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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waving a quick hello!

Sorry I haven't had something fun or deep to read the last few days. We have had both strep and the flu in the house this past week. Last Wednesday while we were up getting Vivian's transfusion, Michael had to take both Abram and Gideon in to the Dr. Gideon tested positive for strep, Abram was negative. Meanwhile, Olivia who was with me, and started running a high fever on the way home. Thursday morning I took Abram back because he wasn't any better, and took Olivia in too. Olivia was positive for both strep and the flu. Abram was negative for both, but given his symptoms was treated for strep, and too late to treat for the flu, although we think he had both as well. Thursday night, John-Michael started the high fever. Unfortunately, we were having tropical storms conditions from Sandy on Friday, so the Dr.'s office was closed, but they called meds in for him. Hamilton although never having had the fever, has the same junky cough that all the flu kids have developed so I think maybe he just had a mild case? Long weekend of Olivia, John-Michael and Abram. Gideon seemed much better immediately on his antibiotic for strep. Sunday, Vivian started the high fever and other flu symptoms. Her hematologist called in meds for her but wanted her seen first thing Monday. So yesterday, Olivia and John-Michael, and Abram much better. I take Vivian in, and Gideon is not running a fever, but coughing, starting the congestion, and just has that look, so the check him too, and yep, both the little kids are positive for flu. Poor little baby bear has had both strep and the flu in less than a week! Please pray that we are done for winter sickies already, that they feel better soon! They are so worried they will miss Fall Festival at our church and that Michael and I won't get anything!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Princess Jiaozi

Well, this has been quite the week! I'm going to mostly post some photos, and comments, because I don't have much time to write the deep post that I'd like too. Maybe in a day or two I will be able to finish that post. Yesterday was Vivian's birthday, and we celebrated, but not exactly as we had planned, and I think, we will have some make up party time maybe this weekend. So here is a rundown of our week,

  I don't believe in fortune cookies, but I was given this one with my lunch while waiting for Vivian's blood transfusion .........I thought it was fun anyway, and I believe it's true because my God is planning for it :)
 This is Super Mac the bunny, Olivia has been saving her own money for a long time, and finally was able to buy him. He is very sweet, and loves being held. Olivia is smitten!
 This is how I found Gideon the other day when I went to get him out of his carseat. Enough said, lol.
 This is Vivian the other day out to run errands with me. She dressed herself. She is all about accessories, multiple colors, and recently learned how to apply temporary tattoos herself. She looks like one of those tattoo artists on t.v.  She has them down both arms. Oh, and the look is her pouting because I forgot to bring a stroller for her and she had to walk, lol.  Oh the drama! The teenage years should be fun!
 This is about 15 minutes later....she is over the stroller and look Mama, a hat!
 This is our driveway. I took this picture because our tree is blooming and I thought it looked so pretty. As I stood there looking at it, I remembered what it was like to finally pull into our driveway, with Vivian, after all those planes, trains, buses, ferries, and I am so looking forward to that moment with Georgia and Calvin, when we finally are ALL HOME.
 This is Gideon doing a pumpkin sweep last weekend!
 Vivian fishing for "treasure". She caught a sparkly ring :)

 Yesterday was Vivian's birthday, but we had to spend a good part of it having her transfusion. It was our first time at the brand new hospital that only opened on Monday!

 Vivian loved the giant windows! She is looking at cool fountains down below, but you can't really tell that.
 These were some cute pumpkins on display at the hospital. I thought they were very creative!


 A gorgeous, huge fish tank at the hospital.
 Sisters
This is Abram being adorable saying the monorail from Disney's phrase. It's my text notification, and he was cracking me up saying it.
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The above videos are the littles at the park. Everyone should swing with a Snow White cape. And then Vivian at the new hospital. It is so cool there.

So we are anticipating a tropical storm here tomorrow. Winds in excess of 50 mph. Yep, that's Florida in the fall. There is a cost to the beautiful weather the rest of the time. The storms name is Sandy, and I saw this picture today, and it made me laugh ;)
 Vivian with her cupcake last night, she was so into it this year!


The amount of medicine I picked up today. We have three kids down, with both positive strep and the flu. Please pray for them, and that no one else will get it. Especially Vivian, because when she has a fever she can drop her hemaglobin super fast. Notice the birthday hats in the background between the sickies, and her transfusion yesterday, I think we will have some birthday making up to do.
 

 And finally, our sweet, gorgeous, precious Calvin. We sent him a photo album of our family. Hopefully, it will easy some of the fears when he meets us in person, and it lets him know he has a family that is coming for him! The orphanage staff kindly took a few pictures of him receiving it and the little bear we sent. Here he is pointing at John-Michael and Vivian's picture. Isn't it so so sweet! We are coming baby!
And lastly, we are running out of time as the family of the week here http://give1save1asia.blogspot.com/2012/10/new-week-new-family-ohler-fam.html
We are so grateful for all those who have already given and have shared the link. If we could really get this shared.....if everyone and their friend all gave a small amount, we could make our goal. We all have lots of friends, especially on the social networking sites....If  just 800 people, and that isn't that many, gave $25 we would meet our goal.....but truly every dollar counts and goes straight to our adoption.... also Christmas is coming and we have great t-shirts and cookbooks that would make great gifts. We are so very thankful for each one of you. Most importantly to our family, pray for us! It means more than anything else. Blessings!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Whackamole

We had a great but busy weekend. Olivia had first meeting as Junior Interpreter at our local Environmental Learning Center on Saturday morning. It is a wonderful place to learn about the Florida lagoon systems, and works at teaching all about the animals, fish and plants native to our area. We are blessed to live in a really beautiful area of Florida. Olivia represents our local homeschool association, and I am so proud of her. She helped teach a seining adventure in our local river. I wish I had been there to get pictures of her.

After that, I picked her up, and we went to a local Fall festival. We had a wonderful time. We enjoyed free bbq lunch, and games, and bounce houses. We were able to spend time with some of our oldest friends too! Vivian and Gideon really got into the games when they realized the prizes were candy, lol.

While we were at Fall festival, Michael was home working on our house with some of the teen boys from our church. They were participating in the 30 hours of Famine www.30hourfamine.org
They wanted to work on a short service project, and they kindly offered to help Michael here at our home. They did a great job working on the outside of the house, and it was such a gift to us.

Sunday morning was Sunday school and church, and we all thought tacos sounded yummy for lunch. Tacos are a fun, and quick after church lunch. Michael and I love having guacomole with our tacos. Abram was saying he didn't want to try the "green" stuff, lol. He did try it though, and he loved it. The next thing I know, he's exclaiming how he loves that "whack a mole" stuff! Ah hahahaha. It was so cute! I couldn't bring myself to correct him. I'm not sure how he thinks the game he loves connects to avocado dip, but he sure is cute when he says it.


Started out our busy morning with labs for Vivian today. Then realized she was lower than I was expecting. I thought we'd be transfusing her Thursday. That lead to us trying to get everything in order to transfuse tomorrow, so as not to have go on Wednesday. Vivian is turning 4 on Wednesday! And she is so excited about it, and about taking cupcakes to her Cubbie class that night. While we try to enjoy our transfusion days, spending the day driving to/from the hospital(2hrs each way) and then getting an IV etc just isn't her idea of birthday fun. Unfortunately, at this point we aren't sure if they can have the unit of blood ready by the morning, so we will see. If we have to go on her birthday then we will just try to make it as fun as possible.

Lastly, we are blessed to be the featured family this week on this awesome blog. http://give1save1asia.blogspot.com/ The idea is to give a small amount, even 1 dollar, and then to share the link with all your friends. Small amounts that most people would never miss, when multiplied by all our friends can become an amazing gift. If even 200 (most of us have at least 200 friends on facebook, right?) gave $5 it would be a thousand dollars! I see all sorts of crazy and sometimes silly things go viral on facebook, etc..... Please share this link, and lets get this viral, in a great way. It will make a big difference in our lives and for Georgia and Calvin. Thank you!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trust.

 We were notified that one of the grant applications we had applied for has been declined. They were kind, and wished us the best, but the number of requests for help far outweighs the amount of funds they have to give. Sigh. I had really high hopes for this one, as it offered interest free loans, and we had hoped that would be a great way for us to be able to complete our adoptions. We can pay payments back without issue, but to have $40,000 in less than a year.....not so much.

When I read the email, I'll be honest and say, I was a little afraid. We still have so far to go, and not that much time(although on the other hand it seems like forever to get to hold Georgia and Calvin). I mean, these are my children. I love them. I hate that we are missing all these days,weeks, months with them. And I'm not sure yet, what we are going to do. I know that many, many people would say that we are completely crazy for having started this journey, not knowing where all the money would come from. If you don't share our beliefs, then I could totally understand that.

 But that's the thing. Our beliefs, our relationship with God, defines everything about our lives. And we talk about faith a lot. Faith is easier when the stakes aren't so high. Faith that the weather will be good for the festival, or that we'll catch the plane, or whatever isn't so hard, but what about when it means you trust God, when you can't see a possible way and he asks you to do it anyway? Whew. That is hard. My Bible study has been doing the Beth Moore study called the Inheritance. The second session was a great study on Abraham and Issac. God promised him in his old age, after many years he would have a son. Then he waited 25 years to fulfill the promise. And Abraham had faith. Then, that beloved son Isaac, God told him to go and sacrifice him. Can you imagine? Really think about taking your baby, one you had waited for 100 years, your ONLY son, and sacrificing him yourself. Giving up your child. And yet Abraham had faith. You see he believed God's promise that he would have descendents greater than the stars, but yet God was now asking him to do something that would make that impossible. God was saying trust me. And Abraham did. Hebrews 11:17-19 says By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. It looked impossible, but Abraham just kept walking forward in faith, even when he couldn't see a way.

 I think there is a fine line between faith and irresponsibility.

I know some people think our adoptions are irresponsible. I understand that, and it's ok. But I believe that God asks his people, really asks, to do hard things. To step out of the boat. Things that to human eyes and hearts seems crazy, or maybe irresponsible. So that he can show us that we really can trust him, and to bring him glory. That's why I'm here. To serve him and reflect his glory. I know in my heart God asked us to step out of our comfortable boat. We had six kids already. We already adopted. Life was finally fairly settled. And he said, open your hearts, and trust me. We didn't qualify anymore to adopt from China. We had to ask for two waivers, and yet God opened those doors. So here we are...7 months into our journey, and honestly, I'm looking forward to being on the other side. You know, where I share the amazing story of how God worked to bring home Georgia and Calvin. I'm hanging on to him for dear life. Because he is faithful, and and I'm trusting him.
By the way, while I was still checking my emails this am, just after texting with Michael about the denied grant, our daily verse email came. We get a daily verse from Zondervan in our email each day. This was today's
 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inching Forward

In the world of international adoption, you have to compile a dossier. It is composed of all the official documents that verify what you have already told the country you are adopting from. Birth certificates, marriage certificated, health exams, your entire homestudy, reference letters, employment forms, adoption application, background checks, immigration approval and a few I'm forgetting. They all have to be notarized, and then the notary has to be certified by the Secretary of State that it originated from, so if you have lived in multiple states, then you have multiple state background checks and they all have to be certified from those states, or birth certificates, etc... once you have those done, and ours took 3! tries, because the Secretary of State in Florida has recently become rather persnickety about notary language. Forms that were exactly the same that we used for Vivian's adoption two years ago, were rejected this time :(  We finally got that ironed out and then, they all have to go to the Chinese consulate assigned to your state, which for us meant Houston, except Michael's birth certificate, which got to go to Chicago. The consulate then verifies that the Secretary of State seal of certification, that verified the notary's seal, is indeed valid. And then! then you can send the entire package of precious documents to China to be logged in and then start the translation and  review process. We were so excited to finally be DTC (dossier to China) last month. We had been waiting to hear our hear our LID(Log in Date), and honestly, based on the vast majority of other families on the same general timeline as ours, had expected to be logged in within a week of it's arrival. Our dtc date was 9/6/12, so I was guessing maybe the 11th, or even the 18th at the latest, but we hadn't heard yet. When we finally heard the date yesterday, it was 10/8/12. I will be honest and say I almost cried. I am glad we finally are logged in. It is still progress. It's just that nothing happened from 9/6 to 10/8. You see, you aren't even in line for translation, and review, so you can move on to the next step (LOA) until you get logged in. So for those weeks, whatever the reason for the delay, that time was zero progress. I had been thinking we were logged in like all the other families who sent their dossiers at the same time, and thinking we were a little over a  month into our wait, and in reality it's only been a week.And I was sad. I just want to hold them. I want to know they are safe. I want to be grafting them in, adjusting to a family of 10.  Now, Michael, he doesn't waver. He is disappointed, maybe, but not bothered because he knows God is in control of it all. That God already knows exactly the moment and day we will hold our children in our arms. And he doesn't struggle in it. He doesn't analyze the whys, and the should have beens, and the it's not fair. I do though. I believe in my deepest soul that this is God's story. I know He has it under control. I believe He is into the details, and our dossier isn't sitting at the bottom of the pile, unknown to Him. But I still had a hard time with it yesterday, I kept thinking about it. Last night, I woke up about 4am, and immediately, I thought of this song. It was like God just played it right then out of the blue for me. And I knew, and I was reassured.  He's got this. He loves Calvin and Georgia more than I ever could. And he loves me. And this is His story, that I get to be a part of, and He isn't distracted, lol. He will move the papers at his timeline, and will provide what we need to bring them home. These mountains to me, the paperwork, and the funds we need, I can't fix. It just isn't in my control. And while sometimes it is hard realize that, I am so thankful, that I have a Father who is in control of it all.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I love Florida in the fall!


I can't believe I haven't posted in a week. I promise I will try to do better. Maybe just little quick posts about what happened that day? In the last week, we had Gideon's birthday. I can't believe he is three now! Technically, for about two weeks, we have 3 three year olds! Georgia is 3.5, and Vivian is 3 for 9 more days. She is crazy excited about her birthday. It is fun to watch, because last year, was her first birthday at home, and she didn't understand it. She didn't know about unwrapping presents, or cake or any of it. This year, she completely gets it, lol. Everyday, she says, "How bout that for my birthday?" It might be a toy, or purse, or candy, or cake, or you get the idea, lol.  Gideon was pretty low key about his, and was happy with his chocolate gummy worm cupcakes. The day after his birthday we hosted a bbq lunch at our church, after services. Lots of friends and family helped us. Michael did the pulled pork which was excellent, and I made our secret sauce. We fed around 200 people ! It was a great fundraiser, still waiting on the church to tally up the funds though. After several requests, I canned some of our sauce last week, so if you are interested let me know. We are asking $5 a jar. We spent most of the week catching up on some school work, and at our awesome co-op (one day I will post just about that) and then on Friday, we took a field trip to the beach. I know some of my friends already have snow, but we are blessed to live in Florida and the weather is gorgeous right now! It was windy, so the beach was kind of rough, so we spent most of our time at a tidal pool, off to the side, and had a wonderful time. Headed off to Bible study now, and the kids have sewing class, so a few pictures! Thank you for reading about our family! We have the cookbooks and t-shirts now too, so check out that tab at the top of the blog :)







That was some really good bbq!If I do say s0 :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bonnie and Clyde

Almost two years ago, when Vivian joined our family, it was an adjustment for everyone. The biggest adjustment though was for Vivian and Gideon. Vivian for obvious reasons. Her whole world had changed in an instant. She didn't know what it was to be in a family. Gideon was really too young to prepare at 18 months old. He didn't understand, and he wasn't impressed with this new kid in the house. There was a lot of jealousy and some hitting and biting. Slowly though, we all made room. And Vivian and Gideon found a new normal, and realized that there was room for both of them. That we loved them both dearly. And after a few months, they were friends.

Now, they are best buddies.Yesterday, Vivian, Hamilton, and I were gone all day for her transfusion.  When we walked in the door last night, they hugged and Gideon told her, he missed her! So sweet. Oh what a difference time makes.
They are always together these days, usually cooking up some sort of mischief, lol. Hence the title Bonnie and Clyde. I think it fits them well.

Feeling especially blessed today :)

"Are you really going to wear that bucket as a hat, Didi(little brother)?" 
Notice she has all her accessories, lol.

 How sweet are they?
 Helping pick out Grandma's new glasses. These look pretty nice!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is the second most popular holiday, just after Chinese New Year. It is kinda like having Thank sgiving. Some of the activites are Eating mooncakes, traditionally consisting primarily of lotus bean paste. Drinking tea. Matchmaking. In some parts of China, dances are held for young men and women to find partners. "One by one, young women are encouraged to throw their handkerchiefs to the crowd. The young man who catches and returns the handkerchief has a chance of romance." Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns. Fire Dragon Dances. Solving riddles, or miyu in Mandarin Chinese, usually written on slips of paper and pasted on the lanterns. Moon rabbit is a traditional icon. There is lots of food, and some fun stories. We try to take the good part of the traditions, the things that work with our beliefs and work them into our life. We all enjoy the stories, and food. The time together. Instead of burning incense to gods that we know aren't true, we spent time together outside looking up at the beautiful autumn moon. Discussing how magnificent the universe that our one true God created. It was an incredibly bright moon, beautiful moon. I just couldn't get a great picture of it. We spent the afternoon cooking, think thanksgiving only more complicated, because I am far from a great Chinese cook! It was a lot of fun, and everything turned out good. We made mooncakes from scratch for the first time. Using this recipe. http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/moon-cakes-made-fresh-and-flavorful They turned out really well and tasted much better than ones I've bought in the tins at our Asian market before. Of course, that could have something to do with the salted duck egg that is inside most of those. I just can't get past that texture/flavor. These had a really nice filling. We also made eggrolls, and oven fried them. Not quite the same deep fried goodness, but still really good and much better for us. We had pot stickers, sticky rice, lemon chicken, and baby bok choy. So good. We want to weave parts of the Chinese culture, and traditions as part of our life. Not some big out of the ordinary thing, but that it will just blend as part of our life and enrich our family, just like Vivian. Now some fun pictures. This is Olivia working on the mooncakes.
We didn't have a real mooncake mold, and so we used a spongebob sand toy mold!
Silly boys waiting for dinner!
The finished mooncakes, not much of the spongebob impression left, but still fun. And the moon, but doesn't do it justice.