Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Pack Horse Day!

They should officially change the name from Mother's Day to Pack Horse Day, don't you agree? You know a mother by the tons of stuff in her arms it seems. Anyway, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And to all those stuck in the waiting process to be a mom, my heart goes out to you. You deserve a special day too...maybe even more so!
Got to run, having company this weekend so need to get a million things done on top of the usual half-a-million!
(Staci, two in the same month, I"m on a roll.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We're still here!







As you can see, Kaden is great! He laughs and smiles all the time. He is very content and VERY busy. It takes all seven of us to keep up with him. His sisters adore him and he adores them. He gets very excited to see them walk in the door. We are so thankful to have him home with us. With all the crazy stuff going on now with VN adoptions, (the US is the problem not the VN government by the way) our month "Adventure" seems like a spa vacation. (Kaden's baby dedication is Mother's Day and we had to submit two pictures. Well, after MUCH stress and MANY attempts these are the pictures we ended up with. He smiles easily but catching him still and smiling is almost impossible. Dave, Kaylin, Kathryn and I were worn out trying to take these. Won't be doing this anytime soon! I was maxed out.)
We have been crazy the last few months getting adjusted to our new normal. The first couple of months were unbelievably hard. Kade was a horrible sleeper and we were getting only a few hours of sleep every night. After doing this for four months, we were glad when he started sleeping better! I can handle a lot when I have a full night's rest...and trust me, I need all my rest to orchestrate our circus complete with 4-and 5- year old monkeys!
I guess the lack of sleep and new stress took a toll on me and Dave. We just had our first "sick-free" week since coming home in January. It got to the point of being laughable. We were going to the doctor 2-4 times a week. We didn't just pass things around, we all kept getting weird stuff. I had strep for the first time ever, Kenna slammed her thumb in a door and lost her thumb nail, Kaylin sprained her finger, Dave got dehydrated and spent the afternoon in an ER while he was out of state on business...and on and on. We have figured out that Kade may have asthma. We went to a pulmonolgist and he has helped us get things under control. Hopefully once allergy season passes, he can stop the daily breathing treatments. We have had over $1,000 in co-pays in the past three months.....ouch! We all seem to be over the hump and things are better now. Once we get past breathing treatment and bottles (oh yeah, Kade prefers for us to hold his bottle, is that wrong?) I have will have a lot more time for other things like laundry!
Since Kaden is not an only child, here are a few highlights for my girls. Karis is getting ready for high school next year. We had to map out her next four years while she is still in 8th grade; times have sure changed. I am trying to find her a CSI-type camp for this summer. She is really into that kind of thing right now. She is also writing a book that is coming right along. It is REALLY good. She is also doing the lights for the school musical coming up soon.
And speaking of the musical, Kaylin made the school musical this year....pretty impressive for a sixth grader. She actually has a tiny solo. She also has a voice/piano recital coming up.....which happens to be the same night as the school physicals since she wants to play volleyball next year. She recently got braces and is getting reacquainted with speaking!
Kathryn has become quite the softball player. She plays second base and has made some outs. She is getting better at batting (pitching machine) and can make it to base. We really enjoy watching her play. She still talks almost daily about our VN trip. She is amazing with Kaden and loves to push him in the stroller which he will tolerate for only a few minutes!
Kiley just lost her first tooth! She is 5 1/2 and was completely freaked out by the tooth fairy thing. We resorted to you can keep your tooth and just go to sleep. We'll set the alarm to keep anyone out! Her language is still pretty impressive for being here almost two years. She LOVES to ride her bike...the faster the better. She is my roller-coaster buddy. She is looking forward to swimming this summer and asks often when is it summer.
Kenna, our 4-year old, watched Kaden jumping in his Johnny Jump-up the other day and said, "If it weren't for gravity, Kade would be in the fan." After I closed my mouth, I told her she was right and she proceeded to tell me all about space and gravity. She is very interest in learning Chinese so she can read her Chinese Bible. We are looking for a tutor since Chinese school just ended last week. She is very interested in languages and always has been. You never know which language she will greet you with thanks to Dora World Adventure.
As for me and Dave, we just returned from the Bahamas so we are good! The biggest decision we made each day was which beach to lay by. We were surprised to learn that while we were in VN, Dave's sales shot up and boosted him to #2 and he won the vacation! We have never needed a break more in our lives! Mom graciously came and moved in while we were gone. I think she was glad we got a chance to get away.
I don't get on the computer much except to check emails so I can't promise to be better at blogging, but maybe I can try for weekly. It always amazes me that people want to peek into our chaotic lives. We feel like Jon and Kate plus Eight!

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Monday, March 3, 2008

I"ve heard your cries!


I am updating my blog! I never dreamt that people actually cared about my day-to-day doings. It's rather boringly busy...diapers, laundry, wash bottles, run to school, pick up from school, laundry, do homework, take to practice, pick up from practice, laundry, wipe noses, wipe bottoms, do laundry for eight, pay bills, and on and on! We had a rough few weeks with sinus congestion for me and Dave, and Kaden kept changing illnesses. I think we are all finally on the mend now! We stayed inside as much as possible and cut everything out of our schedule in order to keep Kaden home and away from all the icky germs swarming around.

We have found our new normal and are adjusting well. Kade still isn't the greatest sleeper as my ever increasing eye wrinkles show. He still only wants his bottle and shrugs any food offered. Maybe by kindergarten.

I'll stop now and try to upload pictures because I know that is what you really care about anyway. I won't promise to be a good blogger. I got burned out on the computer in VN since we had to be glued to it for sooooo long! Besides, I'd rather play with my cute little guy!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We're home!

Just a quick note to let everyone know we made it home. Kaden slept most of the flights and could not have been better on the long flight...well except for the "spray" before we got on the long flight and the complete eruption all over my shirt, down my shirt, and in my hair during the first few minutes of the long flight. I smelled lovely!
We were welcomed by a surprisingly large crowd at the airport considering it was so late. I think people wanted to make sure it was really us. Kade was taken with Karis immediately! They have made up for lost time the past two days. Kathryn has been playing with Kenna and Kiley. Penny, Kaylin's hamster, has gained much weight due to lack of personal attention (Gran and Karis would throw food in but not touch).
I was going to go on a major diet when we got home but instead we were welcomed with Paula's home cooking! Man, it's fabulous to open the frig and have several complete home cooked meals waiting to be simply warmed in the oven. We have eaten well! Another friend brought a big bag of Panera bagels and scones to the airport for our breakfast....well, we didn't wait for breakfast to break it out! We walked in to a beautifully cleaned house, another perfect gift from a great friend! We were also surprised by a friend who had brought over a high chair, car exersaucer, and a bouncy seat. Kaden LOVES his car and sat in it to look at the Christmas tree.
I will have Dave upload pictures soon, in his spare time! Mom brought over a birthday cake and ice cream for his birthday today. The cake said "Happy Birthday to the Father of Six." Wow, that's a lot!
Will update soon!
Well, Dave

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Final Post in Vietnam

I am up late making final preparations for our trip home. It feels good just to say that. We have now been away from home for more than a month and we are all anxious to get home to the other half of our family. We miss you all so much. It has been a wonderful trip and we have seen so much of Vietnam. It may take a little time to get used to a few things like traffic where the lines and stop signs mean something and everyone honks whether there's a reason or not, and of course, using bottled water to brush our teeth. Triva question: How much bottled water does it take for a family of four + baby to live out of country, that's bottles, drinking, brushing, etc.? My best guess is about 20-25 gallons since we used 3 of the 5 gallon jugs in our room just in Hanoi.

We had a good last day as we shopped for a few final items and enjoyed a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter. Now we are packed and ready to fly home in the morning. Kaden has been an excellent baby. He now sleeps until about 6 AM without waking! He is good just to play on the bed or floor with toys and he loves to play with his sisters. It will be great fun to see him playing with all of his sisters back home.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers of concern and encouragement. Shelly and I are truly blessed to have SIX beautiful kids. Now that's a statement I never thought I would be able to say. I look forward to catching up with you all when we return, after some much needed rest!
David

Jan. 17yh, Round Stanley sees Hanoi (for the Miles boys)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Visa Interview Completed!

We now have permission to bring Kaden to the States. He has been legally ours now for over three weeks, but now we have the US's approval for him to travel home! It is a great feeling. (Our travel buddies are finished as well.)
This morning we moved to a new room in the same serviced residence. It took quite awhile to get everything together. We were thankful that they were able to extend our stay after all. Giving up my washer/dryer, kitchen, and moving to a cracker box made us feel crazy.
Karis, we will call you when we hit LAX and clear customs. I think you will be out of school by then. Your Dad and I will both have our cell phones charged and ready to be used. The panda phone won't work once we leave VN. We fly out 11:35 Thursday night your time. We sent you our flight plans on email. Please update the blog if we are delayed on the last leg of the flight. Everyone can check the blog for updates.
We look forward to your pancakes on Saturday morning and Kade is longing for some Kade/Karis time:)
We love you,
David, Shelly, Kaylin, Kathryn, and Kaden

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday

We found out today that our interview is for Wednesday at three. There isn't much for them to ask since they are very familiar with every detail of our case! We will get our Visa Wednesday or Thursday and get on a plane Friday.....that's this Friday. No more weekends away. We arrive home 9:51pm on Friday.
Once we get home I probably won't leave home for a week or so. I am so ready to just be in my house. Hopefully this weekend will be a PJ weekend. I'm sure mom will book it home and close her blinds and turn off her phone. Gonna run, we have to pack up things in case we can't keep our room tomorrow....we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday/Friday...

Thurday:
First of all, we are still waiting on our email. Not a surprise, they have to transfer our case from HCMC to Hanoi and we guessed two days for mailing of that. We'll keep you updated here....for all you OKCer's....we'll keep you fore-warned!
On Thursday we went to the Botanical Gardens and a little orchid nursery. Now, this was a beautiful place, but botanical garden is a little strong! It was mostly a place for brides to have their portrait taken. We then went on an adventure to find HCM's house on stilits. We went down some interesting roads but won't get too much into that....we think we found the other side of the tracks in Hanoi!
We did finally find Ho Chi Minh's Moseleum, his Presidential Palace, his house on stilts and the One Pillar Pagoda. It was very peaceful and you could almost forget about the horn honking all around! Kaylin was pretty "freaked out" (her words) because of all the guards marching around. The girls actually have learned a lot while we have been here. They ask questions and pay attention to what they are seeing. (Mainly they have learned how to cross the street and not get killed.)
After several hours of walking we decided it was time to eat. We walked to KOTO's again and shopped at the craft-Link again. We can spend way too much time there! Then it was home and Prison Breaks. We are on Season 2 now...thanks Karis.
Thanks again to all my friends who are helping my mom out! You guys are the greatest. I loved the pictures from Paula of my biddies. Check them out on http://www.willslittlebrother.blogspot.com/.
they are all doing well. I especially appreciate all the emails. You girls make me laugh. My Pine cove buddies left today for a cropping weekend I assume. I can't believe I am going to miss my favorite weekend of the year!! We'll have to have a Spring weekend crop at Gran's soon....don't tell her yet, I will be "in the owing" for awhile! We'll surprise her later.
I heard there might be a surprise guest at my house next Tuesday, Muchos Gracias mi Amiga!
Mrs. Winters' Class:
This is Kathryn. I miss you and hope to be back soon (probably late next week). I bought Mrs. Winters a pretty bookmark and bought a little gift for you all...I am learning a lot about Viet Nam. I saw a bunch of Killer trees. I don't like the traffic because it is crowded. I am wearing shorts and T-shirts because it is warm here. That's all.
FYI: Mom, check on a few things for me: (Dave is obviosuly not going to make the National meeting next week.) K1 guitar? K2 piano/piano contest? K3 have you heard from upward coaches? Please clear my calender for the rest of the month; I don't plan on leaving my house for at least a month once I am there!!!!!!!! Thanks.
Friday:
I can not express my nausea as I sit here for our THIRD Friday night in Hanoi and our forth Friday night away from our girls and home. If you can't type anything nice, don't type anything at all, so I won't say much more.
We will be hotel shopping this weekend or last looking venture din't prove fruitful. (Our stay here has already been extended once and they are fully booked on the 16th PLUS at almost $1,400 a week we can't keep this up!) On top of it, Kade is FUSSY. He doesn't feel great and we may need to take him to the clinic. That should be fun. He did get his first tooth this week.
Since we didn't get the email we were waiting for, we now must wait at least until Monday just to get that email. Sitting around the computer all day is the hardest part. It makes the day VERY long. Once we receive our email confirmation of our I-600 pre-approval, it will likely take 2 days to get our appointment at the Consulate. So, realistically we could be here another week. Thanks for all of your prayers. No doubt they are needed now more than ever.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

And here we go

That's right go, as in action! Early next week there will be five of us getting off a plane at home!! With much graditute to sleep-deprived Jynger and the co-foudners of Dillon, communications have been going back and forth. This morning they we able to recieve the news that they have been fighting for: pre-approval will be issued! We hope to recieve an email later this week and have an appointment early next week. Then we cross the next hurdle of finding flights......luckily we are working with a greaqt travel guy.
If we hear more later today, we'll update the post. We are out to eat some lunch after a long,k satisfying nap!
Jynger and The Dillons: enjoy your night of rest, you deserve it!
Kenna and Kiley: we are "missing you much" and mommy and daddy are coming home soon with brother. Make us a picture.
Karis: Enjoy your last few Gran-days! Back to the real world soon where you can step back and be 14 again. I appreciate that you have stepped up and kept the girls content. You are a blessing!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Waiting

And here we are

We didn't get an email today from HCMC with our approval. That is very disappointing. I know they were communicating back and forth today with Dillon which seemed positive. Still, no end in sight and our Thursday flight is now out. We are trying to decide what to do now. Our hotel is booked through Thursday. Dave is meeting with our guide in a little bit to discuss staying here if we can or finding a cheaper hotel. It's hard to give up the kitchen and laundry but especially the girls having their own space. At naptime Kade can go to our room and close the door for a real nap.
We finally reached the end of our rope this afternoon and went walking around Hanoi...again. Went to a new Pagodo and bought some bookmarks. (I read an entire book already.) We had a good dinner and are back for the night. Hopefully we will hear from our agency soon!
Thanks to all of our friends and family who are praying for our quick return. Thanks to Gran for her continued care of our girls. We could not have done it without you!!! You run a tight ship and we appreciate it. Don't bail on us yet!
Thanks Paula for relieving Mom today with the biddies. I'm sure everyone will enjoy the change of scenery.
Hopefully we will be home soon! Being here another weekend is a lot to swallow.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quick update....

We sat by the computer and phone all day and got a call early afternoon from the Exec. Director of Dillon. He stayed up to contact the Embassy in Ho Chi Minh and finally got through. Bottomline: hoped to hear something this afternoon or tomorrow. Our email didn't come today so we'll sit by the computer again tomorrow. Boy, that makes the day long and the apartment small! At this point our flight for Thursday seems almost impossible. Going to dinner now; need to see different four walls.

Irony in Hanoi

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday, Jan. 5th, Visiting the Vietnam History Museum

Saturday and Sunday

Didn't post cuz' didn't do much!!! Yesterday we decided to let Kaden actually sleep in his bed for a full nap. We usually get him up in the middle of his nap to go sightseeing. It's kind of sad because we actually have a routine going! We worked puzzles, read, watched movies (thanks Paula), napped and enjoyed Fetticini La Momma in our room. We did go back to Hoa Sua for dinner last night. Kaylin wanted French again....actually she wanted mashed potatos.
Today we went and toured the Viet Nam history museum. It kept us busy. Kathryn was our little tour guide with her brochure in hand. We ate at a great little Italian place and had fabulous pizza and calzones. We ordered in tonight because Little Man has a tooth coming in and he was not in a party kinda mood. When our food was delivered from Jaspas, the assistant manage came in and wanted to know why we hadn't come down today...that's pretty sad. We are on a first name basis. She and Kathryn have an ongoing Tic-Tac-Toe rivalry going. Her English is very good and she enjoys chatting with the girls.
Everything is closed on Mondays so we'll probably hang out around here. Our agency is supposed to call us after they contact the embassy. We have very high hopes for that call!! We are available if they need us to run over for a quick interview with the other travel group. Seriously, move us up to the top of your prayer list. We are ready for some answers. (Does any of our Arkansas buddies know if Todd D. still is at the State Department? Mom, read our Christmas letter from them, please. We don't have our phone numbers here with us.)
The girls are still hanging in there. They have mastered crossing the streets. Kathryn has mastered eating with chopsticks. Now they really draw attention in resturants! Kaylin has become a fashion monger and acts like she doesn't like the attention but we all know better!
On a Personal note: Miles, thanks for the outing for K4 and K5. Mom and K1 enjoyed the break and the girls told me all about their day.
Fresh water girls: Keep the sonics flowing. You crack me up! Surely Sonic is going to start seeing bottom line trouble and realize we are the source of the downfall! On the other hand, the ice cream industry in VN has seen a drastic rise in their bottom line.
SuperFreak: wow! Okay, okay, tell your old man that he can go to Ken's with us and stop with all the drama! keep the emails coming!
I'm going to sign off now. Oh, Dave wants to say that he now offically hates soccer! Send that into the Rant please!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Okay friends............

Okay my friends, we have enjoyed our time in VN and are trying to make the best of it. We have gone sightseeing and have eaten in some great resturants. the people are really nice and my girls have had the trip of a lifetime. We achieved our ultimate goal of putting our arms around Kaden. We are in a great flat and have all the comfort features of home......but we are ready to go home. My babies are missing us and we are missing them! It has almost been three weeks. The replacement officier made it in on Wednesday and needs some time to look over our files. We still haven't heard anything from them. Our agency is trying to make the best decision as to how to deal with the situation. It's very frustrating for them because they were told weeks ago that our approval would be on it's way within a matter or days or they wouldn't have sent us. I'm thankful for their help. Please pray that we get some news today and they rush our interview. The travel group behind us has caught up with us. We met them for dinner last night and they are very nice people. Their girls are very cute. Their interview is scheduled for Monday and we would LOVE to be able to go with them! Watching more go home won't be fun.
All this to say, we are fine, our kids are fine, (the poor air quality is starting to get to Kaden and Beckett. We may actually have to see a doctor if we are here much longer.) but pray we get to go home soon. This is an expense holding pattern!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Good Question, Lyndie

Thanks for the question, Lyndie! The lady on the boat is wearing a mask because the air quality here is VERY poor. Have you ever been stiuck in traffic behind a big truck and it stunk of exhaust? Well that is what the streets smell like here (even the boats have strong exhaust)! Everyone on boats, bikes and scooters or just walking on the street wear these masks to protect them from the fumes....and they are strong. They also wear a mask if they are sick; this helps keep the spread of germs down. They even make little kids masks. I'll take some pictures of that today.
It was also intersting that we were out in the water seemingly alone when all of a sudden a small child would pop up out of no where on the side of our windows and want to sell us fruit. Then just as quickly they would pop off. These kids were your age (8) and younger! They would float their "market" up to our boat and somehow hop on. It was quite impressive. You will be amazed at some of the things Kathryn has eaten. I'll let her post about her experience one day. Right now she is playing with Kaden. She is incredible with him and he thinks she is pretty great too! Hope this answers your question. Thanks for watching our trip. Let me know if you have anymore questions. Give your mom a hard time today!
By the way, the replacement person is suppposed to be in the office today so pray someone can get through to them about our I-600!!!!!!!!!!!! We are enjoying ourselves but I miss my babies at home (even though they seem to having an endless party!).

Shopping in Hanoi

New Year's Ramblings....

We had a great day yesterday. We let Kade do a little resting and we just shopped down in the mall on the first floor. We met our group for dinner as Jaspas at 6:30 and then everyone came to our room for a "party". Kathryn made party invitations that we delivered earlier in the day; everyone RSVPed! It was BYOP of course (bring your on Pringles) and Chris brought some Ritz crackers and cheddar cheese....it was delicious! All the babies made it until about 10:30. Not too bad.
Today we found a Plaza which is more like a shopping mall and did some shopping. The markets were culturally interesting but we had trouble finding warmer clothes for our little man. We actually found an Oklahoma Football footie pj but they were size 6 months and after one washing it would be 3 months so we passed.
We got a call this morning that our travel buddies, the Booths, had been able to get a flight out this morning and we heading home! (They were the family that came with I-600 pre-approval.) The good news is that if someone was able to sign for their visa yesterday, then someone should be there to sign for our provisional approval and then our visa....we hope! I know our agency is working on both sides of the globe to get us home and we are very appreciative. The travel group behind us will be in Hanoi tomorrow. Luckily our travel companions are great and we enjoy each others company and we ALL LOVE to eat! We are trying all kinds of great restaurants. Stacy has spend a lot of time researching for the trip so she is a great help.
Kaylin and Kathryn are having fun. The Booths offered to allow the girls to travel home with them but they chose to stay. They have adjusted very well to the culture and have learned to ignore the stares and winks! Being celebs isn't all that it's cut out to be. They have been troopers in almost all situations. They have eaten squid, fish with the eyes looking back at them, and have learned how to make ice cubes with bottled water! This trip is not for all kids ....probably most....but bringing them was a great choice. They are always looking around and asking questions. They smile and say hi to everyone.
Kade is incredible. He has already seen more of VN than most VN people here have! He used to always just go to sleep (or shut down) as soon as we went outside. Today he was actually looking around and only cried once when a sweet lady wanted to touch and play with him. We are so thankful for him and his disposition. He had been sleeping great the past few nights but last night he wanted to ring in the new year for every time zone I think. I really feel my age around 4 in the morning!
I can get emails to our cox account but have trouble sending them out, but keep them coming! Here are my email replies at a snap:
Superfreak, I hope your old man can pull it together and not fall apart! If not, we'll ditch him for Ken's!
Stacy A, yes, there will be no cropping for me and I'm very sad about it. We'll have the first annual crop at Gran's coming soon....haven't talked to her about it yet though!
Cynthia J, congrats on pre-approval! He'll be home before you know it!
Miles, keep praying sister! Boys, Kade has some great hands for football!
Enjoy your New Year's Day!