Saturday, October 31, 2009

Charlie Lu Kao

3 Years ago today, we held Charlie, aka. Kao, Fu Lu, for the first time in Tainan, Taiwan. What a CUTE little boy...wide eyes, strong lungs (he screamed for his nanny!), hugely curious, and a ready smile that would just melt your heart. He was very, very spoiled in his orphanage. I will never forget holding Charlie while the nannies gathered around, clapping their hands while chanting his nickname...Fu Lu Lu...Fu Lu Lu...oh my...was he in for a wide awakening at our house! What a great transition, though. He took to us so quickly and loved to be held. And fast...he was soooo fast crawling around the hotel...under tables, up to the toilets...It had been 6 years since Jacob was that little, and Laura was still not moving much at the time. I had forgotten how fast they could move!
I will forever be thankful for the number of photos that his orphanage took during his first year of life. They sent us home with a CD with over 300 photos starting from the day he was brought to the orphanage (with his birthmom), to the day we arrived. AND...his birthmom visited him several times, along with the grandma and great grandma. Do you know how precious it is to have all of their photos in his scrapbook? That is a rare treasure, let alone just having so many photos of him growing up that first year. I often wonder where some of his little friends are now. I wonder if his birthmom still checks in to see how he's doing...
Little Charlie was a Rainbowkids treasure at 5 months of age. I'm sure there are those of you who are as addicted to Rainbowkids.com as I am. I knew Charlie was meant to be in our family from the moment I saw his little photo on that website. And do you know when it was posted? On my birthday in 2006! He was home within 7 months...how's that for speed? And what an awesome agency we used. Unfortunately, they are one of many that have had to close due to the slowdown in adoptions.
So, Happy Gotcha Day, Char. We love you, buddy!

Doing his infamous bottom-shaking dance...thank you, Amarin, for teaching this to Charlie!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

My baby is four! Where did the past three years go since he's been home??

Charlie has the strongest personality for such a little guy...strong-willed, sweet, stubborn, sensitive, hilarious...all wrapped up into one compact little package. He has accomplished a lot over the past year...started preschool, played his first season of soccer, gained a new big brother and two rabbits, moved into a big boy bed, learned to ride a big boy bike, and today he moved out of his baby carseat and into a booster. He's feeling pretty big right now.

Tonight we took the kids to Build-A-Bear and Charlie chose a turkey...and named him "Turkey." Now he has Turkey and Monkey...not exactly original names, but we won't forget them! After, we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner and they brought out a very chocolate cake for him and icecream for all the kids. Even though he's the big 4, he was still tired, and is now cuddling in bed with Monkey and Turkey.



Charlie and Amarin helping make the birthday cupcakes for preschool.



The finished products!



Good Morning, birthday boy! (He was awake at 6:15 singing "happy birthday to me")



Time to open presents...it's only 7AM!

His favorite present? A big boy scooter just like Jacob and Amarin!



So long, baby carseat. I'm a big boy now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Healthcare Revolutionary Idea

I get daily emails from Natural News. It contains a lot of information about vaccines, natural healants, etc. that I find helpful and informative. But there's a lot of info, and frankly, I don't have time to read it all. But today, I scrolled down to the bottom of the email and found this petition link:
It's a petition bound for Washington D.C. (with enough signatures) that actually helps the tax payer when they decide to take personal responsibility for their health. It asks for tax advantages for things like gym memberships, exercise equipment, reimbursements for alternative therapies and natural medicines, etc.
Not only does this seem viable for our family, as we do try to avoid the doctor's office when we can, but think about how much people just may try to be healthier. I don't know...it's a different approach to health care. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't. But it sure would be nice to see something put in place to make people take responsibility for themselves rather than relying on government handouts, now, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We're Famous

Ok...well, maybe not famous, but Laura & Charlie are on the webpage for Europeds. Europeds is THE most awesome place for physical therapy. They got her walking last March, and we're hoping to get back there again for more PT very soon.

Each October, a few days before Halloween, the patients get to trick-or-treat around the office. Last year we were there for it, and not only Laura got to dress up and get treats, but Jacob and Charlie did, too! So, click here and go to the bottom right of the homepage, and you will see Laura & Charlie dressed up in their costumes from last October.

As luck would have it, we're headed there tomorrow so Laura can be measured for new braces. She may still be only 25 pounds, but her feet are growing! And guess what the kids get to do while we're there tomorrow???

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Amarin's Conversation

Most people think Amarin is a very quiet boy. When we go somewhere that has unfamiliar faces or too many faces, even if he does know them, he is very quiet and tends to stick by my side. This is actually a good thing as it means he is bonding well with us. And, no, the bonding is no where near finished. With older kids, the bonding can take months...years to make complete. Yesterday we went to a birthday party for two of Jacob's friends, and all the kids went off to play. Amarin remained by my side, or at least within sight of me until about the last hour...then he went off to play Star Wars...what boy could resist?
You have to know that when we're at home, Amarin is not always quiet. Sometimes he is WAY loud! He tries talking more at home and is much more comfortable making eye contact with us and at least trying to convey what he wants. Lately, it has been asking for help because he wants the light saber that his brother has, or a book that his brother is reading...things like that.
Today was the best, though. You may know that while I LOVE living in the country, one thing I absolutely hate to the core is snakes. They freak me out no matter what kind or what size. If I see one in the yard, I'm in the house immediately and probably for the rest of the day. If I cut the grass, the boys are sent out on a snake hunt first to be sure there are none in my way, or in my line of vision.
Well, as I'm checking in with my bloggy friends today, I thought I heard the word "snake" from Jacob. He was in the wooded area near the house, so I knew I was safe if I ventured just into the garage. Out I went, and yep...he found a tiny snake in the weeds. Jacob had shovel in hand, ready to eliminate the snake (which he claims was a rattler) and I smiled...my little knight in shining armor! He's saving me from a bigger snake next spring.
Off I went into the house, to be soon followed by Amarin all in a state of excitement. It went kind of like this:
Amarin: Jacob!
Me: What did Jacob do?
A: Jacob, eesh! (making a downward swipe like he's chopping with the shovel).
M: Did Jacob kill the snake?
A: Yeah! Snake, sssssss....(and he opened his mouth really wide like the snake did). Jacob eesh (downward movement again) and snake (his arms fly around like maybe guts flying everywhere?)
M: Mommy no like snakes. Good boy Jacob.
Amarin repeated a few more noises and gestures to be sure I understood, and I made sure he understood that I was thankful that Jacob got the snake, and that Jacob was a good boy. Who ever said communicating in a foreign language was difficult?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Pigs Allowed

The season is young, but no sign of the piggy flu in our area. However, as it always happens, the coughs have started. Every year when we turn on the furnace, the kids get coughs and colds, even with the humidifiers running in bedrooms all night long and the humidifier on our furnace. Well, this year I started it with a little cold, then Laura caught it, then Jacob started hackin', and now Charlie's hackin' with a low-grade fever. Amarin seems to be avoiding it thus far...maybe he built up a strong resistance in the orphanage.

They all seem to be feeling pretty good though. As I type, the boys are blasting DCTalk downstairs (thankfully) and playing. Earlier, Jacob was out cutting down more trees in the woods, so I think I'm not concerned.

The big boys did have to miss an art class today, which they both love, and tomorrow we're missing a field trip to a nature center. Since the trip is outdoors for 2 hours, and it's supposed to be cold and rainy...no go for us. Now what do we do all day? I didn't plan any school lessons! I supposed I would not be popular if I quickly planned some, huh?

Can You Relate?

Ever have days like this?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not a thing

...to share today. I can't believe that I have had nothing to blog for days now. This appears
to be a serious addiction...I mean...condition.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

He did it!

He tied his shoes, all by himself, and he was p.r.e.t.t.y smitten
with himself. No more relying on velcro!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H.R. 213

Dear Friends and Family,
Perhaps you haven't heard or weren't aware that the federal government gives tax relief to adopting families. This money is extremely important to many families as most would not be able to afford international adoption without it.
In December 2010, this tax relief is due to expire. What does this mean? It means that a lot of families will no longer be able to consider international adoption, and that the 143 million orphans that are waiting will continue to wait longer. And more orphans will never have homes because of the high costs of bringing them home.
What can you do? You can write to your senators and representatives today. I just wrote a short note to Congresswoman Miller and Senator Levin and it's easy: just click on the black icon to the right, find your reps., and you can even use the wording that I've included below if you're not sure what to write.
Please take the time to do this. You've all seen what a blessing our kids have been to us and to you, and this tax relief has helped us immensely, as well as thousands of other families.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask that you support The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee 2009, H.R. 213. International adoption is very expensive and most families are not able to afford this without the tax relief. There are over 43 million orphans around the world, and so many of us want to bring them home so that they have a family, quality health care, food, and love.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why...

...do I have to go to school AGAIN? Because you look too dog-gone cute to stay home! Laura can wear dresses now that she's walking more, and by george...she's gonna wear 'em! Now if we could just find her new glasses. I'm sure they're somewhere in the house...
...are these boys in my hair accessories and tools? Not even going to try to answer that one.

Full Quiver

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."
A friend posted a wonderful entry in her blog last month, and it came back to me this AM.
I couldn't put it in better words, so without further ado, CLICK HERE!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Flu Vaccines

If you plan to get a flu vaccine this year, you may want to
and then make the decision that's best for you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lumberjacks

The boys want to make a path through our woods. In order to do this, they "need" to cut down some trees. They are using dad's hand saw...dad's out of town and hoping when he returns, there are no fingers missing.
Amarin's first tree that he cut himself.

Frontier partners...searching for a new route to the road.

Retreated and Refreshed

To say I had a fun weekend with friends would be an understatement. Last weekend rocked! Let's see...I shot a rifle for the first time (and made those little spoon-things spin 5 out of 20 times), I rode a horse through beautiful trails and woods (in the rain, but still loads of fun), and flew down a rip cord that seemed a million miles high, right over a lake (& almost didn't have the courage to jump but succumbed to peer pressure!). We "stopped by" a bar on the way that was packed with men and deer stories (surely we couldn't be lost!), and drove by plenty of McDonalds...oh, wait...I think that was the same McDonalds, just several drive-bys.
It was wonderful to have my food all cooked, no cleaning, no laundry, no taxi-service, no diapers, no sweeping...oh, wait...I did have to sweep once. I love being a wife and mom, but this was a great break. And it was so fun spending the weekend with a group of women...just women hanging out and having fun.
Not only did I have all of these experiences, but even better...I got to spend time listening and returning my focus on our Lord. The speaker took us through the book of Ruth in a way that I had never seen. It was all about getting our lives together. How easy it is to get sidetracked in the hustle and bustle of sports and homeschool and housework. I forget to talk to God. I forget to spend time in prayer, to ask for his guidance, to just be quiet and listen. I forget to read to the kids from the Bible and to help guide them in knowing what's right and what's wrong, not based on what society thinks, but what the Bible says. I forget to put my marriage before all other relationships (except God), and that's a tough one when there are little ones all over the place.
Here are a couple points that really stuck with me:
*Respect others even when you think they don't deserve it.
*Don't engage. In other words, if someone tries to pick a fight (arguement), show grace and let it go.
*Oh, well! Words to live by when the situation is not truly important, anyway.
*Listen. We spend far too much time talking (just look at the length of this post)!
*Read the Bible, even when you're not sure you understand each verse. Read, read, read.
*Journal your thoughts and prayers, and watch how they're answered.

There's so much more, but it's all still mulling around in my head. No doubt, this is not the last retreat I'll be attending. I'll be excited to head out again next fall with the gals!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pray for little Ruslana

Go here to read about a potentially devastating situation for this little girl. Her family has overcome so much to adopt her, and it looks like it may not happen. God can move mountains...pray, friends! Ruslana needs a family.
There are so many orphans in this world, and I know God does not call everyone to adopt (though He does call EVERYONE to help orphans). But have you listened to God's voice lately instead of your own "common sense"? Families who adopt children aren't "super" in some way...they are like you..."normal" families who simply choose to bring children into their home that need a family.
I know...there are a ton of reasons why you just couldn't possibly adopt a child...
adoption is way expensive, kids are expensive, your kids would have to share a bedroom, you've gotten rid of all your baby stuff, you can't handle medical challenges, your kids are older, you would need a bigger vehicle, you're comfortable, how could you save for college for another child, how could you afford vacations. Well, God calls us out of our comfort zone sometimes...well, a lot of times.

Do you realize what you could give an orphan?
a family, love, plenty of nutritious food, enough clothing that fits them, a bed, a toothbrush, an education, hope, a future, safety, a home, hugs, tickle-fights, a smile, quality medical care, a lap for cuddling and reading books.
Do you realize that if every Christian household adopted ONE child,
there would be no more need for orphanages? Only ONE child!
I could go on and on, and I haven't even touched on how much these children bless a family. You have no idea what these kids bring to a family unless you have been touched in one way or another by adoption. But I guarantee, you can not give me one good reason why you shouldn't adopt (unless you're too old or have a major criminal history).
I can't imagine our family any other way...except with more kids!
(I'm already scouting out Rainbowkids.com)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm Retreating

Yes, I'm heading out tomorrow right after lunch with three friends from church. We are going to a retreat about 3 hours from home for some relaxation, rejuvenation of spirit, and a ton of fun. I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get since there are seminars until 10PM. Maybe I can sneak a nap in during the afternoon. No...there are too many other fun things like canoeing, horseback riding, rifling, zip-cording, rock wall climbing, high roping, nature walking, bon fires, etc.
I think I've decided on horseback riding and rifling...yes, rifling. I've never, ever shot a gun. Not even something I thought I was interested in until I read it on the list of things to do. Hmmmm....Annie Oakley? Maybe not. You should have heard my dad when I told him what I planned to do. It doesn't matter how old daughters get...we're still daddy's girl!
So, Jamie's on his own this weekend with the 4 kids. I've only asked that the house be tidy when I get home Sunday night. Think that'll happen?? I did leave a note with ideas for meals...including bananas, carrots and apples. Bet they're still there when I get back, and I'm guessing there will be pizza boxes in the garbage can. Oh well...they'll have fun. Jacob asked when I was leaving. Hmmm...anxious for me to leave? He only answered with a smile. Boys!