Friday, August 30, 2013

Another Chauffeur

This makes me very happy--tho certainly will result in a few more gray hairs!


If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! 

So proud of you Kim!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

End-Of-Summer-Pity-Party

Hello.  I've missed you.  I realize I haven't written much lately--other than throwing up a few pictures now and then.  I think I'm in an end-of-summer funk. 

In fact, I am sorry to inform you all that you missed my all-out-sobbing-end-of-summer-pity-party.  It was a couple days ago.  I'm over it now.  Or Not. 

And really?  I don't know why.  According to my family therapist, who witnessed said all-out-sobbing-end-of-summer-pity-party (aka Kim)


I have allowed my other children to become a little too relaxed this summer to the point of slacking on chores, bedtimes, clean-up, and respect.  She's got a point.  (Her advice is cheap, and good!)  And I honestly LOVE having my kids home in the summer, but I was reminded Jen Hatmaker's post on end of summer--funny! 

But it's been more than that.  There are so many things I would like to do around the house (paint! clean the attic!  redecorate bedrooms! catch-up on never-ending-paperwork!).  

And there are so many activities I wanted to do with the kids that just didn't get done this summer!  (Mount St. Helen's, will you ever forgive me for blowing you off AGAIN this year?)

Did you get that?  Blowing off Mount St. Helen's? 

(Hey, it's 4 am.  I can be silly with puns at 4 am.  And why am I writing at 4 am you ask?  Because all my children are asleep at 4 am.  After going to bed at 3 am.  And I can actually form a coherent thought at 4 am.  Tho rising at 4 am might be contributing to my doldrums.  Hmmmm.)   

But I digress. 

Back to my pity party.  It's all about me--remember?  Too many things to do and people to serve!  Too many plans to finish and too little time to complete! 

But honestly, my breakdown wasn't just about the little things in life.  It was about the big things too.  My dad isn't well.  Deteriorating slowly.  Too sad to discuss, but please keep praying for my dad and my mom.  Sigh.

And there are possibilities that Vietn*m might reopen again.  You can read a good snapshot here.  It's a good thing.  I would love to see it reopen with safety nets in place. But it brings back memories of false hopes too and all our broken-heartedness over Vu's baby, his roommate "Jonah", who was left behind.  Oh how I have prayed for this little boy!  We have sponsored him for six years.  And oh how I pray that Vietn*m will reopen and "Jonah" will find a forever family!

Happy Reunion 2011
And I've been stressing about the job search--no word.  And yet, with everything going on, why am I even looking?  But I feel God is leading me to do something more.  Ever more.

After blubbering my heart out to Hubby, to my "therapist," to my awesome prayer partner, and even to Lan Lan's reading tutor, I have come away with a sense of peace.  I can only live day by day.  I can only control what I can control--and then leave the rest to God.  And I will never regret putting people before things.  And instead of focusing on all the negatives and what-ifs and buts, I need to focus on the positives, on what I have, on what is good, on what is right--and always on GOD.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
And He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ice Skating

As we head into our last week of summer I find myself pining for more time and flip-flopping between wanting to fill each day with activities and wanting to fill each day with quiet time together. 

My "To-Do List" is ever growing, but I want to relish these last days.  Where did the summer go?

Ice skating was a special treat last week.


 





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Does Swimming Count As A Shower?

A funny during our vacation.  I posted this on facebook:

"Yesterday I realized Patrick had been wearing the same shirt for three days solid! Another example of how my parenting has relaxed over the years--perhaps a bit much!! Lol."


 

Comments from friends:

"Wow, you noticed? That's mom of the year material. Ours would still be wearing it!"  ~ S. Y. Father of 7 including 5 boys

"And who knows how many days he has been wearing the same underwear??? Lol  Sounds like my boys!" ~ A. Y. Mom to 5 boys

"As long as he doesn't smell...." ~ D.D. Mom to 6 including 3 boys

My reply:  "He went swimming. So I think he's clean underneath those dirty clothes?? I'm guessing tho that since he put the same clothes back on after swimming it includes same undies. Lol."

"Yep yep yep. Boys boys boys." ~ S.P. Mom to 3 including 2 teenage boys

"Love it!!! Awesome!!! By the by...swimming totally counts as a bath!!!" ~  K. B. Mom of 3 boys

"Swimming counts as a bath at our place. It's why our littles pretty much don't shower in the summer." ~ S. Y  Father of 5 boys

Gotta love friends who understand boys!!!  And remain friends with negligent mothers!


Lord knows how many days he went without brushing his teeth!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Buckle Up!

There's a new driver on the road!

 
 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Term Paper

I have had child welfare on my mind today.  Tomorrow I have another interview, and would love all your prayers and positive thoughts.  I truly believe God will put me where I am meant to be. 


There were some unusual circumstances about my application for this position--I can feel God all over it, just not sure if it means He wants me in that position or is using me in a way I can't yet see.  I have such a passion for social work and, even though I have a full-time job at home, I believe God also wants me to use my time and talents in a new way for HIM. 

I promised to share my final term paper for my MSW program, and so I will.  I also wanted to share how I went about writing so many term papers in the midst of life--for those of you also returning to college!  You Go!

My timer became my best friend.

I would decide ahead of time how many hours I was going to work on a paper.  Then, I would set the timer for a certain amount of time--usually one hour, but sometimes only 15 minutes.  At the end of the time, I would finish that thought, then put the paper away until the next session. keeping a culmination of my time. 

If I had an interruption during my time, I would simply consider it as part of the time--that kept me from becoming frustrated over interruptions.  Usually, I wrote when my kids were sleeping. 

A couple great tips when referencing is using an annotated bibliography and using sticky notes for referring back to textbook pages.  Owl Purdue was my online go-to writing assistant.  I usually wrote my full introduction of the paper at the end, using the traditional main topics and thesis statement model. 

I broke all the rules in my final paper, which I decided to write as a poem.  There were certain topics I had to address, and I've only included part of the final poem.  Hail to all my fellow social workers!

Frame of Reference: Reference of Frame
By Ann CrazyForKids
Who is working harder?  Me?  You?
I want to help.  Can I?  I can.  Help to want.  I. You.
Why?
Who wants change the most? 
Winds swirling into dust devils of rainbows and light.
Small drops of light.
Glistening thunder pounding in ears.
Peace.  If only for a day.
But scaffolding ever more.
I believe.  In you.  Will you believe in yourself?  In healing?  Wholeness.
Bits and pieces thrown black and bloody blue.  Broken.  Lost forever.
Found.
Pieced together.
Tracing refuge in the scars.  And stars.
Because of you and courage and strength.
The power of the human spirit.  You cling. I cling.
And it is okay to cry and I will hold your hand.-
I am here. With you.
Voice your strengths. Stone strong, peering ‘round dark corners.
And I will transparently share.  The invisible imagination.  For you.
“It is axiomatic that if a group actively avoids some major issue, then no other issue will be addressed effectively.” -
That we can do the work.  Work.  To do.
You and I.  And others. For
“It’s an extraordinary privilege to belong to the venerable and honorable guild of healers.” -
And interventions?
I speak of Narrative theory and greatest lesson learned: Listen.
Then listen more.
You tell the story.  Change it.  Or not.
Live.
Love.
Throw a pebble and watch the ripples cross the pond.
Drink the ocean to taste one drop.
Dreams, dreams and more dreams. 
We will not ignore “the royal road to the conscious.” =
Because Freud was not always wrong. -
Mesmerizing love of songbirds.  Drowning ravens squawks of disbelief.
And Attachment.
Mother, madre, meema?
Running to answer sweet lyrical cries.
Fingers securely grasped.  Or not.
Rock-a-bye baby.  Or not.
Cradle falling, grasped by lavender fairy wings or hairy beast.  Or both.
Disorganized.  The most heartbreaking of all.
Baby pushing back yet seeking exploding breast.
Come.
  Trist. Tryst. Traverse. 
Trust.
And Culture?
Forever striving to understand.
“It takes discipline to raise our gaze;
Look away from accustomed pain, anxiety, and worries and truly see the world
Through different eyes.” /
Brown, blue, gray, black.
Stripped tiger green.
Strengths found.  I am asking.
And listening.
“By being compassionate to ourselves and others, we ground ourselves.” #
To be the change we wish to see in the world. >
I seek to understand.
How can I?
I can. Can I. How.  Wo hi nacnac I.
Because bolts of lightning still rise from the ground
But are only seen in the crackling sky.
And we will find shelter together.
And Limitations?
I am strong.
Strong am I.
And where are the volcanic scars?
Weak. Weak am I.
Bitter desperation buried.  Years of rumbling pain.
Yet delight with twinkling eyes.
“If we are truly to know joy, we cannot afford to shut down our experience of pain.” #
And how.
Allowing pain to emerge while finding
Empowerment.  Power meant.  For me.  For you.
Twinkle twinkle little star
I have come so very far.
Where is light that shines so bright?
Going down while seeking night.
Run.
Or not.
Rest.
Destiny of paths intertwined.
Always remembering
“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
Regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle but
Will never break.” <
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
Or not.


References

-Yalom Gift of Therapy, # Laura van Dernoot Lipsky Trauma Stewardship, = Freud, *Bowen,      
^Bowlby and Ainsworth, ~NASW Code of Ethics, / Deepak Chopra,  > Mahatma Gandhi
     <Ancient Chinese Proverb
 

 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back-To-School Underpants

The day has been filled with back-to-school shopping.  It's that time of year and I'm kicking and screaming all the way!  I love summer!  And I hate shopping!  (I actually wouldn't mind shopping quite so much if it didn't take SO MUCH time and money!)

I did find Kim a special article of clothing for back-to-school. 

Squirrel Underpants

FYI her nickname is "Squirrel!"

My kids are anxiously anticipating the letters in the mail to find out who their teachers will be.  We have been so blessed by the teachers at our school!

Last year Lan Lan's teacher sent the following magnet home which has been hanging on our fridge:

"Of all the things I could ever teach you, there are three that I feel are the most important in life.  'Be kind, loving to one another, and forgiving of each other."  Love, Mrs. M. -- 6th Grade

I love that teachers teach so much more than academics.  We love the teachers in our kids' lives--just wish summer was a few months longer!  And wish I had a personal shopper for all my kids' back-to-school needs--but I'm guessing then I wouldn't get to laugh about squirrel underpants!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Missing Joe

August 3, 2007.  The day we lost our son.

 

Sometimes the day leers at me for weeks ahead of time and sometimes it sneaks up quickly, like this year.  Regardless, it's always a day that takes my breath away with deep sadness, one that brings back the devastation of memories--a pit so filled with grief I thought I wouldn't survive. 


It's also filled with wonderful memories of our sweet Joe, a child FULL of life and love!  Joe was always a hugger--even when he grew to almost six feet tall, he would give me the biggest and longest hugs!  And he was always so full of humor and fun!  Oh, the stories we can tell!

Dressing up for the Boys Rooting Association

One thought that keeps occurring to me this year is how much grief our newly adopted kids experience over the loss of their brother.  Vu, Lan Lan, and Mei Mei never met Joe, and yet they know they've lost an integral part of their family.  They grieve the loss of never having met him and often ask questions about what he was like.  Sometimes, especially at night, they cry for the brother they never met.  They know someone's missing from our family.  Joe LOVED kids and would have adored each and every child added to the family.  His absence is always felt.

We often talk about how exciting it will be when they finally get to meet him in heaven.  Nirvana.  We like to imagine all the fun he is having in heaven, playing baseball everyday, sharing giant Butterfinger Blizzards with Jesus, and giving piggyback rides to all the kids. 


As wonderful as we can imagine heaven must be, we selfishly wish he was still here with us. 

When we were at Disneyland we went on all of Joe's favorite rides--Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, all the fast rides and fun places.

 James, Joe, and Will Disneyland - 1993
 
And when we went to the Star Wars store Mei Mei kept asking me about Joe--if that was his favorite store and if I remembered things he bought there?  Mei Mei was fascinated with the idea that Joe was once there.  She was also fascinated with the build-your-own-lightsaber and ended up buying one with hard-earned money--of course, the lightsabers brought back happy memories for the little boys too, and all three decided that was the perfect way to spend their money.





Joe would be so proud. 

We love you Joe!  We miss you.  You are loved and missed even by your siblings who haven't yet met you!  Never to be forgotten and always looking forward to the day we are all together again! 


We saw this brilliant double rainbow on our way to Disneyland.  We felt like Joe was smiling down on us.  It went clear across the sky and all the way down on both sides.  Amazing!
 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Living In The Fastlane!

Remember that post months ago about slowing life down?  (I'd look up the link, but I don't have time!) Well, slowing down hasn't happened.  And I think I'm finally accepting the fact that it never will--I'm meant to live in the fast lane!  Life's too short to slow down! 

I love this reminder in our doctor's office:



With a two-day turnaround we unpacked Disney and went to the adoptive family campout for a week.  My sister joined with her three kids, and another nephew came, so it was a family affair, filled with day-upon-day of camping fun! 





Over 60 adoptive families came and each family coordinates a craft or activity--karaoke was a favorite!




And sandboarding,



Along with friendship bracelets, line dancing, cops 'n robbers, sword fights, football, biking, and campfires!





I cherish the relationships my children create, both with other children and adults--all with families that look similar to ours!

We got home and two hours later I was sitting in a job interview!  I DID take a shower, but can't help wonder if I filled the room with the smoke-de-la-campfire fragrance! 

Livin' in the fastlane and enjoying summer to the fullest!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Happy Place

Oh me, oh my!  I can't believe we've travelled 2,000 miles in the last week.  Tales to tell and so much fun!  At this point I am too tired for a real post, but I will throw out some pictures of some amazing kids who LOVED the happiest place on earth.














Or course, there was the afternoon where everyone was hot and tired and I suddenly understood why mothers eat their young!  Lunch and a parade helped bring back the magic!  My sister and her kids joined us one day making it extra fun.  So little time, so many rides . . . tired, but happy tired.


On long car trips I will often ride in the very back middle seat--the one all the kids say is the worst seat in the house!  I honestly don't mind (except for the seatbelts that poke my butt), and the car puts me to sleep anyway, but I often state that the kids don't know what they're missing! The back middle is actually the best seat in the house because of the great view out the front window!

As we loaded up for the long drive home, I couldn't really claim that it had the best view in the house--the view was, shall we say, a bit on the big green Goofy side . . . .

 
And yes, she wore it ALL the way home!