Thursday, September 30, 2010

More on Names

So, the thing you need to realize is that I am a freak about names.  I love to think up names and combinations--to study their meanings, famous people with the same names, and popularity over the years.  Naming our kids has always been a BIG deal--we put a TON of thought into naming each child with each child having a biblical name, and each boy having a famous baseball player name, with a bunch of family names thrown in for good measure.

Wanna know how long I've been coming up with names for my babies? 

Since I was a baby myself.  Each of my dolls had a special name and when I got older I would make pretend families by cutting out pictures of kids from the Sears catalog, pasting their pics on paper, and giving them all complete first and middle names.  I always had at least ten children.

Now you know why I have so many children!  To use up all the good names I've had in store for the past 45 years!

Favorites for girls over the past few years have been Anna, Rose, and Anna Rose.  One of my best friends is Rose and I also love the name Anna--both my mom and I have Ann in our names.  I also love Lily, Caroline, Natalie, Hannah, Francesca, Ava, Macy . . . the list goes on and is forever changing.

But here's the thing.  I had this really strange, incredibly memorable dream that we were to name Rose a certain name.  This dream occurred during the time of deciding if Rose was meant to be ours.  The name made her so real, ya know? 

The WEIRD thing is, it isn't a name I have ever considered before.  It isn't even a name I considered for a girl as it is traditionally a boys name.  BUT, miracle of miracles, it's a name that EVERYONE in our family LOVES! 

(And believe me you, by the time there are eight kids in the family, there are a LOT of opinions on names and a LOT of years for great names to be ruined by kids like the obnoxious-hyperactive-rock-throwing-nose-pickers-who-lived-down-the-street-or-were-in-the-same-classroom-that-forever-ruined-the-name.  Ya know?)

But then I wondered if a name from a dream was really a reason to go with it.  Was the name meant to be hers?  Was it God that sent the dream?

Wanna know what we decided?

We decided to go with the name from my powerful dream--for her middle name.  Her blog name will still be Rose.

 Her first name will still be her beautiful Chinese name.  We decided that at the age of 12 we wouldn't change her name without her input.  It just didn't feel right this time.

Her middle name will be the dream name.  It's a really pretty, awesome, cool, fantastic name, with a special meaning. 

So, any more guesses?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Will Her Name Be Rose?

Guess what question we are asked most frequently regarding our latest adoption?

You can guess, right?


No, that's not it.  According to my baby sister people no longer ask that question because they've all figured out, at least three kids ago, that the answer must be yes!

The most frequent question is what we will name our new daughter.  And honestly, it's been a very frequent discussion around our house too.  Our other adopted children have all been given an American first name and then we kept their birth name for their middle. 

There is a lot of debate in adoption circles about names and whether adoptive parents should (or shouldn't) change a child's given name.  It was a decision we made easily with Kim and Paul--not so easily with Vu, because he was nearly six when we adopted him.  We considered keeping his Vietnamese name, but in the end kept it only as his middle, in part due to several immigrant Vietnamese friends (especially the men) insisting we give him an American first name.

At this point, I need to stop and note that this post is not intended to start a debate on names for adopted children.  I don't believe there are any absolutes--only right answers for each family and each child and this post is about finding the right name for Rose.

Vu quite easily transitioned to his American name, although for a long time we called him by his full name, which included both his American and Vietnamese name.  He loves his American name!  And he loves his Vietnamese name, which we still affectionately call him.  We also refer to Kim and Paul by their Korean names. 

But with Rose??   Remember, Rose is only her blog name, not her Chinese name.  She will be almost 12 by the time she comes home.  Somehow, for us, it didn't feel quite right to give her an American name--at least not without her input.  What if she didn't like it?  What if she couldn't even pronounce it?  Twelve-year-old girls are very opinionated about names.

Should we keep her Chinese name?  But if so, will she feel different because all the other children in the family have American names?  And her Chinese name is not pronounced the way it's spelled.  In fact, we are not even certain how to pronounce it, because we have heard various pronunciations. 

This naming matter is complicated by the fact that our other adopted children had all their in-country paperwork completed in their birth name--we didn't have a choice.  Their names weren't officially changed until they were adopted in the US, months after bringing them home, months after being able to make final decisions. 

In China, we have to give Rose her American name now, and it will appear on all her Chinese adoption paperwork and on her US Certificate of Citizenship (COC).  We can change it again, if desired, when we adopt her in the US--but would also need to change her COC.  So complicated!  And expensive!

Well, this was the week we had to decide what her American name would be. 

Wanna know what we decided?  Should I keep you all in suspense??  I DO NOT like it when other bloggers play guessing games with readers.

But, now I can see that it would be kind of fun to have everyone guess what we named her! 

Did we keep her Chinese name?  For her first name?  Or, did we only keep it for her middle name and give her an American first name?  If so, what was that name?  Rose?  Anna?  Something else?

I have been wanting to name a girl Anna Rose since before Patrick was born.  In fact, had either been girls, both Patrick and Vu were destined to be named, "Anna Rose."

Hmmm . . . maybe I do like these guessing games after all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Popsicle Truth

I was driving Paul to soccer practice when he pipes up from the backseat:

Paul:  "I'm hot!  Can you turn the air up?"

Me:  "But I'm cold!"

Paul: "That's because you're part popsicle!"

The truth hurts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

60 Days of Nothing

Remember last year when we joined Owlhaven in the "30 Days of Nothing Something Different" challenge?

Inspired by Coming Home we have decided to try 60 days this year.  In the first 30 days the proceeds will go to the orphans in Vietnam.  We are still discussing where the next 30 will go--perhaps Ilsan in Korea.

This year, I am going to actually track all of the choices we make to save money--from the big to the small.  I think it will be quite fascinating to see just how much money we can save--and how the small things add up to big money. 

If anyone is interested, I will give updates of our adventures in spending as little as possible. 

Come to think of it, even if you aren't interested, you will probably get to hear about the suffering the challenges.

Today was day one.  If you currently hear screaming, just ignore it.  It's just Lizzy. 

She did not like the 30 days last year.  She is less than thrilled about trying for 60! 

Locks of Love

For the most part, I let my kids do what they want with their hair.  But, there comes a day when I realize . . .

Things have grown a little out of control . . .

And I miss actually being able to see that cute little face.  And being the mean mother that I am, I become the hair police . . .

Welcome back!  I've missed you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Importance of Couple Time

I have never been good about making time for romantic weekend interludes away with my hubby.  Planning for even a simple overnight takes a ton of work!  Organizing the trip, child care, sports schedules, carpools etc. seems to cause more stress than any amount of relaxation could ever possibly make up for.  On top of it, I like to be home with all my babies--I don't like to leave them for even one night!

Luckily, I am married to a wise husband who knows the importance of couple time.  Over the years he has insisted that we try to get away twice a year, for at least one night.

Although I don't like the stress of preparing for a trip, and I don't like saying goodbye to my kids, I am always glad to have the time away once it comes.  Hubby and I get a chance to talk (uninterrupted), go out to eat (without someone needing to go potty just as the food arrives), discuss goals, find solutions to concerns, and just relax.  I believe that couple time is a key to a long marriage.

Over the years we have been quite creative in finding couple time that works for our particular life situation.  Weekends have included time away at everything from a fancy hotel on the beach to a rustic cabin (free when owned by the grandparents).  When money was really tight we stayed at our own home--and farmed all the kids out!   

If we had a new baby/non-separating toddler, we would get a hotel in our own town, have childcare arranged for all the kids through the evening, then bring the baby back to the hotel with us for the rest of the night.  While it wasn't perfectly romantic, it kept the baby/toddler from crying all night for mom--and it kept mom from crying all night for the baby. 

Most of the time, we only get away for one or two nights.  It is amazing how refreshing that time can be.  But Hubby has been wanting to get away for a second honeymoon for a long time.  We were hoping to celebrate our 20th on an exotic adventure, but instead spent it with me moaning on the couch, vomiting every minute or two, suffering from morning all-day sickness.  I was pregnant with Patrick.  It was definitely not our most romantic anniversay.

Then, we hoped to get away for our 25th, but that was when Joe was so sick.  Again, not our most memorable anniversary.

So, our 30th seemed to be the next possibility.  But on our 30th, we will have a new daughter, and since she will have just joined the family, I knew I wouldn't be comfortable leaving her for any length of time.  So, hubby and I decided it was time to celeberate our 30th--now!

It was a TON of work organizing everything and everyone.  I think we nearly killed my parents leaving the kids with them for an entire week--they are SAINTS and they survived!  But the past week was truly romantic memorable! 

Couple Time!  It does the marriage good!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Be Challenged

Do you want your life to count? 

Do you want to be challenged to live each day for Christ? 

R is a special friend, an amazing photographer and writer, a loving mother with a heart for Jesus and a God-given challenge --read her blog and be changed

Start with her Ethiopian adoption video:

Is It Wrong To Adopt An Older Child?

Sometimes people wonder if it's in an older child's best interest to be adopted. 

Read this important article to answer that question.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wanna Know What I'm Doing Right Now?

Right now, as in right now???  Hang on . . .

I am listening to the hum of . . . hang on . . .

the hum of my photocopier.

Why?  Because I just got back from the Secretary of State's office . . . hang on . . .

and I just had our dossier state certified!  And I am typing as I copy 12 pieces of notarized paperwork . . .

sorry--again . . . and once I make all these copies I am going to FedEx our dossier to the Consulate for authentication.  Uh-oh--paperjam!  BIG--hang on!

Okay, it's all under control with document #11 in copy mode . . . time management at it's best people . . . although I am sure it is more than slightly annoying that I am preoccupied with my printer at the moment. 

Now you know how my children feel most of the time. . . hang on . . .

DONE!  Woo-hoo!  Well, mostly done, so only woo!

I do still have one more document missing for our dossier--the I-797 fingerprint clearance.  At least everything else will be totally ready when it comes!!!  Rock on!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walking The Walk--WWJD

My sister posted this on her blog.  It starts out a little slow, but stick with it for a true message of putting the love of Jesus into action. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Preparing For Our Trip To China

Patrick and Vu were eating noodles for breakfast.  (Since Vu came home, noodles are common morning fare.)

Patrick suddenly started to make slurping noises.

I gave him the stink eye.

Then Patrick said, with a big smile, "What???  I'm just practicing for China!!"

All I could do was laugh, because it really is considered okay to make slurping noises, and even burp, in most Asian countries. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Welcome Home Video for 9/11

Want to know how it felt to see my son after such a long separation?  The video is also a great reminder of the sacrifices military families make.  Get your tissues ready!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Defenders of Freedom

Today I feel especially proud to be an American.  Will graduated from Boot Camp/AIT.

Hubby, Kim, Will's girlfriend and I, headed for Georgia to witness the momentous occasion.  Kim was the selected travel child for this trip--quickly talking mom and dad into a new hat:

Yesterday, Hubby, a 22-year Army veteran, had the honor of presenting his son with the blue cord.

It was an emotional ceremony with the soldiers running in and assuming formation, then our National Anthem was played.  It was all I could do to keep from crying.  I felt so proud, not just of my own son, but of all the boys who are willing to fight for our freedom. 

And today, amidst our marching soldiers and an Army band playing patriotic songs,

rifles booming,

and expertly trained soldiers standing strong and proud,

We witnessed our little boy, who has truly become a man, proudly graduate and shout out- 

                                   The Soldier's Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States
and live the Army  values.

I will always place the Mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically, and mentally tough,
trained and proficient in my Warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my Arms,
my equipment, and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage,
and destroy the enemies of the 
United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom
and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier. 

America has incredibly brave soldiers to defend freedom, including this soldier--here with his sweet girl friend C.

God bless the USA.
We love you Will!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School Jitters and Smiles

The bittersweet first day of school.  My kids had a hard time going to sleep as they were full of jitters and excitement. 

Well, some kids were more excited than others.  One was ubber excited.  One was grumpy from lack of sleep.  One his usual laid-back self.  Can you guess which is who???

I didn't get any pictures of Paul in his class, because it is so NOT COOL to have your mom walk you to class in 6th grade. 

I peeked in on Patrick and Vu and they were happy to see friends.

There were no tears, not from them and, surprisingly, not from me.  After dropping off the kids and coming home to my very quiet house, I cleaned for two hours.

Four hours later, my house was still JUST AS CLEAN.  Miraculous!  There is something to be said about back-to-school. 

But I would rather have a messy house than an empty house, so it's bittersweet.

Lizzy starts school tomorrow.  She made the back-to-school cookie, since last year mine turned out to look like a cake for a bachelorette party--it is NOT good when your first grader comes home, laughs, and asks you why you made a cookie that looks like a part of the male anatomy.  (it was supposed to look like a pencil). 

Lizzy made hers with Rice Krispie treats.  YUMMY!  And it DOES look like a pencil!

Although I miss my kids, I am so, so blessed to know my children have fantastic teachers and are part of a wonderful school!  Ready or not, school is in session!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Break Up

Dear Summer,

Please!  Don't go!  I'm begging you!  I'll do anything if you will just stay here and let me continue to bathe in your beauty, relaxation and laughter! 

I love you!!!  I can't stand for you to leave!  If you leave, I will throw mudballs at you!

Try to remember the good times we've had together! 

Remember hanging out with all the relatives and friends?

Remember the treasure hunts which ended in plenty of candy for everyone?

How can you forget the s'mores???

Trips to the grandparents and the concert in the park, especially the crazy dancing and the snowcones! 

Snowcones, my love--remember all the amazing snowcones?  Watermelon, cherry, and lime . . . my mouth thirsts just remembering our sweet times together.

Oh, and the giant ice cream cones.  Remember all the laughter as we tried to eat them before your splendid rays of sunshine melted them all over the van?

How about the amusement park?  Surely, you can never forget the crazy rides and smiles that ensued.

Sidewalk chalk, backyard football, trips to the beach, fishing . . .

My dear sweet summer.  Please don't tell me you are leaving--that our time together hasn't meant anything to you?

If I could, I would relive every day we had together, over and over again.

Please summer, come back . . . I love you!  I can't live without you.

I miss you with all my heart.