Monday, February 28, 2011

Praise God!

Cole's cardiologist called and told us about the MRI last week.  He said he saw nothing he wasn't expecting.  I asked him, point blank, if we should discontinue planning our trip to Korea in 2013 and he said keep planning it.  He thought that when he sees him next year he'll know he'll either have to do it then or it may even wait until after the trip.  Now he's saying he may be able to wait until after the trip.  He said definitely no more than a few years, but maybe more than a couple.  He said 11 minutes on the treadmill was great, so we're happy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our living quarters and storage

Here's our real kitchen.  We can still get to it, but you have to go outside and through the garage.  We won't be having suppers here, but at least if we must have something we can get to it.
Two bathrooms (and our closet, but you can't see it)
Here's our pillows and lovees.
Station to get ready in the morning (for us girls anyways).
Our kitchen and medicine area.
All mushed together.

Testing, testing

our patience with each other that is.  The big boys are lucky.  They have a bedroom in the basement.  No major change for them.  But, the other 5 of us have moved downstairs into the basement to live for a little over a week.  Where's the little icon with the buggy eyed guy? 

We have STUFFED all of the furniture from the 3 bedrooms, living room and hallway into the 2 bathrooms and kitchen...and one thing in the laundry.  I think we can still get to our kitchen if we must, to get meds and such.  I did pack us a small kitchen for the basement though.  We have ibuprofen, tylenol and all daily meds.  7 cups with names on the bottom and a towel.  As well as granola bars and breakfast bars for breakfasts at home.  The other days we'll be, um, mooching!  I put aside a small budget for some sub sandwiches we can eat at home and then we asked the parents if we can come over to eat on certain nights while we do laundry.  And the bathroom, right now, is the ONLY thing that worries me.  Our basement bathroom is SMALL.  Luckily it does have a small shower too, so we can still bathe.  That's good, huh? 

So what's going on upstairs?  Hardwood.  Yep, finally we have enough to hardwood everything that's not tile or linoleum.  I'm really hoping Jaemin, Chase and my own allergies will be better after this.  We're hoping the dust will be less too, therefore creating less allergies for me.  I HATE having my house torn apart like this.  And the work poor Brian is going to have to do getting the trim back on and fixing the wainscot he put up 3 years ago because some of what we did won't fit with the hardwoods.  I know I'll LOVE the end result and be happy with less dirt, but just gotta get through this week of very low maintenance me.  I'm pretty low maintenance anyways, but I won't be fixing my hair a whole lot for sure.  So beware when you see me.  It won't be all!

I'll take a picture when I have time...I'm sure there will be some time for that.  It's an interesting set up for sure.  Jaemin at least has his swing screwed to the floor to entertain him some...and God help us help him go to sleep.  He does NOT sleep well in places that don't belong to him.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two days of doctors down

Cole is done with his workup.  Very painless and all done.  Results of the EKG and echo were no different than in July, which was expected.  We'll have MRI results and dilation of his right ventricle later in the week or early next week.  Still unsure if he'll have a good idea of when surgery will be off of that.  Not sure if we should plan to go to Korea anymore or not.  But, Cole and I had a nice day together.  Nothing says love like spending 11 hours with you mom.  We talked a lot and it was nice!

I spent today trying to get Jaemin's autism evaluation set up.  While I'm not completely convinced of it, the ped says he has enough symptoms to be concerned and he may just be very low on the spectrum...meaning very high functioning.  While we wait for his April evaluation we're trying some changes to his acid reflux med and giving him yogurt to make sure it's not a yeast sensitivity.  I feel like we have to do something in the next two months.  May as well.

I've been watching both of my boys so much more intently lately.  I'm waiting for Cole to suddenly go off, so to speak.  I mean when's he going to suddenly start having symptoms?  Is it going to be sudden like when he was an infant, or am I going to get some notice on surgery this time?  I have no idea what to expect and that's the part that scares me the most.  Jaemin, I just watch for anything he does that keeps him off the spectrum.  Cheering at anything he does...even though mostly he neurologically typical.  I find myself holding Jaemin more and seeing just how intense my love is for him and how lucky we are to have this little angel in our lives no matter what happens.

I'm the luckiest mom in the world!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Too many irons in the fire?

Just a saying, but I think that's where we are right now.  Unfortunately, with 5 kids, there's no good time for anything.  You just let life take you where it does and you try to respond rather than react.

We're coming off the 2nd week of Chelsi's play.  This weekend is it and we're DONE!  While I think she will miss seeing her castmates, we both very much need a break.  Too many late nights is doing me in and for sure her.  She acts like a diva and it's mostly lack of sleep.

Tomorrow, Cole has his big heart work up.  We'll spend all day at the hospital so he can get an EKG, echo, MRI and stress test.  Then, hopefully, in a few days they'll have a better idea of when his heart surgery will be.  I'm hoping for something, so we're out of this lost area I feel right now.  I know it's not a perfect science, but at some point they'll have to make the decision to do it before he has permanent damage to the right side.  It's a personal call in ways, but they will make it as a group of cardiologists in the practice and they have a formula they calculate off the MRI.  Forgive me because I don't explain things well.  This is all new to me since the previous doctor never ordered these tests and should have been so they could have been watching the progress of his leakage.

Next week....oh next week.  I'm dreading.  We're getting some hardwood done, so we have to move around furniture.  We just finished painting the girls room, which made them very happy.  It's the first time it's been painted in 11 years and was painted for Chase while I was pregnant with him.  They picked an orange color that's sort of like canteloupe.  Then, Kaelin picked out black and white rugs for the floor.  Right now their bunk beds and all their belongings are piled up in my bathroom on top of the tub.  I knew that large tub would some day be handy!  :)

I also have a quick procedure next week.  No anesthesia, just a local, but I'm not looking forward to it since the lump is fairly large.  A friend was diagnosed with breast cancer recently and after B talked to her about it she has been given the sebaceous cyst diagnosis first too.  I don't know when hers grew or how long it was there before she was biopsied and haven't had time to talk to her, but B wants it out right away, so I made the appointment with the surgeon I saw last year.  Remember the cyst, no it's an adenoma, no it's a cyst?  So, while it hasn't grown since they've been watching it for the last 1 1/2 years I'm going to have it removed.  It's probably been there for 3 years or pretty close to.  I guess at some point it grew, huh?

Then, after all that's over we can have our furniture back in place and resume living, right?  I'm always a little leary when we do something to the house of any substance or go on vacation.  We don't have the greatest track record.  The last house work incurred Brian a spinal cord injury the day after we committed and started and the last vacation ended up with Cole having an appendectomy 4 days prior and Chelsi a febrile seizure on the interstate in another state.  Those memories flood through my head and though I try to shove them out I can't help but be a little gun shy that it could recur.  Cole has a BAD habit of having surgeries on people's birthdays, so this heart work up worries me a bit.  He had his appy on Chase's birthday and his heart surgery on his dad's birthday.  Obviously not planned!

But, as I tell others who get worried or stressed about things, just try to breath and live your life.  Nothing's going to change what's going to happen!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bullying's Normal

Did you know that?  I mean, yes, bullying has gone on for centuries and is a form of hazing, but isn't that what all the commercials are about nowadays.  I thought I'd seen Obama and other advocates on special service announcements talking about bullying being a problem and having no tolerance for it?  Oh wait....maybe they're only concerned if it's cyber bullying.  Yep, that must be it, because when now that my kid is getting bullied by the same kid it's 'normal'.  But, it's in-person bullying...not cyber.  So, this must be an out for a school, huh?  A kid can laugh at another kid for having a heart condition that keeps him from playing football and being 'cool' ( I use that loosely since no kid that acts like this is every going to be cool) or harassing a kid and pushing him until they say something hurtful to another that must not be bullying either.  Not according to our school.  Not one thing I could say deserved any time.  All I got was how normal this was and how many new students there were this year and how that's just going to cause some 'upheaval'.  Upheaval....that's what we call it?  My kid could care less about who this new kid is friends with ......they have no right picking on him because he's smaller and is being intimidated.  All I asked was for an 'out' for him so he could get out of the situation, if needed, and I couldn't even get that. 

No school has the right to make excuses like this.  They're lucky, for now, he's asked that we not do anything to the bullier and I made him allow me to ask them to put it in his record in case it continues.  But, if it does continue and they do nothing there will have to be consequences.  Sometimes the only thing you can do is call the Board of Education.  If I have to I will, so I hop the kid leaves my child alone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

See My Korea Trip Page

Slowly, but surely we're making progress on saving for our trip.  Another $100 coming soon

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This was the big night.  Chelsi's debut in a play.  It's a very small Christian theatre and the count was 51 tonight.  But, that's good....let her warm up.  There are over 120 scheduled for a day next week and the theatre will barely hold that.

She did so great.  At the end the audience is allowed to come and talk to the cast after curtain.  I welled up watching everyone come through and shake her hands while they whispered words of encouragement to her.  She did tell the director, however, she doesn't care for crowds and didn't like them laughing at her.  I'm telling you.  You can't help but laugh.  She's so darn cute and funny!

One of her castmates' parents brought him candy and these little skateboards he likes as a gift for his first performance (in this play).  They also gave the same to Chelsi.  It was so sweet!  She has really bonded with everyone in the play and they all love her.  As soon as she walks in at night they all have to say hi to her and she messes with everyone all night.

As I watch her grow up I almost feel like Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride".  I just know that one day she's going to be all grown up and I'm still going to see her exactly how she looks right now at 5 years old.  I will wonder where the time has gone and how she grew up so fast.  Her and I just have a different relationship.  She's just so mature and aged.  You see this teeny tiny body, but out of it comes big words, actions and understanding.  She's an amazing little girl.  And I'm so proud of her!

Just wait 'til tomorrow night when the family comes.  Someone's going to be getting some flowers!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breath and Catch Up

I'm catching my breath tonight.  I've had a nasty little cold and Chelsi's in the thick of play rehearsals as it starts soon.  So every single day this week we either have her at rehearsal or the show.  And last night was LATE!  She was so tired that she nearly fell over standing up in the dressing room.  The director let us go after she finished her pieces tonight so she could get some sleep.  And I won't even go into how grouchy Kaelin was after last night.  NEVER again!  But, the big boys have to go with us to rehearsal tomorrow night because they need an audience to practice on and they want to make sure they can't move her attention.  So far she's done AWESOME!  I can't believe how good she is at it and concentrating.  She stays on task, even the day that one of the guys' 3 year olds walked on stage and sat beside her.  She just went on with her part.

Yesterday, we had practice for Chelsi last night, but during the day I took the little kids to Kaelin's class at school to do the Lunar New Year (Sol Nal) presentation we were supposed to do last week.  It was canceled because of the blizzard.  Yes, blizzard.

Kaelin did great.  She actually wanted to do this and asked the teacher for it.  The teacher gave us pretty much the last hour of the school day.  So, Kaelin wrote some things on the board in Hangul, we passed our Won, she wore her hanbok and then we talked about Korean culture.  Of course, some of the kids asked about adoption too, so I would quickly answer so we could move on.  They would raise their hands so Kaelin could call on them and we could answer their questions.  One kid said "Kaelin, you're adopted?!".  It was so funny.  One kid asked how they kiss in Korea.  Oh my!  One just wanted to know how old I was.  The teacher quickly diverted that one.  We brought our pictures from Korea and the kids just loved it all.  They asked so many great questions and then they all wanted a Korean name and couldn't understand why Kaelin had a Korean name and English name and they didn't. thinks this makes her the cool kid.  :)  This was a room of 2nd graders and Kaelin loved the attention and the time to share.  Her teacher was very interested in it all, it seemed.  The kids decided I should be a teacher and teach about Korea.  So funny!  I work with one of the kids' mom and she told me today that he was so excited when he got home yesterday.  He told her knows EVERYTHING there is to know about Korea.  How funny is that?

And, now I guess I should get back to my photo editing.  I'm taking pictures for the show.  Last night I had to do pictures for the cast that would be on stage for props.  They needed some antiqued pictures.  They turned out great!  I'd post some, but there are too many others involved and don't want to invade anyone's privacy.

Blizzard anyone?  This was 3 hours into it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Alarm Night #10

So, last night was night #10.  It was dry night #3!  Doesn't sound great to some out of 10, but for us, it's huge!  I think the last time she had more than 2 in a month period of time was when she had a UTI.  She woke up and told me she was try because she was 'holding it'.  Great new concept, huh?

Jaemin has been trying too.  He's wet at night, but no biggie.  Occasionally, he is dry.  But, yesterday he was dry all day. It helps that he LOVES getting 1 tiny, little fruit snack (not a package) every time he pees.  So while he goes often, I figured it's reinforcing the habit to his body.  So, I make as many trips as he needs.  Brian said he even came out of bed at 9 last night to go potty again.  If we could get him to poop, that would be awesome, but he seems to have a fear of this one.  Oh well.... One thing at a time.

I always find it somewhat amusing from all those parental stories of the magically trained child in one day.  I think if you ask my mom, I was one of them.  But, out of 5 I haven't had one yet.  Kaelin was probably the closest, but I do remember the process taking close to 6 months, but she was done by 2 1/2.  Much quicker than ALL the others....unless Jaemin gets in here.  We'll see.

Random Thoughts

Can't think of the last time I watched a show.  I mean really watched a show without multi-tasking.  Or better real time!  Before DVR for sure.  By the time DVR came around we easily had 3 kids and had to just miss the shows totally.  Do not have time for tv!!!

Why do people immediately judge people in terribly hard positions without any regard?  I mean I know it's human nature, but it's so unkind.  I mean, why do we have to judge someone when something terrible is going on in their family, like a loved one is dying, injured, etc?  Why can't we have compassion and put ourselves in their place instead?

I know I thought I was so smart when I was younger.  I couldn't even begin to imagine that things were really going to get much busier, like the older more mature women kept telling me, as my kids aged. a TON busier.  So glad our kids are spaced a bit so you can catch your breath.  But, sometimes when I watch others add to their families so quickly, all I can think is; how are you going to feel about that when they all are in school and have loads of homework at night, all at the same time.  There are definitely some pluses to having them spaced just a little.

And, some of this just comes from watching others on adoption boards I belong to, over many, many years.  But, why do they complain about not being able to pay their bills; medical, credit card, etc. and then jump right back into adoptions.  I understand the premise of 'I'd rather have my child than the money', but that doesn't 'seem' even remotely responsible to me.  I mean you never can accidentally adopt, so it's a very thought out decision...or should be.  So, if that's the road you choose, please do not complain about not being able to pay your bills that SHOULD be paid unless your circumstances changed after the child was home.  I honestly, would adopt another.  I would probably continue our discussions to have another, if it weren't for my realistic worries.  Can we afford it in the first place?  What if it makes it so we can't pay other bills?  Should we expect anyone else to bail us out?  I don't feel that's right at any way.  Just saying.

And one thing I can't stand is watching people with kids quit their jobs to stay home; disregarding lack of insurance and ability to pay any bills.  I completely understand those that have children with disabilities that crop up.  Finding care for those children while working would be near impossible.  Especially reliable, loving care.  Medical care is so scary for a child.  I completely understand the want to be with your kids.  You're talking to the girl who wanted it for ever 10 years before getting to go part time (even though temporary).  But, sometimes you just can't have what you want.  I've seen people quit their job to stay home, purely because they wanted to be a stay at home mommy and then put their kids on assistance.  Nothing, absolutely nothing burns me more!!!!!

Those are my random thoughts that sometimes pervade my mind as I drive alone to work in the morning or on the way home....or worse....during work.  :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Hope everyone has a wonderful Year of the Rabbit.

We had a wonderful celebration with friends this past weekend.  Forgot the kids' hanboks....AGAIN....but still a great time.

Chelsi and her 'husband' C

The good and the bad of a slightly larger family.

Okay, so we're nowhere near Duggar's super size, but I wouldn't want that.  No matter how much I love kids I cannot imagine feeling like I get to give them the time they deserve.  Working or not.  But, we are still, in fact, larger than your average family.  So, sometimes I think about these things as other people discuss family size.

Let's get through the 'bad'.

-Much harder to get a hotel room without separating your family or paying through the nose for a large suite.  Most hotels will allow you to squeeze in 5 or so, but not so much on 7.
-We're on the line with vehicles.  One more and we either have to trade to get an 8 passenger van or get one of those big vans.  I'm definitely not driving one of those 15 passenger things and can't afford a trade right now on my van for an 8 passenger.  Not to mention, it's hard to have carseats set up in an 8 because you still have to be able to get through to the back row.  And I'm WAY too cheap to drive a suburban.
-There's only one empty chair left at the table and it's not really an empty chair since we bought two more chairs when we found out about little man.  You have to straddle a leg, which little man or someone will be doing after he gets out of his booster.  What the heck are we going to do when we get inlawed and grandkids?
-It's really hard to afford vacations.  While others talk about their multiple trips to Disney, per year, we find other avenues every few years.  And you have to get CREATIVE.
-Food is getting WAY expensive.  And since we both work (me part time at the moment) we don't have much time for a good garden, so no great ways to save money other than old fashioned being careful.
-Diapers for 14 years!!!!!!!
-People still say 'are you done yet?' and if you actually think about another one (one day) you feel bad because you know people are going to treat you like you're crazy.  We got that with #5....not that we plan on a 6th, trust me.

And now for the 'good'.
-Vacations are even more fun with kid at various ages and expectations.  No matter where they are or how simple they are.
-Imagine the family table and tv trays and people standing at the counter to eat in just 15-20 more years when we have 5 more kids and grandkids.  It will be loud and bustling and cool!
-There's always someone around, so you never ever get lonely.  Boredom is another issue with any kid.
-We are reminded more than most other people how amazing God is and how blessed we are!
-Look how many do overs we've had.
-After you teach them to cook and clean, it's really not that bad....though they don't seem to do these things on par with my OCD expectations, so I do redo.  Bad habit, I know.
-All the things, we as parents, are exposed to due to 5 very different personalities and interests.  I learn new things all the time with new activities. 
-There's a hug and a kiss somewhere.  You can always find someone willing.

I won't go and say others who have smaller families don't know the true blessings in life, because each decision to his/her own.  I will say we have realized money isn't everything and we're thrilled to have spent so much having and raising kids.  Of course, there is a fine line on that issue too.  Next post.

Wet Nights

And I'm not talking about the blizzard. 

Last night was as bad as night #1.  She got up twice with it going off, but by the time she gets up she's done.  Her pull up is soaked.  Again, use a pull up over the underwear if you don't want added mess and frustration.

I'm going to hold out.  I'm going to continue.  I'm going to give this thing the full chance.  Repeat.