Friday, August 30, 2013

Campout!

The men are gone tonight, so I promised the 3 little ones they could camp in the living room on the floor.  We ate ice cream (IN THE LIVING ROOM) and they're watching Chimpmunks now.  Hopefully, they'll go to sleep.  I guarantee some of them will be in a recliner or on the couch by morning.



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Funny Parenting Post

http://wellcommons.com/weblogs/larryvillemom/2013/aug/21/5-ways-were-making-parenting-harder/

They're totally serious, but this writer has a great sense of humor.  I, personally, do not really find any fault with the way our parents raised us.  They made mistakes like I do, but as a whole, I think they did well.  I do think this author has a point, but it could go much further (at least 10) than 5 Ways.  Add Facebook, etc.  Not everything is puppy dogs and roses in life, but that's how a lot of parents want it to look on the outside.  I don't know if it makes them feel better, superior or what exactly.

The good old fashioned ways of doing things isn't always worse.  Sometimes, there's room to improve, but we don't have to make drastic changes to parenting to do that; just change with the changes.  Such as you can't let your kids ride in the back of a pickup anymore.  Obviously, you will get arrested for child endangerment.  Parents find the need to compete with each other on how much time they're spending with their kids (but are they really if they're maxed out in activities and trying to have everything set up just perfectly for their child's life).

So, to begin with the 5 things the author mentioned:

1)  Birthday Parties - Never done the themed thing.  I know that would stress me out and no one, I repeat no one, wants ME stressed.  We decided long ago that the kids would have parties for their birthdays at 1, 5, 10, 13, 16 and 18 (milestones).  All other birthdays are only spent with those living in this house.  The birthday kid gets their pick of supper and we have cake and ice cream.  Not over indulgent, but it's still special.  On the birthday years, they have their grandparents and Godparents over as well as picking 3 friends to come over or 1 friend to stay the night.  We don't go to venues, etc.  Just at home where they can play and adults have conversation.

2)  Elf on a Shelf - Never did get this thing.  Everyone brags about the time they spend doing this at work, but I personally find it hard to squeeze in the Tooth Fairy when random teeth of 5 kids fall out over the years.  Apparently, the Tooth Fairy is over extended as well.

3)  Organic Everything - Nope.  5 kids, 2 adults (may as well count the older 3 as adults too) means a very hefty grocery bill already.  We throw in the fruits and veggies and make things from scratch, not a lot of processed foods or out to eat, so it's all good.  That would break our budget and we'll all be fine.

4)  Kids Sports - Yes, we do feel it's important for them to participate in AN activity.  Not all activities.  They don't need to be overextended and neither do we.  Again, no one wants a stressed ME.  They each pick one they love and we go with it.  They'd rather be outside hunting, fishing, walking in the woods or just lying with our dogs than constantly be in a regimented activity almost 365 days a year.  That's what most sports have come to.  At least at our school.  They'll be well-rounded this way.  They even have time to squeeze in a job as our 16 year old has found.

5)  Pinterest - I've seen some pretty cool things there.  Only because other people have posted them on Facebook.  All-in-all though, Pintest is too much for a Type A, OCD individual like myself.  If I can do it, I may, but I don't need to have my house look like a magazine, my food look presentable enough to be on the internet or anything of the sort.

As for school lunches, if your school doesn't allow them to just eat anything, they're pretty healthy.  I know ours are.  Our kids are good with most of them.  Occasionally, the 16 year brings leftovers to eat at school, but not too often.

Parents need to quit trying to outdo each other in the parenting arena and just parent.  Quit trying to be better than every other mom out there (the most creative, the best cook, the most volunteered, the coolest, whatever).  Try to just be mom.  Be home.  Have dinners together.  Don't try to be their friend.  Let them get hurt.  They're going to eventually and we're here to protect them from life.  Life hurts you, so they better be armed with how to deal....do it while they're still young.  We need to help each other.  Talk about our low days when we feel a lot less than perfect....you know you have them, admit it.  It makes you feel better to find out you're NOT alone.  Instead moms and (yes, some dads) spend all their time with their peers just trying to tear them down or make them feel inferior.  What does that tell or say to our kids.

I'm not perfect and by the grace of God, my kids seem to be doing well as human beings, but we have to have done some things right.  I pray I continue to find the right people to bounce my erroneous parenting ways off of to improve.  And I will continue to steer clear of the ones that only exist to make me feel worse.  The internet can be such a curse.  We no longer have to visit at a child's birthday party, we just have to post all of our perfection on Facebook.

Happy Birthday Haebinah!

Kaelin was born 11 years ago on the island of Jeju in South Korea.  Today, she is a young lady and very much looks like one.  I hope she continues to grow into the person she has already become.  Happy Birthday Kaelin!  My kids are so lucky.  They're loved here and half way across the world.  I know that the adoption agency personnel love all of my kids because we're all family now.  I could tell when we visited.  I'm sure there's another woman in Korea who's a little sad right now.  If only she knew how much love she found.




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The love-hate relationship of raising kids....

I say that because there are always parts of parenting you love and there are definitely times you hate!

I love the cuteness of little ones and the way littler kids are able to show their affection for parents and loved ones more freely than any of us as we get older.  And I definitely love the inexpensiveness of littler ones.  Yes, with daycare obviously they're more expensive, but if you take out that sometimes necessary budget line-item, they're cheaper.  I can see why stay-at-home mom have more kids in closer age ranges than we did.  It seems so tempting while they're little.  You just have to remember that they do grow up.  Everyone always tried to tell me that teenagers were harder and more expensive than toddlers and babies, but I too brushed it off instead of listening to sage advice....or rather warnings.  The good thing is I didn't have the kids too close together, so we get a bit of breathers at every stage.

Teenagers are just a different beast. They think they don't need you, so you get attitude.  They're hungry all the time, much like infants, but eat 100 times what an infant does....at least my teenagers do.  They have awkward ways of showing love and affection, but if you work really hard every great once in awhile you get the reward of seeing a glimmer of it shine through their gruff exteriors. One, older parent, once told me that what they are by the time they are about 16 is about what you can expect, with more maturity of course.  They meant, most often if they continue on that same path, with friends, morals etc. if they're not doing drugs and major offenses by then they will probably be okay.  I'm hoping for that because even though my 16 year old gives attitude from time-to-time and makes mistakes, I like who he is.  13 was definitely rougher for him than 16 seems to be.  But, I also think he likes his newly found freedoms of driving and having a job.  Not many hours, but it's still some independence.  I even like my 13 year old better than I did when he was 10-12.  I'm not overly worried about my kids like I was when they were younger.  I'm starting to see, now that they're teenagers, who they're becoming and I like them and I'm proud of them.  I pray they keep down this same way.

I had to have a serious talk with the 11 and 16 year old last night.  13 year old had football practice...we're saving the conversation for a later date for him.  I started out explaining something to them and then we had a nice little chat.  Eventually, the 11 year old got bored, but I chatted with our 16 year old for over 1/2 hour.  We talked about school, politics, everything.  It's interesting to hear his opinion.  He actually thinks ahead for a teenager, more than we give him credit for.  We have very open and honest dialogues with our kids and try to put it in context for their ages and what I've found is that they may not get every piece of it, but as they age they seem to be able to put the pieces together and see a bigger picture for themselves.  They're very aware and observant.

Sometimes, these conversation are needed and we only find out through conversations, they had misgivings.  We were talking about adoption and conversations kids at school had had with him.  As I suspected, people who do not know us equate adoption with wealth.  My child set them straight and informed them their mom is just good with money.  Then, they all found out about our trip to Korea and really assumed we were wealthy, but he nicely informed them all how many years we'd been saving just for that.  He asked more about the little's adoptions and I told him that we had gone the special needs route.  I told him after his birth defect and Chase's birth defect we were okay with kids with some possible special needs and that that route meant reduction in adoption fees and grants (since our income was lower).  He asked about the girls' needs, and I of course, told him that was something to be shared with them first, but then he was asking about Chase.  He knew we had talked about the chromosome translocation in the past, but some how only remembered crohns.  So, I guess he's had it in his mind this whole time that Chase had crohns.  We got that all straightened out now.  :)

Sometimes, teenagers are so pleasant. I really don't mind for the most part.  They are 10 times the worry as you cut the apron strings (and thankfully it's more of a process).  They are 10 times more worry because the mistakes they make are no longer so little, but more impactful to their adult lives.  But, the journey to watching them grow up is absolutely priceless!  And not one I'd trade for anything because I don't have 1 kid out of 5 that I could assume how they will turn out.  I want to watch and see how it all unfolds for them.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lots of Learning Going on.....just starting.....again














Let's see.

Chase is still injured, but has his stitches out.  We're having to butterfly bandage his knee though.  The wound just didn't quite heal in 10 days.  Now that it's getting some air, it's starting to stay closed.  It doesn't help that he goes and runs and sweats in football practice every night.  No tackling or real drills, but the boy can run.  He forgot the other night and ran out with the 1st team and caught a ball one handed.  Coach made him sit.

The kids are BACK in school.  2nd day and we're getting used to all the structure again.  Poor Cole is finding out what real life is like.  He had to go to school today and work after school until tonight.  He'll be tired.  No one has really said anything as far as teachers, but I don't have the most talkative kids unless something is really great or really bad.  They're too much like their mother.  Ha!  Chelsi had a neat assignment last night.  They were getting ready to read a book today about a mouse with a really, really long name.  Then, they were going to discuss how special names can be, teasing and how to handle teasing.  Great lessons for 2nd grade!  She had to work with us on a paper with two questions to go with it.  She had to write her full name and then explain where she got her name from and why she thought it was special.  It was fun explaining to her that her big brothers picked out her first name from a list her dad and I came up with.  Then, her first middle name is after her Korean mother.  Her 2nd middle name is her name in Korea.  She really liked the story of how her name came to be.  She simply wrote that she thought her name was special because family named her and she got to keep her Korean name.

Tonight, I decided it was time to brush up on my photography skills again.  It's that time of year.  I need to take the kids' annual portraits, Chase will have football pics and I just need to get some new skills anyways.  Kaelin was out practicing volleyball (finally! the girl found something she loves), so she humored me and let me practice on her.  They actually turned out great once I learned how to take advantage of some additional settings.

Mostly, I wanted to compare my older lens to my newer lens for portraits.

The kids' first day.

Practice, Practice, Practice (for both of us).






Monday, August 12, 2013

That annual event is here, and then some

Yes, the start of the school year is here again.  #1 is a junior, #2 is in 8th grade, #3 is in 5th grade, #4 is in 2nd grade and #5 has one more year of daycare before he gets to go to school.

Cole started his job today.  I don't think he likes it, but don't think he hates it either.  It's money either way.  Not too many hours, but luckily it's only a 10 minute drive from home (and there aren't too many of those), so it won't cost too much in gas.  He has to pay his bills some how.  Hopefully, they'll work with him when wrestling starts, but we'll see in November.

Chase officially started practice, but for him was more unofficial since he broke his finger and still has stitches in his knee.  A friend is taking them out for him Wednesday night before practice, so he should be able to slap on some bandaids and get his football pants on finally.  The coaches are being pretty careful with him.  They don't want anything to happen on their watch for sure.  He said he ran and got to take handoffs, but no contact.....he can't anyways without the doctor's release.  Hopefully, he'll only miss 2 games.  I'm thinking in the end, most kids that play football for years are going to have some sort of injury they'll experience.  If not, you're not playing.  I'm really hoping this is the worst of it.  Fingers crossed!

Chelsi is SO ready to go back to school.  She told me how much she misses her kids class....all summer, I've heard about this.  This is her gifted class.  She loves the other students and likes writing the papers and research.  More than I thought, but she's only in 2nd grade, so we'll see if she feels the same way next summer.  :)

Kaelin, I'm pretty sure is ready for school.  She just isn't going to say too much if she's a little nervous.  I'm sure she is now that she's a little fish in a big pond at the middle school.  But, Chase will be there with her this year and she has some of his same teachers, so that's good.  She'll be fine as always.  And now that she's older she has so much more to look forward to.  She gets to start real school volleyball in 7th grade!

Jaemin is ready for school.  Brian's right.  It took 5 kids to get one just like him.  He has at least as much energy (as Brian used to have) and LOVES to read.  I had him put his book down (in bed) to kiss me goodnight and he was upset because he thought I lost his place.  He said it was his favorite part.  It's so cute!!  And I love how much he loves reading.  He says "YAY" when he gets to read every night.  Just so we're clear.  I am NOT allowed to read to him.  He reads to me or himself.

Monday, August 5, 2013

All in one visit

I've made it over 16 years and 5 kids without any unplanned stitches or broken bones.  Leave it to Chase to get a diagnosis for both in one visit.  First, he hurt his hand playing football.  Then, he cuts open his knee before he even gets to start fishing.  We thought his finger was just jammed, but since we were in the ER we got an xray.  Sure enough, it's broke right at the base.  We'll see an orthopedic tomorrow to find out if it needs turned.  Ouch!  Then we should also get the rules and limits for continuing football.






Thursday, August 1, 2013

Swimming....finally

We haven't gone to Lois' all summer to use her pool.  Since daycare was closed all week, I had mom take the kids the first 3 days and then took off today and tomorrow.  We finally got to swim at Lois' house.  Jaemin knew as soon as we pulled up.  He said "it's Lois' house".  We invited Jaemin's friend S and her mom to go with us since I knew she was off too.  They were TIRED by the time we got done.  And I did get pictures taken before Kaelin knocked the camera off the table.  :)













What does a lens filter do?

Well, a $40 filter could actually protect your $1,000 lens.  Thank God.  Kaelin knocked my camera off the table, in it's case and it still smashed the lens filter.  We finally got it off to find the glass for the lens okay.  We carefully cleaned the broken glass off and I took some photos and it seems to be okay.  The filter didn't fare so well.