Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So, many have asked, where are we in our adoption?

Well, right back at the very same place we've been since February/March. Everything is done, my dossier is submitted and in country. I am just waiting for a little girl to become available in order to begin the matching approval. There are only about 9 children on the list of those available for adoption from Hong Kong through my agency. 9. And a few of those are already matched or on their way to being matched. And the rest are older (my agency requires staying in birth order no matter what, which means under 5.) So it's a waiting "game" once more.

BUT, all that to say... although it's hard. Although I want more than anything to know who our new little one is, to see her face, to show the kids, and to bring her home. I know this is God's plan and not mine. I know that with all that the past year has been. With all that our upcoming year COULD be. We are where we need to be. And I don't know that I could add another right now. But hopefully very very soon...

Not Planned

This was not the post I had planned.

If I had been more on the ball, and not been enjoying our weekend so much, and not been so lazy as to not feel like uploading pictures, I would have written this post over the weekend, and it would have gone something like this...

Guess Who Was On BLUE his WHOLE first week!?!?

Yep - BRAEDEN!!!

He had an AWESOME first week, was so proud of him, and things are going strong. He earned FOUR stickers, and FOUR puzzle pieces...

BUT... I didn't write it in time...

And Monday I had an email that the defiance had begun again.

Braeden didn't feel like doing the Spelling packet, and he made that clear.
And he left the room.
And he didn't want to participate in the exercise during PE.
And he tried to leave.
And I received an email...

YET... even though I talked to the teacher about his plan at home and how it was ALL based on the card color at the end of the day.
And even though I received an email about this and we have a meeting set for Thursday morning.
He came home with a GREEN card.
GREEN which is actually GREAT and gets him a LOT according to our plan, because it's
no. big. deal.
WHY oh WHY!?
Today was worse.
And I had to pick him up because they didn't want to send him on the bus.

My heart is heavy.
Our summer has gone amazingly well, especially the last month or so, I'm just in shock.
Prayers needed.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011


... GREAT day that is! Braeden is two for two with BLUE days and excitement in his voice... and Liam had a blast at kindergarten. Guess there was some craziness, but they (I saw the kindergarten teachers at a restaurant at lunch!) said that it's the first day of kindergarten and it's ALWAYS crazy! LOL

He sure was ready this morning...

Had NO qualms...

And said, "Bye Mom!" as he rushed inside with his big brother. :)
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day

Went terrific...

Except it cracked me up that he slyly told me that when at the after school program he went to he was asked to write on an apple something fun about summer, he wrote "Not having to be in school." Oh. My! :)

And when Braeden told me that the short class time (a whopping TWO hours) enabled him to control himself better. (yeah buddy, well that ain't gonna last!) :)

But he had a GREAT first day! Braeden earned $2, a sticker, and a puzzle piece! And boy was he excited! :) I'll take it!

And Olivia, what can I say, the girl loves school! She was so glad to be back and see her friends!

She talked to me after school about her plan for homework (an area she really struggles in) and I'm very proud of her. Her teacher told her that in preparation for middle school they wouldn't expect parents to sign their assignment notebook every night, so she has a plan for how she is going to study, etc, and we'll see if/how it pans out. She REALLY wants to do track next year, and I've already talked to her about how her grades have to be up and she has to show responsibility in balancing homework, family, and extracurriculars or it just won't work. She's motivated, so hopefully it'll continue that way into the year! :)

She is also a bit of an emotional mess right now, very much an emotional roller coaster. Part of it is transition, but right now she seems to be doing much better in that area. And part of it is that her body gets so exhausted which comes out emotionally. She's gotten used to going to bed between 8-9 and sleeping until 8-9:30 at times... and now is going to bed between 7:30-8 (depending on how tired she seems) and getting up at 6:15... it's rough... but I'm hopeful it'll even out soon!

Liam had his kindergarten orientation today and starts his first day tomorrow! Can't BELIEVE it! A little bummed though since he and Braeden had coordinating first day outfits, but you can't have it all! :) LOL He is SO excited! He knows one little girl in his class from day care/preschool last year, so that helps too! His teacher is one I don't know and seems GREAT! I know he'll have a wonderful year! Pics tomorrow!
Monday, August 22, 2011


Tomorrow is Braeden and Olivia's FIRST day back to SCHOOL!

And while most parents are excited and nervous for their kids to start back, to not see them around as much and miss their smiles and laughs, or maybe glad in a way to get back to that school time routine and schedule, I'm nervous... and excited... optimistic... but worried... for other reasons.

If you followed me at all last year, you'll know we had a LOT of issues with Braeden. Trying to find the right "fit" for something to help him with his excessive, EXCESSIVE, movement and activity level in order to be successful in a classroom setting and be able to learn. It was a disaster. of. ultimate. proportions. (to say the least)

But, he's had a GREAT summer. He has a NEW and WONDERFUL doctor. He's BEGINNING to process and pinpoint his emotions instead of just turning all intense emotion (such as embarrassment) to anger. And I'm optimistic he can carry that into a classroom setting.

But I'm also REALISTIC. And I'm worried. He learned a lot of bad behaviors the last couple months of school through all of this. When he was in day treatment he learned there that he could tell them he wasn't doing something and he then didn't have to. (Um, I thought, especially in a setting such as this, that that wasn't an option. If a teacher tells you... this is your work... you don't have the OPTION to just get up and go color.) But alas, I was mistaken, silly me, and he was allowed to do as he pleased in these areas.

So... because I'm a teacher... and because I know Braeden... I'm HOPING against HOPE that if I set him up for success the first couple months of school, that he will then be in a position of staying the course... I have gotten good ideas from other professionals as far as the school setting... he could sit on an exercise ball - check - it's there and ready for him... he could wear compression shirts under his regular clothes - check - we have two now... he could have velcro placed on the underside of his desk to rub as a sensory response while he is sitting - ?check? - I think - I DID pass this on to the teacher at least... and at home... well at home I've put into place the mondo-exclusive, crazy, ultimate incentive plan...

Behold our mud room...

Braeden's class is card system based and each day he ends on one of five colored cards. Obviously blue is the best going down to red. We talked about what would help motivate him and he immediately said money. I agree, unfortunately, right now money is a big motivator for him. Since I started them on allowances, I don't buy them "extras" ... that comes out of their allowance. And his money always seems to burn a hole in his pocket!

Every day he has the option to earn one of those incentives or consequences. Of course he LOVES blue, DESPISES red, and is ok with green and yellow.

Every day he can earn a sticker on our daily chart... every day of the school year is written here, no others... I thought that would help him see that the year really isn't that long and then it's time for summer again... Every time he earns five stickers he gets to choose a "card"... I have some cards that say things like "Choose your favorite drive through meal for dinner" or "Stay up extra late one night." etc. Best thing is they really benefit everyone. So even though Braeden has to earn the drive through meal and gets to choose it, all three get it...

He can also earn a puzzle piece each day... I bought a 24 piece puzzle at Dol.lar Tree... It's David fighting Goliath and we talked about how school can seem like Goliath sometimes but that he is strong and brave like David and can make it!... We will glue each piece on as he earns it and after it's complete (24 days of SCHOOL that he got blue, green, or yellow), he will get a small prize I have for him (right now he's been watching old tv shows of Beyblade and LOVES pegasus and keeps asking for a pegasus Beyblade... can you guess what the first toy I have is?) :)...

Obviously if he gets to orange or red there are consequences... paying me money and losing tv time which is big for him too. As time goes on, I am VERY hopeful that these things will WORK, that he will be MOTIVATED for success, and that I will be able to WEAN him OFF these incentives... HOPEFUL...

...and tomorrow it all begins...
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Double Digits

Man, that title could really cover a lot of things, couldn't it!? LOL

But, for our family, it means that my "little" girl isn't so little today... she's turning TEN!

And what a beautiful young lady she's turning out to be!

I'll never forget how tiny, and welcoming, and open she was upon joining our family at 3 1/2.

She still has the biggest smile I've ever seen.

And the personality to pull it off.

She helps out, and tries hard, and cares more than most.

I love that on her birthday trip, her most favorite part was simply riding in a taxi!

I love how she didn't complain one bit about walking non-stop for three days,
just so mom could make sure she saw as MUCH of NYC as possible.

I love her heart.
I love her naivete that she still carries with her.
I love her generous spirit.
I love her compassion.

I love that her shirt says,
"Because I knew you,
I have been changed

Because that's how anyone who's met her feels.

Happy TENTH Birthday Olivia!
May your next decade be even better than your first!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Soccer Moms

Yep, I've become one of "those" for our second summer now! :)

Two summers ago we tried soccer for the first time. Olivia was a natural and LOVED it. Braeden was a five year old who ran after the ball and day dreamed as parachuters flew by overhead. It was fun!

Last summer our FL vacation cut into soccer season by a month so we were out of luck, but this summer we've picked it up again, this time with THREE players... or so we thought.

Braeden made it through one and a half practices. Period.

When they were doing things in practice he enjoyed, he was all over it...

But when they were doing more "practice" than "fun"... well, let's just say it was a different story...

A "fun" Sharks and Minnows game... sure!...

Team talks... not so much...

Needless to say it was not JUST him laying around at times, he had some angry times too, times when he wasn't up to par in HIS OWN MIND. He gets SO very angry. And I finally talked with him. I explained soccer was work, but it was also fun, and he had CHOSEN to be a part of it, so he could CHOOSE not to just as easily. But it wasn't worth the anger and frustration. And he made a good choice, and he decided to quit. Some parents may not agree. Some parents may think that once a child has started something, made a commitment, etc, that it needs to be carried through. That they can't just "quit." But I know Braeden and for him, I think that this was a strong decision. And he's not just "getting away" with quitting. He is repaying me for signing him up with his allowance, and he knew that before making the decision. And money means a lot to him right now. So ... I'm proud of his decision! Do I wish I could see him follow through on something like this and be successful, YES! BUT, I know what this decision was to him and for that I'm proud!

Olivia and Liam are still playing though, and yesterday was their first day of games.

Olivia's team is a strong contender this season I think.

They did amazing and won fairly easily.

I say watch out for Team Dair.y Queen! :)

And Liam... well Liam's five... and five year olds are just a different breed of soccer player anyway. :) But Liam is fairly clueless about the whole thing and it just cracks me up!

His buddy "A" was on the OPPOSING team and Liam was showing him how to throw in the ball! It was SO CUTE!

There were a few times in the game that he really went after the ball and got "into" the game.

But for the most part... not so much... yet.

"Hey, yes I know you're playing a game OVER THERE. But I'm OVER HERE talking to my mom on the sidelines!"

And I'm also proud at the spectator Braeden has become! He was cheering on both his brother and sister. He stayed by me unless asking to go somewhere else. He sat and entertained himself without complaining... I think my little one is starting to grow up a bit! :)

Welcome Soccer Season!
Wednesday, August 03, 2011


I can't believe that in just two and a half SHORT weeks this little guy will be off to kindergarten...

Kindergarten brings with it lots of appointments and forms. Last week while Olivia was at overnight camp through our church, and Braeden was at a day camp at our local nature center (studying Astronomy and having a BLAST), Liam and I knocked out all of his required exams. The week prior I had taken all three for their dentals, so Liam still needed an eye exam...

Along with dilation...

And a well check (since he was up to date on immunizations). One finger poke for a lead/hemoglobin test, and he was good to go!

We did find out he's low on vitamin D, but it's due to his seizure meds, so he's now on vitamin D tabs and should be doing fine.

August 23... here we come... I hope you're ready for my sensitive, sweet boy! I know he's ready for you!

A Bright Spot

Monday morning I awoke to Liam having another seizure. A full on shaking, very scary, seizure. We had JUST been to Univ. of Chicago for an EEG and MRI on Friday. 911 was called and he was brought in to our local hospital. He isn't always brought in, but I'm very glad he was this time, because within the hour he had another while we were there. He was given medicine to stop him from having any more, and once the doctors here spoke with his neurology team, it was decided he would need to be admitted to U of C for an overnight EEG to try to get answers.

These are the times in my life right now where I love face*book more than ever. This network of friends, prayer warriors, and family... who can see with the click of a button that something is amiss and prayer is needed. Friends who can reach out over the internet, where cell phones don't always work in hospitals, to offer to take your other kids so you can go to the hospital with your youngest. Friends who can lend support from hundreds of miles away. Friends who can take your dog while you're gone. Within the hours we spent at the hospital here, making decisions and figuring things out, I had friends offering wonderful support. I had someone who knows Braeden well offer to take both he and Olivia for the night. They had a BLAST. I had another family offer to take Percy. He did great. I had MANY who were praying, commenting, supporting. It was so needed.

Liam did great in the hospital. He was quite ornery, but I'm glad we were there. We had a wonderful neuro doctor, who is actually going to be following the kids' care now since ours is leaving at the end of the month. She said all the things we already knew. He has seizure activity. It's always there. Always spiking up and down. And his current meds, which are usually the first choice for his type of seizures, just aren't doing the job. So we are reducing his dose, while still keeping him on those meds, and adding in an additional med now as well.

Our second day there, yesterday, just happened to be the annual day that Umps Care comes through. MLB umpires who have teamed up with Build a Bear, come to the hospital to hand out bears and Southpaw, the White Sox mascot joins them and spends time with the kids. What a TREAT for Liam! He had so much fun!!!

You can read the full article (pretty short actually!) HERE... be sure to check the photo gallery to see pics of Liam... I mean Lima! (They spelled his name wrong!) :)

This is one of those times I'm glad I carry my camera around with me! :)

Southpaw took his hat off to show Liam that he had curly hair on top too, just like Liam! :)

They allowed Liam to choose an animal (He picked a puppy, go figure!) and then an outfit. They had a karate outfit, a White Sox uniform, and a Cubs uniform. Now my dad is a HUGE Cubs fan, but I don't think Liam knows this. And it cracked me up when he chose the Cubs outfit, since Southpaw was right there! Southpaw didn't think it was so funny though, and grabbed the White Sox outfit to give Liam too... so he ended up with both baseball uniforms! :)

Southpaw shared his hat...

And the umps got in for a picture as well...

Umps Care seems like a wonderful organization! They are supposed to have pics from this event up on their page in a few days and I can't wait to see them! :) Thanks Umps Care... you made a little boy who had been through an awful lot... smile a whole bunch!

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources

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Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you