Monday, November 10, 2014

Fun Times

After some difficult days, and a lot of illness, I am thrilled to say the past week or so has been absolutely delightful.  Sam has been able to experience a lot more firsts, and after four weeks it seems like we are getting into the swing of things.  I will try to hit on the highlights of the past several days.

Our precious Sunday school class has been supplying us with meals twice weekly, which has been hugely beneficial!  We have had delicious meals, and not having to prepare supper has kept me sane.  Although I look forward to prepping and cooking, at this time that task seems daunting. 

We also had a sweet friend in our class, Brandy, invite us to the Save-a-Life banquet, where we had the opportunity to share a table with some fun friends.  Brent's parents babysat the kids, while we had our first evening away from the kids since we came back to America.  The kids obviously were in heaven spending time with Nana and Papa, and Brent and I thoroughly enjoyed each other's company.  The banquet was great, and it made us so thankful that Samuel's mother chose life, despite the circumstances she found herself in. 

The following night, Brent and I had another date!  My parents kept the kiddos, while we ate dinner at our favorite restaurant: Garrett's.  After nearly three months of almost no alone time, we were given two date nights in a row thanks to our parents!  We had a fabulous time.  Our meals put most things on Food Network to shame, and we got to have actual conversations.  It was a much needed evening, and every detail was splendid. 

Sam has made huge and magnificent academic improvements.  He can write his name in upper and lower case, and recognize over half of the alphabet.  His penmanship is just as good as any other four year old's now, and he even knows what sounds some letters make.  This is truly an answer to prayer!  He is such a smart boy, and though he is currently still behind his peers, we believe he will excel academically if he will keep trying.  Additionally, his English is coming along really well.  He has already lost a lot of his Spanish, so he is sometimes unable to express himself in either language.  It frustrates him, but his frustrations are forcing him to pick up on more English.

Tuesday we had the opportunity to vote.  Isn't it remarkable to have that right?  Brent and I always try to make a big deal about it, and we go as a family so that the children understand what a blessing it is to have such an opportunity.  The kids always love the "I Voted" stickers.  It was neat bringing Sam along and trying to explain to him what it meant... I was pretty unsuccessful in this venture, but I tried.  That evening, the kids and I headed to Brent's office to watch some of the poll results roll in.  We joined Brent, Brett, and Brant, and Ben for a bit (it is impossible to say that fast), but obviously had to head home before all the results came in.  Almost all of Brent's clients did fantastically, and nearly all of his polls were spot on as well.  Clearly, he does a great job at whatever he sets his mind to.

On Wednesday, the children and I got to play with the Cowden girls.  Elizabeth, Mary Louise, and Catherine entertained my three, while Julie and I got to kick back and watch them play.  Not only are the Cowdens precious, but I must admit it was nice for someone else to entertain my munchkins for a while.  We then headed to church, where Sam and Lilly Grace had a choir performance during the prayer service.  Lilly Grace smiled the entire time, and Sam danced along with the music right on beat.  You also wouldn't know by watching him that English wasn't his primary language.  They were absolutely adorable!

One morning, Sam and I headed to LAMP High School to visit MaMere, and for Sam to meet some of the folks that have been praying for him. He of course had a wonderful time as he was given three bags of cookies, a sucker, and tons of high fives.  I intended on staying for about 45 minutes, but MaMere is just so fun and that quickly became 2 hours.  While we were there, we visited Mrs. Chambliss's art class and saw her students decorating tons of circles.  As soon as we got back in my mom's office, Sam got a piece of paper and some markers and tried to emulate what he had seen the big kids do.  His work was pretty impressive, and it now is adorning our fridge door. 

Sam and I also had the fun opportunity to meet up with Tanya and Lena Birchfield for an early lunch one day.  The kids had a great time together, and it was such an awesome experience watching children born in two different worlds come together to play.  Tanya is such a wealth of knowledge, and made me feel like our issues were not out of the realm of normal for an adopted child at all.  That was such a relief, and every since our lunch date I feel like I can relax a lot more.  Her Lena was so cute and sweet, and I look forward to watching her and Sam grow up together.  One from Moldova, the other from Colombia, and now precious little Americans growing up at First Baptist Church. 

Last week at school, Lilly Grace had an Indian Pow Wow.  It seems like all of a sudden she is so grown up and mature.  She is being far more obedient, and generally speaking is such a joy to be around.  She was stoked beyond belief for her Pow Wow.  She requested braids, and showed me how to sit properly like an Indian. After the school day was over, she told Alex, Sam, and me in great detail all about her Pow Wow.  It is so fun listening to children talk excitedly to each other. 

Saturday was a majorly fun day for the kiddos. Brett Cowden, along with his three girls, accompanied Brent and our two big ones to tailgate in Auburn.  Sam has been excited to go to "Go Auburn" since he learned about Auburn, and Lilly Grace has enjoyed anything football related with her Daddy since before she could talk - not a trait she inherited from me.  Not only were Sam and LG with their favorite "big girls" but they ran into and were able to spend tons of time with their Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Michael while there.   Alex and I hung back and had some fun on our own.  We went to the mall and had a lunch date followed by gobs of ice cream.  Then, we rode the carousel (AKA Spinny Thing) and several of the cars and such that you put a quarter in.  She can be tough when around the other kids, and she is not afraid to let her two-year-old-ness show, but when she is alone she is totally different. She is silly, funny, loving, and an absolute blast. 

Sunday, the whole family went to Wynlakes to celebrate my dad's birthday.  With six kids, it is hard to slow down much, so we didn't get any family photos, but we had a wonderful time.  In true Sunday form, we then all went home for much needed naps - Brent and me included.

Now, it is Monday evening.  The kids are in bed. Tomorrow is going to be a marathon kind of day.  I have a doctor's appointment here in Montgomery, then Brent, Sam and I head to Birmingham to see the pediatric cardiologist.  I am very antsy about it, although he seems to be in such great health.  Pray that all goes well and we are given good news, and I will update on what the doctor says.

Sweetest Republicans

After a fun play date, Alex refused to be photographed

Chik-Fil-A Play Date with Lena

Tiger Lilly getting ready for her Pow Wow at school

Driving the cars at the mall

Tiger Walk with Lindsey and Michael
Precious four year old choir members

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