August 26, 2014

Days like these...

*It's been forever since I posted on this blog - Instagram kinda killed my blogging for awhile*

Our days certainly look a lot different already than they ever have during this traditional "back to school" week ~ because....

We have chosen to homeschool our boys this next year!  

So today instead of packing us all up at the crack of dawn to drive to the local school they attended previously, they helped each other make breakfast & completed their morning chores. Followed by writing activities, a walk to the park, their kid devotionals & prayer time at the park followed by goldfish snacks and sword fights - a lot like continuing our summer days. 

We will not start academic study curriculum until next week & lil sister will start 2 full day church preschool where the boys attended at her age.  

This (homeschooling / educating at home) is overwhelming and SCARY for me, very "out of the norm", definitely "uncharted territory" for us. We have wrestled, talked, researched and PRAYED a lot. 

It was NOT decided lightly and frankly has been on our hearts for a couple of years. 

I am learning with each new journey in our lives when we are willing to not stay stagnate, not always seek the comfortable , The Lord WiLL stretch you and yet ALWAYS provide a safety and security net of His strength and peace ~ 

I CERTAINLY do not have this all figured out - and I am planning on taking it one year at a time and certainly not saying THIS way or that way is THE right way- just what we feel The Lord is currently calling us to. It will give us more family time, more time to travel like we want to, more time to prepare for some mission trips we feel lead to take. 

We are claiming 

John 14:27 ~ "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."


Psalm 105:4 ~

"Look to the Lord and his strength;

    seek his face always." 

Many Blessings 

May 15, 2014

So I guess I'm a bandwagon jumper...

I discovered young living & essential oils last year in the fall
sometime before we traveled to get lil bit, but it wasn't the time
to purchase them and I wanted to research them more also.
I have always been drawn to natural ways to help care for us
and our home. The YL oils sounded promising but I wanted to
find out more. So I waited and I did research them as I had time
and decided to give them a try and so I signed up to purchase them
(And sell them maybe in the future).
So after having the #yloils for a few weeks now ~ I find ways to use them a lot in our daily routines. The friend I signed up under is a NICU RN and we've discussed several times ways we can try to naturally care for our families and home but we also won't just use something because it sounds good so these are merely my opinions on using them. So far *i* feel like the essential oils we use have helped: ~decreased night time allergy flareups with my kids (sneezing/coughing/turn into colds yuckies)~ helped lil bit and us sleep THRU the nights (diffusing peace & calming and used behind the ears), calmed nerves/tension/stress during stressful family/sporting/celebration events by using stress away oil on wrists, helped ease hubs chronic back & shoulder pain using pan away oil in coconut oil rubbed onto back & spine, eased (unplanned ��) sunburn pain with lavender oil (2drops) to coconut oil & aloe Vera gel, naturally cleaned kitchen and bath with lavender & lemon oils added in spray bottle with water. 

I am still weary of ingesting oils although I have used the peppermint and lemon in water to reduce acid reflux issues - but recommend everyone do their own research on ingesting oils or anything for that matter- even though YL does recommend and say it is perfectly safe !?! I dunno?  I know prescribed drugs we all take and OTC meds contain all sorts of toxins also!? 
That's my .02 

I appreciate the opinions of other real life mamas out there trying to find ways to care for their families, so if anyone has other ways they have found essential oils to help I would love to share ideas.

Sometimes things work & help and sometimes they don't
Again these are merely my opinions and not backed by any medical proof ;)

March 19, 2014

Happy 6months together lil bit

This weekend we celebrated six months together with our sweet lil bit - from that first meeting in China in her fancy white dress they put on her to meet us to now - wow!!!
I attempted to make her a fabric doll this morning and it looks a little silly but she loves it! And we love her and are so grateful for her and this time together.
I wish I had more time to keep these posts up and make them more interesting with memories and stories of her and our adjustment and her bonding and adoption.
Which is all going so great - we have so much to be grateful for and we are! That's why I'm too busy to write/post. We are living life together, enjoying the journey of life and praying for Gods direction for our future. We also have baseball season starting for our 2boys and friends who are fighting some
 big life battles (and that's on my mind and heart a lot) and we are keeping up with schedules etc. Maybe we will be looking into starting another adoption journey soon/the needs and the number of orphans waiting does weigh on our hearts or maybe something else? I don't know yet. But I hope
everyone is doing well that reads this also! God bless!!

Lil bit got her first American haircut

She sat still and let the stylist cut and shape her hair and even got her ears pierced. She just touched her ears afterwards. No tears - such a sweet and brave baby girl! I know the jury is mixed on piercing ears so young or wait till older - we made our decision quickly and don't regret it ;)

Sleeping in her room now ...

Ahhhh our sweet girl is in her room now for bedtime- after 6months in our room we tried again to start her sleeping in her room at bedtime and.... It worked!

She has her mattress on the floor for safety and lullabies on CD playing and her stuffed animal babies and she still wakes 2x each night coming into our room needing reassurance and to be put back to bed after that but now mama and daddy are getting some sleep too! Yay!!!! What a blessing!

Planting a garden and enjoying life together...

We have loved in our home for over 6 years and always wanted to try a garden so this year sweet hubs worked hard alongside the kiddos planting our first garden. We have herbs, peppers, veggies and a berry patch :)
Even Lil bit helped put some seeds in the soil and daddy bought her own pink garden gloves. And our newest baby - BEN the black lab puppy is growing and loves hanging out with Madeline - they are trouble together sometimes - sneaky!!! ;)

She always has time for daddy kisses.

Just a couple quick photo dumps

Sweet girl / she is loving yogurt, walks in the ergo on mama or baba, undressing her babies and noodles (still)

February 25, 2014

Lil bit & her new glasses

She just got them yesterday and she is trying to get accustomed to them and keeping them on....
Our sweet girl <3

February 21, 2014

5 months home / how is it going?

So how did the last 5 months fly by so fast? When we were in process doing paperwork and then especially after we were matched with lil bit 5 months went by SO.SLOW!!!!!!!!!!
But the last 5 months together - fast!

So how are things after being home now 5 months?
Well I would say -great! But I know that one word ties everything up in a pretty bow and that isn't the full picture right?

To some people I probably only post the good and warm and fuzzy stuff
-Yes! I prefer to share the great memories we are making together for my friends & family to see .
-we are private people in regards to a lot about our family.
-honestly it's going well in regards to attachment & bonding with lil bit
- there are some things I TRULY want to share but I have NOT gotten a warm reception from the people around us to even discuss it much less lay it all out here.
(That's for another day & another post- but you know so many people would rather live in a bubble than dig deep into heart/gut wrenching topics like adoption issues and orphan care
And that bothers me - ALOT!!! But again, another day)

I can not begin to say enough great things about our adoption agency (GWCA) and would recommend them to anyone exploring intl adoption.

Ok so our lil bit:
Our biggest struggle has been and still is : SLEEP

We currently have her mattress in our room beside our bed and then she co-sleeps with us when she wakes up in the night - which is often! As in 3-5 times a night.
Understandable she went from sleeping in a dim room of about 15 other toddlers with all the beds connected and 2 toddlers to a bed to just us. She also has extreme separation anxiety - also very understandable.

She knows loss
She knows change
She knows the whole world can completely change on you
And I know those fears play out at night for her.
At first it was jet lag
Then night terrors
Now I don't know
She just doesn't allow herself to calm and be vulnerable enough to sleep thru the night. ;(
We did try a couple nights in her own room with me sleeping on the floor beside her - but that proved to be too soon to make a change so we went back to our room.

So while we are in full newborn sleep deprived mode we are doing ok.

Health wise - overall she is doing great!
Her special need was not something that ended up being on-going health wise. We are so grateful for that and I know MANY MANY families deal with on going or results of health issues in their precious lil ones daily lives.
I pray for those that I know of regularly and realize each child and each family has a different journey.

She has had a few minor issues in regards to infections/rashes from being in an institutionalized environment and drinking the water in China.

She has had her ear pit surgery
she will also be getting glasses soon.

Separation anxiety is still in full force at home
Which means we do everything together - and switch off when a shower is needed :)

Behavior wise she is a normal 2 yo - which means very she is active, joyful, silly, sassy& throws tantrums, and saying NO a lot. :)

She does NOT like to play on her own, she will refuse to play with her toys if she could instead be in our laps at.all.times. Sometimes she will even crawl on top of our backs to make sure she is indeed attached and no one is leaving.

Oh my poor sweet lil bit. We love you so much and you can have all the time in the world to adjust and feel safe and protected and be assured you do have a permanency in our hearts and home!!!

Developmentally - she is right on track! She loves puzzles, books, stacking blocks, eating cheerios, drinking from a sippy cup, Mickey Mouse, dancing to music, stringing beads, yogurt and donuts :), cheese sticks & graham crackers, bath time, jazz music, going outside, playing with her brothers and the dog & cat.

She is learning her colors and counting to 5 (repeating us)
She is beginning to put together 2-4 words for sentences and likes to talk a lot.

She says:
mama/baba/daddy/gaga or ge ge/Iain
calls herself "nanny" for Madeline (??)
All done
Bye bye
I want more
Ni hao
Cheese stick
I color
More / I want more
Look mama
I take bath
Clean up
Go outside
Night night
Drink please
Shhh ;)

I am hoping to start her life book for all her photos from the orphanage and our journey for her to be able to look through and to keep it all together. We have showed her photos of the kids from her orphanage we took while there and of her nanny. She told me when I asked her who the nanny was she answered "nai" which is short for grandma which is what they called her older nanny we were told. But she never said that again and never cried for her- so sad when that was her mother figure for an entire year- I can't even begin to imagine how those precious nannies give so much care and so much love and then the relationship ends so abruptly at adoption.
We plan to send her nanny some photos and a card and update her
We know she loved our sweet lil bit-
We saw it when we visited the orphanage and we know that lil bit receives our love so well that she knew what it was to be so loved and cared for already. She knew affection, touch, comfort and JOY!!!

I pray for her nai and the nannies there everyday and all the precious kids that still wait for the comfort/security/permanence of a forcer family.

We also started her in a class at church but so far I have stayed with her the entire time and tonight we are trying to go to dinner and will leave her with my sister - a first for all of us. But after 5 months I know she will be ok for 2-3 hrs (right?!?!)

I wondered as we were waiting to adopt how Our journey might look / would our child have scary health issues, would she attach to us, were we strong enough to handle all this but our faith grew SO MUCH there this journey - our faith that God is so much bigger than we could ever imagine!

I'm reminded that EVERY ONES journey looks different, every child is different - biological or adopted!
I know Some adoptions don't go well at all, some struggle, others come easily, some kiddos have extreme health issues, daily/wkly therapy, others transition well, some parents stay home full time with their kiddos, some work outside the home and do daycare, some would never recommend adoption, others adopt several times over just like everything in life
Each persons journey is unique!

Wow! That's a lot in one blog post!
On an emotional/spiritual aspect - adoption has been so much to us to sum it up here, right now

It has been for us:
Gut wrenching
Life changing

All in one
And we know we aren't done
For us & lil bit, adoption will be a life long subject

We are still serving on our church orphan ministry
And we hope to adopt again
And we plan to go back to her birth country for more than just adoption
We want to help
We want to sponsor children
We want to go to orphanages and hold and love on kiddos
We want to make a difference!

I don't know in my sleep deprived mode what all that means but with God, thru prayer and staying aware and not choosing to stay in a bubble we hope to figure it out!

our first CNY together

Last year when we celebrated Chinese New Year we went to a local noodle place and dreamed of what the future held for our family in the journey of adopting from China.

This year we were a family of 5 and although we are all still learning the customs and traditions of the CNY we wanted to make it a special time. We were hoping to join some friends (also adoptive parents from China) for dinner at their home but we were passing around cold symptoms and the timing just wasn't right for it all and not getting others sick.
So instead we celebrated later with attending a local adoption group meet up a few days after the Friday holiday and when we were all feeling much better. We were invited by our friends from church. This is a local group in our area with children adopted from China, Taiwan and South Korea. It was a great time and so nice to meet other families in our area that share similar experiences. They had crafts, a super cool dragon cake, the kids participated in a dragon dance and they gave out red envelops with chocolate coins to the kiddos. Lil bits big brothers also helped enjoy the event helping her craft and enjoy the festivities.
We also were able to meet some new friends that hopefully we will be able to build connections with for our little Asian babies.

At home - Instead of going out to eat this year, I also decided to decorate at home and cook some favorites. I channeled Sandra Lee (semi-homemade) ;) haha and steamed pre-frozen buns I picked up at the Asian market and then also served fried rice, and made a veggie/tofu stirfry, and then we had Mandarin oranges and cupcakes for dessert! You know cupcakes are universal ;)

We have so much to learn & share with lil bit about her birth country & culture & we are so excited to have these memories as a start!