Saturday, June 30, 2012

Roasting

Hot and humid is the word of the day and apparently predicted for days to come. Sultry summer days.


We have been doing a little of this and a little of that this week. The kids have a new friend over, Daniel. Adopted from China, of course:)  He's a teen.  They have enjoyed chatting with him, getting to know him.


It was neat when his mom and family came to visit and Paisley hopped right up beside me on my chair arm, it was as if she was staking her claim to me, something the other kids have always done when someone they don't know is here. Keeping close to mom for security:)  She even grabbed my arm a few times, just to reassure herself. I love it,' cause I love her.


Daniel has enjoyed going swimming with our kids, hanging out, he even got up early and went grocery shopping with me after I got off working night shift.  Then we went swimming.


Paisley had a doctor appt this week, we did some testing and her hips are not great. She has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and had to be weaned off medication from China that stunted her growth and was not the best treatment:(  She is getting better treatment now but the damage done will likely not be able to be reversed, it will be a matter of keeping her from getting any worse.


The doctor explained to her she really needed to learn to swim, that it would be very good for her arthritis. She needs to exercise but not anything that will hurt her joints more. And swimming is perfect. So I was amazed that she very bravely attempted swimming. Hannah's (Chloe's BFF)  sister was so sweet to help Paisley, she was very comfortable with her and she's tried twice this week, already.


She also lost some weight, due to the stopping of the medicine. She will be 4 ft 5 forever, so keeping her weight down to lessen the stress on her joints is very important. Not that it is an issue, she doesn't eat nearly as much as Chance and Chase. Or even Chloe. She is not as fond of American foods so she is still testing out different things she likes.


She did eat plenty of the dumplings they all made, she helped making them and said this was her "smile." A dumpling smile. Too cute, huh?


She also shared that she likes "tomato with sugar"??? I thought she surely meant salt, but we cracked open the package of romas I bought and she said "Mom, look" as she sugared her tomato and ate it. She showed me.  Hummm. Interesting.


When we went swimming the kids were trying to convince me we needed to bring home a kitten-- I told them it was dad's department to say yeah or nay on that one. Both Chloe and Paisley were asking begging  and I told them both--- "Ask dad, you know, bat your eyes, smile, and ask him very nicely." 


 I mentioned I have never seen dad NOT cave when Chloe asked for something. But neither one must have been confident enough to ask him or else they forgot till he got home, which is totally fine with me. We really don't need another fur baby.


Chloe was kind enough to braid my hair in 2 braids, she braids so tightly I told her she braided my brain, but this was the result when I took them out this morning. I kinda like it:)  I'm not big on pics of me, but there you got one. (MOM)


It's so hot we may just have to head to the pool again today, good thing our friends are so gracious to allow us to use their pool any time we want:)  Nothing better than a good friend, huh?



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kitty Kat

It's been awhile since I updated on the littlest one here, Miss Kat.  So an update is in order. 


She's growing- she's 4 ft 1 1/2 inches
She's 47 lbs
Size 7 slim pants for length, can wear a 4T around the waist
Size 12 toddler shoes


She's full of spunk. She's always been a lover but she's learned to be a fighter, at least with Camden, that is. They spend a ton of time picking at each other. Sharing their love as brothers and sisters tend to do.


She entertains herself well, she loves to make all kinds of crafts. She's good at them too.  She's always making me and dad notes, full of her love. 


She loves to sing but her singing is something only her momma can love- ha ha.


She can be very dramatic. When she gets angry she throws away her "arts and crafts projects."  Now before you all go "ahhhhhh" (mom) just know that it's a good thing she purges this way or she would be swimming in paper and crafts in her room.  So at least her anger is played out with a purpose:)


She was deeply bothered by her hair being shaved off in China so she still only allows me to cut her bangs and the back only when needed. Especially the back, so it's almost to her tiny tushy.  She still has that completely flat back of her head, it's so flat she can't wear a ponytail unless it's a low one and even then she has two bumps on the sides of her head that stick up.


Her special need?  Yes, she was a waiting child- is an extra toe nail on her foot, a double nail and a bit larger than normal piggy toe, is really a non issue. Not only is it hard to see, it has no affect on her at all. She calls it her "special toe" and paints that nail right along with the others:)


She says when she grows up she wants to be a teacher. No surprise there, she loves to help others. She can hardly wait till Phoebe comes and she can "help her" in school.
She is also extremely bright, math being her favorite subject.


She also says when she grows up she wants 2 kids, girls, both from China, of course. Peyton will be her one girl's name, and Vickie the other (I know- she's so sweet) and she "might want a boy but then they are very annoying"-- so she fights with Camden about "using her name" when they discuss what their kids' names will be (Did I mention they bicker over everything??)


She has a best friend- Payge, whom she calls "Paygie"--this friend is about a foot taller and outweighs her by about 30 lbs. They look funny together, but they act the same, picking at Camden, giggles, painting nails, more giggles, and craft making is usually their fun together.


This summer is the first time I've heard her say "I have a birth mother." She has been told that from the start, but she has always said "You are my mother" to me. Did not wish to even entertain the idea she had a birth mom. Accepting where she came from and realizing she is not the only one. She is not being "disloyal"to me to accept a birth mother made her and God brought her to us.


She misses her Po Po (Grandma)and Gong Gong (Grandpa) in China, these were her foster parents. The neat thing we just realized is that Paisley, who is from southern China speaks Cantonese, just like Po Po and Gong Gong. So she can help with translation:) Kat's excited because she adores her Po Po and Gong Gong. Having that connection to her past is priceless, the people who raised and loved her for 2 years supporting her adoption and continuing to love her from afar.


It's been 5 1/2 years since she came home. Seems like forever. So much has changed. More brothers and sisters, losing our precious baby, foster brothers and sisters coming and going, moving to a new home. But even with all the changes she has grown, she has blossomed and remained sweet,loving, kind and nurturing. (except to that annoying brother Camden -- don't worry mom, he picks right back at her)


A special girl, one who blesses us tremendously. My day would not be complete without her hugs and kisses, she is a love bug.  She made sure since I was leaving for work tonight, I got a hug and kiss for leaving as well as my hug and kiss for bedtime since she wouldn't be up when I get home and go to bed.


  
A tiny treasure. But no less loved, no less wanted. No longer an orphan. We are so thankful for the gift of HER. Honored to be her parents. Such a precious child, and now our daughter. 


Thanks God, so much, for the gift of this girl:)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Water fun

After working a very long day Tuesday, I got called in to work night shift the last 3 nights as well.  I had to  try to sleep a little during the days. Before I left  the first night Chloe said "WHAT, you're going to work? NOW? At night?" The kids think that's nuts. 


But I told her "You wanna eat right? Mom buys the food with her pay- no work= no pay." And she said "I like you better than food." WOW. I'm tellin' ya. That's something. 'Cause that girl loves her food.  It just warmed my heart to know she loves me more than rice and "no hair peaches" (yeah, MOM-- I've told her they are actually nectarines but she refuses to call them anything but NO HAIR PEACHES)


After working last night, I came home and made pasta salad and we loaded up a bunch of tubes a wonderful friend from church went to great lengths to get us 8 tubes and  we took off with about 35 people from church to float on those tubes down a river. 


It was to be a leisurely float, on a lovely summer day. I even entertained the idea was I nuts thinking this?? Obviously deep sleep deprivation is not my friend that I would take a nap while floating away.  WELL--- it didn't quite work out that way.


First I slathered sunscreen on self and children- Check.
Then we got our pasta salad to place we would land after the leisurely float- Check.
Next we got to take off site and had a tube for each person- Check.
I even had my camera in a watertight baggie to catch pictures on the water- Check.


Impressed aren't you?? (MOM)


I knew Paisley was afraid of the water. She wasn't so sure about ANY of this floating stuff we had planned, she didn't really understand what we were talking about until  she saw the tubes and the river bank that we would make our way down to the water. And she said "Oh nooooo."  But we assured her she would be okay, I had figured she was going to do this so we had a cord to tie her tube to mine. Therefore if she went down, I would be there for her, or go down with her. (We did not)


And let me tell you, she had a total BLAST.  She held onto ME for the first leg of the trip then realized I would not let go of her after we hit some pretty hard rapids, so she relaxed and was laughing like crazy when we hit some more, then some more.


We had some mixed reactions, Kat got scared and spent the first half of the floating crying and cold. She finally calmed down and realized she wasn't going to tip over and was safe. Camden was cold and crying, he got out early with Chance. Chase lost his tube and walked the river bank for a good part of the trip.  Chloe got out early. (Cheaters)


Paisley, me, dad and Kat all made it the whole way. Not without incident though. The river wasn't terribly deep so  at each rapid  fluffy momma was hitting a certain well padded area in the bottom of the tube on many rocks- much to Paisley's amusement. 


After numerous times of this, as well as having an elbow out note to self, keep elbows IN and slamming it on a rock as well, I was ready to -


A- give up and get out
B- change positions on the tube


(Pick B, Pick B!!)


So over I went to make me more flat and on top of the tube, less of me to "hit rock bottom" (in the river MOM, not in my life, no way)


So as this went better for me, I realized I didn't sunscreen the back of my legs:( And they were frying. Crispy. Ouchy. And I lost my shoe, (not sure WHY I wore my favorite flip flops) but dad found them. Not once but twice.


Then suddenly I was losing tube space. Hubby said I was bubbling away---- ha ha. NOT. He stopped me then got the tube blown back up, it was the valve that popped open. Not a big hole. And when getting back on I lost my flip flop yet again, never to find it:(


Thankfully we were near the end of our 3 1/2 hr float by then and although I was now pretty banged up, still sleepless,  sunburned and hungry, we managed to wade through the mud (where I lost my remaining flip flop to that  stinkin' river) and get back up the river bank to dry land. (Kat kissed the ground!)


So -- was it worth it? Hummmm, YES!!!


 Because our kids will remember this, that their "gettin up there" parents floated down the river with them. Didn't cost us more than the cost of gas to get the river. And it was another lesson for our new girl, that we WILL be there for her, we will not let her "go down."  That we thought of her needs to go on the float before we even went (she's never openly told us she is afraid of /can't swimming/swim, I have figured this out)


Hopefully the cold ones will make it longer next time, Kat can be proud that she worked through a fear and came out on top of that fear today. She did so well.  


Once we got out we headed to another church member's home nearby and had late lunch then the kids got to swim their pool and play (they were all up for this except Paisley) 


The kids played for hours, we ate and talked, then headed on home. Weary and most of us redder than we should be.  Worn out kids who will sleep good tonight. As well as their momma (daddy's already snoring on the couch)

 And the memory of today, well that's just priceless. A beautiful summer day spent in our favorite way, with our kids:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm bored

No (MOM) not me. It's those kids. 


It seems eating every thing in sight only took a week or so. Then playing with siblings got old, it's "too hot" to be outside, it's "too boring" to clean their rooms, it's "no fun" to do chores, and our POOR, poor children have NOTHING, I tell ya, NOTHING to play with or do.


I feel so ashamed (NOT) that I expect them to be able to handle moments of (GASP) quiet. Nothing. I like to use time like that to pray, and listen to God, because I have learned a great lesson over time- if you are never still or quiet, how ya gonna hear HIM?  


I didn't hear Him until I got that. To be still. Quiet. Let HIM in. And when He speaks to me, I wanna hear it. Even when it's not the answer, direction I thought, HE is never wrong. So I DO want to hear Him. (And my kids to know this JOY)


Our kiddos that came to us from orphanage care often have issue with the whole "nothing to do." They are so used to a set schedule of "get up, eat, go to school, etc, etc." That when they don't have that they can have a hard adjustment to "what to do" with themselves. And get themselves into Trouble (note that capital "T") if they can't work out what to do themselves.


Older treasures often can't go from being told what to do day after day to having NOTHING to do day after day. No schedule planned for them. So often they will hang around. Looking lost. Stating they are bored and expecting you to entertain them, keep them busy, give them that predictable schedule they are used to living by. Summer vacation from schooling really can throw them for a loop.


Someone recently suggested for newer adopted kiddos, a list. Of things they can do. I wish I had thought of that, but no, I don't get credit for that. But it's a good idea. Especially with a smaller family size. Because if teen treasure can't figure out what to do they will HANG on you looking for you to guide them. To entertain them. And can drive you nuts. They often can't think of anything to do themselves.


This is one huge break we bigger families get. They can always find someone to play with. And if one sibling makes you mad, go play with someone else:)  The ones who have been home longer will help guide the newbies to see what they do to keep busy. Because good ol' mom here, well, let's just say I love to assign bathroom cleaning when people tell me they don't have anything to do.


So I don't get much of "I'm bored" or for very long because they KNOW what to expect now. And if bathrooms are clean then I've got dishes, laundry hauling and sorting, floor sweeping, wiping out the fridge-- I never run out of things they can do:)


Now, this is NOT to be confused with another issue a teen treasure will sometimes do.Re-organizing any space in the house. Kitchen cupboards, the pantry, etc. I never had any issue with that until Chase. And I took immediate offense to it. Because although other people said "Wow, wish he'd come to my house to do that"-- it wasn't fun here. It was a way for him to make things how HE wanted them. Not how I preferred them. 


It wasn't about "helping" it was about CONTROLLING. And I put a halt to that fast. Drew my line. Fix up, change over, rearrange all you want of your-own-room, do not touch any other "spaces" without permission. No exceptions. He tried this 2-3 times till he saw, I really meant it. I did NOT want him changing anything. Even if HE thought his way to arrange it was BETTER, my way was the way it was going to be.



A boundary he needed. He now respects and abides by my rule. He will ASK if he can change something. Seems small but it's really not. It's teaching him to defer to an adult, a woman, a parent. Just part of my "job" in being his mom, because if he can't do that here, and say someday he gets a female boss, then what? He's gonna tell HER how and what to do? How's that gonna work for him? Yeah, not too well, me thinks.


So other than my kids knowing better than to say they are "bored" what are we up to this summer?  


Summer sniffles, going round the house. I think my issue is not being used to sleeping/living in full time air conditioning. Something we feel deeply thankful to have- but we are still adjusting to. 


I ordered over 400+ pictures for Paisley, I didn't tell her yet. They are for her life book, I can't wait to get working on it for her. I didn't show her the pics I ordered because they include first family and I didn't want her to misunderstand why I was ordering them.  I want her to see the pictures in person and how I will be using them to show her life story. She's the very first one of my teen treasures to have BABY pics.  And was she ever CUTE- yep, she was a baby so I can say that:)


I want to be sure to add her journey from China to first family then to here. It will honor her love of China, as well as honor her first family for bringing her to us.  I love to make the kids' scrapbooks that they can see all about THEM in basically a story book type theme.  Kids LOVE anything that is about THEM and it's so special to give them a way to see all about their lives in a positive way. 


Often times with a teen treasure it's hard for us to understand how they can "miss" living in an orphanage. But they DO. Even if they want a family, they leave their security, their friends -aka brothers and sisters, foods, their language, freedoms, even smells, they lose so much.  We have to understand it was their life. It didn't seem so bad to them because it was all they knew.  And many times they do not really understand fully what would/could have become of them if they had not been adopted. 


Just one more reason to understand we aren't rescuing them. They do not see us adopting them as that at ALL. We adopt them to add them to our family. To treasure them. They can be highly suspicious of us. WHY do we want them? Their society doesn't see them as worthy, why do we? And do we really? Are they as important as say- a bio child- or even another adopted child who has been home longer? It's tough at times getting them over that hump to see that you do care, that they are worthy, and our intentions pure LOVE. Just as God tells us to. 


I had the opportunity to help Paisley over that hump again the other day. Chance, this time, and he made her cry. She didn't want the rest of her very large piece of chicken she got for lunch. And when I told her she didn't have to finish it, but she wasn't getting other stuff, Chance thought he would be "Mr. Funny Guy" and tell her she had to eat it or she would "not get anything else to eat ever in her life." 


GRRRRRR.  He got in big trouble for that. She sobbed. And I told him (in front of her) "IF we did that to you when you had only been home a short time you would have been scared to death we meant it.  You can NOT pick at her and think she understands you are joking, that's just MEAN, because she didn't get that you WERE joking." And I told him I will not allow him to do things like that to her.  


He had the grace to look deeply ashamed that he made her cry and he apologized twice (mom didn't feel the first time sounded sincere enough).  I don't think it hurt her to have a good cry, probably more behind it than just the chicken, but at least she wasn't left to feel "hung out there" by bro and no one standing up for her.


I worked a long day yesterday and I was so tired, when I finally got home I sat down and realized something when she looked at me.  She always smiles, when I look at her. She makes ME smile. I love her smile. I love that she doesn't look at me with the blank look like the others did and still do sometimes and say "WHAT?" like something is wrong because I dared to LOOK at my children, she just SMILES.  


She's such a treasure. A true blessing. A gift from Him. Thanks, God.


We love her----she's our girl:)


Ps. Not sure why things are highlighted in this post. Not meant to be and not sure how to fix it, no secret meaning behind it (MOM)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy's Day

Well today is the day to honor fathers. And I would be soooo lacking to not give credit to Mr. Ron. The man behind the scenes. He has always been the steady, the strong, the silent one. 


He says I talk enough for the both of us:)  But he's one amazing dad. The children ALL love him. He is so laid back and they know he can be counted on to be there for them no matter what.  He doesn't get angry quickly or often.


He goes off to work and comes home every evening. He never complains about working to support his family, his focus in life is the family. The kids all know that.


He loves to mountain bike, when we moved we got even closer to his favorite trails:) He even rides to work sometimes, about 9 miles each way. The children look up to him- and he's a wonderful example of love.


He's been so good with every addition to the family-- even when it took months and months for Chloe to feel comfortable to just sit in the same room with him. Yet, as he waited and waited for Chloe, she now jokes with him, she hugs him, she loves him.  He now waits for Paisley patiently and steadily, just as he always is.  


He deserves a ton of love, which we all have for him:)  Our family wouldn't be what it  is without this special guy, one that I adore and am so thankful for.


Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

About Paisley

It cracked me up when Paisley was checking out my blog (Pheww, so glad that Savi got her added to the top there- thanks again Savi) and she asked what I wrote about. She wanted to know why I was putting a yucky ol' Chance sneaker on my blog when I *could* be posting all about HER:)


Have I mentioned how much she reminds me of Chloe? If not, I have been amiss because I have figured out our comfort level with her is because she is very much like  Chloe but yet, her own person.  


Sings all the time.  Quite good too but puzzling to us how she manages to NOT have an accent when singing American songs. How does that work?


I told her what all I had blogged about her so far and she had no problem with any of it.  She just wanted to know why I didn't put on MORE pictures of her on my posts. She also told me how when she went to her first school that everyone knew her name and she didn't understand how everyone knew it was her. 


I swear (not really mom, don't call) I had the SAME exact conversation with Chloe before. And I said the same thing-- "Well usually you are the new Chinese girl (if not the ONLY Chinese girl) so that kinda does it. Everyone knows you." 


She told me everyone in China and here tell her she is "cute" and she wanted to know why she wasn't called "pretty?"  So I explained to her that she is smaller in size and often people think smaller is "cute" and pretty is for an older girl. I assured her I think she is quite pretty and I am thrilled to have a girl with freckles like me:) She said she thought hers came from the sun, I told her as a red head I was BORN freckled.


Chloe and Kat have a random freckle here or there but Paisley has the prettiest (NOT cute) sprinkling over her cheeks and nose of freckles.


So I asked her what I should say about her and she said this- she's "very happy"-- she got mail, a favored stuffed  boy doll she left behind that was mailed to her from old friends, and a book of pictures sent with a boy adopted recently from her orphanage.

She  learned that another child, a girl, will be adopted soon and she was able to write her a short note to tell her how to reach us when friend gets home. 


She also wrote a note for a teacher at the orphanage and I gave her a few pictures to include (friend's mom is going to take this stuff when she travels to adopt) and we had a small notebook that the other mom suggested we make a book to help her daughter adjust to English and help with her adoption:) Paisley loved the idea of helping her friend. 


So we raided my scrapbooking stuff to find any and all pictures of stuff, animals, phone, bus, car, snow, etc. And we stickered pages then I put the English word and Paisley and Chase then later Chloe  worked on the Chinese version for her. 


She insisted I put a cross (was happy I had one) and she wrote an explanation of church, not just "cross" which I thought was very good of her.


I caught some pictures of the kids on the deck, I started with Camden and Paisley was inside the doors behind me making faces at him. He couldn't keep from laughing.


 So then when it was her turn he was so kind to return the favor and she did her best to not smile but lost the battle:)  When we looked over the pictures together she loved how I narrated them- "Oohh, trying not to smile, nope, not gonna smile, ohh hint of smile- nope, not gonna, oops, smile slipped out."  She laughed and  told me I should post that.


Okay then Miss Boss-say:)  She really wasn't being too sassy, just spunky, again, totally reminding me of Chloe. Kinda rough at times around the edges, but we will get there. We are already seeing the softening of those rough edges.


 Paisley knew Thurs. night was her turn for dishes. And without even being told, she did them. She also got her clothes and put them away. Also without being told. Just as the others do.


I'm so thankful she wants to fit in. It's made a big difference. I was sitting on the deck and first Camden asked me for something, then I heard "mom, MOM", again, I soo thought it was him, but nope, it was Paisley. Calling me because the naughty doggy shredded tissue while she was doing dishes and I was on the deck. 


She also called me mom yesterday when she needed to ask me something about one of the stickers she was needing help to know what it was. (Shopping) Although friend's new mom might not want that one? 


Paisley sat on my chair arm, we bought furniture with BIG arms just for that. I can fit at least 1 kid, on each arm of my chair easily, sometimes even 2 of them on each side. We figured we'd go with it since we have not ever totally been able to get the whole "personal space" issue completely understood and really, it keeps them from being on top of me. I find I don't mind the closeness they need as much if they are beside me.


 It can be tough to give enough closeness to teen treasures with them having the Chinese cultural "no personal space needed" verses "not respecting my personal space is rude" of America. It's not something they get for a long time.


 I've learned to be much more patient and tolerant of it- although I do not ignore it because it's another thing our children have to learn to get along in this culture/society.


 I just allow a lot of time to ease them away and teach that space is respected here, so they don't feel rejected.  It can seem odd to see a bigger kiddo practically in your lap, but if they need it I believe they should have it in the beginning. 


The last thing you want to do is hold or cuddle a younger sib then NOT allow a bigger kiddo the same. They WILL feel rejected.


 As odd as you may feel, if they want to do that and it's as innocent as knowing you care enough about them to let them sit very close too, then DO IT. Ignore their long legs and bumping elbows. More often than not, with an older treasure it's difficult not to feel awkward trying to give physical affection.


We find a pat on the shoulder, a twirl of the ponytail, these things show our love and don't overwhelm children who seem to have to be right in your face but who also freeze up in discomfort when hugged. I've also learned enough Chinese to tell each of them I love you son, I love you daughter:)  


And I've shared that with all of them, including our newest Paisley.  So far she just kinda looks at me with that teen look, you know, yeah, sure mom. Whatever.  I would expect no less from someone so cute-ooops, I mean, PRETTY.


What else did she tell me to say? She likes the dogs. She didn't know the cat's name but when she went and called her Kitty she looked at her so she believed me when I told her she would answer to that probably better than her real name Toffee.



Then she decided she wanted to go out and catch fireflies with Kat and Camden, Kat made a bug jar at Bible School and they were trying it out. Yep. Right at home, she is.


We feel so blessed to have her in our family, she's a precious gift.


 I continue to hope and pray her wonderful adjustment to her new life here is nothing but relief and healing to her first family. 


They have given us a lovely, cherished daughter. Our deepest thanks doesn't seem like enough. God's love is so clearly covering both our families as well as this precious and  don't forget----


PRETTY girl:)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sneakers

I don't often share what I do for a living. Yes, I'm a nurse. But in what way do I use my nursing?  Of course it comes in handy being the mom of many, it came in very helpful for Paisley who has some medical issues/medications.


But my work- where I get paid in $ is working with a disabled child. I love my job:) And as I sat on the bus helping to keep "my" child safe and cared for during the long ride home from school twice a week- I noticed something.


Their shoes.  2 teens and a little. All with perfect shoes.  Not a mar. Looking like they could sit on the shelf of a store and you wouldn't know they weren't brand new. Week after week.


And I thought.  Of my children's beat up shoes. Chance claiming the 2 pairs of new shoes just bought for him already being torn up and needing replaced when just 2 short months ago they were BRAND NEW.


Sometimes I've been known to tell these children o' mine, "You really should take better care of your things." I mean, shoes aren't cheap.  But as I stared at those brand-new- looking-shoes, my mind came to an abrupt halt and tears came to my eyes. 


I couldn't help but send up a prayer of thanks for my healthy children. That they CAN walk, they can run, that they CAN wear out their shoes.


It's the little things, sometimes that we forget that we are so blessed to have. Don't forget to take time today, Thank the Big Man, God for all of your children who ARE able to walk and wear out their shoes. 


And if you have one of these very super special treasures, then thank Him for the blessing these children are.  Even though they can't walk, their lives have meaning- for people who can see their spirit, their sweetness, their joy and are blessed to share their specialness. 


 We had one of these special treasures and my love for him will never die. He changed me as a mother, as a person forever, for the better. His life was so brief but God gave me that son so I got experience that now can be used for another special child's benefit. God is so amazing like that:)


  I am so thankful to know Him, as well as all the children He has brought to my life no matter how they came-- you know, by bus, by plane, by the stork, or if you are Miss Kitty- "By a brother who is now so annoying I can't understand why he asked for me- it's so ridiculous." 


Yep, thankful for that even that-- Miss Spunk-8-going-on-18! This would be the same girl who took my camera then thought I wouldn't notice? 


Uhh, you took pictures of---- YOU and your name bracelet K-A-T.  I think I figured it out.


Yeah, girlie-- you are sooo busted:)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Phoebe update

I soooo wish I could say we have good news and our LOA (Letter of Acceptance MOM)
was here. But alas, it is not. 

Frustration doesn't even describe how hard this wait and journey has been.  We learned recently that our agency goofed up big time.  So after a bunch of lame excuses why we did not have a LID (Log In Date) when our paperwork arrived in China Mar 22 and April was fastly disappearing, we learned they "misread" a paper involving a new fee so our paperwork arriving without the required fee meant it sat and did NOTHING for 6 whole weeks.

I know- GASP.  As day by day blondie gets older without us, and we sit here wanting to parent her so badly it hurts-  we lost a big chunk of time due to their error.  We WOULD be about due to get that LOA now. But instead we are LID for May 3:(

Yep, at 40 days today. NOT the 73 or so we should be at.  I sooo believe in God's timing, it's why I have only been deeply saddened for Phoebe, who knows of us and waits for us to come. Instead of freaking out over this on someone. Not sure WHO I'd be flippin' out on but needless to say someone at our awful agency would be a likely party. And that's just not nice.


To try and ease the sting, the agency did come forth with an update. Yep, pics of the blondie girl who we think may just be the Chinese version of Lady G*G*. I mean, look at those diva like poses?

And the hair, she's got HAIR!  We've been assured they will not shave her head anymore.The little bow and sunglasses were provided by us, the dress so sweetly matches and it appears someone went to the trouble to dress her beautifully for us.

We were told she is healthy.  She is still larger than Kat, but is smaller than Paisley.
Again it's so wonderful to see her in pictures and see how well cared for she looks.

So at Day 40 we continue to wait, praying for a quick LOA and other steps to get to our girl. And we stare at the pictures imagining her here and dreaming of the day that will finally happen.

I updated the blog and then the header of the blog, mom you should be proud of me since I did it all by myself. And it looked okay but then Savi helped me out and she is soooo much better at this than me. Thanks a ton Savi:)) You did a super job. And got my kids unsquished:)

There's the news on Phoebe.  At least we are making progress now. God's timing. Always perfect.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm her MOM

Today was a fun day. Nothing special planned, nope, just hanging out.  We started out our lazy day on our deck, we have 4 chairs out there so some of us double up, some end up on laps, some sit on the steps.


But needless to say, at one point I looked at dad and said "Wow, what would our lives been without these kids?" And he responded "Quiet." And Chloe said "Daaaaaddd!"


But seriously- we have great conversations on our deck. Chloe asked me to make "Rice Kristophers"  today (yeah mom- to everyone else those would be Rice Kr*spie Treats)


And Chance ask Chloe if she likes to "smell his AXE" (body spray) and she insisted he was swearing at her:)  They banter, they pick. They laugh at each other and themselves.


After that the kids watched me bath the doggies, we all got cleaned up and went to town.  Chloe had to find a new bathing suit, and thankfully she is quite modest, but that's also harder to find in girl's swimwear.


We picked up medicine for Paisley and got some marshmallows and butter for the treats. Chloe made the regular ones with my help and Paisley the chocolate ones.


But even bigger, in the store Paisley said "Mom, look."  Then later she said "Mom, don't forget" (Her gum replacement) and again later "Mom, can I see this? (my camera) And just now "Mom, I'm cold."


Each time easier and easier it comes. It seems so natural to me. But knowing she is making effort because it's not easy/natural to her, that's soooo exciting. So sweet.
I'm thrilled to hear it out of her. It's getting her far:)  She got her gum. She got to take funny pictures of her  knees, feet, legs, and she got a big warm blanket wrapped around her and a big hug to warm her up:) 


Just a lazy Saturday but for me, one I will not forget any time soon.  Because today I saw baby steps of a girl who wants to have someone she can count on, she can trust, she can know loves her--- she wants to have a MOM and today I am HER MOM:)

How am I sure??  She told me so:)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Angry

Well, we had us one angry girl. She found out last night that her momma won't tolerate nonsense. And she tried to give me nonsense.


She had a friend call and ask if she could go to her house to spend the night. And she didn't ask but told friend to "Come get her."  Uhh, NO.  I don't think so. Not happenin'.


I called back and told the friend "No." Firstly she did not ask. Secondly it's wayyyy too soon. Thirdly, she did not ask.


She's avoided asking for things. She likes to come and say one word to me, or grunt. Ummm. I do not respond to that. She's been rude, in both languages to pretty much everyone. Not going to be tolerating that either.


So she lost her brand new Ipod.  She was warned she would lose-- TV, Skype, phone, going places, etc. IF her behavior doesn't change. She is not allowed to be rude. That she is being taught how to be part of this family, which is a wonderful and good thing, we very much wanted her.  


And she wanted to come to us. But that we are not an orphanage, we will not be learning how to be orphans, she will be learning how to be a part of this family.  Just as she should. We teach to help her, not to be mean, we will not ever be mean to her. But we will teach.


And she will learn. Because if not she will not have things, and she will be hurting herself. No one else. We'll walk this road with her because God called us to.  And it's a road we've walked before. 


Now don't think I signed up for the funny farm or anything but I am actually GLAD she did this. We knew she would have to push, they all do, to see what she could get away with and what would happen if she did do things not allowed.  It gave me the opportunity to give her guidelines that she needs to get asap. And since she was going to do this sooner or later I am thankful for the sooner so we deal with it and we get started with her understanding her place in this family.  


She is a cherished, wanted, loved, teen treasure. We want her to know our love as our daughter, that we've got her back, that we are here for her. Not to make things tough, but to make things work for her.To give her what she has not had. A family where her place is known.


Where she is secure, safe and can grow in our love. 


Today she pouted for a while, but then she snapped out of it. She was told "We want you to be happy but you must follow the rules here." 


We also role played when she realized some of her gum was missing how to come to me and tell me. That I don't read minds. Because she came up to me and just stood there. Didn't say anything. Later she told Chloe in Chinese what had happened.


 So the culprit (Kat-- who claimed to just "borrow" some) was made to pay for a whole new pack of gum to replace the "borrowed" gum.  And Paisley was shown that she is important, that she can come to me and tell me when something like that has happened, I will take care of it IF she tells me. 


Lessons learned. 


Chase is also making more effort:)  Chloe said Chase was "helping" Paisley today, not sure with WHAT- but I guess they were working on what behaviors are good and what ones AREN'T. 


 Gosh, I love knowing that the hard road our son has walked since being adopted may just be able to turn into something good if he can help another child make it.  (Don't worry MOM-- he has been forewarned he will not sabotage Paisley's start here- no negative stuff allowed in English or Chinese about this family)


God always has His reasons. We have no doubt He meant for us to have Paisley in our lives.  Even through the rough, we are thankful because often the biggest reward in life is a lot of work--- our children being 100% worth it ALL.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

School's out

School's out for another year. Donovan was our graduate of 2012. Only 7 more to get graduated-- PHEWW- we can do it!


Graduation was interesting, they moved it from outdoors to the gym with tickets required. And then didn't give our student enough tickets for us to all go as we are a Family Of Many.  So we got delegated to the auditorium where it was video streamed to us, and it was cool and quite comfy. Give me that any day over gym bleachers, packed in like sardines and no air conditioning. 


Donovan is headed on to technical school to be an electrician. 


Anyhoo--- the kids are now officially out of school. And behaving badly.  I am now the not-so-proud owner of 3 Ipods, and 2 Nintendo DS's. There are 2 children grounded from TV as well. Yep. Mean mother. (There mom, I said it for you)  I warn then-- I take. 


Chase lost his first due to rudeness and hiding away from apologizing or interaction with his family who misses and loves him.  He will get it back at some point, when I see improvement in behavior. Not until then. He's one stubborn male and can hold out for a long time so I don't ever ground for a set amount of time. I must see improvement to make a decision to give toy back- he'd easily wait out any time limit I would put on him-- this way he MUST make effort.


Chloe has been rude lately (do we see a recurring theme here?) She got angry when I told her being rude to Kat is teaching her to be rude- Chloe doesn't always like being Kat's big sister who needs to be an example for lil' sis. Because Kat has been here since she was little and sadly for Chloe that green eyed monster called ENVY often gets the better of her and she feels angry that she didn't get us sooner and she thinks (wrongly) that she shouldn't HAVE to help teach lil' sis good behaviors.


But that IS what is expected of our older children. To be good examples. Very important to us and  we make our expectations very clear.  So she not only lost her Ipod, till behaviors change,  she got grounded from TV for mouthing off to me, and sent to her room. She did come to me and apologize. 


Paisley has watched all of this with interest.  We've addressed a few small issues with her- speaking English is required in this country, she''ll need to speak it. When the others tried to tell her she had to speak English she told Chance he was stupid and a traitor to China. (In Chinese) I pulled her aside immediately and told her we do not call one another stupid EVER and that none of them were being asked to lose their Chinese, they were adding English in and that's a good thing. That English is needed here and she would learn quicker by using it. She took it well. I've had  the same conversation with the boys before so I was not surprised by this.



Paisley got her Ipod yesterday, the school provides our kids with Ipods with translation apps for English- Chinese and Chinese to English. What's super about this is that their tech guy has them blocked for an inappropriate sites, as well as me being able to call and check at any time (and I DO call) what they are accessing. They are allowed to play games, as well as listen to music on them and they feel so important that they have Ipods, but they aren't doing anything on them that is not allowed. It can be very hard to monitor what our kids are accessing/getting into on an unmonitored I Pods. We don't recommend that.


What else are we in to other than summer?  Well-- I've been throwing around the idea of changing the name of the blog, I really like it but Paisley and Phoebe do not have the "Min" name. But we started with the Mins--- see the dilemma? I also was thinking of re doing the pictures on top to add in Paisley and Phoebe but I am not very bloggy savvy either, not sure how that would come out if I mess with it. 


Can I ask what you all think?  (Yeah, mom, you can comment too. Go ahead.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cool cups

An answer to where we got the kids personalized cups to keep from washing 100 (not kidding) cups a day---


Family D*llar Store has the cups- different designs, colors, etc for $3. They are double walled tumblers with straws that had a larger ring at the bottom to keep the straw from slipping out of the cup:) Walm@rt has them too but they cost a little more.


These cups do not sweat on the counter:)  Our kids love ice water, but hate washing dishes. (So does mom)


I looked for name cups but we have unusual enough names and older kids who did not want baby looking mugs or cups that I could not find anything.


So the decals, EBAY-- seller is cadstickers09.  (Look up under advanced search) 
Ask for a custom listing in your choice of font, your color choice and how many you need. (They discount larger quantities)
These are "auto" decals, thick, and strong. Our kids like to "pick" at things, so these had to be tough enough for them and they are!


Peel back off of decal, place on dry cup, rub, peel off top plastic.  For about $4-5 you have a personalized washable cup.  I looked and looked and only found cups like this for $10+  per cup and they weren't as nice.  I'm very fond of CHEAP ways to handle big family issues:)


  I mean, who wants to spend $100 on CUPS?? Not this cheap momma. 


Not sure how well they would hold up being washed in a dishwasher over and over-- we  have everyone hand wash their own cup and it's worked wonderfully:)  


Everyone feels special, every one knows which cup is theirs, everyone has learned to wash their cup-- we call that a win, win, win.


This momma loves win, win, win:)  


Disclaimer- I am not related to, know personally, making anything from Cadstickers09. Found them on ebay, thought they were the most reasonable, asked for a custom listing twice, they responded promptly and discounted a larger quantity. Good enough for me:)  So that's why I recommend them.