Monday, November 12, 2007

Some deep thoughts from the past days, weeks…

I know this is deeper than I usually am, but I can't help but think about this.  I put my kids to bed at night and as I kiss each one of them I can’t help, but think about how each one came to me and I just get filled with a gratefulness that I’ve never felt before.  I think my heart is full now and it’s an awesome feeling.  It wasn't really that long ago when I truly thought I must have done something horrible.  I mean, why else would God punish a person who only always wanted to be a mom by making her born with a chromosomal translocation she could pass one?  Then, when we lost our first child, I thought for sure.  He was angry at me and I was losing faith.  Little did I know that all this time he was orchestrating my life in the most perfect way.  Through the hurt and the tears came some of the most wonderful gifts a person could ever receive in their lifetime.....four great children.  Sometimes I can’t help but think how long God worked on a plan just for us.  I mean it’s too perfect to not have taken a lot of time.  And the way everything played out is just amazing.I'm not just blessed for having them, but how.  I mean I can honestly say that I think I was blessed beyond words because the Lord let me experience two of the most extraordinary ways of having children.  I got to give birth from my body and my heart.  When the boys were born in that hospital I thought I'd experienced every wonderful thing there was to experience.  I was lucky to feel my first babies inside of me while I waited for them.  They were incredible.  They were so tiny (okay not so tiny) and innocent and they were mine.  Then after Chase was born we just weren't done.  There would be no more biological children as we'd medically prevented.  But, to experience the gift of adoption is nothing short of explicit wonder.  To have your child born half way across the world in circumstances out of their control, leaving one mother desperately hurting, and this same child to come into your life and bless it immensely is nothing short of incredible.  You never thought you could love someone not born to you before you started this journey, but you find that you love this little person before you ever even hold them.  It was like loving that little figure in the ultrasound so desperately except you can see this little person, I mean really see them.  This photo is all you clutch to while you wait for their arrival.  You can't feel or touch them, but you know, without a doubt, this is your child and you love them beyond measure.  To have my babies brought to me in the airport, was obviously much different than giving birth in the hospital, but my heart was with them all the way.  And holding them for the first time in that airport was priceless.  Everyone else and everything going on around us just disappeared.  I sunk into myself and my baby.  I was finally touching my baby and I’d waited months to have that experience.  Just like delivering in the hospital, I’d dreamt of that event over and over and over again.  The individual memories of the first moments with my children, although very different, will be engrained in my head and heart forever.  I will never forget how blue Cole was or how hard he cried, how BIG Chase was and how quiet he got as soon as he was laid down on me, how hard Kaelin cried every time she realized everyone no longer looked like everyone she’d ever loved or how Chelsi just took everything in and sat quietly in the carrier when I took her.  I will NEVER forget the smell on the girls’ clothes.  Every once in a while I still swear I’ll suddenly smell it on something.  That smell, to me, is
Korea.  That smell gives me happy memories.  But, I remember that that same smell may not be the same memories for my daughters.Recently, I submitted something to someone who is interested in developing a website, not so much in genealogy, but the stories that come out of that.  These stories are part of our children's heritage whether by adoption or birth.  That had me thinking some more.  Here are some of my ramblings for that:Shortly after our second son was born and a couple of years after my paternal Grandmother (my last living Grandparent on my Father's side) passed away, I decided to begin researching my family's roots.  After all, my Grandmother was no longer around to tell me any stories and she lived further away and I wasn't able to get much before she got sick.  We hooked our computer up to the internet and I spent countless evenings reading anything I could find on that side of the family.
 
It sounds like I focused on my father's side, but it wasn't that as much as I still had my maternal Grandparents still with us and my Father's side was easy to trace as he'd come from a well-known family.  Or at least that is what I discovered.  My Mother's side is traditional German.  No one really spoke it or speaks it anymore, but my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather had VERY German surnames.  His was Kraus.  My Great Grandmother would tell me stories of walking to school the school house in the old days and the mules that would kick my Great-Great Grandfather as he went out to work the farm.  Every time I would go over to visit she was watching "Little House on the Prairie".  To this day, even though she's gone and I really don't know, I'm convinced that she loved that show because she could totally relate.  When she passed we each got something of hers.  I gave each item to each one of my children.  My favorite, however, was a little wooden trinket box that my Great-Great Grandfather had made for her when she was a little girl.  That means so much to me.
 
My paternal Grandparents were different from other people in this small community; mostly because they neither came from here nor ended up staying here.  My Grandfather was German/Irish in heritage, while my Grandmother had different heritages in her background.  Her side has been easy to trace.  I've traced it all the way back to the 1600's when the family came over from
England.  The Pyle family is a VERY big family.  The ancestors of mine that came over from
England, were mostly generation after generation; doctors who stayed in
Pennsylvania for awhile and eventually ended up marrying and settling into the
Midwest where my Grandmothers were born.  My roots here are English/Swedish/Choctaw Indian and some others I've not figured out yet or verified.  My Great-Great Grandmother was, apparently, pretty adamant with my Father that she was Cherokee.  She even told him stories of the Trail of Tears as the stories had been told to her.  Most of those are now lost and that's what makes me saddest.  My Dad says she passed when he was very young and the one thing he absolutely remembers was that she had coal black hair and eyes like him.  I got the dark eyes trait from my dad.  That was one trait that when I was young, I hated.  I stood out in a sea of blue-eyed blondes.  I did have blonde hair, but having eyes as dark as night was very different at that time.  I've grown to love that physical feature and that fact that I am a little different than my peers.  I'm teaching my daughters this.My eyes were a sore spot when I was young.  I was called
China girl (yes, with blonde hair).  Just as my daughters' eyes squint when they smile mine did and still do.  Even in high school I was called the "devil's daughter".  That was a new one.  All of these names were because of my eyes.  I realize as an adult just how pretty they are.  Now, the only comments I get are how beautiful my eyes are.  I think it's a bit ironic that in our family of six my husband is the only one with blue eyes; the eyes I wanted so bad growing up.  I just didn't like being so different; some of the same feelings my daughter’s very well may feel.  All four of my children have dark eyes, but only my daughters' eyes are as dark as mine and I point that out to them.  I tell them just how beautiful their eyes are and how beautiful their shiny black hair is.  The American Indian in my background gave my family some great traits.  My Korean-born daughters do not stand out as much, in our family, because of that.  My dad has black hair and eyes along with olive skin.  My sister also has darker hair (when she's not playing with color) and dark eyes.  We don't have the typical German nose that my husband has.  My children and I all have the same basic shaped nose.  I love all of the differences and the similarities that each of these backgrounds brought to us and enriched our lives.  And in the end the traits from these backgrounds helped stitch together our transracial family just perfectly. Now that I'm a mom to four kids, two of which are Korean-born, I've let go of the research.  It's the stories that ARE important.  These people; the Grandfather who fought along side George Washington, the ancestors that make me a (VERY distant albeit) relative of Baroness Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, even the ancestors that had a part in slavery, are a part of my children's family history.  These people shaped my family; all the people in my family.  Our family now has an added piece in our tree and puzzle and that's the families of our Korean-born daughters.  These are stories that will continually be passed onto all four of my children's children and that makes me happy to envision. May anyone reading this realize even in our hardest times God is just trying to get us to that place in our life to fulfill our dreams.  And may I always reflect on and remember this.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

As always the kids had a great time.  Chelsi REALLY liked Halloween.  She would happily go up to the door, take one piece of candy and hold it until the next house.  At the next house she'd put that one piece of candy in her bucket for another one.  Each time she very politely told everyone thank you.  She was just the cutest thing ever!  She'd walk up to each house like she'd done this a million times before.  She is too funny!



On the drive to grandma's.





After Chels got an apple from Great Grandma, that's ALL she wanted.  She figured out how to open the baggie on the way to the next house.....so we just let her eat it.  Could be worse, right?!




Trippin’

We had to make the trip to USCIS for Chelsi's Certificate of Citizenship (I lost the fight), so we decided to stay the night and make a weekend of it.  Everyone was excited to stay in a hotel, we get to do that rarely.

Chelsi and Kaelin listening their headphones on the way there.  Chelsi thought it was pretty funny.



When you're a family this big, this is what your hotel room looks like.



We met up with other adoptive families, went for pizza and to the Enchanted Forest in the park.  Neatest thing I think I've ever seen for a family to do where everyone enjoys it.  Here's Chase with his buddy Spiderman.  Thanks Amy and Debbie for meeting up with us.  Even though I was a little under the weather it was a GREAT time!




Sunday, October 21, 2007

Korenglish

Kind of like Spanglish, I guess.

Anyways, the few words I can say in Korean I try to teach the kids.  Chelsi and I were playing peekaboo (her favorite) and I told her how to say it in Korean and played with her that way.....kka goong, kka goong. 

So now when Chelsi wants to play peekaboo, she covers her eyes and yells peekgung, peekgung!

It's hillarious.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Goofy Girls

The girls were trying on their Halloween costumes to make sure they fit (hand-me-downs) and Kaelin and I decided to start trying on all the masks we had.  We've kept everything throughout the years so as each of the four get older the younger ones can pick from what we have.

Kae decided she wanted to try the teeth we got for Cole's costume. 

I tried to tell her this is what happens when you don't brush your teeth :) .

 

Just a quick snapshot of the girls watching a cartoon before we left for church Sunday morning.  It was just too cute for dad to pass up.




Saturday, October 6, 2007

OM Gosh! I can’t believe I forgot to post

Kae's soccer pictures.  I've had them ready to go for weeks now.  I guess that shows how much real computer time I get.  Here she is:





And she finally volunteered to be goalie!  She might be an athlete afterall.




Happy Birthday Baby!!

I know, I'm a little late, but September's been CRAZY!

First I ordered Chelsi's birthday present site-to-store from Walmart 1 1/2 weeks before her birthday.  Finally 1 1/2 weeks after her birthday, Walmart gave up on it coming from the manufacturer as well and credited my money back.  Luckily, I got tired of waiting and went to Kmart and paid a few dollars more, but got her her birthday present.  She's now the proud owner of a Barbie Tough Trike!

Here's pictures of her and her birthday cake.  She even blew out her own candles.  I was shocked.  The green on her hand is after she put her hand in the icing. :)





Just throwing in a funny picture.  She came up from the playroom one evening like this.  She is so much like her brother Chase.




Sunday, September 9, 2007

Yoga Anyone?

Kae and Chelsi Doing "YogaKids"

We got this tape from the library and Kaelin just loves it.  Chelsi, pretty much just likes the roaring part with the lion.  :)  Maybe, just maybe they'll relax and sleep well with it??  Can I hope, anyways.


Dad has a *new* favorite sport

He always thought soccer was....well, just not up to par with football, baseball and basketball.  But, now that he's seen his daughter play....he's in it.



Our goalie girlie.



I'm not sure what she was doing here.




Our Annual Cabin Weekend for Labor Day

It was a lot of fun as usual.  The kids were EXHAUSTED afterward.  Too much fun to be had outside and not enough naps or night sleeping.  :)

They did the usual 4-wheelin' and mule rides.  Lots of fishing again.  They caught PLENTY of fish for the whole family.  Nothin' like spending a weekend with about 20 other family members.  It really is fun and every family should do it.

As does every kid her age every year, Chelsi loved the singing bass.

Kae and Grandpa.

 

Tommy, Nicole and Kae.....btw the baby came just days later.  Phew!



Fishin' fun with dad.



No, we didn't eat this one.



Help, I can't get out!



Time to eat the fish!!  YUM YUM!



And some fruit for the girls.



What a great time.  I love times like these with the kids.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pictures from a VERY girlie birthday party

Kaelin told me after everyone left that she really liked her birthday.  She 'especially' liked the makeup and hair part.  I figured so.  She's such a girlie girl.

First her friend Katie came over and they did a little swimming.

 

Then they had McDonald's for lunch and it was on to getting their hair and makeup done.  My cousin and aunt Megan were so kind as to fix hair for the girls.  'Cole was even 9 months pregnant, but she was willing to do it anyways.  (Thanks 'Cole!)  The girls had a blast (the little girls anyways).

The table (aka Salon).



Getting hair and makeup...



Two VERY happy girls cheesin' it up.



And then it was time for cake.  The movie star in Kae decided the candles were too bright and required her new sunglasses.




Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Binah!

I can't believe my girlie is 5!  I know it's not her birthday here yet, but in Korea it is.

I'm still in awe of the unselfish sacrifice your birthmother made.  I pray she's at peace with her life, happy and healthy.  I pray that when she thinks of you, she knows deep in her heart that you are loved very much.  

We are blessed to have you in our lives.  You helped complete our family.  I hope you always know just how much we all truly love you.  You are a beautiful girl with a beautiful smile and I imagine you got that beauty from your 'Korea mommy'.

Happy birthday big girl!

Mom


Thursday, August 16, 2007

BUMMER! (Amy V in FL this is for you)

I walked in from outside tonight and noticed a small tear at the bottom of my shorts.  I had to say something to my husband.  I'm pretty bummed about it.  I love these shorts.  I've had them for 15 years!  Yes 15 years.  Me, Amy and Sonya bought a pair of matching Umbros right before our Senior trip and I still have mine.  A little faded from chlorine pools, etc., but fine otherwise.

I can't believe I'll be saying goodbye.  8'(


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Anyone up for an evening swim?

With 100+ temps we wait until evening to swim.  The water's more like warm bath water than a pool.

Tonight we went out after church and it was feeling just right.  Before the summer ended and we took the pool down, I wanted to get some video/pictures of Chelsi now that she prefers her waterwings to floaties.  Brian was sweet enough to do it for me since I was already in with her.  Anyways, about mid-July when we really were able to spend time in the pool she saw her brothers and sister swimming and jumping around and the most she saw was Kaelin with waterwings.  She insisted on wearing them and has been swimming around ever since.  She's just like her brother Chase.  He loved to swim with wings at this age.  Nope, not Cole and Kae.

Watch Chelsi Swim




Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dad’s trying to talk her into becoming

a baseball fan.  He's got her liking doing 'Charge' now.

Click Here for Video


Cinderelli, Cinderelli

That was all I could think of as I could hear the boys working away in the kitchen, while the rest of us played and watched tv. 

The boys decided NOT to follow the rules today.  They just made a HUGE mess in the house.  They didn't clean up after themselves at all today and the house was a wreck!  We don't give them lists of chores.  We just want them to clean up after themselves.  Well, they chose not to and they received discipline for it.  It was actually pretty funny in the end.  Here's them doing some of their punishment chores.

Click Here for Video


Saturday, August 4, 2007

SURPRISE!!!

We (i.e. Chelsi) got a great surprise in the mail early this morning.  Yeah, I ordered those YoungHee dolls for the girls for Christmas and they arrived this morning, but that wasn't it.  Cole brought me a package and all I could think was "I didn't order anything else".  I looked and it was from Chelsi's adoption agency.  I opened it and it was a gift from her foster mother and a note.

Well, I read the note to Chelsi outloud before we opened the gifts and I couldn't even get through it.  It was SO touching!  It was so short, but so sweet.  She is so loved, all across this world!  I'd post what it said, but that is for my Chelsi to have and treasure.

Here are some pictures of the gifts.  (She sent the boys some socks too, but they ran off as soon as they put them on.)








New baby coming to the family.

'Cole's having her baby in about a month.....hopefully Chelsi's bday...that's what I'm pulling for since she's her Godmother.  But we had her shower last night.  It was really fun.  The kids were wiped out though.  This morning no one got out of bed early!

'Cole and Kae.

 

The girls eating on the footstool in grandma's kitchen.



Grandma, Kae and Chase.



The food table.  Always the best part.  ;)  Meg did an excellent job on the diaper cake.