed that warm fuzzy feeling of love from my son.

The kids called back to the orphanage later today, Chase wasn't real interested in talking, mainly due to their favorite auntie not being there:( He went to Chloe's room and was playing a game on her computer while listening to some music.

I checked on him later and asked him what he was up to, just leaned in over his shoulder. About an hour later he was still playing when I stopped in again, he made sure to tell me that he was "good- ahh." I didn't think he was upset or anything, but he was making sure I knew he wasn't. I guess he has learned his momma worries about him:)

Chance and Chloe went to spend the night at their friends and when I asked Chance if Kat could sleep in his bed tonight since she can't stand to sleep alone, he said "yes, but tell her no touch- ahh my things, be gentle to my bed, I like- ahh my bed very much." Kat said "I love my brother sooooo much." So it's made her day or more appropriately her night, when she knows she will be sleeping in the room with other people to keep her company:)

We showed our house again today, the kids all wanted it to be SOLD, when they got home, I guess they are sick of cleaning up already, OIY! I reverted to bribery, I promised each one of them $25 if they keep their rooms clean till we sell, and $25 if they help pack up and move. I tell ya, we usually don't pay for chores, we give them money if they are going to something and need it, but we don't pay allowance. It doesn't work for us, too much of "NOT FAIR" and quite honestly, they live here, why shouldn't they help?

But this is something special and they outdid themselves last evening getting everything ready to show it today. Sadly, they thought that would be IT. Sold. But the person who looked at it we know from church and she is single. It's a pretty big house for a single person. Chloe decided to fix that- she said this woman just needs to get herself a husband and have kids and so she should buy our house! That girl sure can be funny.

She asked last evening if she could use my "raccoon." I looked at her and said "my WHAT?" We got a good laugh when I figured out she meant "vacuum!" Chance got a puzzle we have with a picture of a raccoon on it. He enjoyed pointing out to Chloe that HE knew what a raccoon was.

So we keep on packing and we know God has this all planned out, He knows the right person to buy our house and get us moved to the new place at the right time. I did teach my sons how to take down curtains, and then rehang them once clean- something they had no clue how to do:)

Their wives can thank me someday:)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

School delays

The kids have had school delays for 2 days in a row now, with another one possible tomorrow. What does this mean? The teens get up at the regular time, they are all ready, shoes and coats on. I come downstairs and say "did you check if you have a delay?" They look at me as if I have started speaking Greek. Or grown a horn out of my head. Or called them stupid. Ohh, you get the idea.

I check and they have a delay. So I tell them. And they say "WHAT? What that mean?" So I tell them it means they leave 2 hours later than normal due to the ice. And then they argue that they don't see any ice. And at least one of them states, "Come on, this no fair." And they pout, for 2 HOURS.

I could be thrilled they are so happy to go to school. BUT--- I am the one sitting here with 2 extra hours of them pouting then they start drilling me with 50 million questions. Mainly about the big news------ (drum roll please)

The house. Offered accepted. Now to sell ours:) We actually showed it last night, even though we weren't quite ready, it was someone we knew could potentially be interested and understands we have 8 people living here. I had enough clutter cleared out and packed away to the garage to feel okay about them coming in and looking around.


Irregardless, it will take us a few weeks to pack, and the house we are buying we are lovingly naming "our money pit" for the time being. WHY? Well, first - The Mon*y Pit movie was one of my all time favorite movies. The home turned out amazing. Secondly, the house needs a ton of work. We are excited to finish it out to suit us, and we have a contractor ready to go. We think it will be amazing done. Not sure when that will be, but it's our adventure.

As far as the kids go, yep, Chloe is already packed. Living out of a suitcase, no matter that we told her it could be a couple of months for everything to be done and us ready to move in. And the doors, they went back on some time ago, on the kids' rooms. They tried to make it seem as if it wasn't a big deal, they claimed they LIKED the doors off. I didn't fall for that. They had to earn them back and not one of them has been slammed since:)

I should learn to clarify, we are only moving a few miles away. Just to a bigger place, with 2 bathrooms. Big yard. Yeah, those all important things in life, having dealt with one bathroom all these years and now having Mr. Beautiful (Chase) whom we all have to chase out of the bathroom to go pee, we are really hurting to have that second bathroom.

I have a "house" folder and Chloe has all her desires for "her" room in there. Light green walls and either one wall bright pink, or possibly blue, she's not sure about that yet. But she wants pandas on her walls. It's something new for her to pick her room colors, decorations. She's over-the-top excited about that:) She also marked every room that anyone had to "ask" to enter if it's not their room.

All important details, ya know?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kat-i-tude


That Kat can really come off with some of the funniest things---

I sub for her Sunday School teacher once in a while and when I got a call Sat night from him to teach Sunday, I said "sure." I usually get material from the Internet and do a lesson following the last time I taught. Which was about Cain and Abel.
So what does Kat say in church to me? Are you gonna teach about those brothers again? And I said "Do I need to or do you remember that lesson?" She said " I remember, it was about keeping the brother you got."

Uhh, that would be "be your brother's keeper?"

We were at community church service last night, this is where we go have evening service once a month in some one's home. It's been wonderful to get to know people easier with the relaxed atmosphere of being in a home.

They asked Kat if she had anything to say, and this was what she said "My life is PERFECT!" Ahh, to be seven years old again:)

We are cleaning today. Fun, fun. Chase, as usual, is willing to help me in any manner I ask, or I don't even have to ask. Chance, as usual, is pouting and sighing anytime I ask him to help. I can't get Kat's head out of her DS, that whole "crack for kids" might be TRUE! Camden cleaned his whole room, he did a super job. With no whining or complaints! Sure was nice to have him do that:) We are preparing if we need to show the house, and if not, well then, we'll call it purging. Nothing wrong with that. Getting rid of stuff that's sat around and clutters up the place.

I have no issue with deeming things GARBAGE- it can go. HUBBY, on the other hand tends to think things can be saved, spared, used later, etc. I'm into trashing, donating, cleaning out, getting rid of it. So as I fight to downsize the mass, he will be checking to see what I am throwing away and saving things from ME. I think less is better, although it does require a ton of stuff when 8 people live in a home.

I can't believe I accomplished anything with 8 kids in the house for most of the day, yeah, we were watching kids as well as having my own. Just a glutton, I guess. But they were entertained by the others being here and I got plenty done.

We are supposed to get a big ice storm tonight, the kids are really bummed that we have only had the 4 inches of snow we got last week so far. They did go out and make a snowman over the weekend, so they had enough good snow for that. No one looks forward to the ice storm coming, that's never any fun for anyone:(

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Those BOYS!

Whoa. We have some B-A-D boys here. We started off with Chase, he got mad on Wednesday after school. (Note this is now Saturday!) Camden shared his DS with Chase but said "don't play this one game." And guess what Chase DID?

Yep, played that game. So when I asked him if he understood what Camden had said and he said "yes," W-E-L-L then. I wasn't too happy and then he walked away from me as I was still talking to him. OIY. BIG no-no. He refused to come back when told.

He was angry and went off to bed at 6 pm! Refused to eat, speak to us, pouted. I waited till all the kids went to church then tried to talk to him. I told him I didn't know how he treated Ch*na momma but I was American momma and wouldn't tolerate this. He looked at me and said "I Ch*nese, I said "DONE."
Hummm I thought. DONE. I wasn't DONE, but he thought he was?? I think the only one saying "DONE" around here should be ME. I told him he needed to say "sorry" to me and to Camden and then let things go, not pouting, not going without eating, being angry for days. That HE doesn't say "DONE" to me.

When dad heard what the issue was he claimed the boy "takes after me." And I said "yep, he probably does." I just accepted it, so there dad!

Chase continued to pout all day Thursday, didn't even make me one single cup of tea! He got up for school yesterday morning, after pouting all that time. He smiled at me. I was thrown back to a time with Chloe when she pulled the exact same thing on me. (pretend it never happened and not apologize) I looked at him and said "are you going to say sorry?" Then the attitude was right back. MAD. Off to school he went.

Got a call pretty shortly thereafter from school stating he refused to do his work, he wanted to call one of our translator friends, a Ch*nese professor (female) that he respects. I told the teacher "no."

That he could talk to her at home when I called her after school, that he needs to understand when he is angry he is not getting his own way. He is at school to do his lesson, mad or not, he is not in school to be coddled. That they could tell him they would call dad to come from WORK if he continued to refuse to do his lesson. (He straighten up and did his work)

I had called our friend while Chase was in school and explained his issue. Told her he had to understand to say "sorry" and let things go. Not to walk away from mother when in trouble. I love how she says "oh those teenagers, I can't believe you take on 3 of them!" Cracks me up.
When I got home (job interview yesterday- it went well:) She talked to him for 5 minutes. As soon as he hung up, he came to me, he said "sorry." Then he went to Camden and said "sorry." He was fine. (Yep, 5 minutes with her, 3 days with us- OIY!)

He is one stubborn boy. I am so glad our friend is very "no-nonsense" with him and he responds to her well. She's very "grandmotherly" which I think helps. She told him he is not to go without eating either, to basically "knock it off."

I no sooner get that one straightened out and Chloe informs me that Chance was trying to be "cool" on the bus and belted out the "F" word. And I don't mean FUDGE.

That Donovan had told him it was a bad, bad, BAD word and to never say it again. When other kids were saying it and Chance started repeating it and even after told not to say it, Chance was belting it out anyway.

Double OIY! That BOY! So off HE went to their room (it's not getting unused obviously) after I told him he was losing going to stay overnight Sunday at his friend's and he said "I don't care." Ohhh, I love, love, LOVE this phrase- NOT!

So I said "oh, you don't care, how about you lose TV, (I don't care) DS, (I don't care) okay, go to your room and stay there. Guess I have another stubborn mule like his momma?? So now he is angry. I am sure it has plenty to do with the ATTENTION Mr. Chase got over his 3 day pouting session. Do they really think I don't KNOW what they are up to?? Chance can be very jealous when too much attention goes to Chase.
I did tell Mr. Potty Mouth he would get soap in his mouth to clean it if I ever heard anything bad came out of that mouth again.

Another week of learning, how to be a son, how to respect- a pretty typical week here in our corner of the world:) Hey, at least they took turns in their issues, huh? Wasn't that sweet of them?
Gotta love 'em and I do, I was telling someone about Chase and what he did to Camden and I went to say "they have to learn to get along with each other as they are flesh and blood." Oops. No, they aren't. Adjust that to "they are brothers." Guess in my mind I forget, which is what happens. They are the same to us, all of our sons. No matter where they come from. I guess when you go to make a goof like that you really understand how deep your love for the "new" son is.
No less mine, just arrived later in time:)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Miss Kitty Cuteness

Miss Kitty doesn't really get the blog time she used to. But trust me she is still the wonderful Diva girl that she always has been. She was so happy to get 2 new outfits for Christmas, from me and dad.

She loves, loves and loves, anything girly and let me tell you, these are the cutest dress and ruffled pant sets I have seen. A knot dress, can be worn alone, and ruffle pants, which can be worn with a shirt or under the dress.

Kitty will wear hers year round, in the cold with a turtleneck, as shown, in the summer the dress alone, and the pants with a shirt. If you aren't familiar with a knot dress, instead of buttons at the front, it ties into knots, making it possible to tighten or loosen giving you YEARS of wearing. This is not a "grow out of in a season" outfit. No way.

I have no ties to this extremely talented seamstress, code named "The lady bug." But I had to ask her if I made a blog post showing her work if she could offer a "Kat special" to anyone who would see the outfits and want to order one or more:) She doesn't have a blog or website, she's too busy sewing:) But I KNEW people would ask so here's the info~

You can e-mail her at ~

theladybug@mchsi.com and mention the "Kat special" and her price is $30 plus shipping. You read that right, $30. She makes them in size 12 months to 10 years and if you have a girl like ours, with a skinny minnie waist, she is wonderful at getting measurements and making your set a perfect fit.
She also has other fabric choices so ask if that is something you are interested in. The pink and brown outfit is a sparkling fabric. The blue is not, but I really can't pick a favorite, they are both just too cute.
Our Kitty is about a 2T waist size, but a 6 in length. So it's very hard to fit her with clothes so this was so nice to hand over measurements and in a few weeks, here came 2 perfectly fitted outfits, made so well I could hardly believe they were handmade. Making her as cute as a button, I'm just sure you all agree.
She thinks she is a princess in her outfits, and she got tons of compliments when she wore them to school this week.

So enjoy her in all her cuteness, we sure are:)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

COC is home

Honestly. We got the Certificate of Citizenship for Chase. No oath required, we walked in, waited our turn and was called in, he signed his name and they handed it to us. No singing was heard, no applause, nuttin". Very disappointing.

I tried to explain we were supposed to get it in the mail. They made some lame excuse about how "they" did not do the processing. It stated right on it that he became a citizen the day he arrived in the USA. It also stated it was processed in JULY 2010. GRRRRRR.

I kept track of my costs to get there and back, I WILL be writing a letter of complaint. Not to that office either. They do not care. Very obviously.

I did get to learn some things by making this totally uncalled for trip to Philly. And here they are~

All about Brandon~that #3 son of mine.

Well. He has a girlfriend. I met her yesterday on the trip. A cute little thing, red headed too.

They seem to share a love of piercings. She has numerous hoops on her face. And he informed me that he got his tongue pierced. Hummm. My brain was working overtime on that, but I have learned I get in trouble with sons later if I ask what I am thinking so I held it in. (I really wanted to know if they ever worried about getting his piercing caught in hers when they kissed, and if they did how would they call 911? ) I mean, a mother has to worry about these things, ya know?

My son must need glasses. He saw those "Speed Limit 65" and he drove 80 in the left lane dangerously close to those concrete barriers. At least it looked that way to me from the passenger seat. When I asked him to slow down he went to a minimum of 73 mph and then went right back to 80+. I think someone told him I was worth a lot dead (I'm NOT) and he was trying to do me in!

My son lies, shamefully. When lost he claims he is not. He says he is "displaced" which I informed him didn't fool me. He also refuses to stop anyone and ask them for directions. He's so M-A-L-E.

My son smokes- I'm just appalled. His excuse that he walked past someone smoking but he wouldn't dream of killing his lung and brain cells by smoking cigarettes with ME explaining the dangers to him his whole life. Uh huh. Just why did he have to "check the weather?" A few times yesterday.

My son has taken years off my life and will not be driving me anywhere in the near future. He drives like a madman so if you see this young man driving- avoid him. I'm just sayin'.

Now for the GOOD of yesterday's trip. I was sooo tickled to have someone e-mail me. Someone so special! Joy asked us if we would stop at her home and accept a meal and break on our way home.

I was so happy to meet her fun-filled family, her kiddos were just the cutest and reminded me so much of Camden and Kat a few years ago. Adorable was the key word.

Their little girl, also from Ch*na, took right to Chase and even told him "pick me up, take me." To the playroom. Mom said she never does that, she wants to do everything herself, as only a typical 2 year old thinks they can:) She didn't want us to go but also said she was not sharing her toddler bed with US:)

And Joy who is an avid follower of our blog was so sweet, she made chicken patties, noodles and broccoli, knowing these are Chase's favorites. I can only say a huge "THANK YOU!!" to Joy and Stephen, that was so nice of you to welcome us into your home and make our "wasteful" trip something cool. I just wish we had gotten more time to visit, but we WILL get together again.

I got home to find out Son #1, who was babysitting told Donovan "sure" when he asked to go get a sandwich with a buddy. You can tell Derrik is childless since he didn't think to ask one thing about who was driving, how old are they, how long have they been a driver, how many teens would be in the car?"

And GUESS WHAT HAPPENED. They crashed. Thank God Donovan wasn't hurt bad, banged up his ankle and some other bruises, as well as losing his glasses somehow. I guess when they hit the ditch he yelled "it's gonna blow, get out." And they all scrambled to get out as fast as possible. Hence the missing glasses. He stayed home today, stiff and sore.

My hip is still on the mend. Today I was wiped out. Wanted to curl up in my house and stay there. So I did. And it started to snow. Pretty snow flakes, falling steadily. I was ever so glad that happened today and NOT yesterday. Phewww.

We are taking the kids to see the house on Sat. They are very excited. Chloe even took time off at Winter Retreat to write down in the "house folder" what she wanted in "her" room.

And yeah, she's wearing a trash bag for a fashion statement. Don't look for her trash bag dress in stores anywhere soon:)

For now we will enjoy being home, being warm, not needing to go out, and watch the pretty snow fall:)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm home

WOW. What an adventure. Firstly the lodge was amazing, it was so pretty with picture perfect snow covered trees, we had snowfall and about 6 inches of snow total. Such a blast for the kids to play in.

The kids had a fun filled, God focused weekend. Good food, tons of games and no curfew, at least, not until the second night when I was in charge. Yeah, I became the party pooper on Night 2 when everyone was exhausted (at least all of us adults) and it was well into Sunday morn anyway.
The girls won the "best pranksters" award of the trip, they got the boys good. Not only did they TP their door, they hid the boys shoes in the van! They were very slick about it too, no one heard them at all:)

Our weekend was filled with mishap. As if we were not supposed to get there, have the joy of this weekend or remember it with fondness.

Yeah, stuff happened going, there AND getting back. Stuff in the manner of --

Getting there- first van catches on FIRE- as the starter goes out of it. We hadn't gone 10 miles, so we turned around and went back to garage for repairs. They got us fixed and on the road when we locked ourselves out of the other van with it running and no one inside it. OIY.

Secondly, the speaker for the weekend was in an accident getting to the lodge, he had to be pulled out of a ditch to make it there.

Thirdly, I decided to fore go the outside fun to spare my sore hip, I slipped last week at the New Year's party on just a few steps but hurt my right hip as I caught myself. So didn't I manage to slip on wet tile in the foyer and land on---my right hip, right before bed last night. Ohhh is it ever sore now. Makes me feel so O-L-D.

Then to cap off the weekend we were no more than 2 miles from the lodge going home, and boom. Flat tire. On one of the vehicles. We pull over, call the service center. We sit. We wait. At one hour, we go to find a bathroom in vehicle #2. Guess what? Flat tire! Honest!

We were able to go a mile or so and find the kindest woman who we stopped on the street in the freezing cold and asked to use a bathroom of a church nearby and she went and opened the church for us.

We learned the little store in this tiny town was closed down. As was the local garage. And everything else. We were able to unload all those kids, use the facilities and get back to the other disabled vehicle until the service truck arrived to fix the tires.

4 hours late we pulled into the church. I do have to say, the kids were really well behaved. For sitting for 2 1/2 hrs in a van, with only cookies and a BR break, we weren't prepared to feed them and you know they are constantly hungry as they are teens:)

I really enjoyed my time with the kids. Mine and the others. I really liked that the speaker did a lesson geared for the teens then followed up with breaking them up into small discussion groups after to allow them to talk more about what the speaker talked about and gave the boys the ability to really understand better what the point of the lessons were. And they were really basic.

Being kind, being unselfish, giving your life to God, treating others how God wants you to treat them and understand we are all human and that God asks us to TRY and if we fail, we can and should just pick up and try again. Not to be discouraged. That we ALL feel that way sometimes and it's normal.

The main message was a huge one I really liked-- they are IMPORTANT. They can make differences in this world. They are loved by God. Just as they are. Deeply loved. Special. It's so hard to be a teen in the world today, I could just see them take the Word in. It was a really cool weekend. Even with the bumps.

I forced (yep, I even had to bop those 2 in the front on the head to get them to stop making goofy faces) FORCED, my kids to stand with me and get a picture before we left the lodge.

Note to self, do picture when we get there, not on the day we leave:( Grouches. That's all I'm saying about that.

Now, about the house. Well. I had hoped so much that it was in better shape inside. It needs a ton of work, some that would need done to make it habitable for all of us, and then we would be working on it for some time to come. But I see the potential. Someone said to me "it might not be what you expected but it may be what God wants you to have. And if so, you should NOT be disheartened in the gift." I do like the idea of being able to make it what I want, but it is a little scary to think of all that work.

We are looking to take a contractor with us through the house again, as well as let the kids see it. Chloe is very excited there is a room she claims via my pictures is "hers" already, it needs a paint job ( it's bright ORANGE) right now, needs trim, and carpet. She was thrilled that she could PICK her own carpet since it had none! She wants SHAG carpet. She is also asking everyone for "boxes" and then says "I have to PACK." She wants to pack NOW.

None of the kids really have an idea how moving works and Chase looked a bit panicked. As I am never sure what he is thinking I try to make sure I cover all bases that "could" be going through that serious side of his. So I said to him "you don't worry, we move, you go too, we don't leave you behind." I'm eager to see their reaction to the house, although a bit worried they do not have "the vision" I do when seeing it. I guess we will see what happens when the contractor sees it and go from there.

Well, that's the news. The weekend flew by but now I'm off to my bed, it's calling me, "Vickie, come rest on me." Boy, did I miss my bed:) Hopefully I will get good healing rest before we head out on our (totally uncalled for) big trip to Philly tomorrow. I'll let you know if they sing to Chase. our "new" American.

For now, night, night.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why I blog

Last night I was trying so hard to get my brain to wind down so I can sleep. It's not been happening and I was T-I-R-E-D. You see, I go to see "the house" tomorrow and we are all so excited to find out if this is "the one." And a little scared to be honest. We've lived here a longgg time, since we got married, in fact. And hubby was here before that!

As well as the big trip tomorrow with the kids, that lack of Internet again, scary. And add another dose of anxiety to my plate, I was called to go to an interview for a full time nursing job, in home pediatric care. As much as I would be thrilled to do such a job, I can't figure out where to fit the TIME to do a full time job outside this home IN my life!

Then add another dose, 'cause I don't have enough anxiety for medication yet, with the big meeting about the boys' education. Phewww, that was U-G-L-Y.
Quite frankly I didn't yell or call anyone names but the frustration level I have with this school had steam rising off my red head. Was I ever MAD. NOT because they claim children with language issues do not qualify for an IEP, I understand that, but because the ESL program they are using for the boys is not cuttin' it. And how do I know this???

Well, the goofballs gave me a report stating my son (Chase) went in a classroom (math) and sat down. Everyone else got out their books turned to the correct page and did a quiz. In the meantime for over 10 minutes my son sat, no one attempted to help him turn to the right page, it noted even the TEACHER ignored him and offered no aid to Chase. WHOA. Hello people. I was FLOORED.
I kindly ( okay MOM-- I wasn't kind) pointed out that they were breaking the law. Yep. It's that serious. Because my son is supposed to have a modified curriculum and be INCLUDED in his classes. Met at HIS level per the ESL laws.

NOT ignored, left to sit there, with no understanding, feeling like an outsider. I asked them if they understood the commitment we made to adopt these children, that they would get the best education. And that they came from schools they were treated as outcasts.

Unwanted children. But that now they were our sons, had our name and had the right to an education and I would not tolerate this type of situation for ANY of my children. How DARE they! Uhh, yeah, you see I did get a little hot.

So as I refused to sign their papers stating I agreed to their findings and I refused to so kindly hand them back their report ( it was my copy) with the "math class issue in" that I could take to the state board of ed or a lawyer and have a field day with, they are now scrambling to get stuff in place that will accommodate our sons.
Momma Bear will not allow them to short change HER cubs. I have tolerated their "never had students with NO English skills at their ages, we don't know where to even start" CRAP long enough. They are the ones with teaching degrees, not me.

Okay then, adding in some more stress and worry, just for fun, mind you, we STILL can not get the Philly office of imm*gration to issue Chase's Certificate of Citizenship, without him appearing to take an oath. I even sent a letter to the Pittsburgh office asking for help.
Not sure what our great government is up to but I suspect they are all "out to lunch" and so in order to get his SS number and file taxes, I am grudgingly going to go to Philly on Monday with Chase to get this darn COC. Not that we are even CLOSE to their office, it's a good 4-5 hour drive as well as the fact that I have never been there except once and I wasn't supposed to even be there.

I ended up going around some loop about 6 times, even stopping and asking for help, feeling like I was in a bad "Vacation" movie saying "look kids, Big Ben", over and over till I lost it. I did finally get out and got on the road to where I was supposed to be, but I have been traumatized for life about driving there, so one of our older sons who is familiar with Philly area has offered to drive us. Thank God. And Thank God for the people I meet from blogging.

One such person, who has sympathized with me as they dealt with this same office and had issues. Just as I was thinking I had hit breaking point of what was on my "plate" last night, she sends me this......

From: Vickie
To: USC*S, Callowhill Drive, Philly, PA
Re: That COC thingy

Howdy!

Thanks so much for the invitation to the COC party! I know that you would like my family to come to your office to pick up my American son's COC so that you can present him with an American flag and sing Yankee Doodle Dandy and then shake his hand. That would be swell!! Even my good (new) friend Dawn would like to see this ceremony and if you play the Star Spangled Banner, why then she'll start to cry (because she was in the Army and always crys during the SSB, even at the Shriners Circus, which of course made two of her three kids cry out of sheer fright) and THEN everyone could all clap for Chase the American. It makes me teary just thinking of it!!

Would you believe I plum forgot to tell you that we don't even LIVE in Philly, why no not even close! I live faaaaar away, way far up north. Actually we don't even live in the Big City, but out in the country, way way out, surrounded by soybean fields and cows. In fact, our street doesn't even have a real name, just a name we made up to put down on that CoC application. We live on that road that runs by the pig farm and then you cross the stream and go 4 miles past that covered bridge, turn right at the outhouse on the corner and you're almost there. If fact, it takes us 3 hours just to get to the interstate! Or so we've heard--we've never actually been to the interstate, it's just too complicated and Old Stumpy gets really skittish when the tractor trailers zoom by our buggy! We only got as far as the entrance ramp the last time we tried it.

And, we really have no idea how to get to Philly. We don't even have snow tires on our buggy and Old Stumpy is getting really old, so we just won't be there. Just mail that COC to Dawn, she lives on a real street near you'unns and she'll bring it up here next fall for the barnraising. She has a car and sometimes lets me drive it in a circle around our back field. But not on moonshining days.

Yours truly,
Vickie and Family
(Uncle Jed, Ellie May, Jethro, Chase, Chance and Old Stumpy the Mule)

I read this and laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. Oh sorry, TMI there. But really, I just LOVE you girls (and even guys) that make up our adoptive "family". It shouldn't amaze me, God puts us together for a reason, but I can't help but feel so blessed to not just have adoptive children, but also people that connects me with.

This is why I blog. I meet some of the most wonderful people.
And so often they come to my aid when I am overwhelmed or life is throwing me 10 curve balls. And a good laugh was the perfect "medicine" for my overworking brain and I slept quite well. Thanks Dawn, you are too cool.

I have to tell you all too what Chloe said to me last night. I told her she was driving me "nuts" between Winter Retreat and the house showing, and she said "Weren't you already nuts?" Then "where do you keep those nuts, I like to eat nuts, peanuts, all kinds of nuts, so tell me?" OIY.

I hope to post on Sunday when I get back, till then think of me, pray for me, 21 kids going, no Internet, 21 kids and ME. Or maybe you better pray for Camden and Kat, they are staying back with dad. Any hooo, I'll be back on SUNDAY.....................

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

Did you know it's Tuesday? Back to school they went. All the kiddos. I "thought" we had things set up for Chase to go to the High School, but NO, it has to wait till the BIG meeting tomorrow about the boys' education plans. Not that anyone disagrees that he needs to go the high school where he is closer in age to the other kids. Just a formality:(
I started out this day with great news. A house in the area we are looking to be, with potential for our family. I will be looking at it with the owner Friday. Just before I leave for Winter Retreat with the teens.
Yeah, not sending them off, going with!
Not sure how that happened, I think it had something to do with my BFF who is also going along.

So I will be without (you are reading this right) Internet access from Friday till Sunday!! At a Lodge with 21 kids, watching them have fun, feeding them, and seeing them learn about God. Hubby will be home with Camden and Kitty, he may not know what to do with just 2 kids- ha ha!!

Did I mention there is NO INTERNET services there? And I have been forbidden to post from my cell, I am to go commando (no Internet MOM, not without my underwear) and enjoy my time with 21 kids and not worry about the world beyond the lodge. Okay then. That's so easy for me-- NOT!

I've been wanting to post about something-- FUNDRAISING for adoption. And no we are not fundraising. But some people are. And I have heard comments from some people who believe that no one should ask others to fund their adoptions, it's their own responsibility to pay to form their family and basically if you can't afford it-Don't adopt. OIY. I would HATE to see where so many children would be if we all felt like that. If you are one of "those people" you can think what you want, but this is MY blog and here's my take on this.

Fundraising is cool with me. There is NO adoption insurance. You go to give birth, you have insurance that pays the bill. BIG difference. If not you have the government pay the bill but most all parents pay little to none to add a member to their family by birthing.

Adoption is a calling. God CALLED us to adopt. In that He knew where we were financially. He watched over us as we struggled to afford the costs of adoption for Kat. But we DID it.

Then He opened doors for us to see Chloe who had grants applied to her adoption beforehand because of her age and agency. We had learned from adopting Kat that we could do without MANY earthly things and we tightened our belts another notch. And we did it.
THEN He opened the door WIDER and sent us the boys. I came home from Ch*na with $1,000 I saved to go back for them. No where near enough to even START the process. But as we trusted in Him, the funds came. A grant, a donation, we opened up our hearts and said "we need this amount in 30 days or the agency will drop us. I had the letter in my hand and was crying as I typed. I thought "who will care?" Uhhh,YOU ALL DID. 14 HOURS later we had the fee we needed at that time to continue the journey. Folks, 14 HOURS. We sat in AWE.
And the entire journey happened because of FUNDRAISING. We didn't just ask, we worked over time, we sold stuff, we held raffles, we did all we could do. We don't believe you just sit back and expect it to be given. We didn't eat out, we didn't buy new clothes, we felt we were CALLED to do our part. But the BLESSING of this was the people who helped.
People from all over. People we knew, mostly people we didn't. People who had adopted, wanted to, couldn't complete an adoption, had never adopted. But were CALLED and responded to God's CALL to get Chase and Chance HOME.

What did this mean to us?? LOVE. Pure and simple. God's love for us, the boys, God wanting to bless the people who answered His call. And I do not doubt He has given them blessings for helping get these guys here. Feel free to post them in the comments people. Share what He has done for you! You are such wonderful people, I know every time one of you answered and donated God smiled with JOY and knew right then how He would bless YOU in the future.

I've heard people say "well people who donate will think they "own" a right to your child." Are you kidding me? These children are a GIFT. Not a possession. I don't OWN them. I parent them. I share them, their lives, their learning to encourage others to adopt older children who are soooo worthy of families. I help those riding the rough waters of adjustment in any way I can. These boys, and all our children belong only to God.

I have not had anyone come up to the boys and say " I helped you get home by giving money." Or anything close to that. And if someone would, I would say to our sons, "indeed, this a wonderful person who knows God's love for you and wanted to help you come home. Please thank them, because we are soooo thankful to have you here as our son."

I do not for ONE minute think that people should adopt if they can't afford to raise the child, that's a different story, but so many families are able to afford to raise a child or TWO but can't afford the fees completely to adopt. So SHOULD these children miss out on a family that loves them? Is it better to NOT ask and NOT allow others to share this child and the triumph of seeing them come home??

I just don't think so. God calls us to care for the orphans. Does that mean we have to adopt? Nope, you can be the one who helps with FUNDS a family needs, your $10 might be the rest they need to go get that child or 2! Isn't that AWESOME?? What your little $10 gift, 5 less coffees bought a month, what GOD can do with your $10, and hers, and his, and MINE. More and more families are choosing to adopt 2 children from Ch*na now that they are allowing it. AND I LOVE seeing this. These kids need families. NEED. NOT WANT!!

As I stated, we are NOT fundraising. I am not posting this to get anyone to give money, although I have a family that I may need to focus a post or 2 on and try to help them in the near future.We'll see. Then we will share again the amazing feeling it is to give and know what YOU did for an orphaned child to get a family. One of God's children. I fully support FAMILIES being made:)
And that's my two cents about that.

BTW, we met the boys in the hotel lobby 8 months ago today. I STILL feel the tingle of joy when I recall catching sight of them as they came in. All smiles, smiles so big, so full of happiness. God's beautiful sons, handed to us to share their lives. WOW. It just doesn't grow old. The AWE of what HE did never ceases.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What's Next?


It's so fun to start a New Year. I mean 2010 was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G for our family. We got our boys home. We made super strides in getting them blended in. We had closure, they were home, we left no one behind.

But I have to wonder what 2011 will be. A quiet year? A shocking year? There's so much to look forward to:) Things that we "think" might happen, we are hoping to move this year, to a house suiting us more with another bathroom and a larger yard. But we are waiting for the right house, that God shows us is THE ONE.

It's FUN to wonder what He will bring us this year~~

Will we have a "new" house.
Will we be called to add to the family again ( no calls MOM)
Will I go back to working outside the home
Will I get as much as my Bible read that I want to read this year
Will Donovan pass
Will the boys be able to have in-depth conversations with us this year

We started out this New Year at a church family home. Games, all kinds, for all ages, snacks, pork and sauerkraut, fun to be had for all. And we watched the ball drop together, our family. The kids really enjoyed this new treat, and we were thrilled to give our teens and littles a way to have a blast without drinking alcohol being involved. Trust me, it wasn't missed one bit.

As the adults kissed for the New Year the kids all went ---EISHHHHHH! And so began our New Year. Some one at our church mentioned to me today they are SERIOUSLY considering adopting from Ch*na, a BOY!!

Are you excited as we are to see what comes??