-We went to Canada and back.
-We came home to a completely bursting-with-pups Piper (we actually did doubt she was really pregnant...)
-Our weather in Tricities has been extremely out of whack. In 7 years we have never seen such a horrible spring and summer.
-We are all doing great.
We left for Canada at 9:30pm of the big day we were supposed to leave by noon. Incredible, really. I was completely packed but there's always last minute things to do. This is the first time I had committed to leaving a spotless house behind which just about means having 6 kids sit on the floor with one book and not moving til we are out the door. When we realized how late it was getting Dean suggested going to bed and leaving first thing in the morning...but I had actually managed to have the house spotless and the kids were counting down to when we could start our trip so we opted to just get in the vehicle and go.
We drove for 2 hours and got a hotel for the night. It's quite funny watching the faces of the people at the front desk as we haul in, one-by-one, six small sleeping children. They all travel so well...we should do it more often.
The next morning we all got breakfast and got on the road. We are pretty strict with not being the family that everytime we get into the car a dvd has to be playing. So we started out our days with everyone just watching the scenery. It's cute how creative they can be!
One thing we realized we had to change quickly was everyone's need for an individual, separate, wait-til-Mama-and-Daddy-think-they-are-cruising potty break!! It was laughable...then worth crying over. Just ten minutes into the trip..."Zunduka's gotta pee"...we stop. "anyone else?" A resounding "NO!" from the back....20 minutes later "Azlan's really gotta go potty!" 10 minutes later Zion shouts "I gotta go NOW and I can't hold it". We stop. 20 minutes later Tirzah says "I'm really sorry but I really really have to go!" ahhhhhhhh. It was unbelievable. So we had to get tough. Yes this is how you maintain sanity AND have 6 small children. We stopped and made everyone pee on demand. Half of them looked at us like "we don't have to go" and a few said as much. But they all peed and yes we had hours that were potty-break-free.
Oh I meant to say that at the border they asked one of us to go in and wait for the passports. I went in and they called me into the interview room. The guy looked at me holding the Zambian passports out and said "I'm really sorry Ma'am...but we don't allow Zambians to come into Canada without a Canadian Visa...." I was quite relaxed and calm and asked him about the fact that the children are permanent residents of the USA...he opened the passports and looked at their US Visas and said "I am sooooo sorry, somehow I missed that. Here you go, you are on your way!" :)
We got to Dad's/Grampa's house Friday evening in time for dinner. We had a nice dinner with some family and visited for a bit. Zion was so cute following Michael around. Michael is Dad's (and Tracey's) foster child that is autistic. They have had him since before we were married 10 years ago and now he is 15 I think. Zion always gravitates to the older boys so it was cute to watch him follow Michael around. What he didn't know is ... that anything was different about Michael. Michael went into the bathroom to turn on the water and Zion followed laughing his head off saying "Mike, what are you doing now??" It was so sweet. Zion had no clue. He thought Michael was just being goofy and Zion was quickly his biggest fan. We did sit Zion down and tell him how awesome it was that he loved being with Michael. Zion just beamed. We also filled him in that God made Michael a little bit different than us and that he's not being goofy...he really acts that way. Dean told him it's very cool that Zion wants to play with him but his request of sleeping in his room with him...would be denied. :)
Grampa got home super late and Dean and I stayed up til almost 5 am talking to him. :) Yah he was only getting married the next day, no big deal! ;)
Saturday we all got on our way at 9:30 or so to head in to Winnipeg to the wedding. It was outdoors at a golf course and it was a very beautiful day. It was very pretty and a special day for us all. Tirzah LOVED seeing a wedding as she talks about weddings all the time. It was also the first time we have ever seen Tirzah interested in babies. Mika was there with Tanis and Tirzah was just oogling over her :)
After the wedding we stopped at Dean's fave ice cream spot and bought everyone an icecream for the trip back to Grampa's house.
We had some of our close friends invited over for the afternoon and really loved catching up with the very fabulous Stanley family :)
Sunday Tanis had invited some of our friends over for lunch and it was really fun to see them all again with their families. Later we made plans to go see some more friends of ours in Roseisle. Marv and Marlene Dyck and their gorgeous crew on Sunday afternoon and then Sunday evening to Marv's parents. We spent so much of our time with both families when we lived in Portage and it was great to see them all again. Last time we saw them we had a baby Tirzah...now we come home with 6.
Monday morning, afternoon and evening we spent time at some close friends' houses and really loved every minute of it. After dinner we headed a few hours away to Clear Lake where we had rented a cabin for a few days with some family. It was a nice time with not-so-typical-weather again but it was still nice. We rented a boat on one of the days (though freezing) it was a highlight for the kids.
Thursday we started for home. I really loved driving through Montana, it was gorgeous. Maybe it was also in contrast to the Canadian route on the way there...ahhhhh...;)
We arrived home late Saturday night at about midnight. I LOVED walking in the door to such a clean house!! That was worth every bit of effort before we left. I loved it so much I stayed up until 2:30am and did a few loads of laundry, started unpacking, etc.
It's funny how when you move away from 'home' you don't know if another place will ever become 'home' to you....this is our home. We have friends here, our church family is here, we feel like this is home. It felt so great to be back.
A few days after being back Dad and Mom Walker were coming through on their honeymoon. We had such a fun fun time with them and getting to know Mom especially. They showed up in a rented Volvo convertible which was just a dream for our kids. They all got rides. Grandma has her Masters in early education so she did school with us one morning and that was awesome to see all her ideas. We taught Zunduka how to use scissors too which was pretty cute.
So here we are--supposed to be in summer and not quite sure where summer in the Tri-Cities is hiding. The kids were over the moon to see little sprouts of green in our garden when we got home and it's been growing pretty fast ever since.
We are planning on moving the double bed from the spare room into the girl's room and even redoing their room a bit since we don't have bedding for the double bed. Bye bye crib and twin bed (they are sleeping in the twin bed together right now...one pillow at each end).
Zunduka seems pretty well done with diapers at night...I even forgot to put one on him the other night and he woke dry. We talk about it a lot. He is not allowed to have more than a sip of water past dinner time but every night we talk about getting up to pee and it's obviously working.
I've been to the chiropractor twice in 3 days which feels a little dismal to me ... since I've never had back or neck issues in my life. Both times I was told my hip is "very off". Fabulous.
We have been much more connected since coming home from Canada. It feels like we may finally be able to settle into a normal life having it behind us. Everything has been so crazy since coming home from Africa, it seems.
Chazano has turned very touchy-feely...primarily with Tirzah. She is always telling him "that's enough kisses for today"...it's quite funny.
Chazano is definitely coming out of his 'shell' more and more...and connects better with eye contact and expressions.
Azlan...my special Azlan boy. Ahhh this child pulls at my heart more and more. His drooling, that was completely done before I went to Africa...is not just back...it's back in full force. It's quite disheartening to have something you have worked so hard to reverse...show up and show up worse. He is 3.5 years old and his shirts are soaked within 20 minutes of getting dressed. It's a pretty sensitive issue in our house and there is zero tolerance for making fun of him. Chazano did say in the car "Azlan you are wet!" in a not so friendly tone. We have to be pretty careful. It's a medical issue, a symptom of his condition Hemi Facial Syndrome. Thankfully Azahria Peace has not yet noticed his drooling and she and him are two peas in a pod ;)
A friend of ours from church just said he thinks he is quite a bit ahead of where he was a year ago, speech-wise. It was good to hear that because it's hard to see the improvement. We still interpret 90% of what he says. I love him.
Tirzah lost her first tooth!! It was pretty sweet...she was made to lay down and let daddy take a tug at it with pliers....it 'just so happened' to fall off on it's own and she almost choke on it!! It was the sweetest thing ever...she jumped up and was saying "God did it...God made my tooth fall out so I wouldn't need Daddy's pliers!!" she could hardly calm down to go to bed she was so excited. :)
When we got home we had a box in the mail from Nana and Papa Procopio. They had sent $5 gift cards to Walmart to each of the kids. That was so much fun...taking them to the store to pick out their goods. Talk about loot for $5!!
Tirzah got a porcelein tea set.
Azahria got a very cute dolly.
Azlan got two little Black and Decker tool sets that he sleeps with (!!)
Zion got a water squirter thing
Zunduka got a boat and 4 big dinosaurs
Chazano got a boat, a tiger, lion and 2 dinosaurs.
Thanks Nana and Papa!
Oh everyone has changed their minds on what they want to be when they grow up:
Tirzah: "a pizza cooker girl that throws pizza dough up in the air!"
Zion: "a police man with Zunduka on a motorcyle"
Zunduka "yah a police man"
Chazano "driving an airplane"
Azlan "driving a choo choo train".
Should be interesting :)
My favorite verses from this week's reading:--reminds me of the name of this blog...Though the world sees and soon forgets...we will not forget who You are and what You've done for us....often it's in the small whisper we see him.