Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making lemonade

I'm spoiled sometimes and well aware of it.  However, since we have a house, I get a garage.  I'm totally spoiled by this.  We've been saving and we finally have the money and found someone to do the job for the money; we are pouring concrete in the rest of our driveway.  It's awesome and I can't wait!  No more trying to shovel snow and pulling up the rocks in the driveway along with the snow and dumping them in the yard.  No more gravel running down our steep driveway onto the concrete portion at the bottom; both creating a risk to anyone even slowly walking on it or forcing the boys to constantly have gravel that has to be swept.  Better yet no more gravel to roll to the bottom drive causing Chase and his amazing ripstik riding to trip and fall on the rocks as soon as the wheels lock on them. 

They started some of it on Friday last week.  We moved the cars out of the upper garage and down to the lower driveway.  No big deal.  But then they decided to pour the whole driveway at once.  This means no driveway at all.  This means parking on the street, which has very little shoulder and trying to balance my car to keep some wheels on the shoulder for traction while moving it as far into the yard as I can so no one takes out my mirrors in a hurry.  Then we get to walk through the yard (and it's not a tiny city yard) to get to the house.  No problem.  In the mornings I drag all 5 kids to the car and keep Jaemin from getting on the street and getting him into the van.  But, tonight....of course, I needed to run to get Brian's neuropathy meds and I had some coupons I wanted to check out the prices of things to use before they expired.  And of course, the store had an awesome sale and on a lot of the things I also had coupons for.  Even the milk was cheaper and we've been going through milk like water.  So I bought 4 gallons of milk and $45 more in groceries.  My cart was heaping, but because of the sale and coupons I only spent $60 total.  I digress and got off subject.  Not thinking I could no longer just walk from my garage stall to the pantry door I bought 6 of those reusable Walmart bags full of groceries.  I was smart though.  I called Brian and said "I'm on my way.  Meet me at in front of the house with the kids' wagon."  Worked like a charm.  We put all of the bags with the heavy items in the wagon, carried the rest and were in the house in one trip and three people (me, Chase and Brian). 

Wasn't near as traumatic as I thought it was going to be.  You see, I was already kinda in a mood because Brian said the concrete guys didn't come out today, but we still can't use our driveway becaue they 'started' the rod, haven't finished the rod or concrete and didn't do anything today either....dragging it out one more day.  I'm really hoping for some concrete tomorrow.  Remember you can't drive on it for a week after it's poured in colder temps.  Soon, it will look so nice!  And no more weeds to kill in my drive!  I'm spoiled, I whine sometimes and I don't care.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just because.....

I haven't taken any pictures of Jaemin in awhile and he changes so much at this age, so, just because, here are some pictures that are definitely his sunny personality.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Speech therapy is a go and they recommend 30 minutes a week.  So while it's more than a mild speech problem it's not terrible either.  They said most kids wouldn't quite qualify under state standards, but because Jaemin had SO many sound issues he did qualify. 

He didn't qualify for occupational therapy.  The results came back that he has more than sensory processing disorder tendencies and some fine motor area problems, because he doesn't also have gross motor problems or some other major area, he doesn't qualify for therapy by state standards.  But, if he doesn't progress in these areas they will reevaluate down the road.  Until then the OT can give us some pointers on things we can try at home and we're hoping the speech therapy may help his sensory if he is able to communicate with us better.  They figured his audible speech at about 50%.  I'm pretty happy with it all at this point.  He has an IEP for one year, but he never has to requalify.  At the end of 2012 they will just decide if he has progressed enough to go out or continue.  He may even have to go to speech during the summer, but they will decide that in May depending on how he retains what he learns these next few months.  He should start next week.  I'm not happy my child has a delay, but so happy that after 1 1/2 years of pursuing an answer we have a possibility and people who see the same things we do.

On a side note, looks like our family gets to go to a Cardinal game!  The kids are super excited.  I had written the Cardinals to let them know how rude their employees were after we waited in line for almost 2 hours in 25 degree temps and they apologized and are sending all 7 of us to a game in June.  It's probably going to be bleacher or nose bleed seats, but that's all we can ever afford anyways, so we're good with it!  Woohoo!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

YAY! Progress!

I have to go to school for a meeting tomorrow.  They're setting up an IEP (individualized education plan) for Jaemin.  He qualified for speech!  While that's not going to take care of all of his issues, we've been chasing providers and trying to get help for over 1 1/2 years.  After a couple of evaluations, filling out questionnaires and having an outside entity evaluate the school's findings they determined my baby boy needs speech therapy.  I feel like maybe, there's a chance it will help him catch up in other ways.  His social/emotional development should be aided by this.  He's already improved, some, in this area, but I'm hoping this will help him further.   I don't yet know if he's qualifying for occupational therapy with the school.  As much as the therapist wanted to get him in, it's harder to qualify for.  When I talk to the head of special services tomorrow I should find out everything.  And if he doesn't qualify for OT now we can have him reevaluated later.  The great thing is he's only 3 1/2 and won't go to school for 2 1/2 years.  That means 2 1/2 years with the right services to help him catch up to his peers.

While I have my reservations and don't want to believe that all of his quirks will subside with this, it's better than nothing and it's still a chance at it for my Jaemin.  He'll love getting to go to school anyways.  He'll feel so big.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cardinal Fans?

I won't go into major detail, but I took our kids to a Cardinal Caravan meeting and, while the players were great, Mike Shannon and the administrative lady that was with them had no class at all.  They were accusatory that we brought things we didn't, etc.  Another person I know was told she couldn't even go on-stage with her 4 year old.  They decided they didn't want parents going through the line at all.  Uhhh really.  You expect parents just to send their kids through when, while the child might be a fan, they're still too young to know how to go about getting an autograph.  Really rude!  I felt bad for the players.  They weren't allowed to talk or say anything to the kids as they walked through. Only Chase really realized what all was going on and it's sad that an 11 year old could be a lost fan all because of the way two people conducted themselves.

However, in the end, the kids that were with me, got autographs of David Freese, Jaime Garcia, Shelby Miller, Kerry Robinson and John Costello.  Now, remember we already had Kerry Robinson's autograph from a couple of years before a game.  However, Mr. Chase dropped his hat in Alabama this summer and someone stole it.  So, he now has Kerry Robinson's autograph again, along with the others.  Since Chelsi and the other kids didn't need Kerry's I asked Kerry to sign Jaemin's hat, so he graciously did and then gave it to John Costello to sign too.  They weren't being watched as closely by the classless lady, so they didn't mind.

Chase also wanted Fred Bird's autograph, so we stopped for that.  We all did decide that 1 hour and 45 minutes in 25 degree weather wasn't worth the hassle we were given for autographs and will never do this again. 

My pretty project....so happy.

Saw this on some blogs and Pinterest and HAD to do it.  We had some scrap lumber that was already stained this, non-matching, color.  I got a paint pen and ruler and went to town following the instructions online. Then, we made it fit for our house.  I got out the old baby books for all of the kids and wrote down all of their past measurements.  I will surely take more care to measure them all on their birthdays now that I have somewhere to put them.  It was sort of fun seeing such close or far away measurements on some of the kids.  And it's never put away.  It's always out for all to see as a household decoration....even better!  What did it cost me?  Well, a bottle of black paint around the edges (I had it, but maybe $2) and a paint pen that cost $2.  Woohoo!  I love it!  Something similarish at Pottery Barn for $59. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Can working moms be good moms?

Yes.  We are not worse moms than a stay at home mom.  I know they are working moms too, but we get the responsibility, and no it's not always by choice, to work on someone else's clock all day long and come home to work some more.  And I'm not even talking about anything related to taking care of the kids.  But, being a working mom, outside of the home, doesn't mean someone else is raising your kids.  It doesn't mean you have no time for your kids.  It doesn't mean your a disconnected mom.  In fact, for a lot of us, I think we just find other ways of accomplishing it all and finding our own niche for our family.

For our family, it's having a good husband and dad and raising our kids to be independent kids that don't expect to have the best of everything and can wait for what they need even.  We get each other.  We work it out so that all the chores get done without making someone feel overwhelmed; no house cleaners or cooks afforded here.  While working part time I found out I didn't have any more time then I did when I was working full time, but stressed much more about paying our bills.  Forget luxury, we were living off our savings for that year.  So, when I went back to work it was with a new outlook.  I was not going to stress about the small stuff.  Just get done what had to and make sure I spent what time I could with the kids and didn't dwell on it and punish myself and let myself feel bad when I knew I had done everything I possibly could to the absolute best of my ability.  When I'm at work I give them my all.  When I'm at home I leave work and give my family my all.

That doesn't mean that family doesn't encroach on work.  I mean come on...I'm a mom.  If Cole calls and says 'mom, coach says I need to go to the doctor or I can't wrestle', I get off the phone, get him in somewhere and one of us gets him in right away.  And yes, this happened....twice.  I spend many hours in the car with the kids which is a great time to talk to them.  They can't get away from you.  I love doctors appointments, orthodontics, etc.  It's one-on-one time with them.  I spend at least 1/2 hour driving them to or from the location with their undivided attention.

I made a vow when I came back full time that I would still watch my leave time, but not be such a miser with it.  I've worked there for 15 years always saving it for an emergency.  And while that served me well so I could take maternity leave 5 times, take off with Cole for his heart and appendectomy and Brian for some of his hospital stay, it's time.  I promised myself that if the kids had school stuff and wanted me there I would be there.  That's how I got to go to Chelsi's awards, Jaemin's Christmas party and hopefully Cole's 1st round of district wrestling.  I'm trying to enjoy every bit of my life to the fullest while remaining responsible to my family.  I take my time to cuddle the kids at night, sit on the floor of the kitchen to have little talks with Kaelin about growing up and just let down my guard and have fun with all of them.

Doesn't mean mom's a pushover though.  I will still give reminders about gradually dropping grades, being mean to each other and disrespectful or forgetting your chores or obligations.  I'm still their mom, not their friend.   But, I have to say the last few months, even with icky stuff that goes on at work I've been happier.  It's an outlook to some extent.  It's thinking and believing that this year is a new start and a great year.  Mom's can do it all, depending on how they view things and allocate their time.  Even some stay-at-home moms don't allocate their time to their children.  No group is perfect.  It's still a personal decision and choice on the detail of what you do with every second.  Make every second count and enjoy them and yourself on the ride.

It's this little girl's turn to have a family.

I have a new advocate.  This little girl with Holt International.  She has been listed for almost 2 years now and is 2 1/2.  She is, apparently, quite the little charmer.  She does have significant needs and needs a special family with resources AND, of course, love.

Pass this page MISS HALLIE NEEDS HER FOREVER FAMILY on to someone you may know that may just fit this little girls tall order.  She ready and she's waiting for the family God planned for her.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thank God we have almost 14 months!

To find Cole a car.  I'd love to have his actual car for when he gets his permit in 2 months, but at the rate of my pickiness and budget constraints we may never find something.  I'd really like something safe...with airbags.  At least his birth year would be great.  And, oh yeah, around $2,000?

I'm sure there are folks that read this thinking yeah, your kid doesn't need their own car.  But, you have to understand there is NO transit here, so if he ever gets a job he will need it.  Then, if he doesn't wreck it like most kids do their first one, it will become Chase's.  I have a feeling we're going to possibly have to spend a little more for something we trust (who cares what it really looks like, for the most part).  Yikes that's going to hurt and seriously encroach on going to Korea.  But, what choice do you have....go to Korea......or have a safe car for my new driver?  No brainer!  Wish me luck in my year long endeavor.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kid with Character

I know that quite a few kids get these awards, but nonetheless, I'm still proud of Chelsi for getting a character award in Hardwork/Motivation at school.

Here's what the teacher had to say about her:
"Chelsi is always eager to learn and ready for any activity I introduce in
class.  Chelsi not only completes her assignments but will help her
friends who are struggling.  Chelsi has a very positive attitude and needs
no encouragement to work.  She is highly motivated!"

She was having a sub that day, so I took a quick pic, but since one of her friends snuck in I won't post it here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


They crack me up sometimes.  Kaelin and Chase are pretty close.  Definitely the closest of the siblings.  When we went to one of Cole's tournaments we had an extra seat in the van since Cole went on the bus.  I would have thought Chase would want the empty seat in the middle, all to himself.  No.  He chose to sit in between the girls so they could play and watch a movie the whole time.  1 1/2 hour drive like this and they were all perfectly content.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I think I passed it on?

I was up bright and early at 5 am. I couldn't breath through my nose and my throat was on fire. After Brian and Cole came back from deer hunting I made a quick run to urgent care so I could do someone some good. Not so sure it actually did any good though. The doctor said they're not sure if it's viral or bacterial going around and said I have 7 more days of it, more than likely. I'm hoping all the Vitamin C I've been taking will help cut it shorter. I think, I might feel slightly better than yesterday, but not sure yet. All I know is I'm happy I can at least breath through my mouth, no asthma. YAY!

I will get through.  I'll be fine, but I'm sad thinking I may have given it to Jaemin.  My poor baby has been kind of stuffed up for a couple of weeks off and on, but now he sounds like he's pinching his nose closed.  The same way I've been sounding.  The thought of his nose, ears and throat hurting as much as mine have been is killing me.  I don't want my baby to hurt.  He can barely talk enough to tell us and I do not want him to just have pain.  I sucked his nose after I sprayed some saline to help unstuff him a bit, but all I ended up doing was busting a blood vessel and he had a little bloody nose.  He's been sort of out of sorts all day.  Flapping more than usual, etc.  Of course, since I've been sick, he hasn't exactly been brushed until tonight.  You have to stick with it to help.  Gave my poor guy some decongestant, cough suppressant and tylenol before bed.  Hopefully, he'll sleep comfortably tonight.  He slept with me all night last night and slept pretty sound.  I think it's good for him to have one night of uninterrupted sleep even if it means him in my bed.  A rested Jaemin is definitely a happy Jaemin.

Words can never explain how I feel about Jaemin and his arrival to our family.  He is the cork in my heart that sealed it shut after he filled it up.  He is the little boy that melts my heart everyday just looking him and looking at the way I know he adores me.  Jaemin is a bundle of energy that never relents.  But, his innocence and how he never wants to hurt anyone, only looks for love and fun, makes me love him more everyday.  He's what every child should be like.  Full of love, hope and belief in all good things.  I love Jaemin so much and we have a connection that's so strong.  He's definitely his mommy's sweet, baby boy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cold, flu or allergies?

I'd normally not really care, but since I'm really trying to track my reactions and figure out if my honey, cinnamon and vitamin C are working it sure would be nice to know.  Last year I would have just tracked my butt into the doctor to have him run a strep and flu test, but my deductible this year is double last year's and I'm trying to budget out my office visits.  So much is going around at work, so I'm going to assume it's a virus of some sort.  Which I actually hope because it's so depressing to think for a second my natural cures aren't working for my allergy problems and I'm not even in the throws of the seasons yet.  I go to an integrative doctor next week to see if he has other suggestions for natural remedies to take care of my allergies and I'm hoping he has great suggestions....other than accupuncture because insurance does NOT cover that at all. 

While I toughed it out at work, I've been kind of a baby tonight.  I got to work, felt like death and was going to go home after getting a few more things done and low and behold I looked at my calendar.  Dang if I didn't have a meeting that it took 2 weeks to schedule with someone and it was at 2pm.  Pointless to go home at 3, so I just stuck it out all day.  Brian made me chicken noodle soup for supper, the home made kind.  I got myself a HUGE glass of orange juice, took my vitamin's C and D and rented a free pay-per-view we had.  Then, I decided I didn't want to forget my honey, so I made my honey water.  By the way, I tried honey comb and not near the same effect.  Maybe it was my cold or whatever coming on, but my nose was more stuffed than usual. 

I sit here, typing because I'm tired, yet awake.  Maybe from the sugars of honey?  I don't know.  Hoping I'm better enough by Monday to not need to go to the doctor and be on my way, again, testing my honey allergy theories.  I SO need this to work for my body and my small pocket book and dwindling insurance benefits.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fun times...really fun times

I kid....sorta.

Poor Jaemin got about a week break in his nasty reactive airway cough and nasty nose.  It's back.  Poor boy coughs and coughs in the middle of the night and constantly swears his nose is running.  The feeling that his nose is running just drives him nuts so he cries until I wipe it.  Jaemin's back on the nebulizer, but he's just like Chase was when he was little....more accepting of it everyday.  He's so cute and I just buzzed his hair, so here's the picture.  By the way, I wouldn't normally buzz it, but I was losing daylight and had to hurry.

The girls were sent home this note tonight.  Basically the school is trying to do more household projects so more parents get involved and they work on character.  So, this month's was about chores.  They wanted the kids to pick a job they're responsible for daily and see if they can do it 3 days in a row without being reminded.  Then, we get to fill out the questions regarding the experience.  Chelsi doesn't really have a daily job that she needs reminded to do because her ONLY daily job is making her bed.  So I decided she should vacuum the two small rugs in the living room every night.  You guessed, she already forgot.  But, she was fine and happy doing it.  :)

Boy talk

Boys are....well....boys are so weird compared to girls.  They don't dance around and try to be kind they make fun of each other and that IS being kind.  Since Chase got his braces on Cole's been calling him braceface every day.  Chase doesn't really care, which is good, but it's gets old.  And, a couple of weeks ago we found out Cole had ringworm he contracted during wrestling.  It's not a worm for those of you that don't know.  It's basically a fungus and his was barely noticeable, but luckily his coach is so versed in these fungi, that he sent him to the doctor right away.  From that point, Chase was calling Cole worm boy.

So last night I was doing dishes and for some unknown reason they both ended up in there, to aggravate me I'm sure.  It was the good 'ole cough/sneeze name call.  So all I heard for 15 minutes was acchhhhwormboy.  Then, I'd hear giggling from both boys, like little girls and Cole would pipe in hhhccchhhbraceface.  So mature I know.  Glad they find humor in each other at least sometimes.  Such a proud mom I am.  :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vacation? Let the planning begin

So, we had planned to use my mom's timeshare for a little localish vacation.  Just something to get away.  With the crazy schedule of 2 full time working parents and 5 crazy kids ages 3-14 I thought we'd need it.  But, then mom said I could look into an exchange.  Hmmm....sounds interesting.  Well, we have a limit.  Brian can only take being in a car for so long.  He was kinda always that way, but even moreso after his injury.  His muscles get bound up, so-to-speak, and it can cause his neuropathy and spasms to get worse just sitting in a tight, confined area for so long...even with short breaks.  So, I looked to get over the first hurdle of distance since we can't afford to fly all 7 of us anywhere.  Then, after I narrowed it down to a day drive (long day, but only 1) I needed to narrow it down to places with a room big enough to hold all 7 of us.  There aren't as many as you'd like to think.  Not all 2 bedrooms are made equally according to their rules.  I thought San Antonio TX sounded interesting.  I've never been there and my last stay in TX was very short and I was only 17.  Looked like there was lots of free things we could do.  Mom didn't think she'd get this place, but she got an email the very next day that we could go.  So, YAY!  We get to vacation again this year and it looks awesome!  Without mom, I'm not sure we would have ever had a family vacation.  Even when there were only 3 or 4 of us, we had no money to take any cool, fun vacations and taking the whole night stay cost out of it makes an enormous difference.  We're still hoping she can get a suite for her and Joe, 'cause it's kinda fun all vacationing together.  But, we're still thankful for the chance for anything.

And, I know some people are thinking if you're trying to save for Korea so bad, etc. why are you going?  Well, here's my answer, in case anyone thinks it's there business.  We don't know if we'll ever really get to go to Korea.  It's getting to be more of a dream than a goal.  The plane tickets are getting out of range for a family of 7 on our income.  I mean, you have to admit that almost $2,000 a ticket x 7 is a lot.  Do I still want to try to go?  Absolutely.  But my point is that I also know how short life is after Brian's accident.  In case we don't get to go anyways, and the little we'll have to spend without hotel costs is minimal, we want to make as many memories as we can with the kids.  Soon enough Cole will be grown and gone.  There's a decent possibility Brian will continue to lose muscle function.  I know I am not the only one that notices his walking is getting harder for him and way more noticable that he is having trouble.  There is a reality that a lot of spinal cord injury patients that recover their function after their accident will actually end up losing it again.  Some people manage to make it 20 years before stenosis, etc. and some don't.  We're enjoying life and doing everything we can before what life did to him 4 years ago decides our borrowed time is up.  We do NOT want to regret a second and just wishing and dreaming our lives and our memories away and having no time left.  It's not like we have to take a loan out to do this, and we wouldn't if we did.  That would be irresponsible.  We're going to grab every chance we have to have fun together and are fortunate mom is giving us yet another chance to do something as a family on a limited budget.

So, I'm cautiously excited to plan our sight-seeing vacation and just chillaxin' by a beautiful pool for a week!

Hello 2012

Welcome.  I have great plans for you.  I have plans for me to be a better, more patient mother.  I have plans to get a little more exercise and am hopefully on my way to being more natural with my allergies.  I'm excited for a new start and am thinking there are good things in store for us.

We did a little New Years Eve, but it wasn't totally intentional, just circumstantial.  'Cole, Tommy, Alex and Will came over to give Chelsi her Christmas presents.  They weren't doing anything, so Nicole suggested a taco bar for dinner.  So we invited Jay, Shannon and Sawyer, but only Jay and Sawyer could come.  Of course, all were in bed before midnight, but we still had a nice time to catch up and it was so nice to see Jaemin and Sawyer playing with tattling or fighting.  Apparently, Sawyer just told her dad that Jaemin is her best friend.  Where do 3 year olds get this stuff?

Jaemin shared his Thomas with Sawyer.

Today, Chase started off the year with his braces.  He only got 4 of his top brackets on and, of course, chose green and grey for his school colors.  He will get the bottom 4 next week and then 4 more on top after a couple more permanent teeth come in.  Very luckily, he lost a tooth on New Year's Eve and it turned out to be the one all of the orthodontists we saw and our dentist thought was fused to his jaw bone.  So, that was one less tooth to pull later and best of all I could quit worrying about how much it was going to hurt Chase getting pulled!  3 more baby teeth need to come out, but he said they might come out in the next couple of months so we're giving them time.  He also got spacers put in and bumps.  Next week he'll get the rings put on his back teeth to hold them back.  Chase said this afternoon he can already feel the pull on the one tooth on top that has crossed his bottom teeth.  The bumps are put on his back teeth so that he cannot close his mouth all the way.  That way when his cross-bite begins to fix they will clear each other as one goes back and the other one gets pulled forward.  He said he's pretty sure this will completely fix him with no future treatment needed and in about 12 months.  He will definitely be out of braces by 8th grade.  I'm so glad we held off long enough to get in with this new guy.  He found a different plan of treatment for us that was about 1/3 the cost of the original guy I went to (there have been 4!).  He's fresh out of school and graduated pretty high in his class and Chase feels really comfortable with him.

Here's one of my baby boys in his green and grey!

And, knock on wood, using local bee honey has been really helping me.  I'm off all allergy meds including my nose spray.  It was the last I was willing to give up, but needed to try.  1 week of honey and cinnamon and I haven't had an asthma attack since I started.  I don't know how or why, but I had actually been having them more frequently after getting off Advair (after it caused pneumonia and dysphonia) and I've been doing really well.  Now the place that sells the honey is leaving me some beeswax to try.  She said the pollen's more potent in it, so I'm going to take it easy at first because I get itchy after eating the honey, like all over my body.  But it goes away and I'm hoping to build up immunity to it all and hopefully by the time the season really sets in I'll be ready to go and drug free!  YAY!