Monday, October 29, 2012

RX For Weariness

When I woke up this morning I thought of my long to-do list.  It was exhausting just thinking about it.  The word that came to mind was "weary." 

Before dragging to the shower I took a moment to read Sarah Young's daily devotional, Jesus Calling.  Today's entry seems meant for me. 

I hope it will also encourage you on this Monday morning.

"Linger in my presence a while.  Rein in your impulses to plunge into the day's activities.  Beginning your day alone with Me is essential preparation for success.  A great athlete takes time to prepare himself mentally for the feat ahead of him before he moves a muscle.  Similarly, your time of being still in My Presence equips you for the day ahead of you.  Only I know what will happen to you this day.  I have arranged the events you will encounter as you go along your way.  If you are not adequately equipped for the journey, you will GROW WEARY AND LOSE HEART.  Relax with Me while I ready you for action." 

Just reading those words changed my outlook.  After I got the kids to school I spent time in prayer with a friend and felt renewed.  What a wonderful reminder of self-care and the importance of focusing on HIM, in all we do.  This is especially important for mothers!

Coming soon to a blog near you--an update on Mei Mei!

Friday, October 19, 2012


"How are you doing?"

A common question, and one I hear over and over now that school is in full gear.  Of course I usually take the culturally appropriate response of "fine," but sometimes I spill the beans and share how things are still crazy. 

Adding a new child to the family always turns things topsy turvy for a bit--but it's been more than a bit, so I guess I'm surprised.  (And really, when I think about it, we added two kids in one year, so I guess it should take more time for homeostasis to return.) 

But I'm impatient.  I want time for the basics and extras--organization, schedules coordinated, dinners planned ahead, and projects brought to completion in a timely manner.

Oh, I want at least a little downtime and some space in between all the to-dos. 

Go ahead.  Laugh.

Instead, I feel like a juggler who just added a few more balls, yet hasn't quite figured out how to throw the previous ones higher.  Sometimes one falls and I don't even notice, all the while I notice all the balls at my feet waiting for me to learn to juggle ever more. 

It's not a new problem, but the sweat beads are building up with the pressure.

I decided it was time to hire a consultant.  She was awesome!  Here she is, teaching kitchen tricks.

We went over all the survival tricks that have worked in the past, created a schedule, read new organizational books, brainstormed additional ways to simplify, streamline, and reorganize.

And it seemed to help a little, but it still felt just a step above survival mode.  I couldn't seem to implement many of the tools that previously worked.  Organizing core areas wasn't even working as well. 

And I struggled with that.  But one day, I realized that's okay.  

I don't need to keep striving for the past.  Things won't always be this busy; the key is to prioritize for now.

I realize I have to let some important things go while prioritizing others.  Education and health are the two key areas I am focusing on this school year. 

Lots of time and money are going into education.  Lizzy is in college and I am finishing the final year of my MSW which includes a time intensive internship in child welfare (it's awesome and I love it!).  I'm homeschooling Mei Mei part-time and we've put in place a tutor for Vu (more on both those topics later).  We are prioritizing Chinese school on Saturday and allowing for several hours of homework assistance on school days (kids learning English need lots of extra time to complete assignments). 

In terms of health, we have a bone graft surgery coming up for Mei Mei, possible eye surgery to correct her extropia, occupational therapy, and orthodontics.  We have three kids in speech and language therapy, two needing new glasses, one with a complicated dental issue, one with severe eczema, and three requiring visits to a specialist. 

Normally, all these appointments, time and $$ spent would drive me nuts, because it's like throwing some bowling pins in for the juggler.  But it's easier to accept now that I've deemed those categories the priorities.  It's easier for me to accept that my house won't be as organized, because I'm able to use any extra time for priorities such as teaching kids to read.  I allow myself to go to bed on time because health is a priority, not cleaning closets.  I'm doing what I've prioritized as important. 

I'm letting some of the balls go, in order to make sure I don't drop others--while still keeping a smile on my face.  It feels good.  At least for now. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Say Cheese!

know I can't give birth to a child who won't need braces, but you would think I would at least be able to adopt a child who doesn't need braces.

The law of averages doesn't seem to be in my favor. 

Meet set-of-braces #7.

She was excited to get them on, but now she keeps asking when she can take them off!  It's gonna be a long two years!  At least she looks really cute!

And yes, I did ask the orthodontist if he will at least name his boat yacht after our family.

By his lame laugh, I'm guessing he's heard that one before. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Remembering When . . .

Remembering when the Peaceful Diva met her great-grandparents for the very first time.


As you can see, it was love at first sight!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Mei Mei!

Oh what a delightful day it has been!

Today was Mei Mei's birthday! 

Last summer we celebrated a mini-birthday, but today was her real, REAL birthday! 

Can I just say she was the most excited birthday girl in the world?  And for a girl who loves wa-was (stuffed animals), Build-A-Bear is heaven on earth!

She was over-the-moon excited to have siblings and relatives join in the fun,

and her neighborhood friend--Mei Mei who has been waiting her whole life for a friend.

They played the dress-the-bear-game,

made wishes,

fluffed and primped animals,

and filled the place with laughs and smiles.  Even the big kids had fun.

Happy Birthday Mei Mei!  You are a miracle.  Truly. A. Miracle. 

Your resilience is beyond human explanation, your presence a joy, and your excitement for life fills each and every one of us with wonder, joy, and BELIEF in the healing power of God.  Happy Birthday!  We love you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Covert Operations

One of my solutions to our busy school year is to have plenty of quick-and-easy foods for school/work lunchboxes.

The problem is, my children like to EAT these foods ALL the time.

And we have lots of people around here by the name of Mr. Nobody.

Perhaps you have your own Mr. Nobody?

No, I didn't eat five cheesesticks and stuff the wrappers in the couch.  Me?  This sweet face? 

He sure does eat a lot, doesn't he?  And stashes plenty of dirty socks behind the recliner.  I've also noticed he uses the last of the toilet paper without replacing for the next, poor, unsuspecting Mr. Nobody poo-pooer, who is forced to use the I-can't-even-share-what. 

Okay, it was the shower curtain.  I know TMI!  That's really gross isn't it?  Sorry for that.  I'm happy to report Mr. Nobody only did that once.

But he eats a LOT!  A lot of the GOOD food (not the hobo food, which is what my children call anything that takes more than two seconds to prepare).

And yes, I know, "he" is often a "she."

I am happy to report I have discovered a solution!

At least for today.

Here is the bottom drawer of my fridge:

And here is what lies under those greens:

Covert operations.  Take that Mr. Nobody!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Looking For A Bilingual Bow Shop?

Last year our school hosted a Vietnamese Culture Club.

How cool is that?  We are blessed to live in a diverse community.

Patrick, Lan Lan and Vu happily participated in the language and culture lessons.  We were told that Patrick has an amazing ear for language. 

This year, when Lan Lan returned to Saturday Chinese School, Patrick decided to join in too.

Sidenote:  Patrick probably decided to join because he knew it would mean exclusion from Hour of Power chores (a nice bonus for having to spend Saturday morning in school).  He also thought it occurred during church--not sure how the mis-communication occurred, but I can assure you he wasn't so gung-ho about Chinese school when he discovered the truth.

Last week was the first day.  Patrick was excited about it before class. 

Afterward?  Not so much.  Not so much at all.  He didn't like being the only kid who wasn't Asian and the only one who didn't speak at least a little Chinese (welcome to the world our newly adopted kids live in daily!).

As the next Saturday approached, he became more and more apprehensive.  He wanted to drop the class.  He didn't want to go.  He didn't want to learn Chinese. 

Here is what he said as we were driving in the car. 

"Mom, I know you said that learning Chinese will help me get a job someday, but I've been thinking about it and I don't think that's true.  You might not know this, but I want to work in a bow 'n arrow shop someday (last I knew he was planning on becoming President of the United States while simultaneously working at a video game store), and really mom?  How many people do you think I'm going to get in my shop who are looking to buy a bow 'n arrow and only speak Mandarin?"

I have to admit.  The kid's got a point.

I still made him go to Chinese school. 

I'm happy to report that class two felt much more comfortable and even enjoyable.