The four youngest are in bed asleep and John and the three oldest are in the barn working on the benches for the table. Very soon I won't be tripping over the 10 dining room chairs that end up in all kinds of weird positions around the table. (And Ava will no longer be able to tip the chairs over just to hear the loud sound it makes, yay) I just sent hot chocolate down to the barn for the boys, with Liesel. The house is so quiet, I didn't know what to do with myself. I guess it's as good a time as any to write a quick family update.
Jude and Liesel did great on their piano and guitar recital yesterday. John got it on video, I'll try to see if I can get it off his camera and post it. They have really found their little musical niche and it's fun that they can do it together, and it doesn't require a lot of driving around and being too many places as was the case when they were in soccer. Family activities have slowed down significantly and we have spent a lot more time at HOME since Joseph and Zoya came home and I'm starting to think that maybe that is how it is supposed to be. Truth be told I am LOVING not being involved in any sports at the moment. Although I realize that Simeon needs an outlet or he tends to be moody, fidgety, and destructive. I am thinking maybe football. There is a homeschool football group here locally that I think we'll check out for next year. Unfortunately homeschoolers in our state do not have the privilege of participating in public school sports as is an option in many other states. By the way, Simeon is doing so much better academically. Amazing what a pair of reading glasses can do!
Joseph is loving school! Sometimes on weekends he carries his backpack around the house signing 'school'. We are driving down the road and he sees a school bus, he goes nuts. His teacher says he is doing great, although we did get a note sent home last week that he was taking his clothes off, running around disobediently and hitting his teachers. :( I think his bad behavior was from staying up late the night before because for the most part he has gotten excellent progress reports. He insists on eating in the cafeteria, his teacher says. And when I pick him up from the bus stop he always...I mean always......tries to climb up into the bus driver's seat. It is obvious how badly he wants to drive that big bus. When I went to eat lunch with Hope the other day he waved at me from across the cafeteria, and nudged his aide and pointed to me, as if to say, "Hey, that's my mom.". Then he did his own little sign for 'hot' and gave me the thumbs up. So cute. Hope and I joined him at his table for the second half of lunch.
Zoya. Oh my dear Zoya. If anything is causing me anxiety right now it is my little Zoya. The more she gets to know us the more she refuses to eat. The one pound we all worked so hard for her to gain, she has lost again. She has produced a lot of different weights on a lot of scales, but my scale here at home says she weighs 20.5 pounds. She will be six years old in 3 weeks. When she isn't wearing clothes, she (still) looks like a walking skeleton to me. I can' t get her to eat most meals. I work and work to add calories to her food, but most of her meals just go to waste. I have discovered that she loves coffee. So I add Pediasure to it. She loves vegetables and salads, which I would love for any other kid except that she will not gain weight eating vegetables and salads. Ugh!! I have asked several doctors to consider placing a feeding tube in her. The doctors who can actually make the decision say it is not a medical necessity because she can eat. But being able to eat and actually eating are two different things. We have gone around and around from specialist to specialist trying to figure little Zoya and her problems out. We have been to 3 different oral/dental specialists trying to figure out a temporary solution for her cleft palate, until we can get her healthy enough for surgery. But nobody seems to know what to do with her. The Shriners/cleft hospital in Houston are apparently only taking babies at this time. So it looks like we will be seeking answers out of state for her. Probably back to Little Rock? Can we come see you Lorraine family??? :)
Ava is still loving The Little Lighthouse. We think she regressed a little bit, either while we were in Ukraine for so long, or since bringing two new strangers into our house. But she is starting to respond more to Joseph and to Zoya and it's fun to watch them all trying to nurture and take care of each other. I love that! Ava is picking up some habits, both good and bad, from Joseph, and vice versa. Hmmmm.
Hope has asked me to come help out in her kindergarten classroom. Zoya starts school at the beginning of the year (probably). I'm going to ask the school counselor if my big kids and I can volunteer once a week or so, tutoring or cafeteria duty, or something. Wouldn't that be fun? I did read to the kindergarten class one day a couple of weeks ago and always have fun hanging out with the kids at lunch time.
And John. How many times in a day do I think to myself how lucky I am. Who else would have traveled across the world and taken that risk with me, the risk of 'ruining our family' bringing all these little special little kids into our family. I am so glad he said yes. Yes we are busy. Oh so busy! Some days we hardly have a chance to say a word to each other all day, but somehow we make up for it here and there and after the kids are in bed. (And we still hold hands in church and in the front seat of our 12 passenger van with all the various sounds and activities going on behind us!) I feel so lucky, and I wouldn't trade places with any other woman in the world.