Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Our soon-to-be newest daughter, Candace

More details to follow. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whoa is me

Yes, I know the normal phrase would be "woe is me", but I think "whoa" here is much more appropriate.

This has been the biggest whirlwind of a few months that I can remember in a long time. Maybe it's having four kids, maybe it's trying to finish the house...I don't really know, I just know that it is flying. And I feel like I'm having fun but desperately wanting to catch my breath! :)

And maybe, just's because God is calling us again.

And we've said yes.

And I'm scared and overwhelmed and excited and wondering how this is all going to work.

But I know without a doubt that this is from God (believe it or not, I actually asked for a sign and He provided it!) and that this is what He desires for our family.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Alex has had the most struggles with the beginning of the school year. A lot of the reason I wasn't posting was because of that--we were trying different things and I was hesitant to post until we had figured out what was going on.

We still haven't figured things out. :) :)

At the beginning of the school year, Alex started having "emergency" bathroom runs during school. And then he started having accidents at school. It has taken a lot of guessing and trying and...well, everything, to determine that this is not physical or a medical condition. Once we figured that out and implemented some controls at home (i.e., giving him the choice to pee in his pants or the toilet, but him also having to deal with the natural consequences of that--thanks, Diana!) all of a sudden all of the accidents at home went away. His teacher has not been willing to let him deal with the natural consequences so he is still doing emergency bathroom runs at school. But interestingly enough, only at about 3 pm, so just in case she doesn't let him go and he decides to push her on it, he only has to sit in wet pants for 15 minutes.

Smart boy.

So we've had a lot to get a handle on with Alex. I'm not sure why this popped up all of a sudden (and I do mean all of a sudden) but such is life. Other than that, Alex is doing well at school. His biggest struggles are in math but he is one of the top readers in his class and he LOVES to read. We're working a lot on his reading comprehension but a lot of that is starting to click as well. He is still excellent at spelling. It's been fun for me trying to figure out how to help the boys learn things because they learn so differently. Alex is a visual learner so when he is learning the states (all 50 of them) we write the names on the states--it doesn't work for him to write a number that corresponds to a list, or to do a puzzle of the states, etc. But for Tim (who as I mentioned CANNOT spell) he needs things hands-on, so I have been cutting up his spelling words and he has to put them in the correct order. His grade on his spelling test last week doubled after doing that (and it was still a really bad grade--that's how bad of a speller he is! LOL).

In other news, Alex has started counseling with a fantastic therapist. She actually has a couple of years experience counseling orphans in South Africa, so she understands more about Alex's background and some of the grief issues he deals with. Alex is doing great, and he's adjusting well, but we still feel like he has some trust and bonding issues related to the many changes that happened over the course of a couple of years in his life. We want to give him whatever help we can to become a whole, happy little boy and he LOVES going to see his counselor E. She's seeing a lot of the same anxiety as we do (stress over schedule changes, etc.) and I'm really hopeful she'll be able to help Alex learn some good coping skills for that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Tim is still our little engineer. He LOVES to build anything and everything. He can spend hours out on the back deck building with wood and crates...making garages, houses, zoos, or whatever else he decides on that day. He struggles with the "sitting" part of school but is doing well. The start of school was really hard--I think going from kindergarten to first grade was a bit of a jolt ("You mean I actually have to do work??") but he's figuring out that if he does his work quickly and correctly the first time that he has more time to play and he's all about that.

Tim loves to be silly and play around, but he also loves to help, especially in the kitchen. One of his favorite activities in the afternoon is to build forts/houses out of blankets in the living room. They have multiple rooms and he directs what goes on in each room. Tim does get really frustrated when others don't follow his directions. We're working with him on using words to explain what he wants people to do instead of just saying "NO! Not like that!" over and over again. :) :)

Tim has lots of friends at school and is just all-around an easy-going, likable kid. He's definitely all-boy, and ALL FOUR of the kids' teachers remarked about his love of playing in the dirt in the school playground. Apparently he comes in every morning with dirt streaks on his face. I promise we send him to school clean. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010


Danielle had a pretty good start to the school year...for awhile. :) She loves kindergarten and is doing a great job with her letters and numbers, which is good because she started off the year way behind. However, she's struggled with her particular teacher.

The first field trip of the year was to an apple orchard, where Danielle (intentionally) wandered off and they couldn't find her. She had been having some problems at school the week before with not staying with her class. She had been warned that if she didn't stay with her class that she would not get to go on her field trip so she stepped it up the week of the field trip and stayed with her class. Then on the field trip, she wandered off during play time and she's now not allowed to go on any more field trips. She scared her teacher half to death and now her teacher does NOT want to have to worry about keeping track of her, especially since the next field trip involves a pumpkin patch and a corn maze!

Danielle's ankle therapy is going well. She's definitely getting stronger and her gait is much improved, although it's hard to know if that's directly related to the ankle therapy. She loves going and we've found a small kitchen off of the therapy room where everyone else can get homework going while she's working. She gets a sticker each day she works hard, and after three stickers she gets to pick a prize. So far, she's picked nail polish, lip gloss, a princess pencil set...can you see who the girly-girl is in our family? :)

Danielle has been the hardest child to bond to for me but I have glimpses into our relationship that tell me we are going to be really, really close as she grows up. She loves to help me with anything house-related and can't wait until she is big enough to cook dinner by herself (me, too!!). She has a very sweet disposition but can get herself into trouble pretty easily with lying or laughing when she's being disciplined. ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We interrupt these non-updates...

I know, I really am trying to get updates done. But life keeps getting in the way. :)

Our visit with the A family was great! They ended up getting here a little later than anticipated but it worked out well as our kids were already in bed and we could just focus on getting them settled. We had baked spaghetti, salad, and chocolate chip cheesecake and everyone (as far as I could tell) loved all of it. That always makes me happy. :)

The next morning, our kids headed to school and I stayed to help the A's get packed up. Our kids and theirs didn't really get much time to play together, but Emily and Annabel certainly hit it off! They were fast friends from the moment they met--perhaps because they both love to talk. ;) We got a great picture of most of the kids, and it was a like a mini-Reece's Rainbow reunion since a total of 5 of the kids came home through RR. It was also great for our kids to see another family with kids who have come home from Ukraine. They have another friend here in the St Louis area who is from Ukraine, but it hasn't seemed to click with them that they have that in common. Alex in particular was intrigued by this and is now asking random people if their kids are from Ukraine. :) :)

All in all, it was a great night and I loved hosting them. It was a great confidence booster as well to know that we really could host that many people. I don't think everything would have worked out as well if they'd needed to stay for more than a few days--they would have needed more room for their stuff--but we would have been willing to try if they'd needed that.

So the moral of the story your mouth, open your home, open your heart. :)

We're missing three A kids here, but we got most of them in!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

We interrupt these updates...

I've done something crazy, and now I'm super excited and terrified all at the same time.

A few weeks ago, a Reece's Rainbow family posted a message that they were going to be moving across the country and were looking for places to stay in the midwest along the way. Without thinking much about it, I offered our house. We have plenty of room and since we're in a major city I thought there was a good chance they would passing our way.

And then I thought nothing else of it.

T emailed me this week to ask if it was still okay if they stayed with us...all 11 of them. :) :)

And the panic set in...we don't have enough beds, we don't have enough chairs at the table...

But I am so excited to be able to provide hospitality for this family. I am quite sure their lives have been very chaotic the past few weeks, and even more now with driving cross-country with lots of little ones. I've been planning out a menu for dinner and breakfast the night they are staying, and mapping out sleeping arrangements. Friends have offered extra tables and chairs to supplement what we have.

And I warned T that our house is ugly. :) :)

Honestly, that's been the biggest panic. They'll see our ugly paint that we haven't fixed yet, and the floors that still need to be redone, and the horrible carpet runner on the stairs that we haven't taken up, and the half-finished bathroom, and...

But we have a roof, and God has graciously given us enough space to share with others. This is one of the reasons we wanted a bigger house! So when the ugly thoughts start to overwhelm me, I remind myself of a mother traveling with 9 little ones, and how nice it must be just to know they have a place to stop that won't cost anything, and a night to relax and play and enjoy with new friends.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity to love others!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I'm updating in reverse chronological order. :)

The start of the school year was REALLY hard on Emily. As you may remember, the class we had intended to put her in (a sort of developmental kindergarten class, for kids not quite ready for kindergarten) didn't have enough enrollment. The school canceled that class and opened two kindergarten classes instead, and Emily is now in kindergarten.

She was SO not ready for kindergarten.

Given that a little over a year before starting kindergarten, she was functioning at about the level of an 18-24 month old, it was a really big jump.

And she pretty much landed face first.

The first 3-4 weeks of school were horrible. We really thought we were going to have to pull her out and put her back in the preschool. She tested every boundary she could find with her new teacher. It didn't help that they didn't have any rest time during the day, and she was used to a 2-HOUR rest time at the preschool. She was defiant, refused to do her work, and was disruptive. Her teacher was very frustrated and I hated that Emily was causing problems for other students who are trying to learn.

Then all of a clicked. Well, that's not entirely true. I made a mention to her teacher that Emily hates being left out. And all of a sudden, she had a discipline solution that worked. Any time Emily was being disruptive, she had to go back and sit at her desk, or on her rug, or wherever everyone else wasn't and she didn't get to participate.

She HATES not being in the middle of everything. She is a youngest, after all. :)

And all of a sudden she was cooperative in class, attempting her work, and following directions. She was a gem on her field trip. Last week, she didn't lose a clothespin all week which meant she got to pick a prize from the treasure box at the end of the week.

She's the first one of our kids to do that!!

She is still "not ready" for kindergarten. At our kids' school, they are reading by the end of kindergarten, and Emily's just not there yet. We fully anticipate her doing another year of kindergarten next year. But she is getting a lot of it, and she is loving being at big-girl school.

In other news, she's 34 lbs and has shot up several inches in the past year. She was literally in 18mo-2T clothing when we got home, and now some of the 4T pants are almost too short. Her English is better than the rest of the kids most of the time. :) She's a total ham who loves to sing and LOVES to talk. She has full conversations with herself when no one else will talk to her. Being the youngest, we hear a lot of "No, Emily!" "Don't touch that, Emily!" "You can't play with me, Emily!" and she's a pretty good pest. But she takes it all in stride and tends to be a very happy-go-lucky kid.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Nothing's wrong

Just thought I should share that right off the bat. :) :)

I must confess that this school year has hit me hard. There have been many things I've wanted to blog about, but I kept waiting for some resolution, or to see if the changes we made had an impact.

And consequently, never posted.

As you can see.

So...I'm starting over, and you're getting a full update--or as much as I can remember (the downside to not posting in so long!).

So as not to write a bloggy novel, I'm going to break my posts up and post in sections, one each day. (Yes, I hear the laughter of disbelief.) Stay tuned for a 2 month update on everything.