Monday, May 31, 2010

Doing great!!

Update:

Things are improving all the time. Since Zunduka's 4-peeing-his-pants-in-a-row-episode..he hasn't done it since and proudly tells me so everyday!!

Chazano has crumbling walls. And that is a gooooooddd thing. He is realizing little by little he is here to stay and this is 'home'. Want some big news...? He now eats as fast as everyone else and I never have to tell him to! I was pretty sure it was an attitude issue.

Big news again: Zunduka has gained ONE full pound!!!! Since he eats less here than he did in Africa and is one pound up...I'm thinking my theory might have something to it...

I went clothes shopping for the wedding (that we are literally planning for by faith)...and found the boys all distressed Gap jeans for $12.99 each. I was pretty excited. We are doing cute frayed flip flops, distressed jeans and cute embroidered white dress shirts. I'm not much of a suit person for kids and they look so adorable in their outfits.

I did finally find the final piece to AP's outfit so we are pretty set.

Yesterday we had a babysitter for 4 hours while Dean and I went shopping. Seriously...4 hours of searching for a suit. P.I.C.K.Y!! :) He says since I always buy crazy clothes for him the suit standard went up. Nothing was funky enough. Finally we found one at Burlington that is super fabulous. I wanted to buy him a pink dress shirt to go with but his sentiment was "I will do anything for love...but I won't do that!". :)

I went back out later searching for me...I bought two complete outfits and Dean loves the one and thinks the other is too 'professional and business like' haha. Made me laugh. That's my comfort clothes! We are pretty well ready. Even have a seamstress fixing his suit today.

Our big news yesterday was Tirzah and Zion learned their verse for sunday school they were sooooo excited. We learn a new verse every week in our family...so it's kind of complicated to also learn a new one for sunday school, but we are getting there.

So why are we going by faith? Well we are leaving in 2 days...with no green cards. We do have an appt with USCIS in Yakima tomorrow morning to see if they can help us. It's pretty weird packing and getting ready for a huge trip...not really knowing if you can even go!!

I've struggled this week...because it's just hard to realize that 'every second thought' is not crying out to God like it was in Africa. That my days are back to 'normal' and a new level of normal. It's children and work and life and schedules and routines. Yet I was suddenly aware...that my heart can still be 'there'. It is not dependent on me. On how often I talk to Him. On how my heart is held together by a mere thread and He won't let go. Oh how He loves us.

This morning in our "Love Dare" read it was about unconditional love. The author talked about all the 'loves' and how often marriage is built on the wrong type of love. When asked why a husband loves his wife his answer will be: "she's beautiful!" or "she is so kind!" or "We are great friends!" etc. And when the wife is asked similar answers are given. So the question is...what happens when those things change...? What happens if she is no longer beautiful? Even no longer kind? Does the love stop? We all know in too many cases, yes it does. But God asks us to love with a love...that He loves us with. Completely unselfish, when nothing is given in return, no matter how many times we walk away with our hand in the air...just because...He loves us. No other reason. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. That is more powerful than most of us realize. Nothing. Think of the worst we can do to God...it cannot separate us from His love. That is Agape love. This all came together this morning...how I was feeling the distance compared to Africa...yet God's love is so not based on that. He loves me.

All week I realize I'm humming...even singing...on the inside and when I take a moment to stop and hear what it is...it has been this:

"How He loves!"

He is jealous for me.
Loves like a hurricane..
I am a tree....
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden..
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are...
and how great Your affections are for me.

Oh...how He loves us...
Oh...How He loves us...
Oh how He loves us...Ohhhh


Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss...
my heart beats violently inside of my chest.
I don't have time to maintain these regrets...
when I think about...
The way....
He loves us!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An update.

We are continuing to find our new normal. Everything is pretty smooth. We are trying to stay active and not struggling to do so. Life seems like it has never ever been busier for us than these few weeks and really is unrelated to having 6 kids. Business is crazy busy for both Dean and I (we wouldn't change a thing!) and we are still planning on going to Canada next week (lovely planning a trip when you don't even know if you can go yet b/c of green cards!) so making business even crazier.

This morning I took the kids on a rainy morning to Children's Museum...I was going to just pay the one time use which would have been $21 (yah...we have 6 kids LOL)...but there was a special for $40 for unlimited use til the end of August. Not sure how much we will go in the summer BUT they had a total blast. Tirzah, the queen of imagination, absolutely thrives there. She does puppet shows, runs a grocery store and acts in theater. Zion is the tool man Tom and captain of the ship. Zunduka and Chazano were loving running the Pizza train! Azahria Peace and I were happy customers gobbling up all their pizza. :)

We were there for over an hour and I'm sitting down with AP and I look up to see this:
Zunduka who is playing with dinosaurs stands up...walks to the wall, leans out as if he is going to pee...he is even looking over his shoulder like a little boy peeing would do....I RUN across the room and I'm absolutely FLOORED ... oh yes he has stood there and pee'd. Seriously. This is the second time this week and it's deliberate. This isn't an accident where he was playing and left it too long. Oh no. He stands up walks to the wall and pees then goes to sit back down to play. I go get him, and he's staring at me like "yes.....problem?" I tell him that is completely unacceptable. I ask where he is supposed to pee and he goes "in the bathroom...potty" oh. Was that the potty? I don't think so. So as to not make his decision ruin everyone else's fun he had to sit down beside me for an hour while everyone else continued to play. Yes, soaking wet. It's not like I carry an extra outfit for a 6 year old in my car. :( Yes moms are looking at me...yes I'm a mom of 6 and one child does not ruin it for the rest. So he sat there. Completely soaked. I asked if he had to go potty and he's like "no" (duh mama...I just went!!). So when I'm putting them all in the suburban as we leave...he stinks. Tirzah goes "mama someone STINKS!!!" I'm not even going to consider the possibility. Get home...guess what? Oh after he peed...he completely filled his pants with poop. Unreal. I know some of you are thinking "he was just adopted" but if you were there you would understand...this was so deliberate. So we got home, he was disciplined and he's been happy as a lark ever since.

Eating is going a world better for Chazano...since...welll he takes FOREVER to eat and he ain't going to hurry for anything or anyone. Soooo we had to get a little bit creative. He ate his dinner (he's not allowed up til it's gone) but everyone else was done and kitchen was clean. He looks at me goes "all done. Cookie now?" I sat down and quietly told him "oh no...everyone else ate and had their cookie and are all playing and since you took so long to eat...you cannot have a cookie". He seemed quite taken back by such a thought. 2 days have passed and what a transformation!!! He can eat fast if he wants to!!! Today he was the first one finished!! P.R.O.G.R.E.S.S!! Every little bit is celebrated! :)

It is now quiet time and that means Mama works while Ap takes a 3-4 hour nap and the kids all watch a movie. No toys. No noise. So I better get to work :)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Life.

And it is good.

We are doing really well. The boys are doing great. We're all doing great.

There are so many examples of things we are having to teach the kids. Things you never really have to teach your child. Example is when to cry. It seems they have quickly caught on to the fact there here...in contrast to in the village...people hear you and care when you cry. Soooo...they are trying crying randomly to get attention :) I've had to teach Zunduka many times when it's ok and when it's not ok to cry. Actually...let me rephrase that...when it's NOT ok to WAIL. We went from silent crying to WAILING when a soft toy lays on your arm in the pool. So far so good. The last few days have been a big improvement.

They seem to be falling in love with their new family....and we...with them. Chazano is still painfully slow especially at doing things he doesn't want to do...(get in the car....eat something he doesn't love...) but we are working on it. :)

Oh this is pretty fantastic.....Zunduka's diapers are getting dryer and dryer at night. One night was totally dry and the last 5 nights are just a tiny bit wet. This is huge! we went from SOAKING through a diaper right to the sheets (and for months in Africa)...to this. My theory from the beginning is that it wasn't necessarily trauma but insecurity. I think their weight issues are insecurity too. Just not knowing when...but knowing it's always coming...they are going back to the village. They seem to KNOW they are here to stay. Watch the weight pile on too!!!

I did weigh them last week....

Zunduka at almost 6 yrs old...32.6 lbs
Chazano at almost 6....35 lbs
Zion at almost 5 yrs ... 42lbs
Azlan at 3.5 years....39lbs

:)

I think a see a little belly starting on Zunduka though!!! And his very dry, scaley, elephant skin is doing a ton better .... thanks to mama having the best skin care products ever. :)

We are still waiting on the green cards...and are not stressing about it. If they come, they come. If not...there is nothing we can do. So we wait. We seem to do that a lot :)

We got our garden in last weekend and just this morning Dean fenced it in with a 3 foot fence. The kids are SOOOO excited to plant seeds and now that the sprinkler system is all set up in there we are good to start planting!!

This post seems random...but it's all good. The kids are in their quiet time right now ... Azahria is sleeping in the big girl bed and life is good.

We are loving and living a family of 8.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Give me Your heart.

Keeping it real.

Adoption is interesting. When you have a bio child...you grow with the child. Even people that were not planning on the pregnancy become quickly attached to the new life inside of them and by the time D day comes....that baby is LOVED. Every stage is new and exciting. Every expression....every new baby smell (yes I said 'every'). They are yours. You think they are the most beautiful baby in the world. Nothing grosses you out.

Adoption is different. Especially adoption...when it involves an older (non infant) child. They have a formed personality. That have 'ism's that are not necessarily cute. They have expressions that may even annoy you. You have simply not grown with them. Yet they are now 'yours'.

From the very beginning of this blog my commitment to myself was keeping it real. Raw. No pretense.

Last night I had an appointment that was a bit of a drive. Driving is good for me. Good for the real me. I pray when I drive. Out loud. As I started to pray last night it was almost strange how my prayer took a whole different direction than I intended. He brought my heart right back to where it needed to be.

This was my prayer:

You are right...if you picked me up without looking into my eyes with that sparkle...I wouldn't feel very special.

You are right...if you blew off my overreaction to my owies and falls...without eye contact...I wouldn't feel very special.

You are right...if you gave me hugs that felt stiff and mechanical...I'd feel it and I wouldn't feel very special.

You are right... if every time I sat down to eat... you were like "open your mouth! Faster. Chew!! You need to grow!!" I wouldn't feel very special. (both children could easily take 1 hour to eat a bowl of cereal or piece of toast).

You are right...if every time I was just caught gazing at you half in the wonder of 'am i dreaming?? I have a daddy??" and half in the " I wonder what he thinks of me?" you told me to shake my head and focus on what I was supposed to be doing....I would feel rejected and embarrassed. I wouldn't feel very special.

You are right...I think I might even rather be an orphan than to be so close to love...yet not close...enough.

Likening the adoption with how God has so clearly adopted me. YET He makes me feel like I'm his "bio child. "

It hit me. I cried. I repented for my heart issue and I asked for a love to come into me that could only come from him. A tender heart. A God-given heart. Yes I will discipline but I will love. My discipline isn't what's out of line..Its what is in my heart. I can feel it. I can feel the lack of it.

I know exactly what it's like to "act love" and not feel it. Not allowing yourself to feel it. I truly believe God wants us to feel it. Allow my heart to soften and love...really love... these little boys. Yes there's kinks to iron out. Yes there's things we don't understand and yes there's things that just plain annoy. How many times do we do that with our Dad...and he smiles, half rolls his eyes and scoops us up and loves us...? I know I sure do. I go to africa and SOB and beg every day for at least 2 wks that God would miraculously remove this trial from me. And he could easily be thinking "Janice...c'mon...knock it off. Get up. Shake off. Have I EVER left you? Do i have to promise you EVERY day AGAIN that I won't??? Needy....much? Seriously!" but it's not what he says. He says "you can trust Me. Come to Me. Cry on Me. I'll catch every tear. And He softly whispers..."guess what? (like it's a new thought...) I... will ....never... leave ....YOU.".

Today...was amazing. They came to me so many times to tell me things, show me things, just to hug. I know they could feel the difference. It's a process. But it's a process I want to completely have His heart in. Let me look into their eyes and let them see...'she loves me'. I helped Zunduka learn to swallow things that he doesn't love instead of chewing for 15 minutes (no joke) in the most dramatic way. We sat at the window and watched a lightning storm...all of us squeezed into the window together. We went to the park and I never sat down. I saw every time Chazano almost crashed into something because he was staring at me. I smiled every time. I put Zunduka and Azlan down for a nap today and guess what? They got to stay up after everyone else went to bed (even if my nice gesture was too much for Zunduka who was clearly overtired by 9:30). Chazano laid in bed beaming at bedtime. When I, for the first time...leaned in and whispered in his ear...."you... are my favorite" I don't even know if he understood but he smiled knowingly. Funny how the others can hear me say it and there has never been any jealousy. When I got to Zion I prayed with him and leaned in and said "guess what?" he looked at me in total suspense yet it is very known what I'm about to say...."you...are my favorite" he closed his sleepy eyes with his sweet smile pasted.

Dean and I are doing the Love Dare with the plans / dare I say...committment ... of doing it for life...and it hit me today...that if the challenges were natural and easy it would be called anything but the "DARE". It's not easy. It's not natural. Yet isn't that opposite what society would tell us? If you aren't feeling it...it's time to bail. You shouldn't have to TRY. You shouldn't have to WORK at love. It comes naturally. No. It doesn't.

And though we'd all like to think well enough of our corrupted hearts to think I could take any one of these poor orphaned children and love them like my own...it's not natural. It takes a "God-made heart". It takes a love...that simply comes from someone much greater than you. Most of us are never asked to love our children unconditionally. They are beautiful little babies that no one whispers about as you walk by. You are proud to hold your baby and have everyone oooh and ahhhh. We'd love to think it's unconditional but I'm not convinced it is. We'll be tested on that later. When they do the unthinkable at age 19...will you tell them they've crossed the line and you have to turn your back? That's where unconditional comes in.

Since God called us to adopt Chazano and Zunduka there has never been one hint of a doubt in my mind (our minds) since the day He told us who we were to adopt. Not one. He took my heart that has dreampt for almost 3 years of adopting a newborn with a cleft lip and palate...to a place that longed to bring two healthy almost 6 year old boys into our family. I'm confident that in a place of complete surrender...He can take my heart and fill it. Fill it with the love He has loved Jacob and Meleki Lumbala since the very beginning. Oh...He saw it all. He saw two little boys born to a dying mom...not even making the trek to the hospital to deliver. He knows the end of the story ... before you've seen the first page. Before Patricia knew she was pregnant...God knew every tear that would fall on the dirt floor of a grass hut by two little boys ... and He knew...He knew the end of the story. If He can do all that...and choose us to deliver them from a life of extreme poverty...then He can give me the heart that can tear down walls and build bridges. He can.

The best part is that all it takes from me...is surrender.

Take my heart. Make it Yours.

Give me Your heart.

Brandon Heath's song comes to mind as I type. So while I'm getting a new heart...new eyes aren't a bad idea....


Give me your eyes for just one second

Give me your eyes so i can see

Everything that i keep missing

Give me your love for humanity

Give me your arms for the broken hearted

The ones that are far beyond my reach?

Give me your heart for the one's forgotten

Give me your eyes so i can see

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A fun weekend!

Now that the weekend is over I can finally say MAY has arrived....real May in Tricities with warm sunshine!

We had a really great weekend. Starting with AP's birthday party Friday night. Our good friends, The Phillips, came over to celebrate. All the kids were soon covered in pink and purple frosting and licking their lips, Azlan...long after everyone else was done ;) They play "pin the kiss on the frog" and they loved it. Then the pinata and opening a few presents. Daddy is really big on just 1 or 2 presents so this year I complied. He always says "they love the first gift and then get overwhelmed with so many and end up wanting none" so there you go. We got her a baby stroller and a pink cozy coupe car. Both were big hits and they are HERS :)

We put the kids to bed and had a nice visit with the 4 Phillips that came.

Saturday we all headed out with Daddy for him to do a quick fence estimate then we went to the river. It started with throwing rocks in the river and Mama and Azahria Peace a little slower than the rest as she had her stroller and baby with her. That took some time. :) Then we all went down on the dock...where with eyes all around my head---never didn't see one child at any time--I admit I'm a bit of a not-so-relaxed-mama around the water. I just picture Azlan jumping in...and 2 others trying to be the hero and ... mayhem. Yes Dean was with us...but admittedly he does NOT have eyes in the back of his head. :)

We played hide and seek, freeze tag and all sorts of games up at the park area. They all tried monkey bars...Zunduka by far being the most agile...and since he's the lightest...he has no problem carrying his weight. Azlan--trying to imitate...was quickly disheartened at his inability to move one hand forward :)

We headed home and made lunch and put AP to bed. Daddy had a very long nap...which was probably weeks overdue and the kids played in the backyard.

Zunduka LOVES the strawberry shortcake toys and I'm thinking it's the 'action figure' (??) aspect :)

English is going amazingly well. It's incredible what they are picking up. They know what they NEED to know, and always find a way to get the message across.

Saturday night we picked sooooo many weeds in the backyard. Mortified that we did a pinata out there with friends...in a complete wreck...we got right to it. All kids STARTED helping...but Zion and Zunduka helped for hours! Both incredible workers and both thrive off words of affirmation. They got lots!! :) Daddy was finishing the neighbors fence (that has officially taken longer than any other job....he started it before I went to Africa :).

We started a nice bon fire for dinner and did hot dogs. Z and C seemed to love it. We sang sunday school songs along with Tirzah's fave "He Reigns" so cute to hear kids sing that! Then Zion's fave "Here I am to Worship" :)

I brought them all upstairs...put 4 little boys in the shower and out so quick it'd make your head spin. Bedtime is SUCH a highlight. They get silly, huggy, and we say fun creative prayers. I ask what they are thankful for and get random things like "sand and shovels and silly songs". Zion sang tons of made up silly songs while he weeded. I would just sit back in the sand and laugh. That child is hilarious.

After all 6 were in bed....and lots of bed time prayers, tooth brushes flying around, dirty clothes thrown through the air with attempts of landing in the hamper, blankies found, doggies and bears snuggled with...I was out of there. Dean and I had all the stuff for smore and enjoyed an amazing fire. Since it's all left over cedar would from his fencing it crackles awesome, Dean was concerned we'd wake the neighbors since we had it going after 11pm.

I'm in a real deep rut of intense house cleaning every night but honestly...I don't have time to do it in the morning. So bottom floor is a must and play room...yah that gets done too. Honestly it all does. The only thing struggling would be laundry and even that is maybe only a day behind. Yes some days I fall into bed going AHHH but it's a good "ahhhh".

Sunday I woke up with 6 little kids saying in attempted unison "Happy Mama's Day!" as Dean had a cup of coffee and breakfast in hand. It was followed by "you have 20 minutes to get ready" .... but really is that even a challenge anymore? I took a sip of coffee...ran to the boys room...laid out 4 outfits, girls room--laid out 2....ran into our room...grabbed mine and started to iron. Hair straightener steaming and I made it all on time. Actually this morning we pulled in early. I think thats a first...even with 4 kids!

After church I was greeted with a HUGE hand made card by all the kids...all with their scribbles and names. :) Then each child came in one rose in hand it was so cute. Dean then brought "the rest" out in a vase...and it was 3 more. Hmmmm. He did not do it on purpose but of course I immediately thought of our 3 babies in Heaven. 9 roses and we really do have 9 children.

I met a few friends at Starbucks today and then headed home b/c we were invited to our neighbors for a bbq. We have some of the best neighbors ever! The kids had a blast. From making up sunshiney day songs on the hammock to playing baseball with 2 of the most patient dads ever...to riding cars and wagons and eating hotdogs. It was a fun day. We came home and finished weeding the back yard. At 8:30 (realizing how late it was...too late...already 30 min past bedtime) I did the 4 boys in a shower, 2 girls wanted baths. They were all soooo dirty from the sand. I have a feeling this is going to be a night time ritual around here with all the sand they are playing in.

Zunduka was pretty weepy today with random little toe stubs etc...which makes me wonder how much it really was related to the 'toe stub'. He seems BEAMING with overflowing joy so I'm not sure if he really is feeling homesick. Last night Chazano and Zion slept up top on the bunkbeds and Z and Azlan on the bottom..tonight I was going to switch them but quickly got told by Zunduka's scowl and Azlan's "that's my bed down there!" that this was a permanent arrangement. For now anyway that's how they are sleeping.

A new week of school starts tomorrow. I'm still wondering about which ciric. to use next year...I know we have time to research more. Right now, still Abeka...and I keep hearing how advanced it is...which doesn't bother me. Maybe we will stick with. I know in many subjects its 2 full grades ahead of the public school system and basically if you don't start in Abeka you can't jump into it later unless you are really ahead.

Ahhh today was gorgeous weather...am hoping our summer is now here!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A week ago today...

Chazano and Zunduka took their first ever flight! And it was with their new mama!!
:)

Things have been going really really well. Yesterday after dinner Dean went back out to work on our neighbor's fence and so I bundled them all up for a walk around the block. New concept I guess! Zunduka and Azlan led the way. I had to keep telling them to stop and wait for the rest of us. They loved it though. Whenever a random flower was found Azlan was quick to grab it and either offer it to Azahria Peace or to Mama. AP carried one all the way around with her. Cute.

We got home, got jammies on everyone and sat down for their bible story. We skipped the first murder in the Bible...I'm sure we can cover that at a more appropriate age. We went to Noah. I kept asking questions of everyone and Zunduka LOVES to be first to answer and most times he was right.

As they were getting into bed, they were all looking out the window at Daddy building the gate next door. They knocked on the window (second floor of the house) and Daddy looked up and waved. He had 4 little boys frantically waving back. I could tell Dean was beaming. We had their blanket in the playroom earlier so I asked C and Z to go get it. They came back underneath the blanket...Chazano was again laughing SO hard. So I played along. I kept running away from them acting like we had no idea who those little brown legs belonged to. C finally fell onto his bed in fits of laughter. I said "Daddy will be up in a bit to give you all hugs" and behind me I heard a fast pitter patter running out of the room and down the hall. I looked out and it was Zunduka! He had snuck out. I said "where are you going?" he looks back, not wanting to delay his mission and says "Daddy..hug!" I literally ran all the way down the stairs to keep up with him...and he was out the front door and across the yard running for his Daddy! It was a very sweet moment. He thrives (openly anyway) on the Daddy-boy bond more than Chazano at this point. C seems to have some walls. He is the louder, more crazy one and Dean and I wonder if he was a bit of an annoyance in the village b/c he definitely has a tougher shell. Zunduka is just ready for the love of a family.

So we went back up and tucked them all in bed. They start snoring almost instantly. That is quite a difference to what I saw in Africa. Chazano would lay awake sometimes... for hours! We would come in and he'd be playing with his hands or his blanket. Every night I go in their room about 10-15 after putting them to bed and Chazano is snoring. SOUND asleep. They totally loved being with Auntie Tanis, there is no doubt. I do think though that they always knew it was temporary. They always went back to the village. There seems to be an unspoken knowledge that they are home. This is their family and there is no going back. They seem completely at peace.

This morning we did school again...and it went so much better even than yesterday. Chazano was very proud that he knew his Bible verse well and was quite pleased to stand up and try to say it. Azlan knew it pretty good too, which is definitely a first. Tirzah and Zion have it down...but it's been their special verse for a long time. We started school this morning with going back to writing our number "1" and staying in the lines. The progression from yesterday was pretty impressive! It's a shakey line but it's a line...and it's in the lines! Then we moved to the letter "A". That was funny. The first few A's by Z, C and Azlan were half of the page :) But they all got it in the line with a very rounded top :) Hey, we'll take it! Zion did awesome...yesterday he had to write numbers 1-10 and he did 3 rows of them...and they were way out of the lines. Some big, some small. Most all over the place. Today...he did 2 rows completely in the lines, he was really excited when I showed him the difference from yesterday. Daddy is a highlight around here....so I got Daddy to come and see all their work and they loved the high-fives!

We skipped coloring today but went into "doodle papers" instead. Tirzah was so impressed she said "you must have gone to my old school to get these" :) Oh...at this age...everything Mama does is brilliant. I'll enjoy it in all its brevity. ;)

They decided to draw some pictures for their cousins. I drew a stick person on the white board and Chazano, Zunduka AND Azlan all did really really well! So well I thought we'd reinforce our shapes and draw a house one step at a time. Ooooh it was quickly apparent that a square is way beyond the skill of a circle. So instead we got out the crayons and colored in their stick people. Zunduka got really silly when I showed him we should match the crayon to the color o his arm...he thought it was funny to color his boy's face brown. :) Azlan, ever in love with the color orange, well...let's say his boy turned really really orange. With no boundaries.

After school today which we are doing 8:30 - 11am each morning....the kids were sent to go clean the playroom while I cleaned the kitchen and dining table from school work. We were going to do our first grocery shop. We went to Walmart and started with picking out a cake for AP's little party we are doing Friday evening. Everyone had lots of opinions but I narrowed it down to a few and let AP pick. She was so cute. Then we went shopping. The rules were: (ask Zion, he knows them well:)
-no touching anything unless you ask
-no asking for toys or treats
-either you hold someone else's hand or you hold the cart.
-no dancing

Strict mama right? We have lots of dancing around here, trust me. No one walks, they all have springs in their feet. Just not in the stores. :) They were little angels all through the store. At the end we headed back to the bakery to get their free cookie that is totally a reward for being so good.

Reactions? We got LOTS of crazy stares and whispers...one elderly lady stopped and with a big smile said "WOW..HOW do you DO it?? I'm exhausted just looking at all those little kids!!" She was cute. Then she ended with "good for you! That's just great! Look at how well behaved they all are!". I'm sure the negative comments will come, but today...my only one was positive. Honestly...we are pretty unaffected by the negative. There is this strange ... almost surreal...peace ...just because we know we did exactly what God told us to do. I think if this was our idea I might feel a bit overwhelmed. We really don't. It's just one of the most incredible things...knowing you are right where God wants you.

Instead of going home...we went to get our car vacuumed and washed. I'm POSITIVE this was a whole new adventure for Z and C! It was very funny...and of course I played along pretending to suck their pant legs into the vacuum :) Then the car wash. We have an unlimited monthly membership to a full service car wash..they thought it was hilarious! I still have to reach back and hold AP's hand during it...as it's pretty loud. C kept saying "SHOWER SHOWER" :)

Headed home, we were just on the side road leading to our house when I passed a police office. I knew it was bad. He literally whipped around in the road, no lights, just followed me TIGHTLY. Ahhh. I told the kids "Mama needs you to pray we don't get a speeding ticket" Tirzah and Zion yell out "OK mama!" :) Kids are pretty accustomed to praying I'm thinking. So the cop finally turns his lights on (you know as we are half a block from our house, nice!) and as he walks to the window he's looking in to the suburban. The windows are very dark you have to really look close to see if anyone's inside. He comes to my window asks for all my ID and says "OH MY GOODNESS!!" :) He asked if they were all my kids. I told him yes and thought while I'm at it I mind as well make an attempt....I told him I think I'm just a little excited to be driving again after spending the last month in Africa. He said "Africa...what were you doing there??" I told him adopting our 2 new sons. He softened. I couldn't find my ins. or reg...just because I was shaking. He said "don't worry about it...find it when you go home but drive safe with all those kids in there. Slow down". Tirzah and Zion are yelling from the very back..."did he give you a ticket Mama?" yah, you know...as he's still at my window. :) I told them no and now it was time to thank God for answering their prayers. They just love that.

A quiet afternoon later everyone is always very excited to eat dinner together. I can tell the dinner table is going to be a family highlight here. All the stories of the day come out, excitedly, to Daddy. Then at the end while I was getting ice cream, Dean got up to play a song he likes....I was watching Chazano's shoulders move. So I said "why don't you guys get up and dance" :) It was adorable. Zion was looking at Chazano like "I don't think my body can do what his does" :) AP scooted over to me, then got her blanket and precisely laid it on my shoulder...and laid down. I was speechless! She keeps doing this with Daddy when I ask for a hug. Oh ... Mama is so #2 since this last trip. What do you expect? Her Mama leaves her twice. This last time for a whole month which must have felt like an eternity to a almost 2 year old! No way she's going to bond with me...not yet. Well tonight she warmed up. Yes I've choked away the tears several times. My sweet AP... I give her a hug and she says "where's daddy?". Hopefully it won't be too long before she realizes Mama is here to stay.

Bed time went well once we found new sheets for the boys bed. ahhhhhh. I think I've washed C and Z's sheets 4 times in what...5 nights? I'm wearing a full diaper (not a pull up) on Zunduka and he's soaking through it. I meant to get a waterproof cover today and forgot...but it's high on the list.

The kids are excited about going to our Bible study tomorrow night. Tirzah and Zion keep saying they can't wait to bring C and Z there. Zion is the best teacher btw....he keeps patiently showing them how to do things and it's so sweet. Chazano fell down outside the other day and was crying and Zion brought him a cup of water with a sweet curly straw. He's just sweet.

Tonight when Dean stepped out for an estimate we turned on Matthew West "Going Through the Motions" and it was really emotional. I just plain don't want to live an ordinary life. I don't want to go through the motions. God stretched me so far in those 28 days yet it's so easy to come back and get into old familiar routines and ... just go... go through the motions.

....on the back of most striking thoughts I have about God ... I hear it softly in the background...

"Though the world sees and soon forgets...."

It's all tied together. I thought this song was given to me for one thing way back when. I had no idea it was going to be a 'life song'. I'm home...all is normal....yet I don't want to forget. I don't want to go through the motions. I want all I've seen of who You are and what You've done for us....to change me. Daily. Transform me...more and more.... to be like Jesus.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 2 of school

We have been having a lot of fun. Chazano and Zunduka are relaxing more everyday and its a whole new side of them for me to see. They are funny, Zunduka even loud ... who knew?. Today was day 2 of school. Yes we are homeschooling. Yesterday was a bit rough for Chazano in school...he decided he didn't know how to color...or even hold the crayon....yet Zunduka was coloring all inside the lines. Mama wasn't buying the handicap. So I started rewarding great work with stickers...boy...Chazano grabbed that crayon and at incredible speed started coloring. :) Today's school went much better. We are learning the kids' favorite verse this week...Joshua 1:9 in kids version. "Be strong and brave because God is with you". They all took turns saying it, Zunduka doing very well. We sang the ABC song and Tirzah was just beaming watching C and Z sing so loud :) We also started them on writing. Just numbers. Actually...just number 1. That was a challenge :) But we did it enough times that they started to learn the concept of 'within the lines' and how to hold a pencil. To be continued tomorrow :) Recess is always a highlight. It is FREEZING here...in 7 years I have never seen May (or April) so cold!! The kids are all out playing with hats and scarves on! BTW we are using the Abeka program for school.

Last night was a lot of fun here. The kids played for hours on the living room floor (yes... yes...gorgeous playroom..but they always want to be close to us :). Z and C played for a long time with strawberry shortcake dolls. Yes it's allowed in this house. With so much male influence they'll be reaching for trucks first in no time.

They loved dinner last night. We bbq'd chicken breasts, had roasted potato pieces and corn. They loved it. Having icecream and strawberries for dessert was funny. I'm thinking it was a first for strawberries. They looked at me like I was trying to poison them. Finally got them down, Zunduka the last one of all.

They got baths last night and were hilarious. The volume in the boys' bathroom was crazy. No words lots of noise. Azlan taught them all how to do funny faces and they picked up on a pretty quickly. I switched to the girls' bathroom and that was a sweet escape. No noise. Just some soft giggles. We were supposed to read our bible story but the time..again...it was 8:45. Ahhh. Hard to get it all done and get them IN bed by 8. We're working on it. :)

Piggy back rides were a new lesson last night and it wasn't without its high decibels. Whoever was on my back...was tagged along by everyone else holding their foot. Chazano laughed so hard it was adorable.
It's so organized it's almost painful...but it's peaceful. There were no sounds once everyone was in bed and Dean and I stayed up super late. You don't sleep during silence. What a waste. Oh by the way...no jetleg this time! At all!! It's awesome.

:)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Settled in...better than we imagined.

Maybe God is saving the "above and beyond all expectations" for now that I'm home ;) Things are going really really well. The boys seem to just 'fit'. We are pretty scheduled and I think its important for children to know what is coming next. Anddd...with 6 kids...(all age 6 and under...) you kind of need a schedule...to keep a smile on your face.

Morning starts with jammies off, clothes on, jammies put away and beds made before we venture downstairs for breakfast. Azlan taught Chazano and Zunduka how to make their bed and it was quite cute. I saw Chazano trying it himself afterward.

Last night we had our special friends, Bryon and Joni (Grampy Bryon and Auntie Joni....Tirzah started that years ago) over for dinner. It was fun and to your surprise, the four adults carried on conversations at the very full table:) Joni (who's love language must also be 'gifts') brought me the most gorgeous framed African print which is now in my dining room. I had purchased a large beaded African lady that was a lamp for her in Lusaka. I saw it and immediately thought of Joni :)

Today we went to church where...we were greeted by special friends with flowers, tears and the warmest of hugs. So many people walked the same journey with us. We have heard many say "we would get out our kleenex box and sit down to read another day". In my darkest of times...it was comforting to know...just how many were with us.

We decided to go ahead and put the boys right into sunday school this morning since they are so attached to T,Z,A and AP already. We opted to put them with Zion and Azlan even though they should be in Tirzah's class. They do join up into the same class part way through and we heard rave reviews about sunday school today. They seemed to love it.

English is coming at an impressive speed. Zunduka said to me as we were leaving "we saw a video!" :) I asked if they sang songs and he, with a scowl, shook his head no. Zion quickly reminded him that they did. It was funny. I asked Zion if Azlan was a good boy in school and Azlan was watching Zion's reply with baited breath. Zion thought for a while and said "yes, very good boy today". Azlan looked at me and said "I told you I would be!" :) Zunduka gave warm hugs to a few of our good friends today and Chazano did some Zambian moves as he gave 'high fives'.

We went for lunch today...its a special day. The kids were all great...the only handful moment was when I asked "ok who has to go potty?" and all 6 hands went up! Daddy took three and came back and I took three.

We came home and Chazano looked and me and said "can I play outside?" I was like...where are these full sentences coming from??

They played outside most of the afternoon. All was good except us finding MOUNDS of sand all over the lawn...so they were all taken aside and told that was 'not ok' and hopefully we won't see that again :) They all had shovels in hand so we have no idea who was heading that movement up.

Azahria goes for her nap at 1:30ish and sleeps for a beautiful 3.5-4.5 hours.

This evening we brought down a few toys into the living room and the kids LOVED playing with Dean and I on the couch. They all had different activities. Zunduka and Zion were playing lincoln logs....Azlan had blocks and was making a tower, Chazano had a big truck loaded with little cars...Tirzah was also building towers and AP was wandering around often tempted to steal a block or toy from someone. Zunduka looked at me and said "i made house!" it was so cute. He had a lincoln log roof...propped up by cars and other things. I told him it was awesome!

Everyone got jammies on at 7:15 ish and we were intending on bed at 7:30. Ummm we need some work on knowing how long it takes to get 6 kids moving :) I am reading the bible story book Auntie Tanis gave our kids for Christmas to them everynight. Tonight was Adam and Eve. They listened so well!! We talked a lot about what sin is and obeying. Zion, ever the sincere, heart felt boy....started to give me examples of times he now realizes he disobeyed. ... "Last year....I took a muffin...and never told Daddy...." :) he makes me smile. Last year is a Zion-phrase. And usually means 'yesterday' or 'last week' :) When they got into bed it was after 8. I guess we took a while on our story which is ok.

Zunduka often gets emotional at bedtime if he's overtired. Tonight I told all boys to go get in bed and Mama would be right there. I walked in and Zunduka is doing flips and entertaining the rest of them as they are all in bed. I told him that was not listening to mama...mama said to get in bed. Then came the tears. Again I think it was because he was just plain tired. He came for a hug, was told Mama and Daddy wanted him to listen...was told how much he was loved...and got into bed.

After tucking Tirzah in I could see something out of line in the boys room...so it was apparantly Azlan's turn to entertain. He was disciplined and sent back to bed. It's been silent ever since. Azahria only got up from her nap a bit ago so she's been downstairs with mama and daddy. She has sat on the couch quietly reading books for about 30 minutes and I'm now going to put her to bed. Speaking of AP...we need to plan a party so we can celebrate the little girl's birthday!!

Some progress is Chazano and Zunduka no longer yell at embarrassing volumes "I has to poo!" :) I've seen them several times just march to the bathroom...good progress. Very good. :)

Tomorrow we have to call our adoption lawyer to see what the process and cost...is for Dean to adopt and me to readopt the children here in the states. It enables us to get US birth certificates for the children and them to become full US citizens. We need to find out if this is all necessary prior to a trip to Canada in early June.

The plan tomorrow is also to finish our fence. I am so excited about this. Yes yes I'm the fencer's wife...and we are getting a fence. Maybe soon we'll get the kids a big play set for the backyard as they are LOVING playing outside. Somethings you can justify...when you have 6 children to use it! :)

ahhhh. It's a dream to be home. Dean and I sat and listened to "while I'm waiting" by John Waller last night and I could feel every moment of that song...in Africa. There are so many of my close friends that got hope from that post. Marriages crumbling, Children's health and prognosis up in the air, overwhelmed on so many fronts. Yet we are left with 2 options. Stress, worry and be anxious. Or Wait. Waiting on Him. The same gift He gave me in Africa...He gives to you. The gift of 'one day at a time'. To my sweet friend who doesn't know what tomorrow holds for her little girl....He gives you...exactly what you can handle. One day at a time. To my sweet friend who's marriage is vaporizing right before her eyes...He gives you exactly what you can handle. One day at a time. To my friend who the daily grind ... is literally grinding you down...eating your joy...He gives you...exactly what you can handle. One day at a time. Take the gift. It is a gift. Perspective is a choice. We can look at the day through the eyes of "uhh..it's another day" or we can look through the eyes of "a new day! I can do one day".

Because ... in the end....it's not just for me. It's for you. "Though the world sees and soon forgets....we will not forget who You are and what You've done for us!" A choice I have made in heart wrenching sobs....feeling like one foot cannot possibly find it's way in front of the other...but choosing...to not forget. I will not forget. Who You are and what You've done for us. Because that tells you what He CAN do.

My pain...had a happy ending in sight. So many of you...you don't see the ending. The light is dim, at best. He knows the end of the story. The end of Your story. He can see it and there is always Light at the end of the tunnel. One day at a time.







Saturday, May 1, 2010

Home.

We are home. It feels like home...to all of us. Chazano and Zunduka have not stopped smiling since we arrived. I saw anxiety and tenseness from both of them on our first flight...everything has vanished since we got home. By looking at them...I think they are wondering when they will wake up from a way-too-good-to-be-true dream. Zunduka often has his eye on Daddy and when asked for a hug he comes running and buries his head on Dean's shoulder.

We had a fun day yesterday. The kids played outside a lot...and we had our full welcome home party. The table was decorated with pooh bear (C and Z's hero) deco and balloons at every corner. We had DQ icecream cake and gifts for everyone. Extreme expressions came when they opened their trucks Daddy and the kids had bought them. It was lots of fun. When they saw the toys out in the back yard...it was like icing on the cake.

My day yesterday was like the first day after I have a baby. A rush of emotions with no where to put them. Crying. Laughing. Feeling like I'm going crazy. You know...you've felt it before.

Azahria Peace is in love with Daddy. Mama left her for one whole month I'm not sure she knows what to think yet. She is fully potty trained, this is the first time ever we have had no kids in diapers. She spends time with me but is always asking where Daddy is. I smile b/c I love little girls in love with their daddys. I cry...b/c I hope the damage isn't permanent.

At bedtime everyone was bathed...the boy bath was loud. Crazy even. Yet no words were exchanged. Kids are great like that. No words necessary...I don't know if they've even noticed that C and Z don't speak english! After bath all boys were in cozy jammies and we read a bible story. It was on creation. I asked about the animals God made in the ocean and Zunduka proudly proclaimed "Lions, Elephants, Zebras, Tigers!" Don't think he's from AFrica do you?? :) I told him fishies live in the ocean so he quickly caught on and said "Crocodiles!" :) When I asked them all "who made you?" Z and C looked truly stumped. Zion yelled out "God made me!" and a big smile came across Z's face. I asked if God made him and he smiled. Chazano yelled "YES!". They all gave Mama a hug then daddy came in. Zunduka was just waiting for the chance to hug daddy, I could tell. Daddy bent down and Zunduka came running. He seems hungry for love. God brought him to the right place. Chazano ever the goofy one was diving into bed but stopped long enough for a hug

I spent lots of time with Tirzah tonight. I laid on her bed, read her the story all alone and she listened well. We talked about all she did when I was gone. What she loved, what she was afraid of. She talked about Amy and Char and Kristin. "Char brought crafts and we made cookies!!!" She quickly showed me her princess dress from Ashlyn...I told her it was gorgeous. I asked her to pray. Her prayer "God...thank you so much for bringing Chazano and Zunduka...AND mama home! Thank you for the wonderful party today...the cake...mmmmmm...and all the presents. Amen!" :)

Oh guess what..she has a loose tooth!! I know this seems small but I actually thanked God that He had her tooth wait for Mama to come home. Our first loose tooth...she was estatic. She had no idea but I could see it was crooked. She got teeth late and is losing them late...she's 6.5 years old and many of her peers already have lost and have some new teeth in.

Its 7:10am...and I think I'm hearing signs of life. I've switched us over hard core...its kind of the only way to do it. I put the boys to bed at 7pm b/c I could tell they were falling to sleep. I went to bed at 9:30 even though I was falling at 6:30. Dinner went well...Chazano definitely made faces at apple sauce...they've never had that before. I told him it was yummy apples and he had to eat it all. He did. Slowly. :)

So here we are. Our first wknd all together. The boys seem to be drinking in every new thing.

I was reading this morning in my one year bible...and my reading was for 2 Samuel 22. I was drinking in every word b/c a lot of David's heart cries...were recently my own. I felt God come close and answer...I sometimes felt his distance. My next section of reading was for Psalm 18. Read it. Its word for word the same as 2 Sam. 22! Ok. So I tried to drink it in. I always remember my Dad saying "if God says something once...pay attention. If he says it twice...pay close attention".

But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I cried to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry reached his ears.

Oh he soo did.

To all of you who keep asking if the blog dies now...no it doesn't. It likely won't be daily but I do want to keep it up. It may however turn into a family blog instead of just foccussed on Z and C.

With full hearts and a full house...
Love from Pasco.