Wednesday, February 29, 2012

find your happy

I don't have every 'thing' I want, but I have everything I need. I don't have the very smartest kid...I'm not the very smartest person out there. I don't have a big house and the best cars. I don't have the coolest a long shot. But, I have 1 husband and 5 kids. We have survived so much together and keep on going.  Maybe it's just age?  I don't know.

I just know that more and more I realize that, though I still dream everyone does, we make enough to pay our bills.  There may not be anything left at the end of the month, but if you're paying your bills it's all good.

We have survived losing a baby.  We have survived a major heart condition in a child and by God's grace he has done well longer than most.  We have survived a major accident...everyone knows how bad that could have been and was.  We will survive the next open-heart surgery too.

We have had the privilege to experience birth twice!  We have had the privilege of experiencing adoption three times!  And while all 5 were fairly stressful due to adoptions just having a habit of being somewhat stressful and all the tests during pregnancy, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.  Without each stressful and wonderful experience things wouldn't be exactly like they are today because we wouldn't have made the same decisions.

God really has taken care of us.  He made His plans well known to us; even if sometimes we were afraid to follow and did with a little fear.  Everything we needed whether it be money, a person crossing our life paths, etc., was always there right when we needed it.  I don't mean needed it for that new car, tv or whatever material things exist out there, I mean right when we needed to cover our adoptions and medical bills.

We don't have a perfect family.  Maybe when you see us on the outside we look like a perfect, loving family.  We, undoubtedly, do love each other...even if certain children won't admit it.  We are, however, NOT perfect.  We all yell and argue sometimes.  I put myself in time out from time to time...haven't had to do that in awhile though.  The kids fight amongst themselves and don't pick up after themselves and sometimes....sometimes they raise their voice to us.  GULP!  But, like I said we are family and we DO love each other.  We do a lot together.  We eat supper every night together and most weekend we eat one big breakfast together.  I don't mean in front of a television.  I mean a home cooked meal at the table together.  And we clean up together!  We're kinda dorky that way.

Our kids 'try' to get out of weekend chores and after a little yelling (sometimes) they do them.  Cole vacuums the basement rec room and their bedroom.  Kaelin picks up the rec room.  Chelsi vacuums the basement stairs and Chase cleans the basement bathroom.  Brian and I do the main floor and everything that needs cleaned otherwise.  They don't have it too bad in the chore area really.  They only have to keep their rooms picked up, which doesn't always happen, and help with the kitchen after supper.  But, once every 3 weeks one of the 3 oldest is 'off duty'.  I'm the dishwasher EVERY night.

We're a team.  And when someone forgets that, there's a family meeting to remind them that this boat don't float unless the team members do their individual parts.

I still stress like any other parent and wife.....a lot really.  But, I'm working hard on myself to make myself better to make my life better.  I know that when I feel unhappy in my life from time-to-time it's something for ME to work on and maybe something I just need to get past or let go.  I don't have control over the grades my kids get.  I don't have control over the drama at work (other than to stay out of it as much as humanly possible).  I don't have control over other people and their actions.  I am learning to let it go and sometimes try to ignore the things that, though they feel like they effect me, don't totally.  And to keep sane we must do that.

So be happy with your life.  Let it all go.  Find the happiness somewhere.  Everyone has something somewhere.  You may have to look really hard in your tough time...I know.  But, you have to look for it so you don't fall apart. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stinkin' allergies and sinus...I try to work

I don't know what I do different on the weekends that make my nose swell up the way it does.  Can't breath.  I finally got myself breathing better this morning and then it was just so nice out I had to get some things done.  I get moaning and groaning if I ask the boys to do the leaf blowing, so I just do it.  I fixed all our big rocks in the gravel area between our two driveways...something that had to be done after the driveways were poured.  Then since I needed to blow the leaves out of there anyways it was time to blow off the front of the house too.  There were so many leaves from fall and winter that you could have jumped off the raised porch into the pile.  I didn't want to tempt the kids.  The thought of all that leaf dust just makes me ill.  I blew it to the other side of the house, so hopefully it won't blow back.

They finished our deck this week and while it's much, much smaller than I had planned...not my decision....Brian's quick decision while they were working on it and we won't go there.  It's much sturdier than our old deck and looks nice.  When the weather gets warm in the spring we'll seal it so it doesn't wear as hard as the old deck.  The stairs are so nice....they don't shake the whole thing when you walk down them.  We had so much vinyl rail left from the old deck that we used some of it to make a little handrail for our new concrete steps.  I would so manage to fall if it's not there.  Like Brian said, this is the best the house has ever looked.  He put some siding up where we took the deck down and put mortar in the holes on the brick from the old deck.  You can't even tell it ever existed. 

Now I can enjoy spring when it comes.  But, for tonight, I will be paying for all that leaf blowing.  Kaelin (who's got a little cold) and I are a symphony of snuffs, coughs and heavy breathing.  It's very lovely.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hallie's still waiting for you.....are you ready to call Holt?

It's time for Hallie to find out what it's like to be part of a family and still get the great care that Holt Ilsan is providing her in Seoul.  I have no doubt that the perfect family is out there somewhere.  God has a great plan for Hallie.  Are you part of that plan?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another appt, hopefully

Another year.

Cole had his annual cardiology appt....the usual....EKG and echo.  Doc said that his heart function looked good.  Since he sees us in a satellite office some years he doesn't have his full records with him.  So he said when he got back he'd check last years and compare size of his right ventricle to this year's tests.  He said he'll call if anything's different, so I don't expect that.  I like this guy.  He seems more patient and gives us his time, which is so important in any doctor let alone a pediatric cardiologist.

I asked him to reexplain his heart defect since it's been nearly 15 years since I've had that and I wanted Cole to hear it so he begins to understand his own health.  He will have to start taking control, so he needs to have a beginning to understanding the complexity.  It was nice that he explained how a normal heart functions and then showed him how his heart worked before surgery and now.  He explained how his patch that replaced what may have existed of a pulmonary valve is not perfect and is now not closing after the blood pushes through and it regurgitates back down into the right ventricle. The right ventricle, in turn, is filling up with both that blood and the blood that comes in after circulation through the body causing it to enlarge.  At some point, his ventricle will get tot he point it can only do so much more and that is when he will go into failure.  But, they have to catch it before the enlargement causes his right ventricle (muscle) to stretch so much that it cannot perform it's job anymore because it's stretched out so-to-speak.  It's tissue can't 'remember' at a certain point and won't pump like it's supposed to if it becomes too damaged.  Fine line.

He always seems so shocked when he asks the standard, yearly, questions of "does your heart feel funny, feel like it's skipping, thumping out of your chest or racing?", "Do you feel abnormally tired or out of breath?".  Cole always says no and it's this look of disbelief.  He told me that we're fortunate to be on year 15 of a this repair.  We already knew that though.  We know the time is very limited now.  I did ask if he can continue with wrestling off-season and next year and if he can try to get his life guard certification and he said it was all fine.  But, if he has any of those symptoms just once it's over and he's done.  I know the time is getting very limited for Cole's valve and it's very necessary replacement, but we know it's coming we know it's eventual and we know we won't get by without it.  Until then, he'll keep enjoying his life.  And the doc is always so great to tell us how great of care he's getting to be doing this well this long.  I'd like to take credit, but I think God's just been taking care of him this whole time.  For all of this we're thankful.

I probably will no longer post after his cardiology appointments to say another year because we no longer know.  We're running into borrowed time, so we will do what we did in the beginning, when he was a baby.  We'll take a day at a time and enjoy whatever until we're told otherwise.  Here's to a healthy heart.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Made one of the best meals today.  Put some chicken in a saucepan with onions.  Put that in a bowl with a can of tomato sauce, chili season, cumin and garlic.  Then I mixed in copped zucchini and apples.  I mixed refried beans with chipolte sauce in another bowl; and a little taco sauce.  I had two 9x13 pans and spread the refried bean mixture on the bottom of each.  Then I dumped some of the meat mixture on that.  Layer with some tortilla shells.  Then a layer of cheese and another layer of tortilla shells.  Then you layer the last of the meat mixture and more cheese.  Then a last layer of tortilla shells and cheese on top.  Bake that at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Then top with chopped tomatoes and lettuce.  Bake about 5 more minutes and eat.

Goes even better with strawberry shakes.  We had a healthy meal with veggies, fruit and everything all rolled into one and it was super easy and really yummy.  And it true Lisa fashion I started with one recipe and then mixed in pieces of another I'd seen and threw in some things I just thought sounded good.  As usual my taste bids didn't let me down.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Precious Sleep

While I absolutely adore a snuggle with my little man, after just under 3 years I really need a night's sleep.  No interruptions.  Finally something seems to be clicking.  I've offered candy, etc. as bribes a million times and he politely lets me know that he'd rather sleep with me than have whatever he wants.  I am what he wants.  That feels good and all, but I really need sleep.  Last week I told him I was going to lock him out and he said okay when I was tucking him in his bed.  I locked him out and, of course, he tried to come in to snuggle and couldn't get in.  He went back to his room screaming for me.  I went in and sat on his bed and got him calmed.  I turned on his Korean children's songs (I finally got him to listen to music to help him sleep and that has helped) and sat back on his bed with him to snuggle for a minute.  I told him him to look at the window.  I told him that when it was dark it was time to sleep and that I would only be across the hall in my room and I will never leave him because I love him so much.  I then told him that when the sun comes up and there's light in the window it was time to come snuggle with mom or get up and play. 

Who would have known that I would get 4 nights of sleep after that.  It's been wonderful.  One night he actually stayed in his bed all night.  The other nights he came in and I would just tell him his window was still dark and he quietly went back to his bed for the night.  One night he must have planned to sleep on my floor as usual because when I got up the quilt from the living room (that I use as his pallet) was lying on the floor.  I asked him tonight, before putting him in bed, when he should get out of bed and he happily said "when sun comes up".

He's been in such a good mood getting a good sleep and I have too, it's been great.  It may not last forever, but for whatever reason, for now, it's working to just logically talk to him and reason with him. I know.  What 3 year old is reasonable.  Apparently mine.  He's such a sweetheart!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What to do, what to do

Such a quandary my son is in.  He has the 'chore' of coming up with something he would like to have or do.  Of course, I'm sure there is a monetary limit, so it's not the sky's the limit, but it's still a great opportunity.  As much as it is just that, it's sort of hard for him.  Think about it.  You can come up with one thing you really want to do?  Anything?  He's started a list and I've asked him to come up with a family thing too in case they ask him too.  It seems most kids' wishes include their families in some way.  He's got time, but he still needs to come up with some real ideas...which is so much harder than you think for a 14 year old.

What am I talking about?  Cole got approved for Make a Wish Foundation and the Make a Wish wish granters will be visiting us in a few weeks to talk with him and us about his ideas and to give us some ideas.  My understanding, after that, is that they go off and come up with a way to make a dream come true for him and they come back when it's all set up and the doctor gives him a physical okay (for health reasons).

I got the voicemail today from Make a Wish that his cardiologist had approved him.  I just always thought this was for terminally ill children, but if you actually read their web site, it's for kids with 'life threatening diseases'.  They throw them into different categories within that category and if their condition is 'progressive' they can be approved.

I was completely shocked to find out, but so happy for Cole.  He's had many years of being told no to so much when he felt well enough to do it, for his own protection.  He gets to be special for this now and have some sort of special experience or get something special.  I don't know what it will be in the end.  I don't know what he'll narrow it down to or what they grant.  It will be another surprise and very possibly still in 2012.  So make fun of me, 'cause yeah I cried when I heard the message.  Cole, the otherhand, was very matter of fact when I told him, but he said it will feel more real when there's  a wish.  I get that too.  He's a guy. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The season has come to an end

Cole is done wrestling.  He definitely gave it his all and if he'd had one more win he would have made it to the final 4 for the district. But, then again he was up against a sophomore with a lot of experience.  The other 3 were the top ranked in the state.  Tough challenge.  He did well and we're so proud of him.  He wants to continue on with conditioning with one of the coaches until next season, which is his choice, but good for him.  Next year will be better, I know it.  To celebrate I bought him some nice, fattening, ice cream since he's had to watch his weight for last few months.  Hopefully the cardiologist will have good news for us in two weeks.  This will be the very first time he's competed in any sport and worked out regularly, so I can't help but wonder if or how it might affect his heart.

Cole, I love you and I'm so proud of you.
And from his first black eye, earlier in the season.

On their own time.

This is what happens when little girls want to try out their camera.  They take goofy pictures....and these are only a few of about 80 I took off her camera.  There were a multitude of picture of each stuffed animal by themselves as well as books. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ups and Downs; parenting is not for whimps!

I have hurt so much, in my heart, over the years of parenting.  It's so awesome to celebrate with the kids, but when they hurt I'm not convinced I don't hurt double.  It literally hurts to see or hear them hurting.

Cole, came home from practice yesterday and was definitely upset.  It took awhile, but I got it out of him that a volunteer coach, that is not affiliated with the school in any way, said some things that I found less than an appropriate for an adult to say to a 14 year old.  He said that he 'sucked' and would 'never win a match' and 'never amount to anything'.  He cried so hard he gasped. That's so hard to watch your tough teenager do that.  The 'coach', and I say that lightly, said it quiet enough to make sure the other boys didn't hear it and he waited for the head coach and assistant coach (the teacher/paid coaches) to leave before he did it.  It was something he had planned and waited for his moment to break him.

We both talked to him for awhile last night.  We tried to talk him into bringing it to the attention of the head coach, but a part of him was afraid one of the other volunteer coaches (who is a teacher and this guy's friend) would retaliate against him, academically.  I could see that based on conversations I've had with this teacher.  So as hard as it was I said nothing last night or today.  We spoke to him again tonight and Cole says it's all fine he just wants to forget about it.  We told him he should still approach the head coach, but we decided to leave it up to him.  I asked him to write down his exact words and the date in case he pulled anything next year, should Cole decide to wrestle and I told him if he did say anything or do anything next year something will said and it will be stopped immediately.  Bullying is hard enough from your peers, which Cole has experiences, but adults?  Come, stinkin' on!

As of last night he said he wasn't going to wrestle next year, but tonight he said he probably still will.  We told him, last night, he cannot let this guy keep him from doing what he enjoys.  I would be livid if he quit after liking it so well, because of what this adult said!  As long as he still plans to wrestle, on his own terms, I won't say anything.  He seems much more upbeat today and is ready for districts.  So, while I'm still a little upset and know this guy had no place saying such a thing to any kid, I am respecting Cole's decision after much discussion.  He went out with some friends after practice (I know he was shocked I let him go too) and seemed pretty happy after all that.

I know I've said it before.  People think terrible twos and threes, etc. are so horrible.  The older your child get the harder it gets.  The harder the hurts are for them and that hurts so much on mom.  Now, I'm praying, like crazy, and if you can pray too that would be great, that there will be an upset at districts and somehow he'll be a state qualifier.  I want nothing more than for this heart kid to do things no one thought he ever would.  I don't mind watching my kid lose, honestly.  It's not about bragging rights, but for all the other heart kids out there and just for his spirit I want to see him go just that far!

Monday, February 6, 2012

#1 Question Adoptive Parents (and other parents) seem to have...

How do I know when my family is complete?  Now, if you do not belong to online forums then you probably don't know what I'm talking about.  But, on adoption forums, particularly, this is a topic that comes up quite often.  I use to wonder it myself and would read all of the responses waiting for that magic answer to tell me when that wanting feeling, that anxious gnawing, in my heart, would go away.

I don't remember anyone explaining it in any other way other than saying they 'just knew'.  I can definitely say I know or at least am 99% sure.  I like to leave the other 1% for God intervention on expanding a family.  The best way I, however, can explain it is to say it's the moment when you look at your kids and your heart feels completely full.  It's the moment when, adoptive parents, don't peruse waiting children sites anymore with thoughts other than "gosh I hope they find a family that can love them and take care of them".  It's the moment when you look at the profile of a waiting child you realize that even minor issues can become more involved and you have enough on your plate.  It was the moment when I realized that Jaemin's needs for me to be with him and involved with him outrank any other child (other than my other 4) on the face of this Earth right now.  It was the moment I realized that I don't want to divide my time any further because I need to be with him as much. 

Okay, so maybe that doesn't help a non-adoptive parent.  But, I guess you can insert your newborn baby for waiting child profile except it's the idea of it rather than the baby existing yet?  Don't know if that makes sense anymore.  I guess my point is I knew it when it happened.  It wasn't instant.  It was definitely something that took time.  Maybe it's my age or that's part of it, not that I'm old by any stretch.  And I definitely think this is why agencies (good ones) want you to take time with your new child so you can figure out what their needs are and yours.  You can figure out if maybe they need you and there's not a good time to add to.  6 months or even a year, honestly, is not enough time for this. 

This is what works for our family.  I'm done having my own.  I'm happy right where we are and it really is a great feeling.  So much better this feeling is than the one when someone was missing just 3 1/2 years ago.  Each child of mine filled a little hole in my heart like a puzzle.  Jaemin was that last piece that you celebrate over because the hard work of putting it together is over and it's time to just adore your masterpiece.  The easy times and hard times of life all led us down this road and we landed right where we were supposed to.  Getting 5 hugs every night from 5 great kids that I love.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I have a driveway!

So excited that my driveway is finally done!  We can drive on it on Monday.  And it poured this weekend and no traveling gravel for once.  It will be so much easier to keep up with.  He gave us the bill this morning and it's exactly what the bid said, so we're perfectly happy with his work and cost.

Us staying on target for the things our home loan will pay for (the updates and fixes to the house) are so important for us to hopefully go to Korea.  Watching the budget, I'm still pretty nervous about the thought of being able to go in 2013.  I get so nervous, but feel pretty strong about the need for us to go before something keeps us from going as a complete family.  Yet, I've had this sort of weird calmness about me since the first of 2012 that everything will be just fine and we'll get our dream trip to Seoul. I'm going to keep on praying, keep on saving and keep on hoping we'll get there and by the end of this year hopefully we'll have some plans started.  Gulp!

Hallie still needs a forever family.....are you her family?

Hallie is still waiting.  With a spunky little personality she's sure to bring cheer to a family just waiting for a special little girl.  Maybe you are those parents?  She just needs love and access to great medical care so she can excel beyond expectations.

Take a peak at her information and inquire with Holt International.

Kids are naturals with technology

You have to show and adult how to work a computer and mouse.  Kids, on the other hand, are naturals and very easily just pick it up and figure it out.

Jaemin is no exception.  He has his little preschool games and we got a wireless mouse so he wouldn't have to use the mousepad on the laptop.  He zips around his game like he's been playing it all along. He really does love playing and begs to get it all out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I dare (gross factor alert)

sleep in the same room as a sick little boy.  Jaemin rarely throws up from being sick with a stomach bug...maybe one other time in 3 years.  But, he definitely has a stomach bug.  Poor guy was fine as can be and all of a sudden started crying real hard and slobbering.  And then he promptly puked on Brian. We chloroxed all the door knobs and switches and I cleaned up the chair and floor (thank goodness for hardwood floors) while Brian gave Jaemin a bath to clean him up and make him feel better.  It was so much.  Poor belly must be empty now.  He played and splashed in the tub and was happy as can be, so I'm hoping he'll get over it quickly.  We'll see if he makes it through the night.  He's got a nice little pallet of blankets on the floor in my room.  Unfortunately he has to sleep in shorts tonight because he wet his pants 2 or 3 times tonight and went through all of his pajama bottoms.  I'm guessing that maybe him being sick had something to do with it.

Poor baby Jaemin, I love you and hope you feel much better soon.