Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mei Mei !!!

We LOVE Mei Mei!

We have watched ALL her videos and adore all of them 
(but #4 has always been our favorite)!

Our local FCC(Families with Children from China)/FCA(Families with Children from Asia) group invited Mei Mei to our Mpls!

We had our own sing, dance and learn session with Mei Mei!

Madeline had a cameo appearance and danced with her!
I was proud of her for getting up there and dancing in front of everyone!

The children loved every minute of it!

She did many of the songs and movements that she has in her videos!

Melissa felt right at home! It was all so familiar to her!
I know she did lots of dancing in her orphanage and school!

It was so much fun for everyone!

Mei Mei looks just like she did in her videos!

Before the program started and as we were checking in- we were able to talk to her!
They loved seeing her in real life!

At first the big girls found it hard to partake(they were a little self conscious) but they quickly got over it and joined in the fun!

It was a fantastic day!

Then Melissa got a chance to dance with Mei Mei, too!

She did a wonderful job!

It was a workout for all of us!

Even the parents got involved!
Yep! me too!
I wouldn't have wanted to miss it!

It brought back wonderful memories for all of the children. 
No matter what the situation was in China, they all love the Chinese songs and dance!
It's a soft place to land in their memory banks!

Mei Mei lives in Providence, RI.
She is now a professor at Brown University.
I do not how many appearances she makes each year BUT I would highly recommend having her to your one of your FCC/FCA functions!

After our hour long session we had cake and juice and a Q and A time. Then it was pics and a chance to look at her videos and Chinese writing books!

She has 2 new videos out #8 and #9!

FYI #4 and #9 are the best! Although we would recommend all of them!

And YES there will be a #10!

We bring these videos to China with us when we adopt. 
Both the new children and the children we bring with us, 
enjoy them!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Awkward . . . is GONE!

When adopting older children. . .
there are so many awkward moments.

I am not a fan of awkward. . .

it makes me feel . . 


(okay, I do have to laugh a little at these two photos!)

I know that some adoptive parents love the moment they meet their child.

While others love the time in China.

Often the first few months are magical!
(mostly with first time adoptions and first child adoptions)

It was magical the first time but after that the magic happened later
(every bit as magical, just later)!

These are not my favorite times.

I feel so weak, so uncertain, so out of my element and so vulnerable.

I pray constantly from the moment we leave our house until we once again set foot in our home with our new children.

And then I realize I can't stop praying now!
We've only just begun!!

With our adoption experiences God has me right where HE wants me,
completely depending on HIM.
On my knees and completely dependent.
Being completely dependent on GOD is good.
I know HE will not leave me.
And HE never does.
It is scary and awesome at the same time.

Once home,
there are always a multitude of feelings from the new children, the children currently at home, the older bio kids that are taking it all in and from us, the new parents...

They feelings are often
confusion, uncertainty, exhaustion, frustration-
as we search for some kind of new normal.

They are definitely not my favorite feelings.


of the adoption journey,

it's different!

It's better!

It's better than better!

It's wonderful!

We have been home for 3 months and now we are settling in!

And from previous experience...


I love this part!


The silent moments aren't awkward.
Trying to stumble and laugh through communication- is fun and funny, now.
We can just look at each other and smile, nothing more or less, just smile when our eyes meet!

When they are going to the Dr or dentist- they get it and they aren't afraid. We aren't going to leave them anywhere. They go and come home with us.

I can call a spade a spade.
When someone isn't telling me the truth I can simply let them know, that I know the truth. . .
so fess us!

They not afraid that we will be mad or that "that's it" they've blown their chance and they are outta here.
(how very sad)
They are beginning to trust.
They are trying to please us.
They are happy and they like happy!
And we like happy!

And right now they are all trying to tease me and trick me-
of course,
I fell for it...
They got me!

We can laugh together! 
They even think I am funny!
(It's so much different from when they could hardly look at me. . .
and I was sure they were saying to themselves or each other - Really God, this is the best you could do? and then the Mommy shopping began!)

The children that have been home are feeling more secure.
Those new sisters didn't come as replacements.
We are all staying.

We actually are going to ALL be a family!

Have we arrived completely?
not yet,
there's always work to be done!

BUT we are on course!

This is a beautiful time and I LOVE IT!

Feeling so thankful for this "time"!

 has to figure out the 
"Stages of Adoption"!
Because there are definitely stages
and we are liken the one we are in!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Homeschooling Eleven . . .

With eleven darlings home and a huge variety of academic abilities
I am finding that it is time to re evaluate a few

I had a hope and a dream but I can see now, that it may not be what is best for each of the child in this family.

Instead, it is necessary for me to give up my own desires and give this to God.

He's got a plan and I need to figure out what it is and submit to it.

Have you noticed I haven't even said what it is yet.

I am stubborn and it's hard for me to even say this
I have too...

Okay here goes-
homeschooling 11 kiddos is HARD.

Really HARD...

Really really HARD...

Maybe not for some people BUT it is for me.

It's not just one issue that is hard, it's a variety of issues and when I put them all together it equals HARD.

I am sure that some of you out there are saying 
Ya, duhhhhh...
I coulda told you that...

BUT I look at it differently... 

if you have never adopted 
never homeschooled than you really don't understand
 how awesome adoption is and how wonderful homeschooling your adopted children really is!

It is my hope that someday, once again all the children will be home
but for now I am planning to use the resources available to us to benefit our children.

 We have 
severe to moderate cognitive delays and disabilities, 
we have PTSD, 
we have memory issues, 
we have ADHD, 
we have ELL (English language learners),  
we have speech disabilities and more.
We also have average students and 
very bright students where the sky is the limit,
We are shy, out going, quiet and talkative.
We are brave and fearful.
We are stubborn and go with the flow.

We have used outside resources for therapies and now it is time to use the resources available for our children with cognitive issues.

To be honest I feel like God is saying
"yes, it's time".
I have thought about it other times and would change my mind by the end of the day.

This time it's different.
I am at peace with it.
And because of that peace, I feel like God has planted this in my heart and now it is the right time.

We are beginning the IEP process for one of the children. Then we will begin it for another. And then another...

Only one will probably get to start school this month and the others will wait until fall.

Our school day is going in too many different directions and I can see some frustration with the children (and myself).
I cannot sit next to each child at the same time and individually tutor them.
I am only one person.

Sometimes when working with a cognitively disabled child it is easy to loose sight of correct expectations. Now the schools and I will work together for the benefit of that child.
We live in a wonderful school district and we are very blessed to have these services available.
PLUS, a good friend of mine is the school psychologist and will be part of the team- that is comforting!

If it doesn't work- I can bring them back home

and then we will devise another plan!

We are praying over this decision and will post more on it later.
(pics later)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wonderful Friends!

Two weeks ago I got an email!
Two of my closest college friends were coming to town!

Hubby and I had plans to go to Colorado to see Matt and Caitlin.
We were excited to see them
I knew if this weekend didn't work out with the ladies,
we would once again 
get together.

It had already been 8 years. . .

The time had gone by so fast and none of us realized how long it had been.

NOW was the time, 
we could not wait any longer. 

(As I left the house the children were outside in the sunshine- they were so so cute with their sunglasses and bike helmets!)

Too many life changing events were happening in our lives.
  We needed each others love and support.

While in college, the nursing students would go to a different campus for the last 2 years of college.
There were 50 students in each grade, so 100 nursing students total.

The eight of us became 

We were 

And we

Oh yes, yes, yes!
and we learned a lot,
(of course)

I feel so very blessed to have such dear dear friends! 

 We met on at a hotel near the MOA but we never left the hotel! 
Instead we brought appetizers and shared our stories.

It was wonderful!
It was tough stuff...
It was joyous!
It was miraculous!
It was concerning...
It was worrisome...
It was hard...
It was beyond wonderful!

And truly, I feel so very blessed by our Lord to have had this time with such dear dear friends!

Thank you hubby for handling the home front! 

 I missed you all for the 19 hours that I was gone.

I am so very thankful for this special time with my friends!

And this is what I came home too!!

A whole lotta cuteness!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

SCARY Day. . .

We had a scary day last week.
The kind of day that makes me shiver just thinking about it.
Despite the 2 scary events the rest of the day was a good one!

Every Saturday Morning Daddy and the children go to get donuts at the local bakery and coffee from the coffee shop!

It is such treat for everyone and they all look forward to going!

We have to promise the night before that Daddy will not leave with out them... otherwise they are up at the crack of dawn, which doesn't make the Mommy and Daddy very happy on a Saturday morning!

Little Madeline ate a delicious chocolate donut! She tends to eat the frosting first and then the bread and once she is done the evidence is all over her face!

I took her into the bathroom to help her wash her face.

She had a very loose top front tooth and as I washed her face with my hand, her tooth caught on my finger.

I felt something sharp but it really didn't register what it may have been...

All of the sudden Madeline started choking and grabbing her throat.

She was trying to cry as she choked.

I was so scared and could not figure out what was wrong. I thought the counter hit her in the throat but wondered how could that be?

I grabbed tissue and bent her over while rubbing her back and trying to ask questions.
BUT my little girl does not speak enough English to communicate under stress.

Then blood started coming out- I started praying and evaluating if we needed to call 911.

Just then I saw her front tooth was missing and nowhere to be found. I realized that must have been what I felt on my finger and it must have gone down her throat. I had to evaluate if it went into her lungs or her stomach.
She was beginning to settle down and the the blood was stopping.
She had a drink of water and seem fine BUT a bit traumatized... poor dear...

Her breathing was fine and we are so thankful!
She spent the rest of the morning on Mommy's lap.
Feeling so thankful that she is fine!
Buy lunch time she was back to herself!

In the early afternoon we took the kids swimming at our local Y*M*C*A*

The children were first evaluated for which level of swim classes and then it was free time in the pool.

Based on their levels we set guideline as to who could swim where.

All of the children have taken swim lesson except for our three newbies.

Abby went further out than she was supposed to go.
Abby and Anna have a tendency to giggle and be silly. They play like little puppy dogs!

I immedialtely corrected her and told her to get back to the wall and make her way to where it is a bit more shallow.

But instead she started to giggle and then proceeded to hug Anna...
they both went down.

It was freaky scary- if those are words I can use together...

It was so dangerous.
Hubby was in the pool but was with 2 other children.
The instructor happened to be right next to me and she hopped in and unhooked the girls. (I would have jumped in if she hadn't been there!)

Anna is good swimmer and took a breath before going under however if Abby would have continued to hold on it would have been terrible. 

They are both fine and Abby got a quick lesson and a time out of the pool.

Whew- that was exhausting to even write...

Thankful it all turned out just fine and we actually had a great day!

I have been having sciatic nerve pain down my left leg. It makes it difficult to sit during school time or at the computer. (Or even walk...)
Any clues on how to make it go away???

I look down at the computer. I look down at the children- my neck has been getting tired lately.

I love to sit criss cross and curl up. 

Core muscles are quite weak now. Not a lot of time to exercise and it's hard to get outside with the weather... well, that's a whole other post!
We are having a blizzard on April18th-

I am thinking I am being punished for complaining about the weather...

So no more complaining- I will be happy with whatever comes our way!
(fake smile)

The rest of the pictures are for your 

Go ahead...


praise the Lord you don't live here...

I think we are setting records for the worst weather in recorded history...

I may have made that up ;-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hop On Over!

To the 

No Hands But Ours 


I just posted for the first time over there!

I am very excited to be a contributor!!

Will be posting here tomorrow!

And BTW thank you for all the comments on the weather...

I was a  bit jealous but (breath Jean) am doing fine (breathe again Jean)!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Global Warming?

Oh please!

it's april...

but not really...

because it's 

gusty winds 
30 degrees
and that's not counting the wind chill...

this is so not fair...

This was written yesterday April 14th.

Today (April 15th), the sun has tried to peak out but it's been a feeble attempt...

I have heard that it is supposed to turn around on April 24th...

I'll believe it when I see it!

I think we need to MOVE!

Tell me about the weather where you live?