It took nearly a full week to get laundry caught up and all of the unpacking completed. Now that those chores are done, our house is basically back to normal. I still really need to reorganize toys, and get more gender-neutral and boy-toys down stairs, but there just hasn't been time for that yet.
Monday was a school holiday, so all three of the kids got to stay home and play. It was my first day home alone in America with all three kids, and it started out rocky. The biggest issue was Alex exuding everything typical of a two year old. Two is one of my favorite ages to be honest, sans the whining. The day fortunately got better and better, but we were quite ready for Brent to return home after work.
Tuesday was the girls' first day back at school. Lilly Grace was really excited, but I was a tad nervous for Alex. However, she waltzed right into her classroom and started telling her teachers about meeting and hugging Minnie Mouse. (Note: She hasn't actually met nor hugged Minnie, but the line between reality and imagination in a two year old is nonexistent.) It was awesome being back at Frazer Kindergarten and seeing so many sweet faces that all had kind words to say. Samuel was none to happy to leave his sisters, and he begged to go to school. We told him once he learns his letters, numbers, and colors he can go.
In the meantime, he and I are home schooling. It really feels like one step forward, three hundred steps backward sometimes. He is learning shapes, colors, and even numbers fairly easily. He also can recall some letter sounds, but memorizing the letters is our biggest struggle right now. Though I get frustrated and want to cry almost daily, sometimes I just have to laugh at things instead of cry. I told Brent one morning it felt like Celebrity Jeopardy on Saturday Night Live. I asked, "Is this a C or a D," and the response I was given was, "Hmmm, a B!" He will get there, it is just taking diligence and patience. However, his writing skills are improving exponentially on a daily basis! It makes his Mommy and Daddy beam with pride.
We also went shopping to get Sam some clothes for the wedding weekend. I was so thankful for a lady at Namedropper and to my friend, Beth Oliver for all the advice and help about dressing a boy. He is definitely going to be one handsome young man this weekend in the Highlands! What he liked best about shopping was the trains he got to play with at the store - he could have cared less about his new clothes.
Wednesday morning, Sam and I conquered Walmart together. He has a tendency to dart off, but stayed with me the entire time. We even practiced letter flashcards while we shopped, and a couple of letters were starting to stick. They redid the produce section as well as invested in new carts that actually steer without inducing arm cramps, so it was successful on several different accounts.
On Wednesday evening, the three kids and I headed to church. Brent had a super important dinner meeting with a large and really cool client, so I was flying solo with the kids - except not really, my parents were parked on either side of my car, so we each handled one kid per adult. It was one of those evenings that made me think, "Why don't y'all act like this every day?!" They were fantastic. They ate their dinner, then played with the other kids while waiting on the evening activities to begin. My tummy was beginning to have butterflies because I was about to leave Sam for the first time. He went to 4 year old choir with Lilly Grace, Alex went to her "play class", and I stayed with my parents for the prayer meeting. He did awesome! It was a wonderful night. To make the night even better, Brent's dinner meeting didn't go too late, and it went really well!
Thursday was a busy day. Samuel had his first doctor's appointment with our pediatrician. For those of you in Montgomery, let me just say that I adore Partner's in Pediatrics! They answered all of my questions and got us in within just a couple of days. I brought in probably 7 pounds of medical paperwork that they are still copying and sorting, and were so thorough with every little detail. My sweet mother-in-law kept the girls while Sam and I were at the doctor. (A word to the wise for you single ladies out there - marry in to a great family. You'll be so glad you did!) Lilly Grace was so excited about Nana coming over, she couldn't even sleep.
The doctor went well. It took a long time because there was a lot to do - nearly 5 years to go over, several things to establish, on top of the normal physical. His check up went great. Dr. Blakeney could not hear a murmur at all (miracle), and we think his surgeon must have been top notch (Praise the Lord). Though I am against the flu shot (don't judge, I have my reasons - but we do every other vaccination), I caved and he got one. He hated it, but did fantastic. Such a tough cookie! We will soon have follow up appointments with some specialists in Birmingham.
We returned home just as my mother was pulling up in the driveway to deliver delicious and cute cookies, as well as a gift from some neighbors. We all headed out back and found Nana with the girls in dress-up clothes playing. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lucy, our dog, tossing something in the air over and over. Lucy had caught a snake. Seriously, why are snakes always found when there are no men around? We threw it in a box, and Sam went nuts. He was screaming "No quiero " over and over and running as far away as possible. Then, all of a sudden he wanted to see the snake. He peered over the box, and in perfect English said, "Awww, hey sweet snake." Hmmm, I guess he got over that fear quickly. Not much later, Brent arrived home and he may
Friday wasn't too eventful. The kids put on American flag tattoos and we made Halloween -style Rice Krispie Treats. Once they were all in bed, Brent and I began preparing for a yard sale. Our neighborhood was having a neighborhood-wide one, which was perfect as we had several things we no longer needed. Sadly, Brent's stomach symptoms returned, and he was having horrendous abdominal pain as well as some other issues. I think the over-the-counter stuff he took for several days simply masked the real problem, and we were starting to become quite concerned. He agreed that if he didn't drastically improve, he would go to the doctor.
We got up super early for the yard sale Saturday morning. Poor Brent was miserable, and every movement sent sharp pains through his stomach. The yard sale was a major success, and everything that wasn't sold was packaged up for the Caring Center at church. As the morning progressed, Brent's troubles did as well. He decided to go to All-Med Urgent Care, and my parents and I took the kids to the Pumpkin Patch.
Brent was given medications that would treat a food-borne illness that would either be bacterial or parasitic. He clearly ate something not-so-good in Colombia, but he won't find out exactly what it is until results are back in a few days. While Brent was miserable at the doctor and at home, the kids, my parents, and I were having a blast at the Pumpkin Patch!
It was Sam's first time for a lot of the things, and all three were giggling in sheer delight almost constantly. We started out at a huge slide made of French drain pipes and hay bales. We saw some precious families from our Sunday School class here, and enjoyed watching the kids all be country bumpkins. Next, the kids did some of the inflatable slides and jumpy houses until they were red in the face and drenched in sweat. We then headed to watch pigs race. The two big kids got really into the race and were almost breathless cheering on the pigs. Next was the petting zoo area. The kids were able to feed and pet sheep, goats, donkeys, and a cow. Alex had her hand bitten by a goat, which is the third time in a row we've been to this place that one of the girls have been bitten by a goat! If I was a better mom, I would make them steer clear of the goats. Ooops.
We then headed to another climbing and playing area, which was fun until the kids realized there was a box full of corn, in lieu of a sand box, designed just for play. It was a major hit. They jumped, made corn angels, and each took turns getting buried under the corn. My parents freaked me out by telling me baby mice love being in piles of dried corn. Fortunately, we never saw any "pinkies." The only down side of the corn box was the obscure places the corn ended up. Lilly Grace got about 4 handfuls of corn out of her panties, and Alex got this funny look on her face before she asked we pull her panties down. She had corn all in the front and underside of her panties... that can't be comfortable at all. Sam somehow had no corn anywhere, though he played the longest.
It was time for lunch, though the kids claimed they weren't hungry and wanted to keep playing. After lunch we rode on a ride that made Colombian taxi drivers seem sane. It was a cow train ride pulled by an insane tractor driver. We all unloaded from the train with our organs in the wrong place, dust in our eyes, and some nearly-soiled drawers.
Then, we went on a hay ride to the actual pumpkin patch. It is a fantastic hay ride because there is no hay to bother legs or allergies. We all loved meandering through the pumpkins, and the big kids tried to prove their strength by picking up large pumpkins. My father, the biggest kid of all, thought he would prove his strength by balancing a pumpkin on his head. By this time, the kids were getting sleepy so we decided to head to Pops' truck to make it home before utter exhaustive attitudes set in.
Once home, we encountered Brent on the recliner still looking a little pale and green. We turned on some football and all fell asleep. I got up from the couch to make a recipe from Pinterest that has made my mouth water since we were in Medellin: tomato basil Parmesan soup with cheddar bacon pinwheels. I was so excited about a home cooked fall meal.
Everything was going great. The veggies had been finely chopped and were getting soft on the stove. The aromas filling the kitchen were delightful. I didn't want a chunky soup but a smooth creamy soup, so I filled the blender with the yumminess. My thoughts were, "This is brilliant! We are going to have tons of veggies and the kids won't even know it. " Then I thought, "Even more perfect. The blender lid has small gaps in it, so steam can escape while I blend this concoction." Needless to say, none of this decision was brilliant or perfect. A bright red boiling hot mixture erupted through the gaps sending a mess throughout my kitchen. My white blouse looked like it had been splatter painted, and I was burned on my neck and both wrists.
Obviously, dinner wasn't going to happen in a timely manner, so we met Brent's parents for dinner at Chappy's. We enjoyed the family time and also saw several friends while there. After dinner, we went back home and got the kids ready for bed. Brent rested some more and let his meds take effect while I finally finished the soup which would be consumed another day. The best laid plans... yada yada yada....
On Sunday, Brent still wasn't quite feeling great so the four of us went to church while he stayed back. I feel like I am getting the hang of getting three kids ready. We were all fed, dressed, and ready, ran to fill up with gas, and made it to church on time. The older two did very well in big church, and Samuel went to his Sunday School class for the first time. It all went exceptionally well, and his teachers are wonderful. It helps that he and Lilly Grace are in all of the same classes at church.
My parents had us over for a delicious fall meal, and Brent was able to join us. The kids' cousin Scarlett was there as well, and Scarlett, Lilly Grace, and Samuel got to sit at their own table like big kids. Afterward, we went outside and my dad flew his model helicopter for the kids. They loved it! Because of some griping and whining, we decided to go home and prepare for Sunday afternoon naps.
Sunday evening, the kids and I headed back to church for Mission Friends, which was another first for Sam. It all went great, and we survived several "firsts" all in one day.
Although being back home is phenomenal, it isn't always easy. Having three children isn't harder than having two, but it is busier. There are more mouths to feed, more rules to enforce, more dishes to clean, more laundry to wash, more bodies to bathe, more kids to clothe, and more messes to put away. Honestly, the hardest part is trying to get Sam caught up with his peers. It is exhausting for both of us, and I really feel like we aren't getting anywhere. It is already evident that he won't be ready for 4K in January, and I am terrified he will be behind in 3K, although he will be the oldest in the class. I know everybody says not to worry, he will get caught up, focus on bonding, boys are different, etc, but as a mother I can't help but be concerned. Maybe it will click on day, and I pray for that "Ah hah" moment every day. We prayed for patience at the onset of the adoption process, and evidently I didn't learn it well enough yet.
We are on to another week which will end with a vacation to the Highlands, North Carolina with Brent's family for his cousin's wedding. We all are so excited, and can't wait for our first family of five vacation this fall.
|His clothes for the wedding - cute little rascal|
|Showing off their tattoos, and yes, Alex has a huge belly|
|Sam and Lilly Grace routing on their favorite pigs at the race|
|Alex resting in the corn|