Our FOUR Little Ducks (formerly Our Three Little Ducks :)~

I'm a mom to FOUR amazing kids, one of which was adopted from South Korea. Our family is wild and crazy, and REALLY LOUD but lots of fun. Oh, and my new favorite quote is: "HAVING KIDS IS LIKE BEING PECKED TO DEATH BY A DUCK." So so so true.

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Location: United States

I am currently a SAHM, but prior to leaving my job I was a labor and delivery nurse. I really miss work, but I enjoy being home with my kids (most of the time anyway!).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Biological Vs. Adopted children

Ok, granted we've only had Arie home for a week, but I've noticed some differences that I think I could talk about. First of all, I am so blessed to have experienced both child-birth and adoption. They are both SOOO different with good and bad differences combined.

We are having so much fun with Arie. IF you have ever had a child, you know that it takes a little while to bond with them. You don't fall in love with them right off the bat. When I gave birth to Micah (my 2nd child) I was surprised that I wasn't crazy about him from the beginning. In fact, I didn't even think he was all that cute. Looking back at his pictures now, I don't know HOW I didn't think he was cute... he was adorable. But I just hadn't fallen in love with him yet. It took me by surprise. I remember being at the hospital and not really caring if he was in the nursery away from me. I was enjoying my quiet time in my hospital room watching t.v. And although I knew he should be next to me, I didnt' really care. Once we got home, it still took a week or two to fall in love. Nightly feedings are just a pain. And sleep deprivation is horrible.

Arie is my 3rd child, and luckily I knew what to expect. I knew that I wouldn't fall in love with him right off the bat... in fact, I know I'm almost there, but not 100% yet. He is beginning to smile a lot more now, and when I talk to him, he coo's back. So we are almost there.. almost completely in love with each other. Obviously he has to learn to love me too. After all, I am a stranger to him. He didn't get "referral pictures" of me, or health reports, etc. He knew nothing about me until we met in Korea.

During the adoption process I wondered if things would be different with Arie than they had been with my two bio. children. For example, when I would get spit-up on by my first two children it didn't really gross me out. Pee, poop, snot, vomit... as a mom, if it's YOUR OWN CHILD'S body fluid, somehow it's just not as gross as it would be if it were, say, your neighbors child's body fluid. Granted, it's always gross, but when it comes from your own flesh and blood... that you gave birth too... it's just not that bad. I honestly wondered how I would react, or how it would feel the first time Arie spit-up on me, or the first time he rubbed snot on my shirt. I can honestly say that it doesn't bother me any more than when Elaine and Micah did it. Yipee, right?? I'm sure you think this is just an entirely disgusting post. But my point is that I worried that I might have different feelings toward my new son. He didn't grow from me, and naturally that makes me question weather I would really, truly love him equal to his siblings.

I can feel the love for him growing now. Every morning I am more and more excited to see him and he is more and more excited to see me. He's been looking in my eyes more, smiling more, and seems to be adjusting well to our very loud/wild/crazy family. He is even starting to laugh out loud a little. He is becoming a member of our family, and it feels just as natural as it did with Elaine and Micah. I am learning his likes and dislikes, and learning what to do to make him happy. I think he is learning that finally, after four months... he has a mommy. I am so glad that God brought him into our lives.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More Pictures...

More pictures from the batch that we had transfered to a CD. Our camera (with all the others) is still in Seoul!

On the subway
School Girls (all the kids wear uniforms to school)
Off the beaten path. Notice Kimchee pots on balcony.
Decorative painting used on palaces/etc
Ice Skaters at Lotte World
Street Art

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A few more Korea pictures

Welcome to Korea!
First Korean meal
Eating my first "Korean" meal
Street Vendor
At Kukkiwon

Here are a few pictures from our trip. Most of my favorite pictures are on the memory card that is inside of the camera STILL IN KOREA! So happy it was found, but I can't wait to get it back!

Arie is doing great. He has adjusted to the time-change. He sleeps well at night waking about 2 times to eat. He eats about every 3 hours during the day. He is learning to use his arms more (he wasn't using them well at first because of the way he was carried in Korea on his FM's back... his arms were down at his sides). He is also almost rolling from his back to his belly. He gets tired quickly, but there is A LOT of commotion in my house with 3 kids and 4 pets (2 dogs and 2 cats). We are having so much fun with him.

Our biggest problem has been keeping up with bottles. Between Micah and Arie we are going through like 12 bottles a day. We don't have 12 bottles (maybe 10) so we are CONSTANTLY washing them. Pacifiers are also hard to keep up with. Micah uses a paci ALL THE TIME. Not only that, but he likes to hold on e in his hand while he is sucking on the other. Arie started taking a paci on the plane ride home... prior to that he never used one. Now he LOVES it. So between the two of them, we can't keep up with the pacifiers! I should just buy stock in "Nuk".

This coming Friday is Arie's big appointment. We went to the Dr. over the weekend, but just for a small cold and a couple of questions. His full eval. is on Friday. I hope it goes well.

I can't wait to post more pictures of my boy! My father took some on Sunday, so when he sends them to me I will post them. I think there are even some of Arie smiling :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Life with 3 kids

Arie at the airport

Hi everyone! I'm am SO busy with 3 kids... UGH! Going from 2 to 3 is NOT EASY! Anyway, Arie is doing so well. He was AWESOME on the plane. Never really cried much. Everyone was so amazed with him. He did great the first night home, but I think he was just SUPER exhausted. Last night however he was awake from 2-6am . It was awful. Hopefully today we can work on keeping him awake so he will sleep better at night! He's eating alright, but not great. My other 2 kids were excellent eaters, so this is different for me.

Arie is 4.5 months old. He is SO tiny... only 11 pounds. IHe is off the charts (the low end obviously) for weight. He looks like a newborn! He wears size 1 or 2 diapers (depending on the brand) and his 3-6 month clothes are a little baggy. I think he is a little behind with his gross motor development, but I think he'll catch up quickly. Our first DR apt isn't until next Friday. He can roll over from belly to back, but not the other way yet. And he doesn't hold his head up very well when on his belly. I'm not worried though. In our eyes he is 100% perfect!

We're still trying to get a routine established (it's only been 2 days since we've been home). Micah and Elaine are adjusting nicely... we'll mostly Elaine. Micah is still a little jealous, so we've been giving him LOTS of extra attention.

Tomorrow Ben goes to work for a few hours so I will be on my own... keep your fingerws crossed for me!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm Exhausted

We made it home safely! Arie was amazing on the flight. He hardly cried at all. He didn't eat much, but since we've been home he's been doing well. He's such a peanut though... super tiny. Elaine was so excited to see him. Micah, on the other hand wont give me the time of day. He wont even look at me. It makes me so sad, and I feel awful for leaving him for 9 days. Hopefully he will come around soon. Arie LOVES his "nuna" (big sister in Korean). He smiles so much for her. She's been a little overbearing with him, but loves him to pieces.

As for Ben and I, we've had about 5 hours of sleep in the last 40 hours so we are exhausted. We're trying to unpack, but it's not easy with 3 kids! Right now both boys are napping and Elaine is watching a movie, so we're actually making progress.

I promise once things calm down I will update more. We're still trying to get settled in.... AND RESTED!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Goodbye Korea

Although I am so excited to bring Arie home, I feel so much sadness and guilt. I am sad for Korea... sad for the people that will watch me walk through the airport carrying him in my arms, because they will be watching another one of their children go the the U.S. I'm sad for his foster mom who has loved him like her own for over 4 months. I can't even imaging what she is feeling today. I feel so guilty that Arie is going to go through yet ANOTHER traumatic experience in what has so far been a very difficult life. He doesn't deserve it.

In the end, I will offer as much Korean culture to him that I can... which obviously isn't a lot, but I will do my best. We will strive to incorporate the things that we have learned and grown to love about Korea. I will try my hardest to teach him to be proud of his roots, and proud of himself. Leaving Korea is going to be so bittersweet. It will be hard for all of us involved.

Well, tomorrow is our big day! I miss my other two children so much it hurts. I can't wait to have our whole family together. We have enjoyed ever second of our time here in Korea. We have tried to totally immerse ourselves in the culture. We've eaten food that we've never seem before, gone on walks through the poor sections of Seoul, and done all of the "toursity" things too. I've tried to take pictures for Arie that will give him a sense of what life is really like in Korea. I will never be able to fully explain it all to him, but hopefully through some of my photography, video and stories he will get a good sense of Seoul. I hope that he chooses to come back one day.

Next time I post we will be back at home and trying to get settled... it may be a while until I'm able to post again! Thank you for following our journey this far. It has been an amazing experience with so much more to come. Blessings.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

FINALLY some pictures!

Here he is!!! I finally managed to get some pictures on here!!! HE was asleep when we first walked into the room to see him the other day. The FM woke him up though. We won't get to see him again until Monday (today is Saturday in Korea), and these pictures were taken on Thursday morning. I miss him so miss... and my other two children too.

Today we walked up a mountain. It must have been HUNDREDS of stairs to the top. It was totally exhausting, but very beautiful. At the top of the mountain we could see the whole view of Seoul. It was amazing. That took us most of the day. We also bought Arie his fist Hanbok (traditional Korean outfiy) today. It's beautiful... he'll wear it for special occasions his first year. Asside from our first night here where we had to eat Subway (because we were too tired to look further) we have eaten nothing but Korean food. Although, believe it or not, we have a hard time finding Bulgogi (a very popular Korean dish in the U.S.). We've only been able to find it once!

A couple of things I've noticed about Korea:
1. We (and everyone else) use the subway system to get EVERYWHERE!
2. Every 20 feet there is a different smell.
3. The fashion is totally different (think 80's... EVERYWHERE!)
4. LOTS of color... signs, products, clothes, etc. It's so colorful.
5. There is no RedBull (or any kind of energy drink like that!)
6. Shoes are sold at every turn. So many shoe stands!
7. Some of the food they eat here is really different (like crispy WHOLE squid), but most of it is YUMMY!
8. Every time we see a caucasian person we think to our selves... "is he/she adopting?"... it's funny. OF course that's not the case, but the though stil enters our minds.

I'm sure I'll have more later! Tomorrow is Sunday and we are SO EXCITED for Monday... I can't wait to get Arie in my arms again!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You are going to hate me, but we can't get the computer to upload all of our pictures. So sorry! Anyway, Arie is amazing and still SO SO SO small. HE only weighs like 12 lbs. He smiled for me a couple times, but he LOVES his FM. He also loves to jump... A LOT!!! HE is FILLED with energy (just like my other 2) so he will fit right in with our family. It was so amazing walking into the room where he was... he was fast asleep on a blanket on the floor. I was just in awe... we are so blessed that he is our son. What a great feeling.

We wont get to see him again until Monday (today is Thursday) and then we GET him on Tuesday morning right before our flight leaves. We have LOTS of time to go shopping though!!! Today we are going to go to Kukiwon (Tae-Kwon-Do thing), and maybe to Lotte World to buy lots of things.
I'll TRY to post pictures tomorrow!
(BTW- I'm limited on time so that's why these posts are so short!)


We're here! The flight (Korean Air) was awesome... the flight attendants were even better. We've had a few interesting experiences. Here's an example... apparently our toilet is also a bidea (spelling?) well, I don't know that, and as I was standing in front of it trying to figure it out, I hit the "bidea" button and soaked the front of my jeans... ugh.

We tried to go to a resteraunt that served Korea food, but the didn't have any of the dishes we were fimilliar with so we ended up eating at Subway. Oh well. I'm sure we will eat plent of Korean food in the next few days.

Tomorrow morning we meet Arie! I'm so excited. I'll update more with pictures tomorrow!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

And we're off!

In just a few hours we leave for Korea! We are all ready to go. My kids (and dogs)are at my in-law's house. It was so hard saying goodbye, but worth every ache. I can't believe that I will get to hold my son in my arms so soon! I plan on updaing the blog, but since blogger doesn't always co-operate so well, I may not be able to post pictures. I will try my best though!

Next time I write I will be in Korea!!!! YEAH!!!

John Thomas McErlean...a tribute

John Thomas McErlean, Age 39

On the anniversary of 9/11, I believe that everyone should take a moment to remember the lives lost. There were 2996 lives lost that day. Each life was someone's father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, or son. Each life was special, and each life had a purpose.

One of those lives was John Thomas McErlean. He was 39 years old when he died, he was a "New Yorker" from Larchmont, NY. He was a husband, father, and a hard worker... and I have read that he had an "infectious" laugh. He probably liked to play outside with his children on nice days, or take his wife out on a "date" when he was fortunate enough to find a babysitter! He looks like a nice guy... I'm just judging by his picture, but he has a warm smile. Maybe he was the "class clown" when he was younger, or maybe he was the star football player on his high school team. Who knows. But I like to think that no mater what he was like, he was a good person with a good heart... who didn't deserve to die so young.

I hope that on this day, you take a moment and think about all that was lost in those few horrible moments. Not only the lives of so many people, but the spirits of so many others. The country changed, world views changed, and our nation pledged to move forward... I'd like to think we have.

Outside of my house I have an American Flag blowing in the breeze. That flag wasn't put up today though... it's been up. I personally don't feel that there has to be a "reason" to hang up the flag (i.e. Memorial Day, Independence Day, 9/11 anniversary). I think the flag should always fly as a symbol of the pride we have in our country, and to honor all of those who have served our country...including my father and my husband. I am a PROUD American. I am PROUD to fly my flag, and PROUD to show my patriotism. I'd like to think that John Thomas McErlean and the other 2995 lives lost that day would agree with me.

Here is a link to a website with a mission of honoring all 2996 lives that were taken on September 11, 2001. I learned about John Thomas McErlean at that site. I hope you can take some time out of your day to go to that site and read about some of the men, women, and children who died that day. I'm sure John's family, and all of the other families would appreciate it.

God bless the McErlean family on this 5 year anniversary... God bless the other 2995 families... and God bless America.

**Edited to say: I just found this link with more information on John. Please keep him and his family in your prayers today.

Friday, September 08, 2006

:) :) :) :) :) !!!!!!TRAVEL CALL!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

At 9:21 this morning our phone rang. It was the first phone call of the day. I was sitting on the couch pouting, and Ben was sitting next to me making fun of me. Anyway, the phone rang and we both looked at each other. I refused to answer it, because I was sure it wasn't "the call". Ben got up, grabbed the phone and read the caller I.D. It said "PRIVATE". Ugh... my heart broke again. Well, turns out our SW was home with her sick child so she called from her house!!! This was the conversation I heard:

Caller: blah blah blah
Ben: Yes, this is Ben.
Caller: Blah, blah, blah
Ben: Great, how about you? (I was clued in here that this could be "the call" because Ben never says "great".)
Caller: Blah blah blah.
Ben: Ok, just a second. (Then Ben puts the phone on speaker and says "go ahead")
Me: uncontrollable sobbing, without the ability to speak.

Quickly Ben took the phone off of speaker, and got the rest of the information. I think I cried for the next 10 minutes without taking a breath. I still can't believe we finally got our travel call.

We made our flight reservations and we are leaving Tuesday. We will be gone for a week, but we will return with our BEAUTIFUL SON!!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I hope my agency doesn't "disown" me!

I swear they must think I'm a loon-e-toon! Well, today I e-mailed them and Ben called them (we didn't' know the other was already trying to contact the agency). So, they answered my question, and I left them alone the rest of the day.

Tonight I found out that a family on my forum, using both ASIA and EASTERN got their travel call. While I"m SUPER THRILLED for them, I'm also bummed because their referral was 1 MONTH after ours!!! I can't figure out why they got their call first. Since I'm now worried there is a problem with Arie's visa, I e-mailed ASIA again. I hope they don't commit me!!!

I've decided that the adoption process brings you back to your childhood days... but not in a good way. I am SO impatient, and I can't believe the ridiculous feelings that I feel when someone after me (on the waiting list) gets their call... I am so disappointed in myself.

In spite of these feelings, I keep trying to remind myself that things could be worse. My life is amazing, and I am very blessed... I don't ever forget that.

The death of Steve Irwin

Before I get into my own life, I wanted to talk about the death of Steve Irwin (aka The Crocodile Hunter). I was so saddened to hear about his death. He was such an amazing person who had devoted his life to helping animals. I am a HUGE animal lover (all animals) and I think I only have a .10 of the passion that he had. My children have enjoyed watching him on t.v. as have I. He had such an amazing passion and spirit about him. He was an amazing father to his two children Bindy and Bob, and such a genuine person. As I type this my daughter is watching a "Wiggles: Safari" video with him in it. My prayers are with his family at such a tragic time.

Well, I think hope is lost for today. It's already 11:45 and still no travel call. I think the agencies normally call in the A.M, though occasionally they do call later. We are about 70% packed now... tonight we will finish up.

The reason we thought the call would come today is because even though ASIA said it may take 1-2 weeks for the visa to get issued, I know of A LOT of people who have only waited a day or two for their visa to get issued. Also, a lot of people get their travel call right after their visa is issued... some even the same day. We think our visa was issued last week... so we TOTALLY expected our travel call today. I'm so depressed that we haven't heard anything yet :(

This is definitely the worst part of the process. Talk about living on the edge... we are ready to leave on a moments notice.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Welcome Home" sign & Gifts

Here is the sign that we made for Arie's homecoming. The "flags" are made out of Elaine and Micah's handprints.

I also thought I'd share pictures of the gifts we are bringing to Korea. My father-in-law is an amazing woodworker, and he made these 7 pens for us. They normally retail for around $70, so hopefully the recipients will enjoy them. Also, one of my friends collected money from her family, and with it I purchased the items for Eastern Baby's Home. EBH is where the babies placed for adoption go for the first couple weeks of their lives prior to being placed in foster care. My neighbor donated the items from Chincoteague, VA. Here is a list of our gifts:

- Handcrafted wooden pens (for Foster Dad, and various people at Eastern)
- 4 boxes of stationary from Papyrus (for Foster Mother and various people at Eastern)
- Book of Virginia (for Foster Dad)
- 6 bottles of infant Tylenol (for Eastern Baby's Home)
- 12 sleep/play outfits (for Eastern Baby's Home)
- Enfamil Cleft Palate Bottles (for Eatern Baby's Home)
- Wooden pineapple bowl... the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality in the U.S.(For foster mother)
- Iron pineapple trivet (for Foster Mother)
- 12 small boxes of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (for staff at Eastern, and extra small gifts)
- Willow Tree angel hugging littel boy (for Foster Mother)
- Keepsake double sided engraved silver plated frame with pictures of Arie and Foster mother. (for Foster Mother)
- 10 Washington D.C. magnets (for staff at Eastern, and extra small gifts)
- 5 bottles of hand lotion (for staff at Eastern and extra small gifts)
- 5 lip gloss sets (for staff at Eastern)
- Can of Virginia Peanuts (for Foster Family)
- Glucosamine (for foster mother... vitamins adn glucosamine are expensive in Koera and very appreciated as gifts)
- Three bottles of Virginia made Honey.
-Items from Chincoteague, VA (salt water taffy, note pad, stationary, dish towel)

I have had so much fun collecting these items. Almost all of the items were made in the U.S.A., and many were made in Virginia. There is also special meaning behind many of these things. I can't wait to hand them out to everyone!
*******OK, I hate blogger. I can't EVER get my pictures on here! I'll try again later******