Friday, November 15, 2013

Of Vaccines

I will start this post with noting that I am not without bias.  I have chosen to vaccinate my children and there is at least one vaccine that I will probably not give my children when the time comes.  My mind could be changed on that vaccine if the data changes.  Also I have friends that I respect greatly that have chosen not to vaccinate.  What bothers me in the vaccine debate is that those of us debating whether to vaccinate or not have rarely or never seen these diseases.  So my post today is to encourage you to get first hand information about what these disease look like.  We need to do this because with our free choice to vaccinate or not it makes it possible for us to see these diseases in the future.  Especially as the number of us that choose not vaccinate increases the risk becomes more possible.  Take for example, the recent out break of measles in Texas, the 10 confirmed Syrian paralysis cases from  polio, and in 2012 the over 48,000 confirmed cases in the US of whooping cough(source CDC)  makes the possibility of your child developing one of these disease possible if not probable.  Now a person must decide if what can happen from the disease is worse, than the risk they perceive exists with the vaccine.

As you make this decision, I would encourage you talk to people have seen the diseases for real.  I am not talking doctors and healthcare professionals alone though they are great sources.  The first vaccine was introduced in 1952.  Find people that grew up before that date.  They may be your parents or grandparents.  Take Diphtheria, Influenza type B, Measles, Mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and tetanus ask them if they remember seeing any cases or deaths from these disease.  Ask them what an iron lung was and if they knew any one that developed long term effects or even died from these diseases.  It is easy say we don't want something when we have never seen a child with this disease.

 Second, look at treatment options if the child gets the disease.  Are willing to give your child the particular treatment or deal with the fact that there may be no treatment for that disease if they get the disease.  Polio has no treatment besides treating symptoms.  With measles are you willing to risk your child being the 1 in 1,000 that gets encephalitis(data from Mayo Clinic website).  Are you willing to be the mom of a child with whooping cough must be informed of the risk infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) from the drugs used to treat the disease(one source CDC).

I would encourage each person to look at each vaccine and ask the following questions.
1.  What does does this disease mean for me and my child if we get it?
2.  Are benefits of the vaccine worth the risks of the vaccine?
3.  How do I feel about the treatments or lack of available for this disease?
4. Are there other ways to prevent this disease?

I have not addressed the cons of vaccines in this post but I suspect from all the posts I have seen lately on Facebook that you can find the other side without much problem.  Whether you choose to vaccinate or not please make an educated decision.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Post Placement #2

We had to have a family picture. So here is one of the silly ones.

We painted our gourds and pumpkins for the fall.  The boys had fun raking leaves and then jumping in them.  They taught Angela how to jump right in the pile.  We all had fun.  Today we had our second post placement visit.  It is always a great deal of hard work and I will admit I call in help from a local person to help me clean.  The boys get to get out of school early and our caseworker drives down.   With the Philippines they want lots of pictures so we have been sending 8 to 10 pages of electronic pictures.  It has helped me be more conscious of getting pictures which probably would not of happened so much with child number 3.  I can say  that Angela is picking English amazingly quickly and everyone is adjusting well.  Andrew struggled the most but has decided that for being little and girl she is pretty nice.  Aaron likes to dress her up and they like to play on the swing set together.  Angela had her first snow experience.  She has declared cold and isn't quite sure what to do with it.  So that is where things stand.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Silly video collection

These are a few videos that I found on the camera.  They are all silly and some are old but I hope that you enjoy them.  The first is Angela riding on the parents toy horse.  I rode on it as a child and I think every grandchild has as well. 
Aaron and Sophie doing the post playing in the water shiver together.
The next two are playing in the leaves the kids raked. Most of them blow away but they had a great time.
Enjoy the silly videos.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I have read several articles in the last week that have made me think about value.  What does it mean to have value and in today's society.  I think that sometimes we fear that what we have placed value in isn't valuable after all.  Thus if someone tells us that they value something else then we have vitriolic response.  We write their thoughts and feelings off as crazy and not worth the listen.  Maybe we assume they are uneducated or too educated to get it.  However there are somethings of value that are unchanging but there are other things that are valued differently by different people and that is okay.

You may not may not like my list but here it is things of value that are unchanging.  First, is our value to God.  He gave up His only son for us so we as human beings are valuable.  Truth is valuable and unchanging.  This is what makes it valuable; truth is unchanging.  I am not going to get into what is truth but let us simply say that truth is absolute.  Love without motives is valuable and unchanging.  Justice is valuable if imperfect.  We could probably go on but you get the idea.

Now comes things that are important but shouldn't be more valuable but sometimes are placed in that spot.  Maybe it is staying home with our children or being in the workforce.  Both valuable and both should not be demeaned. But often those on either side make one or other so valuable that they are willing to call names at the other side or demean or write off what they do as nothing.

Maybe you recycle or don't recycle and you have written those that do as crazy tree huggers or nasty industrialists.  But if you look beyond the name calling you can find value in both sides as long as you keep the things of true value at the top of the list you can see value in those who choose to do something different from you.

The government shutdown has brought out all types of name calling.  Each side writing the other off as crazy tea partiers and those crazy liberals.  I don't have a problem with each side standing their ground but writing each other off is where I have the problem.  The articles we read and the news we hear is not whether they are doing what is best for the country but who is going to be blamed and who wins.

Debate has value and differing views have value but please do it with respect.  If we don't, we stop listening to each other.  Each of us has value that is in the unchanging.  We owe it to each other to listen to each other and understand we may or may not move them.  We also need to remember our value is not decreased if we have not moved the other person to our side.  But if we have listened and they have listened this has value.

Monday, September 23, 2013


 A visit to the Meadows - my father claims this is better than Culvers.  Whether is it is or not it is good eats.
 Our local playground has gotten some up grades and this is the new swing.  Angela on the regular swing has figured out how to make herself go. Less work for mom and good exercise for Angela.
 We had a super short visit from the cousins but a good time was had by all.  Playgrounds and racing on the track are simple great fun.
 Angela experienced her first baseball game.  She is now trying to use the baseball bat and ball.  This keeps things interesting.
 The boys enjoyed swimming at my parents neighbors.
 Grandpa Barbee and Mimi came to visit right after we came home.  Lucy also came along for the ride.  Angela had initially dubbed all Grandpas, Grandpa Barbee.  She is beginning to figure this out.  We are calling Mimi occasionally to let Angela get her Tagalog fix.  Angela is picking up English like a sponge.
She loves to put things in and out.  Match shapes and use the legos.  She likes accessories but not particularly dolls.  She loves to run and jump and blow bubbles.  Aaron and she play well together and Aaron is very patient.  Andrew wants Angela's attention but wants her to be 8.  So he gets bored quickly when she can't do something.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Language at the Barbee House

When Andrew was learning English people asked how we did it and they are asking again so I thought I would share.  I will not pretend to be an expert in teaching English but I will share what worked for us.  I have to say it is really exciting to watch language build.  In many ways it isn't that different than your infant learning language.  Aaron and Andrew were learning at the same time and they feed off each other.  With Aaron it was just normal progression with Andrew it was survival.

I will first tell you what we don't do.  I don't pick a word or two for the day and work on them.  I put up with some incorrect identifications and language crossovers.  Angela was at first identifying a zebra as a horse.  We called Andrew - Sukhoon Andrew.  It was and is his name.  Eventually it switched to Andrew Sukhoon.  Angela sometimes calls her shoes socks.  We correct it but know what she is trying to say.  This sometimes results in strange word connections.  For example Angela knows the word finger and that she has to hold a finger/hand to walk out in the street.  So she will say finger when she wants to hold a hand and I say finger when I want her to hold my hand.  Is this exactly right no but it works.

What we do is we tend to have a running one sided conversation.  It repeatedly identifies the objects around us.  If we have the word in their language we use it together.  For example, one of Angela's first words was shoes because she used the word zapatos to identify them.  Perry and I know this is the Spanish word for shoes.  So we would say Zapatos shoes whenever we put them on or took them off.  We didn't get into the difference between sandals, flip flops and tennis shoes etc.  Soon she was using the word shoes.  We walk down the road and I identify the trees, the cows, the horses and so forth.  In the car we talk about the colors we see.  At the grocery store we talk about the food we are picking up.  You get the idea.  If we want a particular response, we use it when we do the action.  For example, Up please.  When Angela raised her arms.  I would say up please.  The result these are words she is using now.

We also sing many things.  Both Andrew and Angela have sung before they completely understood what they were saying.  I am told that children's songs and rhymes often teach basics in language.  Take for example Old Mac Donald.  What does he say E-I-E-I-O.  Ever thought about the fact they are vowel sounds.  We sing graces because it is distinguishable from our talking so they know it is a prayer.  Angela almost has all the words to Thank you Father - tune of Father John.  We sing the ABCs when we wash her hands.  You get the idea.

We also build on what they know.  One of my favorite stories was taking Andrew to get the car repaired.  At this point he understood the word hospital because Perry works there and loved cars.  He wanted to know where we were going which was and is very important to him.  I said a car hospital because I knew that he didn't have the word repair shop yet.  Then I said the name for a car hospital is a car repair shop.

We also used a lot of simple picture books like Kika and my first word book.  I also let them watch a little more TV than I do now.  Specifically the letter factory, Baby Einstein, Word World and Baby First/Color Crew.  Your first thought maybe these are too easy for a 3 or 4 year old.  They were great because they focused on one or two things and repeated them over and over.  This was and is great for linking things.

We also ask the question Do you understand hundreds of time.  The positive is that Andrew today still asks what words mean and will often say he doesn't understand.  It sometimes required creative thinking to use words or actions in such a way that he could understand them but it was worth the effort.  We are beginning this with Angela.

So that is how we build language at the Barbee house.  It may be unconventional but it has worked for us.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New family pictures and silly time

 Angela playing in the water.  We forgot the bathing suit.
 Perry power washed the house and made me one very happy woman.
 Angela's foster mom gave her a couple of out fits for her birthday.  I wanted to get a picture of her in it.
 Holt ask for a couple of family pictures so I thought I would share a couple with you.  The boys have only been home from conference since early this morning.

 Here are the three kids.  Angela likes to make a growling sound when she gets her picture taken so she often looks like she is yelling.
 She and Abuela making fish faces and playing with the sunglasses.
 Daddy pile and tickling and zerberts.
Shoulder ride.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some Summer Happenings

 Well once again my garden has gotten away from me but here is a carrot.  It was found when I was rota-tilling the garden.  The boys thought it was cool so we brought in and took a picture.
 Aaron had gotcha day with ice cream cake and family,
 Andrew played flag football and baseball and enjoyed both.
 We vacationed in the mountains of Virginia and did some hiking and cave adventures.
 Paul and Brandy joined us for a couple of days.
 Water, rocks and boys are always a great combination.
 We did a maze and this was a sign at the end of the one of the paths.
 Pre-Angela family picture that turned out well.
Most of the summer has been full of small everyday happenings.  The big news is Andrew went to camp for the first time and I had my first experience as head cook at camp.  We went swimming once and Bradley came to visit.  
And the excitement of the summer there was a rattlesnake in our path when we went hiking one day on our vacation.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome Home

 We came home to this beautiful poster made by the kids at church.  There are many Princess Daisy and Peaches on it.  We also had the official ice cream cake that is a tradition around here.
 This is a picture from the first time we met Angela.  She warmed up to Perry first but since then she has had serious momitis.  But this is how it was with the other two so we are not surprised.
 She likes to color, music and the slide.  She is picking up the language fast.  As expected there is often trouble communicating, but she is already figured out shoes and up please.  The important things.
 This is our visit to ICAB and officially signing papers there.
 Afterwards there was a birthday party.  It involved many of the kids that are being fostering there in Manila with KBF - Holt.  It was a lot of fun.  It was a reminder that each kid has their own story and there are so many stories.
 Here we are cutting the cake.
Angela taking everything in.   Hope you enjoy these few pictures.  We are swimming here, which means we are just trying to function till we find a new normal.  I can already feel a rhythm coming.  It just takes time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Angela Grace

Angela Grace who will be turning 3 next week will be joining our family very soon.  We received the call July 2 that we could fly any time from July 13th forward.  So while I was cooking at camp, Perry bravely took on the flight scheduling and hotel arranging.  We are excited and nervous but know that this is to be.  We are incredibly grateful for all the friends and family who are helping to coordinate the boys while we are gone.  I hope to post some pictures soon.  We are trying to be careful but if you run into us there is probably a picture to share.

Please pray for us as we travel and make this transition.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Welcome Book

Every country and agency have a little different rules of what is acceptable to send to your waiting child.  With Aaron, I made a quilt with pictures of most of the major family members.  This is Anthony's version I can't find a picture of Aaron's and it is now well woren. Quilt
With Andrew we had such little time I sent a little book with pictures of us slid in the sleeves and handwritten notes about us.  With our little girl we were to make a welcome book.  So I went to Walmart online and made a book.  I had never attempted that before but it turned out really well.  I hope that it stayed within the guidelines.  But I want to share a couple of pictures because I got to go thru some to decide what to put in the book.  After it was made, I realized I didn't tell her much about Perry and me.  But the boys and cousins got lots of face time.  So here are a couple of pictures.
 Grandpop taking the kids on a tractor ride.
 The official silly kids picture from picture today for the family.
 Some great extended family pictures.
 Andrew took this picture of Aaron and I love it.
Andrew wearing the sombrero at Azteca.  We are so excited to send her this book and can't wait until she gets to know us in person.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The flashing Neon sign

We thought that a door was opening for the adoption of waiting child.  But after gathering some information we felt we needed some more data to move forward.  When we spoke with our caseworker she was not sure how easy it would be to get this data.  I spent a sleepless night and tears.  I was asking God for a neon sign.  Were we to move forward or just be patient and wait. This wait could be over a year.  I had to go to West Virginia for a church meeting.  As I drove I came to peace with the idea of waiting and trusting God's timing.  Later that day, I called home and Perry said I got my sign.  He had seen a sign with the words Be Patient.  It was a reassurance to trust God's timing.  Needless to say we came to terms with being patient and trusting God's timing.

Fast forward a few days.  We got a telephone call from our caseworker.  She said that we had been matched.  We couldn't believe our ears.  Was this happening, we were supposed to have another year of waiting - yes it was.  Here it was without question our Neon sign and it was flashing.

We have been matched with a beautiful little girl that is a little over 2 and1/2 years old.  We hope to be flying to the Philippines to pick her up in 6 months or less.  We think that we have decided on a name but we are waiting a little while to tell.

We are completing government forms and other paperwork.  We are putting together a welcome book.  This is a picture book to help her learn about us.

Aaron is absolutely thrilled he wanted a sister.  Andrew has decided that she'll be okay.  He wanted a brother.

Our family very excited to add a girl to the mix.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's a...

It's a girl and we will be welcoming her home in about 6 months.  When I have plowed through the paperwork, I will testify to how it was a total God in control thing.

Friday, February 22, 2013

But what if...

I  am going to share something about my infertility journey and if is TMI(too much information) I apologize but maybe it will help someone.  I took a pregnancy test a few weeks ago - NO I AM NOT PREGNANT.  But I thought I would share why and try to explain why.

For most of my adult I have not been normal and every 3 to 4 months for many years I would take a pregnancy test before I took some medication.  I never really thought I would be pregnant when I took these tests they were simply a way of confirming it was okay to take the medication.

Fast forward, we are in the middle of our 3rd adoption and we are beginning to see the end in sight and for the last year I have been relatively normal.  I have not had to take the periodic pregnancy tests or the medication.  I realized that things were not normal a few weeks ago.

That is when my head began to spin and all the possibilities began to swirl.  The question became is this possible and am I crazy. On a side note for those who are not familiar with my story, I have under gone infertility treatments but have never been pregnant.  But on the other side of it was what if it is possible.  They will stop the adoption - and that part of me want to scream NO - NO they can't stop it. But what if...

These are the conclusions I came to because of this recent experience.  Everyone conclusions will be different.

-I still desperately want to adopt my unknown child for which we are waiting.  The thought of someone having us stop the process because of the prospective of a birth child frustrates me.  I know why this is in place and every agency that we have worked with, and there have been 3, this is standing policy.  For me the prospect of a birth child doesn't change my desire for my child that is waiting.  For some it does and that is okay.  If something would happen I hope there are exceptions.

-There is fear involved.  What if I get pregnant and then miscarry.  What if we have told everybody and we all must journey through the pain.  Also when do you tell everybody and is deceptive not to tell the adoption agency till you are 3 months along.

-Hope that the impossible could happen but not obsession.  And a realization that my psyche can handle the unknown.

-Confidence that if it does happen that it is 100% a God thing and I will shout it to the mountain top.

-Finally that I am still okay with a No answer.

So here is where I stand and I know who stands with me.  What will happen in the future I do not know.  But as the song writer puts it -

 I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

I know who holds my hand and more than that He saved me and He will carry me if need be.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Simple Strawberry Creation

I was going to make shortbread cookies from a box. I read the directions butter only or it is not as good.  With no butter in the house this was plan B.

I took refrigerator crescent rolls cut them into six squares.  I put them in the little custard cups.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.  When golden brown put strawberries in the cups top with cool whip.

The boys loved it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

More Summer

Dad wanted to go to Hershey Park with the family for his birthday. So six months after his birthday this was his birthday fun.  The kids had a bunch of firsts and we enjoyed a picnic lunch.
 Here are four of them on the twirly ride.  They thought it was great.  There is not a picture but the 3 A's tried out a mini drop ride and they thought that was great,  They also enjoyed the water show and checked out the little zoo.  But I think that their absolute favorite was the mini and grownup log ride.

A good time was had by all.  And the day ended with a stop at Hoss' which is one of Andrew's most favorite places to eat because they have all different kinds of soup and ice cream.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Summer adventures

 I am so far behind that I am just now sharing some of our summer adventures.  The boys and their cousins enjoyed a trip to the local ballpark.  This is diesel dog.  Grandpop introduced them to the play section.
 To tired boys from too much fun at the grandparents in NC.
 Uncle Gabe creating a rocket.
Aaron cheesing it up.
As it has been snowing and cold.  It is fun to remember when it was warm and they wanted to be outside more then inside and played hours in the water.  I will be bringing you some more warm summer fun.