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.
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.