Friday, February 27, 2009

Back up troops have arrived!

 I have recovered from my mixed up thoughts- we are peacefully continuing on with our original plan. We do not need to rush things such as friends, activities, even our education. Everything is going so well- I do not need to out think myself but to prayerfully and peacefully carry on what we have already been doing. Thank you for your words of encouragement and wisdom!

Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done. 
If you do this you will experience his peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus Christ. 
Philippians 4:6-7

Katie and Devan are here now. Poor Kate got very sick this week (she is student teaching). She went right to the doctor but was misdiagnosed. They thought she had the flu. She ended up back at the doctor 36 hours later with a very swollen throat and a fever of 103. She had a bad case of strep throat. She is supposed to do a reading at our nieces/cousins wedding but still is not well enough to attend the grooms dinner.  Although she looks good in the pictures- it's so not fair... young people always look good.
When the older kids are at home, the younger ones right away gravitate to them- it is a nice little break for mom!

This afternoon Sarah, Anna and Momma (me) went to a friends house for a little playgroup! One of the Mom's just got home from Ethiopia 4 weeks ago with her little boy- 18  months old. He is soooo cute!! Another mom just got home this past week with her little girl from Korea (9-10 months old) - they could not make it because they are still recovering from jet lag. This is the first group we met when we started our adoption journey - PAC class- pre-adoption class at CHSFS. I just had to post a pic of the kids- they are too cute!! What blessings they are!

For an update and pics on our homeschool please see my other blog 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The chameleon post

I have been meaning to post but if I would have written earlier- it would have said something different each day. In our efforts to be on top of things we have been thinking that our little Sarah needs to meet other 8 yr old girls. So we began to think of our options... We started thinking this because at home she will at times act like a 2 yr old (copying Anna). I think she does not know how 8 yr olds act so I we visited the local Catholic school but decided against it because they did not offer special classes to fill Sarah's needs- ELL, reading specialist, etc. Then I stopped at the local public school, they were very receptive and it looked like Sarah was going to be able to be in her ELL friends class and attend 1/2 day 2nd grade. Today I found out that class is full. Sarah would be in another classroom where she does not know anybody, she speaks english but only at about 50% proficiency (that's a guess). She would show up at lunch time without a friend to connect with and she supposed to blend in? I don't think so. Plus the teacher is PG and that means a sub when she has her baby- hmmm, not sounding good again. The other issue is our sweet daughter is enamored with babies in tummies. She happens to know more than the average 8 yr old, on that subject (due to older kids at the orphanage) and she may just sit down with her teacher and discuss the babies birth... 3 strikes were out. 

HS is going great. Sarah is making steady progress! We were just thinking if we could combine the 2- that she would also benefit from the peer interaction. In preparation we told Sarah that if she went to school she would have to put on her own snowsuit, boots, mittens and jacket- the teacher does not do that... She was shocked and commented "bad teacher".  Of course they did not do that in China either but I think she likes the extra TLC.  We do not mind doing these things but we are trying to figure out at what point do you encourage the her to do age appropriate tasks?  She is incredibly capable and often does these things but sometimes I do have a 55 lbs 2 yr old.

Some friend have offered one on one playgroups with other kids around her age but I do not think she is ready. She gets uncomfortable and plays by herself (parallel play)- this is a skill she needs to learn- with time it will happen but should we be encouraging it or not rushing it?

I do have to say I have put way to much time thinking about this and not enough time praying about it. Since she is progressing so nicely I need to just be patient and prayerful.

Sarah is taking gymnastic lessons, playing soccer and taking swimming lessons. She also does ELL and speech- so she is doing enough! It is just that none of these are actual opportunities to build a friend relationship. We have not put her in our christian ed classes yet- we were planning to start in the fall. I think I may need to reread my friend Sally's post again. I am not in control- God is in control- be peaceful and trusting in the Lord (and repeat as often as necessary)!

Here are pics of the girls helping me make brownies! Yes, they are from a box!

Our niece Emily is getting married this weekend! All the kids will be home except for Mark. Katie is currently stuck in Iowa city with strep throat- she is on antibiotics and on the mend. She will head home tomorrow! We are excited to have almost everyone home and to go to the wedding!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Stylist!

If I wait much longer to blog I'll be back on thankful thursday again! Sorry about no posts- daily life is taking over and it seems to keep us busy. I loved our vacation time where I could blog everyday- it is so therapeutic! 

When our bio kids were younger they used to do my hair- I loved it!! After Katie grew out of it I still had the boys fix it- it is a family secret I don't usually share but they are all man enough now to handle it! It was such a special time with the kids and it felt so good to have those little loving hands playing with my hair! I had some pretty awesome hairdos! (kinda, sorta!)

Sarah is now comfortable styling my hair- she is very good at it and I am in heaven when she gives me a "do"! Anna likes to get into it too! She does whatever Sarah does! So now I have 2 of my own hairstylist! We do have a few rules- no cutting hair, no coloring hair and the "dos" are done at night! whew!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday- February 19th, 2009

I love thankful Thursdays!! There is so much to be thankful for and it is a good reminder to be thankful!

1. I am thankful for our Home. I love home! It is a place where you can take a deep breath and relax. It is warm and cozy and comforting! Thank you Jesus. 

2. I am thankful that the Saunders family are in their rental home. It is not their precious log cabin but it is a home- where they will find comfort and make memories- for this period of time in their lives. Thank you, Jesus.

3. I am thankful for fellow bloggers that praise our Lord Jesus! They are inspiring and they have a gift- I love their blogs!

4. I am thankful for planes that can get us from one place to another, fast! We used to drive everywhere- and that was so much fun but for this time in my life- I am enjoying planes (my knees like planes better!)

5. I am thankful for weather- it makes each day interesting! In the cold weather you can start a fire and be cozy or bundle up and go outside! In the warm weather I feel more alive and active! I tell the girls the sun makes me smile- and it does, wherever we are!

6. I am thankful for sleeping children! It warms my heart to peek in on them and see them sound asleep and it gives me a little break!

7. I am still very thankful for garage heaters!!

8. I am thankful for people that write good books for us to read to our children. AND good books to inspire us (parents) to read to our children!

9. I am thankful for people who care for the orphans all over the world. I am thankful for families who adopt the orphans. Everyone needs a family, everyone needs love, everyone needs Jesus!

10. I am NOT thankful for socks that fall down... doesn't that just drive you crazy!! It drives me crazy- all I can think about is with every step how my sock is getting lower and lower until finally it is bunched up around my ankle. It just happened to me today. Of course the minute I can home I changed my socks!

Have a wonderful, blessed Thankful Thursday!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

She did it! Kind of!

It has been so much fun in Florida but it felt like Sarah needed a little bit of her schedule back ( she may not agree). So we did a little light HS'ing while Daddy did some work in the morning. You know, it's a good thing if a girl can spell her last name! So we worked on that and then some letter reviewing, a little bit of math and then the memory game. Which I lose at everytime!  We play it fair and square- she's just sharper than me! After lunch it was back out to the pool- we prepped the girls hoping that would help and it did! At one point Sarah said to me "Mom, I am happy"! Notice the pronoun and the word happy! After swimming we relaxed for a while and went inside- they were still happy! While we were inside getting ready for dinner the girls actually laid down and watched TV- that is a first for us! Seriously, we usually have to buckle them in the carseat and play a movie (while we are going somewhere of course- no, don't call child protection - I do NOT leave then restrained in the car). They only seem to watch a whole movie when we are going somewhere.  I usually have some great educational shows in the car like leapfrog and Sesame street english (ELL  movies), etc! 

Then we went for a walk by the beach before dinner- pretty good so far! Everybody was relatively happy- went out to eat, okay so far! They were very hungry and gobbled up their food! Got in the car - no tears yet! Stopped at the grocery store for more bottled water. (Well, okay, for some delicious fudge from the bakery, too) Drove to our place, got the kids out of the car- Sarah was beginning to faulter, by the time we were up the elevator she was slightly pouting. Got her into the bedroom- real tears started- I began to carry her, put her in her jammies, brushed her teeth,  tears stopped, tucked her in kissed her all over her face, got a "Good night Mommy" and a smile... close enough for me! Whew! Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Creatures have followed us to Florida!

So here we are in beautiful sunny southern Florida having a wonderful time Everything is great- we have no complaints, wouldn't change a thing... except for the fact that our wonderful loving children turn into "creatures" at the 4:00 hour. I remember it well with our older kids, it's the before dinner hour, the hour that goes so slow you feel like the clock never changes, the hour that you want to call your hubby and ask him of he's coming home soon, the hour that you wonder why you ever have children in the first place... It happens at home and I have been meaning to sit down with the kids and hubby and work out a reasonable plan if that's possible! A plan where we can all be happy together, wind down, watch a show, look at a book, play a quiet computer game, have a light snack- now doesn't that sound nice. Mom could throw in a load of laundry, get dinner started and catch up on a few e-mails. We could be harmoniously together while still having a little space. Sounds beautiful! 

SNAP out of it and get back to reality! Okay, well the creatures have followed us to Florida- We usually hang out at the beach for an hour, come in for lunch and head to the pool. Jim and I are swimming with the kids having fun, clapping at all their new and old tricks! Everybody is happy, laughing and smiling! Bonding is at an all time high! The kids get out of the pool when we tell them it is time. Life could not get any better... and then a switch goes off- the creatures return - within 20 minutes the little one is whining about something and the big one begins to pout. Today it was because she couldn't have two towels- I know I'm a meany- I was wet and cold, I needed one of those towels! Yesterday it was because we wouldn't carry her up to the condo, day before- can't remember but I'm pretty sure that was my fault, too. We're never quite sure what is the little ones problem - we think it's just being two. Arghhhhhhhh

They happen everyday and yet they still catch me off guard- well, no more I am ready for tomorrow! Oh yeah!! We called a family meeting, we discussed it (like that is really going to help). We have banned all pouting and whining from the premises and especially after swimming! I'll let you know how tomorrow goes! I'm sensing a victory!

Jim is exchanging cars with the girls - strategic timing! We are hoping the girls will fall asleep in the car and get some much needed rest! He is going to get a real easy car- with an actual ignition!! Jean is having a little quiet time. I have stopped growling to myself. The real reason I feel so much better is I got onto my computer and was lead to this incredible blog. It is a young girl in her twenties who loves the Lord and is living in Uganda, caring for kids. She is sooo inspirational and she has a great sense of humor! Check it out!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Where do you put the key?

Okay- I should be in bed, everyone else is in bed but this is my only time so what the heck!  

While on this mini vacation we have rented a car, a Nissan Ultima. It is very nice but it has a new fangled starter in it. We got all the bags in the trunk, including the stroller, the car seat, the kids, then us... and we could not figure out how to start this darn car. Seriously- we had a key but no ignition?? We were baffled?? So we go up to the attendant and ask her - where do we put the key?? That sounds like a descent question, right?? her answer was "you put the key in on the left side of the steering wheel". Okay, we are relatively smart, we got it! Well Jim couldn't see very well because he didn't have his glasses so I thought I'd help him out! I found the spot and stuck in the key- whola, the car started and off we went! it's getting late and we all need to eat dinner. We stop at a local restaurant and we cannot get the key out of the ignition... hmmmm... so we leave the car unlocked and go on with our evening.  24 hours later the key will  still not budge from the ignition so we ran into another younger adoptive family, strike up a conversation and  before we part ask the if they have ever driven a nissan ultima- answer is yes- fabulous! Can you help us get the keys out of the ignition? What's the trick? 

As it turns out- there is no trick, and there is no ignition! We were supposed to stick the fob ( excuse me is that even a word?) in that spot, not the key. I have no idea why this crazy car is actually starting if a rounded tip piece of plastic is supposed to be in there instead of a key but it does!

Hopefully tomorrow when the car rental place is open we can get this figured out!

Today Sarah said to me as we were talking- when we go back to China someday she will be staying... in China... excuse me, no, you will stay with your Mommy and Daddy. When we go back to America, you will be going back with us! No, she thinks she will stay in China , because Sarah loves China. Yes we love China, too, but we will go back to America. Well this conversation went on for awhile until Daddy interrupted and said" lets go to dinner. Sarah, you are teasing your Momma." Big smile and a giggle, yep, I'm teasing Momma! Later that evening- Daddy, Daddy what was I doing to Momma again? Teasing her!  "yeah, I was teasing her!" Big Smile!

Today Sarah went into the ocean up to her waist with Daddy! She saw a school of minows and 2 dolphins! 
I promise to post pics tomorrow but for now- I am off to bed!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Today's Discoveries!

We are in Florida with the girls for a couple days! Today we discovered convertible cars! Sarah said, "Wow, look" It was a car with no top. She had never seen such a thing before! She was amazed! After that we noticed many more! Later in the day we saw a motorcycle. Not a scooter like in China BUT a for real motorcycle- that is very loud and can go fast! 

We went to the park again. This time Sarah wanted to sit in the baby swing- Jim put her in it and she got stuck! It was pretty funny! Then we had a race to see if I could get my camera out in time to take a pic or if Daddy Jim could get her unstuck and out before I took my pic- they won!

Todays topic was "passing gas". We had fun blaming it on each other. Just for the record- it wasn't me!

The lock on the master bedroom door isn't working very well. So when I put my swimsuit on I  have to listen closely and then get it on lightning fast or "Hello honey, could you step out for a minute, mom is almost done" But because this body of mine is so interesting, she really would rather stay and take in the view (Ughh). The boobs are quite interesting- I let her know that someday both she and Anna will have these. I think she is okay with waiting a little while!

The girls make friends where ever they go- young and old enjoy them. When we went out to eat tonight, the girls listened to the musician and did a little dancing! People are amazed that Sarah has only been home 10 weeks- her english is coming along and she seems so comfortable and happy! Everybody seems to have a relative that has adopted (or they have adopted kids) so we connect with a lot of people. They all have such heart warming stories! I love adoption and feel so blessed to have our 2 girls join our family through adoption!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's up with us!

It has been awhile since I last posted - daily life is busy and fun! The girls make it so very interesting!! In a good way that is!!

Last weekend we went to our local FCC New Years party! The girls had a great time! Sarah LOVED the chinese dance! That is something we will look into next fall! She also enjoyed the chinese circus! At first she was in a daze and not sure what to think but quickly started having fun! A friend spoke to her in Chinese and she answered in english.  still her her sing songs in chinese- it is so pretty to hear but I think she is beginning to lose her language. It does break my heart but I know this is what she needs to do at this point in her life. It is my hope that she will be able to relearn it. Anna didn't have much patients for the dancing or the circus- she was all about the fish pond, zodiac walk, tatoos and balloon shapes done by the clown. We met a friend at the party- Elizabeth and Taylan! We have a mutual friend and have been corresponding thru e-mails for about 1.5 years! That was fun to finally meet them!

Sarah and I took the doggies in to get groomed- that was new and exciting for her- we both thought they smelled and were in need of a bath and a good brushing! They looked wonderful when they came home!

Tomorrow we have decided "NO SCHOOL"! I think she need s a little break from Mom's school! We are going to play a game and then go shopping! After that is speech, swimming, ESL, get Anna, get Johnny and whew finally go home. Yes, we are already talking about a schedule revision!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday- February 5th!

There is so much to be thankful for-
1. Sarah has been home 2 months and I am so thankful for her joining our family! She is such a wonderful addition and we all love her so much! She continues to make great progress!

2. Anna had her yearly appt with the cleft team. She is making wonderful progress- especially with speech! She is in the 10% in ht and wt- because of that some of her surgeries may have to wait until she get a little bigger. I am thankful for awesome Doctors and a whole team of Dr's that follow her each year!!

3. While at the appt for Anna they told me she had an ear infection. I thought she had been pretty grumpy and had quite the runny nose but she always sleeps so good- I was surprised! I am thankful for antibiotics! I now have my happy little girl back!

4. I am thankful for my wonderful new friend and babysitter Karen! The girls love her! They always have so much fun when she comes over on Wednesdays! I hs Sarah for 1.5 hours while Karen is with Anna and then run errands while both the kids are with Karen- it gives me a chance to get a few things done and a little break!

5. I am thankful for invisible fences that keep our doggies safe! The batteries ran out on the collars and Mia ran away last weekend. We got her back by calling the local police- thank goodness the family that found her reported it to the police!

6. I may have already said this one but it deserves more recognition- I am thankful for garage heaters!! In Minnesota it is a must! It just helps take the bite out of winter.

7. I am thankful for those few warm days in the winter when it is actually fun to be outside! Okay, it's always fun for the kids but it needs to be warmer to be fun for the adults!

8. I am thankful that God hears our prayers and he is their to guide us!

Here are some random pics of our outing last weekend! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Siblings!

I read a post on a yahoo group regarding this subject and I found it a little upsetting. The birth children were embarrassed by the adopted child behavior. The children did not want their "kind of" new sibling at their school. I want to make it clear I do not want to pass judgement on this family or this topic. 

At first I felt so bad for the new child. Feeling like they should learn to tolerate their new sibs behavior- teach him how to act- teach him what is socially appropriate behavior- be easy on him and give him positive feed back when he acts appropriate. Monitor his social environment until the behavior is somewhat okay and role play on how to act in certain situations. Well all of this may be a good idea- who knows- we may be trying it in the future- I'l let you know! But you never really know another persons situation until you have lived it. We aren't living it but we have had it in small doses. Our sweet 15 yr old son is at the age where everything is embarrassing- you know, we have all been there. We grow out of it but it is something that time has to take care of. Our little Sarah will run up to Johnny when his basketball game is over and give him a big hug- he will freeze and his cheeks turn red- he is just not sure how to deal with it. Like so many things we need to prepare our kids- tell them what is okay and what would be best NOT to do. Talk to the older sib and tell him how to deal with it- empower him- it is okay if he makes it clear that his little sis needs to go back to the parents right away and he would appreciate it if she would wait until after the team meeting. Of course the parents could always watch their daughter closer and grab her before she makes a run for it BUT I would hate to blame this on the sweet, kind, loving, hardworking parents- smile!

Life is full of sooooo many lessons!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am thrilled to announce that I have won an award! A Fabulous blog award! How very, very exciting is that! This is definitely a day brightener! (Since the other thing I did today was pick up massive amounts of doggy poop- in the yard.) Two large dogs that want to eat a lot, white snow, long winter- not a good mix nor a pretty site- I almost took a pic of our poop filled yard but I decided to spare you all!

Now here are the rules for this award:
1. Pass it on to 5 fabulous blogs, and include the one that gave it to you (and Link them) 2. List 5 of your fabulous addictions.

I need to figure out how to link onto blogs- can anyone tell me?

I received this award from Sally at Bryson makes 8 ! Sally and I traveled to China at the same time  in the end of Nov. early Dec. 2008 and we met each other in person on the GREAT WALL! That was so cool- all of the sudden I heard- Jean? Jean? I look up and there she was! I love to keep updated on how sweet Bryson is doing through Sally's blog! I also am loving Sally's friend Ann's blog!

Here are my 5 fabulous blog nominations!

1. My friend Laura's blog  . We were neighbors here in MN.
LAura and her family are now living in Shanghai. They moved there this summer. They have 3 children- 2 from Korea and one from China. Laura is working with Half the Sky Foundation!

2. My other friend Laura's blog  from MN. We are in the same FCC playgroup and we get together every week!

3. My new friend Kathy's blog . Kathy has 2 older kids and 5, yes I said 5 daughters from China! She brought home her 5th daughter just before our Sarah came home-fall 2008! We met through our blogs and then sometimes e-mail each other. We have had some similiar adjustment experiences with our girls!

4. My new friend Jennifer's blog . Jennifer has one bio daughter and 3 daughters from China. Her latest adoption was an older child adoption- their newest daughter is Tessa. I followed her as we were preparing to adopt our daughter- Sarah. We met through a yahoo group and have keep in contact through our blogs.

5. My sweet friend Lynsay's blog . Lynsay and her husband Bill live in Beijing. They have 2 daughters and they are beginning a special needs orphanage in China! They have the morningstar project that they are working on! They are a very cool family and Katie and I were able to meet Lynsay when we were in Beijing!

Now for my five addictions-
1. slippers- love them, always wear them and Sarah has let me know numerous time that they are stinky, too! (tosa- she says- she is right!)

2. My morning coffee- I am sad to say I buy the expensive stuff- starbucks grande vanilla latte! It is a day brightener for me but someday I will be changing that- I'm sure I'll just find another addiction to take it's place!

3. MY hubby- I love him sooooo! I love to spend lots of time with him, I love talking to him and listening to him- I just love him to pieces!

4. Adoption/ children / family. As far as I am concerned it's all about the children. They are such a joy! I am on my knees thankful for the opportunity to be a Mom again of young children! My dream is to help others bring their children home!

5. Jesus- I love sharing my everyday with him in prayer and in conversation. I am so thankful for him in my life and I pray to follow, to serve and to praise him more and more each day!

Blessings to all you wonderful bloggy friends!