Monday, September 28, 2009

Catching up...

There are three seasons I decorate for. I decorate for fall with all the fall colors on the inside of our house and in the front patio area. I then decorate for Christmas and then after Christmas I put everything back to fall and then when it feels springy outside, I decorate for spring. It is a many hour process as I have to drag everything out from under the stairs (remember, we live in California where we do not have attics or basements so most homes lack storage) and then begin the long process of un-decorating from the previous season and then decorating for the new season. I don't hate the process but I do not like it. I am always on my own and then after the process is over, everything needs to be put back under the stairs and then a good cleaning must take place. Once decorated, I love it!!! I love each season but our home decor works best with fall. Our colors in our house are fallish and I adore the warm tones and the warm pumpkin type scents. Fall for us is cozy and I always love the beginning stages of our minimal fall cool down. Remember, we live in Southern CA and here we get hardly any fall-- usually just starts cooling down in November but we don't get really cold till February, so our fall is the holiday times. Anyway, this past weekend I was pulling out the vacuum from under the stairs and decided to jump into the fall decorating. It went pretty smooth as the boys were at my brothers farm with Kevin building a shed so it was only Mia and I so things went well. Now my home looks like a fall festival complete with pumpkins and all the fallish decor-- but it is still 95+ degrees outside. At least it looks and feels like fall in my air conditioned house.

Kevin and I are going away for a few days so I will be gone for a while. I have a ton of pictures to post but I'm on the wrong computer and don't have the energy to go out in my car to get my little computer to post the pics. I will try to do so before we leave on our trip. I have some cute Mia in her Halloween costume, some pictures of the kids together and some pictures from the Ducks Hockey game the other night. I will try to post soon.
All is going well around here. The kids are finally into their new schedule which is a full hour earlier than last years schedule so we are officially out the door by 7:15am--uggg!!! I think that makes us an early morning family-- never thought I would say those words. The boys are loving the private school. It amazes me how much both boys have grown in their relationship with the Lord. It is wonderful and the school nurtures it so beautifully. We started hockey tonight and Ethan still has a couple weeks left before Football is over so we have a crammed schedule for a couple weeks until hockey is their only sport (looking forward to that). The boys love love love hockey and are so excited to be starting again. Mia is great-- a pain much of the time-- but great. She is such a big personality in that tiny little body. She knows what she wants and will make sure you know what that is-- and if you don't give it to her-- she will protest for hours (don't worry, we don't give in). She is so smart and just learning away. Tonight she was actually rhyming cat and bat and hat. Rhyming is a pre reading skill--- wow!!! Anyway, we are all good. Sorry for the long boring post but I thought I would catch you up with what we are up to.
I will try to post before we leave on our little trip.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lucky Mamma's Moon Festival Dinner

I feel so blessed to have a group of wonderful adoption moms to bond with. I am also thankful that we have a group of wonderful children from China that Mia will grow up with and be able to relate to. I also feel blessed that we have a group of supportive husbands and siblings that support our group. Our wonderful Lucky Mamma's Group celebrated the Autumn Moon Festival this weekend with a Chinese Dinner in Anaheim Hills. Thanks so much for all the other moms who planned this get together as I had the luxury of showing up and having everything arranged and perfect complete with golden pigs for the kids. We enjoyed being with the husbands, siblings and grandparents who attended this fun event and I know the kids had a blast!!

Part of our group.

Mia acting silly while eating her soup.

Becky, Gracie and Kailee playing

Mia displaying her golden pig

Ryan displaying his golden pig

Beautiful Kailee and Karen

The boys acting in typical fashion. Sorry there are not more pictures but I forgot to take more as the evening went on. We had a wonderful time-- Happy Autumn Moon Festival!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Big Kid Disneyland Trip

Last night after school was out we took the kids and two other families from the boys new school to Disneyland. We all have season passes so we thought it would be a lot of fun for the kids to hang out outside of school. We feel so blessed that the boys already have a great group of friends at the private school-- such a blessing. So, this Disney trip was geared for the older kids.

While the older kids were on a ride we waited in line to see Snow White. Right before we got up to her, she was replaced with Dopey. Mia was kind of sad but it was not that big of a deal.

So we got a Dopey picture. Mia didn't know what to think of Dopey at first but right when we were walking away from him she then decided she liked him and started smiling and reaching for him.

While we waited

I took a few pictures

of the little twerp

Chillin on the light pole

At that point I took the older kids and Mia went with the other moms and the younger kids to go on little rides and us older kids got to go on the big rides.

The boys being their boyish selves in front of Snow Whites house

On Roaring Rapids at California Adventure

On the ride that shoots you straight into the air

The boys loved this ride

This boy is Owens great friend. They live close and we carpool with their family. Owen finally has a good friend that is his age. He has always had friends but they are always older because of Ethan so I am just pleased as can be that he now has a great pal that is his age.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I found some old photos

I happen to be on an old computer today and saw a few pictures I had played with trying to learn how to work my old camera. The date on this was August 20, 2007, so Mia would have been home almost 3 months and would have been almost 9 months. She just looked so young and so cute I just had to post.

Little drooler

Posted by PicasaSo darn cute. I love looking at old pictures to see how much she has grown!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A tough thing to do

*Update-- We met today and it went well. The mom, girls, moms parents, moms sister, dads parents and his siblings were all there. We had the principal, one teacher, myself and one of the pastors at the church. At first the girls seemed confused by why we were all gathering but they were just chipper little sweet things. As we were walking to the alter room, the 3rd grader looked at me and said, "don't I have a close and big family-- I'm so lucky!" This was before she heard the news and I replied that yes she was lucky that God had given her such a wonderful family. We then went into the room and the mom sat in front of them and told the girls that their dad was gone and that they would not see him again but he was in their hearts. Both girls just looked at their mom like they had no idea what she was saying and for the remainder of the time the girls were pretty much clueless because mom never said the DIED or DEAD words. As time went on when we were talking about supporting the family the older one seemed to start to catch on and started to cry a bit. The kinder girl was clueless. We prayed and spoke for about 40 minutes and I think we were able to provide them with a lot of support and options. The pastor that was there had lost his daughter 6 years ago so he was able to provide a lot of insight and was able to give info about kids grief camps and other supports. Overall, the adults felt very supported and I was happy about that but I was worried that the girls still did not understand. Before I left, the pastor and I pulled the mom aside and told her that the girls did not understand and that she needed to help them understand. The mom agreed to say the DIED word to the girls and we left them alone. About a half hour later I saw the family and I asked mom about the rest of their time and she said she told them that their dad had died and that he was in heaven and she said the girls immediately started crying and at that point understood. The little one asked if he was really dead and if he would come back and they said no but we would see him in heaven. The girls were upset but seemed to be doing OK. I saw them leave after I spoke with mom and the girls ran up to me and gave me a hug and said goodbye. Overall, what needed to be done was done and the girls now know so they can begin to prepare for the funeral on Saturday. I really feel like the school and church will be a strong support to the family and the family seemed to be moved by outpouring of support. Thanks so much to all of you for your support and prayers. It was felt and it went as well as this could go. Thanks again!!
There is a family at the boys new school that the dad killed himself last Monday. The mom has yet to tell the two girls (kinder and 3rd grades). I have had many families approach me to tell me about this family and the mom called me this evening. We has a long conversation and she explained the situation and that she has just not been able to bring herself to tell her girls. I explained that I am greatly concerned because so many in the school are aware of the death (not the circumstances but just that he died) that I worry the girls will find out from other kids. She agreed and is keeping them home tomorrow and then wants to meet up at the church/school tomorrow to tell them. She is going to have many of the immediate family members there but requested that I be there as well as a few others from the school- people the girls can talk to when they need to talk. I agreed and am making the arrangements.

I am just having a hard time with this. I want to be strong for the girls and the family and be a support to them but I worry I am just going to lose it. These are beautiful little girls with a mixed Asian decent and every time I look at them (especially the tiny little Kindergartner) I see Mia. I need to be strong and hold it together but I am going to majorly need prayer to make that happen. Please pray for the family and pray for these girls. Pray for all the "extra" people like myself that are going to be there to be a support to the family and not a deterrent. I so want to help and know I can but I need to hold it together in order to do so. The funeral is Friday and the mom and I are going to get together early next week to look into individual counseling for the girls and then hopefully for mom as well. I know we can help this family and I am thankful to be a part of this so that the girls can be supported while at school-- I just need wisdom on how to best help.

Thanks in advance for all your thoughts and prayers-- this is just a tough one.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday Night Pizza Night

Friday nights have officially become "Pizza Nights" around our home. Kevin changed his work schedule so that he could be home by 5pm each night in order to help out and do all the cooking. For me, I enjoy cooking but paired with homework and all the craziness, I don't enjoy it every night. Kevin on the other hand totally loves to cook and thinks of it kind of like therapy. Kevin cooked each night this week and in an effort to spend less money, we are making Friday nights pizza and movie nights (homemade pizza- before we would have eaten out and gone to a movie and spent way too much $.) So far so good with the whole Kevin cooking thing and the things seem to be going smoothly with the whole back to school thing.

Didn't have the flash on for this picture but here they are rolling out the dough.

Flash on-- don't like the color but all the kids pitched in and had a great time doing so-- even though Owen is not smiling-- he loved it too.

See!! Here is my little Happy man!

Mia and Owen checking on the progress of our first pizza. The first pizza was sausage and pepperoni and the second pizza was a deep dish (because we only have one round pan) BBQ chicken pizza with red onion, cilantro, chicken and BBQ sauce.

Mia on the floor

Little poser-- she was so cute- she said "mommy lay on the ground with me and take my picture"


So officially I really love Kevin cooking. This week we have enjoyed items like home made vechemile pasta with cauliflower and flat iron steaks with some yummy sauce and kind of like a ratatouille and the most amazing beer can chicken steamed on the BBQ with a corn, cabbage and bacon warm salad. Everything has been amazing and I love that Kevin loves to cook-- it really is like therapy for him and a relief for me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9/9/09 The First Day of School- Upland Christian Academy

Today was the boys first day of school at their new school home, Upland Christian Academy!! It was a wonderful morning that started with me arriving at the school at 7am to blow up balloons for the balloon release and then around 7:45am all the families began to arrive and at 8am the praise and worship time began. It was so amazing to be singing praise songs in the court yard of our kids new school with fellow believers surrounding us. It was so special that I actually teared up a bit. This is something Kevin and I have wanted for our kids for a long time but this year was the year all things came together. It was just an amazing time.

Arriving in the courtyard.

Ethan and Mia walking in.

Mommy and her amazing kids! You can kind of see the hair cuts. The school has a hair cut rule so we had to cut both the boys but Ethan's was much more drastic as he had like 4 inches cut off. I think he looks cute-- both boys do!

In the court yard

Mia wanted to stay and go to school too. They actually will have a preschool eventually (through the church) and I would love to enroll her as soon as it is up and running.

y Mia and Owen. The elementary kids wear uniforms (Thank you Lord) but the junior high and high school wear what they want but there is still a strict dress code (no skulls etc.)

And our happy family!!! The boys were so excited and I was sooooo ready for them to start school (since all the neighborhood kids have been in school since August 10 and the boys have been going crazy at home)

My handsome 4th grader!!

My handsome 6th grader!!!

A view from the 2nd floor

Pastor Diego praying for the school! It was so wonderful to pray with this group -- amazing!

Getting ready for the balloon release

And the release

So beautiful

My dorky boys

Owen in his class

I love his teacher Ms. Bronner. She is great and Owen's response at the end of the day was "she is really strict but really fun"- perfect for Owen!

Owen and Kevin saying goodbye

Overall, it was a great morning and I am so happy we chose to place the boys at UCA. It is such a wonderful family and we feel blessed to now be a part of it. I also am so thankful I get to be the school psych at UCA and be able to work there one day a week.