Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Daily December 1st

December has come and with it a goal for me.  I am not always the best "December" person.  It seems like a lot of extra pressure and so many obligations.  However, this year I decided to join Ali Edwards in her December Daily project.  I love her style of storytelling and wanted to do this for my family.  The goal is one story per day on what this month means for our family.  A photo or two that represents what the season means to us with holiday themes as well as everyday moments.  I am not sure what the month will hold for us but hoping by Dec 25th my kids will have an album of our story!

"Snow" much fun!

Thanksgiving was filled with all that is good.  Our house was full of family and the sounds of eight cousins running around.  There was plenty to eat and a feeling of thankfulness for all that we are blessed with.  There was also a LOT of snow!  

There was a mad rush to find all our winter gear, realize how tall we have gotten when we put on our pants, the forever problem of looking for matching gloves, and at least fourteen inches of snow to play in.  There were trees to climb and steps to sled down.  I love to watch them all play, laugh, and be together.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Final Korean thoughts

Today we are flying home.  There is so much to digest in the past week. My mind is full of thoughts and emotions.  It has been quite an adventure taking our whole family with us.  When we started the adoption process two years ago we agreed that we would all need to go this time.  This would take some major planning. It has not always been easy and just getting us all here seemed like a great undertaking. I will not lie we have had moments were we looked at each other and said what are we thinking this is so hard.  We have had moments when all kids were fighting.  We have also had moments that have amazed us as we watched our kids embrace this beautiful culture and people.  I have seen our kids be hugged by people who used to be complete strangers and are now a part of our life's story.  I have watched a reunion with my daughter and foster Mom that will forever be one of the best days of my life.  That is a love that is unbreakable and amazing.

We have watched Luke jump out of an elevator (literally) and into all of our hearts. I have seen Riley lie down on the ground and let his two little brothers jump on him and wrestle.  I have seen Luke worry if Brian was getting on the elevator with him or not.  I have been kissed by that little boy who is so full of all that is good with a little bit of orneriness.  I have seen the love of his Foster Mom and how well she is taking care of him.  I have been to court with my whole family.  I have prayed for a birth mom and all her pain.  I have seen women whom I assume look somewhat like her around me.  Adoption has so many sides and feelings with it.

There are so many friends and family who have prayed for us and been there is so many ways.  We only hope we too can be there when others need us.  

There will more more adventures with this story that only a three year old can bring.  We can't wait......

Friday, October 30, 2015

A day of adventures in Korea!

Today was our last full day in Seoul.  We spent the day sightseeing some palaces and then a little time at the market. We rode a lot of subway lines, ate at a cafe, and had a little vendor food.  We have seen many parts of Korea, the beautiful, the historic, and the past and present mixing.  We have also seen what a hard life it is for some.  My mind will never forget older women selling bits of food in the cold subway stairs.  It won't forget how hard it must be to get around a town that runs on subways when you are in a wheelchair.  It is a city that never stops is seems and you can see how hard that must be at times.  

It was chilly out today and the beauty of fall was all around us.  I loved the sound of languages as we walked around town. I love how we learned to communicate without the help of language.  

I love the details of life around us.  These were carved into the entrance of a palace we toured.  There is so much history here.  Brian loves this I love to watch people.  Many school kids were at the palace today how fun that was to see!

Every once in awhile you see young people in traditional dress.  These two were so cute at the palace.  

My girls!  I will not lie there was a lot of bickering today.  Everyone is ready to go home and be in our own space.  We are leaving without number seven but he will be with us soon.  

A artist was painting the beautiful scenes around us.  He had a lot of fans around him at all times.  

Oh the changing of the guard is a huge event.  I actually felt sorry for these men. This has to be a job that gets old as everyone wants a photo by you and you have to just stand still.

The boys were intrigued by these men.  

These two always want me to photograph them jumping.  The joy of being a kid. They didn't care about history just about steps to jump from!

The colors of the palaces were very similar all through Korea.  The detail is amazing.

Well what can we say these smelled so good and the vendor said we got a good deal on them:) I can say from the way they tasted we did get a good deal!

This is the most popular cartoon character in Korea.  I am suspecting that there will be some of him on a certain little boy's Christmas list!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Court Day and Food in Korea

Today was a huge day in Korea for us.  We would spend most of the day getting to and from court.  Court is a huge part of the process and has had me worried for a very long time.  I kept picturing us all in there.  Four kids in a court room did not sound that relaxing. We made it through, we had our moments, but it is done.  The rest of our adoption story is for time alone to tell.  

Our parenting has been a little unusal for us.  Lots of bribing to get through some huge appointments.  I am not proud of this parenting and it will change once we land on US soil, but they needed a little incentive as it is a lot to ask kids to do in one week.
I can't tell you how many times we have been to this store this week. To buy breakfast food and snacks for the day.  It is fun to look at other grocery stores and see what is different, new, and what is famliar. 
We did the one thing we said we would not do in Korea we ended up at McDonalds for dinner.  We don't even eat there in America.  However, after a super long day the kids wanted something they knew and this is where we ended up. 

A universal sign to kids around the world.  There is a lot of English written signs in Korea. 

This sign made me laugh as Riley had a little soy sauce on his hamburger.

Last night was a traditional Korean barbeque night.  The kids kind of put up a fuss especially after we dragged them place to place to find one that would seat us.  A very sweet Korean woman cooked our meat for us and even started to feed Andy?  Not sure but she was under his charming spell also.

My favorite place to eat...dumplings.  They are open 24 hours seven days a week.  I could eat these everyday and the kids agree!

Sometimes when you travel with your family and you are a teen you just want to get away in your own world.  I have to admit I have these feelings myself once in awhile.  

The screens traveled with us.  Each got their alloted half an hour each night before bed.

We have made it almost. Tomorrow is a sight seeing day.  It has been a full week of lots of emotions, hard good byes, and a love of a country and people that has given us so much.  I think of our new son and how much I already love him.  I dream of him running around the house and his sweet little voice.

Good night until tomorrow!  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A full day in Seoul

"You Only Live Once"  Store that we found. Seems fitting of a saying for the adventure we are on:)

We paid $8.00 for these Hulks yesterday and I think they were worth it.  Andy has played with them all day everywhere we went and even shared them with some new friends at the adoption agencies lunch.

A little exploring this morning before our appointments.  So much to see and do here. We found a school and the college.  A park to play in for a moment was just what we needed.

Jumping for joy over the thought of seeing his little brother again.

So much to see and do. It is eye candy to my photographers eye.

This road leads right to the college campus.  It was fun to watch some students getting to class  

When we made it to our adoption agency we had a short meeting then lunch with some other families.  It was once again time to meet amazing people with amazing stories and hearts.  Andy found four little friends there and they were off running.  Tomorrow we head to court. That is our last big appointment and then we will wait until we get word that Luke can come home.  So many emotions on this day.

The famous red chair.  Years ago this sweet girl was in the baby chair like this one. It was the first photo I saw of her. It was the first I feel in love with. So fun to take her back today and they let us take a photo of her on the chair again.  We also were allowed to see the baby room where she was at.  Oh my a room full of babies....is there anything better!  My heart was touched by all the people volunteering and working to take such good care of such very sweet angels.  

It was then time to have our second meeting with Luke. These two were waiting inside as we didn't know which way he was coming from.  Everyone was excited and the meeting went great. He was kind of tired today as it was nap time so the cutest thing was when he fixed Andy up by taking off his classes and basically getting him to lay down.  Then he laid right on top of him!  Oh our life is so going to change.  Brian is happy someone at home will need naps again.  He is a doll and so loved.  He is full of energy and spunk.  The time went too fast again and we had to say Goodbye.  I know he will change more as we wait some more but I feel blessed we had the time we did with him. The kids are awesome with him.  It will be different parenting with older kids at home this time.

One more day of big adoption events at court. Then we will have one more day of sightseeing.  Everyone is doing well.  We had a traditional  barbecue meal tonight and I am hoping more dumplings tomorrow oh and that lemon tea!!!

From Korea with love!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Country kids in Seoul

Our day would start at Eastern Cafe. We would meet another great couple that is adopting. It doesn't matter how long I am in this adoption circle I continue to be amazed by people's stories, faith, and amazing hearts. This was the case again this morning.

Then another trip on the subway.  These country kids just can not get enough of discussing who hits what button first and who gets what color card!

We ended up in a part of Seoul that had a new atmosphere with the old feel to it.  

I don't believe we have let kids get drinks out of a machine at home so here it has been the biggest treat ever. Oh the decisions they must make:)

We ended up in a market that took the word commerce to a whole new level.  You could buy any toy of your choice, or it you needed to pick up a chicken you could do that too.  I am not sure what these men were measuring, but the many times I walked by they were still at it.

How does a boy of nine decide what he really wants with his allotted money?

A typical scene in Korea.  These motor bikes where everywhere on the streets and on the sidewalks.  We were instructed by Brian we must really walk with our heads up!

It amazes me that amongst the commerce you actually find tranquil beauty.

A whole isle at the market dedicated to toys and office supplies.  Stall after stall looked like this.  Looked like an inventory nightmare but you could see each store owner had their own way to deal with their merchandise.

This is kind of what I felt like today. So did Andy. I don't think it is jet lag just a lot of stimulation on every turn and path in our day.

These flowers were filled with LED lights. I can just imagine the way they look at night.

Finally dinner or was it lunch?  Curry dishes how yummy.  Brian has gone back out with the big two. He is going to show them what a little bit of Seoul looks like when it becomes dark.  The rest of us are just fine.  We saw and did a lot today!

Tomorrow it is time for Mr. Luke again as well as some very special time at the adoption agency.  A special lunch and time with fellow adoption families.  We will say good bye to Luke after tomorrow.  That will be hard but we know patience has to be part of our life.  For now I am tired...is it 8 yet?

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