First Impressions

Teddy and my weary world-travelers are home – praise the Lord!

Today is day five and I feel I am only just starting to get a sense of what things might be hard about our new normal and what things are going to be awesome.  And it will likely all change again by this time next week.

The first few nights, Teddy was jetlagged, which meant he was wide awake in the middle of the night.  This was when we learned (well, we sort of already knew) that Teddy is a great collector and relocator of things.  He helped himself to a few of the sweets Trevor had brought back from China to share, but not as many of them as we initially thought – he hid a second box in Niko’s bed.  The next morning, he had stashed a few pieces of (fairly important, undealt-with) mail in the puzzle cupboard in his room, my Borax and Trevor’s shaving cream in the fridge, and all the pens and pencils we keep in the kitchen in the big crayon basket in the boys’ room.  We can chuckle about it now, because as he’s slept later each morning he’s had less time to devote his item relocation program, but it was pretty unsettling.

He is mostly very happy and sweet, game for whatever the kids are busy with.  He does have a very strong stubborn streak, which I’m sure we will see more of as time goes on, but for now, he is mostly happy to be with us and do what we’re doing.

He immediately adored Coraline, having apparently identified her as a smaller, squishier version of Bea. He is fascinated with Delia. They both love to give each other hugs, but usually only at times when the other doesn’t want one. It will be an interesting dynamic to watch! Lewis is enjoying him tremendously and suddenly seems like the resident big kid in charge, excitedly introducing Teddy to all the fun things about being a Young (“Teddy! Tuppon (Come on)!” All of the kids are just really excited he’s finally here.

Teddy is super affectionate.  He was uncertain about me when he first got home on Saturday, but I got my first bear hug on Sunday morning just towards the end of our church service.  I then got my second through twelfth bear hug, along with hugs and kisses for Niko, Bea, and Pippa.  At first, we could hear “aww”s from the pews around us, then “aww”s gave way to giggles as he kept relentlessly smothering us with hugs and kisses.  It was pretty sweet, but it got less entertaining when I finally had to try to peel him off his siblings, and that was no easy feat!

All things considered, we’ve had a good first week.  Going from 8 kids (I got a little bit comfy there!) to 11 was an adjustment for me.  I think I had prepared myself for Teddy being hard, but forgot what an adjustment it would be for everyone else.  As always, God’s grace has been huge, I just need to learn to lean into it more.  We are so thankful for the incredible gift He has given us in our new son.  Welcome home, Thaddeus Merit.  You’re officially a Young now!

 

 

 

 

Homeward Bound!

As I type this, Trevor and the kids are having one final lunch in Guangzhou and then beginning their journey to Hong Kong and home.  And that means that I am officially *not* going to China!

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning for them was Tuesday evening for us, and we were all praying fervently for the consulate appointment that caused us so much uncertainty just before Trevor traveled.

He was in a group of a dozen American adoptive families, all waiting, as he was, to finalize their child’s US visa.

The first thing they announced to the group was: we will need just one parent to come forward for the interview, and that parent must be a US citizen with their US passport.  (I am so thankful I didn’t hear the tale until everything was already over!)

Trevor was the very last to be called, and, as promised, the first question was, “US passport, please?”

Trevor showed his British passport and US permanent resident card, and produced the email from that very office stating that he would be able to complete the adoption without me.

The man conducting the interview went to fetch his supervisor and discuss.  I can only imagine how long those minutes must have felt.  Finally, he agreed that the permanent resident card was sufficient, and continued with the interview.

After asking Trevor a few questions, the man spoke to Teddy.  China’s policy (which I knew about but had forgotten since it never applied to us before) is that any child age ten or older must give consent to being adopted.

Well, our boy was apparently not in the mood for an interview.  Though he is fairly verbal and certainly understood what was being asked of him, he refused to answer.  “Well,” the man suggested in Chinese, “Could you point to your daddy?”  Nope.  Teddy could not.

The supervisor was fetched again.  When it was clear that Teddy was to be an immovable force, the man said to Trevor, “I can tell from your interactions with him that he is clearly part of your family.”

And with that, the interview was over.  Praise be to God!

They fly home on Saturday.  God speed, my sweet loves!

 

A Mother’s Day

I was just saying to Trevor a couple of nights ago during our twice a day brief Facebook chat that things have been going so very well here at home.  Normally, by the end of his work week, I find myself stretched very thin and so ready for a break, but while he’s been away, I have felt carried.  I told Trevor that I have felt like Peter this past week, keeping my eyes dependently fixed on Jesus and doing what I would not have thought possible: not just surviving this time apart, but living life with joy and peace.  But I also admitted to him that I’ve had a few moments when I have started to let the waves frighten me a little,  when I’ve counted the long days and nights ahead (including the ones *after* they get home!) and felt panic begin to set in.

Well, today I took my eyes off Jesus and took a good hard look at the waves around me, and I started sinking fast.

Mother’s Day is never my favorite, I have to admit.  I am thankful for my kids every single day, don’t get me wrong, but Mother’s Day is just another day, with all the same messes, all the same parenting, all the same disputes over who is sitting where and who gets to put their feet in Mommy’s lap while we read together.  I’m used to that, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at making the most of the day anyway, enjoying the seeds the kids have planted for me in Sunday school, and maybe getting to spend some time with my own mom.

Today was Day 11 of 16 days of caring for eight kids without Trevor.  I arrived at church weary but peaceful, happy to get to sit for an hour and nurse the baby without any interruptions.  My best friend Mary and her daughter Maura had had a slumber party at our house the night before, and were with us for church.  It was shaping up to be a pretty good day.

Not five minutes after the kids went to their Sunday school class, Delia’s teacher came to get me.  Delia had had an accident on the floor.  While we were cleaning that up, she threw up.  I took her out of her class and thought the two of us could just sit in the (unused) nursery while I fed the baby.  Then she threw up again all over the nice new glider chair.  While I was taking the cushions off and scouring the chair and all its parts as well as I could with wipies, the custodian came in and said, “Hmm, that’s going to stain.”

At this point, I’m looking at the waves, and they’re huge, and I’m freaking out.  There goes our nice dinner (McDonald’s was the plan, but still!) with my mom and grandmom today.  There goes my whole week, come to think of it.  They’re all going to drop like flies now.  I’ll probably get it, too.  Hey, we’ll probably still have it when Teddy gets home on Saturday.  Awesome.  A stomach bug is exactly what we need right now.  (So much sarcasm in my darkest moments!)

I more or less held it together until I got home and called my mom to tell her we couldn’t come to dinner, and in the warmth and safety of her response, I fell apart.

But God was so gracious and patient with me on this day that was not going how I had hoped.

First my dad called and came over to measure our new table for some custom-made benches (to fit a few more little bottoms than the chairs can comfortably accommodate.)

Then my mom and sister came over in the afternoon before going to dinner and brought me coffee and popsicles for the kids.

While they were there, Pippa got an idea to surprise me and reorganize the dresser in the girls’ room according to the Konmarie folding method.  She mobilized a couple of sisters to help her and an hour later showed me this: (I wish I had a before picture, but believe me when I tell you it was a hot mess!)

In the very bottom of one of the dresser drawers, they found this:

I laughed when Pippa brought it down to me.  This card is probably some fifteen or twenty years old and intended for my mother-in-law (sorry, Elaine!)  I have no idea why we had it much less why it was in the girls’ dresser, but it felt as if Trevor had planned this elaborate scheme from China just to brighten my day.  And it did.

The rest of the afternoon was passed with me and most of the kids making picture-and-word labels for all the new toy storage bins in the boys’ room.  (Delia did stay curled up on the sofa feeling lousy for the rest of the day, but thankfully she didn’t throw up again, nor has anyone else so far!)

It was a lovely day.  A truly lovely day.  I don’t have a photo of me and all my beautiful children in our Sunday best to show for it this year (or one of me with MY mom and sister this year, for that matter), but I am surely the most abundantly blessed mother there is.

How It’s Going So Far

I’m still having technical difficulties getting photos to load here, but I think I’ve pinned down that it is just because the files are too big.  This is a heavily cropped one that worked just fine, so we should be able to get to the bottom of it now.

Three Peas in a Pod

Trevor and I get about a half an hour of chat time each morning and evening (his morning to my evening, and mine to his -still so weird!) so I get little tidbits of their adventures each day.

On the first night, Niko took one for the team by taking a bath with Teddy to show him how fun and not-scary bathtime is.  Apparently Teddy was fascinated by Niko’s jutting, bony shoulders and elbows (I tease him that he sharpens them when I’m not looking!) and kept reaching out to touch them.  They do have rather opposite body types!

Teddy is quite the entertainer.  He did a rousing bit of interpretive dance in the park, patted a man’s tummy in an elevator (thankful he was a jolly sort of man and patted Teddy’s right back) and collected some leaflets in a goverment office and began handing them out.

It sounds like they are having more good moments than hard, but there has been some hard as well.  Please pray for endurance for Trevor and the kids, and that they would continue to be able to laugh rather than cry in those moments when you don’t quite know which one to do!

As for us, our days have been full and peaceful, which is such a gift from God.

The Big Day

Today was a red letter day: Thaddeus Merit Young is officially ours!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes a picture is worth so many words that you don’t even know where to begin.  This morning, I woke up to this picture, and my heart was full.

If he looks a little uncertain in the picture above, he didn’t stay that way for long.  Back at the hotel Teddy had a blast brushing the kids’ hair and posing for silly photos.  Unfortunately, I have tried and tried to share some of them here, but the files seem to be too big.  I will do my best to fix this technical difficulty soon!

Trevor says that Teddy had a good first day.  Some stubborn moments, but he can usually be persuaded to comply with a smile and a bit if silliness to diffuse the situation.  He slept well (it is already tomorrow in China!) which is a huge blessing in itself.  The kids are absolutely loving him, as you will see if I can ever get my blog to talk to Trevor’s pictures.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, we have had smooth, easy days so far.  This is as much an answer to prayer as Teddy’s good first day.  Thank you for your continued prayers – it is still 13 more sleeps till they come home (though only 12 more bedtimes, which is a bigger deal from where I sit!)

The Adventure Begins

On Thursday afternoon, Trevor, Niko and Bea set off for Hong Kong, their pit stop on the way to Teddy, and today I received photographic evidence that they made it – whew!

These photos from Trevor absolutely made my day, but I received another photo this evening that I wasn’t expecting.  A photo of another adventure that began today.

This is our sweet Teddy in the car with his orphanage director starting the journey to meet Trevor, Niko and Bea on Monday!

How did I get this amazing, behind-the-scenes glimpse of our boy?  It occurs to me that I never really told you the story of how we found Teddy.  Well, grab a cup of coffee, and I’ll tell you now while we wait for the exciting part to happen.

A little over three years ago, I began attending a wonderful, intimate support group for adoptive moms that meets five times a year.  It’s over an hour drive to get there, but so worth it for my sanity and the well-being of our whole family.

About two and a half years ago, my dear friend Kelly whom I met through this group came home with two new sons from China.  Even amid the flurry of excitement and chaos of her own two new boys, she shared with our group her burden for two other little boys she met there.  These two boys, it seemed, were given free rein to wander around the facility and surrounding area.  It wasn’t a good situation.

Shortly after that, one of those boys went missing.  He still has not been found.

The other little boy was our Teddy.

Kelly wanted desperately to find a home for this little guy, but we had just begun our process for Lewis, and adopting another little boy with Down syndrome was just not even on my radar.  I prayed for those little boys, but then life moved on.

A little over a year ago, right around the time we traveled to bring Lewis home, I became a little obsessed with the fact that Chinese adoption regulations allow for “reusing your dossier”, or parts of it at least, for a second adoption started shortly after the first.  I will admit that even while we were in China falling in love with our precious new son, I was looking at waiting children on our agency’s website.

My heart was for another child with Down syndrome, which just hadn’t turned out to be the scary special need it had once seemed AT ALL.  In fact, it was quickly apparent that Lewis’s extra chromosome, rather than leaving him deficient in any way, had actually made him a little bit extra awesome.

Our agency had pages of beautiful babies with Ds – oh, how they tugged at my heart strings!  But they were all babies.  Not one over the age of four or five.  Knowing that older children can be much harder to find families for, and having seen first hand what a blessing they are, that was where my heart drew me.

After we were home, I was mentioning to Kelly that we were interested in adopting another little boy with Ds, perhaps an older one, maybe 9 or 10.  She could hardly contain herself!  “That’s Didi!”

She sent us his file, and we knew immediately that if we were going to reuse our dossier, this was the one.

We began asking our agency about reusing our dossier.  They were open to the idea at first, but then Verity made her presence known.

We went back and forth for about two months, but in the end, despite having let us adopt while pregnant twice before, they said we would have to wait until after baby to begin our process, and waiting would make it too late for a “reuse”.

That could have been the end of it.  I thought it probably would be.  But meanwhile, the agency who had a partnership with Teddy’s orphanage had reached out to let us know that they would love to work with us.

When one door closed, another appeared.  Let’s push it, Trevor suggested, and see if it opens.

And open, it did.

So, with a new agency and a new home study social worker, we set out on a completely new adoption, not a “reuse” after all.  Because once we knew this boy was ours, we just couldn’t walk away.

Here we are, one year later, days away from receiving this precious little man into our family.

Thanks to Kelly’s ongoing connections with the orphanage director as well as a missionary couple that work nearby, we have been able to have regular updates and new photos of our boy throughout the process.  We were even able to “send him” a birthday cake last summer!

And so it is that we have a backstage pass to his journey to meet us.  Today he is on his way to the city where he will meet Trevor and the kids, just as they are on their way to meet him.  I can only imagine what he is feeling.  I don’t know how much he understands of what is about to take place, but please pray for his heart, that he would feel safe and loved right from the beginning.

A Gift from God

I promised an update on Tuesday, and I did not deliver.  Sorry! In fact, Tuesday ended up being a completely uneventful day.  We stayed home, we did school, we went to small group Bible study.  But I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Last Monday morning, I woke up to an email from our agency, simply stating: It looks like we may be okay for Trevor to travel without you (?!) Below that was a forwarded chain of correspondence between our agency and the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  While parts of it were unclear, it does seem that there is an exception for Trevor’s type of residency visa, and we have it in writing now that he can complete the adoption without me.  This was an answer to prayer, a gift from God beyond what I had even hoped for (though Trevor was praying for exactly this)!

And now, I want to tell you a story about a little boy with no name.

We found out about our newest little man from my dear friend Kelly, whose son came from the same orphanage.  She came home with her boys two years ago desperate to find a family for little “DiDi”, back when we were just at the start of our process to adopt Lewis.  Adopting a second little boy with Down syndrome wasn’t even on our radar yet.

We found other adoptive moms and agency advocates who knew him, always by the name of DiDi, the word in his language for “little brother”.

One mom shared with me that her husband had asked an orphanage worker what his name was, and she had answered, “He doesn’t have one.  He has Downs.”

Let that sink in for a minute.  The people looking after our boy did not even think he was worthy of having a name.  Words cannot express how this broke my heart.

When we received his file, we discovered that his name is, indeed, just Di – also the character for little brother.  It seems that when his file was prepared, they just wrote down the name he had always gone by.

Well, we aim to give this boy a name.

We are calling him…

Thaddeus Merit Young

We will call him Teddy for short, to echo DiDi, the name he has so long been called.

His “Di” is still in there (he WILL be a little brother, after all!) but his new name, Thaddeus, means “gift of God”, and that is exactly what he is.

His middle name was my grandfather’s.  An English word denoting worth or value.

This boy, once deemed unworthy even of a name, is a gift from God.  He has immeasurable worth.  He is worthy not only of a name, but of a family, of a home, of love, and we cannot wait give him all of those things.

Adoption Update and Prayer Request

I hope you all had a blessed Easter – we certainly did!

A lot has happened since my last adoption-related post, most of it very good.  Most recently, we received our travel approval on April 18th!  It seemed like every thing was falling into place for Trevor to go to China in a week or two and bring home our boy… until yesterday.

Our agency called to say that because Trevor is not a US citizen, I must be present for our US consulate appointment in China.  They somehow missed the fact that he is British, and we missed the fact that that was a problem, especially since it wasn’t an issue for Trevor completing Niko’s adoption without me.

They wondered if we could just switch – I go to China, and he stay home with the kids.  After all, my visa is still good from our trip to get Lewis.

Well, we have a saying we use a lot in our home: “Play to your strengths”.  Solo international travel is certainly not one of my strengths, but breastfeeding a baby is an unequivocal weakness of Trevor’s.  Switching places is not going to be an option!

Our current plan is for Trevor to travel with Bea and Niko as planned, and for me and Verity to join them just for the last few days of the trip, including the consulate appointment.

In order to do this, Verity will need a passport very, very quickly.  We plan to walk in to our local passport office on Tuesday (the first available appointment was Thursday, but we have been told they accept walk-ins) and ask them to expedite her passport and give it to us the same day.  Then the week that Trevor goes ahead of us will give us time to get her visa.  If this happens, our travel plans can remain unchanged.

Would you please pray with us that we find favor on Tuesday and that this can happen?  I will try to come back and update when we know more.  Maybe I’ll even tell you about his name when I do!  I have left you hanging far too long on that front.

The Unique Arrival of Verity Laine

As her half birthday draws nigh(!), I have finally gotten around to recording the lengthy tale of Verity’s birth.  Although I try not to make my birth stories too explicit for delicate readers, I will warn you that there was some… interesting stuff this time.   Here’s how it all went down:

Sunday, October 2:

I woke up to a sensation of wetness… but not that much.  We went about our morning routine and got ready for church, but a couple of times when I stood up I felt a tiny gush… or did I?

We went to church, and I called the midwife after lunch, just to run it by her.  “I’m not convinced your water broke,” she said.  “It just doesn’t sound like enough fluid. When’s your next appointment?”  “Tomorrow,” I told her.  She’d just check me then, to be sure.

Monday, October 3:

Theraplay in the morning. Paige came with me for company, and she brought me coffee. It was shaping up to be a pretty good day.  I was still feeling slightly leaky, but figured I’d find out what the deal was at my appointment.

After lunch, my dear friend Bonnie offered to watch the gang so I could go to my appointment by myself.  This would prove to be a much bigger commitment that she originally bargained for.  Bea came with me, just for some Mommy time.

Midwife Francesca almost didn’t check me for amniotic fluid, based on my description of how things were going, but she decided to play it safe.  There were three tests: the pH test was positive (amniotic fluid is alkaline), there was  some visible fluid (pooling) but not much, but when she looked at the dried sample under a microscope, she did not see the fern-like pattern she would expect.  All things considered, she was leaning towards thinking I had sprung a small leak.  She decided to hook me up to a non-stress test and check me again in an hour.  At this point, I had already been there or about an hour, so I called Bonnie to update.

About halfway through my hour hooked up to the monitor, my water sprung a bigger leak.  There was now no denying we were in baby mode.  That was to be the “official” time of water breaking, but I know it was really early, early Sunday morning.

Since we were still hoping for a birth center or home birth at this point, Francesca sprang into action with a new-to-me labor-inducing technique.  Apparently, a foley catheter can be used to buy you 3 centimeters of dilation. You can read more about the technique here, if you want, but suffice it to say I had to drive home with a tube draining amniotic fluid all over the place and a lot of extra padding.

By the time I got home, with a recipe for a castor oil root beer float in hand (which I never did use), Bea and I had been gone for some three hours.  Trevor would be getting home soon, and it was dinner time.  Bonnie called her husband, our assistant pastor at the time, and asked him to pick up four pizzas for us and head on over.

By the time Josh and the pizza came I was having some contractions.  They weren’t that impressive, but often enough that I was hopeful I’d manage to dodge the castor oil bullet.

Josh and Bonnie and their two kids pizza-ed with us and hung out for a while, but all the while I was sure things were heading in a nice, steady babyward direction.

We got the kids to bed, and I labored on.  I tried to sleep but couldn’t, spent some time in the bath, but eventually woke Trevor to help me assess.  After an hour of strong contractions five minutes apart, we called midwife Francesca.  She told us she could “be there in 45 minutes,” so we got off the phone excited to be gaving our third homebirth, a detail that hadn’t been nailed down previously because some of the nurses are not trained for homebirths.

Francesca called us back about ten minutes later to say that by “there” she had actually meant the birth center.  We were very glad she clarified!

I called my mom, who got to our house as quickly as she could, and we were on our way.  We arrived at the birth center (where Annis had been born) at around 5 AM on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, October 4:

Though my contractions had decidedly lost some of their oomph on the drive over and I was only at 4 cm, we were all certain that walking around would kick them back into gear in no time.  We were optimistic that I’d have the baby long before Francesca’s shift ended at 9 am, what, with this being my seventh baby and all.

So I walked and walked and walked.  I took some homeopathic remedies to unscare my labor.  I walked some more.  My contractions were 7…, 8…,10 minutes apart and not that impressive.  At the end of Francesca’s shift I was still 4 cm, and very apologetic for getting her up at 4am.

I paced around the birthing suite ALL DAY LONG with midwife Barbara (who delivered Junie and Coraline).  She tried some different homeopathic remedies, swept my membranes, sent us outside for a more vigorous walk, and eventually just let me nap for a while.

By 11 pm I was still just 4.5cm, despite some 30 hours of painful-but-too-far-apart contractions, and I felt utterly defeated.

It had now been way too long since my water had broken for anyone’s comfort, and I felt peaceful in making the decision to transfer to the hospital for some pitocin to help get my labor into gear.

Despite knowing it was what had to happen, I cried all the way to the hospital (through contractions that had suddenly decided to come quite powerfully every four minutes, by the way!). I told Trevor I wanted an epidural, maybe even a c-section, and I meant it.  I felt like my body had betrayed me and forgotten how to have a baby, and I was done.

The change of scenery and new faces at the hospital did me some good.  They gave me some slipper socks, and I found a good comfy chair to labor in.  They blew two veins before they managed to get my IV in, and this sent me back to the brink of despair for a few moments, but then I rallied.

Wednesday, October 5:

Barbara started me with just faintest whiff of pitocin at about 2 am, and it was enough to remind my body how to have a baby.  The nurse turned it up one time, and I asked if we could leave it there.  I could tell it was working, and quickly, but it wasn’t unbearable like I remembered pitocin being when I had it with Pippa’s delivery.

By about 3:30, I called for Barbara.  It was showtime.

I have been increasingly fearful about the pushing stage of labor for the last several babies, but this time was different.  I was so very weary of being in labor that the prospect of being done won out over my fear.  I was actually almost excited to push.  Excited to finally meet this new person.

Barbara tried to help me get my knees up and encouraged me not to scream, but to bear down instead, but I ignored all of these instructions, as I always do (earning myself, as usual, a few stitches afterwards).  I kicked my legs free of the nurses and let out a few final primal screams, and she was born at 3:52 am.

The 36 hours of labor was forgotten (indeed, to the nurses at the hospital, who had only seen the final three, I was some kind of birthing hero!) and there was our girl.  Perfect, amazing, mine.

The nurse asked her name, and Trevor bestowed it. Verity.  7 lbs 14 oz.  21 inches.  Very like her oldest sister, but so much her own little self.

Because of how long my water had been broken and the risk of infection, we had to stay in the hospital until Friday, which was a very different experience for me.  The first night felt like a welcome getaway, but the second I felt more like a prisoner.  In hindsight, the forced rest made it one of my fastest and easiest recoveries, and I thank God for knowing better than I did what I needed.

Winter Haps

Trevor asked me a couple nights ago if I still had a blog.  I’m not sure how kidding he was, but this is for him and anyone else who checks in once in a while despite my gross neglect.

As usual there has been much busy-ness, and most of it has been very good.

Most recently, just this morning in fact, we received the hard copy of our Letter of Acceptance from China!  This means our dossier has been approved and all that remains is the final step of his US immigration paperwork.  It also I can now share with you the boy that will soon be our son.  (I could also share his name with you, but what would be the fun in that?  Names deserve their own posts.  Don’t you think?  Stay tuned!)

Isn’t he delightful?  We can’t wait!

We’ve had two birthdays this month, with four more in the next two weeks!

Romilly is now 11…

And Juniper, the baby of our “Original Four”, is 8.

 

Happy birthday, girls!

This little one, like her sisters before her, has refused to stay tiny and new.  Sigh.  In a fit of rebellion she even went and sprouted two teeth at just four months old!

But oh, how we all adore her.

School is moving along.  We are just about two-thirds through our year.  People are learning things.  We’re in a pretty good groove.

Coraline is reading beginner books thanks in large part to the efforts of her biggest sister.  Pippa is learning algebra and loving it, which just fills my math-minor heart with the greatest joy.  Delia has made some strides with independence getting dressed, and she will be trying out a tablet-based communication device in the next couple months. Lewis wrote his name by himself for the first time a couple weeks ago.  I think the whole neighborhood heard our cheers!

One of the greatest blessings of this school year has been our dear friends, the Weavers, volunteering to have our five “readers” at their home each time I take Lewis and Delia to Theraplay.

 

These days are not just free childcare for me, but amazing, enriching, educational experiences for our kids.  They do art  and photography lessons, science experiments that I have neither the equipment nor the time to do at home (they actually looked at broccoli DNA under a microscope!) and sometimes just play educational board games.  It has transformed what felt like wasted time each week for our big kids into one of the highlights of their week.

Not to mention it gives me some much-needed downtime hanging out at Theraplay with my little girls.

Trevor is working 12-hour shifts again (with long weekends) after several brutal months of Monday to Friday weeks (how do people live like that?!), and life is feeling manageable.  That can only mean we are in the calm before the storm as we prepare to bring home our newest member.  I will take the calm wherever I can get it!