Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Becoming Fast Friends...

Lily and Cora are becoming fast friends. Lily is in love with her new baby sister and greets her with squeals and giggles every morning.

And I think Cora is equally enamored with her.

Lily is slowly learning to share her toys and that being a big sister comes with responsibility...like showing the new recruit how to use the vacuum.

Lily could kiss and hug that baby all day long if only that wee one would hold still long enough.

Two sisters already building a bond. It's a beautiful thing.

And to think...Cora has a brother and another big sister who can't get enough of her.

I guess we all kinda' fell in love with this girly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mini Me

We have a lot of mothering going on in this house...

and it isn't just by me.

I think someone will make a fabulous mommy someday...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Month Ago Today...

...We arrived via Asian Airlines on US Soil with the newest member of our family.

I can hardly believe Cora has been home for one month already. One month I have been her mama. One month I have walked her tirelessly day and night. One month I have woke up to such a treasure. One month I have had the sheer priviledge of getting to know her. I'm in such awe of Cora. I look at her so many times throughout each day and smile...I can't believe that she is actually here, a part of our family, a Hubler.

Oh, but things aren't quite where we need them to be. No, we're not there yet, Cora and I.  Her love, trust, and affections are worth more than a mere month and I don't expect her to be handing it away to just anyone. Attaching and bonding are at constant work around here. I'm searching for new ways to earn her trust. To prove my loyalty and my love to her. To impress upon her that we are a forever family.

During the night the distance between us is almost deafening at times. The way that she struggles to get out of my arms. The way Cora pushes my hand away when I am trying to soothe her. The way she turns to face outward just so she doesn't have to feel the closeness. The way her face crumbles when she wakes up only to see my face. The way she cries from deep down, missing her family and everything that is familiar to her from her life in Korea. The way that no amount or kind of comfort from me will do. The way that she would just rather be left alone to grieve. It breaks my heart on a daily basis. How I wish I could take away her pain, how I wish I could make her life different. How I wish I could snap my fingers and heal her losses.

However...at times throughout the day though, I'll admit that it's easy to forget just exactly where we are. I love the way Cora smiles and kick her legs with wreckless abandon when she "suddenly" sees me while Daddy is holding her. I love the way she leans out...which is her way of telling me she wants me to hold her. I love the way Cora smiles so proudly when she grabs onto each of my hands and walks around the house where ever her heart desires. I love the way she turns to look at me while I am feeding her her bottle. I love the way Cora snuggles with her blanket and how her face lights up when I say "oooh, so soft!" I love to see the excitement come across her face when she hears her Korean music playing. I love the way her face lights up when I ask her to go "aboobah" and she crawls over at lightening speed.  I love the way she claps when she is extra happy with something. I love the way she waves bye-bye. I love how Cora's face lights up when Ella, Ben, or Lily come around. And I love the way she smells.

Sometimes, in these little moments, it's easy to forget...because amidst the smiles, giggles, squeals of excitement, and snuggles...everything isn't "normal" yet for Cora. We are still buiding a foundation to grow upon, learning about each other...and y'all...relationships take time and work. That's just the reality of it. No one trusts their life to just anyone...and they certainly don't do it in a month's time. There are moments where it is obvious that Cora isn't exactly convinced we're the ones for her. After all, it wasn't by her choosing that she came to us.
One month ago a new chapter started for Cora, one she didn't have any say in, one that would be written with a different family, culture, and language...but one that is still hers none-the-less and one that I now have a part in writing. I promise to give all that I have to this little girl. To help her adjust, heal, attach, and bond the best that I am capable of. I will continue to pray for God to heal her hurts, the loss that she has had to endure, and the grieving that she continues to experience in a way that only our Heavenly Father can. I'm blessed beyond measure to have been entrusted with a precious eternal soul.

I love you, Cora Jihee.

Monday, May 16, 2011


A little blurry. but still cute. The only thing better than starting my Monday off by seeing this cute pic is holding this love in my arms at this very moment. :)

Gotta teach my hubby how to use the camera ;)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


We've all spent the last three weeks changing and adjusting...adjusting and changing.  Adjusting to our new "normal" and figuring out how we do life now. The first couple of weeks seemed to go fairly smoothly...but the last week or so, each child, in their own way, has resisted this change. In fact, things were going fairly smoothly (all things considered...and everything is truly relative) that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. People would ask how the kids were doing and how the adjustment was going. I would cautiously offer up that things were going okay...but since I have "been there, done that", I was waiting for that infamous other shoe.

Lily is struggling with sharing mama. Although she loves her new baby sister, it's been hard for her to get bumped from her snuggly spot on my lap every morning only to watch that new baby being held every minute. How I wish she could tell me how she feels, although I already know. Most of her disdain for her current life's circumstances comes out in tantrums, screaming, and crying. And kicking. And hitting. The adjustment is proving to be hard for her. I wish I could make this easier on her somehow.

Ben is fighting for any attention he can get his hands on. Doesn't matter to him whether it's positive or negative at this point. We are trying to praise him when he makes good choices and ignore the bad ones...which is proving to be challenging when it, too, involves a lot of screaming and crying. Change can be so hard...especially for little ones.

Ella is old enough to verbalize how she is feeling. She came up to me a few nights ago crying and said "There's not enough attention around here now that the baby is home!" Oh, how my heart broke to hear her words...but I'm so glad that we have been able to talk about it and proactively plan some quiet times to sneak away just the two of us to help combat her feelings of being left out.

On the positive, Cora is starting to become more comfortable with us as people she likes and wants to be with. As is normal, sometimes she pulls back and I can feel the distance between us, the fact that we only met a mere three weeks ago. The nights still prove to be harder which is when she feels most vulernable and emotions run the highest. But in those other times, I get glimpses that she is starting to trust us little by little. Cora has started, slowly, to let us see the real her. She's starting to giggle and I got my first all-out belly laugh last week. It's so good to see glimpses of the sweet, cuddly, smily, and curious baby we met in Korea. It amazes me when I think of the strength Cora has had to possess and dig deep for, as has Ben and Lily too, in their little lives. Although they won't remember it, the lingering effects, both good and bad, will always be with them for going through this journey.

Not surprisingly, Jason is doing the best out of all of us. He's an easy going kind of guy, who possesses a quiet strength about him. He has been the rock that I have needed, the one who has strived to give attention to each child, taken care of me when I have needed it, and even though sleep-deprived himself, doesn't grumble but takes the baby and walks for hour after hour. He's a wonderful father and I'm so thankful I get to spend my life with him.  
Last week was very difficult so I am hoping this week will prove to be easier. Whatever "easier" actually means.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday's Ramblings

Whew...sorry I haven't posted since last Thursday. I guess I took a hiatus of sorts...but not without good reason.

Life with four kids is busy. I can not tell a lie. Seriously busy...

...and this week?

has been seriously stressful.

Jason started back to work full-time this week. I made up Monday's lunch the night before knowing that it would help me stay on top of things for my first full day all on my own. As lunchtime approached on Monday, I pulled out those lovingly prepared lunches and thought to myself...

"I can do this. I really can do this!"

And then within minutes of thinking I had turned into super-mom over night, life started throwing curveballs. And they haven't stopped yet.

Without going into detail, boring you to death, and risking sounding like a whiner...I'll give you the condensed version. Ready?

*Lily got a bacterial infection for which she was put on some hefty-duty, rarily-prescribed-to-children medication.

*Lily fell over the handle bars of her little toy and did a nose-dive onto the asphalt in the cul-de-sac. She split open her top lip and had quite the "nasty gash" (doctor's decription).

*Lily spiked a fever (102.8) while on the antibiotics so another doctor visit was made. Turns out we just have really bad luck in the timing department. A few tests later (one of which was to rule out diabetes...yeah, had me pretty scared) we found out she had managed to catch a viral bug of some sort.

*Lily needs another glucose test to 100% rule out diabetes and her lip needs a recheck to make sure no infection has started since a mouth if full of lots of germs. Another doctor visit is made.

*Cora has her first appointment...stressful for both Mom and Baby. New surroundings are just tough right now.

*Ella falls on her bike, skins up both knees pretty good.

*Ella gets her hand slammed in the door by her brother.

*Lily has a cookie at the grocery store...an hour later her legs are covered with hives and I'm fairly certain it's a peanut reaction. Watching the clock to administer benedryl every 6 hours through-out the night.

*Ben falls on his bike and skins his knees up pretty good. We should buy stock in band-aids.

*Cora is still uneasy and all the added stress and crying in the house has made her extra-extra-extra clingy.

*Still struggling and working through sleep deprivation.

So you see...this week has been a dooser. And it's only Wednesday. Praying for strength that I will make it to Friday...in one piece...with all my children by my side...in one piece.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Legacy of an Adopted Child


Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.

Two different lives shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love. The second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.
One gave you a talent. The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions. The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile. The other dried your tears.

One sought for you a home that she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.

And now you ask me, through your tears,
the age-old question unanswered through the years.
Heredity or environment, which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling. Neither. Just two different kinds of Love.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Had a Good Laugh...

...Hope you do too.


Conversation that took place over lunch today:

Ella: "Mom, do you still grow when you are in your 30's?"

Ben: "Ella, Mom isn't in her 30's...she's in her 60's!"

Oh. Good. Grief.

Half Full...or Half Empty?

I'm not always the most optomistic person, just ask my husband. He pretty much always is and I'm glad I have him around to balance me out.

But right now...when things are tough...I'm determined more than ever to be positive.

I mean, I have no choice really anyway...if I don't try to be positive, I'll just sit on the floor and cry.

So...on a bright note:

*A 20 minute nap might not seem long for a wee little baby...but to a mama whose back is out and on enough ibuprophen to choke a horse, it seems like pure bliss!

*Macaroni and cheese for lunch might not seem incredibly healthy...but put some fresh strawberries on the plate next to it and I have just won the Mother of the Year award from my kiddos for such an awesome lunch!

*No time to sweep the floor today...no problem. My cat is having a field day perusing all the snack offerings. He night not eat much of it, being a finicky cat and all, but to him he's on a grand adventure.

*My mantra as of late: one, two, three, four, turn, rock step....one, two, three, four, turn, rock step. I may be wearing a path in the carpet of Cora's room pacing back and forth trying to get her to sleep...but it sure beats the mantra on the plane...forward one, backward one...forward one, backward one.

*It may only be 46 degrees at 3:00 in the afternoon on May 5...but, hey, I'm guessing those mosquitos may just be to cold to come out and bite me.

***Is it bedtime yet?***

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday's Ramblings

I killed my first mosquito today. Boo. Not for the mosquito, but for me having to deal with them already. We haven't even had a taste of summer yet and those blasted things are out.

It warms my heart to see Ella reading books to Lily.

Trying to diaper Cora is like trying to wrestle an alligator. Her "alligator rolls" are impressive.

Walking a baby round the clock has finally taken it's toll...my back is out. Prayers welcome in this department.

Ben decided tonight that he wanted to read me a book before bed. So proud of my boy and what he has accomplished.

Tomorrow is my first day alone with the kids as Jason is returning to work. I'm severely out-numbered in the parent-to-child ratio. I'm gettin' a bit nervous.

With a 6 yr old, a 5 yr old, a 2 yr old, and a 9 mo. old...I'm tired and ready for bed by about 1:00 in the afternoon these days.

Four kids around the dinner table makes for funny conversation during supper. I love a happy house.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back By Popular Demand...

You've asked for more...and I've heard you...

Can't say I blame you none. I mean, she really is precious, isn't she?!?

In Korea, the day we got her...

Miss Cora.

A Thousand Thank-You's

I just have to get it out there...it has to be said...and it's gonna be now.

Thank You!

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have helped us out in the past weeks.

Just a re-cap so you know just how special they all are:

*Thank you to all of you who have offered to watch my kiddos and show them some much needed love and attention during this transition period.

*Thank you to those who have loaned me your suitcases. I'll be returning them shortly...right after I finally get them unpacked.

*Thank you to all of you who have helped stock my deep-freeze in order to help me keep my sanity when Jason goes back to work.

*Thanks for helping me shop for all those presents I brought with to Korea. I couldn't have made that many decisions in one day without you. I was proud to give them away.

*Thank you to my dear friends who helped make packing lists.

*Thank you for a very special, very generous, and very much needed gift of money. God knew we were going to have some unexpected travel expenses and you were an answer to prayer.

*Thanks for the unexpected phone call asking if we were interested in fresh strawberry shakes. The kids were so excited and they sure hit the spot. Ella said she felt like she was in the tropics.

*Thank you so very much for the hot, hand-delivered meals since we have been back. You must have know how incredibly tired I was and having to figure out supper would surely have pushed me over the edge.

*Thank you for all the comments, calls, e-mails, encouraging words, and prayers. I'm reminded how far an encouraging word can take someone. And prayer...well, it just doesn't get any better than that.

No matter how big or small, God has used you in a mighty way and I am grateful for each one of you. I feel so loved and my life is truly so much better with y'all in it. You've touched my heart and have forever etched a place in it. You have helped bring a child home to her forever family and that makes you pretty special.

I love y'all so very much and can't thank you enough...for making a difference in my life and my sweet Cora's.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ben!!

Today we are celebrating a pretty awesome 5 year old.

He's cute, full of spunk, and has plenty of energy. Ben woke up this morning a very excited boy.

Turning 5 in our house has some added benefits. Not only is it a day all about the bithday kiddo...but when you turn 5 here on Hubler Planet...you get to have a "friend birthday party."

...Special indeed.

Ben invited his two friends from our neighborhood. Jason took the boys (and Ella) to McDonald's and then bowling.

Who doesn't like McDonald's, a play-place, and ice cream?

Ben was so jazzed up about it. Even though he had never been bowling, he was sure it was going to be the best thing ever.

And now that he has gone, he would confirm that bowling is indeed awesome.

And I think his little friends would agree.

And since Ella got a spare and a strike...she was pretty jazzed as well.

And presents? Well, they only sweeten the deal, don't they?!?

I know they certainly bring out the smiles.

And the Pièce de résistance...

A bigger bike for an even bigger boy...

And although it was a mere 37 degrees and windy outside...there was nothin' stopping this boy.

And when the fingers were freezing...he still wasn't willing to come inside.

He's just that hardcore.

Happy Birthday, Ben! We love you and are so blessed to be your family!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Leaving for Korea...

We had some computer issues while in Korea...and to be honest, jetlag has been kicking my butt since we left on April 15. I had such good intentions about blogging every night about what we had done that day...but by 7pm I was so wiped out, I couldn't keep my eyes open.

So...you are going to get a few back-dated posts. The main reason for this blog is for me to "journal" for my family since I stink at baby books, actual writing with a pen and paper, or anything else of the sort.

So come on...take a ride back in time...travel back with me, won't ya?

April 15, 2011

If you need a refresher on how that whole trip started, hop on over to The Longest Nightmare and take a peek. Just don't take me with ya...cause I just can't quite re-live it just yet.

That night we left Chicago was blustery to say the least. The Windy City was living up to it's name...and then some. We were really wondering if our flight was even going to go or if we would be spending the night at the deluxe, 5 star airport known as O'Hare. We were told that of all the flights, international ones are usually given priority over domestic flights so we just kept praying that it wouldn't get cancelled.

It's after midnight when I took this...but it sort of captures the weather and situation out there. Rain on the windows, dark, gloomy...kind of summed up the mood right about then too.

The flight was pretty uneventful overall. Some turbulence, but nothing worth writing home about. We both slept a good portion of the flight so that helped the time go by faster.

And this little baby...worth it's weight in gold, I tell ya.

I had bought a pig pillow here in the states. I'm sure I looked like a crazy american snoozing on the plain with my little pal...but I know now that I won't travel anywhere without my little companion.

Once we arrived in Seoul, the wave of relief was indescribable. Walking off the plane up into the airport brought a lot of emotion. We were there, we had arrived, we were so close to meeting our daughter. And being back in Korea again...a familiar feeling...and yet, there we were...on the other side of the world.

Fuzzy picture...but that's about how I felt. Fuzzy. It was 4:30am Korea time, dark, and my body was confused as to what it was supposed to be doing.

Whew...you can see the stress of the last 24 hours on my face, can't you?

I'll tell you one thing, the airport at that time of day is very quiet. Hardly a soul in the place. Jason and I went through immigration, picked up our bags, and grabbed something to drink.  Thank goodness for those carts...we had a lot of bags. We were a little worried how we were going to make in on the way back with a baby in tow.

We headed out to wait for the limo to take us to the Renaissance Hotel in the Gangnam area. It's just minutes away from SWS and we got a stellar deal on priceline. The only problem? It was now only 5:30am and check-in wasn't until 4pm. Hmmmm....

By the way, the term "limo" is used loosely here. It's not a black, shiny, stretch car by any means. "Limo" in Korea looks like a coach bus in the USA. We went to buy our tickets to find out that we had just missed the bus by about 60 seconds. Bummer. Oh well, we didn't have anything to waste but time anyway. I was just so glad to actually be in Korea, I would have waited all say for the silly bus.