Monday, July 19, 2010

6 Months Together!

It's hard to believe that we've been together 6 months, a full half year!!!

You are such an adorable ham.  The light in your eyes turned on a couple of months ago, and you are such a delight.  You are learning English so fast.  "I want one."  "I need to go potty."  "Where's Bekeh?"  "Time to go night night?"  "No, not this one.  I want that one."  "Caleb no whining!  No spankings.  Spanking yucky."  "Bekeh eat a cheese-a-bugger?"  "Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes!"  "No Lem-no-ade.  No water.  I want Spite!"  "That's green."  "Daddy at work?"  "Mommy got an owie?" . .  . . . just a sampling of what I've heard in the last few minutes while editing your pics for this post.  You talk, or make noise at least, constantly.  Your older brothers and sister are constantly asking you to be quiet for a second!

Our favorite things you do. . .  you love to make funny faces and pretend to be a monster walking around with your hands in the air, your body bent over, moaning and shaking.   Once you begin laughing you'll laugh for minutes on end, and by the end, we're all giggling uncontrollably.
You are the easiest little boy to put to sleep.  All I have to say is "Close your eyes." and where ever you are you close your eyes, scrunch up your face, and within a minute or two, you're snoring.
I can count the accidents you've had on one hand since you moved into big boy underwear.  Clothes are still a favorite thing.  You love having pants, and if I didn't watch you closely you would change pants a hundred times a day.  Every time you go potty and we pull your pants back on, you giggle and clap your hands with delight.  Sometimes when you need disciplining for a bad choice in the bath tub or after swimming, making you wear your underwear without pants on is worse to you than a spanking or time out.
Being in the water is your favorite thing ever.  You live to be in the water.  Not really in the water, more under the water.  If a child could grow gills by desire, you'd have a set.  We literally have to pull you up and make you take a breath.  You love it and you go non stop.  You love to be thrown in the air as high as we can, and come splashing down and then sit under water happily until we grab you and pull you up.  It's crazy, and you amaze everyone who watches you enjoy it so completely.
You no longer hide under blankets, but you still love them.  You love hand towels.  You carry one around with you everywhere.  It's your cape, your skirt, your head wrap, your rope.  I'm constantly picking up random dish and hand towels from around the house you've laid aside.
You've grown a lot in the past 6 months, but you're still tiny.  18 month pants still fall off you.  But you have massive hands, and little feet.  It's a funny combination.  You've changed so much in 6 months, I can't imagine what the next 6 months will hold for you and our family.  We love you like crazy.

You are an adorable firecracker, spitfire, mischievous, sweet princess.  Over the weekend Brooklyn was chatting away with her cousin Natalie and ignoring you.  After the 5th or 6th "Brooklyn!" from you, she, being highly annoyed, yelled back, "What?"  You stopped, rolled your neck around as if to say, excuse me! and instantly shot back at her, with big attitude, "I'll tell you what!"

You love to test your boundaries.  If mommy says, "Here's your water."  You sass back with, "Bekeh no water!  I want apple juice."  Which quickly gets you no drink at all for the bit.  You still have to try it every time though.  When I put the paint away, you get it back out.  You hate the consequence, but it's still your job to try it.  That's what 5 year olds do.  They see the boundary and have to try and move it.  Thank goodness I love you enough to stay the boss.  Today you told me I was not the boss.  Someday you'll learn that's just a challenge to mom's to prove you wrong.  But for today, we just laughed and giggled with a tickle game of "uh-huh I'm the boss!"

Even with the amazing size of your attitude, your delightful loving side is even bigger.  You love to stroke faces, and rub hair.  You love everything that smells good.  You make everyone, and I mean EVERYONE smell your hands if you have on lotion or perfume, or recently washed soap lingering. 
You have an excellent memory!  If anyone loses something in the house, all we have to do is ask you where it is, and you'll go straight to it and bring it to us.  Not sure yet if that's because you have a photographic memory of everywhere we've dropped our things, or if you're the one who took them and caused us to lose them in the first place.  Either way, we're glad you always know where things are!
You are super duper smart.  You and Brooklyn are having a wonderful time playing school this summer.  She takes you into the room y'all share, and she has the alphabet and number charts hanging on the wall.  She takes you through the pages of your alphabet and numbers workbook.  You pay closer attention to her than you do me, so it works great.  You've learned most of your animals, many letters by sight of the alphabet, all your colors, how to count objects to 15, although you always skip 8, and you know all your shapes.  You're an expert at puzzles, especially puzzles that make pictures out of shapes.  You speak in complete sentences, and know how to express your needs and wants very clearly.

You still love to sing.  You no longer sing in Kembaatan.  Your favorite songs to sing loudly are Itsy Bitsy Spider, One Two Buckle My Shoe, and Lady Gaga's Bad Romance and Poker Face, the Glee versions.  Even Caleb sings along.  It's pitiful what you're being exposed to by your siblings!

The transition, attachment, and bonding are going good.  My mother in law paid me the biggest compliment yesterday.  She said, "I tell everyone how amazed I am how easy you guys are making this look and how well you've added two more to your family.  When you say, "Let's go" everyone falls in line and obeys.  I know it's not easy, but you've done a great job."  Jason and I love watching So You Think You Can Dance on t.v., and one of the greatest compliments the judges give the dancers is to say they make their movements look effortless.  I felt like a leaping ballerina. 
The last six months have been the most difficult months of our life.  I never knew two innocent beautiful children could shred my self-confidence so completely and make me question everything I ever believed about myself in such a short period of time.  I never thought after raising 3 children that the 4th and 5th ones would make me question what God was thinking when He made me a mother.  I've known my husband for 20+ years, and yet I found myself wondering at times over the last 6 months why he didn't run scared.  And all of it, the fact that this transition almost cracked us, and yet we made it look effortless, is not a testament to us, or the strength of our love, family  or marriage. . . it's all a testament to the power of God, the empartation of skills and wisdom by the Holy Spirit, and the power of downright desperate prayer and brokenness before His throne.  There were times I cried out to Heaven to show me the way to send them back to Ethiopia.  It's honest, and true.  I didn't mean them as soon as the words left my tongue, but for some reason my flesh needed to scream it out in that desperate moment for some relief.  There were times I thought that if anyone could really see the mom I was behind closed doors they would throw me away with no pardon.  And yet, God calls me spotless and beautiful.  There have been times I've questioned whether I've ruined my three biological kids lives, and yet, God showed me how much they've grown and how huge their capacity to love has been expanded to.  There were many times a day I asked God what He was thinking, and many times He answered, "I have great plans for you and your family Gina."  Too many times I cracked, and He healed me, stronger than I was before.  Too many times I messed up, and He showed me His power to redeem and restore.  We're through the deepest valleys of the transition so far.  There will be others.  Each new season of their lives will bring with it new challenges and new expressions of their attachment and bonding needs.  But, we're ready for them.  We love them so deeply.  Jason's 100% there, he loves them as he loves the other three.  I'm not there yet.  I'm closer than ever and I can see it in our future, clearer than I thought possible even two months ago, but it takes time.  I've read others say it at 8 months, others at 12, some at 2 years together or more.  God has planted them in my heart forever, I'm not worried about when they bloom there as brightly as Corban, Nathan, and Brooklyn.  I know they will, I know they're getting close.
It's been a beautiful half year, and I can't wait for the next 6 months.  Fall is my favorite season, and then there's Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What an amazing time it will be, and so much richer as a family of seven.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Fun!

The kids have absolutely no fear of the water so we're really enjoying spending most days in the pool.  We shot video yesterday when they decided it was a good day to figure out how to kick and move their arms and actually swim.  Sorry we forgot to turn the iPhone horizontal to get a better pic!  Next time!

Bekeh tried first. . . .

And whatever Bekeh does, Caleb has to do. . . .

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

God has purchased our freedom with his Son's blood and has forgiven all our sins. Colossians 1:14 NLT

We love celebrating July 4th!  One of Jason's favorite activities is watching fireworks, and so each year we celebrate at Kaboomtown in Addison.  We were anxious this year to introduce one of our favorite family outings to Bekeh and Caleb.  They absolutely loved it! 
As you can see, itt was rainy and soggy, but worth it!  The show was amazing, as always.  It lasted a little over 25 minutes and was beautifully coreographed with the music.  Bekeh especially loved the purple ones!

We were excited that Mimi was able to join us for the festivities, it had been many years since she'd grabbed a seat on the grass and enjoyed the show with us.

We were also excited to have all of Nana's family join us! Jason's grandmother, young at 92, was driven down from Wisconsin by Uncle Tom and his wife Charlotte, and Aunt Janice and her son Tripp flew in from Hawaii. 

The kids had a blast with Uncle Tom.  He's really a big kid at heart, and one of his passions in life is toys that light up.  The street vendors were thrilled to have him attend last night, and so were our children!  They loved the swords and light sabers and all other gadgets that Tom purchased and let them pass around all night!  Thanks goodness for his collection of duct tape as well.  Bekeh and Caleb still aren't good at being careful, and there were many emergency repairs in the field.

With the Hurricane in the gulf we've been experiencing very soggy weather around here, and we were anxious that the fireworks would be rained out.  Janice and Tripp had requested the trip take place this time of year specifically to see them!  We prayed like crazy and although it was black and downpoured through dinner at 6:30pm, by 9:45pm when they began, it was perfectly clear!  Thank you Jesus!

It's really a free for all who joins us every year.  Some years it's just family, other years just friends, most years a little of both!  We always park it in the same spot and everyone and anyone who wants to join us is always welcome!  It's a standing invitation, so perhaps next year it will be you!

May God Bless America and May God Bless You!