I really want to get better at blogging so my updates won't be so long. A lot has been on my mind and many things have been happening in our family, but finding the time to blog is difficult. The first big news was Jeff got home two weeks ago after being gone almost a month and it wasn't a moment too soon. The kids were really missing him and I was really needing him. He had a couple of days off and it was great. He laid the law so to speak and the kids have responded remarkably well. There has been a lot of progress made with Kaleb and Emnet feeling more comfortable and attaching to us which has allowed us to be more strict in our expectations. This goes for our biological kids as well because we had lacked consistency as we all struggled to adjust to our new family dynamic.
The truly amazing thing is we are finally starting to feel more like a family. We went on a little hike the weekend Jeff got home and these are a few pictures.
This truly warmed my heart because there has been so much fighting between the kids. I got a glimpse of how things can be with prayer and hard work.
There has also been some other progress made. Kaleb is now able to go to school without me and I am so proud of him. He is writing all of his letters, and although he gets frustrated, I try to continually remind him (and myself) how great he is doing. He is going to take an assessment on Tuesday which is required by the state of California for all non-English speakers to evaluate his level. He will be assessed every year until it is determined that he is fluent in English. I find this kind of thing fascinating so it will be interesting to see what is included in the testing. Kaleb also lost his first tooth! He was really upset about this at first and it took a lot of convincing to assure him that another tooth would grow in. He was pretty excited about the tooth fairy and it is likely he will lose several other teeth soon. Finally, Kaleb is riding a two-wheel bicycle. He had been wanting his training wheels off for a couple of weeks but I wanted to wait for Jeff to get home. The night Jeff got home he took them off and Kaleb was riding by himself about 5 minutes later. This is the same boy who could not figure out how to pedal and would ride slower than I can walk when he first got here. They have come so far in so many ways.
Toby and Addie are loving school. Living in a small town might require a blog post all its own but one thing I will say is that people truly are invested in the lives of my kids. This is such a blessing to me and to them.
Kaleb and Toby both started soccer which is a lot of fun, but it does make our evenings crazy. Kaleb is really good. He kicked the soccer ball for hours while we were in Ethiopia, so I was really excited for his opportunity to learn the game. He had his first game last week and he scored for both teams :) He gets pretty aggressive and I was telling his coach, who is a good friend of ours, that we might need to work on sportsmanship. He reminded me that perhaps we should keep working on English instead :) Toby is also doing great when he isn't staring at the clouds. If you know Toby, this makes perfect sense. Let's just say it is a really good thing Toby is smart.
Emnet started dance class. This just makes me smile because she dances all the time. We were watching a Muppet Movie that had a lot of Motown music in it, and although Emnet was exhausted, she just had to get up and dance. It is amazing to see how well she listens and follows directions when she is running off which continues to be an issue for us. Emnet's little dance class just might be the cutest ever. There is a little girl adopted from China and a little girl from Mexico adopted out of foster care in her class. What a beautiful picture. You can't help but think about what life would have been for these three little girls as you see them twirling in their tutus. It is moments like this that makes me so thankful for adoption amidst the very difficult days.
Jeff and the boys are camping out tonight for "man camp" which was going to include all kinds of fun like canoeing, compasses, Bible reading, fishing, hiking to a waterfall and code names. Kaleb kept asking everyone if he was going to get eaten by a bear. I will post more on this adventure and my fun time with the girls which included a tea party, pretty dresses, nail polish, beads and princess movies. For now, here a couple pictures of Kaleb's first s'more. Now that is a momentous occasion! As for Emnet, she still doesn't like sweets - I told you she was crazy.
The camo and sunglasses make the picture don't you think :)