Saturday, July 26, 2014

Getting my groove back

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
Aaron Siskind

I saw this quote recently and wondered what happened to me - I never went anywhere without my big camera - I guess as the iPhone camera got better and we had more and more little ones, my big camera slowly made the way of so many other things - showed in a corner.

Then last night I dropped my first born off to fly internationally (without us) for a mission trip - although I am completely at peace with this trip (thank you God!)  ~ but then realized the last photo I would ever have of him is a grainy picture taken with my iPhone.  Although a terrible thought, the utter failure of this thought broke my heart.

So, as my kids were outside playing and I stopped with the thousand mom things we always have to do.  Grabbed my big camera and did something I haven't done in forever - photographed  my kids just to remember a fun day in the sun!!

Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.
    ~ Robert Frank

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
   ~ Dorthea Lange

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A change of thought

Growing up I had very little self esteem.

I am an introvert at heart but because of family dynamics was taught how to be an extrovert.

THose tests you take in school - yeah the teachers and professors always look at them with a befuddled look - At over 40 I am a classic case of nature versus nurture.

Sometimes that low self esteem still gripes me hard, and I have to force my self to move forward, to look at the underlying reasons to my reactions, to analyze.

Truthfully, I loved having little kids, because I always felt that holding them created a sort of a shield for me.  The attention drawn to one angelic far and off of my own.

It gave others an instant conversation topic.

(Don't get me wrong, I love babies anyhow, even as a young teen I loved how they curl up, the dimples in their hands and the softness of their spirit.)

Then God started working, in our lives, in our home and in ME!

When Brahm was a toddler, the attention shift began to turn back to me - people looking for answers why this seemingly newborn was walking, sitting etc.

I learned my pat answers and moved on.

Then we added more and more kids - all with visible SN.

AS the looks and comments came more and more, I felt myself drawing in further and further.

Taking less trips outside of our boundaries.

Staying where others knew our family, and didn't comment.

Almost growling at comments when we were out - like a preschooler on a very bad day.

A dear person was out on one of these very bad days, and I watched in amazement as she talked to one of these people who I thought was making fun of our kids - piled onto our double/triple stroller like some traveling circus.

THen the words came - she is amazing, what an inspiration, an absolute joy.

My breath almost caught - had I been so focused on myself that I forgot God's calling?

Had I reverted back to my low self esteem days and saw the smiles not as kindness but of jeers?

Over the past year - I have tried hard to change my thinking.

Our children are a blessing.
People smile because like babies and puppies they speak of JOY!
Of God's work on earth,
of HOPE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Ha - I keep getting nudged to blog more - I have so many things both good and bad running around in my head but sometimes I feel like who wants to read the same stuff over and over again.  This one is struggling, no wait I meant that one.  We are good, blah, blah blah adoption blah, blah, blah.

And then today I remembered.

I remembered why I started blogging, keeping this journal of sorts.

Both to document our journey, since scrapbooking has been set aside until being a mom slows down some, 

As well as to verbalize the thoughts that run around in my head - so that I don't actually verbalize them in person to people . . . which turns them away and makes me feel bad.

So, although our life is busy, we have no real plans to adopt again now, this blog still has a purpose for me - I am realizing.

Lets start with a quick recap on the summer before we get into some of those things racing in my head.

SUMMER - like Olaf, I love summer, but we learned last year one child in particular does not like the laziness, nonscheduled part of summer.

We were extremely blessed to find a camp for kids with SN (it's partially ESY for some of the kids even though we don't qualify).  I have to admit this was a huge dilemma for me.  I don't see my kids as disabled . . . but the rest of the world does.

So for once I pulled up my big girl britches, analyzed how difficult it would be to get Cav into a "regular" camp program or daycare situation, as well as the cost.  I spoke to the director about him, how capable he is etc and I felt a peace.  It was also cheap enough that if we hated it, we could pull him midway and it would not be a burden.

Plus it's 9-3 FOUR days a week.  It wasn't so horribly early I'd regret signing him up, but it also got most of us up and ready so we could actually enjoy summer (plus I knew hubby drove right by there on his way to work LOL!!)

Also, because of the nature of the camp it has something like a 3 to 1 ratio.
THey go on 2 field trips a week.
My kid is not the token freak, that slows everyone down, special accommodations have to be made etc.

That brings me to Fei - our sweet little girl who lost her mind last year.  We now realize it was a bunch of things but ultimately she was pulled from school in February for lying, and constant stealing.  She was in such a bad spot that she wasn't learning anyhow (I will write a post on this, promise.)

Anyhow, we decided that maybe sending her - where she was highly supervised would be a good reentry into an organized program away from home.  Again we would try a few weeks but for less than $400 for the entire summer we felt ok pulling her if it was not the right fit.

There was some thought that if she was good at something (i.e. being the highest functioning camper etc) she would find her way.

And selfishly, our family needed a rest.  We needed to be able to go to the pool without fearing a temper tantrum, or being on constant guard.  We were worn.  Dawson's adoption was the hardest - primarily because he came home in April, we had mother's day, Cav's birthday, then Tao's birthday, then end of school started - 7 kids and 5 different end dates.  Our disregulated kids remained disregulated from spring break until camp started in June.  WE WERE WORN!

I remember in May sitting, almost crying wondering what I would do for the summer.  A few accidental clicks and we found the camp.

Do not mistake it when I say it has been good for our entire family.  Cav and Fei love camp.
Our other kids love having a carefree summer without the stress.
I love that Fei is finding herself.  And Cav - he has a place he can go and not try so hard to hold it together.  Which ultimately makes home life just that much easier.

Brahm and Dawson did Mandarin camp for a couple weeks through Dawson's school.  It was so fabulous and we learned that Brahm is really good at language.

 He had a blast, learned several songs, count past 100 (that would have been helpful in China) and a smattering of words.

For Dawson it was one of our planned stops so he would maintain his Mandarin during the summer break.

The other thing we learned is I LOVE having a big family.  I LOVE that I don't have to scour my list for friends to call for playdates.

In general, Dawson has been amazing.  He is very go with the flow - albeit he doesn't like exercise LOL.  He is happy 90% of the time, and is learning the underlying nuances that make up a family.


Tao - sweet boy has not a single special thing.  I guess we kind of forgot about him - and truthfully I so enjoy having him around that the thought of camp . . . well, I just couldn't do it.


Our big kids are crazy busy.  We are fortunate that we can send them to different sports or religious camps.  I am loving having teenagers - they are fun, I love to see their minds and opinions form.  My heart breaks through their struggles but I still relish seeing the outcome and how they respond.

Before locks of love

and after

Heehee they aren't much bigger than Tao, but somehow he gets Dawson and Brahm to swing him!

Handsome boy at a wedding this summer

Do I dare say we are getting the smile back?

Not sure they liked the cows when we visited friends in Wisconsin

I love having a house full of boys ~ most days!

A darling new nephew

A twin egg!

Lots of orthodontia and dental visits - 
this is what happens when you don't wear your retainer and grow a foot!

Hiding from the blazing sun during lacrosse games!!

Late nights, enjoying time together!