Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So cute!

Jaemin is doing better with speech class.  He's been in it for a full year and is approved for another year of his IEP.  His teacher has helped us to understand him so much better.  He still gets hung up and can be hard to understand, so when he gets out a whole understandable sentence it is a big deal.

Last night I went to check on Jaemin in bed.  He was very still and quiet, so I thought he may be sleeping.  Sometimes though, he's just being quiet and still.  Those times he'll quietly reach out his arm because he wants a hug before I go.  Last night was no different, but he said something.  I couldn't understand him because he was whispering.  I had grabbed his hand instead of hugging him and asked him again what he said.  He said 'nice to meet you'.  I don't where he got that from, but it was pretty darn cute!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Make a Wish

I haven't heard back that everything's a go, but I can't imagine it is.  His wish is pretty darn simple.

We tried and tried to think of something else and couldn't, so Cole is sticking with his wish to go on a shopping spree.  He doesn't really want to stick with one store, etc., etc. so we got his questions squared away with Make a Wish.  For instance, he was thinking he could buy his hunting rifle, but no firearms, etc. are allowed.  He has now decided he wants to shop at Bass Pro and Walmart.  He wants his own laptop instead of the 6 year old Toshiba he shares with the other kids, so now I think he's pretty content with his wish.  It will just be a day trip, so nothing terrible expensive for Make a Wish considering our family size.

I hope it really is special for him.  Hopefully, we'll hear something soon that it's at least fully approved this time.  We did tell them to change the dates so we can do it after our Korea trip.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And the price is right....enough

Not really, but what are you going to do.  I was hoping Brian's brace for his leg would be closer to $300, but it was $470 out of pocket.  Brian started to tell the lady we would think about it and I motioned for him to say yes.  He needs it.  It would really do him some good.  I think it's worth it.  We would do it for the kids any day, so why shouldn't he?

Pretty soon, his walk will get much prettier.  Luckily, he hasn't worn his newer tennis shoes much at all.  She said he shouldn't wear any of his older ones with it because they'll have a wear pattern and the brace won't work as well. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

5 years later

I went with Brian to an appointment Friday.  I finally talked him into at least seeing what they can do for him with an orthotic/prosthesis.  Tomorrow is 5 years since his accident.  It seems like yesterday until I realize that it really has been 5 whole years.  The lady at the DME (durable medical equipment) was really shocked at how well he was doing.  She was trying to help him put on the brace she wanted him to try and she said well you know how these work from therapy, right?  He then told her he was completely paralyzed at one time and by the time his legs worked his hands still did not.  The therapist always had to do everything for him.

So, he tried on the ground reaction brace, made with the same material prosthetic feet are made for runners who are amputees and it was shocking.  I actually started to cry, though I shut it off as quick as a could.  I knew it would embarrass him, but I really couldn't help it.  She asked me to watch Brian walk up and down the hall with it on and he almost had no gait difference.  I mean it was different, but his leg to leg gait wasn't so different anymore.  He wasn't swinging his leg out so far to keep his toes from dragging along.  It just looked more fluid.  She said this is why these braces are so helpful.  When your nerves that do work tell your brain it doesn't have to work so hard to pick everything up and swing your feet out, you can walk with more ease and not get so tired.  Amazing, a little piece of metal that goes just below your knee and down and around your foot. 

She sent us off saying they would contact my insurance and get everything squared away and let us know this week how much it will be since I'm in the high deductible plan.  Trust me, well worth it. 
I asked him if he saw himself wearing it and at first he said not in shorts, but then, he said maybe.  He, in his mind, still sees himself the way he walked for 33 years of his life.  He has no idea that it's not the brace that will draw attention or draw new attention anyways.  He starting to walk moreso with a limp that people do see.  And he won't have to be so tired trying so hard to cover it up by trying really hard to walk as normal as he can.  It's not admitting defeat, it's just moving on.

I can't wait 'til we get it.  A girl at work's son has it for CP and she says it's the least expensive of the braces since it doesn't have to be casted to your body, so I'm hoping around $300, but I may be really shocked.  Either way, if it makes things better, it's so worth it.  I just can't believe how much our lives have changed in the last 5 years.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Finally.  We have saved and saved and saved for over 7 years.  I have gathered things we would need over the years to keep from spending all at once.  I have watched fares for over 2 years.  I have researched where we would want to go and checked information on the hotels. 

Finally, it's real.  Of course, I'll feel better once we're on that plane, but we have hotel reservations at Fraser Place Central for a two bedroom premier room, which is AWESOME!  We get a breakfast buffet every morning, which is great, even though there is a Paris Baguette nearby.  Today, I held my breath and bought the airline tickets.  That is literally the biggest purchase I'll ever put on my credit card.  I had to check the balance first to make sure it wouldn't get maxed out over the limit.  I had to even call them to let them know there would be a very large purchase coming through.  But, I did it!

We used East West Travel Agency in Chicago and Cathy was SO SO nice and didn't shoo me like some of the other agents when I asked 20 million questions.  She's very attentive to everything.  They even have a Seoul contact number, so we should be good either way, regardless of where we are.  And comparably she got us the best fares of anyone I called.  So, we're going to go all out and fly Korean Air.  Each of us will have our own tv screen and be able to watch whatever movie we choose or the kids can watch kid shows or listen to music.  Each seat also has a USB charger and outlet so the kids can charge their iPods the whole 13 hour flight from Chicago to Seoul and be fully entertained.  Most of the other flights said there was only one meal offered during the flight time, but they're feeding us twice, plus they overwhelm with snacks during the flight.  Our travel agent even emailed me so she could put in the kids' meal requests.  They can choose between an adult Korean meal or a kids meal (spaghetti, pizza, hamburger, etc.).  Jaemin is getting the kids meal and the girls are having bibimbap!

Cathy put us in great seats on the first flight to Chicago, so we're sitting in front of and back of each other and then she will select our exact seats for Korean Air about 90 days before the flight.  You can't do it until then. 

Now the agencies are all working to talk to the foster mothers to see if they can visit with us on our non-planned days.  Jaemin's has already said she's ready to see him.  I can't wait for them all to see the kids and how big they've gotten.  I can't wait to see our big boys in this new environment.  Chase asked me this morning if planes fly above the clouds. I told him it will and he just said 'that is awesome' with that little girly voice on the awesome like boys do. 

The girls have drawn pictures for their Korean mother's files.  I've written my letter.  I printed off the portraits I took this fall of all of them and put their Korean names on them and their ages so I can frame for their foster mothers as a gift.  Then, we'll leave one in their Korean mothers' files as well.  Now I just pray no one gets sick or anything before the trip.


Sunday, January 6, 2013


I've just been too busy and tired over the holidays to even try to get on here.  The less computer time the better and this blog sometimes is just too much.  Though I know I want to keep my journal up, so I always come back.

My brother FINALLY made it back for Christmas. They were only able to stay a few days due to the occurrences and Jaemin already misses E.  He thinks he should be at grandma and papas all the time.

We also finally heard back from Make a Wish on Cole's wish to go to Korea.  They told us Korea said no.  I found that a little hard to believe as she got more into the story of it, but what can you say?  She said Korea said there were political things going on though both her and I didn't know of anything.  She then said she told Korea Make a Wish that they would just the assist for us to go to Korea and Korea would only serve as an emergency contact if we had anything happen medically.  She said Korea said no to that as well.  That's where I wondered if it was true or just a reason to say no without saying it was just too big of a wish.  Their saying is no wish is too big, but that's really not true.  Not logically and realistically, but it would have been great if they would have told us and Cole last March when he wished it.  Then, she proceeded to tell me he could either rewish totally since no one knows what happened to his wish granters or he could go with his 2nd choice of a Cabela's shopping spree.  Here's the kicker.  She explained to me how it would work and we'd end up responsible for some of the costs.  They're web site says theses wishes are granted without families having to pay for anything so there would be no worries.  I'm NOT okay with this.  We are emptying our savings to go to Korea....yep, that's right we're going anyways....after 7 full years of saving for it, we can't afford to pay for meals, etc. so he can go there.  He's tried to think of a different wish but hasn't been able to.  It's been so stressful we're thinking of telling them to forget it.

Onto Korea.  We scaled our plans back A LOT.  There will be no birth city trip and it will be a little shorter, but we should be able to squeeze in everything we want to do and see and especially the foster mothers.  We have our tickets on hold.  I just have to call this week after I move things off my credit card so it doesn't max out (pay it down is what I mean), and I can get our airfare.  We are barely getting tickets anyways.  I was told in the fall to wait until January or February by every agent I called and suddenly by December all of the fares were gone or almost gone and only expensive ones left.  We found another Korean agent in Chicago who was able to get a pretty decent rate on Korean Air, so we stayed in my budget thanks to her.  We'll nail down the hotel and fare details this week.  I already have reservations at Fraser Place Central like last time, but I want to see if we can get a little better rate before things are final.  Every dollar counts on this huge trip and most of the dollars are in the $15000 hotel and airfare portion of the budget.

But, we have an itinerary made, emails sent to the agencies so they can contact the foster mothers.  Gift list started.  Baggage figured out.  Maps and directions to everywhere!  Reminders on my calendar for what we can't do yet.  Passport application for Jaemin ready to go.  And a growing list of things we will still need to have before we go.