Saturday, June 30, 2012

Look what I found.....yes I have birthdays

Brian had taken these when I came home from work on my birthday this week.  I love pictures with Jaemin.

I was laughing because Jaemin had blown my candle out for me.  He just couldn't wait and before I was even ready he had it out!  The one below, I think was actually the relight, that he blew out again.

More pictures from today

The others were off my phone.  These are off my camera.  You can definitely tell the beginning of the game from the end for Chelsi.  She was VERY grumpy at the beginning before she adjusted to the heat and gave in to have fun.  And was much happier at the 2nd half.

Our view from our really great, FREE, seats.  No zoom.....actually, I think I had the lens the other direction, so the players were much closer than it looks.  The foul balls were caught right next to us.

Oh well

Not the greatest game we've been to by far.  And it was hhhhoottttt.  But thanks to my good Cardinal fan Lois we brought lots of frozen water bottles and frozen wash rags for our necks.  I caved too.  I bought Brian a ballpark beer since he'd never had one and it was 106 degrees.....no kidding.  I even bought a Cardinal water fan.  Yeah I messed up there.  I thought a different sign said $5.20.  Must have been an item number.  I had to pay $20!  Kept Jaemin busy for a few innings and he and Chelsi never whined about the heat again.  Jaemin was into it by the end and was ready to clap.  Blood, sweat and tears...that's what they got from their fans today.   More sweat though.







Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another year of swimming lessons done!

Only the littlest 3 went this year, but they did well.  Kaelin passed level 4.  It was her 2nd attempt, but she'll go onto level 5 next year which mostly teaches water safety and rescue.  Chelsi did not pass level 3, but level 3 is a pretty high level at only age 6 and in 4 foot water when you're only 3 1/2 foot tall is tougher.  We didn't expect it since she had strep on test night, last night.  She had to miss and stay home.  Jaemin passed preschool lessons.  The only thing I worried about Jaemin not passing was paying attention and listening.  He has no problems getting in water which is really all their trying to do at this level.  They do not allow a child to go past preschool without passing and being 5 years or older.  So he does have to go to level 2 preschool or we could skip next year when he's 4 and send him at 5, to the level 1 class for big kids.  But, he enjoys swimming so much we'll send him, I'm sure.

His teacher even wrote "LOVED Jaemin's enthusiasm for the water" on his evaluation.  And boy did he have enthusiasm.  She told another instructor how crazy he is.  The put them in the 2 foot tonight and she told him to jump in.  She said "I know you don't need my help like the other kids, I know you want in" and he just leaped into the water.  He actually swims in the 2 foot.  He just drops under the water, moves his arms and kicks his legs and maneuvers around the pool.  The instructors for preschool were just shocked at how comfortable he was and how good he was in the water.  I still can't believe how well he swims without any lessons until these past 2 weeks.  He's a bit of a natural athlete I think.

And while we worry about some of Jaemin's social and emotional delays from his sensory disorder and speech delay, I'm so proud of him at lessons.  He worked so hard and tried so hard.  It's hard for him to relate to his peers and he would grab their hands as soon as the teacher mentioned it to walk around the pool or do an activity.  He'd watch his teacher's movements so close so he could mimic with his own.  He is a truly amazing kid.  I fall in love more and more with him every single day, if that's even possible.  I really do adore Jaemin.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A first for me; I was not looked at as his mother

In 9 years of adoptive parenting, I've never had anyone just look past me like I wasn't the mom or couldn't possibly the mother.  Honestly, it didn't offend me, it just totally caught me off-guard.  Jaemin was REALLY tired tonight and swimming lessons just did him in.  After the girls finished their lesson it was time to leave and I was trying to get things together and he immediately threw a fit because I wasn't holding him yet.  Since he insisted on throwing a fit without asking nicely first I told him I wouldn't hold him until he calmed down.  He was too far in the throws of that tantrum to do that.  I just calmly kept telling Jaemin I was not going to hold him until he stopped screaming, etc.  I kept turning around a kept a couple of feet in front of him so he'd know we couldn't just stop everything; that to him would be the fit winning.  I stopped on the sidewalk to tell him, calmly, again and a lady and her two girls walked up to him and she bent down a bit and said 'oh you poor thing, are you alright?'.  I just kept talking to him and we'd keep on walking and every few feet he'd stop for his tantrum.  I think as I was talking to Chelsi she realized I WAS his mother.  Such a weird feeling.  I feel like his mom and for the first time someone else didn't think I fit.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A little fun in the HOT sun

It was 100 degrees today so we went swimming at Chez Lois.  As always the kids had a great time.  Jaemin should sleep great after all the swimming he did around the pool.  All of the kids should be pretty tired.











Adoption Article

I found this interesting.  It's a daughter, by both adoption and birth, meeting some of her Korean birth family and having her two mothers together.

http://www.koreanamericanstory.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=227:pain-regret-forgiveness&catid=50:heart-and-seoul&Itemid=96

Saturday, June 23, 2012

One of the best dads

No, this is not a brag about Brian.  While he is a great dad, I want to always remember and let my nephew know that he has an awesome dad.  His dad stood tall, told the truth always and acted as a good Christian through everything that was thrown at him.  He never shot low.  He never looked for revenge.  He only thought of his son and what was best for him.  And, now, he is rewarded.  After a very long year he gets to be a dad, fulltime, to my nephew!  And finally after 3 long years of 'someone' not allowing our entire family to see my brother, we should get to see him again in August and after 2 years of life I will get to meet my nephew for the first time in person; not through Skype.  I'm so happy and excited.  And mostly I am so proud of my brother for what he has demonstrated to so many people on behaviors we should all have.

Brandon, just enjoy Ethan.  I know it will feel so surreal at first, but you deserve this and so does he.  I know you have so much time you want to make up for and things you want to do, but you now have all the time in the world.  As you well know everything's unimportant compared to time with your child.  Just spend it.  Know that all of us here at home absolutely love and miss you two and I can't wait to be an aunt to Ethan and give him a big hug!  And I can't wait for my kids to meet their cousin finally!

Friday, June 22, 2012

My little water bug - so cute ^-^

What can I say?  He is definitely my boy!  He loves the water and could swim all day.  He is really enjoying his first year of swimming lessons.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Good guys finish last?

I think that really just pertains to guys and girls...you know dating.  I really believe that good guys (and ladies) finish first when they do the right thing.  The hard part is watching something happen to someone who is good and doing the right thing, but because of free-will, bad people are causing hurt and anguish for that good person.  There's always going to be people like that.  People that like to cause hurt and trouble because it somehow makes them feel better about themselves.  You know how when you're watching a movie like this and the whole 1 1/2 to 2 hours of the movie you're rooting the good person on hoping they win and sitting on the edge of your seat; wanting to believe that in real life there's always a happy ending and oh yeah, I believe in karma.

For the past year I've been watching someone I love's life play out like a Lifetime movie.  Praying it the bad would stop, rooting them on.  Believing, deep down, that karma will allow him to win by getting the bad guy back.  I'm finally getting some real evidence that it's going to happen and that the good guy is going to win and that karma bit someone else big time...or big enough to keep you believing that it's best to keep doing the right thing in life. 

So, here's to praying that in the coming weeks the movie finishes playing out and the happy ending comes true so I can continue to believe that the bad guys really finish last in life because they do the wrong things; according to mankind and the bible and a general believe and respect for God.  I'm praying.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I wish I could be a pushover




















Not that I couldn't, just that I know it's not right.  I mean those parents that don't stand firm....they have it easy.  Easy because partly they probably don't care enough to stand firm.  They don't care about the possible outcomes.  Tonight was yet another test.

Cole did well on his algebra state exams, but did not do well on many assignments through the year or his semester 2 final.  I talked to his teacher to find out what I could do or what he was struggling with and she thought his ADHD was affecting him and she said they had an 8 day course this summer that he could attend to get a better grip before starting Chemistry College Prep this fall.  Since the deal was no letter jackets without decent grades (Bs and above) I told him he either took the course and put out effort or he buys at least 1/2 the letter jacket.  If he doesn't get one his sophomore year it's pretty pointless.  Not much time to wear a $300 jacket after that.

He's in the 3rd day of the bootcamp and it's 4 hours everyday.  That is a lot of algebra.....I know.  Tonight he told me how boring it was and asked if he could please stop.  I told him no that I would never have expected a D for the semester and he started so I need to see progress and effort.  I finally told him that I would 'think' about allowing him to stop if he asked his teacher to explain what all he did wrong on his exam and reteach him how to do it.   Then he has to ask if there are online problems he can do (since that's pretty much what they're doing) similar to where he struggled this year.  I told him that after she confirmed he was getting it I would consider it.  You have to remember that tomorrow is the last day this week and next week is another four days, so I'm not expecting him to miss much.  Could be wrong, but we'll see.  For now, I'm standing firm.  I want him to take responsibility to get back what he lost.  We'll see what he does with it.  I hope I'm not disappointed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hmmmm

He's scared of the dark.  The boy who is so hard to understand most times was able to tell me that he's scared of his closet and the dark.  He's been spending a lot more time in my bed again.  Sometimes he's fine and sometimes he's not.  Tonight I'm going to try putting another nightlight in that's even brighter.  Hoping he'll stay put.  On the bright side he does fall asleep really fast and then I can just move him back to his bed and 99% of the time he stays there.

He was upset about staying in his bed last night.  I walked by to go to bed and he saw me.  It's always over when he sees me.  I tried to ignore him and stayed in the bathroom to pluck my eyebrows.  Then, I heard the banging on the wall.  He took his puppy which has a plastic end on it and was hitting the wall.  Then, he started to get quiet.  I think it was finally starting to tire him.  But, by then Brian was in there and it set him off again.  uuuhhhh.  So I went in to pick him up and I told him that he can't scream and throw a fit like that.  He said "I sowy".  I asked him what he was sorry for and he says "hitting you wall".  I know it's not really funny, but he's so sweet when he says it and he's finally starting to get the language to say what he needs to get out which eventually will trim the tantrums some.  So, we just bear with it until it comes, but it IS coming along.  He just snuggles up beside me in bed and off he goes every time.  Can't complain about that.

And last night Jaemin did GREAT at the dentist.  The boy with sensory issues opened his mouth wide, let them clean his teeth and look around and sat in the chair all by himself.  He is such a big boy and he is definitely changing.  He seems to be catching up in a little bit bigger strides now even though in some ways he's a little more reliant on me.  It's give and take and I'll take this.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's so funny as kids get older

They begin to change and you begin to see their personality that's inborn, for better or worse.  Jaemin just gets better with age.  He's so funny, so cute and so sweet!  Brian and I were just talking on the way back from Texas how Jaemin can misbehave, but then he flashes that smile at you and you just melt.  He has a great smile and loves to hug and kiss mommy.  I'm so glad he's so attached from me.  Sometimes it's hard when you realize that you and your husband haven't been away, alone, in many, many years....I think around 11 now.  I mean, I know people outside of sensory may not understand, but Jaemin would not do well if I left for a couple of days.  And sometimes that's hard wondering when you can get away to work on your marriage.  But I also know it's for the best for Jaemin and it's only temporary  We just absolutely love Jaemin more than words can say.  He was such a blessing and I couldn't think God enough for him.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home is good!






















I have some pictures of the last day of swimming.  Jaemin had become such a great swimmer.  He's going to love his swimming lessons in a couple of weeks.  He just jumps in the pool and doesn't worry.  But, now we're home.  We drove 14 1/2 hours straight with stops to eat, gas and potty.  We made really good time and I'm almost done with all the laundry now.  The girls went off to summer school this morning and Cole will join them tomorrow.  He's there for tutoring though, through the A+ program.  Then, he wrestles every night.  The boys are just outside right now making up for lost time in the woods and with the pups.  The pups really missed them.  The kittens have grown a lot in a week and are already scared of people.  They're only 6 weeks old and we've been gone the last week.  That's a large part of their life.  Back to work tomorrow and regular life, but a vacation is such a good thing.

Now, we can say we're planning to go to Korea, next vacation and hopefully in just 12 months.  I'm counting...yes I am.  :)  After that long of a drive we have a better idea of what will work for Jaemin.  First, he must have mommy to hold.  He cried part of the drive because I was in the front and he wanted me to hold him.  Second....as many movies or videos as we can fit on an iPod!  Lots of stickers.  Stickers were a hit with a doodle pad.  I think I'm good now.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The fat lady has sung

It's time to go home.  They let us check out tonight so we can leave before they open tomorrow.  We're hoping to make it in before 10 tomorrow.  It's going to be a LONG day.  We got one last day of swimming in, we're all packed back up with loads of laundry (nothing new) and got officially lost in San Antonio and the TomTom was no help.  But we got to try Whataburger and it was pretty decent for fast food.  See MO tomorrow.....happily.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The only bad part of our trip

We only had one bad thing happen so far.  It was at the beginning, but it's just about fixed.  We stayed at a hotel in OK and we let the kids swim the night we were there.  They were in the pool, maybe, an hour.  Chelsi said her eyes were burning and they were all red.  So we left and showered.  In the shower I couldn't not get the sticky gunk out of the girls' hair.  I washed it several times with everything I could find and it was sticky and felt like straw.  I told the hotel staff as we left the next morning that they had too much chlorine because the girls' swimsuits also completely faded out.  I mean more than I've ever seen fade with years of wear.  He said it couldn't have because it's salt water.  But, he said the heater was just worked on and he wondered if they accidentally put chemicals in it.  I told him I just wanted him to know because Chelsi had burns on her shoulders from it plus the hair and swimsuit damage.  We left and when we arrived in San Antonio we had a survey from the hotel.  I finally filled it out online and mentioned the pool problem there.  The manager contacted us right away.  She reimbursed us, completely, for the stay and then offered to let us stay free if we pass back through....which we're not.  She told us they shut down the pool because the salt level was at 65% which she was then told makes it act like bleach.  No kidding....it turned Chelsi's black hair reddish brownish blackish.  She also contacted her hair stylist friend so find out what we could do with her hair or we were going to have to cut off 7 inches of damage.  They told us to get a cholesterol treatment and leave-in conditioner.  I took her to a local place called Alamo cuts to cut off the worst of it at the tips and they cut about 1 1/2 inches.  They said it was pretty bad damage and basically dried out her hair almost to her scalp.  It stripped it.  Kaelin's was damaged, but not near to the extent Chelsi's was.  That place told us to get the cholesterol treatment, leave-in conditioner and a clarifying shampoo to keep any further chlorine or salt from the week from making things worse.  We also had to go to Kohls to buy new swimsuits for them as soon as we got here.  Luckily the lady in front of us was nice enough to ask if we needed her coupon.  Saved us 15%.

Today the hotel told us they were paying for everything we had to do from the damage.  Luckily so because the stuff that we had to buy at Sally's was pretty expensive.  They're paying for all of that, the cut and the swimsuits.  They were nice enough to just offer it up because of the severity of what the pool did and they said they were fixing it before it happened to anyone else.  We used the treatments yesterday and they worked great.  Chelsi's hair is a little strawish still and Kaelin's just barely, but it's a ton better!  I had never heard of this stuff before, but we can finally brush through her hair.  Situation rectified.  :0)

More Sea World

I'm not near as tired today as I was Wednesday.  Aquatica was a lot more relaxing.  I rode several slides with the kids....big and little kids.  We got there, again, when they opened at 10 and closed it at 6.  We left Aquatica to go back to Sea World.  The big kids wanted to get in more roller coaster riding.  Aquatica is pretty nice, but I have to admit I screamed pretty bad on the zero gravity slide.  The kids were laughing at me.  Chelsi was definitely braver on the water slides than at the Sea World Park.  Jaemin LOVED the water slides.  My little thrill seeker enjoys it all.  He went on Sting Ray Falls with Kaelin, Chelsi and I and loved it!  He wanted to go again, but it was a 45 minute wait and not quite worth that, so he stayed on the smaller slides.  Chelsi was actually tall enough for quite a few slides and some were in completely dark tunnels.  She never got scared of that and really liked it.  No one got burned.  Major accomplishment after staying out in it all day.  We used our .99 drink refills some more and got the Discover Dollars bracelets again, which works well when the worker that loads it actually puts your bracelet number in.  Poor Brian ended up having to be the one to refill all the time because mine didn't work.

We went back to Sea World about 4 and it was starting to die down.  We took the little kids to see Shamu again while the big kids said they got to ride the roller coasters about 10 more times in less than 2 hours.  The Shamu show was different today than Wednesday.  It was 4 whales this time and a lot more splashing.  We got WET.  Jaemin thought that was pretty neat.  The little kids rode the Shamu roller coaster (Chelsi did) and Jaemin rode  the Merry Go Round.  He really, really did well considering how tired he had to be.  He ran hard.  They went to the sting rays and petted them.  Jaemin really loved that.  He couldn't wait to touch one and when we rode Sting Ray Falls you go under them and can see them above you.  We went back for the dolphins right before they closed and Chelsi really enjoyed talking to a little boy who laid on the rocks beside her and informed her all about the dolphins.  They got pretty close, but without food, not close enough.  We did get splashed by them playing though.  Jaemin liked that. 

We ordered pizza to be delivered as we were leaving Sea World and it was perfectly waiting for us as we finished showers.  2 large pizzas are more than enough to fill us after running all day.  Too hot and tired to eat.  Cheapest we've gotten off all week.

We have one more day left.  It's almost over and it has been SO nice.  So nice just to be able to go against everything we normally do.  We got to just enjoy things and let the kids do things without worrying too much.    We vowed just to relax and not worry about the normal worries and it's been nice.  Tomorrow we will just hang out here, swim and relax before we leave early Sunday.  Thank goodness we are fortunate to have this vacation.  I think it's very needed and very nice and I LOVE watching Jaemin see things he's never seen before and watching the kids enjoy things we don't usually afford them to.  Jaemin watching the whales and wanting to go back to see the dolphins and touching the sting rays are just priceless.

BTW, the picture of Jaemin with his headphones is a picture I found on my phone from the way to San Antonio, last week.  The one of him sleeping in the van is after we left Sea World today.  He conked out on the short walk to the van.  :)