Little Man and Jillian are best buddies.
Serenity and Hope
Serenity, Peter, Jillian, and Little Man
Daddy and Peter in China
Daddy, Peter, Snip in China
Daddy and Jesse
Daddy and his boys
Interestingly, in the above picture it is clear that Peter is taller than Jesse. Now, roughly 3 weeks later, Jesse is taller than Peter! That's a pretty significant growth spurt!
We are still in the trenches of figuring out the "new normal" - none of it unexpected, but it does wear us out. However, we have done this enough times now that we know we will eventually find a new groove to settle in to. My biggest struggle so far? I keep underestimating the food we need for each meal! These 3 new kiddos can eat! We are doing a lot of add-ons after the main course is gone because bodies are still hungry! With four teen boys (one in football) and then healthy appetites by everyone else we go through A LOT of food. We are easily at 2 gallons of milk a day. Even with our extra fridge, we are not quite making it a week between trips. We have chickens, but they are not cooperating with where they are laying their eggs - plus anytime we need eggs, we need 30+ eggs. So also buying those frequently. It has been a little funny to see the faces of the checkers at the grocery store when I pull up with an overflowing cart and have to explain this is a "light" load - if I was truly shopping we would have 2-3 carts. Yikes. Again, I know we will settle into this...it just takes time.
Serenity is finally starting school tomorrow. All the paras and nurses have been trained/refreshed on trach care....but my mama's heart may need some help. We always have our kids with us. It is hard to hand their care over to another group of people. I don't know how to communicate it all to Serenity - she is going to have to just walk through it and see that we do come back and get her. We will be watching closely to see how she does. Your prayers would be appreciated.
Lucy has been a little more emotional this last week. There have been several times she has cried on my lap. She does not seem unhappy at all, I think it is just years of emotions coming out. The changes have to be hard, even if they are good changes. Relief? I think that could be a huge part too. She spends a lot of time drawing and coloring. She is facinated to see William (who is her best buddy right now) doing schoolwork. She sits down next to him and watches him and then draws on her paper. I need to see how much copying she is willing to do. Will she write her own name? In the next few weeks, I need to begin working with her on a preschool level - but I have given myself these first weeks to get everyone else in their school groove and then we will begin.
Peter is doing well, but can be a handful. He isn't just sitting on the couch anymore - which is VERY good - but he doesn't know how to appropriately explore his environment. Everything gets thrown or put in his mouth. He has broken several dishes and we thought he broke the camera. Lots of spilled food and drinks. This is just part of the training process, but what makes it harder is that we have so many little bodies to keep track of. Again, it will come with time, we just have to be on hyper alert right now. When he first came, he loved being outside. Now, he is not so sure. He wants to just wander off but we have enough property, including a creek/pond, that it is not safe. He loves playing in our water table but has to be watched that he does not drink it (the water gets dirty fast due to all the kids putting toys and such in it). I am anxiously waiting the appointments for he and Lucy to have their hearing tested! This may explain a lot about his behaviors - but I cringe a bit at trying to get him to keep glasses and hearing aids on! A battle for another day...
And our little Jesse. With several of the children, I wish I could watch a day or two of them at their orphanage. What was their treatment like? Were they favored? Did they get away with a lot? Are they just testing the new boundaries? Jesse is amazingly smart. He is also very, very determined to get his own way. We know that a stubborn streak is what helps this kids to survive in their orphanages - and it is what will drive them to learn and grow - but oh, it can add grey hairs quickly! It isn't just that he wants to be part of something and can't - we are making sure that he is included in everything! - it is that someone else has something he wants and he wants it NOW. However, the biggest temper tantrums come over wanting to be outside. He cannot tell of course that it is pitch black outside and not time to be out there. But more often than not, it is after they have played outside for an extended period of time and it is time to come in. We are trying to work on transitions, but the language barrier is limiting that effectiveness right now. Our days are a swirl of loving affections and playing and having to sit on mama's lap until a temper tantrum is finished. I just keep praying that the "loving" is balancing out the "correcting" in his little heart. I know he is angry and frustrated - and that hurts my heart - but I also know my job as a mom is to teach him to be in control and to be kind to others....all the while recognizing the emotional/physical/cognitive effects of all the changes happening in such a short period of time. Even more to trust my Savior for wisdom and discernment. I have a deep confidence that he will continue to grow and adapt and astound us with what he is able to do. Our first "round table" appointment at our Children's hospital is on Oct 3rd. I am eager to begin the journey to see what doors we can open for him.
Needing to move along - it is my oldest son's birthday today - feeling a little melancholy at how quickly the years are going by. How I wish I could pause each day to savor it a little longer.
Until He comes....