Fall in Seoul

I love fall! It’s cool in Korea so that means no more tank tops for this southern girl.  But here, that means pull out all of your big coats and bundle up.  It’s just fall, y’all, not winter. The leaves are changing and it’s really beautiful here.  My dear hubby bought me a little pumpkin and my dear friends (here and in Mississippi) bought me some fall decorations. Now I can decorate! Pumpkins, leaves and well, that’s about it. Decorating for fall is not high on Korea’s list. Maybe I could carve a sweet potato.

Hanging pumpkins!

Hanging pumpkins!

My brain is on overload from a conference I’m attending.  Report cards come out soon and we’re about to start the 2nd quarter. This school year is going by fast! Jacob has asked every day what we’re doing for Halloween.  Sad to say, probably a bit fat nothing. I’ll find him some candy so he’ll be happy.  Julianna loves kindergarten but is exhausted everyday. She has more good days than bad but she’s still adjusting.  It’s hard for a little Korean girl! The boys are doing their thing and still enjoying school.  IMG_2039

Here is my challenge to you:  learn about trauma in kids.  Learn about transition with adoption.  Read about how trauma affects learning.  For the sake of all the kids who didn’t get a fair start, please do it.  Nothing hurts a mama’s heart more than when their baby is not understood.  And as a reminder, adoption is not all sweet and cute.  There is so much loss and confusion.

Thankful for big brothers.

Thankful for big brothers.

We are thankful for friends here who love on our girl.  (the boys opt out of being loved on!) We are enjoying Korea and venturing out more and more. And we bought a car!  We’re adjusting to life here and feeling more at home.  And we bought a table! We look forward to going to the states in December.

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KIA

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Happy fall, everyone, and be sure and hug someone you love today!

Happy Fall from the Garricks!

Happy Fall from the Garricks!

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Time Flies!

Keeping up with blogging has taken a backseat to life as a family of 5! Three kids have turned out to be way more than 2!:) Julianna has been home for 9 months. Her language has improved so much lately….she’s doing well in her new preschool class and is as energetic as ever. So much energy!
The boys changed schools this year. Caleb really likes it (8th grade!?!) and Jacob is warming up to his new class/teacher. He does like being right next door to me, though, so that helps. Speaking of me, I have never been more exhausted as I was Friday evening! So tired!! I already love my kids but I’m not gonna lie….it’s hard work. Hard and fun!
Nothing else to say so I’ll post a few summer pics.

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Fast Summer

School starts next week! I’m not ready for summer to be over. These are a few of our summer fun pics….

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Silly fun, zoo, pools, park, camp, dancing until mom showed up, brothers.
Oh, and they fixed their own lunch one day.
We’ll have a 4th and 7th grader next week! It gets better and better.

Summer Fun! (ignore the whining children…)

No new adoption news.

Moving right along….

The boys and I have been enjoying the nice weather.  Enjoy the mini photo dump:)

Paddleboats and sunburns!

Paddleboats and sunburns!

Yes, I’m hot, too!!!

20130708-192331.jpgPretty sure the ducks thought we had food…we did not.

Very HOT slide:)
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Really? You’re hot??

A little swimming...

A little swimming…

And, of course, they were told to move away from the ladder in case one of the other 5 people may want to get in the pool. Whatever.

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Jacob jumping–big stuff, folks!

20130708-191932.jpgMy therapy session.  You’re welcome.

We love summer!!!! We love summer!!!! We love summer!!!!

and we’re ready for Dad to come home. the end.

(and the kids really weren’t that whiny…I think that was me)

The Sun Is Out-Yay!

Quick update on our week…..

I ate 4 cherry tomatoes from my plant today.  The only 4 that made it.

We are in the middle of PFO, which is pretty busy and fun.  Always nice to see the new teachers who are going overseas.

Sean’s out of town for 2 more weeks.  3 weeks is about 2 1/2 weeks too long.

The boys are loving summer time, even though we’ve not done a lot of “exciting” stuff.  They’ve both been eating like crazy so I anticipate a growth spurt and the need for new shoes soon. They’re ready to go to Korea because we’ve promised to do fun stuff there;) And they’re ready for their sister to come home, too, of course! They’ve been asking good questions, like, how will she know where to go to the bathroom? (we’ll show her) How will we know what food she’s allergic to? (not everyone is blessed with food allergies, guys) Can she drink our water? (uhhh?)

We are waiting on court dates now. Still looks like a few more months before we bring her home, but progress, people, progress.

I’m in a good mood today because I’ve been able to be soak up some sunshine.  I don’t have any full length mirrors in my house and I’m glad.  Sometimes you just don’t need to be reminded.  So there.

That’s all, folks!

I’m Now A Blue Jays Fan!

It’s exciting to see someone that you love have their dream come true! Evan was drafted on Friday to the Toronto Blue Jays and gone (way too) early Saturday morning! Off to rookie camp in Florida.

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He had a bunch of family and friends come and celebrate with him.  He’s worked really hard for this and we couldn’t be more happy for him. His Dad was a huge sports fan, so it only makes sense that he and Jordan are, too.  They’re a ball lovin’ family!  We were all biting our nails Friday waiting to hear what was happening.  I mean, everyone but Evan. He was snoozing.  He’s a low key kinda guy.

What a difference a summer makes!

I think it was last year at the expo that he realized he was really THAT good…

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Looks like we may be driving to Canada to watch baseball, eh??

Autism Awareness Again!

Well, hello there!  I wrote a guest post  {<<–click to read} at Love Without Boundaries, which is really a blog about adoption and orphan advocacy BUT they asked if I would write about special needs.  Yes, please!  I would love for you to take a look and while you’re there,  see how you can get involved with orphan advocacy.

Here’s an Autism tidbit for you…..after all, it is Autism Awareness Month, remember? Yesterday, I wrote about our experience with Jacob.  However, not every parent of a child with Autism has the same experience.  Autism is hard. It’s a lot of work. It’s frustrating. It’s scary. It’s draining. Some children have major issues with communication, eating, socialization, etc. To the point that their families feel isolated.  I want to be respectful of my fellow mamas and daddies out there. No 2 children with Autism are the same. Remember that Autism is a spectrum disorder? You can have varying extremes of sooooo many issues.  So, while our experiences aren’t necessarily the same, the love for our children is. We all want the best for our children, right? Parenting is never quite what anyone expects.  For me, it’s far greater than I could have imagined.

If you know of a family who is struggling, reach out to them.  Send them a note. Drop off a meal. Offer to babysit for an hour or 2 so they can get out of the house. Without their kids! (but don’t be offended if they say no–sometimes, the offer is good enough)  Let that family know that you care.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:33-36

Autism Awareness Month, Y’all!

Hey, you know someone with Autism, so it’s time to learn a little more about it! We heard “yes, it’s Autism” when our child was 5. It’s scary to hear. There are many variances within the Autism spectrum. If on the milder end of the spectrum, it’s called PDD-NOS or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. Yep. Now you know why we use acronyms. (update: by the way, PDD-NOS is no longer a diagnosis.  just Autism.  whatev.)

Many with any degree of Autism have sensory and social issues. Like,  being super sensitive to sound, light, crowds, foods, people, etc. And not ever being overly social. (or being way too social) BUT, we’ve all worked REALLLLY hard –and are seeing great improvements, like being a lot more social now. Also, the ability to tolerate way more foods and situations than in the past is possible. It is possible to see improvements and it is possible to cope better.  Not possible to “cure.”

What has worked for us?  Lots of gentle exposure.  Key word, gentle. Do not throw your child out there with the attitude of “well, they have to learn how to function in this world!” It is OUR job as parents to help our children and guide them, lovingly. Food issues were dealt with in the same way. With age, this has gotten better and we can have more than green beans as a vegetable. Also, we have documented food allergies/intolerances.  Gut issues are common with people who have Autism, so please take it seriously.  I promise we’re not trying to be difficult by asking for a specific type of milk. Some kids cannot have corn products. We have wheat problems. It varies, just like our kids. Speech and language therapy helped, Occupational Therapy helped and a social skills class helped.  Yep. Social skills.  Reading social cues and situations is very difficult for many. Help them know how to respond.  Role play. Give them words.

My biggest wish for you? Learn about Autism. Learn how it affects those with the diagnosis. Don’t be scared to ask questions. (ask me if you want an answer!  you know I love to talk, so ask away!) Believe me, people with Autism know they are different.  And no 2 people with Autism are alike. It affects everyone differently, hence the “spectrum”.  They can’t help that certain things are very overwhelming to them, even though you think it shouldn’t be.  You know what? When you hug me and I don’t know you, it makes my skin crawl.  Smelling meat frying makes me nauseated.  We are all so similar in our uniqueness. Just take my word for it……it’s not a discipline issue.  Of course, above all else, kids are kids, so they act like kids. A little girl or a little boy with Autism. A little girl or little boy who is funny, smart, a little brother or sister.

One more thing…..when people say, “I don’t think I could handle having a child with a disability. Or Autism. Or special needs. Or _____ -you fill in the blank. God knew you could handle this.” Or, my least favorite, “God gives special children to special moms.” It’s really not a compliment.  For one, of course you could handle it. You can handle anything you want to handle. You were created that way. Don’t underestimate yourself. Secondly, it’s kinda like you’re saying you’re glad it’s my child and not yours. But I get it….I’m glad God gave me my child, too! I’m no more special than any other Mama.  I’ve just chosen to embrace my life that I’ve been given. You can, too.

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Spend a few minutes reading about Autism Spectrum Disorders today…..do it for me! Really, do it for yourself.  After all, it is World Autism Awareness Day! Blue is the official color!

Autism Speaks has info about adult services, community connections and health and wellness tips.

TACA has lots of good info about treatments, including diet suggestions and signs/symptoms of Autism.

Your state should have information, too.  Check the department of education if your child is age 3 or older.

FYI, many people with Autism do not want to be FIXED. They embrace their uniqueness and want to be accepted, just like you and I want to be accepted for who we are.

Show a little grace to those mamas and daddies  just hearing the words “your child has Autism.” It’s a blow.  Learn with them and show them some love. They’ll need it! We all do.

 

{linked with Holley’s blog today because advocating for all children IS my dream!}