Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We Have Survived 4 Weeks!

Today marks 4 weeks of our family living in Medellin, Colombia.  We have survived!  I truly can't believe we have been here that long.  Sometimes it seems like forever, but then it seems to have gone quickly.  The hardest part is we don't know how much longer we will be here.  In recent years, the longest anybody has had to stay in country has been eight weeks.  Theoretically, that means we should be at our halfway point at a minimum.  However, we are trying our best not to bank on anything since Samuel's case is far from simple.

Many of you have asked where the judicial process stands at this point.  We don't know much, but should receive an update within the next couple of days, hopefully.  Our attorneys thought it best to change jurisdictions, and we completely agree with them on this.  We learned today that last Thursday, Samuel's case was being reviewed.  I assume that means a judge has accepted his case, but am not completely certain of this.  I pray we will know more in the coming days, and I maybe can explain a little more.  Once we know more about the progress of the judicial process, we will have more of an estimate on our in-country stay.  It is interesting to me how in America all we wanted was to receive a travel date, and now we long so badly to be back in America.

It has been quite difficult not having Brent here, but it is indescribably amazing having my parents here.  The hard part is that while my parents can help out with the girls, we requested that they be limited in what they do for Samuel.  We want him to truly understand who Mommy and Daddy are, and to primarily attach and bond with us. They are so awesome at entertaining all of the kids when it is needed, and all three kids think all four of their grandparents have hung the moon (and are way cooler than Mom and Dad).   However, when it comes to parenting, setting boundaries, bedtime, showers, pottying, dressing, and such, I am the only adult that can help Samuel while Brent is in the states. 

Brent, though thousands of miles away, has continued to be amazing!  He checks on us frequently, makes sure I know when he arrives at each new location, and sends several texts throughout the day.  Early this afternoon the doorbell rang.  All the way from Dallas, Texas, Brent had a dozen gorgeous red roses delivered to me!  Be jealous ladies, I have one amazing husband!

Yesterday was a little rough, no doubt.  The kids were driving us adults crazy!!  The fact that my patience was running thin certainly didn't help the situation either.  In total contrast, today was marvelous.  Of course, with 3 kids so young and so close in age, nothing is going to be perfect, but as the days close I am trying to remember the positive parts of the day.

We began with a yummy breakfast.  Cristina, our translator, brought us a perfectly scrumptious apple cake that we ate.  MaMere and Alex made granola yesterday that we had with yogurt.  It was delicious!  The kids and I then had school while my parents explored Medellin on foot.  We didn't do much school today, but the kids were really good during the little bit we did.  They had some time for free play, and I started cooking some chili.  I have never prepared chili from dried beans, but that was our only option.  It seems like we are really figuring out how to prepare decent meals!

Following some dicing and chopping of veggies, we walked to the park.  The kids played so hard and so well.  Is there any sweeter sound than children laughing and playing outside?  There is something miraculous about being outside that makes children happy, get along, and play perfectly well with others.  The park is partly shaded by a mango tree.  Pops found some 2x4 pieces on the ground that he launched up the mango tree and successfully knocked down two huge mangoes that the children happily carried home.

We attempted to nap the kids early so we could have a busy afternoon.  The only indication that Samuel has a heart condition is that he gets sleepy easily.  It turns out to be a blessing because he falls asleep so easily!  He was the first to fall asleep, and slept the longest.  Alex decided it was more important to put on a show for her babies than to actually nap.  I walked in her room and her Minnie Mouse, Lucy dog, Baby doll, and lovey were all lined up along her pillows, and she was putting on a show for them.  She tried to make them clap for her.  The child NEEDS her nap, but admittingly - that was pretty funny.  Lilly Grace is outgrowing her naps, but I am not sure yet if I am outgrowing my need for some kid-free time mid-day.

We spent the afternoon at Premium Plaza - the mall we frequent.  We walked around, then went to Africa where the kids could play.  They played fantastically, all stuck together, and we had far less tears than ever before!  After the play area, we walked to some soccer fields on the roof of the mall.  Some young elementary aged kids were playing, and our three enjoyed watching them.  I think people think we are kind of strange, but if they are talking badly about us we can't understand what they are saying.

My entirely too kind parents treated us to supper.  Though it was at a food court, it certainly wasn't "fast food."  It is very typical to wait for a long time, and they bring the food out when it is ready - not all at the same time.  Surprisingly, Dad and I did a great job ordering!  We ended up with everything we anticipated.  It was Colombian food, but nothing too strange.

Following supper, we ran through the grocery store.  In 11th grade AP English, we read Dante's Inferno, then wrote a paper about what we thought the different levels of Hades may be.  If I had to rewrite that paper, I think one of the levels of Hades would include dragging three kids around a grocery store that you don't know where things are located.  We only needed five items, yet it took an eternity.  The children morphed into screeching monkeys, which didn't help the folks already staring at us gringos.

Dad hailed a cab and with his limited Spanish, directed the cab driver home.  I have to poke at my Dad a little here - he is REALLY hard of hearing, and watching him try to communicate with his minimal Spanish and even more minimal hearing can be humorous.  Nonetheless, he is always successful!  It is amazing!  We got home, brushed teeth, threw pajamas on the kids, and plopped them in bed.  I think they all passed out quickly, and hopefully us three adults aren't going to be too far behind. 

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